How to memorize the Qur’an in 10 years, regardless of Age or Profession? (1)

Outline

Introduction

Alhamdulillah; constant thanks and praises are due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, Who has descended the Qur’an as a book of guidance for us, and has chosen the companions of the Qur’an amongst us to be His special ones. May His Peace and Blessings be upon the first companion of the Qur’an, Habibi Muhammad, his family members, his companions and all those who have taught the Qur’an or loved it, generations down to us.

It has been (exactly) three weeks, since I posted “I am a Hafiz… You too can be!” and I know that some of you have been waiting for this article to start on memorizing the Qur’an. Your patience in waiting reflects the love, which Muslims around the globe possess for the Qur’an, for generations; an indication of greater love for Allah SWT.

I’m unimaginably delighted that you are inspired to memorize the book of Allah; Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem. And you are therefore impatiently waiting to read the main content of “How to Memorize the Qur’an…” As much as I salute you for your aspirations, I see the need for those aspirations to have solid and concrete ground. That “concrete ground” is this Part 1 of “How to Memorize the Qur’an…” There will be Part 2 and 3 in the near future, insha Allah.

This Part 1 is an introduction to Al-Qur’an, as it will also highlight the importance of Al-Qur’an. You won’t read a book until you are convinced of its importance to you and the change it can bring into your life. Would you? What more if the book we are about to fall in love with is the Qur’an, which we are going to memorize rather than the traditional reading? What more if the time we are going to spend with this book (Al-Qur’an) is a life time moments, rather than the usual “touch and go” kind of reading?

In Part 2, where the main content will be discussed, we will share tips on memorizing Al-Qur’an, in a way that, by the time we finish, in 10 years to come, each one of us will be an authentic Hafiz, insha Allah.

Part 3 will focus on how to maintain the Qur’an, together with some related stories and references, insha Allah.

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What is Al-Qur’an?

The term “Qur’an” is originally derived from the Arabic word قرأ [Qa-ra-a] which literally means “reading”. In Arabic Language, “Qur’an” is called “Qur’an” because it is a combination of verses (ayaat) that form chapters (suwar) to make a book for reading; as it’s also a book that contains different sciences and words of wisdom.

Technically, Al-Qur’an is the miraculous words (book) of Allah, revealed and descended to Sayyidina Muhammad SAW through Angel Jibril (a.s.), which reached us through authentic linkage (sanad). Reciting any part of the Qur’an is ibadah. Al-Qur’an starts with Surah Al-Fatihah and ends with Surah Al-Naas.

Al-Qur’an is also known to be the manual book of life for Muslims and it’s explained by the Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW.

Al-Qur’an is the only revealed book that is still read and recited in its original language of revelation without adding, removing or changing a single word from it; although it was revealed to someone (SAW) who couldn’t read nor write, 1400 years ago.

Millions (if not billions) have memorized the Qur’an since it was revealed until today, a phenomenon that is going to continue as long as the sun rises.

Al-Qur’an is the only book that you can find someone sit to read it loud for 3 hours or more continuously. Some of whom may understand Arabic Language, in which the Qur’an was revealed, and some of whom do not understand Arabic at all.

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The importance of Al-Qur’an

I prefer referring to verses from the Qur’an that speak on themselves on the importance of the Qur’an as a book of guidance for the individual Muslim and for mankind at large.

In Surah Al-Israa, 17:9, Allah says:

إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ المُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْراً كَبِيراً

It means, “Surely, this Quran guides to the most upright way and gives good news to the believers who do good deeds, so that they will have a great reward”.

In the same Surah, 17:82, the following verse is mentioned:

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ القُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَاراً

Which means, “We send down in the Quran that which is healing and a mercy to those who believe; as for the evil-doers, it only increases their loss.”

We are encouraged in Surah Younus, 10:57-58, to rejoice with the Qur’an as it’s a cure for all heart ailments:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُمْ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدىً وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ * قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

It means, “O mankind! There has come to you an admonition from your Lord, a cure for what is in the hearts, and a guide and a blessing to true believers. Say, “In the grace and mercy of Allah let them rejoice, for these are better than the worldly riches which they hoard.”

In Surah Yousuf, 12:111, Allah tells us that the Qur’an was not human inventory by Muhammad SAW:

مَا كَانَ حَدِيثاً يُفْتَرَى وَلَكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدىً وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

Which means, ” This [Quran] is no invented tale, but a confirmation of the previous [scripture] and a detailed explanation of all things as well as guidance and mercy to true believers.”

Finally, Allah tells us in Surah Fussilat, 41:41-42, that Al-Qur’an accepts not falsehood in any circumstance:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِالذِّكْرِ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ وَإِنَّهُ لَكِتَابٌ عَزِيزٌ * لا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ

It means, “Those who reject the Reminder [the Quran] when it comes to them [are the losers], truly it is a mighty Book: falsehood shall not reach from before or from behind. It is a revelation from the Wise, the One worthy of all praise.”

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Why do we need to memorize it… when computers can do the job?!

Muslims do not memorize the Qur’an for reference purposes where one knows the positions and numbers of chapters and verses as and when the need arises. Computers can do that now, thanks to advancement in modern technologies.

Instead, Muslims memorize the Qur’an to get closer to Allah SWT. They memorize the Qur’an because it is the best ‘zikr’ a Muslim can read/recite. Every single verse of the Qur’an is ‘zikr’, but not every ‘zikr’ (from outside the Qur’an) is Qur’an; and the best ‘zikr’ is Al-Qur’an.

Muslims memorize the Qur’an because memorizing it (in addition to practising it) is one of the greatest Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW. Rasulullah was the first to memorize it and he SAW used to revise it (muraja’h) by heart with Jibril (a.s) once a year in his lifetime; and he did it twice in the year in which he left this Dunia. Don’t we like to do what Rasulullah used to like doing?

Muslims memorize the Qur’an to attain the greater rewards awaiting the companions of Al-Qur’an here in this Dunia and there; in the Hereafter. They memorize the Qur’an in a bid to the pursuit of Allah’s Jannah.

It’s known that when Rasulullah went to be by Allah’s side (passed away), the sahabah (the companions) were a walking Qur’an each. This was despite the fact that they had different professions and their ages also varied. That was possible because Rasulullah SAW himself demonstrated it through his manners to be a walking Qur’an. One can’t be a walking Qur’an until they have memorized the verses they are “walking”; a memorization which will lead to internalization.

Some may assume that, if someone is used to memorization (the Qur’an or other books) they (he/she) fail to think and analyze. Thinking is an art (knowledge) that can be attained through a certain discipline. Whoever goes through it may achieve it, insha Allah. So the perception that memorizing the Qur’an will bar one from thinking and analysing is (to me) not accurate. I believe that, people who fail to think and analyse because they are Hafizs (Huffaz) could have failed to think and analyse even if they were not Huffaz. Similarly, people who are able to think and analyse, will gain better thinking ability if they are able to add Qur’an into their memory.

Being good in Mathematics doesn’t mean one can’t master languages. Likewise, being able to memorize shouldn’t be factor to kill one’s analysing abilities.

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Shall I memorize the Qur’an or learn Arabic Language instead?

Arabic language is the most beautiful language on the earth. One may choose to disagree, though. This is known only by people who know Arabic language in addition to other languages. People learn Arabic for various reasons, but religion has always been the major reason. However, Al-Qur’an is the word bank of Arabic language. The Qur’an is the encyclopedia of the Arabic language. It’s the Qur’an that protected the language for 1400 years now, and still counting. So, how can the importance of learning Arabic top the importance of learning or memorizing the Qur’an?

Anyone who learns Arabic may not necessarily understand the Qur’an easily. But anyone, who masters the Qur’an, can easily learn Arabic, especially in the case of non-Arabs.

I know some, who have spent more than 10 years learning Arabic and still, are struggling with it, not talking about teaching it. On the other hand, those who have spent 10 years (whom I know) learning the Qur’an are now confident teachers of Qur’an and are comfortable in learning Arabic.

Anyone who is really interested in learning Arabic shouldn’t find it difficult to start with Qur’an. But anyone who is really keen to learn Qur’an should start with Qur’an.

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The status of a Hafiz in the Sight of Allah SWT

It’s a must for a Hafiz to purify their intention behind memorizing the Qur’an in order to achieve the rewards and bounties of Allah SWT. If not, I’m afraid; one may be punished for that. Allah says in Surah Fatir, about the readers of Al-Qur’an the following:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّـهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ * لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ، إِنَّهُ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ

It means, “Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish. That He may give them in full their rewards and increase for them of His bounty. Indeed, He is Forgiving and Appreciative.”

In this Dunia:

A Hafiz is a special one to Allah SWT (they are so too, in the Akhirah). It’s narrated that the Apostle of Allah (SAW) said in a Hadeeth narrated by Anas Ibn Malik, compiled by Imam Ahamd and Ibn Majah:

إِنَّ لِلَّهِ أَهْلِينَ مِنَ النَّاسِ. قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، مَنْ هُمْ؟ قَالَ :هُمْ أَهْلُ الْقُرْآنِ، أَهْلُ اللَّهِ وَخَاصَّتُهُ

It means, “Verily, Allah has special ones amongst the people.” Then the companions said “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He said, “They are the people of Qur’an; the people of Allah and His special ones”.

A Hafiz is the best amongst us in the sight of Allah because of the Qur’an they are carrying in their mind and heart. This is understood in the Hadeeth narrated by Sayyiduna Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (r.a.) and compiled by Imam Bukhari in which Rasulullah SAW said:

خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ القُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ

It means, “The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it”.

A Hafiz takes the priority over others in leading Muslims in their solat. This is what Rasulullah SAW said in the Hadeeth narrated by Abu Mas’oud Al-Ansari and compiled by Imam Muslim:

يَؤُمُّ القَوْمَ أَقْرَؤُهُمْ لِكِتَابِ اللهِ، فَإِنْ كَانُوا فِي القِرَاءَةِ سَوَاءً فَأَعْلَمُهُمْ بِالسُّنَّةِ، فَإِنْ كَانُوا فِي السُّنَّةِ سَوَاءً فَأَقْدَمُهُمْ هِجْرَةً، فَإِنْ كَانُوا فِي الهِجْرَةِ سَوَاءً فَأَقْدَمُهُمْ سِلْماً، وَلاَ يَؤُمَّنَّ الرَّجُلُ الرَّجُلَ فِي سُلْطَانِهِ وَلاَ يَقْعُدُ فِي بَيْتِهِ عَلَى تَكْرُمَتِهِ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ

It means, “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.”

A Hafiz, although are expected to be humble and think of others before themselves, are special in the Sight of Allah, and therefore deserve good and special treatment from us. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (r.a.) narrated a Hadeeth compiled by Abu Dawud that the Prophet SAW said:

إِنَّ مِنْ إِجْلالِ اللَّهِ إِكْرَامُ ذِي الشَّيْبَةِ الـمُسْلِمِ وَحَامِلِ القُرْآنِ غَيْرِ الغَالِي فِيهِ وَالجَافِي عَنْهُ وَإِكْرَامُ ذِي السُّلْطَانِ المُقْسِطِ

Which means, “Part of glorifying Allah is honouring the grey-haired Muslim and the one who carries (memorizes) the Qur’an not exaggerating in it nor distancing from it; and honouring the fair possessor of power (ruler).”

In the Akhirah:

The Qur’an will plead for its companions to be honoured in the day of judgment. This is exactly what Rasulullah said in the Hadeeth narrated by Abu Umamah Al-Bahilie, and mentioned by Imam Bukhari:

اِقْرَؤُوا القُرْآنَ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْتِي يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ شَفِيعاً لأَصْحَابِه

It means, “Recite the Qur’an, for it will come on the Day of Resurrection to intercede for its companions”.

