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Reciting Holy Quran correctly is compulsory for all Muslims

Reciting Holy Quran correctly is compulsory for all Muslims

Tajweed rules give every letter of the holy book its rights and dues when we recite it

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair (Reflections)

Published: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 1:14 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

The Holy Quran contains the words of God that He revealed as an infallible source of legislation for mankind. It contains regulations and recommendations about all aspects of life and references to the Hereafter. Being so important, the Holy Quran must be read, written and recited correctly and clearly, so as not to create any sort of ambiguity or misunderstanding whatsoever. Allah Almighty addressed His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the Holy Quran: “ ... And recite the Quran with measured recitation.” (Holy Quran 73:4).

Listening to the Holy Quran being recited correctly is enough to soften even the hardest of hearts. Muslims and non-Muslims alike find it a deeply moving experience, even if they do not understand what is being said. Every Muslim has to recite the Holy Quran in prayers, but many of us do not realise that reciting the Holy Quran correctly while observing the rules of recitation is not an advanced science for expert reciters alone, rather it is an obligation upon each and every one of us whenever we recite it.

What is Tajweed? The Arabic word Tajweed linguistically means ‘proficiency’ or ‘doing something well’. It comes from the same root letters as the word Jayyid, which means ‘good’. When applied to the Holy Quran, it means giving every letter of the holy book its rights and dues of characteristics when we recite it, and observing the rules that apply to those letters in different situations. We give the letters their rights by observing the essential characteristics of each letter. We give them their dues by observing the characteristics of each letter that are present in them some of the time and not present at other times.

The Holy Quran was revealed with Tajweed rules applied to it. In other words, when the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) recited the words of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), he recited them in a certain way and he showed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the ways in which it was permissible to recite the Holy Quran. So it is obligatory upon us to observe those rules so that we recite it in the way it was revealed.

At the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) there was no need for people to study Tajweed because they talked with what is now known as Tajweed, so it was natural for them. When the Arabs started mixing with the non-Arabs and as Islam spread, mistakes in the Quranic recitation began to appear, so the scholars had to record the rules. Now, because the everyday Arabic that Arabs speak has changed so much from the classical Arabic in which the Holy Quran was revealed, even the Arabs have to study Tajweed.

Purpose of Tajweed

The Holy Quran is the word of Allah, and its every syllable is from Allah. Its recitation must be taken very seriously. The purpose of the science of Tajweed, in essence, is to make the reciter proficient in reciting the Holy Quran — observing the correct pronunciation of every letter with the rulings and characteristics which apply to it, without any exaggeration or deficiency.

Through this, the reciter can recite the Holy Quran according to the way of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who received it from Jibreel, who received it from Almighty Allah in the classical Arabic language.

Each Arabic letter has a Makhraj (an exit or articulation point from which it originates) and Sifaat (attributes or characteristics). Knowing the Makhraj and Sifaat of each letter is an important part of Tajweed. Sometimes two letters have very similar exits, which makes mixing them up easy. So, if a person does not know the attributes of each letter, he may change the meaning of the words in Holy Quran recitation. Observing the rules of Tajweed in reciting prevents the reciter from making mistakes in reciting the Holy Quran.

The majority of scholars agree that applying the Tajweed rules of the Holy Quran such that the clear mistakes are avoided is an individual obligation (Fardh ‘Ayn) upon every Muslim who has memorised part or all of the Quran. Applying the rules of Tajweed to avoid the hidden mistakes is a collective obligation (Fardh Kifaayah) upon Muslims — that is, there must be some students who have knowledge of it. This is because the Holy Quran was revealed with the Tajweed rules applied to it, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) recited it back to Jibreel in that way and so did the companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Thus, it is an established Sunnah (Prophetic tradition or practice).

(The author is a former Khaleej Times staffer)

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