Kissing the Mushaf between the Scholars

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Just the other day I was in the Masjid waiting for Thur and to my right was an Egyptian and on my left was an Indian. They were both reading the Quran while waiting for the Iqamah. When the Iqamah was called they both kissed the Quran and placed it back on the shelf. I prayed between them . After the prayer I thought to myself  one is a follower of Abu Hanifah and the other is a follower of Imam Ash-Shafa’i. Then it came to my mind how years ago before I lived in cosmopolitan city I would have said “Bid’ah, Bid’ah.”  In those days it was socially accepted in the Masajid that we rejected so much,so we couldn’t accept a little, or anything that wasn’t known to us. I came home hit the library and said to myself I’ll probably never see those brothers again, but let’s check to find out where the origin of this issue stems from . Muslims from Islamic countries with Islamic family backgrounds follow Sunnah and many times we just aren’t aware of where their acts came from.

The Four Imams view about Kissing the Mushaf

The scholars aren’t in an agreement that kissing the Mushaf is a Bid’ah! To begin there are 4 schools of thought among the 4 Imams on this issue.

1: Abu Hanifah -He held that this act is something allowed[1]

2: Imam Malik– Held the act of kissing the Quran to be disliked.[2]

3: Imam Ash-Shafa’I – considered kissing the Mushaf to be a recommended act.[3]

4: Imam Ahmed– had two opinions about kissing the Quran:

A: Recommended    B:Allowed[4]

The narration about kissing the Quran

Between all of these great scholars there is difference of opinion. It appears that it stems from a narration of Ikramah ibn Abi Jahil.

The Isnad and Matn of the hadith is collected by Imam Ad-Darami in his Sunnan

  سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ , عَنْ أَيُّوبَ ، عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ أَنَّ عِكْرِمَةَ بْنَ أَبِي جَهْلٍ كَانَ يَضَعُ الْمُصْحَفَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ وَيَقُولُ كِتَابُ رَبِّي كِتَابُ رَبِّي

The breakdown of the men in the Isnad[ chain]

In this Isnad there are total of 5 men with one of the being a companion.

1: Sulayman ibn Harb [ Thiqah Imam ]

2: Hammad ibn Zayd [ Thiqqahtun Thabt]

3:Ayyub As-Sakhtayani [ Thiqqahtun Thabt]

4: Ibn Abee Mulaykah : Abdullah ibn Ubaydillah ibn Abee Mulaykah. [ Thiqhah Faqeeh. He narrated on 30 companions of the Prophet, apart from Umar and Uthman and Talha (رضي الله عنهم )[5]

5: Ikramah ibn Abi Jahl (رضي الله عنه) used to place the Mushaf on his face and say: “My Lord’s Book, My Lords Book.”[6]

The status of these men was determined by Al-Hafith ibn Hajr in his Taqreeb.

Therefore  when checking to see if any previous Imam commented on the status of the Athar, since they acted by it, I found that Imam An-Nawawi graded the isnad to be authentic in his book At-Tibbyan .  Moreover he said “There is a consensus among the scholars that the Mushaf must be maintained with care, honored and respected. [7]

Do all scholars accept this Athar?

Some scholars have had some difficulty accepting this narration to be proof for kissing the Quran  claiming that it was defective from a 3 angles.

1: The Athar mentioned that he put it on his face and said,” My Lords Book”,so just because he put it on his face this doesn’t mean that he kissed it.

2: Some scholars don’t accept the actions of the companions as evidence in Islam;unless it’s an Ijma

3: The Quran wasn’t compiled until the era of Uthman and Ikramah died during the reign of  Umar [رضي الله عنه]

What appears to be a good response for these three points is since Ikramah placed it on his face then that’s what was understood from the Salaf. There couldn’t have been any other reason for him to place it on his face except than to kiss it. The 2nd point of contention is although scholars differ about the acceptance of acting by the Athar, then what’s clear is their speech is a proof ,and is  used to understand the Quran and the Sunnah. This was the view of the four Imams and used in their Mathab to derive Islamic verdicts.

