Q. Is it permitted to read from an open mushaf held in one's hands while he is praying?

A. Some adduced a narration which appeared to support the permissibility of praying while reciting from the mushaf which one holds open in one's hands. The narration brought is ostensibly from Malik's Muwatta', and stated that `A'isha's freedman, Dhakwan, used to do this while leading her as Imam during Tarawih in her house.

Sayyed Sabiq says in Fiqh al-Sunna:

"Dhakwan, the protege of Aisha, would lead her in prayer during Ramadan while reciting from a copy of the Qur'an. (Malik, cf. Muwatta p.48)"

In fact, this is _not_ in the Muwatta'. What the Muwatta' mentions is, in translation, that "Dhakwan, the protege of Aisha, would lead her in prayer during Ramadan." There is no mention that he used a mushaf. It would be good to hear from those who own a reliable edition of the Muwatta', whether they find otherwise.

What is more, it is clear from other early sources of Maliki fiqh that Imam Malik completely rejected reading from the mushaf in Salat and considered it a blameworthy innovation introduced by al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. This is stated in Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani's Kitab al-Jami` (p. 164), al-Turtushi's Kitab al-hawadith wa al-bida` (#272), and also Ibn al-Hajj's Kitab al-madkhal (2:211, 3:114). Allah knows best.