Textual History of the Qur'an
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This article examines the transmission history of the Quran.
The perfect preservation of the Quran is an article of faith for most schools and sects of Islam and figures highly in the beliefs of Muslims around the divine nature of their religion. The orthodox Islamic scholars argue that the Qur'an today is identical to that received by Prophet Muhammad. This contention however is challenged both by parts of the Islamic tradition itself and the findings of modern scholarship.
The textual and oral transmission history of the Quran are interconnected. As discussed in this article, standardisation first occured in the written consonantal skeleton. This acted as a constraint on the variant oral readings, which too eventually became standardised and written down in stages. This was accomplished by Muslims over a period of many centuries. Muslims would argue that the Qur'an was preserved by Allah as he had promised.
Earliest Collection of the Quran
Unfortunately, at no time during Muhammad's life did he ever order the Quran to be compiled into a single book.. Many Qurra' (“reciters”) had died before the Quran had been compiled in written form, so Abu Bakr asked Zaid bin Thabit to collect it into a book. Zaid was reluctant, for Muhammad had never ordered such an action to be taken. He stated, "I started looking for the Qur'an and collecting it from (what was written on) palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones, and also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last [two] verse[s] of Surat at-Tauba (repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him."
Sahih Bukhari contains contradictory material around the collection and preservation of the text of the Qur'an:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:When the Prophet died, none had collected the Qur'an but four persons: Abu Ad Darda, Mu'adh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid. We were the inheritor (of Abu Zaid) as he had no offspring .
Muhammad's Own Recollection of the Verses
While even today there are many memorizers (huffaz) of the complete Qur'an, the earliest Muslims did not have the benefit of choosing a standard qira'at (reading) and standard written Qur'an complete with diacritics in book form to help them or their teachers in the learning process.
The Qur'an itself records that Muhammad himself had forgotten portions of the Qur'an Muhammad may also have had a somewhat flexible approach to variant readings, typical of oral performance traditions - see the Qira'at section later in this article.
Hadith also exist to the point that Muhammad himself forgot parts of the Qur'an and needed his followers to remind him:
In the below hadith it seems Muhammad's companions also forgot passages of the Qur'an:
Companion Codices and the Uthmanic Standard
Caliph Uthman Standardises the Rasm and Burns the Other Texts
Multiple sources report that the third caliph Uthman was concerned because there were clear differences in the recitation of the Qur'an among people of Sham and people of Iraq. The differences were so great Uthman and his companions feared future dispute about the true Qur'an and its contents. So Uthman asked Hafsa for her copy so that a committee could write a single version of the rasm (an early stage of Arabic orthography, which lacked diacritics such as short vowel signs and with scarce use of dotting to distinguish certain consonants). Uthman then sent out his official Quranic codex to a small number of important cities and ordered that all other copies and fragments be burned. This occured around 650 CE. During the prior 20 years since Muhammad's death, and for some time afterwards, thousands of variants read by the companions which often did not fit this rasm were in circulation, as documented in hadiths and works such as Ibn Abi Dawud's Kitab al Masahif.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Disagreements on the Qur'an
Sahih hadiths and tafsirs record a great many variations of recitation among the sahaba (companions) for many different verses. An interesting example concerns the controversial topic of mutah (temporary marriage), which Muhammad banned in his final years according to sahih hadiths, and verse 4:24, which says:
Al-Tabari's tafsir for verse 4:24 includes narrations saying that ibn 'Abbas, ubayy ibn Ka'b, and Sa'id ibn Jubayr (others too in other tafsirs) included the words 'until a prescribed period' ('ila ajal musamma') after the words 'whom you profit by'. If one were to speculate that this represents an abrogated version of the verse, it is unclear why there would be no evidence and why these sahaba would not seem to know.
Another interesting example, recorded in a sahih hadith that appears in many collections, concerns a variant reading of verse Quran 2:238. It was given by Aisha, according to whom in this verse it says 'the middle prayer and the Asr Prayer', as she heard Muhammad reciting it. As such, her version of the verse combines what was, according to another hadith, the pre-abrogated version of the verse, which mentions the asr prayer, and post-abrogation version, which says the middle prayer.. What purpose would be served by an abrogation to replace one specific word with another that more ambiguously indicates the same prayer (according to most scholars) is a mystery.
Many other examples of such variations among the sahaba are discussed in another online article.
Abdullah bin Mas'ud- Authority of the Qur'an and Best Qur'anic Teacher
Muhammad ordered Muslims to learn the Qur'an from four individuals and the first of them was Abdullah bin Mas'ud. So, according to Muhammad, Ibn Mas'ud was an authority on the Qur'an.
Ibn Mas'ud swore that he knew all the surahs of the Qur'an, saying "By Allah other than Whom none has the right to be worshipped! There is no Sura revealed in Allah's Book but I know at what place it was revealed; and there is no verse revealed in Allah's Book but I know about whom it was revealed. And if I know that there is somebody who knows Allah's Book better than I, and he is at a place that camels can reach, I would go to him".
This statement from Ibn Mas'ud is supposed to carry tremendous weight since, according to Muhammad's words, he was one of the chosen teachers whom Muslims were to go to when they desired to learn the Qur'an.
After Muhammad's choice of Abdullah bin Mas'ud, he was followed by Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu'adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka'b. What is odd is that we do not find any mention of Zayd Bin Thabit who was ultimately entrusted by Abu Bakr with the task of collecting the Qur'an and later or alternatively as part of Uthman's Committee.
Ibn Mas'ud's Disagreement with Uthman
The Qur'an that Ibn Mas'ud had was known and agreed upon by many Muslims in Kufa. When Uthman ordered that all codices must be destroyed and that only Zayd's codex is to be preserved, the reaction of Abdallah ibn Mas'ud was defensive.
"I have not led them [the people of Kufa] astray. There is no verse in the Book of Allah that I do not know where it was revealed and why it was revealed, and if I knew anyone more learned in the Book of Allah and I could be conveyed there, I would set out to him".
Referring to the authority given to Zaid bin thabit, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "I recited from the messenger of Allah (saw) seventy surahs which I had perfected before Zaid ibn Thabit had embraced Islam".
When Uthman ordered the destruction of Ibn Mas'ud's codex, Ibn Mas'ud gave a sermon in Kufa and said "Conceal the manuscripts! I like it better to read according to the recitation of him (Prophet) whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit. By Him besides Whom there is no god! I learnt more than seventy surahs from the lips of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, while Zayd Ibn Thabit was a youth, having two locks and playing with the youth".
A similar hadith graded sahih appears in al-Tirmidhi's collection. After mentioning Uthman's attempts to enforce a codice (mushaf), we read:
What did Ibn Mas'ud have in his Qur'an that Uthman did not?
Ibn Mas'ud's Qur'anic text omitted surah al-Fatiha and the mu'awwithatayni (surahs 113 and 114).
When we come to the rest of the Qur'an, we find that there were numerous differences of reading between the texts of Zaid and Ibn Mas'ud. The records in Ibn Abu Dawud's Kitab al-Masahif fill up no less than nineteen pages and, from all the sources available, one can trace no less than 101 variants in the Suratul-Baqarah alone.
The following are just a few of the differences in illustration of the nature of the variations between the texts:
Sahih Bukhari 6:60:468 and Sahih Muslim 4:1799 both record that Ibn Mas'ud's followers were adamant that he and Muhammad had read Quran 92:3 with the words, By the male and the female. rather than And by Him Who created male and female.
Quran 2:275 begins with the words Allathiina yaakuluunar-ribaa laa yaquumuuna, meaning "those who devour usury will not stand". Ibn Mas'ud's text had the same introduction but after the last word there was added the expression yawmal qiyaamati, that is, they would not be able to stand on the "Day of Resurrection".
The variant is mentioned in Abu Ubaid's Kitab Fadhail al-Qur'an. The variant was also recorded in the codex of Talha ibn Musarrif, a secondary codex dependent on Ibn Mas'ud's text, Taiha likewise being based at Kufa in Iraq where Ibn Mas'ud was based as governor and where his codex was widely followed.
Quran 5:89, in the standard text, contains the exhortation fasiyaamu thalaathati ayyaamin, meaning "fast for three days". Ibn Mas'ud's text had, after the last word, the adjective mutataabi'aatin, meaning three "successive" days.
The variant derives from at-Tabari and was also mentioned by Abu Ubaid. This variant reading was, significantly, found in Ubayy ibn Ka'b's text as well and in the texts of Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud's pupil Ar-Rabi ibn Khuthaim.
Ubayy bin Ka'b
Ubayy ibn Ka'b, was another one of the four which were singled-out by Muhammad, and was considered the best reciter of the Qur'an. He was known as Sayidul Qura' (The Master of Reciters). Umar the Caliph also agreed that Ubayy was the best reciter, even though he rejected some of what Ubayy recited.
Some examples where Ubayy agreed with Ibn Mas'ud and disagreed with Zayd include the following:
1. For the standard reading wa yush-hidullaaha in Surah 2:204 he read wa yastash-hidullaaha.
2. He omitted the words in khiftum from Surah 4:101.
3. He read mutathab-thibiina for muthabthabiina in Surah 4:143.
There are a number of cases where whole clauses differed in his text. In Surah 5:48, where the standard text reads wa katabnaa 'alayhim fiiha, meaning "and We inscribed therein for them (the Jews)", the reading of Ubayy ibn Ka'b was wa anzalallaahu alaa banii Isra'iila fiiha, meaning "and Allah sent down therein to the Children of Israel."
From Abu Ubaid we find that, whereas Surah 17:16 in the standard text reads amarnaa mutrafiihaa fafasaquu, Ubayy read this clause ba'athnaa akaabira mujri-miihaa fdmakaruu.
Extant Early Manuscripts
A significant number of early Hijazi manuscript fragments have been radio-carbon dated to the first Islamic century, covering the majority of the Qur'an between them. All but one of those discovered so far have been of the Uthmanic text type (the exception being the lower text of the Ṣan'ā' 1 manuscript, which is a palimpsest). However, these manuscripts are not identical. Every early manuscript falls into a small number of regional families (identified by variants in their rasm, or consonantal text), and each moreover contains non-canonical variants in dotting and lettering that can often be traced back to those reported of the Companions. The Ṣan'ā' 1 manuscript is especially known to have this feature.
Michael Cook's stemmatic analysis of the above mentioned regional variants reported in the Uthmanic copies has shown that they form a tree relationship. By analysing orthographic idiosyncrasies common to known manuscripts of the Uthmanic text type, Dr. Marijn van Putten has given further proof that they all must descend from a single archetype, generally assumed to be that of Uthman.
No copy of the Uthmanic recension exists despite its centrality as the Ur-Qur'an of all modern readings, so no confirmation is available via comparison with it. A very old palimpsest (imprinted scroll which was washed and written over) is extant from Sana'a, Yemen (the Ṣan'ā' 1 Manuscript), which contains variants not found in any of the accepted readings of the Qur'an. The Islamic narrative itself comes to us mostly through the hadith tradition, which has been proven since Ignac Goldziher in the 19th century to be unreliable due to the nature of the "asaanid" or chains of authority supporting the hadith and the immense gulf of time between when the hadith were collected and when Muhammad lived. In addition the earliest copies of the Qur'an lack vowel and many diacritic markings, indicating that they were more a guide for memorization than the fully-fleshed out text that is extant today.
The rasm is only part of the story of the textual transmission of the Qur'an. When vocalised manuscripts with diacritics start to appear, many (mostly non-canonical) readings are found to be imposed upon it.
Lost Verses and Surahs from the Qur'an
Professor Yasin Dutton briefly lists several examples in Islamic literature of differences "involving the addition or omission of substantial amounts of material, such as an āya or even a sūra". These examples and one or two others are explored in this section.
The lost verse on stoning
There are claims in the hadith that certain verses are missing. For example the 'stoning verse' for adultery. The present day Qur’an does not contain the penalty of Rajm (stoning) for married adulterers, which abrogated the previous penalty. Rather, the Qur'an now extant assigns whipping as the punishment for adultery:
The lost verse of Rajm (stoning) was originally found in Surah al-Ahzab. According to hadiths recorded in Al-Suyuti's Itqan the lost verse read, "The fornicators among the married men (ash-shaikh) and married women (ash-shaikhah), stone them as an exemplary punishment from Allah, and Allah is Mighty and Wise,", or alternatively, "A married man or woman should be stoned, without hesitation, for having given in to lust." 
This verse, along with verses regarding adult suckling, were written on a piece of paper and were lost when a sheep or goat ate them. The loss of the stoning verse is confirmed by Caliph Umar in sahih hadith in which this verse is said to have been included in the book "sent down" to Muhammad, "the Book of Allah". In another sahih hadith appearing in many collections, Muhammad says he will judge a married woman who committed adultery with an unmarried man by "the Book of Allah" (meaning the Qur'an) and orders the woman to be stoned and the man to receive 100 lashes. Before becoming lost, the verse on adult suckling had already been abrogated and replaced with a watered down version. Evidently it was not very popular, and was resisted by some of Muhammad's wives.
Islamic scholars typically explain the loss of the stoning verse as a type of abrogation where the verse is no longer recited but the ruling still applies. Al-Suyuti in his Itqan gives various hadiths in which Muhammad and the Muslim community felt uneasy about writing down, and possibly even reciting such a harsh verse, having witnessed its implementation. It seems that as a result even the recitation of the exact wording for this verse was lost over time. It is unclear how this is compatible with preservation by calling it abrogation even though the ruling remains, particularly when it involves such a serious topic as a death penalty.
Most of Surah al-Ahzab was lost
It seems that the verse on stoning was not the only one to disappear from surah al-Ahzab.
With sahih isnads appearing in many hadith collections via ‘Aasim ibn Bahdalah, from Zirr, we have this hadith:
قال لي أبي بن كعب : كأين تقرأ سورة الأحزاب أو كأين تعدها قال قلت له ثلاثا وسبعين آية فقال قط لقد رأيتها وإنها لتعادل سورة البقرة ولقد قرأنا فيها الشيخ والشيخة إذا زنيا فارجموهما البتة نكالا من الله والله عليم حكيم
Narrated ‘Aasim ibn Bahdalah, from Zirr, who said:
Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said to me: How long is Soorat al-Ahzaab when you read it? Or how many verses do you think it is? I said to him: Seventy-three verses. He said: Only? There was a time when it was as long as Soorat al-Baqarah, and we read in it: “The old man and the old woman, if they commit zina, then stone them both, a punishment from Allah, and Allah is Almighty, Most Wise.”
Islamqa.info, the popular fatwah website accepts the hadith and that the verses were lost on the authority of the scholars. Its isnad was graded by al-Tabari and al-Albani as sahih, even more emphatically by ibn Hazm, “sahih, as clear as the sun” (إسناده صحيح كالشمس), and hasan (good) by ibn Kathir and ibn Hajar.
Corroborating evidence is given by Qurtubi at the beginning of his tafsir for Surah al-Ahzab. He records this recollection by 'A'isha, although the chain includes ibn Lahee'ah, who many consider weak for having an unreliable memory:
“Aisha narrates: ‘Surah Ahzab contained 200 verses during the lifetime of Prophet [s] but when the Quran was collected we only found the amount that can be found in the present Quran".
Surah al-Hafd and Surah al-khal'
We know that, whereas Ibn Mas'ud omitted three surahs (al-Fatihah, 113 and 114) from his Qur'an mushaf (codex), Ubayy ibn Ka'b had 116 surahs in his, including two extra short surahs, al-Hafd (the Haste) and al-Khal' (the Separation), which he placed between what are surahs 103 and 104 in Uthman's Qur'an.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
O Allah, You alone we worship,
to You we pray and prostrate,
and for Your sake we work and strive.
We hope for Your mercy and fear Your punishment,
for Your punishment will inevitably befall the disbelievers.
al-Khal': In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
O Allah, verily we seek Your help and Your forgiveness,
and we praise You and we are not ungrateful to You.
And we disavow and disown anyone who opposes You. 
In form they are du'as (supplications, prayers), much like Al-Fatihah placed at the beginning of the Qur'an, and surahs 113 and 114.
According to some early sources, ibn Mas'ud too included Khal' and Hafd in his Qur'an mushaf (codex), as also did Ibn 'Abbas in his mushaf, though its presence in Ubayy's is much more widely documented. One hadith records that Uthman recited them as supplications , as did Umaya bin Abdullah and Umar according to Al-Suyuti. One hadith says that these were du'as given by the angel Jibreel to Muhammad. Al-Suyuti quotes another scholar saying that Surah al-Khal' and Surah al-Hafd were removed from the Qur'an and are now used as du'as.
It doesn't seem that there was agreement among the Muslims on whether these were just du'as or parts of the Qur'an, particularly given that such an important figure as Ubayy ibn Ka'b (possibly ibn Mas'ud and ibn 'Abbas too) recorded them in his widely reported Qur'an codice.
Nor does it seem there was complete agreement on whether other surahs that resemble du'as belonged in the written Qur'an given that ibn Mas'ud left out of his mushaf Surahs Al-Fatihah, and 113 and 114 (called Al-Mu'awwidhatan), as mentioned above. Al-Qurtubi's tafsir contains a narration from ibn-Mas'ud that he omitted Al-Fatihah for brevity, and there was a theory to explain his omission of surahs 113 and 114. The canonical Qira'at (recitations of the Qur'an) of the Kufan readers include all 3 surahs yet have ibn Mas'ud in some chains of their isnads. However, it is known that the canonical reader Hisham made use of ibn Mas'ud's readings only insofar as they complied with the Uthmanic rasm.
Sometimes the 14th century scholar Muhammad Abdul Azim al-Zurqani is quoted, who suggested that the companions who included Al-Hafd and Al-Khal' in their Qur'an mushafs were merely noting them down as du'as alongside the Qur'an, and that this had led to the confusion over whether they were considered Qur'anic. But it is a very unlikely theory that Ubayy ibn Ka'b (and possibly other companions) who recorded these surahs in his mushaf would allow such a misunderstanding to occur. We have two independent lists saying that Ubayy ibn Ka'b sequenced these two du'as between what are now surahs 103 and 104.
Some argue that Ubayy ibn Ka'b must have had no issue with the two extra surahs being left out because there is a hadith recorded 9 centuries after Muhammad, which says that Uthman had Ubayy dictate the text for Zaid to write down, with refinements by Sa’id bin al-‘Aas. Such evidence is very late, as well as contradicting sahih hadiths about Zaid's collection process.
The Missing Surah with the Two Valleys
Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, one of the early authorities on the Qur'an text and a companion of Muhammad, claimed a surah which resembled at-Tawba (also known as Bara'at) in length and severity was forgotten and lost, but included a passage on the greed of man, which is not in today's Qur'an. Various narrations have slightly differing wording for this lost passage, which is consistent with it being insufficiently remembered.
Ibn Abbas was likewise unsure whether it was part of the Qur'an or not:
Ubai said that it was considered as a saying from the Qur'an for a while during Muhammad's lifetime. At best, it could be claimed to be an example of a type of abrogation where the verses are lost. Why the verse would be abrogated is unexplained.
Al-Suyuti records the recollection by Abu Waqid al-Laithii of the occasion when the lost passage about the valleys was revealed. He says that Muhammad claimed it as a revelation from Allah, just like when he received other revelations.
Lost verses from Surah at-Tawba
Surah at-Tawba (also known as al Bara'at) was originally equal to the length of al-Baqara according to narrations recorded by al-Suyuti (best known for his Tafsir al-Jalalayn) in The Itqan and Tafsir al-Qurtubi. In a Hasan hadith in the collection of Tirmidhi, Uthman is narrated as saying that they didn't know whether or not Surah at-Tawba was part of Surah al-Anfal, and Muhammad died without making it clear, so they were placed together.
The "Bring a surah like it challenge"
As detailed in the sections above, there were non-Qur'anic surahs and verses that sounded very much like those of the Qur'an. Surah al-Hafd and Surah al-khal', and the verses about Adam and the valleys sounded so Qur'anic that they were at one time believed to be so by speakers of 7th century Arabic, Sahabah no less. Theories that these were once part of the Qur'an and later abrogated, or that Al-Hafd and Al-Khal' were du'as given to Muhammad by Jibril do not give a reason why they may have been abrogated or why confusion was allowed to arise about the status of the latter two when they were recorded in the mushaf of Ubayy (and perhaps other companions).
The Qira'at (Variant Oral Readings of the Qur'an)
As mentioned above, numerous possible oral readings of the Qur'an can be and were imposed upon the Uthmanic rasm (an early stage of Arabic orthography, which lacked diacritics such as short vowel signs and with scarce use of dotting to distinguish certain consonants). Today we have seven or ten canonical qira'at, which are slightly different early oral recitations or readings of the Qur'an by famous readers. There were once many more qira'at, from which twenty-five were described by Abu 'Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Sallam two centuries after Muhammad's death, and restricted to seven after three centuries following a work by Abu Bakr Ibn Mujahid (d.936 CE). A further three qira'at were added to the canonical seven many centuries later by ibn al-Jazari (d.1429 CE) - those of Abu Jafar, Ya'qub and Khalaf. These three were popular since the time of the seven, and provide additional variants. Some scholars regarded them as having a somewhat less reliable transmission status than the seven. Ibn al Jazari lamented that the masses only accepted the seven readings chosen by ibn Mujahid.
Al Zarkashi (d.1392 CE) argued that even the differences in the canonical readings are mutawatir (mass transmitted), despite each only having one or a small number of single chains of transmission between Muhammad and the eponymous reader, because the inhabitants in the cities in which they were popular also heard them. Professor Shady Nasser finds it hard to accept al Zarkashi's argument since in that case "variants within one Eponymous Reading should not have existed", as well as due to the presence of multiple popular readers in each city. As noted above, most canonical readings are not found in early vocalised manuscripts. Ibn al-Jazari subsequently obtained a fatwa (from ibn al Subki) declaring that all 10 readings were fully mutawatir, though later he changed his mind.
Each of the Qira'at has two canonical transmissions (riwayat) named after its transmitters, one of which is the basis for any particular text (mushaf) of the Qur'an. For example, the mushaf used mainly in North Africa is based on the riwayah of Warsh from Nafi (the reading of Nafi transmitted by Warsh). As Nasser explains, the two-Rawi canon for ibn Mujahid's choice of seven readings was effectively canonised due to the popularity both of a simplified student Qira'at manual by al-Dani (d.1053 CE; who in another more complicated work documents many more transmissions), and a poetic form of this manual by al-Shatibi (d.1388 CE). The canonical transmitters all differ in their readings, even when they transmit from the same reader. This two transmitter system was expanded when ibn al Jazari canonised the three readers after the seven mentioned above, giving twenty canonical transmitters for the ten readers in total.
