How can I memorise the Qur'ān as quick as possible? Like really fast! If you've been asking this question, got your aims wrong! I want to share my thoughts on memorising the Qur'ān quickly and why that's not ideal.
I still want you to be a superhero
Some heroes take 16 years to become what they are, like doctors. CEOs and founders spend years building a dream.
7 years is the average amount of years it takes to become qualified in any given field. That is years of consistent study, learning and practice. But there's only one superhero we need to pay attention to.
That's the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ).
Everyone wants to memorise the Qur'ān overnight but will spend years to qualify for a career. Our model for a "career" is memorising the Qur'ān in 23 years. True, if the Prophet (ﷺ) had received revelation much faster or in one go, he would have known it. The 23 years does not imply that the Prophet (ﷺ) had a weakness in his abilities - never. Rather the process of revelation took 23 years so that everyone could memorise, understand and implement it more easily. It also addressed issues as they came and as Allāh willed. There's a secret in the way it was revealed and this helped preserve the Qur'ān with perfection:
87:6 سَنُقْرِئُكَ فَلَا تَنسَىٰٓ
We will have you recite ˹the Quran, O Prophet,˺ so you will not forget ˹any of it˺,
87:7 إِلَّا مَا شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ يَعْلَمُ ٱلْجَهْرَ وَمَا يَخْفَىٰ
unless Allāh wills otherwise. He surely knows what is open and what is hidden.
 Meaning, We will have you memorize the revelations and apply the rulings contained in them, unless one ruling is replaced by another.
Think small and consistent. Ignore the hype.
Every day you should focus on a daily small amount, don't increase it (decrease it if needed, and don't be hesitant over doing so). Place importance on quality! Don't memorise anything new until you have solidified the past. Be smart. It's a long-term process. Be a superhero, in a prophetic way.
I always get questions about how can I memorize in x amount of time. I know we all can get enthusiastic about everything but we need balance. Let's start to become balanced. I still consider myself to be memorizing even today.
A sister that memorized Quran in 20 days
There's a well-known saying, "What comes fast, goes fast." This is a simple truth. Didn't the Prophet (ﷺ) tell us, “Be committed to the Qur'ān. By the One in whose hand is my soul, it can leave you faster than a camel from its reins.” [al-Bukhārī]
Mufida Zuhra in Indonesia achieved the 1st ranking in memorizing the Qur'ān and was the fastest to memorize the Qur'ān in her group. She explains her story:
In 2015, I joined a Qur'ān course. In this 2 months course, we memorize the Holy Qur'ān as much as we can. Alhamdulillāh, I manage to memorize the whole Qur'ān in only 20 days! And I became the fastest one to do so! The 2nd ranked is a college student and older than me. She managed to memorized in 27 days. while the 3rd ranked, same age as me, managed to memorize in 30 days.
Not everyone in this course able to memorize the whole Qur'ān. Some of them managed to memorize 20 parts of Qur'ān, and a few people managed to memorize 8 and 10 parts of the Qur'ān.
I need to clarify a few things, this memorization that I did in high school was linear memorization, not holistic. What I mean by that is that we memorized pages to pages and never revise. We'd memorize one page then quickly moved on to the second page and so on so forth and no turning back. It was part of a 40-day tahfidz camp program, a pretty popular tahfidz camp in Indonesia with a goal to have you learn fast memorization techniques. That's how I memorized the entire Qur'ān in 20 days, and was the fastest among my peers.
In addition, all we did in the camp was memorizing all day with no other activity. Again, the goal was to memorize as many pages as fast as you can with no revision (it was to get your brain used to memorizing words of the Qur'ān), so of course, memorization with no revision is volatile, it's not long lasting. I no longer remember most of the Juz'.
As for how many Juz' I memorize naturally outside the camp, (Alhamdulillāh) I have memorized 15 juz'. With a busy-everyday schedule, it takes me one month to naturally memorize one juz of the Quran with 30-60 minutes to memorize one page. That's about memorization.
Revising one juz' would normally take me 1-3 hours. And I think the most important part about preserving your memory of the Qur'ān is the revision, not the memorization.
As for my memorization technique (because many have asked me) is to memorize it with the translation and know what you're memorizing. You don't just memorize it blindly. I found it to be much easier to memorize this way and it lasts longer in your memory when you understand the context of the verse. So yes, that means you need to memorize arabic. I don't speak Arabic so I have always used a Qur'ān with word to word translation. It's only hard in the beginning. It will get easier as you progress because there are many recurring words in the Qur'ān.
Once I memorized 5 juz, the rest 10 juz were very easy to memorize, because many words are now familiar. It's to the point where you feel like memorizing a story. Once you memorize a page, you shouldn't move on to the next page but revise everything starting from the start of the juz'. This cycle continues until you finish one juz'.
Nothing can be achieved in an instant, guys. [...] I wish you guys good luck with your memorization. Allah bless!Mufida Zuhra
Memorizing fast like this only leads to a process of continuous re-memorization. The juz' that I personally always remember better than others are those that I memorized slowly and at a younger age.
