Alaqmar Mufaddal Shehabi is a 19-year old currently studying at the Nairobi branch of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, the premier educational institute of the Dawoodi Bohra community. He hails from Manchester, where he completed his GCSEs at Bury Church of England High School. Every year, hundreds of Dawoodi Bohras around the world memorise the entire Quran under the aegis of Mahad al-Zahra, a community institution dedicated to the memorisation of the Holy Quran alongside the study of Quranic arts and sciences. In this account, Alaqmar shares how he achieved this remarkable feat and what it means to him.
Recitation of the Quran is an integral part of a Muslim’s life. Every year, thousands of Muslims around the world complete the memorisation of the entire Holy Quran.
The memorisation process is certainly a momentous journey, requiring determination and dedication. When I started to memorise the Quran, becoming a Hafiz (one who has committed the entire Quran to memory) was a far-fetched dream, seeming impossible. At the outset, it was uphill, but as I got into a routine and took control of my daily schedule, the pathway began to get easier and clearer for me.
The main obstacle was balancing schoolwork and the memorisation routine. However, keeping a set schedule, managing my time efficiently, and the constant support and encouragement of my parents guided me through this.
The key mindset to have in this journey is to always focus on how much you have already memorised, not how much you have yet to do. This thinking will drive you to keep going forward, gradually getting nearer to achieving your final goal. With this frame of mind, I was able to hold my determination throughout the process, and stick to a routine for myself that I knew I had to follow.
The feeling of gratitude was also instilled into me, especially at the times of my ‘ikhtebaar’- the oral exams taken on a timely basis to maintain and strengthen the quality of the memorised chapters of the Quran. As I progressed, I became increasingly grateful that I was blessed with this ability to memorise, and that helped me to never give up. Before I knew it, the routine had led me to commit fifteen chapters to memory, halfway through the journey. Once you peak the halfway point, the other half is automatically fuelled by the determination to complete the task.
Consistency. That’s how I would sum up my hifz (memorisation) journey in a word. As I progressed, it could have been easy to go full throttle, forgetting that the most important part of this process was to ensure that everything I had memorised previously needed to be revised, regularly and thoroughly. Hence, revising a set number of chapters from the Quran, and then going forward was a main part of my routine, as it should be for anyone who wishes to embark on this journey.
Failure is always a part of any journey to success, and it can definitely be difficult to overcome that failure and continue. However, experiencing failure while memorising the Quran and repeatedly making mistakes acted as scaffolds to help build a robust tower.
There is so much attached to the entire journey of memorisation, not just in terms of improving discipline, the power of recollection, and learning new memorisation techniques; but also becoming a mentor to fellow aspirants and contributing to the community in various capacities. In that sense, it is the end of a journey and the beginning of another.