Build Your Memory, Enhance Your Capacity

memory

Memory is the most important tool in the process of learning. Since the best way for Muslims to use their memory is by learning the Quran, we should take a closer look at the memorization process in order to utilize this ability to the utmost.

During our years of schooling, a large emphasis is placed on increasing the pace of our memorization. However, there is a significant difference between learning and understanding. Learning does not always require conscious effort. Ever heard of rote learning? Without having any knowledge of it, we have rote learned multiplication tables. Do we really think about it or understand multiplication better? No, we don’t, because rote learning is merely a mechanical process. Understanding, however, requires conscious thought where we comprehend the meaning of what we learn. If you challenge somebody’s understanding of material that is just rote-learned and not really understood, you will get a blank face in response. Deep understanding, on the other hand, leads to both insight as well as creativity.

The cerebral cortex (a sheet of neural tissue that covers the cerebrum or forebrain) plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. It is divided into four main regions or lobes: the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe, and the occipital lobe.

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What if your entire memory was erased?

memoryIt is our memories and our past that make us who we are. Every morning, we wake up as the same person. God creates us every morning again, gives us consciousness; and we have all our memories in place telling us who we are, where we live, and what is our past. The people we met, our family, our job, our memories are all the same. Thanks to Allah’s boundless beneficence, we don’t have to get used to or try to adjust to the people we see around or the house we live in, every time we wake up.

Think about it for a second; you wake up one day and your whole memory is gone. You have no idea who you are or whose house you are living in or any who are the people looking at you. Think how you would feel if you had strangers telling you ‘I am your spouse’, ‘Mom, don’t you recognize me?’ and all the details like the school you went to, the courses you took, your birth date, your friends and your family are all lost irretrievably. Surely, losing your memory like that would be a great test for you; but probably now you have a little bit more appreciation of this great blessing you have and will be more thankful for it.

“They (angels) said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

People usually live their lives taking their memories for granted, not even realizing that it is an amazing miracle. They are not aware of the fact that they go through a sort of resurrection after sleep and that their memories are recreated completely after sleep.

People usually live their lives taking their memories for granted, not even realizing that it is an amazing miracle. They are not aware of the fact that they go through a sort of resurrection after sleep and that their memories are recreated completely after sleep. But the truth is that God creates every cell again each time, along with every bit of memory with it.

Do you realize, how you remember your past, when you are asked about it?

All the information you’ve learned so far was turned into proteins called ‘memory molecules’ in the ribosomes. These protein molecules were turned into electric impulses and thus allowed millions of bits of information to be stored in your brain; you call that ‘your past’ and all this accumulation of data makes up your past. When you say ‘I remember’, you are retrieving that data stored in your brain. So when you are asked ‘Which school did you go to?’ You are given the relevant data about your school and only then you can answer.

If there were no such thing as a memory, what would happen? Our lives would be a mess. Since we wouldn’t even store the information we had learned in our memory, we would have to learn everything from scratch every time we needed it, just like a newborn baby.

People with short or long-term amnesia understand very clearly how difficult this can be. Those with short-term memory loss, or those who cannot remember what happened more than five minutes ago, will have to find their way home every single time. They will not remember which food upsets their stomach and they will eat it again only to fall ill once more. They will not remember the details about their loved ones, the lovely times they shared or their experiences, and this is not the worst part of it; they will be unaware of potential dangers they may face as they will be devoid of the past experiences that would give them a fair-warning to those threats.

Be grateful to Allah (swt) – memory is a great blessing

God protects people by giving them such a precious blessing called memory. God allows us humans to use our memories with a simple principle. People keep benefiting from this amazing blessing, yet most of the time, take it for granted. Memory is not crucial only for our social lives; we need it just as much in our education and careers as well. If it weren’t for our memories, we would have to learn even the simplest things like the alphabet and the multiplication tables over and over again. And we would have to learn everything we learned at school again when we started a job.

For example, a lawyer would have to go through all the laws again, a doctor would have to peruse the medical books and a physicist would have to re-learn all the laws of physics. A person who does a technical job would have to learn everything all over again, because there would be no experience and no past memory helping him in doing his job. Therefore, memory is a great blessing bestowed on us by our Almighty Lord, and we should be profoundly – and properly – grateful for it.