He emerged, in the dimming afternoon sun, tall and lanky but with a smile plastered across his face. He had just completed reading the entire Quran, our holy book. As his mother, pride is a shallow word yet I cannot think of another that would do justice to explain the way I feel about him. If the happy tears that spring to my eyes when I think about it couldutter words, they may say something deeper. In certain traditions, this accomplishment is treated with great pomp and celebration, in others it is marked with smaller gatherings but however you choose to celebrate, it is an admirable occasion. My extremely simple child who teaches me every day about the beauty and simplicity found in life chose cupcakes and fruit and he happily shared it with his teacher and friends. His eyes lighting up every time someone told him what a good job he had done while that signature smile never left his charming face.
I remember formally embarking on this journey in August 2014, fumbling over letters of the Arabic alphabet, learning to make sense of vowels and joining them together, learning basic language rules in a bid to conquer learning the language of our religious origins. Prior to this, we dabbled in learning but never in a structured format. There were days when this was an uphill battle, when I prayed hard in the darkest hours of the night that God whose words we were trying to read would grant him the ability to learn it with ease, while loving it, memorizing it and hopefully one day understanding it well enough to live his life exemplifying the principles laid out in the special book. Nights when I went to bed feeling unaccomplished at not being able to teach him a lesson but maybe in that was a lesson of patience and perseverance for me. His teacher had surely mastered those traits as he would constantly encourage, inspire and motivate him with a guiding hand and gentle patience. In him, my child had found a role model and friend and in all regards this was key to his success.
I think back to the stages that led to today and remember him completing the basic level of reading and getting to pick out his own Quran that adorned the shelves in the peaceful prayer hall. Prior to this, those were off limits for they have to be treated respectfully and with care but now that he proved to be mentally capable of that, he had earned it; he wrote his name in it and carried it with him like a badge of honor, a prized possession, making sure his younger siblings understood it was not to be played with. Then he memorized the last section and then the first and then continued to learn more in-depth rules regarding recitation and over the course of the past 6 months has read the entire Quran, cover to cover, all 6236 verses, no pictures included. All praise and thanks are due to the Almighty.
The beauty of it resonates deep within his actions and has proven to me that the toil to get here was worth it; though he does not yet understand all of the meanings behind the verses, I know that its words touch him and in them he finds solace. I hear him reciting the verses to his youngest sister when she cries hoping to soothe her and I hear him uttering different verses in the stillness of the night as he prepares for bed. It’s his secret weapon against those dragons and monsters he reads about in other not so convincing stories like Junie B Jones. smile emoticon
His father and I are so proud of him, proud of his perseverance, proud of his effort, his devotion, his desire to learn and his zeal and determination to succeed in this and every other aspect of his life. He is our eldest child and what a great example he is to his younger siblings.