Practical steps to memorising the Qur’an
April 08 2021 08:06 PM

Many Muslims wish to memorise the Qur’an, and may start doing this. Yet a large number among them do not take this enterprise methodologically, but rather haphazardly which often leads to a greater chance to forget what one has memorised, to memorise the Qur’an the wrong way, or even to abandon memorising altogether.
To avoid these setbacks and ensure a successful memorising of the Qur’an, some practical steps are presented in this article which is separated in three sections:

1. What one should fulfil before memorising the Qur’an:
A. Purity of intention:
Being sincere and seeking only the reward from Allah is a necessary condition for acceptance of every act of worship a Muslim undertakes, and memorising the Qur’an is a worshipping act (like Salat, Zakat, fasting, etc...) and should be free from shirk. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, said “whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner” (Qur’an 18:110)
B. Awareness and feeling of the greatness of the Noble Qur’an:
One should remember that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah, for Allah said “If one among the pagans asks you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the Word of Allah” (Qur’an 9:6). The greatness of the Qur’an is derived from the greatness of Allah.
One should remember why the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: To guide mankind to the good, and to take them out from darkness to light. Allah said: “This is the Book, in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah” (Qur’an 2:2). And He said: “Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear signs for guidance and judgment between right and wrong” (Qur’an 2:185).
From the greatness of the Qur’an comes the greatness of the month in which it was revealed (the month of Ramadan) and the greatness of the Prophet to whom it was revealed (Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and also the greatness of any one who studies the Qur’an and teaches it. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The best among you is he who studies the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Related by al-Bukhari)
C. Realising the virtue and the great reward for studying the Qur’an:
Many hadiths emphasise the reward and the high status of any Muslim who reads the Qur’an. Umar, radhiallahu ‘anhu, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Surely Allah by means of this Qur’an elevates people and puts down others.” (Related by Muslim). Ibn Masud, radhiallahu ‘anhu, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “He who reads a word from the Book of Allah will be rewarded for every letter in that word, and the reward will be multiplied tenfold.” (Related by at-Tirmithi).
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also said: “Read the Qur’an, for it will be your intercessor on the Day of Judgment.” (Related by Muslim), He also said: “He who reads the Qur’an and memorises it, is with the pious and just in the hereafter, and he who reads it and practises it in spite of its difficulty (of language) will be rewarded twice.” (Related by al-Bukhari)
Allah said: “Those who rehearse the Book of Allah, establish regular prayer, and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a good trade that will never perish” (Qur’an 35:29)
A Muslim is rewarded for reading the Qur’an as well as listening to it (being read by someone else). Allah said: “When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it with attention, and  hold your peace that you will receive mercy.” (Qur’an 7: 204)
D. Realising the goals of reading and memorising the Qur’an. These goals include:
* Seeking the reward from Allah as it has been mentioned above.
* Applying the commands and complying with instructions mentioned in the Qur’an.
* Understanding the right concepts of this deen, for the Qur’an and the Sunnah are the sources for the correct understanding of the fundamentals of the deen.
Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, said: “And We sent down to you the Book explaining all things, a guide, a mercy, and glad tidings to Muslims.” (Qur’an 16:89)
E- Being aware that Allah facilitates the Qur’an for those who wish sincerely to memorise it:
Allah said: “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will receive admonition.” (Qur’an 54:18)
F- Concentrating on memorising the Qur’an and making this a habit in spite of one’s busy life:
One of the good habits in reading and memorising the Qur’an is to make it a daily activity. This would necessitate allocating a time during the day for this task. The best time for reading Qur’an is after Fajr prayer, for Allah said: “Establish regular prayers at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn, for the recital of the early dawn is ever witnessed.” (Qur’an 17:78)
Reading the Qur’an in the same quiet place regularly also helps to put the Muslim in the mood for memorising it. The best and most natural place for this is the masjid.
Memorising the Qur’an with a group of Muslims is better than doing it alone, because the members in the group encourage one another, and help make this task a regular one. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Whenever a group congregates in one of the houses of Allah to recite the Book of Allah, and to study it, peace and mercy will descend on them, the angels will surround them, and Allah will mention them to those with Him.” (Related by Muslim).
G- Choosing a good reader from whom one can listen to the Qur’an and recite it the right way:
Reading the Qur’an from the book by oneself is not sufficient, for there is a right way of pronunciation and intonation. One can listen to the reader from an audio-tape and repeat after him.
H-Choosing a Qur’an book with clear writing and keeping the same book all the time.
I- Starting memorising the Qur’an from the last chapter and going backward, because surahs in this part are shorter and more familiar.
J- Praying (supplicating) Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, to help one memorise the Noble Qur’an.

2. Practical steps to memorise the Qur’an:
Now that one is ready to start memorising the Qur’an, it is necessary to follow certain steps that will, insha Allah, facilitate this task. For this purpose one should:
1. Set a specific portion to be memorised at every session.
It is better not to choose a large amount in the beginning, because most often one is driven by his enthusiasm to memorise more, but with time this enthusiasm wears out and one cannot keep up with same amount. This may discourage him from memorising and lead him to give up altogether. It is more important to persevere in memorising no matter how small the amount is. This amount could be defined as a certain number of verses, or number of pages, to be memorised.
2. Read the verses from the Qur’an to a knowledgeable reader before memorising them.
This is so that he corrects any wrong pronunciation, especially if one is not familiar with the Arabic characters.
3. Read the verses to oneself to correct the pronunciation of the difficult words.
4. Memorise one verse at a time, then connect the newly memorised verse to the previous ones.
If the verse is too short, then one can memorise two verses at a time.
5. Read the verses with a moderately loud voice.
Reading aloud helps one overcome laziness and tiredness. On the other hand, one should keep his voice low so as not to bother the others. In any case, one should not read silently, but should listen to himself while reading.
6. Read slowly and with the right intonation.
One should know the basic rules of intonation (tajweed) and try to apply them while memorising. Allah said: “And recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” (Qur’an 73:4). He also said: “Move not your tongue concerning the Qur’an to make haste therewith.” (Qur’an 75:16). This indicates that one should not read the Qur’an fast, but rather slowly, which is best achieved when one applies the rules of tajweed; pausing and prolonging at the right places. This was the way the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to recite the Qur’an. Anas Ibnu Malik was once asked about the way the Prophet recited the Qur’an. He said: “He would prolong his reading like this: ‘Bismillaaahe ‘rahmaaaane ‘raheeeem’.” No doubt that reciting slowly helps one better understand the Qur’an and reflect on its meaning, which in turn helps him memorise it.
7. Recite the amount he memorised to himself without looking at the book.
8. Read again from the Qur’an to check if any error was made.
One should be very self critical at this step and should not overlook the minor errors of pronunciation, because it will be harder to correct these errors afterwards.
9. Recite the amount memorised to a knowledgeable reader.
10- It is preferred to connect the different amounts one has memorised from the beginning of the chapter (surah) at ever session, in addition to reviewing the whole surah once the last part of it has been memorised.

3. What one should do after memorising the whole Qur’an:
1. Be careful not to show off and become arrogant:
Memorising the Qur’an is a blessing and privilege from Allah. It is indeed a great enterprise. After memorising the whole Qur’an one might become proud to have accomplished this task. He then might want everybody to know his accomplishment, so that they admire him. It is feared for such a person that he might be punished for this.
Although it is he who put the time and effort to memorise the Qur’an, one should never forget that it is Allah Who guided him and facilitated the Qur’an for him. He should be thankful to Allah and avoid arrogance.
2. Try to acquire the manners of the Qur’an, and apply its instructions in all aspects of life:
The Qur’an was sent down to men so that they take it as a way of life. This obligation is more emphasised on those who know it by heart. A Muslim scholar said: “A man would read the Qur’an and curse himself without knowing it. He would say ‘The curse of Allah is on the wrong-doers,’ (Qur’an 7:44) and he is one of them, ‘The curse of Allah is on the liars.’ and he is a liar himself!”
3. Try not to forget what one has memorised, and commit oneself to that:
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, encouraged the Muslims to take care of the Qur’an by memorising it, and reviewing it quite often, and warned them from forgetting any part of  it. The hadiths mentioning this are numerous. The Prophet said: “Take care of the Qur’an (by memorising it). By the one in Whose Hand my soul is, it is easier to slip away from you than the camels in their shackles.” (Related by al-Bukhari). He also said: “The holder of the Qur’an (i.e. the one who memorised it) is like the holder of the chained camels. If he keeps watch on them they will stay with him, and if he loosens their chains they will slip away.” (Related by al-Bukhari).
For this reason, one should review the Qur’an quite often so that he does not forget it. It is advised to review the whole Qur’an in forty days, based on the hadith of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, who said: “In how many days should the Qur’an be read?” then he himself replied: “In forty days.” (Related by at-Tirmidhi). It is also disliked that forty days pass and one has not read a single word from the Qur’an.
4. The reason for forgetting the Qur’an and how to avoid it:
Allah says: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of that your hands have earned.” (Qur’an 42:30). This means that the sins that one commits are the reason of the misfortune that befalls a Muslim, and no doubt that forgetting the Qur’an is a big misfortune. The companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the generation after them had realised this. They would take a strong position against those who forgot the Qur’an, by reprimanding them and keeping away from them. Adhahak said: “No one memorises the Qur’an then forgets it, unless he committed a sin.” By trying to avoid committing sins, and purifying oneself, one can hope to keep the Qur’an in his heart and mind.
5. How and when to review the Qur’an:
The best way to review the Qur’an is to allocate a time for this purpose, apart from the time allocated to memorising. This however can be difficult, due to one’s busy day. Another way is to recite when performing the voluntary (not the obligatory) prayers, and to recite one part every day, so that in thirty days, he would finish the whole Qur’an (which is divided in thirty parts). Once can also recite in the car while driving, or between the Athan and the congregational prayer, or allocate a few minutes after Fajr prayer for reviewing. In any case one should try his best to review the whole Qur’an in 40 days, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, advised us. We ask Allah, the Almighty, to guide us to this noble task and facilitate it for us.

