7 Qira’ah and Ahruf of the Qur’an

Fatwa ID: 03801

Answered by: Maulana Moinul Abu Hamza

 

Question

Assalamu Alaikum Respected Mufti Sahab,

 

I am very much confused when I learned about the textual and oral differences between the 7 different versions of recitations of the 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 although 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 the 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?

 

 

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

Answer:

The qira’aat vary in ways of recitation whereas the variation in some words is a different matter. The qira’aat (modes of recitation) revolve around the ahruf (variances in words) and the most well-known Qira’aat became more prominent depending on their varying proliferations over history.

 

The challenge of the Quran is that if this book can be matched by any man, with any mode of qiraa’ah, that revolves around any of the variances in wording, then, this book is not from Allah (swt). No-one has met this challenge. Therefore, the variances in ahruf are our concern, not the Qira’ah. The ahruf which all came by means of Tawatur[1] were known due to the hadith: “The Qur’ān has been revealed in Sab‘ah (seven) Ahruf.” [2]

 

As outlined by Imām Razi, his choice of categories are:

  • The difference of nouns being singular or plural, or being in the masculine or feminine form.
  • The difference of verbs being in the past, present, or imperative tense.
  • Differences in grammar rules. (Nahw and Sarf rules)                                   
  • The difference between omission and addition of words in different Qirā’āt (variants).                      
  • The difference of a word preceding another in one Qirā’at (variant) and the opposite in another.
  • The difference between interchanging words or letters for each other. The difference between dialects in particular words.[3]

 

As can be seen, this is not a new matter or something that troubles scholars of the past, in fact, this increased the ambit of interpretation within the sciences of exegesis. Care should be taken in differentiating the difference between small differences between the in some words which are from the seven “ahruf” as opposed to the seven “qira’aat’. The seven ahruf, as in, the differences in wording are all said to be revealed on the Prophet (pbuh) and all subject to the challenge, the qira’aat revolve around some of those ahruf. In conclusion, the mushaf reflect the ahruf that was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) which in turn were inscribed on the preserved Tablet.    

 

 

Only Allah knows best

Written by Maulana Moinul Abu Hamza

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

 

 


[1] As in, passed on by the memorization and writing over the centuries by those who memorized the Qur’an with an unbroken chain from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

 

[2] Sahih al-Bukhari 2419

 

[3] Manāhil-ul-‘Irfān, Vol 1, Pg 132 / Al-Itqān, Pg 125

 

 

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