Connection with Arabic through Quran Reading from “mushaf” in Taraveeh

It is corona scare. There is a total lockdown. All work is now forcibly online and at home. Going to the mosques is out of the question. I am having a wonderful experience reading the Qur’an in taraveeh with my sons. Yesterday we finished Tilkur Rusul, the third para. As Ramadan approached, I was wondering what I would do during the lockdown and was loathing the impending discontinuance of the connection with Quran recitations during Taraveehs of Ramadan, which is a huge concern for many Muslims. Then this guidance helped me and the encouragement of my brother who is in USA.

Quran I am using has each para divided exactly into 20 page sides. Each page side ending at the ayah. Amazing experience. It took me some time to figure out the process. Of course first para is easy. It took nearly the same time as a regular taraveeh. One hour 15 minutes. It increases for days in which i recite paras with sections that i have not very frequently read lately. Especially those with more technical language related to rules of inheritance, talaq, zakat, and other stipulations. The dawa-related sections with qasasul anbia are much easier. They are so many repetitions of the same constructs in Quran.

I simply put a table besides me to keep the quran during ruku n sujoud. The placeholder ribbon was used as a marker to open it quickly. I just needed to remember that 1st rakah will start with the first line of left page and will end at the bottom, 2nd rakah will start from the first line of the right page, and end at the bottom. Of course, I needed to forward the ribbon at the end of the recitation of first rakah.

I must acknowledge my Quran nazirah teacher Mr Bazlur Rehman Jafri during the 1970s who used to come daily on bicycle for about half hour at our place in F6/4 Islamabad. He would be coming from his government office duty on his way to his govt allotted house in G6/2 near Aabpara.

He was a Bengali in his 50s; a hafiz, qari and he knew Arabic. I revised nazirah quran with him several times from class 5 till intermediate from 1972 to 1979. The last few times was with translation. He would move over the words with his finger giving meanings and also indicating where pronouns and adverbs were referring (without telling me that it is grammar).

My mother would make it a point to sit through the sessions at the dinner table at the other end of the living room unobtrusively. My sister was also reading with me. She would make sure that our molvi sb is served tea. Along with some snacks, if any. I remember he was only getting Rs 30 for three of us siblings. During those days my fees at IMSB (G-6/3) was around Rs 40 per month.

It was her gentle encouragement, like always. May Allah give them the best of abodes in the hereafter. Aameen.

I would also like to mention Mr Arif Husain, our Islamiat teacher at IMSB (later ICB) in G6/3. In class 8th he made us go through the entire Sura Aal e Imran. I was often picked up for quran reading at various school events such as quran khawanis and soyems that were held quite regularly during the school timings. These provided ample opportunities for students like me to revise our Quran.

My children and I also now miss the opportunity of Quran reading that would typically come up during quran khawanis and soyems and chehlums that were typically held with great regularity till the end of 1980s. Under the influence of Saudi inspired Wahabism, we discontinued these events on the pretext of some people not conducting the events in the right spirit and the excuse of bida’. In this Saudi inspired shift that greatly affected even the deobandi thought in Pakistan, we ended up throwing away great benefits along with a problem (like throwing the baby with the bathwater). Now the opportunities of Quran reading in our cultural norms have become non-existent and seem to have been replaced with frivolous parties and get-togethers.

Later in 1983 I would do two 3-months courses from Society for the Promotion of Arabic
جمعیت النشر الغت العربیہ
in Block 6 PECHS near Jason Tower. Basic course was taught by an Egyptian (?) in which we learned through tariqa e jadeedia conversing in Arabic. Totally experiential learning . Advanced course by a maulana who used to work in Saudi Embassy (forgotten his name?). Totally conventional style borrowed from his medressah background and improvised for this environment. We started with buying booklets on Sarf and Nahv from the gate of BinoriTown mosque. He recited the “gardans” (forms of root verb for all tenses and pronouns) in his sonorous lilting style.

This taraveeh engagement with Quran has reinvigorated my connection to Arabic. Reading aloud is a different experience then reading silently. It will improve my comprehension further.
On a scale of 1-10, my comprehension of Quranic Arabic is around 5-6. For many passages it goes up to 8-9. For most technical terms related passages it goes down to 2-3. Lack of vocabulary is the major reason. Need to work on vocabulary.

I would also like to acknowledge my younger brother for this initiative. His son just became a Hafiz. He is in USA since 1994.

This experience has developed a new connection with Quran. It has created a new bonding with my sons. It has opened a new chapter.
May Allah forgive my mistakes. Aameen

During my early part  of my stay at UT Austin, Tx (1987-94), Austin was a small town of about 4.5 lac population with over 50k university students and major part of the town population related to UT, directly or indirectly.  There we used to pray at the 1906 Nueces Mosque, the only mosque of Austin at that time. The prayers were led by volunteers as there was no full-time prayer leader. There I saw people holding Quran while praying.

