Revising your Hifz in your Salāh is your number one tool. It’s the time to make the most of your Hifz.
Actually, one of my regrets when doing Hifz was not following this advice. So I started making sure my own students made the effort to recite a cycle of revision through salāh.
What were the results?
Increased confidence, awareness, focus and strength.
This is what revising in your salāh will do.
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ . بِمَعْنَى حَدِيثِ مَالِكٍ وَزَادَ فِي حَدِيثِ مُوسَى بْنِ عُقْبَةَ “وَإِذَا قَامَ صَاحِبُ الْقُرْآنِ فَقَرَأَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ ذَكَرَهُ وَإِذَا لَمْ يَقُمْ بِهِ نَسِيَهُ”
This ḥadīth has been narrated by Ibn ‘Umar from the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), (but in the ḥadīth transmitted by Mūsā b. ‘Uqba, this addition is made to the ḥadīth about the parable): “When the companion of the Qur’ān (the one who has memorised it and remains committed) stands up (for night prayer) and recites it night and day, it remains fresh in his mind, but if he does not get up (to recite in his prayers and maintain his struggle) he forgets it.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim]
This is a method given to us by the Prophet (ﷺ) himself and so we must not ignore it.
Making Qur’ān revision in your Salāh approachable
An example of how to approach revision through your salāh is to think about creating categories or segments of recitation:
- peaceful first
- easy second
- and then everything else
So many are afraid of approaching the review in salāh due to many reasons. Mistakes and forgetting something are the top concerns. So starting by easing your way in is best.
By peaceful, I mean those chapters (suwar), pages, or verses (āyāt) that are second nature to you. Those that are dear to you. Those that you know really well. You don’t need to revise them as you need to with others. So they are peacefully recited.
For example, Surah al-Fātihah, Surah al-Ikhlās, or any Surah from the 30th tend to be in the peaceful category. Even those Surah that you recite on a daily basis like Yaseen, al-Waqi’ah, or al-Mulk.
By easy, I mean those that are nice and fluent. They are easy to recite for you but may not be as natural as those peaceful portions. These tend to be the early few Juz’ or portions from them that you memorised and know well (30, 29, or 1, 2, 3 for example).
Everything else is those that are mixed between those that you don’t know too well, or those that need more work.
Create a revision schedule for your salāh
It’s a good idea to make a schedule.
Using the same categories as above as an example, you can do the peaceful and easy ones during busy times. The rest of them can be done during times when you have more time.
Divide things out
You can divide out everything you know between the day including any extra prayers (Awwābeen, Tahajjud, Qiyām and other nawāfil). To get your thoughts flowing here are some numbers:
|Number of units prayed daily (rak’āt)||Number of pages revised per unit (rak’āt)||Total daily||Total weekly (7 days)||Total monthly (4 weeks)||Total yearly (12 months)|
(just the fard/witr)
|One page||1 Juz’ |
(20 pages Qur’ān)
|7 Juz’||28-30 Juz’||12 complete Qur’ān|
(every fard, witr, sunnah, nafl)
|One page||2.4 Juz’||16.8 Juz’||2.2 Qur’ān||26.4 complete Qur’ān|
(everything plus 2 extra nafl)
|One page||2.5 Juz’||17.5 Juz’||3.5 Qur’ān||42 Qur’ān|
This table is based on a person that can recite the entire Qur’ān through his/her prayers. It gives you an idea of how much you can get done just through the salāh. This doesn’t even include the tarāwīh prayers!
If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can use the salāh as a point in the day that you revise. So rather than revising in the salāh, you can do it before and/or after praying. Check out a really great method for this for busy people.
The Practice of Shabeena
Many people practice something they call the ‘Shabeena’ in Pakistan. Think of it like an extra set of Tarāwīh prayers either during Ramadān or the rest of the year.
It’s when students and huffāz get together to help each other build confidence, prepare for Tarāwīh and revise Qur’ān. Particularly, those less experienced benefit the most.
