Third module: Writing of the Qur’an in the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Second module: Gathering of the Qur’anic texts in the era of Abu Bakr
September 27, 2018
The History of the Noble Qur’an
September 27, 2018

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Third module

Writing of the Qur’an in the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

1. Reasons that led ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to instruct the duplicating of various copies of the Qur’an.

As the Islamic empire grew the people of different parts of the Islamic world learnt the Qur’an from the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum that were delegated to those parts.

  • The people of Sham read according to the recital of Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • The people of Kufah read according to the recital of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • Besides them many would read according to the recital of Abu Musa al Ash’ari, and so on.

They would read differently according to the different modes of recitation revealed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When the people of these different locations would meet, they would be stunned at the different recitals. Each convinced his was directly from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This would lead to them to question each other, especially those who had not heard the Qur’an directly from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Discussions of the more eloquent recital would take hold amongst them. Some would take pride in their recital saying my mode is better and more eloquent than yours, the other would do the same. This led to disputes, seeing each other as sinners, and mutual rejection.

In the 25th year of the hijrah the people of Sham and Iraq were brought together in the Battles of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Amongst the men in these battles was the Companion—may Allah be pleased with him—Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman (d. 36). He took note of the growing difference amongst the masses in their modes of recitation, together with their disputes and disparagement. This attitude of the masses worried Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He carried his observations and concerns to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He then said to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


أدرك الناس قبل أن يختلفوا في كتابهم الذي هو أصل الشريعة، ودعامة الدين، كما اختلف اليهود والنصارى

Be conscious of the people and their affairs before they differ regarding their Holy Book, which is the basis of their religion, as the Jews and Christians differed.


‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu realised that if the evil side of this division is not quelled with tact, it will lead to a disastrous end. He pondered over the solution and gathered the well versed and great Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They too looked into this issue and agreed that the best way forward would be to prepare copies of the Qur’an based on the principle copy of Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu which had been gathered during the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and send these copies to the different cities. These copies will serve as a concrete answer to their differences and a resolve to their disputes. Furthermore, they agreed to burn any other copies, thus gathering the ummah onto one platform.


2. Who were the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum chosen by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu to take up the task of writing the copies?

‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu selected four of the great noble companions, renowned for their knowledge in the sciences of the Qur’an:

  • Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He is an Ansari companion, a scribe of revelation, and the one to head the task of gathering the Qur’an during the khilafah of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu (d. 73).
  • Sa’id ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu (d. 58).
  • ‘Abdul Rahman ibn al Harith ibn al Hisham radiya Llahu ‘anhu (d. 43).

The latter three are of the Quraysh.[1] This is the preferred opinion regarding whom ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu had selected.[2]


3. The rules laid down by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in writing the Qur’an.

The following directives were adhered to when writing the Qur’an:

  • Keeping the copy of Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which he had collected in the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, as an original and go to.

‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent for Hafsah bint ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anha and requested the copy from her. He assured her that they would return it as soon as the work had been completed on the other copies. She happily agreed to this.

  • ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu instructed the Companions he selected to stick to the Qurayshi dialect if ever they had difference of opinion in the manner the word should be written.

They did not differ though in the manner of writing, except in one word. The word تابوت

In the verse:

إِنَّ آيَةَ مُلْكِهِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمُ التَّابُوْتُ

Indeed, a sign of his kingship is that the chest will come to you.[3]

Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was of the opinion that it should be written with a “’ة” thus تابوة whilst the other three Qurayshi Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum opined that it should be written with a “ت” thus it would be تابوت. They raised the matter to the Khalifah who instructed them to write it as تابوت conforming to the dialect of the Quraysh.

  • Before writing a verse, it would be presented to the eminent Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. If they concurred that it is part of the Qur’an, together with acknowledging its recital not being abrogated, only then would it be written down. Another safety measure was to have the eminent Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum concede that it was from the final rendition.

It is quite evident from the above that anything abrogated, not proven to be from the last rendition, or having no support amongst the eminent Companions would not be written down.


Thus, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum completed the impressions of the Qur’an under the auspices of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu and with the approval of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum; Muhajirin and Ansar. A few different manuscripts were rendered[4] with subtle differences in the letters of words, conforming to the seven modes of recitation revealed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. These copies had no dots on its letters nor any diacritical marks as these had not been developed at this stage.

