Is There a Reward for Reading the Qur’an in Translation?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is there a reward for reading the Qur’an in translation?

Answer: Assalamu ‘alaykum,

I pray that you are well.

The Reward for Reciting the Qur’an in Arabic

Muslim scholarship does not consider the translation of the Qur’an to actually be the Qur’an; rather, it considers all translation attempts at conveying the meaning of the scripture.

There are many narrations that highlight the extraordinary reward of reciting the Qur’an, especially for those who do so with difficulty. All such narrations are interpreted as referring to reciting the Qur’an in Arabic. For example:

Whoever recites a letter of the Book of God will have one reward, rewards being multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif Lām Mīm is a letter; rather, Alif is a letter, Lām is a letter, and Mīm is a letter [Tirmidhi].

One who recites the Qur’an and is skilful in doing so will be with the obedient, noble, and recording angels. One who recites the Qur’an, stammering through it, because it is difficult for him, will have two rewards [Bukhari; Muslim].

The Reward for Reciting the Qur’an in Translation

This is to say that the textual evidence we have establishes set rewards for reciting the Qur’an, but does not do so for a person reading its translation in another language. This does not mean that there is no reward for the latter, only that there is no textual proof that demarcates one.
However, reading an explanation or translation of the Qur’an in an attempt to ponder over and benefit from its meanings is extremely praiseworthy, as understanding and benefiting from meaning is one of the primary goals of the revelation. The Qur’an itself encourages us to ponder on the meanings of the text: Will they not ponder over the Qur’an? Or are there locks on their hearts? [Qur’an; 47.24].

Such good action will therefore be rewarded in a manner left up to God’s all-encompassing grace. He promises that whoever brings forth a good deed will be rewarded ten-fold [Qur’an; 6.160]; and that God does not waste the reward of those who do good [Qur’an; 11.115].

Shuaib Ally