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.
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.
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:
- What the information means to you.
- 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.
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.