For the recitation of al-Fatihah in prayer, is it permissible if it is done only in one’s heart or with just sounds?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The recitation of the Fatihah is included as the qauli (recitation/utterances) requisite, where if we neglect it, then our prayer is invalid. Recitation of the Fatihah must be in verbal which means through utterances of the tongue and not in one’s heart.Imam al-Syafi’e Rahimahullah said:
وَلَا يُجْزِئُ الرَّجُل أَنْ يحْرِمَ لِلصَّلَاة بِقَلْبِهِ ، وَلَا يَقْرَأ بِقَلْبِهِ حَتَّى يُحَرِّكَ لِسَانَهُ
“It is invalid for a man who performs the takbiratul ihram for prayer in his heart and it is invalid for him to recite (al-fatihah) using his heart unless he moves his tongue.” Refer Mukhtasar al Buwaithi (pg. 244).
This opinion of Imam al-Syafi’e is strengthen by a hadith narrated from Khabbab RA, where he was asked:
بِأَىِّ شَىْءٍ كُنْتُمْ تَعْرِفُونَ قِرَاءَةَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فِي الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ قَالَ بِاضْطِرَابِ لِحْيَتِهِ
‘How did you recognize that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was reciting in the Zuhr and the ‘Asr?’ He said: ‘From the movement of his beard.’
Sunan Ibn Majah (826)
Here, we would like to state that the prayer of a person who recited the Fatihah only his heart is invalid. Thus, the Fatihah must be recited clearly using our tongues until it reaches our hearing but not until it disturbs other makmum beside us. May Allah SWT give us a clear understanding in practising the religion. Amin.