How to Memorize the Quran | Shaykh Umar Badahdah

Translated by Ammar AlShukry

An abridged translation of the work of Shaykh Umar Badahdah:  Part I

  1. The Beginning Steps

  2. Memorizing

  3. Revising

  4. Tying It All Together

  5. Differences

I.  The Beginning Steps

There are a number of steps that must be taken at the onset of memorizing, and it may be that one cannot be successful without fulfilling these requirements:

1.     Pure intention.

A pure intention is the key to the acceptance of our deeds. If the intention is lacking then the actions will not bear the desired fruits, even if they do bring forth some of the fruits.

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2.     Minimalize sins.

Allah says:

“Fear Allāh; and Allāh teaches you” [Al-Baqarah: 282]

Ibn Mas‘ūd raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu said: “A man may lose knowledge due to a sin that he had committed.”

Sins extinguish the light of the heart and cause a person to be prevented from success. Therefore to fear Allāh and have Allāh teach you is a practical approach. The heart  is then filled with the light of īmān, the soul is at ease with what Allāh loves, and the person prepares for this great affair of memorizing the Qurʾān.

3.     Sincere commitment.

A person who is not fully committed and lazy will not be able to memorize the Qurʾān. This matter requires strong commitment and a person will no doubt have to exchange old habits for new ones, such as decreasing the amount of sleep and increasing in good deeds. Most importantly, a person must equip himself with a will never to give up, so that when encountering the first obstacle, surrender is not an option.

4.   Correct methodology.

More shall be explored regarding this topic, inshā’Allāh. Some who set out to memorize the Qurʾān begin with great energy but go about it in the wrong way. Their energy is soon extinguished and, in many cases, they become incapable of continuing. An example of this is the one who starts by memorizing a sūrah from one part of the Qurʾān and another from some other part. A further example is someone who memorizes juz after juz but not in the original order of sequence. The problem with this method is that a juz that stands alone does not encourage the person to retain it as well as two that are connected (one juz before it or the one after it). Of course, it is beneficial to memorize any Sūrah; however, this is not the most beneficial way for the one who wishes to memorize the entire Qurʾān. Also, one should have a set program for memorizing. Going about it ‘on the fly’ will, in most cases, not bring about the desired outcome. Furthermore, one should consult those who have memorized and those who are currently engaged in memorizing and/or teaching regarding additional strategies and tips. In short, this is not a solitary effort.

5. A continuous effort.

Keep in mind that memorizing the Qurʾān is a great task that requires a lengthy commitment. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  was asked what actions were most beloved to Allāh. He said the ones that are most consistent, even if they are small. Remember: a little that is consistent is better than a great deal that is cut off!

II. Memorization

The method of memorization and its necessary preconditions will be expounded upon below.

1.     One page at a time.
Firstly, there is the method of memorizing by looking at the ‘whole page’, in which the individual reads the page that he wants to memorize three or five times, with focus and full awareness as to what is being read, so that when he has read the page a number of times, he is able to close the Book and recite from memory. Most likely, he will be unable to recite the entire page flawlessly and will pause often, at which point he is to open the Book and carry on from where he stopped. This step-by-step process will prevent the memorizer from making the same mistakes: the place that he stopped the first time, he will not stop the second time. This is to be repeated until the memorizer is able to recite the entire page without stopping, so that after he has read the page five times and recited from memory, without impediment, he will have read the page approximately eight or more times. When this occurs, the page should be recited three times in totality, from memory, without error or visual aid from the Book. If the page is read three or five times with attentiveness, and then recited (from memory) between three and five times, then tied it all together three times, the page will be ingrained in your memory in a firm fashion, inshā’Allāh.
The benefit of this method is that you will not stop or stumble when you are continuing from page to page. Instead of memorizing disconnected verses and being unable to recall what comes next, you will see the entire page in your mind’s eye. This will help you not only in memorizing but also in future recollection.

2.    One verse at a time.
The second method is that of memorizing one verse at a time.
The memorizer reads one verse a number of times before trying to recite it, and, once successful, moves on to the next verse. When the second verse is memorized correctly, the first and the second are read together, and so on with the third verse until the end of the page, at which point the entire page is recited from memory three times. It is very important to connect all of the verses on a page together. Do not memorize the second half of the page without linking it to the first, as this will cause your memory to stumble later when reciting that page.
The difference between the first method and the second is that the second method generally takes longer and is weaker if one does not link all of the verses together.

Prerequisites for memorization

1) Reading correctly– and in this alone are a number of issues.

a) Correcting the makharij– if Ramaḍān to you is Ramazaan, if الذين is read Allazeena then correct your pronunciation of the letters before you start.

b) Correcting the harakat– the symbols of I’rab (the damma, fatha, kasra, sukoon) are all very important and it is imperative to learn them correctly. A change in I’rab can change the meaning and thus is worthy of a great deal of attention. Also one must pay attention to the similar sounding words and ‘seemingly’ similar ending verses.

2) Strong Memorization– whatever is newly memorized must have been done so in the strongest manner, free from any mistakes, with the ability to be recited without stopping or stumbling. What is newly memorized is like a foundation on which you build, and if the foundation is faulty or weak than the building will collapse. Just think of how you recite Al-Fātiḥah and set that as the standard for which to compare everything else that you memorize.

3) Reciting to others– very important. This is what will cause you to discover mistakes that you may have not been aware of in your memorization. If you memorize three to four pages without reciting it to someone than that’s not a problem, however after five pages you should. Do not wait until you have memorized 10 Juz’ filled with mistakes that will be extremely difficult for you to correct!

4) Repetition– doing all of the above will not help you unless you continuously repeat what you have memorized. If you memorize after fajr and wait till the next fajr you will find that you have already forgotten a portion or struggle to recall the ayahs. If you memorize the pages how they were mentioned earlier i.e. 3 times each, you still need to repeat what you have memorized another 5 times throughout the day which will be elaborated on..

5) Connecting with what was previously memorized- this will be discussed later.
6) Helpful activities

a. Reciting in superogatory prayers- instead of reciting Sūrat’l-Nās, Kawthar and Ikhlāṣ, recite from what you have memorized that day. If you have memorized a page, divide it into two and repeat it in your nafl prayers throughout the day.

b. Reciting at all times- think of all the times in your day where you are waiting for something: your at the bus stop waiting, your on the train waiting, your meeting a friend and your waiting, if you kept a Qurʾān

c. Leading people in prayer- the ultimate test. This is what will show whether what you have memorized is deeply embedded in your mind, easily recalled, or whether it isn’t.

d. Listening to Qurʾānic recitations with tajweed– use this as much as you can and have a set schedule. For example, say you have this much to memorize in a week, or this much to revise. Sometimes you will have heard a recitation so much that when you come to memorize you’ll find that you’ve already memorized it.

e. Using the same muḥaf– if you are going to start memorizing try to keep the same muḥaf and don’t change. This is because you picture the page in front of you in your mind, you visualize this ayah being at the top of this page and this Sūrah starting in the middle of that page. If you start memorizing from another muḥaf it is likely to cause confusion.

f. Engaging as many senses as possible- it is known scientifically that if you use two senses to memorize, your recollection of it will be stronger than if you use only one. And if you use three it is stronger still, and if you use four…etc. How do you use more? Instead of just reading silently, read out loud. While reading out loud raise your voice so that your ears hear what you are reciting. Now if you can (and this is somewhat difficult) but if you are able to write out what you wish to memorize, this will exponentially increase your memory of it. The sheikh mentions when he went to West Africa he visited some countries like Morocco and Mauritania and others. He found them to still be writing on Alwah (tablets) to memorize Quran. They would write on them and then read what they had written until they had memorized it and then would dunk the tablet in water and erase it, fully confident that what they had memorized would not leave them.

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53 responses to “How to Memorize the Quran | Shaykh Umar Badahdah”

  1. Ilyas Al-Hassan Abdullah says:

    Jaza Kallahu Kair.

  2. shiney says:

    JUST WHAT I NEEDED AT THE MOMENT!!!
    Jazakallah Kahir Katheeran for this! May Allah Bless you and Reward you in this world and the next! Ameen!

  3. […] How to Memorize the Quran | Shaykh Umar Badahdah | MuslimMatters.org. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  4. Khader Ali Khan says:

    Jazakallahu Khairan.

    Do you have any particular order in which Quran should be memorize?

