Attending Quraan Competitions


Is it permissible to attend a Qur’an competition if invited?


We are not in favour of these Quraan competitions based on the fact that the Quraan Sharif was not revealed for competitions, nor were such competitions held by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, the Sahaaba, Tabi’een, or even our pious predecessors. This is a new trend that has been introduced in the last few decades. 

The Quraan Sharif is that Kitaab of Allah Ta’aala which enjoys superiority over all the previous scriptures to the extent that it had abrogated every previous scripture and is the only Kitaab that is to remain until the day of Qiyaamah. It is that Kitaab of Allah Ta’aala that was been revealed for the guidance of mankind. When revelation of the Quraan Sharif was for such a lofty and noble objective, how can we then stoop to such a low ebb and make it a tool of our competitions? This can be equated to using the latest model Mercedes Benz with all its features to deliver live chickens. 

Amongst the various objectives of the Quraan Sharif we have listed a few below; 

Allah Ta’aala mentions in Surah Ankaboot: 

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ

Recite the book (the Quraan) which has been revealed to you and establish Salaah (Surah Ankaboot, verse 45) 

This verse of the Quraan Sharif clearly indicates that from amongst the various objectives of the Quraan Sharif is recitation (Tilaawat) of the Quraan. It is through Tilaawat that one attains close proximity to Allah e. It is for this reason that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, Sahaaba M, Tabi’een, our pious predecessors, etc. spend hours in Tahajjud Salaah reciting the Quraan Sharif. Every individual is therefore required to personally recite a portion of the Quraan Sharif on a daily basis. 

Hadrat Ali radhiallahu anhu narrates that a person that stands in Salaah and recites the Quraan Sharif then on every letter he receives 100 rewards, and the person that recites the Quraan Sharif whilst sitting in Salaah then he receives 50 rewards, and the person that recites the Quraan Sharif out of Salaah in a state of Wudhu receives 25 rewards, and the person that recites out of Salaah without Wudhu receives 10 rewards. As for the one that doesn’t recite but listens to the Quraan, he receives one reward on listening to every letter of the Quraan Sharif. [Re:- Fadhaa’il-e-Aa’maal Pg.232 – Urdu print]      

Another objective of the Quraan Sharif is to take lessons from the various incidents mentioned in the Quraan Sharif. Allah Ta’aala has mentioned the incidents of the previous nations such as the people of Nooh alaihis salaam, Aad, Thamud, etc. and the errors of these nations which consequently led to their destruction in the Quraan Sharif. We are advised to take lesson and not repeat the same errors else we too could meet the same faith as them. Allah Ta’aala therefore repeatedly mentions in the Quraan Sharif: 

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

Undoubtedly, We have made the Quraan simple to take lesson from, so is there anyone who will take lessons? (Surah Qamar, verse 40) 

Allah Ta’aala mentions in the Quraan:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Without doubt only We have revealed the Reminder (the Qur’aan) and (by various means) We shall certainly be its protectors (ensuring that it remains unchanged throughout time.

(Surah Hijr, verse 9)


One of the ways of protecting the words of the Quraan is through memorisation of the Quraan Sharif. It is for this objective that perhaps millions of Muslims in the world have already memorised the Quraan and there are many still busy memorising the Quraan Sharif, and many will memorize the Quraan Sharif in the future as well until the day of Qiyaamah, Insha’Allah. Great rewards have been promised for one that commits the Quraan to memory and his family. 

Another objective of the Quraan Sharif: 

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

We have revealed the Reminder (the Qur’aan) to you (O Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam) so that you may explain to the people what (injunctions of the Shari’ah) has been revealed to them, and so that they may reflect (carefully). 

This means that the Quraan Sharif was revealed so that the injunctions of Shariah, the commands of Allah Ta’aala are explained to the people and they in turn may understand it fully and practice upon it. 

Here above, we have merely highlighted some of the objectives of the Quraan Sharif. There isn’t a single instance recorded anywhere in the Quraan or Hadith (in our limited knowledge) where people gathered to compete in recitation. Quraan Sharif is recited purely and solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta’aala and not for competing. Yes, there is proof in the Ahadith which prove that Sahaaba would gather in the Masjid to listen to a Qari recite the Quraan (without being remunerated for his services) or to learn the Quraan but never did they gather with the intent of competing in recitation, as the word of Allah Ta’aala was not revealed for this objective nor for acquiring a few meagre coppers of the world. 

عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ رَاشِدٍ، عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ أَبِي كَثِيرٍ، رَفَعَ الْحَدِيثَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” سَيَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ ثَلَاثَةٌ: رَجُلٌ يَقْرَأُهُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ وَرَجَاءَ ثَوَابِهِ مِنَ اللَّهِ فَذَلِكَ ثَوَابُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ، وَرَجُلٌ يَقْرَأُهُ رِيَاءً وَسُمْعَةً لِيَأْكُلَ بِهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا فَذَلِكَ عَلَيْهِ وَلَا لَهُ، وَرَجُلٌ يَقْرَأُهُ فَلَا تُجَاوِزُ قِرَاءَتُهُ – أَوْ قَالَ مِبْقَعَتَهُ تَرْقُوَتَهُ –

Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam is reported to have said, “Three (types of people) will recite the Quraan Sharif; a man will recite it seeking the pleasure of Allah and having hope of His reward, his reward is upon Allah. (The second) is a person that recites it for name and show so that he will acquire the Dunya (through recitation of the Quraan) but such recitation will be to his detriment and not to his benefit, and a man will recite (the Quraan) but his recitation won’t go beyond his collarbone.

Qiraat competitions (Allah forbid!) have now taken the form of a commercial enterprise where tickets are sold to attendees and prizes are handed out to winners. If the participants are paying a fee to enter the competition and the winner walks away with a prize then such an event could be categorized as gambling which is totally Haraam and forbidden in Islam. 

In certain places even females are hosting such events with female reciters reciting before the public. Some of them have gone to the extent that public halls and even hotels or conference centers are hired for this purpose. When Shariah hasn’t permitted women to emerge from their homes for the five daily Salaah which is obligatory upon them, nor for the Eid or Jumuah Salaah, then how could there ever be permitted to host such functions? These are all the snares and traps of Shaytaan where Shaytaan gets them involved in sin yet they consider themselves to be in acts of virtue. Regarding such people the Quraan states: 

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا

Say, “Should we inform you of those who are the worst losers in terms of their actions?” These are those whose efforts (good acts) are destroyed in this worldly life while they think that they are carrying out good acts (and that they will be rewarded). [Re:- Surah Kahf, Verse 103-104]

 In some places even the Makatib are now hosting such events where young kids compete in recitation. The administration of such institutes may argue that this methodology has been implemented to create a desire within the young child to excel in recitation, and competing with fellow competitors is not the actual objective. This may be true and the objective may be noble but the impression and imprint left on the little kid is that competitions of such a nature are acceptable since our teachers sanctioned such a practice. The child then due to greed in acquiring the prize moves onto the next level until he is competing at a national level and then at an international level, until he is finally recognised as a ‘World renowned and international reciter’ who is invited by various Masajid to recite and the Masjid committee is charged an exorbitant amount to host his rendition. He uses the Kitaab of Allah to gain Dunya.  When a Imaam cannot charge a fee for leading the Taraweeh Salaah then how can it ever be permissible to charge for a Qiraat recitation!

Unfortunately, we have definitely lost direction and focus in matters of Deen and Deen has been commercialized. In previous times Quraan would be recited in the Masajid and every Muslim home. Today it’s a matter of listening to a Juz of the Quraan over the radio station and that is now considered as our recitation. There isn’t a need to open the Quraan Sharif any longer. When recitation of the Quraan Sharif is heard from a ‘CD’ then Sajda-e-Sahw is not even obligatory even though the reciter may recite a verse of Sajda. This in itself indicates that recitation from a recorder or ‘CD’ or radio station cannot be a substitute of one’s Tilaawat.                         

In conclusion, we are required to return to the actual Sunnah and teachings of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasalla. The success and honour of this Ummah is in backtracking and adopting the same methodology and ways adopted by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam Sahaaba radhiallahu anhum, and those that have followed for the past 1400 years and which is still been followed by many in this day and age.  After understanding our discussion above, we advise you not to attend any of the current day Quraan competitions. 

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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