Rules Pertaining to the Mistakes of the Quran Reciter in Salah



بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

باب زلة القاري


الإصباح على نور الإيضاح

 لشيخ الفقه والأَدب مولانا محمد إعزاز علي الديوبندي رحمه الله

The Chapter of the Mistakes of the Qari (Quran Reciter) [in Salah]

[This is a translation of باب زلة القاري from the haashiyah of ‘Nurul Idhaah‘, ‘Al-Isbaah‘ by the great Faqeeh and Adeeb, Maulana Muhammad E’zaaz Ali Deobandi (رحمه الله). Maulana took this discussion from Imam Tahtawi’s ‘Hashiyah’ on ‘Maraqil Falaah’. He then added an introduction to it and some footnotes with very important examples for clarification purposes. All of these have been translated in this piece. All the footnotes are from Maulana except the ones with ‘Translator’s Note’ at the end. Anything mentioned in between the square brackets [] are from the translator for clarification purposes.]

The Muhasshi, [Maulana I’zaaz Ali Al-Deobandi] said:

Indeed I have seen the rules pertaining to the mistakes of the Quran Reciter to be from the most important of matters in which knowledge is required. People are generally ignorant or negligent of these rules. I have found what is in ‘[Hashiyah] Tahtawi’ on ‘Maraqi [-l-Falaah]’ to be the most detailed on this discussion. I have added it to this book keeping in mind those who are treading the path of guidance and refraining from the paths of desires, so that it can be a guard for me from the Fire and a means of attaining Paradise, and to be a means of predominance on my scales when they are light and upon Him do I rely.

[The great Hanafi Faqeeh, Allamah Ahmed ibn Muhammad] Tahtawi[1] has said:

            The mistakes of the Quran Reciter are from the most important of rules.[2] This science is based on laws which stem from differences of opinion. Contrary to what is predominantly thought and misunderstood by people, that it doesn’t have rules on which it is based.

            The principle regarding this science according to Imam Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on him) is that [any mistake in recitation which causes] the meaning [of the verse] to change drastically, causes the Salah to break.[3] If it does not change drastically, the Salah will not break[4] in all situations, whether the [altered] word is present in the Quran or not.[5]

            According to Imam Abu Yusuf (may Allah have mercy on him), if the word he is mixing up or exchanging is present in the Quran the Salah does not break, in all situations, whether the meaning is changed drastically or not. If the word is not found in the Quran the Salah breaks in all situations. Furthermore, iraab (vowels –َ-ِ-ُ) is by no means considered in the view of Abu Yusuf (if done mistakenly).

            The place of difference in terms of i’raab between Abu Yusuf and Muhammad is regarding making mistakes in them or forgetting them. If a change in i’raab is made intentionally, then both agree that the prayer breaks by it in all situations, once it is from (the changes) which break the Salah. However if it is a praise (thanaa) it will not break even though he may of intended it, as mentioned by Ibn Amir Haaj.

In this discussion there are some rules.

            The First Rule: Mistakes in I’raab (الإعراب):

The following comes under this category:

  1. The lightening of the letter with a shaddah on it (تخفيف المشدد)[6]
  2. And the opposite (تشديد المخفف)[7]
  3. Also the shortening of the letter with madd (قصرالممدود)
  4. And the opposite (مد المقصور)
  5. And leaving out of idghaam (فك المدغم)
  6. And its’ opposite.
  • In all of these cases, if the meaning does not change by the alteration (of the reciter), his Salah is not broken by consensus, as mentioned in ‘Al-Mudhmaraat’.
  • If the meaning changes like in ﴾وَإذِ ابْتَلى إبْرَاهِيْمَ رَبُّه﴿ with a rafa’ (-ُ) on “إِبْرَاهِيمُ”and nasab (-َ) on “رَبَّهُ”the correct opinion of both the Imams is that it invalidates [the Salah].[8]
  • However based on analogy of the principle of Abu Yusuf, it does not invalidate the prayer. This is because i’raab is not considered. Fatwa is given on this.

The later scholars, such as Muhammed Ibn Muqatil, Muahmmad Ibn Salaam, Ismail Al Zahid, Abu Bakr Said Al Balkhi, Hinduwaani, Ibn Fadhl and Halwaani, are in agreement that any mistake with regard to i’raab does not break the Salah in all situations, even if the belief in that statement is kufr.[9] This is because most people do not differentiate between the different implications of i’raab.[10] In pursuing the course of taking the right opinion concerning i’raabs, difficulties are placed on people. Such difficulties are alleviated in Shariah. This principle is used in ‘Al-Khulassah’ and he said: “In ‘An-Nawazil’ it is mentioned that it does not break in all situations and the fatwa is given on this.”

            And it is befitting that this stance is taken when error in i’raab is committed by:

  1. A mistake or a slip of the tongue and he does not realize or intend it,
  2. Or he intended it in the case where the meaning is not changed drastically, like a nasab (-َ) on “الرَّحْمَـٰنَ” in ﴾الرَّحْمَـٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَىٰ﴿.
  • If however he purposely made the mistake and the meaning is changed considerably, or belief in that statement is kufr, the invalidation (of his Salah), in such a situation, is the least of his concerns.[11] The fatwa is given on Imam Abu Yusuf’s opinion.

            As for the removal of the shaddah (-ّ) on a letter that possess one, like if ﴾إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ﴿ or ﴾رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴿ were to be read with lightening (إِيَاكَ) or (رَبِ), the later scholars have said that it does not break in all situations, without any exemption, according to the correct opinion. This is because leaving out a madd or a tashdeed is at the level of a mistake in i’raab as mentioned in ‘[Fatawa] Qadhi Khan’. This is the most correct (view) as stated in ‘Al-Mudhmaraat’. Similarly it is noted in ‘Addhakhirah’ that this is the correct opinion, says Ibn Ameer Haaj.

            The ruling of making a mukhaffaf (light letter) heavy (تشديد المخفف) is the same as its’ opposite, in terms of opinions and explanations. Likewise, doing ith-haar (إظهار) on a word with idghaam (إدغام) and its opposite, all of these are of one type, as is mentioned in ‘Al-Halabi’.

            The Second Rule: In starting (الابتداء) and stopping (الوقف) in other than their correct places.

 [Stopping or Starting in the middle of a verse][12]

  1. If the meaning does not change (by starting in the middle of a verse or stopping in the middle of one), the Salah does not break according to consensus of the early and later scholars.
  2. If the meaning changes, this is where the differences arise. Fatwa is given on it not becoming void in all situations. This is said by the majority of our Scholars from the later period. This is because, in considering stopping (waqf) and continuing (wasl) (a criteria for breaking Salah) places people under hardship, especially the general people. And difficulties are removed, as mentioned in ‘Addhakhirah’, ‘As-Sirajiyyah’ and ‘An-Nisaab’. It is also mentioned in ‘An-Nisaab’, if any given person were not to make waqf while reciting the entire Quran, the Salah would not break according to us.
  • [Stopping or Starting in the middle of a word]

            As for the ruling in regards to stopping in the middle of words, like if someone wanted to read اَلْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ and he just says اَلْ, so he stops at the ل or at the ح or at the م, or he wants to read وَالْعَادِيَاتِ and he reads وَالْعَا, and stops at the ع because he ran out of breath or he forgot the rest of it, then he completes it or he jumps to another verse, then the majority of Scholars are of the opinion that it does not break in all situations , even if the meaning changes due to necessity and general affliction or hardship as is mentioned in ‘Addhakhirah’, and that is most correct, as Abu Layth has mentioned.

