Praise be to Allah.
At-Tirmidhi (2914) and Abu Dawood (1464) narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: ‘Read, and ascend, and recite as you used to recite in the [previous] world, for your status will be according to the last verse that you recite.’”
Shaykh Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-‘Azeemabaadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“It will be said”: i.e., when people are admitted to Paradise
“to the companion of the Qur’an” i.e., the one who consistently recites it and acts upon it, not the one who reads it and does not act upon it.
“Read and ascend” i.e., to the higher levels of Paradise or of closeness to Allah.
“”and recite” i.e., do not be hasty in your recitation in Paradise
“as you used to recite” that is, in your reading
“in the [previous] world”.
From this hadeeth it may be understood that this greater reward will not be attained except by one who memorized the Qur’an and learned how to recite it properly and in a precise manner, as it should be done.
End quote from ‘Awn al-Ma‘bood fi Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood (4/237).
In the answer to question no. 169485 we discussed what is meant by the virtue mentioned in the hadeeth quoted above; it is only attained by the one who memorises the Qur’an and acts upon it; please see the question mentioned for more information.
The hadeeth mentioned above speaks about the virtue of the companion of the Qur’an. That does not mean that the one who has not memorized the Qur’an will be of the lowest status in Paradise. Rather the hadeeth refers to a particular virtue for a particular deed; it does not indicate that the higher levels (of Paradise) will only be attained by those who memorise or read the Qur’an. Most of the Companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not memorise the Book of Allah, in the sense of memorising its recitation; rather they memorised it in the sense of acting upon it. So if anyone misses out on this particular reward and virtue, it is still possible for him to strive hard in whatever virtues Allah makes easy for him, such as prayer, tahajjud and qiyaam (voluntary prayers during the night); or zakaah and charity; or fasting on hot days; or constantly remembering Allah; or meeting people’s needs… Or whatever else Allah wills of different kinds of goodness and guidance.
Al-Bukhaari (3256) and Muslim (2831) narrated from Abu Sa ‘eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The people of Paradise will see the people of the highest place in Paradise above them as you see the brilliant star far away on the horizon in the east or the west, because of the difference in status between them.” They said: O Messenger of Allah, is that the status of the Prophets that no one else will attain? He said: “No, by the One in Whose hand is my soul. They are men who believed in Allah and believed in the Messengers.”
Muslim (251) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Shall I not tell you something by means of which Allah erases sins and raises people in status?” They said: Yes, O Messenger of Allah. He said: “Doing wudoo’ properly at times when it is difficult to do so, taking many steps to the mosque, and waiting for prayer after prayer. That is constant readiness.”
For more information, please see the answer to question no. 27075.
And Allah knows best.