Reading the Quran without understanding it
Fatwa No: 200731

  • Fatwa Date:28-3-2013 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 17, 1434
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Assalamualaikum Respected Sheikh I live in southern part of India (small town called Ambur) and just few years back people got to know that we need to understand the meanings of the Quran and just reading is not enough .Some of the people in my town started understanding the Quran but a lot of people reject this idea stating "Our forefathers and their fathers did not do this, so why do we have to do it and it is not mandatory as it will still benefit us" .So till date it has become a debate kind of situation. My question is from when and how the concept started that the Quran reading is enough and people go to Ulema for asking doubts for current affairs and some people also say that not to go deep in meaning and avoid too much knowledge about the Quran and Hadeeth as it might create problemS and confusion. Please help and clarify my doubts .Jazak Allah Khair.


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 ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.


The Quran is a book of guidance for mankind. Allaah revealed it for reflection. Allaah Says (what means): {[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.} [Quran 38:29]

The Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them used to ask the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) about those verses of the Quran they found difficult to understand. Ibn Mas‘ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that when the verse {They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice} [Quran 6:82] was revealed, the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) were distressed and said: “Which of us is not unjust to himself?” The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “It is not as you think. Rather, it is as Luqmaan said to his son: {“O my son, do not associate [anything] with Allaah. Indeed, association [with Him] is great injustice.”} [Quran 31:13].” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Likewise, the Companions, used to explain the Quran to the Taabi‘een [those who came after them]; Mujaahid  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “I went through the Mus-haf three times with Ibn ‘Abbaas, each time from its beginning to its end. I would stop after each verse and ask him about it.

Therefore, many Muslim scholars dedicated themselves to Tafseer [interpretation of the Quran] and compiled books thereon and they continue to do so. In fact, we have never found anything from the books of knowledge that any of the scholars ever forbade people from learning the interpretation of the Quran. Rather, they warned people from presenting opinions about the Quran without knowledge.

Besides, the scholars laid down some principles for Tafseer upon which this science (of Tafseer) is based. They even compiled independent books on the subject, like the book Usool At-Tafseer by Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him; or they included these principles in books of Tafseer, just as Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him did in the introduction to his Tafseer.   For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 192685 and 90244.

As for the opinion of forbidding the Tafseer of the Quran, on the basis that it is sufficient to recite it (without understanding), then, as far as we know, no one of the trustworthy Muslim scholars has ever said such a thing. Instead, this is only a matter in the minds of some laymen and we do not know when exactly such ideas started to appear. What laymen say (about matters of religion) should not be given attention. Rather, they should be guided to the truth through wisdom and good admonition.

For more information, please refer to Fatwa 85360 and Fatwa 91554 regarding the virtue and etiquette of reflecting over the Quran and its recitation.

Allaah Knows best.

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