Ruling on listening attentively to the Qur'an

Q 2: Allah (Exalted be He) states: So, when the Qur’ân is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. Does the command to listen to Qur'an in this Ayah (Qur'anic verse) imply obligation or encouragement?

A: It is legislated for every Muslim that when hearing the Qur'an outside the Salah (Prayer) to listen to it and be silent in order to receive the Mercy of Allah (Glorified be He) and to take admonition from the Qur'an. Allah (Exalted be He) states: So, when the Qur’ân is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. A Muslim must not abandon (Part No. 3; Page No. 89) listening to the Qur'an and busying one's self with other things while one is able to listen to it. Doing so deliberately exposes one to being described as one who has the characteristics of Kafirs (disbelievers) whom Allah (Glorified be He) mentions their turning away from the Qur'an, saying: Listen not to this Qur’ân, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome." However, while in Salah it is Wajib (obligatory) on a Ma'mum (a person being led by an Imam in Prayer) to listen and be silent when the Imam (the one who leads congregational Prayer) recites Qur'an in the Jahri Salah (Prayer recited out loud), in Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer, during Khutbah (sermon), in the Two `Eid Prayers, and so on. Evidence for this is the Ayah mentioned above and the Hadith that is related by Imam Muslim in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stated: The Imam is appointed to be followed; so when he recites Takbir, you should also recite Takbir, and when he recites (the Qur'an), keep silent. It is noteworthy to mention that Ashab-ul-Sunan (authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) related a Hadith similar to it on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him). However, a Ma'mum must recite Surah Al-Fatihah in the Jahri Salah even if the Imam is reciting Qur'an for it is Wajib on the Imam, Ma'mum, and Munfarid (person offering Prayer individually) to recite Al-Fatihah. This is proven by a Sahih Hadith that is reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) who stated: The Salah of whoever does not recite Surah Al-Fatihah is invalid. The generality of the Ayah and the Hadith quoted earlier about the obligation of listening to the recitation of the Imam is made particular by this Hadith. This is a way of reconciling between the Sahih established proofs in this regard. It is also narrated by `Ubadah ibn Al-Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: We were praying behind the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, and he recited, but the recitation became difficult for him. (Part No. 3; Page No. 90) Then when he (peace be upon him) finished, he said, 'Perhaps you recite behind your Imam?' We replied, 'Yes, we do.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Do not do this, except for Fatihat-ul-Kitab (the Opening of the Book, i.e. Al-Fatihah), for there is no Salah for the one who does not recite it.' (Related by Imam Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhy, and Abu Dawud through a good Sanad [chain of narrators])May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.