"(This is) a Book (the Qur'aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over (liyaddabbaroo) its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember." (Soorah Saad, 38:29)
Imaam Muhammad Ibn al-Husayn al-Aajurree رحمه الله said,
"Do you not see, may Allaah have mercy upon you, how your Noble Master سبحانه و تعالى encourages His creation to contemplate His words, and those who contemplate His words know the Lord, the All-Mighty, the Venerable, and know the greatness of His Authority and Power, and know the greatness of His favour upon the believers, and know what is obligatory of worship upon them, and he is wary from that which his Noble Master سبحانه و تعالى has warned him, he seeks that which He impels him with, and whoever has this characteristic when he recites the Qur'aan and listens to others reading it, then it becomes a healing for him; he is wealthy without wealth, he has strength without a tribe, he is affable with that which others are averse to.
When he begins to recite a chapter of the Qur'aan his concern is,'When can I act upon the admonition that I am reading?' His intention is not 'when will I complete this chapter,' but rather his intent is only 'when will I comprehend the address from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى? When will I submit? When will I ponder?' Because his recitation of the Qur'aan is worship and worship is not done heedlessly. And Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is the granter of success." 
Shaykh Muhammad 'Umar Baazmool said,
"Take note here that the objective of contemplation is not just the thought process or recitation, (but also) the effect becoming apparent in the heart by an increase of faith and what results from that of righteous actions of the limbs. Regarding the statement of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى:
"...recite it as it should be recited." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:121)
Imaam Mujaahid رحمه الله said, 'They act upon it as it should be acted upon.'
Ummul-Mu'mineen Aa'ishah رضي الله عنها was asked about the statement of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى:
"And verily, you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) are on an exalted standard of character." (Sooratul-Qalam, 68:4)
'What was the character of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم?' She replied, 'His character was the Qur'aan.' 
Sayyiduna Hudhayfah رضي الله عنه said, 'Oh group of reciters! Follow the straight path, for then you have taken a great lead. But if you divert left or right, then you will go far astray.' 
Sayyiduna 'Alee Ibn Abee Taalib رضي الله عنه said, 'Oh carriers of the Qur'aan (or oh carriers of knowledge)! Act on it, as the scholar is the one that acts on what he knows and his knowledge corresponds to his actions. There will be a people who carry knowledge but it doesn't pass their throats. Their actions do not correspond to their knowledge, and their actions in private differ from their actions in public. They sit in circles of knowledge and show off amongst one another, to the point that they become angry with their companion if he sits with someone else and leaves him. Those are the one whose actions in those sittings won't raise up to Allaah, the Most High.' 
Imaam Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله said, 'This Qur'aan was read by slaves and children without having knowledge of its interpretation nor did they contemplate it, they only followed it. That does not happen by simply remembering its words and ignoring its meanings. And some of them will say, "I've reade the Qur'aan and didn't leave out a single letter." But, by Allaah, he has left it all out, every letter of it, because the Qur'aan is not seen in support of him, in terms of his manners and actions. This is clear to the extent that some of them even say: "I read this chapter of the Qur'aan in just one breath." These people are truly neither reciters, nor scholars, nor wise, nor devout. They are people not acting on what they read. When were reciters ever like this? May Allaah سبحانه و تعالى learn their like among men.' 
Imaam Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله also said, 'The people were commanded to act on the Qur'aan, then they took its recitation as action.'"  
"The Qur'aan is a cure for that which is within the heart, and for the one who has the sickness of doubt and desire in his heart, for it contains clear proofs that distinguish the truth from falsehood, and remove the sickness of false doubts to leave certain knowledge, correct perception and understanding such that the heart sees things in accordance to their reality. It contains wisdom, goodly exhortations both encouraging good and deterring from evil, and stories which contain lessons that necesarily lead to the correction of the heart by making the heart desire what is good for it and detest what is harmful to it. Hence the heart is left desiring that which will guide it, hating that which will deviate it after it used to desire that which would deviate it and hate that which would guide it.
The Qur'aan removes all the sicknesses that invoke false desires until the heart becomes pure and therefore its desires become pure and it returns to the natural state (fitrah) that it was created in, just as the body returns to the natural state upon being treated. The heart will be nurtured with faith and the Qur'aan such that it will become strong - for indeed the purification of the heart is like the growing of the body."
[Diseases of the Hearts & Their Cures, Daar us-Sunnah Publishers, p. 54.]
Using the Qur'aan Only as a Source of Healing or a Cure for Physical Ailments
There are a number of verses in the Qur'aan that are used as evidence that the Qur'aan can be used as a healing for physical illnesses. Among these verses are:
"And We send down from the Qur'aan that which is a healing (shifaa') and a mercy (rahma) to those who believe. And it increases the Dhaalimeen (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:82)
"Say: 'It is for those who believe, a guide (huda) and a healing (shifaa').'" (Soorah Fussilat, 41:44)
There is some discussion about whether these verses refer to physical diseases or only spiritual diseases. 
In any case, the following hadeeth is clear that the Qur'aan is a cure for physical as well as spiritual ailments: Sayyiduna Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree رضي الله عنه narrated that some of the Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم were among an Arab tribe that refused to be hospitable toward them. While they were among that tribe, the chief of the tribe was bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and they asked the Companions رضي الله عنهم, "Have you got any medicine with you or anyone who can make an incantation (ruqya)?" They answered, "You refused to be hospitable toward us so we will not treat him unless you pas us for it." So they agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. One of the Companions رضي الله عنهم started reciting Sooratul-Faatihah and gathering his saliva and spitting it onto the place of the bite. The chief was cured and his people presented the sheep to the Companions رضي الله عنهم but they said (to themselves), "We will not take it until we ask the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (if it is lawful for us)." When they asked him he smiled and said, "How did you know that Sooratul-Faatihah is an an incantation (ruqya)? Take it (the flock of sheep) and assign me a share." 
But obviously, if this is the only way that a person uses the Qur'aan or turns to it, then he will be missing the greater purpose of the Qur'aan. He will be using it for something for which it may be used, healing physical illnesses, but he will not be using it for something which is much more vital to his welfare: the healing of spiritual illnesses. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur'aan, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing (shifaa') for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, - a guidance (huda) and a mercy (rahma) (explaining lawful and unlawful things, etc.) for the believers." (Soorah Yoonus: 10:57)
Commenting on this verse, Shaykh 'Abdul-Hameed Ibn Baadees رحمه الله wrote,
"This verse in Soorah Yoonus specifies its healing as being for what is in the hearts, which is where the beliefs reside. This is because that is the main goal of the Qur'aan and it is the foundation for other aspects. This is because if the hearts are healed of evil beliefs and the doubts are extracted from them and the truth is believed and held with certainty, the souls are then purified and the behaviour of the person, both as an individual and his society, will be set aright and they will be ascending the steps fo completeness.
This fact is not negated by the Qur'aan also being a cure for evil character, as its being mentioned in a general sense in the verses [quoted above] from Sooratul-Israa' and Sooratus-Sajdah would indicate. This is because character originates with beliefs and is a necessary consequence thereof. Furthermore, the soul of humans is not perfected until both of them are healed. This also does not negate the fact that the Qur'aan, on some occasions, may be a healing for physical ailments, as the [unrestricted mention of] healing would also imply... However, that is not the main purpose of what is meant by the healing of the Qur'aan." 
Shaykh 'Abdul-Hameed Ibn Baadees رحمه الله goes on to explain that illnesses are either spiritual or physical. The spiritual diseases are those of the mind and soul. The diseases related to the mind include apathy, misconceptions, blind following of the cultures and forefathers' ways, false beliefs and doubts about the truth. The diseases related to the soul include bad character, lusts and evil desires.
The Qur'aan presents a cure for both of these types of spiritual diseases. With respect to the first type, the Qur'aan invites and requests mankind to think, ponder, understand and investigate themselves and the creation around them. The Qur'aan shows mankind how to perceive the reality of this creaton and how to think. It blames those who blindly follow the teachings of their forefathers even when their forefathers were in errant. Then the Qur'aan presents convincing and unquestionable arguments concerning the reality of this world. The end result for those who wish to be cured of such illnesses will be a strong belief in the truth with no doubts or confusion.
As for the second type of spiritual diseases, the diseases of the soul, the Qur'aan reminds and presents to the person the evil results of such diseases. At the same time, it guides one to the proper behaviour and character, showing that they are of great benefit and importance.
Thi is how the spiritual diseases are cured. They both go back, though, to curing the beliefs, which is the foundation for the other realms. In fact, the only real cure for such diseases can be found in the Qur'aan. If one looks for their cures in any other sources, then the disease will only increase. 
Such in fact is the case nowadays as people turn to man-made theories and ideologies to find cures for problems and diseases for which only the Creator سبحانه و تعالى can offer a true and complete cure. 
 For such a discussion see Muhammad Ibraaheem Saleem, At-Tadaawi bil-Qur'aan wal-Istishfaa bir-Ruqa wat-Ta'weedh (Cairo: Maktabah al-Qur'aan, n.d.), pp. 72-82. On pp. 137-144 he discusses the experiments with the Qur'aan as a source of healing that were performed in Panama City, Florida.
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaaree رحمه الله in his Saheeh.
 Tafseer Ibn Baadees fee Majaalis at-Tadhkeer min Kalaam al-Hakeem al-Khabeer (Beirut: Daarul-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1995), p. 143.
 Tafseer Ibn Baadees fee Majaalis at-Tadhkeer min Kalaam al-Hakeem al-Khabeer (Beirut: Daarul-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1995), pp. 143-144. Also see 'Abdullaah an-Noori, al-Urwatul-Wuthqa (Beirut: Daarul-'Arabiyyah, n.d.), pp. 43-46.
 How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan, pp. 68-71.
There are a number of different opinions concerning the linguistic meaning of the word 'Qur'aan.'
The most popular opinion, and the opinion held by Imaam at-Tabaree رحمه الله, is that the word 'Qur'aan' is derived from qara'a, which means, 'to read, to recite.' 'Qur'aan' would then be the verbal noun (masdar) of qara'a, and thus translates as 'The Recitation' or 'The Reading.' Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in reference to the Qur'aan,
"And (it is) a Qur'aan which We have divided into parts..." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:106)
and He سبحانه و تعالى says,
"It is for Us to collect it and to Recite it [qur'aanah]. When We have Recited it, then follow its Recitation [qur'aanah]." (75:17-18)
On other other hand, Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee رحمه الله held the view that the word 'Qur'aan' was a proper noun that was not derived from any word, just like 'Torah' or 'Injeel.' 
He recited the word without a hamza. One of the qira'aat  also pronounced it this way.
Another opinion  states that the word 'Qur'aan' is from the root qarana, which means, 'to join, to associate.' For example, the pilgrimage in which 'Umrah and Hajj are combined is called Hajj Qiraan, from the same root word. Therefore the meaning of the word 'Qur'aan' would be, 'That which is joined together,' because its verses and Soorahs are combined to form this book. In this case, the word would be pronounced the same way as Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee رحمه الله pronounced it, without the hamza.
