Memorizing the Qur'an
From Abdur-Rahman Abdul Khaaliq's "Al-Qawaaid adh-Dhahabiyyah lil-Hifdh il-Quran il-Adheem"
English Translation by
Amjad ibn Muhammad Rafiq
University of Essex Islamic Society
My Brother and Sister Muslim - there is no doubt that you know of excellence of memorising the Quran and the excellence of teaching it. The Messenger of Allaah (sas) said: "The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur'aan and teaches it." [Reported by Bukhaaree]
Presented to you are some rules which will assist in memorising the Qur'aan, may Allaah benefit us by them.
- Ikhlaas - (Sincerity) The purification of ones intention and correcting ones desire is obligatory. It is likewise for making ones concern with and memorisation of the Quran for the sake of Allaah, the Sublime and Exalted, and for gaining success with His Paradise and obtaining His pleasure.
Also for obtaining those mighty rewards which are reserved for those who recited the Quran and memorised it. Allaah the Exalted said:
So worship Allaah, making the Deen sincerely for Him. Is it not to Allaah that sincere worship is due? [Zumar 39:2-3]
He also said:
Say: I have been commanded that I worship Allaah making the Deen sincerely for Him. [Zumar 39:11]
And the Messenger of Allaah (sas) said: "Allaah the Exalted said: I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate. Thus, he who does an action for someone elses sake as well as Mine will have that action renounced by Me to him whom he associated with Me." [Bukhaaree and Muslim]
Therefore, there is no reward for the one who recited the Quran and memorised it to show off and to be heard of. There is also no doubt that the one who recited the Quran desiring by it the world and seeking some sort of worldy reward for it is sinful.
- Correction of ones Pronunciation and Recitation The first step in memorising the Quran after that of Ikhlaas is the obligation of correcting the pronunciation of the Quran. This does not occur except by listening to a good reciter or a precise memoriser of the Quran. The Quran is not learned except by acquiring it (from another). Thus, the Messenger (sas) who is the most eloquent of the arabs in speech, took it from Jibreel (as) orally. The Messenger (sas) himself used to recited the Quran to Jibreel once in every year and in the year that he died he recited it to him twice. [Reported by Bukhaaree]
Likewise, the Messenger taught it to the Companions (ra) orally and those who came after them heard it from the Companions and so on for each generation after them.
Taking the Quran from a good reciter is obligatory. Likewise, correcting ones recitation firstly and not depending on oneself in its recitation even if one is knowledgeable of the Arabic language and of its principles, is also obligatory. This is because in the Quran there are many verses which occur in a way that is opposed to what is well known in the rules of the Arabic language.
- Specifying a Daily Limit for Memorisation It is necessary for the one desiring to memorise the Quran that he sets himself a daily limit for memorising. a number of verses for example, perhaps a page or two pages or even an eighth of a juz (one thirtieth of the Quran). So he begins, after he has corrected his recitation and set his daily limit, to learn by frequent repetition. It is also necessary that this repetition is done melodiously and this is so that a person follows the Sunnah firstly and that it the memorisation is made firm and strong secondly. Melodious recitation is pleasing to ones hearing and also assists in memorisation. Furthermore, the tongue will always return to a specific tone (of voice) and as a result of this it will become familiar with any mistake whenever the balance in ones recitation and familiar tone becomes disordered or imbalanced. The reciter will know therefore, that his tongue will not comply with him when he makes a mistake and that if the tone is wrong or out of tune, his memorisation will return to him.
All of this is because reciting the Quran and beautifying it with ones voice is a mastronger which has been commanded. It is not permissible to oppose this command due to the saying of the Messenger (sas): "Whoever does not beautify the Quran (recite it melodiously) he is not of us." [Bukhaaree]
- Not Surpassing One's Daily Limit until You Have Perfected its Memorisation. It is not permissible for the memoriser to move to a new portion of the Quran until after he has perfected the memorisation of his previous limit. This is so that whatever he has memorised is firmly established in his mind. There is no doubt that amongst those things which aid the memoriser is his occupation with what he has memorised through the hours of the day and night. This occurs by reciting it in the silent prayers, and if he is the imaam then in the loud prayers. Also in the superogatory prayers (nawaafil) and in the times when one is waiting for the obligatory prayers. By this method the memorisation will become a lot easier. In this way it is possible for a person to practise it even if he is occupied with other mastrongers and this is because he does not simply sit at a specific time for memorising the Quran. Thus the night will not arrive except with those verses memorised and firmly established in the mind. And if there is something which has occuppied the memoriser during this day, he should not move onto his next portion of the Quran, rather he should continue on the second day with what he had started with the day before until the memorisation becomes perfected.
- Memorise Using the Same Copy (Mushaf) of the Quran Among the things which aid the memorisation is that the memoriser should keep for himself a specific mushaf (copy of the Quran) which he should never change. This is because a person memorises using the sight just as he memorises using the hearing. The script and form of the verses and their places in the mushaf leave an imprint in the mind when they are recited and looked at frequently. If the memoriser was to change his mushaf from which he memorises or if he was to memorise from a number of different copies the places of the verses would be in different places and also the script may also be different. This makes the memorisation difficult for him. Therefore it is obligatory for the one memorisng the Quran that he does so from a single script and mushaf and he should never replace it.
- Understanding is the Way to Memorising Among the things which greatly aid the process of memorisation is understanding the verses that one has memorised and knowing their relationship and link, one to another. This is why it is necessary for the memoriser to read the tafseer (explanation) of those verses which he desires to memorise and that he knows their connection, one with another. Also, that he brings this to mind when he is reciting. This makes it easier for him to memorise the verses. Having said this, it is also necessary that he does not depend on knowing the meaning of the verses alone in memorising them. Rather the repetition of these verses should be the foundation. This should be done until the tongue can recite the verses even if the mind is occupied with other than the meaning of these verses. This is sign that the verses are firmly established in the mind. As for the one who relies upon the meaning alone then he will forget often and his recitation will be disjointed due to his mind being scastrongered and occupied with other things. This occurs frequently, especially when the recitation is long.
- Do not move on from a Complete Surah until you have connected the first part of it to the last After one surah from among the surahs of the Quran has been completed it is desirable for the memoriser that he does not move onto another surah except after having perfected its memorisation and connecting its first part to its last so that his tongue can flow in reciting it, from its beginning to its end. He should be able to recite it without having to think or go through trouble in remembering the verses. Rather it is a must that the memorisation (and recitation) of these verses is like (flowing) water and that the memoriser recites these verses with out hesitation, even if his mind is occupied with more than one thing, away from the meaning of these verses. It should be as a person recites Surah Faatihah without any difficulty or having to think about it. This occurs by repeating thes e verses frequently and reciting them often. However the memorisation of every surah of the Quran will not be like that of Surah Faatihah except rarely but the intent and desire should be to try to make it as such. Therefore, it is necessary that when a surah is completed it is firmly established in the mind, with its beginning connected to its end and that the memoriser does not move onto another surah until he has memorised it with precision.
- Reciting to Others It is necessary for the memoriser not to depend on himself for his memorisation. Rather he should test his memorisation by reciting the verses or surah in question to somebody else, or he should recite them by following the mushaf. And how excellent this would be if a person had with him a precise memoriser (who would test his memorisation). This is so that the memoriser becomes aware of the possibility of his being forgetful or confused in his recitation (without knowing it). Many individuals amongst us who memorise a surah make mistakes and a person may not realise that until he looks into the mushaf. Furhtermore, the one who desires to memorise may not realise by himself at which place he makes an error in his recitation despite the fact that he may be reciting from a mushaf. For this reason making others listen to his recitation of what he has memorised from the Quran is a means of perceiving and knowing these errors and being constantly aware of them.
- Constantly Returning to what one has Memorised The Quran is different from any other material that is memorised such as poetry and prose. And this is because the Quran is quickly lost from ones mind. In fact the Messenger of Allaah (sas) said: "By Him in whose Hand is my soul, it is faster in escaping than a tied camel." Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim.
No sooner does the memoriser of the Quran leave it for a while until the Quran slips away from him and so he forgets it quickly. This is why it is necessary to constantly follow up what one has memorised and to be vigilant over it. Regarding this we have the saying of the Messenger (sas):
"Verily, the example of the owner of the Quran is like the example of the owner of the tied camel. If he keeps it tied (commits himself to it) he will hold it back and if he lets it loose it will escape from him."
And he also said:
"Commit yourselves to the Quran, for by Him in Whose Hand is my soul, it is faster in slipping away than a tied camel." [Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim]
This means that it is obligatory upon the memoriser of the Quran to continuously recite what he has memorised from the Quran. With this constant astrongention and returning to what has been memorised will the Quran remain in his mind and without it, it will escape.
- Being Aware of the Resembling Parts of the Quran The various parts of the Quran resemble each other with respect to the meaning, wording and (repetition of) verses. The Exalted said:
Allaah has sent down the most beautiful of speech, a Book, (parts of it) resembling (others) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of Allaah [Zumar 39:23].
The Quran has approximately six and a half-thousand verses. And there are approximately a thousand verses in which there is a resemblance of some sort. Sometimes there is agreement or difference due to a single lestronger or a word or two or more. For this reason it is necessary for the good reciter of the Quran that he has special concern for the parts of the Quran that resemble each other in terms of their wording. The excellence of ones memorisation will be according to the extent that one has concern for these resembling parts. One of the ways to aid oneself in this mastronger is to study those books which deal with this topic of resembling verses in the Quran. Among the most famous of them are:
1. Durratul-Tanzeel wa Ghurratut-Ta'weel fee Bayaan il Aayaat al-Mutashaabihaat fee Kitaab il-Laahi il-Azeez by al-Khateeb al-Iskaafee
2. Asraar ut-Tukraar fil-Quran by Mahmood bin Hamzah ibn Nasr al-Kirmaanee.
- Taking Advantage of the Golden Years of Memorising The succesful one, inevitably, is the one who takes advantage of the best years of memorisation and these are from the age of five to twenty-three approximately. A person's ability to memorise during these years is very good. In fact these are the golden years of memorising. Therefore, it is necessary for a person to keep himself occupied during the these years of his life, memorising the Book of Allaah as much as he can.
Commiting things to memory at this age can be done very quickly and forgestronging is not so easy. This is in opposition to what happens after this time when a person memorises with difficulty and forgets with great speed. He spoke the truth who said:
Memorising in youth is like engraving on stone And memorising when old is like engraving on water
Thus, it is necessary for all of us to take advantage of the golden years of memorising. If we cannot then we should encourage our sons and daughters to do so.
And with Allaah is success and prayers and peace be upon our Messenger Muhammad, upon his family and all his Companions.