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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

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

The Ruling on Reciting Surahs in Order

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: The only surahs of the Qur’an I have learnt by heart so far are al Fatiha, al Iklaas and an Nas. I recite these 3 surahs when I pray. I have heard that when praying, you should recite the surahs in the order they appear in the Qur’an – i.e. al-Iklaas comes before an-Nas so you should recite Iklaas in the first rakat and Nas in the second. However, I’ve also heard that it’s better to make the first rakat longer than the second. My question is: would it be better for me to recite Iklaas in rakat 1 and Nas in rakat 2, or the other way around?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

It would be necessary (wajib) for you to recite al-Ikhlas in the first cycle (rak`at) and al-Nas in the second.

According to the Hanafi school, it is necessary (wajib) to maintain the Qur’anic order between surahs during one’s obligatory prayers. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

As for one’s voluntary prayers, it would be permitted to recite the surahs in reverse order.

Secondly, it would be considered somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) to make the second cycle (rak`at) longer than the first by more than two verses. Hence, your reciting of al-Ikhlas and then al-Nas would not be considered disliked. [Tahtawi, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

What are the Rulings for Reciting Suras in Order During Prayer and Adding a Sura After the Fatiha in the 3rd and 4th Rakats?

Answered by Sidi Tabraze Azam

Question: As’Salamu Alaykum,

Is it disliked to read surahs in any order when performing salah or does it have to be in order? Did our Prophet pray in this manner? Does this vary in different madhabs and if so why? Which is the correct way or are they all correct? When praying 4 rakats salat in the 3rd and 4th rakat does one read another surah after reciting al-Fatiha? If someone does recite another surah after al-Fatiha is this wrong to do this? again does this differ amongst the madhabs?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits insha’Allah.

I apologize for the delay in answering your question.

[1] According to the Hanafi school, in obligatory prayers, it is disliked to recite a chapter (sura) in the first cycle (rak`at) and then a chapter (sura) in the second cycle (rak`at) which comes before the first one in the Qur’anic order; for example, reciting Surat al-Nas and then Surat al-Falaq.

[2] In the third and fourth cycles (rak`ats) of an obligatory prayer one only recites the Fatiha, does glorifications (tasbihs) or remains silent for the extent of three glorifications (tasbihs). It would be slightly disliked (makruh tanzihan) to recite after the Fatiha in the final two cycles (rak`ats) of obligatory prayers.

[3] As for the recitation in voluntary (nafl) prayers, it is necessary (wajib) to add a chapter (sura) to the Fatiha in every cycle (rak`at) of the prayer.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah/ Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar/ Ibn Nujaym, al-Bahr al-Raiq]

Rulings do differ within the different schools of thought (madhabs), however, all four schools are completely sound and rightly guided. Differences of opinion are a mercy.

For further readings on the different schools (madhabs), please see the following:

[1] http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/madhhab.htm

[2] http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/newmadhh.htm

[3] http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/mhfatwa.htm

[4] http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/misc/ikhtilaf.htm

[5] https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/a-reader-on-following-schools-of-thought-madhabs/

[6] https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/how-are-madhabs-any-different-from-sects-in-christianity/

And Allah knows best.

wassalaam,

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.

Reciting Surahs of the Qur’an in Order During Prayer

Answered by  Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question :  What is the ruling on reciting the Surahs against the order of the Qur’an in prayer?

Answer :  According to the Hanafi School, reciting the Surahs in the order that they are in the Qur’an is necessary (wajib) inside the Fardh and Wajib prayers such as the five daily obligatory prayers, the Jumu’ah prayer, the Witr prayer and the Eid prayer. As such, reciting the Surahs in a reversed order deliberately is considered to be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) in these prayers, although it is not disliked in voluntary (nafl) prayers.

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his al-Durr al-Mukhtar whilst discussing the disliked acts of prayer:

“…And that one recites the Surahs in a reversed order unless when one completes the Qur’an, in which case one will recite from Surah al-Baqarah. It is stated in al-Qunya (m: name of a book) that if one recited Surah al-Kafirun in the first Rak’at and Surah Alam tra (al-Fil) in the second Rak’at… thereafter one remembered, then one should complete the Surah one is reciting (i.e. Surah al-Fil). And it is said that one should stop what one is reciting and start again. And none of this is disliked in the voluntary (nafl) prayer.”

