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Related Categories: Qur'aan and Tafseer

Reading the Qur'an for the Sake of Baraka Only Without Acting upon It

22nd December 2014

There is no question that blessings may descend upon the person who reads the Qur'aan - unfortunately, though, as one looks around the Muslim world witnessing people reading the Qur'aan in the Masaajid, seeing the Qur'aan recited to begin meetings and conferences, seeing the Qur'aan recited at wedding ceremonies, seeing the Qur'aan used to begin and end the broadcast day on television or radio, or seeing the Qur'aan recited over the deceased, one gets the strong feeling that the main reason that the Qur'aan is being resorted to today among Muslims is exactly for this purpose: for the sake of getting blessings from the Qur'aan.

There is no doubt that blessings may descend upon a person due to his reading of the Qur'aan. The following hadeeth demonstrates this fact: The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم stated, "Which of you would like to go out every morning to Buthaan or al-'Aqeeq [1] and bring back two camels without committing any sin or cutting the ties of kinship?" We [the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم] said, "We would love to do that." He then said, "Don't you go to the Masjid and teach or read two verses from the Book of Allaah, the Majestic and Glorious, and that is better for the person that two camels; and three [verses] is better for him than three [camels]; and four [verses] is better for him than four [camels] and so on." [2]

Sayyiduna Usaid Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه stated that he was reciting Sooratul-Baqarah at night with his horse tied down next to him. The horse stirred, so he stopped reading and the horse stopped moving. Then he read again and the horse one again jolted. He stopped reading and the horse once again became still. Again he read and the horse stirred. So he stopped reading the horse became calm. He decided to leave because his son Yahya was close to him and he was afraid something might happen to him. The next morning, he told the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about what occurred. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him, "Recite, O Ibn Hudayr." Sayyiduna Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه replied, "But I was afraid for Yahya, O Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, as the horse was close to him, so I raised my head and went to him. When I raised my head and looked toward the sky, I saw a cloud containing what looked like lamps." The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him, "Do you know what that was?" Ibn Hudayr replied, "No." He told him, "Those were angels coming close to your voice. Had you kept reciting till morning, the people would have seen it and they would not have disappeared." [3]

Something similar to what happened to Sayyiduna Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه also happened to Sayyiduna al-Baraa رضي الله عنه. In his case, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him that the cloud he saw was frightening his horse was the tranquility that descends with the reading of the Qur'aan. [4]

Furthermore, there is a special reward for reading the Qur'aan. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Whoever reads a harf [word or letter] of the Book of Allaah shall have a good deed [rewarded for him] and every good deed receives a tenfold [reward]. I do not say that Alif Laam Meem is a harf, but Alif is a harf, Laam is a harf and Meem is a harf." [5]

No one can doubt that this is a true characteristic of reading the Qur'aan that every Muslim must believe in. However, suppose someone reads the Qur'aan just for the sake of reading it and hoping to achieve these blessings. [6]

That is, his sole purpose is to receive the ten rewards for each letter he recites or he is in search of tranquility to come over him. He does not go beyond that mere superficial reading and try to discover what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is asking from him in the Qur'aan. Is such a person actually reading the Qur'aan in the proper manner? Has he understood what the Qur'aan is actually intended for?

Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله includes the person who reads in this nature as someone who is getting nothing from his reading but the movement of his tongue. [7]

How could a person read the verses that discuss, for example, the harm of disobeying Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and not have any feeling of fear in his heart? If a person is reading the Qur'aan in that manner, one cannot even truly say he is reading it, in the sense that if one reads a sign and has not comprehended anything the sign says, then he has not actually read the sign.
Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Maalik رضي الله عنه stated, "Perhaps one is reciting the Qur'aan and the Qur'aan is cursing him." [8]
In other words, he is reading the words of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, such as the following,

"Certainly, the curse of Allaah is upon the wrongdoers." [Soorah Hood, 11:18], while he himself is one of the wrongdoers referred to in the verse due to his lack of applying what he is reading. [9]

Indeed, those who recite the Qur'aan with their tongues only supposedly for the sake of blessings while never taking the time to understand and apply the Qur'aan are very much akin to another people whom Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes in the Qur'aan:

"The similitude of those who were entrusted with the Torah but who subsequently failed in its (obligations) is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (of books but understands them not)." [Sooratul-Jumu'ah, 62:5] [10]

According to 'Abdul-Ghani, the following verses also apply to such complacent readers of the Qur'aan,

"O you who have believed! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allaah that you say that which you do not do." (Sooratus-Saff, 61:2-3)

These verses were revealed blaming those Muslims who said that they wanted to perform the act most beloved to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and yet when the command for Jihaad was revealed, they found it difficult to perform that act although it was beloved to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. 'Abdul-Ghani then asks what must be the situation of the person who reads the Qur'aan and yet he is very far away from its teachings, not fulfilling its commands and remaining away from what it proscribes. His is a terrible state as he claims to believe in the Qur'aan, he reads, he himself is stating what it is saying and yet it has no effect on him whatsoever. [11]

In fact, some Muslims today may be content with reading the Qur'aan for years without ever taking the time to understand what they are reading to make sure that they are applying it properly. This is in stark contrast to the way of the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم, those who followed the guidance of the Qur'aan and earned Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى pleasure.

Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said, "When one among us learned ten verses, he would not go beyond them until he knew their meanings and he acted upon them." Similarly, Abu 'Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sulami رحمه الله stated, "Those who used to read the Qur'aan to us narrated to me that they would learn from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and if they would learn ten verses, they would not depart from them until they knew what they contained of deeds. Hence, we learned the Qur'aan and the deeds together." [12]

Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما stated, "We lived during a long period and each of us was granted faith before the [revelation of many parts of the] Qur'aan. [13] Then when a soorah was revealed to Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, he learned its lawful and its unlawful, its commands and threats, and his stance toward it. Then a time came when I saw a man who was given the Qur'aan prior to his being granted faith; he would read the entire Qur'aan from the opening soorah to the end without realising what are its commandments and threats and what should his stance be towards it and he would scatter it like the scattering of one flying away." [14]

The people who read the Qur'aan in this fashion are not fulfilling the proper requirements of reciting the Qur'aan; hence one can doubt if they will achieve any blessings from their improper type of reading. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,

"Those to whom We gave the Book recite it as it should be recited. They are the ones who believe therein. And whosoever disbelieves in it, those are they who are the losers." [Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:121]

Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said about, "recite as it should be recited," "By the One in whose hand is my soul, the proper reciting is to treat permissible what it states as permissible, to treat forbidden what it states as forbidden, to recite it in the way Allaah سبحانه و تعالى revealed it, not to distort any word from its proper meaning, and not to interpret it in a way that it is not to be interpreted." [15]

Furthermore, in many of the ahaadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in which he decribed what accrues to one who reads the Qur'aan, he stated the conditional factor that one reads it and also acts upon it. For example, the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The Qur'aan will be brought on the Day of Resurrection along with its people who used to act according to it with Sooratul-Baqarah and Soorah Aali 'Imraan preceding them. They are like two clouds or two black canopies with light between them or like two flocks of birds in ranks pleading for the one who recited them." [16]

The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "The example of the believer who recites the Qur'aan and acts upon it is like that of a citron which tastes good and smells good. And he who does not recite the Qur'aan by acts upon it is like a date which is good in taste but has no smell." [17]

The essential factor that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم mentioned in both of these examples is that the person acts upon the Qur'aan. The real blessings and virtues are found in the one who acts upon the Qur'aan and not the one who simply reads it without following up that reading by enacting what he has read. [18]


[1] These were two places outside of Madeenah in which camel markets were held.

[2] Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.

[3] Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله in mu'allaq* form and by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.

* A mu’aallaq (lit. suspended) hadeeth is one in which one or more narrators are omitted from the beginning of its isnaad by the muhaddith who compiled the book.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Nuzhat al-Nazr (108-109):
Among the forms of mu’allaq hadeeths are:

· Where the entire isnaad is omitted, so it says for example: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said…

· Where the entire isnaad is omitted and only the name of the Sahaabi or the names of the Sahaabi and Taabi’i are left.

· Where the name of the one who narrated it is omitted and it is attributed to someone who came above him (in the isnaad). End quote.


Every hadeeth which is mentioned in the books with the isnaad omitted and which is attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), without being attributed to any of the books of Sunnah, is a mu’allaq hadeeth. If the hadeeth has an uninterrupted isnaad (mawsool, lit. connected) in the books of Sunnah, or the compiler who narrated it as a mu’allaq report has given the uninterrupted isnaad elsewhere in his books, then it seems that the one who quoted it as a mu’allaaq report did so only for the sake of brevity, and describing it as mu’allaq does not mean that it is regarded as da’eef (weak). There is no dispute on this point among the scholars.

You will come across this a great deal in Saheeh al-Bukhaari.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Nukat (1/325):

If the hadeeth has only one isnaad, or it includes a number of rulings and needs to be repeated, then in that case he may quote only the text of the hadeeth, or may shorten the isnaad. End quote.

Al-Suyooti said in Tadreeb al-Raawi (1/117):

Most of the reports of this type in al-Bukhaari appear with the full isnaad (mawsool) elsewhere in his book, but he narrated them in mu’allaq form for the sake of brevity and so as to avoid repetition. End quote.

The ruling on a mu’allaq hadeeth is – as in the case of any other hadeeth – that it is essential to collect and examine all its isnaads. After that, the ruling must be one of the following:

1 – If we cannot find an isnaad for it in any book, then in that case the ruling is that the hadeeth is da’eef (weak), because nothing is known about the narrators who have been omitted from the isnaad; some of them may be weak or liars.
For example: al-Haafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr narrated in a mu’allaq report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who passes by the grave of his brother whom he knew in this world, and greets him with salaam, but Allaah restores his soul to him so that he may return the greeting.”

The scholars researched this mu'allaq report but they could not find an isnaad for it in any book. Everyone who mentioned it quoted it from the mu’allaq report of Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, so basically it is a da’eef hadeeth, but some scholars regarded it as saheeh, following Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr who narrated it as a mu’allaq report but classed it as saheeh.

2 – If we find the hadeeth with an uninterrupted (mawsool) isnaad in another book of hadeeth, then in that case we have to examine the isnaad, and we judge it on the basis of the principles that the scholars have set out for examination of hadeeth. In judging the status of a mu’allaq report we may also the methodology which is stated in the books of Sunnah, as follows:


Some of the scholars have their own methodologies of quoting mu’allaq hadeeth, which were either stated by the scholar himself or defined after him by other scholars who studied his books and examined his methods.
From what the scholars have said about the methodology of Imam al-Bukhaari in narrating mu’allaq reports, we can divide his mu’allaq reports (of which there are one hundred and sixty) into two categories:

1- Those which were narrated in a decisive form, such as saying “He narrated…” and so on.

The ruling on these mu’allaq reports is that they are saheeh or hasan, because it is not possible for him to state that in a decisive form unless it was saheeh in his view. Rather there are some reports which meet his conditions but he reported them in mu’allaq form.

The scholars made an exception from this principle in the case of just one hadeeth, which is reported in mu'allaq form in the Book of Zakaah (2/525):

Tawoos said: Mu’aadh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to the people of Yemen: Bring an item of clothing, a shirt or other garment as zakaah instead of barley and corn; it will be easier for you, and better for the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in Madeenah.

They said: The isnaad as far as Tawoos is saheeh, but Tawoos did not hear it from Mu’aadh.
2- Those which are narrated as mu’allaq in a “defective” form, such as saying “It was narrated,” “it was said” etc.
Some such reports may be saheeh or hasan, and they may be reported as mu’allaq because he did not narrated them word for word, rather he narrated the meaning.

They may also be slightly weak (da’eef), and the narrator may point out the weakness by saying “it is not saheeh.”
(Summarized from al-Nukat by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (1/343-345); Tadreeb al-Raawi by al-Suyooti (1/117-121)
With regard to Saheeh Muslim:

There are only five mu’allaq reports in this book, which Imam Muslim narrates with one full isnaad, then after that he narrates them as mu’allaq reports with an isnaad other than the one that he gave in full, for an academic purpose that Imam Muslim wanted to achieve. They have been compiled by Shaykh Rasheed al-Deen al-‘Attaar in an essay that has been published, in which he explains their sources and saheeh isnaads.

After the Introduction, there is no mu’allaq report in Saheeh Muslim for which he does not give a different isnaad elsewhere, except for one hadeeth. Muslim said in hadeeth no. 369:

Al-Layth ibn Sa’d narrated from Ja’far ibn Rabee’ah from ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hormuz from ‘Umayr the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbaas that he heard him say: ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Yasaar, the freed slave of Maymoonah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and I came to Abu’l-Jahm ibn al-Haarith ibn al-Simmah al-Ansaari. Abu’l-Jahm said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) came from the direction of Bi’r Jamal and was met by a man who greeted him with salaam. The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) did not return the greeting until he went to a wall and wiped his face and hands, then he returned the greeting.

See: al-Nukat by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (1/346-353)

This hadeeth is found with the uninterrupted isnaad via al-Layth ibn Sa’d in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (337) and Abu Dawood (329), and elsewhere.

And Allaah knows best.

[4] Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.

[5] Recorded by Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله and others. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. See, Saheehul-Jaami', vol. 2, pp. 1103-1104.

[6] Some people simply "possess" the Qur'aan, without reading it, supposedly for the sake of blessings. 'Abdul 'Azeez Mustafa describes this, what he calles a common practice today, as one of the horrendous ways in which the Qur'aan is being abandoned and avoided. People put their copy of the Qur'aan on a mantle or in the front or back of their cars and the copy becomes filled with dust witnessing that it is in fact being avoided and abandoned. See, Sharh Asbaab al-'Asharah al-Moojibah li-Muhibbah Allaah Kamaa Adaha al-Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (Riyadh: Daar Taibah, 1415 A.H.), p. 31.

[7] Cf., Imaam Muhammad az-Zabeedi رحمه الله, Itihaaf as-Saadah al-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloom ad-Deen (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1989), vol. 5, p. 113. Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله includes those who read the Qur'aan in this manner as among those people referred to in the verse,

"And there are among them (Jews) unlettered people, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture." [Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:78).

According to Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله, thise verse means that they simply know how to read or recite the Book but they do not know its actual meanings. Cf., Itihaaf as-Saadah al-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloom ad-Deen, vol. 5, p. 115.

[8] This is a well known statement. It is quoted in 'Abdul Hameed Ibn Baadees, Tafseer Ibn Baadees fee Majaalis at-Tadhkeer min Kamaal al-Hakeem al-Khabeer (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1995), p. 35.

[9] Unfortunately, this correct concept has led some to go to the opposite extreme. For example, someone was quoted as saying, "I am sometimes determined to read the Qur'aan but when I remember what it contains, I fear [Allah's] anger, so [instead of reading the Qur'aan], I resort to extolling Allaah's perfection and seeking His forgiveness." (Quoted in Itihaaf as-Saadah al-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloom ad-Deen, vol. 5, p. 116.)

Similarly, Ibn Baadees refers to the claim of some that for the "common folk" it is better for them to send prayers (salaah and salaam) upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم than to read the Qur'aan because when they send prayers upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم they will be rewarded without any sin, while if a sinner reads the Qur'aan he will be even more sinful since he is going against what he is reading. Ibn Baadees provides a lengthy refutation of this misconception. One of the most important points that he makes is that the one who is "cursed by the Qur'aan while reading it" is not being cursed because he is reading it. However, he is being cursed by it due to his sins, and that curse is present whether the person is actually reading the Qur'aan or not. (pp. 35-39.)

Actually, such a reader must change his intention and approach to the Qur'aan. He should not read the Qur'aaan simply for the sake of blessings but he should read it to gain its guidance, learn it and apply it in his life. If he studies the Qur'aan sincerely, it should affect his heart and that should lead him to discontinue his sins and offences. In fact, it is the best means to help a person change his ways and follow the Straight Path.

[10] Some Muslims get very upset when verses referring to Jews or Christians are quoted in reference to Muslims, as if there is no way that Muslims should ever be likened to Jews or Christians. Actually, as Imaam Ibn Ashoor رحمه الله and Imaam az-Zamakhshari رحمه الله point out, many verses that are directly talking about the disbelievers are indirectly giving a lesson or a warning to the believers and that is, in reality, their purpose. Muslims today must fact the reality that they may be walking in the footsteps of the disbelievers, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stated in a hadeeth.* Hence, one must understand these verses and their implications for the behaviour of the Muslims of today. Cf., Imaam Muhammad at-Taahir Ibn Ashoor, Tafseer at-Tahreer wat-Tanweer (no publication information given), vol. 1, p. 37.

* Sayyiduna Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Indeed, you will follow the practices of those who came before you - handspan by handspan, armspan by armspan - to the point that if they follow the lizard into its hole, you would follow them in this." We said: "O Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, are you referring to the Jews and Christians?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: "Who else?" [Reported by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله, Imaam al-Bukhari رحمه الله and Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.]

[11] Sayyid Sa'eed 'Abdul-Ghani, Haqeeqatul-Walaa' wal-Baraa' fee Mu'taqad Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah, (Beirut: Daar Ibn Hazm, 1998), p. 73.

[12] Quoted in Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 14.

[13] This portion of his statement has been interpreted to mean that they had the belief that the Qur'aan is to be applied and submitted to before much of the Qur'aan was revealed. Later peoples have the entire Qur'aan but they are lacking in that attitude. Hence, their application of the Qur'aan is not comparable to the application of the noble Companions. Cf., al-Haafidh al-Hakami رحمه الله, An-Naseehah li-Kitaabillaah, (Ad-Dammaam, Saudi Arabia: Daar Ibn al-Jawzi, 1995), p. 86.

[14] Recorded by Imaam al-Bayhaqi رحمه الله and Imaam al-Haakim رحمه الله.

[15] Quoted in Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 114.

[16] Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.

[17] Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله.

[18] How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 59-67.

posted by Seifeddine-M on 22nd December 2014 - 0 comments


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