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Establishing The Principles

By: Abu Abdullah Fahd At-Taahiriyy

1436 H

Note that these classes took place on 1433 H. The
example that was given was based on the book Four
Fundamental Principles however, we have
mentioned in here an example based on The poetry
on etiquettes of Abu Ishaaq. Furthermore, all books
can follow the suggested example.

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

Ever had trouble with Memorizing? Want to be able to memorize up to 3 full
pages of text a day by the will of Allah? Wish you can kill that fear of
something called memorizing? Allow me to answer you, with real stories of
our Salaf (rightly guided ancestors) and lift your spirits up high to the sky! In
the 2nd class we will introduce you to the actual and practical methods of
memorizing, how to build a schedule, how to organize it, how to gradually
build your memorizing skill, how to reach a point where you can never forget
what you have memorized, and how much you need to repeat the reading for
both memorizing and revising.


Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

All of us know the merits of seeking knowledge as there are several evidences
in the Quraan and ahadith of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) which
includes the many tales and stories of the Sahabah (May Allah have mercy on
them all). InshaAllaah we will discuss something very important and that is
how one should gain this knowledge. This knowledge is beneficial only when
we memorize it. Knowledge does not happen without memorizing. That is why
the scholars of Islaam said:

Man hafidhal mutoon Haazal Funoon.

Those who have memorized the books, gained the different fields of
Al-Muthoon ()
are the Books of knowledge that are meant to be

memorized, the Books that are considered the key to enter a certain field of
(Man hafidhal mutoon) (
) Those who have memorized the

(Haazal Funoon) (
) - gained the different fields of knowledge.
And they also said:

Wamallam yahfadhil Usool hurimal wusool.

And those who didnt memorize the Books will not reach the knowledge as
the ones before us reached.
So, memorizing the knowledge is the Highest and the Most important level of
all. Rather memorizing is a condition to knowledge.

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

This means that there is no way that knowledge can be acquired, gained, or
gathered without memorizing and this was what our rightly guided ancestors
were upon as we shall clarify, InshaAllaah. So we say that:
Without memorizing, it is NOT possible for the seeker of knowledge to reach
the knowledge.
Imaam Ahmed (Rahimahullaah) was asked:
What is hifdh? What is Memorizing?
He (Rahimaullaah) replied:

Al-Hifdu Al Itqaan
Memorizing is to accurately know by heart what you have gained.
Because of this importance of memorizing, there are many quotes from the
scholars clarifying the importance of this level of knowledge and that is why
they urged their students to memorize and guided them to it, clarifying to
them that it is the most beneficial more beneficial than even writing.
Imaam Ahmish (one of the great Imaams of Islaam) said:

Al Itqaanu huwal Hifdh!

Memorize what you have gathered. Memorize that which you have sought.
Imaam Ahmish said:
Memorize that which you have gathered
For he who gathers the knowledge and does not memorize it, is just like the
man who takes a mouthful of food and throws it behind his back. Do you see

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

getting full? Never!! If he does so, when will he suffice himself as there is no
So it is with Ilm (Knowledge). It is like taking bits and pieces of knowledge and
throwing it without benefiting from it.
Imaam al Asgari said:
If that which you have gathered of this knowledge was little and it was
memorized, you will greatly benefit from it. And if the knowledge was plenty
and it was not memorized, your benefit of it will be very, very little

Abdul Razzak ibn Hammam is an Imaam as Sanaani and his Book is one of the
sources of as-Sunnah. He has a Book called Al Musannaf which contains many
ahadeeth asnd Athaar of the Sahabah1, He says:
Every bit of knowledge which does not enter the restroom with the man,
then dont consider it of knowledge!
What he meant was Dont consider what is not memorized and not in your
heart as knowledge.

Al-Khalil (one of the Imaams of alLugaah) says in his poem:

Knowledge is not what the books contain. Knowledge is what the heart
Now we will enlighten you with some stories as to how some Imaams
memorized and how they considered memorizing as the key to knowledge.
Aamir ibn Shuraheel as-Shabi, (the one who died in the year 104H), said:
I have not placed black on white, ever.

Many tales of the Sahaabah

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

That means he never wrote anything down. He memorized everything he

Neither did someone tell me something and I needed him to repeat.
This means that they had developed their memorization skills to such an
extent that they did not need anyone to repeat. And this everyone can do.
Some people think that this is not something that is not real something that is
impossible or very hard. On the contrary it is something that is very easy all
you have to do is know the most effective way. Memorizing has only one way.

Also Qatada ibn Daama as Sedusi (d118H) said:

I have never told a narrator to repeat for me and neither has my ears
listened to something except that my heart would memorize it.

Yazid ibn Haroon (d 206H) said:

I memorized 20,000 hadith and whoever wants let him test me with one
Muhammad ibn abi hatim told about Muhammad ibn Ismaeel Al-Bukhari, [The
one who wrote the Sahih al-Bukhari (d256H)]:
I heard Hashir ibn Ismaeel and another saying that Abu Abdullah al-Bukhari
used to attend the classes of the Shuyook with us in Basra. He was a young
boy at that time and he wasnt writing. Days passed and we said to him, you
attend with us but we dont see you writing. What do you do? So he told us
after 16 days, you have insisted and you have asked me a lot and I want you
to show me what you have in your Books. So we took our books out and he
read to us by heart what was in our books until he reached fifteen thousand
Ahadith. He didnt make a mistake in one letter. He said: Do you see me
attending and wasting my time?
what he meant was that he memorized everything he took.

Abu Jamal ad-Deen as-Sarmadi said about Abul Abbas ibn Taymiyyah (d 728):

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

One of the wonders of our time in memorizing is Ibn Taymiyyah. He would

read the book once and it would get eventually get carved in his heart.
It was said about Abul Maadi al Muhammad ibn Ali ibn abi Ashari bin Halabi
(d789) that he memorized surathul Anam when he was young after one
reading and he memorized a lot in a very few period of time. And so did other
aimma as well.
Ibn Sanama (d 82) memorized the Quraan in two months.
And Muhammad bin Muslim az Zuhari (d 125) memorized the Quraan in 80
In our times the Mashaaik said that there was a Turkish student in one of the
universities who was able to memorize the Quraan only in 70 days.
Qutubud deen ibn Yunini is one of the main narrators of Al-Bukhari. He
narrated from his father that his father memorized Sahih Muslim in only four
months, and Sahih Muslim contains about 8000 hadith. Also he memorized
Surathul Anam in only one day.

It was said to Hushaym ibn Bashir:

How much are you used to memorizing O Aba Muawiyah? He replied, I
used to memorize a hundred ahadith in one session. And if I were asked
about those hadith after a month I would have answered.

Ishaq ibn Ibrahim ibn Rahwaya (d 238) said:

I never wrote something except I memorized it. Never have I written
something except I memorized it. And I am today, it is as if I am looking at
70,000 ahadith in my books, it is as if I am looking at them right in front of
And he Ishaq ibn rahawaya also said:

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

I know the places of a hundred and thousand ahadith. It is as if I am looking

at them in front of me right now. And I memorized 70,000 ahadith of them
which are authentic, and 4000 of them which are not authentic.
Imaam Ahmed said:
I memorized a thousand thousand (1 million) hadith with the chain of
narration. This was made into poetry by Imaam Sarsari who was a poet. He
wrote in his poem: Imaam Ahmed gathered in his heart one million ahadith.
Then he said, he was asked in 60,000 issues (people wanted fatawa from
him) all of this he answered with hadasana so and so narrated to us that so
and so narrated to us that so and so narrated to us that the Prophet
(sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said this and so and so. He answered the one
asking just by reading out the ahadith in sixty thousand issues.

Abu Zurrah Ar Razi (d. 264 AH) and he is one of the great Imaams who said:
In my house is what I have written 50 years ago and I never saw it from the
time I had written it. And verily I know in which book it is and in which paper,
which page and which line it is. He also said, I memorized 200,000 ahadith
just as a person memorizes Qul huwaAllaahu ahad.

Ibn Abi Dawud (d. 316 AH), (the son of Abu Dawud) said:
I narrated from my memory, from my heart, in Asfahan 36,000 hadith and
they, (the people I narrated to) said that I had mistaken in seven. So when I
went back and checked those seven and I found that I had only mistaken in
So this is not a fairy tale. This is real and this is what they used to depend
upon, especially in the days of the Sahabah they used to memorize because
a lot of them were not able to write or read. So this points out that if the
person depends on his book more, his ability to memorize will grow weaker
and weaker. But if he memorizes, (it is just like a muscle) if you train it,
gradually you will see your ability to memorize increasing. All you have to do is
just one thing, (one key) and we will mention it inshaAllaah soon.
Ali ibn Naisaboori said about Abdaan (d.136 AH):

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

As for Abdaan he used to memorize a hundred thousand ahadith.

