Increase Your Salawat If You Want Better hifz

A student complained to his teacher at al-Azhar, "Shaykh, I have trouble memorising the Qur'ān!" The teacher replied, "Increase your salutations (salawāt) upon the Prophet (ﷺ).

I have found this to be one of the most helpful factors in aiding my relationship with the Qur'ān and its memorisation. When I was younger, I got habituated to reciting a lot of salāt and salām (salawāt or durood) upon the Beloved Prophet (ﷺ).

I remember when I was in high school reading the following marfū' (elevated) hadīth as narrated by Abū Mūsā al-Madīnī from Sayyidunā Anas (Allāh be pleased with them):

"The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: If you forget something, pray upon me and your memory shall revive."

Many books including Jalā' al-Afhām by Ibn Qayyim and "As-Salātu 'Alan-Nabiyy" by Imām 'Abdullah Sirājuddīn al-Husaynī

I also read one narrated by Ibn al-Sunnī narrated with his chain from 'Uthmān b. Abī al-Harb al-Bāhilī (may Allāh be pleased with them) who said:

"The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: 'Whoever wishes to speak about a matter but forgets it, let him send prayers upon me, for his prayers upon me will tend to his matter and perhaps it will remind him."

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When I shared this once before, a sister responded to me saying that a clinic that does eye laser treatments ask their patients to recite salawāt to ease pain. One brother told me that when he was younger a teacher gave him a du'ā to recite which had salawāt in it before and after the du'ā'. He noticed it was very easy to memorise but when he stopped he realised the impact it had.

There are so many benefits to salawāt and it cannot be ignored in your journey. It is an abundance of goodness unlike anything else. He (ﷺ) came as a mercy (rahma) for us and sending prayers and blessings upon him only increases it.

What does Salawāt mean?

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ ۚ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا
Indeed, Allāh and (all) His angels send blessings and greetings upon the Prophet. O believers! Invoke blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace abundantly.

33:56

Ṣalawāt (durood) upon is a form of worship ('Ibādah) and in many ways, the greatest form of them all. It is a supplication (duʿā) that we perform in the right of our beloved, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

It is a command of Allāh (ﷻ). Allah doesn't give a command in this way for anything else, it is unique. It is the only act of worship we perform that Allāh Himself does alongside His angels. It is the only act of worship where He has included others with HImself. This makes it a Sunnah of Allāh and that is something that never changes (35:43). And because Allāh sends salawāt it is a timeless action. It's happening all the time with a start or an end upon to us. Likewise the one to whom salutations are being sent, must also be timeless in nature.

This is a Ṣalawāt (durood) is made up of salāt (prayers and blessings) and salām (greetings of peace). As mentioned by the great Imams, salāt means reverence and praise of the Prophet in the gathering of Allāh and His angels. They want to praise him more and more. They raise his status.

From the root meanings of salāt, we understand that it means and represents a union, to come so close to something that there remains no distance, or the mixing together of different things. Not only does Allāh (ﷻ) remove all distances between Him (ﷻ) and His Beloved (ﷺ), he removes the gap between Him (ﷻ) and us, and the gap between His Beloved (ﷺ) and us.

Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib reported: Umar ibn al-Khattāb (may Allāh be pleased with him), said, “Verily, the supplication is suspended between the heavens and the earth. Nothing ascends from it until you send blessings upon your Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.”

Sunan al-Tirmidhī 486 (Sahih li ghayrihi according to Albani)

Abu Hurayrah reported: The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said, “None of you greet me with peace but that Allāh returns my soul, that I may return his greeting of peace.”

Sunan Abī Dāwūd 2041 (sahīh according to many Imāms included al-Nawawi)

"Send blessings upon me, for indeed, your blessings will reach me wherever you are."

Sunan Abu Dawud 2044 (Sahih according to Albani)

There is not a single second in time save that salawāt isn't being sent to the Prophet (ﷺ) and he isn't replying. Salāt gives you rewards, increases your rank and removes sin and salām gets you a reply. There is no act of worship like it. It's so important that it is included in our salāh.

There are countless virtues and benefits. There are countless ways of sending salawāt. Though this is something you can learn about more in the numerous works available. I'm here to remind you that sending salawāt is something that you should be making part of your daily Hifz routine.

