Based on an article by Sheikh `Abdul-Muhsin al-Qāsim.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Being regular in memorisation, not overwhelming oneself with big portions and taking it step-by-step has been the way of the scholars.
Imam az-Zuhri (rh) said, “We only gathered this knowledge with one hadith, two hadith, one issue, two issues (meaning in small amounts).”
Texts can be divided into three types:
How Much Should One Memorise?
- If it is ahadith: 3 ahadith per day
- If it is Prose: 5 lines per day
- If it is Poetry: 3 abyāt (lines) per day
How To Memorise?
- Repeat the amount that you wish to memorise 20 times. The best time for this is after Fajr.
- After `Asr or Maghrib repeat what you memorised at Fajr again 20 times.
- The next day before you move onto your new amount, revise what you learnt the day before 20 times.
- Then recite what you memorised from the beginning of the particular text until you reach your current lesson.
- After that, begin your new lesson of memorisation in the same manner.
- Repeat this method daily, until you complete the text and your memorisation becomes strong.
This is the course of action one should undertake for every text, along with maintaining the review of memorisation, reading, studying books, attending the lessons of scholars, and asking questions pertaining to the issues of knowledge.
The way to make memorisation firm and established is repetition, and there is no memorisation without repetition. This is the way of those firm in knowledge.
Abu Ishāq ash-Shīrāzi (rh) would repeat what he wanted to memorise 100 times. Al-Kayā al-Harrāsi (rh) would repeat 70 times.
The following is a story which will make it clear to you that the lack of repetition is a cause of forgetfulness:
Ibn al-Jawzi (rh) said, “al-Hasan (meaning Ibn Abi Bakr an-Naysābūri) told us a story about a jurist who would repeat his lesson many times in his house.
So an elderly woman who was in his house said to him, ‘By Allāh, even I have memorised it! (because the man was repeating so many times).’ So the man asked her to recite it to him, and so she did.
After a few days the man came back to the woman and said, ‘Recite to me that lesson’ to which she replied, ‘I did not memorise it (meaning she had forgotten).’
The man said, ‘I repeated the lesson so that I am not afflicted with that which afflicted you (i.e. forgetfulness).’”
How To Revise Texts
If a person memorises different texts covering a variety of subjects, then every month, one should revise all those texts which they have memorised, and this will make one’s memorisation firm, and facilitate quick recollection.