Etiquette of Reading and Handling the Qur’an

Imam Muhammad ibn Ahmad Qurtubi says in al-Jami’ li ahkam al-Qur’an

It is the inviolability of the Qur’an:

1. not to touch the Qur’an except in the state of ritual purity in wudu, and to recite it when in a state of ritual purity;

2. to brush one’s teeth with a toothstick (siwak), remove food particles from between the them, and to freshen one’s mouth before reciting, since it is the way through which the Qur’an passes;

3. to sit up straight if not in prayer, and not lean back;

4. to dress for reciting as if intending to visit a prince, for the reciter is engaged in an intimate discourse;

5. to face the direction of prayer (qiblah) to recite;

6. to rinse the mouth out with water if one coughs up mucus or phlegm;

7. to stop reciting when one yawns, for when reciting , one is addressing one’s Lord in intimate conversation, while yawning is from the Devil;

8. when begining to recite, to take refuge from in Allah from the accursed Devil and say the Basmala, whether one has begun at the first surah or some other part one has reached;

9. once one has begun, not to interrupt one’s recital from moment to moment with human words, unless absolutely necessary;

10. to be alone when reciting it, so that no one interrupts one, forcing one to mix the words of the Qur’an with replying, for this nullifies the effectivness of having taken refuge in Allah from the Devil at the beginning;

11. to recite it leisurely and without haste, distinctly pronouncing each letter;

12. to use one’s mind and understanding in order to comprehend what is being said to one;

13. to pause at verses that promise Allah’s favour, to long for Allah Most High and ask of His bounty; and at verses that warn of His punishment to ask Him to save one from it;

14. to pause at the accounts of bygone peoples and individuals to heed and benefit from their example;

15. to find out the meanings of the Qur’an’s unusual lexical usages;

16. to give each letter its due so as to clearly and fully pronounce every word, for each letter counts as ten good deeds;

17. whenever one finishes reciting, to attest to the veracity of ones’s Lord, and that His messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has delivered his message, and to testify to this, saying: “Our Lord, You have spoken the truth, Your messengers have delivered their tidings, and bear witness to this. O Allah, make us of those who bear witness to the truth and who act with justice”: after which one supplicates Allah with prayers.

18. not to select certain verses from each surah to recite, but rather the recite the whole surah;

19. if one puts down the Qur’an, not to leave it open;

20. not to place other books upon the Qur’an, which should always be higher than all other books, whether they are books of Sacred Knowledge or something else;

21. to place the Qur’an on one’s lap when reading; or on something in front of one, not on the floor;

22. not to wipe it from a slate with spittle, but rather wash it off with water; and if one washes it off with water, to avoid putting the water where there are unclean substances (najasa) or where people walk. Such water has its own inviolability, and there were those of the early Muslims before us who used water that washed away Qur’an to effect cures.

23. not to use sheets upon which it has been written as bookcovers, which is extremely rude, but rather to erase the Qur’an from them with water;

24. not to let a day go by without looking at least once at the pages of the Qur’an;

25. to give one’s eyes their share of looking at it, for the eyes lead to the soul (nafs), whereas there is a veil between the breast and the soul, and the Qur’an is in the breast.

26. not to trivially quote the Qur’an at the occurrence of everyday events, as by saying, for example, when someone comes, “You have come hither according to a decree, O Moses” [Qur’an 69:24],
or, “Eat and drink heartily for what you have done aforetimes, in days gone by” [Qur’an 69:24], when food is brought out, and so forth;

27. not to recite it to songs tunes like those of the corrupt, or with the tremulous tones of Christians or the plaintiveness of monkery, all of which is misguidance;

28. when writing the Qur’an to do so in a clear, elegant hand;

29. not to recite it out aloud over another’s reciting of it, so as to spoil it for him or make him resent what he hears, making it as if it were some kind of competition;

30. not to recite it in marketplaces, places of clamour and frivolity, or where fools gather;

31. not to use the Qur’an as pillow, or lean upon it;

32. not to toss it when one wants to hand it to another;

33. not to miniaturize the Qur’an, mix into it what is not of it, or mingle this worldly adornment with it by embellishing or writing it with gold;

34. not to write it on the ground or on walls, as is done in some new mosques;

35. not to write an amulet with it and enter the lavatory, unless it is encased in leather, silver, or other, for then it is as if kept in the heart;

36. if one writes it and then drinks it (for cure or other purpose), one should say the Basmala at every breath and make a noble and worthy intention, for Allah only gives to one according to one’s intention;

37. and if one finishes reciting the entire Qur’an, to begin it anew, that it may not resemble something that has been abandoned.