This had a positive impact in allowing the seven modes to be written without distortion. No dots and diacritical marks meant the words could be read in multiple ways to suite the mode of recitation. Such as, يعلمون this could be read both with a ياء or a تاء. Similarly to accommodate the different modes the following word without its dots could be read as either, فتبينوا or فتثبتوا and so on.

However, in instances where the word differed and could not be accommodated within itself, it would be written differently to suite that particular mode in the different impressions. Thus, some copies would have it different to others to suite its mode. For example:

  1. وَوَصَّىٰ بِهَا إِبْرَاهِيْمُ[5] is written here with two واو without an الف in between them. In other copies however, it is written as واَ وَصَّى, with an الف. This is to suite that mode of recitation.
  2. وَسَارِعُوْا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ [6] is written here with a و in the beginning. In other copies it is without it.
  3. فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيْدُ[7] is written here with the word هو. However, in other copies this word is deleted. In this manner some differences are found.[8]

When the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum completed the copying of the Qur’an in the above-mentioned manner, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned the original to Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anha[9] and sent the remaining copies to the far corners of the Muslims lands.[10] All other copies that had been individually written were burned as per the Khalifah’s decree.[11] This decree was to impede a possible rise of argumentative differences.


4. How many copies were made and where were they sent?

The first opinion is that there were six. They were sent to the following places:

  1. Makkah.
  2. Basra.
  3. Kufah.
  4. Sham.
  5. (This manuscript was not sent out, rather it remained in Madinah.)
  6. The manuscript ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu kept for himself.[12]

The second opinion is of eight manuscripts. The aforementioned six and two more which were sent to:

7. Bahrain

8. Yemen.


The following narration is recorded in Sahih al Bukhari:

ان أنس بن مالك حدثه أن حذيفة بن اليمان قدم على عثمان وكان يغازي أهل الشأم في فتح إرمينية وأذربيجان مع أهل العراق فأفزع حذيفة اختلافهم في القراءة فقال حذيفة لعثمان يا أمير المؤمنين أدرك هذه الأمة قبل أن يختلفوا في الكتاب اختلاف اليهود والنصارى فأرسل عثمان إلى حفصة أن أرسلي إلينا بالصحف ننسخها في المصاحف ثم نردها إليك فأرسلت بها حفصة إلى عثمان فأمر زيد بن ثابت وعبد الله بن الزبير وسعيد بن العاص وعبد الرحمن بن الحارث بن هشام فنسخوها في المصاحف وقال عثمان للرهط القرشيين الثلاثة إذا اختلفتم أنتم وزيد بن ثابت في شيء من القرآن فاكتبوه بلسان قريش فإنما نزل بلسانهم ففعلوا حتى إذا نسخوا الصحف في المصاحف رد عثمان الصحف إلى حفصة وأرسل إلى كل أفق بمصحف مما نسخوا وأمر بما سواه من القرآن في كل صحيفة أو مصحف أن يحرق قال ابن شهاب وأخبرني خارجة بن زيد بن ثابت سمع زيد بن ثابت قال فقدت آية من الأحزاب حين نسخنا المصحف قد كنت أسمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقرأ بها فالتمسناها فوجدناها مع خزيمة بن ثابت الأنصاري من المؤمنين رجال صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه فألحقناها في سورتها في المصحف

Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Armenia and Azerbaijan. Hudhayfah was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent a message to Hafsah saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsah sent it to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu then ordered Zaid ibn Thabit, ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair, Sa’id ibn al As, and ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to the three Qurayshi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraysh, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anha. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. ‏

Zaid ibn Thabit says, “I could not locate a verse which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to recite till we found it by Khuzaimah ibn Thabit al Ansari. This verse[13] was then added to its chapter in the manuscript.”[14]


5. How were the manuscripts sent out to the different and far of cities?

The Qur’an was learnt, heart from heart, strong narrator from strong narrator, Imam from Imam. This chain would be then complete at Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This strong chain is one of the principles in accepting a mode of recitation.[15]

Sticking to this method, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent an eminent, and well-read leader with each manuscript, whilst keeping in mind the recital ought to be according to the text of that manuscript.

