The Qira’aat of the Qur’an

Chap­ter 11 of An Intro­duc­tion to the Sci­ences of the Qur’aan, pp. 184 – 202 (1999), Al-Hidaayah Pub­lish­ing and Dis­tri­b­u­tion. Com­piled by Usman Sheikh


I. The Mean­ing of the Word Qira’aat’

The word qir’aat’ is the plur­al of qiraa’a’, which comes from the root q‑r-a mean­ing, to read, to recite’. Qiraa’a’ means the recita­tion of something.

In Qur’aan­ic sci­ences, it refers to the var­i­ous ways and man­ners of recit­ing the Qur’aan that are in exis­tence today. As Imaam az-Zarkashee stat­ed, the Qur’aan is the rev­e­la­tion that was giv­en to Muham­mad (PBUH), and the qira’aat are the vari­a­tions in the words and pro­nun­ci­a­tions of this rev­e­la­tion. Thus the qira’aat are the ver­bal­i­sa­tion of the Qur’aan, and the Qur’aan is pre­served in the qira’aat.

Each qiraa’a has its own pecu­liar rules of recita­tion (tajweed) and vari­a­tions in words and let­ters, and is names after the reciter (Qaa­ree) who was famous for that par­tic­u­lar qiraa’a.

II. The His­to­ry of the Qira’aat

The pri­ma­ry method of trans­mis­sion of the Qur’aan has always been and always will be oral. Each gen­er­a­tion of Mus­lims learns the Qur’aan from the gen­er­a­tion before it, and this chain con­tin­ues back­wards until the time of the Com­pan­ions, who learnt it from the Prophet (PBUH) him­self. As Umar ibn al-Khaat­taab stat­ed, The recita­tion of the Qur’aan is a Sun­nah ; the lat­ter gen­er­a­tions must take it from the ear­li­er ones. There­ofre, recite the Qur’aan only as you have been taught.” 415 This is the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­pal in the preser­va­tion of the Qur’aan.

In the last chap­ter, the rev­e­la­tion of the Qur’aan in the sev­en ahruf was dis­cussed. As the Prophet (PBUH) recit­ed the Qur’aan in all of these ahruf, the Com­pan­ions mem­o­rised it from him accord­ing­ly. Some of them mem­o­rised only one harf, oth­ers more than this. When the Com­pan­ions spread through­out the Mus­lim lands, they took with them the vari­a­tions that they had learnt from the Prophet (PBUH). They under­stood the impor­tance of the oral trans­mis­sion of the Qur’aan. Umar ibn al-Khat­taab, dur­ing his caliphate, sent sev­er­al promi­nent Com­pan­ions to var­i­ous cities to teach the peo­ple the Qur’aan ; Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit was sent to Hims, Ubay ibn Ka’ab to Pales­tine, and Aboo ad-Dar­d­aa to Dam­as­cus. 416

Like­wise, dur­ing his caliphate, Uth­maan also realised the impor­tance of the prop­er recita­tion of the Qur’aan, and sent reciters of the Qur’aan all over the Mus­lim lands, each with a copy of his offi­cial mus-haf. He kept Zayd ibn Thaabit in Madeenah ; with the Makkan mus-haf, he sent Adul­laah ibn Saa’ib (d. 63 A.H.); to Syr­ia was sent al-Mugheer­ah ibn Shu’bah (d. 50 A.H.); Aboo Abd ar-Rah­maan as-Sulamee (d. 70 A.H.) was sent to Koofah ; and Aamir ibn Abdul Qays to Bas­rah (d. ~ 55 A.H.). 417

The Com­pan­ions, in turn, recit­ed and taught these vari­a­tions to the Suc­ces­sors (Tabi’oon), who taught them to the next gen­er­a­tion (atbaa’ at-tabi’oon), and so on. Each gen­er­a­tion had in its rank those who were famous for their knowl­edge of the recita­tion of the Qur’aan.

Thus, among the Com­pan­ions, there were many who were famous as hav­ing heard from the Prophet (PBUH) most if not all of the Qur’aan. Includ­ed in this cat­e­go­ry are Uth­maan ibn Affaan, Alee ibn Abee Taal­ib, Ubay ibn Ka’ab, Abdul­laah ibn Mas’ood, Zayd ibn Thaabit, Aboo ad-Dar­d­aa, and Aboo Moosaa al-Ash’a­ree. These Com­pan­ions taught those Com­pan­ions who were younger or had not had as much expo­sure to the Prophet’s (PBUH) recita­tion, such as Aboo Hurayrah and Ibn Abbaas, who both 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 Mus­lim world, each region start­ed devel­op­ing a spe­cif­ic type of recita­tion. Again, all of these var­i­ous recita­tions had orig­i­nat­ed from the mouth of the Prophet (PBUH), 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 Madeenah, 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.H.); in Makkah, Ubayd ibn Umayr (d. 72 A.H.), Ataa ibn Abee Rabah (d. 114 A.H.), Taa­woos (d. 106 A.H.), Mujaahid (d. 103 A.H.) and Ikrimah (d. 104 A.H.); in Koofah, Alqamah ibn Qays (d. 60 A.H.), Aboo Abd al-Rah­maan as-Sulamee (d. 70 A.H.), Ibraa­heem al-Nakhaa’ee (d. 96 A.H.) and ash-Sha’bee (d. 100 A.H.); in Bas­rah, Aboo al-Aaliyah (d. 90 A.H.), Nasr ibn Aasim (d. 89 A.H.), Qataadah (d. 110 A.H.), Ibn Sireen (d. 110 A.H.) and Yahya ibn Ya’­mar (d. 100 A.H.); and in Syr­ia, al-Mugheer­ah ibn Abee Shi­haab and Khaleefah ibn Sa’ad. 418

Around the turn of the first cen­tu­ry of the hijrah appeared the schol­ars of the Qur’aan after whom the qira’aat of today are named. At this time, along with many oth­er sci­ences of Islaam, the sci­ences of the qira’aat were cod­i­fied. Thus, mem­bers of this gen­er­a­tion took from the Suc­ces­sors the var­i­ous recita­tions that they had learnt from the Com­pan­ions, and adopt­ed a spe­cif­ic way of recit­ing the Qur’aan, and this is what is called a qiraa’a. Each of these per­sons is called a Qaa­ree, or Reciter. These Qaa­rees were the most famous reciters of the Qur’aan in their time, and peo­ple from all around the Mus­lim lands would come to them to learn the Qur’aan.

To sum­marise, the qira’aat are par­tic­u­lar method­olo­gies of recit­ing the Qur’aan. They are named after the Qaa­ree 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 Qur’aan from the Prophet (PBUH). They dif­fer from each oth­er in vaious words, pron­in­ci­a­tions, and rules of recita­tion (tajweed). They are not the same as the sev­en ahruf, as shall be elab­o­rat­ed upon shortly.

The schol­ars of the suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tions start­ed com­pil­ing works on the dif­fer­ent qira’aat that were present in their times. For exam­ple, Aboo Ubayd al-Qaasim ibn Sal­laam (d. 224 A.H.) com­piled twen­ty-five qira’aat, Ahmad ibn Jubayr al-Koofee (d. 258 A.H.) wrote a book on five qira’aat, and al-Qaadee Ismaa’eel ibn Ishaaq (d. 282 A.H.) com­piled his book on twen­ty qira’aat (includ­ing the famous sev­en’). Even Muham­mad ibn Jareer at-Tabari (d. 310) com­piled a work on the qira’aat. How­ev­er, the most famous of these books is the one by Aboo Bakr Ahmad ibn Mujaahid (d. 324), enti­tled Kitaab al-Qira’aat, in which he com­piled sev­en of the most famous qira’aat of his time from the major cities of the Mus­lim world. He was the first to lim­it him­self to these par­tic­u­lar Qaa­rees, for he want­ed to com­bine the most famous recita­tions of Makkah, Madeenah, Koofah, Bas­rah, and Dam­as­cus, for these were the five ter­ri­to­ries from which the knowl­edge of Islaam sprung forth — the knowl­edge of the Qur’aan, tafseer, hadeeth and fiqh. 419 He wrote in his introduction,

So these sev­en (that I have cho­sen) are schol­ars from Hijaaz (i.e., Makkah and Madeenah), Iraq (i.e., Koofah and Bas­rah) and Syr­ia (i.e., Dam­as­cus). They inher­it­ed the Suc­ces­sors in the knowl­edge of the recita­tion of the Qur’aan, and the peo­ple all accept­ed and agreed upon their recita­tion, from their respec­tive ter­ri­to­ries, and the ter­ri­to­ries sur­round­ing them…“426

He pur­pose­ly chose sev­en Qaa­rees to match the num­ber of ahruf that the Qur’aan was revealed in. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this led many peo­ple to mis­tak­en­ly believe that the dif­fer­ent qira’aat were the same as the ahruf that the Prophet (PBUH) referred to in the var­i­ous hadeeth. This is obvi­ous­ly false, since ibn Mujaahid wrote his book four cen­turies after the Prophet’s (PBUH) death. Due to this mis­con­cep­tion, many of the lat­er schol­ars took ibn Mujaahid to task, wish­ing that he had cho­sen a dif­fer­ent num­ber, so that this con­fu­sion could have been pre­vent­ed. Ibn al-Jaza­ree (d. 832 A.H.) wrote,

Many of the schol­ars dis­liked the fact that Ibn Mujaahid restrict­ed him­self to sev­en qira’aat, and said that he was mis­tak­en in doing so, and wished that he had cho­sen a num­ber greater than this, or less than this, or atleast explained the pur­pose behind choos­ing this num­ber, so that those peo­ple who have no knowl­edge would not have been mis­led.” 421

Anoth­er mis­con­cep­tion that arose was that some schol­ars assumed that these sev­en qira’aat were the only authen­tic qira’aat of the Qur’aan. Thus, these schol­ars con­sid­ered any qira’aat besides these sev­en to be defec­tive (shaadh) qira’aat. This, too, is a mis­con­cep­tion, as there were oth­er authen­tic qira’aat that Ibn Mujaahid did not compile.

