Monday, 4 August 2014

Preservation Of The Quran: Questions & answers

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

The Holy Quran has stated:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Surely We have revealed the Admonition (the Quran), and surely We are its Guardian (Al-Hijr, 15:9).

Through this revelation it has been prophesised that the Quran will exist in its original form till the Last Day, and no power on earth will succeed in destroying it or causing any alteration and adulteration it it. It has been made apparent in the preceding pages how Almighty Allah has made this prophesy practically true and how the Quran has been safeguarded in every age. Hence, today it can be said with full confidence and without any fear of contradiction that we have the Quran in exactly the same form as it was taught by the Holy prophet Muhammad (SAW) and even a single dot or stroke could not be changed.
This is not only the faith of Muslims but unbiased non-Muslims have also accepted this fact and could not dare to deny it. But when one's vision is blurred by malice and prejudice, even a crystal glass would appear murky to him. And this is the reason that some non-Muslims writers have raised suspicions and objections about the preservation of the Holy Quran. We would like here to briefly discuss the truth about these suspicions.

First Objection:

Some Verses Of Early Days Could Not Be Preserved

The well-known Oreintalist F. Buhl has claimed that Quranic verses were not being written in the early days of their revelation, and their preservation depended entirely on the memory of the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions. Hence it is quite likely that the verses revealed during the period may not have been preserved. In support of his claim Buhl [1] has presented two verses of the Holy Quran:
سَنُقْرِئُكَ فَلَا تَنسَى ﴿٦﴾ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّـهُ
1: "We shall make you (O Prophet) recite (our revelations) so that you shall not forget, except what Allah wills." (Al-Ala, 87:6-7).

مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا
2: "Whatever revelation We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or similar to it." (Al-Baqarah, 2:106).
But anyone even with a rudimentary understanding of the Quran and it's exegesis can see the absurdity of this objection, because these two verses refer only to the abrogated verses of the Quran.
The background of revelation of the first verse is that in the beginning whenever Jibril used to bring some verses the Prophet (SAW) used to hurriedly repeat them for fear of forgetting them and this cause him a great deal of strain. This verse comforted him by assuring him that he should not put himself to hardship of memorising the revelations because Allah has taken the responsibility of preservation of the Quran upon Himself, hence he would not forget them.
But this could have been taken amiss due to the fact that some verses of the Quran were forgotten later on due to their abrogation. This has been explained by saying لا ما شاء اللـه (except that which Allah Wills). This only means that only that verse would be forgotten that was abrogated and not otherwise. Similarly, the other verse only denotes that due to their abrogation some verses would be forgotten by the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions.[2]
Hence, the most the two verses prove is that when Allah abrogated some verses, He not only ordered their erasure from the transcriptions but simultaneously cause their obliteration from the memories of the people. As far as the non-abrogated verses are concerned, it has been categorically affirmed about them that they will never be forgotten by the Prophet (SAW). How does it follow from this there is a possibility of forgetting the un-abrogated verses also?
The argument on the basis of these verses that the Quran was not being recorded in the early days of Islam is utterly baseless and absurd. We have already mentioned that it is authentically proved that the Quran existed in written form with the Companions before the acceptance of Islam by 'Umar (RA).

Hence the mention of only "forgetfulness" in the first verse does not mean that the Quran did not exist in written form, but it's actual reason is that this verse deals with the topic of "forgetfulness". Any mention of erasure of the written verses at this point would have been out of the way and out of context. That is why the second verse deals with both abrogation ('erasure of the written sentences') and forgetfulness because in this verse, the subject of discussion is abrogation. The literal meaning of abrogation is erasure, or blotting out, hence this verse clearly denotes that the Quran was presented in written form and some of its verses were erased due to their abrogation. It is surprising that the verse which is actually affirming the Quran's existence in written form is being presented by Buhl to negate it.

Second Objection:

The Prophet Had Once Forgotten A Verse
Oreintalist D.S. Margoliouth has tried to cast doubts about the preservation of the Quran on the basis of a tradition by Bukhari and Muslim. [3]. It has been reported by Sayyidah 'Aisha (RA) that the Holy Prophet (SAW) once heard one of his Companions reciting the Quran, and said:
It has been reported by Sayyidah 'Aisha (RA) that the Holy Prophet (SAW) once heard one of his Companions reciting the Quran, and said:
رحمه الله. لقد أذكرني آية كنت أنسيتها
"Allah's mercy be on him, he made be remember a verse that I had forgotten." [4]

By quoting this narration, Margoliouth intends to deduce that if the Prophet (SAW) can forget one verse at any time, it may possibly happen with other verses as well. Probably he also wants to indicate that the Quran did not exist in writing otherwise the Prophet (SAW) would not have forgotten that verse. But this objection is so absurd and baseless that even a man with ordinary intelligence will not accept it. Sometimes, it does happen that man does remember something yet due to a prolonged dissociation with it he does not have it fresh in his memory, but as soon as someone mentions it, it becomes fresh in memory again. Actually this is not forgetfulness but only a temporary dissociation of thought. The same happened with the Holy Prophet (SAW). Terming it forgetfulness on the basis on such an incident is the height of travesty which is nothing but sheer bigotry. On the contrary, had Mr. Margoliouth viewed it with insight and justice, he would have realised that this incident actually proves that Allah has safeguarded the Quran in such an extraordinary manner that no possibility exists for any part of it to become lost. The incident simply proves that reality that every single verse of the Quran was made to be memorised by so many people that if ever a verse did not remain fresh in the memory of the Prophet (SAW) for the time being there was no possibility of it getting lost.
The objection that this incident denotes that the Quran at that time, did not exist in written form is even more unfounded and ridiculous: We have already pointed out that the only thing this incident says is that a verse was revived in the memory of the Holy Prophet (SAW) by it's recitation by a Companion. It does not prove that the Quran was not founded in written form. Does. Mr. Margoliouth think that a thing once written can never become obscure from a person's mind for a short while? Further, the whole world knows that the Holy Prophet (SAW) did not know reading or writing. So, there was no connection between his remembrance of the Quran and it's transcription, hence inference that the Quran did not exist in written form can be drawn from this incident only by a person who has closed the doors of justice and wisdom on himself.

Third Objection:

Reference of Surah Al-An'am in Surah An-Nisa'
Margoliouth has advanced another very strange argument about his contention that the Quran was not written. He points out that the Quran stated in Surah An-Nisa':
...وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ
"And (O Believers!) He has indeed (already) revealed to you in the Book that when you hear revelations of Allah being delievered in and mocked at, sit not with them (who do this) until they indulge in a discourse other than that..." (An-Nisa, 4:140).

This verse is Madinian and the Makkan verse referred to in it as under:
...وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ
(O Prophet) when you see those who meddle with our revelations, you withdraw from them till they meddle with some other discourse. (Al-An'am, 6:68).

The first verse refers to the second verse but their wordings are different. Margoliouth infers from this that the Quran did not exist in written form, because if it were written down, the first verse must have used the very same words as the second verse. The difference in the wordings means that the words of the second verse were not preserved when the first verse was revealed. [5]

This argument of Margoliouth is so palpably unsound that one feels abashed even to refute it. The question here arises, "If the words of the above mentioned verse of Surah Al-An'am were not preserved at the time of revelation of Surah An-Nisa' how were they written in the Quran later on?" If the original words of Surah Al-An'am were not preserved, logically the later scribes would have written there exactly the same words as in Surah An-Nisa'. The difference in words in fact denotes that the words of both the verses were fully preserved and unchanged, and there was no element of conjecture or guess. If the transcription of the Quran had been guess-work there should have been no difference in the wordings of these two verses.

The fact is that in every language there are two ways of making reference to a preceding subject. Sometimes the exact words of the previous narration are. Sometimes, the exact words of the previous narration are repeated, which form of speech is known in English as Direct Narration; while sometimes the same words are not repeated but the basic meanings are described in different words, known as Indirect Narration. Of these, the former form is not commonly adopted, generally it is the latter form that is resorted to in literary phraseology. This latter form is the one adopted in Surah An-Nisa'. Another reason for this is that many a time every Surah of the Quran has a different style in relation to the formation of its sentences. Hence if a sentence from another Surah is added in between it's own phrases, the sequence of the verse would break and the flow of these sentences would not be maintained. Anybody having the slightest literary taste can see that reproduction of the exact words of the Surah Al-An'am in the verse of Surah An-Nisa' would break the sequence and flow of the phrase. Further, it should be noted that the entire Surah Al-An'am about which Margoliouth says that it was not written, was revealed in one instance and it contains the following verse also: [6]

وَهَـٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَكٌ مُّصَدِّقُ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ
"And this (Quran) is the blessed Book which We have revealed confirming that which was (revealed) before it." (Al-An'am, 6:92).
In the verse the word 'Book' has been used for the Quran. If the Quran was not being written up till the revelation of Surah Al-An'am it could not be called a "Book" which word implies only to written materials. In short, this objection of Margoliouth , too, turns out to be unfounded, absurd and a produce of animus and prejudice.

Fourth Objection:

Slander of Margoliouth against Imam Bukhari
Raising his fourth objection on the preservation of the Quran, Margoliouth says that Bukhari has stated that the sentence:

إِلَّا أَنْ تَصِلُوا مَا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ مِنَ الْقَرَابَةِ
(Except that you respect the relation that exists between me and you).
was a divine revelation through Wahy, but the commentators say that this sentence does not exist in the Quran. Hence they consider this sentence as an explanatory note to the Quranic verse 23 of Surah Ash-Shura, 42, that is:

إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَى
...but (I seek to guide you) in respect of love of kinship... [7]

But we wish to state with full sense of responsibility that with these words an Orientalist of the reputation of Margoliouth has made such a slanderous statement which which cannot be termed as anything other than a dishonest and prejudiced bias or at the least a lamentable ignorance. With this, Mr. Margoliouth has tried to create an impression that Imam Bukhari considered a sentence as part of the Quran which is not found in the Quran at present. Any unbiased and honest person may turn the pages of Sahih Bukhari and find that he has copied the verse in exactly the same words as they exist in the Quran and the sentence (......الا ان تصاوا) has been written as it's explanation. The complete text of Imam Bukhari's statement is as under:
...باب قوله إلا المودة في القربى حدثنا محمد بن بشار
عن ابن عباس أنه سئل عن قوله إلا المودة في القربى . فقال سعيد بن جبير : قربى آل محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فقال ابن عباس : عجلت ، إن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يكن بطن من قريش إلا كان له فيهم قرابة . فقال : إلا أن تصلوا ما بيني وبينكم من القرابة

