> Is it allowed for those who are recent reverts (or not hafiz),
> the Quran in their hands and recite it from there in Salat? Are there
> different rulings for this between fardh & nawafil salah?
In the Hanafi school, as mentioned in Maraqi al-Falah and the Hashiya of
Ibn Abidin, it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to hold the
Qur'an in the prayer and recite from it.
For recent converts, the scholars explain that the following must be
kept in mind:
1. The obligatory (fard) recitation is only one verse of the Qur'an. It
is necessary (wajib) to recite the Fatiha and the equivalent of 3 short
verses in any two rakats of the prayer. It is also necessary to make
this necessary recitation in the first two rakats. [Durr]
2. The necessary (wajib) may be omitted for legally-valid excuses, which
include one being a new Muslim.
3. As such, they should ideally be told to recite a short verse (eg.
"Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad"), which most are able to do. It would be
necessary for them to take reasonable means to learn that which is
necessary (wajib) to recite. Until then, they would be legally excused
from having to recite the Fatiha or anything else.
4. It is important to emphasize the while it is imperative for new
converts to be taught the simple, proper outward fiqh of worship, it is
just as imperative that they gain an appreciation of the spiritual
significance, importance, and benefits of our worship.
As Sidi Ibn Ata'illah explains, "Actions are lifeless forms whose souls
are the secret of sincerity in them."
More importantly, the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and
give him peace, and grant us true love of him) reminded us, for we are
given to forget, "Allah does not look at your wealth or forms. Rather,
He looks at your hearts and actions."