How to Learn to Read Quran

by Muslim.Sg 2022-04-21 • 20 min read
Muslim.Sg is a Muslim lifestyle platform that aims to deepen your understanding of faith, in collaboration with the Asatizah Youth Network (AYN). We are part of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
2022-04-21 • 20 min read

DIY Series: Reading The Quran


In this episode of the DIY series, we will look into the topic of reading the Quran. What is the Quran? What is its objective? As I have never read the Quran before, where and how do I start? Or perhaps, I have learnt how to recite the Quran but how can I turn it into a routine? 


Muslims learn how to read Quran


What is the Quran and why is it so important for Muslims?


The Quran is technically defined as the word of Allah s.w.t. revealed to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in Arabic, through the angel Jibril a.s. Each chapter, word, and letter, including the order, are all verbatim (tawqeefi).


Its recitation is a form of worship. 


The Quran is a miracle. Even by the shortest chapter (Surah). It is transmitted without a doubt or uncertainty through a ‘massive testimony’ (tawatur). Its written form (in a book) is called the Mushaf.


Read: The History of The Quran: Nuzul Quran


Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:


تَنزِيلٌ مِّنَ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ, كِتَـٰبٌ فُصِّلَتْ ءَايَـٰتُهُۥ قُرْءَانًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ, بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا فَأَعْرَضَ أَكْثَرُهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ


(This is) a revelation from the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. (It is) a Book whose verses are perfectly explained—a Quran in Arabic for people who know, delivering good news and warning. Yet most of them turn away, so they do not hear.


(Surah Fussilat, 41:2-4)


This verse explains many of the points mentioned earlier. It also tells us that the Quran delivers good news and gives warnings to its readers. The Quran also describes itself with 55 names, among which are:


Guide & Mercy:

هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّلْمُحْسِنِينَ


(It is a) guide and mercy for those who do good


(Surah Luqman, 31:3)


Conclusive Evidence & Light:


يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ قَدْ جَآءَكُم بُرْهَـٰنٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَأَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُّبِينًا


O humanity! There has come to you conclusive evidence from your Lord. And We have sent down to you a brilliant light.


(Surah An-Nisa, 174)


Hence, the Quran is a guide, mercy and conclusive evidence of our faith and a light that illuminates the world and the individual from the darkness of ignorance that clouds the truth.


how to learn to recite quran


It is the central, sacred reality of Islam. Every aspect of the Shari’ah, whether in beliefs, practices or moral ethics, can be fundamentally referenced back to the Quran. Before the Prophet’s passing, he informs us in a Hadith:


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي قَدْ تَرَكْتُ فِيكُمْ مَا إِنْ أَخَذْتُمْ بِهِ لَنْ تَضِلُّوا كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَعِتْرَتِي أَهْلَ بَيْتِي


O dear people. Indeed, I have left for you that which if you hold fast to them, you shall not be misguided (after me) - The book of Allah (the Quran) and the people of my house (my family).


(Sahih Muslim)


What are the benefits of reading the Quran?


The Quran linguistically means recitation. Even if we may not understand the Quran, reciting the Quran is a form of worship that entails bountiful rewards:


مَنْ قَرَأَ حَرْفًا مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَلَهُ بِهِ حَسَنَةٌ وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا لاَ أَقُولُ الم حَرْفٌ وَلَكِنْ أَلِفٌ حَرْفٌ وَلاَمٌ حَرْفٌ وَمِيمٌ حَرْفٌ


Whoever recites a letter from the book of Allah (Quran), then he receives the reward from it, and the reward tenfold of it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter


(Sunan At-Tirmizi)


Some are still making a lot of effort to learn how to recite the Quran. For them are special rewards as well. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said in a Hadith:


الماهِرُ بالقرآنِ مع السفرَةِ الكرامِ البرَرَةِ ، والذي يقرؤُهُ ويتَتعْتَعُ فيهِ وهو عليه شاقٌّ لَهُ أجرانِ


The one who is proficient in (reciting) the Quran will be with the honourable and righteous scribes (angels), and the one who recites the Quran and stumbles over it, will have double rewards.


(Sahih Muslim)


There are multiple other Hadiths that praise those who recite the Quran, even more so if it is done regularly.


Read: 5 Benefits of Reciting The Quran


What other rewards are there for reciting the Quran?


There are too many rewards to mention but amongst them are:


1. Intercession (Syafa’at):


اقْرَءُوا الْقُرْآنَ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ شَفِيعًا لأَصْحَابِهِ


Read the Quran, for it will come as an intercessor on the Day of Resurrection for its reciter


(Sahih Muslim)


2. Unimaginable rewards:


إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَـٰبَ ٱللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنفَقُوا۟ مِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَـٰرَةً لَّن تَبُورَ. لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِۦٓ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ


Surely those who recite the Book of Allah, establish prayer and donate from what We have provided for them—secretly and openly—(can) hope for an exchange that will never fail so that He will reward them in full and increase them out of His grace. He is truly All-Forgiving, Most Appreciative.


