Can you please introduce some methods in which we can improve and optimize our memory according to the traditions (Ahadith)?

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SHAFAQNA- We can classify those effective methods of enhancing and optimizing memory and comprehension into some divisions which are as follows:

A) Spiritual methods:
1. Remembering Allah (by worshiping Him and doing the canonical duties especially praying on time)
2. Reciting those duas which are effective for enhancing and optimizing memory such as the Holy prophet (P.B.U.H) taught Imam Ali (a.s). In which He recommended Imam Ali (a.s) to say:
«سبحان من لایعتدى على اهل مملکته، سبحان من لایأخذ اهل الارض بالوان العذاب، سبحان الرؤوف الرحیم، اللهم اجعل لى فى قلبى نورا و بصرا و فهما و علما انک على کل شى‏ء قدیر»[i]
3. Reciting the verses of the Holy Quran especially Ayatul Kursi.
4. Avoidance of those things which cause forgetfulness like sin.
5. Attenuating anxiety and finding tranquility especially when you are studying.
6. Reducing those things which our memory become obsessed with.
7. Improving our concentration and attention.
B) Observing material things.
1. Providing natural and Physiological necessities like proper nutrition, sport and sanitation.
2. Brushing teeth.
3. Using more articles of food which contains glucose like date, honey, natural sweets; also using those foodstuffs which contain calcium, phosphor and vitamins like milk products, fish oil, orange, tomato, bran, fresh vegetables, carrot and liver.
4. Practicing and repeating those topics we learned.
C) Observing psychological recommendations:
Psychologist said: “you will be able to enhance your memory if you use these following solutions”
1. Scanning.
2. Make it meaningful.
3. Organizing.
4. Providing safe environment.
5. PQ4R method.