Etiquettes of Visiting People

Sending Flowers and Reading Quran during Funerals

It should be noted that many people at the death of a dear person will bring flowers and wreaths and after proceeding with the funeral, will take the flowers and wreaths to the home of the deceased. They buy the best flowers and wreaths to show their deep sympathy and concern. To do this is forbidden – whether presenting it at the funeral, accompanying the funeral with it, or bringing it to the deceased’s house. This is an imitation of non- Muslims, and is an evil innovation which should be strictly avoided. Those who do such a thing will have no reward from Allah. To the contrary, they will be questioned for such meaningless waste.

Another misguided innovation during funerals is that the car that carries the deceased will broadcast, through speakers, a recording of the Holy Qur’an as if announcing the passing away of the deceased. The funeral procession should be characterized by thoughtfulness, humbleness, remembrance, reflection, awareness of Allah, and prayers for mercy. No sad music or religious chant should accompany funerals. These two rules should be followed and spread around to make Muslims aware of the right way.

Purifying the private parts and the etiquettes of answering the call of nature

If one enters the bathroom he enters with the left leg first and says,

“In the Name of Allah (bismillah), Oh Allah, indeed, I seek refuge with You from the unclean and the filth.”[1]

When he exits, [he exits] with his right and says,

“You forgive (ghufraanak). All praise to Allah, Who kept from me the harmful and pardoned me from the harm.”[2]

When sitting down, he should lean on his left leg and raise his right leg; shield himself with a wall or something similar and stay away from open spaces. It is not permissible to relieve oneself on the roadways, the streets, place where people sit, underneath fruit bearing trees, or anyplace that can cause people harm. He should not face toward the Qiblah nor place his backside towards it while relieving himself. He (s) said,

“When you go to relieve yourselves, do not face towards the Qiblah, nor turn your backs towards it, whether you are urinating or defecating; rather face towards the east or the west.”[3]

After relieving himself, if he wipes with three stones or something similar, or cleaned the area and purified himself with water, then that is enough. It is sufficient to restrict to one of them only. He should not wipe himself with dung, manure, animal droppings, or bones. The Prophet (s) prevented us from using such things, therefore it is forbidden.

It is sufficient to wash the impurities of the body and the clothing, [such as] stains and something similar until the contaminated area vanishes. This is because the legislation does not stipulate the number of washing for removing the impurity, except for the impurity of a dog. [For the impurity of a dog] it is stipluated that the washing of the contaminated area occur seven times, with one of them being with dirt or dust.

The impure things are: natural [menstrual] blood, urine, and blood. One is pardon for the blood that flows continuously, as this is an exception. For example the blood that is shed from an edible animal, without staying in the meat or the veins, is pure. From the impure is the urine and feces of every animal whose consumption is forbidden, thus every carnivorous animal is impure. Also, the dead [are impure], except the blood of the dead and any dead person who not longer retains any fluids in him. Fish, shrimp, crayfish, locust, grasshoppers are pure. Allah say, 

“Forbidden for you are dead animals and blood.” (Al Ma’idah: 3)

The Messenger of Allah said,

“The believer is pure alive or dead.”[4]

He (s) also said,

“Permissible for you are the two dead and the two bloods; as for the two dead they are fish and locust; as for the two bloods they are the liver and spleen.”[5]

As for the feces and urine of animals whose consumption is permissible, it is clean. As for semen it is clean because the Prophet would clean off the sticky semen and scratch off the dried semen left on his clothing with his finger. Regarding the urine of a male toddler, who cannot consume solid foods, it is enough to sprinkle water on the [affected] area as he (s) said,

“Wash the urine of an infant girl and sprinkle water on the urine of an infant boy.”[6]

When the impure area decrease, it becomes clean and if the color or smell stays there is no harm. Likewise, the Prophet said to Khawlah bint Yasaar regarding menstruation blood,

“Water is sufficient for you and there is no harm in the [remaining] stain.”

