HD 10: Memorizing during Ramadan

Bismillah walhamdulillah

Ramadan Muabarak!

I know it has been quite some days now since Ramadan has started, but I wanted to wait before I posted this because I wanted to really try it out myself first.

Initially, I saw absolutely no reason to stop memorizing during Ramadan, or even to cut down the slightest bit. After a few days of trying it out, I came to a few realizations, the main one being that memorizing during Ramadan is in fact different from memorizing outside of Ramadan, but this is the practical advice I have for myself and for all of you, inshaaAllah.
Disclaimer: It is a bit lengthy but please read it until the end inshaAllah. Also, these are just suggestions that I’ve tried and also heard from others. And please keep in mind while reading that there are many different parts and levels to memorizing, and that’s one of the main points of this particular post.

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How Can I Memorize This Ramadan?
Some of you might have this question right now: Should I continue memorizing Qur’an during Ramadan?

But a better question is, why shouldn’t you continue? If it is not impeding on any of your obligations, decreasing the quality of your worship, or making it difficult to recite Qur’an and complete it (as many times as you want) during the month, then I don’t think there is any reason to halt your memorization. And this is my own opinion.

Granted it may be a bit more difficult to memorize during Ramadan, it’s not impossible. Their are many hours in a day, and Ramadan is a month full of barakah, so we should take advantage of that. At the same time, we can’t ignore the fact that we are fasting for most of the day, so where do we go from there?

I do not know the timings of the fast in other countries, but based on the timings in the West, here is an easy way you can achieve a memorization schedule:

Since the nights are very short, and the days are long, you can spend most of your nights awake, maybe getting in one sleep cycle (which lasts about 1.5 hours). This leaves you with plenty of time to memorize Qur’an for an hour,  and do other types of worship. You are able to eat and drink at this time, so you can have some tea and water to keep you awake and hydrated, and a light snack to keep your stomach satisfied until suhoor. You really want to keep yourself hydrated because if you are dehydrated, you will be low on energy and you won’t be able to hold your breath for long (which will make it difficult to memorize, or at least it does for me). If you feel very tired, you should sleep for a little while to get your energy back up. You may also want to use this time to do a few minutes of exercise if you feel up to it, because exercise will keep your energy levels up and help you to be alert while you are memorizing, praying, reciting, and more. And if not exercise, at least do some stretches, as this will relax your muscles. You would be surprised at how much you need a good stretch after a long day. Keep in mind that you will stay awake until shurooq (sunrise), even if you sleep before fajr, so this is another hour and a half after Fajr for you to take advantage of the fact that you are not hungry or thirsty, and the time is very blessed. So if you feel too tired at night and/or after tarawih to stay awake and memorize, the time after Fajr is a really good time for you to memorize. After that, you can sleep inshaaAllah, just don’t oversleep. Finally, the time right after dhuhr is also a good time, since you’re not quite starving yet, so you take advantage of that energy.

(Note: It is not recommended to recite the Qur’an if one is being overcome by sleep. If you feel weak in energy, pause the memorization, because you may be over-exerting yourself.)

This can work relatively well with some discipline, but you have to know that there will be days when you will be too tired to sit and memorize for an hour even during the night. So if that happens, take the portion you usually memorize, and make it into smaller portions, and memorize a few of those smaller portions. If you usually memorize a page, try half a page, or one-third of the page, etc. You will still feel like you are moving forward. You can also memorize a little after every salah, even if it’s a few short ayaat. If you can’t do that, then at least review previously memorized pages.

If You Cannot Bring Yourself to Memorize

If you cannot bring yourself to memorize, but you find review to be light and easy upon you, then take part in some hardcore reviewing sessions. This means reviewing a whole juz or more, per day. The Imams who lead tarawih prayer have to do this every day. You can do this by sitting and reciting the juz quietly, and/or by reviewing an entire juz in your salah throughout the day. One of my teachers recommended reciting 2 ruba’ (approximately 5 pages) per rak’ah in order to make for good review. (You can of course alter this to suit you, inshaaAllah, I recommend at least 1 page per rak’ah). This will not only be good review, but it will increase your khushoo’ in your salah, and when you say “Allahu akbar” and “subhaana Rabbi al ‘Adheem,” you will marvel at the power of Allah swt, that He allowed you, of all people, to memorize His Book. And when you say “Rabbanaa lakal Hamd,” you will be thinking of the gratitude that you need to show Him swt for choosing you to be amongst the few.

A Must-Have: Teacher

One thing that I should mention is that unless you have someone pushing you (i.e. a teacher that you fear) your chances of memorizing this Ramadan may not be high. The reason for this is that you will keep telling yourself that it is too difficult to do in the month of Ramadan, and that as soon as Ramadan ends, you’ll get back on track. I speak from experience when I say this. I have not memorized in any Ramadan of my life, prior to this one. And the one thing that all of my previous Ramadans (that’s not a word, is it?) had in common was that I did not have a teacher during those months. So if you already have a teacher, this is all going to be relatively easy inshaAllah. You will feel a greater push to memorize. If not however, my personal recommendation would be to focus on reciting the Qur’an and reviewing previously memorized pages in your salah and outside of salah, and after Ramadan, find yourself a teacher inshaaAllah.

Memorizing during Ramadan is Not Too Difficult

For those who feel this way:  if memorizing during Ramadan were too difficult or incorrect, our teachers would not allow us to do it, or would at least advise against it. I noticed, however, that my teacher did not say anything like “since it is Ramadan, I’m not sure if you want to keep memorizing new pages?” The assumption is made that I will make time for this in my Ramadan schedule. Allah swt gave us so many hours in our day in order to do what we need to do. It is up to us to divide our time accordingly in order to accomplish our goals. People think just because Ramadan is here, that their “time-wasting” habits will disappear. That’s not true. if you don’t make an effort, they’ll not only not-disappear, but they’ll re-appear in really ugly ways, like surfing the net for hours and hours in order to make the fast go by…faster. (No pun intended.)

Another thing that is very easy to do is to just listen attentively to a recitation of the Qur’an. It can be something you’ve already memorized, or something new that you have not yet memorized. The Qur’an is so miraculously easy to memorize that even listening to a surah once before in your life will facilitate your memory when it comes time to memorize that surah. Similarly, even reciting a page once the night before, will make it much easier to memorize the page the next day. So if you become a net-surfer during Ramadan, then do yourself a favor and put on a nice recitation and follow along with that instead.

Take-home points:

  • The Main take-home point is that those of us who want to memorize will make a way to do that, no matter what, and those of us who do not want to memorize, will make a way to not-do that, no matter what. We don’t always have to look at the situation, sometimes we just have to look at the person.
  • Don’t think of Ramadan as a “challenge” to your hifdh. No, remember why you are memorizing. This is all for the Pleasure of Allah, seeking His Face. Have that goal in mind, and keep moving towards it, where ever you are, whatever your circumstances.
  • Push yourself, but know your limits (physically and spiritually). You don’t have to go all out, doing everything at full speed all at once, only to come crashing down in a few days. Take it easy and take it slow for now, enjoy the month, and connect with Allah swt, and just memorize as much as you can — that’s as much as you can, so only you know how much that is.
  • There are so many different levels to this. Just experiment and find the level that works best for you during this month. And it’s okay to alternate (between levels that are difficult and those that are very easy) and to take a break. You can take it easy, but don’t take it lazy.
  • If and when you do memorize, do it with ihsaan. That means, try to really reflect on the verses and implement them in your life. Don’t let it become a robotic habit that has no effect on your imaan. This is the month of the Qur’an and you should be feeling huge effects on your heart and soul from the constant exposure to the Book of Allah. If you’re not feeling that, just examine your imaan and sincerity.
  • This is the month of Qur’an, just keep repeating that to yourself until it sinks in.

And Allah Knows Best

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  1. #1 by Umm Sulaym on July 26, 2012 - 10:32 pm

    JazakiAllahu khayran for sharing your advice with us.I tried staying up after taraweeh until Fajr. Astaghfirullah, I crashed bad soon after. So I’m really impressed that it worked for you mashaa’Allah. You probably have a stronger system than me mashaa’Allah. May Allah SWT make this journey of Quraan smooth, easy and beautiful for you. Ameen. Please remember me in your du’aas, need tons of them…like in truck-loads. And please keep sharing with us all those wonderful tips and pieces of advice.
    Wasalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
    -UmmS.

  2. #2 by almuqarraboon on July 27, 2012 - 7:37 am

    walaykum asalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
    Jazana wa iyyaki ukhti. I appreciate your comment, it brought to my attention that I overlooked a few things in my post, so I went and edited it. Jazakiallahu khair :)
    No I don’t think so – my system being stronger (I’m assuming you’re talking about my immune system and not my system of memorization lol) but my circumstances are quite different from others right now, and I think everyone has something slightly different about their circumstances. The basic message I wanted to drive home is that memorization does not have to be halted during Ramadan because really “memorization” is such a general term, and there are so many easy ways to do it that it can definitely continue during Ramadan.
    Ameen to your dua and the same for you :)

    • #3 by Umm Sulaym on July 27, 2012 - 11:25 am

      Yes I completely agree that memorization mustn’t stop in Ramadan (of course some conditions apply) and I was talking about staying up for its sake.

      Oh I meant as in your body make-up (more specifically your circadian rhythm) because even though for me I just have at max 2 hours up until Fajr, I still prefer sleeping because my entire system shuts down and going for my Quraan goals post-Fajr instead sadly seems the only option for me.So really post-Maghrib (sometimes even before that) up until Fajr, I don’t function very well even though I want to since that’s when one has least distractions. Your advice seemed tempting (and still is)…and I guess I’m as usual scraping for time…so Allah make it easy for all of us. Ameen.

  3. #4 by ireminisces on July 27, 2012 - 8:40 am

    Asalamu alaikum,

    JazakAllah khair for sharing a wonderful post, stay blessed.

    Feel free to add “I Love Islam” to your blgo inshAllah

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