Modern Muslims refer to an individual who has memorized the entire Quran as ‘hafiz’. The term, translated from Arabic into English, means ‘guardian’ and symbolizes the importance of preserving the word of God which the Quran’s pages embodies.
With attention deficits and electronic distraction on the rise in this unprecedented technological age, it has arguably become more difficult to memorize much of anything these days. Here are some tips collected from students, scholars, researchers, and hafiz alike, that may aid in the memorization process. Bismillah* and let’s go!
*The words which preface all except one of the surahs of the Koran, used by Muslims as a blessing before eating or some other action [shortened from Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim , from Arabic, literally: in the name of God, the merciful and compassionate]
Those wanting to memorize the Quran should come to know that practice makes perfect and a certain stick-to-it-ness is needed to accomplish one’s goal. The Quran memorization process requires tenacious effort and focus and as such should be visited every day for at least an hour. Keep at it, folks!
Best Time to Memorize
Even if one isn’t a morning person, the best time for memorization really tends to be at the beginning of the day before ones regular scheduled activities begin.
After offering fajr prayer Muslims should use the time afterward to memorize — even if they’re sleepy! One’s brain tends to be sharpest at short-term & declarative memory tasks in the morning.
Pick the Best Recitor/Qari
While the majority of Muslims learn to read Arabic during the childhood years, there is great value in hearing others recite the Quran for the memorization process. It is important to pick a good recitor that goes at a steady pace and speaks to a person’s heart.
Quranicaudio.com has a great collection of recitors and we would recommend Shaykh Ahmad al-Ajmi if one prefers faster recitation or Shaykh Muhammad Jibreel if one prefers a more melodious sound for memorization.
Let Subconscious Assist in Memorization
While not proven, playing an audio version of the passage one is trying to memorize while about to drift to sleep helps stick the verses. After a few nights of this, one wouldn’t be surprised to find that future verses seem particularly familiar to them without haven consciously committed them to memory.
Write it down!
After the initial memorization of a verse, try to write it down word for word, by hand. This will be an efficient test to see if one really has it memorized.
Verses can be written as a transliteration or in the original Arabic text, either should work fine. Do this for every verse from memory and compare written notes to the Quranic text after each one.
In order to keep past and present memorized verses fresh, be sure to utilize them in daily prayers. Start with the least recent memorization during the fajr morning prayer and progress to most recent verses up until the late evening isha prayer.
It is important to keep recycling the older passages so that all that effort put into memorizing doesn’t go to waste.
Raise Your Voice
Recite Quranic verses aloud whenever possible and certainly during memorization. The actual act of moving the tongue and feeling spittle in one’s mouth while they say the words helps establish muscle memory and assists in memorizing.
Whatever one has learned, little or a lot, they should impart one others. Make a point to sit down with someone at least once a week and teach them what you have learned in respect to memorization.
‘When you can teach, you know.’
At the very least, every week have someone listen to your memorized recitation and correct your errors. A second pair of ears and eyes is very necessary in preserving the accuracy and precision of the text.
Learn the meaning of what’s being memorized! When the meaning is understood, it makes it much easier to keep the words in one’s memory since the text begins to read like a story.
A useful tip that goes along with understanding the verses is to use hand movements the help convey the meaning of the words being said. Try it!