Recitation of Al-Qur’an (Tilawatul Qur’an)

Recitation of Al-Qur'an

Recitation of Al-Qur’an (Tilawatul Qur’an)

It is highly recommended to recite or read Al-Qur’an, the final
word of Allah (SWT), at all times, at least completing it twice
in a year. The reports from the companions show how some of
them completed Al-Qur’an in five days, some in four while
others in three days. Imam An-Nawawi (raa) said:

“The speed must depend on the condition and situation of
the person and what he or she does for a living.”

The recitation of Al-Qur’an should not be the reason to become
slacked in your other responsibilities. The speed of your recita-
tion must be regulated by the ability to understand, because Al-
Qur’an encourages the reciter to ponder about what he or she
reads. Allah states:

“Here is a Book which We have sent down unto
thee, full of blessings, that they may meditate on
its signs, and that men of understanding may re-
ceive admonition!’

(Al-Qur’an, 38:29)

This verse indicates that Al-Qur’an was revealed for the maxi-
mum encyclopedic benefit, mercy, and guidance to the human
race. That is why He (SWT) described it as blessed, (mubarak).
These blessings can be realized to the fullest only if the reader
meditates and thinks through its divine words, containing lay-
ers of insights and wisdom and life-long experiences of the
human race – of how to live a better life both spiritually and
materially – which can never be found in any other book.

In a hadith by Aishah (raa), reported by Al-Bayhaqi, she said:

“The house in which Al-Qur’an is recited is seen by the
heavenly world as the stars are seen by the earthly

This hadith indicates some of the meritorious aspects of this
most authenticated book of Allah. The home in which its resi-
dents recite this book is illuminated as brightly as a star on the
face of the earth, and is visible in outer space.

As a preparation for reading, it is recommended to have
cleanliness, (taharah), by making wudu before settling down to
recite Al-Qur’an. for the recitation of Al-Qur’an is worship,
‘ebadah, namely the best form of remembrance of Allah
(dhikir). The Messenger of Allah (saas) disliked making dhikir
without cleanliness. Allah (SWT) states in Al-Qur’an:

“And that is indeed a mighty adjuration, if you

but knew. That this is indeed a Qur’an most
honorable, in a book well-guarded, which none
shall touch but those who are clean.”

(Al-Qur’an 56:76-79)

It is not a sin, however, to read without wudu if you are un-
clean from minor impurities that entail wudu before prayer. If
you feel like using the restroom for urination, passing wind,
etc., stop and go relieve yourself completely, and make Wudu
then return to resume your reading. If you are defiled from ma-
jor impurities, that is, the ones which entail complete bath,
(ghusl), it is prohibited to read Al-Qur’an during the state of
defilement, the agents of which include discharge of semen,
sexual intercourse, bleeding as a result of childbirth, and men-
struation. However, it is allowed for these people to look in Al-
Qur’an while not holding it, and they may read it with their
eyes and their hearts, but not recite it. [Note: one shouldn’t en-
courage reading Qur’an in a state of defilement, but rather en-
courage Ghusl first.]

The place you choose to sit to recite Al-Qur’an should be clean
from any filth or bad odor. This is why it is prohibited to read it
the restroom. While reading the Qur’an, it is recommended to
face the direction ofAl-Qiblah.

The reciters are commanded to say, I seek refuge, “Ta’awudh”,
that is, putting a distance between themselves and Satan (Shay-
tan) by seeking refuge in Allah (SWT) from the rejected en-
emy, the reason being Satan dislikes to see a servant in com-
munication with Allah. If you do not seek refuge, he may come
to distract, confuse, and induce you to doubt. Allah (SWT)

“When you do read Al-Qur’an, seek Allah’s pro-
tection from Satan, the rejected.”

(Al Qur’an 16:98)

In the event that you are interrupted during reading, it is advis-
able to repeat ta’awwudh before you resume. As for the phrase
of ta’awwudh, the following is reported:

“A^uwudhu billah (As-Sa mee’u, Al-‘Aleem) iminash
Shaitan ir Rajeem. ”

“I seek refuge with Allah (The All Hearing, The All-
Knowing) from Satan, the rejected.”

The majority of scholars recommend that it be said aloud, es-
pecially if there is an audience.

In Islam we are commanded to start every act, spiritual or non-
spiritual, big or small, with Basmalah, that is: “Bismil llahir-
Rahmanir Raheem ” (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious,
Most Merciful.) The reason is to seek Allah’s blessings for the
action you are about to embark on. Undoubtedly, no deed is
more deserving or worthy of Basmalah than the ‘ebadah of
reading Al-Qur’an. With the revelation of Bismillahir-
Rahmanir Raheem, Allah has educated His Messenger (saas) to

make it an unceasing habit of saying Bismillah before reading
and before every act.

Basmalah is one of the unique aspects of Al-Qur’an as every
chapter (surah), except Surah Nine (Tawbah) commences with
this most profound statement. It is prearranged as an incom-
plete statement to be completed, or filled in, if you will, by the
servant. For instance, if you want to read, it becomes: I read in
the Name of Allah… if you want to eat, it becomes: I eat in the
Name of Allah… That is what we mean by an incomplete
statement to be completed by the doer.

If you can read Al-Qur’an in the Arabic language, it is pre-
ferred to recite with the basic rules of tajweed, including rules
of chanting (al-ghunnah), prolongations (al-madd), assimila-
tion (al-idghaam), etc. In a report by Bukhari, Anas bin Malik
(raa) was asked to describe the way of the Messenger of Allah
(saas) in reciting Al-Qur’an. Anas said the Messenger of Allah
(saas) used to recite with tarteel, chanting, prolonging his long
vowels. Anas (raa) gave a demonstration by reciting ‘Bismillah’
to show how the Messenger (saas) recited it, prolonging the
sublime word, Allah, Ar-Rahman, and Ar-Raheem.'”

It is, however, undesirable to read with excessive speed. Read-
ing a part of Al-Qur’an, (juzh), slowly, so as to think through
what you read, is preferred to reading double the ordinary
speed without pondering. The former way is more respectful,
and is in accord with the aims of the Lawgiver, than hastily
reading through the Book absent-mindedly.

It is recommended to beautify your recital with a pleasant
voice. In a hadith by Ibn Hibban (raa), the Messenger of Allah
(saas) has been reported as saying:

“Beautify the recitation of your Qur’an with your

But you should not exaggerate to the point that the phonics,
morphology, or syntax are distorted or altered. Reciting Al-
Qur’an with mistakes, (lahn) is not synonymous with chanting
or a pleasing voice. Also, one’s recitation should not sound like

I mentioned earlier that it is sunnah to seek to comprehend
what you read. The following are some of the ways one should
go about tadabur, or pondering through what he reads. The
simplest thing is to think out the meaning of the words so as to
get a better insight to their meaning and massage.

If the verse contains commands and prohibitions you should
immediately decide to accept or restrain from them. But if it is
something you have failed in the past to do, you should seek
forgiveness and intend to do it in the future. In the event that
the verse contains mercy, you should feel happy and request it,
or if it contains wrath, you should seek refuge in Allah. If the
verse glorifies Allah, you should glorify Him.

In the book of Muslim, Huzaifah bin Yaman is reported as say-

“I prayed behind the Messenger of Allah (saas) one
night. He opened his recitation after Al-Fatihah with
chapter Al-Baqarah, the Cow. Coming to the end of it,
he followed it with the chapter An-Nisa, the Women.
Coming to its end, he followed it with Chapter Al-
‘Emran, the Family of Emran). He read them consecu-
tively and when he came to a verse that contained glori-
fication of Allah, he glorified, or a question, he asked, or
seeking refuge he sought refuge.”

It is sunnah to say takbeer from Chapter Ad-Duha, 93 to the
end An-Nas, Chapter 114. The sunnah is to pause at the end of
Chapter 93 then say Takbeer. If you are completing Al-Qur’an,
you do likewise at the end of each surah, chapter, until An-Nas.
The sunnah was started after the first revelation was received

and after the period of Fatrah, during which revelation was cut
off form the Prophet (saas), and the Makkans were saying Al-
lah had forsaken Muhammad. When Ad-Duha was revealed,
the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is
the Greatest).

As to what one should say: You may say “Allahu Akbar” (Al-
lah is the Greatest), or La Illaha illallah, wallahu Akbar,
(There is no deity but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest).

The sunnah recommends prostrating at the end of every sajdah
(prostration verse). There are 15 such verses in Al-Qur’an.
They are in chapters: Al-A^araaf, (7:206); Ar Ra’ad, (13:15);
An-Nahl, (16:49); Al-Isra, (17:107); Maryam, (19:58); Al-Hajj,
(22:18 and 22:77); Al-Furqan, (25:60); An-Naml, (27:77); As
Sajdah, (32:15); Saad, (38:24); Fussilat, (41:37); An-Najm,
(53:62); Al-Insiqaq, (84:21); and Al-‘Alaq, (96:19).

Now there is the question about what is the best time to read or
recite Al-Qur’an. The best time by far is reciting during Salaat,
then night-time reading, especially the latter part of it. The best
time of day is after Subh (Morning Prayer). The best or pre-
ferred days are the days of Arafah, Fridays, Mondays, and
Thursdays. The best ten days are the last ten of Ramadan and
first ten days of the month, Zul-Hijjah. Of the months, Rama-
dan is the best.

The preferred day to start Al-Qur’an is Friday, and the best day
to complete it is Thursday. The best hour to complete it is the
first part of the day or night. For, according to Sa’ad bin Abi
Waqqaas (raa), if the completion is in the first part of the night,
the angels will pray for you until morning, and if it is early in
the morning they will pray for you until evening. Fasting is
recommended on the day of completion.

It is recommended to start again after each completion of Al-
Qur’an. In a hadith reported by Tirmidhi (raa), the Messenger
of Allah (saas) has been reported as saying:

“The best deeds in the sight of Allah are the deeds of the
one who completes Qur’an and resumes again, the one
who reads Al-Qur’an from the beginning to the end, and
whenever he finishes he resumes again.”

It is undesirable to stop reading to converse or talk to someone,
laugh or play or look at something that takes away your atten-
tion, unless there is a valid reason, as has been reported by Al-
Bukhari, by the way of Ibn ‘Umar (raa).

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