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(Q. 12:2) We have sent it down as an Arabic Qurʾān:Praying behind the Lisper

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Muslims are required to recite the Qurʾān properly according to the complex rules of Qurʾānic recitation. This is especially the case during liturgical practices such as ritual prayers. The leader (imām) of congregational prayers (ṣalāt al-jamāʿah) is expected to be more learned in the Qurʾān than the individuals he is leading, and a better reciter. The case of the lisper (al-althagh) poses a challenge: An imām who lisps would be reciting the Qurʾān incorrectly and, in many cases, might change the meaning of the verses. In this article I discuss the problem of the lisper and the situations in which he is allowed to serve, or is forbidden from serving, as an imām for a group of individuals. I also discuss and analyse the positions of several jurists from different schools of law after first providing background on lisping, speech disorders and the general requirements of imāmah.

Affiliations: 1: University of Cambridge


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