He instructed:

  1. Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu to recite according to the Madani manuscript.
  2. ‘Abdullah ibn Saib was sent with the Makki manuscript.
  3. Mughirah ibn Shihab with the Shami manuscript.
  4. Abu ‘Abdul Rahman al Sulami with the Kufi manuscript.
  5. ‘Amir ibn Qais with the Basri manuscript.[16]

6. What was the reaction of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum to this act of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu?

Before gathering the group of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum to undertake the work of copying the manuscripts ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu gathered the eminent Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and sought their counsel. He presented to them the difficulties the ummah was going through and the negative outcome of it; the catalyst to undertake this effort. They concurred with his method.

Seeking counsel was in accordance to the dictates of the Qur’an:


وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ

And consult them in the matter.[17]


The outcome of this meeting resulted in the copying of the various manuscripts. This makes it evident that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu began the work on the manuscripts with the consensus of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. As so, it is inconceivable to think that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were anything but pleased with this act. Whoever thinks otherwise is unjust and his opinion amounts to naught.

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu says:


لا تقولوا في عثمان إلا خيرًا، فوالله ما فعل الذي فعل في المصحف إلا عن ملأ منا. قال: ما تقولون في هذه القراءة؟ قد بلغني أن بعضهم يقول: إن قراءتي خير من قراءتك، وهذا يكاد يكون كفرًا، قلنا: فما ترى؟ قال: أرى أن يُجْمع الناس على مصحف واحد فلا تكون فرقة ولا اختلاف، قلنا: فنِعْمَ ما رأيت

“Do not speak with regards to ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu except that which is good. His act of copying the manuscripts was through our consensus. What is it that I hear men speaking of these modes of recitation, citing theirs as better than others? This statement can lead one to disbelief!”

We asked him, “What solution do you devise?”

He said, “Gather the people on one manuscript thereby quelling the disagreements and differences.”

We applauded his opinion.[18]


As for the general populous, they too accepted this act willingly, knowing it was not a decision taken alone by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They knew of the consensus of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum on the matter. Furthermore, they had in front of them these narrations:


عليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين من بعدي، عضّوا عليها بالنواجذ

Hold firm to my way and the way of the Rightly Guided Khulafa’ after me. Hold strongly unto them.


أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

My Companions are like guiding stars, whomsoever you follow, you will be guided.[19]


The masses therefore accepted these manuscripts wholeheartedly, making it their sole point of reference by which they would act and recite.


From what has been mentioned, we come to understand that the Qur’an went through three stages. Firstly, writing of it in the era Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Secondly, its fathering in the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. And thirdly, being copied in the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.


7. What was the major differences in the three stages of writing?

Reading what has passed makes the following differences abundantly clear:

I. The Qur’an was written on palm branches, stone, and amongst other things pieces of cloth during the prophetic era. It was not written in the sequence of the chapters, rather in sequence of the individual verses. This meant that different Companions had select verses by them with no one having the entire Qur’an in a single manuscript. The wisdom of this has already been mentioned.

II. The method gathering of the Qur’an in the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was to gather all those articles upon which the Qur’an was written, and have it stored in a single place, in the sequence of the chapters. This was done fearing some part of the Qur’an may go missing.

III. The era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu saw the formulating of a manuscript from principle articles gathered during the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the manner which has been discussed. This was to bring the ummah onto a universal manuscript.


8. Were the manuscripts prepared during the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in conformity of and accommodating to the seven modes of recital revealed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?

This is a question that requires an in-depth answer. Those that hide behind a mirage of knowledge have an opinion on this matter that holds no weight. Their proofs lack just as their logic does by coming to an unworthy and biased conclusion. There are two opinions in this matter:


First Opinion

This first opinion is a weak and spineless one. No attention should be given to it, as heeding this argument leads to the rejection of the different modes of recital revealed. Furthermore, these modes of recital have reached us through traditions that are many: successive and strong.

The opinion held by this first group is that the ‘Uthmani manuscripts were confined to one mode of recital; the mode revealed according to the Qurayshi dialect. Ibn al Tin[20] and Harith al Muhasabi (d. 243) are of this opinion.

Their proof is that ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu instructed the group of Qurayshi Companions:


إذا اختلفتم أنتم وزيد بن ثابت في شيء من القرآن فاكتبوه بلسان قريش فإنما نزل بلسانهم

When there is a difference between yourselves and Zaid ibn Thabit in the writing of the Qur’an then write it according to the dialect of the Quraysh, as it has been revealed in their dialect.


