Using the Walkman to Learn the Qur’ān
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I’m trying to learn as much of the Qur’ān as possible. To facilitate this effort, I often listen to tapes of recitations of the Qur’ān in my walkman when I go out. Is this sinful? I heard a speaker say that when one hears the Qur’ān being recited, then he/she should do nothing but listen to it. Please clarify.


There is absolutely no harm in listening to the Qur’ān on a walkman in order to learn it. In fact, this seems to be a good use of time.

In all probability, it must have been the following verse which the speaker you heard was referring to:

When the Qur’ān is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that you may receive mercy. (7:204)

I am afraid I do not agree with its interpretation. It has a specific background and cannot be related to your situation. I’ll try to briefly explain the context to you. We know from the Qur’ān that the disbelievers would express their enmity for the Qur’ān in various ways. One of these ways was that they would make noises and sounds when the Qur’ān was recited to them so that they were not able to receive its message. This escapist attitude is referred to in the following verse:

The disbelievers say: Give no heed to the Qur’ān: Interrupt its reading with clamor and uproar that you may prevail. (41:26)

Now if the context of 7:204 is carefully analysed, it comes to light that it is these disbelievers who are addressed in it and admonished for this unbecoming behaviour. They are told that they must at least listen to the Qur’ān -- for this might open their hearts to it and in this way they might benefit from the mercy of God.

It is evident from this analysis that this verse has a specific background; it is not addressed to Muslims at all; rather it addresses certain factions of disbelievers of the times of the Prophet (sws) and chides them on a prank they were indulging in to evade the calls of the Qur’ān.

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