Can Non-Muslims touch or read the Quran? The Ghetto Chief Imam ruling.
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Now, to the topic: Is it permissible for a Non-Muslim to touch and read the Holy Quran without accepting Islam or the thorough cleansing like a Muslim would?
Now the main fact of the matter is that, when seeking an answer in Islam, the first place to look for it is in the Holy Quran because that is 100% of Allah’s words as every Muslim believe and the Holy book testifies for itself that no man they are solely the word of Allah given to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
And when you don’t find what you seek for in the Quran, you look into the Hadith (a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Quran).
And if you find answers in both, you must take what the Quran said as the perfect and original ruling on that matter. The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) even confirmed this principle during his lifetime.
Now, the verse below is the verse that most Muslims refer to condemn the giving of the Holy Quran to Non-Muslims to read.
Suratul Al-Waqi’ya (The Inevitable) (Quran Chapter 56:77 – 80) that: ” That this indeed is a noble Qur’an, inscribed in a well-guarded Book, which none but the pure may touch; a revelation from the Lord of the Universe.
Now, the keyword in this Quranic verse is the word “pure”. Even Muslims who have accepted the Islamic faith have to be clean before reading the Quran and Muslim women also cannot read the Quran when they are in their menstrual period and bleeding after childbirth. The prophet PBUH also said:
The prophet PBUH said:
(لا يمس القرآن إلا طاهر)
No one touches the Quran except if you are clean.
We all also know of the Hadith where Omar’s sister asked him to make Wudu before reading the Quran when he was a Non-Muslim. So this “pure” in the above Quranic verse has nothing to do with ablution.
So now let’s dive into the meaning of the “supposed” Quranic verses that condemn the touching and reading of the Quran by a disbeliever. I will refer to the “Tafhim-ul-Quran” which is a translation and commentary of the Qur’an by the Pakistani Islamist ideologue and activist Syed Abul Ala Maududi. His commentary on this particular verse has been given same translation by many scholars such as Anas bin Malik, Ibn Abbas, Saeed bin Jubair, Ikrimah, Mujahid, Qatadah, Abul Aliyah, Suddi, Dahhak and Ibn Zaid and they all agree with Maudidi that Quran Chapter (56:79) which none but the pure may touch; does not mean same as how some scholars, Imams, commentators and some Muslims believe that since non-Muslims are impure, therefore, they cannot touch the Qur’an;
My Personal Ruling Based on Quran and Sunnah Research
The Holy Qur’an is the book of Allah (God). Its Arabic text is the very word of Him. Non-Muslims are God’s creations who need to be shown the way towards His right path. We can do the task effectively only through the Qur’an. If we use our own logic, ideas, and explanations to invite others to God’s way, we are likely to commit serious errors. Therefore, we should use the Qur’an to let Muslims know what God has said in His book.
Unfortunately, some Muslims believe that since non-Muslims are impure, therefore, they cannot touch the Qur’an, because the book itself says it: “No one can touch it except those who are pure.” (56:79) They believe that the non-Muslims are impure because they claim the Qur’an says it: “Indeed the polytheists are impure.” (9:28).
The fact of the matter is that the Qur’anic verses quoted above, if understood in the right context and commentary, do not carry the meanings many people understand from them. The first verse is clarifying that while the Qur’an was being revealed, the impure Satans and jinns could not come close to the Qur’an. Only pure angels could touch it. Those who were rejecting the Qur’anic message were claiming that instead of the angel of God, the book was revealed to the prophet, God forbid, by the Satan-djinns. The verse is responding to the false propaganda of the disbelievers. It has got nothing to with the question of the legality of touching the Qur’an by the physically pure or the impure humans specifically being a human non-believer or idol worshipper.