CHAPTER, The statement of Allah "Except in respect of love of kinship (42:23). Narrator Muhammad bin Bashar... from Ibn 'Abbas (RA) that he was asked (regarding) "but (I seek to guide you) in respect of love of kinship" (43:23). Sa'id ibn Jubayr said: "It means here (to show what is due for) the relatives of Muhammad (SAW)." On that Ibn 'Abbas said: You have hurried in giving the answer! There was no branch of the tribe of Quraysh but the Prophet had relatives therein. The Prophet (SAW) said "I do not want anything from (you) except to be kind to me from my kinship with you." [8]

It is quite clear now that under the heading of the verse Imam Bukhari has written exactly the same sentence of the verse that occurs in the Quran. Then as an explanation to it Sayyidina Ibn 'Abbas (RA) was asked to comment on the verse إلا المودة في القربى and he said إلا أن تصلوا ما بيني وبينكم من القرابة but Mr. Margoliouth had the effrontery to state that Imam Bukhari believes this sentence as part of Quran revelation. Once can easily understand how deep and abiding and abiding is the prejudice which animates these so called pioneers of research and truth due to their prejudice against the Quran, and how tightly the malice and grudge against Islam has trapped them.
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّـهُ مَرَضًا
In their hearts is a disease, so Allah has increased their disease. (Al-Baqarah, 2:10)

Fifth Objection:

Some verses were lost by Sayyidah 'Aisha (RA)
The fifth objection raised by Margoliouth is that according to a narration of Musnad Ahmad some verses were lost [9] by Sayyidah 'Ayshah (RA). The narration referred to by Margoliouth is as under,
عنعن عائشة زوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم , قالت : لقد نزلت آية الرجم ، ورضاعة الكبير عشرا , فكانت في ورقة ، تحت سرير في بيتي , فلما اشتكى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم - تشاغلنا بأمره , ودخلت دويبة لنا فأكلتها
"Sayyida 'Aisha (RA) stated that verses above stoning and ten 'Rid'at of older people were revealed. These verses were written on a paper that was kept under the bed. When the Prophet (SAW) suffered from the agony of death we got busy in looking after him. Our pet animal came and ate that paper." [10]
The fact is that the verses mentioned in this narration were the ones that were abrogated for recital. Sayyidah 'Aishah (RA) herself believes on the abrogation of those verses. If she had kept them written in a paper it does not mean anything other than the preservation of a relic. She, however, remembered them and if she knew them to be a part of the Quran she would have got them transcribed in the copies of the Quran, but she never made any attempt all her life. It is clear that she herself considered them no more than an academic momento. This incident does not cause any reproach to the preservation of the Quran.

Sixth Objection:

Number of memorisers of the Qur'an in the days of the Prophet
Some people have doubted the preservation of the Quran on the basis of a tradition of Sayyidina Qatadah (RA). This traditions is quoted by Bukhari in the following words.
-سألت أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه : من جمع القرآن على عهد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ؟ قال : أربعة كلهم من الأنصار : أبي بن كعب ، ومعاذ ابن جبل ، وزيد بن ثابت ، وأبو زيد
"I asked Sayyidina Anas bin Malik as to who collected the Quran in the days of the Prophet (SAW). He said, Four persons, all from among the Ansars, Ubayy bin Ka'b, Mu'az bin Jabal, Zayd bin Thabit and Abu Zayd."

On the basis of this Hadith, some people think that in the days of the Prophet (SAW) there were only four persons who had memorised the Quran by heart. In fact this is not true. We have already given the names of those who had memorised the Quran during the days of the Prophet (SAW). Hence the narration of Sayyidina Anas bin Malik certainly does not mean that there were no more than these four memorisers of the Quran in the entire group of the Companions. But in the tradition under reference the phrase "who collected the Quran" has been used, and the correct interpretation of this is "Who wrote the Quran"? Sayyidina Anas (RA) in fact meant that these were the four persons who had with then the complete manuscript of the Quran during the very early days of the Prophet (SAW).

Further, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) has written the full story of the narration of Sayyidina Anas (RA) with reference to a narration from Tabari as follows "Once the tribes of Aws and Khazraj each claimed supremacy over the other and boasted feats of their members." The .people of Aws enumerated the names of their tribesmen who had gained a special status in Islam. In reply to this the people of Khazraj (including Sayyidina Anas) said that there were four persons in their tribe who had collected the entire Quran. Hence his narration could also mean that there were only these four persons in both the tribes who had collected the Quran. [11]

Seventh Objection:

'Abdullah Bin Mas'ud And Mu'Awwadhatayn (The last two Surahs)

Some people make the most of the narration of Musnad Ahmad which states that Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin did not consider the last two Surahs of the Quran (Al-Falaq and An-Nas) as part of the Quran. [12]

This is a false allegation. In fact. 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, like the entire Ummah considered these two Surahs as part of the Quran, and the traditions which are against it are not correct. It is proved from the fact that: the uninterrupted recitals from him contain these Surahs. Of the ten recitals the one from 'Asim is quoted by Abu Abdur Rahman Sulmi, Zirr ibn Hubaysh and Abu Amr-al-Shaybani, and all of them have reported it from Sayyidna 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud. [13] Similarly, the recital of Hamzah is quoted by 'Alqamah, Aswad, Ibn Wahb, Masruq, Asim bin Damrah and Harith and all of them have reported it from 'Abdullah bin Masud. [14] Futher, the recitals of Kisai and Khalaf are also traced back to 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud because Kisai learnt it from Hamzah, and Khalaf was a student of his student.

