One of the earliest manuscripts of Tuhfat ul Atfal, from the al-Azhar Library Collection 385/29810.
A Closer Look at the Historical Transmission of this Popular Text
The poem Tuḥfat al-Aṭfāl, authored by the Egyptian scholar Sulaymān Ḥusayn al-Jamzūrī [died circa 1198AH/1783-4CE],has been memorized, taught and kept alive by countless individuals since its authorship more than two centuries ago, making it the single most utilized resource for learning Tajweed to this day. Since that time, it has continued to be transmitted in the traditional manner, in the line of great classical works of Islamic learning, complete with formal authorization (ijāzah) and chains of transmission (isnād) tracing the line of one’s teachers back to the author. These documents exist across the Muslim world in various shapes and forms, handwritten, transcribed and sometimes even oral; at times free-standing and sometimes as part of larger written works.
Despite its great popularity as a traditional text, however, the chain of transmission of Tuḥfat al-Aṭfāl to the author remains problematic for a variety of reasons. Continue reading →
It is related from Abū ‘Abdu’l-Raḥmān al-Sulamī on the authority of ‘Uthmān b. ‘Affān that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’ān and teach it to others.” Abū ‘Abdu’l-Raḥmān said, “This statement is what made me sit in this place of mine.”
This concise but crucial ḥadīth contains within its chain of narrators some of the most influential personalities related to the Holy Qur’ān and within its text the statement that inspired them so.
To begin with, the proclamation comes from the mouth of the very man, the Messenger, whose primary mission it was to deliver this Book to the world and show them how to live it. His entire life was tirelessly devoted to this Qur’ānic mission and inspiring others to do the same. Continue reading →
Question: I would like to ask a question about the Riwāyah of Ḥafṣ from Imām ʿĀṣim. Is this the first Qirāʾah (Reading) of the Qurʾān? Why is it more prevalent in the world than the other Readings? Is it the most grammatically eloquent of the Readings, or is it the easiest? Is this the Reading that was recited by the Companions the most? Why is the Riwāyah of Shuʿbah not as prevalent, since he was also a transmitter from Imām ʿĀṣim?
Answer by Shaykh Muḥammad al-ʿArīfī:
All praise is for Allah, the Noble and Graceful One, the One who showers blessings and excellence, the One Merciful to His friends, Who brings them out of darkness into light and guides them to the even way. Blessings are invoked for the one who was sent as a mercy to the worlds, and upon his family, companions and those who followed his guidance and practiced his way until the Day of Judgment. To proceed:
Every generation has witnessed a group of people concerned with memorizing the Noble Qurʾān and transmitting its reading. However, when disputes arose in the ummah surrounding the various ways the ʿUthmānic muṣḥafs were being read, from matters such as the vowels, the imālah pronunciation, the assimilation of certain letters, differences regarding the hamzah letter and other features of the different modes of reading, the people of knowledge agreed to choose from each region a well-known scholar of the Qurʾān who was known for his trustworthiness, reliability and precision, so that the people could take the Qurʾān from them, so long as these Readings were transmitted in a multiplicitous manner (tawātur), conformed with the ʿUthmānic script and were broadly consistent with the principles of Arabic grammar.
I have the pleasure and honor of spending this Ramadan with my teacher in Tajweed Shaykh Waleed Atif of Alexandria. For those who don’t know, Shaykh Waleed was the inspiration behind my Tajweed book Childrens Bequest, which is based primarily on his lessons. After nearly a decade, Shaykh Waleed, master of Quranic readings, returns to the US to lead Taraweeh prayer in al-Minhaal Center in South Plainfield, NJ. Exhausted from his flight a few hours earlier, he led prayers flawlessly, delivering a recitation characterized by power, precision and sweetness. This video is from Ramadan 2, August 2 2011. Please visit my youtube channel for the nightly recordings.