All praises are for Allāh ﷻ who has sent to us the best discourse, a book containing subjects resembling each other, mentioned again and again, from which the skins of those who have awe of their Lord shiver. Then, their skins and their hearts become soft enough to tend to the remembrance of Allāh. This is the Guidance of Allāh with which He brings to the right path whomsoever He wills. As for the one whom Allāh lets go astray, for him there is no one to guide. And peace and blessings upon Muḥammad; al-Musṭafā ﷺ, the best example and role model to whom the best Book; the Qur’ān was revealed to and upon his family, companions, and those who follow him until the Last Day.
The Definition of Tajwīd
Tajwīd linguistically means improvement and proficiency. When used in relation to the Qur’ān, it means pronouncing every letter from its articulation point and giving the letter its rights and characteristics whilst also recognising the places of stopping.
‘Ali رضي الله عنه was once asked the meaning of the following verse from the Noble Qur’ān:
أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا
He said, “Tartīl is perfecting the letters and recognising the places of stopping.”
Our ‘Ulamā رحمهم الله have said, “Recite the Qur’ān carefully, separate each letter from the other, and do not hasten lest the letters conjoin.”
Ruling of Tajwīd
Imām al-Jazarī رحمه الله has stated in his famous poem that details the rules of Tajwīd:
والأخذ بالتجويد حتم لازم من لم يجود القرآن آثم
لأنه به الإله أنزل وهكذا منه إلينا وصل
And applying the rules of Tajwīd is an issue of absolute necessity.
Whoever doesn’t apply its rules to the Qur’ān is a sinner.
Because with it, Allāh ﷻ has revealed the Qur’ān,
and it is in this way it reached us.
Reciting the Qur’ān with Tajwīd is Fardh al-‘Ain. This means that it is compulsory upon every Muslim, male and female, to recite the Qur’ān in such a way that every letter is given its due right whilst paying attention to the vowels of each letter and their places of stopping.
Purpose of Tajwīd
Tajwīd is a means of guarding the Qur’ān and preserving it from distortion and alteration. Without Tajwīd, the meaning of the Qur’ān would change, resulting in words of disbelief and the curse of the Qur’ān being inflicted upon the reader. So, reciting the Qur’ān in the way it was revealed to Muḥammad ﷺ protects the tongue from uttering that which is sinful.
Importance of Tajwīd
The importance of Tajwīd can be seen in the following Āyah and Aḥādīth:
(قال الله ﷻ: ﴿وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا
Allāh ﷻ says: And recite the Qur’ān clearly with Tartīl (in a distinct and measured tone). (Sūrah al-Muzzammil, Āyah 4)
In this Āyah, Allāh ﷻ commands us to recite the Qur’ān with Tartīl and like every command of His ﷻ, this command must also be obeyed and implemented. Consequently, disregarding it will result in His displeasure and punishment in the hereafter as this is a blatant disobedience towards Him.
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو رضي الله عنه قَالَ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ “يُقَالُ لِصَاحِبِ الْقُرْآنِ: اقْرَأْ وَارْتَقِ وَرَتِّلْ كَمَا كُنْتَ تُرَتِّلُ فِي الدُّنْيَا. فَإِنَّ مَنْزِلَكَ عِنْدَ آخِرِ آيَةٍ تَقْرَؤُهَا.”
Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ās رضي الله عنه: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: “One who was devoted to the Qur’ān will be told to recite, ascend, and recite carefully as he recited carefully when he was in the world, for he will reach his abode when he comes to the last verse he recites.” (Abū Dāwūd)
This Ḥadīth is showing that on the Day of Judgement, the reciter of the Qur’ān will be ordered to recite with Tartīl in the same way he recited it in his worldly life. It is clear from this that there isn’t any other way of reciting the Qur’ān, except with Tajwīd. It is the adornment of recitation, the beauty of reading, and a significant part of the Qur’ān. How then, can it be left out? It is the right of the Noble Qur’ān that it is read properly, that every letter is given its due right, and that it is adorned.
Imagine listening to someone giving a lecture in your native language. Due to this person not being a native speaker, he mispronounces many letters and words to such an extent that the purpose of the lecture is lost, no benefit gained for the attendees, and the enjoyment dissipated. Similarly, if the Qur’ān is not recited as it ought to be, its meaning will be lost and the enjoyment will dissipate, leaving no benefit to be gained.
However, while Tajwīd is the primary rule when reciting, it comes secondary to many, making the tune and melody the primary objective. This is due to misinterpretation of the following Aḥādīth.
“عَنِ الْبَرَاءِ بْنِ عَازِبٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ “زَيِّنُوا الْقُرْآنَ بِأَصْوَاتِكُمْ.
Narrated by Al-Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib رضي الله عنه: The Prophet ﷺ said: “Beautify the Qur’ān with your voices.”
“وعَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ رضي الله عنه قَالَ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ “لَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ لَمْ يَتَغَنَّ بِالْقُرْآنِ.
Narrated by Sa’īd b. Abū Sa’īd :رضي الله عنه“The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said: He who does not chant the Qur’ān is not one of us.”
These aḥādīth refer to the articulation of the letters and vowels of the Qur’ān. The formation of each letter should be clear and distinct. Also, the Qur’ān should be recited in such a way that one’s heart becomes fearful and soft.
As Allāh ﷻ says:
Certainly, the believers are those whose hearts are filled with awe when (the name of) Allāh is mentioned; and when His verses are recited to them, it makes them more developed in faith; and in their Lord they place their trust. (Sūrah Anfāl, Āyah 2)
Thus, the intended meaning of this Āyah is: to read the Qur’ān in a way that relieves and removes one’s sorrows and worries. This is because when a person is distressed, he may be inclined to poems and songs which may give him some sort of comfort. Hence, the Ḥadīth above means that when in distress, one should make the recitation of the Qur’ān their primary source of comfort, thereby reciting in such a way that will be an enjoyment and delight to oneself. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that one should sing the words of Allāh ﷻ, rather reciting in a pleasant voice.
As students of ‘Ilm, we tend to put more focus on every other field while taking the recitation of the Qur’ān lightly, when in fact, it should be the complete opposite. Everything we learn as students of Dīn, revolves around the Qur’ān. It is the basis and foundation of our perfect Dīn. For that reason, the Qur’ān must be our strongest point. This doesn’t mean exclusively mastering the fields of Tafsīr and Tarjumah, rather our recitation plays an important role as well. If our recitation isn’t at the standard that it is meant to be, then what is left for the general masses? While Tafsīr and Tarjumah are of boundless benefits and bring about a greater understanding and connection to Allāh ﷻ, it differs from Tajwīd in the sense that these two fields are not obligatory upon every Muslim to master, whereas Tajwīd is.
Take for example a person who prays Ṣalāh without fulfilling its prerequisites. This person will be deemed foolish as he is praying such a Ṣalāh that is invalid. Likewise, a person who focuses all his effort on the different sciences of the Qur’ān and overlooks the recitation of the Qur’ān itself is considered foolish because the right of the Qur’ān remains unfulfilled.
Tajwīd not only affects the recitation of the Qur’ān but also has a great impact on the validity and quality of our Ṣalāh. As recitation is one of its compulsory acts, if Tajwīd of the recitation is left unchecked, it will jeopardise the acceptance of Ṣalāh or render the Ṣalāh deficient. Therefore, an intelligent person would realise that Tajwīd isn’t a science to be taken lightly.
Encouragement to strive in reading the Qur’ān properly
The benefits and merits of reciting the Qur’ān properly are many. A few worthy of mentioning are:
- Fulfilment and obedience to the command of Allāh ﷻ.
- Securing the pleasure of Allāh ﷻ by reciting His words as it was revealed.
- The heart and soul find peace and contentment in a way that cannot be gained by reciting it haphazardly.
- The Qur’ān will become an intercessor for such a person by the permission of Allāh ﷻ as he fulfilled its rights.
- Protecting oneself and one’s tongue from uttering words of disbelief and that which warrants the punishment of Allāh ﷻ.
- Attaining mountains of rewards by the permission of Allāh ﷻ rather than accumulating sins.
- Protecting one’s Ṣalāh from being rejected or deficient.
May Allāh ﷻ grant us the ability to recite His perfect words in the way it has been revealed and forgive any shortcomings in this article. May Allāh accept this effort to recite and ultimately understand His Holy Book and the Sunnah of His Beloved Prophet ﷺ and allow this to be an asset to attain proximity to Him. May Allāh ﷻ choose us for His Dīn purely to earn His pleasure. May Allāh preserve the esteemed readers who will take benefit from this article and also this lowly servant of His and bless her teachers for restlessly encouraging and guiding her upon the straight path. Āmīn.
– Written by Bint ʿAbd al-Ḥakīm (exclusively for SiblingsOfIlm)