During a conversation I had with one of my past teachers, he made a bold yet revealing claim.
He said that if you revised your Qur’ān four hours a day you will gain mastery. I thought it made sense, but others may need more time or, others may not even have that kind of time. He simply said:
“I guarantee you, anyone that wants to should take out 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours of the night. InshāAllāh they will have strengthened their Qur’ān.”
With Ramadān around the corner, many Huffādh get back into a revision routine. Others make plans, but nothing comes to fruition. I’ve had many people asking me to write about revision so here are some methods to help you.
Common Methods for Revising the Qur’ān
The Four Hour Routine
Back to what the teacher said. There’s a reason those you hear about having mastery over something spend a good portion of the day on that thing. Asking almost every master Huffādh I encountered, how much time per day they spent mastering memorisation. They never gave an answer like: “I memorised twelve to twenty hours a day.” Nothing as time consuming as that. In fact, there are some people who completely dedicate time to the Qur’ān but they are rare gems. The typical answer I got was “I dedicated a minimum of four hours of my time towards Qur’ān.” These four hours weren’t all in one. They would divide the time up throughout the day. Either two sessions at two hours or a session of two hours and two one hour sessions.
It isn’t a necessity to have four hours though. I know plenty of people who memorised the Qur’ān having only one hour every day to spare. Others had two hours or three. Likewise for revision.
What is revision?
Revision is not repetition. Let me repeat, revision is not repetition. Revision is mastering. Often too many people revise just because they know they have to repeat things. So they don’t sort out mistakes whilst they do it. They just repeat. Revision is about removing mistakes not repeating them. If you’re repeating them you’re not revising, you’re trying to revise. This is important because after one memorises they not only have to retain what they’ve memorised but aim to perfect it. Perfect it in recitation and in recollection. And eventually moving onto understanding and implementation.
So how do you revise?
The Daily Prayers & Night Prayers
A Hāfidh or a current memoriser can make a simple plan of covering revision through prayer. Far too often everyone recites the same Suwar in prayers: the last Juz’ or certain portions. They don’t see the opportunity they have for revision.
I remember my dad used to tell me all the time, “You should revise in your prayers, it is the best way to keep it strong.”
And you know what?
He’s right. I realised this really late. I never did it until the day I began to do I felt two things:
1. I felt as though I was actually praying
2. I felt an amazing sensation.
The biggest part of it? You get to know exactly how strong your Qur’an is. I remember once being at the Jumu’āh prayer and I decided to read as much as I could in the prayers. I took my phone out and made some calculations. I love to do that for some reason.
So according to what we follow as a norm, for the five prayers there are 48 Rak’āt (unit/cycle/portion) in total. We know that there are 30 Parts (Ajzā’), 114 Chapters (Suwar) and 6236 verses (Ayāt) of the Qur’ān. According to the sub-continental Mushaf there are around 540 to 558 paragraphs (Rukū’) with four quarters for every Juz (Rub’, Nisf, Thulūth and Kāmil). The Mushaf also creates a division of seven Manzil – this according to the Sunnah of a complete reading every seven days (this is also a revision method). According to the ‘Uthmāni Arab script, there is a Hizb system of division. Every Juz is spilt into two halves (two Ahzāb or groups) with each half having a quarter system. So each juz will have eight-quarter divisions called a Maqrā‘. Meaning each Hizb (group) is subdivided into four quarters, making 240 quarters within a group of 60 Ahzāb. According what Mushaf you use, the number of pages per Juz will differ – commonly between 18-20-30.
I use the former so I looked at the number to work out a comfortable revision routine. If there are 48 Rak’āt you have to take out the Farā’id due to the congregational prayers. So that’s leaving you with 31 Rak’āt per day for the 5 prayers. Now the way you revise using the prayers depends on how well you know your Qur’ān in the first place. If you know things really well you can easily recite a quarter or less per Rak’āh. If you don’t maybe a page per Rak’āh.
That Friday I decided to start reading a page per Rak’āh per Juz as an experiment. So for Jumu’āh there would be twelve Rakā’t. So I’d do the first page from each of the first 12 Juz. This means that every day I could easily complete revision of a single page per Juz, leaving one Rak’āh to read it all together. That means you will complete an entire Qur’ān every month just through the five daily prayers. That’s fairly easy?
If you can’t do that do a paragraph approach or a couple of verses. Then before retiring to sleep read over it all. Then you have the option of additional prayers such as Tahajjud, Awwābin, prayer of Wūdū’, the mosque, and other Nawāfil. There is a lot of scope and opportunities missed. You’ve memorised the Qur’ān for a reason – it’s time to use it.
How do you track mistakes?
Well, when I did it sometimes whilst on a page I noticed I had to repeat certain things several times in the Rak’āh until I got it right. At other times, I just couldn’t. I had to stop there and move into the Rukū’. After the units, I’d look into my phone on the Mushaf to see where I went wrong or on my actual Mushaf copy and make a note of the error. Start the same portion again in the next units and carrying on to the next portion. It’s up to you how you do it, but another way could be to record yourself and then listen to it afterwards maybe at night. You could even only revise in the 12 Rak’āt of the Farā’id by leading a congregational prayer having a Hāfidh behind to listen. Figuring out a system for tracking mistakes is crucial.
