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Ruling on Burning Worn-out Copies of the Quran in a Special Place

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
A Zakat committee plans to build a special room for burning worn-out copies of the Noble Quran and papers containing mention of Allah. The burning process is conducted in a clean place far from residential buildings and the ashes are buried in a clean place as well. What is the ruling of Sharia on this?

Answer:

The Muslim Nation (Ummah) is agreed that the Quran is a holy text and must be treated with a great deal of respect since doing so is holding in honor the symbols of Allah. Allah says, "Such (is his state): and whoever holds in honour the symbols of God, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honour) should come truly from piety of heart."(Al-Haj, 32).

Scholars have permitted burning worn-out copies of the Quran if they aren`t good for use or it is difficult to bury them in a clean place. The aim is to prevent beingthrown on the ground or stepped on.The permission for this practice comes from early Muslims, at the time of Caliph Uthman bin Affan. After the official, agreed-upon version of the Quran had been compiled in a consistent dialect of Arabic, the official version was copied while the old or nonconforming Qurans were burned respectfully."……………`Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. `Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt."{Bukhari & Muslim}.

Ibn Battal (May Allah be pleased with him) said, "By analogy to the above order made by Caliph `Uthman, it is permissible to burn papers containing mention of Allah`s names. This procedure is done out of respect for these and to prevent being thrown on the ground or stepped on."{SharehSahih Al-Bukhari by Ibn Battal, 10/226}.

In conclusion, it is permissible to burn the worn-out copies of the Quran as well as the papers containing mention of Allah to prevent their desecration. This is done through dedicating a special place for the burning process, making sure that the procedure doesn`t cause any harm to people, safety requirements are observed and the ashes are buried in a clean place. In addition, it is permissible for the Zakat committee, mentioned above, to build a room for this purpose provided that costs aren`t paid for from the Zakat money. And Allah the Almighty knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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