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What is Tajweed?
The word “tajweed” means to improve, make better. Tajweed of the Holy Qur’an is the knowledge and application of the rules of recitation so the reading of the Qur’an is as the Prophet Mohammed peace and blessings be upon him, recited. TajweedThe Word Tajweed is from the root word “Jawdah” which means “Quality”. Tajweed means “Improving,” or “to make something better.”
The word Tajweed linguistically means ‘proficiency’ or ‘doing something well’. When applied to the Qur’an, it means giving every letter of the Qur’an its rights and dues. When we recite Qur’an and observe the rules that apply to each letter in different situations, we are giving the letter its right and by observing the essential characteristics of each letter, we give its due.
The Qur’an was revealed with Tajweed rules applied to it. In other words, when the angel Jibrael (AS) recited the words of Allah to Prophet Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) he recited them in a certain way and showed Prophet Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
History of Tajweed
At the time of the Prophet (SAW) there was no need for people to study Tajweed
because they talked with what is now known as Tajweed so it was natural for them. When the Arabs started mixing with the non-Arabs as Islam spread, mistakes in Qur’an recitation started appearing, so the scholars had to record the rules. Now, because the everyday Arabic that Arabs speak has changed so much from the Classical Arabic with which the Qur’an was revealed, even Arabs have to study Tajweed.
The additional signs we see these days in Arabic on top or bottom of the Alphabets are the pronunciation keys. Muslims were the first to come up with the concept of pronunciation keys, it helped Non-Arabs to pronounce the words properly following some simple pronunciation rules (i.e. the same concept is adapted these days in modern dictionaries).
Initially, when the Holy Quran was compiled in a shape of a book we did not had these additional signs that we see these days, in fact even the dots we see on the alphabets “baa”, “taa”, “thaa” and other alphabets were not present and Arabs would pronounce the words without any difficulty but as more and more Non-Arabs embraced Islam, the need was felt to retain the pronunciation of the words. This is when the additional signs and dots were added to it to help out Non-Arabs pronounce the words while retaining the correct Pronunciation.
The purpose of Tajweed
The Qur’an is the word of Allah, and its every syllable is from Allah. Its recitation must be taken very seriously. The purpose of the Science of Tajweed in essence is to make the reciter proficient in reciting the Qur’an, observing the correct pronunciation of every letter with the rulings and characteristics which apply to each letter, without any exaggeration or deficiency. And so through this the reciter can recite the Qur’an upon the way of the Prophet (pbuh). as he received it from Jibreel who received it from Allah (SWT) in the Classical Arabic dialect that it came down in.