I know many Shuyūkh and Qurrā', like Shaykh Abu Bakr ash-Shātri for example dedicates a full day (Fridays) to salawāt and doesn't revise the Qur'ān that day. Others maintain a wird and continue Qur'ān revision alongside it.

The secret of salawāt

The secret to it is that it is the only act of worship that is guaranteed to be accepted. There's no mentioning of the self in it. It is selfless. There is no "me", no "I", and no "us". In our regular du'ā we either mention ourselves ("me" or "I") or the collective ("us"). Like in Surah al-Fātihah, we are taught to remove ourselves from the equation ("we" ask you... guide "us" to the straight path).

Why is it selfless? Because something that becomes selfless becomes limitless. In contrast, the actions we perform that are stained by pure self-interest, they are just actions. Actions are rejected due to this "I" (of the world and the hereafter). When we make salawāt it is a request to Allāh to do what He always does, to send prayers and blessings upon His Beloved (ﷺ). There's just Him and His. We don't come in between.

This is why the Prophet (ﷺ) recommended to dedicate all of your prayers to salawāt. It will removes your worries and your sins (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2457). This is why the closest to him (ﷺ) on the Day of Judgement will be those who send the most salawāt on him (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 484).

So when you are seeking to memorise the Qur'ān, salawāt will help you receive the Words of Allāh a lot easier because of its blessings. It helps fulfil your needs because it is an accepted form of worship.

Salawāt to help you memorise the Qur'ān

You may recite any salawāt you wish, from Salāt al-Ibrāhimiyyah to others. Here are a few salawāt and prayers that I have used and used by others:

1. To improve the memory, for those who are forgetful, and especially for those who are memorising the Qur'ān:

“O Allah, send prayers upon our master Muhammad, (the one) free from forgetfulness, (O Allah send) blessings and peace to support us on memorising the Qur’ān: “We shall teach you (in a way) that nothing will you (ever) forget”, and upon his family and his companions.”

2. Something that I found in high school and handwritten by my father:

3. A supplication:

Someone once asked the Syrian teacher and scholar, Shaykh Sāmir al-Nass for some help with memorising the Qur’ān. He told him to read the following supplication three times before and after reading the Qur’ān. He also said that he is convinced that is why he has been able to memorise the Qur’ān.اللّهُمَّ نَوِّرْ بِكِتَابِكَ أَبْصَارِنَا وَأَطْلِقْ بِهِ أَلْسِنَتَنَا وَاشْرَحْ بِهِ صُدُوْرَنَا وَاسِتَعْمِلْ بِهِ أَجْسَادنَا بِحَوْلِكَ وَقُوَّتِكَ فَإِنَّهُ لا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِكَ يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِيْنَ

Allāhumma nawwir bi kitābika absarina, wa atliq bi hi alsinatanā, washrah bi hi sudooranā, wasta’mil bi hi ajsādana, bi hawlika wa quwwatika, fa innahu lā hawla wa la quwwata illā bika yā arhama rāhimīn

O Allāh, illuminate our sights by Your book, loosen our tongues by it, expand our chests by it and use our bodies in it, through Your movement and power for there is no movement and power except with You, O most merciful of those who show mercy.

4. By the Hanbali jurist of Damascus, Muhammad Taqī al-Dīn al-Ḥanbalī al-Shādhilī (d. 1207/1792).

5. Mufti Ismail Moosa was given the following salawāt when they started Hifz. He says:

"Suffice to say: from the little people that I know who frequently read this:
- They all successfully completed their Hifdh,
- They all led Tarawih in big Masjids, and recited fluently,
- They all became Ulama."

6. A brother once told me he used to recite the following when doing Hifdh:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَّآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْألُكَ عِلْماً نَافِعاَ وَعَمَلاً صَالِحاً
وَحِفْظاً قَوِيّاً وَفَهْماً كَامِلاً
وَعَقْلاً سَالِماً بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا اَرْحَمَ ٱلرَّاحِمِينَ
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَّآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ

In the name of Allāh the Beneficent, the Merciful, O Allāh, bless Muhammad and his family O Allah I ask You for beneficial knowledge and good deeds and a strong memory and a perfect understanding and a sound intellect by Your mercy, O the most Merciful of the merciful ones O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family.

The recommendation is start and end your ḥifẓ with salawāt and that aside have a regular wird as part of your adhkār in the morning and evening.

May Allāh grant you all blessing in your effort!

Remember me in your prayers too.

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