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explains the above by stating:

“(al-Haskafi’s statement: “And that one recites the Surahs in a reversed order”) such as reciting in the second Rak’at a Surah that is antecedent to the one recited in the first Rak’at. This is so because reciting the Surahs in order is from the necessary acts (wajibat) of recitation.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/546-547)

It is stated in Maraqi al-Falah:

“It is disliked (m: prohibitively) to recite a Surah antecedent to the one already recited. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever recites the Qur’an in a reversed order will himself be treated that way…” (Maraqi al-Falah, P: 352)

It should be remembered; however, that the condition for reciting the Surahs in a reversed order being prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) is that it be done deliberately and intentionally. If one recites the Surahs in a reversed order out of forgetfulness or mistake, it is not considered prohibitively disliked.

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“Reciting the Surahs in a reversed order (tankees)… is only disliked when it is done deliberately. If, however, it is done out of forgetfulness, then it is not disliked, as mentioned in Sharh al-Munya.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 1/547)

As for repeating the prayer or performing the prostration of forgetfulness (sujud al-sahw), indeed the general principle (qa’idah) is that “Any prayer offered with an element of prohibitive dislike attached to it, it is necessary to repeat it” (kullu salatin uddiyat ma’a karahat at-tahrim, tajib i’adatuha) but, as explained by Imam Ibn Abidin, this is when a prohibitively disliked element comes into the prayer by leaving out a Wajib that is of the prayer itself, and not a Wajib that is of something else. It is for this very reason that if one offers one’s prayer individually without joining in with the congregation (jama’ah), it is not necessary to repeat the prayer, even though offering the prayer in congregation (without having an excuse) is a Wajib, but this Wajib is not of the prayer itself.

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states after discussing the above:

“This is supported by the fact that they (the fuqaha) have said reciting the Qur’anic Surahs in order is Wajib. However if one recites them in a reversed order, one is sinful, but offering a prostration of forgetfulness (sujud as-sahw) is not necessary because observing the order of the Surahs is of the necessary elements (wajibat) of reciting the Qur’an (qira’at) and not of the prayer itself, as mentioned in al-Bahr (of Ibn Nujaym) in the chapter of making mistakes.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 1/457)

As such, the prostration of forgetfulness and/or repeating the prayer is not necessary due to the fact that the necessity (wujub) of reciting the Surahs in order is of the necessary elements (wajibat) of reciting the Qur’an (qira’at) and not of the prayer itself.

Having said this, although the prostration of forgetfulness (sujud as-sahw) is never necessary, it may be better to repeat the prayer (if possible) in the case of reciting the Surahs in a reversed order deliberately. This is so because certain contemporary Fuqaha in their Fatawa works have stated that the prayer should be repeated. Imam Ibn Abidin himself has declared that repeating the prayer (i’adah) is necessary in situations such as performing the prayer in cloths containing pictures and praying whilst there is a suppressing need to urinate or defecate, both of which are prohibitively disliked and do not require the prostration of forgetfulness. (See: Fatawa Darul Uloom 2/224 & Radd al-Muhtar 1/457)

Finally, if an Imam recites the Surahs in a reversed order, the follower should simply assume that he did it forgetfully or by mistake, because it is one’s duty to interpret the actions of others in the best light, as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has commanded us in many hadiths.

In conclusion, we learn the following points:

1) It is necessary in Fardh and Wajib prayers to recite the various Surahs of the Qur’an in order and prohibitively disliked to recite them in a reversed order deliberately.

2) It is not disliked to recite the Surahs in a reversed order unintentionally and forgetfully.

3) There is no prostration of forgetfulness whether this is done deliberately or unintentionally.

4) It is also not necessary to repeat the prayer, though better to do so if this is done deliberately.

5) If an Imam was to do this in prayer, one should assume that it was done unintentionally.

And Allah knows best

 Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK