Traditions on the Collection of the Holy Qur'an

We now examine a few references given by the traditionalists
which have somehow found their way into the books of traditions
of both the Sunni and the Shia Schools.
Regarding the first attempt of the ruling party to make a
collection of their own, Bokhari quotes Zaid bin Thabit that,
after
the battle of Yamama, the First Caliph sent for Zaid and told
him, in the presence of Omar, that he (Omar) had told him that
many reciters of the Qur'an had been killed in the battle and that
he was afraid that others would be killed and that a great portion
of the Qur'an would be lost. Omar had said, "I believe that you
should order the collection of the Qur'an", and the First Caliph
had replied, "How could I do what the Holy Prophet did not
do?", to which Omar had replied, UBY God I swear, it is good
that this be done". Said the Caliph to Zaid' "Omar continued
demanding this of me until God opened my heart to it", claiming
a sort of inspiration. Zaid said that the First Caliph had told
him, "You are an intelligent young man whom we do not suspect,
and you used to write the revelations for the Holy Prophet. You
search for the Qur'an and collect it."

Zaid Says, "I swear on my God, if they had ordered me to
carry out the task of shifting a mountain from its place, I would
not have felt it so heavy a task as the one which they asked me to
undertake." To the First Caliph he said, "How dare you do
something which the Holy Prophet did not do?" and the First
Caliph replied, "By God I swear, it is good that this he done."
He says, "Thereafter the First Caliph continued to ask me to
undertake the task until God opened my heart as he had opened
the heart of the First Caliph and of Omar. Thereafter I carried
out a search for the Qur'an, collecting it from the pieces of
wood, bones, and from the memories of the people, until I found
the last verse or the Sura-e-Tauba with Abi Khozaima-e4nsari
and with none other.11 The collection remained with the First
Caliph until his death and then passed to Omar and then to his
daughter Hafsa.

Boldiari tells us that Hozaifatibnil-Yaman, on his return from
the expedition to Armenia and Azarbaijan, expressed his anxiety
about the variation among the members of the expedition in the
recitation of the Qur'an, and asked the Third Caliph to take the
necessary steps to unite the Muslims to avoid controversy over
the Book of God such as existed about the Holy Scriptures of the
Jews and the Christians; even today there are different versions
of the Old and New Testaments, some parts being regarded as
apocryphal by some and not by others. The Third Caliph asked
Omar's daughter Hafsa to hand over the collection left with her
so that copies could be made. He ordered Zaid, Abdullah ibne
Zobair, Sayeed ibnul As and Abdur-Rahman ibne Harith ibne
Hisham to make copies of it. The Third Caliph told the three
Khoraishites that wherever they differed from Zaid in the
recitation of the Qur'an and its pronunciation, it should be
written in the dialect of the Qoreish since it was revealed in
their

dialect. They did as they were bidden and prepared copies of the
collection, and returned the original to Hafsa and sent the copies
to all corners of the empire. The Third Caliph ordered the
Qur'an in all other forms or collections to be burnt and
destroyed.

Bokhari relates that the son of Zaid claimed that he had heard his
father say, "when we were copying the collection, we missed a
verse from Sura-e-Ahzab which I used to hear the Holy Prophet
reciting; we searched for i4 we found it with Khozaimat ibne
Thabith Ansari and we put it in the same Sura in the collection."

These two traditions of Bokhari regarding the collection of
the reign of the First Caliph and the copying of it during the
reign of the Third Caliph contain a slight contradiction regarding
the missing verse.


Now, besides these two, there are twenty more traditions
regarding the collection of the Qur'an, each contradicting the
other in some way. Eleven of them are mentioned in the
Muntakhab-e-Kanzul Ummal and the rest have been taken from
Itqan of Suyooti and others. The following is a brief account of
these traditions.

In one tradition ibne Abi Shaiba relates that Ali said that Abu
Bakr was the greatest one in the collection of the Qur'an, being
the first person to collect the Qur'an. Another tradition says
that
Abu Bakr collected the Qur'an on paper and asked Zaid ibne
Thabit to review it; when Zaid refused, he sought the help of
Omar to persuade Zaid, which he succeeded in doing, and the
reviewed copy remained with Abu Bakr, being passed to Omar
and then to Hafsa.

A third tradition from Hisam ibne Orwa claims that after the
battle of Yamama, when some of the companions of the Holy
Prophet who had collected the Qur'an were killed, Abu Bakr
ordered Omar and Zaid ibne Thabit to sit at the gate of the
Mosque and collect the Qur'an from the people.
Another tradition, from Muhammad ibne Seereen, relates that
Omar was killed before the Qur'an was collected.
A fifth tradition says that, when Omar asked for one verse of
the Holy Qur'an, he was told that it was with some one who was
killed in the battle of Yamama. He became very worried and
ordered the Qur'an to be collected, and was the first person to
collect it in book form.

A sixth tradition tells us that Omar decided to collect the
Qur'an and ordered that "whosoever has received from the Holy
Prophet any portion of the Holy Qur'an should bring it to US".
The people had the Qur'an on pieces of wood, stones, skin, leaves
of trees and bones. Omar would not accept anything from any
one unless it was certified by two witnesses. But he (Omar) was
killed while the collection was still going on. Osman succeeded
him and continued the task, also demanding two witnesses before
he accepted anything. Then Khozaimatibne Thabit carne with
the last two verses of the Sura-Bar'at, saying, "I have received
it from the Holy Prophet and you have not got it in your Qur'an",
to which Osman replied, "Yes, I also give evidence that these
verses are from God, but tell me where we should place them.
Abu Khozaimat said, "Place these two verses at the end of the
last revealed portion of the Qur'an." Accordingly, they were
placed at the end of the Sura-Bar'at.

