'Abdullah ibn Amr (Radhiyallaho anho) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaho alihe wasallam) said:
"On the Day of Judgement, it will be said to the Man devoted to the Qur'an, 'Go on reciting the Qur'an and continue ascending the storeys of Jannat (Paradise) and recite in the slow manner you had been reading in worldly life; your final abode will be where you reach at the time of the last ayat of your recitation."
"The man of Qur'an" apparently means a hafiz. 'Ali Qari has explained it fully that this honour is reserved for a hafiz, and that this hadith does not apply to one who reads by looking into the Holy Book. First, because the words "Man of Qur'an" point towards a hafiz and secondly there is a tradition in Musnad Ahmad-
حتى يقرأ شيئا معه
Till he reads of whatever Qur'an is with him.
This word more clearly refers to a hafiz, although a reader who remains very often engaged in reciting the Qur'an may also be implied.
It is written in ‘Mirqaat’ that this hadith does not apply to a reader who is accused by the Qur'an. This is with reference to the hadith that there are many readers of the Qur'an who read the Qur'an but the Qur'an invokes curses upon them. Therefore, the reading of Qur'an by a person who does not adhere to the correct tenets does not constitute an argument that he is acceptable to Allah. Many Ahadith of this type relate to the Khawarij (a sect who were opposed to 'Ali (Radhiyallaho anho).
In this commentary, Shah Abdul Aziz (Rahmatullah alaih) has written that 'tarteel' literally means reading with good and clear pronunciation, while according to Islamic principles it means reading in accordance with certain rules as follows:
(1) The letters of the alphabets should be correctly uttered to ensure their correct pronunciation so that (طا ) ' is not read as ' (تا ) ' and ' (ضا ) ' and so on.
(2) Stopping correctly at the pauses, so that the joining or finishing of the verses may not take place at inappropriate places.
(3) The correct pronunciation of the vowel sounds.
(4) Raising the voice slightly so that the words of Qur'an uttered by the mouth may reach the ears and thus influence the heart.
(5) Setting the sound in a way that it may become full of pathos and may affect the heart quickly, because a pathetic voice influences the heart at once, moves and strengthens the soul more affectively.
The physicians are of the opinion that if a medicine is required to affect the heart quickly, it should be given a sweet smell by means of a perfume, for the heart is sensitive to sweet smell and if the medicine is required to affect the liver, it should be sweetened with sugar because the liver likes sweet things. Therefore, if a perfume is used at the time of recitation, it will have a better influence on the heart.
(6) Tashdeed (doubling of letters) and madd (prolongation of letters) should be fully pronounced because this reveals the grandeur of the Qur'an and adds to its effectiveness.
(7) As stated earlier, the reader's heart should respond to the ayat indicating mercy of Allah or chastisement by Him.
The above-mentioned seven rules constitute the correct way of reciting the Qur'an, which is called tarteel, and the sole object of all this is to reach the correct understanding and grasp of the deeper meaning of the Holy Qur'an.
Umm-e-Salamah (Radhiyallaho anha) was once asked by someone as to how Rasulullah (Sallallaho aleihe wasallam) used to recite Qur'an. She said, "In a way that all vowel sounds were clear and the pronunciation of each letter was distinct." It is desirable to recite the Qur'an with propriety even if one may not understand the meaning. Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaho anho) said that he preferred to recite with propriety, short surahs like Al-Qaari'ah or Izaa zulzilah rather than to recite (otherwise long) surahs like Aal-e-Imran without it.
The commentators and learned scholars explain the above-mentioned hadith to mean that, for each ayat recited the reciter will be elevated to a higher level in Paradise. From other ahadith, it appears that there are as many levels in Paradise as the number of ayaat in the Holy Qur'an. Therefore, the status of a person will be raised by as many levels in Paradise as the number of ayaat in which he is well versed. As such, the one best versed in the whole Qur'an will reach the highest level in Paradise.
According to 'Ali Qari, it is mentioned in a hadith that there is no level in Jannat higher than that given to the reader of the Qur'an. So the readers will ascend in proportion to the number of ayaat recited by them in the world. 'Allamah Daani (Rahmatullah alaih) says that authorities agree that there are six thousand ayaat in the Qur'an. But there is some difference of opinion about the numbers over and above six thousand. These are variously reported to be 204, 14, 19, 25, 36.
It is written in 'Sharhul-Ihya' that each ayat corresponds to a higher level in Paradise. So a reader will be asked to ascend according to his recitation. One who reads the whole of the Qur'an will attain the highest level in Paradise. And one who knows only a part of the Qur'an will rise up to the proportionate level. In brief, the stage or level reached will be fixed by the number of ayaat recited.
According to my understanding, the above hadith has a different meaning-
“If my interpretation is correct, it is from Allah and, if it is wrong, it is from me and from Satan, and Allah and His Prophet are free from it.”
I think that the elevation implied in this hadith is not that which can be determined by the number of ayat to be recited. i.e., when one ayat be recited, the status will be raised by one step, whether it be read with propriety or without. But this hadith points to another kind of elevation which is a type of an inner experience and is related to the recitation being with propriety or without it. So a person will be able to read in the same way as he reads in this worldly life. 'Ali Qari (Rahmatullah alaih) has quoted from one hadith that, if a person reads the Qur'an very often in this life, he will remember it in the life Hereafter, otherwise he will forget it. May Allah help us there.
There are many among us who memorized the Qur'an in their childhood through the religious zeal of their parents, but through sheer carelessness and negligence on their own part, have forgotten this capability in the later part of this very life. It is mentioned in other ahadith that one who dies while labouring and working hard to commit the Glorious Qur'an to memory, will be reckoned amongst the huffaaz. Allah's bounty has no limits. We should only seek it.
As a poet says:
“O Shaheedi! His bounties are common for all, You could not be denied [these bounties), if you were all worthy.”
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