Golden Rules for Memorizing the Qur’an
1. Be Sincere
One must clarify and declare his intention to get the fruit of this task. Thus, memorizing the Glorious Qur’an must be observed only for the Sake of Allah and for winning His Paradise, Pleasure and His Great Rewards. Allah the Almighty says: “So worship Allah, making the religion His faithfully. Verily, the faithful religion is for Allah”. (Al-Zumar: 2-3)
Also, He says: “Say, ‘Surely, I have been commanded to worship Allah making the religion His; faithfully”. (Al-Zumar: 11)
Thus, there is no reward whatever for those who read and memorize it to be seen and over-praised by others. Also, the one who recites it intending to win worldly gains only is sinful.
2. Correct Pronunciation and Recitation
The first step to take after purifying one’s intention is to correct one’s recitation of the Glorious Qur’an. This will be possible only by listening to a skilled reciter or an excellent memorizer. The only way to become knowledgeable of the Qur’an is to take it orally from others, as the Prophet himself, peace and blessings be upon him, took it orally from Jibreel. Also, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to recite the Qur’an once before Jibreel during the month of Ramadan every year, but he did it twice before him in the year in which he died.
Consequently, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, taught it to his Companions orally. The generations that followed took it the same way from the earlier ones.
Thus, taking the Glorious Qur’an orally after an excellent reciter is a must. One should always correct his recitation and should not depend on himself, even if he is knowledgeable of Arabic and its rules, as there are in the Qur’an many verses that are in variance with the well-known rules of Arabic.
3. Apportion the Daily Number of Verses to Memorize
One who intends to memorize the Glorious Qur’an should specify the amount he can bear daily, be it a given number of verses, one or two pages, or one-eighth of a juz’ (one thirtieth part). Then, he starts to repeat and repeat till he perfects his memorization. He should recite aloud, first to follow the Prophetic Sunnah and second to perfect his memorization. Intoning the Qur’an is endeared to the hearing and helps with memorizing, as it gets the tongue familiar with a given tune and an error is easily identified when the usual tune varies in one way or another. When this happens, the tongue feels the variation and stops to correct the recitation. Besides, reciting aloud was advocated by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who said: “The one who does not intone his recitation of the Qur’an is not one of us.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
4. Do Not Move to the Next Portion Till You Master the Present One
One who memorizes the Glorious Qur’an should not move to the next portion till he masters the previous one. One way to perfect his portion is to make it his business day and night to recite it during his silent Prayer and, in case he is leading the Prayer, in his aloud Prayer. Also, one should recite it in the Sunnah Prayers and while waiting for the beginning of the Prayer. In this way, memorizing the Qur’an will be easy and possible for everyone, even if one seems busy. This is because one will not sit down just once to practice this. Rather he will listen to the instructor once, then he will start repeating it himself during the times mentioned and in Fard (obligatory) and Sunnah (optional) Prayers as well. If something prevents one from memorizing his due portion in the specified day, he should not move to a new portion till he has perfected his memorization of the former.
5. Stick to One Specific Copy of the Glorious Qur’an
One factor that helps to master memorization is to stick to just one copy of the Glorious Qur’an. This is because man memorizes things by sight as well as by hearing. The form of the verses and their locations on the page of the Qur’an are stamped in one’s mind because of the frequent repetition and the act of looking at the copy itself. Thus, if one changes his copy or memorizes from more than one, his memorization will not be so easy or good enough.
6. Understand What You Are Memorizing
One of the greatest aides to memorizing the Glorious Qur’an is to understand the verses and recognize the relationship between them. Thus, one who intends to memorize should read some explanations of the intended verses and should understand how they are related. He should also be attentive as he reads to easily remember the verses afterwards. He should not depend solely on his understanding of the verses; rather, the repetition should be the basis of memorizing. This is to enable the tongue to read even in times when the mind is not wholly attentive. The one who depends mostly on understanding is liable to forget and stop as soon as his mind is not attentive. This happens mostly during long recitations.
7. Do Not Move from One Surah to Another Till You Connect Its Beginning to Its End
After memorizing a whole surah of the Glorious Qur’an, one should not move to the next till he has mastered it perfectly. He should connect its beginning to its end, and his tongue should move with it smoothly and easily without exerting his mind in remembering the verses and continuing the recitation. Rather, his memorization should be as smooth as water and he should recite it without any faltering whatever, even if he is not attentive to the meanings sometimes. It should be like the case when one recites Al-Fatihah without any effort, and this, of course, is due to its being frequently repeated and recited. Likening this to Al-Fatihah is something figurative, as no one will commit the whole Qur’an to his memory just like it. The point is that one should try to fix the whole Surah in his mind, connected and smooth, and not to move to the next till he has memorized it perfectly.
8. Recite Frequently before Others
One who memorizes the Glorious Qur’an should not depend only on his memorization. He should always recite before another memorizer or even one who just follows along in a copy of the Qur’an. It is preferable that that person be an excellent memorizer to notify the new memorizer with the things he might forget or recite inattentively.
It is true that one may memorize something incorrectly and never notice it, even though he is looking at the copy of the Qur’an because reading precedes sight. The memorizer may look at the copy of the Qur’an and not recognize the fault’s location. Hence, reciting the Qur’an before others is a perfect way to amend these mistakes and set one’s mind always attentive.
9. Follow Up Frequently
The Glorious Qur’an differs from other materials intended to be committed to one’s heart as it is more fleeting from one’s mind, as shown by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is! It runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.” (Agreed-upon)
As soon as one who memorizes the Qur’an leaves it, it flees from him and he rapidly forgets it. So, one must follow up frequently and continuously observe in order to preserve it. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The example of the person who knows the Qur’an by heart is like the owner of tied camels. If he keeps them tied, he will control them, but if he releases them, they will run away.” He also said, “Keep on reciting the Qur’an, for, by Him in Whose Hand my life is, the Qur’an runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This means that one who memorizes the whole Qur’an should read at least a whole juz’ per day, and he should not exceed ten juz’s per day. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “He who finishes the recitation of the Qur’an in less than three days, does not understand it.” (Agreed-upon)
Through this frequent follow-up and permanent observation, committing the Qur’an to one’s heart can be kept free from forgetting.
10. Pay Attention to Similarities
The Glorious Qur’an has similarities in meanings, words, and verses, as Allah the Almighty says, “Allah has sent down the fairest discourse – as a Book, consimilar (and) oft-repeated, whereat shiver the skins of the ones who are apprehensive of their Lord; thereafter their skins and their hearts soften to the Remembrance of Allah”. (Al-Zumar, 23)
It is a fact that the Qur’an has more than six thousand verses, around two thousand of which are similar in one way or another. In some locations the similarity is exact, while in others there may be a difference of just one letter or one or a few words.
Hence, one who memorizes the Qur’an should pay great attention to the similar verses. The more one pays attention to these similarities, the firmer his memorization gets. One may find help in reading the books that deal with similar verses. Foremost among these books are:
1- Durat Al-Tanzil wa Ghurat Al-Ta’wil by Al-Khateeb Al-Iskafi.
2- Asrar Al-Tikrar fi Al-Qur’an, by Mahmoud Ibn Hamzah Ibn Nasr Al-Karmani, and others.
11. Seize the Opportunity of the Golden Years to Memorize
The successful person is the one who seizes the opportunity of his early golden years from five to nearly twenty-three. Man’s memory during this period is in the best shape. Before five, one is too young to pay attention to memorizing, and after twenty-three his faculty to memorize begins to decline while his faculty of comprehension and understanding starts to increase. So, as much as possible, one should use these golden years to commit the Qur’an to memory.
Committing anything to one’s heart during this early age takes place very fast, while forgetting it happens slowly. On the contrary, when man gets old he memorizes very slowly and forgets very quickly. Thus, the Arabic proverb is perfectly true that says “Learning in childhood is just like engraving on stones, while learning in adulthood is just like drawing on water.”
So, we should not waste these golden years and should try to commit the Glorious Qur’an to our hearts. If we were unable to do so, it is better not to escape the opportunity in regards to our children. May Allah grant us all success, and send blessings on our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions as well.
*By Ali Al-Halawani
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