|Subject: Importance of Tajweed Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:45 am|| |
The Importance of Tajweed
The Noble Quran is the literal words of Allaah that He revealed as an infallible source of legislation for mankind to live an organised life by. It contains regulations and recommendations about all aspects of life and references to the Hereafter. Being so important, the Quran must be read, written, and recited correctly and clearly, so as not to create any sort of ambiguity or misunderstanding whatsoever. Allaah Almighty addressed His Messenger Muhammad in the Quran, Saying (what means): "…And recite the Quran with measured recitation." [Quran 73:4]
Listening to the 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 Quran in prayers, but many of us do not realise that reciting the 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 the Quran.
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 Quran, it means giving every letter of the Quran its rights and dues of characteristics when we recite the Quran, 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 Quran was revealed with Tajweed rules applied to it. In other words, when the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) recited the words of Allaah to the Prophet Muhammad he recited them in a certain way and he showed the Prophet the ways in which it was permissible to recite the 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 there was no need for people to study Tajweed because 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 with which the Quran was revealed, even the Arabs have to study Tajweed.
The Purpose of Tajweed
The Quran is the word of Allaah, and its every syllable is from Allaah. 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 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 Quran according to the way of the Prophet who received it from Jibreel who received it from Almighty Allaah 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 Quran recitation. Observing the rules of Tajweed in reciting prevents the reciter from making mistakes in reciting the Quran.
The Ruling of Reading with Tajweed
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Al-Jazari who was a great Quran and Hadeeth scholar of the 9th Hijri century, stated in his famous poem that details the rules of Tajweed:
"And applying Tajweed is an issue of absolute necessity, Whoever doesn't apply Tajweed to the Quran, then a sinner is he."
Hence, applying the rules of Tajweed is an obligation to keep away from the major mistakes in reciting the Quran.
The scholars have divided the types of mistakes one might fall into when reciting the Quran into two:
1. Clear mistakes: which usually change obvious things and change the meaning.
2. Hidden mistakes: for which one may need to study Tajweed rules.
The majority of scholars agree that applying the Tajweed rules of the 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, while 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 of knowledge who have knowledge of that. This is because the Quran was revealed with the Tajweed rules applied to it, and the Prophet recited it back to Jibreel in that way and the companions of the Prophet read it in that way, so it is an established Sunnah (Prophetic tradition or practice).
The list below shows the type of mistakes under each category:
Mistakes related to correct pronunciation of letters so that letters are not mixed up in a way that changes their meaning. Scholars and ordinary Muslims alike should avoid these.
Examples of Clear Mistakes:
• Changing one letter into another or a short vowel (Harakah) into another (e.g. changing Fat-hah into Dhammah or the letter Qaaf into Kaaf, etc)
• Not observing the elongations (Madd) at all. Reciting them quickly as if there is no Madd so that they turn into the length of a vowel.
• Making a Madd letter which out of a normal Harakah.
• Stopping or starting at an incorrect place so that the meaning is spoilt, like stopping at 'Laa ilaaha' (i.e., there is nothing worthy of worship), without completing 'illallaah' (except Allaah).
Mistakes which have to do with perfecting pronunciation and are not obvious. These are known only by those who have studied Tajweed rules or are experts in this field. Ordinary Muslims may not know such mistakes or perceive them to be so.
Examples of Hidden Mistakes:
• Not being totally exact with the elongation of letters: (Making the Madd shorter or longer by a 1/2 or even 1/4 degree, etc.)
• Not observing the attributes of each letter perfectly: (Slightly rolling the Raa', or exaggerating the 'N' sound in Noon etc.)
• Not observing the rules with which to pronounce letters when they are next to each other (like not merging certain letters that should be merged (Idghaam) and not clearly pronouncing those which should be clearly pronounced (Ith-haar, etc.)
• Making light letters sound heavy and heavy letters sound light (except if by doing this one changes a letter into another; in which case it would be an obvious mistake.)
Among the proofs that the scholars bring to show the obligation of Tajweed and its being an established Sunnah is that Almighty Allaah Says in the Quran the meaning of which is : "…And recite the Quran with measured recitation." [Quran 73:4]
Ali ibn Abi Talib : said in the explanation of this aayah:
"at-Tarteel is Tajweed of the letters and knowing where to stop (correctly)".
And of the proofs also is that Allah says in the Qur'an, the meaning of which is:
'Those who We have given the Book to, give it its right in recitation ( recite it as it should be recited)' [Quran 2:121]
And of the rights of reciting correctly is reciting it the way it was revealed.
There are various ahadeeth also showing us the importance of Tajweed.
