WHEN I WAS working on memorizing the Quran, I was given advice on different ways to approach memorization.

It Worked for Them

“Read the page ten times,” one sister told me. “Once you’ve read it that many times, it’ll just stick in your mind.”

Another sister advised sitting in the same spot every time so I would associate the location with memorization.

These methods didn’t work for me. I tried reciting the page over and over and over and over until I hit ten times… but beyond a few words, I really didn’t feel I had memorized anything.

I tried sitting in the same spot when I was home, but I completed my memorization over many years and all of those years I was either a full time student or working full time—or a combination of both. Sometimes, I had to memorize in parking lots during my break or while sitting in the bus. I had to memorize whenever and wherever I could because of my demanding scheduling outside of my memorization.

Finding My Way

So I had to figure out my own memorization style. When I first started, I felt that I was painstakingly slow. I would recite one verse over and over. It sometimes would take me hours to memorize one verse—or even longer. Sometimes I felt it took days.

I am not Arab, so I didn’t understand the meanings of the verses. They were foreign words to me, ones I barely was learning how to recite correctly, and committing them to memory was an extremely long process.

I remember one sister telling me that she was in a Quran memorization group and they were memorizing one page of Sûrat Al-Baqarah a day. One page a day! I couldn’t even imagine memorizing such a large amount in such a short time period. She said, “No, really, it’s easy!” I scoffed and decided it was easy for her—not for me.

But over time, it really did get easier. The one verse that took me an hour or even hours started taking me much less time. Soon, I was memorizing multiple verses in an hour. As the years went by, I started memorizing a page in an hour. Then two pages. Finally, as I completed my memorization, I could commit two pages to memory within a half hour or even less.

Finding my memorization groove took time. Many people suggested different methods, but I had to figure out what would work best for me. And that didn’t come right away; it took months to figure out what method really worked best for me, and a few more years to get it down solid so that the routine ran like a polished machine.

Will it Ever Stick?

Many people complain to me when they begin their memorization; they can’t seem to memorize quickly enough—they forget instantly—they feel like it’s too grueling of a process.

These passionate individuals usually have been memorizing for a few months or less than a year, and they often have not been doing it every day and they’ve been doing it on their own, without a teacher. I smile and advise:

Memorizing the Quran is like working out with weights. At first, when you begin lifting weights, you lift a certain amount that you can handle—and heavier weights may seem impossible. You may look at others who lift weights and stare in awe as they lift so much more than you feel you could ever do. But if you lift those same weights every day or every other day for a year, they become too light for you! You add more weights as your body strengthens and eventually even those are too light. So you continue to add as your body becomes stronger, faster, and all of what you previously used to lift no longer proves challenging.

It’s the same way with the Quran. It takes practice. Commitment. Time. Focus. Energy. And if you aren’t doing it every single day and working with a teacher on a daily basis, it’s going to take even longer. That’s okay. It is not a race. You do not need to finish your entire memorization in a year or two or even three or four if you have all these other life responsibilities going on. Enjoy the journey of memorization. When you’re frustrated, take a short break to rejuvenate and regroup, and then begin again.

Consider These Modes

Here are a few suggested methods of memorizing. I’ve used a combination of almost all of these throughout my own journey. No one way—in and of itself—is better than another; you just need to figure out what works for you!

1 – Repetition

Begin with one verse or a group of verses and repeat it/them until you’ve committed them to memory. This is literally just “rote memorization.”

2 – Writing

Write the verse over and over. For visual and kinesthetic learners[1], the process of moving one’s hand to dictate the verses, combined with the visual focus of spelling every word correctly, helps commit the verses to the brain’s long-term memory.

3 – Direct

For kinesthetic learners, movement is key to learning. Directing the verses means acting out key elements in verses with hand or head movements. So, for example, if the verse is discussing rain, one can use one’s fingers to make the movements of rain coming down from the sky. If the verse mentions an elephant, one can use one’s arms to make the trunk of an elephant. Obviously, this is done within the realms of what is Islamicly acceptable. Some concepts are not acceptable to ‘act’ out.

4 – Drawing the verses

For visual learners and kinesthetic learners, it can be helpful to ‘see’ the verses and draw them out with one’s own hands. Sometimes, this mental picture can create the image that the brain uses to grasp the words in the verse long after one has memorized and even reviewed.

5 – Use the translation

It makes a world of a difference to understand the words you’re reciting. Even if you are Arab—unless you’ve studied classical Arabic—it’s very likely that the Qur’anic Arabic is unfamiliar and difficult to understand at times since it’s so different from colloquial Arabic. A translation I recommend is Sahih International, which you can find, along with others, on: www.quran.com.

