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An

Introduction to the

Sciences of the

Quraan
by

Abu Ammaar

Yasir

Qadhi

ISBN

898649 32 4

British Library

Cataloguing

in Publication

Data.

catalogue record tor this hook

is

available Ironi the British Library.

First Edition. 142(1

AH/1999 CE

Copyright 1999 by Yasir Qadhi

A 11 rig/its reserved. No pan ofthis publication may be reproduced in any language. Hored in
a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical,

photocopying, recording or otherwise without the express permission ofthe copyright owner.

'typeset bv:

Al llulaavah Publishing and

)istnhution

Published by:

All lidaayah Publishing and


PO. Box 3332

Distribution

Birmingham
United Kingdom

B1II9AW

Tel: 0121 7S3 1889

Fax: "121 7*53 2422

E-Mail: ahpd(" hidaayah.dcmon.co.uk

Intcrm-i: www.al-hidaayah.co.uk

Printed in Malta by Progress Press Co. Ltd.

Dedicated

to:

Ammi and Abbi,


without whom,
after the blessings ofAllaah,
all this

would not be possible.

0 My Lord! Bestow your Mercy on them, even as they reared me when I was young /l 7:24/

Contents

TRANSLITERATION TABLE

INTRODUCTION
1.
1.

12

AN INTRODUCTION TO 'ULOOM AL-QUR'AAN


Definition of 'Uloom al-Qur'aan
Benefits of Studying

18 18

II.

'Uloom al-Qur'aan

19
19

III.

The

History

of

'Uloom al-Qur'aan

2.
I.

THE QUR'AAN
The Linguistic Meaning
of the

24

Word

'Qur'aan'

24
25

II.

The

Definition of the Qur'aan

The Breakdown of the Definition


III.

26

The Qur'aan

as the

Speech of Allaah

29 30
35

Tin Concept of the Kalaam of Allaah


Ti
rE

Qur'aan as the Kalaam of Allaai

A Refutation of the Ash'arees


The Sloiy of lbraaheem The Story ofMoosaa
Conclusion

40
45 46
52

IV The Names

of* the
it

Qur'aan

54
55

VThe
VI.

Qur'aan as

Describes Itself Describes the Qur'aan

The Sunnah

as

it

57 57

The Status of the Qur'aan The Rewards for those wi io


3.
I.

Recite and Practice

ti if

Qur'aan

58
61

INSPIRATION - AL-WAHY The Concept of Wahy


The Meaning of'Wahy The Procedure of'Wahy
A.
B.

61

II.

62

III.

64 64

Without an Intermediary With an Intermediary


The Revelation of the Qur'aan The Revelation of the Qur'aan
to the Angels to the Prophet (%ig,)froin Jibreel

67
68

69
72

IV The Difference Between the Qur'aan and Hadecth Qudsee

6 5 1

4.
I.

GRADUAL REVELATION
The
Stages of Revelation

75 75 75

The First Stage The Second Stage The Third Stage


Tampering of the Revelation?

76
78

79

II.

The Quantity or Revelation The Wisdom Behind the Gradual

80
Revelation
81

5.
I.

THE FIRST AND THE LAST REVELATIONS


The
First Revelation

88

89
91

II.

The

Last Revelation

III.

Relative First

and Last Verses

95 97

6.
I.

THE MAKKEE AND THE MADANEE VERSES


The
Definition of Makkee and

Madance

98 99
100 100
1

II.

The Knowledge of Makkee and Madanee Verses

III.

The Attributes

of Makkee anil Madanee Revelations

Common Themes of Makki.i: and Madanee Verses


Specific Characteristics of

Makkee and Madanee verses


verses

02

IV The Categories of Makkee and Madanee

102

V The
7.
I.

Benefits ol

Knowing Makkee and Madanee


-

105 107 107 109

THE CAUSES OF REVELATION ASBAAB AN-NUZOOL


The
Definition of Asbaab an-Nuzool
Bool{s

on Asbaab an-Nuzool

II.

The Derivation of Asbaab an-Nuzool

109 110
1

The Wordings of Asbaab an-Nuzool III. Multiple Asbaab an-Nuzool for One Verse IV Multiple Verses for One Sabab an-Nuzool V A Person as Sabab an-Nuzool VI. The Rulings from these Verses
VII.

17

The

Benefits ol

Knowing Asbaab an-Nuzool

119
24

8.
I.

THE COMPILATION OF THE QUR'AAN


During the Prophet's
(3H) Life

125 131

II.

III.

The First Compilation The 'Uthmaanic Compilation The


Different Mus-hafs

135

IV

139 139 139


141

A.

The Appearance of the Mus-hafs


The Spelling of the Words of the Our'aan The
Script

of the Mus_-haf.

The Qur'aan
.1

in Print

145

Winning!

146
147

B.

The Number of "UthmaanicMus-hafs


Were these Mls-haes the Same?

C.
I).

147 149
151
1

What Happened to the

Original Mus-haes?

VThe Verses of the Qur'aan


The Necessity of this Knowledge
The Origins of this Know/edge

52

152
1

The Number of Verses


The Arrangement of the
Verses

54

154
156 157 160
161

The Number of Words and Letters


TheBas.mai.aii asa Verse
VI.

The Soorahs

ot the

Qur'aan

The Arrangement of the Soorahs The Number of Soorahs


The Names of the Soorahs The
Classification

163 164
164 165 166

of the Soorahs

Other Classifications
9.
I.

THE BEGINNING OF THE SOORAHS

The Different Categories II. The Disjointed Letters


III.

166
167 170
172 172
1

The Ending of the Soorahs

10.
I.

THE AHRUF OF THE QUR'AAN


of the word

The Meaning

Ahruf

The Number of Ahruf of the Qur'aan III. What is Meant by the Ahruf of the Qur'aan?
11.

73

174

A. Those opinions which HAVE no


B.

basis

WHATSOEVER

176

Those opink >ns wi ik

iave

><

>me apparent basis.


1

BUT ARE WEAK OPINIONS


C.

76

Those opinions which have strong evidence

177 179 182 184

IV Are the Ahruf in Existence Today?

The

Wisdom

in the

Various Ahrul

II.
I.

THE QIRA'AAT OF THE QUR'AAN


"Qira'aat"

The meaning of the word


The The Conditions
for

184 184

II.

History of the Qira'aat

III.

an Authentic Qiraa'a

187
191

IV The Other Types of Qira'aat

V The Authentic
1)

Qira'aat

and the Qaarees

193 194 194


195

Naafi' al-Madanee

2) Ibn Katheer al-Mal{kce


3)

Aboo

'

Amr al-Basjee

4) Ibn

'Aamir as-Shaamee

195 195

5) 'Aasjm al-Koofee 6)
7)

Hamza al-Koofee
Al-Kisaa'ee

196 196 197 197


197

8)
9)

Aboo /afar al-Madanee


Ya'qoob al-Basjee

10)Khalaf
VI.

The Qira'aat Today The


Relationship of the

199

VII.

Ahruf with the

Qira'aat

200
202

VIII.

IX.
12.

The Benefits of the Qira'aat Some Examples of the Different

Qira'aat

202

THE CLEAR AND UNCLEAR VERSES AL-MUHKAM WA AL-MUTASHAABIH


I.

207

Definition of Muhkam and Mutashaabih

207
208
i

The Qur'aan as Mihkam and Mutashaabih The Exact Meaning of Mihkam and Mutashaabii
The Attributes ofAllaah
as

Mutashaabih?

21

II.

Other Categories of Mutashaabih The Haqeeqee and the Majaazee


The Attributes ofAllaah
as

221

224 225 228

Majaaz?

The 'Aam and the Khaas IV The Mutlaq and the Muqayyad
III.

229 230
231

VThc Mantooq
VI.

and Matlioom
the

The Naasikh and

Mansookh

ABROGATION IN THE QUR'AANAN-NAASIKH WA AL-MANSOOKH


13.
I.

232 232 233 234 235 235

The

Definition of Naskh

The Breakdown of the Definition The Salafand the Term


Booths Written on Nasf(h
II.

'Nas/(h'

The Proof of Naskh


The Conditions
for

III.

Naskh

236
237
238

IV The Categories of Naskh


A.

The Sources of the Naasikh and Mansookh

B.

C.
\:

The Verse and Ruling in the Qi jr'aan The Rulings of the Naasikh and Mansookh
Blessings of Naskh
Benefits Benefits

240 243
244

The

of the Genera/ Nas^h of the Specific Nasl{h

245 246 248 249 250


251

VI.

The

Benefits ol

VII.

The
The

Difference Between

Knowing Naasikh and Mansookh Naskh and Takhsees


verses in the Qur'aan

VIII.

The Number of Naasikh/Mansookh


'Verse

of the Sword'

Last

Example

2^5

Conclusion
14.

256

THE MIRACULOUS NATURE OF THE QUR'AAN 257 257 258 259


261
Verses

FJAAZAL-QUR'AAN
I.

Definition of I'jaaz

Other Types of Supernatural Acts


II.

The Proof for

I'jaaz

The Challenge! The Order of the


III.

262

The Qur'aan

as the Miracle of the Prophet

(^)

264 265

IV The Types of I'jaaz


A.
B.

The Language and Style of the Qur'aan The Predictions of n n. Qur'aan C. The Stories in the Qur'aan
The Purposes of the D.
Stories

267
272 274

275

The Beliefs and Laws of the Qur'aan E. The Scientific Facts of the Qur'aan F. The Effect the Qur'aan has on its Listeners G. The Lack ok Contradictions in the Qur'aan H. The Ease by which the Qur'aan is Memorised

276
278

283 285 285

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

286
287 289

VI.

The Quantity

for I'jaaz

15.
I.

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE QUR'AAN - TAFSEER


Definition of Tafseer and Ta'weel

The

289 290
293 293 294 296 297

II.

The
A.
B.

Necessity and Importance of Tafseer

III.

The History ofTafseer

The Time of ti ie Proim iet (|j|) The Period of the Companions


oi-

C. Ti ie Period of the Successors

D. Tin- CoMiMLvnoN

Tafseer

IV The Principles of Tafseer


1)

299
by hie

Tafseer of the Qur'aan Tafseer by the Sunnah


I

Qur'aan

300
302 303

2)

low much of the Qur'aan was explained?

3)

Tafseer by

if.

Statement of the Companions


of the Successors

306 309
309
3
1

Tafseer by the Statement


4)

Tafseer

by Arabic
us.

Language and Classical Poetry

Linguistic

Islaamic

Poetry Prohibited?

312

Whose Poetry?
5) 6)

314 315

Tafseer By Pre-IslaamicArab Customs Tafseer By Judaeo-Christian Narratives


Hadeeth Related
to Israa'eeliyaat

317

317
319
(Ra'y)

The Categories of Israa'eeliyaat


7)

Tafseer by Subjective Opinion


The Two Types of Ra'y

320
32

Where

is

Ra'y Used?

323 5 323 Mufassir

A Divine Blessing

V The Qualifications of a
VI.

324

The Types of Tafseer


on Narratk
ins

326 327 339


332 333 335

A. Tafseer based
B.

Tafseer based on Personal Opinions

C. Tafseer of the Jurists

D. Scientific Tafseer
E. Tafseer based
F.

on Inner MEANINGS

Modernistic Tafseers

337 339 339 340


341

VII.

Some Famous

Tafseers

']aaini'al-Bayaan'ofat_-Tabarcc
'Tafseer

al-Quraan al-'Adheem'oflbn Katheer

'Mafaatihal-Ghayb'ofar-Raazee
'al-Kashaaf'ofaz-Zamakhsharee
VIII.

342 344
348

The Dangers

of

Improper Tafseer

16.
I.

THE TRANSLATION OF THE QUR'AAN


Translation

The Types of

348 359 350


351

II.

The Ruling on Translations

The Conditions of Translation The


Translation as the Qur'aan

The Importance of Arabic

353

III.

The History of Translation


Translations into Western

355 356 359


361

Languages

English Translation by Muslims

IV The Problems with Translations

A Review of Some
17.
I.

Translations

369
374

THE QUR'AAN AND ORIENTALISTS


ol the

The Authorship

Qur'aan

374
Sincerity

An Example of the

Prophet's

(^)

375

Authorship Theories

376 376
377
}7X

A Poet? A Madman?
Taught by Others?

Imagination?
II.

381

Some Books

by Orientalists

383 383
384

'Geschichte des Qorans' ofNoeldeke


'Materials for the History

of the Text of the Qur'aan' by Arthur Jeffery

'The Collection of the Qur'aan' by John Burton

388
392

EPILOGUE
I.

The

'Return of the Qur'aan

392 393

II.

An Appeal

APPENDIX: PICTURE PLATES

397
4
1

BIBLIOGRAPHY

11

Transliteration Table

Consonants
t-

Introduction

All Praise

is

due

to Allaah.

We

praise

Him,

seek
evil

lis

help,

and ask Mis

forgiveness.

We

seek refuge in

Allaah from the

of our souls, and the


guides, there
is

adverse consequences ol our deeds.


that can

Whoever Allaah

none

misguide him, and whoever

He

misguides, then none can guide

him.
I

hear witness and

testify that there is


is

no deity
partners.

that
I

is

worthy of worship
testily

except lor Allaah:


that

He

alone, having

no

hear witness .mil

Muhammad

(i^g) is

His

perfect worshipper, and messenger.

0 you who have

laith!

Have taqtva

ot Allaah. as

He

deserves, and die not

except as Muslims"

(3:1 02]

oy l3 ,_s jS

ici\

\yu"j

Oj [&*$ y W-i -?jU^jj


1

0 Mankind! Have

taqiva ol your Lord.

Who

created you from a single-

person, and from him.

He created
rights,

his wife,

and from these two.

He

created

multitudes of men, and

women. And have taqwa of Allaah. through whom


and (do not
I

you demand your mutual


Verily. \ll.uli
i-.

cut olf) the ties ol kinship.

R ver- Watching over you


'"**

1:1

"

*t" ' K

^'s^'l* '">''' ' If i'^I

'

0 you who you have faith! Have taqwa of Allaah, and

say righteous speech.

He will direct you to do righteous deeds, and He will


success" |33:70-71

forgive

your sins. And


ultimate-

whoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger has indeed achieved the

As
best

to

what

follows, then the best


is

Speech

is

the Speech of Allaah, and the


(^g).

guidance

the guidance ol

Muhammad

And

the worst ol aflairs

Introduction

arc newly-invented matters,

and every innovation


of Hell.
1

is

misguidance, and

every misguidance

is

in the fire

In this short speech,

which the Prophet

(-^g)

would give every time he spoke, and

which he

Companions to give every time they spoke, the Prophet (gg) (Sjg) summarized the essence of Islaam. The words, despite their hrevity, are deep in meantaught the
ing.

The speech, despite


first

its

lightness, carries great import.


{$,)

In the

two paragraphs, the Prophet


first

outlined the fundamentals of faith


in

(ccmaan).

The

paragraph consists of acknowledging the "Oneness ot Allaah


ar-Ritboobi\yiili),

His Existence' (Tawheed

and

in affirming

His unique Names ami

Attributes (Tawheed al-Asmaa


is

worthy of all types of praise, and that

automatically implies that

wa as-Sifaat). The fact that a person testifies that Allaah He is the One who is asked in all matters, He exists, and possesses such Names and Attributes that
acts.
it

make

it

deserving and obligatory upon the creation to do these


is

The second paragraph


testifies that

the testimony of faith (shahaadah), and with


this

Muslim
will be
is

he

will

worship Allaah, and only Allaah, and that

worship
(j^g).

based upon the teachings and Sunnah of the Prophet

Muhammad

This

the

essence of the "Oneness ot Actions' (Tawheed al-U/oohiyyah); that nil of a person's acts
will

be performed with one goal in mind: the pleasure of the Creator.


three verses that the Prophet
ol
\

The

($,)

would
ol

recite

have one central theme: the


(d.

importance

taqwa.

The famous
is

student

Ibn 'Abbaas, Mujaahid ibn (abr


that

103

A.H.) defined taqwa

as, "It

that you obey Allaah, so

He
life

is

never disobeyed, ami

you are conscious of Him, so that


that
all

He

is

never forgotten, and that you thank


ol

Him,

so
it

He

is

never disbelieved.""'

The taqwa

Allaah

is

the

of the heart; without

actions are as if dead.


In the last paragraph, the Prophet

(^) summarized
is

the source of

all

guidance,

anil the

source of all misguidance. Guidance comes only from the two inspirations

the
is

Qur'aan and the Sunnah. The Qur'aan


it

described as the best of all Speech. If this


all

the case, then

must contain

in

it

the best of
is

matters
all
is

in all that

is

needed by

mankind. The Sunnah, the best guidance,


the worship of Allaah, manifested in the
($?,)

superior to

other philosophies and


the perfect

methodologies that mankind has invented, for the Sunnah


life

example

ol

All that

is

opposed

to the

Qur'aan

anil

and actions of the Prophet Muhammad Sunnah and in this opposition lies the
fire

source of
Hell.

all evil

arc termed newiy-inventeil innovations, destined to the

ot

The work
first

that

is

in

the reader's hands

is

a brief discussion ol certain aspects

of the

source of guidance- the Qur'aan.

It is

by no means comprehensive, for there can


It is.

be no such thing as an exhaustive work on the sciences related to the Q)ur'aan.

This speech

is

a translation ol

what

is

called Khiilbiir ul-I liiajuh,

which the

I'rophel (Sgl

would

give

whenever he

started a speech. See al-Alhaanee's 'Kliuibtil til-lLiujali (al-Maklah al-lslamee,

Damascus,

1980) for details.


2

Reported by al-Maawardee in his

lafscer, 4/24S.

14

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

however, an introduction to certain concepts that the scholars of the past have discussed under the topic of 'uloom al-Quraan.

Work on
ance

this

hook began

in the

summer of 1995, when


I

had received
planned

my acceptto

letter to the

Islaamic University of Madeenah.

had

initially

study in

the 'College of Qur'aan and Islaamic Sciences' in the University, and, as preparation
for the studies

ahead,

started reading the

few hooks that


first

had on 'uloom al-Qur'aan.

This

initial

research formed the basis of the


I

draft of this work,


to

which was comlimited literary

pleted by the time


resources

had arrived

in

Madeenah. However, due


felt

my

(my primary sources

for this draft


I

were as-Suyootee's ltqaan, az-Zarkashcc's


the need to critically revise

Burhaan, and Qattaan's Mabuahith),


work.

and

edit the

Even though
factors,
I

eventually did not enter the 'College


'

ol

Qur'aan' (due to certain


I

chose to study

in the 'College of Hiidccth' instead),

was

still

greatly fasci-

nated by the subject of 'uloom al-Qur'aan. This fascination was the primary motive
that led

me

to

continue editing and revising the work over the next two years.

The

acceptance ol the publication of this work by al-Hidaayah was the

final catalyst that

was needed
In

to

complete the work.


I

Madeenah,
I

had access
fell

to

and benefited from many

references,

and the con-

straints that

had

whilst writing the initial draft were removed.

The primary
classical

sources for this book were the general books of 'uloom al-Ouruan

- both
I

and

modern. Apart from the three primary works mentioned above,

also particularly

benefited from az-Zarqaani's Manaahil, and as-Sabt's analysis and critique of az-

Zarqaani's work, which he presented as his master's dissertation to the College of

Qur'aan and Islaamic Sciences


chapters
I

in the University

of Madeenah. In addition, for most

also utilized

books that were specialized to that chapter's subject. This was


authenticity of the contents as possible.

done

to ensure as
all

much

Not

topics that are found in the

cussed in this

works of 'uloom al-Qur'aan have been diswork. Some have been left out due to the language barrier - certain

sciences arc so intricately related to the Arabic language that their explanation

would
were

be

of little

use in another language

(a

cursory look
I

at

many

of the topics of the Itqaan

ur Burhaan will give the reader examples of what

am

referring to).

Other

topics

not dealt with in this edition, and

it

is

hoped

that they

may

be added in later editions,

inshaa Allaah. Yet other topics were discussed, but not in great detail, primarily the fact that their understanding

due

to

and

practicality are
/{baas, the

dependent on a knowledge

of

Arabic (example ol this are the 'aam and

mutlaq and muc/ayyad, and other


is

word

pairs).

The

science ol tajweed
is it

purposely avoided, as this


in

not the place to


field.

explain this science, nor

discussed
I

the classical works ol this

Apart from these points, however,


will give the reader a general

feel

confident in stating that the present


lo the tield of

work
all

understanding and introduction

uloom

al-Qur'aan. The fundamental and important topics related to this science have

been mentioned, in enough


to benefit from.

detail, inshaa Allaah, for

an English-speaking audience
ol

Although

a previous

knowledge ol certain aspects

'uloom al-Qur'aan

Introduction

would help in understanding the concepts in this work, I have purposely ensured that such a knowledge is not a prerequisite to benefit from the work. Therefore, this hook
is

written with the assumption that the reader has not hail any previous exposure to

'uluom al-Qur'aan.

The
kept in
that
is

first

fifteen chapters

form the main portion of the work, and discuss the stand-

ard topics of 'uloom al-Qur'aan.

Throughout the work, the nature ol the audience was mind, and concepts were presented and developed in (what is hoped is) a style
an English-speaking audience.
in particular

suitable for
last

The
first,
I

two chapters

have been added with the Western audience

in

mind: 'The Translation of the Qur'aan", and 'The Qur'aan and Orientalists'. In the
have discussed the various topics related
a history to the translation of the

Qur'aan from

an Islaamic perspective, and given

of its translation

in English.

The chapter

was concluded with

brief reviews of

some of the more important

translations. In the

second, certain views of Orientalists were given concerning the 'authorship' of the

Qur'aan, anil three important works by Orientalists were critiqued.


these two chapters

It is

hoped

that

in particular

- are

of practical benefit to the audience.

myself.

As was mentioned earlier, the initial purpose of writing this book was to benefit As Imaam Muslim ibn al-Hajjaaj (d. 261 A.H.) wrote in the introduction to
"...

his Salicelr.

if (the
it,

writing of this book) were enforced upon me, and


first

it

was willed
it

that

complete

then the

person

who would

partake from the benefits of


1

would be myself in

particular, before

anyone else of mankind..." And

as the

Andalusian

scholar Ibn Rushil (d. 595 A.H.) wrote in the introduction to his
(il-Miijttihid tea Xiluuiytit al-Mucjiasid.

famous work Bidaayat


is

"My purpose

in

writing this book

so that

it

may

serve as a reminder for myself concerning the opinions of the scholars in the
1

various matters pertaining to the laws (of Islaam)..."


not help but recall the
I

The work
(d.

being written,

can-

words

of al-'Imaail

al-Asfahaance
a

597 A.H.),
ii,

who wrote/

have noticed that no author writes


'Il
I

book

anil finishes
it

except that

die next day he says.


belter; anil if only
I

had only changed


this fact,
il

this part,

would have been

had added

would have been appreciated


it

more; and
lo

if 1

had only made


il
I

this section earlier,


left
t

would have been


il

easier

comprehend; and

had only

his section out,

would have been


and points
to

more beautiful.' And


ponder over,
for
it is

this, in fact, is

one of the
of the

greatest lessons

a clear indication

inferiority of the nature

of man.

ad-Deen al-Khaazin (d. 741 A.H.), a famous scholar and interpreter of the Qur'aan, outlined the aims of his work when he
accurate his observations are! 'Alaa
wrote, in the introduction to his tafseer,
It is

How

appropriate that every author, whenever he writes a book concern-

ing a topic that has already been written about, ensure that his
porates live benefits: thai
it

work
it

incor-

brings lorlh something new; that

combines

Saheeh Muslim,

v.

1.

p. 8.

-I

IbnKushd.

p.

1.

Dumosft at-Ta'beer (Il'M

1'ros.

Mailccnah, 1986),

p. 7.

16

An

Introduction to the .Sciences of the Qur'aan

information that was previously scattered; that


previously unclear; that
it

it

explains concepts that were

systematically explains the material;


elaboration.

and

that

it

avoids unnecessary and

undue

And

hope
I

that this

hook

ol

mine

is

not hercrt ot any ol these characteristics thai

have mentioned...

Of course, human
fection.

enterprise

is

associated with error,


(d.

and no work can claim

per-

As Imaam ash-Shaafi'ce

204 A.H.) wrote, "Allaah has refused to allow

perfection to any

work except His Book."'

Therefore, instead of concentrating on the mistakes that are sure to be found in


this

work, the reader


rest

is

requested to gloss over the flaws that might


is

exist,

and benefit

from the

of the work. In addition, the reader

kindly requested not to be parsi-

monious

in

sharing with
I

me

his sincere advice,


ol

and affording
is

me

his constructive

criticism, for

am

in great

need

them, and,

'the religion

the giving ol advice'. All

comments may be

directed care ol the publisher.

Of course, no
there are
for
it is

project ol this nature can ever be the sole product of

one person;

many

that have helped along the way.

The book is dedicated


by the

to

my my

parents,

their upbringing

and support (along with the constant blessings of Allaah).


I

that has brought

me where

am

today.

am honoured

fact that

teacher.

Shaykh

Abd

ar-Razaaq ibn Abd al-Muhsin al-'Abaad, took time out of his busy

schedule to go over the portions of this book related to 'aqeedah, anil to benefit

me

with his vast knowledge of the subject.

am

also indebted to Dr.

Muhammad Anwar
completing
his

Sahib

for

reading over most of the

critical

portions of this work, despite the fact that


in the final stages ol

he was highly pressed for time, as he was then


doctoral dissertation.

My

friends

and fellow students of knowledge, Abu Abdillaah do David Dillon and Abu Sufyaan was
in for their

and Abu Sulaymaan, deserve my gratitude forgoing over the manuscript and sharing
with

me
I

their valuable advice, as


text.

help

in

proof-reading the final


all

Jamaal al-Din Zarabo/.o also deserves


I

my

gratitude tor

(hat

have benefited from him while


initial draft

America, and

for his valuable

comto al-

ments and advice on the


ii

of the work.

My thanks are also extended


ol

idaayah Publishing and Distribution tor their acceptance

the work. Lastly,

would
advice,

like to

thank the many scholars, students

ot

knowledge, and peers that have helped

me

with various portions of the work, by answering

my

questions, giving
all

me

or simply encouraging

me

in

my efforts. May Allaah

reward

of them!

note must be added concerning the mention and refutation of certain views of

the Ash 'arces. This

group

is

mentioned,

in particular, in the sections as

concerning the
,

Qur'aan

as the

Balaam of Allaah, the Attributes of Allaah

mutashaabih and the


not, in general,

Attributes of Allaah as tnajaaz.


in

Although these refutations are

found

the works ol 'aloom al-Quraan, and are perhaps

more
for a

relevant to the books ol


Firstly,

'aqeedah, they

were nonetheless included

in this

work

number ot reasons.

the concepts discussed are not in reality outside the realm of'uloom al-Our'aa/i, and a
discussion and refutation of certain incorrect views regarding these topics will only

6
7

Tafscer til-KJuiaziii, p. 3.

c as-Sakhaawi,

p. 54.

Introduction

17

help explain each concept better. Secondly, during the last few years, the ideas of this

group have started spreading with renewed vigour and enthusiasm


their vitriolic attacks

in the

West, and

and scathing accusations against

the.Ahlas-Su nnii/i

waal-Jamaa'ah
yet,

have made

it

essential that a refutation

be written against them. As or

no thor-

ough refutation

exists in English. Naturally, this

book

is

not meant to be a complete


in this

refutation of the Ash 'a ices,

and

as

such the refutations mentioned


to include in this

book are not


the the
It is

exhaustive. However,
Ash'arees differed with

it

was decided

Ahl as-Sunnah and were

common
a

work those issues which to uloom al-Our aan at


of

same lime, thus affording the English audience


hoped that the
tion
brie! discussions that are

glimpse
in this this

such refutations.
are

mentioned

work

enough

to caure-

any person that might have been influenced by


beliefs

group, and cause him to

examine the
ology

of the As/i 'a ices.

Lastly, the inclusion of these sections will

perhaps

give the reader an


in

example of how deviation occurs, and the correct Islaamic method-

solving them.
the author wishes to

One last note:


work does not
ions in
it

make it clear that he is only a


all

student of knowl-

edge - not a scholar, nor


in

a specialist in the field of

'uloom al-Our aan. Therefore, this


the views

any way represent original research material;


from other scholars
.

and opin-

it

are merely quotations

If there

is

any

credit to be given,
is

is

in the collection, editing, translation

and presentation

of the material, for that

all

that the

author has done.


is

All that
that
I

correct in this
is

work and

ol

benefit to the readers

is

from Allaah, and

all

is

incorrect

Irom myself and S/iavtaan.

sincerely pray that this

work helps bring Muslims

closer to their religion; that


it

it

causes
their
.1

them

to

grow

in their love for

the Qur'aan; and that

induces them to further

knowledge of this magnificent ami glorious book -the


!

'best

of all Speech' (39:23)!

meen

Abu Ammaar
27th

Ramadhan. 1418

A.I

I.

(25th January, 1998

CE)

The

City of the Prophet (^)

- al-Madcenah an-Nabaivccxah

This Statement

is

based upon a slatcmcm of the Companion Ibn Mas'ood. who. afar responding to
iliis

a question,

would make

statement. See Musnad Ahmad, 6/137.

CHAPTER

An Introduction to
'Uloom al-Qur aan
?

I.

Definition of 'Uloom al-Qur'aan


The knowledge ofuloom al-Qur'aan, or 'The
Sciences of the Qur'aan', deals with

the knowledge of those sciences that have a direct bearing on the recitation, history,

understanding and implementation of the Qur'aan.


Islaamic scholarship, and one that
is

It

is,

therefore, a vast field ot

of

primary importance.
'uloom al-Quraan deals with the

Thus,

for

example, with regards

to recitation,

science of pronunciation (tajwecd), the different methodologies of reciting the


(the qira'aat), the blessings of reciting

Quraan

the Qur'aan, ami the etiquette

of

its

recitation.

With regards

to the history of the Qur'aan, 'uloom al-Qur'aan deals with the stages

of revelation of the Qur'aan, the compilation of the Qur'aan, the art

and history

of

writing the Qur'aanic script {/asm al-masaaljif), and the preservation of the Qur'aan.

With regards
revelations, the

to

its

understanding and implementation, 'uloom al-Ouraan covers

ol the malice anil madance was revealed in, the understanding of its abrogated rulings and verses (naasil{h wa al-mansOo\h), the knowledge ol the various classifications of its verses (mulikiim anil mutashaabih, 'nam and l(/iaas, mutlaq and muqqayad, etc.), the knowledge of the inimitable style of the Qur'aan

the causes of revelation (asbaab an-nuzool), the

knowledge
it

knowledge

of the various forms (ahruf)

(i'jaaz
sis

al-Ouraan), the knowledge of its interpretation


('iraab

(lafscer),

the grammatical analy-

of the Qur'aan

al-Ouraan) and the knowledge of those words whose usage


(gharecb al-Ouraan).
is

has

become uncommon over time


It

has been said that the knowledge of 'uloom al-Ouraan


is

in reality the

knowl-

edge that one

required to

know

in

order to properly interpret the Qur'aan. Thereol

fore, to call this

branch

of Islaamic

knowledge 'The Procedure and Methodology


of 'uloom al-Ouraan would not be
topics that have very

Interpretation'

('Um Usool

al-Tafscer) instead

far

from the
or

truth.''

However, uloom al-Ouraan also includes

little

no bearing on tafseer, such

as the compilation of the Qur'aan,

and the development

c ar-RoomeC, Fahd ibn 'Abil al-Rahmaan ibn Sulaymaan: Dirasaaljl 'L'lutim al-Ouraan. Makuhali
199-1. a. 33,

at-Tawbah, Riyadh.

who equates 'Uloom al-Qur'aan

wiili

Uspol at-tafseer.

An
of the script of the

Introduction to 'Uloom al-Quraan

19

Qur'aan. Therefore, the knowledge of 'uloom al-Ouraun

is

more

general then

'///;/

Usool at-Tafsecr.

II.

Benefits of Studying
There are many

'Uloom al-Qur'aan
knowledge
ot

benefits to the

'uloom al-Qur'aan.

Firstly,

it

enables

the reader to realize the wealth of knowledge anil insight that exists with regards to

Book of Allaah. As some of the scholars of the past said, "True knowledge is to know one's ignorance." Only when a person realizes what he does not know will lie appreciate how little he docs know. Secondly, enables the student ot knowledge to
the
it

heller understand the Qur'aan, in that

he

will be familiar
its

with the history

of its rev-

elation

and collection, and the various aspects that aid

comprehension.

When

he

reads the books ol tafseer, he will be able to understand the terms used, and benefit

from the knowledge

in

to further increase his

them to a greater extent. In other words, he will be equipped knowledge and to learn more about his religion. Thirdly, it
its

increases a person's belief (ecmaan), because he will realize the beauty of the Qur'aan

and the great blessings that he has been given through


tooled by the fallacious claims of
to
its its

revelation.

He

will not

be

enemies, ami

his heart will be at ease

with regards

authenticity.

He will

understand the miraculous nature of the Qur'aan, and thus

better cherish the greatest

Book

that

mankind has been

given, fourthly, he will be

able to defend (he Qur'aan against true and pristine

its

enemies, since he will be equipped with the


the prejudices of
its

knowledge

ot the

Quraan, unadulterated by

opponents.
Ii is

no exaggeration
is

lo say that,

once

person learns the essentials of his religion


first
its

and what
tion to
is

required for

him

to

know, the

know

ledge he should turn his atten-

the knowledge of the

Quraan and

sciences.

As Allaah saw"

in

die Qur'aan.

#<_4Vi
(This
they

!M$^^s%3#^i3ftj

is .ii Book chat We have sent down to you. lull ol blessings, so chat may ponder over iis wises, and thai men of understanding may re-

member.

[38:29]

ill.

The
Like

History of 'Uloom al-Qur'aan


the sciences of Islaam. the

all

knowledge

ol

'uloom al-Otir'aan initiated with

the Prophet (J|g) himself

The Companions used


in

to question the Prophet (^g) about

any concept that they did not understand


the verse.

the Qur'aan. For example, concerning

|u

Ii

should b< pointed out that the

Quraan

is

onlj

iii

Arabic, and

is

the speech {/(alaum) ol Allaah,

.is

shall be
-,i\s."

proved ami elaborated upon


in this

ill

the next chapter. Therefore, the unconditional phrase. "Allaah

when used

book

(or any hook), only refers to the

Quraan.

When
only

this

phrase

is

used in

language other than Arabic, n contains an additional implicit clause that should be understood b> the
audience, and this clause
is.

"the

meaning ol which
The meaning
ol

is."

since the Qur'aan

is

in Arabit

therefore, this

phrase should be understood

as. "

h.n Allaah has said

is..."

20

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Sjx-^j sSpU^^4^!^!#ii;i|(
Those

who hclieve and do

not

mix their belief with

injustice,

only they will

have

security,

and they are the guided[6:82|

they asked,
soul)?"

"O Messenger of Allaah! Who amongst

us does not do injustice (to his

not

They had understood that the verse was referring to those believers who did commit any injustice, or sin. The Prophet (^) replied that the injustice referred
was shirl{, or
the association of partners with Allaah."
of the

to in this verse

Such was the enthusiasm


were able
cause of
to not

Companions
said, "I

in

seeking this knowledge that they


its

only explain any verse in the Qur'aan, but also give

history anil the

its

revelation. Ibn
is

Mas'ood
in the

swear by Allaah, besides


I

whom

there

is

no

other god, there

no soorah

Qur'aan except that

And
and

there

is

not a single verse in the Qur'aan except that

know where it was revealed! know the reason behind its


I
I

revelation! If there
it

were any person that knew more about the Qur'aan than

did,
(to

was

possible for
1

me
'

to reach him,

would

ride (on

my camel)
I

towards him

get this

knowledge)."
is

'Alec ibn

Abec Taalib

told his students, "Ask that


will

me! For

swear

by Allaah, there

nothing that you will ask


I

me except

answer you. Ask me

concerning the book of Allaah! For

swear by Allaah, there

is

not a single verse in the

Qur'aan except that

know whether it was


IJ

revealed at night or during the day, or on a

mountain or on

a plain!"

There were many Companions who were famous for their knowledge of the among them the four Khulajaa ar-Rauslndoon ,' 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (d. 32 AH.), 'Abdullaah ibn Abbaas (d. 68 AH.), Ubay ibn Ka'ab (d. 32 AH.), Zayd ibn
Qur'aan,
4

Thaabit
(d.

(d.

45 A.H.), Aboo Moosaa al-Ash'aree

(d.

50 A.H.), Abdullaah ibn Zubayr

73

AH.) and

Aa'ishah

(d.

57 A.H.).
after the

The

generation that

came

Companions, the Successors, studied eagerly


knowledge
faithfully to the next generation.
(d.

under the wise guardianship of the


ecessors' responsibilities,

Com [Kin ions. These students took over their predthis


(d.

and passed

Ibn Abbaas' students, Sa'eed ibn Jubayr


'Ikrimah al-Barbarce
(d.

95 A.H.), Mujaahid ibn Jabr


(d.

100 A.H.),

104 AH.), Taawoos ibn Kaysaan

106 A.H.), and Ataa'

ibn Rabaah (d. 114 A.FL), were all famous in Makkah; Ubay ibn Ka'ab's students, Zayd ibn Aslam (d. 63 A.H.), Aboo al-'Aaliyah (d. 90 A.H.) and Muhammad ibn Ka'ab (d. 120 A.H.), were the teachers of Madecnah; and in Iraaq, 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood left behind his great legacy to Alqamah ibn Qays (d. 60 A.H.), Masrooq ibn

al-Ajda' (d. 63 A.H.), al-Hasan al-Basrce (d.


(d.
1

10 A.H.),

and Qataadah as-Sadoosee

10 A.H.).
all

These three

places,

Makkah, Madecnah, and Koofah, were the leading

centres of

the sciences of Islaam, including lafseer and 'uloom al-Ouraan.

Reported by al-Bukhaarec. Reported by al-Bukhaaree.

12 13 14
'I

ar-Roomee.

p.

37.
first

term that means 'The rightly-guided Caliphs', used to denote the


ihiii.i.iii .iikI

tour caliphs.

Aboo

Baler,

in. n. 't

AK

An
Thus
liars,

Introduction to 'Uloom ai-Qur'aan

21

the

knowledge of the Qur'aan was passed on

'..by

the trustworthy (scholars)


heretics, the false claims

of the umtnah,

who

protected

it

from the alterations of the


*

of

and the

false interpretations of the

ignorant* 1
in

Early scholars did not write on 'uloom al-Quraan


separate tracts

general, but rather wrote


to the fact that,

on each science

of the

Qur'aan. This was due

during
a

the early stages of Islaamic history, the oral transmission of

knowledge occupied

more important status than the written transmission. In addition, the general level of knowledge was high, and did not warrant the extensive writing down of knowledge.

The
ple,

first

and most important

of

the topics to be written

on was tafseer. For examstate(d. 161

each

of the following scholars


(3ijg)

wrote a

tafseer

of the Qur'aan, composed of

ments from the Prophet


Sufyaan ibn 'Uyaynah

and the Companions: Sufyaan al-Thawree


(d.

A.H.),

(d.

198A.H.), Wakee' ibnal-Jaraah

197A.H.),and Shu'bah

ibn ai-Hajjaaj (d. 160A.H.).

Following his predecessor's footsteps,

Muhammad
'an

ibn Jarecr at-Tabarcc

(d.

310

A.H.) wrote the monumental Jaami' al-Bayaan


that all later scholars

Ta'weef aay al-Quraan, a tafseer

would

benefit from.
(d.

Other

early tafsccrs

were written by Aboo


(d.

Bakr ibn Mundhir an-Naysabooree


(d. 369),

318), Ibn

Abee Haatim
(d.

al-Haakim

(d.

405) and Ibn

Mardawayh

410). All

Hibbaan of these tafieen were


328), Ibn

based on reports from the Prophet

(g)

and the Companions and Successors, and

included the chains of narration (isnaad) of the reports.


After the books at tafseer followed a plethora of books on the other sciences of the

Qur'aan: 'Alee al-Madeenee


a

(d.

234 A.H.), the teacher of Imaam al-Bukhaaree, wrote


(d.

book on Asbaab an-Nuzool; Aboo 'Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Sallaam


of the Qira'aat

224 A.H.) wrote


its

two books, one on the science

(which was one

of the first of

kind),
(d.

and one on abrogation


276 A.H.) wrote
a

in the Qur'aan, Naasil(h

wa

al-Mansool{li; Ibn

Qutaybah

book on

rare

words

in

the Qur'aan, Mus/il(il al-Quraan;

Aboo

Ishaac|

az-Zajjaaj (d. 311) wrote a grammatical analysis of the Qur'aan, 'Iraab al-Quraan;

Ibn Darstawayh
Vjaaz al-Quraan;
rare

(d.

330) composed a tract on the miraculous nature of the Qur'aan,


as-Sijistaanee (d. 330 A.H.) wrote another

Aboo Bakr

book on the
(d.

words

in the Qur'aan,

Chareeb al-Quraan; Aboo Bakr al-Baaqillaance

403)

wrote his famous

treatise, also related to

the miraculous nature ol the Qur'aan, Vjaaz

al-Quraan;

Imaam

an-Nasaa'ec

(d.

303 A.H.), the author of the Sunan, wrote one on

the merits of the Qur'aan, Fadaa'il al-Quraan;

Aboo al-Hasan al-Waahidee

(d.

468) 634)

wrote his famous book on Asbaab an-Nuzool; 'Urn ad-Deen as-Sakhaawee wrote one on the various qira'aat, and so on.
It

(d.

must

also be

mentioned

that, in addition to these

books,

many

of the

books

of

hadceth, such as the Saheehs of al-Bukhaarce and Muslim, included sections on vari-

ous topics of 'uloom al-Quraan. For example, most of the books of the Sunnali have
chapters on the tafseer of the Qur'aan, the benefits of reciting the Qur'aan, the history

of its compilation, and other topics.

IS

paraphrase of an authentic hadceth


is,

ol

the Prophet (Sg). repotted hy Ibn 'Adee and Ibn 'Asaakir.

The beginning ol the hadceth


mVkt'TI

'This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ol the itmmah.

who will

22

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Finally, the scholars

of the

later

generations started compiling

all

of these sciences

into
first

one book, and thus began the era of the classic works on 'uloom al-Qur'aan. The works oi this nature were actually meant to be works ol tafseer. One ol the first
is

works that

reported in later references (but

is

not extant)

is

that of

Aboo Hakr
total

Muhammad
thirty

ibn Khalat ibn al-Marzabaan (d. 309 A.H.), entitled 'al-liaawee fee

'Uloom al-Qur'aan.' 16 Anotherwork, of which manuscript copies of fifteen of a

of

volumes are extant,


as

is

that of 'Alee ibn

Ibraaheem Sa'eed
related aspects

(d.

330), otherwise

known
is

al-Hoofee, which he entitled, 'AI-Bitr/uianfcc 'Uloom al-Qur'aan*. This book


all

primarily one on tafseer. but also discusses


it

of a

verse. So, for

example, after each portion of the Qur'aan,

includes information about the verses'


its

meaning,

its

interpretation,

its

purpose of revelation,

proper method

of recitation, to stop

the different qira'aat of the verse and

how
is

they affect the meaning,

where
of
its

and
its

where not

to,

and so

forth.
all

This work

considered to be the

first

kind

in

expansive approach to

the related sciences

of the Qur'aan.

'

There appeared
az-Zarkashee
(d.

after this,

books of a similar nature, until

finally

Badr ad-Deen

794 A.H.) appeared with his monumental Al-Burhaan fee 'Uloom


title

al-Qur'aan (the same

as al-Hoofee's work).

This
a

is

one of the great


later,

classics

on

'uloom al-Quraan available in print.


peared, that of Jalaal

little

over
91
1

century

another classic ap-

ad-Deen as-Suyootee

(d.

A.H.), entitled al-Itquanfee 'uloom

al-Qur'aan. These two works are considered the standard resource works on 'uloom al-Qur'aan, and both have been printed a
ades.

number of times during

the

last

few dec-

Books on 'uloom al-Qur'aan continued


these last few decades have been

to

appear throughout the centuries,'" and


better

no exception. The

known books

of this era

have been Manaahil al-'lrfaan fee 'Uloom al-Qur'aan by Shaykh

Adheem az-Zarqaanee;a/-Ma^A^Afl/ // Aboo Shahmah; and two books, both of which

Muhammad 'Abd alDirasaat al-Quraan al-Kareem by Muhammad


arc entitled Mabaalutb fee 'Uloom al-

Quraan, one by Dr. Subhee Saalih and the other by Dr. Mannaa' al-Qattaan.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be great interest in English circles concerning this topic. Other topics, such as hadeelh
tion.
1

"

In English, the only

work present 2 "

is

and fiqh, have been given greater attenAhmed Von Denffer's book, 'Uloom al-

lf>

ar-Roomce,

p. 45,

quoting Ibn Nadcem's

Pihrist, p. 24.

az-Zarqaanec,
n.il., p.

Muhammad 'Abd al-'Adhcem: Maiumhd al- 'Irfaanji

'Uloom al-Qur'aan, Dar al-Fikr,


p.

Cairo,
14.

>5

and Qaltaan, Manna': Mabaliith ft 'Uloom al-Qur'aan, Muasasat al-Risalal, Beirut, 1983,
4 1-48,

18
ol

Sec ar-Roomce. pps.

where

lie lists

the most important works in this

tie-Id

from every century

the hijrah, starting From the second century until the present one.
19 In hadeelh. the best works out lor introductory-level students are lladitli Literature: In Origin.:. Devel-

opment and Special Feature by


ies

in

Hadilh Methodology and Literature by

Indianapolis. 1977); in

Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi (Islamic Texts Society. .ondon, 9}), and StudMuhammad Mustafa Azami (American Trust Publication. Usool al-Fiqli, a good work is by Mohammad Hashim Kamali. Principles of Islamic
I 1

Jurisprudence (Islamic Texts Society, 1991).

20
There

This
is.

is

the only

book

that this

author has come across concerning


1/;

this topic

trom

Muslim

author.

however,

a translation ol

Ibn Taymiyyah's.

Introduction to the Principles of Tafseer (al-Hidaayah

Publishing and Distribution. Birmingham, 1993).

An
Qur'aati:

Introduction to 'Uloom al-Quraan

23

presents

An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan. It is a useful book in that it a summary of many concepts of 'uloom al-Quraan, and is meant lor a young
However, probably due
to the

adult audience.

nature of the audience, the author does

not go into great detail.

21

Published

by.

'The Islaamie Foundation,' Leicester, 1983.

CHAPTER

The Qur'aan

i.

The Linguistic Meaning


There arc a number of

of the

Word

'Qur'aan'

different opinions

concerning the linguistic meaning of the

word 'qur aan.

The most popular


that the

opinion, and the opinion held by at-Tabaree


is

(d.

310 A.H.),

is

word

'qur'aan'

derived from qara'a, which means,


(nuisdai) of quia
in
a,

'to

read, to recite." 'Qur'aan'

would then he the verbal noun


tion' or

and thus

translates as

'The Recita-

'The Reading.' Allaah says

reference to the Qur'aan,

And

(it is) a

Qur'aan which

We

have divided into

parts.. .

I7:H)6|

and

He

says,

It is for

Us

to collect

it

and

to Recite

it

(Ar.

qur'aanahoo).

When We

have-

recited

it.

then follow

its

Recitation (Ar. <jitraamth) [7S:17-S|

On
word

the other hand,

Imaam

ash-Shaafi'ee

(d.

204 A.H.) held the view that the


just like "lo-

'qur'aan'

was

proper noun that was not derived from any word,


recited the

tah" or TnjecT."

He
'

word without

rhyme with the English word


Another opinion means,
are
1

'lawn'.

One of

hamza, such that 'Qur'aan' would ihcqiniaal also pronounced it this way.
a
2
'

states that the

word 'our aan'

is

from the root qarami, which


in

'to join, to associate'.

For example, the pilgrimage

which 'Umrah and Hajj

combined is called HajjOiraan, from the same root word. Therefore the meaning ol the word 'qur'aan' would be, 'That which is joined together," because its verses and soorahs are combined to form this book. In this case, the word would be pronounced the same way
as

Imaam

ash-Shaafi'cc pronounced

it,

without the hamza.

22

23

The books given to Moosaa and "Ecsaa, respectively. The qiraaa ol'lhn Kathecr. See ("h. 1, 'The Qira'aal
1

ol the

Qur'aan' lor more details on the various

qira'aat.
2-t

That of Aboo al-Hasan 'Alec al-A$h'arec

(A.

324 A.H.), the famous theologian.

The Qur'aan

25

A fourth opinion-'

is

that 'qur'aan'
to'.

comes from

the
is

word qaraa'in, which means


of verses that aid

'to

resemble, to be similar

Hence, the Qur'aan

composed

one

another in comprehension, and soorahs that resemble each other in beauty and prose.-"
Yet another opinion called such since
it

is

that 'Qur'aan'
stories,
is

combines

is from qui', which means 'to combine'. commands, promises and punishments. 2
'

It is

However, the opinion that


ars hold,
is

the strongest, and the one that the majority of schol-

the

first

one, namely that the


Recitation'.

and therefore means, 'The

word 'qur'aan' is the verbal noun ot qania The proof for this is that it is named such in
a

the Qur'aan (and most ot the qira'aat

pronounce the word with


as the verbal

hamza), and the

word contorms with Arabic grammar


It

noun

ot'qara'a.

may be

asked:

how

does one explain the


a

fact that

some qim'aat pronounce

the

word 'Qur'aan' without

hamza,

as

it is

well

authentic (as shall be discussed in greater


that this particular pronunciation
is

known that all the qira'aat detail)? The response to this

are equally

question

is

due

to the peculiar rules

of recitation (tajweed)

ol

many words. In other words, the qira'aat that pronounce word 'Qur'aan' without a hamza do not intend to change the pronunciation of the word 'Qur'aan' itself, but rather this occurs due to a particular rule of recitation
those qira'aat, and affects
the
(tajweed) that affects

many words

in the

Qur'aan, including the pronunciation of the


of the

word 'Qur'aan.' Therefore, even though the pronunciation


different in these qira'aat, the actual

word 'Qur'aan'

is

word

is still

the same.

II.

The

Definition of the Qur'aan


definitions of the Qur'aan, but they differ in
as to

There are many


is

wording

only.

There

no difference of opinion
2" it

what

the Qur'aan

is,

but merely what the best

way

to

define

is.

One of

the

more appropriate

definitions

is

as follows:'"'

The Qur'aan
(j^) in

is

the Arabic

Speech (kalaatn) of Allaah, which mutawaatir transmissions, and


lar to
it.

He

revealed to

Muhammad

wording and

meaning, and which has been preserved


is

in the mus-hafs,

and has reached us by

challenge to mankind to produce something simi-

2")

That of Yahya ibn Ziyacl ad-I)aylamcc

(d.

207 A.H.). better know

as al-I-arraa', a

famous grammar-

ian Irom Koofah.

26

For more discussion

ol

these

and oilier opinions, sec az-Zarkashcc. Badr ad-Din: al-Burhdtlfi Uloom


v.I,

al-Quraan, Maktabah al-Asriyyah, Beirut. 1972,


Saalim: al-Qiraaat

p.276-8,

and Baazmool,
an-Nihaayah,

Muhammad
v.

ihn

I'mar ibn

wa Athanthaa fee ui-Tafsccr, Daar al-Hijrah.


1.)
is

Riyaadh, 1996,
v.

I,

p.

23-27.

27
28

This

is

the opinion ol lbn al-Atheer (d. 606 A.I

in his

4, p.

30.
is

A
cl.

good definition must include everything


possible.
v.

that

essential,

exclude everything that

extraneous,

and be as succinct as
29

az-Zarqaanec.

I,

p. 21.

26

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

The Breakdown of the Definition The statement in


is

the definition, 'The

Ouraan

is

the. Arabic... implies that the


'

Qur'aan

in the

Arabic language. This, therefore, implies that a translation ol the


1

Quraan

into
said,
lore,

any other language cannot be considered the Qur'aan.

"

Imaam az-Zarkashee

"Know that
it

the Qur'aan has been revealed in the language of the Arabs. Thereit

is

impermissible to recite

in

any other language.""


it

There are eleven references

in the

Qur'aan that

is

in the

Arabic language, amongst

them the

verses,

...this

(the Qur'aan)

is

in a clear

Arabic tongue-

16:103]

and.

Verily.

We have

revealed this as

an Arabic Qur'aan"

[12:2

and.

And thus We have

inspired you with an Arabic Qur'aan*


itself as

42:7]

Since the Qur'aan has described

being

in Arabic,

it

is

clear that

any non-

Arabic speech cannot be the Qur'aan.

However,
tions

is

every single word in the Qur'aan originally from the Arabic language?

In other words, does the Qur'aan use

words from other languages? There

exist narra-

from some ol the Companions, and many grammarians after them, concerning

certain
for

words

in the

Qur'aan which were claimed

to

be of non-Arabic origin. Thus,


tjijiqa

example, Ibn Abbaas claimed that the word toor was Syriac for mountain,
"to

meant

intend' in the
for

Roman

language, Intdnaa was


a soft cloth in

Hebrew

for repentance, W/7


to

was Persian

book, sundus meant

Hindi (probably referring


sirri

Sanfor

skrit), miskfiaat

was

shining lamp in an Ethiopian language, and


also of the

was Greek

a small river.

52

His student 'Ikrimah was


led

same opinion.

This opinion

some

later scholars to

come

forth with

numerous examples of
in the
in the

words
that

that

were claimed
(d.

to

be non-Arabic
list

in origin, yet

mentioned

Qur'aan.

As-SuyoOf.ee

911 A.H.) compiled a


to

of over

hundred words

Qur'aan
in a

were claimed

be non-Arabic

in origin,

and even

versified these

words

poem."

$0
3

See Ch.

15,

'The Translation
v.
I ,

ol the

Qur'aan," lor a

more

detailed discussion ol this point.

az-Zarkashee,

p. 287.
v. I,

32 33

Examples taken from az-Zarkashee,


as-Suyootee,
v. I,

p. 288.

p.

8 1 -84.

The Qur'aan
Other scholars, however, denied the claim
words
in the

27

that there could be

any non-Arabic

Qur'aan. Basing their evidences on the Qur'aanic verses quoted above,


ash-Shaali'ee (d. 204 A.H.) was particularly

they held the view that these verses precluded the existence of foreign words in the

Qur'aan.

Imaam

strict in this

matter, for
in this

he wrote concerning some grammarians ot his time, "And some have spoken
topic (of foreign

words

in

the Qur'aan), and had they restrained themselves from


better, anil safer tor

speaking

it

would have been


Qur'aan
in
is

them! For some

ol

them have
is

pre-

sumed
there
is

that the

part Arabic

and

part foreign! Yet the that


it

Qur'aan

explicit that
54

nothing

the

Book of Allaah except

is

in the

language of the Arabs..."

In attempting to refute the opinion that the

Qur'aan contains foreign words,

at-

Tabaree

(d.

310 A.H.) claimed

that these particular

words were used by both of these

languages simultaneously, and thus the Companions' claims that these words were
,s non-Arabic only meant that they were also used by other languages as well.

How-

ever, this is

not a satisfactory explanation, as the word must have originated in one of

the two languages.

Aboo 'Ubayd al-Qaasim


from Ibn 'Abbaas correctly

ibn Sallaam (d. 224 A.H.) explained the above narrations

when he

said,
is

The

correct opinion with

me

thai hoih of the a hove opinions

meanis

ing that there are foreign words in the Qur'aan, anil thai the Qur'aan
in Arabic] arc correct. like the scholars said
|

only

This

is

because the origin of these words

is

foreign,

referring to the narrations of Ibn 'Abbaas|.

However,
to Ara-

these

words entered into

the Arabic language,


letters

and were transformed

bic words,

and the foreign

were exchanged

for Arabic ones, until they this

became
these
that the

a part ol Arabic.
in

Then

the

Qur'aan was revealed, and by

time

words had mixed


Qur'aan
is

with the Arabic language. Therefore, he


is
'"

who says

only in Arabic
is

correct,

and he who says

that there are

some

foreign words

also correct.

In other words, these particular phrases arc originally non-Arabic in origin.


ever, as is the case

Howtor all in

with any language, these words were 'borrowed' by Arabic, and


a part of the
'a

were used so commonly that they became


practical purposes, these
poetry...

Arabic language. Thus,

words became

part of fluent Arabic,


it

and were used


were ignorant

and

if

an Arab were ignorant of these words,


17

was

as if he

ot

other Arabic words.'

Therefore, the correct opinion

is

that there are

no non-Arabic words

in the

Qur'aan,

although there arc words that have non-Arabic origins.


these

Due to the continued usage of


foreign.

words by the Arabs, however, they can no longer be considered

ofAllaah...

The next part of the definition o! the Qur'aan states that it is the '...Speech (kalaam) The Qur'aan is the Speech (k,itlaai>i) of Allaah, that He spoke in a manner
'

34

az-Zarkashce,
as-Suyootee,
v.

v. 1,
1 ,

p. 287,
1

quoting from ar-Risaalah.

35
36 37

p.

78.

az-Zarkashce, v.l.p. 290. az-Zarkashee,


v.
1

p.

289.

28

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

that befits

Him. This excludes


importance of the

all

speech that emanated from men, jinn, and angels.

Due

to the

fact that the

Qur'aan

is

the kalaam of Allaah,

and the

different philosophies that have evolved

concerning

this topic, this part of the defini-

tion will be discussed in greater detail in the next section.

The
is

next part of the definitions states: '...which


of

This excludes any other Speech {kalaam)


infinite, as the

He revealed to Muhammad (^g)...'. His that He spoke. The kalaam of Allaah

Qur'aan

says,

And

il

all

the trees on the earth were pens,

and the
its

sea (were ink


still

wherewith
(l<alaam)

to write), with seven seas

behind

it

to

add to

supply,
is

the

Words

of Allaah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allaah


|3I:27|

All Mighty, All

Wisc

Therefore, this part of the definition limits the Qur'aan to the kalaam that Allaah

revealed to
the Prophet

Muhammad
().

($^g),

and excludes any Speech


is

that

He

spoke

to

other than

The Qur'aan

specifically the revelation sent

down

to the

Prophet

And

truly, this

Qur'aan

is

a revelation

from the Lord of the Worlds; which

the Trustworthy Spirit (Angel Jihrccl) brought

down; Upon your


1

heart

(O

Muhammad)

so that you

may

be

among

the warners 26: 1 92-4

The

next part of the definitions

states:'...//;

wording and meaning...'. This part of

the definition affirms that the words of the Qur'aan arc from Allaah,
Jihrccl or

and not from

even

Muhammad

(^), as

some of the innovated

sects

oflslaam, such as the

Ask'arees, allege.

According to some scholars,

this part of the definition also excludes


is

hadceth Oudsee'* since, according to these scholars, liadeeth Oudsee

only inspired in

meaning, while

its

wording

is

from the Prophet

(^g).

The

next part of the definition states: '...which has been preserved in the mus-hafs...
a written

'.

A mus-haf is
it

copy of the Qur'aan.

When

used

in this definition, to

it

refers

specifically to the copies that the

Caliph 'Uthmaan ordered

be written.'" Therefore,

includes one hundred and fourteen soorahs, starting with Soora/i al-Faatihah and
in

ending with Soorah an-Naas. The Qur'aan must be written

any one

of the mus-hajs

38

Ahadeeth Oudsee is defined

to be a liadeeth in
is

which the Prophet

l^g) says,"Allaah says...", attributing

the speech to Allaah. This type of liadeeth

discussed in

more detail

in

the next chapter, under the heading,

'The Difference between the Qur'aan and Hadceth Oudsee'.


39 See Ch.
8,

'The Collection

ol the

Qur'aan,' tor further details.

The Quraan
of 'Uthmaan.

29

This part of the definition excludes the verses that used


were abrogated by the Prophet
the last time.
necessarily in
4"

to

be a part of the Qur'aan.

such as those whose recitation was abrogated (the mansooltfi), and those readings that
{%$)

before his death,

when he

recited the

Qur'aan

tor

The

reading must be in at least one mus-haf'of 'Uthmaan, and not

all

of them. 41

The
sions...
'.

next part of the definition states: '...and has reached us by mutawaatir transmis-

A transmission

is

called

mutawaatir when

it is

reported by a large
lie.

number of

people, such that they could not

all

be mistaken or intentionally forge a


4'

The Qur'aan
authenticity.
(in

has reached us through muttawaatir chains of narration.


generation so

In other words, in each


its

many

people narrated
4

it

that there

is

no question of

There arc some readings, however,


other words, they are ahaad
').

that

have not reached us in mutawaatir form

Such readings are not considered part of the Qur'aan.

This point will be further elaborated in a later chapter.

The

last part

of the definition
to
it.'

states: '...and

is

a challenge to
is

mankind

to
it

produce

something similar

This part of the definition


of the

extraneous in that

docs not

remove anything that should not be a part


hadeeth Oudsee
is

Qur'aan (unless one believes that


in

inspired in

meaning and wording,

which case

this portion
is

remove hadeeth Oudsee


ever, in that
it

as being part of the Qur'aan).

This portion

essential,

would how-

mentions the miraculous nature


to

(i'jaaz)

of the Qur'aan. Allaah has


to
it,

challenged

mankind

produce even a chapter similar

and

this

challenge

is

reserved for the Qur'aan,


It

and not

for the hadeeth." for the

should be mentioned that the word 'Qur'aan' can be used


for a part of the

whole Qur'aan

and

Qur'aan. Thus,

if

someone has
45

recited a

few verses from the


it

Qur'aan, or has completed the recitation of the whole Qur'aan,


either case, "You

is

possible to say in

have recited the Qur'aan."

III.

The Qur'aan
found
in

as the

Speech of Allaah
as the

The detailed discussions of the Qur'aan


cally not
(faith).

Speech

(l^alaain)

of Allaah are typi-

the books ol 'u/oom al-Quraan, but rather in the books of 'aqecdah


it

However,

was

felt

that this topic deserved greater attention in this

work

for

number of reasons:

Firstly,

due

to the

importance of this topic, since

it

deals with

some

of the Characteristics (sifaat) of Allaah,

and

of the Qur'aan: secondly, this topic

-III

Sec Ch.'s

III

and

i,

'The

Ahmfoi

the Qur'aan,' and 'Abrogation in the Qur'aan' lor an explanation

ol the 4
1

maniookfl and variant readings.

The mus-hafs
Meaning
See Ch.

thai

'Uthmaan wrote were not


and not the

exactly the same. See


1 1

Ch. H

for further details.


ot' this
1
1

-12

Sec 'The Conditions for an Authentic Qiraaat' in Ch.


the shaadh readings,

for a

more

detailed discussion

point.

4i

'tihaad' definition

of as-Suyootcc; see Ch.

for lurlher

details.

44

IS.

which

is

entirely devoted lo discussing the concept ol i'jaaz in the

Quraan,

lor further

details.

45

e az-Zarqaance,

v.

I.

p. 22.

30

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

has been the subject o! great controversy during the history of Islaam, and great scholars

have been persecuted because ol

it,

therefore

it

deserves

some discussion and elaboraol

tion: thirdly, there still exist incorrect

concepts and ideas concerning the meaning

the

/(ti/iiiiin

ol

Allaah. primarily amongst innovated sects

of Ahlas-Sunnah
this topic in

wa

al-Jamaa'ah""'; and. lastly, there does not exist


4,

which claim to be in the fold any discussion ol

English.

Before discussing the Qur'aan


to

in

particular as the

kalaam

of Allaah,

it is

necessary

understand the concept

ol the kj.ilaam ol Allaah.

Tin-:

Conceit of the Kalaam of Allaah


ot Allaah deals with

The

topic of the

kalaam

described Himself with, namely, that ol


topic ol the

one of the Attributes that Allaah has Speech (l{alaam). When dealing with the
principles

Names and Attributes ol Allaah, two basic


principle
is

must be understood. and Most


Grandeur,
I

The
Perfect

first

that Allaah has described Himself With the Best

Names and

Attributes;

Names

anil Attributes ol Beauty, Majesty,


all

Perfection and Excellence; in other words,

Names and

Attributes that befit

lim.

Allaah says in the Qur'aan.

Anil to

Allaah belong

(all)

the Most Bc.uitilul

Names, so

call

on

lim with

them.. [7:180]

In addition to affirming these


attributes ol imperfection

Names and

Attributes. Allaah has also negated all

from Himself, such as sleep and tiredness (2:255). forget-

fulness

and error

(20:52)

and other attributes


is

that

do not

befit

His Glory.'"

The second

principle

that Allaah's

Names and

Attributes arc Unique,

and do

not resemble the attributes of His creation. Allaah says.

_A>jzj *-~*1 'jbj


I

"There

is

nothing that

is

similar to

Him, and

lie

is

the All-Hearer, All-

Seer- [42:11]

46
thosc
in a

An

expression that translates as 'The Followers ol the Siiiinah ami the Right Group.' to dili'erentiate
ilo

who
I

not follow

tin-

Smuiii/i. or the

Companions

ol

the Prophet (gg). The Prophet (56) predicted,


all

number
lei
I

ol hadcci'h. that his

ummah would
I

divide into seventy-three sects,


ol this

of which would be

in the

lire oi

excepi

ma. When asked what


what

the characteristics
today,

saved group were, he (36) replied, "Thcj


(Narrated by
at- Tirmidheel;

are (that group) that lollou


i

mailing the.
47
I

Uil us-Stinnali
it

am tallowing wa al-Jamaa'ah.
in

and

my Companions"

louever.
a

should be kept

mind

that this

is

a relatively brief discussion,

and

it

is

hoped

that

perhaps 48

more

detailed explanation ol this,


ol Allaah's

and

cither,

concepts

"I faith

be available soon. Indian Allaah.


Specifically;

The affirmation
is

Names and

Attributes, in general.

OCCUR

each

Name and

Attribute

Bcstowei

dI

mentioned and affirmed individually. For example. 'The All-Seer". 'The Ever-Living'. 'The Mc rc\ etc. As lor negation, this OCCUTS in general, unspccific terms (most ol the time): lor
.

example. 'There

is

nothing that

is

similar to Him', 'There

is

none

thai

is

equal to

lim'. etc.

Negation

ol

specific attributes (such as lorgetlulness

and

error)

is

rare,

and only

lor a purpose.

The Qur'aan
Therefore, since Allaah's Attributes are unique,
it

31

is

not possible For

mankind
it is

to

understand the exact nature of Allaah's


sible to

Names and Attributes,

even though
to.

pos-

understand the concept that any

Name
is

or Attribute refers

For example,

Allaah has described Himself in the Qur'aan as al-Hayy, which means, 'The EverLiving.'
Life,
is

Mankind understands
will

that Allaah

Ever-Living; that

He was

always with

and

always be with
the
life

Life.

He
is

also understands that, even

though he himself

'alive' (hayy),

that he has

very different from the one that Allaah describes


to

Himsell as having,
him,

(or

man's

life

was given
of
life

him, and

it

shall be taken

away from
has the

in contrast to the characteristic

that Allaah describes


life,

Himself with. In

addition,

man

does not have the power to create


life,

unlike Allaah. So

man

characteristic of

and Allaah describes Himself as having the characteristic of Life,


the two characteristics differ as much as man differs from the mankind understands the concept of Allaah's m\mcii/-Hayy, but
it.

but the actuality

ol

Creator. Therefore,

can never understand the actuality of

The same analogy

applies for the other

Names and

Attributes of Allaah.
therefore,

It is essential,

when

dealing with the

not to deny or distort the meanings of these described Himself with these
to

Names and Attributes of Allaah, Names and Attributes, since Allaah has
it is

Names and

Attributes. Likewise,

not allowed to try

make

these attributes similar to those of the Creation, nor try to delve into the

'how-ness' of His Attributes, since the attributes of the creation are imperfect, whereas
the Attributes of Allaah are Perfect and

Unique.
mind, we now proceed
to the

With

these

two basic principles

in

concept of the

kfllaam of Allaah.

Allaah,

all

Praise

and Glory be

to

acteristic o\l{alaam in

over two dozen verses in the Qur'aan.

Him, has described Himself as having the CharAmongst these verses are

the following:

Anil Allaah .spoke directly (l^alhwia) to

Moosaa-

|4:164|

',">""<<.' <??""(* 1 j-j Is J^o lib) C~Ji C~J


And
the

Word

{/(ii/ihim) ol

your Lord has been

fulfilled in [ruth

and

jus-

tice" |6:115|

Say, 'If the oceans


i

were ink wherewith

to write the

kalaam of my Lord, die


finish,

ice. ins

would be exhausted heforc the l(ahuini ol


like
it

my Lord would

even

if

We

brought (another ocean)

for its aid.'.. |18:1()9|

32

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

And the

Word ofAllaah

(l{uliniu)

is

the uppermost" [9:40]

(It will lie said to

the people in the Heavens)

Peace he on you." a

Word

from

Lord who
affirm

is

Mosi Merciful*

|36:S8|

Therefore,

we

what Allaah has affirmed

for

Himself, namely, that

He Speaks

when He

wishes, and to

whomever He

wishes. As Allaah says.

^(^ir*rH^uf^<y(^^*A-*i^, > j-*/ '<ffii


'

.These are the prophets, some of them


others, (and)

We

have honoured ami blessed over


^

some

ol

them Allaah spoke


is

to 12:2^

In addition, the

Balaam ofAllaah

heard by His creation, and consists of words


Allaah can he heard
is

and

letters.

The

tact that the l{ahiam ol

clearly proven in the

Qur'aan and Sunnah. For example,

in the story

of Moosaa, the Qur'aan mentions that

Allaah spoke to Moosaa and addressed him:

And when he (Moosaa) came


ily, I

(to the lire),

he was called. "O Moosaa. Verlisten to that

am

your Lord. ..and

have chosen you, therefore

which

is

inspired to you'

[20:1 1-1 3|

In another verse, the Qur'aan says,

..Have you heard the story

ol

Moosaa: When

his

Lord allied him

in the

sacred valley of Toowax [79:15-16]

These

verses are clear that Allaah spoke to

The Prophet (<^g) also Aadam asked Moosaa,


anil there

described a

Moosaa and Moosaa heard this speech. meeting between Aadam and Moosaa, in which

"Are you the one

whom Allaah

spoke

to,

from behind a

veil,

was no
4 ''

interpreter

between you, nor was


is

their

any messenger?" Moosaa

answered, "Yes."

The hadeeth
is

explicit in that Allaah's Balaam to

Moosaa was with(j^g) clearly

out any intermediary. In another authentic hadeeth, the Prophet


that Allaah's
skies, the

stated
in

kalaam

with sound, for he said,


their

"When

Allaah decrees a matter

the

angels

move

wings

in

humility lor His speech, which sounds like a

49

Reported by Ahoo Daawuod. and others.

Tlit Qur'aan

33

chain over .a
ol the

rock...'""'

In ihishadecth, the Prophet (-^) gave a description

of the sound

/{alaam ol Allaah,

which

clearly proves that Allaah's

^alaam

is

with sound.
1

This was also the

belief

of thesalaf.
(d.

asked by his son 'Abdullaah

290 A.H.),

speak with a sound (that was heard


indeed! Your Lord speaks with sound,
51

Imaam Ahmad ibn Hambal (d. 24 A.H.) was "When Allaah spoke to Moosaa, did He by Moosaa):" Imaam Ahmad answered. "Yes.
all ol

and

these hadceth (ol \\\cl(alaam ol Allaah).

we
his

narrate

them as we heard them." Imaam al-Bukhaaree (d. 256 A.H.) narrated in book al-Adab al-Mufrad the hadceth of the Prophet ($g) referring to the Day of
will occur,

Judgement, and the reckoning that

and
it

in

it is:

"...and their

Lord
is

will call

them with

a voice, the
'I

one

who
1

is
"

close can hear

just as the

one

who

lar can,
is

and

He

will sav,

am

the King...'"

Alter narrating the entire hadceth, which

also ex-

plicit in

the fact that Allaah speaks in n/(a/aai?i that can be heard,

said, "Allaah, all Praise

and (dory be

can hear

it

just as those

who

are

Imaam al-Bukhaaree Him, speaks with sound. Those who arc close lar can, and this is only so lor Allaah. And in this is
to
1

proof that the sound of Allaah does not resemble the sound of mankind.""
It is,

of course, essential

to

keep

in

mind
it is

that the

Speech of Allaah docs not resemto

ble that

of His creation, and therefore

impermissible

ask how Allaah speaks, for

Allaah says,

"There

is

nothing similar to Him, anil

le is

lie

All- 1 learer, All-Seer |-I2:1


is

I |

The
(and
ol
it

fact that

the Balaam of Allaah consists of words and letters

something

that

docs not require proof and can be seen even by the most ignorant person. The Qur'aan
is

part ol the/Balaam ol Allaah. as shall be proven in the next section) consists


anil letters.

words

For example, every Muslim knows that the verse,


lUllybj9

-Qui hoowa Allaahu ahad*

2:

consists of four words, each word of which consists of a number of letters.

It

therefore

follows that the

Balaam

of Allaah consists of
is

words and
of

letters.

The Prophet (^)


letters, for

himself mentioned that the Qur'aan


stated,
I

composed

words and
will

he

(^g)

"'Whoever

recites

one word from the Book of Allaah


1

have ten rewards.

And do not
and Laam
is

say the A/if Laam


a weird, anil

Mean is (counted as) a word, but rather Alifis a word, Meem is a word.*"" Therefore, the Prophet (5Eg) divided the
Some groups
reiers to

5n

Reported by al-Bukhaaree.
ol the angel's

allege that the


.i

sound described
ol

in the

hadceth rclcrs to the

movement

wings. This can be refuted bj

number
,

ways:

firsdy,

other narrations ol tins


(el.

luidct'lh are explicit that

the
is

Sound

WY.vaWs l^alaiim
is

anil not the angels'

wings

al-|udav',
il

p. 167);

secondly, the tense that

used lor the sound


ol the

masculine, whereas the wings are feminine, so


also.

the wings

of the angels were the object


s|

sound, the tense would have been feminine

Reported by 'Abdullaah ibn Reported by

Ahmad

ibn

Hambal
in

in Kitchib as-Sitiinali.

# i".

52
>^

Ahmad, and al-Bukhaaree

al-Adab al-Mufrad.
cl".

Reported in al-Bukhaaree's Khalq Af'aal al-'lbaad. Reported by al-Hukhaaree.

al-luday'. p. 165.

54

"

34

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Qur'aan into words and


Tlie
/(tiltiain

letters.
is

of Allaali
Injccl. in

not limited to the Arabic language. Allaah revealed the


this

Torah and the

Hebrew, and

was

also a part of His Balaam.

As Imaain

ad-Daarimee
you!
Verily...

(d.

288 A.H.) wrote, concerning those


is

who deny
and

this concept.

"Woe

to

Allaah

knowledgeable

of all

languages, and
in Arabic,

language

He

wishes. If He wishes,

He speaks
has

He speaks in whichever if He wishes, in Hebrew,

and

if

He

wishes, in Syriac, so

He

made

the Qur'aan His fyllaam in Arabic, and

the Torah and Injccl His Balaam in Hebrew, since

He

has sent the prophets with the

language of their peoples." 55 In other words, just as Allaah has sent every prophet to
preach
in the

language of his nation, xhckctlaam ofAllaah


to that nation)

to

any nation (when Allaah

revealed a

Book

was

also in

its

language.
is

Another
clear proofs

characteristic ol the

Balaam of Allaah

that

it is

uncreated. There are


logic

from the Qur'aan, the Siinnah, the statements of the saliif, and clear

for this belief.

The Qur'aan

says,

Vcrily to

Mini (Allaah) belongs the Creation and the Command'. |7:S4|

In this verse, Allaah differentiates

and

all

that

is

in

it,

between the creation, which includes the world and between the Command, which is His Speech. The Speech is

in fact the

cause of the creation, as Allaah says,

J^vli ^.a1 Jjiiu^Jj^ ^s^ls^^j* ->!


Verily,
it:

Our Word
and
it is..

unto a thing
[16:40]

whin We

intend

it.

is

only

lli.it

We

vi\

unto

'lie''-

Therefore the Speech


so
tic
it

of Allaah, by the
if it

Will
it

ol

Allaah,

is

the cause ol the creation,

cannot be created, for


itself

were created,

would mean

that a created characteris-

has

created another object, and this

is

not possible! In other words, a created

object does not have the ability to create another object; only the Creator has this
ability.

Sufyaan ibn 'Uyaynah


is

(d.

198 A.H.) said,

"He

has lied (who says that the

Qur'aan

created)! Allaah has stated,


is

"To

Him

belongs the Creation and the

Com51

mand,"

so the creation

the creation of Allaah,


(d.

and His

Command is the Qur'aan."

Imaam Ahmad
of Allaah
is

ibn

Hambal
17

241 A.H.) also used this verse to prove that the kfllaam

not created.

The Prophet
in ihc
/(it /initial

(^5) said,

"Whoever dismounts
evil that
is

at

any

place,

and
will

says,

'I

seek refuge
until he

of Allaah from the


,s

created,'

nothing
/(a

harm him
Allaah
is

moves from

his stop.

This haded h also proves that the

laam

of

not cre-

55
"56

ad-Daarimee, ar-Radd, p. 123.


Reported by al-'Aajurree
ibid. in as-Sharee'ah,

t al-Juday',

|>.

123.

57
5S

Reported by Muslim

.mil others.

The Qur aan


ated. since the

$5

Prophet

(gg)

commanded

the believers to seek relume in the /(a/aam ol

Allaah from
Attributes),
{Wis hui/ccr/i

all

types of

evil.

Refuge can only be sought from the Creator (and His

and not Irom the creation.


is

Imaam

al-Hukhaaree

(d.

256 A. H.)

stated, "In

prool that the /(a/aam of Allaah


(d.

is

not created." anil his teacher.

Nu'aym

ibn

Hammaad
nor
in the

228 A.H.), stated,

"It is

not permissible to seek refuge in the cretact that a


ol

ated,

speech of men, jinn or angels. """ In other words, the very


it

person seeks refuge in ihc /(a/aam oi Allaah proves that


Allaah. for
it

is

an uncreated Attribute

is

not allowed to seek refuge in a created object.


/(ci/i/ti in

A simple

logical prool that the


it

of

Allaah
that

is

not created

is

as follows: If the

Balaam of Allaah were created,

would mean

one of Allaah's

attributes (that of

speech) had a beginning, yet Allaah's attributes do not change with time, tor the

Qur aan

says,

It is

the Pirst

(i.e.,

there
I

is

nothing before

lim).

ami

le is

die Last

(i.e.,

there

is

nothing

after

Iim)... |^7:3|

and His and

attributes are a part ol

Him. The

/(a/aam ol Allaah

is

an Attribute

ol Allaah,

all of

Allaah's attributes are eternal

and uncreated.

The Qur'aan
In this section,
it

as

thi-.

Kaiawi

oi-

Am ami
were discussed.
It

In the last section, certain characteristics ol:*the /(allium of Allaah


shall be

proven that the

Quraan

is

a part of the /(a/iiam ol Allaah.

therefore has the

same

characteristics that the /(a/aam ol Allaah has.

Some

narrations

of the earlier scholars have already been mentioned concerning the


is

fact that

the Qur'aan

the /(allium of Allaah. However, in this section, this topic will be discussed in greater

detail,

along with a

brief history

of the deviations that have occurred with regards

to

this belief".

The prool that the Qur'aan

in particular

is

the /(ii/aam ol Allaah


says.
-"

is

that Allaah

Himself has

referred to

it

as

His /(a/aam. For example, Allaah


';'

-f '-Ti--'-' ""

>'

Y.

'\'\" '1 s* f* Z*\\' **'\

-i

Anil

il

any of the idolaters seeks your protection, then grant him proteche

tion, so that

may

hear the

Word

{/(tiLiant) ol

Allaah. .. |9:o|

meaning

until they hear the

have prevented
they prevented

The Prophet ($g) also said. "Verily, the Quraysh Word {/(a/aam) o( my Lord, meaning that from spreading the Qur'aan. The Prophet (^) also said in referhim
Qur'aan.

me Irom

spreading the

S9
(>()

nl-Judny", p.

Ml. from al-Bukhaarce's

Klialq. \f'aal al-'Ibaait.

Reported

fay

al-Daarimee, al-Tirmidhce ami others. See Ibn


l'i.

Qudaama.

'Abdiillaah ihn

Ahmad:

til-

Burhanfi Bayan al-Qiir'aan, Maktabah al-Huda,

Said, L989, p.79.

36

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

ence

to the

Qur'aan, "The superiority of the Balaam of Allaah over all other kalaam

is

(like)

the superiority of Allaah over His Creation."*1


belief that the

The

Qur'aan

is

the

Balaam

ol

Allaah was the belief of

all

of the

Companions, and the


concerning the
the

belief of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah


first

wa

al-Jamaa'ah after

them. Hundreds ot statements from the scholars of the


fact that

three generations exist


is

the Qur'aan

is

the

Balaam of Allaah, and

characterised by

same

characteristics as the

kalaam

of Allaah. In fact,
ol

no group amongst Muslims

actually denied that the

Qur'aan was the kalaam

Allaah; they only differed con-

cerning the characteristics of this kalaam.

As was proven
verse,

in the last section, the


is

Balaam

of

Allaah

is

not created. This, of


tra-

course, implies that the Qur'aan

not created either. Ibn 'Abbaas, in explaining

A Qur'aan without any crookedness"


said,

|39:28|

"This means that the Qur'aan

is

not

created."''-'

'Amr

ibn

Deenar

(d.

126 A.H.)

stated, "I

have met the Companions of the Prophet (5g), and those that came after

them

for seventy years, all of


is
it

them

said,

Allaah

is

the Creator,

Him Him

created,

and the Qur'aan

is

the

kalaam

ot

and everything besides Allaah, from Him it came, and to


150 A.H.) wrote in his Fiqh
al-

will return.""'

Imaam Aboo Hanecfah


is

(d.

Akbar, "The Qur'aan


served
in

the speech {kalaam) of Allaah, written in the mus-hafs, pre-

the hearts, recited by the tongues, and revealed to the Prophet (S)," and in
that, "...the

another place he mentions


be done

Qur'aan

is

not created.""

Imaam Maalik
it

(d.

who says that the Qur'aan is created, what should "He should be forced to repent, and he refuses, then 65 his head should be cut offl" Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee (d. 204 A.H.) stated, "Whoever states that the Qur'aan is created is a disbeliever.""" Imaam Ahmad ibn Hambal (d. 241 A.H.) stated, "It has been narrated from many of ourW<//~that they used to say,
179 A.H.) was asked concerning one
to

him:

He

replied,

'The Qur'aan

is

the kalaam of Allaah,

and

it

is
I

not created.' This

is

also

what

believe,

and
(of

am

not a person of philosophy, nor do

think that philosophy plays a part in any

our

beliefs).

The
is

or a statement ot the

only (source) is the Quraan, or the hadcclh ot the Prophet (^). Companions or Successors. As for anything besides these (sources),
7

then none of it

praiseworthy.'"'

61

Reported by

Ahmad and

others. For a detailed discussion of the authenticity of the luuUrth. see allor the oilier side,

All)aance's</</-Dtf W;//j.

#1333. and

al-)uday\

p. S7.

62 63 64 65

Reported by

al-I .aalikaa'ee,

355.

Reported by al-Bayhaqee
lit//:

in his

Sunan.
p. 14.

al-AI{bar. p. 3(11.

quoted Irom al-Khamces,

Reported by al-Laalikaa'ee,

494.

66 67

al-Khamees,

p. 44.

Reported by "Abdullaah ibn

Ahmad

in his

as-Sunnah, #108.

The Qur'aan

37

Imaam

at-Tahaawee," in his famous Aqccdah at-Taluiaweeyah , wrote:

The Qur'aan
as

is

the Speech (Ifalaani) ofAllaah.


in a

It

originated from

Him
re-

an articulated speech

manner

that

is

not questioned and

was

vealed to His Prophet


tion.

(jgj)

by inspiration. The Believers


it

testify to its revela-

They are certain that

is

the actual \alaam of Allaah, not created,

unlike the speech of humans.


a

man

is

a disbeliever

Whoever hears it and thinks it is the speech of whom Allaah has condemned and threatened with

the Fire of Hell, for Allaah says,

I will

burn him

in the Hell-Firc |74:26|

to

him who

said,

This (the Qur'aan) (By these verses)


/(ii/tiiim

is

nothing but the words of a mortal" |74:25|


are certain that this (the Qur'aan)
il

we know and
of

is

the

of the

Creator

humans, and

does not resemble the speech ol

mankind."'

The
deny.

narrations from the salaf concerning the fact that the Qur'aan
is

is

not created

has reached and far exceeded the level oimutawaatir, and this

a fact that

no one can

To

give

one example alone, the great scholar of the

Siinnuli.

Aboo al-Qaasim
same
it is

Hibatullaah ihn

Hasan
fifty

al-Laalikaa'ee (d. 418 A.H.) transmitted reports from over


all of

five-hundred and

scholars of the salaf,

whom

slated the

fact:

"The
is

Qur'aan

is

the Balaam of Allaah, not created,

and whoever

states that

created

disbeliever." After

naming

all of

these scholars,

Imaam

al-Laalikaa'ee wrote,'"

So
sors,

these are live-hundred


after

and

lifly

scholars or more, from the Succes-

and the generation

them, and the scholars

whom

the uniimih has

accepted and are well-pleased with, not including the Companions, from
all

different places

and generations. And

of these

over a hundred were


to follow.

Imaams. whose opinions and madk-habsxhe people used


1

And were
|

to busy myself in

compiling the quotes from modern scholars

meaning

those after the

first

three generations] (on top of these names), then the

6K

Ic is

Aim

la'alar

Ahmed

ihn

Muhammad
is

ihn Salamah al-Azadi

al -Tahaawcc. d.

i21 A.I

I.

In the

introduction to his work, he said, "This

the fundamentals of the beliefs

of the Akl al-Sitnmih

iva al-

Jama'ah, upon the methodology of the

jurists of this

iimmah. Aboo Hanccfah


I

Nu'man
and

ihn Thaabit,

and

Aboo Yusuf... and

as-Shaybaance... (the two primary students of Aboo

lanifah),

their beliefs concernit

ing the fundamentals of the religion."

This work of bis


were the same

is

an extremely important one in that


it'll

gives a clear
it

and lucid explanation of the basics of the belief of ibi: Akl al-Siiiinu/i

al-]ama\ih. In addition,

clearly
is

shows
thai

that the beliefs of Aboo I -Ianecfa


ol

as the beliefs

ol''the

All/ OS-Stinnak; yet. the irony

many

those

who claim
792 A.H.).

to follow this great

and instead follow the Ai/i'aree or Maatureedee


I/.z

Imaam u\J'ii//i faith! The hook


33,

absolutely ignore

has a valuable

Aboo Hanccfah's beliefs, commentary by Ibn Abd alp. 168.

al-Hanafee

(d.

69
70

Main al-Aqeedah ai-Tahaawiyah


al-Laalikaa'ee,
v. 1.

point

Shark Aqeedah at-Takaiviyyah,

p. 344.

For these numerous quotes, see the previous hundred pages (25()->4S).

38

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

number
myself

ol

names would have reached

the thousands... instead,

restricted
to

to transmissions

from these (named scholars); from generation

generation, no one refuted or contradicted (hem, and whoever did so. they

were forced

to repent, or they

were

commanded

to

be killed or banished...

The

first

person lo claim that the Qur'aan was created was a person by the
(d.

name

ol

Ja'ad ibn

Dirham

I24A.H.). Ja'ad was one

ot the leaders ol

innovation ol his time,

denying most of the attributes of Allaah, including that


by die governor
student,
ot his

ol l^ahiam.

He was
1

executed

time for holding


(d.

this

and other

heretical beliefs.

lowever, his

Jahm

ibn

Salwaan
it

128 A.H.),
the

was able
to

to spread his ideas to a

much

greater extent,

and

is

after

him

group known
ol

as the

Jahm iyyah emerged. This


told ol

group was considered by the scholars


their heretical beliefs.
ol

Islaam

be outside the

Islaam lor

The Jahmiyyah

claimed, amongst other things, that the kfllaam

Allaah (anil thus the Qur'aan) was created. 71


Less than a century

this belief ot
in

Abec Du'aad (d. the Jahmiyyah, even though he himself was ol


later,

Ahmad

ibn

240),

one

ol the callers to

the Mu'tazilali, succeeded

converting the Abbaasiil Caliph

Ma'moon

(during the year 218 A.H.) to this ide-

ology.

Ma'moon

then used his power as the Khaleefah to begin a relentless persecu-

tion ol the scholars ol his time, forcing


salqf,

many

ol

them

to

renounce the

beliel ol the
all

and claim

that

the Qur'aan was created. The most prominent scholars from

over the Muslim lands were ordered to publicly proclaim this ideology. Those that
refused were brutally tortured.

Only

managed to number ot years, and beaten ami whipped so severely that doctors pronounced him on the verge ol death.' This was one ot the greatest trials to ever inflict the Muslim Utnuiah. and it was only during the Caliphate ol Multawakil (during the year 237 A.H.) when orthodoxy was finally redeemed.
(d.

Hambal

241 A.H.),

Imaam Ahmad ibn last through this torture without relenting. Imaam
a

few brave scholars, led by

Ahmad was

jailed lor a

'

)uring this period, due to the great controversy that was generated over this issue,

three different groups


of the eternal

- besides the Ah I as-Stinnah - evolved with regards

to the beliel

nature of the Qur'aan.

The

first

group, comprised of"the Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah 7 * claimed that the
It

Qur'aan was created.

people, and due to the

was this group that temporarily gained popularity among the power ol the Caliph Ma'moon, many scholars were forced to

verbally agree with them.

71 Thefahmiyyah denied all of the names ami attributes ofAllaah. This led them to believe that Allaah would not Ik- seen in the Hereafter, tli.it Allaah is not above [isiairaa) lis Throne, that He docs not have
I

the attribute Ol kfllaam, that


fbrth.
Il

He

does not have the attributes


it

ol

vudd and wajh ('Hand' and

'face'),

and so

one examines the


reality

beliel ol the Ash 'ti ices,


ol their beliefs are

is

clear

li.it.

despite their verbal disassociation from the


ol the

Jahmiyyah, in

many

almost the same as those

Jahmiyyah, as shall be elabo-

rated in the next section.

11

For an interesting account ofthis Inquisition from an


Leiden, IS97.

orientalist's perspective, see

Walter M. Patron's

Ahmed ibn Hanbat and the Mihna,


73

The

Mu'tazilah were a group that tried lo harmonise Greek philosophy with Islaam.

The Qur'aan

39

The second group were known


explicit
it is

as the Waaqifiyyah

This group did not give an


created, nor

opinion on
It

this issue,

and

said,

"We do

not say

it is

do we say

that

not created."

should be pointed out that the Waaqifiyyah were not ignorant of

the status ol the Qur'aan, but rather had studied the evidences,

and had come

to the

conclusion that
proofs
of' the

it

was unclear whether the Qur'aan was created or


Balaam of Allaah were so
clear,

not. Since the

eternal nature of the

and the scholars of

Ahlas-Sunnah united on
group.
is

this issue, the

innovation of the Waaqifiyyah was a

new inno-

vation, anil thus the scholars

of their time were very severe

in the refutation ol this

One of the sa/af was asked concerning this group, and he replied, "The Qur'aan it is not created. And can it be other than this? Or can We can never have any doubts about it, ever!!" And anyone say other than this? Imaam Ahmad (d. 241 A.H.) said, "As for the Waaqifiyyah, then be in no doubt of
the

lydaam of Allaah, and

7,1

their disbelief!""

The
that the

last

group that formed during

this time

were the Lafdhiyyah. They claimed


it

Qur'aan was the Balaam of Allaah, and that

was not created, but the

recita-

tion of the reciter of the

Qur'aan was created. The scholars of Islaam declared

that the
recita-

investigation into this matter


tion of the

was not praiseworthy, since the statement, "My two meanings, one which
the
is

Qur'aan

is

created," can have

the other incorrect.

The

incorrect meaning,

of which is correct, and what most of the Lafdhiyyah


is

intended,

is

that the actual recitation,

meaning

Quraan,

created,

and thus the

Lafdhiyyah agreed with thejahmiyyak. However,


expelled by the reciter of the Qur'aan
the voice
is

created, but the actual

if the person intended that the sound was created, then this is a correct meaning, since recitation (i.e., what is recited) is not.
71 '

Imaam Ahmad
"The

ibn

Hambal

(d.

241 A.H.) said, concerning the above three groups,

them says that the Quraan is created; another says diat it is the /(alaam of Allaah, and stop at that; and the third say, 'Our recitation of the Qur'aan is created.' For me, these three groups have the same status (in another narration, he added:) and all of them are of the Jahmiyyah, disbefahi/iiyyah are of three types:

One group

of

lievers.

They should be
77

forced to repent,

and

ii

they do not do so, then they should be

killed!"

After this period, different groups evolved, the most prominent amongst

them

that

of the Ash'arccs. Since this group

is still

present to this day,"

it

will

be discussed in

greater detail than the other groups.

7-1

al-Laalikaa'ee,
ibid. #S-I4.

#531.
al-Lalikaa'ee, pps. .585-399

75 76 77 78

For further

details,

sec-

al-KhaUaa],v.5,p. 125.

This group, during the

lilih

and

sixth

century ol thekijrah, became extremely popular due to


still

histori-

cal reasons,

and the

effects that this

had

are

present to this day.

Many ol

the

lamous scholars

ol

the past

were influenced by thcAsh'arces, including most of the authors

ol the classical

works on 'uloom al-Our'iuin.


institutions

The

scholars that follow the Ash 'aree faith today are

such as al-Azhar University.

many and wide-spread; even such famous Daaral-Uloom and Dcoband are primarily Ash'aree.

40

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

A Refutation of rwv. Asi i'ari:i-s


ThtAsh'arees are
a

group

that take their 'aqeedah,

and

their

name, from the teach7


'-

ings of Aboo al-Hasan 'Alee ibn Ismaa'ccl al-Ash'arce (d. 324 A.H.).

*"

With regards
was unknown and
that the

to the /(iihium

of Allaah, the Ash arees brought forth an 'aqeedah that


that Allaah does posses the Attribute ol Speech,
in this they

to \\\csalaf.

They claimed

Qur'aan was the Balaam of Allaah, and

agreed with the Ahl

as-Sunnah. However, they explained this attribute in a unique way, for they claimed
that Allaah 's

kplaam was an
it

"internal'

Balaam -

a l{aUiam that

could not be heard by


that, just as the

anyone. They equated


thoughts of
Allaah
is

with the concept of thinking, and stated

men

are a type ol speech that cannot be heard, likewise the kfllaam ot

an internal speech that cannot be heard. Therefore, they claimed that Allaah
his

does not speak with sound, and that

They
ing

further stated that Allaah's palatini


is

Balaam does not consist ol words or letters. is not related to His Will; in other words,

according to the Ash'arecs, Allaah


I

continually speaking, and will always be speakwishes.

le
is

docs not speak


in fact

when He

They

further claimed that the hfllaam ol


parts.

Allaah

one meaning, and cannot be divided into


all in tact

Ibis led

claim that thcToiah. Injeel and Qur'aan are


but the actual l{iiluam of Allaah
is

"expressions' ol the
is

without any language, and

of the

them to same /{cihniiii. same meaning.


is

Therefore, according to them, the essence ol the Torah, the Injeel and the Qur'aan
the same. Since they claimed that Allaah's

Balaam

is

an internal Balaam, they then of die Qur'aan


is

followed

up

this principle
is

by stating that the actual

text

created, but
is

the /{allium of Allaah

not.

The Arabic Qur'aan, according to the Ash'arees,

not the

actual /(tt/chim ol Allaah, but rather an 'expression' ol the

Balaam

ol Allaah.

7')

It

should be pointed out thai Aboo al-Hasan al-Ash'arcc


I

liimscll

went through three phases during


of the Mil 'tazilah could

his lifetime.

)uring the

first

phase, he was a

Mn 'lasilee.
(d.

However,
left

alter the scholars

not satisfy his questions on particular issues ol faith, he

ihem and

started teaching the 'aqeedah ol

Aboo

Muhammad
nate!) the

"Ahdullaah ibn Sa'eed ibn Kullaab

240 A.H.). Ibn Kullaab. and al-Ash'arcc during this

stage, tried to refine the beliefs

of the Mu'tazilah and defend the teachings ofAht as-Sunnah, but unfortu-

methodology

that they used to refute the Mu'tazilah


lell

was

it-.cll

greatly influenced bj

Greek

phi-

losophy. Thus, they themselves

into

many

errors, especially in the area ol the


it

Names and

Attributes ol
a

Allaah. (Only one ol their errors will be elaborated in this section, but
refutation ol

should be kept in mind that

one point

ol belief ol

any group

is

an IPSO facto refutation


perfect.)

ol that
last

groups claim
was

to be

Ahl

as-

Siinmi/i. since the beliefs of Ahl OS-Slinnah

must be

During the
ol

stage ol his
It

life,

al-Ash'aree

rejected the teachings ol Ibn Kullaab.

and accepted the 'aqeedah


in

Ahl

iii-Suninih.
ol

also during this

stage thai he wrote his

book al-I6aanah,

which he defended the 'aqeedah

the salaf, and believed in the

Attributes ol Allaah. such as isliwaa (rising over the throne), wajh, yad and other attributes. Therefore, in
reality,

those u ho claim to be Ash'aree are not truly following


at

Aboo al-Hasan
tin

al-Ash'aree. lor

il

they were.

they would follow the 'aqeedah that he had

his death,

and not

'aqeedah ol Ibn Kullaab.

which he

renounced before
811
It

his death.
this section
\\

should be mentioned that

is

also a refutation ol the sister

group

ol

the Ash'arees, the

Maatureedees. Ihe beliefs ol these two groups


lor

ith

regards to the

kfiliiiim ol

Allaah are practically the sam<

our purposes.

81
lo ihe

These

are the

primary points ol difference between ihe Ahl as-Sunnah and the.


It

Ish'arees

with regard'.

kaliiam ol Allaah.

must be mentioned that some of these points are based upon certain principles

that the Ash'arees use to distort

many

ol the

Attributes of Allaah. However, dui: to the brcvin ol this discus

sion. these will not be

mentioned or

refuted. For a lull refutation, see

Noor's doctoral dissertation on the

subject,

quoted

in the Bibliography.

The Qur'aan

41

Aboo Haamid al-Ghazaalee


this 'aqeedah, wrote, "Allaah
is

(d.

505 A.H.), one of the leaders and expounders of


letters...

speaks without words, sounds and


82

and His Speech

the Speech of the


so

mind

(i.e.,

internal speech). Just as the speech of the

mind has no

sound or words,

His Speech has no sound or words."

The primary
and Attributes
is

principle that led the


that they

Ash 'arees
all

wished

to

remove

Names resemblance between Allaah's Names


to distort

many

of Allaah's

and Attributes, and between those


correct,

of the creation.

This principle, which


intellect

in essence

is

was taken by ihcAs/i 'dices


qualities,

to

an extreme. They used their


Attributes gave

and

logic to

decide which of Allaah's

Names and

some

type of resemblance, or
not.

anthropomorphic83

and those Names and Attributes which did

Based

on
felt

diis classification, they

then interpreted those

Names and

Attributes

which they

gave anthropomorphic qualities contrary

to their literal,

understood meanings,

thinking that by doing this they were removing any fear of resemblance between Allaah

and His creation. In His

reality, their

ovcr-zcalousness to free the

Names and

Attributes

of Allaah from resembling those of His creation led

them

to

deny and

distort

many or

Allaah's

Names and Attributes. They used their intellect as the criterion to understand Names and Attributes. Whatever they felt was not befitting to Allaah, even if
it,

Allaah Himself had affirmed

they interpreted until


"All that

it

satisfied their intellect.

As Aboo Haamid al-Ghazaalee. wrote,


intellect

is

found
is

in the traditions (the


il

Qur'aan and Sunnali) (concerning the attributes of Allaah)


can agree with
it,
it

examined. Then,
it...

the

becomes obligatory
intellect to

to believe in

But
it

as for those

(attributes)

which are deemed by the

be impossible, then

becomes ob-

ligatory to interpret
for
it is

what has been found

in the traditions (the

Qur'aan and Sunnali),


Allaah

not imaginable that the traditions will contain something that contradicts the

intellect.

As

for the luidecth

which contain
of

characteristics of
"M

resemblance

(of

between His creation), then most

them

are not authentic,

and those

that are au-

thentic are not explicit, but rather can be interpreted.

Therefore, they took their intellect to be their criterion to accept and understand
the Attributes ol Allaah, so whatever their intellect agreed with, they accepted,

and

whatever their

intellect

could not understand, they rejected or re-interpreted.

And

had

the\'

believed in them, without asking,

"How?"

or

"Why?"

it

would have been


is

belter lor them.


all

However, they neglected a very crucial


is

point,

and

that

that Allaah,
is,

(dory be

to

Him,

more aware of His Names and


creation

Attributes than His creation


is.

and Allaah

is

more eloquent than any of His


any

Therefore,

it is

not appropri-

ate to re-interpret

Name

or Attribute that Allaah (or the Prophet

scribed Himself with, merely because

(^)) has deour minds cannot comprehend the actuality of


fact that
it is

an Attribute. They also neglected the

not possible to compare Allaah's

S2

cf.

al-Ghazalee,

Abu Hamid:
ol thesalaf.

Ihyaa 'Bloom al-Dm, Ashraf Publishers, Lahore, n.d.,

v.l, p. 133. It is

claimed that

Imaam

al-Ghazalce,

at the

end of his

life recanted

from the 'aqcedah of the Ash'arees

.mil

accepted the 'aqeedah 83


X-t

Anthropomorphic: Tb give an object human-like

characteristics.
v.l, p.

From

his al-Iqtisaadfee al-'Itiqaad, p. 132.

Taken from Noor,

90.

42

An

Introduction to the Sciences ofthe Qur'aan

Attributes

and

to try to understand

them by making analogies with the

attributes ot

the creation.

Imaam

al-Barbahaaree

(d.

329),

one of the scholars Know

ot thesa/af, said:

May Allaah
the Lord, the
anil

have mercy upon you!


is

that speculative speech


is

about

Most High,

newly invented matter, and


to

an innovation

misguidance. Nothing

is

he said about the Lord except what

He

has

described Himself with in the Qur'aan. and what the Messenger ot Allaah

(^) explained
Allaah,
"I

to the

Companions...

No

one says about the

attributes Ol

low?" or "Why?" except one


the
/(ii/ttaiii

who

has doubts about Allaah.


Light...'

The

Qur'aan
Yet,

is

ol Allaah,

His Revelation and

the Ash

'iirecs

delved into concepts that could not be understood by men, and

tried to reason the actuality ol the Attributes ol Allaah.

To

illustrate this

example, with regards

to the attribute ol /(ii/amii, the Ash'arees

'

reasoned that the one

who

speaks must speak with sound and breath, and these are

created. In addition, they argued that speech

must come from


is

combination

of or-

gans, such as the tongue, throat and mouth, but Allaah

free

of these. They also


letter follows
is

reasoned that words, composed ol


another,
tial,

letters,

can never be eternal, since one

and has

a specific place in
it, it

each word. Therefore, since each

letter

sequen-

lollowing the one before


it

cannot have existed from

eternity.""

Therefore, ac-

cording to them,

was not

possible for Allaah's /</<//;? to be with sound, or for Allaah's


letters, for if
it

Balaam
It

to

be composed of words and

were,

it

would be

created.

can be seen, then, that the Ash'arees used their logic


the Qur'aan and Sunnah, by
first

to distort clear, explicit


ol
lis

concepts in
those
ol

comparing the Attributes


Allaah
is

Allaah to
creation,

the creation,

and then reasoning

that, since

not like

these Attributes must have a different meaning.


is

Had

they only understood that Allaah


it is

Unique, and there

is

nothing similar to Him, and that

not possible to underit

stand Allaah's Attributes by comparing

ibem

to those of the creation,

would have

saved them from falling into the error ot denying these Attributes.

As
ments

for their belief that the kfilaam

of Allaah

is

without sound,

this contradicts the

proofs that were given in the previous section from the Qur'aan, Sunnah and stateof thcsalaf.

The presumption
all

that

tion based
all

upon the

characteristics of

sound must come from organs is a presumphumans. Therefore, it is not necessarily true for
to

objects. Allaah,

Glory and Praise We

Him,

has

made

the

Heavens and

the

Earth speak, for they responded to His

Command

and

said.

8"5

al-Barbahaaree, al-Hasan. Sharfcas-Sunnah (Makfabah zs-Sunnah, Cairo.

l')No). p. 2S.

86

cf al-Juday", pps 375-379, anil Noor, pps. 517-542, tor these and oilier logical proofs thai the. -L>7; 'arees

bring, along with their refutation.

The Ash'arees

also try to prove the fact that the


is

word l;ahium

signifies

an

internal thought,

and not necessarily a spoken word. Their primary proof

a line of poetry attributed to a

pre-Islaamic Christian. However, ibis

meaning thai they seek


all

to prove contradicts the

understood meaning
'l(tilaam'

ofthe word
nidiitt)

l^alaiim in the
I

Arabic language. In addition. Allaah uses other words besides

(such as

to denote

lis

Speech, and these words

denote speech with sound. See the above relerences for a

more

detailed discussion.

The Quraan

43

l-J

WGft ^i
|

'We

come,
to

willingly!"-

-4 1

and Ailaah,
peak

all

Glory and Praise he


ol

Him,

will

make

the skins

<>!

the dishelievers

on the Day

Judgement,

zsjli&i biiiiy UlHc jr

j^L 'Sj*sj\ y lij

<?A

Ami they (the disbelievers) will


us?'

say,

'Why did you

(our skins)

testify against
all

They will
-

say. "Ailaah

has caused us to speak, as

He

causes

things to

speak...

|4I:211

Ailaah caused these objects to speak, yet these objects do not have the organs that

humans need
ing as

to speak. Is not Ailaah, the

one who created

all

things, capable

ofspeak-

He wishes?
(d.

Imaam Ahmad

241 A.H.) stated,

"As tor their claim (meaning the claim ofthejafimiyya/l, which was later

taken by the. -ls/i'cim:<) that sound can only occur from a combination ol the
throat,

and

lips,

and tongue, then did

not Ailaah say to the

Heavens and

Earth

'(*omc willingly or unwillingly!


|41:I2|

They both

said.

We

come,

willingly!'*

And

did not Ailaah

say,

-And We subjected the mountains and the


with (Prophet)

birds to glorify

Our praises, along

Daawood-

[21:79]
that they
(i.e.,

Do
about

these people

presume

the mountains, the


lips,

Heavens

and the Earth)

glorified with a throat,

ami

and tongues:! Ami how

when

a disbeliever's limbs will testify against him...

Do

you think

that they will testify with throats, lips

and tongues:! Nay.

rather Ailaah will

make them

to speak, as
if

He

wishes, without any throat or lips or tongues!""


it

Therefore, to claim that

the folaam of Ailaah were with sound,

would

entail
ol

giving these characteristics to the Creator, cannot be accepted, for

it is

an analogy
(d.

Ailaah with man, and this

is

improper. "Abdullaah ibn


said,

Ahmad
ol

ihn

Hambal

290

A.H.)

said.

"My

lather

(Imaam Ahmad)
is

'The luulceih

when

Ailaah Speaks, a sound

heard which sounds

like (the

Ibn Mas'ood states that moving of) a chain over

87

ar-Rddd

'ala

al-Jalimiyyah,

p.

51;

cE al-Harbcc,

p. 375.

44

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

a rock.

And

this (hadceth) is

denied by the Jahmiyyah^ These people are disbelievers,

they wish to cause confusion and deceive the people.

Whoever presumes

that Allaah

does not Speak


they

is

a disbeliever! Verily,

came

to us!"

s ''

In this narration.

we will continue to narrate these luidccth as Imaam Ahmad is staling that any person who
is

denies the fact that Allaah speaks with a sound


tion,

of

thejahmiyyah. In another narra-

'Abdullaah

said, "I

asked

my

father:

Some

people are claiming that Allaah does

not speak with a sound."

Imaam Ahmad

replied.

"Nay! Allaah speaks with

sound,

and the only people who deny


ple

this are ihc fa/wiiyya/i.

They wish

to confuse the peo-

and deny

(the Attributes of Allaah).


(d.

Imaam

ash-Shahrastaanee

548 A.H.), while discussing the historical develop-

ment of the various


must be
fore

sects related to the Indicium


a third

of Allaah. wrote, "Then (Aboo


opinion, and claimed
that
all

al-

Hasan) al-Ash'arcc came, and invented


created.

sound

And

with this (opinion), he contradicted the consensus (ijmau) berecite


is

him, for he claimed that what we


is

not the actual /(u/umn of Allaah.

And

this (belief)

the essence of innovation.'""


\l

In addition,

ihc As/i'tirccs maintain that the Balaam of Allaah

is

without sound,

then the following points must be answered:


1

II

the \alaam of Allaah


to

is

without sound, then what did Moosaa hear when Allaah

spoke
to

Himr

II

they respond that Allaah created a sound, and caused


this

Moosaa

hear that created sound, then

means

that this created object stated,

0 Moosaa, Verily, am
I

your Lord. ..Verily,

am

Allaah. there-

is

not

god save

me, so worship Me... [20:12-14]


Therefore,
it

they state
to

this,

it

implies that this created object claimed to be Allaah.


it!

and

askeil

Moosaa

worship
it

However,

if

they state that

it

was the actual


it if

Balaam of Allaah, then

must be asked,
is

"How

then did Moosaa hear

you

claim that Allaah's Balaam

without sound?"

The scholars of theAsh'arees have


this.

not been able to provide a satisfactory response for


2)
II

the fyzlaam ol Allaah

is

without sound, then what special status do those prophets


is

whom

Allaah spoke to gain.2 In other words, what


if

the superiority of Moosaa


of

over the other prophets

he did not hear the Balaam

Allaah:

The Qur'aan
is

mentions that one of the blessings that certain prophets have been given
Allaah spoke to them directly:

that

S8 89 90
91

This

,uit

hor adds:
l>y

Ami

the.

\s/i 'drees'.

Reported

'Abdullaah ihn

Ahmad

in as-Sunnah,

534.

al-Harbcc.

p. 373.
p. ^1 i;

Nihaayat al-Aqdaam,

taken trom al-Harbce,

p. 36S.

The Qur'aan
*'

45

7J f'>

'.

-i"

-*'"'i'f ''

\>

-if it-

These arc he Messengers!


I

Some ot hem We blessed


t

(with

.1

higher status)

over others.

Some

ol

them

Allaali

spoke

tO...

[2:253]

Also, if Allaah speaks to a prophet, but thai prophet eannot hear him, then of

what difference
says,

is

this type

of inspiration

to the

other types of inspiration? Allaah

J^_^jl v_>lf\_l>Je>!_)' '*"J Ji4JJi4*JSoo\/-J

It is not possible for

any human being that Allaah should speak


a veil,

to

him,

unless

il

be by Inspiration, or from behind

or (that)

senger to reveal what

He

will

by

lis

Permission.

He semis a MesVerily, He is the Most


according to the. -Ish'urees,
speaks from 'behind
a

High, Most Wise [42:51]

This verse mentions different types

ol inspirations.

Il,

the kalaain ot Allaah cannot be heard, then


veil.'
S)

when Allaah

how

is

this different

from the other forms

of inspiration?""' to the 'speech" of the

If the

/(<//(/!/;

of Allaah

is

an 'internal' Balaam, similar

mind,

then what

is

the difference between the

Knowledge

('Urn) of Allaah,

and His

Speech. Allaah has described Himself with both of these characteristics in the

Qur'aan. If the Speech of Allaah cannot be heard, and


this implies that
it

is

an internal Speech, then

is

the

same

as the Attribute ol

Knowledge.
this
its is

There
muteness,
well

is

another point that the belief of the Ash 'arce s implies, and
fust as the attribute
is

a very

dangerous implication:
is

of speech

is

noble attribute,

opposite,
It is

a characteristic that

not desired, nor


is

is it

considered praiseworthy.

known

that

the one who

is

mute

not

like

the

one who

speaks. Therefore, to
it

claim that Allaah docs not possess the attribute of speech (or to interpret
Ash'arees do)
yet Allaah
is

away
is

as the

is

in reality

blasphemous, as

this

then implies that the Creator


fact, this

mute,

free

of all attributes of imperfection. In

principle of faith

was
ot

one of the most powerful arguments


other than Allaah!

that the prophets

used

to

deny the worship show


this.

The

stories of

Ibraaheem and Moosaa

clearly

The Story of Ibraaheem

The

story of Ibraaheem

and the

idols

is

well

known: Ibraaheem destroyed

all

of

the idols of his people except the largest one.

When

his people discovered this, they

questioned him as to whether he was the culprit. Ibraaheem answered, as mentioned


in the

Qur'aan.

92

The

various types of inspiration will he discussed in the next chapter.

46

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

<.'Rathcr, this one, the largest

of them, did

it!

(Why

don't you) ask them,


'Verily,

if

they can speak!' So they turned to themselves, anil said.

you are the

wrong-doers (since you


selves (again)

left

the idols unguarded). 'Then they turned to them(()

and (responded), 'You know very well


not speak' (Ihraaheem) replied,

Ihraaheem) that

these (idols)

do

'Do you then worship behie to you.

sides Allaah objects that can neither profit

you nor harm your


I

and upon
|2I:6?-67|

that

which vou worship besides Allaah!

lave you

no sense:!"

In these verses, Ihraaheem

showed

his

people that their idols were not worthy ol

worship, primarily because they could not speak. After they themselves acknowledged
this,

Ibraahccm rebuked them, and asked them, "Have you no sense?!" meaning,
can an object that cannot even speak be worthy of worship?" Notice that
to a

"How

Ihraaheem was referring


not heard
is

speech that could be heard,


ol

for

Ibraahccm's people did


speaks, but a speech

not answer Ihraaheem with the belief


that
is

the Ask'arees,

"Our god

- an

internal speech of the

mind!"

for they

understood what Ibraaheem

meant!! This
actions,

why

they turned to themselves, and realisetl the foolishness ol their


that everyone

and could only reply with the feeble response

knew

that their

idols could not speak!

The Story ofMoosaa


Likewise,

when

the Children of Israa'eel took the calf that they had built as an

object ol worship, they were

reprimanded

in

the Qur'aan. Allaah says,

Did

hey (those who worshipped the calf) not realise thai


it

il

(die call) could

not respond to them with a (single) word, nor did

have any (lower to harm

or benefit them?.. [20:89] In another verse, Allaah says.

TheQur'aan

-17

And

the people of Moosaa


call thai
it

made

in his

absence, out of their ornaments, the

image of a
realise that

made

sound

(like the

mooing

ol 'a

cowl.

)id they not

could not .<ptii/(ti> them, nor guide them to the (straight) path:

[7:148]

In these
calf,

two

verses, Allaah

reprimanded the Children


a perfect object, unci

ol Israa'eel for

worshipping the
it

since the calf

was not

one

of the clearest indications that


call

was not worthy of worship was


noises,
it

that

it

could not speak! Even though the

made

was not capable

of intelligent speech.

Thcrclorc, these two stories


tributes that

show

that

muteness and incoherent speech are


Yet, the Ask'arees,
in reality

at-

do not

befit the Creator,

and thus the people of Ibraaheem and Moosaa


thinking that they

were rebuked

lor taking

gods that were mute.

were removing all negative attributes from Allaah,


the attributes of these idols,

equated the Creator with

and thus

lell

into the

same

error as the people ol

Moosaa

and Ibraaheem did with regards


Ma'roof
(d.

to the attribute ol speech!

This

2?1 A.H.), one of the scholars of thesalaf, said,


reality

is why Haaroon ibn "Whoever presumes that

Allaah docs not speak, then in

he

is

worshipping
of

idols.""

The Ash arees also claim

that the

kplaam

Allaah

is

not related to His will,

which

implies that Allaah does not speak

when He wishes
is

to.

but rather
(in

He

is

continually

speaking. The fact that Allaah 's Balaam

related to

His Will
in

other words. Allaah

Speaks

when He wishes

to

Speak)

is

clearly

shown

the Qur'aan. Allaah says.

L^~^ {& Jyf 0' ^^ *$ k| fp" ^-"!


-Verily.
-

His

Command, whenever
it

le

intends

thing,

is

only that

He

says.

'Be!

-and

is [37:82|

In this verse, Allaah clearly

Allaah intends a thing.

He

shows that His ftttlaam is related to His Will, forwhenevcr says to it "Be!" which proves that Allaah Speaks when He-

wishes. Likewise, Allaah states,

<oj <u_o3 uJULyJ Zs*y *U-UJ_5


>

Aiul

when Moosaa came


him..... [7:14.?|

to

Our appointed time and

place,

and

his

Lord

spoke with

This verse shows that Allaah spoke


ing point; not before wishes.
it,

to

Moosaa

after

Moosaa

hail arrived to the

meetHe-

nor after

it

- once again proving that Allaah speaks

when

Reported by 'AbduUaah

il<n

Ahmad.

# 209.

4K

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

The Ash 'aree s

also claim that the


parts.

faila

am

ol

Allaah

is all

the

same meaning," and


Qur'aan,
expressions and

cannot be divided into

This principle then leads them

to state that the


in their

Torah and Injcel are


languages.
If this

in essence the

same, and they only differ

were the case


that each
it

in reality,

then the Qur'aan, Torah anil Injeel,


is

when

translated
it

into

one language, should be the same, since their essence

the same. However,

is

well

known

of these three books

differs

from the other greatly.

In addition,

the kcilaam ol Allaah cannot he divided into parts,

and

is

one whole
444

concept, then this raises a problem that the Ash 'area must solve. The following conversation between

one of the scholars ofA/tt us-Sitnna/i, Aboo Nasr


\v\\\

as-Sija/.ee (d.

A.H.) and one of the scholars of the Ash 'aires

prove interesting:"

Aboo Nasr said


Moosaa: Did
lie

to the

Ash 'aire, "What do you say when Allaah spoke to


all

understand

ui the k.alaam of Allaah

(i.e..

il

the

/(<i/aai)i

of

Allaah cannot be

divided into parts,

then did Moosaa hear

all ol

the kfllaam

of Allaah)?"

The Ash 'aree


this

hesitated a

little,

and questioned, "What do you intend by

question?"

Aboo Nasr responded.


meant by
this question.

"Forget what

intend,

and respond
told

to

my

ques-

tion!" but the Ash 'aree refused to respond until

Aboo Nasr

him what he

Aboo Nasr then


to

responded,

"What
single

intend

is

as follows: If you respond


ol

my question by stating that Moosaa understood all ol the h'lhitim


this implies

Allaah.

then

dun there

is

not

/{</A/i//;/

ol

Allaah except that Moosaa


this

comprehended
dial

it.

and

this

is

blasphemy and disbelief (for


.ill

would imply
do

Moosaa had

be< n give n

ol the

know

ledge ol Allaah)... bin n you

not say this, then you are forced to state that

Allaah made Moosaa compre-

hend some

part ol

His halaain, and by

this

statement you have caused yourto

self to fall into

the

same thing

that

you pretend

run away from, and that


also claimed that
a disbeliever, yet

is

the belief that Allaah's kalaam can be divided,

tbu

one
you

who

says that the l{alaum of Allaah


il

can he divided

is

have been forced to say


victor over you, since

yourself. Therefore, your


in

opponent

will

be the

he believed

what was
I

stated in the

Qur'aan and
but you
re-

Sunnah, (which came) from Allaah and


fused to submit to them,
to

lis

Messenger
that
it

(i^g),

and instead claimed

was obligatory

to turn

your intellect (to understand these concepts). \ct. your intellect has forced
to agree

you

with the revelation


in the process

(in that the ha/uuin

of Allaah can he divided


"

into parts),

and

you have humiliated yourscll 1

94

[t should

I".-

pointed out that thtAsh'aree scholars themselves have differed with regards in

this point.

Some of them
itsell is

claim that the l(alaam of Allaah can be divided into

commands,
lliis.

prohibitions, and facts, others


in

gave dillerent classification, but the majority did not agree with

This difference of opinion

and of

an indication ol the people

ol

innovation.

The

scholars ol die .[III as-Sunmill do not disagree

amongst

themselves in primary matters

ol 'aqecdah. p. 537,

95

Reported in Dur Ta'aarud al-'Aql ten un-Siiql, 2/90. Taken from Noor,

with some changes.

The Qur'aan
ThcAsh'aree responded, "This requires some rime
left

49

for

me to think," and

the conversation.
it

In other words,
parts,

the kalaam of Allaah

is

one essence,

anil

cannot be divided into

when Allaah spoke to Moosaa, did Moosaa bear all ol thc^alaam ofAllaah? It so, then this implies that Moosaa gained all the know ledge ol Allaah, and this is not possible. However, it this is not so, then this implies that Moosaa understood a part of
then
the
l{d

laam

ol

Allaah. which

is

what the Ahl as-Sunnah


is

believe.

The

final

point that will be discussed

in tact the

most dangerous consequence of


not in any lan-

the belie!

of the Ash 'arees. Since the Ash'arees claimed that Allaah did not actually

speak the

Quraan with

a voice that

is

heard, anil that His kalaam


letters,

is

guage, anil not composed ot words anil


questions, including:

they then had to answer a


is

number of

"Where did
is

the Qur'aan that

present amongst us originate

from?

And

what, then,

the Arabic Qur'aan. with

its

words

anil letters?"

In other words, since the Ash 'cures claimed that AWaah's kalaam could not be heard,

then where did the Qur'aan

come from? And who was


is
is

the

first to recite it?

And

if,

as
it

the Ash 'a rees claim, the Balaam ot Allaah

not in any language, and neither

is

composed of words and


in

letters,

then what

the relationship of the Qur'aan,

which

is

Arabic anil composed ot words and

letters,

with the Balaam


to

o!

Allaah?
is

Concerning

this point, the Ash'arees


it is

were forced

admit that the Qur'aan

not

the actual Balaam of Allaah (since

in Arabic,

and composed of words and


the .TV;
differed

letters),

but instead an 'expression' (Ar. 'hikaayah\ or "ihaarah') of the kalaam of Allaah. As to

who

(or

what) was the

first

to actually "express"

it,

'aires

amongst themol

selves into a

number of opinions, all of which


Qur'aan was
first

are equally

blasphemous! Most
(in

them
in the
stateil

stated that the

created in the

Lauh al-Mahfoodh

other words, the

Arabic words of the Qur'aan did not exist until they were created by Allaah

Lauh al-Mahfoodh) thus


.

explicitly

claiming that the

Quraan was created; others


[ibreel

that Allaah
first

made

Jibrcel
it,

understand the meaning of the Qur'aan, and

was the

to verbalize

thus making the Qur'aan the speech of Jibrcel; yet others staled
in

that the

Qur'aan was inspired

meaning and

first

spoken by the Prophet (^g). thus


(^g).
is

making the Qur'aan the speech of the Prophet

Muhammad
This
is

In other words, the Ash'arees were torceil to admit that the Arabic Qur'aan the actual l{alaaw of Allaah.
differentiated

not

and

that

it is

created.

due

to the fact that they


is

between what they called an 'internal kalaam' of Allaah, which

with-

out language, sounil anil words, anil between the actual Qur'aan.
reciteil anil

which

is

in Arabic,

heard, and
is

composed of words. This


ol

"internal kalaam' ol Allaah. accordit

ing to them,
'internal
I

not created, but the Qur'aan. since

is

only an 'expression* ol the

kalaam\ and not the actual kalaam

Allaah, must be created.


that the

bus. the Ash'arees explicitly state


this

and believe

Quraan

is

created, even

though they then follow up


is

statement with the phrase,


scholars.

"...but

the kalaam of Allaah


(d.

not."

As one of their most famous

Ibraaheem al-Haajooree

1277 A. H.),
is

wrote,

"The

belief of the Ahl

as-Suwiah (intending the

belief of the Ash'arees)

that

the Qur'aan.

meaning the

internal

kalaam

(ot Allaah)

is

not created, but the Qur'aan,

50

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

meaning the one

that

we

recite, is created."'"'
'aires

Therefore, in essence, the Ash


that the
It

agreed with the Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah

Qur'aan

is

created.

must be asked:

When

all of

the scholars of the saluf vehemently spoke against

those

who

believed that the Qur'aan


to this

was created, and even accused them


well

ot disbelief

were they referring

concept

ol 'internal /(cilaam' that


is

the Ash 'arees invented, or

where they

referring to the

Qur'aan that

known

to all

Muslims? And when

Imaam

al-Laalikaa'ee (d. 418 A.H.) quoted over five-hundred scholars of the saluf

stating that the

Qur'aan

is

the Balaam of Allaah, and not created, did any of these

scholars differentiate between this 'internal \alaam' and the actual Qur'aan,
that the

and

state

Qur'aan

is

only an 'expression' of this 'internal /<a/aam'?

none ol the sa/aj preached or believed the doctrines that theAsh'arees invented, and none of them ditlercntiated between an 'internal Balaam ol Allaah' and the Qur'aan. What the salaf were referring 10 when they said that the
very clear:

The answer is

Qur'aan

is

the \alaam ol Allaah, anil that the Qur'aan

is

not created,

is

the actual not

Qur'aan, and not an imaginary and invented 'internal /(a/aam'. even a single scholar (before

None of them,
it

Aboo al-Hasan al-Ash'arec and


all

his teacher

Ibn Kullaab),

mentioned
Allaah, and

this

concept

ol

an 'internal' Balaam, and differentiated between

and the

actual Qur'aan!
is

The salaf are

quoted as saying, "The Qur'aan

is

the Balaam ol

not created." yet the. \sh 'arecs state.


is

"The Qur'aan

is

only an expression

of the kfllaam of Allaah. and

created"!!

.\rc these

two examples

tin-

same? Alhamdulillaah; bin most of them do

not know!.. |39:29l

In fact,
beliefs

some

ot the early scholars during the time of the:m /^/explicitly refuted the
(d.

of the Ash 'aires. Ahmad ibn Seenan al-Waasitce


(d.

256 A.H. ), one of the teachers


(d.

of

Imaam al-Bukhaarec

256 A.H.) and Imaam Muslim

261 A.H.), said in

refutation ol the belief of Ibn Kullaab (which

was
is

later

taken by
(i.e.,

Aboo al-Hasan

al-

Ash'aree),

"Whoever presumes
ol that

that the

Qur'aan
it is is

two things

an 'internal' /{alaain

ami an expression

Balaam), or that

only an 'expression' (of the fyalaam of

Allaah), then by Allaah, besides

whom there no other god, he is a heretic (zindceq) who wishes to destroy Islaam. He is a disbeliever in Allaah. This Qur'aan is the Qur'aan
that Allaah revealed through (ibreel to the Prophet (S^,)..."" r

Abbaas
ol

Ahmad

ibn

'Umar

ibn Surayj (d. 303 A.H.),

The scholar Aboo alwhom Imaam adh-Dhahabi


and because of whom the

called the 'Renovator' (inujaddid) ot the fourth century,""


Jicjli

Imaam

as-Shaali'ee

(d.

204 A.H.) was popularised, wrote.

%
97 98

Reported in Kifaayal al-'Awaam,

p. 11)4.

Taken from

|uday', p.
I

WH. Al-Baajoorcc was perhaps the

most famous scholar of the. Uli'mcn

ilnrinj; the last century.

If

has an extremely popular explanation to

mejawharah

(the basic text

book ol

theAs/i'aree faith), entitled, Ttthfatal-Murecdalaa Jawhurat at-Tawkeed.

luclay'. p. 436.

adh-Dhahabi, Siyar, 14/201.

TheQuraan
Ami
it

51

has been affirmed ami agreed by

all

die people of this religion, of


past,

die siinnah

and jamaa 'ah. from the salaf that

from the Companions,


to this

and the Successors, and the famous and


of ours, that
all

right!)

guided scholars

time
the

the verses pertaining to the Attributes ol Allaali.


(-gg)

and

authentic narrations coming Irom the Prophet


Attributesthat
it

concerning the

is

mandatory

to believe in

them,

in

each and every one ol

them,

just as

they came, and to leave the actuality of

them

to AW.iAi... land

he mentioned some Attributes,

many of which
in

the Ash'arees deny,

and then

said:) ...and to affirm the kfllaam (of Allaali).

with

letters,

and with sound,


all

and

in different languages,
it.

and
it.

words, and

soorahs....

and

of this, we

accept

and do not

reject

nor do

we

interpret

them with

the interpretaol

tions ol the other (groups), or with the

anthropomorphism

the
it

anthropomorphisms... Rather,
as tin Prophet

we
it.

say

what

Allaali has said,

and interpret

(^)
t

interpreted
lie >,(/<//.
.

and the Companions, and the Successors,

and

the scholars ol

those

1 1

>

are well

known

lor I heir religion

and

character.

And we

agree upon thai which they agreed upon, ami do not talk
(i.e..

with w hat they did not talk about

we do

not give interpretations that


ol the

were not given by them), but rather we accept the apparent meanings
narrations (of the hadeelh) and the verses (of the Qur'aan).

And we do

not

give for these verses the interpretations ol the A /// tazilah, or the Ash a tees, or the

Jahmiyyah, or the disbelievers, or the mit/iropoinorphists... hut


it

Uhese Attributes), all without any re-interpretation

ent

meanings ol
state.

it),

and believe in

rather, we accept wc accept the apparit without comparing 1 hem to the (.real ion).
(i.e..
1

And we
them
is

'The belief in these (Attributes)


'

is

obligatory,

and
it

to

speak
the

ol

from ihc sunnah. but


is

to try to re-interpret Ua'weel)


1

(i.e.,

way

these groups have done)

an innovation

In addition, the beliefs ol the Ash'arees arc very similar to the beliefs ol the

Lafdhiyyah (mentioned above),


is

who believed

that a person's recitation of the

Qur'aan

created. Since the Ash'arees believe that the actual text

automatically implies that they believe that


ated, tor the recitation,
(d.

of the Qur'aan is created, this the recitation ol the Qur'aan is also creis

according to the Ash'arees,

ol a created text!

Imaam Ahmad

241 A.H.) stated,

"The Lafdhiyyah

Sarvvaan), lor they believe thai librccl

' n another narration, SB))* concerning those who say, 'Our recitation ol the Qur'aan

Jahm (ibn came with something created (to the Prophet Imaam Ahmad was asked, "What is vour opinion
are in reality encircling the belief ol
is

created":

Imaam Ahmad
this,

replied.

"These people are worse than the Jahmiyyah. Whoever believes

then he

believes that [ibreel

came with something


1

created,

something created!"

"

It

should be noted that die belief that

and the Prophet (^g) preached [ibreel came with somecreated,


is is

thing created, and the belie! that the Prophet


exactly the belief ol the

(^) preached something


Arabic Qur'aan

Ash 'arces.

tor they believe that the

created.

99
inn
101

May',
.i.lh -I

p.

4 i8.
I'M.

adh-Dhahabi.u/-Wuw,p.
)hiihabi.<//-f

'/.

p.

212.

52

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Conclusion

The

Attributes of Allaah as

mentioned

in the

Qur'aan and Sunnah arc absolutely


the case of the Attribute of Balaam,
in different languages, anil

Unique. These Attributes are understood


that Allaah Speaks, whenever
this

literally (in

He

wishes, with a sound,


letters,

Speech

is

composed

of

words and

and

is

not created), but the actuality and

'how-ncss' of these Attributes are not delved into, and any negative similarity be-

tween these Attributes and the attributes of the creation arc negated
this Attribute, that the

(in the case

of
is

speech ot the creation

is

created, but the

Speech of Allaah

Understanding these Attributes 'literally' does not mean understanding them in manner that they are found in the creation, or comparing them with the attributes of the creation; rather, it means affirming the linguistic meaning of that Attribute in a manner that befits the Creator, anil will never completely be understood by mankind.
not).

the

The

beliefs anil deviations of the

Ash 'arees are

all

based upon their anthropomor-

phic understanding of the Attributes of Allaah. If they had only understood that the
Attributes of Allaah cannot be

compared
remove

to the attributes

of the creation, nor are they


to try to

based upon the attributes of the creation, they would not have had to resort
'rationalise' these Attributes to
this

supposed anthropomorphism from them.

The Ash 'arees


they ended

also failed to realise that, in their over-zcalousness to

remove

this

im-

aginary anthropomorphism that they believed existed in the Qur'aan and Sunnah,

up comparing Allaah's Attributes with the


are an

attributes of inanimate objects.

The Ash 'arees


methodology
is

example

of

how

deviation occurs

when

the proper Islaamic

not followed; they wished to refute the beliefs of the Mu'tazilah anil

the Jahiniyyah, and affirm the Attributes ot Allaah, but since they were so influenced

by the principles of Greek logic and rationalism, they ended up agreeing with the
beliefs of the

same groups

that they sought to refute,

and

stated that the

Qur'aan

is

created.

In conclusion, the scholar of the Sunnah,

Imaam Muhammad

ibn al-Hasan

al-

Aajurree

(d.

360 A.H.) stated:


Therefore
it

is

essential that Muslim;, liar Allaah. anil teach each other


it.

the Qur'aan... anil not argue over


/(ti/uiwi ol
is

And

they should

know

that

it

is

the
"It

Allaah. not created. So

it

a /u/mice

argues with them, and says,

created!" or says,

"The Qur'aan

is

the Balaam of Allaah!" anil stops at that

(i.e.,

a Waaqifee), or says, says,

"My
an

recitation ol the
is

Qur'aan

is

created!"
is

(i.e..

Im/Mcc), or

"The Quraan
(i.e.,

only an 'expression' ot what

in the

Lank al-MakfoodhV
a person
is

Ash'aree), then the ruling with regards to such


to,

that

he he

left,

and not talked

nor prayed behind, hut rather

warned

against.

And upon

you, () Muslim, are the narrations from the Prophet


alter

(:gg).

and the narrations from the Companions


Muslims.

him, may Allaah he pleased


ol

with them, and the statements ot the Successors, and the scholars

the

And

leave debating (about the religion by using your intellect),


is

and

useless

argumentation, and contention! And whoever

upon

this path.

ThcQuraan
then
I

53

hope

lor

him

all

good from

Allaah...'

102 ash-Sharcc'ah.

v.

1, p.

259.
it

Concerning saying one's prayer behind an Ash'arec,

it

is

best to avoid

praying behind them. However,


repeated. Notice

one

is

lorced to pray behind them, the prayer

is still

valid anil

need not be

how al-Aajurrec equated

the beliefs of the Ash'arees with the beliefs of the /ahmiyya/i,

ami

considered
It

it

to

be one of the sects of ihe /ahmlyya/i'.'.

should be pointed out thai some of the Ash'arees claim that the aqcedah of
in this section) is

AM as-Sunnah wa al(d.

Jamaa'ah (part of which was elaborated

an invention
ol

of Ibn

Taymiyyah

728 A.H.).

They claim
ings that the

that the

first

person to claim that the Attributes


anil therefore

Allaah are to be taken

in their literary

mean-

was lbn Taymiyyah,


Qur'aan
is

he was the

lirst

to

claim that the l(alaam of Allaah can be heard, and

the actual Ifahuim ol Allaah. In order to refute this view, this author purposely avoided
ol

quoting even one statement

Ibn Taymiyyah throughout the

last

three sections. This

was done

to prove-

that the right lo formulate 'aqeedah

docs not belong to Ibn Taymiyyah, but rather to Allaah and to His of the Companions, Successors, and the scholars of Ail
as-

Messenger

ISS). In addition, the belief of all

Sunnah

after

them was one, and


quoted above

that

is

the belief that

was elaborated upon and defended above. Every


the Ash'arees,

single scholar

lived centuries before Ibn


it

Taymiyyah, therefore how could Ibn Taymiyyah be


ol

"Can you name even one As for us, we have quoted the Qur'aan, and the Sunnah, and the statements of the Companions and Successors, and the scholars ol the first generations, the likes ol Imaani Ahmad, Aboo Hanecfah, as-Shaali'ce, Maalik, althe
first

to propagate these views? Instead,

must be asked

person before

Aboo al-Hasan

al-Ash'aree, anil Ibn Kullaab.

who held

the views that you hold?

Bukhaaree, and ad-Daarimee to defend our


Kullaab. and the innovator

beliefs.

Who

is

there, before al-Ash'aree,

and

his teacher Ibn


il

Jahm

ibn Sarwaan,

who

held the beliefs that you hold?" Hut

they cannot

respond to you - and of a surety they cannot respond to you

then

know

that they are a people


it

who

have

turned away from accepting the Qur'aan and Sunnah, unless and until
desires!

agrees with their intellect and

Another manner by which they seek


scholars throughout Islaamic history

to

confuse the people

is

by quoting famous and well-known


to a certain degree

who were Ash'arees or influenced


(d.

by the beliefs of

the Ash arees. So. for example, they quote the likes of al-Baaqillaancc (d, 4(13 A.M.). al-Qurtubee (d. 671

A.H.).

an-Nawawcc

(d. (d.

676 A.H.). Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani


974 A.H.) and

852 A.M.). as-Suyootcc

(d. 91

A.H.). Ibn
all

Hajr al-Haythamee

many more

respected and loved scholars, and claim, "If

of these
of

scholars are misguided Ash'arces. then

who
all

are the

Ahl as-Sunnah}'" This may be


mentioned
lived after the

refuted in a
first

number

ways.

Firstly,

it

is

very clearly noticed that

the scholars

three generations of

thehijrah,
tions!

and these are the generations

(hat the Prophet (5^,) himsell stated

would he

the best ol all generasalaft\r.\t

The Ash'arees cannot quote even one

reputable scholar from the time of the actual

was on

their beliefs, for the

simple reason that there were none. The Ash 'aree beliefs were founded and propagated

during the fourth century of the hijrah, and became increasingly popular after that.
the Prophet
of
(3SS) to

We arc commanded by
as pari

take from the

first

three generations of Islaam,

and we consider following them


alter this lime,

our religion of Islaam. As

lor the generations

and scholars

that
is

come

then

we

look

at

them
not

individually,

and what

is

good

Iron)

them we
at

lake,

and what

incorrect

we do

not take. Secondly,

we do

agree that

all ol

these scholars

were pure Ash'arees.

The

likes of al-Baaqillaani

and Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaani

were influenced by the Ash'arees. but


fact,

the same time agreed with the Ahl as-Sunnah

on some

points (in

as-Suyootcc even
it

criticises the belief that islawaa

means 'to conquer'


and say
that,

{islawlaa) in his al-llqaan). There-

fore

is

not accurate to describe


fields,

them

as being pure Ash'arces. Thirdly, these scholars were great scholars in

their

own
in,

but

we excuse

their mistakes in 'ai/eedah,

due

to the

environment that they

were

they were not exposed to the proper 'aqeedah and therefore followed the 'aqeedah ol their scholars

anil teachers,

which happened

to be the Ash'arec 'aqcedah. in those matters in

Wc consider them

as our scholars,

and
,

love

and

respect them, but

do not take from them


to us than those

which they disagreed with thesalaf

for thesalaf

are

more beloved

who came

after

them. Fourthly, these names that you quote may be


that

responded to by quoting other names; names

ol

famous scholars
all

were on the correct 'aqeedah during

the limes of these scholars. In other words, not

the scholars of later generations were Ash'arces, for the

scholars of the correct 'aqcedah have always existed

and

will
(d.

always

exist.

The

likes ol

Ibn 'Abd al-Barr


(d.

(d.

463 A.M.). al-Baghawee (d. 510 A.H.), Ibn

Qudaamah

610 A.H.), Ibn Taymiyyah


(d.

728 A.H.), adh-

Dhahahee

(d.

748 A.H.), Ibn al-Qayyim

(d.

758 A.H.), Ibn Kathccr

774 A.H.) and other scholars before

them, during their time, and after them,


tions are not the criterion; the Ash'arces

may be quoted. The point is that all these scholars of later generamay quote famous names, and the Ahl as-Sunnah may quote famous
ol tin sa/al,

names. Rather, the true criterion are the actual scholars

and those

that lollow their aucedah.

and

54

An

Introduction to the Sciences

<>l

the

Qur'aan

iv.

The Names of the Qur'aan


The Qur'aan
1

lias referred to itsell

by

number oi names,
is

including:
it

The

Qur'aan (Recitation): This


it

should be no surprise that

is

by

this

name name

mentioned seventy-three times; thus

that the

Book

ol

Allaah

is

best

known.

In

one

verse, Allaah says,

Say:

"II all

ol

mankind andjinn were


17:S8|

to gather together to

produce someit

thing similar to this Qur'aan, they would not be able to produce


they helped one another'"
1

- even

if

2)

The
all

Kilcuib (Book):
is

This name has been mentioned seventy-seven times


that Allaah sent

in the

Qur'aan. This
taining

the

Book

down upon His

linal

Prophet

(5|g),

con-

the guidance that they need.

"A I if Laam Mean. This


the pious- |2:I-2|

is

die Book, there

is

no doubt

in

it,

guidance

lor

The names

"Qur'aan' and 'Kitauli are complementary to one another, since the


is

'Qur'aan' denotes that which


signifies the preservation

recited

ami preserved

in the hearts,

whereas the 'Kiliiub'

by writing.

The Qur'aan, therefore,

has been preserved both

by memorisation and by writing.""

The Furqaan (Criterion): Allaah has used this name four times in relerencc to the Qur'aan. The Qur'aan is the Criterion between taivheed and truth and false3)
jt/j ///<,

hood, and good and

evil.

Allaah says.

I51esscd be

He Who seni down (Muhammad (=^)) so that he may


Dhil{r

the Criterion {Furqaan) to

lis

Slave

be a Warner lo mankind" |2S:1


titty- live

4)

The

(Remembrance, or Narrative): This name occurs


'Dhil{r
signifies that the
it

times in

the Qur'aan.

The

Qur'aan

is

Guidance and
says.

Remem-

brance

ol the

purpose

ot lite, as

describes the purpose ol creation, the history of the

past nations,

and the descriptions of Heaven and Hell. Allaah


^ii^ljOiS^JS.AilJ

103

Gf.Daraz,p. 12-13.

The Qur'aan
..And verily this (Qur'aan)
[43-33]
is

55

Reminder

{Dliily) for

you and your people

5)

The

Tanzccl (Revelation): This

name, along with


a

all

of

its

derivatives,

is

used to
'nazala'

describe the Qur'aan in over one


signifies the descent ol

hundred and

forty verses. to a

The

root
1

word

an object from

higher place

lower place.

'"

The Qur'aan,
($|g).

therefore,

is a

Revelation that was sent

down from

Allaah to the Prophet

As

Allaah says,

And

it

is

indeed a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds- [26:192]


in that
it

This name shows the unique status of the Qur'aan


be
is

is

from Allaah,
all

all

Glory

to

Him. This name


"sent

is

also

one

of the

many

proofs that Allaah.

Glory be

to

Him.
is

above His creation, and not everywhere, as some innovated

sects claim, as

He

the

one

who

down' the Qur'aan.


taken

There are

many other descriptions of the Qur'aan which some scholars have


it is

as 'names', but

more appropriate

to say that they describe the Qur'aan,


lists

and are

not 'names' as such.

Imaam az-Zarkashee

over

fifty

'names' of the Qur'aan in the

Qur'aan, but, as mentioned


ture.
105

earlier, these are

more

descriptive then appellative in na-

v.

The Qur'aan

as

it

Describes

Itself

The best and most authentic way


it

to describe the

Qur'aan would be to quote what


the Qur'aan arc too

has to say concerning


to

itself.

The number of verses that deal with

numerous

mention

here,""' therefore

only some of them will be quoted.

The believers

are told to rejoice in the revelation that Allaah has sent

down.

< -*" "^ \< .' < "*

-*

- r->

at,'

'*"
them

*f

'.< "$

Say: 'In the

Bounty ol Allaah and His Mercy,

let

rejoice." this is better

than

all

the (wealth) they can amass |1():58|

The 'Bounty' and 'Mercy' referred to in this verse have been ars of tafseer to mean Islaam and the Qur'aan.

interpreted by the schol-

Some

of the verses that describe the

Qur'aan are as follows:

1114

This word

is

used lor three different meanings


is

in the

Qur'aan:

i)

the descent from Allaah to the


as. "...and

Prophet (SB)- -"id this

specific to the

Qur'aan.

ii)

the descent from die skies to the earth, such


( I

We

have caused the rain to descend trom the

sky..."

^:22).

iii)

the descent of Allaah's mercy


cf.

and
p.

blessings,

such as "...and
105
|l)(i
1 1.

He

sent

down
v. I,

tranquillity

upon them

(the believers)..." (4X:1S).


in the

Damishqi.

M.

az-Zarkashee,

p.

274-76.

Some of these- 'names' are quoted


names
[?],

next section.

For one

ol die best

discussions of the

,\nd descriptions ol the Qur'aan. see Iiulaihi, Saalih ibn

lbraaheem: Al-lltidn aui al-Bayail Jl Asmaa al-Qliraail,

1977,

where he

lists

and discusses over eighty

names ami descriptions

in his

book.

56

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

()
I

mankind!

Verily, there

has

come

to you a convincing proof from your

.mil. anil

We

have sent down to you a Manifest Light- [4:174|

,j^AjJh.AJ~jj i^AAjJJ jjial JjtJ *liij ^-JJ i>i


I

()

mankind! There has come

to

you a good advice from your Lord, and


-

healing for the (sicknesses) ol the heart


believers* |10:57|

guidance and mercy for the

All Praise

and Thanks he

to Allaah,
it

Who

Lias sent

down

to

His

slave tin-

Book, and has not placed


it)

in

any crookedness (falsehood). (He has made

Straight to give

warning

ol a severe

punishment from

lim,

and

to give-

glad tidings to the believers..." |18:1-2|

.And

We send down
who
belicve
[ 1

in the

Qur'aan that which

is

a healing

and

mercy

to

those

7:82]

Allaah has sent

down

the best of statements, a Book,

its

parts resembling

each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated* [39:23]

Verily,

We

have sent

down

to
it

you the Book for mankind

in truth.

So who-

ever accepts this guidance,


strays only lor his

is

only for himself, anil whoever goes astray, he

own

loss

39:41

And

this

is

the Blessed
it?

Reminder which

Wc

have sent down: will you then

(dare to)

deny

[21:50]

The Quraan

57

And thus We have

sent

down

to

you an Inspiration from

)tir (

Command.
but

You did not know what the Book (Qur'aan) was. nor

faith (eetnaan),

We

made

it

a light

by which
^*" * -

We

(itiide those

whom We
I'll

will" [42:52]

''"\fs"'

.-'-*'

"i','
mankind, and
1-45:2111

This (Qur'aan)

is

a clear insight

and evidence

for

guid-

ance and a mercy

tor

people

who

have certain laith-

vi.

The Sunnah

as

it

Describes the Qur'aan


1

you are those

The importance ol the Qur'aan is so great that the Prophet (^) said, "The best of who learn the Qur'aan ami teach to others." " Although this hadeeth is
7 it

most often used


Qur'aan, there
is

in the context ol

teaching the recitation and memorisation ol the


all
it

no reason not

to

extend the meaning ol this hadeeth to include


of

the
that

sciences ol the Qur'aan. Alter


recitation
is

all,

what good

is

the recitation ol the Qur'aan

not

accompanied by understanding and action?

Again, as with the

number of verses about


Qur'aan and

the Qur'aan, there exist

numerous hadeeth
(d. 3113

about the merits


cifically

ol the

its reciter.

There are many

treatises written spe-

on

this topic,

such as the famous one by

Imaam an-Nasaa'ee
interpreter, Ibn
8

A.H.)
(d.

entitled 'Fadaa'il al-Om'aan',

and one by the famous

Katheer

778

A.H.), with the same

title.

Some

of these hadeeth are as follows:'"

The Status of the Qur'aan


Jubayr reported that the Prophet
part of it
is

(i^g) said,

"Rejoice! For verily, this Qur'aan


is

- one

in the

Hands of Allaah, and

the other part

in

your hands. Therefore hold


it!"

on

to

it,

for

you

will

never be destroyed, not will you ever go astray alter

(Musnad

Ahmad).

'Umar
people
by
it"

reported that the Prophet


in this world

(<yg) said,

"Indeed, Allaah will raise (or honour)


this

(i.e.,

and the Hereafter) by

Book, anil

He

will

debase others

(Muslim).
al-Ash'aree stated that the Prophet
lor you, or against
($^,) said,

Aboo Maalik

"The Qur'aan

is

either

an evidence (or proof)

you." (Muslim).

Anas reported

that the Prophet (3g) said, "Verily, Allaah has chosen people
ol the

amongst

mankind. The People

Qur'aan they are the People ol Allaah, and His Chosen

107 Reported In al-ISukliaaree. IDS All of these ahadeelh have been taken from

Muhammad
l'S8.

Naasir al-I)cen al-Albaanee's Sahech


aregraded.<</Aee/r by him.

al-

]ami' at-Sagheer u>a Ziyadah, Maktab al-Islaami, Iieirut.

and

58

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

ones" (an-X'asaa'cc). The "People


it.

ol

the Qur'aan' are those

who know

it

and practice

"The Qur'aan is an intercessor, and an intercession that is accepted, and a nuiti/ii/,"" and a credible (book). Whoever puts it ahead of him. it will lead him to Paradise, and whoever throws behind him,
Ibn Mas'ood reported that the Prophet

(^)

said,

it

it

will

drag him into Hell" (at-Tabaraanee).


ibn Sam'aan reporteil that the Prophet

Nawwaas

(^)

said, "Allaah

has

set forth

the following as a parable:

There
is

is

road which

leads straight to the destination.

On

either side of the road there

a wall in

which there are open doors with curtains


a voice calls, to
lift

hanging on them. From the remote end of the road,


and don't turn
another voice
lli

"Proceed straight

to

any

side!'

Whenever someone intends


lift

a curtain

from the door,


be-

calls

from above: "Beware! Don't


(j^g)

the curtain, otherwise you will


is

red inside.'

(The Prophet

explained:) The straight path

Islaam: the walls arc

the limits (luidood) ofAllaah (which he has placed

on

actions); the

open doors

are the
is

things that

He

has prohibited: the voice which calls from the end of the road
calls

the

Qur'aan, and the voice which


every believer" (at-Tirmidhee).
Ibn

from above

is

Allaah's monitor in the heart of

'Amr reported
is

that the

Prophet

(5^g) said.

"The Hook

of

Allaah

Allaah which

dangling from the Heavens

down
is

to the earth"

is the Rope ol (Musnad Ahmad).

There
scription
(:Sfj).

is

a narration in

at-Tirmidhee which
it

a very eloquent

and beautiful dea

of the Qur'aan; however,

is

not an authentic statement of the Prophet


likely,
it

as has

been pointed out by at-Tirmidhee himself"" Most


1

is

statement

ol "Alee ibn Alice Taalib, "

and

is

as follows:

"The Book of Allaah it

it

has the tidings


it is

of those before you,

and the news

of those after you;


lightly.

is

the Judge between you;


it

the Criterion;

it

cannot be taken

Whoever abandons

due
it

to

arrogance

will

be destroyed by Allaah, and whoever seeks guidance by other than


Allaah.
It is
It is

will be misled

by

Allaah's strong rope;

it is

the

Wise Remembrance;
themselves of
it

it is

the Straight Path.


it.

not strayed by (one's) desires, nor are the tongues confused by


satisfy'
it.

Its

wonders
it

never cease, and the scholars never

Whoever speaks with

has spoken the truth; whoever works

upon

will
it

be rewarded; whoever judges acbe guided to the Straight Path."

cording

to

it

will be just;

and whoever

calls to

will

Ti

ik

Rewards for those who Recitk and Practick


al-Ash'aree reported that the Prophet

ti

ii.

Qi

k'aan

Aboo Moosaa
glory to Allaah
is

(Sg) said,

"Part of showing

to

show

respect to a white-haired
in
it

Muslim, and

a carrier of the
it

Qur'aan
leave
it),

who
and

does not exaggerate


a just ruler"

(i.e.,

overstep

its

bounds) nor ignore

(i.e.,

(Aboo Daawood).

109

kmaahil
\.

is

one

who is

persistent in his intercession,

and goes

to all

extremes to save

person, d. an-

Nihaayah,
11"
1 1 1
.

4, p. 303. p.

i.

Daeefat-Ttrmidhee,

349
it

See al-Albaanee's comments on

in

Slmrh

.-U/cediili <ii-~]}ilhuiu>iyyah. p.

71

The Qur'aan
'Aa'ishali reported that the

59

Prophet

(Jgg) said,

"The person who


(i.e..

reads the Qur'aan

lluentlv

is

with the honourable and obedient scribes


difficulty,

the angels), and he

who

reads

it

with

(even) he shall get (at least) a double reward" (Aboo

Daawood).
Allaah

Ibn Mas'ood reported that the Prophet (-^) said,

"Whoever wishes

to love

and His Messenger,


Ibn

let

him

read the

mus-haf
(?&;)

(Ibn

Nu'aym
is

in his

Hilyd).
to

'Amr reported
it

that the Prophet


first is

said,

"There

no cause

be envious

except in two cases: (the

of a) person
anil

whom Allaah

has taught the Qur'aan, and

he recites
to

in the
I

day and night,

one

o! his neighbours hears


I

me!

wish

had been given what he has been given, then


is

him and says, 'Woe would do what he is


he-

doing!'

(The second
it

ot a) a

person

whom
1

Allaah has blessed with wealth, anil


I

spends

in

good causes, so

person (who sees him) says. 'Woe to me!

wish

had

been given what he has been given, then

would do what he
<-ge,)

is

doing!'" (al-Bukhaarcc)
will be

Aboo lurayrah
I

reported that the Prophet


it

said,

"The Qur'aan
ol

brought
read
will

on the Day
then

ol

Judgement, and
it)!'

will say,

'O

My
a

Lord! Adorn him (the one

who
It

and practised
say,

So he

will be

adorned with
this!'

crown

glory and honour.

'O

My

Lord! Increase
it

So he

will be clothed with the clothes

of glory
will

and honour. Then

will say,
It

'O

My Lord!

be pleased with him.


bless

will

be

said,

Ik pleased with Him!' So He (Allaah) 'Recite! And rise!" and every verse he recites

will

him with

good deed" (at-Tirmidhee).


that the

Ibn
the

'Amr reported
one

Prophet

(igg) said, "It will

be said to the

companion of
recites,
(i.e.,

Qur'aan alter he has entered Paradise,


will rise
level (in Paradise), until

'Recite,

and

rise!"

For every verse he


with him

he

he

recites the last verse

in his

memory)." (Aboo Daawood).


Ibn Mas'ood reported that the Prophet ($g) said, "Recite the Qur'aan, for verily

you will be rewarded for

it.

am

not saying that


l.auiii

A /if- 1 Miim-Meem

will

count as a

word, but rather that Alij has ten (rewards),


ten (rewards), so this
'Ismail ibn
is

has ten (rewards), anil

Mean

has

thirty (rewards)."

(Khateeb al-Baghilaadce).
(-^g) said,

Maalik reported that the Prophet


a

"If the Qur'aan

is

enclosed

by skin
it

(i.e.,

il

person memorises the entire Qur'aan)."' then Allaah will never burn

in the Fire (of Hell)" (al-Bayhaqee).

Aboo Hurayrah
gather together dering over
it,

reported that the Prophet (^g) said. "Never


reciting the

in

one of the houses of Allaah.

do a group of people book of Allaah and pon-

except that peace descends

and the angels encircle

upon them, and mercy surrounds them, them, and Allaah remembers them in His gathering" (Aboo

Daawood).

12

This is one ofthe two interpretations


v.

thai classical scholars

have given to

this hadceth (ctan-Nifiaaya/i;

Majma' Bi/war al-Anwaar,


tion ol the hadcelh
I

I,

p. 136). This
is .mi

author also asked a


acceptable

.mil they Stated thai this interpretation


is

number ofscholars concerning this hadceth. understanding of ilic/wi/cc//;. The other interpretaduring the lifetime ol the Prophcl
I

that
a lire,

il

the mus-lni)

was wrapped
ol these

in a leather skin
is

>-T.

then thrown in
is

il

would

not he burnt, so ihc hadcelh


il

an indication ofoneol he miracles oil Ik


this hadcelh,

Qur'aan. There

no contradiction

both

meanings are understood from

and Allaah

knows

best.

60

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

Aboo Moosaa
recites the

al-Asha'arce reported that the Prophet


is

(^)

said,

"The
its

believer

who

Qur'aan

like a citrus fruit

its

fragrance

is

pleasing and

laste is sweet.

who does not recite the Qur'aan is like a dry date - it has no fragrance but its taste is sweet. The hypocrite who recites the Qur'aan is like a basil - its fragrance is sweet, but its taste is bitter. The hypocrite who does not recite the Qur'aan is
The believer
like a

colocynth

it

has no smell, and

its

laste

is

bitter"

(Muslim).

C H A

E R

Inspiration

- al-Wahy

I.

The Concept
ol

of Wahy
and messengers, and inspiring them with His message,
oi s/iir/{ to

Since the creation of mankind, Allaah has communicated with them by choosing

some

them

as prophets

to

guide mankind from the darkness


rality ol their desires to

the light of Islaam, and from the

the purity ol worship. Allaah said

immowhen He sent Aadam down

to Earth,

...then

whenever there comes

to

you (mankind) Guidance from


shall

Me - and
shall

whoever follows

My

Guidance, there

he no fear on them, nor

they grieve* |2:38|

In another verse.

He

stated,

C> Children ol

Aadam!

If

there conies to you messengers from

amongst
right-

you reciting to you


eous, on

My

verses, then
fear,

whosoever becomes pious and

them

shall he

no

nor shall they grieve" |7:3^|

In fulfilment of these promises of messengers, Allaah says in the Qur'aan,

S.<swf'
,-

* '<.

'C

*. j-

>' jf\^
'
-*

\*

*' '

-V \"-V '
-*

*&**&> Wwf-' m *

A ni

" \ m -

62

An

Introduction to the Sciences ofthc Qur'aan

Verily

We

liave inspired

you

(()

Muhammad)

as

We

inspired

Nooh and

the

prophets alter him;

And We

inspired Ibraahccm. and Isinaa'eel.


oflsraa'eel),

and Ishaaq.

and Va'qoob and the Tribes (of the Children


Ayyoob,
.tnd

and 'Eesaa, and


to

Yoonus, and Haaroon and Sulaymaan, and

Daawood Wi
have men-

gave the Psalms (Ztiboor).

And

there are messengers

whom We

tioned to you before, and messengers

whom we

have not told you about .is

ami

to

Moosaa. Allaah spoke


as givers

directly.

Messengers (who came)

hearers ol

good news, ami

of warning, in order that mankind should have no

plea against Allaah after the messengers.

And

Allaah

is

Kvcr-I'owcrlul, All-

Wise [4:163-65]
In
tact, this

inspiration ol Allaah to His prophets has been so

common,

that

when
($^),

the disbelievers of

Makkah were amazed

at

the prophethood of

Muhammad

Allaah revealed.

-*^A-j vJU^_->-y j' U^c-^UJJ o&


Is
it

cause

ol

wonder

lor

mankind

that

We

have sent Our inspiration

to a

man

from among

themselves...'. [10:2]

This has been the only way


whole: that
ol inspiring

that Allaah has

communicated with mankind


ol truth.

.is

one

ol their

own

with the message

The

final recipient ol

any revelation from Allaah,

anil the last ol the

prophets that

was Muhammad, the sou ol 'AbduUaah, the Arab, When he ($g) was called by his Lord to return to his eternal the Qurashee, (j^). resting place, his servant Umm Ayman was found crying. She was told, "Do not grieve; Verily he (g?,) is now in a better place than where he used to be." She rewas ever
to be inspired by Allaah.

sponded,

"(I

am

not crying because of his death, for) indeed


is

know that what he

(g;)

has received from his Lord

better for

him

(than ibis

life).

am

crying because
this.

now

Allaah has stopped

lis

revelation to

mankind!"

When

she said

Aboo Bakr and

Umar started weeping

with

hcr.

M>

II.

The Meaning of Wahy


'Wahy'

means
to

to inspire, or to

communicate

in a

manner
to

that

is

not obvious or

apparent

anybody

else, in a swilt

manner. The word


Qur'aan

'wti/iy' in its linguistic

mean-

ing has been used in a


1)

number

of places in the

denote the following:


says.

The

natural order

and laws of nature. For example. Allaah

Then
I

He

completed and finished their creation


its

(as)

seven heavens, and

te

inspired in each heaven

affair* |4I:I2)

This can be considered as the natural laws


planets anil the rotation ol the earth, etc.

ol

nature, such as the orbits of the

Reported by

Mi

Inspiration

al-Wahy

63

2)

Natural animal instinct. For example, Allaah says.

And your Lord


and
in the tree

inspired the bee. saying, Take as habitations mountains,


in

and

what (mankind)
1

builds.

Then,

eat

of all

fruits,

and

follow the ways of your Lord...-

16:68-69]
is

This signifies the natural animal instinct that every creature


hees, for example, instinctively build their hives
ers. 3)

endowed

with;

and search

for nectar

from flow-

Human

intuition

and emotion. This type

is

also called ilhaam. Allaah said.

And we
for

inspired the

mother of Moosaa. "Suckle him! But when you

fear

him. then cast him into the river and fear not. nor grieve'* |28:7|

In this case, the

mother of Moosaa knew

that

if

she were to leave her baby to float

on the

river,

Allaah would

protect him, since she

had received

this

ilhaam from

Allaah. This type of inspiration, however, docs not


4)

make

its

recipient a prophet.

Signals or gestures to communicate.

When Allaah

forbade Zakariyyah from speak-

ing for three days.

\i^yo^^\^>z^o n^lf^j^^\j-^)^o^
[

<...he

came out unto

his people,

and inspired them

(by gestures
1

and signs)

to glorify Allaah's praises in the

morning and afternoon*


to his

19:

In

"this

verse, the gestures that

Zakariyyah did

people have been called an

'inspiration' since he did not verbalise his intent.

Evil whispers

from Satan. Allaah

says,

...and of a certainty die devils inspire their cohorts

(amongsl mankind)

CO

dispute with you... |6:121

and again.

64

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

And thus Wc have appointed


mankind and jinns,

for every

prophet an enemy - devils

among

inspiring one

another....- [6:1 12

We

are also told to seek refuge in Allaah from the Satans

who,

...whisper in the breast

of mensays,

14:5]

6)

Guidance

to the angels

Irom Allaah. Allaah

(Rememher) when your Lord inspired the angels.


firm those
7)

'I

am

with you, so keep

who

have believed*i...[8:12]
is

The

inspiration to the prophets. This category

the subject of discussion of this

chapter,

and

is

the

meaning ol the word

'wuliy'

when

used in the context

ol

Islaamic

sciences.

The primary verse that discusses


ment:

the types

and categories

ol nuihy

is

Allaah's state-

'-*-'*
E

'

"

'-

It

is

not possible lor any


ii

human
wills by

being thai Allaah should speak to him


veil,

unless

be by Inspiration, or from behind a

or (that)

senger to reveal what

He

His Permission.

Verily.

He sends a MesHe is the Most

High, Most Wise- [42:51]

These

categories shall be the topic of discussion ol the next section.

III.

The Procedure
Wahy can'occur
in

of Wahy

two ways: without an intermediary, ami with an intermediary.

A. Will IOL'T AN INTF.KMFJ MARY


In this case. Allaah reveals

His message

directly to

His servant. This can occur

in

two forms:
I

By way of dreams.
is

This

the

first

type of inspiration that the Prophet ($g) received. "Aa'ishah re-

Inspiration - al-Wahy

65

ports,

"The commencement

or the divine inspiration


to

upon

the Prophet

($gg)

was
it

in

the lorm ol

good dreams; he never used


IM

dream about anything except

that

came

true like the rising of the sun."

In other words, before the Prophet (jg) received his

mission ol prophethood, he (^g) would see dreams of events which would eventually

come

true, just like the

sun

rises

every morning.

The dreams
Allaah. This
is

ol all the

prophets are an inspiration from Allaah. In these dreams,

the prophets are either

shown some event of the future, or given commandments by proven by the dream in which Ibraaheem saw himself sacrificing his

son Ismaa'ecl. Ibraaheem understood that this dream was a


directing

command

from Allaah,

him

to sacrifice his son.

And when he (Ismaa'ecl) was old enough


son!
I

to

walk with him, he

said,

my

have seen

in a

dream

that

am

slaughtering you, so what do you

think:" (Ismaa'eel) said, 'O


Verily,

my

lather,

do what you have been commanded!


[

you

will find

me, inshaa Allaah, Irom amongst the patient's


this

$7:102)

Ibraaheem understood that


even though
it

was

command

from Allaah, as did Ismaa'eel,

was

in

the lorm of a dream.

Another example of this is the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. The Prophet ($g) had been shown a vision in which the Muslims were performing the rites of 'Umrah, and the

Companions
enter
be
in

set

out with the Prophet

perform the 'Umrah.

($) from Madeenah to Makkah hoping The pagans of Makkah, however, did not allow the Muslims

to to

Makkah, and

a treaty

known

as the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.

was enacted between the Muslims and the pagans, later to One of the conditions of the treaty was that,

the following year, the

the

Muslims would return and complete the rites of 'Umrah. As Muslims returned sad-heartened to Madeenah, Allaah revealed,

Indeed,

of a surely

shall

Allaah

fulfil

the

dream which
if

He showed
rites

lis

Messenger; you shall enter the Masjiii al-Haiaain.

Allaah

wills, secure,

with your heads shaved or trimmed (after performing the


age), (earing

of pilgrim-

none

|48:27|

IH

Reported bj al-liukliaurce.

66

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

The

following year, the Muslims performed the

'Umrah

as per the terms ol the


true.

agreement.

The dream

that the Prophet (^g)

had seen eventually came


1

The Prophet
"Nothing
is left

" but he did say, (3D never received any Qur'aan in this manner,

of prophethood except mubashiraat (glad tidings)."


'

When

he was

asked what this was, he replied, "A true dream."'"' In other words, the only type of
inspiration that
to a
is left

alter the

death of the Prophet


said,
7

(-^g) is in

the form of true

dreams
of

believer. In another narration, he (^g)

"A true and pious

dream

is

one out

forty-six parts of
2) Direct

prophethood.""

speech from Allaah.

This
This
is

is

the second

way

in

which Allaah communicates

to the

prophets

directly.

the

meaning

of the verse,

It is

not possible for any


it

human

being that Allaah should speak


= >
I ]

to

him

unless

be...

from behind

a veil... |42:

Allaah speaks directly to the prophet, but the prophet does not see him.

An example

of this

was when Allaah spoke

to

Moosaa on Mount

Toor,:

,_$!>_/

JJ
to

\i

~iW ^JJail "3jIjjJ


at the

U><Oj ><uJj LilJLJ C$*y *W-LJ_}


his

And when Moosaa came


Lord spoke

lime and place appointed by Us, and

him. (Moosaa)

said,

"O

My

Lord! Allow

me

to look at you!'

(Allaah) said. '\ou will not see Me...'.. |7:143|

This method ofwahy occurred once with the Prophet


journey of at-Israa tea al-Mi'raaj.

m The Prophet

(j|),

when he went on
(i^g),

his

(^g) did not see Allaah, since there

was

a veil

of light between them. Aboo Dharr asked the Prophet


of nl-Isnia)~"

your Lord (on the journey


could
I

see

Him?""" meaning

that there

was a

The Prophet (^g) replied, veil of Light that was between the

"Did you see "Light - how

Although some researchers claim


is

lli.U

the Prophet (g) did receive


is

evidence that they use


stated that

not explicit.

The

particular narration

on the authority

some Qur'aan in this manner, the ol Anas ibn Maalik. who


:

once the I'rophet (3g) was

sitting

smiled.
just

They asked him. '"What makes you


to me..."

amongst them, when he dozed oil. He then raised his head and smile. C) Messenger ol Allaah (55) " lie replied, "\soorah has
is

been revealed

(Reported by Muslim). This


(/;//;#

not explicit evidence since the narration does not


It is

mention

that the revelation occurred

the Prophet's (Jg) sleep.


off. It is

possible that the inspiration could

have occurred before the Prophet (55) dozed


asleep, but the

also possible that the Prophet (55)

was not actualb

Companions presumed him

to

be

so.

Therefore,

it

is

not possible to use this narration as

evidence against other stronger and clearer proofs to the contrary.


1

Id
17

Reported by al-Bukhaarec.

Reported by al-Daarimcc from al-N'aw waas ibn Sama'aan.

Some commentators
Ik lore his
six. anil

have explained the


(six

traction as being the time that the Prophet (5J3) received true

dreams

prophethood
Allaah

months)

over the total time ol his prophethood {2i years): hence one out ol lorn
1

know

best.

18

The

journey which occurred during the

late

Makkan
Heavens.

stage of the I'rophet (5g), in which he (5)

as

taken from
I

Makkah

to Jerusalem,

and then

to the

19

Reported by Muslim.

Inspiration - al-Wahy

67

Prophet (Sg) and Allaah. In


possible for any human.'"'"

fact,

seeing Allaah before the

Day of Judgement

is

not

Some scholars claim


this
ary,

that the last


($yg)

manner

(i.e.,

the Prophet

received

two verses of Soorah al-Baqarah were revealed in them Irom Allaah. without an intermedial-Mi'raaj),
it

during die night ofal-Israa

wa

However, there

is

no authentic, ex-

plicit

prool lor this opinion, therefore,

cannot be accepted.

B.

With an

intermediary
ol inspiration.

This
tvahy
is

is

the primary anil most

common method

This method
is

ol

when

Allaah sends an angel to inspire Mis Messenger. This

the

meaning ol

the phrase,

-*

<Ii

is

not possible lor


I

any human being


I

thai Allaah

should speak

to

him

unless...

It-

sends a messenger, so

le inspires

him

Willi

what

He

wills..."

[42:5]

This messenger was sometimes seen by the Prophet

(^) and sometimes

hidden.

The messenger whom

Allaah chose to communicate with His prophets was the An-

gel fibred. .Allaah says.

4Ji\oilj eiLii ^c- ,a! JJAjU

Jj>A4

\3-*^ ^j^Jh,Cr*

Whoever is an enemy
this (Qur'aan)

lo [ibreel (lei

him

perish), lor indeed

he has broughl
|2:')7|

down

to

your heart, by Allaah's permission"

In another verse.

"And

truly this (the Qur'aan)


Spirit

is
(|

a Revelation

from the Lord of the Worlds:

which the Trustworthy

ibreel)

brought down;

Upon your

heart (()

Muhammad)

that

you may be

among

the vvarners- |26:I92-194|

When
to

the Prophet

(5^5)

saw

Jibreel lor the first time, his wile

Khadeejah took him

her uncle.

Waraqah

ibn Nawfal.

who had converted

lo Christianity,

and was knowlol

edgeable ot the To rah and Injccl. After the Prophet

(*g?,)

informed him

what he had

12o For the proofs of this, sec Shark 'Aqccdah atTahjuviyyah,

p. 196-7.

68

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

seen,

Waraqah

told

him, "This (angel)


to

is

the

same one,

the

Naamoos (Keeper

of Se-

crets),

whom

Allaah sent

Moosaal
it is

When

discussing this concept afwahy,

essential to discuss

two types of inspira-

tions: firstly,

how Allaah

inspires Jibrccl with the Qur'aan, and, secondly,


specifically the

how

Jibreel

inspired the prophets,

and

Prophet

Muhammad

The Revelation of the Ouraan


that Allaah spoke the

to the

Angels
Balaam
that
It

In the last chapter, the Qur'aan as the

of Allaah
is

was discussed, and the

(act

Qur'aan

in a

manner

befitting

Him,

not similar or

com-

parable to the speech of humans, was proven.

was

also discussed that the l{alaam of

Allaah can be heard, contrary


the belief of the
rectly

to the beliefs of

some
is

of the

innovated

sects.

Therefore,
di-

Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa'ah


of Allaah.

that Jibreel heard the

Qur'aan

from Allaah, as the Balaam


($|) said,

The Prophet
ants).

"Whenever Allaah

desires to inspire a matter (to

His serv-

He

speaks with the inspiration, and (because of this) the heavens themselves

shake out of fear of Allaah.


they
fall

When
to

the people of the

down

in a

swoon and

prostrate to

Heaven (i.e., the angels) hear of it, Him. The first one to raise his head is

Jibreel,

and Allaah speaks

him with the

inspiration that

He

wishes.

Then

Jibreel

passes by the angels; whenever he goes by any heaven, the angels of that heaven ask

him, 'What did our Lord

say,

O Jibreel?' He answers, 'He has Spoken the


1

Truth,

and

He

is

the Most High, the Most Great.'" " This hadceth

is

explicit in that "...Allaah

speaks to him with the inspiration."

Apart from the proofs from the Qur'aan and Sunnah that were quoted above

(in

the section concerning the /{cilaam of Allaah), there exist narrations from such scholars as

Imaam
(d.

ash-Shaafi'cc

(d.

204 A.H.),
this

Bukhaaree

256 A.H.) concerning

Imaam Maalik (d. 179 A.H.). and alI2! point. Imaam Ahmad (d. 241 A.H.) was
Jibreel,

also very explicit

on

this point, for

he said, "Jibreel heard the Qur'aan from Allaah,

and the Prophet


'

(-^g)

heard the Qur'aan from

Prophet ($^) heard the Qur'aan from the Prophet


uncreated."
1

($gz).

and the Companions of the Therefore, the Qur'aan is

Imaam al-Bayhaqee

(d.

458 A.H.), said

in

explaining the verse,

"Verily.

We

have revealed

it

in the

Night

of

Decree

[97:

121

Reported in al-Uukhaaree.
Reported by al-Hukhaaree. Ibn Khuzaymah. ar.-Tabar.iani. and others. This hadceth
is

122

in relerencc to

the verse. "L'ruil.

when

tear

is

removed from

their (the angel's) hearts, they say.


|

'What did your Lord

Say?"

They answer, 'The


12?
cl.

truth,
1

and

He

is

the

Most High, the Most Great'"

.54:23]

[iulaihi. pps.

$9-147, where he quotes over a

dozen scholars on

this

one

issue.

124 Reported by al-Khallaal,

1779.

Inspiration - ul-Wahy

69

This verse
it

means - and Allaah knows


it,

best

- "We

made our angels


a

hear

and understand

and revealed with him what he heard, and


a

so the angel

descended with the revelation from


(the earth)."-"

higher place (the skies) to

lower one

However, some scholars claimed that fibred took the Qur'aan from the LauhalMtiljJ'oodJi

(The Protected

Tablet).

I2
''

Those who

follow this opinion use the verses in

the Qur'aan that allude to the Lauhal-Maljfoodli (which will he discussed in the next
chapter).

These evidences, however, do not

explicitly

mention

that Jibrccl took the

Qur'aan from the Latih al-Mci/jJoodh. Other scholars, primary those of the Ac// 'arces,
claimed that Jibrccl was inspired the meaning ot the Qur'aan, but the wording
either from Jibrccl or
is

Muhammad
in a

(^). This opinion


that befits

is

rejected outright, for

its
is

ad-

herents deny what Allaah has affirmed for Himself namely that the Qur'aan

His

Balaam that

He Spoke
is

manner and way

Him. To say

that the

wording
type ol

of the Qur'aan

from

Jibrccl or

Muhammad

(#5) denies the

whole concept of the


fact, this

kalaam of Allaah, and of the miraculous nature of the Qur'aan. In


inspiration
is

for the

Sunnah of the Prophet (^)

only,

and not

for the

Qur'aan, as shall

be explained shortly.

The Revelation of the Qur'aan


This occurred

to the

Prophet (%&) from Jihreel

After Jibrccl heard the Qur'aan from Allaah, he


(iiSi)-

communicated

this to the

Prophet

in

one of two ways.


to the

The

revelation

came

Prophet
for the

(jig) in a

very severe manner, like the ringit

ing of a
to

hell.

This was the hardest


a sweat,

Prophet (^g), and

is

reported that he used

break into

even on very cold nights,

when he was being inspired. After this


to

state passed, the

Prophet (^) remembered what was inspired

him. As the Qur'aan

says,

VerilyWe
2) Jibreel

shall

send

down

to

you

heavy speech"
to the

|7.?:5|

took on the form of a

man and came


found

Prophet

(*^g).

This type

of

inspiration

was

easier for the Prophet (i^g).

The

proof for these

two methods

is

in the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah, in

which she

stated that

Haarith ibn Hishaam asked the Prophet (3^),


ringing of a

"O

Allaah's Messenger!
it

How is the divine message revealed to you?" He (|) responded, "Sometimes


tome
after a
I

comes
ol

like the

bell.
is

This form

is

the hardest on me, and this state passes off


to

have grasped what


talks to

inspired.
I

Sometimes the angel comes

me

in the

form

man and

me, and

127 grasp what he says."

125
1

Damishqi,
4,

p. 62

26 See Oh.

under 'The Stages of Revelation',

tor a

more

detailed discussion

of the Lauh

al-MalijoodJi.

127 Narrated by al-Kukhaarce

7(i

An

Introduction to the Sciences

ol

the Qur'aan

Therefore,
state of the

in the first case, the


(5g)

angel would remain in


so that

its

angelic form,

and the

Prophet
this state

would change
difficult for

he

($yg)

could communicate with the

angel,

and

was

him. In the second case, the angel would change


form, and communicate with the Prophet
this type
($jg).

from his angelic being to


Since the Prophet
($;)
"*

human

remained as he was,

of inspiration was easier for

him.

However,

in

both cases, the Prophet


(gg) said alter

(?yg)

explained that he clearly understood

the inspiration, lor he


"...and
I

explaining each of the two types ol inspiration,

grasp what he says."

In the

beginning ol

his

prophethood, the Prophet (#g) was

learlul ol forgetting the

verses that Jibreel recited to him, so he ($g) used to quickly repeat after fibred, even

before Jibreel had finished his recitation. At this. Allaah revealed.

)o not

move vour tongue with


it

haste concerning (the

Qur aan);

it

is

lor

Us
its

to collect
recital..

and Recite

it.

Alter

we have

recited

il

to you.

then fellow

175:16-18)

The Prophet
no need
lor

(-^)

was assured

that he

would not

forget the Qur'aan, so there

was

him

to hasten in repealing alter the angel:

And do
|20:ll-l|

not he in haste (in taking) the Qur'aan (Irom the angel) before us
is

inspiration

completed

lo you.

and

say.

'My Lord! Increase my knowledge!'"

Jibreel came in the form ol a man and Companions or any other bystanders. Although the Companions saw Jibreel on a number of occasions in the form ol a man, he never inspired the Prophet (gg) with the Qur'aan on these occasions. Thus it may be surmised that when Jibreel came to the Prophet (j^g) in this form, with the iculv,',

There are no reported incidents where


(ys,)

inspired the Prophet

in Iront ol the

only the Prophet (g) could see him.


Jibreel also

came

to the

Prophet (g)

in his

natural form, without taking


in the

on

different shape.

This occurred three times; once


of al-lsraa

Cave

ol

Hiraa'

when

the

first

revelation
tion)

came down, once

shortly afterwards (probably the second or third revela-

and once on the Night

wa

al-Mi'raaj. 12

The Prophet (^g) reported

I2S
cation.

cl.

Qattaan.

p. 39.
it

The scholar
as

Ibn Khaldoon (a. SOS A.H.)

is

also quoted
ol this

on

iliis

point ol conimuniwill

However,
to

should he kept in mind that the exaet nature such the investigation
into,

communication
this subject

never he

known
limited.

mankind, and

and commentary on.

should be kept

129

("II.

I'baydi.ii, p. $4-36.
is

Some

scholars claim that the Prophet (Jg) saw Jibreel in his natural lorm

only twice, and this

based on an authentic report.

[aspiration - nl-Wahy

71

that fibred

had

six
1

hundred wings, and that fibred was so


'"

large that he readied the

heavens
It

in height.

might be asked: Was

fibreel the only

angel that the Prophet

(yg)

with?

The answer is
is

that the

Prophet

(3^5)
is

communicated with

communicated number ol different


to the revelation of sitting
is

angels, but the only angel

whose name

mentioned with regards

the Qur'aan

fibreel.

For example, Ibn 'Abbaas reports that once Jibrecl was


they heard a
it

with the Prophet

(S^g), when

sound from above,

fibreel said.

"This

(the

sound
to

ol) a

door Irom the


Jibrecl said,

skies,

has never opened until today."

An

angel
it

them, and

"This angel has

come down

to the earth,

has never

came down come

down
"I

before today."

The angel gave


two

his salaams to

give you glad tidings of

lights that

them, and said to the Prophet (%), you have been given, which have not been
(i.e.,

given to any prophet before you:

The Opening of the Book


shall not read

Soorah al-Faatihah),
in
it

and (he
you

last verses of

Soorah al-Baqarah, you


1

any word

except that
($yg) in-

will

be granted

'1

it."

Also, there are narrations in


that the angels hail

which the Prophet

formed the Companions

whispered

in his heart certain state-

ments. Therefore, although fibreel was not the only angel

whom

the Prophet

(5gg)

communicated with,

to the best of our

knowledge he
is

is

the only angel that


ol

came with

the Qur'aan. This agrees with the description that

given

the Qur'aan,

And

this

(Qur'aan)

is

a Revelation

from the Lord of the world; which the

trustworthy Angel (Jibrcel) has brought dovvn |26:192-193|

In other words, fibreel brought

down

all ol

the Qur'aan.

in a

The effect that the revelation process had on the Prophet (3|g) has been recorded number of luidccth. 'Aa'ishah narrates, "Sometimes the revelations wotdd de($yg)

scend upon the Prophet


with sweat." 1 *2

on a very cold morning, and

his forehead

would

glisten

'Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit reported


be seen, and his face

that

whenever the wahy descended upon the


(to the inspiration)

Prophet (^), the significance and importance that he gave

could

became

slightly pale. Also, the

Prophet (^) would lower his


for the
I,!

head during the inspiration process, and the Companions, due to their love
Prophet
())

would

also lower their heads, until the revelation had ended.

The Companions were


was only natural
that they

eager to witness the revelation upon the Prophet (^,). It would be so curious about witnessing such a rare phenom-

enon. Safwaan ibn Ya'la ibn

Umayyah
to

reported that his lather, Ya'la ibn

Umayyah
was
at (a

used to say (during the Prophet's


(3g) while the

(J^g) lifetime),

"How

wish

could see the Prophet


(%g)

wahy comes down

him!" So, one day, the Prophet

130 cCAshqar, 'Aalim al-Malaa'i\ah,


131

p, II.

Reported by Muslim. Reported by Muslim.

132

133 Reported by Muslim.

72

An

Introduction to the Sciences oft lie Qnr'aan

place called) Ji'raanah,

when

person

came

to

him and

said, "()

Messenger <>l Allaah!

What

is

the ruling lor


in

one who

enters into the state oihraam

w while his clothes arc

soaked

came to came and stuck his head into (i^g). his face was red (due to
then
it

perfume?" So the Prophet (^) waited lor a while, until the inspiration him. 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab motioned to Ya'la, "Come quickly!" so Ya'la
the Prophet's
(jgg)

tent to see him!

He

saw the Prophet

the inspiration), and he stayed like that lor

some

time,

was

lilted oil

from him, and he called the questioner and


as tor
s

said, "As lor the

perfume on you body, then wash yourself three times, and


replace
that
1

your clothes, then

This narration shows the extreme desirethem (with non-scented ones)..." the Companions had to see the Prophet (gg) during this state, and also demon-

strates the difficulty

of the revelation process on the Prophet


it

(j^g).

To summarise
Qayyim's
1)

the various types of inspiration,

is

appropriate to quote Ibn


'"

al-

(d.

758 A.H.) classification

ol the types ol

wahy:

True dreams, such as those experienced by the Prophet prophethood.

(yg)

before his

2)

The inspiration

that

used

to

be whispereil into the Prophet's

(-^g)

heart by the
in

angels, such as his (2g) statement. "Verily, the

Holy

Spirit has

whispered
1

my

heart that a person will never die until his (preordained) lime comes..."
3)

The The

angel useil to

come

to

him

in the

form

ol a

human and

speak with him.

4)
5)

inspiration used to

come

to
in

him

like the

ringing of a

bell.

He

(J^g)

used to see the angel


inspired in

the original form that the angel

was created

in.

6)

What Allaah What

him

(5S>) directly,

when he was above

the seven skies in

his journey ol al-Israa


7)

wa al-Mi'raaj.
directly, just like

Allaah Spoke to him

He

spoke

to

Moosaa, and

this also

occurred in his (igg) journey otal-lsraa

wa al-Mi'raaj.
third, fourth

The
only.

revelation ol the

Qur'aan occurred by the

and

fifth

methods

iy.

The

Difference Between the Qur'aan and Hadeeth


Qudsee
is

Qudsee
I

K hadeeth
injustice

a hadeeth in

which the Prophet

(-gg)

narrates a statement from

Allaah. For example, the Prophet (^g) said, "Allaah said, '0

My servants,

have made-

haraam

for

Me, and have made


1

it

haraam between you

also, so

do not be

unjust to one another.'" M

54

The
it

state thai a
is

person

this state,
1

not allowed to

who desires lo perform the major or minor pilgrimage must perfume the body, hence the reason lor the question.
is

enter.

luring

35 Reported In al-Bukhaarcc.
J6

Ibn al-Qayyim also mentions an eight li category, mv\ that


is

the inspiration from Allaah to the Prophet


cf.

ISK) without any barrier between them, but this category

one that has never occurred,

Zand al-Ma'ad.

id, p. 18.
1

57 Ibn N'u'aym in his Hilyo, see Suhech al-Jami

',

#2085.

138 Reported by Muslim.

Inspiration -at-Whhy

73

There arc
1 )

number of differences between


that
is

hadeeth Qudsee and die Qur'aan:


is

The primary difference


die Qur'aan
scholars,
is

given by most scholars

that the

Qur'aan

is

the

Speech of Allaah, revealed


is

to the

Prophet

(^g) in

meaning and wording. Thus,

from Allaah even

in

wording. Hadeeth Qudsee, according to

many

only from Allaah in meaning."''


is

Therefore, the Qur'aan

attributed directly to Allaah.

It is

said,

Allaah

said...'

with regards to a verse

ol

the Qur'aan, but this cannot be used tor a hadeeth Qudsee

without adding the phrase, 'The Prophet


1)

(^)

saiil

that Allaah

said...'.

The Qur'aan has been put


style,

forth as a miracle that can never be imitated in


lor all ol

its

prose or content.
it.

It is

an open challenge

mankind

to

produce even

chapter similar to
it.

A.

hadeeth Qudsee. on the other hand, has no miraculous

nature in
3)

Allaah has promised to preserve the Qur'aan, whereas no such promise exists for
the hadeeth Qudsee.

4)

The Qur'aan
verses

has reached us in mutawaatir chains

ol

narration.

There

is

no

difits

ference ot opinion over the Qur'aan; all scholars are in agreement as to

what

and

letters are.
(i.e..

Hadeeth Qudsee. on the other hand, mainly


'"

exist in the

form oiahaad

non-mutatraatir) hadeeth. There are authentic,


1

weak and even


all

fabricated hadeeth Qudsee,

tor

it

is still

a hadeeth that

must be checked with

the rules of the scholars of hadeeth.


5)
It is

an

act of

worship

to recite the

Qur'aan, whereas

this

is

not the case for a

hadeeth Qudsee. The person


ing knowledge, just as
the other hand,
is

who

reads hadeeth Qudsee will be rewarded for seek-

if he

read other hadeeth.

The

recitation

of the Qur'aan. on

an

act of

worship

in

and

ot

itself.

This point also implies that a hadeeth Qudsee cannot be read in prayers, and

if

done

so then such a prayer will not be valid.

Only

the Qur'aan

may be

recited in

prayer.

159 This
thai

is tlii-

opinion that almost


<>l

.ill

authors of 'uloom al-Qitr'aan quote.


is

Some

scholars, however,

n.i>

even the wording


is

hadeeth Qudsee

from Allaah, and

this

is

the opinion that this author inclines


til-Ot<i\uiii

towards. The reason

thai

most of tin- authors of the works of 'uloom

have been Ash'arees. ami

the opinion that hadeeth Qudsee arc inspired in

fhcAsh'aree
Allaah.

laith.

There

is

"meaning' and are not die actual kfilaam ol Allaah reeks o! absolutely no prool to show that the words ol the hadeeth Qudsee are not Iroin
savs...".
it

When
best.
I

the Prophet (SSO says, "Allaah

should be held upon

its literal,

apparent meaning:

namely, that Allaah actually spoke these weirds, and the Prophet (JS) was inspired these words; and Allaah

knows
(in
is

iowever. the wording? of the hadeeth Qudsee have not been promised to he preserved by Allaah

contrast to the Qur'aan); only their mornings have been preserved. Therefore, the
in dilierent

same hadeeth Qudsee

found

works

ol

hadeeth with dillerent wordings.

The Qur'aan. on
1

the other hand, has been

preserved in wording and meaning.


I4H There have also been attempts to fabricate
the difference
is

Quraanic

recitations (see ('h.

for further details), but


all

that these rejected recitations ot the

Qur'aan arc agreed upon by

the scholars. Certain

hadeeth Qudsee. on the other hand, are subject to a difference ot opinion over their authenticity, just like

other hadeeth.

74

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

It

should be mentioned that

all

of the hadeeth

of the

Prophet

(),

whether they

are Qttdsee or not, are a type of inspiration sent

down

to

him. As the Qur'aan says,

"And he
sent

(%g,)

does not speak of his

own

desires: rather

it is

only a revelation

down

to

him

|^3:3-4|

This verse does not speak only of the Qur'aan but also of the Sunnah.
(ijl) said. "Verily,
I
1

The Prophet
(i.e.,

Siinini/i)'.""

was given the Qur'aan and something equivalent CO it Since the Prophet ($,) said. '...I was given..." this implies that

the

his (JH)

Sunnah

is

also a type of inspiration.


therefore,

The difference,
is

between the

Qur aan and

the

Sunnah

is

that the

Quraan

the Speech of Allaah, inspired to the Prophet f^g) in wording and meaning, whereas
is is

die Sunnah

the speech of

Muhammad
it

(^g), inspired only in

meaning. liven though

thcSunneih

an integral part
is

of Isiaamic belief

and

law.

and

its

meanings safeguarded

by Allaah, the Qur'aan

superior to

since

it is

the actual Balaam ol Allaah.

HI

Reported by Alioo Da.iwnod.

at

Tirmidhee and Ahmad.

HA

E R

Gradual Revelation

The Qur'aan was


ter.;

revealed gradually over a period ol twenty-three years.


(3gg)

The

pro-

cedure of the tvahy that the Prophet

received

was discussed

in the
ol

previous chap-

This chapter

now seeks
(J^g).

to explain the

piece-meal revelation

the Qur'aan to the


ol revelation ol the

Prophet

Muhammad

This topic includes the various stages


its

Qur'aan, and the wisdom behind

gradual revelation.
(5gg),
it

Before discussing the revelation of the Qur'aan to the Prophet

should be
like the

mentioned
prophet

that the revelations lo the previous prophets

were not gradual

revelation of the Qur'aan. Rather, each previous Scripture


all at

was given

to the particular

once. This

is

why

the people at the time of the Prophet (&,) were suras the

prised that the Qur'aan

was being revealed piece-meal,

Qur'aan

says,

Those
Thus

wlio disbelieve
sent

:isk.

'Why

is

not the Qur'aan revealed

all at

oncer'

(it is

down
it

in parts) so thai

We may

strengthen your heart, ami

Wc

have revealed

to you. gradually, in siages |2S:.$2|


is

Another proof

for this fact


(7:

that

Moosaa was given

the Torah

all at

once, as

men-

tioned in the Qur'aan

144-1 54). MJ

I.

The
The

Stages of Revelation
vast majority ol scholars hold the

opinion that the process

ol revelation

oc-

curred in three distinct stages:

The
The
the Preserved Tablet,

first stage
1

Qur'aan, the Speech of Allaah, " was written on the

Luiili

al-Mahfoodh. or

which

is

with Allaah,

all

Praise be to

Him. The I.tut/i al-Makfoodh

\M H'

cf.

Baazmool

lor a

more

detailed discussion,
ol Allaah' in

v. I,

p.40-42.
2.

Sec

The
I

Qur'aan as the Speech

Ch.

Note the difference hctwecn


t\u\

this point,
it

ami die

belief of the Ash'arees.

The Ash'arees

claim that the Arabic Qur'aan

exist until

was written and

Created in

lie

Lctuh al-Mahfondh. whereas A/il as-Simmi/i claim dial die Qur'aan existed widioul any beginol

ning (from eternity) as the Jplaam ofAllaah, and was written in theLauh al-Mahfoodh before the creation .-J .L

76

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

is

the Tablet

upon which

all

ot the things that will

happen from the creation


(5|g) said.

oJ the

Heavens and Earth,


first

until the

end of time, are written. The Prophet

"The

thing that Allaah created was the Pen.

He said to

it,

"Write!"

It

responded, "()

My
al-

Lord!

And what

shall

writer" Allaah said, "Write the destiny

ol all things, until the


Liii</j_

Day

ol

Judgement.

This writing occurred and was preserved on the

Mahfoodh.
Therefore, included in the Lauhal-Mahfoodh
ol this writing,
is is the text ofthe Qur'aan. The method known only to Allaah. The tact that the Qur'aan

and when

it

occurred,

is is

written

on the Lauhal-Mahfoodh

mentioned

in the

Qur'aan

itself:

Nay!

This

is

indeed

.1

Glorious Qur'aan! (Inscribed) in the Lauhal*

Malgoodh.. [85:21-2]

and

also.

And this

is

indeed a Noble Qur'aan; In a Book well-guarded

(i.e.,

the

Lauh

al-Mahfoodk) [56:77-78]

Part ol the

wisdom
is

ot this stage is to

prove

to the believers the authenticity

ofthe

Qur'aan, as
its safety.

it

was written down even before


the
as

its

revelation, in a place that guarantees

This

also a manilestation ol the infinite


it

knowledge

ol Allaah, as the

Lauh
it

al-Mahfoodh has written on


describes the
(54:53).

all

commands and

decrees of Allaah.

The Qur'aan

Lauh al-Mahfoodh

having everything - small or big - recorded on

The second
From
the
a place called

stage
in
in in

Lauh al-Mahfoodh, Allaah revealed the Qur'aan to the lower heavens, "The House of Honour" (cd-Bayt al-'Izza). This revelation occurred Ramadaan, on the Night ol Decree (Lay/ut al-Oadr). The proof for this is found some verses ol the Qur'aan, and the statements ofthe Companions.

The Qur'aan

states,

The month

ol

Ramadaan

is

the

month

in

which the Qur'aan was

revealed...-

[2:185]

and

it

also states.

!5\^3J^<^4l^j3lLil

-14

Reported by

Aboo Daawood. Sec Shark

'Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyuh,

p,

264. for further details.

Gradual Revelation

77

We have

sent

it

(the Qur'aan)

down, on

a Blessed

Night-

|44:s|

The Qur'aan

later specifics this Blessed

Night

as,

We have

sent

it

down

in the

Night of Decree* 97:1


1

These verses specify that the entire Qur'aan was sent down Ramadaan, and specifically on the Night of Decree.

in the

month

or

Explaining these verses, Ihn 'Abbaas said, "'The whole Qur'aan was sent

down

to

the lower heavens on the Night of Decree. Then, whenever Allaah wished to inspire

something (from the Qur'aan),

He would

inspire

it,"

l4,

and

in
1

another narration,

"...it

was then revealed piece-meal over


"The House
It is

a period of

twenty years."

'"'

Other narrations from


is

Ibn 'Abbaas mention thai the place the Qur'aan was revealed lo
or,

called Bayi al-'hza,

of

Honour.'

14 '

seen thai, in this revelation, the whole Qur'aan was sent


scholar,
If it

down

in

one

night.

The famous

Imaam Aboo Shaamah,


is

(d.

665 A.H.) wrote, H "

were asked: What

the secret of the revelation of the Qur'aan to the


is:

lower heavens?

The

response

In

its

revelation

is
it

a sign

of the eminence
to.

and excellence of the Book, and of the one


because
this
it

whom

was revealed

This

is

is is

an indication
the
last

to the inhabitants of the (to


It

heavens (the angels) that


to the last
<>l

Book

of all hooks

be revealed), revealed
has been
it

all

prophets, to the best of all nations.

can be revealed to them.

And were
at

not for the fact that the


it

made close to them so that it Wisdom ol


all at all

Allaah was not to reveal the Book

once,

would have been revealed


and

once, just as the previous Scriptures were revealed

at once, but instead

Allaah decided to honour the Prophet

(5g5).

differentiate
to

between him

and the other prophets (by causing the two matters together:
(in the

Quraan

be revealed piece-meal).

Therefore, (by this initial descent to the lower heavens) Allaah the

combined
lower
it

He made

the Prophet (5g) similar to the other


at

prophets

sense that the Qur'aan was revealed

once

to the

heavens, like the previous books), and


to

He honoured him

(3g) (by causing

be revealed piece-meal after that).

In other words, this initial descent of the Qur'aan to the lower heavens
lar to the revelation of

was simi-

the previous Scriptures, since


($tg)

it

was done

at

once; therefore in

this aspect the

Prophet
Yet, the

shared the

same procedure of

revelation as the other

prophets had.

Prophet ($) also had the superiority of having the Qur'aan

revealed piccc-meal over a period of twenty-three years.

145

Narrated by aj-Tabaree ami al-Haakim.

146 Narrated by al-Haakim, al-Nasaa'i and al-Baihai|ce. 147 Dr. Subhi Salih. in his Mabahithfi 'Uloom at-Qur'aan,
since these narrations
p.

SI. denies these

two

stages, stating thai

do not go back to the Prophet


ijtihaail

(SS).

we cannot

accept them. However, this knowledge

cannot be derived through


the Prophet (5SS).

(personal reasoning), therefore Ibn Abbaas must have heard this from

and

this narration takes

on the

status oi marftm' (a Inulcclh

lh.it

has originated trom the

Prophet Qg)).
148 Baazmool, p. 44.

78

An

Introduction to the Sciences ot the Qur'aan

THE THIRD
The
final stage of revelation

STACK
to

was alluded

by Ibn 'Abhaas
of the

in his

previous narra-

tion. In this stage, Jibrccl

brought those portions

Qur'aan which Allaah com-

manded him
verse.

to bring.

The Qur'aan

refers to this revelation in

many

verses. In

one

Allaah says,
-a
'%

And truly this (Qur'aan)

is

a revelation

from the Lord of the Worlds; Which

the trustworthy Spirit (Angel Jibreel) has brought

down: I'pon Your

heart

(O Muhammad),

so thai

you may he one of the vvarncrs |26:192-4|


to the

The procedure
been discussed

by which the Qur'aan was inspired

Prophet (-^) has already

in the previous chapter. to

This gradual revelation occurred over a period of twenty-three years, according


the strongest opinion.

Some
five.

scholars hold this period to be twenty years,


for this difference
is

and

yet

another group twenty


Prophet
(yg) is itself a

The reason

the fact that the age ol the


it

subject of dispute; the narrations state

variously to be

sixty,

sixty three, or sixty live years. All scholars,

however, agree thai he spent ten years in


forty.

Madeenah, and

that his

prophethood began when he (-^) was


in

The

difference,

therefore, revolves
1

around how many years he stayed


is

Makkah

before the hijnih.

low ever, the strongest opinion, and the opinion that


is

widespread

among the Musyears.

lims,

that he (S^g) passed

away

at the

age of sixty-three, which would then imply

that the period in


It

which the Qur'aan was sent down was twenty-three


is

should be remembered that the Qur'aan


in

the Speech of Allaah, as has been


it is

elaborated anil discussed

the previous chapter. Therefore,

incorrect to use the


feet

narrations of Ibn Abhaas which allude to the


that
[ibreel

heard the

Lauh al-Mahfoodh to negate the Qur'aan from Allaah. These narrations do not mention

that

Jibreel in that

took the Qur'aan from the


Allaah would
"...inspire"

Lauh al-Mahfoodh:
was
to

in fact, the narration

is

explicit

the portion of the Qur'aan that

He

wished

to reveal.

The
($>)

process ot inspiration to the angels

discussed, and

it

was shown

that Jibreel

heard the Qur'aan from Allaah. In other words, what Jibreel recited

to the

Prophet

were the words

that Allaah

Spoke

him. from these narrations that


Jibreel

Some
this

scholars, however, have inferred

took the

Qur'aan from the Lauh al-Mahfoodh. As

lor the. \sh 'area,

most of them claimed that

was

the only

method by which

Jibreel received the

jected immediately, as this denies the


l{cilaam ot Allaah.

Qur'aan. This opinion is rewhole concept of the Qur'aan being the actual
stated that Jibreel heard the

However, other scholars

Qur'aan from

Allaah and took the Qur'aan from the Lauh al-Mahfoodh. Whether Jibreel also took
the Qur'aan Irom the

Lauh al-Mahfoodh or

not,

is,

as

az-Zarqaanec
is

stated, "...not ol
1

great importance, as long as

we are

sure the source ol revelation

Allaah alone."

H' az-Zarqaanee, p. 49.

Gradual Revelation

7 l>

Tampering of the Revelation?

The

possibility that the revelation

of the Qur'aan might have been tampered or


is

changed during the revelation process


with regards to
Firstly,
its

ruled out by Allaah, so no doubt can remain

authenticity.

the trustworthiness of fibred has been guaranteed by Allaah. Allaah de-

scribes the angels in general as.

They
|21:27|

il"

mil speak until

lie-

has spoken, anil they acl on Mis

Command*
and

calls

meaning that they do not disobey Allaah. Allaah then him the

praises Jibreel in particular,

"trustworthy

Spirit.. |26:19.i|

meaning

thai Jibreel

was trustworthy

in revealing the

Qur'aan to the Prophet (^).

Secondly, as the Prophet (^g)

Qur'aan, Allaah assured him that

was chosen by Allaah to be the recipient ot the he (sgg) would not forget or miss any verse. When

the Prophet (#5) used to hurriedly recite the verses from Jibreel, in tear that he might
forget,

Allaah revealed.

Move
Il is

not your tongue concerning (the Qur'aan) to

make
its

haste therewith.

for

Us

to collect

it.

anil to give

you
to

((

Muhammad)

the ability to recite


recital" [75:16-8]

it."

And when We have


(^g)

recited

it

you. then follow

The Prophet
tation before

was

instructed to be patient, and allow Jibreel to finish his recistart reciting.

he ($^) should

Thirdly, after having ensured that the Prophet (#*)

memorised the
(yg) hail
a failure in his

revelation,

Allaah then ordered him to convey the revelation that he


told

been given, and


mission as a

him

thai a failure

on

his part to

do so would mean

Prophet:

() Messenger! Proclaim
from your Lord.
sage!- [5:67]
If you

(the message)
so.

which has been

sent

down
1

to

you

do not do

then you have nor conveyed

lis

mes-

Fourthly, Allaah even ruled out the possibility that the Prophet (5S) might

tamper

wall the message deliberately, lor


ISO
This verse

le said.
to collect

cm

also read, "It

is

for

Us

II

and Recite

il

in you."

80

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

And

lie

(Muhammad)
is

does not speak from his

own

desires:

il

is

only an

inspiration that

inspired" |53:3-4]

Say

(O Muhammad):
desire.
I

"It is

not for

me
is

to

change

it

(the Qur'aan)
1

from

my

own

only follow thai which

revealed to me'

10:15]

In another verse, a severe

punishment

is

promised

for forging

any revelation:

"And
surely

if

he

(Muhammad) had
artery!" |69:44-6|

forged a false saying, attributing


his right hand,

it

to

Us,

We

would have seized him by


life

and then

certainly have cut

off his

Therefore, the Qur'aan has been preserved


authenticity.

safely,

and no doubt can be

cast

on
It

its

The Qur'aan
in

- as the Balaam of Allaah - existed from

eternity.

was

then written
the

the

Lauh

iil-Mahfoodh, in a protected, well-guarded Tablet.


(-gg)

During

month

in

which the Prophet

began

his mission, the

Qur'aan was sent down

to the

lower heavens.

The

trustworthy Angel Jibreel, after he had heard the Qur'aan


it

from Allaah, then revealed


lull),

to the

Prophet

Muhammad (S^g), who preserved


it

it

faith-

without any alteration, and

who

then passed

on

to

mankind.

The Quantity of Revelation

A question that arises


tion

is

the quantity of Qur'aan thai fibreel used to


1

come with
this

to

the Prophet (3g) in each revelation. As-Suyootee (d. 91

A.H.) discusses

ques-

and concludes:
It

can be inferred from (combining) the authentic narrations, and other

evidences that the (quantity) of the Qur'aan revealed would depend on the
particular situation; five verses, or ten verses, or more, or
tion
less.

The

revela-

often verses during the story of 'Aa'ishah has been authenticated... as

has the revelation of a small part ofa verse

"f-rt

t4*"*

"...except those

who

are disabled...- |4:95|

As

tor those narrations that explicitly

mention only

five verses,

such as

the report in Ibn 'Asaakir that (the

Companion) Aboo Sa'eed al-Khmlree


morning and
live in the

would teach
and

his students five verses in the

evening,

say. "Jibreel

used to bring the Qur'aan live verses at a time.' and the

report in al-I'ayhaqcc that Ulnar ibn al-Khattaab said, 'Learn the Qur'aan

Gradual Revelation

81

five verses at a

time, tor fibred used to

come

to the Prophet <g) with Bvc


is

verses at a time,'.. .the

meaning of these

reports

that Jibreel

would quote

the Prophet

(jgg) live

verses at a time so that


rest ot

he (5^) could memorise them,


at a

then he would quote him the

the revelation, live verses


in

time.

This

is

explained by the narration in al-Bayhaqcc


said,

which Khaalid ibn


live verses at a
-1 '"

Deenar

Aboo

al-'Aaliyah told us to learn the


(SSj)

Quraan

lime, for the Prophet Yet

would take from

Jibreel live verses at a time.

another question

is

whether the frequency


or did
it

ot revelation

was the same through-

out the Prophet's

(-^g) life,

changer
(g;) life,

Towards the end of the Prophet's

the revelation increased greatly, so

much

so that the last years of the prophethood were the years in


tion occurred.
(ieS)

Anas ibn Maalik

narrates,

which most of the revela"Allaah increased the wahx upon the Prophet

before his death, until before his death, the


152
^'

wahy was more than


(d.

it

ever was, then

the Prophet (^,) passed away."

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr

852 A.H.), commenting

on

this

phenomenon,
This

said,

shows

that the

lime frame in which the Prophet

(jgg)

passed away

was the lime frame which had the highest Irequcncy


reason lor this
is

ol revelations.

And

the
tb.it

that, after the

Conquest

ot

Makkah.

the delegations

were sent from other

tribes to the

Prophet

(Jgj)

increased, ami so did the

number ol questions
in

pertaining to laws, therefore, the Withy also increased

frequency

(to

respond to these questions).

And

this

is

in contrast to the

early period, tor.

during the beginning

ot the

prophethood. the wahy would


revelations.

come

occasionally, with breaks in

between the

This gradually
ol the

increased (with time). During the period ol


iuorahs were revealed.
revealed,
last part

Makkah. hardly any


most
ol the

long

Then,

after the hijrah,

longer soorahs were

and these contained most

ol the laws (ol the sharee'ah).

And

the

of the prophethood witnessed the highest frequency of revelation,

for the reasons outlined above.

II.

The Wisdom Behind


II

the Gradual Revelation

Allaah had willed, the Qur'aan would have been sent


(-^g) at

down
to
its

in

its

entirety to the

Prophet

the beginning ol his prophethood, just like the previous Scriptures.

However,

this

many

verses,

was not the case. The Qur'aan in fact refers and from these verses some ol the merits and

gradual revelation

in

benefits ol this piece-meal

revelation can be understood.

Allaah says.

IM
1^2

as-Suyootce,

v.

I,

p. ">7.

The translation

has been paraphrased

ai places.

Reported by al-Bukhaarcc.

153 fiK&<j/-&anw\v.9,p,8.

82

An

Introduction to the Sciences

<>!

the

Qur'aan

-Anil

it

(is a)

Qur'aan which
it

We have

divided (into parts), in order that you

might

recite

to

mankind

at intervals.

And

verily.

We

have revealed

it

hy

stages!- [17:106]

When

the disbelievers
(3gg) to

mocked

the gradual revelation ot the Qur'aan, anil chalits

lenged the Prophet

bring forth the Qur'aan in

entirety,

Allaah revealed:

And
at

those

who

dishelieve say.
sent

Why
it

is

not the Qur'aan revealed to

him

all

oncer' Thus

(it is

down

in parts) that to

We may strengthen
a blessing that

your heart

thereby.

And We have

revealed

you gradually,

in stages.. |25:.i2|

Thus

the gradual revelation

was considered

Allaah gave to the

Prophet ($g), and to his

ummah.
1

Some
1)

ot the benefits of the gradual revelation are as follows:

*'

To strengthen the
($g)

resolve of the Prophet (j^g) against the disbelievers.

The Prophet
wards
cerer, a

was anguished ami distressed by the


ridiculed

attitude

of his people
he was

to-

his message.

They

and mocked him. and claimed

that

a sor-

mailman, or that he was possessed by the jinn. Allaah reminds him.

-Indeed,
ers)

We know
1

that your heart

is

straitened hy

what they

(the disbeliev-

say

1=5:971

By the continual revelation


in his determination

of the

Qur'aan

to the

Prophet

(5^*),

he was reaffirmed
discusses the

and

zeal.

This

is

what Allaah

alludes to

when He

graduality of the revelation,

Thus
[25:321

(it is

sent

down

in parts) that

We may strengthen
of the

your heart thereby..

This can also be seen

in the content

earlier revelations in

Makkah, where
after

the stories of the prophets of old are told, anil

how

the prophets dealt with the hard-

ships and torments that they faced from their peoples. In Soora/i

Hood,

men-

tioning the stories of many prophets, Allaah concludes.

"And
gers

all

that

We

relate to

you

(()

Muhammad)

of the news of the messenlirm!.>


1

is

in order that

We may make

your heart strong and

1 : 1

20|

154 cBaastmool,v. l,p.4M6,Ubaydaat,99-101,Qattaan, 107-

17.

Gradual Revelation

S3

There are

number of ways

in

which the Prophet


rrom the lessons
'

(2g)
ol

was helped by these

stories.

The Prophet ($g) was

told to learn

the previous prophets,

f**

it's

y\t\

>.

-J, \\"

-**

l"'^'*

"Therefore, he patient

((.)

Muhammad),

like the

messengers ol firm resolu-

tion (before you did)" |46:>S|

He
will

(S^)

was

told that the plots of the disbelievers,


to Allaah's I'lans,

and

all

their

mockery of Islaam.

do no harm

-^

^LjjJ-~>y> j*ij Li \ jj$}^i ^_iXy-_ "% %

So

let

not their speech grieve you. lor verily.

We know

what they conceal

anil

what they reveal" |36:75|


his Creator,

He

(-gg)

was promised help Irom

&$k2&'&
Allaah has

ordained

"Verily,

it

is

ami

the messengers

who will

be Victori-

ous".. [58:211

And. he

(-^g)

was reassured by

the warnings given to the disbelievers by Allaah,

'Verily, their

multitudes will be put to

llighl. anil

they will show their hacks

(in retreat)" [54:45J

This gradual
the

method

of revelation also helped to strengthen the determination of

Companions. These same

verses inspired the

Companions with courage and

pa-

tience,

and gave them the stamina they needed

to withstand the persecution ol the

idolaters.

The Qur'aan

says, as

was quoted above,


>>s
>,

'

-\

X'-'' '\-'{'t

> ''*\'

i-*iif T'r'*

\<"

<Anil all that

we

relate to

gers

is

in

order that
to

you (() Muhammad) ol the news ol the messenWe may make your heart strong ami firm! And in this
as ait

has

come

you the truth, as well

admonition

<tn<l

,i

reminder for the

believers* [11:1201

2)

To

simplify

its

memorisation and understanding by the Companions.


ol

The

piece-meal revelations

the Qur'aan

made

it

easier lor the

Companions

to

understand, memorise and implement the portions that were revealed. If the Qur'aan

had been revealed


understand
all

all at
its

once,

it

might have been very

difficult lor the

of

verses properly. Yet, with gradual revelations, the


correctly.

Companions to Companions

understood and implemented the Qur'aan

84

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

The Companions adopted


sors gradually,

the procedure of teaching the Qur'aan to the Succes-

even alter

its

revelation

had been completed, and


(d.

its

compilation

fin-

ished.

Aboo 'Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulamce

70 A.H.), a very famous Successor,


like

narrates that

whenever the people who taught them the Qur'aan,


until they

'Abdullaah ibn

Mas'ood, 'Uthmaan ibn 'Affaan, and others, would learn ten verses of the Qur'aan,
they

would not proceed onwards


ideas

had learnt whatever concepts and regula-

tions those verses contained.

They used
all

studied

its

and injunctions

"We learnt the text ot the Qur'aan, and ^ Another Successor, Aboo Nadrah (d. together."
to say,
1

109 A.H.), related,

"We used
'

to learn

from Aboo Sa'eed al-Khudree

five verses in

the

morning, and
five verses at a

five in

the evening, tor he told us that fibred used to bring (on average)
1
1 '

time."

Thus, even

after the

complete revelation of the Qur'aan, the

Companions adopted the same gradual approach in teaching it to the later generations. They had learnt the benefits of teaching the Qur'aan gradually from the piecemeal revelation
It

ot the Qur'aan.
that,
it

can also be said

had the Qur'aan been revealed


might have led
to a feeling ot

all at

once, in book lorm (as


to

the

To rah was

revealed),

complacency with regards

the preservation ot the Qur'aan. Instead,


occasionally, there

due

to the fact that verses

were revealed

and written.
3)

was a strong incentive to ensure that the verses were memorised This was crucial for the preservation of the Qur'aan.
(-^).
to

To prove the truthfulness of the Prophet


idolaters

The
said,

and the People ot the Book used

ask the Prophet

(yg)

questions in

order to outwit him, but every time Allaah would reply to their queries. As Ibn 'Abbaas

"Whenever the disbelievers brought a new question would reveal to them an answer (through the Qur'aan)."
to this aspect

to the
1

'"

Prophet (3|D, Allaah The Qur'aan itsell refers

of the revelation,

And no example
you) except dial

or similitude
reveal to

do they hring

(to

oppose or

to find fault in

We

you the truth (against

this similitude),

and the

better explanation thereof" [25:33]

There are many examples

of such verses;

when

the idolaters

demanded

miracles

from the Prophet (jg), Allaah revealed.

155

Ibn Taymiyyah. Principles, p. 12.


p. 110.

156 Qattaan. 157

ibid., p. 110.

Gradual Revelation

85

And even
to

il

them, and

We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken We had gathered together all things before their very eyes, they
willed, but

would not have believed unless Allaah


norantly
[6:
1 1 1

most of them behave

ig-

Included

in this

category arc the answers that the Prophet

(-^g)

gave to the prob-

lems that the believers faced. Whenever a situation or crises arose, the Qur'aan would
clearly lay out the solution.
to the

For example,

when Khawlah

bint Tha'labah

complained
1

Prophet

(_

that her

husband had made himself unlawful

to her,

'"'

Allaah

revealed.

Indeed Allaah has heard the statement ol she

who

disputes with you con-

cerning her husband, and complains to Allaah. Allaah hears the argument

between both

of"

you;

verily.

Allaah

is

All-Hearing, All-Sccing |58:l

whose Hearing encompasses all voices! The woman came complaining to the Prophet (#|), and I was sitting in the corner of the room, straining to hear what she was saying (in one narration, 'I could hear some
'Aa'ishah reports, "All praise be to Allaah,
of
it

and some of

it

could

not'),

and immediately Allaah's revelation came down,

'Indeed Allaah has heard the statement of she

who disputes

with you concerning her

husband, and complains to Allaah...'"

'1
1

'

Even though

'Aa'ishah

was

sitting in the
all

same room, she was not able


to

to

hear the entire conversation, yet Allaah,

Praise be

Him, heard

it

from above the seven heavens, and immediately sent down these

verses to solve the


lace the

problem between them, and also between

all

future spouses

who

same problem.
fact that the

Therefore, the
tions

Qur'aan came down immediately to cater


it

to the

ques-

and problems of the people proved that


(jjjg).

was

in fact the

word

ol

Allaah, re-

vealed through the Prophet


4)

To prove

the miraculous nature of the

Quraan.
it

Indeed, one of the most outstanding miracles of the Qur'aan was that
vealed over a period of two decades;
idolaters,
it it

was

re-

catered to a plethora of

answered many questions from believers and situations, it solved a wide variety of problems, it

frequently

commanded
of its
six

the Prophet (-^)

and the
is

believers to a course of action,

and

yet not a single

thousand plus verses

contradicted by another!
is

A humaninvariably

authored book

of this size

and nature, even

if

written instantaneously,

158

the hack of

The Arabs had a custom known as ithihuar, in which a man would tell his wife, "You arc to me like my mother." This statement meant that the man had taken a vow upon himself not to approach
It

his wife sexually.

was as

il'the

woman

had been put in

"suspended'

state: neither

was she divorced so that

she could remarry, nor was she a proper wife to the husband. After this particular incident, the Qur'aan
prohibited this act
(cf.

58:1-10)

159 Narrated bv al-Bukhaarce.

86

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

bound

to contain errors
it is

and contradictions; how much greater the miracle of twenty-three


years!

ol

the

Qur'aan when

revealed over a period

To add

to

its

miracu-

lous nature, the order


rather, the

and arrangement

ol the verses

Prophet

(%?,)

would

instruct his

was not done chronologically Companions of the location ol any new


ol

verses.

The Qur'aan was


intricate

literally

assembled out

the fragmcntal revelations.


a period ol

It

was

as

if

an

puzzle was perfectly pieced together during

over two

decades to form

a flawless masterpiece.

The Qur'aan challenges.

j $h X T.'^^ \\A\^\ A \

Do

they not ponder over the Qur'aan? For indeed, had

it

been from other


in it |4:S2|

than AILum. they would surely have found


5)

many contradictions in a

To

reveal the laws of Islaam - the Sharee'ah


to the

gradual manner.

Among the blessings of Allaah


tially,

laws of Islaam gradually, and thus


there were

no

specific

Companions is that He revealed to them the made it easier tor them to adopt these laws. Inilaws ol" lialaal and haraain.'"' The Companions during
this stage,

the
ol

Makkan

stage were being trained spiritually so that they could lorm the nucleus

the future

Muslim

state in

Madeenah. Once they had passed

Allaah then
to

completed the revelation of the sharee'ah in gradual


the lifestyle of Islaam.
It

steps, so that they

could adapt

can be seen that the

first

revelations

warned against slnrl{, and proved the


to

exist-

ence of Allaah through His Creation. These verses called upon the pagans
the one true

worship

God, and
of

not to call

upon others

for help

and

aid.

They

elaborated the

unique concept

tawheed, and instilled in the early Muslims the strong faith that

they needed to overcome the persecution of the idolaters.

