Mushaf Waqf & Ibtidāʾ – Syed Nasir Omar al-Sagoff


In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise be to Allāh who governs the Universe. Peace be upon Prophet Muhammad , and his Companions, who upheld the Qurʾān during the time of the Prophet and after his demise. May Allāh bless them and be well-pleased with them all. Since the time when the Qurʾān was sent down to Rasulullāh , its spread to the whole of Arabia became instant. By the will of Allāh  and the triumph of Islam in the lands it liberated, the Qurʾān widened its reach to whole continents and continues to do so to this day as it is still used by millions of Muslims of different races and countries. It cannot be denied, that the Qurʾān in Arabic is the most important reading for the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad . The Qurʾān is the basic foundation of life that we should know and embrace.

Muslims began learning how to recite the Qurʾān with proper pronunciation and abiding by the rules of Tajwīd besides attempting to gain understanding from it. Learning the rules of Tajwīd such as Idghām, Ikhfāʾ, Iẓhār, Iqlāb and the conditions of Mad are easily available since all of it was already formulated by the Qurrāʾ (Qurʾānic scholars) in a manner that is sufficient for those yearning to read well.

However, non-Arab readers of the Qurʾān face difficulty in knowing where to end when reciting its verses, and where to begin reciting again, when they are forced to pause due to shortness of breath, coughing, sneezing and the like. Here then, comes the ruling of Waqf and Ibtidāʾ. To the Arabs or those who have learned Arabic, this is not a problem since they would be able to read with ease and know when to continue reciting after stopping, with perfect continuation.

For those who are not well-versed in Arabic however, it would be difficult for them to identify the points where they should start reciting again if they experience shortness of breath or things of the like.

As is known, a simple mistake in starting at a wrong point of a verse from the Qurʾān could change the whole meaning of that verse. Thus, the Qurrāʾ began the effort of introducing signs or symbols of waqf (where to stop), and ibtidāʾ (where to begin)to make it easy for those who are not familiar with the language of Paradise. In doing this, they hoped that readers would be able to read the Qurʾān properly by not disrupting the meaning of what they recite. This has been well-used by Muslims all over the world. In spite of it, readers still face difficulties in knowing when to start or stop when faced with a rather long verse. This has become a predicament to many readers of
the Qurʾān.

It is thus necessary for them to learn this matter from qualified teachers who understand the language of the Qurʾān so that they can be familiar with these points, when they are forced to stop at long verses due to shortness of breath, coughing and such.

By the grace of Allāh  and gratefulness towards Him, I hope that my humble effort to indicate by colour, the appropriate points where one starts or stops reciting in both long and short verses, will be of benefit to those who do not understand Arabic in order to help them recite better and with confidence.

May Allāh  grant us the best and may the Qurʾān bring benefit to us all. Amin.
Syed Nasir Omar al-Sagoff


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