Learning Quran - How To Get Started

#basics #quran

This article explains how to start memorising Quran using Buboflash.

Buboflash is based on automatic scheduling of flashcards repetitions. Flashcards are pairs of questions and answers. Because Buboflash main goal is to track your progress on every individual flashcard, you have to start with setting up a user account first. It uses statistics on your progress to plan repetitions ahead, e.g. it may prescribe you next repetition after 5 days or 30 days, depending on how many times you repeated a specific flashcard and how well you recalled it. By juggling repetitions data of thousands of cards, it can reduce your learning workload by about 20 times in the long term. In other words, by carefully planning what you learn and when, it can effectively make you learn 20 times faster - again - in the long term.

Buboflash is free to use in both meanings of the word: free as "you don't pay for it" and free as in "freedom".

Current status of the learning material

At the time of writing, the learning material is in one of the 3 stages of readiness:

  1. The Opening is fully ready, I will explain below how to start using it right now.
  2. The Cow is almost ready, it has all types of flashcards that The Opening has, the only missing part is recitation audio that is not cut into individual words, you can only listen to the whole ayat. The first person who memorises The Opening and wishes to progress to The Cow is welcome to contact me to help with cutting the audio.
  3. The remaining suwar are loaded (including ayah-per-ayah recitation audio) but flashcards are not prepared yet. Leave it to me when they are needed.

You can browse the whole Quran learning material here: https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/full-text ; you need to click on the tree like icon. Using the tree directly is not a great interface for memorisation however.


I suggest you start learning in the following order (and I prepared saved searches accordingly):

  1. Learn the meaning and pronounciation of individual words of in an ayah: https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/surah-1-single-word

    1. There is only few words per ayah, so you can learn more than one ayah in a single session, in fact, there are 29 words in The Opening, so maybe split it into 3 sessions?
  2. Only when you are confortable with the words, i.e. after one or 2 repetitions in Buboflash (they are scheduled automatically and second repetition will come in about a week from memorisation), I suggest you can consolidate your knowledge using the "whole ayah" searches:
    1. https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/surah-1-english-to-recitation
    2. https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/surah-1-uthmani-to-recitation
    3. https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/surah-1-explain-in-english-from-recitation
    4. https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/surah-1-explain-in-english-from-uthmani

Flashcards - Memorising From Search

When you run any of these searches, you need to scroll down a little to actually see the cards, because the top of the page is occupied by search criteria:

  • we are searching for flashcards
  • only the flashcards that are "not-learned", so once you learn some of them, they will drop from the search next time you run it
  • edited by user "quran"
  • with a specific tag, like "single-word"
  • only in the collection selected (the same as you can browse using this link: https://buboflash.eu/public-urls/quran/full-text) and with order specified by this collection

All flashcards in buboflash have Question and Answer.

During repetitions you will:

  1. be asked the Question,
  2. have to provide the Answer,
  3. click a button to reveal the Answer,
  4. compare your Answer to the correct one
  5. grade yourself.

During memorisation, all you need to do is to familiarise yourself with each flashcard, both Question and Answer, repeat the Answer aloud just for yourself and - click "Memorise". It means that Buboflash will start tracking your progress on this particular flashcard. All flashcards that you "Memorise" using the button (1) drop from the search, because of the criterion that we want only "not-learned" cards and (2) they go to Drill, when you actually drill it until you are able to recall the answer yourself, as explained below.

You can either

  • just scroll through the search result, learn the cards and push "Memorise" button - occassionally hitting F5 to refresh the search (mind that cards already memorised will no longer be shown)
  • or click "Start: Stepping »" button and learn them one-by-one, pushing "Memorise" and then "Next".

Don't do too many of them in one session! You need to actually remember them :-) I suggest no more than 10 for the first time.

When you are done, you can go to your home page.

Drill And Grades

All the flashcards that you memorised go to Drill. You can see the number of cards in the drill in the top right corner. Click it. Now the computer will loop through the cards, it will ask you the Question, you will provide it with the Answer (saying it aloud, there is no textfield to actually type it), compare it to the right answer, and then grade yourself. The purpose of grading is to provide feedback to the planning algorithm. It is less important in the drill than during actual repetitions, where - after few days or weeks of interval - it means: if you remembered the particular card well, it means that the interval could potentially have been longer, saving your time. If you forgot it though, the algorithm probably overshot and it should try shorter intervals. Because of probabilistic nature of forgetting, it is normal that some portion of the cards will not be remembered. If you remembered everything, it would mean that intervals are way too short and that computer wastes your time on things that you know well, rather than focusing on new material or on material that you remember poorly. On the other hand if you consistently keep on forgetting the same cards, they are probably formulated poorly - too large, too complex or too vague. Trying to learn a poorly formulated material is a waste of time too.

To sum it up, grades are not like school grades. In school, you aim to have highest grades to show you master material well. Here, you are pushed to the limits of your memory, and when the algorithm is finding the limits, it will overshoot sometimes, so you are expected to have good (typically - 80% - 90%) and bad grades (the remaining ones). No shame in bad grades you are giving to yourself. Don't overdo in the other direction either - be too harsh on self grading when you mispronounce something slightly, or have accent that is not as good as professional reciter's. Just be honest.

Now, log off

Yes, I mean it - this is all for today. Remember to log in daily or almost daily, and on most days you will start with something that you were not doing on the first day: Repetitions.


You can see how many repetitions Buboflash assigned to you on a given day in the top middle of your home page. Click it. You do repetitions in a similar way to the Drill, but now - observe the effect of self-grading. Buboflash is prescribing new intervals to the cards, if you remember something - they are longer than the previous ones. If you forget something, the card goes to drill and you re-learn it. With each repetition, Buboflash itself learns little more how to handle this specific card for you. Every card and every user is different, and all information Buboflash can gather is via self grading, so if I could name the most important step in learning cycle, it would be self-grading. Just give read the explanation that comes with the repetition screen, and give it some thought.

When you are done with repetitions, you can memorise new flashcards of course, and then finish the day with the Drill.

So to sum it up, the daily learning cycle looks like this:

Daily Learning Cycle

  1. Repetitions (some cards will be forgotten and accumulate in the Drill)
  2. Optionally memorising new cards.
  3. Drill

Importantly: Enjoy what you do and take pride in your progress. Nothing can kill learning process more efficiently than boredom and lack of enthusiasm. Show off your new skills to your friends!

Feedback and discussing problems

I suggest we discuss on https://www.reddit.com/r/buboflash/ so it is beneficial for the others who use Buboflash.


Do you want to join discussion? Click here to log in or create user.