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I often fall short of breath and cannot elongate my madd. Is there a specific exercise to do for strengthening my madd?


Shortness of breath is not an uncommon problem when reciting the Qur’an.  When you are short of breath, stop on the end of the word you are on, go back a word or two (depending on the meaning), then continue.  Do not push yourself to recite a long phrase until you end up cutting off your breath in the middle of a word, or during a medd.  Just recite and stop when you are beginning to feel short of breath, take a breath, go back a few words, and recite again.  Insha’ Allah, you won’t miss a medd this way. 

You can, when you are not reciting Qur’an, practice increasing your breath control by making a long sound, for example a long alif, but not in a word, and continue holding the sound until your breath runs out.  Time it with a second hand on a clock or watch.  Do this 10 times in a row and write down how many seconds you held the sound for each attempt.  The next day, you should set a goal of reciting it two more seconds than the day before.  Again, use a second hand, and make the sound 10 times in a row, and write it down.  Continue this everyday for one month, trying to increase your time every day, or every other day.  Insha’ Allah you have better breath control at the end of the month.  May Allah make it easy for you.