Qur'anic recitation: Wages for

Q556 :For generations, my clan has held the position of mullah in our community. This title signifies "religious leaders." Our function is to lead prayers in mosques, and religious functions and advise people on religious matters, etc. We do not receive any payment in cash or kind for these services. Sometime, however, we are invited by others to read the Qur'an for them, and when it is finished, the host gives his guests a grand feast. He also offers them whatever [Added: some remuneration of cash or kind]. Please explain whether it is permissible to receive remuneration for the recitation of Qur'an?

A556 : To read the Qur'an is an act of worship, for which one is rewarded. We have learned that we are credited with good deed for every letter of every word of the Qur'an we utter. On the other hand, to invite people to a meal and to be hospitable to them is an act of kindness which strengthens social ties. Therefore, it is encouraged by Islam and the host receives a reward for his hospitality. So, both actions are proper and acceptable. However, when you combine them and make the latter i.e. the feast, attendant on the former which is the recitation of the Qur'an, you are making a ritual which needs to be considered according to the teachings of the Prophet and the practice of his companions. What happens on such an occasion is for everyone of the guests to read a part of the Qur'an, probably one thirtieth. Combined together, their recitation is considered to complete the Qur'an. Since no person can read the Qur'an complete in an hour or two, his guests are considering to be doing him the privilege of completing over a very short time. Hence, he is exceptionally hospitable to them. What should be said about this practice is that the reading of the Qur'an in this fashion has little to do with the purpose for which the Qur'an has been revealed. Allah has sent down the Qur'an as a guide for mankind to take them out of darkness into light. To achieve that purpose, they have to study and understand it and to implement it in their lives. When we recite the Qur'an, our purpose is to understand and implement it. When you hold a function like that which you have described, you set in motion a mechanical operation of a quick reading with little understanding and even less implementation. Had the Prophet wanted us to do this sort of activity, he would have told his companions and they would have practised it. As it is, nothing of this sort is recorded in the authentic books of sunnah. Therefore, we can dismiss it as an innovation. Moreover, it is far from right to receive remuneration for reading the Qur'an. You do not charge money for worship. Whether you take money from your host or accept his hospitality only, the fact that he is giving this grand reception for the benefit of having the Qur'an read in his home makes the whole thing rather unacceptable. The host would have received much more reward if he invited a number of poor people to his home and gave them a good meal. Similarly, he would receive much greater reward if he recites a part of the Qur'an each day and finishes it within a month or a week. [Added: or whatever period].

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )