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Pronunciation Errors in Prayer

Ustadh Farid Dingle clarifies questions about pronunciation in prayer.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

For almost a year now I have had a problem regarding the validity of prayers due to errors in pronounciation. I will therefore describe the situation in extensive detail so as to exclude any misunderstanding and to ensure an accurate ruling.

My mother tongue is a dialect of Arabic, my problem is not at all specific to the Arabic language. I am fully capable of soundly pronouncing all the letters of the Arabic alphabet. Rather, my problem is related to speech in general and occurs in other languages as well.

In the flow of speech, even at a very slow pace, I cannot maintain tight control over my tongue and thus there occur mistakes. There are four aspects of this problem: 1. parts of the prayer which require correct pronunciation, 2. types of errors, 3. methods of correction and 4. options for dealing with this difficulty.

Please, bear with me even if this seems somewhat banal, this has had a grave effect on me and I am unable to function properly without finding a decisive and precise solution.

Dear questioner,

Our religion isn’t like this. You are going too overboard.

Just focus on the meanings of the words you say in the prayer, and don’t worry about the rest.

When these thoughts get too much just say: audhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim, and just do what other everyday religious Muslims do.

You can study this topic in more detail in formal classes on fiqh, but don’t worry about your prayer for now.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Do Pronunciation Errors Invalidate Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salaam alaikum.

I repeat my recitation during prayer to ensure I am pronouncing the surah correctly. This practice causes me to pray extremely long and exhausting prayers that give me little tranquility and happiness in my heart.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Unintentional pronunciation errors aren’t going to invalidate your prayer. Practice your tajwid outside of the prayer, and say things once, and once only, within the prayer itself.

Please also see: Do Grammatical and Pronunciation Mistakes While Reciting the Qur’an Invalidate Your Prayer? and: Should I Repeat My Qu’ran and Dua Recitations Due to Errors in Pronunciation?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam.

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Should I Repeat All My Prayers Because of Mistakes in the Fatiha?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question:As salaamu alaykum,

If someone has been reading a letter of the Fatiha incorrectly for some time but is not sure how long does he need to repeat all his past prayers?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, you do not need to make up any prayers.

Please also see: Do Grammatical and Pronunciation Mistakes While Reciting the Qur’an Invalidate Your Prayer?

And Allah knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Do Grammatical and Pronunciation Mistakes While Reciting the Qur’an Invalidate Your Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: What is the fiqh of basic quranic recitation? I remember reading an answer many years ago that in this day and age due to general ignorance, this is excused for the general masses. For example my basic recitation like others in the west is poor, i find it difficult to say certain letters or sounds from different part of the body (throat, tongue, chest etc). Common mistakes are saying “kul huwa Allahu ahad” instead of “qul huwa Allahu ahad” and other similar letters or sounds. What is the ruling for people in our times regarding basic recitation?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

The fatwa position in our times is that such mistakes in recitation do not nullify the prayer.

Ibn `Abidin states in his Radd al-Muhtar, the central reference for fatwa in our times:

“As for the later scholars… then they agreed that mistakes in declension (i`rab) never invalidates [the prayer] even if the belief [entailed by the change in meaning] is disbelief (kufr). This is because most people do not differentiate between the various declensional perspectives.”

A mistake in declension is to alter the final vowel of a word. Thus, if a word is supposed to end in a fatha but is pronounced as ending in a kasra, this would be a mistake in declension. As is clear from the words of Ibn `Abidin above, it would not invalidate the payer.

He continues by stating:

“If the mistake is in altering one letter for another, then if it is possible to differentiate the two [when reciting] without difficulty, such as the letter al-saad and al-taa’ when one recites al-talihat in place of al-salihat, then they agree that it invalidates the prayer. If it is not possible to differentiate, such as al-daad and al-zaa or al-saad and al-sin, then most of them state that it does not invalidate the prayer due to general hardship (`umum al-balwa).”

Based on this, common mistakes in pronunciation of certain letters is also overlooked. It does not invalidate the prayer even if there occurs a change in meaning. An example of such a mistake in pronunciation is the oft-occurring recitation of “walad ḍāllīn” as “walad zallin”.

To summarize, we can say that the following, when not done willfully, do not invalidate the prayer.:

a. Grammatical mistakes, such as those relating to the declension of words, and

b. Common mistakes in the pronunciation of certain letters and words.

Of course, we cannot stress enough the importance of learning correct pronunciation of the Qur’an. It is Allah’s book and among the rights due to it is to recite it as it was revealed, in a beautiful and sound manner.

Wassalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani