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Home » Qur'aan And Commentary

Taking Money for Reciting the Quran is not Permissible, while it is Allowed for Teaching it

Some of those who memorize the Quran in Morocco, earn their living by reciting it. Whenever there is a banquet they attend to read the Quran without contemplating its meaning nor respecting its recitation. They attend such parties only to collect money and charitable gifts from people who accept the blessing. After collecting these gifts, they divide it amongst themselves while poor people do not receive anything from it. What is the ruling of Islamic law on this charity which they collect and divide amongst themselves, and the recitation which they use? I read that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: He who uses the Quran to earn his living, will come on the Day of Resurrection with a bony face. i.e. no flesh on it. Is this Hadith authentic? And What is the meaning of the following Verse: Say, I do not ask you for a reward. [1]

First, the recitation of the Quran is a sheer ritual, and a means of seeking nearness to Allaah. The Muslim is supposed to fulfil these rituals for the sake of Allaah, and His reward. One should not expect a reward nor appreciation from fellow humans. It was never reported that the Pious Predecessors hired someone to read Quran in their parties. Nor was it reported that one of them charged money for reciting the Quran neither in a joyful occasion or otherwise. Rather, they read the Book of Allaah being desirous of what He has prepared for them. The Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) ordered the reader of the Quran to ask Allaah by it, and warned him against begging. At-Tirmithi narrated in his Sunan that Imran bin Husain passed by a preacher, who after he finished preaching started begging. Imran said: I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) say: Whoever recites the Quran should petition Allaah by it, for there will come a people who will recite the Quran and then ask the people (for money for it). [2] As for taking money for teaching it, or reading it for healing or for the purpose of benefiting others is permissible according to authentic Hadiths. Of such is the Hadith of Abu Said when he took a herd of sheep for healing somebody by reciting Surah Al-Fatihah. And the Hadith of Sahl when the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) married a man to a woman and considered her dowry teaching her the Quranic chapters the man memorised. Therefore, he who charges money for reciting the Quran, or hires people to do so, opposes the consensus of the Pious Predecessors, may Allaah grant them mercy. Second: The Quran is the Speech of Allaah, its superiority over the humans speech is like the superiority of Allaah over His creatures. It is the best formula of remembrance. He who recites it must observe its recitations etiquette, that is to listen quietly, and contemplate its meaning, and not to disturb the listeners. Allaah, the Exalted says: When the Quran is being read, listen and keep silent that you may be granted mercy. And remember your Lord in your mind with humility and fear, not with loud voice in the morning and evening, and be not of the heedless. [3] Third: People are of different levels of minds and understanding. Every responsible Muslim must know what is necessary in the religion and the Islamic rulings according to the ability to understand, the time availability, for himself to apply and to teach others. The very first thing one must understand and care for is the Book of Allaah. Whatever he does not understand from it, he should seek the help of Allaah, then consult the scholars, for Allaah does not overburden a slave beyond his capacity. Being unable to understand the Quran after trying his best, he should not stop from reading it, for then there would be no blame on him. The Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: He who is expert in reciting the Quran will be in the company of the honourable, obedient angels, while he who reads the Quran with difficulty shall have double reward. [4] Fourth: It is permissible for a poor person to take from charity that which suffices him and his dependants, but if he is charging money for reading the Quran, or for preaching, or giving such monies for the hope of receiving blessings, or for asking them to supplicate for him is not permissible. This was not the practice of the Muslims during the first three generations for whom the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) vouched for their merits and excellence. Fifth: The meaning of: Say: I do not ask you a reward. [5] Allaah, the Exalted, commanded His messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) to tell his people that he is not seeking rewards or money for conveying to them what was revealed to him from his Lord, and his calling them to worship Allaah alone, and the rest of Islamic laws. Rather, he was commissioned with the role of delivering and clarifying the obeying of his Lord, seeking His pleasure, and expecting reward from Him alone. Thus to eliminate from the minds of the polytheists the suspicion that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) called them to follow him coveting for wealth or position, he clarified that he invited them to the truth purely for the sake of Allaah. This was the case of all the Messengers, may Allaah exalt their mention. They never asked for reward from people for preaching them. As for warning against earning a living by the Quran, it is already mentioned in the first paragraph of the answer. And as for the question about the punishment for doing so, such as a person will come on the Day of Resurrection without flesh on his face. This is certainly a severe threat served to anyone who begs for no valid reason, whether by reading the Quran or otherwise. Abdullah bin Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: One of you would keep begging until he meets Allaah, without a piece of flesh on his face. [6] In another version he said: One would keep begging so that on the Day of Resurrection he would come without a piece of flesh on his face. [7] Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Whoever asks (begs) from people to increase his wealth, he in fact would be asking for live coal. So let him take more fire or less. [8] So whoever asks people by the Quran, the Hadith of Imran bin Husain applies to him if he is poor. But if he is rich then all the threatening of the above-mentioned Hadith applies to him. As for the Hadith which you quoted in your question, we do not recognise its authenticity. And Allaah knows best.

[1] Sad 38:86 [2] At-Tirmithi no. 2917 and Ahmad 4:432 [3] Al-Araf 7:204-205 [4] Muslim no. 798, Ibn Majah no. 3779 and Ahmad 6:98, 170, 266 [5] Al-Furqan 25:57 [6] Muslim no. 1040 and Ahmad 2:15, 88 [7] Al-Bukhari no. 1474 and Muslim no. 1040 [8] Muslim no. 1041, Ibn Majah no. 1838 and Ahmad 2:231

Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts
Fatawa Islamiyah Vol. 1 Page 73
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