[i] . Mafatih-ul Jinan, the first chapter one of the first section, Taqeebat-e-Namaz.
Detailed Answer
Effective ways to improve memory and comprehension can be classified into some divisions which are as follows:
1. Remembering Allah (by worshiping Him and doing the canonical duties specially praying on time).
2. Reciting those duas which are effective for improving memory like the Dua that has been narrated from the Infallible Imam. In which He says: “Ask Allah the Almighty to improve our intellect and beg Him to give us comprehension and perception”.[1]
We explain some kinds of Duas which are effective for improving memory as a sample, that are as follows:
1: The one that the Holy prophet (P.B.U.H) taught Imam Ali (a.s). In which He recommended Imam Ali (a.s) to say:
«سبحان من لایعتدى على اهل مملکته، سبحان من لایأخذ اهل الارض بالوان العذاب، سبحان الرؤوف الرحیم، اللهم اجعل لى فى قلبى نورا و بصرا و فهما و علما انک على کل شى‏ء قدیر».[2]
2: “for re-establishment of heart please read this following Dua thrice” Seyed Ibn Tawoos said.
«یا حى یا قیوم یا لااله الا انت اسئلک أن تحیى قلبى اللّهم صل على محمد و آل محمد».[3]
3: Recite this following Dua when you are going to study:
«اللهم اخرجنى من ظلمات الوهم و اکرمنى بنور الفهم اللّهم افتح علینا ابواب رحمتک و انشر علینا خزائن علومک برحمتک یا ارحم الراحمین».[4]
4: It is supposed to repeat this Dua per day before you talk any:
«یا حى یا قیّوم فلا یفوت شیئا علمه و لایؤده».[5]
3. Reciting the Holy Quran, especially Ayatul Kursi.
” اللَّهُ لا إِلهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَیُّ الْقَیُّومُ لا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَ لا نَوْمٌ لَهُ ما فِی السَّماواتِ وَ ما فِی الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذی یَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ یَعْلَمُ ما بَیْنَ أَیْدیهِمْ وَ ما خَلْفَهُمْ وَ لا یُحیطُونَ بِشَیْ‏ءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِما شاءَ وَسِعَ کُرْسِیُّهُ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْضَ وَ لا یَؤُدُهُ حِفْظُهُما وَ هُوَ الْعَلِیُّ الْعَظیمُ. (255) لَا إِکْرَاهَ فىِ الدِّینِ  قَد تَّبَینَ‏َ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَىّ‏ِ  فَمَن یَکْفُرْ بِالطَّغُوتِ وَ یُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَکَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى‏ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا  وَ اللَّهُ سمَِیعٌ عَلِیمٌ(256). اللَّهُ وَلىِ‏ُّ الَّذِینَ ءَامَنُواْ یُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلىَ النُّورِ  وَ الَّذِینَ کَفَرُواْ أَوْلِیَاؤُهُمُ الطَّغُوتُ یُخْرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ النُّورِ إِلىَ الظُّلُمَاتِ  أُوْلَئکَ أَصْحَبُ النَّارِ  هُمْ فِیهَا خَلِدُون‏”.[6]
4. Avoiding those things which cause forgetfulness like sin, loving wealth eagerly and above everything, being so captive by the world and worrying much more about it.[7]
5. Attenuating anxiety and finding tranquility especially when you are studying.
6. Reducing mental thoughts.
7. Improving our concentration and attention.
Note: whatever that has been explained in regards to improve memory and intelligence from the traditional and prayer (dua) book is not counted as the absolute reason. Because, some factors which are in regards to intelligence and memory are actually related to heritage and genetic elements and they are beyond our control.
In other words, every human’s intelligence, memory and talent are a consequence of various environment and genetic factors such as the abovementioned factors that some of them are beyond human control like the role of the past generation’s genetic factors, though some of them in our hand.
Therefore, we shouldn’t expect that a miracle will be performed if suddenly your intelligence quotient (I.Q) promoted to the highest levels, from 90 to 130, by doing the abovementioned tasks which are actually effective, but not as we expected so. Otherwise, if it hasn’t performed, we do not have to tend to undervalue Imam’s recommendations in this regards.
Actually, we can enhance an intelligence which has 100 points in order to be more effective. However, we can increase the intelligence quotient (I.Q) based on the regular and accurate program that have been organized for mother and child nutrition. Moreover, we can increase the child intelligence quotient (I.Q) if we enrich child’s growth environment by providing any healthy environmental provocations. We are supposed to remove all obstacles were created on the way of promoting intelligence even at the age of youth and middle-ages in order to provide capabilities and developments factors.
It should be noted that these traditions and recommendations have been provided for these matters.
B) Observing material things
1. Providing natural and Physiological necessities like proper nutrition, sport and sanitation.
2. Brushing teeth.
3. Using more articles of food which contains glucose like date, honey, natural sweets; also using those foodstuffs which contain calcium, phosphor and vitamins like milk products, fish oil, orange, tomato, bran, fresh vegetables, carrot and liver.
It is mentioned in Mafatih al-Jinan that if we continually eating currants specially when it is red and has 21 in number before breakfast, and eating sweet paste, meat of around the neck, honey and lentil, our memory will be enhanced.
4. Practicing and repeating those topics we learned.
5. If you want to study smarter, take about 10 minutes break every 45 minutes.
6. Respiratory practice: you are supposed to fill you lug with the air and then breath our gradually while you are standing. This practice help you concentrate better.
C) Observing psychological recommendations:
“You will be able to enhance your memory if you use these following solutions” Psychologists said.
1. Scanning: which means to classify all the words you want to learn into some lexical sections, then classify these sections into some phrases. So that we can change those words or numbers into the meaningful sections by using this method of scanning in order to increase the capacity of our memory. E.g. changing this numerical chains (149-2177-619-83) to this chain (1983-1176-1492) which is the Christian era. As a result, we can increase and enhance our memory.
2. Make it meaningful: this method can help us enhance our memory much better than the others. Moreover, we will keep and memorize what we learned better if we make it meaningful profoundly and even with more detailed. So, whenever we are going to keep a note of a book in our mind we will remember it faster in case we focus our attention not on the words but on its meaning. Therefore, we will learn it better if we pay more attention on its meaning profoundly and completely.
3. Organizing: we can learn, memorize and remember any topics easily if we organize it. Which means, if the topics we are going to learn have numerous collections and branches, the best way of keeping them in our mind is to set it into the rational hierarchy and then divide them into some slightest divisions. E.g. we can divide it from the whole part into the slightest one (major topics into subtopics) and from the top into the down. As a result, we will learn and keep them in our mind easily.
4. Providing safe environment: When we want to learn something, we usually do it in the special place, time and condition. These situations and conditions in which we learn is actually defined as “Ba’ft”. So, we are able to easily remember those topics we had learned them in case we arrange the same situation and condition as we learned there. E.g. when you want to easily remember the names of your guidance school classmates, you are supposed to walk throughout the school’s aisle where you graduated in order to remind that time when you had been studying with your classmates, so that you can remember their names very easily.
5. Teaching the PQ4R Method: This method helps students to memorize their textbooks as it is explained under. This name is the abbreviation of the following words:
Preview. Survey or scan the material quickly to get an idea of the general organization and major topics and subtopics. Pay attention to headings and subheadings, and identify what you will be reading about and studying.
In another words: Look through the pages of your reading passage and read the headings of the chapter and any sections dividing the chapter. Read the first and last paragraph in each section. View the illustrations in each section. Read the captions under the pictures and take a few minutes to look at charts, graphs, or maps.
Question. Ask yourself questions about the material before you read it. Use headings to invent questions using the Wh words: who, what, why, where.
In other words: Think about the information you learned in the Preview. Ask yourself questions about it. Think about what you already know about ideas you saw during your Preview. What do you think are main points that will be raised in the chapter? What do you expect to learn from reading this material?
Read. Read the material. Do not take extensive written notes. Try to answer the questions that you posed prior to reading.
In other words: Read the passage. If there are ideas seem important, make a note of them on paper. If the book belongs to you, consider making notes in the margins and highlight important parts in the book. If you just can’t imagine writing in your book, make notes on paper.
Reflect on the material. Try to understand and make meaningful the presented information by (1) relating it to things you already know, (2) relating the subtopics in the text to primary concepts or principles, (3) trying to resolve contradictions within the presented information, and (4) trying to use the material to solve problems suggested by the material.
In other words: Take time to reflect on what you have read. How are the passages or chapters inter-related? How does the information fit into things you have already learned? What new information did you learn? Did the passage include the information you expected it to cover? Was there information that surprised you?
Recite. Practice remembering the information by stating points out loud and asking and answering questions. You may use headings, highlighted words, and notes on major ideas to generate those questions.
In other words: Think about the material. Discuss it with someone else or write down the main points you learned. Generally, writing information down by hand will improve memory of the material. If writing is a problem for you, consider brief notes or discuss the material with other students. It is important to summarize the material in writing using your own words. Explain it aloud to someone else or recite your notes aloud to yourself. Consider using a graphic organizer to increase your understanding of how concepts in the reading relate to each other.
Review. In the final step, actively review the material, focusing on asking yourself questions; re-read the material only when you are not sure of the answers.[8]
Also, consider the main points of the material. Were your questions answered? Do you feel that the writer’s points are fully understood?
For further information in this regards, please refer to answer 808, Index “Dua and conditions for studying”.

