CHAPTER TEN – SIGNIFICANCE OF RECITATION

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Allah the Almighty says, “Surely they who recite the Book of Allah and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them secretly and openly, hope for a gain which will not perish.[1]

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, “It is obligatory upon you to recite the Quran because its recitation is a compensation for the sins, a protection from the hell-fire and safety from the chastisement.[2]

Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) informed, “The seeds of belief are sowed through the recitation of Quran.[3]

When he (a.s.) completed the recitation of Quran, he (a.s.) used to invoke, “O Allah! Expand my heart through the Quran, use my body through the Quran, illuminate my sight through the Quran, open my tongue through the Quran and help me upon it till You keep me alive because there is no power and strength except through You.[4]

Illuminate Your Houses with the Recitation of the Quran

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) advised, “Illuminate your houses with the recitation of the Quran and don’t turn them (i.e. houses) into graves as the Jews and the Christians did. They prayed in the Churches and the Synagogues but forsook their homes. Surely, the house in which there is excessive recitation of the Quran, its goodness will be more, its inhabitants will live a life of comfort and it will brighten up for the residents of the sky like the stars brighten up for the dwellers of the earth.[5]

Rewards of Recitation

Imam Muhammad al-Baqer (a.s.) gave the glad tidings, “Whoever recites the Quran standing in his prayers, Allah will write for him for every alphabet hundred good deeds; whoever recites it while sitting in his prayers, Allah will write for him for every alphabet fifty good deeds; and whoever recites it in other than prayers, Allah will write for him for every alphabet ten good deeds.[6]

Imam Muhammad al-Baqer (a.s.) states that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) informed,

  • Whoever recites ten verses at night, will not be written from the negligent ones;
  • whoever recites fifty verses will be written from the remembering ones;
  • whoever recites hundred verses will be written from the praying ones;
  • whoever recites two hundred verses will be written from the fearing ones;
  • whoever recites three hundred verses will be written from the successful ones;
  • whoever recites five hundred verses will be written from the struggling ones;
  • and whoever recites a thousand verses a qintaar of gold nuggets will be written for him; each qintaar is equal to 500,000 mithqaal of gold and each mithqaal is 24 carats, the smallest of them will be equal to the mountain of Uhud and the biggest of them equal to the distance between the sky and the earth.[7]

    

 

Recitation in good voice

The infallible guides have exhorted to recite the Holy Quran in a good voice.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said, “Surely, a good voice is an adornment for the Quran.[8]” And hence he (s.a.w.a.) ordered, “Embellish the Quran with your voices.[9]

When he (s.a.w.a.) was asked about the best of men in voice for the Quran, he (s.a.w.a.) replied, “When you hear his recitation, you come to know that he fears Allah.[10]

Imam Sadeq (a.s.) says, “(Imam) Ali Ibn al-Husain (a.s.) had the best voice amongst men in Quran. When the watermen used to pass from his house, they would stand at his door listening to his recitation. (Imam) Abu Ja’far was also the best amongst men in recitation.[11]

 

 

The Right of Recitation

“Those to whom We have given the Book read it as it ought to be read. These believe in it; and whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers.[12]

Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) says, “I complain to Allah about persons who live ignorant and die deviated. For them, nothing is more worthless than Quran if it is recited as it should be recited nor anything more valuable than the Quran if its verses are removed from their places, nor anything more vicious than virtue nor more virtuous than vice.[13]

He (a.s.) also prophesied, “Certainly, a time will come upon you after me when nothing will be more concealed than rightfulness, nothing more apparent than wrongfulness and nothing more current than untruth against Allah and His Prophet. For the people of this period, nothing will be more valueless than the Quran being recited as it ought to be recited, nor anything more valuable than the Quran being misplaced from its position. And in the towns nothing will be more hated than virtue, nor anything more acceptable than vice.

The holders of the Book will throw it away and its memorizers would forget it. In these days, the Quran and its people will be exiled and expelled. They will be companions together on one path but none will offer them asylum. Consequently, at this time the Quran and its people will be among the people but not among them, will be with them but not with them, because misguidance cannot accord with guidance even though they may be together. The people will have united on division and will therefore have cut away from the community, as though they were the leaders of the Quran and not the Quran their leader. Not of it will be left with them except its name, and they will know nothing save its writings and its words. Before that, they will inflict hardships on the virtuous, naming the latter’s truthful views about Allah false allegations and enforcing for virtues the punishment of the vice.[14]”   

Concerning the right of recitation, Imam Sadeq (a.s.) explains, “They recite its verses properly (i.e. stopping where they should stop and pronouncing the alphabets correctly), understand its meanings, acts upon its orders, hope for its promise, fear its punishment, take examples from its stories, take lessons from its parables, act upon its commands and abstain from its prohibitions. By Allah! The right of recitation does not mean to memorize its verses, merely be attentive to its alphabets, recites its chapters, learn its tens and fives, rote its alphabets but squander its limits. The right of recitation means to reflect on its verses. Allah the High says, ‘A Book We have sent down upon you, Blessed, so that they may reflect upon its verses’.[15]

 

Etiquette of Recitation:

While reciting the Book of Allah – Blessed and High be He – the following etiquette and manners must be taken into consideration:

  • Washing and cleaning the mouth by brushing the teeth
  • Seeking refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan
  • Observing the manners of recitation like stopping in the right places and continuing where required
  • Pronouncing the alphabets and words in correct Arabic accent. If one does not know proper Arabic, he must learn it. It is his religious duty.
  • Reflecting and pondering upon the verses
  • Observing heartily humility. That is, one should not have an iota of arrogance or conceit in his heart while reciting the Book of Allah.
  • Never should one recite the Holy Quran or use it for ostentation, showing off or for acquiring worldly gains. Thus, sincerity in intention is of utmost importance
  • Supplications before and after recitation if one has the time
  • Respecting the Holy Quran that it deserves
  • Acting upon its teachings

 

 

Note:

  • Each one of the above points is supported by numerous traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.). We have avoiding citing them for the sake of brevity.

There are numerous other manners and etiquette mentioned in the traditions. Those desirous of delving into the details may refer to the books of traditions.

[1] Surah Faater (35): Verse 29

[2] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 17, H. 18

[3] Ghurar al-Hekam, H. 7633

[4] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 209, H. 6

[5] Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 610, H. 1

[6] Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 611, H. 1

[7] Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 612, H. 5

 

[8] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 190, H. 2

[9] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 190, H. 2

[10] Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 92, p. 195, H. 10

[11] Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 616, H. 10 and 11

[12] Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 121

[13] Nahj al-Balaaghah, Sermon 17 (last para)

[14] Nahj al-Balaaghah, Sermon 147

[15] Tanbeeh al-Khawaatir, vol. 2, p. 236