1:Imam Abu Hanifah said; “We don’t differ or deviate from the speech of the Sahabah.”

2: Imam Malik’s Muwatta is proof that the Athar of the companions are proof according to him.

3: Imam Ash-Shafa’I said knowledge had stages, Quran , Sunnah, Ijma, then the acts of the sahabah that had no known differing about them.

4: Imam Ahmed placed the speech of the companions as the 2 point of evidence after the revelation. i.e Quran and Sunnah. In fact Imam Ahlus Sunnah placed their fatawa over the Mursal Hadith.[8]

The 3rd idea about the Quran not being compiled until the time of Uthman then this doesn’t mean that kissing the palm branches where the Quran was written during the time of the Prophet didnt exist and this is where the Quran was recorded in those days. And Allah knows best.

So from this part of the topic we concluded the act of kissing the Quran was done by a Sahabah and for that reason some scholars allowed it and recommended it. Also there is the area of Qiyas  connected to this  subject.

The areas of Qiyas [ Analogy]

1: The issue of respect and honor. Some of the Shafa’I Jurist made an analogy that since it’s allowed to kiss the black stone, a child ,and the forehead of a scholar, then the same can be applied to the Quran;as its better than everything mentioned.[9]

With everything that’s mentioned we can get an idea when we see certain people .especially those from India, Pakistan where the Hanafi Jurisprudence is followed, or those from brothers and sisters from Egypt where the Shafa’I school is followed  kiss the Quran after their readings. They’re following the jurisprudence that was taught to them in school or passed along from their family members, and practiced in society. In conclusion ,there are some points we can walk away from this discussion with.

Benefits from this lesson

  • Some of the earlier Imams of Hadith allowed kissing the Quran
  • Some of the earlier Imans disliked it
  • There isn’t an Ijma on this topic. Meaning every scholar allows it or prohibits it.
  • Scholars of the past acted by the speech and actions of the Sahabah for their verdicts
  • Scholars used Qiyas for their judgments
  • Sunnan Ad-Darami has athar from the sahabah in its chapters
  • Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdillah As-Sabil [رحمه الله] said: “There’s no problem to kiss the Quran honoring it,sometimes,but not always.[10]
  • Shaykh Bin Baz [رحمه الله]had the same position of Shaykh Muhammad As-Sabil above as mentioned in his Majmou vol 9/289 and vol 24/388-389.
  • Shaykh Ahmed Najmi[رحمه الله] mentioned that it was allowed to kiss the Quran based on the Athar of Ikramah and a story found in Fathul Bari about the Prophet’s visit to a Jew who kissed the Torah and placed it under his pillow.[11]
  • Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen[رحمه الله]considered the act an innovation and was skeptical to accept the companions did it.

It appears that the scholars consider kissing the Quran an act to honor it as something acceptable and not an act of worship and Allah knows best.

Prepared by the one in need of Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle

Doha, Qatar ©


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[1] مجمع الأنهار /2/554

[2] الفواكه الدواني 1/415

[3] البرهان  1/478

[4] الفروع / 1/195

[5] تحفة التحصيل في ذكر رواة المراسيل / Al-Iraqi ,pg 181

[6] Sunnan Ad-Darami[3614] and Kitbus Sunnah by Abdull ibn Ahmed Habal[110] Shu’bal Iman Al-Bayhaqi [2037] with the extra word “ used to cry

[7] التبيان في آداب جملة القرن / by Imam An-Nawawi, page 191

[8] حجية قول الصحابة عند السلف /Shaykh Tarheeb Ad-Dosari/ pg 35-43

[9] Refer to الإتقان As-Suyuti/ 2/220

[10] فتاوى و رسائل مختارة / Shaykh Muhammad Ad-sabil ,pg 154/ darul Athar Print of Yemen 2008

[11] فتح الرب الودود / Shaykh Ahmed An-Najmi vol 1/ pg 142/ print of Makhtabul Furqan

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