Memorize The Qur'an And Never Forget It

In this post, I want to share some reflections upon Hadīth and a Hifz/review method.

So many of you will ask, "How can I memorize the Qur'ān and never forget it?"

The answer is to never leave it.

When you're memorising the Qur'ān see yourself as an owner of a camel

'Abdullāh ibn 'Umar reported that the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), said, “Verily, the example of the companion of the Qur'ān is that of a tied camel. If he is committed to it, he will keep it. If he releases it, he will lose it.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5031, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 789)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "It is a bad thing that some of you say, 'I have forgotten such-and-such verse of the Qur'ān,' for indeed, he has been caused (by Allāh) to forget it. So you must keep on reciting the Qur'ān because it escapes from the hearts of men faster than camel do." (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Commit yourself to the Qur'ān, for by Him in whose Hand is my soul, it is surely more prone to break away than a camel in its bind."

You're a manager

The word the Prophet (ﷺ) used for camels (الإِبِلِ) signifies being skilled in management and care to a degree that everything remains in place with increase. The word 'barakah' is used for a camel when it kneels sunk in sand.

You're a protector

The word the Prophet (ﷺ) used for 'commitment' (تَعَاهَدُوا) signifies making a promise with responsibility. To such a level that you keep seeking it out and keep returning to it like rain falling again and again after having already rained.

Hifz requires good effort

The word the Prophet (ﷺ) used for holding/tied (الْمُعَقَّلَةِ) signifies restraint, being bound, intellect, a place of preservation, and a fortress. To build a fortress you need effort on all accounts.

Why use the example of a camel?

The Arabs knew camels very well but we certainly don't. So what is it that we're missing? Allāh provides and takes. He asks us to ponder over the camel. Here are a few things to ponder over. A camel is:

  • resourceful
  • it takes on the heat
  • it's able to see the long perspective
  • it exists to serve others

Can you think of other things? How does it reflect on you as an individual?

The advice of the Prophet ﷺ when analysed from various angles, perspectives is rich with meaning and contains many lessons for us. We often bypass this with a simple glance. The central point is that you, as students of hifz, must build and adopt management and care skills. It's also important to note that the Prophet ﷺ advised in a beautiful way. He didn't scold us for forgetting but reminded us what the natural cycle is. May Allāh facilitate ease and blessing.

A review method

In light of the above, a shaykh in Cairo once mentioned looking at your memorisation journey into two groups.

A weekly mindset

Focus on memorising a page or more per week. This means you'd memorise the Qur'ān really strong within 10-12 years. This is a weekly approach instead of a daily portion approach.

A weekly schedule

Focus on a spaced repetition of the same thing all week. This ensures that you can make it really strong. Think of this as memorising as normal but with an added weekly solidificiation schedule.

How does it work?

Week One

  1. Memorise your portion the best way you can.
  2. Repeat it 20 times by looking.
  3. Repeat it once by looking after an hour from memory.
  4. Repeat it once by looking before you go to sleep from memory.
  5. For the next day and the rest of the week you have to repeat that portion 20 times a day off memory at intervals - such as to repeat it 5 times after each prayer until the end of the week. This means you are repeating the portion at least 100x a week.

Week Two

You take a new segment or portion to memorise and treat it in the same way you did with the previous one.

The previous weeks portion and older can be added on or reviewed as normal within a cycle. It will become cumbersome to start doing the same per week with everything (20x for 5-10 weeks for example). This method is purely to solidify the current. Then place that into a review schedule. The review should be easier in sha' Allah depending upon ones ability.

This method can be also used for specific places that you are finding hard or find weakness in. So say you are using a different method for memorisation and in your review, you find a particular place to be of difficulty. You can take that place and give it a separate weeks schedule to repeat using the above method.

Allāh grant you blessing and ease!

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