Due to the pop­u­lar­i­ty and excel­lence of Ibn Mujaahid’s book, these sev­en qira’aat became the most famous qira’aat of that time, 422 and the stu­dents of knowl­edge left oth­er qira’aat to study these sev­en. Even­tu­al­ly, except for three oth­er authen­tic qira’aat, all the oth­er qira’aat were left, and only these ten were stud­ied. This does not imply, how­ev­er, that some­how a por­tion of the Qur’aan was lost by pre­serv­ing only these ten. Many of the qira’aat were mere­ly a mix­ture of oth­ers, so that their loss would not mean a loss of cer­tain pro­nun­ci­a­tions or words. The Mus­lims are assured of the fact that they have the com­plete rev­e­la­tion that Allaah revealed to the Prophet Muham­mad (PBUH), for it is Allaah’s promise to pro­tect it :

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 1
Ver­i­ly, it is We who have revealed the Qur’aan, and sure­ly We will guard it” (Qur’?n, 15:9)

III. The Con­di­tions for an Authen­tic Qiraa’a

It was men­tioned in the last sec­tion that, dur­ing the first few cen­turies of the hijrah, there were many qira’aat that used to be recit­ed. The schol­ars of the qira’aat there­fore estab­lished rules in order to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the authen­tic qira’aat from the inau­then­tic ones.

The famous schol­ar of the Qur’aan, Muham­mad ibn al-Jaza­ree (d. 832 A.H.), said :

Every qiraa’a that con­forms to the rules of Ara­bic, even if by one man­ner, and match­es with one of the mus-hafs of Uth­maan, even if such a match is not an obvi­ous one, and has an authen­tic chain of nar­ra­tors back to the Prophet (PBUH), is an authen­tic qiraa’a. Such a qiraa’a can­not be refut­ed or denied, but rather must be believed in, and is amongst the sev­en ahruf that the Qur’aan was revealed in. There­fore the peo­ple must accept it, whether it be from the sev­en qira’aat (men­tioned above), or from the ten qira’aat, or even oth­er than these. And when­ev­er any qiraa’a fails to meet one of the above men­tioned three con­di­tions, then it will be labelled (accord­ing to which of the con­di­tions are not met) either weak (da’eef), irreg­u­lar (shaadh), or false (baatil). And this (i.e., these con­di­tions) is the strongest opin­ion among the schol­ars of the past and the present.” 423

There­fore, Ibn al-Jaza­ree men­tioned three conditions :

1) 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 employ the most flu­ent and elo­quent of phras­es and expres­sions. This is the mean­ing of the phrase, “…even if by one man­ner.” The basic require­ment is that it does not con­tra­dict an agreed upon prin­ci­pal of Ara­bic grammar.

Some schol­ars, how­ev­er, do not agree with this condition.424 They argue, If a qiraa’a is proven to have orig­i­nat­ed from the Prophet (PBUH), then we can­not apply the rules of gram­mar to it. If we were to do this, and pre­sumed an error in the qiraa’a, then we would be imply­ing that the Prophet (PBUH) made mis­takes (Allaah for­bid!). There­fore, an authen­tic qiraa’a over­rides a rule of Ara­bic grammar!”

What this is imply­ing is that it is the Qur’aan, through any of its qira’aat , that is giv­en pref­er­ence over any rule of gram­mar, for the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, the most elo­quent of Speech, and the rules of gram­mar must be based on this. Among the schol­ars of the Qur’aan who held this view are Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib (d. 437 A.H.) and Aboo Amr ad-Daa­nee (d. 444 A.H.). For them, the con­di­tions for an authen­tic qiraa’a are the last two.

Actu­al­ly, if the prac­tice of the schol­ars of the Qur’aan is exam­ined, it is appar­ent that the above dif­fer­ence is a dif­fer­ence in seman­tics only, for the first cat­e­go­ry of schol­ars (such as Ibn al-Jaza­ree) will reject a rule of gram­mar as invalid if it con­tra­dicts any of the ten authen­tic qira’aat. Thus, the attempts by some gram­mar­i­ans to inval­i­date cer­tain qira’aat (such as az-Zaj­jaa­j’s 425 attempts to inval­i­date the qiraa’a of Hamzah in verse 4:1) have been reject­ed by all the schol­ars of qiraa’a, whether they include this con­di­tion or not. 426 This point will be dis­cussed in greater detail below.

2) The qiraa’a must con­form with one of the mus-hafs of Uth­maan. In the chap­ter on the com­pi­la­tion of the Qur’aan, it was men­tioned that Uth­maan sent out between four and eight mus-hafs around the Mus­lim world. All of them were with­out dots and vow­el marks. Also, these mus-hafs had minor vari­a­tions between them.

As long as a qiraa’a sat­is­fied any one of these mus-hafs, it was con­sid­ered to have passed this con­di­tion, even if it con­formed slight­ly. For exam­ple, the word maa­li­ki 427 in Soorah al-Faati­hah is writ­ten in all the Uth­maan­ic mus-hafs as m‑l-k [Ara­bic text here], which allows for the vari­a­tion found in oth­er qira’aat of mali­ki. 428 This is an exam­ple where the con­for­ma­tion is not obvi­ous.” An exam­ple of an explic­it con­for­ma­tion is in 2:259, where one recita­tion is kay­fa nun­shizuha, 429 but with­out a dot over one let­ter becomes kay­fa nun­shiruha. 430 An exam­ple of a qiraa’a con­form­ing to one of the mus-hafs of Uth­maan with­out the oth­ers is the qiraa’a of Ibn Aamir, who read 3:184 as wa bi zuburi wa bil kitaab instead of wa az-zuburi wal kitaab (i.e., with­out the bas), since the mus-haf that Uth­maan sent to Syr­ia had the two bas in it.

An exam­ple of a qiraa’a that con­tra­dicts all the mus-hafs of Uth­maan is the qiraa’a attrib­uted to Ibn Abbaas in 18:79, which trans­lates as, “…and there was, behind them, a king who seized every ship by force,” where­as Ibn Abbas read it, “…and there was, in front of them, a king who seized every use­able ship by force.” The two changes in the recita­tion of Ibn Abbaas are not allowed by the mus-haf of Uth­maan, and can­not, there­fore, be con­sid­ered an authen­tic recitation.

3) The qiraa’a must have an authen­tic (saheeh) chain of nar­ra­tors back to the Prophet (PBUH). This is the most impor­tant con­di­tion, and guar­an­tees that the vari­a­tions that occur in the qira’aat have all been sent down by Allaah as part of the Qur’aan, recit­ed by the Prophet (PBUH), and passed down to the Mus­lim ummah with­out any addi­tion or dele­tion. As was quot­ed from Umar ear­li­er (and this same state­ment has also been made by Zayd ibn Thaabit, and many of the Suc­ces­sors), The recita­tion of the Qur’aan is a Sun­nah ; 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 is : do these chains of nar­ra­tion have to be mutawaatir ? The over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of schol­ars claimed that they did. The only notable excep­tions were from Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib (d. 437 A.H.), and lat­er Ibn al-Jaza­ree (d. 832 A.H.) (whose def­i­n­i­tion is being quot­ed). Both of these schol­ars are high­ly respect­ed, clas­si­cal schol­ars in the field of qira’aat.

Ibn al-Jaza­ree wrote, Some of the lat­er schol­ars have pre­sumed… that the Qur’aan can only be proven with mutawaatir nar­ra­tions ! The flaws in this opin­ion are obvi­ous… ” 431

How­ev­er, this opin­ion itself goes againt the con­sen­sus (ijmaa’) of almost all the oth­er schol­ars. Imaam an-Nuwayree (d. 897 A.H.), a com­men­ta­tor of Ibn al-Jaza­ree’s work, wrote :

This opin­ions is a new­ly-invent­ed one, con­tra­dict­ing the con­sen­sus (ijmaa’) of the jurists and… the four madh-habs… and many schol­ars, so many that they can­not even be count­ed, such as Ibn Abd al-Barr, Ibn Atiyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah, Imaam Nawawee, al-Azraa’ee, as-Sub­kee, az-Zarkashee, Ibn al-Haa­jib, and many more besides these. As for the reciters of the Qur’aan, they were agreed on this since the ear­li­est times, and the only one to con­tra­dict them in the lat­er times are Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib 432 and those who fol­lowed him (i.e., Ibn al-Jaza­ree).” 433

In real­i­ty, Ibn al-Jaza­ree’s opin­ion seems to have more the­o­ret­i­cal than real­is­tic val­ue, for even he admits, in anoth­er of his works, that the ten qira’aat are all mutawaatir. He states, Who­ev­er says that the mutawaatir qira’aat are unlim­it­ed, then if he means this in our times, this is not cor­rect, for today there are no authen­tic mutaawatir qira’aat besides these ten ; how­ev­er, if he means in ear­li­er times, then it is pos­si­ble that he is cor­rect… ” 434 There­fore, Ibn al-Jaza­ree was of the view that is was not nec­ces­sary for a qiraa’a to be mutawaatir for it to be accept­ed, but at the same time he did believe that the ten qira’aat were all mutawaatir.

