Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: “It will be said to those who know the Qur’an, ‘Recite and ascend. Recite slowly as you did in the world below. Your station will be at the last verse you recite.’” Does this Hadith apply only to those who have memorized the Quran? And also, the words “your station will be at the last verse you recite”. What does this mean?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
This particular narration refers to however much Qur’an one has memorized. [Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir Sharh Jami` al-Saghir]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It will be said to those who know the Qur’an, ‘Recite and ascend. Recite slowly as you did in the world below. Your station will be at the last verse you recite.’” [Abu Dawud; al-Tirmidhi]
However, Abadi in his commentary of Sunan Abu Dawud conditions the statement “those who know the Qur’an” (lit. The “person” of the Qur’an) with someone who acts upon it, not merely someone who recites it without the subsequent action. [Abadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud]
“Your station will be at the last verse you recite”
With regards to the last part of the narration (hadith), Abadi continues his discussion stating that there are narrations which inform us that the degrees in Paradise are akin to the number of verses in the Qur’an. Moreover, none shall receive such a tremendous reward except the one who memorizes the Qur’an and perfects its recitation, as is befitting for him.
Thus, the one who memorized the entire Qur’an will reach the highest stations of Paradise, and those who memorized less than that would reach a lower station (each depending on how much of the Qur’an they memorized). [ibid.]
As an aside, `Ayni additionally notes that this narration also points to the recommendation of reciting in slow measured tones (tartil).
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani