‘Uthman’s Gathering the Qur’an According to One Harf: Sheikh bin Baaz

Former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz was asked the following question:

هل صحيح أن عثمان رضي الله عنه عندما جمع القرآن في مصحف واحد حذف بعض الأحرف أم أنه أثبت بعض القراءات دون بعض؟ ـ

Is it true that when ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) gathered the Qur’an into one single written collection he discarded some of the ahruf or that he established one of the qiraa’aat as official to the exclusion of the others?

He replied by saying:

 ثبت عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قوله: ((إن هذا القرآن أنزل على سبعة أحرف فاقرؤوا ما تيسر منه))[1]، وقال المحققون من أهل العلم: إنها متقاربة في المعنى مختلفة في الألفاظ. وعثمان رضي الله عنه لما بلغه اختلاف الناس وجاءه حذيفة رضي الله عنه وقال: (أدرك الناس) استشار الصحابة الموجودين في زمانه كعلي وطلحة والزبير وغيرهم فأشاروا بجمع القرآن على حرف واحد حتى لا يختلف الناس فجمعه رضي الله عنه، وكون لجنة رباعية لهذا، ويرأسهم زيد بن ثابت رضي الله عنه، فجمعوا القرآن على حرف واحد وكتبه ووزعه في الأقاليم حتى يعتمده الناس وحتى ينقطع النزاع، أما القراءات السبع أو القراءات العشر فهي موجودة في نفس ما جمعه عثمان رضي الله عنه في زيادة حرف أو نقص حرف، أو مد أو شكل للقرآن، كل هذا داخل في الحرف الواحد الذي جمعه عثمان رضي الله عنه، والمقصود من ذلك حفظ كلام الله ومنع الناس من الاختلاف الذي قد يضرهم ويسبب الفتنة بينهم، والله جل وعلا لم يوجب القراءة بالأحرف السبعة بل قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: ((فاقرأوا ما تيسر منه))[2] فجمع الناس على حرف واحد عمل طيب ويشكر عليه عثمان والصحابة رضي الله عنهم وأرضاهم لما فيه من التيسير والتسهيل وحسم مادة الخلاف بين المسلمين. ـ

It is reliably transmitted that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “This Qur’an has been revealed in seven ahruf, so recite whichever of them is easy for you.” And the expert scholars have said that these ahruf are very near in meaning but differ in wordings.

When news of the people differing reached ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) and Hudhaifah (may Allah be pleased with him) said to him, “Save the people!”, he consulted with the Sahabah who were alive during his era, such as ‘Ali, Talhah, al-Zubayr and others, and they advised him to collect the Qur’an according to one single harf so that the people would not differ.

So ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) collected it, and he created a four-person committee to do so, of which he placed Zayd ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him) as its leader. So they collected the Qur’an according to one single harf, put it in written form, and distributed this to the various regions so the people could rely on that and would not be divided by differences.

As for the seven qiraa’aat or the ten qiraa’aat, these are present within what ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) gathered together – in terms of a letter being added or subtracted, or elongating certain letters or the articulation of the Qur’an. All of these things fall within the single harf which ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) gathered together.

And the entire purpose behind all this was to preserve the word of Allah and to prevent the people from falling into discord which would harm them and bring about tribulation between them.

And Allah did not make it mandatory to recite the Qur’an with all seven of the ahruf. Rather, what the Prophet said was, “Recite whichever of them is easy for you.” So uniting the people on one single harf was a good action and ‘Uthman and the Sahabah ought to be thanked for that (may Allah be pleased with them and they with him) due to the ease and simplification that came from this, as well as their ending this source of differing among the Muslims.

[Taken from the sheikh‘s website here]

For more details about the gathering of the Qur’an, see: The Gathering of the Qur’an Series: Tafsir ibn Kathir

For more details about the ahruf and qiraa’aat, visit: Qiraa’aat Article Index

See also: A Note on the Different Qiraa’aat: Sheikh bin Baaz

Click here to explore more articles from sheikh bin Baaz

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