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Practical Ways To Improve Your Quran Reading. Starting This Ramadan!


Quran reading

Ramadan is a time when we are supposed to flock to the Quran and read it day and night. We hear that reading the Quran during Ramadan gives us spiritual rejuvenation that is crucial for our faith every year, and we also know individuals for whom this has proven true.

But when a person is struggling with reading the Arabic script or their recitation in general, having a lot of one-on-one time with the Holy Book can be emotionally taxing. We feel frustrated, embarrassed, fatigued, anxious, guilty, disheartened, unmotivated or any other mix of negative emotions as this thought runs through our minds–I am doing this wrong. This emotional toll makes sitting down and opening up that Sacred Book a difficult task to get to every day, even if we want to. 

Even the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) knows how excruciating it can be to persist in learning to read the Quran better. Why else would he have said (in a hadith reported by ‘Aishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her)),

“One who is skilled in the Qur’an is associated with the noble, upright recording angels, and he who falters when he recites the Qur’an and finds it difficult for him will have a double reward.” [Sahih; Sunan Abi Dawud 1454]

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This is the same hadith my angelic Quran teacher comforted me with one day as frustrated tears ran down my cheeks in one of her classes. So yes, I am here to tell you–it is hard, annoying, and seemingly pointless at times, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sees the struggle is real and will reward you in proportion to your battle! 

A New Ramadan Goal?

This Ramadan, I propose something different when it comes to reading the Quran. Why not focus on improving one, two, or three reading elements instead of simply achieving a high page count? From this Ramadan onward, an individual’s Quran reading and recitation improves in one way for good. I know we are all busy, but this is an achievable goal that will lead to significant wins in the long run, inshaAllah. I also know of the false pretense out there that only kids can learn Quran reading. To that, I say: if you have a high school diploma, you have the intelligence and ability to learn and improve your recitation without a doubt. 

But which one thing should you focus on this month? Here are some tips to improve your reading and reciting of the Quran this Ramadan. The following tips will help you improve the quality of your reading (ability to read) and/or recitation (ability to recite.) Choose one, two, or three from this list to focus on based on your current skills and needs.

[Note: This article heavily relies on material from Quran Revolution, which has no affiliation with MuslimMatters or the author. I was taught to improve my Quran reading with many of Hafiz Wisam Sharieff’s teaching methodologies 13 years ago, and I love to use the same when I teach my students. These resources work great for American-English speakers, generally speaking. I have taught Quran for over 12 years and have an ijaazah in the recitations of Asharah Qira’aat (Sughra.)]

  1. Focus on quality over quantity: Instead of finishing a significant portion of or the entire Quran this year, set a goal regarding minutes spent reading. Focus on reading a portion of the Quran well and improving your ability to read it–whether it’s just a few lines, a half-forgotten surah you want to rememorize, or an entire juz. The first stop is always Surat al Fathiha–so if you only improve one surah, improve that one this Ramadan! Maybe you can’t let go of your khatmah this year–fine! Have your cake and eat it, too! Focus on that and fixing a weakness.
  2. Fix your vowel sounds: This cool cat feels awesome; I don’t know what else to say! This sentence is hands-down genius and is perhaps the best Quran teaching strategy of our century. This sentence gives you a template for every vowel sound you will ever pronounce when it comes to reading the Quran correctly. Check out this video on Surat al Kafiroon to help you improve your vowel sounds and learn how to implement this sentence in future reading. 
  3. Pinpoint one to three letters you’re working on this Ramadan: We all have them–letters that haunt and taunt us to no end! It’s time to improve one, two, or three of those letters this year. Whichever couple of letters you choose to focus on, you bet you’ll find incredible tricks and tips in the holy grail of all alphabet sound videos. You can also poke around Quran Revolution’s YouTube page to see more Q&A-type videos about the idiosyncrasies of each letter. 
  4. Quran reading

    PC: Ed US (unsplash)

    Recite slowly: If you’re a speedy Quran reciter who has been regurgitating what you once memorized as a child at top speed, you’re likely expelling pseudo-Arabic alphabet soup whenever you read. If you slow your reading to a nice, turtle-not-hare pace, you have a fighting chance to pronounce things better. (How slow? Try reading the first line of Surat al Fathiha in 7 seconds.) You may also find that you can’t recite slowly–this problem you can fix by re-memorizing the portion of the Quran you are reviewing. 