|Qari (reader)||Rawi (transmitter)|
|Nafi‘ al-Madani||70 AH||169 AH (785 CE)||Qalun||120 AH||220 AH (835 CE)|
|Warsh||110 AH||197 AH (812 CE)|
|Ibn Kathir al-Makki||45 AH||120 AH (738 CE)||Al-Buzzi||170 AH||250 AH (864 CE)|
|Qunbul||195 AH||291 AH (904 CE)|
|Abu 'Amr||68 AH||154 AH (770 CE)||Al-Duri||150 AH||246 AH (860 CE)|
|Al-Susi||?||261 AH (874 CE)|
|Ibn Amir ad-Dimashqi||8 AH||118 AH (736 CE)||Hisham||153 AH||245 AH (859 CE)|
|Ibn Dhakwan||173 AH||242 AH (856 CE)|
|Aasim ibn Abi al-Najud||?||127 AH (745 CE)||Shu'bah||95 AH||193 AH (809 CE)|
|Hafs||90 AH||180 AH (796 CE)|
|Hamzah az-Zaiyyat||80 AH||156 AH (773 CE)||Khalaf||150 AH||229 AH (844 CE)|
|Khallad||?||220 AH (835 CE)|
|Al-Kisa'i||119 AH||189 AH (804 CE)||Al-Layth||?||240 AH (854 CE)|
|Al-Duri||150 AH||246 AH (860 CE)|
|Abu Ja'far||?||130 AH||'Isa Ibn Wardan||?||160 AH|
|Ibn Jummaz||?||170 AH|
|Ya'qub al-Yamani||117 AH||205 AH||Ruways||?||238 AH|
|Khalaf||150 AH||229 AH||Ishaq||?||286 AH|
|Idris||189 AH||292 AH|
Relationship between Qira'at and Ahruf
The legitimacy of variant oral readings is derived from some hadith narrations that the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad in seven ahruf. The word ahruf literally means words or letters, but is commonly translated as modes of recitation. The nature of these ahruf generated a wide range of theories, some more plausible than others. A popular, though problematic theory was that these were dialects of seven Arab tribes, and only one, that of the Quraysh was retained by Uthman. However, most variants among the canonical readings are not of a dialect nature. It also makes little sense of Sahih Bukhari 9:93:640 in which Muhammad appealed to ahruf when two companions who were both of the Qureshi tribe disagreed on a reading. A more tenable view is that the ahruf represent variant readings at certain points in the Quran.
A related question on which scholars differed was whether or not all the ahruf were preserved. One group including ibn Hazm (d.1064 CE) believed that all seven ahruf were accomodated by the Uthmanic rasm (consonantal skeleton), finding it unimaginable that anything would be omitted.. Al-Tabari argued that only one harf was preserved by Uthman, while Ibn al Jazari said the view of most scholars is that only as many of the ahruf as the Uthmanic rasm accommodated were preserved. Indeed, this latter is more viable theologically, for the non-Uthmanic companion readings must be fraudulent under the first view, and problems with the second view include those mentioned above.
As part of the majority view reported by ibn al Jazari, the Uthmanic codex was based on the harf of the "final review" or final revealed version of the Quran. However, there were around 40 scribal errors in the official copies of the Uthmanic text (see below). Canonical qira'at were required to comply with this range rather than an entirely unified text. Indeed, in some cases they even strayed beyond these boundaries.
Some scholars believe that the seven ahruf story was invented at an early stage to accommodate the proliferation of variant readings. Another plausible theory would be that Muhammad was inconsistent in his recitation, and he used it as a convenient excuse, as well as a way of avoiding disputes between his followers to say that there were up to seven valid ways to recite a verse.
Differences in the Qira'at
Muslims are commonly told that the differences between the Qira'at can be explained away as styles of pronunciation or dialect and spelling rules (called uṣūl, rules that apply to the entire reading). Yet there is another category, farsh, of individual differences, which also includes changes in wording. In some cases the variations added or ommitted words, or are completely different words or contradict each other in meaning. The Corpus Coranicum database and the nquran website can be used as neutral online sources for verifying the existence of such variations in the Qira'at. The Bridges translation can be selected on quran.com and highlights words with canonical variants, listing them in English with their readers as footnotes. An interesting example is given below, and more of them are listed in the next section about the popular Hafs and Warsh transmissions.
Altogether, there are more than 1000 words with variants among the canonical readings of the Quran, about two percent of the total. Some are regarded as dialect differences, while others including vowel differences affect grammar and meaning. Around 300 involve different consonantal dotting, generally changing attached pronouns or producing a different root word. In addition, there are around 40 variants arising from the regional Uthmanic codices (see below), in a few cases adding or omitting insignificant words. It is common for a word to have more than two variants, with no obvious intention in so much variety.
In Quran 18:86, Dhu'l Qarnayn finds the sun setting in a muddy spring, according to the Qira'at used by today's most popular transmissions of the Qur'an. However, in around half of the various Qira'at the sun intead sets in a warm spring. The latter variant is even used in some English translations. It is easy to see how the corruption arose (whichever one is the variant). The arabic word حَمِئَة (hami'atin - muddy) sounds very similar to the completely different word حَامِيَة (hamiyatin - warm). Al-Tabari records in his tafseer for this verse the differing opinions on whether the sun sets in muddy or warm water.
The reading of ibn Amir, which is one of those qira'at containing hamiyah instead of hami'ah, is still used in some parts of Yemen, and used to be more widespread.. In written form this difference is not just a matter of vowel marks. Even the consonantal text with dots is different. A scan of a printed Qur'an containing the mushaf of Hisham's transmission from ibn Amir's reading can even be read online and it can be seen that حَامِيَة (warm) is used in verse 18:86.
For further discussion, see the section Origin of the Qira'at Variants further below.
Differences in the Hafs and Warsh Texts
Apart from other earlier variant readings, and those of al-Duri from Abu Amr still used in Sudan, and of Hisham from ibn Amir still used in parts of Yemen, there are two different readings of the Qur'an currently widespread in printed text (mushaf), named after their respective 2nd-century transmitters: Hafs from Asim (one of the Kufan readers) and Warsh from Nafi (of Medina).
The Hafs reading is the more common and used in most areas of the Islamic world. Warsh is used mainly in West and North-West Africa as well as by the Zaydiya in Yemen. Here are some of the differences.
|Verse||Hafs||Warsh||Notes||Corpus Coranicum link (see Asim (Hafs) and Nafi (Warsh))|
|Quran 2:125||watakhizu (you shall take)||watakhazu (they have taken)||2:125|
|Quran 2:140||taquluna (You say)||yaquluna (They say)||2:140|
|Quran 2:184||miskeenin (poor person)||masakeena (poor people)||Instruction on mitigating a broken fast||2:184|
|Quran 3:81||ataytukum (I have given)||ataynakum (We have given)||These words are in a quote. They can't both be right.||3:81|
|Quran 3:146||qatala (fought)||qutila (was killed)||The Warsh version better fits verse 3.144||3:146|
|Quran 7:57||bushra (good tidings)||nushra (disperse)||7:57|
|Quran 12:64||khayrun hafithan (best guardian)||khayrun hifthan (best at guarding)||This is in a quote of Joseph's father. Why the variation?||12:64|
|Quran 19:19||li-'ahaba (that I may bestow)||li-yahaba (that he may bestow)||This is in a quote of Gabriel's words to Mary. Which did he say?
In mushafs based on Warsh, the ya here appears in coloured ink because it violates the Uthmanic rasm, or printed copies have it in superscript above the alif, which is the right arm of the lam-alif in maghribi script.
|Quran 21:4||qaala (He said:)||qul (Say:)||21:4|
|Quran 43:19||ibaad (slaves)||inda (with)||43:19|
|Quran 57:24||Allaha huwa alghaniyyu (Allah, He, is self sufficient)||Allaha alghaniyyu (Allah is self sufficient)||This was also one of the regional Uthmanic rasm variants with no obvious value||57.24|
A more extensive study of differences between the Hafs and Warsh transmissions and comparisons with Qur'an manuscripts can be read online.
The standard Islamic view is that every variant within the canonical qira'at (readings) were recited by Muhammad, and the canonical readers made choices from among the authentic variants passed down to them. The claim is that even when the variants are completely different words or when words are added or omitted, that these are all divinely revealed alternatives. This doesn't address variants that contradict each other, nor explain the large number of superfluous variants, nor explain why there would be so many authentic variants that just so happened to be accomodated by the Uthmanic orthography or sound similar.
Differences Between Other Canonical Readings
There are many more differences between other transmissions besides those of Hafs and Warsh. All are available in printed form and in the online sources mentioned above. The following are a few examples, mostly of conflicting variants in quoted dialogue incidents.
|Verse||Reading 1||Reading 2||Notes||Corpus Coranicum link|
|Quran 5:6||Ibn Kathir, Abu Amr,Shu'ba and Hamza read wa-'arjulikum (your feet [genitive case])||The others read wa-'arjulakum (your feet [accusative case])||The grammatical variance caused different rulings on wudu between Sunni and Shi'i (whether to rub or wash the feet)||5:6|
|Quran 17:102||al-Kisa'i reads 'alimtu (I have known)||The others read 'alimta (You have known)||Moses speaking to Pharoah||17:102|
|Quran 20:96||Hamza and al-Kisa'i read lam tabsuroo (you did not percieve)||The others read lam yabsuroo (they did not percieve)||Samiri speaking to Moses||20:96|
|Quran 12:12||The three Kufans (Asim, Hamza, and al-Kisa'i) read yarta' wa-yal'ab (he may eat well and play)||The others read narta' wa-nal'ab (we may eat well and play)||Joseph's brothers talking to their father||12:12|
|Quran 12:49||Hamza and al-Kisa'i read ta'siroona (you will press)||The others read ya'siroona (they will press)||Joseph speaking to the King||12:49|
|Quran 12:63||Hamza and al-Kisa'i read yaktal (he will be given measure)||The others read naktal (we will be given measure)||Joseph's brothers talking to their father||12:63|
|Quran 11:84||Ibn Kathir and Abu Amr read 'illa mra'atuka (except your wife [nominative case])||The others read 'illa mra'ataka (except your wife [accusative case])||These variants give rise to conflicting instructions from the angels to Lot||11:84|
Origin of the Qira'at Variants
The Uthmanic codex was written in a rasm, which is a "defective" Arabic script, meaning that there was inconsistent use of alifs, no markings for short vowels and sparse (if any) dots that were in later times used to distinguish different but identical looking consonants.
Professor Shady Nasser shows that at the time when ibn Mujahid wrote his Kitab al Sab'ah selecting the 7 eponymous readings that later became canonical, adherence of readings to the Uthmanic rasm and good Arabic grammar were already important criteria , but ibn Mujahid restricted his selection to just 7 by choosing the consensus readings from each of Mecca, Medina, Basra, Damascus and the 3 most popular readers from Kufah, where the legacy of Ibn Mas'ud's (now banned) reading meant that there was no dominant Uthmanic reading in that city..
Nasser further shows that grammarians such as al-Farra, and scholars such as al-Tabari readily criticised variants in these same readings shortly before they were canonised (as did al-Zamakhshari 200 years afterwards)). Even ibn Mujahid said variants now considered canonical were wrong. After ibn Mujahid's book, a genre of literature arose that "indicates the rising need to provide grammatical and syntactic proofs in order to back up the arguments necessary to assess the superiority of one reading over another." . Ibn Mujahid's decision to select just 7 readings drew frequent criticism after its publication. The consensus notion that all variants in these 7 were divinely preserved in a chain back to the Prophet himself only came about later, by which time there was of course no room for arguments and reasoning to try to prove the superiority of one variant over another. As Nasser writes, "The problem that caused heated discussion for centuries afterwards was the origin and transmission of the eponymous Readings; were these Readings transmitted through tawātur or single chains of transmission? Are there Readings better than others or are they equally divine?".
Dr Marijn Van Putten has shown that while the canonical readings largely comply with the Uthmanic rasm, more specifically they also each closely comply with the regional variants of that rasm, which were sent out to the major intellectual centres of early Islam and contained a small number of copying mistakes. So, the Kufan readings closely correspond to the variants found in the rasm of the codex given to that city and so on.
This would be an extraordinary coincidence if the variants are entirely due to oral transmissions going back to the recitations of Muhammad (though certainly the general agreement between readings where the rasm is ambiguous demonstrates that there was also oral transmission ). Instead, the regional correspondence of rasm and oral reading variants is easily explained if the readings were adapted to fit the codices given to those regions. By analysing the reported variants between regional codices, modern scholarship has confirmed that they form a stemma (textual tree relationship), suggesting that those particular variants did not originate in oral transmission.
If qira'at variants could sometimes arise from the rasm, we should also expect this to occur even in places where the rasm did not vary. Munther Younes highlights a particularly interesting example among the hundreds known. In Quran 4:94 we have the canonical variants fa-tabayyanū or fa-tathabbatū. In this case, the variant root words do not share even a single consonant in common (bāʼ-yāʼ-nūn versus thāʼ-bāʼ-tāʼ), but nevertheless both variants fit the defective script of the Uthmanic rasm, which lacked dots and vowels. Other examples of variants with the same rasm include Quran 6:57, where 4 of the canonical 7 qira'at have yaqḍi l-ḥaqqa "He judges the truth" rather than yaquṣṣu l-ḥaqqa "He declares the truth" and Quran 10:30 where two readers have tatlū (recounts, recites), whereas the other five have tablū (tests) . In these examples the similarity between the variant readings is graphic (how the rasm looks) rather than phonic (how they sound).
The variants in the seven eponymous readings are only rarely evident in the earliest manuscripts. They contain the above mentioned regional differences, but otherwise tend to reflect dotting and lettering traceable to the more substantial variant readings of the Companions and not necessarily of the seven.
The Qurra' Community
In a detailed monograph on ibn Mujahid's canonization of the seven readings, Nasser shows that written notes played a significant role in transmission of the readings in the 2nd century. He quotes canonical readers and their transmitters being said to have doubted and retracted their (often unique) readings in certain verses, canonical transmitters not remembering what they had been taught and asking others or checking notes, being confused by the difference between their recollection and their notes, resorting to qiyas (analogy) when a specific part of a reading was unknown, admitting that they had forgotten parts of a reading, misattributing variants to the wrong eponymous reader (some transmitted more than one reading), and readers adapting to what they regarded as flawed parts of the Uthmanic rasm.
In one summary he writes, "The multiple readings reported on behalf of the same Eponymous Reader or Canonical Rāwī, were not only due to transmission errors, inaccuracies, the 'flexibility' of the consonantal rasm, and the existance of a depository of different, yet acceptable traditions from the previous generations of Qurʾān masters. These readings were also generated because Qurʾān Readers occasionally modified and changed their readings over time, retracted certain readings, corrected others, and struggled to remember how precisely some variants were performed."
While ibn Mujahid only gave formal isnads from himself to the Eponymous readers (whose readings he documented partially based on written notes), he gave some biographical sketches of the transmissions between the Prophet and these readers, the chains of which generally had at least 4 or 5 links though occasionally 3. Most of the seven main readers and their canonical transmitters did not escape criticism for their reliability in hadith and/or their Qur'an recitations in at least some biographical sources.
False Report about Al Hajjaj and the Uthmanic Qur'an
Al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf Al-Thakafi, who lived in the years AD 660-714, was a teacher of the Arabic language in the city of Taif. Then he joined the military and became the most powerful person during the reign of Caliph Abd al-Malik Ibn Marawan and after him his son al-Waleed Ibn Abd al-Malik.
One report claims that the Uthmanic Qur'an was changed by Al-Hajjaj, inserting 11 small changes into the text and sending them out to the main cities. Less dramatic reports exist of him making reforms to orthography, some of which have been disproven by dated manuscripts, but this is the only claim that touches on the underlying reading of the text.
However, this report is not considered credible by academics for a number of reasons, including the fact that all extant manuscripts (except for the Ṣan'ā' 1 palimpsest lower text) can be traced to a single archetype, as explained above. Moreover, Sadeghi and Bergmann have shown that the Basran author of this report about al-Hajjaj had simply mistaken some errors in a particular manuscript as being the Uthmanic standard and compared it with the manuscript of al-Hajjaj.
Corruption of Previous Scriptures
Many Muslims believe that the Qur'an claims the corruption of previous scriptures. The Qur'an says of the Qur'an in 15:9, "We have revealed the dhikr (reminder) and we surely will preserve it,".
