On Holding the Mushaf During Taraaweeh, A Mention of the Narration of Aaishah and also on Someone Holding the Mushaf Behind the Imaam to Correct Him
Al-Albaani: There is an issue which occurs frequently every Ramadaan, i.e., that when many mosque Imaams stand to lead the people in prayer they read from a mushaf directly. This must happen where you are as it does here?
Okay, so I say: is this legislated? As for me, then my answer is no. There are some noble scholars who permit it, saying that it is allowed, and their proof in that is an authentic narration which states that Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, used to have a servant who would lead her in prayer in Ramadaan who would recite from the mushaf, this is an authentic narration.
My answer to this is that this narration does not represent the general manhaj of the Salaf, it represents the opinion of the Mother of the Believers, the [noble] lady Aa’ishah—and she is one for whom it was not obligatory to go to the mosque to pray the obligatory prayers in congregation, let alone the night prayer which is supererogatory. Not only was it not obligatory for her, it was in fact more desirable for her to pray at home. So firstly, this, as I said, does not represent the salafi understanding in this issue in terms of the Salaf comprehensively, men, scholars, students of knowledge and so on. Secondly, this case was specific to Aa’ishah and her servant. So if someone were to say that, “In situations like this it is permitted,” we say that, “It is allowed in compliance with the Mother of the Believers.” As for it to be made a general sunnah for mosque Imaams who lead men in prayer in the mosques, then this is in opposition to what the Salaf were on … …
So the rule is that the Imaams of the mosques lead the people in prayer from what they have memorised, from memory … and in addition to that I say that opening the door to allow mosque Imaams to read from mushafs in the night prayer in Ramadaan leads to the cancellation of an established, legislated Sunnah from the Prophet ﷺ, which is his saying ﷺ, “Keep refreshing your knowledge of the Quraan and make your voice melodious in reciting it, for by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, it is more inclined to escape from the breasts of men than a camel from its rope.”
“Keep refreshing your knowledge of the Quraan,” means devote your attention to memorising and studying it, because if you don’t it will be lost and go.
So if it is said to mosque Imaams, “There is no need for you to memorise the Quraan … just open the mushaf and put it on a high table and read from it and turn its pages as you pray,” this is a practical dissuasion for them to refresh their knowledge of the Quraan which they had been ordered to do by the Prophet ﷺ.
Thus, this would be from the innovations [bid’ah] which oppose the Sunnah—not only an innovation—but rather an innovation which opposes the Sunnah, and opinion is united in battling against innovations which oppose the Sunnah, if only they knew.
For this reason I do not hold this situation which has now become widespread to be permissible, especially in the Masjid al-Haraam and other mosques around it, [i.e.,] where the Quraan is read from directly, from the noble mushaf.
Questioner: Sometimes a qaari will stand behind them [i.e., behind the Imaam] holding a mushaf so that if the Imaam makes a mistake [he can correct him], so does this have the same ruling?
Al-Albaani: Naturally it has the same ruling. In fact, this is one of the bad results of that practice.
Yes, one time I prayed, I think it was in Taaif, Allaah knows best, behind an Imaam who was reading from the Mushaf—look subhaanallaah, every time when talking about innovations I remember the narration [which says], “No innovation was ever made up except that a Sunnah was wiped out,”—what would this Imaam do? When he’d finish [reciting] and wanted to bow, he would put the mushaf under his armpit, picture that, how do you think his rukoo’ would be, his prostration? Like that of a woman according to some madhhabs. What led him to oppose this sunnah or sunnahs? It is the introduction of this innovation, “No innovation was ever made up except that a Sunnah was wiped out.”
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 544.