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           Early Debates on the Integrity of the Quran (Part I)

[ This article is written by Professor Hossein Modarresi from Princeton
University, NJ ]

This short article attempts to shed some light on the origins of
the Sunnite-Shi'ite controversies on the integrity of the text of the
Quran. The development of these debates in the first Islamic
centuries represents an interest example of how ideas evolved in
the early period through sectarian disputes, as well as contacts and
communication between various Muslim sects and schools of
thought. Despite severe mistrust, various factors existed to facili-
tate the give and take among different sects. Most prominent was
a group of hadith transmitters who frequented different sectatrian
camps and, thereby, introduced much of each sect's literature to
the others. Often confusion on the part of these "bipolar" narra-
tors of hadith helped "naturalize" segments of one sect's literature
into that of another sect.

This was particularly true in Shi'ism, many of transmitters
heard hadith from both Shitite and Sunnite sources, and later
misattributed much of what they had heard.[1] The early Shi'ite

[1] Kashshi, Marifat al naqilin = Kitba al Rijal, abridged by
    Muhammad b. al Hasan al Tusi as Ikhtiyar Marifat ar Rijal
    p 590-91, where Shadhan b. Khalil al Naysaburi askes the
    celebrated hadith transmitter, Abu Ahmad Muhammad b. Abi Umayr
    al Azdi, who heard from bothe Shi'ite and Sunnite sources, why
    he never quoted any Sunnite hadith to his tudents in his works. He
    answered, that he deliberately avoided that since he found many
    of the Shi'ites studied both Shi'ites and Sunnites traditions, but
    later confused and ascribed Sunnite material to the Shi'ites sources
    and vice versa.


mutakallimun also quoted statements from the Sunnite sources in
their polemics against the Sunnites as argumentum ad homi-
nem. But from the mid 3rd/9th century onward, it was common
for some Shi'ite authors and traditionisls to attribute a Shi'ite
origin to this material, since it was thought that whatever the
companions of the Imams and early Shl'ite mutakallimun said or
wrote, even what they used in their polemics, necessarily represen-
ted the views and statements of the Imams.[2] This assumption
led to the introduction of much alien material into Shi'ite thought.

[2] Kulayni, al Kafi, vol 1 p 99
    Subhu al Salih, Mabahith fi ulum al Quran, p 134

Many of these early interchanges were forgotten over time.
Hence it was not known that many of the ideas that were later
labeled as Sunnite, Shi'ite, or the like were originally held by a
different group or, at least in the early period before the sects took
on their final shape, were shared by various mainstream elements
of Islamic society. The question of the integrity of the Uthmanic
text of the Qur-an and the controversies surrounding it are a prime
example of that phenomenon. The central issue in these debates
was whether the Uthmanic text comprehended the entire body of
material that was revealed to the Prophet, or whether there had
been further material that was missing from the Uthmanic
text. In the following pages, we shall examine the Sunnite-Shi'ite
interchanges on this question.

                              * * * * *

The evidence in the text of the Qur'an itself as well as in hadith
indicates that the Prophet compiled a written scripture for Islam
during his own life-time, most likely in his first years in
Medina.[3] He reportedly continued until the end of his life to

[3] Zarkashi, al Burhan fi ulum al Quran, vol 1 p 235, 237-38
    256, 258
    Suyuti, al Itqan fi ulum al Quran, vol 1 p 212-13, 216


personally instruct the scribes where to insert new passages of the
revelation in the scripture.[4] There are also indications that

[4] Ahmad b. Hanbal, vol 1 p 57
    Tirimidhi, Sunan, vol 4 p 336-37
    al Hakim al Naysaburi, al Mustadrak, vol 2 p 229

parts of earlier revelations were not included in the scrip-
ture. One verse in the Quran acknowledges the absence of a part
of revelation which was abrogated or "caused to be forgoeten, [5]

[5] Quran Chapter II Verse 106

another spoke of verses that God substituted for uthers.[6] Early

[6] Quran Chapter XVI Verse 101

Muslims reportedly used to recall verses of the revelation they did
not find in the new scripture. They were however, aware that
those passages were deliberately excluded by the Prophet, since
the Muslims frequently referred to them as what "abrogated"
(nusikha), "lifted" (rufi'a), "caused to be forgotten" (unsiya), or
"dropped't (usqita).[7] The concept of abrogation of the revela-

[7] Abu Byad, al Naskih wa'l mansukh fi l Quran an al Karim,
    ed. John Burton (Cambridge 1987), p 6
    Muhasibi, Fahm al Quran an wa manih ed. H. Quwwatli (in the
    collection of al Aql wa fahm al Quran [n.p., 1971] p 261-502)
    p 399 (quoting Anas b. Malik), 400 and 408 (quoting Amr b. Dinar)
    403 (quoting Abd al Rahman b. Awf), 405 (quoting Abu Musa al
    Ashari), 406
    Tabari, Jami al Bayan, vol 3 p 472-74, 476, 479-80
    Ibn Salama, al Nasikh wa l mansukh, p 21 (quoting Abd Allah b.
    Masud)
    Suyuti, al Durr al manthur, vol 5 p 179 (quoting Ubayy b. Kab)

tion (naskh al Quran) apparently referred originally to those parts
that were not included by the Prophet in the scripture.[8] Later,

[8] Abu Ubayd, al Naskih, p 6
    Bayhaqi, Dalail al Nubuwwa, vol 7 p 154 (where it is argued that
    the Prophet never put the Quran together since there was always the
    expectation that some verses might be abrogated and some later
    modification was thus in-evitable in any collection of the Quran
    put together during his lifetime. Underlying this argument is the
    assumption that the abrogated verses had to be physically removed
    from the scripture.)
    Zarkashi, vol 2 p 30 (the first interpretation of the concept of
    naskh)

however, the concept was developed in the Sunnite tradition to
include several hypothetical categories, most of them with
examples preserved in the present text of the Quran. With a
single possible exception,[9] however, it is highly doubtful that the
Qur'an includes any abrogated verse.

