My relationship with the Quran hasn’t always been the greatest. When I was doing my first reading of the Quran with the maulana sahab when I was a child, it was a chore that had to be done, and I tried to avoid it often. Once that first reading of the Quran was done, I don’t remember picking it up again for a very long time.
I learned some tajweed when we moved to Abu Dhabi- all thanks to my mother’s persistence in finding herself a good Quran teacher who eventually became my teacher too. I was a reluctant student, but I was a student nonetheless. I was learning the rules and their application, sometimes enjoying it even, but even then my reading of the Quran was never regular. Some days I would pick it up, other days my copy of the Quran would just sit there gathering dust. But I enjoyed learning about it. Over the years I have listened to a lot of tafseer lectures, enjoyed them, and learned from them immensely. I love learning about the linguistic miracle that the Quran is- learning about what it means, what Allah is talking about. But actually reading it? Somehow that has always suffered. Recitation wasn’t a fun experience for me- sometimes it was the struggle with my fluency, sometimes I would feel sleepy or distracted. Something or the other always kept me from it. Quran reading, just a few years ago, became restricted to the weekly Surah Kahf. And sometimes I wouldn’t fully complete that either. Basically, my relationship with the Quran suffered.
And then one day it struck me how it shouldn’t be so. How could the words of Allah truly have an effect on me until I read them just as they were revealed? How could my heart truly find itself drenched in the beneficial rain of His words until I read them just the way He sent them down? It struck me that the understanding of the Quran, and its reading work in conjunction. And the reading has a higher reward that I was missing out on. And that was my turning point.
A person’s relationship with the Quran has many parts to it: reading and recitation, understanding the meaning and message, pondering over the meaning and message, and applying it into our lives.
Because of my interest in the meanings and tafseer, I had a relationship with the Quran, just not a very strong one. Because reading the words of Allah as they were revealed has an effect on the heart that no tafseer lecture or reading can truly match. And reading the Quran has rewards. Many many rewards.
Prophet Muhammad said: “Verily the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Daily recitation of the Quran has a softening effect on our hearts, and it cleanses our hearts. It is Allah’s speech and will also serve as an intercessor for us on the Day of Judgment. It may not be a pillar of Islam or a pillar of Iman, but it is, nonetheless, a religious obligation upon us that we must strive to fulfill. This realization made me want to change my ways and start reading the Quran regularly. I also realized that I cannot expect my children to have a bond with the Quran if I don’t. I have to model good habits to be able to encourage them because I cannot preach to them what I do not practice myself. If I wanted my children to grow up connected to the Quran, I needed to connect with the Quran first.
And I know a lot of us suffer from this- from hesitation or a block when it comes to reading the Quran. So I want to share what you can do to overcome this. Steps that I took, and still follow, that have helped me and might help you too in your journey towards establishing a daily Quran habit.
Steps to establishing a Quran habit:
▪️Intention: Intentions are powerful and are a real driving force. And intentions have great blessings in them. Set an intention. Tell Allah, and tell yourself, that you are going to start reading the Quran regularly.
▪️Make dua continuously: Ask Allah to bless your intention and to make your work easy for you. To help you stay focused & not stray from your goals. Help is from Him alone.
▪️Get your own copy: Get a copy of the Quran only for your own self, in the script you’re comfortable reading. You can make notes in this- doubts, confusions about pronunciation, motivation, something that resonates with you- whatever you’d like.
▪️Start immediately: Don’t wait or the excitement will go down. Waste no time.
▪️Set a time: Set aside a small portion of your day- 5 minutes- to read the Quran every day. Whether in the mornings, or after a prayer, or before bed. Have a set time and don’t plan anything else for then.
▪️Start small: Start with one or two verses a day. Then slowly keep adding a verse with every week. Read every day and slowly build on it. Be a tortoise, not a hare.
▪️Don’t get disheartened: For non-Arabic speakers, reading the Quran can be very challenging. You may find yourself struggling with every single word but don’t let that dishearten you. Remember that the struggle is rewarded even more and that practice makes perfect.
▪️Take help: If you can, find a teacher to help you- from your masjid, online, a friend, or family member who knows tajweed. Tell them your goals and let them help you improve your reading. Having someone listen to you and help you identify and work through your mistakes is very helpful no matter how advanced a reader you are.
▪️Listen: Find a Qari you like and enjoy listening to, play their recitation, and follow along with your Quran as you listen. If you are confused about how to pronounce something, this will help you greatly.
▪️Translation: Being able to understand what you’re reading makes you enjoy it all the more. Try to read the translation for the verses you read. You will eventually begin to start recognizing some words!
What are some things that have helped you establish a daily Quran reading habit? Please share!