How to Approach Reciting the Qur’an: Ibn Qudamah

Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi included the following beautiful words in his part of his discussion on recitation of the Qur’an:

ينبغى لتالي القرآن العظيم أن ينظر كيف لطف الله تعالى بخلقه بى إيصال معاني كلامه إلى أفهامهم، وأن يعلم أن ما يقرأه ليس من كلام البشر، وأن يستحضر عظمة المتكلم سبحانه ويتدبر كلامه، فإن التدبر هو المقصود من القراءة، وإن لم يحصل التدبر إلا بترداد الآية، فليرددها، فقد روى أبو ذر رضى الله عنه عن النبى صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم أنه قام ليلة بآية  يرددها [إن تعذبهم فإنهم عبادك] الاية وقام تميم الداري رضي الله عنه بأية وهى قوله تعالى : { أم حسب الذين اجترحوا السيئات أن نجعلهم كالذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات } [ الجاثية : 21 ] وكذلك قام بها الربيع بن خثيم رحمة الله عليه ليلة . ـ

A person reciting the Qur’an ought to look at how kind Allah is to His creation by making the meanings of His Speech comprehensible to them, and the reciter ought to realize that what he is reciting is not the speech of any human being. He should therefore have a sense of awe at the Speaker and contemplate His Words, for contemplation is the true goal of recitation. One should contemplate even if he can only do so by repeating an ayah over and over again. Abu Dharr narrated that the Prophet stood in prayer one night repeating

إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ ۖ وَإِن تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. [5:118]

and Tameem al-Dari stood at night repeating a single ayah, which was

أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ 

Or do those who commit evils think We will make them like those who have believed and done righteous deeds [45:21]

as did al-Rabee’ ibn Khuthaym repeating the same ayah for the entire night.

وينبغى للتالي أن يستوضح من كل آية ما يليق بها، ويتفهم ذلك، فإذا تلا قوله تعالى : { خلق السموات والأرض } [ الأنعام : 1 ] فليعلم عظمته ويتلمح قدرته في كل ما يراه . ـ

And the reciter ought to ask for explanation of every ayah which needs an explanation and to ponder over them. So if he recites Allah’s statement:

خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ

He created the heavens and the earth [6:1]

then he ought to recognize Allah’s greatness and and know that every thing he sees points to Allah’s incredible power.

وإذا تلا : { أفرأيتم ما تمنون } [ الواقعة : 58 ] فليتفكر في نطفة متشابهة الأجزاء، كيف تنقسم إلى لحم وعظم، وعرق وعصب، وأشكال مختلفة من رأس ويد، ورجل، ثم إلى ما ظهر فيها من الصفات الشريفة كالسمع، والبصر، والعقل، وغير ذلك، فيتأمل هذه العجائب . ـ

And if he recites:

أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تُمْنُونَ

Have you seen that which you emit? [56:58]

then he ought to think about the sperm, all of whose parts seem to be the same. So then how do they divide to become flesh, bones, veins, nerves and all the various parts of the head, arms and legs? And it then further develops to manifest those noble qualities such as hearing, vision, intellect and so on. So the reciter should reflect on these amazing things.

وإذا تلا أحوال المكذبين فليستشعر الخوف من السطوة إن غفل عن امتثال الأمر . ـ

And when he recites the ayaat mentioning the conditions of those who denied the messengers, then he should feel fear of being similarly afflicted if he were to become lax or heedless in fulfilling what Allah has commanded.

وليتخلى التالي من موانع الفهم، مثل أن يخيل الشيطان إليه أنه ما حقق تلاوة الحرف ولا أخرجه من مخرجه، فيكرره التال، فيصرف همته عن فهم المعنى . ـ

And the reciter ought to rid himself of those factors which prevent him from understanding the Qur’an. For example, the shaytaan might cause him to think that he did not correctly pronounce the letters or articulate them in the proper way and so the reciter would repeat them again, however now his concern has turned away from understanding the meanings of the ayaat to instead focusing only on the pronunciation.

ومن ذلك أن يكون التالي مصراً على ذنب، أو متصفاً بكبر، أو مبتلى بهوى مطاع، فإن ذلك سبب ظلمة القلب وصداه، فهو كالجرب على المرآة، يمنع من تجلى الحق، فالقلب مثل المرآة، والشهوات مثل الصدأ، ومعاني القرآن مثل الصور التي تتراءى في المرآة، والرياضة للقلب بإماطة الشهوات مثل الجلاء للمرآة . ـ

Other factors which prevent one from understanding the Qur’an are if the reciter habitually persists in a sin, or if he has a prideful character, or if he is tried with some lowly desires which he obeys. All of these things cause darkness in one’s heart and close it off. This is like a stain or a mark on a mirror, preventing it from displaying the truth. For a heart is like a mirror, lowly desires are like rust or corrosion, the messages of the Qur’an are like image which appears in the mirror, and maintaining the heart by removing these lowly desires is like polishing the mirror.

