Collection of the Quran
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Assalamu Alaikum Brother, firstly may I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the work you are doing, may allah bless you.
Over the last couple of years I have had many interactions with christians, Jehovist witnessess athiests etc all challenging islam and its authenticity. They keep knocking on my door or stopping me in the street. Since the age of the internet the I have noticed that the subject of the accuracy in collection of the noble and glorious quran is something that these people are centering around.
Having looked into this subject I have a few questions incase anybody asks me.
I am not looking to insult or degrade the khaliphs who have been acknowledged in the most glorius quran for the piety. However should questions such as these be asked of me what will I say?
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Collection of the Quran
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Q-1: I understand that Arabic wriitng was developing at the time of revelation and when written there were no vowel points. So is it true that different tribes had different ways of pronouncing words as a result of these lack of vowel points?
It is indeed true that there were no vowel points like zabar, zer, etc. in the Arabic writing of the times, and even today if one reads any Arabic newspaper or books there are no vowel points. Anyone who is familiar with the Arabic language does not need the vowel points to read the Arabic text.
Q-1A: So is it true that different tribes had different ways of pronouncing words as a result of these lack of vowel points?
In any language, it happens that a term or word is pronounced in different ways depending upon the area or dialect. Although it might be pronounced in an ever so slightly different manner, the written text and the meaning of the term does not change in any way whatsoever.
For example, just see how these words or terms are pronounced differently today in the English language, but it does not change the actual text or the meaning of the word in any way whatsoever:
Schedule: pronounced sce-dule and in American English it is pronounced as shea-dule, but the meaning and original text remain exactly the same.
Lieutenant: pronounced left-e-nant, but in American English it is pronounced as leu-te-nantmeaning remains the same.
Anti: pronounced an-tea, but in American English it is pronounced as ann-tie.again the meaning does not change.
The pronunciation at times might have differed a little according to the area, but the meaning and the original text remained exactly the same.
Q-2: Is it true that the some parts of the quran were allowed to be pronounced differently by hadzrat Mahummad rassaoolah (PBUH), as a not all the arabs could speak and read the same dialects and is this the reason why there are several ways in which the glorious quran can be read. If this is the case can you give supporting Hadith.
Sahih Muslim Hadith 1789 Narrated by Ubayy ibn Ka'b
The Messenger of Allah (saws) was near the cistern of Banu Ghifar when Gabriel came to him and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Qur'an in one dialect to your people. Upon this he (saws) said: I ask from Allah pardon and forgiveness. My people are not capable of doing it. He then came for the second time and said: Allah has commanded you that you should recite the Qur'an to your people in two dialects. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet (saws)) again said: I seek pardon and forgiveness from Allah, my people would not be able to do so. He (Gabriel) came for the third time and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Quran to your people in three dialects. Upon this he (saws) said: I ask pardon and forgiveness from Allah. My people would not be able to do it. He then came to him for the fourth time and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Qur'an to your people in seven dialects, and in whichever dialect they recite, they will be right.
Beloved brother in Islam, the dialect is only in the verbal pronunciation, not in the written text! Neither the text is changed in any way, nor does the meaning of the word change in any way whatsoever.
Sahih Muslim Hadith 1787 Narrated by Ubayy ibn Ka'b
I was in the mosque when a man entered, and prayed and recited (the Qur'an) in a style to which I objected. Then another man entered (the mosque) and recited in a style different from that of his companion. When we had finished the prayer, we all went to Allah's Messenger (saws) and I said to him: This man recited in a style to which I objected, and the other entered and recited in a style different from that of his companion. The Messenger of Allah (saws) asked them to recite, so they recited. The Messenger of Allah (saws) expressed approval of their efforts (their modes of recitation).
Q-3: After the death of hadzrat Mahummad rassaoolah (PBUH), I understand there were several personal written copies of the quran at the time but was Abu Baker`s (r.a) commissioning of a collated version the official one? I believe this was commissioned due to the death of many hafiz after a battle. When the Quran was collated by Khaliph Abu Baker (r.a) what dialect was it collated in.
Paper was not a common commodity at the time of the Revelation of the Glorious Quran, thus the scribes wrote the verses on the tools available as the Quran was being revealed; on parches, on barks, on leather, on camel bones, on scraps of paper, etc. Thus, the Quran, although completely written in some form or the other, was not in one complete book form as we have available with us today, but rather in separate Surahs and on different types of instruments. The companions of the Prophet (saws) who had memorized the full Quran numbered in the thousands.
After the Battle of Yamamah, when many of the companions who had memorized the Quran were martyred, Hadrat Umar (r.a.) adviced Hadrat Abu Bakr (r.a.) to collect the Quran in a proper and official book form, to safeguard its authenticity for future generations. Thus Hadrat Abu Bakr (r.a.) initiated the process of collecting the Quran in a Book form, and gave its responsibility to a team of scribes of the Prophet (saws), under the leadership of Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (r.a.).
Q-3A: When the Quran was collated by Khaliph Abu Baker (r.a) what dialect was it collated in.
Dialects are formed only when one reads a text, but the text itself always remains the same. The Quran was collated in the exact verbatim style as was revealed to the Noble Prophet (saws).
Q-4: In the Khaliphate of Umar (r.a), I understand there was another collation to standardise the dialectical variations in the quran and this was to be done in the dialect of the quraish, to avoid mispronouncing of words etc. ( as I understand a war between Iraq an Syria took place over this). My point here is that if the quran was allowed to be read in several ways (re:my Question 2) then is it not wrong to standardise the reading.
the Khalifite of Hadrat Umar (r.a.),
almost half the known world was under the influence of the muslimsthe
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Q-4A: My point here is that if the quran was allowed to be read in several ways (re:my Question 2) then is it not wrong to standardise the reading.
Beloved brother, the text was exactly identical to what was revealed, and the standardization of the readings were exactly verbatim to how the Messenger of Allah (saws) recited the Glorious Quran; and nothing that the Messenger of Allah (saws) did or said could have been wrong or incorrect. There should be absolutely no doubt in the mind of any believer, that the best way to recite the Quran was to recite it in the way recited by the Noble Messenger of Allah (saws).
Q-5: I also understand that all other quran`s outside of this standardised collation were to be burnt to avoid any confusion arising. I know this action was much debated at the time and I am sure there were many objections etc. My point here is that if even one ayat in the pages of the burnt Quran`s maybe the word of allah, then this has to be a sin.
If indeed, one burns or destroys the Glorious Quran or any of its verses with the intention of malice or disrespect, then it would be a heinous sin. But if one buries, or drowns, or burns a copy of the Quran which has been torn, or an Aayah which has appeared in a Book or a Newspaper cutting, to prevent any abuse or disrespect to the verses of this Glorious Book, there is absolutely no harm. It all depends on the intention of the person.
It is possible that if a torn Quran, or a newspaper or book which contains the verses of the Glorious Quran is buried, someone might unearth the copies and knowingly or unknowingly disrespect the Glorious Quran. Similarly, if drowned, it is also possible that some papers may reach the shore, and there is a chance of abuse or disrespect. When the unwanted copies are burnt, the paper or instruments it is written on turns to ashes, and there is absolutely no way left for anyone to abuse or disrespect the Glorious Book of Allah Subhanah.
Q-5A: I also understand that all other quran`s outside of this standardised collation were to be burnt to avoid any confusion arising. I know this action was much debated at the time and I am sure there were many objections etc.
The Rightly Guided Khalifahs were not dictators or autocrats, but their form of leadership was based on the teachings and training given to them by none other than the best leader mankind has ever seen in the annuls of human history, Mohamed ar Rasool Allah (saws). Whatever decisions were made by the Rightly Guided Khalifahs, were always done in consultation with the other eminent and noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
There was absolutely no objection or confusion amongst the eminent and noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws), when the decision to collate the Quran in one official and standard version was made by Hadrat Uthmaan (r.a.). All the companions of the Noble Prophet (saws) who were alive at the time, the likes of the stature of Hadrat Ali (r.a.), Hadrat Talha (r.a.), Hadrat Zubair (r.a.), Hadrat Ammar (r.a.), Hadrat Bilaal (r.a.), etc. were absolutely unanimous and in conformity with the decision made by Hadrat Uthmaan (r.a.).
Q-6: I am not looking to insult or degrade the khaliphs who have been acknowledged in the most glorius quran for the piety. However should questions such as these be asked of me what will I say?
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 15 Surah Al Hijr verse 9: It is We (Allah), Who has sent down this Quran, and We will assuredly guard it against corruption.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 75 Surah Qiyaamah verses 16-19: (O Prophet) do not move your tongue to remember this (Quran) hastily. It is for Us (Allah) to have it collated and read. Therefore, when We are reciting it, listen to its recitation carefully. Then Lo! Upon Us (Allah) rests its explanations thereof.
If anyone in the Universe has a problem or issue with the collection and collation of this Glorious Last and Final Revelation of Allah Subhanah, simply recite to them the above two verses of the Glorious Quran! It is the Lord of the Worlds Who has Himself taken over the responsibility of the authenticity of His Book, and no man or combination of men and jinn can alter or change even one alphabet of this Glorious Book! The One Who Created the Heavens and the earth is the One Who has guaranteed the authenticity of this Glorious Book until the end of time!
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,