If you are a madrasah student, how do you handle the pressure?
Let's put speed into some context. Why is it that people want to memorize Qur'ān quicker?
- You're a student that's part of madrasah or school doing Hifz but you're expected to meet certain standards
- You're a student that's memorizing Qur'ān and you want to complete memorization before reaching a certain milestone (like marriage, working life, or graduation)
- You feel that you need to complete memorization by a particular date, otherwise, it will be difficult and perhaps impossible to do so
These are amongst the top reasons why someone will want to memorize fast. I went through the same experiences. When I was at madrasah, the expectation was that you'd need to memorize within 3 years. I get it, you're part of a school that has a system where students and teachers are coming in and out. You need to be able to meet those expectations as a student. That's why most madrasah systems need to filter who can memorise with them and who can't. Not everyone can memorise as quick as someone else. We all have different capabilities and capacities.
If you're a student that's struggling at a madrasah and you're feeling the pressure from the teacher and your parents, you need to assess reality. You may never be able to memorize completely by the time they want you to. You need to be fine with that. What you should do instead is think beyond the madrasah. Do things at your own pace. I would advise students that are slower to memorize to seek more one-to-one training. Get a teacher that can support your needs. This will be better than studying at a madrasah where you're feeling uncomfortable and out of place.
Another piece of advice is to always understand yourself. Self-awareness is the greatest gift. Memorize as much as you can in a way that's best suited to you. This means being honest about whether you can memorize in a year, two years, or three years. Then, accept whatever is the reality. Allāh will bless your journey.
What if you're capable of memorizing fast and you can retain it? Well, that's fine. You may have excellent memory or have a gift from Allāh. You can and always should memorize according to your capacity.
I have explained the example of two students of mine who used to memorize the Qur'ān with me: Maryam and Aminah. Both of them started roughly around the same time.
Maryam was trying to memorize as much as she could as fast as she could. This would put pressure on her shoulders. She set herself a target of doing one Juz’ a month. She did 148 āyāt (1st Juz’) in month 1. Then realised she had to review, so month 2 was slow. Then she picked it up a little but the same happened.
Aminah enjoyed her journey. She set herself a target of building a small habit, she could easily do 1-3 verses. She ended up being ahead of Maryam in the same time frame yet did less work. She did 360 āyāt by month 4.
This means you can memorize better and more Qur'ān by doing less a day over a long period of time.
Maryam had set a big target for herself she couldn’t deal with setbacks. Plans were broken. So she had to put in more and more hours of review losing track of her goals. But Aminah set a smaller target that focused on quality, small and consistent action. She had no real setbacks. Plans were flexible. So she didn’t need to put in more and more hours of review losing track of her goals.
Maryam wanted to start. She didn’t stop to give a thought to understanding the process and what she should do. So she ends up memorizing Qur’ān in a way that is hard, time-consuming, and very draining.
Aminah understood herself, her circumstances and treated things in a more realistic way. She knew what to do and implemented it. She ends up memorizing in the best way she could with an effective system that she enjoyed! “Big things have small beginnings”
Usual Model > Do as much as possible in the shortest time frame but end up forgetting. Ignored Model > Ignore all of the hype, set up processes and systems for daily progress, and work your way up slowly.
When I first memorized a Juz’ in a month, it wasn’t strong enough, when I first memorized a Juz’ in a week, it was a disaster. But when I memorized a Juz’ without time concerns it felt amazing.
These are some important things to consider in your journey.
The one thing I wish you never asked
If you are memorising the Qur'ān, but you are going at your own pace, nice and slowly, there's one question that can hit your nerves.
A question that can be used to intimidate you and make you feel like you are not good enough. The question can make someone feel like wanting to quit memorising the Qur'ān. You are made to feel like you are a failure and it makes you question yourself again and again. What's the question?
"How much have you memorised now?"
There's nothing wrong with the question itself. It's usually what follows that's the problem. You get judged with a "why?"
You get judged with statements and comparisons.
This then trains you to avoid the question,"How much have you done now?"
It trains you expect being hurt.
Your continued connection with the Qur'ān is what is most important
Your mental health is more important than anyone's opinion. Learn to focus on what's important. You and the Qur'ān. You're already winning.
I, too, have faced this scrutiny. I personally got called lazy. I got called slow. I got told I would never do it. I got told how others did x number of years. It made me want to do it as quick as possible. It made me do many things I should not have done but I eventually realised and learnt a lesson. I learned the importance of staying connected to the Qur'ān. It's not about how fast you can memorise, but the quality of your connection. Our mental and spiritual well-being is paramount.
Stop paying attention.
Focus on what Allāh has enabled you to do in the first place. He doesn't expect you to do it the way everyone else has. He wants you to be balanced. He wants you to make efforts based on Him.
Remember the Qur'ān was revealed in 23 years. Those 23 years were not easy at all but look at where those 23 years have taken humanity to today!
For those who ask this question to students, please don't put anyone down. Encourage them further. Make them feel proud. Make them feel even more connected.
May Allah grant us health and wellbeing, mentally, physically and spiritually. Ameen!