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The advantages of memorising the Qur’an
Memorising the Qur’an is an act of worship through which one seeks the Face of Allah and reward in the Hereafter. Without this intention, he will never have any reward, rather he will be punished for doing this act of worship for someone or something other than Allah. The haafith (the person who has memorised the Qur’an) should not have any intention of gaining worldly benefits by memorising the Qur’an, because his memorisation thereof is not a product to be traded with in this world, rather it is an act of worship which is done for the sake of his Lord.
Allah has given special privileges to the one who memorises the Qur’an in a number of ways in this world and in the Hereafter, for example: 
1 - He takes precedence over others in leading the prayer. It was narrated that Abu Mas’ood al-Ansaari said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The people should be led in prayer by the one among them who has the most knowledge of the Book of Allah; if they are equal in knowledge of the Qur’an, then by the one who has most knowledge of the Sunnah; if they are equal in knowledge of the Sunnah, then by the one who migrated (made hijrah) first; if they are equal in terms of hijrah, then by the one who became Muslim first. No man should lead another in prayer in his domain of authority, or sit in his place in his house, except with his permission.” (Narrated by Muslim)
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar said: “When the first muhaajiroon (emigrants) came to Quba’, before the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came (to Madinah), Saalim the freed slave of Abu Hudhayfah used to lead them in prayer, and he was the one who knew the most Qur’an.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari) 
2 - He is placed in front of others in a common grave, closer to the qiblah, if it is essential to bury him with others. It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: “The Prophet would wrap two of the men slain at Uhud in a single cloth, then he would ask, ‘Which of them knew more Qur’an?’ If one of them was pointed out to him, he would put that one in the lahd (niche in the side of the grave) first. And he said, ‘I will be a witness over these people on the Day of Resurrection.’ He commanded that they should be buried with their blood, without being washed, and that no funeral prayer should be offered for them.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari) 
3 - He takes precedence in leadership if he able to bear that. It was narrated from ‘Aamir ibn Waathilah that Naafi’ ibn ‘Abd al-Haarith met ‘Umar in ‘Usfaan, and ‘Umar had appointed him as governor of Makkah. ‘Umar said, “Who have you appointed in charge of the people of the valley?” He said, “Ibn Abza.” ‘Umar asked, “Who is Ibn Abza?” He said, “One of our freed slaves.” Umar said, “Have you appointed over them a freed slave?!” He said, “He is well-versed in the Book of Allah and he has knowledge of the laws of inheritance.” ‘Umar said: “Your Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Indeed, by this Book, Allah would exalt some people and degrade others.’” (Narrated by Muslim) 
With regard to the Hereafter: 
4 - The status of the one who memorises the Qur’an will be commensurate with the last aayah he memorised. It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an (i.e., the one who memorised and studied it): ‘Read, advance in status and recite as you used to do in the world, for your status will be commensurate with the last aayah that you recite.’” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi; he said this is a saheeh hasan hadith. Al-Albaani said in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, it is hasan saheeh. Also narrated by Abu Dawood). What is meant by reciting here is memorising. 
5 - He will be with the angels, accompanying them. It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The one who recites the Qur’an and learns it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (in Heaven) and the one who exerts himself to learn the Qur’an by heart and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari; Muslim)
6 - He will be given a crown of honour and a garment of honour to wear. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Qur’an will come on the Day of Resurrection and will say, ‘O Lord, adorn him.’ So he will be given a crown of honour to wear. Then it will say, ‘O Lord, give him more.’ So he will be given a garment of honour.’ Then it will say, ‘O Lord, be pleased with him.’ So Allah will be pleased with him. Then it will be said to him, ‘Recite and advance in status, and for each verse you will gain one more hasanah (reward for good deed).” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi. He said, this is a saheeh hasan hadith. Al-Albaani said in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, this is hasan). 
7 - The Qur’an will intercede for him with his Lord. It was narrated that Abu Umaamah al-Baahili said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) say, ‘Recite the Qur’an, for it will come on the Day of Resurrection to intercede for its companions. Recite the two bright ones, Al-Baqarah and Soorat Aal ‘Imraan, for they will come on the Day of Resurrection like two clouds or two shades or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah al-Baqarah for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it.” (Narrated by Muslim, and by al-Bukhari in a mu’allaq report). 
Secondly: With regard to his relatives and descendents, there is evidence concerning his parents that they will be clothed with garments which far surpass everything to be found in this world, and that will only be because they took care of and taught their child. Even if they themselves were ignorant, Allah will honour them because of their child. But the one who prevented his child from learning the Qur’an, he will be one of those who are deprived.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘The Qur’an will come on the Day of Resurrection like a pale man saying to its companion, “Do you recognise me? I am the one who made you stay up at night and made you thirsty during the day...” Then he will be given dominion in his right hand and eternity in his left, and a crown of dignity will be placed upon his head, and his parents will be clothed with garments which far surpass everything to be found in this world. They will say, “O Lord, how did we earn this.” It will be said to them, “Because you taught your child the Qur’an.”’” (Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Awsat).
It was narrated that Buraidah said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever reads the Qur’an, learns it and acts in accordance with it, on the Day of Resurrection his parents will be given a crown to wear whose light will be like the light of the sun, and his parents will be given garments which far surpass everything to be found in this world. They will say, “Why have we been given this to wear?” It will be said, “Because your child learned the Qur’an.”’” (Narrated by al-Haakim) These two hadiths support one another. See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2829. And Allah knows best.

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The way to salvation
The Book of Allah is the rain that brings forth true life on Earth.
Allah revealed the Book (Noble Qur’an) in order for us to read it, and mull over it with care and vigilance; to enrich our souls from its remembrance; to carry it and construe it in the best of manners; to affirm it and strive to establish its commands and prohibitions; pick the fruits of its precious knowledge that is our way to Allah and to glean the wisdom from its gardens and flowers.
For it is His Book, and nothing else, that can guide His seekers to Him. It is the path that leads the traveller to Allah. It is His brilliant Light that illuminates the darkness of uncertainty and disbelief. It is His mercy of guidance and source of happiness for all creation. It is the bridge that connects His devotee to Him when all else fails. It is the great door to Him that remains open, when all else is closed. It is the straight path that is not tainted by the opinions of mortals. It is the remembrance full of wisdom that is not swayed by desires. It is the noble revelation containing wisdom that sages can never fathom. Its wonders neverww end, nor are its clouds barren, its signs are never exhausted, its agreements never contradict.
The more a soul delves into its depths, the more it increases in insight and guidance. It is the cure for mankind from diseases of the heart. It is life to the hearts and pleasure and brilliance to the souls. It is the harbinger that calls night and day: “O seekers of good, hurry to me”
It is the caller of faith at the head of the straight path, calling (what means): “O our people, respond to the caller of Allah and have faith in Him so He may forgive your sins for you and may save you from a painful chastisement.” [Referring to verse 31 of chapter 46]
The Qur’an is Allah’s greatest blessing on us. It is the fulfilment of His promise to Aadam and his descendants, as Allah Almighty Says (what means): ‘’…There shall come to you guidance from Me, and whatsoever follows My Guidance no fear shall be on them, nor shall they sorrow’’ [Qur’an 2:38] 
It is the only weapon for struggling against the forces of evil and temptation in this world. It is the only means to overpower our fear and anxiety. It is the only Light as we grope in the darkness, with which to find our way to success and salvation. It is the only healing for our inner sickness, as well as the social ills that may surround us. It is the constant reminder of our true nature and destiny, of our station and our duties. 
But alas! Desires have put out the lamps of the hearts, and opinions of the mortal humans have shut those doors of Divine guidance and lost the keys. The hearts are laden with the rust of their own earning, so much so that they do not find the realities of the Qur’an opening to them. The burdens of ignorance have so settled upon it that its knowledge does not blossom into righteous actions.
Woe unto you, how have you made the nourishment of your heart those vain opinions that contradict the Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophet’s Tradition) that neither replenish it nor quench its thirst? So now your heart does not accept nourishment of the Word of the Lord of the worlds, and the speech of His eminent Messenger!
For how will you ever find your way through the darkness of conjectures and opinions of mortals to the clear distinction of right and wrong when    you have closed your eyes to the light of the Book of Allah and the way of the Messenger?
Woe unto you, how have you adulterated the right opinions with the sick ones, and the accepted ones with the rejected ones, and have managed to incapacitate your souls from receiving the guidance and knowledge from the Book that is immune to falsehood from all directions.
Nay, but it is, by Allah, a trial that has blinded the hearts from the sources of righteousness and has embezzled the minds from their goals.
The Book of Allah is the coolness of eyes for which the competitors compete, the finality to which the contenders contend.
How can you still be in the dark under a rising sun?     
How can you lose your way under a bright constellation?
Glory be to Allah, The Exalted!

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