6 – Have a teacher

You need a teacher to memorize correctly. When I first started, my teacher listened to my broken recitation and said: “You need to learn how to pronounce correctly.” I was frustrated; I wanted to memorize right away! She asked: “Do you want to memorize the entire Quran and do it wrong? What’s the point of that?”

She and my subsequent teachers [especially my honored teacher Shaykh Moheb Fouda—may God increase and bless him and his noble family!] helped me perfect my tajwîd and learn how to beautify my recitation and enhance the meaning of the verses based on how they were recited.

Importantly, they also held me accountable in maintaining both a memorization and review schedule. If you cannot find a teacher in your locality, I recommend starting with an online program such as: www.studioarabiya.com.

7 – Use the right mushaf

When I first began, I was memorizing out of a small muaf because it was easy for me to carry. One of my teachers, Ustada Sarah—may God increase and bless her and her noble family—told me I needed to switch it out for something bigger because my eyes needed to see the verses more clearly and I needed space to write my corrections and notes on the muaf itself as well. Find the muaf that works for you.

For some, memorizing in chunks of themes works best. Consider using a thematic muaf, where subjects are coordinated by color. While I recommend using a physical muaf versus an electronic one, I have seen these sold only during specific time periods in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Here is a pdf for you to consider while searching for a physical one: http://community.arabsbook.com/threads/47967/.

8 – Listen  

Constantly listen to the verses. For your personal enjoyment, you can listen to anyone whose voice moves you. But for memorization, you’ll want to listen to someone whose recitation is slow enough and tajwîd is perfected enough for your own practice. Commonly recommended reciters for memorization are Abd Al-Basit, Al-Minshawi, Al-Husary, Abdullah Basfar, and Abu Bakr Al-Shatri. All can be found on: www.quranicaudio.com

9 – Make a ton of duʿâ’

In your sujûd, when it rains, when you’re fasting, when you’re walking or driving or about to sleep—every moment—make duʿâ’ for Allah to open the Quran to you, to make it easy for you to memorize, to make you successful in your memorization and in your loving, living and teaching the Quran through all of your intentions and actions.

Memorizing the Quran may seem like an insurmountable mountain in the beginning. But with every step you take up that mountain, your body will get stronger inshâ’Allah and with time, consistency, determination and perseverance, inshâ’Allah, it will get easier, you’ll get faster, and eventually inshâ’Allah, you will make it to the very top of that mountain!

The Prophet ﷺ described Ahl Al-Qurân (the People of the Quran) as:

The People of the Quran are Allah’s people and His special servants. (Al-Nisâ’i)

May Allah make me and you among them, Âmîn!

—————————-

[1] The process of learning through action

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi received her master’s in Education from UCLA, where her research focused on the effects of mentorship rooted in Critical Race Theory for urban high school students of color. She holds a bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University, where she served as the President of the Muslim Student Association for two consecutive years. Currently, she is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies through Al Azhar University. Maryam spent a year studying the Arabic language and Qur’an in Cairo, Egypt, and has memorized the Qur’an. She has been presented the Student of the Year award by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Maryam frequently travels to work with different communities on topics related to spiritual connections, social issues and women’s studies.

32 Comments

  • Jabeen Saifullah.

    Mon 6 Muharram 1437AH 19-10-2015AD - 9:51 pm

    Jazaak Allah khair.

  • umm Myra

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 12:43 am

    MashaAllah such good advice. May Allah aid us all to memorise text quran without giving up ameen

  • Zara

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 2:36 am

    I feel motivated alhamdulillah :)

  • Qāri Mubashir Anwar

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:12 am

    Mā Shā Allāh

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • How To Memorise The Qur

    How To Memorise The Qur'an

    Tue 7 Muharram 1437AH 20-10-2015AD - 3:13 am

    Mā Shā’ Allāh!

  • Jibrail

    Sat 2 Rabi Al Thani 1438AH 31-12-2016AD - 11:45 am

    Its really true about the similitude to lifting weights! I read five reps for an ayah and it’ll be in memory. Den i do 5 reps from memory. Den i repeat the half a page i memorised for two sets. As much as sleep is important for muscle growth (I’m a body builder too), sleep is crucial to solidify yesterday’s memorization. When I wake up, masyaallah the half page becomes smooth and vivid in memory! Blessed is Allah in the way he protects his gospel.

  • Sadman Samee

    Thu 9 Rajab 1438AH 6-4-2017AD - 10:17 pm

    An excellent collection of resource for Memorizing quran. List of ways to memorize quran, inspiration and various resources to assist memorize quran.

