Download PDF: Tafseer Roohul Bayaan Commentary On The Quranic Verse Pertaining To The Methods of Quran-Recitation & The Manner of Listening To It

وَاِذَا قُرِیَٔ الْقُرْاٰنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوۡا لَہٗ وَاَنۡصِتُوۡا لَعَلَّکُمْ تُرْحَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۰۴﴾

  And when the Quran is recited, listen to it attentively and be silent so that you may have mercy.

(Al-A’raaf 7, Verse 204)

And when the Quran is recited which virtuous are momentously mentioned

listen to it attentively i.e. grasp its commands by listening and act upon it, for listening to it is absolutely obligatory (Waajib) because the principle of “Ifti’aal(1)” is that it means to do “Tasarruf” and “Sa’i” and “To act upon the command”.

  • Ifti’aal

Difference between a “Saame’” and a “Mustame’”

“Mustame’” is the one who is willing to listen and pays special attention to listen while a “Saame’” is the one who accidently hears something which he did not make an effort to listen to.  Based on this principle, every “Mustame’” could qualify as a “Saame’” but not every “Saame’” can qualify as a “Mustame’”.

And be silent or observe silence i.e. remain silent during the Quran recitation and continue to do so till the end of recitation keeping in mind the respect and honour of the Holy Quran so that obedience to the command of “listening attentively” is thoroughly fulfilled.  Difference between “Insaat” and “Sukoot” is that “Insaal” incorporates the sense of “Istema’” while (meaning of) ‘Sukoot” is common whether it be for “listening attentively” or not.

That you may have mercy. Which is the ultimate fruit of success.


Reason for Which This Verse Was Revealed

Hazrat Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbaas – may Allah be pleased with Him – is reported to have said:

“People used to communicate and discuss their issues in Salah prior to the revelation of this verse; e.g. if someone approached after the Salah had begun, he used to ask the people in Salah as to how many Rak’ats have been completed and the Musallies used to answer to their query.  This verse was specifically revealed to put an end to this conduct of theirs, and then the ruling was established that no one must communicate during the Salah nor is anyone allowed to recite Quran in Salah, for the Salah is an important pillar.

Imam Azam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with Him – has derived the ruling that it’s obligatory (Wajib) for the followers to remain silent whilst praying behind an Imam, hence the recitation of the Imam suffices the followers whether it’s an audible or silent Salah, for Allah Almighty made two aspects obligatory:

  1. Listening
  2. Observing silence

Though “Listening” is not applicable in the silent Salah but to act upon the latter ruling i.e. “Observing silence” is obligatory.

“Observing silence” is the general ruling whether it’s abstinence from general conversation or Quran recitation, and also, it’s the principle of the Arabic grammar that the rulings are based on the general meaning of the word and not on an incident.

According to the a group of Quranic commentators, this verse was revealed regarding Salah while the followers prayed behind the Prophet – may Allah send blessings and mercy upon Him.  Haddaadi has endorsed this quotation to be sounder in his Tafseer.


Scholastic Tafseer:

Imam Azam – may Allah be pleased with Him – has not only dropped the Quran recitation for the followers but he has also stopped them from its recitation taking the Imam into consideration, so that the recitation of Imam and the followers may not get blended, as it happens at Al-Azhar college in Egypt.


Shariah ruling:

It’s Makrooh Tahreemi to recite Quran behind the Imam which is the sounder ruling.

(Sharah Al-Majma’ of Ibn Malik)



Sayyiduna ‘Ali – may Allah enlighten His graceful face – states:

مَنْ قَرَاَ خَلْفَ الْاِمَامِ فَقَدْ اَخْطَاَ الْفِطْرَۃَ اَیِ السُّنَّۃَ

“One who recites Quran behind the Imam has mistaken in nature.” i.e. Sunnah.



Debate between Imam Azam and Shawaafe’ Scholars

Some Ahlus Sunnah Shawaafe’ gathered to debate with Imam Azam on the subject of “Quran recitation behind the Imam”.  Their objective was to pressurize Imam Azam with proofs and Dalaa’il and leave him speechless and disgraced.  He said, “I can’t debate with everyone at once.  Call one of your most learned man and appoint him as a debater against me.”  All agreed with his suggestion.  He said, “Do you agree that his defeat will be your defeat and likewise, his victory will be your victory?”  They replied, “Of course, yes.”  He then asked, “Why so?”  “Because he is our Imam now and his debate will be our debate.” they replied.  He said, “We also say the same thing, that when we have accepted the Imam as our representative so that he prays in Allah’s court on our behalf, so his recitation will be our recitation, then how will “Quran recitation behind the Imam” be permissible?”  They all agreed with the Madhhab of Imam Azam.  “Quran recitation behind the Imam” is really impermissible i.e. Makrooh Tahreemi.