I just spoke to a Hāfiz this week who told me that he has got together with 3 local huffāz and they get together every night and revise 3 Juz’. This means they take turns to lead each other in prayer throughout the year.
What are the best practices for revising Qur’ān through salāh?
Do you revise in salāh and outside salāh?
It is best to do both. The reason for this is that one of them should be done with someone else to make sure you’re getting to recite aloud and correct mistakes.
What do you recite? How do we decide how many āyah to recite?
The best practice is to recite what you know well in fard (the peaceful and easy), and then everything else should be done in the sunnah or nafl.
Once they become easy, you can use them in the fard. Doing this will help you keep consistent and bring out your flaws.
Create a cycle.
You should keep a principle of reciting a minimum of three verses. You can recite a number of āyāt instead of a Surah, for example, when doing surah al-Baqarah.
Work on your habits
You don’t want to be saying “no no no” or doing “tuts” during the prayer if you forget, mess up or make a mistake. To make sure you don’t do this, make sure that when you are reciting to someone or by yourself that you never do this. Observe yourself. Whatever habit you develop, it will transition to every other environment.
How do you deal with mistakes and forgetfulness?
So there are different situations and a number of factors can be at play. The common situations are:
- You come to the prayer with complete confidence but you end up forgetting
- You have a doubt or are unsure whether you were correct or not
- You can forget and lose confidence leading to stuttering and struggle
- You can forget and completely go blank on what comes next
- You can forget and begin to repeat the āyāt over and over
- You can forget and become agitated and frustrated
Every situation has a different effect and the reasons for them can vary. Here are things you can do:
- You can repeat verses again and again until you get it right. Backtracking often works wonders. Mistakes or forgetfulness can make you lose your flow and going back to a point that you remember can allow you to regain it. You may find that you don’t make the mistake or forget again.
- You can make mistakes (then check after salām, make a note and try again) and try to continue.
- If you forget, you can recite another surah or set of verses.
- If you forget, you can go into rukū’ (best practice is to have recited at least 3 short āyāt or the equivalent of the smallest surah in the Qur’ān)
- If you forget, you do not have to repeat the prayer or make a prostration for forgetfulness.
- If you pause in your prayer, doing nothing of its actions, for the extent of three tasbīhs [= saying “Subhān Allāh”], then you have left a wājib and must do a forgetfulness prostration at the end of the prayer (according to the Hanafi position).
What if we stop in between? It might change the meaning?
Stick to a system, recite page by page (as you would with a new lesson), rukū’ by rukū’, quarter by quarter, or otherwise (3-5 āyah). Don’t make random stops and starts unless it’s caused by a mistake of forgetfulness. Then repeat it again after checking. Stick to a set amount that’s doable for you per rak’ah. It’s good to begin learning what things mean. This will elevate your salāh to the next level. It will allow you to appreciate good starts and stops.
I think I might have OCD or Waswas during the Salāh!
Many Muslims struggle with misgivings (waswasa) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
OCD is defined as “a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviours (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.”
Waswasa is one means that the shaytān uses to misguide people and distract them from Allāh by casting doubts and whispers (waswas) into their hearts. many of you begin to doubt if you recited wrong or right and will keep repeating the verses for a lengthy time. You can battle this by either getting someone to listen to you instead or simply going into rukū’. Do not entertain the thoughts.
In Muslim, there is the following Hadīth:
‘Uthmān b. Abu al-‘Ās reported that he came to Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said: “O Messenger of Allāh!, the Satan intervenes between me and my prayer and my reciting of the Qur’ān and he confounds me”.
Thereupon the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: “That is (the doing of a) Satan (devil) who is known as Khinzib, and when you perceive its effect, seek refuge with Allāh from it and spit three times to your left.”
“I did that and Allāh dispelled that from me.”
If this happens to you, this is one thing you can do. Ask Allāh to remove your troubles. If your problem still persists then seek mental health assistance or see someone authentic for any possible spiritual sickness.
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