HOW TO MEMORIZE QUR’AN

HOW TO MEMORIZE QUR’AN
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Many Qur’an lovers ask Ali and his father how to memorize Qur’an, particularly parents who intend to teach their children.
Every succeeded memorizer has a memorizing method to suggest. Of course any suggested method is the one that the memorizer has succeeded through. So methods of memorization are a lot and all of them are respected, and it is up to any person to choose whatever suits him or her.
However the method given in this book is that of Ali’s father, Hujjatul-Islam Reza-Zada. This method has been tested and gave excellent results. Absolutely there are essential common points among these methods that reflect the oneness of the foundation and skeleton of the work.
Before explaining the method of memorization, let us refer here to the required preparations to memorize Qur’an.

Required Preparations to Memorize the Holy Qur’an
Anyone wants to reach success in the field he likes he should know the way that leads to it.
Correct and constant Qur’an memorizing has its own preparations that should be kept by any person wants to memorize the book of God. Let us refer here to some of these preparations:
1. Godly intention.
2. Determined will.
3. Relying on God and appealing to the infallible Imams (as).
4. Correct reading and reciting of the Qur’an.
5. Class-attending.
6. Ritual purity (widu).
7. Precise and organized plan.
8. Using one copy of the Holy Qur’an.
9. Having an assistant.
10. Good start.
11. Suitable place and time.
12. Recitation tape.

Let us now clarify each one:

1. Godly intention
Any act is certainly gains its value from its internal motives:
“إنما الأعمال بالنيات”
“Certainly acts depend on intentions”. (6)
Actually adults are who concerned with this issue, as it is beyond the level of children. So, for them, we have to act another way. In fact it is good for parents to encourage children to memorize Qur’an through motivating and offering rewards and gifts, and children, on the other hand, should step toward Qur’an with clean intentions and purified motives away from any kind of showing and hypocrisy.
For parents, considering the merit of memorizing Qur’an, dealing with the words of God and educating Qur’anic children who are going to have clear future and helping benefits for themselves and their society, are very effective in creating Godly intention and pure motivation.
Absolutely, worldly motivations in memorizing Qur’an will not help human reach grand goals, rather considering the value of the memorization and its affects on the personal and social life of the memorizer, is a good motivation for memorizing the glorious verses of the Qur’an, and that is what should be taught to children working on memorization.
The merit of memorizing Qur’an is to the extents that the Prophet (sw) says:
“Who recites Qur’an by his heart and supposes that God would not forgive him, he is one of those who makes fun of the signs of God.” (7)
Even Western scholars acknowledged the personal and social affects of Qur’an memorization, as the famous scholar and historian ‘Will Durant’ (D. O. B. 1885) wrote in his book ‘The Story of Civilization’. Durant says that Qur’an has been living in the memory of Muslims for fourteen centuries, agitating their imagination, forming their morality and reinforcing their talents. He thinks that Qur’an creates the plainest believes within simple people away from ceremonial engagement and clear of idolatry. He believes that Qur’an had the best role in improving Muslims culturally and morally, and it is the Qur’an that established the social principles and unity among them, urged them to preserve health rules, freed their minds from myths, illusions, tyranny and severity.

2. Determined will
Godly intention alone is not enough. There must be a serious decision and determined will in order to achieve goals.
Human will is more useful and effective than memory, as there are a lot of people who have medium or weak memory and ability, but they can continue their way and reach their goals through serious and determined will:
“والذين جاهدوا فينا لنهدينهم سبلنا”
“And those who strive in Our (Cause), We will certainly guide them to Our Paths.” (8)
Memorizing the entire Qur’an depends on hard effort and determined will, and certainly God is behind Qur’an memorizer.

