As a parent or a busy person, making time for memorisation can be difficult. You might only have 30 mins a day. How do you use it?

There are fathers and mothers who work in busy professions (medicine in particular) and run their own practice who have memorised. So it’s not impossible. Nothing works against you as much as you work against it.⁣

You should first understand why it is you want to do it, if it’s strong enough, you will always find time. First thing.⁣

Secondly, understand your time frames per day, energy levels, your personal strengths in terms of learning, and your own capabilities in memorising.

Thirdly, start with tiny steps. You want to focus on creating a new habit first. The smaller you think, with mini-goals, the better. Then start. Taste it⁣.

Fourthly, don’t dwell on what is the best method. Focus on self-discovery to match your strengths and situation realistically. That’s the best method.

There are four aspects to memorisation methods:

(1) senses;
(2) technique (how);
(3) use of time; and
(4) supplements.

Senses

When I talk about senses I am talking about sensory memory. Iconic (visual stimuli), echoic (auditory sense), or haptic (tactile sense) etc.

When I memorised the Qur’ān I knew within an instant that I was good at “listening”. I noticed that when I would hear reciters that I liked, I picked up on melodies but remembered the verses too. I’ve always been a good imitator so that helped with melodies. For some people, they need to combine listening with movement and visuals.

Technique

Senses are important because recognising where your strength is will define your technique. Having a grasp over what aids your memorisation is important but technique is crucial. This is the how part.

So when I began memorising I would learn by listening, and repeating without looking as I would pick it up. Then I would go to the verses repeat them, combine them, repeat them, and then read them to the teacher. This was by no means the way I carried on. I always changed.

Technique is dependent on a few things. You will have to ask yourself:

(a) Choosing one copy of the Qur’ān you are comfortable with and sticking to it.
(b) How much do you want to learn?
(c) How much you can realistically memorise for you to be able to claim “I know this with perfection”? Remember the aim is not how much you memorise but it’s perfection and internalisation.
(d ) What is your goal? Time-wise when are you aiming for completion?
(e) How much time do you have to commit? Can you memorise 2/3 pages a day to reach a goal of 6 months completion? If so how much time do you have in a day?
(f) The way you make repetition.

These are some of the things technique is defined by in my opinion. Let’s see a real-life examples.

Memorising during travel time

Muhammad in Cairo memorised the Qur’ān when he 28 years old. He used to go to work driving his own car in what was an hours journey (30 minutes commute there and back). Muhammad recognised he liked a particular Qur’ān (15 lines, Madani ‘Uthmāni Mushaf). He also recognised that he was a good listener. He knew that due to work and family he didn’t have time to memorise. He made the ingenious decision to use his commute as his memorisation time.

His daily commute back and forth from work became an agreement between a chauffeur. The agreement was that he would instead of driving he would have a Hāfidh drive him to and back from work. On the way there he would read to him and on the way back he would read to him. He set a target of 1 year for complete memorisation. Taking out holidays, taking out sick leave etc he calculated what he would need to learn to achieve that. It so happens that he did it! He memorised the entire Qur’ān in a car!

For him to do that he had to refine his technique. So he figured out a way to combine the help of the driver (listening), visual aid of Qur’ān, and time. This meant he had to figure out a way to memorise as best as he could within the time frame he had. The technique had to match it. For example, if you wanted to memorise a page you might take an hour, two hours, or three doing it. This could be smaller if you use the right sense aids but also experiment with technique.

Memorising at work

Depending on your line of work, you might have an opportunity to memorise. A brother worked as a lorry driver and listened to a sūrah at a time on repeat until he eventually memorised the entire Qur’ān. He used to listen to ‘Abd al-Bāsit ‘Abdus-Samad (may Allāh have mercy upon him).

When I was young, my father used to play the same audio tapes and CD’s of the Qur’ān over and over. This has had a great impact on me growing up.

Busy mothers on a walk

A mother I know is memorising and helping her young boy to memorise during travel to school and when coming back from school. Instead of driving to school, they take a walk together. They use the moment for Qur’ān.

One sister told me, “When I had no time on my hands I just listened to the audio of my favourite Qari looping the whole Quran. I did this for 2 years. I listened to the whole Quran nearly 100 times. After this, I became so familiar with the Quran that doing new Hifz became really easy. I can hear the Qari’s voice in my ear when I pray Quran. If you have given up on your Hifz try this: just listen to the audio in all free time. After a year or so you will be ready to memorise.”

And there is no power or acceptance expect with Allāh.

Learn with your strengths

Take this quiz. It will give you an indication of your learning preferences. Also, take the litmus test to figure out what you can be capable of doing.

You must understand yourself, your situation, and be practical. How do you learn best? What are you capable of doing? How much time do you have? Is it really 30 minutes a day? Are you prepared to repeat a lot? Are you able to give this regular attention? Will you be able to review consistently? Where do you stand?

How could you memorise if you only have 30 minutes a day? (perhaps on the move)

1. Take a minimum amount to memorise. Read it by looking beforehand and read the meaning.

2. Listen to it during the journey. At the same time repeating it.

3. Try to do off memory numerous times, over and over.

4. Review before bed and check the next day’s or sessions portion.

5. Use the weekend to review, consolidate the weeks’ portions.

Think about dividing your time. perhaps 60/40 or 50/50 for memorisation and review.

These are some ideas to spark your own.

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