Memorised Quran But Forgot It, Now What?

Many of you have memorised the Qur'ān but have forgotten it. Take Bilal Memon for example, he memorised quickly and then had to re-memorise while working a 9-to-5 job. This happens for many reasons but most commonly:

Now, you're probably stuck in cycle of trying to re-memorise but are struggling. I have previously mentioned ways to regain your memorisation and shared stories. My key focus today is on sharing a simple framework for you.

Do not despair, renew your intentions through action

The first thing you need to remember is to not despair. Focus on today. Focus on reconnection and making a new habit. This begins with your heart and mind.

In my newsletter, I share weekly Hifz Diaries. One of the diaries follows a brother that had memorised half of the Qur'ān but had forgotten it. To get started, I advised him to develop a habit first. Start to get consistent with the Qur'ān. Develop a habit of love and sincerity by reciting something daily by looking. He recognised that he stopped listening to the Qur'ān and in return, he stopped reciting. So he started listening again. This revived him. Soon he started to recite small surah like al-Mulk and al-Wāqi'ah daily. After 3 months of self-struggle, he was able to start looking at memorisation again. But it's not been easy. He is still struggling but his commitment, drive, and consistency at the age of 36 are inspiring others.

You too should start small and being to engage with the Qur'ān first. Engage with translations and Tafsir. Do this daily. Don't be in a hurry.

Present it before Allāh every day and ask that He enable you to attain his words once again.

The transition from reciting to memorisation

Continue reciting daily. Try and reach reciting a juz' daily as a routine. On day 40 or 90 (ideal) you can begin to rememorise what you have forgotten. You can do a page, a paragraph (ruku'), or a quarter (rub') daily. Whatever you are capable of. Even if it is less than a page, do it.

Create a mini-goal first. Don't think you're going to re-memorise the entire Qur'ān before Ramadān giving yourself 3 months to complete it. It's unlikely to happen. Instead, be modest, and target doing your first juz' in 2 months for example. It should be something slightly ambitious but doable. Do this until you reach your goal. Make sure that you get someone to listen to you too.

What happens with your daily recitation? It keeps going. For example:

  • Day 40 = 1/4 (new) + Daily juz'
  • Day 41 = 1/4 + 1/4 + Daily juz'
  • Day 42 = 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4+ Daily juz'

This method is also recommended by Abu Bakr Shatri and I have shared a similar method by Duraid Ibrahim.

An alternative method you can use if you have forgotten Qur'ān

I have previously spoken about creating groups based on the strength of your memorisation. So for example, you look at everything you know and you would rate them. Say for example you think:

  • Juz' 1-10 are between a rating of 8-10 out of 10.
  • Juz' 11-20 are between a rating of 5-7 out of 10.
  • Juz' 21 to 30 are between a rating of 0-4 out of 10.

Here you have three groups. These groups are essentially an illustration of three types of memorisation:

  1. Excellent memorisation - Juz' or Surah you know by heart relatively well. You are comfortable that you know them like al-Fātihah in many cases. You can recite them in salāh. You can recite without struggle.
  2. Half-baked memorisation - Juz' or Surah that you can recite some from memory but mostly you can't, there are so many weaknesses. It feels like new in many places. You can't recite without looking unless you first study by looking. There are breaks in linking and you need a lot of reminders. The only cure for this is to memorise again.
  3. New memorisation - Juz' or Surah that you can hardly recite from memory. It feels like it's new or if you've completely forgotten, it is new. You feel lost and overwhelmed. The only cure for this is to memorise again.

These are the three types of memorisation of the Qur'ān that you will find. Your task is to find where you stand. Go through the entire Qur'ān and start to make a list of what fits into excellent memorisation, half-baked, or new memorisation.

What do you do with this information?

The method I'm sharing says that you should work on all three of these daily. Let's take an example.

Sister Fatima wants to memorise the Qur'ān again after she has forgotten it. She did it when she was younger and complete her Hifz very fast. She now wants needs to do it again. So she takes my instructions to start reciting first and establishes a daily routine of recitation. Now she's ready to start her journey to re-memorise. She tells us:

"I still know some Surah that fit the excellent memorisation grade: al-Fātihah (obviously), 99% of Juz' 'Amma, Surah Yaseen, and Surah al-Mulk. The Surah that I see fitting the half-baked grade are Surah al-Baqarah, Ali-'Imran, and an-Nisā'. Then some surah like ar-Rahmān and al-Wāqi'ah. All the rest of the Surah I would grade as new memorisation."

What do you think she should do?

Here's what this method would say:

  1. Place your excellent memorisation portions into a schedule for daily revision. This must be one session per day. So let's say you target a weekly cycle which is always the best level to strive for.
  2. Start to re-memorise the half-baked memorisations and new memorisations.

It seems like a lot. Let's break it down.

  1. At Fajr, Fatimah will memorise a page or up to whatever she is comfortable doing from her new memorisation.
  2. After Maghrib, Fatimah will memorise a page or up to whatever she is comfortable doing from her half-baked memorisation.
  3. After 'Ishā', Fatimah will revise her portion from the excellent memorisations.

In this way, you continue to work on your memorisation until the three groups eventually become one group.

May Allāh grant blessing!

For more on revision, visit the review methods section.

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