One of the reasons Ramadan is so special for Muslims around the world is because it is the month in which God began to reveal the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him). God says in the Holy Book itself, “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong” (Q. 2:185).
The recitation of the Quran is greatly emphasized in this month of Ramadan. Many Muslims try to recite it as much as possible as well as listen to it during the night prayers of Taraweeh. There is something very special about the Quran. It has a uniqueness and beauty that has a great effect on and moves the heart. Many Companions of the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) accepted Islam after hearing the words of the Quran.
In one famous account, a man was on his way to execute Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) with a sword and full of anger. On his way, he was told his sister and brother-in-law were Muslims. He diverted his path from the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God) to his sister’s home. When he arrived at her home, she and her husband were in the middle of learning verses from the Quran from a teacher. The teacher hid with the parchments that had the verses written on them. When the man entered, he began to beat his sister and brother-in-law. His sister bled, and this snapped the man out of his rage. He stopped and instead began to converse with his sister about what she and her husband were doing before he arrived. She explained to him they were reading the Quran, and she asked him to perform ablution before he touched the parchments. He obliged, read the verses, and was brought to tears. He asked to be taken to Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) with a new intention. He went to him and accepted Islam. This was one of the closest companions of the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him)—Umar ibn al Khattab. What began as his endeavor to fatally hurt the man who was spreading the Quran ended up in an acceptance of Islam after learning what the words actually were. Just as the Quran brought Umar a change of heart, to to this day, the Holy Book is still a means for people to come into the religion.
So what is it about the Quran that has such a profound effect on human beings, and even the rest of the creation? There are many answers to this question. For one, the Quran is the direct word of God. There was no person who wrote this or was inspired to write this. It was revealed to mankind directly from Allah. The Quran is also meant to be recited, not read silently. There is a rhythm to the words, a pattern, and oftentimes a rhyme that you can hear whether or not you understand the Arabic language. There are many videos on YouTube of people reacting to hearing the Quran for the first time, and even though the listener does not understand the meaning of the words, they still recognize the recitation as something beautiful and moving.
The Quran has the ability to bring people to tears, as we learned with the story of the Companion Umar. In the last nights of Ramadan, you can see worshippers shedding tears and hear them crying due to the weight of Quran’s words during the Taraweeh prayers in the mosque. There are verses regarding God’s mercy on people no matter how much they sins, and there are verses about justice served for those who do wrong. There are verses about the meaning of life, the stories of creation, sights of nature and space, and depictions of Heaven and the Hellfire. The Quran sends a message about life and the afterlife for those people who are willing to reflect on the signs presented in this world.
The night in which the imam finishes the last section of the Quran is always the most crowded in the mosque. Muslims come to hear the recitation of the shortest and most often memorized chapters of the Quran. After the completion of the prayer, the imam will recite a long (and many times, emotional) supplication. It is said that at the time of completing the entire Quran’s recitation, supplications are readily answered and many angels attend the gathering. It is a powerful time near the end of Ramadan, with many having strived harder than ever before to attain the pleasure of God and get their lives back on track.
Listen to the audio of this video below (and there are many more!) for yourself and experience the beauty of Quranic recitation.