The Art of Tajweed
January 21, 2008
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For those of you who’re even barely familiar with Tajweed, you’ll have an idea of what this post is about. And if you know some of the basics of Tajweed, you’ll realize what I mean when I say the ‘Art of Tajweed’. That’s exactly what Tajweed is – a beautiful art form. In fact, it’s one of the greatest expressions of arts, that soothes from within and also earns rewards from Allah (swt). [According to one Hadith, each letter of the Quran, when recited, earns ten rewards (or even more) from Allah (swt), such that even Alif-Laam-Raa is taken as three separate letters.]
Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that Allah’s messenger (saw) said, A thousand years before creating the heavens and the Earth, Allah recited Ta-Ha and Ya-Sin, and when the angels heard the recitation they said, ‘Happy are the people to whom this comes down, happy are the minds which carry this, and happy are the tongues which utter this.
[Darami transmitted it, at-Tirmidhi]
Abdullah bin Masud (ra) said, “Recite the Quran while adorning it with your beautiful voices.”
It’s amazing how an ordinary-sounding voice will usually blend into the crowds in normal speech but the same voice, when it recites the Quran while applying the rules of Tajweed, becomes so different, so beautiful that the ears are rivetted to it. No wonder Allah (swt) revealed the Quran in Arabic, for all humanity. The pronunciation of letters, the degrees in tones, nasalization and the different qualities are so well documented in Arabic that the script comes together as a well-defined, well-oiled machine. And, as with all machines, it must be run frequently to prevent rusting stemming from disuse.
As I learn more and more about Tajweed, I’ve learnt some lessons (from my teachers and some from my own observations) about being a student of the Quran recitation.
Approach Tajweed and Quran recitation keeping in mind that these are the Words of Allah (swt) that I am reading and trying to recite in the way they were Revealed. This keeps one motivated and eager to progress quickly. The recitation will, InshAllah, also purify the heart and Nafs if the approach is right.
Practice daily, even if it is one small Surah. The tongue and throat need to be ‘reminded’ daily of their respective roles according to Tajweed rules. In time, even a simple word written on a page or Arabic script seen on TV will automatically be read in its correct form.
When practising your Tajweed, sit in a secluded part of the house (such as alone in a room) and recite loudly, yet slowly.
Listen frequently to the short Surahs being recited by famous Qaris, such as Sheikh Hudhaify or Qari Abdul Basit. Sheikh Hudhaify is preferable because of his slow and measured tones – he’s a PhD in Tajweed!
Whether driving to or from work, or when you’re working on the computer (as I am now), play the Quran recitation. Even if you’ve just started learning Tajweed, it always helps to have the recitation playing because you pick up the general tone and get a basic idea of how your recitation should sound too.
Keep revising the basic Makharij often – you might think you know them and that’s how overconfidence gets you.
Teach others – that’s the best way to retain what you’ve learnt and also to improve. Perhaps the letter you always struggled with might become easy upon you when you teach it to others.
Try to memorize the translation of the short Surahs along with the Arabic so that when you recite, you know what you’re saying. That way, you’ll change your tone accordingly, when a question is being asked (in the Quran) or an excalamation is being made. It beautifies the Qirat.
Always be humble! Never let yourself feel that you know more than others, or that you’re the best in your learning group. Remember that we are all students of the Quran and that even the apparent ‘best’ will never be THE best. Only Allah (swt) Recited and Revealed the Quran in Absolute Perfection and He rewards best, whom He deems worthy.