What we lost when we gave up memorizing

“He’s also a hafiz, one of that revered group who has memorized the entire Qur’an. Not to mention that he’s a mellifluous qari, or Qur’an reciter.

So deeply is the Qur’an embedded in Imam Akcin’s spirit that his conversation is constantly broken into by spontaneous quotations from it, quotations always directed to whatever issue might be under discussion. And this ceaseless beaming-in of Qur’anic reference is a joyful one, a glow that imparts warmth and color and life to both the topic and those discussing it.”


I’ve always heard of the grandmas of the Deep South, interweaving Scripture into everything.

I didn’t consider it very much when I was young. I also hated memorizing anything; it seemed an ineffective expense of effort when one could flip through a book as fast as I could, and can. And the 1970s conspired with me to eliminate all emphasis, reward, or opportunity for memorizing Bible passages. 

Now, when I keep feeling the tug in my gut, I can’t do it. 

I reach out my hand to empty air, the words I’m wanting on the far side of the space. 

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