Reciting the Qur'aan, as it is understood by our Noble and Pious Predecessors, means to act upon it and to follow it and to adhere to the lawful and abandon the unlawful - and not merely recite it with one's tongue.
Ibn Katheer (rh) said in his Tafseer Qur'an il-Adheem, regarding the saying of Allaah:
"Those to whom We have given the Book recite it as it truly should be recited, they are the ones who (truly) believe in it. And whoever disbelieves in it, then they are the losers."
"Qataadah said: "They are the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)."
Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radiallaahu anhu) said: "When he comes across the mentioning of Paradise, he asks Allaah for Paradise and when he comes across the mentioning of the Fire, he seeks refuge in Allaah from the Fire."
Ibn Mas'ood said: "By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, verily its truthful recitation is that a person treats as lawful what is lawful therein, treats as unlawful what is unlawful therein, that he recites it just as Allaah had revealed it, that he does not give its words other than their proper meanings and does not give an interpretation to any part of it which is not its proper interpretation."
Al-Hasan al-Basree (rh) said: "They act according to and upon its clear and manifest verses (whose meanings are clear and apparent) and they believe in its allegorical verses (whose meanings are unclear) and they entrust whatever is difficult for them (to know) to its Knower."
Ibn Abbaas (radiallaahu anhu) said regarding "as it truly should be recited...": "They follow it as it truly should be followed." And then he recited the verse: And by the Moon when it follows it (the Sun). He said: "Follows it."
Ibn Mas'ood (radiallaahu anhu) said about the same verse: "They follow it as it truly should be followed."
Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radiallaahu anhu) said: "They are the ones who when they pass by a verse mentioning mercy, they ask for it from Allaah and when they pass by a verse mentioning punishment, they seek refuge from it."
And His saying: "They are the ones who (truly) believe in it": is a description of the ones 'to whom We have given the Book' and who "..recite it as it (truly) should be recited..""
So dear reader, the meaning of reciting the Book of Allaah (Tilaawah) is to memorise it, to recite it as it was revealed to the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), to study it and to follow it, acting upon its clear and explicit verses (following its orders and refraining from its prohibition), to believe in its allegorical verses avoiding false interpretations of such verses and to submit the knowledge of their meanings to their Knower in truth, Allaah the Exalted. If you do that then you are guaranteed Paradise as Ibn Abbaas (radiallaahu anhu) has said: "Allaah guarantees the one who reads the Qur'aan and acts upon whatever is contained within it that he will not go astray in this life and will not be wretched in the Hereafter."
1 Soorah Baqarah 2:121
2 "Yattabi'oonahu haqqa ittibaa'ihi" So the meaning of Tilaawah in this verse as Ibn Abbaas and Ibn Mas'ood explain is Ittibaa'
3 Soorah Shams 91:2
4 Tafseer Ibn Katheer (1/168-169)
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