What is the amount of qiraah that is fard in prayer? Is it permissible to stop anywhere while reading a long chapter from the Quran in prayer?

The Details of the Question

How can one estimate to read the number of long verses? How do you suggest dividing long chapters in prayer?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Qiraah in prayer:

It is fard as a rukn of prayer to read some verses of the Quran in a way that a person will hear himself by making letters distinct. Reading with a sound that a person himself cannot hear is not qiraah. However, a person who follows the imam is excepted from qiraah; he does not read the Quran.

Qiraah is fard in all rak’ahs of witr prayer and nafilah prayers, in both rak’ahs of two-rak’ah fard prayers. However, in four-rak’ah fard prayers and the three-rak’ah fard prayers, in only (any) two rak’ahs. Nevertheless, qiraah is regarded wajib in the first two rak’ahs. Therefore, it is makruh to abandon qiraah in the first two rak’ahs deliberately. If it is abandoned by mistake, sajdah as-sahw becomes necessary. According to the view that is regarded as sound, it is wajib to read al-Fatiha in the other rak’ahs of fard prayers. Abandoning al-Fatiha by mistake necessitates sajdah as-sahw.

The amount of qiraah that is fard in prayer:

According to Abu Hanifa, this fard amount to read is at least one verse even if it is short in every rak'ah in which qiraah is fard. When this amount is read, this fard is fulfilled. However, according to Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad and another narration from Abu Hanifa, this amount is three short verses or a long verse that is equal to three short verses. This last view is the most appropriate one in terms of caution. According to the sound view, it is not accepted as sufficient to read verses that consist of only one letter or one word like "Nun" and "Mudhammatan". For, this amount is not regarded as qira'ah.

A person who can read only one verse from the Quran reads that verse only once, not three times, according to Abu Hanifa. According to Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, he needs to repeat it three times. However, according to both imams, it is not permissible for a person who can read three verses to read one verse three times.

According to the sound view, it is enough to read some part of a long verse like "Ayatul-Kursiyy" in one rak'ah and the other part in the other rak'ah because it is equal to three short verses.

A long or short chapter, three verses or one verse that is as long as three verses read after the chapter of al-Fatiha are called zammi surah (additional chapter). The three verses must have at least ten words or thirty letters (R. Muhtar) The chapter of an-Nas has six verses. When it is necessary, the first three verses can be read in the first rak’ah and the other three verses in the second rak’ah. A person who wants to read from long chapters can start anywhere in the chapter and stop anywhere he wishes.

It is sunnah to read totally forty verses and at most fifty verses in the two rak’ahs of the morning prayer. It is sunnah to read less than the morning prayer in the noon prayer. What is sunnah in the afternoon and night prayers is to read twenty verses. What is sunnah in the evening prayer is to read a short chapter in each rak’ah. Short chapters are the chapters after the chapter of al-Bayyina.

It is makruh for the imam to read more than the amounts mentioned above when he leads a prayer. It is makruh even if the congregation wants the imam to read longer. However, if the congregation wants the imam to read shorter than the sunnah amount, it is permissible for him to read shorter; it is not permissible to read longer.  For instance, if travelers or people who have difficulty in keeping wudu for a long time tell the imam, “Lead the prayer with the shortest chapter”, and the imam leads the prayer by reading the chapters of al-Kawthar and al-Ikhlas, it is permissible; it is not makruh. (Fatawa al-Hindiyya)

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