The adab of completing the Quran
By: Mufti Musa Furber
It is recommended to complete the Quran during Ramadan. The following excerpt from Imam al-Nawawi’s Etiquette With the Quran touches on many of the legal issues and etiquette related to completing the Quran.
The Etiquette of Completing the Quran
There are several issues concerning completing the recitation of the Quran [khatma].
when to complete: The first etiquette concerns its timing. As previously mentioned, it is preferable for someone reciting the Quran on his own that [he complete it] during Prayer. Another opinion is that it is preferable for it to occur in the two rak‘a of the obligatory Morning Prayer, and in the two sunna rak‘as of the Sunset Prayer, and the two rak‘as of the Morning Prayer is better. In another opinion, it is preferable for the completion [khatma] in the beginning of the day for one turn [of recitation], and at the end of the day for next turn.
When someone completes the recitation outside of Prayer or a group completes while assembled together, it is recommended that it be at the beginning of the day or in the beginning of the night, as we previously mentioned. According to some scholars, though, the beginning of the day is better.
fasting the day of the khatma: It is recommended to fast the very day of the khatma unless it falls on a day in which it is forbidden to fast according to the Sharī‘a. Ibn Abī Dāwūd related with his rigorously authenticated chain of narrators that Ṭalḥa ibn Muṣarrif, Ḥabīb ibn Abī Thābit, and al-Musayib ibn Rāfi‘ī—all well known Kūfan Successors [God be well pleased with them]—would awaken fasting on the mornings in which they would complete the Quran.
attending the khatma: It is emphatically recommended to attend gatherings in which thekhatma takes place. It has been established in the rigorously authenticated hadiths of Bukhārī and Muslim that the Messenger of God (God bless him and give him peace) ordered women during their menses to go out on Eid to participate in the goodness and the supplications of the Muslims.1
Dārimī and Ibn Abī Dāwūd related with their chains of narration that Ibn ‘Abbās (God be pleased with them both) would make a person watch over someone finishing the Quran, and when he wanted to finish he would inform Ibn ‘Abbās so he could participate in it.2
Ibn Abī Dāwūd related with two rigorously authenticated chains of narration that Qatāda, the illustrious Successor and companion of Anas (God be pleased with him), said, “When Anas ibn Mālik (God be pleased with him) would complete [the Quran], he would gather his family and supplicate [to God].”
He [also] related with his rigorously authenticated chain of narration that al-Ḥakam ibn ‘Utaybah, the illustrious Successor, said, “Mujāhid and ‘Abdata Ibn Lubāba sent for me and said, ‘We sent for you because we want to finish the Quran, and supplication when finishing the Quran is answered.’” In some of the authenticate narrations he would say, “Indeed, mercy descends when completing the Quran.” [And] he related with his rigorously authenticated chain of narration from Mujāhid that he said, “They would gather when completing the Quran, saying that the Mercy now descends.”
the supplication: It is emphatically desirable to supplicate immediately after a khatma because of what we have just mentioned in the previous issue. Dārimī related with his chain of transmitters that Ḥumayd al-A‘raj said, “Whoever recites the Quran and then supplicates, four thousand angels say “Amīn!” to his supplication.”3
One should be persistent in his supplication and ask for important matters. He should [supplicate] much for the well-being of the Muslims, their leadership, and all others who attend to their affairs. Al-Ḥakim Abū ‘Abdallāh al-Nīsābūrī has related with his chain of narration that when ‘Abdallāh ibn al-Mubārak (God be pleased with him) would finish the Quran, he would make a great deal of his supplication for the Muslims and believers, male and female.” Others have said similar to this.
The one supplicating should choose all-encompassing supplications, such as the following:
O God! Mend our hearts, remove our faults, assign us the best of outcomes, adorn us with Godfearingness, join for us the best of the first and last, and sustain us with obeying You as long as You make us remain.
O God! Make easy what is easy for us, avert us from what is difficult; protect us from the torture of Hellfire and the torture of the grave, and the trials of life and death, and the trials of the false messiah.
O God! We ask You for guidance, protection, virtue, and affluence.
O God! We entrust You with our religion and bodies, with the finality of our deeds and lives—our families, our loved ones, and all of the Muslims—and all matters of the next life and this one that You bestowed upon us and upon them.
O God! We ask You for pardon and well-being, in religion, and in this life and the next. And to unite us together with our loved ones in the abode of Your generosity with Your favor and mercy.
O God! Mend those who oversee the Muslims, give them success in justice concerning their charges, being benevolent to them, sympathetic to them, being kind with them, and being attentive to their welfare. Make them love their charges, and make their charges love them. Make them successful for Your straight path and for the assignments of Your solid, true religion.
O God! Be gentle with Your servant our leader, and make him successful in the welfare of this life and the next, and make him beloved to the charges and make the charges beloved to him.
The reciter says the rest of the mentioned supplications which concern those who oversee [the affairs of Muslims] and adds:
O God! Protect his life and his land, safeguard his followers and his armies. Give him victory over the enemies of the religion and all other opponents. Give him success in removing the reprehensible and making manifest the benevolent and all kinds of goodness. Through him make Islam more manifest, and make him and his charges mighty and magnificent.
O God! Mend the conditions of the Muslims, reduce the cost of living, and give them safety in their lands. Settle their loans, heal their sick, and give victory to their armies. Bring forth their missing persons, and release their prisoners of war. Heal their breasts, remove rage from their hearts, and unite them. Put belief and wisdom in their hearts and make them firm on the creed of Your Messenger (God bless him and give him peace). Inspire them to fulfill Your covenant that You made with them. Give them victory over Your enemies and their enemies, O God of Truth. Make us among them.
O God! Make them to enjoin what is right and act according to it, and to prohibit the reprehensible and avoid it, mindful of Your limits, and perpetually in Your obedience, demanding justice, and following council.
O God! Safeguard them in their words and deeds, and bless them in all of their states.
He begins and ends his supplication by saying:
All praise is for God, Lord of the worlds: a praise reaching His bounties and matching His provision. O God! Pray upon and give peace to Muḥammad and his followers of Muḥammad, just like you prayed on Ibrāhīm and the followers of Ibrāhīm. And bless Muḥammad and the followers of Muḥammad, just like you blessed Ibrāhīm and the followers of Ibrāhīm; in all of the worlds, indeed You are the praiseworthy and illustrious.
[The Arabic text and English transliteration of these supplications are collected here.]
starting again: When he finishes the khatma, it is recommended for him to begin the next [round of recitation] immediately after it. The [righteous among] the early generations recommended this. They justified their position by way of a hadith of Anas (God be well please with him) that the Messenger of God (God bless him and give him peace) said, “The best of works are al-ḥall and al-riḥlat.” It was asked, “What are they?” He said, “Beginning the Quran and completing it.”4
- Bukhārī (324, 351, 971, 974, 980–81, 1652), Muslim (890), Abū Dāwūd (1136–1139), Tirmidhī (539–40), Nasā’ī (3:180–81).↩
- Dārimī (3475), see al-Futuḥāt al-Rabbāniyyah (3:243).↩
- Dārimī (3484), see al-Futuḥāt al-Rabbāniyyah (3:246).↩
- A sounder account is related from Ibn ‘Abbās (God be well pleased with them both): Tirmidhī (2949), Dārimī (3479). Every time one finishes the Quran’s recitation, he should immediately begin again. The Quran is the most superior worship—after the things required of a person—bringing the servant close to his Lord Most High. It is related from Imām Aḥmad (God be well pleased with him) that he saw in his sleep his Lord a number of times and said, “By God, if I see Him another time I am going to ask Him which thing brings servants closer to Him.” So he saw his Lord and said, “O Lord! By what thing does the servant draw closer to You?” He said, “By reciting My speech, O Aḥmad.” He said, “If he understoods the meaning or if he does not understand, O Lord?” He said, “Whether he understood the meaning or not.” See al-Tajj al-Jami‘ li al-Uṣūl (4:7).↩