[1] . Bihar al-Anwar, vol 1, p 224, first tradition of Unwan al- Basri.
[2] . Mafatih-ul Jinan, the first chapter one of the first section, Taqeebat-e-Namaz.
[3] . , the book Baghiyat –e- Salehat.
[4] . Ibid.
[5] . Ibid.
[6] . “There is no God but Allah, the Eternal- Live; slumber does not overtake Allah, nor does sleep. To Allah Belongs whatever is in the heavens and On the earth. Who dares to intercede In Allah’s Presence without His Leave? Allah Knows what happens to The people now and what happens to Them in the future; and none of Them will ever encompass anything of Allah’s Knowledge except as much Allah Wills. Allah’s Throne is Extended over the heavens and The earth; but preserving both of Them] at the same time [does not Trouble Allah. And Allah is The Supreme-Exalted Great;
There is no compulsion in accepting Religion,] since [Truth has verily Become distinct from Falsehood] in The Qur’an and through The Messenger and Miracles [; whoever Rejects Satan and believes in Allah, Then indeed he has grasped the firmest Handle that will never break off. And Allah is the Knowing Hearer;
Allah is the Guardian of those who Believe; He takes them out from The darkness into the Light; and Those who reject Faith, their Guardians are the rebels who take Them out from the Light into The darkness and they will be The dwellers of the Hell, therein they Shall abide forever.”
[7] . Ibid
[8] . Adapted from Porseman CD, but with changing and rewriting a lot.

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