What's the best way to start memorising the Qur'ān? How do I start? I don't know what to do. I'm confused. Many years ago I wrote an article called, "The 6 Most Popular Routes to Memorising the Qur’ān", where I shared the most popular ways of memorising the Qur'ān. Typically, you'd start with the 30th Juz', or the 1st Juz', for example.
Today, I want to share some perspectives. Hopefully, that will provide you with basic guidance and understanding on some of the questions that come up when going about choosing how to start.
There's only one thing that is the best start to Hifz
First of all, there's no right or wrong way on how you should start. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you start. What matters is that you set out on the journey with the right foundations. Those foundations include your intentions, getting your why right, and making sure that you have the right mindset. Starting in any way will lead to answers. Ultimately, the matter will come to settle if you start with a mentor or teacher. This will remove confusion and give you a path to follow. Starting alone can lead to the opposite. Your start to the journey should be as solid as possible. This my brothers and sisters is the best way to start.
The belief that you shouldn't memorise in sequence
There are some who advocate that you shouldn't memorise the Qur'ān in sequence (e.g. start from al-Baqarah to an-Nās). They advocate that this makes memorisation harder and boring. Instead, they say that you should start memorising the Qur'ān with a Surah of your liking or one that you love.
So for, instance, you want to start with Surah Yaseen because you have always wanted to learn it. Then once you've done it, you begin to memorise another Surah of your liking. Eventually, you start to pick and mix what you'd like to memorise. Then you fill in the gaps.
This is not a common way to memorise the Qur'ān and is commonly advised against because it can cause difficulties in revising. When memorising in a sequence, you would revise in a sequence and it makes things easy in that sense. But suppose you've memorised something from the 15th, 26th, 27th Juz, the 29th, and the 30th. You've memorised a couple of pages in some random places, and complete Surah in others. How would you revise? You would revise by placing them into a workable sequence as well. What would happen as you begin to increase memorising and eventually now you know something from each Juz' but don't know them all? Again, you'd have to keep track and have a sequence.
For many of us this would seem rather messy but for some of you, this would sound appealing to you because it reflects who you are. Although this approach is not the usual, it is something that has been done before.
Starting with specific Surah because they make memorising the Qur'ān easier
There's another belief that says if you start memorising the Qur'ān with specific Surah, you will find your Qur'ān memorisation journey get the best possible kickstart ever. That's to say, your memory will improve and your memorisation of the Qur'ān will become incredibly easy.
I will mention some of these approaches that have gained some traction in recent years.
3 Surah of the Qur'ān that stimulates memory and treats forgetfulness
Some scholars have mentioned that three suwar in the Qur'ān will improve your memory and treat forgetfulness if they are recited with regularity and are memorised. These surah carry a common feature - they contain verses that are repeated. Those are:
- al-Qamar (contains a verse is repeated 4 times)
- ar-Rahman (contains a verse that is repeated 31 times)
- al-Mursalāt (contains a verse that is repeated 10 times)
Some say repeating these according to the number of times the repeated verses appear is also effective.
Memorising Surah Yusuf first
Another one that I have heard is that if you memorise Surah Yusuf first, your memorisation of the Qur'ān will become easier. This is advice that I heard I believe within some circles in the Bangladeshi community.
Allāh knows best. These are things that are based on experience. These approaches are not particularly important as I said before, but these are certainly approaches that can be tried and tested.
When I heard these, of course, I became curious. I had never heard of it before so I researched what people who have done or heard things similar have had to say. Here's what they said:
"From my personal experience, I suffered from forgetfulness and couldn't memorise anything for my Masters degree. Yet Allāh guided me to recite Surah Yaseen every morning until I memorised it. I now have photographic memory. Whatever Allah wills, I excelled in my studies with His facilitation. Alhamdulillāhi rabbil 'ālameen.
From my experience, before I memorised the Qur'ān, I used to forget a lot. After I memorised, I began to read a lot of Surah al-Qamar, ar-Rahmān, and al-Mursalāt, and my memory became stronger.
I found something similar by repeating Surah al-A'lā where Allāh mentions about memory.
From my experience, and Allah knows best, I found that memorising Surah al-Baqarah first was the most effective way to stimulate the brain and strengthen the memory.
It's true. I noticed this. I used to forget a lot and needed a lot of time to memorise (hours), but our teacher asked us to memorise Surah ar-Rahmān. Once I did, I experienced a 360 degree difference in memorisation.
The journey of Hifz is as diverse as the individuals who embark on it. Whether you begin with a Surah close to your heart, follow a sequential path, or explore methods that enhance memory, the key is to start with sincerity and perseverance.
Remember, this journey is not just about memorising words; it's about connecting deeply with them, and letting them transform you. As Allāh says, 'And We have certainly made the Quran easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?' (54:17). So, take the first step, embrace the journey with an open heart, and let the words of Allāh illuminate your path.
May your journey of Hifz be blessed and fulfilling, and may it bring you closer to Him.8 - Like and share!