This is the story of a sister who struggled her way to memorisation.

She tried so many methods, more than 30! She never gave up but understood that she needed to do something.

She found that ultimately two things helped her:

  1. Repetition of up to 100x or more.
  2. Recognising that review is important than memorising because it will become the past. Whether looking or whether by heart, never to neglect review beyond a week.

Let’s start with her advice.⁣ ⁣She said:

  1. Remember to purify your intentions.⁣
  2. The quickest way to do this is to go about your journey in secret and by making persistent du’ā’. She used to make the following supplication: “O Allāh, make it a sincere deed for Your sake, without show or hypocrisy. O Allāh! Grant me its establishment, letter by letter. O my Master, provide and bless my chest all of it as a sincere deed for you!”⁣
  3. Use the Prophetic prayers like: O Allāh make the Qur’ān the spring of my heart! (Musnad Ahmad)
  4. Work on strengthening your intent, will power and motivation to reach the seal.⁣ ⁣ This is a must. You need a strong resolve.
  5. Follow and adopt a project mindset with specified timings divided throughout short periods of the day.⁣
  6. Spreading repetition throughout the day will increase your long-term retention and solidify your memorisation. The brain will classify this as important info to remember.⁣

What was the method she found to work after so many years?

Here’s how it works.

First.

Read your portion that you want to memorise (for her it was half of a hizb or 1 side) for more than 50x (or sometimes 30x) in three stages:

  1. In the morning after Fajr, read it 20x looking.
  2. After dhuhr, read it 20x looking.
  3. At night, read it 10x looking.

After this she would find that she had memorised it really well. Now you can repeat 10x without looking or more. You want to make sure and solidify.

She calls it a process of fermentation because of the breaking down into spaced repetition. This has great benefit as it makes the brain classify the information as being important to remember. This helps shift it to the long term memory.

Second.

The next day you will review this alongside the new portion in the same way as described above.

Third.

You must make the most of golden periods in the day. Gaps and pockets of time in order to listen to the verses. Like when you are cooking, eating, waiting, commuting but don’t go all in as to begin neglecting others around you.

Method for review

Her rule was never to pass 7-to-10 days without reviewing. Her process was as follows:

  1. Start with the page you’ve memorised and keep reading this alongside anything else that is new until you reach a quarter of a juz’.
  2. When you reach half way, you’ll be doing half of the juz’.
  3. But then you drop a quarter from the first half and add a quarter from the second half.
  4. Then you increase this until you reach a juz’ daily.
  5. Keep this constant until you reach 10 ajza’.
  6. Then move to reviewing 2 juz’ daily when you reach 20 ajza’.
  7. Then keep 3 ajza’ daily as your routine.

And like this, she found her way.

An alternative quarter system

I’d like to mention here an alternative method of review for those who may feel the above to be too much. The alternative would be based on quarters and sets of five.

You would repeat a quarter between 21–30x.

  1. Review daily all that you know until you reach a juz’. However, you will treat each quarter as a single unit that you repeat 21–30x.
  2. So you’re adding a quarter on top every time (1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4). Memorise up to a quarter, now keep repeating that quarter. Memorise the next quarter to repeat but add it to the previous and so on.
  3. Now you start juz’ two. Go all the way to the first quarter of this juz’. So now you’ve memorised 1 1/4 juz’.
  4. The next step would be to add the next quarter but remove the previous quarter. Meaning for every quarter increase from this point you reduce one quarter until your reach the point of your memorisation.
  5. You do this in sets of five.

May Allah make it easy for us all.

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