The seventh tradition asserts that it was Omar who accepted
these last verses of the Sura-Bar'at from a man of the Ansars
without any witnesses, with his own confirmation of it.
The eighth tradition says that, after the battle of Yamama in
which four hundred or seven hundred reciters of the Qur'an were
killed, Zaid ibne Thabit approached Omar and said, 91 The Qur'an
is the only unifying factor of our religion; if it is lost, our
religion is also lost. I have decided to collect it in book
form.",
to which Omar replied, "Wait until I ask Abu Bakr". Both went
to Abu Bakr and informed him of their conversation. Abu Bakr
replied, "Wait until I consult the Muslims." He then began to talk
to the people, and all approved of the plan. Then they collected
the Qur'an, and Abu Bakr ordered a crier to announce that
whoever had a part of the Qur'an should bring it

A ninth tradition tells that Khozaimatibne Thabit said that he
brought the last verses of the Sura-Tauba to Omar and Zaid
ibne Thabit Then Zaid asked Khozaimat who would give
evidence in his support, to which Khozaimat replied that he did
not know any one. Then Omar said that he was there to witness
it.

The tenth tradition says that, when Omar had collected the
Qur'an, he asked, "Who is the best in pronunciation?" The people
said, "Syeed ibnul As", and then Omar asked, "Who is the best
calligrapher?" The people named Zaid ibne Thabit. Then Omar
said, "Let Syeed dictate and Zaid write." They made four copies,
of which one was sent to Kufa, one to Basra, one to Damascus
and one to Hidjas.

The eleventh tradition reports that, when Omar wanted to
write the Leading Qur'an, he made a few of his companions
undertake the task, saying, "wherever you differ in the wording,
write it down in the dialect of Mozar, for the Qur'an was
revealed to a man of Mozar."

The twelfth tradition gives the report of Abu Qullaba that,
during the reign of Osman, the teachers of the Qur'an started
teaching their pupils different recitations and the students used
to meet and differ from each other. This was brought to the notice
of the teachers and each condemned the other's recitation. News
reached Osman, who said, "You people differ in the recitation
and you recite in my presence. what about those who are far
away in distant cities? Their recitation would differ even more.
Then he spoke to the companions of the Holy Prophet, ordering
them to write a Leading Qur'an for the people. Abu Qullaba says
that Malik ibne Anas claimed that he was among those who used
to dictate the Qur'an; they used to dictate the Qur'an,
mentioning

the name of the person who had received that verse from the
Holy Prophet. If that person was not present, they would write
down the preceding and succeeding verses, leaving a space for
the verse under consideration until the person concerned was
available. And Osman completed the collection and wrote to the
people in the big cities that he had destroyed what he had and
that they should do the same.

The thirteenth tradition tells that Osman addressed the people
in one of his talks, saying, "Only thirteen years have passed
between you and your Prophet and you doubt the Qur'an, s~ying
the recitation of Obai or of ibne Mas'ood, and one telling the
other that his recitation is not the right one." Then he urged
them all by an oath that whoever had a portion of the Qur'an
should bring it. People brought pieces of paper, bits of wood,
skin, etc., with the Qur'an on them until a great number were
collected. Then Osman went inside (his house) and called one
after another and made each one swear that he had heard it from
the Holy Prophet, and that the Holy Prophet had dictated it to
him. After finishing this, he asked who was the beet in
pronunciation; the people said, "Syeed ibnul As." Then he
ordered Syeed to dictate and Zaid ibne Thabit to write. Several
copies were made and were distributed among the people and the
one who tells of the events (Mas'ab ibne Sa'b) says that he heard
some of the companions of the Holy Prophet approving this act of
Osman.

The fourteenth tradition tells us about the persons who were
ordered by Osman to make the collection. The one who dictated
was from the tribe of Hozail and the scribe from the tribe of
Thaqeef

A fifteenth tradition relates that, after the collection was
completed, it was brought to Osman who looked at it and said,
"You have done well, the best. Yet I see some mistakes which the
Arab would correct by his own tongue."

The sixteenth tradition relates that, when the collection was
shown to Osman and he found some mistakes in it, he sai4, "Had
the dictator been from the Hozails and the scribe from the
Thaqeefs, these mistakes would not have occurred"
A seventeenth tradition reports that, when Osman wanted to
make copies of the Qur'an, he sent for Obai ibne Kaab, who
dictated to Zaid ibne Thabit, and Zaid wrote it down and Syeed
ibnul As was there to correct the pronunciation. Thus the Qur'an
of Osman was the recitation of Obai and Zaid.

The eighteenth tradition reports the seventeenth one, bnt adds
a person named Abdur-Rahman ibnul Harith to assist Syeed
ibnul As in correcting the pronunciation.

In the nineteenth tradition, Zaid ibne Thabit says that, while
they were making the copies of the Qur'an, he found the passage
33:23 of Sura-e-Ahzab was missing and he found it with
Khozaimatibne Thabit only, whose sole evidence was accepted by
the Holy Prophet as the evidence of two.

The twentieth tradition tells us that the first person who
collected the Qur'an was Abu Bakr. Zaid ibne Thabit was the
scribe, and people would come to Zaid with passages and he
would not accept any passage unless it was supported by at least
two pious men, except in the case of the last passage of the Sura-
e-Bar'at which was found by Abu Khozaimatibne Thabit, whose
lone evidence was taken as two by the Holy Prophet; that Omar
brought the passage concerning the stoning of adulterers, but it
was not accepted as there was no other witness.

