Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: From what little I know, Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha are recited aloud, whereas Zuhr and Asr are recited silently. (Assuming I was praying on my own,) I’ve heard from a Shafi’i Scholar that reading loudly means with a voice that someone close to you can hear, whereas reading silently refers to reading in a voice that you can hear yourself. I was also told that for any salat, it is not enough to simply move your tongue and lips, but you must also recite loud enough for yourself to hear. I was wondering does this apply in the Hanafi School too? Also, what’s the minimum level your voice should be when reading Qur’an or other dua?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
If praying alone, one has a choice whether to recite aloud or silently in loud prayers, though the former is better for men.
Reciting silently and aloud are the same in the Hanafi school as the definitions you mentioned above, though there is another valid, though less sound opinion that simply moving one’s tongue and lips is enough. This opinion is strong enough to use to avoid making up past performances. It is better, though, to stick to the stronger opinion for current performances.
The minimum recitation for Qur’an, invocations, etc, is the same as the minimum quiet recitation in prayer: You need to be normally able to hear yourself.