Why does Hayat resolve to become a hafiz in American Dervish?

In American Dervish, Hayat resolves to become a hafiz for three main reasons: to ensure the salvation of his parents, to win back Mina's favor, and to assuage his sadness in light of Mina's departure.

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In the novel, Mina tells Hayat that becoming a hafiz is one of the greatest accomplishments in life. A hafiz can secure not only his own place in Janaat or Paradise, but also that of his parents.

For his part, Hayat deeply understands the importance of Muslims earning their place in Paradise. Because of his fears for his parents in the afterlife, Hayat decides to become a hafiz. In the book, he tells his mother that her place in heaven is assured if he becomes a hafiz.

However, Hayat's initial decision to become a hafiz is based on less than pure intentions. In chapter 3, he discovers Mina naked in the bathroom, and the image of her body mesmerizes him. Fascinated by her physical beauty, he continues gazing at her through a crack in the door. When Mina realizes that Hayat is spying on her, she is furious and slams the door shut. Because she had been masturbating, Mina experiences a mix of emotions—anger, fear, and guilt.

This leads Mina to treat Hayat coldly and discontinue their usual Quranic studies. In order to regain her favor, Hayat memorizes as many verses from the Quran as he can. His diligence impresses Mina, who eventually commences their regular Quranic study sessions. As a result, Hayat resolves to become a hafiz. He realizes that he can easily lose Mina's love and attention—becoming a hafiz would be the only way to prevent that from happening again.

Later, to comfort himself in light of Mina's departure, Hayat becomes even more entrenched in his efforts to become a hafiz.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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