The first step to fulfilling your goal of memorizing the Quran is sincerity. Ibn ‘Abbas radhiallahu ‘anh said: “Indeed, a person shall memorize according to his sincerity.” Meaning the sincerity of your intention will determine the strength and amount you memorize.
Actually, this is not just the first step. You need to refresh your intention at every step.
It is reported from Ali radhiallahu ‘anh that he said: The one who shows off has three characteristics: He is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticized.
1- Dua’a, Dua’a, Dua’a, ask Allah to purify your heart of hypocrisy and boastfulness, and to protect you from the evils of your soul and its treachery.
2- Do not be deceived by praise. Nobody knows you as well as yourself. If they praise, they only praise the blessings of Allah that they see on you; while you are the one who truly knows the reality of your heart, and Allah knows you better than you know yourself. Remember, pride was Shaytaan’s downfall.
Abu Bakr radhiallahu ‘anh would make a prayer every time he would be praised:
اللهم اجعلني خيراً مما يظنون ولا تؤاخذني بما يقولون واغفر لي ما لا يعلمون
“O Allah, make me better than what they think, and do not hold me accountable for what they say, and forgive me for what they do not know.”
3- Beware of secret sins. “Nothing is more disgusting than a sinful reciter.”
4- Reread and revise the ahadith that talk about the punishment for the one who memorizes the Quran in order to be praised. Rasulallah sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
إن الله تبارك و تعالى إذا كان يوم القيامة ينزل إلى العباد ليقضي بينهم و كل أمة جاثية فأول من يدعى رجل جمع القرآن و رجل يقتل في سبيل الله و رجل كثير المال فيقول الله للقارئ: ألم أعلمك ما أنزلت على رسولي؟ قال: بلى يا رب. قال: فماذا عملت فيما علمت؟ قال: كنت أقوم به آناء الليل و آناء النهار. فيقول له: كذبت و تقول له الملائكة: كذبت. و يقول الله: بل أردت أن يقال أن فلاناً قارئ فقد قيل ذاك ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه حتى ألقي في النار
“The first amongst mankind to be judged on the Day of Judgment is a man who studied knowledge and taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them.
Allah will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – rather, you learned knowledge to be called a scholar, and you memorized to be called a recitor, and so it was said, and you got your reward from those whom you sought it from. Then he will be dragged by his face and thrown into the fire of Hell.”
5- Remember always that the one who memorizes the Quran to be praised and to show off has no reward for his efforts, and he is instead sinful.
In conclusion, the intention is a very important, yet overlooked and sometimes undermined step towards memorizing the Quran. It may not be the only step, but it is the most difficult to control and maintain.
It is reported from Sahl bin Abdullaah radhiallahu ‘anh that he said: “There is nothing which is tougher upon the soul than (achieving) sincerity of intention. How many times have I tried to remove the the love of praise from my heart except that it sprouted in a different color (i.e. in a different form).”
-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)