Teaching Quran to children is a very important duty of all Muslims. In fact, children are able to learn the Quran much more easily than adults because they are more talented. In reality, scientists have proven this fact that learning is easier for children, especially if it is language.
Therefore, we must all try to teach our children the Quran so that they can benefit from it all the way until their adulthood. Besides the reward that it will have for us who teach it to them, they will also receive great reward as they become fond of the Quran. So becoming fond of the Quran is also a major goal that we must pursue because it will make us better Muslims and believers. This teaching includes reading and understanding the Quran.
Who Should Teach the Quran to Children?
You might ask: Who should teach my child the Quran? Well, it is very important that we ourselves know how to read the Quran . However, sometimes we just do not know the correct method of teaching how to read the Quran to our children. There are actually three ways of doing it:
- Having your children listen to the recitations of famous reciters a lot at home, especially in the murattal style
- Enrolling your children in Quran classes that have a good instructor
- Enrolling in authentic online Quran courses.
Listening to the Quran recited by good reciters is vital for learning to read and memorize the Quran. Think of it as language learning. When you want to learn a new language, you must listen a lot to that language much more than you even try to speak it. In fact, in this way you will learn to read and speak that language. The same holds true with respect to the Quran.
How Should You Begin …
If you wish to teach your child to read and/or memorize the Quran yourself, there are certain steps that you should take. To explain, you must start with the basics of reading Quran and the Arabic language such as the alphabet. In other words, you should teach your child the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet along with the sounds they make. In the mean time, you should have them listen to the recitation of short surahs that are easy to read and memorize that are in the last juz of the Quran .
The audio of these recitations can easily be found on the Internet. Afterwards, you must teach the child the vowels and the sounds they make. Then comes teaching other more advanced elements such as shaddah (شَدَّة), madd (مَدّ), sukūn (سُکون), ishbā‘ (اشباع), and iltiqā of sākinayn (إلتِقاءُ الساکِنَين). However, this method is provided your child is at least ten to twelve years old.
Memorization of the Quran for Children
Undoubtedly, children have a better memory and ability to memorize things than adults. Therefore, what not better than having them memorize the words of God? Children can easily memorize surahs of the Quran. For this purpose, it is recommended that they begin memorizing the short surahs of juz 30, the final juz of the Quran. There is a very fascinating narration from one of our Imams that reads:
مَن قَرَا القُرآن و هو شابٌّ مُؤمِنٌ ، اختَلَطَ القُرآنُ بلَحمِهِ و دَمِهِ.
“Whoever recites the Quran while he is a believing youth, the Quran will mingle with his flesh and blood.” 1
Therefore, we should all try to read, recite, and memorize the Quran while we are still young and teach it to our children as well so that the Quran becomes part of us.
At What Age Should Children Learn the Quran?
As for the age that a child can learn the Quran, generally it is at the time when they have started speaking or a while after it. Optimally, one can teach children starting from age four or five. Try to teach them short and well-known surahs such as surah Ikhlas , surah Fātiḥah , or surah Nās . In fact, what you must do is slowly repeating each verse of the surah and asking the child to repeat after you. In this way, the child will memorize the surah and it will become easier for him to learn the Quran when grows older.
The Ten Steps to Teaching Children to Recite the Quran
If your child has just begun speaking in your language, it is a good time to begin working Quran with him/her. We are assuming that your child is five or six years old. Follow the following steps to teach your child to recite and memorize the Quran:
- Try to find a suitable time to get together with your child.
- Make sure your child is not tired and his stomach is full and he is not sleepy.
- Tell him that you want to teach him something very nice.
- Recite the bismillah slowly, syllable by syllable and ask your child to repeat after you.
- After your child has learned how to say bismillah, begin with the easiest surah to memorize, that is, surah Ikhlas.
- Like step four, read the first verse of the surah syllable by syllable and ask your child to repeat after you.
- Continue doing this until the surah is finished.
- Encourage your child to learn to recite the Quran by promising to give him a present, for example, if he learns the Quran.
- Keep on practicing with him with the same surah.
- Now is the time to move on to other surahs using the same steps.
At What Age Should Children Start Learning to Read the Quran?
Usually, it is time for a child to learn reading the Quran at the same time that he goes to school and learns reading and writing in his own language. That would be age seven. At this stage, it is time for learning the Arabic alphabet along with the sounds that they make. Then, it is time for learning the short and long vowels as well as the other things that one needs to learn for reading the Quran.
