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Rules of Stopping when Reading Quran (waqf Types)

When reciting the quran from the mushaf you might’ve noticed some signs such as لا, and م over specific words.

If you don’t what do they mean? well, those are stop signs, and their function is to determine when you pause or continue reciation during reading the Quran

Waqf (stopping) is among the tajweed rules that any muslim should know.

In this article. you’ll know the meaning of waqf in the Quran, its importance, types, signs, and Rules of stopping when reading the Quran, so let’s begin.

The Meaning of Waqf (pause) in The Quran

Waqf in the Arabic language means confinement or restriction, and in tajweed terminology, it means to stop reciting for a period to take a breath, with an intent to continue reading at the same place you’ve stopped or by what follows or precedes it.

Waqf occurs at the beginning or middle of the ayah but not in the middle of the word, for example, in the sentence أينما يوجّهه. you shouldn’t stop at أين because it’s connected with ما.

Applying the Waqf rules is permissible, which means there is no sin in abandoning it. However, it’s very important for people seeking for interpreting and understanding the meaning of the verses.

Read also: How to Learn the Tafseer of the Quran? (The Complete Guide)

The Importance of Understanding Waqf

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was taking a pause at the end of each verse and it’s narrated that

Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite: “In the name of Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; most Gracious, most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment,” breaking its recitation into verses, one after another.

Learning waqf is important for pronunciation and making the reading process easier because the muslim can’t recite the surah without short breaks, and the prophet Mohammed was teaching it to his companions

Some scholars even made making learning it wajib (obligatory) for any muslim, acting upon the interpretation of Ali ibn Abi Taleb when asked about the meaning of ” رتّل القرآن ترتيلًا, surah Muzzumil), he answered: Tarteel means applying tajweed rules for the letters and knowing when to pause.

Abdallah ibn Omar gave considerable attention to the pause in Quran due to its importance in learning the commands and prohibitions of Allah and understanding the meaning of the verses.

The four types of waqf

There are four types of waqf: Ikhtiyari , Iztirari , Ikhtibari , Intizari

The Waqf Ikhtibari

When someone stops recitation at a word that’s not usually stopped at, for learning the rules of the word in terms of deleting or fixation

For example: اذْكُرْ عِبَادَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ أُولِي الْأَيْدِي وَالْأَبْصَارِ 

The reciter stops at الأيدى and fixes the letter ى

 And in tha another verse: وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَا دَاوُودَ ذَا الْأَيْدِ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ 

The reciter stops at الأيد and deletes the letter ى (don’t pronounce kasra).

The rule for this waqf :

it’s permissible to stop as long as your purpose is to learn, but when continuing, you have to connect this word you stop at (or what precedes it) with the sentence following it

 Waqf Iztirari

It occurs due to some emergency reason such as cough, shortness of breath, omission, or crying.

And this waqf is permissible and the reciter continues from the same place he stopped at or a closed place from it

Waqf Intizary

It means to stop at a specific verse when reading Quran with different Qir’aat, so you can show the different narrations in which this word is told. and when you complete all those Qir’aat you should connect the word you stop at with what follows it.

Types of Waqf Ikhtiyari

There are 4 sub-types for Waqaf Ikhtiyari  Tam, Kafi, Hasan, dan Qabih., Here we unravel the confusion between them, so let’s begin

1. waqf tam

It requires you to stop reading and occurs when the sentence you stop at has a different meaning and ʾIʿrab than what follows it. In this case, you stop recitation and then continue reciting again after the place you stop at.

This waqf is found at the end of the verses or surahs for example:

أُوْلَـئِكَ عَلَى هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ * إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ

Here, the reciter stops reading at المفلحون then continues to the second verse from إن الذين كفروا because the two verses are different. In the first one, Allah describes the believers and the second one talks about the infidels.

There are two types of compete wafq ( wajib , mutlaq)

waqf Tam wajib (obligatory)

It requires the reciter to stop reading fully and start reciting again from the place he stops at, and the reason is simple. If the reciter doesn’t stop and continue without a pause, the whole meaning of the verse will differ, and even be distorted.

You can distinguish this waqf when seeing a vertical meem (م) over the word you should stop at.

Examples for this waqf in the holy Quran:

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ ۘ / يَوْمَ يَدْعُ الدَّاعِ إِلَىٰ شَيْءٍ نُّكُرٍ 

Here, you should stop reciting at عنهم, then continue again by يوم الداع إلى شىء نكر, because there is a difference between the two sentences. In the first sentence تولى عنهم, Allah asks his prophet Mohammed to keep himself from the infidels.

The second sentence يَوْمَ يَدْعُ الدَّاعِ إِلَىٰ شَيْءٍ نُّكُرٍ means the Day ˹when˺ the caller will summon ˹them˺ for something horrifying. See? Both sentences are irrelevant, so a little pause should be placed between them.

