What is the ruling for a makmum to recite his recitation in congregational prayer in a loud voice?
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.
Generally, a makmum is restricted from reciting in a loud voice following the imam, where he is supposed to actually just recite in a low voice that only he could hear it. Imam al-Nawawi stated this fact in al-Majmu` Syarh al-Muhadzdzab (3/364): “When we state that it is obligatory for a makmum to recite the Fatihah during Jahar prayers (prayers where the recitation is read out loud by the imam, such as Subuh and Friday prayer), (but) it is makruh for a makmum to recite his recitation loudly that it would distract others (praying near him), where he should lower his voice, so that only himself can hear it, if he is not deaf and there’s nothing hindering his recitations such as other loud noise and others, for it is the minimum requirement for recitation.”
Although the above statement mentioned that it is makruh, there are some Syafieyyah scholars that ruled it prohibited when it distracts others for it is a form of harm. Imam Ba Fadl state in al-Muqaddimah al-Hadhramiah: “And it is prohibited to raise one’s voice if it will result in tasywisy (disrupting the recitation) of others.”
The difference of both opinions is harmonized by Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami in al-Minhaj al-Qawim (pg. 125-126): “[And it is prohibited] for every individual to raise his voice in or outside of prayer [if it disturbs others] such as other people who are praying, or reciting the Quran, sleeping or harming others and referring to the disrupting speech; the claim made even by a fasiq that someone is disturbing him with loud recitation is accepted. What is stated from the prohibition (from the evidence al-Muqaddmah al-Hadhramiah), but the prohibition is denied through the words (Imam al-Nawawi) in al-Majmu’ and others, then it is clear that it is not prohibited, unless if it is compiled (both opinions) with the possibility of it being makruh if tasywisy (disruption) is minor.”
The prohibition is relevant following the syariat that is based on preventing harm. This Islamic legal maxim is based on a hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ
“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.”
Sunan Ibn Majah (2341)
The same is stated in Busyra al-Karim (pg.286), al-Allamah al-Habib Ba ‘Isyn agreed with the above harmonization and includes situations where there is no necessity: “[And it is prohibited] for someone who is praying, without any valid reasons, to raise his voice in or outside of prayer [if it disturbs others] such as other people who are praying, reciting the Quran and others which may cause harm. And referring to the disrupting speech; the claim made even by a fasiq that someone is disturbing him with loud recitation is accepted. (This prohibition happens) if it is a great disruption to others. If not, then it is makruh. Thus, the difference of opinions is harmonized (as stated above). However, if there is a necessity, such as a noisy place that call for someone to raise his voice, then it is neither makruh nor prohibited.”
We would also like to include the following exceptions where it is permissible for a makmum to raise his voice. Among them are:
- The voice of muballigh. If the voice of the imam is too low or if it is feared that the congregation could not hear the voice of the imam, then it is sunnah for a makmum to act as a muballigh (conveyer) the voice of the imam in a loud voice. Syeikh al-Jamal said in his Hasyiah (1/367): [Imam Zakariyya al-Ansari said: it is sunnah to raise the voice of the imam and muballigh] which is if there is a necessity for it, as stated by Imam al-Ramli, for it is a form of zikr to indicate the change (of movement in prayer).”
- Reciting Amin after the recitation of al-Fatihah by imam. Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah said in al-Majmu` (3/371): “If it is a sirriyyah prayers (prayers where the recitation is in a low voice by the imam such as Zuhr prayer), then the imam and the makmum recite amin in a low voice the same as the recitation of the Fatihah. For jahriyyah prayers (prayers where the recitation is in a loud voice by the imam such as Subh prayer), then it is encouraged for the makmum to raise their voices to recite the Amin at the end of the Fatihah as agreed by scholars, as stated by Imam al-Syafie and the agreement of scholars.”
Hence, according to the above discussion, we could conclude the following points:
- Makruh for a makmum to raise his voice who is in congregational prayer, for it could disturb others and is sunnah to recite it in a low voice where only he could hear it.
- If the makmum raises his voice and disturbs others, and it disrupts the recitation of others or a person beside him, then it is prohibited.
- It is not prohibited or makruh if it does not disturb others and there is a necessity for it for example, it is a noisy place. However, it is not an obligation to raise his voice if it is noisy, it is sufficient to recite it the same when he is in a place which is not noisy.
- It is sunnah for a makmum to raise his voice when it is time to recite amin after the Fatihah in jahriyyah prayers, which also includes the time of qunut and for a makmum who acts as a muballigh.
Hopefully, this explanation would benefit us all. Wallhua’lam