Two Scholarly Views on Reciting the Qur’ān with the Maqāmāt

The following are two scholar views, based upon my own loose translation, on a hotly contested issue among the scholars of the Qur’ān—the validity of the knowledge of maqāmāt (melodies and rhythm) in the recitation of the Qur’ān.

Shaykh Waleed Idrees al-Munaysi (Abu Khalid al-Sulami):

The summary of what the people of knowledge have said concerning this matter is that learning the maqāmāt and their use in reciting the Qur’ān is clearly forbidden if it is accompanied by musical instruments. As for the utilization of maqāmāt without musical instruments then there are four basic views, ranging from recommended to permissible to disliked to forbidden.

I personally incline to the view that the recitation of Qur’ān with excessive melody and singing (alḥān) is disliked, and that every Muslim should avoid it and suffice oneself with making the voice beautiful and complying with the rules of tajweed without exaggeration, for at the very least, reciting in such a manner takes away from khushū‘ (the spiritual element behind recitation).

As for the scholars of Egypt, as is well known, they are in two groups concerning this matter:

  1. The professional reciters on radio and media stations, may Allah forgive them, for the most part perfect the science of musical maqāmāt and recite by its principles and dictates. Some of them even formally learn music as part of their training in various musical institutes. In fact, many of the Egyptian radio stations require exams in musical principles and only select those reciters that become certified through these examinations.
  2. The second group are the scholars of Qur’ān and qirā’āt (the modes of Qur’ān reading). I have observed that most of them do not learn maqāmāt nor recite by them. These scholars for the most part do not recite in radio stations, but teach in masājid, private institutes or homes.

As for me personally, Allah has protected me and made me averse to this knowledge of maqāmāt, but I have met many who have perfected this science, many of them praying behind me in tarāwīḥ prayer in Ramaḍān. Some of them have sat down with me after the prayer and informed me that I recited this particular portion of prayer with the maqām of Ṣibā or the maqām of Bayyātī, and that portion with that maqām, or that I recited these verses with this maqām and ended with another, etc.

The lesson here is that if a Muslim recites the Qur’ān with tajweed, exercises some form of melody and endeavors to beautify the voice as much as he can, he will wind up corresponding with the patterns of some of these maqāmāt, even if that was not intended. This is similar to poetry and rhymes, for the one who hasn’t formally learned poetry or its meters sometimes winds up corresponding to some known metrics, which are recognized by those familiar with this science, despite the fact that the person is not a poet nor intended such. This is the difference between someone who arrives at some of the maqāmāt naturally and spontaneously and those who exaggerate, molding their tongues with the verses to conform with the dictates of the maqāmāt.

Shaykh Mishary bin Rashid Alafasy:

Question: Some recitors of the Qur’an recite according to particular melodies (maqaamaat). What is the ruling on that?

All praise is due to Allah, and blessings and salutations are upon our leader Muhammad.

First of all, let no one think that I am in this gathering to issue rulings or edicts (fatawa), for the matter of religious rulings has its own qualifications and scholars. But I will attempt to give an answer based on what I know. I was asked this same question on my website in the past and answered that the particular melodies (maqaamaat) of the Qur’an are similar to the meters of Arabic poetry (buhoor al-shi‘r), which are approximately 16 in number. Anyone who composes or recites poetry in Arabic on any measured scale, will inevitably correspond to one of these meters. Likewise is the matter of the maqaamaat of the Qur’an. Anyone who recites the Qur’an with melodious recitation (taghanni), which we have been commanded to do, as the Prophet said, “He is not from us who does not recite the Qur’an with melody (taghanni);” so long as he observes the rules and does it in a beautiful way will inevitably wind up corresponding to one of the maqaamaat.

So anyone who composes any type of Arabic prose or poetry will wind up corresponding to one of the 16 known meters of Arabic poetry, while anyone who recites the Qur’an with any type of melody and rhythm will wind up corresponding to one of the maqaamaat of the Qur’an. And Allah knows best.

