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Different Qur'an recitation / dialects

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

I read a hadith that there 7 different ways to recite the Qur'an. What are they and what are the characteristics? I heard an Imam read Al-Fatihah in a strange way. He recited "MAlikiyaumiddin" instead of "Maalikiyaumiddin". He also recited "Shirotolladzi na-'anham ta'alaiHUM". I am not an expert in arabic, so I don't know if this is a different dialect, and if it is permitted.

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Quran dialects

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

Sahih Muslim Hadith 1789         Narrated by Ubayy ibn Ka'b

The Messenger of Allah (saws) was near the cistern of Banu Ghifar when Jibrael (a.s.) came to him (saws) and said: ‘Allah has Commanded you to recite the Qur'an in one dialect to your people.’  Upon this the Prophet (saws) said: ‘I ask from Allah pardon and forgiveness. Make affairs easy for my people.’  He (Jibrael (a.s.)) then came for the second time and said: ‘Allah has Commanded you that you should recite the Qur'an to your people in two dialects.’  Upon this he (saws) again said: ‘I seek pardon and forgiveness from Allah, Make affairs easy for my people.’  He (Jibrael (a.s.)) came for the third time and said: ‘Allah has Commanded you to recite the Qur'an to your people in seven dialects, and in whichever dialect they recite, they will be right.’

In principle, one is at absolute liberty to recite the Glorious Quran in any of its revealed seven dialects.

The scholars and jurists in Islam are of the opinion that if one is leading the prayer congregation as the ‘imaam’, it would be akin to wisdom to recite the Verses of the Quran in the standard dialect which is used or prevalent in the region….so as not to cause any confusion or disunity amongst the believers who might not be aware or used to the different dialects of the Quran.

But if one is offering one’s Sunnah or Nafl prayers alone, and Allah Subhanah has blessed one to learn and recite the Quran in its various dialects, one is at absolute liberty to recite the Quran in any of its dialects one wills and pleases.

Your Question: What are they and what are the characteristics?

The various dialiects are now named after the leader of a school of prominent Quran reciters. Each dialect derives its authority from a prominent recitor in the second or third century hijri who in turn trace their transmission back through the Companions of the Prophet.  The seven acknowledged dialects are:

Nafi' (d. 169/785)

Ibn Kathir (d. 120/737)

Abu 'Amr ibn al-'Ala' (d. 154/762)

Ibn 'Amir (d. 154/762)

'Asim (d. 127/744)

Hamza (d. 156/772)

al-Kisa'i (d. 189/904)

Respected brother, to explain the characteristics of each of the dialects would honestly be too lengthy for this forum.  

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brothers and well wishers in Islam,

Members of Islamhelpline

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