Manners when reading the Qur’an

Imam Muhammad ibn Ahmad Qurtubi says in

 al-Jami’ li ahkam al-Qur’an

It is the inviolability of the Qur’an:

1. not to touch the Qur’an except in the state of ritual purity in wudu, and to recite it when in a state of ritual purity;

2. to brush one’s teeth with a toothstick (siwak), remove food particles from between the them, and to freshen one’s mouth before reciting, since it is the way through which the Qur’an passes;

3. to sit up straight if not in prayer, and not lean back;

4. to dress for reciting as if intending to visit a prince, for the reciter is engaged in an intimate discourse;

5. to face the direction of prayer (qiblah) to recite;

6. to rinse the mouth out with water if one coughs up mucus or phlegm;

7. to stop reciting when one yawns, for when reciting , one is addressing one’s Lord in intimate conversation, while yawning is from the Devil;

8. when begining to recite, to take refuge from in Allah from the accursed Devil and say the Basmala, whether one has begun at the first surah or some other part one has reached;

9. once one has begun, not to interrupt one’s recital from moment to moment with human words, unless absolutely necessary;

10. to be alone when reciting it, so that no one interrupts one, forcing one to mix the words of the Qur’an with replying, for this nullifies the effectivness of having taken refuge in Allah from the Devil at the beginning;

11. to recite it leisurely and without haste, distinctly pronouncing each letter;

12. to use one’s mind and understanding in order to comprehend what is being said to one;

13. to pause at verses that promise Allah’s favour, to long for Allah Most High and ask of His bounty; and at verses that warn of His punishment to ask Him to save one from it;

14. to pause at the accounts of bygone peoples and individuals to heed and benefit from their example;

15. to find out the meanings of the Qur’an’s unusual lexical usages;

16. to give each letter its due so as to clearly and fully pronounce every word, for each letter counts as ten good deeds;

17. whenever one finishes reciting, to attest to the veracity of ones’s Lord, and that His messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has delivered his message, and to testify to this, saying: “Our Lord, You have spoken the truth, Your messengers have delivered their tidings, and bear witness to this. O Allah, make us of those who bear witness to the truth and who act with justice”: after which one supplicates Allah with prayers.

18. not to select certain verses from each surah to recite, but rather the recite the whole surah;

19. if one puts down the Qur’an, not to leave it open;

20. not to place other books upon the Qur’an, which should always be higher than all other books, whether they are books of Sacred Knowledge or something else;

21. to place the Qur’an on one’s lap when reading; or on something in front of one, not on the floor;

22. not to wipe it from a slate with spittle, but rather wash it off with water; and if one washes it off with water, to avoid putting the water where there are unclean substances (najasa) or where people walk. Such water has its own inviolability, and there were those of the early Muslims before us who used water that washed away Qur’an to effect cures.

23. not to use sheets upon which it has been written as bookcovers, which is extremely rude, but rather to erase the Qur’an from them with water;

24. not to let a day go by without looking at least once at the pages of the Qur’an;

25. to give one’s eyes their share of looking at it, for the eyes lead to the soul (nafs), whereas there is a veil between the breast and the soul, and the Qur’an is in the breast.

26. not to trivially quote the Qur’an at the occurrence of everyday events, as by saying, for example, when someone comes, “You have come hither according to a decree, O Moses” [Qur’an 69:24],
or, “Eat and drink heartily for what you have done aforetimes, in days gone by” [Qur’an 69:24], when food is brought out, and so forth;

27. not to recite it to songs tunes like those of the corrupt, or with the tremulous tones of Christians or the plaintiveness of monkery, all of which is misguidance;

28. when writing the Qur’an to do so in a clear, elegant hand;

29. not to recite it out aloud over another’s reciting of it, so as to spoil it for him or make him resent what he hears, making it as if it were some kind of competition;

30. not to recite it in marketplaces, places of clamour and frivolity, or where fools gather;

31. not to use the Qur’an as pillow, or lean upon it;

32. not to toss it when one wants to hand it to another;

33. not to miniaturize the Qur’an, mix into it what is not of it, or mingle this worldly adornment with it by embellishing or writing it with gold;

34. not to write it on the ground or on walls, as is done in some new mosques;

35. not to write an amulet with it and enter the lavatory, unless it is encased in leather, silver, or other, for then it is as if kept in the heart;

36. if one writes it and then drinks it (for cure or other purpose), one should say the Basmala at every breath and make a noble and worthy intention, for Allah only gives to one according to one’s intention;

37. and if one finishes reciting the entire Qur’an, to begin it anew, that it may not resemble something that has been abandoned.

