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How to Learn Tajweed

How to Learn Tajweed

Tajweed and its application can only be learned under a qualified teacher. The rules themselves can be studied independently, but their correct application can only be done by listening to, reciting, and being corrected by, a qualified teacher of the Qur’an. Today even many Arabs are unaware of the rules of Tajweed. Unfortunately many do not know proper Tajweed. In the days of Rasulullah (sallallahu- alayhi-wasallam), there was no need for the study of Tajweed because they talked with what is now known as Tajweed; in other words, it was natural for them. Now, over 14 centuries later, colloquial Arabic has changed radically from the classical Arabic with which the Qur’an was revealed, and Arabs have to study Tajweed, just in the same way that non-Arabs do.


The first step is finding a qualified Qur’an teacher who will listen to you and point out your mistakes, and help you practice fixing them. You will need to learn the Arabic letters and vowels too. What if there aren’t any qualified teachers where I live? Then your task is going to be a little harder, but certainly not impossible. You need to work with tapes of good reciters, for example, the Imams of the Haram, or Shaikh Khalil Khusry. You will need to work on the pronunciation of letters by getting a description of the articulation points and practice placing your tongue, lips, or finding the place in your throat where the letter is articulated from, and compare it to the letter when recited by the Sheikh.


The two most common tajweed mistakes made by non-Arabs are the timings of the vowels, and madd letters, and in the articulation points of the letters (makharij). This mistake, is a major problem that needs to be addressed by all non-Arabs, whether they are Westerners, Europeans, Africans, from the Indo Pakistani subcontinent, or from Eastern Asia. At the outset, the letters that occur in Arabic that are not common in other languages would be what one would imagine to be a problem, but in fact, there are letters in Arabic that are similar to other languages, but do not share the same articulation points with their counterparts. A third mistake incurred by Arabs and non-Arabs alike is in making proper stops and starts. There is more than one aspect to this mistake. The first aspect is that the proper way to stop on a word is by putting a sukoon, or absence of a vowel on the last letter of the word. It is not allowed to stop using the harakah, or vowel on the last letter of the word. The second aspect of stopping is that of stopping at a place that doesn’t contradict the meaning intended by Allah, the Exalted. The same mistake can occur when zstarting up after stopping and taking a breath. One cannot just start on the next word arbitrarily, instead the meaning needs to be considered, and the start should be on a word that portrays the correct and complete meaning, even if the reciter needs to go back two or three words.


One note that is of utmost importance. It is vital that the Muslim learn the Arabic letters and vowels and recite the Qur’an using them, NOT a transliteration. Transliterations do not take into account the various letters that sound similar to the untrained ear, but are very different in pronunciation. The Qur’an is the word of Allah, revealed to man as a guidance, and we have to be extremely careful to read it, as best we can, with proper pronunciation. Reading a transliteration can lead to changing the meaning of the Arabic Qur’an by mispronouncing letters.

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