What is Hifz?October 3, 2023 2023-10-29 21:16
What is Hifz?
What is Hifz?
Hifz (also spelled Hifdh) is one of those words that we hear all the time in our Muslim communities and for which most of us probably know the general meaning, but do we really understand what it entails? Let’s have a closer look and go over some Hifz tips insha’Allah!
What does Hifz even mean?
When we try to understand something, even a word that is so commonly used and heard, it always helps to look at the meaning of the word itself. The Arabic word [حِفْظ] ḥifẓ comes from the root letters ح ف ظ from which we derive the following meanings:
• To preserve, to conserve
• To protect, to guard, to defend
• To bear in mind, to be mindful/heedful,
• to be concerned with, to be wary of
• To keep up, maintain, sustain, retain, uphold
• To hold, keep safe, take care of
• To keep, to put away, to save, to store
• To memorize, to learn, to commit to memory
• To supervise, to control
This is a long list, masha’Allah! But it is so important, when we think about “hifz”, to go beyond the simple translation of “memorization”, because it is so much more than just “memorizing” (i.e. learn by heart). Let’s think about it: when kids go to school and are asked to memorize some definitions, or a poem, and are then being tested on it, they could get a perfect grade even if they have not understood or pondered upon the words they have memorized. All they have to do is to remember the sequence of words. This is not what Hifz is about.
Of course, it is a very honorable deed to simply memorize the words of the Quran and be able to recite them from memory masha’Allah, and we are certainly being rewarded for this if we do it for the sake of Allah SWT. However, Allah SWT invites us to go beyond that and try to understand, think, reflect, contemplate and eventually apply His Words to our daily lives, and prepare for our Akhirah.
So, how do we do Hifz exactly? Here are some tips:
1. Start hifz with the intention, even if you can’t start memorizing right now
As with everything else, embark on your Hifz journey with the intention to please Allah SWT. Even if you feel like you are not in a situation to start your Hifz at the moment, still make the intention in your heart that you will do it in your lifetime insha’Allah.
2. Make dua
Dua is essential for everything we do, we want, we need, we wish for. Make dua and ask for Allah’s SWT help as you start your Hifz journey.
3. Make the Mushaf a part of your life, not just something to display
Unfortunately, masaahif (plural of mushaf) tend to collect dust in houses instead of collecting fingerprints. Let’s make sure that we make it a habit of picking our mushaf on a daily basis insha’Allah. Of course, you can do this on your phone as well and there are many great apps and websites out there thanks to which you can access a mushaf for more convenience. Just make sure that you stay away from other distractions!
4. Be realistic about your hifz journey
We sometimes tend to have really lofty goals, which is great as long as we keep them within realistic reach. You want to memorize the Quran within six months, like this person you saw on social media, masha’Allah – but they did it during the first Covid lockdown at the age of 16, and you are in your forties, you work full-time and have 4 kids to tend to masha’Allah! So the 6-month timeframe is probably not realistic.
5. Get support
It is important to have the support of the people around you whenever possible, whether that is your family, a roommate or close friends. As you decide to embark on your Hifz journey, talk to them about your plan. It might take a while for them to adjust to your new schedule or to the fact that you might not be as available to them as you were before, so be patient with them and remind them how important this goal is and how vital their help and support will be. At the same time, be sure to also make time for them, because memorizing the Quran is not an excuse to forgo people’s rights upon you. Finding yourself a Hifz buddy can also be a great way to get support and support them in return.
6. Be consistent with hifz
When starting your Hifz journey, you need to have a plan, especially in terms of time: when will you be working on your Hifz? Establishing a schedule will help you be consistent with your work. For instance, ask yourself which time of the day will work best for you: right after Fajr? Late morning? In the afternoon? In the evening? Whichever time of the day you pick, it is best to stick to that same time on a daily basis (although 1-2 days off are fine) to maximize consistency and to pick a time during which your memory works best. For instance, right after lunchtime might be difficult for you to focus because we tend to get sleepy during digestion.
7. Know your memory
We all have different types of memories: do you remember best when you hear something? When you read it, write it, record yourself and listen to it? Know what works best for you, and don’t be afraid of changing your method if you feel the need to.
8. Be holistic
Don’t limit yourself to memorizing the Quran: work on understanding it too. Read translations and tafaasir (explanations), listen to or watch lectures about the Words of Allah SWT, go attend lectures at your local mosque. Understanding the Words of Allah SWT will help memorize it better insha’Allah.
9. Get a Quran teacher!
Can you memorize the Quran without a teacher? Technically, yes, you can. But with a teacher comes accountability, consistency and accuracy. A teacher might hear mistakes that you are not able to hear yourself; a teacher will help you stay on track with your goals and yet be realistic with your abilities; a teacher can assist you in being more regular with your efforts. Just remember that it might take some trial and error to find the right teacher for you and that’s okay. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t click right away or if you need to find another teacher.
10. Don’t compare yourself to others
This is a natural thing that most human beings do for anything in life: we tend to compare ourselves to others, even though we rarely know the exact situation of these people we are comparing ourselves to. Sometimes we even do this unconsciously. Try to be mindful of your internal dialogue and focus on your goals, your actions and your efforts only. Take this tip to heart if you have a child doing Hifz: never compare your child to others. You might have a good intention, thinking that it will motivate them to do more or do better, and it might actually work, but your child will not have the right intention and mindset. They will want to memorize more or faster only to please you or to be better than someone else rather than to grow closer to their Creator.
11. Don’t get discouraged
We usually start any new project filled with a lot of energy and ideas, and a willingness to put in a lot of time and effort to succeed. But then reality catches up with us: we bump into a first obstacle, then another one, then another one. We catch a cold and need some rest, someone in the household needs our attention, we have this special project at work that requires you to put in extra hours, you have unexpected house work to deal with – may Allah SWT protect us all from these difficulties, ameen. Life will happen regardless of your Hifz status, so prepare yourself for a marathon rather than just a sprint. Slowing down, changing pace, forgetting and having to memorize again are all normal parts of the Hifz journey, especially for adults who juggle multiple responsbilities.
12. Keep renewing your intention and making dua!
Even when we start something with a good intention, it’s essential to keep renewing our intention as we go along because it’s easy to forget why we started to begin with, especially when we do well and other people start praising us. It might boost our ego instead of boosting our taqwa! The same goes for dua: we can’t do this – or anything else really – without Allah’s SWT help and guidance. So make a habit to include dua whenever you can: before and after prayer, when you start a memorization session, when you wake up and go to bed, etc. There is no wrong time to make dua.
May Allah SWT open your heart, mind and soul to memorize His words, apply them and spread them to those around you, ameen!
Ready to start your Hifz journey, or just curious to know more? Check our our Hifz courses and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!