Let’s admit it: Most non-Arabs cannot read the Quran because they find it hard to recite it correctly. In our childhood, our focus was to complete the Quran once. And it stayed the way it was and never improved. But the Quran is the gift from our Allah. It is the manual guide, the one that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had left behind for us with his Sunnah. That is why it is vital to recite it slowly but with more care. And the science of reciting it is tajweed, which means to read every letter from its place of articulation with all of its qualities. It is thus mandatory for every Muslim to learn the rules of tajweed.
Why You Should Learn the Rules of Tajweed?
Do you know that a slight error in recitation can change the true meaning of that word in Arabic? Take an example of qalb and kalb. Qalb (with a Qaaf) means heart, and kalb (with a kaaf) means dog in Arabic. In the same way, qul (with a Qaaf) is a command in Arabic. It simply means, “Say.” And Kul (with a kaaf) is also a command, but means eat! So the meanings of both words in Arabic are different. Thus, a change in the sound of one letter changes its meaning.
That’s why you should learn the rules of tajweed. It’s the art of reciting the Quran in Arabic. It works as a system that codifies the divine word and accent of Quran reading in its rhythm, tone, sectioning of the text, and phonetics. It is the very basis and identifying mark of the recited Quran.
Through Tajweed, you can recite the Quran the way our Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) did. If you’re new to it, I’d suggest studying it with a person who learned it in detail.
Rules of Tajweed: Some Specific Ways of Recitation
Allah says us to recite the Quran slowly and distinctly. Over the centuries, specific ways of recitation developed. Two basic forms are Murattal or Mujawwad.
- Murattal: It’s an adjective of the word tarteel. It’s less melodic form used in prayers. Most Imams use it. It is to read the Quran slowly with a sense of deep reflection.
- Mujawwad: Itis a more melodic, attractive style. It may even sound like signing, but you shouldn’t ‘sing’ the Quran to a set melodic line.
Some rules of tajweed also include other requirements imposed on the reciter, such as how and when to clean the mouth, where to (or not to) recite, and how to read with the proper attitude.
Many Ways to Recite the Quran
But our Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) has told us to recite the Quran in a way that is easy for us. A hadith narrated by Umar Ibn al-Khattab (R.A.) says:
“I heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting Surat Al-Furqan during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited in several different ways which Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had not taught me. I was about to jump over him during his prayer, but I controlled my temper, and when he had completed his prayer, I put his upper garment around his neck and seized him by it and said, “Who taught you this Sura which I heard you reciting?” He replied, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) taught it to me.” I said, “You have told a lie, for Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) has taught it to me in a different way from yours.”
So I dragged him to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said (to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)), “I heard this person reciting Surat Al-Furqan in a way which you haven’t taught me!” On that Allah’s Apostle said, “Release him, (O `Umar!) Recite, O Hisham!” Then he recited in the same way as I heard him reciting. Then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “It was revealed in this way,” and added, “Recite, O `Umar!” I recited it as he had taught me. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) then said, “It was revealed in this way. This Qur’an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it whichever (way) is easier for you (or read as much of it as may be easy for you).”
This hadith reflects the diversity of dialects in Arabia. Today, Muslims confront to reading the words of Allah in the same dialect that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) read it, with very few exceptions.
So Who Doesn’t Want to Read the Quran in its Original Language?
Since the Quran has a natural rhyme to it, reciting it correctly is not as hard as you may think. All you have to do is to learn the rules of tajweed to recite it in a beautiful way.
Remember: Arabic is a beautiful, complex language. We may not understand it, but there’s a thing with reading the Quran in its original language (by learning the rules of tajweed) that will spark a beautiful relationship with Allah and the Quran. There’s softness in it that only those who put their hearts into reciting and understanding it will appreciate the feeling.
An intuitive editor and a published writer, with extensive experience writing/editing papers on many subjects.
He also worked as an editor (at JFE), senior content writer (at SORCIM.com), and proofreader in several multinational companies.
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