By Amal Al-Sibai
28 November 2014
A Hafidh (for males) or Hafidha (for females) is someone who has memorized the entire Holy Qur’an, who has retained its beautiful verses in their hearts and minds.
Why would anyone want to work so hard to flawlessly memorize a 600-page book? It is not an easy feat.
First, because it is the Word of God; it is a guide for humanity, for people to lead conscientious, peaceful, and happy lives.
The status, the reverence that the Hafidh deserves is unparalleled, as long as this person lives by what is preached in the Holy Book.
He/she must implement its teachings: pray five times a day, fast in Ramadan, perform pilgrimage, give in charity, spread peace and stay away from worshiping partners with Allah and from arrogance, miserliness, slandering, embezzling, hypocrisy, murder, and other sinful acts and behaviours.
This Hafidh or Hafidha is like a shining star that stands out among other people.
Countless benefits are gained both in this lifetime and in the afterlife for learning the Holy Qur’an by heart.
To become a Hafidh, one cannot simply store the information in short-term memory in the brain and then forget it. Rather, the Hafidh continues to revise and practice it over and over again, until it is solidly rooted in his memory.
This type of practice and memorization is a profound mental exercise, which helps preserve mental function well into old age.
The more active your brain is, the better your memory is likely to be. According to Northern Ireland Direct Government Services, people who lead intellectually stimulating lives are more likely to be free of dementia conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
“Mental decline is not an inevitable part of aging. It is possible to keep your brain in shape and to cope with changes in your mental ability. Keeping yourself mentally fit will make you feel better and improve your brain power,” the NIDGS report stated.
A report by the American Alzheimer’s Association stated, “Research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. You could even generate new brain cells.”
Memorizing the Qur’an is a lifelong process, and it definitely qualifies as mental activity to keep the memory healthy and strong.
Another plus is that regular recitation of the Qur’an is an effective relaxation technique, which helps ward off the negative impact of stress in daily life.
Researchers at the University of Malaysia in Perlis, using EEG recorded the brain wave patterns of subjects who were exposed to recitations of the Holy Qur’an, then different music.
The study found that listening to the Holy Qur’an produced pre-dominantly alpha waves in the brain, more so than any other sound.
What does that mean? A predominance of alpha waves in the brain wave pattern indicates a relaxed but aware state. A person in the alpha state experiences a sense of well-being, lightness, peace, and tranquillity. Creativity and inspiration flow when alpha brain waves peak.
The mental and emotional effects of constantly repeating the verses of the Qur’an are amazing, but the rewards to be granted to the Hafidh in the afterlife are more remarkable. On that day, everyone will wish to be that Hafidh or Hafidha.
In this Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) states, “The Qur’an will be brought on the Day of Judgment and it will say, ‘O My Lord! Adorn him (the Hafidh who read and practiced it)!’ So he will be adorned with the crown of glory and honour. It [the Qur’an] will then say, ‘O My Lord! Increase this!’ So he will be clothed with the clothes of glory and honour. Then it will say, ‘O My Lord! Be pleased with Him!’ So, He (Allah) will be pleased with him. It will be said, ‘Recite and rise.’ Every verse he recites will bless him with a good deed.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Among the highest of positions in Paradise will be given to the one who memorized the Qur’an and implemented its teachings.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The one who was devoted to the Qur’an will be told on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Recite and ascend [in ranks] as you used to recite when you were in the world. Your rank in Paradise will be at the last Ayah [verse] you recite.’” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi) The parents will also share in this joy and honor.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whosoever recites the Qur’an and practices upon its injunctions, his/her parents will be given a crown on the Day of Judgment. The brightness of that crown will be more intense than the brightness of the sun.”
After a brief pause, he (peace be upon him) said, “What do you think will be given to the Hafidh of the Qur’an himself?” (Mishkat-ul-Masabeeh) Memorizing the Qur’an safeguards us from depression, dementia, stress, corruption, and wasting time. Ultimately it is also a protection from the worst abode, Hellfire, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said, “If the Qur’an is enclosed by skin (if a person memorizes the entire Qur’an), then Allah will never burn it in the Hellfire.” (Al-Bayhaqi) Whatever pathway you lead in your life, if you want to be the best; the best doctor or teacher or mother or college student or engineer or social worker or artist, let learning and teaching the Qur’an also be a part of who you are.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best among you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) So, what are you waiting for?