Friday, 23 February 2007

The Importance of Tajwid

An Arabic adage proclaims:

"The speech of the kings is the king of all speech."

So, can the excellency of the speech of the kings of all kings – Allah Ta'ala – even be equated with man-made speech?

One of the many miracles of the Noble Qu'ran is that - regardless of the number of times it is recited, one never gets tired nor bored with its recitation. Allah SWT says in the Noble Qur'aan:

"Indeed the believers are those who tremble with fear when Allah is remembered and when the verses of the Qur'an are recited before them, it increases their belief and upon Allah they have complete trust." (Surah 8: Ayat 2)

One of the salient points mentioned in this verse is that when a believer recites the Qur'an in the correct manner, it increases his faith and belief in Allah. Reciting the Noble Qur'an in the correct manner means - to recite it with Tajwid.


Allah Ta'ala says in the Noble Qur'an:

"And recite the Qur'an with Tarteel." (Surah 73: Ayat 4)

When asked about the meaning of Tarteel, Saiyidina Ali RA replied:

"It means that the Qur'an should be recited with Tajwid and with due observance to the rules of Waqf (pausing or stopping at the end of the verse)."

Tajwid means to recite every letter correctly, i.e. from its proper origin of pronunciation coupled with its stipulated attributes.

According to Imam Jawzi RA, the verse, "Verily my people have renounced the Qur'an"- has two interpretations. Firstly, it could mean that they had renounced the Qur'an by not believing in it and practicing upon it. And secondly, it could mean that they used to recite the Qur'an in such a disgusting manner that it sounded like senseless and meaningless jabbering. Reading the Qur'an without Tajwid could also be included in the second interpretation.


Rasulullah SAW has said:

"Indeed Allah desires that the Qur'an be recited in the manner it was revealed."

This Hadith is clarified by the following verse of the Qur'an:

"We revealed the Qur’an with Tartil." (Surah 2: Ayat 32)

The definition of Tartil has been explained above. Since the Qur'an emphatically commands us to recite the Qur'an with Tajwid, it is Fardh i.e. compulsary to recite the Qur'an with Tajwid.

It is narrated in Ahadith that Rasulullah SAW said:

"The Qur'an will either testify in your favour or against you."

Hence, if we fail to observe the requirements of the Noble Qur'an during our recitation, the Qur'an will testify against us. If we are unacquainted with these pre-requisites, we are compelled to acquire the laws of Tajwid.

Due to the vastness of the Arabic language, any small mistake in pronunciation of a letter or word may change the meaning of that word. For example, the word ‘Qalb’ (with q) means heart, if read ‘Kalb’ (with k), it will mean a dog’. So just as how in any other language we learn pronunciation of letters and words, for example, in English we learn that ‘ph’ stands for ‘f’ (as in phone) and not pone. Similarly, in the Arabic language, we also have to learn pronunciation of letters and words, which we term as ‘Tajwid’. Tajwid is not like all other subjects which we are able to separate from the Qur'an, but instead - Tajwid and Qur'an work hand in hand.

If there is no Tajwid with Qur'an, there is no Qur'an. Simple.

The question may arise that, how can such a statement be made that if a person reads Qur'an without Tajwid, he is not reading Qur'an? Yes, such a statement is 100% correct.

Our beloved Rasulullah SAW states in one Hadith:

"There are a lot of readers that read the Qur'an but the Qur'an curses them instead of making Du'aa for them."

We get some people nowadays who spend hours and hours reciting the Qur'an thinking that they are getting and attaining great rewards. But because their pronunciation of letters is incorrect, a very big problem arise. It sounds very small when we say, ‘I am only pronouncing a letter incorrectly...’ But did this thought ever cross our minds that when a letter changes in a word, the word changes and if a word changes in a sentence then the whole sentence changes and eventually the meaning also changes?

So from this, we understand the Hadith of our Rasulullah SAW that some people read so much of the Qur'an but because they do not know the correct pronunciation of the letters, they change the letters which then changes the words which eventually leads to the changing of the sentence and meaning of the Qur'an. So, the Qur'an in turn, instead of making du'a for such people it curses them.


The wife of Nabi SAW, Aishah RA narrrates that Rasulullah SAW once said:

"One who is well versed in the Qur'an will be in the company of those angels who are scribes, noble and righteous; and one who falters in reading the Qur'an, and has to exert hard for learning, gets double the reward."

"One who is well versed in the Qur'an" - means one who is proficient in memorising as well as in reciting it. It is highly praiseworthy if one masters its meaning and significance as well. "To be with the angels" - means that, like the angels who transferred the Qur'an from the, Lawhul Mahfuz (Protected Tablet in Heaven), he also conveys it to others through its recitation and, therefore, both have the same occupation; or that he will join the company of such angels on the Day of Judgement. On the other hand - one who falters will get double reward—one for his reading and the other for his effort in reading the Qur'an, in spite of faltering again and again.

It does not mean that his / her reward will exceed that of a well-versed person. The reward that is mentioned for a well-versed person is far greater, so much so that he /she will be in the company of special angels. The explanation to this is that - the labour involved in faltering and the difficulties in the reading of the Qur'an carry an independent reward. As such, reading of the Qur'an should not be given up, even though faltering is evident.

To add on, it is related from Tabrani and Baihaqi that - one who cannot memorise the Qur'an well and yet persists in learning it by heart gets double reward. Similarly, one who cherishes a longing for memorising it and does not possess the ability to do so, but does not give up his efforts, will be reckoned by Almighty Allah among the huffaaz (Plural of hafiz—one who has learnt the whole Qur'an by heart) on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is Most Merciful, and recognises our intentions and efforts. MashaAllah.

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