VIRTUE OF TILÂWAT
Rasulullâh صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم said, “The most virtuous act of worship for my ummah is the recitation of the Qurân.”
In another hadith, Rasulullâh صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم said, “If the Qurân is placed in a leather bag, the fire will not burn it.”
Rasulullâh صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم also said, “On the Day of Judgement, there will not be a greater intercessor than the Qurân, neither a Nabî, nor an angel, nor anyone else.”
In a Hadith-e-Qudsî, Allâh تعالى states, “Whoever is so pre-occupied with recital of Qurân that he cannot ask of Me, then I will give him more than that which I will give to those who ask.”
There are 3 outward/external etiquettes to be observed when reciting the Qurân Sharîf:
- Whilst reciting, one’s heart should have honour and reverence for the speech of Allâh تعالى. Since the outward has a great effect on the inward, if one adopts an outward form of reverence and respect, then reverence and respect will also present itself in the heart. The outward form of reverence is that after performing wudu, one should sit motionless, lowering the head slightly, facing the direction of the Qiblah in the tashahhud position (not sitting cross-legged, leaning or lying down), just as if you were sitting in front of your ustadh (teacher). Recite the Qurân according to the laws of tajwîd, with every letter being pronounced from its correct makhraj. Read distinctly, without rushing. Ibn Abbâs رضي الله عنه said,“ My recitation of Surah Qadr and Al Qâria’h whilst pondering over its meaning is more beloved to me than reciting Surah Baqarah and Âle-Imrân very hastily.”
(Note: By reciting hastily, the words are usually not understood. Disrespect is thus apparent. However, if one recites the words of the Qurân Sharîf correctly and does not understand the meaning, then this does not constitute disrespect but will earn one reward.)
- At times you should aim to attain the greatest virtue of tilâwah as you have come into this world for the commerce of the Hereafter. Therefore, wherever possible, make an effort to attain the maximum profits. Most definitely, tilawah of the Qurân Sharîf is full of virtue, whether recited whilst walking, sitting or lying down, with wudu or without wudu (i.e. from memory, without touching the text or pages), in solitude, and in public. However, the greatest benefit is when one recites Qurân Sharîf at night, especially in the masjid, whilst performing salâh.
Ali رضي الله عنه said, “Whoever recites the Qurân whilst standing in salâh will receive 100 rewards for every letter. Whoever recites the Qurân whilst sitting in salâh will receive 50 rewards for every letter. Whoever recites the Qurân out of salâh in the state of wudu will receive 25 rewards, and whoever recites the Qurân without wudu (from memory) will receive 10 rewards.”2
Now why should one not become a businessman of the Hereafter and be desirous of attaining the greatest benefit?
- Keep in mind the amount of tilawâh made. The lowest level is to make one khatam (complete recital) every month and the highest level is to make one khatam every three days (which equals to 10 khatams in a month). Rasulullâh صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم said, “Whoever recites the Qurân in less than 3 days, has not understood it.”3
The moderate level is to make a khatam every week. As far as completing a khatam every day is concerned, this is against the preferred (mustahab) method. Do not think that since tilâwah of Allâh تعالى’s speech is beneficial, the more tilâwah that is made, the more the reward. This deduction (qiyâs) of yours is incorrect. Understanding the wisdoms and secrets of Allâh تعالى is the work of the Ambiyâ . Now when Rasulullâh صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم has stated that to make a khatam in less than 3 days is not preferred, then it is necessary upon you to follow him. To now use your opinion is an act of foolishness and shows a lack of understanding.
You know that medicine benefits a sick person. However, if you give a patient more than the dose prescribed by the doctor, will his illness increase or decrease? In the like manner, even though salâh is the core of all other acts of worship, it is not permissible to perform salâh at sunrise, midday, and sunset, and it is makrûh (abhorred) to perform it after the fardh of Fajr and Asr. When a person accepts the prescription of a physical doctor wholeheartedly, then what is the reason for him not considering the ‘dose’ prescribed by the spiritual (rûhâni) doctor? How can he use his intellect and ask, “Why is it not permissible to complete a khatam in less than 3 days?”
There are 5 internal etiquettes to be observed when reciting the Qurân Sharîf:
1) Just as one possesses the Awe and Majesty of Allâh تعالى in his heart, similarly, he should possess the Awe and Majesty of Allâh تعالى’s speech in his heart. For example, when one thinks of Allâh تعالى’s creation i.e. the Arsh (Throne), the Kursi (Chair), the Lowh (Protected Tablet), the Qalam (Pen), the heaven and earth, animals and human beings, the jinn, the forestry and plantation, and the minerals, then one will be forced to accept the fact that the Creator of this universe, the One who is alone and possesses no partner is very powerful and is such a fashioner whose power has no limits. The existence of the entire universe and beyond is based only on His grace and kindness. To obey such a lofty and majestic Sovereign is compulsory. Thus how much of respect and honour should one not possess for the Qurân Majîd? Remember, just as it is necessary to be in a state of purity and wudu to touch the Qurân, it is also necessary for one’s heart to be in the state of purity and to be free from all evil qualities in order to understand the real meaning and essence of the Qurân and to welcome it into the heart. How can a heart soiled with internal filth and impurities comprehend the realities of this Honourable Royal Edict? For this reason Ikramah رضي الله عنه many a times would fall unconscious on opening the Mus’haf (Qurân Sharîf). He would repeat, “This is the speech of my Sustainer, this is the speech of my Sustainer.”1
In short, according to the subject matter of the verse, establish the relevant condition in your heart, and leave such an effect on the body that when verses of fear are mentioned, tears should flow from the eyes; when shame is mentioned, perspiration should ooze from the forehead; when terror is mentioned, the hairs should stand on end; and when glad tidings are mentioned, happiness should be present in the voice, on the tongue and limbs.