Etched In My Memory


slate quran

A chilled breeze sweeps crispy autumn leaves across my glass terrace door. The sun creeps into the horizon streaking shades of pink and orange. After a long glance at my backyard, I lift my stubby piece of chalk against my letter-sized slate and begin.

So was the way I began every beautiful morning so many years ago. Years that feel like only yesterday and will definitely be just as fresh tomorrow. The three golden years I dedicated to memorizing the Qur’an.

Tracing my fingers over the words in my mushaf, I would carefully etch the verses on to my slate, smudging and rewriting as I went. I struggled each letter to perfection; smoothening my “Sin (س)” curves and enlarging my “saads (ص)” and “taas (ط)”, as my Shaikh taught. I remember the serene feeling of focus and precision that I would feel, as the cardinals sang and the squirrels scurried, as my hand shaped the divine letters and my lips uttered the noble verses. My mind would wander away to the distant lands across the Atlantic, beyond the shores of Morocco, in the discreet villages of Africa, the local rundown schools of Indonesia- all home to children writing the Quran on their slates and memorizing its verses just like I was. It was all a continuation of a legacy left by the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wasallam to record Allah’s word in print just as memorization recorded it in hearts and minds.

Later on in the day, I would watch anxiously as my Shaikh read what I had written for the day’s lesson. Within a minute, he would skim through the entire slate, correcting the vowels and fixing my crooked letters. “Writing is half of memorization,” he would always say. I wasn’t to discover the truth in his words until much later.

Looking back at the numerous techniques I used while memorizing – from writing and listening to CDs to reading Tafsir and highlighting mutashabihaat (similar verses) or repeating a single page over 100 times, I can confidently say that writing the Quran was one of the most useful techniques for me. It allowed me to form a picture bond with each page as I memorized it, taking note of the exact location of each word and paying special attention to the vowels of each letter. A perfect combination of practice and precision that benefitted me many times over.

So if you find yourself stumped while memorizing, or are struggling to remember a verse that you constantly forget, pull out a piece of paper and write it over and over again, until you feel relaxed while writing and confident to test your progress. Or even better, dedicate your favorite notebook (200 pages or more) to this technique, number the pages and get writing! It’ll become one of your most prized possessions and biggest stress relievers.

Oh Allah! Just as You gave me Tawfiq to inscribe Your Divine words on to my slate, inscribe them on to my heart and mind, and make the Quran my lifelong companion in times of difficulty and ease. Ameen

اللهم اجعل القرآن العظيم ربيع قلوبنا ونور صدورنا وجلاء أحزاننا وذهاب همومنا وغمومنا

~ The Sahara Bloggers (Niqabinja)

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