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Swaying/rocking whilst reciting

Last updated: 19th July 2005
Question ID: #583
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19th July 2005

Assalamoalaikum I have heard that swaying or rocking while reciting the Quran is imitative of the Jews. Is this true, and if so does this mean that it is reprehensible? Jazakallah Khairun Wassalaam

Ulamaa ID 05
Answer last updated on:
20th July 2005
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 05
Location: Batley, England

In the name of Allah the All- Knowing

To sway or rock from side to side or backwards and forwards is not a Shariah ruling. It is not from the teachings of the Quran or Hadith, but it is done out of the habit of the individual.

Many Ulamaa have said that it is similar to the action of the Jewish form of worship and that we should refrain from doing so. My humble opinion is also of this nature. Ahadith show that to move to sway is not from the Islamic forms of worship.

I will relate an incident which occurred that correlates to the above matter:
Once a non-Muslim teacher came to visit the Maddressa were I teach and on seeing the children moving while reading the Quran, she commented that it is similar to people who dance there bodies in rhythm with music, meaning to say that that the children are moving in rhythm to the Quranic recitation like dancers do. Do we want to portray this kind of image?

Lastly, I will say that a professional optician once said to me that rocking or swaying in this manner while reading is harmful to the eyes and can even weaken them. He made this statement in general but one can easily relate and adapt it to Quranic recitation because as one moves the head and body while reciting, the eyes are fixed to one portion of the Quran and move slowly over the verse read. This uneven motion for the eyes is detrimental. It is better to stay still and recite as one would do so in Salaah. And Rasulullah Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam taught us how to read and achieve tranquility in Salaah by not moving or rocking etc, Inshallah we should try to observe outside of Salaah in Quranic recitation also. To move unnecessarily will also make a person tired and there is a possibility that he will recite less do to this tiredness.

And Allah knows best.