Fatwa n° 1173
Category: Fatwas about Qur’an and its sciences
Rulings concerning the electronic Mushaf
(The Holy Qur’an)
The smartphones are nowadays widely spread in the Muslim communities. These phones involve some religious applications, among which is the possibility of reading from a complete Mushaf. Is the opening of the Mushaf on smartphone has the same ruling as the ordinary Mushaf? Then, if this is the case, shall the viewer of the Mushaf on the smartphone be rewarded in the same way as the viewer of the printed Mushaf? And is it permissible to enter the water closet with a smartphone containing this application? And is it permissible for the ritually impure person to touch it? May Allah reward you.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers until the Day of Resurrection:
The electronic Mushaf can be defined in the recent idiomatic terminology as the material means in which is collected the Glorious Qur’an that is compatible in the order of its Âyât (verses) and Suwar (chapters) with the way or the script which is agreed upon by the Ummah (the Muslim Community) during the Caliphate of ‘Uthmân Ibn ‘Affân رضي الله عنه.
What can be seen from the foregoing definition is that it encompasses all types of Masâhif (pl. of Mushaf) whether ancient like: the ordinary known Mushaf which consists of papers and the letters that gather the Qur’an and are written between two protecting covers; or recent like: the Mushaf that is downloaded on the electronic memory cards as well as on CD-ROM. This also includes the protuberances using the Braille needle for writing on its specific papers, namely the Mushaf that is designed specifically for the blind people.
This being said, if the electronic Mushaf features some characteristics that are different from the printed Mushaf in its structure and letters; then it does not -in such a case- take the ruling concerning the printed Mushaf unless after switching the device on and displaying the Qur’anic Verses -on the screen- stored in the memory of the electronic Mushaf, so if the displayed Mushaf is identical to the ordinary Mushaf, then reading from the screen is like reading from the printed Mushaf whereby the reader deserves the reward mentioned in the hadith (reported in a Marfû‘ way) (1) of Ibn Mas’ûd رضي الله عنه: “Whoever recites a letter from Allah’s Book (Qur’an), then he receives the reward for it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say Alif Lâm Mîm is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lâm is a letter, Mîm is a letter” (2), and according to another hadith (reported in a Marfû‘ way) of Abdullâh Ibn Mas’ûd رضي الله عنه: “Whoever is pleased to know that he truly loves Allah and His Messenger, should recite in the Mushaf” (3) and other authentic hadiths that indicate the virtue of reciting the Qur’an abundantly.
And from the perspective of prohibition, entering the water closet with the electronic Mushaf without need or necessity is prohibited since the Qur’anic Verses are displayed. Furthermore, it is forbidden to touch the device with a Najâşa (i.e. an impurity) or put the device or the cell phone on a Najâşa; that is because the sanctity of the Qur’an is maintained as soon as the device is switched on and the Qur’anic Verses are displayed on the screen.
However, the foregoing rulings of prohibition are negated concerning the electronic Mushaf in case the device is switched off and the Âyât are accordingly not displayed on the screen. The device in such a case -i.e. being switched off- is not considered as a Mushaf; hence, it is not subject to the rulings of the printed Mushaf.
On the other hand, it is permissible for the person who is in state of spiritual impurity whether it is a question of minor impurity or major impurity, it is permissible for him to touch parts of the mobile phone or other devices containing an electronic program of the Mushaf whether it is switched on or off. This is because the Qur’anic letters of the electronic Mushaf displayed on the screen are just a coded electronic waves processed in a consistent manner in way that they cannot be reflected and displayed on the screen unless through an electronic program.
Therefore, touching the screen does not imply a real touching of the electronic Mushaf, unlike the printed Mushaf where touching its papers and letters is considered as real and true touching of the Mushaf. Therefore, the purification is not enjoined on the person who is in state of spiritual impurity when coming to touch the electronic Mushaf unless from a perspective of precaution and piety.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ; and our last prayer is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayers of Allah are to Muhammad and his Family, Companions and Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers on: Rajab the 11th, 1435 H,
Corresponding to May the 10th, 2014 G.
(1) It means a hadith that is directly attributed to the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عليه وآله وسَلَّم. Translator’s note.
(2) Reported by At-Tirmidhî in “Fadâ’il Al-Qur’ân” (2910) from the hadith of Ibn Mas‘ûd رضي الله عنه. Al-Albânî judged it authentic in “Sahîh Al-Jâmi‘ ” (6469). See also: “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” (3327).
(3) Reported by Al-Bayhaqî in “Shu’ab Al-Îmân” (2027) from the hadith of Abdullâh Ibn Mas‘ûd رضي الله عنه. It is mentioned in “As-Silsila As-Sahîha” of Al-Albânî (2342).