So much fun can be had with our children when they are young. Sometimes, it can get so frustrating when the traditional learning in a school environment seems to undermine that joy and to make learning difficult. Here comes the role of the Qur’an. one of the benefits of memorizing the Qur’an is that it does exercise the “memory muscles” and comes in very handy for other life skills. as the children get older. In this regard, the month of Ramadan represents a golden opportunity. When my daughter was growing up, what was important to me was that she enjoyed her childhood and whatever she learned at school; if the latter had been worthwhile, it would not have been confined to “behind the desk”! This is what most children do in most schools: sit behind a desk and learn about things out of context (i.e. life). Reading, writing, and saying the lesson out loud are but other forms of memorizing — reinforcement.
To help give meaning to what my daughter was memorizing from the Qur’an, one of things I used to do was to share the meaning of the verses and think of examples from life. In this way, the words took on meanings that she could relate to.
Instead of having my daughter sit and memorize, I would suggest learning the verses after each Prayer time. Being young, she resisted the idea, but as time was short and she had other homework to do, it actually became one of the remaining means by which she could spend time memorizing. Given that the positions that one goes into when praying, the idea is actually quite logical, because the positions increase the blood circulation to the brain, stretch the spine, vitalize the nervous system, and increase concentration.
To cut a long story short, my daughter accepted to spend time learning the verses of the Qur’an straight after each Prayer time. To her surprise, she found that she learned more quickly! To this day, my daughter has spent time after each Prayer time reading the Qur’an when she is at home.
Another suggestion is to play a tape with the relevant verses; the children can be doing something else and memorizing subliminally while the tape is playing. Also, if the recitation is in tajweed (the science concerned with proper recitation of the Qur’an that is not just about pronunciation as understanding is equally important), a person (child or adult) is more open and receptive. One more suggestion is to use a tape recorder to let your children record themselves saying the Qur’an, as this can help to make the experience of learning more interesting, and they get to listen to their mistakes and correct them when they listen to the same verses recited in tajweed. If your children learn by heart and record five verses daily, they will be able to listen to themselves as a form of revision by the end of the week; you can talk about the lessons in those recorded verses.
If your children like nature and enjoy interacting with, for example, birds, you can share memories and stories with them from the Qur’an. In this way, you bring the Qur’an into meaning, by relating it to life as it should be.
Allah says, (Do they not see the birds, constrained in the middle of the sky? None withholds them but Allah; most surely, there are signs in this for a people who believe) (An-Nahl 16:79).
Ask your children how do airplanes stay up in the sky? Do they always have to move to stay up or can they seem motionless like birds? What makes birds stay up in the sky? Together, you can make up a story that goes with this verse and then talk about what your children remember about the birds.
Allah says, (And to each one — Prophets Dawud [David] and Sulayman [Solomon] — We gave wisdom and knowledge. And We made the mountains and the birds celebrate Our praise with Dawud) (Al-`Anbiyaa 21:79).
How does a bird praise and worship its Creator? Most people would say they have no idea, or they would say, “Birds sing.” Together with children, parents can get up and act out how we pray, for this is how we worship our Creator, Almighty Allah.
In this way, your children’s imagination is not excluded from the learning process, and when they learn anything from the Qur’an, they might just wonder! Sometimes as parents, we do not know the answer, but it can be much more fun finding out with our children.
By Hawa Irfan