Furthermore, they say, the other dialects were used at the inception of revelation to facilitate the various tribes who spoke in differing dialects. This was to ease their recitation of the Noble Qur’an as the other tribes could not assimilate their dialect with that of the Quraysh. Seven modes in seven dialects were revealed to ease the recitation of the other tribes. However, once the Qurayshi dialect had become common and the other tribes no longer found it difficult to read the Qur’an in the Qurayshi dialect, there was no need for the seven modes. All the tribes were then instructed to recite solely by the Qurayshi dialect. Additionally, they say, the other modes were abrogated as it had become a point of contention between the various Muslim tribes.

Due to there being no need for the other modes and since it had become a point of contention, ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu disregarded it when the preparing the manuscript and instructed those copying it to stick to one dialect; the Qurayshi dialect.

Ibn al Tin says:


جمع عثمان للقران كان ناسخا له علي حرف واحد من الحروف السبعة حتى جمع المسلمين على مصحف واحد و حرف واحد يقرؤون به دون ما عداه من الاحرف الستة الاخرى والفرق بين جمع أبي بكر وجمع عثمان : أن جمع أبي بكر كان لخشية أن يذهب من القرآن شيء بذهاب حملته ; لأنه لم يكن مجموعا في موضع واحد ، فجمعه في صحائف مرتبا لآيات سوره على ما وقفهم عليه النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم وجمع عثمان : كان لما كثر الاختلاف في وجوه القراءة ، حتى قرءوه بلغاتهم على اتساع اللغات ، فأدى ذلك بعضهم إلى تخطئة بعض ، فخشي من تفاقم الأمر في ذلك ، فنسخ تلك الصحف في مصحف واحد مرتبا لسوره ، واقتصر من سائر اللغات على لغة قريش محتجا بأنه نزل بلغتهم ، وإن كان قد وسع في قراءته بلغة غيرهم ، رفعا للحرج والمشقة في ابتداء الأمر ، فرأى أن الحاجة إلى ذلك قد انتهت فاقتصر على لغة واحدة

The gathering of the Qur’an in the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was in essence an abrogation of its seven modes to one. He unified the Muslims onto one manuscript with one dialect, unconcerned with the other six. There remains a difference between the gathering of Abu Bakr and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu feared that some portion of the Qur’an may be lost due to the loss of those who had memorized it, as it had not been gathered in one place. He therefore, gathered the articles upon which the Qur’an was written and had it placed in the sequence taught to them by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu on the other hand, did his work due to the differences that rose in the modes of recitation. Each would recite in his own dialect, faulting the next person. He feared it may lead to worse and so abrogated the rest, unifying them onto one dialect. He kept to the Qurayshi dialect reasoning that it had been revealed in their dialect. Though other tribes and their dialects were facilitated in the initial stages, there was no need for it now hence one dialect would suffice.[21]

‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu unified the masses onto one manuscript upon the collective decision of those Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu whom were consulted; Muhajirin and Ansar. This was done for a fear of widespread confusion after the differences, pertaining to the modes of recital, between the people of Iraq and Syria came to the fore. Prior to this the manuscripts were a consolidation of all the seven modes revealed.[22]


Refuting this claim

The aforementioned claim is weak and baseless due to the following reasons:

A) They use the quotation of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “When there is a difference between yourselves and Zaid ibn Thabit in the writing of the Qur’an then write it according to the dialect of the Quraysh, as it has been revealed in their dialect.”

They have misunderstood the direction of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu in this instruction. He referred to the form of writing not the makeup of the word itself. Taking this approach reconciles between the divine texts.

This quote therefore cannot be used by them as a proof.


B) ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu mentioning, “as it has been revealed in their dialect,” can have two meanings.

Firstly, it could mean that in the early stages it was revealed in their dialect thereafter being revealed in seven, a measure of ease.

Or secondly, it could mean that a major portion of it was revealed according to the Qurayshi dialect, as it was the dialect amongst the Arabs.

Using a synecdoche[23], ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was merely making use of an eloquent figure of speech used by the Qur’an:


جَعَلُوْا أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِيْ آذَانِهِمْ

They put their fingers in their ears.[24]


Meaning they put a part of their fingers in their ears.

This demonstrates the invalidity of their argument.


Second Opinion

The opinion of the majority of scholars is that the ‘Uthmani manuscripts entailed all the modes of recitation established in the final rendition. This does not mean that each manuscript allowed for all the modes, rather that all the modes were allotted into the various manuscripts prepared by ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[25]

This is the preferred view due to the following reasons:

  • The manuscripts prepared in the era of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was based on the gathering of Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu during the era of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This early gathering was used a principle reference in preparing the new manuscripts. The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in their entirety held the belief that the first gathering was done in accordance to what had been unequivocally established from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as per the last rendition, inclusive of the seven modes, and not abrogated.
  • There is neither strong nor weak narrations that suggest ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu rendered the other six modes null.
  • If one goes through the ‘Uthmani manuscripts, one will find many differences in the writing form.[26] If the manuscripts were all rendered in the Qurayshi dialect alone, these differences would not have appeared. These differences are concrete in establishing the commitment to the differing modes of recitation recorded at the last rendition. Similarly, it entirely discredits the other opinion.


Imam Ibn ‘Ashir rahimahu Llah has researched the ‘Uthmani manuscripts and painstakingly noted the differences in writing form amongst the manuscripts. He has put these into a poem which I will include, a measure to complete the benefit attained throughout this book.

As we know there were six manuscripts prepared:

  • Al Imam: ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu kept this for himself.
  • Makki: ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent this for the people of Makkah.
  • Madani: ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu kept this for the people of Madinah.
  • Shami: ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent this for the people of Syria.
  • Kufi: ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent this for the people of Kufah.
  • Basri: ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent this for the people of Basra.

Ibn ‘Ashir says:

مصليا على النبي الحاشر بحمد ربه ابتدا ابن عاشر

Beginning with the praises of his Lord, Ibn ‘Ashir;

Sending salutations on the Prophet ‘Al Hashir.’[27]

بالسبع معه من خلاف المصحف هاك زائد لمورد تفي

Here, this poem will suffice after my book Mawrid al Zam’an;

As it includes the differences of the seven modes.

والكوف والبصر معا والشأم المدني والمك والإمام

The seven are; Madani, Makki and the Imam;

Kufi, Basri, and Shami.

وافقه إن كان مما لزما فارسم لكل قارئ منها بما

Write in the form reflecting;

The mode in those necessary.

وكن في الإجماع من الخلف حذر أو بمخالف اغتفر

Or not reflecting it is at times okay;

Though be careful in differing where there is consensus.

فياء إبراهيم في البكر احذفا من سورة الحمد للأعراف اعرفا

From Surah al Fatihah to Surah al A’raf;

In Baqarah the ‘ya’ in إبراهيم is omitted.

يحذف شام واواه أوصى خذا لغير حرمي وقالوا اتخذا

In the verse وقالوا اتخذا;

The Shami manuscript has omitted the ‘waw’ just as in أوصى.

يقاتلون تلو حق مختلف للمدنيين وشام بالألف

The Madani and Shami have it with an ‘Alif’;

In يقاتلون whilst others differ.

بالزبر الشامي بباء شائع والمك والعراق واوا سارعوا

Makki and Iraqi with the ‘waw’ before سارعوا;

The ‘ba’ in بالزبر is found in the Shami manuscript.

والشام ينصب قليلا منهم كذا الكتاب بخلاف عنهم

Similar is there difference in those narrating from it;

In the Shami قليلا is with a nasb.

والمدنيان وشام يرتدد واو يقول للعراقي فزد

The ‘waw’ in ويَقُولُ is in the manuscript of Iraq;

And يرتدد is with two ‘dal’ in the Madani and Shami manuscripts.

قد حذف الكوفي تا أنجيتنا للدار للشام بلام وهنا

وَالدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ in the Shami with one ‘lam’ as opposed to the others;

The Kufi manuscript has omitted the ‘ta’ in أَنْجَيْتَنَا.

للشام في محل همز أبديا وشركاؤهم ليرددهم بيا

شُرَكَاؤُهُمْ in the Shami manuscript is with a ‘ya’;

In place of the hamzah.

وأول بيونس كذا ألف في ساحر العقود مع هود اختلف

In Ma’idah and Hud the word ساحر has differed;

Andاول in Yunus, and the Alif.

