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Arising in the comments to the question As a Muslim, is it appropriate to buy a friend a Bible? was the fact that I don't own a Qur'an. (Maybe I should be embarrassed about this.)

The contents of the Qur'an are accessible through the Internet (e.g. Quran.com or IslamAwakened.com for English versions), along with numerous translations and tafseer. I have copies of it on my computer and my phone in English, and I often read it from my phone when I have to wait for something (e.g. on a flight). I don't speak or read Arabic.

Question: As a non-Arabic-speaking Muslim, is it important for me to own a physical copy of the Qur'an?

I presume there's no advantage of having an English-language hard copy, but there seems to be something special about owning an Arabic Qur'an.

  • Afaik the Quran in it's present book form didnt exist at the time of Prophet (SAW) nor under the Khilafa of Abu Bakr (RA). Most of the Sahabas knew portion of the Quran by heart and a great number of them were Huffaaz. During the Khilafa of Umar (RA) he noticed many of the Hafiz passing away due to old age or battle. Hence he 'reproposed' the suggestion to have a physical copy for future generations. Hence, it is easier to read & learn the Quran if u have a copy (book, app, digital) but it is not a sin not to own one. Salaam! – Ahmed Nov 7 '16 at 9:47
  • when advised you to own a quran . i thought you didn't read it ! but i thinking owning a quran is good for giving to someone some day .. because if sent him/her a link he can just ignore it . but giving him a physical copy he will keep it and some day he will say "let me take a look". – Mustapha Elbazi Nov 7 '16 at 10:08
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This is a question that is hard to answer as the decision at the end is yours, but all we can do is offer some help to make a decision:

  1. About nobody at the early days of Islam owned a copy of the moshaf مصحف (Quranic text as a book) (sh here needs is pronounced as two distinct letters s+h), because the main idea was to recite it so it was always memorized and spread by oral transmission. And this applies for our days as before, anybody who has memorized the Quran from a "hardcopy" only is called a moshafi not a hafidh (memorizer) as he didn't learn the recitation rules by a teacher who might have corrected him!
  2. Do we need a hard copy?
    This question is IMO opinion based, I myself prefer reading in a book rather than on a screen, even if lately due to many relocations I've given away about all my hard copy books except those I feel I really need. So the decision whether one needs a hard copy or not is basically a private decision.
  3. Now let’s assume you decided to have a hardcopy: So what is best, pure English translation, or Translation + Arabic original?
    Again it would basically depend on your goals: Do you plan to read it at a time in Arabic then of course a hardcopy with Arabic would be the best, it is also a good backup once you decide to memorize no matter if you have a teacher or not. Therefore I would prefer that one.
  4. What could be an advantage of the Arabic copy?
    Maybe you already have memorized some verses and some surahs of the Quran to be able to pray, or maybe you have downloaded some mp3 recitations from the net once you've done this you might get a superficial hint about the beauty of the language of the Quran and the rhyme in some verses, while others seem to be hard to read or recite. I'd like to add that even as an Arabic speaker it needs time and a lot of engagement to get more and more involved and understand the Quran an the language here tafsir books might be a help especially those who have also a kind of linguistic focus such as al-Kashaaf of az-Zamakhshari, fi dhilal al-Quran of Sayyid Qutb and at-tahrir wa tanwir of ibn Ashour (I'm sure these are not the best examples). There are also books who are treating the Quran from linguistic perspectives like grammar, rhetoric origins of words (for example which word in the Quran was better and used by such or such of the Arabic tribes).

    The whole of this may have an impact on the reader or listener either by just listening (reading) or listening and understanding (superficially) or with a deeper understanding which can lead to deeper faith in Allah, abidance, more respect for Allahs creation...

    Reciting or reading the Quran is considered as worship and good deed, so it is recommended to have any form of the moshaf available to be able to remember Allah by reciting HIS words in about any time and any situation ... Here again there's no need for a hard copy of the Quran unless it is your personal preference. Many people just recite out of their memory others read from any kind of device so it seems to me a matter of choice. One thing that is often quoted when speaking of the Quran is the barakah or blessing of it بَرَكَةُ القرآن (barakah comes from the verb بَارَكَ) in this fatwa you may read:

القرآن الكريم مبارَك ، أي : كثير البركات والخيرات ؛ لأن فيه خير الدنيا والآخرة ، وطلب البركة من القرآن يكون : بتلاوته حق تلاوته والعمل بما فيه على الوجه الذي يرضي الله عز وجل .
- - - (My own translation take it carefully) - - -
The Quran is blessed: he has, gives or leads to many blessings and good things; because you find in it the the good (or beneft9 of this life and the after life. And asking or hoping for blessings from the Quran is by reciting it in the best manner and following its teachings the way which would satisfy Allah Glorified and Sublime be He.

Yes if we have a copy of the Quran we are recommended to respect it for it contains the words of Allah, but we shouldn't worship the hard cover but use the content in our worship of Allah!


