Unfortunately not. You can’t memorize anything and keep it without some form of regular recall. But there is a Qur’ān memorisation method that claims you can memorise without revision. When I first heard about it around 7/8 years ago, I was surprised to say the least.

“Memorise the Qur’ān without revision”

This is the slogan and practice of Shaykh Mūsā bin Darwaish al-Jārūshah in Jeddah. Born in Gaza and moving to Jeddah while still a baby, Shaykh Mūsā grew up with a zeal to memorise the Qur’ān. He dreamt of memorising as young as the age of 5. He eventually grew to become a business owner and graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. This never stopped him from memorising the Qur’ān and teaching it.

Today, he oversees people from all backgrounds and professions that are memorising the Qur’ān. You will see business owners, engineers, teachers, and many others. From brothers in their 20s to the elderly, even an 86-year-old! His focus and methods are designed for adults and busy people. In fact, the registration data from his school (maqra’) shows an average age of those that have memorised the entire Qur’ān being over 50/60! Makes sense as to why he’s known to say, “Anyone can memorise, even after the age of 60!”

The shaykh says, “The Qur’ān is a miracle in it’s difficulties, and a miracle in it’s ease.” He was asked how and he said, “By your sincerity and desire for it.” As in the Qur’ān is there in all times and conditions but, the manifestation of the miracles depend upon the sincerity, desire, and effort you bring to the table. The method he ascribes to really does require all of these ingredients.

The Method

The foundations

The school prescribes certain foundations that every seeker should be doing. Among them are:

(1) maintaining the 5 daily prayers in the masjid
(2) maintaining daily morning and evening sunnan azkār and awrād (daily litanies)
(3) maintaining sincerity and humblness towards the Qur’ān
(4) a committment to a daily amount of the Qur’ān
(5) a committment to being punctual towards two sessions a week

The suggested days and timings

Since it is aimed at busy people and adults, the method is built on two sessions a week. You have to set aside some time twice a week after ‘Eshā’ prayer. This is either Saturday and Tuesday, or Sunday and Wednesday. Sessions are for an hour to 1.5 hours.

For those who have particular need, it can be after Maghrib and on alternate days like Monday and Thursday. Fridays are dedicated towards Salutations and Prayers (Salawāt/Darūd Sharīf) upon the Beloved Prophet (ﷺ).

Stage 1: Memorsation (8, 10, or 12 months)

The method is based upon levels that you need to get through in order to be successful. Stage one has 4 levels.

The memorisation is built upon the 15-lined ‘uthmāni Qur’ān script. The task is to simply memorise. There’s not a need to think about revision. You will go for a session and memorise as best you can, then forget about. Then you come in for the next session to memorise the next portion in the same way.

This stage also doesn’t concern itself with Tajweed. No student is required to learn Tajweed at all! The focus is purely on memorising. One of the reasons for this is that as the students are mainly elderly adults, they are habituated to reciting in a certain way. The first aim of the method is to get them to reach a greater ability to recite with fluency first, rather than proficiency.

Level 1

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationMemorisationTotal Memorisation
2 a week2-3 hours8 weeks, 2 months (some might do this in a month)1 quarter per session.2 Juz’
Level 1 of the memorisation stage

What does a quarter mean? In this copy of the Qur’ān, a quarter is a Rub’ al-Hizb. There are 8 per juz’ marked by a star (*). In Sūrah al-Baqarah, for example, the first one is from āyah 1 to 25, then 26 to 43, then 45 to 59 etc. They vary in length roughly 2-3 pages. 8 in 20 pages is 2.5)

Level 2

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationMemorisationTotal Memorisation
2 a week2-3 hours8 weeks, 2 months (some might do this in a month)2 quarters per session.4 Juz’
Level 2 of the memorisation stage

Level 3

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationMemorisationTotal Memorisation
2 a week2-3 hours or more8 weeks, 2 months (some might do this in a month)3 quarters per session.6 Juz’
Level 3 of the memorisation stage

Level 4

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationMemorisationTotal Memorisation
2 a week2-3 hours or more18 weeks, 4 months (some might do this longer of up to 6 months)4 quarters (half a juz’) per session. So a Juz’ a week.18 Juz’
Level 2 of the memorisation stage

The amount of time it takes someone to memorise will vary to even 6 months or less, but typically it’s a 8 to 10 month process to complete the Qur’ān.

By the end of this stage, you would have memorised a complete Qur’ān and it will be weak. There’s no room for revision at this stage of the process.

How does one memorise? Who do they recite to?

You memorise in whatever way you are able to. It’s not uncommon to find them memorising by repeating either a line at a time or an āyah at a time and then linking each of them together until they’ve memorised them. They will recite to the teacher that is present and/or a classmate.

Stage 2: Revision (2 years)

This method does in fact use revision (murāja’ah) but it’s indirect. Having been through stage one of simply memorising without revision, you have to now go back and start again. This stage can be looked at in three different stages but overall there are 10 levels to get through.

This stage is done in pairs. So you need two people that have memorised that will recite to each other.

Level 1

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
2 a week2-3 hours15 weeks, 3.5 months1 Juz’ per session1 khatm
Level 1 of the revision stage

Level 2

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
2 a week2-3 hours or more10 weeks, 2 months1.5 Juz’ per session1 khatm
Level 2 of the revision stage

Level 3

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
2 a week2-3 hours or more15 weeks, 3.5 months2 Juz’ per session2 khatms
Level 3 of the revision stage

Level 4

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
2 a week2-3 hours or more5 weeks, 1 month3 Juz’ per session1 khatm
Level 4 of the revision stage

Level 5

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
3 a week2-3 hours or more7 weeks, 1.5 month3 Juz’ per session2 khatms
Level 5 of the revision stage

Level 6

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
Daily (except Fridays)2-3 hours or more4.5 weeks, 1 month3 Juz’ daily3 khatms
Level 6 of the revision stage

Level 7

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
Daily (except Fridays)2-3 hours or more24 weeks, 5.5 months5 Juz’ daily (with preparation before hand)24 khatms
Level 7 of the revision stage

Level 8

SessionsHours per sessionLevel DurationRevisionTotal Revision
Daily (except Fridays)2-3 hours or more24 weeks, 5.5 months5 Juz’ daily (without preparation before hand!)24 khatms
Level 8 of the revision stage

After this process, you will have complete 58 khatms of the Qur’ān!

After completing these levels, students will find that they can recite the Qur’ān with an incredible ease and fluency. The student will now take 10 weeks to learn Tajweed in full and memorise texts (mutūn).

Level 9

It’s now time for the student to be tested for their memorisation. A student will be paired with another former student and recite 2 further khatms to him without any preparation. If he is successful, he can move onto level 10. If not successful, the student will need to repeat further khatms until he is successfully able to recall without mistakes.

Level 10

This is now reciting 5 juz’ daily from Saturday to Thursday. There’s even a program for a khatm daily! When a student is successful, they are expected to keep up 5 juz’ a day as their wird for life. A former student says it’s easy. In fact, it’s as easy as doing 2 pages per rakat throughout the day in salāh. That’s around 48 rakats, you can add 2 further nafl to make 50. 2 pages per 50 rakat is 100 pages. That’s 5 Juz’ a day!

In total, it’s a path of up to 3 years. Gradually ones speed gets faster and the time you spend becomes less. A khatm might have been 4 hours at first, and then eventually 2-3 hours. Some students have done two in a day. I got a message a few days ago from a brother who said something like, “Do you remember when you shared a method from Jeddah?” and then he sent me a link to a YouTube video. You watch it on the great series “Wisam al-Qur’an“. It speaks about this method.

It’s not impossible

I’ll start with a story.

For 10 years, a brother used to recite the entire Qur’ān every 3 days by looking. That 10 ajzā’ a day! He wasn’t memorising, just reciting. This was a purposeful habit. He didn’t use any special method or technique but his Qur’ān was so strong that he knew it off memory. Allāh grants in so many different ways. He never had an intent to memorise but to maintain a high quality relationship with the Qur’ān. It was so high, he was granted the Qur’ān in his heart.

Another brother who passed away during the coronavirus ‘pandemic’, Allāh grant him His love and Forgiveness, used to recite for 70 years and would complete a Qur’ān every 3 days by looking as well. The Qur’ān was his companion. Like they say, drops make streams. Streams make rivers. Rivers make oceans. Your habits are the same. If one of your habits is the Qur’ān, what a blessing. Anything is possible!

I mention this because the method I’ve shared with you today, might not sound plausible. It’s been proven to work. While it isn’t for everyone, it’s been working for people in Jeddah for years. If it is possible for someone to make 120+ complete readings of the Qur’ān every year and eventually know it by heart – how is it not possible for someone to make almost 60+ completions but off memory and not know it? It is possible.

Using this method

What this method does is by incrementing your recitation memorisation and leaving review, is that it creates less psychological pressure and impact. You’re not stopping and starting. You’re not worried about the back. Sure, it carries risks. You need to have great desire, and motivation. You need some great stamina.

Imagine the method like training for a marathon. You start by walking. You start with a slow walk up to a certain distance – say 30 mins daily. After that you begin to build up to an hour walk. Then up to an hour and a half, then eventually two hours. You notice that your stamina and speed will grow. Your fitness will get better. You go from walking to brisk walking to jogging and then sprinting. To get to sprinting, you need to get through each hurdle. When you do get to the sprint, it’s not as difficult. Why? You build yourself up to it. Likewise, this method takes you out on a walk, then a brisk, then a jog and then you’re sprinting. You are training.

If you’re someone that can make a commitment like this and wish to use this method, you’ll need a plan. The plan would need someone else on the path with you. A teacher and a buddy. The teacher will guide and listen, and you can go back and forth with the buddy. Those of you that have already memorised but forgotten, it can be a great way to re-engage with memorisation. Or even for those that have memorised already and want to strengthen it, it can be a method to explore.

Some questions you might ask

How do you memorise using this if you are using a non-‘uthmānī script?
You can either use the rukū’ system for your memorisation with a appropriate divide or follow the rub’ system from the ‘uthmānī script by taking the same number of āyah.

Can you adjust it to less than a quarter per session?
Yes, you can adjust it to match your own capability.

Can you recite the Qur’ān by looking first, then memorise?
Of course, you can memorise like this. You can make a full khatm on a regular basis while memorising a certain portion twice a week. This way you’re building up even more towards familiarity. When you memorise, of course, you need to look first and then recite from memory.

What if my memorisation is weak and I forget it straight away?
This method doesn’t concern itself with how strong and weak your are in the memorisation phase (according to my current knowledge of it). You simply memorise however you can, whatever you’re able to recall after an hour or hour and a half, consider it memorised. Then you move onwards and do the same in the next session. After you finish the entire Qur’ān like this, you can then begin to think more about improving on every completion.

Do you treat the revision phase like memorisation?
I would see it like that yes. Although you memorised in the first phase, you’re now redoing it all but at a faster rate. The more rounds you do, the better you get. So again, you can look and prepare as best you can, then go and recite it. You’ll notice that on each round, you will improve as your familiarity builds.

Would I recommend this method?
As a matter of practice, I don’t share a method without having tried it first. This method has been an exception to that rule. I haven’t tried it myself. From that point of view, I can’t say. From the perspective of others that have used this and their experiences, it’s recommended for adults that can spare two to three hours every week.

Any other questions, get in touch.

Allāh grant blessing.

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