The misinterpretation of 56:79

None can grasp it 'yamassuhu' except the purified.


Yet another verse that has been misinterpreted by Muslim scholars. They interpret this verse to mean that no one is allowed to physically touch the Quran except those who are physically clean, while others say only those who have performed ablution! In the light of the Quran it can be shown that the purity spoken of in 56:79 is not the physical cleanliness but the purity of the heart and soul.

1- The Arabic word used in the verse is "yamassuhu". This word is different from the word 'yalmasuhu'.

The word 'yalmas' means to physically touch something.

But the word 'yamsas' is totally different. To determine the correct meaning of this word we must look at other Quranic verses where this word is used:

If something good 'tamasakum' (comes your way), it grieves them. 3:120

Here God is speaking about something good or a blessing, and then the word "tamsaskum". Obviously a blessing does not physically touch us, but it reaches us or comes our way.

If God 'yamasakum' (touches you) with some harm, none can lift it except Him. And if He 'yamasakum' (touches you) with a blessing, He is Capable of all things. 6:17

The same meaning is repeated.

Now we return to 56:79 which speaks of the Quran and says that no one can yamassuhu except the pure.

How can the Quran reach only the pure? This can only mean that no one can attain its blessings except the pure in their devotion to God.

2- The second issue to resolve is: who are the pure?

Once again, Muslim scholars claim that this refers to being physically clean, but once again this is an incorrect interpretation.

To determine the correct Quranic meaning of this word, we refer to the following verses:

We brought down to you the Book with truth, so worship God, devoting the religion purely to Him.
Unquestionably, it is to God that the 'al-deen al-khalis' (pure religion) is due. 39:2-3

The key words here are: "al-deen al-khalis".

The word Deen means religion, and the word Khalis means pure.

As per 39:2-3, the pure religion must be dedicated to God alone. This means that all our religious practices must be devoted to God alone. This is confirmed in the following Quranic words:

Say, "My Salat, my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted to God, the Lord of the worlds.
He has no partner. This is what I was commanded with and I am the first of the Submitters." 6:162-163

The ones who devote all their religion to God alone are called "Ebad Allah Al-Mukhlaseen" throughout the Quran (12:24, 15:40, 37:50, 37:74). These are the ones who are pure in their devotion to God, and it is these whom God blesses with the correct understanding of the Quran. In contrast, those who commit shirk (associating others with God) are blinded from understanding the Quran. They may be proficient in the Arabic language and they may have spent all their lives studying the Quran and memorising it by heart, nevertheless, they are blinded by God from understanding the basic Quranic message.

The correct meaning of 56:79 is therefore:

None can grasp it (attain it's blessing) except the purified (pure worshippers of God).

3- The Quran contains various types of verses. We are concerned here with two types of Quranic verses and they are:

1- Verses containing information.
2- Verses containing legislation.

To demonstrate, consider the following 2 verses:

God condemns usury and expands the charities. 2:276
God has made trade lawful, and prohibited usury. 2:275

Even though the subject in the two verses is the same (Usury), yet it is the second verse that contains the prohibition.

When we read 56:79 we read a piece of information: only the pure will attain the blessing of the Quran. It does not contain any legislation to be obeyed.

If the meaning of 56:79 was not to touch the Quran without first observing ablution, which is what some interprets claim, we would expect the wording to be along the lines:

- O you who believe, do not touch the Quran unless you have washed your faces and your arms ... etc.
This would be along the same lines as:

O you who believe, when you get up to observe the Salat, wash your faces and your arms to the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles.

Finally, the command to observe ablution is found in the Quran only before observing the Salat (5:6).
We are told that t
he Quran is a clear Book that harbours no crookedness or ambiguity:

An Arabic Quran without any crookedness.

As a result, if it were indeed a requirement to observe ablution before touching the Quran, we would have found a Quranic verse to state that clearly. The law of God in the Quran is always given in clear unambiguous words. To enforce a law that is only derived through personal interpretation is always a case of fabricating lies and attributing them to God.