Friday, June 03, 2011

Can You Touch The Quran When Unclean?

There is this very common notion that one should not touch the Quran when one is unclean. Unclean in general terms would mean not being in the state of ablution or more specifically in case of women, if they are menstruating.

Is it really the case? Lets first start from the verse that actually informs us so.

Quran 56:79(the book) Which  none shall touch but those who are clean:

As always, one should check the context of the verses. 

56:75 - I call to witness the setting of the Stars
56:76 - And that is indeed a mighty oath if ye but knew
56:77 - That this is indeed a qur'an Most Honourable, 
56:78 - In Book well-guarded, 
56:79 - Which none shall touch but those who are clean: 
56:80 - A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. 

A cursory reading would show that a macro perspective is being discussed in which the God (as is the case with this Chapter), is narrating His favours and trying to impress upon the readers to understand the greatness of Quran. It does not show that muslims are not allowed to touch Quran when impure. Compare this to specific instructions of God in case of offering prayers.

4:43 - O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again. 

So one can see that when God says that only clean can touch Quran, it means that those who have pure heart and thoughts can understand it. Its the impurity of hearts and minds that is the subject and not otherwise. Suppose that I am wrong and indeed the verse is talking of being in a state of cleanliness when touching Quran, the following should follow:

If you can not touch the Quran then you can not utter the wording of Quran. Quran is not about being paper and ink right? the words in it matter. Since you cannot utter words of Quran, this means you can not recite Quran when unclean. This follows that since you can not recite Quran, so the name of the entity who sent it, should also be not taken because you are unclean. 

Does this makes any sense? Of course not. 

You take the name of God in any state. You can not help it. When you can take the name of entity who sent this Quran and Who mentions Himself all over in it, why cant you recite it? If you can recite it then why cant you hold or touch it? Remember what I said? Its not about paper and ink that matters most.

So do not be the one restricting yourself (and others) in touching or reciting the Quran when no where God intends to or said so. 


Related Post
- Menstruation and Religious Duties


farahshah said...

A very nice write-up!!
No we can't touch the Holy Quran when unclean!!!

The Chef said...

Unrelated -- Reading a good book on Karachi and Pak in general.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved your analysis of the verses and your open-mindedness in approaching the topic. I couldn't agree more with you.

sd said...

when it comes to islam, i say lets not put our thoughts and thinking
maybe you r right in a philasopical way....but when its presented with more questions...

Sayydina Hakim Ibn Hizam (RA) narrates that I was deputed as a Wali towards Yemen by the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and he said, “Don’t touch the Qur’aan unless you are Taahir (clean from impurity)”. [Mustadrak]

عن عبداللہ بن عمر ان رسول اللہ قال لا یمس القرآن الا طاھر

(رواہ الطبرانی)

Sayydina Abdaullah Ibn Umar (RA) narrates that the Prophet of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, “Don’t touch the Qur’aan except in the state of purity”. [Tabarani]

عن عبداللہ بن ابی بکر بن حزم ان فی کتاب الذی کتبہ رسول اللہ لعمرو بن حزم لا یمس القرآن الا طاھر

(موطا امام مالک)

Abdullah Ibn Abi Bak’r Ibn Hazm (RA) narrates that the Prophet of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) wrote in a letter to Sayyidina Amr Ibn Hazm (RA) that the Qur’aan should not be touched except in the state of impurity. (Muwatta Imam Malik)

عن انس بن مالک قال خرج عمر متقلد السیف فقیل لھ ان ختنک واختک قد صبوا فاتاھما عمر و عندھما رجل من المھاجرین یقال لھ خباب و کانو یقرون طھ فقال اعطونی الکتاب عندکم اقراہ و کان عمر یقرا الکتاب فقالت لھ اختھ انک رجس ولا یمسھ الا المطھرون فقم فاغتسل او توضا فقام عمر فتوضا ثم اخذ الکتاب فقراطھ (دارقطنی)

The story of Sayyidina Umar (RA) is well known that when he asked for the Qur’aan, his Sister (RA) insisted for him to purify himself and he then did Wudhu before touching the Qur’aan, the version from Dar-Qutni is narrated above.