THOSE on the journey of memorising the Qur’an know that revising is as hard – if not more difficult – than the actual memorisation.
And if you are in between Qur’an buddies or institutes that are dedicated to memorisation, but still want to continue on this journey, these tips are for you – to help you stick it out on this journey, to dig deep and find the discipline to keep going, and to assure you that there are others who stumble and fall and pick themselves up many many times.
I have to mention that this was a bit of a slump in my memorising life as I had been off the track for about a year, what with moving countries, getting married, and trying to find my bearing in a new place and in a new role. It was a slippery slope and I was trying to get my footing.
Alhamdulillah though, I got involved with coaching kids who were memorising – and that is what really pushed me to start again – and after trying many different options personally, I finally devised a Salah Surah Schedule that worked for me.
The method is to revise the surahs in our daily prayers. While the surahs in each person’s schedule will differ, here is what I realised when making it:
1) Make It Fun:
When you're making a schedule, get motivated.
Or rather, let making your schedule motivate you. If you have been trying to get back on track like me, but failing multiple times, it can get frustrating, so this is essential.
Whether it's colours, post its, or anything else that catches your fancy, incorporate a fun element to the whole process.
2) Keep It Realistic:
Make sure your schedule works for you RIGHT NOW. Know that it might change in the future, and that's OK, but always keep it realistic or you will never follow it.
I know that some days are more hectic than others for me, and some times of the day are more constrained than others too, so I make sure that I don’t have difficult or very long recitations then.
3) Try To Stick To It As Much As Possible:
Be consistent in the length of recitation allotted for each rak’ah – so that it doesn’t matter what else is happening in the day, you can still dedicate that much time to your salah.
For long surahs, I wrote down which page of the surah I was meant to recite for which rak’ah, and the advantage of having it segmented is that if you miss a slot, it's not a domino effect. Just move onto the next slot and work on what you missed later.
So if you just couldn’t recite the first page of Surah Naba for Dhuhr, for example, don’t miss out on the second page for Asr as well.
Don't mentally make it a burden so that missing one slot means that you have to start all over again. I have started too many times without finishing, so what I found the best approach for me was to just pick up where I left off.
4) Have Times Of Repetition:
Have times of repetition and be honest with yourself. I know there are some parts of some surahs that I need to work on more than others, so instead of being lazy here, I pencil it in more during the week so that I get more practice.
By becoming more familiar with those parts, the surah is not so overwhelming any more.
5) Check Your Intention
Keep your intention entirely to please Allah in the whole process, and make du'aa that He makes it easy, and He doesn't allow you to completely slide off track.
So even if there are days that don't work out, with that intention in place, you will always come back in shaa Allah.
6) Try To Revise Atleast One Surah A Day:
One surah that you know you need work on or, on a busy day, one that you are more familiar with.
Try to avoid the small surahs that become one’s fall back option in salah, and be honest with the areas that you need to work on.
7) Spend Some Focused Time:
Spend some focused time with the Qur'an, especially for the surahs you need to practice, and then use the times spent in mindless chores or stuck in traffic to practice them some more.
This point is actually very important because with our busy lives, we need to use every moment we can get.
8) Balance Out Your Days:
Don't put all the hard surahs on one day, especially on a weekend or a free day. Life is such that those days always fill up, making this target seem unachievable which is demotivating.
Keep things easy for you by spreading it out.
9) Try To Read Beforehand:
Try to read portion that you are going to recite in your salah just before your salah so that it is fresh in your mind.
10) Understand What You Recite:
In addition to adding more khushoo’ in salah, knowing the meaning of what you recite means that you are more focused and appreciative of what your Rabb is saying.
Personally, listening to the tafseer of a surah and memorising it with the translation has helped immensely when it comes to recalling the surah.