No obligation to check thrown papers for sacred text
Fatwa No: 319621

  • Fatwa Date:16-1-2016 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 6, 1437
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Suppose that while walking on the road and seeing a news paper lying on the ground, I alter my path because if I kept going straight I would casually look at it, and by looking in more detail, I might distinguish Muslim names and their photos in it. Now, if I alter course in order to avoid difficulty, would this be wrong or might this even be considered kufr (disbelief)? Please answer precisely and in full detail. Also, do not recommend answers to other fatwas. Reply swiftly, Brothers.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

Firstly, you should know that it is not obligatory to respect other than the Quran, the Sunnah, the divine names of Allaah, and the names of the Prophets and angels. It is only recommended to respect any text written in Arabic because of the sanctity of the language of the Quran. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 238213.

It is not an obligation to check the papers thrown on the ground to make sure that they do not display any names that must be respected. This causes hardship and difficulty, which is contrary to the essence of Islamic law. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {Allaah does not intend to make difficulty for you...} [Quran 5:6] He also says (what means): {He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty.} [Quran 22:78]

Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “The best of your religion is the easiest; indeed, the best of your religion is the easiest.” [Ahmad, Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound)] He, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, also said, “The religion is easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.” [Al-Bukhari]

Hence, if you happened to pass by papers and do not want to burden yourself with checking them, then it is enough for you to look away and keep walking, as has been advised by some scholars.

It is deduced that you bear no sin for changing paths so as to avoid looking at these papers of which you do not know their content, and this does not constitute an act of kufr (disbelief) for a greater reason.

Allaah knows best.

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