(The etiquette of reciting the Qur’ân)
Before commencing tilâwah:
1. Perform wudû’. It is harâm (prohibited) to touch the Qur’ân without wudû’.
2. It is permissible to recite the Qur’ân without wudû’ from memory, without handling the Qur’ân.
3. It is not permissible for a person on whom ghusl is compulsory to recite the Qur’ân at all, even from memory.
4. Use a miswâk and ensure that the mouth is thoroughly cleansed of any strong or offensive smell such as garlic, raw onion, cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, etc.
5. The respect for the Qur’ân should be regarded as binding upon every Muslim at all times. Sit is a secluded place facing the Qiblah in an extremely dignified manner. One should not lean against anything or stretch out one’s legs or lie down while reciting the Qur’ân.
6. The Qur’ân must be placed on an elevated position such as a rihâl (Qur’ân stand), desk, or pillow. Do not place the Qur’ân on the musallâ (carpet) or the mimbar or any place on which people stand or sit, and especially not on the ground.
7. The use of ‘Itr (permissible fragrance) is recommended before recital.
When commencing tilâwah and during tilâwah:
1. The niyyah (intention) for the recital of the Qur’ân must be solely for the purpose of gaining Allâh’s pleasure and to obtain His favor.
2. Recite darûd sharîf an odd number of times before commencing and after recital. Ta’awwudh and tasmiyah must be recited.
3. Recite the Qur’ân with complete attention and humbleness and in a dignified manner, as if you are reciting in response to Allâh’s command, and also that you are in His presence and that He is listening to your recital.
4. When one is alone it is better to recite aloud. However, when one is reciting in a masjid or where others are occupied in their ‘ibâdah, or there is fear of showing off, then it is best to recite softly. Recite in a melodious voice because this has been emphasized in many ahâdîth. Do not sing the verses or imitate the manner and style of the non-Muslims, for this is totally forbidden.
5. It is wâjib (compulsory) to recite the Qur’ân-ul-Karîm correctly. Do not recite with haste but make an effort to recite with tartîl (fluency) and with tajwîd (according to the rules of recitation).
6. When reciting with comprehension, then upon reaching an âyah describing mercy, ask for Allâh’s mercy; and when reciting an âyah in which punishment is depicted, then beseech Allâh to save you from such punishment. On an âyah pertaining to Allâh’s Glory and Sanctity, one should say, ‘Subhânallâh.’
7. An effort must be made to understand the Qur’ân; and where one is not conversant with the Arabic language, he should endeavor to understand the meanings of particular âyât from the ‘ulamâ of from studying authentic translations. The ahâdîth of Rasûlullâh strictly prohibit the translation and interpretation of the Qur’ân to suit one’s own views, more especially and specifically so when one is not fully acquainted with all the related sciences of the Qur’ân.
8. Try to shed tears while reciting, even if one has to compel oneself to do so.
9. One must not talk during tilâwah of the Qur’ân. If an important matter has to be discussed with anyone then the recital should be stopped and the Qur’ân closed. If anyone desires to continue reciting thereafter, then he must recite the ta’awwudh and tasmiyah and then continue from where one had stopped.
10. It is reported in one hadîth that whoever has recited the Qur’ân and thereafter praised Allâh and conveyed blessings upon Rasûlullâh and then asked for forgiveness from his Sustainer, indeed he has asked for goodness from its very source.
11. Do not place any other book, kitâb, or object (hat, cap, turban, spectacles, etc.) on the Qur’ân during or after recital.
12. Do not turn your back towards the Qur’ân during or after recital, and do not sit with the Qur’ân in such a position that it faces someone else’s back.
13. If one feels tired and begins to yawn while reciting the Qur’ân, then the recitation should be terminated and only continued after having rested.
14. Do not sit on a place which is higher than the Qur’ân when the Qur’ân is within sight.
15. After terminating the recital, put the Qur’ân into a juzdân (pouch) and then place it respectfully on a high shelf or any other safe place.
16. It is sinful to carelessly discard torn or worn pages of the Qur’ân. Do not throw them into the waste basket or bin. Unusable (loose) pages must be put into a clean, tâhir (pâk) wrapper and buried in a tâhir (pâk) and clean place.
17. Do not take the Qur’ân or anything with the name of Allâh or the Prophet Muhammad into the bathroom or toilet. Do not recite the Qur’ân whilst in the toilet.
18. Besides the Qur’ân, other pieces of paper or things with the names of Allâh and Rasûlullâh must not be shown disrespect by being carelessly discarded at places where these would be trampled upon.
The most suitable time to recite the Qur’ân is after Fajr salâh. The most virtuous time is the latter part of the night. It is also desirable to recite the Qur’ân between the times of Maghrib and ‘Ishâ salâh. The Qur’ân should be recited at any time of the day or night provided one is not in the state of janâbat, etc. (i.e. in need of compulsory ghusl, bath). Tilâwah is allowed during the makrûh times of salâh as well.
According to the jamhûh (general body of ‘ulamâ) there is no limitation of the maximum period in which one khatm should be completed. The reciting should be completed within such time as is convenient. Some ‘ulamâ however, say that the maximum period should not exceed forty days. This means that at least three-fourths of a juz should be recited daily. If for some reason this extent could not be recited on that day, then the missed portion should also be covered on the next day, so that the khatm can be completed in forty days. This view is supported by a hadîth in which it is reported: ‘Whoever delays the completion of the Qur’ân in more than forty nights has delayed it considerably.’
Some ‘ulamâ are of the opinion that a khatm should be completed once every month, though it is preferable to complete a khatm every week, since this was the practice of most Sahâbah . One could start the recital on Friday and recite the one manzil (halting point) daily, so that the khatm is completed on the following Thursday. (These manzil are clearly marked at the bottom of every page.) According to Imâm Abu Hanîfah it is one’s duty to recite the Qur’ân at least twice a year (i.e. two khatms). Therefore, under no circumstances should one recite less than this.
Wâthilah relates that Rasûlullâh has said: ‘I have been given as-Sab’a at-Tuwal in lieu of the Torah, al-Mi’în in lieu of the Psalms, al-Mathâni in lieu of the Bible, and al-Mufassal as a special favor for me.’
The first seven sûrahs are called as-Sab’a at-Tuwal (the seven longest ones); the next eleven are called al-Mi’în (those consisting of about a hundred âyât each); the following twenty sûrahs are known as al-Mathâni (oft-repeated sûrahs); while all the other remaining sûrahs are al-Mufassal (the explicit ones). It is masnûn (sunnah) to recite the al-Mufassal in the fard salâh. These sûrahs are divided into three sections and are to be recited in the five fard salâh as follows:
Fajr and Zuhr: The longer ones of the al-Mufassal. These are from Sûrah al-Hujurât to Sûrah al-Inshiqâq.
‘Asr and ‘Ishâ: The medium ones of the al-Mufassal. These are from Sûrah al-Burûj to Sûrah al-Qadr.
Maghrib: The short ones of the al-Mufassal. These are from Sûrah al-Bayyinah to Sûrah an-Nâs.