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Reciting the Qur'an Out of Sequence Various Considerations

05/12/2013 04:08

Published on IslamToday - English (http://en.islamtoday.net)


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Reciting the Qur'an Out of Sequence


Various Considerations
Prayer [1]
Date:
Mon, 11/24/2008
Author:
Sheikh Mus`id b. Sulaymn al-Tayyr [2]
Short Content:
Would we read: "Master of the Day of Judgment, the Beneficent, the Merciful, praise be to
Allah, Lord of all the worlds." ???
Body:
With respect to the recitation of Qur'n, the question of sequence can relate to a two different
concerns.
The first meaning of "sequence" is the sequence of verses being recited on a given
occasion from within a single chapter, or selected from various places in the Qur'n. A
reversal of sequence in this case would mean reading verses of the Qur'n one after another
in a sequence other than the sequence which they appear in the Qur'n.
For example, we can consider the first three verses of Srah al-Ftihah. The proper sequence
of these verses is as follows: "Praise be to Allah, Lord of All the worlds, the beneficent, the
merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment."
A reversal of this sequence would be: "Master of the Day of Judgment, the Beneficent, the
Merciful, praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds."
There can be no question that this manner of reciting the Qur'n is forbidden. It is a corruption
of the text and alters the meaning of what is being said, sometimes far more drastically than
in the example above.
Ibn Mas`d, the eminent Companion, when asked about someone who reads the Qur'n out
of order, said: "His heart is out of order." [Musannaf `Abd al-Razzq (7947) and Musannaf Ibn
Ab Shaybah (30298) with a sound chain of transmission]
The second meaning of "sequence" is the sequence of chapters as they appear in the
written Qur'n. Reversing the sequence in this case means reading different chapters of the
Qur'n right after each other, in their entirety, but in a different order than the order in which
they appear in the Qur'n.
For example, the last three short chapters of the Qur'n appear in the following order: alhttp://en.islamtoday.net/print/3406

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Reciting the Qur'an Out of Sequence Various Considerations

05/12/2013 04:08

Ikhls , al-Falaq, and al-Ns. Therefore, a person who reads al-Ns, followed by al-Falaq,
followed by al-Ikhls, is reading these chapters in a different order.
There have been a few scholars who have objected to this practice. They construed Ibn
Mas`d's censure "His heart is out of order." To refer to reading the chapters of the Qur'n out
of sequence. However, most scholars regard Ibn Mas`d's statement to refer to re-arranging
the verses of the Qur'n, not to the recitation of full chapters.
The idea that there is no objection to reading full chapters of the Qur'n in a different order is
supported by considerable evidence. For one thing, in Ibn Mas`d's personal manuscript of
the Qur'n, the chapters were arranged in a different order than the order of chapters we find
established in the Uthmani manuscript. This supports the idea that Ibn Mas`d meant the
order of the verses of the Qur'n when he made his statement, not the sequence of chapters.
Moreover, it is authentically established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited alBaqarah (chapter 2), followed by al-Nis' (chapter 4), followed by Al `Imrn (chapter 3).
Hudhayfah b. al-Yamn relates in Sahh Muslim (772):
One night, I observed prayer along with the Prophet (peace be upon him). He first
read al-Baqarah. I thought he would bow after the 100th verse, but he continued
standing until he had read it in full. I thought that he would bow at this time, but he
started reading al-Nis' and read it in full. Then he began Al `Imrn and read it in
full.
He read at a leisurely pace. Whenever he arrived at a verse glorifying Allah, he
would glorify Allah. When he arrived at a verse beseeching Allah, he would
beseech. When he arrived at a verse regarding taking refuge with Allah, he would
seek Allah's refuge.
This is strong evidence in favor of reading the chapters of the Qur'n in any order. Indeed, the
practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would seem more than sufficient evidence that it
is permissible to do so. However, those scholars who regard it as impermissible have a
counter-argument. They suggest that the event narrated by Hudhayfah took place before the
end of Prophet's life when he received the revelation showing him the final sequence that the
Qur'n's chapters would take.
This objection is very weak. Had this been the case, we should have some clear textual
evidence that some re-ordering of the Qur'n's chapters occurred. There is no evidence that
the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever commanded his Companions to rearrange the
chapters in a certain way. Likewise, there is no evidence that he ever commanded them to
read the chapters in a certain order and not vary their sequence.
Therefore, the matter remains one of permissibility, especially when we have evidence that
the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited the chapters of the Qur'n in a different order.
Moreover, we have the following account in Sunan al-Tirmidh (2901) narrated by Anas b.
Mlik:
A native of Madinah was leading the prayers in the Quba Mosque. Whenever he
commenced reading the Qur'n, he would precede his chapter of choice by
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Reciting the Qur'an Out of Sequence Various Considerations

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reading "Say, He is Allah, the One" (al-Ikhls). Then he would go and read
some other chapter.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) visited that mosque, they informed him of
this man's practice. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) went and asked the man:
"What is it that makes you recite this chapter in each and every unit of prayer?"
The man said: "I love it." The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: "Your love
for it will bring you admittance into Paradise.
Al-Ikhls is at the very end of the Qur'n. There are only two short chapters al-Falaq and alNs that come after it. The fact that this man read al-Ikhls in each unit of prayer and
followed it by another chapter means that he must have often read a chapter that preceded alIkhls in sequential order. We can see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) upheld and
approved of the man's practice. This is evidence that it is perfectly alright reading the chapters
of the Qur'n in a different sequence.
It has been the practice of the Muslims from the very beginning has been to teach their
children the chapters of the Qur'n in reverse order, starting with the short, easily-memorized
chapters at the end of the Qur'n before going on to the much longer chapters at the
beginning. If there had been something wrong with this practice, it would not have been so
universally adopted by the Muslims.
There is a final problem with the opinion that it is obligatory to read the chapters of the Qur'n
in a particular sequence. It necessitates that the order of chapters be known to all the
Muslims. This might not seem like much of a problem today. However, the majority of the
early Muslims did not have knowledge of the order of chapters until after `Uthmn had the text
of the Qur'n copied and distributed.
Before then, the Companions read the Qur'n from memory and from their own written copies
of the various chapters which were not always organized according to the sequence of
chapters as set forth in the `Uthmn manuscripts. They simply read the Qur'n as they had
heard it from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Only after `Uthmn had the Qur'n widely
circulated in written form according to the manuscript held by Hafsah, the order of the
chapters become known to, and accepted by, everyone.
And Allah knows best.
Prayer
Source URL: http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow-384-3406.htm
Links:
[1] http://en.islamtoday.net/artlist-10-384.htm
[2] http://en.islamtoday.net/author-361.htm

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