Communal Taraweeh Reflects our Love of the Quran
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God tells us in the Quran 2:185 that it was in Ramadan that the Quran was revealed as guidance for humankind. So when Ramadan arrives, Muslims connect with the Quran in a variety of ways.
One way that Muslims connect with the Quran communally is through the public taraweeh prayers. In many mosques, a trained reciter leads the prayer. This person recites one portion of the Quran each night, so that by the end of the thirty nights, all thirty portions are completed. It’s done from memory, which is impressive. It means that people have not just taken the time to memorize the whole book, but that they are able to recite it in a kind of public performance. They can be corrected by anyone in the congregation.
Naturally, as human beings, even though one has memorized something perfectly and reproduced it in school, for exams, when it comes to the actual performance on the ground, we may slip up, even if we had known it half an hour before or we had recited it perfectly a few minutes earlier. The human mind is forgetful.
During the taraweeh prayers, if the imam makes a mistake, corrections may come from any other congregant who has also memorized that portion. Sometimes the congregant may not have actually memorized that portion, but because the congregant knows the Arabic language, they can sense that something isn’t quite right with the way the verse was recited, and they may offer a correction for that reason.
So it's very interesting to see this dynamic at play: the imam, or leader in prayer, reciting from memory, and someone correcting them, who is also schooled and trained in the recitation of the Quran. It gives Muslims the confidence that the Quran has been memorized and preserved in the hearts of the believers, and no one can take the Quran away from us.
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