Letter to Shaykh Alafasy

سماحة الشيخ العفاسي ، السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته.


إسمي عبيدالله و أنا طبيب في ولاية نيو جرسي في أمريكة.

فقد وصلت أليّ البشارة أنـّك ستزورنا في بلدنا . فو الله أنا حريص إلى لقائك .


أريد أن أخبرك أني أستمع إليك منذ زمان ، فإن نشاطك في قراءة القرآن و أناشيد الإسلامية الطاهرة لا يزال ان ترتفع همتي و روحي في جوّنا الشاقة . فو الله حياة المسلمين في أمريكة صعبة جدًا خاصّة  للشباب . و أنا نشئت هنا و أكملت جميع دراساتي من البداية إلى كلية الطبّ ، فما كان ممكن لي أن أكمل هذا بدون تشجيع من خلال خدمتك.


فقراءتك تستيقظ حرسي لكتاب الله فبدأت ان أدرس تجويد القران حتى حصلت إلى إجازة في رواية حفص بفضل الله ، فالآن أنا أعلـّم شباب و أشتغل أيضا بالتعليم و الدعوة  في المراكز الإسلامية و الكليّات و غيرها من الأماكن. فقبل كل محاضرتي أو خطبتي أسمع من أناشيدك لترتفع همتي .


فجزاكم الله خير الجزاء عني و عن الجميع المسلمين ، و أدعوك لزيارتنا في نيو جرسي عن قريب بإذن الله .


الدكتور أبو زيد عبيدالله بن محمد الشودري

New Jersey, USA

March 16, 2007

Alafasy Duah with Translation by Yasir Birjas

الله ذو اللطائف

Allah, The Most Kind and Gentle


أَغِيبُ وذو اللّطائِف لا يغيبُ            وأرجُوهُ رَجاءً لا يَخِيبُ


Although I vanish, the Most Gentle and Kind vanishes not.
Thus, I have hope in Him – hope that fails not.

 وأَسْأَلُهُ السَّلامَةَ مِن زَمانٍ              بُلِيتُ به نوائبهُ تُشِيبُ 

I seek safety with Him from a time
where trials would age this body of mine

وأُنزِلُ حاجتي في كل حالٍ             إلى مَن تطمئنُّ به القلوبُ 

So, I bring my needs, and I’m ever in poverty
To the One with whom hearts find tranquility

فكم لله مِنْ تَدبِيرِ أَمْرٍ                   طَوَتْهُ عَنِ المُشَاهَدةِ الغُيوبُ

Numerous are the matters that Allah decrees!
Yet, the unseen realm, is that which none sees

وكم في الغَيْبِ مِن تَيْسِيرِ عُسْرٍ      ومِنْ تَفريجِ نائبةٍ تَنُوبُ

His decree eases secretly our difficulties
And by decree does He alleviate our calamities

ومِن كَرَمٍ ومِن لُطْفٍ خَفِيٍّ           ومِن فَرَجٍ تَزُولُ بِه الكُرُوبُ 

 and by His discreet kindness and generosity,
there’s relief – replacing all adversity.

 ومَنْ لِي غَيرَ بابِ الله بابٌ         ولا مَوْلًى سِواهُ ولا حَبيبُ

Whose door do I have, besides Allah’s door?
I have no other Master nor another whom I so adore!

كريمٌ مُنْعِمٌ بَرٌّ لَطِيفٌ               جَمِيلُ الستْرِ للدّاعي مُجيبُ

He is generous, kind and gentle, blessing us ceaselessly,
He answers our prayers and conceals our faults so beautifully,

حَليمٌ لا يُعاجِلُ بالخَطايا          رحيمٌ غَيْثُ رَحْمَتِهِ يَصُوبُ

Enduring is He, never hastening to recompense our delinquency
He bestows his mercy like pure rain, gracefully

فيا مَلِكَ المُلوكِ أَقِلْ عِثَارِي      فَإنِّي عنْكَ أَنْأَتْنِي الذُّنُوبُ 

 Therefore, King of kings, please pardon me;
My sins have cast me so far away from thee

 وَأَمْرَضَنِي الهَوَى لِهَوانِ حَظِّي   وَلَكِنْ لَيسَ غَيْرَكَ لِي طَبِيبُ

My lusts have caused my malady
Yet there’s none but thee to heal me

فَآمِنْ رَوْعَتِي وَاكْبِتْ حَسُودًا       فَإِنَّ النَّائِباتِ لها نُيُوبُ 

So my Lord, comfort and shield me from eyes burning green.
for when calamities strike they do so with fangs sharp keen.

وَآنِسْنِي بِأَوْلادِي وَأَهْلِي           فَقَدْ يَسْتَوْحِشَ الرَّجُلُ الغَرِيبُ

My Lord, fasten me with the joys of children and family
Without them a man is certainly a stranger, poor and lonely

 وَلِي شَجَنٌ بِأَطْفالٍ صِغَارٍ         أَكادُ إِذا ذَكَرْتُهُمُ أَذُوبُ

Ah, my young children, on their fate I do fret
Worn from worry and grief I am ever upset

 ولَكِنِّي نَبَذْتُ زِمَامَ أَمْري         لِمَنْ تَدْبِيرُهُ فِينا عَجِيبُ

But to thee the reigns of my life I do surrender
To the One who handles affairs with majestic splendor

 هُوَ الرَّحْمنُ حَوْلِي وَاعْتِصَامِي    بِهِ وَإِلَيْهِ مُبْتَهِلاً أُتِيبُ 

The Most Merciful, my refuge and the pillar on which I lean
In repentance, I call Him with none in between.

 إِلهِي أَنْتَ تَعْلَمُ كَيفَ حَالِي        فَهَلْ يا سَيِّدِي فَرَجٌ قَرِيبُ 

 Allah, Of my condition thee did hear
so my Master, I ask, is relief near?

 فيا دَيِّانَ يَومِ الدِّينِ فَرِّجْ         هُمُوماً فِي الفُؤَادِ لها دَبِيبُ

 O Lord of Judgment Day, relieve this anxiety
of stubborn worries that in my heart sink deeply

وَصِلْ حَبْلِي بِحَبْلِ رِضَاكَ وَانْظُرْ   إِلَيَّ وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ عَسى أَتُوبُ

And bind me to the rope of thy content, and turn thy Face to me
And accept me so that I may repent and return wholly to thee.

وَرَاعِ حِمَايَتِي وَتَوَلَّ نَصْرِي       وَشُدَّ عُرَايَ إِنْ عَرَتِ الخُطُوبُ 

 My safety and success are in thy Hands
So support my will against life’s difficult demands

 وَأَلْهِمنِي لِذِكْرِكَ طُولَ عُمْرِي      فَإِنَّ بِذِكْرِكَ الدُّنْيا تَطِيبُ 

 And with Thy remembrance illuminate my life.
Indeed when recalling thy name sweetness becomes rife

وَقُل عَبْدُ الرَّحِيمِ وَمَنْ يَلِيهِ       لَهُم فِي رِيفِ رَأْفَتِنَا نَصِيبُ

 And say of me that I am still thy servant
sharing in thy Kindness, drawing near to thee, no longer distant

 فَظَنِّي فِيكَ يا سَنَدِي جَمِيلٌ       وَمَرْعَى ذَوْدِ آمَالِي خَصِيبُ

 My thoughts of thee, my Sustainer, are pleasant
And my hopes in thee, lie in meadows, fertile and fragrant

 وَصَلِّ عَلى النَّبِيِّ وآلهِ مَا       تَرَنَّمَ فِي الأراكِ العَنْدَلِيبُ

 And send prayers and praises upon the Prophet and his family
For whom the nightingales from their branches sing their sweet melody


Translation by:

Yaser Birjas
Shpendim Nadzaku

Final Editing:


Video by:

Ahmad Saleem
Sadaf Tahir

Dedicated to the students of Ilm Summit 2008