The aim of this lesson is to teach the students confident, fluent, correct recitation of the Holy Qur’aan, applying its rules of recitation known as Ilm-ul-Tajweed.
Particular attention is given to differentiate closely related/sounding letters.
Simple Rules of Tajweed (Jamiatul Ulama, KZN, S. Africa) is used throughout the five years to teach the basic rules of Tajweed with particular emphasis on implementation. (Click here for book)
Pupils are assessed formally twice a year with grades (A-E) awarded for both fluency and Tajweed. Assessment data is used to track progress over Key Stage 3 & 4.
By Qari Ismail Abdul-Aziz - An Expert in the different dialects of recitation
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 Qur’aan is that regardless of the number of times it is recited, one never gets tired nor bored with its recitation. Allah Ta’ala 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’aan are recited before them, it increases their belief and upon Allah they have complete trust.” (8:2)
One of the salient points mentioned in this verse is that when a believer recites the noble Qur’aan in the correct manner, it increases his faith and belief in Allah. Reciting the noble Qur’aan in the correct manner means to recite it with Tajweed.
What is Tajweed
Allah Ta’ala says in the noble Qur’aan, ‘And recite the Qur’aan with Tarteel.’ (73:4)
When asked about the meaning of Tarteel, Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) replied, ‘It means that the Qur’aan should be recited with Tajweed and with due observance to the rules of Waqf (pausing or stopping at the end of the verse).’
Tajweed means to recite every letter correctly, i.e. from its proper origin of pronunciation coupled with its stipulated attributes.
According to Imaam Jawzi (Rahmatullaahi Alayhi), the verse, ‘Verily my people have renounced the Qur’aan’ has two interpretations. Firstly, it could mean that they had renounced the Qur’aan by not believing in it and practicing upon it. And secondly, it could mean that they used to recite the Qur’aan in such a disgusting manner that it sounded like senseless and meaningless jabbering. Reading the Qur’aan without Tajweed could also be included in the second interpretation.
Tajwid from the Hadith
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said, ‘Indeed Allah desires that the Qur’aan be recited in the manner it was revealed.’ This Hadith clarified by the Aayat and, ‘We revealed the Qur’aan with Tarteel.’ (2:32)
The definition of Tarteel has been explained above. Since the Qur’aan emphatically commands us to recite the Qur’aan with Tajwid, it is Fardh to recite the Qur’aan with Tajweed.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said, ‘The Qur’aan will either testify in your favour or against you.’ Hence, if we fail to observe the requirements of the noble Qur’aan during our recitation, the Qur’aan will testify against us. If we are unacquainted with these prerequisites, we are compelled to acquire the laws of Tajweed.
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 correct pronunciation of letters and words, which we term as ‘Tajweed’.
We should also remember that from the time and generation of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) till today, no one has ever denied this fact that Tajweed is compulsory. It is only now in our times that people have lost respect and forgotten the status of Tajweed.
May Allah give us all the ability to read the Qur’aan correctly so that we may earn the mercy of Allah Ta’ala and not the anger of Allah.
By Sister Fatima Barakatullah
Listening to the Qur'an being recited correctly is enough to soften even the hardest of hearts and Muslims and non-Muslims alike find it a deeply moving experience even if they do not understand what is being said. We feel this even more in Ramadaan when we are in the Taraweeh prayers and we can really feel the difference if we go to a Masjid where the Tajweed rules of Qur'an recitation are not being observed as they should. Every single Muslim has to recite Qur'an in Salah but many of us do not realise that reciting the Qur'an correctly, 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 Qur'an.
What is Tajweed
The word Tajweed linguistically means 'proficiency' or 'doing something well'. It comes from the same root letters as the word 'Jayyid' in Arabic (meaning 'good'): Jeem, Waw and Daal. When applied to the Qur'an, it means giving every letter of the Qur'an its rights and dues of characteristics when we recite the Qur'an 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 that never leave it. And 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 Qur'an was revealed with Tajweed rules applied to it. In other words, when the angel Jibreel (alaihis salaam) recited the words of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) he recited them in a certain way and he showed the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) the ways in which it was permissible to recite the Qur'an. So it is upon us to observe those rules so that we recite it in the way it was revealed.
At the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) 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 as Islam spread, mistakes in Qur'an recitation started appearing, 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 Qur'an was revealed, even Arabs have to study Tajweed.
The purpose of Tajweed
The Qur'an 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 Qur'an, observing the correct pronunciation of every letter with the rulings and characteristics which apply to each letter, without any exaggeration or deficiency. And so through this the reciter can recite the Qur'an upon the way of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) who received it from Jibreel who received it from Allah (subhanahu wa ta'aala) in the Classical Arabic dialect that it came down in.
Arabic letters each have a Makhraj - an exit or articulation point - in the mouth or throat from which they originate and they also each have Sifaat - attributes, or characteristics - particular to them. 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 there is a danger that he will change the meaning of the words in Qur'an recitation. Observing the rules of Tajweed in reciting protects the reciter from making mistakes in reciting the Qur'an.
The ruling of reading with Tajweed
Muhammad bin Al-Jazaree the great Qur'an and Hadeeth scholar of the 9th Century (Hijri) says in his famous poem detailing the rules of Tajweed:
"And applying Tajweed is an issue of absolute necessity, Whoever doesn't apply Tajweed to the Qur'an, then a sinner is he."
Sheikh Zakariyyaa Al-Ansari [died in 926 H.] said in explanation of this verse in his book: Sharh al-Muqaddimah al-Jazariyyaa
"It is required to observe all of the Arabic rules in that which changes it and ruins the meaning".
So he regarded it as an obligation to keep away from the major mistakes in reciting the Qur'an.
The scholars have divided the types of mistakes one might fall into when reciting the Qur'an into two types:
And the majority of scholars agree that applying the Tajweed rules of Qur'an such that the Clear Mistakes are avoided is an individual obligation (Fard 'Ayn) upon every Muslim who has memorised part of or all of the Qur'an. As for applying all of the rules of Tajweed and avoiding the Unobvious mistakes then it is (Fard Kifaayah) upon the Muslim ummah. That is, there must be some students of knowledge who have knowledge of that. This is because the Qur'an was revealed with the Tajweed rules applied to it and the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) recited it back to Jibreel in that way and the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) read it in that way, so it is an established Sunnah.
The Clear mistakes must be avoided by all and to avoid them one must memorise and read attentively and have knowledge of some basic aspects of Tajweed. If a person falls into the Clear Mistakes, this is considered a sin and Ibn Taymiyyah even regarded it undesirable for a Student of Knowledge (i.e. someone who knows Tajweed) to pray behind a person who makes Clear Mistakes in their Salaah. As for the Unobvious mistakes, then the ruling on them is lighter and the recitation of a person falling into this type of mistake is regarded as lacking in completeness but prayer behind such a person is sound.
The List below shows what type of mistakes fall under each category.
Mistakes in words which are clear and inconspicuous, usually changing the meaning. Mistakes related to correct pronunciation of letters so that letters are not mixed up. Scholars, and the ordinary Muslims should avoid these.
Examples of Clear mistakes:
Mistakes which are to do with perfecting pronunciation and are not obvious. Known only by those who have studied Tajweed rules or experts in this field. Ordinary Muslims may not know these or perceive these as mistakes.
Examples of ambiguous mistakes:
And of the proofs that the scholars bring to show the obligation of Tajweed and that it is an established Sunnah is that Allah says in the Qur'an, the meaning of which is:
'And recite the Qur'an (aloud) in a (slow and melodious) style (tarteela)' (Surah Muzzammil, aayah 4)
Ali ibn Abi Talib (radi Allahu 'anhu) 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)' (Surah al-Baqarah, aayah 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.
Umm Salamah was asked about the recitation of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) 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 (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) 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
And once when the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) 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
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. Aameen.