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The Compilation of the Quran

Allaah, the Almighty, started sending down His Noble Book on the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) on the night of Al-Qadr (Decree).

 There is a chapter in the Qur'an that is named by this name. Allaah Says (what means):

{Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down on the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibrael (Gabriel)] by Allaah's Permission with all Decrees, Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allaah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.} [Quran 97:15]

Starting from the Night of Decree in the Cave of Hiraa' and for twenty three years up to the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), the Quran was being sent down throughout this period.

The Quran was revealed parts by parts and verses by verses; it was not all sent at once so that it would be easy for Muslims to memorize it. When a verse or some verses were revealed, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) would command the scribes of revelation to allocate them in their exact place. Before the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), Jibreel (Gabriel) recited the Quran in front of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, following the order that is known nowadays.

Allaah guaranteed that He would preserve the Quran up to the Day of Judgment: Allaah Says (what means): {Verily We It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).}[Quran 15:9].

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) shouldered the burden of the Message and he followed many ways in memorizing the Quran and spread it among all the people.

Whenever a chapter was revealed, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did his best in order to repeat the revelation so that it would be fixed in his memory. Then, Allaah revealed (what means): {Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur'an, O Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)) the ability to recite it (the Qur'an), And when We have recited it to you [O Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) through Jibrael (Gabriel)], then follow you its (the Qur'an's) recital.} [Quran 75:16-18]

Whenever a verse or a chapter was revealed, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) would command the scribes of revelation to write it down immediately.

He would also recite it to his companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who would immediately memorize it. The companions would then recite to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) what they memorized so that they would make sure that their memorization was correct. Once they had recited it to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), they would go and teach it to other companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who had not witnessed the revelation. In this way a lot of companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, memorized the Quran.

 There are other factors that helped them memorize it such as their deeply-rooted belief, strong memory, the unpolluted desert environment, their pure souls, and the fact that many of them did not know how to write.

Additionally, the Prophet's, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, recitation of the Quran in prayers was another strong factor that helped the companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, to memorize it.

There was another method in which Jibreel was involved along with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to recite all the Quran to him once every Ramadhaan. The year before he died, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) recited the Quran to him twice. Also, before his death, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) summoned up the companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, and recited all the Quran to them for the last time.

Compilation of the Quran during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him):

During the lifetime of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), the Quran was written down on parchments and other materials. The Quran was not compiled then into one copy because of the short interval between the last verses that were revealed and the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).

So it was impossible to imagine that the Quran could be compiled into one copy while the revelation was still being sent down.

During the caliphate of Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him), it became necessary to compile the Quran into one copy. `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, was the first person to realize this need.

After the heavy casualties in the battle of Yamaamaah [a place where Musaylaamah, the liar appeared] where a great number of Quran memorizers were killed, 'Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, feared that the companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who memorized the Quran, would die in other battles, and therefore it would be impossible to write down the Quran and recite it as it was revealed.

 So 'Umar rushed to Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with them, and this was after the latter has served two years as a Caliph. He told him about the matter and said to him." I am of the opinion that you should collect the Quran into one copy." Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, replied: "How can I do something which Allaah's Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, did not do?' `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, said, 'By Allaah, it is really a good thing."

So `Umar kept on trying to persuade Abu Bakr to accept his proposal, till Allaah opened his heart to it and he had adopted the opinion of `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him.

Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, sent a message to Zayd Ibn Thaabit, may Allaah be pleased with him; the message reads: "You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you of telling lies or of being forgetful: and you used to write the Divine Revelation for Allaah's Messenger.

 Therefore, look for the Qur'an and collect it into one manuscript.  

Zayd Ibn Thaabit, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: "By Allaah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift a mountain from its place, it would have been easier for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Quran."

Zayd, may Allaah be pleased with him, said to both of them, "How can you do a thing which the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, did not do?" Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him said, "By Allaah, it is really a good thing." "So he kept on arguing with him about it till Allaah opened his heart for that which He had opened the hearts of Abu Bakr and `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them. So he started locating the Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, the leaf-stalks of date palms, and from the memories of men who had memorized it.  

On such material, the Quran had been written down when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was still alive and many companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, witnessed this. The writing had been recorded according to the last recitation and according to the order revealed by Allaah.

 Zayd, may Allaah be pleased with him, never wrote a verse unless two witnesses would certify that they heard it from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and had written it down in front of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).

 The compilation of Zayd, may Allaah be pleased with him, was performed under the supervision of a large number of companions who were known for their sharp memories, such as Ubayy Ibn Ka'b, `Ali Ibn Abu Taalib, and `Uthmaan Ibn `Affaan, may Allaah be pleased with them.

The manuscript on which the Quran was collected, remained with Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, till he died, and then it remained with `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, till he died. Finally it remained with Hafsah, who was `Umar's daughter and one of the wives of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, because `Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, appointed her as the custodian of everything he left after his death.

In this way, by the Grace of Allaah, the Quran was compiled in the same form that it had been sent down by Jibreel (Gabriel) to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). This shows us Allaah's care for His Book and that He guards it as He Says (what means):

{Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the

Qur'an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).

 [Quran 15:9].

Compilation of the Quran during the caliphate of `Uthmaan Ibn `Affaan, may Allaah be pleased with him:

During the caliphate of `Uthmaan Ibn `Affaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, Islamic conquests increased and the companions traveled here and there in order to teach people the religion of Islam and help them memorize the Quran.

Huthayfah Ibn Al-Yamaan came to `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with them, at the time when the people of Levant and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Armenia and Azerbaijan. Huthayfah, may Allaah be pleased with him, was afraid of their (the people of Levant and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Quran. Those of Levant recited it according to the recitation of Ubayy Ibn K`ab and the Iraqis recited it according to the recitation of `Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood, may Allaah be pleased with them, all of which are perfectly correct recitations.

Huthayfah said to `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with both of them, "O 'Leader of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as the Jews and the Christians did before."

 So `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, sent a message to Hafsah, may Allaah be pleased with her, saying, "Send us the manuscripts of the Quran so that we may make copies of the Quranic materials and then return the manuscripts to you.

" Hafsah, may Allaah be pleased with her, sent it to `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with him. The latter then ordered Zayd Ibn Thaabit, `Abdullaah Ibn Az-Zubayr, Sa`eed Ibn Al-`Aas, and `Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Haarith Ibn Hishaam, may Allaah be pleased with them, to rewrite the manuscripts into copies.

 `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, said to the three Qurayshi men: "In case you disagree with Zayd Ibn Thaabit on any point in the Quran, then write it in the dialect of Quraysh, for the Quran was revealed in their tongue."

They took five years, from 25 A.H. up to 30 A.H., to write down the different copies. They did so and when they had written many copies, `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, returned the original manuscripts to Hafsah, may Allaah be pleased with her.

He sent a copy to Makkah, Al-Basrah, Kufah, Levant, Yemen, and Bahrain. He kept a copy in Madeenah and ordered that all the other Quranic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt.

 The copies written down according to the command of `Uthmaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, were called the 'Imaam's Book' or `Uthmaan's Book.'

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