Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: I personally follow typical etiquette with the Qur’an with regards to reading, placement, etc (i.e. not leaving it on the floor, not having other objects or books of another kind above a placed Qur’an). My brother however tends to leave stuff on my Qur’an and says a little vaguely that some scholars say that the real Qur’an is with Allah, and that a mushaf is simply a mushaf, and no real etiquette of the sort I’m following is necessary.
I am personally unsure of what action should take precedence; my feeling of leaving nothing on it or his regard and actions of leaving things on it. Secondly, I’m not sure who or how many scholars are of the opinion he has taken. Thirdly, I’m not sure if I can basically say that the majority of scholars say we should treat the Qur’an with proper respect. Fourthly, if the statement aforementioned is in the positive (that is, the majority of scholars do have opinion that regards etiquette with the Qur’an), should I regard the opinion my brother follows as legitimate and possible to follow or not? Jazakallah Khair.
The Word of Allah
The statement presented by your brother, “the real Qur’an is with Allah” is not a proof to leave etiquette with the Quran. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “What is between the covers of the mushaf is the Word of Allah.” We do not believe that the mushaf is God-incarnate in the form of a book, but we do affirm that it is the Word of God.
Exalting the Sacred Books
If one was to say that the Mushaf is like anything else, this would be exactly as Qurasyh said when they said, “It is only the speech of a man” (Quran 74:25). The Books of Allah are different than other things in this world and thus we must treat them with respect. We find in a Hadith narrate in the Sunan of Abud Dawud that the Messenger of Allah took a cushion he was sitting on to place upon it the Torah when it was brought to him.
Exalting the Symbols of Allah
Allah says, “ًWhoever exalts the symbols of Allah, then that is from piety of the hearts” (Quran 22:32). The entire Hajj season is to exalt and commemorate the actions of Ibrahim and Ismael (upon them be peace). Would someone say, “The current Ka’aba is not the exact same bricks that was used by Ibrahim so we do not have a duty to honor it.”
I would ask your brother if he would be insulted if a person brought a picture of your parents and trampled it with their feet, spat on it and threw it in the garbage. What would his response be if the person said, “I did not do anything to your parents, it was just a picture of them.” I advise us all to read the books on the etiquette with the Quran such as the work Tibyan by Imam Nawawi to learn the proper method of dealing with the mushaf.