Reciting Takbir, Qur’aan and the ‘Athkaar silently (In Salaah)
By Sh. Mashhur Hasan Aal-Salmaan
One of the most common mistakes when performing Salaat is reciting Takbir, Qur’aan and ‘Athkaar by heart [silently] as if Salaat consists of only mere acts with no verbal actions!! Abu Bakr Al-Asamm and Sufyaan Ibn ‘Uyaynah(1) held this view and considered that Salaat is valid even without articulating Takbir!!
They both built their opinion on Allaah’s (swt) verse that says: ‘And perform Salaat’. They considered the order in the ‘Aayah as a general one which the prophet (saw) explained through his hadith: ‘Perform your Salaat as you have seen me performing it’(2) and that which can be seen and perceived is only the acts not words.
Consequently, Salaat is a proper noun that refers to the acts done in it. According to this point of view, the one who is physically unable to do Salaat does not have to perform Salaat at all, and the dumb who is physically well must do it. This view is, however, an odd one which contradicts the rulings of the pure Shari’ah tests; Allāh (swt) said:
‘So recite as much of the Qur’aan as may be easy for you’.(3)
The order in this ‘Aayah is a general one which must be followed in accordance with the specification indicated in the following hadith; the prophet (saw) said: ‘Unless Faatihah is recited in one’s Salaat, it is considered null and void’.(4)
As for the prophet’s (saw) hadith: ‘Peform Salaat as you have seen me performing it’, the act of seeing here refers to all of the prophet’s (saw) actions not the physical ones only. When the purport of all the previous texts are joined together, it is easily concluded that Qur’aan must be recited in all our Salaat – as all ‘Ulamah and the Sahaabah before them held’.(5)
Were reciting Qurn’aan in Salaat secretly valid, the prophet (saw) wouldn’t have told the Sahaabi – who did his Salaat improperly- to recite whatever he wishes of the Qur’aan, for reciting necessitates the movement of the tongue literally and in shar’; Allaah (swt) said:
‘Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur’aan, O Muhammad (saw) to make haste there with’.(6)
On the basis of this view, Some ‘Ulamh – who believe in the prohibition of reciting Qur’aan when one is in his/ her post sexual intercourse state, allowed such persons to recite it only by heart.
An-Nawawi said: ‘The one in post sexual intercourse state, the woman in her menstrual period and in her post partum state are permitted to read the Qur’aan only by heart without articulating it, so is the case with reading from the Mus-haf’.(7)
Muhammad Ibn Rushd Said: ‘As for reading Qur’aan by heart without articulating it by the tongue, it is not considered a real reading, for reading is the articulation of the tongue for which one is rewarded. Allaah (swt) said:
‘A person gets reward for that (good) he / she has earned, and is punished for what (evil) he / she has earned’.(8) The prophet (saw) said: ‘Indeed Allaah (swt) over looks one’s evil intentions’.(9) Allaah (swt) does not punish a person for the evil one thinks to do till one does it, so is the case with that which is good; a Muslim is not rewarded for it unless he does it. Rewards for good deeds are indeed granted if one does them physically or verbally such as reciting the Qur’aan.(10)
An-Nawawi said: ‘As for the Ma’mum and the Munfarid, they should recite Takbir in a low voice that they could hear themselves – provided they have good hearing faculty and do not suffer from any hearing problems. This ruling encompasses also the act of reciting Qur’aan, Takbir, Tasbih in Ruku‘ , reciting Tashahhud, Taslim and Du‘aa’ whether in obligatory or optional Salaat. One will not be rewarded for his/her Salaat till one recites all its ‘Athkaar in a low voice that one could hear. As for those having hearing problems, they could raise their voices till they could hear themselves otherwise they will not be rewarded for their Salaat. This opinion is held by Ash-Shaafi’i and his followers. His followers recommended that a muslim may raise his voice till one and the one beside hear it, no more than that, as Ash-Shaafi’i stated in Al ‘Umm’.(11)
Ash-Shaafi’i followers stated that the one who temporarily became deaf should move his/ her tongue when reciting the ‘Athkaar in Salaat according to one’s capacity.(12)
The Jumhur (majority of scholars) held the opinion that a muslim doing Salaat should recite its ‘Athkaar in a voice he/she could hear. Maalik’s followers, however, stated that it suffices a muslim to move his / her tongue with them. But the recommendation is to raise his/her voice -in order to bring closer different opinions.(13)
(1) Related by Al-Kasani in “Bada’i‘ As-Sana’i‘ ” (vo. 1 / p. 110).
