Q: I wanted to know if it is permissible to participate in Qur’an memorization competitions, knowing that the prize is a certain amount of money?
A: Reciting the Qur’an for any worldly remuneration is impermissible. This goes against the very spirit of ikhlaas and sincerity which one is required to have when reciting the word of Allah Ta’ala. Apart from this, the element of show and ostentation is found in these types of Qiraat competitions.Grave warnings have been sounded in the Ahaadith for one who recites the Qur’an for show and for worldly gain. It is reported in the Hadith of Muslim Shareef that among the three types of people who will be dispatched first to jahnnum will be that Qari or Haafiz who used to recite the Qur’an for show and to earn the praises of people. May Allah Ta’ala save us.
Below we will present the Fatwa of Hazrat Mufti Mahmood (rahimahullah) in this regard:
It has been decided that a gathering of Qurraa will be held here, in Delhi, wherein famous, recognized Qurraa as well as prominent, notable people will attend. Different Qurraa have been appointed to recite, and judging by their recitation, they will be awarded prizes. What is the ruling of participating in such a gathering?
The Hadith has encouraged as well as given glad tidings to the one who recites the Qur’an Kareem in a melodious tone. The Muhadditheen have explained this (reciting in a melodious tone) to be in reference to the person who recites the Qur’aan Kareem while his heart is filled with the reverence of the Qur’aan and while reciting he is overcome by fear and humility and his heart trembles out of the awe of Allah Ta‘ala. Similarly, while reciting, such a person visualizes the promises and warnings of the Qur’aan and imagines that he is reciting to Allah Ta‘ala thereby resulting in tears flowing from his eyes. Through reciting the Qur’aan in such a manner, there is great spiritual effect and reward and Allah Ta‘ala becomes greatly pleased. This method was practiced among the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), that one of them would recite the Qur’aan Kareem while the rest of them would listen attentively and refresh their Imaan.
Earning money and fame should never be the objective and purpose of reciting the Qur’aan. Allah forbid, but for the Qur’aan Kareem to be made a means of earning money, whether in the guise of conveying reward to the deceased, sitting on the mimbar and competing with other Qurraa to win prizes, or for the Qur’aan Kareem to be recited for the purpose of gaining name and fame, or for the Qur’aan Kareem to be recited according to the laws of music, wherein the one reciting adheres to certain high notes and low notes, then certainly there is absolutely no permission for any of these things and grave warnings have been sounded in their regard as well. Three people have been mentioned in the Hadith Shareef who will be among the first groups of people to be thrown into Jahannum, and Jahannum will be fuelled by them. One of the three is the Qari who would recite so that people praise him for his beautiful recitation and melodious voice and say that he is a good Qari. In the light of the above, you people now decide the nature and ruling of the gathering you wish to hold. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyah 7/198)
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
عن سليمان بن يسار قال تفرق الناس عن أبي هريرة فقال له ناتل أهل الشام أيها الشيخ حدثنا حديثا سمعته من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال نعم سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول إن أول الناس يقضى يوم القيامة عليه رجل استشهد فأتي به فعرفه نعمه فعرفها قال فما عملت فيها قال قاتلت فيك حتى استشهدت قال كذبت ولكنك قاتلت لأن يقال جريء فقد قيل ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه حتى ألقي في النار ورجل تعلم العلم وعلمه وقرأ القرآن فأتي به فعرفه نعمه فعرفها قال فما عملت فيها قال تعلمت العلم وعلمته وقرأت فيك القرآن قال كذبت ولكنك تعلمت العلم ليقال عالم وقرأت القرآن ليقال هو قارئ فقد قيل ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه حتى ألقي في النار ورجل وسع الله عليه وأعطاه من أصناف المال كله فأتي به فعرفه نعمه فعرفها قال فما عملت فيها قال ما تركت من سبيل تحب أن ينفق فيها إلا أنفقت فيها لك قال كذبت ولكنك فعلت ليقال هو جواد فقد قيل ثم أمر به فسحب على وجهه ثم ألقي في النار (مسلم رقم 1905)
فتاوى محمودية 7/198
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)