Posted by: islaambasics | March 31, 2011

Rules observed by one who recites the Qur’an

Fatwas by His Eminence Shaykh `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah Al Al-Shaykh

It is prescribed for a reciter of the Qur’an to observe a certain etiquette

First, a person should be in the most perfect condition when reciting the Book of Allah: in a state of Taharah (ritual purification) and cleanliness out of respect for this Noble Book. It is Mustahab (desirable) to be in a state of Taharah before reciting the Qur’an. It is permissible for those who are in a state of Hadath (ritual impurity that invalidates ablution) to recite the Qur’an because the Prophet (peace be upon him) once got up (in the late part of the night), washed his face, and recited the last ten Ayahs (Qur’anic verses) of Al `Imran without performing Wudu’ (ablution). `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was sitting among men who were reciting the Qur’an. He went to respond to the call of nature and he returned while reciting the Qur’an. A man asked him, “O Amir Al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Believers), do you recite the Qur’an while you are not in the state of Wudu’?” `Umar wondered, “Who gave you a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) denoting that? Was it Musaylimah?
(Related by Malik in Al-Muwatta’)

Ibn `Abdul-Bar said, “This Hadith indicates the permissibility of reciting the Qur’an from memory while not being in the state of Taharah, as long as they are not in state of Janabah (major ritual impurity related to sexual discharge). Scholars unanimously agree on this matter without difference, except those who hold an opposite view. However, their opinion is refuted by the unanimous agreement of scholars. In this regard, the act of `Umar suffices because he did this while he was among a gathering of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) who were the Salaf (righteous predecessors).”
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Ijma` (consensus of scholars) was reported by Al-Nawawy and Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful to them both) stating the permissibility of a person in a state of Hadath to recite the Qur’an.
However, the one who is in a state of Janabah must not recite the Qur’an until after performing Janabah Ghusl (full ritual bath to cleanse of sexual discharge). `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Nothing hindered the Prophet (peace be upon him) from reciting the Qur’an except being in the state of Janabah.
The Hadiths in this regard strengthen each other. Most Fuqaha’ (Muslim jurists) hold this opinion to the extent that Ibn `Abdul-Bar (may Allah be merciful to him) said, “An odd opinion was adopted by
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Dawud who contradicted the consensus by permitting the Junub (person in a state of post-sexual ritual impurity) to recite the Qur’an.
It is permissible for a menstruating woman to recite the Qur’an during her period because there is no authentic Hadith that prohibits the recitation of Qur’an while menstruating. Moreover, it is invalid to draw an analogy to the ruling of the Junub because the Hadath of the menstruating woman in most cases lasts for a long period and it is feared that she may forget the Qur’an. On the other hand, the Hadath of the Junub does not last for a long period and it can be removed whenever the person wishes by performing Ghusl.
With regard to touching the Mus-haf (copy of the Qur’an), according to the correct opinion maintained by scholars, it should not be touched except by those who are Tahir (ritually pure) from the minor Hadath (ritual impurity that necessitates ablution) and major Hadath (ritual impurity that necessitates full bath). Allah (Exalted be He) says: Which (that Book with Allâh) none can touch but the purified. It is stated in the book of `Amr ibn Hazm: None should touch the Qur’an except the Tahir. Ibn `Abdul-Bar (may Allah be merciful to him) said: “The book of `Amr ibn Hazm is accepted and applied by scholars. According to them, it is more known and sounder than the single continuous Isnad (chain of narrators).” Then, he added, “Fuqaha’ of the countries who are qualified to issue Fatwas and their companions unanimously hold the opinion that the Mus-haf must not be touched except by those who are Tahir.”
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Second, it is Mustahab to pronounce Isti`adhah (seeking refuge with Allah from Satan) before starting the recitation. Allah (Exalted be He) states: So when you want to recite the Qur’ân, seek refuge with Allâh from Shaitân (Satan), the outcast (the cursed one).
Its wording is “A`udhu-Billahi mina Al-Shaytan -ir-Rajim [I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan]”. Some of the Salaf used to say, “A`udhu-Billahi Al-Sami`i Al-`Alimi mina Al-Shaytan -ir-Rajim (I seek refuge with Allah, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing from the accursed Satan)”. Both of these wordings are correct.
Third, the reciter should say Basmalah (saying, “Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful]”) at the beginning of every Surah (Qur’anic chapter) except the Surah of Al-Tawbah. According to the correct opinion held by scholars, Basmalah is considered an Ayah which is stated to separate between the Surahs. The Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) placed it at the beginning of every Surah with the exception of the Surah of Al-Tawbah.
Fourth, a reciter of the Qur’an should recite it slowly in pleasant style, contemplate its meanings, and should not recite it quickly. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: And (it is) a Qur’ân which We have divided (into parts), in order that you might recite it to men at intervals. And We have revealed it by stages (in 23 years).
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) commented on the Ayah in which Allah (Exalted be He) says: Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur’ân, O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to make haste therewith.
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saying, When Allah’s Messenger received revelation from Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him), he used to move his tongue and lips, and this was very hard on him, and that movement indicated that revelation was taking place. Therefore, Allah revealed in the Surah of Al-Qiyamah I swear by the Day of Resurrection. Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur’ân, O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) the ability to recite it (the Qur’ân). This means that it is for Us to collect its memorization in your heart. And when We have recited it to you [O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم through Jibrîl (Gabriel)], then follow its (the Qur’an’s) recital. When We reveal it, you should (be silent and) listen to it. Then it is for Us (Allâh) to make it clear (to you). This means that it is for Us to clarify it through your tongue. When Jibril used to come to the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Prophet would remain silent. When Jibril departed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was able to recite the Qur’an as Allah had promised.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is also reported that a man said to Ibn Mas`ud, “Yesterday I recited all the Mufassal (the last 65-70 chapters of the Qur’an) Surahs.” On that Ibn Mas`ud wondered, “In a very quick mode like reading poetry? We have the (Prophet’s) recitation, and I remember very well the recitation of those Surahs which the Prophet used to recite, and they were eighteen Surahs from the Mufassal, and two Surahs from the Surahs that start with Ha Mim.”
It is reported in some narrations, “The man recited Mufassal Surahs in a Rak`ah (unit of Prayer).”
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In another narration by Abu Dawud, the pairs of Surahs are listed, as he said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to recite a pair of Surahs (close in length or meaning) in one Rak`ah: (he would recite) An-Najm (53) and Al-Rahman (55) in one Rak`ah; Al-Qamar (54) and Al-Haqqah (69) in one Rak`ah; Al-Tur (52) and Adh-Dhariyat (51) in one Rak`ah; Al-Waqi`ah (56) and Nun (68) in one Rak`ah; Al-Ma`arij (70) and Al-Nazi`at (79) in one Rak`ah; Al-Mutaffifin (83) and `Abasa (80) in one Rak`ah; Al-Muddathir (74) and Al-Muzzammil (73) in one Rak`ah; Al-Insan (76) and Al-Qiyamah (75) in one Rak`ah; Al-Naba’ (78) and Al-Mursalat (77) in one Rak`ah; and Al-Dukhkhan (44) and Al-Takwir (81) in one Rak`ah.”
The Sunnah (action following the example of the Prophet) regarding Qur’anic recitation is to prolong certain sounds. It is reported in the Sahih that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) recitation (manner). He answered, “He used to elongate certain sounds.” In another narration, Then he (Anas) recited, “Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)” prolonging his voice in “Bismillah”, “Al-Rahman”, and “Al-Rahim”.
Fifth, it is Mustahab for the reciter to recite the Qur’an in a pleasant voice. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that
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Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) stated: Allah never listened to anything as He listened to the Prophet (peace be upon him) reciting Qur’an in a pleasant sweet-sounding voice. (Related by Al-Bukhari) In another Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah in the Sahih, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: He is not from us who does not embellish his voice when reciting Qur’an. In Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Musa Al-Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: O Abu Musa, you have been given one of the musical wind-instruments of the family of Dawud (David, peace be upon him). He said this when he heard Abu Musa’s sweet voice in recitation.
Sixth, it is Mustahab for one to weep while reciting the Qur’an. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) praises those who do so: And they fall down on their faces weeping and it increases their humility. Describing the prophets (peace be upon them), Allah says: When the Verses of the Most Gracious (Allâh) were recited unto them, they fell down prostrating and weeping.
