Qur'an: Memorizing without understanding it

Q542 :In many non-Arabic speaking parts of the Muslim world, you find people who memorize the Qur'an in full, but without understanding it. I know that one is rewarded for reciting the Qur'an, but the purpose of reading and memorizing is not served in this way. Please comment.


A542 : There is no doubt that to memorize one of the parts of the Qur'an and to study it at the same time in order to understand the meaning of its verses and what they signify in actual life is infinitely better than memorizing the whole of the Qur'an without understanding its meaning. Scholars have always emphasized this and quoted the example of the companions of the Prophet who used to study a few verses at a time. Many of them would not move on to study another passage until they have implemented the first one in their lives. This means that their approach was not merely one which relied on understanding, but they took it a step further to practical implementation. Having said that, I should add that those who memorize the Qur'an, even though they may not understand it, serve an important purpose. Allah has guaranteed the preservation of the Qur'an without distortion for all time. When you remember that printing is, relatively speaking, a recent development and that the Qur'an was revealed in a nation in which people who were able to read and write were very few, then you realize that it was passed on from one person to another on the basis of memorization. There were attempts by colonial powers and other hostile forces to promote special prints of the Qur'an in which they might have introduced a small distortion here and there. But these were soon discovered and all copies were burned out. The Qur'an memorizers have played an important role in foiling such evil attempts. [It will not be correct thus to compare one with the other when both have vital contribution in the life of Muslims. Of course those who are able to memorize the Qur'an and understand it are by far the blessed.]


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )