Saying the Isti‘aathah and Basmalah before reading the Quran
Fatwa No: 129445

  • Fatwa Date:23-11-2009 - Thul-Hijjah 6, 1430
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Question

Assalamu Alaikum, when you are about to read the Quran, is it waajib or mustahab to say the istiathah or basmalah? Pleas quote scholars views on the issue. JazakumAllahu kheirun.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

Scholars unanimously agree that one is required to say Isti‘aathah [saying: A‘oothu Billaahi min Ash-Shaytaan Ar-Rajeem (I seek refuge in Allaah from The Accursed Satan)] whenever he wants to read the Quran. Nevertheless, they differed whether it is obligatory or just recommended. The majority of scholars as well as scholars of recitation of the Quran are of the view that it is recommended when one starts reading. They are of the view that the order which is mentioned in the following verse of the Soorah of An-Nahl means recommendation. Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {So when you recite the Quran, [first] seek refuge in Allaah from Satan, the Accursed.} [Quran 16: 98]

However, some scholars are of the view that it is obligatory at the beginning of reading. They said that the order in the aforesaid verse implies obligation. Both views are indicated by Imaam Al-Jazari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his famous poem that details the rules of Tajweed. For more benefit, see Fatwa 85360.

As for the ruling of saying Basmalah [saying: Bismillaah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem (In the name of Allaah The Most Merciful The Ever Merciful)], the scholars unanimously agree that it is part of a verse in the Soorah of An-Naml [Quran 27: 30] and that it should be recited at the beginning of the Soorah of Al-Faatihah.

The seven reciters of the Quran unanimously agreed that Basmalah should be recited at the beginning of any Soorah of the Quran except the Soorah of At-Tawbah (Soorah no. 9) because it is written as such in the Mus-haf (copy of the Quran). It is also established in the authentic Ahaadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to know the end of the revealed Soorah with the revelation of Basmalah. [Abu Daawood in his Sunan and Al-Haakim in his Mustadrak]

However, one has the option either to say or leave Basmalah when he recites any part of the Soorah other than the beginning. For more details, review Fataawa 87850 and 124816.

As for the Soorah of At-Tawbah (Baraa’ah), Basmalah must not be recited at the beginning according to the consensus of scholars.

Allaah Knows best.

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