A fourth opinion  is that 'Qur'aan' comes from the word qaraa'in, which means 'to resemble, to be similar to.' Hence, the Qur'aan is composed of verses that aid one another in comprehension, and Soorahs that resemble each other in beauty and prose. 
Yet another opinion is that 'Qur'aan' is from qar', which means 'to combine.' It is called such since it combines stories, commands, promises and punishments. 
However, the opinion that is the strongest, and the one that the majority of the scholars hold, is the first one, namely that the word 'Qur'aan' is the verbal noun of qara'a and therefore means, 'The Recitation.' The proof for this is that it is named such in the Qur'aan (and most of the qira'aat pronounce the word with a hamza), and the word conforms with Arabic grammar as the verbal noun of qara'a.
It may be asked: how does on explain the fact that some qira'aat pronounce the word 'Qur'aan' without a hamza, as it is well known that all the qira'aat are equally authentic? The response to this question is that this particular pronunciation is due to the peculiar rules of recitation (tajweed) of those qira'aat, and affects many words. In other words, the qira'aat that pronounce the word 'Qur'aan' without a hamza do not intend to change the pronunciation of the word 'Qur'aan' itself, but rather this occurs due to a particular rule of recitation (tajweed) that affects many words in the Qur'aan, including the pronunciation of the word 'Qur'aan.' Therefore, even though the pronunciation of the word 'Qur'aan' is different in these qira'aat, the actual word is still the same. 
 The Books given to Prophet Moosaa (Moses) and Prophet 'Eesaa (Jesus) (may peace and blessings be upon them both), respectively.
 The qiraa'a of Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله.
 That of Imaam Abul-Hasan 'Alee al-Ash'aree رحمه الله.
 That of Imaam Yahyaa Ibn Ziyaad ad-Daylamee رحمه الله, better known as al-Farraa', a famous grammarian from Koofah.
 For more discussion of these and other opinions, see Imaam Badrud-Deen az-Zarkashee رحمه الله: al-Burhaan fee 'Uloom al-Qur'aan, Maktabah al-Asriyyah, Beirut, 1972, Vol. 1, pp. 276-278; and Shaykh Muhammad Ibn 'Umar Ibn Saalim Baazmool حفظه الله: al-Qiraa'at wa Atharuhaa fit-Tafseer, Daar al-Hijrah, Riyaadh, 1996, Vol. 1, pp. 23-27.
 This is the opinion of Imaam Ibn al-Atheer رحمه الله in his an-Nihaayah, Vol. 4, p. 30.
 Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi حفظه الله: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan, (Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999), pp. 24-25.
Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aa'ishah رضي الله عنها narrated: "The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم stood in a [complete] night's prayer reciting one aayah of the Qur'aan." 
Shaykh 'Abdur-Razzaaq al-Badr حفظه الله said,
"The aayah mentioned is:
"If You should punish them - indeed they are Your servants; but if You should forgive them - indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:118)
as stated in the hadeeth collected in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy upon him)." 
Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim رحمه الله said,
"If people knew the benefits of contemplating the Qur'aan, they would busy themselves with it and leave everything else. A person should recite the Qur'aan with contemplation, and if he comes across an aayah that touches his heart, repeat it a hundred times or even the whole night to attain its benefits.The recitation of an aayah with contemplation and understanding is better than reciting the whole Qur'aan without understanding and contemplating it. It is certainly more beneficial to the heart and increases one's eemaan in it. Furthermore, it lets the person taste the sweetness of the Qur'aan. This was the habit of the salaf who used to repeat one aayah until the time of Fajr." 
 Sunan at-Tirmidhi
 A Commentary on the Depiction of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, p. 318.
'Abdullaah Ibn Shikhkheer رضي الله عنه narrated: "I entered upon the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم whilst he was praying. Due to his crying, such sound emitted from his chest like that of a boiling kettle." 
Shaykh 'Abdul-Kareem al-Khudair said,
"This description given by the narrator is to show the igh level of humility and piety of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم from the effect of the Qur'aan. However, it is unfortunate that many people enter the prayer and end it without being affected by the Qur'aan they recite. The description given in this hadeeth is what happens to those who follow the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم example which results from the fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى that one feels whilst standing before Him in the prayer.
You find some people who get touched by the recitation of some individuals but never feel anything when the same aayaat are recited by someone else. This could be due to the beauty of the voice, but one ought to be blamed if he only gets touched by particular voices and does not get touched if the Qur'aan is recited beautifully by other people. This is because a person should feel touched and effected by the words of the Qur'aan, per se, and so the beauty of the voice should serve to help the person to increase this feeling and not be that which makes the person cry.
Sometimes, there are individuals who we hear cry aloud in the prayer. If this happens because the person is overwhelmed and cannot control himself, then the person is not blamed. It is noticed that the effect on some people is short, i.e. they cry when they come across an aayah, and after the aayah ends, they return to their normal status. It should be noted that the real crying that affects the heart is that which does not end quickly. It was reported that many of the righteous predecessors would fall sick the next morning because of their crying in the night while praying. Thus, the heart which cannot maintain this effect is indicative of the effect being weak upon it. I saw during the last Ramadaan someone who was weeping out loud in the prayer, and after the prayer ended he entered into a verbal altercation with other people over some issue. This shows that the heart is still taken away by this worldly life and the sins are not yet cleansed." 
Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim رحمه الله said,
"The nature of his crying was similar to that of his laughing; he neither laughed out loud nor did he laugh boisterously. Likewise when he cried, he neither wailed nor was his breath taken away due to it. Rather, his eyes would shed tears and a sound would emit from his chest; he cried out of his mercy for the deceased and sometimes he cried out of his concern and mercy for his nation. Sometimes he would cry due to his fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and sometimes when he heard the Qur'aan, due to his love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Thus embodying the required combination of love and fear of Allaah." 
 Sunan Abee Dawood
 A Commentary on the Depiction of Prophet Muhammad, pp. 363-364.
'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه related: "The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم once asked me to recite the Qur'aan to him. I said, 'O Messenger of Allaah! How could I recite it to you when it has been revealed to you?' He said, 'I love to hear it from other people.' Thereupon I began reciting Sooratun-Nisaa' and when I reached this aayah, 'But how [will it be with them] when We bring of every people a witness, and We bring thee [O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم] a witness against these?' (4:41) I saw tears begin to flow from the eyes of the Messenger of Allaah." 
Imaam al-Qastallaanee رحمه الله said,
"This effect is what a person would have when listening to the Qur'aan with his heart and not just his ears. Allaah said: "And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognised of the truth. They say: "'Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses.'" (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:83) 
Mulla 'Alee al-Qaaree رحمه الله said,
"Ibn Battal رحمه الله said: 'It is possible that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم requested to hear the Qur'aan from Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه to show that listening to the Qur'aan is Sunnah (even if the person has memorised it) or to contemplate it and reflect upon it because the listener is more focused and more able to contemplate than the reciter who is busy reciting." 
 Saheehul-Bukhaaree and Saheeh Muslim
 A Commentary on the Depiction of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, pp. 364-365
Only Reciting the Qur'aan as a Protection from Evil, Without Properly Applying It
Different ahaadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم describe specific portions of the Qur'aan as having the ability to protect its Muslim reader from certain types of evil.
For example, in a hadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, it states that a shaytaan (devil) told Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه, "When you go to your bed, recite the verse of the throne (Aayatul-Kursee - 2:255). If you do so, a guardian from Allaah will come and protect you from the devils until the morning." Later, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه about that statement, "He [that devil] has told the truth although he is a liar."
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "Do not turn your houses into graves. Verily, Shaytaan flees from a house in which Sooratul-Baqarah is recited." 
There is no question that this is a true characteristic of the Qur'aan. The Muslim, though, has to realise that the Qur'aan is supposed to be a protection from a much greater evil: the Hellfire. But it will not protect one from the Hellfire unless one believes in it sincerely and applies it correctly.
Again, if a person simply turns to the Qur'aan and reads portions of it thinking that it will protect him from some evil in this life, and he does not go beyond that to understand and apply the Qur'aan properly, then he will be missing the real point of what the Qur'aan is all about. 
 Saheeh Muslim
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 91-92
A Muslim should do his best to ponder over the meaning of the Qur'aan and understand what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى wants from him. Therefore, he should pick the best time, place and atmosphere for its recital. This is why the scholars of Islaam have discussed the manners that one should attend to while reading the Qur'aan. This will put the person in the proper spiritual and mental atmosphere to benefit from the Qur'aan. As al-Khaalidi stated,
"In order for the recital of the Qur'aan to be beneficial and in order for it to reap its fruits and the proper results of pondering, acting and being affected by it, and in order for it to be performed in the manner of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم and his noble Companions رضي الله عنهم, there are certain etiquette that the one who recites must take note of and adhere to before and while reciting the Qur'aan.' 
Some of the manners that the scholars have mentioned concerning reciting the Qur'aan come from the Qur'aan, Hadeeth and guidance of the Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Others actually have no direct source in the Qur'aan or Hadeeth. At the same time, though, they have been offered by the scholars, based on their experience of reading the Qur'aan, as they felt that they would also be helpful to others who read the Qur'aan and wish to gain the guidance that it offers. 
Note once again that the means and the goal cannot be confused. All of these different etiquette are not means for exoteric reasons but they are for the purpose of being able to best understand and grasp what one is reading. 
The goal is the heart: the heart must be completely attuned and realise what is being read. In a lengthy passage, Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله aptly describes what is needed for one to benefit from one's reading of the Qur'aan. His discussion is based on the verse,
"Verily in this is a message for any who has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and is earnestly present." (Soorah Qaaf, 50:37)
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله states that in a most succint manner, this verse describes exactly the conditions that one must meet in order to benefit from hearing Allaah's revelation سبحانه و تعالى. He must have a "heart"; this is the "receptacle" that is to receive the message. If this receptacle is not ready, is not open to the message or is dead to the message, it will not be able to receive anything, even if the lips should happen to be reading the message.
Second, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions that "the person must give ear"; in other words, he must be listening intently, a type of listening wherein the person tries to comprehend what is being said.
Third, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى states that "he is present." Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله states that this means that his heart is present and attuned to what is being said.
Therefore, if the Qur'aan finds the proper receptacle - which is the living heart wanting Allaah's guidance سبحانه و تعالى - and the proper conditions are met - wherein the person is listening attentively to what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is saying - and there are no obstacles - such as the heart not being attuned by turning its thoughts to other things while the tongue alone is reading Allaah's message سبحانه و تعالى - then the proper and desired effect will result: the person will benefit from the Qur'aan and it will serve as a reminder and guide for him.  
 In essence, the same can be said about reciting the Qur'aan in "the most beautiful manner." The goal of this beautification is not simply to make the Qur'aan pleasing to listen to in an artistic sense. The goal is to make the listener moved by the Qur'aan and make him feel Allaah's Words سبحانه و تعالى. In fact, by definition, the one who recites the Qur'aan most beautifully is the one who recites it in a way that one feels that he is having the fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. This is indicated in the hadeeth which states, "The person who has the best recitation is the one who, when he recites, you see that he fears Allaah." (Recorded by Imaam al-Baihaqi رحمه الله in Shu'ab al-Eemaan, Imaam al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi رحمه الله in Tareekh Baghdaad, Imaam Muhammad Ibn Nasr رحمه الله in Kitaab as-Salaah and others. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. See Saheehul-Jaami', vol. 1, p. 100.)
