We were in Masjid Al Azhar, and my apartmentmates and I were just invited by a girl who was probably six or seven to grab knowledge with Shaykh Ahmed Amr, a famous Qari in Egypt. We literally jumped at the opportunity…and so did hundreds before us. We piled into the men’s area of the masjid with probably a hundred sisters and even more brothers and we spent over an hour with Surah Ale Imran, walHamdullahiRabil’alameen.
The whole experience was amazing subhanAllah [it's after 'asr every Tuesday for anyone who can make it!], but what really struck me today was the vigor of the children who wanted to recite Qur’an to the Shaykh. We’re talking about boys and girls who are probably seven and younger. One girl, possibly seven, opened the mushaf and began to recite from surah Ale Imran (with strong tajweed masha’Allah) while others piled around her, waving their hands in the air, trying to get the Shaykh’s attention to pick them. I was thinking about how blessed they are to be here, how blessed they are to care about the Qur’an at such a young age, how BLESSED they are to have parents who brought them to the masjid to recite Qur’an and to raise them around people who want it.
And in the midst of it all, the halaqa was stopped by a man on crutches. I could not completely understand the dialogue that took place between the Shaykh and the man, but he hobbled through the crowd (may Allah cure him), and came close to the Shaykh and made a request. Within a few moments his daughter, who was possibly six years old, was next to the Shaykh, reciting what she had memorized from surah Insan, with mashaAllah amazing tajweed, in front of hundreds of people. Her father, on crutches, was watching her, subhanAllah so proud, and when she finished, the Shaykh kissed her and gave her words of encouragement. The sister next to me made dua for her, and the other kids around the table jumped at the opportunity to recite for the shaykh as well.
About ten minutes later we’d already gotten back into the halaqa, and suddenly a rush of kids (seriously, we’re talking all under the age of ten), started basically jumping up and down, eagerly waving their hands in front of the shaykh, calling out to him that they wanted to recite. Some of the attendees got upset because it was hard to concentrate on the lesson with the kids bursting with excitement, but Allahu Akbar, how amazing it was to see children who have so much passion for reciting the Qur’an.
And I couldn’t help but think- these children were chosen by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. How many of us know children, six, seven, eight years old, who can whip out the names of every celebrity, or every new movie…ila akhirih (etc), but have NO IDEA how to recite surah al Fatiha? (May Allah protect us and forgive us!)
Are the two the same? They are not the same! And what makes the difference? Did one come into the world and order her or his parents: Teach me Qur’an!, and the other: Teach me the name of every celebrity! Obviously not…the parents labored to bright up the child, one way or the other, and the fruit of that labor can already be seen at this young, young age.
The father on crutches, he labored to walk through the crowd, to ask in front of everyone to give his daughter the opportunity to recite the Qur’an for the Shaykh, and he looked with such honor and pride towards his daughter when she was reciting. There was visible effort, serious effort, intense effort, to help this young girl be raised ‘ala kitabAllah wa sunnati Rasulilah sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama.
How many of us are doing [or are planning on doing] the same?