Since there is a consensus on the fact that all the reports of "The ten recitals" are the most convincing and authentic reports and are being transmitted uninterruptedly from generation to generation [15] hence, isolated report against these must be rejected and cannot be accepted. It is on this basis that most scholars of Hadith and researchers have termed as weak, invented or at least unacceptable reports that attribute the false belief towards 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud. These scholars include 'Allamah Nawawi, 'Allamah Ibn Hazm, Imam Razi, Qadi Abu Bakr bin 'Arabi. 'Allamah Bahr-ul-'Ulum, and of the latest era, the renowned research scholar 'Allamah Zahid Kauthari (RA). [16]

One may think that since Hafiz Ibn Hajar and 'Allamah Nuruddin Haythmi (RA) have asserted that all the narrators of these reports were reliable people, [17] how can these reports be termed as incorrect? But the people who have a knowledge of the science of Hadith know it well that reliability of the narrators alone is not sufficient for a tradition to be correct, but it is also necessary that it should have no element of flaw and irregularity in it. All scholars of Hadith have defined "Correct Tradition" as devoid of any defect or irregularity and if a tradition contains these elements, it would not be regarded as correct despite the reliability of it's narrators. In his preface Hafiz Ibn-us-Sallah writes as under.

"Hence Hadith Ma'allal (Motivated Tradition) is that wherein some defect may be suspected even though apparently it may seem to be correct. And this defect may be found even in it's precedent wherein also the narrators are reliable men and in which all the conditions of authenticity seem to be present. The defect is comprehended by those having deep insight in the science of Hadith through several means e.g. by finding the narrator as an isolated one, or sometimes due to his opposition to some other narrator coupled with some other indications. [18]

Similarly, there is a kind of Tradition called "Shaz" (Rare). In it the narrators are reliable but because they oppose other narrators more reliable than themselves their report is not accepted. Hence, 'Allamah Nawawi and Ibn Hazm and regard as unacceptable those Hadith that allege that 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud did not consider the last Surahs as part of the Quran although their narrators are reliable men. They have the following reasons for their stand:
1: These reports are defective because they are against such recitals of 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud as have been reported uninterruptedly.

2: The narration of Musnad Ahmad that describes the saying of Ibn Mas'ud... انهما ليستا من كتاب الله (These are not part of the Book of Allah) is reported only by 'Abdur Rahman bin Yazid Nakh'i. Nobody else has reported this sentence from him as such. [19] Also it is not an uninterrupted narration, hence it is classed as "Rare". According to the principles established by Scholars of Hadith "Rare reports" are not acceptable.
3: Even if these reports are taken as correct they shall remain "Isolated New", and the Ummah has consensus that any Isolated news that does not conform to the rule of continuity is unacceptable. The recitals of Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud (RA) are proved through uninterrupted narrations and are doubtless authentic. Hence these isolated news against those narrations are unacceptable.

The question now remains that if these narrations are not correct then why the reliable narrators reported such a baseless thing? The answer to this question is that although he believed them to be part of Quran, 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud (RA) may not have written them in his manuscript for some reason. And reporter of this fact may have deduced from it that Ibn Mas'ud did not consider them to be Quranic revelations although it was a fact that he had not written them down in spite of believing them to be part of Quran. There could be many reasons for not writing them in his manuscript. For example, 'Allamah Zahid Kawthri has stated that he had not written them down because there was no fear of their being forgotten. Every Muslim remembers them by heart. [20]
This argument is supported by the fact that 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud (RA) did not even write down the Surah Al-Fatiha in his manuscript. Imam Abu Bakr Al-Ambari has reported that Ibn 'Abbas was asked about it and he replied that if he had to write Surah Al-Fatiha he would have written it with every Surah. Imam Abu Bakr says that this meant that since the Surah is recited with every Surah during Salah, he had omitted it and relied on the memory of Muslims.[21]
Anyhow, there can be several explanations by 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud had not written surah, Al-Fatiha and these two Surahs in his manuscript. It cannot be concluded from it that he did not consider them to be part of the Quran, while the entire Quran has been reported uninterruptedly from him including these Surahs.

Eighth Objection:

Collection of the Quran during the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA)

We have already mentioned in detail about the accomplishment of the collection of the Holy Quran during the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA). Some Orientalists have outright refused to accept this fact. They maintain that no attempt was officially made to collect and compile the Quran at that time and it was only Sayyidina 'Uthman (RA) who first preformed this task. They further claim that the transcription of Sayyida Hafsah (RA) which 'Uthman (RA) used was her personal copy and not the officially compiled Quran. To support this claim they have raised certain objections to the tradition quoted by Bukhari that has been reported from Zayd bin Thabit (RA) and which has described the incident of collection and compilation of the Quran at the time of Abu Bakr Siddiq. [22] All these objections have been summerised by Montogomery Watt. [23] It is unnecessary to mention all those objections in these pages and give an answer to them because most of them are such that anybody with common sense can easily answer them. However, some important objections are answered below.

One of their objections is raised on a Hadith in Bukhari that Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA) was motivated to write down the Quran on observing that many martyrs the Battle of Yamamah were the Huffaz (those who had memorised the Quran). They state that the number of Huffaz martyred in this battle was negligible because most of the martyrs were recently converted Muslims. This objection is not only unfounded but also absurd. It was first raised by Fredrich Schwally and subsequently other Orientalists blindly follow him, [24] and none of them bothered to have gone through the list of martyrs and see how far this objection is true? The fact is that the number of participants in the battle of Yamamah was three hundred and sixty Muhajirin (Immigrants) and Ansars (Helpers) of Madina and three hundred Muhajirin (Immigrants) from other parts around Madinah. [25] Evidently the names of all the 660 persons could not be preserved. However, fifty eight names have been mentioned by Ibn Kathir. [26]

Of these 58 persons one was Salim Mawla Abi Huzyfah (RA) who held the most distinguished position among the Companions by virtue of being a Hafiz and Qari (Recitor). He was one of the four Companions who were specifically named by the Prophet (RA) from whom the Quran may be learnt. He was the Imam (that is, he used to lead the Salah) at the mosque of Quba before the Hijrah and 'Umar (RA) also used to offer Salah behind him. He often used to lead the Salah during journeys because he was regarded as the greatest scholar of the Quran. [27]

The other eminent person was Abu Huzayfah (RA) and he was the forty-fourth Muslims in history of Islam. [28] His eminent place regarding the knowledge of the Quran can well be imagined from his close connection with Sayyidina Salim apart from his long association with the Holy Prophet (SAW).

The third eminent person was Zayd bin Khattab (RA), the elder brother of Sayyidina 'Umar (RA) who had accepted Islam in it's earliest days. Sayyidina 'Umar (RA) used to say about him that every gust of wing brought of the memory of Zayd to him. [29]

The fourth of them was Sayyidina Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas (RA) who was one of the scribes of Quranic revelations [30] and his special relation to the Quran is well-known.

Another person was 'Abbas bin Bishar (RA) who was present in the battle of Badr. Sayyida 'Ayshah (RA) has stated that three Ansar Companions were superior to other Companions by virtue of their knowledge and wisdom, and one of them was 'Abbas bin Bishar. [31]

Also, Sayyidina Tufayl bin 'Amr ad'Dausi (RA) was martyred in the Battle of Yamamah. He was a distinguished Companion who had learnt the Quran frlm Ubayy bin Ka'b (RA), who was known to be the greatest scholar of Qir'at. [32] Also included in the list are brother of Zayd bin Thabit, Yazid bin Thabit, Unclde of Bara' bin 'Azib, Qays bin Harith, brother of Sayyidina Mu'az, 'Aiz bin Ma'iz, brother of Zubayr Sa'ib bin 'Awwam and the son of Sayyidina 'Uthman bin Maz'um Sa'id bin 'Uthman.

In addition to the above named there were 18 from among the immigrants, and about 20 from the Helpers (Ansar) who had accepted Islam before the battle of Badr. There were another 10 who were present in the battle of Uhud. [33] This list of martyrs at Yamamah includes only names such as could be preserved in the history. How many more Huffaz (recitors who has memorised the Quran) were among the unnamed martyrs is very difficult to estimate. But Fredrick Schwally, George Bell and Montgomery Watt see no recitor among them. And not only that, they want to impress the world of their research by calling them the recent converts and deny the authenticity of the tradition of Bukhari on the basis of this assumption. This is the height of treachery with the This is the height of treachery with the principles of learning and research, and an extremely deceitful technique to undermine justice and honesty. In fact, it was not just in the case of battle of Yamamah where all the Huffaz Companions were martyred but this battle was just one in the long chain of battles that were to ensure, and there was a large number of learned Companions who were keen to sacrifice their lives in battles more fierce than this. If under these conditions, Sayyidina Umar (RA) got the idea to collect the Quran how can it be made a basis for rejecting a strongly authentic tradition of Sahih Bukhari?

Another objection raised by Watt on this tradition is that if Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA) had prepared an official transcription of the Quran, it would have served as a precedent (a definite argument) but we do not find any evidence to that effect in the traditions of that time. The absurdity of this objection is also quite evidence. That this transcription was a precedent and there can be no greater proof of this than the fact when Sayyidina 'Uthman (RA) decided to prepare the copies of the Quran he sent for the same transcription from Sayyidah Hafsah (RA) that was prepared by Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA).

Watt has also raised the objection that if this was an official transcription then after the death of Sayyidina 'Umar (RA) why did it remain in the custody of Sayyidah Hafsah (RA) instead of his successor Caliph. The answer to this objection is obvious that after the martyrdom of Sayydina 'Umar (RA) there was no successor for sometime and all his belongings, including his transcription, were transferred to his daughter Sayyidah Hafsah (RA). No sensible person would make this a basis for rejecting such an authentic tradition.

