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Benefits of Quran Memorization – Part II

Read the first part of this article

We live such busy lives that it can be hard to find time to fit in our basic obligations, like praying five times a day, let alone find time to memorize Quran. However, contrary to what one would think, it is quite possible to memorize Quran alongside going to school, working, and performing our other responsibilities. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) has said, “Allah will reward the person who recites the Quran a great deal and makes a promise with it to try and memorize it–even though it may entail great difficulty–with a double reward.” [1] The very beauty of Islam is found in the fact that it is a religion that can be incorporated into our daily lives.  Our intention behind every action, even actions that may seem secular at first, is to gain the pleasure of our Creator. The memorization of Quran is a surefire way to achieve this goal.  Presented in this article are tips to assist you in the memorization of Quran.

Start Young

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) has been quoted to have said, “One who recites the Quran and is a believing youth, the Quran becomes mixed with his flesh and Allah will place him with the Angels. The Quran will also act as a barrier (between him and Hellfire) on the Day of Judgement.” [2] The younger you start memorizing Quran, the more potent the effect of the verses will be on your soul. There is also no doubt that the mind is more malleable at a young age. Many of the famous scholars of our time, such as Imam Ruhollah Khomeini and Sayed Muhammad Hussain Tabatabai, finished memorizing the entire Quran at the tender ages of 6 and 7. This is not meant to discourage those that may be of older age. Rather, it is to encourage anyone seeking to pursue the memorization of Quran to start as soon as possible. Rather than putting it off and saying that you’ll start whenever you’re done with so-and-so project or semester, begin immediately. There is no time better than now.

Set Realistic Goals

The rate of memorization is highly individual, varying from person to person. Set goals for yourself based off of your own capacity. How good are your Arabic reading skills? Based on other commitments you may have, how much is a realistic amount for you to memorize? Based off these factors, set weekly goals for yourself. For example, say that you will memorize seven lines a week and then break that into one line per day. Typically, Quran memorization is done with reference to a standard copy of the Quran, which has a set number of lines per page (there are 14 lines of text on a standard page, so 7 lines would be half a page). Memorization is usually done in terms of lines rather than verses because verses can be of increasingly varied length (i.e. there are some verses that take up an entire page while there are other verses that are only 2-3 words long).  Using a standard Quran for memorization will make it easier for you to break up what you need to memorize into manageable chunks. I highly recommend tanzil.net for those who do not have access to a standard copy of the Quran. The website allows you to navigate between chapters and pages with the click of a button. It also offers a variety of audio reciters and written translations in many different languages.

Take Small Steps

If you are unsure of where to begin, here are some recommendations. You could just go in chronological order and start by memorizing the first juz (part) of the Quran and proceed from there. You could also memorize based on surah (chapter) rather than juz, if there is a particular surah you are interested in (eg., Surah Yasin) you could start there. If you are finding this task of memorization to be particularly daunting, you could work your way backwards, memorizing the shorter, easier Surahs first to build confidence and slowly building up stamina for the longer chapters. Before you can begin memorizing you must make sure you can fluently read the Arabic words. Listening to a professional reciter and reading along is necessary in order to get a feel for the verses. I have been recommended to listen to either the reciter Minshawi or Husary by experts in the field; these two reciters are the best in terms of speed, accuracy, and clarity. You will need to listen to a verse more than once to become fluent in it so ensure that audio recitation with repetition is available. It is also essential to get a copy of the Quran with the translation available so that you know what is being recited. Memorizing blindly will be a very tedious task and you will be much more prone to mistakes. One needs to have at least a vague idea of the meaning of what is being recited. There are many websites and applications for smartphones that provide the Arabic of the Quran, both with translation in different languages and the option for audio repetition of the verses. Once again, I will recommend tanzil.net which provides both the best reciters and the best translations (Qarai is the recommended English translation) and the option to repeat the recitation of a verse infinitely many times. If using a smartphone, I would recommend the application iQuran.

Put the Arabic recitation on repeat and follow along in the translation, carefully noticing the Arabic words and the English (or whatever language translation you’re using) equivalent. Once you have a sense of the meaning of the Arabic verse, start reading aloud along with the reciter, keeping your eyes on the translation. After doing this a few times, try reading along with the reciter with your eyes closed. Finally, turn off the recitation and try reading the Arabic by yourself. This is one commonly used technique. Depending on whether you consider yourself to be an audio, visual, or hands-on learner, this may or may not work for you. Some people also write out the verses themselves but this can be time consuming and one needs to be careful of touching the words and of treating the paper with Quran written on it respectfully. Experiment until you find a technique that works for you. It is definitely not necessary to always have a translation to refer to; this is only helpful initially, when trying to learn the basic meaning of the verse. Once you know the basic gist of the verse you can play it without looking at a translation. This applies especially when it is not possible to refer to the translation (e.g. while driving). Remember that in the beginning, you will be experimenting a lot: finding what amount you can realistically memorize in a week’s time, finding what memorization technique works for you, etc.

