The capacity of memory in the brain, which is to store, process and recall information is truly a blessing of Allah. We use our memory to gain beneficial knowledge. We also use our memory to recall the mistakes we’ve made in the past and learn from them to become better. It is human to forget but the Prophet (pbuh) engaged in practices that helped him remember and sharpen his memory. Below are a few of his noble practices.
If you want a good memory, ask Al-Mujib (The Answerer of Prayers). Ask Allah (SWT) for what you need from beneficial knowledge, understanding and good memory. There is nothing impossible in the sight of Allah. Dr. Zakir Naik, a renowned dynamic International orator on Islam and Comparative Religion, when asked about this question, he gave this answer. “I recite this dua for improving my memory: Taha, verse 25-28.”
Rest and sleep
Get plenty of rest, exercise and sleep as all these activities help your overall well being. When we sleep our brain is like a busy office, organizing and filing away data accumulated during the day. You need to give it enough time to get the job done! Sleep is also essential for regenerating brain cells and reducing stress that can interfere with brain function. Similarly, napping improves memory and mood, promotes physical well-being, and sharpen senses. it has many benefits so taking a 15-30 minute preferably before or after Zhuhr as it’s the practice of the Prophet (pbuh) significantly improves the intellectual performance and energy level.
Eat Honey or Raisin
Some of the scholars have mentioned certain foods which improve the memory such as drinking honey and eating raisins and chewing certain kinds of gum resin.
Imaam al-Zuhri said: “You should eat honey because it is good for the memory.”
He also said: “Whoever wants to memorize hadeeth should eat raisins.” (From al-Jaami’ by al-Khateeb, 2/394).
Ibraaheem ibn said, “You should chew resin gum, because it gives energy to the heart and gets rid of forgetfulness.” (From al-Jaami’ by al-Khateeb, 2/397).
Japanese researchers found that activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory, increases while people chew. Similarly, Dr Andre Scholey of the University of Northumbria said that the simplest reason could be that chewing increases the heart rate, thus improving the delivery of oxygen to the brain and enhancing its cognitive powers.
Give Up Sin
The bad effects of sin result in a bad memory and the inability to retain knowledge. The darkness of sin cannot co-exist with the light of knowledge. As the knowledge of Allah is light, and the light of Allah is not given to the sinner. When a person commits a sin, it overwhelms him and this leads to anxiety and sorrow which keeps him busy thinking about what he has done. This dulls his senses and distracts him from many beneficial things, including seeking knowledge.
Hijama was a common practice of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions for the treatment of a range of ailments as well as maintain health and promote well being.
Abu Hurairah (R.A) reported that the Messenger (SAW) said, “If there was something excellent to be used as a remedy then it is cupping (hijama).”
[Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Ibn Majah] It is noted that hijama promotes the flow of energy in the blood as it gets rid of toxins and other waste material from the blood. It boosts memory and recovery time enabling people recover quick from diseases and prevent diseases.
The Miswak also called ‘toothbrush tree’ was reported as one of the frequent practices of the prophet
Narrated Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said, ‘If I had not found it hard for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with siwak for every prayer.” Kitaabus Salaatul Jumu’ah #845
It is believed to improve memory as well as provide a good dental and oral hygiene. Chemical analysis revealed that it contains a total of 19 natural substances which are beneficial for dental health. Its natural antiseptics have a bactericidal action, killing harmful micro-organisms, its tannic acid has astringent qualities which protect the gums from disease, and its aromatic oils increase salivation, its bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular, as such reach easily between the teeth, where conventional toothbrush often misses.
Frequently Remember Allah
Scholars believed that constant remembrance of Allah improves the memory. It is clearly said in the Quran:
“…And remember your Lord when you forget…” (al-kahf 18:24)
Glorify Allah by reciting dhikr, tasbeeh (saying ‘Subhan Allaah’), tahmeed (‘Al-hamdu Lillaah’), tahleel (‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah’) and takbeer (‘Allaahu akbar’), etc.
Our memory is indeed a true blessing of Allah, either short-term or long-term. We should therefore be grateful for it and do everything to nurture and support it. Let us keep it healthy as it is the foundation for the process of learning, and use it for beneficial purposes; purposes that will lead us closer to Allah.