[9] Abu al Qasim al Khui, al Bayan, p 305-403

The Sunnite account of the collection of the Quran is comple-
tely different from the above. It contends that the Quran was
not compiled in a single volume until after the Prophet died in the
year 11/632.[10] The "recorders of the revelation" (kuttab al-

[10] Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir, vol 3 p 211, 281
     Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al Masahif, p 10
     Ibn Babawayh, Kamal ad Din, p 31-32
     Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 147-8
     Zarkashi, vol 1 p 262
     Ibn al Hadid, Sharah of Nahj al Balagha. vol 1 p 27
     Ibn Juzayy, al Tashil li ulum al tanzil, vol 1 p 4
     Suyuti, Itqan, vol 1 p 202
     Ibrahim al Harbi, Gharib al hadith, vol 1 p 270


wahy) used to jot down the verses immediately after the Prophet
received and recited them. Others among the faithful memorized
portions of the revelation or occasionally recorded them on whate-
ver primitive writing material was available. According to the
supporters of this account, the fact that the Quran was not compi-
led as a book until the death of the Prophet is perfectly logi-
cal. As long as he was alive there was always the expectation of
further revelation as well as occasional abrogations. Any formal
collection of the material already revealed could not properly be
considered a complete text.[11] Many people had memorized

[11] Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 154
     Zarkashi, vol 1 p 235, 262
     Suyutim Itqan, vol 1 p 202
     Ahmad al Naraqi, Manahij al ahkam, p 152

large parts of the revelation, which they repeated in their prayers
and recited to others. As long as the Prophet was living among
the faithful as the sole authority there was no need for a formal
reference book of religion or a code of law. All of these considera-
tions would change after his death and the new circumstances
would necessitate the collection of the Qur'an. The story as
reported by the Sunnis sources is as follows

Two years etfter the Prophet died, the Muslims were engaged in a
bloody battle with a rival community at Yarnama in the deserts of
Arabia. Many of the memorizers (qurra) of the Qur'an lost their
lives at this time.[12] Fearing that a great portion of the Qur'an

[12] Yaqubi, Kitab al Tarikh, vol 2 p 15, most of the bearers of
     the Quran were killed during the battle. All together, some
     360 persons among the distinguished companions of the Prophet
     lost their lives on that occasion.)
     Tabari, Tarikh, vol 3 p 296
     Larger figures upto 500 for Ibn al Jazari, al Nashr, p 7
     Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al Quran, vol 7 p 439
     Qurtubi, al Jami li Ahkam al Quran, vol 1 p 50
     and a figure of 1200 for Abd al Qahir al Baghdadi, Usul al Din p 283
     are also given. The last figure is however the number of all Muslims
     who were killed in the battle, Companions and others see Tabari vol 3
     p 300


would be lost should a similar situation arise and more memorizers
of the Quran die, Abu Bakr, the first successor to the Prophet,
ordered that the Qur'an be collected. To this end, the Prophet's
companions and the memorizers of the Quran were asked to come
forward with any parts of the revelation they had memorized or
written down in any form. Abu Bakr ordered 'Umar, his succes-
sor to be, and Zayd b. Thabit, a young recorder of revelation
during the Prophet's lifetime, to sit at the entrance to the mosque
of Medina and record any verse or part of the revelation that at
least two witnesses testified that they had heard from the Prophet. In
one particular case, though, the testimony of a single witness was
accepted.[13] All of the material gathered in this manner was

[13] The case in question was the last two verses of Sura 9 in the
     present Quran which was added on the authority of Khuzayma b.
     Thabit al Ansari (or ABu Khuzayma according to some reports).
     Bukhari, Sahih, vol 3 p 392-93
     Tirimidhi, vol 4 p 346-47
     Abu Bakr al Marwazi, Musnad Abi Bakr al Siddiq, p 97-99, 102-4
     Ibn Abu Dawud, p 6-7, 9, 20
     Ibn al Nadim, p 27
     al Khatib al Baghdadi, Mudih awham al jam wa l tafrig, vol 1 p 276
     Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 149-50

recorded on sheets of paper,[14] or parchment, but was not yet

[14] Yaqubi, vol 2 p 135
     Itqan, vol 1 p 185, 207, 208

compiled as a volume. Furthermore, these materials were not
made available to the Muslim community, which continued to pos-
sess the Qur'an only in its primitive scattered form. The sheets
remained in the keeping of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, and after
'Umar's death they passed to his daughter Hafsa. 'Uthman took
the sheets trom Hafsa during his caliphate and had them put toge-
ther in the form of a volume. He had several copies sent to dif-
ferent parts of the Muslim world and he then ordered that any
other collection or portion of the Qur'an found anywhere else be
burned.[15]

[15] Bukhari, vol 3 p 393-94,
     Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 347-8
     Abu Bakr al Marwazi, p 99-101
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 18-21
     Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 15051
     Abu Hilal Askari, Kitab al Awail, vol 1 p 218


This whole story about the collection ot the Qur'an was accepeed
by the Sunnite scholars as trustworthy and served, as we shall see
below, as the basis for the idea that later emerged of the incomple-
teness of the text of the Qur'an.

