#154: Reciting al-Fatihah in One’s Heart in Prayer


Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the status of the prayer of a person who recited al-Fatihah just in his heart? Hope for an explanation.


Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

Among the main requisites in prayer is the qauli requisites. It is named as qauli requisite for these requisites are obligatory to be recited by a person who is praying and the recitation should at least be heard by his own ears. There are 5 qauli requisites:

  • Takbiratul ihram
  • The recitation of al-Fatihah
  • The recitation of the final tasyahhud
  • Praise and salutations for the Prophet Muhammad in the final tasyahhud
  • Salam

All these qauli requisites should be recited, verbalize and enunciated so that his recitation can be heard by himself. Syeikh Sulaiman al-Bujairimi stated in his hasyiah that the takbir should be heard by himself as well as all the other qauli requisites. [1]

Imam al-Nawawi stated the minimum recitation for qauli requisites is that it is recited in a low voice but it can be heard by himself if he can hear. [2]

In answering the above question, we state the following:

The recitation of al-Fatihah is included as one of the qauli (speech/recitation) requisites, where if we leave it, then our prayers are invalid. The al-Fatihah recitation must be recited verbally using our tongue and not just in one’s heart. Imam al-Syafie said:

وَلَا يُجْزِئُ الرَّجُل أَنْ يحْرِمَ لِلصَّلَاة بِقَلْبِهِ ، وَلَا يَقْرَأ بِقَلْبِهِ حَتَّى يُحَرِّكَ لِسَانَهُ

“It is invalid for a man to perform the takbiratul ihram to pray just in his heart and it is also invalid for him to recite (al-fatihah) just in his heart until he moves his tongue.” [3]

This opinion by Imam al-Syafi’e is further strengthened by a hadith narrated from Khabbab R.Anhu, he was asked:

بِأَىِّ شَىْءٍ كُنْتُمْ تَعْرِفُونَ قِرَاءَةَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فِي الظُّهْرِ وَالْعَصْرِ قَالَ بِاضْطِرَابِ لِحْيَتِهِ

“How did you recognize that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was reciting in the Zuhr and the ‘Asr?’ He said: ‘From the movement of his beard.’” [4]

Furthermore, Imam al-Nawawi also explained this issue saying: “For a makmum, it is sunnah to lower his voice when he is praying alone or in congregation. And the minimum is that his voice can be heard by his own ears if he has sound hearing and nothing is preventing him from reciting it. This includes the recitation of al-Fatihah, surah, tasbih, tasyahhud, salam, supplication and others. Regardless of whether they are obligatory or sunnah recitations. All of them will not be considered unless he hears what he recites.” [5]

In the book I’anatu al-Talibin, it is also explained: “(And it is obligatory to hear) the takbiratul ihram by the person praying himself, if he has sound hearing, and nothing is hindering it with other matters that came afterwards such as noisy sounds. (The same for all the qauli requisites) from al-Fatihah, the final tasyahhud and salam.” [6]

According to the above question, here we state, the prayer of a person who recites al-Fatihah just in his heart is invalid. Hence, al-Fatihah should be recited clearly using our tongue, reaching our ears and it isn’t so loud that it disturbs the other makmum beside us.

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] See Hasyiah al-Bujairimi ‘ala Syarh Minhaj Al-Tullab, 1/189

[2] See Raudhah al-Talibin wa Umdah al-Muftin, 1/242

[3] See Mukhtasar al Buwaithi, hlm. 244

[4] Narrated by Ibn Majah (826)

[5] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 3/394

[6] See I`anatu al-Talibin, 3/295