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Last Updated: 2006/10/29
Summary of question
Are there any duas or Quranic verses which help one to be successful in learning and studying?
question
I am a student at a university and sometimes I find some of the subjects very hard. I try very hard but sometimes I still can not learn or understand it, are there any verses from the Holy Quran or some duas (which the English meanings) that you could kindly suggest which will help me Inshallah?
Concise answer

            Studying means: to look at something with precision and meticulousness in order to understand or to gain information about it. Therefore any reading that does not have these specifications is not considered ‘studying’. It is obvious that studying, just like any other action necessitates the preparation of particular requirements in order for one to be able to achieve an ideal and beneficial studying session.

 

            The necessary conditions for beneficial and productive studying:

 

 

 

  1. Goal, motive and enthusiasm.

  2. Energy, patience and tolerance.

  3. Organization, scheduling and knowledge of proper study habits.

  4. Diligence, rest, exercise and stretching.

  5. Choosing books in proficiency and comprehension.

  6. Relaxed and quiet setting with suitable temperature and light.

  7. Using simple and standard tools for studying, and observing doctors’ recommendations when doing so.

  8. Summarization and taking notes.

  9. Memorizing, remembering and utilizing what you read.

  10. Eating properly.

  11. Spiritual and inward purity; in particular maintaining wudhu.

  12. Making Dua for better understanding.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who is the wisest of creation asked his Lord: O God, take me out of darkness and embrace me dearly with the light of understanding. Lord, open the doors of mercy upon us and spread your treasures of knowledge upon us, by your mercy, O Most Generous one.

Inshallah by reading this dua and requesting understanding and comprehension with any dua, in any language and by observing the conditions mentioned above the quality of your learning and studying will excel.

Detailed Answer

            Studying means: to look over something with precision and attentiveness in order to understand or to gain information about it.

            Hence studying is in conjunction with meticulousness and precision and any research or studying which does not have these specifications can not be called ‘studying’.[1] Its is undeniable that in order for one to abandon the island of ignorance and enter the ocean of knowledge, necessary preparations and conditions must first be set up in order for one to be able to achieve ideal and beneficial studying.

           

            In order to reach this blessed goal of studying; here we will mention some of the most important necessary conditions for putting together successful studying or research:

 

  1. One must study with an ample amount of motivation and enthusiasm, because the primary incentive for all things when performing a task is passion and eagerness.

  2. Energy, cheerfulness, patience and tolerance for studying, because when the soul is fatigued and lacking tolerance one will not have the aptitude to learn or study.

  3. Choosing appropriate and pleasant times like at dawn or in the early morning which is better for memorization and learning.[2]

If we are studying or researching professionally we can study at any hour or time and the output of time does not matter, and all of the hours spent studying would be delightful for us since based on all of the various times researched for specifying the best study times and evaluating the output, it has become evident that particular study times have no preference over other times. However it has been proven that studying immediately after sleeping in the beginning of the night can not offer ideally successful results in studying, yet twenty to thirty minutes after waking up is more proficient in offering a desired output in studying and research. Nonetheless if we are not such that we study and research professionally then we should commence to study when we have inclination and enthusiasm and at times when we lack the propensity or zest then that is the time when we should refrain from studying.

  1. Setting a goal in studying and choosing books and topics befitting proficiency, understanding and familiarity, and utilizing the correct and systematic method of studying, especially speed-reading and not just reading word for word and pausing at each word, as this in itself is not one of the conventional methods of studying and it wastes time and causes hindrance of a large part of the brain’s capacity. In addition to this someone who wants to study should have a 24 hour schedule and should study based upon specific timeframes in such a way that this schedule be executable during the week, month and year and of course he or she should refrain from being disorganized and unsystematic.

  2. Someone who wants to study must seriously and diligently commit to studying and not allow any outside factors or influences to prevent his study or research; rather by means of effort and striving he will reach the summits of knowledge.

  3. Someone who studies or researches must have a schedule for studying which sets aside time throughout the day for relaxation and recreation. For every 30 – 40 minutes of studying there should be 5 – 10 minutes of relaxing so that while maintaining your health and wellbeing you can go back to studying with physical and spiritual preparation and strength.

  4. The place being used for studying must be calm and quiet and not decorated with eye-catching and luxurious decorations, ornaments or anything that may cause ones concentration to become disrupted. It should also be set to a suitable temperature with proper lighting and flowing fresh air.

  5. The tools and apparatus used for studying such as a chair and desk should be simple and standardized, and the person using them to study must be aware of and have an understanding of how to use the; for example he should be familiar with doctors’ recommendations of how to sit properly in a chair, taking a walk after sitting for an hour, doing light exercises and movements while sitting down and observing the proper distance between the eyes and the pages (at least thirty centimeters =11.81 inches) so that he will not incur any long-term illnesses.

  6. By summarizing and taking notes of the themes, the key and important topic headings of the book, and prioritizing and categorizing the top subjects one can gain a better grasp and command of the contents of the book.

  7. Trust in God, imploration for assistance [from God] and internal and spiritual purity, especially always maintaining wudhu (ritual ablution) plays a significant role in learning.

  8. Eating properly and taking care of the needs of the body especially the brain creates the possibility for continuous thought process. One’s eating schedule should be organized in such a fashion that the foods necessary for keeping the brain active are acquired. Consuming dairy products, foods with protein in them, vegetables, fresh fruits and dry foods such as walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are highly recommended.[3]

  9. Placing the remembrance of Allah in one’s heart, remembering the most high, and making Dua (in your own language or in Arabic) for better understanding.

  10. Our dear prophet (Peace be upon him) who was the wisest of all creation would ask his Lord: ربّ زِدْنِی عِلْماً “O God, expand my knowledge!”[4]

Reciting the following supplications have also been recommended:

1.    اللهم اخرجنی من ظلمات الوهم و اکرمنی بنور الفهم اللهم افتح علینا ابواب رحمتک و انشر علینا خزائن علومک برحمتک یا ارحم الراحمین.[5] O God, bring me out of the darkness of lack of knowledge and ignorance and hold me dear with the light of understanding. My Lord, open the doors of mercy upon us and spread your treasures of knowledge upon us, by your mercy, O Most Generous one.

2.    اللهم إنی أعوذ بک أن أضل أو أضل أو أزل أو أزل أو أظلم أو أظلم أو أجهل أو یجهل علی اللهم انفعنی بما علمتنی و علمنی ما ینفعنی و زدنی علما و الحمد لله على کل حال اللهم إنی أعوذ بک من علم لا ینفع و من قلب لا یخشع و من نفس لا تشبع و من دعاء لا یسمع.[6] O God, I seek refuge in you from misleading or being mislead, causing others to slip or slipping, oppressing others or being oppressed, spreading ignorance or being in a state of ignorance. O my God, cause me to benefit from the knowledge you have taught me and guide me with knowledge which will bring me benefit. O my God, Increase my knowledge. True gratitude is only form God, The Most High. O my God, I seek refuge in you from knowledge which is not of use, and a heart which has no humility or inflection in face of truth, and from lusting desires which are never satisfied and supplications which are not answered.[7]

 

By reciting these prayers and asking for understanding and comprehension in any dua and in any language, granted that the conditions mentioned have also been abided by, ones mind will be better prepared for seeking knowledge and research. However one must take head to the fact that merely reciting these supplications is not enough and if the conditions for proper studying are not first observed then we will never reach our desired goal.[8]



[1] Method of Studying and Summarizing: Abdul-Rahim Mogahi – Page 23, Lines 1-4

[2] Creative Learning: F. Shajari, Qalam Iran Publishing Co., Published 1377, Page 125, Lines 15-25

[3] Creative Learning: F. Shajari, Qalam Iran Publishing Co., Published 1377, Page 119

[4] Sura Taha – Verse 114; see Hedayat Commentary (Translation of the Commentary, Man Hudal Quran) – Volume 14, Page 327

[5] Mafatihul Jenan: Sheikh Abbass Qomi – Page 1201, Dua for Studying

[6] Munitul Murid: Shahid Shani – Page 211

[7] Tranlslation of Munitul Murid: Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Hujati – Islamic Etiquette in Teaching and Learning, Page 267

[8] For more information see: Tools and Methods of Research: Muhammad Dashti, Mehr Qom Publishing, 1366; Head Administration for Education while in Armed Forces’ Method of Research, Second Edition, 1360; Creative Learning: F. Shajari, Qalam Iran Publishing Co., Published 1377; Method of Studying and Summarizing: Abdul-Rahim Mogahi

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