“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
When I was small, my parents had arranged Quranic classes for my sisters and I. Me, being the most mischievous one of all, would always find ways to skip the classes or you'll find me snoring away.
Back then, I didn't understand the need to learn reciting the Quran in a correct manner. Now, after many years, I realized my folly.
As a result of not paying attention in class and not reciting the Quran at all during my younger days, I can't recite the Quran properly as I don't know the rules of tajweed. I can read the Quran in arabic but not recite it in the correct intonation and manner.
"Or add to it, and recite the Qur'an with measured recitation."
Someone once said to me that it's a sin to not recite Quran with the correct tajweed. Hmmmm..... then logically it's better for me not to recite the Quran at all, in order to avoid incurring any sins, right? It would have been the perfect excuse but, if I were to wait until I master the tajweed before reciting the Quran, then that might take forever. Surely that can't be right. So I turned to the Wise Owl. He in turn, shared with me this hadith.
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur'an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur'an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The Wise Owl advised me to keep on reciting the Quran on my own but at the same time, to try to learn the tajweed. Mmmmm.... a bit tricky. Learning is one thing but finding the right class is a different challenge altogether.
I didn't want to join a public class as I was ashamed of my inabilities. I didn't want others to hear how horrible I sounded. I didn't want sniggering from fellow students or the look of pity or worse, being judged for my lack of knowledge. Yes...I had my pride, wrong as it may be.
So for years I searched and prayed for a class that would be suitable for me.
"And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you." Quran 40:60
Then, Allah SWT literally sent a teacher to my doorsteps. My sister and friend also joined the class. Since we were all on the same level, I could put aside my shame and pride and start learning.
The class is truly a blessing. Now in my 40s, I finally learnt tajweed and how to recite the Quran properly. I now appreciate the beauty of it.
I'm still far from perfect and I still have to work on my pronunciations but at least I'm making progress.
What I would like to say is don't be shy to learn things even if we are old. If there's a will there's a way. Don't despair or worry, just ask Allah SWT and He will answer. Kun faya kun.