Wudu and the Qur’an on an E-Reader

Question:

As Salaamu alaikum,

I recently purchased an e-reader for reading books, including the Quran.  But it occurred to me that I sometimes will not have wudu while carrying it.  How should one treat the Quran in electronic format?

Country: United States

Answer:

Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

The Shafiyyah discuss the issue of a lawh [a slate upon which the Qur’an is written for study]. Regarding this, in Kifayat al-Nabih v. 1, p. 434, Ibn al-Rif’ah related two opinions; the relied-upon, which is stated in Qadi Husayn’s Ta’liq, al-Tahdhib, Imam al-Haramayn’s Nihayah, and al-Kafi, is that it is unlawful to touch it without ablution. In Rawdah v. 1, p. 239, Imam Nawawi asserted this opinion without mentioning a difference. In Sharh al-Muhadhdhab v. 2, p. 69, he mentioned two opinions. The relied-upon is ascribed to the majority of the As-hab as “al-Madhhab al-Sahih.” In short, the relied-upon opinion is that touching it requires ablution.

The ruling extends here as the digitally displayed text, on electronic paper for example, is written and we consider it as Qur’an. Thus, if one is holding an e-reader to read the Qur’an from it, then ablution is necessary.

When the e-reader is off, for example, and the Qur’an is merely preserved in the system’s memory along with other books, then this would not require ablution.

And Allah knows best.

Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.