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Writing Ayahs and hanging them on walls

Q: A person named `Abdullah Muhammad has samples of wall hangings on which Ayahs (Qur’anic verses) are written with pictures of Al-Masjid Al-Nabawy (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah), the Ka‘bah, and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem) to attract the people to them. This has been going on for two years and can now be found in many homes. This person claims that customs has confiscated these wall hangings according to the instructions of the religious supervisor. Glory be to Allah! Why are the obscene pictures that are flooding the markets permitted entry, whereas the entry of such wall hangings is banned? I think this is due to the prevalence of corruption, aspersion, and distortion of realities. That is why I would like your eminent Committee to examine these samples and issue a Fatwa on this matter. May Allah protect and guard you.

A: Firstly, Allah (Exalted be He) has revealed the Qur’an as admonition and a healing for the ills of the hearts, and as guidance and mercy for the believers, and also to be a proof against mankind, leaving no excuse for disbelief. The Qur’an is the source of light and insight to those whom Allah has opened their hearts to it, who recite it, worship Allah through it, contemplate its meanings, learn from it the laws of belief, acts of worship and Islamic dealings, and adhere to it in all affairs. (Part No. 4; Page No. 47) The Qur’an has not been revealed to be hung on walls as decoration, or to be used as amulets and periapts in homes, stores, etc. For protection from fire, theft and similar mistaken beliefs held by some common people, especially those who follow Bid‘ahs (innovations in religion), and they are many now. Thus, if a person uses the Qur’an for the purposes it was revealed for, then they are acting on clear evidence from their Lord, following guidance, and have insight. On the other hand, if a person writes Ayahs on tapestries, for example, to be used as wall decorations or amulets to protect the household, the furniture, or any other belongings, then they have used the Qur’an, its Ayahs, or Surahs in a wrong way and have deviated from the Straight Path. Moreover, they have introduced into the religion acts that were not permitted by either Allah or His Messenger (peace be upon him), in his words or actions. This was not practiced by the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, the rest of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet - may Allah be pleased with them), or the Imams of guidance during the first three Muslim generations, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) described as the best of all generations. Furthermore, the owners of such tapestries may subject the Ayahs or Surahs to humiliation, for example, if they move to another house and pile them among other furniture, or throw them away if they become worn out. All of this is not permissible. Muslims must preserve the Qur’an and its Ayahs, safeguard its sanctity, and do not subject it to any possible desecration. Secondly, the Committee examined the three tapestry wall hangings and found that on one of them there is written the Basmalah ("Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful]") and the following two Ayahs: turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah). (Part No. 4; Page No. 48) And: My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves. It also includes the picture of the Ka`bah and men and women performing Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka`bah). The second tapestry bears the Basmalah, Surah Al-Fatihah, Du‘a’ (supplication), the Name of Allah, the names of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them) opposite to the Name of Allah, in addition to the picture of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. Based on these findings, it is not permissible to hang these tapestries in homes, schools, clubs, stores, etc., for decoration or Tabarruk (seeking blessings). The following are the reasons for this prohibition: (1) Using the Qur’an for purposes other than those for which it was revealed, namely, to give guidance and good instruction, to worship Allah through reciting it, and similar purposes. (2) Contradicting the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them), who never did this. Indeed, all goodness lies in following their way and shunning Bid‘ah. (3) Blocking the means leading to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and destroying any of its instruments, such as using amulets or preservers, even if they include Qur’an. This is based on the generality of the prohibition contained in the Hadith on wearing any amulets. (Part No. 4; Page No. 49) Definitely, hanging these tapestries and their like can lead to using them as amulets to protect the place where they are hung, as proven by actual behavior of people. (4) Using the Qur’an to promote the sale of these tapestries and make the maximum possible profit out of them. They are practically worthless, but when Ayahs or Surahs are written on them, their prices will soar. The Qur’an was not revealed to be a means for promoting sales and increasing prices. It should be kept far above and away from such purposes. (5) Exposing the Ayahs and Surahs to humiliation in case of moving from one house to another, for example, they may be heaped with different types of stored furniture or even thrown away when they become worn out. In general, it is safer for Muslims whether regarding their beliefs or religious rulings to block the means leading to evil and follow the Imams of guidance of the first generations, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) described as the finest generations. This is definitely better than inventing Bid‘ahs whose evil consequences can never be measured. Thirdly, it is not permissible to attract people to the good through Bid‘ahs leading to Shirk and exposing the Qur’an to possible irreverence. Certainly, using wall hangings that contain Qur’an is a means for commercial promotion that increases the price of marketable goods. A person calling to the good has other lawful and successful means to use in propagating good. (Part No. 4; Page No. 50)  Fourthly, the fact that these tapestries have been around for sometime and are increasingly being seen in stores signifies the weakness and indifference to committing Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) on the part of the people who buy or sell them. The same fact also serves as evidence of people’s ignorance of Munkar, and not the permissibility of these tapestries. Actually, many people follow Bid‘ahs and many others defend them. There is neither might nor power except with Allah! Owning these tapestries is, thus, a Munkar act that Muslims scholars must cooperate to denounce and stop their import or use. As for the customs religious supervisor who was instructed to confiscate these tapestries, he did his job and may Allah reward him for this. He is a good example for others to follow in rejecting Munkar according to his knowledge and capacity. His deed does not render him a person who spreads corruption, aspersions, and distort realities. In fact, he served the Ummah (nation) well and should be thanked for this, and for fulfilling his duty in accordance with the rulings of Shari‘ah (Islamic law) and the proper directions of his agency.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.