Is there any du’ā’ that you can recite for your memorisation?

Is there one piece of advice you can take that would serve as the best for your journey as a seeker of the Qur’ān?

It’s turning towards Allāh. Whenever someone approached the Prophet (ﷺ) about forgetfulness, he advised them to turn to Allāh and ask from Him.

Supplication For Memorising The Qur’ān

The following is what the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) gave to Imām ‘Ali, may Allāh be pleased with him, when he was finding it difficult to memorise the Qur’ān. So, this is for anyone who wants to memorise the Qur’ān.

Ibn ‘Abbās said: “We were with the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) when ‘Ali bin Abi Tālib came to him, and he said:

‘May my father and mother be ransomed for you! This Qur’ān has suddenly left my heart, and I do not find myself capable of it.’

So the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said to him: ‘O Abul-Hasan! Should I not teach you words that Allāh shall benefit you with, and benefit whomever you teach, and they will make whatever you have learned in your chest firm?’

He said: ‘Of course, O Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), so teach me.’

He (ﷺ) said: ‘When it is the night of (before) Friday, then if you are able to stand in the last third of the night, then verily it is a witnessed hour, and supplication is answered in it. And my brother Ya’qub (as) did say to his sons: I shall seek forgiveness for you from my Lord. He said: “Until the night of Friday comes.” So if you are not able, then stand in the middle of it, and if you are not able then stand in the first of it. And pray four Rak’ah. Recite Fātihatul-Kitāb (the Opening of the Book) and Surat Yā-Sin in the first Rak’ah, and Fātihatul-Kitab and Hā-Mim Ad-Dukhān in the second Rak’ah, and Fātihatul-Kitab and Alif Lam Mim Tanzil As-Sajdah in the third Rak’ah, and Fātihatul-Kitab and Tabārak Al-Mufassal in the fourth Rak’ah. So when you have finished with the Tashahhud, then praise Allāh and mention Allāh’s greatness in an excellent manner, and send Salāt upon me — and be excellent in it — and upon the rest of the Prophets. And seek forgiveness for the believing men and the believing women, and for your brothers who have preceded you in faith. Then say in the end of that:

اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْنِي بِتَرْكِ الْمَعَاصِي أَبَدًا مَا أَبْقَيْتَنِي ، وَارْحَمْنِي أَنْ أَتَكَلَّفَ مَا لَا يَعْنِينِي ، وَارْزُقْنِي حُسْنَ النَّظَرِ فِيمَا يُرْضِيكَ عَنِّي . اللَّهُمَّ بَدِيعَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ، ذَا الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ وَالْعِزَّةِ الَّتِي لَا تُرَامُ : أَسْأَلُكَ يَا أَللَّهُ يَا رَحْمَنُ بِجَلَالِكَ وَنُورِ وَجْهِكَ أَنْ تُلْزِمَ قَلْبِي حِفْظَ كِتَابِكَ كَمَا عَلَّمْتَنِي ، وَارْزُقْنِي أَنْ أَتْلُوَهُ عَلَى النَّحْوِ الَّذِي يُرْضِيكَ عَنِّيَ . اللَّهُمَّ بَدِيعَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ، ذَا الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ وَالْعِزَّةِ الَّتِي لَا تُرَامُ : أَسْأَلُكَ يَا أَللَّهُ يَا رَحْمَنُ بِجَلَالِكَ وَنُورِ وَجْهِكَ أَنْ تُنَوِّرَ بِكِتَابِكَ بَصَرِي ، وَأَنْ تُطْلِقَ بِهِ لِسَانِي ، وَأَنْ تُفَرِّجَ بِهِ عَنْ قَلْبِي ، وَأَنْ تَشْرَحَ بِهِ صَدْرِي ، وَأَنْ تَغْسِلَ بِهِ بَدَنِي ، فَإِنَّهُ لَا يُعِينُنِي عَلَى الْحَقِّ غَيْرُكَ ، وَلَا يُؤْتِيهِ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ .

“O Allāh, have mercy on me by abandonment of sins forever, so long as You keep me remaining. And have mercy on me from taking upon myself what does not concern me, and provide me good sight for what will make You pleased with me. O Allāh, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Possessor of glory, and generosity, and honour that is not exceeded. I ask you, O Allāh, O Rahman, by Your glory and the light of Your Face, to make my heart constant in remembering Your Book as You taught me, and grant me that I recite it in the manner that will make You pleased with me. O Allāh, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Possessor of glory, and generosity, and honour that is not exceeded. I ask you, O Allāh, O Rahman, by Your glory and the light of Your Face, to enlighten my sight with Your Book, and make my tongue free with it, and to relieve my heart with it, and to expand my chest with it, and to wash my body with it. For indeed, none aids me upon the truth other than You, and none gives it except You, and there is no might or power except by Allāh, the High, the Magnificent.

