It has been said that whilst the primary purpose of fasting is to gain taqwā, the purpose of Ramaḍān is to connect with the Qur’ān. Ramaḍān is the month of the Qur’ān. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) introduces Ramaḍān as:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيْٓ اُنْزِلَ فِيْهِ الْقُرْانُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدٰى وَالْفُرْقَانِ

“Ramaḍān is the month in which the Qur’ān was revealed – a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (between right and wrong)…” (2:185)

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The scriptures of Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) were revealed on the first night of Ramaḍān. The Torah was revealed after six nights of Ramaḍān had passed. The Gospel was revealed after thirteen nights of Ramaḍān had passed. The Qur’ān was revealed after twenty-four nights of Ramaḍān had passed” (Aḥmad).

The Qur’ān is Allah’s greatest gift to mankind. It is the eternal book of guidance. It is a cure for every disease, both spiritual or physical. It is a light which illuminates the path of truth amidst the darkness of falsehood. The Qur’ān contains legal rulings for humans to abide by on Allah’s earth as His servants. It is a book of blessings and eternal wisdom, and a warner and a giver of glad tidings.

Our beloved Messenger ﷺ said, “The Qur’ān will meet its companion (i.e. the person of the Qur’ān) on the Day of Judgement when his grave is opened for him, in the form of a pale man. It will say to him, ‘Do you recognise me?’ He will say, ‘I do not recognise you.’ It will say, ‘I am your companion, the Qur’ān, who kept you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night. Every merchant profits from his business, and today you will profit from your hard work.’ He will be given ‘dominion’ in his right hand and ‘eternity’ in his left. A crown of dignity will be placed on his head, and his parents will be clothed with priceless garments the like of which have never been seen by the people of the world. They will ask, ‘Why have we been clothed with this?’ It will be said, ‘Because your son used to recite and adhere to the Qur’ān’. Then it will be said to him, ‘Recite and ascend up the levels and mansions of Paradise,’ and he will keep ascending as long as he recites, be it swiftly or slowly” (Aḥmad).

A Sacred Meeting

Imagine the scenario. It is the best month of the year: Ramaḍān. Every night, there is a magnificent union taking place. The best of mankind, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is meeting the best of angels, Jibrīl (ʿalayhis salām) to review the best of words: the words of the Most Magnificent, Exalted is He.

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAbbās (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was the most generous of all people; and he was the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl (ʿalayhis-salām) would meet him. Jibrīl would meet him every night in Ramaḍān to study the Qur’ān with him ﷺ. When Jibrīl would meet him, the Messenger of Allah would be more generous than strong winds (which cause rain and prosperity)” (Bukhārī).

Ibn Rajab (raḥimahullāh) writes, “This ḥadīth illustrates the desirability of studying the Qur’ān in Ramaḍān and gathering together for this sake; along with reviewing it with someone who is more well-versed in it. It also proves the desirability of reciting Qur’ān abundantly in the month of Ramaḍān. Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ studied with Jibrīl (ʿalayhis-salām) at night. This shows the desirability of reciting Qur’ān at night, as distractions are cut off, one is able to focus solely on the Qur’ān; and the tongue can concur with the heart in reflecting upon the Qur’ān, as Allah says, ‘Indeed, rising by night (for prayer) makes for a stronger impression (on the soul), and is best for the recitation (of Allah’s words).’ (73:6)”

Therefore, we should dedicate as much time as possible in Ramaḍān for reciting and learning the Qur’ān. The scholars of the past would stop their ḥadīth lessons in Ramaḍān to focus on reciting and completing the Qur’ān.

Name Number of khatmahs
Ibrāhīm al-Nakhaʿī 12
Aswad b. Yazīd 15
Qatādah 16
Ibn ʿAsākir 30
Imām Bukhārī 40
Imām Abū Hanīfah & Shāfiʿī 60

For these special servants of Allah, it was possible to achieve these feats, as they were scholars who recited and reflected on the Qur’ān throughout the year, and due to Allah placing barakah in their time.

However, for the majority of us, it is not possible to recite such large quantities with reflection. Those of us who understand the meanings of the Qur’ān should continue reciting the Qur’an with tadabbur (reflection) in Ramaḍān. The goal should not merely be to rush through a large number of completions without tadabbur and without applying the rules of tajwīd and tartīl.

[Note: For Ramaḍān Qur’ān recitation, some scholars have suggested that a person should have separate sets of completions they read from on a daily basis. Whilst at least one or a few sets should be dedicated to be recited with tadabbur, other completions may be performed at a slightly faster pace with the purpose of completing as many khatms as possible to acquire the maximum reward of many recitations. However, the most perfect form is that which involves recitation with tadabbur and tartīl.]