A Hafiz will be raised in status up to the last verse they memorize from the Qur’an, in Jannah. Rasulullah SAW said in a Hadeeth narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr (r.a.), which was related by At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud:

يُقَالُ لِصَاحِبِ القُرْآنِ اِقْرَأْ وَارْتَقِ وَرَتِّلْ كَمَا كُنْتَ تُرَتِّلُ فِي الدُّنْيَا، فَإِنَّ مَنْزِلَتَكَ عِنْدَ آخِرِ آيَةٍ تَقْرَأُ بِهَا

It means, “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: Recite and rise in status, recite as you used to recite in the world, for your status will be at the last verse that you recite.”

A Hafiz will be with the angels in the Paradise because of the Qur’an they sacrificed their time for. Sayyidatuna Aa’ishah (r.a.) narrated a Hadeeth which Imam Bukhari compiled that the Prophet SAW said:

مَثَلُ الَّذِي يَقْرَأُ القُرْآنَ وَهُوَ حَافِظٌ لَهُ مَعَ السَّفَرَةِ الكِرَامِ البَرَرَةِ. وَمَثَلُ الَّذِي يَقْرَأُ القُرْآنَ وَهُوَ يَتَعَاهَدُهُ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ شَدِيدٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرَانِ

It means, “The likeness of the one who reads Qur’an and memorizes it is that he is with the righteous honourable scribes. And the likeness of the one who reads it and tries hard to memorize it even though it is difficult for him, he will have two rewards.”

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Why do we need 10 years to do it?

It is important for us to be mindful to the fact that, adopting this project of “How to memorize the Qur’an in 10 Years, Regardless of Age and Profession” is to attain and invite the pleasure of Allah. For that to happen genuinely, there should be no intention to do it for show, to compete with other Huffaz, or to take over any Imam’s position. Therefore, perfection and quality should be one of our concerns as we kick start.

No need to hurry for pages. However, one should try hard to master it in the 10 years time frame, insha Allah. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow we memorize (with 10 years in mind), and how many pages we are able achieve in a short period of time. What is most important is how quality we do it. Allah says in Surah Al-Mulk, 67:2:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ المَوْتَ وَالحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا، وَهُوَ العَزِيزُ الغَفُورُ

It means, “[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.” So, the logic of tests in life is to identify who does it with possible perfection and quality. “Quality is better than quantity”.

Rasulullah also said in a Hadeeth reported by Al-Tabarani:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ إِذَا عَمِلَ أَحَدُكُمْ عَمَلاً أَنْ يُتْقِنَهُ

It means, “Allah loves, when one of you does something, for him to do it well.” This Hadeeth is classed as an authentic by Shaikh Al-Albani in his book “Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth al-Saheehah.

Also, I am suggesting 10 years so that it can be easy for all to follow while consistency can be achieved. This is because this article is meant for the busy individuals from all walks of life; the targeted audience here, are the peasant in his field, the student in his school/campus, the professional in his office, the merchant in his shop, the housewife at home, the cleaner in his cleaning industry, the commoner on the street and so forth. Full time Tahfeez students are not encouraged to follow this time frame because they can actually memorize the Qur’an in a period of 1 year. Some (the non-serious) may take up to 5 years to do it.

Furthermore, doing it in 10 years (following our proposed method in these (3 parts) articles) will ensure quality and authenticity of what we are going to memorize. You won’t need to re-memorize it after 10 years. All you need will be ‘muraja’ah’ (revision) throughout your life because that will be the exercise for your memory. Something that even Rasulullah used to do. In other words, every Hafiz, no matter how good and solid their memorization is, they need ‘muraja’ah’. Rasulullah said in a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (r.a.) and compiled by Imam Muslim:

تَعَاهَدُوا هَذَا القُرْآنَ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَهُوَ أَشَدُّ تَفَلُّتاً مِنَ الإِبِلِ فِي عُقُلِهَا

It means, “Read this Qur’an regularly for, by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, it is more likely to escape than a hobbled camel.”

In short, we may not be the best Hafizs (Huffaz), but with a little determination and effort put in, we can (insha Allah) be authentic ones.

