Question: Our heavenly book, Qur’an is a spiritual guide and mentor to different kinds of people and human societies. To achieve this purpose it is essential that it should accessible to all the people of the world (irrespective of their faith), so that he can benefit from its teachings and move on the path of truth and sincerity. But we find in Islamic Jurisprudence that Qur’an cannot be given as a present to non-Muslims nor it can be given into his custody.
Answer: When the purpose of giving the Holy Qur’an in the possession of the non-Muslim is to guide him and make him aware of Islam and convey its message to him and make him attached to it, and if this purpose cannot be achieved by its translations, then in this situation there is no prohibition in giving the Holy Qur’an to a non-Muslim, but if no purpose is in view then it is prohibited, because the greatest witness of righteousness of Islam and everlasting miracle of the Prophet of Islam is the Holy Qur’an, which is shining on the peak of the times in the form of a living document and to get benefit from it there is one way that it should be printed in a nice way and should be distributed in the whole world, so that people seeking the truth, may acquire knowledge of Islam in the light of its verses. This itself is witness on the verses of Qur’an that this is put in front of the people of all times and everywhere in the world and invites mankind to ponder and study it.
The Holy Qur’an commands the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that in the middle of war also if a non-Muslim tends to listen to the words of Allah (the Holy Qur’an) then it is a must for the Prophet that he permits him to come among the Muslims and listen to the words of Allah and if he tends to go back, he should be allowed to go to his former position.1
To the extent it is necessary for every Muslim that he protects the honor of the Holy Qur’an, and whenever there is apprehension that a non-Muslim may act or do something regarding the Holy Qur’an, which can be termed as insulting, in such a situation we should not give him the Book of Allah.
And if he had the Book with him beforehand, then by whatever possible means it should be recovered from him. When Muslim Jurists say that Qur’an cannot be entrusted to non-Muslim their opinion is based apparently on this kind of situation and not in the situation when guidance of a non-Muslim is intended.
In short the Holy Qur’an should remain away from the reach of polluted hands, with this exception when there is likelihood of their guidance it can be presented to them.