One of the most important areas in the science of tajweed is knowledge of and which means: the stop and the beginning. The understanding of Allah’s words cannot be realized, nor comprehension achieved, without this knowledge. One scholar described the stop ( ) as: “The stop is sweetness of tilawah, beautifies the reciter, an announcement of the succeeding, understanding for the listener, pride of the scholar, and through it one knows the difference between two different meanings….” It has been reported that ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, when asked about Allah’s statement,
said, “Tarteel means tajweed of the letters, and knowledge of stops.” Imam Al-Jazaree's book: An-Nashr 1:209. [Note: This statement of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, is not traceable by a chain that we can find. ]
The linguistic definition of the stop: Halt and imprisonment.
Its applied tajweed definition is: Cutting of the sound at the end of a word, usually for the period of time of breathing, with the intention of return to the recitation, not with the intention of abandoning the recital.
· The basmalah is required after the stop when beginning a surah.
· The stop can be at the end of an aayah, or in the middle of an aayah.
· It can never be in the middle of the word, nor in between two words that are joined in writing, such as stopping on "", when written as a joined phrase "" in the aayah:
Divisions of the Stop
There are three divisions:
1. The Test Stop :
This is what is required of the student when being examined or taught by a teacher. The teacher may stop the student and correct them in a letter, in reading, in tajweed, or anything else that they feel needs correcting. The student stops when instructed to, and attempts to correct the mistake.
2. The Compelled Stop : This is what happens when the reader has a compelling reason for stopping such as shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing, disability, forgetfulness, and whatever is similar to these causes. In these cases it is allowed to stop on the end of the word the reciter was at, even if the meaning is not complete. After the compelling state has passed, the reader then starts with the word stopped on, and then joins it with what follows if it is a sound beginning; if not, the reader then should start back one or two or more words, until they can start with what is sound for a beginning.
3. The Optional Stop
This is what was intended by the reciter by his own choice, without any outside reasons. This is the category of stopping that will be discussed in the next several tidbit lessons, and the category that needs to studied and applied in the correct way by the student of the Qur'an.
Some scholars add a fourth division of stopping called a "waiting stop", or . This stop occurs when the reader stops at a word that has more than one allowed way of recitation and there is the intention of resuming the recitation with another allowed way. This type of stop happens when reading by combining all of the different ways of recitation while being taught by, or presenting the reading to a sheikh.
The Optional Stop
The optional stop is divided into four categories:
1. Complete ()
2. Sufficient ()
3. Good ()
4. Repulsive ()
We will cover these four different optional stops in the future, starting with the complete stop, insha' Allah, next lesson.