تذكرون الشام ياء قدما من سورة الأعراف حتى مريما

From Surah al A’raf to Surah al Maryam;

تذكرون in the Shami is with a ‘ya’ mostly.

بعكس قال بعد مفسدين وواو ما كنا له أبينا

ما كنا لنهتدي is without a ‘waw’ in the Shami;

Contrary to this قَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا is with a ‘waw’ in it.

وهل يلي الحا أو قبيلها اختلف بكل ساحر معا هل بالألف

In ساحر there is an ‘alif’;

At times after the ‘ha’ and at times before it.

مع تحتها آخر توبة يعن بالألف الشام إذ أنجاكم ومن

أنجاكم is with an ‘alif’ in the Shami;

And in تحتها in Surah al Tawbah with the word من.

والشام لا واو بها فاستبن للمك والذين بعد المدني

In والذين the Makki and Madani there is a ‘waw’;

Though in the Shami there is no ‘waw’.

بالتا وفي العراق بالها ارتسما كلمة الثاني بيونس هما

The word كلمة in Yunus is with a ‘ta’;

Though according to the Iraqi it is written with a ‘ya’.

للشام قل سبحان قال قد رسم وفي يسيركم ينشركم

The word يسيركم is ينشركم;

In the Shami, and سبحان without an ‘alif’.

منقلبا العراقي رسما له وللمكي ثم منهما

In Shami and Makki there remains;

منقلبا with the written ‘mim’ contrary to the Iraqi.

وفخراج للجميع أثبتا معا خرجا بخلاف قد أتى

The word خرجا is with a difference (sometimes with the ‘alif’ and sometimes without);

Though فخراج does not have the same difference.

والكل اتوني معا بغير يا مكنني للمك نونا ثانيا

In the Makki ‘nun’ appears twice in مكنني;

اتوني comes in them without a ‘ya’.

في الأنبيا للكوف قال يجعل من مريم لصاد قل ذا الأول

From Surah al Maryam to Surah al Sad and the first;

In al Ambiya قل ربي يعلم with an ‘alif’ in some.

لا واو للمكي في ألم ير في قال كم قال مع قال إن عكس جرى

In قال كم and in قال إن without an ‘alif’ by the Kufi;

And in ألم ير there is no ‘waw’ in the Makki.

للبصر والإمام همز اعتمد في المؤمنين آخري لله زد

In the last two سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ of Surah al Mu’minun add;

For the Basri and Imam a hamzah.

ويأتيني النمل نونا ثان المك أولى نزل الفرقان

In the Makki manuscript in Surah al Furqan وَنُنَزِّلُ with two ‘nun’;

Similarly, لَيَأْتِيَنِّي therein is with two ‘nun’.

يثبت في بعض وبعض يحذف وحذرون فرهين الألف

وحذرون and فرهين is with an ‘alif’;

In some and in others they are omitted.

للمدني والشام والواو احذفا في وتوكل عوض الواو بفا

وتوكل is with a ‘fa’ instead of a ‘waw’;

In the Madani and Shami manuscripts.

لؤلؤ فاطر بخلف قد ألف للمك من وقال موسى وألف

In the Makki there is no ‘waw’ in وقال موسى;

In Surah al Fatir لؤلؤ is in some with an ‘alif’ after.

وألف الظنونا للكل اكتبا ما عملته إلها بكوف نكبا

ما عملته with a ‘ha’ is not found in the Kufi manuscript;

The ‘alif’ in الظنونا is always written.

في عبده تالي بكاف وبتا من صاد للختم فخلفه أتى

From Surah al Sad till the end difference are;

In the word بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ at times with an ‘alif’ and at times without.

أعبده للشامي مزي نون كلمة الطول وتأمروني

In حَقَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ an ‘alif’ added and تأمروني;

Shami has an extra ‘nun’.

والكوف أو أن يظهر الهمز جلب أشد منهم هاءه كافا قلب

أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ at times is changed to a ‘kaf’;

And the Kufi add a ‘waw’ in أو أن يظهر.

للمدني والشام ثم هاء وسط مصيبة بما احذف فاء

فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ in some the ‘fa’ is omitted;

In the Madani and Shami a ‘ha’.

في الكوف إحسانا فأحسن بهما في تشتهي زاد وحسنا رسما

Is added in تَشْتَهِي increasing its word count and beauty;

حُسْنًا has an added ‘alif’ according to the Kufi (Surah al Ahqaf).

