What are the manners, methods and sunnahs of reciting the Quran?

The Details of the Question

- What should we pay attention to while reciting the Quran?

 

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

One of the best moments of our daily life is to spend time by reading the Quran. Almost most of us allocate a certain time period to read the Quran. Before starting to read the Quran, we make some preparations in both our material world and the inner realm. We try to assume a state and good manners appropriate for the holiness of the Quran.

There are certain manners of reading/reciting the Quran determined by verses, hadiths and Islamic scholars. If we act according to those manners, we will benefit more from that ocean of light.  

Some of those manners are as follows:

1. Before starting to read the Quran, one should tidy oneself up. The person reading the Quran should remember that he is reading the lofty speech of the Owner of the Universe, that he is begging Him, that he is praying to him and that he is speaking to Him in a sense.

2. If a person wants to read the Quran by looking at it, he must have wudu because it is not permissible to touch the Quran without having wudu. However, a person who does not have wudu can read the Quran without touching it and by heart. One should clean his mouth and teeth with miswak if possible, or with a toothbrush. (see Abu Nuaym, Hilyatul-Awliya, 1/79)

3. If it is possible, one should read the Quran in holy places. The holiest and honorable places of the earth are mosques because mosques are centers of worshipping. A believer is regarded to in itikaf there – if he makes an intention. On the other hand, mosques are the most distinguished and tranquil places for worship.

4. It is mustahab to turn toward the qiblah while reading the Quran because the sitting with most rewards is sitting toward the qiblah. If a person bends his head down and is in a state of solemnity and awe, he is in the best state.   

5. It is necessary to say bismillah and audhu… before starting to read the Quran even if it is only one verse. The following is stated in verse 98 of the chapter of an- Nahl:  

“When thou dost read the Quran, seek Allah´s protection from Satan, the rejected one.”

Therefore, it is mustahab to say bismillah and audhu… before starting to read the Quran whether in prayer or outside prayer.  

6. The Quran should be read with a peaceful heart and in awe. The meaning and content of the verses should be thought of while reading. Therefore, one should try to understand the meaning of the Quran as much as he can in order to benefit from it more. Our Lord orders us to read the Quran like that:

“Do they not consider the Qur´an (with care)?” (an-Nisa, 4/82)

“(Here is) a Book which We have sent down unto thee, full of blessings, that they may mediate on its Signs, and that men of understanding may receive admonition.” (Sad, 38/29)

The scholars who made reading the Quran a pleasure read it by taking lessons from it. They also fulfilled a sunnah.

According to a narration from Abu Dharr, the Prophet (pbuh) repeated the following verse one night until the morning:

“If Thou dost punish them, they are Thy servant: If Thou dost forgive them, Thou art the Exalted in power, the Wise.” (al-Maida, 5/118)

Some Companions repeated the verses that affected them very much and thought about them for hours. Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır states the following regarding the issue:

“The people of the Quran do not recite the Quran like an entertainment. They read and recite it by paying attention to its words, meanings and decrees, seriously, carefully, respectfully and regularly; they ask the people who know the Quran well about what they do not understand; they read with a good intention, clean heart and clean mouth. They do not read and recite it casually and like an entertainment. They do not regard it as a song, ode, novel or story. They read and recite it respectfully.”

7. A person who reads the Quran should regard himself as a full addressee of the Quran. He should know that every order and prohibition interest him directly since he started to read by understanding and by thinking about what he understands.

The Companion Ikrima read the Quran with such a consciousness that he would say, “This is my Lord’s speech; this is my Lord’s speech” and would enjoy the pleasure of being an addressee of his Lord.

8. One should take lessons from what happened to the previous prophets and their nations. He should take lessons by regarding the extraordinary patience and perseverance the prophets showed in the face of all problems and hardships.  

9. It is necessary to read/recite the Quran with tartil.

Tartil means to read/recite the Quran clearly, pronouncing the words separately, paying attention to the articulation points of the letters, following the rules of tajwid and unhurriedly. The best way of reading/reciting is to read in such a way as to enable the listener count one’s letters. The verses regarding the issue are as follows:

“…Recite the Qur´an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” (al-Muzzammil, 73/4)

“(It is) a Qur´an which We have divided (into parts from time to time), in order that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals: We have revealed it by stages.” (al-Isra, 17/106)

“Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied:” (al-Baqara, 2/121)

The distinguished Companions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) paid attention to the issue.

Ibn Abbas states the following:

“It is better for me to read one chapter with tartil than reading the whole Quran.”

Somebody came to Abdullah bin Mas'ud and said he read the Quran very fast. Thereupon, Ibn Mas'ud said to him,

“Do you read it very fast like reading a poem? Verily, some people will read the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats. It will be beneficial when it is read with tartil and by thinking and when it enters the heart and settles there.”

10. One should weep while reading the Quran as much as he can. If he cannot weep, he should assume a state as if weeping. The Quran describes such believers as follows:

“They fall down on their faces in tears, and it increases their (earnest) humility.” (al-Isra, 17/109)

For, a believer who reads the Quran as if listening from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) himself, from Jibril and even from God Almighty by shivering will assume that nice state of weeping.  

Jafar bin Muhammed as-Sadiq, one of those fortunate people who attained that state and pleasure, states the following:

“I used to read the Quran but I did not get any pleasure. Then, I started to read it imagining that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was reading it to his Companions. Then, I attained a higher level. I read the Quran as if Jibril was reading it to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as revelation. Then, I assumed such a state that I read it as if I was hearing it from God Almighty. I attained its pleasure then. I could not do without it after that.”

Hz. Uthman, who was an exceptional person of the Quran, states the following: “If hearts were free from spiritual impurities, they could not get enough of reading the Quran.”

This reading is in the form of reaching the speaker from the speech, which is the highest degree and rank of reding the Quran.

Reading the Quran with a sorrowful voice, that is, with a low voice, makes man approach this state.

11. When one comes to a verse of mercy while reading the Quran, he should open his hands to Allah’s mercy and when he comes to a verse of penalty, he should take refuge in Allah. When he comes to the verses freeing Allah from incomplete attributes, he should exalt and bless God Almighty by saying “Subhanallah, Jalla Jalaluhu, etc.”. The Prophet (pbuh) did like that when he read the Quran.

12. If the place and time are appropriate, he should not read the Quran with a very low voice. On the other hand, it does not fit the decency of the Quran to read it by shouting. Hz. Aisha warned those who read the Quran like that and tried to prevent them.

13. A person who reads the Quran is busy with something very serious. Therefore, he should keep away from the deeds that harm solemnity, should not do unnecessary things, should not touch his arm, foot, mouth, nose etc. when it is not necessary and should not swing to the right and left.

14. It does not fit the decency of the Quran to laugh, to deal with unnecessary things and to look at things that distract one’s mind while reading the Quran. It is sunnah to listen to the Quran with khushu’ (awe) by abandoning unnecessary deeds.

15. A person who feels like yawning while reading the Quran should stop reading and resume after yawning ends. For, yawning originates from lethargy, which is of Satan. Tafsir scholar Imam Mujahid, who is a Tabiun scholar, states the following regarding the issue:

“If you start yawning while reading the Quran, stop reading until your yawning ends to show respect to the Quran.”

16. If it is possible, one should choose a calm period of time to read the Quran. It is not possible to take much pleasure from the Quran when one reads it when he is tired. Therefore, we are advised to read the Quran especially after the morning prayer. There is a special prayer of the Prophet (pbuh) about this time period:

“O Allah! Make early times of the day blessed for my ummah.” (Tirmidhi, Buyu: 6)

17. If one reads the Quran while sitting it will be more beneficial. Therefore, one should not read it while standing if it is not necessary.

18. One should try to keep away from noise while reading the Quran. He should not stop reading the Quran in order to speak if there is no need. If it is necessary to speak or give an answer, he should speak after completing the verse and the chapter.

