Reading and reciting the Quran is an essential aspect of devout Muslim culture. The Book of Allah contains a lot of valuable information regarding this life and the next. Its word is a tool of guidance and voice of reason. When learning to recite the Quran, the rules for proper pronunciation — or Tajweed — must be followed. In Arabic, Tajweed is defined as “doing something well” or “proficiency”. Using precise and masterful language is the ideal manner in which to read, recite and understand all the important life lessons within the Quran.
Clear Mistakes and Hidden Mistakes
The importance of Tajweed lies in the obligation to avoid some of the major errors that can happen when reciting the Quran. As determined by scholars, there are two types of mistakes that one may commit during recitation: “clear” and “hidden.” Clear mistakes are those related to incorrect pronunciation, such as accidentally shortening vowels or stopping at an incorrect place in the text where it spoils the meaning. It is regarded by scholars that all Muslims — regardless of their familiarity with Tajweed — hold an individual obligation to avoid committing these clear mistakes.
Hidden mistakes, however, are less obvious and are often only recognized by those who have practiced and studied Tajweed. These mistakes may include imperfect or imprecise elongation of letters, along with mixing up letters that should be spoken “lightly” with letters that should be spoken “heavily.” Those who are familiar with the rules of Tajweed are better able to recognize these hidden errors. Both types of mistakes can affect the meaning or the message of the Word. This is why being fluent with Tajweed can help avoid these mistakes and result in a more accurate and meaningful recitation of the Quran.
To learn the Quran, reading with Tajweed for beginners starts by setting intentions. Begin by asking yourself why you want to learn Tajweed. What do you plan or hope to gain from this knowledge? What goals can you set for yourself? For many, the intention is to become a more devout Muslim, strengthen his or her faith and become better at reciting the Quran.
The idea behind setting unique and individual intentions is to create a personal connection with the experience. Prayer can be an important part of this step. It can help you create a spiritual pathway to Allah and open yourself to all the beneficial insight to come.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As with everything in life, repetition and habitual performance can make Tajweed easier to master. It takes practice and dedication. You can’t ride a bike by trying it once, nor can you learn a new language by only reading, writing or speaking it once in a while. Practice is how you can retain more information and make all the knowledge you’ve accumulated habitual. Make a conscious effort to recite using Tajweed daily. Being consistent with Tajweed should help with memorization and comprehension.
Not only is constantly engaging with and reciting the Quran effective, but it can also help you apply what you’ve learned. Routinely use techniques and pronunciation in your daily speech to grow accustomed to it. Your mouth, tongue and vocal cords can work together to memorize spoken words correctly, similar to building muscle memory.
Immerse Yourself in an Arabic Environment
Many Muslims trying to learn Tajweed are not often in an environment where Arabic is spoken.
This might make learning more difficult, as you are not surrounded by the language and able to interact with native speakers. To make up for this, try to simulate an Arabic environment by listening to Arabic-speaking radio stations, audio books or television programs. This can help you hear Tajweed practiced by well-versed speakers and further familiarize yourself with the alphabets and pronunciations in a more casual context.
Enlist the Help of a Tajweed Teacher
Assistance from someone who is versed in proper Quran recitation can be a great resource when learning Tajweed for beginners. Just as with learning to read the Quran, it can be intimidating to approach something new and unfamiliar without guidance. When self-teaching, you may not know where to start or if you are even pronouncing words correctly, which is when bad habits can manifest.
A knowledgeable Tajweed instructor can apply his or her expertise to help you avoid clear mistakes and, eventually, hidden mistakes. He or she can help assess your progress, point out where you need to improve and provide insight on all the technicalities of the Arabic language. What better way to learn Tajweed than from those who understand the nuances of the language within the holy Quran?
Through IQRA, you can enroll in Tajweed-focused online courses led by experienced and reputable instructors. With course material, exercises and assignments tailored to Tajweed beginners, you can learn all the inner workings of the Arabic language. Learn more about our instructors and register for a course here.