To all my brothers and sisters, in every faith. Some of us have travelled long distances to take specialized courses. In some motivational courses they teach that being sure about achieving a goal makes the chances of success much higher. Allah Subhana Wa’Ta’ala tells us that memorizing Quran is easy. As such, we should never say that it is difficult.
As a non-Arabic speaker I had my challenges. But I never said it was difficult. The first hurdle was reading, then it was writing. In reading it was tricky to recognize characters. Even when knowing the entire Arabic alphabet, some characters are sometimes altered in the Holy Quran. On the other hand, in Quran all short vowels are explicit, unlike in everyday Arabic, where one must guess. I find much more difficult to read the newspaper than the Quran.
The second challenge was with the sounds. Italian is a language with very few sounds. There are only 5 vowels. Arabic has both short and long vowels instead. We do not pronounce any ‘H’ sound at all. Even when it is written, the letter ‘H’ in Italian is just mute. However, in Arabic, there are not one, but two different ‘H’ sounds. Imagine my struggle. Simply, my jaws and throat were not used to do that movement, hence, it took me over a year to detect and understand the difference between the two ‘H’ sounds in Arabic. Leave alone all the other difficult sounds.
But once again, in the Quran it is made easy for us. I find much more difficult to communicate in Arabic than reading out the Quran aloud. In fact, when I speak my simple Arabic in Oman, I always have to consider accents and choice of words. While a person teaches me to ask for water in one way, another teaches me a different way. My first Arabic teacher from Ibri taught me how to pronounce some words. When I used those words in Muscat they told me to change them or to pronounce them differently.
In the Holy Quran we have no room for misunderstanding in terms of pronunciation. Sometimes though, the meaning is more complex than the words. That is why we are told that memorizing the Quran is easy, but we are also told that we should not just read and recite Quran as a mnemonic exercise, but we should ponder over each verse.
Besides Surat al Fatiha, the first Sura I memorized was Surat al Qadr, about the Night of the Decree. This Sura is particularly easy to memorize and it is very special in this period of the year. In fact, it is during Ramadhan that the angel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) appeared to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and revealed the Quran.
It was the first time in my life memorizing words that had no meaning to me. However, thanks to the technology available, I was able to read Arabic and listen to the correct pronunciation while reading the meaning in English.
If you are new Muslim and you have not started memorizing the Quran, I believe that Surat al Qadr, the 97th chapter of the Holy Quran, is a great starting point. It is easy to remember and can be learnt quickly. It may take less than one day. If you have a good ear for sounds, I recommend to get used to the voice of a famous reciter and try to mimic all sounds of his voice. To do so, download any Quran application from either the Apple store or the Play store for Android.
If you are not a Muslim, it is a great opportunity to know our religion better. There have been too many rumours about Islam in the past decade or so. The Quran is available online on many websites. Allah made it easy for us. Everywhere we turn there is Islamic knowledge. All that is needed is a pair of interested ears and a brain able to ponder, as we were asked to do by Allah Subhana Wa’Ta’ala. He always knows the best. Ramadhan kareem to all my brothers and sisters in Islam.