Fatwa: # 43768
Category: Quran
Country:
Date: 13th January 2020

Title

The Sab’ah Ahruf

Question

Assalam o Elaikum Respected Mufti Sahab,

I am very much confused when I learned about the textual and oral differences between 7 different versions of recitations of Quran? For example Warsh and Hafs. My few Questions are below please answer them.

1: We believe the Quran is the word of ALLAH and is protected by ALLAH himself from any corruption then how come we have 7 different versions althought the differences are minute and don’t change the overall meaning but still is a difference?

 2: The Quran is written in Loh-e-Mehfoz and was revealed on Prophet SAW from there. So which version is written in the Loh-e-Mehfooz even if it is allowed to read in 7 ways. Can i say that the Quran I have in my home is word by word same as written in Loh-e-mehfooz and as was revealed on Prophet SAW? Knowing that it has 7 versions with minor variations? How can i Claim it to be the same then? 

Thank you.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

A fundamental tenet of our faith is to believe that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was sent as a messenger to all of mankind. His Shari’ah is the Deen Almighty Allah has chosen for mankind till the end of time. Furthermore, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was sent to a nation renowned for their rich language. Till today, the Arabs pride themselves over their language. Arabic contains innumerable nuances that take years to master. This language was at its peak during the blessed era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). As is often the case, due to the number of tribes present, a myriad of dialects sprung up, each as prevalent as the other. It was to such a nation and at such a time that the Holy Quran was revealed to, in all its glory.

To facilitate ease for the people, the Holy Quran was revealed in a form which would accommodate the different dialects without causing any conflicting differences in its meanings. The following hadith explains the incident,[i]

عَنْ أُبَىِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ عِنْدَ أَضَاةِ بَنِي غِفَارٍ - قَالَ - فَأَتَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكَ أَنْ تَقْرَأَ أُمَّتُكَ الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ  أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ مُعَافَاتَهُ وَمَغْفِرَتَهُ وَإِنَّ أُمَّتِي لاَ تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ أَتَاهُ الثَّانِيَةَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكَ أَنْ تَقْرَأَ أُمَّتُكَ الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى حَرْفَيْنِ فَقَالَ‏ أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ مُعَافَاتَهُ وَمَغْفِرَتَهُ وَإِنَّ أُمَّتِي لاَ تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ‏.‏ ثُمَّ جَاءَهُ الثَّالِثَةَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكَ أَنْ تَقْرَأَ أُمَّتُكَ الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى ثَلاَثَةِ أَحْرُفٍ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏‏أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ مُعَافَاتَهُ وَمَغْفِرَتَهُ وَإِنَّ أُمَّتِي لاَ تُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ جَاءَهُ الرَّابِعَةَ فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكَ أَنْ تَقْرَأَ أُمَّتُكَ الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَحْرُفٍ فَأَيُّمَا حَرْفٍ قَرَءُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَدْ أَصَابُوا ‏.

Translation: “Ubayy ibn Ka’b reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was near the tank of Banu Ghifar when Jibraeel (Alayhis Salaam) came to him and said: Allah has commanded you to recite to your people the Quran in one dialect. Upon this he said: I ask from Allah pardon and forgiveness. My people are not capable of doing it. He then came for the second time and said: Allah has commanded you that you should recite the Quran to your people in two dialects. Upon this he again said: I seek pardon and forgiveness from Allah, my people would not be able to do so. He (Jibraeel) came for the third time and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Quran to your people in three dialects. Upon this he said: I ask pardon and forgiveness from Allah. My people would not be able to do it. He then came to him for the fourth time and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Quran to your people in seven dialects, and in whichever dialect they would recite, they would be right.”

This proves that the different dialects are infact a method of protecting the Holy Quran. These differences are not man-made. As such, no doubt should arise in one’s mind.

For further detail on what is meant by Sab’ah Ahruf (سبعة أحرف), kindly refer to link below.

http://askimam.org/public/question_detail/29583

With regards to your second query,

As Muslims, it is our duty to ensure that the Holy Quran we read has reached us authentically, with Tawaatur (popular chain of narrators), from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). We are certain that we have accomplished this objective, therefore, Insha-Allah, we hope that the Holy Quran we possess in our homes is the one contained within the Lawh-e-Mahfoodh. The link provided above will expound further on the matter.  

Respected Brother,

The matters of the Lawh-e-Mahfoodh are beyond human comprehension. The Lawh-e-Mahfoodh transcends the physical realm into the realms of the unseen. It is therefore fallacious to try and compare the two. The fact is, our feeble human minds are unable to comprehend matters of the unseen. As Muslims, our duty is to simply believe in them as Almighty Allah has commanded us to submit. The scholars of the past have gone in-depth into such discussions. However, the common layman is often unable to grasp the technical aspect of such intricacies.

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Bilal Yusuf Pandor

Student Darul Iftaa

Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 


صحيح مسلم (1/ 562) [i]

274 - (821) وحدثنا أبو بكر بن أبي شيبة، حدثنا غندر، عن شعبة، ح وحدثناه ابن المثنى، وابن بشار، قال ابن المثنى: حدثنا محمد بن جعفر، حدثنا شعبة، عن الحكم، عن مجاهد، عن ابن أبي ليلى، عن أبي بن كعب، أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان عند أضاة بني غفار، قال: فأتاه جبريل عليه السلام، فقال: إن الله يأمرك أن تقرأ أمتك القرآن على حرف، فقال: «أسأل الله معافاته ومغفرته، وإن أمتي لا تطيق ذلك»، ثم أتاه الثانية، فقال: «إن الله يأمرك أن تقرأ أمتك القرآن على حرفين»، فقال: «أسأل الله معافاته ومغفرته، وإن أمتي لا تطيق ذلك»، ثم جاءه الثالثة، فقال: إن الله يأمرك أن تقرأ أمتك القرآن على ثلاثة أحرف، فقال: «أسأل الله معافاته ومغفرته، وإن أمتي لا تطيق ذلك»، ثم جاءه الرابعة، فقال: إن الله يأمرك أن تقرأ أمتك القرآن على سبعة أحرف، فأيما حرف قرءوا عليه فقد أصابوا

 

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