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The term digital Quran is used to refer to the text of the Qur'an processed or distributed as an electronic text, or more specifically to an electronic device dedicated to displaying the text of the Qur'an and playing digital recordings of Qur'an readings. Such a device has first been marketed in Indonesia beginning in 1993. These devices were capable of audio playback of recorded recitations of the Qur'an with synchronized on-screen Arabic text. It allowed basic navigation of the Quran with the ability for the user to select a specific surah(chapter) and ayah (verse). Translations of the Quran to other languages were also included, sometimes synchronized with the original Arabic recitations. Since the availability of more powerful mobile devices such as smartphones, focus has shifted on the production of Qur’anic software for such devices rather than dedicated "digital Quran" devices.

As a contemporary issue, many learned contemporary scholars have devised scholarly views concerning whether such devices that contain Qur’anic copies in digital forms can be regarded as Mushaf (copy of the Qur’an) or not, and whether the rules and etiquettes of the Mushaf apply to it or not in terms of being in the state of ablution, the prohibition of entering the lavatory with it, and whether a menstruating woman and her likes can read from it or not?

Other issues that are raised concerning Mushaf built in technical devices is whether shall the reciter of the Mushaf on the smartphone and other technical gadgets be rewarded in the same way as the reciter of the printed Mushaf?

The summary of the views of the learned scholars concerning all the above issues is that, if the device is switched on and the Mushaf that is displayed on the screen is identical to the printed Mushafs, then it takes all rulings concerning it as long as the screen is displayed (except a few exceptions), hence the following rulings are applied to it:

1- One is rewarded for reading from it as one is rewarded for reading from the printed Mushaf as mentioned in the hadith of Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Whoever recites a letter from Allah’s Book (Qur’an), then he receives the reward for it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say Alif Lâm Mîm is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lâm is a letter, Mîm is a letter” (Tirmidhi)

2-Entering the water closet with the electronic Mushaf without need or necessity is prohibited as long as the Qur’anic Verses are displayed. 

3-it is forbidden to touch the device with a Najaşa (i.e. an impurity) or put the device or the cell phone on a Najaşa whilst the screen is displaying the Mushaf.

However, the foregoing rulings of prohibition are negated concerning the electronic Mushaf in case the device is switched off and the Aayaat(verses) are accordingly not displayed on the screen. The device in such a case -i.e. being switched off- is not considered as a Mushaf; hence, it is not subject to the rulings of the printed Mushaf.

It must be pointed out here that, it is permissible for the person who is in state of spiritual impurity whether it is a question of minor impurity or major impurity, to touch parts of the mobile phone or other devices containing an electronic program of the Mushaf whether it is switched on or off (but not to recite in the case of majority as that is prohibited). This is because the Qur’anic letters of the electronic Mushaf displayed on the screen are just a coded electronic waves processed in a consistent manner in way that they cannot be reflected and displayed on the screen unless through an electronic program.
Therefore, touching the screen does not imply a real touching of the electronic Mushaf, unlike the printed Mushaf where touching its papers and letters is considered as real and true touching of the Mushaf. Therefore, the purification is not enjoined on the person who is in state of spiritual impurity when coming to touch the electronic Mushaf unless from a perspective of precaution and piety.


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