7-8 Pages Daily + Listening = The 90 Day Plan
This is a method that many people adopt but it can vary. So for every three months you’d complete a Qur’ān. If consistent of course. You’d turn out four complete readings every year.
What do you do is you’re alone?
You first listen to the Juz throughout the day or you listen to the Juz when you’re going to revise. After listening and following it’s your turn. You repeat the Juz from memory but you record yourself. The next day you listen to the recording throughout the day to re-enforce it. All the while you need to track your mistakes. The next revision session arrives, now you listen to the next Juz. Repeat the process.
Of course, you can do it any way you like. You cut out the listening and record yourself and only listen to that, but the advantage of listening to a proficient reciter has more benefit. If you have someone who can listen to you then you don’t have to record yourself. They can listen and mark your mistakes.
What if I know all my Qur’ān well but I have certain portions that are tough and weaker than others?
Listening to the tougher parts works. In fact listening to them more than you recite them. When you listen to something frequently, it’s absorbed by parts of your brain linked to memory, and it’s a very fast and effective way of memorising.
Bulk revision at Fajr or after
This is another popular method. People use the free time they have in the early hours for revision and so they don’t need to think about it throughout the day. It’s bulk for a reason. Get much as much revision as you can done but the revision has to be qualitative. It doesn’t matter how much you do as an exact figure. You just keep going within a certain time frame. You could revise a quarter, a half, a Juz, two, three or five Ajzā’ – it doesn’t matter.
Once a month
You make a khatam once a month by revising one Juz a day. That Juz can be revised in one sitting or it can spilt into 2, 4 or 8 sessions throughout a day.
Read out aloud, pointing and looking inside and then read from memory
This is another method I came across. It uses more senses which can help you remember something even better. By using your sense of touch (pointing), visual, and auditory senses you can a good chance of memorising better. What you do here is simple. Pick an amount you wish to memorise and start reading out aloud, not looking anywhere else, having your finger on each line and you go along. Then recite it from memory. Each time you get stuck or make a mistake that can you noted down or the one listening to you can do that.
Reading 3 Juz daily by looking and one Juz by heart
This is a very interesting method I came across only recently. It can be done before you sleep and/or after Fajr. You can even combine audio with it. You basically do 3 Juz by looking – this doesn’t mean you simply read it so quick and your done. No skim reading. Read it properly. Then do one of them by heart or another by heart. Here is an example:
Day 1 – Juz 1, 2 and 3 by looking. Juz 1 by heart.
Day 2 – Juz 2, 3 and 4 by looking. Juz 2 by heart.
Day 3 – Juz 3, 4 and 5 by looking. Juz 3 by heart.
Day 4 – Juz 4, 5, and 6 by looking. Juz 4 by heart.
Day 5 – Juz 5, 6, and 7 by looking. Juz 5 by heart.
Day 6 – Juz 6, 7 and 8 by looking. Juz 6 by heart.
Day 7 – Juz 7, 8 and 9 by looking. Juz 7 by heart.
Day 8 – Juz 8, 9 and 10 by looking. Juz 8 by heart.
Day 9 – Juz 9, 10 and 11 by looking. Juz 9 by heart.
Day 10 – Juz 10, 11 and 12 by looking. Juz 10 by heart.
This is a sound method. It ensures you get a good cycle of repetition.
One Juz a month by looking then one by heart
Similar to the last but you only do one. It might look like this:
Day 1 – Juz 2 by looking. Juz 1 by heart.
Day 2 – Juz 3 by looking. Juz 2 by heart.
Day 3 – Juz 4 by looking. Juz 3 by heart.
Day 4 – Juz 5 by looking. Juz 4 by heart.
Day 5 – Juz 6 by looking. Juz 5 by heart.
Day 6 – Juz 7 by looking. Juz 6 by heart.
Day 7 – Juz 8 by looking. Juz 7 by heart.
Day 8 – Juz 9 by looking. Juz 8 by heart.
Day 9 – Juz 10 by looking. Juz 9 by heart.
Day 10 – Juz 11 by looking. Juz 10 by heart.
A Page a Day Per Juz
This is a method that I mentioned previously but it’s effective for those that don’t have much time. You revise a page per Juz every day. You can create various plans for this, it’s very flexible. Here is an example:
Day 1 – 1st page of Juz 1-30
Day 2 – 2nd page of Juz 1-30
Day 3 – 3rd page of Juz 1-30
Day 4 – 4th page of Juz 1-30
Day 5 – 5th page of Juz 1-30
Day 6 – 6th page of Juz 1-30
Day 7 – 7th page of Juz 1-30
Day 8 – 8th page of Juz 1-30
Day 9 – 9th page of Juz 1-30
Day 10 – 10th page of Juz 1-30
and so on till day 30. You would do a Qur’ān every month.
You can change it of course. You can do a couple of Juz a day or a couple of pages per day, for example:
Day 1 – 1st page of Juz 1-5
Day 2 – 2nd page of Juz 1-5
Day 3 – 3rd page of Juz 1-5
Day 1 – 2 pages of Juz 1-5
Day 2 – next 2 pages of Juz 1-5
Day 3 – next 2 pages of Juz 1-5.