The Gathering of the Qur’an Series: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Before proceeding on his ayah-by-ayah explanation of the Qur’an, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir devoted the first 100 pages of his famous tafsir to an introduction touching on many important topics related to the Qur’an. After some introductory notes and a chapter on the merits of the Qur’an, ibn Kathir dedicated a chapter of about ten pages to “The Gathering of the Qur’an” – that is, the recording of the Qur’an during the time of the Prophet, its initial collection during the time of Abu Bakr, and its compilation under the direction of ‘Uthman. We have translated this chapter and divided it in into five separate articles as follows:

Who Memorized the Qur’an During the Lifetime of the Prophet?

An explanation of how to understand some of the hadith narrations on this subject

Abu Bakr and ‘Umar’s Service to the Qur’an

A discussion of the compilation of the Qur’an that was carried out during the rule of Abu Bakr at the suggestion of ‘Umar

‘Uthman’s Service to the Qur’an

A long discussion of the standardization of the Qur’an during the rule of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, the dissemination of these official ‘Uthmani Mushafs to the different regions, the command to destroy any unofficial copies of the Qur’an, and the consensus of the Sahabah on these actions. This section also mentions what ultimately happened to the earlier compilation of Abu Bakr and the original ‘Uthmani Mushafs.

The Arrangement of the Qur’an

Ibn Kathir discusses who arranged the surahs in the Qur’an, as well as some etiquettes pertaining to reciting the Qur’an.

ibn Mas’ood and the ‘Uthmani Mushaf

The author mentions some of the reports of Abdullah ibn Mas’ood’s initial response to ‘Uthman’s decisions and offers comments and explanations on these narrations.

We ask Allah to make this effort a source of benefit for the original author, the translator, and all those who read it and make it a means of spreading knowledge, dispelling doubts, and strengthening the eemaan of our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Khalil Klopfenstein (Translator and Administrator)

For further reading on the preservation and transmission of the Qur’an, please see the following articles:

A Brief History of the Preservation of the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad

Preservation of the Wordings and Meanings of the Qur’an among the Salaf: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah

The Collection of Abu Bakr and the Mushaf of ‘Uthman: ibn Hajr

The Dots and Tashkeel in the Mushaf: ibn Taymiyah

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

Clarification on the Ahruf and Qiraa’aat of the Qur’an: ibn Hajr

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

The Sahabah and Tabi’oon known for their Tafsir: al-Suyooti