TAJWEED AND PUNCTUATION MARKS IN THE QURAN
بِسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
This book highlights the basics of Tajweed and punctuation marks in the Quran. The aim of this book is to create interest in the readers to learn Tajweed al-Quran which is a very easy subject. It can be learned in a week's time by referring to related books or free online content and videos.
We hope our readers will benefit from it.
TAJWEED AL-QURANIt is a well known fact that the colloquial/spoken Arabic language is different from the Arabic language of the Quran. There are certain rules that must be followed in reading and recitation of the Quran. Therefore, Arabs and non-Arabs, both need to learn how to read the Quran correctly.The subject of correct reading/recitation of the Quran is known as 'Tajweed'. The Arabic word ‘Tajweed’ (تجويد) is derived from its root word Jawd (جَود), meaning to 'adorn' or 'decorate' something.The Quran is the word of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) in the reading/recitation of which, a lot of care has to be taken.The Quran testifies that it can be understood correctly only by the people of Sahih Iman.It is in Quran - وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا [ and recite the Quran slowly and distinctly.] (Al-Muzzammil - 4).It is in Quran - الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَتْلُونَهُ حَقَّ تِلَاوَتِهِ أُولَٰئِكَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ [ Those to whom We have given the book , (they recite and) follow it, as it ought to be (recited and) followed - they have faith in it.] (Al-Baqara - 121).It is in Quran - فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ [ When you read Quran, seek protection of Allah from the evil reprobated Satan.] (An-Nahl - 98).Recitation of Basmalah (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ) is also necessary when we start the recitation of Quran. The verse (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ) has come 114 times in Quran, 113 times at the beginning of every Surah, except Sura At-Tauba, and once in Sura An-Naml (verse 30).It is in Quran - ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ∴ فِيهِ ∴ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ [ This is the book in which there is no doubt; it is guidance to those who are righteous (Muttaqeen - مُتَّقِينَ)] (Al-Baqara - 2).Who are righteous (مُتَّقِينَ) people? They are the people of Sahih Iman. If your Iman is not correct, all your deeds go in vain. Therefore, if you are unaware of the truthful teachings of Islam, avoid reading the Quran translated, printed and published by deviant sects.Read more about the beliefs of the righteous people (مُتَّقِينَ) in the Tafseer of the above verse in Tafseer-e-Asedi.Mistakes in the recitation of QuranThere are two types of mistakes in the recitation of Quran, namely, (i) visible, and (ii) invisible. As visible mistakes sometimes change the meaning of the word, it is important that these mistakes are avoided at all costs. Scholars agree that avoiding visible mistakes in reading/reciting the Quran is obligatory (فرضِ عين) for every Muslim, while avoiding invisible mistakes is a collective responsibility (فرضِ كِفاية).Fard Ayn (فرضِ عين) is an obligation on every single Muslim, but in Fard-e-Kifaya (فرضِ كِفاية), if a few people are expert in Tajweed-al-Quran in a community, its responsibility is taken off from the rest. Imam Shafii said : 'Fard Kifaya is a command directed towards everyone, but seeking response from a few' (not all). This definition is agreed upon by the majority of Islamic scholars.Visible mistakes
Correct pronunciation of Arabic letters fall into this category; like : (i) changing one letter into another is a visible mistake. Reading (ق) as (ك) or (ح) as (ه), or (ع) as (ا), etc., must be avoided. Similarly, changing a short vowel (Harakah) into another, like changing Fat-hah into Dhammah must be avoided. (ii) Not observing the elongations (Madd) at all, reciting it quickly as if there is no Madd so that it turns into the length of a vowel is a visible mistake. (iii) Stopping or starting at an incorrect place, like stopping at لا إله (there is no God), without completing إلا الله (except Allah) is also a big mistake.
The invisible mistakes are those which are not obvious and are known only to those who are expert in Tajweed al-Quran. General Muslims are unable to perceive them. These mistakes include (i) Making the Madd slightly shorter or longer. (ii) Not observing the attributes of each letter fully, like slightly rolling the Raa', or exaggerating 'N' sound in Noon. (iii) Not observing the rules to pronounce letters when they are next to each other, like not merging certain letters that should be merged (اِدغام) and not clearly pronouncing those which should be clearly pronounced (اِظهار).Correct pronunciation of Arabic letters
The pronunciation of Arabic letters is indeed a simple task. With a little practice, this can be achieved.There are five main areas which make 17 articulation points (مخارج الحروف) from where Arabic letters are pronounced. These are : (i) The empty space in the mouth and throat known as Al-Jauf (الجوف), (ii) The throat known as al-Halq (الحلق), (iii) The Tongue known as al-Lisaan (اللّسان), (iv) The lips known ash-Shafatan (الشّفَتَان), and (v) The nasal area known as al-Khyshoom (الخَيشُوم).Characteristics of Arabic letters (صِفاتِ الحروف)
The manner in which Arabic letters are to be articulated/pronounced is known as the Characteristics of letters or attributes of letters (صِفاتِ الحروف).
The Noon 'Sakin', and 'Tanween' (نون ساکن و تنوین)The Noon Sakin and Tanween (vowels that produces a "nnn" sound immediately after it) can be pronounced in different ways.The Meem Sakin (ميم ساكن)The Meem Sakin can also be pronounced in different ways.The Muddud (مُدود)These relate to the number of beats that are pronounced when a vowel letter is followed by a Mudd (مَد) letter.Laam Qamariyya and Shamsiyya (اللام الشمسية و اللام القمرية)
The Arabic alphabets consist of 28 letters that are written from right to left. Sometimes the letter ء is regarded as a separate letter. If you include ء as a separate letter, the total number of Arabic alphabets become 29.
Arabic alphabets are equally divided into two categories; Shamsiya (solar) and Qamariya (Lunar) letters. This categorization refers to the shape of the Arabic letters The shamsīyah letters are (ت ث د ذ ر ز س ش ص ض ط ظ ل ن), and the Qamariyya letters are (أ ب ج ح خ ع غ ف ق ك م ه و ي).
The Arabic word for "the" is ‘al’ (ال). The Laam in ‘al’ is pronounced if the following letter is 'Qamariyya', but becomes silent if the following letter is "Shamsiyya".
Since ش is a Shamsi letter, 'Ash-Shams' (أَلْشَمْس) is read as ash-shams and not al-shams – the ل in أَلْشَمْس is not pronounced. Similarly ق is a Qamari letter, Al-Qamar (أَلْقَمرْ) is read as al-qamar and not aqqmar – meaning the ل in أَلْقَمرْ is pronounced.
Thickness and Thinness (التفخيم والترقيق )
Some Arabic letters are pronounced thick with a heavy accent (التفخيم), while others are pronounced with a thin, light accent (الترقيق).
We will not go into details here as the subject of 'Tajweed' has been covered by Islamic scholars in detail and there are books available in print and online. There are online videos freely available that can be followed to learn this subject.
PUNCTUATION MARKS (علامات الوقف) IN THE QURAN
In order to avoid mistakes in recitation, various punctuation marks in the shape of abbreviated signs are provided in the Quran. It is mandatory to follow these signs.
There are some slight difference in the punctuation marks in the Quran published in the Arab world and the Othmani script published in other Muslim countries, particularly in Indian Sub Continent. A brief account of these marks is provided below.
The Quran published in the Arab world
⃝ – The perfect stop (الوقف التام)
'Waqf-e-Taam' represents the end of a verse. It is indicated by a circle at the conclusion of a Quranic verse. The reciter has to stop here and take a breath before reading further. It marks completion of the message of that sentence.