How much efforts should muslim put in to preserve the old copies of Quran? This certainly requires resources and expertise in preservation. There are many old copies of Quran in various libraries and homes but they are all dusted and in bad condition. How one should act in this situation where there is a desire to save such Mushaaf?.
Praise be to Allaah.
taking care of Mus-hafs (copies of the Qur’aan) is part of venerating the
symbols of Allaah and the word of Allaah which He revealed as guidance to
mankind. This is a duty upon all Muslims, who should make whatever efforts
they can to achieve that.
these efforts should be differs according to the need to preserve ancient
Mushafs. Copies of the Mus-haf may be few and the people may need all that
they have, or these old copies may still be in good condition and people can
still read them, or it may be possible to send them to some poor Muslim
countries where the people still copy the Qur’aan by hand because they are
so poor, and other cases which dictate keeping these old copies and taking
proper care of them.
If there are
no such cases where it is necessary to preserve old copies, then there is
nothing wrong with disposing of them in respectful ways which achieve the
desired purpose. The scholars have mentioned three ways of doing that:
burning old copies of the Mus-haf in a careful and respectable manner, in a
clean and safe place, whilst ensuring that the words are consumed by the
fire and the pages are changed.
based this view on what ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) did with
the Mus-hafs that differed from what the Sahaabah were unanimously agreed
upon. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated (hadeeth no. 4987)
from Anas ibn Maalik that ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allaah be pleased with
him) ordered Zayd ibn Thaabit, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Zubayr, Sa’eed ibn al-‘Aas
and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn al-Haarith ibn Hishaam to make copies of the
Mus-hafs. ‘Uthmaan said to the three Qurashi men: If you differ with Zayd
ibn Thaabit concerning anything of the Qur’aan, then write it in the dialect
of Quraysh, for it was revealed in their tongue. They did that, then when
they had copied the pages in Mus-hafs, ‘Uthmaan returned the pages to
Hafsah, and he sent to each country one of the Mus-hafs that they had
copied, and he ordered that all other copies of the Qur’aan on pages or in
books be burned.
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
shows that it is permissible to burn books which contain the name of Allaah,
and that this is a kind of respect to them and protects them from being
trampled underfoot. ‘Abd al-Razzaaq narrated via Tawoos that he used to burn
letters that contained the Basmalah when he had collected a good number of
them, and ‘Urwah did the same, but Ibraaheem regarded that as makrooh. End
al-Sharbeeni al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
It is makrooh
to burn wood into which words of Qur'aan have been carved, unless the aim is
to protect the Qur’aan, in which case it is not makrooh, as may be
understood from the words of Ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam. It is in this way that we
may interpret ‘Uthmaan’s burning of the Mus-hafs. End quote.
which a place that is clean and safe from tampering should be chosen. A deep
hole should be dug in which it is thought most likely that the buried copies
will disappear for a long time.
al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
With regard to
old Mus-hafs, which have worn out and are now in such a condition that they
cannot be used for reading from, they should be buried in a place where they
will be safe, just as the body of a believer is honoured by being buried in
a place where it will be safe. End quote.
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If a Mus-haf
becomes worn out, it should be buried. Ahmad narrated that Abu’l-Jawza’ had
a Mus-haf that wore out, so he dug a hole for it in his mosque and buried
it. In al-Bukhaari it is narrated that the Sahaabah burned [Mus-hafs] after
making copies of them. Ibn al-Jawzi said: That is out of respect for it and
in order to protect it. al-Qaadi said that Abu Bakr ibn Abi Dawood narrated
with his isnaad from Talhah ibn Musarrif that he said: ‘Uthmaan buried the
Mushafs between the [Prophet’s] grave and the minbar, and he narrated with
his isnaad from Tawoos that he did not see anything wrong with burning
books. He said: Water and fire are creations of Allaah. End quote.
It says in
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (4/140):
If the pages
of the Mus-haf wear out and become tattered from being read from a great
deal, or they become unfit to be used, or they found mistakes in it because
of careless mistakes in writing or printing, and it is not possible to
correct it, it is permissible to bury it without burning it, and it is
permissible to burn it and then bury it in a place far away from dirt or
where people walk, so as to protect it against mishandling, and so as to
protect the Qur’aan against any tampering or distortion or confusion due to
propagating of Mus-hafs in which there are mistakes in writing or printing.
This may be the easiest way nowadays. There are machines into which one
inserts papers and they shred them into tiny pieces, so that they are no
longer regarded as words of the Qur’aan or even legible letters. This is
clean and safe and does not involve a lot of effort, as is the case with
burning or burying.
‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
No one among
the Muslims doubts that the Muslim must respect and venerate the Holy
Qur’aan and prevent it from being exposed to mishandling. These worn out
pages of the Mus-haf which cannot be used for reading may then be dealt with
in one of two ways:
may be buried in a clean, pure place where they will not be subject to
mishandling in the future, to the best of one’s knowledge.
may be burned. Burning them is permissible and there is nothing wrong with
it. When the Qur’aan was consolidated in the dialect of Quraysh at the time
of ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Sahaabah (may Allaah be
pleased with them) burned all other copies. This indicates that it is
permissible to burn the Mus-haf that can no longer be made use of.
But I think
that if it is burned then it must be done thoroughly until there is nothing
left but ashes, because when printed material is burned, some letters may
still be visible after burning, so it is necessary to do it thoroughly until
it has turned to ashes.
If it is
shredded, this is a third way, but it is difficult, because shredding must
be done to all the words and letters, and this is difficult unless one has a
machine that can shred it very finely so that no shape of a letter is left.
This is a third way, and it is permissible. End quote.
Noor ‘ala al-Darb
(tape 32/side B)
al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (2/123).