    -Khader

    • Hamza Altaf says:

      It would be better to start with just the 30th juzz followed by the 29th since there are many small surahs that are easy to memorize. Plus the small surahs can be recited in completion in any Rakah when leading. Then start from the 1st juzz all the way to 28th in order.
      This is how we have taught our tahfiz students and we have seen very good results.

  5. AsSalaamu Alaikum,

    JazakAllahu khairun!

  6. Bint Ishak says:

    MashaAllah, good advice. You could also

    1) Invite ur friends to memorize as well. This will push you to be high achievers. And,
    2) Live what you had memorize by implementing it in your daily affairs.

    Jazakallah kyaran for this.

  7. Some advices from me:

    01. There is no short cut.
    02. Be consistent.
    03. If you are engaged in memorizing the Quran, cutoff everything: mobile, games, computer-cut off everything that you can. The time is the coin here. Always look how you can squeeze a minute so that you can use it memorize or revise a verse.
    04. You have to be brave. Sometimes you will come across a verse that will seem to make you cry-either because of its difficulty or its length. It may also happen that you are having a tough time remembering a seemingly easy reading verse. In those trying situations, you have to use what I call ‘brute force’. Read that verse 100 times. Then take a pause or read some other verse for half an hour. Then come back and read that difficult verse for 200 times. Read this verse 25 times next day, and inshallah, by the mercy of Allah, this verse will become the easiest verse to you.
    05. When can you think that your memorization is perfect? When you can recite a surah exactly correctly and very quickly even if you become little inattentive while reciting. Like the Sheikh said here, make surah fatiha your standard.

  8. Adam umar maje says:

    Thanks!

  9. Anila says:

    Masha Allah, that was excellent, jazakAllahukhairn!!!

  10. […] Speaking of memorizing Quran…How To Memorize Quran […]

  11. Son of Adam says:

    I have never heard of the “one page at a time” method of memorizing the Qur’an. The second method is what I am currently using. How long does it take using the first method, as I would imagine it to be quite hard to memorize an entire page in one go.

    • M says:

      AlhamdulilLah I’ve been memorizing 1 page at a time for years, and now easily can go up to 4-5 pages, and sometimes have done up to 8 pages a day. The more you do it, the more quickly you’re able to to keep it in your mind. When I first heard of people memorizing 1 page a day, I thought it was way too difficult to even try. Once I started trying, Alhamdulilah after some time, 1 page became so easy Alhamdulilah. I think it’s just about making the intention, focusing, putting in the effort to do it and once you’ve started, to keep going and build up on it. wa Allahu `alam.

    • shiney says:

      ASA wr wb,
      The first time i heard of this method was from this youtube video and as “M” has already told you, it is kinda easier. i mean, for me, it varies from surah to surah but if so many people are recommending the 1-page method, it’s worth a try. here’s the link to the vid i saw:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G25_FDY1UDg

      i also recommend going to muslimyouthmsungs.com and checking out their article: “Qualities of a Hafidh.”

    • Umm Muslima says:

      ASA;

      I’ve heard that the “one page at a time” method is more for those that understand Arabic and know what is being recited easily. That way you would put together the meaning of the whole page rather than one line at a time which would probably be much more confusing for someone who understands.

      Verse by verse is better for those that do not understand Arabic fluently and are mainly memorizing by sight, sound, & repitition though understanding even a little bit does help.

  12. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah Khair for this very informative post! I really agree that just by listening to the Quran a lot will help us to memorize the parts that we’ve listened to!

  13. birkah says:

    Memorizing the Qur’an has many virtues, and the Sunnah encourages us to do it. Unfortunatley, we live in a time where for many memorizing the Qur’an becomes the only goal. Once they are done, there is minimal or no effort to understand it. Please, if you are an adult and want to memorize Qur’an, make sure that you understand atleast the translation and not simply memorize.

    Umar RA said, “We were the beginning [the heads] of this Ummah, and perhaps a man from the best of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger and the most righteous amongst them could maintain only one chapter of the Qur’an or there abouts. For the Qur’an was weighty upon them, and they were given knowledge of it or action based on it. But the last of this Ummah will find the Qur’an light [and easy] – the child and the non-Arab will recite it, without possessing any knowledge about it.”

    birkah
    http://kalamuallah.wordpress.com/about/

    • Manarr says:

      why do you quote umar brother, is he ma3soom? does he commit sins. yes he does, has he done wrong in his life. yes he has, all of humanity has except for the prophets and 12 imams from the prophets family who are ma3soom and do not commit sins. does the prophets family commit any sins? no they do not. brother look to imam ali’s sayings and quotes because indeed the one who does not sin does not lie in any word they say brother. the prophet told people to say salat 3ala mohammed wa ALEEY mohammed. brother look to the path of ahlul bayt. subhanallah the knowledge of ahlul bayt and especially imam ali (as) is truley amazing. if you do not believe me just type in google imam ali quotes or ahlulbayt morals. the prophet requested us to learn and continue his message and learn through his family ahlulbayt brother.
      jazakallah khair, please do not take this message in any hate but guidance in the right direction :)

      • Emine says:

        Brother, your post is not related to the subject but I have to answer as you are confused and confusing.Only prophets are free from any sin.Although we highly honor and look upon ahlu-bayt and sahabas, none of them free of sin including 12 imams. Also,there is nothing wrong to take example of people who are pious and knowledgeable, who we know followed the right path and implemented shariah and sunnah in their lives.We should have good opinion of our brothers and sisters in any case.By saying this I no means make any comparison btw ahlu bayt imams and Umar(RA) or any other sahabas or pious predecessors. They have their states known to Allah(SWT) only, we just try to emulate them on the right path of Islam. Umar(RA) is one of the greatest sahaba and most knowledgeable ones.In his khilafah Hz.Ali was the qadhi as Umar(RA) loved and respected his judgement the most.They honored each other.If Hz.Ali found Umar(RA) trustworthy enough to give his beyah how can we judge Umar(RA) contrary to the judgement of Hz.Ali?

  14. Salika says:

    Salam 3leikum,

    JazakAllah Khair brother Ammar for the translation :)

    I’ve been researching this but I am yet to come across this. How does one remember the last ‘haraka of every ayah? Since I’m reciting everything properly but then the last ‘haraka is not recited, when we’re stopping after every ayah. So how? :(

    :)

    • ANMB says:

      Is it required to memorize the last harakah of each āyah if one does not have a solid background in Arabic grammar?

      One doesn’t need to have a solid background in Arabic grammar to memorize the last harakah of the aayah. One needs to have a solid Arabic grammar background to explain the reason for the harakah. When we memorize the Qur’an we should pay attention to the last harakah and try to memorize it with the rest of the aayah. Many Shuyūkh giving ijazaah request the student of the ijaazah to join aayaat together particularly in the shorter surahs to make sure the student knows the vowel on the last letter of an aayah. Knowing the vowel on the last letter of the aayah becomes particularly important in learning and applying the different qira’aat.

      http://muslimmatters.org/2010/06/21/memorizing-the-book-of-allah-interview-with-ustadhah-kareema-czerepinski/#

      * * *

      Practically – because many quraa’ stop at the end of each ayah, I have found that using the ‘spell-reading’ technique of Noorani (http://nooranilearningcenter.blogspot.com/p/about-spell-reading.html), and to also write out the ayat to help remember it, until enough grammar is learned to instinctively ‘know’ it.

  15. Ibrahim says:

    Assalam ‘alaikum,

    How does one undetake such a task and not feel threatened by riyaa?

    • shiney says:

      i can to try to help brother. if you know the hadith about the 3 types of people who will be dragged on their faces on Hell-fire, one of them is a scholoar/recitor of the Qur’an who did it to please the people and Allah will disclose his true intention and throw him into hell-fire.
      i think something else that can help you is reminding yourself that millions of Muslims al over the world have memorized the Qur’an. i also think that if you keep in mind that the Hifdh is a gift from Allah and not your own achievement, and if you value it enough to not have it snatched away by Allah (because Allah is able to do just that), then i’m sure you will find it easy to keep yourself humble.

      May Allah allow us all to memorize this great Book in the best and fastest of manners and allow us to retain it forever and act upon it and protect us form Riyaa’. Ameen!

      • Umm Muslima says:

        ASA;

        2nd that it being a gift from Allah SWT is very humbling.

