Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 180
The Excellence of Reciting the Qur'an

991. Abu Umamah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, "Read the Qur'an, for it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Resurrection.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith tells the excellence of reciting the Qur'an and acting upon its injunctions. Intercession (in this Hadath) means that the Qur'an will be endowed with the power of speech by Allah and it will request Allah to forgive the sins of its reciters who acted upon its teachings. Allah will accept the request of the Qur'an, as signified in other Ahadith.

992. An-Nawwas bin Sam`an (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, "The Qur'an and its people who applied it, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection preceded with Surat Al-Baqarah and Surat Al-`Imran arguing on behalf of those who applied them.''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith means that on the Day of Requital, the Qur'an, with Surat Al-Baqarah and Al-`Imran in the forefront, will intercede before Allah for those who used to recite and act upon them in the life of the world.

993. `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur'an and teaches it.''
[Al-Bukhari].

994. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur'an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur'an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  Proficient here means one who reads the Qur'an in accordance with the rules of "Ilm At-Tajwid'' (the science of the recitation of the Qur'an) as is evidenced from the words of Imam Bukhari's narration and the title given to the chapter.

This Hadith also highlights the merit of the reader of the Qur'an who does not know `Ilm At-Tajwid, and for that reason cannot read it fluently. But in spite of this, he reads it with great effort. He will be given double reward, one for the difficulty encountered in reciting it, and another for reading it. Safratun translated in the Hadith as scribes (angels) mean the angels that convey the Wahy (Revelation) to the Messenger of Allah. Imam Bukhari has taken it to mean "one who makes reconciliation''. The angels who bring Wahy and chastisement from Allah.

995. Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The believer who recites the Qur'an is like a citron whose fragrance is sweet and whose taste is delicious. A believer who does not recite the Qur'an is like a date-fruit which has no fragrance but has a sweet taste. The hypocrite who recites the Qur'an is like a colocynth whose fragrance is so sweet, but its taste is bitter. The hypocrite who does not recite the Qur'an is like basil which has no fragrance and its taste is bitter.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith tells us that a believer who recites the Qur'an and acts upon it, Allah will grant him a high rank. He is loved by Allah and also enjoys public esteem. The believer who does not recite it but acts upon its teachings is also loved by Allah and people. The hypocrite who recites the Qur'an to have a good show has an evil and dark mind. Last of all comes that hypocrite who does not recite the Qur'an and has a dark mind and appearance.

996. `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Verily, Allah elevates some people with this Qur'an and abases others.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: Only such people will be elevated who act upon the teachings of the Qur'an and abstain from what is forbidden by Allah. The Muslims of the early centuries of Islam were blessed with great honour by Allah because they loved and applied the Qur'an. Because of this meaningful attachment with the Qur'an, they made great achievements in religious and worldly spheres. Those who neglected the teachings of Islam will be disgraced and humiliated. May Allah guide and enable us to re-establish our contact with the Qur'an so that we can regain our past glory. Exaltation and humiliation mentioned in the Hadith is bound to happen in both this life and the Hereafter.

997. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: "Envy is justified in regard to two types of persons only: a man whom Allah has given knowledge of the Qur'an, and so he recites it during the night and during the day; and a man whom Allah has given wealth and so he spends from it during the night and during the day.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith has been quoted before at two places (see Hadith No. 572). It has been repeated here to bring into prominence the merit of reciting the Qur'an. Refer to the Commentary on Hadith No. 544.

998. Al-Bara' bin `Azib (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: A man was reciting Surat Al-Kahf, and a horse was tied with two ropes beside him. As he was reciting, a cloud overshadowed him, and as it began to come nearer and nearer, the horse began to trample voilently. The man came to the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in the morning and mentioned the incident to him. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "That was tranquillity which descended as a result of the recitation of the Qur'an.''

Commentary:  This Hadith brings out two points. Firstly, the excellence of Surat Al-Kahf (The Cave, No. 18). Secondly, the descending of tranquillity from Allah on the pious persons. The appearance of a cloud for the tranquillity of heart on the recitation of the Qur'an is a supernatural event (miracle) to which a pious man does not make any contribution. It entirely depends on the Will of Allah.

999. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.''
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary: This Hadith urges us to recite the Qur'an and also mentions the great reward for reciting it.

1000. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who does not memorize any part from the Qur'an he is like the ruined house.''
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:  This Hadith means that the heart of that Muslim is devoid of grace of spiritualism and Grace of Allah who does not remember by heart any portion of the Qur'an, in the same way as a deserted house is deprived of inhabitants and Blessings of Allah. What we learn from this is that every Muslim must remember some portion of the Qur'an so that he is safe from the admonition mentioned in this Hadith.

1001. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The one who was devoted to the the Qur'an will be told on the Day of Resurrection: `Recite and ascend (in ranks) as you used to recite when you were in the world. Your rank will be at the last Ayah you recite.'''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:  This Hadith mentions the merit of those who commit the Qur'an (whole or part thereof) to memory (Huffaz). The word `ascend' here means to rise in ranks in the Jannah. The more one remembers the Qur'an, the more clear and distinct is his recitation of it, the higher would be the status that he will go on attaining through its blessings. Thus, this Hadith provides inducement for the remembrance of the Qur'an and tells us that its frequent recitation is a means to attain higher ranks in Jannah.