|Forum Home > General Discussion > Memorization or Understanding Â– Which Takes Preference?|
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh
Sometimes students and parents ask questions about why specific subjects may be repeating in the coming year, or why they are reviewing materials from the previous semester or year. The best way to answer this question is found within this post. Read and reflect inshaAllah. Jazakillahu Khayrun
Questions posed to Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee:
All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of the whole of the creation. To proceed: These questions are from one of the Salafi brothers in Qatar. I ask Allaah that he grant us and him success in achieving all that is good and that he distances us and him from all that is evil and harmful.
The questioner says:
"If a student of knowledge was to read a text from the Islamic religious texts upon a Shaykh and he understood it without memorising it, is this sufficient for him? Also, is it (correct) for him to move on to another text or is it necessary to memorise the text he has studied and understand the issues that his shaykh has (mentioned), benefit us may you be rewarded?"
The most important thing is to understand the text and understand its meaning. If a person can memorise and understand then this is good but if not then precedence is given to understanding, precedence is given to understanding.
The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
"May Allah brighten the face of a person who hears my words, and memorises them, and conveys them to someone who did not hear them. It is possible that the transmitter of knowledge does not himself understand it, and he may transmit knowledge to others who are more knowledable. The heart of a Muslim should never harbour malice against three things: sincerity in actions performed solely for Allah's sake, advising the Muslim leaders, and clinging to the community of believers. For truly their call encompasses the rest of the people."
From another angle: then verily what has been memorised will eventually be forgotten and normally lost but as for understanding then it remains.
From a third angle: then merely memorising words without understanding the meaning is of no benefit. We heard a while ago that there was a student of knowledge in Yemen who memorised ar-Rawdah that covers the Fiqh of the Shaafi'ee school of thought, and if he was asked about an issue he would be unable to explain and clarify it.
When the students differed about a matter of Fiqh and they wanted to recall a portion of ar-Rawdah to support their position then they would call this student. They would say: Read for us such and such a chapter from ar-Rawdah; and he would read it without omitting a letter. So they called him the donkey of ar-Rawdah.
The fourth angle: It is upon the student of knowledge to supplicate to Allaah that He bestows upon him the understanding of His Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, and that he give him understanding of the religion. The Prophet said: " If Allāh wants good for someone, He gives him correct understanding of the religion."
Question: Is it better to repeat the study of a particular text from the Islamic religious texts or is it sufficient to study it once and then move on to another text, benefit us may you be rewarded?
Answer: This depends upon the understanding of the student. If the student has a strong understanding and he understands the lesson correctly then it is better to move on to another text.
However, if the student's understanding is weak and he does not understand the text, then it is befitting for him to study it again until he understands it properly. And without a doubt that repeating the text for a second time will consolidate the information.
And successs lies with Allaah.
Shaykh Ahmed an-Najmi, al-Fataawa al-Jaliyyah 'An al-Manaahij ad-Da'wiyyah, p. 102-103.
Original post from Troid