The Reciting & Handling of the Quran in the State of Impurity
6th October 2008
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has stated in the Holy Qur’an:
‘(The Quran) which none can touch but those that are purified. A revelation from the Lord of all creation’
(Surah Al-Waqi’ah, v79-80)
From the above verse of the Quran it is made clear that it is not permissible to handle the Quran in the state of both the minor impurity (when one is required to make Wudhu) or major impurity (when one is required to take a bath according to the sunnah).
(Mariful Quran s56 v79)
Women who are afflicted with the monthly cycle of bleeding, or the bleeding associated with childbirth cannot handle (touch) or recite the Quran until they do not cover the full term of their cycle and take the compulsory bath of purification. In the same way, both men and women alike, are not permitted to handle or recite the Quran when in the state of ‘janaabat’ impurity (after intimate marital relations where bathing is compulsory) until and unless they do not complete the necessary bath of purification. This is the unanimous opinion of the entire group of Sahaba (RA) and the unanimous ruling of the 4 Imams of the
(Imdadul Bari Sharah Bukhari, vol 6, p171)
Sayyidina Ali(RA) related: ‘Apart from the state of major impurity (janaabat) nothing would prevent the Prophet (SAW) from reciting the Quran.’
(Abu Dawood, Nasai, Ibn Majah #594-595)
Ibn Umar (RA) related: ‘The Prophet (SAW) would not recite the Quran in the state of spiritual impurity (janabat)’ (Bhaihaqi, Sahih Ibn Haban, Hakim)
Sayyidina Ibn Umar(RA) related: ‘The Prophet(SAW) said: the Quran should not be recited by women in their monthly cycle or those that are in need of the compulsory bath of purification (junubi)’ Imam Tirmidhi stated: ‘This was the way of the Sahaba and Tabi’een.’
(Jami Tirmidhi p19)
Amar bin Hazam Al Ansari (RA) was sent a letter by the Prophet (SAW), within this letter was mentioned-‘The Quran should not be touched except by one who is purified. Imam Zuhuri (RAH) stated: ‘I have read the letter the Prophet (SAW) sent to Amar bin Hazam (RA) which was in the possession of his grandson in Najran.’
(Maraseel Abu Dawood p8, Seerat Ibn Hisham, vol 4, p595)
In the same manner there is a very well known narration in the books of Seerat and Ahadith: Umar Ibn Khattab (RA); prior to accepting Islam Umar(RA) came out of his house with the intention of killing the Prophet (SAW) and en route he learnt that his sister and brother in law had accepted Islam. He turned and went towards his sister’s house and heard Sayyidina Khabab (RA) reciting the Quran within the house from outside. He burst in and beat up his brotherin-law and sister and repeatedly asked for the verses that were being recited so that he may read them. The 3 Sahaba(RA) in the house refused stating Umar was impure and the Quran could not be touched except by those that are purified. Umar (RA) then took a bath and was then given the verses of Surah Ta-Ha to read which caused his heart to turn and this was the very day he accepted Islam. (Asadul Gabah, Seerat Ibn Hisham, vol 1, p344)
This narration is from the very early stages of Islam and even in this time the Sahaba(RA) did not consider it acceptable to handle the Quran in a state of impurity.
If there is a dire necessity to move the Quran in the state of impurity, the Quran should not be handled directly, but should be moved using a separate clean piece of cloth. (Tafsir Mazhari s56 v79)
The Fuqaha have also stated that those verses of the Quran that can be used as a form of rememberance or supplication can be recited for this purpose even in the state of janabat, but this recitation should not be intended to be recitation of the Quran.
(Mazahirul Haq, vol 1, p84)
If an individual breaks his wudhu (due to urinating, passing of wind etc.) then it is not permissible for them in this state of minor impurity to handle the Quran but they may recite it.
(Imdadul Bari Shara Bukhari, vol 6, p171)
Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (RA) related: ‘The Prophet (SAW) took rest after Isha, when half of the night had passed the Prophet (SAW) woke up from his sleep and rubbed his eyes with his hands and recited the last 10 verses of Surah Ale Imran. The Prophet (SAW) then performed ablution and prayed 12 rakats of the night prayer in 2 rakat segments...
(Sahih Bukhari #184)
Ali(RA) related: ‘The Prophet (Sallallaahu’alaihi wa sallam) on returning from the latrine would recite the Quran.
(Sunnan Ibn Majah #594)
The above Hadith proves that the Prophet (SAW) recited the Quran prior to performing Wudhu. Therefore, it is permissible to recite the Quran without the need for being in a state of Wudhu.
Response To A Common Misconception
There is a common point of dispute raised that the commencing of the letters of the Prophet (SAW)with ‘Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem’ which is a
portion of the Quran was sent also to non muslim rulers of the time. These rulers also handled these letters and were not considered to be clean at the time, how then is it the case that one has to be clean (with Wudhu) to handle the Quran?
(1) The writing of ‘Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem’ in this case is not considered to be Quran but in the form of a supplication (Du’aa) and in all opinions it is acceptable to recite it in this form. ‘Subhanallah, Inshaaallah’ Etc are words from the Quran and are perfectly permissible to be used in daily life and are used with the Niyah of Zikir or Du’aa.
(Imdadul Bari Sharah Bukhari, vol 6, p173)
(2) It is not permissible for a non Muslim to handle the Quran in its pure Arabic form. However, if there is a letter that is made up of both Quranic ayats and also relates other points, this form of letter will not be accepted as entirely Quranic as it also includes in its content casual references and conversation. The Quran in translation from in any other language than Arabic can be handled without wudhu and also given to non Muslims. (Mariful Quran, vol 6, p579)
Men & Women Should Not Enter The Masjid In A State of Physical Impurity
Any individual, be they male or female in a state of spiritual impurity (if they are required to perform the compulsory bath of purification following intimate
relations) cannot enter the Masjid until they have completed the bath first. If a woman is in the course of her menstrual cycles or bleeding due to childbirth,
she cannot enter the Masjid until her term is complete and she has taken the required bath of purification.
(Fatawa Shar’iya Vol 5 P41, An-Nafiaul kbir Sharah Al Jami’ul Sagir p120)
The Prophet (SAW) stated: ‘It is not permissible (Halal) for the menstruating women or ‘junubi’ (the one who is in need of the compulsory bath of purification following intimate relations) to enter the Masjid.’
(Abu Dawood vol 1, p30, Al Jami’ul Sagir, #6117)
Imam Bukhari (RAH) in chapter 621 of Sahih Bukhari wrote that menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla (Masjid).
Sayyida Hafsa(RA) narrate that Rasullalah (SAW) ordered us that menstruating women must stay away from the Musalla (Masjid) (Bukhari #923)
Having Wudhu during Tawaaf of Baitullah is Waajib
In the same way regarding Salah Ibn Umar(RA) related: Raulullah (SAW) said that without Taharah, Salah is not accepted
(Jami Trimdihi #1)
Ibn Abbas(RA) related: Rasulullah (SAW) also said that Tawaaf of Baitullah is like Salah (Wudhu is necessary) (Tirmidhi p190, Nasai p28)
Sayyida Ayisha(RA) said that when Rauslullah (SAW) reached Makka the first thing he did was to perform Wudhu and would make Tawaf of Baitullah.
(Sahih Bukhari #1614, Sahih Muslim #1235)
During the time of Hajj and Ramadhan-It is Sharia permissible for a female to take medication to delay her menstrual cycle (as an option)
Mufti Yusuf Danka