‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Amr narrates that the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“It will be said [on the Day of Judgement] to the reciter* of the Qur’ān: ‘Recite and be uplifted [in your rank]! And recite in the distinct manner (Tartīl) as you used to recite in the world. For indeed your rank [in Paradise] will be according to the last verse you recite.'”
Al-Tirmidhī, Ibn Mājah, Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakīm, Bayhaqi, Ibn Abi Shaybah.
The Hadith uses the word “Sāhib.” This derives from the Arabic root verb of ‘Sā-Hi-Ba’ which means to accompany or to keep company with. The word Sāhib can mean companion, friend, holder, keeper, or authority. Why then have I chosen to translate it as reciter?
My intention behind it:
Many people translate this to mean the Hāfidh of the Qur’ān. I do not dispute that because the Hāfidh is undoubtedly by definition a reciter. No one recites more than a true Hāfidh of the Qur’ān (revision, prayers, performances). Perhaps the truest translation ought to be companion, but what makes a companion of the Qur’ān a companion? It is the constant contact (and implementation). In other words, they are also by definition ‘reciters’.
If we understand it to mean reciter, this will give a source of inspiration and encouragement to everyone. Not just the Hāfidh or companion of the Qur’ān. I know many people who wish to memorise and out of that desire they always recite. Others just simply love to recite the Qur’ān every day. Others have made it a habit to always listen and recite. Others have made it a routine to always recite a Khatm (completion). Many have memorised just portions or certain Suwar (pl. of sūrah) of the Qur’ān which they always recite. Maybe out of their love, constant recital, and drive, they will be amongst those who are called to “recite and be uplifted!”
This is why there’s an opinion among the scholars, every believer that recited the Qur’ān consistently will be asked to recite before Allāh. There are certain individuals that have recited so much and so consistently that they ended up knowing it all by heart.
The levels or ranks of Paradise are in accordance with the number of verses in the Qur’ān according to a few traditions like ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Ās (May Allāh be pleased with him) who said: “Each verse in the Qur”ān is one level in Paradise and a light in your houses.” (Imām Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali in his Secrets of reading the Qur’ān). Lady ‘A’isha (Allāh bless her soul) said I heard the Messenger of Allāh say: “The number of levels in Paradise are on the number of verses of the Qur’ān, so whosoever from the people of the Qur’ān enter Paradise then there is no level above it.” (Abi Shaybah, Bayhaqi, Daylami).
This is the route to the highest station in paradise – companionship!
What we learn from this hadīth
- We should seek to not only recite a regular full Qur’ān, but we should aim to memorise as much as we can.
- Look at the amazing opportunity we have. We can be invited by Allāh on the Day of Judgement to recite! The bonus: a higher rank in Paradise. Who knows, maybe the highest level.
- We should ask to make the Qur’ān our companion through recitation, understanding, and implementation.
- The importance of reciting distinctly and slowly, with ‘Tartīl‘. Allāh wants to hear it recited as He ordered it to be recited. Tartil is mentioned in this Hadith three times – more than any other word!
- The way you recite in this world is mentioned. So when you memorise or recite make it your best. It’s a dress rehearsal for your audience with Allāh, practice for the next world!
- If you think you can’t memorise the Qur’ān, what is stopping you from becoming a reciter of the Qur’ān?
Allāh knows best.
May Allāh make us amongst those who are asked to recite.