Muhammad ibn Ismaeel al-Bhukari said:
I memorized a hundred thousand authentic ahadith and two hundred
thousand non- authentic ahadith.


And the test that Imaam Al-Bukhari went through is well known since it was
narrated from a lot of scholars. You see, they wanted to test Imaam Al-Bukhari
since they heard that he was so young and he was correcting the narrators
even when he was attending he was correcting the preacher when he used to
narrate the hadith. So they heard about Al-Bukhari. Before he had travelled to
a certain destination they heard of his coming so they made a session for him
inorder to testhim in how much he has memorized. So ten of the scholars sat
and they asked Al Bukhari about ten ahadith what they did was they flipped
the ahadith with its chain of narration, that means they took a hadith they
mentioned with this hadith a chain of narration that belongs to another hadith.
They mixed up the chain of narration with the hadith putting this chain of
narration with that hadith and this hadith with that chain of narration. And
each scholar did this with ten ahadith.
So how many hadith did they test Al-Bukhari with?
A hundred ahadith.
Those days they used to test the scholars to see how trustworthy his
narrations were. They were not put to test for any evil reason. So the first
scholar addressed Al-Bukhari: What do you know about this hadith? And he
read the hadith with the wrong chain of narration and then the second hadith,
the third, the fourth until he reached the tenth. Then the other scholar said to
him, What do you know about these ten hadith? So every scholar narrated
ten hadith but they mixed up the chain of narration of the hadith. When they
finished, Imaam Al-Bukhari knew that this was a test and that they had flipped
around the ahadith. When every scholar used to finish a hadith he says to AlBukhari, What do you know about this hadith? Imaam Bukhari replied, I dont
know it. And then he tells him second hadith and he says I dont know this
hadith. And they thought he didnt know anything whilst Al-Bukhari knew
what they were up to. So they said, this man doesnt know anything.

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

When they finished the hundred ahadith he said, as for the hadith you asked
me about this chain of narration is not with this hadith but this chain of
narration is with that hadith, and he started attaching each chain of narration
with the relevant hadith. The point here is that he repeated what every scholar
said which was not in order and then he put them in order. He memorized
even their test i.e. the hadith they tested him with which was not in order and
then he put them in order. That is why one of the scholars said, the wonder is
not in him correcting them but the wonder is in him memorizing how they had
arranged, mixed up the ahadith.


Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

How To Memorize?
Know may Allaah guide me and you, that whoever wanted to memorize
something with accurate memorizing so that it stays with him for many years,
he has to use only method and there is no other way except this way: This
is repeating, just repeating. This is the only key. Yes, it is as easy as it sounds. If
you want to memorize something, simply repeat it. Indeed, that is how they
used to memorize and we shall mention some of their stories. And the key
point on how to repeat is to memorize is that you have to lessen the portion
you are memorizing each day. For example dont take ten pages. Lesson the
portion. Take for example as much as Surah Al-Fatihah which is about four to
five lines. Take anything you want to memorize, anything you want to store in
your heart, that portion and you just repeat it.

And some of the scholars used to repeat for about a thousand times when they
wanted to memorize and thats why they reached a point where what they
memorized got carved in their hearts, thats why they dont have to go back to
the book and listen to it. So whoever wanted to memorize something, a certain
book, lets say the Book of Imaam Bukhari, you have to put the book into small
portions, and every day take this portion whether it was twenty ahadith or ten
ahadith or even five ahadith and I repeat it.

Taking less is according to the Sunnah specially if the person is new to this.
People are of two types with regard to memorizing: someone who is gifted
with this gift of memorizing since his childhood and this is not the person we
are talking about here. We are talking about the person who is not used to
memorizing. First of all you lessen the portion you want to memorize, say if
you are memorizing the four fundamental principles. It has an introduction so
you take this introduction and you repeat it a certain numbers which you
chose and you make a break between every session of repeating.
After Fajr for example you hold the book and you read the portion there has
to be a rest between the times you are repeating for example if you decide
to repeat a thousand times dont do thousand times without a break. Rather
distribute the times you want to repeat the portion you want to memorize.
You come after salathul Fajr and you repeat this portion twenty times or thirty