Ten Steps to Teaching Reading of the Quran to Children
By following these steps, you will be able to teach your children how to read the Quran:
- Start with having them memorize the alphabet and the sound that each letter makes.
- Teach them the short vowels, fatḥah, kasrah, and ḍammah.
- Practice the alphabet and the short vowels together.
- Practice with your child pronunciation of all the letters in the alphabet with each short vowel.
- Now it is time for learning the long vowels, alif, yā, and wāw al-madd.
- Tell them they are like short vowels but their sound is doubled
- Practice the alphabet with a combination of both short and long vowels.
- Teach them sukun. Sukun means a letter has no vowel.
- Teach them shaddah. That is, a letter is pronounced with more intensity and has a sign above it that looks like a small ‘w.’
- Finally, teach them madd by telling them that you must lengthen the long vowel that has it more than you lengthen it usually.
Learning Quranic Concepts for Children
As a child grows, he or she must become acquainted with Quranic concepts. In fact, things such as the pillars or roots of religion must be taught to children based on the Quran. For example, surah Ikhlas teaches monotheism to us. As a child reaches the age of puberty, we must try to familiarize him or her with beneficial Quranic concepts such as monotheism, prayer , zakat, jihad, fasting , hajj, enjoining the good and forbidding evil, khums, Imamate, prophethood, the Day of Judgment, and so on and so forth. As an illustration, one can teach the importance of prayer using verses in which God orders us to uphold salat and the benefits of salat. For example, verse 45 of surah al-‘Ankabūt (سورَةُ العَنکَبوت) reads:
اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ ۖ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّـهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ ﴿45﴾
Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and maintain the prayer. Indeed the prayer restrains from indecent and wrongful conduct, and the remembrance of Allah is surely greater. And Allah knows whatever [deeds] you do.
The prayer causes us not to commit sins, provided it is accepted and done properly.
Learning to Recite the Quran Melodiously for Children
Another important point that must not be neglected is that just as we said children are very talented and good with learning languages, they are also talented in terms of music and learning melodious recitation of the Quran. As a matter of fact, the Noble Prophet of Islam, Muhammad peace be upon him and his progeny has said:
زَيِّنُوا الْقُرْآنَ بِأَصْوَاتِكُمْ
“Adorn the Quran with your voices.” 2
As you can see, the Noble Prophet did not say adorn your voices with the Quran, but rather said, adorn the Quran with your voices. This shows the importance of reciting the Quran melodiously. In another narration, the Noble Prophet said:
اقْرَءُوا الْقُرْآنَ بِأَلْحَانِ الْعَرَبِ وَ أَصْوَاتِهَا
“Recite the Quran with Arabic melodies and sounds.” 3
Therefore, it is very much recommended to recite the Quran melodiously regardless of your age.
Teaching Quranic Melodies to Children
As I have noted, reciting the Quran melodiously is highly recommended in Islam. The way of learning these melodies is simple. In fact, one must learn them by listening to the recitations of well-known and authentic reciters who are usually from Egypt, and try to recite like them. In fact, what you do and ask your child to do is to emulate the melody of the reciter. This is the most basic way of learning to recite the Quran melodiously. However, if one wants to teach his children to learn the melodies by name, one must entrust them to an authentic instructor who has knowledge of Arabic music and Quranic melodies.
Teaching Quran to children is not an easy task and requires experience. In fact, if one entrusts them to a qualified instructor in this field it would be less burdensome. Nevertheless, it is possible for parents themselves to teach their children the Quran if they have the necessary knowledge. For example, it is important that they first memorize short surahs as they do not and cannot know how to read the Quran at an early age. After that, when they get older and reach school age, they can slowly learn how to read the Quran starting with the alphabet and the vowels. Moreover, when they get older, it is important that they become familiar with Quranic concepts such as monotheism and prophethood. God willing, our children will become fond of the Quran as they grow older provided that parents provide the means for it.
- Thawāb al-A‘māl wa ‘Iqāb al-A‘māl (ثَوابُ الاعمال و عِقابُ الاعمال), vol. 2, p. 100.
- Biḥār al-Anwār, vol.89, p. 190.
- Al-Kāfī, vol. 2, p. 614.