This is a refutation of the accusation that the disbelievers used to level against the Quran. They regarded the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a sorcerer and asserted that he was being inspired with the Word by the jinn and Satans. An answer to it has been given at several places in the Quran, e.g. in Surah Ash-Shuara, where it has been said: This (lucid Book) has not been brought down by satans, nor does this work behoove them, nor are they able to do it. They have indeed been kept out of its hearing. (verses 210-212). The same theme has been expressed here, Saying: None but the purified can touch it. That is to say Not to speak of its being brought down by the Satans, or its being tampered with in any way when it is being revealed, none but the pure angels can come anywhere near it when it is being revealed from the well-guarded Tablet (lohemahfuz) to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The word mutahharin has been used for the angels in the sense that Allah has kept them free of every kind of impure feeling and desire.
The fact, however, is that this commentary does not conform to the context of the verse. Independent of the context, one may take this meaning from its words, but if considered in the context in which the verse occurs, one does not see any ground for saying that: None is to touch this Book except the clean and purified people. For the addressees here are the disbelievers and they are being told as if to say: This Book has been sent down by Allah, Lord of the worlds. Therefore, your suspicion that the satans inspire the Prophet (peace be upon him) with it is wrong. What could be the occasion here to enunciate the Shariah injunction that no one should touch it without purification? The most that one could say in this regard is that although this verse has not been sent down to enjoin this command, yet the context points out that just as only the purified (mutahharin) can touch this Book in the presence of Allah, so in the world also the people who at least believe in its being divine word should avoid touching it in the impure and unclean state.
The second verse was revealed when the Prophet (PBUH), had delivered the message to the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula most clearly and yet they refused to accept it. After the effective delivery of the message, those who insisted on denying it were declared criminals in the eyes of God and He ordained thus: “Believers, these polytheists are impure, therefore, they should not come close to Sacred Mosque after this year.” (Quran 9:28) In other words, these people have become morally and spiritually impure and incorrigible; therefore they don’t deserve to enter the house of God anymore.
The two verses that are being always quoted by some Muslims for the purpose of preventing us from giving copies of the Qur’an to Non-Muslims therefore, have nothing to do with the subject for which they are invoked. But any Muslim who is giving a Quran to a non-Muslim to seek knowledge whether Arabic text Quran or a translated English version or digital copy should prompt him about not disrespecting it and should follow the rules we Muslims follow according to the sunnah.
Conclusion on my Personal Ruling
My position on this matter is: Non-Muslims can be given the Quran to read to seek knowledge and acceptance whether the Arabic text version or a translated version but they are not permitted to disrespect the Holy Book so it is forbidden for them to read the Holy Quran whiles menstruating, bleeding after birth or in the state of uncleanness due to sexual intercourse. Also, NON-MUSLIMS are not permitted to read the Quran in the toilet, washroom or any unclean place. Again, it is not permissible for NON-MUSLIMS to disrespect the Holy Quran by keeping it in dirty and unclean places or putting another item on the Holy Quran.
In relation to kids, I personally rule that children have been made an exception from this rule. The Quran can be given in the children’s hands for teaching purposes whether they are in the state of ablutions or not but they should be trained and made to practice to be aware of the permissible and forbidden when they grow.
Same as a Muslim can ignore the rulings and touch the Quran whiles he or she is in a forbidden state, the same way a non-Muslim can ignore these rulings by Muslim scholars and Imams to disrespect the Quran by touching and reading it whiles unclean but we leave that in the hands of Allah. Some Non-Muslims don’t even ask the Quran from Muslims anymore, they go to the market and get it themselves without knowing all these rulings. Allah knows best.
Muslims who rule that NON-MUSLIMS should NOT be given the Arabic text Quran but can be given translated copies or digital files of the Quran. Aside from these Muslims failing to understand that the Quranic verse explained above does not mean as such, I want to ask such Muslims just two questions;
1.How would non-Muslims who are Arabs and can read only Arabic text read a translated Quran in a language they cannot read, supposing that is the only one permitted to them.
2. How did the non-Muslims before technology era and before the era of Quranic translations into different languages get to seek Allah’s words and seek acceptance and be witnesses of Islam if they are not permitted to touch and read the Quran.
You can drop your answers in the comment section. Thank you for reading. Please share and spread knowledge.