Ahh … Ramadan is here … alhamdulillah … and there’s no better time to be kickin’ it ol’ school.
And by that of course, we mean cranking up your speakers and filling your homes and cars with the beautiful sound of the Quran … recited by the master Qurra from back in the day: Minshawi, Husary, Abdul Basit, Mustafa Ismail, and on and on …
To save you time I’ve compiled a few clips so that you can start listening right away, and I’ve also compiled a few websites for those of you who want to dig deeper.
Feast away! … your hearts, that is … and please remember me in your dua this Ramadan.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala fill all your homes with peace and tranquility because of your filling it with His blessed ayat.
Oh, and leave a comment … please let me know if you enjoyed the recitations … and if you know of any other good sites, please share away!
This is a French-language website that has many good recitations, both live and studio recordings. Pretty easy to navigate since the names of people and surahs are all transliterated from Arabic anyway.
Haven’t used this site myself, but it looks loaded.
This page in particular has many good recitations from Shaykh Mustafa Ismail. The key to finding a good quality Mustafa Ismail recording is to look at the dates … if it’s very recent (1970’s), the audio quality will be better b/c of better technology, but the Shaykh would have been older. In older recordings (early 50’s … and there are a few from late 40’s if you look hard enough) his voice would be a lot more youthful, but the recording quality is generally terrible. Best bet is to look for recordings from the late 50’s to early 60’s.
This is a new site I stumbled across, but they have an amazing amount of recitations … tons of Sh. Minshawi recordings, Sh. Rif’at, and so on.
May Allah bless all those who maintain these websites.
The month of the Quran is here, alhamdulillah … so I’d like to share with you a dua related to the Quran. Learn this dua and try to include it in your regular dua routine:
As for the full dua, Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “If any servant of Allah afflicted with distress or grief makes this supplication, his supplication will be accepted: ‘O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of your maidservant. My forehead is in Your hand. Your command conceming me prevails, and Your decision concerning me is just. I call upon You by every one of the beautiful names by which You have described Yourself, or which You have revealed in Your book, or have taught anyone of Your creatures, or which You have chosen to keep in the knowledge of the unseen with You, to make the Qur’an the delight of my heart, the light of my breast, and remover of my griefs, sorrows, and afflictions‘.” (reported by Ahmad)
Here’s the Arabic text for the dua:
We pray that Allah ‘azza wa jall blesses us in our relationship with the Quran this Ramadan.
*UPDATED* Here’s the text for the dua as I made it. Note that the dua that I made is in the plural … an imam making this dua in witr would be making it on behalf of the entire congregation:
اللهم اجعل القرآن العظيم ربيع قلوبنا
و نور صدورنا
و جلاء أحزاننا
و ذهاب هموننا
و اجعله حجتاً لنا لا حجتاً علينا
و اجعله شافعاً لنا يوم القيامة
برحمتك يا أرحم الراحمين
Here’s a recitation I did a few months ago at my cousin’s wedding. Following the video are a few observations/tips for reciters as well as aspiring reciters … so please scroll down and take a look.
First things first … here is the audio-only-video:
And now, for a few points of observation and tips for reciters:
To be honest I’m not a huge fan of doing short recitations at weddings … most of the time the request comes with a very short time limit, which makes things difficult for reciters like myself who prefer reciting in the mujawwad style … and then on top of that, the program often starts late, so when it starts I sometimes feel as though there’s a squeeze on time, so that I’d better hurry up. Plus, you can’t really go crazy on the appetizers when you know you have to be ready to start the program
Tips for reciters:
1) Know your context: in a case like this (a short wedding recitation), even if you prefer the very slow mujawwad style, you need to understand the context and recite a bit faster. People who love Quranic recitation often try to align themselves with one style of recitation (either murattal or mujawwad), but the reality is that both have their beauty and both have contexts where they are appropriate.
2) If reciting in a short time slot, you need to “ramp it up” right away. In a longer mujawwad recitation, you might have time/space to start low, in maqam bayati as is customary, and then work your way up from there. However (and I’ve tried this), it’s not really possible to do this effectively in a 10 min recitation. This advice also applies when reciting in a competition or anywhere where you’ll have less than 15-20 mins to recite.
In these two videos I demonstrate the same ayahs being recited in different tune patterns (maqamat). Videos such as these will inshaAllah help you to differentiate between the different maqamat. Also, these videos will inshaAllah help you to appreciate how the same ayah can be recited in different tune patterns, creating a different sound/feel while at the same time maintaining proper tajweed. The maqamat really are quite flexible — they are not rigid tune patterns — so a good reciter should be able to recite beautifully while maintaining proper tajweed, and should never think of compromising correct tajweed in order to achieve a (perceived) better sound.
Here’s the first video, where I recite from Surah al-Baqarah (ayahs 21-22). I recite in the maqamat known as Bayati, Ajam, and Nahawand:
And here’s the second video, where I recite from the beginning of Surah Muzzammil. I demonstrate maqam bayati, maqam hijaz, maqam saba, maqam sika, and lastly, maqam nahawand:
Enjoy! I pray that these video demonstrations help you to learn and differentiate between the different maqamat/tunes used in Quranic recitation.
In this post, I’ll provide examples of maqam hijaz from various world-famous reciters to help you learn the maqamat in order to learn to recite the Quran beautifully.
Maqam Hijaz is the sound of calling out, the sound of longing, and the sound of reaching out. It is a very beautiful tune, and in addition to being used in Quranic recitation, it is also used in dua and in the adhan.
Here is an example of maqam hijaz, demonstrated by Shaykh al-Helbawy:
Here’s an example of Surah al-Fatihah being recited in maqam hijaz by Shaykh Umar al-Qazabri from Morocco:
Learn maqam hijaz from this example by Shaykh Abdul Basit Abdus Samad (ra):
Surah Yasin – Shaykh Abdul Baset Abdus Samad
Here, Shaykh al-Minshawi recites from the end of Surah al-fajr in maqam hijaz:
Here’s another example from Shaykh al-Minshawi (ra), reciting from surah al-Hujurat:
From the murattal reciters, there is of course no better example to learn from than Shaykh Mishary Rashid al-Afasy.
Here’s a video where Shaykh Mishary Rashid al-Afasy recites in maqam hijaz:
I hope that listening to these examples helps you to get a better grasp of the tune pattern so that you can learn maqam hijaz. Many times people ask me what is the best way to learn the maqamat – undoubtedly one of the best ways is simply to listen to many, many examples. Just as your biceps will only get stronger by working out, your ear for a particular sound or tune pattern will only get stronger and stronger by listening more and more.
Remember also that the beauty of the Quran goes far beyond its sound … so don’t forget to read a translation, study the meanings, and implement the lessons in your life … a true Qari who is accepted by Allah ‘azza wa jallis a well-rounded individual spiritually, not just someone with an amazing voice.
Oh and before I forget, here’s a little BONUS! This is the adhan being called by Shaykh Naji al-Qazzazz … this is also an example of maqam hijaz:
الأذان – الشيخ ناجي القزاز
Last October, we had released a 10-part video series introducing the study of the maqamat (tune patterns used in recitation). Alhamdulillah the series was a great success, and many of you who missed out the first time have been asking for the chance to sign up for it once again.
I’m pleased to announce that the video series is back! Sign up using the box on the right and then head over to your inbox for your first lesson.
Here’s what one brother had to say about the video series:
I want to thank you for all your help. Honestly you do not know how much good you’ve done one person. I used to memorize the Quran only after I heard certain Qaris recite the selected verses I was memorizing. I did this because I could not create a “flow” or “melody” in my head. So I would copy theirs. But that was very time consuming, and exhausting. Because I would spend a long time listening and then more time trying to create their pitches, which would leave me thirsty and sore. After your youtube videos I started picking up maqam saba. Now granted im still a novice, but I can pick it up if I hear it. And alhamdulillah my memorization has picked up. I spend less time and learn more, cause I cut out the middle man lol. All praise belongs to Allah and may Allah reward you for taking the time out to make, and post those videos.
— Z. Choudhury, New York City
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.
To learn more about the maqamat, sign up on the right to get your free video series. In the video series, I explain the different maqamat, or tune patterns, used by the Qurra, and I demonstate their use in recitation, so that you can learn to identify the patterns.
We ask Allah ‘azza wa jall to bless us in our recitation and to make us amongst the ahl ul Quran.
As promised in today’s video lesson on maqam Saba, here are some more links to help you learn the pattern of maqam Saba. I’ve tried my best to pick out clips where it’ll be easy for you to pick out the pattern of maqam Saba so that you can learn to identify it.
If you haven’t yet signed up for the maqamat video series, you’re missing out! Sign up on the right to get the video lessons, which will help you learn the different tune patterns used by the Qurra in recitation of the Quran.
I hope these examples helped you to get a good feel for the pattern of Maqam Saba. Stay tuned for the next video!