One of the issues that is usually ignored during memorisation of the Qur’an is the mental attitude and state of the mind. This post will deal with having the correct attitude In shaa Allaah.
We’ve all heard in some way or other how memorisation during childhood is much stronger than in adulthood. Sayings such as ‘memorisation during childhood is like carving on stone, and memorisation during adulthood is like writing on waves’. But is this really just a coincidence or is there a reason behind this?
What most people don’t realise is the reason why this is the case is largely to do with the state of your mind. So when you memorise what is your state of mind? Are you relaxed and enjoying what you are doing? Or are you rushed and stressed about ‘keeping it all in’? The state of your mind has a huge impact on the quality of your memorisation. Emotions such as fear for example, can make you forget up to 70% of what you would otherwise be able to recall easily. So what is the best state of mind or attitude that one should have whilst memorising or even generally learning anything?
The best state of mind, which allows your brain to fully absorb new information and keep it, is to have a relaxed playful attitude towards the subject you are learning (in this case the surah or portion of Qur’an you want to memorise). In other words you need to take stress out of the equation and enjoy what you are doing! This is actually the way children learn and the reason why they learn so well. You will notice young children listening attentively in a calm relaxed way to something. They are in their ‘learning state of mind’, and this is the natural state of mind for optimal learning. The reason why some children may find it difficult to learn also revolves around the same principle. They are usually stressed or disturbed by something and this is impacting their state of mind and affecting their learning. The same is true of hyper-active children. They have trouble remaining calm and relaxed in order to ‘learn’.
The second issue, which is also extremely important is trust. The brain is your slave, and it will do whatever you ask it to. So what does this mean? This means that when you are doing a task, your purpose needs to be clearly defined in order for your brain to fully accomplish what you are trying to do. So when you are memorising, you need to make your purpose clear; questions such as ‘How much am I trying to memorise in how much time?’, ‘How long do I want this memorisating to stay with me?’, ‘What do I need this memorisation for?’, all need to be answered. And then you need to trust your brain’s ability to accomplish this for you. But unfortunately this also means that if you are memorising something but think to yourself that you ‘can’t do this’, your brain will obediently comply and you ‘won’t be able to do it’. Another way to show mistrust to your brain is to keep peeking at the Mushaf while trying to recall! Avoid this. A good tip is once you have memorised your portion, close your mushaf and put it away on a shelf, and then recall what you have memorised. This will give your brain the message that you need to rely on it without the mushaf i.e. it needs to hold your memorisation in the long-term memory. So you need to kick negativity out of the window and trust in the amazing learning abilities that humans are distinguised for. Allah says in the Quran:
And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: “Tell me the names of these if ye are right.” [Surat al-Baqarah, 2:31]
Read the tafsir of these verses and the story behind the creation of man and what made us humans different from the angels. Man has the ability to learn and when he does so he is elevated. Is the one who knows like the one who does not? Allah taught Adam the names of all things. The human brain is amazing. No matter how much you learn, and for how long, the brain will never become ‘full’. Studies on how the memory works prove this. If you were to keep learning a new piece of information every second, of every day, for a 1000 years, it would not even take up the space in your mind equal to a small bean! Because the human memory does not ‘collect’ or ‘store’ information, it ‘generates’ it. This means that the brain is limitless in the amount of information it can learn and memorise. Another point that scientific studies have shown, is that the more you learn or memorise, the more the capacity of your brain increases. New brain cells are formed. So the saying holds true, use it or lose it!
- Relaxed attitude
- Playful attitude
- Enjoy it
- Trust your brain’s ability to memorise