14. Delight in the Prayer
A Sister who reads the Qur’aan in her optional prayers from a copy of the Qur’aan will probably not feel the same delight as she who reads the Qur’aan from memory. In fact, one of the major reasons why people slack in performing the Night prayer and from standing long hours in front of Allaah Almighty is because all day they may have already mechanically read the same short Surahs of the Qur’aan that they had probably memorized years back when they were young, and now continue to repeat daily many times over without contemplation and without a readiness to change according to its message. Although these short magnanimous verses should always have a profound effect on us, it is a fact that we as human beings find change, variety and alteration interesting and hence, we tend to bore more easily, except for the one whom Allaah Almighty blesses. So, let’s say it’s a cold freezing night; as the Muslimah intends to leave her bed to stand up to pray at night, satan whispers to her and reminds her that Tahajjud is not binding on her, and that maybe she can offer it another day. But the sister who knows that she will be traversing through new verses of the Qur’aan, that she has goals and aims to one day finish the whole Qur’aan from memory in her Salaah, as was the practice of many of the righteous before her, it will most likely be a further incentive for her to stand up and pray, despite the temporary and short-lived difficulties experienced in its pursuit.
As Muslim women, we need to study the lives of the women who passed before us, such as the life of our Mother ‘Aaishah and that of her students, Mu’aadhah Al ‘Adawiyyah and Hafsah Bint Seereen (may Allaah be pleased with them all). They were women who understood the honor and glory showered upon a Muslim at that time, a time of mercy which descends from the Lord of the heavens and the earth and a time wherein Allaah Almighty descends to the lower heaven. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever stands (for the night prayer) with ten verses is not written amongst the heedless, whoever stands with a hundred verses is written to be amongst the devout and sincere ones and whoever stands with a thousand verses is written amongst the muqantareen (those for whom a Qintaar (a measurement of weight) of reward is written).” (Abu Dawud, authenticated by al-Albaani)
Imaam Adh-Dhahabi (rahimahullah) recounts regarding Mu’aadhah (rahimahallah), ‘It has reached me that she (Mu’aadhah) would stay awake at night and would say:
“I am amazed at the eye which sleeps and knows the long sleep in the grave.”‘ (Tuhfah al Ahwazee, Baab al istinjaa bil maa’, vol 1, pg 77.)
In another report, with similar meaning but more wording: Aasiyah bint Amr al ‘Adawiyyah said: ‘She would pray every day and night (altogether) six hundred rak’ah (units of prayer). She would read her part of the Qur’aan at night, standing with it, and would say:
“I am amazed at the eye which sleeps and knows [of] the long sleep within the darkness of the graves."’ (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4, pg 22-24.)
As for the Taabi’eeah Hafsah bint Seereen (may Allah be pleased with her) then Mahdi ibn Maymoon said:
“Hafsah bint Seereen stayed thirty years without leaving her prayer place, unless for sleep or to answer the call of nature.” (Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’)
Hishaam said that:
“Hafsah used to enter her Masjid, then pray in it Adh-Dhuhr, Al-‘Asr , Al-Maghrib , Al-‘Ishaa’ and As-Subh (i.e. Fajr). Then she would stay in it (the Masjid) until the day rose. She would then bow (perform rukoo’), then leave (the Masjid). At that time she would make wudhoo’ and sleep until the Prayer (Salah) became due. She would then (once again) return to her Masjid and do the same continuously.” (Sifah As-Safwah, Dhikr Al Mustafiyaat min ‘Aabidaat al Basrah)
Hishaam ibnu Hassaan mentions that Hafsah (rahimahallah) purchased a jaariyah (maid, slave-girl). She was asked, “How do you find your master (i.e. Hafsah)?” She said,
“She is a righteous woman, except that she has (i.e. must have) committed a huge sin because she cries all night and prays.” (Sifah As-Safwah, Dhikr Al Mustafiyaat min ‘Aabidaat al Basrah, Vol 2, Page 709)
Although this slave girl thought that it was only because of a sin that Hafsah (rahimahallah) cried, in reality it was because of Khushoo' (a state of mind that contains serenity, tranquility, dignity and humility during prayer, which springs from one’s heart standing in front of Allah in humility and submission) in her Salaah that she felt as she did, for that is the first thing that will be lost from the Ummah, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The first thing to be lifted up (taken away) from this ummah will be Khushoo', until you will see no one who has Khushoo'." (Al-Haythami said in al-Majma, 2/136: It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and its isnaad is hasan.)
Today it’s not just our optional prayers, but our obligatory prayers too which suffer from a lack of Khushoo, something the Prophet (peace be upon him) had indeed prophesized hundreds of years ago, and something that is indeed dangerously common in today’s world.
15. Most Befitting to Lead others in Prayer
Although as Muslims this is not something we should greedily crave, it is definitely an honor to lead the believers in prayer. The Haafidhah is more eligible to lead sisters in prayer if she has memorized the Qur’aan and also holds knowledge of it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The people should be led in prayer by the one who has most knowledge of the Book of Allaah; if they are equal in knowledge of the Qur’aan, then by the one who has most knowledge of the Sunnah.” (Narrated by Imam Muslim, 1530)
16. You will automatically memorize the supplications mentioned in the Qur’aan
It’s truly tragic that many of us haven’t memorized even a handful of the du’as mentioned in the Qur’aan. As for the Haafidhah, she will not only have memorized the Qur’aan but also all of the special supplications found in the Qur’aan. Allaah Almighty says:
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Surah Al-Baqarah : 186)
17. Hifdh of the Qur’aan eases recitation of Qur’aan at all times, the more you memorize the easier it gets!
I remember some time ago watching a relative cook. As she was cooking, all of a sudden she began humming and sort of bopping around in the kitchen as she fondly remembered a Bollywood tune. Thinking back I’m surprised she didn’t slip...
The Muslim woman who finds peace in the Qur’aan and whose heart is attached to the Qur’aan feels greater joy and more satisfaction in reciting the Words of her Lord while cooking, cleaning, walking, sitting…and whenever she gets a chance. For, work and chores just never seem to finish, and the believing woman’s heart never feels bored or disenchanted from the Words of her Lord. Allaah Almighty says:
“Nay, but they, the clear Aayaat (verses) are preserved in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge.” (Surah Al-'Ankabut : 49)
And Allaah Almighty has said in a hadeeth Qudsi, which is narrated in Saheeh Muslim: “I have indeed sent you (O Prophet) to test you and test others by you, and I have revealed onto you a Book that cannot be washed by water, so that you may recite it while in the state of wakefulness or sleep.” Imaam An-Nawawi (rahimahullah) said in this regard,
“This means that it’s preserved in the hearts – it’s not free to depart but rather it stays in the course of history.” (Sahih Muslim, Sharh an-Nawawi (18/204))
Today many Muslim women sadly can’t recite the Qur’aan fluently and without experiencing difficulty. This may be because Arabic is not their mother tongue, or it may be because they haven’t studied Tajweed. As for the Haafidhah, she will gain a lot of practice in reciting the Qur’aan as she memorizes the Qur’aan.
Yes, she will not only recite fluently when reading the Qur’aan from the Mushaf, but more amazingly, from her very memory, Allaah Willing.