There are the reports of the attempts by the ruling party to
make a collection of the Qur'an during the reigns of the first
thee Caliphs. But none of these has any authenticity and they
are subject to criticism in various ways.

Let us now examine the first two traditions on the authority of
Bokhari:

1Assurriing that the Qur'an was not collected and
arranged in book form during the lifetime of the Holy
Prophet, what right would any one have to do it
according to his own preference or fancy? What does
Sharhe Sadr (the opening of the heart) mean? Does it
mean the kind of inspiration or revelation which
Christians claim for the authors of the Gospels? Can it
be taken an authorised source like Kitaab and Sunna
(the Book and the Tradition) of Islamic Jurisprudence
giving the Halal (the permitted) and the Haram
(prohibited)? Or was it an exclusive privilege granted
to these three only (Abu Bakr, Omar and Zaid ibne
Thabit)? And what about the other companions of the
Holy Prophet who had also made collections as
unanimously acknowledged by the Muslim world?

2 Why did then Osman destroy the other collections
without the sanction of the Holy Prophet? Zaid's
collection, as well as the collection of others were,

according to this statement, based on their ijtehad.
Then why should one ijtehad be preferred above
another?

3 Why was Zaid's inspired collection not immediately
published and placed within the reach of the people
without providing time for other versions of the Qur'an
to gain currency through the Muslim empire for twenty
years before Osman destroyed them?

4 What is the implication of the words of Abu Bakr to
Zaid, "You are an intelligent young man whom we do
not suspec4 and you used to write the revelations for
the Holy Prophet."?

What were the qualifications of Zaid which made
him preferred above the other scribes who were writing
the revelations when Zaid was still a child? What was
actually needed was ripe age. And what do the words
"whom we do not suspect" mean? Ignore Ali ibne Abi
Taleb, who was declared by the Holy Prophet to be the
one who would always be with the Holy Book and with
whom the Holy Book would always be? Ali, about
whom there were numerous declarations from God and
the Holy Prophet, identified with the Holy Prophet in
the words, "Aliyyun Minni wa ana min Ali" (Ali is of
me and I am of Ali); who was named as the Nafs, the
soul of the Holy Prophet on the occasion of the historic
Mubahila, and about whom the Holy Prophet declared,
"Ana wa Ali min Noorin Wahid" ('and Ali are of one
and the same Light); who was next only to the Holy
Prophet as meant by the verse of Tatheer; who was
declared by the Holy Prophet to be always with the
truth, and the truth always with him; who was foremost
of the Itrat, ie. the Ahlul-Bait along with the
Kitaaballah, the Book of God, the Holy Qur'an, the two
being left among the Ummat (the Muslims) as the Two
Inseparable entities of the highest value for the
guidance of the Ummate Muslima (the Muslim nation
as a whole); who was regarded by the Holy Prophet in
the same relationship as Aaron was to Moses (with the
exception of Nubuwaat (Apostleship); who was
declared by the Holy Prophet to be "The Gate of the
City of Knowledge and Wisdom" and "The Best Judge
and the Witness of Truth". And if; as is said by

Bokhari and Muslim, through Malik ibne As binul
Hassan, the riling party believed that Ah had no good
opinion of them and was not, at the time, on good
terms with them, what about Abdullah ibne Mas'ood,
Obai ibne Kaab, Ma'aaz ibne Jabal and Saalim Maula
Abi Hozaifa, whose authority according to Bokhari was
declared by the Holy Prophet who had ordered the
people to receive the Qur'an from the above four
persons. This is related by Abdullah ibne Omar. of
course, Saalim was killed in the battle of Yamama, but
the other three were alive and available at the time that
Osman issued the official version, but no reference was
ever made to any of these persons. Why? During the
reign of Osman, the assistance of certain Omayyid
youths such as Syeed ibnul As and Abdur-Rahinan
ibnul Haris ibnul Hisham was sought while persons
such as Abdullah ibne Mas'ood and Obai ibne Kaab
were ignored. Was it because they suspected them, and
if so, of what?

Was it:

(a) a lack of knowledge of the Qur'an,
(b) a lack of truthfulness and reliability, or
(c) a lack of political loyalty to the ruling
party?

Considering the declaration of the Holy Prophet, the
first two possibilities must be discarded. Only the third
possibility remains. It is a historic fact that the above
were not loyal to the ruling party. But Zaid ibne Thabit
was loyal to that party and, as Ibne Abdul-Bir (the
author of Istee'aab) tells us, Zaid remained pro-Osman
and pro-Omayyid and never joined hands with the
opposition. For this act of loyalty on his part, he was
rewarded with wealth and comfort, while persons like
Abdullah ibne Mas'ood and Obai ibne Kaab suffered
disfavour and, particularly the former, persecution by
the ruling party. if these were the reasons for ignoring
these people, the bonafide of the attempt itself to collect
the Qur9an becomes subject to suspicion.

5 These two traditions of Bokhari contain contradictory
statements regarding the missing verse of the Qur'an.

In one tradition, the verse is not found by any one but
Abi Khozaima-Ansari, and in the other tradition it
was found by Khozaimatibne Thabit-Ansari. In the
first tradition it is said that the passage became the last
verses of the Sura- Bar'at, and in the second it is said
to be verse 33:23.

of the twenty traditions mentioned above, the first and second
tell us that Abu Bakr was the first person to collect the Qur'an;
according to the second, Zaid ibne Thabit was asked only to
review Abu Bakr's collection, contradicting the previous tradition
which says that it was Zaid who collected ft at the order of Abu
Bakr.


The third tradition says that Omar and Zaid were given the
joint task of making the collection, and that some companions of
the Holy Prophet who had already collected the Qur'an were
killed in the battle of Yamama. History is silent about these
collections and why they were not sought by the ruling party
which was so seriously interested in the collection of the Qur'an.
And this contradicts the two previous traditions and the two
before them, as it asserts that others had already collected the
Qur'an.

The fourth tradition contradicts all the other traditions that
Omar was killed before the Qur'an was collected.
The fifth tradition is entirely different, stating that Omar was
the first to order the Qur'an to be collected in book form after
he had asked about some passage of the Qur'an and was told that the
person who had it had been killed in the battle of Yamama. This
would mean that the collection of the Qur'an took place during
the reign of Omar and after the end of the battle of Yamama.
The sixth gives an entirely different picture, saying that it was
Omar who decided to collect the Qur'an from bones, leaves, bits
of wood, paper, etc., with witnesses, but that he was killed
before
the work was completed, that Osman continued the work and that
he, not Omar, was the one who supported the statement of
Khozaimatibne Thabit But the seventh tradition says that this
happened in the reign of Omar and that he accepted the verses
from a person who brought them without asking for any
witnesses.
The eighth tradition gives the credit for the initiative and the
decision to collect the Qur'an to Zaid ibne Thabit during the
reign of Abu Bakr, saying that Abu Bakr would not approve the
proposal of Zaid (which was supported by Omar) until he had

consulted a crowd of Muslims and gained their approval, after
which he ordered the collection.
The ninth makes Osman and Zaid ibne Thabit the joint
champions of the collection of the Qur'an, and says that Omar
accepted the statement of Khozaimatibne Thabit without further
evidence, offering himself as a witness to it.
The tenth asserts that Omar was the initiator of the collection,
employing Syeed ibnul As the dictator and Zaid ibne Thabit as
the calligrapher, and produced four copies which were
despatched to the big cities mentioned in the tradition. This
contradicts the first two traditions of Bokhari which date the
initiative to make the collection in the reign of Abu Bakr and the
despatch of the prepared copies to the big cities during the reign
of Osman. And it contradicts the traditions which give credit for
the initiative to Omar and the completion to Osman.

The eleventh tradition wants to confer the honour of the
authorship of the Leading Qur'an on Omar.

The twelfth gives the credit for the initiative in the collection
and completion and preparation of copies to Osman, and
introduces Anas ibne Malik as one of the dictators while it was
being copied. It also asserts that Osman advised the people in
the big cities of what he had done with the Qur'an and ordered
them to follow his footsteps, without sending any copies to them,
which clearly indicates that Osman was sure that the people
already had copies of the Qur'an. It shows that, of the various
recitations, the most currently used was that of Abdullah ibne
Mas'ood and Obai ibne Kaab.

The thirteenth tradition asserts that Syeed ibnul As was the
dictator and Zaid ibne Thabit the calligrapher who produced the
copies which were distributed to the people.

The fourteenth tradition claims that the talk of dictation and
writing down the Qur'an was given by Osman to Hozails and
Thaqeefs, and not to Syeed ibnul As and Zaid ibne Thabit, the
first of whom was an Omavi and the second an Ansari, while the
sixteenth says that, if the dictator and calligrapher had been
Hozails and Thaqeefs, mistakes found by Osman in the prepared
copies would not have occurred, clearly indicating that Hozails
and Thaqeefs were never employed to copy the Qur'an.

The fifteenth and sixteenth traditions state that the prepared
copy was not free from mistakes, that they were left to the tongue
of the Arabs, and no corrections were made.

In the sixteenth and eighteenth traditions, the name of Obai
ibne Kaab is mentioned as the dictator and Zaid ibne Thabit as

the calligrapher, contradicting the traditions which give Zaid
ibne Thabit as the only responsible person to undertake the work.

The nineteenth and twentieth traditions contradict each other
about the missing passage found by Khozaimatibne Thabit. The
first says that it was verse 33:23 and the other says that it was
the last verse of the Sura-e-Bar'at.

All these contradictory and inconsistent statements, if they
are not the creation of later periods, show that, in order to
counter the special authority given by the Holy Prophet to Ali and
the other members of the Ahlul-Bait, as well as to Abdullah ibne
Mas'ood, Obai ibne Kaab, Ma'aaz ibne Jabal and Saalim as the
highest authorities on the Qur'an, an attempt was made by the
ruling party to produce their own collection, brush aside all these
other authorities and gain accreditation for themselves. But they
differed even among themselves as to who should get the credit.
So there were parties within parties, each trying to claim credit
for its own group and its own hero. The only thing that can be
said is that, whoever it was, he was neither competent nor
authorised for the task. And although they collected scattered
fragments from here and there, they dared not publish it for more
than twenty years, during which time the Qur'an in perfect book
form gained tremendous currency throughout the Muslim empire,
and was taught, learnt, memorised and acted upon in the daily
lives of the people, and justice was meted Out according to it
When Osman and the ruling party of his time recognised the
failure of their attempt to gain credit for their venture, they
procured a copy of the current version, gave official assent to it
and called it the official version. The absence of the so-called
collection of Abu Bakr (which was passed to Omar and then to
his daughter, Hafsa), of the so-called collection of Omar and the
so-called collection of Osman, and the absence of any other
collection, together with the absence of any objection to the
official version, is the greatest, irrefutable testimony to the fact
that this received version had continued to be the same since the
departure of the Holy Prophet, about which the Holy Prophet
declared, "I leave among you the Book of God and my Ahlul-
Bait."

