How to memorise the Quran during university

True story bro.

I was memorising the Qur’ān during school and college. The journey didn’t end there. I shared my experiences in the book, The Promise of Ten. Recently I’ve had lots of questions from students in email and Facebook.

“How can I memorise the Qur’ān in my final 2 years at University?”

“How can we balance memorisation with college or university work?”

“How much am I supposed to memorise?”

Allāh works in the best of ways. The final message I got on this topic was just last week. “Can you make an article on how to memorise the Qur’ān whilst dealing with university and college?”

Well here’s the answer. It’s an adaptation of an answer I gave someone last month through email. I hope it will be useful for you.

So if you’re trying to memorise the Qur'ān during college or university all you need to do is follow 5 basic steps. If you have a daughter, a son, a cousin, a nephew, a brother or a sister in the same position — share this with them.

How to Memorise the Qur’ān During College or University With Just 5 Steps

When I use the terms college and university, I’ll be working off the UK context. The ideas shared though can apply across the board.

Here we go…

Step ONE — Get Organised And Work Out The Numbers

After you’ve chosen what Mus’haf you are using, you’re going to make a plan. Let’s say you are using Mus’haf al Huffādh (Uthmani). That Mus’haf should be 15 lined, approx. 600 pages with 20 pages per Juz. The Qur’ān has 6236 verses. If you are not using this, you might be using a Qur’ān that has 13 lines with 30 pages per Juz or 16 lines with 18 pages per Juz.

This is what you’re going to do.

You have to get organised year by year.

I know the student life and being organised isn’t exactly what you’d expect. It’s up to you how you’d like to organise a year. You can choose to go by the Gregorian calendar, Islāmic (Ramadān to Ramadān makes sense) or around the university year. A year has 365 days (a leap year, 366) whereas the Islāmic calendar has around 354–355 days in a year. The number of days at University differs institution to institution, course to course but generally it is around 195 days between the terms. The average length of a course at college is 2 years and university 3 years (and up to 6 at max!).

Let’s say you propose to begin after ‘Eīd al Adha which will be on Monday 12th September 2016. So let’s take the Wednesday 14th September. Why a Wednesday? It is a good day to begin studies according to Imam Zurnuji and others because light was created on this day. Light represents knowledge amongst many things.

Let’s say the plan is to memorise within two years. Between 14th Sept 2016–12th Sept 2018 there are 731 days (2 years), 104 weeks and 3 days, 24 months, 17,544 hours. Without weekends included there would be 522 days (-208).

Step TWO — Work out how much you need to memorise

Based on the numbers you can work out how much you need to memorise. Let’s take the above example, you would be looking at daily, weekly and monthly targets. They would look like this:

  • 600 pages / 731 days = 0.8 pages per day (almost 1 page)
  • 600 pages / 104 weeks = 5.7 pages per week (0.25–0.30 Juz per week)
  • 600 pages / 24 months = 25 pages per month (1.5 Juz)

Are you following?

Step THREE — Narrow step two down further

Yes. Subtraction. No it isn’t difficult.

Despite the calculations, there are always going to be days where you will not be able to memorise (observances, holidays, university exams days, unexpected events, menses etc) so these have to be accounted into a plan.

For those memorising for the first time and are looking to do so in two years, I have them do 6-day weeks. With at least 4 hours each day plus revision and extra hours where possible (like on holidays). The 7th day of the week is for review only and taking time out. This, of course, depends on context and commitments. You would memorise a page a day.

In your case, you will need to decide what days you will memorise, what times, how many hours you have to give, and when you can’t memorise.

If you are a female, I would expect that you’d also factor in your menstrual periods. I spoke about this topic in an article recently.

Consider also the days you might not find yourself memorising a page.

So you’d minus out all these days from the calculation and rework the numbers. Whatever the case, your target will be at least one page per day and increase it to two when you are able to. With any deduction you make, the amount you have to memorise will go up per day.

Step FOUR — Work out your best memorisation method and technique

Method and technique are two different things in my book.

Method is the process by which you memorise and revise whereas technique is the way in which you do it best.

Method is an established, logical, or systematic plan. One of many methods of solving a problem. What’s the route to get there? (schedule, timing, order, Arabic language, meaning, understanding etc)

A technique is the manner and ability with which you use technical skills to create the desired result. what’s the best way to do it? (repetition, style, supplements etc)

Always forgetting

If you are like many, you might have started memorising already. But almost everything you’ve memorised you keep forgetting. This could be due to many reasons including for example:

  1. Memorisation was not strong enough in the first place
  2. The method used to revise was too weak
  3. You memorised too much as a beginner
  4. You didn’t give enough time to memorisation
  5. You didn’t revise
  6. You didn’t revise properly
  7. You used the wrong method to memorise (see articles at the end)

I would recommend you to take the subcontinental method of doing a cycle of three every day.

  1. New memorisation [1 page];
  2. Revise all the recent memorisation [all the current Juz];
  3. Past memorisation [a previous juz].

You’d have to do these every day. Usually this means you begin with Juz ‘Amma then work your way backwards 29, 28, 27 etc.. or you go from 30th, then the 1st. Take a look at the articles on routes and revision.

Whatever route and technique you decide to adopt, you will have to revise.

If you do a page a day, at the start the page will need to be memorised thoroughly and then revised the next day together with the new page. You continue doing this until the end of the Juz. You then begin the next Juz, starting with the page and then your previous Juz is your revision. When you’ve completed two Juz, the third Juz is the new memorisation. The second Juz will be your recent memorisation (at least the final quarter). You will then alternate between Juz one, two and three for past revision every day.

Make sense? If not leave a comment.

Step FIVE — Begin and concentrate on creating a habit by creating an ideal week

You need to now begin, having a teacher or someone to hold you to account in place is the right way to go.

Now you need to concentrate on implementing the plan by establishing a habit.

Create a Google Sheet for your Hifdh calendar and create an Ideal Week with it. In the Ideal Week you create themes for each day and create time blocks for things you need to get down to. A morning routine and priorities will go first. You will map out your whole week. This will include time for university, eating, studying, memorisation/revision, work. This will give you focus and show you exactly how you need get things done. I did this whilst I was in Cairo and is something I speak about it in the book, The Promise of Ten.


I‘ve made a spreadsheet template sheet with an ideal week and a Hifdh plan. You can only view this. You will have to make a copy of it for yourself. You will see the spreadsheet has three tabs for you to edit: (1) an ideal week (2) Hifdh plan (3) revision plan.

Other Things To Think About

  • If you are seeking a balancing act between studies and other things (work-life balance)… It doesn’t exist. What does exist is working hard and getting things done by prioritising. Drop playing Pokemon and Call of Duty. Drop watching every episode of whatever on Netflix!
  • During college and university, there are many distractions. You’d do well to keep focused on anything but studies whilst on campus. Outside campus you need to flow onto your next task. Don’t be tempted by things that won’t give you any benefit whatsoever.
  • You’d do well to get involved with an Islāmic Society and try to find someone who has already done his or her memorisation. Get to know them and make them hold you to account as a mentor. If you need me, I’m available.
  • Go do it!

Will you follow these 5 steps? Do you have other ideas? Go for it.

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