I went through three stages in my memorization.
I could not have memorized the Qur’an by heart without the help of Allah the Almighty.
To begin, my first steps in this journey started when my parents taught me the short chapters of the Qur’an when I was about four. I completed the last seven parts in my childhood years. My parents were my motivation and inspiration to learn and study the Qur’an. Along with my siblings, I used to memorize because of the gift that I’ll get after finishing the required chapters. Over time, I was inclined to study by my own, so I could learn more about its miraculous nature. Going three times every week to the Masjid to recite the part I memorized before my teacher was a commitment to myself. My parents were full of inspiration trying every way to teach us the Qur’an and the science of Tajweed from a young age. I was only 13 when I learned the advanced Tajweed course, being the youngest with my sister, among all students (women in their forties and teachers in our neighborhood Masajid) back then. It was an outstanding experience for me, where I had the chance to recite the Qur’an in front of them all. Then, I was chosen to teach the Science of Tajweed to children and old women in our local Moasjid when I was 15. Truthfully, I am so full of gratitude and thankfulness for my mom and dad who have paved the way for me in this journey.
The second stage was when I joined the Qur’an camp (where students have to memorize the whole Qur’an in only 2 months) in my teenage years. I finished another seven parts in two weeks, where I had to memorize ten pages each day. I didn’t continue as I felt that I memorized too many verses without having time to look up unclear verses or words that I came across. We had to revise the pages we memorized at home. i.e full day memorizing and revising. Here, I preferred to return back to my normal way of memorizing.
The final stage was the most challenging and the most beautiful, as I decided to complete the remaining parts of the Qur’an at home, by my own. I was busy going to work 6 days a week, having some freelance work, studying my university courses with lots of research to do. Endless social visits and events that I had to take part in, as well as many other personal activities and projects. Despite having everything I want, living a beautiful life, I realized that’s not what’s most important to me. That’s not my priority in life. Though I mostly never stopped reading my everyday Qur’an portion (I used to memorize / revise verses / chapters from time to time too), but I had to make a quantum leap in my life, that is to spend more time to study and learn the Qur’an. So I made a pledge to myself to memorize it all, by sticking to a plan I wrote down. And that was all I needed. A decision! I was done with the remaining 16 parts in about 9 months, Alhamdulillah, and by this I became a Hafiz… And look, you too can be!!
Before I share the tips with you, let’s agree that there is NO ‘one size fits all’ steps/tips for memorizing. So what you can do is pick what fits you and add anything that will help you if you are planning to memorize the Qur’an, In Sha Allah.
I’ll explain in sequence…
Before memorization tips:
- Be sincere and renew your intention.
- Seek Allah’s help: when you plan, memorize, revise, lose motivation, lack understanding. Turn to him, they are His words and He alone can teach you them. Never underestimate the power of du’aa in sujood.
- Write down a list of your friends/ family members/ people who will be part of your project. Be it by encouraging or memorizing with you.
- Say NO often: Cancel unnecessary meetings/ activities. Cut back on things you are used to, to find more time to get into the mood and start memorizing.
- Keep away from sins: Always repent if you once feel messed up! Remember that Allah is by your side and seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan and keep going. We are not perfect at the end and a sin will prevent you from continuing only if you insist, remember this!
- Find a recitation/ Tajweed teacher: S/he will teach and help you recite the verses properly and follow up with you. Your teacher could be your mom, dad or siblings at home (if they can recite Qur’an with Tajweed).
- Use one Mus’haf— (Quran): So you can use a pencil to mark words and underline verses. Try to get a standard size Qur’an, not too big, that you can’t hold and take it everywhere you go, and not too small, that will be hard to memorize from, and you won’t be able to write on it.
- Know your memorization style: Whether using sign-language, copying in a notebook, raising your voice while reciting, writing the beginning of every verse, walking around while memorizing, listening to a reciter and repeating after him. You choose the best technique, and of course you can use more than one, according to your mood, time, place, etc.