Ninth Objection:

Complete Quran was not written upto the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr's Caliphate

It has been described earlier that whenever any verse was revealed to the Prophet (SAW) he used to send for the scribes and dictate it to them. In this was the entire Quran had been written down before the death of the Prophet (SAW) but it was not compiled in a book form. Different verses were written on different things. Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA) got all of them collected and transcribed into various folios.

Contrary to this, Noldeke and Arthur Jeffery etc. have claimed that the Quran was not completely written down during the days of the Prophet (SAW), but only some portions of it were written. They have based their claim on the tradition of Sahih Bukhari that Sayyidina 'Umar (RA) advised for collection of the Quran after the battle of Yamamah and the reason he advanced was that he feared loss of many poritions of the Quran if the Huffaz (memorisers) got martyred as they were in the Battle. Arthur Jeffery has written that the cause of fear was the killings of those "Huffaz" who has memorised the Quran. He argues that there was no cause for such a fear if the entire Quran had already been written during the lifetime of the Prophet (SAW). [34]
But it is extremely sad and surprising that like some other Orientalists Arthur Jeffery has also refused to accept the tradition of Bukhari which denotes that Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA) had got prepared an official copy of the Quran. [35] One wonders in which square to fit this double standard. On the one hand, Jeffery considers all such events incorrect and suggest that preservation of the Quran was officially written during the days of Abu Bakr (RA), yet, on the other hand, he has based his argument on the wordings of Sayyidina 'Umar (RA) which is a part of the same tradition from Zayd bin Thabit (RA). On the one hand, he calls the entire tradition as "fiction" but on the other hand he also quotes the same tradition for proving his claim that Quran was not written down. Still they have the audacity to claim that justice, fairplay and impartiality of the Orientalists was quite obvious and that it is evident from their books that they want nothing else but to unveil the reality!

Anyway, if the method adopted for collection of the Quran during the Caliphate of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), as describes in the preceding chapter is kept in view, the argument of Jeffery automatically becomes void. To remind once again, the method adopted for this purpose was based collectively on memory and manuscripts at the same time. No verse was put to writing until it's being a part of the Quran was proved by all available means. Such a guarded system could become possible only because apart from the Quranic verses being in writing, a large number of such persons were available who knew them by heard. Such persons were called Huffaz (plural of Hafiz) and if they had not been available in such a large number the feat of collection of the Quran could not have been accomplished so scrupulously as it deserved.

In addition to that, an uninterrupted chain of transmission was needed for proof of the Quran and just one or two copies could not fulfill this requirement. Hence a substantial number of Huffaz was inevitable for the collection of the Quran. That was why Sayyidina 'Umar (RA) feared that if the martyrdom of Huffaz continued like that and the collection of the Quran was delayed, the chain of transmission could break or at lest become weak, and it would not be possible to confirm the written verse from the uninterrupted memories of the Companions. Hence, it is quite false to use Sayyidina 'Umar's (RA) caution to conclude that the Quran did not exist in written form.

Tenth Objection:

Doubts about the origin of different recitals

The reality of different recitals has been discussed in detail in the preceding pages. But a large group of Orientalists have presented another misleading view about it. Noldeke, Goldzehar and Jeffery etc have written that the different in recitals was not auditory in nature but the actual reason was that transcriptions that Sayyidina 'Uthman (RA) got prepared did not have dots and diacritical marks, and hence, it could be read in different ways. Everybody read it according to his own interpretation and that became his recital. [36]
The gist of the claim of Orientalists is that the popular recitals of the Quran do not have any proof of origin from the Prophet (SAW) but have come up from the different manner of reading the transcription of Sayyidina 'Uthman (RA) that was without dots and diacritical marks. In fact these transcripts were kept free of dots and diacritical marks intentionally so that all the recitals that had their origin from the Prophet (SAW) could be incorporated in the script and their claim of the orientalists is, therefore baseless.
We have already described that in every age, three conditions have been laid down for any recital to be acceptable as original. These three conditions are,
1: There should be room for it in the 'Uthmani transcriptions.
2: It must conform to the rules of Arabic Grammar.
3: It should have authentic proof of uninterrupted transmission from the Prophet (SAW).

Consequently, no recital was accepted to be correct until authentic proof was available for it's origin from the Prophet (SAW). If the recitals had come into being simply due to 'Uthmani script, each and every recital that could be incorporated in it would have been taken as correct, and the third condition would not have been introduced. Whoever will think the different recitals of the Quran will clearly see that at various occasions there was scope for reading a word in several ways but since they did not have proof of originating from the Prophet (SAW) they were not adopted. This will be clear from the following two examples. In surah Al-Baqarah it has been stated: لا يقبل منها شفاعة ولا يؤخذ منها عدل ولا هم ينصرون In one recital the underlined word is read as لا يُقبل (la yuqbalu) and in another recital it is read as لاتُقبل (La tuqbalu); but a similar verse occurs in Surah Al-Baqarah with the words تنفعها شفاعة ولا هم ينصرون. Here the only recital is لا تنفعها (La tan'fa 'uha) and there is no alternate recital as لا ينفعها (La yan'fa'uha) although it can be incorporated in 'Uthamni script because in that transcription it was written as thus it could be read both ways. But because the other recital has no proof of it's origin from the Prophet (SAW), none of the recitors adopted it.