Ibn al-Jaza­ree’s con­di­tions were per­haps applic­a­ble in his time, when there exist­ed numer­ous qira’aat besides the ten that are present today. Accord­ing to him, such qira’aat could be recit­ed as long as they had an authen­tic chain of nar­ra­tors back to the Prophet (PBUH), even if such chains were ahaad. Most of the oth­er schol­ars of qiraa’a, how­ev­er, did not agree with him on this point. 435 How­ev­er, since in our times, only these ten qira’aat are in exis­tence, this issue becomes more the­o­ret­i­cal than prac­ti­cal, as most of the schol­ars are in agree­ment that these ten qira’aat are all mutawaatir.

In con­clu­sion, the con­di­tions for an authen­tic qiraa’a is that it must be mutawaatir, and con­forms to atleast one of the mus-hafs of Uth­maan. Any time such a qiraa’a exists, it overides any rule of Ara­bic grammar.

It should be men­tioned, how­ev­er, that there has nev­er exist­ed any mutawaatir qiraa’a that con­tra­dict­ed any rule of Ara­bic gram­mar. 436 Al-Qaar­ree writes, 437

If we pon­der over this issue, and reflect over these con­di­tions, we finds that this last con­di­tion (i.e., the qiraa’a must con­form with Ara­bic gram­mar) is, in real­i­ty, not a con­di­tion’ in the sense of the word, mean­ing that if this con­di­tion’ is not met, the qiraa’a is reject­ed, for two reasons :

First­ly, such a case has nev­er occurred, mean­ing that there is no authen­tic, mutawaatir qiraa’a that con­forms to the Uth­maan­ic mus-hafs that has no basis in Ara­bic grammar.

Sec­ond­ly, even if we allow for the pos­si­b­li­ty that there exists such a qiraa’a — and authen­tic, mutawaatir qiraa’a con­form­ing to the script, yet not hav­ing any basis that we can dis­cov­er in Ara­bic gram­mar — then this too does not imply the rejec­tion of the qiraa’a. This is because our igno­rance of such a gra­mat­i­cal basis does not rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of such a basis, since no mat­ter how much our knowl­edge encom­pass­es, it will still be lim­it­ed. Also, when­ev­er a qiraa’a has a mutawaatir chain of nar­ra­tors and con­forms with the Uth­maan­ic script, this is unequiv­o­cal proof that it is a part of the Qur’aan, and there­fore there can­not be any argu­ment against it.

To con­clude, there­fore, we say : This last con­di­tion (mean­ing the con­di­tion of a qiraa’a with Ara­bic gram­mar) is in real­i­ty a nec­ces­sary by prod­uct of the oth­er two con­di­tions, and is not a con­di­tion’ per se.”

As has already been allud­ed to, there are ten qira’aat that meet the above require­ments, and these will be dis­cussed below, Taqee ad-Deen as-Sub­kee (d. 756 A.H.) stated,

The sev­en qira’aat that ash-Shaat­i­bee com­piled 438 along with the oth­er three qira’aat are all authen­tic mutawaatir qira’aat. This has been recog­nised by all, and every let­ter that any of these qira’aat have dif­fered with the oth­ers in, is recog­nised to have been revealed to the Prophet (PBUH). None can reject this fact except the igno­rant.” 439

The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, it is pos­si­ble for there to still exist oth­er authen­tic qira’aat besides these ten, since there is no divine law reg­u­lat­ing that there can only be ten qira’aat. Real­is­ti­cal­ly, how­ev­er, such an exis­tence is impos­si­ble, as the schol­ars of the Qur’aan would have known of them by now.

IV. The Oth­er Types of Qira’aat

If a qiraa’a fails to meet any of these con­di­tions, it is clas­si­fied in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­go­ry. 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 : 440

1) The Saheeh (Authen­tic) Qira’aat : These are the ten authen­tic qira’aat, and the con­di­tions of accep­tance were dis­cussed above.

2) The Shaadh (Irreg­u­lar) Qira’aat : These qira’aat have an authen­tic chain of nar­ra­tion back to the Prophet (PBUH) and con­form to Ara­bic gram­mar, but do not match the mus-hafs of Uth­maan. In addi­tion, they are not mutawaatir. In oth­er words, they employ words of phras­es that the Uth­maan­ic mus-hafs do not allow. Most of the time (but not all, see Suy­ootee’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion below) this type of qira’aat was in fact used by the Com­pan­ions as expla­na­tions to cer­tain vers­es in the Qur’aan. For exam­ple, Aa’ishah used to recite 2:238 ’ …wa salat al-wus­ta’ with the addi­tion salat al-asr.’ The mean­ing of the first is, Guard against your prayers, espe­cial­ly the mid­dle one.” As’ishah’s addi­tion explained that the mid­dle prayer” allud­ed to in this verse is in fact the Asr prayer. There are numer­ous authen­tic nar­ra­tions from the Com­pan­ions of this nature, in which they recit­ed a cer­tain verse in a way that the mus-haf of Uth­maan would not allow.

Anoth­er expla­na­tion of this type of qira’aat is that they were a part of the ahruf that were revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) but lat­er abro­gat­ed, and thus not pre­served in the mus-haf of Uth­maan.

3) The Da’eef (Weak) Qira’aat : These qira’aat con­form with Ara­bic gram­mar and are allowed by the mus-haf of Uth­maan, but do not have authen­tic chains of nar­ra­tions back to the Prophet (PBUH). An exam­ple of this type is the recita­tion of 1:4 as mala­ki yaw­mu deen, in the past tense.

4) The Baatil (False) Qira’aat : These qira’aat do not meet any of the three cri­te­ri­on men­tioned above, and are reject­ed com­plete­ly, even as tafseer. For exam­ple, the read­ing of 35:28 as ina­ma yakhsha All­laahu min ibad­hil ula­ma, changes the mean­ing from, It is only those who have knowl­edge amongst His slaves that tru­ly fear Allaah,” to, All?h is afraid of the knowl­edge of His slaves!” (All praise be to Allaah, He is far removed from all that they ascribe to Him!!)

The rul­ing con­cern­ing these last three types of qira’aat, the shaadh, the da’eef and the baatil, is that they are not a part of the Qur’aan, and in fact it is haraam (for­bid­den) to con­sid­er such a qiraa’a as part of the Qur’aan. If it is recit­ed in prayer, such a prayer will not be accept­able, nor is one allowed to pray behind some­one who recites these qira’aat. How­ev­er, the shaadh and the da’eef qira’aat may be stud­ied under the sci­ence of tafseer (and oth­er sci­ences, such as the sci­ence of gram­mar, or nahw) as long as they are iden­ti­fied as such. The shaadh qira’aat, in par­tic­u­lar, used to form a part of the sev­en ahruf that the Qur’aan was revealed in, but these recita­tions were abro­gat­ed by the Prophet (PBUH) him­self, and there­fore not pre­served by Uth­maan. Under this cat­e­go­ry fall many of the recita­tions that are trans­mit­ted with authen­tic chains of nar­ra­tions from the Com­pan­ions, and yet do not con­form with the Uth­maan­ic mus-haf. These recita­tions used to form a part of the Qur’aan, and were recit­ed by the Com­pan­ions, until they were abro­gat­ed by the Prophet (PBUH) before his death.

As-Suy­ootee, 441 fol­low­ing Ibn al-Jaza­ree (d. 832), clas­si­fies the var­i­ous qira’aat into six cat­e­gories, which are briefly :

1) Mutawaatir : These are the sev­en qira’aat com­piled by Ibn Mujaahid, plus the oth­er three.

2) Mash-hoor (Well-known): These are some of the vari­a­tions found with­in the ten authen­tic qira’aat, such as the dif­fer­ences between the raaw­is and turuqs (to be dis­cussed below).

3) Ahaad (Sin­gu­lar): These are the qira’aat that have an authen­tic chain of nar­ra­tion, but do not con­form to the mus-haf of Uth­maan, or con­tra­dict a rule of Ara­bic gram­mar (the same as shaadh above).

4) Shaadh (Irreg­u­lar): These are the qira’aat that do not have an authen­tic chain of nar­ra­tion back to the Prophet (PBUH) (the same as da’eef above).

5) Maw­doo’ (Fab­ri­cat­ed): These are the qira’aat that do not meet any of the three con­di­tions (same as baatil above).

6) Mudraj (Inter­po­lat­ed): In this cat­e­go­ry, as-Suy­ootee clas­si­fied those read­ings that the Com­pan­ions used to add of the sake of inter­pre­ta­tion. For exam­ple, the verse,

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 2
…and he has a broth­er or sis­ter…” (Qur’?n, 4:12)

was recit­ed by Sa’eed ibn Abee Waqqaas as, “…and he has a broth­er or sis­ter from the same mother.”

These types of addi­tions are explained as hav­ing been heard by that Com­pan­ion from the Prophet (PBUH), either as an expla­na­tion of the verse (in which case it was assumed by the Com­pan­ion to be part of the verse), or that this was one of the ahruf of that verse that was lat­er abro­gat­ed by the Prophet (PBUH) dur­ing his final recita­tion to Jibreel. 442

As-Suy­ootee stat­ed that the first two types, mutawaatir and mash-hoor, are con­sid­ered part of the Qur’aan, and can be recit­ed in prayer, but the last four types are not a part of the Qur’aan.

V. The Authen­tic Qira’aat and the Qaarees

Now that the var­i­ous types of qira’aat have been dis­cussed in detail, it is time to look at the ten authen­tic qira’aat, and the Qaa­rees whom they are named after. 443 The first sev­en are the ones that Aboo Bakr ibn Mujaahid (d. 324 A.H.) pre­served in his book, and which ash-Shaat­i­bee (d. 548 A.H.) ver­si­fied in his famous poem known as ash-Shaatibiyyah.

1) Naafi’ al-Madanee :

He is Naafi’ ibn Abd al-Rah­maan ibn Abee Na’eem al-Laythee, orig­i­nal­ly from an Isfa­han­ian fam­i­ly. He was one of the major schol­ars of qira’aat dur­ing his time. He was born around 70 A.H., in Madeenah, and passed away in the same city at the age of 99, in 169 A.H. He learnt the Qur’aan from over sev­en­ty Suc­ces­sors, includ­ing Aboo Ja’­far Yazeed ibn al-Qa’qa’ (d. 130 A.H.), who took his recita­tion from Aboo Hurayrah, who took his recita­tion from Ubay ibn Ka’ab, who took his recita­tion from the Prophet (PBUH). After the era of the Suc­ces­sors, he was tak­en as the cheif Qaa­ree of Madeenah. Even­tu­al­ly his qiraa’a was adopt­ed by the peo­ple of Madeenah.

Among his stu­dents was Imaam Maa­lik (d. 179 A.H.). Imaam Maa­lik used to recite the Qur’aan in the qiraa’a of Naafi’, and he used to say, Indeed, the qiraa’a of Naafi’ is the Sun­nah,” 444 mean­ing that this qiraa’a was the most liked by him.

The two stu­dents who pre­served his qiraa’a are :

i) Qaloon : He is Eesaa ibn Meena az-Zar­qee (120220 A.H.). He was the step­son of Naafi’, and lived his whole life in Madeenah. After Naafi’ died, he took over his posi­tion as the lead­ing Qaa­ree of Madeenah.

ii) Warsh : He is Aboo Sa’eed Uth­maan ibn Sa’eed al-Mis­ree (110197 A.H.). He lived in Egypt, but trav­elled to Madeenah in 155 A.H. to study under Naafi’, and recit­ed the Qur’aan to him many times. Even­tu­al­ly, he returned to Egypt, and became the lead­ing Qaa­ree of Egypt.

2) Ibn Katheer al-Makkee :

He is Abd Allaah ibn Katheer ibn Umar al-Mak­kee, born in Makkah in 45 A.H. and died 120 A.H. He was among the gen­er­a­tion of the Suc­ces­sors (he met some Com­pan­ions, such as Anas ibn Maa­lik and Abdul­laah ibn az-Zubayr), and learnt the Qur’aan from the ear­ly Suc­ces­sors, such as Abee Saa’ib, Mujaahid ibn Jabr (d. 103 A.H.), and Dar­baas, the slave of Ibn Abbaas. Dar­baas learnt the Qur’aan from Ibn Abbaas, who learnt it from Zayd ibn Thaabit and Ubay ibn Ka’ab, who both learnt it from the Prophet (PBUH).

Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d. 204 A.H.) used to recite the qiraa’a of Ibn Katheer, 445 and once remarked, We were taught the qiraa’a of Ibn Katheer, and we found the peo­ple of Makkah upon his qiraa’a.” 446

The two pri­ma­ry Qaa­rees who pre­served his qiraa’a are :

i) al-Buzzee : He is Abul Hasan Ahmad ibn Buz­zah al-Mak­kee (170250 A.H.). He was the mu’adh-dhin at the Masjid al-Haraam at Makkah, and the lead­ing Qaa­ree of Makkah dur­ing his time.

ii) Qum­bul : He is Aboo Amr Muham­mad ibn Abd al-Rah­maan (195291 A.H.). He was the lead­ing Qaa­ree of the Hijaaz. He was also one of the teach­ers of Aboo Bakr ibn Mujaahid (d. 324 A.H.), the author of Kitaab al-Qira’aat.

3) Aboo Amr al-Basree :

He is Zabaan ibn al-‘Alaa ibn Ammaar al-Bas­ree. He was born in 69 A.H. and passed away in 154 A.H. He was born in Makkah, but grew up in Bas­rah. He stud­ied the Qur’aan under many of the Suc­ces­sors, among them Aboo Ja’­far (d. 130 A.H.), and Aboo al-‘Aaliyah (d. 95 A.H.), who learnt from Umar ibn al-Khat­taab and oth­er Com­pan­ions, who learnt from the Prophet (PBUH).

The two pri­ma­ry Qaa­rees who pre­served his qiraa’a are :

i) ad-Doori : He is Hafs ibn Umar ad-Doori (195246 A.H.). He was one of the first to com­pile dif­fer­ent qira’aat , notwith­stand­ing the fact that he was blind.

ii) as-Soosee : He is Aboo Shu’ayb Saal­ih ibn Ziyaad as-Soosee (171261 A.H.). he taught the Qur’aan to Imaam an-Nasaa’ee (d. 303 A.H.), of Sunan fame.

4) Ibn Aamir ash-Shaamee :

He is Abdul­laah ibn Aamir al-Yahsabee, born in 21 A.H. He lived his life in Dam­as­cus, which was the cap­i­tal of the Mus­lim empire in those days. He 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 Abd al-‘Azeez (d. 103 A.H.), and was well-known for his recita­tion. Among the sev­en Qaa­rees, he has the high­est chain or nar­ra­tors (i.e., least num­ber of peo­ple between him and the Prophet (PBUH)), since he stud­ied direct­ly under a Com­pan­ion. He was also Chief Judge of Dam­as­cus. His qiraa’a became accept­ed by the peo­ple of Syr­ia, He died on the day of Aashoo­ra, 447 118 A.H.

The two pri­ma­ry Qaa­rees who pre­served his qiraa’a are :

i) Hishaam : He is Hishaam ibn Ammaar as-Damishqee (153245 A.H.). He was well-known for his recita­tion, and his knowl­edge of hadeeth and fiqh, and was one of the teach­ers of Imaam at-Tir­mid­hee (d. 279 A.H.).

ii) Ibn Zhak­wan : He is Abdul­laah ibn Ahmad ibn Zhak­wan (173242 A.H.). He was also the Imaam of the Ummayad Mosque dur­ing his time.

5) Aasim al-Koofee :

He is Aasim ibn Abee Najood al-Koofee, from among the Suc­ces­sors. He was the most knowl­edgable per­son in recita­tion dur­ing his time, and took over the posi­tion of Imaam of the Qaa­rees in Koofah, after the death of Aboo Abd ar-Rah­maan as-Sulamee (d. 75 A.H.). He learnt the Qur’aan from Aboo Abd ar-Rah­maan (who stud­ied under Alee ibn Abee Taal­ib, and was the teacher of al-Hasan and al-Husayn), and from Zirr ibn Hubaysh (d. 83 A.H.) and Aboo ’ Amr ash-Shay­baa­nee (d. 95 A.H.). These learnt the Qur’aan from Ubay ibn Ka’ab, Uth­maan ibn Affaan, Alee ibn Abee Taal­ib, and Zayd ibn Thaabit, who all learnt from the Prophet (PBUH). He passed away 127 A.H.

He taught the Qur’aan to Imaam Aboo Haneefah (d. 150 A.H.), who used to recite in the qiraa’a of Aasim. Imaam Ahmad ibn Ham­bal (d. 204 A.H.) was once asked, Which of the qira’aat do you pre­fer?” He replied, The qiraa’a of Madeenah (i.e., Naafi’), but if this is not pos­si­ble, then Aasim.” 448

His two stu­dents who pre­served his qiraa’a are :

i) Shu’­ba : He is Shu’­ba ibn Iyaash al-Koofee, born 95 A.H. and passed away 193 A.H.

ii) Hafs : He is Aboo Amr Hafs ibn Sulay­maan al-Asadee al-Koofee (90180 A.H.), a step-son of Aasim. He was the most knowl­edgable per­son of the qiraa’a of Aasim.

