Praying Silently?

 

 It is very important for Muslims to know the difference between praying-silently and praying-in-the-head.

Reciting silently; means one’s lips must move, the tongue must move and the breath must be exhaled with subdued voice (like whispering). What is being recited silently must be audible to the reciter.

Zuhar and Asar Prayers *1 are a good example when both, the Imam and those praying behind him, are reciting silently for it is the peak-time of the day when minds are usually pre-occupied with a host of things/thoughts and a loud recitation even by Imam may not suit the bustling mood of the day and may distract those reciting silently behind him.

In other three prayers, the serene ambiance under the cloak of darkness seems suitable for louder recitation.

*1–Zuhar and Asar Prayers are called “sirri” (silent/subdued) while other 3 prayers are called “Jahri” (loud or audible).

Reciting in the head (without the movement of the above-mentioned facial-parts is not a “recitation” but “imagination”.

It does not constitute a valid recitation in the prayer.

In Islamic Fiqh, the terms “jahr” and “khaft” are used when describing the way one should recite. Linguistically “jahr” means “to be loud, clearly audible” and “khaft” means “to become inaudible, low, and soft”.

Muslim Scholars, however, have resorted to the technical meanings of these terms; based on the linguistic definition, by adding limits to them.

Technically, as explained by the scholars, “jahr” means to recite out loud; the minimal whereof being the recitation in a way that the next person in line can hear. “Khaft” means to recite quietly, the minimal whereof being that the person reciting hears himself. What constitutes “Recitation” is the movement of the tongue, breathing in and out to produce sound. Just “thinking” it in one’s mind does not constitute recitation.

There is a strong position taken in all the schools-of-thoughts (Madahabs) that in a minimal “khaft” (silent) recitation correct pronunciations of the Arabic words of the verse being recited, must be murmured, without exuding sound.

 

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