The Quran was revealed in seven Ahruf (dialects)
Fatwa No: 182113

Question

assalamu alaikum, According to hadiths, Quran was revelead in seven different recitations. I learnt that more than 7 different recitations like hafs, warsh etc. are being agreed upon by ulemas to be acceptable recitations of the Quran. Why is this contradiction? Please explain

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, it should be noted that there is absolutely no contradiction in the texts of the Sharee’ah because it is a revelation from Allaah, The Almighty. However, due to our minds being limited, it might appear to us that there is some contradiction between these texts, in which case, one should look for a way to repel such thoughts. If one can find what drives away what seems to be a contradiction, then praise be to Allaah, otherwise we should refer the knowledge of such a matter to Allaah as He Says (what means): {But those firm in knowledge say,” We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.}[Quran 3:7]

Indeed, the scholars differed in opinion concerning the meaning of the seven Ahruf (plural of Harfi which literally means a letter), giving different statements but this is not the place to talk about them.

In any case, there is nearly a consensus among the scholars that the seven Ahruf do not mean the seven different methods of the recitation of the Quran, nor do they mean that every word can be recited in seven different ways.

The best thing which the scholars said about the meaning of this Hadeeth (which reads: The Quran was revealed in seven Ahruf) is that the seven Ahruf mean seven dialects, some of it was revealed in the dialect of Quraysh, some in the dialect of Huthayl, some in the dialect of Hawaazin, some in the dialect of Yemen, and some in the dialects of other Arabs. The evidence for this view is the statement of ‘Uthmaan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him when he ordered the Companions to write the Mus-haf: “What you differ on with Zayd (Ibn Thaabit  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him), write it down in the dialect of Quraysh, as most of the Quran was revealed in their own dialect.

Indeed, ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas was confused about the meaning of the word Faatir (creator) until two Bedouins sought his judgment about a well and one of them said, “I am the one who (fatartuha), i.e. started it.Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “I understood then the meaning of the verse: {Faatir (Creator) of the heavens and the earth}[Quran 35:1] and he also said: “I didn’t know the meaning of the verse in which Allaah Says (what means): {Our Lord, Yahkumu (decide) between us and our people in truth.}[Quran 7:89] until I heard the daughter of Ibn Thi Yazan saying to her husband: “Come, I will ‘Ufaatihka), i.e. judge between you and me.

Therefore, you should know that there is no contradiction between the (above-mentioned) Hadeeth and the methods of the recitation of the Quran being more than seven. For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 91213 and 82191.

Allaah Knows best.

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