Why is the Quran at dawn witnessed?


We are told that the reciting of the Quran at dawn is witnessed (17:78), can you please shed some light on this and why is it witnessed only at dawn? Also does this constitute a command for us to recite the Quran at dawn?


To reply to this question let us first read 17:78:

Observe the Salat from the duluk of the sun until the darkness of the night, as well as the Quran at dawn; the Quran at dawn is witnessed.

The way 17:78 is worded indicates that the observance of the prayer at duluk till darkness of the night is given as a command to be followed, while the recitation of the Quran at dawn is worded as an invitation which God would like us to do whenever we are able, but it is not a command.

This is confirmed in 73:20 where God invites us to read what we can of the Quran:

So read what you can of it (Quran). 73:20

The words "what you can" confirm that this is an invitation rather than a command.

Immediately, many scholars have given the recitation of the Quran at dawn more credit and reward than recitation at other times, but I am afraid this once again shows their unawareness with other relevant Quranic verses, and it is a result of making a deduction out of looking at one verse in isolation.

When we read other Quranic verses we get a different picture, so let us read the following verse:

There is no affair that you may be engaged in, nor do you recite any of the Quran, nor do you do any work, without Us being Witness over you while you are engaged in them. 10:61

The above words tell us that reciting the Quran at any time is also witnessed and not just at dawn. As a matter of fact, all our actions, at all times, are witnessed.

So why does God single out the recitation of the Quran at dawn in 17:78?

It is not because we will get more credit in the Hereafter for doing so than reciting it at other times of the day, and it is not because the only recitation that is witnessed is at dawn.

It is because at dawn we will get the most benefit from reciting the Quran than at other times of the day. At dawn there are no distractions, no noise and thus our minds are fully receptive to learn and meditate on the meaning of the Quran.

But reading the Quran is witnessed at all times.