وواو ذو العصف بشامي ألف في خاشعا باقتربت قد اختلف

خُشَّعًا in Surah al Qamar is sometimes with an ‘alif’;

And in ذُو الْعَصْفِ the Shami have it with am ‘alif’ instead.

وفي العراق الياء منها خلف وإثر شين المنشآت الألف

الْمُنْشَيتُ after the ‘shin’ and ‘alif’ is added;

And the Iraqi script omits the ‘ya’.

واوا وضم النصب في كلا وعد وياء ثاني ذي الجلال الشام رد

The ‘ya’ in ذي الجلال is replaced with a ‘waw’;

وَكُلًّا is without its ‘alif’ making it a raf’.

من مصحف الشامي كذاك المدني واحذف ضمير الفصل من هو الغني

فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ is at times changed in the Madani;

And Shami by omitting the word هو.

فثاني قواريرا ببصر مختلف وخلف قال إنما أدعوا ألف

قال إنما أدعوا is at times without the ‘alif’;

And the second one in قواريرا is omitted in the Basri.

للمدني والشام والآن وفي ولا يخاف عوض الواو بفا

فلا يَخَافُ عُقْبَاهَا has a ‘waw’ instead of a ‘fa’.

In the Madani and Shami manuscripts.

وللنبي أنهي صلاتي والسلام فالحمد لله على حسن الختام

All praise is for Allah on this completion;

And for the Prophet never-ending salutations.[28]


This book has come to its completion through the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.


[1] Mabahith ‘Ulum al Qur’an, pg. 129; Tarikh al Mushaf, pg. 52.

[2] Another opinion is that 12 Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were selected from the Muhajirin and Ansar, amongst them Ubay ibn Ka’b radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[3] Surah al Baqarah: 248.

[4] More on the number of copies to come.

[5] Surah al Baqarah: 132.

[6] Surah Ali ‘Imran: 133.

[7] Surah al Hadid: 24.

[8] Some have undertaken the responsibility of recounting these in books that deal with the writing style of the Qur’an. Refer to the following, Matn Mawrid al Zam’an fi Rasm al Qur’an; Kharraz and al Muqna’ fi Rasm al Masahif; Abu ‘Amr al Dani.

[9] This copy remained by her till she passed away. Marwan then took it and had it burned.

[10] More on where he sent it to come.

[11] Not all were burned though as we will discuss further on.

[12] See, Tarikh al Mushaf, pg. 59.

[13] Surah al Ahzab: 23.

[14] Al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 170; Tarikh al Mushaf; pg. 56; Mabahith fi ‘Ulum al Qur’an, pg. 129.

[15] The other two principles are: 1. It must conform to the rules syntax. 2. It must conform to one of the manuscripts of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[16] Tarikh al Mushaf; pg. 60.

[17] Surah Al ‘Imran: 159.

[18] Abu Dawood; al Itqan, vol. 1 pg. 179; Tarikh al Mushaf, pg. 69.

[19] Tarikh al Mushaf, pg. 61.

[20] After much research I could not find much information regarding this person. This goes to show that he was a man not famed amongst the scholars. It is therefore folly to use him a principle reference in a matter such as this.

[21] Mabahith fi ‘Ulum al Qur’an, pg. 33.

[22] Ibid.

[23] A figure of speech in which a term for a part of something refers to the whole of something or vice versa.

[24] Surah al Nuh: 7.

[25] Tarikh al Mushaf, pg. 63.

[26] Refer to the books that deal with this subject matter.

[27] This is from amongst the names of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The following narrations appears in Muwatta’ of Malik:

عن محمد بن جبير بن مطعم أن النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال: “لي خمسة أسماء أنا محمد، وأنا أحمد وأنا الماحي الذي يمحو الله بي الكفر، وأنا الحاشر الذي يحشر الناس على قدمي، وأنا العاقب

I have five names. I am Muhammed, I am Ahmed, I am Mahi through whom Allah eradicated disbelief, I am Hashir by who people will be resurrected, and I am ‘Aqib.

[28] See Matn al A’lam, pgs. 54-59. These minor variations found in these scripts, those of which have been mass transmitted, are negligible and do not alter or change the meaning of the text.