Sunnite literature contains many reports that suggest that some
of the revelation had already been lost before the collection of the
Qur'an initiated by Abu Bakr. It is reported, for example, that
'Umar was once looking for the text of a specific verse of the
Qur'an he vaguely remembered. To his deep sorrow, he discove-
red that the only person who had any record of that verse had been
killed in the battle of Yamama and that the verse was consequen-
tly lost.[16] Umar allegedly had a recollection of a Qur'anic verse

[16] Ibn Abi Dawud, p 10
     Itqan, vol 1 p 204

on stoning as a punishment for adultery.[17]. But he could not

[17] Malik b. Anas, Muwatta, vol 2 p 824
     Ahmad, vol 1 p 47, 55
     Muhasibi, p 398, 455
     Bukhari, vol 4 p 305
     Muslim, Sahih, vol 2 p 1317
     Ibn Maja, Sunan, vol 2 p 853
     Tirmidhi, vol 2 p 442-3
     Abu Dawud, Sunan, vol 4 p 145
     Ibn Qutayba, Tawil mukhtalif al hadith, p 313
     Ibn Salama, p 22
     Bayhaqi, al Sunan al Kubra, vol 8 p 211, 213

convince his colleagues to insert it in the Quran because nobody
else came forward to support him,[18] and the requirement that

[18] Itqan, vol 1 p 206

there be two witnesses for any text to be accepted as a part of the
Qur'an was therefore not met. Later, however, some other
Companions recalled that same verse,[19] including Aisha the

[19] Ahmad, vol 5 p 183 (quoting Zayd b, Thabit and Said al-As
     Abd al Razzaq, AL Musannaf, vol 7 p 330
     Itqan, vol 3 p 82, 86
     al Durr al Manthur, vol 5 p 180 (quoting Ubayy b. Ka'b and
     Ikrima)

Prophet's youngest wife. She is alleged to have said that a sheet
on which two verses, including that on stoning, were recorded was
under her bedding and that after the Prophel died, a domestic
animal [20] got into the room and gobbled up the sheet while the

[20] Dajin can mean any kind of domestic animal, including fowl,
     sheep, or goat. A narrative in Ibrahim b. Ishaq al Harbis
     Gharib al hadith makes it more specific, as it uses the word
     shal, that is sheep or goat (see Zamakshari, al Kashaf,
     vol 3 p 518 footnote)
     The same is in Qutaybas understanding from the word dajin
     in Tawil mukhtalif al hadith, p 310, apparently because
     of the context, since it is said that the animal ate the
     sheet of paper.
     Also see Sulaym b. Qays al Hilali, Kitab Sulaymn b. Qays,
     p 108
     Al Fadl b. Shadahn, al Idah, p 211
     Abd al Jalil al Qazwini, p 133

household was preoccupied with his funeral. [21] Umar also

[21] Ahmad, vol 4 p 269
     Ibn Maja, vol 1 p 626
     Ibn Qutayba, Tawil, p 310
     Shafi'i, Kitab al Umm, vol 5 p 23, vol 7 p 208


remembered other verses he thought dropped out (saqata) from
the Qur'an [22] or were lost, including one on being dutiful to

[22] Mabani, p 99
     Itqan, vol 3 p 84 (See Also And al Razzaq vol 7 p 379-80;
     Ibn Abi Shayba, vol 14 p 564, where the expression Faqadnah,
     "we lost it", is used)
     The expression "saqata" is also used by Aisha in the case of
     another phrase that alledgly "dropped out" from the Quran. See
     Ibn Maja, vol 1 p 625 (See also Itqan, vol 3 p 70)
     It is also used by Malik (Zarkashi, vol 1 p 263).

parents[23] and another on jihad.[24] His claim regarding the first

[23] Abd al Razzaq, vol 9 p 50
     Ahmad, vol 1 p 47, 55
     Ibn Abi Shayba, vol 7 p 431
     Bukhari, vol 4 p 306
     Ibn Salama, p 22
     Itqan, vol 3 p 84
     Zarkashi, vol 1 p 39 (Also quoted from Abu Bakr)

[24] Muhasibi, p 403
     Mabani, p 99
     Itqan, vol 3 p 84

of the two was supported by three other early authorities on the
Qur'an: Zayd b. Thabit, 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas, and Ubayy b.
Ka'b.[25] Anas b. Malik remembered a verse which was revealed

[25] Abd al Razzaq, vol 9 p 52
     Muhasibi, p 400
     Itqan, vol 3 p 84


in the occasion of some Muslims who were killed in a battle, but
was later "lifted".[26] Umar's learned son, 'Abd Allah [27]  as

[26] Muhasibi, p 399
     Tabari, Jami, vol 2 p 479

[27] Itqan, vol 3 p 81-82

well as some later scholars [28] maintained that much of the Qur'an

[28] Ibn Abi Dawud, p 23 quoting Ibn Shihab (al Zuhri)
     Itqan, vol 5 p 179 quoting Sufyan al Thawri
     Ibn Qutaybah, Tawil, p 313
     Ibn Lubb, Falh al bab, p 92

had perished before the collection was made.

Similar reports specifically addressed the official Uthmanic res-
cension of the Qur'an. They reported that many prominent
Companions could not find in that official text portions of the reve-
lation they had themselves heard from the Prophet, or found them
in a different form. Ubayy b. Ka'b, for instance, recited sura 98
(al Bayyina) in a form he claimed to have heard from the Pro-
phet. It included two verses unrecorded in the Uthmanic
text. (29) He also thought that the original version of sura 33 (al-

[29] Ahmad, vol 5 p 132
     Tirmidhi, vol 5 p 370
     Hakim, vol 2 p 224
     Itqan, vol 3 p 83


Ahzab) had been much longer, from which he specifically remem-
bered the stoning verse that is missing from the Uthmanic
text.[30] His claim was supported by Zayd b. Thabit,[31] by

[30] Ahmad, vol 5 p 132
     Muhasibi, p 405
     Bayhaqi, vol 8 p 211
     Hakim, vol 2 p 415
     Itqan, vol 3 p 82 (the same claim about the size of the Sura and it
     included the stoning verse is quoted from Umar anmd Ikrima in
     Suyuti, al Durre Manthur, vol 5 p 180)
     Zarkasi, vol 2 p 35, where the verse is said to to have been in
     Sura 25 (al Nur), and with Mabani, p 82, where Sura 7 (al Aaraf) is
     mentioned instead. This latter is however a slip of the pen or mis
     spelling as evidenced by the author's later mention of the Sura al
     Ahzab in p 83 and 86


Aisha who reported that during the Prophet's lifetime the sura
was about three times as long, although when Uthman collected
the Qur'an he found only what was made available in his text,[32]

[32] Al Raghib al Isfahani, Muhadarat al Udaba, vol 4 p 434
     Suyuti, al Durre Manthur, vol 5 p 180
     Itqan, Suyuti, vol 1 p 226

and by Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman (who found some seventy verses
missing in the new official text, verses that he himself used to
recite during the lifetime of the Prophet.[33] Hudhayfa also

[33] Suyuti, al Durre Manthur, vol 5 p 180, quoting from Bukhari book
     Kitab at Tarikh

contended that Sura 9 (al-Bara'a in its Uthmanic form was per-
haps one-fourth[34] or one-third[35] of what it had been during the

[34] Hakim, vol 2 p 331
     Haytami, Majam al Zawaid, vol 7 p 28-29
     Itqan, vol 3 p 84

time of the Prophet, an idea later supported the prominent
2nd/8th century jurist and traditionist Malik b. Anas, founder of
the Maliki school of Islamic law.[36] There are also reports that

[36] Zarkshi, vol 1 p 263
     Itqan, vol 1 p 226


Suras 15 (al-Hijr) and 24 (al-Nur) had once been of a different
length.[37] And Abu Musa al-Ash'ari recalled the existence of two

[37] Sulaym, p 108
     Abu Mansur al Tabrisi, al Intijaj, vol 1 p 222, 286
     Zarkshi, vol 2 p 35

long suras (one verse of each he still remembered) that he could not
find in the present text.[38] One of the two verses he recalled ("If

[38] Muslim, vol 2 p 726
     Muhasibi, p 405
     Abu Nuaym, Hilyat al Awliya, vol 1 p 257
     Bayhaqi, Dalai, vol 7 p 156
     Itqan, vol 3 p 83

the son of Adam had two fields of gold he would seek a third
one...") is also quoted from other Companions such as Ubayy [39],
Ibn Masud [40], and Ibn 'Abbas [41]. Maslama b. Mukhallad al-

[39] Ahmad, vol 5 p 131-32
     Muhasibi, p 400-01
     Tirmidhi, vol 5 p 370
     Hakim, vol 2 p 224

[40] Raghib, vol 4 p 433

[41] Itqan, vol 1 p 227

Ansari orfered two further verses that are not in the Uthmanic
text [42] and Aisha came forward with a third [43]. Two short

[42] Itqan, vol 3 p 84

[43] Abd al Razzaq, vol 7 p 470
     Ibn Maja, vol 1 p 625, 626

chapters known as Sural al-Hafd and Sura al-Khal were recorded
in the collections of Ubayy [44], Ibn Abbas and Abu
Musa [45]. They were allegedly also known to Umar [46] and other

[44] Muhasibi, p 400-1
     Ibn al Nadim, p 30
     Raghib, vol 4 p 433
     Zarkashi, vol 2 p 37
     Haytami, vol 7 p 157
     Itqan, vol 1 p 226, 227

[45] Itqan, vol 1 p 227

[46] Itqan, vol 1 p 226-7

Companions [47] although no trace of either chapter is found in the

[47] Itqan, vol 1 p 227, vol 3 p 85

of official text. Ibn Masud did not have Suras 1, 113, and 114 in his
collection [48] but he had some extra words and phrases that were

[48] Ibn Abi Shayba, vol 6 p 146-47
     Ahmad, vol 5, p 129-30
     Ibn Qutayba, Tawail mushkil al Quran, p 33-34
     Ibn al Nadim, p 29
     Baqillani, al Intisar, p 184
     Raghib, vol 4 p 434
     Zarkashi, vol 1 p 251, vol 2 p 128
     Haytami, vol 7 p 149-50
     Itqam, vol 1 p 224, 226, 270-73


missing from the Uthmanic text [49]. He and many other Compa-

[49] Arthur Jeffrey, Materials for the History of the Text of the
     Quran, the Old Codices, p 20-113

nions also preserved some verses that differed from the official
text [50]. There were also widely transmitted reports that after

[50] See the lists, Ibid, p 114-238

the death of the Prophet, 'Ali put all the parts of the Qur'an
together [51] and presented it to the Companions; hut they rejected

