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How to dispose of an old or damaged copy of the Holy Quran?

The basic point to keep in mind is respect for the Holy Quran. If a person disrespects a copy of the Holy Quran, it does not take away from the honor of the Quran, and if someone respects a copy of the Holy Quran, it does not add to its honor. The importance of outward respect for a copy of the Holy Quran is because of the psychological effect it has on us.

The philosophy of respect is related to influence. Someone we respect can say an ordinary thing and it has an extraordinary effect, and someone we do not respect can say the same thing and it has no effect. Allah Almighty teaches us to respect the Holy Quran not for the Quran’s sake, but for our sake. It is so the effect of its teachings on us is more powerful. If we, out of carelessness, allow disrespect to find its way into our behavior, it undermines the influence we allow the teachings of the Quran to have on us.

This is why respect for the physical copy of the Holy Quran is generally emphasized. Concerning sleeping with one’s feet towards the Qibla, the Promised Messiah as said:

“It is not permitted because it is contrary to respect.” The questioner said that it has not been prohibited in ahadith. He as replied, “This is no line of reasoning. If a person places his feet on the Holy Quran and stands on it on the basis that it is not mentioned in Hadith, then will it be permitted? Absolutely not.” “And whoso respects the sacred Signs of Allah—that indeed proceeds from the righteousness of hearts (Surah al-Hajj, 22:33).” 

(Tafsir Hadrat Masih Mau‘ud, vol. 6, p. 119, 22:33)

Once, the Promised Messiah as hit his beloved son, Mubarak Ahmad, because a copy of the Holy Quran had been dropped because of his unmindfulness (Sirat Hadrat Masih Mau‘ud, p. 273).

Once, a student put an ink pot on top of a copy of the Holy Quran. Seeing this, Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih I ra became very angry and said:

“Dear, if someone threw filth at your face, how would you feel? The Holy Quran is the word of God Almighty, always be mindful of its respect, and do not place anything on top of it but always keep this word above everything.” Some people would place their letters and other papers in the Holy Quran. Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih I ra very much disliked this and would say that the Quran is to be served, it is not our servant.

(Hayate-Nur, p. 694)

Whatever method we use to dispose of a copy of the Holy Quran, we should be mindful that we do so in a respectful way. For example, during the time of Hadrat Uthman ra when the copies of the Quran were standardized in the dialect of the Quraish, the copies of the Holy Quran written in different dialects of Arabic were disposed of by being burnt out of respect (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 66, Hadith 9).

When asked if it was permissible to dispose of the Holy Quran by burning it, the Promised Messiah as replied:

It is permissible. Hadrat Uthman ra also had some pages burned. It depends on intention.

(Malfuzat, vol. 5, p. 253)

Some opponents who have hatred against Islam burn copies of the Holy Quran with the intention of disrespect, “Deeds are judged by motives.” The way we dispose of a copy of the Holy Quran does not affect the honor of the Quran, but it affects the honor we have for it in our hearts.

Updated on March 2, 2019

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