sisteronbeachIs it that you hold your Mushaf, are reciting from it and yet your mind is wandering from the food in the fridge to the weather outside? You're unaware of what you are articulating and can't just focus? If so this piece of writing is intended for you.

Reciting the Qur'an is a source of barakah and, as we know, barakah is a key to productivity. Therefore we must aim to recite it in anticipation of Allah's pleasure and barakah from Him.

Indeed reading the Arabic words contains reward and you attain 10 rewards for every single letter that you pronounce. However, reading while reflecting and reciting with comprehension holds a greater benefit! Unfortunately Arabic, for many of us, is a foreign language and we are only skimming through the pages.

Here are some tips for a productive Quran recital; get the most benefit out of it!

1. Choose a hassle free time when your brain is unsullied and free from the clutters and chatters of everyday life. The best time for sure is around Fajr, it's the time of barakah, and reciting Quran at that time is witnessed as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says: "Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Quran of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed."[Quran: Chapter 17 ,Verse 78]

2. Seat yourself in a peaceful spot where there is no distraction and you can easily concentrate.

3. Say the Ta'awwuz (اعوذ باللہ من الشیطن الرجیم) with complete presence of mind; these words shouldn't be coming out as a routine practice, rather say them mindfully, aim at the Shaitan and knock him out!

4. Be in a state of Taharah: A wudhu done well really helps attain khushu. Make wudhu with the intention of reciting Quran.

5. Learn the language: If you don't know Arabic then now is your time to start! There are plenty of avenues for learning Arabic; take online classes, live classes, download books etc. For the understanding of Quran in particular, learning word-for-word translation is an easier task. Speaking from experience, if you memorize the words of first ten chapters you'll be able to understand almost the whole Quran. Nonetheless, for a deeper understanding, learning the Arabic language is essential, but both can go hand in hand and by learning word-by-word meanings you'll at least be able to make out what you are reciting. Start out small; learn 5-10 words per day or as per your convenience. Word-for-word translations are readily available on the internet.

6. Tarteel (reciting in slow measured tones): Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in Surah Muzammil: "Or add to it, and recite the Qur'an with measured recitation." [Quran: Chapter 73, Verse 4]. The Arabic word used in this Ayah is Tarteel which means 'slow measured tones'. According to Ibn Kathir the meaning of this Ayah is:

"Recite the Quran slowly, making the letters clear, for this is assistance in understanding and pondering the meaning of the Quran."

Recite distinctly without any haste and pause after every verse, taking your time to thoughtfully ponder and consider the meaning of the words you are uttering. If it contains the mention of Allah's Being and Attributes, let your heart be filled with love and awe, if it expresses His mercy, ask for his mercy; if it mentions His wrath and His punishment, seek refuge from it; if it enjoins something or forbids something then try to understand what has been enjoined and what has been forbidden.

Once Umm Salamah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was asked about how Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) recited. She replied:

"He recited every verse separately and distinctly and observed a pause at the end of every verse. For instance, he recited AI-hamdu-lillah-i Rabb-il'alamin, and paused, then recited ar-Rahman ir-Rahim, and paused, and then recited Malik-i yaum id-di'n. "[Shama'il].

Similarly, Hudhaifah bin Yaman reports:

"Once I stood beside the Holy Prophet in the Night Prayer to see how he recited the Qur'an. I noticed that he glorified Allah where He should be glorified, invoked and supplicated Allah where He should be invoked and supplicated, and sought refuge of Allah where His refuge should be sought." [Abu Dawud]

7. Keep reverting: As you try to focus on your recitation Shaitan is bound to interrupt and lead your thoughts away. He'll remind you of what happened at your office the other day, or about the so many important and unfinished tasks that await you, and so on. Don't give up, don't get frustrated, just make an effort and keep coming back as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves this effort of yours!

8. Set goals for practicing: When you are finished and have pondered over some portion of this Holy Book, decide on one thing that you've read about and aim to implement that injunction in your life. Quran was sent not just for us to beautify our voices while reciting it, or merely as a general knowledge book; it's a book to practice upon and insha Allah these little, sincere steps will make us walk in the light of Quran.

The above-mentioned are just a few tips for spending quality time with your most trustworthy and supportive Companion. A Companion we truly need everyday of our lives; to guide us, to soothe us, to reassure us. In the end, always remember this Ayah of Surah Yunus:

{O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers. Say, "In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate"} [Quran: Chapter 10, Verse 57-58].