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Qur’an memorisation with children

Below is some advice on how to make memorisation engaging, enjoyable and effective from my experience with my own children and others I have taught.

  1. Getting started

Your child’s Qur’an relationship starts with you.  Before we consider having children, it is important that we ourselves have a solid foundation with all our obligations, including the obligation (fardh) to recite the Qur’an correctly.

Remember to include your aspirations for the Qur’an in your daily duaas and make duaa with and for your children every time you learn or recite together.

During pregnancy and infancy the recitation of the Qur’an should be a daily part of your routine. I truly believe a child who finds familiarity and comfort with the Qur’an while the brain is developing, will have an attachment throughout their lives, by the Permission of Allah. 

2. Building routine

Stay consistent with your daily recitation, adkhaar (remembrance) and even in the early years of your child’s life they will associate particular Suwar (chapters) with bedtime, together time and your attention and positive moods. Reciting out loud yourself is so important for children to witness and experience.

You want the Qur’an to have a real tangible role in their lives as opposed to something reserved for Ramadaan and funerals.

Surah associations I recommend:

  • When they get hurt or are unwell: Al Fatiha
  • When they (or you!) are frustrated : Al Asr
  • In the morning : Yaseen, a few pages from Al Baqarah  
  • On Fridays : Al Kahf – you can use this lego picture book which is brilliant mashaAllah
  • Before bed :  4 Quls, Ayat ul Kursi, final verses of Al Baqarah and Al Mulk – I have printed and laminated these to hang by their bed so that we don’t forget.

Reciting them yourself will always have the best impact but any times you are unable to, try to retain the habit through listening to your favourite recitations.

Instead of them connecting the phone to Qur’an I recommend keeping your phone out of sight and investing in an MP3 speaker. They are generally cheap and you can upload audios yourself which children can then turn on and off themselves as they get older without having to use a phone.

3. Memorisation techniques

There are some generally agreed techniques of memorisation which are well established across the ummah. You can hone your approach based on your child. The only way you will know what does and doesn’t work for them will be based on your own experience with your child.

As I mentioned previously, routine is key and the first thing you need to identify is what time of day works best for you and your child to maintain daily. The morning is always going to be the best time for multiple reasons: it is an established sunnah, they will accept Qur’an is the priority in your household, you are both fresh and calmer, there are less distractions and whatever else happens in the day you know you’ve already done their Qur’an.

However, having opportunities to review while they’re in the swing, on a walk or before bed is invaluable also.

Play the verse/ section you want them to memorise repeatedly before bed and throughout the day (I recommend Husary’s recitation).

I really discourage using a screen for this. It activates different (more passive) parts of the brain and will not build their attention span, focus and listening skills in the same way.

  • Break down the verse and say each word/ section with them repeating after you until you feel they are reciting correctly. You can use our BSL sign language videos for this also!
  • Link the first few words/part of the ayah together with them repeating after you.
  • Recite the full ayah with them repeating after you (or a recite like Husary)

I would not just let them listen to a reciter without first being taught the verse as they may pick up what they hear incorrectly and mistakes will be more difficult to fix.

  • Once you have recited it at least 7 times with them repeating after you, get them to repeat from memory without you at least 7 times.
  • You can make this fun and more engaging by having 7 toys to count or letting them roll a ball or something easy every time they recite correctly.
  • Once they are confident with the first verse, you can teach them the second verse in the same way and then link the two verses together.

Each child is different – some may take more time to get a smaller amount and that is fine, go at their pace and ability. In my experience even a child who struggles to memorise or recite will develop their ease of memorisation and confidence reciting if they have a regular recitation routine.

If you child can talk, remember rhymes or parts of books – they can memorise Qur’an. Don’t give up if it’s challenging. Don’t assume they’re not ready.

Above is the standard memorisation most people will use with children. However pay attention to what works for your child.

My eldest son (aged 8) is a natural memoriser mashaAllah. He doesn’t like the above method because it feels too slow for him. Instead, if he recites a page several times for a few days he will generally memorise it and then we will go back and correct his mistakes. However this is easier now that he is reading and has learnt the rules of tajweed.

