Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I am currently studying the Ajurumiyya and understand that a serious student should strive to memorize the text.
I was wondering if this is still the case for someone who has forgotten Surahs of the Qur’an that they had previously memorized- in this situation should the focus of memorization be on the Qur’an instead?
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
May Allah bless you for your resolve to memorize the texts of Islamic studies. This includes the foundational texts of Arabic grammar (nahw and sarf), as they are the keys to sound, precise, and nuanced understanding of the language of Revelation and the Islamic sciences.
Memorization of the primers (mutun)—when accompanied by proper study under trained scholars—gives one a framework for one’s knowledge; and ready access to the details and nuances of any science.
In the Hanafi school, it isn’t sinful to have forgotten some of the Quran that one memorized. [Khadimi/Birgivi, al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]
Rather, it is an encouraged sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) to review the Quran.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Review the Quran, for—by the One in whose grasp is my soul!—it leaves one like a camel left untied leaves.” [Bukhari]
By doing so, one would be under the Prophetic promise that, “The one who is expert in the Quran will be with the noble high angels.” [Bukhari and Muslim] Imam Nawawi explained this to include those who have strong memorization of the Quran—such that they are able to recite from memory without difficulty nor hesitation. [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]
Thus, you should have a regular routine of reviewing the Quran that you have memorized—such that you become “expert” in the portion of the Quran you have memorized.
This can be done by:
(1) Establishing a daily routine of reciting and reviewing some of the Quran you have memorized;
(2) Including some of what you have memorized in your recitation in prayer;
(3) Having a plan for reviewing your memorization—and setting goals;
(4) Having a Qur’an teacher with whom you consolidate your Quran memorization—and, InshaAllah, eventually continue the journey of your Quran memorization.
What About Memorizing Islamic Texts When You Have Quran Requiring Revision?
Given that it is important for students of knowledge to memorize Islamic texts, and given the importance of the text you mentioned (the Ajrumiyya in the science of grammar, nahw), you should strive to both (a) have a routine of regular review of your Qur’an memorization and (b) actively work on memorizing these Islamic texts.
The memorization of Islamic texts is also most fruitfully done by reading what you memorize to a teacher; and by studying the text under a qualified teacher.
Do consider the various courses in Arabic Grammar offered in the SeekersGuidance Arabic Language Program. All these courses are offered completely free, Alhamdulillah.
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), and his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.