Manic Moran Moderator
#1

Idle question, but the parallels between flag burning and koran burning got me wondering.

In the US, as you may be aware, it is considered somewhat controversial to burn the national flag as a form of protest. However, when the flag is beyond serviceable and can no longer be used because it is so tattered, frayed, discoloured or whatever, by law the preferred method of destroying it is to burn it, this is very uncontroversial.

Presumably if a Koran is damaged beyond use there must be a way of disposing of it that isn't going to cause ire or offence. What is that method?

NTM

irishconvert Subscriber
#2

I am not sure how accurate the following is:, maybe other forum members can clarify:

http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?221340-how-to-dispose-of-islamic-literature-in-a-halal-manner

Disposing Unusable Copies of the Qur’an

As far as old and unusable copies of the Qur’an are concerned, it is not permitted to burn them unless there is no other way to dispose of them.

The great Hanafi Imam, Imam Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him) states:

“If a copy of the Mushaf (qur’an) becomes old and it is difficult to read from it, it should not be burnt in fire. This is what Imam Muhammad (m: student of Imam Abu Hanifa) pointed out and this is what we take. It will not be disliked to bury it. It should be wrapped in a pure cloth, and a Lahd grave (m: grave that has a incision in the side wall, customary in hot climate countries where the earth is solid) should be dug, because if a Shiq grave (m: grave with a straight opening, common in cold climate countries due to the earth being soft) is dug and the copy of the Qur’an is buried, it will entail the soil falling on top of the Qur’an which is a form of disrespect, unless a slab is placed as a roof…” (Radd al-Muhtar, 5/271)

In light of the above, there are two methods of disposing of an unusable copy of the Qur’an:

1) Wrapping it in a pure piece of cloth and burying it respectfully in a place where people (normally) do not walk about. In cold climate countries (such as the UK), one may dig a Shiq grave, but a slab should be placed first and over it the soil.

2) Fastening the Qur’an with a heavy object like a stone and then placing it respectfully in flowing water.

If one is able to implement the above two methods, it would not be permitted to burn the copy of the Qur’an. However, if the above two methods are difficult to carry out, then one may burn the Qur’an and bury or drown the resulting ash.

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demonspawn Banned
#3

Makes me wonder what Christians do with the Byebal when it's unusable.

Manic Moran Moderator
#4

Chuck it in the recycling. Never heard of any issue with it before.

NTM

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jill_valentine Registered User
#5

Regarding Bibles, I think it depends on the denomination, I don't think there's one official line as such.

I think I might be right in saying that the Catholic church generally disposes of Bibles by a respectful burning, in much the same way as you described with flags, and I've heard of people burying them.

I've heard of some American congregations doing a thing where they gather up old Bibles ready for disposal and do a little service for them before having them recycled, but I couldn't tell you what flavour of denomination.

af_thefragile Registered User
#6

Any religious document which needs to be disposed off is supposed to be burned or shredded in a way the words/letters get shredded.

This is because the document is a word of God and it needs to be respected as to not accidentally end up in the trash or somewhere not clean. The words and letters are sacred text and so much be respected and when you burn/shred them properly, you sort of erase the text and so its not sacred anymore and can be disposed off.

Though it is also consider no text should be thrown in the bin as all languages are sacred and contain words of God. But then that wouldn't be good for the recycling industry. Still any text is meant to be treated with respect. So not to throw it with other trash or "dirty" places like down the toilet and such...

Manic Moran Moderator
#7

After doing a bit of hunting on the web (because I've never heard of anyone getting into trouble for chucking away a bible), it seems that there is no prohibition on disposing of it as you would any other book. The only caveat I've found has been if you've taken the bible to get blessed by a priest, in which case they suggest burying it. (I've never heard of a blessed bible before, but I guess it's possible). Otherwise, it's only a book, ink on paper. I guess you can ask over in the Catholic forum for a second opinion.

NTM

#8

Manic Moran said:
I guess you can ask over in the Catholic forum for a second opinion.


Boards.ie doesn't have a Catholic Forum, but in the Christianity Forum the general consensus is that the green wheelie bin is fine.

I believe this is one difference between Islam and Christianity. I understand that in Islam the book itself is considered holy, and that even translating it into another language affects that (please feel free to correct me if I've misunderstood that). In Christianity it is the words of God that are holy, and that holiness is not usually seen as attaching to the printed book.

af_thefragile Registered User
#9

PDN said:
Boards.ie doesn't have a Catholic Forum, but in the Christianity Forum the general consensus is that the green wheelie bin is fine.

I believe this is one difference between Islam and Christianity. I understand that in Islam the book itself is considered holy, and that even translating it into another language affects that (please feel free to correct me if I've misunderstood that). In Christianity it is the words of God that are holy, and that holiness is not usually seen as attaching to the printed book.


That is sort of true.

In Quran is the word of god and hence very sacred. Although the 'real' Quran is the words and not the text (the Quran was recited to the Muhammad, it didn't come written down like on a tablet to Moses). So in that sense it is similar to what you said about the bible. Still the words are holy, they make up the scripture like I mentioned above and should be treated with great respect.

The quranic language is very pure arabic and is to be interpreted with knowledge and thought. It's meaning gets lost when it's translated cuz firstly there are no suitable words in English or any other language for many words and concepts in the Quran (nafs for example) so you end up replacing these deep concepts with weak interpretations in the other language diluting the meaning(s) of the Quran.
Then secondly arabic is a very rich language (probably the richest there is) and there are many different words for the same thing in Arabic, all with very slight different meanings (eg. There are more than 100 different words in Arabic for lion). Some other words have many different meanings that can be applied according to the context and interpretation (eg. Islam itself cam be interpreted/broken down into atleast 5 different meanings and concepts which make up the word). In this way a scholar of Arabic language can come with many different interpretations of the words in the Quran. You only have to look at the amount of commentaries people have written on the Quran to realise the depth of it.

So with the Quran when you take away it's innate language, you take away it's very essence and all you're left with is someone's translation of the Quran which is not even close to the real Arabic book it came as.

Which is why the Quran is meant to be read in the language it was revealed. For starters you can read a translation of it to get an idea of what's in it and what it's about. But you can only get to the real beauty and essence of it when you study it in it's original language.

It's a book that's meant to be reflected upon and not just read. It constantly tells you to see things and think and reflect on what is written in it. It is not an easy book to understand (you need a proper teacher who is a scholar to teach you the meanings of the book. Reading and trying to understand it by yourself will just lead to misinterpretation which is prevalent among many Muslims today, especially the ones with extreme views on things. Most extremists have very little knowledge of Islam and have never studied it in a proper university or under a proper scholar. This is when things go wrong!) and anyone unfamiliar with it will very easily get lost and find the book very incoherent. But it's only after you settle down and start to reflect on the complex details and designs (like the Quran constantly tells you to) only then it'll reveal itself to you. And this is something you cannot do with an English translation or some other translation on it.

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Hobbes Registered User
#10

How does this rule apply to more common devices. For example if you had an electronic Quran? (do they even exist?). Or an app on a device. Would you not be allowed to delete it?

wes Registered User
#11

Hobbes said:
How does this rule apply to more common devices. For example if you had an electronic Quran? (do they even exist?). Or an app on a device. Would you not be allowed to delete it?


Such devices do exist, and there are Koranic reader applications. There should be no issues with deleting it from what I understand, but i may be wrong with that one.

hivizman Subscriber
#12

wes said:
Such devices do exist, and there are Koranic reader applications. There should be no issues with deleting it from what I understand, but i may be wrong with that one.


No, I'm pretty sure you are correct. I have read that it is not necessary to be in a state of wudu in order to read the Qur'an on a computer screen, though it would be required if you were reading a printed or handwritten copy of the Qur'an. So deleting part or all of an electronic version of the Qur'an should not be a problem, since such a version is considered to be a sequence of code that is in itself meaningless until it is converted into an image by software. A similar argument is sometimes used to suggest that electronic images of people and other living creatures are not covered by any prohibition on creating and keeping images.

Many of the downloadable versions of the Qur'an would not technically be considered as "the Qur'an" since they come with translations, notes, transliterations and recitations rather than being simply the Arabic text. I understand that a written text of the Qur'an is considered to be a mushaf (and hence subject to various practices of ritual purity and general etiquette relating to handling, storage and disposal) if and only if it consists of the complete text of the Qur'an in Arabic with essentially no other material - if it comes with notes or commentary, then it is strictly considered to be a tafsir.

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#13

af_thefragile said:
Any religious document which needs to be disposed off is supposed to be burned or shredded in a way the words/letters get shredded.

Mmm, not necessarily- the tanakh is buried

af_thefragile Registered User
#14

Sefirah said:
Mmm, not necessarily- the tanakh is buried


Well I was giving the Islamic viewpoint as to how sacred texts of any religion much be respected.

Manic Moran Moderator
#15

So deleting part or all of an electronic version of the Qur'an should not be a problem, since such a version is considered to be a sequence of code that is in itself meaningless until it is converted into an image by software. A similar argument is sometimes used to suggest that electronic images of people and other living creatures are not covered by any prohibition on creating and keeping images.


The obvious follow-on from that is 'what if the code, when displayed, produces an image of the Prophet'?

Or, more particularly, one of the less-well-thought-of images of him.

NTM

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