What Should We Do If the Imam Recites the Surah Aloud in Asr Prayer?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalamualaikum

If the imam unintentionally recites the surah aloud during asr prayer, what should we do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Generally, the Hanafi jurists stipulated that the prostrations of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw) are due when necessary (wajib) actions are forgetfully omitted. Amongst these is the necessity of reciting quietly during the quiet prayers, namely, Zuhr and `Asr.

Consequently, if the imam recites an amount which would normally validate the prayer, usually a verse, aloud during a quiet prayer, then he would need to perform the prostrations of forgetfulness. The same applies if the opposite occurs.

Imam Bukhari recorded in his Chapter on Silent Recitation in Zuhr and `Asr on the authority of Abu Ma`mar, “We said to Khabbab, ‘Did the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) use to recite in Zuhr and `Asr?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ We said, ‘How did you know that?’ He said, ‘By the movement of his beard.’”

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.498)]

Please also see: Reciting Aloud in Quiet Prayers and: Loud and Quiet Recitation in Prayer and Qur’anic Recitation and: What Are the Rulings Related to Loud Recitation, and Being Joined By Someone If I Pray Alone?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.


[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.

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.

[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.

Reciting Aloud in Quiet Prayers

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: For the past two-three years I have experienced huge difficulties during my salahs; I can’t recite quietly anymore. I always have this feeling that I’m not reciting correct and I feel that I have developed anxiety! Is it makruh for me to recite loudly in every single prayer? If it’s makruh for me to recite out loud, is it then kufr, if: – If I say ‘alhamduliLlah’ to a prayer recited out loudly?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

No, it would not be considered disbelief (kufr) to say an utterance of gratefulness in praise of the One who gifted you the prayer.

Secondly, according to the Hanafi school, it is necessary (wajib) to recite quietly for the ‘quiet prayers’, Dhuhr and Asr, and the third and fourth cycles (rak`ats) of Maghrib and `Isha. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; `Ala al-Din `Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

Defining Quietness

Reciting quietly means that one’s lips move, even if without sound. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani relates from his teachers that this is the fatwa position in our times.

The second opinion with regards to reciting quietly is that one would be able to hear oneself under normal circumstances. This is as opposed to reciting aloud wherein one would recite such that others in the same room could clearly hear one. [ibid.]

Therefore, if you are reciting ‘aloud’ such that others probably couldn’t hear you or make out what you are saying, this would not be considered ‘aloud’ and leaving the necessary (wajib) act.

Ignoring Misgivings and Directing one’s Focus

Ignore any misgivings that you may have about your prayers. Pray focusing on the Divine, out of love and yearning, and express gratitude for the blessing. Don’t worry about ‘not reciting correctly’ and other such thoughts. Do your best and trust in Allah. ‘In the bounty of God, and His mercy — in that let them rejoice’ [10:58]

It is related from `A’isha that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Someone who recites the Qur’an and knows it by heart is with the noble pure scribes, and someone who recites it, taking care with it when it is hard for them will have two rewards.” [Bukhari]

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani