Stoppage symbols (Waqf) in the Mushaf

Q: In the Noble Quran, there are specific letters – like Jeem ج, Taa ط, and others – that are put on some verses or places to indicate a mandatory stop in recitation.

Who put these letters of stoppage and is it required to adhere to them?

Knowing that we hear some of the Imaams of the Haramain (Masjid Haram in Makkah & Masjid Nabawi in Madina) during the Taraaweeh prayers and they stop in other places where the letters of stoppage are not found, is this correct or not?

Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baaz, rahimahullah, responded:

I do not know exactly who placed these letters, but some of the reciters of the Quran placed these letters to help others to know that stopping at a particular place is permissible. They also did this to show that stopping at a particular place is not required due to preserving the meanings of a verse and to prevent the meaning from being incomplete.

However, do not pay attention to these signs of stoppage; you are not obliged to follow these signs. Indeed, the Sunnah is to only stop at the end of a verse. The Prophet, peace be upon him, would only stop at the end of a verse, and this is what is best and most appropriate. As for these letters, then one is not required to abide by them.

But if a person wants to stop during a verse, then he should investigate and find the appropriate, suitable, and clear place in that verse. One cannot stop at a place that causes the meaning of the verse to be incomplete.

If a verse is speaking about one connected idea then this should be recited until the entire meaning is made clear.

As for stopping at a particular place in a verse, then it is not needed – rather the verse should be recited incompletion.

Source: Majmu’ Ayaat min Al-Qur’an Al-Karim p. 329-330

Translated by:
Abu Awzaa’ee Abdus-Salaam

My commentary:

Subhanallah as I was reading this fatwa it reminded me of a benefit our Tahfeedh teacher told us…We were reading Surah al-‘Araaf to him and he explained that many times in the Quran Allah will start the verse with a فعل الشرط then a جواب الشرط then end the verse with a فعل الشرط.

He said that if you want to stop in this type of verse then you will have to stop before the beginning of the جواب الشرط or before the 2nd فعل الشرط.

The verse goes,

قال إن كنت جئت بآية فأت بها إن كنت من الصادقين

The first فعل الشرط is إن كنت جئت بآية

You can stop at the end of آية

OR you can choose to stop at the end of فأت بها which is the جواب الشرط.

Additional benefit…the جواب الشرط that’s found in the middle of the verse is for the فعل الشرط found before AND after it.

So it’s as if Allah is saying

قال إن كنت جئت بآية فأت بها

إن كنت من الصادقين فأت بها !

This is one of the linguistic beauties in the Quran that gets lost in translation.

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