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Disposing of Papers with Sacred Texts: What Is the Procedure?

25 September, 2019
Q Dear Sheikh, as-salam `alaykum! Please enlighten me on the best way, according to the Shari`ah, to dispose of the papers that contain Allah’s Names, Quranic verses, hadiths, etc.

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- It should be clear that papers contain Allah’s Names, verses of the Quran, etc., are to be disposed of in a respectable manner.

2- There is nothing wrong in burning the papers that contain verse/s of the Quran as a way of keeping them from being subject to desecration


Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Once, we are done with papers or magazines with writings of Quranic verses,  prayers or Names of Allah, etc., we must not simply throw them or discard them as we would do with any other ordinary stuff; rather we must dispose them off in a respectable manner.

The ideal way of the disposal of such materials off is by shredding them and then trashing them. If that is not possible, then the next best thing to do is to trash them after cutting and slicing them into tiny pieces.

Burning is not recommended as it may be highly risky; especially indoors. If, however, it is extremely safe to so, and, once done under strict supervision, there is no harm in burning them.

In the same context, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, adds,

There is nothing wrong in burning the papers that contain verse/s of the Quran as a way of keeping them from being subject to desecration.

It is reported that Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) ordered for the burning of copies of the Quran that were different from the authenticated and the accepted one. This was meant to protect the Quran from any attempt of distortion.

It is impermissible to cast the papers containing one or more verses of the Quran on the ground or throw them in an unclean place so long as they contain even a single word of the Quran.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.