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Mention of the Character of the People of the Qur’aan
by Imaam al-Aajooree (d. 360 H) – rahimahullah

The first matter that it befits him to employ is taqwaa of Allaah secretly and openly, by exercising caution (wara’) with regards to the sources of his food, drink, dress and earnings. He is perceptive about his time and the corruptions of its people, that he may beware of them regarding his religion.

He concentrates on his own situation, having the aspiration to reform whatever is corrupt in his affairs, guarding his tongue and choosing his words. If he speaks, he speaks with knowledge when he sees speech to be correct. He fears from his tongue things more severe than he fears from his enemy. He imprisons his tongue the way he imprisons his enemy, so that he may be safe from its evil and bad consequences. He rarely laughs at the matters which people laugh, due to the bad consequences of laughter. If he is pleased by something in according with the Truth, he smiles. He dislikes joking, fearing frivolity: if he jokes, he speaks the truth. He is accommodating in countenance, pure in speech. He does not allow himself to be praised for qualities he has, how then for qualities he does not have? He is wary of his self, that it should overcome him for what it desires, of the things that will anger his Master. He does not backbite anyone. He does look down upon anyone. He does not abuse anyone. He is not happy at the affliction of others. He neither transgresses upon anyone, nor envies them. He does not think the worst about anyone, except for one who deserves it. He loves with knowledge, and hates with knowledge. He speaks about a person’s faults only with knowledge, and remains silent about a person’s real nature with knowledge.

He has made the Qur’aan, Sunnah and Fiqh his guide to every good and beautiful quality, guarding all his limbs from what has been forbidden. If he walks, he walks with knowledge. If he sits, he sits with knowledge. He strives hard so that people may be safe from his tongue and hand. He does not behave ignorantly: if someone behaves ignorantly towards him, he is forbearing. He does not oppress: if he is oppressed, he forgives. He does not transgress: if he is transgressed upon, he has patience. He retrains his fury to please his Lord and enrage his enemy. He is humble in himself: when the truth is presented to him, he accepts it, whether from one younger or older. He seeks status from Allaah, not from the creatures. He despises arrogance, fearing for his self from it.

He does not (earn to) eat by the Qur’aan, nor does he like his needs being fulfilled by way of it. He neither runs with it to the sons of kings, nor sits with it amongst the rich so that they may honor him. If the people earn plenty from the world without understanding or perception, he earns a little with understanding and knowledge. If the people wear fine luxury, he wears of the halaal that which conceals his private parts. If his circumstances ease, he eases; if they tighten, he tightens. He is content with little, so it suffices him. He bewares for his self from the world that which will make it tyrannical.

He follows the obligations of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah: he eats food with knowledge; he drinks with knowledge; he dresses with knowledge; he sleeps with knowledge; he has union with his wife with knowledge; he accompanies his brothers with knowledge; visiting them with knowledge, seeking permission to enter upon them with knowledge, and greeting them with knowledge; he treats his neighbor with knowledge.

He imposes strictly upon himself the honoring of his parents: he lowers his wing to them, and lowers his voice before their voices. He expends his wealth for them, and looks upon them with the eye of respect and mercy. He prays for their longevity, and is thankful for them in old age. He is not irritated by them, and does not look down upon them. If they ask for his help in a matter of obedience, he helps them. If they ask for his help in a matter of disobedience, he does not help them, but is gentle with them in his disobedience of them: he shows beautiful etiquette such that they may return from the ugly matter that they intended, that it does not befit them to do.

He maintains family relations and despises breaking them. If someone breaks off relations with him, he does not break off relations with them. If someone disobeys Allaah regarding him, he obeys Allaah regarding him. He accompanies the believers with knowledge, and sits with them with knowledge. He benefits those who accompany him, being an excellent companion for those whom he sits with. If he teaches another, he is gentle with him. He is not harsh with the one who makes a mistake, and does not embarrass him. He is gentle in all his matters, extremely patient in teaching goodness. The leaner finds comfort in him, and the one sitting with him is joyous at his company. Sitting with him brings goodness. He educates his companions with the etiquettes of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

If he is afflicted with a difficulty, the Qur’aan and the Sunnah are two educators for him. He grieves with knowledge. He cries with knowledge. He has patience with knowledge. He purifies himself with knowledge. He prays with knowledge. He gives zakaat with knowledge. He gives charity with knowledge. He fasts with knowledge. He performs the hajj with knowledge. He wages jihaad with knowledge. He earns with knowledge, and he spends with knowledge. He eases in matters with knowledge, and tightens in them with knowledge. The Qur’aan and the Sunnah have taught him his manners.

