Today, I will share a few thoughts reflecting on the process of memorisation itself and what we can learn from it.
The Prophet (ﷺ) is our model Hāfiz
In Surah al-Ahzāb, verse 21 Allāh states: “In truth, in the Messenger of Allāh you have a most perfect model (for life) to follow for everyone who hopes in Allāh and the Last Day and remembers Allāh often.”
This verse reminds us that our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) is a role model for all to follow. He is someone who exemplifies hope in Allāh, belief in the Last Day, and constant remembrance of Allāh. That remembrance is personified by the fact that he was the walking Qur’ān and its carrier. By following his example, we can hope to lead lives that are pleasing to Allāh and that will be rewarded on the Day of Judgment. It is important for us to study the teachings and actions of the Prophet (ﷺ) and to do our best to emulate his virtues in our own lives. This includes how he memorised the Qur’ān!
He (ﷺ) was the one that used to recite the Qur’ān to the angel Jibreel (peace be upon him) once a year. According to the hadīth, which is narrated by Abdullāh ibn Mas’ūd and recorded in Sahīh Bukhārī and Sahīh Muslim, the Prophet (ﷺ) would review the Qur’ān with Jibreel once every year, and he would review it with him twice in the year in which he passed away.
There weren’t breaks or moments of convenience. As narrated by our Mother ‘Ā’ishah (may Allāh be pleased with her) that: “When revelation descended upon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) even during the cold days, his forehead perspired.”
One of the reasons for this was that the Prophet (ﷺ) would fully engage with revelation and would process it fully. This led to a change in his state and it would reflect physically upon his blessed being.
“Exalted is Allah, the True King! Do not rush to recite ˹a revelation of˺ the Quran ˹O Prophet˺ before it is ˹properly˺ conveyed to you, and pray, “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (Surah Tāhā, 114)
The Prophet (ﷺ) was eager to recite the Qur’ān while it was being revealed to him through the angel Jibreel. So he (ﷺ) was told to take his time to learn it by heart once the verses are properly delivered to him.
So many of us have heard this verse (from Surah Tāhā) or have memorised it. Contemplate! This verse informs you of how you should be memorising the Qur’ān.
We learn that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to listen to Jibreel and repeat after him. Even after memorising, he would follow up with review. We learn that the Prophet (ﷺ) would contemplate and would be told the best way to memorise. Take your time, listen, repeat and understand. Ensuring that he won’t forget it.
This is why we see Allāh says:
“Do not rush your tongue trying to memorize ˹a revelation of˺ the Quran.
It is certainly upon Us to ˹make you˺ memorize and recite it.
So once We have recited a revelation ˹through Gabriel˺, follow its recitation ˹closely˺.
Then it is surely upon Us to make it clear ˹to you˺.”
“We will have you recite ˹the Quran, O Prophet,˺ so you will not forget ˹any of it˺,”
This example teaches us the importance of taking our time, listening carefully, repeating and understanding the verses of the Qur’ān in order to effectively memorise them. It also emphasizes the value of review and contemplation in helping us to retain and deepen our connection. By following the example of the Prophet (ﷺ) and approaching our study of the Qur’ān with diligence and a desire to internalise its message, we can hope to become more deeply connected to Allāh and to live our lives in accordance with His guidance.
Memorising fast is not the best way to memorise the Qur’ān. Rather the best way is to take your time, listen, repeat and reflect.
Active listening to the Qur’ān is one of the greatest means of memorisation. The Prophet (ﷺ) would listen and repeat after Jibreel. It was not written or recited by looking, rather it was all through listening and repeating.
We are given a du’ā’ to recite to enable us to memorise the Qur’ān – “Rabbī zidnī ‘ilmā”. My Master, increase me in knowledge! This informs us that we must also make du’ā’ part of the journey and this specific one holds much significance.2 - Like and share!