Most of us spend close to 8-10 hours of our entire day genuinely busy, be it at work, school, internships, volunteering, or some other day-consuming activity. That is usually supplemented with time to eat, which can add another 1-2 hours of busy time, spending time with the family, another couple of hours, entertainment, sleeping and everything else, and we are left with barely any time to ourselves. We all know how busy our schedules are between the many different things we juggle daily.
Yet, we all have that desire to have a functional relationship with the Qur’an every day. We want to spend some time reciting it, some time memorizing it and also some time towards listening or reading tafseer (exegesis) to understand it. So how can we practically create a consistent, meaningful relationship with the Book of Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), when the time we have to invest in it is so little?
1) If we make something a priority for ourselves, we will be able to make time for it.
Allah (swt) says, “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways,” (Qur’an, 29:69). Meaning that Allah (swt) requires us to put in the effort for Him to make our matter easy for us. Once He sees that we are sincerely trying and our actions can prove that, He will place blessing in our time and open it up for us.
The reality is, the reason we have time for everything that we make time for is because we have placed a certain level of importance to it that creates within us the urgency to get that task done. If we place importance on Fajr (pre-sunrise) prayer, we will make sure we take the means to facilitate it for ourselves—even if those means are setting up multiple alarms, having a friend do a wake-up call, or anything else. Likewise, if we mean to make the Qur’an a priority in our lives, we will be able to carve out 15-20 minutes daily to spend time with it. This isn’t to belittle any of our daily responsibilities or commitments but rather to place the Qur’an along the same level of importance as them.
2) We don’t need to jump into everything all at once!
The Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings upon him) said: “The acts most pleasing to Allah are those which are done continuously, even if they are small.”
There is so much wisdom in this statement of the Messenger ﷺ. A lot of times, when we are motivated to do something, especially when it comes to learning an aspect of our religion, we get on a spiritual high. That spiritual high causes us to get involved in one too many things, study too much all at once or volunteer too much. It creates in us a zest that in turn creates an unsustainable system. The eventual end is that we burn out and fail to accomplish anything and are left unmotivated to start again due to the negative experience. The better and more effective way to approach this is to take on a little at a time and establish a system within our life that is sustainable.
So how can we do this with the Qur’an? There are many ways. For example, start off by making time after Fajr prayer or after Isha’ (night) prayer, the two times you are most likely to be at home. Start by reading half a page of Qur’an on a consistent basis. If you are already doing that, move on up to a page or two pages. If you drive to work or school, use that time to listen to Qur’an in the car. Find a reciter or two whose voice you like, fill up your mp3 player and use that time to listen to the Qur’an. If you commute on public transportation, pop on some headphones and listen as you are getting to and from work/school. Mix it up so you don’t get tired out; maybe listen to recitation on the way to work and listen to a tafseer podcast on the way back.
The goal here is not do it for the sake of doing it. Rather it is to make this a part of your lifestyle and routine so that it becomes part of your day subconsciously as opposed to something you need to remember to do. Once it is a part of your lifestyle, it becomes easy to sustain. This takes time but it is definitely doable. Remember, little by little with consistency!
3) Build a support system around ourselves
I remember back in college one of the main reasons some brothers finished memorizing Qur’an while going to school full-time and working was because they had a support system. Every day, without fail, these brothers would meet, sit and spend 15-20 minutes reciting to each other whatever they had memorized the night before, even if it was during midterms or finals. If they hadn’t memorized anything new, they would just review. Slowly but surely, each of them completed memorization. When asked about what helped them with that, they said it was because each time they felt like they were about to burn out they had that support system which pushed each other ahead towards completion.
Try to find friends who you can create a support system with at school or outside. If you are married and working full-time, make reciting Qur’an a couple’s thing—something that you do to get closer to Allah (swt) together. If you have kids, make it a family thing after Isha’ (bonus: this then becomes part of your children’s lifestyle as well!). Initiate something with your parents. The point is, it is possible to create a support system around you that can help you progress with your relationship with the Qur’an and it is very helpful to have one.
These are three simple tips on carving out times in our daily lives for the Qur’an. It is by no means exhaustive, but I believe that implementing each of these one by one will have an effect in creating time and place for the Qur’an in our daily lives. The reality is that we all have unique schedules, multiple commitments and responsibilities. Yet, prioritizing and creating time for the Qur’an in our lives is still within our grasp. The beauty of the Qur’an is that once it takes a hold in our lives and really becomes part of us through recitation, reflection and memorization, through its blessings, Allah (swt) places blessing in our time and in our day in ways that we would not have experienced otherwise. May Allah (swt) help us in becoming strong companions of the Qur’an!