Soon

after this, revelations


1

came down
This
fact

establishing the basics ol worship, and warning against the major sins.

"

was

staled by Aa'ishah
(i.e.,

when

she commented, "The

first

revelations only

mentioned Heaven ami Hell


verse revealed was,

the basics ol aqecdah). Eventually,

when

the peo-

ple were firm in their conviction ol Islaam, Allaah revealed the luilaal
If the
will
first

and \\\clnnaam.
fornicate," they

'Do not drink wine,' they would have responded, 'We


if

never give up wine!'

And

the

first

verse revealed was,


fornication! '"
,2

'Do no

would have responded, 'We will nevcrgive up

Thus, the laws of Islaam

were revealed gradually, to ease the process of conversion upon the early Muslims.
6)

To

ease the revelation process on the Prophet (^).


inspiration, or ivahy,

The process ol
mentioned

was

a difficult

one

for the

Prophet

(i^g),

as

was

in the last chapter.

At times, he used to sweat profusely, even on

a cold

160 See Chapter


161
\l>2

6,

"Tin- malice
lliis.

and madanee

Verses." for further details.


v. I.

For turther details on

see 7.ari|.iaiKe.

p. l7.

Narrated

In'

al-Hukhaarec.

Gradual Revelation

87

night,

because ol the severity of the inspiration.


it

Had

the

Quraan been

revealed

all at

once,

might have been too

difficult lor

the Prophet

() to bear.

great scholar

To summarise the concept of the gradual revelation, it is appropriate to quote die and interpreter ol the Qur'aan, Aboo al-Fidaa Ismaa'eel ibn 'Umar (d.

774 A.H.), otherwise

known
this

as Ibn Katheer,

who

stated:"

'

And

all

of

(meaning the concept of the gradual revelation) only


status that
to

shows the concern, and the high


since the revelation

was given

to the

Prophet

(i^g),

would come

him

continually,

morning and evening,

night and day,

at

home
the

or while travelling.

And

every time the angel would

come

to

him with

Quraan, unlike

the previous prophets,


(=gg)

who would
greater,

he-

given their books at once. So the status of the Prophet


higher,

was

and

and more magnificent from


all

all

of his fellow prophets - may Allaah

send His blessing and Mercy to

of them.
to

The Qur'aan

is

the most
the

honoured book

be revealed by Allaah. and

Muhammad
And
I

(i^g)

is

most honoured prophet that was senl by Allaah.


the rc\ elation
all at ol

Allaah combined

le tirst

revealed the Qur'aan

once,
it

Quraan the i procedures: Irom the Lauh al-Mahfoodk to the


the
<>

lower heavens, and


situation

He

then revealed

to earth gradually, to cater to the

and needs of the people.

65 Tafieer Ibn Kathecr, 3/318.

II

J
l

I.

The

First

and the

Last Revelations

The changing
nicated to him.

point in the

lite ol

the Prophet
ol

Muhammad

(-^S) -

and

lor all ol

humanity afterwards

was the occurrence

the (-^)

first

revelation that Allaah


like

commu-

human

before

From this point onwards, he him had:

had a mission the

of which no

so thai you

may warn

the

Mother of Cities and


it,

nil

that

surrounds

it

|42:7|
1

meaning

the entire world, or as Ihn Katheer puts

"all

lands east and west"

"4
!

In

no

unexplicit terms, the Qur'aan lays out the

monumental

task of the Prophet (^g):

Say, '()

Mankind!

Verily

am

sent to

you
I

all as

the Messenger ol Allaah. to

Whom
The Prophet
kind:

belongs the Dominions ot the


($^,)

leavens anil the Earth...


final

|7:1SS|

was

to

be the recipient of the Creator's

Revelation to

Man-

And

truly, this

(Qur'aan)

is

a Revelation

from the Lord of the Worlds:

Which
heart

the trustworthy Spirit (Angel Jibreel) has brought

down; Upon Your

(O Muhammad),

so that

you

may be one

of the warners [26:192-4]


(5^5)

But what was the


last?

first

revelation that the Prophet

received?

And what was the

64

Thfseer tbn K.ir/im 4/ 109.

The

First

and Last Revelations

89

l.

The
1 )

First Revelation
first

There are four opinions concerning the

verses that the Prophet (-yg> received.

The

first five

verses of Somali al-'Alaq:

Read! In the

Name

of your L.ord,

Who

has created
is

(all

that exists}.

las

Created

man from
[96:1-5]

a clot.

Read!

Verily,

your Lord

the Most Generous.


that

Who
The
in

lias

taught (the writing) by the Pen.

Mas taught man

which he

knew not-

prool lor this opinion


said,

is i\\c

hadecth narrated by al-Bukhaarcc from 'Aa'ishah,

"The commencement of the divine revelation to Allaah's Messenwas in the form of good dreams which came true, like the bright daylight. Then, ger the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him (^,). He used to go for seclusion to the Cave of Hiraa where he used to worship Allaah continuously lor many days, before his desire to see his family (caused him to return). He used to take with him food lor
which she
,

the

stay,

and then come back

to

Khadeejah
in the

to take his

food again, until the truth

descended upon him while he was


him, and asked him to read.
read!"

Cave

of Hiraa'.

The

angel (Jibrcel)

came

to to

The Prophet

(|) responded,

"I

do not know how

me so me to again replied, 'I do not know how to read!' Thereupon he caught me for read, and the second lime, ami pressed me until could not bear Ie then released me and asked me to read. again responded, 'I do now know how to read' (in another narration, "What shall read:'). Thereupon, he caught me for the third time, and pressed me, and then released me and said,
The Prophet
I I

($g)

added, "The angel grabbed


it

me

(forcibly)

and pressed

hard that

could not bear

any more.

He

then released

me ami
I

again asked

it.

Read! in the

name

ol

your Lord,

who
was

created. Created

man

from

a clot.

Read!

And

your Lord

is

the Most Generous!* |96:1-S| this

This hadeeth clearly shows that


received,

the

first

revelation that the Prophet (-^)

and
is

it

is

the correct opinion.

There
A.H.),

also a narration in at-Tabaraanee

from Aboo Raja al-Ulhaardee

(d.

105

who said. "Aboo Moosaa


sit

al-Asha'aree used to recite the Qur'aan to us, and

we

used to
ments.
to the

around him
l

in a circle (to listen to


'h/rti..'

him).

He
is

used
the

to

wear two white

gar-

When he came to Prophet (^).*" ",

(96:1)

he

said,

'This

first

sooiuh to be revealed

165 az-Zarqaancc,

v.

I.

p. 94.

90

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

2)

Soorah al-Muddathir.
Bukhaarcc.
in

The proof

for this

is

based on another luidceth

in al-

which Jaabir ibn 'Abdillaah was asked, "What


first?"

part ol the Qur'aan

was revealed the

He

"

replied,

Say: () You Enveloped (in garments)" |74:1

was revealed

first."

The

questioner then said,

"I

was informed

that

it

was

Readl In the

Name

of your I.ord.|%:l
I

|"

Jaabir replied, "I

am only

telling

you that which

heard from the Prophet (^), lor


I

he said, heard

'I

was

in the
I

mountain

ol Hiraa',

and when

came down

to the valley (I

a voice), so
I

looked

to the right,
I

me. Then
vealed,

looked to the skies, and


I

and to the left, anil in Iront of me, and behind saw him meaning Jibreel - and a great fear
re-

overtook me! So

returned to Ivhadeejah, and told her to cover me. Allaah then

Say: <) Yhi Enveloped (in garments)*

|'"
7-4-:
1

This hadecth has been explained by saying


soorah had been revealed in
in
its its

that Jaabir told the questioner

which

entirety

first,

since Soorah al-Muddathir

was revealed

entirety belore the

remaining verses

ol

Soorah al-'Alaq. Alternately; some schol-

ars

have claimed that Jaabir was not present when the Prophet (^g) began narrating

the above luidceth in

which he

(3ig)

described his encounter with Jibreel, but entered


in his narration.
is

while the Prophet

(3gg)

was mid-way

Therefore, Jaabir only heartl


ol this
I

the last part ol the hadecth. This opinion


luidceth, in

supported by another narration

which Jaabir

stated that the Prophet (igg) said.


I

"While

was walking,
visited

heard a voice Irom the

sky.

looked up and saw the same angel

who had

me at

the cave ol Hiraa' sitting on a chair between the sky


tion. Jaabir

and the

earth..."""' In this narra-

mentions that the Prophet (^g)


that the
first

hail already seen Jibreel before this inci-

dent,

which proves

revelation hail already occurred.

Whatever the case might


(the Risthadeeth)
first,
is

be, the luidceth


first

explicit that the

which describes the encounter with Jibreel five verses ol Soorah al-'Alaq were revealed
\~

and
is

that the next revelation

was Soorah al-Muddathir. Therefore,

this

second

opinion
3)

the weaker one.


is

Soorah al-Faatihah. There


revelation
fore,
it

a narration in

al-Rayhaqee that
this narration
is

states that the first

was Soorah al-Faatihah. However,

not authentic, there-

does not hold any weight.


hadecth, reported by al-Waahidee, states that the
first

4)

The Banna/ah. Another

166 Reported by al-Bukhaaree.

The
verse revealed

Firsi anil Last

Revelations

91

was the basimiLih. "In the

Name

ol

Allaah, the Ever Merciful, the

Bestower
proof.'"
7

ol

Mercy," but this report too

is

not authentic, and cannot be taken as

II.

The

Last Revelation
a

There are
(i^5)

number
is

ot opinions

concerning the
is

last

revelation that the Prophet

received. This

because there

more than one hadeeth which


unlike the

discusses this
revelation,

subject,

each one of which gives

a different verse. Also,

first

there docs not exist any


final revelation

hadeeth in

which the Prophet (Sg) himself


last

states

what the

was. There are eleven opinions concerning the

revelation, as fol-

lows:
I)

IMi

Al-Bukhaarcc and at-Tabarec narrate from Ibn Abbaas


vealed to the Prophet (#,) was,

that the last verse re-

4*

And

fear the

day

in

which you

will return t" Allaah.

Then everyone

will
|

be

paid what he earned, and they will not be dealt with unjustly* |2:28l

Ibn "Abbaas added, "The Prophet


vealed, then he (^g) passed away."
2)

(3gg) lived

nine

nights after this verse

was

re-

Another narration, also by al-Bukhaaree Irom Ibn 'Abbaas.


verse revealed

states that the last

was

the 'Verse of Interest",

4i)l

\jaS\

\j-\'-

-^Jt JJl Ljj Uj

.()

you
il

who
you

believe! Fear Allaah,

and give up whal remains Irom your

in-

terest,

are indeed Believers |2:278| (d.

5)

At-Tabaree reported that Sa'eed ibn al-Mussayyib


final verse

90 A.H.) narrated, "The

revealed to the Messenger (3g)

was

the "Verse of Loaning',

( )

you

who

believe!

II

you COntraci a debt

lor a lixed time, write

il

down

12:282
-I)

Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim report from al-Baraa' ibn 'Aazib that the

final verse-

was the verse of l^ahhihih


ants).

(a

person

who

does not leave ascendants or descend-

167 Both
is

ol the

above narrations an- weak since the name


96.
<S<I-H-1:

ol

du Companion who

narrated each hadeeth

missing:
168
ct;

cl. '/..ir/.ur. p.

Ubaydaat, pps.

Qauaan.

pps.

<>9

71: Zar/.ur. pps. 97-IIMI.

92

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

't."w>if

.' fc

.'>-'c^i--Allaah directs thus about \alaalah...

<

They ask you

for a legal verdict. Say:

|4:1761

5)

Al-Haakim
the last

reports

from Ubay ibn Ka'ab that the

final revelation

comprised

of

two

verses ot'Soorah at-Tawbah,

l^=a_ii \ 3

"\yj

r^

3 *W-J^

A
6)

(.rily.

there has

come unto you

a Messenger from amongst yourselves..."

[9:128-9]

Muslim
Nasr,

reports from Ibn 'Abbaas that the final soorah revealed

was Soorah an-

s,< xi <^4-"i?** *- <Tf

i?\*

"'~\^v\

When
7)

the

Help of Allaah conies

to you,

and the Conquest (ofMakkah)...*

[110:1-4]

Al-Bukhaarce reports from Ibn 'Abbaas that the

verse,

And whoever

kills a

Believer intentionally, his recompense

is

Hell, to abide

therein forever..." [4:93]

was the
S)

last

verse revealed,

and no verse

after

it

abrogated

it.

Ibn

Mardawayh

narrates from

Umm Salama:

"The

final verse revealed

was,

So their Lord answered them


to be lost the

(their prayers,

and

said),

"Never will

allow

work of any of you, be he male


1

or female. You are (members)

one

ol another..."' 1: 195

This (verse was revealed) because


Allaah always mentions
revealed,

asked. 'O Messenger of Allaah!

see that
(lirst)

men

(in the

Qur'aan). but not women!" So Allaah

The
Do
not wish for those things which AJlaah has

First

and Last Revelations

93

made some of you

to excel for

over others. For

men
a

there

is

reward

for

what they have earned, and

women
and then

there

is

reward

for

what they have earned. ..|4:32|

He

revealed the verse,

Verily, the

Muslim men and women, and

the believing

men and women...

Allaah has prepared lor them forgiveness, and a great reward- [33:35]

and

finally

Me

revealed,

$b&$+ i#$&w
i

Ncver

will

allow to he
last

lost the

work

ol

any of

you... [3:195]

Therefore,
9)

it

was the

verse revealed."
last soorcth re-

At-Tirmidhee and al-Haakim narrated from 'Aa'ishah that the


vealed was Soorah al-Maa'idah.

10)

At-Tabaree reported that Mu'aawiyah ibn Abec Sufyaan claimed that the
verse revealed

last

was the

last verse
last

oiSoorah al-Kahf (18:1

10).

11)

It

has been said that the

verse revealed was.

Today

have perfected your religion for you. and have Completed

My

Fa-

vours upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion [5:3]

A cursory

look at these opinions removes


last

many of them,

since each

Companion

was narrating the

verse to be revealed concerning a particular topic. Al-Baraa' ibn

'Aazib was referring to the final verse revealed concerning the laws of inheritance;

Umm Salama was referring to the last verse revealed concerning the relative status of
men and women; concerning 4:93, Ibn
rogated
of
it,"

'Abbaas' statement, "And no verse after

it

ab-

shows

that he

was

referring to the last verse revealed concerning the laws

manslaughter; and Ibn 'Abbaas' report concerning Soorah al-Nasr talks about the

final

complete soorah revealed, not the

final verse revealed.

The

report of 'Aa'ishah

94

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

that the last soorah to be revealed

soorah to

was Soorah al-Maa'idah means that this was the last be revealed which contained any legal rulings, as other narrations show.
of these verses are from the same passage
is

As

for the first three opinions, all


viz.
is

in the

Qur'aan,
ions, as
it

2:278-82, therefore there


all

no contradiction among these three opinfor

possible that

these verses were revealed together. As-Suyootce stated,


I

"As lor these three (opinions), then


ii

do not see any contradiction between them,

seems as

it

these verses were revealed at the

same time, and

their position in the

mus-hflf is

also the same."'"''


late revelations,
it

The remaining narrations deal with very

but not the

last.

The

strongest opinion

is

the

first

one, since

explicitly

mentions that hardly

week remained between


tion:

its

revelation

and the Prophet's


it

(5) death.

The meaning ol
of Resurrec-

the verse also strengthens this opinion, as

refers to

death and the Day

Ami liar die day in

which yon

will return toAll.i.ih.


\\ ill

Then everyone will be


iiiijiislly1

paid what he carnal, anil liny

nol he dealt with

2:28

As

for the last opinion, this

is

what

is

commonly

believed by most

Muslims

to

be

the last verse revealed:

jSS^JfcfoISIfJJI
Today
I

have I'crlcclid your religion foryou...[5:3|


is

However,

this
at

definitely not the last revelation.

This verse was revealed on the


ol

Day ol
(5^5)

Aralah,

the Farewell Pilgrimage, a


it

number

months before

the Prophet's

death. Since

refers to the

completion of the religion of Islaam,

many Muslims
meant by
ami
{luiluul

have thought that


this verse,

this signified the


is

end

ol the revelation.

What

is

actually

however,

that all the verses dealing with the rulings

of Islaam

luinuim) have been revealed. (This also explains 'Aa'ishah's opinion that the last soorah
to

be revealed was al-Maa'idah,

for this verse


It is

is

in

Soorah al-Maa'idah, and

it

was the

lasi

soorah dealing with legal rulings.)

clear in the luulccth of Ibn 'Abbaas dial the

revelation ol the Qur'aan continued to the Prophet (^g) until only days before he (^g) died. In fact, no

major scholar ever held the view


1

that this

was the

last

verse of the

Qur'aan to be revealed.

'"

169 Itqaan, 170 c

v.

I.

p. J6.

Aim Shahbah,

pps. 125-127.

The
in.

First

and

Last Revelations

Relative First

and Last Verses


dealt with the
first

The
general.

first

two sections

and

last revelations

of the Qur'aan
first

in

The

scholars of Islaam have also divided the subject of the


lirst

and

last rev-

elations conditionally, into separate categories, defining the


tions dealing with particular topics.

and the

last revela-

For example, there are a number of verses


cants.

in the

Qur'aan that deal with

intoxi-

The

lirst

These verses have been arranged chronologically by the scholars of Islaam. verse to mention intoxicants was:

Thcy ask you concerning


great harm,
is

intoxicants
benefit to
is

and games ofchance. Say:


(that

In
is

them

is

and

(also)

some

mankind, but the harm

caused)

greater than the benefit (that

gained)..." [2:219]

The

next verse that was revealed restricted the consumption of intoxicants, such

that they

could only be drunk after the 'Ishaa prayer:

0 You who
aess...[4:43]

believe!

Do

not approach the prayer in a State of drunken

The
tion:

last

verse revealed concerning intoxicants prohibited any

amount

ol

consump-

->'

>*" <*';, '

"

''?~.

"fri>"

Satan only wants


cants... so will

to excite

enmity and hatred between you with


|t:'<1
|

intoxi-

you not then abstain.:


lirst

Another topic

for

which the

and

last verses

have been defined are the verses


first

that deal with the lawful

and prohibited foods. The

verse revealed

was during the

Makkan

stage:

96

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Say:

do not

find in that

which has been inspired


except
if it
is

to a

me

anything forbidbloi >d

den to eat by one


poured
forth,

who wishes to do so,


to

he

dead animal, or

or the flesh

of swine - for that

surely

impure

- or the impi-

ous meat that has been sacrificed

other than Allaah [6:145]

Alter
lastly

this, 16:1 14

was

revealed,

and

this

was followed

in

Madeenah by

2:73,

and

by

5:3,

which

classified the various types ol

dead meats that are forbidden.

A similar examination ol
The knowledge ol
ings
ate the history
this

the verses pertaining tojikaad have also been made. 171


is

chronology
It

essential in differentiating the abrogated rul-

from the applicable ones.

also enables the scholar to understand


it

and appreci-

of the evolution of Islaamic law, and


ol the

demonstrates the care with

which the knowledge

Qur'aan has been preserved.

171

eCAbuShahbah.pps.

129-130.

C H A P

E R

The Makkee and


the Madanee Verses

The Muslims

started out

weak and powerless


all

in

Makkah, and

yet within a

few

decades they managed to unite

the tribes of Arabia in the worship of Allaah.


liijnih of

The
to

turning point in this period was the

the Prophet
finally

(S^g)

from Makkah

Madeenah.
that the

It

was

after the hijrah that the

Muslims
fear.

had
it is

a state in

which they
in a differ-

could practice their religion without any

Therefore,

not surprising to find

Qur'aan catered to the


it

specific

needs of the Muslims

in

Madeenah

ent

way than

had done

in

tent, style

and syntax

of these

Makkah. There is a marked difference in the verse contwo periods, reflecting the different circumstances that
topic that
is

the

Muslims were

in. It is this

the subject of the

malice and madanee

verses.

The Qur'aan
This
is

has been preserved to an extent that


to a

is

unrivalled by any other book.

no surprise
says.

Muslim,

for

Allaah

Iimsell has

promised

to safeguard

it.

The

Qur'aan

&Sj^iM\yJ^(ScA^i
Verily, it is

We who

have sent clown the Rememhrance. and of a surety.

We

will

guard

it

(from corruption)- |f>:9]

The Qur'aan
these aspects
is

has been preserved so carefully that not only has the actual text been
all

safeguarded, but also

related

knowledge

that

is

needed

to

understand

it.

Among

the science of categorising those verses

and soorahs which are mal^ee

and those which are madanee.

The Prophet

(^g) did not specifically

remark whether

a verse

was malice or

madanee, but the Companions understood the importance of this topic and carefully
preserved this knowledge, as
said: "I
it is

essential in

understanding the Qur'aan. Ibn Mas'ood


in the

swear by Allaah, besides


I

whom there is no other god, there is no soorah


if

Qur'aan except that


the Qur'aan except

know where it was revealed. And there is not that know the reason behind its revelation. And
I

a single verse in

there were any

person that
reach him.
I

knew more about


would
ride (on

the Qur'aan than

did,

and

it

was

possible for
1

me
:

to

my camel)

towards him

(to get this

knowledge)."

172

Reported by al-Bukhaaree.

98

An
It is

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

because

of this

enthusiasm

of

the

Companions

that all external information

concerning a verse's revelation was preserved. The scholar Aboo Bakr al-Baac]illaanee
(d.

403 A.H.)

said,

l7<

This (preservation)
panions ami Successors,

is

based upon the strong enthusiasm of the


the students

Com-

[usl like

(ol a certain scholar) lollow

up on the works of their teacher,


keep a record ofwh.it he wrote

anil

memorize

his

speeches and hooks, anil


last,

first

and what he wrote

so too the

Qur'aan
it

was (preserved) was even


stronger.

in tact to

an even greater

extent, for the eagerness lor

Thus,

it

is

not

uncommon

to find a

Companion

narrating external information


at first

concerning a

verse's revelation

- information that might


of revelation,

seem

irrelevant.

Such
cir-

information included the time and place

and sometimes even the

cumstances the Prophet


9:1 18

(i^,) was in. For example, al-Bukhaaree narrates that verse was revealed atTabook during the last third of the night, when the Prophet (jgg) was with Umm Salamah. Ibn Mas'ood said, "Once, we were with the Prophet (-yg) in

one

of the caves of Mina

when

Allaah revealed,
V'

By the winds sent

forth...-" |77:1|.'"'

And

the verse,

"Allaah will protect you from mankind" |v67|

was revealed
guards."
tent

'at

night

when

the Prophet (S^) was in a tent, surrounded by body(5gg) lifted

When
l,s

Allaah revealed this verse, the Prophet

the covering ol the

ami

said to his bodyguards,

"O people! You may

lease, lor Allaah has


1 '
1

promised

to

protect me."
First,
it is

After this, the Prophet (^g) never took any bodyguards.

essential to discuss the definition otnaf$ee

and madanee

verses.

I.

The Definition of Makkee and Madanee


There are three methodologies by which the
mal{l{ec

and madanee revelations are

defined.

The

first

definition relies

upon

the time of revelation, taking the Prophet's (2^)


this definition,
if

hijrak as the division factor.

According to

if

a verse

was revealed before


it

the hijrah,

it

is

considered ma/(/(ce, and

revealed after the

hijral),

is

considered

madanee. This definition ignores the actual place of revelation. Therefore, those verses
revealed at the Farewell Pilgrimage (8 A.H.), or the

Conquest of Makkah (10 A.H.),

173
1

az-Zarkashee,

v.

I,p. 191.

7-1

Reported by al-Bukhaaree,

75 Reported by at-Tirmidhcc and al-Haakim. 76 For other examples ot this nature, sec Xarzur. pps.
I

56-138.

Nk

M.iiskn

;in<i ih<

M.ui.inii Vitm

-.

yy

would be considered madanee by this definition, even though the actual place of revelation was Makkah. The criterion according to this definition, once again, is the time
of revelation, not place. This
is

the strongest of the three definitions, since

it

is

the

most beneficial, and

is

therefore the

one primarily
the place

utilised

by the scholars

of

Islaam.
If
it

The second
verse

definition relies
in

upon
it

was revealed

Madeenah,

is

where the verse was revealed. madanee, and if it was revealed in Makkah.
at

a
is

malice. Therefore, the verses revealed

Makkah during
first

the Farewell Pilgrimage


alter the hijrah.

would be considered malice, even though they were revealed


criterion here
is

The
flaw

not the time of revelation, as in the


is

definition, but place.

with this definition


(lor

that those verses revealed neither in


at

Makkah nor Madeenah


malice
classification
II

example, the verses revealed

Tabook) would not be

classified as either
its

or madanee, as this definition cannot take such verses into

scheme.
is

The third definition depends upon


tor the

the addressees of the verse.

the verse

meant
if

Quraysh and the

polytheists of

Makkah,
is

it

is

considered malfac, and


it

the

verse

is

addressing the Muslims or hypocrites in Madeenah,

will

be considered
the

madanee.

One ol

the flaws in this definition


specifically

that there are

many verses in

Qur'aan

where the addressees are not


Qur'aan addresses
at

a specific portion of
all

Madeenan. Sometimes, the mankind, such as the People ol the Hook, ami
or

Makkan

other times,
Ii

it

addresses

of the creation.

is

also possible to

combine these three


to

definitions
is

when

dealing with a verse or

soorah

and

to say, tor

example, that the verse

place, yet

malice with regards


which was revealed

whom

it

is

madanee with regards to time and addressing. An example ol this is Soorah


Madeenah, but addresses the polythe-

ar-Ra'ad.
ists ol

after the hijrah in

Makkah.
should also be mentioned that certain modern authors''

It

have divided each

of

Makkan and Madeenan periods into three stages: early, middle, and late revelations. They then attempted to show that each of these three stages has a unique style
the

and

specific subject. Despite the ingenuity

of this classification, there does not seem

to be a very fine line that discerns these stages from

one another.

II.

The Knowledge

of Makkee and Madanee Verses


a verse or soorah
is

There are two ways of knowing whether

malice or madanee.

The first way is by relying upon reports from the Companions; in other words, a Companion specifically states the place and/or time ol revelation, or gives some external information from which the time of revelation can be inferred. The second way is
by personal reasoning, or ijtihaad. In this method, a scholar will take the verses' meaning

and

style into

account ami

try to

'presume' whether the verse


in acceptability.

is

malice or madanee.

These two methods are not equivalent

177

ct".

Salch, pps. lKS->2v

100

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

If there exist reports

from the Companions stating that


this

a particular revelation ocfact.

curred
is

at a certain

lime and place,

knowledge

is

taken as undisputed

This

because the Companions were present at the time of revelation, and were the only

eye-witnesses to the actual revelation process.


It,

on the other band, the ruling that

a certain verse

is

makfcee or madanee was

derived by the ijlihaad of a scholar, then this ruling


scholar applies the
shall

may be
it

accepted or rejected.

The

known

characteristics ot mak){ec

and madanee revelations (which


is

be discussed next)
incorrect.

to arrive at this verdict, but

possible that such a verdict

may be

ill.

The Attributes
This
is

of

Makkee and Madanee


is

Revelations
that they each

One of the aspects ot'nia/(/(ee and madanee revelations


attributes.
state of the

have unique
need.

because each type

of revelation catered to a different

The
of

Muslims

differed greatly before


still

and

after the hijrah. In the early stages

revelation, Islaam
to

was

a relatively

new

religion,

and the

beliefs ot

Islaam

still

had

be established. In addition, the Muslims were oppressed and had very

little

power,

and thus needed continual moral encouragement. In the second period, however, the

Muslims had
daily

their

own

state

and were
needed

relatively established.
in neeil

The

beliefs of

Islaam
in their

had been revealed, and now the Muslims were

of divine guidance

and

social lives.

They

also

to

know

the rules and conduct ol ji/iaad,

and

the laws of inter-religious conduct.


In other words, as the needs of the

ttmmah

varied according to

its

situation, so did

the style

and content

of the revelation.

The attributes of the mal<l{ee and madanee


ries:

revelations are divided into two categospecific characteristics

the

common themes
Ol

of each type of revelation, and the


each type of revelation.
is It

that

have been observed

of

should not be presumed that

every makfcee
I79

madanee verse

indicative of these particular characteristics

and

themes; rather, these arc general trends that are applicable to most mal{l{cc and madanee
verses.

Common Themes of Makkee and Madanee Verses


The makfcee soorahs have
1

as

common

themes:

The

call to

the pure worship of Allaah (tawheed), by affirming His

Names and
is

Attributes,

and

rejecting

all false

deities

and

idols.

The

tact that

there

only one

true god

is

proven

in these verses.

Many malfam

verses also stress the necessity ot


is

purifying one's worship to Allaah, anil that this


belief of one god.

the logical consequence in the

78 Unless there exist statements to the contrary by other Companions. There arc
inspecting the various reports by

number of methods
beyond

ol

Companions

to arrive at the strongest conclusion, but these are

the scope ol this book. 179 For these attributes, see: az-'/.arkashee, 1/187-191; as-Suyootee. 1/22-23; Qattaan, 6.3-64; Ubaydaal
114-117.

) )

The Makkcc and


2)

the

Madance

Verses

101

The

establishment of the 'aqecdah (beliefs), by affirming belief in prophcthood,

the angels, the previously revealed scriptures, and the


ma/(/(ce soorahs, therefore, elaborated

Day

ol

Judgement.

The

upon the

stories

of the previous prophets,

the description of the

Day

ot Resurrection, the descriptions ol in

Heaven and Hell


ol

and the rewards and punishments


3)

them, and other aspects

'aqecdah.

The

establishment of morality. For example, malice verses called lor good con-

duct, respecting orphan's properties,

and

treating female infants properly (as there

was a custom amongst the Arabs of female infanticide). At this stage, only a broad basis of morality was established; specific laws (concerning lornication, drinking, etc.,)
4)

were not revealed.


of the previous generations.

The

stories

The
trials

mal{l<ec soorahs

emphasised the

sto-

ries of

the previous prophets, and the


the hands of the disbelievers.

and tribulations had received.


arc:

that the believers

faced

at

These soorahs repeatedly warned

the idola-

ters of

the punishment

that the earlier nations

As
1

for the

madance

revelations, their

common

themes

The

perfection of the rituals of worship. In the

of prayer,"*" charity, fasting


2

madance verses, the and pilgrimage were revealed.

detailed laws

The establishment of a system of laws governing individual,


concerning the relationship of the Islaamic
ship of the Muslims
cific

familial

and

societal

relationships. Included in this are laws forjihaad, marriage, inheritance, the laws
state in

with other religious groups,

war and peace, the relationand the punishments for spe-

crimes (Iwdood).
discussion with the Jews and Christians concerning their religions, and an

3)

The

exposition of their faults and shortcomings.


the Christians

The madance verses sought to


by exposing the corruption
ol

invite

and Jews

to Islaam, primarily

in their

books and

beliefs,

and by explaining the true teachings


their faithlessness

Moosaa and

'Eesaa.

The madance verses

also discussed in detail the history of the Children ol Israa'eel,

and how Allaah dealt with


4)

and

treachery.

The exposition of the plots of the hypocrites. The Madcenan phase witnessed a new phenomenon that was unknown to the Muslims of Makkah -that of hypocrisy.

For the

first

time,

it

was

socially

and

politically

advantageous

to be consid-

ered a Muslim, and this led to a

new breed

of people, those

who

professed belief

but in reality were nothing


tions the hypocrites
evils, anil

and

caution the

more than pretenders! Thus, the madanee verses menwarn the Muslims against their Muslims not be become like them.
their plots, in order to

180 Prayer hail already been established


raku'ats

in the

Makkan

stage, but

it

was

in

Madcenah

that the

number of

were changed and specified

tor all later generations.

102

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Specific Characteristics of

Makkee and Madanee


are:

verses

Some
1

specific characteristics of

makkee revelations
is

Every soonth that has the oath, "Nay (kalaa)V'


Qur'aan,
in

makkee. This oath only occurs

in the last hall of the

over fifteen soorahs.


letters (a/-mttcjatta'aat),

2) All soorahs that

begin with disjointed

such as Alif-

Lam-Meem, and Hu-Meem,


'Imraan.
3) All soorahs 4) Ail soorahs

are makkee, with the exceptions of al-Baqarah

and Aali-

which have

a verse

of prostration (sajdah at-tilaawah) are makkee.


stories of the previous prophets,
\

which mention the

and the

story ol

Aadam and

the creation, are makkee, with the exception ol Soorah al-Baqarah.

5) Generally, the verses in

makkee revelations are short and

succinct, using strong

words and frequent oaths.

Some
1

specific characteristics of

madancc

revelations are:
a

Every verse that mentions a punishment for


)

crime (lutdood)

is

madauee.

Every soorah that mentions the hypocrites

is

madauee, except Soorah al-*Ankaboot.


is

3)

Every soorah that addresses the Jews and Christians


Every soorah that mcniionsjihaad is madanee.

madanee.

4)

5) Generally,

madanee verses are longer than

their

makkee counterparts.

iv.

The
There

Categories of Makkee and


is

Madanee

particular verse

more to the knowledge of makkee and madanee verses than whether a was revealed before or after the hijrah. The scholar Aboo al-Qaasim
an-Naysabooree
(d.

Hasan

ibn

Muhammad
Amongst

406A.H.) wrote:
is

the most noble ol Qur'aanic sciences


its

the

knowledge
tli.it

ol

its

revelation, anil

classification into
vet
is

makkee and madanee, and


thai

huh
at

was

revealed at
yet
is

Makkah

madanee, and

which was revealed


al

Madccnah

makkee, and that which was revealed

ing the people of Madccnah, and that which was revealed

Makkah ,u Madccnah
categories).

concern-

concerning the people of Makkah, and. ..{ninelce/i other


are twenty-five different categories in total;

These

whoever does not know them

and cannot distinguish between them


ofAllaah!
"'
1

is

prohibited from explaining the

Book

Some of the more

important categories arc mentioned below:

*3

181

See

C.h.

').

'The Beginning
v. I.

ol die Soorahs'.

182 18s

a/.-Zarkashcc.

p. 192.

See az-Zarkashce,

p.

I87-2DS

li>r

most of these examples, and .is-Suyoolee. 1/11-31.

The Makkcc and

the

Madancc

Verses

103

The m a /(/{ec soorahs. These arc


hijnth.

the soorahs

whose

verses, or

most ol whose verses,

were revealed before the


2)

The madanee
Those soorahs

soorahs.

These

arc the soorahs

whose

verses, or

most

of

whose

verses,

were revealed

after the hijrah.

3)

in

which there

is

a difference of opinion, so that

it

is

unsure

whether they are malice or madanee.

The madancc

soorahs are: al-Baqarah, Aali-'Imraan, an-Nisaa, al-Maa'idah, al-

Anlaal, at-Tawbah, an-Noor, al-Ahzaab,

Muhammad,

al-Falh, al-Hujuraat, alat-

Hadeed, al-Mujaadalah, al-Hashr, al-Mumtahinah, al-Jumu'ah, al-Munafiqoon,


Talaaq, at-Tahreem, and an-Nasr. These arc twenty soorahs of the Qur'aan.

The

soorahs in

which there

is

a difference of opinion are twelve in

number:

alal-

Faatihah, ar-Ra'ad, ar-Rahmaan, as-Saff, at-Taghaabun, al-Muttafifeen. al-Qadr,

Bayinnah, az-Zilzaal, al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Naas.

The
4)

rest

of the eighty-two soorahs are malice.


in

Malice verses
in general

madanee soorahs. As was alluded


it is

to earlier,

even though a soorah

might
ple,

be madancc,
is

possible that certain verses are mak,/(ee.


yet verse

w For exam-

Soorah al-Anfaal
Allaah
is

madanee,

64

in particular

is

malice. "() Messenger

($!).

Sufficient for

you and

lor the believers

who

follow you!"
is

5)

Madanee

verses in mal{l{ec soorahs. In a similar manner, Soorah al-An'aam

makjfee except lor three verses which were revealed after the hijrah, verses 151-153,

which begin, "Say: Come, and


you..."
6)

will recite to

you what your Lord has forbidden

for

that

That which was revealed at Makkah yet is madanee. In other words, those verses were revealed after the hijrah at Makkah. An example of this is the verse

Today

have perfected your religion

for you,

and have completed my


lile |5:3|

fa-

vours upon you, and chosen Islaam as your way ol

This verse was revealed


the hijrah,
7)
it is

at the

Farewell Pilgrimage, yet since

it

was revealed

after

considered madanee.
in

That which resembles the madancc revelations

content and style yet

is

mal{kcc.

For example.

'^C^JJJ^^^^J
And
offer prayers perfectly at the
1

two ends of the day and

in

some hours ol

the night...-

11:1 14|

fS4

The
and

actual

arrangement

ol the verses

was noi chronological* See Ch. S on the arrangement

ol the

soorahs

verses.

PH An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

This verse was revealed


prayer with
8)
all

at

Makkah and

alludes to the five daily prayers, yet the


until after the hijrah.

of its laws was not completely established


yet
is

That which resembles the malice revelations

madanee. For example,

"Ami when they

(the disbelievers) said. 'OAllaah! If this

is

indeed the truth

Imm

\o\\.

then rain

down

stones

on us from
it

the

sky...' |8:.52|

This verse seems

to be malfcce since

discusses the idolaters oi

Makkah, but was

in fact revealed after the 9)

A ijrah.
in

That which was revealed

Madcenah addressing the Makkans. There are many


its

verses like this, such as Soorah ar-Ra'ad in

entirely,

and the

first

lew verses

ol

Soorah

Tawbah. and Soorah al-Mumtahinah.


10)

That which was revealed at night. For example, the

first

verse ol Soorah alTaalib's death:

Hajj, and the whole of Soorah Maryam. The verse revealed

at

Aboo

"Indeed, you will not guide

whom you
was

love, hut rather

Allaah guides

whom

He

wills- |2S:56]
(jgi;)

was revealed when the Prophet


most
1 1

in his bed.

However,
1

as "Aa'ishah narrated,

of the

Qur'aan was revealed during the daytime.

Makkah to Madeenah. The first soorah to be taken Madeenah was Soorah Yoosut. 'Aul ibn Afra was among the eighty Ansaar who embraced Islaam at the hands of the Prophet ($g) in Makkah (at the second covenant ol al- Aqabah). He returned to Madeenah atter he had memorised Soorah Yoosul, and recited it to the people ol Madeenah, which led to the conversion of many people. After this, more and more soorahs were taken from Makkah to
That which was taken from
to

from

Makkah

Madeenah.
12)

That which was taken from Madeenah

to

Makkah. There were

number of
For

verses that were sent by the Prophet (5gg) to the people of

Makkah

atter the// ijrah.

example, the verse,

^$^j&J$if&$&k

They ask you


-|2:21 7|

(()

Muhammad)

about lighting

in

the Sacred

Months

was revealed when the Muslims of Makkah were being attacked by the pagans
during the Sacred Months. These Muslims asked the Prophet
(jyg)

whether they were

allowed to light back, and Allaah revealed the answer in this verse. Also in this cat-

1X5 az-Zarkashec,v.

I,

p. 191.

The-

Makkcc and

the

Madance

Verses

105

cgory
lims

is

the verse that prohibits interest (2:278), and the verse that informs the
to

Musal-

ofMakkah who were unable


forgive

perform the hijrah that


is

ii

is

possible that Allaah

would

them

(4:99).

Another example

Soonih at-Tawbah (also called

Baraa'ah).

The Prophet

(5^) sent this soorah to

Hajj, so that he could recite the soorah to the polytheists

Aboo Bakr while he was performing ofMakkah.

13) That which was revealed during the hijrah. On the way from Makkah to Madeenah, during the hijrah, Allaah revealed these verses to console the Prophet ($^)

Airily.

He Who

has given you

you back
14)

to the place

of return

(i.e..

(O Muhammad) the Makkah)" |2S:SS]

Qur'aatl will return

That which was taken from Makkah

to Abyssinia.

These

verses were sent by

the Prophet (^g) to Ja'tar ibn

Abee Taalib when he was debating with

the

Negus of

Abyssinia:

pZ j \1SZ

&

^Ak=> &ttl

& Js$\J*1^J
is

()

People ol the Hook:

Come

to a

word

that

just

ami

fair

between us

.mil

you. that
IS)

we worship none

save Allaah. ...| 5:64]

That which was revealed while the Prophet (3^) was travelling. Most of the Qur'aan was revealed when the Prophet (>yg) was not travelling. However, some of
the Qur'aan

was revealed during

battles or travels

away from Makkah

For example, Soorah al-Fath was revealed at Hudaybiyah,


barred from performing 'Umrah.

when

the

or Madeenah. Muslims were

There are other categories

of mal{l{ec

and madance, but these

arc the

more impor-

tant ones, anil will suffice lor the present discussion.

v.

The
Some

Benefits of

Knowing Makkee and Madanee


knowledge
oi nnil{kee

verses
are:

ol the benefits ol the


is

and madanee verses

This knowledge

essential in arriving at a proper


it

understanding and interpreta-

tion of the Qur'aan, as

is

key

to

understanding the reason behind the revelathe verse,

tion ol a verse or soorah .""'

The

lact that

l\Z&\$3<&\'$t&&j&tf%fa
Airily.

He Who

has given you (()

Muhammad)
Makkah)

the Qur'aan will return

you back

to the place

of return

(i.e.,

|28:8S|

was revealed during


is

the hijrah, for example, helps in understanding that Allaah

consoling the Prophet (^g) that he will eventually return to Makkah.

IX()

Sec Ch.

7.

'The Cause of Revelation.'

106

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

2)

This knowledge helps differentiate the abrogated verses from the non-abrogated
ones. For example,
ings,
if

two verses deal with the same topic and give


is

different rul-

but one

is
11

madanee and the other

makfcee, the ruling

is

taken from the

madanee
3)
It

verse.

gives an insight into the

lile

of the Prophet

(,-gg).

For example,

in the

malice

verses, the

Prophet (-^)

is

told by Allaah to bear patiently the torments ol the


(J{g) is

polythcists, while in the

madanee verses he
ol the

told to

beware

ol the plotting
life

of the hypocrites. In each case, the reader gains


ol the

a better

understanding of the

Prophet

(-^g),

and

Companions.
first

4)

It

gives the history ol the gradual revelation ol thesharee'ak. The


beliefs),

anil

most

important topic, that of 'aqeedah (Islaamic

was the primary subject of

the mal^kce revelations. In these soorahs, the Qur'aan talks about lawheed

(mono-

theism), beliel in the prophets, angels, the

Day ol Judgement, Heaven,

Hell and

other crucial topics. In the madanee revelations, on the other hand, the Qur'aan
primarily talks about laws for the individual, family and state.

which

different Islaamic laws


ol ma/(/(ce

were implemented
verses.

is

appreciated

The gradualily by when one gains The

an understanding
t)
It

and madanee

lays out the

procedure and methodology of calling


verses have different

to

Islaam (da'tvah).

ma/^ec and madanee

methods

anil characteristics in calling

to the religion ot Allaah,


ists

depending on

whom

the verse addresses.

The

polvthe-

are given different arguments than the Jews or Christians, tor example.

The

caller to

Islaam should use the same methodology


is

when addressing these groups.

No

matter which group

the importance ol
trust,

hope, prayer,

is always given on - of directing all forms of worship, from love, fear, lawheed sacrifice, and vows only to Allaah. Likewise, all da'tvah should

being addressed, however, emphasis

begin with this same theme.


6)

Lastly,

it

proves the care and detail with which the knowledge

ol the

Qur'aan was

preserved.

A person cannot

help but marvel

at the
II

miracle of the preservation of

each and every intricate detail ol the Qur'aan.

the knowledge ol where,


is it

when

and how
actual

a verse

was revealed has been preserved, then how

possible that the

meaning and

intent ol the verse has not been preserved?

87 Sec Ch.

13,

Abrogation

in

the Qur'aan.'

CHAP T

E R

The Causes of Revelation


asbaab an-nuzool

I.

The

Definition ol Ashaah an-Nu/.ool


(plural:

The sabab an-nuzool


Therefore,
all

asbaab an-nuzool)

is

defined to be the event oroccur-

rencethai was the direct cause of revelation ofa particular verse ovsooralt of the Qur'aan.
the verses ol the

Quraan may

Ik-

divided into two categories with re-

spec! to asbaab an-nuzool, as follows:


1)

The verses revealed withoul


revealed without
a

asabab an-nuzool. Mosi

oi

the verses oi the

wen

particular incident occurring before their revelation.


to

Quraan The

primary purpose for the revelation of the Qur'aan was

^Ui^i^^j
guide mankind oul
<<\

the darkness into the light*

14:1

Inn this docs noi qualify as asabab an-nuzool for the revelation of the Qur'aan, as shall be discussed
later.

As

lor the

statement

ol

Ibn Mas'ood quoted earlier, "...ami there


thai
1

is

not a single

verse in die

Qur'aan excepi

know

the reason behind

its

revelation...," this

docs

not imply dial ever) verse had


a

a specific

cause
ol
ii.

ol revelation,

lun rather thai

when such

cause existed, Ibn Mas'ood was aware


2)

Those

verses revealed in response to


It is

question, or because ol an incident or

occurrence.

these verses that

arc-

the subject

of this chapter.
,i

The sabab an-imzool musi


direct

be a specific incident, occurrence or question thai was


verse or verses. In addition,
it

cause

ol revelation ol a particular

must have
re-

occurred shortly before the revelation. In other words, the verses must have been
vealed in

response to the occurrence, ami give an answer or ruling pertaining to that

occurrence.

An example

ol this are

the verses pertaining 1" inheritance.

All. ih
i.

commands you with

regards toyoui

hildrcn's (inheritance)..." 4:1


1

1IIH

An

Introduction to the Sciences

ol

the

Quraan

were revealed when the Prophet (5g) visited Jaabir inn 'Abdillaah while he was sick, and he asked the Prophet (^g) how he should divide his money among his children. " Therefore, the sabab an-nuzool of this verse was the question

These

verses

that Jaabir asked the

Prophet ($g).
the sabab an-nuzool must be a specific incident; therefore
ot the
it

As was mentioned,
since this
is

cannot he claimed that the sabab an-nuzool


not a specific incident. This
is

Qur'aan was to guide mankind,


is

not to say that the guidance ol mankind

not the purpose of the revelation of the

Quraan, but

rather that such a purpose does

not qualify as sabab an-nuzool. The sabab an-nuzool

must

also have occurred shortly

before the revelation of the verse. Therefore to claim that the sabab an-nuzool ol Soonib
al-Fcel ("I lave
(105:1)),

you not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners
is

ol the

elephants?"
set

was

the attacking ol the Ka'bah by Abrahah,

incorrect.

Abrahah

out

with an army of elephants to destroy the Ka'bah. but this occurred before the Prophet's (Sgg) birth.

Even though

this incident explains the


it

meaning

ol the verses,

it

docs

not qualify

d.S

sabab an-nuzool, since

did not occur immediately preceding the revhistories ol the pre-

elation ol this soorah. Also excluded

Irom sabab an-nuzool are the

vious nations, and the knowledge ol the unseen.

There
but a

is

an occurrence that some authors have discussed under asbaab an-nuzool,


inspection shows that
it

little

does not come directly under

this topic.

This

is

when
verse

the verse precedes the actual occurrence; for example, a verse mentions a pre-

diction that eventually

comes
is

true, or a later occurrence clarifies the

meaning of a

An example of this

the verse.

swear by

this city!

Ami you

arc a free

(man)

in this city...|90:l-2|
(jsjg)

This soorah was revealed


'free'

in

Makkah,

yet the Prophet

was not completely


is

person in

Makkah

until after the Conquest of Makkah. Another example

the

verse,

Thcir multitude will

lie

put to flight,

and they will show their backs*

[54:45]
it

This verse was revealed


have been

at

Makkah, and some of the Companions understood


and thus 'showed
their backs'.
1

to

a prediction ol the Battle of

Badr, since during this battle the pagans ol


"''

Makkah were
to say that the

'put to (light'

However,

it

seems strained
verse, or that

Conquest

ol

Makkah was

the sabab an-nuzool ol the

first

the Battle of Badr

was the sabab an-nuzool of the second. Rather, these verses were
true.

predictions that

came

188 Narrated by nl-Rukhaarcc.

189

ct.

Abu

Sbahbali.

p.

2%,

lor these

ami

oilier

examples.

The Causes of Revelation - Asbaab an-Nuzool


Booths on

109

Asbaub an-Nuzool
specifically

There have been many books written

on the topic

of

asbaab aii-nuzool.
(d.

The

first

person

to write a

book exclusively on

this topic
1

was 'Alec al-Madccncc

234 A.H.), the teacher


this field arc

ollmaam

al-Hukhaarec.

""

The

classics that are available in


(d.

the works by Abul

Hasan Alec al-Waahidcc


(d.

487 A.H.), entitled Asbaub

an-Nuzool, and Jalaal ad-Deen as-Suyootee

91

A.H.). entitled Lubaab un-Nucjool

ft Asbaab an-Nuzool. Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr (d. 852 A.H.) also authored a
topic. In this era,

work on

this

one

of the

most comprehensive works

is

by Khaleefah Aleeway.

entitled ]ami'

an-Nuqool fi Asbaab an-Nuzool, '"' and one


I

of the

most authentic

is

by

the

famous scholar of Yemen, Shaykh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi'cc,


":

entitled Saheeh

al-Musnad min Asbaab an-Nuzool.

II.

The

Derivation or Asbaab an-Nuzool


earlier,
it is

From what has been discussed


ticular

clear that the sabab an-nuzool


is

is

a par-

occurrence

in the lifetime of the


(ijtilnuid) in

Prophet (^). Therefore, there


present

no room
verse.

for

personal reasoning

determining the sabab an-nuzool of any

It is

necessary to rely on the people


ascertain the sabab an-nuzool.

who were

when

the verse

was revealed

to

The

sources for asbaab an-nuzool, therefore, are hadeeth from the Prophet
(d.

(jig),

or

statements from the Companions. Al-Waahidcc

487 A.H.)

said, "It

is

not permit-

ted to speak about asbaab an-nuzool except by transmitting reports from those

who

witnessed the revelation of the Qur'aan."'" Since the


tual revelation

Companions witnessed
is

the ac-

of the Qur'aan, their testimony of asbaab an-nuzool

accepted.

The

scholars have differed with regards to the testimony of the Successors, or the

students of the

Companions: should

their reports of asbaab an-nuzool be accepted?

Some scholars say


Companions,
claiming that
this

that such testimony

from the Successors must have come from the

therefore these narrations

must be accepted. Other scholars respond by


the generation before the

reasoning can be usee) for accepting a narration for sabab an-nuzool


it

from any generation, since

would have come from

it, all

way back

to the

Companions.
is

Perhaps the safest opinion

to say that reports

concern ingsabab an-nuzool will be


for their association

accepted from only those Successors


the

who were well known


as
(d.

with

Companions

anil their
(d.

knowledge of tafseer, such

A.H.), 'Ikrimah

104 A.H.), Sa'eed ibn Jubayr


1

Mujaahid ibn Jabr (d. 103 95 A.H.), and Qataadah as-

Sadoosee(d. 110A.H.).

'4

190 Unfortunately,

liis

work has been

lost, anil is

masters dissertation entitled


Hai| ()
191
.

Imaam

'Alec

al-Madincc
p.

only known through later references of it. See the wa Manhajuhu fi Naqd ar-Rijal by Ikraam Allaali al-

Umm

al-Qurra University, Makkah, 1984.

220.
all

Published by Matabi al-Ashaa'. Riyadh, 1984. This work combines


it

narrations, authentic

and oth-

erwise, concerning asbaab an-nuzool. Therefore,

is

essential to differentiate the authentic narrations Irom


it.

the inauthentic ones before quoting any material


192

Irom

Unfortunately, the publishers name, city and dale of publication are not mentioned.

19? Al-Waahidee, p. 8.
194

as-Suyootee. 1/42.

1(1

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the

Quraan
Asbaaii ,\N-Nr/.o<)i.
in nar-

The Wordings
It is

()]

essential to discuss the different

wordings that the Companions used

rating the sabab an-mtzool of particular verses,


terpreted.

and how these wordings are


to

to

be

ina

This

is

because, occasionally, die


the ruling

Companions intended

imply that
it

particular act

came under
(i.e., "I

of a verse, and not necessarily

that

was the

sabab an-nuzool of that verse. At other times, they conveyed their


the sabab an-nuzool

own

uncertainty in

think this verse

came down

regarding...').
in narrating

There arc two primary ways or wordings thai the Companions used
such incidents.

The
clear

first

manner of phrasing

that

is

(bund

in

the statement of the

Companions
(Sfe)

and unequivocal concerning the sabab an-nuzool of the verse; lor example, the statement: 'The reason this verse was revealed was...,' or. 'The Prophet
is

was asked concerning such-and-such, and


is

so Allaah revealed...' If the sabab anis

nuzool
it.

narrated in such a manner, then there

no doubt or ambiguity

in accepting

The second
for
act.'

type ol phrasing, however,

is

not explicit

and unequivocal

in nature;

example the statement, 'This verse was revealed concerning such-and-such an


Scholars have differed with regards to the acceptance of this type of report as
is

sabab an-nuzool. This

because

this type ol
\\\i:

statement does not necessarily imply that


It

the particular act mentioned was

sabab an-nuzool of the verse.


it

could imply that

the ruling ol the verse applies to that case, or

could also imply that the act was the

sabab an-nuzool. In other words, due to the ambiguity in the wording of the state-

ment,
In
to
;\

it

does not give certain knowledge, and can be interpreted either way.

such a case,

Imaam al-Bukhaaree
(d.

(d.

256 A.H.) took these reports as equivalent

hadev/b of the Prophet (Sg). and accepted them as sabab an-nuzool.


261 A.H.),

On

the other

hand, Imaam Muslim

Ahmad

ibn

Hambal

(d.

204 A.H.) and az-

Zarkashee only accepted such reports to mean that the ruling of the verse applied to
that situation, but the situation
It is

was not

the sabab an-nuzool of the verse.'"

possible that there exists


ol a particular verse.

more than one narration concerning the sabab anwill be discussed in greater detail in the
in this section
(i.e.,
is

nuzool

This occurrence
is

next section. the reports


ing),

The

point that

wished

to

be understood

that,

il

one

ol

is

narrated in an unequivocal, clear


report
is

manner

the fust type of phrasis

and the other

not

(i.e.,

the second type ol phrasing), ihen the former

taken to be the sabab an-nuzool


ing of the verse.

ol

the verse,

and the

latter as

coming under the mean-

Perhaps an example will better


verse:

clarify this point.

The particular example

is

the

At & '^3j>. ij>S jJ Oj>- ^JL-J


'lour wives are a
tions with
tilth lor

you. so go into your

tilth (i.e.,

have sexual

rela-

them) as and when you wish... |2:22?|

l')S

Uh.ml.ut.

p.t.H.

The Causes
The verse has two narrations concerning
"I'his verse
oilier
its

ol

Revelation

Asbaab an-.\'uzool

sabub an-nuzool. Ibn


(i.e.,

Umar
1

narrated,
""

was revealed concerning anal intercourse


verse

to prohibit it)." in

On

the

hand, there exists another narration from [aabir ibn 'Abdillaah

which he

stateil that this

was revealed

in

response to a question from the Ansaar.


if

The

Jews of Madeenah used to claim that


the back'"' then the child

a person had intercourse with his wife from


a deficiency.

would be born with


1

When

the Ansaar asked the

Prophet (^>) about

this superstition,
'"1

Allaah revealed this verse, instructing them that

such intercourse was allowed.


In this example,
it

is

seen that there are two narrations for the sabub an-nuzool

ol

the verse. The narration of Ibn


that the verse
(in

'Umar

is

of the second type of wording.

It

could imply

was revealed
it

in

response to the question, "Is anal intercourse allowed?"


it

which case

wotdd be

ihv subub an-nuzool ot the verse), or

could imply that

(In-

verse prohibits anal intercourse (in

which case

this is
its

one

ot the points that

can be

derived Irom the verse, and has no relation to


[aabir,
a

sabub an-nuzool).

The
in

report of

however,

is

explicit in

its

wording,

in thai the verse

was revealed

response to

particular question Irom the Ansaar.

Faced with these two narrations, both of which are narrated


explicit

in

al-Bukhaaree, the

was revealed in response to the question ol the Ansaar. The narration ot Ibn 'Umar shows that this verse also prohibits anal intercourse, and therefore he said. 'This verse was revealed concerning anal interone takes precedence,
i.e.,

the verse

course.'

in.

Multiple Asbaab an-Nuzool for


There are many instances where there

One Verse
more than one narration concerning
such example concerning verse 2:22^

exisls

the sabub an-nuzool ol a particular verse.

One

has just been mentioned.

When
1)
It

there exist multiple narrations concerning asbaab an-nuzool for a single


1

verse, the following guidelines are used:

""

one of the narrations

is

weak, and the other

is

authentic, then the

weak one

is

rejected

and the authentic one accepted.

For example, there are two reports concerning the subub an-nuzool iorsoorah 93,

>Jfi &j&%^}&^ \\$


I

5 tf^
Your Lord has neither
(s^g)

a die Forenoon!

And

by the Night

when

it is

Still!

Forsaken you nor Hated you![S:l-3|

Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim narrate


spiration tor a tew days, so

that

once the Prophet


ot the

did not receive in-

one

ot the

women

Quraysh

ridiculed him. saying.

1%

Reported

in

al-Bukhaarcc.
it

197 In other words,

he had normal intercourse with

Ins wife

with her back towards him.

198 Reported in al-Bukhaaree. 199


>i:

Ubaydaat, p.70-73, QaQaan 87-91.

112

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

"()

Muhammad,

think your Satan has

left

you." Allaah then revealed these verses in

response to her.
that the Prophet

On

the other hand, there exists a narration in at-Tabaraanee, staling

( jfcg)

did not receive inspiration for a few days, so he started worrying


of the

about

this.

This caused the servant

Prophet

($^5) to

clean the house, and she


it.

discovered a dead

puppy under the bed.


is

When
it

she removed

this soonih

was

re-

vealed. Since this narration


2)
If

weak,-'""

it is

rejected as sabab an-nuzool.


is

both narrations are authentic, then


for preferring
if

investigated to see

it

there are any

grounds

one narration over the other.


is

For example,
nuzool
other
above.
(i.e.,

one

of

them

narrated in a clear

manner

as being the sabab an-

the

first

type of phrasing

mentioned
is

in the previous section),

whereas the

is

not,

then the former narration

accepted, as with the story of the Ansaar

Another reason
tions
is

that

one narration

is

preferred over another

is

if

one

of the narra-

reported by a
at the

Companion who witnessed


is

the sabab an-nuzool of the verse


is

and

was present

time of the revelation, anil another that


accepted.

based on second-hand

information. In this case, the eyewitness report

The

verse.

4V"^ 'bt A^J* &$ ^ij^J

"hcv ask you concerning the Spirit. Say: 'The Spirit

is

from the

command

(or knowledge) ol

my
its

I.ord...'|17:85]

has two reports concerning

sabab an-nuzool.

The first one is reported by Ibn Mas'ood,

who

was walking with the Prophet (Sg) in Madeenah, and he was leaning on a stick. We passed by a group of Jews, who whispered to one another, 'Why ilo you not ask him something (to try to outwit him): *Thcn they asked. 'Tell us about the Spirit.'
said, "I
:

saw the Prophet

(5g) stand for a while, raising his head, so


(S||)

knew he was being

inspired.

When

the inspiration finished, he

read.

4*

' *tf \-"

'

^<i\'

They ask you concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit


(or

is

from the

command

knowledge)

ol

my

Lord,' and ol knowledge, you have only been given

little"

|17:S5|.-""

The second
to baffle

report

is

from Ibn Abbaas,


a to ask

who

said that the polytheists of

Makkah
order

asked the Jews to give them

question that they could ask the Prophet

(3|g), in

him. The lews told (hem

about the

Spirit,

and when they

did, Allaah

revealed these verses. In this report,


(icgl.

it is

the Quraysh

who

are asking the Prophet

and not the

Jews.'"-'

200 There
2(i|

is

an

unknown

narrator in

its

chain. See Ibn Hajr's

comments

in luilh

(v.

8. p.

671

).

Reported in al-Bukhaarec.
Virr.ittil in at-Tirmiilhcc.

202

"

The Causes of Revelation Asbaab


-

an-Niizoul

13

Faced with these two reports, precedence

is

given to the

first

one, since Ibn Mas'ood

was present
})
Ii

at the

time of revelation, whereas Ibn 'Abbaas was not.

both reports are equivalent in authenticity, and there does not exist any means

ol giving preference to
in

any one

ot

them, then

this implies the verse

was revealed

response to both
(d.

ol

the incidents.
is

Ibn Hajr

852 A.H.) said, "There


-""

nothing

to prevent there

being more than

one cause

ol revelation."
is

This stance

taken

when

it is

possible that these incidents occurred during the

same time frame. An example ol this is the 'Verse o\ li'aan' (24:4), which deals with the case of a husband who accuses his wife of adultery without the necessary lour
witnesses.

AI-Bukhaarce narrates
Prophet
(syg) said,

that Hilaal ibn

Umayyah

accused his wife of adultery.

The
1

"O Umayyah!

Either bring your proof (the four witnesses), or else

we will have to punish you (for slander by whipping you with eighty lashes)!"" Umayyah responded. "() Messenger of Allaah (i^g)! A man sees his wile with another man; does he need to go and seek other witnesses!" But the Prophet (-^g) repeated what he had said. Umayyah responded, "I swear by Him who has sent you! I am
truthful,

and Allaah

will reveal to

you (concerning

my

innocence)

to free

me

of the

punishment!"

["hereafter, fibred

came down with

the following verses,

if*.

S" *

Si'S '\*t\tf

'">'> "{>'"

As

tor those

who

accuse their wives, but have no witnesses except themtestify

selves,

then

let

them

four limes, swearing by Allaah that they are

indeed truthful...* [24:6]

However, another narration


with another man, and he
Allaah
(-^g)!

in

al-Bukhaaree

states that

'Uwaymir saw
"(
)

his wife

came

to the

Prophet (^) and asked him,

Messenger of

A man

sees his wife with another

man, should he

kill

him. and then


($g) responded,

himself be killed (for murder), or what should he do?"


"Allaah has revealed verses concerning you
verses of li'aan.

The Prophet

and your spouse."

He

then recited the

Faced with these two authentic reports,


occurred in a similar time frame.
to 4)
,

it

is

concluded that both of these incidents


in

and the verses of li'aan were revealed

response

both of these cases.


If

both reports arc equally authentic and the time frames are

known

to be far

apart, then this implies that the verse

was

revealed

more than once.

203

A leeway,

|>.

15,

204

Up to this
However,

lime, the only verves governing accusations Stated thai an accuser hail to hrinj; tour wit-

nesses lo prove his accusation, or else he


2(lT
il

would he u hipped
i>l
I

lor slander.

seems apparent

that the incident

Iil.i.il

occurred slightly he tore T'waymir's, since


his question.

u hen 'Uwaymir came to the Prophet (Sg), the Prophet (SSI could immediately respond to

14

An

Introduction to the Sciences of"the Qur'aan

In other words, if there exists

which
it is

are authentic,

and none
all of

of

more than one report ai asbaab an-nuzool, all of which can be given preference over the others, and
all

inconceivable that

these incidents occurred simultaneously, then this imof these occasions.


its

plies that the verse


is

was revealed on
is

As az-Zarkashce

stated, "It

possible that a verse


it...

revealed twice, to signify


all

importance, and to remind peo-

ple of

And
is

the

wisdom behind
it is

of this

(meaning the multiple revelation of a


that

single verse),

that

possible that a certain incident or question should be the

cause of the revelation

ol a verse,

but a verse has already been revealed before

it

gives the ruling concerning that incident. Therefore, the the Prophet ($g), so that the people can be

same

verse
to

is

re-revealed to
that the

reminded of it, and


1

show them

verse also contains the ruling of that incident."'

"'

An example

of this type of plural revelation

is

of the verse,

It

is

not proper lor the Prophet

and those who

believe lo ask forgiveness lor

the polytheists anil pagans...* [9:] 13|

There are three reports concerning the revelation


authentic. In addition,
it

of this verse, all of

which are equally


to

is

not possible for


is

all

of these incidents

have occurred

simultaneously.

The

first

report

that of at-Tirmidhcc.

who

reports from 'Alee ibn

Abee Taalib
pagans.

that a person asked forgiveness for his parents, even

though they died


were revealed.

as

When
next

second report
(Jg) sal

The who narrates from Ibn Mas'ood that once the Prophet to a grave, and started crying. Then he (3g) said, "'This grave is the grave
the Prophet {%&)

was informed

of this, these verses

is

from al-Haakim

of

my

mother.

asked Allaah's permission to pray

for her,

but

He

forbade me."

He

($) then read the above verse.

And

lastly.

al-Bukhaaree narrates that when Aboo

Taalib

was on

his

death bed, the Prophet


Jahl taunted

Muslim. However. Aboo


turn

($ig) tried to convince him to become a him, saying, "() Aboo Taalib, are you going to

away from the religion of (your father) 'Abdul Muttalib?" Therefore Aboo Taalib died upon the religion of his father. The Prophet (i^g) said, "I will continue to seek
forgiveness for you as long as
I

am

not prohibited from doing so." At

this.

Allaah

revealed the above verse.

Faced with these three authentic narrations,


three separate times,
It

it is

concluded that

it

was revealed

on each of these occasions.


ol

should be mentioned that some scholars deny that any verse

the Qur'aan was

revealed

more than once. They claim


again.'"'

that

once a verse was revealed, there was no

need to reveal the verse

Therefore,

nuzool such as these, they will


example, with regards
since this
is

try to find
story, ol

when it comes to reports on asbaab anwhich of these reports is the strongest (so, for
do hold the

to the

above

they will prefer the narration in al-Bukhaaree,


hadecth). However, most scholars

the most authentic

book

206 az-Zarkashec, v.

p. 29,31. p. 91.

207 For example, see Qattaan's opinion, in his Mabauhilh

Tlic

Causes of Revelation

Asbaab an-Ntizonl

1^

view that

it

is

possible that certain verses


is

were revealed on more than one occasion,


verses.'""

saying that this

an indication of the importance of such

iv.

Multiple Verses for


It is

One Sabab an-Nuzool


revealed in response to one occasion
the cause of revelation lor a

also possible that a

number ot verses were

or question, thus
different verses.

making one.sabab an-nuzool

number of

For example,

Umm
I

Salamah. one

ol

the wives ol the Prophet (S5). asked,

"O

Messenger of Allaah!

see that Allaah always

mentions

men

(in the

Qur'aan), but not

women!"
In response to her

comment. Allaah revealed

three verses:

firstly,

the verse.

**

ij^2&\ ^j-^r^

tWiJ ^X

ol

Do
there

not wish for that which Allaah has

made some
|4:32|

you

to excel over

others. For
is

men

there
for

is

reward torwh.it they have earned,

.mil lor

women

rewanl

what they have earned..."

secondly, the verse.

,:

:*! ./-v

:*({-

/i *>K"

y.

>
i

'tf\

Verily,

the believing

men

anil

women, ami

the

Muslim men and women,


lor

and the obedient men and women... Allaah has prepared


ness and a great reward" [33:35]

them

lorgive-

and

lastly,

the verse,

Ja*>J* {&**> i^'j'Jj tff^- J*r*


Never will
I

S^ -^ ^ 4

allow to he

lost

the

work of any

ol

you. he he male or female,

ion arc (members),

one

ot

another* |3:l^|

2ox

cl.

az-Zarkashec,

v. I.

pps.

I' 1 - *!.

where

lie lias

whole

section devoted

i<>

such examples.

16

An Immiluction

to

he Sciences of the Qur'aan

There are

.1

number oi

different narrations in

which

Umm

Salamah asked the Mes-

senger ofAllaah (sg) this question, and each narration gives one of these verses. Therefore,
ii is

concluded that

all oi

these verses were revealed because oi this anesahab an-

"'

nuzool,

v.

A Person as
was a source
stated,

Sabab an-Nuzool
to record

The ( Companions used


this

which verses were revealed concerning them,


Qur'aan were revealed concerning me

as

of

honour and

distinction lor them. For example, Sa'ad ion Alice


(or he-

Waqqaas

"Four verses
first

ol the

cause of me). (The drink until


I

one was due

to the fact that)


($&;).

my mother promised

not to eat or

leave the Prophet

Muhammad

Therefore, Allaah revealed,

But ifthey (your parents}


ners "I

try to force

you

to join in

worship with

Me

parttreat

which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them, but


world with kindncss...|31:15]

them

in this

The second verse was revealed concerning the booiy we had captured

in war.
it

There
to

was

sword

that

really liked, so

asked the Messenger

ol

Allaah (^g) to give

me.

Allaah revealed.

-They ask you concerning

tin spoils ol war...[8:l

'The third verse was revealed w hen the Prophet

(3^g) visited

me w hen was
1 I

sick.

asked him,
it?'

'()

Prophet

(jgg)!
I

wish to distribute
'A

my
'

wealth, should

give

away
this,

hall ol

He

answered, 'No!'

then asked.
ol a third

third

le

did not respond to

so from

then onwards (a bequest)


1

was allowed. "'And the lourth one occurred when


ol

was drinking wine with

a
I

group
went

the Ansaar.

One

ol

them

hit

me on my

nose

(because he was drunk), so

to the

Prophet

(5^,) (to

complain), ami then Allaah

revealed the verse prohibiting wine." "

'Umar
ol in

ibn al-Khattaab also reported a

number
(i.e.,

of verses that

came down because

him.

le slated, "1

agreed with

my

Lord
I

my judgement
So Allaah

agreed with
only

my

Lord's)
to take

three matters: ('The lust

was

thai)

asked the Prophet

($gg), 'II

we were

the 'Station of

Ihraahcem vl

as a place of prayer?!'

revealed.

21

W The revelation oi
is

Ik

first

versi

hi

response to I'm
the third by

m
.il

Salamah's question

is

narrated bj
|>.

ai

Tirmidhec,

the Second verse

n.irr.ited

by

Ahmad, and

Haakmi. See OaUaan,

'2.

2 111 Sa'ad was probably refcrringw 2:180, 'It is writ ten for you
.1

when one ofyou approaches death

to leave

will tor Ins parents

and
v. I.

kin..."

211

az-Zarkashcc,
is

p. is.

212 This

the stone that Ihralieiin stood


<

on while he was building

llu
it

Ka'abah.

It

used to he right

ill

front ol the Ka'abah, but during the


tion, a

laliphate oi

"Umar

ibn al-KhaJjaab.

was moved

to its present loca-

lew metres in Iron! ol the door of die Ka'abah.

The Causes

of Revelation

Asbaab an-Nuzool

17

And

take the Station


I

oflbraheem

as a place
),

ofprayer* |2:125|

(The second was when)

tolil

the Prophet

(,

'Verily,

both pious and impious


order them to seclude

people enter (your house and see) your


themselves?' So Allaah revealed,

women. Why don't you

0
(Thirdly,)

you

who

believe! Enter not the Prophet's (sgg) bouses...[33:53]

Allaah willed, the Prophet

once the Prophet's (^) wives complained to him, so I told them, 'If (-^g) could divorce all of you and replace you with better

women.'"'"
In fact,

sometimes the Prophet


not

Muhammad

(i^g)

was himsell
revealed,

the sabcib an-mizool


(^g)

of a verse. For example, al-Bukhaarec reports that once the Prophet

asked

Jibrccl,

"Why do you

visit

us

more often?" Allaah then

And we

(the angels)

do not descend except by the

command of your

Lord..... 1 19:64

In this case, the Prophet's (jgg) question

was

ihc sabab an-nuzool of the verse,

vi.

The

Rulings from these Verses


of a verse
is

If the sabab an-nuzool


ticular case for

known, should the


it

verse only apply to the parall

which

it

was revealed, or should


is

be extended to

cases that the

wording implies?
in

In other words,
is it

the ruling restricted to the specific circumstances

which

it

was

revealed, or

applied according to the generality of the wording of

the verse?

To quote an example,

the oft-quoted verse.

<.And whatever the Messenger gives you, take

it,

and whatever he

forbids

you, abstain from

it...|59:7|

was revealed concerning


to the spoils of war, or

the booty of war. Is this verse then understood to apply only


it

does

apply to everything the Prophet

(Jig)

commanded

or

forbade, since the

wording

of the verse implies this?

The

majority of scholars hold the view that the rulings from such verses are ap-

plied to every case that the

wording

of the verse covers. In other words, the ruling

is

213 Reported by al-Bukliaarec.

The

verse that

'Umar

is

referring to

is

66:S, it

may he

that

il

he divorced

you, his Lord will give him, instead ot you, wives better than you...'

1H

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

noi restricted to the sabab an-nuzool, but rather to every case that

wording
of

oi the verse. In tact,

eration for a
its

comes under the maxims in //</// is, "The considruling comes from the generality of the wording, and not the specificity
one
ol

the popular legal

circumstance

ol revelation."