 Al-Fawaa'id, p. 3.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 100-103
The person should choose a time for reciting the Qur'aan during which he would be most inclined to receiving the blessings and guidance of the Qur'aan. This should be a time in which his mind is free of distractions. From the Qur'aan and different ahaadeeth it seems clear that two of the best times for reciting the Qur'aan are the last third of the night and Fajr time. Khurram Murad رحمه الله writes,
"Yet there are some specific times which are more desirable as they are recommended by the Qur'aan and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم; those moments are more rewarding and fruitful... The most excellent time to read is at night... Reading the Qur'aan during the night-prayers enables your heart to remain with your reading and stregnthens your will in surrendering yourself to Allaah's guidance سبحانه و تعالى and fulfilling the mission He has entrusted you... The great need and immense benefits of reading the Qur'aan in prayer during the night however remain. Hence you should assign at least some time, however little, even a few minutes with some regular frequency, however long, say weekly or even monthly, for this purpose." 
Related to this concept is the suggestion that the person free his mind from all other preoccupations. If there is something on somebody's mind while he is reading the Qur'aan and he is easily able to take care of that matter, he should tend to it first and then return to read the Qur'aan. If, for example, someone needs to relieve himself, make an important phone call or something similar to that which he will always have on his mind while reciting the Qur'aan, he should tend to those simple things first and then continue his recital. 
However, it is difficult to determine how often and how much one should read the Qur'aan on a regular basis. 
It is clear from the sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the actions of the Companions رضي الله عنهم that they would not let any day pass without reading at least some portion of the Qur'aan. Imaam an-Nawawi records that some of the Companions رضي الله عنهم would regularly complete the entire Qur'aan every two months, while others would do so monthly; still some completed it once a week or every six days and so on.  
How much and how often one reads the Qur'aan, therefore, will depend upon individual capabilities and limitations that differ from person to person. The important aspect is to want to read the Qur'aan as often as possible, to understand it properly and to apply it to the best of one's ability.
In addition, one should not try to read the entire Qur'aan too quickly. The purpose of reading the Qur'aan is to understand it and benefit from its guidance. When one reads it too quickly, it is not possible for him to comprehend or ponder over its meaning. This was pointed out by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when he said, "The one who reads the Qur'aan in less than three days will not comprehend it." 
In fact, even when reading individual soorahs (suwar), the person's goal should not simply be the completion of the soorah. Ibn Mas'ood once said, "[Do not read it] in the manner that one throws out dates or in the quick manner that one reads poetry. Instead, stop at every one of its magnificent points and allow your heart to be moved by it. None of you should be thinking just about reaching the end of the soorah."  
 Way to the Quran, pp. 61-62
 This is analogous to the case of the person who needs to relieve himself before the prayer begins but goes ahead and performs the prayer first. This action is considered makrooh (disliked).
 According to Imaam al-Maqdisi رحمه الله, if a person has a copy of the Qur'aan in his house, he must read at least a few verses from it daily in order not to treat it as something mahjoor (abandoned, avoided). [Mukhtasar Minhaaj al-Qaasideen, p.53]
It has been narrated of a number of Companions رضي الله عنهم, including 'Uthmaan Ibn 'Affaan and 'Umar Ibn al-Khattaab, that they would dislike to have a day go by in which they did not look at and read from their copy of the Qur'aan. [Ithaafus-Saadatul-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa' 'Uloomud-Deen, volume 5, pp. 70-71]
 Recorded by Imaam Abo Daawood رحمه الله, Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله and Imaam al-Baihaqi رحمه الله. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. [Saheeh al-Jaami', vol. 2, p. 1279]
It has been narrated from many of the early Muslims, including the Companion 'Uthmaan Ibn 'Affaan, that they would recite the entire Qur'aan in much less than three days, perhaps nightly or even in a shorter period. The majority of the scholars, as Imaam az-Zarkashi رحمه الله stated, are of the opinion that this depends on the person's own ability to read, understand and comprehend. One may read it in less than three days if he has the ability to understand it in a shorter period. [Al-Burhaan fee 'Uloom al-Qur'aan, vol. 1, p. 471]
Imaam al-'Iraaqi رحمه الله notes that the hadeeth above does not state that if someone reads the Qur'aan in less than three days that he is doing something forbidden; it simply states that he will not be able to understand it. [Quoted by Imaam az-Zabeedi رحمه الله in Ithaafus-Saadatul-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa' 'Uloomud-Deen, volume 5, p. 29]
 Quoted by Imaam Abu Bakr al-Aajurri رحمه الله in Akhlaaq Ahlul-Qur'aan, p. 38
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 103-106
Choosing the Proper Place for Reciting the Qur'aan
Many have noted that the more "spiritual" the place, the greater the person will be attuned to what he is reading. Similarly, if the place is free of distractions, of any kind, including children's noises, others talking, and so on, the more the person will be able to concentrate on the Qur'aan. 
Obviously, the masjid should give the proper atmosphere and be one of the best places to read the Qur'aan.
For women, if possible, they may wish to set aside a portion of their residence as their "masjid." This would be an are wherein no objects of distraction would be present. Furthermore, especially if the woman has children, it would be helpful of the husband to assist his wife in her reading of the Qur'aan by making sure that the children do not bother her while she is studying the Qur'aan. 
 Many people also like to listen to the Qur'aan while driving a car or other similar activities. Such people must make sure that they also read the Qur'aan under circumstances wherein they are able to give the Qur'aan their full undivided attention.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, p. 106
Sitting in a Way that Gives Respect to What One Is Reading
Although this is not explicitly mentioned in any authentic hadeeth and, indeed, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى praises those who remember Him standing, sitting or while lying on their sides , many scholars believe that there is a relationship between the way one sits while reciting the Qur'aan and how much one benefits from said recital.
They suggest facing the Qiblah and sitting in the same posture that one sits in while in prayer. Perhaps sitting in a special manner to read the Qur'aan will remind the reader that what he is reading is special.
Many scholars, including Imaam an-Nawawi رحمه الله, record ahaadeeth stating that the best sitting is that wherein the person is facing the Qiblah. There is, for example, a hadeeth that states, "Everything has a most noble aspect to it and the most noble sitting is wherein one faces the Qiblah." 
If a person finds that sitting in a certain respectable fashion improves his reading and understanding of the Qur'aan, then it is good for him to sit in that fashion. However, it cannot be considered a must. 
"Those who remember Allaah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:191)
 Recorded by Imaam at-Tabraani رحمه الله in al-Awsat. The chain of this hadeeth was graded hasan by scholars such as Imaam al-Haithami رحمه الله, Imaam as-Sakhaawi رحمه الله and Imaam al-Mundhiri رحمه الله. However, Shaykh Muhammad Amr 'Abdul-Lateef noted that the chain of the hadeeth is good except for Imaam at-Tabaraani's رحمه الله own source, Ibraaheem Ibn Muhammad al-Himsi, who, as Imaam adh-Dhahabi رحمه الله described him, is not reliable. Hence, it is considered weak. Allaah knows best. See Tabyeed as-Saheefah bi-Usool al-Ahaadeeth ad-Da'eefah.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 107-108
Being Free of Both Major and Minor Impurities: Is It Permissibile to Touch the Qur'aan Without Wudu'?
The position of the majority of the scholars is that it is unlawful (haraam) to touch any part of a textual copy of the Qur'aan (mus-haf) without being in a state of minor ritual purity (wudu), as a way of honouring the book of Allaah.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen رحمه الله said, "The Qur'an should not be touched except in a state of ritual purity. This is because the Qur'an should not be touched except by a ritually pure person. It is mention in the hadeeth of 'Amr Ibn Hazm رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم sent him a letter in which he said: "None should touch the Qur'an except one who is purified." (Reported by Ad-Darimi in the Book of Divorce, in Chapter 3, and by An-Nasa'i (5718).)
One who is purified here means one who has removed impurity from himself; and the evidence for this is in the words of Allaah, the Most High in the Verse of ablution, bathing and Tayammum:
"Allaah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful." (Sooratu-Maa'idah, 5:6)
And in His Words سبحانه و تعالى: "to purify you," there is proof that before cleansing himself, a person has not attained purification, and based upon this, it is not permissible for anyone to touch the Qur'an unless he is in a state of ritual purity achieved by performing ablution." 
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله said, "It is prohibited for one in a state of (minor or major) ritual impurity to touch the Qur'aan, for Allaah, the Exalted, says,
"None touch it except the purified." (Sooratul-Waaqi'ah, 56:79)
That is, it is prohibited to touch it except by those purified from minor and major ritual impurity, according to the opinion that the words 'the purified' in the verse refer to human beings." 
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله states that the prohibition of touching the Qur'aan while being in a state of major or minor ritual impurity is agreed upon by the four Imaams. 
Imaam Ibn Rushd رحمه الله said, "Imaam Maalik رحمه الله, Imaam Abu Haneefah رحمه الله and Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee رحمه الله held that it is a condition (to have wudu) for touching the mus-haf, while the Zhaahirites held that it is not. The reason for disagreement is whether the meaning of the words of the Exalted,
"None touch it except the purified." (Sooratul-Waaqi'ah, 56:79)
refers to humans or angels, or whether this statement implies a prohibition or is just a report. Those who deemed the word 'purified' to mean humans, and interpreted the statement as a prohibition, said that it is not permitted for anyone but the purified to touch the mus-haf. Those who interpreted it as a report and interpreted the word 'purified' as an allusion to angels said that there is no indication in the verse about the stipulation of purification as a condition for touching the mus-haf. And as there is no evidence in the Book or in the Sunnah, the matter is to be left to the original rule of non-liability, which is permissibility.
The majority argued for their opinion on the basis of the hadeeth of 'Amr Ibn Hazm رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم wrote: 'None but the purified touch the Qur'aan.' The ahaadeeth of 'Amr Ibn Hazm رضي الله عنه are disputed among the scholars with respect to the obligation of acting upon them, as a writing error (tas-heef) occurred in them, though I have seen Ibn al-Mufawwaz رحمه الله declaring them as saheeh when reported by reliable narrators, for they are letters of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The same is said about the ahaadeeth of 'Amr Ibn Shu'ayb رحمه الله from his father from his grandfather, though the Zhaahirites reject them. Imaam Maalik رحمه الله made an exemption in the case of minors touching the mus-haf when they are not purified, as they have not reached the age of liability." 
