In the United States, their numbers have risen from 2.75 million in 2011 to nearly 3.5 million.
As many as 400,000 live in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, and 180,000 in New Jersey.
“I’m settled now, so why not finish what I started? For his father, it’s a “constant struggle” that becomes more difficult as you memorize more of the holy book.
The challenge of retention is conquered by daily recitation. It’s painful, but after a couple years, you see those muscles, and it makes it all worth it.” Since the Quba Institute began teaching memorization in 1988, six students have successfully memorized the Quran out of the hundreds who have begun the program. In the African American community, in which many are converts to the faith, memorization is not a longstanding tradition, Muhaimin said.
When they are finished, they return to their places against the wall.
“It gives me a sense of accomplishment,” said Byas, a science teacher.
“I’ve invested so much time and study in secular things — my education, my degrees.
Increasingly, Cheema said, young Muslims seeking instruction are being influenced by the extensive coverage of the faith on television and in social media. Only about one-third of those who attempt the feat succeed, typically taking three to five years.
They earn the title of Hafiz, and are called on to lead daily prayers, as well as special supplications during the holy month of Ramadan. The tradition of memorizing the Quran dates to the revelation of the holy book itself, said to have spanned 23 years starting in 609.
“When I started, it was grueling,” said Imam Rashid Ahmadi, 34, of GCLEA. African American Muslims, consequently, often rely on a Hafiz from immigrant Islamic communities to recite the Quran for prayer and on holy days, Muhaiman said. We have a responsibility to empower ourselves, to better represent ourselves in our faith.” Abdullah Patterson, 13, of West Philadelphia, has learned seven of the 30 juz by heart.