Her case is completely different from her parents’, because she achieved her feat at a very tender age. For instance, her mother, Sayyada Maimunatu Sheikh Dahiru, did not complete the memorisation of the Qur’an until she was 12 years old, but for Hafiza Rukkayatu Fatahu Umar, learning and memorising is not determined by one’s age, reports SALIU GBADAMOSI.
SHE is indeed a genius. What took her mother 12 years to accomplish, she did it when she was three years, eight months old. Apart from having a mother who has memorised the whole Qur’an, her father, Fatahu Umar Pandogari, too has also memorised the whole Qur’an.
Such a feat could only be achieved by the gifted as the Holy Qur’an, according to scholars, consists of 114 chapters of varying lengths; some short, while others are long. The holy scripture is made up of 30 Juz’, each of which is further divided into two Hizb. Each Hizb is further subdivided into four Rub al-ahzab. In all, the Holy Qur’an contains 5, 910 verses.
It is little wonder then that the feat of little Rukkayatu was widely acknowledged in Bauchi, the Bauchi State capital, as many people in the state often discuss it. To say that she was the cynosure of all eyes penultimate Wednesday, January 24, 2013, at the graduation ceremony of 275 students from different schools of Qur’an memorisation and learning across the Northern part of Nigeria, being run by the Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi Foundation, founded by renowned scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, was saying the obvious.
To prove to all that little Rukkayatu’s feat was not a fluke, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, who is the little girl’s grandfather, asked her to stand before the mammoth crowd and requested the people, including prominent clerics, to recite any verse of the Holy Qur’an from any chapter of their choice to test little Rukkayatu’s competence. People truly took up the challenge and the little girl was really up to the task, proving doubting Thomasses wrong.
Rukkayatu’s journey towards achieving her feat, according to her mother, began when she was a toddler and was being taken to one of the Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi Foundation’s Qura’nic schools at Barkin Ruwa Askulaye in Kaduna, where her mother currently teaches Qur’an recitation and memorisation.
“We were using a big parlour, which was divided into classes for the learning of the Qur’an. At that time, I always carried her on my back while teaching. From there, she started reciting along with the students and before long, she had memorised some verses. That was how she started attending memorisation class. Right now, she has completed memorising the whole Qur’an,” Sayyada Maimunatu, who is a daughter of renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, told Sunday Tribune.
Sayyada Maimunatu said her daughter had little or no time to play with her peers as she had been conditioned to learning the Qur’an, which she said, was much more important than playing with her peers, adding that Hafiza Rukkayatu was always in the Qur’anic school between 7a.m. and 6p.m. daily.
She added that, “it is not as if she does not play with her mates. She does, especially with those who are memorising the Qur’an like her. This makes it easier for them, as their focus and attention are directed towards achieving the same goal, which is memorising the Qur’an.”
Asked if her daughter would be allowed to have Western education now that she has completed the memorisation exercise, the 29-year-old proud mother of four, declared that her daughter would go to a proper school soon, submitting that the normal practice in their family was for every child to first and foremost learn the Holy Qur’an and start attending school when he/she reached the age of 10. According to her, all female children in the family only have the opportunity of studying up to the secondary school level.
“My husband has, however, said that the world is changing now, and that there is civilization all over the place and as such, our daughter will have the opportunity of going to a proper school whenever she reaches the age of six,” she said, adding that despite the fact that there was civilization, they would not compromise giving their children Islamic education.
When Sunday Tribune visited the little girl at the residence of Sheikh Usman Bauchi, in Bauchi, the girl happily greeted our correspondent with the verses of the Qur’an, which she did effortlessly. Even when her younger brother sauntered into the sitting room during the visit, Rukkayatu drew him closer to herself, then started reciting some verses of the Qur’an and asked the boy to recite after her.
Asked how she felt memorising the Qur’an at her age, a happy Rukkayatu said, Nagode Allah, meaning, “I thank Allah.” She told Sunday Tribune through an interpreter that she was happy memorising the Qur’an, adding that she wanted other children in the whole world to learn and memorise the book of Allah like she did.
When her mother was asked how she felt having a daughter who memorised the Qur’an at such a tender age, Sayyada Maimunatu was short of words to express her feeling, but was full of praises to Allah, whom she said made it possible.
“Honestly, I can’t say much but I am very grateful to Allah for this. This is indeed a blessing from Allah. I’m grateful to Allah for this. I’m also grateful that I have a father like Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, who planted my feet, like other people, on the path of Islam. May Allah grant him longevity of life so that he will continue to serve Allah and be useful to Islam and humanity in general,” she said.