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The first benefit is through listening and reciting the Qur’ān: cure from all that is within.

There are so many benefits of the Holy Qur’ān. It is a Book of Light and divine light is energy that heals. There are around 89 verses of the Qur’ān that speak about its purpose, aims, virtues, and blessings. Some of these verses highlight healing as a quality of the Qur’ān:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

O mankind! Surely, there has come to you a (heart penetrating) counsel from your Master, and a cure for all those (diseases) which are (hidden) in the chests. And it is guidance and mercy for those who believe. (Yūnus, 10:57)

From this verse, we learn that mankind, not just believers, are being told that when you have an issue in life that is affecting your heart — turn to the Qur’ān. Its light will begin to cure it once you let it enter your heart. Allāh doesn’t say a cure for the heart using the word: Quloob, rather, He uses the word: Sudoor (breasts/chests). This is not restrictive but it expands to everything around the heart and all the organs (including the physical and the metaphysical). This is the place that satanic humans and devils seek access to through their constant subtle messages. The Qur’ān is a defense. When we have relief from it, we are told there is guidance and mercy to be taken. That is to say, take the instructions of love and mercy in the Qur’ān and implement them in your lives. Bring the light into yourselves, your homes, and your neighbourhood. You will realise then what true mercy it is.

This verse significantly addresses all people and we will see how all people have seen the reality of this verse come to life. This message also informs us that the Qur’ān is not scary or a Book that is designed to destroy or manipulate. Rather is it something to provide love.

The following verse echoes the same message:

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And We are sending down in the Qur’ān what is healing and mercy for those who believe […] (al-Isrā’, 17:82)

Allāh also conveyed:

وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا أَعْجَمِيًّا لَّقَالُوا لَوْلَا فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ ۖ أَأَعْجَمِيٌّ وَعَرَبِيٌّ ۗ قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هُدًى وَشِفَاءٌ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ فِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرٌ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَمًى ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ يُنَادَوْنَ مِن مَّكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ

And if We had revealed this (Book) as a Qur’ān in a non-Arabic language, they would certainly have said: ‘Why have its Verses not been expounded expressly? Is the Book non-Arabic and the Prophet an Arab?’ (So, O Esteemed Beloved, We have revealed the Qur’ān also in your language.) Say: ‘That (Qur’ān) is guidance as well as healing for the believers, but those who do not believe, their ears are heavy with deafness, and that is blindness (as well) in their case, (as if) they are like men called from afar.’ (Fussilat, 41:44)

This verse informs us that healing is connected to the language of the Qur’ān. It cures from its every letter and sound.

There are also many traditions (ahādīth) that highlight the healing and blessings of the Qur’ān. These highlight certain chapters and how they were used. For example, we see the first chapter (al-Fātihah) and through its blessings curing wounds. In particular, there are many that mention the last three chapters (al-Ikhlās, al-Falaq and an-Nās) across various hadith collections. To mention a select few concerning cures and the Qur’ān:

عَنْ جَابِرٍ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ قَالَ لِكُلِّ دَاءٍ دَوَاءٌ فَإِذَا أُصِيبَ دَوَاءُ الدَّاءِ بَرَأَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, said, “Every disease has a cure. If a cure is applied to the disease, it is relieved by the permission of Allāh Almighty.”

[Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2204 Grade: Ṣaḥīḥ (authentic) according to Muslim]

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ دَاءً إِلَّا أَنْزَلَ لَهُ دَوَاءً وفي رواية أخرى قال عَلِمَهُ مَنْ عَلِمَهُ وَجَهِلَهُ مَنْ جَهِلَهُ

Abdullāh ibn Mas’ūd reported: The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allāh did not send down any disease but that he also sent its cure.” In another narration, the Prophet said, “One who has knowledge of it knows it, and one ignorant of it is ignorant.”

[Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 3438 Grade: Ṣaḥīḥ (authentic) according to Al-Albāni]

عَنْ أُسَامَةَ بْنِ شَرِيكٍ قَالَ قَالَتْ الْأَعْرَابُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَلَا نَتَدَاوَى قَالَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَعَمْ يَا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ تَدَاوَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَضَعْ دَاءً إِلَّا وَضَعَ لَهُ شِفَاءً أَوْ قَالَ دَوَاءً إِلَّا دَاءً وَاحِدًا قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا هُوَ قَالَ الْهَرَمُ

Usāmah ibn Sharīk reported: A bedouin said, “O Messenger of Allāh, shall we not seek treatment?” The Prophet said, “Yes, O servants of Allāh, seek treatment. Verily, Allāh did not place a disease but that he also placed its treatment or cure, except for one ailment.” They said, “O Messenger of Allāh, what is it?” The Prophet said, “Old age.”

[Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2038 Grade: Ṣaḥīḥ (authentic) according to Al-Tirmidhī]

It is documented that there are over 10,000+ diseases in the world and cures found in number seem to be fewer in number. These numbers do not factor in so many natural remedies that Allāh has granted us. There are new diseases that emerge all the time too, some that are extremely rare and others that are a cause for concern. There is incredible work being done to eradicate diseases and find cures. Allāh has placed responsible people in all fields to find these whether they are believers or not. It makes me ponder when we take this hadīth and apply it against the verses of the Qur’ān above, how many are missing out on guidance in finding further cures. Whilst at the same time, the importance of highly trained professional health practitioners that are firmly rooted in the Qur’ān and Sunnah. The Holy Prophet ﷺ encouraged treatment and likewise, these traditions should also encourage believers to be part of a legacy that engages in finding these cures.

We likewise see other traditions that mention cure from the Qur’ān:

It’s a spiritual medical technology promoting healing

There is a well-documented case coming from Pakistan where a hospital began experimenting with Surah al-Rahmān in aiding patients (Muslims and non-Muslims alike). They found remarkable results even curing cancer patients. In this interview (Urdu speakers) the doctor explains the process that anyone can adopt. Simply listen to the specific recording of the Surah by Qāri’ ‘Abdul Bāsit ‘Abd al-Samad 3 times a day for 7 days. There are other videos too that document stories and the process.

There are also research works that explore how the sound of the Qur’ān meets a certain frequency that is deemed to be in balance with nature. There is also a practice of reciting six verses of healing from the Qur’ān — those that mention a cure.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اﷲِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ رضي اﷲ عنهما قَالَ: فِي الْقُرْآنِ شِفَاءَانِ: الْقُرْآنُ وَالْعَسَلُ؛ القُرآنُ شِفَاءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ، وَالْعَسَلُ شِفَاءٌ مِنْ کُلِّ دَاءٍ. رواه البيهقي وقال: هذا هو الصحيح موقوف.

‘Abdullāh Ibn Mas’ūd said that he heard the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as saying: “There are two cures for you all: Honey and the Qur’ān.” [Hakim, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Tabarani, Bayhaqi]

He also said: “There are two cures in the Qur’ān: honey and the Qur’ān. One in the Qur’ān (itself) and one in honey. The Qur’ān is a cure for what is within the chests and honey is a cure from every other disease.” [Hakim, Ibn Abi Shaybah, Tabarani, Bayhaqi]

عَنْ وَاثِلَةَ بْنِ الأَسْقَعِ رضي اﷲ عنه: أَنَّ رَجُلاً شَکَی إِلَی رَسُولِ اﷲِ صلی الله عليه وآله وسلم وَجْعَ حَلْقِهِ. قَالَ: عَلَيْکَ بِقِرَاءَةِ الْقُرْآنِ. رواه البيهقي.

Wāthilah ibn al-Asqa’, may Allāh be pleased with him, said: A man complained of throat pain to the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and he said to him: ‘Recite the Qur’ān upon yourself’. [Bayhaqi]

عَنْ طَلْحَةَ بْنِ مَصْرَفٍ قَالَ: کَانَ يُقَالُ: إِنَّ الْمَرِيْضَ إِذَا قُرِئَ عِنْدَهُ الْقُرْآنُ وَجَدَ لَهُ خِفَّةً، فَدَخَلْتُ عَلَی خَيْثَمَةَ وَهُوَ مَرِيْضٌ، فَقُلْتُ: إِنِّي أَرَاکَ الْيَومَ صَالِحًا. قَالَ: إِنَّهُ قُرِئَ عِنْدِي الْقُرْآنُ. رواه البيهقي.

Talha ibn Masrif said: It is said that indeed when the Qur’ān is recited near a patient, he/she finds recovery. I visited Khaythamah when he was ill and I said: ‘I see that you are absolutely well today!’. He said: ‘The Qur’ān has been recited on me (i.e. it is through its blessings).’ [Bayhaqi]

عَنْ عَلِيٍّ رضي اﷲ عنه قَالَ: خَمْسٌ يَذْهَبْنَ بِالنِّسْيَانِ وَيَزِدْنَ فِي الْحِفْظَ وَيُذْهِبْنَ الْبَلْغَمَ: السِّوَاکُ، وَالصِّيَامُ، وَقِراَءَةُ الْقُرْآنِ، وَالْعَسَلُ، وَاللِّبَانُ. رواه الديلمي

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Five things remove forgetfulness and increase the memory and remove phlegm: (1) the tooth stick (miswak), (2) fasting, (3) the recitation of the Qur’ān, (4) honey and (5) frankincense.” [Bayhaqi, Daylami and others]

In 2018 research was done on the impact of the Qur’ān in “Treatment of Psychological Disorder and Spiritual Illness”. The experiments were conducted on 121 patients of both genders. The procedures that were followed were different sessions with the patients, who were given some verses from the Holy Qur’ān to listen within a specific period of time. After that, each patient was given a remedy program. This study aimed to measure the effectiveness and responsiveness of patients to receive treatment through Qur’ān. The results of the effectiveness factored in after ability and willingness and gave a result of 92.6% for those who support the contention that the Qur’ān has a significant healing influence. Also, some of the patients who regularly attended Qur’ānic therapy sessions had been successfully cured, 81.8% of the sample believe that Qur’ānic therapy sessions support their health needs. This study has empirically proved that the sound of the Holy Qur’ān is an effective treatment for those who suffer from spiritual and psychological issues.

Dr. C. Callender, Chair of the Surgery Department at Howard University, Washington D.C. rightly said: “The miracles of spiritual healing should be accepted as the newest medical technology.”

japanese scientist researched the effects on water of the Qur’ān and found how water and it’s properties change. There was also a study on the “Effect of Exposure to Quran Recitation on Cell Viability, Cell Migration, and BCL2L12 Gene Expression of Human Prostate Adenocarcinoma Cell Line in Culture”. Results of this investigation strongly suggested that Qur’ān recitation could alter cell proliferation and migration in human PC-3 cells. Moreover, it was shown that BCL2L12 was down-regulated in PC-3 prostate adenocarcinoma cell lines that were exposed to Qur’ān recitation. Our results revealed that Qur’ān recitation can also induce apoptosis in these tumor cells through the down-regulation of BCL2L12 expression. Interestingly, they also used the reciter Qāri’ ‘Abdul Bāsit ‘Abd al-Samad (Surah al-Fātihah).

If recitation and listening can change molecules, properties of water, treat those suffering from spiritual and psychological issues, cure cancer and other illnesses, what can the Qur’ān do for those who seek it and memorise it? The Qur’ān heals emotional wounds, concerns, grief, and accumulations of the past. You will be rejuvenated all again. You are reciting it all the time. You may ask, that’s me but I don’t feel what is being described. This will have many reasons but we saw in the research in Malaysia found a deciding factor to getting better was where patients had a firm belief (without a single doubt). Go back to your foundations and make them solid. Always renew intent and your faith.

So we see the first benefit is through recitation. It brings about the reduction of forgetfulness, cure, blessing, removal of sin, guidance, and mercy. You should, therefore, remember and include these things as an intention when memorising the Qur’ān. What an amazing gift we have been given!

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Memorisation in general has benefits!

  1. It trains the brain to remember things, it challenges the brain. Ten sessions of exercises to boost reasoning skills, memory and mental processing speed staved off mental decline in middle-aged and elderly people in the first definitive study to show that honing intellectual skills can bolster the mind in the same way that physical exercise protects and strengthens the body.
  2. Rote learning improves neural plasticity. Irish researchers found that through extended exercises in rote learning, learners can actually recall more information overall. Rote learning benefits the hippocampal foundation, a key structure in the brain for episodic and spatial memory in humans. In their group of participants aged 55–70, these researches noted that repeated activation of memory structures promotes neural plasticity in the aging brain.
  3. Those who obsess over sports statistics should be encouraged: neurobiologists believe that “mental gymnastics”, like remembering facts from sports history, can make your brain more quick and agile. Although researchers have yet to find a direct link, they do believe that there’s a plausible connection between sports score obsessions and a more flexible mind. Plus, as UCLA neuroscientist Arthur Toga points out, an exercise like reading sports scores “gets a lot more circuits involved” than, say, watching sports on TV.
  4. Weber State University student researcher Paula Fiet has delved into a working memory research project, discovering that underdeveloped short-term memory may be to blame for some students’ problems with mastering concepts in math and reading. Fiet explains, “you need working memory to learn,” or to hold enough information in your mind to comprehend what you’re learning. Fiet’s research has shown that “children with poor working memories don’t get enough information in their minds at one time to make sense of what is coming in.” Students who complete exercises aimed at building short-term memory have seen improvement in their working memory and capacity to learn.
  5. There are numerous studies and research always coming out on memorisation and what improves it all the time.

But what about memorising the Qur’ān? Well the same principles will be applied because those who engage in it engage in mental memory training. When done right, you reap other benefits.

Boosting the memory: Memorising the Qur’ān helps those with Alzheimers and Dementia

There was a study done by the Alzheimer’s Association with the aim to find the relationship between religiosity “memorising Qur’ān” and sharp healthy memory. The hypothesis was: assuming that the Qur’ān is an influential factor on the strength of memory in two ways: religiosity and spirituality, and on the mental stimulation then the memory of those who memorised the Qur’ān is stronger than those who didn’t and their probability to have memory problems and disorders is less.

The method of study was applied on 580 people from both genders aged from 20–40, half of them were religious who memorised the Qur’ān and the other half weren’t. The test used in the study was a paper containing a questionnaire and two tests, the questionnaire asked normal questions about factors that may affect memory. And the two tests were TYM (test your memory) translated into Arabic after taking the permission from the authors in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK and the 10 words test designed by Dr. Gary Small from his book (The Memory Bible). The grades of the two test were between A-F. The experiment confirmed the hypothesis as being correct. Now, this, of course, is a small study like the others but shows the potential and it should be studied further. For instance, we know that reading, in general, keeps the mind active and this can prevent the disease too. What differs here is the spiritual light and healing properties of the Qur’ān.

Memorising the Qur’ān trains and shapes the brain

Dr. Haneen Jarrar at Camali Clinic states that “Memorising an information and acting upon it, improves the working memory.” and working memory plays a major role in creativity among individuals. Mohamed Ghilan reflected on why the Qur’ān shapes the brain. He says: “While learning the Qur’ān, the careful attention to listening and pronunciation of verses stimulates an area of the brain located in the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe is also where the hippocampus is located, which is the memory consolidation center. It’s also the brain region activated for processing of musical sounds such as the case when the Qur’ān is recited. Moreover, it becomes involved when the student engages in handwriting exercises similar to the ones on the wooden board. Where this matters is that this is the part of the brain whose activity levels and capacities have been correlated with a person’s aptitude for learning new information. The more activation this area receives, and the more involved this activation is such as the case with the Qur’ān, the better and more efficient it becomes in its functions for learning and memory.”

Memorising the Qur’ān has positive effects on socio-culture life and academic achievement

There was a study done in Pakistan on the Effects of Memorizing Quran by Heart (Hifz) On Later Academic AchievementA sample of 36 Huffādh (21 male and 15 female) were selected from the colleges and universities of Peshawar and Rawalpindi having age range from 15–30 years. Purposive sampling technique and exploratory survey research methods were adopted for investigation.

Two types of questionnaire forms were developed to explore the pre-post academic achievement and sociocultural impacts of Hifdh (memorisation) on Huffādh (those who memorised). These forms were: for parents and the Huffadh. Both forms included close as well as open-ended questions. The analysis of responses revealed that Huffādh and their parents reported 12 aspects in which Hifdh affected Huffādh’s personality and Socio-Cultural life. The results revealed that all reported responses were positive in nature and not even a single negative effect was reported.

The test has its limitations too and are mentioned in the study but yet again this is indicative of certain benefits.

Memorising the Qur’ān improves the quality of life in stroke patients with aphasia motoric disorders

study done in Indonesia spent three months with patients with the purpose of determining the effect of memorising the Qur’ān. Specifically, Surah Tāhā, verses 25–28 on the functional communication skills, independence, and quality of life in stroke patients with motoric aphasia disorders. The study was conducted at Ja’far Medika Karanganyar General Hospital, Central Java, Indonesia for approximately 3 months, with a total sample of 102 motor aphasia stroke sufferers, divided into 2 groups (n = 51) as controls receiving medical therapy, (n = 51) intervention group who received medical therapy and were trained to memorising the Qur’ān. The time of the study was carried out for three months starting December 4, 2017 to March 21, 2018. Quantitative research was done using experimental design, simple randomised the pretest-posttest control group design. They found their hypothesis to be correct. Based on the results of path analysis that memorising the Qur’ān significantly influences the quality of life in stroke patients with motoric aphasia disorders. Thus the direct influence of memorising the Qur’ān (and family support) for the quality of life is better, without having to go through functional communication and the level of independence as mediation.

Memorising the Qur’ān helps with anxiety and depression, hypertension, and diabetes.

An irony: Many that do memorise or are trying to memorise the Qur’ān face stress, anxiety or depression. What about them?

There is something called Hifdh Depression. It sadly exists and it is something I intend to write about soon, with the divine facilitation of Allāh. In 2015, a study on Mental Health and Stress-coping Strategies among Memorisers of Holy Qur’an was published. The purpose of the study was to determine mental health and coping strategies in memorisers of the Qur’ān in Kashmar city (Iran) in 2013. Using a sample of 90 memorisers, they found that memorisers of the Qur’ān had high mental health and the priority in coping strategies that were used by them when they were emotional, problem solving and avoiding strategies, respectively. They found that anxiety and sleep disorders among the memorisers are at a significantly low level.

Another study in 2017 did a review on this topic. This systematic review study was performed on articles published between January 1990 and September 2017. Several online databases were searched with the keywords of “Quran,” “anxiety,” “clinical trial.” The risk of bias across all included studies was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias tool. Of the 973 articles found in the initial search, 28 randomised controlled trials and quasi-experiments were selected for the systematic review. In most studies, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was used to measure participants’ anxiety. Findings of this review revealed a positive effect of listening to Holy Qur’ān recitation in reducing anxiety in various settings. Only one study had reported that the anxiety level in Holy Qur’ān recitation group was less than that of the control group, but it was not statistically significant. Based on the available research, they concluded, Qur’ān recitation can be used as a useful non-pharmacological treatment to reduce anxiety. However, methodologically strong randomised controlled trials are needed in this area.

The Qur’ān does offer guidance, console, and counsel to the Holy Prophet ﷺ in times when he was facing social and mental challenges. It provides us insights into mental health and various states of human beings. From the human being born in a state of anxiety to Lady Maryam (peace be upon her) speaking of wishing her own death. Above all, the Qur’ān promises that the hearts gain peace through His remembrance. 

As mentioned and requested by many of you, I will be addressing mental health challenges through our platforms in more detail.

A further study found an association between Qur’ān memorisation and health among older men. This cross-sectional study included older Saudi men (age ≥ 55 years) from Buraidah, Al-Qassim. The neighborhoods were selected randomly (20 out of 96); eligible men from the mosques were recruited. Demographics, lifestyle, and depression were assessed with standardised questionnaires; height, weight, blood pressure, and random blood glucose (glucometer) were measured with standard protocol.

The mean and standard deviation for age, body mass index, and Qur’ān memorisation were 63 years (7.5), 28.9 kg/m2 (4.8), and 4.3 sections (6.9). Prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and depression were 71%, 29%, and 22%, respectively. Those who memorised at least 10 sections of Qur’ān were 64%, 71%, and 81% less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, and depression compared to those who memorised less than 0.5 sections, after controlling for covariates.

In this study, a linear trend was observed between the quantity of Qur’ān memorisation and disease outcomes, that is, the likelihood of participants having hypertension, diabetes, and depression decreased across the increased categories of memorisation. In particular, the benefit was strong and significant for participants who memorized at least 10 sections of Qur’ān. There was a strong linear association between Qur’ān memorisation and hypertension, diabetes, and depression indicating that those who had memorised a larger portion of the Qur’ān were less likely to have one of these chronic diseases. Future studies should explore the potential health benefits of Qur’ān memorsation and the underlying mechanisms.

This study like others mentioned, gives us a glimpse of what the untapped nature of the Qur’ān is. There is always something to be discovered.

My Observations

You may ask about my own experience and the experiences of others. What have I found to be true with those who have memorised the Qur’ān. What changed with me and within me when I was memorising and after. What have I heard and seen in my research.

Good question. Firstly, I am incredibly grateful to my Rabb (Master) and I am always reflecting on the years that have passed. I can tell you a few things that I have noticed as being common between those that have memorised. We become masters of memorisation and the art of memorisation. When I began memorising and had done as little as 5 juz — I saw a difference in my secular studies. I used to be able to absorb information quicker. I would adopt the same techniques used when memorising the Qur’ān with memorising other things. I have seen those who have conditions and diseases memorise the Qur’ān. Their conditions haven’t gone but they’ve seen a huge change. Positive steps. I have seen the effects of the recitation of the Qur’ān and its healing properties. I have been reciting since a young age and recently people had mentioned how my recitation was a healing and peace for them. Allāh knows best but…

Conclusion

We see the many benefits to health through memorisation and especially the memorisation of the Qur’ān. Whilst we can point at deficiencies in studies, we cannot point out any with the Qur’ān. It is healing.

If any of you have any stories to share about your experiences with healing through memorisation of the Qur’ān specifically. I would love to hear from you. Email me or get in touch through social media.

May Allāh grant us health and wellbeing. Strength in the physical, mental, and spiritual and open our chests for healing, guidance, and mercy.

Ameen.

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