Mufti Muhammad Shafi رحمه الله said, commenting on the verses,
"It is surely the Noble Qur'aan (recorded already) in a protected book [i.e. the Preserved Tablet] that is not touched except by the purified ones [the angels]." (Sooratul-Waaqi'ah, 56:77-79)
"The phrase كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مَّكۡنُونٍ۬ 'a protected book' refers to lawh mahfoodh [i.e. the Preserved Tablet]. لَّا يَمَسُّهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا ٱلۡمُطَهَّرُونَ (that is not touched except by the purified ones): Two issues require clarification here. The commentators have different views about them, because the structure of verse 78 and 79 has two possibilities grammatically: The first possibility is that the phrase 'that is not touched except by the purified ones' is the qualification of the Preserved Tablet referred to in the previous verse. In this case, 'the purified ones' can refer only to angels, and the phrase 'not touched' cannot be taken in its literal sense of physical touch; it would rather mean 'being aware of'. The sense of the verse would be that no one is aware of the Preserved Tablet and its contents except the purified angels. (Qurtubl)
This interpretation is adopted in Bayan-ul-Qur'an as well. The second possibility is that the phrase 'that is not touched except by the purified ones' is taken as a qualification of the Qur'an referred to in the previous verse. In this case the word Qur'an would refer to the scrolls or scripts in which it is written, and 'not touched, will remain in its literal sense of referring to physical touch by hand etc. The sense would be that the Script of the Qur'an is not touched by anyone except by the purified angels who bring revelation to the Prophet. Since this interpretation does not need to take the word 'touch' in its figurative sense, Imaam al-Qurtubi and some other commentators have preferred this interpretation. Imam Maalik رحمه الله says, 'The best interpretation of verse [77 and 78] I have ever heard is what is mentioned in Surah 'Abasa (80) verses [13-16]:
"(It is) in Records held (greatly) in honour (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfoodh). Exalted (in dignity), purified, In the hands of scribes (angels). Honourable and obedient." (Soorah 'Abasa, 80:13-16)
The second issue that requires consideration in this verse is what is meant by the phrase 'the purified ones'. A large group of the Companions, their followers and leading authorities on Qur'anic commentary think that the referent of 'the pure ones' are the angels who are purified of the dross and adulteration of sins, and who are innocent. This is the view of Sayyidna Anas رضي الله عنه, Sa'eed Ibn Jubair رحمه الله and of Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنه Imam Maalik رحمه الله has also adopted this view .
Some of the commentators think that Qur'aan refers to the copy of the Holy Book that is in our hands, and the referent of the word 'mutahharoon' ('purified ones) are people free from minor impurity and major impurity. Minor impurity means to be without Wudhu and minor impurity can be cleansed by making Wudhu' or tayammum [cleaning with dust]. Major impurity refers to the state of impurity which is caused by sexual intercourse, lustful discharge of semen during sleep, and menstrual and postpartum discharges. Ghusl (having bath) is the only means of achieving purity from this state. This interpretation is placed on the text by 'Ataa' رحمه الله, 'Ta'oos رحمه الله, Saalim رحمه الله and Muhammad Baaqir رحمه الله. In this case, although the verse "that is not touched except by the purified ones," is a declarative sentence, it is in fact used in the sense of prohibiting human beings to touch the Qur'aan without being free from the minor and major impurities. The person who wishes to touch the Qur'aan needs to be purified of the visible as well as the invisible impurities by taking Wudhu', tayammum or ghusl, as required. Qurtubi and Mazhari prefer this interpretation.
In the incident of Sayyidna 'Umar's رضي الله عنه embracing Islam, we come across the part of the story where he asked his sister to give him the pages of the Qur'aan, she recited verse  of this Soorah, refused to give him the pages and said 'only the pure ones can touch it'. As a result, he was forced to take a bath, and then recite the contents of the pages. This incident also lends support to the last interpretation. The versions of the Tradition that prohibit the impure people from touching the Qur'aan are put forward by some authorities to argue in favour of the last interpretation.
However, since Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنه, Anas رضي الله عنه and others have a different view about the interpretation of this verse, as mentioned above, many scholars did not base the prohibition of touching the Qur'aan without ablution on verse . Rather, the prohibition is established by the following Traditions:
Imam Maalik رحمه الله cites, as evidence, the Holy Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم letter in his Muwatta' which he wrote to 'Amr Ibn Hazm رضي الله عنه. It contains the following statement: لا یمس القرآن الا طاھر "Only a clean one may touch the Qur'an". Ruh-ul-Ma'ani gives the following references: Musnad of 'Abdurrazzaq, Ibn Abi Dawud and Ibn-ul-Mundhir, Tabarani and Ibn Marduyah record a Tradition on the authority of 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar & that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: لا یمس القرآن الا طاھر (Only a clean one may touch the Qur'an.)
Some Rulings about touching the Holy Qur'an
(1) On the basis of the foregoing Prophetic Ahaadeeth, the overwhelming majority of the 'Ummah and the four major schools concur that 'purity' is a condition for the permissibility of touching the Holy Qur'aan and it is not allowed to touch it in a state of impurity. It means that before touching the Holy Qur'aan, one must make sure that no najaasah (i.e. things declared by Shari'ah as filth) is attached to one's hand, and that he or she is in the state of Wudhu' and is not in the state of Janaabah (the state in which it is obligatory to take bath). The divergence of interpretation referred to earlier is only in connection with whether or not verse  can be the basis of such a prohibition. Some jurists think that the verse as well as the relevant Traditions bear the same sense, hence they use them as supportive of each other in evidence of their ruling. Others, on account of divergence of interpretation among the Companions, exercised precaution in using the Qur'anic text as evidence in support of their ruling. But because of the Traditions, they ruled that touching the Qur'aan without ablutions is impermissible. In sum, there are no differences in their rulings. The differences are only in supportive evidence of these rulings.
