As a beginner, you can be overwhelmed. You don’t know how to start and have so many questions. So here’s a quick starters guide for anyone thinking of starting their memorisation journey.
Words used for memorisation
The word used is Ḥifẓ (حفظ), also transliterated as Hifdh, Hifth, Hifzh or other ways. The word used for someone that has memorised is Ḥāfiẓ (حافظ male) or Ḥāfiẓah (حافظة female). Other ways you might find this transliterated for Haafiz, Hafidh, Haafith and others. The plural for memorisers is Ḥuffāẓ (حفاظ male/female) and Ḥāfiẓāt (حافظات female).
The first thing to concern yourself with is your set of intentions. Make it clear and be specific. Your goal is to write down your intentions. For examples:
- I want to memorise because I want a higher degree in paradise.
- I want it to be a means for me to enter paradise.
- I want to memorise for it to become a means to elevate my salāh.
- I want to memorise for the sake of Allāh with hope and belief in His Acceptance and Forgiveness.
You can have multiple intentions. Make sure they’re strong, well-thought-out, and intentions that you really feel. The stronger you feel about them, the better it will be. Keep this written record for you to see on a daily basis.
Create a system and schedule
The second thing to do is to create a system and schedule for yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself here. Keep it real basic. Your aim should be on how you’re going to get started. So think about:
- Your memorisation goals: Specific chapters or the whole thing?
- Your availability: What days and times can you commit to?
- Your place/environment: These can be multiple places. Do you have an environment where you can memorise free from distraction with focus and productivity?
- Your commitment: This ties in with time and place. How committed can you be to that time and place with consistency? Whether you choose to be in the home, the Masjid, with a teacher in-person or online or have someone else that you pair with.
You need to be honest with yourself.
Understand yourself as a learner
Take some time to understand your strengths as a learner and evaluate your context.
Recognising how you learn things best. This is usually a combination of things like listening, writing, understanding, and associations. Your context is your world. Is it busy with working life, study, family, children, or other responsibilities? Look at your ability to learn in your situation. Consider your mental health, your stress levels, your energy levels, the inner demons, the things that distract you, things that cause you negativity, and how they might impact your intentions and journey. What are the things that make you lose focus, time, and energy? What subjects did/do you excel at? How do/did you revise and learn your material at school, college, or university? How do you currently consume learning material and learn best? think about situations where you have needed to learn something for work or DIY at home. This can even be how you learned to cook!
The thing to be careful of is not to be put down by these, the purpose of this task is for you to know that no matter what’s happening you can do it, you can keep going, and tell yourself: “I can do it. I will find a way to do this despite everything. I am going to stick to it.”
Take a litmus test to determine your quantity
When you have all three (intentions, a system, and schedule, and a basic self-awareness) you can think about how you should memorise. These are the factors that will help determine and shape the way that you should memorise.
Your first task here is to choose a Qur’ān that you will use to memorise with. This should be a copy that you can easily recite from without any issues. Common choices today include the 15-lined Qur’ān or 13 to 16 lined copies. Next, take your determined day, time, and place and set yourself a test. During this period you will commit to memorise as much as you can. You should take a random full-page and attempt to memorise it. Whatever you’re able to recall comfortably by the end of this period should be taken as your quantity to start memorising with.
Another approach to it:
- Pick a random page and a good time of the day to memorise it (Fajr, or Maghrib if you can). Make sure this is a page somewhere from the middle of a juz’.
- Time yourself to a maximum of 1-2 hours.
- At the end of the hour(s), see how much you memorised.
- If you don’t have anyone to test you, make a recording of yourself.
Start your journey
Now that you’ve done your intention work, made a plan, and figured out a basic methodology for memorisation, you can start. A recommendation to start is from the 30th, Sūrah an-Naas working your way from there. A basic principle to remember is: always make time for review! This means you need to recall whatever you’re memorising with regularity. A typical memorisation journey includes time for memorisation, review of your recent memorisation and a review of your past memorised portions. For example, you’re memorising from the 1st but you’ve done the 30th. You would review whatever you’ve done from the 1st and from the 30th. Take a look at all the methods in the articles library to explore methods for memorisation and review.
Could you start from another place instead of the 30th? Absolutely. There are different paths you can take. My recommendation is to start small. If you want to test the waters, start with a Sūrah that you love. You can also explore the most common routes to memorisation.