The main objective of Quran is to understand and grasp it, then act upon it which can only be achieved by observing “listening attentively” and “remaining silent”.  Based on this, it’s obligatory for the followers to remain silent; for example, when the Imam recites the Jumah Khutbah and the followers listen, and that too listening to it as counsel, therefore it’s obligatory to listen to it, so that the main objective of listening may be achieved, and not in the manner to continue talking while the Kateeb delivers the Khutbah.  Contrary to other essentials sincerity is the objective which is gained by both the Imam and the followers in Rukoo’ and Sajdah etc.


Islamic Ruling:

Apparently this verse means that it’s obligatory to listen to the Quran when recited out of Salah but according to the Jurist Imams it’s a commendable act as it is mentioned in the books of Tafseer.

Haddaadi said, “It’s not obligatory to listen to the recitation of every reader out of Salah except at some occasions i.e. if one is listening for this gain especially.

Islamic Ruling:

If one is engaging himself in writing the Fiqh masaa’il or fulfilling any other Islamic duty which is necessary for him while there is someone with him reciting the Quran loudly and he does not have time to listen to the Quran recitation then sin will be on the reciter’s head.


Islamic Ruling:

It’s Makrooh to discuss the Fiqhi issues while the Quran is being recited i.e. it’s obligatory to listen to the Quran recitation.


Islamic Ruling:

If people are passing by a Madrasah where someone is reciting Quran loudly, then it’s obligatory for the people to stand and listen to it provided that the recitation is not lengthy.


Islamic Ruling:

People should not recite the Quran all together in the same gathering, for then it will be against both the commands of “attentive listening” and “being silent” but few jurists have mentioned that there is no harm in doing so.


Islamic Ruling:

The Shariah ruling concerning it, is that the attentive listening to the Quran recitation Fard Al-Kifaayah as Allamah Halabi has mentioned in the research work of his Sharah Kabeer.  It denotes that there is no harm if few people are listening attentively to the recitation of the Huffaaz at Shabeenah while the others are negligent of it or engaged in something else.





Islamic Ruling:

It’s mentioned in Qinyah that the loud recitation of Quran Khatm, Qul Shareef etc, is valid to recite collectively but it’s preferable if one recites and the rest listen.


Islamic Ruling:


Once, when the Prophet – may Allah send blessings and peace upon Him – entered the Masjid, He saw a group of people engaging in the discussion of Fiqh matters while the others were in Quran recitation.  He sat with the people that were engaging in the Fiqh Masaa’il upon entering.

This signifies that to engage in the research of Fiqh matters is better than merely reciting the Quran.  Its objective is clear that to discuss the Fiqh Masaa’il is the Ma’nawi recitation of the Quran while the recitation of the Quranic words is the apparent form of Quran recitation, and as the principle goes, that Ma’nawiyyat takes precedence over the Zahiriyyat.  Hence, someone has beautifully described it as follows:

علم دیں فقہست و تفسیر و حدیث

ہر کہ خواند ازیں گردد خبیث

The real knowledge is Fiqh, Hadeeth and Tafseer

And everything besides that is evil (if one were to consider all the other branches of knowledge superior than them)


Islamic Ruling:

Imam Azam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with Him – stated in Kitaab Al-Ihtisaab that reciting Quran at the grave side is Makrooh but Imam Muhammad – may Allah be pleased with Him – said it’s not Makrooh, and this is the chosen Fatwa of our pious predecessors but one should not recite loudly, so it does not become a burden on the relatives of the deceased person while the people are still visiting for condolence sake or they are engaged in something else, and it’s the principle that loud recitation of Quran before a busy people is Makrooh.


Islamic Ruling:

The rulings of Khutbah is like that of the Quran recitation, for it comprises of Quranic verses.  Based on this, it’s necessary to act upon it and listen attentively although the Khutbah also contains other things than the Quranic verses.  Hence, there is a possibility of the likelihood of both, then being on the safe side, it’s more feasible to rather act upon it as an obligation.  It is for this reason that listening to the Khutbah is obligatory.  Even if the Khateeb is sending Durood upon the Holy Prophet – may Allah send blessings and peace upon Him – one has to listen attentively, since it’s obligatory to listen to the Khutbah, and the Durood is a part of Khutbah.  Same ruling is applied to the part of something which is applicable to the act itself.  If the Khateeb commands the people to recite Durood Shareef during Khutbah e.g. صَلُّوْا عَلَیْہِ وَ سَلِّمُوْا تَسْلِیْمًا then too, the audience need to only recite Durood in their hearts without bringing the tongue into motion.


Islamic Ruling:

People that are seated far from the pulpit also need to remain silent although the sound of Khutbah does not reach their ears to act upon “being silent” and they gain similarity to those who are listening.  Apart from this, the voice of the Khateeb reaches the people in the front rows but hence, the front row acts as a barrier for the ones that are far but these restrictions will not cancel the Shariah ruling.




Islamic Ruling:

It’s mentioned in Fatawa Taataar Khaaniyah, that if the Khateeb makes Du’a during the sermon then it’s not necessary for the audience to join him in the Du’a by lifting their hands up neither should one utter the words of Du’a by their tongue.


Islamic Ruling:

The audience should not recite Durood Shareef with their tongue during the Khutbah but they should rather recite it in the heart, and if one does recite with tongue he will be committing a sin.  The Ulama should prevent such people from reciting the Durood Shareef, and if they don’t they will earn the sin too.