Abdullah bin Umar did not speak to anyone and did not answer anyone before finishing reading the Quran. (al-Itqan Translation, 1:260)

19. It is mustahab for a person who sneezes while reading the Quran to say “Alhamdulillah”, or to say “Yarhamu­kallah” to a person who sneezes and says “Alhamdulillah”. For, Sneezing is of Rahman. Thus, he praises and thanks Allah.

20. If adhan is heard, the person reading the Quran should stop it, listen to adhan and repeat the words of the muezzin.

21. If something is wanted from a person reading the Quran, he can point to that thing if it is possible without stopping reading. If the person who wants something can be offended or if it is possible to be misunderstood, he can stop reading and give an answer.  

22. While a person is reading the Quran if somebody older than him or better than him in terms of knowledge or higher than him in terms of rank, or his mother or father comes, it is permissible for him to stand up to show respect to them. That is an Islamic manner; it will please them.

23. When it is necessary to stop or complete reading the Quran, one should say, “Sadaqallahul-azim (Almighty Allah told the truth)” in the sense of approving the sublime words of God Almighty. Then he should say, “Wa ballagha Rasuluhul-Karim (His honorable Messenger proclaimed it)” to witness that the proclamation of the Prophet (pbuh) is true; finally, one should pray and read the chapter of al-Fatiha.  

24. After finishing reading the Quran, one should not leave the Mushaf (the book of the Quran) open; he should not put anything on it and he should put it on a high place. When he holds it, he should not lower it below the level of his navel.

25. If it is possible, one should open the Quran and look at it at least once every day. For, it is regarded as worship to open the Quran and look at it even if one does not read it. This deed increases man’s closeness with the Quran.

The Prophet (pbuh) also encourages it. Once, he said to the Companions, “Give the eyes their share from worship.”

The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is the share of the eyes from worship?”

The Prophet (pbuh) answered, “To look at the Quran, to think about what is in it and to take lessons from its subtleties.”

He stated the following in another hadith: “The most virtuous worship of my ummah is to read the Quran by looking at it.” (Tafsirul-Qurtubi, 1:28)

26. When one comes to a verse of prostration (sajdah), he should prostrate as soon as reading it or when he finishes reading. Those prostrations are wajib. It is also wajib when a translation of the Quran is read if it is known that it is a verse of prostration.

27. When the last pages of the Quran are read, takbir should be uttered between the chapters from ad-Duha to an-Nas. When the whole Quran is finished, prayer for khatm should be said.   

28. We are advised to read a piece from the Quran every day and to repeat the memorized parts frequently to prevent them from being forgotten. Therefore, the Quran is and should be read all the time and in all suitable places. It should be read more especially on the day of arafah, on Friday, Monday and Thursday, the last ten days of Ramadan, the first day of Dhul-Hijjah and in the month of Ramadan.

29. It is necessary for the tongue, mind and heart to be in cooperation in order to read the Quran properly. Accordingly, the tongue should read, the mind should translate what is read and the heart should take the necessary lessons from them. (Ihya, I, 339)

References:

- Zarkashi, al-Burhan fi Ulumil-Quran, Lebanon: Daru Ihyail-Kutubil-Arabiyya, 1957, Vol. 1.
- Az-Zabidi, Ithafus-Saadetil-Mattaqin bisharhi Ihyai Ulumid-din, Biyrut: Darul-Kutubil-Ilmiyya, 1989, Vol. 5.
- İsmail Karaçam, Kur'an-ı Kerim'in Faziletleri ve Okuma Kaideleri, İstanbul: İfav Yayınları, 2002.
- Imam Nawawi, at-Tibyan fi Adabi Hamalatil-Quran, Beirut, 1996.
- Ghazali, Ihyau Ulumid-Din, Beirut: Darul-Ma'rifa, Vol. 1.
- İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-ü Sitte Tercümesi, Akçağ Yayınları.

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