This is what reading looks like:

Image source: Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ramadan_Quran_Reading,_Imam_Reza_shrine_(13960320001516636327099057965551_72324).jpg

This is what it means to read the Qur'an (or read a surah); we don't usually do this during prayer. Here's a question which actually asks about reading during prayer: Can we read straight from the Quran when we stand up for salat?

We can perform prayer (or perform salah or perform namaz, or just pray). We might also say that we offer prayer. My natural response to questions like Who first read the Salah? and Is it allowed to read namaz with a non mehram? is "you can't read prayer".

We usually recite the Qur'an or recite a dua or recite the tashahud during prayer, but we don't often read the Qur'an during prayer. Questions like Can we read the same surah in all rakats of salat? are actually grammatically valid questions, but it literally implies getting out a physical Qur'an and reading from it, despite the author (probably) not intending this.

This is a problem for questions such as:

  1. Is it permissible to read in prayer just part of a Surah witch I have memorized from the Quran so I can use it as a repetition?

  2. Does it invalidate prayer to read it fast?

  3. Why should we read the closing prayer?

  4. Is it allowed to read namaz with a non mehram?

  5. Do i read the sunnah rakkats in the mosque

  6. What is the right time for reading morning and evening duas ?

  7. Is it permissible to read silently in prayer?

The answers vary depending on whether "read" is interpreted to mean "read" or "recite" or "perform". It takes unnecessary effort on the reader's part to deduce which word the author actually means. Sometimes it requires guesswork, so these questions can be difficult to correct.

To turn this into a question: Why is this happening?

  • 1
    In some languages "read (پڑھ) salah" is an expression for offering it, so people probably translate that literally into english.
    – UmH
    Apr 16, 2018 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


When it comes to Qur'an itself the most used verb to cover both the reading from a book and the recitation out of the memory in Arabic is قَرَأ which mainly is translated to read (but also to recite) for an Arabic speaker who is not fluent in English this might explain the Issue. But note that when I do recite from the Qur'an while praying I often try to get a projection of the image of the page I'm actually reciting to my memory which may be considered as "reading".

As for the prayer, nobody says in Arabic قَرَأت الصلاة (I've read the prayer ), so for this case I have no interpretation nor explanation how this issue can come up. The most correct term (if one doesn't use the verb to pray صَلَّى) is to perform the prayer أدَاءُ الصَّلاة or to establish the prayer إقَامَةُ الصلاة. So this expression has its source in a different culture (The comment of @Uma suggests that it might have an origin at least in Urdu).


Ok, I think I understand what you say. When someone tells you or ask you to read the prayer, it means, recite the Surahs and then recite the following things of the prayer. And when you finish your prayer, you can say “I’m going to read a surah” not reciting. Reciting is different, recite a surah means recite what you learned and now you know. And read silent means say it in your mind. And when someone is telling you a Du’a, means he recites for for you a Du’a or a Surah.

I hope this is a good answer.

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