Wednesday 11 Sha‘ban 1445 - 21 February 2024
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Is Mishandling the Torah and Gospel Permissible?

Question

I know that it is not permissible to throw down a copy of the Quran; rather we must handle it in a specific manner. But is it also prohibited to throw down anything of the Torah or Gospel, or do we have to treat them with respect too?

Summary of answer

It is not permissible to mishandle the Torah and the Gospel because they still contain something of the words of Allah, and because they contain some of the names and attributes of Allah.

Praise be to Allah.

Belief in the Messengers and the Books of Allah

The Muslim is obliged to believe in all the messengers of Allah , may He be Exalted, and in all His revealed Books . Allah, may He be Glorified and Exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.”} [Al-Baqarah 2:285]

So the believers believe that Allah is one; there is no god worthy of worship except Him and no lord besides Him. They also believe in all of the Prophets and Messengers , and all the Books that were sent down from heaven to the slaves of Allah, the Messengers and Prophets.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 1/736)

Allah, may He be Glorified and Exalted, has told us that the People of the Book distorted the Torah and Gospel and changed the words of Allah . However, this distortion does not include all of their books; their books still contain some elements of the truth. Therefore, it is not permissible to mishandle them, because they still contain something of the words of Allah, and because they contain some of the names and attributes of Allah, may He be Exalted.

Al-Haythami (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Tuhfat Al-Muhtaj (1/178):

“In fact, they [the Torah and Gospel] contain some things that are thought not to have been altered, because they are in harmony with what we know from the teachings of Islam.”

Al-Khurashi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Al-Mukhtasar (8/63):

“Akin to the Mus-haf – that is, in terms of being respected – are the names of Allah and the names of the Prophets, because of their sanctity.”

Al-Hattab (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Mawahib Al-Jalil (1/287):

“It is obligatory to respect the names of Allah, may He be exalted, and if they are written in something that is disrespectable, such as the Torah and Gospel after they have been altered, then it is permissible to burn them and destroy them, and it is not permissible to mishandle them, because of the high status of those names.”

Can Muslims mishandle the Torah and the Gospel?

The Muslim should not keep any of the previous Books unless he is a scholar and reads them in order to find out what they contain of distortion and lies .

Ahmad (14736) narrated from Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab brought to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) some written material he got from one of the people of the Book. He read it to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), who got angry and said: “Are you confused [about your religion], O son of Al-Khattab? By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, I have brought it [the message of Islam] to you clear and pure. Do not ask them about anything, lest they tell you something true and you disbelieve it, or they tell you something false and you believe it. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if Musa were alive, he would have no option but to follow me.” (Classed as sound by Al-Albani in Irwa’ al-Ghalil, 6/34)

If any of the books of the People of the Book fall into our hands, it is not permissible to keep it, but it is also not permissible to mishandle it by throwing it into the trash, for example, or the like. Rather we may get rid of it by burning it, because it is likely to contain mention of the names and attributes of Allah, may He be Exalted, and because it may contain some of the words of Allah that have not been distorted by the People of the Book.

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A