Facts of Qur’an
1] Qur’an is divided into 30 sections (Ajza)
2] There are 114 Surahs of the Qur’an. Longest is Surah Al Baqrah (286 Verses), the shortest is Surah al-Kawthar (”Abundance” with 3 verses)
3] Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation in 610AD at the Cave of Hira (Ghar ul Hira)
4] There are a total of 6236 verses in the Qur’an
5] The revelation continued for a period of 22 years, 5 months and 14 days approximately until the demise of the Prophet in 633AD or 11 AH (After Hijrah – the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina)
The compilation of the Qur’an:
This passed through 4 stages:
Stage 1 – Upto the death of Prophet Muhammad PBUH
- A great number of Companions (Sahaba) committed the Qur’an to memory.
- The various Surah’s of the Qur’an were written down on parchment, wooden tablets, soft stone, palm leaves and bits of leather.
- Therefore during the lifetime of the Prophet the Qur’an was preserved by both memory and by writing in various forms. One of which validated and authenticated the other.
- Since Prophet Muhammad could not read or write himself, he memorised the Qur’an whilst his Companions both memorised and wrote it down.
- During the Ramadhan before his demise, the Qur’an was rechecked and reconfirmed twice
Stage 2 – The Caliphate of Abu Bakr (ra) (died 634AD)
- Abu Bakr (ra) asked Zaid bin Thabit (ra), one of the scribes of the revelation to put the Qur’an together in a single volume.
- The instructions of arranging the order of the Qur’an in terms of it’s surahs was well known due to the clear instruction of our beloved Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime to his Companions.
- Zaid (ra), in consultation with the various Sahaba, collated a single ‘Mushaf’ or copy of the Qur’an. The process of validating and authenticating what was written was facilitated by Zaid’s rigourous approach in ensuring that nothing was written down until certain test were carried out in the interest of legitimacy by at least two witnesses i.e. the document itself provided by a Companion supported by the evidence of other Companions who had committed it to memory.
- Therefore the first Mushaf was compiled during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (ra)
- It was written on sheets and was tied with strings
Stage 3 – The Caliphate of Umar (ra) (Died 644)
- Concerted efforts were made to learn the Qur’an through the process of memorization
- Abu Darda (in Syria) alone assisted 1600 students in his Qur’anic classes
- The Mushaf, the first copy of the Qur’an came into the possession of Umm Ul Mumineen Hafsa (ra), the widow of the Messenger of Allah during Umar’s Caliphate
Stage 4 – The Caliphate of Uthman ibn Uffan (ra) (Died 655AD)
- By approval of our beloved Prophet Muhammad , a dialectal variation related to some of the words of the Qur’an had been practiced among the various Arab tribes.
- As Islam spread, this caused much confusion especially after the expansion of Islam into non-Arab lands
- Also, there were still occurrences whereby some Companions wrote down what they heard from the Prophet and did not have it verified. This obviously introduced an element of risk that mistakes, grammatical or otherwise could have crept into these ‘personal’ writings of some of these people
- Uthman (ra) , quite rightly sanctioned the preparation of a single Qur’an for all the Muslims. Once again, Zaid bin Thabit (along with 3 other Companions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad was engaged in comparing the Mushaf in the possession of Umm Ul Mumineen Hafsa (ra) with existing copies in the custody of other Companions. As instructed by Uthman, wherever a dialectical version was noticed, it was replaced by the dialect of the Quraish, the tribe of Prophet Muhammad .
- Seven or Eight copies of this Mushaf was distributed to the major Muslim centers in the Islamic World. All other copies were recalled and destroyed. Any further copies were made on the basis of these seven or eight.
The Present Day
- Two copies of the original Mushaf of Uthman still exist. One in Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey and the second at Tashkent in Uzbekistan. The national library of Karachi in Pakistan have a copy of the Mushaf which is in Tashkent which was presented to Ayyub Khan in 1965 on a visit to Russia (Uzbekistan was then part of the former USSR)
- Muslims continue to read, learn and memorise the same Qur’an.
- Although a number of symbols were introduced into the Qur’anic script, notably during the reign of Hajjaj bin Yusuf, the meaning of the Qur’an has not changed. These were introduced to make the reading and recitation of the Qur’an easier for non Arabs.
- The Qur’an has been preserved through both it’s written and memorised form. Today it is available on a range of media, i.e. CD’s, MP3, Audio Cassette etc.
- From Singapore to Spain, the same Qur’an is recited, with the same meaning as the original.
Allah has promised in the Qur’an :
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption). [Al-Qur’an 15:9]
Courtesy of Muhammad Shafiq