It is reported in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him), “Recite (the Qur’an) for me.” I (Ibn Mas`ud) said, “Shall I recite it to you although it was
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revealed to you?” He said, “I like to hear it (the Qur’an) from others.” So, I recited Surah of Al-Nisa’ till I reached How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as a witness against these people? He said, “Stop or cease.” I saw his eyes overflowing with tears. (Related by Al-Bukhari) Imam Ahmad and others narrated on the authority of Mutarrif ibn `Abdullah who narrated on the authority of his father who said, I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) praying and a sound came from his breast like the rumbling of a boiler due to weeping.
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In Sahih Al-Bukhari, `Aishah said to the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his (final) illness when he ordered Abu Bakr to lead people in Salah (Prayer) instead of him, “He is a soft-hearted man and will not be able to lead the Salah (in your place).” In another narration, “People will not be able to hear (recitation) because of (his) weeping.” `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to weep when he led worshippers in Salah to the extent that they could hear his weeping in the back rows. Abu Raja’ said, “I saw Ibn `Abbas with two lines under his eyes like worn out shoelaces caused by tears.”
Therefore, Al-Nawawy (may Allah be merciful to him) said about weeping during recitation, “It is a characteristic of truly devoted worshippers of Allah and a sign of the Righteous Servants of Allah.”
It should be known that weeping and the commendable type of weeping results from contemplation on the Book of Allah which is the heart being in a state of fear and solemnity. This indicates a worshipper’s perfect faith. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
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Allâh has sent down the Best Statement, a Book (this Qur’ân), its parts resembling each other (in goodness and truth) (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allâh.
A Muslim should beware of pretending to weep out of Riya’ (showing-off), seeking fame, or other personal gain. This act is one of the gravest dangers and one of the traps of Satan for the worshipper.
Seventh, it is Mustahab for the reciters of the Qur’an in a non-obligatory Salah to ask for the Bounty of Allah when they recite an Ayah of Mercy and to seek refuge with Allah when they recite an Ayah of torment. Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, I prayed with the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) one night and he started reciting Al-Baqarah. I thought that he would bow at the end of one hundred Ayahs, but he continued. I then thought that he would perhaps recite the entire (Surah) in a Rak`ah, but he proceeded and I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this Surah). He then started Al-Nisa’, and recited it; he then started (Surah) Al `Imran and recited leisurely. When he recited the Ayahs which referred to the Glory of Allah, he glorified (by saying ‘Subhana Allah’ [Glory be to Allah]), and when he recited the Ayahs which tell (how the Lord) is to be implored, he (the Prophet) would then beg (of Him), and when he recited the Ayahs describing the Lord’s protection, he sought (His) protection. (Related by Muslim)
Eighth, a Muslim should constantly review what they have memorized. If a Muslim forgets any part of the Qur’an, they should not say “I forgot”. Rather, they should be said that “I have been caused (by Allah) to forget.”
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The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: It is a bad thing that some of you say, “I have forgotten such-and-such Ayah of the Qur’an, for indeed, he has been caused (by Allah) to forget it.” (Related by Al-Bukhari)
it is forbidden to say “I forgot” because this expression indicates negligence and taking the matter of forgetting the Qur’an easy. However, a Muslim should be very keen on memorizing the Book of His Lord.
Ninth, it is permissible to recite the Qur’an in all conditions: walking, riding, or reclining. `Abdullah ibn Mughaffal (may Allah be pleased with him) said, I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) reciting (Qur’an) while he was riding his she-camel or camel. He was reciting the Surah of Al-Fat-h or part of the Surah of Al- Fat-h very softly and in an attractive vibrating tone. (Related by Al-Bukhari)
It is reported in Al-Bukhari and Muslim that `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would recline in my lap when I was menstruating and recite the Qur’an.
It is reported that `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to recite her daily portion of Qur’an while she was reclining in bed.
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Abu Musa Al-Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I recite the Qur’an in my Salah and in my bed.”
Tenth, it is Wajib (obligatory) upon Muslims not to differ and disagree during the recitation of the Qur’an. It is narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Recite (and study) the Qur’an as long as you agree on its interpretation, but when you have any difference of opinion (as regards its interpretation and meaning) then you should stop reciting it (temporarily). This should be observed lest it results in disagreement and disunity.
Eleventh, much attention should be given to Sujud-ul-Tilawah (Prostration of Recitation). The Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars) consider it Mustahab as there is an order to do so. They hold that it is Mustahab because one Friday `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) recited the Surah of Al-Nahl at the Minbar (pulpit) until he reached the Ayah that calls for Sujud, when he and the worshippers prostrated. However, the next Friday he recited the same Surah and when he reached Sujud, he said, “O people, we recite an Ayah of Sujud. Whoever prostrates acts rightly and whoever does not prostrate, there is no sin upon him.” `Umar did not prostrate. (Related by Al-Bukhari) This Sujud is prescribed for the reciter and the listener.
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Those who memorize the Qur’an should be in the most perfect condition and best manners. They should shun anything forbidden in the Qur’an out of veneration for the Book of Allah. They should be far away from seeking trivial gains, far above inferior matters, and deal with people modestly. Generally, one’s morals should conform to the Qur’an because this was the manner of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as indicated in the Hadith by `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her).
The words of `Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) are the best words that the memorizer of the Qur’an should apply. He said, “Those who memorize the Qur’an should be characterized with their wakefulness at night (performing Salah) while other people are asleep; with their Sawm (Fast) during the day while other people are not observing Sawm; with their sadness while other people are joyful; with their weeping while other people are laughing; with their silence while other people are indulging in idle talk; and with their state of Khushu` (the heart being submissively attuned to the act of worship) while others are self-centered.”
Those who memorize the Qur’an should be watchful of their heart, tongue, and organs. They should not believe anything to be true except with proof. They should utter only the truth and good words, perform only good deeds, and should not harm others.
Every Muslim should know that sometimes recitation of the Qur’an is
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Wajib. For example, reciting the Qur’an in Salah is Wajib according to Ijma` (consensus of scholars). However, scholars differed whether it is Wajib to recite Al-Fatihah (Opening Chapter of the Qur’an) or other Surahs of the Qur’an suffice. The correct opinion is the first one. Sometimes, recitation of the Qur’an is Mustahab when it is added to the obligatory portion to be recited in Salah. In addition, it is Mustahab to recite the Qur’an at any time. Sometimes, it is Makruh (reprehensible) to recite the Qur’an as when one recites it in a loud voice disturbing other reciters or worshippers, or annoying those who are sleeping.
Sometimes, it is prohibited to recite the Qur’an; for example, in case of Riya’ or seeking fame or in case of situations involving Bid`ah (innovation in Islam). Some scholars consider the needless prolonging of the voice with the Qur’an in a way that detracts from its meaning, and using musical registers, , as Haram (prohibited) out of veneration for and preservation of the Book of Allah.
One aspect of Bid`ah is the recitation of Qur’an during gatherings of commiseration after a person’s death, hiring reciters of the Qur’an and dedicating the reward of their recitation to the dead, and other similar practices that have become common among people due to their ignorance and lack of knowledge. There are only a few people who clarify the truth and the right way of Islam for people. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji`un (truly to Allah we belong and truly to Him we shall return).
It is noteworthy to mention that Muslims, be they subjects
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or rulers, must know that the Book of Allah was revealed so that its teachings would be applied, and to be held as a judge and arbitrator. It is the first source of legislation and it is our reference when issuing rulings and performing deeds.
These are a few words that Allah helped me to write. However, the Book of Allah is too great and sublime to be given its due by writing or performing acts of `Ibadah (worship). Rather, these words are mere advice from which I seek benefit for me and my Muslim brothers and sisters.
I supplicate to Allah the Almighty by His Favor and Bounty to grant us increased knowledge of our faith and the understanding of the meaning of the Qur’an and to make the Qur’an the life of our hearts, the light of our breasts, and the remover of our distress and grief. We supplicate to Allah to help us memorize the parts of the Qur’an that we have been caused (by Allah) to forget, teach us what we do not know, and grant us the blessing of reciting it throughout the day and night in a way that pleases Him. O Allah, make us among those who act according to the Muhkamat (decisive legislative, independent Qur’anic verses, closed to interpretation) and believe in the Mutashabihat (similar and dependent Qur’anic verses, open to more than one interpretation or whose meaning is known only to Allah). O Allah, make the Qur’an a proof for us, not against us and make it a witness for us and a guide to your Paradise of pleasures. O Allah, let the Qur’an be a means for the elevation of our ranks in Paradise and obliteration of our misdeeds and sins. O Allah, make the Qur’an intercede for us on the Day of Resurrection.
May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, Companions, and those who follow his steps until the Day of Resurrection.

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