What does it mean when we pray/read/recite silently? Is whispering considered silent? Because I whisper when I pray or read quran from mushaf or when I read athkar. When I whisper I can hear myself.

[17:110] And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way.


2 Answers 2


Qur'an and Adhkar:

When reciting the Qur'an out of the prayer, it is is more favorably in Islam to read it with Tarteel which you wouldn't be able to do in whispering, and it is better to be done in a moderate voice.

Surat Al-Muzammel (73) — Verse 4, in Arabic (the exact wording):

وَرَتِّلِ الۡقُرۡاٰنَ تَرۡتِيۡلًا ؕ‏...

In English (in what it means):

and recite the Qur'an in (slow) measured [rhythmic tones / recitation].

But if there was something that prevented you in one way or another from that, then you go for whispering and murmuring/muttering.

The same is applied for the Adhkar (plural of dhikr) which can be said aloud in a normal or rhythmic way.


As what the verse 110 in Surat Al-Isra (17) means by:

قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا

When praying in congregation, you as the Imam shouldn't do the pray (which includes reciting the verses and doing the pillars of the prayer) too loudly to the extent that Polytheists would hear you so they may curse the Qur'an and Allah as they did in a similar situation with the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) Source in Arabic or any other people who may get disturbed or are non-Mahrams for women, and don't whisper it so that the people around you (your partners in the prayer and the people who are listening to you) wouldn't hear it so that they miss the benefits of it, but choose in between (moderate voice).

This also applies for those who pray alone (not in a group) in the Jaher prayers (first and second Rak'aa in Fajer, Maghreb, and Ishaa), which is indeed Sunna. For the rest of the prayers and Rak'aat, they should be done silently (murmuring or with your mouth completely closed). This is valid for both men and women. Source in English


Reciting silently has two meanings in the prayer:

  1. For a male recitor it means to recite in a manner that you move your lips, and only you and a person which is close to you may hear your recitation.
  2. For a female recitor it means that you move your lips, but none can hear you. As a loud recitation for a woman can't be louder than silent recitation of a man. So basically for a woman all prayers are silent.

When it comes to dhikr and du'a I don't know of any exact limitations and rulings except the general (with exclusions) recommendation to do it rather silently, as you are asking "A hearing and seeing Lord" you may even make it in your heart however the majority of scholars say it is better to do it in your heart and with your lips and they quote as an evidence for the importance of moving the lips:

And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech - in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the heedless. (7:205)

So the best way is described in the following statement:

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:
Remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) may be in the heart, on the tongue or in one’s physical actions. (Source islamqa #70577)

Note that there's a difference of opinion when it comes dhikr and du'a after the prayers the majority says it is best to perform it silently, even if in the sunnah there are records that the prophet () did it many times loudly (in hearable voice), but this was made to teach his companions, so saying it in hearable voice in their opinion is frowned upon. Others among them imam at-Tabari, ibn Hazm and ibn Taymiyyah took these evidences from the sunnah as a proof for the permission to say these du'as and dhikrs in audible voice. Of course when an imam makes a du'a for example after the jumu'ah sermon it should be loud enough so that the audience may say "ameen".

Fatwa islamweb #293839 in Arabic and islamqa #70577 and #87768

See also:

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