Memorising the Qur’ān and understanding it should go hand-in-hand. It is very important. In this article, I share an overview of methods that you can use to memorise the Qur’ān with understanding.
#1 Using translation and memorising the Qur’ān
Here’s a method to try.
- Use your Mus’haf with translation.
- You can also, alongside it, use an app where you can listen and view word by word like Recite Quran, Quran.com, Quran Hive, etc.
- Then look at something like the Quran Corpus for further knowledge, word by word.
- In this way, read the meanings (the translation) 7 times of the portion that you want to memorise.
- You can also listen to it, if there’s a recording, if you prefer that.
- You can also listen to or watch a commentary (Tafseer). This will help you not only to understand it but this entire process will help you memorise. Your brain keeps hearing pieces of information that’s important and it begins to create links.
- Now recite the āyāt 6-7 times by looking.
- Then recite them without looking 10 times.
- Now write down the āyāt once by looking (copying from the Arabic) and then once without looking (bonus: write the meaning you remember or at least keywords).
This is a very powerful method for memorisation. It takes much more time compared to others but it is an investment!
Bonus: If you are visual, you can use videos like those of the Free Quran Education project to watch an animated version of the surah alongside the recitation and translation.
Should you memorise the translation too?
Some of you might wonder whether you should memorise the translation. If you want to, you can! If you find this helps then do so. My opinion, however, is that it’s not the best use of time and energy. What will happen if you forget what something means? You’re giving yourself two sets of things to memorise. It is far better to understand the language of the Qur’ān and how it works instead.
Do I recommend any English translation?
I believe you should read a wide range of translations. You can appreciate the different approaches and understandings and learn a lot through doing so. Quran.com has various translations on it that you can select at once and read.
Do I have any preferences? No translation is perfect but nowadays and on this website, I use the Clear Quran translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab.
#2 Learning the Arabic language to memorise the Qur’ān
This approach can be done before or after memorising the Qur’ān. It may also be done during the memorisation process.
The first thing to understand here is what I mean by the Arabic language. Ideally one should learn to speak and listen, read and write when learning a language. However, what I mean here is the language of the Qur’ān (lisānul-‘Arab), classic and pure. A language that we only see a few glimpses of in Modern Standard Arabic (fus-hā), and absolutely nothing of in street lingo (‘amiyyah). This means a focus on learning the language from the lens of reading, heavy on grammar and vocabulary. While this might not be the best approach, it is sufficient for the purpose of helping you memorise the Qur’ān. If you can learn grammar, learn words, and reference translations, you will see an impact on your memorisation and recall.
Some people argue that it doesn’t make any difference at all. That is simply untrue. The truth is that this is not an overnight process. It will take time.
What do I recommend for learning Arabic?
Ideally, get a native speaker that is well-versed and educated in the language. I recommend the Egyptians or Syrians, based on personal and other people’s experiences.
There are many great resources available now that are paid or free. Bayyinah has a great curriculum for Arabic grammar to gain a good foundation for understanding the Qur’ān. I’ve recently tested an app called Arabic Unlocked which is also great to learn Quranic words, basic sentences, and prophetic stories in Arabic. YouTube is full of courses that you can access. I recommend that you find material on al-‘Arabiyyatu Bayna Yadayk. Someone recently shared a YouTube channel in one of my Hifz buddy groups where a brother is teaching the book.
#3 Build connections through writing
You’ll remember 50% more over the long term by writing out a summary of your understanding in your own words (can be bullet points). So read meanings, tafseers, then summarise what’s in your head and begin memorisation.
This forces you to build connections. This process helps you figure out key points, and helps process and organise your understanding.
When writing it all out, you can repeat the āyāt at the same time. This is deep reaching and helps you remember anything better.
This is a technique that has been well-researched and proven to be highly effective in all fields of learning. It can be incredibly effective for those of you who use mindmaps too.
Hope this helps. If you have any questions or anything to add, get in touch. May Allāh grant ease and bless you in your journey!