As we have now entered a unique Ramadān for us all – the month of Qur’ān – we wanted to reflect on some gems from one of the projects surrounding this marvellous book.
This year, Imām Jazarī Institute, in collaboration and support from The Online Masjid, an Islam21c project, is intending to complete the recital of the entire Qur’ān. Although this may seem common, it is unique in that the institute is bringing its teachers together to recite in different modes of recitation.
Modes of recitation refer to the different ways the Qur’ān has been transmitted from the Prophet to us, via a connected chain, in its different styles. It is a science that has been preserved within the sciences of Qur’ān, and one that enhances and expands other sciences and branches such as Fiqh and the rulings pertaining to it. Without going into much detail into the science, which can be better expressed by the experts in the field, we wanted to highlight the unique gems and goals behind this project.
There are a range of reciters who will alternate daily, reciting a Juz’ (one part from the 30 parts) a day. Some of the underlying gems this brings, have been highlighted in a list of five overarching points.
1. Connecting with the Source
If you ask the lovers of the Qur’ān about their Īmān, you find that even though it goes up and down, as it does with everyone, their Īmān is somewhat steady at high. They don’t often feel the extreme low of Īmān as those who have Qur’ān deficiencies do.
The reason for this is simple – the Qur’ān is the speech of Allāh that He, the Most Merciful, pronounced to Jibrīl as it befits His majesty. In other words, to bond with the Qur’ān is to bond with the Creator – the source of Īmān. And that too through something of His grand essence.
Those attached to the Qur’ān have absorbed this reality and taken the conscious effort to form a life around it, to form decisions based on it. They work and strive to keep the Qur’ān alive within themselves and have a constant connection to it, use it as a source of strength in hard times and as a form of hope during challenging times. In fact, through difficulties they push through and continue to excel and perform by relying upon the words of Allāh, achieving with Barakah and ease often more so than individuals in a state of comfort. Alhamdu lillāhi Rabbil ‘Ālamīn!
By bringing so many reciters under one roof through this project, a practical reminder of how we are to initiate bonding with the Qur’ān is given: love the Qur’ān not because of who recites it, but because of Who REVEALED it! When we find ourselves becoming overly attached to a reciter, they slowly become a barrier to learning, as they are given precedent over what they are reciting. What Allāh has raised this nation by ultimately, are His words – in the form of a preserved Qur’ān – a book that is this Ummah’s pride and one that we have been granted the means to look at, listen to, recite from, and internally store and live by. What greater way of life than one where the Qur’ān becomes your backbone?
May Allāh make us from the people of Qur’ān.
2. Ownership belongs to Allāh
This Qur’ān does not belong to anyone. By it some are honoured, and by it others are humiliated. The teachers involved come from a range of backgrounds, and so no matter what your background is, the Qur’ān is reachable for YOU. Each memoriser of the Qur’ān has a story to tell, and not everyone began as a child. Some memorised in their teens, others in their later life, and some never knew how to put letters together but now teach how letters articulate. You too could have a story to tell – even if it’s a story between you and your Rabb only. Your Qur’ān timeline is not connected to anyone else’s, it’s purely yours and no-one can take that away from you.
Adding to this, and witnessing how so many people have come together, it is also evident that the Qur’ān as a whole is THE quintessential matter upon which the whole Ummah, regardless of sect, has united. Unity between the Muslims is paramount, and there is no easier way to initiate this needed unity than through the platform of Qur’ān, a platform of ‘Izzah!
May Allāh grant us honour!
3. Finding your voice
Have you ever found yourself disheartened after listening to famous reciters with their studio quality recordings and blessed voices? Thoughts may go through your mind such as, “I wish I had his voice,” or, “I will never be able to recite like that,” as you move from one reciter to another, not really taking anything from what is being recited. If so, you’re not the only one.
Having so many teachers recite in this initiative, each coming from various backgrounds means that there are numerous different styles and tones. They will have standard quality sound equipment and low editing effects, and so perhaps you will find a rhythm that is similar to YOURS!
Your voice is unique to you, given to you by your Rabb. There is no one on this earth who will recite the Qur’ān the way you do exactly. There never has been and never will be! This is YOUR unique voice that Allāh hears directly. Nobody can replace YOU, YOUR tilāwah, or YOUR worship! They are specific to you.
Take the means to study and articulate with proficiency, and constantly recite until the heavens become familiar with your voice.
Sound has been created by Allāh, and voices granted by Him. If you’re impressed with reciters we have around us today, think about the moment Allāh will recite with the people of Qur’ān and how grand that will be. Focus to instead be of them, whom Allāh referred to as ‘His family.’
May Allāh make us from the people of Qur’ān.
4. Renewal of the Qur’ānic Commitment
Not only are we reviewing the Qur’ān in its various forms through this project, seeking reward and Barakah, but listening to the Qur’ān being recited in different riwāyāt, or modes, brings about a new level of excitement and joy, as if it is the first time we are hearing the Divine Recital.
As you listen, you might especially enjoy one mode and become eager to learn it. Take that excitement as encouragement to begin your Hifdh journey, or to perfect your recitation, so that eventually you can study this specific riwāyah and make it YOURS!
