Areefa (now 20) caught up with me to share her story and tips for you in hope that it brings benefit to you.
My name is Areefa and I recently turned 20. I’m a student from Birmingham, UK. I love reading books and amongst the most memorable books I’ve read is ‘Reclaim your heart’ by Yasmin Mogahed.
When did you begin memorising and what made you start?
I don’t remember the dates exactly. Though it all started off with a challenge, my exact phrases were “how hard could this book be” and “it’s only a book.” One of my cousins sister then challenged me, saying that if it is only a book for you, then it shouldn’t be hard for you to memorise it. I started my Qur’an memorisation but my mum would stop me, she used to say “your gonna suffer.” That was true in a good way. Once I started the Qur’an memorisation I realised that it wasn’t only a book, it was more than that! 🙂
When did you finish memorising?
I finished my Qur’an memorisation in 2014 (last year).
The journey hasn’t finished yet has it. I’d say that the Hafidh/Hafidha truly begins his or her journey when they’ve memorised. The challenge starts here. What are your plans for revision?
My journey hasn’t finished yet, no, and there is so much more for me to learn. To understand the Qur’an and implement it. I really want to learn classical Arabic and this has been one of my future plans. I have not gone into further studying the Qur’an with Tafseer. Things get harder along the way. However, I have learnt the different Qiraat styles and I will carry on practicing my recitation and perfecting my Qur’an.
My routine for revision is usually one juz a day.
I first highlight my weak points and then learn them. I then read it and review it off memory. I usually do 1 juz daily but I take my time and put effort into it. I go over a juz twice.
At times when I’m really busy and not able to find time for my memorisation, I surround myself with recitation. So it helps me keep my memorisation stronger. One of the benefits of memorising the Qur’an is that we could recite Qur’an in our prayer and it could be just a portion of it. This is my way of revising.However, it would be hard for those people who have memorised or have forgotten it due to the lack of review. For them, I would say start from 2- 3 pages a day and stay consistent with them for a week and then move on to the next 2–3 pages. Remember to keep in mind about the last pages that you have memorised perfectly. So it would be 6 pages together for the second week. Carry on revising them for a week so that they stay consistent.
You should make a plan on reading 1 juz for two months or a month if that is possible and listen to the recitation often.
“If you want to memorise the Qur’an, it requires alot of patience, determination, and hard work.”
What are your tips and advice for those memorising?
Based on Qur’an memorisation experience:
Stick to one Mushaf
Once you make an intention to memorise the Holy Qur’an, you should choose one, main particular Qur’an that you will use without changing it. I used a 16 lined Qur’an when I started memorising. The recommended Qur’an for Hifz is either a 13 lines or a 16 lines Qur’an. It’s very important to stick to one Qur’an without changing it. I once changed my Qur’an and had to go back to my original copy. This is because once you begin to memorise the Qur’an, you begin to visualise the letters and you’ll know which line is where in the Qur’an. You would even know when the page turns, off by heart. It’s happens naturally. There’s a good thing to this, you’ll know if someone is listening to you properly. When I’m reciting to someone, I can figure out which ayah the person is looking at by just looking at them and I can figure out if they are looking at the right line. This only happens if the same person uses a 16 lines Qur’an to listen to you or your own Qur’an. So, I always gave my Qur’an to the teacher to listen to.
In other words, I could say that it creates an attachment with the Qur’an. I don’t know how to describe the feelings but it makes you feel good and very close to it.
So, I started of memorising my Qur’an from the back. I started off with the 30th, 29th, and 28th up to the 15th juz and then I started off from the front side till I finished memorising the Qur’an. Alhamdulillah. The best way to start memorizing is from the back of the Qur’an and start it off with Juz ‘Amma (30th). The reason for this is because the verses are small and it’s easier to memorize. The verses maybe small but there is a lot of repetition, you’ll get the hang of it and it would be easier for you to memorise long verses of the Qur’an later on.
Let me give you an example of the technique I have used to memorise.
I’ll start it off with Surah ‘Abasa in the last 30th Juz. So the first verse of the Surah ‘Abasa is “Abasa Watawalla.”
This verse has two words.
So, start it off by repeating the word: ‘Abasa. Repeat it with correct Makharij and Tajweed rules. You start off by reading the words, recite it 10x till you can pronounce it properly. Repeat it 20x or 100x till you begin to visualise the words. By that I mean up to the point where you can picture the words in your mind or vision. Then use the same technique for the next word of the ayah “Watawalla”. Once done, bring the words “Abasa” and “watawalla” together. These words form an ayah (verse) so now you repeat the ayah 15x to 25x or more till you can imagine the words in your head. Then close your Qur’an and read it to yourself, you can also record it. Read it till you feel comfortable that you know this ayah.Then move onto the next ayah “An jaaa-ahul ‘a’maa”. You can break this verse in three words: “An jaaa”, “ahul” and “a’maa.” Start of by using the same technique. When you’re on the second word of this ayah and you’ve learnt it, go back to the first word of this ayah and recite the two words together. Once you know them, learn the last word of the ayah. After you have learnt it, repeat the 2nd ayah of Surah ‘Abasa till you know it. Finally, go back to the beginning of the 1st verse “abasa watallah” and the 2nd verse “An jaaa-ahul a’maa”. Repeat these two till you know it and it flows together in your mind up to the point where you can visualise it.
Carry on like this with rest.
Always remember to go back to the beginning and repeat it.
It can be difficult but you can make it easy
It may seem hard at first, I found it very hard to memorise. I began off with 3 lines then 5 lines for the 30th, 29th juz. After that it was half of a page and then a page of 16 lines. Once you get used to the techniques of memorisation, memorisation will not be hard. You would find it easier. Later on, I could memorise 16 lines x 3 pages a day. Memorisation becomes very easy. I don’t know how that happens. There are many methods by which you can memorise the Qur’an. It depends on the type of learner you are such as you may be an auditory learner.
When listening to reciters, choose a reciter that matches your voice tone and your pace. When memorising the Qur’an, I used to listen to Qari Mishary Rashid Al ‘Afasy. My voice is light so I changed it to Qari Youssef Edgouch. I find his recitation pace very easy to copy.
Times to Memorise & Benefits
The best times I used to memorise was after Maghrib prayer and finish late ‘Isha. I used to correct my memorisation after Fajr and during Qiyaam ul layl. These were the best times for me. I don’t know but there is some connection with the Qur’an once you know how to memorise the Qur’an. You’ll know how to write Arabic and you’ll know how to read it, even without the Harakat. You can even begin to understand some parts of it but not all. Memorisation also becomes very easy in other things.
About listening to a reciter. You mentioned that the recitation should match your tone and pace. Why do you think that is? Is it solely about imitation?
Yeah for imitation purposes, especially if you want to beautify recitation. There are people that have light and deep tones. It’s better to choose a reciter that matches your tone and pace of voice. And once you have that, it becomes very easy to imitate the rhythm and the tone of the reciter. Plus it makes your recitation beautiful.
As a young sister, what challenges did you face memorising the Qur’an if at all? And what advice would you give to sisters specifically?
When I was halfway through the Qur’an, I gave it up because I found it so hard. But with the encouragement of my parents I still managed. The last juz were finally easy to do. Alhumdulillah. I would say to the sisters that if they want to memorise the Qur’an, it requires a lot of patience, determination, and hard work.