Learning to read the Quran is a tremendously important step in any Muslim child’s life, beginning their life relationship with Islam and the Book of Allah. Understandably, parents can feel anxious about how best to support their children through this experience. Parents must teach their children during their early childhood years. Muslims turn to the Holy Quran for guidance in all matters of life. Allah says:
كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولًا مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ
“We sent among you a Messenger from you (who) recites to you Our verses and purifies you and teaches you the Book and the wisdom and teaches you what not you were knowing.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:151)
The book teaches the correct ways of life as prescribed by Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. Every Muslim must learn to read and understand, either by learning Arabic or reading translations in an understandable language, to be able to grasp the message of Islam. We must learn Quran ourselves and also teach it to our family members: Allah says:
مَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُؤْتِيَهُ اللَّهُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ ثُمَّ يَقُولَ لِلنَّاسِ كُونُوا عِبَادًا لِّي مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن كُونُوا رَبَّانِيِّينَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تُعَلِّمُونَ الْكِتَابَ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَدْرُسُونَ
“Not is for a human that Allah gives him the Book, and the wisdom, and the Prophethood, then he says to the people, “Be worshippers of me besides Allah, but (would say) “Be worshippers of the Lord because you have been teaching the Book and because you have been studying (it).” (Surah Al-Imran 3:79)
This is the time when the child looks up to his parents, and they can easily guide him due to his full attachment to them. Also, this is the time when the child’s memory is strong and his mind is pure. The child is mentally prepared to receive and memorize whatever knowledge he is taught. As an old saying states “Memorizing while young is like carving into a rock.” That which is carved into rock cannot easily be removed; rather, it remains as the years’ pass.
There are many benefits of early learning. Some of them are:
- Young children are attached to their parents. Their entire lives revolve around their parents, so it is easy to teach them; they will be quite eager to learn from their parents.
- As children grow up, their interests widen. It is difficult for children to concentrate on learning around adolescence. It is advisable that the teaching of the Quran commence at a young age so they learn the basics before puberty.
- Young children have minds like sponges. They absorb very quickly and it is the best time to guide them in learning the Holy Quran.
- Children have to learn to read Arabic to be able to recite Quran. And any new language, taught at a young age, boosts cognitive development. Hence Qur’an teaching helps improve their IQ.
- Learning at this age is like engraving in stone. If done properly, it will go a long way and the child will remember Quranic teachings all his life.
- As mentioned earlier, children grasp things quickly, it is the best time to teach them moral values. Qur’an teaches us the morals we need to live our lives according to. Parents should guide them about the rights and wrongs in the light of the Noble Quran.
- Habits formed early are strong. Inculcate the habit of reciting the Quran and they are likely to carry this habit with them all lifelong.
- A child who has grown up reading and learning Quran is likely to stay closer to Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. Allah’s love has been implanted in his heart at a very young age.
Tips for understanding the Quran:
- Never study a verse in isolation from other verses and hadith on the topic
- Prioritize the explanation of the Prophet and his companions
- Always purify your intentions
- Always clarify Fiqh and Aqeedah verses with a scholar
- use a reliable translation if you don’t understand Arabic
- Check if there is a reason for revelation and understand its relevance
- Familiarize yourself with the sciences of the Quran (Uloom Al-Quran) for a deeper understanding
A good Madrasah teacher makes all the difference to your child’s progress. Therefore, the first important step is to choose with care. Recommendations are great but don’t just rely on those; meet and speak with the potential teacher yourself. Here are five questions every parent should ask their child’s perspective Madrasah teacher before enrolling:
1. How long did your last five students who completed the Qaida take?
Every child is different, which is why it is best to ask for the results of several students and calculate the average. However, if the average time for this group comes out as over 12 months, you may want to see if other teachers in your area have achieved completion in a shorter time scale, as this is quite long.
2. Can I please see the Qaida you use?
Qaida’s differ dramatically in the style of teaching and instructions. Many are imported from abroad and have not been adapted or developed for the needs of the modern child. If the teacher’s preferred Qaida is longer than 50-60 pages, it’s likely to prolong the time your child takes to learn.
3. Can your best student please read out the Arabic alphabet to me?
If you notice any of the pronunciation mistakes we outline below, be concerned. These are the basics. If they are not being recited accurately by the best student in the class, your child could easily pick up similar errors at the crucial first stage.
4. Can your best student please read out a line from the Quran to me?
You have asked to hear from the teacher’s best student and, as such, you should realistically expect that they will read fluently and accurately. If you notice slow or inaccurate recitation, you may rightly have some reservations over the standard being set by this teacher.
5. Ask at least 5 children if they enjoy coming to this Madrasah
Children’s answers are usually an honest reflection on what it’s like to learn there. Notice whether they are speaking confidently and fluently as they answer you or if they are choosing their words and watching the teacher as they comment, or indeed, their parents if you are asking after class. This may indicate that they are telling you what they think the relevant authority figure wants them to say, rather than giving you their true opinion.
Now ask yourself: After what I’ve seen and heard, am I really happy sending my child to this Madrasah? If the answer is no, keep looking.
There are two main areas of recitation you need to be concerned with: accuracy and speed. Accuracy should always come first because there’s no point in reading words inaccurately, even if you are quick. Developing a habit of ignoring errors for the sake of speed can make it harder to fix such inaccuracies later on.
How to improve accuracy
Accuracy begins with a good Madrasah teacher. At the first stage, always select a proficient teacher that pronounces well and gives helpful feedback. To best support your child around classes, take the time to check your pronunciation as well as theirs.
Are you confident that you are reciting accurately yourself? Listen to proficient reciters of the Quran together. Watch out for common, basic errors and ensure they are corrected consistently. Use our free resource: Discover our 7 common pronunciation mistakes every child should never make.
How to improve the speed
Practice. Practice. Practice. Speed comes with regular practice to work with your child to recite regularly, even if you keep the sessions very short. Don’t try and do too much at once and focus instead on their mastering a line or word at a time.
You can make a game of it and time your child. That which is measured improves and helps the child see their progress for themselves. Do be careful, though, that by focusing on the speed you do not allow errors to creep back into the recital.
Overall, to improve both accuracy and speed you must allocate more quality time to study. Nothing great is achieved without great effort. The more time you can spend with your child to help them with their practice at home, and the more you can support and encourage them, the better their progress will be.
Even when a study appears to be complete, speed and accuracy issues can arise when a child is reading the Quran. If this happens, they need to master the Qaida again.
وَمَا عَلَّمْنَاهُ الشِّعْرَ وَمَا يَنبَغِي لَهُ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ وَقُرْآنٌ مُّبِينٌ
“And not We taught him [the] poetry, and not it is befitting for him. Not it (is) except a Reminder and a Quran clear.” (Surah AYa Sin 36:69)
Most children might be hesitant, but Qaida is the foundation of reading the Quran and must be learned fully for lifelong proficiency in Quran recitation. Encourage your child not to see returning to the Qaida as a failure, rather, a way of perfecting their skill in such an important area. Give them the same support and time you have all along the journey and they will soon become more proficient and return to reading the Quran.
Present yourself as a role model by reciting Qur’an regularly; this will encourage children to adopt this habit. It will be beneficial to them and will be a sadqa-e-Jaria for you.