وينبغى لتالي القرآن أن يعلم أنه مقصود بخطاب القرآن ووعيد، وأن القصص لم يرد بها السمر (13) بل العبر، فليتنبه لذلك، فحينئذ يتلو تلاوة عبد كاتبه سيده بمقصود . وليتأمل الكتاب ويعمل بمقتضاه، فإن مثل العاصي إذا قرأ القرآن وكرره، كمثل من كرر كتاب الملك وأعرض عن عمارة مملكته وما أمر به في الكتاب فهو مقتصر على دراسته، مخالف أوامره، فلو ترك الدراسة مع المخالفة كان أبعد من الاستهزاء واستحقاق المقت . ـ

The reciter of the Qur’an ought to know that he is the one being addressed by the Qur’an and its threats, and that the stories of the Qur’an are not just some idle talk to pass the time but rather are cautionary tales, so let him be alert to them! So, in light of this, he ought to read with the recitation of a slave whose master has sent him a letter concerning an important matter! So one should contemplate the book and act in accordance with it. For a sinful person who recites the Qur’an over and over is like someone who reads a letter from the king over and over but then refuses to service his king’s kingdom or do what he was commanded to do in the letter. In this case, he is lacking in his study of the letter and also contravening his king’s orders. Giving up studying the book altogether while still contravening would be less of a blatant flouting of the law and less likely to open him up to Allah’s wrath.

وينبغى أن يتبرأ من حوله وقوته، وأن لا يلتفت إلى نفسه بعين الرضى والتزكية فإن من رأى نفسه بصورة التقصير، كان ذلك سبب قربه . ـ

One ought to consider himself free of having any might or power to change matters, and he should not view himself through a rosy lens or think himself pure. For if one views himself as lacking and deficient, then that is cause for him coming closer to Allah.

[Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasideen 1/44-45]

See also: The Beauty of Reciting the Qur’an Properly: ibn al-Jazari

See also: What the Memorizer of the Qur’an Ought to Know: Makki ibn Abi Taalib

See also: How to Contemplate the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Great Merits of Reciting the Qur’an with Contemplation: ibn al-Qayyim

Praying the voluntary prayers in the home: Ibn Qudaamah

The famous Hanbali jusrist, Ibn Qadaamahwrote the following on the topic of offering the optional prayers in one’s house:

والتطوع في البيت أفضل لقول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” عليكم بالصلاة في بيوتكم فإن خير صلاة المرء في بيته إلا الصلاة المكتوبة ” رواه مسلم، وعن زيد بن ثابت أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال ” صلاة المرء في بيته أفضل من صلاته في مسجدي هذا إلا المكتوبة ” رواه أبو داود وقال ” إذا قضى أحدكم الصلاة في مسجده فليجعل لبيته نصيبا من صلاته فإن الله جاعل في بيته من صلاته خيرا ” رواه مسلم. ولان الصلاة في البيت أقرب إلى الاخلاص، وأبعد من الرياء وهو من عمل السر وفعله في المسجد علانية والسر أفضل.

And performing the voluntary prayers in the house is preferable according to the statement of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) “So perform prayer in your houses for verily the best prayer of a person is in his house, except for the obligatory prayers“, narrated by Muslim, and on the authority of Zaid ibn Thaabit that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “the prayer of a person in his house is better than his prayer in my masjid, except for the obligatory prayers“, narrated by Abu Dawood. And he said, “When any one of you observes prayer in the mosque he should reserve a part of his prayer for his house, for Allah would make the prayer as a means of betterment in his house“, narrated by Muslim. For (optional) prayer in the house is nearer to ikhlaas, and further removed from riyaa’, and it is a secret action, and performing (optional) prayer in the masjid is public, and the secret action is better.

[al-Mughni 1/775]

See also: Do not make your houses like graves: Sharh al-Nawawi

See also: Reserve a part of your prayer for the house

See also: Allah’s commendations for those who prayer during the night

See also: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.”: Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of 7:55

See also: Du’a or dhikr after salaah?: Ibn Taymiyah