How Religions Handle Disposal of Religious Texts – Voice of America News

 

Photo: AP

Afghans jointly read Islam’s holy book “Quran” during a celebration to mark the anniversary birthday of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad at a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 4, 2012.

Guidelines on how religious books should be handled once they are worn out vary by religion and sect
A perfect Quran should not be destroyed. Jews may bury Torah scrolls in graves or a special storage room. Roman Catholics can bury Bibles, while Evangelical Protestants do not have specific guidelines.

“snip”

The three major Abrahamic faiths have different rules for when and how their religious texts can be discarded. Here are some of the traditions:

  • Islam: A Quran may be discarded if there is an error in the text or if the volume has worn out. In that case, religious scholars say there are two preferred ways of doing it – wrapping it in cloth and burying it, or washing away the text with water.
  • Roman Catholicism: Catholics can bury a Bible when it needs to be disposed of, though there have been instances in the Middle Ages of incineration done in the form of a burnt offering.
  • Protestantism: Protestants do not have special prescriptions about disposing of religious texts, since they view the inspired message and not the physical text as divine.
  • Judaism: In Judaism, any text that contains God’s name should be buried when it is no longer usable, or placed in a dedicated room known as a “Geniza.” Jewish cemeteries often have special graves for sacred texts. Some American rabbis recently ruled that recycling is also appropriate.

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