He looks through the pages of the Qur’aan in order to teach himself manners, and he is not pleased for himself to fulfill with ignorance the obligations imposed by Allaah. He has made knowledge and understanding his guide to every goodness. When he studies the Qur’aan, it is with the presence of understanding and intelligence: his aspiration is to understand that which Allaah has imposed upon him of following His commands and avoiding His prohibitions. His aspiration is not: when will I complete the soorah? His aspiration is: when will I be enriched by Allaah, so that I am in no need of other than Him? When will I be of the pious? When will I be of those who excel? When will I be of those who have total tawakkul? When will be of those who humble themselves? When will I be of the patient ones? When will I be of the truthful ones? When will I be of the fearful ones? When will I be of the hopeful ones? When will I have non-attachment to the world? When will I have yearning for the Hereafter? When will I repent from sins? When will I recognize the widespread favors? When will I be grateful for them? When will I understand from Allaah His address? When will I understand what I recite? When will I overcome my self regarding its base desires? When will I strive in Allaah’s cause with a true jihaad? When will I guard my tongue? When will I lower my gaze? When will I guard my chastity? When will I be ashamed before Allaah with true shame? When will I be preoccupied with my faults? When will I reform the corruptions in my life? When will I call my self to account? When will I take provision for the Day of Resurrection? When will I be pleased with Allaah? When will I have trust in Allaah? When will I be admonished by the warnings of the Qur’aan? When will I be preoccupied with His remembrance away from remembrance of other than Him? When will I love what He loves? When will I hate what He hates? When will I be sincere to Allaah? When will I purify my deeds for Him? When will I reduce my vain hopes? When will I prepare myself for the day of my death, when my remaining term shall have vanished? When will I build the life of my grave? When will I reflect upon the Standing and its severity? When will I reflect upon my solitude with my Lord? When will I reflect upon the Return? When will I beware that which my Lord has warned me of: a Fire whose heat is severe, its depth great and its grief lengthy. Its inhabitants do not die that they may rest; their sins are not forgiven; their tears are not shown mercy. Their food is zaqqoom, and their drink is boiling water. Every time their skins are roasted, they are replaced with new ones so that they may taste the punishment. They regret when regret does not benefit them, and they bite upon their hands in sorrow at their falling short in obeying Allaah and their embarking upon the disobedience of Allaah. Thus, one of them says, “Alas! If only I had sent something forward for my life!” (89:24) Another says, “My Lord, return me! It may be that I work righteousness in what I have neglected!” (23:99-100) Another says, “O woe to us! What is the matter with this Book? It does not leave a minor or major matter, except that it counts it!” (18:49) Another says, “O woe to me! If only I had not taken so-and-so as a close friend!” (25:28) Another group of them says, with their faces turning in different kinds of punishment, “Alas! If only we had obeyed Allaah, and obeyed the Messenger!” (33:66)

So this is the Fire, O assembly of Muslims! O Bearers of the Qur’aan! Allaah has warned the believers of it in more than one place in His Book, out of mercy from Him towards the believers. Allaah, Mighty and Majestic, said. “O you who have believed! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones. Upon it are angels, stern and severe: they disobey not Allaah in what He commands them, and they do as they are ordered.” (66:6) He, Mighty and Majestic, also said, “O you who have believed! Fear Allaah, and let each soul see what it has sent forth for tomorrow; and fear Allaah: truly, Allaah is Aware of what you do.” (59:18) He then warned the believers against being heedless of what Allaah has obligated upon them and what He has entrusted to them not to lose, and to guard His limits that He has entrusted to them, and not to be like the others who rebelled against His command and so He punished them with different types of punishment. Thus He, Mighty and Majestic, said, “And do not be like those who forgot Allaah, so He caused them to forget themselves: they are truly rebellious ones.” (59:19) He then informed the believers that the people of the Fire and the people of the Garden are not equal, saying, “Not equal are the people of the Fire and the people of the Garden: the people of the Garden, they are the truly successful ones.” (59:20)

Thus, when the intelligent believer recites the Qur’aan, he presents himself to it, so it becomes like a mirror in which he sees which of his actions are beautiful and which are ugly. Thus, whatever his Master warns him against, he is wary of it; whatever He instills fear regarding its consequences, he fears; whatever his Master encourages him in, he desires it and hopes for it.

Thus, whoever fits this description, or close to this description, he has recited it as it should truly be recited, and has attended to it as it should truly be taken care of. The Qur’aan becomes for him a witness, intercessor, comfort and support. Whoever has these qualities benefits himself and benefits his family, and returns with every goodness upon his parents and his children in this world and the Hereafter.

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