Find a Friend

Self motivation can only go so far. Quran memorization can be difficult and it is very easy to become disheartened and lose motivation and give up. Share your goal with a pious friend and they will remind you regularly and provide the external motivation you need. It will be even better if this friend becomes your Quran memorization partner. This way, you can have someone to discuss the verses with and ponder and reflect over the tafsir (exegesis). You can also test each other on a weekly basis on the Quran you were supposed to memorize. There is no doubt that having someone with you along the way will allow you to progress quickly. Remember that the Holy Prophet (s) has been quoted to have said: “The best of those amongst you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it to others.” [3]

Time Management

A believer knows the true value of time and acts accordingly. It is highly mustahab (recommended) to plan out your day in advance by allotting certain times to certain tasks. Set aside time in your day and week to review previously memorized verses and to memorize new ones. Since it can be difficult to squeeze Quran into the middle of your day, try setting aside time for Quran in the early morning, before you begin your day, and at night before you go to sleep. Beginning and ending your day with the words of Allah (swt) will certainly bless any endeavors you undertake during that day. If it is hard to read Quran in the morning then at least try to fit it in before you go to sleep, as this has many benefits. Prophet Muhammad (s) has been quoted to have said: “One who recites ten verses of the Quran every night will not be counted amongst the negligent ones (ghafilin); one who recites fifty verses will be written as those who remember Allah (dhakirin); and one who recites one hundred verses will be written down as the obedient and worshipper of Allah (qanitin).” [4] It is also scientifically proven that sleep reinforces memory, so if you read Quran before going to sleep, you are more likely to remember it better in the morning. Make it a habit to keep a copy of the Quran on your bedside table or, if not possible, read off of your phone before going to sleep. Also make sure to set aside time in your week to review the Quran verses that you have already memorized. If you did a thorough job memorizing the verses in the first place, then simply reading the page should be a sufficient review for you.

While memorizing, make sure to keep your aspirations pure by remembering the noble intention with which you began this endeavor: to gain proximity to Allah (swt). Remember that the Holy Prophet (s) told Imam Ali (as) in his last testament, “O Ali! I advise you to recite the Quran in every state (you may find yourself in),” [5] and know that by memorizing Quran you are enabling yourself to follow this sunnah of the Prophet (s).

While memorizing Quran, Shaitan will be upset at your spiritual success and will try to sway you off the path. He may fill your heart with pride and arrogance or may persuade you into thinking that you are in some sort of speed memorization competition. Seek refuge with Allah from Shaitan at these times, remembering that quality comes before quantity. One may only have a few verses memorized, but if he/she acts on them properly and knows them well then he/she is the true winner, triumphant over the person that has the whole Quran memorized but fails to act upon it.

When memorizing Quran, remember this beautiful narration from Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as): “Surely the Quran is not to be read in a rush or very quickly. Rather, it should be recited in slow, measured portions. Whenever you reach a verse which talks about Heaven, stop and ask from Allah (the bounties of) Heaven. Whenever you reach a verse which speaks about Hell, stop and seek protection from Allah from the Hellfire.” [6] The true believer reads and memorizes Quran in a mindful state, constantly aware of the power contained within the holy words. It is very easy for the mind to wander while reciting the verses but one should attempt to remain focused and pay attention, at least to the best of their abilities.

InshaAllah the aforementioned tips can serve as a starting point for memorizing Quran and can be of benefit to you.

Quran Memorization Resources:

  • tanzil.net (online page-by-page Quran with translation and audio recitation with repeat option)
  • quranexplorer.com (similar to the previous website but not page-by-page)
  • iQuran (app available for Android and iPhone-provides verses with translation and recitation with repeat option)

All of the Hadiths mentioned in this article and all of the respective book references are taken from Shia Ithna Asheri Toolkit for Android:

  1. Thawabul A’mal, page 227
  2. Thawabul A’mal, page 226
  3. Al-Amali of Shaykh Al-Tusi, Volume 1, page 5
  4. Thawabul A’mal, page 232
  5. Man La Yahdhuruhul Faqih, Volume 4, page 188
  6. Usulul Kafi, Volume 3, pages 1-3

About Masooma A.

Masooma is a US-based second year psychology student. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family members, reading, writing, and creating art. You may contact her with questions at asgharm@umich.edu

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