Khatm al-Qurʾān (Arabic:ختم القرآن) means recitation of the Holy Qur'an from the beginning to the end. According to Islamic culture, numerous rewards and spiritual effects have been mentioned on complete recitation of the Qur'an, which on a whole, adds a great deal to the likelihood of acceptance of du'as (supplications).
In Islamic societies, Khatm al-Qur'an is performed both individually and collectively. In addition, a number of supplications are recommended to be recited after Khatm al-Qur'an, including the Forty Second Du'a in al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya which is an important and comprehensive one.
Rewards for complete recitation of the Holy Qur'an is considered as a touchstone in specifying rewards for other good deeds; that is why the rewards for good deeds are compared with the reward of Khatm al-Qur'an. For instance, the rewards for reciting one verse of the Qur'an in the month of Ramadan or the rewards for three time recitation of Sura al-Ikhlas in other months or the reward for saying a certain prayer at Sunday nights are all equal to the rewards for Khatm al-Qur'an.
The term "Khatm" literally means to reach the end of something. "Khatm" and "Khitam" in Arabic means to end something. Following its literal meaning, Khatm al-Qur'an technically means to read the Qur'an from the beginning to end.
Khatm al-Qur'an is not mentioned in Qur'anic verses, but it is recommended for people to read the Qur'an as much as it is easy for them: "… So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible …" (Qur'an 73:20).
According to a hadith narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a), "ma tayassara" (مَا تَيَسَّرَ) in the verse refers to recitation of the Qur'an in a way that is done with all your heart and attention. In addition, Imam Ali (a) said that in recitation of the Qur'an, the priority is to understand and to think about Qur'anic verses rather than just reading it to its end.
Rewards for Khatm al-Qur'an have been mentioned numerously in hadiths. A number of them are dedicated to certain times. For example the month of Ramadan, and place, like Mecca, and a number of them are about the unconditional rewards of reciting the Qur'an.
Based on a famous hadith narrated from Prophet Muhammad (s), the rewards for Khatm al-Qur'an is equal to achieving Nubuwwat (Prophethood), the only difference is that revelation will not be delivered.
Generally recitation of the Qur'an from beginning to the end in less than three days or a week is not recommended, as understanding Qur'anic verses is greatly more important in Islamic tradition than reciting it repeatedly. Prophet Muhammad (s) said if Khatm al-Qur'an is finished less than three days, understanding the verses will not be achieved, and it will result in reciting the Qur'an hastily and without attention. Imam al-Rida (a) said, although I can finish reciting the Qur'an less than three days, I will not do it as it will be thoughtless. However Khatm al-Qur'an for thirty to forty times is recommended in the month of Ramadan.
Al-Ghazali believed reciting the Qur'an two times a week is not acceptable for virtuous people, but those who on a spiritual journey are able to recite the Qur'an from beginning to end in a week. Khatm al-Qur'an while understanding and thinking about its verses can be done in a month.
Khatm al-Qur'an should be done with special rituals, for example it is recommended to start Khatm al-Qur'an on Fridays or observe fasting or reciting Sura al-Fatiha and the first five verses of Sura al-Baqara after Khatm al-Qur'an; starting a new Khatm al-Qur'an after those verses is also highly recommended.
Khatm al-Qur'an is also recommended for those who are performing hajj at the time of their stay in Mecca. In a hadith it is said, those who read the Qur'an from beginning to end, will witness Prophet Muhammad (s) and their situation in the heaven before their death.
Recitation of the Qur'an or Khatm al-Qur'an is makruh (reprehensible) for women during their menstrual period; the rewards of reciting the Qur'an will be less not zero. Also during that time touching the Qur'anic verses or reciting verses with obligatory sajda (prostrating) is not permitted.
Khatm al-Qur'an is done individually and collectively in Islamic societies.
In a number of mosques, Muslims read one page of the Qur'an immediately after saying prayers. Also Khatm al-Qur'an is done collectively in holy shrines. Currently people can register their names in different websites for Khatm al-Qur'an and they are given special pages of the Qur'an to read.
Also in mourning ceremonies for the newly departed, people recite Qur'anic verses which are divided in sections, so that Khatm al-Qur'an is achieved collectively and the rewards are dedicated to the departed.
Supplications after Khatm al-Qur'an
Khatm al-Qur'an means to recite the Holy Qur'an from beginning to the end, however, the supplications of Khatm al-Qur'an can be recited at the end of each sura or juz'. When these supplications are recited, listeners say "Amin" or "Ilahi Amin" at the the of each part of the supplications. They believe it is rooted in a hadith from Imam Ali (a).
Some of the supplications which have been narrated from the Infallibles (a) are as follows:
- Forty-secondth supplication of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya is the most famous and the most comprehensive supplication of khatm al-Qur'an: "أَللهُمَّ إنَّكَ أَعَنْتَنی عَلی خَتْمِ كِتابِكَ" (O God, Thou hast helped me complete Thy Book)
- A supplication from Imam al-sadiq (a) for khatm al-Qur'an: "...أللهمَّ انّی قَدْ قَرَأْتُ ماقَضَیتَ مِنْ كِتابِكَ" (I have recited what You have decreed from Your Book...) 
- ...فَاقْرَؤُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ
- أللهمَّ انّی قَدْ قَرَأْتُ ماقَضَیتَ مِنْ كِتابِكَ الَّذی أَنْزَلْتَهُ عَلی نَبِیكَ الصّادِقِ صلی الله علیه وآله وسلم، فَلَكَ الحمدُ رَبَّنا، اللهمَّ اجْعَلْنی مِمَّنْ یحِلُّ حَلالَهُ وَ یحَرِّمُ حَرامَهُ وَ یؤْمِنُ بِمُحْکْمِهِ وَ مُتَشابِهِه، وَاجْعَلْهُ لی اُنْساً فی قَبْری وَ اُنساً فی حَشْری، وَاجْعَلْنی مِمَّنْ تُرْقیهِ بِكُلِّ آیةٍ قَرَأَها دَرَجَةً فی أَعْلی عِلِّیینَ، بِرَحْمَتِكَ یا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمینَ. I have recited what You have decreed from Your Book, That which You sent down to Your Prophet (s), the Truthful One - May Allah's blessings be on him and his family. So to You belongs all praises my Lord. O Allah, Make me from among those who Enforce its obligations, and disallow its forbidden acts, Believe in its clear and its ambiguous verses. And make it a companion for me in my grave, And a companion in my rising, And make me among those who rise, for every verse recited, a rank of the most Elevated Aameen, Lord of the Worlds.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ختم قرآن in Farsi WikiShia.