[51] Ibn Sa'd, vol 2 p 338
     Ibn Abi Shayba, vol 6 p 148
     Yaqubi, vol 2 p 135
     Ibn Abu Dawud, p 10
     Ibn al Nadim, p 30
     Abu Hilal al Askari, vol 1 p 219-20
     Abu Buaym, vol 1 p 67
     Ibn Abd al Barr, al Istiab, p 333-34
     Ibn Juzay, vol 1 p 4
     Ibn Abi al Hadid, vol 1 p 27
     Itqan, vol 1 p 204, 248
     al Kafi, al Kulayni, vol 8 p 18


it, and he had to take it back home [52]. These reports also sugges-

[52] Sulaym, p 72, 108
     Basair al Darajat, p 193
     Kulayni, vol 2 p 633
     Abu Mansur al Tabrisi, vol 1 p 107, 255-28
     Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol 2 p 42
     Yaqubi, vol 2 p 135-6


ted thal there were substantial differences between the various
versions of the Qur'an.
***************************************************************************
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           Early Debates on the Integrity of the Quran (Part II)

It is universally acknowledged in the Islamic tradilion-based
on the collective memory of the early generations of Muslims
rather than simply on a number of isolated reports that Uthman
promulgated an official rescension of the Qur'an and banned all
other versions. There were certainly differences between that
official Quran and other early codices as there were differences
among the variant codices themselves. It was, after all, those
differences that necessitated the establihment of a standard and
universally accepted text.

It is conceivable that close associates of the Prophet, especially
those who had joined him during his years in Mecca, still remembe-
red parts of the revelation that had not been included by the Pro-
phet in the Qur'an. It is also plausible to speculate that Ali
whose version of the Scripture might have been one of the most
complete and authentic, had offered it to Uthman to be conse-
crated as the official text, but that his offer was rejected by the
caliph who preferred to select and combine elements of all the
competing early codices. This in turn may have caused 'Ali to
withdraw his manuscript as a basis for compiling of the official
rescension. Another Companion, 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud, is also
reported to have stood aloof from the process and to have declined
to offer his own text.[53]

[53] Ibn Abi Dawud, p 15-17
     Ibn Asakir, Tarikh madinat Dimashq, vol 39 p 87-91

The foregoing account of the first compilation of the Qur'an is,
otherwise, extremely problematic [54]. Despite the significance of

[54] A.T Welch p 404-5 and the sources quoted therein

this report, it does not appear tn any work written by scholars of
the 2nd/8th and early 3rd/9th centuries [55]. Some details of the

[55] Thus the story doesn't appear in for instance in Tabaqat of
     Ibn Sa'd in sections of Abu Bakr, Umar and Zayd b. Thabit, nor
     in Musnad Ahmad Hanbal or Fadail as Sahaba where he gathered so
     may reports about their virtues and good services to Islam.

story reportedly took place later at the time that Uthman ordered
the creation of a standard Qur'an [56]. Several reports categori-

[56] Bukhari, vol 3 p 392-93, vol 4 p 398-99
     Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 347
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 7-9, 20, 29 with Bukhari vol 3 p 393-94
     Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 348
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 17, 19, 24-26, 31
     Ibn Asakir, Tarikh, Biography of Uthman p 236

cally deny that any official attempt to collect the Qur'an was made
before 'Uthman's time [57], an assertion reportedly supported by

[57] Ibn Asakir, Biography of Uthman, p 170
     Zarkashi, vol 1 p 241
     Other reports suggest that the collection of the Quran had
     already been started during the time of Umar, but he died
     before the project was completed during the caliphate of
     Uthman (Abu Hilal al Askari, vol 1 p 219)

the collective recollections if the Muslim community [58]. Dif-

[58] Zarkashi, vol 1 p 235
     Itqan, vol1 p 211
     Ibn Asakir, p 243-46

ferent versions of the story reveal major contradictions in regards
to some of its main particulars. The name of the Companion
whose testimony alone was accepted [59] and the precise verses in

[59] He is (a) Khuazyma b, Thabit al Ansari in Bukhari vol 3 p 310, 394
     Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 347
     Abu Bakr al Marwasi, p 103
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 7, 8, 9, 20, 29, 31
     Bayhaqi, Dalial, vol 7 p 150
     and (b) Abu Khuzayma (Aws b. Yazid) in Bukhari, vol 3 p 392-93
     Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 348
     Abu Bakr al Marwazi, p 99
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 19
     Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 149
     and (c) an un-identified man of Ansar in Ibn Abi Dawud, p 8
     Tabari, Jami, vol 14 p 588
     and (d) Unayy in Ibn Abi Dawud p 9, 30
     Khatib, Talkhis al Mustadrak, vol 1 p 403
     There are also reports which indicate that Ubayy not only knew these
     verses he knew that they were the last to have been revealed to the
     Prophet, too (Tabari, Jami, vol 14 p 588-89)

question [60] vary. Contradictory accounts are also given of the

[60]  It is the last two verses of Sura 9 in Bukhari, vol 3 p 392-93
      Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 347
      ABu Bakr al Marwazi, p 99, 103
      Ibn Abi Dawud, p 7, 9, 11, 20, 29, 30, 31
      Tabari, Jami, vol 14 p 588
      Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 149
      and Verse 23 of Sura 33 in Bukhari, vol 3 p 310, 393-94
      Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 348
      Ibn Abi Dawud, p 8, 19
      Bayhaqi, Dalail, vol 7 p 150
      Khatib, Mudih, vol 1 p 276

role of Zayd b. Thabit in the compilation process [61]. The inclu-

[61] In the above cited account of the collection of the Quran he is
     the one who undertook the task of putting the Quran together in
     two stages during the times of Abu Bakr and Uthman. Some other
     reports ascribe the collection of the Quran, including Zayd's
     participation in it, to the period of Uthman (Bukhari, vol 3
     p 393-94; Tirmidhi, vol 4 p 348; Ibn Abi Dawud, p 31; Ibn Asakir,
     Biography of Uthman, p 234-36)
     Other reports don't mention his name at all (Ibn Abi Dawud, p 10-11)
     Yets others assert that he had already collected the Quran doing the
     time of the Prophet, putting together all the fragments of it which
     were recorded on various sorts of primitive writing material, as in
     Tirmidhi, vol 5 p 390
     Hakim, vol 2 p 229, 611
     In another report, however, he is quoted as stating by the time the
     Prophet died, the Quran had not been collected, as in
     Itqan, vol 1 p 202


sion of the clause related to the acceptance of the testimony of one
man alone is an obvious attempt to make the story more accep-
table through references to the familiar and widely quoted story
Khuzayma Dhu 'l-Shahadstayan, a man whos single testimony
was aid to hav ebeen accpted by the Prophet as equivalent to the
testimony of two witnesses [62]. In a variation of this story, in

