Monday, February 26, 2007

Sh. Helbawy - A Great Teacher of the Art of Recitation

Sh. Mohammed Helbawy is the last of the great teachers of the art of recitation of the Holy Qur'an. Not only this but he is even more accomplished in Ibtihalat and Nasheed (Islamic Music). He is an Azhari scholar with specialization in 'Qira'at'.
One of the things that struck me most about this man was that even as accomplished as he was he was never arrogant nor aggressive in his dealings with me, I always found him very kind, supportive, and humble. In a day and age when many of the reciters you deal with are only after fame and money I found him to be totally opposite. He was concerned with doing his best to help me out of his care to please God.

When I was with him on one of our classes I asked him about the permissibility of accepting large amounts of money as compensation for reciting the Qur'an. He answered by telling me about how he asked this question to Sh. Shar'awi the recent prominent Egyptian scholar who passed away.

Shaikh Sharawi said that the permissibility of accepting money (or hadiya) for reciting the Holy Qur'an has 2 circumstances and conditions.

1. The first is if one is to recite the Quran upon a request then there should be no discussion of money beforehand with the host (requestor). After the recitation whatever the amount of money is that the host gives should be taken with no objections. If this is done then the money will be a reward in the duniya and the act of reciting will also be rewarded with Allah in the hereafter (akhira). This is the prefered circumstance.

2. The second is when one is requested to recite the Qur'an and before reciting he asks for a certain amount or negotiates an amount with the host. After the recitation the reciter expects an amount previously agreed upon to be paid. In this circumstance there is only payment in this life(dunya) and there will be no reward in the hereafter(akhira) for this action. This is the lower level of the 2 circumstances.

Interestingly today the most common circumstance is the second. But this has not always been the case, many of the great reciters of our past would be more concerned with their wealth of the hereafter before being concerned with their wealth in this world.

Here is Shaikh Helbawy teaching me through Suratal Muzammil examples of Maqam Bayati, Hugaz, and Nahawand:

I am currently looking for any people interested in inviting Sh. Helbawy to the US. If you are in the US and may be interested please contact me at

For More information on Sh. Helbawy see:

A good site of a good brother I know that has some of his recordings is: