Memorizing the Sacred in the Digital Age: Exploring Qur’an Memorization Experiences Using Physical & Digital Formats

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For centuries, millions of Muslims have been memorizing the entirety of the Qur’an, the holy scripture of Islam that provides guidance to its believers and contains over seventy-seven thousand words in Arabic. This study explores the present-day experiences of these adherents who utilize traditional and digital methods to commit the Qur’an to memory and investigates whether the experience changes when using the different formats. The research instruments include multiple questionnaires, a monthlong diary study involving two weeks of memorization with a digital device and two weeks with a physical Qur’an and interviews with twenty-three participants. The study offers findings that include reported differences in difficulty, sentiments, and sense of connection to God, insights into the prevalent benefits and challenges of digital and traditional scriptural memorization and design suggestions on tools and methods to improve the experience of memorizing the Qur’an with both formats.