Posted by: Dawud Israel | November 30, 2009

Strategies for Hadith Memorization

Bismillah, alhamdulillah, wa salat wa salam ala Rasulullah
I was reading some 40 Hadith Nawawi a few nights ago and I realized a lot of the obstacles in memorizing hadith come from how we approach hadith as opposed to how the Sahabas lived and lived with new hadith almost on a daily basis.

Let me explain what I mean:

When we think of learning hadith, it comes to mind similar to a Quran hifdh assignment, like homework, we just wanna avoid it. I think the secret to this is making the hadiths meaningful to yourself (not others, but YOU!). So attaching them to a time of need, a special holy time of year or a time of high emotion. Also has to do with our love of the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam- many talk about “FOLLOW THE SUNNAH!” rather than point us to the door from which we can easily come to follow the Sunnah: Loving the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam (lots of salawat, reading poetry, etc.)

Think about it…the more you increase in loving Nabi salallahu alayhi wasalam, the more genuine your motivation to say his words, treasure them and live by them. You see those words as if they were spoken yesterday in front of you. You won’t hesitate in learning new hadith and chase after the khayr, no?


The other way in which we see hadith differently from the Sahabas is we see them as a written text- so now we have to say things like “Rewahul Bukhari” and this adds to the feeling of always referencing. This is less natural than how the Sahabas were saying, “Abu Hurayrah heard from…who heard from”- thats much more similar to a conversation you or I would have about something that happened today.So I think learning a hadith when you first hear it from the shaykh ADDS to making it memorable. You make the hadith an event, that happened to you and not just something you read as homework- and this brings it closer to your daily experience and its easier to recall that hadith and put that hadith into action. Just more connected with the everyday.


I think referencing is great, but as our communities grow with the deen and become more en-cultured with Islam- referencing will lose importance, because its like me quoting Fatiha- everyone knows it. So its unnecessary to mention “Reewahul Muslim” because everyone knows where I got it from. I think when we reached that it’ll be a sign of success.


Hadith as ConversationI figures since unlike Quran, hadith is largely “he said, then he said, then she said…” conversation like, to perhaps work with that.


Rather than rushing through the hadith (like how we rush through surahs!) to instead take it SLOW (the Slow Hadith Movement begins!)…we don’t rush through conversations in everyday life, so why rush through a hadith.

Which leads me to my next grand point….

How about a Telephone Game?

One bro calls another bro and says, “Fakhbirni anil Imaan? (Tell me about Imaan)” and then the other replies, “An tuminu billah, wa malaikati, wa kutubihi…” (Its to believe in Allah, His angels, His books…)

Depending on your phone-rates you could pretty much call any student who is serious enough for this and just go back and forth. Could be pretty neat. I haven’t tried it, but I could see myself doing it.

My oldest method for memorizing hadith involves taking notes from audio talks and taking special note as to “how” the speaker says the hadith: the rhythm, intonations, emphasis, every aspect of it- and make that memorable, like how people make comedic impersonations memorable- and then write the text down and review it consistently, re-playing the voice of the speaker saying it. I believe some people, like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf have a gift or a baraka in their speeches- I can memorize his words very easily, and a handful of other scholars have this as well, so you have to also look at which scholars method of delivery best suits you.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.


  1. Very informative.

  2. Assalamualaykum
    It is still important (and may be more important) now to reference hadeeth due to the large amount of fabricated hadeeth.
    Jazaakallah khayr

  3. Swagggerss this be a GREAT tipppp for me nd da famm who be tryna be religgiousness n stuffs we finna be dat MUFTI status eyyyyy

    • sorry im not trying to be rude or anything and im happy you and your family are trying to learn more about islam but come on brother drop the slang language talk like a normal person( don’t mean to be rude please do not be offended) jazak allah kheir wa aslamualykum wa rahmatulahi wa baraktu

  4. Amazing, JazakaAllah for sharing. I hope you continue to write, as this was of great benefit for me. BarakaAllahu feek

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