ProductiveMuslimah.com and Rayhaana Omar were greatly inspired with Mrs.Iffath Hasan. She has not only memorized Quran, but also teaches the Quran to young girls, masha Allah!
1. Hafiza Iffath, Please tell us about yourself?
I am 55 years old, originally from Hyderabad, India. My parents arranged my marriage at 18 and I came to Canada with my husband, and few years later we moved to Chicago, US. I have two sons, both of them married and working in California. I teach at the Institute for Islamic Education (IIE) for girls in Elgin Illinois, a twenty minute drive from where I live.The subjects I teach are memorization of the Qur'aan and Arabic language.
2. When and how did you begin memorizing Qur'an?
I memorized the Qur'an at the age of 37. Generally with difficult situations in our lives we happen to connect with Almighty Allah, so this was one of those situations I was going through, and I really wanted Allah to answer my prayer, I used to wake up for Tahajjud and make my heartfelt duas, with the barakah of Tahajjud Allah granted me my wish, then I said to myself 'how can I stop makingTahajjud through which Allah granted me my wish', and Alhamdulillah I was able to continue myTahajjud. After a couple of months I felt that night after night I was only reciting the same few longsurahs that I knew, I felt I should memorize 3 to 4 juz for some variety in my tahajjud, and that is how it all got started. Allah Almighty says in His holy book; "It may be that you dislike something that is good for you, and it may be that you like something that is bad for you. God knows and you do not know" (2: 216). In my case the disliked situation became a source two of the greatest blessings---------tahajjud and hifdh.
3. Who inspired you during your memorization of Qur'an?
I have a friend who is a Hafidhah, I always used to admire her, but I had never thought of ever memorizing it myself. Then when I got started she was there to help me and give me ideas and tips on how to follow the process of memorization. Allah Almighty has promised His special help especially in the matters of deen. "As for those who struggle for Our sake, We will guide them in Our ways. For God is with those who do good" (29: 69).
4. How did you manage to be focused on your goal?
First and foremost I thank Allah Most High from the bottom of my heart for everything. Even though it seems like we did something or we are doing something it is only through Allah's grace that we are able to do the things that we do. Secondly the only way to achieve something is to have a goal and seek Allah's help and work towards achieving it until we get it. That seems to be the only reasonable approach to be focused. We need to have the firm belief that 'with Allah's help nothing is difficult, and without His help nothing is easy.'
5. How did you manage your time?
When we work towards a goal -- for believers the goal is seeking Allah's pleasure in every moment of our lives, when we are focused on achieving this goal, that is when everything falls into place, time management becomes easy, we are able to keep track of time, we will realize that there is no room for haraam (prohibited) and makruh (disliked) in our lives, there is only mubah (permissible) in our lives, through this we are also able to sort out important from unimportant, and that is the key to having the barakah (increase) in our time. We need to value our free time and make the most of it -- time is our life, when we waste time we waste our lives. Realization of the importance of time is very important -- we should always remember that this is one of the first things we will be asked about on the Day of Judgment.
6. How long did it take for you to complete memorization?
It took me one year to memorize the first ten juz, until then I had not thought of memorizing the whole Qur'an. At that point I said to myself 'Allah has made it so easy for me how can I stop now.' I was alhamdulillah able to continue with more enthusiasm and was able to complete the hifdh in two years.
7. What were the challenges that you faced during memorization?
I had to fulfill my responsibilities as a wife and a mother of two, and run the household smoothly. I had to make the most of my time when I was by myself. People do ask me about how many hours I used to spend during the day for memorization. During the morning hours I had a few hours to myself but even in between I used to make the most of what ever time I got. And the second challenge was 'my migraine headaches' which used to be quite frequent in those days, which again became another blessing for me, because I really valued my time and tried to make the most of it when I was not sick, because I knew once I get sick there is nothing I can do (i.e. I can't memorize). I am sure Allah gave barakah in my time.
8. What / who motivates you daily?
My motivation every single day comes to me through the realization of the great gift Allah has blessed me with. Every single day I weep, because I am out of words to express my gratitude for the best possible gift I am blessed with after Iman. With this realization it becomes easy to do my review every single day, because I know I can't afford to lose it. And besides that I love doing it, in fact I look forward to doing it everyday as soon as I possibly can.
9. Let's talk favorites- Please share with us: -your favorite verse of Qur'aan? -your favorite surah?-your best memory from the days of memorizing Qur'aan?
My favorite verses are many, and one of them is: 'Those who believe and whose hearts are satisfied by remembrance of God. Oh, it is by remembrance of God that hearts are satisfied!' (13: 28).
My favorite surah is surah al Ikhlas.
My best memories from the days of memorizing Qur'an are two, one is when after quietly doing it on my own without my husband knowing about it for a year, I told him after I had memorized ten juz, he was really happy for me, and second is in my second year I was able to persuade my son to start memorizing, he was in eleventh grade at that time, we were both doing it together, and mashaAllah later on when he was in college he was able to complete his hifdh as well. And also my parents I was able to make them soooo happy through this.
10. As a Qur'aan teacher, how do you feel the challenges of past and present students differ?
MashaAllah I have come across those students who are still very eager and anxious to memorize, there are definitely more temptations to do all sorts of things with the modern technology and waste their time, but this same technology when used for good is helping the students to achieve their goal with much ease. My students benefit a lot through listening to different Huffadh with their IPods, mp3 players etc.
12. What advise or learning resources would you offer/recommend to those currently memorizing Qur'aan?
My advise is first and foremost we turn to Allah for help, and do it for His pleasure with utmost Ikhlas, and then we need to commit ourselves just the way we commit for all the other things that we want to achieve in our lives and also make the most of all the resources that are available on an individual basis.
13. What advise would you present to those who have completed memorization of Qur'aan?
As we know this is a unique thing in itself, we need to make a life long commitment to review a portion of the Qur'aan regularly every single day----------that portion should be one seventh of the Quraan, I call it 'a seven day cycle', no matter where we are this shouldn't get disturbed, and besides that we should be able to recite a juz or so in our daily salats. These two things have really helped me and I do emphasize on these when I am asked for advice.
14. what are the different ways that can be used to motivate our sisters to memorize the Qur'an?
First we need to fall in love with our Creator.. This can be achieved through realizing all the blessings He has bestowed on us, the greatest of which is Imaan -- the key to Jannah. He didn't just create us, He also gave us a beautiful manual through which we are guided and we can lead a safe, secure, and peaceful life in this world of corruption and confusion. When Allah's love becomes intense, it will be expressed through our connection with His Book. We will never have enough of it. We will recite it with love and reverence for this best possible gift for mankind, then we will also learn to focus on understanding it, we will then live our lives in accordance with its teachings.
When we are constantly living with the Qur'an in our daily lives we have made a very strong connection with our Lord. We also know that this is the only book when we read one word of it there are ten hasanat for every letter, how is it then, that we will not want to recite it more and more, when this happens the next stage will follow -- we will have an urge to at least memorize some of it, that will inshaAllah lead us to memorizing all of it. We will do it because we want to and not because we have to. My advice to those who want to memorize but feel that they don't have the time, is to get started even if it is just two lines a day and be consistent with it. Allah will give them the barakah and they will be amazed on how much they are able to achieve just through being consistent with whatever little they are able to memorize. The key is doing with sincerity and consistency. Being on wudu (the believer's weapon against Satan) all the time is a tremendous blessing -- through this we have a special connection with Allah Most High, and we are not an easy target for Satan; and also we are able to reach out for the Qur'an whenever we have any free time -- this will inshaAllah speed up the process of memorization.
15. Please tell me more on your published work on 'Qur'anic language made easy'?
Alhamdulillah I was able to learn the Arabic language with the basic grammar to understand the Qur'an around the same time when I was memorizing the Qur'an. Later on I started teaching, I didn't have a text, I was teaching from the notes which I took from my teachers. Some of my students at the end of their course insisted that I should get my notes published so that others can also benefit from it. Alhamdulillah I hearMashaAllah more and more people are using it now. It is basically written for non Arabic speaking students. Those who want to learn the basic grammar on their own who are fluent with their recitation of the Qur'aan, this book inshaAllah will be a good start.
16. What makes one a Productive Muslimah? (traits/ character)
A productive muslimah is one who takes pride in being a muslimah, she is focused on preaching Islam through her own practice. She loves Allah, her focus in life is Allah's pleasure, and she loves to do things that bring her closer to her Creator and Sustainer. Her main concern is her success in the Akhirah (Hereafter), thus she makes the most of this world as a means to achieve that success.
Her Imaan is reflected through her outward which is complete submission to Sharia (Divine law). She lives a simple life taking care of her needs and not going after her wants. She has a heart free of love for this world, free of love of leadership, free of bad opinions about others, free of grudges, malice, rancor, greed, envy and all other evil traits. Her tongue is not engaged in haraam or vain talk, she thinks before she speaks, she controls her anger. She is a humble person, her goal is to be a better person every day of her life; she doesn't hesitate to admit when she is wrong and is quick in correcting her wrongs/faults when she sees them. She is neither stingy nor a spendthrift, but she loves to spend generously for those things which will bring her closer to her Creator.
Her heart is clean and pure, filled with love and reverence for her Creator; love, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness for the creation. She is full of gratitude for every single blessing, especially for the spiritual blessings, and she is always striving to progress spiritually. She has complete trust and reliance in Allah, when she goes through difficult/disliked situation she knows there is good in it for her -- both in this world and the next. She loves to be in the company of Saliheen (righteous slaves of Allah). She strives to keep her promises and commitments. She is soft spoken but firm in her words and works. She always strives to be a part of solution and not a part of problem. She shows beautiful patience during difficult times, for she realizes things could have been worse, and that these are tests from Allah Who can be called upon and He will answer the duas, and she also has the certainty that 'with every difficulty there is relief' (94: 6). She is a living proof of what a muslimah should be, and all this with the utmost sincerity to please her Almighty Lord.
17. Final words of advice to ProductiveMuslimah fans.
My advice to myself and to everyone is to rejoice in being a Muslim/Muslimah, that we be a true Muslim in deeds not just in words -- as we know the literal meaning of Muslim is 'one who submits to Allah's will and His commands.' We shouldn't take things for granted, We should take everything with gratitude, for Allah promises us increase for the things that we show gratitude for. We also need to reflect upon the meaning of gratitude which is to use Allah's blessings (which include our time, health, sight, hearing, speech, all the latest technology and all other countless blessings) only for the things He is pleased with. Our gratitude should be even more for the spiritual favors, the best way to show gratitude for them is to know that these are gifts from Allah Most High for which we have no words to express our thanks. We need to be focused on our goal which is our Akhirah, to achieve our goal we need to be in the company of those who have achieved this focus or are working for it -- as we know that the company one keeps has the greatest impact on a person's life.