Jay Smith analyzes Dr. Yasir Qadhi’s admissions about the textual history of the Qur’an, the issues of preservation, Ahruf and Qira’at:
The full interview is here: Muhammad Hijab interviews Dr. Yasir Qadhi
David Wood simply lets key points in the interview speak for themselves, with a little help from Jack Nicholson.
Addendum: (some time around June 18 or 19, 2020 ?) (It looks like the YouTube censors took down David Wood’s video because of a copyright claim by Yasir Qadhi.) It seems that his analysis is similar to the way Jay Smith did his, although more “in your face” with the famous Jack Nicholson line from the movie, “A Few good men”. It does not seem to violate copyright standards, since it it just using clips and giving credit to Yasir Qadhi; etc. by “fair use” standards – using clips and quoting another person is fine. Apparently, YouTube will probably have to deem that Yasir Qadhi’s claim is not valid, and the video will come back after a time of process in determining if it is valid or not. We will see.)
July 14-15, 2020 – You Tube restored David Wood’s video! Just as he predicted.
They (Dr. Qadhi and Muhammad Hijab) discuss the issues of the Ahruf احرُف and Qira’at قراعت or قرائت or قراءت
There are seven recognized ways of recitation ( قراءات سبعة) and seven dialects of the Qur’an (سبعة أحرف ).
أحرف in Qur’anic sciences is a broad concept but we can simply say it’s a inspired variation in words of the Qur’an, based on the dialects of the ancient arab lexicon, not the modern arabic dialects.
Abu Hatim Al-Sajastaniy refer the seven dialects as :
- بلغة قريش
- بلغة كنانة
- بلغة أسد
- بلغة هذيل
- بلغة تميم
- بلغة قيس عيلان
- بلغة أهل اليمن
While قراءات means in Qur’anic sciences, the ways and manners of reciting the Qur’an as folows:
عبد الله بن كثير الداري المكي
عبد الله بن عامر اليحصبي الشامي
عاصم بن أبي النَّجود الأسدي الكوفي
أبو عمرو بن العلاء البصري
حمزة بن حبيب الزيات الكوفي
نافع بن عبد الرحمن بن أبي نعيم المدني
أبو الحسن علي بن حمزة الكسائي النحوي الكوفي
In a debate in 2009, between Bassam Zawadi and Nabeel Qureshi on this issue, as I recall, Zawadi called them “modes” (what does that even mean?). That debate was moderated by Paul Williams.
Part 2 (Rebuttals and conclusions)
Ahruf, means literally, “letters”, plural of Harf حرف = letters) and Qira’at قراءت or قرائت (readings, various ways to pronounce words when read out loud). See here for introduction to the Ahruf and Qira’at (variant readings).
James White also spent a lot of time on this issue recently –
(The first 8 minutes were about the recent terrible Supreme Court decision on LGBT issues. )
James White especially emphasized, (which he has done rightly so, many times in the past) the historical fact that Islam had government control and force that enabled them to enforce a fixed text in the Uthman Recension, and then they destroyed the oldest copies and fragments of the Qur’an. (or most of them) This is famous in the Sahih Hadith traditions.
(Also see James White’s debate with Yusuf Ismail on this issue at that link.)
