“Kathratut tilaawah (abundant recitation).” That was the beautifully succinct answer of one my teachers when he was asked as to how a person can strengthen their hifz. And that’s all that there is to it really. There are so many articles and advice out there as to what method to use, what to do, what not to do, when to memorise, which mus-haf to use, what to eat, etc. And all those things have their place alhamdulillah, but at the end of the day what it all boils down to is simply this: recite, recite, recite – and then recite some more. There are no short-cuts or easy paths here. Repetition after repetition after repetition is the only way to gain mastery over your hifz.
It’s like walking through a forest… The path at first might be overgrown and the journeying might therefore be difficult. You might tire soon and only be able to travel a short distance at a time. You might come to forks in the road leaving you confused to as to which path to take as they all seem so similar. But what happens the more and more you travel this journey? The path eventually becomes beaten out and easy to travel on. Your stamina increases and you are able to travel much greater distances at a time. And those forks in the path that seemed so perplexing before eventually no longer confuse you. But all this only comes with traveling this path, many, many times. Only after completing many, many khatms will you eventually begin to know your Qur’an well.
What do I mean by knowing your Qur’an well? I mean that you should be able to start reciting a particular juz of the Qur’an and complete it, without getting stuck such that you need to look in the mus-haf in order to be able to continue, and without having to revise the juz beforehand. Mistakes are inevitable, but those should be minimal. As was stated before, you would only be able to do this by reciting Qur’an a lot. So what does that mean? What constitutes a lot? In order to gain a certain a level of mastery of your hifz, I feel that it is necessary to go through at least a short period of time of intense recitation. For the least, five juz daily. Then to increase that and bring it up to ten juz a day, or even more if possible. That might sound like too much and an impossible task, but it can be done. And the best time to do this is now in Ramadan.
Perhaps we didn’t start off the month as well as we would have wished. Maybe we let the middle part of the month slip by without achieving as much as we would have liked. But at least now we still have the last ten days to rectify this and increase our recitation of the Qur’an as much as possible and try reach the heights outlined above, bi-idhnillah.
Outside of Ramadan it is very difficult to constantly recite a large amount, but we should at least be consistent in reciting a smaller amount. I feel that every two weeks is a nice amount of time in which to complete a khatm. It is not so short as to be too burdensome, but also short enough that it would keep your hifz on a strong level.
Another idea is to recite one khatm during the day and a different one at night. This is something Imam al-Ghazali mentions as being a practice of some of the predecessors. At first when I read it I thought it was something maybe out of reach of the ordinary person, and only for special slaves of Allah, but it too is something that can be attained with a little bit of effort. There are certain benefits to reciting from looking in the mus-haf, and there are other benefits to reciting from memory. Using this method, you could then recite during the day by looking in the mus-haf and recite at night from memory, and thus gain the best of both of these two ways of recitation.
May Allah ta’ala make it easy upon us all to recite His Kalaam in abundance and perfect our hifz of His Book, ameen.