I have 2 questions: The first one is my friend told me that reciting Quran same as singing is unlawful, so how do I know the different between reciting melodiously and singing?
Second, I often running out of breath when reciting Quran, how can I improve my breathing?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger.
Reciting the Quran with a good and nice voice, while observing the rules of recitation, is something that is legislated and encouraged in Islam. Indeed the Prophet said: "He is not one of us he who does not recite the Quran in a good and nice voice (while observing the rules of recitation)." What is meant here is that one should recite the Quran properly with a good voice. The Fiqh Encyclopaedia reads: 'Reciting with a good and nice voice is reciting without repeating the sound or changing the way the letters are originally pronounced while observing the rules of recitation.'
As regards what is dispraised in the recitation and which is disliked by the scholars from our Salaf, may Allah have mercy on them, it is to recite the Quran according to musical rhymes known to musicians and singers or reciting it like songs, as this takes it out of the rules of Tajweed (rules of recitation of the Quran), as one extends the letters that are short and shortens the letters that should be prolonged, and this is resembling singers and dissolute people. Imaam Maalik, may Allah have mercy on him, said: 'The words of mention of Allah and recitation of the Quran should be free from resembling or imitating dissolute people and wrongdoers. The verses of Allah are truth and sincerity whereas the songs are play and amusement.'
To conclude, improving the way of the recitation is what is required, so one should recite the Quran with a nice and good voice without showing off and deviating from the rules of recitation. So it is disliked to recite it while showing off and stammering and interrupting sounds to make it look like songs.
As regards the method of improving one's long breath while reading, it might be that this could be achieved by much reading and practice.
Allah Knows best.
Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb