The Quran, the holy book of Islam, is revered for its profound spiritual guidance and exquisite linguistic beauty. The melodic recitation of the Quran, known as “Tajweed,” is a cherished tradition that adds a mesmerizing dimension to the divine verses. 

Central to the art of Tajweed is the concept of “pause” or “waqf,” a set of rules that govern the proper stopping points during the recitation. These Quran reading rules ensure the Quranic text’s correct pronunciation, rhythm, and understanding.

By understanding and applying the rules of pause in the Quran, we can elevate our Quran recitation to a level that reflects the eloquence and majesty of the divine words. This knowledge guides individuals, scholars, and students of the Quran, enabling them to engage with the text in a manner that honors its linguistic precision and spiritual depth.

The Meaning of Waqf and its Importance

Waqf (pause) means to stop reciting for a short time, and it has many rules and signs that control whether it’s allowed to stop. In some cases, the pause is mandatory; in others, the pause is optional. And in others, the pause is forbidden. 

 As a reciter, you must commit to Pause rules to avoid fatal pronunciation errors or changing the verses’ meanings. It also facilitates accurate understanding and preserves the linguistic beauty of the verses. By committing to those rules, you show homage to the divine revelation and experience the profound impact of the Quran’s message on their hearts and souls.

Rules of Waqf in the Quran With examples

Below is an outline of the rules of Waqf in the Quran, with examples from Quranic verses that explain the meanings. Keep reading.

1. Waqf Tam

It’s when you pause at one point because the message is completely delivered, and what comes after isn’t unrelated to it,  verbally or semantically. Such as when you stop at the end of a verse, the end of stories, or the end of the attributes of the believers or the unbelievers.

This type of waqf is allowed, and it’s recommended to stop and continue with the verses after


when you stop at المفلحون at the end of the verse. أُوْلَـئِكَ عَلَى هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ  (this verse speaks about the good believers 

Because the verse after it is إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ . Here speaks about the infidels, not related to the first verse.

Waqf tam also can come in the middle of the verse, as in this example

لَّقَدۡ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ ٱلذِّكۡرِ بَعۡدَ إِذۡ جَآءَنِيۗ وَكَانَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ لِلۡإِنسَٰنِ خَذُولٗا

Here, the reciter should stop after the word جاءني because it marks the saying of the unrighteous man. 

2. Compulsory Stop – م – waqf lazim

Also known as waqf lazim, the reciter is bound to stop reciting at this point (it’s marked by the sign م placed at the top of the word where the reciter should pause.  This type of pause is mandatory, and you should do it at any cost because if you don’t, the sentence’s entire meaning will drastically change.


When you stop at قولهم at the verse ﴿ وَلَا يَحْزُنكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا ۚ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ  (يونس 65) . 

If you don’t stop here, the meaning will be don’t be sad, for their saying Allah has all the glory. While the original meaning is don’t be sad for their words. Then pause, and you continue Allah has all the glory. So you see, both sentences are not related.

3. Prohibited Stop (Waqf mamnu) – لا

It’s marked by the symbol لا placed over the point where you should stop reciting,  and it refers to that it’s forbidden to stop at this place because it will change the meaning as both sentences before and after the symbol is connected 

Example: Here the reciter should stop reciting at طيبين because that will change the meaning. 

 الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ 

4. Waqf Ja’iz/ ج – وقف جائز

Marked by the sign ج,  the reciter is free to pause or continue recitation, and both are equal. No option is preferred to another, and the choice depends totally on the reciter’s preferences.


when stopping at the word بالحق in this verse

نَّحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُم بِالْحَقِّ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى

5. Waqf Hassan/ صلى – وقف حسن:


It means the reciter can stop reciting at the place. However, it’s preferable to continue recitation to the end of the verse, and the symbol Example marks it: when to continue reciting at the word طباقًا

(الذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقَاً ۖ مَا تَرَى فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُت)

6.  Waqf Kafi/ قلي- وقف كافٍ

It means the reciter has the option to stop reciting at the place or continue recitation, but it’s preferable if he stops at this place, and it’s marked by the symbol قلي


when stopping at the word  قليل

قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ ۗ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلَّا مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا

7. The embracing Stop/ (تعانق الوقف)

It’s marked by the symbol ∴. It’s found over two words and it means the reciter should stop at one of them. If he stops at one, he should stop at the other.


When stopping at the word ريب or فيه but you shouldn’t stop at both.

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

8. Sakta

Sakta means cutting off the sound from the letter or the Qur’anic word, without breathing,  for a very short period of time when an intention is to continue recitation. It’s marked by the sign س , and only existed in the last letter of the word in very few places in the Quran.


Sakta on Alif in this verse: 

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا ۜ قَيِّمًا لِّيُنذِرَ بَأْسًا شَدِيدًا مِّن لَّدُنْهُ وَيُبَشِّرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا حَسَنًا

Sakta on Noon in this verse

وَقِيلَ مَنْ ۜ رَاقٍ

Final Thought

The rules “waqf” in the Quran serve as a vital framework for the proper recitation and understanding of the divine text. By adhering to these rules, we can enhance our recitation, preserve linguistic beauty, and deepen our connection with the Quran’s message.

In this article, Quran Spirit explored the rules of waqf with examples from Quranic verses. It is crucial to recognise that the rules of waqf are not meant to restrict or confine the recitation of the Quran but rather to enhance its recital and understanding. 

These rules provide a structure that allows for the rhythmic flow and melodic beauty of the Quran to be preserved, enhancing the overall experience for both the reciter and the listener.