Is it permissible to recite the Qoran in a melodious voice or as if singing (with taghanni)?
In the dictionary taghanni means to sing in a melodious voice. There is a form of taghanni which is permissible and another form which is not permissible when reciting Qoran.
The form which is not permissible is reciting by violating the sources of sounds and the rules of tajweed (proper recitation). Beautifying one's voice by observing source and tajweed rules is regarded permissible in hadiths, it is even recommended to recite the Qoran by beautifying one's voice. Sa'd (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said the following in this regard:
"No doubt this Qoran was revealed in moving way. Weep when you recite it. If you cannot weep, try to weep. Try to beautify your voice when reciting it. He who does not try to recite it with taghanni is not from us."(1)
In the hadith the word taghanni is used. As a matter of fact taghanni is reciting with a melodious voice. Ulama (knowers, scientists in religion) made different explanations about the meaning of the word taghanni mentioned in the hadith. Some of them said what was meant by taghanni was tarteel (reciting with no haste). Thus taghanni is reciting the Qoran slowly, with no haste. Others said what was meant by taghanni was reciting the Qoran slowly, with no haste, by observing the tajweed rules and by beautifying one's voice. They explained the phrase "is not from us" as "is not one of the followers of our perfect way". Yet others stated that taghanni meant being contented. They understood it as not using the recital of Qoran to obtain worldly benefits.
What all ulama agree unanimously is that it is something regarded as pleasant to recite the Qoran with a beautiful voice. If a person's voice is not beautiful, he should try to beautify his voice while reciting the Qoran in a natural way. According to Imam Malik and some ulama it is necessary to recite the Qoran with awe, thinking about its meaning and in a way to move one's heart and to make one weep. Our Prophet called attention to the significance of reciting the Qoran with awe and in a way to affect hearts by saying the following: "If you have the conviction that a person is afraid of Allah when you hear a him reciting the Qoran, he is no doubt one of the best reciters of the Qoran." (2)
According to Imam Abu Hanifa and some ulama it is permissible to recite the Qoran with a melodious voice. They think that reciting it with a melodious voice makes the hearts more tender and gives them more awe.
Imam Nawawi said the following in this regard: "Ulama agreed unanimously that it is something pleasant to beautify one's voice while reciting unless the boundaries of reciting are exceeded by lengthening. However, if these boundaries are exceeded or even one letter is added or decreased, then this reciting becomes haram (forbidden)." Our Prophet (PBUH) ordered the adornment of the Qoran with a beautiful voice stating the following: "Adorn your recital of the Qoran by beautifying your voice." In another hadith our Prophet (PBUH) stated that Allah was satisfied with a person who recited the Qoran with a beautiful voice. (3)
As a result we can say that it is mandoob (recommended) to recite the Qoran with a beautiful voice and in a beautiful way. There is no drawback to recite it with a melodious voice unless the rules of tajweed are exceeded. However, it is not permissible to lengthen the reciting with a melodious voice without observing the sources of the sounds and to skip or add letters by exceeding the boundaries of tajweed. This is a unanimous decision. People reciting like this should beware the curse of the Qoran and observe the reciting rules.
1. Ibn Majah, Ikama: 176.
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