Abu Muhammad Yahya b. Muhammad b. Sa’id narrated to us, he said: al-Husayn b.
al-Husayn al-Marwazi narrated to us, he said: Ibn al-Mubarak informed us, he said:
Ma’mar informed us, from Yahya b. al-Mukhtar, from al-Hasan [al-Basri] who said,
“Truly, this Qur’an is recited by slaves and children who have no knowledge of its
interpretation, for they have not followed the matter from its beginning. Allah, Mighty
and Majestic, said, ‘A book, We have sent it down to you, blessed, that they may ponder
its signs deeply.’Pondering its signs deeply is no more than following it, and Allah
knows best. But by Allah, it is not preserving its letters and wasting its limits! One of
them even says, ‘I have recited the whole Qur’an without missing a single letter of it,’
although by Allah, he has missed it all, for the Qur’an is not seen in him in any of his
character or deeds. Another even says, ‘Truly, I can recite a surah in one breath’! By
Allah, these are not reciters or people of knowledge or wisdom or spiritual caution!
When did real reciters ever say things like this? May Allah not make their like
widespread amongst the people!”
[The hadith is hasan, and was also transmitted by Ibn al-Mubarak in Al-Zuhd
and Muhammad b. Nasr in Qiyam al-Layl]