1. Ya'laa bin Mamlak Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "He asked Ummul Mu'mineen Sayyiditina Ummi Salamah Radiyallahu 'Anha about the recital of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam". She replied: "He recited every word separately and clearly".
When Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam recited he uttered every word distinctly and clearly. Sayyiditina Ummi Salamah Radiyallahu 'Anha may have described this verbally, it may also be possible that she demonstrated the manner in which Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam recited, where from this explanation is apparent. The commentators on hadith give two explanations. The second explanation seems more appropriate.
2. Qataadah Radiyallahu'Anhu reports: "I inquired from Anas Radiyallahu 'Anhu: 'How was the recital of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam ?' He replied: 'He recited (The words of madd) with a madd'".
The words that are to be recited with madd were recited with a madd (long intonation). This can only be done if one recites steadily, and with care. It is difficult to pronounce the madd if one recites hastily. From this, both things are apparent. One should recite steadily, and recite the madds, where they appear. The commentators of hadith have written that there are laws governing the recital of the rnadd. These are described fully in the books of tajweed. It is necessary to implement them. In our times the Qurraa (Qaaris) stretch the madd so much, overdoing it. Only the things that are done according to its laws and fundamentals are correct. Excess or deficiency are both abhorred.
3. Ummi Salamah Radiyallahu 'Anha reports: "Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam recited every aayah separately. He recited 'Alhamdulillaahi Rabbil 'Aa-lameen' and paused, then recited 'Ar Rahmaanir Raheem' and paused. Then paused after reciting 'Maaliki Yawmiddeen'".
Briefly, he recited every aayah distinctly, and with ease. There is a difference of opinion among the Qurraa, that is it afdal (better) to take a breath after the recital of every aayah or not? Maulana Gangohi has written a special booklet 'Raddut Tughyaan fi Awqaafil Qur-aan' in Urdu, which is quite comprehensive. This book is beneficial for the masaa-il of this nature.
4. Abdullah bin Abi Qays Radiyallahu 'Anhu reports: "I inquired from 'Aayeshah Radiyallahu 'Anha about the recital of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam, did he 'recite softly or audibly? She replied: 'He recited in both ways'. I said: 'Alhamdulillaah, (Praise be to, Allah), who has accorded us easiness in the matter"'. (According to the situation whatever was proper, reciting softly or audibly was adopted).
This question, as has been mentioned in the jaami' Tirmidhi, is regarding the recital at the time of tahajjud. Sayyiditina 'Aayeshah Radiyallahu 'Anha replying that he recited both softly, and audibly, may also mean that he recited both tones in the same night.
This is also correct that in one night he recited the entire salaah audibly, and on another night he recited the entire salaah softly. Both are correct, and there is no harm in reciting in both manners. At times it is better to recite audibly, especially where it is intended to persuade others, or it will create strength to recite. Where there is a possibility that one will be troubled, or where it is doubted that this will create pride, it is better not to recite audibly as it is important to consider those present. When sometimes both are of the same nature, then it is advisable to recite in a slightly audible tone. It was the practice of Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu 'Anhu to recite softly in the tahajjud. Sayyidina 'Umar Radiyallahu 'Anhu used to recite audibly. Once Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam passed both at night and witnessed the practices of both. When they attended the noble gathering of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam in the morning Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam discussed this. Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallarn said to Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu 'Anhu. "When I passed you, you were reciting softly". He replied: "That great being with whom I was conversing was listening". Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam then said to Sayyidina 'Umar Radiyallahu 'Anhu: "When I passed you, you were reciting loudly". Sayyidina 'Umar Radiyallahu 'Anhu replied: "The intention was to awaken those who were carelessly sleeping, and to keep away the shaytaan". Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam approved the explanations of both, and said to Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu 'Anhu "Raise your voice a little" and to Sayyidina 'Umar Radiyallahu 'Anhu: "Lower your voice a little".
5. Qataadah Radiyallahu 'Anhu narrates that Allah gave to every Nabi that He had sent a beautiful feature and beautiful voice. Your Nabi Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam also had a beautiful feature and a beautiful voice. Rasulullah Sallallhu 'Alayhi Wasallam did not recite in a melodious tone as singers do.
Some of the 'ulama take this to mean as singing and reciting, and that it has been prohibited in many ahaadith to recite with a singing tone.
6. Ibn 'Abbaas Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam raised his voice only to the extent, that it might have been possible that if he recited in the house, those in the courtyard might be able to listen".
The voice did not reach beyond the courtyard. The reciting of the Qur-aan softly and audibly are both better according to the circumstances. On a correct and suitable occasion, or where for a reason it is desirable to recite audibly, there one should recite audibly. If there exists a fear that it will create show etc., there one should recite softly. The object is that according to circumstances it keeps changing, therefore, Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam has said the one that recites the Qur-aan audibly is like the one that openly gives sadaqah, and the one who recites softly is like the one who gives sadaqah secretly. Concerning sadaqah, at times it is better to openly reveal the giving of it and at times it is better to conceal it. Circumstances should be taken into consideration, which change from time to time. This rule applies to the reciting of the Qur-aan also.