Many people want to know the meaning and types of Qirat. As an introduction, It is a natural phenomenon that languages spoken worldwide have varied manners and dialects within them. English, for instance, is the most widely spoken language all across the globe and has different kinds of pronunciations based on the regions from which speakers belong.
The Arabic language that Allah SWT has chosen as the standard-bearer of Islam to spread His message and communicator of the Quran is similar to other languages, having different dialectical variations occurring from the changes among accents, tones, and geographical conditions of the Arab. Such changes in the Quran recitation are called Qirat. To learn what Qirat exactly is and the different types of Qirat of the Quran, continue reading this post.
Qirat (pl. of Qirah) in Islam refers to the various ways of reciting the Holy Quran. These are different lexical, phonetic, linguistic, morphological, and syntactical manners permitted with reciting the Quran. Each Qirah has its own certain rules of recitation and variations in words and letters. Qirat also refers to the branch of Islamic studies that deals with these recitation manners. Thus, Qirat are the verbalization of the Quran, and the Quran is preserved in Qirat.
The word Qirat (قراءات) came from the Arabic language and was derived from the term Qirah (قراءة), meaning ‘reading’. This term has been debated by various Quranic scholars in different definitions, where one describes it as the knowledge of pronouncing the verses of the Quran. It is named after the word Qari – one who recites the Holy Quran. Qirat meaning in Arabic is the reading or recitation of something. Qirat meaning in English is similar – the action of reading a piece of writing aloud from memory.
The types of Qirat are the methods in which the renowned authority chains holders recite the Quran. All Qirat got their name from the famous Rawis, who narrated it with an authenticated and established chain. Different types of Qirat prove that this Holy Book is a revelation from Allah (SWT) and preserved across centuries, as all these Qirat have been recited with a direct and authentic chain of relators back to Allah’s Apostle (PBUH).
The following seven types of Qirat fall under the Mutawatir category – a transmission with independent chains of authorities so extensive as to eliminate the possibility of any mistake and on which there is common consent. And these Qirat were selected by the celebrated Quranic scholar in the field of Qirat named Abu Bakr ibn Mujahid.
In total, there are ten Qirat, but only seven of them are usually considered. The reason is at the start of the Muslim conquest, the seven prominent scholars and their students stayed in a specific region, while the other three moved to different areas across the world until a scholar named Ibn el Jazerry traveled worldwide and found other three recitation manners. However, the other three types of Qirat are not included most of the time.
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After learning how many Qirat of Quran we have, people should focus on its different dialects as well. Usually, people confuse Qirat with Ahruf (the dialects of the Quran). The Holy Quran was revealed to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) in seven Ahruf (plural of Harf), translated as ways, dialects, forms, modes, and styles.
On the other hand, Qirat refers to the method of pronunciation used in the Quran recitations and are different from the 7 styles of Quran recitation (Ahruf). It is believed that these seven dialects belong to the seven tribes, which include Quraysh, Hudhayl, Tameem, Hawaazin, Thaqeef, Kinaanah, and Yemen.
The wisdom behind this was to make Quran recitation and memorization easier for the local tribes who speak Arabic differently. These seven dialects were reduced to one, that of the Quraysh, during the rule of third caliph Uthman ibn Affan (RA) since variant styles of readings had the potential to cause divisions among Muslim ummah.
All of the seven modes of recitation are based on this dialect. The basis to the fact that there are seven different Ahruf in which the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) can be traced back to various hadiths, some of which are as follows:
Ibn Masud reported that Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said:
“The Qur’an was sent down in seven modes. Every verse in it has an external and an internal meaning, and every interdiction has a source of reference.” [Mishkat al-Masabih]
And in another hadith, Ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“Gabriel taught me to recite in one mode, and when I replied to him and kept asking him to give me more, he did so till he reached seven modes.” Ibn Shihab said he had heard that those seven modes are essentially one, not differing about what is permitted and what is prohibited. [Sahih Muslim]
Many times, people confuse Qirat with tajweed as well. Qirat are the various traditional methods of recitation, whereas tajweed refers to a set of rules for the proper pronunciation and recitation of the Quran.
Each one of the Qirat has its own tajweed, and the Quran was revealed and taught to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with tajweed, which was later taught to his companions RAA by him. The importance of tajweed can be greatly observed in the following verse:
“Those to whom We have given the Book read it as it ought to be read. They [are the ones who] believe in it. And whoever disbelieves in it – it is they who are the losers.” (Al-Baqarah:121)
Considering the importance of learning the types of Qirat of Quran for Muslims worldwide, Riwaq Al Azhar presents Learn Ten Qirat Online Course for those who either live in non-Muslim countries or have a non-Arab background. You can take online classes with our highly qualified Quran teachers, who will teach you how many types of recitation are there in the Quran, including a corresponding Online Tajweed Course for every Qirah.