I was treated to a wonderful Syrian breakfast this morning by an older brother in the community. Besides the amazing breakfast and hospitality, we met to discuss the possibility of him overseeing a Qur’an halaqah, or reading circle at Middle Ground. In our discussion we talked about the importance of the everyday Muslim to read the Qur’an for his or herself. He, a man who grew up attending Jami’ Abu Nur (Abu Nur Mosque) in Damascus, would like to give back to the community now that he’s retired. Both of us mutually shared a concern that increasingly Muslims have a relationship with Islam — with Allah, without reading the Qur’an.
So I was reminded of a couple of ahadith in which the Prophet ﷺ relates, concerning reading the Qur’an,
خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلّمه
“The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” — narrated by ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan. Recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari, #5027
But there is another narration in Sunan Abu Dawud, which states,
خياركم من قرأالقرآن وأقرأه
“The best of you is the one who recites the Qur’an and teaches others to recite it.” — narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud. Transmitted by al-Tabarani in his al-Kabir
While there is some weakness in the isnad (chain) of the riwayah (narration) that al-Tabarani relates, its meaning is sound but further, it also emphasizes an aspect which we were just discussing: reading the Qur’an for oneself, and then giving back. I meet a lot of students whom it is obvious that they’ve listened to a look of CD’s, mp3’s, and YouTube. They imitate the reciters but don’t actually know the rules of tajwid. And even further, in my opinion, this reduces the Qur’an to a passive exercise, much akin the music or entertainment. I’m not saying it’s wrong to listen to reciters but for starters, the barakat (blessings) are in the act. It also cultivates an attitude of knowing Allah’s Book, regardless whether you’re reciting in the Arabic or reading a translation.
So do for self: read the Book.
The Prophet ﷺ stated,
الَّذِي يَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ وَهُوَ مَاهِرٌ بِهِ مَعَ السَّفَرَةِ الْكِرَامِ الْبَرَرَةِ وَالَّذِي يَقْرَؤُهُ وَهُوَ يَشْتَدُّ عَلَيْهِ فَلَهُ أَجْرَانِ
One who is proficient in reciting the Qur’an is as if he or she is with the noble angels who record deeds. And as for he or she who stutters when reciting the Qur’an, this one shall have a double reward.” — Related by A’ishah in Sunan Abu Dawud, #1454
Also see, Tips On Memorizing the Qur’an: Magic Lawh.