quran memorisation advice from madina imam qasim

Many of you have messaged me over the years since I first published this. It has been really beneficial to so many of you. Even Shaykh Abū Bakr al-Shātrī loves this method and always mentions it all the time. Although he prefers 21 times repetition.⁣ This method is excellent for strong memorisation. You don’t need to use this method but you should definitely give it a try.

The method of memorisation (Hifz)

This method was shared by Dr. Abdul Muhsin Al Qāsim, the Imām, and Khatīb of Masjid al-Nabawiyy. The Mosque of the delight of our eyes, the Messenger of Allāh, our beloved master Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The method is rooted in high repetition.

Taking the example of Surah al-Jumu’āh (which starts at top of the page (one-side) in the King Fahd Qur’ān):

  1. Recite the first verse (āyah) 20 times (or more)
  2. Recite the second verse 20 times
  3. Recite the third verse 20 times
  4. Recite the fourth verse 20 times
  5. Recite these (above) four from the beginning to the end, to link them, 20 times.
  6. Recite the fifth verse 20 times
  7. Recite the sixth verse 20 times
  8. Recite the seventh verse 20 times
  9. Recite the eighth verse 20 times
  10. Recite from the fifth verse to the eighth verse 20 times to consolidate between them
  11. Recite from the first verse to the eighth verse 20 times to perfect this page.

You should continue in this way for every page (one-side) of the Qur’ān.

Persist with it and you will get better and better. As with anything the more you give to it, the better you get. The next thing to note is that you should not exceed memorising a certain amount so as to not exert yourself. You should not exceed your daily portion above and beyond one-eighth of a chapter.

How much do you recite from memory and what do you recite by looking?

  1. You can do this by looking when memorising each verse separately and without looking when linking. But when you recite the 20 by looking separately you can add 1 without looking.
  2. You can divide up the 20 repetition between looking and without, for example, recite 13 looking and then 7 without. Or split it 10 looking and 10 without. This is something that can be done in any way that’s appropriate. Could you increase the 20? Yes if necessary.
  3. You can do 20 looking and then say it without looking several times. If you are going to attempt this method, then try different things and see what best suits your needs. Ultimately you have to recite without looking and so the more you can do so, the better.

If I wish to memorise a new page tomorrow then how do you do it?

If you wish to memorise another page for the next day, before you memorise the new page using the method mentioned above, recite from the beginning of the page (you memorised yesterday) to the end of the page 20 times so that the previously memorised page becomes solid (in your memory). Then memorise the new page using the method shown.

How do I combine between memorisation and revision?

Remember one thing: do not memorise the Qur’ān without doing revision. If you memorise the Qur’ān, page by page until you complete the Qur’ān, and you wish to return to what you have memorised you would find that you’ll have forgotten what you had memorised.

The correct way is to combine memorisation with revision. How do you do this?

Divide the Qur’ān into 3 divisions: every 10 parts (juz’) is a division. If you memorise one page a day, then you should revise 4 pages a day until you have memorised 10 juz’. Then when you have memorised 10 juz’, stop for one month for revision, every day revising 8 pages.

And after a month of revision, start memorising the remainder, a page or two, according to your capabilities, and revise 8 pages until you complete memorising 20 juz’. Then when you have memorised 20 juz’, stop the memorisation for 2 months for the revision of the 20 juz’, every day revising 8 pages. Then when the 2 months of revision have passed, start with the memorisation, doing one or two pages every day according to your capability, while revising 8 pages until you complete memorising the entire Qur’ān.

When you have completed memorising the entire Qur’ān, revise the first 10 juz’ alone for one month; every day half a juz’. Then you go to the second 10 juz’ for a month, every day half a juz’ and you read 8 pages from the first 10 juz’. Then you go to memorising the last 10 juz’ for one month, every day half a juz’ and 8 pages from the first 10 juz’ and 8 pages from the second 10 juz’.

When you’re doing the repetitions, do the majority of them from memory only when you’re able to.

Summary of above

MemoriseRevise (next day)Revision (divisions of 10)
Memorise a page a day (one-side) till you reach 10 juz’Repeat yesterdays’ x 20 plus new pageRevise 4 pages (sides) a day till you reach 10 juz’.
Break for a monthBreakRevise 8 pages (sides) daily
Memorise a page a day (one-side) till you reach 20 juz’Repeat yesterdays’ x 20 plus new pageRevise 4 pages (sides) a day till you reach 20 juz’.
Break for two monthsBreakRevise 8 pages (sides) daily
Memorise a page a day (one-side) till you reach the endRepeat yesterdays’ x 20 plus new pageRevise 8 pages (sides) daily
No more memorisationRevise the first 10 juz’ for one month taking half a juz’ daily. Then for the second 10 juz’ taking half a juz’ daily plus 8 pages from the first 10 juz’. Then go to the last 10 juz’ doing half a juz’ daily plus 8 pages from the first 10 juz’ and 8 pages from the second 10 juz’

How do I revise the entire Qur’ān when I have completed this (above) revision?

Start with revising the entire Qur’ān: every day 2 parts (juz), repeating them thrice every day, thereby completing the revision of the entire Qur’ān every two weeks. And in this way, for one year you would memorise the entire Qur’ān with perfection while you use this method for the whole year.

What do I do after one year of memorising the Qur’ān?

After a year of perfecting the revision of the Qur’ān, then let your “Manzil” (division) of the Qur’ān be that of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) until your death. The Qur’ān is divided into seven divisions in this way you complete the Qur’ān once every seven days.

