Posts Tagged buddy system

HD 7: Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon

In the Psychology of Language, we learned that there is a Phenomenon called the Tip of the Tongue phenomenon. (Similary, deaf people who use sign language have a Tip of the Hand Phenomenon).

This is basically: the failure to retrieve a word from memory, combined with partial recall and the feeling that retrieval is imminent.The phenomenon’s name comes from the saying, “It’s on the tip of my tongue.” [from wikipedia]

Another way of describing it is that you recall the lemma but not the lexeme. That basically means that you can picture some of the letters in your head and you have a vague idea of the pronunciation, but you don’t exactly know what word you want to say.

Another major thing that has to do with TOT is that when you are in this phase, and you are trying to remember that Name or word, you should immediately stop and look it up. Why? Because the longer you stay in that state (of thinking and trying to come up with the word on your own) the more likely you are to go into that state the next time you want to remember that name or word. Amazing, isn’t it?

How is this relevant to us and to memorizing Qur’an?


Have you ever been reciting an ayah, and then in the middle of it, you come to a halt? You have some sort of recollection of the meaning of the next phrase or word, but you can’t remember the exact words. Has this ever happened to you, or to someone who is reciting to you? It very likely has.

According to the findings of the TOT Phenomenon, when this happens, you should not rack your brain trying to figure out what comes next. You should immediately stop and pull out the mushaf to check. If the person who is reciting to you seems to be experiencing a TOT, cut off their “thinking” and tell them what comes next. They are more likely to remember it next time inshaAllah.

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HD 6: Stop With the Negative Influence!

Bismillah walhamdulillah

Have you ever dealt with someone who would say things like:

Oh! You’re memorizing that surah next?! That’s awesome, but you know, I remember when I was memorizing it, it was soo difficult!

Or how about this:

Ahh…you’re memorizing Surah X? Yeah, the surah is easy, I just found this page here difficult. *Turns to that page*

What exactly do they think, that by telling you this that it will somehow make things better for you? No, they just end up worrying you. Then when you get to that page or that surah that they were talking about, you have their voice playing in your head.

Rather, we should always give good news and much encouragement to the one who is memorizing. If you feel the urge to “warn” others about how difficult a page is going to be for them, control it. Whatever happened to: “Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day speak good or remain silent?”

Allah SWT has said that:And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” Suratul Qamar, ayah 17

He SWT has said this, multiple times in one surah. Are you going to challenge the truthfulness of this ayah with your “warnings?”

One thing I noticed about my teacher, she never told me that something was going to be difficult for me, until after I already experienced that I had trouble memorizing it or something similar to it. Even then, she never actually called it difficult. All she really said was “This ruba here, is going to be so easy for you, by Allah. This other one, it may be slightly more challenging based on the trouble you had reciting a similar ruba.*” (please see footnote).

And when I once made the mistake of being ungrateful (I had recited 2 ruba, and because of my lack of review, they didn’t sink in well. And instead of blaming myself, when she asked me if it was “good” — her way of saying ‘easy’ — I said no) I saw the annoyance on her face. She rolled her eyes slightly (which I never saw her do before) as if to say “Don’t say that.” And then she said “Alhamdulillah.”

I realized why she was annoyed and then I felt so bad…How could I have said that. I sought Allah’s forgiveness and repented, I just pray that it was a sincere repentance.

In short, I would say that 9 times out of 10, it’s better not to say anything (in regard to this particular topic). If you feel like you want to give your friend a “heads up,” maybe you should word it in a more appropriate way like:

You know this page that is coming up? InshaAllah it will be very easy for you, as with every page, if you feel you need to really solidify it, just make sure you give it a few more reps (repetitions). :)

It’s true sometimes there is a page or a set of pages that is slightly more challenging, maybe because the ayaat are similar to each other or another reason. But it does seem, from my limited experience, and Allah knows Best, that the better thing to do is to not initiate this kind of talk, and if someone else experiences slight difficulty, just advise them with good manners. “Remember, the Qur’an is easy to understand and remember. Keep trudging forward, I know you can do it, inshaAllah.”



*My teacher speaks Arabic with very little English, but I translate what she says through the very little Arabic that I understand and through her very helpful gestures, which she utilizes in order to speak to me. May Allah swt bless her and preserve her and protect her. Ameen

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HD 3: “Would you like me to be mean or nice?”

Use the Buddy System –Find a friend to recite to, preferably someone who is also memorizing to create some peer pressure.

I asked my friend this question (in the title). She started to recite Qur’an to me, and I wanted to know how she wanted me to be towards her.

We were in the public bathroom making wudoo. “Would you like me to be mean or nice to you when you recite?” I asked her.

“Be nice. No, wait, maybe you should be mean…” she replied.

In the end I believe she left the decision up to me.

So what should I do? Should I be mean or nice? Dilemma…

So I have two options:

On the one hand, I know of the story of one my teachers. His was reciting Surah al Baqarah to his best friend, when suddenly, his friend starts yelling at him. And it wasn’t even an actual mistake, but his friend said, Allah swt made the distinction, so you make the distinction. He was referring to the ayah in Surah al Baqarah “Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.” [Ayah 7]. The distinction he was referring to was that there is a seal upon their hearts and hearing, but over there vision there is a veil, so you should stop after “their hearing,” and then continue.

My teacher says that he remembers that to this day, and he also remembers the other corrections that his friend made, due to the extremely harsh nature of the correction.

On the other hand…

There is a danger, for those of us who are not well-grounded in knowledge and humility, that we may become arrogant if we begin to harshly correct others. And on top of that, we don’t want to scare people away.

To reconcile these two points, perhaps a good approach is to be harsh, with kindness. Be strict and firm, but don’t take it too far up to the point that you may chase the other person away. And as always, gauge the person’s character and determination and see how far you can push them. Some people can be pushed more than others, and so they should.

This is not just in regard to their mistakes, but in general. For example, if they haven’t memorized their new portion, you have to be strict and put your foot down. You are not doing them any favors by being lax with them. This is one of the ways that we distinguish those who love each other for this world, and those who love each other for the sake of Allah. The ones who love each other for the sake of Allah will be harsh with one another when the time calls for it.

waAllahu ‘Alam

P.S. I’m attaching an awesome pdf book with more information, so check it out!!

The Character of the People of the Qur’an

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