(2) Narrated by Al-Bukhaari in “As-Sahih” (vol. 1 / no. 155), (vol. 7 / no. 77) and (vol. 8/ p. 132), Muslim in his “Sahih” (vol. 1 / no. 465, 466) and Abu Daawud in “As- Sunnan” (no. 589) .
(3) Sūrat Al-Muzzammil (verse no. 20).
(4) Narrated by Al-Bukhārī in his “Sahīh” (vol. 2 / no. 236, 237), Muslim in his “Sahīh”
(vol. 1 / p. 295) (no. 394), Abdur Razzāq in his “Musannaf” (vol. 2 / p. 93), Ibn Abī Shaibah in “Al-Musannaf” (vol. 1 / p. 143), Abū Dāwūd in “As-Sunnan” (no. 822), At-Tirmithī in “Al-Jāmi‘ (vol. 2 / p. 25), An-Nasā’ī in “Al-Mujtabā” (vol. 2 / p. 137), and “Fadā’il Al-Qur’ān (no. 34), Ibn Mājah in “As-Sunnan” (no. 837) and Ad- Dārimī in “As-Sunnan” (vol. 1 / p. 283).
Al-Hanafiyyah held the opinion that the prophet’s () hadīth, regarding the necessity of reciting Al-Fātihah in Salāt, does not specify the generality of Allāh’s order in Sūrah Al-Muzzammil; consequently the muslim doing Salāt has the choice to recite whatever is easy for him from the Qur’ān-i.e. not necessarily Al-Fātihah. The well- versed ‘Ulamah refuted this view saying that the apparent meaning of Allāh’s () order is that one has the choice to recite what ever is easy for him from the Qur’ān; however, the intended meaning is to recite the Fātihah as is affirmed in ‘Ubādah’s narration. The general order in the Qur’ān is, then, specitfied by the prophet’s () hadīth.
An-Nawawī said: ‘ The words in the verse” whatever is easy” refer to Fātihah for it is easy for every muslim to recite’. Refer to “Sahrh An-Nawawī ‘Alā Sahīh Muslim” (vol. 4 / p. 103), “Fathul Bārī” (vol. 2 / pp. 242 – 3), “Ma‘ālim As-Sunnan” (vol. 1 / p. 207), and “As-Saylul Jarrār” (vol. 1 / p. 213).
After all this, how could those who abandon reciting the Fātihah in Salāt seek Allāh’s pleasure by doing such a sin just only to contradict other people’s Mathhab.
(5) “Badā’i‘ As-Sanā’i‘ “(vol. 1 / p. 110).
(6) Sūratul Qiyāmah (verse no. 16).
(7) See: “Al-’Athkār” (p. 10).
(8) Sūratul Baqarh (verse no. 286).
(9) Authentic hadīth, see: “Irwā’ Al-Galīl” (vol. 7 / p. 139) (no.2062).
(10) See: “Al-Bayān wat Tahsīl” (vol. 1 / p. 491).
(11) Refer to: “Al-Majmū‘” (vol. 3 / p. 295).
(12) See: “Fatāwā Ar – Ramlī” (vol. 1 / p. 140) and “Hashiyat Al-Qalūbī” (vol. 1 / p.
(13) Refer to: “Ad – Dīnul Khālis” (vol. 2 / p. 143).
[Taken from Shaykh Mashhur Hasan Aal-Salmaan's Book "The Clarified Ruling Of Mistakes Done In Salaah" Pp. 87-90]