Introduction to the Ten Reciters and Their Transmitters

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco included this useful summary of the ten well-known quraa’ – plural form of qaari, reciter” – and the two ruwaat – plural form of raawi, “transmitter” – of the well-known qiraa’aat – plural form of qiraa’ah, “recitation” – of the Qur’an. Because of the prominence of the qiraa’ah of Naafi’ in North Africa, the section of Naafi’ received greater detail than others sections, but this discussion also touches on some of the important history of the qiraa’aat in the Western parts of the Islamic world and the formalization of this very list. What follows is the original Arabic article and our English translation:

ظهور القراءات السبع ودخولها إلى الأقطار المغربية
The Emergence of the Seven Qiraa’aat and Their Entrance into the Western Islamic Lands

والمقصود بالقراءات السبع قراءات سبعة قراء من أئمة أهل الأمصار الخمسة المشهورة، وهم:ـ

What is meant by “the seven qiraa’aat” are those seven qiraa’aat of the leading reciters of the five major cities. Those leading reciters were:

ـ 1- نافع بن أبي نُعَيْم المدني إمام أهل المدينة في القراءة، أصله من أصبهان ببلاد فارس، و ولد بالمدينة، وقرأ على قرائها بالمسجد النبوي. ولد سنة 70هـ ــ690م وتوفي سنة 169هـ ــ786م. ـ

1. Naafi’ ibn Abi Nu’aym al-Madani. He was the leader of the people of al-Madinah when it came to reciting. His origins go back to Isfahan in Persia, and he was born in al-Madinah where he studied under its leading reciters in the Prophet’s Masjid. He was born in 70AH/690CE and died in 169AH/786CE.

اشتهر من رواة قراءته عدد كثير، ومنهم في “العشر الصغير” كما سيأتي أربعة من الرواة، واشتهر في القراءات السبع من الطرق المشهورة عنه راويان وهما: ـ

His qiraa’ah had a number of transmitters who became well-known, four of which are mentioned in al-‘Ashr al-Sagheer as will be discussed later. As for the widely-known routes of transmission mentioned in the seven qiraa’aat, the there are two transmitters, who are:

أبو سعيد عثمان بن سعيد المصري الملقب بورش -بسكون الراء- رحل ورش إلى المدينة فعرض القراءة على نافع، وروى عنه عدد الآي على مذهب أهل المدينة، ورجع فتصدر في مدينة الفسطاط بمصر، ورحل إليه القراء من الآفاق، من المغرب والأندلس وغيرهما إلى أن توفي بمصر سنة 197هـ ــ813م ـ

a) Abu Sa’eed ‘Uthman ibn Sa’eed al-Misri, more commonly known as Warsh. Warsh traveled to al-Madinah and recited to Naafi’, and he transmitted the ayah numbering system of al-Madinah from Naafi’. He then returned to al-Fustat in Egypt and became a leading teacher and reciters from the various lands traveled to study under him – from the Maghreb, Andalusia and elsewhere. And so it continued until he passed away in Egypt in the year 197AH/813CE.

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Principles and Examples of Analyzing the Themes of a Surah: al-Shatibi

In part of a longer discussion of understanding the context of the Qur’an and its intended meaning, Imam ِAbu Ishaq Ibrahim al-Shatibi provided some beneficial words regarding how to analyze the theme of a surah and an enlightening example of this process in action regarding surah al-Mu’minoon (23):

فالذي يكون على بال من المستمع والمتفهم والالتفات إلى أول الكلام وآخره بحسب القضية وما اقتضاه الحال فيها لا ينظر في أولها دون آخرها ولا في آخرها دون أولها فإن القضية وإن اشتملت على جمل فبعضها متعلق بالبعض لأنها قضية واحدة نازلة فى شيء واحد فلا محيص للمتفهم عن رد آخر الكلام على أوله وأوله على آخره وإذ ذاك يحصل مقصود الشارع فى فهم المكلف

The through-line of an address from its beginning to its end through all of its different topics is a central concern of anyone listening and trying to understand. One does not look at the beginning of a text while ignoring the end or at the end while ignoring the beginning, for even if the topic includes many different sections, each section is connected to the others since there is one central topic throughout. So anyone trying to understand a text cannot avoid referring the end of a text back to the beginning and connecting the beginning to the end. If one follows the through-line, he will grasp the meaning that Allah intended for the recipients to understand.

فإن فرق النظر فى أجزائه فلا يتوصل به إلى مراده فلا يصح الاقتصار في النظر على بعض أجزاء الكلام دون بعض إلا في موطن واحد وهو النظر في فهم الظاهر بحسب اللسان العربي وما يقتضيه لا بحسب مقصود المتكلم

If one analyzes the different sections in isolation, he will not be able to grasp the overall meaning. That is why it is not a sound approach to limit one’s analysis to one part of a text to the exclusion of the rest. There is only one exception to that rule, which is when analyzing the surface-level meaning from a linguistic perspective and what that conveys, not when one is searching for the overarching meaning intended by the speaker.

وقد يعينه على هذا المقصد النظر فى أسباب التنزيل فإنها تبين كثيرا من المواضع التي يختلف مغزاها على الناظر

Also, considering the circumstances surrounding the revelation may help one to understand the through-line, for that will clarify many instances in which the intended meaning is confusing to the reader. Continue reading