Responding to Doubts About the Qiraa’aat and Their Chains of Transmission: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following “doubt and response” post surrounding the qiraa’aat – multiple recitations of the Qur’an – and their preservation:

شبهة : بعض القراءات سندها فيه رواة ضعفاء، بل بعض القراء السبعة طعن في ضبطه، فقراءته غير مقبولة لأن سندها من طريقه! ـ

Doubt: Some of the qiraa’aat have weak transmitters in their chains of transmission. What’s more, the precise transmission of some of the seven famous reciters themselves has been questioned. So therefore these qiraa’aat do not meet the level of acceptability since they have been transmitted through these routes!

ردها : القراءة لا تعتمد في ثبوتها على أسانيدها المذكورة في أول كتب القراءات؛ إنما تعتمد على تلقيها كافة عن كافة حتى وصلت إلينا. فكل قراءة من هذه القراءات السبع أو العشر، إنما تعتمد على نقل الكافة عن الكافة طبقة عن طبقة حتى وصلت إلينا…. فهي متواترة لا تحتاج إلى أفراد الأسانيد في ثبوتها. ـ

Response: The authenticity and reliability of a qiraa’ah is not dependent on the chains of transmission found in the beginnings of the books of the qiraa’aat; it depends on the oral transmission from numerous teachers to numerous students over time until it has reached us.

Each one of the seven or ten qiraa’aat is based on mass transmission from one generation to the next until it has been passed down to us. So this transmission is mutawaatir; individual chains of narration are not needed to show the authenticity of these qiraa’aat.

فإن قيل: ما محل أسانيد القراءات المثبتة في بداية كتب القراءات؟ فالجواب : الأسانيد المثبتة في أول كتب القراءات، لكل قاريء من القراء العشرة أو القراء السبعة؛ هي أسانيد رواية الاختيار لا أقل ولا أكثر.فلا يعتمد عليها في التواتر، وكيف تكون هي العمدة في التواتر منتهاها إلى الرواة عن القاريء ، فهي في نهايتها سند آحاد، بينما القرآن إنما ثبت بالتواتر طبقة عن طبقة؟! ـ

One might then ask, “Then what is the purpose of the chains of transmission for these qiraa’aat invariably found in the beginnings of the books of the qiraa’aat?”

The answer is that these chains of narrations found in the beginnings of the books of the qiraa’aat for every one of the reciters of the seven or ten qiraa’aat are simply chains of that particular route of transmission – nothing more and nothing less. These chains are not the basis for them having the status of mutawaatir transmission. How could they be when they go back to singular transmitters of the original reciters, making the beginning of the chains instances of transmission from just one person to one other person? Meanwhile, the Qur’an has been affirmed as being transmitted at a mutawaatir level from generation to generation!

والخطأ الذي أوقع في هذه الشبهة هو ظن أن أسانيد الاختيار والرواية التي تذكر في أول كتب القراءات هي أسانيد ثبوت القراءة القرآنية، وهذا خطأ فإن الاعتماد في ثبوت القرآن على التواتر وهو نقل الكافة عن الكافة، إنما تذكر هذه الأسانيد ثبوت الاختيار لهذا الراوية عن هذا القاريء. وعدم الانتباه إلى هذا أوقع في هذا اللبس والشبهة. ـ

The mistake that people fall into with this doubt is thinking that the selected chains of transmission which are mentioned in the beginnings of the books of the qiraa’aat are actually chains for proving that a particular qiraa’ah authentically meets the criteria of being considered Qur’an. This is a mistake because the source for proving that the Qur’an has been transmitted at a mutawaatir level is the transmission of many teachers to many students. These chains of transmission are only mentioned for the purposes of affirming that this particular way of reciting was indeed transmitted from a particular reciter. So failing to pay attention to this point results in one falling into confusion and doubt.

قال ابن الجزري في منجد المقرئين ومرشد الطالبين (ص: 81): “وقد سألت شيخنا إمام الأئمة أبا المعالي رحمه الله تعالى عن هذا الموضع فقال: انحصار الأسانيد في طائفة لا يمنع مجيء القرآن عن غيرهم فلقد كان يتلقاه أهل كل بلد يقرؤه منهم الجم الغفير عن مثلهم وكذلك دائما والتواتر حاصل لهم، ولكن الأئمة الذين تصدوا لضبط الحروف وحفظوا شيوخهم منها وجاء السند من جهتهم وهذه الأخبار الواردة في حجة الوداع ونحوها أجلي ولم تزل حجة الوداع منقولة عمن يحصل بهم التواتر عن مثلهم في كل عصر فهذه كذلك وقال: هذا موضع ينبغي التنبيه له. ا. هـ.”اهـ ـ

Ibn al-Jazari wrote in his book al-Munjid al-Muqri’een wa Murshid al-Talibeen (page 81):

I asked our sheikh, the scholar of scholars, Abu’l-Mu’ali, about this issue and he said: Only mentioning the chains of transmission of certain people does not mean that the Qur’an was not transmitted by others, for there has been an enormous amount of people in every land who have recited the Qur’an to similarly large numbers. That is how it has always been, and the level of mutawaatir transmission has been achieved in this way. However, it is the leading scholars who show great concern for precisely articulating each letter and from whom the great teachers memorized, and it is through them that the chains of narration have come. The transmitted reports of the Farewell Pilgrimage or other similar events provide an even clearer example: reports of the Farewell Pilgrimage have been continuously transmitted at a mutawaatir level to a similar number of people in every generation. So the case of the transmission of the qiraa’aat is similar to that.

And he also said: People need to be alerted to this topic.

والله الموفق. 22 شوال 1441 هـ ـ

And Allah is the grantor of success.

Shawwaal 22, 1441

[As found on the sheikh’s Facebook page here on June 14, 2020]

Read more about the qiraa’aat in our Qiraa’aat Article Index

See also: Benefits of the Multiple Qiraa’aat: al-Suyooti

See also: The Early History of the Qiraa’aat: al-Suyooti

See also: Attributing the Qiraa’aat to the Seven Reciters: Muhammad Bazmool

See also: Clarifying some Misconceptions about the Seven Qiraa’aat: Ibn Taymiyah

One thought on “Responding to Doubts About the Qiraa’aat and Their Chains of Transmission: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

  1. Pingback: The Chains of the Seven Famous Reciters From Highest to Lowest | Tulayhah

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