We 've all been there, we listen to a few lectures here and there or attend some seminars and gatherings and make a firm resolution of memorising the book of Allaah, and you think to yourself, "I mean my little brother has done about 5 juzz already... why cant I?" Then a few months down the line you get frustrated and upset "Why am I not a Haafidh yet!" But what is it you are doing wrong? Is Hifdh not meant for you or something?
Here are a few tips and pointers to help you along the way inshaa'Allaah.
#7 Enrol in an Islaamic school if possible
This is the first thing you should be doing. No one really memorises the Qur'aan by themselves. Not even the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself, and by that I don't mean the Prophet (peace be upon him) enrolled into a madressah but if you think about it, he DID have a teacher, Jibril (alyhis-salaam).
It is difficult sometimes, you might be in your early twenties or late teens if not much older, and most madressahs you know of only cater for 9 year olds and you cant sit with kids, I mean come on! (sarcasm). But what I am suggesting is not necessarily for you to go and sit with children (even though it shouldn't really be a reason for you to avoid knowledge), rather if you can't do that then at least look for a teacher who you respect (not a friend) so that he/she might be strict and not lenient with you.
Because if you only have a friend as your teacher you will notice very quickly that excuses will start to appear and this is due to the fact that you aren't "afraid" of your friend and this element of "fear" is a very important part of being a teacher (not fear for your life type of fear, but you get the point).
#6 Select one famous Reciter and stick to him
Be it 'Abdul-Baasit or Khaleel al-Husary, whoever you feel comfortable with and love listening to really. Obviously the person in question should be well grounded in Tajweed as well as not reciting too slow or way too fast.
One of the main benefits in listening to one particular reciter throughout the Qur'aan is that you will always have him in your head, meaning you'll be able to hear him recite the verses for you, you will stop where he stops, start where he starts etc.
As opposed to you listening to different reciters every day, this wont help your Hifdh. Another thing to keep in mind is try to look for reciters who have made recordings in studios, this is particularly important during the phase when you're learning new portions of the Qur'aan since if you don't learn it properly the first time then it will prove very hard to "unlearn" what you have already learned (did that make sense?)
Anyway, stick to reciters like Huthayfi, Ali jabir, Abdallaah Basfar etc, and try to avoid those who have their recitations recorded from Taraaweeh prayers such as Sudais, Shuraim, Budayr etc, this does not mean they are bad but when something is recorded live from Taraweeh it wont be the same as something that has been recorded and supervised in a studio.
#5 Recite what you have learned in your Sunnah prayers or in Qiyaam al-Layl
Qiyaam al-Layl helps you for all your needs, seriously.
Practise makes perfect (ok, no one's perfect perfect but again you get the point), and if you really want to be strong in your Qur'aan, switch it up. Instead of always reading Surah Kawthar and Ikhlaas try to read the latest portion you memorised and practise, no one is saying you wont make mistakes but as the Hadeeth of the Prophet goes, such people will be rewarded twice!
Just don't practise your Qur'aan on people if you happen to be leading them in Salaah for Maghrib for example, the last thing people want is a "hero" who not only is leading them with the whole of Surah Al-Baqarah but is making a mistake in every other verse!
#4 Set a routine
Did you know routine is an Arabic word? No? Well now you know, you're welcome.
This is probably the one thing Huffaadh people are very good at, they always have a routine when it comes to memorising and reviewing what they passed. Similarly you should also make a schedule and make time, you don't want to be the type of person who recites 5 pages one day and don't recite anything for 2 weeks, so set yourself a target and be consistent.
Remember to also make realistic targets, reading half of Juzz 'Amma might seem easy but being consistent upon that throughout the Qur'aan is not. Even if it's one verse a day EVERY DAY it is still very good.
#3 Be patient!
One day Inshaa'Allaah, one day...
It is very easy to hear the Shaykhs Shuraim and Sudais leading Taraweeh prayers in Makkah and become impatient, "When will I be like them!" But remember even they went through everything you are going through now.
No one becomes a haafidh over night and similarly no one is born a Haafidh, except maybe that one boy born somewhere in Africa (did you hear about him? 'Ajeeb!) Anyway, that is besides the point, what I am trying to make you understand is that if you want something, give it time and all your might.
#2 Partner up with a friend
Notice that this is different from making that friend your teacher as mentioned in #7, try instead to have a partner who motivates you and helps you when you feel like quitting, push yourselves towards doing more (not a physical push mind you) and you will soon notice that you both have reached very far.
No one will lie to you, becoming Haafidh is not an easy task, but if you have a friend along the way, the path will be fun and exciting. So look around and find someone your age and befriend them but make sure the person is serious and committed, avoid individuals who will bring you down.
#1 Sincere intentions
May Allaah grant us all true sincerity! Aameen.
This is truly what it all boils down to in the end, if your intentions are pure and for the sake of Allaah alone, then Allaah will make a way out for you, even if you aren't good at memorising anything.
It is through intentions many people reach amazing heights, so make sure you make your intention for the sake of Allaah, and not for people to say 'So and so memorised the Qur'aan' or to get the title 'Haafidh' in order to use it as a pick up line with the sisters "Yeah BTW did I mention I was a Haafidhah sister? *wink wink*" rather stay humble and always make Du'a.
At the end of the day it is all in the Hands of Allaah, if He wants to make you a Haafidh He will, nothing is difficult for Him. The only question though is, are you sincere enough?