How tremendous and noble reciting the Qur’an and pondering upon it is at all times. However, the nobility of reciting it and pondering upon it in the five obligatory prayers is loftier. In the Hadeeth Qudsee:
“My servant does not draw nearer to Me with anything more beloved to me than what I have obligated upon him.”
These five prayers are the greatest of obligations after Tauheed, and the loftiest of them. Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah -Rahimahullah- said:
“And what has been reported with regards to the virtue of the reciter of Quran includes the one performing salat more greatly than it does anyone else.”
And if you wish then also say:
“And what has been reported with regards to the virtue of the one who ponders over the Qur’aan includes the one performing the salat more greatly than it does anyone else.”
So, it is befitting for the Muslim to strive hard with himself in pondering the Qur’an in his prayer, especially Surah Al-Fatihah, which is repeated in every Raka’a. And that he ponders over what he is reciting or listening to; whether that is what he is reciting in the silent prayers or what he is listening to in the audible prayers.
Indeed, striving with one’s self in pondering the Qur’an is of the most beneficial things for the servant, and is of the strongest things for him to bring about Khushoo’ (humility) and a present heart in the prayer. It is from what brings about complete and tremendous reward for the servant in his prayer. And an individual does not have anything from his prayer except of what he understands from it.
Translated by: Abu ‘Abdillah Khaleel ‘Abdur Razaaq