How to Memorize the Qur’an (Part I)
A Practical Method
Choosing a Suitable Time
The student must choose a suitable time for memorization and the most ideal time is after Fajr, after having completed the morning adhkaar (words of remembrance). The student of the Qur’aan must strive and struggle to change his / her sleeping habits and to make the very best usage of their time, with discipline, scheduling and determination. The Prophet (s) informed us that Allaah has placed barakah (blessing) in the early part of the day. So, though one may sit for half an hour after Fajr or half an hour after Maghrib, he / she will accomplish more in the time after Fajr.
In order to remain awake after Fajr, one must then strive to sleep early and / or take a nap in the afternoon if possible. Staying up after Fajr must become a lifestyle for the student of the Qur’aan, so that they can maintain their relationship with the Qur’aan throughout their entire lives, by Allaah’s permission.
If, for some reason, the student cannot do it immediately after Fajr, then before Fajr is the next best time. However, he / she should not attempt memorization in the evening, as the fruits will not be fully reaped.
Also, the student must ensure that nothing will interfere with the time set for memorization, whether phone calls, family members’ needs, etc.
Choosing a suitable place
The student must choose a suitable place to memorize. Ideally, the place should have all, or most of the following qualities:
· It should be a room free of pictures (as much as is possible).
· It should be plain and simple.
· It should not be in a place which will encourage sleep, like in the bedroom or close to the bed.
Hence, memorization in “nature”, contrary to what some may think, is actually not advisable, as the student will easily become distracted.
Observing the etiquette of Qur’aan
The student should make wudhoo’ and maintain it (i.e. renew it upon breaking it) while they sit with the Qur’aan. It is also advisable to sit facing the qiblah, if possible. Though women are not required to wear head scarves, they should be dressed modestly.
The student should have one mus-haf, from which they memorize and review. The Arabic mus-haf (i.e. not the Pakistani prints) should be chosen, as it is more suitable for memorization, due to the fact that each page starts with the beginning of a verse and ends with the ends of a verse. The student should maintain their mus-haf and avoid switching mus-hafs.
However, it is also advisable for the student to keep a small mus-haf in his pocket or her purse as well as one in the car. This is because, if one has spare time, or gets stuck in a waiting room or in traffic, they can use that time to review. And such times are not always planned, as to allow the student to maintain their main mus-haf with them.
Students should also have a mus-haf stand and a pencil to mark mistakes. Its is also advisable that students have a notebook in which to record their daily progress, as provided by Hifzh schools. A sample record sheet is attached and may be photocopied and used.
Order of memorization
Students should memorize in order, even if they have previously memorized bits and pieces from here and there. They should start from the back (Juz ‘Amma) or the front (Soorat al-Baqarah) and continue. Ideally, students should memorize 3 or 5 juz’s from the back and then move to Soorat al-Baqarah, as it allows the student to start with something easy and build up from there. At the very least, students should first memorize Juz ‘Amma before starting Soorat al-Baqarah.
Start with the “warm up”
Once the student sits with the Qur’aan to start memorization, the first thing he/she should do is the “warm-up”. The student should read the ½ page or page that he / she intends to memorize, slowly and melodiously, paying close attention to applying Tajweed rules, proper makhaarij, etc. Depending on the student’s time frame and level of motivation, the student may also listen to a tape of a good reciter reciting that page.
If the student does not understand Arabic, he / she should then read the meaning from the translated Qur’aan in English (or their language).
Once the student had read the page (and meaning if needed), he / she should begin the process of memorization.
METHODS OF MEMORIZATION
A) Memorize the verse. Read one verse 3-5 times. If the verse is long, divide it and read the first part of the verse. If the verse is very short, one can do 2 verses at once. Then close the mus-haf and attempt the verse (or part of the verse) without looking. If you are still unsure, look at it and carefully read it once more. Repeat it without looking 5 times. Then look at it one more time and read it, in order to make sure you memorized it correctly. Then close the mus-haf and recite it without looking one more time.
B ) Connect the verses. Do the next verse in the same way. Then do verse 1 and 2 together without looking once. If you are successful, move on to verse 3. But if you forget something, look at that part which you forgot and read it once more, then repeat that verse without looking once. Then continue reciting, without starting over. Upon completing verse 2, you should repeat verses 1-2 once more. You must be able to say them together without any mistake or hesitation before moving on to the next verse.
Then do verse 3 the same way. Then do verses 1-3 ONCE without looking, etc. If you forget something in doing verses 1-3 together, do the same as was explained above. That is, read the verse you forgot, then say the verse without looking, then move on until you complete verse 3, not hesitating to look if you forget. Upon completing verse 3, repeat 1-3 again, until you can recite them once without any mistakes. And so on, until you finish your memorization assignment.
C) Repeat the page thrice. Upon completing the page or ½ a page, recite it altogether 3 times.
D) Five time throughout the day. It is not uncommon for students to forget what they memorized in the morning by the afternoon. In order that the student should not forget the morning’s new assignment, he / she should repeat it 4-5 times that day. An easy and practical to do so is to review it immediately before or after their prayers throughout the day. By Maghrib or ‘Ishaa, they can even pray with it confidently, inshaa’ Allaah (Allaah willing).
CONNECTING THE PAGES
A common problem that students confront when reviewing is that of forgetting which page comes next. Hence, the student must connect the end of one page to the beginning of the next page. He / she can do so when they are memorizing the new page, by starting the memorization process from the last verse of the previous page. Then each time they memorize a verse, instead of going back and repeating from the beginning of the page, they should repeat from the last verse of the previous page. In other words, they “pretend”, so to speak, that their new assignment starts from the last verse of the previous assignment. The only point to note is that they do not actually have to rememorize that verse, but to recite it along with the others.
As will be described later, review must be done daily. However, memorization should always be done before review, as it takes more concentration and will need to be done when his / her mind is most fresh.
Suggested Method of Review
Student recites without looking. If he gets stuck, forgets, or is unsure, he should look in the mus-haf and read the portion he forgot. Then he should close it and repeat that verse (or portion of the verse) 3 times without looking. Then continue on, without starting over, doing the same each time he forgets, until he completes the page. If the page contained any mistakes, he should repeat the page again until he can do it without mistakes, before moving on to the next page.
If that page, or even that juz’, is particularly weak, the student may read over the page once before doing what we just described.
SYSTEM OF MEMORIZATION
The students’ assignment is divided into three categories, all of which are done daily, for 5 days a week.
1. New Memorization Assignment (NMA) – ﺣﻔﻆ ﺟﺪﻳﺪ
Using the method described above, the student memorizes the same amount daily, starting with ½ a page and gradually working towards 1 page a day. If the student is a complete beginner and has trouble with ½ a page using the previously described method of memorization he / she may start with a ¼ or 1/3 of a page and work their way up. Advanced students may eventually do 2-3 pages maximum daily, in order to allow more review time.
Approximate time required: ½ hr.
2. Recently Memorized Verses (RMV) – ﻣﺮﺍﺟﻌﺔ ﺍﻟﺟﺪﻳﺪ
If the student is memorizing less than 1 page a day, he / she reviews the last 5 pages he / she memorized, with the NMA included. If the student memorizes one page a day, he or she should review the last 10 pages he / she memorized, with the NMA included. However, if time constraints make this difficult, then 5 pages is the minimum. If advanced student memorize 2-3 pages a day, they must do 20 pages of RMV.
Approximate time required: ½ hr.
3. Review:ﻣﺮﺍﺟﻌﺔ ﻋﺎﻣﺔ
Student reviews 10 pages (½ a juz’) a day for starters, and eventually 1 juz’ a day (after memorizing 5 juz’s), starting from the beginning of what they memorized until the point they reached in memorization. We often refer to this as one “round of revision”. The goal is to finish one “round of revision” in no more than 2 weeks. So, once a person completes 15 juz’s, they should advance to reviewing 2 juz’s daily.
Approximate time: ½ hr – 1 hr (depending on strength and weaknesses of that particular juz’)
A mistake is when the student makes a mistake in the actual recitation or forgets what comes next. The teacher simply indicates to the student that they made a mistake. If the student corrects herself, if is considered “½ a mistake”. If the student is unable to correct herself (in a relatively short amount of time), then it is considered a full mistake.
· Students are allowed NO mistakes or “½ mistakes” in their NMA. If the student does have any mistakes, he / she may not memorize anything new the next day, but must perfect that day’s NMA.
· Students may not have more than a total of 1 mistake per every 5 pages of their RMV. Full and half mistakes are added up to come up with the final number of mistakes. If the student does have more than the permitted number of mistakes, she may not memorize anything new the next day, but must perfect the RMV instead.
· Students may not have more than 3 mistakes in total in their Review. If she does have more 3 mistakes, she must review that same juz’ the next day, making sure to correct her mistakes.
· Mistakes are marked with a pencil by the teacher in the students mus-haf, with a distinction between a mistake and ½ a mistake. For example, in addition to underline (or “over-lining”) the actual mistake, the teacher can write in the margin next to the line wherein the mistake occurred, and in the case of a ½ mistake. Then at the end the teacher can add up the total number of mistakes.
· Often times, mistakes become grounded in the student’s mind and they continues to make the same mistakes each time. To avoid this, if a mistake (or ½ mistake) is marked in the mus-haf, and the next time around the student makes the same mistake, it is doubled (i.e. the ½ mistake is considered a full mistake and the full mistake counts as 2 mistakes). Teachers and students should focus in on the mistakes and be sure to get rid of them immediately, which is the very reason that they are being marked in their mus-haf.