  5. Repeat and loop to build fluency: If you are a jerky reader who has trouble connecting letters or words to achieve a flow to your reading, try repeating and looping as you read. To do this, read the first word in the ayah. Get comfortable with it and repeat it as many times as you need to. Then, read the following word in the ayah and repeat it as many times as you need to. Loop back to the first word and connect the two words. Repeat that combination until you’re good. Go on and pick up the third word and loop back. Repeat this with every additional word until you reach the end of the ayah. 
  6. Quiz yourself on what’s written on the page: If you know your reading is weak because you struggle to interpret the marks on the page into sounds or if you look at the above tip (repeat and loop) and you feel as if you aren’t quite there yet, try this tip. Open to whatever surah you’re focusing on this Ramadan and simply identify each letter and markation (harakah or tashkeel.) You can go through and point out each letter first, or go in order of what you see and mention letters (by name, sound, or both) and their vowel marks together. Doing this regularly in various sections of the Quran as a self-quiz can help you build your speed in reading simply based on getting more proficient at identifying what is on the page. Try it with one line a day. 
  7. Practice regularly: Setting aside just three minutes a day is terrific! You can also tie regular practice throughout the day to certain activities, like any time you get in the car to drive, after you finish praying at home, or whenever you wash dishes. What do I mean by practice? You can practice making sounds of problem letters–like running through the “letter line,” as I call it: قَ قِ قُ أَقْ. (The fathah, kasrah, damma, and sukoon sounds of the letter.) You can also read an ayah or surah, taking your time to stop and fine-tune letters. If you’re focusing on one surah this Ramadan, let it be Surat al Fathiha. Why? Because it’s the bread and butter of prayer. You’ll find that this forces you to practice this surah multiple times daily! This way, you sneak in that extra practice time. 
  8. Find a teacher for feedback: I firmly believe that all adults should be in Quran classes for the rest of their lives–either learning or teaching if they achieve mastery. However, if you don’t have a current Quran teacher, try to find someone to seek feedback from once or twice this Ramadan. Although finding a good Quran teacher is like finding a needle in a haystack, look around you for a person who might be able to help. Bribe–oops, I mean compensate–them in any way possible: food, money, sincere dua’s with tears, or running an errand for them. If you can sit with them in person, read them the most challenging 20 seconds of Quran (yes, that little!) from what you’re focusing on this month. If you can access them online only, send them a WhatsApp voice message and get your feedback over the phone! 
  9. Don’t forget to make dua’ you improve: Of course, last and most important–asking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to help. Pray to read and recite better as well as become a more godly person and love the Quran more and more. Don’t just focus on the outer elements of connecting to the Quran, also ask for your relationship to deepen with its meaning and lessons. 

The last thing I leave you with is a list of short surahs Hafiz Wisam has recorded lessons on. These are great sections of the Quran to focus on this Ramadan. 

  1. Surat al Fatihah 
  2. Surat al Kauthar
  3. Surat al Maun
  4. Surat al Quraysh
  5. Surat al Feel 
  6. Surat al Takathur 
  7. Surat al Asr 

I pray you find these tips helpful and you try one or two out this year. Remember, this Ramadan you want to rectify one problem with your Quran reading or recitation, whether it’s correctly and quickly identifying ج, ح, and/خ or improving the sound of your kasrah to a nice smiley “bee, three, knee” sound.

One misconception I’d like to clarify for struggling readers is that there isn’t a stage you get to when you “mastered” reading and reciting Quran, and that’s it. Reading and reciting is like working out– even “masters” constantly exercise to stay in shape. 

If, after reading this article, you feel completely overwhelmed–it’s okay. Stop and take some deep breaths. Maybe this year isn’t your “connect to the Quran in Arabic” year–maybe it’s “connect to the Quran in your own language” year. If you’re looking to make strides in your relationship with the Quran but can’t invest in reading and reciting in Arabic right now, check out tips here

At the end of the day, know that being a good Muslim is not about how well you read or recite the Quran in Arabic–no matter what your gut tells you. I know, we all size up the man reading Quran all fancy on the mic and assume, wow, he must be a great Muslim to read the Quran so masterfully! Whether or not a person recites Quran well is no indication of their spiritual status in the sight of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). So, for now, think about what hard work you can do and be comforted to know that any effort you make to try to improve your reading and recitation in Arabic is accepted as a good deed, whether or not you eventually get it right. 

Moreover, don’t neglect the other important, more mandatory ways of connecting with the Quran. This Ramadan, every Ramadan to come, and every random day in between are about how well we know, understand, love, and implement the Quran in our lives. Also, remember that letting the Quran into the driver’s seat of our lives comes from connecting with its meanings and doesn’t simply come from perfectly reading and reciting it in Arabic. 

Find one thing you’re working on and rope in a friend who has the same tajweed problem as you! Have a blessed Ramadan!


Related reading:

Beginning My Quran Memorization Journey In Ramadan –

Quran Before, During and after Ramadan –

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Meena is a writer, podcaster, high school English teacher, wife, and new mom. She loves working with Muslim youth and is interested in literature, arts, and culture. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine and has a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She briefly dabbled in Classical Arabic studies in the US and is also studying the Asharah Qira'aat/10 Recitations. Check out her podcast and website Brown Teacher Reads: the brown literature circle you always wanted to be in. (

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