Taharah or major purity is an obligation upon every adult Muslim before any act of worship. Then is reading quran without wudu permitted (by touching it)? Is it allowed to touch mushaf of Quran without wudu? how about reciting it from memory only?
All these questions are to be analyzed under shari texts before answering them. There are essentially two opinions when it comes to the permissibility of reading Quran without wudu:
Majority of scholars (Jamhoor) are of opinion that wudhu (or minor purity) is an obligation before touching the mushaf of Quran. Allah says
Indeed, it is a noble Qur’an. In a Register well-protected; None touch it except the purified. [Quran, 56: 77-79]
According to the Jamhoor (majority of scholars), touching and reading Quran without wudu is not permissible. The Sahabah (companions of prophet) expressed this in their fatwas and all the four imaams (may Allah be pleased with them) held this view.
Amr ibn Hazm (may Allah be pleased with him), stating that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) wrote to the people of Yemen: “No one should touch the Qur’aan except one who is taahir (pure).” This hadith has several other isnaads which strengthen it.
For a person who is not in the state of purity, must not touch mushaf even to move it from place to place, leave aside reading quran without wudu. However, he may use something in between his hands and Mushaf to pick it or move it.
The other opinion is held by the scholars who say that it is allowed to touch it without minor purity.
They base their argument on the understanding of the word “Taahir” (Pure). Regarding the hadith about the purity of the believer, it was narrated that
Abu Hurayrah said: “I was met by the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and I was junub. He took my hand and I walked with him until he sat down. Then I slipped away and washed myself (ghusl), then I came to where he was sitting. He said, ‘Where were you, O Abu [Hurayrah]?’ I told him, and he said, ‘Subhaan-Allaah, O Abu [Hurayrah]!, the believer does not become impure.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Ghusl, 276; Muslim, al-Hayd, 556).
Imam An Nawawi said in his Commentary on Saheeh Muslim:
this hadeeth illustrates a great principle that the Muslim is taahir whether he is alive or dead. If his purity is established, then his sweat, saliva and tears are all pure too, whether he (or she) is without wudoo’, in a state of major impurity (junub), menstruating or bleeding after childbirth.
Once this is understood, then the meaning of his being pure (taahir) will become clear. It means that there is nothing to prevent his body from being essentially pure even when at the same time he has broken his wudu, because being without wudhu is simply something that prevents one from praying, or doing other things for which taharah (purity) is a pre-condition.
Thus, this opinion says that reading Quran without wudu is permissible.
Our stance: We stick to the first opinion and go with the majority of scholars in their stance that reading Quran without wudu is not permissible (by touching it).
However, all the scholars are in agreement regarding reciting Quran from memory, then one can do that without wudhu. Similar is the case of reading Quran without wudu when someone else is holding it for him or when reading or reciting from computer or mobile phone or anything that doesn’t come under the heading of Mushaf.
But the person who is in the state of major impurity that is who is “junub”, must not even recite Quran this way, because it was narrated from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) that nothing ever kept him from reciting Qur’aan except for janaabah (major impurity). Ahmad narrated with a saheeh isnaad from Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) that
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) came out from the toilet and recited something from the Qur’aan. He said, “This is for the one who is not junub; but the one who is junub should not do this, not even one aayah.”
Unless the major impurity has been removed by taking ghusl (ritual bath), a person who is junub must not read or recite anything from Quran, either from mushaf or from memory. But reading Quran without wudu, which means, the one who has broken his wudhu and is impure in the sense of minor impurity may recite Quran from memory but she should not touch the Mus-haf.
Wallahualam! (Allah knows best)