(Surah Fatir, 35:29-30)


3. Peace and Serenity:


مَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ إِلاَّ نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّكِينَةُ وَغَشِيَتْهُمُ الرَّحْمَةُ وَحَفَّتْهُمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَذَكَرَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ


No group of people that assemble in one of the Houses of Allah to recite the Book of Allah, learning and teaching it, but tranquillity will descend upon them, mercy will engulf them, angels will surround them and Allah will make mention of them among those (the angels) who are with Him.


(Sahih Muslim)


learn to read quran beginners


For a beginner, how do we read the Quran?


1. Find the right teacher to guide you


The Quran is first and foremost an oral revelation before it was written. The Companions knew the Quran through Oral transmission and they memorised it by heart. Even the Prophet s.a.w. was revealed the Quran through the angel Jibril a.s. Allah s.w.t. records this in the Quran:


فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَـٰهُ فَٱتَّبِعْ قُرْءَانَهُۥ


So once We have recited a revelation (through Jibril a.s.), follow its recitation (closely).


(Surah Al-Qiyamah, 75:18)


In a Hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. used to recite the Quran regularly with Jibril a.s. and especially so during Ramadan. 


وكانَ جِبْرِيلُ يَلْقَاهُ في كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِن رَمَضَانَ، فيُدَارِسُهُ القُرْآنَ


Jibril used to meet him (the Prophet s.a.w) every night in Ramadan and read the Quran with him


(Sahih Al-Bukhari)


This is also why often in Ramadan, particularly before the pandemic, members of our community would form circles to recite the Quran together in what we call Tadarus Al-Quran. It is a traditional way of completing the Quran together with your circle while having each recitation looked after by one another.


Today, we can learn how to recite by constantly listening to recorded recitations or online videos, but the best way to learn to recite the Quran is by direct acquisition from a teacher (talaqqi) as seen from the example of our Prophet s.a.w. and his Companions r.a.


Alhamdulillah in Singapore, even with the pandemic around, there are a lot of classes and ARS-certified Asatizah available to teach us how to recite the Quran. 


The bare minimum is to learn how to recite Surah Al-Fatihah as it is part of the integral (rukun) rites of Solat (obligatory prayer).

2. Completing the Quran should not be the elementary focus or objective. Instead, It should be learning how to recite the Quran.


Fundamentally, one is required to learn and practice how to pronounce the Arabic letters and to know the tajweed (rulings for recitation). As a start, there are many methods (Qa’idah) to learn the Tajweed. Many Muslims in Singapore learn their way through methods such as:

- Qa’idah Baghdadiyyah

- Iqra

- Tilawati

- Ar-Ruh Al-Amin

easy way to learn to read quran


As mentioned, this is achievable by a teacher to guide us, let us know our shortcomings, project the right pronunciations to learn from and sharpen our recitation.


If we are very new to the Quran, what we want to avoid is to read it from the “beginning to the end”. The Quran is not arranged in a linear/chronological text that seeks to tell a story from the first chapter until the final chapter. Rather, it is divinely arranged - verbatim and it contains different kinds of wisdom scattered throughout where the reader can piece them together,[1] especially when they are able to see the remarkable inner unity and coherence of the Quran.[2]


So for the beginner, there is no need to read the Quran in chronological order from the beginning of the pages except for Surah Al-Fatihah.[3] Instead, we can start with the short Surahs, also known as Al-Mufassal. Reading the longer Surahs, as a start, can overwhelm readers who are not used to it yet.


These shorter Surahs are mostly revealed to the Prophet s.a.w. in Makkah before the Hijrah. Hence, even in terms of content, they are easier to learn as they speak about the fundamental and universal message of Islam, particularly on the beliefs (Aqa-id) which are the basis of practices and legal rulings as well as other themes.


Find an ARS-certified teacher here


3. Self-determination and consistency


When there are hurdles along the way, readers should take the initiative to ask for their respective Ustaz/Ustazah for their lessons.

4. Self-revision; video/audio recordings and practice

5. The best time to recite is after Subuh prayer and at night. It is also admirable to recite between Maghrib prayer and Isya’ prayer[4]

6. To find the right support system. The best is amongst our own family. This is an opportunity for parents to develop themselves and educate their children. It's also an opportunity to strengthen the bond among family members.


What is the objective of recitation?


Contemplation of the Quranic verses (tadabbur) to understand their meaning is the objective of recitation.[5] Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:


كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓا۟ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ


(This is) a blessed Book which We have revealed to you (O Prophet) so that they may contemplate its verses, and people of reason may be mindful.


(Surah Sad, 38:29)


Through contemplation, we are able to internalise the Quranic values and messages in our daily lives. This however can pose a challenge for those who have never read the Quran in their lives, even for those who can speak well in colloquial or modern standard Arabic.[6]


What are some of the challenges that deter one from contemplation?


Contemplating the meanings of the Quran requires time, patience and the commitment to learn. Lack of concentration, lack of patience, lack of humility and blindness to spiritual truths are among the notable factors that can hinder one’s contemplation of the Quran.[7]


Today, we can find a lot of access and translations to not just the Quran but also its exegesis (Tafsir). Additionally, learning the traditional Arabic language can offer us better insights into the Quran. 


أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَآ


Do they not then reflect on the Quran? Or are there locks upon their hearts?


(Surah Muhammad, 47:24) 


While modern cognition is normally observed to expect quick and bite-sized information to cover everything before promptly moving on to the next content that commands attention, the Quran is meant to be read as a regular recitation without haste and as a companion for it continuously reveals guidance and knowledge. This is one of the miracles of the Quran.


Is there any etiquette to observe when reading the Quran?


The Quran is described by Allah s.w.t. to be honourable or noble:


إِنَّهُۥ لَقُرْءَانٌ كَرِيمٌ


that this is truly a noble Quran,


(Surah Al-Waqi’ah, 56:77)


Because of its central and honourable position in Islam, there are a number of etiquettes one should be mindful of. Through such etiquettes, it nurtures in us a better appreciation for the Quran and allows us to understand it better:


1. Ask Allah for protection and begin with Bismillah


Amongst the many etiquettes with the Quran, one should start the recitation by asking Allah for protection (Isti’azah). Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:


فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ فَٱسْتَعِذْ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ ٱلرَّجِيمِ


When you recite the Quran, seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the accursed.


(Surah An-Nahl, 16:98)


In fact, it is encouraged to recite the Isti’azah quietly during prayer - before reciting the Al-Fatihah or the Surahs in every raka’at.


how to learn to recite the quran 


Just like the Isti’azah, Imam An-Nawawi also reminds us to retain the recitation of Bismillah, particularly at the start of every Surah except for Surah At-Taubah or Surah Bara-ah - the 9th Surah of the Quran.[8]


2. Be in the state of spiritual purity - Wudhu


It is permissible to recite the Quran without Wudhu (religious purification), but it is a Sunnah - encouraged to recite it with Wudhu.[9] Narrated by Ali Ibn Abi Talib r.a:


كان رسولُ اللهِ صلَّى اللهُ عليه وسلَّمَ يَقْضي حاجَتَه، ثُم يخرُجُ فيقرَأُ القُرآنَ، ويأكُلُ معنا اللَّحمَ، ولا يَحجِزُه -ورُبَّما قال: يَحجُبُه - منَ القُرآنِ شيءٌ ليس الجَنابةَ


Rasulullah s.a.w. once was relieving himself. After (cleaning himself) he went out and recited the Quran and ate with us meat and there was no barrier - limit with reciting the Quran except in the state of Janabah.


(Musnad Ahmad)


This is different from holding the Quran (Mushaf). Holding the Mushaf requires one to be in the state of Wudhu.[10]


However, if the Quran has translations or tafsir explanations that amount to more than the actual Quranic texts, then it is permissible to hold it without Wudhu.


3. Recite the Quran clearly 


Amongst the etiquettes in recitation is to recite clearly and profoundly without any haste or obscure recitations. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:


وَرَتِّلِ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ تَرْتِيلًا


and recite the Quran (properly) in a measured way.


(Surah Al-Muzammil, 73:4)


Tartil or recitation with a distinct and measured tone is an etiquette that is mentioned in the Quran itself. Our scholars tell us that the recitation of Tartil invokes better contemplation (Tadabbur) and that it is closer to achieving respect and reverence for the Quran, as well as genuinely closing the spiritual distance to the heart.[11]


Ummu Salamah r.a. used to describe the Prophet’s recitation as:


قِرَاءَةً مُفَسَّرَةً حَرْفًا حَرْفًا


a clear recitation in which every letter was distinct.


(Sunan An-Nasa-i)


As a final note, we encourage you to learn the Quran from Asatizah or enliven the culture to read the Quran amongst family members. It's never too late to read the Quran. The Quran is for the whole of humanity. Whether you’re young or old, the Quran is there to be our companion.


And Allah knows best.


[1] H.R.H Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad, A Thinking Person’s Guide To Islam, Turath Publishing (2017)

[2] Dr. Ingrid Mattson, How To Read The Quran - Essays from The Study Quran, HarperOne (2015)

[3] Ibid

[4] Imam Abu Zakaria Yahya Bin Syaraf An-Nawawi, At-Tibyan Fi Adab Hamalat-il-Quran, Dar Al-Minhaj (2011)

[5] Ibid

[6] H.R.H Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad, A Thinking Person’s Guide To Islam, Turath Publishing (2017)

[7] Ibid

[8] Imam Abu Zakaria Yahya Bin Syaraf An-Nawawi, At-Tibyan Fi Adab Hamalat-il-Quran, Dar Al-Minhaj (2011)

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

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