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Reciting the Qur’an loudly in public places

Question:

 What do the Scholars of Islam say about the following: Is it permissible to read the Qur’an loudly on the train, bus, or any public place?

Answer:

 A Practicing Muslim should know the religious ruling before they engage in them, no matter how big or small. A Muslim cannot do what he/she wants on their own conditions, be it in terms of religious rules or civil laws.  A public place is for all the people regardless of their religion, race, colour, etc.  A Muslim must abide by the law, be a considerate citizen, and be a good neighbour. The issue of reading the Qur’an loudly in public places/facilities which they share with others is governed by certain general guides that applies to others as well as them.

Just like speaking loudly on mobile phones, or having a noisy conversation in public transport, is deemed bad manners, as well as intrusion on others’ privacy (which is, strictly speaking, a form of “transgression” against others in religious terminology); reading the holy Quran in a loud voice without the consent of the listeners is considered as such. If a permissible action leads to wrong consequences it is prohibited. The ‘wrong consequence’ in this case is transgression of others right to peace and quietness.

In Sunna, if reading the Qur’an loudly in a masjid disturbs other worshippers then you are not allowed to do that. The Prophet ﷺ retired to the mosque. He heard them (the people) reciting the Qur’an in a loud voice. He removed the curtain and said: Lo! every one of you is calling his Lord quietly. One should not trouble the other and one should not raise the voice in recitation or in prayer over the voice of the other. (Abu Dawud)

If it is not permissible to disturb others by reading loudly in a mosque, then by way of Qiyas (analogy), it is even more prohibited in public places in a non-Muslim society.  Many words and actions of Ibadat (worship), can become sins because of other circumstances involved.

To respect the Qur’an fully it should not be recited or raised in the places where people might be offended by it; or neglected in their daily routine or work. It is forbidden to raise the sound of the Quran recitation in the marketplace, since people are busy shopping, many will resent it and grow hostile towards it. This does not serve the mission of Islam. Instead, people get irritated, and some people might swear at the Qur’an because of this intrusion. This is serious; the reciter could unwittingly cause much harm and give a bad image of a Muslim. Allah ﷻ said: Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good advice. (Al-Nahl: 125)

And Allah ﷻ knows best

This fatwa is written by Dr Mohamed Ali Ahdash and edited by Dr. Musharraf Husain Al-Azhari