I have a question. Recently, my father asked me why I didn’t pause after finishing the surah before the takbir for ruku’? My question is, is a pause after reciting the surah also a sunnah the same as after takbiratul ihram and after finishing al-Fatihah? Hope for an explanation on this matter.
Waalaikumussalam wrt, wbt.,
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.
Before we answer the question asked, we would like to first state several places in prayer where it is Sunnah for us to pause. Imam al-Nawawi said according to madhhab al-Shafi’e, it is Sunnah for an imam to pause in jahriyyah prayers on four places as the following:
- After takbiratul ihram to recite the iftitah.
- After finishing surah al-Fatihah which is between its last verse and saying “Ameen”, a brief pause, so that people may not have thought that “Ameen” is part of the surah.
- After saying “Ameen” with a long pause so that the ma’mum is able to finish their recitation of al-Fatihah.
- After finishing the recitation of surah with a really short pause, so that it becomes a divider between the surah and takbir for ruku’.
(See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 3/395 and al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalah al-Quran, Dar Ibn Rejab, pg. 92-93)
While Habib Hassan bin Ahmad al-Kaff and al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Syatiri then said that it is Sunnah for a person performing prayer to pause in his prayer at six places. And for each place which is Sunnah for him to pause is for a duration of saying “Subhanallah”. The places are as the following:
- Between takbiratul ihram and the iftitah.
- Between the iftitah and istia’zah.
- Between istia’zah and surah al-Fatihah.
- Between the last verse of surah al-Fatihah and “Ameen”.
- Between “ameen” and the recitation of surah (other than al-Fatihah). It is also Sunnah for the imam to lengthen his pause in jahriyyah prayers to allow the ma’mum to finish their recitation of surah al-Fatihah.
- Between surah (other than al-Fatihah) and ruku’.
(See al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah, pg. 238 and Nail al-Raja’, Dar al-Minhaj, pg. 193-194)
It is Sunnah to pause briefly after finishing the recitation of surah and before ruku’
Coming back to the question asked, we all know that it is Sunnah for those who perform prayers to pause briefly after finish reciting the surah and before takbir for ruku’, for a very short pause or a duration of saying “Subhanallah”.
This is in accordance with a hadith of al-Hassan al-Basri from the narration of Samurah bin Jundub RA where:
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَتْ لَهُ سَكْتَتَانِ، سَكْتَةٌ حِينَ يَفْتَتِحُ الصَّلَاةَ، وَسَكْتَةٌ إِذَا فَرَغَ مِنَ السُّورَةِ الثَّانِيَةِ، قَبْلَ أَنْ يَرْكَعَ، فَذُكِرَ ذَلِكَ لِعِمْرَانَ بْنِ حُصَيْنٍ، فَقَالَ: كَذَبَ سَمُرَةُ، فَكَتَبَ فِي ذَلِكَ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ إِلَى أُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ فَقَالَ: صَدَقَ سَمُرَةُ
“Indeed, the Prophet PBUH paused (in his prayer) on two places, his pause (the first one) is on the start of prayer (during iftitah) and his pause (the second one) is when he finished reciting the second surah, before he bowed (ruku’). Then that matter was told to Imran bin Husain. He said: “Samurah was lying”. Then he wrote a letter on this to Ubay bin Ka’ab in Medina, but alas Ubay said: “Samurah was saying the truth”.
Narrated by Ahmad (20166)
Among the wisdom of that pause is so that it can be a divider between the recitation of surah and takbir for ruku’ (See al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalah al-Quran, Dar Ibn Rejab, pg. 93). Likewise, Imam Ibn Qudamah also put a subtopic on after finishing the recitation of surah (other than al-Fatihah). He then cited the statement of Imam Ahmad that:
يَثْبُتُ قَائِمًا، وَيَسْكُتُ حَتَّى يَرْجِعَ إلَيْهِ نَفَسُهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَرْكَعَ، وَلَا يَصِلُ قِرَاءَتَهُ بِتَكْبِيرَةِ الرُّكُوعِ
“Stand and stay still until you are focused before ruku’ and do not combine the recitation (of surah) with takbir to ruku’”. (See al-Mughni, 1/356-357)
Besides, it can be understood from this statement of Imam Ahmad that the pause seems like a sign to the person performing prayer to not hasten and be reckless in performing prayer that it seems like he is combining two different recitations which should be separated, but one should perform prayer with khusyu’ and focus.
Based on the above discussion and arguments, we conclude that it is Sunnah for people performing prayer to pause bruefly after finishing the recitation of surah and before takbir for ruku’, with the shortest pause or for about the pronouncement of “Subhanallah”. Among the purposes is so that the pause can be a divider between the recitation of surah and takbir for ruku’. Besides, it is also a sign and reminder for people performing prayer to not hasten or be reckless in performing it.
We also had discussed on the ruling of an imam pausing a briefly after reciting surah al-Fatihah in the article al-Kafi li al-Fatawi Series-1055.
May Allah SWT give us all clear understanding in religion. Ameen.
 See https://muftiwp.gov.my/artikel/al-kafi-li-al-fatawi/3036-al-kafi-1055-hukum-imam-diam-seketika-selepas-baca-al-fatihah. Accessed on 30th April 2020.