Previously Asked Questions
Qur'an Questions:

> i have a continous worry that when i go to pick up an islamic book i
> either get bored or just don;t want to read it, i am very islamic in my
> life and don't want my iman to drop.
> Please could you suggest books for me to read that are eye openers

The book you are looking for which will increase your iman is the Qur'an.

This is what you should do if you do not understand Arabic:

a) Get a copy of the Qur'an in Arabic written alongside with the
English/French translation (or whatever language you understand).
b) Recite about one or two pages every day. Make this a habit.
c) The way you want to recite is: recite one verse in Arabic and
then immediately after reading that verse, read the English
translation. (Although this may seem hard at first. You will
learn better this way - rather than reading a long section in
Arabic and then reading the long translation of this section).
d) Go in order. Start from the Fatihah and make your way to al-Nas
day by day. It should take you about one year to finish the
Qur'an this way.
e) We guarantee you that after the finish the Qur'an four times
(after four years of continuous reciting the Arabic with its
meaning) this way, you will understand the Arabic and the
Qur'an will serve as a sufficient guide for you. The Qur'an
will be your rope and the recitation of the Qur'an will open
your heart and make firm your faith.

The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) said about the
Qur'an in a hadith which recorded in Tirmidhi:

"There will be much confusion and turmoil [in the future]. ...
and the way out of this confusion/turmoil is [recitation/practicing]
the Book of Allah. Indeed in it [i.e. the Qur'an] is the history
of those who were before you. And in it [i.e. the Qur'an] is the
news of those after you [i.e. future events]. And in it is the
ruling for the current situations you find yourselves in.

And the Qur'an is a decisive word and not a light joke. Whichever
tyrant turns against it (leaves it), Allah breaks his backbone. And
whoever seeks guidance in other than it, Allah leads him astray.

The Qur'an is Allah's firm rope. And the Qur'an is a book
(remembrance) of wisdom. And the Qur'an is the Straight Path.
People's caprices/desires cannot alter it. And people's tongues
cannot mess it up. The scholars are never bored by reading it [as
they discover new meanings in it each time]. And the Qur'an does
not become "old" and "worn" by repeatedly reciting it. Its wonders
never end. And this is the Qur'an that the Jinn said about
"Indeed we have heard a wondrous recitation. It guides to the right
path so we have believed in it." [surah Jinn].

Whoever speaks by quoting its verses has told the truth. Whoever acts
according to it is given a reward. And whoever decides legal cases
with it has done justice. And whoever calls to it is guided to the
Straight Path."

[{Tirmidhi, the merits of the Qur'an, what has come about the
merit of the Qur'an, hadith #2831}]

> Can you recommend a Qur'anic tafsir for non-Arabic speakers?

The book we recommend as a Qur'anic tafsir is the recent one
that summarized the most famous tafsirs (e.g., Ibn Kathir, Tabari,
Qurtubi, etc.).

The Book is called "The Noble Qur'an".  We recommend the 1 volume
abridged version for beginners and not the 9 volume full version.
The authors/compilers of this book are: Dr. Muhsin Khan &
Dr. Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali

The late Dr. Taqi ud-Din al-Hilali had studied under shuyukh of
Qarawayeen University in Morocco.

Here is a link for your convenience (no endorsement intended):

This recommendation is not meant to undercut the value of other
Quranic explanation works, such as that of Yusuf `Ali (who gets
the credit for being the first person to write a reliable/semi-reliable
explanation of the Qur'an in the English language).

> Can you recommend a Qur'anic tafsir for Arabic speakers/readers?

There is a tafsir which is very useful for advanced students
which summarizes the major views of the previous mufassirin
who examined the Qur'an from both a dirayah (rational analysis)
and riwayah (rote narration) view.

This Tafsir is called "al-Fath al-Qadir" and is listed as
FQ in the Notes of Sources.

