Article references in the end.
Memorizing Quran is a huge task in itself, specially if your mother tongue is not Arabic. I have personally witnessed that children memorize Quran more easily compared to adults . I tried to find the reason behind this and eventually GOT IT!! Alhamdulillah.
If you are not familiar with Arabic or the Reading of the Holy Quran, you have to initially take guidance from a Qari who can teach you (i) how to read and pronounce Quran correctly (Talaffuz), (ii) how to recite the Quran (Tajweed) and (iii) some basic Arabic so that you can understand what you are reading. If you put your sincere efforts, this step should not take more than six months. Allah says in His Book:
“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” [54:17]
Start with Juz Amm (Last Part, i.e. 30th part/Juz of the Holy Quran)
The last part contains Surahs which are small and you may be familiar with many of them as generally people recite them in Salah. Learning small Surah will give you a moral boost and self-confidence In Sha Allah. This will also help you in Salah as you now have more options to recite.
Listen to the recorded Quran Recitation
Listening helps you retain what you have memorized and is very beneficial. My sister memorized Juz Amm just by listening to the recitation when she was 5 years old (she couldn’t read anything at that time).Ma Sha Allah. My mother used to play the recordings of Holy Quran wile she prepared meals. Listening has countless benefits. So whenever you have time, listen to the Book of Allah. While driving, walking, net-surfing, etc. you can listen to the Quran. Allah will reward you. While there are plenty of recordings by different Qaris and one can choose what he thinks is best, I personally recommend for beginners.
Choose a path
After memorizing Juz Amm (30th part) you may start with 1st part onward or you can choose 29th, 28th…. till 1st . Choose whichever is easy for you.
Stick to a schedule
Now begins the real part. Make a schedule. Decide how much you can memorize each day (yes, Read Quran Daily). Read this Hadith:
Narrated ‘Aisha (Radi Allah Anha): The Prophet (sal-allahu-alleihi-wasallam) was asked,
“What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.”
[Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 76, Number 472 & 470]
So, memorize everyday. Initially you may find some difficulty, so start with small (say one page or one Ruku or even half-a-page) depending upon the capacity. Have patience. Once you gain momentum, memorizing will be easy.
Stick to a schedule and decide how much time you can give each day. The time just after Fajr Salah is best for memorizing: your mind is fresh, you don’t have any other business, there is calmness, peace and Allah’s Rahmah.
Divide the time into three slots:
1. First slot will be allotted to what you have to memorize today.
2. Second will be to revise whatever you have memorized yesterday.
3. Third will be to revise whatever you have memorized in last 5 days.
Memorize and memorize well. Don’t make haste. Don’t ignore Tajweed and Tarteel rules in order to memorize quickly.
“Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an. Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation.”[75:16-17]
Pick up good habits and discourage all bad habits.
Try to memorize in loud voice. When your brain listens to your own voice…. (you know the benefits of listening, right?)
Take Weekly and Monthly Tests
Take tests on weekly and monthly basis. Ask someone to listen when you recite and point out your mistakes. If you cannot find anyone, record your recitation and then listen to it comparing with the Mushaf (the copy of Holy Quran) and take note of mistakes . The tests ensure that you don’t forget what you have already memorized.
Recite it in Salah
Once you gain momentum, start reciting whatever you have memorized in Salah.
Ask Allah to give it to you
Pray to Allah to bestow his blessing of Holy Quran to you. Pray after every Salah. Ask him to make it easy for you.
Start long recitations
Whenever you cross a milestone, like completing 1 Juz(part) or completing 5 Ajza(parts),prepare for long recitation. On Holidays recite your milestone achievement ( 1 part or 5 parts) in one sitting. Again ask someone to listen and point out the mistakes or do a recording for yourself.
Dealing with mistakes
Correct your mistakes on their first occurrence. If you leave them you should know one thing about mistakes: they build up quickly. So recite the particular verse many times till you become confident that you will never repeat the mistake.
As you start memorizing many Surahs, you will often find similar verses at two different places. The verses have everything in common except two-three words. This will create a lot of confusion. For example take a look at this:
وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَّا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلَا تَنفَعُهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
As you can see, there is everything in common except two words: شفاعة and عدل. This will create a lot of confusion. Take a notebook and and write down such verses as you encounter them. Find some keys to remember which verse comes where. For example as far as the above two verses are concerned, my teacher told me about a trick: The letter ش comes before ع in Arabic alphabet and hence the first verse (in terms of order) will contain ش first. The second verse will contain ع first.
Complete it well
After an initial period of struggle, things will be lot easier and you will find new ideas and ways to memorize. In Sha Allah, when your memorization is complete, revise it well. Then try to recite the whole Quran in one sitting (or in 3 sittings). Revise everyday. Initially revise 1 Juz(part) everyday and the increase your momentum to 3-5 Ajza(parts) a day.
It is Ramadan!!
In the month of Ramadan, start Taraweeh or Qiyam. This is the best way to revise and gives you confidence.
How do I distinguish between similar ayaat in al-Quraan?
It is best to, when you come across two similar ayat, to open the mushaf to these two ayaat, see the difference between then, and contemplate it, and put yourself to a test, and during your review the part that difference repeatedly until you master the similarity between them.
Rules and regulations in memorization
1: Your memorization must be with a shaykh for correction recitation
2: Memorize everyday two wajh, a wajh after Fajr and a wajh after `Asr or Maghrib, and with this way, you will memorize the complete Quraan perfectly (bi idhniLlah) in one year and you memorization will be perfect, unless you increase in the memorization, for if you did, what you memorized will weaken
3: Your memorization should be from Suran an-Naas to Surah Al-Baqarah because it is easier. And after you memorize al-Quraan your review will be from Surah al-Baqarah to Surah an-Naas
4: The memorization should be from a mushaf with the one print to be certain about the strength of the memorization and quicker studying the places of the ayaat and the ends and beginnings of the pages.
5: Everyone who memorizes (the Quraan) in the first two years loses some of what he memorized. This is called the “Marhalatut- Tajmee`”, roughly translated as the “Gathering Stage”. So do not worry about the Quraan leaving you or making many mistakes. This is a difficult stage of affliction which shaytaan has a portion of to make you stop memorizing al-Quraan. So do not pay attention to his whispers and continue memorizing it, for it is a treasure that is not given to just anyone.