There is absolutely no harm if one recites the Glorious Quran while wearing his shoes, whether from memory or reading from a book. If the shoes are pure from being in contact with impurities, it is permissible to even offer one’s prayer while wearing them.
It is haram to touch the Quran without wudu. The centrality of sound scholarship is explained as follows. Please read these:
Even Ibn Taymiyya, with his frequent divergence from majority positions, holds this to be the correct opinion. [al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 1.280]
Imam Ibn Qudama said that this is a position in which there is no known disagreement of consequence. [al-Mughni, 1.99]
There are many sound hadiths related to this, such as the hadith of Hakim ibn Hizam (Allah be pleased with him), in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
"Do not touch the Quran unless you are in a state of purity." [Related by Imam Malik in his Muwatta, and deemed sound by early and late hadith authorities, such as Imam Nawawi in his Majmu`]
Imam Ibn Abd al-Barr says in his Tamhid that this hadith has been related so extensively, and is so well known in the books of sira that its fame puts it beyond need for an isnad, for it is akin to being mutawatir (related by multiple contiguous chains). Thus, he said,
"The scholars of the lands have not differed regarding this." [Ibn Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhid, 17.396-398]
There are several ways we can keep the Quran close to us while travelling. We can creatively use technology for not missing out on the holy book:
- The Quran can be nicely covered and kept in a safe place in our bags. Most of us are careful and have an outer covering for our phones and electronic gadgets. We can use the same strategy here. SunniPath.com states that it is best to carry the Mushaf that has a plastic cover/jacket, which is not sewn or glued to it – that way, it can be touched even when one is not in Wudhu.
- Women, who have their periods, can wear gloves or avoid touching the Arabic script of the Quran.
- If we want to be extremely careful, we can carry our favourite Quran in a translated language, which does not have the Arabic text.
- The Quran can be carried in the form of digital books or software. Islam-QA.com says that it permissible to have the Quran on one’s mobile phone or in any other digital form.
- Many of us have ipods, iphones and cell phones with enough memory to save the complete Quran text on it. There are styluses (or pens), which can be used to scroll up and down within these gadgets. When the electronic gadget is off, the Arabic text will not be in direct contact with anything else and, therefore, cannot be disrespected.
Scholars have addressed some of the frequently asked questions regarding carrying the Quran:
- Mufti Ibrahim Desai, Darul Iftah, South Africa, has specified that it is permissible to carry the Quran while travelling. However, one must be careful about Wudhu (ablution). If it is difficult to perform Wudhu repeatedly while travelling, then care must be taken only to recite the Quran (from the Mushaf, computer or a digital form) and not directly touch the Quran.
- He has also advised to try to sit in the front seat, so that no one has his/her back to the Quran.
- Also, according to Islam-QA.com, the Mushaf can be put in one’s pocket, pants or other clothes while travelling, as long as it is protected against tearing or mishandling. Mufti Ibrahim, along with Faraz Rabbani (SunniPath.com), has emphasized that it is best to carry the Quran in one’s shirt or jacket pocket rather than in the pockets of pants, as it is more respectful and keeps the Quran elevated. For similar reasons, it is best to carry the Quran in hand-carry, rather than send it off in the baggage.
Whether it is a working professional commuting to and back from work, a mother dropping her children off and picking them up from school, or someone flying to another city or even country, we all spend a considerable time of our lives travelling. May Allah (swt) give us the opportunity to make the best use of our time and remain close to Him and His word, Ameen.