Bilal Memon memorized the Qur’an at the age of 11, but he forgot his memorization when he was in college. A busy, hectic life in New York made him believe that he didn’t have “enough time” to keep up with his memorization revision. After challenging himself to re-memorize the Qur’an and achieving that goal in six months, Bilal realised that the real struggle is with motivation, not with time. In this article, Bilal shares the first essential step to fuel your motivation and solidify a daily Qur’an memorization habit that is easy, fun and productive.
Is memorizing a new surah one of your Ramadan goals this year? If yes, Alhamdulillah!
Maybe it’s been a long time since you last memorized a new ayah or surah from the Qur’an. Or maybe you’ve already memorized quite a bit and want to take things even further with the aspiration of becoming a hafidh or hafidha.
Whatever your level of ability, and whatever your Qur’an memorization goal, I’d like to help you achieve your goals with a 7-step process that we at Quran Academy have released alongside our new Qur’an memorization app, ”Quran Companion”.
In this article, I will outline the first essential step of this process that will fuel your motivation so you can reach your Qur’an memorization goals productively.
Before we dive into the first step, let’s begin by addressing the most common mistake many Muslims make when memorizing the Qur’an, and how you can avoid it.
Overcome the Most Common Mistake People Make When Memorizing the Qur’an
As Muslims, we must always remember to start and continue with the right intention, for intention is the foundation of action.
“I heard Allah’s Messenger saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” [Bukhari]
Despite knowing this, one of the most common mistakes many Muslims make when memorizing the Qur’an is having bad or neutral intentions, knowingly or unknowingly.
What is the difference between bad and neutral intentions?
Here’s some examples of bad intentions:
- To show off in front of others
- To become “better” than someone else
- To seek title, recognition and praise
Here’s some examples of neutral intentions:
- Being forced by parents
- To follow tradition or culture
- Something you “should do” as a good Muslim
As Muslims striving to be productive, we must always turn to Allah and seek protection from bad intentions. Many of us however often forget that we are also vulnerable to fall into the trap of neutral intentions, especially if you come from a culture with strong expectations and definitions of what a good Muslim “should do”.
While it might seem harmless at first, these neutral intentions can actually make Qur’an memorization a stressful experience, because you’re trying to fulfill an external expectation – not a purposeful, internalized intention.
Anything that is stressful then becomes difficult to maintain, and this is when you become more prone to laziness, procrastination, difficulty to memorize, inefficient use of time, and other unproductive pitfalls.
To avoid falling into this trap, what you need to do instead is empower yourself with a clear, purposeful, internalized intention before you start memorizing the Qur’an.
Fuel Your Motivation with a Purposeful, Internalized Intention
What is the difference between a sincere intention, and a purposeful, internalized intention?
Simply put, a sincere intention is when it is done for the sake of pleasing Allah . This is an important prerequisite in anything a Muslim does. However, it’s all too easy for this intention to just become lip service. So the next step is having clarity on what the sincere intention of pleasing Allah actually means to YOU and how it looks like for you on a day-to-day basis, which will transform a sincere intention into a purposeful, internalized intention.
Let’s now dive into a simple exercise to help you create purposeful, internalized intentions in pursuing your Qur’an memorization goals:
- On a piece of paper, create two columns — one called “My Life & Intentions” and the other called “My Qur’an Memorization Purpose”.
- In the left column, write down all the important areas of your life and goals you intend to achieve.
- In the second column, write down how memorizing the Qur’an will become meaningful to each area of life and intention. For example:
- For every purpose that you write down, go through this process:
a) Ask yourself: Is this for the sake of Allah ; is this action something that Allah has commanded of me?
Take for example instilling patience with family. Indeed, Allah has commanded us to deal with our parents with patience:
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 23]
b) Think about the “dangers” of each intention that could lead you astray. Remember that if shaytan cannot tempt you to do bad, he will change your intentions when doing good. As the Prophet said in his last sermon:
“Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.”
So think carefully (and if you wish, write it down too) all the different ways shaytan could lead you astray with his whispers. One example of a dangerous whisper is, “If I’m patient with my parents, I’ll become the favourite child and I will look better than my siblings.”
c) Make a dua for Allah to protect you from shaytan and his trickery to change your intentions. There are many that you can choose from. A simple one would be this:
“Bismillah, Allahumma janibna ash-Shaytaan wa janibish-Shaytaana maa razaqtna” (In the Name of Allah, O Allah! Make us distant from shaytan and make shaytan distant from what you bestow upon us”.)
- At any point during the process, turn to Allah with salatul istikhara to seek His guidance on your intentions.
Finally, remember that intentions are not something you do once. Intentions require regular renewal to make sure that shaytan has not strayed your intentions. Renew your intentions regularly and seek protection from Allah with dua.
Aligning Your Emotional & Psychological Needs for Productive Memorization
If you really spend time to reflect and do this exercise with honesty and humility, you will align your emotional and psychological needs with your Qur’an memorization goals. This clarity will plant a purposeful, internalized intention to memorize the Qur’an that comes from a space that is meaningful in your daily life. This instantly triggers a chain reaction of joy and motivation that makes memorizing the Qur’an easier and more productive, in sha Allah.
Creating purposeful, internalized intentions is the first step out of seven steps outlined in Qur’an Academy’s ebook, “QURAN In Memory, In Heart, In Peace: 7 Essential Steps that make Quran Memorization Easy & Meaningful in Your Daily Life.”
If you would like to continue with the remaining steps, you can get our free ebook along with a 7-day trial of “Quran Companion”, a Qur’an memorization app with revolutionary learning, gamification and social features to further fuel your motivation by making Qur’an memorization fun, socially motivating and productive.
With that said, I’d like to end this article by sharing a gentle reminder of Allah’s promise:
“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” [Qur’an: Chapter 54 Verse 22]
Let your heart find peace in the certainty that memorizing the Qur’an has been made easy for anyone who makes the decision to remember. And let’s achieve your Qur’an memorization goals in this blessed month to make it a truly productive Ramadan! Have you used Qur’an Academy and Qur’an Companion? Let us know your experiences below!
About Qur’an Academy and Qur’an Companion
Quran Academy has released a revolutionary Qur’an memorization smartphone app, “Quran Companion”, which is packed with progress analytics, learning technologies, fun challenges, games and social features to keep you motivated in your memorization. “Quran Companion” is now available on Google Play Store for Android. “Quran Companion” for iPhone will be released on the Apple Store before Eid Al Fitr 2016, in the last week June 2016. Sign up here to be notified of the iPhone release.