- Corruption of Qur'an - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Corruption of the Qur'an
- Jam' Al-Qur'an: The Codification of the Qur'an Text - A Comprehensive Study of the Original Collection of the Qur'an Text and the Early Surviving Qur'an Manuscripts
- The Naqad Islamic Studies server is described as an open resource server for print and online collections that support Late Antique, Near Eastern and Islamic Studies. They write, "This diagram aims to represent the most rigorous academic insights on the topic, and is a collaboration between our contributors and the top Quranic linguists and epigraphers in the field of Quranic studies." Naqad Islamic Studies - Twitter.com
- "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." - Quran 15:9
- "...Therefore I suggest, you (Abu Bakr) order that the Qur'an be collected." I said to 'Umar, "How can you do something which Allah's Apostle did not do?" 'Umar said, "By Allah, that is a good project..." - Sahih Bukhari 6:61:509
- "...Umar has come to me and said: "Casualties were heavy among the Qurra' of the Qur'an (i.e. those who knew the Quran by heart) on the day of the Battle of Yalmama, and I am afraid that more heavy casualties may take place among the Qurra' on other battlefields, whereby a large part of the Qur'an may be lost..." - Sahih Bukhari 6:61:509
- "...Then Abu Bakr said (to me). 'You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you, and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle. So you should search for (the fragmentary scripts of) the Qur'an and collect it in one book)." By Allah If they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur'an..." - Sahih Bukhari 6:61:509
- "...I started looking for the Qur'an and collecting it from (what was written on) palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones..."Sahih Bukhari 6:61:509
- "Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it..." - Quran 2:106
- See also "By degrees shall we teach thee (Muhammad) to declare (the message), so thou shalt not forget, except as God wills. - Quran 87:6}}
- See Jeffery's famous compilation of readings attributed to the companions: Jeffery, Arthur, Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur'an. The old Codices, Leiden, Brill, 1937
- "Abu Yunus, freedman of Aishah, Mother of Believers, reported: Aishah ordered me to transcribe the Holy Qur'an and asked me to let her know when I should arrive at the verse Hafidhuu alaas-salaati waas-salaatiil-wustaa wa quumuu lillaahi qaanitiin (2.238). When I arrived at the verse I informed her and she ordered: Write it in this way, Hafidhuu alaas-salaati waas-salaatiil-wustaa wa salaatiil 'asri wa quumuu lillaahi qaanitiin. She added that she had heard it so from the Apostle of Allah." - Muwatta Imam Malik, p.64. Also in Sahih Muslim 4:1316, for example.
- Sahih Muslim 4:1317
- Corruption and Distortion (Tahreef) in the Quran by Amar Khan, 2009 webcitation archive link
- "Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin Mas'ud was mentioned before Abdullah bin Amr who said, "That is a man I still love, as I heard the Prophet (saw) saying, 'Learn the recitation of the Qur'an from four: from Abdullah bin Mas'ud - he started with him - Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu'adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka'b"." - Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, p.96
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.488
- "Hudhaifah went on to say, "0 Abdullah ibn Qais, you were sent to the people of Basra as their governor (amir) and teacher and they have submitted to your rules, your idioms and your reading". He continued, "0 Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, you were sent to the people of Kufa as their teacher who have also submitted to your rules, idioms and reading". Abdullah said to him, "In that case I have not led them astray. There is no verse in the Book of Allah that I do not know where it was revealed and why it was revealed, and if I knew anyone more learned in the Book of Allah and I could be conveyed there, I would set out to him"." - Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.14
- Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.17
- Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p.444
- "Imam Fakhruddin said that the reports in some of the ancient books that Ibn Mas'ud denied that Suratul-Fatiha and the Mu'awwithatayni are part of the Qur'an are embarrassing in their implications... But the Qadi Abu Bakr said "It is not soundly reported from him that they are not part of the Qur'an and there is no record of such a statement from him. He omitted them from his manuscript as he did not approve of their being written. This does not mean he denied they were part of the Qur'an. In his view the Sunnah was that nothing should be inscribed in the text (mushaf) unless so commanded by the Prophet (saw) ... and he had not heard that it had been so commanded." - as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an, p.186
- Kitab al-Masahif, pp. 54-73
- As can be seen on Corpus Coranicum
- cf. Nِldeke, Geschichte, 3.63; Jeffery, Materials, p.31
- Jeffery, p.343
- As can be seen on Corpus Coranicum
- 7.19.11 - cf. Nِldeke, 3.66; Jeffery, p.40
- Jeffery, p.129
- Jeffery, p.199
- Jeffery, p.289
- "Affan ibn Muslim informed us ... on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, he on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him; he said: The best reader (of the Qur'an) among my people is Ubayyi ibn Ka'b." - Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p.441
- "`Umar said, Ubai was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur'an) yet we leave some of what he recites." Sahih Bukhari 6:61:527
- cf. Nِldeke 3.83; Jeffery, p.120
- cf. Nِldeke 3.85; Jeffery, p.127
- cf. Jeffery, p.127
- cf. Nِldeke 3.85; Jeffery, p.128
- cf. Nِoldeke 3.88; Jeffery, p.140
- Twitter.com - Dr. Marijn van Putten
- "The text does not belong to the 'Uṯmānic textual tradition, making this the only known manuscript of a non-'Uṯmānic text type." Behnam Sadeghi and Uwe Bergmann, “The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qur’ān of the Prophet,” Arabica 57, no. 4 (2010): 343–436. p.343
- Morteza Karimi-Nia of the Encyclopaedia Islamica Foundation, Tehran, says in a paper on the Codex Mashhad manuscript:
"Irrespective of the above-mentioned regional differences, any early Qurʾānic codex simultaneously contains variant readings. In other words, no codex contains only a single reading. However, it must be noted that the seven variant readings attributed to the Seven Readers, which have been prevalent since the fourth/tenth century, are only rarely evident in the Qurʾānic manuscripts of the first two Islamic centuries. In these manuscripts, instead, one can find either the above-mentioned regional differences (as between Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Basra, or Damascus) or differences in lettering and dotting, which do not necessarily reflect the canonical variants of the Seven Readers but can be traced back to the readings of one of the Prophet’s Companions or Followers."
Morteza Karimi-Nia, A new document in the early history of the Qurʾān: Codex Mashhad, an ʿUthmānic text of the Qurʾān in Ibn Masʿūd’s arrangement of Sūras, Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, Volume 10 (2019) 3, pp. 292-326 DOI:10.1163/1878464X-01003002
- Behnam Sadeghi and Uwe Bergmann, “The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qur’ān of the Prophet,” Arabica 57, no. 4 (2010): 343–436. See pages 390 ff.
- Codex Ṣanʿāʾ I – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From Mid–1st Century Of Hijra Islamic Awareness
- Cook, M. (2004) “The Stemma of the Regional Codices of the Koran,” Graeco-Arabica, 9-10
- van Putten, M. (2019) The 'Grace of God' as evidence for a written Uthmanic archetype: the importance of shared orthographic idiosyncrasies Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 82 (2) pp.271-288
- See for example comments by leading manuscript expert and linguist Dr. Marijn van Putten here, here and here
- Yasin Dutton (2012) "Orality, literacy and the 'seven aḥruf' ḥadīth", Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol. 23 (1) pp.1-49"
- While not mentioned by Dutton nor discussed in this section, Al-Nurayn and al-Wilaya are two surahs (chapters) that appear in an anonymously authored book called Dabistan-i Mazahib ("School of religions"), written in Persian and published in India, comparing religions and sects of Southeast Asia in the 17th century, and in a Qur'an manuscript dating to around the same time found in Bankipore, India. Shia, Sunni and western scholars regard these two surahs to be forgeries. Sunni scholars often allege that they are forgeries intended to increase animosity towards the Shi'ite Muslims in the Sunni world.
- "Umar said to me ‘How many verses are contained in the chapter of al-Ahzab?’ I said, ‘72 or 73 verses.’ He said it was almost as long as the chapter of the Cow, which contains 287 verses, and in it there was the verse of stoning." - Al-Muttaqi ‘Ali bin Husam al-Din in his book “Mukhtasar Kanz al-’Ummal” printed on the margin of Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Volume 2, page 2, in his hadith about chapter 33
- As-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an, p.524 (or p.13 of the chapter on Nasikh and Mansukh in the abridged English translation of Al-Itqan by Muneer Fareed)
- “It was narrated that 'Aishah said: The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.” Sunan Ibn Majah 3:9:1944 (Graded Hasan by Dar-us-Salam). Also found in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal. vol. 6. page 269; Ibn Qutbah, Tawil Mukhtalafi 'l-Hadith (Cairo: Maktaba al-Kulliyat al-Azhariyya. 1966) page 310; As-Suyuti, ad-Durru 'l-Manthur, vol. 2. page 13
- "...Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Verily Allah sent Muhammad (may peace be upon him) with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah's Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession...." - Sahih Muslim 17:4194
- "Abu Huraira and Zaid b Khalid al-Juhani reported that one of the desert tribes came to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and said: Messenger of Allah, I beg of you in the name of Allah that you pronounce judgment about me according to the Book of Allah. The second claimant who was wiser than him said: Well, decide amongst us according to the Book of Allah, but permit me (to say something). Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon ham) said: Say. He said: My son was a servant in the house of this person and he committed adultery with his wife. I was informed that my son deserved stoning to death (as punishment for this offence). I gave one hundred goats and a slave girl as ransom for this. I asked the scholars (if this could serve as an expiation for this offence). They informed me that my son deserved one hundred lathes and exile for one year. and this woman deserved stoning (as she was married). Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace he upon him) said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life. I will decide between you according to the Book of Allah. The slave-girl and the goats should be given back, and your son is to be punished with one hundred lashes and exile for one year. And, O Unais (b. Zuhaq al-Aslami), go to this woman in the morning, and if she makes a confession, then stone her. He (the narrator) said: He went to her in the morning and she made a confession. And Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) made pronouncement about her and she was stoned to death." Sahih Muslim 17:4209
- This is clear from the hadith itself, and is also almost always the meaning of "Book of Allah" in other hadiths and verses, including the hadith about Umar and the stoning verse previously mentioned. See for example " Narrated `Ikrima: Ibn `Abbas said, "How can you ask the people of the Scriptures about their Books while you have Allah's Book (the Qur'an) which is the most recent of the Books revealed by Allah, and you read it in its pure undistorted form?"" Sahih Bukhari 9:93:613
- See for example regarding the abrogation Al-Muwatta 30:17 and Sahih Muslim 8:3421, and the displeasure of Muhammad's wives Al-Muwatta 30:12
- Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an by Al-Suyuti, pp.16-17 of the chapter on Nasikh and Mansukh in the abridged English translation by Muneer Fareed
- Musnad Ahmad 21245
- Tafsir al Qurtubi, introduction for Surah Ahzab
- Both al-Suyuti's Itqan and ibn Nadim's Fihrist have this sequence in their (otherwise slightly different) lists of the surahs found in Ubayy ibn Ka'b's mushaf according to Theodor Nöldeke et. al. (1909, 1919) "The History of the Qur'an" 2nd Edition, Ed. and trans. by Behn W. H. (2013) Brill: Leiden p. 243-244
- English translation from https://islamqa.info/en/178209
- A similar English translation (but with the words "O God" accidentally omitted from al-Hafd), together with the Arabic text and textual transmission details can be found in Theodor Nöldeke et. al. (1909, 1919) "The History of the Qur'an" 2nd Edition, Ed. and trans. by Behn W. H. (2013) Brill: Leiden p. 241 Nöldeke considered it unlikely that these two Surahs and Surah al-Fatiha were originally part of the Qur'an.
- (the Separation)
- al-Suyuti, Al-Itqan, p.152-153
- See pp.78-79 in Sean Anthony, Two ‘Lost’ Sūras of the Qurʾān: Sūrat al-Khalʿ and Sūrat al-Ḥafd between Textual and Ritual Canon (1st -3rd/7th -9th Centuries) [Pre-Print Version], Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 46 (2019)
- see also al-Suyuti in his Tafseer Dur al-Manthur, Volume 4 page 421
- according to hadith 7032 in Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah
- “While the Messenger of Allah - peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- was supplicating against the Mudhar, Gabriel came to him and signaled him to remain silent, so he became silent. Then Gabriel said, “O Muhammad, Allah has not sent you to disparage or condemn, rather he has sent you as a mercy. And he has not sent you to bring torment. ‘Not for you, [O Muhammad, but for Allah], is the decision whether He should [cut them down] or forgive them or punish them, for indeed, they are wrongdoers.’ [Qur’an 3:128] Then he taught him this supplication, ‘O Allah! We beg help from You alone …’” Sunan al-Kubra, Hadith 3142
- "l-Husain b. 'l-Munadi in his work l-Nasikh wa l-Mansukh said: of the material that was removed from the Qur'an but not from memory are the two chapters of the qunut supplications that are recited in the witr prayer; they were named l-Khal`a and l-Hafd" p.15 of the chapter on Nasikh and Mansukh in the abridged English translation of Al-Itqan by Muneer Fareed
- A longer quote of al-Munadi's words is even more revealing: "Az-Zarkashi said in al-Burhaan (2/37): The leading hadeeth scholar Abu’l-Husayn Ahmad ibn Ja‘far al-Manaadi said in his book an-Naasikh wa’l-Mansookh, concerning that which has been abrogated from the Qur’an but was not erased from what people had learned by heart, that this included the two soorahs that are recited in Qunoot in Witr prayer. He said: There is no difference of opinion among the earlier scholars that these two soorahs were written down in the mushafs that were attributed to Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, and it was narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he recited them, and they were called the soorahs of al-Khal‘ and al-Hafd." https://islamqa.info/en/195880
- “’Abdullah bin Mas’ud was asked as to why he did not write al-Fatiha in his Mushaf. He replied, ‘If I were to write I would write it before every surah.’” Abu Bakr al-Anbari explains this saying every raka’ah (in prayers) starts with al-Fatiha and then another surah is recited. It is as if Ibn Mas’ud said, ‘I have dropped it for the sake of brevity and I have trusted its preservation by Muslims (collectively).’ (al-Qurtubi, al-Jami al-Ahkam al-Qur’an. Dar al-Kutab al-Misriyah, Cairo, 1964 vol.1 p.115)
- Shady Hekmat Nasser, The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur'an: The Problem of Tawaatur and the Emergence of Shawaadhdh, pp.57-58. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2012.
- "Abu Waqid al-Laithii said, "When the messenger of Allah (saw) received the revelation we would come to him and he would teach us what had been revealed. (I came) to him and he said 'It was suddenly communicated to me one day: Verily Allah says, ..." - As-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an, p.525 (or p.13 of the chapter on Nasikh and Mansukh in the abridged English translation of Al-Itqan by Muneer Fareed)
- "Malik says that several verses from chapter 9 (Sura of Repentance) have been dropped from the beginning. Among them is, ‘In the name of God the compassionate, the Merciful’ because it was proven that the length of Sura of Repentance was equal to the length of the Sura of the Cow." - "The Itqan" by Suyuti Part 3, Page 184
- “Malik said among what had been narrated by Ibn Wahb and Ibn Al Qasim and Ibn Abdul Hakam is that when the first part of Surat Bara'at was lost, ‘Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem’ was also lost along with it. It has also been narrated from Ibn Ajlan that he heard that Surat Bara'at was equal to the length of Surat Al Baqarah or approximately equal to it, so the part was gone and because of that "Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem" wasn't written between them (between the lost and the remaining part) .” Tafsir al-Qurtubi on Surah al Bara'at
- 'Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: "I said to 'Uthman bin 'Affan: 'What was your reasoning with Al-Anfal - while it is from the Muthani (Surah with less than one-hundred Ayat), and Bara'ah while it is from the Mi'in (Surah with about one-hundred Ayat), then you put them together, without writing the line Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim between them, and you placed them with the seven long (Surah) - why did you do that?' So 'Uthman said: 'A long time might pass upon the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) without anything being revealed to him, and then sometimes a Surah with numerous (Ayat) might be revealed. So when something was revealed, he would call for someone who could write, and say: "Put these Ayat in the Surah which mentions this and that in it." When an Ayah was revealed, he would say: "Put this Ayah in the Surah which mentions this and that in it." Now Al-Anfal was among the first of those revealed in Al-Madinah, and Bara'ah among the last of those revealed of the Qur'an, and its narrations (those of Bara'ah) resembled its narrations (those of Al-Anfal), so we thought that it was part of it. Then the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) died, and it was not made clear to us whether it was part of it. So it is for this reason that we put them together without writing Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim between them, and we put that with the seven long (Surahs).'"' Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3086
- Various sized selections of qira'at were published over the centuries. Ibn Mihran (d. 991) was the first to choose the same set of ten. Christopher Melchert (2008) The Relation of the Ten Readings to One Another Journal of Qur'anic Studies Vol.10 (2) pp.73-87
- See for example 19:25, 82:9, and 21:104 on corpuscoranicum.de
- Ahmad 'Ali al Imam (1998), "Variant Readings of the Quran: A critical study of their historical and linguistic origins", Institute of Islamic Thought: Virginia, USA, pp.126-133
- Shady Hekmat Nasser, The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur'an: The Problem of Tawaatur and the Emergence of Shawaadhdh, p. 64. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2012.
