Tajweed has to do with the rules that govern pronunciation when we are reciting the Quran.
It covers the guidelines on how Arabic alphabets should be pronounced, places to pause, stop or keep going during recitation, when to elongate the pronunciation of an alphabet, etc. It covers the characteristics of Arabic alphabets and how they interact with each other such that they can take different forms.
The Quran was revealed and recited through Jibril (AS) with Tajweed, and that was the way the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) taught it to his companions.
For many of us who are non-Arab Muslims, Tajweed is more often than not a learning curve for us. When you listen to Qaris reciting the Quran, you wish to attain their level of proficiency. Not just in melody, but in the way that they pronounce each letter perfectly.
The study of Tajweed is a whole field by itself in Islam and it is important for us to learn to recite the Quran with Tajweed.
Why is Tajweed Important?
As a native speaker of English, French, Spanish or any other language, imagine that you heard someone reciting a poem in your language. This person is not a native speaker and as they recited the poem, they mispronounced many words such that you didn’t understand what they were saying and you didn’t enjoy the recital.
That is kind of like the difference that the knowledge of Tajweed makes to our recitation of the Quran.
Understanding Tajweed rules and applying it to our recitation of the Quran is what helps us pronounce Arabic words perfectly. The knowledge of Tajweed teaches us to pronounce alphabets exactly the way that they should be pronounced so that our words have the intended meaning. For example, it teaches us that ص and س are pronounced differently and that when you mix them up in words, you can end up meaning something but saying something else.
Tajweed teaches us to recite in a way that is closer to the perfect way that the Quran was revealed. And all of these are reasons why every Muslim should strive to make their Tajweed perfect so that their recitation can be perfect.
How to Improve Your Tajweed
Even though the person who recites the Quran with difficulty gets double the reward of the person who recites it easily, we can all learn Tajweed so that our recitation can be more fluent and beautiful. If you have been looking for a way to improve your recitation, here are some tested tips you can try.
Get a Qualified Teacher
The easiest way to understand Tajweed rules is by having someone teach you. This can be an online or offline class, what is most important is that you get someone who is qualified to teach you the rules so that you can apply them to your recitation.
I say this is the easiest way because sometimes we may get tempted to read a textbook by ourselves in the hopes to understand Tajweed. While that may work for some topics under Tajweed, for the most part, you need someone to guide you, listen to your mistakes and correct you.
Practice with Reciters
You can improve your recitation and practice your knowledge of Tajweed by listening to reciters of the Quran, even after being taught by a teacher.
What this does is that it helps you get familiar with how the words are pronounced in the Quran, and the more you listen to these pronunciations and follow them properly, the better your own recitation becomes.
Recite and Recite Aloud
None of these tips can really be helpful if you are not actively reciting the Quran. Because the more you recite the Quran, the more familiar you get with the words and you are able to apply all that you have learned and listened to.
It is important to recite aloud, rather than reciting silently, because this helps you get more proficient, confident, and you are able to catch your mistakes faster. Reciting the Quran aloud also helps you pace yourself and helps you beautify your recitation.
Contrary to how it looks when you are just starting to learning how to recite the Quran properly, one can actually improve upon their recitation in a short period than anticipated. But for this to happen, you have to be willing to learn and practice your Tajweed as consistently as possible.