2 Rabīʿ al-Thānī '44 — Fatwā

Ruling on touching the Qurʾān while in a state of impurity

Bismillāhir-Raḥmānir-Raḥīm

There is an authentic Hadīth in regards to one who is impure and wishes to read or touch the Qurʾān:

"None touches the Qurʾān except the pure." (1)

So what can someone do with the Qurʾān while they are impure? A fatwā from Sheikh ibn Baz (رحمه الله) translated into English will answer this, ʾIn shāʾ Allāh.

He (رحمه الله) was asked:

"What is the ruling regarding touching the Muṣḥaf without having ablution, for the purpose of reading it or moving it to another place? My question is regarding someone who is not in a major state of impurity."

Then he (رحمه الله) responded:

"According to the majority of scholars, touching the Muṣḥaf while not having ablution is not allowed. This is the opinion of all Four Imāms (رحمه الله) and it is this opinion that the Prophet's Companions used to rule buy. There is even an authentic hadīth regarding this; in it, ‘Amr ibn Hazm (رضي الله عنه) relates that the Prophet ﷺ sent a letter to the people of Yemen, saying that:

'None touches the Qurʾān except the pure.' (1)

This hadīth is good in terms of authenticity; it has many chains of narration, and each one strengthens the other.

The same ruling applies to moving the Muṣḥaf from one place to another: only someone who is pure may do so. However, if the Muṣḥaf is in a bag or jacket, for example, one may carry it, as long as his hands do not touch it directly. If one is in a minor state of impurity, one may recite the Qurʾān from memory or recite it while someone else is holding it. A person who is in a major state of impurity may not recite the Qurʾān, because nothing would prevent the Prophet ﷺ from the Qurʾān except for Janābah (i.e. minor state of impurity). ʾAḥmad recorded a good chain of narration to ʿĀʾisha (رضي الله عنها) who said that after the Prophet ﷺ relieved himself, he recited something from the Qurʾān, and then said:

'This is for someone who is not Junub (in a major state of impurity); as for the Junub, then no, not even a single verse.' (2)

The point here is that the Junub person is neither permitted to touch nor to recite from the Muṣḥaf until he performs Ghusl, in which case he is no longer Junub.

There is another issue that is related: whether it is permissible for a woman to touch the Qurʾān when she is in menses or is going through post-natal bleeding. Scholars disagree in this issue: some say that she may not read while others say that she can read from memory without touching the Qurʾān. Those that hold the latter opinion argue that menses and post-natal bleeding occur for long periods of time, whereas the person in a major state of impurity only has to perform Ghusl, and then he can recite.

What is correct is that it does not prevent them from reciting from memory, and this is the preferred view since it is confirmed in the Two Ṣaḥīḥs that the Prophet ﷺ said to ʿĀʾisha, who was menstruating during Ḥajj:

'Do what a pilgrim does, except that you may not go around the House (i.e., the Kaʿbah) until you become purified.' (3)

So even though the pilgrim recites Qurʾān, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ did not make an exception like he did for going around the Kaʿbah. This indicates the permissibility for a woman to recite when she is menstruating or when she is going through post-natal bleeding.

The Prophet ﷺ said similarly to Asmāʾ bint ʿUmays when she gave birth to Muḥammad ibn Abū Bakr at the Miqat (i.e. the location where the pilgrim enters into the state of Iḥrām) during the farewell pilgrimage, this all proves that she may recite it without touching the Muṣḥaf.

As for the hadīth of ibn ʿUmar that the Prophet ﷺ said:

'Neither the menstruating nor the Junub may recite anything from the Qurʾān.' (4)

This hadīth is weak, because in its chain ibn ʿAyyash is narrating from Mūsā ibn ʿUqba. The scholars of hadīth have graded ibn ʿAyyash's narrations weak, saying that they are good if he is narrating from the people of ash-Shām, which is his homeland, but they are weak when narrating from the people of al-Ḥijāz, and this is one of the narrations from the people of al-Ḥijāz, so it is weak." (5)

So in this fatwā, we can take many benefits from it. We now know that the Qurʾān is not to be touched while in any state of impurity. One of the exceptions is that if one is in a minor state of impurity, it can be recited from memory or reading from someone else who is pure. As for one who is in a major state of impurity, it cannot be read at all.

I ask Allāh to have mercy on the great scholar, Sheikh ibn Baz, and reward him for his great contributions to the religion of Islām.

May Allāh bless you, and shukran.

Sources :

1. ibn Hibbān 793, and ad-Dāraquṭnī 433

2. Musnad ʾAḥmad 1/100

3. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 305, and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1211

4. at-Tirmidhī 131

5. Fatāwā Islāmīyah vol no 7, page no. 41-44