Islamic Ruling:

It’s mentioned in Nisaab Al-Ihtisaab that the Khateeb should not communicate during the Khutbah at all, even in the form of commanding to do something righteously or stopping someone from evil-doings.  They must still continue with the Khutbah but they are allowed to indicate with their hand or eyes which is fine.


If one tells someone to keep quiet during Khutbah he has done something of no use.



Imam Nawawi – may Allah be pleased with Him – stated, “Every kind of activity is disallowed at the time of Khutbah because when to say “keep quiet” (to the one talking during Khutbah) is disallowed, despite it being a virtuous act in itself, then all the other kinds of activities will definitely become impermissible.



Islamic Ruling:

According to Imam Shafe’i – may Allah be pleased with Him – it is impermissible to talk from the time the Khutbah is commenced.”  Imam Azam – may Allah be pleased with Him – said, “It’s obligatory to stop talking from the time the Khateeb enters the Masjid to deliver the Khutbah.  Hence, the Prophet – may Allah send blessings and peace upon Him – stated, “When the Imam leaves his place for Khutbah then there is no Salah and talking.”  Since the Hadeeth is in absolute denial the impermissibility is proven from it.


Islamic Ruling:

Saahibain (Imam Muhammad and Imam Abu Yusuf – the two famous students of Imam Azam – may Allah be pleased with them) stated that there is no harm in talking before the Khutbah begins and after its end, for talking good is only impermissible if it occurred during the Khutbah, for it causes interruption in the Khutbah.  The conclusion is that the impermissibility of communication is limited to the duration of Khutbah, for it’s due to the “attentive listening”, neither before it nor afterwards.


Islamic Ruling:

It’s mentioned in Qunyah that it’s not Makrooh to communicate during the Khutbah of both Eids, for the Khutbah of Eids is Sunnah while the Khutbah of Jumu’ah is a condition for Jumu’ah Salah contrary to the Khutbah of Eid Salahs, for it is not a condition for Eid Salahs because the Prophet – may Allah send blessings and peace upon Him – stated concerning the Eid Salah, “یَوْمَ الْعِیْدِ مَنْ شَاءَ “  مِنْکُمْ اِنْ یَخْرُجْ فَلْیَخْرُجْ This is the day of Eid; whoso amongst you wish to go for Eid Salah must go.”


Islamic Ruling:

The conclusion is that every kind of talk, performing Nafl etc. is Haraam during the Khutbah from the time the Imam gets up and takes the stand but it’s permissible to perform Qada Salah during Khutbah.  The author of Nihaayah has provided proofs on it.


Islamic Ruling:

It’s unanimously permissible to recite Tasbeeh etc. during Khutbah.


Islamic Ruling:

It’s mentioned in Al-Ashbaah Wal-Nazaa’ir that if one has already commenced with Nafl Salah and then the Imam goes to deliver Khutbah then it’s obligatory for him to conclude the Salah after two Rak’ats only.  Same ruling is mentioned in Al-Kaafi, and if he had already begun with the third Rak’at of Nafl then he should complete all four, as it’s mentioned in Al-Ikhtiyaar.


Islamic Ruling:

If one had already commenced with the Sunnah of Jumu’ah and then the Imam takes the stand for Khutbah then it’s necessary for him to complete all four Rak’ats of Sunnah, as it’s mentioned in Al-Ashbaah Wal-Nazaa’ir etc.

The meaning of the Imam going for Khutbah means that it was the tradition in Arabia that the community used to build a room close to the Masjid for the Imam, and the Imam used to come out of his room after the Azan of Khutbah but in our region (where the custom is not such) the impermissibility of communication and Nafl Salah begins when the Imam mounts onto the Mimbar to begin with the Khutbah.


Mystical Tafseer:

  1. It is mentioned in Taaweelaate Najmiyah that the beauty is a necessary requirement for attentive listening, and attentive listening is a necessary requirement for delivering the message.
  2. Keep a lock at the apparent tongue and listen to Allah’s speech with the apparent ears, and also keep a lock at the inner tongue and listen to the divine speech with the inner ears, so that such reality of attentive listening may lead you to Semaa’, which is described by:

کُنْتُ لَہٗ سَمْعًا فَبِیَ یَسْمَعُ

I (Allah) become his hearing; through Me he hears.

One who listens to Allah’s speech through the beauty and radiance of Allah Almighty he also listens to it via the recitation of the Qaari, otherwise his listening and not-listening makes no difference. This is the mystical secret of:

عَلَّمَ الْقُرْاٰنَ ؕ﴿۲﴾

Taught the Quran to His beloved.

The Gnostic, Allamah Jaami – may Allah be pleased with Him – states:

عجب نبود کہ از قرآن نصیبت نیست جز حرفے

کہ از خورشید جز گرمی نہ بیند چشم نا بینا

It’s no wonder if you do not find in Quran except few words

Your example is that of a blind man which receive nothing from the sun but heat.