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Reading from the Mushaf in Prayer When You Memorized the Verses

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: السلام عليكم

I understand the ruling in the Hanafi Madhhab that one may not read from a mushaf in the prayer. It is also my understanding that it is permissible to pray with an open mushaf, without holding it, in order to assist with a word or two, as long as one has the verses committed to memory.

So my question is, if I am reading several pages of The Quran from memory, only briefly looking at the mushaf once in awhile if I forget which verse comes next, or forgetting a word or two, would it be permissible to turn the page during the salah? (Noting that I know, from memory, when I come to the end of the page, and also the mushaf would be on a tall stand just next to me, requiring moving the hand only a short distance to reach it) Would this be considered excessive action, or disliked? I ask because I am in the process of memorizing The Quran إن شاء الله و بعونه, and reading in the salah, what I have recently memorized, greatly helps me retain the verses.

Thank you in advance for your response, جزاكم الله خيرا.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this finds you in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.

According to the more famous position of the Hanafi school, the position of Imam Abu Hanifa, it is not permitted to hold the mushaf during the prayer nor recite from it.

Classically the jurists give two reasons to explain this position:

(1) holding the mushaf, looking at it, and turning the pages is considered to be excessive action which is invalidating, and

(2) taking from the mushaf is akin to taking from another person [outside of the prayer] or to learning, which too is a foreign, invalidating action.

The Exception

The only exception would be in taking from a mushaf wherein one is relying upon their own memorization (hifz) and merely supporting it by looking at the mushaf, without holding it.

Though it would seem that this would not apply to the one who could not recite the selected verses were it not for the mushaf being open in front of him. Thus, such a person would not be considered to be a hafiz of them (i.e. somebody who has memorized them).

The Position of the Two Companions

The other position is held by the two companions of Imam Abu Hanifa, Qadi Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani. They said that it is in fact permitted to hold and recite from the mushaf whilst in prayer.

They held that both looking at the mushaf and reciting are acts of worship, and joining between them would not invalidate the prayer.

However, they also affirmed the dislikedness of such an action as it resembles the worship of non-believers.

Turning the Pages of the Mushaf in Prayer

As for turning the pages in the prayer, this would be permitted as long as you can do so without excessive movement which invalidates the prayer.

Excessive movement is movement such that were an onlooker to see you at that moment, they would not consider you to be in prayer.

See also: Can New Muslims Hold the Qur’an and Recite from It During Prayer? and: Reciting From a Copy of the Qur’an (Mushaf) in Tarawih and Other Prayers

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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