Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad
One of the brothers was talking to someone about how these great men of the past use to recite the Noble Qur’an completely every night (i.e. imam Bukhari (r.a)). Even though that someone wasn’t rude and is a practising Muslim, he said brother it is a noble thing to do but it shouldn’t be done because the Hadith says clearly that one should finish the Qur’an in at least 3 days. Ya shaikh I want to ask you about the ruling on that hadith and about the recitation in 1 day, is it permissible or not?
Wa `alaykum as-Salam:
The hadith is sahih and one that did not gather up the qualities of Imam al-Bukhari should stick to the letter of the hadith. Allah Most High gave al-Bukhari exceptional qualities and this is a good example to show that the exception confirms the rule, which is to take 3 days at least, otherwise it is offensive (makruh).
When Allah Most High gives one paramount knowledge of the meanings of Arabic; paramount scrupulous fear of Allah; adab; exemplary renunciation of the world; knowledge and practice of the Sunna inside out; then one may recite a khatma even in one rak`a like `Uthman ibn `Affan, Tamim al-Dari, Abu Hanifa etc. — Allah be well-pleased with them and forgive us all.
From Sidi Musa Furber’s translation of al-Nawawi’s Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al-Qur’an (Etiquette of Qur’an Memorizers):
<<The Salaf (Allah be well pleased with them) had different habits regarding the amount in which they would finish (the Qur’an). Ibn Abi Dawud related from the Salaf (Allah be well pleased with them) that some of them would finish the Qur’an once every two months, once every month, every ten nights, every eight; most of them every seven nights; some every six nights, every five, every four; many every three nights; some every two days, every day-and-night, twice every day-and-night, twice each day, and eight (each day): four by night and four by day.
<<Those who completed the Qur’an every day include:
‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, Tamim Al-Dari, Sa’id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, al-Shafi’i, and others.
<<Three times per day
<<Those who completed the Qur’an three times daily include Sulaym bin ‘Itr (Allah be well pleased with him) the judge of Egypt when Mu’awia (Allah be well pleased with him) was the khalifa. Abu Bakr bin Abi Dawud related that he would complete three times each night, and Abu Bakr Al-Kindi relates in his book about the judges of Egypt that he would complete four times in a night.
<<Eight times in 24 hours
<<The righteous sheikh Abu `Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sulami (Allah be well pleased with him) said: “I heard the Sheikh Abu ‘Uthman Al-Maghribi say: ‘Ibn Al-Katib would complete four times by day and four times by night'”. This is the most that reached us for a day and a night.
<<The sheikh, the magnificent, Ahmad Al-Dauraqi relates with his chain from Mansur bin Zadhan, among the devotees of the Successors, (Allah be well pleased from him) that he would complete the Qur’an in the time between the noon and after-noon prayers, and complete it again in the time between the sunset and nightfall prayers, (and) during Ramadan two times and a bit. And they delayed the nightfall prayer during Ramadan until a quarter of the night passed.
<<Ibn Abi Dawud related with his sound chain that Mujahid would complete the Qur’an during Ramadan every night between the sunset and nightfall prayers.
<<Mansur said: “‘Ali Al-Azdi would complete it during Ramadan every night between the sunset and nightfall prayers.”
<<Ibrahim bin Sa’d said: “My father would sit with a habwa (garment or rope or one’s own arms tied around one’s legs) and would continue sitting that way until completing the Qur’an.”
<<In a single Rak`a
<<Those who completed the Qur’an during one rak`a are too numerous to enumerate.
<<The early generations include: ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, Tamim Al-Dari, and Sa’id bin Jubayr (Allah be well pleased with them) completing it every rak`a inside the Ka’ba.
<<Once a week
<<There are many who completed once a week. It is conveyed from ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, `Abd Allah bin Mas`ud, Zaid bin Thabit , `Ubay bin Ka’b (Allah be well pleased with them), and from a group of the Successors such as `Abd Al-Rahman bin Yazid, ‘Alqama and Ibrahim (Allah be merciful upon them).
<<The General Rule
<<The preferred opinion is that this differs from person to person. Whoever finds subtleties and experiences by intricately thinking limits [himself] to the amount where he obtains complete understanding of what he reads. It is the same for anyone occupied with spreading knowledge or something else important to the religion and general welfare of the Muslims: he limits [himself] to the amount that does not disturb what he is earmarked for. If he is not among those mentioned, he should do as much as possible without going out to the limit of boredom and chopping his recitation .
<<Less than three days being offensive
<<A group of the early generations of scholars disliked completing in a day and a night. This is alluded to by the rigorously authenticated hadith that `Abd Allah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (Allah be well pleased with them both) said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever reads the Qur’an in less than three days does not understand (what he recited)” Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, and others related it; Al-Tirmidhi said: “hadith hasan sahih.” Footnote:
“This is because whoever recites the Qur’an in less than three nights does not understand what is required when reciting, since etiquette requires having ritual purity, sitting facing the qibla, reciting correctly, pondering the meanings, being aware that Allah is observing him and answers each word he says, and intending to act according to its contents as long as he lives. May Allah give us success in this. Amin. See al-Taj al-Jami` lil-Usul (4:13).”
<<And Allah knows best.>>
End of Musa Furber’s translation from al-Nawawi’s Tibyan. [available through www.starlatch.com ]