It is highly recommended and greatly emphasized that both Muslim males and females should touch the Qur’an while having wudu’. Allah says about the Qur’an, “None touches it except those who are pure.” (Al-Waqi`ah: 79)
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “According to the majority of scholars, it is not permissible to hold or touch the Glorious Qur’an (mushaf) without wudu’ (ablution). The same rule applies to carrying or holding parts of the Qur’an such as surat Yasin or other surahs printed separately without additional commentaries or explanations. Since they are all considered Qur’an, wudu’ is necessary for holding or carrying them.
There are, however, certain exceptions to the above rule:
Firstly, it is considered permissible for students and teachers to hold or carry the Qur’an without wudu’, and this exception is based on the rule of necessity. In other words, requiring them to make wudu’ every time they hold or carry the Qur’an would cause undue hardship, and thus be an obstacle in the way of learning or memorizing the Qur’an.
Secondly, although it is generally not permissible to hold or carry the Qur’an without wudu’, it is still permissible to hold works of Tafsir, books of du`a’ or Islamic books which contain significant portions of the Qur’an, provided that the amount of non-Qur’anic material is greater than the amount of Qur’an itself.
Having said this, we must also point out that there are some scholars, including some eminent Companions such as Ibn `Abbas – who say: Wudu’ is not an essential condition for holding or touching the Qur’an. These scholars allow people to hold the Qur’an or carry it without wudu’ if they so desire, as long as they are free of major impurity (state of janabah).
In conclusion, let us say: It is highly recommended for a Muslim to try his/her best to always be in a state of wudu’ (ablution) while holding or carrying the Qur’an. But if he/she cannot do so due to exceptional circumstances, it is permissible to do so without incurring sin.”