6) Hamzah al-Koofee :

He is Hamzah ibn Habeeb al-Koofee, born 80 A.H. He met some of the Com­pan­ions, and learnt the Qur’aan from al-Amash (d. 147 A.H.), Ja’­far as-Saadiq (d. 148 A.H.) (the great-grand­son of Husayn), and oth­ers. His qiraa’a goes back to the Prophet (PBUH) through Alee ibn Abee Taal­ib and Abdul­laah ibn Mas’ood. he passed away 156 A.H.

The two pri­ma­ry Qaa­rees through whom his qiraa’a is pre­served are :

i) Kha­laf : He is Kha­laf ibn Hishaam al-Bagh­daadee (150227 A.H.). He mem­o­rised the Qur’aan when he was ten years old.

He also has his own qiraa’a, dif­fer­ent from the one he pre­served from Hamzah (see below).

ii) Khal­laad : He is Aboo Eesaa Khal­laad ibn Khaalid ash-Shay­baa­nee. he was born 119 A.H. and passed away 220 A.H.

7) Al-Kisaa’ee

He is Alee ibn Hamzah ibn Abdil­laah, born around 120 A.H. He was the most knowl­edgable of his con­tem­po­raries in Ara­bic Gram­mar, and is con­sid­ered one of the clas­si­cal schol­ars in this field. He authored numer­ous books, and excelled in the sci­ences and recita­tion of the Qur’aan. Stu­dents used to flock to him to lis­ten to the entire Qur’aan, and they even used to record where he stopped and start­ed every verse. The Caliph Haroon ar-Rasheed used to hold him in great esteem. He passed away 189 A.H.

His two pri­ma­ry stu­dents who pre­served his qiraa’a are :

i) al-Layth : he is al0Layth ibn Khaalid al-Bagh­daadee. He died 240 A.H.

ii) ad-Dooree : He is the same ad-Dooree who is the stu­dent of Aboo Amr al-Bas­ree (men­tioned above), for he stud­ied and pre­served both of these qira’aat.

These are the sev­en Qaa­rees whom Ibn Mujaahid com­piled in his book Kitaab al-Qira’aat. Of these, all are from non-Arab back­grounds except Ibn Aamir and Aboo Amr. The fol­low­ing three Qaa­rees com­plete the ten authen­tic qira’aat.

8) Aboo Ja’­far al-Madanee :

He is Yazeed ibn al-Qa’qa’ al-Makhzoomee, among the Suc­ces­sors. He is one of the teach­ers of Imaam Naafi’, and learnt the Qur’aan from Abdul­laah ibn Abbaas, Aboo Hurayrah and oth­ers. he passed away in 130 A.H.

His two pri­ma­ry stu­dents who pre­served his qiraa’a were Eesaa ibn War­daan (d. 160 A.H.) and Sulay­maan ibn Jamaz (d. 170 A.H.)

9) Ya’qoob al-Basree :

He is Ya’qoob ibn Ishaaq al-Hadhramee al-Bas­ree. He became the Imaam of the Qaa­rees in Bas­rah after the death of Aboo Amr ibn Alaa. he stud­ied under Aboo al-Mund­hir Salaam ibn Sulay­maan. His qiraa’a goes back to the Prophet (PBUH) through Aboo Moosaa al-Ash’a­ree. 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 in 205 A.H.

His two pri­ma­ry stu­dents were Ruways (Muham­mad ibn Mut­tawak­il, d. 238 A.H.) and Rooh (Rooh ibn Abd al-Mu’min al-Bas­ree, d. 235 A.H.), who was one of the teach­ers of Imaam al-Bukhaa­ree (d. 256 A.H.).

10) Kha­laf :

This is the same Kha­laf that is one of the two stu­dents of Hamzah. He adopt­ed a spe­cif­ic qiraa’a of his own, and is usu­al­ly called Kha­laf al-‘Aashir (the tenth’ Khalf).

His two pri­ma­ry stu­dents who pre­served this qiraa’a were Ishaaq (Ishaaq ibn Ibraa­heem ibn Uth­maan, d. 286 A.H.) and Idrees (Idrees ibn Abd al-Kareem al-Bagh­daadee, d. 292 A.H.)

All of these ten qira’aat have authen­tic, mutawaatir chains of nar­ra­tion back to the Prophet (PBUH). Each qiraa’a is pre­served through two stu­dents of the Imaam of that qiraa’a. Of course, these Qaa­rees had more than just two stu­dents ; the rea­son that the qira’aat are pre­served through only two is that Aboo Amr Uth­maan ibn Sa’eed (d. 444), bet­ter known as Imaam ad-Daa­nee, select­ed and 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 called Raaw­is (nar­ra­tors), and they occa­sion­al­ly dif­fer from each oth­er. Thus, although oth­er Raaw­is also nar­rat­ed each qiraa’a, only the recita­tion of two main Raaw­is have been pre­served in such detail. Ref­er­ences to the recita­tion of oth­er Raaw­is are, how­ev­er, to be found in the clas­si­cal works of qira’aat.

These Raaw­is learnt the qiraa’a from their Imaam, and each pre­served some of the vari­a­tions of the recita­tion of the Qaa­ree. Some­times, the Qaa­ree taught dif­fer­ent qira’aat to each Raawi. Hafs quot­ed Aasim as say­ing that the qiraa’a he taught him was that of Aboo Abd al-Rah­maan as-Sulamee (d. 70 A.H.) from Alee ibn Abee Taal­ib, while the one that he taught Aboo Bakr ibn Iyaash (i.e., Shu’­ba, the oth­er Raawi of Aasim) was that of Zirr ibn Hubaysh (d. 83 A.H.) from Ibn Mas’ood. 449

How­ev­er, typ­i­cal­ly the vari­a­tions between the Raaw­is are minor when com­pared to the dif­fer­ences between the qira’aat them­selves (although usu­al­ly there are dif­fer­ences in the rules of tajweed of the Raaw­is). For exam­ple, Shu’­ba and Hafs dif­fer from each oth­er in around forty places in the whole Qur’aan. 450 To pre­serve even these dif­fer­ences, how­ev­er, the qira’aat are always men­tioned includ­ing the Raaw­is. So, when some­one recites the qira’aat of Naafi’, for exam­ple, he should men­tion whether it is through Warsh or Qaloon (for exam­ple, by say­ing, The qira’aat of Naafi’ through the riwaayah of Warsh,” or, The qiraa’a of Warsh an Naafi’ ” for short). 451

Most of the time, these stu­dents, who were Qaa­rees in their own right, stud­ied direct­ly under the Qaa­ree whose qiraa’a it was. Thus, for exam­ple, Warsh and Qaloon both stud­ied under Imaam Naafi’, as did Shu’bah and Hafs with Imaam Aasim. How­ev­er, some­times, there was an inter­me­di­ary (or even two) between these stu­dents and the Imaam. When this occured, as for exam­ple with Ibn Katheer, the inter­me­di­ary was not men­tioned above, so as not to pro­long the dis­cus­sion. The inter­est­ed read­er may con­sult any of the ref­er­ences men­tioned in the begin­ning of this section.

There are four shaadh qira’aat (fol­low­ing the orig­i­nal defi­na­tion above). These are not con­sid­ered as part of the Qur’aan, but maybe used as tafseer, and, accord­ing to some of the madh-habs, as a basis for fiqh rul­ings as well. 452 The Qaa­rees whom they are named after are :

1) al-Hasan al-Bas­ree : This is the famous Suc­ces­sor, Hasan ibn Abee al-Hasan Yas­saar Aboo Sa’eed al-Bas­ree. He passed away 110 A.H.

2) Ibn Muhaysin : He is Muham­mad ibn Abd al-Rah­maan as-Suhaymee al-Mak­kee. He was one of the Chief Qaa­rees of Makkah, along with Ibn Katheer. He passed away 123 A.H.

3) Yahya al-Yazeedee : He is Yahya ibn al-Mubaarak ibn al-Mugheer­ah. He passed away 202 A.H.

4) al-Sham­boozee : He is Muham­mad ibn Ahmad ibn Ibraa­heem al-Sham­boozee. He passed away 388 A.H.

These four qira’aat con­tain most of the qira’aat that were recit­ed by the Com­pan­ions and did not con­form to the mus-haf of Uth­maan. Of course, these four qira’aat did not con­tra­dict the mus-haf of Uth­maan in every sin­gle verse ; only occa­sion­al­ly is there a conflict.

VI. The Qira’at Today

The qira’aat were once a vital part of the Mus­lim ummah, and each part of the Mus­lim world used to recite accord­ing to one of the qira’aat. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the peo­ple of a par­tic­u­lar city would recite in the qiraa’a of the Qaa­ree of that city. Thus, for exam­ple, Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib (d. 437 A.H.) report­ed, in the third cen­tu­ry of the hijrah, that the peo­ple of Bas­ra fol­lowed the recita­tion of Aboo Amr, those of Koofah fol­lowed Aasim, the Syr­i­ans fol­lowed Ibn Aamir, Makkah took after Ibn Katheer, and Madeenah fol­lowed Naafi’.

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 recites only the qiraa’a of Aasim through the riwaya of Hafs (Hafs an Aasim). How­ev­er, there are cer­tain areas in the world where oth­er qira’aat are preva­lent, and a rough break­down is as follows :

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 3

This is obvi­ous­ly a rough very break­down, based on the pop­u­la­tion in these respec­tive coun­tries. 453

The qira’aat today are as a whole only mem­o­risedin spe­cialised insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing through­out the Mus­lim world (or, a stu­dent may study pri­vate­ly under a schol­ar who has mem­o­rised these qira’aat). A stu­dent of the Qur’aan who wish­es to mem­o­rise the qira’aat must, of course, have already mem­o­rised the entire Qur’aan in atleast one qiraa’a. There are two pri­ma­ry ways of mem­o­ris­ing these qira’aat, and both involve mem­o­ris­ing lengthy poems that detail the rules of recita­tion (tajweed) of each qiraa’a, and the dif­fer­ences between them.

The first way is to mem­o­rise the Shaat­i­biyyah (its actu­al name is Hirz al-Amaa­nee wa Wajh at-Tahaa­nee), which is a poem con­sist­ing of 1173 cou­plets, writ­ten by Imaam Qaasim ibn Ahmad ash-Shaat­i­bee (d. 548 A.H.), and then to mem­o­rise the Dur­rah (short for ad-Dur­rah al-Mad­hiyyah) by Muham­mad Ibn al-Jaza­ree (d. 832 A.H.). The first poem deals with the first sev­en qira’aat. After a stu­dent of the Qur’aan has mem­o­rised this, he then moves on to the sec­ond poem, which deals with the last three qira’aat. This is the pri­ma­ry method by which the qira’aat are taught through­out the Mus­lim world.

The sec­ond method is to learn all ten qira’aat simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, by mem­o­ris­ing the Tayy­ibah (short for Tayy­ibah an-Nashr fil Qira’aat al-‘Ashr), which is a poem that deals with all ten qira’aat , also by Muham­mad ibn al-Jaza­ree. 454

VII. The Rela­tion­ship of the Ahruf with the Qira’aat

The rela­tion­ship of the ahruf with the authen­tic qira’aat must by essence depend upon what the def­i­n­i­tion of ahruf is, and whether one believes that the ahruf are still in exis­tence today. There­fore, the schol­ars of Islaam have defined this rela­tion­ship depend­ing upon their respec­tive def­i­n­i­tions of the ahruf. The three major opin­ions on this issue are as fol­lows : 455

1) The opin­ion of Imaam at-Taba­ree (d. 310 A.H.), Ibn Abd al-Barr (d. 463 A.H.), and oth­ers, is that all the authen­tic qira’aat are based upon one harf of the Qur’aan. This is because, as was men­tioned in the last chap­ter, they hold that the mus-haf of Uth­maan elim­i­nat­ed the oth­er six ahruf and pre­served only one harf.

How­ev­er, this opin­ion does not seem very strong, since, if the ori­gin of all of the authen­tic qira’aat is one harf, then where do all the dif­fer­ences between the qira’aat orig­i­nate from ? In addi­tion, as was men­tioned in the pre­vi­ous chap­ter, the opin­ion that only one harf has been pre­served does not seem to be the strongest.

2) The opin­ion of al-Baaqil­laani (d. 403 A.H.) and a few schol­ars is that all of the sev­en ahruf are pre­served in the qira’aat, such that each harf is found scat­tered through­out the qira’aat. There­fore, there is no sin­gle qira’aat that cor­re­sponds exact­ly to any one harf, but each qiraa’a rep­re­sents var­i­ous ahruf such that, in the sum total of the qira’aat, the ahruf are preserved.

This opin­ion also is based upon these schol­ars’ belief that all of the ahruf have been pre­served. This opin­ion seems like a strong opin­ion, except for the fact that there exists many nar­ra­tions in which the Com­pan­ions used to recite dif­fer­ent­ly from any of the present qira’aat (these are today present in the shaadh qira’aat). It seems that they were recit­ing a pecu­liar harf of the Qur’aan, but this was not pre­served in the qira’aat. 456

3) The opin­ion of Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib (d. 437 A.H.), Ibn al-Jaza­ree (d. 832 A.H.), Ibn Hajr (d. 852 A.H.), as-Suy­ootee, and oth­ers, and the one that is per­haps the strongest, is that the qira’aat rep­re­sent por­tions of the sev­en ahruf, but not all of the sev­en ahruf in total­i­ty. The dif­fer­ences between the qira’aat, even the most minute of dif­fer­ences, orig­i­nate from the sev­en ahruf, but not every dif­fer­ence between the sev­en ahruf is pre­served in the qira’aat. This goes back to our posi­tion on the exis­tence of the ahruf today : that they exist inas­much as the script of the mus-haf of Uth­maan allows them to. In the last chap­ter, the method­ol­o­gy that the Com­pan­ions used to decide which ahruf to pre­serve was dis­cussed. Those ahruf that were pre­served are the ones that are in exis­tence today, through the vari­a­tions in the qira’aat.

To sum­marise the last two chap­ters, we quote Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib (d. 437 A.H.), who wrote,

When the Prophet (PBUH) died, many of the Com­pan­ions went to the new­ly con­quered ter­ri­to­ries of the Mus­lims, and this was dur­ing the time of Aboo Bakr and Umar. They taught them the recita­tion of the Qur’aan and the fun­da­men­tals of the reli­gion. Each Com­pan­ions taught his par­tic­u­lar area the recita­tion that he had learnt from the Prophet (PBUH) (i.e., the var­i­ous ahruf). There­fore the recita­tions of these ter­ri­to­ries dif­fered based on the dif­fer­ences of the Companions.

Now, when Uth­maan ordered the writ­ing of the mus-hafs, and sent them to the new provinces, and ordered them to fol­low it and dis­card all oth­er read­ings, each of the ter­ri­to­ries con­tin­ued to recite the Qur’aan the same way that they had done so before the mus-haf had reached them, as long as it con­formed to the mus-haf. If their recita­tion dif­fered with the mus-haf, they left that recitation…

This new recita­tion was passed on from the ear­li­er gen­er­a­tions to the lat­er ones, until it reached these sev­en Imaams 457 (Qaa­rees) in the same form, and they dif­fered with each oth­er based upon the dif­fer­ences of the peo­ple of the ter­ri­to­ries — none of whom dif­fered with the mus-haf that Uth­maan had sent to them. This, there­fore, is the rea­son that the Qaa­rees have dif­fered with each oth­er…” 458

There­fore, the dif­fer­ences in the qira’aat are ram­nants of the dif­fer­ences in the way that the Prophet (PBUH) taught the recita­tion of the Qur’aan to the dif­fer­ent Com­pan­ions, and these dif­fer­ences were among the sev­en ahruf of the Qur’aan which Allaah reevaled to the Prophet (PBUH). Thus, the ten authen­tic qira’aat pre­serve the final recita­tion that the Prophet (PBUH) recit­ed to Jibreel — in oth­er words, the qira’aat are man­i­fes­ta­tions of the remain­ing ahruf of the Qur’aan.

VIII. The Ben­e­fits of the Qira’aat

Since the qira’aat are based on the ahruf, many of the ben­e­fits of the qira’aat over­lap with those of the ahruf. Some of the ben­e­fits are as follows.

1) The facil­i­ta­tion of the mem­o­ri­sa­tion of the Qur’aan. This includes not only dif­fer­ences in pro­nun­ci­a­tions that the dif­fer­ent Arab tribes were used to, but also the dif­fer­ences in words and letters.

2) Proof that the Qur’aan is a rev­e­la­tion from Allaah, for notwith­stand­ing the thou­sands of dif­fer­ences between the qira’aat, not a sin­gle dif­fer­ence is contradictory.

3) Proof that the Qur’aan has been pre­served exact­ly, as all of these qira’aat have been recit­ed with a direct, authen­tic, mutawaatir chain of nar­ra­tors back to the Prophet (PBUH).

4) A fur­ther indi­ca­tion of the mirac­u­lous nature (‘ijaaz) of the Qur’aan, because these qira’aat add to the mean­ing and beau­ty of the Qur’aan in a com­ple­men­tary man­ner, as shall be shown in the next section.

5) The removal of any stag­na­tion that might exist with regards to the text of the Qur’aan. In oth­er words, there exist var­i­ous ways and method­olo­gies of recitaing the Qur’aan that are dif­fer­ent from each oth­er in pro­nun­ci­a­tion and mean­ing, and thus the text remains vibrant and nev­er becomes monot­o­nous. 459

IX. Some Exam­ples of the Dif­fer­ent Qira’aat

It is appro­pri­ate to con­clude this chap­ter by quot­ing var­i­ous vers­es that demon­strate some of the dif­fer­ences in the qira’aat, with a dis­cus­sion of the var­i­ous mean­ings. 460 Four vers­es were cho­sen, the first of which deals belief, the sec­ond and third with sto­ries, and the last with laws. In each verse, it will be seen that, far from­con­tra­dict­ing each oth­er, the qira’aat tak­en togeth­er add much deep­er mean­ings and con­no­ta­tions than any one of them indi­vid­u­al­ly. In fact, the var­i­ous read­ings between the qira’aat are con­sid­ered — in terms of extract­ing rul­ings from vers­es — as two seper­ate vers­es, both of which must be looked into, and nei­ther of which can abro­gate the other.

The schol­ars of this cen­tu­ry, Muham­mad Ameen ash-Shan­qee­tee (d. 1393 A.H.), said in his famous tafseer, Adwaa al-Bayaan, In the event that the dif­fer­ent qira’aat seem to give con­tra­dic­to­ry rul­ings, they are con­sid­ered as dif­fer­ent vers­es…” 461 mean­ing that both of them must be tak­en into account for the final rul­ing to be giv­en. This same prin­ci­pal applies in vers­es that deal with sto­ries or belief, as the exam­ple below will show.

1) Soorah Faati­hah, verse 4.

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 4

The first read­ing, that of Aasim and al-Kisaa’ee, is maa­li­ki yawm ad-deen. This is the recita­tion that most of the read­ers will be famil­iar with. The word maa­lik means mas­ter, own­er,’ and is one of the Names of Allaah. The eman­ing of this name when attrib­uted to Allaah is that Allaah is the one who Pos­sess­es and Owns all of the Cre­ation, and there­fore He has full right to do as He pleas­es with His cre­ation, and He has the pow­er to do what He pleas­es with His cre­ation, and no one can stop or ques­tion Him.

The verse there­fore trans­lates, The Only Own­er of the Day of Judge­ment.” This name (maa­lik) is also men­tioned in,

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 5
Say : O Allaah ! Maa­lik (Pos­ses­sor) of (all) King­doms!” (Qur’?n, 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 Qira'aat of the Qur'an 6
The sov­er­eign­ty on that day (i.e., the Day of Judge­ment) will be the true (sov­er­eign­ty), belong­ing to the Most Benef­i­cent” (Qur’?n, 25:26)

If Allaah is the only Maa­lik on the Day of Judge­ment, this auto­mat­i­cal­ly implies that He is the Maa­lik before the Day of Judge­ment also, since the one who is the Maa­lik on that day must be the Maa­lik of all that was before that Day !

The sec­ond read­ing, that of Naafi’, Aboo Amr, Ibn Aamar, Ibn Katheer and Hamzah, is mali­ki yawm ad-deed, with­out the alif. The word malik’ means, king, sov­er­eign, monarch,” and is also one of the Names of Allaah. This also has the con­no­ta­tion of the one who has pow­er to judge. A king (Malik) pos­sess­es not only wealth and prop­er­ty (like a Maa­lik), but also the author­i­ty to rule, judge and com­mand. The verse there­fore trans­lates, The King (and the Only Rul­ing Judge) of the Day of Judge­ment.” Malik, as one of the names of Allaah, is men­tioned in the Qur’aan :

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 7
…the King…” (Qur’an, 59:23)

and also

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 8
The King of men” (Qur’an, 114:2)

The name of All?h Malik’ is a descrip­tion of Allaah (i.e., sifah dhaatiyyah), since He is The King’; where­as the name Maa­lik’ is a descrip­tion of Allaah and His actions (i.e., sifah fi’liyyah), since He is The Own­er’ of all of His cre­ation. 462

It can be seen that the two read­ings increase the over­all mean­ing of the verse, each giv­ing a con­no­ta­tion not giv­en by the oth­er, and thus increas­ing the beau­ty and elo­quence of the verse.

The result of the two qiraa’a is that Allaah is the Maa­lik on the Day of Judge­ment, and the Malik. So on that Day, He will be the Own­er (Maa­lik) of the Day of Judge­ment — no oth­er per­son will be an own­er besides Him in Judge­ment, even though they might have been own­ers of judge­ment in this world. And Allaah is the King (Malik) of the Day of Judge­ment, besides all else of His cre­ation, who, in this world, were mighty and arro­gant kings…so on this day, these (kings) will know for sure that they are in real­i­ty the most humil­i­at­ed of cre­ation, and that the true Might, and Pow­er, and Glo­ry and King­ship belongs only to Allaah, as Allaah, all Glo­ry and Praise be to Him, has said,

The Qira'aat of the Qur'an 9
The Day when they will (all) come out, noth­ing of them will be hid­den from Allaah. Whose is the King­dom on this day?! (Allaah Him­self will reply:) It is Allah’s, the Unique, the Irre­sistible” (Qur’?n, 40:16)

So, Allqh has informed us that He is the Malik of the Day of Judge­ment, mean­ing that He is the only one whom King­ship belongs to, besides all the kings and rulers of this world, and on this day these kings and rulers will be in the great­est humil­i­a­tion and dis­grace, instead of their (word­ly) pow­er and glory…

And Allqh has informed us that He is the Maa­lik of the Day of Judge­ment, mean­ing that He is the only one whom Own­er­ship belongs to. So, there is none that can pass judge­ments or rule on that Day except Him.” 463

2) Soorah al-Baqarah, verse 259.

This verse tells the sto­ry of a man who passed by a desert­ed town, and won­dered how All?h would ever bring it back to life. Thus, as a mir­a­cle for him, Allaah caused him to die for a hun­dred years, then brought him back to life. Allaah also brought the man’s don­key back to life in front of his eyes.

The first read­ing of the rel­e­vant part of the verse, by al-Kisaa’ee, Ibn Aamir, Aasim and Hamzah, is, kay­fa nun­shizuha”. This is in ref­er­ence to the res­ur­rec­tion of the don­key. The word nun­shizuha means, to cause to rise.” The verse there­fore trans­lates , Look at the bones (of the Don­key), how We raise them up,” mean­ing, “…how We cause the bones to join one anoth­er and stand up again (from the dust).”

The sec­ond read­ing, by Aboo’ Amr, Naafi’ and Ibn Katheer, is, kay­fa nun­shiruha”. The word nun­shiruha means, to bring to life, to res­ur­rect.” The verse then trans­lates, “…how We res­ur­rect it and bring it back to life.”

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 more graph­ic pic­ture is given.

3) In the last por­tion of the same verse, the read­ings dif­fer as follows :

The first read­ing, that of Naafi’, Ibn Katheer, Aasim, Ibn Aamir and Aboo Amr, is Qaalaa a’la­mu ana Allaa­ha alaa kul­li shayin qadeer”. This trans­lates as, He said, I (now) know that Allaah is indeed capa­ble of all things.’ ” This shows that, after this mirac­u­lous dis­play, the man final­ly believed that All?h could bring the dead back to life, and repent­ed from his pre­vi­ous statement.

The sec­ond read­ing, that of Hamzah and al-Kisaa’ee, is, Qala lam ana Allaa­ha…” which trans­lates as, It was said (to him): Know that Allaah is capa­ble of all things.’ ” In this read­ing, after the res­ur­rec­tion of the don­key was shown to him, he was ordered to believe that Allaah was indeed All-Powerful.

Once again, each read­ing adds more mean­ing to the over­all pic­ture. After this mirac­u­lous dis­play, the man was com­mand­ed to know that Allaah is indeed capa­ble of all things. He respond­ed to this com­mand, and tes­ti­fied that, indeed, Allaah is capa­ble of all things. 464

4) Soorah al-Maaidah, verse 6.

For the last exam­ple, it will be seen that even dif­fer­ent fiqh rul­ing are giv­en by the dif­fer­ences in the qira’aat.

The rel­e­vant verse dis­cuss­es the pro­ce­dure for ablu­tion (wudoo). In the read­ing of Naafi’, Ibn Aamir, al-Kisaa’ee and Hafs, the verse reads as fol­lows : O you who believe ! When you intend to pray, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles…” The word feet’ is read arju­lakum, and in this tense, it refers back to the verb wash.’ There­fore, the actu­al wash­ing of the feet is com­mand­ed, accord­ing to this recitation.

The remain­ing qira’aat pro­nounce the word arju­likum, in which case it refers back to the verb wipe,’ so the verse would read, “…wash your faces and hands up to the elbows, and wipe your hands and feet…” Accord­ing to this recita­tion, wash­ing is not oblig­a­tory, and wip­ing is sufficient.

This is an appar­ent con­tra­dic­tion between the qira’aat. Does one wipe’ his feet (mean­ing pass water over it, sim­i­lar to how the head is wiped in ablu­tion), or does one actu­al­ly wash his feet (like the hands and face are washed)? In fact, there is no con­tra­dic­tion what­so­ev­er, for each recita­tion applies to a dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stance. In gen­er­al, the ablu­tion is per­formed by wash­ing’ the feet. How­ev­er, if a per­son is wear­ing shoes or socks, and he had ablu­tion before putting them on, he is allowed — in fact even encour­aged — to wipe’ over his feet, and is not oblig­ed to wash them. 465 Az-Zarkashee said, These two vers­es can be com­bined to under­stand that one read­ing deals with wip­ing over the socks, while the sec­ond read­ing deals with wash­ing the feet (in case of not wear­ing socks).” 466

There­fore, each of these recita­tions adds a very essen­tial rul­ing con­cern­ing the ablu­tion, and there is no con­tra­dic­tion between them.

It can be seen from this sec­tion that the qira’aat are a part of the elo­quence of the Qur’aan, and form an inte­gral fac­tor in the mirac­u­lous nature of the Qur’aan. For indeed, what oth­er book in human his­to­ry can claim the vital­i­ty that is dis­played in the qira’aat — the sub­tle vati­a­tions in let­ters and words that change and com­ple­ment the 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 is the ulti­mate mir­a­cle of the Prophet (PBUH).

Notes and References

415 Itr, p. 244

416 Wohaibee, p. 46

417 az-Zar­qaa­nee, v.1, p. 404.

418 It should be kept in mind that this is a par­tial list and is far from exhaus­tive. Those who are inter­est­ed may con­sult Ubay­daat, p. 164, Qat­taan, p. 170, and az-Zar­qaa­nee, v.1, pps. 414 – 416.

419 Uwais, p. 16.

420 Ibn Mujaahid, p. 87.

421 Ibn al-Jaza­ree, p. 39.

422 This is very sim­i­lar to what hap­pened in the his­to­ry of hadeeth. The rea­son that six par­tic­u­lar books of hadeeth (a‑Bukhaaree, Mus­lim, Aboo Daa­wood, at-Tir­mid­hee, an-Nasaa’ee and Ibn Maa­jah) are known as the Sihaah Sit­ta” or the Six Authen­tic Books”, is because of one book on the Names of Nar­ra­tors’, Asmaa ar-Rijaal, writ­ten by Abd al-Gha­nee al-Maqdis­ee (d. 600 A.H.). Due to the through­ness of this work, peo­ple start­ed clas­si­fy­ing these six books sep­a­rate­ly from oth­er works of hadeeth, and many con­sid­ered these six books as authen­tic (saheeh). This descrip­tion, how­ev­er, is only applic­a­ble on the two saheeh col­lec­tion of al-Bukhaa­ree and Mus­lim ; the rest of these works con­tain both authen­tic and inau­then­tic ahaadeeth.

423 Ibn al-Jaza­ree, p. 9. I have para­phrased from the Arabic.

424 cf. az-Zar­qaa­nee, v.1, p. 422.

425 He is Abd al-Rah­maan ibn Ishaaq az-Zuj­jaaj al-Nihawandee (d. 332), a not­ed Mus­lim grammarian.

426 az-Zarkashee, Bahr, v.1, p. 471.

427 The qiraa’a of Aasim and al-Kisaa’ee

428 The qiraa’a of Warsh, Ibn Katheer, Ibn Aamir, Hamzah and Aboo Amr.

429 The qiraa’a of Aasim, and others

430 The qiraa’a of Naafi’, and others

431 Ibn al-Jaza­ree, p. 13.

432 Mak­kee ibn Abee Taal­ib is quot­ed as hav­ing been the first to hold this opin­ion in all the works that I have come across dis­cussing this top­ic (also see, al-Qad­hi, p. 8). How­ev­er, I came across anoth­er work of his enti­tled Kitaab al-Ibaanah an Ma’aani al-Qira’aat, in which he clear­ly states that any qiraa’a must be mutawaatir for it to be accept­ed. For exam­ple, on p. 43, while dis­cussing the shaadh qira’aat, he states, “…and the Qur’aan can­not be con­firmed with an ahaad nar­ra­tion;” on p. 31, “…and this (i.e., tak­ing a shaadh qira’aat) implies con­firm­ing the Qur’aan with an ahaad nar­ra­tion, and this is not allowed by any of the peo­ple (of knowl­edge).” Else­where (p. 39), he clear­ly states con­cern­ing this opin­ion “…and this is the opin­ion we believe and hold to.” I did not see any of the oth­er books that I read men­tion these quotes, so I do not know whether this was his ear­li­er opin­ion, or his lat­er one, nor could I ascer­tain when he wrote the book. In any case, fur­ther research must be done to ascer­tain whether this real­ly was the final opin­ion of Mak­kee ibn Abee Taalib.

433 al-Qad­hi, p.8.

434 Uwais, p. 12, quot­ing from Ibn al-Jaza­ree’s Munjid al-Muqreen. Also, see Uwais’ dis­cus­sion on this point, pps. 11 – 14.

435 Oth­er schol­ars make a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion between the Qur’aan and the qira’aat, and state that, in order for the Qur’aan to be accept­ed, the nar­ra­tions must be mutawaatir, but in order for a qiraa’a to be accept­ed, an ahaad nar­ra­tion will suf­fice. How­ev­er, this dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion does not seem to solve the prob­lem, for the qira’aat are the Qur’aan, and the Qur’aan is pre­served in all of the qira’aat. There­fore, if a qiraa’a is sub­stan­ti­at­ed as authen­tic, that auto­mat­i­cal­ly implies that it is part of the Qur’aan.

436 This is not to say that there have not exist­ed qira’aat that Arab gram­mar­i­ans have not found fault with. There have been numer­ous attempts to prove var­i­ous gram­mat­i­cal faults’ in the qira’aat, but oth­er gram­mar­i­ans have always proven that such read­ings do have gram­mat­i­cal basis for them. cf. al-Qaa­ree, Abd al-Aziz : Hadith al-Ahruf as-Saba’ah, in Majalah Kul­liyah al-Qur’aan al-Kareem, v. 1, 1983, p. 115, for examples.

437 al-Qaa­ree, p. 116, with para­phras­ing. The addi­tion in brack­ets are mine.

438 Qaasim ibn Ahmad as-Shaat­i­bee (d. 590 A.H.) com­piled the sev­en qira’aat of Aboo Bakr ibn Mujaahid in a poem known as the Shaat­i­biyah to facil­i­tate its memorisation.

439 as-Suy­ootee, v.1, p.82

440 Ubay­daat, p. 178

441 as-Suy­ootee, v.1, p. 102

442 cf. as-Suy­ootee, v.1, p. 102

443 All of the bio­graph­i­cal infor­ma­tion in this sec­tion, unless oth­er­wise ref­er­enced, was tak­en from al-Ban­na v.1, pps. 19 – 32, az-Zar­qaa­nee, v.1, pps 456 – 477, and al-Haashimee, pps. 39 – 155.

444 al-Haashimee, p. 39

445 Hence his opin­ion of the ori­gin of the word Qur’aan’; cf, Ch.2, The mean­ing of the word qur’aan’.

446 al-Haashimee, p. 59

447 The tenth of Muharram

448 al-Haashimee, p. 116

449 Wohaibee, p. 106

450 Mean­ing that they dif­fer from each oth­er in forty words, but since these words occur a total of around five hun­dred times in the Qur’aan, it might appear that their dif­fer­ences are many. cf. al-Qaa­ree, p. 140

451 Actu­al­ly, there is a third lev­el of nar­ra­tion, below that of raawi, called tareeq (path). Each raawi has two tareeqs. The dif­fer­ences between the turuq (pl. of tareeq) are neg­li­gi­ble for our pur­pos­es, con­cen­trat­ing main­ly on where to stop, cer­tain vari­a­tions in the par­tic­u­lars of pro­nun­ci­a­tion, etc. How­ev­er, on some occa­sions there are notice­able dif­fer­ences. For exam­ple, com­pare a Qur’aan print­ed in Pak­istan (Taj Com­pa­ny, for exam­ple) and one print­ed in Sau­di Ara­bia or Egypt, and see 30:54. The dif­fer­ence in the words Da’fin and Du’fin are due to the dif­fer­ences in the turuq of the qiraa’a of Hafs an Aasim !

452 cf. az-Zarkashee, Bahr, pps, 474 – 480, for a dis­cus­sion of this point.

453 The table was tak­en from al-Habash, p. 50. In this author’s opin­ion, he has great­ly exag­ger­at­ed the pre­dom­i­nance of the qiraa’a of Ibn Aamir ; ad-Dooree’s per­cent­age should also be less ; Qaloon should be more than 0.7%. In addi­tion, Hafs is prob­a­bly clos­er to 97 than 95%, and Allaah knows best.

454 The Tayy­ibah is more advanced than the Shaat­i­biyyah-plus-Dur­rah com­bi­na­tion, since Ibn al-Jaza­ree record­ed more dif­fer­ences between the var­i­ous turuq than ash-Shaat­i­bee did.

455 cf. Itr, pps. 346 – 357

456 See the chap­ter enti­tled, The Ahruf of the Qur’aan,” for a dis­cus­sion of the exis­tence of the ahruf today.

457 Actu­al­ly, until it reached the ten Qaa­rees, and not just seven.

458 Ibn Abee Taal­ib, Abu Muham­mad Mak­kee : Kitaab al-Ibaanah an Ma’ani al-Qira’aat. ed. Dr. Muhyi Ramadaan. Dar al-Mamoon li Thu­rath, Beirut, 1979, p. 39

459 This is not to imply that the Qur’aan would have become monot­o­nous had the qira’aat not exist­ed, but rather that the dif­fer­ent qira’aat are one of the fac­tors that con­tribute to this mirac­u­lous effect. Any per­son who has dealth with the qira’aat knows this feeling.

460 Many of the dif­fer­ences in the qira’aat do not affect the mean­ing of a verse, but rather change only the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of cer­tain vow­els and let­ters. How­ev­er, this sec­tion dis­cuss­es only those dif­fer­ences that result in a change in meaning.

461 Adwaa al-Bayaan, v. 6, p. 680

462 al-Hamood, p. 88

463 Baaz­mool, v. 1, p. 403

464 In this verse in par­tic­u­lar, the i’jaaz of the Qur’aan can be felt, for the very same verse is the com­mand and response !

465 See Fiqh as-Sun­nah, v.1, pps. 44 – 46, for fur­ther details on this issue.

466 az-Zarkashee, v.2, p. 52Endmark

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