Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Best age for child to start learning Quran?

Best age for child to start learning Quran?


As Salam Alaikum

Really interesting and somewhat diverse opinions on that matter. Masha Allah! I guess it is time for me to throw in my two cents worth also, lol.

Learning the Quran is a huge process, that many can vouch, takes several years and doesnt just come crashing down into someone's brain and heart. As for what is the appropriate age to start LEARNING Quran, well, it should gradually start as babies. I can already see the reaction of, WHAT! NO WAY!!..lol, but I am not saying have them sit down and tell them to read or try to teach them the Arabic alphabet. You have to start reading in front of them, around them, because whether you like it or not, they will do whatever you do to a certain age. We all set the example for children and kids around us by just being present. So the learning process starts from US as parents, siblings or whomever we may be. Role Modeling would be the first step and this runs throughtout their lives if you really think about it. To an extent, I still ponder upon what my father, mother, brother, sister, grandmother, uncle etc. did or do now, because it matters.

The second stage would be most likely to actually having them sit down at a certain time of day with you to learn some very basic alphabets. This could range from age 3-5, depending on the child. Remember this is just having them sit down for a very short time with you, even if this is just 10-30 minutes. You are just trying to fix the idea of a task here, you are not trying to implement that they have no choice. Rewarding is helpful but routine rewarding can backfire also, make sure they realize that effort...gains reward. This rule is lighter on the younger children from 0-4, after that age they should realize WHY they will and do get rewards. Also needed to remember is the fact that rewards should never take over in the child's mind as the PURPOSE for reading Quran or learning Arabic, because the entire idea then becomes materialistic. So now, they are in routine of just sitting and putting in an effort of THEIR ability to read and learn the Arabic alphabet.

At around age 5, actually start giving them lessons on how to pronounce each letter properly and correctly. Dont be too strict and not too easy going either, just a little bit of both. Go SLOW!, dont try to make the child rush through the Qaida or Lesson book, make sure they are flowing and understand each letter they are going through. Sometimes in the rush of things, we lack in teaching the children correct pronounciation and fluent reading abilities. In my experience as a Quran teacher, I take the longest on the Qaida and implement it even after they have completed it, because it is a strong tool towards the proper Tajweed (Pronounciation).

If you run this process by age 7 or 8, your child will have most likely have completed a good portion of the Quran, if not the entire Quran. It depends on the individual child and honestly it isnt a competition to who can finish faster or who's child can finish at a younger age. Many parents came to me, saying so and so's child had finished, help my child finish in half the time and I totally rejected the idea and told them all I have been mentioning here. If the child takes until he or she is 10, 11 or 12 until they complete their reading of the Quran, dont be worried but always try to maintain that they read something every single day. EVERY SINGLE DAY........not just the days they go to the Madarsa, that is just an extra, they should have a reading time in their own homes and enviroments where they can read, peacefully without blaring TV's or endless Social events. LOL Come on, all you people know that you do it, those useless Social events that occur almost every other day, with no purpose sometimes. It is nice to meet each other but in each gathering, beginning, interval and ending should have some Islamic benefit in it. That could be a hadith mentioned or a topic as I am discussing now being mentioned. Anything to keep our minds and tongues off of backbitting and sinful things. Role Modeling again........I know I keep mentioning it but when you became a parent, you made an oath to Allah that you would guide this child(ren) to the right path, so make sure you do only what is acceptable in Islam so they may learn from your example more than just your mere words.

A lot of the brothers and sisters mentioned a very good point that there should be some guidance in the department of what they are reading, and this is where you telling them the stories of the Prophets or incidents that are mentioned in the Quran. Several books can be found to help this process out really, my good friend has a whole bunch on his website that you can purchase. SAMPLE. And another sample.

Start by explaining stories of the prophets and sahabahs because at the younger age and even at older stages they are fascinated of what happened and how. History really strikes children and honestly, it really depends on HOW the story is told. Keep interesting tones and actions that explain what is happening in the story but obviously not exaggerating or over-doing it. Both parents or gaurdians should be involved, not being biased on male or female, because their is an equal responsibility.

Memorization is a complicated factor...and I think before you decide to make a child a Hafiz he/she should be able to at least awknowledge what it actually is and what responsibilities lie after. DONT SCARE them with Hadith about what will happen if they forget because they will retaliate in NEVER EVER wanting to memorize anything, even small and short surahs. Instead, inform them in their age accordance of how it will be their responsibility to safegaurd Allah's words and it only can be done by constantly revising. This is a healthier way but I have seen some opposites work. Small surahs and duas, even the entire Juz Amma/30th...is fine without really all this consultation and can start early because they will need some surahs to read in Salat. So having said that you could start simple memorizing as soon as they are fluent in reading the Quran. As for becoming Hafiz....well in my opinion I would delay it until age 9 or 10 at least because before that they are too young to even understand WHAT it is they are aiming and achieving.

Nonetheless, this is all my opinion and I apply it to my students each day, but different Huffaz and Alims have their seperate and effective ways. Sometimes their ways work better than mine, lol.....

Walaikum As Salam

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