[62] Bukhari, vol 3 p 310
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 29
     Khatib, Mudih, vol 1 p 276
     Itqan, vol 1 p 206

which the witness is an unidentified man from Ansar, Umar is
reported to have accepted the testimony of this single witness on
the grounds that the message of the verse he orfered was, in
Umar's judgement, true since the verse described the Prophet
with qualities that he had really possessed [63]. In other varia-

[63] Tabari, Jami, vol 16, p 588

tions. The verse or verses were said to have been accepted because
'Umar [64], Uthman [65] or Zayd [66] themselves testified that they,

[64] Ibn Abi Dawud, p 30
[65] Ibid, p 31
[66] Ibid, p 8, 19, 29

too, had heard those Verses from the Prophet; or, alternatively,
because the caliph had generally ordered that anybody's testimony
be accepted provided that he took an oath that he had personally
heard from the Prophet the verse or part that he offered for inclu-
sion [67]. Moreover, the story contradicts numerous and widely

[67] Ibn Asakir, p 236, where the episode is ascibed to the period
     of Uthman who asked the Muslism to come forward with whatever
     part of the Quran they had in hand. The Muslims came forward
     with whatever primitive writing material on wwhich they had
     recorded parts of the Quran. The Uthman asked every single one
     to swear that he had personally heard what he had offered as a
     part of the Quran from the Prophet. He then ordered the collected
     material to be put together as Scriptures.

     In an obvious attempt to purge the sotry of these terrible contr-
     adictions a variation of it was authored by some later transmitters
     that suggested that (a) the collection of the Quran started during
     the reign of Abu Bakr but could not be completed before his death
     and was put together during the reigns of Umar, that (b), Zayd was
     the one who wrote the Quran first during the time of Abu Bakr on
     primitive writing material and then on paper during the time of Umar,
     that (c), there was no question of testimony or witness, but rather
     Zayd himself after completing the text once went ovr it and could
     not find Verse 33:23. He then looked around for it, untill he found
     the record of it with Khuzayma b. Thabit. He then went over the text
     once more and this time noticed that the Verses 9:12-129 were missing,
     so he looked around again untill he found the record with another
     man who was incidently called Khuzayma as well. When he went over the
     text for the third time, he found no problem and so the text was
     completed. (Tabari, Jami, vol 1 p 59-61)


transmitted reports [68] which assert that a number of the Compa-

[68] The list of the early collectors of the Quran is different in
     different sources, for instance, Ibn Sa'd, vol 2 p 112-14
     Ibn al NAdim, Kitab al Fihrist, p 30
     Tabarani, al Mujam al Kabir, vol 2 p 292
     Baqillani, p 88-90
     Dhahabi, al Maridat al qurra al kibar, vol 1 p 27
     Zarkashim vol 1 p 242-43
     Qurtubi, vol 1 p 57
     Itqan, vol 1 p 248-49, quoting Abu Ubayd in his Kitab al Qira'at

nions, notably Ali, Abd Allah b. Masud and Ubayy b. Kab, had
collected the Qur'an during the time of the Prophet [69]. Further-

[69] In order to remove the obvious contradictions between these
     reports and the story in question, the supporters of the story
     have offered two suggestions. According to one, those who are
     said to have collcted the Quran during the time of the Prophet,
     had each made a collection of only a part of the revelation, not
     a complete version. According to the other, the word "collected",
     had to be understood to mean that those Companions memorized the
     Quran during the time of the Prophet, not they they had put a
     complete record of it together. As mentioned in
     Ibn Abi Dawud, p 10
     Itqan, vol 1 p 204

more, a clear and suspicious attempt seems to have been made to
somehow credit the first three caliphs with achieving the compila-
tion of the sacred scripture of Islam to the exclusion of the fourth,
Ali.
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          Early Debates on the Integrity of the Quran (Part III)

This latter point, when compared with the reports cited above
on Ali's collection of the Quran after the death of the Prophet,
may shed some light on the origins of the story. Taking into
account some of the early political, and later polemical, disputes
within the Muslim community, one may suggest the existence of a
multi-stage process in the formation of that account. There was
apparently a widely circulating rumor In the first century ot the
Hijra to the effect that Ali did not attend the public meeting at
which Abu Bakr was declared ruler after the death of the Prophet,
and that it also took some time before he swore his allegiance to
Abu Bakr. From early times the partisans of Ali have inter-
preted this as a reflection of his dissatisfaction with the choice of
Abu Bakr and used this conclusion as a basis from which to attack
the allege consensus of thc Companions which was put forward by
the supporters of the caliphs as the legal hasis for the validity of
Abu Bakr's succession to caliphate. This line of argument seems
also have appeared quite early; possibly even before the decline of
the Umayyads in Lhe early 2nd/8th century whem sectarian debates
began to flare in the Muslim communily [70]. With the decline of

[70] For instance the poem attributed to Ali in the Sharif al Radi,
     Nah al Balagha, p 503, "If you (claim that you) have come to
     power on the basis of consultation, how did then it happen while
     those who had to be consulted were absent."

