Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
As to what follows:
It is imperative for the reciter of the Quran to recite slowly during his recitation, complying with saying of Allah:
“and recite the Quran in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” [Al-Muzzammil 73:4]
And also following sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) , he used to recite the Quran slowly. It is reported in Sahih Muslim (772) that:
Hudhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I performed Salat with the Prophet (peace be upon him) one night, and he started reciting Surat Al- Baqarah. I thought that he would go in Ruku' (bowing posture in Salat) at the end of one hundred Ayat, but he continued (reciting); and I thought that he would perhaps recite (this Surah) in the whole Rak'ah (prayer), but he continued the recitation; I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this Surah). He (peace be upon him) then started reciting Surat An-Nisa' which he followed with Surat Al-Imran. He recited leisurely. When he recited an Ayah which mentioned the tasbeeh, he would say Subhan Allah and when he recited the Ayah which tells how the Rubb is to be asked, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would then ask from Him; and when he (peace be upon him) recited an Ayah asking one to seek Protection Allah, he would seek Protection of Allah.
Hafsah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:
Never did I see the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) observing supererogatory prayer sitting till one year before his death when he would observe Nafl prayer in a sitting position, and he would recite the Surah (of the Qur'an) in such a slow-measured tone (that duration of its recital) became more lengthy than the one longer than this. [Muslim]
Nay, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to repeat one verse in the night prayers till it was dawn.
It is narrated by Ahmad, Nassai and Ibn Majah that Abu Dharr reported that:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) stayed up all night repeating one verse. The verse was:
“If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily, You, only You, are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Al-Maaidah 5:118]
Verily, what is intended from recitation is pondering and learning lessons from the Quran, not merely reading words without pondering over their meanings.
Allah Almighty says:
“(Here is) a Book which we have sent down unto thee, full of blessings, that They may mediate on its Signs, and that men of understanding may receive admonition.” [Swad 38:29]
Pondering and understanding of the Quran cannot be achieved except by slow recitation.
And it is narrated in Sahih Muslim that;
Abu Wa'il reported that a person named Nabik Ibn Sinan came to Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud and said:
Abu 'Abd al-Rahman, how do you recite this word (alif) or (ya)? Would you read It as: min ma'in ghaira asin or au min ma'in ghaira ghaira yasin. ? 'Abdullah said: You (seem to) have memorised the whole of the Qur'an except this. He (again) said: I recite all the mufassal surahs in one rak'ah. Upon this 'Abdullah said: (You must have been reciting It) hastily like the recitation of poetry. Verily, there are people who recite the Qur'an, but it does not go down beyond their collar bones. It is (a fact with the Qur'an) that it is beneficial only when it settles in the heart and is rooted deeply in it.
The scholars have differed whether it is best to recite few verses with tarteel or to recite more verses hastily. Majority from among the sahabah and Taabieen and those who came after them are of the opinion that reciting few verses with tarteel and pondering is better than reciting more verses hastily in view of the fact that has been mentioned earlier that what is intended from recitation is understanding the Quran and acting upon it.
And Allah knows best.
Dr. Khalid al-Muslih
29 / 1 / 1429 AH