“We had a student Usama from Bangladesh who often filled in during the breaks when there was no hafiz in Ramadan around 1990. Usama had copied Sudais’ recitation style, and read from an English transliterated Quran as he did not know how to read Arabic back then. Naji Mubrook and Karam [who were community leaders and were from Arabic speaking background, and few others who used to hold Arabic copies of Quran] in the front row to correct Usama if he made mistake. It was amazing that Usama rarely mispronounced reading a Engish transliterated Quran.” [Shafquat A Rehmani

“Usama was good friend of mine. Austin mosque in 1989-90 was just two houses side by side on the West Campus. Fairly simple structures which had an area at the back for iftar and other activities. The Tableeghi Jamaat would come and stay for a few days in the mosque and try and get the students engaged. We would often go there for some well cooked food. But by sitting with them began to think about Islam and why we were Muslims. There was also the local Imam who was a very friendly person and who would always be there to help out. (Can’t remember his name). It was a good time. But we badly needed a permanent structure.” [Asad Jaleel Ahmed]

When my brother, a medical doctor, was living in a small town in North Carolina, USA during the late 1990s, there was no mosque and hafiz around, he and a few Muslims over there joined at a “mussala” for Taraveeh and read from Quran by imam holding the Quran and Mashallah, they completed the whole Quran during Ramadan. They were using the guidance such as the one here ( )

There were intense debates during those early time about issues such as offering the prayers by holding the Quran in hand depending upon the particular fiqh a Muslim followed. However, unlike Pakistan where majority of the Sunnis belong to Hanafi school of thought, the Muslim diaspora in USA, UK and other Western countries belonged to a wide range of Muslim countries. Even a small town like Austin had families and students from across South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), to Middle East (Saudia and other countries), Africa (Egypt, Morroco, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia,…) and Far East (Malaysia, Indonesia, …). Muslims there belonged to all the schools of thought, namely Hanafi, Shafai, Maliki, Hanbali, Salafi. Even Fiqh Jafria followers would routinely attend the Eid prayers and Jumma prayers at a Sunni mosque.

As seen from “this is a matter differed upon by the jurists of the four Sunni Schools of Islamic law. The Hanafi School does not permit reciting from a copy of the Qur’an (mushaf) during Salat, with Imam Abu Hanifa of the opinion that one’s Salat is invalidated should one do so.” … “Unlike Hanafi school of thought “As pointed out earlier, it is permitted according to the Shafi’i and Hanbali Schools to recite from a Mushaf in Fardh and Nafl prayers, whether one has memorized the portion one is reciting or not. According to Imam Malik, it is permitted to do so in Nafl and Tarawih prayers. (See: al-Majmu’ of Imam Nawawi and Kasshaf al-Qina’ of Bahuti 1/361)”… “The other Imams have allowed this practice, but one should be cautious in terms of making too many movements whilst carrying the Mushaf, since it may invalidate the prayer according to them as well.” …. “In the Hanafi School, there are two opinions regarding performing Salat while reciting from a copy of the Qur’an (mushaf). Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah have mercy on him), the head of this School, is of the opinion that it is impermissible to perform Salat while looking in and reciting from a Mushaf, or while reciting from any other area such as Qur’anic verses inscribed inside the Mihrab. Doing so will invalidate one’s prayer, whether one is an Imam, follower or praying alone, and whether it is an obligatory (fardh), Tarawih or a voluntary (nafl) prayer. The second opinion is of the two students of the Imam – namely Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani (may Allah have mercy on both). According to them, one’s prayer is not invalidated by reciting from a copy of the Qur’an (mushaf), although this practice is considered to be disliked (makruh).” [Muhammad ibn Adam, Darul Iftaa, Leicester , UK, ]

The view of Imam Abu Hanif about non-permissibility of holding Quran in hand during Taraveeh dominates the Ahnaaf in Pakistan and subcontinent. See also:
See also:

I am neither a scholar, nor a mufti to advise you one way or the other. Please research and do consult and follow a credible religious scholar. This post is part of my blog on my “Life and Learning” and is intended to describe my experiences only.

This lockdown had reminded me of a similar situation in which we were in a town when there was no hafiz or a full-time Imam and there were Muslims from different schools of fiqh. Also, note that there is a hadith that in a place afflicted by a contagion plague, it is not permissible to enter a lockdown area or to leave it.

May Allah give us hidaya. Aameen
’إنما الأعمال بالنيات ‘

واللہ اعلم.


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