Transliterating the Quran – Council of Senior Scholars

All praise is for Allāh, and may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon His Messenger, and upon his Family and Companions.

The Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during its 14th session in the city of Tāʾif (10-21 Shawwal 1399 H), considered the issue of writing the Qurān in Latin script. The session was headed by Shaykh ʿAbdullāh b. Muḥammad b. Ḥumayd, and the council consisted of Shaykh ʿAbd Al-Razzāq Al-ʿAfīfī, Shaykh ʿAbd Al-ʿAzīz b. Bāz and eleven others. The Council looked at a study prepared by the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Verdicts entitled The Ruling on Writing the Muṣḥaf in Latin Script. The Council subsequently issued resolution 67, dated 21/10/1399 H, forbidding the transliteration of the Qurān. The following is a translation of the points made in that decision.

Owais Al-Hāshimī

The Council of Senior Scholars stated:

After studying the issue, discussing it and exchanging opinions on it, the Council rules, by consensus, that it is ḥarām to write the Qurān in Latin script, or the script of any other language, for the following reasons:

  1. The Qurān was revealed in the clear Arabic language – both in word and meaning. Allāh the Exalted said:

    And truly, this (Qurān) is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. And which the trustworthy soul (Gabriel) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muḥammad), that you may be one of those who warn. In the clear Arabic language.

    Meaning of Qurān 26:192-195

    Text in Latin script cannot be called Qurān, because Allāh the Exalted said:

    And thus we have revealed unto you a Qurān in Arabic…

    Meaning of Qurān 42:7

    The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qurān) is a clear Arabic tongue.

    Meaning of Qurān 16:103

  2. The Qurān was written in Arabic script when it was revealed and during its collection by Abū Bakr and ʿUthmān, Allāh be pleased with them. The rest of the Companions were in agreement with this, and the Successors unanimously conformed to it, as did those after them, to this day, despite the presence of non-Arabs [throughout the period]. It is confirmed that the Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him – said:

    You must follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me…

    Thus, it is obligatory to preserve and maintain [this state], in keeping with the practice during [the Prophet’s] time, Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him, and that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, Allāh be pleased with them, and in keeping with the practice of the Ummah by Consensus.

  3. The scripts (letters) that are used in languages are a matter of convention, and thus have the potential to change numerous times. It is feared that if this door (transliteration) is opened, it will lead to change every time the convention differs, and it is feared that the reading or recitation [of the Qurān] will change with the change in convention; and in time confusion will occur and the enemy of Islām will take it as an opening to disparage the Qurān due to the controversy and disorder caused, as has occurred with the previous Scriptures. It is therefore necessary to prevent this in order to preserve the foundation of Islām and block any paths to evil and corruption.

  4. It is feared that if [transliteration] is sanctioned, the Qurān will become a toy in the hands of people: everyone will propose writing it in his language or a language he knows of. Without doubt, such conditions provoke discord and misguidance; therefore the Qurān must be saved from this, to protect Islām, and to preserve the Book of Allāh from interference and disorder.

  5. Writing the Qurān in a script other than Arabic inhibits Muslims from knowing the Arabic language, the language through which they worship their Lord, understand their religion and learn its details.

To conclude, all success is from Allāh; and may His peace and blessings be upon Muḥammad, his Family and Companions.

The Council of Senior Scholars
Council of Senior Scholars, Saudi Arabia. ‘Resolution of The Council of Senior Scholars on The Writing Of The Muṣḥaf In Latin Script’. General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Edicts. Web. 11 Jul. 2014. <>