Those who are memorising the Qur’ān or are reviewing their memorisation may recite at a slightly faster speed, keeping in mind that that they do not contravene the rules of tajwīd. However, they too should allocate a portion of their time in Ramaḍān for recitation with reflection, especially during the qiyām prayers.

As for those who do not understand the Arabic language and the meanings of Qur’an, it may be difficult to reflect and recite simultaneously. However, they should still recite with tartīl (see below) and tajwīd, and they could also interact with some of the āyat e.g. if they come across an āyah about Paradise, then pause and ask Allah for Paradise. Furthermore, they should also allocate time to learn the meanings of the Qur’ān, read the translation and reflect within their limits.

“I have not seen anything that nourishes the mind and soul, protects the body, and guarantees success more than constantly engaging with the Book of Allah.” – Ibn Taymiyyah (raḥimahullāh)

Recite Slowly

We should recite the Qur’ān with tajwīd and tartīl. Tartīl refers to reciting slowly and calmly, making each word distinct, and not exceeding the limits. Reciting like this ensures that the tongue, heart and the rest of the body are in perfect harmony with each other.

Sometimes we recite very fast, just to get to the end of a sūrah or a juz. Similarly, we may witness ‘super high speeds’ in the tarāwīḥ prayers. However, this is contrary to the sunnah and does not help us attain the objectives of the Qur’ān. Slow recitation is vital for absorbing the message of the Qur’ān and for reflecting on what Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is saying. Repeating certain āyāt is critical if we want to strengthen our īmān through the Qur’ān. This, however, is impossible if our aim is just to reach the end of a sūrah, juz or even the whole of the Qur’ān. A man came to ʿAbdullāh b. Masʿūd (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) and said, “I recite all the mufaṣṣal sūrahs in one rakʿah.” Upon this ʿAbdullāh (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said, “(Do you recite it) hastily like the recitation of poetry? Indeed, there are people who recite the Qur’ān, but it does not go down beyond their collar bones. However, it benefits when it enters the heart and becomes deeply-rooted in it.

Cry Whilst Reciting

The purpose of melodious recitation is not merely to ensure that the recitation of the Qur’ān sounds good. Instead, it is to ensure that the recitation is beautiful, with complete focus and khushūʿ. Such a recitation would inevitably result in the heart being moved. It should increase our fear of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and provide peace. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Of those who recite the Qur’ān with the best voice is the one who, when you hear him recite, you think that he fears Allah” (Ibn Mājah).

When reciting the Qur’ān, we should try to cry, as this was the practice of the pious people of the past. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says, “When the āyāṭ of the Most Merciful were recited before them, they used to fall down in prostration, weeping” (19:58).

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Indeed, this Qur’ān has descended with sadness. So, when you recite it, cry. If you cannot cry, then try hard to do so. And recite it melodiously, for he who does not recite it melodiously is not one of us” (Ibn Mājah).

Imām al-Nawawī (raḥimahullāh) says that crying during the recitation of the Qur’ān is, “A quality of those who have a deep awareness of Allah (maʿrifah) and it is a distinguishing feature of the pious servants of Allah… It has been reported that ʿUmar b al-Khaṭṭāb (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) led the congregation in the Morning prayer, and recited Sūrah Yusuf. He wept until his tears flowed over his collarbone. Another narration of the report mentions that this occurred during ʿIshā’, indicating that this happened repeatedly. Another narration mentions that he cried until the people in the rows behind him heard his weeping.”

Imām al-Ghazālī (raḥimahullāh) wrote, “It is mustaḥabb (recommended) to cry whilst reciting the Qur’ān, and when it is being recited. The way to achieve this is to evoke sadness in the heart by reflecting on the severe threats, warnings and promises; and then reflecting on one’s shortcomings regarding them. And if this does not evoke sadness and crying, as it does to the elite (worshippers), then he should cry over the lack of being able to cry, as this is one of the greatest calamities.”

“I said to my nafs: ‘O nafs, recite the Qur’ān as though you (personally) heard it from Allah when He uttered it.’ I then felt the sweetness (of reciting the Qur’ān).” – Sulaymān b. Maymūn (raḥimahullāh)

Allah’s Special Chosen People

Ramaḍān is a bootcamp for the rest of the year. Let us make an intention and plan of continuing our relationship with the Qur’ān after Ramaḍān, so that we become the people of Allah. Our beloved Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah has His own people among mankind.” The companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He replied, “They are the people of the Qur’ān: the people of Allah and His chosen people” (Ibn Mājah).

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Fasting and the Qur’ān will intercede for the servant on the Day of Judgement. Fasting will say: ‘My Lord, I prevented him from eating and his desires during the day, so accept my intercession on his behalf.’ The Qur’ān will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night, so accept my intercession on his behalf.’ Then, both of their intercession will be accepted” (Aḥmad).

May Allah al-Nūr (The Light) fill our hearts, families, and Ummah with the light of His Sacred Words.

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