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Now, it’s time for home work

I have already indicated earlier on; this Part 1 is going to be just an introduction, and that Part 2 will be the “how to…”. However, let us prepare ourselves for the “how to…” by doing the following assignment. Please follow the steps as mentioned accordingly:

  • Today (Day 1), we are going to get a handy copy of Al-Qur’an each. Your smart phone may be an aid, but not essential for this mission. Please do that today if you already don’t have one of your own. This copy of Al-Qur’an is going to be used for the next 10 years, if possible for the rest of your life. This is why your smartphone or tablet won’t be a good idea. It will be wise to get a Qur’an that we can read comfortably. Don’t go for an iPhone sized Qur’an just because you’ve noticed that, you cousin’s Qur’an is the same size or smaller.
  • Tomorrow (Day 2), Insha Allah, we are going to memorize Surah Al-Fatihah (سورة الفاتحة). Al-Fatihah?! Are you serious?! Yes.. I’m serious! Click here to learn Surah Al-Fatihah in Its Simplicity.
  • Next (still Day 2), after we have memorized it, we are going to repeat it for 40 times or more. One can distribute this 40 times to different times of the day, i.e. on the way to/from the bus stop or the train station, while waiting for the bus or the train, inside the bus or the train, while waiting for the green light at the traffic junction (in case one is driving), in the queue at the clinic, restaurant or over counter, in the mosque while waiting for solat and etc. Please note that the 40 times of repetition comes after one has memorized the intended Surah. Different people spend different number to times to repeat a Surah or verses to memorize it. You may need 10-15 times to do so.
  • In the day after tomorrow (Day 3), we are going to memorize Surah An-Naas (سورة الناس) by following the same steps we followed in Surah Al-Fatihah (سورة الفاتحة) yesterday. But before we start to memorize An-Naas, we need to make sure that we have re-read (revised/muraja’ah) Surah Al-Fatiha and made no mistake. Should we make any mistake, we will repeat it again for another 40 times. No Surah An-Naas for us today until Al-Fatihah is solid (with no mistakes).
  • Surah Al-Fatihah will be our benchmark to measure the strength of all our memorizations in future.
  • In the next day (Day 4), assuming we have got Al-Fatihah and An-Naas right and solid, we will proceed to the surah above Surah An-Naas, which is Surah Al-Falaq and follow the same steps.
  • It is important to re-read (muraja’ah) all the Surahs we have memorized in the last few days starting from Al-Fatihah before we proceed with any new Surah.
  • Please repeat these steps every new day, on a new short Surah till we meet again.
  • Take a break (from memorizing; not from ‘muraja’ah) on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays or Fridays and Saturdays according to the recognized weekends in your location).
  • Each one of us is expect, to get the following Surahs memorized by our next discussion, insha Allah:

001- Al-Fatihah (سورة الفاتحة)
114- An-Naas (سورة الناس)
113- Al-Falaq (سورة الفلق)
112- Al-Ikhlas ( سورة الإخلاص)
111- Al-Masad (سورة المسد)
110- An-Nasr (سورة النصر)
109- Al-Kafirun (سورة الكافرون)
108- Al-Kauthar  (سورة الكوثر)
107- Al-Ma’oun (سورة الماعون)
106- Quraish (سورة قريش)
105- Al-Feel (سورة الفيل)
104- Al-Humazah (سورة الهمزة)
103- Al-‘Asr (سورة العصر)

  • I know you have already memorized all those Surahs in the past. But please follow the steps accordingly. Do not take 2 Surahs in advance to rest in the next day or delay a Surah to the next day. Do not read or memorize them all on one go either!
  • If you are not sure of the accuracy of your reading for the above mentioned Surah’s which you are about to memorize, please arrange with anyone whom you believe they know Al-Qur’an more than you do, and read them before them. For convenience sake, you may read to them over the phone. It’s wise for the one who wants to memorize the Qur’an to be mindful of the basic etiquettes (adabs) of Islam. Therefore, contacting the person who agrees to help you, before Fajr, during lunch time or after Isha may not be convenient, unless you have both agreed on that.
  • Please read the Surah you are newly memorizing loud!

Until we meet again in Part 2 of “How to Memorize the Qur’an…” When we will each come with five (5) pages at least memorized, I leave you in the Good Protection of Allah and His Blessings.

Allah knows best.

Allahu Hafiz 🙂

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