Tajweed - The Science of Beautifying the Qur'an
Issue 83 August 2011
As the Qur'an is recited this Ramadan, in mosques and homes across the world, Nafe Anam takes a look at the sounds, historic and current, that embody the last Revelation.
One of my earliest memories of Ramadan is of my mother. I am lying on my bed and it is nearly time for suhoor (the morning meal before the fast). I can feel myself becoming conscious but I’m not fully awake; my eyes are still shut. I hear my mother’s Qur’an recitation from our living room downstairs. Her soft, comforting voice permeates through my ears and into my soul. I am aware that I am at home, mum is downstairs and at any moment now, our silent, cosy house will awake in the dead of the night with the hustle and bustle — and the smells — of any large Asian household. The memory ends with the smell of food evoking hunger, and then a knock on the door.
Throughout this month, the Qur’an is recited in every mosque and home; in countless cities, towns and villages across the globe. The same elongations and stresses are applied to the same text, as they have been for centuries — only differing by the voices they are pronounced in. For the current two and half billion adherents, it is an incredible feat; even more so given that no internationally centralised religious organisation exists to administer such preservation. Not only is the text intact but the sounds are alive in the millions of reciters proliferating religious institutions. It is fair to say that if you listen to the recitation of the Qur’an today, it is mostly the same as it was centuries ago. Through the application of the rules of tajweed, the aural integrity of the text was maintained and so God’s promise to preserve the Qur’an is fulfilled; both in what we see, when we read, and also in what we hear when we recite.
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