5. Converse with Allāh
Have you ever come across a verse and said to yourself, “This verse was meant for me,” because of the circumstances in which you came about the verse and how perfectly it fit into the situation? The Qur’ān is a conversation between you and Allāh. How it connects with you is different to how it will connect with others; it will talk to one person in one way, and to yourself in another, but the bottom line is:
Allāh wants you to connect and converse with Him.
The fact that He revealed the Qur’ān in various dialects is evidence that He wanted to make it personal for YOU!
As humans we are inherently created with the need to express and confide in others. That’s not possible always, but what is always possible is having Allāh to run and cry to; to complain to; to speak out to, and He knows exactly what you mean! The Qur’ān is one of the loftiest ways to converse with Him. Through Salāh and du’ā, we are able to extend that and this month of Ramadān, especially in quarantine, is a perfect time to establish the dynamics of such a relationship.
While the whole world is in lockdown, take the solitude as a means of isolation to bond with Allāh and converse with Him. See this time as a comparison with the Prophet of mercy in his cave, with Yūnus in the belly of the whale, with Maryam alone at the tree, with Ya’qūb heartbroken with agony, and with Yūsuf in the prison – when they were in the peak of isolation, internally and externally, emotionally and psychologically, they turned towards, conversed with, and bonded intimately with the Rabb of everything that exists, the Rabb of You and I.
May Allāh make us from those He loves.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t understand the Qur’ān, so what’s the benefit?
Although the English translation is provided in this project, we know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. All of us are going through challenges and difficulties in our own way in this life, and we are all seeking relief. Know, dear reader, that the Qur’ān soothes. Through its nature, it removes whatever stress you may be going through, be it exams, injustice, divorce, or poverty. As Muslims, there are two go-to escapes that have been granted to us: the Salāh, when we prostrate and complain, and the Qur’ān. For both, the soothing effects take place immediately, no matter the crisis or difficulty. Purely from listening alone, the Qur’ān has that soothing effect unlike any other. By it, at least a percentage of that hardship or difficulty you are in will be alleviated and lifted.
Out of His infinite Mercy, we are blessed with Ramadān, where both have been emphasised and encouraged. Listening to the Qur’ān will calm you, remove your anger, stress, or frustration. It may not immediately solve whatever you’re going through, because that specific issue may need planning to solve it, as there is a human factor therein, but it will remove the inner emotions that are making you unstable, unable to think clearly, leading you to make the wrong decisions.
Without doubt, the Qur’ān has richness in its verses and layers to its meaning that make it immeasurably great. Had it been revealed upon mountains, the mountains would have crumbled. But the primary reason for its beauty is the fact that it is His speech, and so we love it simply for what it is. We recite it simply because of that. We listen to it simply because of that. We memorise letter by letter simply because of that. Irrespective of our level of understanding, to appreciate that these are His words and to be able to interact with His very words is an honour.
May Allāh open our hearts and grant us understanding.
Also read: The Qur’ān’s miracle for non-Arabic speakers
Should I play the Qur’ān or recite the Qur’ān myself instead?
The Qur’ān is the speech of Allāh, and thus the recital of it alone has greatness attached to it, as we have already highlighted. When the Prophet recited, the Jinn heard the recitation and were amazed. The Quraysh were also hugely affected by the recitation, so much so that there were tribal leaders acting upon the Qur’ān despite remaining disbelievers.
Listening to the Qur’ān is not a substitute for recitation, which in itself has a special reward. Recitation is a must, and one must take the means to begin establishing a portion to recite regularly or atleast take the steps to begin learning how to recite. Playing and listening to the Qur’ān however, has the capacity and means to establish a means for solace around the home, which may not otherwise have been possible.
When the Qur’ān is played in the home, it brings all the promises that come from the speech itself, such as protection, Barakah, and angels visiting.
By playing the Qur’ān constantly in our homes, we will see drastic positive changes within them. When playing the Qur’ān we can intend that through the words of Allāh, the house is filled with peace – Sakīnah – Barakah, that family relationships are improved, arguments are lifted, love and joy are spread, disputes are resolved, and so on.
In an aim to appreciate how Allāh, through Qirā’āt, has allowed each one of us to bond with Him more personally, we hope that the project and these points assist in re-igniting and renewing a love for the Qur’ān in us all.
As a closing remark, we know that the beholders of the Qur’ān will receive intercession by it and be told to recite and rise and on the day of Judgement. It begs the fundamental question the case of the one who is memorising the different modes, the different ways Allāh uttered these words? How far ahead will they be able to read and rise, as they used to in this world?
We cannot appreciate enough the teachers who have made this project possible for us. For all those who who have invested years to study the Qur’ān so that it is here today with us preserved – they have an honour amongst the Ummah, promised by the Most Honourable and we are indebted to serve them because of it.
We ask Allāh to grant us honour and love for the Qur’ān, to place in our heart the Qur’ān, and to raise us as a Qur’ānic generation.
Together, as one family, let us make this Ramadān one to bond with the Qur’ān in a long-lasting, eternal, and lofty manner.
Walhamdu lillāhi Rabbil ‘Ālamīn.