What has been seen a lot in recent years is that many talents have been neglected due to the increasing number of those interested in memorizing the Holy Quran and in the face of the lack of experienced experts in this field. Furthermore, many enthusiasts did not achieve their goals in the path of memorizing the Holy Quran due to lack of correct knowledge and comprehensive mastery of memorization techniques and points of the Holy Quran. Unfortunately, they could not memorize the Quran and they have apparently memorized some part of the Words of God by spending intense energy and putting pressure on their memory, but they suffer from the poor quality and loss of the memorizations (what are memorized in mind). There are some important duties of the Holy Quran memorization for instructors as follows: Understanding each student’s memory type and its strengths and weaknesses, as well as continuous evaluation and analyzing the improvement process of Quran learner’s memory and also balancing the power of concentration in the memory commensurate with the level of its memorizations, creating a motivating and dynamic atmosphere in the student’s exercises and directing his memory towards understanding the verses instead of memorizing the appearance of the verses along with engraving the images of the Quran lines in the mind. Meanwhile, the good memorization of the instructor has a direct effect on the level of growth in the quality and quantity of his students’ memorizations. Also, the instructor must constantly consider his work quality improvement. This article intends to summarize the basics needed to start, and also, to continue the easy and dynamic memorization of the Holy Quran, so that dear Quranic students and those interested in memorizing the Holy Quran can get acquainted with the specialized work process of memorizing the Holy Quran. It should be noted that many tips and tricks related to mobilization, adjustment and upgrading memory require dozens of pages of writing and description and expansion. But the esteemed readers of this speech will be able to reach the special issues raised in this article with care and deep theoretical insights.
1) The tone of Tarteel (Melodic Recitation), not being a precondition for memorizing Quran:
It is necessary to know the familiarity with the Melodic recitation and so-called reading of the Quran along with the tone and sound of Tarteel (Melodic Recitation), whether in an imitative or in compound forms, contrary to popular belief, is by no means a precondition for starting to memorize the Holy Quran. In other words, a beautiful voice and beautiful reciting should not be recognized as an introduction to this work by those who are interested in memorizing the Holy Quran. Experience has shown that essential fusion of memorizing verses and the Melodic recitation of memorizations causes a lot of damage to the process of memorizing, memory, and what Quran learner memorized in mind. Some of them are mentioned below:
a) Wasting the time: Consider two Quran memorizers, one of them repeats his daily routine in the style of reciting (Tarteel) the parts, and the other repeats his memorization like a speaker in a simple, fluent, so-called conversational and rhetorical style. The first person should spend at least an hour repeating each part of the memorizations, but the second person will spend 20 to 30 minutes repeating each part, which means that the person who repeat his memorizations without Tarteel can review higher amounts in the daily, weekly and monthly intervals, and have better memorization quality in the long term. He will also experience much better energy efficiency and time management.
b) The larynx fatigue: Hours of recitation in the style of Tarteel can cause the vocal cords and lateral muscles of the larynx to become excessively tired or even cause serious damage to the vocal cords. This physical fatigue will slowly turn into mental fatigue and will disrupt the focus and energy of the Memorizer. A clever Memorizer is someone who properly manages his physical and mental energy consumption in daily programs and does not unnecessarily let the pressure increase more on his memory. Therefore, the repetitions do not have to be in the form of Tarteel, but should be done simply, fluently and without pressure on the vocal cords and in a rhetorical manner.
c) Lack of mental balance between memorization and Tarteel:
Experience has shown that memorizers who choose the method of Tarteel to memorize or repeat their memorizations, their minds are simultaneously involved in two issues, one is to control the memorization well and the other is to pay attention to the tone of Tarteel. Thus, they will practically have neither a glorious recitation nor a good memorization, and the two will be cluttered with each other. It is not possible to control the melody related to Tarteel in mind and create an ideal focus on the good quality of memorization at the same time. For your brain, it is like to draw a square shape with one hand and a rhombus with the other. Therefore, one of these two issues will be practically affected.
2) The need for proper usage of Visual memory:
According to the latest scientific research, 80% of the perceptions and what is perceived, analyzed, and stored by the human brain and stored in memory are through the eyes, so why do those interested in memorizing the Holy Quran in our country insist on echoic (hearing) memory? Why do they insist on sending and recording verses of Quran in their memory without strengthening their visual memory and sometimes even only with the help of Tarteel recitation CDs? This is really a serious question Why the blessing of penetrating eyes and looks are very limited and incomplete while memorizing the Holy Quran in Iran? It should be noted that whenever a memorizer has an incomplete image of the pages he is recalling in his mental image, along with anxiety and possibly skipping the image, he will certainly suffer from disorders such as doubt, forgetfulness, shift to similar verses, stress, lack of self-confidence, frustration with total memorization, mental fatigue, slurred speech, and many other possible annoying problems. Years of experience have shown that relying on echoic memory and, for example, the Tarteel recitation of a certain Iranian or Egyptian master could not make a strong basis of memorizing verses in the memory of the Quran learner. In fact, if a clear image of the text of the Holy Quran is not established in his mind, he will have to remember the Tarteel tone of that master with a lot of pressure on his mind so that he can perform the verses.
3) The impact of focus on improving the quality of memorizations (what are memorized in mind):
The part of the brain that controls the mind and is the leader and commander of the mind is known in popular literature as focus and concentration. Simply put, concentration means the mental will of the memorizer to stay on the path related to the correct use of the verses during the recitation. Before memorizer thinks about strengthening his concentration, he should be well aware of the harms and inconveniences related to his concentration and take the necessary measures to remove those obstacles. For example, during daily exercises including memorizing new verses or repeating old memorizations, one should not expect cooperation from one’s memory while avoiding mind from shifting. As long as memorizer does not have a plan for mental disturbances, relevant and irrelevant thoughts cause a decline in mental power and a decrease in the development of memory and disrupt the daily functioning of Quran learner. There are two simple but practical ways to improve concentration: Get in the position to start daily exercises, open your memorized Quran and seemingly get ready to start your memorization tasks, but do not start! Think well about what you are thinking right now. Take control of your mind, for example, if you have to do something today that occupies your mind and you need to contact someone or go somewhere. Keep notes of what you learned from the process, and tell yourself that I will follow up with you at an appropriate time. This writing will not let those scattered topics in your mind confuse your mind, and create bumps for your mind during memorization exercises. The second suggestion is to create a spiritual sense and the presence of a faithful heart before beginning to memorize the Holy verses of Quran. Think about what noble and important work you want to do, alarm yourself and get your soul and body aware, what a High and Important Book you have been in the presence of, and remember the respect and status of this glorious work in your heart. With these two simple tasks, i.e. managing daily thoughts and programs and gaining the presence of a spiritual heart, before starting the exercises, you will be able to increase the quality of your daily exercises and avoid overwork and overtime and wasting time.
4) Necessary conditions of place and time of memorization:
The place and time of memorization should be well chosen. Its place should preferably always be fixed, and it is suggested that Memorizer places a cozy corner of the house as a fixed place for memorization. A good place to memorize the Quran is a place that strengthens the concentration of the mind and calms the mind. The color of the environment, the dimensions of the space, the type of light, and even the air conditioning all affect the quality of daily exercises. There should be silence in the place of memorization; there should be no movement and noise. It is possible that talking to others or hearing the voice of others during daily exercises causes confusion and jumps in concentration and wastes the energy of the memorizer. The right time to memorize the Quran is also a personal matter. The best time to memorize can never be a general suggestion for everyone. It is not advisable for an instructor to impose certain time of memorization on his students. The best time to memorize is different in different people, but a general and correct criterion can be provided in adopting the best time for daily memorization, and that is, the best time to do daily memorization is when one feels the highest level of learning and mental readiness to memorize verses of the Holy Quran in himself.
5) The effect of order in enhancing memory and durability of memorizations:
Imam Ali (AS) says: اوصیکم بتقوی الله و نظم امرکم Perseverance and order are the basis of any progress, especially a sensitive issue such as memorizing the Holy Quran. Unless there is order and perseverance, one’s memory will not be strengthened. Disorder and lack of planning will cause Memorizer to suffer from memory disorders. Unfortunately, many memorizers only insist on accumulating memorizations in their brains and in simple terms, their memorizations have increased but their memory has not become stronger commensurately. What enhances memory is order and continuity in work. Allegorically, if a person becomes ill and the doctor prescribes the treatment incompletely and irregularly, he should not expect recovery. If Memorizer shows a pause or disorder in the way of memorizing the Quran, he should not expect his memory to peak and strengthen, while perseverance and order have a direct effect on the durability of the memorizations in the long term. There have been many enthusiasts, who despite their talent have stopped working due to irregularities.
رهرو آن نیست که گهی تند گهی خسته رود
رهرو آن است که آهسته وپیوسته رود
In English it equals: Slow and Steady Wins the Race…
6) Improper use of repetitions to send verses to memory:
Some memorizers use extreme and misplaced repetitions to insist on recording verses in their minds! The way to memorize the Quran is not just frequent repetitions and putting pressure on the mind. Sometimes it is seen that the memorizer repeats a verse more than 10 times and sometimes even more than 20 times at a time, and wastes and slows down the energy of his mind at the very beginning of the work. Just as laziness and chaos cause process to stop and reduce the quality of memorizations, excessive repetition has its side effects, some of which are mentioned here: Disorders in the wording of the verses in the mind, extreme fatigue, chronic daily headaches, deceptive feeling of memory saturation, interference of verses in the mind, increased stress, loss of useful time for memorizing the Holy Quran. So neither extremism nor extravagance has good results in the future.
7) Characteristics of Short-term and Long-term memory and the type of relation between the two:
Ever human being has two types of memory, short-term memory and long-term memory. Most of the mental entries of human beings are stored in short-term memory and after a short time they disappear from the mind or fade away. Sending verses to long-term memory or the so-called archive of the brain should be done gradually and patiently and based on strengthening the various parts related to the principles of memorizing the Holy Quran. The image of the verses should be worked on for a while on a daily basis, the memorized page should be repeated slowly and without any burden and in an elastic manner, the image of verses should be worked on separately, and the concepts should be understood sensually. Also, the wording or phrasing defects of the memorizations should be corrected separately with principally worked methods. After a while, the memorizer feels with confidence that he is extracting the verses of that page from his long-term memory. The characteristic of long-term memory is that the dependence of the quality of the verses on the mind fades away with repetition and review from being volatile or difficult to remember, and this is when memorizations can be trusted. In fact, short-term memory is the gateway to long-term memory, and one should not expect storage to be fixed in the mind without going through the hierarchy. Some common impairment in short-term memory includes: forgetting the beginning of verses, lack of clarity in the image of verses, jumping out of focus on extracting verses, forgetting parts of new memorized verses, feeling pressured or tired of the mind, feeling distrustful of memory, any of these problems should be solved with the right methods and under the supervision of an instructor. Some of the general impairments of long-term memory includes: weakness in mapping verses during questions and answers, shift into similar and dissimilar verses, incomplete perception of verse arrangement image, inability of mind to arrange subject matter and order of verses meanings during recitation, scattering focus on replicating memorizations. Recognition of long-term memory disorders and its corrective methods is a precise and sensitive issue that should be done under the supervision of an experienced instructor and has no general or simple version, so general recommendations or ineffective methods should be avoided. I recommend the honorable memorizers to attend the courses of the honorable professors of memorizing the Holy Quran.
8) Familiarity with concepts, a support for consolidation of memorizations:
The human brain will show very limited capacity to store verses that it has not properly understood. Memorizing the Quran from the first day must be combined with working on concepts and understanding the translation of the Quran phrases and verses. It has been seen that people have memorized the Quran without feeling responsible for understanding the verses and in a completely arid and stressful way and their brains have been locked after memorizing a few parts. The task of memorizing the Quran is a complex task, and if contemplation and understanding of the concepts are removed from it, a heavy pressure will be put on the memory. Understanding the concepts will cause a large part of the task of memorizing new verses to be done at the same time and we practically remember the important parts of memorizing the verses. Familiarity with the translation and concepts in the time of recalling and repetition of the memorizations also helps the memorizer a lot and will cause the pressure to be removed from the memory and memorization of the text becomes conceptual memorization. Also, the interest in memorizing the Holy Quran will be multiplied with proper conceptual work and memorizer’s love and interest in his memorizations will be increased. The third effect I would like to emphasize is that mastering the translation and meanings of the verses will reduce the mind’s need to replicate the memorizations and will increase the retention of the verses in the mind by increasing the richness of the memorizations. The last point is that memorizing the Quran is basically a prelude to understanding the Quran. So, if our method of memorizing does not prepare and fulfill that sacred goal, it can be said that the path that the Quran learner has chosen for himself is far from the religious instructions and scriptures of the Holy Quran.
9) The role of technical evaluation of defects and memorization errors in repetitions, in order to improve the richness of repetitions and the durability of memorizations:
Evey memorizer should have a notebook to record mistakes and errors in his memorizations. In this notebook, three types of memorization problems should be noted, which will be mentioned below. Before that, we should know that it is wrong if we correct our memorization errors only in repeated memorizing parts. Until important memorization errors are not recorded and resolved, the recurrence and the risk of error are always possible for the memorizer. Writing and recording problems in daily exercises and reviewing them separately activate the mental referee of memorizer and promote the management of the memorizations. The three types of problems that need to be noted separately and specific exercises should be worked on are briefly described as:
a) Short memorization errors (memorizing problem) with long correction time: Memorizer has left out a short phrase such as «قالوا» in repeating his memorizations but has spent many seconds remembering or correcting it. These forms of errors must be written in the record notebook.
b) Long memorization errors with long correction time: For example, memorizer has forgotten, added, or replaced a phrase or a compound sentence, and it has also taken a long time for him to remember the correct phrase. These forms of errors are worse than the first type and must be written and practiced separately.
c) Long memorization errors with short correction time: In this case, the number of letters and words that are used with errors during the reciting of the memorizations is high, but they have been corrected without spending any special time. Here again, since memorizer had a problem with a long sentence, verse, or phrase, although he has corrected it quickly, he must record the case and do a separate exercise on it. A separate exercise is an exercise that is performed as a detailed study on the verses that had memorization errors after the completion of the repetition of a part (Juz) and those errors are reviewed again to create a situation to avoid repeating those mistakes and memorizer could progress in managing his mind.
The fourth memorization problem that does not need to be written in the notebook of errors and omissions is that, firstly, the errors are just a word and, secondly, they are corrected quickly. Another point is that the memorizers should know that whenever they make a mistake in doing memorization and the so-called memorization error, the worst thing is to look only at the text of the Quran without attention and focus, or in other word, they give their mind a chance to cheat. If they make such a mistake, their memory will never be strong, but their memory will always remain dependent on the text of the Quran. The final point is that a wise memorizer is a person who takes his memorization errors and mistakes seriously from his mental evaluation and momentary judgment, looks well, and discovers why and for what reason, he made that memorization error in a certain verse while recalling it.
10) Investigating the most important types of doubts happened in Memorizer’s mind:
When reciting the memorizations, the memorizer sometimes has doubts and in his mental state he suffers from various doubts. In short, doubts about memory during memory recitation are out of these four types:
a) Doubt before using a word or sentence: For example, in the holy verse (و قال الملک أئتونی به فلما) Memorizer doubts right after reading the word(به) that the next phrase begins with فلما or with ولّما.
b) Doubt while reciting: That is, as soon as he reads a phrase or word, he suddenly stops and doubts whether what he has read is right or wrong. In the exampled verse, while reciting the sentence (فلما کلمه قال) he doubts for a moment that he might have read it incorrectly and (ولمّا) might be correct.
c) Doubt after reciting part of the verse: In the exampled verse, after the end of the verse or even in the middle of the next verse, he may doubt the correctness of the recitation of the previous verse.
d) Doubt in the existence of the word (in the sentence): In the exampled verse, memorizer does not doubt that (فلما) is correct or (ولما), but he knows that if this word is in the verse, it must be (فلما), but he basically doubts whether such a phrase exists in the verse or not. In other words, the memorizer’s doubt is not between two words, but in fact he doubts the existence of a word or phrase in the verse.
The first type of doubt usually results from poor memory recalling quality, which starts for a variety of reasons, including not using the correct memorization method, irregular and intermittent repetitions, distracted concentration during daily exercise, and unnecessary pressure on the brain during exercise. But the second type of doubt is usually due to lack of confidence, stress, mental fatigue or personality obsession. In the third type, the memorizer usually suffers from severe weakness and jumps, or does not dominate the meanings of the verses, because the chain of words is out of his control and the verses are confused and ambiguous in his mind. In the fourth type, problems usually arise from memorization. Principally, it has not been done well, accurately and clearly, and the memorizer does not have a clear picture of the text of the Quran in his mind. Therefore, he sees the same words suspiciously or does the memorization relying on echoic memory and in a scattered and irregular way. In general, the main way in these four categories of public complaints about memorizations is that the memorizer should not look at the Quran immediately at the moment of having doubt, but he should be silent at first and then start thinking. Then, he should motivate his memory and try to remember the rest of the text, otherwise, he still has no right to cheat. Instead, he should refer to the beginning of the verse he recited and read it slowly again. In this process, he should not think about his forgetfulness and weakness of memorization, but he should recite the verse normally and without stress.
If he does this correctly, with the help of sequential memory, the words of the verse will find each other in mind and will cause the doubt and forgetfulness to be removed. But if the recitation of the verse does not remove the doubt and forgetfulness, he should look at the Quran quickly, without extreme pressure and fix his memorization weakness in mind by reviving the image and evaluating the meanings of the verse. We need to know that the fragmented state of mind and a lot of thoughts in the brain will automatically increase doubts, forgetfulness, and various memory problems. Therefore, before starting the daily memorizing program, we should prepare the mind and remove all mental disturbances from the path of exercises.
11) Various types of connections between memorizing verses and the content of verses:
Typically, people think that the final sentences of the verses or the verses of the Holy Quran have a decorative and complementary role. But this is wrong. Dear memorizers should know that there is a strong interpretive connection between the final sentence of the verses and the content and meaning of those verses. In other words, memorizations of verses are a beautiful reference to the general meaning of verses and the conclusion of the subject of verses. Many memorizers face forgetfulness, doubts, or shifts (from verse to verse) in the final sentences of verses. The correct way to solve these problems is to decipher the connection between the concepts of the end of the verse and the content and subject of the verse, and to strengthen the link between the verse and the end of the verse in mind. The relationship between the (memorization of) verses and the text of the verse is divided into 3 categories in terms of interpretive level:
a) Easy Connection: In many verses, with a little attention to concepts and dominance in translation, the relationship between the final sentence and the general meaning of the verse can be discovered and preserved. For example, in the holy verse (قالو سبحانک لا دانش لنا الا ما علمتنا انک ان العلیم الحکیم) the angels addressed to God while denying their knowledge, prove knowledge only for God. Therefore, the verse ends with the attributes (علیم) and (حکیم) which are relevant. So, if memorizer puts the accuracy of concepts among the priorities of his Quran memorization program, the stability of memorizations will become like steel in his mind.
b) Accurate and deep connection: In this type of verses, discovering the connection between the last sentence of the verse and the subject of that verse requires a more complete and deep understanding of the meaning of the verse. For example, in the verse (واذا علم من آیاتنا شیئا اتخذو هزوا اولئک لهم عذاب مهین) why the word torment (مهین) is used? Is the word (مهین) given for no reason? No, by contemplating in the meaning of the verse, we will understand that since the intention of the person who is condemned in this verse was to mock the Divine Verses and to humiliate and ridicule them in the minds of the people. Therefore, God says:” It is a humiliating punishment for him”, so by contemplating the meanings of the verses, one can improve the mastery of memorization and prevent many possible mistakes in recalling the memorizations.
c) Strong interpretive connection: In some verses, discovering the conceptual code of the last sentence with the meaning of the verse requires interpretive power and careful analysis of the meaning, and at first glance, there is no special connection between the end of the verse and the text of the verse. Unlikely, in this type of verses, the eloquence and beauty of the Word of God is to the extent that the interpreters present their specific understanding and aesthetic interpretations. Example: (ما خلقکم ولا بعثکم الا کنفس واحده ان الله سمیع بصیر) At first glance, there is no easy connection between the final sentence and the subject of the verse. Why has God used the adjectives سمیع and بصیر in the matter of creation and resurrection? Briefly the reason for this connection is: The polytheists and atheists raised two objections to the issue of the resurrection of the dead and the examination of the record of their actions in the resurrection doomsday. First, they questioned God’s power to resurrect billions of people after death, and second, they rejected God’s power to assess human actions after centuries. Therefore, the first part of this verse, which says that”the initial creation and resurrection of all of you human beings for God is like resurrecting one person”, is the answer to the first objection of the polytheists (Moshrekin) and the final sentence of the verse which says that ”God is the Absolute Hearer and the Seer” is the answer to their second objection. In other words (الشاهد هوالحاکم) that is, the examination of the record of the deeds of human beings is in the hands of God who is All-hearing and All-seeing and has observed all those deeds at the moment of committing. Therefore, this judgment and examination will not be heavy (too much difficult) for him in any way. Therefore, the connection between the last sentence of the verse and its text is in fact a response to two common objections.
Finally, I would like to briefly mention some important topics in forming the structure of professional Quran memorization: the importance of easy, practical and lasting memorization method, perseverance, discipline, accuracy, enhancement, focus, paying attention to concepts, choosing a good training partner, hope and motivation, regular repetitions, attending specialized sessions on memorizing the Holy Quran, simulating competitions at home, using the experience of superior reciters, avoiding any excesses, identifying the type of personal memory, choosing the amount of daily memorization appropriate to the talent and ability, avoiding poor quality methods, avoiding any unreasonable pressure on the vocal cords, dissociating irrelevant and scattered thoughts during exercises.
The last word: memorizing the Holy Quran is a success and it is a blessing that is appreciated, which will increase the success of the memorizer of the Holy Quran.
Servant of the Holy Quran
Dr. Ali Rajabi
February 16, 2021