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 How to Memorise the Qur'an - Step by Step

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PostSubject: How to Memorise the Qur'an - Step by Step   Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:46 pm

How to Memorize the Qur'aan:

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.[1]

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.

Same mushaf

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 to one another

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) - ﺟﺪﻳﺪ ﺣﻔﻆ

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) - ﺍﻟﺟﺪﻳﺪ ﻣﺮﺍﺟﻌﺔ

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')

Mistake System:

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" (ﺗﻟﻌﺜﻢ). If the student is unable to correct herself (in a relatively short amount of time), then it is considered a full mistake (ﺧﻂﺄ)

· Students are allowed NO mistakes or "½ mistakes" in their NMA (ﺟﺪﻳﺪ ﺣﻔﻆ). 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 (ﺍﻟﺟﺪﻳﺪ ﻣﺮﺍﺟﻌﺔ). 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 (ﺍﻟﻗﺪﻴﻢ ﻣﺮﺍﺧﻌﺔ). 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 (ﺝ) in the margin next to the line wherein the mistake (ﺧﻂﺄ) occurred, and a (ﺖ) in the case of a ½ mistake (ﺗﻟﻌﺜﻢ). 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.

[1] Sahih Muslim…

Last edited by Black_Flag on Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: How to Memorise the Qur'an - Step by Step   Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:46 pm

Perfecting the Juz'

Each time the student completes one juz', he / she should take the next day "off" of their usual daily assignments and perfect that juz'. He / she should do so by reviewing the juz' 3 times in the same day. (One time would be replacing the time allotted for NMA, the other replaces the allotted RMV time, and the last replaces the Review time). While reviewing, all mistakes must be marked, counted, and noted each time. The last time, the student should be sure to recite the juz' to a teacher to make sure he / she does not have any mistakes. By the third time, the student should not have a single mistake in that juz'. If they do, they should again repeat that juz' three times the next day.

Alternatively, if the student feels that the juz' they completed has quite a few mistakes, he can perfect half that juz' on the first day, by repeating it 3-5 times (i.e. however many times required to perfect it). Then, the next day, he can perfect the second half of the juz'.

After perfecting that juz' in this way, he / she may move on to memorizing the next juz'.

Lost and Found: Regaining past juz's that one forgot

Often times, when a person has had a long break due to travelling or other circumstances, and has failed to maintain what they have previously memorized, it can become "lost". Or, before a person starts a system such as this one, he / she may have juz's they have memorized previously that somehow seemed to have faded away. What should one do in such situations?

If the juz's are completely lost, meaning, the person would have to rememorize a page or two of it a day in order to regain it, they should just "pretend" they have never memorized it, and start from scratch, or from what they know.

However, if the person has nearly forgotten it, they can regain it, inshaa' Allaah, with strengthm using the system based on the one described above for memorization.

That person should take 5 pages of that soorah or juz', or 3 pages minimum,[1] and treat them like NMA. That is, they are to review them perfectly. The next day, he takes the next 3-5 pages. Each day, he review that soorah from the beginning if the soorah is long (20 or more pages). If it is shorter, then he should review the last 20 pages that he has reviewed. That is, he actually treats the 3-5 pages he has reviewed as new memorization, and reviews the last 20 pages as "RMV".

Meanwhile, he / she should do a regular juz' of review from the back (or front) until where they have reached.

So, for example, lets assume a person had once memorized Soorat al- Baqarah and Soorat Aali- 'Imraan and has maintained Baqarah but forgot Aali 'Imraan. He should review the first 3-5 pages of Aali- 'Imraan, putting them in place of NMA.

Meanwhile, he reviews ½ a juz' to one juz' of Baqarah that day. The next day, hes does the next 3-5 pages of Aali-'Imraan as NMA, then does Aali-'Imraan from the beginning until that point as RMV. Additionally, he reviews the next ½ juz' or one juz' of Baqarah. And so on. When he exceeds 20 pages of Aali'Imraan, he should only do the last 20 pages as RMV, and not do Aali'-Imraan from the beginning.

This is also useful for people who have memorized very large portions of the Qur'aan, or even for those who have completed the Qur'aan, and are having a hard time regaining it. If they simply review what they can each day, by the time they reach the end of what they know, they would have nearly forgotten what they have reviewed at the beginning of their "round". Whereas, doing it in this way, will allow it to stick and will also not allow the old juz's to be lost. For people who have memorized large portions, it should be noted that before embarking on review in this way, he / she should determine which juz's are weak and which are strong. If they can review ½ a juz' or one juz' in half an hour, they can count it from the strong juz's and simply do them as "Review". If it takes them half an hour to accomplish less than that, they should treat it as NMA, taking 5 pages a day (or 3, if it is very weak). Additionally, they must neglect to their 20-page RMV or their so-called "NMA".

However, we must note that once a person starts to memorize the Qur'aan according to the system described in this book, he should beware of the habit of stopping and restarting. First of all, he / she should not stop unless dire circumstances arise, like family emergencies or sickness. Also, travelling naturally throws a person off schedule. In such cases, the person should at least maintain their daily revision of one juz', so that they do not lose what they have memorized. Neglecting this matter is one of the greatest causes of delay in hifzh and often times, of leaving the hifzh altogether!

Finally Finished!

Joy and Gratitude

If Allaah graces the student to complete the entire Qur'aan, he should realise that this is one of the greatest blessings of Allaah on him, and hence, consider it the greatest (or one of the greatest) days in his life of this world. Allaah has told us that blessings such as these, which are from the mercy and grace of Allaah, are greater than all the belongings of the dunyaa. He said,
قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُواْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ ۝

"Say: In the Bounty of Allaah and in His Mercy, therein let them rejoice, for that is better than all (the worldly possessions) they collect."[2]

Hence, he should thank Allaah in heart, speech, and action. In heart, he must genuinely recognize that it is not due to his efforts that he completed, but due to Allaah's grace and tawfeeq for him. For, truly, other may be exerting more efforts than him and yet, they may still not have completed the Qur'aan. He should therefore remove the slightest bit of 'ujb (self admiration) from his heart. Also, in terms of the heart, he should recheck and purify his intentions, making it sincerely for the sake of Allaah. In order to help preserve his sincerity, he should only inform the closest people to him or in circumstances where his knowing the Qur'aanic qualifications is beneficial, such as when teaching others or applying to teach, etc. In terms of gratitude by speech, he should thank and praise Allaah, preferably making two sajdahs of shukr (prostrations of gratitude), as the Prophet (s) did when something great happened. In action, he should use this blessing in a way which pleases Allaah. That is, he should continue studying the Qur'aan, as we will mention shortly, and strive to act on it, feeling the burden of responsibility in this regard. He should remember that his religion and character must now be refined since he is now a carrier of Allaah's book. Furthermore, he should use this blessing to help others. Often times, people complete the Qur'aan and fall into one of two traps: they stop reviewing or studying the Qur'aan in general, on a daily basis, feeling that their job is "finished". Or, they keep this blessing to themselves, simply worrying about their review, without reaching out to teach others from what Allaah has taught them.

So, in a sense, he should realize that the struggle for the Qur'aan is not actually finished, but perhaps just beginning! He must now strengthen and consolidate what he has memorized and continue from there. In order to motivate himself, he should be around other huffazh, who are at a higher level than himself, such as those with ijaazahs[3], those with all the qiraa'ahs (modes of recitation), and those who complete review of the entire Qur'aan weekly or even sooner, with a minimal amount of mistakes.

Furthermore, if the student does not have a qualified teacher at this point, he must now find one. Practically speaking, the haafizh should now take the steps that will be outlined below.

If he has memorized Qur'aan according to the above system, or a similar one, wherein his Qur'aanic memorization is relatively strong, and he can review at least one juz' a day, without much of a problem, he should move on to the Consolidating Khatmah. If he has large gaps in his hifzh, having lost juz's from here and there, he should first follow the steps in the section entitled "Lost and Found", mentioned earlier, before moving on to this step.

The Consoldating Khatmah (Round)[4]

This khatmah is on order for the student to strengthen and consolidate his memorization of the Qur'aan. Beginning with Soorat al- Baqarah, he "re-memorizes" 5 pages daily, perfecting them and properly reciting them, such that he has no mistakes of ½ mistakes. Then, he should recite these pages to his teacher immediately. The next day, he does the next 5 pages and recites them to his teacher. After the student recites his 5 pages to the teacher, he must review (on his own) what he has consolidated on the previous days. Once he completes 3 juz's of consolidation (5 pages a day), he should review 3 juz's daily, in order, of what he previously consolidated, along with his new 5 pages for the day. This pattern should continue every day until he completes the entire Qur'aan. This is referred to as the Consolidating Khatmah. The student needs approximately 140 days, that is, around four and a half months, to complete this khatmah.

Then, after completing the first Consolidating Khatmah, he should begin a second khatmah, in which he "re-memorized", repeats and perfects an entire juz' daily, instead of 5 pages, and then recites the juz' to his teacher that same day, without any mistakes. In addition to this juz', he should review three juz's each day from the beginning until the point he has reached in his consolidation process. Upon completion, he proceeds to perfecting three juz's (instead of one) daily, then five, then seven, then ten. That is, he continues, until he can recite ten juz's daily without any mistakes of ½ mistakes, and without needing to review or prepare before them before reciting them to the teacher. In addition, one should note that, once he reached the process of perfecting three or more juz's a day; he does not need to do any additional round of revision beside that.

If the person is unable to see his teacher daily, he should make a daily phone appointment to recite to the teacher. When he has to recite five, seven of ten juz's to the teacher, he can do so by dividing the recitation time into two or more portions of time. For example, he can call his teacher in the morning and evening, or for a shorter time, after each prayer, etc.

