Does Khatm (a complete reading) of the Quran and the prayer after it exist? Did Hz. Muhammad and his companions do it?

O mankind! there hath come to you an admonition from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy. (Surah/Chapter Yunus, verse 57)

Virtue of Reading the Quran

The most virtuous worship of my community (ummah) is reading the Quran. (Suyuti, Al-Jami' al-Saghir, I, 51)

Brighten up your homes by salah (prayers) and reading the Quran. (Suyuti, Al-Jami' al-Saghir, II, 188)

It is one good deed for someone to read a letter from Allahs book. And one good deed is replied with ten times of reward. Probably Alif is one letter; Lam is one letter and Mim is one letter. (Tirmidhi, Fadail al-Quran/The Virtue of the Qur'an, 16)

Read the Quran, on the Doomsday, the Quran comes as an intercessor for the ones who read it. (Muslim, Musafirun, 252)

Khatm (Complete Reading) of the Quran

Khatm is a concept related to the science (ilm) of hadith. Khatm means to cover, to seal or to complete something and rech the end. To read the Quran by looking at the pages of the Quran or reciting it by heart without looking at the book is called khatm. Besides, complete reading of the hadith books is also called khatm.

Convention of Khatm

Though a complete reading ends with the surah of an-Nas (The People), reading the surah of al-Fatiha (The Opening) and the first five verses of surah of al-Baqara (The Cow) following the surah of Nas is considered as a beginning for a new khatm.
After the khatm, a prayer is read.
It is a custom in some ıslamic communities to read the Quran partially or completely after the washing and putting the shroud on the dead person or on the day or night after the burial of the dead person.

Prayer after Khatm

Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) says, Whoever reads the Quran completely has an accepted prayer (Suyuti, Al-Jami' al-Saghir, II, 175). He is also known to have prayed after a khatm and some of his prayers have been reported. He informs that the prayer of a person who reads the Quran completely by looking or by heart is accepted in Allahs presence; and in another hadith, he says that Allah will bestow him a tree in the heaven (Suyuti, Al-Jami' al-Saghir, I, 96).

According to a hadith of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) reported by Anas Ibn Malik, the prophet used to pray gathering his family after a khatim of the Quran (Ali ibn Abd-al-Malik al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, I, 392). According to a hadith transmitted by Ibn Masud the prophet used to gather his family and pray, and his family used to say ameen after his prayers (Sahawi, Jamal al Kurra, etc. 34).

Ibn al Jazari says it is a nice deed for someone to pray after reading the Quran completely (Ibn al Jazari, Taqribun -Nashr, 194) pointing out the hadith which was reported by Jabir Ibn Abdullah: Whoever reads the Quran completely has an accepted prayer. If Allah wishes He gives his reward to him right in this world or He leaves it to the afterworld.

Some companions of Hazrat Muhammad like Abdullah Ibn Masud, Abdullah Ibn Abbas and Anas Ibn Malik are reported to have joined prayers after khatms and to have prayed after khatms with their families (Darimi, Fazail al Quran, 33). Mujahid, to indicate the importance given to prayer after khatm by the companions of the prophet, says Companions used to be present while the Quran is being read hoping that divine mercy will descend (Suyuti, Itqan, I, 311).

It is sunnah (the way of prophet Muhammad) to read the surah of al-Fatiha and the first five verses of surah of al-Baqara following the surah of an-Nas before the prayer. It is reported by Ubay Ibn Kab (Suyûtî, ltqan, I, 313). It is said that Hazrat Muhammad used to do this in order not to leave the Quran in an abandoned state (Qurtubi, Tafsir, I, 30).

Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and Khatm

Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) used to present the Quran to Gabriel on the nights of Ramadan (Bukhari, Badul Vahy).

Gabriel and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) used to present the Quran to each other every year, and in the last year it happened twice (Muslim, Fadail al Sahaba, 99).

Because Hazrat Muhammad and Gabriel used to read the Quran completely to each other in Ramadan, it is considered to be a good deed to read the Quran frequently in that month.

Since then Muslims have made it a common practice to read the Quran completely and to listen to it in mosques and homes in Ramadan. Especially in mosques, imams read the Quran and attendees listen to or follow it in Ramadan as a nice memory of Hazrat Muhammad and Gabriels reading and listening.

Anas Ibn Malik reported: Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said: The best of the deeds is to start reading the Quran and to complete it (Qurtubi, Tazkar, 127).

Companions of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and Khatm

Abdullah Ibn Amr narrates:
The Prophet said to me:
- Read the Quran completely in one month. I said,
- I find power in myself for more.
- Then read it in ten days, said the Prophet.
- I find power in myself for more, I replied.
Upon that, he said:
- Read it in seven days, dont read in a lesser time. (Muslim, Sawm, 35)

Tarawih (An extra salah performed at Ramadan nights) and Khatim

To read the Quran completely at least once in the Tarawih is sunnah, to complete it more than once is a virtue (Sarahsi, Mabsud, 2/146; Kasani, Badai' as-Sana'i Fi Tartib al-Sharai', 2/276)

In Ramadan, one night, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) saw some people performing salah near the mosque and asked about it, somebody nearby replied Because they could not memorize the complete Quran, Ubay Ibn Kab is helping them perform the tarawih salah as an imam. Hazrat Muhammad said They are doing right, what a nice thing they are doing (Abu Dawud, Ramadan, 1). Companions of Hazrat Muhammad used to give importance to performing tarawih with khatm.

Hazrat Omar called three people who could read the Quran by heart, listened to their reading, and according to their pace of reading he wanted each of them to read 30, 25 and 20 verses of the Quran in each rakat (one unit of salah) and make people perform the tarawih salah with khatm (Abdurrazzak, Musannaf, 4/261).

In the latter times after the sahaba, performing tarawih with khatm continued to be given importance.

Omer Ibn Abd al Aziz wanted imams who could read the Quran by heart to read ten verses in each rakat to perform a khatm in tarawih (Said Ibn Sahnun, al Mudawwanat al kubra, 1/194; Ibrahim Halabi, Multak al Abhur, (Commentary: Wahbi Sulayman al Gawji) 1/120).

Al Imam Al Azam is said to have done a complete reading of the Quran 61 times in Ramadan; once during the day and once in tarawih (Tahtavi, Hashiya ala marak el falah sharh al nur al izah, p.337).

Muhammad Ibn Ismael al Bukhari used to perform the tarawih with the people around him as twenty verses in each rakat on the first day of Ramadan. Then they used to do a complete reading in every three nights. He used to do a complete reading during the day and say there is an accepted prayer after every complete reading of the Quran (Bayhaqi, Shuab ul iman, 2/416).

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