Similarly, in Surah Ya-sin it occurs انما امرة اذا اراد شيئا ان. According to one recital, the underlined word is read as فيكونُ fa'yakunu and in another recital it is read as فيكونَ (fa yakuna), but a similar verse in Surah Al-'Imran اذا قضى امرا فانما يقول له كن فيكونُ has only one recital as (fayakunu) and the other recital has not been adopted by any one despite it's scope in the 'Uthmani Script. [37]

There are many other examples like these which clearly indicate that the recitals did not come into being due to the script but because they had authentic uninterrupted link with the Prophet (SAW) and in order to preserve Sayyidna 'Uthman (RA) kept his transcription free of dots and diacritical marks.
That is why only one person (Abu Bakr bin Muqsim [38]) can be named in the entire Ummah who had adopted the view that recitals could be invented from 'Uthamni transcriptions according to one's own interpretations and it was not necessary for them to have their origin from the Prophet (SAW). But when he pronounced his misleading view, he was severely reprimanded by the entire Muslim world and the Caliph called him before a council of the "Recitors" and "Jurists" and demanded from him to repent which he did, and have a written proclamation of his turning back from this view. [39]
This incident clearly denotes that to innovate recitals from 'Uthmani transcriptions according to one's own interpretation has always been regarded as an aberration in the Muslim world. There has always been a consensus that only such recitals of the Quran would be taken as reliable as are originated authentically from the Prophet (SAW). If the recitals had come into being simply due to difference of interpretation in reading the 'Uthmani script, Ibn Muqsom would not have been reprimanded like that. Hence, the claim of the Orientalists that the recitals came into being due to absence of dots and diacritical marks in 'Uthmanu transcriptions is baseless and unfounded. On the contrary, the truth is that these recitals are prove through uninterrupted chain from the Prophet (SAW) and it was to preserve them that 'Uthman (RA) had kept his transcriptions devoid of dots and diacritical marks so that all the accepted recitals could be incorporated in their script.

Eleventh Objection:

Rare recitals of the Quran

Some Orientalists are making a mountain out of a molehill through false assumptions on the basis of rare recitals of the Quran. Particularly Goldzeher and Jeffery have quoted several examples of these recitals and have drawn self-conceived inferences from them. [40] In these pages it is not possible to present all those examples and expose the reality about them. For this task a whole book will be required. [41] Also we feel that it this would be unnecessary. However, we wish to mention some fundamental facts about the rare recitals, and we do hope that with these in view the readers will understand the rejection of the false assumptions of these Orientalists that they have made on the basis of rare recitals.

We have stated earlier that Muslims are united on their understanding that only such recitals of the Quran are reliable that fulfil three conditions, namely
1: The particular recital can be incorporated in 'Uthmani script.

2: It should confirm to the rules of the Arabic Grammar.

3: It must have proof of the authentic uninterrupted transmission from the Holy Prophet (SAW), or at least it must be popular among the scholars of Recitals.

Any recital lacking even one of these three conditions is termed "Rare Recital" and no one in the entire Ummah took it as reliable. A close look on "Rare Recitals" reveals that one or more of the following defects are present in them.
1: Sometimes that recital is totally innovated, just as recitals of Abdul Fadl Muhammad bin Fa'far Khuza'i that he has attributed to Imam Abu Hanifah. Darqutni and all other scholars have exposed them and declared that they are all innovated.[42]

2: Sometimes they have very weak precedents, just as the recitals of Ibn-us-Samifa and Abdus-Samal or many of those recitals which Ibn Abu Dawood has attributed to different Companions and their followers in his Kitab-ul-Masahif.[43]
3: Sometimes the precedent is correct but in fact it is not the recitals of the Quran, but a companion or his follower added one or more words during ordinary discourse as an explanation to some word of the Quran. Since Quran in its entire substance was uninterrupted and thousands of Huffaz were present in every period of time, there was no danger of actual addition in the original text due to additions of explanatory words.[44] Hence, such explanations were not considered objectionable. For example, it is reported that Sa'ad bin Waqqas read وله أخ أو أخت من أم . In this the underlined words (من أم) were an explanatory addition. Similarly, it is reported that Sayyidina 'Uthman (RA) read a verse like this ولتكن منكم أمة يدعون إلى الخير ويأمرون بالمعروف وينهون عن المنكر ويستعينون الله على ما أصابهم وأولئك هم المفلحون

In this, the underlined phrase ويستعينون الله على ما أصابهم is indeed exegesic addition, because if it has been part of the Quran in his recital, it must have been present in the transcriptions compiled by him. But this phrase does not occur in any of his seven transcriptions. [45]

4: Sometimes it happened that certain recitals were abrogated in the last days of the Prophet's (SAW) life but some Companion who had already memorized it remained unaware of this act, hence he continued to recite it as he had learnt.[46] Because the other Companions knew that this had been abrogated they did not recite it nor did they consider it to be a correct recital any more.

5: It appears from some Rare Recitals that probably some followers of Companions made a mistake in the recitation of the Quran quite unintentionally (as sometimes happens even with eminent Huffaz) and a listener reported it as he had heard.[47]

Whatever Rare Recitals of the Quran have been reported mostly come under one of the above five situations. Obviously, no question arises for accepting these recitals as reliable. Consequently, the Ummah never relied on them in any age. That is why these recitals could not even become popular, nothing to say of their being uninterrupted. Hence the inferences drawn by the Orientalists on the basis of Rare Recitals that (God Forbid) differences exist in the text of the Quran, is such an unfounded and absurd idea that it deserves no consideration at all from scientific and research point of view. And Allah knows the best.


