The Overnight Qari - Your Essential Guide to Reciting BeautifullyDOWNLOAD NOW

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Learn the language of Quranic sound

 

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If you’ve studied some tajweed and are looking to further improve the beauty of your recitation, I’d highly recommend that at the very least, you have a basic familiarity with the maqamat. Allow me to explain by use of an analogy:

If a child grows up in an English-speaking home, they’ll naturally pick up the English language by assimilation and for the most part they would speak properly. This would be even more the case if their parents speak very well, or they read a lot of books when they’re young. However, someone who grew up in, say, a Chinese-speaking home, would need to study English as a second language, and might have to learn a lot more in terms of grammar, verb conjugations, subject-verb agreement, participles, and what not. I’m pretty sure most native English speakers would not know what a present perfect continuous form of a verb is, even if they have been using them in writing or speech – like I just did in this sentence … pretty cool, eh? ?

Interestingly, if the native English speaker wanted to increase their command of the English language, they might take advanced English classes in the latter years of high school or in University, including classes where theory or linguistics are taught. The theory adds to what they already learnt growing up, and increases their grasp of the language and their ability to communicate at a higher level.

The same goes for learning the ‘language’ of sound in the context of Quranic recitation. The non-native speaker is the one who may not have grown up listening to many good reciters, or for whatever reason didn’t develop a beautiful voice over time, even if they studied a lot of tajweed. In this case, in order to learn the ‘language’ of the sound of Quranic recitation, it would help a lot to be familiar with at least basic maqam theory so that they can try to follow or mimic a certain tune.

The native speaker is the one who may have grown up listening to a lot of good reciters (especially when young), and has been blessed with a pleasant voice by Allah ‘azza wa jall, which was mainly learned by assimilating from or copying other qurra. In this case, the person may have a pleasant voice, generally speaking, and may not care to learn any theory. Especially here in the West, this is the case with many (but unfortunately not all) of our imams and du’at, may Allah reward them immensely for their efforts.

However, for you, being serious about recitation, learning some basic maqamat theory will help you take your recitation to the next level – not just in terms of greater voice control and outward beauty – but also in terms of delivery of the emotional content of the Quran and affecting an inward response in the hearts of yourself and in others.

We ask Allah ‘azza wa jall to bless us in our recitation and to make us amongst the ahl ul Quran.

 

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The Overnight Qari: Your essential guide to reciting in style

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