Is It Obligatory to Recite the Quran in Sequential Order?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Over the last few years, I have started many Quran recitations in different Qurans, but I keep forgetting exactly where I am up to for each khatam because sometimes I read a Sura in the Quran and keep a bookmark. I’m now confused about where I am for each khatam and how many recitations I may have started. Am I sinful?

Is it best to start from the beginning and, from now on, make a note of when I am starting a new khatam? Is there anything I can do to ask for forgiveness apart from seeking forgiveness?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.

You have not committed any sin in your Quran recitation. While reciting the Quran in sequential order is recommended, it is not obligatory. [Nawawi, Al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al-Quran]

You may consider your current place of recitation as your starting point, and if you can, try to keep track of your place in the future, but there remains no sin if you lose your place again, and Allah knows best.

What is the Ruling on Sequential Recitation? 

Imam Nawawi states:

“The scholars said it is better to recite following the order of the mushaf [the text of the Quran]. [For example], one recites Al-Fatiha (1), then Al-Baqara (2), then Ali ‘Imran (3), then what follows, according to the order whether or not one recites during Prayer.

Some of our Shafi‘i companions even said that if he recited Al-Nas (114) in the first raka’, he should read Al-Baqara (2) in the second after Al-Fatiha (1).

Some of our Shafi’i companions have said it is recommended that when one recites a chapter, he should read what follows it immediately. Support for this is that the mushaf’s order was arranged this way purely out of divine wisdom. So one should preserve [the order], with the exceptions mentioned in the Shari‘a….” [Al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat Al-Quran]

Permissibility to Recite in Any Order

It is permissible to forgo the order by reading a chapter that does not immediately follow or by reading a chapter and then any before it. Many accounts have been related concerning this. ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (God be pleased with him) recited Surat Al-Kahf (18) in the first raka’ of the Morning Prayer and Surat Yusuf (12) in the second. [ibid.]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.