- Set a flexible plan: It may seem the hardest part to some people. But if you do all the above points, I am sure everything else will be easy. A flexible plan means to have plan A and plan B. It means that you get to know your abilities and write down an action plan that suits you. It will be as easy to say: “I will memorize one page every day after Fajr and another before I sleep/ after ‘Ishaa.” Print out a schedule to follow up on your progress and that’s it!
- Be that early-bird person: Wake up before Fajr time and memorize your required pages. It’s an advise given by most if not all Huffadh of the Qur’an.
- Turn off your devices: To avoid distractions and to deeply focus on what you intend to memorize.
- Recite, Read, and Repeat, (3R’s, rule): Make sure that you recite the page properly with Tajweed rules, listening to a reciter is really helpful. You can also recite the page you intend to memorize several times before you sleep and memorize it in the morning. Read the vague verses and words meanings from a Tafeer, so you understand what you are reciting. Mind-maps for chapters of the Qur’an are also helpful, (please do google them). Knowing the stories of the verses make memorization easy. Repeat the page/ verse over and over again until you are done with it. Dividing the page into parts according to their subject, and then gluing it together is also helpful.
- Take a break: A ten-minute break is a really good refresher. Do it often.
- Set time goals: Have a max goal of an hour/half an hour per page according to your ability, and by time, the more you memorize the easier it becomes.
- Try not to only memorize, always remember that the Qur’an is so easily forgotten, so give yourself time to revise the pages you already memorized.
- The best way to make sure that your memorization is perfect is to recite the page while you are praying. You can do this in Tahajjud.
- Be productive in the time you spend in transportation. Revise a certain page or listen to reciter reading it over and over again.
- Write your own revision strategy when you finish it all, you can start with a group of friends (I really recommend this).
- Change your place and take a break!
- Go back to your friends-list: Call or meet one of them. They will be there for you and your mood will absolutely change.
- Watch a video about the Qur’an and the reward of reciting, memorizing and studying it. Learn about peoples experiences memorizing the Qur’an. “Guided Through the Qur’an” program is a really good one. (Available on YouTube)
- Remind yourself with the many reasons why you started in the first place and why you should continue in this unique journey with the Qur’an.
- For those who do not speak Arabic or know Tajweed it would be best if you spend some time learning those first, so you can memorize it correctly the first time. Hear as you learn, never stop listening to reciters as this will make it easier for you to read the Qur’an properly. And remember that Allah the Almighty says: “And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” I personally recommend learning Arabic with teachers like Nouman Ali Khan. His “Arabic with Husna” free lessons on Bayyinah TV are really amazing. Islamic Online University also offers the “Intensive Arabic Program”. Or you simply can join your local Masjid/ Islamic center to learn Arabic and the science of Tajweed.
- Regardless of your age or profession, you still can do it. There are hundreds of stories that will inspire you to take your first steps in this journey, just search YouTube and see how many stories will move you to tears.
- Do not delay: Start as soon as you finish reading this article.
To me, Qur’an is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was a child, that to memorize and be among the people of the Qur’an is worth any cost and sacrifice. When you become a Hafiz, you’ll change in so many ways. Living with the Qur’an is a life-time journey that will always give meaning to your life and makes everything else in life so wonderful.
I humbly ask Allah the Almighty to allow me four things:
- To finish revising the Qur’an in the way He pleases
- To have the “Sanad” — Ijaazah, linked to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, (ﷺ — peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In fact, knowing that the Qur’an in our possession today is identical to that which was originally revealed by Allah the Almighty over 1400 years ago is a testament to its miraculous preservation, and having the Sanad linked to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, (ﷺ) is an honor to be part of those who helped in preserving the Qur’an as well. Allah says, “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” [15: 9]
- Apply it in my life as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) did.
- And teach it to others, for I believe that it will make a change in people’s lives if they take it as their guide. And honestly, it is the best gift I would give to anyone I really love, why? Because I do want them to feel the fabulous tranquility of the heart and the meaningful life I am living by the means of the Qur’an.
May Allah bless you with this great bounty and may the light of the Qur’an illuminate your path always.