So, whatever has been said in contradiction of this is mere
fabrication or wishful thinking without validity. It only throws
light on the fact that there were people who attempted to
discredit
the received version by spreading rumours and mischievous
propaganda. In support of this fact, we quote some of the
statements attributed to some prominent members of the ruling
party about omissions from the present version:

First and foremost, the majority of the Sunni school hold that
there are some passages where the wording is not in the Qur'an,
but the content of the instructions remain valid. An example is
the reference to the stoning of adulterers, the wording for which
is provided in three different forms, as Boldiari and Muslim
report on the authority of Ibne Abbas from Omar.

And Muslim tells us that Ayesha said that there were two
revealed passages dealing with the number of feedings which will
prohibit a foster mother, or quality her, to be considered the
mother of the baby. Ayesha said that, in the first passage the
number was ten different feedings, this being replaced by another
passage which reduced the number to five, and that both passages
were read as part of the Qur'an until the departure of the Holy
Prophet. This is given as an example of the abrogation of
passages, the wording and the instruction implied. However, a
careful examination shows that the word "abrogation" was
merely a sugar-coated word to avoid using the word "omission"
since only the Holy Prophet had the right to omit anything from
the Qur'an, either in wording or in meaning. It is obvious that
the abrogation was not the work of the Holy Prophet, as the first
statement says that Omar brought the passage dealing with the
stoning of adulterers when they were collecting the Qur'an, but it
was not accepted, not because it was abrogated, but because there
was no other witness to support Omar's statement. In the second
case, Ayesha expressly states that the passages dealing with the
fostering mother were a part of the Qur'an until the departure of
the Holy Prophet. Therefore, if these statement are true, itmeans
only that there was an intentional omission of certain passages of
the Qur'an by unauthorised people.

Suyuti, in his Itqan in continuation of the narrative of
Bokhari and Muslim regarding this matter, relates from Omar
that there is another passage which is said to be missing from the
received version of the Qur'an. But a proper examination of the
said missing passages which Omar and Ayesha present,
companions them with the style of the Qur'an proves beyond any
doubt that they can never have been a part of the Qur'an and are
nothing but personal fancies. This is nothing new, for the
companions of the Prophet used to accuse each other of such
mistakes regarding the mourning for a departed, and Ayesha
accused Omar of misunderstanding the statement of the Holy
Prophet. It is impossible that a part of the Qur'an should be
unknown to all the companions of the Holy Prophet except for
Ayesha and Omar, both of whom were accused of forgetfulness
and a lack of knowledge of the Qur'an.

The Itqan, on the authority of Tibrani, states that Omar said
that the Qur'an contained ten lakhs twenty-seven thousand
letters, whereas the Qur'an available at the time would not reach
even one-third of the quantity, which means that more than two-
thirds of the Qur'an has been omitted A question arises, if,
according to Omar and the ruling party, the Qur'an was still
being collected up to the end of his life. how is it that the
letters
of the whole book were counted? Especially considering that he
was intimately acquainted with the existing one-third and a
multitude of Muslims had even memorised it.

Moreover, considering that his evidence for just one verse
which he so well remembered was not accepted by his own party,
while Khozaima's statement was accepted without the testimony
of others, how can his solitary statement about the missing two-
thirds of the Qur'an be accepted of which he could not remember
one single verse?

The Itqan tells us that Abdullah ibne Omar said that some
one may say that he has received the whole Qur'an, but what does
he know about the whole? One can only say that he received of
the Qur'an only that which has been known in evidence. Again
Itqan says that Ayesha claimed that the Sura-Ahzab at the time
of the Holy Prophet contained 200 verses and that in Osman's
collection we find much less. Similarly, the Muntakhabet
Khanzul Ummal quotes Obai ibne kaab as saying that the Sura-e-
Ahzab, which now contains seventy-three verses, was originally
equal to, or even longer than, the Sura-Baqara.

Omar is the one whom Obai ibne kaab discredited in the
matter of the Qur'an as a person who was busy in his transactions
in the marketplace while Obai and 6thers were busy studying the
Qur'an under the Holy Prophet And in another dispute about the
status of the Ansar being equal to the Mohajir or subordinate to
them, Omar quoted verse 100 of Chapter 9, omitting the
conjunctive letter between Ansar and the relative pronoun (those
who follow them), making the following adjectival clause qualify
the Ansar, which would mean that the Ansars should follow the
Mohajirs. Obai ibne Kaab refuted Omar's misreading by
inserting the conjunctive letter between the Ansar and the
relative pronoun, which makes the Ansar's status equal to the
Mohajirs, the relative pronoun referring to those who follow the
Mohajirs and then the Ansars. This was a matter of great
political importance as it dismisses the claim of the Khoraish to
be superior to the Ansar. Obai's authority was accepted and
Omar withdrew his misquotation.

Ayesha's evidence for the missing 127 verses of the Sura-
Ahzab, without quoting even a single verse of it, should be
discredited as she did not remember even the first words of verse
33 of the same Sura, which concern herself as well as the other
wives of the Holy Prophet. Also, the statement attributed to Obai
ibne Kaab is also to be dismissed because of the omission of so
large a portion of one particular Sura, without it being
remembered by such an acknowledged authority on the Qur'an -
and none other than he remembering such a large amount of
material - is unbelievable; and such a claim could never have
come from some one of the stature of Obai ibne Kaab.

Another tradition of the Itqan asserts that Ayesha had a
collection of her own, quoting her father as saying that in the
Sura-e-Ahzab, alter "Tasleema" in verse 56 of Salawat, there was
a conjunctive clause, "wa alallazina yasiloona sofooful awwal",
and that was before Osman made changes in the collection. First
of all, the internal evidence against this is the style of the alleged
missing clause: it is contrary to the common usage of Muslims,
since Muslims in their Salawat on the Holy Prophet either stop
with the Holy Prophet or add his family, or go further and add
the companions in general, or the wives and issue of the Holy
Prophet There is no trace of evidence in support of this suffix.
Further, no one else has ever said that Ayesha's Mus'haf (her own
collection) was destroyed by any one. So what happened to that
collection?

Another tradition of Sahih Muslim says that Abu Musa-e-
Ash'ari called the reciters of the Qur'an in Basra, and people
who had studied the Qur'an came to him:

He addressed them, saying: "You are the chosen ones of
the people of Basra and reciters of the Qur'an. You
continue to recite the Qur'an regularly and do not
neglect it for long lest your hearts become hardened like
the hearts of the people of old times." He said, "We used
to read a Sura in the Qur'an which was equal in length
and rigidity to the Sura-e-Bar'at, but I have forgotten it
except for one verse.

and there was another Sura which resembled the
Musabbihat, but that also I have forgotten except for one
verse of it which runs as follows...

The style of both the quotations of Abu Musa is quite inferior to
that of the Qur'an and the wording of the first passage itself

makes it quite obvious that it belongs to the category of Ahadees-
e-Qudsi, a definition of which has already been given

Regarding the second quotation, it might be taken as a
parenthetical sentence, a commentary added to verse 61:2 before
the third verse (Kabora ma maqtan indallah) of the same
chapter. Abu Musa, having heard it, might have taken it to be a
different Sura because he is known to have been credulous and
weak in memory and literary taste; and since he himself
confesses to have forgotten both the suras and no one else had
any knowledge of it, this statement must automatically be
dismissed. Further, if the statement is true, it may have been
made after the start of the tension between Osman and himself
which led to his removal from the governorship, in which case it
would have been intended to discredit Osman by accusing him of
the omission.

Suyuti, in his Itqan, tells us that once Omar told Abdur-
Rahman ibne Auf, "Didn't you find this passage among what was
revealed to us?" ("In jahado kama jahadtum awwala marratin".
"Surely we do not find it now!") To this Abdur-Rahman replied
that it was one of the passages of the Qur'an which was omitted.

First of all, this is a conditional clause, part of the larger one.
The following sentence is not mentioned, and neither Omar nor
Abdur-Rahman ibne Auf mentions of which part of which verse
of which Sura it was, thereby showing the failure of this man. In
the second place, who prevented Omar from re-inserting this and
the other omitted passages into their respective places in the
Qur'an, he being a powerful leader of the ruling party? Or,
rather, is it that these and many other passages fancied by Omar
and Abdur-Rahman to be parts of the Qur'an were rejected by the
Muslims through lack of internal and external supporting
evidence?

Similar to this is the statement of Suyuti, claiming that a
prominent companion of the Holy Prophet, Muslimatibne
Mukhallad Ansari, once asked the people (among whom was also
Sa'aad ibne Malik Ansari), "Will you tell me about the two
passages of the Qur'an which were not included in the
collection?" But no one replied, except his son (probably
Muhammad ibne Muslima) who recited the passage.

A proper examination of this passage will reveal beyond all
doubt that the reciter had confused passages from different
suras,
adding his own fancies, which throws light on the miraculous
style of the Qur'an which exposes any one who tries to imitate
it.

Secondly, one can infer that having a knowledge of the
Qur'an at that time brought merit, credit and honour. So that
those who lacked it tried to pose as students of it, but were
betrayed, on the one hand by the miraculous nature of the style of
the Qur'an, and on the other hand by the lack of supporting
witnesses, just as we, today, have among us incompetent and
unqualified people who pose as great scholars of science and
politics. To this tradition may be added what is said about the
two suras found in the collection of Ibne Abbas and Obai ibne
Kaab, which reveal a style which is different from that of the
Qur'an and must be classed as supplications (Adyiya, prayers)
worded by the Holy Prophet or some member of his family. In
the opinion of some, these two are inferior in language and style
even to the supplications of the Imams of the Holy House of the
Holy Prophet, the authentic collections of which are in our
Possession.

There are some more traditions like the above which are not
worth considering. What is given here is only "Mushti az
Kharwar", a handful from a heap. Sufficient to say that the
Qur'an has its own internal evidence, an inimitable style peculiar
to itself, together with innumerable external witnesses. All the
verses and suras, since their revelation, have been placed within
the reach of those who longed to hear, write, learn, understand,
memorise and act accordingly. Not a single word or sentence can
be accepted as part of the Qur'an without such internal and
external evidence.

Therefore, it is easy for a student of the Qur'an to discard
such traditions, irrespective of the qualifications of the
companions of the Holy Prophet to report them and the number
of people who subsequently repeated them. We must assume that
those responsible for the traditions were' either trying to discredit
each other, or to discredit the received version of the Qur'an
which stood between themselves and their political aspirations;
some of the members of the ruling party were inclined to spread
such disruptive rumours. On the other hand, those of the Ahiul-
Bait, the people attached to them and other companions who
were not close to the ruling party, during this period never
attacked or criticised the received version or even raised any
voice of dissent against it. On the contrary, they, following the
command of the Holy Prophet, insisted upon the authenticity and
validity of the received version as the standard and criterion
prescribed by the Holy Prophet by which false traditions, both
pre-Qur'anic and post-Qur'anic, were to be judged. The Holy
Ahlul-Bait recorded the saying of the Holy Prophet:

Certainly, the liars around me have increased abundantly.
Beware! For every truth there is a proof and for every Right
there is the Light Thus, to whatsoever agrees with the Book
of God hold fast, and whatsoever is opposed to the Book of
God, reject it.

