Best Time to Memorise

Many of us can get obsessed over what time is the best and what time isn’t, to such a level that this becomes an excuse to do nothing. Some feel as though they’ve missed the best time and so there’s no point.

We have all heard a lot of thoughts and opinions shared on “the best time” through knowledge, experiences, research, and best practices. We’ve all typically heard that the best time to learn is Fajr but many of us struggle with keeping that time.

Instead of thinking of what the best time is, I want you to think about the opportunity itself. The chance to memorise the Qur’ān. And I want you to think about windows of time where performance is optimised, and distraction is reduced, and so on.

It’s like asking, “What’s the best time to exercise?” Everyone is different. Some of us have such busy schedules (that can’t always be controlled) that we have to fit in the exercise wherever we can. According to some studies the best window of opportunity to exercise are 30 minutes after waking up, 3 hours after waking up, and 11 hours after waking. But you have to work out what works for you. Intensity levels, consistency and the volume of training have their own impact (regardless of the time). Memorisation of the Qur’ān is no different.

The best time is right now

“There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time.” (Sahīh al-Bukhārī)

The reality is that there’s no better time to memorise the Qur’ān than right now. You’re not going to get it again. Wherever you have time and you want to memorise, do it! In other words, build a habit because the best time is that which you can do consistently. Something that you can commit to consistently will improve your skill and learning. Consistency doesn’t necessarily mean every day, it can be any system, even if it’s twice a week.

The best time is self-awareness

Choose a time where you have good alertness, energy, less distraction and can be consistent. These are the only requirements. Everyone is different. You need to understand yourself.

The best time is to make the most of your time

  • Use Fajr, Dhuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Ishā (spaced repetition)
  • Start in the morning, seal it at night
  • Start at night, seal it in the morning
  • Set a specific time and day
  • Create blocks of time
  • Make use of holidays or weekends

Remember that no one is the same

Some people:

  • prefer early morning
  • prefer nights before sleep
  • have no choice but to use times they have
  • memorise at ‘Ishā’, review at Fajr
  • feel they do best at ‘Asr
  • feel they do best at Tahajjud and Fajr
  • feel they do best throughout the day

What do studies suggest is the best time to learn?

Some memory studies show that the night is the best (before bedtime) and some studies will show that review is the best in the morning. Some will show that learning something at Fajr although effective, it’s not long-term. Some will show the best time to learn is during the evening.

Each to their own, why would there be such different opinions? ⁣Because everyone is different. In each study, there are different people partaking in them. So results will differ.⁣

A balanced approach is best. Think of it as averaging in on time. Spaced repetition.⁣

The brain is sharpest at short-term and detailed memory in the morning hours. From the afternoon till the evening, it’s good at consolidating – our ability to integrate new information with what we already know and make it meaningful.

How the Qur’ān mentions times of the day

Just look at how the Qur’ān mentions the times of the day…

  • Fajr is mentioned around 12 times (or 13 indirectly).⁣
  • Dhuhr is mentioned 2-3 times.⁣
  • ‘Asr is mentioned once (or twice indirectly).⁣
  • The evening (‘ashiy) is mentioned around 14 times.⁣
  • The night is mentioned around 103 times.⁣

If we wanted to take a form of guidance from the Qur’ān itself, we see the approach is to begin a large chunk in the morning, review it in small chunks throughout the day, and then seal it in the evening and night.⁣

Ultimately, don’t get bogged down by what is the best and what isn’t. You have to self-discover. Then remain steadfast on that discovery.⁣ Focus on routine habit!

What about those who say Fajr is the best based on tradition and experience

Our teacher and example, the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ peace, and blessings of Allāh be upon him) prayed, “O Allāh, bless my nation in their early morning.” (Ibn Mājah) And “O Allāh, bless my nation early in the morning of Thursday.” (Ibn Mājah)

The Prophet (ﷺ) used the word “Bukoor” for the morning which comes from ba-ka-ra. This refers to the first part of the day or between the time of the prayer of Fajr and sunrise. The same word is used for when fruit first ripens and the first rainfall of the season.

When he (ﷺ) recited: “And recite the Qur’ān during the Fajr. Verily, the recitation of the Qur’ān during Fajr is ever witnessed.” He ﷺ) said: “It is witnessed by the angels of the night and the day.”

When he (ﷺ) would dispatch an army, he would do so at the beginning of the day. (Sunan Tirmidhī). The narrators of this Hadīth say regarding the companion that reported it was a tradesman who would commence his trade early in the day. He so became very wealthy.

Based on these traditions, many try to benefit from the morning and the blessings that it contains through the prayers and attention given to it by the Prophet (ﷺ). There’s no doubting that this is a blessed time. The Prophet (ﷺ) used to recite Qur’ān at this time.

What’s my experience?

I have memorised and reviewed it at different times. I used to memorise between 5pm and 7pm and experienced slow progress. I used to memorise at night alone before bed and then memorise when waking up (before 8am). I found that to be better. I found that if my energy levels were down, or my alertness was down, time didn’t make a difference. This was especially the case when memorising in the evening but mornings weren’t as affected. Mornings were always sharp and focused. Later on in life, as I got busy, I preferred nights as I got time alone.

May Allāh grant blessing in our time and journey!

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