4. Revision ideas

If anyone asks me about hifdh I always stress that your memorisation really comes down to your revision. If you have a solid, consistent and organised revision routine, you will protect and improve your memorisation. If you don’t – quite simply – you won’t.

Every few months I will rewrite our Qur’an schedule based on where each child is up to. Most teachers will recommend that whatever they have memorised they repeat it each week. I have found this true for my children and other students – if longer than a week passes without revising a particular page or surah, their memory of it will be weaker the following week.

This is especially important during the first 3 months of learning a new surah/page.

Here is my example revision template for a child who can read Qur’an

I just use a tally method to mark off what we have done so I can make sure we cover it within a week. He will alternative between reciting with the mushaf or from memory each week.

Speed test refers to when I ask him 5 random verses from the surah and he needs to complete them and recite the next three verses.

Here is my example revision template for a child who cannot read independently

You might need to split their revision into a morning and evening portion depending on what they can manage. Remember if you are consistent they will keep finding it easier, improving and enjoying it.

Use a pencil to mark their mistakes. You can also your highlighter strips to stick on. This is especially useful for marking similar verses so they can remember the differentiate.

Revision can be demanding for children but with your support and patience their capacity to focus and do well will only keep improving.

Some ideas for making hifdh more engaging include:

  • Using a game / activity they enjoy. For example if they like playing with Lego type structures (I recommend independent brands) they can get a few pieces everytime they complete a surah and then they can build it as they go. This could work with play do, painting, kicking a football and much more.
  • Using surah strips for them to organise then recite. You can make your own or buy these:
  • Using Juz Amma with pictures or their flashcards so they can look at the picture while reciting.
  • Having a reward when they have followed the revision schedule for a week (for older children I would say a month). Remember rewards don’t have to be food or involve spending money. Many children juts enjoy a one to one walk, badminton game, clay making or baking together.
  • You can laminate an empty laminating sheet for them to place on top of the page to highlight their mistakes. We usually recite down the beginning word of the verses they are struggling with. I then take away the mushaf and they just hold the see through sheet where they have written the words (which will be in the same location as on the mushaf page) and this acts as a prompt for them to self correct when reciting.
  • Playing a game like 4 in a row – when they make a mistake you get to draw a dot, when they get a section correct they get to draw one. We use these to play:

For a student who has completed at least one Juz, I recommend getting some simple revision flashcards. We use one card for each surah and whatever their common mistakes/ areas of confusion are. We note them down and then discuss them before reciting the surah. The child would then recite one while holding the card as a prompt and then again without the card.

Like this:

5. Motivation and enjoyment

Children need to appreciate the value or the Qur’an in their lives and understand what they are memorising. The Juz Amma with pictures book is really useful for this, as is the Clear Qur’an by Mustafa Khattab. We also keep a Qur’an dictionary close by, for any words I’m unsure of.

You can use our lesson plans, activity pages and sign supported word by word videos to help them understand, implement and remember what they have learnt. The great thing about sign language is it also works for children who may have additional learning needs or struggle to stay still for Qur’an time.

When a child had completed Qaida and is ready to read from the Qur’an I recommend getting them their own Qur’an, pencil and bag and making it a special gift. You can even add these surah tabs which will also help them learn the meanings of the Surah names and whether they were revealed in Makkah or Madina.

Let Qur’an be the one thing that they know they will get huge amounts of your pleasure and reward from. When they have memorised an agreed portion treat them to something within your means and their interests. Let it feel like a huge achievement and a really special time.

Again – treats don’t have to be unhealthy food or expensive gifts. However if you do ever let them indulge, let it be because of Qur’an.

There will be times where they may struggle to engage but persevere with your routine with gentleness and patience and make it clear that the day is incomplete without Qur’an. For many children it helps if they know other privileges will not be given when Qur’an is not complete. Remember to prioritise it more than anything else.

Remember that the more you recite and memorise and surround yourself with people who do the same, the more your children will want to do the same. You will also relate to their struggles more and admire their achievements even more.

For further inspiration I recommend taking them to listen to reciters, planning holidays that will allow them to visit and listen to brilliant reciters and watching incredible documentaries about memorisers like Traveller with the Qur’an.