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Question(61):

What is the most distinguished ruling of Qur’anic Recital?

Answer:

 The reciter of the Qur’aan should be in a state of purity from al-Hadath al-Asqhar 84 and al-Hadath al-Akbar, 85 and it is not allowed for him to recite the Qur’aan while in the state of major impurity (al-Hadath al-Akbar). The one who is junub, 86 for example, must not read the Qur’aan until he takes a bath. This is because the Sunnah came with the prohibition from recitation in the state of janaabah (after having sexual discharge). As regard the menstruating woman, then there is a difference of opinion amongst the people of knowledge regarding whether it is permissible for her to recite the Qur’aan.

They differed into two sayings. Some of them said that it is permissible that she recites the Qur’aan because there is no clear and authentic proof from the Sunnah that prevents her from reading the Qur’aan, and that the old state, or condition, of things is that of exemption from responsibility and obligations as well as non-prohibition. Others from the people of knowledge are of the opinion that it is impermissible for her to recite the Qur’aan while she is menstruating. Since she is considered from those who are legally obligated to perform ghusl (bath), like the one who is junub. And also because there are narrations reported from the Prophet () that infer prohibition. And my opinion regarding this matter is that she should not read the Qur’aan if she intends mere recitation.

However, if she intends to read the Qur’aan to meet a certain need, for example if she fears that she may forget it, or that she recites it for her children or her students if she is a teacher, or if she is a student who wants to read it before her teacher–then there is no harm in this because there is need for that. Similarly, there is no harm for her to recite the aayaat (verses) that are of the wird, 87 like aayatul Kursee (verse 255 of soorat al-Baqarah), since this is considered a need. Accordingly, the opinion I hold to is closer to the right one based upon the need of the menstruating woman. If she needs the recitation, then she may read the Qur’aan, otherwise she should not.

Likewise, it is desirable for the one who recites the Qur’aan that he contemplates in his heart the magnificent meanings denoted by the Words of the Noble Qur’aan, whether these verses comprise reports and stories or Legislations. This is since Allaah ( ) has Sent down the Qur’aan for this .  underlying reason:

[This is] a Book [the Qur’aan] which We have Sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses and that men of understanding may remember. [Qur’aan, soorat Saad (38): 29].

The person finds a great difference between the state when he recites the Qur’aan with an inattentive heart and that when he recites it with an attentive heart, contemplating what he says. He finds a great difference between the two states, and that He benefits more if he recites the Qur’aan with contemplation and pondering, for indeed this strengthens in his heart the state of Eemaan (faith) and attestation as well as the submissiveness and yielding obediently to the Laws contained in the Book of Allaah ( ).

And as far as the way the recitation should be, then it should be a quiet recitation without the rushing that might drop out some of the letters or conceal the words. Rather, he should recite the Qur’aan quietly and with ease, free from restraints (tarassul). There is no harm to speed up sometimes, but with the condition that he must not drop out the letters or some of it, nor that he uses idghaam 88 where idghaam is impermissible to apply or the like.

We would also like to address in the remaining part of our talk about the Fundamental Principle of the Deen, the ruling regarding the recitation to the soul of the deceased, meaning that the person recites the Qur’aan intending that its reward be to one of the deceased from the Muslims. The scholars of Islaam disagreed with regard to this issue. Some of them think that this is unperscribed and that the deceased does not benefit from the recitation under such condition. Others think that he benefits therefrom, and that it is permissible for a person to recite the Qur’aan with the intention that its reward be for such and such person from the Muslims whether he is his relative or not. And this is the preponderating opinion. Since in terms of the type of ‘Ibaadaat (acts of worship), there are reports indicating the permissibility of disposing them to the deceased, just like in the hadeeth of Sa’ad ibn ‘Ubaadah () where it is reported that he gave his garden as a charity on his mother’s behalf. 89 And as in the story of the man who said to the Prophet ():

“My mother died suddenly and I thought that if she had lived she would have given alms. So, if I give alms now on her behalf, will she get the reward?” The Prophet () replied in the affirmative.” 90 

And these are individualized cases implying that the disposing of some types of worship to someone from the Muslims is allowed, and it is as such. However, what is better than this is that he supplicates to Allaah for the deceased and keeps the righteous deeds to himself, since the Prophet () said:

“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased),” 91

and he didn’t say: “or a pious son, who recites for him, performs salaat for him, fasts for him, or gives charity on his behalf.” Rather he said: “Or a pious son, who prays (invokes Allaah) for him,” though the context is deeds-related. So this proves that the best thing is that the person supplicates to Allaah for the deceased, not that he allocates a share for him from the righteous deeds. And a person is in need for the good deeds as he would find its reward saved for him with Allaah ( ).

As to what is done by some people from recitation for the deceased after his death and for a charge-for example a reciter attends to read the Qur’aan for a pay in return, and such that its reward is intended for the deceased-then this is a bid’ah and its reward does not confer upon the deceased. The reason for this is that this reciter sought only the worldly reward by his recitation. And whosoever comes up with a worship seeking only the worldly life, then he shall have no share of reward therefrom in the Hereafter, as Allaah, The Most Blessed and Most High, Says:

Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages) of their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire, and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do. [Qur’aan, soorat Hood (11): 15-16].

And on this occasion, I convey an advice to my brothers who are accustomed to do this kind of work, that they save their money to themselves or to the inheritors of the deceased, and that they should know that this act, in itself, is an innovation. And that the deceased does not receive the reward of the recitation, since the reciter who has no intention by his recitation, except to take fees, has no reward with Allah ( ). And then he would have taken the money whilst the deceased would not have benefited therefrom.


84 al-Hadath al-Asghar: State of ritual impurity arising from passing wind or urine or answering the call of nature.

85 al-Hadath al-Akbar: Major state of impurity arising from sexual discharge.

86 Junub: A person in a state after having sexual intercourse with his wife or after having a sexual discharge in a wet dream. 

87 Wird: A set portion of the Qur’aan or invocations or the like from the remembrance of Allaah which a person recites on a daily basis

88 Idghaam: To contract one letter into another.

89 Reported by Maalik in al-Muwatta’ [English Translation, Daar al-Fikr], vol.2, no.1489.

90 Reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. See Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, vol.2, no.470. 

91 Reported by Muslim in his Saheeh, vol.3, no.4005.