What is the ruling on reading from ...

Egypt's Dar Al-Iftaa

What is the ruling on reading from the mus-haf during prayer?

Question

What is the ruling on reading from the mus-haf during prayer?

Answer

Aisha had a male servant named Dhakwan who would lead her in prayer while reciting from the mus-haf [a copy of the Quran]. Based on this, the jurists of both the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of jurisprudence find it permissible for an imam to read from the mus-haf during prayer.

The scholars of the Shafi’i school went as far as to say that prayer is not nullified even if one reads from other than the Quran. Imam Al-Nawawi said: “The prayers of a person who reads from the mus-haf is valid, whether or not he has committed anything of the Quran to memory. Rather, this is obligatory for whoever has not memorized the chapter of Al-Fatiha. His prayer is valid even if he occasionally turns a page during prayer. If he gazes at something written in other than the Quran and recites it to himself, then their prayer is not invalidated even if this is done for an extended period of time. This position was mentioned by Imam Al-Shafi’i in his book Al-Imla` and the companions of the school followed it.”

The Hanbali jurist, Al-Rahyabani said that a person who is praying may read from the mus-haf and look at it … Ahmad has said that there is nothing wrong if an imam leads people in prayer while reading from the mus-haf. He was asked if this includes the prescribed prayers and he responded that he has not heard anything to prevent this. Al-Zuhri was asked about a man who leads the people in the night prayer during Ramadan while reading from the mus-haf and he said that the best amongst them used to read from the mus-haf.

As for the Malikis, they held that this is reprehensible during both prescribed and supererogatory prayers. The Hanafi jurists disputed this issue, and Imam Abu Hanifa was of the view that reading from the mus-haf during prayer invalidates it. The position of his two companions corresponds with that of the Malikis.

Based on this, we rule in accordance with the opinion of the majority of scholars in that reading from the mus-haf during prayer is permissible and incurs no sin.

And God the Almighty knows best.
 

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