The month of Quran has come to an end. It is the month in which the ayaat (verses) were first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. It was also the month where many of us spent much of our time reciting its verses or listening to them during the extra prayers performed at the masjid, quenching our spiritual thirst throughout. This is why we must continue to make a habit of reading the Quran daily for the rest of the year.
Now that the major shayateen have returned, it will be hard to continue some of the good habits we picked up from Ramadan as they will test us even more. If you had recited a juz (one of the thirty parts of the Quran) every day or read more regularly than you did before Ramadan, it shows us how capable we are of doing this on normal days.
Before we get into how we can keep reciting the Quran on a consistent basis, let us look at how important doing this is. Allah had sent us down the Quran to be a source of healing, mercy, purification for our sins, and a source of knowledge and wisdom:
“And We send down of the Quran that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.”
(Surah Al-Isra, 17:82)
“Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book [i.e., the Quran] and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.”
(Surah Al-Imran, 3:164)
In times of distress, reciting it and reading its wise verses can help comfort us and guide us through our hardship. Even in times of happiness, it is a reminder to thank Allah for the blessings He has given us. Lastly, simply reciting it can also dissolve our sins, and its many verses on asking for forgiveness can make us feel hope again in ourselves to be better Muslims.
Therefore, why miss out on reading a life manual that can be our daily companion through thick and thin? Let’s make the intention to start reciting the Quran regularly and look at how we can build a relationship with the Quran on a regular basis.
1. Set your intention and make dua (supplication).
Our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, always encouraged us to have a good intention before doing anything as those actions will be noted down as good deeds and some even as worship. Therefore, make the intention in your mind to regularly recite the Quran, and then ask Allah with a sincere heart to help you do it. You will find yourself calm and more determined after doing this.
2. Choose a consistent time to recite.
Whether it is every day or every other day, choose a time in your routine when to recite it. It is usually better to attach it with another daily habit you are already practicing. This is called “habit stacking,” according to author James Clear from his book Atomic Habits. For example, your brain is already efficient in remembering to brush your teeth every morning. Therefore, you can add a new habit to floss right after. Just keep the floss next to your brush and you are likely to do it every day and thereby build a new habit!
Thus, if you are already in the habit of waking up and praying Fajr (morning prayer) every day, then you can keep the Quran on a table right next to the spot you usually pray so that you can recite it right after. Keep it there the night before so that you are mentally ready for this task the next morning. Finally, when you start to read the next morning, try to read a few verses every day and slowly build up to a page or more. Fajr is the best time to recite it as the angels witness it during their shift change and record it in your Book of Deeds for both the last night and the next day. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said:
“And recite the Quran during the Fajr. Verily, the recitation of the Quran during Fajr is ever witnessed." He continued: "It is witnessed by the angels of the night and the day."
(Sunan Ibn Majah 670)
3. Use a habit tracker and reward yourself.
Once you have made the intention and chosen a regular time to recite it, record your actions on a habit tracker. Who does not like the feeling of completing a task and checking it off their to-do list? The same satisfaction can be felt when we check off completing a new habit we are building each day. If we give ourselves 4 weeks to solidify our new Quran reading habit, we can use a tracking sheet to encourage us to keep at it. A nice tracking sheet for spiritual habits has been provided for free by Productive Muslim here.
After you have set up your tracking sheet, have a small reward ready for the end of the first week. It can be a special meal or treat. You can do the same for every end of the first week or 5 days. This reward will help us associate positive feelings with the new habit.
4. Progress is made one step at a time.
According to Atomic Habits author James Clear, even if we put 1 percent towards a productive goal, you will see a major difference in a year’s time. For example, if you were to do 10 push-ups each day, you will definitely see results not in a year but in just 10 days! The same would happen if one were to engage a bad habit; eating 3 sweets every day will either raise your blood sugar or lower your insulin in a few months. You either have a choice to become better or worse by putting in only 1 percent towards your goal on a consistent basis.
How do we apply this practice to reciting the Quran? Start very small. Recite one to three ayahs every day for a week. Then plan to do a few more in the second week. This is just an example; however, I would suggest that if you plan to start much bigger than that, then do only one page a day. When we start with a big amount, we can feel overwhelmed after a few days and spiral down to doing much less or none at all. Therefore, set a small goal and chip away at it slowly. After a month or even 3 months, check your overall progress on your habit tracker and see how far you have come. You will have come a long way inshaAllah, God-willing.
5. Keep up the effort no matter what.
We may feel that our recitation is not as beautiful as the imam’s (prayer leader) at the masjid when reciting Quran, however, that should not stop us from reciting altogether. Allah loves to listen to us recite His Book. He loves the fact that we took out time from our worldly affairs to pay attention to His Words. There is much reward to be gained in just reciting a single letter of the Quran:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.”
We will get ten rewards for each letter recited! This fact in itself should be a huge encouragement for us to recite our Beloved Book. Lastly, the effort that you put into reciting the Quran will get you doubly rewarded:
Narrated Aisha, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Such a person as recites the Quran and masters it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven). And such a person exerts himself to learn the Quran by heart, and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward."
(Sahih al-Bukhari 4937)
Knowing this, if you would like to perfect your pronunciation, recite in a melodious voice, or even have a better flow in your recitation, then are many ways to help you:
- Use an app to help you check for any incorrect pronunciation or missed words, and to help you memorize. The artificial intelligence component of the “tarteel” app is a nice choice. https://www.tarteel.ai
- Use the Quran Explorer website to listen to the recitation of the Quran. You can choose from a wide variety of qaris or reciters and also see different translations of the Quran to help you understand what you are reciting. https://www.quranexplorer.com
- Study with a teacher. Whether it is through the phone, a video call, or in person, a Quran teacher can help guide you in correcting your recitation. Also, having a regular appointment with the teacher will not only oblige you to recite the Quran regularly, but it will make you practice so that you do better next time inshaAllah, God-willing.
6. Try to understand what you are reading and reflect on it.
Once you are habitually reciting the Quran, tracking it, checking your mistakes, you will hopefully come to a point where you will feel the need to understand what you are reciting. Reading the translation in your language will help you build a stronger connection to this Book of Guidance. However, this is a habit you can stack on once you have solidified your recitation habit after a few weeks. You can simply start to read the translation of the page you recited that day. The next habit you can stack on would be to write down your reflection of what you learned and related to the verses you read about that day. Keep a small journal next to the Quran so that you may write in it afterward. The whole activity of reciting, reading the translation, and writing a small reflection can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes each day. And slowly, you will see a relationship building with the Quran, inshaAllah, God-willing.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has given us an example of what it means to be a believer who regularly recites the Quran compared to others. He said:
“The example of a believer who recites the Quran is that of a citron (a citrus fruit) which is good in taste and good in smell. And the believer who does not recite the Quran is like a date that has a good taste but no smell. And the example of an impious person who recites the Quran is that of Ar-Rihana (an aromatic plant) which smells good but is bitter in taste. And the example of an impious person who does not recite the Quran is that of a colocynth (bitter apple, gourd) which is bitter in taste and has no smell.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari 7560)
Let us hope and pray that we are among those who regularly recite and reflect on Allah’s Book, leaving a sweet taste and scent, and gaining much barakah or continuous blessing in our lives from this habit, inshaAllah, God-willing.
For further reading:
Modeling brain activities during reading working memory task: Comparison between reciting Quran and reading book https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813036525
Analyzing Brainwaves While Listening To Quranic Recitation Compared With Listening To Music Based on EEG Signals
The Comparison between Listening to Al-Quran and Listening to Classical Music on the Brainwave Signal for the Alpha Band
Sumayya Khan is a homeschooling mother of two and a teacher. She has worked with several Islamic schools and organizations in the last 10 years. She is currently teaching Literature online with Dawanet and studying the Qur’an through Al-Huda Institute. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, play sports, enjoy nature, and read books. She currently resides with her family in Toronto, Canada.