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

times by looking at it, just reading it. Then you leave it. How did you memorize
Surah Fathiha? Everyone memorizes it no matter how old he is. This is just
because you are repeating it. You recite it in the Salah, in every rakah, five
times a day and even more if you do the sunnah. If anyone reads surah Fathiha
will he miss one letter? No, never, because you are repeating it every day. Now
just imagine if you were to take anything and repeat it every day wouldnt you
memorize it just like you would with al-Fathihah?
So the key to memorizing is just repeating. There is nothing special about it.
Repeat what you want to memorize and you will memorize it in no time. For
example after Salatul Fajr repeat it for say thirty times or even ten times that is
sufficient. Then take a break until you reach for example after Salatul Dhuhr.
Then you repeat it for the same number for example ten more times. Then
take a break. When you reach salatul asr then repeat for another ten more
times and so on after each salah. After the third salah you will notice that you
are starting to continue the sentence without even looking at it.

And this is different from when you memorize in one go. If you repeat up to
the desired number you want, say fifty times in one go, it doesnt stay. Because
as our rightly guided ancestors used to say: What is taken at once is lost at
once. So take it with gaps in between. And the best way to do it is to increase
the repeating. And everything you memorize put a number. And I chose the
number 950. For it was said that Imaam As-Shirazi and he was an Imaam of
As-Shafiiyah that he memorizes the matters of dispute in knowledge just as
someone memorizes Al-Fathiha. Because he never studied an issue of
knowledge except that he has repeated it one thousand times.

The way I do it is I take a paper. I go to excel and I boarder 950. You dont have
to do it daily, you can do it for a week as well. Or three days if you repeat in 3
days 33 times then you would have repeated 99 times for someone who
wishes to repeat a hundred times. And if you do it for 30 days you will reach a
thousand. You take a piece of paper and you boarder 950 squares and you
place it in the book you want to memorize, every time you repeat you tick one
box until you are done. You do this for every section you want to memorize.
And know that it is very easy for the heart to memorize what you put in it,
even more than a computer does. It is just that people are not used to such a
thing. We grew up and we were born in a time of writing when people learn
how to read and write. Our dependence upon writing is greater than our

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

dependence on memorizing. But for the Sahabah this was something that was
very, very easy for them, because it was what they depended upon from their
very childhood. So if we do the same and get used in the same manner then it
will be very easy for you to memorize anything you want.

I will read to you some recent stories so that you dont say that this is
something from the past and that people are not able to memorize any more
like they do. Even people that are mostly known with this gift of memorizing
are the Shanaquiqa, the Shanquities, the Mauritanians2.
One of them told the stories of the recent scholars in this issue. It was said the
Muhammad ibn Mahmood at-Tarkuzi has a written print of a concise
dictionary of four volumes. He has a copy of the written print taken from a
manuscript that was written by the author himself that was Firozabaadi.
Muhammad ibn Mahmood at-Tarkuzi used to memorize this dictionary of four
volumes just like al-Fathiha. So he was challenging the people in Al-Azhar. He
said he was worthier to be an Imaam of al-Lugah than they were because he
had memorized al-Qamoos (the dictionary). So they said this is of course an
exaggeration and they wanted to test him. So they brought him and he was
reading out this dictionary from his memory. Before this these very people
made fun of him and then when he came and they tested him, they were
correcting their dictionaries from his memory. And now the dictionary is
printed by his print which he had depended on. And this (Al Qamoos al
Muheeth) which is the best, most precise and concise dictionary of the Arabic
words and if anyone wanted to buy then let them take this book and this print.
Al Allama As-Seedi Abdullah ibn al Haaj Ibrahim Al Alawi? (d 1250) He has a
book of poetry in thousand verses which al Imaam Muhammad al
Ameen Shanqeeti the author of Ahyah al Bayyan- which he had explained
this (Al allama As- Seedi Abdullah ibn al Haaj Ibrahim ibn Al Alawi) he said:
If the sciences of the four madhabs were to be thrown with all of its sources,
all of its major books in the sea, I would along with my student be able to
bring it back without a deduction nor an addition, he has the Matan and I do
the explanation.

Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western
Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

This means that he used to memorize all the sources of the Fiqh and this is not
a joke. We are talking about 20 to 30 volumes each source and he used
to memorize them all by heart. This was what they were doing. Anything they
wanted to memorize they were repeating it for days. They used to sit in circles
in a group and each group would circle around the masjid and they would
repeat what they wanted to memorize until they reached about eight hundred
times. It was said to one of them how come you are able to whenever we ask
you something mention the quote of the scholar with the reference? he said
to them I have not read a book except I have repeated it 800 times.


The main way to memorizing is repeating but there are other means:





Abandoning sins.


Taking the issue seriously.


Getting used to it.


Acting upon it.


Choosing the right time.


Choosing a partner.



Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

Al-Ikhlaas You are memorizing because you want to preserve this

knowledge within you so that it is easier for you to understand it.
Duaa You should ask Allaah first and foremost that He (azzawajal)
helps you with your memorization. You should not depend on your
abilities. In fact, your abilities are just means and reasons. At-tawakul is
to rely upon Allaah (subahanahu wa taala) totally with your heart and
just do the means and reasons.

Dont say to yourself: I could never memorize!! even if you are 80 years old.
The problem is not in the age. The problem is that you are busier when you are
older. You have a lot of things in your mind. Otherwise age has never been a
barrier for someone to memorize.
I heard a couple of years ago that a 70 year old woman entered into Islaam and
she started memorized the whole Quraan This is not a myth! It is true, it is a
reality. Whoever wants to memorize remember:
The key to memorizing is repeating!!
(No matter how old you are)!

Abandoning the sins this knowledge is a light from Allaah and it is not
gained with sins and the more you avoid the sins, the more Allaah will
give you this light.
Taking this issue seriously if you start memorizing and repeat a day
and leave another day and go back to the third day and then you leave
two days. Put your heart into it and dont let a day pass
without memorizing. Every day memorize something even if it was
three words or a line.
Getting used to it Gradually increase the portion you are memorizing..
slowly slowly. Dont suffice yourself with one little portion. So for the
first month start with one line or even half a line. If you are very bad at
memorizing then lessen the portion as much as you can. Start with half a
line for a month or two weeks and then increase it to one line. And you
will realise that as the days pass, the more you are able to and also

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

getting stronger and better at this. And after another month increase it
to three lines.

I know a student of mine who was not only bad at memorizing but he had a
low IQ as well. He was very slow at understanding. I told him, Listen! I will give
you a piece of writing, (and I gave him a page full of text) and I said, take this
page. I will give one key thing to do. Just repeat it. Even without the intention
of memorizing, just repeat it. Go home and repeat it until you are able to
continue the sentence without looking at it. And then I want you to keep
repeating until you have memorized the whole thing.
So he took the book and he went and memorized it. And I told him, Tell me
the number of times you repeated this to memorize it. So the next day he
came back and I asked him, How many times did you repeat?. He said, I
repeated forty times. He was expecting me to say Ah thats a lot. Better luck
next time. But I said Thats great! If you were able to memorize this by
repeating 40 times that is beautiful!! I told him Others repeat for 80 times
and they dont memorize because they need to develop their memorizing
skills. So I told him Now do this for every portion, the same portion do this
every day. By Allaah me and him were memorizing about two to three pages a
day. And now MaashaAllaah this has even affected his IQ and he is getting
smarter by the day. Why? All because of memorizing because when you
memorize, you do not only memorize but you also learn the language of the
scholars and how they speak and what words they use and what their
meanings are. There is a lot more to memorizing than a lot of people think.
And this shows how true the word of the scholar is:
Knowledge is memorizing!!

Thats why the scholars wrote small, tiny Books for their students to memorize
and they were able to write at the same time many major Books comprising of
many as (thirty) volumes. And one might say What is the benefit of this tiny
book that you are writing when you are an Imaam and you have written
several volumes?
Lets for example take Imaam Al-Juwayni who wrote a book on the ba an
adding or nor a scis or the Fundamentals of Jurisprudence which some of the
scholars said about this book that this is the book of Islaam which was in two

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

big volumes. At the same time we find Imaam Juwayni writing about seven
pages on the same topic. Seven pages only. He wrote it for the people after
him to memorize it. Because the key to seeking knowledge is to memorizing a
book in every field of knowledge you want to involve yourself in because they
know best. Because they are the people of experience and they know what is
the key. They saw that people who were not up to memorizing a book of thirty
volumes might at least memorize this and they would then have the key and
the base on which to build on whatever they wanted to after that. Thats why
you will find in the biography of any scholar that he has memorized a small
book in every field of knowledge. So you have to get used to it. Make it a part
of your daily schedule. Never let a day pass without memorizing even a small
Acting upon it Seeking knowledge is only a means. It is not meant
directly. It is only sought because of what it should bring as an
outcome of practicing it. So if you stop there at memorizing thinking
that you are the scholar, then no, you are not the scholar until you
act upon what you have memorized. And one of the aimma said:
One of our means to memorizing a hadith was acting upon it.
Choosing the right time to memorize Dont choose a time where
you are for example (and this mostly for the sisters). Specially I want
to give instructions for the sisters as they are most that are suffering
from not being able to memorize and I will give you a simple way to
do so even if you are busy doing something. If you are cleaning the
house or taking care of the kids. If you cannot read when you want
to memorize most of the books that are written are now available in
audio format. So if you cannot memorize, of course the first way if
you want to memorize, if you are cooking, in a certain room or doing
the laundry, write what you want to memorize on a piece of paper
and stick the paper on the wall or in front of you. And this is ideal for
the brothers also when they are driving. You can stick the piece of
paper in front of you when you are on the steering wheel. And you
repeat. And if that doesnt work for either the brothers or the sisters
the other way is to record yourself. If you dont have the book in
audio format then you can make your own audio format. When you
come to a portion which you want to memorize then you can read it
out with your voice and record it. You can take an mp3 player and

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

then store what you have read in your mp3 player and then just put
it in your ears and repeat it.
While you are working around the house play this piece of audio that you have
recorded, put it on auto repeat, and keep on listening to it until you are done
with whatever you want to do. By the time you are done you will find yourself
memorizing the thing that you have heard. And this is mentioned in some the
In one of the stories this scholar was repeating a hadith until his old mother
shouted from behind the door, I memorized it now. So he told her, ok repeat
it if you have memorized it. So she repeated it and had eventually memorized
it just from his repeating it. Two weeks passed by and he came back to her and
said, Can you repeat what you said you had memorized at that time. So she
said, no, I have forgotten it. He said, this is why I revise, so that I do not fall
into what you have fallen.
So take that piece of recording and if you cant do it, I will do it for you. I have
already done Qawaaid al Arbaa and it is available on the website. So take it
and put it in an mp3 and listen to it. And listening is more effective than
reading from a book.
When you memorize something recorded, it is more effective than memorizing
it from a book. Thats why take me (Fahd At-Taahiriyy) as an example. In the
beginning I memorized a couple of Surahs just by listening to the reciter. I used
to repeat the surah just by listening to it and I memorized it in a way that I
cant make mistakes. So you take a reciter who you love to listen to and read
along with him (If possible find a reader close to your voice, so it would be
Read along with him until your reading is close to his. And just keep on
repeating. It is not necessary for you to listen to the whole surah. Let him read
about three or five verses and then stop the tape, and repeat it from the
beginning. You will see yourself memorising in no time. If you want to do
something you can do it. Dont kid yourself and say, no, I cant no. Mind you,
the sinners are memorizing songs everyday and we are worthier than those
who are with their songs. Look at some Muslims kids who are memorizing
songs and nasheeds. By the time they come back home they have already
memorized it. The same thing you can do and there is nothing special about it.
Just repeat!!

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

Some of them used to even choose ways that they would get themselves into a
situation. Some of them would get out their homes and walk to the east
repeating so that when he finishes repeating he doesnt get bored. When he is
returning home he says, I cant go back home doing nothing, so while I am
walking I will just repeat. After he finishes for an hour or half an hour, he
would then head towards the west and do the same thereafter he heads
towards the north and does the same. Then he heads towards the south and
does the same. In a way , they were seeking means and ways for them not to
get bored of doing repeating
Ali ibn Hashram said:
I never saw a single book in the hands of Ali ibn Waqram. It was all
memorized. So I asked him about the medicine to memorize it. He said, if I
teach you the medicine will you use it? He said Yes by Allaah. He said leave
the sins I have never tried a stronger way to memorize than this.

He is Bishr ibn Harith said:

If you want to memorize the knowledge then, do not sin.

Yahya ibn Yahya said:

Someone asked Malik ibn Anas: O Abu Abdullah, can you teach me a way to
memorize? He said If it was something that would be a way to memorize,
then it would be leaving off the sins.