            The Third Rule: A letter is placed in the place of another:

  1. If the word does not leave from being amongst the words mentioned in the Quran, and the meaning that was meant does not change by it, it does not break, like if “إِنَّ الظَّالِمُونَ” [instead of “الظَّالِمِينَ”] was read with a و for rafa, or he said “وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا دَحَاهَا” in place of “طَحَاهَا”.
  2. If by this alteration in letter the word leaves from being amongst the words of the Quran but the meaning is not changed by it, it does not break according to Imams Abu Hanifah and Muhammad.
    • Abu Yusuf disagrees, like if “قَيَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ” was read in place of “قَوَّامِينَ”, or “دَوَّارًا” in place of “دَيَّارًا”.
  3. Lastly, if by this alteration in letter the word does not leave from being amongst the words of the Quran but the meaning changes, then the difference of opinion is opposite, like if “وَأَنتُمْ خَامِدُونَ” was read in place of “سَامِدُونَ”.

There are other rulings according to the later scholars that we have not mentioned. We have sufficed upon what has been mentioned, due to it being applicable to all scenarios as opposed to the rulings of the later scholars.[13]

Know that no one has the right to make analogy based on the rules of zallatul qaari [mistakes of the reciter] except he who has knowledge of the Arabic language, (ma’aani) rhetoric and other such expertise which assist in tafsir, as mentioned in ‘Munyatul Musalli’ and ‘An-Nahr’.

And the best of those who abridged their speech in regards to this science of zallatul qaari [mistakes of the reciter] is Kamaal [Ibn Humaam] in ‘Zaadul Faqir’, and he said:

“If there is a mistake in terms of i’raab and the meaning is not changed by this mistake like a kasrah (-ِ) in قِوَّاماً, in place of its due fathah (-َ), or a fathah on the baa (ب) of نَعْبَد in place of its dhammah (-ُ)  it will not be considered void. And if it is changed like a nasab (-َ) on the hamzah (ء) of العلماء and a dhammah (-ُ) on the haa (ه) of الله in His, the Most High’s speech, إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّـهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ, it will be considered null and void according to the early scholars. In this regard the later scholars have differed. Ibn Fadhl, Ibn Muqaatil, Abu Ja’far, Halawaani, Ibn Sallaam, Ismail Al-Zahidi say it will not be considered void. The view of these scholars is much more lenient. And if by replacing a letter with another and the meaning does not change like اَيَّاب in place of اَوَّاب, it does not break, but in a narration of Abu Said, it breaks. And that which takes place often in the recitation of some of the Qarwiyyin, Turks and Sudanese in reciting وَيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ by replacing a waw (و) in place of a hamzah (ء), and by adding an extra alif (ا) and laam (ل) of وَالصِّرَاطَ الَّذِيْنَ, then they have clearly stated that in both the above mentioned scenarios the salah does not become void even though the meaning may change.”

And its complete (discussion) is in it, so do refer to it.

And Allah, Glorified and High be He, knows best, and I seek Allah the Most High’s forgiveness. [End of Tahtawi on Maraaqi]

Footnotes of Maulana I’zaaz Ali:

[1] [He was the Mufti of Cairo. He died in the year 1231 AH. Translator’s Note.]

[2] Some Scholars have taken the opinion that the salah will never become invalid by any mistake done by the Quran reciter. He [Zahidi] mentioned it in ‘Al-Qinyah’. It has been related from Abu Qasim Saffaar that if the salah is seen to be permissible from one angle and invalid from another, it will be judged to be invalid out of caution except in the area of Quran recital. This is because there is a general affliction of the people in it. [Tahtawi ala Durr]

[3] It is mentioned in ‘Al-Mudhmaraat’, “If one makes a drastic mistake while reciting in salah then he repeated it again and read it properly, his salah is intact.” Abu Saud said, This (ruling) necessitates that the salah does not break by making a mistake in recitation at all, whether the meaning changes or not, or whether the letter on which the mistake occurred has a similar (word) to it (in the Quran) or not. [Tahtawi ala Durr]

[4] [The original Arabic text was very concise. Maulana I’zaaz Ali explains it in this footnote. However, we have already translated it in a manner that is easily understandable. Translator’s Note.] This is narrowing and extending in order (لف ونشر على الترتيب). Meaning, if the meaning is changed by the qaari’s mistake the salah breaks according to both of them and if not then no. It is not required that the word, which was read, be present in the Quran. [Muhammad I’zaaz Ali. May Allah have mercy on him]

