Islam is a religion for all of mankind, not restricted to a certain part of the world or for a certain period. It is a universal religion. The same is the case with the Quran. The Quran is the final and ultimate Divine Book that was revealed on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Since the native language of the people to whom Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was sent as Messenger of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, was Arabic, Quran was also revealed in the same language, as narrated in the 2nd verse of Surah Yusuf.
Translation – Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran so that you may understand.
It is further elaborated in the 4th verse of surah Ibrahim, that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى sends His Messenger who speaks in the same language as of the people to whom he was sent.
Translation – We have not sent a messenger except in the language of his people to clarify the message for them. Then Allah leaves whoever He wills to stray and guides whoever He wills. And He is the Almighty, All-Wise
That’s why the Quran was revealed in Arabic. But as we know, the Quran is the basic Divine Book of guidance for everyone living in this world, most of whom may not speak, read or understand Arabic. Even if one learns to read and understand basic Arabic, he might not be able to recite the Quran correctly and exactly in the same way as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to recite it. Hence, the Islamic Scholars compiled a set of pronunciation and linguistic rules to recite the Quran correctly. That is known as “Tajweed.”
Definition of Tajweed
Tajweed, sometimes also written as Tajwid, is an Arabic word (تَجْوِيدْ). According to the dictionary, it means doing something in a better way. It also means “to improve.” So, the concept of Tajweed in reference to the Quran is to recite it in a better way, with the perfect pronunciation.
Tajweed is a linguistic science in Islam. The rules set by the scholars in Tajweed are derived from the actual recitation of the Quran by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Arabic is quite an eloquent language. A slight deviation in reciting a particular word may entirely change its meaning. That’s why it is very important to recite the Quran exactly in the same manner as taught by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, to his followers. So, Tajweed rules are meant to facilitate and guide us to avoid any mistakes.
Tajweed in Islam can, therefore, be defined as reciting the Quran with perfection and respect, which is also desired by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى in the 4th verse of Surah Muzammil:
Translation – or a little more—and recite the Quran properly in a measured way.
Founders of Tajweed Rules
Realizing the importance of reciting the Quran correctly, scholars worked hard to compile a set of rules for the guidance of an average man who may not be well-versed in the delicacies of the Arabic language. Eventually, Abu Ubaid Al-Qasim Bin Salam (774-838 CE), a renowned scholar, compiled these rules in a book named “Al-Qiraat,” which is believed to be the first such compilation. This book comprises 25 different styles of recitation, which were inherited from various renowned reciters.
Later on, Abu Bakr Ibn Mujahid (8859-936 CE), in his book “Kitab al-Sab’ fil-qirā’āt,” restricted the reciter versions to 7. Different scholars brought in further improvements in Tajweed from time to time. So, with the devotion and concerted efforts of all these scholars, Tajweed came into its final shape in due course of time, followed by the Muslims for correctly reciting the Quran.
Importance of Tajweed
The Quran is a Divine Book. Every word of this Holy Book belongs to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. These words were revealed by the Angel Gabriel عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, with the true pronunciation. The Prophet then passed on the exact pronunciation of these words to his followers.
Hence the foremost importance of Tajweed is to facilitate the people to recite the Quran in the same style as was revealed on the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ by the Angel Gabriel عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. We must recite the Quran perfectly, correctly, and respectfully, which Tajweed makes possible for an ordinary man.
Secondly, Tajweed has ensured the preservation of the Quran in its actual form and the Arabic language. As narrated in the 9th verse of Surah Al-Hijr, Allah has guaranteed the preservation of the Quran in its actual form.
Translation – It is certainly We Who have revealed the Reminder, and it is certainly We Who will preserve it.
Similarly, it is narrated in Hadith, as appears in serial 1015 of Sunan An-Nasai, that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, make your voice beautiful when you recite the Quran.
Translation – It was narrated that Abu Bara’ said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Make your voices beautiful when you recite Quran.'”
Additionally, by following the Tajweed rules, we can also learn Arabic, which will ultimately help us read the Quran perfectly while understanding its meanings as well.
Benefits of Tajweed
Tajweed is the science of reciting the Quran correctly. Reciting the Quran in itself is a source of countless benefits. So, the benefits of learning Tajweed are enormous.
- Tajweed facilitates correct recitation of the Quran – Quran comprises the words of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, hence demands full respect and correct pronunciation. Even a slight mistake cannot be afforded. Tajweed rules facilitate us to do it perfectly.
- Tajweed beautifies the Quran Verses – By following the rules of Tajweed, the recitation of the Quran makes the verses more attractive and beautiful.
- Tajweed as a source of spiritual interaction with Allah – Recitation of the Quran in correct pronunciation also develops a spiritual connection with the Quran and Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
- Tajweed prevents mistakes – As we know, a slight deviation from the actual pronunciation of a verse may entirely change its meaning. So, we must avoid such mistakes, for which Tajweed is the best tool. It prevents us from making mistakes or misinterpreting the Quran.
- Tajweed facilitates us learning Arabic – By following the Tajweed rules, we can learn and understand Arabic, enabling us to understand the Quran.
How to Learn Tajweed Quickly
Tajweed is quite an elaborative description of Arabic language rules. It looks somewhat difficult to learn these rules. But it becomes quite easy if you can follow a systematic process of learning it.
- Each alphabet in Arabic has a different way of pronouncing it. For instance, “خ” has to be pronounced from the throat, whereas it needs to be voiced through the interaction of upper teeth and the tip of the tongue. So, the first step in learning Tajweed is to start learning the pronunciation of every letter of the alphabet in Arabic.
- The purpose of learning Tajweed is to read the Quran correctly. Various books are specifically compiled to facilitate learning Quran words. So, start with one of such books. Start learning simple words first, followed by more complex words.
- Learn how to perform elongation or extended vowels. Practice how to pause. These two are very relevant while reciting the Quran with Tajweed.
- Learn one by one. Don’t move to the next rule until you master the previous one. Some pronunciations may prove to be difficult to apprehend easily. Give extra time to practice them. Once you get hold of one rule, move on to the next. Don’t hurry; it’s a serious matter and demands utmost care.
- Practice more and more on the correct voicing of Arabic words and alphabets. Keep practicing daily. Spare at least one to two hours daily to get it right. It will go a long way in learning Tajweed rules.
- Take care of pitch while voicing different words. It’s all about intonation and rhythm. Practice it daily. It will allow you to recite the Quran beautifully and attractively.
- It is strongly recommended to take the assistance of a qualified Arabic teacher for learning Tajweed. You can also get help from different online materials, but sessions with a qualified teacher are necessary to learn Tajweed perfectly.
Learning Tajweed is a noble task, as it is aimed at reciting the Quran in a perfect and beautiful way. So, take it seriously. Devote reasonable time for this purpose. Don’t relax in practicing voicing different letters and words of the Quran. Practice repeatedly and regularly until you get hold of it. It needs dedication and consistency in learning and practicing the Tajweed rules. The more you practice, the more chances you have to master the techniques of Tajweed.
Learning any such thing is quite easy in the early years of your age. So, be sure to start teaching your kids the Tajweed rules from a very early age.