the Umayyads, 'Ali could no longer be ignored and a response had
to be found. Many of the reports which alleged that 'Ali retreated
from public life after the death of the prophet in order to put the
Qur'an together mention this as the explanation for his failure to
tender an early allegiance to the caliph [71]. It scems very

[71] Ibn sa'd, vol 2 p 101
     Ibn Abi Shayba, vol 6 p 148
     Abu Hilal al Askari, vol 1 p 219-20
     Ibn ABi Dawud, p 10
     Itqan, vol 1 p 204

likely [72], therefore, that these reports were composed-using as

[72] Alternatively, there might actually have existed some rumours
     suggesting that Ali, having noticed that the Seniors of Quraysh
     had chosen one among themselves as the succesor to the Prophet and
     having decided to withdraw from the public, kept himself busy with
     the Quran and took that as an excuse not to participate in any
     social activity. The Sunnites, however, put forward that excuse as
     the real cause and denied that 'Ali was unahppy with the Quraysh
     process of Caliph making.


background material some pre-existing reports and recollections
concerning Ali [73] - the sectarian purpose of suggesting that

[73] Ali was among one of the early collectors of the Quran, one of
     those who collected it during the life time of the Prophet as
     mentioned in Ibn Asakir, vol 39 p 80.
     Ali was known for his vast knowledge and of special dedication
     to the Quran. (Ibn Sa'd vol 1 p 204)
     In his codex of the Quran he had reportedly indicated the verses
     which were abrogated and those which abrogated them (Itqan, vol 1
     p 204).
     The exact timing of when he had offered the codex for the official
     consecration was already blurred by the early 2nd/8th Century. The
     Shi'ites were themselves were now attributing it to the time of
     Umar (Sulaymn, p 108, also quoted by Abu Mansur al Tabrisi, vol 1
     p 228, vol 2 p 7), but a vague memory of it was presumably still
     extant.

Ali's delay was not a sign of his dissatisfaction. Instead, Ali was
quoted as telling Abu Bakr (when the caliph asked him whether he
had failed to swear allegiance because he was unhappy with Abu
Bakr's election) that he "had vowed to God not to put on his
outside garment except for attending the communal prayer, until
such a time as he had put the Qur'an together." [74]

[74] Abu Mansur al Tabrisi, vol 1 p 71
     The point that these reports had an anti Shi'ite polemical
     application can also be attested to by the fact that in some
     of its later versions, the report is quoted by the Sunnites
     on the authority of Jafar al Sadiq, who quoted it from his fore
     fathers (Abu Hilal al Askari, vol 1 p 219)
     It was a common practice in the sectarian reports to put the idea
     on the tongue of the respected authority of the opponent, a practice
     whioch can also be observed in the cases which shortly follow in
     the discussion above. (See also Kashshi, p 393-97)

The episode, however, created other problems for the supporters
of orthodoxy for it added another item to the list of Ali's special
privileges used by the Shi'ites to argue with for his claim to the
caliphate. In addition to all his other alleged merits, he was now
the one who had undertaken the critical task of assembling the
Islamic scripture after the death of the Prophet [75]. This was

[75] Kitab Mihnat Amir al Muminin (an early Shi'ite text preserved
     in Pseudo Mufid, al Ikhtisas, p 157-75), p 164
     Sulaymn, p 113, 120

potentially a dangerous weapon in the hands of his partisans in
sectarian debates. The partisans of 'Ali might have already used
it against the Uthmaniyya, to counter their argument in support
of 'Uthman on the basis that he was the one who established the
official and standard Qur'an. For the Uthmaniyya that constitu-
ted a real challenge that they met, as in many other cases, by
seeking to undermine Shi'ite claims for the special quality of Ali
or the House of the Prophet. Some examples are as follows [76]:

[76] For other interesting examples see Ibn Asakir, Biography of
     Uthman, p 146-68. 290-94

   1. Many reports suggest that the Prophet chose Ali as his bro-
      ther [77] at the time that he established the "brothering" among his
      followers [78]. A counter report claims this status for Abu
      Bakr [79], though it is widely believed that the Prophet made Abu
      Bakr and ' Umar brothers [80]. Many other reports quote the Pro-
      phet as saying that "if I could adopt an intimate friend I would
      adopt Abu Bakr, but your colleague (i.e. the Prophet) is already
      taken by God as His intimate friend." [81] These seem to have
      been composed to counter the claim of Ali's selection as the Pro-
      ephet's brother.

[77] Nur Allah al Tastari, Ihqaq al haqq, vol 4 p 171-217; vol 6 p 461-86
     p 450-17; vol 20 p 221-55
     Abd al Husayn al Amini, vol 3 p 113-25
[78] Muakhat in the Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed, vol 7 p 253-54
[79] Ahmad b, Handal, Fadail al Sahaba, p 99, 166-7, 378
     Bukhari, col 3 p 113-25
[80] Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, vol 3 p 123
[81] Ahmad, Fadail, p 99, 166-67, 177, 183-84, 378-79, 411


   2. The partisans of Ali regarded him as the most excellent
      among the companions of the Prophet. Indeed, there are many
      indications in the history of the Prophet that Ali was in fact one
      of the pre-eminent Companions. An obviously pro-Uthmaniyya
      report, however, emphasized that during the time of the Prophet
      only Abu Bakr ' Umar and ' Uthman were pre-eminent. All
      others followed with no distinctions of status or eminence. [82]

[82] Ahmad, Fadail, p 86-92
     Biography of Uthman, p 153-59
     Bukhari, vol 2 p 418

   3. In an oft-quoted statement ascribed to the Prophet, he is
      reported as having called his two grandsons by Fatima- al Hasan
      and al-Husayn-the "two masters of the youth of Para-
      dise [83]. Another report from the Prophet applies the same epi-
      thet to Ali [84]. A counter report calls Abu Bakr and Umar the
      to masters of the middle-aged of the paradise [85].

[83] Tustari, vol 10 p 544-95; vol 19 p 232-51
[84] Ibn Asakir, Tarikh madinal Dimashq, Section on the Biography of Ali,
     vol 2 p 260
[85] Ibn Sa'd, vol 3 p 124
     Ahmad, Fadail, p 158-59, 771, 774, 780, 788
     Daylami, vol 1 p 530

   4. A widely circulating statement attributed to the Prophet sta-
      ted that he was the city of knowledge for which 'Ali was the
      gate [86]. A counter statement described Abu Bakr as the founda-
      tion of the city, 'Umar as the wall and 'Uthman as the ceiling [87].

[86] Tustari, vol 5 p 468-515; vol 16 p 277-309; vol 21 p 415-28
     Amini, vol 6 p 61-81
[87] Daylami, vol 1 p 76


   5. It is reported that during the early years of the Prophet's
      stay at Medina, the Companions who had their houses around the
      mosque of the Prophet had opened exit doors from their houses
      into the mosque in order to make it easier for themselves to attend
      the communal prayer there with the Prophet. According to a
      widely quoted report, the Prophet later ordered all those doors to
      be closed, excepting only the door that led from the house of Ali,
      which was virtually the door leading from the house of the Pro-
      phet's daughter [88]. (The exception was not, therefore, to signify
      a merit or to establish a special status for Ali himself.) A counter
      report, however, tried to establish that it was the door from the
      house of Abu Bakr which was the exception [89].

[88] Ahmad, Fadail, p 581-82
     Tustari, vol 5 p 540-86; vol 16 p 332-75; vol 19 p 243-55;
     Amini vol 6 p 209-16
[89] Bukhari, vol 2 p 418;
     Ahmad, Fadail, p 70-71, 98, 152, 379

   6. It is unanimiously believed that during a ceremonial impreca-
      tion that took place between the Prophet and the Christians of
      Najran towards the end of the Prophet's life [90] he brought with
      him the members of his immediate family 'Ali, Fatima, and their
      two sons [91]. This clearly followed the traditional rules for the
      Arabs' custom of the mutual curse, which required each party to
      attend in the company of his own household. A counter report
      however, asserts that the Prophet. was accompanied to the cere-
      mony by Abu Bakr and his family, 'Umar and his family and
      Uthman and his family [92].

[91] Tustari, vol 3 p 46-62; vol 9 p 70-91; vol 14 p 131-47
     vol 20 p 84-87
[92] Ibn Asakir, Biography of Uthman, p 168-89, quoting on the authority
     of Imam Jafar al Sadiq, who acordingly related it from his father.
     As noted above, this was a common phenomenon in this genre of material
     which was auhtored for anto Shi'ite polemical purposes.

   7. According to a widely transmitted report, the Prophet descri-
      bed Fatima, Ali and their two sons as constituting his own house-
      hold [93]. This definition of the Prophet's house is supported by
      almost all early Muslim authorities [94]. A clearly pro Uthma-
      niyya report, however, quoted the Prophet as saying that Ali,
      al-Hasan, al-Husayn and Fatima were his own household while
      Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and A'isha were the household of
      God [95].

[93] Tustari, vol 2 501-62; vol 3 p 513-31; vol 9 p 1-69; vol 14 p 40-105
     vol 18 p 359-83
[94] Tabari, Jami al Bayan, vol 22 p 6-8
[95] Daylami, vol 1 p 532
     Tabari, Jami, vol 22 p 8 quotes that Ikrima, a tabi'i well known for
     his anti Alid tendencies was crying in the market, that the household
     of the Prophet were his wives only.

It seems safe to assume that this same model was followed with
respect to the reports about Ali's collection of the Qur'an and that
the story in question was composed as part of an anti-Shl'ite pole-
mic. The process seems to have beglin with assertions that, with
the exception of Uthman, none of the caliphs or any of the
Companions collected the Qur'an [96] some made the point more

[96] See above footnote 57

emphatically and stipulated that Ali, in particular, passed away
before he could collect it [97]. (In reality, of course, not only did

[97] Ibn Asakir, Biography of Uthman, p 170

Ali witness the collection of the Qur'an, he did not die until years
after the official Qur'an had been established.) Another report
asserted that the first person to collect the Qur'an was Salim, a
client of Abu Hudayfa, who after the death of the Prophet
"vowed to God not to put on his outside garment until such a time
as he had put the Quran together."[98] This is exactly the state-

[98] Itqan, vol 1 p 205, quoting Ibn Ashta in his Kitab al Masahif

ment attributed to Ali in other reports. Salim was among those
who lost their lives in the battle of Yamama[99]. Other reports

[99] Ibn Abd al Barr, p 562

came forward with the straight forward assertion that the first to
collect the Qur'an was Abu Bakr.[100] Employing popular beliefs

[100] Ibn Abi Shayba, vol 6 p 148
      Ibn Abi Dawud, both quoting the report from Ali

among Muslims concerning 'Uthman's establishment of the stan-
dard Qur'an-including the role of Zayd b. Thabit as the project's
main coordinator - the role of Abu Bakr in the collection of the
Quran was then developed to what is seen in the above-cited
account which, at the same time, reserves a major role for Umar
as well, in the process.

To be completed...