[5] Know that this issue has four scenarios to it. It is either that the mistaken word which was read has a similar word to it in the Quran, or not. These two cases then have two further scenarios. It is either the meaning changed drastically or not. The first is like in the case if someone reads (وَإِبْلِيسَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ) instead of ﴾وَإِدْرِيسَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ﴿{Anbiyaa:58}. The second is like if he read (قُلْ هُوَ اللَّـهُ وَاحِدٌ) instead of ﴾أَحَدٌ﴿ {Ikhlaas:1}. The third is like if he read (هَـٰذَا الْغُبَارِ) instead of  ﴾هَـٰذَا الْغُرَابِ﴿ {Maidah:31}. Similarly if he read (يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِلُ) with a laam (ل) at the end instead of a raa ﴾السَّرَائِرُ﴿ {At-Tariq:9}. The fourth is like if he read (قَيَّامِيْنَ) instead of ﴾قَوَّامِينَ﴿ {Nisaa:135}. When the meaning does not change drastically, the criteria for the salah not becoming invalid is the presence of a similar word like it in the Quran according to Imam Abu Yusuf, while it is having a similar meaning, according to the other two Imams. [Muhammad I’zaaz Ali. May Allah have mercy on him]

[6] He [Kardari] said is ‘Al-Bazzaziyyah’, “If it does not change the meaning like قُتِّلُوا تَقْتِيلًا {Ahzab:61}, it does not break. And if it changes it like بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ {Naas:2}, وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الْغَمَامَ {A’raaf:160} and إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ {Yusuf:53}, then they differ. The majority are of the opinion that it breaks.” And it is mentioned in ‘Al-Fath’ that the majority of the scholars are upon that the leaving out of a madd or tashdeed is like a mistake in i’raab, because of that many of them said invalidation occurs by doing takhfeef in رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ and إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ because إِيَا without a shaddah (-ّ) means the sun. The most correct view is that it does not break, and إِيَّا with a shaddah means that in a rare dialect.

[7] If someone recites أَفَعَيِينَا with a shaddah it does not break. [Muhammad I’zaaz Ali. May Allah have mercy on him]

[8] [By the change of these vowels the meaning of the verse would change drastically. The mistake would cause the verse to mean “When Ibrahim tested his Lord”, while the correct verse is “When His Lord tested Ibrahim”. Translator’s Note:]

[9] Qadhikhan said, “What the later scholars said is more lenient and what the earlier scholars said is more cautious.” [Shaami 2/339]

[10] [For instance a faa’il (doer) gets a rafa’, while a maf’ul (object) gets a nasab. Translator’s Note]

[11] [Meaning if a person intentionally makes an error in the i’raab and it changes the meaning drastically or necessitates disbelief, then this is a form of kufr. So obviously the Salah will break. But the kufr he committed is far worse. Translator’s Note]

[12] He [Kardari] said in ‘Al-Bazzaziyyah’, If starting in a place does not change the meaning drastically it does not break, for example stopping at a shart (condition) before a jazaa (response) and starting at a jazaa, and similarly between a sifah and a mawsuf. And if it changes the meaning like شَهِدَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهْ {Aal-Imran:18}, then begins at إِلَّا هُوَ, it does not break according to most scholars because the masses don’t differentiate. And if he stops at وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ {Al-Baqarah:113} then begins at what comes after, it does not break by consensus.  [Shaami 2/340]

[13] Some of the scholars consider the difficulty of differentiating two letters and the ease. While some consider the closeness of the makhraj and distance of it. However, the branched out rulings are not easily laid out on anything like that. So the best option is to take from the early scholars because of the precision of their rulings and the cautious nature of their opinions. Most of the branched out rulings mentioned in the [books of] Fatawa are based on them. [Shaami 2:339]

[Al-Isbaah ala Nuril Idhaah Pg.238-241 Maktabah Kunoozul Ilm]

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