Burning the books of Falsehood

Burning the books of Falsehood

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

All Praises belong to Allah the Most High and The Most Wise. May Allah shower blessings on His Prophet and His companions. As for what follows:Burning and destroying books that contain misguidance is the manner of the Salaf. This action prevents people from reading those books, then becoming misguided. The Sahaba burnt the Quran that wasn’t from the compilation of Uthman afraid of differing.

Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to `Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to `Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So `Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to `Uthman. `Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, `Abdullah bin AzZubair, Sa`id bin Al-As and `AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. `Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, `Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. `Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt.[1]


Ibn Kathir said: They burned the Qurans that were different (from the Quran of Uthman) and only those that were the same remained.[2]


This hadith is a basis the scholars use to burn books that cause differing or misguidance.


Ibn Al-Qayyim said: every book that has information opposing the Sunnah is allowed to be destroyed. These kind of books are harmful for the Ummah. When The companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) feared differing in regards to the writing and  the recitation of the Quran they collected all of the Qurans that weren’t from the compilation of Uthman(Radi Allahu anhu) and burned them; hence, what about the books that cause differing and separation between the Muslims. [3]



The Islamic verdict about Burning books that contain misguidance.


Allah said : “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks.” A man from the Quraysh used to come around the people narrating to them the stories of Persia and Rome. He said: “These stories are better than those in the Quran.” The Ulema hold the position that it’s obligatory to burn the books that contain Atheism, innovation and disbelief. If this is the correct position in regards to books that contain some misguidance, then what about the books that are completely written with atheism and cause doubt in a person’s faith? What would be the condition of the unarmed youth without a defense? These youth today aren’t prepared to deal with the controversy and their minds are naïve and they gravitate towards innovation. Undoubtingly, leaving these kinds of books around will be a cause for destruction and misguidance.[4]


Shaykh Abdul Latif ibn Abdir Rahman Al-Ashaykh said : The people of knowledge and insight warned against looking and reading Ihya Ulumul Deen by Al-Ghazzali. In reality,the scholars of Morroco issued a verdict that it must be burned when they learned the Sunnah. And instead of calling it bringing life to the sunnah they called it bring death to the sunnah.[5]



Maintaining the Islamic libraries in the Masjids free from books of Misguidance.


A man asked Imam Al-Uthaymeen about the bookstores and the libraries in the Masjids that shelf books of innovation and books with pictures. Some people place this kind literature in the library as Sadaqa, so what should we do when we find these kinds of books in the  Masjids’ libraries.


Answer: It’s a duty on those responsible for  the Masjids’ library to burn the  books that contain bid’ah and images whenever they are found so that the youth don’t get their hands on them. These kind of books are harmful to the young Muslims’ Aqeedah and manners. Books containing Bid’ah and pictures must be burned even if a person left them to the masjid as a trust, and if the person is alive he must be informed that it isn’t allowed in Islam to place these kinds of materials in the Masjid’s library. It’s better to replace these kind of books with more sound and authentic ones. [6]


The speech of Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen (May Allah shower His Mercy on Him) serves as advice in how the administration of Masjids, and vendors in bookstores should interact with books of falsehood. If the person finds a book that scholars have warned against being a fact that it contains falsehood does he have the right to remove it himself and is this considered theft?


Ibn Muflih said: “Know that a person’s hand isn’t cut if he steals books that contain innovation and images. Moreover his hand isn’t cut off if he steals musical instruments even if the value of what’s stolen requires the penalty. Reason being, there is a consensus that these kinds of books and instruments are disobedience.[7]


This is the proper way to enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil rather than to just leave the material around to harm others.[8]


If a person left a will for his library to be donated to the masjid after his death and among these books are books of falsehood and books from innovators.


Ibn Muflih said Ibn Al-Jawzi narrated that Imam Ash-Shafi’ said and no one disagreed with him : If a man leaves a will for his books of knowledge and they contain rhetoric, then these books aren’t to be included in the will; since rhetoric and philosophy aren’t knowledge.[9]


Burning books that discredit or dispraise the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) companions (May Allah be pleased with them all).


Imam Ahmed said: “Abu ‘Uwanah wrote a book that mentioned some of the Sahabah’s shortcomings and this was a trial (for the Muslims).So one day Salam ibn Abee Mutee’ visited Abaa Uwanah and asked for the book the wrote. Abu Uwanah gave Salam the book then he burned it.[10]


Imam Ahmed said: Salam will be rewarded for his action-Insha-Allah.[11]


The books of Falsehood from the people of Misguidance have no sacredness.


Harb ibn Isma’il asked Ishaq ibn Rahawayyah about a man who stole a book filled with the opinions Jahmiyyah and Qadariyyah. Ishaq told him to discard them. Harb replied: “ It was taken from him before he could burn it or destroy it. Should his hand be severed? Imam Rahwayh replied : No his hand shouldn’t be cut off. Harb asked: “ A man has a book which include the views of Irja, Qadariyyah, and innovation, so a person borrows them from the man and when he has it in his possession he burns or destroys it?  Ishaq ibn Rahwayyah replied: “ You have nothing to worry about.[12]


This athar informs us that if we borrow Islamic literature which has innovation inside it there is no harm to burn that property and not return it. This is enjoining what is right and prohibiting what is wrong for your brother.


Al-Maruthi asked Imam Ahmed: I borrowed a book from a student of hadith. Inside this book were forged hadith can I burn this book? Imam Ahmed said : “ YES”.[13]


Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “ A person isn’t held liable if he burns or destroys books of misguidance . [14]


Burning a book to rebuke the individual’s opinion if it opposes the Sunnah.


Nuaym ibn Hammad said : I spent five dinars on some books authored by Ibrahim Ibn Yahya. One day I discovered some opinions of the Qadariyyah and Jahmiyyah in a book. So I re-read it and then I went to ask him is this his position regarding this issue. Ibrahim replied: “YES”, So I burned some of his books and threw them away.[15]


There are numerous events documented in Islamic history that mark the burning of books of falsehood. This action is Sunnah from the Salaf. Ibn Al-Jawzi, Ibn Kathir and Ibn Hajr have mentioned specific people whose books were burned in their history books. The Salaf had a serious concern for the well-being of their brothers and communities. Isn’t time to revisit our libraries and various masajid and remove old leftovers which contain misguidance. Allah the Most High knows best.



Prepared by :

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle Sr.

PhD Candidate in (Hadith and its Sciences )

Doha, Qatar 1436©



[1] Sahih Al-Bukhari # 4987

[2] Al-Bidiya 7/191

[3] At-Taruq Al-Hikmah pg 275

[4] Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Ash-shaykh, Fatawa wa Ras’il 4/67

[5]  Ad-Durrur  As-Siniyah 3/346

[6] Al-Laqa’at Al-Maftuh #93

[7] Al-Mubad’I 9/118

[8]  This isn’t a license for general people go around to masajid and remove books they consider books of falsehood without consulting the ulema or students of knowledge. On the same note, once the book/s are confirmed to be from books of misguidance they shouldn’t be left on the shelf as proof the masjid is a masjid of innovations.

[9] Al-Fur’u 8/342

[10]  ‘Illal 1.108

[11] Al-Khalal 3/511

[12] As-Sunah 3/511, Al-Khalal

[13] Adab Ash-Shariah 1/210

[14]At- Taruq 233-235, by Ibn Al-Qayyim

[15]   Al-Meezan 1/61 by Ath-Thahhabi