What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah regarding the basmalah? Which surah in the Qur’an has the basmalah mentioned twice? Also can the Qur’an be read silently?
Every surah of the Qur’an begins with the basmalah, ‘I begin with the name of Allah the Kind the Caring,’ except Surah al-Tawbah. The commentators mention this is because this surah expresses Divine anger and displeasure which is opposite in meaning to the basamala. Some commentators have also said this surah is continuation of the previous Surah al-Anfal.
The chapter of the Qur’an in which the basmalah has been mentioned twice is Surah al-Naml. The second basmalah is mentioned as a quotation from the letter of Prophet Sulayman to the Queen of Sheba, in the 31st verse.
This use of the basmalah in Surah al-Naml shows us its importance and centrality in our daily dealings and actions. Reading the basmalah reminds us as believers that everything is from Allah ﷻ and we beseech His ﷻ mercy and blessings in everything we do. Be it eating, our business dealings, or recital of the Qur’an sharif, we are always connected to Allah ﷻ.
The Holy Qur’an is Allah’s ﷻ speech revealed in an authoritative yet gentle style to be read and pondered over. We can regard it as a letter from our Lord ﷻ, the Sustainer ﷻ and the Loving Protector ﷻ. Therefore, it can be read silently or loudly.
There are certain scenarios where reciting the Qur’an silently is preferred, for example when there are other people in a room or in the mosque with you, engaged in their own activities, then it is best not to recite loudly. However, if you are alone or people are keen to listen to you then it is good to read it aloud in melodious and beautiful style.
The Prophet of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever recites the Holy Qur’an well and clearly is equal in rank to the Angels who record the deeds of the creation. These Angels are gracious, honourable and of a high rank. He who finds difficulty in reciting the Holy Qur’an will obtain double the reward. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
In another hadith the Prophet of Allah ﷺ said: “A person who recites one letter of the Holy Qur’an obtains one virtue, with each virtue being like ten virtues. I am not saying Alif Laam Meem is one letter, but Alif is one letter, Laam is one letter and Meem is one letter.” (Sunan al-Timidhi)
It is of utmost importance that we try our best to recite the Majestic Qur’an clearly. To learn the rules of tajwid and strive to perfect our pronunciation of the letters. Whether one is reciting loudly or silently, every word of the Qur’an should be read clearly and fully. Indeed, there is great reward from Allah ﷻ whether one recites loudly or silently.
Allah ﷻ knows the best
This Fatwa is written by Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari