Mistakes in recitation of the Quran

Types of mistakes in recitation of the Quran

What is Al-Lahn in the recitation of the Qur’an?

Al-Lahn  means, “A deviation from correctness when reading.”

There are basically two types of mistakes one may commit while pronouncing the words of Qur’an. They are:

  1. Apparent or clear mistake;
  2. Hidden/unclear/unapparent mistake

Apparent mistake or Lahnun Jaliyyun, as the name implies, is a mistake which is clear on the face of it and can be pointed out by any ordinary person reciting the Qur’an and those versed in the Tajweed knowledge without any difficulty.

Technically, it is a mistake that occurs in the pronunciation that affects the accuracy of the reading, even if the mistake occurs in the meaning or not.

It has the following cases:

Changing of a letter with another letter: This mistake occurs when a reciter, unaware of the grammar and meaning of the Arabic language, changes a letter with another letter and thereby changes the entire meaning of the word, unknowingly. This is illustrated as follows:


عصى   …………..عسى

القانطين …………القانتين

الظالمين ………..الذالمين

Changing of the vowel or giving vowel to an un-voweled letter: This mistake occurs when the reciter reads the letter with a particular vowel other than that of the original vowel and thereby may or may not change the meaning of the letter. This is illustrated as follows:

الحمَدُ ………. الحمدُ

أنعمتُ ……..أنعمتَ

كنتُ ­…….. كنتَ

لستَ ………. لستِ 

المد والقصر: that is to elongate the vowels more than one count or to cut-short the timing of the madd letters, i.e., the letters which are required to be lengthened two counts.

الوقف والابتداء: this mistake occurs when the reciter of the Qur’an,  who is not an Arab speaker and is un-aware of the meanings of the Arabic language and punctuation rules, starts from a segment of the ayah which gives a wrong meaning of that ayah or likewise stops on a segment of an ayah of the Qur’an which changes the meaning. This is illustrated as follows:

For example, the recitor begins from : قوله تعالى

{ ما أَغْنى عَنْهُ مالُهُ وَما كَسَبَ}

المسد (آية 2)

Similarly, beginning from قوله تعالى  :


وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ ءَأَنْتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَهَيْنِ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ } {…

المائدة (من آية 116)

Similarly, the recitor pauses at   قوله تعالى:

{ يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَقْرَبُواْ ٱلصَّلاَةَ وَأَنْتُمْ سُكَارَىٰ…}

النساء ( من آية 43)

Or at قوله تعالى  :

{… فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۗ }

محمد (من آية 19)

Hidden mistake or Lahnun Khafiyyun, as the name indicates, is a mistake which is not that apparent and easy to find except by those who are well-versed in the science of Tajweed.

Technically, it is a mistake that takes place in the pronunciation that pierces the reading, heard by an accomplished reader, and is not a mistake in the meaning, or in the language or in the grammar. Only those who have knowledge of Qur’an reading, recognize these mistakes.

That is, it only affects the beauty of the words and does not affect their meanings.

It can be in the following cases:

Leaving precepts such as leaving Idgham, or Ikhfaa etc.: this mistake occurs when the reciter of the Qur’an, who does not know how to make Tarteel , drops  certain precepts which add to the glamour and splendor of the Qur’an, transmitted to us in that way.

Leaving Tafkheem or Tarqeeq: there are particular letters in the Holy Qur’an which were recited by the Prophet ﷺ with Velarization i.e., heaviness and others were recited with Attenuation i.e., lightness. Therefore, when the reciter drops these characteristics, he commits Lahnun Khafiyyun and distorts the beauty of the words of Qur’an. For example, reading the Raa heavy when it is preceded by a dhammah or a fathah and reading it light when it is preceded by a kasrah. Such heaviness and lightness given to Raa adds to its beauty and doesn’t change the meaning if not pronounced with it.

مقدار المد والغنن: this mistake occurs when the reciter does not recite the words of Allah with a measured timing, as narrated from the Prophet ﷺ. Same is the case with the nasalization of noon and meem. The timings are recorded from authentic sources from the prophet ﷺ and add to the due-measure and consistency in recitation. Therefore, if a reciter sometimes makes a madd of four counts to the Madd al-Jaez al-Muttasil , and then in the same recitation, gives 5 counts to the same madd, it is a mistake in recitation. This is noticed by experts in recitation and not common reciters, and hence called Khafi i.e., hidden.

اتمام الحركات: this mistake occurs when the reciter does not pronounce the dhammah properly by protruding the lips forward and thus pronounces the dhammah as between a dhammah and a fathah. Similarly, he does not pronounce the kasrah properly by lowering the jaw and thus pronounces the kasrah as between a kasrah and a fathah.

تغليظ اللام: this mistake occurs when a person while coming across a word which has a heavy letter followed by laam and due to this heavy letter, he mistakenly pronounces the letter laam heavy. This is not allowed and is a mistake in the recitation of Hafs ‘An ‘Aasim.