As a side note it is strongly recommended to memorize the Quran from the same copy as pages can differ, and this may have an impact on the memorisation process ...


Conclusion

Form all which I have mentioned I'd say there is no necessity to have a physical copy of the Quran, as anything which is related to the physical copy (blessings etc.) can be reached by any other way of reciting and following the teachings of the Quran. But it is still recommended to have a copy of the Quran -in whatever form- to be able to recite it and worship Allah.

There's a point that just came into my mind: humans have diffrent levels and ways of learning, some need a kind of physical or visible "help". Therefire for some poeple it could be helpful to have a hard cover copy at home as a visual remainder which may prevent them fron committing sins, due to the respect of Allah's words.

But the decision whether you need a physical copy is your private decision. I just hope to have given you some help to find it.

  • Everything you have mentioned can be owned digitally. The question, however, was about owning a physical copy. – ozbek Nov 9 '16 at 0:47
  • @ozbek owning a physical copy is one part of the Question and this IMO is something everybody could decide for himself. – Medi1Saif Nov 9 '16 at 7:40
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    As a non-Arabic-speaking Muslim, is it important for me to own a physical copy of the Qur'an? ??? – ozbek Nov 9 '16 at 7:42
  • @ozbek my answer is still the same if you feel you need it then go ahead! But it depends on you! Not everybody would need it! No matter whether one speaks Arabic or chinese! – Medi1Saif Nov 9 '16 at 7:46
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    Honestly, I do not feel a need for a physical copy at present---it would become an ornament on my desk. I can (and often do) access it's on my phone in English. – Rebecca J. Stones Nov 12 '16 at 0:55
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No, not anymore.

It was important for one to have paper books, including the Qur'an, when that was the only mean of publishing and reading them. However, that is not the case anymore. As you have put it in the question, it is more convenient to have everything in digital form.

That fact does not change whether one speaks/reads Arabic or not.

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I would say it is a good thing to have a hard copy of the Holy Qur'an as this book alone has blessings in itself.

Why are we not allowed to touch the written letters of the Qur'an when we are not in a state of purity when the actual writing has not a blessing in itself without even reading the verses.

Muslims kiss the Qur'an and place their forehead on the holy book whilst holding it in their hands or they place it on their head or walk under it before setting off to a journey. Why would they do so if they did not believe that the blessings of the Holy book are transfered to them.

Of course the Qur'an was and is widely memorized, but it is the Holy book being preserved in written form. The followers of the school of Ahl-ul-bayt believe that the revelations to the Holy Prophet were written down on the Prophet's command by Ali ibn Abi Talib during the lifetime of the Prophet.

Many other companions were chosen by the Prophet to write down word for word under his direct supervision.

During the lifetime of the Prophet, many of the companions - fourty-one of whom are recorded by Ibn Nadeem (Al-Firist,p.41)- had written the entire Qur'an with their own hands; therefore each copy was known as "the copy of Abdullah b. Masud", "the copy of Ibn Abbas" and so on.

Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, When Power and Piety Collide, p.103

So the Prophet made sure that the revelations were written down accurately to avoid any changes- how could it be otherwise when it was vital to preserve the words of Allah to mankind.

The Holy Qur'an itself attests the preserved status before the life of the Prophet ended.

So, whoever so wills may pay heed to it. It is (recorded) in those scripts (of the Preserved Tablet) that are honoured, exalted, purified, in the hands of those scribes who are honorable, righteous. (80:13-15)

And they said, .(These are) the tales of the ancients he (the messenger) has caused to be written, and they are read out to him at morning and evening. (25:5)

A messenger from Allah who recites the purified scrolls... (98:2)

It is recommended to look at the written words of the Qur'an and to read from a hardcopy for the benefit of our eyes.

Even though we are now living in a digital age and hundreds of books can be stored on a tiny chip for easy and convenient access, we cannot compare the Holy book to any other book. We do not need the latest novel or a heavy dictionary as a hardcopy in our bookshelf but as a Muslim, we need the Holy Qur'an in Arabic writing in our bookshelf as it blesses our home.

You are perfectly right when you say "but there seems to be something special about owning an Arabic Qur'an."

Saying this does not mean that I think having a hardcopy at home is sufficient, of course the utmost blessings come from reading, understanding and applying the holy verses.

There are beautiful copies available in Arabic/English, which make it easier to understand the verses whilst trying to read them in Arabic or follow an audio recitation.

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    With all respect kissing the Quran (copy) or treating it well has something of worshiping it and this isn't really the purpose of this book! – Medi1Saif Nov 9 '16 at 7:44
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    When I kiss for example a person out of great respect and treat this person well, does this mean I worship that person? – Noor Nov 23 '16 at 10:09
  • A person is not an object, so the comparison lacks! And I don't reject this at all as it has some backup in what the eraly Muslims used to do, but walking under it etc. sounds awkward – Medi1Saif Nov 23 '16 at 10:11

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