The Holy Quran is the words of Allah that He sent us and this Book is an inerrable source of rules for mankind to organize our life. Because of Its importance, the Quran must be read, written, and recited correctly and clearly, so as avoid any sort of ambiguity or misunderstanding. There is direct recommendation about it in the Quran: “… and recite the Quran with measured recitation.” (Quran, 73:4)
Everybody find that listening to beautiful and correct recitation of the Quran is a deeply emotional experience, even if they do not understand Arabic. Recitation of the Quran in prayers is an obligate duty for every Muslim; however, many of us do not realize that reciting of the Quran correctly while observing the rules of recitation is also obligation upon each and every one of us whenever we recite the Quran.
Tajweed means ‘proficiency‘ or ‘doing something well‘.
Tajweed has the same root letters as the word Jayyid, which means ‘good‘. Concerning 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 recited the words of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) he recited them in a certain way and he showed the Prophet (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) 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 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 Allah, and its every syllable is from Allah. Its recitation must be taken very seriously. The purpose of the Tajweed is to make the reader 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 reader can recite the Quran according to the way of the Prophet (pbuh) who received it from Jibreel who received it from Allah.
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 reader from making mistakes in reciting the Quran.
May Allah help us all to give the Quran its right when we recite it and make reciting it more beloved to our tongues than anything else.