The Noble Quran is the literal words of Allaah that He revealed as an infallible source of legislation for mankind to live an organised life by. It contains regulations and recommendations about all aspects of life and references to the Hereafter. Being so important, the Quran must be read, written, and recited correctly and clearly, so as not to create any sort of ambiguity or misunderstanding whatsoever. Allaah Almighty addressed His Messenger Muhammad in the Quran, Saying (what means): “…And recite the Quran with measured recitation.” [Quran 73:4]
Listening to the Quran being recited correctly is enough to soften even thehardest of hearts. Muslims and non-Muslims alike find it a deeply moving experience, even if they do not understand what is being said. Every Muslim has to recite Quran in prayers, but many of us do not realise that reciting the Quran correctly while observing the rules of recitation is not an advanced science for expert reciters alone, rather it is an obligation upon each and every one of us whenever we recite the Quran.
What is Tajweed?
The Arabic word Tajweed linguistically means ‘proficiency’ or ‘doing something well’. It comes from the same root letters as the word Jayyid, which means ‘good’. When applied 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 (Gabriel) recited the words of Allaah to the Prophet Muhammad he recited them in a certain way and he showed the Prophet 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 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.