Understanding Quranic Tajwid Enhancement

The Arabic word tajwíd can be translated as ‘excellence’ or ‘enhancement’. It is used today to refer to the most highly refined method of Quranic oration – in accordance with the native tongue of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and its first ever Arabian reciters. Though many unacquainted muslims perceive tajwíd as an advanced study that is voluntarily adopted to embellish the recital, the truth is ironically the opposite. Tajwíd has been codified by over a century of scholars who believed it necessary in order to repeat passages of the Holy Quran in the way that the common Arab originally spoke them, some of whose principles are important enough to require implementation from the very beginning of one’s recitation learning journey.

To illustrate a familiar example for native English speakers, take the word ‘almond’. You may be unfortunate enough in your life to have encountered at least three ways of pronouncing this word, including your own: 1. ‘ol-mond‘ | ˈɔːlmənd | where the ‘l‘ is pronounced, and the initial ‘a‘ sounds like that of ‘ball’. This is the most common pronunciation, found in western America. 2. ‘ah-mond‘ | ˈɑːmənd | where the ‘l‘ is not pronounced, and the initial ‘a‘ sounds like that of ‘bat’. This pronunciation is less common, found in eastern America. 3. ‘oh-mond‘ | ˈɔːmənd | where the ‘l‘ is not pronounced, and the initial ‘a‘ sounds like that of ‘ball’. This pronunciation is the least common, found in England. None of the pronunciations actually alter the meaning in this case, though only one would represent the main custom of your time and place. Similarly, Arabic has evolved and disseminated many regional oral mannerisms since the first ancient form used to recite the Quran over 1,000 years ago in Arabia. The science of tajwíd thus arose to isolate and preserve that very original form.

Tajwíd enhancment is important. Allōh ‘God’ specified to our final Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the Quran [ وَرَتِّلِٱلْقُرْءَانَتَرْتِيلًا ] “…and pace out the recitation [to quite] a pace” {73:…4}. The grammatical construction of the verse rhetorically emphasised the work that should be put into the thoughtful and clear metronome of Quran recitation.

The principles of tajwíd span a wide spectrum in importance. Some are optional; others are recommended (the deviation from which rendering a pronunciation strange); while the rest are mandatory (the deviation from which rendering a pronunciation extremely distorted, and meaning potentially altered). Further still, the principles of enhancementextend holistically beyond the lessons given in this text – to where reciters should have the due respect and intentionality owed to the reciting of the literal word’s of God even before starting. While students of Quran recitation should strive to assimilate as much tajwid enhancement as possible, it is only the omission of mandatory rules that should render a recital as incorrect and necessary to repeat. The following lessons catalogue the vast bulk of tajwid enhancement principles, generally ordered according to their priority and frequency, each accoompanied with examples and notes, to give native English speakers comfortable access to the path of perfect Quran recitation. Though an attempt has been made to demystify the arabic terms and explanations behind the principles of enhancement for an unfamiliar audience, students must have atleast a steady ability to read Arabic (in the Madaniyy script), with tashkíl vocalisation marks, before proceeding. The principles of enhancement are grouped into lesson sets as:

Feel free to download the publication The Enhancement – A Clear Tajwid Explanation And Transliteration Of The Holy Quran below.