The Khatmah of Ijaazah

After exerting his effort to improve his recitation and memorization, the student who as completed memorizing the Qur'aan is encouraged to perfect and beautify his recitation by seeking a chain (of teachers) tracing back to the Prophet (s). In order to do so, he must strive to find a competent teacher possessing a high level of proficiency, as well as ijaazah[5] with a chain tracing back to the Prophet (s). Upon finding him, he should recite the whole Qur'aan to him from memory, with accuracy and a precise application of all Tajweed rules. Once he completes this, and the teacher ascertains that he is qualified and deserving to carry this great trust and responsibility, i.e. the ijaazah, he will certify him. This certificate will then allow him to recite and teach others Qur'aan wherever he goes, and will grant him the authority to certify others.

Sadly, some people become unenthusiastic and lazy after they have attained the ijaazah, perceiving that they have reached their ultimate goal. However, this is far from being the case. The reality is that it is only the beginning of the road to learning and teaching Qur'aan. The ijaazah is no way means that a person has become perfect in Tajweed or other Qur'aanic sciences. He still must expand in knowledge of Tajweed, as well as seek to learn the ten recitations. Not to mention studying the Tafseer, vocabulary, and Arabic grammar of the Qur'aan, as well as other matters related to the sciences of the Qur'aan. In other words, the ijaazah should not stop him from continuing his quest for Qur'aanic knowledge and continuing to knock on the doors of the scholars and teachers.

In this regard, Sa'eed ibn Jubayr, may Allaah have mercy on him, said, "A person continues to be a scholar for as long as he continues learning. Yet, once he leaves (the quest for) knowledge and feels that he is no longer in need and that what he has is sufficient, then he becomes as ignorant as one can possibly be."[6]

Furthermore, after the student is blessed by attaining the ijaazah, he must then give his portion of "zakaah" (obligatory charity) from this knowledge. And the "zakaah" of knowledge consists of teaching it to others. So, just as he sat with his teachers and scholars to acquire this knowledge, he must sit to teach others knowledge of the Qur'aan. Upon doing so, he will be encompassed in the statement of the Prophet (s): "The best of you is he who learns the Qur'aan and teaches it."[7]

[1] A good way to determine how many pages of this review to do a day would be to see how many pages he / she can review in half an hour.
[2] Soorat Yoonus (10):58
[3] [4] The word khatmah (lit. completion) refers to completing a "round" of Qur'aan; that is, reciting it from beginning to end.
[5] TN: Ijaazah simply means a certificate, and in Qur'aanic terms, it refers to a certificate with a chain of teachers tracing back to the Prophet (s). So it starts with the name of the person to whom the certificate is given, then his teacher, then his teacher's teacher, etc., until reaching the Prophet (s).
[6] Al-'Ilm wa Aadaab al-'Aalim, by an-Nawawee, p.90.

[7] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 545
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PostSubject: Re: How to Memorise the Qur'an - Step by Step   Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:05 pm

THE SCHOLARS SAY: memorize the Qur’an before anything else!

“As for seeking to memorise the Qur‘an, then this is to be given preference over many of the things that the people consider to be knowledge, but are - in reality - either totally useless, or having little benefit. It is also to be given precedence in learning especially by those who wish to acquire knowledge of the Deen, its principles and its particulars. Since what is prescribed for such a person at this time is that he should begin by memorising the Qur‘an, as it is the foundation of the branches of the knowledge of the Deen. This is contrary to what is done by many of the people of innovation from the non-Arabs and other than them, in that one of them will pre-occupy himself with superfluous parts of knowledge; such as kalaam (rhetorical speech) and argumentation; or very rare matters of differences; and blind-following; which there is no need for; or very strange and rare ahadeeth, which are not established, nor of benefit; and many discussions which do not establish proofs. And he abandons memorising the Qur‘an which is more important than all of this.” [1]

“I heard my grandfather say: I asked my father for permission to study under Qutaybah so he said: “First learn the Qur‘an and then I will give you permission.” So I memorised the Qur‘an by heart. So he said to me: “Remain until you have led the people in prayer with it (i.e for Taraweeh Prayer).” So I did so, then after the ‘Eed he gave me permission, so I left for Marw.” [2]“So the first thing he should begin with is memorisation of the mighty Qur‘an, which is the most important branches of knowledge. And the Salaf did not use to teach Hadeeth or Fiqh, except to one who memorised the Qur‘an. So when he has memorised it, then let him beware of pre-occupying himself from it with Hadeeth, Fiqh or other things, to the extent that it leads him to forget anything of the Qur‘an, or makes that likely.” [3]

Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Fatawaa al-Kubraa (2/54-55)
Muhammad Ibn al-Fadl, reported by adh-Dhahabi in Tadhkirat ul-Huffadh (2/722)
al-Imam an-Nawawi, from the introduction to al-Majmoo’ Sharh ul-Muhadhhab

SubhanAllaah wa alhamdulillah wa la il-Allaha ilAllaah wAllahu akbar
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