 إِنَّمَا يَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ يَسْمَعُونَ ۘ / وَالْمَوْتَىٰ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ 

This example will show you waqf wajib more obviously.. But first, read this translation for this verse (in case you don’t know how to understand it in Arabic

Only those who hear will respond / and the dead – Allah will resurrect them; then to Him, they will be returned.

So imagine if there is no pause between “respond” and “the deed.” You’ll understand the meaning as those who hear and the deed will hear. But that’s not the meaning. Allah wanted to see that people who hear (which means they hear the words of Allah and believe in it will respond to his message).

But the deed (which is a metaphor for the people who don’t hear the words of Allah’ll be resurrected to be judged

here’s another example:

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلًا ۘ / يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا}

waqf Tam mutalq الوقف المطلق

In this Waqf, it’s preferable to stop reciting, take a breath, then resume recitation, However, the difference between that kind of Waqf and the obligatory Waqf we discussed before is this one is a mustahabb, there is no wrong with not applying it.

The sign for mutalq waqf is قلى. and it means you can resume your recitation but it’s better to stop reading at this point

Examples from the holy Quran

 لَّيْسَ بِأَمَانِيِّكُمْ وَلَا أَمَانِيِّ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ ۗ / مَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ وَلَا يَجِدْ لَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا

 لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ / وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا 

الَّذِينَ يُبَلِّغُونَ رِسَالَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَخْشَوْنَهُ وَلَا يَخْشَوْنَ أَحَدًا إِلَّا اللَّهَ ۗ / وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ حَسِيبًا

waqf kafi  الوقف الكافى

It means that you take a pause on one end of a word but what follows it is connected to it in terms of the meaning, but not ʾIʿrab, and it’s preferable to do it but not wajib.

There are two signs for waqf-e-kafi in Quran: ج and صلى

  • ج means both stopping or resuming the verse is permissible.

Let’s see examples that show this rule better for you

نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ

Here, you can read this verse in two conditions:

the first case: نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ

The second case: read نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ, take a pause then continue إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ

  • صلى means you can stop at this point but it’s preferable if you continue the recitation

وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلا هُوَ ۖ وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ)

Here, you can stop reading at هو but it’s better if you connect it to وإن يمسسك الله بخير to the end of the verse.

Read also: Surah Baqarah Last 2 Ayat Benefits and Virtues

Waqf hasan الوقف الحسن

It means that the reciter stops at some point that’s fully understood. However, what follows can’t be understood without it. So in this case, the reciter should stop but if he wants to continue he should recite the same part again and doesn’t begin at the place he stops.

for example, when we say:

” يخرجون الرسول وإياكم ” Here, إياكم is a pronoun connected to the word الرسول. So, you can stop at يخرجون الرسول ( they take the prophet out), see? it’s a fully completed, understood sentence. But for continuing the verse, your shall repeat it again, saying ” يخرجون الرسول وإياكم and don’t start with إياكم.

Another example

الحمد لله ربّ العالمين

You can stop at الحمد لله, then repeat it again when continuing to الحمد لله ربّ العالمين

waqf Qabih الوقف القبيح

It’s when you stop at some word without complementing the meaning, as when you stop between a verb and its subject or between mubtada and khabr.


  • Stop in the beginning of the verse : as you stop at إِنَّ هؤُلاءِ لَيَقُولُونَ
  • Stop In the middle of the verse: for example stopping at خير in this verse: وَما تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ

And the rule for this type it’s permissible to apply except for an emergency reason like shortness of breath.

Signs of Stopping While Reading the Quran

مـYou shoud stop at the word you stop at and begins with the word following it.إِنَّمَا يَسْتَجِيبُ الَّذِينَ يَسْمَعُونَ مـ وَالْمَوْتَى يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ
لاYou shouldn’t stop at the word except for obligatory reasons such as shortness of breath and if that occurs, you should repeat the same word and not begin with what follows it. لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنْفَقُوا مَنًّا وَلَا أَذًى  ۙ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ

صلىYou may pause at the word or persume reading but persuming is betterوَإِن يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ وَإِن يَمْسَسْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
قلىYou may pause or persume reading but pause is betterلَّيْسَ بِأَمَانِيِّكُمْ وَلَا أَمَانِيِّ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ ۗ مَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ
ۛYou should stop at one word and don’t stop at the otherوَأَنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ ۛ وَأَحْسِنُوا ۛ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
جYou may stop or persume reading and both are equal﴿ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ج لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ 


Waqf is a tajweed term that means to stop reciting Quran for some reason. It has garnered great attention due to its significance in studying the verses and knowing their interpretation. A slight deviation from the rules of Waqf could change the meaning ultimately.

In this article, you’ve learned the four types of pauses (stopping ) in the Quran and their related rules. Besides, the stopping signs in the Muhsaf.

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