Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: I want to listen to the Qur’an as much as possible, but do I have to sit and listen, or can I do work while listening? What about children? Should we play it while they play, even though they may not be paying full attention to it?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful.
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Allah has commanded us to be “attentive” when listening to the Qur’an: “When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it and be attentive, in order to attain Mercy.” [Qur’an, 7.204].
Full attentiveness is something few have, even when doing nothing else but listening.
What is ‘sufficient attentiveness’?
What is minimally sought, however, is to try one’s reasonable best to pay attention, avoid mentally busying yourself completely with other things (such as reading a book or article while listening to the Qur’an) [al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya (1.317), Hashiyat al-Tahtawi ‘ala Maraqi al-Falah].
Thus, it is permitted to recite and listen to the Qur’an if one is doing housework, taking care of the children, driving, walking, or performing other worldly activities–if the above conditions of basic attentiveness are generally fulfilled. Otherwise, it is improper.
What to do when busy or distracted?
It would be best, when busy, to put on halal Islamic poetry (qasida) or religious music (nasheed) if you need to listen to something.
Many of the righteous continue to make remembrance of Allah (dhikr) even while working, whether on mundane tasks or tasks requiring concentration.
As for the children, hearing the Qur’an has great benefit for them, even when they are playing around.
And Allah alone gives success.