💢 *How can one better retain that which he or she has memorized?*
_A reply to the virtuous brother Abu Salmaan Muhammed Ibn Ismail Hafithahullah_
✒ *Abu Mu’aawiyah Abdullah Hassan As-Somali*
_Indeed_ the retention of Islamic knowledge is an affair, which has no easy, quick-fix solution (or at least according to my knowledge). In fact, it may act as an obstacle to the student of knowledge during a particular stage(s) of his or her journey. Though despite this, there are walilahilhamd methods that students can embrace in order to improve their chances for success.
Compiled below are some advisory measures, which seek to address the ‘how’ question presented in the title of this writing.
*Please note:* the writer has generally relied upon his own experiences as a student as well as advices previously benefitted from the people of knowledge and their books. The writing in and of itself is by no means fully comprehensive. Though, seeking to improve reader-friendliness, the writer has organised the advices into Two Key Stages:
🔸1) *The Memorization Stage*
🔹2) *The Post-memorisation, (Revision Stage).*
I ask Allaah to place Barakah in that which will come of writing and to make it a means of guidance and success for whomsoever He wills from His Creation. Indeed He is Capable of Doing All Things.
🔴 *THE FIRST STAGE* 🔵
🔸 *Striving for Ikhlaas (purifying one’s intentions) and being Plentiful in Dua* – These two elements are not restricted to this stage but are required during and after memorisation.
🔹 *Avoiding sins as much as possible.*
▫ *Being strategic and selective in that which you will memorise.*
🔸 *Revising as you go along*- for instance, in Dammaaj the student seeking to memorise the Quran would be expected to memorise a side of Quran a day (or according to their ability) as well as reciting at least one Juzz (if not more) of the Quran to his or her Quran partner on a daily basis.
🔹 *Memorising knowledge little by little*, because that which is learnt quickly, disappears quickly. Have you ever noticed that you tend to experience less difficulty in recalling Surahs you took more time in memorising?
*For instance,* Ash-Sheikh Abduraqeeb Al-Kowkabani (who is from the Mashaykh of Yemen) advises that as an absolute maximum, the student should not exceed two sides of Quran in his/her daily memorisation. Thus, one should not give too much focus to how ‘seemingly’ slow they perceive themselves to be going. How many of us could memorise a page of Quran by tomorrow evening? Quite a few I’d assume. But, How many of us could retain 400 or 500 pages of Quran or Hadiths? Less, and by a fair margin indeed! *My Point exactly!*
▫ *Going up in levels (learning the small before the big).* For instance, the student should endeavor to memorise the 40 Hadiths of Imam Nawawi before attempting to memorise large works such as ‘Umdat Al Ahkaam or Riyaadh Us-Saliheen.
🔸 *Choosing a book or Mushaf to memorise from wherein the font and structure is clear*. The student should then stick to this one book/mushaf throughout all of his/her memorisation and revision. And yes one should avoid memorising from Phones or electronic devices if possible. In short, there’s nothing like the books!
🔹 *Being systematic in your memorisation* – I.e. following the Surah order of the Mushaf, or the Hadith book you are following. This will insha’Allaah make it easy to keep tabs on that which you’ve memorised and need to revise.
🔵 *THE SECOND STAGE* 🔴
*Post–Memorisation (the revision stage)*:
In terms of the revision stage, many of the above-mentioned pre-memorisation advices are still applicable insha’Allah. _However we add here:_
🔸 *Allocating a suitable time for revision* – where you find yourself to have high energy levels, good concentration and few distractions. For Mothers (or Sisters who are Married even), the morning period after Fajr is often a good time, even if its only for 15 mins a day.
🔹 *Choosing a suitable location for revision*, which is _most_ usually available, quiet, easily accessible and where there are not many distractions.
▫ *Having good strategies in place for revision* – e.g. flash cards, sticky notes, re-writing that which you’ve memorized by hand (be imaginative, choosing things that work for you).
🔸 *Targeted repetition* – a good strategy/method is to make an organised table/grid on a designated notepad. In this table you will write down the mistakes you’ve made in your Quran/ Hadith or Matn recitation – making note of the Aayat number (or as applicable) and the mistake(s) made. This way you can define your weak points and focus on them to reduce errors and improve accuracy.
🔹 *Finding a revision partner* – preferably someone you deem to be stronger and greater in motivation and diligence than yourself (particularly if you feel low on motivation or are easily distracted).
▫ *Making use of highlighters and different coloured pens* where suitable in your notes or on the books themselves (e.g. one may deem it useful to highlight memorised hadiths, rare wordings or intricate details etc,).
💢 *AND LASTLY*
Consistency, Continuation, Staying Positive and *Never giving up!*
*AVOID* procrastination, avoid delaying your studies in the hope of that *perfect* moment in your life.
Remember *Life is One Big Test.* And hence its unrealistic for us to expect a period in our lives where everything around us is conducive to seeking knowledge of the Deen and Performing Righteous Deeds. But Let our Affair be as the Messenger salallahu aleyhi wa Sallam admonished:
*Observe moderation (in doing good deeds), and if you fail to perform righteous actions perfectly, then try to do as much as you can.*
_(Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)_
Walhamdulilahi Rabil aalamiin
The Poor one Unto Allaah
_Abu Mu’aawiyah Abdullah Hassan_
غفر الله له ولوالديه
29 ربيع الثاني 1438هـ
27th January 2017