Question: Is it permissible to record the Qur'an al-karim on tape, VCD, or CD? Is it necessary to respect these media if the Qur'an al-karim has been recorded on them? Is it an act of worship to listen to them?
Recording the Qur'an al-karim on them is similar to writing it on a piece of paper. Just as a stereo, cassette, or CD can be used for music, songs, joy, and entertainment, so paper can be used for novels, obscene photographs, and magazines about sex. The written form of the Qur'an al-karim is called a Mus-haf. As the Mus-haf is a cause and medium for reading, learning, and memorizing the Qur'an al-karim, it is valuable. Cassettes and the other media are a vehicle to learn and memorize the Qur'an al-karim by hearing the similarity of it, so it is permissible to record the Qur'an al-karim on a stereo, CD, or cassette with this intention. It is necessary to be respectful of them just as one is respectful of the Qur'an al-karim, not to record any other material on them, to put them on a high place, not to put any other things on them, not to hold them without wudu', not to give them to disbelievers and sinners, not to place them in between cassettes and discs in which other sorts of things have been stored, and not to play them at places where there are sins, games, and entertainment.
The record player or the tape recorder used for listening to the Qur’an al-karim should in no circumstance be taken to gatherings at which sins are committed and should never be used for playing prohibited and indecent recordings. It is not permissible to play the Qur’an al-karim on a record player or tape recorder which is used also for playing music because it is like listening to the Qur’an al-karim recited by a sinning reciter who also sings songs and lyrics, which is not permissible.
In short, the tapes and discs on which Qur’an al-karim is recorded are held in high regard and valued like Mus-hafs, so one should not disrespect or dishonor them. However, listening to these recordings of the Qur’an al-karim is a way of listening to something very much like the Qur’an al-karim, but it is not the same as listening to it from a reciter. One cannot obtain rewards of listening to the Qur’an al-karim from it because Hadrat Ibn Abidin says:
“Tilawat of the Qur’an al-karim is its recitation by someone who is conscious about the fact that he/she is reciting the Qur’an al-karim. However, it is fard to listen to any recitation which sounds like the Qur’an al-karim. The Qur’an al-karim recited by a small child who is not conscious of what he/she is reciting should also be listened to respectfully" (Radd-ul-Mukhtar).