Make Isthighfar. This is very important also. This falls under the second
category which is making duaa. Sometimes I would memorize something or
revise something and then suddenly I would stop. And I am not saying this to
exaggerate and support the issue of memorizing. Sometimes I would just stop
and not be able to continue even what I had memorized. And by Allaah I would
recite the duaa of Syed al Isthighfar the one that says Allahumma antha
rabbi it is in Hisnul Muslim and I would just continue with no hesitation and
Allaah just gives me the ability to continue.
So the sins are a strong obstacle/barrier to continue in this path because you
are storing the knowledge within you. And this in itself is a great merit for you

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

as you have to store the knowledge within you, for the knowledge of Allaah is
stored in the hearts of mankind. Never has come a time that I havent recited
the duaa except that I would continue saying out what I have memorized.
The stories of the scholars are not myths and they arent exagerated they are
those who have memorized large quantities of books, and memorized it until it
became their daily habit.
There are two types of people with regards to this skill of memorizing by
o Those who practiced to develop the skill.
o Those who are gifted with this gift from Allaah Subhanaaahu wa
Taaalaa .
Developing this skill can be easy but you mustnt look back once you look
back you will find the Shaytaan there, he does not want you to seek this
path. Dont look back literally nor with putting your hopes down or depending
on your abilities. It is all up to Allaah Taaala. Yes there are people with limited
abilities but those could be developed just like a muscle. A muscle grows
when you work it out. But this is if you try and work at it. Ther eis nothing to
be scared about nor should you worry about how much you are going to
memorize because there is no limit it is a gift from Allaah.
They have recently discovered that the heart contains many memory cells and
it is the one which thinks.. This was told by Allaah Taalaa more than 1400
years ago. The thinking and understanding are by the heart and only thing the
mind does is organizes the information. However, the understanding is in the

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

The proofs for the above mentioned:

And surely, We have created many of the jinns and mankind for Hell. They
have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they
see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are
like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.

Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to
understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow
blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.

Do they not then think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up
(from understanding it)?

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

And they say: "Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which
you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a screen,
so work you (on your way); verily, we are working (on our way)."

They are content to be with those (the women) who sit behind (at home).
Their hearts are sealed up (from all kinds of goodness and right guidance), so
they understand not.

The ground (of complaint) is only against those who are rich, and yet ask
exemption. They are content to be with (the women) who sit behind (at
home) and Allah has sealed up their hearts (from all kinds of goodness and
right guidance) so that they know not (what they are losing).

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

And whenever there comes down a Surah (chapter from the Quran), they
look at one another (saying): "Does any one see you?" Then they turn away.
Allah has turned their hearts (from the light) because they are a people that
understand not.
These Aayaat make it clear that the place of understanding is the heart and not
the mind as many people think. Only n recent studies they have discovered
that the heart is the place of understanding and on top of that the heart
contains thousands if not millions of memory cells.
You as a human body have far more capabilities than you think. You are able
to memorize a great deal it is a gift that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Taaalaa has
gifted us with.
The past scholars that have memorized a great deal of Hadeeth were not
immortal neither was it something that only they could do. All of the narrators
and scholars used to memorize a great deal of Aahadeeth but the examples
that were told to us or those who reached to such a high level of memorizing
that they reached millions of Aahaadeeth.
There is no need to have a fear as long as you dont know what you are
capable of, why not do the means and reasons and see what Allaah brings by
Dont depend on the means and reasons do them but dont rely on them.
Rely on Allaah and do the means and reasons. You might be in a limited ability
in memorizing but Allah is greater He is your Creator and the One who
fashioned you and He is the one who will help you overcome this- Trust in

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?


It is very simple, the main way is to REPEAT but the repeating has to
be organized as well. When you repeat something dont repeat it at once
Choose a certain number not less than 70, because some of the scholars said
that if the dars is repeated less than 70 times it is not enough, therefore, the
teacher advised it to be 99 times as an odd number.
You would take the text you want to memorize and section it off into
portions. You cannot memorize it all at once especially if you dont speak
Arabic, so at first choose a small quantity. Listen to it with an audio
recording and read it look at it, look at what you are memorizing this
is very important.

For example, if you wish to memorize the poetry on etiquettes by Abu Ishaaq
Al-Ilbeeriyy, choose a portion of the text you choose to memorize.



Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

For organizing the times that you will repeat: First of all, dont do it all at
once, so if for example you want to repeat something 99 times you
would part it into three days 33 repetitions a day for 3 days. you can
choose 3 prayers, for example: someone who has returned home from
work can choose `Asr, Maghrib and` Ishaa. After you have completed the
first prayer and the adhkaar, you read it 11 times from the book
while listening to the audio then you let it go. Then after the next
prayer you repeat this again (reading from the book and the audio) and
again after the third prayer. You can do this with Quraan or anything
you want to memorize. The second day you do the same and the third
day you do the same. As you repeat, you will find yourself memorizing,
whether you wanted to or not (and of course we want to). It is even
better to not read it all from the book You could make the first 22
times from the book and the last 11 times try to do from heart.

DAY 1 =
DAY 2 =
DAY 3 =
Use the signs over the squares
to cross over the box once you
have made the recitation as
shown. This chart can be used
for 3 days.
Once you read the portion the
first time after Asr, Magrib
and Isha draw a line on the
square and complete all
For Day 2 and Day 3 you will
use the respected strokes and
do the same as shown.
In 3 days you will have
accomplished 99 times.

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

*The more gaps you make between repeating the more you will pick it
up. The less gaps the less you will pick it up. Making gaps between the
repetition is very very effective (meaning dont read all 99 at once) For
maximum effectiveness distribute the repetitions.
***99 repetition over 3 days: 33 repetition a day divided into 11 repetitions
after 3 salaat that you choose***
Take a partner, especially if you are not used to this already. Take as
many partners two, three or four. This is encouraging for you and
good to have someone with you doing something that may be hard or
odd. The best partner is your spouse if you are married and the kids for
the mothers for the sake to keep you going. If you are left alone you
will not go anywhere. Teacher does not say this to interfere with the will
of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Taaalaa but because the human self (the
nafs) is inclined to leave what is hard on her and what requires
effort! With a partner you will feel encouraged and you will try to do
better and there will be a spirit of competion. You should do this EVERY
DAY, dont miss a day without memorizing but if you rest let it only be
one day a week.

99 times is the least therefore we have made boxes with one hundred
squares each that students can use for keeping track.

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

For example if you are memorizing Qawaaidul Arbaa cut out one box
and put it inside the book on the page that you are memorizing. After
you repeat it once strike though the box like below strike through
for each repetition until you finish this box will encourage you to
continue, you will be motivated to complete the entire box.

If you want to use it again for the next part/section you are memorizing ( the
section should be to a complete sentence) then you can start striking like
so: and keep using it for each section you memorize so you dont waste paper

You can choose less, but the most important thing is that it is not less
than 99. Many of the students that the teacher has in his location
started on 99. And they were very encouraged the first days to the point
that two of them did above 150. Remember the less you repeat, the less
your memorizing will be accurate.
The Teacher had chosen the numbers 99-950 because they are numbers
that are in the Quraan and Sunnah. The names of Allaah are 99 so
teacher choose 99 and Nuh `Alayhis salaam stayed 950 years calling his
people to Tawheed, therefore, so he choose 950 to be the limit.
One should revise daily, especially for revising the Quraan. It should be
your daily routine. The best way to do so is the sunan Salah which can
reach up to 50 /day. It is a very good thing if you pray the 12 rawaatib
every day.
So if you want to pray 12 sunan prayers then read a page in every rak`ah,
and if you cant read a page then read half a page. and you keep reading
the Quran like this in your sunan until you finished what you have
memorized and then go back again. You start from the beginning of
where you have memorized until the end [reciting a page or half a page
in each rak`ah] and when you reach the end you go back to beginning
again. The more you memorize the more you read in your sunan.

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?

As for other than the Quraan: it is very very important that after youve
memorized something, you revise it that you try and read it once every
day , that is every once a day for 2 months and if you cant read it once
a day then 3x for a week.

*The most important period in memorizing is revising* It is even more

important than memorizing itself! You will find that the more you
memorize the more you will be so good in what you memorize.

If you do not have allot of time to spare in the day then lessen the
quantity you are memorizing but the important thing is dont move on
to a new portion until you have memorized the first. It is better to start
with a smaller amount of repetitions at first which means that you to get
yourself used to it. Go slowly with your nafs or you will not stay with it.
In the first few weeks, go with 3 lines or 3 aayaat and gradually increase
after that do 5 aayat and always remember that the important thing is
that you dont decrease, menaing always increase.


By: Umm Abdillah Zaiba Bint Hashim As-Sirilankiyyah

Establishing the principles | Fahd At-Taahiriyy | A brief treatise on How to memorize?