Why do the Transmitters of a Single Qiraa’ah Differ?: Makki ibn Abi Taalib

In one of his writings, Makki ibn Abi Taalib, a great scholar of the qiraa’aat from the earlier generations, took up the question of why two transmitters of a single qiraa’ah would differ if they both learned from the same reciter. In his answer, he used the example of the most common recitations from his home of North Africa and al-Andalus as his primary examples:

باب: “العلة في كثرة اختلاف المروي عن الأئمة القراء” ـ
The Reason Why There are Many Differences Transmitted from the Leading Reciters

فإن سأل سائل، فقال: ما العلة التي من أجلها كثر الاختلاف عن هذه الأئمة، وكل واحد منهم قد انفرد بقراءة اختارها مما قرأ به على أئمته؟ ـ

If someone were to ask, “Why is it that there are many differences relayed from these leading reciters when each one of them has just one recitation which he chose and which he recited to his teachers?”

فالجواب: أن كل واحد من الأئمة قرأ على جماعة بقراءات مختلفة، فنقل ذلك على ما قرأ، فكانوا في برهة من أعمارهم يقرئون الناس بما قرءوا، فمن قرأ عليهم بأي حرف كان لم يرده عنه، إذا كان ذلك مما قرءوا به على أئمتهم. ـ

We could respond by saying that each one of the leading reciters used to recite a number of different qiraa’aat, and so they transmitted these different qiraa’aat to their students. At any particular moment in their lives, people were reciting to them with the recitation that was most familiar to them. So whoever recited in any of the acceptable ways, they would not reject that so long as it was something which they themselves had recited to their teachers.

ألا ترى أن نافعا قال: قرأت على سبعين من التابعين، فما اتفق عليه اثنان أخذته، وما شذ فيه واحد تركته؟. يريد، والله أعلم، مما خالف المصحف. فكان مما قرأ عليه بما اتفق فيه اثنان من أئمته لم ينكر عليه ذلك. ـ

Haven’t you seen what Naafi’ said? “I recited to seventy of the taabi’oon, so I took whatever two of them agreed on, and I left whatever was particular to just one.” Here, and Allah knows best, he was referring to the things which differed from the text of the official ‘Uthmani mushaf. So then, whoever recited to him with anything that two of his teachers had both held, he would not disapprove of that. Continue reading

Why do the Qiraa’aat Differ?: Makki ibn Abi Taalib

Makki ibn Abi Taalib, one of the great scholars of the Qur’anic sciences among the earlier generations, posed the following question and answer in his book al-Ibaanah dealing with some foundational issues around the qiraa’aat, or multiple recitations of the Qur’an. What follows is one chapter from this work:

باب: “سبب اختلاف القراءة فيما يحتمله خط المصحف” ـ
Chapter: The Reason Why the Qiraa’aat Differ Within the Bounds of the Text of the Official ‘Uthmani Mushaf

فإن سأل سائل فقال: ما السبب الذي أوجب أن تختلف القراءة، فيما يحتمله خط المصحف، فقرءوا بألفاظ مختلفة في السمع والمعنى واحد. نحو: جُذوة وجِذوة، وجَذوة. وقرءوا بألفاظ مختلفة في السمع وفي المعنى نحو: يُسَيِّركم، ويَنْشُرُكم. وكل ذلك لا يخالف الخط في رأي العين؟ ـ

If someone were to ask: What is it that causes the qiraa’aat to differ within the bounds the text of the official ‘Uthmani mushaf?

The reciters may recite variant wordings in how they are pronounced while the meaning is one, such as

لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جُذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ

… perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a judwah … [28:29 according to the qiraa’ah of Hamzah and Khalaf]

لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جِذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ

… perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a jidwah … [28:29 according to the qiraa’ah of Naafi’, ibn Kathir, Abu ‘Amr, and ibn ‘Aamir]

لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ

… perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a jadwah … [28:29 according to the qiraa’ah of ‘Aasim]

And sometimes they recite variant wordings in terms of both their pronunciation and meanings, such as:

هُوَ الَّذِي يُسَيِّرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ

It is He Who enables you to travel through the land and the sea … [10:22]

هُوَ الَّذِي يُنْشِرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ

It is He who disperses you throughout the land and the sea … [10:22 according to the qiraa’ah of ibn ‘Aamir]

And all the while none of these are in conflict with the text of the official ‘Uthmani mushaf in terms of its appearance (i.e. the form of the words without dots of tashkeel). Continue reading

What about the Qiraa’ah of ibn Mas’ood?: Makki ibn Abi Taalib

Makki ibn Abi Taalib, one of the great scholars of the Qur’anic sciences among the earlier generations, posed and responded to the following question in part of a larger work addressing a number of questions surrounding the multiple recitations of the Qur’an, or qiraa’aat:

فإن قيل: قد روي عن النبي “صلى الله عليه وسلم”، أنه قال: “من أراد أن يقرأ القرآن غضا، فليقرأه بقراءة ابن أم عبد”، يعني ابن مسعود. وعنه أنه قال: “من أراد أن يسمع كلام الله غضا، كما أنزل فليسمعه من في ابن أم عبد”. وقد تركت قراءة ابن مسعود اليوم، ومنع مالك وغيره أن يقرأ بالقراءة، التي تنسب إلى ابن مسعود. ـ

If one were to ask: It has been transmitted that the Prophet said:

Whoever wants to recite the Qur’an fresh, then let him recite with the recitation of ibn Umm ‘Abd

– meaning ibn Mas’ood. And he also said:

Whoever wants to hear Allah’s speech fresh just as it was sent down, then let him listen to ibn Umm ‘Abd.

But the qiraa’ah of ibn Mas’ood has been abandoned today, and imam Maalik and others forbade reciting with the qiraa’ah that has been attributed to ibn Mas’ood.

فالجواب: أن ما قاله الحسين بن علي الجعفي قال: إن معنى ذلك أن ابن مسعود كان يرتل القرآن، فحض النبي الناس على ترتيل القرآن بهذا القول. دليله قوله في الحديث الآخر: فليسمعه من في ابن مسعود، فحض على سماع ترتيل القرآن. وكذلك الجواب عن الحديث الذي روى عنه “صلى الله عليه وسلم”، أنه قال: “من أراد أن يقرا القرآن غضا كما أنزل، فليقرأه كما يقرأ ابن مسعود”. ـ

The response would be what al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali al-Ja’fi said: that the meaning of all that is that ibn Mas’ood used to recite the Qur’an at a slow and measured pace, so the Prophet was encouraging the people to also recite in a slow and measured pace with these statements.

The support for this comes in the latter of the two hadith, “…then let him listen to ibn Mas’ood.” So he was encouraging the people to listen to this slow and measured recitation of the Qur’an. And this would also be the response to another hadith that the Prophet said:

Whoever wants to recite the Qur’an fresh as it was sent down, then let him recite it as ibn Mas’ood recites it. Continue reading