The Holy Quran is a book of guidance and a sea of knowledge for those who take inspiration from it. As the word of God revealed to the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp), it contains historical parables, jurisprudential information, ethical advice, and values which we need to instill in our lives. While the Quran is meant to be a guide for all of humanity, regardless of creed, identity, cultural background, age, or gender, we have more potential to learn from its guidance and knowledge if we purify our hearts. God states, “There is no doubt that this book is a guide for the pious.”1
Etiquette of Reciting the Holy Quran
It is important to recognize that the book of God is the most valuable book we possess. It is up to us to give it the respect it deserves and thus follow the advice of the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut) when we make the intention to recite it. It is highly recommended to perform wudhu (or ablution) before touching the holy Quran, as ablution cleanses our physical bodies, and makes us spiritually mindful that we are entering into an act of worship. God states, “No one can touch it except the purified ones.”2 Furthermore, we should sit in the direction of the Qiblah (the direction of the location of the Holy Kabah), another physical demonstration that we are submitting to God.
How to Recite the Holy Quran
When reciting the Quran, it is vital for us to recognize that it contains the best and most beautiful words, and thus recite it in the most beautiful manner. We should use our best voice when we are reciting the word of God. We should not scream nor use a very faint voice. God states, “And recite the Quran in a distinct tone.”3 In a powerful narration, Imam Ali (p) advises us to, “Recite it [the Quran] clearly, and do not cut it like the cutting of hair (or do not read it like poetry), and do not scatter it like the scattering of sand (or do not read it like prose). Reflect on its wonders and motivate with it your hard hearts. Never think how to finish the [Chapter] quickly.”4
The Imam’s words make it clear to us how we should recite the Quran.
The Quran and Training the Human Being
The Quran has a unique potential to allow us to fulfill our responsibilities to God and our religion. It provides us with spiritual insight and advice on how to live our lives due to the values it stresses, such as patience, generosity, and caring for others. But as much as we read the Quran and memorize its verses, we should, more than anything else, make diligent efforts to apply its teachings. As Imam Ali (p) supplicates, “Oh God! expand my breast with Quran, actuate my body with Quran, enlighten my sight with Quran, liberate my tongue by Quran, and help me to mold my life according to Quran, so long as You make me live.”5
How Can We Benefit from the Holy Quran?
- Listen and focus: When we hear the Holy Quran being recited, we should remain silent and listen to the words of God. God states, “Whenever the Quran is recited (to you), listen to it quietly so that you may receive mercy.”6
- Read a few verses of the Holy Quran at home: The words of the Holy Quran can pour light into one’s home when it is recited. The Holy Prophet states “Brighten your homes by the recitation of the Holy Quran.”7
- Teach the Holy Quran to our youth: If we have some knowledge of the Holy Quran, whether we have a few verses memorized or we know the meaning of the verses, we should teach it to others, especially our youngsters. The Holy Prophet states, “Whoever teaches his children the Quran, it is as if he made ten thousand Hajj (pilgrimage) and ten thousand Umrah.