In this article you’re about to learn the quickest, most effective ways to increase your fluency in reading the Quran in Arabic. By following these methods over time, you’d go from stuttering and stammering over simple words to reciting any page of the Quran as easily as you can recite Surah al-Fatiha.
But first, let me tell you about the time I realized I seriously needed to improve my recitation fluency. I was at an Islamic event with quite a well-known scholar…
WHEN I REALIZED MY RECITATION NEEDED WORK
Back in my university days I was often involved in organizing events and activities for Muslim students. In fact, before long people saw me as the ‘I-Soc guy’ because of my activities in university Islamic Societies.
I was busy organizing the event with the big scholar, running around and looking important, when it came to my attention that the hafidh we had asked to do the recitation for the beginning of the event had gone AWOL.
(Can you see where this is going…?)
My mind immediately ran down a mental list of people on our team who might be able to step in. As I looked around the room, none of them were there. I started looking around the room frantically now, for anyone who could step in – even people who had nothing to do with the I-Soc. I even asked a couple of random people, but they said, “No, my recitation sucks – why don’t you do it?”
They were about to find out why I didn’t want to do it! When I completely ran out of options, I stepped up. First I thought of reciting something I knew off by heart, but I had only memorized a few of the really short surahs at the end of the Quran, and reciting them almost seemed like it would be cheating.
Fortunately, I had been working on Surah Yasin and listened to it a few times recently, so I thought I’d give it a go…. Believe me when I say, I had never been so relieved to STOP reciting the Quran. I’m usually a cool customer on stage, but this time I was practically sweating. I was stuttering and stammering all over the place. I almost tripped up on the letters ‘ya-seen’.
When it was over, the scholar leaned over and said, “You know, you really should read the Quran more”. How embarrassing is that?!
By that time he was preaching to the converted. My mission was clear: I had to sort my recitation out and after much trial and error, here’s how to do it:
5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR FLUENCY
1. Ancient Thai Saying
The ancient Thai people, now famous for their Muay Thai Kick Boxing style, had a saying. “If you want to be a good kicker… kick!” The same holds true of your goal of improving your Quran recitation. Follow the first advice given to the Prophet Muhammad “Recite!”. Recite as much as you can, as frequently as you can. Nothing can replace this discipline. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Before you know it, you’ll be reading an unfamiliar page in the same amount of time it used to take you to read a couple of lines.
2. Link New Habit With Old Habit
This is without doubt the single most effective way to build a new habit. You need to link the habit of reciting the Quran in Arabic with something you already do every single day without fail. Something like brushing your teeth, or putting your clothes on in the morning.
An excellent way to go about it is to link it with one (or more) of your 5 daily prayers. That way, you’re already in a state of wudhu, so one of the main psychological barriers is out of the way.
Now make the commitment to recite a small amount of Quran every single day for the next 30 days after the selected prayer.
3. Intelligent Repetition – The Mother Of All Skill
Here is a trick that will double or triple your effectiveness and speed at reading the Quran. Let’s say you’ve decided to recite 2 pages of the Quran after Isha every night and 2 pages before you leave for work in the morning.
Instead of reciting the first 2 pages on day one morning and the next 2 pages on day one night, try this out. On day one morning, recite page 1, then recite page one again. Then on day one evening, recite page 1 again, and again.
“But then I’ll only have done one page?!” I hear you exclaiming. That’s true, but you’ll have done that page four times, and what’s more important, is that by the 4th recitation, you will read it about 3 or 4 times quicker that on your first attempt. Aim for reading the page 5 times each day.
The next day, you can move on to page 2, and so on. At the end of the week, you might like to do one marathon session of going through all 7 pages you covered that week.
You may even want to do this with a Tajweed teacher, who’ll correct your recitation. You’ll notice that you can still recite page 1 about 2 or 3 times faster and more fluently than on your 1st attempt.
600 days later you will have completed the Quran 6 times. “Eat your heart out, Maulvi Saab!”
If you recite the page 5 times each day, and once at the end of the week, it’s the equivalent of completing the Quran once every 100 days – just over 3 months. That’s like reading the Quran 4 times a year – but who’s keeping count? ;)
4. Learn Some Vocabulary
The key to the whole process of understanding the Quran is to learn Quranic vocabulary lists. If you learn around 300 words, that accounts for about 70% of the entire Quran. But you need to learn the right words.
This links in with your recitation because when you know these commonly occurring words, you’ll spot them as you recite, and something magical will happen….
Just as you do in English, you will unconsciously read the first and lsat lteters in the wrod adn wrok out waht the wrod syas, without having to read each letter phonetically (cool eh?). In other words, just by being able to recognize the common words, your recitation speed will increase exponentially.
HOWEVER, this does not replace numbers 1,2 & 3. DO NOT wait until you know all of Quranic Arabic, before you start reciting the Quran. This is a common mistake and it is a waste of time. You can know all 300 words, but if you never recite the Quran, you will still be a slow reciter.
If you do manage to learn 5-10 words a day for 1 month, whilst still doing your daily recitations, you’ll know 70% of Quranic vocabulary in a month or two. This will give you a huge boost in motivation, and momentum.
5. Get Your iPod Out..
If you are still struggling, the iPod technique will propel you forward. Get an online recitation from a famous reciter, whose voice you love. Listen to the recitation, one page at a time, as you read along the script with your finger.
Even if the reciter goes way too fast for you to start with, just finger along the page. Then, rewind back to where the page started, and do it again, and again. Because the reciter goes much faster than you, you can go over the same page several times in one sitting. Eventually, you will be able to follow with your eyes, and then your lips and tongue.
So, here’s a quick review of the 5 ways to improve your recitation:
1. Practise Quran like a martial artist practices kicks.
2. Read 1 page of the Quran immediately after a prayer.
3. Repeat the same page several times before moving on.
4. Learn 5 words of Quran vocab per day for 2 months.
5. Get your iPod out and read along with a reciter.
If you found any benefit in this article, by all means share it with your family and friends to spread the blessings. You never know which tip will transform which person’s life through the Quran.
About the Author:
Mamoon Yusaf is an Arabic Teacher and Quran Coach, Founder of QuranForBusyPeople at www.quranforbusypeople.com. After working as Islamic Society President and Students’ Union Communications Officer of Manchester University in 2004/05, he took to a serious study of NLP Leadership & Coaching techniques. He holds a BA (Hons) in Arabic & Politics from SOAS, University of London. He currently resides in Barcelona, coaching people online to understand, contextualise and memorize the Holy Quran