Praise be to Allaah. Hanging plaques and cloths containing aayaat of the Qur’aan in homes, schools, social clubs and places of business, involves a number of reservations and prohibitions according to Islam, such as the following:
(1) In most cases, hanging such things on the wall is done for purposes of decoration and adornment, as the aayaat etc. are written in calligraphy and colourful brocade. This is an inappropriate use of the Qur’aan, as it was revealed to guide people and to be read regularly. The Qur’aan was not revealed to decorate walls, but to guide mankind.
(2) Some people hang up such things for “blessing” - which is a form of bid‘ah. The blessing as described in Islam comes from reading or reciting the Qur’aan, not from hanging it up or placing it on shelves or turning it into artwork and three-dimensional images.
(3) This is contrary to the practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs (al-Khulafaa’ al-Raashidoon), may Allaah be pleased with them, who never did such a thing. The best way is to follow them, not to introduce bid‘ah. History tells us that in places such as Andalusia, Turkey, etc., the adornment of houses and mosques with ornate carvings of aayaat only happened at times when the Muslims were weak and humiliated.
(4) Hanging up such pictures or plaques could lead to shirk, because some people think that these things are amulets that will protect the house and its people from evil and disease. This is shirk and is haraam, because the One Who really offers protection is Allaah, may He be glorified, and one of the means of gaining His protection is sincere recitation of the Qur’an and du‘aa’s taught in the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
(5) There is the risk that the Qur’aan may be used, in such cases, as a means of promoting one’s business or increasing one’s earnings. The Qur’aan should be protected from being used for such purposes. It is well-known that the production and sale of these pictures and plaques involves a great deal of extravagance and wasting money.
(6) Many of these plaques are painted with real gold, which makes using them and hanging them up even more haraam.
(7) Many of these plaques involve a kind of carelessness, because the letters are twisted into complex designs that are of no benefit to anyone because they are barely legible. Sometimes words are fashioned into the shape of a bird or a man prostrating, and similarly forbidden pictures of animate beings.
(8) Ayaat and soorahs of the Qur’aan are exposed to misuse and abuse by this practice. For example, when moving house, they are piled up with the rest of the furniture and belongings, and other objects may be placed on top of them. This also happens when they are taken down so that the wall may be painted or cleaned.
(9) Some Muslims whose observance of Islam is lacking put these plaques and pictures up so that they can feel that they are doing something religious, in order to reduce their feelings of guilt – in spite of the fact that this practice does not help them in any way.
All in all, we must close the doors of evil and follow the leaders of guidance of the early centuries of Islam, whose people the Prophet (peace be upon him) testified were the best of the Muslims in faith and practice. If someone were to say, “We are not going to abuse it or make it a decoration or exaggerate about it, we only want to remind people (about their religion) in our gatherings”, our response would be: if we look at real life, will we find that this is what actually happens? Do people really remember Allah? Do they even read these aayaat when they raise their heads?
What really happens is the opposite: people go against the words hanging over their heads, they still tell lies, engage in gossip, make fun of others and do and say evil things. Even if we assume that there are some who do benefit from these plaques etc., the fact is that they are very few, and this does not change the hukm (Islamic ruling) on the matter.
The Muslims must turn to the Book of Allaah, read it and recite it, and act in accordance with it. We ask Allaah to make the Qur’aan a light of guidance for us, and a means of removing our grief and anxiety. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid