Compilation of the Qur'an

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi (r.a.) wrote, in at-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al-Qur’an, that the Qur’an was compiled during the lifetime of the Prophet (s.a.w.), corresponding to what is in the maswaḥif today.  But it was not gathered as a muswḥaf; rather, it was preserved in the hearts of men.  There were groups of the swahabah who had memorised its entirety, and others who had memorised its parts.

During the caliphate of Sayyidina Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Utsman asw-Swiddiq (r.a.) many of the bearers of the Qur’an were killed.  He was alarmed at their deaths, that people after them would disagree about the content of the Qur’an.  Therefore, he sought counsel from the swahabah regarding gathering of the Qur’an into a muswḥaf.  This was, in fact, their counsel; so he had the Qur’an written down in a muswḥaf, and placed it in the house of Sayyidatina Hafswah bint ‘Umar (r.a.).

Islam spread during the caliphate of Sayyidina Abu ‘Amr ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.).  Sayyidina ‘Utsman (r.a.) feared that any discord over the Qur’an would lead to abandoning something of the Qur’an, or adding something to it, so he had many copies made based on the muswḥaf kept with Sayyidatina Hafswah (r.a.), which the swahabah had universally agreed upon.  He then had them dispatched to the various regions, and ordered the destruction of any versions that varied from it.  His action was based on the agreement concluded between himself, Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.), the rest of the swahabah, and the tabi’in.


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