What is Tajweed?
The word Tajweed linguistically means ‘proficiency’ or ‘doing something well’. 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 (A.S) recited the words of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) he recited them in a certain way and he showed the Prophet (SAW) 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.
History of Tajweed
At the time of the Prophet (SAW) 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 pbuh. as he received it from Jibreel who received it from Allah (SWT) 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.
Benefits of learning Tajweed
The benefits of learning Tajweed are many as reflected in some of the Ahadeeth are as following:
- The reciters of the Qur’an will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels.
- You will be from the best of people.
- There are ten rewards for each letter you recite from the Quran.
- The Qur’an will lead you to Paradise!
And there are many more described in Ahadeeth.