Reciting the Qur’an

QIRA’AH AL-QUR’AN قراءة القرآن


AL means “a specific book,” QUR means “meant to be read,” AN means “continuously.” Therefore, AL-QUR’AN means “a specific book meant to be read continuously. [Peace TV]

7 AHRUF (QIRA’AT) OF QUR’AN

  • At the time of the Prophet ﷺ, there were different kinds of Arabs speaking different dialects of Arabic. He once encountered a group of people who said “AM” instead of “AL.” For example: “AL-KITAB” to “AM-KITAB,” “RASUL AMLAH” instead of “RASUL ALLAH.”
  • These dialects were actually captured in the Qur’an originally called AHRUF. The Qur’an was revealed in different ways to accommodate different people with different dialects of Arabic, because it was not standardized at the time. Even to this day, there are different kinds of Arabs and they spoke different kinds of Arabic.
  • Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallahu anhu), in his wisdom, when he was compiling the Qur’an into one single document (Mushaf), burned the other Ahruf and only preserved one of them, which was the one original Qurayshi Harf. The different ways of Qira’at (recitation) came from that one hard copy of the Qur’an which he preserved.
  • The different Qira’at are the different ways that the one Quraishi Harf can be read and each one of them is correct.

PROOF

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallahu anhu) said: “I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surah Al-Furqan in a style different from that in which I used to recite it, and in which Allah’s Messenger had taught me to recite it. I was about to dispute with him (on this style) but I delayed till he had finished (the recitation). Then I caught hold of his cloak and brought him to the Messenger of Allah and said: O Messenger of Allah, I heard this man reciting Surah Al-Furqan in a style different from the one in which you taught me to recite. Upon this the Messenger of Allah told (me) to leave him alone and asked him to recite. He then recited in the style in which I beard him recite it. The Messenger of Allah then said: Thus was it sent down. He then told me to recite and I recited it, and he said: Thus was it sent down. The Qur’an was sent down in seven dialects. So recite what seems easy there from.” [Sahih Muslim, Book 4,  #1782]

SIMPLE MEANING OF HARF (PLU. AHRUF)

  • The Ahruf are the various ways that the verses of the Qur’an are read.
  • Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “Every variation of a word in the Qur’an is said to be a Harf.”
  • When we say the Harf of Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu anhu), it means the way that he used to recite that verse or word. [Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an, ch.10, p.172]

EXAMPLE

  • Al-Duha 93:1-3

                “Wadduha. Wallayli idha saja. Ma wadda aka rabbuka wama qala.

                “Wadduheh. Wallayli idha sejeh. Ma wadda aka rabbuka wama qaleh.”

EXCELLENCE OF RECITING THE QUR’AN

Reciting it is a blessed time

  • “…For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.“ [Ar-Ra’d 13:28]
  • Angels will surround us and the mercy of Allah will descend upon us. “So, when the Qur’an is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy.” [Al-Araf 7:204]
  • Best to recite on the last 3rd part of night.Establish prayers from the declining of the sun to the darkness of the night, and be particular about the recital of the Qur’an at the dawn of the morning,  for the recital of the Qur’an at the dawn is witnessed. [Al-Isra 17:78]

It will be an intercessor

  • “Read the Qur’an, for it will come forward on the Day of Judgment to intercede for its readers.” [Muslim]
  • Example: Al-Baqarah, Ali Imran, Al-Mulk

Double reward

  • For the one who recites it with difficulty, he will be getting 2 rewards, one for his recitation and two, for his difficulty in reading.
  • “Whoever recites the Qur’an being skillful in it will be with the honorable angels. And whoever recites the Qur’an with hesitation as it is difficult for him will have a double reward.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah]

MANNERS OF RECITING THE QUR’AN

  1. Niyyah
  2. Taharah and Wudhu
  3. Al-Isti’adhah/At-Ta’awwudh
  4. At-Tasmiyah/Al-Basmalah
  5. Kushu
  6. Tartil
  7. Individualization
  8. Pondering On The Meaning
  9. Implementation
  10. Sit/Dress Respectably

NIYYAH (INTENTION)

  • Ikhlas (sincerity) for the sake of Allah only. “Deeds are by intentions.“

TAHARAH (CLEANLINESS)

  • Purity of body and clothes and place
  • In the state of Wudu. “Which (that Book with Allah) none can touch but those who are pure from sins (i.e. angels).” [Al-Waqi’ah 56:79]
  • Use Siwak to freshen one’s mouth before reciting, since it is the way through which the Qur’an passes.

AL-ISTI’ADHAH/AT-TA’AWWUDH (SEEK REFUGE IN ALLAH)

  • Sunnah before reciting to seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan. “When you read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan the rejected one.” [Sad 38:77-78]
  • Saying A-‘U-DHU BILLAHI MINASH-SHAYTANIR RAJIM(I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the outcast)
  • It means to prevent the Shaytan
  1. From affecting our religious and worldly affairs
  2. From hindering us from what we are commanded
  3. From luring us into what we are prohibited from.
  • Virtues
  1. Cleanses the mouth from foul speech that has indulged in.
  2. Purifies the mouth and prepares it to recite the speech of Allah.
  3. Entails seeking Allah’s help and acknowledging His ability to do everything.
  4. Affirms the servant’s meekness, weakness and inability to face the enemy of his inner evil.
  • Proofs
  1. If an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah. [Al-Araf 7:200]
  2. My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayatin (devils). [Al-Mu’minin 23:96-98]
  3. And if an evil whisper from Shaytan tries to turn you away (O Muhammad ) (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allah. [Fussilat 41:34-36]
  • Is it required in Salah?
  1. Majority of opinion: Isti`adhah (in the prayer and when reciting the Qur’an) is recommended and not required.
  2. Therefore, not reciting it does not constitute a sin. However, it is better to do it.
  • Meaning of Shaytan
  1. Literal: one who transgress.
  2. Rootword 1: Shatana (the far thing) because Shaytan has a different nature than mankind, and his sinful ways are far away from every type of righteousness. Rootword 2: Shata (burned), because it was created from fire. Both meanings are correct but the former is better.
  • Every human has a personal Shaytan
  1. And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies ـ Shayatin (devils) among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception). [Al-An’am 6:112]
  2. When one is angry: “Two men disputed with each other in the presence of the Messenger of Allah and the nose of one of them became swollen because of extreme anger. The Messenger of Allah said, (I know of some words that if he said them, what he feels will go away, ‘I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan.’)”

AT-TASMIYAH/AL-BASMALAH (BEGIN IN THE NAME OF ALLAH)

  • Saying “BISMILLAHIR RAHMANIR RAHIM” (In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
  • Opinions on Basmalah
  1. It is a separate Ayah before every Surah (i.e. not part of a Surah)
  2. It is an Ayah (i.e. part of a Surah)
  3. It is a part of an Ayah (i.e. also part of a Surah)
  • There are 114 Basmalah in the Qur’an
  1. At-Tawbah/Al-Bara’ah 9 – only Surah without Basmalah
  2. An-Naml 27:30 – only Surah with 2 Basmalah
  • Basmalah in Al-Fatihah during Salah (both are correct)
  1. Those who agree that it is Ayah #1 recite it aloud in Salah, just like the rest of the Ayat (Abu Hurairah recited it aloud)
  2. Those who disagree that it is Ayah #1 recite it silent in Salah (4 Caliphs, Hanifa and Hanbali, Mu’awwiyah was criticized when he read it silently but in the next Salah, he recited it aloud)
  • Reciting Basmalah with the other Ayat
  1. Recite Ayat clearly, with a pause between Ayat, not in a hurry.
  2. The Basmalah of the next Surah after Al-Fatihah is recited silently.
  • Virtues of Basmalah
  1. Saying Basmalah makes Shaytan as small as a fly and he becomes humiliated but cursing Shaytan makes him large as a house and he becomes arrogant.
  2. We start everything in Allah’s name asking for His help, guidance and answer (Khutbah, entering comfort room, Wudu, eating, drinking, sexual relations…)

KUSHU (REVERENCE)

  • Humbleness and crying when reading. Imam An-Nawwawi said: “Crying when reading the Qur’an is a characteristic of those who know Allah (know Him through His Names and Attributes) and the feelings of the righteous.”

TARTIL (MEASURED RHYTMIC TONE)

  • Moderately, clearly, slowly. “Or a little more; and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” [Al-Muzzammil 73:4]
  • Recommended to beautify one’s voice but Haram in a song-like manner. Narrated Abu Musa (radiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet ﷺ said to him: “O Abu Musa! You have been given one of the musical instruments of the family of Dawud.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, #1823]

PONDERING ON THE MEANING

  • Individualization: To feel that every message in the Qur’an is meant especially for him personally
  • Presence of the heart while reading.
  • To understand that these are not the words of man, but an attribute of Allah Almighty.
  • Interact and react to every verse according to what is proper, meaning to stop at a verse of warning and seek protection with Allah and similarly, to stop at a verse of mercy and ask bounty from Him.
  • There is less reward in reciting the Qur’an without understanding the meaning. The Qur’an was revealed for guidance and this can be achieved through recitation accompanied with pondering.

IMPLEMENTATION

  • Deeming lawful what it permits and deeming forbidden what it forbids.

SIT/DRESS RESPECTABLY

  • To sit up straight and not lean back.
  • Better to face the Qiblah.
  • To dress up  for the reciter is engaged in an intimate discourse with his Lord.
  • To stop reading when one yawns, because yawning is from the Shaytan.
  • Avoid cutting off reading to talk to people.

FREQUENCY OF READING QUR’AN

  • It depends on the situation of the believer, but read it every day regularly, even a a page only.
  • If you want to finish the whole Qur’an once in a month, then read 1 part/day. If once in a week, then read about more than 4 parts/day.

MEMORIZE BY HEART AND RECITE REPEATEDLY

  • It is the only book that is read again and again without boredom. Reading it is considered worship, and that includes Hadith Qudsi and Tafsir.
  • Narrated Ibn Umar (radiyallahu anhu), the Prophet ﷺ said: “The example of the person who knows the Qur’an by heart is like the owner of tied camels. If he keeps them tied, he will control them, but if he releases them, they will run away.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, #1819]
  • Narrated Abu Musa (radiyallahu anhu), the Prophet said ﷺ: “Keep on reciting the Qur’an, for by Him in Whose Hand my life is, the Qur’an runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, #1821]

Dua for completing the Qur’an

[From different sources including my own notes accumulated during long years of study]

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