Friday 22 May 2009

Teaching the Quran with Love

After missing a lot of lessons and then returning to the sporadically, this week has been about getting down to business again with teaching Little Lady to read Quran.

This was something I always ran away from as a child, seeing it as a chore and very boring. Although my dad taught me at home and never hit me, I still hated it. With this in mind, I wanted to make learning Quran a pleasure for Little Lady, something to be proud of and a goal to aspire to. Somewhere along the line, we took a wrong turn, with me scolding and LL stalling at every turn. Both of us ended up frustrated and reluctant.

Yesterday I tried to do things differently. I asked Little Lady to take her time and when she made a mistake and got upset, I reminded her that it was okay and greatness is not in never making a mistake, but in trying again and not giving up until you get it right. This took some of the pressure off her and I found that the more relaxed she was, the fewer mistakes she made. I also sat with my arm around her for the whole lesson and she basked in the attention and affection and didn’t want the lesson to end. I offered her the opportunity to end the lesson at various points, which usually results in her racing off, but she was keen to continue for a few more pages Alhamdulillah.

I think it helped too that I allowed her to miss a few (repetitive) lessons with the agreement that we would cover these tomorrow and also allow her to choose where she wanted to end. I thought this would mean that the lesson would be cut short, but to my surprise she actually read through more than I would have asked her to for that lesson.

At the same time, my dad has also found that reward works better than punishment. He teaches Quran at the local mosque and when we siblings were at school, we were always getting complaints from kids saying “your dad smacked me round the head us”, “your dad told me off” etc. Now he has in place a system of rewards: stickers, certificates and gifts that has meant that his class is the first at the mosque to “graduate” at the end of the year. Yesterday he was laughing that he was giving 10 pence to each child for each surah (section of the Quran) they memorise and they were all trying to remember two at a time.

I suppose if a little bit of kindness goes along way for us, it would go even further for our impressionable children.

Aside from that I am looking for resources to support my lessons with Salihah and perhaps learn to speak Arabic as well. If anyone has come across anything they find particularly useful please do share.


  1. Salams,
    Thank you for this post. SOmetimes we push our kids to much in Everything!

    But Qur'an being even more important we should really strive to make it wonderful just like when we teach numbers or alphabets.

    I've been hem hawing about teaching my daughter qur'an too because as she doesn't speak much arabic it's really not meaning much to her but I don't want her to MEMOrize the english "Translation of Qur'an". So I appreciate this post.

  2. Assalam alaikum,

    Your efforts are commendable; keep them up.

    I think it is somewhat more difficult for our children to grasp Arabic letters and string them together, while they are conversing in English in school and elsewhere.

    So it is all the more important that learning Arabic doesn't become boring or seem too difficult.

    We are going at a very slow pace in my house. My daughter is 5 years old and right now we are only in the process of learning the alphabet. Once she knows them all, I hope I will be able to teach her the dhamma/kasra/etc. and then we'll go on to actual words.

    My daughter gets presents for completing a set number of lessons. A friend of ours gifts her older daughter a toy of her choice when she completes each sipara/juz'. I try to keep learning the letters as much as a game as possible, so it never becomes chore-like for her, hopefully.

    I think you are right in not scolding your daughter for making mistakes. After all, mistakes are a natural part of learning - I do not think a child would make a mistake on purpose.

    Looking back at my first attempts at reading the Quran, what I remember most vividly is that I took a long time to get through the first sipara, but once I 'got the hang' of it, i.e., was able to get through a section (hizb) fluently without any mistake, my enthusiasm increased exponentially. At that stage, I would try to complete the entire juz' at one go, and within a month had completed the remaining Quran, to my parents' surprise.

    So.... coming back to the point, it's important to be patient and emphasize what has been learnt successfully.

    Good luck to you and LL!

  3. Assalam-alaikam,

    Sis AMW,
    you'll appreciate the position I am in, I've also been communicating with other mothers who are struggling with the same issues, and because it's so immensely important, it can be even more difficult to know which method of teaching to use.

    Sis Mummyjaan,
    It all comes back to patience doesn't it? (my weakest point). Alhtough I like the idea of the rewards. I think I'll give her something nice every time she finishes a section.