Technically, Tajwid means the knowledge and application of the rules of recitation so that the Qur’an is recited as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did. Thus, tajweed means pronouncing each letter from its point of articulation point and with its due characteristics. There are also tajweed rules for pronouncing words in sequence.
Muslims should learn at least the basic rules of tajweed in order to be able to recite the Qur’an in a proper manner. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says: “… and chant the Qur’an in measure.” (Al-Muzammil: 4)
If you are just learning to read the Arabic script, try to have someone help you or get a CD of the Qur’an so that you learn the correct pronunciation of the letters. When you memorize verses, learn them with the correct tajweed — whether from a person or a CD — even if you are not conscious of the rules. It is easier to learn verses correctly than to have to unlearn and relearn them after you have mastered tajweed.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: “You can recite the Qur’an exactly like the qari (reciter) by following his recitation as closely as possible even though you may not know the precise rules of tajweed. The qari you select for this purpose must be a reputable person such as Sheikh `Abdul-Basit `Abdus-Samad, Sheikh Al-Husari, Sheikh Al-Hudhayfi, et cetera.”
Moreover, Dr. Nasirud-deen Muhammad Ash-Sha`ir, Dean of the Faculty of Shari`ah, An-Nagah University, Palestine, adds: “Learning the basic rules of tajweed, which ensure proper recitation, is obligatory, as Allah Almighty says, “… and chant the Qur’an in measure.” (Al-Muzammil: 4)”
In addition, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, concludes: “Scholars of tajweed state that learning the basic rules of tajweed is a religious obligation in the sense that the one who learns the rules of tajweed will be rewarded and the one who neglects them will be punished. Some of them state that learning those basic rules is fard `ayn or an individual obligation on the one who wants to recite the Qur’an. Referring to this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Allah loves that the Qur’an be recited in the way it was revealed.”. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty says, “… and chant the Qur’an in measure.” (Al-Muzammil: 4)
In another verse, He Almighty also says, “And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Qur’an not revealed unto him all at once? (It is revealed) thus that We may strengthen thy heart therewith; and We have arranged it in right order.” (Al-Furqan: 32)
Having stated the above, I would like to add that the one who wants to recite the Qur’an in the proper way and to know the rules of tajweed should do so with the help of the reliable reciters who master the rules of tajweed. I think this way of learning the tajweed rules will be of vital help as oral recitation is very much recommended in this regard.”