(Note: there are two terms used, Manzil and Hizb. They both mean portions but will be used in different Qur’ān copies. Manzil is used in Asian/sub-continental copies whereas Hizb is used in Arab/Uthmāni copies. There are 60 Hizb altogether but divided into 4 quarters per Hizb. The Manzil method divides each Juz into 4 quarters but divides the Qur’ān into 7 divisions).

Ahmad and Abu Dāwūd narrated from Aws b. Hudhayfa, may Allāh be well pleased with him, who said: ‘We came to the Messenger of Allāh, prayers and peace be upon him, as part of the delegation of Thaqif.’  He said: ‘The Messenger of Allāh, prayers and peace be upon him, would come to us every night after ‘ishā’ and speak to us.’  He said: ‘One night he was late from (coming to see us at) the time he would come to us.’  We said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh, you have come to us late tonight.’  He said: ‘I had my portion of the Qur’ān to read and I did not want to come until I had finished it.’ 

‘Aws said: ‘I asked the companions of the Messsenger of Allāh, prayers and peace be upon him, about how he divided up his reading of the Qur’ān.’  They said: ‘Three, five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen and the Mufassal.’

Thus, the Prophet, prayers, and peace be upon him, would complete the Qur’ān weekly. His reading would be as follows:

  • Day 1: Fātiha to Al-‘Imrān (three surahs)
  • Day 2: Al-Nisā’ to Al-Anfāl (five surahs)
  • Day 3: Al-Tawbā to Al-Hijr (seven surahs)
  • Day 4: Al-Nahl to Al-Nūr (nine surahs)
  • Day 5: Al-Furqān to Al-Fātir (eleven surahs)
  • Day 6: Yā Sīn to Al-Fath (thirteen surahs)
  • Day 7: Al-Hujurāt to Al-Nās (Mufassal)

How do I differentiate between the Mutashābihāt (verses that are similar) in the Qur’ān?

The best way is that when you come across two similar verses in the Qur’ān, then open the Qur’ān (Mushaf) to both these verses and look at the difference in the two verses and reflect over it, and set a rule for yourself, and during your memorisation note the difference many times until you have perfected the similarities between the two of them.

Rules and disciplines in memorisation:

  • It is necessary that you do your memorisation with a qualified teacher (so that he may) correct the recitation.
  • Memorise two (sides of a) pages every day, one after Fajr and one after ‘Asr or Maghrib and in this way, you will memorise the entire Qur’ān solidly during one year and your memorisation will be perfect, but if you increase in memorisation then that which you memorised will be weak. (based upon 20 pages per juz Qur’ān / 15 lines)
  • The memorisation should be from Sura Nās to Sura Fātihah because it is easier, and after your memorisation of the Qur’ān, your revision should be from Surah Baqarah to Surah Nās.
  • The memorisation should be from one printed copy so it helps the firm-rootedness of memorisation and the quickness of remembering the places of the verses and the ending of pages and the beginning of them.
  • Everyone memorising in the first two years, that which is memorised slips away (he forgets easily that which has been memorised), and this is called “the assembly stage” so do not feel sad that the Qur’ān is slipping away from you or your many mistakes. And this is a difficult phase with trials, because Shaytān has a part in stopping you from memorising the Qur’ān. So turn down his whisperings and continue memorising because it is a treasure not given to just anyone.

Originally written by: Dr ‘Abdul Muhsin al-Qāsim Imām and Khatīb of the Prophets Mosque in Madīnah al-Munawwarah. Updated and edited by Qāri Mubashir.

An alternate method

@medic.hafiz adapted this method to fit their needs and noted that the original article did not specify the reading speed or frequency for looking at the text or reciting from memory. Here’s the adapted method below:

  1. Listen to the page.
  2. Recite the first line six times while looking at it slowly.
  3. Read each line six times slowly, followed by 14 times quickly.
  4. Repeat step 3 for each line until you reach the halfway point of the page.
  5. Read the first half of the page six times slowly and 14 times quickly from memory.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 for the second half of the page.
  7. Read the full page from memory six times slowly and 14 times quickly.
  8. At another time during the day, read the full page from memory an additional 20 times.

Tips from Abu Bakr Ash-Shātrī

  • Repeat 21 times.
  • When you’ve memorised the entire Qur’ān, you must have a fixed amount daily. This should be between a juz’ or 3 ajzā’ daily.
  • You should aim to complete the Qur’ān every 10 days.
  • Alongside your daily fixed amount, take a portion that you are weak in to look at as well. You should repeat that 7 times. For example, you’re revising juz’ 1 but you also look at a quarter of Sūrah Hūd 7 times. Repeat it in your salāh (especially at night) as well. The next day, you’re doing the next juz’ for example, and the next quarter of Sūrah Hūd. If you do a quarter alongside the usual daily portion, you create a supplementary revision tool to strengthen everything.
  • For the Mutashābihāt, it is imperative that you know the meanings. For example, Allāh says in Sūrah Āle ‘Imrān:

    إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا۟ مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ ٱلْتَقَى ٱلْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا ٱسْتَزَلَّهُمُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُوا۟ ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
    Indeed, those ˹believers˺ who fled on the day when the two armies met were made to slip by Satan because of their misdeeds. But Allah has pardoned them. Surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Forbearing. (3:155)

    Most people would think it would end with Raheem instead of Haleem. Here it is Haleem because when they were made to slip, Allāh had overlooked them and so Allāh was Forbearing.

For an alternative method also from Madinah, you can see the Takrar method.

Edits and updates by: Qāri’ Mubashir, founder of How To Memorise The Quran.

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