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Ruling on Learning Maqaamaat and Using them in Reciting the Quran

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the ruling of Sharia on learning the Maqaamaat (melodic tunes and sounds) and reciting the Quran according to them?

Answer:

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

The Maqaamaat or melodic modes/tunes are kinds of tunes or melodies used by musicians and singers. Those who specialize in that art have classified the tunes by specific rhythms and called them Maqaamaat. Al-Farahidi was the first scholar to subject the prosody of Classical Arabic poetry to a detailed phonological analysis. This is not an invented science; rather it was compiled by studying and listening to the tunes of people. With regard to the modes compiled by musicologists, there are six modes. 

Scholars have differed regarding the use of these Maqaamaat in reciting the Quran, however, we-Iftaa` Department-follow the view of Al-Shafie (May Allah have mercy on him). According to him, if the Maqaamaat are used to improve recitation, beautify the voice of the reciter, involve sophistication or imitation of the Maqaamaat and the tunes of immoral singing, don`t dominate the rules of recitation, don`t change the meaning for the sake of beautifying the voice when reciting the Quran, then this is permissible. 

It is stated in {Hashiyat Ar-Ramli Al-Kabeer ala Asna Al-Matalib Shareh Rawd At-Talib, V.4:344}:"A group of scholars permitted melodious recitation of the Quran while others banned it. According to Ar-Ramli, "If such recitation didn`t change the letters` utterance then it is permissible but if it did then it isn`t permissible. Ad-Darimi said: "Melodious recitation is recommended unless it changes the letters` utterance; in which case it becomes prohibited."

Ibn Hajar says, "Based on the evidence available in this regard, one is required to make his/her voice beautiful when reciting the Quran. If the voice isn`t beautiful, one is required to beautify it as much as he/she can……" {Fateh Al-Bari Shareh Sahih Al-Bukhari, V.9:72}.

Ibn Katheer (May Allah have mercy on him) said, "What is required from an Islamic viewpoint is beautifying the voice when reciting the Quran leading to meditation and humbleness. As for the new tunes/melodies that distract the reciter, the Quran is too exalted for such nonsense."

In conclusion, if using the Maqaamat helps beautify one`s voice when reciting the Quran and pronounce letters according to their right place of articulation, while preserving the glory of the Quran, then this is permissible. And Allah the Almighty knows best.

 

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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