    Download: https://archive.org/details/MemorizeQuran

  • Sophiyyat

    Mon 26 Muharram 1439AH 16-10-2017AD - 12:05 pm

    Masha Allah
    i pray it works for me insha’allah

  • CassandraAmeerah

    Fri 16 Ramadan 1439AH 1-6-2018AD - 2:48 pm

    I am a revert to islam and I have memorized quite a lot of quraan in arabic. Its not my first language i find it helps that i keep a translation handy and read along side the arabic. . I now find the revision to be tough and not many people are supportive. I also find my self getting distracted. What can I do?

  • Firdaws academy

    Fri 17 Safar 1440AH 26-10-2018AD - 7:14 pm

    the famous hadeeth narrated by ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said
    “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it”
    [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

  • Amera Farooq

    Wed 6 Rabi Al Awwal 1440AH 14-11-2018AD - 2:51 am

    Assalaamu alaikum. JazakAllahu khairan for your advice. I have been trying to memorise the same surah for months now but I don’t seem to be making any progress. Insha’Allah I will try to visualise the words and write them out to help me remember. Please make dua that I am successful!

  • sara moi

    Thu 7 Rabi Al Awwal 1440AH 15-11-2018AD - 11:11 pm

    ma sha Allah, good post

  • mai ghan

    Thu 7 Rabi Al Awwal 1440AH 15-11-2018AD - 11:13 pm

    nice post

  • khan

    Thu 7 Rabi Al Awwal 1440AH 15-11-2018AD - 11:15 pm

    best of u who learn Quran and teach it

  • Zara Kaumi mala

    Thu 21 Rabi Al Awwal 1440AH 29-11-2018AD - 5:20 pm

    SubhanaAllah!may Allah make it easy for us.

  • maher

    Sun 23 Rabi Al Thani 1440AH 30-12-2018AD - 10:32 am

    ma sha Allah great
    https://firdawsacademy.com/

  • أميرة

    Sat 2 Rajab 1440AH 9-3-2019AD - 1:13 am

    While her article is good and all it just repeats what others have said and what we already know. In order to memorize Quran and keep it retained it will have to be memorized and revised daily. Alot of people want to do stuff but do not want to make an effort to do so. this takes time and dedication and not something. to be rushed. Alot of Muslims had lost sight of the real reason we need to memorize and now it’s a race against time or a competition to see who can finish the fastest then no sooner than one is finishes the Quran they slowly forget it. Sad we need to get serious about memorizing the Quran.

    Learning Quran is easy to do but it’s up to the person whether he is serious about doing it or not. It takes time effort dedication and you have to make up your time to put in the work daily

    My tips

    Get a teacher who specializes in teaching Quran if possible so that they can listen and correct your mistakes

    Get one mushaf and stick to it. They all serve the same purpose there is no point to buy and use many kinds. Also I strongly believe in taking notes if you need to circle or write a tajweed rule you have forgotten you do in your Quran with a pencil so it helps you remember for next time

    Get a translation of the Quran (tafsir) if Arabic is not your first language also to familiarize your self with the Quran also help to read the surah and learn about it and how it came about

    Get a Quran buddy.

    This helps if you have quan buddy

    It does not matter what surah either of you are on if the person can read the Quran well enough and understand and knows basic tajweed rules
    Sit with them and have them listen to you revise daily. It helps to have support someone who is on the same journey as you

    Listen to the Qur’an

    With all the latest technology mp3 smartphone and Android and computers

    Download the Quran on what ever device you use

    I recommend Shaykh Mahmood Khalil Al houssary

    His tajweed and pronouncation is perfect flawless

    He goes slow enough were you can here each harakat( letter) he is pronouncing

    Get in a habbit of reviewing daily

    I can’t stress this enough . Alott a time for memorizing and reviewing. Do not skip this Doing this daily not only retains what you have memorized but makes your memory stronger and you will be able to memorize even more. Also studies have shown people who memorized the Quran are more successful in life. Also remember you get reward for memorizing the Quran 10 good deeds for each letter.

    Intention keep them pure and stay away from sin or bad speech. Bad behavior bad speech it decreases and takes away your knowledge.
    Always keep your intentions solely to please Allah and in return with his help he will make it easy for you.

    Just say no Sometimes you have to just say no to social engagements and outing. Use any spare time you have for memorizing Quran.

    The night prayer and reviewing after fajr prayer is another time to read because in the early morning it’s peaceful and silent. I find I can get more reviewed and memorized during this time.

    Last but not least make lots of Dua

    I am a revert to Islam and theses are my tips for memorizing Quran and to this date I have memorized alittle over 7 parts of Qur’an

    I hope my tips can help another person feel free to use them and if and when you do don’t forget to give me a shot out or credit.
    May Allah bless you all ameen.

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