I Started Memorizing the Quran When I Was 50. Now I'm a Hafiza!

I Started Memorizing the Quran When I Was 50. Now I'm a Hafiza!

If you didn’t memorize the Quran as a child, you’re probably now in the throes of adulting and feeling like it might be too late. Your studies are demanding, your work occupies most of the week, family responsibilities are a constant and maybe your memory just isn’t the sponge it used to be.

If your inner voice agrees with ANY of the things just listed, we’re about to share something that’ll really help you put things in perspective: YOU are the one creating the barriers, and your agreement with that list is just your buying into excuses for why you think you can’t memorize the Quran anymore.

❤️‍🩹 Let’s remedy that feeling with a story.

Meet Sister Zohra

Earlier this summer, when we were putting together episodes for our brilliant hifz podcast, re:Verses, we had the pleasure of hearing the story of one particular hafiza who called in to share her journey with Shaykh Musa Abuzaghleh and our audience. Sister Zohra, based in the UK, revealed that she took it upon herself to memorize the Quran slightly later in life, starting at 50. After many classes, plenty of revision and her fair share of ups and downs throughout the process, Sister Zohra completed her hifz just 6 years later! We had to know more, so she kindly agreed to meet and tell us the full story of her hifz journey. It’s moving, real and promises to inspire.👇


Sister Zohra’s exposure to the Quran started with listening to her father recite and following his lead. Like many of us, her earliest memory of the mushaf was this beautiful book being kept on top of a cupboard, guarded from everything beneath it and placed with the utmost honour and respect. She and her family listened to cassette tapes of Quranic recitation, which piqued her curiosity from very early on.

There’s a nostalgia and familiarity in the way that Sister Zohra speaks about her beginnings with the Quran that feels all too real for so many of us; being exposed to Quran through our parents and feeling intrigued by the sound of perfect recitation. When the Arabic lessons with her father stopped, her journey with the Quran came to an abrupt end - this was pre-internet and long before mosques facilitated religious classes of any kind for women. Years later as a young adult, yearning to reignite that connection with the Quran, Sister Zohra decided to pick up an English translation and was instantly reeled in by its timeless wisdom and abundance of stories.

When life happens…

As with so many of us, Sister Zohra moved onwards and upwards in life, building a flourishing career and starting a family of her own. The pull towards the Book of Allah never really left her, and for good reason! It was when her children were of age to be in school that Sister Zohra did a scan of her life and decided that it was time to really reconnect, only this time, she was determined to hold on to it. She sought out Quran classes and joined one in her local mosque… which was taught completely in Arabic. It was time to start from scratch, and she did, with the help of a sister who would translate and be the happy medium between her and the rest of the class. It wasn’t easy by any means but she persisted and made a routine of it.

Getting into the swing of things

The mosque and its classes soon became a safe haven for Sister Zohra - a place she could go for herself to focus her efforts and attention on something far greater than the ordinary day-to-day. Although progress was slow in the beginning, she soon found herself growing in confidence and establishing a routine for learning her Arabic. With plenty of practice, she came to know it in detail and reached a stage where she was considered experienced enough to teach! This is one of many displays of persistence that you’ll see from Sister Zohra and a lesson to us before anyone else that when you make the Quran a priority and you cherish your connection with it, Allah will open doors for you.

A life-changing journey

What next for someone who’s achieved their goal? You’d think that might be the end of the road, but you’d be mistaken because it was only just the beginning. Armed with fluency in her Quranic Arabic, knowledge of tajwid and a daily engagement habit, Sister Zohra set her sights on a new goal: hifz. Memorizing the Quran is no small feat and nearing the age of 50, it was undoubtedly going to present its challenges, but nothing that Sister Zohra’s perseverance couldn’t conquer!

By this point, she had four juz memorized already before deciding to take hifz more seriously and her routine consisted of listening, reading and memorizing 3 new pages for the upcoming week whilst also revising 3 pages of the week that had passed. In this way, she had a very methodical structure that wasn’t too demanding and worked out perfectly for her. When reflecting on her memorization and revision routine, Sister Zohra smiles and tells us how her children would tease her for having such a military approach to her Quran studies but clearly the dedication and unwavering commitment paid off because after 6 years, she completed her hifz and earned her ‘Ijizah to teach it, too!

Across the finish line

Sister Zohra continues to teach Arabic and Hifz but also revises a juz daily. When asked what her advice and key takeaways from her journey was, she said:

  • Teaching was a way for her to build a connection with Allah.
  • It helps to have a teacher in your hifz journey.
  • Duas will open doors for you, so make them with sincerity and conviction.
  • You should make the most of the freedom that comes with age - it’s not always a limitation.
  • When calamities happen, the Quran beings mercy and shifah.
  • The Quran gives you purpose and sight of Allah - don’t ever abandon it.

Feeling inspired yet?

Sister Zohra’s story is one to admire and use as inspiration on our own Quran journeys, regardless of our age; she teaches us that it’s never too late, we’re never ‘too old’, there’s always time if you look for it and if you make the Quran a priority, doors will be opened and avenues for you to succeed will be created. When reflecting on Sister Zohra’s story, we’re reminded of Allah’s promise to us:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا ٱلْقُرْءَانَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍۢ

And We have certainly made the Quran easy to remember. So is there anyone who will be mindful? (Quran, 54:40)

May Allah make us all companions of the Quran and give us ease and barakah in our hifz journeys.


You can hear from Sister Zohra herself on this episode of the re:Verses podcast!👇

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