One of the fundamentals of Ramadan is the muqabala,* which is a celebration of a sunnah that our Prophet (s.a.w) and Jibreel (a.s.) repeated every Ramadan. Mushafs, which would normally not be carried out in the open any other time, are pressed under the arms, people put on their skull caps and headscarves, and run to the mosques where muqabalas are taking place. Ramadan, which brings life to its nights with prayer, embellishes its days with muqabalas.
In a crowded muqabala only one sound is heard: the sound of the Quran, which the reciter recites sometimes like a gently flowing river and sometimes like a roaring waterfall. This flow reverberates through a background noise that accompanies it- the rustling that is produced by the audience as they turn the page all together at the end of each page to follow along with the recitation. This sound is personally one of my favorite sounds in the world. It is a sign that we have all submitted to the call of Ramadan, which urges us to gather under the shade of the Quran.
Quran, which is the only book that has remained unchanged to this day among all the books that claim to be God’s word, has the power to move souls even only with its recitation. And if you can listen to a beautiful recitation while understanding what is being said, then you probably haven’t tasted a sweeter pleasure than this in all your life.
* Muqabala is the daily recitation of the Quran in mosques or in other places with the purpose of reading the Quran from the beginning to the end during a given period. A reciter recites the Quran out loud, while the audience follows along from their mushafs. Muqabalas take place during the months of Rajab and Sha’ban, but especially during Ramadan. The source of this tradition is the practice of Jibreel (a.s.) and our Prophet (s.a.w.), where Jibreel (a.s.) would come to the Prophet (s.a.w.) every night during Ramadan, and they would repeat the verses that had been revealed up to that point to each other.