All praise and thanks are due to Allāh (SWT), who blessed us with the Glorious Qur’ān. Abundant salutations be upon our beloved teacher and role model, the first haafidh, Nabi Muhammad (SAW).
I’m priviliged to have advice at my fingertips from Muhammed Sheik, the winner of the South African National Qur’an Competition, which took place in August this year. Of course I had my ustadh to advise me, but it was comforting knowing that he recently went through what I was about to experience, and excelled, ma-sha-Allah. The format of my Qur’an exam was similar to his Qur’an competition.
Make du’a before and after you recite.
I generally make du’a before I recite but afterwards, I’m falling asleep already and so zoned out that I forget.
Before you recite, ask Allah to send the thawaab of your recitation to all the past, present and future Muslims until the day of Qiyaamah.
SubhanAllah, what an incredibly beautiful intention! Think about all the people who did not or currently don’t have the opportunity that we have to recite and/or memorise the Qur’an. It makes me think of the ayah where Allah (SWT) says, “…Allah is never unjust…” (Qur’an, 4:40). By us making this beautiful intention, others will come on the day of Qiyaamah with just as much thawaab as us in-sha-Allah.
Side note: Being the person I am, and out of fear of falling into bid’ah, I asked him about the ruling on this. He replied that it is permissible according to the majority of the world’s scholars. (There is a difference of opinion though, where the Gulf scholars disapprove).
It’s important to look for other mutashābihāt as soon as you come across the first one. Write them on a page and after you finish practicing your revision for the day, read through the mutashābihāt on your little note page.
NB: Things to know about the mutashābihāt are:
the differences in the two āyāt;
where each one occurs;
the beginning of the next āyah after the mutashābihāt and
how many times it is repeated.
You do not have to go through every single mutashābihāt the way I explained above, rather just those that really confuse you.
I’d reccomend keeping a note book instead of having loose pages. There is also a mutashābihāt Qur’an that you can refer to if you can’t figure out where the other mutashābihāt is.
Correcting Old Mistakes
My dad would make me read it six times minimum – three times looking inside and the remainder in your mind.
I would suggest keep on reading it even ten times, until you’re confident that you won’t forget it again… ever in-sha-Allah.
One of my teachers said I should recite the corrected mistake ten times. I don’t know whether she meant looking in or not, so I would try to recite it both ten times looking in and then ten times without looking.
Advice on Testing
It’s important to keep your eyes fixed on a specific spot while you’re reciting, then you should try and picture where you’re reciting.
Recite abundant salawaat before going for your recital, in-sha-Allah, it will help calm the nerves.
Don’t stress… Allah has blessed you with the Qur’an – reciting it for Him takes away any anxiety or fear.
I usually close my eyes while I’m reciting and most definitely picture where I am reciting.
If you have any hifdh-related questions for him, I’m sure he’d be happy to answer them. I hope you benefit from the advice and spare a du’a for the blessed brother in-sha-Allah.