The Holy Ahlul-Bait maintained this; Ali said the same, Hasan
said the same, Husain said the same, and each of the nine
succeeding Imams after Husain followed the same principle, as
did their adherents (see Kaafi and all the subsequent authorities
on tradition). No tradition dealing either with the theory or
practice of Islam has been, or ever will be, acceptable to the
Imams of the Holy House of the Holy Prophet or to members of
their school of thought if it does not agree with the Book of God.
As Allama Majlisi has put it:

Of the innumerable miracles of the Holy Prophet, the first
and foremost is the Holy Qur'an, which is the most genuine
and authentic one (narrated and recorded ever since its
revelation by innumerable persons generation after
generation down to us) and will last as such till the day of
Resurrection. (Haqul-Yaqeen)


Before concluding this section, it is desirable to refer to some
more traditions of the Sunni school about the nature of Ali's
collection of the Qur'an, the date of the collection, its
authenticity
and Ali's knowledge of the inner and outer aspects of the Qur'an
in its parts and its whole.

Suyuti, in his Tarikhul Khulafa, tells us that Ali is one of the
godly scholars, the celebrated Warrior, the famous Ascetic and
the well-known Orator, one of those who collected the Qur'an
and presented it to the Holy Prophet for his review. And in the
Itqan, Suyuti, on the authority of Abu Na'yeem, quotes the
statement of Ali himself, "Of every verse of the Qur'an which
was revealed I know about what, and when, it was." And the
same Abu Na'yeem quotes Abdullah ibne Mas'ood as saying that
the Qur'an was revealed on seven sides (Ahrof) or aspects, each
of which has an inner and an outer significance, and that Ali
ibne Abi Taleb had with him all the inner and outer aspects with
all the inner and outer aspects with all the significance of each
aspect.

The author of Waseelatun Najaat, Mullah Muhammad
Mubeen Luckhnavi, on the authority of Ibne Seereen, assets that
Ali arranged the Qur'an according to the dates of the revelation.

Again, Suyuti in his Itqan, says that Ali was one of those who
arranged the Qur'an according to the dates of revelation.

And Abu Shukoor, the author of Tamheed, says that the
companions of the Holy Prophet were not unanimous in
accepting Ali's collection.

The Itqan of Suyuti says that Ali's collection began with Sura
Iqra, and then Almuddasir, then Muzzammil and then Tabbat,
and then Takweer, and so on. Ali the Meccan suras, then the
Madinite suras. And Abdullah ibne Mas'ood's collection began
with Baqara, then Nisa, then Aale Imran, with many differences
therein. And the same was the case with the collection of Obai
ibne Kaab.

These accounts and others of the same kind, if we accept their
authenticity, will only go to confirm that Ali is the foremost one
next only to the Holy Prophet in the thorough knowledge of the
inner and the outer significance of every word, sentence, passage,
part or chapter of the Qur'an in its revealed and pre-revealed
form. The Qur'an itself hears testimony to this if it is properly
and impartially read without prejudice: verses 56:77-79 as the
major premises and verse 33:33 as the minor premise, and verse
3:60 as the conclusion defining the personnel of the Ahlul-Bait,
added to which is the unanimous verdict of the Muslim world as
to the names of the persons to whom the above verses applied.
These verses, supported by many other verses of the Qur'an,
declare that the descendants of Abraham (Aale Ibrahim), those
who were divinely made to inherit the' Book (Kitaab), Wisdom
(Hikmat), the Great Kingdom (Mulke Azeem) and the Office of
Imamat (Ohda-e-Imamat), they are foremost in total obedience
and service of the Absolute, purified from all ungodly desires.

The foremost of the Ishmaelite branch is the Holy Prophet
Himself, and next to him the members of his holy family (the
Ahlul-Bait) headed by Ali as Imam and succeeded by the eleven
holy Imams. The inclusion of the Holy Lady Fatema in the
Ahlul-Bait is not only because of her personal purity but also by
virtue of her three-sided position, being the daughter of the Holy
Prophet, the wife of the first Holy Imam, and the "mother" of the
eleven 'mains, thus establishing her link between Prophethood
(Risalat) and divine guidance (Imamat), a status achieved not
only by being a wife of a prophet, but by having a role in
establishing the divinely chosen line of Abraham's descendants.

This clear evidence of the Qur'an is supported by the
authentic declarations of the Holy Prophet:

Ali is of me and l am of Ali
Ali is with the Qur'an and the Qur'an will be with Ali
Ali is with the Right and the Right will be with Ali
The Qur'an and the Ahlul-Bait are the Two Inseparable
Entities, each perfect in itself reflecting the others.
(These Inseparable Ones were left among the people by
the Holy Prophet for their guidance and to protect them
from going astray.

