Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars

Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars


Traditional Muslim scholars are of the view that the Qur'ān was preserved both through memorization and in writing as soon as its revelation began. The Prophet (sws) himself would be the first to commit a revelation to memory after archangel Gabriel brought it to him. He would then declare the revelation and instruct his Companions to memorize it. The Qur'ān was memorized by a vast majority of them.[1] This process of memorization remained the primary means of preservation and transmission of the Qur'ān over the centuries.

As far as the written collection of the Qur'ān is concerned, traditional Muslim scholars generally identify three stages:[2] i) collection under the Prophet Muhammad (sws), ii) collection under Abū Bakr (rta), iii) collection under 'Uthmān (rta). Some narratives also mention that the first person to collect the Qur'ān was 'Umar (rta); however, they have been regarded to mean that he was the first person who advised that the Qur'ān be collected.[3] Certain other narratives attribute a Qur'ānic collection to 'Alī (rta).[4] Some Muslim scholars are of the opinion that it refers to memorization,[5] while there are some others who believe that it was a written collection of a personal nature.[6]

During the time of the Prophet (sws), whenever a portion of the Qur'ān was revealed, it was written down by scribes and read out to him to safeguard against any error.[7] This revelation would be written on various writing surfaces which were available at that time like pieces of saddle-wood (aqtāb)), bones (aktāf), leather (adīm), parchment (raqq) as well as on leaves (sa'af), trunks (kirnāf) and bark ('usub) of palm trees. However, till the death of the Prophet (sws), the Qur'ān was not written in book form because there was always a chance of abrogation of some previous verse. So though all of the Qur'ān had been written on various materials, it was not written in one place nor were its sūrahs arranged in their final sequence (ghayra majmū' fī mawdi' wāhid wa lā murattab al-suwar).[8]

In the time of the caliph Abū Bakr (rta), a number of Muslims who had memorized the Qur'ān were killed. It was feared that unless a written copy of the Qur'ān was prepared, a large part of it might be lost. 'Umar (rta) succeeded in convincing Abū Bakr (rta) to initiate this task and Zayd ibn Thābit (rta) was employed for this purpose. Zayd (rta) collected the Qur'ān from various materials on which it had been written and prepared a complete copy. This copy remained with Abū Bakr (rta) till his death, then with 'Umar (rta) till his death and finally it came in the custody of his daughter, Hafsah (rta).[9] Later the Ummayid caliph Marwān ibn al-Hakam (d. 105 AH) had it destroyed thinking that people might start doubting it.[10]

Then in the time of the caliph 'Uthmān (rta), disputes arose among the soldiers of the Syrian and Iraqī armies in reciting the Qur'ān. At that time, they were fighting at the battle fronts of Armenia and Azerbaijan.[11] When 'Uthmān (rta) was informed of this state of affairs by his general Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamān (rta), he borrowed the suhuf kept with Hafsah (rta) which had been prepared in the time of Abū Bakr (rta). He then constituted a committee of four people to prepare copies of these suhuf in the dialect of the Quraysh. Later 'Uthmān (rta) dispatched these copies to important areas of the Muslim empire and collected and destroyed all other masāhif.[12] 'Abdullāh ibn Mas'ūd (rta), who at that time was residing in Kūfah, however refused to hand over his copy of the Qur'ān.[13]

During all this time, memorization of the Qur'ān continued.

Described above is the view of traditional Muslim scholars regarding the collection of the Qur'ān. It may also be noted that they are almost unanimous that the verses within the sūrahs were divinely arranged in the lifetime of the Prophet (sws); however, as far as the sūrahs themselves are concerned, the majority opinion is that they were arranged by the Companions (rta) in the time of 'Uthmān (rta).[14]

Thus according to traditional Muslim scholarship, it was 'Uthmān (rta) who was responsible for a textus receptus ne varietur of the Qur'ān. It was nothing but the Qur'ān revealed to the Prophet (sws) written in the dialect of the Quraysh with the sūrahs arranged in their current form by the Companions (rta).

Articles by this author




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Introduction to the Qur’an

Overcoming Despair and Dejection


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Poise and Balance

When the Tough get Going!

Surah Bani Isra’il (3/3)

Surah Bani Isra’il (2/3)

The Importance of the Word “Self”

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Animal Rights

Qualities of a Good Teacher

Let us Live for Others!

The Art of Positive Thinking

Virtues of Silence

The Person in the Mirror

Some Requests to Young Adults

Some Requests to Wives

Humanity burnt at the Stake*

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (2/2)

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (1/2)

Some Remedies for Jealousy

Four Steps to Selflessness

The Five Essentials of Constructive Criticism

An Introduction to Ghamidi’s Mizan

How to overcome Selfishness

Your Question Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’anic Words

Anger Management

Some Suggestions for Married Couples

God’s Domain

Let us Light up our Prayers!

Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!


Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!


A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (3/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (4/4)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri (The Father Figure of Al-Mawrid!)

Brief Profile

Special Issue

Charity: Points to Ponder

Your Question Answered

“Dignity in Hard Labour Lies!”


Never Lose Hope!

The Trials of Life

Anger Management

Handling Mature Children

Let us Promise…

An Introduction to Ghāmidī’s Mīzān

Visit to a Graveyard

Are We Ready to Die?

A Shame to Humanity[1]!

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 4/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 3/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 2/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 1/4)

The Key to Successful Marriage

Taming the Tongue

Sexual Intimacy between Husband and Wife

Pretension and Pomposity

The Cause of Truth

Narrative on the Changes made in the Qur’ān by al-Hajjāj ibn Yūsuf

Sūrah Mā’idah (64-89)


A Man of Steel

Critical Evaluation of Ustuwānah al-Mushaf Narratives


Fasting in Extreme Conditions

How to overcome Selfishness

Nothing but the Truth, Please!

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 1/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 2/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 3/3)

A Tribute to Brig (retd.) Noor Ahmed Husain (Quaid e Azam’s Last Military ADC)


Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]

Appendix B:  A Brief Summary of the Views of Traditional and Radical Western Scholars

Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars

A Critical Evaluation of Farahī’s View on the Collection of the Qur’ān

A Citizen of Paradise (Written on the Martyrdom of Dr Habib ur Rahman)



Your Questions Answered

Reason and Revelation

Your Questions Answered