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What Are the Rules of Stopping When Reading Quran?

rules of stopping when reading quran

Allah swt revealed the Quran to prophet Muhmmad through angel Jibreel over a period of approximately 23 years. It is our duty to learn all the Quran reading rules so as to recite it the proper way and apply its teachings to gain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty.

Have you ever reflected on the signs or symbols found above some words? Do you know their importance, meanings, purpose, or how to deal with them? There are rules for stops, pauses, cut-offs, and starts. Let’s know all these rules and types of Waqf in Quran for better recitation.

When to Stop in Quran

First of all, let’s understand the definition of Waqf. The linguistic definition of doing Waqf is to stop. For its applied definition: It’s cutting off the sound at the end of a word, usually for a period of the time of breathing, with the intention of returning to the recitation, not with the intention of finishing it. It can be at the end of an Ayah or even in the middle. However, it can never be in the middle of the word.

What Is the Importance of Quran Stop Signs ?

Knowing the proper places to begin and the rules of stopping when reading Quran is of utmost importance in order not to make fatal pronunciation mistakes or change the entire meaning. Thus, our righteous predecessors were extremely careful in teaching the Ummah all The tajweed stopping rules. Also, it is well documented in authentic chains that the companions and those that followed them paid great attention to this knowledge. 

Additional Tools for Dealing with Stop and Pause Signs in Quran. 

As a Muslim, it is highly-recommended to get equipped with two tools to deeply understand the rules of stopping when reading Quran:

  • A general understanding of the meanings in Arabic can keep the reader from most serious mistakes.
  • The additional knowledge is gained through the Tafseer (explanation) of the Quran.

However, as a normal Muslim, not specialized in this field of advanced knowledge, or as a non-Arabic native speaker, it could be hard to deal with the above-mentioned topics well.

Thus, as a tool for preserving the meaning of the Holy Quran, Certain Quran punctuation symbols have been added by scholars to the Muṣḥaf designating information about the desirability of stopping in specific places. Muṣḥafs printed in Pakistan follow a slightly different set of symbols from those printed in Arab countries.

Divisions of the Stop

There are three divisions for the stop:

  • Optional Stop: This is what was intended by the reciter without any outside reason. It is the main one we will discuss in this topic.
  • Compelled Stop: This is what comes forth to the reader as a compelling reason for stopping, such as shortness of breath. In this case, it’s allowed to stop on the end of the word the reciter was at, even if the  meaning isn’t complete.

After the compelling state has passed, the reader then starts with the word stopped, and then joins it with what follows if it’s a sound beginning. If not, the reader then should start with what is sound for a beginning.

  • Test Stop: This is what is required of the student when being examined or taught by a teacher.
  • Waiting Stop: This stop is when the reader stops at a word that has more than one way of recitation, with the intention of resuming with the other way, when reading by combining all of the ways of recitation while being taught by or presenting the reading to a sheikh.

Divisions of the Optional Stop

  1. Complete Stop: It’s the stop on an utterance complete in meaning and not attached to what follows it in grammatical expression or in meaning.

It’s best to stop on it, and then start on what follows it. It’s usually found at:

  • the end of an Ayah, 
  • the end of each Surah, 
  • and at the completion of stories on the Glorious Quran.
  • Waqf E Lazim in Quran (The Required Stop):

One of the types of the complete stop is al Waqf al Lazim, the required stop. 

It’s the stop on a word which explains the meaning, and this meaning would not be understood without this stop. 

  1. The Sufficient Stop: It’s the stop on an utterance complete in meaning and is attached to what follows it in meaning, but not in grammar.

It’s advisable to stop on it, and start with that which follows, just as the complete stop.

  1. The Good Stop: It’s the stop on an utterance complete in its meaning, but is attached to what follows it grammatically and in meaning. To illustrate, it could be attached grammatically such as stopping on a word that has a subsequent adjective, and leaving out the adjective.

It’s good to stop on it, but not good to start on what follows it, due to the attachment in grammar or in meaning.

  1. The Repulsive Stop: it’s the stop on what doesn’t give a correct meaning, due to its strong attachment to what follows in grammar and in meaning; for example, stopping on the verb without the subject.

Quran Symbols Meaning

where to stop while reading quran

There are many symbols or signs in Quran, put by the scholars, as mentioned earlier, to help the reciter to stop on a correct meaning. Any point of starting or stopping is considered either permissible, prohibited, or unsuitable according to whether or not it leads to complete and correct meaning. The more common ones in most mushafs are as follows:

1. Quran Stopping Signs:

  •  مـcompulsory stop to avoid altering the meaning. It’s an indicator for the required stop.
  • ط normal stop at the end of a sentence or thought
  • ج permissible stop. It’s an indicator for the sufficient stop.
  •  صلي(or ص or ز) permissible stop but preferable to continue. It’s an indicator for the good stop.
  •  قلي(or ق) permissible to continue but preferable to stop. It could be an indicator for a complete or sufficient stop.
  • لا  either not to cut off the recitation, or not to stop on the marked word and start on the following word. It’s an indicator of the repulsive stop.
  •  قف The Anticipation Mark: preferable to stop.
  • ∴ – The Embracing Stop: “Mu’aanaqah” is a sign found twice on two words from the Ayah, meaning if you want to stop on one of them, then you are not allowed to stop on the other. However, it’s permissible to continue without stopping on any of them as well.

Note: Some scholars may consider a particular stop good, while others consider the same stop sufficient, and still others consider it complete. This comes from variances in conclusions as to the make-up of the grammatical sentence. 

2. Quran Breathless Pause Signs 

One of the related topics to the stop is the pause (Sakt). Sakt or saktah means a pause held for two counts without breathing during recitation, and it is symbolized by the letter س, in many mushafs. There are four pauses in the way of Hafs recitation you can find in Tajweed books. 

stop and pause signs in quran

Where to Stop While Reading Quran (Stopping on the Ends of Words)

Moreover, When stopping on any word, whether at the end of an Ayah

or a phrase, or merely to draw a breath, the following is observed:

  • Short vowels including tanween are omitted in pronunciation from the last letter of the word. 
  • One exception is the tanween of fatḥah which is pronounced when stopping as alif. 
  • When stopping on taa marbūṭah ( ـة or ة) all vowels and tanween (including that of fatḥah) are omitted and the letter is pronounced as haa with sukoon.

The Start Rules of reading Quran

After covering the main topics related to the stop, it’s suitable to tackle the start. It refers to the resumption of the recitation after cutting it off or stopping it.

It’s allowed to begin with what comes after a complete or sufficient stop under any circumstances. Also, it’s allowed to start with that which comes after a good stop, only if it’s the end of an Ayah.

You can stop on a correct meaning in the middle of an Ayah, then start your recitation the way mentioned before.

The Not Allowed Start

  • However, you are not allowed to cut off your recitation in the middle on an Ayah, then start from the middle. Only in this case, you are allowed to cut off at the end of the Ayah. Then later, if you want to start, you will start from the beginning of an Ayah or Surah.
  • Moreover, you are not allowed to start in a way that changes the intended meaning or changes it. This kind of start could be of utmost repulsiveness if it leads to meaning in disagreement with our creed. If one does this intentionally, he/she will be sinned.

In case of the not allowed starts, Muslim should rather go back till he/she starts from a suitable meaning in the Ayah through which he makes the stop. This is especially when the Ayah is long and it’s hard to come with it as a whole at once.

** Most of the above-mentioned information are gathered from two books; Tajweed Rules of the Quran by Kareema Carol, Part 3, and An Introduction to Tajweed by Umm Muhammad. For more information and examples for a better understanding of the topic, please refer to them.


To conclude, after this long journey, you should be patient in reading the Quran. Don’t stop your recitation just because of your feeling that you are not fit. Remember that as long as you exert your effort to learn and improve your recitation, then you are on the track. Success is a continuation.

Also, remember that learning Tajweed, including the stops, is a gateway for understanding the Quran to apply it. Application is the cornerstone.

As you know, for better knowledge of stops rule, you are recommended to start learning Quran Recitation with Tajweed, and learn quranic Arabic, here with Riwaq Al Azhar. Just break the ice with the Quran and its language now.

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