So, for example, the verses ol li'aan - despite the fact that they were revealed lor
particular persons (the Prophet
(j^g)

even said. "Allaah has revealed verses concerning


are applied to every
is

you and your spouse,"

to

'Uwaymir) -

husband who accuses


it

his

wile ol adultery without bringing any witnesses. This


restrict the

because

is

not possible to

ruling to the circumstances ol


all

its

revelation, lor the

Qur'aan was revealed


not just for the

as a

guidance for

the nations until the

Day of Judgement, and

Companions.
However, there are
apply to the Muslims
a very small

number of verses
this
is

that are specifically

meant

to

apply only for the sabab an-nuzool for which they were revealed. These verses cannot
in

general.

When
to

the case, an inspection into the asbaab


these verses shoidd be applied in

an-nuzool enables the researcher

know whether
(i.e..

general, or whether they are an exception. For example, the verses ol li'aan were re-

vealed concerning a certain circumstance

that a

husband accuses
It

his wife

of

adultery without bringing forth the necessary witnesses).

makes sense

to

apply this

ruling to every similar case. However, the verses that came down to clear 'Aa'ishah of N the (alse charges that were impugned on her arc obviously meant only lor her. and not lor the Muslims in general.

This practice

(ol

taking the ruling from the generality

the specificity ol the sabab)

ol the verse and not from was the one practised by the Companions and those who jurists.

followed them, and by the majority of the


ing die verse only to
its

The

other opinion

that ol applyis

sabab an-nuzool - was held by a small group of jurists, and

definitely the rejected view.

According to these

jurists, in

order to extend the ruling of

the verse

beyond the sabab an-nuzool, analogy

Ujiyaas)

must be resorted

to, as

the

verse cannot be taken to apply to a later case.

Therefore, going back to the

initial

example of the

verse,

"And whatever the Mesto the

senger gives you, take

it...,"

even though the verses were revealed with regards

booty of war, since the wording of the verse implies every

command

anil prohibition

from the Prophet This

(S^g), this

verse

is

applied based on the generality of the wording.

fact is also

proven by the Companions,


in

who

used

this verse as

evidence for

obeying the Prophet (^,)


war. For example, a
that

commands and

prohibitions not related to the spoils of

you curse

woman came to 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood, anil said. "I have those ladies who tattoo themselves or tattoo others, and those
ami those
ladies

heard
ladies

who

get their facial hair removed,

who

create gaps between their

teeth (to look

more

beautiful), thereby

changing the creation of Allaah!"

He answered.

214

'

Aa'ishah was accused

liy

some

hypocrites ol

com miltim; adultery, .mil


ami promised

this accusation spread


first

amongst

the people of

Madccnah.

In response to this false charge, Allaah revealed the


ol this accusation,

twenty utscs of Soonl/l

au-Noor. which cleared 'Aa'ishah

the culprits a severe punishment.

Tin-

Cm uses

of Revelation

\sbaab an- Ntizool

119

"Anil

why should
and

not curse them,

when

the Prophet

(jyg)

has cursed them, and they

arc cursed
to cover,
it.

by Allaah's Book.-" She

replied, "I have read the

whole Qur'aan from cover

yet did not find this (curse)!"


it.

He answered,

"Indeed, had you really read

you would have found

Did you not read the statement of Allaah,

And whatever the Messenger commands you. take


hibits

it,

and whatever he pro-

you from, abstain from

iir" |59:7|

In this case, "Abdullaah ibn


its

Mas'ood used the verse according


to

to the generality

of

meaning

(that the

Qur'aan commands the Muslims


limit
it

obey the Prophet

(<yg) in all

matters),

and did not

to

its

sabab an-nuzool.
it

In

fact, in

an even more

explicit report,
is

was the Prophet (HD himsell who showed

that the ruling

from a verse

to be taken
a

from the generality of the wording, and not

the specific circumstances.

Once,

senger of Allaah (^g)! with

have

man came to the Prophet (-jyg) and said, "O Meskissed a woman that was unlawful for me to kiss, so do

me as you please!" 'Umar chilled him, "Allaah hid your sin, if only you had done the same!" The Prophet (Sgz) remained silent, and did not respond to the man. Alter a while, the man left the gathering. The Prophet (j^g) ordered that he be called, and
when he came,
the Prophet
(>gg) recited a

verse that

had

just

been revealed

to

him:

_ji.

"Verily,

good deeds remove


(j^g)

evil deeils

1:1

H|

In other

words, the Prophet


in

good deeds
Allaah

order for

him

to

be forgiven.

commanded him to follow up this evil dead with The man askeil him. "O Messenger of

(5)! Is this
''

verse only for


this

me?"
to

He

(jfe)

responded, "No, rather

it

is

for

all

of

mankind." 21 Even though


cation ol the verse

person was the sabab an-nuzool of the verse, the appli-

was not limited

him.

vii.

The
To

Benefits ol

Knowing Asbaab an-Nuzool


knowledge are
as follows:

Some
1)

of the benefits ol this

arrive at a

proper understanding of the verse, and remove any misinterpreta-

tions or

doubts concerning the verse's meaning.


is

This by

far

the primary purpose of the


(d.

knowledge
said, "It
is

ol

asbaab an-nuzool. Con-

cerning this topic, al-Waahidee


pret a verse

487 A.H.)
its

impossible to properly inter-

without reflecting over


72 s A.I
I.)

sabab an-nuzool." Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn


ol

Taymiyyah

(d.

said,

"The knowledge
its

asbaab an-nuzool .mis

in

under-

standing the verse, for knowledge ol


application." Ibn

cause

of revelation

produces knowledge of its


is

Daqceq

al-'Ecd

(d.

702 A.H.) stated, "Knowing asbaab an-nuzool

21t Narrated bv al-Hukhaarec,

120

An

Introduction to the Sciences of tlie

Quraan
ol the

powerful tool
that

in

understanding the meaning


is

Quraan."

-So

important

is

thi
1

knowledge

one who

deprived

ol

it

is

prohibited from interpreting the Qur'aan.'

Some examples
'Urwah

will help illustrate the

importance of this

topic.

ibn az-Zubayr read the following verse.

Verily,
it is

(the

mountains

ol) Safa

and Marwa

are from the signs ol Allaali!

So

not a sin on one

who performs Hajj or

'L'mruh to the

House

(ol

Allaah)

to pass

between them[2:158]

The walking between


yet

"Urwah could not


"...

Marwa is an integral aspect of Hajj and 'Umrah, understand how these verses implied this obligation, since the
Sala and
sin...

verse says,

it is

not a

to pass

between them.' From the apparent meaning


is it

of

the verse, there


ligator).

is

no

sin if one

walks between Safa and Marwa, but neither

ob-

He

went

to his aunt, 'Aa'ishah.

then explained that this verse was revealed to clear up


had. In the days before Islaam. there

and asked her concerning these verses. She some doubts that the Muslims two idols, one on Sala and the other used to be

on Marwa, and the pagans


sake
ol

ol

these idols.

When

the

Makkah used to walk between Sala and Marwa lor the Muslims conquered Makkah, they destroyed these idols,
to

but were concerned about this 'pagan' ritual that used to be performed between Sala

and Marwa. Therefore, Allaah revealed

them

that there

was no

sin

on them

for

walking between these mountains. The verse

clarified that the

walk between Safa


ol

and Marwa was an Islaamic


pagans
of old.

practice

and

hail

nothing to do with the practice

the

was not revealed to explain the legal status ol the act of walking between Sala and Marwa. but rather to remove any doubts that the Muslims had with regards to its relationship with the
the verse shows that the verse

The sabab an-nuzool ol

pagan custom

ol old.

After 'Aa'ishah explained the sabab an-nuzool oi this verse,


its

'Urwah

was able

to

understand
is

meaning. 217

Another example

of the following verse,

4l)i Aa-j

lis \jly lHil9

^-ri^j3j^^
faces

Anil to Allaah belongs the Hast


(in prayer),

and West! So wherever you turn your


|2:l 1^|

you

will find the

Face of Allaah"

This verse might lead


to lace the

person to believe that

it

is

not a requirement of the prayer


this to be

Ka'bah. However, the sabab an-nuzool of the verse shows


a

an

incorrect

meaning; the verse was revealed concerning


direction the

group
verse

ol

Muslims who did


revealed, imply-

not

know which

Ka'bah was, so they prayed

in different directions. After

they reported what they had done to the Prophet

(^S). this

was

216 Quotes taken from Ubaydaat,

p.

62 and as-Suyooiee, Labaab an-Nuaool, p.

5.

217 Narrated by al-Hukha.ircc- and Muslim.

The Ca uses
ing that in circumstances where
1

of Revelation

Asbaab an-Nuzool

it is

not possible to ascertain the c/ib/ab, Allaali will

still

accept the prayer.-" According to other reports, this verse was revealed concern-

ing the voluntary prayer of the traveller,

which may be prayed


"

in

any direction. Ihn

'Ulnar said. "This verse was revealed concerning the traveller on his mount. Wherever he laces (his prayer
is

acceptable)."'

In either case, the asbaab an-nuzool clarifies


ol the verse

the misconception that the apparent


Yet

meaning

might cause.

another example

is

concerning the verse,

There

is

no

sin

on those who believe ami

ilo

righteous deeds concerning

what they eat,

if they tear Allaah, and believe, and do righteous deeds|S:93|

The apparent meaning of this


interpret that a pious person

verse caused

ihn Madhoon,'"" to believe that drinking

one of the Companions, Qudaamah wine was allowed. He used this verse to and would not
ol this
be-

was allowed

to eat or drink anything,

held accountable for his diet.

However, had the sabab an-nuzool


to this conclusion.

verse been

known

to

him, he would not have come

response to a question by

and died before


for

This verse was revealed in some Muslims concerning those people who had fought the drinking of alcohol was prohibited; would Allaah punish them

drinking alcohol, or accept their martyrdom? This verse was then revealed, an-

swering them that Allaah would not hold them accountable for what they had eaten
or drank in the past, since these actions
cants.
It

had occurred before the prohibition

of intoxi-

can be seen from these three example that without the asbaab an-nuzool,
difficult,
if

it

would

be very
2)

not impossible, to fully understand these verses.


the circumstances in
in

To understand

which

a verse

was

revealed.
il

There are many verses


the sabab an-nuzool

the

Quraan which would be

impossible to understand
first

were not known. were revealed


It

An example are

the

twenty verses

ol

Soora/i

al-Noor.

These

verses

to clear 'Aa'ishah of the false charges that

were
it

used to disparage her honour.

the sabab an-nuzool of these verses


verses

was unknown,

would be impossible

to

understand what the

were referring

to.

218 alAVaahidee,

p. 30.
v. I,

219 az-Zarqaancc, 220 Almost


all

p.

10.

authors quote the

name
is

ol

Qudaamah

ihn

Madhoon 's

brother,

T'thmaan
(v. 1,

ihn

Madhoon.

when

the) refer to this incident.

This

because az-Zarkashcc, in his al-liurhaan

p. 28), incorrectly as-

mentions 'Ulhmaan as the Companion

who

held this opinion, and almost


a

all later

authors (including

Suyootce) followed him in this error. However,


racy of this.

cursory look

at

any hook

ol history

w ill show the inaccuas-

'Ulhmaan
that

ibn

Madhoon

died after the Battle of Badr, in 2 A.H. (cf al-lsaabah ft Tamyiz


I.

Sahaabah,
clearly

5469), whereas his brother


it

mentions

Qudaamah ibn Madhoon died in the year Mt A.I In fact, Ibn Hajr was Qudaamah who held this Opinion, and 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab had him flogged
ol

during his Caliphate lor drinking wine, and informed him


al-lsaabah,

the error of his interpretation of the verse (if

7103, and

Abu Shahbah,

p. 138).

122

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Likewise,

it

is

necessary to

know

the sabab an-nuzool of the verse,


'> ->
<>

\4^&^&-^<jpdjm**Jb
Verily

Allaah has heard the


[SS:
I ]

woman who

lias

come

to

you complaining ahout

her husband,*
in 3)

order to understand

its

meaning.

To apply

the verses in a proper manner.


verses that were revealed concerning particular, exceptional cases.

There are certain

A know

ledge of the asbaab an-nuzool enables the researcher to

know when

the verses

are applied in general,

and when they are

specific to the case lor

which they were

revealed. In the previous

verses are in reference to

example of the verses in Soorali al-Noor, it is obvious these 'Aa'ishah and her accusers only, the verse reads.

hh%lJ2\J\J^^p\
\'crily

those

who

accuse chaste women... arc cursed in this

lilt-

and the

Hereafter...[24:23]

This verse did not allow any repentance for those

who

accused 'Aa'ishah; however,


1

repentance

is still

accepted from those


it

asbaab an-nuzool,

is

possible to

who accuse other women." By knowing know when to apply the verses according to
to

the the

generality of the wording,


for.

and when

apply

it

specifically to the case

it

was revealed

4)

To know

the person

who

caused the revelation

of the verse. this is

When a Companion was the cause of revelation,


other hand,
if

an honour
is

for

him.

On

the

the cause of revelation

was a

disbeliever, this

a further disgrace for

him. For example, the verses instructing believing


revealed after
so.

women

to

cover themselves was


instruct

'Umar

ibn al-Khattaab asked the Prophet


for

(#j;) to

them
of

to

do

This

is

an honour

'Umar, since the revelation supported the opinion

'Umar.

On

the other hand, the verses that were revealed concerning

Aboo Lahab,

O V^J sA <4^ ^
1

Pcrish the two hands of Aboo Lahab,

and may he perish

loo!-

1:1

are a further humiliation tor him.

The knowledge of asbaab an-nuzool also prevents the application of the verse to the wrong persons. For example, when Mu'aawiyah wanted to nominate his son Yazeed for the position of the next caliph, he instructed all of the governors to make this announcement. The governor ol Madeenah, Marwaan, called the people and asked them to give allegiance to Yazecd, and he said, "This is the custom of Aboo Hakr and
221

Qattaan, p. 80.

The Causes

<>I

Revelation

Aslnnib nn-Nuzool 123

'Umar." 'Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn Abee Bakr said. "Nay, rather the custom
Heraclius!"
his sister

ol

Caesar and

Marwaan tried to capture 'Abd ar-Rahmaan, but he entered the house of Aa'ishah. Marwaan then said, "I swear by Allaah, he is the one this verse is

referring to.

'Bui

he

who

says to his parent,

Woe
Day

to you! ol

Do

you hold on

in the

promise

thai

shall

be raised up (on the

Judgement),

when

the generations

before

me have perished.... these are nothing but talcs ol


"I

the ancient!'*" [46: 1 7]


if

To
tell

this,

'Aa'ishah replied.

swear by Allaah, he

is

not the one;

you wish

can

you the name ofthe person


ol

this verse is referring to."

Therefore, 'Aa'ishah's knowl-

edge

asbaab an-nuzool enabled her to prevent the application ol this verse to one
it

whom

did not refer

to.

222 az-Zarqaanee,

v.

I,

p.

(cf.

el-Isaabak, #5165),

CHAP T E

The Compilation of the


Qur'aan

The compilation
history, lor

ol

the Qur'aan

is

unique phenomenon
to

that

is

peculiar to Islaamic

no other

religious

book can claim

be anywhere near as authentic as the

Qur'aan.
the

The New Testament was authored


arc

over a century alter 'Eesaa's death, and

Old Testament's authors

shrouded in mystery, as are the authors of the Hindu


to

scriptures.

Only the Qur'aan can be claimed

have been preserved

in

its

original

form.

And how can


it

it

not be preserved,

when Allaah

has taken

it

upon Himself to guard

and protect

it?

For

He

says,

0^fc3$G&&fy
Vcrily.
a

We

have sent down


it

this

Remembrance

(the Qur'aan). anil

We

are ol

surety going to protect

(from tampering)" |15:9|


tearful ol forgetting
its

And when

the Prophet

(-ge)

was

verses. Allaah revealed,

*.

Do
lect

not
it

move your tongue with haste concerning


ability to recite it |75:17]

it!

For

it

is

for

Us

to

Col-

and give you the

Allaah describes the Qur'aan

as,

...an

honourable and respected Book. Falsehood cannot approach


of it or from behind
[41:41-42] this
it; it

it

from

in front

is

a revelation

from

One who

is

All-Wise,

Worthy of Praise*

This

is

one

of the

unique blessings that

ummah - and
is

the Prophet

(3^5)

- has

been favoured with over other nations.


Scripture

The Qur'aan

the only divinely-revealed


responsibility ofpre-

whose preservation has been promised by Allaah. The

223 Rhaleefith,p.9.

The Compilation
serving earlier Scriptures had been placed

of the Qur'aan

125

upon

its

recipients, without

any divine

aid.

Allaah mentions, concerning the earlier Scriptures,

_A_Y~i 4J.fr

\j>\^=!j
and the

4jjl

^5j^^Wa>cl^ul Uj jL>-*^ \j Oj^y tj


(judged according to their Scriptures), /or
I

...and the rahbis


to

priests

them was entrusted the protection of the Bool; of Allaah. and hey were witit...

nesses to

[5:44

Thus, the

earlier nations

were given the responsibility

ot protecting their scripol the

tures, in contrast to the


tor.

Qur'aan, whose protection was the responsibility

Crea-

An

unbiased researcher, whether he believes

in the
is
It

prophethood
is

of

Muhammad

Gil) or not,

must conclude

that the

Qur'aan that

present today

the

same Qur'aan

that the Prophet (i8g) taught to the

Companions.

therefore behoves
its

Muslims when

making such bold claims to investigate the manner in which it was preserved.
There

the history ol

compilation, and examine

are three distinct stages ol the compilation ol the Qur'aan.

The
ol

first is

the

preservation of the Qur'aan during the lifetime of the Prophet (5g); the second, de-

compilation
All that

ol the

Qur'aan byAboo Bakr; and the third, the compilation


is

'Uthmaan.

occurred after the compilation of 'Uthmaan

not related to

its

preservation,

and

will not be discussed in as

much

detail.

I.

During the Prophet's


The Prophet
(&,)

($g) Life
itsell

was

sent to an illiterate nation, as the Qur'aan

alludes

to:

]y *o\)

5sJJj s-~^ t+oAnJ Mr-y^ Sw* Mr*


(

He

is

the

one

Who

has sent amongst the illiterate ones a Messenger from


will recite to

amongst themselves, who

them His

signs,

and purify them,


this,

and teach them the Book, and the Wisdom: and before
deed
in manifest error |62:2|

they were in-

Not only was the nation


Prophet
($gz.)

that the Prophet (5g)

was sent
in the

to illiterate, but so

was

the

himself Allaah

commands mankind
>>

Qur'aan:

126

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

S.i\

(()

Muhammad
is

(55)):

'O Mankiiul!

Verily,

am

sent to

you

all.

as the

Messenger of Allaah,
earth.

to

Whom

belongs the dominion of the heavens and


in Allaah.

There

no god except He!' So believe


write...- |7:li8|

and

lis

Messenger.

who

can neither read nor

In another verse, Allaah describes the believers as.

Those

who

follow the unlettered prophet..." [7:I57|

The

fact that

the Prophet (#g) could neither read nor write was

meant

to

be one

oJ

the greatest prools that the Qur'aan

Himself.
literary

It

Muhammad

(gg)

was

illiterate,

was not from him, but rather from the Creator then Irom where did he bring lorth the
itself says:

masterpiece of the Qur'aan?

The Qur'aan

Neither did von

(( )

Muhammad)

read any hook before

it

(i.e..

the revela-

tion ol the Qur'aan). nor did

you write (any hook) with your

right

hand! In
l

that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted"

|2 >:48|.

::

'

In other words,

il

the Prophet (i^)

had been

a writer, anil

one
to

whom

the people-

knew
(5^5)

to be an eloquent author, this


ol

might have given reason

doubt the Prophet's

claim

prophethood; but since the Prophet (^g) was

illiterate, anil

well-known

to be so, then such a doubt could not exist!

The

lact that

the Prophet

(sgg)

and the nation

that he
art ol

was sent

to

was

illiterate

does

not imply that the Arabs had no experience in the

composition and rhetoric.

On

the contrary, the Arabs of the Prophet's (Sg) time had a very strong oral tradition of
poetry,

ami the various


try to

tribes ol

Arabia used to compete with one another


fair ol

in

produc-

ing the most eloquent poems.

The annual
honour
is

of 'Ukaadh was the time when every


his

poet

would

compete
is

lor the

having

poem

posted on the door ol

the Ka'bah.

What

known, however,

that the

knowledge

ol

reading and writing

was minimal. It is said that, at the lime of the advent of Islaam, only seventeen peopleknew how to read and write in Makkah. Thus, the Arabs were forced to pass on
most
ol their history anil poetry orally,

and because of this, they became well known


literary situation ol the people that the

lor their strong


(^yg)

memories. This was the

Prophet

was

sent to.

224

li

should

Ik-

mentioned
to read

that

.i

small

numher

ol classical scholars believed thai

the Prophet (-)

eventually learnt
illiteracy

how
and

and

write.

They claimed
tor
I

that, alter the miracle

of the Qur'aan and his IjSI

was established, there was no need


to read write.

he Prophet (5)

to

remain

illiterate,

and

lluis
is

Allaah taughl

him how

However, the proots

tor llns are not explicit,

and

this

opinion

rejected by the

majority ol scholars. In addition, these 'prools' clearly contradict die <,)ur'a.m's description "I die I'rophci
(Si5)

as being illiterate, ami therefore cannot be accepted. See az-Zarqaancc,


ol ibis point.
1

v.

I.

pps. 564-367 lor an in-

depth discussion 22s Azaini,


p.

The Compilation

ot the

Quraan 127

facts in mind, it is doubtful that the Qur'aan was written down during Makkan period, meaning the first two or three years. However, due to the modest number ofsoorahs revealed, it would have been very easy to memorise this quantity. The prayer (siilaat) had already been made obligatory before the Prophet's n so the Companions would have had to memo(5lS) journey ofal-Israa tea al-Mi'raaj,

With these

the very early

''

rise

thcsoora/is in existence at the time to recite in their prayers.

The earliest

record that exists of the Qur'aan having been written

the sixth year of the

prophethood (seven years before the

hijrah),

down is during when 'Umar ibn al-

Khattaab accepted Islaam.


brought with him

The

story of 'Umar's conversion mentions that his sister

had a saheefah (parchment) that one ot the Companions. Khabaab ibn al-Arath, had
to leach

her family.
this
'

Khabaab would

secretly

come

to the

house of
he

'Umar's brother-in-law with

parchment, and teach them the Qur'aan. This parch-

ment had the


said,

first

few versesof Soorah Taa

Haa

written on

it.

After

'Umar

read

it.

"How

beautiful

and eloquent

is

this speech!""'

and

realised that the

Qur'aan

was a

revelation

from Allaah and accepted Islaam. This story indicates that the Qur'aan
to others

was being recorded and taught


(2^1)

even during the early stages


being persecuted.

of the Prophet's

mission,

when

the

Muslims were

still

The Prophet

($&,)

was

also very concerned about the preservation of the Qur'aan.


Jibrecl recited to

He

(^g) used to be fearful of forgetting the verses that


start

him, so he

used to

repeating the verses even before Jibrecl finished. Allaah then revealed, to

reassure him,

<^0>i^lH^^ ** Jl3 iLllL^ij^


Movc not your tongue with
give you the ability to recite
haste, to recite
it.

It is

for

Us

to collect

it

and

it

|7S:16-1 7|

Also, the Prophet (^) used The Qur'aan mentions,

to

spend large portions of the night reciting the Qur'aan.

' <">

*&

'\'\.''\'\\' \i\\ y '

j -***c \-" ' A\'

Verily,
ol

your Lord knows that you stand


it,

(to pray) a little less

than two thirds


ol
it,

the night, or (sometimes) hall ol

or (sometimes) a third

anil so

do

226

his

is

the (curacy ol the Prophet

(sysp to

which Allaah look him

to Jerusalem,

and trom thence

lo

the Heavens. At this occasion. Allaah obligated the prayer live time a

clay.

Before

this,

the prayer had been


his (J^g)

twice a day.

and according

to the Strongest opinion,

had been obligated the second year of


p. 89.

prophethood. See Mubarakfoarec, Raheeq al-Matfiturn,

227 See Mubaraklooree,


point out that
it

p.

122-4 lor turther details


is

on

the conversion ol 'Umar. Although

some

scholars

thcwwiWol

this story

not authentic, in the details ol


is

thcwraA and

other aspects ol history,

is

not essential that each incident have a perfect isnaad. This

because no law or belief is based on these

stories.

128

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the

Quraan
much of the Qur'aan
as easy

group of

(believers)

with

you....

so recite as

foryou...|7.?:2<)|

In later years,

when

larger portions of the

Qur'aan had been revealed, the Prophet

(^) used
(around

to recite, in

one

rul(uh. Soorah al-Baqarah, Aali-'Imraan.

and

an-N'isaa'

a sixth ot the

Qur'aan).

The concern

that the Prophet

the following narration:

(^) showed in teaching the Qur'aan is shown by 'Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit reported, "Whenever a person mi(-gg)

grated lo Madcenah. the Prophet


teach

would assign him


became
""

to

one of us so that wc could


lower our voices so as not
(5^g)

him

the Qur'aan. Eventually, the nnisjitl

so noisy because of all of this


to

recitation of the
to distort the

Qur'aan that the Prophet (^g) ordered us


(by mixing
all ol

meaning
that

these verses).

Therefore, the Prophet

would ensure

each new Muslim had

a teacher to teach

him

the Qur'aan.

Such was the concern of the Prophet (^g) in teaching the Qur'aan to the new Muslims that he would even send Companions to other cities to ensure that the Muslims in those cities could memorise the Qur'aan. Even before the hijruh, the Prophet (^5) sent two Companions, Ibn Umm Makioom and Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr. to teach
the

Muslims of Madcenah the Qur'aan. After the hijruh. the Prophet

(3^) sent

Mu'aadh

ibn fabal to the hijruh.""

Makkah

to teach the

Qur'aan

to those

who had

not been able to perform

The Companions
Qur'aan.

shared the Prophet's


recite

(Sgg)

concern

for the preservation of the

They would
for

and memorise

as

much of the Qur'aan


if

as possible.

Those

who were famous


Bakr,

having memorised most

not

all

of the Qur'aan were Aboo

'Umar ibn

al-Khattaab,

"Uthmaan

ibn 'Alfaan, 'Alee ibn

Abce Taalib. Hudhaylah


During the
inci-

ibn al-Yamaan, "Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood, 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr. 'Abdullaah ibn 'Abbaas,

L'bay ibn Ka'ab.

Mu'aadh

ibn fabal.

Zayd

ibn Thaabil. and others.

dent

ol Bi'r
\

Mu'oonulr'" alone, which occurred in the fourth year after the hijruh.

seventy reciters (memori/.ers) of the Qur'aan were killed, and a similar


killed in the Battle of

Yamaamah
if

(12 A.H.). This


all

shows

that

many

ol

the

number were Compan-

ions had

memorised most,

not

of the Qur'aan.
that

There are some narrations, however,


of

seem

to

imply that only

a certain

number

people memorised the Qur'aan during the Prophet's (^g) lifetime. For example, a

Anas ibn Maalik as saying that only four people memorised the Qur'aan before the Prophet's (^e) death: Ubay ibn Ka'ab, Mu'aadh ibn fabal, Zayd ibn Thaabil and Aboo Zayd (his name was Qays ibn as-Sakan). Annarration in al-Bukhaaree mentions

other narration, also in al-Bukhaaree, states that the Prophet (^J) said, "Learn the

Qur'aan from four people: 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood, Saalim, Mu'aadh ibn

fabal,

and

Ubay

ibn Ka'ab."

228 Uhay<laat.p.l20.

229 Muharakloorcc.
2
ill

p. 170.

Tin-

Prophet (sS)

hail sent these seventy

Companions
p.

to teach certain trihes these

th.it h.ul

pretended to
(/>'/'/)

show an

interest in Islaam, hut in reality


cl.

were disbelievers.

When
545.

Companions reached

the Well

oI'Ma'oonah, they were massacred,

Muharaktooree.

"

The Compilation of the Qur'aan

129

The meaning
tions,
is

ol these narrations, as

that these

Imaam adh-Dhahabee (d. 748 A.H.) menCompanions were the ones who were the foremost in the memoriand
it

sation ol the Qur'aan.

is

through them that the chains o! narration

ol

the Qur'aan

go hack
in their

to the Prophet ($,) In other words, these

Companions were

the most famous


in teach-

knowledge of the

recitation of the

Qur'aan, and the most prominent

Imaam adh-Dhahabee said, alter mentioning the names ol the seven Companions"' who were the most lamous as having memorised the Qur'aan. "These are the ones whom we know to have memorised the Qur'aan during
ing
it

to the next generation.

the lifetime of the Prophet

(|g),

and the Qur'aan was taken from them


<:

directly,

and

from them originate the chains of narrations (isnaad) of all ten

t/ini'tiut.-

The Qur'aan

was also memorised by other Companions, but


(through any
isinituls)."'

their recitations

have not reached us

During the later periods, the Prophet (j^) also made sure that the Qur'aan was written down, and not just memorised. Al-Bukhaaree reports the following story:

When

it

was

revealed:

Not

equal arc those believers

who

sit

at

home ami

those (hat strive in the

cause of Allaah... [4:95]


the Prophet (5^) said 'Call

Zayd

ilm Thaabit lor


(i.e..

me. and

tell

him

to bring

the ink-pot and the scapula bone the Prophet (S5) told him. Write:

paper and pen).'


are those

"Not equal
verse)'".

When Zayd came, believers who sit at

home and

those... (to the

end ofthe

This incident shows the haste with which the Prophet


to

(^g.)

recorded the Qur'aan

ensure

its

preservation.

Not only did

the Prophet () ensure that the Qur'aan


it

was
nar-

written
rates. "I

down, but he
to

(-^g) also

checked whether

was written

correctly.

Zayd

used to write the Revelation (the Qur'aan) lor the Prophet (5&),and he would

dictate
I

it

me.

When

he finished, he would
I

command

me: 'Read

it

(back to me)!' So

used to recite back to him (what

hail written)..."'"

The parchments on which


ibn Thaabit reported,

the Qur'aan

was written were so

common

that
to

Zayd

"During the

lilettme ol the Prophet


:,
'

(^), we used

compile

the Qur'aan from scraps ol cloth.


soorahs

>

In other words, they used to form the various

and

join the verses scrap

by scrap. The writing materials included cloth, stones,


to the

date-palm leaves, saddles and shoulder blades of animals. According


of Ibn Sa'ad, twenty-four dilferent people acted in the capacity
(315).

Tabaqaal

ol scribes for

the Prophet

among them

the four caliphs, and

Zayd bin

Thaabit.

231

These were: 'Utlima.m ilm


See Chapter

"Allaan. Alee ibn AbeeTaalib,

'Ubay ibn Ka'ab, "Abdullaah ilm Mas'ood,

Zayd ilm Thaabit. Aboo Muosaa al-Ash'aree ami Aboo ad-I)ardaa.


I'll
I I

'The Qira'aal

ol

the

Quraan'

lor details

on the i/ini'atil.

2ii adh-Dhahabee, p. 42.


2^4 al-Hamad. p. 98

235 Reported In al-Haakim.

\M)

An

Introduction to the Sciences ot the

Quraan

Tlie
(5^,)

Companions

also

had

their

own

personal copies of the Qur'aan.

The Prophet
the
23*

had commanded the Companions, "Do not write anything from

me except
it."

Qur'aan.

Whoever

writes anything besides the Qur'aan should burn


that the

So com-

mon,

in fact,

were these mus-hafi


mus-hafi might

Prophet

(3^*)

had

to issue

an order prohib-

iting the

Companions from

travelling to
fall

lor fear that these

enemy territories with copies ot the Qur'aan. into enemy hands and thus be disrespected."'
for their

Those Companions who were famous


the wives of the Prophet (#).
listed

mus-hafi were Ubay ibn Ka'ab,

'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood, 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab, 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib, and some of

over fifteen

Qur'aan.
ol

m These were not complete copies of the Qur'aan, nor was the arrangement
six soorahs,

amongst them 'Aa'ishah and Hafsa. Some sources have Companions who were recorded to have written down most of the

thesooraks in them the same as the later arrangement. For example, Ibn Mas'ood

had one hundred and


is

and the order of ihc soorahs was not the order which one hundred and fourteen soorahs
c/iioo/
''"

present today.

Ubay

ibn Ka'ab also had less than

and, in addition to the soorahs that he had, the prayer lor


also found.
'Scholars'

and a hadeeth are

who
it

try to cast

doubts on the authenticity

of the

Qur'aan use such nar-

rations to try to prove that these additions

were actually

'verses' that

were

left

out of

the Qur'aan, but


as such the

should be remembered that these copies were


written any

for personal use,

and

Companions could have

know

ledge besides the Qur'aan that

they wished to preserve. Az-Zarqaanee writes:

To summarise, some Companions who used

to write the
a

Qur'aan

in

personal imis-luils sometimes wrote material that was not

part ot the

Qur'aan. This (material) might be interpretative clauses for certain obscure


phrases in the Qur'aan. or prayers
(<lt<\uis).

or other similar things.


part ol the Qur'aan.

They

were
ever,

fully

aware
ol

that these additions

were not a

Howwas
of

because

the scarcity ol writing materials, anil since the inus-luils were

lor personal use, they

wrote these additions

in the mus-luif imcc there

no

fear ol

them mixing

the additions thai they


little

had written with the

text

the Qur'aan. Those people ol

intellect tail to take these (actors into

account, and assume that these additions were actually a part ot the Qur'aan.

even though this was not the case.


It

was

the practice of the Prophet (^g) to recite the Qur'aan to the Angel Jibrcel

every year, during the

month

of

Ramadaan. and
(3g*.),

Jibreel

would

also recite

it

back

to

him. Faatimah, the daughter of the Prophet


fided in her, "Jibreel used to recite the

reported that the Prophet

(gjji|)

con-

year he has recited

it

to

me

twice.

whole Qur'aan to me every Ramadaan, but this do not see (any explanation for this) except that

236 Reported by Muslim. This


ions to write

command was
p.

later

abrogated by him. lor he

later

allowed tin

'ompan-

down
I

hadeeth also. See Azami.


p. 179.

22-25.

237 tbtiAbee Daawood,


238
lellery. p.
-I.

239

prayer that

is

meant
v.

to

he recited

in

the
will

ii'ilr

prayer.
in greater detail in

240 az-Zarqaanee,

I,

p. 271.

This point

be discussed

Ch.

17.

The Compilation of the Quraan

>\

my

lime (of death)


to

is

near."'

11

In another narration,
of

Aa'ishah added. "The Prophet

(iS) used

meet fibred every night

Ramadaan.

anil recite to

Therefore, the Prophet


Jibrcel's recitation also,
(ihreel. anil

(^) used
Jihreel

to recite the that

Qur'aan to

him the Qur'aan."2 librccl, and used to hear

and the year

heard

it

from

he (^5) died, he recited the Qur'aan twice to twice. During this last recitation. Zayd ihn Thaahit

was present.

The
written

Prophet

(jig)

did not compile the Qur'aan in one


the

hook during
that the
to he

his lifetime,

nor did he

command
in

Companions
hut he
(i^g)

to

do

so.

He made sure
it

Qur'aan was

down

its totality,

did not order lor


for this:

compiled between

two covers. There are


1)

number ol reasons

There was no pressing need during the


the

lifetime of the Prophet (5g) to

compile

in one book, since the Qur'aan was not in any danger ol being There were numerous Companions who had memorised all of it, and each Companion had memorised various portions ol it.

whole Qur'aan

lost.

2)

During the
since

lifetime of the Prophet


it

(y?,),

the Qur'aan used to be continually refeasible to


yet.

vealed. Therefore
it

would not have been

compile
last

all

of it

in

one book.
only-

had not been completely revealed

The

verse

was revealed

nine days before the death of the Prophet ($g).


.1)

The arrangement
(Sis), in

ol the verses and sooraks was not chronological. Verses that w ere revealed years alter the hijmh could be placed, by the command of the Prophet

the midst

oima^an

verses,

and

vice versa. Therefore, the Prophet ($g)


all its

could not have compiled the Qur'aan in the correct order until

verses

had

been revealed.
4)

There were some revelations


abrogated their recitation.'
tion
1 '

that used to be a part ol the Qur'aan, but Allaah lifetime ol the Prophet
it

During the

(^),

this

abrogatermi-

could occur

at

any time; therefore

was

essential that the

wahy be

nated before the Qur'aan be compiled.

To summarise, when

the Prophet

(-^5)

passed away, the entire Qur'aan had been

memorised by many ol the Companions, and existed in written form, but it had not been compiled between two covers. Rather, it was scattered in loose fragments that
were owned by different people.
plete) copies ol the

Some Companions

also had substantial (yet

incom-

Qur'aan.

II.

The

First

Compilation
(&),

After the death of the Prophet


their Leader,

the

Companions chose

the best of

them

to

be

and Aboo Bakr took over the

affairs of the

Muslims. The

first

issue that

Aboo Bakr

hail to ileal

with was the issue ol apostasy.

Some

'Muslims'

hail

accepted

241

Reported by al-Bukhaarcc.

242 Reported by al-Bukhaarcc.


24> Sec Ch.
1

'Abrogation in the Onr.i.in" lor Innlu-r ilcunls.

132

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the

Quraan

Islaam during the lifetime ol the Prophet (gg) tor political reasons, and immediately
after the death of the
state.

Prophet

(i^g),

refused to give allegiance to the

new

Islaamic

Many ol

these 'Muslims' had given their allegiance to people


series

prophets.

Aboo Bakr then undertook a

of wars that

who claimed to be became known as the 'Wars


Muslim itmmah.
:

of Apostasy' against these people, in order to consolidate the

During one of these

battles, the Battle ol

Companions who had memorised the large number ol qurrad (memorizcrs of the Qur'aan) alarmed 'Umar, and he went to Aboo Bakr and said, "Many of the memorizcrs of the Qur'aan have died, and I am scared lest more die in later battles. This might lead to the loss of the Qur'aan, unless you collect it." 'Umar not only realised the danger of this great loss, but also proposed
a solution.

Yamaamah (12 A.H.), " around seventy Quraan were martvred. The death of such a

Aboo Bakr
Bakr, the one

replied,

"How can

do

that

which the Prophet


Prophet

(3gg)

did not do:"

Aboo

whom

the Prophet (^g) trusted the most in


a project that the
(3gg)

all his affairs,

could not

even think of undertaking


to be done.

had not done, nor ordered

He was

worried that such a project might be considered an innovation in

the religion.

But 'Umar continued


idea,

to convince

him, exhorting him of the merits of such an

and proving

to

him

that such a project

was

in

no way an innovation. 'Umar


compian
act that

realised that this act did not qualify as an innovation in the religion, since the
lation

of the Qur'aan was not

a religious net per.sc, but rather

was of general
to

benefit (musjalhi) to the

Muslims.

He

continued

to

convince Aboo Bakr until Aboo

Bakr understood 'Umar's arguments and agreed


put the

to the project.

They both decided

Companion Zayd bin Thaabit in charge of collecting the entire Qur'aan in one manuscript. Aboo Bakr told him, "You are an intelligent young man, and we do not doubt you. You used to write the revelation for the Prophet (i^g), so we want you
to collect the Qur'aan."
24 ''

The\ chose Zayd because he was the person


ing reasons:
1 )

besl suited for the job, for the follow

He was
also

the primary scribe of the Prophet


said,

(5^5),

and
in

it

was because
Prophet

of this that

Aboo Bakr
Prophet

"You used

to write the revelation for the

(i^g)."

This

is

shown by the above-mentioned narration


(^yg)

al-Bukhaaree in which the

ordered for Zayd to be called. Once, after the Prophet's (HI) death, some people entered in upon Zayd and asked him, "Narrate to us something

from the Prophet

(iig)."

He responded,
I

"And what can


a

narrate to you?

(or,

"And

neighbour of the Prophet (JH), so whenever any inspiration came to him, he would call me to write it...""'"' Zayd,
I

what should

narrate to you?")

used to be

244 This was an attack on Musaylamah the Liar,


bloodiest ol the 'Wars ot Apostasy.'
24*)

who
is

hail

claimed to be a prophet.

It

was one

ol the

The

incident ol the compilation ot the Qur'aan


p. 1.

reported by al-Bukhaarcc. and others.

246 Ibn Alice Daauood.

The Compilation of the Quraan


therefore,

133

was the one

whom

the Prophet

(Sg;)

had entrusted with the writing of

the
2)

Quraan.
had memorised the entire Qur'aan during the
ibn Maalik said,
lifetime of the

He
et's

Prophet

(3j).

Anas

"Only lour people memorised the Qur'aan before the Prophibn Ka'ab,

(^) death: Ubav


247

Mu'aadh

ibn Jabal,

Zayd ibn Thaabit and Aboo

Zayd."
3)

He was

relatively

younger than the other Companions, and thus


had
said, just arrived in

his

memory
years old,

was sharper.

He

narrates concerning himself that


(j|)

when he was eleven


"I

and the Prophet


(??,).

Madeenah.

was brought
This
is

to the

Prophet

and the people

"O Messenger of Allaah

(5^5)!

one of the boys of


I

(the tribe ol)


recited to
4)

Banec an-Najjaar, and he has memorised seventeen soorahs' So the Prophet (t^g), and he was well pleased with that.""'
()

He was

present at time of the Prophet's


before he
(d.
(Sgjg)

last recitation Id Jibrecl in

the

Ramadaan
as-Sulamce

died.

The famous

successor,

Aboo 'Abd ar-Rahmaan


Prophet
in
its

70 A.H.), said, "Zayd witnessed the

last recitation (of the

(i^S) to Jibrecl),

and because
put

of this,
in

Aboo Bakr
ol

relied
it

upon him

compila-

tion, anil

Uthmaan

him

charge

writing

(during the second compila-

tion)."
5)

24 '

He was one
'Uthmaan
(d.

of the most knowledgeable Companions with regards to the

recita-

tion ol the Qur'aan.

preferred

Sulayman ibn Yasaar (d. 100 A.H.) said, "Neither 'Umar nor anyone over Zayd ibn Thaabit when it came to the laws of
recitation of the Qur'aan."

inheritance...

and the

103 A.H.) said, "Zayd ibn Thaabit

with his knowledge of the recitation

Aamiribn Sharaheel ash-Sha'bee overwhelmed and conquered the people (of the Qur'aan), and his knowledge of the

laws of inheritance." Such was his stature

among

the

Companions

that 'Umar,
reciters

'Uthmaan and

"Alee

all

appointed Zayd to be one of the main judges and


in this post until

of Madeenah, and he remained

day he died, Ibn 'Umar

said,

he passed away in 45 A.H. The "May Allaah have mercy on him! He was a scholar
sent out scholars to take over the judicial posts
all

amongst the people. ..'Umar


verdicts

over the Muslims lands, but he kept

Zayd

in

Madeenah

so that he could give

amongst

its

inhabitants!"'""'

ol Zayd as the monumental task, for he had in him all the qualities that were needed for this undertaking. But Zayd too was reluctant, and it was only after both Aboo Bakr and 'Umar convinced him that he agreed to do the task. "It Would have been easier for me to move a mountain than do that which they told me

Thus,

it is

of little surprise that Aboo Bakr and 'Umar both thought


be given this

person

who should

to do,"

he

said.

247

Reported by al-Bnkhaaree.
p. 112.
v. I.

The meaning

ol

is

narration was explained earlier.

248 al-Hamad.

249 az-Zarkashcc.

p. 237. p.
1
1

2^1 All quotes taken Irom al-Hamad,

5.

M An
He

Introduction

i<>

the Sciences of the Qur'aan

set

about collecting the various fragments of the Qur'aan from "the pieces of

wood

anil the chests ol people'.

He

required

at least

two people (besides himself)

who

hail learnt

the verses from the Prophet

(S^g) directly,

and

at least

one written copy of


merit
its

the verse written under the supervision ol the Prophet


into his final compilation.

(-^g). to

acceptance

'Umar

ibn al-Khattaab stood

up

in the

claimed, "Whoever has learnt any Qur'aan from the Prophet (*g)
it

mosque anil prothen let him bring

forth.""

11

At

this,

the people brought

written the Qur'aan.

him the scraps and parchments upon which they had Aboo Hakr told them, "Sit at the door ol the mosque. Whoever
it

brings you two witnesses (tor a verse), then write


interpreted this as

dovvn."

:,:

Some

scholars have

meaning two witnesses and two


I

written copies were required.


last

Zayd

reports, "I collected the Qur'aan, until

found the

two verses ofSoorah

at-Tawbah with Khu/.aymah ibn Thaabii al-Ansaarce:

Thcrc has come to you. from amongst yourselves,


I

.1

Messenger...f9: I2N|

found these verses with him only."'

This report does not mean


In

that only

Khu/.aymah had heard the

verse from the Prophet ($). but rather that he


it.

was the

only one that brought a parchment that had these verses written on

fact,

when

Khu/aymah came. 'Uthmaan


(revealed from) Allaah!"'

ibn 'Affaan said, "I testify that these verses have been

employed by Zayd ensured the authenticity of the compilation. F.ven though Zayd had memorised the entire Qur'aan, and could have written it from
strict criteria

The

his

own memory,
and
($,).

he

still

made

sure that there were at least two other memori/.crs ol

the verse,

a written

copy

ol the verse, written

under the

direct supervision of the

Prophet

The

narration of Khu/.aymah. mentioned above, indicates that

Zayd them

was looking

tor the last

two

verses ol Soom/i at-Tawbah, since he hail heard

(3H), but nobody else had brought forth written copies until Khu/.aymah came. Another narration adds, i could not find a verse that I used to hear from the Prophet (Sag), until 1 found it with a person from the Ansaar, and I did not find it with anybody else.

from the Prophet

Amongst the Believers are


AIIaah |33:23|/

men who

have

lultilleil

their covenant with

so

put

it

in

its

proper soorah." 1
ot the

'*

This narration also proves the what was


not, since

what was part

Qur'aan

anil

Zayd knew he mentioned that he was


fact that

251

Ibn

AUc Daawood, p.

111.

252

ibid,. p. in.

2ss Reported by al-Bukhaaree.


2"H Ibn Abec

Daawood,

p. II.
8.

2ss Ibn Abcc Daawood. p.

The Compilation of the Qur'aan


searching lor a particular verse, and could not find
it. It

135

also proves that the arrange-

ment of the

verses

was known

to the

Companions, because he put the

verse 'in

its

proper soorah.'

Now,

lor the

first

time, the Qur'aan


(jgg),

was

in

one book. Barely two years


still

after the
alive, the

death of the Prophet

when

all

of the major Companions were

Qur'aan had been compiled. The written copy of the Qur'aan was called
(literally

a mus-haj'

meaning

a collection

of loose papers) and remained with Aboo Bakr and.


a wile of

after his death, with

'Umar, then with Hafsah, the daughter of 'Umar and

the Prophet

($,).

The mus-hafthut Aboo Bakr ordered to be collected was not meant


copy that the whole timnnih had
in
its

to be

an

official

to follow. Rather, of

it was meant

to preserve the

Qur'aan

entirety,

and ensure

that

none

plished a

momentous

task. 'Alee ibn

its verses were lost. In this, Aboo Bakr accomAbec Taalib remarked, "The person with the is

greatest rewards with regards to the (compilation) ol the mus-haj

Aboo

Bakr.

May

Allaah's mercy be

on Aboo Bakr, he was the

first

person to compile the Book of

AUaah."

254

There

is

some
itsell

difference of opinion over the arrangement ol the soorahs in


that
lor

Aboo
be an

Bakr's mus-haf. Most of the scholars are of the opinion not concern
official

Aboo

Bakr's mus-haj did


to

with the proper order ol the soorahs,

it

was not meant

copy that was binding upon the


as that

ummah. Others allege


it

the soorahs were in the

same order
preserve
all

of 'Uthmaan. Also,

is

alleged that this mus-haj' was written to


it

the ahruf'" ol the Qur'aan. In reality,

is

of

no great consequence whether


<

the mus-haj "of Aboo Bakr was

'Uthmaanic one or
compilation, and

not, or

in the same arrangement ol soorahs as that of the whether it was written with the intent ol preserving all the

ahrufi the primary purpose of this compilation


it

was to serve as a basis

for the

'Uthmaanic

is

this

compilation that

is

linked directly to the mus-hajs that arc

present in our hands today.

in.

The 'Uthmaanic Compilation


After the death of Aboo Bakr,

'Umar

ibn al-Khattaaab took over the leadership of

the Muslims.
five-fold

Under

his auspicious caliphate, the territories of the

Muslims expanded

what they had been.

When

he passed away, the Muslims controlled the rem-

nants of the Persian Empire, Egypt, Syria and parts of the then-defunct Byzantine
(Eastern

Roman) Empire.
'Uthmaan took over the
caliphate,

After 'Umar's death,


legacy ol his

and continued the great


in

two predecessors. The Muslims were successful

waging jihaad

tor the
this

cause of Allaah, and spreading the religion of Islaam.

One

of the places where

256 Qattaan.

p.

128.

As

lor the claim by certain Islaamic sects that 'Alee


it

was the

first

to

compile the

Qur'aan. this narration troni 'Alee himsell shows

to he false. Also, the narration

which mentions 'Alec as

being the

first is

weak.

cl.
.

Ibn Abec Daawootl,

p. Id.

257 See CM.

10,

'The lAr;i/ol the Qur'aan',

lor further details.

s(>

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

was occurring were the


ent parts ol the

territories

of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Muslims from


forces to light against the

differ-

umtnah had joined

enemy.

Unfortunately, the Muslims started differing amongst themselves with regards to


the recitation of the Qur'aan. The
differently than the

Muslims from
Iraq.'""'

Syria were reciting the Qur'aan

each regarding

They began contending with each other, These Muslims were not Companions, and therefore were not trained in the proper manner and etiquette of the recitation of the Qur'aan. One of the Companions who was present amongst them.
his recitation superior to his brother's.
I

Muslims from

ludhaylah ibn al-Yamaan, could not believe what was happening.


occurrence on a larger

He

advised them

to leave this this

argumentation, but realised that some action must be taken to prevent


scale.

He therefore

left

Azerbaijan

for

Madeenah,

to report

to the caliph

'Uthmaan.
Faithful!"
its

"O Commander of the


umtnah before
2v
it."
'

Hudhayfah pleaded
like the

to

'Uthmaan. "save
the

this

it

disagrees about
told

Book,

Jews anil Christians did before

Hudhayfah

'Uthmaan what had occurred amongst


of

new Muslims

in

Azerbaijan. 'Uthmaan, alarmed by this news, convened a gathering of the leading

what Hudhayfah had told him, and requested their advice on this matter. The Companions, in return, asked 'Uthmaan what he thought the best plan of action was. 'Uthmaan told them his opinion: Official copies
Companions.
informed them
of the

He

Qur'aan should be written and sent

to all the provinces,

and

all

other copies

destroyed, so that the

ummah would

have one standard

Qur aan. Therefore, this standrecitation.

ard version would serve to unite the


'Alee ibn

Muslims upon one

Abee Taalib

said concerning this incident,

"O

People!

Do

not say evil of

'Uthmaan, but only say good about him. Concerning the burning of the mus-htifs, I swear by Allaah, he only did this after he hail called all of us. He asked us, 'What do
you think (should be done) concerning these
reached
recitations (in Azerbaijan).2 For
is
it

has

me
'I

that each party

is

claiming that their recitation

better,

and

this (alti-

tude) might lead to disbelief'

We

asked him, 'What do you suggest

we
is

do?'

He

re-

sponded,

think

we should
of

consolidate the

Muslims on one mus-haf,


idea of yours
all of

so that there

not be any disagreements or disunity.'


idea.'"

We said, "Verily, this

an excellent

The action

'Uthmaan was agreed upon by

the

Companions.

Therefore, after the

Companions agreed

to his idea, he requested Hafsah, the

daughter

of

'Umar

ibn al-Khauaab, to loan

ordered to be compiled, which she did.

He

him the mus-haf that Aboo Bakr had then chose a committee of four people.'"
al-

namely Zayd ibn Thaabit. 'Abdullaah ibn az-Zubayr, Sa'eed ibn al-'Aas and 'Abd

2^S

The reason why the


(

recitations ofSyria

and

'Iraq dill'cred from

one another w

ill

he understood alter

one reads
259

'h. |l>

on the
is

ii/jruf.

This incident
in

reported in al-Bukhaarcc.
I

Other narrations imply


a

that

such a disagreement had also


this ho-

occurred

Madeenah. and when

Indhaytah informed 'Uthmaan ol the situation in Azerbaijan,


to

lder alarmed
2611

'Uthmaan, and caused him

convene

gathering ol the Companions,

Ibn Alice D.iavvood, p. 22.

2d

According to another opinion, twelve people, hut

this

is

the weaker opinion,

('I..

Ilm Abee

Daawood.

p. 26.

The Compilation

of the Qur'aan

137

mus-haf ol Ahoo Bakr. He chose Zayd ihn Thaabil for the same reasons that Aboo Bakr had done before him, and Sa'ced ibn al-

Rahmaan

ibn al-Haarith to rewrite the

Aas was known


748 A.H.)
said,

for his

knowledge

ol

the Arabic language.

Imaam
ol the

ailh-I

)hahabee

(d.

"Sa'ecd ibn al-'Aas was one ol the

members

committee

whom

'Uthmaan chose to write the mus-haf, due to his eloquence, and because his (Arabic style was very similar to the Prophet's (). The other two members were respectable Companions, knowledgeable of the Arabic language and of the Qur'aan.
Apart from Zayd, the other three committee members were
I

mm

the Quraysh.
differ (on
it

This was done on purpose: 'Uthmaan

told

them,

"It

you

(three)

and Zayd

how

to spell a

word), then spell


'

it

in

the dialect of the Quraysh, for verily

was

revealed in their dialed."

'Uthmaan

said this in response to a difference that arose


'taboot' (in 2:248);

amongst them concerning the writing of the word


write the

should they
(i.e.,

word

in the

Qurayshee

style ol 'lubaol' or the

Madanee

style ol 'tabooh'
it

with a laa marbooljih): 'Uthmaan answered them that they should write
since this

as laboot,

was the

style

of the Quraysh.
that the

This incident shows


there

committee consulted the other Companions con-

cerning even such minor details as the spellings of certain words. At times,

when
hapso that

was a difference of opinion, they even called that particular scribe (if pened to be other than Zayd) who had written the verse for the Prophet (gg,),
they could ask

it

him how he had

spelt the word.'''


its

After the committee finished

task,

'Uthmaan ordered

that

one copy

ol this mtt.<-

hafbe sent
necessary
this

to every province,

and ordered the governors of each province

to

burn
it

all

the other copies of the Qur'aan in their provinces. This


if the

was

a drastic step,

but

was

unity of the

Muslims was
ol

to be preserved.

Every Qur'aan written alter


his wise decision,
for all future

time had to conform

letter lor letter to

'Uthmaan's mus-haf. By

Uthmaan
panions.""

provided a copy

the Qur'aan that

would serve
were
in

as a

model

mus-hafs. And, as 'Alee pointed out.


In fact 'Alee ibn

Uthmaan
I

did this with the approval of the


I

Com'

Abee Taalib

said. "If

charge

(of

the affairs of the


:

Muslims) when 'Uthmaan had been,

would have done the same

as he did."

Not only did 'Uthmaan send the

actual mus-hafs to each province, he also sent


ol

Qur'aanic reciters to teach the people the correct recitation

the Qur'aan.

He

kept

Zayd ibn Thaabit in Madcenah; with the


Saa'ib (d. 63 A.H.)
;

Makkan

mus-haf, he sent 'Abdullaah ibn


(d.

to Syria

was sent al-Mugheerah ibn Shu'bah


7(1

50 A.H.); Aboo

'Abd

ar-

Rahmaan as-Sulamcc (d.

A.H.) was sent

to

Koolah; and Aamir ibn Abdul

262 adh-I>hahahcc.,S7un.
263

v.

J,

p. 449.

Reported bj al-Bukhaarec.
p.

264 eC al-Mamad.

126-7 for examples.


initially
liis

265 Although there arc some reports that


decision,
it

'Abdullaah ibn M.is'ood did not agree null 'I'lhiuaan's

is

also reported that he later

changed

mind;

cf,

Ibn Abee

Daawood,

pps. 13- 18.

According

i<>

famous historian, tbn Kathccr, 'Uthmaan wrote to Ibn Mas'ood advising him to follow the consensus the oilier Companions, which lie agreed to do; cl. al-Bidaayah we an-Nihaayah, v. 7. p. 207.
the
2>>i>

"I

az-Zarqaanee,

v.l, p. 262..

"

$8

An
to

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Qays

Basrah

(d.

~ 55 A.H.).
and
it

J ''

All

of these

reciters

were well-known

for their reci-

tation of the Qur'aan,

is

in fact

through them that most

of the t/ira'aai are

preserved.

'Uthmaan's compilation occurred


the early part of 25

in

the year 24 A.H., or according to others in

A.H.

:,,S

Aboo

Bakr's compilation of the mus?faflf differed from 'Uthmaan's compilation in

the following:
1)

The reason

that each of
in

them compiled

the Qur'aan

was

different.

Aboo Bakr

compiled the Qur'aan

response to the large


in fear of
its

number of deaths
lost.

of those

who

had memorised the Qur'aan, and


hand, compiled the mus-hafs
in

being

"Uthmaan, on the other

response to the inauthentic recitations that new-

comers

to Islaam,

who were

ignorant of the Arabic of the Qur'aan, were reciting.


recitation of the Qur'aan,

He

wished

to unite the

Muslims on the proper


all

ami

therefore ordered the eradication ol

other mus-hafs, so that the people would

have only one mus-haf in their hands.


2)

The number ol
so,

people

Aboo Bakr relied on

who were in charge ol the two compilations was different. the person who was the best suited and most qualified to do

namely Zayd ibn Thabit. 'Uthmaan, on the other hand, used the services of Zayd but also had three ol the major Companions, all of whom were known for
their
.?)

knowledge of the Qur'aan,

to help him.

The number

of mus-hafs Aboo Bakr ordered to be


several.

made was

only one, whereas

'Uthmaan ordered
4)

Since

Aboo Bakr did

not face the problem ol inauthentic recitations of the Qur'aan,

he did not have to take the step that

'Uthmaan

did in destroying
all

all

other written

copies of the Qur'aan. 'Uthmaan's decision ensured that

future copies

would

have
5)

to rely

upon

the original

'Uthmaanic ones.

Aboo Bakr compiled


ol people..."

the Qur'aan from '...date-palm leaves,


of

whereas 'Uthmaan ordered the rewriting

wood and the hearts Aboo Bakr's mus-haf in


with

the writing style of the Quraysh.


6)

Aboo

Bakr's mus-haf according to

one opinion, did not concern

itself

ar-

ranging the soorahs properly; only the verses of each soorah were arranged.

'Uthmaan, on the other hand, arranged the soorahs and verses


arrangement.
7)

in their

proper

According

to

some, '"" the mus-haf oi

Aboo Bakr was

written to preserve
left
it.'

all

seven

ahruf but the mus-hafof "Uthmaan only included one harf and
six.

out the other

This opinion, however, docs not have any

basis to support

267 az-7.arc|.iancc.
26S
cf.

v. I.

p.

404.
p. 2X.

Aboo Sulaymaan,
v.

However, the

Tuurcel(h of Khalcefah il>n


I.

Khayyam
1

(d. 2411

A.H.)

lists

the

kittles ol

Azerbaijan as having occurred in the year 2K A.I


I

cf Toareekjt,

p.

60,

269 az-Zarqaanee, 270 cf.al-Hama.l.

p.

253.

p. 145.

The Compilation ofthe Qur'aan


To summarise,
"...so in

139

ihc eminent scholar of Islaam Ibn

Taymiyyah

(d.

728 A.H.) said,

die year that the Prophet ($) passed away, Jihrccl went over the Qur'aan with

him
it is

twice,

and

this last rehearsal

is

the recitation

ofZayd

ibn Thaabit anil others,

and

the recitation that the Khulafaa ar-Rashidoon,

Aboo

Bakr, 'Umar,

'Uthmaan and
write
it it.

'Alee ordered to be written in mus-hafs.

and Aboo Bakr (was the


it

first) to

Then
of

'Uthmaan, during

his caliphate,

ordered
all

to be written (again), and he sent


this."''
1

to all

the provinces. and the

Companions

agreed to

iv.

The

Different Mus-hafs

A.

The Appearance

of

tj

if.

Mus-hafs

The Spelling ofthe Words of the Our ami

The

spelling of the

words

ol the

Qur'aan

is

not the

ern-day Arabic. There are certain peculiarities of the


present in
that the

same as tin- spelling of mod'Uthmaanic script that are not

written

modern Arabic. Among these peculiarities in the writing ol the mus-hafIs Uthmaanic script eliminated certain alifs (tor example the wonl 'rahmaan' is without an a/if); added certain silent letters (for example the word 'salaat' is
merged particular words
usually written as one
(for

written with a silent ivaw);


'////' is

example when the word


:,:

followed by 'maa'

it

is

word 'mimaa'); and occasionally

spelt the

same word
were

that occurred in different places differently.


ol the

Some

ol these pe-

culiarities

common

Arabic and specifically Qurayshee script of that lime,


these rules.
recitations of a particular word.

but later Arabic

grammar changed

Another peculiarity was that when theirexisted two


the

word was written such


'maatikj' in (1:4)
is

that

both recitations would be preserved. For example, the

word

written without

an

a/if,

since there

is

an alternate

recitation

'nndi/u.'

Had

the (////"been written


ol

on

this

word, the second recitation would not have


it

been possible Irom the mus-haf


both recitations are possible.

'Uthmaan; however, by writing


nature oi the Arabic script and

without an

a/if,

The

manner of writing

allows lor this, in contrast to Latin-based languages.

Due

to these peculiarities ol the

mus-haf'of 'Uthmaan,

later scholars differed over to later Arabic.

die legitimacy ol

changing the spelling oftbe mus-haflo conform

This

was primarily based upon the origin of the spelling: was it from the Prophet (jg$) himself, or was it by consensus of the Companions? Or, was the spelling ol the Qur aan not based upon either ol these two factors, but upon the popudifference ol opinion
lar

custom

of that

time?

The

various opinions can be summarised as follows:

271

Aboo Sulaymaan.

p. 51.

271 This discussion

lias

purposely been

left

short, since

It

requires a knowledge ol Arabic writing. For

further Jit. ul, see L'li.iydaat. pps. Hs-4S; az-Zarc|aanee. v.l. pps 569- 573.
re.nl in'

Some

scholars have attempted to

nation

wisdom behind such subtle changes, but in reality than certain know ledge, cl. as-Sabt. v. 1. pps. 4(15-41 5.
the

these attempts are based

more upon imagi-

"

14(1

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

1)

The spelling

ol

the Qur'aan cannot be changed,


to.

and the spelling

ol the

mus-haf

of 'Uthmaan must be adhered

The proponents ol
into

this

opinion dilfered aver why the spelling could not be changed

two groups. The


ol the

first

group claimed

that the spelling ol the

Qur'aan was the


in the

Sunnah

Prophet (-^). and that he had ordered the Qur'aan to he written


it

manner with which


it

was. Therefore, because the Prophet


it.

(j^g)

ordered this spelling.

is

not allowed to modify

In other words, the spelling of the Qur'aan

was with the

approval ol the Prophet (^), and cannot be changed.

This opinion
in the spelling

is

contradicted by the incident in which


'II

'Uthmaan

said to the

comit

mittee that compiled the Qur'aan,

you

diller in the spelling ol a

word, then write

of the Quraysh."
this

Had

the script ol the Qur'aan been decided by the

Prophet ($g), then

committee would never have differed about the spelling of

any word.

The second group claimed that the spelling of the Qur'aan was not from
(^5) but from the

the Prophet

'Uthmaan,
lowed
to

this constitutes ijmaa' (consensus),

Companions. Since the Companions all agreed to the spelling of which later generations are not al-

change.
of these groups,

Both

however, concluded that the spelling of the 'Uthmaanic


later

??/-

haf was obligatory upon

generations to conform

to.

This ruling was the opinion

of thi: vast majority of xhcsalaf.

Imaam Ahmad
tha;

(d.

241 A.H.) was asked concerning the deletion ol certain letters


in 'sa/aul').

were not pronounced (such as the ivaw


besides these.
:74

He

answered,

"It

is

forbidden

(haiaarn) to differ from the writing of

'Uthmaan
(d.

in (the letters)

any

(letter)

Imaam Maalik
newly invented
written
first!"
!

179

waw, oxyaa, oxalif, or A.H.), when asked whether the


replied,

Qur'aan could be written


only be written the

in

styles
',

and methods,

"No!

It

may
444

way

it

was

In fact,

Aboo 'Amr ad-I)aanec

(d.

A.H.)

said, "I

do not know of any scholar who disagrees with Maalik


(d.

in this issue!"'

Imaam al-Bayhaqce
Whoever

458 A.H.) said.


its letters

writes the imu-haj "must preserve


earlier)

and not change

anything of what (the


edgeable than
lis,

generations wrote, for they were more knowltrust-

and had purer hearts and tongues, and were more

worthy. Therefore,

we should

never presume ourselves to be greater than

them.
2)

The

spelling of the Qur'aan

depends upon the custom of the time.

In other words, the only reason the

Companions wrote the Qur'aan with

the spell-

ing that they did was because that was the procedure ol writing at the time. Since this

27s As lor those reports in which the 1'rophct


tain letters, they arc very
27-1
O.itt.i.in. p. 148.
p. 147.
v. I, v. I,

(Sgs)

mpposcdh commanded
v.

the scribe

how

to write cer-

weak or

forged,

cl".

az-Zarqaance,

I, p.

377.

275 Qaisaan,

276 az-Zarqaance, 277 az-Zarqaanee,

p.329.
p.380.

The Compilation of the Qur'aan


has changed, the Qur'aan
the recitation
(d.
is still

141

may

he written to conform with these changes, as long as

exactly the same.

This

is

the opinion of Aboo Bakral-Baaqillaancc


(d.

403 A.H.). and al-'Izz ibn "And as-Salaam


the

660 A.H.). As proof, they use the


(jj|)

fact that

Companions were not

instructed by the Prophet

to

conform

to a

particular spelling, but rather wrote in the


of spelling
ently.

manner that

they knew. Thus,

if the rules

were different in their time, they would have written the mus-haf differ-

In

weighing the two opinions above, the


almost
all

first

opinion must be conceded

to in light

of the fact that

the scholars of the salaf were of this opinion. In addition, if


this might lead to playing change with time. The mus-haf

the

door were opened

to

change the spelling of the mus-haf,

with the

Book

of Allaah, since the rules of spelling

must not be
its

affected by the passage of time,

and the Uthmaanic mus-haf must

retain

sanctity.

Therefore,
haf of
ions

it is

concluded that

it

is

obligatory to adhere to the spelling of the mus-

Uthmaan,

since this spelling


after

was accepted and agreed upon by the Compan27*

and the generations

them.

The

Script

of the Mus-haf
the 'Uthmaanic

The script in which


This
script
is

mus-hafwas written was the old Koofce script.


to

'"

almost incomprehensible

modern-day Arabic
1 *"

readers.

The mus-hafs
:

were written without any hamzahs, dots (nuqat)

or vowel marks

{tashl{eel).

"

This

was the
line

traditional

manner of writing
letter baa, taa,

at that time.

Therefore, for example, a straight

could represent the

thaa and yaa, and each letter could have any of


that the appropriate letters
to

the vowel

marks assigned

to

it.

It

was only by context

and
a

vowels could be differentiated.


script,
text.

The Arabs

at that
letter

time were accustomed

such

and would substitute the appropriate

and vowel depending on the con-

The 'Uthmaanic mus-haf was arranged


a soorah had

in the

order of the suorahs present today.

There were no indications signifying the ending of the verses, and the only sign that

ended was the basmalak. 2*2 There were also no textual divisions

(into

278 In hut. al-Azhar released afalwa in the year 1355 A.H. slating that

it

was not permissible

to print a

mus-haf or re-writc the Qur'aan


279

in

form to the 'Uthmaanic spelling,

modern Arabic. They cf al-Hamad, p. 609.


title.

stated that the spelling of the

mus-haf man con-

The scrip!
is

ol the

Arabic

is

the style of writing of the various

letters.

For example, the font u


is

it li

which

this text

written differs from the font of the chapter

The script,

then,

the style with which the letters

arc written.

This

is

to be differentiated

from the Spelling, which was the topic of the previous section.
to differentiate

280

The nuqal arc the dots that are used

between different
letters

letters thai
is

have the same base

structure: for example, the only


are above the line,
it

way
if

to differentiate

between the
it

yaa and to/

by the dots: if two dots

is

a taa,

and

they are below,

is

a yaa.
ol yhnfiithha. /(asra,

281

The

las/f/url ol the

Qur'aan are the

diacritical

marks

and damina

(in

Urdu, the
letters

zeer, zabar.

and />/;), and other marks (such

as the shadda) that are used to

pronounce the particular

correctly.

282

The phrase 'Hismillah al-Ralunaan

uI-Ralwem'. which appears at the beginning

ol

each soorah except

the ninth.

142

An

Introduction to the Sciences

of'tlic

Qur'aan

thirtieths, sixtieths, etc.).

This was done so that the Qur'aan be preserved with the


of the Qur'aan, unadorned with
later

utmost purity; only the

text

embellishments,

was

written.
>mis-/u/fs.

This was the appearance of the original 'Uthmaanic


however, the appearance
ol

As

is

well-known,

modern
ol this

mus-hiifs

is

strikingly different

from the simple

'Uthmaanic one. The process

change was gradual.


diacritical

The
There
was.

first

change

to occur

was the addition of the

marks - the

tashkfel.

are varying reports as to

who

the

first

person to add tashkeel into the Qur'aan

The name

that

is

most commonly mentioned

is

that of a Successor by the

name

ol

Aboo al-Aswad ad-Du'aly (d. 69 A.H.), who was also the first to codify the science of Arabic grammar (naluv). According to one report, 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib asked him to make the mus_-luif easier for the people to recite, bin he initially declined to do so,
since he did not believe
verse.
it

was necessary. However, he once heard a person

recite the

AlIaah and His apostle break oil

all ties

with the pagans*

(
|

':

3|

as "Allaah breaks oil

all ties with the pagans and His Apostle." This drastic change in meaning occurred by changing only one vowel (i.e., pronouncing rasooltlh as rasoolih).

Said

Aboo al-Aswad,

"I

did not think the state of the people had degenerated to this

level!" Recalling the advice

of 'Alec ibn Abee Taalib, he went

to

Xiyaad ibn Abeehee,

the governor of Iraq

with a scribe.
a

under 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib, and requested him to supply him Aboo al-Aswad told the scribe, "If pronounce (the vowel) it, then write
I

dot above the


/,

letter.

If I

pronounce
it

it

as a, then write a dot in front ol the letter. If I


1 ''1

pronounce an

then write

below the

letter."-

'

Aboo al-Aswad was

reacting to the

problems that had arisen amongst non-Arabs

who had embraced

Islaam and were

new to

the Arabic language.

They had

difficulty reading the script

of 'Uthmaan, without

tashl{ccl.

Thus, Aboo al-Aswad

started the

rudimentary
(d.

art ol tashl{ccl.

Other reports give the names of Nasr ibn 'Aasim


(d. 11)0
1

89 A.H.), Yahya ibn Ya'mar


ibn Seereen (d.

A.H.), al-Hassan al-Basree

(d. 11(1

A.H.) and

Muhammad
as

10 A.H.).

However, some
the
first

of these reports qualify

Nasr and Yayha


another report
at the

adding the dots


it

(inn/til) lor

time,

and not the


the
first

tasl{heel. Yet

states that

was

Aboo al-Aswad who was


Yoosul
(d.

to

do

this,

but

command
filth

of Hajjaaj ibn
Caliph.

95 A.H.), the infamous governor of Iraq under the

Umayyad

'Abd al-Malik ibn Marvvaan, and not under the caliphate of 'Alee.
In

combining

all ol

these reports, the strongest series ol events seems to be as folthe


first

lows:

Aboo al-Aswad was

to

add the

tas///(cc/

into the

mus-haf on an

official

283 al-Hamad.

p. 4<'2.

According

to other reports,

Ziyaad

il>n

Abeehee purposely had

person misprocf.

nounce the

verse in Iron! ol
p. s2K.

Aboo al-Aswad

so that

lie

would

realise the necessity ol

adding the tashlfeel,

al-Badawee.

The Compilation of the Qur'aan


basis,

143

during the caliphate of 'Alee, and his students Yahya ibn Ya'mar and Nasr ibn
to officially

Aasim were the first ibn Marwaan (d. 86


our.

add dots {nuqat) during the reign of 'Abd al-Malik


the
first to

A.H.).

They were not

do

so,

however, as both

al-

Hassan al-Basree and


on their private
to

Muhammad

ibn Seereen had preceded

them

in this

endeav-

However, al-Hassan al-Basree and


mus-luifs,

Muhammad

ibn Seereen hail added the nuqat


his

whereas Aboo al-Aswad and


of the narrations, and
1*

two students were the

first

add the taskheel and nuqat on an


all

official basis into the


is

mus-haf. This sequence of

events takes into account

the one that most of the rewrites.

searchers in this field have concluded.'

Az-Zarqaanee

May

Allaah have mercy on these two scholars (Yahya ibn Ya'mar and
for they

Nasr ibn 'Aasim),


to the Qur'aan),

were successful

in this

endeavour (ofadding nH^a/

and completed the addition

of the nuqat tor the first time.

They conditioned upon themselves not


any
letter

to increase the

number of dots of

above three.

This system spread and became popular amongst the


it

people after them, and

had

great impact in

removing confusion and

doubts concerning (the proper recitation

of) the ijuis-/uif."

Thus, Aboo al-Aswad was the


and Nasr were the were the
Caliph "Abd al-Maalik.
first

first

to

add the tashkeel


this

into the Qur'aan,

and Yahya

who

differentiated the various similar letters ol the

Arabic alphabet by means of dots.

They did

during the reign

ol the

Ummayad
1.,

Aboo al-Aswad
which means that
while

died in 69 A.H., and

Abd

al-Maalik's reign ended in 86 A.I

less

than three-quarters of a century after the Prophet's (3g) death,


still

some of the Companions were

alive, the

Qur'aan had been written

down

with a rudimentary version ol tashkeel and nuqat.


In the beginning, scribes used to write the nuqat in black

and the tashkeel

in red to

distinguish

it

from the actual


first

text of

the Qur'aan. There arc hundreds of mus-Aafi


present with this type ol tashkeel

dating from the


system.

two centuries

of the hijrah still

There are some narrations from the


additions.
1

sa laf

concerning their disapproval

ol

these

It is

narrated from Ibn Mas'ood, an-Nakhaa'ce


first

17 A.H.) anil other scholars of the

ol

adding these dots


(d.
1

to the mus_-lmf.

(d. 96 A.H.), Qataadah (d. two generations concerning the prohibition Other scholars, however, such as al-Hasan al1

Basree

addition of

AH.) and Ibn Seereen (d. these dots."""' Imaam Maalik (d.
10

10 A.H.), did not sec a problem with the


1

79 A.H.) was asked concerning the addireplied,


I

tion ol taskhcel

and nuqat

in the

Qur'aan.

He

"The people continued


say:

to

ask

me concerning the
I

addition of dots in the Qur'aan, so

As

for the

major mttt-hafs,
is

don't think they should be doited, nor should anything be added that
for the

not in them.
I

As

minor

nius-hafi
it."
2 "'

the ones that the children learn from - then

don't see

any problem with

Therefore,

Imaam Maalik was of the opinion

that the

Qur'aan

2X4 az-Zarqaancc,

v.l, p.
v, I.

406 and al-Bailawee. pps. 329-331


407.

285 az-Zarqaanee, 286


el'.

p.

al-Hamad

for these quotes, p. 516.

287 al-Hamad.

n. 517.

144

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

should be

left

the

way

that

it

was

written,

and the only exception were the


to the

intts_-lnifs

that children learnt from.


to

This

strictness

was due

concern
all

felt

by these scholars

keep the

script

of the mtu-luif

of Uthmaan

pure from
less strict

additions.

However,
the taskheel

later scholars of the salaf

became

concerning the addition of

and nuqat. This was due


in

average person
reports, "1

properly reciting

was gained, lor it aided the the Qur'aan. Khalal ibn Hishaam (d. 229 A.H.)
to the benefit that
(d.

used

to sit in the

gathering of al-Kisaa'ce (the famous Oaaree), and the

people would add (taskheel) based upon his recitation." Ad-Daancc


writes.
"I

444 A.H.)

happened

to

come

across an old copy of the mus-haf. written during


I

the beginning of the Caliphate ol


writing)

lishaam ibn Abel al-Maalik.

Its

date (of

was written on the


1

last

page: "Written by Miighccrah ibn Meenaa,

in Rajah, in the year

10 A.H.' It

had

tasl(heel,

the hamzahs... and the dots

{nuqat) were in red."

281

Both these quotes show

that, eventually, the addition ot


'

ash keel anil nuqat

was

accepted as a pari of the writing of the miis-luif.m

During the next few


of the soorah names
special

centuries, further

developments occurred, such

as the writing

at the

beginning of\hc soorah, and the separation of the verses by


Initially,

symbols and numbers.

the verses were distinguished by placing three

word '/(/nuns' (five) was written, and after every ten, 'ashr (ten), after which the numbering would start from the beginning, until the end of that particular soorah. Soon afterwards, the word /(/nuns was
dots at the end of a verse. After every five verses, the

abbreviated to the letter l(haa, and the

word

<///

to a the letter ayn, both of

which were
in the

written in the margin of the mus_-laf. Eventually, the verses were indicated by a circle
at the

end
is

of

each verse, and the sequential

number of the

verse

was written

circle, as

present in the nitts-hafs of today.""'


the
first

During

century of the hijrah, the primary material upon which the mttsAfter the

hafwas written was parchment.

early part of the second century of the hijrah, the

men

the art ot

Muslim conquest of Trans-oxania in the Muslims learnt from Chinese craftspaper-making, and thus paper became the primary material upon
written."""

which the mus-haf was

The
was the

sixth
first

Ummayad

caliph, al-Waleed ibn 'Abd al-Maalik (ruled 86-96 A.H.),

to officially order the bcautification of the Qur'aan.

He

ordered the cal-

ligrapher Khaalid ibn

Abee Hayyaaj

to write the

Qur'aan

in

Koofcc calligraphy. Dur-

288 Both quotes from a -Hamad,


I

p. 5 8.
1

289 The- College


its its

ol

Qur'aan and Islaamic Sciences in he Islaamic University of Madeenah embarked on


I

Qur'aan Project'
script,

in 1982.

The goal was

to

prim

mus-haf A\M would be a copy

ol the

'Uthmaanic one

in

and include nuqat, lashlfccl. verse numbers, anA soorah names


text ol
it

in a different colour, to differentiate

between the actual

b'thman and
a

later additions. Unfortunately,

due

to certain problems, the project

Collapsed, but not after

had written

portion ol the

Qur aan.

lb see an example ol their work, see Xlajailah


v.

Kuliyyah al-Quraan al-Kareem, Islaamic University ol Madeenah. 1985.

1.

pps. sSS

s(>2.

290 al-Badawee, p.337.


291

lames. David. Our'aus of the Momtukj. Alexandria Press, London. 1988.

p. d.

The Compilation
ing the Abbasid era, Khaleel bin

of the Qur'aan

145

Ahmad

(cl.

170 A.H.). one of the teachers of the


it

famous Arabic grammarian Sccbawayh, also beautified was also the


letter tor
first

and made
a

it

simpler.

He

to

introduce the present system


/,

oitaslfhci'l: a straight line

above the

the vowel a. a line below the letter lor

dam ma

lor

ti,

shaddah

lor

showing

assimilation, anil a small l(haa without the dot to indicate that the letter

had no vowel

but was not

silent."'

However, die greatest change


lupah by Ibn Muqlah
ol the
(d.

in

the style of writing


is

came

in the third

century ol

M7 A.H.). who

regarded as the lounderol die calligraphy


script,

Qur'aan.
script,

He

introduced the Nasl^hcc


style ol

which

totally replaced the


is

former

Koofee

and Upon which the

writing of the Qur'aan today

based. Ibn

Muqlah

also established rules lor the writing ol each letter. Ibn al-Bawvvaab (d. 4 Li

A. II.) also played a vital role in the spreading of the Nas^hee script. In the seventh

century ol
lar script.

hijrali,

'Aamir 'Alee Tabrcczce introduced Klmt an-Xastalceq, another popu-

""

The

Our'ticin

ill

Print

With the advent of the printing press, die /;//-<// changed accordingly. The first Qur'aan thai is known to have been printed with movable type techniques was done in 1694 CE, in Hamburg. Germany. It was edited by a lew. Abraham Hinkcllmann,
and contained many
There
errors.

Al-Hamad

criticises

it

as follows:

are major errors (in this print), anil on almost every page the

reader will find manifest examples of these... which only proves the poor
level of

knowledge the editor had

ol

die Arabic language ,\nA in

"'

ils

rules.

In

84

Gustav Flucgel released another printed mus-laj\


written by Haafidh
a

which the verse numA.H.). "" This was


:

bering differed from traditional mus-hafs. This mus-haf was actually a reproduction of
a

famous Turkish
in

mtts-hiif,

'Uthmaan

(d.

1(1

published
centuries

Leipzig,

and became

standard version for Orientalists for the next two

The
(in

first

Petersburg, Russia, in 1787

mus-hafdone by Muslims in this style is reputed to be the one done in St. CE. These were followed by mus-hafs printed in Kazan
(in

1828 CE), Persia

1833 CE), Istanbul (in 1877

CE) and Cairo


a

(in

1890 CE).
is

more common one, which took on


was ordered by King Fu'aad
ars
ol

the role of a 'standard printed version',


It

one

that

Egypt, in 1925.

was written by

committee ol schol-

from al-Azhar University, under the supervision of Sheikh

Mohammad Alee Khalaf

al-Husaynee.

2'H

The origin

of these

Bve symbols arc the


kfiaa

letters alif, yaa, <, the letter sheen to represent the

word
ef.

shaddah (double

letter),

and the

without

dot to represent the word fthiiiuiv (empty), respectively,

al-Badawee,

p. 530. ol the

293 For one

most fascinating accounts of the development


(/'. cil.)

ol the script

of the nms-haf. see

al-

jjamail's dissertation

on

litis

topic.

294 al-Hamad. 291 al-Hamad.

p.
p.

602.
604.

296

Cf.

Von

Denl'ler. p. 65.

al-Hamad. pps 601-606.

146

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Since then,

literally
is

hundreds
the
lor the

of

other printed mns-hafs have followed.

One of the

more
the

beautiful ones
I'ahd

'Madeenah mits-haf
Printing ot the

recently printed in Saudi Arabia, in

King

Complex
have been

Holy Qur'aan
'an 'Aasim."'

in

Madeenah.
also printed

All of these

in the qiraa'a of

Hats

There are

copies of the Qur'aan in the qiraa'a of


rocco, anil very recently also by the
'an

Warsh

'an

Naff

(printed in Algeria
in the qiraa'a

and Mo-

King Fa lid Complex), and

ofQaloon

Naff

(printed in Libya).

In the present age, almost all mtis-hafs follow

one

of

two

scripts: either Nasl{hec

(most of the Arab countries), or Farscc (the I ndian sub-continent).


in the qiraa'a of

The mtis-hafs printed


script,

Warsh, however, are typically written

in

Maghrihcc

which

is

very unique ami confusing for the unaccustomed eye. For example, the letter qaaf'xs
represented with one dot above a circle
(vs.

two

dots),

and the

letter fact

with one dot

below

it

(vs.

above

it)!

Not only has


been printed

the mas-haf'been printed in different qira'aal and scripts,

it

has also
a
a

in Braille!

The

Ministry of Religious
in

.Affairs in

Saudi Arabia released


letter
is

three-volume Qur'aan written


special set of dots,

Arabic Braille. Each Arabic

represented by

and each

diacritical

mark

also has

its

special code, and, just like in

other mtts-hafi,

is

either written above or

below the
in

letter.

Not only

that,

but the vari-

ous signs

for

stopping (ivuqoof) are also included

the mus-haf as are the verse and

soorah numbers!

Warning!
Before completing this section concerning the evolution of the script of the mus-

haf.

it

is

very relevant to quote the Inideeth of the Prophet

(^)

in

which he

said,

"When you

decorate your mosques, and beautify you r mtis-hafs, then destruction will

be upon you!"2 "*


other words,
if

Thh hadceth

can be taken as a factual statement, or as a warning. In


is

taken factually, the Prophet (^5)

informing his itmmah that when


a

mosques and
tor the

mtis-hafs are decorated anil beautified, this will be


is

time
is

of destruction

Muslims. However, the stronger opinion


in

that this hadeeth

warning to the

which case any unnecessary and excessive decoration of the mus-hafis to be discouraged. This is one of the indications of the austerity anil simplicity of Islaam, such that even its places of worship anil its Sacred Book must be absent from
all

Muslims,299

types of embellishments,

which

typically

is

an indication

of arrogance,

and

a love

for this world. Rather,

such religious symbols should be examples of modesty and

humility.

297 Sec Ch.


299

1.

The Qira'aat of the

Qur'aan. for further details.


in his

298 Reported by IbnAbee Shaybah

Musannafx

cf.

as-Saheelwh

1351.

Due

to the tact that there exist other authentic narrations forbidding


it

Muslims

to decorate their
a

mosques. Therefore,
factual prophecy.

makes sense

to

understand this Inideeth as a warning and prohibition rather than

The Compilation
B.

of

the Qur'aan

147

The Number of 'Utiim.umc Mus-hafs


number of original
i/ius-hafs that

There

are five opinions concerning the

'Uthmaan

compiled:
1)

Imaam az-Zarkashcc follows Aboo 'Amrad-Daancc's (d. 444 A. II.) opinion that number ol mus-hafs was lour; 'Uthmaan kept one in Madeenah, and sent the Other three to Koolah, Basrah and Shaam (Syria). Ad-1 )aanee writes in WisMuqm', "The majority ol the scholars hold that when 'Uthmaan wrote the mus-haf Inthe
\

ordered lour copies to be written, and he sent one to each of the major prov1

inces."""
2)

As-Suyootce.
copies,

in his Itc/aan,

and Ibn Hajr


above four

(d.

852 A.M.).

state that there


'"

were

live

which were sent

to the

cities

and Makkah.

.?)

Some

scholars maintain that there were six copies, the sixth


lor his

one having been the


from the mus-haf ol

one 'Uthmaan commissioned

personal use, different

Madeenah."
4)

-'

Aboo Haatim
one was
ol

as-Sijistaanee (d. 255 A.I


in

I.)

stated that there


rest

were seven copies,


Syria. Basrah,

which was kept

Madeenah, and the

sent to

Makkah,

Koolah, Yemen and Bahrain (another opinion maintains that the


sent to Egypt,

last ol

the seven

and not Bahrain).


there have been eight copies;
in

5)

Lastly,

some maintain

addition to the above seven.

thej
It is

include the personal mus-haf of'Uihmdan.

not ol very great concern to

ordered to be written, lor regardless

know the exact number of mus-hafs that 'Uthmaan ol the number ol original mus-hafs, all future
one

mus-hafs were written as exact copies of these.

However,

il

forced to choose between these opinions, the second


il

is

probably

the strongest, since


hafs
ited

has the strongest historical evidence. At the time that the mus-

were commissioned. Yemen, Bahrain and Egypt would probably not have merhaving
a special

mus-haj "sent

to

venture that the 'personal' mus-haf ot

them, and il does not seem too unrealistic to 'Uthmaan was none other than the mus?hafo\
in his

Madeenah, which 'Uthmaan would have kept

possession.

C.

Were these Mus-hafs ti m Same?


letter for letter?

Did the 'Ulhmaanic four or eight mus-hafs match each other


prisingly, contrary to

Sur-

popular opinion, the evidence indicates otherwise.

The different
in a

copies that
is

Uthmaan

ordered to be written differed from each other

lew letters. There

no

extra verse in

any one of the mus-hafs, but there are addinot

tional or different letters in

some of the musthjtfs. This was

done accidentally or by

50(1

az-Zarkashcc.v.l,p.240.
as-Suyootee,
\.

501

I.

p.

80.

i02

az-Zarqnance,

v.l,

p.406.

148

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

chance. Rather, these slight changes were done in order to accommodate the various
recitations

of a particular verse (the akruf). If the Prophet ($g) had recited the verse
of ways,

in

number

and

it

was

particular spelling, then the

possible to accommodate ail word was written with that

ot these recitations in one-

spelling.
il

The example

ol

'maalikf and
not
all

'nuilily

has already been given before. However,


in

the recitations could


ol the recita-

be accommodated

one

spelling,

then

it

was written with one

tions in
diil

one mus-haf, and another recitation in another mus-haf. The Companions not write both recitations in one mus-haf'lor tear ol confusion between the two.
fact that

The
1)

the

Ulhmaanic mus-hafs

differed

is

known by two

ways:
in letters

The

q'trdaaf.

Between the various qiraaat, there occur changes


cannot be attributed to one
script,

and

sometimes words

that

even

il

this script

were with-

out dots and vowel marks. For example,


va/(huafu...' This
is

some

ot the qira'aat

read 91:15 as 'wu laa

the recitation that most ol the readers will be familiar with.

On

the

other hand, other qirdaat?

This
ence

letter

fa change can not be attributed to the same


it

read

as

laa yal^haafu...'.
script,
is

changing the tvaw

to a fa. a differ-

and must indicate


the

in the

mus-hafs of Uthmaan.""' Another example


'iva

quada of Ibn
it

'Aamir.

who

read 3: 1 84 as

bi zuburi

wa bit kjtaab' whereas the

rest of

the qiraaat read 'iva


is

zuburi tval
that the

l{itaab' (i.e.,

without the two bus). Ibn 'Aamir was Syrian, and


sent to Syria had the two extra bus in
is
it,

known
mus-

mus-haf ihm 'Uthmaan

whereas the
ot the

Other mus-hafs did not. In this example, an actual word


hafs.

added

in

one

2) Visual Inspection:

The second way that

it is

known

that these mus-hafs differed

from one another

is

by comparing them. Since the various mus-hafs are not present

any more, reports must be taken from those

who were

fortunate

enough

to

have read
reported
this

more than one of the


from those
topic.

original mus-hafs of

'Uthmaan, or

at least

knew and

who

did. In lad. a

number

ol scholars

had written books specially on

Some authors have mentioned at least ten scholars of the first four centuries of the hijrah who had written specific tracts on this topic, amongst them, al-Kisaa'ee (d. 189
A.H.), and al-Farraa'
these classical works
A.I
I.),

(d.
is

207 A.H.).

!
"

Unfortunately, the only book that remains of

the

the son of the

famous scholar

work authored by 'Abdullaah ibn Abee Daawood (d. 316 ol Inulceth, Aboo Daawood (d. 275 A.H.), which

he entitled Kitaab al-Masauhjf,

$03 az-Zarqaanec,
3(M
illi

v.l.

p.262.
I

Those

(il

'Aasim. Kisaa'cc.
.mil

l.im/.i.

Abu 'Amr ami

Ibn KatheCE

That of NaatV

Ibn "Aamir.
I
I

306 This point will be better understood alter one reads Ch.

on the

,/ira'aal.

307
308

it.

Introduction to Ibn Abcc


llrst

Daawood,

p. 10.
ii

Unfortunately, the

(and only) person toeilii and publish

was the famous

Orientalist scholar

Arthur [effery (published in Cairo, 1936), as pan otitis famous work Materials for the History of the Text of
the I Inly Our'aan,

which

is

discussed in greater detail in

C".h. 17.

The Compilation

ol the

Qur'aan

14

Khaalid ibn Iyaas (d.circa I50A.H.) reported that he read the mus-hafof 'Uthmaan,

and found that


quoted.
the
first
5

it

differed with the mus-hajs ol

Madeenah

in

twelve verses, which he

""

The

llrst

of these was
a/if,

2:

132 'wa ivasa...' instead oi'wa awsa...'


a/if.

meaning

that

was without an

whereas the second was with an


reflected in the differences
it

This

is

in the actual

script

of the mus-hafs, and

is

between the

qira'aat.

Of the
in the

ten qira'aat, Naafi'

and Ibn 'Aamir read


in

with the a/if whereas the

rest

do

not. In the

same way,

all

of the other differences

the script of the mttfhafzxc

still

found

differences between the qira'aat.

There
differed

are

more than

just twelve differences,

though. Khaalid ibn Iyaas only com-

pared the mui-hflfoi 'Uthmaan with the mus-hafs of Madeenah.

The

other mus-hafs

from the Madeenah mus-haf as for example

in verse 3: 1X4, the

mus-haf that

'Uthmaan

sent to Syria had the extra letters, but the others did not.""
earlier, are

These differences, as noted

only with regards to certain


in

letters

and words.
the others.

There are no verses or phrases that are present


Actually,
il

some mus-hafs without


will

one

reflects

over this

phenomenon, he

be even more certain that


is

the Qur'aan has been preserved even to the minutest detail. This the differences that originated in the different mus-hafs of
scattered in the various qira'aat,

so because are
still

all

of

'Uthmaan

found

showing that the


(%jg)

scriptural differences arc not acci-

dental, but rather intentional.

The Prophet
upon
later.

used

to recite the

Qur'aan

in all

of

these ways, as will be elaborated

Therefore, the purpose behind having these

trivial

changes between the mus-hafs


to the

was

to preserve the various

ahntf of the Qur'aan, even

most minute

detail.

D.
It is

What Happened to the

Okiginal Mus-hafs ?
to

of great historical importance (and curiosity)

know what happened

to these

original mus-hafs.

As
his

mus-haf of Aboo Bakr, after he passed away it was given to 'Umar. On death-bed, Umar did not nominate any one successor after him, but rather a
for the

committee
ate

of six people. Therefore

Caliph present, as

was

the case

when 'Umar passed away, there was no immediwhen Aboo Bakr passed away. The mus-haf'was
(5^j).

then naturally inherited by Hafsah, his daughter and a wife of the Prophet

Ac-

cording to a report from Ibn Abce Daawood's Kitaah al-Masaahif Hafsah was very
protective of the
that he

mus-haf and even refused to give it 'Uthmaan until he assured her would return it. " During the caliphates of 'Uthmaan and 'Alec, it remained
1

with Hafsah.

$09

For these anil

many more
p. 9.

differences, see Ibn Alice


lists

Daawood.

pps. 57-49.

sin See al-Hamad, pps. 695-702, where he


31
1

around

sixty differences

between the various mus-hafs.

Ihn Alice Daawood,

150

An

Introduction to the Sciences

of

the

Quraan
al-Hakam
65 A.H.) became the gov-

Alter the caliphate of 'Alec,

Marwaan
to

ibn

(tl.

ernor of Madeenah.

Marwaan wanted

eliminate this mus-haf since the "Uthmaanic

mus-haf was sufficient for die Muslims, bin Halsah refused to hand it over. Marwaan had to wait until Hafsah passed away in 41 A.H. before destroying the mits-haf' [: He
said,

"The only reason

did this was because

all

that
(oi

is

in this

mu-iftf (ofAboo Bakr)


I

has been written and preserved by the mus-haf

'Ulhmaan), so

feared that alter

some time people would doubt the veracity of this mus-haf, or they would say that there was something in it that had not been written down. (Therefore, to prevent
these doubts
I

burnt

il!

it)."

As

for the

"Uthmaanic mus-haf:, Ibn Katheer


had been sent from Palestine
say this copy

(d.

774 A.H.), of Tafseer ibn Katheer


it'ii

fame, wrote in his monumental history. al-Bidaayah


seen one ol them.
iH
It

an-Nihaayah, that he had


it

to

Damascus, and
England
via

was

"verv large,

in beautiful clear strong writing

with strong ink, on parchment.

think,

made

ol

camel

skin'.

Some
likely.

made
in

its

way

to
it

Leningrad, but

this

does not seem


in the
(d.

Another opinion

states that

was burned

in a lire that

occurred

Grand Mosque of Damascus,

the year 1.510

A.H. (1893 CE). Ibn al-Jazaree

K52 A.H.) also reported seeing the mus-haf of Syria."' Ibn Battuta
(d.

779 A.H. ), the famous Muslim


directly

traveller, reports

seeing
for the

hafs that

were copied

from the mui-haf of 'Uthmaan. As

many musMadeenah

manuscript:
Ibn (ubair
(d.

614 A.H./I217

Madeenah
until the

in the year 5X11


it

A.H/J

184

CE) saw the manuscript in the mosque of CE. Some say it remained in Madeenah
in
1

Turks took

from there

$34 A.l

I.

1915 CE.

It

has been

re-

ported that this copy was removed by the Turkish authorities to Istanbul,

from where

it

came

to Berlin

during World War


I,

I.

The

Treaty

ol Versailles,

which concluded World War


Article 246:

contains the following clause:


into the force

Within

si\

months from the coming


I

of the

present
original

treaty,

Germany
(sic) ol

will restore to

lis

Ma)esty,

King

ol

Hcdjaz, the

Koran

the Caliph

Othman. which was removed from


and
is

Medinah by
the

the Turkish authorities


II,"

stated to have

been presented

to

ex-Emperor William

The manuscript

then reached Istanbul, but not Madeenah."

This copy
see.

is

now on

exhibit at the

Topkapi

Museum

in Istanbul, Turkey, for all to

There

is

also a

copy of a mus-haf in Tashkent (former


it

USSR)

that

is

alleged to
If this is

be-

an 'Uthmaanic copy, although some say that

is

copy of the original.

an

"Uthmaanic mus-haf

it

might actually be the mus-haf that 'Uthmaan kept

for himself.

?I2

In feet, he ordered
ibid., p. 25.

li>r

t <

In-

destroyed the very hour that Hafsa was buried!

Hi
114 515

Qaaaao

p.

54,
v.

Von Dcnffer,
I.

p.62.

.iz-Xarq.nici-.

p. 411s. p. 62.

316

Taken from Von Denffer,

The Compilation
and the one he was reading Irom when he was murdered.
(after the

of the Qur'aan

151

It

came
in

Umayyads had

taken

it

from Madeenah to Morocco)


the Russians took
in 1924,
it

Samarkand 890 A.H. (14X5


to

CE), and remained there

until, in 1869,

to St. Petersburg.

They

returned ittoSamarqand (close to Tashkent)


since.

and

it

has remained in Tashkent

The

Russian authorities had


7

this the

mus-hafis available

made facsimiles ol the mus-haf, and because of through this medium at a number of leading universities
Uthmaanic
first

and

private collections."

Therefore, there exist


mus-hafs.
at

at least

two imis-lhifs

that are reputed to be official


is

Even

if they

are not originals (and this

very difficult to disprove), they are

worst copies of the original, since the style of writing conforms to the

few

decades after the hijrah.

x.

The Verses

or the

Qur'aan
as

By 'verse' is meant what is known number of meanings to it, including:


1

an

'aayali.

This word,

linguistically,

has a

sign or indication. Allaah says,

And
ol his

their prophet said to

them

(the Children ol Israel),

"The sign (aayuh)


box.. . [2:248]

Kingdom

is lli.it

there shall

come

to

you

wooden

2)

An admonition

or lesson. Allaah says,

ln this there
3)

is

a lesson (aayuh) for those

who give

thought"

16:

A miracle. Allaah

says,

Ask the Children


4)

ol Israel

how many miracles

(aayuh)

we gave them

[2:21

verse or sentence. Allaah says,

jXjiyt Jx\)

&+ -^Zj\ ^-s*J 2uVJLJja\ilj


Qur'aan)
-

And when We change


and Allaah knows

a verse (aayuh) (in the

in

place of another

best

what he sends down

they say. 'You

(O

Muhammad)
116:1011

are but a forger.' Nay, (but) most of

them

are ignorant!"

317 Al-Hamad describes

this mus-httl in groat detail,

and concludes

thai

il

is

the strongest candidate lor

being an original mus-haf ol Uihmaan. As lor the other copies in Kgypt lhal are reputed to be 'Uthmaanic
mus-hafs. he concludes that this
is

very unlikely, as

hey have mit/al and lashheel marks. Kvcn

less likely

candidates lor the Uthmaanic mus-hafi are a


Alec's personal mus-haf.

number ol

mus-hafi ol Iran and Iraq which are claimed to be

al-Hamad.

191-3.

152

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

When

used

in Islaamic sciences,

it is

defined to be

a pari
is

of the Qur'aan composed


it

ol sequential letters anil

words, separate from what

before

and
i,a

after

it.

with a

beginning and end, occupying

a specific place in a specific soomk.


is

Combining
a miracle

the above linguistic meanings, an aayah


it is

a verse ol the

Qur'aan, and

from Allaah (since

inimitable).""

It

contains lessons for


disbelievers.

mankind

to

benefit from,

and admonitions

for the believers

and

The Necessity of this Knowledge

The know ledge


sons, including:''"
1

ot

where

a verse

begins and ends

is

essential for a

number of rea-

The acceptability ol the


rised the Faatihah,

prayer.

Some scholars state that,

il

person has not

memo-

he must recite seven other verses of the Qur'aan instead of it, and this cannot be done unless one knows the beginning and end ol a verse. Mosi scholars also encourage the recitation of three short or one long verse after the
Faatihah, and this recitation
2)
is

also

dependent upon
It

this

knowledge.

The proper
pause
at the

recitation ol the Qur'aan.

is

preferable - but not

mandatory is

to

end of every

verse,

and many scholars have


it

stated that this

the

Prophet's ($g) Suniuili. Likewise,

is

not encouraged to start or stop a recitation

from the middle of a verse; any recitation should be started from the beginning of
a verse,

and concluded

at

the ending ol one. In addition, certain rules of recitaol

tion {tajweed)
3)

depend upon the location

the

end

ol a verse.
it is

The

acceptability ol the Friday sermon.

Some

scholars have stated that

ob-

ligatory for the Friday


4)

sermon

to

include

at least

one

full

verse in

it.

The ease
lar

in

finding particular passages in the Qur'aan.


is

The

finding of a particuverses of the

passage

simplified by the

knowledge and numbering of the

Qur'aan.

The Origins of this Knotvledge


verse

There are two opinions as is known.

to

how

the location of the beginning anil ending of a

The

first

opinion

is

that

all

of this knowledge

is

from the Prophet (3^) -

in

other

words, the beginning and end ol every single verse was taught to the
the Prophet
(??,).

As proof, the adherents of


(sgg) clearly

this

Companions by opinion bring forth the numerous


in cerxainsoorahs.

hadceth in which the Prophet

mentions particular verses

For example, the Prophet

(g;) said,

"Whoever memorises
1

the last ten verses ofSoorah


Verily, there
is

al-Kahl will be saved from the tribulation ol Dajjal,"'' and.

usooiuh

in

i|S

d. az-Zarqaanee,

v.

1 ,

p.

339.
tor
i'jttttz'

319 Sec Chapter 1^ under 'The Quantity


Reported In Muslim.

lor a discission ol

the inimitaoilily ol a verse.

320 Moosaa. Ahd ar-Razaaej. Murshid al-Khataan,


i2l

IUM

Press. Mailcenah, 1990, p. JO.

The Compilation of the Quraaa


the Qur'aan
lorgiven.

153

composed of thirty

verses that interceded lor

its

companions

until he

was

It is,

Messed
(i.e.,

Ik

le in

Whose

lands
last

is

the

Dominion"

|67:1|

Soorah al-Mulk),"-' and, "Read the


I

two verses oiSoorah al-Baqarah,


(of Allaah)."'''

for in-

deed

was given them from under the Throne


is
'

and, "...and in
(It is)

it

{Soorah

al-Baqarah), there
the Foot-Stool."

a verse

which

is

the

Queen

ol all

other verses.

the 'Verse ol

These narrations show

that the

Qur'aan

hail already

been divided

into verses by the Prophet (5^5).

The second
edge
is

opinion, and perhaps the stronger one. states that most of this knowl(l^g),

from the Prophet

and some

ol

it is

based upon the personal reasoning


hold this opinion give as proof the
'verses' in the
fact,

{ijtihaad)
fact that

of the scholars of the salaf. Those

who

there exists a difference of opinion over

some

Qur'aan

(as shall

be discussed below). Thus, taking into account this

and the above narrations

from the Prophet (3g), they claim that most of the locations for the breaks between the verses were well-known, and from the Prophet (^g), whereas some locations were
arrived at based

upon

ijtihaad.
is

The reason
as follows:

that certain locations are subject to a difference ol opinion

explained
at par-

When

the Prophet
places

(5^5)

used to

recite the

Qur'aan. he would stop

ticular places.

Those

where he continually stopped whenever he

(S^g) recited

that passage are taken as verse breaks,

without any difference of opinion. The

diller-

ence

ol

opinion occurs

at those places

where he

(gz)

sometimes stopped ami some-

times did not;


it

some

scholars took this to be a stop for breath,


to be the

and thus did not count


verse.

as a verse break,

whereas other took this

beginning of a new

Moosaa

writes:'-"

The reason

for the difference ol

opinion over the verse (breaks)


reciting the

is

that

the Prophcl ($S)

would stop (while

Quraan)...The locations
anil

upon which the Prophet (5S) always stopped,


agreed upon as verse breaks, and there
is

never connected, arc


oi

DO difference

opinion over them.


never stopped, but

Then

there are locations

upon which the Prophet

(-Sgl

rather always continued his recitation, so these too arc agreed

upon

that

they are not verse breaks.

And

then there are other locations upon which the

Prophet (Sg) sometimes stopped, and sometimes did not: these locations
are the reason lor the difference ol opinion, and

where

(the scholars) per-

formed

ijtihaad.

Of course,
scholars

even

when

ijtihaad

was

resorted to, there were certain rules that these

employed

to discern the exact location ol the break.

Ol primary importance

522

Reported by Aboo

)aawood.

523 Reported by
52-1

Ahmad.

Reported by at-Tirmidhee.

52*5

Moosaa,

p. 52.

1^4

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

was the context


the
verses bctore
verses,
It
is

ot the verse;

what was the average length

ol

its

sister verses?

what was
sister

rhythm and rhyme


it

ol the
'-'"

passage? what was the ending sound ami note ol the

and

alter it?
its

Thus, they compared the particular verse with

its

and established

beginning and end based upon them.

the

should be emphasised again that the actual arrangement ol the words and phrases same - the difference of opinion occurs only where one verse ends and the next
7

verse begins.'-'

The Number of Verses


With
this in

mind, how many verses are there


ol the verse

in the

Qur'aan?

As mentioned above, most


ject to a

breaks are agreed upon, and


of

difference ol opinion.
ol'thi: c/inuicit)

Thus, the scholars

the Qur'aan (to be


to this

some are submore precise.

the scholars
ions.

were divided with regards


its

question into seven opin-

Each

city

(and therefore each qiraad) had

own

verse-number.
this
is

The scholars of

Koofah held the view that there were 6236 verses (and
present in the
nitis_-lafs

the

written in the qiraa'a of Hafs 'an 'Aasim).


to be

numbering that is The scholars of


were

Basrah considered there


verses were 6227 in

6204

verses.
in

In Damascus, the scholars agreed that the


(Palestine) they held thai there
in

number, whereas

Mims

6232 verses. In Makkah, 62 HI verses was the common opinion, whereas


the earlier scholars said there were 6217 verses,

Madccnah

and the

later

ones held there to be

62 14 verses.

Again, the difference occurs only

in

where

to stop

one verse and


ol the

start

another.

What might be one verse


scholars ol
last

for the scholars

of Koofah might be considered as two by the

Madeenah, and so on. So,


to start

lor

example, some

qiruaat consider the


...'

verse ofSoorah Faatihah to start from 'Sjraataladheen an'amta'a


it

whereas others
into

consider
verses.

from 'Ghayr il-maghdoobi'...' thus breaking die


'.

last 'verse'

two

The Arrangement of the


Even though
there
is

Verses a difference of opinion over the actual verse numbering,


fact that the

there

is

no difference of opinion over the


is

arrangement and order


807 A.H.)

ol the

verses in each soon//?

from the Prophet

($J|) himself.

The scholars of Islaam have


said,
is
I

agreed

(ijnuni')

on

this point.

Aboo
ol

Ja'far ibn

Zubayr

(d.
is

"Flic arrangement
the

the verses in thcsooraJis


(5gg)

matter which
it

mm

command

of the Prophet This


is

and we cannot question

(i.e..

exercise

ijtihiiiid in ill.

mailer

in

which there

is

no difference of opinion

among

the Muslims.'

326 c Moosaa, pps. 34-38


.527

lor

more

details

and examples.
is

The only 'verse'


at

in the

Quraan
p.

over which there

a difference ol

opinion concerning

its

stains

is

the

basmalah

the beginning of each soorati, and this difference will be elaborated on in a separate section.
27.

s2 ad-Daanec, p. 9, Moosa, J29

Qaaaan,

p.

59.

The Compilation

o!

the

Quraan

155

The
used to

Prophet (5) used

to

mention

to the scribe writing the verse

where

to put the

verse in the
tell

Quraan. He him. and Jibreel was


($gz)

did not used to do this by his

own judgement,

for Jibreel

inspired by Allaah with this knowledge.

'Uthmaan ibn Abee al-'Aas reported that lie was once sitting by the Prophet (gg) when he noticed that the Prophet (55) raised his eyes and fixed his gaze (an indication that he (j^g) was being inspired), then he said, "Jibreel came to me and com-

manded me

to put this verse at a certain place in this.www//,

Allaah

commands you with


was

justice....""! 16:90].

In other words, the Prophet (5g)

told not only in

which soorah

to place the verse

but also in which portion ol the soorah to

do

so.

'Abdullaah ibn a/.-Zubayr was reading the Qur'aan

when he came across this verse,

And those of you


lor

who

die

and leave behind

their wives should

bequeath

them

a year's

maintenance and residence, without turning diem

out...l2:240]

He went

to

"Uthmaan
it,

ibn 'Altaan,

the verses after

so

why do you
1

write it?"

and asked him, "This verse has been abrogated by He answered, "O my nephew, I will not

change anything from

its

place."" In this narration,

'Uthmaan

signified that he

knew

the place of the verses, but he


(5^5)

was not willing

to leave

anything out that the Prophet

had not ordered him

to.

Apart from these proofs, the


soorahs in the prayer,

fact that

the Prophet

(|)

used to recite complete

and to the ment of the verses must have been taught by the Prophet
the prayers in

Companions
is

individually,

shows
the

that the arrange-

(jge) to

all ol

which the

recitation

aloud, the Prophet

($yg)

Companions. In would have had to


Soorah Sajdah

recite

various JOortfAj. There are reports, for example, that he

(*yg) recited

and he (3^) rccitcil al-Baqarah, and Aali-'Imraan, and Nisaa', and Araaf, and many more soorahs in the prayer,"' and he recited Soorah Qaal more than once during
in Fajr,

the Friday sermons. In addition, the Prophet (5^5) used to recite the entire

Qur'aan

during the month


fore, the

Ramadaan, and this was witnessed by Zayd ibn Thaabit. ThereCompanions must have heard the various verses put together to form the
ol

soorah.

This

is

gatherings ol the

why as-Suyootec said, "The recitation of the Prophet (^) in front of the Companions proves that the arrangement ol the verses is Irom him.

530

Reported

in

Musnad Ahmad.
v.

331
$32

Repotted by al-Bukhaarec.
it.

az-Zarqaancc,

1. 1>.

347.

156

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the

Quraan

and the Companions could not change the order of the verses from what the Prophet
(SS>) recited.

Therefore, the knowledge of the order of the verses


is

is

imttawaatir.'"'

This

is

retlected in the fact that there

absolutely no

known

difference ot opinion in

the arrangement of the verses tor each soorah.

The Number of Words and


There are 77,437 words

Letters

in the

Qur'aan, and 323,671

letters,

with difference of
is

opinion in both ot these numbers.


to the fact that certain qira'aut

The

reason this difference ol opinion exists


letters that are

due
and,

pronounce

not written in the


identical to

script,

as

mentioned

earlier, the mits-luifs ol

'Uthmaan were not


95 A. H.), the
in

one another.
Iraq, called

For example, Hajjaaj ibn Yoosul

(d.

famous governor of
1

the scholars of Basrah, and he chose al-Hasan al-Basree (d.


(d.

10A.H.), Abooal-'Aaliyah

90 A.H.), Nasr ibn 'Aasim

(d.

89 A.H.) and two more scholars, and


in the

commanded

them, "Count the number of words


counting the
323,015
in the
letters
4

Qur'aan." So they stayed four months

and words, and they concluded that there were 77,439 words, and
Qur'aan." Other opinions give different numbers, but they are

letters in the

same range

as the
in
I

examples

cited.

Imaam

as-Sakhaawee's

(d.

643 A.H.)

state-

ment should be kept


any
benefit,

mind
tor a

in

such discussions.

He

wrote, after mentioning the


these numbers). For, if it hail

various opinions, "And


it

don't see any benefit (in

all of

would be

book

that

is

possible to be added (o or subtracted Irom.

As

for the

Qur'aan,

this is not possible.""' Also, the

Companions and

those after

them

agreed that these numbers have no Islaamic significance or valid esoteric interpretations whatsoever.""

The

longest verse
89:
1 .

is

the 'Verse of Loaning", 2:282.

The

shortest verse

is

93:1, lVa

ad-duha and

'Wa

al-fajr'.

Both consist of six

letters in writing,

but only five in

pronunciation.

The

longest continuous string of related letters


letters.

is

'fa-asqaynaafamooku,

in 15:22,

which consists of eleven

$33

as-Suyoojcc,

v.

I.
v.

p. 82.
I,

334 ax-'/arkashec.
$35

p. 249.

as-Sakhaawce,p.231.
cf.

$36

Qattaan,
is

p. 356. to tin- qirna'a

337 This

according

of Hats.

Some

of the

c/ini'mil

consider

llic

disjointed letters to be a

separate verse, which

would make

these letters the smallest verse in the Qur'aan, lor these qiraaat.

The Compilation

oi

the Qur'aan

157

The
The basmalah
is

Basmai.au as a Verse

the phrase that occurs at the beginning ot each soorah or the

Qur'aan, except for Soorah at-Tawbah, and reads, as every Muslim knows,

'Bismillaah ar-Rahjnaan ar-Raheem'


(In the

Name

or Allaah, the Ever-Merciful, the

Bestowcr

of

Mercy).

There
this

is

a difference ot
is

opinion amongst the scholars


a verse at the
is

ol the ol

Qur'aan over whether


in particular

phrase

to

be considered as

beginning
a

each soorah,

Soorah al-Faatihah, or whether this


soorahs,

merely

phrase said lor blessings between the

and

is

meant

to identify

where one soorah ends and the next begins.


a part of

The scholars are agreed that the basmalah docs not form
and that
"Verily,
it

Soorah at-Tawbah,

is

a verse

of the Qur'aan
is

in 27:3(1

(which reads, ^-} j^\^j\& J^'{ 'JSLj>'i,\ J


ii

it

(the letter)

from Sulaymaan, and


of

(reads): In the
its

Name

ol Allaah,

The

Kvcr-.Merciful, the
ol the
1)

Bestowcr

Mercy!"), but disagree as to

status at the

beginning

other soorahs. There are live opinions on this matter, as follows:


is a

The basmalah The basmalah


separate verse.

separate verse at the beginning ol every soorah. This


is

would

imply that the basmalah


2)
is

the

first

verse
at

ol'

every soorah.

only a part ot a verse


is

the beginning ol every soorah. In other


first

words, the basmalah

the

first

part ol the

verse in every soorah,

and not a

3)

The basmalah
other soorahs.

is

a verse only at the beginning ot Soorah al-Faatihah, and not lor

4)

The basmalah
a verse in

is

a separate verse, not a part of

any soorah

that has
is

been placed

at

the beginning of the soorah. In other words, the basmalah

not to be counted as

any soorah, but


is

is

a verse of the Qur'aan.

5)

The basmalah

not

verse ot the Qur'aan, but rather a phrase

which

is

used

to

distinguish one soorah from another.


It

can be seen that the above opinions can be divided into two main categories:

those

who

claim that the basmalah

at the
it

beginning of the soorahs

is

a verse in the

Qur'aan, and those

who

claim that

is

not.
is

ol the

The scholars who claim that Qur'aan, such as Imaam


1.),

the basmalah at the beginning ol the soorahs

a verse
(d.

ash-Shaafi'cc

(d.

204 A. II.),

Imaam Ahmad

241
to

A.I

and

others, use as evidence the tact that the mus-ha/s that


all

"Uthmaan ordered

be written

contained the basmalah

at

the beginning ot the soorahs (except tor the

ninth soorah, Soorah at-Tawbah). This, according to them, automatically implies that
[he basmalah at the beginning ot the soorahs
is

a verse in die

Qur'aan. since the

Com-

panions only wrote

in the

'Uthmaanic mits-haf what was agreed

to be the Qur'aan,

J38 c

Il.n

Knihcer.

v.

I, p. 17.

158

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

and did nol write anything besides it. In addition, they also use as evidence those narrations in which ihe Prophet ($g) recited the basmalah at the beginning of certain
soorahs,

such as the narration

in

which the Prophet


to

(3jg)

smiled with pleasure, and

said, "Last night,

asoorah was revealed

me:

tSismillaah ar-Rakmaan ar-Rahcem. Mrily.


tain)of#flM>ft&r..."[108:l-3]

We

have given you the

|I-'oun-

In this narration, the Prophet (syg) started the soorah with the basmalah,

and

it

can be

interred that

it

was revealed with the soorah.


that

However, those
a part

do not hold the basmalah at the beginning ol the soorahs to be of the Qur'aan, such as Imaam Maalik (d. 179 A.H.), Aboo Hanccfah (d. 15(1
fact that

A.H.) and others, use the

the purpose ol the basmalah

is

to signify

where

new
said,

soorah

starts, as

the following narration of Ibn 'Abbaas indicates. Ibn 'Abbaas

"The Prophet
(-eg) said,

(Sgg)

did not

know where asoorah


'I

c\m\>.\\
is

until the

basmalah was

revealed to him."" Another narration that this group uses

the hadceth in

which the
and

Prophet

"Allaah has said,


says,

have divided the prayer between

Me

My

servant, so

when he

All Praise
I

is

due to AUaab

[1:1]

respond,

"My servant

40 has Praised Me."...'"' In other words, in this narration, which


is

mentions the entire Soorah al-Faatihah. the basmalah


ing that
it is

not mentioned, thus implyis

not a verse.

An even more explicit

narration

the one reported by

Aboo

Plurayrah,

who

said that the Prophet (i^g) said.

4,
AI1 Praise
is
is

due

to

Allanh
ol

1 :

the 'Mother of the Qur'aan'


Jl

and the 'Mother

the Book'

and the 'Seven

oft-re-

peated verses.'"

In this narration, the Prophet

(^)

started Soorah al-Faatihah withit is

out reciting the basmalah, showing, according to these scholars, that


the Qur'aan.

not a verse ol

Based on

this classic difference of


a

opinion, the qirdaat themselves differed over

whether the basmalah was


the Oaarces. Ibn Katheer.
it

verse in Soorah al-Faatihah

and the other.soorahs.

Aasim and al-Kisaa

ee were the only ones

Among who considered

to

be a verse

at

the beginning ol each soorah. whereas the others did nol.

$39

Reported

ly

J40 Reported by

Aboo Daawood. Muslim and Aboo Daawood.

Reported by al-Bukhaarec ami others.

The Compilation of the Qur'aan To


resolve this difference of opinion,

159

some

scholars claimed thai the basmalah


left
it

was

revealed in

some
all

ol the

ahmfoi

the Qur'aan, and

out of others!

342

This opinion
the basmalah

would perhaps
is

resolve the difference of Opinion,

were

not for the

fact that

written in

the mus-hafs of 'Uthmaan.


it

Had

the basmalah been a verse in


in

some
left

ahmj

anil not in others,

would have been written

some

of the

imts-haf anil

out ol others.

Perhaps the strongest opinion amongst these, however,


basmalah
is

is

the opinion that the

a part

of Soorah al-Faatihah, and not

a part ol the

other soorahs. For the

other soorahs. the purpose ol the-basmalah, as the narration of Ibn 'Abbaas mentions,
is

to differentiate

between the ending of one soorah and the beginning of the

next.

The strongest prool tor this opinion is an authentic narration that leaves no room for any doubt. Aboo Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (^g) said, "When you recite,

A1I l'niisc

is

due

to

Allaah

ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem' tor verily it (i.e., the Faatihah) is the 'Mother of the Qur'aan' anil the "Mother of the Book' and the 'Seven oft-repeated verses'; anil 'Bismi/lah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem' is a verse ol it. This narrathen recite (with
it),

'Bismillaah

'

tion

is

explicit in that the

basmalah

is

a verse of

Soorah al-Faatihah. and since the


is

narrations that are used to prove that the basmalah


implicit reasoning, this narration

not a verse are

all
is

based on

must take precedence.'" However, there


beginning
ol the

no strong

proof that the basmalah

is

a verse at the
(yg)

other soorahs, for there exist

narrations that the Prophet

used to mention other soorahs without reciting the


(S^g) said, "Verily,
its

basmalah. For example, the Prophet

there

is

a soorah in the

Qur'aan
It

composed of thirty
is,

verses that interceded for

companions

until

he was forgiven.

Blessed be

He

in

Whose Hands
is

is

the Dominion..." [67:1

|,

w
is

This narration shows that the basmalah

not a verse of the soorah, as this soorah

composed

ol thirty verses

without the basmalah.


is

The
is

issue ol

whether the basmalah


an actual

a verse at the

beginning

ol the soorahs or
is

not

not of significant importance, since the difference ol opinion


is

not over whether

the basmalah

verse (the scholars are agreed that

it

is

a part

of the verse

in

J42
^4
5

cl.

al-Banna,

p. 358.

For

.1

discussion ol thcahruf, refer 10 Chapter in.

Reported by ad-Daraqujncc; c as-Sahcetyi/i,

1183. This hadceth


ol

is

narrated through a

number of
ol

different chains,

most

ol

which make

tins a

statement

Aboo
is

lurayrah, and inn a Iwdecih ol the Prophet

(5&<)- This is why some scholars staled Aboo Hurayrah. anil not a ladceth).

thai this hadeeth

not authentic

(meaning

thai n

is

.1

statement

$44

cl.

ar-Kaazic.

Muhammad

inn 'L'niar Fakhr ad-Din: Ahl<aom al-Basmalah, ed. Majdi Ibrahim,

Maktahah al-Qur 'aan, Cairo,


345 Reported by

n.d.. pps. 29-34, for

an explanation

ol the

previous implicit' narrations.

Aboo Daawood.

160

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

27:30), but rather, where

is it

a verse; is

it :

only

in verse 27:30, or at the

beginning

of all

thesoorahs, or only ofSoorah al-Faatihah.

Therefore, the issue ofwhether the basmalah

forms a part of the soorah as


opinion
is

a verse or
it

not

is

the only area in which difference of


in that a

permitted. As such,

occupies a unique status


is

person

who denies

the basmalah as a verse otlhe soorah


this, to

not to be considered a disbeliever. Contrary to


is

deny any other verse of the Qur'aan

considered to be disbelief. Az-Zarkashee

writes,

"There

is

no difference
1 '"'

of

opinion

among
(at

the

Muslims

that a person
is

who

denies the basmalah as a verse in the Qur'aan


be considered a disbeliever."

the beginning ofthe soorahs)

not to

To conclude,
Faatihah, but
best.
is

the basmalah

is

counted as

a verse at the

beginning of Soorah

al-

not a verse at the beginning of any other soorah, and Allaah

knows

As
been
ibn

for the fact that

Soorah at-Tawbah does not begin with the basmalah, there have

There arc narrations from 'Alec left out of at-Tawbah since the basmalah signifies peace and mercy, and at-Tawbah was revealed as a warning and threat lor the pagans. Other weak narrations mention the story that the Companions cliil not know whether at-Tawbah and al-Anfaal were two soorahs or one, so they purinterpretations seeking to explain this.
to the effect that the

many

Abee Taalib

basmalah was

posely

left

the basmalah out at this place.'


says,

'

The

strongest opinion, however,


is

is

as alit

Qushayree
because

'The correct reason that the basmalah


it

not

at

the beginning of

is

Jibreel did not reveal

with (the soorah)."'*"

VI.

The Soorahs
The word
'soorah'

of the Qur'aan
means an enclosure or a
an elevated plain."
it
1

fencing, such as the walls

around

a city.

It is

also used to denote

"

When
meaning,

applied to Islaamic sciences,

signifies a specific
linguistic
is

group of verses

in the

Qur'aan, arranged in a specific manner.


a 'soorah'

Combing its
"The

meaning to

the Islaamic
all

has 'enclosed' certain verses, and

elevated in status over

other

speech. Ibn Katheer (d. 774 A.H.) writes,


guistic

scholars have differed over the linroot

meaning oi'soorah.' Some


as
if

say

it is

from the

word

that signifies elevation...


its

so

it is

the reciter of the Qur'aan rises from one level to another, or due to

(the

soorah's) high status....

And

it

is

also possible that 'soorah' signifies the

various verses, just as the walls of a city (Ar. soar)


ants..."""

combining of combine and enclose its inhabit-

346 az-Zarkashee, Bahr,


3-17

p.

472.

This narration

will
v.

lie

discussed in the next section.

34H az-Zarkashee. 349 Ubaydaat,

1,

p. 26.3.

p. 136.
v.

350 Tafsealbn Katheer,

I.

p. 9.

The Compilation

ol the

Quraan

161

The Arrangement of the Soorahs

The scholars of Islaam


mended
whether

have agreed (ijmaa')

to the fact that

it is

obligatory to follow
that
it

the arrangement ot the soorahs in the writing ol the mus-haf,


(hut not obligatory) to follow this
this recitation

and

is

recom-

arrangement

in the recitation ol the


it.

Qur'aan,

occurs during the prayer or outside ol

However, they have

disagreed concerning the origin of this arrangement into three opinions.


1

The first opinion


his

states that the

arrangement of the soorahs was from the


official

ijtihaad

of the Companions. In other words, w-hen Zayd compiled the

mus-haf. he

employed

own

ijtihaad in the

arrangement of the soorahs, and the other Compan-

ions agreed to this.

This

is

the opinion ot
1

Imaam Maalik

(d.

179 A.H.) ami

Ahoo Bakr

al-Baaqillaancc

(d. 4<>.?
is

A.H.)."

The
'Alec's

proof that

given for this opinion

is

the fact that the different

Companions
For example,

had different arrangements ot the soorahs


mus-haf was arranged
in

in their respective mtis-hafs.

chronological order, starting with Soorah al-Iqra,

then al-Muddathir, and soon. Both ihc mits-hafs ol 'Ubay ibn Ka'aband Ibn Mas'ood
started with al-Bacjarah,

then an-Nisaa, then Aali-'Imraan. These differences, acthis

cording to the proponents ot

opinion, show that the arrangement ot the soorahs


it

was not from the Prophet

(^g), lor hail

been

so, these

Companions would have

written their mtis-hafs with the proper

arrangement

ol the soorahs.

However,

this

is

the weakest ol the three opinions, since the mus-hajs ol the


to read.

Comin

panions were personal, and were not meant lor others


tact

Most

ol

them were

incomplete, and as such do

not constitute any proof. Apart from that, these mitsot the

hafs

were written during the lifetime

Prophet
it

(Sjg),

when

the revelation ol the


possi-

Qur'aan had not even been completed. Therefore,


ble for these mits-hafs to
2)

would not even have been

have been arranged

in the correct order.

The second opinion claims that part ot the arrangement was done by the Prophet (Sg), and part by the ijtihaad of the Companions. The followers of this opinion, however, have disagreed as to how many soorahs were arranged by the Prophet (-^5) and how many by the Companions. The most common opinion amongst
ranged by the Prophet
(jjsjg)

this

group

is

that all the soorahs

were

ar-

except tor Soorah ai-Tawbah and al-Antaal. As proof they

use the following narration:

Ibn 'Abbaas narrates that he asked T'thmaan,

"Why did you


which
is

pair al-Antaal, even

though

it

is

from the mathaani^ with

at-Tawbah.

from the mi'een. Anil

why

did you not write the basmalah between them,

and put both of them

in the tjwaal

soorahs}"

'Uthmaan answered, "The soorahs used to be revealed to the Prophet (^?,), so whenever something was revealed he would call a scribe anil tell him, "Put this verse in the soorah in which such-and-such is mentioned." Soorah al-Antaal was one ot the first soorahs to be revealed in Madeenah, anil Soorah at-Tawbah was one ol the

?5

as-Suyootee,

v.

I ,

p. 82.
last

<i2

For

:i

discussion of the tntuhaani, ijtuaal ami mi-eai, see the

section

of this chapter.

162

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

last parts of

the Qur'aan revealed, and


I

its

story

was similar to
it

it

(i.e.,

Soorah at-Tawbah
(j^g)

resembled Soorah al-Anfaal), so


passed away before
I

thought that

was

a part

of it. The Prophet


because
ol this,
I

could ask him concerning

this issue, so

put the

two of these

together,

and did not write the basmalah between them, and put them

amongst the seven tiwaal sooraks.


This narration would be
a very explicit

proof tor those


is

who

hold this opinion,

if it

was not

for the fact

that the above narration

weak."^ Therefore,

this narration can-

not be taken as proof in this matter.

This opinion, that

all

of the Qur'aan except tor at-Tawbah and al-Anfaal was

ar-

opinion of the majority


It

ranged by the Prophet (^g), was held by as-Suyootcc (who claimed that this was the ol scholars), al-Bayhaqcc (d. 458 A.H.) and others.

should be pointed out that the proponents of both of the above opinions claim

that the present

arrangement must be followed, since the Companions

nil

agreed to

it

{ijmua).
3)

The

last

opinion

states that the soorah

order was from the

command

of the

Prophet (^).

In other words, the

arrangement of the soorahs was understood by the


taught them
this,

Companions

since the Prophet

(%0,)

and

this

is

why 'Uthmaan

ar-

ranged the soorahs

in the present

arrangement.
is

This
(&f,)

is

perhaps the strongest opinion on the matter. This


recite the soorahs to the

because the Prophet

used to

Companions
in

in a specific order,

and he (^)

mentioned the order ol some of them


the two bright ones: al-Baqarah and

certain hadeeth. For example, he said, "Recite

and he (^) said, "I have been AahVImraan, given in place of the Torah the seven tjwaal, and I have been given in place ol the Psalms the mi cen, and have been given in place of the Gospel the mathaam. and was honoured over the others with the mufasatl. This hadeeth will be discussed in
I I
"'

the next section; however,

it

clearly

shows

that the

Qur'aan had been arrangetl into

some order by
Also,

the Prophet (^g). the Prophet


(-^g) recited

when
it

the Qur'aan to fibred every year, he

(^) must
it.

have recited

in a particular order,

and Zayd was present when he

recited

When

Uthmaan compiled
to this order.

the

m us- haf. Zayd would

have used the same order that he had

heard from the Prophet ($g). Another proof is that none of the Companions objected
Therefore, the arrangement of lUc soorahs must have been
that
is

known

to the

Companions, and

why

they agreed to
is

it

(ijmaa).

Perhaps the strongest proof


in

the narration of

Hudhaytah at-Thaqafcc
'We break

(d.

42 A.H.),

which he

said, "I

asked the Companions (during the lifetime of the Prophet (%,))

'How do you

divide the Qur'aan?*

They

replied,

it

into three soorahs, then

353
>54

Reported by
In
its

Aboo Daawood and


is

others,

cf.

Qattaan

p. 14

$.

chain

Yazced

al-b'arscc.

whom

al-ISukhaarec mentioned in his ad-Du'a/aa.


p.
1

Ahmad

Shaakir

said ol this hadeeth. "It has


35*5

no

basis."

See Qattaan.

44.

Reported bj Muslim.
in his

356 Reported by at-Tabaranee

Kabeer; c as_-Saheehah

1480.

The Compilation
then seven, then nine, then eleven, then thirteen, then the
""

ot the

Quraan

163

five,

iniifassa/

from Qaal

to

the end.'"

In oilier words, the


it

Companions would
to all the

reeite the

Qur'aan

in a specific

order so that they could finish

every week. This narration shows that the arrange-

ment of the soorahs was known


Prophet (>.

Companions even during

the

life

of the

Imaam al-Karmaanee
the

said,

Qur'aan

is

written in the

"The arrangement ol the soorahs is Irom Allaah, and Lauh al-Mahfoodh in this arrangement. It was recited to
order every year, and he (gg) recited
(d.
it

(ihreel

by the Prophet

(jyg) in this

twice the

year he died."

Aboo Bakr al-Anhaaree


it

328 A.H.)

said,

"The whole Qur'aan was


a period ol

revealed to the lower heavens, then

was revealed gradually, over


in

twenty

or so years.

A soorah

would be revealed
and

response to an occurrence, anil a verse in

response to a happening. Jibreel used to inform the Prophet (-^) ol the arrangement

and place

ol

the verses

soorahs, so the
all

arrangement
it

ol the soorahs

is

like the ar-

rangement

of the verses

and words -

ol

is

from the Prophet

(^g). Therefore,

whoever changes the arrangement


be has ruined the arrangement
of

ol a soorah to a place before or after

what

it

should
proofs

the Qur'aan."

Al-Hamad

writes,

"The
($,),

given (by the proponents ot the second opinion) are not explicit, and the possibility

remains that the Companions look


is

this

arrangement from the Prophet

and

this

the correct view..."'


In fact,

many of the

scholars have discussed the

wisdom behind

the present ar-

rangement

of the soorahs.
fact,

The

majority of lafsccrs also discuss the relationship be-

tween thesoorahs. In
entitled Tanaasiq

as-Suyootee wrote a multi-volume work solely on this topic.

ad-Dnrarjl Tanaasub as-Suwar .""

The Number ofSoorahs


There arc
scholars.
1

14 soorahs in the Qur'aan.

and

this

is

the view held by almost


at-

all

the

A very small

minority held the opinion that Soorah al-Anfaal and


to

Tawbah

are in fact
said.

one soorah. and thus consider there

be

13 soorahs.

Imaam az-Zaxkashee

Ami know
lirst

that the
1

Dumber ofsoorahs of the Qur'aan, by consensus


I

of

those in authority,"'

is

14. as is

present
lasi ol

in ihe

mus-hafoi 'Uthmaan, the


is

of which
A.I
I.)

is

al-Faalihah ami the

which

an-Naas. Mujaahid

(il.

lull

saiil

thai there
is

were

$.

combining al-Anfaal ami al-Tawbah


(-S;)

as

one... but this

refuted In the fad that the Prophel

named each of

them

separately.

$57 Reported by
$58
recite

Aboo Daawood.
v.l, p.

Hold quotes Irom az-Zarkashce.

259.

Whal

is

imam

In

changing the arrangement

is

not to

one soorah before die other in


.i

prayer, lor this


is

was

occasionally

done hy the Prophet

(5l. but rather to

consider

soorah

.is

having

.i

position that

not consistent with the present arrangement.

$59 al-Hamad, p. 122. $60 Published by 'Aalim al-Kutub, Beirut, 1987.


$61

hx.Ahlal-ti.aU an al-'Aqd.

$62

az-Zarkashce,

v.

I,

p. 251.

164

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

The Names of the Soorahs


As
lor the

names of the

soorahs,

many

of

(HI), such as the hadeeth

quoted above that

them have been given by the Prophet mention the names of al-Baqarah, Aalithe soorahs are not found in the hadeeth
it is

Imraan and al-Kahf. However, the names of


of the Prophet
(jig).

all

Some

names were given by the sa/af as well, and thus


there are

possible

that a soorah has

more than one name (although

some who hold

that

even

the
is

from the Prophet (JH)). 363 For example Soorah at-Tawbah also called al-Baraa'ah, and Soorah al-Ghaafir is also called al-Mu'min. A. soorah

names

of"the soorahs arc

was

typically

named

tor a story,
is

theme or word

in

it.

The longest soorah

Soorah al-Baqarah, and the shortest

is

Soorah al-K.awtb.ar.

The

Classification

of the Soorahs
and the

The soorahs of the Qur'aan arc grouped into four categories, the tjwaal (long) soorahs,
the mi'ecn (hundred) soorahs, the mathaani (oft-recited) soorahs
jointed) soorahs.
miifassal (dis-

These categories are based on


have been given
of the in place of the
I

hadeeth of the Prophet


I

(j||) in

which he

said, "I
in

Torah the seven tjwaal, and


have been given
,M

have been given

place

Psalms the mieen, and

in place of the

Gospel the mathaani,

and

was honoured over the others with the

mitfasjal.'"

The tjwaal soorahs: These are the first seven soorahs Faatihah. Some have added at-Tawbah as included in the
1)

in the

Qur'aan

after the
is

tjwaal since there

no

basmalah that separates

it

from Soorah al-Anfaal. They have been called tiwaal be-

cause they are the longest soorahs in the Qur'aan.


2)

The

mieeti:

These are the soorahs that have over or around

hundred

verses,

hence their name.


3)

The mathaani: These soorahs The


These soorahs

are the oft-repeated ones since they are recited in


after the mi-cen.

prayers
4)

more often than the longer ones. They occur


miifassal:

arc called disjointed or broken because of the fre-

quent occurrence
from Qaaf
(or,

of the

basmalah.

They

start,

according to the strongest opinion,

according to another opinion, al-Hujuraat) and finish with an-Naas.

As

for the particular soorahs that qualify as the to

mieen and mathaani. there docs not


ends
at

appear
Faatir.

be any consensus.

Some have

said that the mi-een soorahs

Soorah

This would then imply that the tjwaal arc the soorahs from al-Baqarah

to

at-Tawbah;

the mi-een from Yoonus to al-Faatir; the mathaani from Ya Seen to al-Hujuraat and

363 Sec az-Zarkashcc,


soorah names, although
i64
it

v.

I, p.

270,

where

lie

himself expresses his doubt over the divine origin of die


to this opinion.

seems dial he also leans

Reported In

at

-Taliaaraanee in his Kabccr,

cl.

us_-Saheehah

148(1.

The Compilation of the Qur'aan


the mufassal from the scholars."'"

165

Qaaf to an-Naas. Again,

this classification

is

not agreed upon by

Other Classifications

The Quraan
of days.
1)

has also been divided into sections to

facilitate reading.

These

divi-

sions have been adopted to assist the completion ol the Qur'aan in a certain

number

The ones

that are

more common
is

in the

mus-hafs of today are as follows:


il

Manzil:

The Qur'aan
in

divided into seven manzils, so that


a day. in

a person wishes to

finish the

Qur'aan

one week, he may read one manzil


to finish the
this: "I

Most
quoted
(3^5)

of the

Companions used

Qur'aan

one week. The narration

earlier

Irom Hudhaytah shows

asked the

how

they used to divide the Qur'aan (for

Companions of the Prophet reading purposes). They responded,


from Qaaf to the end.'" * In other
al-Baqarah, Aali-'lmraan and anrecitation of the

Three

soorahs, then fixe soorahs, then seven soorahs, then nine soorahs, then eleven

soorahs, then thirteen soorahs, then the mufassal

words, the

first

day

of the

week they would

recite

Nisaa; on the second day, the next

five soorahs;

and so on, so that the

Qur'aan would be finished weekly.


In the mus-hafs ol today, the manzils arc different

from

this narration. This divi-

sion of the Qur'aan into manzils


tries.

is

not present in most mus-hafs printed in Arab coun-

2) Juz:

The Qur'aan
in

is

also divided into thirty parts, each of which

is

called a juz.

This

is

done

order to
is

facilitate its

reading in one month. In certain non-Arab coun-

tries, this

division

also called a sipaara.

3) Hizb: The mus-hafs printed in Arab countries are typically divided into hizbs. The Qur'aan is composed of sixty hizbs, and thus every juz contains two hizbs. The

beginning of eachy'2 beginning


of

is

also the beginning of a hizb,


is

and the middle of a juz

is

the

another hizb. Each hizb


ruba's.

further divided into quarters called ruba'.

Thus, each juz contains eight


4) Riu\u:

The

mus-hafs printed in the Indian subcontinent are typically divided

into ru\us, each equivalent to

one or two paragraphs

of text.

The ruku

is

accompanied

by three numbers.

that particular soorah.


ru/(u.

The top number denotes the number of the ruku with respect to The middle number indicates the number of verses in that The bottom number indicates the number of the rul(ii with respect to the juz in
it

which

occurs.

36

s
)

Although Tarhooni

in his

work does

not hold

hat

it

is

necessary lor the soorahs. in each

ol

the differ-

ent categories to he sequential. So, lor example, he holds that the tjwaal arc from al-Baqarah to al-Aaral",

and Yunus, placing al-Anlaal with the muthani, and al-Tawbah


366 Reported by Aboo Daawood.

in the mi'cai\

C H A P T E R

The Beginning of the

Soorahs

I.

The

Different Categories
be divided into ten categories, into which
all

The beginning of the soorahs may


1

the

L4 soorahs
1)

may

be classified.'"

The

Disjointed Letters (al-MuqaUa'tiat). For example, AUf-Laatn-Meem,Kaafetc.

Haa-Yaa-'Ayn-Saad, Haa-Meem,

These

are twenty nine soorahs in

number. This

category shall be discussed in greater detail in the next section.


2)

The

Glorification of Allaah. This

is

divided into two sub-categories.

The

first

category

is

the glorification by

means

ol Praise,

and by attributing Names

and Attributes of Perfection. For example.

All Praise is

due to Allaah..^.

1:1

and,

-Blessed he

He

in

whose Hands

is

the

Dominion"

|67:1

The second

category

is

the glorification by

means of negating

attributes ol

weak-

ness and imperfection. For example,

"Glorified and Exalted he

He

(i.e..

He

is

Rxalled over

nil evil

that

is

attrib-

uted to

Him)"

17:1

and,

<

dorily the

Name ol

your Lord, the Most High-

|87:l

1.

""

567

az-Zarkashce,v. I.p.164-181.
rhis distinction will be better appreciated
ii

36S
Al/uu/i'

one understands the

different

mean togs
I

>i

'Subhoon

and 'AUhmuliilhluah'

'.

he

latter

has the connotation ol praising Allaah because

le possesses the

Most

IVrlcct

Names ami

Attributes, whereas the former has the connotation at negating

from Allaah an)

attributes oi imperfection,

ami thus aliirmmv; only Pcrkd

Attributes.

The Beginnings
There are
in the first

of the

Soorahs

167

a total of fourteen soorahs that

begin with glorification;

hall of

them

are

category and hall are in the second.

3)

Call.

For example.
(22:1
fit

tj*X^#Cft

J.\3\l\i,"0

Mankind"

and

others);

"O You who Believe" i\$ and "O Prophet"

(5:1

anil others);

(33:1

and others).
(Sg).

There are ten soorahs that


4)

into this category, five of

which address the Prophet

Statement of Fact For example,

jjltpClilJi "Successful

indeed are the Believin

ers" (23:1), or 3yjS*

"He frowned and turned away"

(80:1).

This occurs

twenty-

three soorahs.
5)

An
it

Oath. For example,

$ "By

the Time!" (103:1), or isy&J&% "By the Star


in fifteen soorahs, all of

when
6)

goes down" (53:1). This occurs


Condition. For example,

which

are

Makkan.

O ^cJ^>^'j-~

~'&\>\

Comes, and the Conquest"


This occurs in seven soorahs.
7)

(110:1), or jffi<julfy

"When the Help of Allaah "When the Event Befalls" (56:1).

A Command, For example, $*<$&$$ "Read, in the name of your Lord!" (96:
He
is

1 ),

or j^-lilifyji "Say:
this category. 8)

Allaah, the One!"

(1

12:1)

There arc

six soorahs that

fit

into

Question. For example,

S^:Li,U

"What

are they asking about?" (78:1) or the

^2ll>jS5j\ll*j\

"Have you seen him who denies

Recompense?"

(107:1).

This

also occurs in six soorahs.


9)

An
'

Invocation. For example. 1^1^111,^


(83:1),
j'
"

"Woe
Aboo

to those

who

give less in

measure
(104:1),
ith

and weight!"
and
1^,'y
j.'

0}j^'^k=^' "Woe 3
:

to every slanderer
oi
I

and backbiter!"

._!-'-

"Ma) the two hands

,ahab perish, and he (along u

them)!" (111:1). These are the only three soorahs where this occurs.
10)

A Reason or Cause. There is only one soorah where this occurs: .^-i.-ii.'V
(106:1).

"For

the

taming of the Quraysh!"

ii.

The
The

Disjointed Letters
.

disjointed letters, or the muqatta'aal occur at the beginning of twenty-nine

soorahs in the Qur'aan. These letters, fourteen in


letters of the
letters,

number, comprise exactly


letter,

half the

Arabic alphabet. Three soorahs begin with only one


letters,

ten with two

twelve with three


letter
is

two with tour

letters,

and two with

five.

The most

common

mean,

in

seventeen soorahs.

The

least

common

are l^aaj

and noon.

which both occur only once.

There have been numerous interpretations


letters,

as to the

meaning and purpose

ol these

ranging from the ludicrous (some Orientalists claim that these


the scribes

letters are

the

initials of

who

wrote the Qur'aan for the Prophet (^)).


interpretations

to the sensible.

Some

ol

the

more common

and opinions are discussed below:

16S

An

Introduction to the Sciences

ol

the Qur'aan

These

letters are
is

from the

Miilaslnnibili,""

ami only Allaah knows

their

mean-

ings.

This opinion
is

a very

common

one, and

it is

definitely the safest opinion.


secrets in
it,

Ahoo

Bakr as-Siddecc|
of the Qur'aan
is

reported to have said, "Every

hook has
(in

anil the secret

in the

heginning of the soorahs


this

the muqatm'aat)."
it

However, even though


bility that
(tl.

opinion

is

the safest one,

does not rule out the possi-

some purpose and meaning. I'akhr ad-Deen ar-Raazee commenting on this view, "It is not possible that Allaah would include something in His Book that His Creation would not understand, because
these letters have
saiil,

606 A.H.)

Allaah

is

the

one who has commanded us

10 relied over this Book,


its

and seek guidance

from
2)

it.

This cannot be achieved except by understanding


letters are

meanings.'"'

These

from the names of Allaah. There are reports from Ibn 'Abbaas
these reports are

to this effect,

such as 'A/if-Lum-Mecni' indicates the three names: Allaah. Lateef and


all

Majeed,

all

of which are amongst the names of Allaah. However,

not authentic. Other

weak

reports state that these letters are the greatest


1

name

of

Allaah (al-Ism al-Adkam), but these reports must be rejected too.


3)

''

Allaah has sworn by these

letters.

In other words, these letters have the

same
is

purpose as the other oaths


refuted since this
is

in the Qur'aan, such as "By the

Dawn"

(89:

).

This view

not the proper


to

way the Arabs used


weight.

to swear, anil therefore this

opinion does not seem


4)
all

have

much

These

letters represent

numerical values. "This opinion


in the

is

rejected outright, as

such numerical interpretations arc unfounded

Qur'aan OtSunnah. Certain

fabricated Inuleeth support this view.


5)

They stand
'

for specific

meanings. In other words, they are acronyms


(I,

for phrases.

For example, Alif-Lcmm-Mecm' stands fox Ana Alhuihu 'Alum


Allaah. (ibreel

Allaah.

Know), or

and

Muhammad.

Again, there

is

no proof

for this.

6) Esoteric Interpretations.

These are usually given by


say, all

certain extremist Soofis

and
is

other heretical groups. Needless to

of these opinions are baseless since there

no proof from the Qur'aan or Sunnah


7)

to

support them.

They

are from the


is

names

of the Qur'aan.

Most

of the scholars

have rejected

this

view, as the Qur'aan


8)

not referred to as 'Alif-Lum-Mccm, or any ol the other


to baffle the disbelievers.

letters.

They

arc

meant

The

disbelievers used to say,

)o not listen to the

Qur'aan, anil

make

noise

(i.e.,

babble)

in the

midst of

it.

so that you

may overcome

(the Qur'aan) |4I:26|

$69 See

( :!..

2,

The Clear and Unclear


v.

Verses'.

$70 az-Zarkashec,
liakr.
.is

I.

p. 17?. It is essential,
il

however, to

verity

il

this actually

was

tin-

statement

ol

Aboo

az-Zarkashec reports
\.

without an isnaad.

i/l

az-Zarkashce,

1. p.

17$.

572

Ubayiiaat, p. 208.

The Beginnings
Thus, Alhiah revealed these
letters to

of the Soorahs

169

bewilder the disbelievers. This opinion


in

is

a
it.

plausible one, but again there does not

This was the opinion of ar-Raazee


9)

in

seem to be any strong proof his famous fa/seer.''


Thus,
it

support of

They

arc the

names of the
Although

soorahs.

is

possible to say Soorah Ya-Scen,

Soorah Taa Haa,


be used
lor. it

etc.

this

might be one of the purposes the muqatta'aat can

does not

really explain the

meaning

of the muqatta'aat. Also, less

than a

third of the soorahs actually begin with these letters, therefore this cannot be their

primary purpose.
10)

They are meant


first

to

demonstrate man's limited knowledge. By including the

miiqaUa'aat as the

verse of the

Qur'aan

after Soorah al-Faatihah,


infinite

man

is

being

reminded
1 1

of his limited

know

ledge,

and the

knowledge

of his Creator.

They

are a reference to the other half of the alphabet. In other

words, the Arabs


are

arc being

reminded

that this

Qur'aan
yet
it

is

composed

of their letters, in
its

and the words

the

same

as their words,

and

cannot be imitated

style

and prose. Thus,

these letters seek to display the miraculous nature ol the Qur'aan.

To add weight

to this explanation,

it

is

noticed that, in almost

all

soorahs

where

these letters occur, the very next verse mentions the Qur'aan. For example,

Kjtdii
AIif

-Liim-Mcem. This

is

indeed the Hook, there

is

no doubt

in

it.

a guid-

ance for the pious* |2:1-2|."'

This

last

opinion was the opinion of az-Zamakhsharee


al-Baaqillaancc
it

(d.

538 A.H.)

in his fa-

mous tafseer.'"^ Imaam


half the alphabet, as
miracle,
let

(d.

403 A.H.) said, "These

letters are exactly


is

if

is

being said, 'Whoever presumes that the Qur'aan

not a

him
7"

take the other half and form a speech that can compete with the

Qur'aan!""
12)

They

are used to attract attention.

The

muqatta'aat are not a

phenomenon
was
to follow.

started b\ the
ters at the

Qur'aan; the Arab poets

<>l

Jaahilliyah occasional 1\ used disjointed In-

beginning of their poetry

to attract attention to the

poem

that

Also, the Arabs at the time of the Prophet (Sg) never questioned the muqata'aat, despite the fact that they tried everything to disparage the Prophet (5^).

and the Comletters,

panions never asked the explanation of these


their thirst for

letters

from the Prophet (^g), despite

knowledge. This shows that they were not puzzled by these


its

since they were accustomed to


this

use in the

poems

of Jaahilliyah. Thus, according to

opinion, the muqatta'aat are used to attract attention to the soorahs, and to prove

to the disbelieving

Arabs that the Qur'aan was a revelation from Allaah, since even

Tafieer ar-Raazee,

v.

p.

7.

374

The only SOOraJlS where


middle
I .

this

docs not occur are al-'Ankabool and ar-Room. hut even these mention

tin (lur'.ian in the

ol
7.

the jw;n;/;s.

375 al-Kashaaf,

v.

p.

170

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

though the mucjathi'aal were used by the poets of old, the Qur'aan"s
inimitable.
In a topic of this nature,
it is

style

of "poetry'

is

impossible to authoritatively say which ol these opin-

ions
in

is

the correct one, since there (Iocs not exist absolute proof for any ol
first

a way, this aids the

opinion!).

Many

can be eliminated as baseless or

ihem (hence, weak

(opinions two through seven).

Opinions

eight, nine,

and

ten,

although are plausible ones, do not seem

to

be the

primary purpose of the imiqaua'aat. They may, however, be secondary purposes.


This leaves three opinions, the
first,

eleventh and twelfth. As lor the

first,

as

was

pointed out
letters,

earlier,

it is

true that only Allaah

knows

for certain the

meanings

ol these that arc

but this does not rule out the possibility that they

may have meanings


to

possible to grasp.

Concerning the

last
It

two opinions, there does not seem


seems
likely,

be any

grounds

for rejecting either o!

them.

therelore, that they both are the

strongest opinions,
It is

and Allaah knows

best.
ol

concluded, then, that the actual purpose


it

the mttqatta'aat

is

known
is

only to

prove both by showing the Arabs that the Qur'aan the miraculous nature of the Qur'aan,
Allaah; but
to

does not seem too unreasonable to claim that their purpose

despite

its

inimitability

- was composed of their


to

letters

and words, and by using the


of

techniques of the JaahiUiyah poets

challenge and prevail over the eloquence

the

poems

oldld.

177

'" 8

III.

The Ending of the Soorahs


Just as the

beginning

of the soorahs
last

have

a certain
is

unique

style,

so too

do the endwill leave

ings of the soorahs.

The

part of a speech

the part

which the reader

with, therefore

it

must have certain

characteristics that

make

it

stand out above the

rcstot the speech.

The endings of
strong impact

the soorahs arc typically very comprehensive the reader.

and

forceful, leaving a

upon

An example

is

the ending oi'Soorah Ibrahcem:

376

/.arzur, p. I S7.

377 Also

sec die opinion of


ol

Aboo Bakr

al-Jazaa'irce in his lafscer,

v. I,

p. 7.

378 Tin- Committee


cerning these
6395;
v. -I.

Permanent Scholars (al-Lajnah ad-Daa'imah) of Saudi Arabia was asked conbeginning ol the soorahs. In response k> ibis question, they issued
a

letters ai the

faiwa (#

p.

144 oflhcir/'iz/tMnw) which Males:

"The scholars have


is

differing opinions concerning this issue,


ai

but the correct one - and Allaah

knows

best -

thai these letters


is

the beginning

of the soorahs are an

indication ol the/yiwe ol the Qur'aan. and that the creation


lent to
it,

incapable of bringing forth Mmiclhing equivaletters (i.e..

despite the laci that


in.

it

is

composed

ol

these

same disjointed

the Arabic alphabet) that


al-

they talk
I

And

ibis

opinion

is

the one thai

Shaykh al-lslaam lbn Tayniiyyah defended, and Aboo

lajjaaj

al-Mizzi agreed with."

The Committee members

were: 'Abdullaah ibn Qa'ood. 'Abdullaah ibn

Ghudayaan, 'Abd ar-Razaaq

Afeeii,

and 'Abd al-'Azeez ibn 'Abd Allaah ibn Baaz.

The Beginnings of the


This

Soorahs

171

(Quraan)

is a

Message

lor

mankind (ami

a prooi against

them),

in

order thai they ma\ he warned thereby, and that they


only

One God who

is

worthy

ol

worship, anil that

may know tli.n dure is men ol understanding

may take

hecd!.[ 14:52]
is

Another example

the

comprehensive dit 'aa that forms the

last

two verses ofSoorah


praise

al-Baqarah. Soorah Aali-*Imraan ends with the exhortation of being patient and persevering in the cause of Allaah; Soorah al-Maa'idah

and al-Hashr end with the


a beautiful description

ami glorification of Allaah; Soorah at-Tawbah ends with


Prophet (^,). and so
forth.
is

of the

An
with

important aspect of this topic

the relationship of the beginning of a soorah


oil

its

ending, for example. Soorah al-Mn'minoon starts

with the phrase.

Indeed,

of a surely the believers are successful!*

[23:

and ends with.

<Surely. the disbelievers will

not be successful..." [23:1 17|


is

The
ending
ol"

relationship ol the ending ol a soorah with the beginning ol the next one

also a topic of great importance. Typically, the


ol

beginning

ol a

soorah

is

related to the

the previous one, either by meaning, or wording. For example, the ending
is a

Soorah al-I'aatihah

request to Allaah to guide us to the Straight Path, and the


if in

beginning of Soorah al-Baqarah describes the Qur'aan as a guidance, as


to the prayer. Likewise, the

answer
to be

ending of Soorah Aali-'Imraan exhorts the believers

patient

and

fear Allaah,

and the beginning of Soorah an-Nisaa' commands mankind


the ties ol kinship; the ending ol Soorah an-Nisaa' contains
relatives

to fear Allaah,

and

lultil

the laws

of being

just

amongst

with regards

to the laws ol inheritance,

and

the beginning ol Soorah

al-Maa idah reaffirms these commands by commanding the

believers to be just in fulfilling their promises

and

obligations.

An example

of a relationship

in

wording
>-

is

the ending of Soorah at-Toor,

?tfT*t ""-!*'< i.lr' -

"And
stars..

in

the night-time, glorify (AllaafTs) praises, and

at

the setting ol the

|52:49|
ol

and the beginning

Soorah an-Najm,

By the star

when

it

goes down

[53:

both the ending and beginning mention the

word

'star.

$79 For this section,

ef.

az-Zarkashee,

v.

I.

p. 186.

CHAPTER

(I

The Ahruf of the Qur'aan

i.

The Meaning of the Word 'Ahruf


The word akrufis
the plural of harf. Linguistically, 'half has a

number of mean-

ings, including:
1

A letter or a
alphabet.

word.' Al-huruf al-abjadiyya, for example,

means

the letters of the

2)

'The border, the edge of something, the brink.' For example, Allaah

says,

Ancl
(i.e.,

among mankind

is

he

who
in

worships Allaah
1

(as

it

were) upon

half

upon the very edge, or

doubt) |22:1

3)

To

swerve from the truth,

to distort.'

Allaah says concerning the Jews,

^<L*_*5

...

they have displaced

(lit.,

yitharifutia)

words from

their right places..."

14:46)
Its

exact definition in Qur'aanic sciences

is

the subject matter of this chapter,


a

and

therefore cannot be defined at this point.

However,

temporary definition may be

given as follows:
read.

The ahruf are the various ways that the verses of the Qur'aan arc Imaam al-Qurtubee (d. 671 A.H.) said, "Every variation of a word in the Qur'aan is said to be a harf. So, for example, when we say the harf of Ibn Mas'ood, means the
it

way

that Ibn

Mas'ood used

to recite that verse or word."""

Most English authors translate ahruf as 'modes' or 'dialects.' However, in this book the word will be left in Arabic since the meaning is broader than these translated
words.

380 Ubayda.it.

p. 153.

"

The Ahruf of the Qur'aan


II.

173

The Number of Ahruf of the Qur'aan


The Qur'aan was
revealed in seven ahruf.
so

The proof for this is found in many much so that it reaches the level of mulawaatir. (syg), Jalaal ad-Dcen as-Suyootee lists twenty-one companions who narrated that the Qur'aan was revealed in seven ahruf'* Some of these narrations are as follows:
narrations from the Prophet
1

1)

Ibn 'Ahbaas reported that the Prophet

(-^g) said, "Jibreel recited


I

the Qur'aan to

me

in

one

hjirf

and

recited

it

back

to

him, but
it

requested

number
"It

of harf)

and he continued
(d.
1

to increase

for

me,

until

him to increase (the we stopped at seven

ahruf." Ibn

Shihaab az-Zuhrec

24 A.H.), one of the narrators of the Inulccth, said,

has reached

me

that these seven ahruf are essentially

one

(in

meaning), they do not

differ 2)

about what

is

permitted or forbidden.

"'

'Ubay ibn Ka'ab reported that the Prophet


tribe

(j^g)

was once on the

outskirts of
said,

Madeenah (near the


"Allaah has

of Banoo Ghifaar)

when

Jibreel

came

to in

him and

commanded
this!" Jibreel

that

you

recite the

Qur'aan

to

your people

one harf." The


to
"I

Prophet
ble

($g;) replied, "I

ask Allaah's pardon and forgiveness!

My people are not capacommanded you


again replied,
(iig)

of doing

then

came again and


in

said, "Allaah has

recite the

Qur'aan to your people

two ahruf." The Prophet

ask Allaah's pardon and forgiveness!

My

people are not capable of doing

this!" Jibreel

then

came

a third

time and said, "Allaah has

commanded you

to recite the

Qur'aan

to

your people

in three ahruf."

The Prophet

(;) replied for a third time, "I

ask Allaah's
last, Jibreel

pardon and forgiveness!

My
and

people are not capable of doing this!" At


said, "Allaah
in

came
to

for the fourth time, in

has

commanded you
recite,

to recite the

Qur'aan
right.

your people
3)

seven ahruf, and

whichever hflrfthey

they

would be

'Umar ibn al-Khattaab narrated, "I was sitting in the masjid when I heard Hishaam ibn Hakeem recite Soorah al-Furqaan. I was almost about to jump on him in his prayer, but I waited until he finished, and then grabbed him by his garment and asked him, 'Who taught you to recite in such a manner?'" He replied, 'It was the
Prophet (5^) himself!'
I

responded. "\ou are mistaken, for indeed


it

learnt thiSSOOrah
I

from the Prophet (^) anil

was

diftcreni

from your

recitation!"

Therefore,

dragged
al-

him

to the

Prophet (g) and complained to him that Hishaam had recited Soorah

manner different from what he (^) had taught me. At this, the Prophet (5^5) told me to let go of Hishaam, and asked him to recite Soorah al-Furqaan. Hishaam recited the Soorah in the same way I had heard him before. When he finished, the Prophet ($g) said, 'It was revealed this way." He then asked me to recite the same soorah. When I had finished, he (^g) said, 'It was (also) revealed this way. Indeed, the
Furqaan
in a

Qur'aan has been revealed


you.

in

seven different ahruf so recite whichever one

is

easy for

so

381 Kmutawaath ftadeeih is one thai is reported hy a large number of much so dial ihcy could not all he mistaken or agree upon a lie.

narrators in every stage ofthe chain,

382 as-Suyootee.
583

vol. I, p. 45.

Narrated hy al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

384 Narrated hy Muslim, 385 Narrated hy al-Bukhaarcc and Muslim.

174

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur';i;in

4) In a story similar to

'Umar's, 'Ubay ibn Ka'ab also heard two people reciting the

Quraan
parties

in a

manner
to the

different from
(jj|)

what he had
this point,

learnt. Alter

some

discussion, both

went
ol

Prophet

and recited the same portion


At

to him.

He

(j^g)

ap-

proved

both
a sort

parties' recitations.

Ubay
exist

narrates, "...there occurred in

my mind
chest,
fear!

of denial and doubt that did not

even
I

in the

time of Jaahilliyah he struck


at

(before Islaam)!

When
I

the Messenger

(^) saw how


felt

was
I

affected,

my
in

whereupon

started sweating,

and

as

though

were looking

Allaah

Then the Prophet (3jg) said, 'O Ubay! A message was sent to mc to recite the Quraan in one harf but requested (Allaah) to make things easy on my nation. A second message came that should recite the Quraan in two ahruf but I again made
I I

the

same
5)

request.

was then ordered

to recite the

Qur'aan
(^g)

in

seven ahruf"
Jibreel,

"O [ibrcel! have been sent to an illiterate nation. Among them arc old and young men and women, and those who have never read any writing!" Jibreel answered him, "O
ibn Ka'ab narrates that once the Prophet

Ubay
I

met

and

said,

Muhammad,

the Qur'aan has been revealed in seven ahruf."'""


that confirm that the

There are many other hadcclh


ahruf but these narrations

Qur'aan was revealed

in

seven

will suffice for

the present discussion.

in.

What

is

Meant by

the

Ahruf of the Qur'aan?


it

Before discussing the answer to this question,

would be useful

to

mention some

points that can be inferred from the above narrations:


1

The

different

In all the narrations that each

ahruf are all directly from Allaah, ami not from the Companions. where the Companions differed from each other, it was clear
hail
is

one

been taught

directly

from the Prophet


said to each
this way."

(Slg),

who was

inspired

by Allaah. This

why

the Prophet

(Sfe;)

one of the ahruf recited by

'Umarand Hishaam,
2)

"It

was revealed

The reason the Prophet (5^5) requested the number of ahruf to be increased was to make the memorisation and recitation of the Qur'aan easier for his Uminah. The Prophet (-gg) prayed to increase thc<//yv(/"bccause in hxsummiih were "... old and young men and women, and those who have never read any writing." Therelore, the limitations ol the

Qur'aan being

in

only one/wr/have been removed by

Allaah as a blessing for this Uminah.


3)

The Prophet (^)

used to teach the different ahruf to different Companions,


It

tie-

pending on the condition and situation of that Companion.


dial the Prophet (#g) chose the particular harf to recite to a

can be assumed

ing on which one would be the easiest for that


rise,

Companion dependparticular Companion to memoand memorisation.


for
all

since the purpose of the ahruf was to simplify recitation

The Prophet (3^) and Hishaam did

did not teach not

all

the ahruf to

the

Companions,

'Umar

know about

the existence ol the different ahruf Also, the

386 Narrated by Muslim.


58/

Narrated hv at-Tirmidhee.

The .1//"of the Qur'aan

175

cause lor Ubay's doubts was the fact that he was unaware of these ahruf and the

Prophet
4)

($^,)

had

to

pray to Allaah to remove his doubts.

The
of

differences between these ahruf'were not so great as to prevent recognition


recited. In other

what was being

words, even though Hishaam was reciting the


still

Qur'aan

in a different

harf than 'Umar, 'Umar could

recognise that

Hishaam

was

reciting Soorah al-Furqaaa, thus

showing
of

that the aftruf were not radically

different

from each other. Also, the narration

Ibn Shihaab shows that the basic

meaning of all these ahruf was the same.


5)

Each one
correct."

of these

ahruf

is

complete in and

of itself.

The

prool for this


recite,

is

the

statement of the Prophet

(-Us) "...so

whichever one of them they

they are
in

This

is

not to say that the ahruf do not complement one another


in

meaning, but rather that the recitation of the Qur'aan


6)

one harf is
less.

sufficient.

The number of ahruf is

exactly seven - not more, not

The Prophet

($g)

asked Jibrccl to increase the

number

of

ahruf until

Jibrccl

reached seven ahruf;

therefore interpretations to the effect that 'seven' indicates an unspecified plurality (this

was the opinion

of

Qaadee

'Iyaad
ol

(d.

504 A.H.)) are

false.

However, one narration

in the

Musnad

Imaam Ahmad

slates that the


it

Qur'aan

was revealed
in

in

three ahruf, and yet another narration states that

ten ahruf.

that, in the

Some scholars have tried to explain the first Makkan stage, the Qur'aan was revealed in three
stage, Allaah increased this to seven

was revealed narrations as meaning


ahruf. whereas in

die

Madeenan

given different interpretations to

ahruf Other scholars have However, there is no reconcile these hadeeth.

need

to resort to

such explanations, since both of these narrations are weak.""

Therefore, the Qur'aan was revealed in exactly seven ahruf


7)

The
In

revelation of the Qur'aan in seven ahrufsiancd in Maileenah, after the


of the narrations, the phrase, "...while the

hijra/i.

one

Prophet (^g) was on the out-

skirts

of Madeenah." indicates that this occurred after the hi/rah.


benefit that can be inferred
is

H)

A
ol

last

from these

Inulcclh (although this

is

not

rel-

evant to the ahruf)

the concern

shown by
to

the

Companions

in the preservation

the correct recitation ol the Qur'aan. In

all

the cases quoted above, (he

Com-

panions were not content with listening


theirs

recitations that were different from

despite the fact that these recitations were said lo have been learnt from

the Prophet (3g)

until they

had taken the matter


there
is

to the

Prophet (Sg) himself.

As
issue.

tor

what

is

meant by these seven ahruf


(d.

a great ileal ol difference

on

(his

Ibn Qutaybah
listed

276 A.H.) recorded


Ibn Sa'adan
(d.

thirty-five

opinions on this

issue,

and

as-

Suyootee
of

over

forty.

23 1 A.H.), a famous grammarian and

reciter (o

the Qur'aan, even declared that the true

meaning

of (he

ahruf was known only

Allaah, and thus to attempt to investigate into this issue

was

futile!

On

the other

hand,

Imaam Muhammad
c(. cf..

ibn al-Jazaree (d. 832 A.H.), perhaps the greatest scholar

X
.589

Ur. pps. 78-80.

al-Albaaiicc. </ <w/V-/a<Hl",

1335 and 1339.

176

An

Introduction to the Sciences

oi the

Qur'aan

>l

the

t/ini'iiai

alter the era ol the salaf, said, "I

have sought

to discover the

meanings of
this

these hadeeth (about the almif). anil have pondered over them,
topic lor

and contemplated which


is

over thirty years, until Allaah opened

my mind

to that

the correct

answer

in this matter, Inshaa A/laa/i'."''

The

reason that such a great difference ol opinion exists concerning the exact
ol the akrufis

meaning

due

to the tact that there docs not exist


salaf.

any

explicit narration

trom the Prophet (^), or the

concerning the exact nature

ol x\\c ahntf, these

various opinions arc merely the conclusions of later scholars, based

upon

their exami-

nation of the evidences and their personal reasoning

(ijtihaacl).

Therefore,

it

should he understood trom the outset that


it

to arrive at

one
is

specific
is

conclusion, and claim with certainty that

alone

is

correct

and

all

else

wrong,

pure

tolly.

eliminate

What is desired, however, is to narrow down as many as possible based upon the evidences.

the various opinions and

All ol these opinions

can be divided into three broad categories, which arc

dis-

cussed in the following sections.''"

A.

Those opinions which have no


tall

basis \w iatsoever:

In this category

those opinions which do not have say hadeeth to support them,

nor do they make logical sense.


1

Some

of these

are:

Seven different categories


general and specific,

ot texts.

For example: constrained and unconstrained,

and mctaphoric, naasikh and mansookfi. Other categories include those given by grammarians and linguists, specifying different
literal

verb forms.
2)

An

esoteric interpretation by certain Soofi groups, claiming that there arc seven

levels 3)

of knowledge, or seven degrees of meanings

to

each verse.

Seven different branches of knowledge, such as


All these opinions contradict the

taivliccd, sharee'ah, etc.

purpose ot the ahruf. namely to make the


is

recita-

tion

of the Qur'aan easier

for the

Ummcih. Also, there

no proof

for these opinions,

and they contradict

common

sense.

B.

Those opinions which have some apparent BUT ARE WEAK OPINIONS:
category are the following opinions:

basis,

Included
I)

in this

These ahruf are seven different ways to pronounce the words, without actually

changing the

letters.

However,

this

opinion contradicts the variations

in

words

that occurs in the qirdoat.

$90

Itr,

p. 10.
Itr,

391

cal-Hmad,pps. 133-144; az-Zajaaiiee,l, pps. 137-191;

122-190.

The Ahrufof the Qur'aan


2)

177

The ahruf arc


mendation,
support
this.

seven types of verses in the Qur'aan: apparent,

specific, particular, general

and parable. There

is

command, recoma weak luideeth to

?)

Similar to the above, and also based

on

weak

hadeeth, the different types are:


haraatn, clear

commands and

prohibitions, promises

and occurrences, Ihtlaul ami

and ambiguous.
4)

The

seven ahruf are the same as the seven qira'aat. This


there are

is

contradicted histori-

cally, as

more than seven

qira'aat*

and the collection and codification of


(-gj) death.'"'

the qira'aat occurred lour centuries alter the Prophet's

None of the

major scholars of Islaam held

this view, as

Ibn Taymiyvah

(d.

728 A.H.) said,

"There
not the

is

no difference

ol

opinion

among

same

as the seven

famous qira'aal."

the scholars that the seven ahruf arc

Unfortunately, most of the


refer to the qira'aat.

Muslim masses understand ihc hadeeth

oi'ihc

ahruf u>

C. Tl fOSE OPINIONS

WHICH HAVE strong evidence:


worthy
ot serious inspection, as they

These opinions

are the ones that are


I

have

strong evidence historically and

mm the meanings ol

the a handed h.

There

are three

opinions in this category.


1

The

seven ahruf rcicr to the seven dialects (lughaat) of the Arabs prevalent
(3^5).

at

the

time of the Prophet

Each of these

dialects belongs to a tribe

among

the Arabs,

namely, the Quraysh, Huilhayl,


(other scholars gave the

Tameem. Hawaazin, Thaqccf, Kinaanah and Yemen

names ol other tribes). Thus, under this opinion, various would be pronounced according to the pronunciation of that particular tribe, and words from one dialect would be replaced by other words used by that particular
verses
tribe.

Some
meaning
dialect
ol

scholars say that these seven dialects are spread throughout the Qur'aan,
that part ot the

Qur'aan
forth.

is

in the dialect

of Quraysh, other parts are


is

in the

of Hudhayl, and so

Others say that the entire Qur'aan

reciteil in

each

these dialects, thus forming the seven ahruf.

This was the opinion ol

Aboo 'Ubavd al-Qaasim


(d.

ibn Sallaam (d. 224 A.H.), al-

Bayhaqee
2)

(d.

45S A.H.). Ibn 'Attiyah

54

A.H.) and others.


such that words are

The seven ahruf denote seven ways

ol recitation (lahajaat)

replaced by their synonyms. In other words, the scxcnulmtj have the exact same meanings but different wordings.

This was the opinion


A.H.), Ibn 'Abd al-Barr

ol

Imaam

at-Tabarec

(d.

>1

A.I

I.).

at-Tahaawee

(d.

321

(d.

463 A.H.) and others.

$92 }93
$94

For

;>

discussion ofthe weakness in the above


for further details

two InuUnli,

sec

Itr. p.

38.

Sec the next chapter


/...rzur. p.
1

on the qira'aat.

86.

178

An

Ininuliiction to the Sciences "I

the-

Quraan

3)

The

seven

tihritf refer to

seven different ways thai the verse can he changed. In


is

other words, whenever a difference

found between these almif,


seven categories:
in 10
1

this type of differ-

ence
1
.

will fall into

one

of the following

Change

in

wording. For example,


,

:5,

/(</

al- 'i/ini

il-manfoosh

is

changed

to

ka as-spof il-manfoosh both


1.

ol

which mean the same thing.

Differences in wordings or letters such that they conform to the vowelless, dotless
script just

of'Uthmaan.

1 '"

For example, fatabiiyanoo


in

is

changed xafatathabatoo
is

in 49:6,

by changing the dots. Also,


in

Soorah al-Faatihah, madliki

changed

to nuilil{i

without any change


3.

the script

of'Uthmaan.

Change

in

word

order. For example, in 2: 195,

wa qaatalu wa qutilit

is

changed

to

wa
4.

i! iin I it

wa

qaatalu.
of a letter or

Addition or subtraction

hoowa al-gkaniyul hatnecd is


ha meed.
5.

recited

word. For example, in 57:24. Ja inna Alhiaha without the pronoun,^/ inaAllaah al-ghaniyul

The form

of

the

word

structure

is

changed. This change could be from plural

to

singular or dual (or other variations), or


ple, in 23:8, the plural li
6.

from feminine to masculine. For exam-

amanaatihim

is

changed

to the singular//

amanatihim.

Differences in inflection points. For example, 2:125,

wa attakjuxdhoo mini maqaami


hamzahs

Ibraaheema musallaa
7.
I

is

read in the

command

wattakhidhoo.

)if

ferences in pronunciation. For example, lessening the effect of certain

(called tas-hcci) or

pronouncing certain

atifs

andyaas differently

(called imaalak).
(d.

This

was
ibn

the opinion of Ibn

Qutaybah

(d.

276 A.H.), al-Baaqillaani


(d.

403 A.H.),

Makkcc
A.I
I.),

Abee Taalib

(d.

437 A.H.), ar-Raa/cc

606 A.H.), Ibn al-Jazaree (d.832


their general thesis
is

and others. Some of them give different categories, but

the same.

Among these
the fact that
it

three opinion, the third

one seems

to

have the

least

weight. Despite
it

classifies the differences in

theaArw/intO ingenious categories,

does

not explain the essence of what the ahrttfarc. In other words,


reciting a different harf from

when Flishaam was


in

'Umar, he was probably differing with 'Umar

more

than one

ol

these seven categories. Therefore, the third definition does not really an-

swer the question as to the meaning of the ahruf.

The
1

first
It

them.''

two opinions, on the other hand, have very strong evidences to support seems - and Allaah knows best - that both ot these opinions have an elethem,
anil there does not exist

ment
them.

of truth in

any grounds

for rejecting cither of

595 All ol these variations, except lor the

first,

are

found

in ihc present-day qiraaat.

>% The
letters

manuscript "I T'thmaau


H.

iliil

not have

.lots

or diacritical

marks

tn distinguish

between certain

and vowels. See Chapter


See
Itr.

on 'The Collection

ol the Qur'aan."

.597

pps. 168-177.

The Ahruf of the Qur'aan


Therefore,
but not limited
in
ii

79

is

concluded that the seven ahruf represent variations based upon,


the most fluent Arab tribes of that time. These variations occurred
that
all

to,

words,

letters,

and pronunciations, such


to

these variations
variations
ditl

made

it

easier for

the

Companions

memorise the Qur'aan. These

not always reach

seven different ways of recitation lor each verse, but whenever such variations existed,
the different ways of recitation never exceeded seven.""

iv.

Are the Ahruf in Existence Today?


A
very crucial question that arises
is

whether these seven ahruf arc

still

present

today.
()l

course, this question in essence

depends upon how one defines theohruf. For


all

example, az-Zarqaancc strongly argues that


this

the ahruf have been preserved, but

goes back to his definition that the ahruf represent seven ways that the verse can
still

be changed (opinion (3) above). Thus, since these variations are


day's cjiraaal, he argues that
all

present in topresent dis-

seven ahruf have been preserved.

The

cussion will, of course, utilise the definition that


section.

was concluded upon

in the

previous

The The
(d.

scholars of Islaam are divided into three opinions with regards to this issue.
first

group

of scholars,
(d.

32

A.H.), Ibn Hibbaan

5S4 A.H.)

composed of at-Tabaree (d. 510 A.H.), at-Tahaawee and those who follow them, argue that only
of the

one harf is
($9. but

in existence today.

At-Tabaree holds that the recitation

Qur'aan

in

seven ahruf was

a concession given to the


officially

Companions

at

the time of the Prophet


specifically ordered the
luirf.

when 'Uthmaan

compiled the Qur'aan, he

committee assigned
("Uthmaan) chose

to write the

mus-huf"to preserve only one


is

He

writes,

"The

only recitation that the Muslims have today


for

the one luirf that their pious


six."'
""

Imaam

them, leaving the remaining

He

is

alluding to the stateif you differ in (the

ment of 'Uthmaan
Tabaree anil those
harf.

to the

committee
it

that wrote the

mus-haf

"...
1

spelling) of a word, then write

in the script ol the

Quraysh."'"

This, according to at-

who

follow his opinion, shows that

'Uthmaan preserved only one

In

response to the question,


left

"How

could 'Uthmaan and the Companions pur4"2

posely have

out the other sixahrujl" at-Tabaree answers:

The seven ahruj were


Arabs were many. This
serve,

revealed by Allaah during the time ol the Prophet

(5SI i" facilitate the memorisation ot the Qur'aan, since the dialects ol the
facilitation (i.e.. the ahruj)
it.

was
it

not necessary to pre-

and eventually there was no need ot


as those

In fact,

became

the cause

oi

dissension amongst the Muslims,

people

new

to Islaam

began

ar-

m
401

598

ef.

al-Qaarec,

p. 7'>.
I.

ami al-Hamad's conclusion,


170-172.

p.

U4, which

is

very similar to this one.

az-Zarqanee,v.

p.

400 al-Hamad.p. 147.


See
(

Chapter 8 lor
p. 162.

.i

discussion ol the collection ol the

Quraan.

4H2

riuydaat.

180

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

guing over the differences


inspired
in
4 '"

in the recitation ol the

Qur'aan. Therefore, Allaah

'Uthmaan

to discard the

other

six

ahruj and collect the Qur'aan


in its recitation.
ol

one

luirj.

so thai the

iimmah would he united

The Com-

panions agreed
is

to this action

of his. and the agreement

the

Companions

binding on the ummah.

The second group of scholars


the mus?hpfoi
ion

holds thai

all

of the ahruf zk

in existence today, anil

'Uthmaan was written

to preserve all

seven ahruf. This was the opin-

ofAboo Bakr al-Baai|illaani (d. 403 A.H.), and a small group of scholars. They claim that the Companions would never abandon a recitation that they used to recite
during the lifetime of the Prophet (^g). anil thai they would not discard any knowl-

edge that the Prophet (^g) had given them.

The
Jazarcc

third
(d.

group of scholars

is

composed
(d.

ol Ilin

Taymiyyah

(d.

724 A.H.), ashal-

Shaatibee
(d.

790 A.H.), ar-Raazee

606 A.H.), Ibn Katheer

(d.

774 A.H.), Ibn

832 A.H.) anil others. They argue that 'Uthmaan preserved the ahruj

to

the extent that the script of his mug-haf allowed

him

to

do

so.

Thus, these scholars

hold that a portion

ol

the seven ahruf arc preserved.


arises:

The

question then

On what

basis did

the ahruf to preserver

The answer
ol the

to this is

'Uthmaan decide which portions of twofold: First, Zayd ibn Thabit was in

charge ol the collection


recited the

mus-haf. Zayd had been present

when

the Prophet

($g)
It

whole Qur'aan

for the last time, only

months before

his ($g)

death/"4

can

lie

assumed, then, that Zayd was aware

ol the portions ol thc</A/7//~that the

Prophet

(5^g) recited,

and he must have chosen those

to the exclusion ol the others. Secondly,

the

Companions unanimously agreed

to discard all readings that conflicted

with the

mus-haf of 'Uthmaan. Obviously, they would eliminate only that which they knew was not a part ol the Qur'aan, and their consensus is binding on the ummah.
Ibn al-Jazarcc
(d.

832 A.H.) writes,

4 '*

The majority of the scholars

ol the .../A//

and the

later

generations are ol

the opinion that the 'Uthmaanic mus-hafs contains ol the seven ahruf only
thai

which

its

script allows.

(What

is

preserved) are the recitations that the


lite).

I'rophel (5S>) recited lo [ibrccl (during the las! year ol his

The
is

present

mus-haf contains

all

this reading,

and not

a single letter

from

it

missing.

The
seems
1)

third opinion

(i.e.,

that a portion
tor the

of the seven ahruf Ui\\c been preserved)

to

be the strongest one,

following reasons:
in preserving the

The Companions were meticulous

knowledge

that they re-

ceived from the Prophet ($g).

They understood

their responsibility in transferring

403

The

Arabic
is

is

Milium, which

is

the type of inspiration that

is

given to pious people, and

is

not the she was

waliy thai

given to the prophets.


by Allaah to
lei

The mother of Moosaa

received this type ol inspiration

when

commanded
Some
4(15

Moosaa

adrifi in the river. Refer to

Chapter

for

more

details.
it

404 Actually, the I'rophel (Sg) recited the whole Qur'aan twice to

Jibreel, anil

heard

from him twice.


It
r.

scholars held the view thai these recilalions of the Qur'aan occurred in different uhmf. See

pp.

263-73-.

Ibn al-la/aree. an-Noshr,

v. 1.

p. 31.

with changes.

The Ahjuf of the Qur'aan


this vast

knowledge

to the iinimah.

It is

because

ol this

concern of theirs thai detailed

much so that the Muslims even know how many white hairs the Prophet's (jgg) beard contained!'"" Therefore, it cannot be said that the Companions purposely left out six ahj'itf a\v\ preserved onlv one ol them in the mtt$r&flfof 'Uthmaan without bringing forth some strong, unequivocal
information exists about every topic of Islaam, so
proof.

Al-Qaarce

writes.
(that the
it

This opinion

Companions

left

out

six

ah ruf)

is

strange,

and

extremely weak, lor

claims that a part of the Qur'aan was removed by

consensus of the Companions, since each of the ah ruf is part of the Qur'aan.
Therefore,

how could 'Uthmaan. or any


if

of the

Companions

for thai matter,

or rather ail the


a clear

Companions, discard something from the Qur'aan without

proof from the Creator? Even

we

say thai the


in, as

Companions were
at-Tabarec
(d.
it

given the concession of choosing one harf lo recite


A.I
a
1.1

310

claims,

and ihey were

not accountable for


say:

all

seven ahrufsince

was

concession from Allaah.


recite the

we

This concession
in

was given so

that they

could choose to

Qur'aan

any one of these seven ahruf. which-

ever was the easiest for him. There was no concession, however, in preserv-

ing these ahruf rather they were responsible lor preserving

all

ot them... that

were not
2)

abrogated...'"'

The 'Uthmaanic mus-hafs,


this

as

was mentioned

earlier,

were devoid of dots and


at that time,
408
it

vowel points. Since


likely that the

knowledge was available

to the

Arabs

seems

m-&^"was purposely written without these dots or inflection points

would encompass different readings, and hence the different ahruf. Also, as was mentioned in the relevant chapter, the script of the Uthmaanic nuis-hafwas writso that
it

ten with specific rules in


tations,

mind, apparently in order to accommodate the various

reci-

and

this

shows

that the

mus-^afwas

written with the intent to preserve

more

than one harf


3)
If,

as at-Tabarec holds, only

one harf has been preserved, Irom where then do

the differences in the ten qinuuit originate from? All scholars are these ten qira'aat originated Irom the Prophet
(%ig)

unanimous
is

that

himself; therefore

seems appar-

ent that the qiraaat have

some

integral relationship with the ah ruf'(as shall be dis-

cussed in the next chapter). Concerning this issue,


contradict his stance, as

Imaam

at-Tabarec

is

forced to

Makkcc

ibn

Abec Taalib

(d.

437 A.H.) pointed out:


conform
is

At-Tabarec concedes
the inus-haf of

to the fact that the various qira'aat that

to

"Uthmaan

are a part ol the seven ahruf


claims... that the

and

this

what we

also believe.

However, he also

wHw-/w/(ol"Uihmaan) has
six.

only preserved one harf, to the exclusion of the other


tions are contradictory...40'

These two

posi-

406 Anas ibn

M.i.ilik stated, "1

could not count more thai fourteen white hairs


in his

in the I'roplu-t's (g)

beard

and
:

hair."

Reported by at-Tirmidhce
p. 71.
i.1

Shamaail,

407 al-Qaaree,
'S

Mih.iuiJi there

stroll};

different e

of opinion ovei

this

Si

.1!

la 111.11 1, p.

SI.

where he

tries to

prove that this knowledge did not

exist until the

Muslims invented

it.

409 al-Hamad,

p. 140.

182

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

4) to

The

different mus-hafs that

"Uthmaan ordered
change
is

to

be written were not identical of a word or


letter

each other, for in a


in

number

ot places, the addition or deletion

occurred

some

ol the mi<s-haJs.^"'YWis

reflected in

the various qiraaat in

existence today, for within the ten qiraaat, there exist


tions that could not have originated Irom the

word changes and word addisame mus-haj. It seems apparent this


to

was done with


ahruf.

a goal in

mind, and the strongest conclusion seems

be

that,

by these

differences in the mus-hafs,

'Uthmaan had intended

to preserve the differences in the

These same lour arguments, however, can not be used


i///ol

for the

second opinion

(that

the ahruf were actually preserved), because ol the lact that certain variations that
to recite as part ol the

the

Companions used

Qur'aan are now no longer


of >ia>/(h and
ol the

part ol the

Qur'aan

(as will be explained in the chapters

qira'aat).

These variant
final

readings can be explained as having been a part

seven a hritf before the


4 did not preserve. "

reading

ol the

Qur'aan by the Prophet

(%,) to Jibrccl.

This reading, which took place

before Zayd ibn Thaabit, cancelled the</A/?(/"that

'Uthmaan

Imaam
(5|)

al-Qistillaanee (d. 923 A.H.) said, "In this (last) recitation of the Prophet (*g) to
Jibrcel, there

were two

benefits: First, to strengthen

and preserve the Prophet's

memorisation of the Qur'aan, and, second, to affirm those verses that were not abrogated and to indicate which verses were."412

V.

The Wisdom
Obviously,
it

in the

Various Ahruf
act,

cannot be said for certain the exact wisdom behind any Divine

for the Creator's

knowledge

is

infinite.

However, the scholars

of

Islaam have said that


11,

the revelation ol the Qur'aan in seven ahruf had the following benefits:
1)

To

facilitate the

memorisation of the Qur'aan. This

is

the only benefit that


in the

is

explicitly narrated in the hadecth.

The Arabs did

not

all

speak Arabic

same
it. It

way: each

tribe

and location had

slight variations anil peculiarities

unique

to

the Qur'aan had only been revealed in one ha rf it would have been difficult for the many different Arab tribes to memorise the Qur'aan properly. However, since the Qur'aan

was revealed

in

seven ahruf this greatly eased


in its

its

memorisation. This

was of primary importance


2)

preservation and propagation.


all

To prove
ences, the

the miraculous nature of the Qur'aan. For despite

of these

differ-

meanings

of

the ahruf did not contradict one another, but rather were

complementary.
3)

To prove
that

the truthfulness ol the Prophet


illiterate,

Muhammad

he (^g) was

the revelation of
all

(^), for despite the fact the Qur'aan occurred in different

tribal dialects

and

different words,
his time.

of which consisted of the most lluent and

eloquent speech of

4 1"

See

( -li.

8.

'The

"<im |i lai ion of the

Quraan,"

lor further details

and examples.

41

Ibn al-Jazarce,

p.

JL

412

Uwais.p.8.
cItr,pps.

2 16-228.

The A/pitfof the Qur'aan


4)

183

To honour
in

the

uminah

overall other nations.

oi the Prophet Muhammad {??,), anil show its superiority No other nation hail heen given its hook in such a manner,

varying ahruf,

to ease the process

of preservation. Thus, the revelation of the Prophet


(%,).

Qur'aan showed the unique

status that the

and

his

umnnih, occu-

pied over other nations. In one hadeeth, the Prophet ($^) remarked.

"The

earlier

books would be revealed from one door (of heaven),

in

one harf, but the Qur'aan

was revealed from seven doors

(ol

Heaven),

in

seven ahruf.""'

il-4

Kc

|<>rn.il

In

ill l.i.ikim.

us-S.i/in/hi/i

iS7D,

I'

T E

The

Qira'aat of the Qur'aan

i.

The Meaning of the Word


The word
'qira'aat'
is

'Qira'aat'

(he plural of qiraaa,

which conies from the vnolq-r-a mean-

ing, 'to read, to recite." 'Oiraa'a'

means

the recitation of something.

In Qur'aanic sciences,

it

refers to the various

ways and manners of


staled, the

reciting the
is

Qur'aan that are


revelation that

in

existence today.
to

As Imaain az-Zarkashcc
(5gg),

Qur'aan

the

was given

Muhammad
is

and the

qira'aat are the variations in

words

anil

pronunciations

ol this revelation.

Thus the qira'aat

are the verbalisation of

the Qur'aan, and the Qur'aan

preserved in the qira'aat.

Each qiraaa has its own peculiar rules of recitation (tajweed) and variations in words and letters, and is named alter the reciter (Oaarec) who was famous lor that
particular qiraa'a.

II.

The
be

History of the Qira'aat


ol

The primary method


will oral.

transmission of the Qur'aan has always been and always


of

Each generation

Muslims learns
backwards

the Qur'aan from the generation

before
learnt

it,

anil this chain continues


(%&,)

until the

time of the Companions,

who

it

from the Prophet

himself.

As 'Umar

ibn al-Khattaab stated,


it
"

"The
is

recita-

tion of the

Qur'aan

is

Sunnah; the

later

generations must take

from the earlier

ones. Therefore, recite the Qur'aan only as you have been taught."'

This

the fun-

damental principle

in

the preservation of the Qur'aan.

In the last chapter, the revelation of the

Qur'aan

in

seven ainttf \\-.\s discussed. As

the Prophet
rised
it

(yg)

recited the

Qur'aan

in all of these ahruf, the

Companions memo-

From him accordingly.

than

this.

When

the

Some them memorised only one half, others more Companions spread throughout the Muslim lands, they took
of

with them the variations that they had learnt from the Prophet (3^).
stood the importance of the oral transmission of the Qur'aan.

They undercities to teach

'Umar

ibn al-Khattaab.

during his caliphate, sent several prominent Companions to various


the people Qur'aan;
Palestine,

'Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit was


to

sent to

Hims, Ubay

ibn Ka'ab to

and Aboo ail-I)ardaa

Damascus.""

-IIS -lid

lir.p.2-U
Wnh.iilxi/. p.
4(>

The
Likewise, during his caliphate,
recitation

Qiraaat of the Qur'aan

185

'Uthmaan

also realised the importance

of the proper

of the Qur'aan, and sent


a

reciters ot the

Qur'aan

all

over the Muslim lands,

each with
the

copy of his

official

mus-fwf.

He kept Zayd
(d.

ibn Thaabit in

Makkan

mus-haf, he sent 'Adullaah ibn Saa'ib


ibn Shu'bah (d. 50 A.H.);

63 A.H.);

to Syria

Madcenah; with was sent al(d.

Mughcerah

Aboo 'Abd ar-Rahmaan as-Sulamee


to

70

AH.) was
(tabi'oon),

sent to Koofah;

and Aamir ibn 'Abdul Qays

Basrah

(d.

55 A.H.)."" 7

The Companions,

in turn, recited

and taught these variations

to the

Successors

who

taught them to the next generation (atbaa' at-tabi'oon), and so on.


in its

Each generation had

rank those

who were famous

tor their

knowledge

ol the

recitation of the Qur'aan.

Thus, among the Companions, there were many who were famous as having heard
from the Prophet (^) most if not all of the Qur'aan. Included in this category are 'Uthmaan ibn 'Affaan, 'Alec ibn AbccTaalib, 'Ubay ibn Ka'ab, 'Ahdullaah ibn Mas'ood, Zayd ibn Thaabit, Aboo ad-Dardaa, and Aboo Moosaa al-Ash'arce. These Companions taught those Companions who were younger or had not had as much exposure lurayrah anil Ibn Abbaas, who both to the Prophet's (^g) recitation, such as .Aboo
I

learnt

from Ubay.

Some

learnt

from more than one Companion,

as, for

example, Ibn

'Abbaas also learnt from Zayd ibn Thaabit.

These Companions then taught the Successors. Since the Companions spread
over the various parts of the
type of recitation. Again,
ol the
all

Muslim world, each

region started developing a specific

of these various recitations had originated from the mouth

Prophet (^g), and the Companions spread the different variations throughout

the

Muslim world.

Those famous among the Successors for the recitation of the Qur'aan are: in Madcenah, Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyib (d. 90 A.H.), 'Urwah ibn az-Zubayr (d. 94 A.H.), Saalim (d. 106 A.H. ), and "Umar ibn Abd al-Azeez (d. 103 A.M.); in Makkah, 'Ubayd ibn 'Umayr(d.72A.H.),'Ataa ibnAbeeRabah (d. 1 14 A.H.),Taawoos (d. 106A.H.),
Mujaahid
(d. (d.

103 A.H.)

and 'Ikrimah

(d.

104 A.H.); in Koofah,


(d.

60 A.H.),
(d.

Aboo 'Abd al-Rahmaan as-Sulamee


96 A.H.) and ash-Sha'bee
(d. (d.

Qays 70 A.H.), Ibraaheem alibn

Alqamah
Aboo

Nakhaa'ee
(d.
1

100 A.H.); in Basrah,


(d.

al-'Aaliyah
(d.

90 A.H.), Nasr ibn 'Aasim

89 A.H.), Qataadah

110 A.H.), Ibn Sirecn

10 A.H.)

and Vahya ibn Ya'mar

(d.

100 A.H. ); and in Syria, al-Mughcerah ibn Abee

Shihaab and Khaleelah ibn Sa'ad.

Around
after

the turn of the

first

century of the hijrah appeared the scholars

of the

Qur'aan

whom
ol

the qiraaat of today are

named. At

this time,

along with

many

other sci-

ences

Islaam, the science of qira'aat was codified. Thus,

members

ol this

generation

took from the Successors the various recitations that they had learnt from the
panions, and adopted a specific

Comcalled

way

ol reciting the

Qur'aan, and

this

is

what

is

417 az-Zarqaance,

v. 1. 1>.

404.
this
is

IIS h should be kepi in mind that

a partial

list anil is

far from exhaustive.


v.l,

Those who

arc intcrcstci

may

consult Ubaydaai.

p. 161,

Qajjaan,

p. 170,

and az-Zarqaance,

pps. 414-416.

186

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

a qiraa'a.

Each of these persons


reciters to

is

called a Oaarce, or Reciter.


in their time,

most famous

of the Qur'aan

and people from

These Qaarees were the all around the

Muslim lands would come

them

to learn the Qur'aan.

To summarise, the qua ant are particular methodologies of reciting the Quraan. They arc named alter the Qaarees who recited the Qur'aan in that particular manner, and were famous as being the leaders in this field. They represent the various ways that the Companions learnt the Q)ur'aan from the Prophet (^). They dilter from
each other
are not the
in various

words, pronunciations, and rules of recitation

(tajtveed).

They

same

as the seven

almif

as shall be elaborated

upon

shortly.

The scholars of the succeeding generations started compiling works on


cniqira'aat that were present in their times. For example,

the differibn
(d. (d.

Aboo 'Ubayd al-Qaasim


ibn Jubayral-Koolce

Saliaam

(d.

224 A. H.) compiled twenty-five


a

qira'aat.

Ah mad

258 A.M.) wrote

book on

five

of the qira'aat, and al-Qaadee Ismaa'eel ibn Ishaaq

282 A.H.) compiled his book on twenty qira'aat (including the famous 'seven'). Even

Muhammed ibn Jareerat-Tabaree (d. 310)


the most

compiled

work on

the qira'aat.

However,
(d.

famous of these books

is

the

one by Aboo Bakr

Ahmad

ibn Mujaahid

324), entitled Kitaab al-Oira'aat, in

qua

aat of his time from the

himseli to these particular


tions ol

which he compiled seven of the most famous in the Muslim world. He was the first to limit Qaarees, for he wanted to combine the most famous recitamajor cities
five

territories

Makkah, Madecnah, Koofah, Basrah, and Damascus, for these were the from which the knowledge oi Islaam sprung forth - the knowledge ol
tafsecr,

the

Qur'aan,

hadceth aadfiqh.
(that
I

He wrote
(i.e..

in his introduction,
(i.e..

So these seven

have chosen) are scholars from the Hijaaz


Iraq

Makkah ami Mailecnah).


mascus).
ol

Koofah and Basrah) and Syria

(i.e.,

Da-

They

inherited the Successors in the knowledge of the recitation


all

the Qur'aan. and the people

accepted and agreed upon their recita-

tion,

from their respective

territories,

and

the territories surrounding them...'""

He

purposely chose seven Qaarees to match the


in.

number ofa&ra/that
(Jgg)

the Qur'aan

was revealed

Unfortunately, this led

many

people to mistakenly believe that the


referred to in the

different qira'aat

were the same


is

as the
lalsc,

ahruf that the Prophet


since Ibn

various hadecth. This

obviously

Mujaahid wrote his book four cenmisconception,

turies after the Prophet's (S&,) death.

Due

to this

many of the

later

scholars took Ibn

Mujaahid

to task,

wishing that he had chosen

a different
(d.

number, so

that this confusion could

have been prevented. Ibn al-Jazaree


Mujaahid
in

832 A.H.) wrote.


him-

Many of the
seli to

scholars disliked the fact that Ibn

restricted
so,

seven

i/ini'tiul,

and said

that

he was mistaken
this,

doing

and wished

that he

had chosen

number greater than

or less than this, oral least


that those people

explained the purpose behind choosing

who

number, so have no knowledge would not have been misled. 4 "


this

-119

Uwais.p.

16. p. *7.
V).

421)
-121

Ibn Mujaahid,

[bn al-Jazarce, p.

The
Another misconception
that arose

Qim'aat ofthe Qur'aan

187

was

that

some

scholars

assumed

that these seven

qim'aat were the ow/y authentic qiraaat of the Qur'aan. Thus, these scholars considered any qiraa'a besides these seven to be detective (shaadh) qim'aat. This, too,
is

misconception, as there were other authentic qiraaat thai Ibn Mujaahid did not compile.

Due
became

to the popularity

and excellence

ol Ibn

Mujaahid's book, these seven qim'aat

the most

famous qiraaat

ol that time,

and the students

ol

knowledge

lelt

Other qim'aat to study these seven. Eventually, except for three other authentic qim'aat,
all

the other qim'mit were

lelt.

and only these ten were studied. This does not imply,

however, that
ten.

somehow

a portion ol the

Qur'aan was

lost

by preserving only these


loss

Many of the qiraaat were


a loss ot certain

merely

mixture of others, so that their

would not
ol the tact

mean

pronunciations or words. The Muslims are assured


to the

that they
(i^), lor

have the complete revelation that Allaah revealed


it

Prophet

Muhammad

is

Allaah's promise to protect

it:

OjM-^Ij^Ux^I
Verily,
it

is

We who have

revealed the

Quraan, and

surely VVc will guard

it"

[15:9]

III.

The Conditions
It

for

an Authentic Qiraa'a
during the
first

was mentioned

in the last section that,

leu centuries ol ihc

/iijra/i.

there were

many

qim'aat that used to be recited. The scholars ot the qim'aat therefore

established rules in order to differentiate the authentic qiraaat from the unauthentic ones.

The famous
said:

scholar of the Qur'aan,

Muhammad

ibn al-Ja/.aree (d. 832 A.H.).

Every
ner,
is

qiraa'a that

conforms to the rules of Arabic, even


ol

if
il

by

one mana

and matches with one

the mus-htijs ol

Uthmaan, even

such

match
to the

not an obvious one.


is

and has an authentic chain

ol narrators

back

Prophet (Sg),

an authentic qiraa'a. Such a qiraa'a cannot be refuted or


is

denied, but rather must be believed in. and


the Qur'aan

amongst the seven ahrnl


it,

that
it

was revealed

in.

Therefore the people must accept

whether

be from the seven qiraaat (mentioned above), or from the ten qiraaat, or

even other than these.

And whenever any


it

qiraa'a fails to

meet one of the

above mentioned three conditions, then

will

be labelled (according low Inch

122

This

is

very similar to what happened in the history ol


I

luiilcrlh.

The reason

dial six particular

books

oihadceth (al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, Aboo


as die "Silhuih Sitta" or the "Six

>aawGod,at-Tirmidhee. an-N'asaa'cc and Ibn Maajah) are known


is

Authentic Books",

because ol one book on the


(<l.

Names

ol Narrators',

Asmaa

ar-Rijaat, written by

'Abd al-Ghance al-Maqdiscc


six

win A.I

I.).

hie to the thoroughness of this


ot Inidcclh,

work, people started classifying these


ered these
six

books separately from other works


This description, however,
rest ol
is

and many consid-

hook

as authentic t-Li/itc/n.

only applicable to the twosahcefi

collection ol al-Bukhaarcc

and Muslim; the

these works contain both authentic

and inaulhcntic

ahaadceth

188

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

of the conditions arc not met) either weak


false {baatil).

{da'eef), irregular {shaadh), or


is

And

this

(i.e..

these conditions)

the strongest opinion

among

the scholars of the past

and

the present.

''

Therefore, Ihn al-Jazaree mentioned three conditions:

The qiraa'a must conform to Arabic grammar. It is not essential, however, that the grammar used be agreed upon by all Arabic grammarians, or that the qiraa'a em1

ploy the most fluent and eloquent of phrases and expressions. This

is

the
it

meaning

ol

the phrase, "...even


tradict

it

by one manner."
ol

The

basic requirement

is

that

does not con-

an agreed upon principle


scholars, however,

Arabic grammar.
this condition.
424

Some
qiraa'a
is

do not agree with


to

They

argue,

"II a

proven

to

have originated Irom the Prophet (^). then we cannot apply the
it.

rules of grammar to

If

we were

do

this,

and presumed an
(-^g)

error in the qiraa'a,

then

we would
this

be implying that the Prophet

made

mistakes (Allaah forbid!).

Therefore, an authentic qiraa a overrides a rule ol Arabic grammar!"

What

is

implying

is

that

it

is

the Qur'aan, through any of


is

its

qira'aat, that

is

given preference over any rule of grammar, for the Qur'aan


the most eloquent of Speech, the scholars ol the Qur'aan

the Speech ol Allaah,

and the

rules

who
two.

held this view are


(d.

ofgrammar must be based on this. Among Makkcc ibn Abee Taalib (d. 437
For them, the conditions for an

A.H.) and Aboo 'Amr ad-Daanee


authentic qiraa'a are the
Actually,
if

444 A.H.).

last

the practice of the scholars of the Qur'aan


is

is

examined,

it

is

apparent

that the above difference

a difference in semantics only, for the

first

category ot
il

scholars (such as Ibn al-Jazaree) will reject a rule ol


dicts

grammar

as invalid

it

contra-

any of the ten authentic


in verse 4:1)

qira'aat.

Thus, the attempts by some grammarians to


:s

invalidate certain qira'aat (such as az-ZajjaajV

attempt to invalidate the qiraa'a ot

Hamzah
2)

have been rejected by

all

the scholars ol qiraa'a, whether they

426 This point will be discussed in greater detail below. include this condition or not.

The qiraa'a must conform


ol the

with one ol the mus-hafs ol 'Uthmaan. In the chapter


it

on the compilation

Qur'aan,

four anil eight mus-hafs around the

was mentioned that 'Uthmaan sent out between Muslim world. All ol them were without dots and

vowel marks. Also, these mus-hafs had minor variations between them.

As long
in

as a qiraa'a satisfied any


il it

one of these mus-hafs,


slightly.

it

was considered

to

have
'

passed this condition, even

conformed
all

For example, the word maa/i/y' 1


as m-l-/( (jAi-),
is

Soorah al-Faatihah

is

written in
in

the

'Uthmaanic mus-hafs

which

allows lor the variation lound

other qira'aat of malif^t* 19 This

an example where

423 Ihn al-Jazaree, 424 42i


ian.
cl.

p. '.
v.

have paraphrased from the Arahic.


p. 422.
(d.
>

az-Zarqaanec,
is

I ,

He

"Ahd al-Rahmaan ihn Ishaaij az-'/ajjaaj al-Nihaw.indec

>2

>.

noted Muslim grammar-

426 uz-Zarfcashec, Bohr,

v.

I .

p.

471

427 The qiraa'a of 'Aasim and al-Kisaa'ec 428 Thc<//nw'</i>l Warsh. Ihn
K.itluer. Ihn '.Viniir.

Hamzah

and Ahoo 'Amr.

The
the conformation
is

Qira'aat of the

Qur'aan

89

"not obvious."
is lyiyfa

An example ol an explicit conformation


a clot over

is

in 2:259,

where one
l(ayfa

recitation

nunshizuhaf but without


ol a qiraa'a

one

letter

becomes

nunshiruha.

An example
the others
is

conforming

to

one

of the mus-hafi ol

'Uthmaan without

the qiraa'a of Ibn Aamir,


will /(ilaab
(i.e.,

who

read 3:184 as

wa

bi

ziiburi wii bit kjtaab instead ot

wa az-ziiburi

without the bus), since the

mus-hafthai 'Uthmaan sent to Syria had the two/ws

in

it.

An example
a

ol a qiraa'a that

contradicts

all

the mus-hafi ol

'Uthmaan

is

the qiraa'a

attributed to Ibn 'Abbaas in 18:79,

which translates as,

"...and there was,


it,

behind them.

king

who seized
them,
a

every ship by force," whereas Ibn 'Abbaas read

"...and there was,


in

in front ol

king

who

seized every useable ship by force."

The two changes

the recitation ol Ibn 'Abbaas are not allowed by the


therefore, be considered
3)
(5|).

mus-hafof Uthmaan, and cannot,

an authentic

recitation.
(sttheeh)

The <///</</'</ must have an authentic


This
is

chain

ol narrators

back to the Prophet

the most important condition,


all

and guarantees
by Allaah

that the variations that

occur in the qira'aat have


by the Prophet
(i^g),

been sent

down
to

as part ol the

Qur'aan, recited

Muslim iimmab without any atldition or deletion. As was quoted from 'Umar earlier (and this same statement has also been made by Zayd ibn Thaabit, and many ol the Successors), "The recitation ol the Qur'aan
the
is

and passed down

a Siinnalr, the later

generations must take

it

from the earlier ones. Therefore,

recite

the Qur'aan only as you have been taught."

However, an important question


mtitawaatir:
notable exceptions were from

is:

do these chains of narration have

to

be

The overwhelming majority ol scholars claimed that they did. The only Makkec ibn Abee Taalib (d. 437 A.H.), and later Ibn
i.s

al-Jazarec (d. 832 A.H.) (whose definition

being quoted). Both

ol

these scholars

arc-

highly respected, classical scholars in the field of qira'aat.

Ibn aldazaree wrote,


"

"Some

ol the later scholars

have presumed... that the Qur'aan

can only be proven with mutawaalir narrations! The Haws in this opinion are obvious..."
4

However,
work, wrote:

this

opinion

itsell

goes against the consensus


(d.

(ijinaa') of

almost

all

the

other scholars.

Imaam an-Nuwayree

897 A.H.),

commentator of Ibn

al-Jazarcc's

This opinion
(ijnnni')

is

;i

newly-invented one, contradicting the consensus

of the

jurists anil... the four maclh-lmbs...

and many

scholars, so
i

many

that they cannot even be counted, such as Ibn

Abd

al-Harr. Ibn 'At wall.

Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-I


laajib,

Imaam Nawawec.

al-A/.raa'ec, as-Subkee. az-Zarkashcc,


lor the reciters

and many more besides these. As

of the Qur'aan.
to con-

they were agreed on

this since the earliest times,

and the only ones

429 430
431

The qiraa'a of 'Aasim. and


Ibn al-Jazarcc, p.
13.

others

The qiraa'a oi Naafl', and others

190

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the

(,)ui'.i,m

tradict

them

in the later
(i.e.,

rimes are

Makkee
45 '

ibn Alice Taalih

1 '

and those who

followed

him

Ibn al-Jazaree).

In reality, Ibn al-Jazaree's opinion

seems

to

have more theoretical than


all

realistic

value, for even he admits, in another of his works, that the ten qirdaat are

mutawaatir.
if he

He states, "Whoever says


this in

that the

mutawaatir qirdaat are unlimited, then


in earlier times,

means
is

our times,

this

is

not correct, for today there arc no authentic mutawaatir qirdaat


if

besides these ten; however,


correct...

he means

then
it

it

is

possible thai he

Therefore, Ibn al-Ja/arec was ol the view that


it

was

not necessary for a

qirada to be mutawaatir lor


the ten qirdaat were
all

to

be accepted, but at the same time he did believe that

mutawaatir.

Ibn al-Jazaree's conditions were perhaps applicable in his time,


isted

when

there ex-

numerous qirdaat
(-^g),

besides the ten that are present today. According to him, such

qirdaat could be recited as long as they had an authentic chain ol narrators back to the

Prophet

even

if

such chains were ahaad. Most of the other scholars of qirada,


'"'

however, did not agree with him on this point. 4


these ten qirdaat are in existence, this issue
as

However, since

in

our limes, only

becomes more

theoretical than practical,


all

most of the scholars are

in

agreement thai these ten qirdaat are


is

mutawaatir.

In conclusion, the conditions tor an authentic qirada

that

it

must be mutawaatir.
a

and conform
exists,
It
it

to at least

one of the mus-lmfs of 'L'thmaan. Any time such

qirada

overrides any rule ol Arabic

grammar.

should be mentioned, however, that there has never existed any mutawaatir qirada

that contradicted

any rule

ol

Arabic grammar. 1 '" Al-Qaarce writes, 4 "

-l

i2

Makkee

ibn Abec Taalih

is

quoted

as

having been the

lirsi
I

to hold this

opinion in

.ill

the works thai

have come across discussing this


entitled Kitaab itt-lbtiiimih 'an

topii (alsosee, al-Qadhi, p. 8).

fowevcr,

[came across another work oi


ili.it

his

Ma'aam

al-Oira'aat, in
p. 43,

which he

clearly States

any qiraa'a must he


taking

mtuawaatir vot it to be accepted. For example, on


tin-

while discussing aacshasdh i/ira'aat. he states, "...and


p. 31, "...and this (i.e.,
.i

Qur'aan cannot he confirmed with an ahaad narration;" mi


confirming the Qur'aan with
(p. 59),
.in

shaadh

qira'aat) implies

ahaad narration, and

this

is

not allowed bj .my of the


is

people (of knowledge)." Elsewhere


ion

heclcariy states concerning this opinion "...and this


I

the opinI

we believe and hold to." 1 did not see am of the other hooks thai know whether this was his earlier opinion, or his later one. nor could
any case, further research must he done
Alice Taalih.
to ascertain

read mention these quotes, so


I

do

not

ascertain

when he wrote
opinion
ol

the hook. In

whether this

really

was the

final

Makkee

ibn

433 al-Qadhi.
H4

p.8.

Uwais,

p. 12.

quoting from Ihn al-Jazaree's Miinjid aJ-Muqreai. Also, see Uwais' discussion on

this

point, pps. 11-14.


4 sS

Other scholars make a


Qur'aan

differentiation

for the

to he accepted, the narrations


will suffice.

between the Qur'aan and the qira'aat, and state that, in order must hv mutawaatir. hut in order foraqira'a to he accepted, an
to solve the
if

ahaad narration

However, this differentiation does not seem


is

problem, for the qira'aat

arc the Qur'aan. ami the Qur'aan

preserved
it

in all ol the qirdaat.

Therefore,

a qira'tk is substantiated as

authentic, that automatically implies dial


4 $6

is

pari

of the Qur'aan.

This

is

not to sa\ that there have not existed qira'aat that

Arab grammarians have not found

fault

with. There have been

numerous attempts
that

to prove various grammatical 'faults" in the qira'aat, bin other


cf! al

grammarians have always proven


al-Aziz: lladith
ples.
4

such readings do have grammatical basis for them,


v. I.
I

Qaarcc. Ahil

al-.

\hntfas-Saba'ah, in Majalah Kallis/ah al-Qur'aan al-Karcem,

''Si. p. 115. for

exam-

al-Qaaree, p.

ft,

with paraphrasing. The addition in brackets are mine.

The
If

Qira'aat

of the Qur'aan we

191

we ponder

over (his issue, and reflect over these conditions,


(i.e..

finds

that this last condition


is.

tUc qiraa'a

must conform with Arabic grammar)


of the word, meaning that
if this

in reality, not a 'condition' in the sense


is

'condition'
Firstly,
tic,

not met, the qiraaa

is

rejected, for

two reasons:
is

such a case has never occurred, meaning that there


to the

no authen-

mutawaatir qiraa'a that conforms

'Uthmaanic mus_-liaf\\\M has no

basis in Arabic

grammar.

Secondly, even if we allow for the possibility that there exists such a qiraaa

- an

authentic, nuitawaatir qiraa'a conforming to the script, yet not having


that

any basis

we can

discover in Arabic
qiraa'a.

grammar

then this too does not


ol

imply the rejection of the

This

is

because our ignorance

such a

grammatical basis does not ride out the


matter

possibility ol
it

such a basis, since no


still

how much our knowledge encompasses,


a

will

be limited. Also,

whenever a qiraa'a has


the

mutawaatir chain of narrators and conforms with


unequivocal prool that
it

'Uthmaanic script,

this is

is

a part ol the Qur'aan.

and therefore there cannot be any argument against

it.

To conclude,
product

therefore,

we

say:

This

last

condition (meaning the conis

formation of a qiraa'a with Arabic grammar)


ol

in reality a necessary by-

the other two conditions,


to,

and

is

not a 'condition' perse-.

As has already been alluded

there arc ten c/iraaat that

meet the above require(d.

ments, and these will be discussed below. Taqce ad-Deen as-Subkee


stated.

756 A.H.)

The
nised by others

seven qira'aal that ash-Shaatibec compiled43* along with the other


all

three qira'aat are


all,

authentic mutawaatir qira'aal.


letter that

This has been recog-

and every

any of these

qira'aal

have differed with the


(5Sg).

in, is

recognised to have been revealed to the Prophet

None can

m reject this fact except the ignorant.


Theoretically,
it is

possible lor there to


is

still

exist other authentic c/nci'ciat besides

these ten, since there


Realistically,

no divine law regulating


is

that there can only be ten qira'aat.

however, such an existence


ot

impossible, as the scholars of the Qur'aan

would have known

them by now.

rv.

The Other Types of Qira'aat


If a

qimda

fails to

meet any of these conditions,

it

is

classified in a different cat-

egory. Different scholars have adopted different classifications for defining those qira'aat
that

do not meet the above three conditions. One

of the

simpler ones

is

as follows:

Ai

1)

The

Saleel

(Authentic) Qira'aat:

These

are the ten authentic qira'aat, and the

conditions of acceptance were discussed above.

438 Qaasim ibn


in a

Ahmad as-Sliaatihce kl. 590 A.H.) compiled the seven qira'aal ol Aboo Bakribn Mujaahid
as the Sluuuibiyah to facilitate
v.

poem known

its

memorisation.

439 as-Suvootee, 440 Ubaydaat,


p.

I,

p.

82

78

192

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

2)

The Shaadh

(Irregular) (Jirdaaf. These qira'aat have

an authentic chain

ol nar-

ration back to the Prophet (S^g)

and conform

to

Arabic grammar, but do not match the

mus-hafs of 'Uthmaan. In addition, they are not nuitawaatir. In other words, they

employ words or phrases


(but not
all,

that the

"Uthmaanic mus-hafs do not

allow.

Most

ol

the time
in tact

see as-Suyootee's classification below) this type ol qirdaat


in the

was

used by the Companions as explanations to certain verses


ple, 'Aa'ishah
'

Qur'aan. For exam'saint al-asr.'

used to recite 2:238 ..Ma saint al-wusta' with the addition


the
first is,

The meaning ol

"Guard against your

prayers, especially the middle one."


in this verse is in

'Aa'ishah's addition explained that the


fact the 'Asr prayer.

"middle prayer" alluded to

ol this nature, in

There are which they


allow.

numerous authentic narrations from


recited a certain verse in a

the

Companions

way

that the mns-haj ol

'Uthmaan would not

Another explanation
that

lor this type ol qira'aat is that they

were

a part ol the

ahrnj

were revealed

to the Prophet

(^)

but later abrogated, and thus not preserved in

the mits-hafot' 'Uthmaan.


3)

The Da'ccf (Weak) Qirdaat: These

qira'aat

conform with Arabic grammar and


type
the recitation of 1:4 as

are allowed by the mus-hafoi 'Uthmaan, but do not have authentic chains of narrations back to the Prophet (3^g).
nia/a/<i

An example

ol this

is

yawmu

deen, in the past tense.

4)

The Baatil (False)

Qirdaat: These qirdaat

do not meet any of the


as tafscer. For

three criterion

mentioned above, and are rejected completely, even


ing of 35:28 as inama
"It is

example, the read-

xaltfisha Allaalut mi/i

ihadlul 'nlanut, changes the

meaning from.
lo,

only those
is

who

have knowledge amongst Mis slaves that truly fear Allaah,"

"Allaah

afraid of the
all

knowledgeable

ol

His

slaves!" (All praise be to Allaah,

He

is

far

removed from

that they ascribe to


last

Him!!)
three types of qirdaat, the shaadh, the dii'ccf and

The
to

ruling concerning these


is

the Baatil,

that they are not a part of the Qur'aan,


of

and
is

in fact

it

is

haraam (forbidden
recites these

consider such a qirada as part

the Qur'aan. If it

recited in prayer, such a prayer

will not

be acceptable, nor

is

one allowed to pray behind someone who

qirdaat.
ol tajsccr

However, the shaadh and the da'ccf qirdaat may be studied under the science
(ami other sciences, such as the science of grammar. or nahw) as long as they

are identified as such. The shaadh qirdaat, in particular, used to form a part of the

seven ahruf\\\M the Qur'aan was revealed


the Prophet
($,)

in,

but these recitations were abrogated by


this cat-

himself,

and therefore not preserved by 'Uthmaan. Under


yet

egory

fall

many of the

recitations that are transmitted with authentic chains ol narra-

tions from the

Companions, and
to

do not conform with the Uthmaanic


before his death.

mits-haf.

These recitations used

form

a part

of the Qur'aan, and were recited by the


(3ig)

Com-

panions, until ihcv were abrogated bv the Prophet

The
As-Suyootee,"' following Ibn al-Jazaree
into six categories,
1

Qiraaat of the

Quraan

193

(d.

832 A.H.).

classifies the various qira 'aat

which

are, briefly:

Mutawaatir. These are the seven qira'aat compiled by Ibn Mujaahid, plus the

Other three.
2)

Mash-haor (Well-known): These are some

ol

the variations found within the

ten authentic qira'aat, such as the differences between the raawis

and

tjiruqs (to be

discussed below
3)

).

Ahaad

(Singular):

These

are the qira'aat that have

an authentic chain of narraa rule ol

tion,

but do not conform


(the

to the

mus-hafo\ "Uthmaan, or contradict

Arabic

grammar
4)

same

as shaadh above).

Shaadh

(Irregular):

narration back to
5)

These are theqira'aat that do not have an authentic chain of the Prophet (j^g) (the same as da'ce] above). These are the
qira'aat that

Mawdpo'

(Fabricated):

do not meet any of the three

conditions (same as haatjl above).


6)

Mndraj (Interpolated): In

this category,

as-Suyootee classified those readings

that the
verse.

Companions used

to

add

for the

sake of interpretation. For example, the

...and

he has a brother or

sister.. .

(4:12)
a brother or sister

was

recited by Sa'eed ibn

Abee Waqqaas

as, "...and

he has

from the

same mother."
These types
of additions arc explained as having
(^).

been heard by that Companion

from the Prophet

either as an explanation of the verse (in


to be part ol the verse), or that this

which case

it

was

assumed by the Companion


that verse that
fibred,-'
42

was one

of the ahritfoi

was

later

abrogated by the Prophet (#*) during his

final recitation to

As-Suyootee stated that the


part ol the Qur'aan.

first

two

types,

mutawaatir and mash-hoor, are considlast

ered part of the Qur'aan, and can be recited in prayer, but the

four types are not a

v.

The Authentic
Now

Qira'aat

and the Qaarees


have been discussed
in detail,
it

that the various types of qira'aat

is

time

to

look at the ten authentic qira'aat, and the Qaarees


first

whom

they are

named

alter."'

The

seven are the ones that

Aboo Bakr
(d.

ibn

Mujaahid

(d.

324 A.H.) preserved

in his

book, and which ash-Shaatibee


ash -Shaatjbiyyah

548 A.H.) versified

in his

famous poem known as

441

as-Suyoojcc,

v. I.
v.

p. 102
I,

442 e as-Suyootee. 44' All ol


lianna.
v.l.
tin-

p. 102.
al-

biographical information in this section, unless otherwise rclcrcnccil. was taken Irom

pps. 19- 52.

a/Zarqaancc.

v.l.

pps 4V>-477. ami all laashiniee. pps. W-155.

194

An

Introduction to the Sciences ot the

Quraan

1)

Naafi' al-Mctdanee:

He

is

Naafi' ibn 'Abd

an Istahanian family.

He

ai-Rahmaan ibn Abee Na'eem al-Laythee, originally from was one ot the major scholars ot qira'aat during his time. He
in

was born around 70 A.H.,


of 99,
in 169
Ja'far

Madeenah, and passed away


(d.

in the

same

city at the

age

A.H.

He

learnt the

Qur'aan from over seventy Successors, including


130 A.H.),

Aboo

Yazeed ibn al-Qa'qa'


recitation

who

took his recitation from Aboo

Hurayrah,

who took his


(5^5).

from Ubay ibn Ka'ab.

who took
ol

his recitation

from

the Prophet

Alter the era ol the Successors, he was taken as the chief Qaaree of
his qiraa'a

Madeenah. Eventually,

was adopted by the people


(d.

Madeenah.
used to

Among
recite the

his students

was Imaam Maalik

179 A.H.).

Imaam Maalik

Qur'aan
the

Naafi'

is

Sunnah" w meaning

in the qiraa'a

of Naafi', and he used


that this qiraa'a

to say,

"Indeed, the qiraa'a of

was

the most liked by him.

The two students


i)

who

preserved his qiraa'a are:

Qaloon:

He

is

'Eesaa ibn

Mcena
life in

az-Zarc]ee (120-220 A.H.).

He

was the step-

son of Naafi', and lived his whole

Madeenah. Alter Naafi'

died, he took over his

position as the leading Qaaree of Madeenah.

Aboo Sa'eed 'Uthmaan ibn Sa'eed al-Misrce (1 10-197 A.M.). He lived in Egypt, but travelled to Madeenah in 155 A.M. to study under Naafi". and recited the Qur'aan to him many times. Eventually, he returned to Egypt, and became
ii)

Warsh:

He

is

the leading Qaaree ol Egypt.

2)

Ibn Katheer al-Makl{ce:

He

is

'Abd Allaah ibn Katheer ibn 'Umar al-Makkee, born

in

Makkah

in

45 A.H.

and died 120 A.H. Companions, such

He was among
as

the Qur'aan from the

the generation of the Successors (he met some Anas ibn Maalik and 'Abdullaah ibn a/.-Zubayr). and learnt early Successors, such as Abee Saa'ib, Mujaahid ibn Jabr (d. 103

A.H.). and Darbaas, the slave ot Ibn 'Abbaas. Darbaas learnt the Qur'aan from Ibn
'Abbaas.

who

lea

ml

Irom Zayd ibnThaabil and II u\ ibn Ka'ab,

who both

learn

il

from the Prophet (%).

Imaam
ot

ash-Shaafi'ee (d. 204 A.H.) used to recite the qiraa'a


ot

of

Ibn Katheer," and


the people

once remarked, "We were taught the qiraa'a

Ibn Katheer, anil

we found

Makkah upon

his qiraa'a."

4 *''

The two primary


i)

Qaarecs
is

who

preserved his qiraa'a are:

al-Buz/.ee:

He

Abul Hasan
j

Ahmad
id

He was the mu adh-dhin at the Mas


ol

Buzzah al-Makkee (170-250 A.H.). al-Haraam at Makkah, and the leading Qaaree
ibn

Makkah during

his lime.

444 al-Haashimee,

|>.

w.
ol

445

Knee

his

opinion ol the origin


p. 59.

ihcuonl 'Qur'aan*; c

Cfa. -.

'The Meaning ol the Word 'i|nr'aan

446 al-Haashimcc,

The

(Jim

ihii ol

the

Quraan

195

ii)

Qumbul: He

is

Aboo 'Am r Muhammad

ibn 'Abel

le

was the leading Oaaree of the Hijaaz.


(d.

He

al-Rahmaan (195-291 A.H.). was also one of the teachers of Aboo

Bakr ibn Mnjaahid

324 A.H.), the author of Kitaab al-Oiraaat.

1)

Aboo 'Amr al-Basree: He


is

Zabaan ibn al-'Alaa ibn Amniaar al-Basree. He was born in 69 A.H. anil passed away in 54 A.H. He was born in Makkah. but grew up in Basrah. He studied
1

the Qur'aan

under many of the Successors, among them Aboo


(d.

Ja'far (d. 130

A.H.),

and Aboo al-'Aaliyah

95 A.H.),

who

learnt

from 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab and other

Companions, who

learnt

from the Prophet (3g).

The two primary Qaarees


i)

who

preserved Wis qiraa'a are:

ad-Doori:
to

He

is

Hafs ibn 'Umar acl-Doori (195-246 A.H.).


qira'aat,

He was one of the


was
blind.

first

compile different

notwithstanding the fact that he

ii)

as-Soosee:

He

is

Aboo Shu'ayb Saalih

ibn Ziyaad as-Soosee (171-261 A.H.).


(d.

He

taught the Qur'aan to

Imaam

an-N'asaa'ee

303 A.I

I.),

of Sanan lame.

4) Ibn

'

Aamir ash-Shaamee:
Abdullaah ibn 'Aamir al-Yahsabee. born
capital of the
in 21

He

is

A.H.

He

lived his
I

life

in

Muslim empire in those days. le met some of the Companions, and studied the Qur'aan under the Companion Aboo ad-Dardaa. and al-Mugheerah ibn Abee Shihaab. He was the Imaam of the Ummayad Mosque (the primary mosque in Damascus) during the time of 'Umar ibn 'Alul al-'Azeez (d.
Damascus, which was the
103 A.M.). and

was well-known

for his recitation.

Among

the seven Qaarees, he has

the highest chain of narrators


(3f|)),

(i.e., least

since he studied directly

number ofpeople between him and the Prophet under a Companion. He was also Chief Judge of Da-

mascus. His qiraa'a became accepted by the people of Syria.


'Aashoora?'
1

He

died on the day of

lis A.H.

The two primary


i)

Qaarees

who
and

preserved his qiraa'a are:

Hishaam:

He

is

Hishaam

ibn

'Ammaarad-Damishqce
his

( 1

53-245 A.H.).

He was

well-known

for his recitation,

knowledge ofhtidcelh

:im\fiq/i,

and was one of

the teachers of Imaam at-Tirmidhec (d. 279 A.H.).


ii)

Ibn Zhakwan:

He

is

was also the Imaam

ol the

Ahmad ibn Zhakwan Ummayad Mosque during his time.


'Abdullaah ibn

(173-242 A.H.).

He

5)

'Aasjm al-Koojce:

He
ol

is

'Aasim ibn Abee Najood al-Koofec, from


in recitation

among the
of Aboo

Successors.

He was the
as-

most knowledgeable person

during

his time,

and took over the position

Imaam

of the

Qaarees

in

Koofah,

alter the death

Abd ar-Rahmaan

-147

The

truth

ofMuharram.

196

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

Sulamec

(d.

75 A.H.).

He

learnt the

Qur'aan from Aboo

'Abil

ar-Rahmaan (who

studied under 'Alee ibn

and from Zirr ibn Hubaysh

These
Taalib,

learnt

Abee Taalib, and was the teacher ofal-Hasan antl al-Husayn), (d. 83 A.H.) and Aboo "Amr ash-Shaybaanee (d. 95 A.H.). the Qur'aan from Ubay ibn Ka'ab, 'Uthmaan ibn 'Affaan, 'Alee ibn Abee
all

and Zayd ibn Thaabit, who

learnt

from the Prophet

(3gg).

He

passed away

127 A.H.

He
asked,
(i.e.,

taught the Qur'aan to

recite in the

qiraaa of 'Aasim.
ol

Imaam Aboo Haneelah (d. 150 Imaam Ahmad ibn Hambal (d.

A.H.),

who

used to

204 A.H.) was once


qiraa'n of Madcenah

"Which

the qira'aat
is

do you prefer?"

He

replied,
4 '"'

"The

Naafi'), but if this

not possible, then "Aasim."

His two students


i)

who

preserved his qiraaa arc:

Shu'ba:

He

is

Shu'ba ibn 'Iyaash al-Koofee, born 95 A.H. and passed away 193

A.H.
ii)

Hafs:

a step-son of 'Aasim.

He is Aboo 'Amr Hafs ibn Sulaymaan al-Asadec al-Koofee (90-180 A.H.), He was the most knowledgeable person of the qiraaa ol 'Aasim.

6)

Hamzah al-Koofee:
He is Hamzah
ibn

Habecb al-Koofee, born 80 A.H. He met some of the Compan(d.

ions,

and

learnt the

Qur'aan from al-'Amash


of

147 A.H.), Ja'far as-Saadiq


to the

(d.

148

A.H.) (the great-grandson

Husayn), and others, Whqiraa'a goes back

Prophet
1

($H) through 'Alee ibn Abee Taalib anil 'Abclullaah ibn Mas'ood.

He passed away

56

A.H.

The two primary


i)

Qaarees through

whom

his qiraaa

is

preserved arc:

Khalaf:

He

is

Khalaf ibn Hishaam al-Baghdaadee (150-227 A.H.).

He memo-

rised the

Qur'aan when he was ten years old.

He
ii)

also has his

own

qiraa'a, different

from the one he preserved from

Hamzah

(see below).

Khallaad:
1

born

19

Aboo 'Eesaa Khallaad A.H. and passed away 220 A.H.


is

He

ibn Khaalid ash-Shaybaanee.

He

was

7)

Al-Kisaciee:

He

is

'Alee ibn

Hamzah

ibn 'Abdillaah, born


in

around 120 A.H.


is

He was

the most

knowledgeable

of his

contemporaries
field.

Arabic grammar, and

considered one of
in the

the classical scholars in this

He

authored numerous books, and excelled

sciences anil recitation of the Qur'aan. Students used to flock to


entire Qur'aan,
verse.

him

to listen to the

and they even used

to record
to

where he stopped and


hold him

started every

The Caliph Haroon ar-Rasheed used

in great esteem.

He

passed

away 189 A.H.

HH

,il

Ixisliinur. p.

16.

The
His two primary students
i)

Qiraaat of the Qur'aan

197

who

preserved his qiraa'a are:

al-Layth:

He

is

al-Layth ibn Khaalid al-Baghdaadee.


is

He

died 240 A.H.


al-

same ad-Dooree who is the Student ol Ahoo Atnr Basree (mentioned above), for he studied and preserved both o( these qira'aat.
ii)

ad-Dooree:

He

the

These are the seven Qaarees whom Ibn Mujaahid compiled in his book Kilaab alQiraaat. Of these, all are from non-Arab backgrounds except Ibn 'Aamir and Aboo
'Amr. The following three Qaarees complete the ten authentic qiraaat.

8)

Aboo Ja 'far al-Madanee:

He

is

Yazeed ibn al-Qa'qa' al-Makh/.oomee,

among
A.H.

the Successors.

He

is

one of

the teachers of

Imaam

NaafV, and learnt the Qur'aan from 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbaas.

Aboo Hurayrah and

others.

He

passed

away

130

His two primary students


160

who

preserved his qiraa'a were 'Eesaa ibn Wardaan


(d.

(d.

A.H) and Sulaymaan

ibn

Jamaz

170 A.H.)

9)

Ya'qoob al-Basree:

He

is

Ya'qoob ibn Ishaaq al-Hadhramee al-Basree.

He became the Imaam

of the

'Amr ibn 'Alaa. He studied under Aboo alMundhir Salaam ibn Sulayman. His qiraa'a goes back to the Prophet (j^g) through Aboo Moosaa al-Ash'arce. He was initially considered among the seven major Qaarees by many of the early scholars, but Ibn Mujaahid gave his position to al-Kisaa'ee instead. He passed away 205 A.H.
Qaarees in Basrah after the death of Aboo

His two primary students were Ruvvays


teachers of Imaam al-Bukhaarec (d. 256

(Muhammad
d.

ibn Muttawakil, d. 238 A.H.)

and Rooh (Rooh ibn 'Abd al-Mu'min al-Basree,

235 A.H.),

who was one

of the

A.H. ).

10) Klnilaf

This

is

the

specific qiraa'a

same Khalal that is one of the two students of Hamzah. He adopted a of his own, and is usually called Khalaf "al-'Aashir (the 'tenth' Khali).

His two primary students


Ibraaheem ibn 'Uthmaan,
Baghdaadee,
d. d.

who

preserved this qiraa'a were Ishaaq (Ishaaq ibn


al-

286 A.H.) and Idrccs (Idrees ibn 'Abd al-Kareem

292 A.H.)

All of these ten qiraaat have authentic,

mutawaatir chains

of

narration back to the

Prophet
qiraa'a.

(}^g).

Each

qiraa'a

is

preserved through two students of the

Imaam

of that

Of course,

qira'aat are

more than just two students; the reason that the preserved through only two is that Aboo 'Amr 'Uthmaan ibn Sa'eed (d.
these Qaarees had

444), better

known

as

Imaam ad-Daanee, selected and


called

preserved the recitation of the

two best students

of each Qaaree in his book, Kitaab at-Tayseer fee al-Qira 'aat as-Saba.

These two students are each

Raawis

(narrators),

and they occasionally


qiraa'a,

differ

from each other. Thus, although other Raawis also narrated each

only the

198

An

Introduction to the Sciences ofthc

Quraan
in

recitation

<>i

two main Raawis have been preserved Raawis


are,

such

detail.

References to the

recitation ol other

however, louiul

in

the classical works ol qirdaat.

These Raawis
io ol

learnt the c/iraa'a

from their Imaam, and each preserved some of the


Sometimes, the Oaarcc taught dillcrcnt i/ira'aat

variations ol the recitation ol the Oaarcc.

each Raawi. Hals quoted 'Aasim as saying that the qirada he taught him was that

Aboo 'Abd al-Rahmaan as-Sulamce (d. 70 Add.) from 'Alee ibn Abce Taalib, while the one that he taught Aboo Hakr ibn Iyaasli (i.e., Shu'ba, the other Raawi ol Aasim) was that of Zirr ibn Hubaysh (d. 83 A.H.) from Ibn Mas'ood. 44
''

However,

typically the variations

between the Raawis are minor when compared


differ-

to the differences

between the qirdaat themselves (though usually there are


4

ences in the rules ol tajweed ol the Raawis). For example, Shu'ba and Hals dilfcr from

whole Qur'aan. " To preserve even these diflerenccs, however, the qirdaat are always mentioned including the Raawis. So, when someone recites the qirada of Naafi", lor example, he should mention whether it is through Warsh or Qaloon (for example, by saying, "The qirada ol Naafi' through the riwaayah ol Warsh." or. "The qirada ol Warsh 'an Naali' " lor short). m
each other
in

around

forty places in the

directly

Most of the time, these students, who were Oaarccs in their own right, studied under the Oaarec whose qirada it was. Thus, lor example, Warsh and Qaloon

both studied under

Imaam

Naali", as did

Shu'bah and Hals with Imaam Aasim.


(or

However, sometimes, there was an intermediary


dents and the Imaam.

even two) between these stuin-

When

this occurred, as for

example with Ibn Katheer, the

termediary was not mentioned above, so as not to prolong the discussion.


ested reader
section.

The

inter-

may

consult any ol the references mentioned in the beginning ol this

There are lour sliaadh qirdaat Hollowing the


not considered as part ol the Qur'aan, but

original definition above).

These

are

may be used

as tafscer, and, according to

some
are

of the madh-habs, as a basis forfiq/i rulings as well.


alter are:
is

w The Oaarccs whom they

named
1)

al-Hasan al-Basrce: This

the

famous Successor. Hasan ibn Abce al-Hasan


1

lassaar

Aboo Sa'ced

al-Basree.

He passed away

10

A.H.

2) Ibn Mu hay sin: Makkee. He was one

He

is

Muhammad

ibn 'Abd

al-Rahmaan as-Suhaymcc

al-

ol the

Chief Oaarees of Makkah, along with Ibn Katheer. He-

passed away 123 A.H.

44" Wohaibcc,
-till

p. 106. fort)
ili.n

Meaning thai they differ from each other in


in the
is

words, Inn since these words occur


their diltcrences arc
iliat

a total

ofaround
p. I4n.

five

hundred limes

Qur'aan.

it

might appear

many.

1.

al-Qaarec,

-HI

Actually, there

a third level

of narration, below
tiiruq (pi.

ofraawi, called

a hin-cq (path).

Bach raawi has

two hnrtys. The dilicrcnrcs between the


occasions there

of tareeq) are negligible

lor

our purposes, concentrating


etc.

mainly on where to stop, certain variations


.ire

in the particulars ol

pronunciation,

However, on some
(

noticeable differences. For example, compare a Qur'aan printed in Pakistan (Taj

lorn

pany. lor example) and one printed in Saudi Arabia or Egypt, and see }0:54. The difference in the words

Qa'Jin .\m\ Dii'jin are

due

to the differences in thcittruq oftheqiraa'a

of Hals

',/

'Aasim'

4^2

ell

az-Zarkashee. Bahr. pps. 474-480. lor a discussion of this point.

The
3)

Qira'aat of the

Qur'aan

199

Yahya al-Yazcedee:

He
is

is

Yahya ibn al-Mubaarak ibn al-Mugheerah.

He passed

away 202 A.H.


4)

al-Shamboozee:

He

Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn


of the qira'aat that

Ibraaheem al-Shamboozee.

He

passed away 388 A.H.

These (our qira'aat contain most

were

recited by the

Companis

ions and did not conform to the nuis_-liaf of'Uthmaail.

Of course,

these (our qira'aat

do not contradict the mtt-hafo 'Uthnraan


there
a conflict.

in every single verse; only occasionally

vi.

The
The

Qira'aat

Today
vital part of

qira'aat

were once a

the

Muslim

itmmali,

and each

part or the

Muslim world used


for

to recite according to
city

one

of the qiraaat.

Not

surprisingly, the
city.

people of a particular

would

recite in the qiraa'a ol the


(d.

Oaaree of that
in the third

Thus,

example, Makkee ibn Abee Taalib

437 A.H.) reported,

century of

the hijrah, that the people of Basra followed the recitation of

Koofah followed 'Aasim, the Syrians


Kalheer, and

Aboo Amr, those ol followed Ibn Aamir, Makkah took after Ibn

Madcenah followed

Naafl".

Eventually, however, most of the other qira'aat died out and were replaced by other

ones. Thus, the situation today

is

that the vast majority of the

Muslim world
and
a

recites

only the qiraa'a

ol

Aasim through

the riwaya of Hals (Hafs 'an Aasim). However,

there are certain areas in the world

where other

qira'aat are prevalent,

rough

breakdown

is

as lollows:

Qiraa'a

ST^m
Muslim World

Area

200 An Introduction

to the Sciences

of the Qur'aan

This

is

obviously a very rough breakdown, based on the population in these


1'

re-

spective countries.''

The

qira'aat today are as a

whole only memorised


(or, a

at specialised institutions of"

higher learning throughout the Muslim world der a scholar


to

student

may

study privately un-

who has memorised

these qira 'nut).

A student of the Qur'aan who wishes


of

memorise the qirdaat must,

of course,

have already memorised the entire Qur'aan

in at least

one qiraa'a. There are two primary ways

memorising these qirdaat, and


ol recitation (tajweed) of

both involve memorising lengthy poems that detail the rules

each qirada, and the differences between them.

The

first

way

is

to

memorise the Sliaatjhiyyah


is

(its

actual
1
1

name
to

is

Hirz al-Amaatiec

wa

Wajh at-Ta/iaanee), which


ibn

poem
(d.

consisting ot

73 couplets, written by

Imaam
The

Qaasim
(short
first

Ahmad

ash-Shaatibce

54K A.M.), ami then

memorise the Durrah

foi

ad-Durrah al-Madhiyyah ) by
the
first

Muhammad
.

ibn al-fazaree (d. 832 A.H.).

poem deals with


is

seven qirdaat After a student of the Qur'aan has

memo-

rised this, he then

qirdaat. This

moves on to the second poem, which deals with the last three the primary method by which the qirdaat are taught throughout the

Muslim world.

The second method


with
all

is

to learn all ten qirdaat simultaneously, by


.Ashr),

memorising the

Tayyibah (short for Tayyibah an-Nushrfil Qirdaat alten qirdaat, also by

which

is

poem

that deals

Muhammad

ibn al-Jazarec.'

VII.

The

Relationship of the Ahruf with the Qira'aat


depend
still

The

relationship of the ahruf with the authentic qira'aat must b\ essence the definition ol ahruf is, and

upon what

whether one believes


thcahruf

that the

ahruf arc

in existence today. Therefore, the scholars of Islaam have defined this relationship

depending upon

their respective definitions of


4

The three major opinions on


463 A.H.).

this issue are as follows:


)

"
(d.

The opinion
is

of Imaam at-Tabarce

310 A.H.). Ibn "Abd al-Barr


based upon one
hctij "of

(d.

ami

others,

that all the authentic qira'aat are

the Qur'aan.

This

is because, as was mentioned in the last chapter, they hold that 'Uthmaan eliminated the other six </ Aw/" and preserved only one ha if.

the imis-hafo\

However,

this

opinion does not seem very strong, since,


is

if the origin of all

of the

authentic qira'aat

originate from? In
that only

one harf then where do all the differences between the qira'aat addition, as was mentioned in the previous chapter, the opinion
to

one harfW.xs been preserved does not seem

be the strongest.

45.? This table was taken from .ill labash, p. 50. In this author's opinion, lu- has greatb exaggerated ihipredominance oftheqiraa'a of Ibn 'Aamir; .nil looree's percentage should also be less; and Qaloon should be more- than 0.7 '/< In addition, Hals is probabl) closer to 97 than 95%. and All. ili knows best.
.

i.

454

Tin- Tayyibah

is

more advanced than AicSkaagbiyyah-yAus-Durrah combination,

since Ibn al-lazaret

recorded more differences between the various Uiniq than ash-Shaatibce did.

455

ill Ilr.

pps. ?4o-s57.

The
2)

Qira'aat of the

Qur'aan 201

The opinion

of al-Baaqillaani

(d. 41)3

A.H.) and

few scholars

is

that

all ol

the

seven ahrttf'arc preserved in the qira'aat, such that each harf is found scattered through-

out the qira'aat. Therefore, there

is

no single

c/iraa'a that

corresponds exactly to any

one

harf, but

each

c/iraa'a

represents various akrufsuch that, in the

sum

total

of the

qira'aat, the

ahrafiuc preserved.
is

This opinion also

based upon these scholars' belief that


like a

all ot tin-

ahrufhave
from
that

been preserved. This opinion seems


there exists

strong opinion, except lor the tact that


to recite differently
It

many

narrations in which the

Companions used
in

any of the present qira'aat (these are today present


they were reciting
qira'aat.^''

the shaad/i qira'aat).

seems

a peculiar harf'ol the Qur'aan, but this was not preserved in the

3) Tlie

opinion ot Makkee ibn Abee Taalib


(d.

(d.

4s7 A.H.]. Ibn al-Jazarce


is

(d.

832

A.H.), Ibn Hajr


the strongest,
is

852 A.H.), as-Suyootee, and others, and the one that

perhaps
all ol

that the qira'aat represent portions ol the seven akruf, but not

the

seven ahrttf in

totality.

The differences between the


This goes back
to

qira'aat,

even the most minute ot

differences, originate

from the seven ahrttf. but not every difference between the seven

ahrttf \s preserved in the qira'aat.

our position on the existence

ol

the

ahrttf today: that they exist

inasmuch as the script of the /;///>-//<{/ of 'Uthmaan allows them to. In the last chapter, the methodology that the Companions used to decide which ahrttf to preserve was discussed. Those ahrttf that were preserved are the ones
that are in existence today,

through the variations

in the qira'aat.

To summarise the
A.H.),

last

two chapters,

we quote Makkee

ibn

Abee Taalib

(d.

437

who

wrote:

When the
COnquered

Prophet (5S) died, main of the Companions went to the ncwly-

territories

of the Muslims, and

this

was during the time ofAboo

Hakr and 'Umar. They taught them the

recitation ol the

Quraan and
(i.e.,

the

fundamentals of the religion. Each Companion taught his particular


the recitation that he had learnt from the Prophet (gg)
ahrttf).

-irea

the various

Therefore the recitations of these

territories differed

based on the

differences of the

Companions.
the writing of the mtts-luifs,
to follow
ii

Now, when 'Uthmaan ordered


to the

and sent them


all

new

provinces,

and ordered them

and discard

other

readings, each of the territories continued to recite the Qur'aan the same-

way
ll

that they

had done so before the mus-haf \\a<\ reached them, as long


to the

.I'-

conformed
left

mus-haf

If their recitation differed

with the mus-haf,

they

that recitation...

This new

recitation
it

was passed on from the

earlier generations to the

later ones, until

reached these seven

Imaams'

(Qaarees) in the

same form,

ami they

differed with each other based

upon

the differences ol the people

of the territories - none of whom differed with die mus-haf lhal 'Uthmaan

456 See the chapter entitled, "The Ahnif u\ the Qur'aan,"


today.
457 Actually, until
il

for

.i

discussion of the existence

>!

the ahruj

reached the ten Qaarees. and

1101 |u*t

the seven.

2(12

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

had sent

to

them. This, therefore,


other.,.
4

is

the reason that the Qaarecs have dif-

fered with each

Therefore, the differences in the qira'aat are remnants of die differences in the
dial the Prophet (j^g) taught the recitation ol the
ions,

Qur'aan

to the ditlercnt

way Compan-

and these differences were among the seven alnttfoi the Qur'aan which Allaah
(Slg).

revealed to the Prophet

Thus, the ten authentic qira aat preserve the

final recita-

tion that the Prophet (^g) recited to Jibreel

in other words, theqira'aat are manifes-

tations ol the

remaining ahrufoi the Quraan.

vin.

The

Benefits of the Qira'aat

Since the qira'aat arc based on the almtf,


lap with those of the almtf.
1)

many

ol the benefits

of the qira'aat over-

Some of the

benefits are as follows.


dif-

The

facilitation ol the

memorisation ot the Qur'aan. This includes not only

ferences in pronunciations that the different


the differences in
2)

Arab

tribes

were used

to.

but also

words and
is

letters.

Proof that the Qur'aan

a revelation

trom Allaah.

for

notwithstanding the thouis

sands
3)

ol dillerences

between the

qira'aat. not a single dillcrcncc


all

contradictor)'.
qira'aat

Proof that the Qur'aan has been preserved exactly, as

of these

have

been recited with


Prophet ($g).
4)

a direct, authentic,

mutaivaatir chain of narrators back to the

further indication of the miraculous nature Cijaaz) of the Qur'aan. because

these qira aat add to the

manner,
5)

as shall

meaning and beauty ol be shown in the next section.

the

Qur aan

in a

complementary

The removal of any

stagnation that might exist with regards to the text of the


ol reciting

Qur'aan. In other words, there exist various ways and methodologies

the Qur'aan that are different trom each other in pronunciation and meaning,

and thus the

text

remains vibrant and never becomes monotonous.""9

IX.

Some Examples
It

of the Different Qira'aat

is

appropriate to conclude this chapter by t|uoting various verses that


ol the differences in

strate

some

the qira'aat, with a discussion of the various


first

demonmeanfrom

ings.

4 ""

Four verses were chosen, the

ol

which deals with


it

belief,

the second and

third with stories,

and the

last

with laws. In each verse,

will be seen that, far

JW Ibn AbeeThalib.

Abu Muhammad Makkee: Kilaab al-lbaanah


li

'an

Ma'ani al-Qira'aat.

cd.

I>r.

Muhyi

Ramadaan. Oar al-Mamoon


459
This
is

Thuralli. Beirut, 197''. p.

59.

not

imply that the Qur'aan would have Income monotonous had the qira aat not existed,
effect.

hut rather that the different qira aat are one ol the factors that contribute to this miraculous person
1611

Any

who has dealt with the qira'aat knows this feeling. Many ol the dillerences in the qira aat do not affect the meaning ofa verse, hut
ol certain in

rather change only the

pronunciation
result in a

vowels and

letters.

However,

this section discusses

only those differences that

change

meaning'.

The
contradicting each other, the qiraaal taken together add

Qiraaal of the Qur'aan

203

much deeper meanings and

connotations than any one of them individually. In


tile

fact,

the various readings between

qiraaal are considered

in

terms of extracting rulings from verses - as two sepainto, anil neither ol

rate verses,

both

ol

which must be looked

which can abrogate the

other.

The
seem

scholar ol this century,

Muhammad Ameen

ash-Shanqcetec

(d.

1393 A.H.),

said in his

famous

lafscer,

Adwaa

al-Bayaan, "In the event that the different qira'aal considered as different
verses..."' "'
1

to give contradictory rulings, they are

mean-

ing that both ol

them must be taken

into account for the final ruling to be given. This

same principle applies


will

in verses that deal

with stories or

belief, as the

examples below

show.

1)

Soorah Faatihah, verse

4.

The

first

reading, that of 'Aasim and al-Kisaa'ee,

is

maalily yatvm ad-deen. This

is

the recitation that


'master, owner,"

most
is
is

ol

the readers will be familiar with.

and

one of the
that Allaah

The word maalik means Names oi Allaah. The meaning of this name when
is

attributed to Allaah
tion,

the

one who Possesses and ( )wns

all of

the Crea-

and therefore
to

power Him.
the

do

He has lull right to do as He pleases with His creation, and He has what He pleases with His creation, and no one can stop or question
of

The verse therefore translates, "The Only Owner of the Day name (\laalil{) is also mentioned in.

Judgement." This

4%\&.^\$
Say:

O Allaah!

Mtiulilf (Possessor) ol (all)

Kingdoms!"

[3:26]

Allaah

is

the

Owner who

Possesses

all

things,

and on the Day of Judgement,

He

will

Own

Rulership and Kingship. As Allaah says,

The

sovereignly on that clay

(i.e..

the

Day

ol

Judgement)
|25:26|

will

be (he true

(sovereignty), belonging to the


If

Most Beneficent"

Allaah
is

is

the only Maalil( on the

Day of Judgement,
ol

this automatically implies

that

He

the Maali/f Lxiore the


that

Day

Judgement

also, since the

one

who

is

the

Maalil^

on

day must be the Maa/i/<

ol all that

was before

that

Day!

The second reading,


Ham/.ah,
is

that ol Naafi",

malif(i

yawm
and

ad-deen, without the


is

sovereign, monarch,"

also

Aboo Amr, Ibn 'Aamir. Ibn Katheer and a/if. The word 'malil{ means, "king, one of the Names of Allaah. This also has the con-

notation ol the one

who

has power to judge.

A king (Ma/i/()

possesses not only wealth

-16

Adwaa al-Bayaan,

v.

b. p.

680.

204

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the

Quraan

and property
ment."

(like a Maalik]),

verse therefore translates,


Mtili/(.

as

but also the authority to rule, judge and command. The "The King (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Judgeone of the names of Allaah, is mentioned in the Qur'aan:

.....The King...*|

W:2.5

and

also,

..The Kins of Men.. [114:2]

The name

of

Allaah

'Malik.'

is

a description of

Allaah
a

(i.e.,sifah

dhaatiyyah), since

He

is

The
(i.e.,

King"; whereas the

name

'Maalil(

is

description of Allaah
of all ol

and His
4 "'

ac-

tions
It

sifah jl'liyyah), since

He

is

"The Owner'

His creation.

can he seen that the two readings increase the overall meaning ol the verse, each
a

giving

connotation not given by the other, and thus increasing the beauty and eloof the verse.

quence

The
of the

result

of the two qiraa'as

is

th;H Allaah

is

the Maalil{ on the

Day of
in

Judgement, and the Malik. So on that Day,

He

will

be the

Owner

(Maa/ik.)

Day of Judgement

- no other person will he an

owner besides Him

Judgement, even though they might have been owners of judgement


world.
else

in this
all

And

Allaah

is

the

King

(Malik.)

of the Day of Judgement, besides

of His creation, who,

in this

world, were mighty and arrogant kings. ..so


for sure that they are in reality the

on

this day, these (kings) will

know

most

humiliated of creation, and that the true Might, and Power, and Glory and

Kingship belongs only


has said.

to Allaah, as Allaah. all

Glory and Praise be

to

lim.

..The

from Allaah.
reply:)
It is

Day when they will (all) come out, nothing ol them will be hidden Whose is the Kingdom on this Dayr! (Allaah Himself will
Allaah's. the

Unique, the

Irresistible.. [40:16]

So. Allaah has informed us that

ment, meaning that


all

He is the Malik, ol the Day of JudgeHe is the only one whom Kingship belongs to, besides
and on
this

the kings

and

rulers of this world,

day these kings and rulers

will

be

in

the greatest humiliation and disgrace, instead ol their (worldly)


glory...

power and

And, Allaah has informed us


ment, meaning that
there
is

that

He

is

the Maalik. of the

Day of Judgeto.

He

is

the only

one

whom

Ownership belongs

So,

none

that can pass

judgements or rule on that Day except Him.'"

462 al-Hamood. p.XX. 463 Ka.i/mool,


v.

I,

p. 403.

The
2)

Qira'aat

ofthe Quraan 205

Soorah al-Baqarah, verse 259.


tells

This verse

the story of a
ever bring
it

man who
to life.

passed by a deserted town, and wondered

how Allaah would


him
to die lor a

back

Thus,

as a miracle for him, Allaah caused


to
lite.

hundred

years, then

brought him back

Allaah also brought the

man's donkey back

to lite in front ol his eyes.

The first reading ol the relevant part ol the verse, by al-Kisaa'ee, Ibn 'Aamir, 'Aasim and Hamzah, is. "I{ayfa nunshizuha." This is in reference to the resurrection ol the donkey. The word nunshizuha means, "to cause to rise." The verse therefore translates,

"Look

at

the bones (ol the donkey),

how We

raise

them up," meaning, "...how

We

cause the bones to join one another anil stand up again (Irom the dust)."

The second reading, by Aboo 'Amr, Naafi', and Ibn Kathecr, is, "l^ayfa nunshiriiha." The word nunshiruha means, "to bring to life, to resurrect." The verse then translates,
"...how

We

resurrect

it

and bring

it

back

to lite."

Again, both readings give different meanings, but put together these readings help

form a more complete picture.

The bones

of the

donkey were

"raised up'

from the

dust and 'resurrected' (meaning clothed with flesh) in front of the man. Each reading
gives only a part of the picture, but put together, a
3) In

more graphic

picture

is

given.

the last portion of the


first

same

verse, the readings differ as follows:

The
is,
'I

reading, that of Naafi', Ibn Katheer, Aasim, Ibn 'Aamir


'alaa lytlli

and Aboo 'Amr.


that, after this

"Oaa/aa a'lamu ana Allaaha

shayin qadeer." This translates as, "Fie said,


of all things.'" This

(now) know that Allaah

is

indeed capable

shows

miraculous display; the


lite,

man

finally believed that

Allaah could bring the dead back to

and repented

ol his previous statement.

The second
which
dered

reading, that ol

Hamzah and

al-Kisaa'ee,

is.

"(Jala'lam ana Allaaha..."

translates as, "It

was

said (to him):

In this reading, after the resurrection ol


to believe that

'Know that Allaah is capable ol all things.'" the donkey was shown to him, he was or-

Allaah was indeed All-Powerful.

Once
of
all

again, each reading adds

more meaning
to

to the overall picture. After this

miraculous display, the


things.

man was commanded


to this

know

that Allaah

is

indeed capable
Allaah
is

He

responded
4'

command, and

testified that, indeed,

capable of all things.


4)

Soorah al-Maa'idah, verse


last

6.

For the

example,

it

will

be seen that even

difle re

tfiqh ruling arc given by the

differences in the qira'aat.

The
lieve!

relevant verse discusses the procedure lor ablution (ivudoo). In the reading of

Naafi'. Ibn

Aamir. al-Kisaa'ee and Hals, the verse reads as follows:

"O you who


'feet' is

be-

When

you intend to pray; wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows,
feet

wipe your heads, and (wash) your

up

to the ankles..."

The word
same

read

464 In [his verse in particular, the

i'jaaz ol the

Qur'ann can be

telt. lor

the very

verse

is

the

commaml

and response!

206

An

Introduction to the Sciences ol the Qur'aan

arjulakurn,

and

in this tense,
is

it

refers

back to the verb 'wash.' Therefore, the actual


to this recitation.

washing

ot the feet

commanded, according
the

The remaining i/ira 'tint pronounce


to the verb 'wipe,' so the verse

word

aijulikjtm, in

which case

it

refers

back

wotdd

read, "...wash your taces

and hands up
washing

to the
is

elbows, and wipe your heads and


obligatory,

feet..."

According

to this recitation,

not

and wiping

is

sufficient.
qira'aat.
is

This

is

an apparent contradiction between the


it,

Does one

'wipe' his leel

(meaning pass water over one


actually

similar to

how

the head

wiped

in ablution),

or docs
is

wash

his leet (like the

hands and

(ace are washed)? In tact, there

no

contradiction whatsoever, for each recitation applies to a different circumstance. In


general, the ablution
is

performed by 'washing' the

feet.

However,

it

person

is

wearin fact

ing shoes or socks, and he had ablution before putting

them on, he
to

is

allowed -

even encouraged - to 'wipe' over his

feet,

and

is

not obliged to

wash them." Azwashing the

Zarkashee

said,

"These two

verses can be

combined

understand that one reading

deals with wiping over the socks, while the second reading deals with
feet (in case of

not wearing socks).

-M '"

Therefore, each of these recitations adds a very essential ruling concerning the
ablution,
It

and there

is

no contradiction between them.


this section that the qira'iiat are a part

can be seen from

of the eloquence

ol the

Qur'aan, and form an integral factor in the miraculous nature ot the Qur'aan. For
indeed, what other book in
the qirdaat

human

history can claim the vitality that

is

displayed in

the subtle vaiations in letters anil

words that change and complement

meaning of the verse, not only in story-telling but also in beliefs and commands and prohibitions! To add to this miracle, all of these changes originate from the one script of 'Uthmaan! Indeed, there can be no doubt the Qur'aan \slhc ultimate miracle
the

of the Prophet ($g).

465 Set

Fiqfi

as-Sunnak,
\.

v.l.

pps. 44-46,

li>r

further ilcuiils

on

this issue.

466 az-Zarkashcc,

2.

|>.

52.

CHAPTER

12

The Clear and Unclear Versesal-muhkam wa al-mljtashaabih

The Qur'aan

has been revealed in the most eloquent of Arabic. Therefore, in or-

der for a person to fully understand and appreciate the Qur'aan, he must be knowledgeable of various aspects related to the Arabic language.

Among
(for (for

these aspects

is

the

knowledge

of the

how words

give particular

meanings
is

example,

'mini anil f(haas; imitjaq

and muqayyad), how the word or


the text gives the desired

text

used
(for

example, Iniqeeqce

and majaazee), and how

meaning

example, iminlooq and maJlioom). M " Also essential are other categories of texts (such
as the

muhl{iim and mutashaabih, and the naasikji and mansookji).

I.

Definition of
The word

Muhkam

and Mutashaabih
One Names

muhkam comes
Judges.'

from h-l^-m, which has the following meanings:


of Allaah's
is

'To judge, to pass a verdict."

Al-Hal{cim,

meaning 'The

One who
a criterion
2)

This also has the connotation


to

of a standard,

such that one has

by which

judge good or

evil.

'To prevent, to obstruct."

A mtlh^am
interpretation
ple

verse

is

one

that

it

is

clear in

its

meaning, not open

to interpretation.

Imaam al-Qurtubee
is

(d.

671 A.H.) said,


its

known,
verse

"The muhkam is the (phrase or word) whose meaning understood anil its exposition clear. "'"^An exam-

of a

muhkam

is.

467 This
iliai

is

one

<>l

the areas

where

'iilnum al-Our\uiii overlaps with nspol al-fiqh; in tail,

il

is

mic

to say

these topics an- deal) with in

much

greater detail in works of usool al-Jiq/i than in works of'uloom al-

Quraan.

In reality, the detailed explanation


little
is

hut nt relatively Arabic language

value, as in order to Utilise anil Knilil

of such concepts to a non-Arabic audience is not only tedious, from these concepts, a strum: loinrnanil (if the

necessary.

However,

in

order to acquaint the reader with

some

essential aspects of

ill

i--

knowledge, the more important categories were chosen (the muhlyim and mullasliubih. the 'nam and
the iimtJtK/

/(/muss,
mttisi/(li

and

mni/i/iiyutl. the /nit/cri/tr

and the niajaazec, the


in as

tmUlUirit/

and the mafhoom. and the


as other concepts in this

and the mansoo/(/:). These categories Mere not discussed

much detail
I

work

(an

exception was made, however, lor the iimhlytm and mttthlslnibih. due to he misconceptions prevalent alioui
it,

and the

iiiiusi/(li

consult any standard

and mansoot(A, l\\i<: to its importance). Those work ofmoot al-jiqh.

interested in furthering (heir studies

may

468 Ubaydaat,

p. 197.

208

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

All

praise

is

due

to Allaah, the
is

Lord of the Worldsin


it.

This verse

is

muhfcam since there

no ambiguity

The word mutashaabih


lar to.' 'Mutashaabih'

conies from sh-b-h, which


first

means
is

'to

resemble, to be simi-

has two meanings, the


is

one

'resembling.' and the second

'unclear.'

The second meaning

related to the

first,

since those objects

which resem-

ble

one another are


It is

difficult to distinguish,
in

hence

'unclear.'

used
in

in

both of these meanings

the Qur'aan and Siinnah. For example, the

Jews say

the Qur'aan,

...to

us, all
is

cows look alike


first

(Ar. tashabaha)...[2:70\

In this verse, the

word
clear,

used in the
in the

meaning
clear,

('resembling').

It is

used

in

the

second meaning ('unclear')


said,

famous

Inulcelh ol the
is

Prophet

(yg) in

which he

"The

halaal

is

and the ha main

but between the two are matters

which

are unclear (Ar. nnitashaabihaai). ..."'""


'allegorical.' as

Mutashaabih does not mean

some

translators claim.

'"

The Qur'aan as Muhkam and Mutashaabih


On
occasion, Allaah calls the entire Qur'aan

muhkam. For example, He

said,

tAlif-Laam-Raa. These are the verses from the hakftm Book

10:

and.

rAlif-Laam-Raa. (This
iilkiimil)...
1

is

a)

Book the

verses whereot are Perfected (Ar.

1:1

In these verses, Allaah


acts as a Criterion

is

saying that the whole Qur'aan


evil.

is

a clear, perfect

Book which
said, "Allaah

between good and


I

Imaam at-Tabarce (d. 310 A.H.)


evil

has protected (ahl(cima)


hood. Then,

lis

verses

from any

entering

it.

or any flaw, or any false-

He set

it

forth with
it

commands and
1

prohibitions.

This

is

because to ikftaam

something means

to better

and protect

it."''

As Allaah

says ol the Qur'aan,

469 Narrated by al-Bukhaaree.

470 For example,


sion.

Yiisul 'Alec.

See

'A

Review

ol

Some Translations'

in

Ch.

It lor a

more

detailed discus-

471

Zarzur. p. 163.

The

Clear and Unclear Verses

tii-Mnh/(iim

wa al-Mtttas/iaabi/i 209
(it is)

"Falsehood cannot

come

to

it

from before
|4

it

or from behind
:42

it.

sent

down by

the All-Wise.

Worthy of Praisecalls the entire

On

other occasions. Allaah

Qur'aan mutashaabih:

d>& 0&^&frZX'S$&
"Allaah has sent
recited.....|?9:2?|

down

the best statements,

Book

that

is

mutashaabih

olt-

The meaning ofmutashaabih


ble

in this verse in their

is

that the verses ol the

Qur'aan resemin their beliefs

and complement one another


that there are
in the

eloquence and beauty, and


in

ami laws, so
In

no contradictions or differences

them.

one verse

Qur'aan, however. Allaah describes the Qur'aan as being part

muhfrpm and part mutashaabih.


The verse
in

question

is.

"Me

(Allaah)
it

is

Hook. In

arc verses that

- and others are

who has sent down to yon (0 Muhammad) the hk niuhj(iiiii -they are the foundation ol the Book mutashaabih So as for those who have a deviation in their
the one
.

hearts, they follow that

which
lor
its

is

mutashaabih, seeking to cause contusion


its

and chaos, and seeking


Allaah. and those well
ol
it

tawed. But none knows


in

la

will except
in
it.

grounded

knowledge:
is

lit

y say

"We believe

all

(both the muh/(am and mutashaabih)

from our Lord.


|

And none

re-

ceive admonition except those ol understanding'.'

?:7|

The word tawed has purposely not been translated above, because
depends upon how one reads the
verse.

its

meaning

Thcrelore
'ta'weel'

it

is

necessary to

first

explain the

meaning
1)

ol the

word tawed. The word


a

has three meanings:


fact that this
to

To understand
connotation
is

word

in light

of one of its connotations, despite the


is

not the primary intent oi the word. This

done due which


it

some
its

external evidence from the

word

itself,

such as the context

in

occurs. For

example, the phrase,


literal

"He was
'lion'

a lion in the battlefield,"

is

not understood in

sense.
it

he word

is

primarily used to denote an animal, but in this


it

context

does not make sense. Therefore,


'lion' in this

is

necessary to

make

ta'weel

and

understand the word


namely,
'a

phrase as meaning one


ol ta'weel
is

ol its

connotations,
one.

brave person.' This

meaning

the most

common

210 An Introduction

to the Sciences of the

Qur'aan

2)

To explain
is

word or phrase. This


it is

is

the same as

tafseer, in

which case something

explained so that

understood. For example,

stand the actions ol Khidr, Khidr explained to

when Moosaa did not underhim why he had done these acts.'

and

said.

\j~a aJ& f-b~iJi! U ^jj \j iiU'


This
is

the ta'weel (interpretation)


1

of (those) things which you were not

capable ot being patient over*


3)

18:N2|

The
with

actuality of an event. In other words,


this

when and how something occurs.

It is

meaning of ta'weel

that Allaah says,

Do
(i.e.,

they (the disbelievers) await for

its

(the

Day of Judgement's) tawed

do they await

for

its

fiillilmcnt)...?|7:5.?|

Also, Yoosuf tells his family

when

the

dream

that he

had

finally

comes

true,

This

is

the ta'weel

(i.e..

fulfilment) of

my dream

ol old...

12:1(M)|
1

With

these

meanings
it,

ot ta'weel explained, the original verse

under discussion

is

examined. In
the Book.

Allaah differentiates the

muhkam

verses from the mutashaabih.

He

calls the i>itihl(ain verses,

or those verses that are clear in meaning, the foundation ot


tafseers

As the authentic

of the Qur'aan show, these verses are the verses


'

pertaining to ha/aal anil haraam and the laws ot Islaam.'


explicit in their

These

verses are clear

and

meanings, and none can distort the intent of such verses.


ol

As

for the

second portion ot the verse, there are two ways

reading
($)).

it.

Both
first

ol

these originate Irom the


is

Companions (and thus from


none know
its

the Prophet

The

way
read
ol a

to stop after the phrase, '...except for Allaah."

This was the reading of Ihn Mas'ood.


ta'weel except lor Allaah."

The verse
phrase.

therefore reads, '...and


'ta

When

in this context,

wccl' signifies the actuality, such as the lime

ami methodology

The second way of reading and those well grounded

this verse is to stop alter '...those well


"...

grounded

in

knowledge," so that the verse reads,


in

and none know


is

its

ta'weel except for Allaah


II

knowledge." This

the reading ol Ibn 'Ahhaas.


ol ta

one

stops at this point, the context implies that the


tion.

meaning

weel

is

the interpreta-

Therefore, 'those well grounded in knowledge' are aware

ol the interpretation ol

the mutashaabih. Ibn 'Abbaas stated, "I

am

of those well-grounded

who know
472
did.

the

meaning

(ol

the mutashaabih).

in

knowledge,

Set' the story

of Moosaa ami Rhiilr

in

Simrah al-KahK verses MI-N2. lor the various acts that Rhiilr

47

d. Ibn Kathcer,
ibid.
v.

v.

I,

p. 370.

474

I.

p.

370-372.
v.

47

as-Suyootee.

2. p. 4.

The

Clear anil Unclear Verses

a/-Muh/aim wa al-Mutashaabih

Therefore both of these readings are correct, and each changes the meaning ol the word 'tawed' accordingly. The mutashaabih verses can be understood from one perspective (from the perspective of simply understanding these verses
guistic

from their

lin-

meanings), and cannot be understood from another perspective (from the per-

spective of the actuality of these verses).

The Exact Meaning of Muhkam and Mutashaabih


The scholars of
.

'ulootn al-Qur'aan
lists

have differed over the exact meaning oi'mith/(am

and mutashaabih As-Suyootee


alone.'
"

almost twenty opinions concerning

this issue

However,

in reality,

almost

all ol

the definitions that as-Suyootee quotes have


*'If

a similar

meaning. Az-Zarqaanee
similar

states,

we

look

at

these various opinions,

we do

not really find contradictions or discrepancies between them, but rather

we

see thai

they are

all

and

close in meaning.""'
are:

Some
1)

of the meanings that as-Suyootee quotes


is

The muhfcam

that

which

is

clear in

and

ol itself in contrast to the


is

mutashaabih.

2)

The muhftam
The muhkam The muhl(am The muhkam
As can be

arc the verses

whose meaning
is

understood, whereas the

mutashaabih are those verses whose meaning


3)
is

not understood.
valid

that

which can only hold one

meaning, whereas the

mutashaabih has many.


4)

can be understood by

itself

whereas the mutashaabih must be un-

derstood in light of other verses.


5)

docs not need any interpretation

in

order for

it

to be

understood,

whereas the mutashaabih needs interpretation.


seen, the various definitions have the

same theme:
in

the

muhkam

verses

are those verses that are clear in

meaning, and cannot be distorted or misunderstood,

whereas the mutashaabih verses arc those verses that are not clear
selves,

meaning by themit is

and

in

order to properly understand the mutashaabih verses,


in light ol
(-^g)

necessary to

look at

them

the

muhkam

verses.

The Prophet

once recited
4

this verse

and then

said,

"So when you see those

who

follow the mutashaabih ol the Qur'aan, then these are the ones
'"

whom Allaah

has

mentioned, so beware of them."


against those people

In this hadceth, the

Prophet

(-gg)

warns Muslims

who

follow the mutashaabih without properly understanding


phrase, '...follow the mutashaabih..' implies that
verses,

them

in light ol the

muhkam. The

these people
interpret

who

are being

warned against take only the mutashaabih


Therefore, those people

and

them according

to their desires.

who

interpret the

mutashaabih verses
this
is

in light

of the

muhkam

verses are nol blameworthy.

The proof for

the statement of Ibn

Abbaas quoted above, who,

alter reciting this verse, said.

47(>

ibid.

v.

2.

pps. 5-7.
\.

-177
-47S

az-Zarqaanec,

2. p.

295.

Narrated by al-Bukhaarec.

212

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

"I

am

of those well-grounded in knowledge,

who know
do
so.

the

meaning

(of the
is

mutashaabih)."*
possible,

This shows that the correct interpretation of the mutashaabih


is

and there

no harm
of the

if one is

qualified to

What

is

blameworthy

is

the

improper interpretation

mutashaabih.

In conclusion, Allaah has called the

whole Qur'aan muh/^am, meaning


between good and
its

that

it is

clear source of guidance

and

a criterion

evil;

He

has also called the

whole Qur'aan mutashaabih, meaning that


beauty and aid one another in meaning; and,

verses arc similar to

one another

in

finally.

He

has called part of it muhlytm


is

and

part mutashaabih,

tortion,

and

part of

it

meaning that part is unclear and open


that
is

ol the

to

and not open to disdistortion by those "who have a deviation


Qur'aan
clear

in their hearts.'

The portion
all

ing that
ance.

it

comprises

muhfcam forms the foundation of the Book, meanthe moral and social laws that mankind needs for its guidis

The mutashaabih
in

portion ol the Qur'aan


'

clear in

its

meaning

to "those well

grounded

knowledge, and

it is

necessary to understand these mutashaabih poractuality of the mutashaabih verses, however,


is

tions in light ol the

mukfaam ones. The

known

only to Allaah.

The Attributes ofAllaah

as

Mutashaabih ?
been the subject of great controversy
at certain

One of the

issues that has


is

times

in

Islaamic history

the question: Axe the verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah


is

from the mutashaabih?'*" What

meant by 'mutashaabih'

in this cpiestion is that

only

Allaah knows the true meaning of these Attributes.

The

opinion of

all

tributes of Allaah are

the scholars of thesalaf, without any exception, is that the Atmuh/(am from one perspective, and mutashaabih from another

perspective.

The

Attributes arc muhfyim,

meaning they

arc understood, in the sensethe ex-

that the linguistic


.Attributes are

mutashaabih

meaning and connotations of these Attributes are known; anil in the actuality and 'how-ness' of the Attributes. For
ol

ample. Allaah describes Himself with the Attribute


the

'Knowledge'.

The meaning
is

of

word 'knowledge'

is

well-known and understood.


understand the meaning of

When

this Attribute

applied

to Allaah, this

we know
infinite

anil

this Attribute,

but the actuality of

"Knowledge' can never be understood, since our limited minds cannot compre-

hend the

Knowledge

of

Allaah.

This agrees with the two recitations of the verse of Soorah Aali-'Imraan:

479 as-Suyoojee,
481)

v.

2. p. 4.

This point has not been discussed


ol

in the detail thai


is

ii

needs, since the detailed explanation of the


I

proper meanings o! the Attributes

Allaah

not dircrtly related to the topic being discussed.


ol'

lowcvcr.

due

to the laci that

groups such as the Ash a ins use the concept


ol Allaah.
it

Mutashaabih and inajaaz as


It is

denying the Attributes

was decided

to briefly discuss this issue.

hoped

that a

means of more detailed


a

discussion ol this anil other topics related to the

Names and

Attributes ol Allaah

may

be available in English

soon, inshaa Allaah.

The
...and

Clear and Unclear Verses

al-Muh_k,am

wa

al-Mutashaabih 213

none know

its

id wed except for Allaah, and those well grounded

in

knowledge; they
mutashaabih)
is

say,

"We believe

in

it,

all

of

it

(both the muhl{iiiii and

from our Lord...

[3:7]

As was mentioned
implies that
ness'.

in the

previous section,

if one stops after

the word, 'Allaah', this

only Allaah knows the tdweet -

in this case, the 'actuality'

and 'how-

Thus, no one knows the


if

actuality ot the Attributes except Allaah.

On the other

hand,

one does not stop


in

at this place, the verse

then implies that Allaah, ami those


the 'interpretation'. Thus,

well-grounded

knowledge know the ta 'weel -

in this case,

those well-grounded in knowledge understand the verses pertaining to the Attributes


ol

Allaah. In other words, the Attributes of Allaah are

known from one

perspective

(that of their

meanings and interpretations), and unknown from another perspective

(that of their actuality

and how-ness). 4 "

Many
imply
is

of the scholars of the

Ash 'a ices, however, claim


all

that

some
.

of the verses perto

taining to the Attributes ol Allaah are


that the

from the mutashaabih What they seek


is

meaning and

interpretation of these verses

known

only to Allaah.

In addition,

when

the Ash 'aires see a person of Ah/ as-Stinmih discuss the Attributes of

Allaah, they quote the liadeeth mentioned above: "So


the mutashaabih ol the
so
as
1
-'

when you

see those

who

follow

Our aan,
is

then these are the ones

whom Allaah

has mentioned,

beware of them"" implying that the person who mentions the Attributes of Allaah,
found
in the

uraan

the one

who

is

following the mutashaabih'.


to

Examples
the

that arc claimed to be

from the mutashaabih arc the verses pertaining


("ayn) (11:37),
It is

Hands

iyad)

of Allaah (48:10), His Eyes


(istiwaa) the

His Face

[u/ajh) (55:27),

and His Rising over


the

Throne

(20:5).

claimed by these scholars that

meaning of these

verses

is

known

only to Allaah. In addition, they claim that the


is

apparent

(Ar. 'dhaahir')

meaning

ot these verses

definitely not the

meaning

that

is

desired. After this bold claim, these scholars split into

two categories with regards to


of these verses

these verses.

The

first

group claimed that the true meaning

can never

be

known
)

or understood by mankind, but instead the meanings are 'entrusted' (Ar.


to Allaah,

'tafweed

and are not discussed. This group then attributed


ol ihc

this philoso-

phy

to thtsalaf,

and claimed, "The philosophy

sa/afh tafweed oi the Attributes


other attributes. So, for exam-

of Allaah."

The second group, on


is,

the other hand, claimed that the apparent (dhaahir)

meanings
ple,

of these verses can be 'interpreted' to

mean

the 'Hand' of Allaah

in reality, the 'Capability' ol Allaah; the 'istiwaa'

over the

Throne means the 'Conquering*

of the

Throne, and so

forth.
in

The

detailed refutation of these views

may be found

the books of 'aqeedah;


this topic, a

however, since there does not exist any material in English on


rised refutation
Firstly, their
is

summa-

as follows:

claim that the 'apparent'

meaning of the

verses

is

not intended has a

number

of implications,

amongst them:

485

4X1

Ilin

Taymiyyuh, ai-Tiidnntriyyah

p. 58.

482 Narrated by al-Bukhaarec. 48>


Taken Irom lhn al-Qavvim,
as-Sau>aa'it],
v.

I,

p. 314-316.

2M An
1)

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

That Allaah has revealed

in

His Book verses which, apparently, seem


ol

to

mislead

and deceive mankind, instead


2)

guiding them.
concerning His Attributes, but rather hinted
at

That Allaah did not


at

reveal the truth

them

in

such couched and vague language that the truth cannot be arrived

except by claiming that the verses pertaining to this topic are not to be under-

stood except aher great effort and distortion of their meanings.


.?)

That Allaah required His servants not what


slate.

to believe in the apparent

meanings of

He

revealed, but instead believe the exact opposite of what the verses clearly

4)

That Allaah

is

always revealing verses concerning His Attributes whose apparent


truth.

meanings oppose the


5)

That the ihem

best ol this iiinnuili, the sahif,

from the

first

of them

to the last ot

them,

did not understand this important concept properly, lor no quotes are found from
that agree with

were ignorant of these concepts

what the Ash'arees say. This implies that, cither the salaf (in which case the scholars of these Ash'arees are

plain

more knowledgeable than the sataf), or that they knew the truth but did not exit (in which case the saLij were not sincere in spreading the religion ol
Islaam). Both ol these possibilities cannot be true, as the sti/tif are the most knowlol this

edgeable ami sincere generations

umtnah, by testimony

ot the

Prophet

my
6)

That the salaf were ignorant, illiterate people, reading these verses pertaining to the Attributes ol Allaah. and not understanding anything from them, nor caring
to

understand them, or even asking about them.


if

7)

That,

what the Ash'arees say is true and all of these implications are correct, it would have been more beneficial and wiser not to reveal these verses, since the
revelation of these verses has caused nothing but deception

and doubts!

All praise
all

is

due

to Allaah.

He

is

above

all

that they ascribe to

Him!

Verily. Allaah,

Praise

and Glory be
and

creation creation

is,
is!

He

is

to Him, is more knowledgeable ot His more capable of clearly explaining His

Attributes than His Attributes than His

Secondly, the primary problem with the Ash

'arees,

as

was explained

in

the section

on the kahuun of Allaah,

is

they

ditl

not understand the verses pertaining to the At-

tributes ol Allaah properly. Instead, they only understood these verses as referring to

human-like (anthropomorphic)
nied the meanings
of

attributes, ami.

based on

this

assumption, they desays.

these verses. So. lor example,


stateil

when Allaah

"The Ever-

Merciful istawaa over the Throne" (Allaah has

seven times in the Qur'aan that

He

has 'istawaa' over His Throne,

e.g.,

The Ever-Merciful

'rose over' {istawaa) over the

Throne*

(20:5))

The

Clear and Unclear Verses

al-Mtthfoim u' cd-Mutashoabih 2

the only understanding that these Ash'arees had of this verse


that
is

is

that

it

implied a body
this

in

need

ol

another physical object (the Throne)

to rest

upon! Based on

anthropomorphic understanding, they then negated the meaning of the


wise,

verse. Like-

when Allaah

says,

His two Hands are outstretched" [5:64] the only understanding that the Ash 'arees

had were two human-like

physical hands!

Had

they only realised that Allaah

is

above

their limited imaginations,

and

that

His

Attributes cannot be

compared or equated with those of His

creation,

it

would have

saved them Irom these serious errors!

Allaah clearly

states,

..There

is

nothing similarto Him, and


itself is

He isthe All-Hearer, All-Seer |42:l

This verse

in

and of
is

a clear

and simple

refutation of the Ash 'arees; after


for

slating thai there


self
is it

nothing similar to Him, Allaah then immediately affirms

Him-

two Attributes

that are also found in the creation, that of hearing and sight!

Why

that, in this case, the Ash'arees

understand that Allaah has the Attributes of Hearinto errors with regards

ing and Seeing, but these two Attributes arc not similar to the hearing and seeing of

mankind; why

is it

that they understand this properly, yet

fall

to other Attributes?

The Names and

Attributes of Allaah are unique to

Him,

just like the

names and

attributes of the created are

unique

to

them.
certain

So Allaah has
these
ings

called

Himself with

Names and

Attributes,

and

Names and

Attributes,

when

ascribed to Allaah, have unique

mean-

which none

share.

And,

He

has called His servants with

names (and

attributes) that are peculiar to them...


are separated
ers,

These names

are the

same when they

Irom their owners... but when they are ascribed to their ownit.

each one takes on specific characteristics that are unique to


other...
Iiniself<//-/</yy

different

from the

So. for example. Allaah has called


tor

(The Ever-Living),

He

said,

% I -rut - rr---*
There

fjc^^'y^l^
some ol His

i,

Allaah!

is

no deity except Him, the liver-Living {al-Hayy), the Sus-

tainerofall- |2:255|

Likewise.
for

He

has also described

creation with 'Life' (hayy),

He

said.

J/J^opl ^Kj-^^P

^^ ^1

216

An

Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan

III-

brings out the living (hayy) from the dead, anil brings out the dead
living...- [30:19]

from the

And
in

neither
is

is

this
o!

al-Hayy
I

(i.e.,

Allaah

like the other


1

hayy

(i.e.,

man),

since al-Hayy

one

he

Names ol

Allaah, particular to
ileail' is

lim, anil thc/wvv

'He brings out the

living {hayy)

from the

the

name

of life that

is

particular to the created, specific to him....

Anil Allaah has called Himself Samee' (All-Hearing) and Baseer (AllSeeing), lor

He

said.

"...truly,

Allaah
I

is

Samee and
'

Bascen- |4:58)

and

le

has called

some of
.i

lis

servants.-i/wee'and basccr. for

He

said,

1_/Uja L>;,.

<ci*ii A^r-V $-~^ 5-*-^i>!i>-"^*t Li-J


'

Verily,

We

have created
\

man from drops of mixed

semen...

and made him

samee' and basccr" 76:2]

But neither

is

the Samee' like the samee'. nor

is

the Baseer like the

baseer'.

And

Allaah has called Himseli 7\Voo/'(The


Merciful), for
<.

One

Full ol Kindness)

.in,

Rahecm (The Most

He

said.
'.--

*j{ ,;,f /. --^sjj .y <_^ LJ ^**i'


A'erily,

t-JJ,

Allaah

is.

lor

mankind, the

Ra'oof. the

Rahccm

|22:6t|

anil

He

has called

some of His

creation ra'oofand rahecm. lor

He

said,

"Verily, there

has

come

to

you

Messenger from amongst

yourselves... lor

the believers,

he

is

raooj, rahecm |":12H|

But neither
rahecm..}.

is

the Ra'oof like the raooj. nor

is

the

Rahecm

like the

And
to

le

has also described

limsell with certain Attributes,

and described
has attributed

His creation with these same


Himseli the Attribute
ol

attributes...

(For example)

He

Speech

(/(tiiaam). tor

He

said,

-Mr.,.-"'

And Allaah spoke


...

directly ([(allama) to

Moosaa

(4:164]

And

le

described

some of His

creation with the attribute of speech, for

He

said.

The

Clear and Unclear Verses

al-Mukfcam wa al-Mutashaabih 2 1

...tnen,

when
this

(the king) spoke U{alla)na) to (Yoosul)...| 12:54|


like the

Hut neither

is

Kalaam

other Balaam. J.

And He
some
ol

has described Himself as being istiwaa over the Throne, lor He-

has mentioned this seven times in His Book.

And He

has also described


said.

His creation as being istiwaa over

objects, for

He

*jyj**^t^-4

So

that

you (mankind) may istawaa over their backs

(i.e..

so that you

may

ride

on the backs of your animals)* |43:13]


is

...and neither

the one istiwaa like the other istiwaa'."'

The purpose
ality of

ot this

long quote

is

to

show

that there are

names and

attributes

of

Allaah that have also been given to the creation, but the difference between the actuthe two
is

as great as the difference

between the two. Therefore,

it is

not proper

to

deny or

distort these Attributes

merely on the assumption that they give human-

like qualities, for

Allaah has negated any similarity with His creation:

Thcre

is

nothing similar to Him, and

He

is

the All-Hearer, All-Sccr |42:


is

The proper methodology with regards


tic

to these Attributes

to affirm their linguis-

meaning in

manner that

befits Allaah,

and not

to delve into the actuality or 'how-

ness' of

them, since these are concepts that cannot be grasped by the

human mind.
1

In addition, the

presumption of the Ash 'arees that the apparent (dhauhir) mean-

ings of these verses are


1)

anthropomorphic necessitates certain


ol theirs
is,

'"'

tacts,

including:'

This presumption

in itself, a

very

how can

it

be assumed that Allaah would reveal verses

mean and low presumption, for in His Book whose appar-

ent, clear
2)

meanings arc anthropomorphic?

In arriving at this presumption, ihc As/t 'arees absolutely ignored the verses that

negate any relationship between the Attributes of Allaah and those of His creation,

such

as,

There

is

nothing similar

to

Him*

|42:l

In other words, the

One Who

revealed.
,''.-'

o hi;

it,,.

Jljo

484 Translated (by meaning) trom al-Ttulmtinryah, pps. 14-19.

485

zi.

at-Tadmureeyah, p.52.

218

An

Introduction to the Sciences ot the Q)ur'aan

Both
is

His Hands
revealed.

(yad) are outstretched)* [5:64]

the

same One

Who

Therc

is

nothing similar

to

Him

(42:1

1]

Why do not
to

thvAsh'eirecs take the

meanings of both

ol

these verses, and Attribute

Allaah what Allaah has Attributed to Himself


(yad) arc outstretched), while at the
(in this

Hands
negated

(in this example, that His two same time negating what He has

example, that these two Hands (yad) are not similar

many man-

ner to the hands ot the creation):


3)

them to deny many Divine Attributes; Attributes that are clearly mentioned in the Qur'aan and Sunnah, such as the proper understanding of the \alaam ofAllaah (as was discussed earlier); the (act that Allaah
This presumption
of theirs led

Loves and Hates,

is

Pleased with and gets

Angry with some of His Creation, and

many more
4)

Attributes.
all

The

net result of

of

this

was

that, in their

over-zealousness to remove any

resemblance between Allaah anil the creation, they ended up comparing Allaah
with inanimate objects, or with non-existent objects, or ascribing
dictory Attributes.""
to

Him

contra-

The example
in

of this with regards

to the Attribute
a

of kplaam

was given previously;


essence equated

negating the lad that Allaah speaks with

voice, they in

Him

with a mute or inanimate object!


the ^//(//concerning the fact that these

Thirdly, there exist

numerous quotes from


(d.

verses arc to be understood in their literal sense. Perhaps the

most famous incident


asked him,

is

the response that

Imaam Maalik

179 A.H.) gave to the

man who

'The Ever- Merciful

'rose over' (httiwuu)

lis

Throne's

[20:5]

how

is

this "rising' (istiwaa)?"

Imaam Maalik
it is

responded, "'Istiwaa'
it

is

well-known

(in

meaning), but the "how' of


is

unknown.

Yet belief in
this

is

obligatory,

and asking questions about such matters


I

man away from me, for think he is an evil person!"* In this very explicit text, Imaam Maalik staled that the meaning of istiwtiu is well-known in the Arabic language, yet, when this Attribute is applied to Allaah, the actuality ot it is
an innovation. Get

486 An example of this


it,

is is

their claim thai Allaah

is

neither above, nor below this world, nor to the


it,

lefi
is
I

ol
le

nor id the right ol


it,

it,

nor

He

in

from

ol

it

nor behind
it!

nor

is

He inside ol
l.in thai

it,

nor outside

ol

it.

nor

connected to
verses
I

nor

is

He

disconnected from

This, despite the

there exists literally hundreds of


is

and

Inutccth describing, either explicitly or implicitly, that


lull proofs).
II
it

Allaah

above Mis creation (c ad-

lhahabee's al-'Uloow lor the

were asked

to give a definition of

something

that

was non-

existent,

even the greatest philosopher could not collie up with

a heller description

than this description

thai the Ask'arces give to their Creator!!

4S7 Reported by ad-Daarimcc.

cfi

Ubaydaat. p.204.

The

Clear and Unclear Verses

al-Muhfytm

wci al-Mutashaabili

unknown. Imuam Maalik did


trary to the

not deny die tact that istiwaa has a


lie

meaning

to

it

(conit is

philosophy

ol

tafweed mentioned above), nor did

deny the

fact that
it

permissible to attribute this to Allaah (on the contrary, he said, "...belief in


tory").

is

obliga-

What Imaam Maalik denied was the

tact that

mankind has been given knowlii

edge

ol

the actuality ol the istiwaa, thus, "...the 'how 'ol

is

tinknow

a."

Also, the questioner indicated that he understood the verse properly, tor he asked.

"How

is

this istiwaa:"

This shows that the questioner understood what the verse

meant, namely that Allaah has 'Risen over' (istiwaa) His Throne; his question was
not