A Few Important Points Regarding ʿIlm al-Tajwīd & A Brief Review of al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah
By Osama Rayan (4th Year ʿĀlim Student, DarusSalam Seminary)
The Qurʾān is the book that Muslims recite throughout the world, in every generation. Behind the beautiful melodies that it is recited in, there is the recitation’s mainstay pillar: the subject of tajwīd. Those who memorize the Qurʾān will always study this subject. Therefore, a question arises regarding what is tajwīd?
Lexically, tajwīd means:
الغاية في الإتقان وبلوغ النهاية في التحسين
“The furthest extent of perfection and the reaching the end in excellence.”
According to the scholars of this science, it technically means:
إخراج كل حرف من مخرجه وإعطائه حقه ومستحقه
“Properly articulating every letter from its place of articulation and giving each its due right, (inherently or contingently).”
While analyzing this definition, the scholars have elucidated details regarding it. Regarding each letter’s “inherent right,” they said:
حق الحرف صفاته الذاتية التي لا تتغير (أي لا تنفك عنه) مثل القلقلة والاستعلاء والهمس والجهر والشدة
“The letter’s ‘ḥaqq’ are the inherent qualities, those which are permanent to the letter, e.g. qalqalah, hams, jahr, and shiddah.”
مستحق الحرف صفاته العارضة التي تظهر مرة وتختفي وتدغم مرة مثل أحكام النون الساكنة والتنوين
“The letter’s ‘mustaḥaqq’ are its contingent qualities, those that are articulated in some scenarios and not articulated in others, e.g. the rules of nūn and tanwīn.”
What is the Subject’s Purpose?
صون الكلمات القرآنية عن اللحن والتحريف
“To protect the words of the Qurʾān from recital errors and interpolation.”
The Ruling on Knowing This Science
حكم التجويد العملي هو الوجوب العيني على كل من يريد قراءة القرآن الكريم أو شيء منه وهذا الحكم له أدلته من القرآن والسنة والإجماع
“The ruling on tajwīd during its practical implementation, for one who intends to recite the Qurʾān or something from it, is that it is a personal obligation. This ruling is substantiated by primary source evidence from the Qurʾān, the Sunnah, and scholarly consensus.”
Evidence from the Qurʾān
ورتل القرآن ترتيلا
“Recite the Qurʾān in an excellent manner.”
Evidence from the Sunnah
عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه أنه كان يقرئ رجلا القرآن فقرأ الرجل إنما الصدقات للفقراء والمساكين أي بدون مد فقال ما هكذا أقرأنيها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال له الرجل كيف أقرأها يا أبا عبد الرحمن فقال أقرأنيها إنما الصدقات للفقراء والمساكين فمدها
“Ibn Masʿūd (may Allāh be pleased with him) was reciting the Qurʾān to a man. The man then recited and read: ‘Verily, charity is for the poor and needy.’ And he did not observe the madd. Ibn Masʿūd said: ‘That is not how the Messenger, may Allāh send peace and blessing upon him, recited it to me.’ So, the man inquired, ‘How did he read it, ʿAbū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān?’ He said: ‘He recited it to me (he then recited the āyah) and he (the Messenger) observed the madd.”
The ummah unanimously agreed that the Qurʾān should be recited how it was revealed to the Prophet. And it was revealed to him with the rules of tajwīd.
After having discussed the importance of tajwīd and a few points regarding it, I will now begin to discuss the famous work in this science, al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah Sharḥ al- Muqaddimah al-Jazariyyah. To better understand the literary significance of this work, I will first present a brief biographical sketch for its author.
The author’s full name is Nūr al-Dīn Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī Sulṭān Muḥammad al-Qārī al-Harawī al-Makkī al-Ḥanafī. He is famously known as Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī.
His Birth and Upbringing
In AH 940, he was born in the city of Herat, which is geographically situated in modern-day Afghanistan. Herat is its third largest city. There, he memorized the entire Qurʾān by heart. He attended many study circles in which the Qurʾān and its sciences were imparted. Before departing from his homeland, he benefited from any opportunity he had to study the sacred sciences. This is one of the etiquettes of studying sacred knowledge: benefit from one’s local scholars before continuing one’s journey. After studying in Herat, he moved to Makkah to study under the erudite scholars of his time.
He had the honor of studying under Ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī (AH 973), one of the prominent Shāfiʿī scholars who was living in the Hejaz at the time. He also studied with Ḥusām al-Dīn ʿAlī Muttaqī al-Hindī (AH 975), who is the author of Kanz al-ʿUmmāl.
His Piety and God-Fearing Nature
Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī was a spiritual ascetic who shunned the materialistic joys that the world has to offer. He was known for his courage and boldness in the face of tyrannical leaders, a true embodiment of the saying:
أفضل جهاد في سبيل الله كلمة حق عند سلطان جائر
“The most virtuous striving in God’s way is a truthful statement in the face of a tyrannical ruler.”
He passed away in AH 1014 in Makkah. When the scholars of Egypt heard of his passing, they offered the funeral prayer in his absence at the Azhar Mosque, and more than four thousand attended. May Allāh have mercy on him, illuminate his grave, and show him his abode in paradise. Āmīn.
His Book al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah
In brief, this book is a commentary that dilates on Ibn al-Jazarī’s Muqaddimah.
al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah’s Distinguishing Features
What makes this work different from the other commentaries that have been previously written on the Muqaddimah? The following are some points that distinguish Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī’s commentary:
(1) The author clearly elucidates what Ibn al-Jazarī intends. The Muqaddimah is a concise versification in the subject, and thus, it requires commentary to explain it.
(2) By breaking down the words’ etymology, the author expounds on subtle linguistic aspects that are found in the text.
(3) The author offers solutions for enigmatic linguistic points that are found within.
(4) He expands on points that other commentaries may not have discussed.
(5) Lastly, he annotates the text in a way that enhances the reader’s comprehension. He selects the foremost opinion and substantiates it with proof from other works. This may be the most outstanding feature of this work.
Ibn al-Jazarī’s Muqaddimah was written in poetic meter to help one memorize and retain the science’s foundational rules. The work covers many of the most important rules in the subject of tajwīd.
It should be noted that Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī was a polymath who had mastered all the sciences that he studied. This masterpiece is just one of his many works that we benefit from. He has other works in the fields of ḥadīth, ʿaqīdah, fiqh, and uṣūl al-fiqh. Al-ḥamdu liLlāh, this concludes our discussion regarding his work al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah.
– “Herat.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herat. March 23, 2020.
– ʿAlī al-Qārī, Mullā. al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah. Damascus: Dār al-Ghawthānī, 2012.
– Ibrāhīm Muḥammad, Bakr. al-Wajīz fi ʿIlm al-Tajwīd. Alexandria: Markaz al-Iskandariyyah li al-Kutub, 2016.
 Muḥammad Ibrāhīm, al-Wajīz fī ʿIlm al-Tajwīd, 1.
 Q, 73:4.
 al-Minaḥ al-Fikriyyah, 11.