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Can I look at a translation of the Quran while listening to it in Arabic?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

My friend asked me a question that I was unable to answer, I was hoping for some help.

He asked, since he can’t read Arabic, he wanted to play the recited Quran from a phone or a computer beside of where he is praying and hold a paper with translation of that surah in his hand while he is praying, is that acceptable?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We understand the difficulty that a person faces when he performs salah without having learnt Arabic and we empathise with your friend. However, the Fuqahā knew that people would convert to Islam and that there would be people who do not know Arabic; so they have stated the if a person does not know that amount of Quran that will suffice him in Salah, he should recite Subhānallah, Alhamdulillah or Allahu-Akbar three times in each posture of Salah until he learns enough to suffice him in Salah.

A person who does not know Quran should strive and endeavour to learn the minimum amount required to be recited in Salah as soon as possible.

Salah is one of the most important acts of worship in a Muslims’ life. This is why so much emphasis has been placed on khushū’ and khudhū’ (concentration and devotion) in Shariah when it comes to acts of worship; especially Salah. Holding a paper or anything of the sort is a distraction and is a cause of diversion from ones conversation with Allah.

In the same spirit of maintaining concentration is Salah, the Fuqahā have stated that anything which constitutes amal kathīr (excessive actions) in Salah will nullify salah. Amal kathīr is defined as one doing such an excessive act that will lead an onlooker to think the person is out of Salah. Holding a Quran, paper, electronic device etc falls under the ambit of amal kathīr and therefore it is impermissible to hold such an item in Salah. [1][2][3]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Saanwal ibn Muhammad,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] احسن الفتاوى, ج.٣, ص.٧٩,H.M.Saeed

[2] و قرائتة من مصحف, اي ما فيه قران…

رد المحتار, باب ما يفسد الصلاة, ج.٢,ص.٣٨٣, دار الكتب العلمية

[3] قوله ( لأنه تعلم ) ذكروا لأبي حنيفة في علة الفساد وجهين أحدهما أن حمل المصحف والنظر فيه وتقليب الأوراق عمل كثير

)رد المختار, ج١, ص٦٢٤, دار الفكر للطباعة والنشر(

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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