Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir- RaheemAlhamdulillaah, a fellow student provided the transcript of this beneficial lecture- may Allaah reward them with all good.
Our teacher began with praising Allaah and sending the salaat and salaam on the Prophet, his family and companions and those who follow them exactly to the Last Day.
All of us know the merits of seeking knowledge as there are several evidences in the Qur’aan, ahadith of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) & many tales /stories of the Sahabah. Insha-Allaah we will discuss something very important today ie. how to gain this knowledge. This knowledge is beneficial only when we memorize. Knowledge does not happen without memorizing. That is why the scholars of Islaam said:
‘مَن حَفِظَ المُتُونَ حَازَ الفُنُون‘ ‘Man hafidhal mutoon Haazal Funoon.’
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 knowledge.
(Man hafidhal mutoon) – Those who have memorized the Books
(Haazal Funoon) – ‘gained the different fields of knowledge.’
And they also said:
‘ وَمَن لَم يَحفَظِ الأُصُولَ حُرِمَ الوُصُول ‘ ‘Wamallam yahfadhil Usool hurimal wusool.’
‘ And those who didn’t memorize the Books will not reach the knowledge as the ones before us reached.’
So, memorizing the knowledge is the Highest & the Most important level of all. Rather memorizing is a condition to knowledge. That means there is no way that knowledge can be acquired, gained, or gathered without memorizing & this was what our rightly guided ancestors were upon as we shall clarify, Insha-Allaah. 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:
‘ الحِفظُ الإِتقَانُ ‘ ‘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 & that is why they urged their students to memorize & 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,
‘ الإِتقَانُ هُوَ الحِفظُ ‘ ‘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 & does not memorize it, is just like the man who takes a mouthful of food & throws it behind his back.’ Do you see him getting full? Never!! If he does so, when will he suffice himself as there is no intake?
So it is with Ilm. It is like taking bits & pieces of knowledge & throwing it without benefiting from it.
Imaam al Asgari said,
‘if that which you have gathered of this knowledge was little & it was memorized, you will greatly benefit from it. And if the knowledge was plenty & it was not memorized,
your benefit of it will be very, very little’.
Abdul Razzak ibn Hammam is an Imaam as San’aani & his Book is one of the sources of as-Sunnah. He has a Book called ‘Al Musannaf’ which contains many ahadeeth & athaar of the Sahabah, (many tales of the Sahabah). He says:
‘Every bit of knowledge which does not enter the restroom with the man,
then don’t consider it of knowledge!’
What he meant was — Don’t consider what is not memorized & not in your heart as knowledge.
Al-Khalil (one of the Imaams of al–Lugaah) says in his poem:
‘Knowledge is not what the books contain. Knowledge is what the heart contains.’
Now we will enlighten you with some stories as to how some Imaams memorized & how they considered memorizing as the key to knowledge.
Aamir ibn Shuraheel as-Sha’bi, (the one who died in the year 104H), said:
‘I have not placed black on white ever.’
That means he never wrote anything down. He memorized everything he wrote.
‘Neither did someone tell me something & I needed him to repeat.’
This means, 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 Katada ibn Da’ama as Sedusi (d118H) said:
‘I have never told a narrator to repeat for me & 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 & who ever wants let him test me with one letter’.
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 & 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 & he wasn’t writing. Days passed & we said to him, ‘you attend with us but we don’t see you writing. What do you do?’ So he told us after 16 days, ‘you have insisted & you have asked me a lot & I want you to show me what you have in your Books’. So we took our books out & he read to us by heart what was in our books until he reached fifteen thousand ahadith. He didn’t make a mistake in one letter. He said: ‘Do you see me attending & 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):
‘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 Ma’adi’ al Muhammad ibn Ali ibn abi Ash’ari bin Halabi (d 789) that he memorized surathul An’am when he was young after one reading. And he memorized a lot in a very few period of time. And so did other a’imma as well.
Ibn Sanama (d 82) memorized the Qur’aan in two months.
And Muhammad bin Muslim az Zuhari (d 125) memorized the Qur’aan in 80 nights.
In our times the Mashaaik said that there was a Turkish student in one of the universities who was able to memorize the Qur’aan 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, & Sahih Muslim contains about 8000 hadith. Also he memorized Surathul An’am 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 me.’ And he Ishaq ibn rahawaya also said ‘I know the places of a hundred & 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, & 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 Sar’sari 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 & so narrated to us that so & so narrated to us that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said this & 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 & I never saw it from the time I had written it. And verily I know in which book it is & in which paper, which page & 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 & they, (the people I narrated to) said that I had mistaken in seven. So when I went back & checked those seven & I found that I had only mistaken in two.’
So this is not a fairy tale. This is real & this is what they used to depend upon specially 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 & 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) & we will mention it inshaAllaah soon.
Ali ibn Naisaboori said about Abdaan (d.136 AH),
‘As for Abdaan he used to memorize a hundred thousand ahadith’.
Muhammad ibn Ismaeel al-Buhkari said,
‘I memorized a hundred thousand authentic ahadith & 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 & 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 sit down, a session, for him to test how him in how much he memorizes. So ten of the scholars sat & 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 & 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 & 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 & that they had flipped around the ahadith. When every scholar used to finish a hadith he says to Al-Bukhari, ‘What do you know about this hadith?’ Imaam Bukhari replied, ‘I don’t know it.’ And then he tells him second hadith & he says ‘I don’t know this hadith’. And they thought he didn’t know anything whilst Al-Bukhari knew what they were up to. So they said, ‘this man doesn’t know anything.’
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 & then he put them in order. He memorized even their test i.e. the hadith they tested him with which was not in order & 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.’
How to memorize?
Know may Allaah guide me & 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 & 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. And that is how they used to memorize & 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 don’t 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 & that’s why they reached a point where what they memorized got carved in their hearts, that’s why they don’t have to go back to the book & listen to it. So whoever wanted to memorize something, a certain book, let’s say the Book of Imaam Bukhari, I put the book into small portions, & every day I take this portion whether it was twenty ahadith or ten ahadith or even five ahadith & I repeat it.
Taking is 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 & 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 don’t 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 & you repeat this portion twenty times or thirty 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 rak’ah, 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 wouldn’t 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 & 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 doesn’t 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-Shafi’iyah – 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 don’t 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 & 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 & we were born in a time of writing when people learn how to read & write. Our dependence upon writing is greater than our 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 & get used in the same manner then it will be very easy for you to memorize anything you want. (No one can take it away from you..)
I will read to you some recent stories so that you don’t say that this is something from the past & 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 Mauritanians (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 – wikipedia).
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 & they wanted to test him. So they brought him & he was reading out this dictionary from his memory. Before this these very people made fun of him & then when he came & 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 & concise dictionary of the Arabic words & if anyone wanted to buy then let them take this book & this print.
Al Allama As-Seedi Abdullah ibn al Haaj Ibrahim Al Alawi? D. 1250 *** (Name not clear) 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 & I do the explanation.’
—- This means that he used to memorize all the sources of the Fiqh & this is not a joke. We are talking about 20 to 30 volumes each source & he used to memorized 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 & each group would circle around the masjid & 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: –
- 1. Al-Ikhlaas
- 2. Dua’a
- 3. Abandoning sins
- 4. Taking the issue seriously
- 5. Getting used to it
- 6. Acting upon it
- 7. Choosing the right time
8. Choosing a partner
- 1. Al-Ikhlaas – You are memorizing because you want to preserve this knowledge within you so that it is easier for you to understand it.
- 2. Dua’a – You should ask Allaah first & foremost that He (azzawajal) helps you with your memorization. You should not depend on your abilities. In fact, your abilities are just means & reasons. At-tawakul is to rely upon Allaah (subahanahu wa ta’ala) totally with your heart & just do the means & reasons.
Don’t 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 & she started memorized the whole Qur’aan 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)!
- 3. Abandoning the sins – this knowledge is a light from Allaah & it is not gained with sins & the more you avoid the sins, the more Allaah will give you this light.
- 4. 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 don’t let a day pass without memorizing. Every day memorize something even if it was three words or a line.
- 5. Getting used to it – Gradually increase the portion you are memorizing.. slowly… slowly. Don’t 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 & then increase it to one line. And you will realise that as the days pass, the more you are able to & also getting stronger & 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) & 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 &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 & he went & 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 & I asked him, ‘How many times did you repeat?’. He said, ‘I repeated forty times’. He was expecting me to say ‘Ah that’s a lot. Better luck next time.’ But I said ‘That’s great! If you were able to memorize this by repeating 40 times that is beautiful’!! I told him ‘Others repeat for 80 times & they don’t 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 & him were memorizing about two to three pages a day. And now MaashaAllaah this has even affected his IQ & 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 & how they speak & what words they use & 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!!’
That’s why the scholars wrote small, tiny Books for their students to memorize & 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 & you have written several volumes?’
Let’s 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 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 & 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 & they would then have the key & the base on which to build on whatever they wanted to after that. That’s 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 portion.
- 6. 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 a’imma said,
‘One of our means to memorizing a hadith was acting upon it’.
- 7. Choosing the right time to memorize – Don’t 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 doesn’t work for either the brothers or the sisters the other way is to record yourself. If you don’t 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 then store what you have read in your mp3 player & then just put it in your ears & repeat it.
While you are working around the house play this piece of audio that you have recorded, put it on auto repeat, & 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 stories.
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 & had eventually memorized it just from his repeating it. Two weeks passed by & he came back to her & 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 & if you can’t do it, I will do it for you. I have already done ‘Qawaaid al Arba’a’ & it is available on the website. So take it & put it in an mp3 & 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. That’s why take me (Fahd al Tahiri) 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 & I memorized it in a way that I can’t make mistakes. So you take a reciter who you love to listen to & read along with him.
**(If possible find a reader close to your voice, so it would be better), 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 & then stop the tape, & repeat it from the beginning. You will see yourself memorising in no time. If you want to do something you can do it. Don’t kid yourself & say, ‘no, I can’t no.’ Mind you, the sinners are memorizing songs everyday & we are worthier than those who are with their songs. Look at some Muslims kids who are memorizing songs & nasheeds. By the time they come back home they have already memorized it. The same thing you can do & there is nothing special about it. Just repeat!!
Some of them used to even choose ways that they would get themselves into a situation. Some of them would get out their homes & walk to the east repeating so that when he finishes repeating he doesn’t get bored. When he is returning home he says, ‘I can’t 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 & do the same … thereafter he heads towards the north & does the same. Then he heads towards the south & does the same. In a way , they were seeking means & 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 dua’a. Sometimes I would memorize something or revise something & then suddenly I would stop. And I am not saying this to exaggerate & support the issue of memorizing. Sometimes I would just stop & not be able to continue even what I had memorized. And by Allaah I would recite the dua’a of Syed al Isthighfar — the one that says ‘Allahumma antha rabbi…’ it is in Hisnul Muslim & I would just continue with no hesitation & 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 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 haven’t recited the dua’a except that I would continue saying out what I have memorized.