Allah says: “Indeed, it is a noble Qur'an, in a book well-kept. No one touches it save those who are purified.” [Sūrah al-Wāqi`āh: 77-79]


31 August 2013

Every Muslim, by virtue of knowing Allah and knowing that the Qur’an is His word, must show the Qur’an respect. It is a grave sin for someone to deliberately mistreat or belittle Allah’s Book.

This behaviour is sometimes exhibited by people who hate Islam and want to prevent its spread. They act in accordance with their own tastes and bad manners, and their conduct only elevates the Qur’an’s fame and dignity even more. It is the person who perpetrates the act who looks foolish and despicable.

However, it is almost unbelievable to imagine such behaviour coming from a Muslim. It is the opposite of what belief in Islam dictates.

Believers are supposed to have respect and reverence for Allah’s Book. This is why we are commanded to be in a state of ritual purity before we touch it. This is the opinion of all four Schools of Islamic Law, because Allah says: “Indeed, it is a noble Qur'an, in a book well-kept. No one touches it save those who are purified.” [Sūrah al-Wāqi`āh: 77-79]

Some scholars, the most prominent of them being the Zāhirī jurist Ibn Hazm al-Andalusī, held that making ritual ablutioins was not a requirement for touching the Qur’an. They argued that the verse is speaking about the original book in the Preserved tablet in heaven, and the phrase “those who are purified” refers to the angels.

However, we also have where Prophet Muhammad said: “No one should touch the Qur’an except in the state of ritual purity.” [Sahīh Ibn Hibbān (6559) and Mustadrak al-Hākim (1/552)]

This hadith has a reasonably good chain of transmission, and it enjoys widespread scholarly acceptance. Ibn `Abd al-Barr says: “It is well known and widely narrated to the point that its chain of transmission is not a concern.” It also has numerous corroborating lines of narration.

How can some young students toss aside the Qur’an or their study portions when they finish their days lessons? Indeed, students should not throw any of their books on the ground or toss them in an inappropriate place. Knowledge deserves more respect than that. The Qur’an, beyond that, deserves our reverence.

How can others see fit to jot down messages and write other inappropriate comments in the Qur’an? Some students have even been caught writing in the margins to send rude remarks to their fellow students, or to exchange love letters.

Muslim countries and their civil institutions need to take a firm stand on disrespecting the prophets and their Books, especially the Qur’an. They should condemn such behaviour in no uncertain terms. In many countries, abuse of faith principles are prohibited by law as a form of hate crime.

We must raise our children to love and revere the Qur’an, and to recite it with faith and feeling. It should not be seen as a chore or treated like school work whose utility is for passing the exam at the end of the term.