Recite with tartīl
When reciting the Qur’ān, the Prophet ﷺ was instructed by Allah to recite with ‘tartīl’ (73:4).
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 limbs and organs are in perfect harmony with each other. To recite with tartīl, an effort must be made to learn tajwīd. Reciting with tartīl will also help you do ‘tadabbur’(reflect on the Qur’ān).
Qatādah (raḥimahullāh) narrated that Anas b. Mālik (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) was asked, “How was the recitation of the Prophet ﷺ?” He replied, “It was elongated. He then recited بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ , elongating بسم الله, elongating الرحمن and elongating الرحيم” (Bukhārī).
Pausing at the end of each āyah is essential as it gives you sufficient time to ponder the words you are reciting. Umm Salamah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would break down his recitation of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah and would pause at the end of each āyah (Abū Dāwūd).
Ḥafṣah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) said, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah ﷺ praying voluntary prayers (nawāfil) sitting, until a year before his death. He would pray his voluntary prayers sitting. He would recite the sūrah slowly and distinctly until it would seem to be longer than other sūrahs which were actually longer than it” (Muslim).
Sometimes we recite very fast to complete a sūrah. Similarly, we may witness ‘high speeds’ in the tarāwīḥ prayers during Ramaḍān. However, this is contrary to the sunnah and does not help 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 is saying.
Repeating certain āyāt is critical if you want to strengthen your īmān through the Qur’ān. This, however, is impossible if your 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 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.
The best of (the actions) in ṣalāh are bowing and prostration. I am quite aware of the similar sūrahs which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to combine together: two sūrahs in every rakʿah” (Muslim).
Beautify your voice
Strive to beautify your voice whilst reciting the Qur’ān, as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Beautify the Qur’ān with your voices” (Abū Dāwūd). He ﷺ also said, “He who does not recite the Qur’ān melodiously is not one of us” (Abū Dāwūd).
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear the Prophet ﷺ recite the Qur’ān? His companion al-Barā’ b. ʿĀzib (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ reciting والتين والزيتون in ʿIshā’ and I have never heard anyone who had a better voice or recitation than his” (Bukhārī).
Moreover, the spiritual intensity of his recitation is indicated in the following ḥadīth: “Allah does not listen to anything as He listens to the recitation of the Qur’ān by a Prophet who recites the Qur’ān audibly and melodiously” (Bukhārī).
Numerous accounts from the companions give us a glimpse into their relationship with the Qur’ān and their beautiful recitation of it.
Once the Prophet ﷺ said to Abū Mūsā al-Ashʿarī (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu), “If you were to see me, as I was listening to your recitation last night (you would have felt delighted). You have certainly been given a ‘flute’ from the flutes of the family of Dāwūḍ (ʿalayhis-salām) [i.e. a great melodious voice]” (Muslim).