Reading the Qur’an Without Tafsir

Question: Can one read the Qur’an without using a tafsir? Is it necessary to use a tafsir? Do you have a recommended tafsir to use as a layman?


Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. It is utterly key that Muslims read the Qur’an and understand its meaning. Otherwise, how can it be the guidance that can be applied in word, deed, and state? You should start off with reading a translation and then move on to a tafsir from there.


You can try reading one of the translations by the following translators. I recommend the first, as it was the first one I ever read:

  • Abdullah Yusuf Ali- this includes some commentary
  • Marmaduke Pickthall
  • Saheeh International
  • Muhammad Asad
  • Maulana Muhammad Ali
  • Arthur Arberry


Once you have read a full translation/interpretation, I recommend the Seekersguidance tafsir podcasts:

You should also consider the full tafsir of Mawlana Mawdudi which you can access from the following link, or get a hard copy of multiple volumes:

Reading without tafsir

There is much baraka in reading the Qur’an without the tafsir as well, and I recommend that Muslims, old and young, read some of the Qur’an every day, even if they don’t have time to read the meaning. However, one must never be satisfied with only reading Arabic; it must be accompanied by some effort of understanding it. Either start with the above tips or sign up to learn Arabic.

May Allah allow us to grasp the meanings of the Qur’an at all its levels, and allow us to attain illumination by it and the success of the ummah.

Shazia Ahmad


Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.