(Allāhummarḥamnī bitarkil-ma’āṣī abadan mā abqaitanī, warḥamnī an atakallafa mā lā ya`nīnī, warzuqnī ḥusnan-naẓari fī mā yurḍīka ‘annī. Allāhumma badī’as-samāwāti wal-arḍi dhal-jalāli wal-ikrāmi wal-’izzatil-latī lā turāmu, as’aluka yā Allāhu yā Raḥmānu bi-jalālika wa nūri wajhika, an tulzima qalbī ḥifẓa kitābika kamā ‘allamtanī, warzuqnī an atluwahū ‘alan-naḥwil-ladhī yurḍīka ‘annī. Allāhumma badī’ as-samāwāti wal arḍi dhal-jalāli wal-ikrāmi wal ‘izzati-llatī lā turāmu, as’aluka yā Allāhu, yā Raḥmānu bi-jalālika wa nūri wajhika, an tunawwira bi-kitābika baṣarī, wa an tuṭliqa bihī lisānī, wa an tufarrija bihī ‘an qalbī, wa an tashraḥa bihī ṣadrī, wa an taghsila bihī badanī, fa innahu lā yu`īnunī ‘alal-ḥaqqi ghairuka wa lā yu’tīhi illā anta wa lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāhil-‘Aliyyil-‘Aẓīm).”

O Abul-Hasan! So do this three Fridays, or five, or seven, you will be answered — by the will of Allāh — by the One Who sent me with the Truth, it has not failed a believer once.’” `Abdullāh bin ‘Abbās said: “So, by Allāh, ‘Ali did not wait but five or seven until [‘Ali] came to the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) in a gathering similar to that and said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), indeed I was [a man] in the time that passed, who used to not take except four Ayāt or about that much, so when I would recite them to myself they would suddenly depart from me, and today I learn forty Ayāt or about that much, and when I recite them to myself, then it is as if the Book of Allāh is before my eyes. I used to hear a Hadith and when I would repeat it, it would suddenly depart from me, and today I hear Ahādith, and when I report them, I do not err in a single letter.’ So the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said at that point: ‘A believer, by the Lord of the Ka’bah, O Abul-Hasan.

Source: Abu ‘Isa (al-Tirmidhi) said: ‘This is a fair strange (hasan gharīb) tradition which we only know from the tradition of Walīd b. Muslim.’ The hadīth is recorded by al-Tirmidhi in the Book of Supplications, tradition number 3581. Also in Al-Dārqutni through Ibn Jawzi. The Mustadrak of Al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqi, Khateeb al-Baghdadi, Ibn ‘Asākir. Others have deemed this narration as being weak (da’if) and some even fabricated and rejected (Imām al-Dhahabi, Ibn Jawzi).

Questions you might have

Did Sayyidunā Imām ‘Alī really forget?

Remember the one who made the complaint about the difficulties and forgetfulness: ‘Alī Ibn Abī Tālib (karramAllāhu wajhahu) is the one who made the complaint. This is this significant. We know that he was one of the key sources for the Qur’ān and Hadīth. He was a master of the Qur’ān. He didn’t have memory issues. He even had a Mus’haf compiled in the order of revelation (which was lost).

It brings to light that we are all human. We are prone to forgetting verses. Even those around the Beloved (ﷺ) could forget despite them (Arabs) being well known for their memory.

It also commonly understood that the one with the most narrations of Hadīth was Abu Hurayrah (may Allāh be pleased with him) at 5374 narrations. Sayyidunā ‘Alī according to some of the latest research works in the field of hadīth claim a count of over 12,000 hadīth coming through him. That is more than Abu Hurayrah. Allāh knows best.

This does raise questions over the above narration alongside the apparant weakness in the chain of transmission. However, we do not reject it entirely. Allāh is the One who grants. Many people have reported putting this hadīth into practice and have found Allāh Most Merciful. We accept this Hadīth for its virtues.

Let’s suppose he forgot. Was it a problem that Sayyidunā ‘Alī forgot?

Our community often talk about people being sinful forgetting verses of the Qur’ān — think about this narration. Sayyiduna ‘Ali was not cautioned. He was not told off. He was not hit. He was not shouted at for forgetting the Qur’ān. As we see many people do these days. It’s natural. He was told and taught beautifully to ask Allāh. So do not worry if you forget.