- Shady Hekmat Nasser, The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur'an: The Problem of Tawaatur and the Emergence of Shawaadhdh, p. 103. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2012.
- Ibid. p.36
- Nasser, S.H. (2013) "The Two-Rāwī Canon before and after ad-Dānī (d. 444/1052–3): The Role of Abū ṭ-Ṭayyib Ibn Ghalbūn (d. 389/998) and the Qayrawān/Andalus School in Creating the Two-Rāwī Canon", Oriens 41 (1-02), 41-75
- Death dates for the first seven readers and their rawis are from Shady Hekmat Nasser, The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur'an: The Problem of Tawaatur and the Emergence of Shawaadhdh, p. 129. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2012.
- These are summarised in Ahmad 'Ali al Imam (1998), "Variant Readings of the Quran: A critical study of their historical and linguistic origins", Institute of Islamic Thought: Virginia, USA, pp.9-20
- Melchert, Christopher, and ميلشرت کريستوفر. “The Relation of the Ten Readings to One Another / العلاقة بين القراءات العشر.” Journal of Qur'anic Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, 2008, pp. 73–87. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25728289. Accessed 16 Nov. 2020.
- Nasser, S. The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qurʾān: The Problem of Tawātur and the Emergence of Shawādhdh, Leiden, Boston:Brill, 2013, p.83
- Ahmad 'Ali al Imam (1998), "Variant Readings of the Quran: A critical study of their historical and linguistic origins", Institute of Islamic Thought: Virginia, USA, pp.65-67
- Ibid. p.66
- See the list in Cook, M. (2004) “The Stemma of the Regional Codices of the Koran,” Graeco-Arabica, 9-10 or Nasser, S. "The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān (324/936)" Brill, 2020, pp.143-150
- See for example Quran 19:19, where Abu Amr and the transmission of Warsh from Nafi have Gabriel saying to Mary li-yahaba ("that he may give") instead of li-'ahaba ("that I may give") corpuscoranicum.de. The ya consonant for this variant is sometimes written in red ink on manuscripts or superscript in print.
The non-canonical Ṣan'ā' 1 palimpsest solves the theologically awkward reading in another way, using li-nahaba ("that we may give") - See p.64, line 15 of Folio 22B in Sadeghi & Goudarzi, "San'a' 1 and the Origins of the Qur'an," Der Islam 87, No. 1-2 (February 2012) 1-129
- See Abu Dawud Book 8:1472 sunnah.com in which the angel reveals up to seven modes. "He then said: 'Each mode is sufficiently health-giving, whether you utter 'all-hearing and all-knowing' or instead 'all-powerful and all-wise'."
- See how Muhammad settled a dispute between his followers regarding the correct recitation Sahih Bukhari 9:93:640
- Corpus Coranicum - Lesarten tab
- nquran.com to see the variants in Arabic script
- See the tables of variants in Abu Fayyad, Fawzi Ibrahim (1989) The Seven Readings of the Qur'an: A Critical Study of Their Linguistic Differences. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
- A good example is Quran 19:25, where corpuscoranicum.de shows four canonical readings for the word "it will drop": Ya'qub's yassāqaṭ where "it" refers to the (masculine) trunk, and three other forms such as tassāqaṭ where "it" refers to the (feminine) palm tree (as mentioned for this verse in Lane's Lexicon p.1379), with or without shaddah to emphasise the number of dates falling. It further documents several non-canonical variants for this same word.
- Leemhuis, F. 2006, 'From Palm Leaves to the Internet' in McAuliffe J. D. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.150 Google books preview
- kitabklasik.net Click one of the links labelled download to view in pdf format and see page 307 of the 630 page pdf
- Puin, G. "Vowel letters and ortho-epic writing in the Qur'an" in Reynolds, S (ed.) New Perspectives on the Qur'an: The Qur'an in Its Historical Context 2, Routledge 2011 pp.176-177
- Which Qur'an? by Layth Al-Shaiban
- Categories of this type include use of plural instead of singular as in Quran 59:114:1 "walls" instead of "a wall", active instead of passive as in Quran 23:115 "be returned" instead of "return", extra conjunction as in Quran 2:116 "And they say" instead of "They say".
- Hussein Abdul-Raof, "Theological approaches to Qur'anic exergesis", London and New York: Routledge, 2012, p.101
- See the explanation in Tafsir al-Jalalayn, which is also common among early scholars. Some later scholars suggested various unlikely ways to reconcile this variation.
- Nasser, S. The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qurʾān: The Problem of Tawātur and the Emergence of Shawādhdh, Leiden, Boston:Brill, 2013, p.53
- Ibid. pp. 47-61
- Ibid. p.167
- Ibid. pp.41-47
- Ibid. pp.6-7
- Ibid. pp.59-61 (for specific examples of him criticising such variants, many of which are unique to particular canonical readers or transmitters, see the list and summary table in chapter 2, pp.64-89 of Nasser's follow-up book Nasser, S. H. "The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān (324/936)" Brill, 2020; Similarly, see the open access appendix from Nasser's book and search for the word "wrong" to see which of the variants documented by ibn Mujahid were described as such, whether in terms of transmission or the reading variant itself being wrong; or see the examples given by van Putten on Twitter.com here and here
- Ibid. pp.60-61 (see also the footnote on p.61)
- Ibid. p.64
- Ibid. pp. 59-61
- ibid. p.65
- "Hišām's ʾIbrāhām : Evidence for a Canonical Quranic Reading Based on the Rasm" (April 2020). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 30 (2): 251. doi:10.1017/S1356186320000218. pp.13-15 of the open access pdf
- He elaborates in much more detail in this Twitter thread in which he also explains why the opposite explanation, that the regional rasm variants are adaptations to the readings in those places, is "untenable" Dr Marijn Van Putten, "Twitter.com", 18 January 2020 (archived), https://twitter.com/PhDniX/status/1218669152371650560.
- "Hišām's ʾIbrāhām : Evidence for a Canonical Quranic Reading Based on the Rasm" (April 2020). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 30 (2): 251. doi:10.1017/S1356186320000218. pp.15-16 of the open access pdf
- Ibid. pp.14-15 of the open access pdf in which the important stemmatic work of Michael Cook is highlighted.
- Younes, M., Charging Steeds or Maidens Performing Good Deeds. In Search of the Original Qur'an, London:Routledge, 2018 p. 3
- Corpus Coranicum
- Corpus Coranicum
- See especially chapter 4, pp.159, 163-164, 172-176, 178-180, and the list and summary in chapter 2 pp.64-89 of Nasser, S. "The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān (324/936)" Brill, 2020
- Ibid. p.173
- Ibid. p.171
- Ibid. See the isnad diagrams in chapter 3
- Ibid. pp.131-136
- Behnam Sadeghi and Uwe Bergmann, “The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qur’ān of the Prophet,” Arabica 57, no. 4 (2010): 343–436. p.365, footnote 36