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What Are the Rules of Stopping When Reading Quran?

rules of stopping when reading quran

When you read the Quran, have you reflected on the signs or symbols found in 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 of the rules of stopping when reading Quran for better recitation.

What Is the Stop?

What Are the Rules of Stopping When Reading Quran?

To begin with, let’s understand the definition of this word. The linguistic definition of this word is: halt and imprisonment. For its applied definition: It’s the cutting off the sound at the end of a word, usually for the period of the time of breathing, with the intention of returning to the recitation, not with the intention of abandoning the recital. It can be at the end of an Ayah or in the middle of an Ayah. However, it can never be in the middle of the word.

What Is the Importance of Quran Stop Signs ?

quran stop signs

Knowing the proper places to begin and to rules of stopping when reading Quran is of utmost importance in order to avoid mistakes leading to confusion or a change in meaning. 

The question often arises concerning a long Ayah where the reader must pause to draw a breath before continuing. 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.

Thus, our righteous predecessors were extremely careful in teaching the knowledge of the stop and the start. Also, it’s well documented in authentic chains that the companions and those that followed them paid great attention to this knowledge. 

Many of the Imams of recitation wouldn’t give accreditation (Ijazah) to a student of the Quran until they acquired knowledge of the stop and start.

Basic Tools for Dealing with stop and pause signs in Quran. 

As a Muslim, you need two tools to deeply understand the stop:

As or reflect to the stop, except by trying to equip yourself with these basics:

  • 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-Arab native speaker, it could be hard to deal with the above-mentioned topics well. Thus, as a tool for preserving the meaning of Quran, Muslim scholars do the following:

  • 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 system of symbols slightly different 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. The more common ones in most mushafs are as follows:

  1. Quran Stops 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. 

Quran Breathless Pause Signs 

stop and pause signs in quran

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. 

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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