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What Is the Wisdom Behind Reciting Aloud in Some Prayers?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What is the wisdom behind reciting aloud in some prayers?

Answer: Assalam alaykum,

I pray that you are well.

The ruling on reciting aloud or silently, for the regular obligatory prayers, is tied to the time of day when it is performed. Those performed at night (Maghrib, Isha, Fajr) are recited aloud; those performed during the day (Dhuhr, ‘Asr) are recited silently.

If these prayers were to be performed out of their time, say, Maghrib is delayed until the daytime hours of the following day, or Dhuhr until the night hours—they would be performed silently and aloud, respectively. That is because they then follow the ruling of the time in which they are performed.

A similar ruling applies to the two units of prayer following the performance of the tawaf (circumambulating the Kaʿba); when it is performed during the night, its recitation is aloud. When during the day, it is performed silently.

This indicates that the ruling has to do with the time performed, and not the prayers themselves.

Beyond this, because there is no textual evidence, it is not certain to us why night prayers are to be performed aloud, and daytime prayers are generally silent.

Scholars have attempted to glean some wisdom from this state of affairs. Some say that during the night prayers, people were thought to be better positioned to benefit from, perform and listen to recitation aloud, because of the lack of noise in their immediate surroundings because people tended to not be working at that time, reserving their work for the daytime hours. A person reciting aloud during these times might struggle to hear himself, not to mention those praying with him.

Others have mentioned a related idea, and that is that because the daytime is the period in which most people are occupied with their work and errands, it is more appropriate for them to be recite by themselves, such that they can focus on their prayer and not think about what they have to accomplish in the day. If they had to listen to the recitation of someone else, it might be easier for their minds to wander. In the night, such a concern would not exist as the time for work has ended, so he is psychologically prepared to listen and think about the recitation of the imam.

Shabramallisi, in his gloss on Ramli’s commentary on Nawawi’s Minhaj, has a slightly different take on this. He says that nights are when people are alone or with others privately, and when good conversation is had. In this time, one recites aloud, delighting in the open conversation with their Lord. In the daytime, this is not possible, as everyone is mingling about and engaged in work; a person thus does the opposite, seeking solace in private conversation with their Lord.

The aforementioned does not take into account the daytime congregations for Friday prayer and the two Eid prayers; in such cases, the social nature of the grand congregations calls for prayers to be recited aloud.

God knows best.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Shuaib Ally

Shaykh Shuaib Ally is a scholar who has recently returned to Toronto after completing his studies overseas. He started his studies by completing his MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto in 2008. He went on to study in a number of Islamic disciplines privately with scholars in Saudi Arabia, including Tafsir, Qur’anic Sciences, Shafi’i law, Usul, Hadith, Hadith Methodology, Grammar and Balagha. Shaykh Shuaib currently resides in Toronto.

What Are the Rulings Related to Loud Recitation, and Being Joined by Someone If I Pray Alone?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam ‘alaykum,

1) If someone is praying alone with the intention of being his own imam, should he recite aloud for Fajr, Magrib and isha?

2) Can a man join someone in congregation who has started on his own with the intention of being his own imam?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

(1) Yes, reciting aloud during the Fajr prayer, and the first two cycles (rak`ats) of the Maghrib and `Isha prayers, would be superior, yet it is not a requirement, because the basis is that the men’s prayer is prayed in congregation and reciting aloud here bears a stronger resemblance to the congregational prayer.

(2) Yes, because the basis for the men’s prayer, as before, is that it is prayed in congregation, and here, he is the imam of himself. Thus the man does not need a specific intention to lead other men. However, the same is not true for leading congregations that include women. In this situation, the imam does have to make a separate intention.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss (1.346)]

Please also see: Reciting Aloud in Quiet Prayers

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

قال في الطحطاوي على مراقي الفلاح: ((قوله : والمنفرد بفرض مخير فيما يجهر فإن شاء جهر لأنه إمام نفسه لكن لا يبالغ في الجهر مثل الإمام لأنه لا يسمع غيره وجهره هكذا أفضل ليكون الأداء على هيئة الجماعة)) اهـ.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Should I Perform the Prostrations of Forgetfulness for Forgetting a Surah in Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum,

Should I perform the prostrations of forgetfulness for starting a surah in prayer, forgetting it and reciting another surah instead?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, you do not need to perform prostrations of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw) for forgetting the chapter (surah) you were reciting because those prostrations are only required in the case of forgetfully omitting a necessary (wajib) act.

However, if you forget the specific chapter in future, and you have recited three verses or more, you can simply go into the bowing (ruku`) and continue your prayer. You aren’t obligated to complete an entire chapter in the cycle (rak`at).

Consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And Allah alone knows best.

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Photo: Sunil Krishnan

Is It Disliked in Prayer to Recite Two Surahs That Are Not Consecutive and to Perform a Second Cycle Longer Than the First?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

I have read that it is disliked in prayer to recite Surahs that are not consecutive. I have also read that it is disliked to recite a longer Surah in the second cycle.

Can you please clarify?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

The dislikedness (karaha) is in:

(a) reciting a chapter (surah) in the first cycle (rak`at), and then skipping the subsequent short chapter to recite the one that follows it in the next cycle because it resembles keeping away from part of the Qur’an, and

(b) reciting a chapter in the second cycle that is three verses or more longer than the chapter recited during the first cycle because the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was in lengthening the first cycle over the second.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

See also: Can I Skip a Surah and Recite the One After It During Two Cycles of Prayer?

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Is the Minimum Number of Verses Which Need to Be Recited in a Voluntary Prayer? What Should I Do When I Have Recited Surah Al Nas in the First Cycle of Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

1. What is the minimum number of verses which need to be recited in a voluntary prayer?

2. If by mistake Surah al-Nas is recited in the first cycle of a 2 cycles prayer then which Surah should I recite in the second cycle?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

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

(1) The minimum number of verses which need to be recited in the voluntary prayers is three, just like the obligatory prayer, or one long verse which is the extent of three short verses.

(2) You should recite Surah al-Nas again in the second cycle (rak`at).

And Allah knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Can I Skip a Surah and Recite the One After It During Two Cycles of Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamu Alaikum,

Can a person recite one surah in the first rakah and then in the second rakah he skips the next in sequence and jump to the third? For instance, if a person recites Surah Maun in the first rakah, can he skip Al Kauthar and recite Kafirun in the second rakah? Will he be sinful if he does this?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Yes, it is disliked to recite a chapter (surah) in one cycle (rak`at), and then to deliberately skip a chapter and recite the one after it in the following cycle. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

The reason for this is that the jurists deemed this to resemble (a) abandoning or leaving out a part of the Qur’an, and (b) deeming a part of the Qur’an to be superior to another.

Please also see: Combining Different Parts of Different Chapters of the Qur’an in a Single Cycle: Permissible or Not?

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Fixing Surahs for the Obligatory Prayer

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Am I suppose to choose two surahs to recite before takbir, or can you just recite whichever surah you want after the takbir?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
It is disliked (makruh) to fix specific surahs to recite during the obligatory (fard) prayer. For instance, always reciting Surah al-Dahr and Surah al-Sajdah during the Fajr prayer on Fridays as it indicates preferring part of the Qur’an at the exclusion of the rest.
However, this dislikeness is only if:
[1] You consider them to be necessary or,
[2] You are the imam and reciting them regularly may lead some people to regard their recitation as being necessary (wajib).
Otherwise, there is no harm in doing so.
[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
And Allah alone gives success.
Wassalam
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Combining Different Parts of Different Chapters of the Qur’an in a Single Cycle: Permissible or Not?

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Is it permissible to combine parts of surahs when praying a rakat, such as reciting the first few verses of Baqara combined with ayat al kursi in one rakat.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith.

To recite parts of different suras in the same rak’a is disliked, so one should avoid it.

The following are also disliked with respect to recitation of Qur’an in the obligatory prayer [after having recited Sura Fatiha]:

  • To repeat the same sura within the same rak’a, or to repeat the same sura in the following rak’a
  • To recite a particular sura in one rak’a and then the sura before it in the next rak’a [such as Sura al-Nas in the first rak’a, then Sura al-Falaq in the second rak’a]
  • To recite a particular sura in one rak’a and then skip a sura and recite the sura after it in the next rak’a [such as Sura al-Ikhlas in the first rak’a and then Sura al-Nas in the second rak’a]
  • To skip a verse or more within a particular sura in the same rak’a

All of the above is disliked in the obligatory prayer, yet according to some not in the voluntary prayer. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi l-Falah]

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam
Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Faraz A. Khan has lived in Amman, Jordan, for several years studying and teaching traditional Islamic sciences, with a focus on Hanafi jurisprudence, hadith studies, theology, logic, and Arabic grammar. He translated and annotated the classical Hanafi primer “Ascent to Felicity” (Maraqi ‘l-Sa`adat) by Imam Shurunbulali, recently published by White Thread Press.