Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
When one sets out on the path of knowledge, perhaps the hardest of obstacles to overcome on that path is memorization, at least to people of our generation. We have never heard of memorizing any lesson at school except the multiplication tables. From childhood we’re simply not taught to memorize. In fact, in some places those who memorize lessons are looked down upon because they just learn everything by rote without understanding.
No wonder we find it so difficult, and when we hear of scholars of the past memorizing hundreds of thousands of ahadith, volumes of books of all kinds, we are simply flabbergasted. We assume perhaps that they all had photographic memories.
But perhaps it’s not so much as touching the moon as we think. May be we just need to get tuned to the art of memorization, and just like learning any other skill, soon it will become as easy to us as walking is to an adult who has passed through the stages of crawling on all fours, in sha Allah.
Personally I have come up with a working plan for learning the art of memorization, Alhamdulillah I would like to share it with you. I am assuming that you are trying to memorize the Quran, but it will perhaps work as good with other texts as well if Allah wills.
Recipe for Memorization
1. Learn rudimentary Arabic.
Let us do an experiment. Try and memorize this:
Pra ake spe cticem rfect.
Now try memorizing the following sentence:
Practice makes perfect.
Result: Unless you really have a photographic memory, you must have found it way easier to memorize the second sentence that the first, although they contain exactly the same letters. This is why it is very important to know at least rudimentary Arabic, just a slight knowledge of how a sentence is constructed, and just some common vocabulary. An excellent way of doing this is the course we offer where you can learn 50% of Quranic Arabic in just 9 hours.
2. Start with Juz Amma.
Perhaps we all know the benefit of starting memorization with Juz Amma, the ayaat and the surahs are small and easier to memorize. If you’re completely new to memorization, don’t try to memorize a page at one go. It will seem very difficult and perhaps will demoralize you from memorizing at all. Start with a small surah or a portion of a surah, perhaps a few lines, and gradually keep increasing it.
3. For the surah (or portion of a surah) that you intend to memorize, learn the meanings of all the words that are new to you. Try these free dictionaries, or there are some good dictionaries available at Goodword.
4. Read through a good translation of the surah to get a gist of the meaning.
5. Repeat each ayah ten times while looking at the Mus-haf (Quran). If it’s a long ayah, part it in small chunks and memorize each chunk, until you can say the whole ayah at one go.
5. After the ayah becomes quite easy on your tongue, say it without looking many times, until you can recite it confidently without looking. Do the same with the rest of the surah (or the portion of the surah).
6. Once you have more or less got the grasp of the portion you’re memorizing, have someone listen to your recitation and correct it. Pay special attention to the places where you get stuck the most often. Mark them on your mus-haf and work on them individually.
7. If you can’t find someone to correct you, no worries! We’re living in an era of explosion of technology. For android there is a brilliant software called el Mohafez by Hossam Hammady. With this you can select the portions of Quran, hadith or other texts you want to memorize, record, listen to and correct your own recitation really easily.
I hope you find this recipe helpful by the permission of Allah. Please suggest any amendments and share ideas of your own in sha Allah.