Interview with a Tajweed Blogger
Tajweed is one area of Qur’anic learning which needs patience, perseverance and practice on the part of the learner. Blessed are those who read the Qur’an as it should be read. More blessed are those who have not only mastered the art of Qur’anic recitation but also get themselves involved in teaching and reaching out to the people, sharing their knowledge and expertise.
When she took a dive into the sea of Tajweed, Sr. Fatimah realised that this ‘sea’ is actually an ‘ocean’. Through sheer hard work and determination, she has achieved excellence in Tajweed. In order to share the secrets of her ‘swimming’ skills with others, she took up teaching through blogging.
As a regular visitor to her blog, I find her way of explaining the Tajweed rules to be very interesting. An idea struck my mind to have an interview with such a dedicated Muslimah. I am honoured and also thankful to her for this interview.
Tell us something about you?
Since the day my father called the athaan in my ear, I’ve grown to embrace the wonders of life through the lens of la illaha illa Allah. The journey so far has landed me in Australia where I enjoy being a student, teacher, sister and daughter, without losing my Syrian heritage.
I tend to think of myself as being inflexibly resourceful – a clash which works wonders on my Islamic Education students and university projects.
I enjoy photography and cooking, and had one of my many poems published at 13 years of age. Despite this, my love and fascination with Tajweed is immeasurable.
What is Tajweed?
Tajweed means to give every letter its right by pronouncing it from the correct makhraj (point of articulation) and with the correct sifa (characteristic).
What are the advantages of reading the Qur’an with Tajweed?
Not only will you be reading the way the Prophet sal-lal-laahu alayhi wa sallam read the Qur’an, but you’ll also enjoy the serenity (sakeenah) that transcends upon you while reading. It is needless to say that reading with tajweed means you’re fulfilling your duty as a Muslim. We know that the Qur’an will either testify in our favour or against us, and so reading with tajweed and observing the requirements of reading the Quran is yet another advantage.
Is there any unique method to equip oneself with the techniques of Tajweed?
This really depends on the type of learner you are. I’ve always felt that looking at diagrams or watching videos and listening to audio helps understand how to move the muscles associated with the rule being studied.
What is the best way to learn Tajweed?
Write it down! (after a trustworthy tajweed teacher has taught you a rule). After writing down the rule, read it and practice it, and try to find examples from the chapters of the Qur’an that you know.
People capable of speaking more than one language should translate the rule with explanation. Doing this successfully means you’ve learnt and understood the rule well. As an example, I learnt Tajweed in Arabic, however I post about it in English: this becomes a criteria I mark myself against, to ensure that I’ve comprehended the rule correctly. Then, all that’s left is to practice, practice and practice!
What are the pitfalls to be avoided while learning Tajweed?
Giving up! It’s so easy to give up because “you don’t have time” or “your jaw and throat hurts”, but these things are tricks of the shaytaan. Unfortunately, some teachers nowadays are lenient and allow for slip ups to occur, but the precision required for reading Qur’an is much sharper, so finding a trustworthy Qur’an teacher and learning all the right things is a must. Above all, keeping colloquial dialects and accents right away from reciting Qur’an is very important and necessary!
What are the specific difficulties encountered by people in the beginning stage of learning Tajweed and how to overcome them?
Ouch! Argh! Oops! Meaning: Ouch! my jaw hurts a lot! Argh! this way is too hard! Oops! I thought I had understood that properly! Many scholars call tajweed “the exercise for the jaw and throat”, so as with any exercise regimen, the beginning will always hurt, and practice will always strengthen (That’s why I said before never give up!)
Sometimes learning tajweed can become overwhelming because so many rules relate to each other and so many things have to be done all at once. Undergoing a one-on-one self-paced class with a Qur’an teacher will help overcome this.
At the same time, it is important to understand every rule correctly. Ikhfaa and Ghunnah for example sound similar, but they’re completely different things. Just remember to never stay quiet but Ask Ask Ask!
Which book is the best book on Tajweed in English language?
I never studied tajweed in English, however I have heard that the set of 3 books titled “Tajweed Rules of the Qur’an” by Kareema Carol published by Darussalam are comprehensive.
Yeah, those books are really resourceful. In Arabic, which book do you recommend?
I definitely recommend Al-Muthakkarah fit-Tajweed by Dr Muhammad Nabhaan bin Hussain Masree المذكرة في التجويد تأليف ﻣﺣﻣﺩ ﻧﺑﻬﺎﻥ ﺑﻥ ﺣﺳﻳﻥ ﻣﺻﺭﻱ This book covers all the basic and many of the advanced rules of tajweed. The structures of the lessons in the book are easy to follow and the layout of the book is pleasant. It may be found online and available in print form.
Will it be a sin on the part of non-Arab Muslims who read the Qur’an without bothering for Tajweed as they don’t know the language actually?
Tajweed is fard ‘ayn which means it is compulsory upon every Muslim, just as fasting or praying is. People who do not speak Arabic should make every effort to learn tajweed and practice reading Qur’an with a certified Quran teacher. It is fard kifaayah that the specific rules are learnt.
So all of this means it is not compulsory upon every Muslim to know the specific rules of tajweed, but it is compulsory for every Muslim to read with tajweed. If learning the rules is hard, then just learn the sounds by doing tilawah (reciting practice) with a teacher.
How can people develop their reading and tajweed skills?
First, know that this won’t happen overnight. Ideally, set up a ‘homework chart’ and ensure you read half an hour every day. In this time, you may only accomplish a page, but within a few weeks you’ll begin to accomplish many more pages as your reading picks up pace.
Every night read a different page, one you’ve never read before (or one which you haven’t read in a long time). On the homework chart, write down what pages you read and the date you read it, and leave a space for some comments. Either you can put a little note or recite to your Qur’an teacher at the end of every week and write down their comment.
In conjunction with this daily ‘homework’ have your Qur’an teacher take you through a book titled ‘Easy Quran Reading with Baghdadi Primer’ by Moustafa Elgindy. This book is designed for students of any age, and takes you from “alif–baa” to reading Qur’an with tajweed.
What made you to start a blog on Tajweed?
The lack of online English resources that were of a satisfying standard drove me to start my Tajweed Blog. I hope that through this humble attempt to spread the knowledge I’ve gained, many seekers of knowledge can benefit greatly.
What is your memorable experience as a blogger of Tajweed that you want to share with people?
Posting tajweed rules is more time consuming than you’d think. Reading the rule, translating it, re-reading it, typing and obtaining the graphics, then proofreading it a few times: it can take me up to two hours to complete a post. I remember a few days after I had posted “hamzatul wasl exceptions” I was typing up some tajweed documents for a friend’s students and she told me to put in Al-Madd Al-Farq. I was in a fluster because I’d never heard of this madd and started raving in dismay, until I was politely informed that I had posted about it in the “exceptions” post – but I hadn’t known it’s called that way.
Every time I think of such moments (and they happen occasionally) I take a step back and look at the ever-growing map of interrelated tajweed rules with inspirational awe. Times like those are when I drop everything and click to “edit post”.
Thank you, Sr. Fatimah, for taking time out from your busy schedule. May Allah bless you with all His choicest blessings both in this world and the Hereafter. Aameen.
Visit her blog here