[1] Related from ‘Anas. Bukhārī: 142, 5963; Muslim: 375.

[2] His (s) saying, “ghufraanak” is authentically reported and what comes after is not.  Ghufraanak is reported by Abū Dāwūd: 30; al-Tirmidhī: 7; ibn Mājah: 300; Aḥmad: 6/155.

[3] Muslim: 264, Bukhārī: 144

[4] Al-Haakim in Mustadrak no. 1422. Saheeh without the statement “alive or dead”

[5] Ibn Mājah: 3314, and Ahmad: 2/97; it is sahīh.

[6] Abū Dāwūd: 376, al-Nisā’i: 305, ibn Mājah: 526, ibn Khuzaymah: 283, al-Ṭabārī: 22/384, al-Ḥākim: 589, and al-Bayhaqī: 2/415.

Etiquette of Conversation

These are 10 reminders that can serve as an aid for having fruitful conversations. They can be used by couples when talking with one another, by Muslims in giving Da’waah to non-Muslims, or any other situation:

1) Don’t challenge. It is important not to challenge the other party as this can agitate their Kibar (pride) and make them more prone to disagreeing.

2) Don’t say “You are wrong.” When you try to show their error bluntly, they are more likely to hold on to their position even if they come to realize that they are wrong.

3) Admit you are wrong. If you realize that you are wrong about a certain point, don’t hesitate to acknowledge it. This will make them know that you are seeking the truth, and not trying to impose your own opinion.

4) Honest praise. Praise the good qualities of the other person. This is definitely a heart-softener. Do make sure that your praise is truthful and in its place.

5) Ask confirmatory questions. Ask questions for which you expect an affirmative reply from the other party. These will make them more close to the correct position you are trying to show them.

6) Leave the food for the bird on the ground; don’t expect it to come to you. When you want to get your correct position over to the other party, it is a good idea to propose it in the form of a suggestion and let the other party arrive at their decision by themselves; don’t force them to, for they won’t comply.

7) Don’t interrupt, listen attentively. This is very important. Nobody likes to be interrupted when they are speaking. Everybody likes to be listened to. Let them say all that they want to say and listen attentively, and when they are finished, start speaking. What is worse is to disagree with them while they are expressing their opinion.

8) Adapt their position. Put yourself in the other person’s position to see what is wrong with it. If you see nothing wrong, then there is probably nothing to argue about.

9) Common grounds. Try to highlight your common grounds so that you can resolve the issues in which you are disagreeing over. Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) commands us to give Da’wah to the Christians by showing them our common grounds and then rectifying where they went wrong (Surah Aali ‘Imraan, verse 64).

10) Move their feelings. Emotions play a major role in people’s decisions. Moving somebody’s feelings in a positive way (not hurting their feelings!) is likely to bring about good results.

The upshot of these points is to ask Allaah to help you and the other party to see the truth as truth and accept it, and see falsehood as falsehood and reject it, and to know that it is only by the will of Allaah that these points can bring about benefit.


Originally adapted from a lecture by Shaykh ‘Adnaan ‘Abdul-Qaadir.

Etiquettes of Giving Salam

Drinking water after meals

Is drinking water after meals a sunnat or not?

A: Allāmah Ibnul Qayyim rehmatullāh ῾alayh has mentioned that the habit of  Nabi [SAW] was of not to drink immediately after eating as this is harmful to the digestion process. However, if there is a pressing need to drink immediately after that, then only drink enough to quench the thirst. One may then drink after some time elapses. NOTE: This elapsed time is estimated to be 20-30 minutes.

(Zādul Ma῾ād, Vol. 3, Pg. 114)