[1] F. Buhl-Encyclopaedia of Islam v3. pp1067, Koran.
[2] Tafsir Al-Qurtubi v20, p18.
[3] Margoliouth, D.S. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics p543.
[4] Sahih Bukhari Fadail al Quran v2. p.753 & Sahih Muslim v1, p267.
[5] Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics v10, p542.
[6] Tafseer Ibn Kathir v1, p122.
[7] Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, v1, p543
[8] Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Tafseer, surah Hameem 'Ayn, Sin, Qaf, v2, p713, printed at Karachi Fath ul Bari v8. p457, 'Um-datul Qari v19 p157
[9] Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, v1, p543
[10] Musnad Ahmadl Zaw'id, Masnadat 'Aisha v6, p269, Beirut
[11] For details see Fath-ul-Bari v9, pp41,42.
[12] Watt: W. Montgomery: Bell's Introduction to the Quran p46.
[13] An-Nashr fil Qir'at al 'Ashar, Ibn ul Jazari, v1, p156
[14] Ibid p166
[15] Faid ul-Bari v1, p262

[16] See in sequential order Al-ltqan v2. p.81, Al-Muhalla, Ibn Hazm vl. pl 3, Fawatih ur Rahmut, Sherah Muslimuth Thubut by Bahrul 'Ulum v2,
       p12. Maqalat ul Kawthari. p16. My own Article in Al-Balagh, Sh'abah 1393, Sayyidina 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud and Muwadhatayn

[17] Fath al Bari v8, p3, Majmu'az Zawaid, Haythami v7, p149.
[18] Fath-ul-Mulhim v1, p54
[19] Majma' Zawaid, Hathmi v7, p149, and Fath ur Rabbani v18, pp351-352
[20] Maqaalaat ul Kawthri, p16.
[21] Tafsir Al-Qurtubi v1, p114, 115.
[22] This report has been described in the preceding pages.
[23] Watt: Bell's Introduction to the Quran 40, 42, Edingburgh 1970.
[24] Watt: Bell's Introduction to the Quran. p192.
[25] Tarikh-al-Tabari v2, p516
[26] Al-bidayah wan-Nihayah v6, p340.
[27] Al-Isti'yab, Ibn 'Abdul Barr, v2, pp28,29
[28] Al-Isabah by Ibn Hajar v4, p43.
[29] Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, by Ibn Kathir v6, p336.
[30] Zad-ul-Ma'ad, Ibn Qayyim v1, p30, Mu'iniyah Egypt.
[31] Al-Isabah v2, p255 and Al Ist'iyab 'Ala Hamish as Sahaba v2, p444-446
[32] Al-Isabah, v2, p217.
[33] Al-kamil-Al-Jazari v2, p140, and Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah, v6, p340.
[34] 'Arabic Muqaddamah, Kitab-ul-Masahif - Abu Daud Rahmania Press Egypt 1355 A.H. by Arthur Jeffery p5.
[35] Arthur Jeffery: Materials for the History of the Text of the Quran 1937 p6.

[36] Arthur Jeffery Kitab-ul-Masahif p7. Rahmania Press Egype 1355 A.H. Madhahib ut Tafsir Islami, Goldzehar Arabic tr. Doctor Aboul Halim
       Najjar p8. Al-Khanji Press Cairo 1374 AH.

[37] Both these examples have been taken from Tarikh-ul-Quran pp128, 129 by 'Allamah Tahir Kurdi.
[38] His full name is Muhammad bin Hasan bin Yaqub Ibn Muqsim. Born 265 AH, Died 357 AH.

[39] Taikh Baghadad al Khatib v2 p206-207 printed Beirut. It is also written in this book that Aby Agmad Al-Fardi (RA) saw him after his death in his
dream that he offered Salah turning his back to the Qiblah. He interpreted it as a result of his opposition to the scholars in Recital.

[40] Madhahib tafsir Al-Islami by Goldzeher and Arthur Jeffery, Materials for the History of the text of the Quran Leiden 1936. P.6, Arabic translation
        by Dr. Abdul Halim Najjar.

[41] Dr. Abdul Halim Najjar has provided marginal notes in his translation of Madhahib Tafsir ul-Islam by Goldzeher.
[42] Al-Nashr fi Qira'at 'Ashr, Ibn Al Jazari v1, p16 Al-Itqan v1, pp78,79
[43] An Nashr: v1, p16.
[44] Al-Nashr: Ibn Jazari v. 1 p 31, 32. Al-Itqan v1 p 79 22,23. Sharh al Mawatta. Zarqani v1 p 225.
[45] Kanzul Ummal by Ali Muttaqi v1, p286, ref 'Abd bin Hamid wa Ibn Jarir.
[46] Mushkil-ul-Athar at Tahavi v4. p196 to 202.
[47] Al-Nashr by Ibn-ul-Jazari v1, p16, Al-Mabani fin-Nazmul Ma'sni: Muqad-da-mat fi 'Ulum al-Quran p170. Al-Khanji Press.

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