3. Relying on God and appealing to the infallible Imams (as)
After deciding we should rely on God, because any success depends on His grace and blessing:
“فإذا عزمت فتوكل على الله”
“Then, when thou hast taken a decision, put thy trust in Allah.” (9)
Besides, appealing to the Prophet and his household is the symbol of success in everything. So it is highly recommended for a memorizer to ask God success in memorizing His words and acting according to them, and to appeal to the infallible:
“يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وابتغوا إليه الوسيلة”
“O ye who believe! do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him.” (10)
In this verse, God calls for doing duty (having God-fearing) and seeking means to him and states that victory and success depend on having God-fearing and choosing means to Him. Therefore appealing to the Prophets and the infallible Imams helps in being closer to God, so it is recommended to appeal to the Prophet and his household (as) for memorizing Qur’an and having them as our means to God in order to be familiar with His words, have a place in our hearts for the glorious verses of Qur’an and act in accordance with them in our life.

4. Correct reading and reciting of the Qur’an
Those who want to be Qur’an memorizers should learn to read it correctly. Of course, teaching children, who do not know reading and reciting, is different, so their parents and teachers must completely know reading and reciting, because if somebody does not know reading quite well and wrongly memorizes a word or a vowel, he or she has to spend again a lot of time to correct it, and that is what hardly necessitates a good reading knowledge for a teacher.

5. Class-attending
Attending memorization class and benefiting from the experience of a teacher helps the memorizer reach his goal quickly. In addition, this is going to discipline the memorizer, so that he can do his job as best as possible in any condition according to the laid plan.

6. Ritual purity (wudu)
Having a ritual purity (wudu) is always good, and certainly it is more important on reciting Qur’an. It is highly emphasized in the Islamic tradition to have ritual purity (wudu) on reciting Qur’an.

7. Precise and organized plan
Just a firm will and strong desire to memorize Quran without ‘order and precise plan’ will never lead to Memorizing all the Holy Qur’an. A learner should be committed to accurate plan that suits his abilities (based on his or her time). It is clear that failing to have controlled learning leads to no progress in memorization, and perhaps it may lead to giving up after a while. So if it was decided to memorize half a page every day, it should be planned in such a way that this can be orderly done every day, in addition to repeating and strengthening the previous memorization.

8. Using one copy of the Holy Qur’an
Memorizers should use just one copy of the Holy Qur’an during the span of memorization. That means they should not use various prints of the Qur’an during the time of Memorizing. Using just one copy of the Qur’an help the memorizer have just one mental picture for each page, and if he uses different copies during the span of memorization, the changing places of pages and verses are going to confuse him.

9. Having an assistant
To have a precise and controlled program, and to be committed to continuous works and duties of memorization, a memorizer needs to have a helping fellow. So it is recommended at the beginning that two or more people have a plan and try to memorize Qur’an together, and recite for each other their daily learning along with their previous memorization. As for children, parents should question them and hear their daily learning and repetition of their previous memorization.

10. Good start
It is good to start memorizing from the thirtieth part of the Qur’an, as it is easier and more confidential for a new memorizer, who lacks required abilities, to memorize short chapters, and after that comes the turn of memorizing from the beginning of the Qur’an to the end. The important recommendation is to avoid separated memorization.

11. Suitable place and time
Place and time of memorization depend to some extent on the memorizer’s character. Some people can better memorize after the call (adhan) of dawn prayer and before having breakfast, while some prefer other day or night times… however the important matter is to consider a fixed time in which the memorizer is more prepared for memorization. And it is better to work on memorization in a calm place in which we can have more concentration.

12. Recitation tape
Listening to recorded tapes of recitation masters like Muhammad Siddeeq al-Minshawi, Mahmood Khaleel al-Husari and Shahrayar Parheezcar, will influence, over time, the listener’s style of recitation, and moreover it will teach him correct ‘stop’ and ‘start’ places. Therefore it is recommended for the memorizer to listen and repeat with himself few times the piece he planned to memorize before.

Memorization Method
After considering the required preparations to memorize Qur’an, let us explain memorization method.
Actually, Qur’an memorization method is based on repeating. It is recommended for those who can read and recite Qur’an to listen carefully and several times to a recorded recitation of the verses they want to memorize (half a page for instance) and repeat it with themselves. Then to memorize each verse, they should repeat it word by word and phrase by phrase several times, until the verse becomes well-printed in their mind and they become able to recite it correctly and without any problem (repetition times depends on the ability of the memorizer and the difficulty or simplicity of the verse).
After learning this verse by heart, they should move to the next one.

Necessary Note
We should not move to the next verse before memorizing the first one completely.

The second verse is also memorized by repeating and practicing its words and phrases, and whenever the memorizer becomes sure of learning the second verse, he should recite both the first and the second together by heart several times, and whenever he notices a difficulty in the first one he should remove it by repeating and referring to the Qur’an, and then move on to memorize the third verse by the same way. After that he should recite the first, second and third verses by heart to be sure of memorizing them correctly. The same way is followed to memorize the rest of the intended verses, followed by reciting all the verses by heart from the beginning to the end two times at least, and removing any possible problems in memorization.

Necessary Note
Repeating each memorized verse with the one before it has a crucial effect on connecting them, so that they can be recited easily and orderly.

Children and Young Memorization
For children and young persons who can not read Qur’an (from 4 to 7 years), parents and teachers should teach them word by word followed by few words, and repeat that for them until they can well memorize it and recite it themselves, and then keep on this way until they teach them one complete verse. After being sure of the first verse, they move on to the next one. Here we should say that the method stated for adults is true for children too. That means in order to maintain the relations of the verses, each verse must be repeated and practiced with the previous one after memorizing them.

Necessary Remark
Dealing with children must be gentle. Therefore it is better to work with them at least six times a day and just for few minutes each time. Of course, if the child is energetic and showing patience, you can work with him or her even for fifteen minutes, and this can be increased gradually up to half an hour each time. However, if the child is not willing to memorize Qur’an we should not insist on teaching him, instead we should encourage him by means of gifts and toys and the like.
Well-organized teaching and consideration of the twelve preparation notes are essential for teachers and parents.
Using recorded tapes for children at the beginning and before memorizing is not good for them, rather it might create problems for them, so it is recommended that children listen to tapes and repeat with them after learning a short chapter or few verses correctly by the help of their parents or teachers.

Verses Repetition
After memorizing every-day verses, the turn of repeating and practicing comes up. Thus the memorizer should recite his learning every day to another person who looks through the Qur’an and check for him to correct any possible mistakes. It is here where the importance of a ‘helping fellow’ is manifested. Therefore if two persons learn together and exchange their learning, they will be able to work more orderly and rapidly.

Weekly Repetition
The crucial note here is repeating what has been memorized in every week. If the memorizer does not repeat his learning, at least during the last week, orderly and without any stop, then the memorized verses would not be transferred from his short-term memory to his long-term memory, and if his learning is not going to be a natural habit for him it will be forgotten in a short time. So if the memorizer is learning half a page a day he has to practice, at least, three and a half pages every day, and if he is learning one page a day, he has to practice seven pages of his last week learning every day. However it is highly recommended that another person helps the memorizer in his weekly repetition.
Teachers and parents can use the same method with children and young persons to check their weekly learning every day within intervals. Of course, they should take care and try to prepare good conditions for the children so as to not get tired. We emphasize again that everybody wants his child to be a Qur’an memorizer, has no way other than dealing gently and kindly with him.

After memorizing few parts of the Qur’an, the memorizer has to repeat all his previous learning in addition to the weekly repetition. This repetition could be done by the following ways:
1. Repetition by heart
2. Repetition by listening along with reciting
3. Reciting to a fellow

Now let us explain each one:

1. Repetition by heart
It is recommended that the memorizer divides whatever he has memorized into three equal pieces. For instance, if he has memorized 12 parts of the Qur’an, he has to repeat by heart 8 pages from the beginning of part 1 and try to remove any possible problem or doubt by referring to the Qur’an. This continues every day until 12 parts of the memorizer’s learning are completed that way, then he starts again from part 1 to end by part 12.

2. Repetition by listening along with reciting
In company with the repetition started from part 1, the memorizer should start with 8 pages from the beginning of part 5 to hear and repeat them with a recorded tape every day. This repetition continues to the end of part 12, then starts from the beginning of part 1 to the end of part 4, and so on.

3. Reciting to a Fellow
In addition to the first and second repetition, the memorizer has to recite 8 pages of his learning to his parents or fellow every day. This could be started from the beginning of part 9 to part 12, then continued from part 1 to part 9, and always goes on. Of course, the best of these repetitions is the third one as it has the most advantages, although it seems that each one of them is necessary to some extent. In fact, who has memorized 12 parts of the Holy Qur’an should repeat 24 pages every day in three ways, in addition to the weekly repetition, and this repetition should be always continued.
That means he should not repeat from one place only, rather he has to divide his learning into three pieces and repeat them all every 10 days.
Certainly, this is not possible in the case of children, so they have to work under the supervision of their teachers or parents, listening to tapes along with repeating for one time, and reciting all their learning to their teachers or parents for two times. As we explained before, children’s learning could be also divided into three equal parts.

Necessary Remark
We have said that children’s learning can be also divided into three equal parts as it is in the case of adults. However, this does not mean that they have to repeat 8 pages each time, because working with children should be planned according to the mentality and ability of the child. That is to say if checking 24 pages of the child’s learning requires six or seven times of working, it must be done this way. Certainly, if parents or teachers are well-ordered the child will be well-ordered too, and later on as the child becomes familiar with the work he or she will not feel any pressure although his or her learning is being increased.

Necessary Note
At the beginning of memorization, adults could memorize even more than one page, but this is not correct for children. As we said about Ali Reza-Zada’s method in the early chapters, his learning was totally gradual and step by step (refer to his memorizing stages). After learning to read Qur’an, Ali Reza-Zada was listening carefully and several times to the verses he intended to memorize along with quiet repetition with them, then he was memorizing the verses one after one by repeating them, and finally he was being questioned about his learning several times.

How to Memorize Similar Verses
There are hundreds of similar verses in the Qur’an. To avoid mistaken jumps from chapter to chapter or from verse to another, recoded notes next to similar verses are essential.
In addition, the memorizer should repeat and practice such verses with more accuracy and attention to the verses before and after them. For example, verse number 57 of Al-Baqara chapter is similar to the last part of verse number 160 of Al-Araf chapter. So if the memorizer writes down next to verse 57 of Al-Baqara, ‘Similar to verse 160 of Al-Araf’, and compares the verses before and after them on memorization and repetition, and recite that to his fellow, then he will never jump from one verse to another.

Memorizing Page and Verse Number
Memorizing page and verse Number is not necessary, but it is considered as a good ability for the memorizer.
To learn by heart page and verse number, we have to bear in mind the first few words of the verse along with its number. For instance, the memorizer should say with himself, ‘On page 5 (Al-Baqara chapter) there are the verses 25 to 29 as follows:
Verse 25 وبشّر الذين ءامنوا
Verse 26 إن الله لا يستحى
Verse 27 الذين ينقضون عهد الله
Verse 28 كيف تكفرون بالله
Verse 29 هو الذى خلق لكم
And by this way, other pages and verses can be kept in mind.
Finally, we hope that this suggested method is useful and helpful for you to be one of the Holy Qur’an memorizers. (11)

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(6) Al-tahtheeb, v. 1, p. 13
(7) Mustadrak al-wasa’el. v. 4, p. 269
(8) Al-Ankaboot chapter, verse 69
(9) Aal-e-Imran chaprer, verse 159
(10) Al-Maeda chapter, verse 35
(11) ‘Preparations and method of memorization’ are mainly by Ali Reza-Zada’s father with a little bit of revising, summarizing and rewording

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