Is it better to recite from the Mushaf
than from memory? Please explain.
Praise be to Allaah.
If one is reciting Qur’aan in situations other than
in prayer, then reading from the Mushaf is better, because it is more accurate and helps
one to remember better. But if reciting from memory is easier and helps one to concentrate
more and have better presence of mind (khushoo’), then one should recite from memory.
In prayer, however, it is better to recite from memory, because if a
person recites from the Mushaf, he will be doing repeated actions such as holding the
Mushaf, putting it down, turning its pages and looking at the letters. By doing so he will
miss out on putting his right hand over his left hand on his chest when standing during
the prayer, or spreading out his arms during rukoo’ and sujood, if he puts the Mushaf
under his arm. Hence we think that it is preferable for a person who is praying to recite
from memory rather than from the Mushaf.
We see some people when they pray behind the imaam, carrying the Mushaf
and following the imaam’s recitation. This is something which should not be done, for
the reasons we have referred to above, and because they do not need to do anything except
follow the imaam.
However, if the imaam does not have such a good memory, and he says to
one of the members of the congregation, “Pray behind me, and follow me (my
recitation) in the Mushaf, and if I make a mistake, correct me,” then there is
nothing wrong with this.