The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing


AD-Dawa Al-Bayyin

The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing
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The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing
Author: Shaikh Saalih Abdul Azeez Alish Shaikh
(may Allah preserve him)
Source: Taken from a transcribed excerpt of a tape entitle, “The Importance
the Salaf Placed on Seeking Knowledge”. 
www.Sahab.net
Translator: Abu `Abdis Salaam Siddiq Al Juyaanee
aaa
The student of knowledge must memorize in order to have deep
understanding. In the past some of the scholars used to
memorize (the dictionary) Al Qamoos. (Note) it is not correct to
call a Mu’jam a Qamoos)1. This is because a Mu’jam is a book
which removes all signs of non Arabic influences that have crept
into the language. Meaning, (it replaces) that which you may have
forgotten from the Arabic language or (removes) those non
Arabic influences that have linguistically affected you (i.e. your
tongue). As far as Qamoos, then this word means ocean (the
name of this type of dictionary illustrates its size). Therefore it is
incorrect to call a Mu’jam a Qamoos. Some speculate that
Mu’jam means Qamoos (but as explained) this is incorrect for
Qamoos means ocean.
Fayrooz Aabaadee named his dictionary Al Qamoos Al Muheet
and Al Qamoos Al Waseet due to the fact that it distinguishes
and expounds upon the Arabic language; just as it has been said
1 Translator’s Note: both of these words are translated to mean dictionary;
however, there is quite a difference between them in the Arabic language.
The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing

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that (figuratively the Arabic language) had been scattered, thus
Fayrooz (attempted to) collected it in his dictionary.
Some of the scholars used to memorize those large dictionaries.
About this, other scholars of that era were asked about such an
individual (who had memorized a dictionary) and was in love with
the modern sciences. Even though this one who had memorized
the dictionary was himself a scholar, when some of the other
scholars were asked about this as it was mentioned to them that
so and so had memorized the dictionary, they would respond by
saying,
“Masha Allah, we have another copy of the dictionary in the city.”
In this (statement), (like in these times) there is a trivialization
(and belittlement) of memorizing. Memorizing is the foundation
of that knowledge which the Prophet (SallAllahu alahi wa sallam)
left to be inherited. Allah the Most High said to His messenger

“And when We have recited it to you (O Muhammad
through Jibrael), then follow you its (the Qur’an’s) recital.
Then it is for Us (Allah) to make it clear to you”
[Surah Qiyaamah: 18-19]
The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing

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First comes memorizing (committing knowledge to memory).

“And when We have recited it to you (O Muhammad
through Jibrael), then follow you its (the Qur’an’s) recital.”
[Surah Qiyaamah: 18]
Then Allah says in another verse,

“That We may strengthen your heart thereby.”
[Surah Furqan: 32]
Then Allah says in another verse,

“And (it is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts), in
order that you might recite it to men at intervals.”
[Surah Isra: 106]
(Then Allah says)

Then it is for Us (Allah) to make it clear to you”
[Surah Qiyaamah: 19]
The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing

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Meaning the explanation, clarity and understanding will come
after one memorizes (the text).
Likewise, the Sunnah (illustrates the superiority of memorizing);
the Prophet (SallAllahu alahi wa sallah) recommended and
encouraged that his Sunnah be committed to memory. He
(SallAllahu alahi wa sallam) said, may Allah brighten the face (of
the one…); meaning that Allah makes their face bright in this
world and the hereafter. The Prophet (SallAllahu alahi wa sallam)
said,
“May Allah brighten the one who hears my statement,
memorizes it just as he/she heard it, then transmits it just
as they heard it, perhaps the one who it is transmitted to
may have a deeper insight than the one who heard it.”
Did not the Sahabah preserve the Sunnah by memorizing it? Yes,
they did. Now were all of the Sahabah scholars in Islaamic
Jurisprudence? No, not everyone was, but (those who were not
scholars from amongst them still) committed the Sunnah to
memory and conveyed it (to other Sahabah who were scholars in
Islaamic Jurisprudence). So there came those who (memorized),
understood, safeguarded, and explained the Sunnah in order to
protect and safeguard the religion in this Ummah (Muslim
nation).
Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu anhu) use to constantly review the
statements of the Prophet (SallAllahu alahi wa sallam) in order to
commit them to memory. The Prophet (SallAllahu alahi wa
sallam) knew how hard this was upon him, so he (Sallallahu alahi
wa sallam) said to him, “Aba Hir, spread out your cloak”. So Abu
Hurairah (RadiAllahu anhu) spread out his outer cloak, then he
The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing

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(SallAllahu alahi wa sallam) said tighten your outer cloak. So Abu
Hurairah (RadiAllahu anhu) tightened it. Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu
anhu) said,
“After that I never forgot anything I heard from knowledge.”
Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu anhu) memorized more of the Sunnah
than any other companion. He would stick with the Prophet
(SallAllahu alahi wa sallam) taking in all that he could. This was the
level of importance (placed on knowledge) and the passion of the
one whose foundation is built on memorizing; meaning the one
who works hard and strives to memorize. This is because
understanding comes and goes (as an example), the portion (of
knowledge you understood) when you graduated high school, to
when you graduated from college. How much still remains with
you from those sciences (you barely understood and did not
memorize)? However, had you memorized (and Allah knows
best), it would have stayed with you. (And if you had forgotten
portions of it) if you were to now go and review it, it will come
back (somewhat easily), and if you were to review its explanation,
it will all come back to you to have at your disposal, if Allah
grants you success.
For this reason a student of knowledge should strive hard and
place a tremendous importance on memorizing, like the
importance the Salaf placed on memorizing. When it comes to
the importance the Salaf placed on memorizing there are many
narrations. Whoever reads the books of Seerah and biographies
(of the Salaf) will find much information on this subject matter.
We will mention a narration on this issue in order to make it a bit
clearer, the importance they placed on memorizing.
The Significance and Priority Placed on Memorizing

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As Sa’bee (Rahimahullah) said: Aamir bin Sharaaheel (Rahimahullah)
was one of the great scholars of the Taabi’een (second
generation). He mentioned some of the sciences he was
proficient in and said, (he Aamir (Rahimahullah) would say), if you
wish I could recite poetry for a complete month straight without
repeating myself.
However, it is not proper that a scholar places all of his attention
and emphasis on poetry; rather, he would indeed benefit and take
(advantage of) that which he needs from it2.

2Translator’s Note: The Shaikh (may Allah preserve him) brings this narration as
an example of the vast knowledge that this great scholar had memorized. If this
was the case with regards to the poetry he memorized, imagine what he had with
him from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

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