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This is a picture of Nusaybah’s much loved, but completely battered, Quran qaida. Over the past 7 months she has kept it by her side, even fallen asleep reading it. However, her relationship with Arabic and the rules of tajweed was not always so positive. When she was around 4 we had a private tutor for her and Rumaysah. She hated reading. She would drag the qaida up the stairs from the little ribbon used to bookmark the page. She would kick it and even made a nickname for her ustaadah. Her lack of interest was slightly perplexing as her sister was the complete opposite in her relationship with reading.

We decided to try and teach her ourselves. However, she would huff and puff, read with one leg in the air whilst lying on the edge of the bed. She then joined a madrassah and lasted less than a month before she refused to attend. After that we were defeated, having ran out of ideas, we gave her a rest.

Last May, we decided to pursue it again, sending her to a different madrassah. I had prior warned her teacher about expecting the worst from Nusaybah, but this was a different Nusaybah, a committed and motivated Nusaybah. Seeing her sitting in the masjid reading with such focus was amazing. 7 months later, much to our surprise, she finished the last few rules and has now started reading Quran.

Often we overly plan the agenda for our kids, wanting them to fit into our mental timeline of what we expect them to achieve at a certain age. However often it is more productive to breathe and let them breathe by just providing them with some gentle encouragement. As parents, it’s very easy to compare siblings, thinking that being raised in the same house they will be clones of one another and follow the same interest at the same age. However, it is important to view each child is an individual, get in tune with them, their personality and learning style in order for them to progress.

Many times we want are children to quickly learn tajweed and start reading and finish Quran. However, for a child, this can soon become perceived as a chore and burden, instead of a desire and passion. Learning Quran should never become a tick box exercise. There is a need to develop a deep love for the Quran. This is the speech of our Creator and a guidance for mankind. Seeing Rumaysah and me leave the house every day to attend madrassa and hearing us talk about our progress, quickly became a turning point for Nusaybah.

Atmospheres are crucial in shaping behaviour. Hearing the Quran being recited in our house, played in our car and part of our everyday conversation changed Nusaybah’s view about wanting to learn Quran. Everyday she would be waiting by the door ready to go to madrassah and would argue with me on those occasions when I couldn’t drop her. Alhamdulillah her ustaad was a great help in maintaining discipline and seriousness about reading, whilst maintaining the patience in helping her articulate the letters and learn the rules correctly.

Now Nusaybah begins her journey with Quran. I pray this journey will not be as eventful as the tajweed experience. But knowing Nusaybah – it probably will.

May Allah (swt) allow us to beautify the Quran with our actions.