Shadi Bashir, a young British Arabic teacher of Sudanese descent and a member of the MCB's Research & Documentation Committee, discusses Tajweed and the options available for those wanting to learn this sacred science.
For Muslims, the divinely revealed Qur'an is a source of guidance. It is read and taught all over the world amongst Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Listening to the Qur'an being recited correctly is enough to soften even the hardest of hearts and many Muslims and those of other faiths (or indeed none) find it a deeply moving experience even if they do not understand what is being said. The reason for this is that the Arabic language, in which the Qur'an was revealed, is a refined tongue with the letters of the alphabet carrying different intonations and inflections in their pronunciation. When this complexity is combined with the unique method of correct recitation of the Holy Qur'an it gives rise to such inspiring emotions. This correct form of recitation is called Tajweed.
Tajweed literally means 'proficiency', and so the aim of Tajweed is the betterment of the recitation of the Holy Qur'an. Due to the importance of the Qur'an (it being the word of God), Muslims have a duty to excel in this science of recitation in order to heighten one's degree of contemplation and reflection on the meaning of the Qur'an. This can only transpire fully by learning Tajweed and implementing its convention. The Qur'an instructs and encourages the fulfilment of this science in its many forms during recitation:
and recite the Qur'an in slow measured rhythmic tones
These days, there are many channels to attaining and perfecting the Tajweedskills often in contemporary ways. Books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, Islamic institutes, some satellite television channels, and the Internet - to name only a few - offer access to the science of Tajweed in different languages.
In the UK, thanks to the dedication of organisations such as Utrujj (www.utrujj.org), the Islamic Society of Britain, the Muslim World League, the Islamic Institute for Dawah and Research and countless others, this science has become open to all. Various vacation, weekend and weekday evening courses are available to all those willing to learn. It is not only a recreational science, but a study with its own intricacies, and many modes of study are available to suit the individual. From the odd course, in varying degrees of intensity, to the regular weekly schedule, and for the really serious knowledge seeker Bachelor degrees and other professional qualifications can be attained from various organisations one of which is Al-Muntada in London which offers an Open University-style course for those wanting to learn Tajweed among other Islamic teachings.
The science of reciting the Qur'an in the approved manner helps a great deal in understanding what the Qur'an was revealed to achieve - social and personal harmony. The melodious incantations and recital of the verses of this Holy Book resonate within the soul of the listener and inspire the often quiescent feelings of faith and God-consciousness within.