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Question 358: Assalam o alaikum, I am a Pakistani and lived my whole life in a different society than the Arabs. So naturally few things I am seeing in this culture are quite different from mine. Today I picked out one such thing for my Question to improve my knowledge.

In subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) females usually cover their heads when they hear the sound of Azan or sound of recitation of Holy Quran.

But, here in my school the Arab teachers teaching Holy Quran never covers their head. They say it’s not necessary to cover the head for recitation of Holy Quran or Azan.

We only need to cover head in front of non-Mahram or for prayer.

Kindly explain is it necessary to cover head or not while recitation of Holy Quran and Listening Azan. Regards

Answer 358:  According to Islam, it is not obligatory on you to have Hijab while you are reciting the holy Quran, unless there is a non-Mahram can see you. So, it would be considered as wajib upon you to observe Hijab just because of the presence of non-Mahram.

It is mustahab to recite the holy Quran while you are lying in bed, however it has less rewards than sitting or standing. There is a tradition in which mentioned we are recommended to recite surahs Tawhid, last verses of Surah Kahf, those Surahs begin with the word Sabbaha (i.e. al-Hadid, Hashr, al-Saff, Jumu’ah, Taghabun especially surah al-Hashr) before we go to sleep.[1]

There are some traditions in which saying we should recite the holy Quran standing, lying, sitting or any state we are, however it would be makruh for a Haez (menstrual period) or Junub to recite verses of the holy Quran if they didn’t perform Wudu or Tayammum.[2] The meaning of Makruh in this state is that they would get less rewards if they recite the holy Quran.[3]

Those women who are in their menstrual period can read the Quran except for the those verses which include obligatory Sajdas. They cannot touch the verses of the holy Quran.[4]

Note: One of the forbidden acts for those who are in the state of Janabah or menstrual period is to recite those verses of the holy Qur’an on the recitation of which performance of Sajdah becomes obligatory.

It is obligatory to perform prostration (sajdah) for reciting four verses in four Sürats (Chapters of the Quran), namely, the last of the Sürat al-Najm (Chapter 53 of the Quran), Surah al-’Alaq (Chapter 96 of the Quran), Verse No. 15 of the Sürat Alif Lam Mim Tanzil (or Sürat al-Sajdah, Chapter 32 of the Quran), Verse No. 37 of the Surat Ha Mim al-Sajdah (Chapter 41 of the Quran).[5] It is also obligatory if a person listens to their recitation attentively, but most obliviously not in case he listens them recited inattentively, though in the latter case too caution must not be given up.

The prostration is obligatory only when a person recites or listens attentively to the whole of any of these four verses, but it is not rendered obligatory just by reciting a part of any of these verses, even the word “Sajdah” in them, though it is more cautious (to perform prostration in such case too). It is obligatory to perform the prostration immediately without any delay. If it is delayed, even though insubordinately, it shall be obligatory to perform the prostration, and its obligation shall not drop.[6]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Philosophy of Hijab during prayer, answer 020.

Index: Men and Women: Covering body in prayers, answer 594.

Index: The best place for a woman to pray is at home or mosque, answer 015.

Index: Rules concerning touching the script of the holy Quran, answer 128.

[1] . Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 60, Pgs. 228-229.

[2] . Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja’ (with annotation of Imam Khomeini ra), Vol. 1, Pg. 270; Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 60, Pg. 246.

[3] . The Official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Women’s issues, Q&A.

[4] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A, Quran.

[5] . Briefly: Surah Alif Lam Mim as-Sajdah, 32:15 / Surah Ha Mim Sajdah, 41:38 / Surah an-Najm, 53:62 / Surah al ‘Alaq, 96:19; Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja’ (with annotation of Imam Khomeini ra), Vol. 1, Pg. 212.

[6] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini ra, Vol. 1, chapter on The Two Prostrations of Recitation of the Quran & Expression of Thankfulness.

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