Question # 474: Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, I would like to know minimum how long (how many aya’t) should I recite from a surah of the Quran. Is it permissible to recite only 2 or 3 aya’t from a surah? Thank in advance.
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Reciting Qur’an after al-Faatihah in prayer is not obligatory, either in fard (obligatory) prayer or naafil (supererogatory) prayer. However, reciting a soorah after al-Fatihah is mustahabb (recommended) and is part of the sunnah. Reciting even one ayah after al-Fatihah is sufficient; however, according to Hanafi Madhhab, reciting at least three short verses or one long verse that is as long as three short verses in each rak’ah is wajib (not fard).
Long Answer: Reciting Qur’an after al-Faatihah in prayer is not obligatory, either in fard (obligatory) prayer or naafil (supererogatory) prayer, whether the prayer is one in which Qur’an is recited out loud or one in which it is recited silently, whether one is joining the prayer late or otherwise.
It was narrated that ‘Ata’ said: Abu Hurayrah said: In every prayer, there is qira’ah (recitation). What we heard the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say, we tell you, and what he did not tell us about we cannot tell you. Whoever recites Umm al-Kitaab (i.e., Soorat al-Faatihah) has done enough, and whoever does more than that, that is better. (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Al-Nawawi said: “The phrase, “Whoever recites Umm al-Kitaab (i.e., Soorat al-Faatihah) has done enough, and whoever does more than that, that is better” indicates that reciting al-Fatihah is obligatory and that nothing else will do.
It also indicates that reciting a soorah after al-Fatihah is mustahabb. There is scholarly consensus on this point with regard to Fajr, Jumu’ah, and the first two rak’ahs of every prayer, and this is Sunnah according to all scholars. Al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated that some of the companions of Maalik said that reciting a second soorah is obligatory, but this is an odd view which is to be rejected… (Sharh Muslim)
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “According to the majority of scholars, reciting another soorah (after al-Faatihah) is Sunnah and is not obligatory, because it is obligatory to recite only al-Faatihah.” (Al-Sharh al-Mumti’)
[He also] said: “There is nothing wrong with a man reciting one verse from a soorah in an obligatory prayer or in a naafil prayer. This may be understood from the ayah: ‘So, recite you of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you’ (Soorah al-Muzzammil, 73:20)
But the Sunnah – which is preferable – is to recite a soorah, and the best is to recite one soorah in each rak’ah. If that is too difficult then it is acceptable to divide the soorah between the two rak’ahs.” (al-Sharh al-Mumti’)
[Therefore,] it is permissible for a person to recite whatever he can of what he knows of the Qur’an – according to his ability… So, there is nothing wrong with a person reciting the verses that he knows, whether it is three verses or more or less.
The majority of the scholars who say that it is preferable to read some soorah or verses after al- Fatihah, consider, however, that one ayah is sufficient, and it is better to read three (3) ayahs, and if someone recites a whole soorah, that is the best, even if it is a short one. According to Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad ash-Shaybani (Hanafi Madhhab) and another narration from Abu Hanifah, qira’ah in a prayer consists of at least three short verses or one long verse that is as long as three short verses in each rak’ah. This is appropriate in terms of caution. (al-Qasani, Badayiu’s-Sanayi’; Ibnu’l-Humam, Fathu’l-Qadir; az-Zaylai, Tabyinu’l Haqaiq; Ibn Abidin, Raddu’l-Mukhtar) (questionsonIslam.com)
(Unless stated otherwise, the above reply is based on various answers provided by Islamqa.info on similar topics)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.