Why is it strange, you might be wondering? Well, because I don't know very much Qur'an. At all.
In a previous post, Starting with the Qur'an, I talked briefly about my relationship with the Qur'an. And if you didn't notice, memorization hasn't exactly taken off for me yet. I know only a few surahs from the 30th juz by heart. And I have only just started learning proper tajweed so I can tell you that my recitation certainly leaves plenty to be desired.
But that caused me to wonder why, especially when I'm around other converts (who have been Muslim sometimes much longer than I have), I might be asked to lead the prayer. Maybe some people are shy and don't want to be heard, or for other reasons feel uncomfortable leading it. But what I really wonder is how much Qur'an do other converts know? And how did they learn it?
In fact, I've been too shy to ask anyone (i.e., converts) this question--how much Qur'an they know, and how they learned it. I'm afraid of sounding kind of pompous when I ask (how could that be possible, when I am counting surahs I know, instead of juz?) since I actually think that they don't know very much. And obviously, I'm not talking about converts who go on to become our imams and scholars, but the average sister who probably learns just enough for her prayers.
The only way I can imagine they will learn is how I started learning--by listening to a recording over, and over, and looking at a transliteration of the Arabic. And really this isn't a great way to learn--if a person makes mistakes, there is nobody to correct them, and what happens over time is that the recitation begins to sound more and more anglicized such that the meaning in many places is lost or changed.
What would be great for me, at least, and maybe for others, would be if adults (specifically converts but others as well) could attend the kinds of classes which are presently only available to children--those which teach students in memorization along with proper pronunciation and possibly even while reading, with someone who can correct them. But so far, as great as I think my community is, I have not seen any program at all which aims to help adults to memorize the Qur'an--even to memorize very small chapters for their salaah. I'm not sure if other communities have such a program, or teachers, but I do think that there should be some more priority overall given to learning the Qur'an--for adults, and not just children.
And yes, I know that many adults have learned this already while they were children. Alhamdulillah. But many adults have also forgotten it, and we should also remember to teach those Muslims who have been guided from other paths and did not have the advantage of memorizing Qur'an at an early age.
And We have certainly made the Qur'an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember? 54:17