A murid informed sayyidi wa sanadi Shaykh Mawlana Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) that these days he was taking classes with a Qari to improve his recitation of the Holy Quran. Shaykh was obviously very much pleased, highly approved of this effort and made supplication for its facilitation.
Reciting the blessed Quran properly is very much neglected by most of the Muslims in general. However, this can not be true for the seeker (salik). He has to try and achieve the best level possible in all acts of worship. This is the reality of truthfulness (sidiq), an essential spiritual charactersitic (maqam).
Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
“It is absolutely essential (fardh) to learn tajweed (that is, the science and arts of reciting the Holy Quran). This is so because the Holy Quran is in Arabic language and it is essential (fardh) to recite it in this language. The proper pronunciation and articulation of the Arabic text can not be achieved without tajweed. Hence, it is essential to learn it.”
(at-Tabligh, Tufa tul-Ulema, volume 1, page 487)
Further more he added,
“(In general) there are three subdivisions of this science,
1. Proper articulation of the (Arabic) letters, as much as possible.
2. Paying due attention to the places of pause (waqaf). It means that not to pause at places where there will be confusion and meaning will be changed by doing so.
These two are absolutely essential (wajib al-‘ain) for everyone.
However, a person who tries his best and fails to achieve them is excused (ma’zoor).
3. Paying due attention to the idgam, tafqhim, izhar wa iqhfa. This is recommended (mustehib).
Another fourth subsection of this is the knowledge of different styles of recitation (‘ilm al-ikhtilaf al-qirat). This is wajib al-kifaya on the whole Ummah.
Imadad la-Fatawa, Tufa tul-Ulema, volume 1, page 487.
However, it is important to recognize that tajweed can not be learned by reading books alone. It has to be systematically studied with a qualified teacher. Listening and observing how the pronunciation is done is essential and equally important is that the learner recites it back and the teacher either corrects or amends or approves it.
As per Hakim al-Umma the real reason for being lazy in learning tajweed is,
“The love and fear of Allah has departed from the hearts.
If today it was announced that whoever corrects his articulation he will receive $5 per letter a large population of Muslims will try to correct their recitation of Quran and claim the prize. But, alas, for the sake of Allah’s pleasure there arises no yearning to do so!
Fazail saum o salat, Tufa tul-Ulema, volume 1, page 490
May Allah give us the tawfiq to recognize this and facilitate it for us. Amin!