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:
An explanation of how to understand some of the hadith narrations on this subject
A discussion of the compilation of the Qur’an that was carried out during the rule of Abu Bakr at the suggestion of ‘Umar
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.
Ibn Kathir discusses who arranged the surahs in the Qur’an, as well as some etiquettes pertaining to reciting the Qur’an.
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: