The scientific discipline that precisely defines, elaborates and explains the principles of the proper learning of the Quran and the methodology of its practical usage is called: ‘ilmu tajweed, or fennu tajweed, or ahkamu tajweed or tajweed-ul-Quran, which means: science about the rules and laws of the exact learning of the Quran. Someone who knows these rules and the method of their practical realization, and is at the same time well known and respected amongst the experts in this area, is called “qariya”.
The word tajweed, among other meanings means: refinement, embellishment and perfection. It comes from the verb jawwada (has refined, has embellished, has improved). The noun jawdatun (quality, excellence, perfection) is derived from it.
According to the Quran teaching, the word tajweed indicates the liability of the correct pronunciation during recitation, the way of its usage and its goal. The person who learns the tajweed and teaches the others to this science is called Mujawwad (tajweed expert), and the one who practices with beginners is called mukri’ (Quran tutoring mentor).
Considering the precise and responsible learning of the Quran the word tajweed was well known in the times of ashab. ‘Abdullah ibn Mesu’ud once said: “Improve the quality of learning the Quran (tajweed ul Quran)”. According to another version, the same saying is: “Improve the quality of learning the Quran and embellish it with the most beautiful sounds “. The word tajweed is not mentioned in the Quran, but there is the word TERTEEL, which has the same meaning in this context.
Facts about the beginning of the tajweed science
Allah (j.s.) orders: “Pronounce the Quran carefully (with tarteel).” This means, learn it properly and precisely, carefully and responsibly, peacefully and contritely, thinking about the messages and enlightenment of the Quran. In the quoted ayat the word rattle (pronounce, learn) has been intensified by the tarteel infinitive. The goal of this way of expression is developing interest for the proper learning of the Quran and at the same time the wish to live by its rules. The command in the mentioned ayat belongs to the category of wajib (responsibility), because the tarteel (preciseness, wisdom, perfection) is a feature of the Quran as it is said in the ayat: “And we reveal it ayat by ayat (tarteel). (Al-Furkan.32)
Another source that speaks about the obligation to use the tajweed are the hadis of Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) and his sunnet. According to verified sources the Messenger said: “Study the Quran with the Arabic melody and sounds.”
(Tajweed guards the melody (tengim) of the Quran from the influence of any musical genre, anywhere and anytime.. That is how the recommendation on the mentioned hadis should be understood.)
Considering that it has been published in Arabic, it is clear that only the melody and tonality of the mentioned language suits it perfectly. That’s why no musical influence is allowed or possible, nor can the teaching be categorized into any musical genre. On the other side, Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) has taught the ashab to use the rules of tajweed science, and they have passed their knowledge to the younger generations. It is said in the teachings that ‘Abdullah ibn Mes’ud has heard a man who has made a mistake on the length of the el-mutessil while learning the Quran and he warned him by saying: “The messenger of Allah hasn’t taught us to pronounce the length of the vocals like that.” After that he has studied the ayat of the mentioned word, applying the rule about the length of vocals. So, in the other source we have the Messengers words as an argument, and his practice too.
The third source that states the obligatory use of the rules of the tajweeds science is ijma. That means that all Islamic scholars agree that the Quran has to be studied the way it has been published, i.e. with tarteel. This term implies the obligation to use the rules of tajweed.
Beginners in learning, especially in the first stage of education in this area, have to have a mentor to teach them the practical usage of the tajweed rules. This way only, and later with everyday exercise and self-discipline, the initial knowledge in this area can be acquired in a shorter period of time. To achieve a high level in the study of Quran, along with thorough and long-term learning of the tajweed, it is necessary to work on other Islamic disciplines.
The most valuable is the learning which is made by the language, mind and the heart. The language takes care of the accuracy of the sounds, the mind interprets their meaning, and the heart keeps their instructions, advices and warnings. So the language speaks, the mind recognizes, and the heart receives the morality.
The Quran can be learned in a faster or in a slower manner. The speed of learning has to be adjusted according to the pronunciation and voice abilities a person has. According to that the tajweed is divided into:
TERTIL – slow reciting (learning),
HADR – fast reciting (learning),
TEDVIR – deliberate reciting (learning)
According to the current discussion we can come to the following conclusions:
1. As an exact science, the tajweed examines the rules and methods of the proper learning of the Quran. Qira’at is ability and skill of a practical realization of these standards, and the quality of their implementation depends of the responsibility and vocal abilities of each individual. During the learning and training period, the most efficient is the audio-visual method.
2. To study this science is Fard-i Kifaye, i.e. collective duty of each generation of Muslims.
3. Practical implementation of the tajweed is Fardi-ajn, which means, individual duty and responsibility of every person, no matter if he learns one or more ayahs, or the whole Quran.
Dr. Fadil Fazlic