Here is the famous Sahih Hadith of the Uthmanic Recension:
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr As-Siddiq sent for me when the people! of Yamama had been killed (i.e., a number of the Prophet’s Companions who fought against Musailama). (I went to him) and found ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab sitting with him. Abu Bakr then said (to me), “Umar has come to me and said: “Casualties were heavy among the Qurra’ of the! Qur’an (i.e. those who knew the Quran by heart) on the day of the Battle of Yalmama, and I am afraid that more heavy casualties may take place among the Qurra’ on other battlefields, whereby a large part of the Qur’an may be lost. Therefore I suggest, you (Abu Bakr) order that the Qur’an be collected.” I said to ‘Umar, “How can you do something which Allah’s Apostle did not do?” ‘Umar said, “By Allah, that is a good project. “Umar kept on urging me to accept his proposal till Allah opened my chest for it and I began to realize the good in the idea which ‘Umar had realized.” Then Abu Bakr said (to me). ‘You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you, and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah’s Apostle. So you should search for (the fragmentary scripts of) the Qur’an and collect it in one book).” By Allah If they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur’an. Then I said to Abu Bakr, “How will you do something which Allah’s Apostle did not do?” Abu Bakr replied, “By Allah, it is a good project.” Abu Bakr kept on urging me to accept his idea until Allah opened my chest for what He had opened the chests of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. So I started looking for the Qur’an and collecting it from (what was written on) palmed stalks, thin white stones and also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last Verse of Surat At-Tauba (Repentance) with Abi Khuzaima Al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him. The Verse is: ‘Verily there has come unto you an Apostle (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty..(till the end of Surat-Baraa’ (At-Tauba) (Surah 9.128-129) Then the complete manuscripts (copy) of the Qur’an remained with Abu Bakr till he died, then with ‘Umar till the end of his life, and then with Hafsa, the daughter of ‘Umar.
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and ‘AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. Said bin Thabit added, “A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur’an and I used to hear Allah’s Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): ‘Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.’ (Surah 33.23)
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr sent for me and said, “You used to write the Divine Revelations for Allah’s Apostle : So you should search for (the Qur’an and collect) it.” I started searching for the Qur’an till I found the last two Verses of Surat At-Tauba with Abi Khuzaima Al-Ansari and I could not find these Verses with anybody other than him. (They were): ‘Verily there has come unto you an Apostle (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty …’ (Surah 9.128-129) Hadith, Sahih Al Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, no. 509, 510, 511)
Hadith, Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, no. 509, 510, 511 (my embolding for emphasis)
What is better: An honest look at the textual history and evidence of the earliest manuscripts by a freely transmitted text, under persecution until 313 AD, as in the NT, or a controlled text by the government and state of Islam with the power of the sword to enforce the new text, as in the Qur’an?
“I am afraid . . . that a large part ( کثیر ) will be lost”
Uthman ordered all other materials burnt . . .
See also here, for a great video introduction to the general issue of the burning of the older copies and fragments of the Qur’an ordered by Uthman, the 3rd Sunni Caliph. (video by David Wood and the late Nabeel Qureshi)
A Muslim by the name of Vaqas Rehman, asked: (see the combox)
Question for you Ken, do you even know what the qiraat and ahruf are?
My Answer: Apparently you did not read the middle part of my post (between the videos), where I provided Eric bin Kisam’s definition of the Ahruf and Qira’at. (and link over to Paul Williams’ old blog, where we discussed these issues before). (the old one that Ijaz took over for a while)
He gave one of the Ahruf as “a dialect / vocabulary/language of the Qureshi tribe”
به = to, according to, in, at, with, for, through
لغه or لغت = language, vocabulary, dialect, word
قریش = Quresh – tribe of Quresh, the Qureshi tribe
Ok, but that means both the Ahruf and the Qira’at (ways of pronouncing out loud, oral method of vocalization, reading out loud, reciting.) – both are oral issues, not written text issues – and Dr. Qadhi says 10 ways of reciting (in the post provided by Ijaz), but Eric Bin Kisam says 7 Ahruf and 7 Qira’at.
So, was there 7 different Qur’ans with the proper vocalizations (lines, dots, punctuation, accent marks) at the time of Muhammad on the written text so that each tribe can recite the Qur’an properly? Where are these 7 or 10 Qira’ats and where are the 7 (or 3 or whatever, even Dr. Qadhi says this in his answers to Muhammad Hijab) and where are the written text of all the different Ahruf.
We have these words in Farsi, by the way; they come to us from Arabic.
احرُف = Ahruf = the plural form of Harf حرف = letter, can also mean speech, talk. In the context of the science / knowledge of Islam and the Qur’an, it seems to mean the different dialects of the different tribes in Arabia.
لغت ( I am using the Farsi version of لغه without the two dots over the final form of ه = Loqat = vocabulary, word, dialect, language
قرائت ، قراءت ، قراعت = reading out loud, reciting, oral reciting