One of the beautiful names of the Qur’an is Al Furqaan, meaning “the criterion” or “the distinguisher” (of right from wrong). Yet, many of us fail to understand the right mannerisms needed with the Qur’an. Many show their affection for the Qur’an by showering it with unsolicited kisses, but they don’t adopt true love by following its given message. Many Muslims today are misguided when it comes to handling or using the Qur’an and are not finding the right decorum for it. Just like Al Furqaan, we should distinguish the Sunnah from age-old fabricated traditions.
It is astounding to know how many myths there are related to handling the Qur’an that people follow in their daily lives. Some of the myths are as follows:
- Must read the Qur’an in a perfectly straight position without stretching the legs, as it is disrespectful to sit reclining while holding the Mus’haf
Myth Debunked: There is no prescribed position for reciting the Qur’an, as our Prophet ﷺ used to recite the Qur’an while lying down on Aisha’s lap during her menses. [Bukhari 7549 and Muslim 301]. The renowned Scholar Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim that this indicates that it is permissible to read the Qur’an when reclining or lying down.
- Hijab is mandatory while reciting the Mus’haf
Myth debunked: Scholars have ruled that there is no such ruling necessitating the hijab while reading the Mus’haf. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said that reciting the Qur’an does not require covering the head. He said in his comments on the Sujood at-Tilaawah (prostration required when reading certain verses of the Qur’an),
“Sujood at-Tilaawah is to be done when reading the Qur’an. It may be done in any state, even with the head uncovered, because this prostration is not subject to the same rulings as prayer.”[Fataawa al-Jaami’ ahli’l-mar’ah al-Muslimah, 1/249]
- Kissing the Qur’an and placing it between the eyes
Myth debunked: This is another baseless tradition that people practice to show their love for the Qur’an. According to the Fatwa Standing Committee,
“We know of no evidence that prescribes kissing the Qur’an, which was revealed to be recited, respected, understood and acted upon.”[Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah, no. 4172, Swaying While Reciting the Mus’haf].
Also, this extra affection is not needed when one accidentally drops the Mus’haf, because that act does not guarantee forgiveness. However, if one does drop the Mus’haf unintentionally, then there is no sin upon that person.
- Swaying when reciting the Mus’haf
Myth debunked: The recitation of the Qur’an peacefully and calmly is desirable, and swaying contradicts it. Moreover, this action is the practice of the Jews; hence, Muslims should not do it. [Bida al-Qurra by Bakr Abu Zayd, p. 57]
If it happens unintentionally, it is not sinful upon them. However, one must try and avoid it.
- Hanging Qur’anic verses on the wall
Myth debunked: This is a very common practice in many Muslim homes. They hang the verses as a decoration and ‘a reminder’, but this is a vain method that was not practised by the earlier generation of the sahabah and scholars.
- Reciting the Qur’an in a singing manner
Myth debunked: To beautify the Qur’anic recitation, some people adorn their voices with tunes of songs in their recitation. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Reciting the Qur’an in a melodious way whereby it resembles the melody of a song is disliked and is an innovation, a ruling clearly mentioned by Malik, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad bin Hanbal and other Imams as well.”
The Right Etiquettes
Despite the myths, it is a duty upon every Muslim to learn the proper decorum towards the Mus’haf and avoid all the myths, even if they have been practising them for years. The Qur’an was sent to the Prophet ﷺ as a blessing and miracle for all mankind.
“Every Prophet was given miracles because of which people believed, but what I have been given is Divine Inspiration which Allah has revealed to me…”[Bukhari 4981]
Hence, it must be treated in the way taught by the Prophet ﷺ. These are some of the correct etiquettes:
- When touching and reading from the Mus’haf, one should be in a state of purity, such as wudhu (ablution), or tayammum (dry ablution) in case of necessity. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent a letter to ‘Amr Ibn Hazm, governor of Yemen, which contained various legal rulings, including,
“And none can touch the Qur’an except the purified.”[Related in al-Muwatta]
- It is recommended to sit in a clean place and face the Qibla. It has been related in a Hadith,
“The best way to sit is facing the qibla.”[Abu Ya’la, al-Tabarani in al-Awsat]
- One must start the recitation with the Basmala and Isti’aadhah (seeking refuge in Allah from Satan). Allah ﷻ commands,
“So when you want to recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the outcast.”[Qur’an 16:98]
- The recitation should be slow and clear, without any hastiness.
“…and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation.”[Qur’an 73:4]
- Supplicate on reciting verses of mercy and seek protection on reciting verses of punishment.
- One can beautify their voice during recitation, but not as if for a song. The Prophet ﷺ said,
“Make your voices beautiful when you recite Qur’an.”[Sunan an-Nasa’i]
- Listen to the Qur’an when it’s recited, without causing a disturbance.
“And when the Qur’an is recited, listen to it and pay heed, that you may obtain mercy.”[Qur’an 7:204]
- Be sincere when learning or reciting from the Mus’haf. At the same time, one should always try to ponder and reflect on the verses, as these verses are a reminder for mankind.
Every Muslim should respect and honour the Qur’an because of its status in Islam. But that does not mean that one can go to extremes in terms of honouring it. By doing so, we mislead ourselves and others from the right path, at the same time, making our deen difficult for our own selves. The Prophet ﷺ said,
“Make things easy and do not make them difficult; make people calm and do not scare them.’’[Bukhari and Muslim]
The best and the only way to respect and love the Qur’an is to follow it just like our Prophet ﷺ did. He ﷺ was known as the “Walking Qur’an”, and we must also follow his steps to reach our goal, i.e., Jannah.
Written by: Musmirah
Edited by: The Editorial Team
© The Islamic Reflections Blog
- Etiquette with the Qur’an by Imam al-Nawawi
- Etiquettes of Reciting The Qur’an – Chapter Taken From “The Book of Manners” by Sheikh Fuad Ash-Shulhoob
- How to approach and understand the Qur’an by Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo