My father is illiterate; he can neither read nor write, so he misses the goodness and the blessing that are in reading the Quran. Is it permissible for me to recite the Quran on his behalf, and how should I make my intention? If this is not permissible, what could I do on his behalf so that he may get the same reward of someone who reads the Quran?
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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.
Reciting the Quran is a physical act of worship, and it is not permissible to offer a physical act of worship on behalf of someone else with the exception of Hajj and 'Umrah on behalf of a handicap and the like. However, it is not permissible for a person to perform the prayer or recite the Quran on behalf of another person. There are many actions of goodness which your father could perform, like listening to the Quran as much as he can and recite the short chapters, especially chapters one and 112, and verse 255 from chapter 2, and should mention Allaah, offer supererogatory prayers, and give charity as much as possible. He may also perform other acts of obedience for which he will be rewarded. You should advise him, encourage him and help him in doing so.
Allaah Knows best.
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