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No Taraweeh in Mosque due to COVID-19

Can I Follow Recorded Quran Recitation in My Taraweeh?

Question

I usually go to Mosque for taraweeh and enjoy the recitation. Now I can’t do that because of this coronavirus. My Husband doesn’t know too many surahs to lead.

Can I listen to Quran recitation from the internet or from my smartphone and follow or pray taraweeh?

Answer

It breaks every Muslim’s heart to find himself or herself deprived of the Quranic spirit of Ramadan.

In taraweeh, we stand behind a qari (reciter) who reads the Quran melodiously; it is one of the most intensely spiritual experiences of Ramadan that most Muslims look forward to.

Of course we can pray taraweeh at home with whatever surahs we know. However, that is not the same as listening to a qari leading us in taraweeh, unless you are a qari who can read the Quran (from memory) melodiously. Sadly, this is not the case for the vast majority of people.

So how do we find a way to compensate for what we are missing during this pandemic?

Can there be another way for the community to experience something of the real Quranic spirit of Ramadan while praying taraweeh at home in this unprecedented situation?

I would state upfront that we can do so by listening to a recorded recitation from your own apps or tablets.

The basis for this is the following:

Earlier, our scholars discussed the issue of reading the Quran from a Mushaf, while praying taraweeh or tahajjud or naafl prayers; most approved it.

This is because the precedent for it was set by Aisha, the beloved wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).  We are told that she had her servant lead her and other women in taraweeh. Since he did not memorize the Quran, he was advised to read it from the Mushaf.

This practice grew widespread among those that came later. That is why when Imam Zuhri was asked whether this practice was permissible, his answer was that the most righteous people in his generation used to do it.

Therefore, it would not be a huge leap if we infer from it the permissibility of following along using a recording of the Qur’an. These days, people are used to reading the Quran from apps on their smartphones or tablets. Likewise, for taraweeh, they can listen to a recorded recitation of a qari after they have recited their own Fatihah. The extra actions of pressing the buttons to play and pause it, would be no different from turning the pages of a Mushaf while reading from it. After all, nowadays such apps are akin to the Quran stored in a Mushaf.

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About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada