What a blessing from Allah in today’s busy modern lives to be able to learn Quran online whenever we like. With smart phones and tablets Muslims have been able to carry their Quran around with them wherever they go. We are able to recite our adhkar, recite portions of the Quran and read translations and explanation (Tafseer). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) considering purity half of faith. Do you need wudhu when you learn Quran online?
In this article, we explore the obligation of wudhu (ablution) for touching and reading the Quran.
Touching the Quran without Wudhu:
In Surah Al-Waqi’ah (56:79), Allah states:
None can touch it (the Quran) except the purified.
This verse emphasizes the necessity of purity when interacting with the Quran. Scholars differ in interpreting the term “the purified”, which can refer to both angels and purified human beings. However, many commentators, including Qurtubi and Azhari, support the interpretation that it refers to purified human beings.
It is not permissible to touch the Qur’an without wudhu according to the majority of scholars and the four imams (may Allah be pleased with them) and the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wrote to the people of Yemen. He said: “No one should touch the Qur’an except one who is taahir (pure).” Even when you move the Quran from one place to another, you should pick it up with a wrapper or cloth. A Mushaf should not be taken into the bathroom. It must be kept respectfully so that it is not trampled or tossed around.
Major vs Minor impurity
To comprehend the concept of purity, it is crucial to distinguish between major and minor impurity. Major impurity (hʾadath al-akbar) results from sexual intercourse and seminal/menstrual/postpartum discharge, requiring ghusl (full-body ablution) for purification.
Minor impurity (hʾadath al-asghar) occurs after activities such as urination, defecation, passing gas, and sleep. This can be resolved through wudhu (ablution) or tayammum (dry ablution when water is unavailable).
The incident involving Umar (ra) further supports the notion that impure individuals should not touch the Quran. Umar, before embracing Islam, asked his sister to give him the pages of the Quran she was reading. She recited the verse (56:79), prompting Umar to perform ghusl (full ablution) before being able to read the Quran. Additionally, Imam Malik cited a letter from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to Amr Ibn Hazm, stating, “Don’t let anyone touch the Quran except the tahir (pure).”
Hence, the majority of scholars concur that those who wish to touch the Quran should purify themselves from both major and minor impurities through wudhu or ghusl, if required.
Reading the Quran without Wudhu:
As mentioned earlier, the impure state prohibits touching the Quran. Consequently, it is evident that reading from a mushaf (hardcopy book of the Quran) is not permissible in an impure state. Proper wudhu is necessary to ensure reverence and respect for the sacred text.
Reciting the Quran from Memory without wudhu:
When reciting the Quran, it is permissible to recite it from memory without wudhoo, or to read if the Qur’an is held by someone else. If a person is in a state of Junub (or sexual impurity) then he must refrain until he has taken a bath for purification (ghusl). However, purifying oneself before reciting Qur’an, even from memory, is better, because it is the Word of Allah and it is more respectful towards Him to only recite it when in a state of purity.
Reciting the Quran from memory does not entail physical contact with the Quranic text, making it permissible in an impure state. However, the term “tahir” mentioned in hadith implies that purity extends to the entire body, including the tongue.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasized the importance of purity and advised against reciting the Quran when in a state of major impurity (junub). Imam Ahmad narrated a hadith from Ali (ra) in which the Prophet (pbuh) recited something from the Quran after exiting the toilet and specified that it was permissible for those not in a state of major impurity but prohibited for those in a state of junub.
Therefore, individuals in a state of major impurity should perform ghusl (full ablution) before reciting the Quran, whether from memory or a mushaf. However, if one is in a state of minor impurity, they can recite the Quran from memory but should not touch the mushaf without proper wudhu.
Reading the Quran without Wudhu when you learn Quran online:
These do not come under the same ruling as the Mushaf. It is permissible to touch them without having purified oneself. It is also permissible to take them into the washroom as long as the Quran app is not open on the phone.
This is because writing Qur’an on the mobile phone is not like writing it in a Mushaf. It takes the form of waves that appear and disappear with letters that are not fixed. The mobile phone may contain Qur’an along with other things. It is permissible to touch the mobile phone or tape on which Qur’an is recorded. It is permissible to read from it, even if one is not in a state of purity (Wudhu). It is permissible not to have Wudhu when you learn Quran online.
Reading Qur’an on a mobile phone makes it easy for women who are menstruating. Also for one who cannot easily carry a Mushaf with him. It also makes it easier if you are in place where it is difficult to do Wudhu when you learn Quran online.
The Holy Quran was read after performing wudhu since there was no concept of a virtual Quran during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is preferable to perform wudhu when reading the Quran on a mobile even though it is not compulsory.
Reciting the verses of the Quran with a pure tongue is essential even though physical touch is not involved. Before reading the Quran on digital devices, individuals should ensure their tongue is free from major impurity.
Apart from the aforementioned situations, there are instances when touching or reading the Quran without wudhu is permissible, including:
- Touching the Quran while rearranging the shelf of a library.
- Picking up and transporting the Mushaf (Quran Hard Copy).
- Reading or reciting the Quran when someone else is holding it for correction.
- Reciting the Quran from memory.
- Reading or reciting from an electronic device.
- Women in their menstrual period reciting the Quran out of fear of forgetting it.
Based on the Quranic verse and Prophetic traditions, the consensus among scholars is that wudhu is a necessary for touching and reading the Quran. Therefore, individuals can recite the Quran without wudhu from memory or while reading from a mobile or tablet.
However, it is crucial to ensure that one’s hands are free from najasah (impurities) and that they are not in a state of janabah (major impurity) before touching or reading the Quran. Adhering to these guidelines demonstrates reverence and respect for the sacredness of the Quranic text.
- Quran, Surah Al-Waqi’ah 56:79
- Muwatta of Imam Malik. Imam Malik cited a Prophet’s letter in which the Prophet (pbuh) advised Amr Ibn Hazm, stating: “Don’t let anyone touch the Quran except the tahir (pure).”
- Hadith: The Prophet (pbuh) advised Amr Ibn Hazm, saying: “Do not touch the Quran except in the state of purity (tahir).” Reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Hadith No. 7894
- Read more details on www.islamqa.com