Regarding Ali's collection and those of others, it has already been
said that the particular arrangements of others must be for
commentary purposes or for the personal information and
guidance of the collectors themselves, or for other academic
purposes. There is abundant evidence that Ali's collection and
those of the other authorised companions of the Holy Prophet
(namely, Abdullah ibne Mas'ood and Obai ibne Kaab), contained
explanatory notes which were meant to be placed alongside the
text, and that these people never attempted to give any publicity
to their notes against the received version of the Qur'an which is
meant for all men for all times and as an everlasting miracle of
the Holy Prophet

The point to be noted here is that the statement of Suyuti to
the effect that Ali collected the Qur'an and presented it to the
Holy Prophet for his review contradicts all the statement which
assert that Ali collected the Qur'an after the departure of the Holy
Prophet. Furthermore, we support the fact that the collection of
the Qur'an in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet was made, not only
by Ali, whose authenticity is unquestioned and by other
authorised companions of the Holy Prophet, but there were many
others who collected the Qur'an during the lifetime of the Holy
Prophet, including not only men, but also women. It is amusing
to note that, in some traditions, Zaid ibne Thabit, the hero of the
official venture by the ruling party to collect the Qur'an, is also
included among those who collected the Qur'an during the
lifetime of the Holy Prophet. This discredits all the stories of his
collecting fragments of the Qur'an from pieces of paper, bits of
wood, bones, leaves, skins, etc. by the order of the First, Second
and Third Caliphs, jointly or severally.

Tabarani and Ibne Asakir quote Sho'abi as saying that the
Qur'an was collected during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet by
six persons of the Ansars: Obai ibne Kaab, Zaid ibne Thabit,

Abu Darda, Ma'aaz ibne Jabal, Sa'ad ibne Abaid and Abu Zaid.
There was a seventh one, Majama' ibne Jariah, who also collected
the Qur'an, but with the exception of two or three suras.

Bokhari tells us that Arias ibne Maalik said that four persons,
all from the Ansars, collected the Qur'an during the lifetime of
the Holy Prophet, namely Obai ibne Kaab, Zaid ibne Thabit,
Ma'aaz ibne Jabal and Abu Zaid.

Nasaee asserts that Abdullah ibne Omar said:

I collected the Qur'an and used to complete its recitation
(as a whole) every night, which news reached the Holy
Prophet, and he called me and told me not to hurriedly
complete the recitation of the whole Qur'an in one night
(ie. not to recite it mechanically as recitation for
recitation's sake), but to recite it (intelligently), to
ponder over its contents to understand them by
completing the recitation in one month.

Ibne Sa'ad asserts in Tabaqat on the authority of Fadhl ibne
Dakeen, from Valeed ibne Abdullah ibne Jameel, who reports
from his grandmother Umme Waraqa, that the Holy Prophet used
to visit her and call her "Shaheedah" (witness) and she was one
of those who had collected the Qur'an.

There is a report from ibne Abbas related by Ahmed ibne
Hambal, Ibne Abi Shaiba, Tirmizi, Nasaee, Ibne Habban,
Haakim, Baihaqi arid Zia-e-Maghdasi, that ibne Abbas once
asked Osman why "Bismillah" was not written at the beginning
of the Sura-Bara'at, and why they had joined this Sura with the
other and put the two suras in the seven big suras. Osman
replied as follows: sometimes suras would be revealed to the Holy
Prophet, but not complete, and later some verses of the Sura
would be revealed, at which time the Holy Prophet would call the
scribes arid tell them to place those verses in certain positions in
the suras, arid so the verse subsequently revealed would be placed
in position as directed by the Holy Prophet. The Sura-Anfaal
was revealed in Madina early after the Hijrat, arid the Sura-
Bara'at was the last of the Madinite Suras, but the contents were
very similar arid the Holy Prophet did not say whether it is a
separate Sura or a continuation of the previous Sura. Therefore,
said, Osman, I joined these two together without using
"Bismillah" arid put in the long suras.

This statement of Osman, if true, is an attempt on his part to
gain credit for the arrangement of some of the Qur'an, namely
Bara'at and Anfaal, but it asserts the fact that the Qiir'an used to
be written under the supervision and instruction of the Holy
Prophet, and that arrangement of the verses (Aayats) in the suras,
and the arrangement of the suras one after another, was done
according to the instruction of the Holy Prophet (ie. Anfaal and
Bara'at). But there are authentic traditions by both the schools
(the Sunni as well as the Shia) that the revelation of the Sura~-
Bara'at began in the ninth year of the Thjrat with the twenty
verses which Ali was eutnisted to recite at Mecca during the Haj
season, and "Bismillah" was not revealed in the staat of it. Thus
there is no question of Osman joining these two suuas or
arranging them together as one. The Sura~-Bara'at was revealed
without '~Bismillah" and, on account of the similarity of the
contents, was put after Anfaal at the corninand of the Holy
Prophet, and not as part of Anfaal, but as a separate sura.
Probably Osman had no knowledge of this, and he followed what
was current among the Muslims. It is not possible to imagine
that, when the Sura~-Bara'at was revealed (its first part being
revealed in the beginning of Zilkaffah of the 9th Hijri), its actual
position among the other suras would not have been made clear
by the Holy Prophet until a year before his deparrure from this
world, when he used to himseff direct the scribes about the
arrangement of the suaas and even the arrangement of the verses
in them. In any case, this statement discredits Osman's claiin
that he collected fragruents of the Qur1an from people and copied
them with the support of witnesses, and supports all the evidence
to show that the Qur'an was collected during the lifetime of the
Holy Prophet.
According to the unanimous statement of the AhIul-Bait,
Bismillah is a part of the Quran revealed to the Holy Prophet at
the beginning of every sura except the Sura-e-Bara'at which was
revealed without Bismillah. The last portion of Osman 5
statement cannot be his, and may be a fabrication of a later
period by those schools of thought which do not consider
Bismillah as a part of the Qur'an except for the Bismillah used in
the middle of the Sura-e-Naml.

 

 

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