Tafseer – Yusuf Estes explains the Quran (56:79) “None Touch it Except the Pure (Angels)”

Allah says, what means:

( It is a Noble Quran, in a safely stored book, none touch it other than the purified (angels). ) [56:77-79]

Yusuf Estes explains his understanding of this idea and relates it to some very disturbing conclusions, saying:

This (referring to the Quran) is something more than pieces of paper and ink. As we mentioned in the previous program, a person could change this, right here by just putting ink in there and changing it around, or rip a page out – I hope they don’t do that, that’s not nice. But it really doesn’t change the Quran. It changes this book. It changes this mus-haf, yes, but you can’t change the Quran, why? Because, first of all, Allah tells us that the Quran is actually with Him, “fee lowhin mahfooth” (in the Preserved Tablet) [85:22], which means: it’s with Allah in Paradise, and nobody can touch it, none can touch this except the Angels of Allah, nobody can even approach it…

Source: “Beauties of the Quran,” part 2 of 2, at precisely 1:50 to 2:27, produced by Huda TV, from the series called “Beauties of Islam.”  On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBD3fBk14xU (uploaded on May 26, 2011).

He also explained this concept to a Catholic audeince, saying:

But in fact, it’s the same problem we have when people say, “This is Quran,” and its not. Because Quran says in it that Allah will preserve it and nobody can even touch it! It says right in it – Nobody can even touch it, except the pure, which are the angels. You just touched it, and I just touched it, I’m no angel. So how did that happen? Well, because this is not really the Quran itself, it represents something that’s with Allah, it’s His Speech. “Quran” means God’s Recitation.

Source: “Forum for a Better Understanding” (TV program), hosted by Jim Grant, 165th weekly edition, re-titled “A Catholic TV Interview with Sheikh Yusuf Estes Talking about the Quran” (part 1) on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQpu1FAnbWA  (at about the 11:00 mark), uploaded on Dec. 18, 2010.

Important Commentary

This is indeed a reference to al-Lowh al-Mahfooth (the Preserved Tablet), and the Quran is indeed in al-Lowh al-Mahfooth – just not exclusively. The fact that Allah has protected al-Lowh al-Mahfooth from anyone but the pure Angels touching it is totally unrelated to the sending down of the Quran to the earth where it is recited orally, written in mus-hafs, and memorized by heart.

Imam Aboo ‘Uthmaan Ismaa’eel ibn ‘Abdir-Rahmaan As-Saaboonee (d.449) said:

And the people of Hadeeth all testify and believe that the Quran is the Speech of Allah, His Book, His Directive, His Inspiration, and His Revelation, not a created thing… It is something the chests memorize and the tongues recite, and it is written in the mus-hafs. No matter how it is interacted with, whether the recitation of a qaari’ (recitor), the spoken phrase of a speaker, the memorization of a haafith, wherever it is recited and wherever it is read, written in the mus-hafs of the people of Islam and on the (chalk)boards of their children, and elsewhere. All of that is the Speech of Allah, His Honor be extolled, and it is the exact Quran itself that we say is not created. Anyone who believes it to be created is a disbeliever in Allah, the Great.” (Aqeedat as-Salaf, pp.17-18)

While the Messenger of Allah (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace), the Companions, and the imams of the Salaf all believed that none other than the pure Angels could approach al-Lowh al-Mahfooth, this did not lead them to such a deviant conclusion – that the writing in the mus-haf is not Quran!  Rather, all of them believed that the writing in the mus-haf was indeed Quran, and they refuted and made takfeer of those who said otherwise, declaring them outside of Islam.

For the details of the proofs the scholars use to show how this idea is disbelief, please refer to this free e-book:

The Teachings of Yusuf Estes About the Quran (PDF)

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