Please note that there is controversy surrounding the beliefs
of the author (i.e. Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Muhammad al-Shawkani),
but we believe those attacks are mostly exaggerated and are
promoted by people who are offended by his harsh refutations
of the views of certain past scholars [As a side note, it is
never a wise idea to be harsh against particular named individuals
in one's teachings and because this particular author neglected this
point of adab, Allah has enshrouded his otherwise magnificient
works in controversy.]

In the end, we recommend this tafsir to all advanced students
of the Qur'an due the fact that the author has summarized
many thousands of volumes in just five volumes.  The work
is outstanding for this reason and for his clarity in arrangement
and wording.

As for beginners who know how to read Arabic, we recommend that
they memorize (become very closely acquainted with) the Tafsir
al-Jalalayn before wading through the more elaborate tafasir
available (e.g., al-Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, al-Zamakhshari, Ibn Juzayy
al-Kalbi, Baydaawi, etc.).  That way they will know the core
points of the explanation from the non-essential elaborations.

> During wajib prayers, is there a difference/preference as to
> the number of pauses made when reciting the Fatihah? So for
> example, pausing after reciting each of the seven verses, or
> pausing only three times, as in the Warsh and Qaloon recitations?
> The footnote to line 12:425 of the guiding helper says "As for
> "Bismillahi r-rahmani r-rahim"", it is not part of the Fatihah.
> Why then is it labelled as a verse in some (but not all) copies
> of the Qur'an?

We would say that as long as your pauses do not alter the meaning
of the Arabic words, the Fatihah is accepted even if read with
more pauses than is conventional.


   [GH Explanatory footnote 1247 and associated entries in the
    Notes of Sources].

As for uttering Bismillah before the Fatihah in wajib prayers,
it is disliked according to the popular opinion in the Maliki school.
Other Islamic scholars such as Imam Shafi'i have considered it a
mandatory part of the Fatihah while other scholars such as
Imam Abu Hanifah have considered it as a recommended part of
the Fatihah.  This is why you see the difference in the mushafs.

   [GH Explanatory footnote(s) 983-984 and associated entries
    in the Notes of Sources].

> Furthermore, when one is reciting Qur'an in general, is there
> a preference for pausing after each verse of a Surah or after
> each full sentence?

It has been the practice of most reciters to pause after each verse.
However, doing so is not mandatory as long as it does not change the

One of the things you have to realize at this point, before reading
further is that the wajibs of prayer are very few compared to the
optional acts.  For example, not raising one's hand when going into
bowing is an optional act and making only one salam (instead of two)
for the imam is an optional act.  None of these acts are considered
obligatory in the Maliki school.

  GH Songs 14, 15, 16, and 17 and associated entries in the Notes of

> Can you explain which parts of the written Qur'an were present
> during the Prophet's life (May Allah bless him and give him)?

As far as the Qur'an is concerned, you should understand that
many aspects of your mushaf are not part of the original Qur'an
written by the Prophet's scribe Zayd ibn Thabit. These additions
were added by the later scholars to make the Qur'an easier to read and
locate sections in.

If you want to know what is the actual part of the Qur'an
that the Prophet left us you should do the following:

a) erase all the dots (e.g., dots above and below the letters
such as ba', fa, qaf, etc)
b) erase all the vowel marks (e.g., fathah, kasrah, sukun,
alif maqsurah, etc.)
c) erase all the verse numbers (e.g., the circled numbers found
at the end of the lines)
d) erase all the sectional (hizb) marks.
e) erase the stop signs (e.g., saad)
f) erase the sajdah signs
g) erase the other recitation cues (e.g., saktah, etc.)

If you do that, you will be left with the bare Qur'an text that
the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give us peace) left us.

Then, you should try to recite this bare Qur'an text without the
additions above. You will find that you are able to recite it
in different ways without altering the meaning significantly.
And this is why there are different readings: The companions
of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) used to
recite the Qur'an in slightly different ways and the Prophet
approved of it saying that the Qur'an was revealed in multiple ("seven")
dialects and the person could choose the one that was the easiest
for him.