(2) If the Qur'an is in a cover which is sewn or permanently attached to it in some way, it is not permitted - according to the four major schools - for an unclean person to touch it without ablutions. If however the Qur'an is covered in something that is not permanently attached to it, an unclean person may, according to Imam Abu Hanifah رحمه الله, touch it without ablutions. However, according to Imams Maalik رحمه الله and Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee رحمه الله, an unclean person is not permitted to touch it before taking ablutions. [Mazhari]
(3) If a person is wearing a garment, it is not lawful for him to touch the Qur'aan with his sleeves or skirt if he is unclean. However, he may touch it with a handkerchief or-a sheet. [Mazhari]
(4) Scholars have ruled it which is proved by this very verse with grater force that a person in the state of janaabah (sexual defilement) and a woman in the state of menstruation or postpartum bleeding cannot recite it, even from memory until bath has been taken, because if it is obligatory to honour the written letters of the Holy Qur'aan by touching them only in the state of purity, its spoken words deserve the same honour with greater importance. The requirement of this honour should have been that even in the state of minor impurity a person should not be allowed to recite the Holy Qur'an. But Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbaas and 'Ali رضي الله عنه report that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم recited the Qur'aan without Wudhu. On this basis, the jurists have ruled that it is permissible to recite it without Wudhu, (But in the case of major impurity the rule will remain intact.)." [Mazhari] 
Reciting the Qur'aan from Memory in a State of Minor or Major Ritual Impurity
As for reciting the Qur'aan from memory in a state of minor ritual impurity, then the majority of scholars allow this. 
However, to recite the Qur'aan from memory in a state of major ritual impurity (janaabah) is prohibited according to the majority of the scholars. 
The evidence for the above two points is based on the hadeeth where 'Ali رضي الله عنه said, "Nothing prevented him (i.e. the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) from (reciting) the Qur'aan other than being in a state of janaabah (major ritual impurity)." 
 Fataawa Arkaan al-Islaam, Vol. 1, pp. 350-351
 A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence, Vol. 1, pp. 19-20
 Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 21/266
 The Distinguished Jurist's Primer, vol. 1, p. 41
 Ma'ariful Qur'an, vol. 8, pp. 298-301.
 The Distinguished Jurist's Primer, vol. 1, p. 43
 The Distinguished Jurist's Primer, vol. 1, p. 50
 Recorded by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله, Imaam Abu Dawood رحمه الله, Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله, Imaam an-Nisaa'ee رحمه الله and Imaam Ibn Maajah رحمه الله
Having the Proper Intention Upon Reading the Qur'aan
In order for the person to be rewarded by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for his recital and in order for the reader to maximise his guidance from the Qur'aan he must make his intention such that he is not reading the Qur'aan for any worldly benefit. Instead, he must read it solely for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, to please Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and to get His guidance. This must be something clear in his conscience before he begins his reading of the Qur'aan.
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Surely, all actions are but driven by intentions and, verily, every man shall have but that which he intended." 
Shaykh Salaahud-Deen Al-Khaalidi notes, "The knowledge, understanding and pondering over the Qur'aan is a pure blessing from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and a mercy from Him. And the mercy of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is not granted to someone whose heart is filled with confusion, deception and deceit." 
The question of a proper intention is of extreme importance with respect to every act of worship. However, it is of special importance with respect to reading and memorising the Qur'aan. This is because memorising the Qur'aan or reading it in a beautiful voice is often an act for which one becomes well-known. In other words, the word spreads quickly that a specific person has a beautiful recitation or has memorised so much of the Qur'aan. Therefore, it is relatively easy for Shaytaan to come to such a person and affect his intention. Instead of reading and learning the Qur'aan for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, to some extent his learning and reading is being done for the sake of show and the accolades that he is receiving from the Muslims around him.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم alluded to this fact when he said, "Certainly, the majority of the hypocrites [in their deeds] from among my Nation (Ummah) are its Quranic reciters (Qurraa'uhaa)." 
This hadeeth is not in reference to complete hypocrites who are hiding their disbelief and who, therefore, fall outside of the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. Instead, it is referring to Muslims whose reading, memorising and learning of the Qur'aan is sometimes tainted by the fact that they are seeking the praise and adoration of the people. 
In essence, this hadeeth is a warning from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to those who wish to learn, memorise and recite the Qur'aan. It is a warning concerning a dangerous disease that can creep up on such people. Even though they put many, many hours into memorising and reading the Qur'aan in the most beautiful manner, due to their improper intention during some of that time, they may memorise the entire Qur'aan but they may not be blessed with a complete and true understanding of the Qur'aan.
Similarly, there are many others, including the true and complete hypocrites, Christian missionaries and non-Muslim Orientalists, who read the Qur'aan but their reading is not a sincere reading to be guided by it. Instead, most of them read the Qur'aan only to find fault with it or as a means of publishing some work. Hence, it is not surprising to see such people reading the Qur'aan while it has no lasting effect on them and it does not guide them to the straight path. If a person sincerely seeks to get the guidance of the Qur'aan, he must turn to the Qur'aan with the intention of reading it for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and with the intention of finding and following the truth, whatever the truth may be. 
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaaree, Imaam Muslim and others.
 Mafaateeh Li-It'aamul Ma'al-Qur'aan (Jordan: Maktab al-Manaar, 1985), p. 47.
 Recorded by Imaam Ahmad and others. According to Shaykh al-Albaanee رحمه الله is it saheeh; Shaykh al-Huwaini also considers it an acceptable hadeeth. See, Saheeh al-Jaami', vol. 1, p. 263; and Shaykh al-Huwaini's footnotes to Kitaab Fadhaail, p. 295
 Cf., Imaam Muhammad az-Zabeedi رحمه الله, Ittihaaf as-Saadatul-Muttaqeen bi-Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloomud-Deen (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al'Ilmiyyah, 1989), vol. 5, p. 21.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 109-111.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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