There are various Prophetic narrations also showing us the importance of Tajweed. Umm Salamah was asked about the recitation of the Prophet and she described it as a recitation: "Clearly-distinguished, letter by letter".
Sa'eed bin Mansoor relates in his Sunan that a man was reciting the Qur'an to Abdullah bin Mas'ood and he recited
"Innamas sadaqaatu lil fuqara-i wal masaakeen", so Ibn mas'ood said: "This was not how the Messenger of Allah recited it to me!" So the man asked, "How did he read it to you oh Aba Abdir-Rahman?" So he said "Lil Fuqaraaaa-i wal masaakeen", he elongated the word Fuqaraa and the knowledge of the different lengths of elongation (mudood) is also from the rules of Tajweed.
Reciting the Qur'an melodiously
1. The Prophet used to recite the Qur'an in slow, measured, rhythmic tones as Allah had instructed him, not hurriedly, but rather "he would recite a surah in such slow rhythmic tones that it would be longer than it would seem possible."
2. He would stop at the end of each aayah.
3. He commanded people to recite in a beautiful voice in a pleasant melodious tone. He said "Beautify the Qur'an with your voices [for a fine voice increases the Qur'an in beauty]"
and he said
4. " He who does not recite the Qur'an in a pleasant tone is not of us." Unfortunately all to often we find people reciting the Qur'an quickly and without changing their tone and without any feeling.
5. We should put all our efforts into reciting the Qur'an with as much feeling as we can! Have you ever prayed behind an Imam who read with feeling? Well the Prophet said "Truly the one who has one of the finest voices among the people for reciting the Qur'an is the one whom you think fears Allah when you hear him recite."
6. And once when the Prophet complimented Abu Moosaa al-Ash'ari : on the beauty of his recitation, Abu Moosaa : said "Had I known you were there, I would have made my voice more pleasant and emotional for you."
Let us remember, that the Qur'an is the word of Allah. In it we find exhortations, warnings, glad-tidings, parables, stories of the past, commands and prohibitions. Aayaat to make us think, reflect, cry, fear, hope, love, fall down in prostration! How can we recite all of this without feeling!? When we recite an aayah of Qur'an we should imagine that we are trying to feel and convey the full message behind that aayah. Perhaps some of us don't feel confident. I believe that this lack of confidence comes partly from not knowing the rules of Tajweed correctly and so fearing that we will make mistakes and partly from not understanding the meaning of what we are reciting. So let us work hard to remove these two obstacles by learning Tajweed and working towards learning Arabic.
Helpful Tips towards learning Tajweed
• You must find a Qur'an teacher who has studied Tajweed to listen to your recitation and correct you. Tajweed cannot merely be learnt from books, because the movements of your mouth as well as the sounds are important and only a teacher can correct you and make sure you are applying the rules correctly. Sometimes local Mosques will run classes. Qur'an recitation is a science which was passed down generation by generation through teachers not just books, with a direct line to the Prophet
• Find a book containing the rules of Tajweed and learn each rule little by little, applying it as you go along with the help of your teacher. There are many concise Arabic books and in English there are some books as well as tapes to help. Look for books with some drawings showing you how to pronounce each letter.
• Listen to Qur'an tapes of reciters who recite very clearly, at a medium or slow speed (like Sheikh Hudhaify or Sheikh Muhammad Hosary) and try and notice them applying the different rules of Tajweed. Repeat after them while trying to apply the rules you've learnt. Try to copy their tone and melody as well and see how it changes as the meaning of what they're reciting changes.
• Tajweed website: There is an excellent Tajweed website in English which details many aspects of Tajweed in a very clear way including a Question and Answer section:
• Tajweed Mus-haf: You can get a new Mus-haf (copy of the Qur'an), called Mus-haf at-Tajweed, which has the rules of Tajweed incorporated in the text of the Qur'an in colour coding! This is very helpful as it prompts you as you go along. There is also a computer program you can buy with it which highlights Tajweed rules with recitation.
• Tajweed Poem: If you know Arabic you could memorise Ibn al-Jazaree's poem which contains all the rules of Tajweed. You can get the poem on tape sung as a nasheed in Arab countries. You might find memorising the rules easy in this way.
• Try and apply the rules you learn to the Surahs you have already memorised and don't become lazy about reciting correctly. You might have to revise the surahs by looking back at them.
• Practice and repetition will make perfect insha Allah: As Ibn al-Jazaree says in his poem about acquiring Tajweed:
'And there is no obstacle between it (learning Tajweed) and leaving it, Except that a person must exercise his mouth with it!'
May Allah help us all to give His Book its right when we recite it and make reciting it more beloved to our tongues than anything else. Ameen.