> Thank you for a reply to a recent question I asked, and
> thank you for inviting me to ask further questions on what
> troubles me, although as always I remember that you
> reserve the right not to reply.
> I had asked about different recitations of the Noble Qur'an and
> although I appreciate what you said about this subject belonging
> to the deeper layers of knowledge, it is precisely this which causes
> me to write to you; the average Muslim does not know the answers
> to my questions. Furthermore, it worries me that the average Muslim
> I ask does not seem too bothered personally about answers to my
> questions. Sometimes I regret being so inquisitive and wish I didn't
> worry about the issues that bother me. For example, you described
> what the original mushafs written by the Messenger's (PBUH) scribe
> and contemporaries looked very bare, and that was the reason for
> different recitations. Yes, I have seen examples of this early writing
> and like you say, it is possible to read it in several ways. But I find
> myself thinking things like: which was the way the Prophet (PBUH)
> recited himself?

It is provable that ten modes of recitation of the Holy Qur'an are
traceable directly back to the Prophet (May Allah bless him and
give him peace).  Of these ten, seven are still preserved and taught
in the Muslim world.  (The other three which are no longer taught
did not differ significantly from the recitations which are currently
alive.  In other words, the three which are currently not taught are
preserved through one of the other seven.)

The seven which are preserved are:  (a) Abu `Amr, (b) Nafi` (Warsh),
(c) `Asim (Hafs), (d) Hamzah, (e) kisa'i, (f) ibn Kathir, and
(g) ibn `Amir.

These seven are taken from the seven major dialects present in the
Arabian peninsula during the Prophet's (May Allah bless him and
give him peace) life:  (1) al-quraysh, (2) al-hudhayl, (3) al-thaqif,
(4) al-hawazin, (5) al-Kinanah, (6) al-tamim, and (7) al-yaman.

   [UF: volume 1: page 426: line(s) 6-7: {mabhath fi l-qur'an,
    qira'atu sh-shaadhah, before hukm qira'ah al-shaadhah}]

The following primary text excerpt proves that the Prophet (May
Allah bless him and give him peace) actually *taught* multiple
recitations and these are not alterations as some uneducated
contemporary people (mostly non-Muslim have claimed) :

  `Umar ibn al-Khattab was praying behind Hisham ibn Hakim ibn
   Hizam and Hisham was reciting surah Furqan in a way other
   than what the Prophet had taught `Umar with.  `Umar restrained
   himself but felt like grabbing Hisham right there and then
   and taking him to the Prophet.  When Hisham finished leading
   the formal prayer, `Umar grabbed the collar of his outer garment
   and dragged him to the Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him
   and give him peace) and then `Umar said, "O Messenger of Allah,
   I heard this man [i.e. Hisham] reciting surah Furqan in a way
   other than what you taught me."

   The Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and give him peace)
   said, "Release him and let him recite."  Hisham then recited
   as he did before in the formal prayer.  And the Messenger
   of Allah (May Allah bless him and give him peace) replied,
   "This is [a way] how the Qur'an was revealed."  Then the
   Messenger of Allah said to `Umar, "Now, you recite [in your
   way]."  `Umar then recited [in a different way] and the
   Messenger of Allah replied, " This is [a way] how the Qur'an
   was revealed.  Indeed the Qur'an was revealed in seven
   dialects [ahruf]; so, you may recite it in any one of these ways
   that is easy for you."

   [{Sahih Muslim, prayer of the travelers, explanation that the
     Qur'an was revealed in seven dialects}]

> A particular way, or all the different (hundreds of them?) ways?
> If I read a word a different way to ! the Prophet, doesn't this mean
> it's not from Allah? If reading the script differently really is fine,
> what about if I wanted to read it in my "own" my?

If a way of recitation has been handed down from the Prophet
(May Allah bless him and give him peace) via an authentic
connected chain of scholars, it is permissible to recite in the
formal prayers and in public in front of other people.  Please
note that there are only seven ways for which we have connected
chains of transmission today.  There are people in the Muslim
world (e.g., in the Masjid al-Rasif in Fez) who know all seven
modes and have connected chains of transmission through
all seven modes.

If a mode of recitation can be traced back to the Prophet (May Allah
bless him and give him peace), it is known as "authentic".  If
a mode of recitation can only be traced back to a Companion
of the Prophet it is known as "deviant" (shaadh).  It is permissible
to recite deviant modes but not in the formal prayer nor out
in front of the general public.

If a mode of recitation cannot be traced back to the Prophet nor
any of his Companions, it is "false", "fabricated", or a "mistake".
If one recites in a "false" way, one should not consider
that this is the Qur'an.  It is not the Qur'an, it is just a mistake
in recitation.

As a side note, all seven accepted ways of reading conform to
the bare Qur'an text (without the dots and vowel marks).

   [UF: {mabhath fi l-qur'an, qira'atu sh-shaadhah]

> What if I wanted to mix elements of Hafs with Warsh for
> example and make up a new reading?

You may mix recitations outside of the formal prayer when
reciting to yourself.  But it is Shiekh `Ali Filali's view
that each formal prayer can only have one type of recitation
in it.

In the case that you mix the recitations, you should know that
what you have produced is no longer traceable via an oral
chain of scholars back to the Prophet (May Allah bless him
and give him peace).  Each recitation in its entirety and
in its intricate details is traceable back to the Prophet via
a connected chain of oral reciters.  For example, the chain
for Hafs is:

    (a) from Hafs ibn Sulayman ibn al-Mugayrah al-Asadi
    (b) from `Asim ibn Abu al-Najud al-Kufi
    (c) from Abu `Abd al-Rahman `Abdullah ibn Habib al-Sumali
    (d) from `Uthman ibn `Affan and also `Ali ibn `Abu Talib
        and also Zayd ibn Thabit (the Prophet's scribe)
        and also Ubayy ibn Ka`b
    (e) from the Prophet Muhammad May Allah bless him and
        give him peace.

Although these recitations have now been preserved in written
manuscripts, scholars still emphasize that one should learn recitation
of the Qur'an from an authorized scholar with a connected chain
of transmission back to the Prophet (May Allah bless him and
give him peace).

> Also, as I understand it, different mushafs label their verses
> differently because these differences existed amongst the
> Companions. But isn't a verse something from Allah, and
> so there should be agreement about it?

The verse numbers are arbitrary.  Allah did not send down
verse numbers.  He simply sent down a series of phrases or an entire
surah at any one particular point.  The later scholars put the numbers
on the mushaf according to where most people stopped.  I am almost
sure that the verse numbers in both the Hafs and Warsh also post-date
Imam al-Hafs and Imam al-Warsh.

> You are more knowledgeable than I, so I am sorry if these questions
> appear silly to you. When you answer my questions, it feels foolish
> to have asked in the first place, but when I go away and think some
> more, doubts start creeping into my thinking again :-( I imagine this
> is the work of Satan.

For every one of your doubts, there is an answer to vanquish that
doubt.  However, the way of the true student is not to linger in
one stage for too long.  The stage you are at (the stage of doubts
and questioning) is not the ultimate potential of a human being.
There is much road ahead if you are willing to persevere.
If you keep forging ahead, you will reach the ultimate reality
(haqiqah) that the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him
peace) brought and taught us.  And in this stage of ultimate reality,
questions and doubts will cease as you will have transcended the
bounds (limits) of the human intellect.

In short, using the human intellect (through subject-predicate thought)
is not considered by our scholars to be the highest human ability.
Yes.  Using the intellect is higher than many other
things (e.g., following desires or emotions), but it is not the
end of all pursuits.

> Can you explain the concept of abrogation (naskh) concerning
> the Quranic text?

As for abrogation, the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him
peace) simply did what Allah told him. So when Allah told him to
remove or change the wordings on a verse, he did that. All the
Qur'ans we have today are exactly identical in terms of which verses
were abrogated and which were not. This proves that the Prophet
(May Allah bless him and give him peace) finalized and ratified
a complete copy of the Qur'an with all the verses that were
abrogated removed or changed and all the verses which were not
were still in their place.

[Please note that this above excerpt explains the "bigger" type of
abrogation in which a verse is completely removed or changed. There
is no disagreement among our scholars about this type of abrogation.
There is another type of abrogation in which the verse is not changed
nor removed from the Qur'an, but its interpretation had been explicitly
changed or its ruling was superceded by a later verse. This second
type of abrogation is a "lesser" type of abrogation and there is much
disagreement among the scholars about the details of this "lesser"
type of abrogation as it is not so easy to establish from isolated
hadith that a verse was revealed at a date later than another verse.
And this disagreement about the "lesser" type of abrogation is one
of the reasons that different schools of Jurisprudence sprouted up. One
should not find this disagreement odd or strange, but any similar
work even today (part of which is abrogated and part of which is not
without clearly specifying which part is abrogated and which part is
not) would cause similar disagreements. (As a side note, this is why
comprehensive coherent Books like the Guiding Helper are helpful since
one does not need to worry about some parts being abrogated.)]

  al-Zarkushi's Burhan Fi `Ulum al-Qur'an

> I could not find the section in the GH for the places in the Qur'an
> that one must prostrate at could you please give me some guidance
> on this? Also, could you please explain the conditions and
> method (wajib, mandub and prohibited, etc.) of sajdah at-tilawah?

The rulings and locations for sajdah al-tilawah are given in
footnote 516 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper.

Sajdah al-tilawah is a less-stressed sunnah in the Maliki school
- and only for people who are pure while reciting or listening to
the verses.

This ruling is easier than the rulings in other madhahib (e.g., Hanafi)
which label sajdah al-tilawah as a wajib.

Sujud al-tilawah may be optionally performed during the formal
prayer to get credit for a less-stressed.

There are only eleven places in the Qur'an for which Imam Malik
has encouraged sujud al-tilawah.  Thus, there are about three
or four fewer places marked for sujud.  If one is praying behind
a Hanafi/Shafi`i imam (for instance in the taraweeh prayer) and
the imam performs sujud for an ayah for which there is no sujud
in the Maliki school, one may either keep standing or go into
sujud with him (but if one goes into sujud with him, it is preferable
that one perform two mandub prostrations after the salam for
adding some actions).

This above ruling is a dispensation, the strict Maliki ruling would
state that one keeps standing and not follow the imam in his
extra unnecessary sujud.

  [QF: volume 1: page 82: line(s) 2-3: {book 2, chapter 30, section 1,

> I have a pile of papers that have the Quranic verses on
> them. I was told that it was bad adab to throw them away, but
> rather they should be burned or have the ink soaked off them.
> Neither of these are practical, and the pile is getting quite
> big. Is it a sin to throw them away?

There are two established methods to get rid of *Arabic* words
(not English transliteration or translation) from the Qur'an:

    a) Burning them
    b) Washing the ink off with water or another solvent.

    This is taken from the Prophet's actual recommendations.
    And also `Umar's act of throwing a letter with
    an Arabic verse on it into the Nile river commanding it to
    obey him.  And also `Uthman's act of burning shreds on
    which the Qur'an was written after it had been compiled
    in a book form (to deter later alterations of those

    After studying the method used to recycle paper in the West
    (which involves washing the ink off and shredding to produce
    new pulp), we have given the opinion that one may recycle
    pages with Arabic words on them taken from the Qur'an.

    Thus, you may place them in a clean paper recycling container.

    It is a sad fact though that many daily/weekly/monthly
    publications include Arabic verses in them when it is fully
    known that they will eventually be discarded.  It is our
    recommendation to those that produce such throw-away
    publications to write the transliteration or translation
    of the verses instead.  Writing Arabic Qur'anic verses
    in written works should be reserved for long-standing


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