Posts Tagged islamic studies

HD 2: Rule #1 – Get a Teacher


From here-on HD stands for Hifdh Diaries (not High Definition)

Bismillah walhamdulillah

After attending an Islamic event or halaqah, I like to take the chance to ask the speaker to advise me regarding memorizing Qur’an.

After reading the question out loud, I noticed that, on more than one occassion, the very first piece of advice the speaker gives is: Get a teacher.

(Now, I know I’m calling this Rule #1, but just as a disclaimer: the real “rule#1” is sincerity, because if you lack sincerity in this matter, then your teacher will not avail you.)

After that, the next rule is to find yourself a Qur’an teacher with the following qualities:

  • You want someone who’s Belief System (i.e. Aqeedah) is correct. (Even though you’re not learning deen from them, there is a chance you may learn deen from them and you don’t want to put yourself in danger. If you are doubtful about their Aqeedah but still want to learn Tajweed from them, then be very, very careful. Wallahu Musta’aan).
  • Knowledgeable about the rules of recitation
  • Someone you respect and fear (someone you should be embarrassed to go in front of if you haven’t completed your homework)
  • Reliable and Consistent (You need someone like this because you will sometimes become lazy and inconsistent)
  • Easily accessible (So no Imam from a Masjid in the Middle East…unless you happen to already live nearby)

Some points to keep in mind:

  • Aim for the best teacher, and if you can’t have that one, have the second best, and so on.
  • For sisters, you want to try your hardest to have a sister-teacher. It will be more comfortable, and she can freely look at your face and correct errors that a male teacher might not catch (speaking from experience).
  • After you have a teacher, you need to tell him/her (with good manners) – I’m not always going to be motivated to do this. You have to push me sometimes. There will be days that I don’t want to come, I want you to force me to come.”

And keep in mind that you must meet your teacher half way. He/she shouldn’t have to play tug-of-war with you when trying to get you to memorize or come to the masjid. There needs to be self-motivation involved. If your teacher thinks you’re not a serious student, they can simply give their time and efforts to someone who is more serious.

A few quick tips:

  1. Be on time for your classes. Heck, be early! I know some of you are like “Early?…what’s that?” But trust me, being late for anything in life always leaves a bad impression. Unless it’s happens rarely, when people see that you are late, it sends them the simple message that you don’t care, no matter what flowery excuse you offer. On the other hand, being early shows dedication and seriousness.
  2. Always always complete your lesson. Shuffle your schedule around, run instead of walk, don’t chew your food, just swallow (just kidding). Do whatever you have to in order to make enough time to complete your entire lesson. At the same time, don’t bite off more than you can chew (I mean it figuratively this time.) Like don’t give yourself more work than you can handle.
  3. Do what your teacher says! This is the Golden Rule. When I first started with my teacher, she told me (1) I had to start with Surah Al Baqarah (a wonderful Surah, but one whose length had intimidated me) and (2) I had to write everything that I memorized. So what did I do? Of course, I argued… (not with her, with myself, in my mind, and with trusted individuals). I asked someone of knowledge for advice and this is basically how the conversation went (I’m oversimplifying it):

Me: Asalamu alaykum brother, my teacher wants me to memorize surah al baqarah, but I was memorizing from the back, and I really think I should continue with the Makki surahs, their topics are more in line with what I’m currently studying!

Brother: Do what your teacher says.

Me: …Okay, fine. But she also wants me to write everything I memorize. I heard that that is not helpful and that it just takes time.

Brother: Do what your teacher says.

(He also mentioned that writing aids your hifdh, which I will inshaAllah discuss in another post.)

So I think that drives the point home.




“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?”

Suratul Qamar, ayah 17


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