But I don’t know these Suwar (chapters) — how can I pray this?

If Sayyidunā ‘Ali had been forgetting the verses of the Qur’ān, if he had been struggling to the extent that he said he was empty. The question arises, did he know the chapters he’d been asked to recite in the prayer? Yā Sin (chapter 36); al-Dukhān (chapter 44); Alif Lam Mim Sajdah (chapter 32); al-Mulk (chapter 67) — I don’t recall our teachers telling us about this but the presumption is that he must have. The Prophet (ﷺ) would not have instructed him to have done so if it weren’t the case. Though one could assume he may not have. If he didn’t know them — how did he offer the prayer?

“Can you recite the prayer for memorisation without knowing the Suwar?”

There are differing opinions.

a. You have to learn by heart first. (Hanafī)
b. You can use the Mus’haf or other means by looking as long as your hands do not move around as too much movement is not permitted. (Hanafī)
c. Other opinions say you can hold the Mus’haf and pray. (Like the Shafi’i/Māliki). If as a Hanafī, you were to take this position, it is better you did the whole prayer and made Wudū’ according to the same position too.

My opinion however is to focus more on the du’ā’ rather than the sūrah. The reason I have come to this conclusion is that, presuming the hadīth is sound, the advice given was specific to Sayyidunā ‘Alī. Notice in the hadīth, how the Prophet (ﷺ) spoke about teachings words that would be of benefit. The focus is the du’ā’. This du’ā’ itself has so much depth to it and lessons for the one who is memorising.

If you do not know the sūrah, my advice is to get up in the night and pray Tahajjud and make this du’ā’.

Are there ‘more authentic’ alternatives?

There are many and we can mention some of these.

Supplication:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي أَوْفَى قَالَ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ إِنِّي لَا أَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ آخُذَ مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ شَيْئًا فَعَلِّمْنِي مَا يُجْزِئُنِي مِنْهُ قَالَ قُلْ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَلَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَمَا لِي قَالَ قُلْ اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْنِي وَارْزُقْنِي وَعَافِنِي وَاهْدِنِي

832 سنن أبي داود كتاب الصلاة أبواب تفريع استفتاح الصلاة باب ما يجزئ الأمي والأعجمي من القراءة

2/12 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح على شرط البخاري في إرواء الغليل

Abdullāh Ibn Abi Awfa reported: A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ), and he said, “I cannot memorise anything from the Qur’an, so teach me what will suffice me.”

سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَلَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Say: Glory be to Allāh, all praise is due to Allah, there is no God but Allāh, Allah is greater, and there is no power or might but in Allāh the Exalted, the Almighty.”

The man said, “O Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), these words are for Allāh, but what is for me?”

اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْنِي وَارْزُقْنِي وَعَافِنِي وَاهْدِنِي

The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Say: O Allāh, have mercy on me, provide for me, forgive me, and guide me.”

[Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 832. Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albāni]

Prayer for the fulfilment of needs

Imām al-Tirmidhī, in Abwāb al-Da’awāt (the Chapters on Supplications) of his al-Sunan, Imām Ibn Mājah, Imām Ahmad b. Hanbal, Imām al-Hākim, Imām Ibn Khuzayma, Imām al-Bayhaqi and Imām al-Tabarāni have related an authentic hadith from ‘Uthmān b. Hunayf that a blind companion called on the holy Prophet (ﷺ) and beseeched his help for the restoration of his eyesight. The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) told him to offer two rak’ah prayer and supplicate a specific supplication to Allāh and his eyesight would to restored. The companions used to follow this instruction to get their needs fulfilled.

عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ حُنَيْفٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، ضَرِيرَ الْبَصَرِ أَتَى النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فَقَالَ ادْعُ اللَّهَ لِي أَنْ يُعَافِيَنِي ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ إِنْ شِئْتَ أَخَّرْتُ لَكَ وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ وَإِنْ شِئْتَ دَعَوْتُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ادْعُهْ ‏.‏ فَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَتَوَضَّأَ فَيُحْسِنَ وُضُوءَهُ وَيُصَلِّيَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ وَيَدْعُوَ بِهَذَا الدُّعَاءِ :

‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ وَأَتَوَجَّهُ إِلَيْكَ بِمُحَمَّدٍ نَبِيِّ الرَّحْمَةِ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنِّي قَدْ تَوَجَّهْتُ بِكَ إِلَى رَبِّي فِي حَاجَتِي هَذِهِ لِتُقْضَى اللَّهُمَّ فَشَفِّعْهُ فِيَّ ‏”

It was narrated from ‘Uthmān b. Hunayf that a blind man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: “Pray to Allāh to heal me.” He said: “If you wish to store your reward for the Hereafter, that is better, or if you wish, I will supplicate for you.” He said: “Supplicate.” So he told him to perform ablution and do it well, and to pray two Rak’ah, and to say this supplication: “Allāhumma inni as’aluka wa atawajjahu ilaika bimuhammadin nabiyyir-rahmah. Ya Muhammadu inni qad tawajjahtu bika ila rabbi fi hājati hadhihi lituqda. Allāhumma fashaffi’hu fiya (O Allāh, I ask of You and I turn towards You through the means of Your Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy. O Muhammad! I turn to my Lord through you concerning this need of mine so that it may be met. O Allāh, accept his intercession on my behalf)”.

Another tradition:

Mentioned by Imām al-Tirmidhī, Imām Ibn Mājah, Imām al-Hākim, Imām al-Bazzār and Imām al-Tabarāni. There are opinions that this is weak.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي أَوْفَى، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ حَاجَةٌ أَوْ إِلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ فَلْيَتَوَضَّأْ وَلْيُحْسِنِ الْوُضُوءَ ثُمَّ لْيُصَلِّ رَكْعَتَيْنِ ثُمَّ لْيُثْنِ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَلْيُصَلِّ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ثُمَّ لْيَقُلْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلاَمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ إِثْمٍ لاَ تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلاَّ غَفَرْتَهُ وَلاَ هَمًّا إِلاَّ فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلاَ حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلاَّ قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ ‏”

‘Abdullāh bin Abi Awfa narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: “Whoever has a need from Allāh, or from one of the sons of Adam, then let him perform Wudu’, performing it well, then pray two Rak`ah, then praise Allāh and say Salat upon the Prophet (ﷺ). Then let him say: (La ilaha illallah Al-Halimul-Karim. Subhan Allah Rabbil-`Arshil-`Azim. Al-Hamdulillahi Rabbil-`Alamin. As’aluka mujibati rahmatika wa `aza’im maghfiratika, wal-ghanimata min kulli birrin, was-salamata min kulli ithmin, la tada` li dhanban illa ghafartahu, wa la hamman illa farrajtahu, wa la Hajatan hiya laka ridan Illa Qadaitaha, ya arham ar-rahimin) ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah. Al-Halim (the Forbearing) Al-Karim (the Generous). Glorious is Allah, Lord of the Magnificent Throne. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. I ask You for that which warrants Your mercy, and that which will determine Your forgiveness, and the spoils (fruits) of every righteous deed, and safety from every sin; do not leave a sin for me without forgiving it, nor a worry without relieving it. without granting it. O Most-Merciful of those who have mercy.’”

Another dū’ā’ to recite is:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدَ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ الْمَنَّانُ بَدِيعُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ يَا ذَا الْجَلاَلِ وَالإِكْرَامِ يَا حَىُّ يَا قَيُّومُ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ

Allāhumma inni as’aluka bi-anna lakal-hamd, lailaha illa ant, al-mannanu badi’us-samawati wal-ard, ya dhal-jalali wal-ikram! Ya hayyu ya qayyum! Inni as’aluka.

(O Allāh, indeed I ask You since all praise is due to You, there is none worthy of worship but You, the Bestower, the Creator of the heavens and earth, O Possessor of majesty and honor, O Ever-living, O-Eternal, I ask of You.)’

Anas bin Malik said:

“I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and a man was standing and praying. When he bowed, prostrated and recited the tashahhud, he supplicated, and in his supplication he said: “Allāhumma inni as’aluka bi-anna lakal-hamd, lailaha illa ant, al-mannanu badi’us-samāwāti wal-ard, ya dhal-jalali wal-ikram! Ya hayyu ya qayyum! Inni as’aluka. (O Allāh, indeed I ask You since all praise is due to You, there is none worthy of worship but You, the Bestower, the Creator of the heavens and earth, O Possessor of majesty and honor, O Ever-living, O-Eternal, I ask of You.)’ The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘Do you know what he has supplicated with?’ They said: “Allāh (swt) and His Messenger know best.” He said: ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, he called upon Allāh by His greatest Name, which, if He is called by it, He responds, and if He is asked by it, He gives.'”

People have experienced the power of this at tahajjud. It is a sahīh grade transmission found in Abū Dawūd, Tirmidhī, and ibn Mājah.

I always recommend making much salawāt as possible as well.

May Allāh give you and us success here and hereafter.

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