Tartīl (Arabic: تَرتیل) is a Quranic term which refers to a manner of reciting the Qur'an. In this manner, the Qur'an should be recited with reflection and a pleasant voice. The Qur'an has recommended the Prophet Muhammad (s) to recite the Qur'an in this way. The tartil is also highlighted in the practice of the Prophet (s). Today, "tartil" refers to a particular way of reciting the Qur'an which is practiced especially on occasions such as the Ramadan month when practicing khatm al-Qur'an, that is, the recitation of the whole Qur'an from beginning to the end. This is a fast, monotonic, and tuneful way of reciting the Qur'an usually practiced when teaching and memorizing the Qur'an.
The word, "tartil" means harmony and order. Thus, "tartil" is used to mean a consecutive or well-ordered articulation of words. Since the word was used about the Qur'an, it was also associated with other concepts such as good talks or reciting slowly and in a well-articulated way. "Tartil" which literally means to arrange and put things in order technically means to recite the Quranic verses with reflection and order with the proper pronunciation of its letters, clear articulation of its words, and reflection on the meanings of its verses and their implications.
In the Qur'an and Hadiths
The word, "tartil", and its cognates have been used 4 times in the Qur'an to mean two things:
- It refers to the continuous and gradual revelation of Quranic chapters and verses by God during the period of the Prophet's (s) mission. The phrase, "We have arranged it well in arranging" (Sura al-Furqan: 32), points to the idea that while the Quranic verses are gradually revealed within 23 years, such a revelation was based on an arrangement or a plan in order to influence the thoughts and attract the hearts of people. A hadith from the Prophet (s) points to the same idea: "the whole Qur'an has been revealed to me verse by verse and letter by letter (word by word)".
- It also means a particular manner of reciting the Qur'an. In Sura al-Muzammil, God commands the Prophet (s) to recite the Qur'an with "tartil" and forbids him from reciting it in a hasty way. In this case, "tartil" refers to a way of reciting the Qur'an with which it was revealed to the Prophet (s). According to a hadith from the Prophet (s): "God's favorite manner of reciting the Qur'an is the manner in which it was revealed". This is the manner in which the Prophet (s) himself recited the Qur'an where his listeners could count the letters of its words.
The Prophet (s) said, "Tartil is to articulate the letters and words of the Qur'an in a good and clear way while reciting it". Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a): "I do not like it when the whole Qur'an is recited within shorter than one month". He recommended that while reciting the Qur'an, one had better say in reply to Quranic addresses such "O the people" or "O those who have believed": "Labbayk-a Rabbana" (I am at thy service, Our Lord!), and when one recites a Quranic verse regarding the Heaven, one is recommended to ask the Heaven from God, and when one recites a Quranic verse regarding divine punishments, one is recommended to take refuge to God from it.
A number of Tabi'un believed that "tartil" means to recite a Quranic verse and repeat it and whisper it with crying eyes. They attributed this to the tradition of the Prophet (s). The same meaning is also implied by some hadiths from Ahl al-Bayt (a).
Tartil has some necessary features:
- Reflection on the meanings of the verses.
- Having a tuneful, pleasant voice: that is, one should recite the Qur'an with a pleasant voice. However, some hadiths have required that in tartil, one's voice should enjoy "tahzin" (sadness), instead of "tahsin" (tunefulness). "Tahzin" is said to refer to the recitation of the Qur'an with low, sad voice. Some people have appealed to this definition to restrict tartil to the recitation of the Qur'an during nights and tahajjud (vigilance), and during other times, they believe that the Qur'an had been recited faster in order to gain more rewards by reciting more of the Qur'an.
In the past, tartil was not considered as an independent manner of reciting the Qur'an; rather it was thought of as an element thereof, analogous to tajwid which should be observed in every manner of reciting the Qur'an. Ibn al-Jazari has limited the manners of reciting the Qur'an to the three ways of "tahqiq", "hadr", and "tadwir" in all of which tartil should be observed.
In recent years, "tartil" has been used to refer to a manner of fast, monotonic, and tuneful recitation of the Quran. Throughout the Islamic world, tartil is usually practiced in teaching and memorizing the Qur'an.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ترتیل in Farsi WikiShia.