        I’ve also found from my own studies that it takes so much effort to memorize and review to retain what you’re memorizing the last thing you have time to think about is what others think. Especially once you start accumulating multiple ajiza and your review time increases it’s like juggling and it’s way too easy to drop the balls. Your eyes are on them so much you don’t look to see who’s watching you.

        Ameen to your dua shiney.

    • I also have the same problem. I have started memorizing the Quran because of being inspired by the following factors:

      01. I made an umrah when I was a kid, and the first time I heard Sheikh Shuraim and Sudais leading prayers in beautiful voices, I was profoundly inspired. Since boyhood, I have liked activities like giving adhan, leading prayer etc. I still like these activities. Alhamdulillah, I think Allah has blessed me with a good voice. I sometimes wonder: Do I now memorize the Quran because I want to publicize my voice or do I memorize Quran to please Allah? I try very hard to keep my intention corruption free, but unfortunately, distracting feelings come to my mind like my good voice and it is really depressing. At times I doubt my intention and it is a terrible feeling because there is absolutely no need to memorize the Quran if it does not reap any reward in the hereafter because of corrupted intention.

      02. I started memorizing the Quran because I wanted to stay away from sin and meaningless activities. I needed a form of escapism in my life and I resorted to Quran. So far I have been successful. It keeps me busy. But again comes the dilemma: Am I doing it solely to please Allah?

      03. There is an imam in our mosque and mashallah he has such a high command over Quran, that when he recites it, it feels like the water flow of a waterfall that falls non-stop. And it inspires me and I want to recite like him. Again, the motivation is coming from something else (being expert over Quran like someone else) other than pleasing Allah.

      04. I want to recite long surahs in night prayers.

      Memorizing the Quran itself is a struggle (when doing it alone); and keeping the intention free of corruption is another struggle.

      • Homaira says:

        If you are successful in memorizing the Quran thus far then is it not a sign from Allah subhanawataallah that your intentions are noble because if you have not been succeed ul then should that not be a sign that you must purify your intentions?

    • Salman says:

      I forget the Quran but I am on sura Ibrahim

  16. Umm Sulaim says:

    Without diminishing the benefits of memorization of the Qur’an, I have always placed a greater value on comprehension of the Words of my Rabb. How else can I understand my Creator and Cherisher better!

    In my community, most Muslims can recite the Qur’an and Hadith with tremendous proficiency. The paradox is they are culturally trained to oppose Islam.

    My Rabb needs to be understood as well,
    Umm Sulaim

  17. Abu Ayman says:

    subhaan Allaah, jazakAllaah khair for the beneficial guidance

    as salam alaikum wa rahamathullahi wa barakaathuh

  18. Mansur Adili says:

    Mashallah. Jazakallahu khairan.

  19. ADAM says:

    JAZAKH ALLAH ammar bhai……

  20. heaven princes says:

    Asalamalykum JazakALLAH I also want to memorise the Quran but not find the courage in me please make doa for me.I have something in my mind after read this artical can please someone explain it to me in last para
    (The sheikh mentions when he went to West Africa he visited some countries like Morocco and Mauritania and others. He found them to still be writing on Alwah (tablets) to memorize Quran. They would write on them and then read what they had written until they had memorized it and then would dunk the tablet in water and erase it, fully confident that what they had memorized would not leave them.)
    what i didn’t understand is what kind of tablets are they on which people writing the Quran for memorize cause in my thinking the tablets like medicines are very small and how can someone write on them and what they did with the water in which they erase.
    Sorry and please don’t mind

  21. n says:

    something interseting. when we talk about memorizing..its not an either/or relatinship with memorizing and understanding/applying. BOTH must be done.

  22. […] How to memorize the Qur’an – Shaykh Umar Badahdah […]

  23. future hafiz insallah says:

    Plz dwa for me that I will memorize the quran

  24. firdaws says:

    may allah subhanawataala put us in jannah inshaallah

  25. bashir says:

    i thank u … very much

  26. said jagejage says:

    thank you very much sheekh

  27. Farri says:

    JazakAllah khairun. May Allah grant me courage to hifz Quran full. Ameen

  28. Points III, IV, and V seem to be missing from this article.

  29. abubakr says:

    plss dua for me I wanna memorize the Qur’an

  30. taheer says:

    masha allah, jazakallahu khairan

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