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5 Simple Techniques for Memorizing the Quran

5 Simple Techniques for Memorizing the Quran

Many Muslims have the goal to memorise the entire Quran or parts of it. It is an esteemed tradition to preserve the Quran in memory, as well as an enriching experience to connect with scripture daily and diversify recitations in prayer. The Quran is in Arabic however, and most Muslims around the world do not speak Arabic. This can make memorising new verses or chapters of the Quran challenging for many. While you don’t have to learn Arabic to memorise the Quran, understanding how you can leverage language learning techniques for memory can help you effectively memorise the Quran.

In this article, we will explore how you can leverage these different language-learning techniques alongside technology aids to memorise the Quran, even when you’re busy

1. Rote Learning

Rote learning is a memorization technique based on repetition. It is a centuries-old method to memorising the Quran that is taught in many traditional madrasahs, or Quran memorization schools.The technique is based on the Atkinson–Shiffrin memory model, which asserts that human memory has three separate components: a sensory store, a short-term store, and a long-term store.

After receiving information through one of the five senses, the brain retains the information in the sensory registers for a brief period. Repetition helps commit the memory into the short-term store for later recall. Increased repetitions help keep the information in the short-term store for longer.When it comes to memorising the Quran, there are two primary senses you can use to approach rote learning: visually and through sound. Different people have different preferences, so it’s good to discover your learning style first.

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Visual learners will benefit from reading out loud the verse you want to memorise three times or more, and then repeat it on your own without looking at the page. Audio learners can use a Quran memorisation app that has audio looping features to play the verse on repeat. After listening to a verse a few times, try repeating it on your own.

It is important to remember that familiarity and practice are a part of the process in rote learning, so a lot of repetition is key.

2. Kinesthetic Learning

When it comes to rote learning, many people benefit from engaging multisensory learning in the process. If this is more your style, in addition to visual and auditory learning, you can also benefit from kinesthetic — or movement — learning techniques. One kinesthetic technique that is used to memorise text verbatim is by writing down the first letter of every word on a separate sheet of paper as you read or recite the verse. The act of writing engages many parts of the brain and this helps to solidify the information in different neural pathways. Another technique is to trace the words with your finger as you read from the Quran or from a Quran app. This is another great way to reinforce memorization through the sense of touch.

Lastly, you can try combining your study time with a physical activity. This technique is especially good for those with a busy schedule. Quran memorization apps are great tools for this very purpose. You can play the audio of the verses you want to memorise on loop while driving, exercising, or doing housework.

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3. Familiar Patterns and Chunking

Many children learn the alphabet by singing the ABC song. Learning through patterns of rhythm, rhyme and melody is a powerful method of committing information to memory.The Quran lends itself to easy memorization because it naturally has rhythm and rhyme. There is also a huge selection of Quran recordings from different reciters who have recited the Quran beautifully in their own melodic style. One way you can take further advantage of this is by dividing your memorization into “chunks” that display a recognisable pattern.

First, read over or listen to the page or verses of the Quran that you wish to memorise. You should easily be able to pick up a recognisable pattern, whether in rhythm, rhyme, or repetition of a word of phrase. Next, mentally divide the verses into chunks. Now, tackle one chunk at a time for each memorization or rote learning session. Repeat each chunk until you’ve memorised it before moving onto the next chunk. For those who like studying with technology aids, ‘Quran Companion’ is a great app for this method with its inbuilt guided lessons feature and “swipe to reveal” feature that helps you learn in chunks while also engaging kinesthetic learning.

4. Attaching Meaning

After the Atkinson–Shiffrin memory model was proposed, Baddeley and Hitch put forward a new theory in 1974 called the Working Memory Model. Amongst other differences, this model also states that repetition isn’t the only technique that is needed for memory, especially when it comes to transferring information from short-term to long-term memory.

Some of the conditions for learning and memorising that this memory model states include:

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  1. What the information means to you.
  2. How well the information already matches with what you know.

For non-Arabic speakers, this is where reading a translation alongside the Arabic verse can be helpful for memorisation, because the meaning comes attached. Many Quran apps have this option of displaying a translation alongside each verse, and many provide a large selection of translations so you can choose a translation in your first language or mother tongue.

The more verses you memorise, the easier it becomes to memorise more because the Quran’s repetitious nature will mean that a lot of new information will already match with what you know.

You can boost this by first learning the words that are repeated most often in the Quran. In fact, these 125 words occur in the Quran 40,000 times. If you memorise and learn the meaning of these words first, you would already understand 50% of the words in the Quran. This would make all future tasks of memorising much easier and meaningful.

5. Social Motivation

A research study on social motivation published by the Public Library of Science in 2005 showed that students who study in a competitive group environment perform significantly better in tests that those who study individually.

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One of the most common struggles that Muslims face when memorising the Quran is motivation. Unless you’ve enrolled years of your life to study Quran memorisation in a dedicated madrasah or Quran memorisation school, memorising the Quran is often a solo journey. One way to overcome this is to partner up with a study buddy or join a Quran study group challenge online. A little healthy competition can help you go a long way!

Good luck in your Quran memorisation efforts, and remember, at the end of the day staying consistent with whatever methods you choose is the key to long-term success.

More by this author

Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

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Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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