Duty to preserve paper on which Qur'an is written

Q: The owners of many companies and paper factories import wastepaper from foreign countries to make new paper out of it. This wastepaper comes in steamers to the port of Calcutta then to the factory storehouses. Copies of the Glorious Qur’an, books of Hadith, and some parts of them that are usable or unusable were found along with the imported wastepaper.Muslims have told the non-Muslim owners of these companies and factories that using wastepaper containing copies of the Qur’an or Hadith is a desecration of Islamic books. They say that all companies and factories should secure full respect for Islamic books and deal with them in the way dictated by Shari‘ah (Islamic law). They persistently request the government to ban the import of wastepaper and to prevent taking it out of the port into the country if it has already reached there. (Part No. 4; Page No. 79) The government neither banned the import of wastepaper nor prevented taking it out of the port into the country lest the companies concerned should suffer a big loss that may result in their permanent closure. The government of India seeks to comfort Muslims by showing respect to their religion, but at the same time it does not want to force a constraint against another party. The government requests that Your Eminence issue a Fatwa on this matter mentioning all the detailed evidence so that fairness and justice are guaranteed.Please write a detailed answer on the stated matter supported with evidence from Islamic books. Please quote the names of the books on which your answer is based and the page numbers concerned to present them as references to Muslims and their scholars.What should be done with sheets of paper containing words from the Qur’an or Hadith?Is it permissible for Muslims to put them in factory machines in a most respectful way so that chemicals change their shape, and they become like cotton to be used afterwards to make new paper?If we bury these sheets of paper in a graveyard or deep in the ground, there remains the risk of children digging them out and reselling them in the market. The same applies if we place them in a lake or a sea. The aforementioned incidents are well known to the police. (Part No. 4; Page No. 80) Please help us with this issue. Give us a detailed answer based on Shari‘ah, so that we can submit your answer to the judicial authorities in our government. May Allah reward you with the best in this world and in the hereafter.

A: Firstly, pages of the Qur’an must be preserved because the Qur’an is the Words of Allah, the Lord of all existence. Thus, dishonoring such pages or making them liable to desecration is Haram (prohibited). Secondly, it is not permissible to allow non-Muslims to touch the Glorious Book, meaning, the Qur’an. Thirdly, it is permissible for Muslims to remove the writing of the Qur’an from torn paper and worn-out Mushafs (copies of the Qur’an), either by burning or burying them in a pure place. This should be done out of veneration for the Qur’an and to guard it against abuse and insult. The issue of reusing paper that contains texts from the Qur’an was previously presented to the Council of Senior Scholars in its twenty-sixth session and a decree was unanimously issued to prohibit this practice. The following is the text of the answer sent to His Excellency, the Minister of Hajj and Religious Endowments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: (1) What you have done with the paper, meaning, crushing, burning, and burying it in a pure place is good work and conforms to what has been stated by Muslim scholars following the example of the Rightly-Guided Caliph, `Uthman ibn `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him). (2) The Council refuses the request of Al-Ghadir Factory (Part No. 4; Page No. 81) because this will result in desecration and abuse of the Words of Allah (Exalted be He) written on the paper. (3) The books of honorable Hadith, and especially those parts that contain passages from the Qur’an or the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him), should also be preserved against desecration either by burning them or burying them in a pure land out of reach of children.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.