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Preservation of the Holy Quran

  • In the first chapter of book two, we discussed revelation, recording and compilation of the Holy Qur’an.
  • The process of recording the Quran from the time of the Prophet to the Swahabas time aimed at preserving it.
  • In this chapter, we are going to discuss how the recorded and compiled Qur’an was preserved.
  • Preservation literally, refers to the act of preventing, protecting, conserving or safe guarding something or a piece of information from interference.
  • People preserve information for the sake of referring to it in future so that its authenticity is not lost.
  • Technically, preservation of the Qur’an refers to the process of employing measures to maintain or keep the originality and authenticity of the Qur’an as it was revealed.
  • It also means to prevent the Qur’an from interference.
  • Allah (SWT) Has promised to protect the Qur’an from any corruption.
  • Allah (SWT) says,

    إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ 

    We have, without doubt, send down the message; And We will assuredly (guard it from corruption.)”[Q 15:9]
  • It was very important for the Qur’an to be preserved through out the stages of its use.
  • The process of preserving the Qur’an was done in three different periods.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) and his Swahabas (companions) took a major role in ensuring that the Qur’an maintained its originality.
  • Likewise, the present Muslims have made use of the advancement in technology to ensure that the Quran is preserved and can be accessed by many people.
  • Let us now look at each of the three phases of preservation of the Quran.

a) During the time of Prophet (PBUH)

  • In Form One, we discussed the reasons that led to the revelation of the Qur’an in portions.
  • We identified that some of these reasons were to allow room for memorization of the Qur’an and make its understanding and application easier.
  • Since the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the only source of reference and the sole transmitter of the Holy Qur’an (as he used to receive revelation from Angel Jibril (AS)), it was feared that after his demise nothing would be left to offer guidance to humanity.
  • Therefore the Prophet (PBUH) had to devise ways to preserve the Holy Qur’an and ensure that it reached future generations including ours.
  • The following are the ways in which the Prophet (PBUH) ensured that the Qur’an was preserved:
    • The Prophet used to instruct his scribes such as Zaid BinThabit, to write down the verses as they were revealed to him through Angel Jibril (AS). The scribes wrote them down on skins, wooden boards, bones and scrolls. This indeed was an assurance of the preservation of the Holy Qur’an.
    • The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged his companions to memorise the verses of the Holy Qur’an. In one of his Hadith narrated by Ismah bin Malik: that the Prophet(PBUH) said,
      If the Qur’an is enclosed by skin (i.e if a person memorises the entire Qur’an) then Allah (SWT) will never burn it in the fire of hell.” (Baihaqi)By this the Prophet was able to popularize the memorization of Qur’an.
    • The new converts were taught how to recite the Holy Qur’an correctly by the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) who had memorised and mastered the correct recitation.
    • After the battle of Badr, the Prophet (PBUH) asked the captives of war to teach the beleivers the art of writing in order to regain their freedom. Those who learnt how to write were then asked by the Prophet (PBUH) to write the verses of the Qur’an.
    • The Holy Qur’an was recited daily in swalat and being one of the compulsory requirements of any Swalat, it encouraged the preservation of the HolyBook. The Muslims had to learn and memorise several verses of the Qura’n which they recited in swalat.
    • The Prophet (PBUH) authorized a few companions who had weak memory to write down the verses of the Holy Qur’an thus encouraging its preservation.
      vi.vii. The Prophet encouraged the Muhajirun i.e. migrants from Makkah to Madina to teach Qur’an to the Ansar(helpers from Madina).
    •  Several women used to be taught the HolyQur’an by their husbands as part of their Mahr(dowry).
    • The Prophet (PBUH) cautioned his companions against forgetting parts of the Qur’an and informed them about the punishment awaiting them in the hereafter. This encouraged his companions to repeatedlyrecite the Qur’anhence helping in its preservation.
    • The hrophet taught and explained the verses of the Holy Qur’an.
    • The Prophet (PBUH) listened to the oral recitation of the Qur’an by his companions to ensure its accuraterecitation and pronunciation. He would correct them when they read or recited wrongly by repeating the verses for them until they mastered.
    • The entire Qur’an was recited during the Month of Ramadhan by the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions. This prophet’s tradition encouraged the reciters to preserve the Holy Qur’an.

b) Preservation during the time of Caliph

  • The caliphs had great love for the Qur’an and to ensure they preserved the Holy Scripture.
  • They did the following:
    • They applied the teachings of the Qur’an in their administration.
    • They used to recite the Qur’an frequently. For example, Caliph Uthman (RA) used to recite Qur’an daily and loudly outside his house. Even during the time of his assassination, he met his death while reading the Holy Qur’an.
    • The Qur’an continued to be recited in the daily Swalat(prayers) just like it had been practiced during the Prophet’s time.
    • They preserved the Qur’an in writing. It was written on date palm leaves, stone tablets, skin parchments, and shoulder blades of sheep or camels. It was also engraved on pieces of wood. Most of the Swahabas had written down their own personal copies which they refered to.

c) Preservation during the Present Time

  • The methods of storing information have advanced with time due to modern technology.
  • Apart from the methods used by the Prophet and the Caliphs, preservation of the Qura’n has also been achieved using the modern ways.
  • Some of the ways in which we preserve the glorious Qur’an today are as follows:
    • Recording in audio or visual devices electronic devices. For example cassettes, mobile phones, DVDs, CDs, IPods, MP3 which are easily accessible.
    • Broadcasting the Qur’an recitation and translation in Radio Stations.
    • Islamic Television Stations that broadcast the Qur’an recitation
    • Organizing competition programs on Qur’an recitation.
    • Constant recitation in daily prayers, as one of the pillars of prayer.
    • Recitation of the entire Qur’an by Hafidhs (those who have memorised the Qur’an) during Taraweh prayers in the month of Ramadhan encourages its preservation.
    • Translation of the Qur’an into various languages in order to understand its meaning. For example; Translation by Sheikh Abdullah Swaleh al Farsi.
    • In the print media, Qur’anic verses are written on wall hangings, stickers, calendars among others.
    • Copies of the Qur’an are available in print form in the Mosques, shops and homes.
    • The Qur’an is usually recited at the beginning and close of Islamic functions.

1. Standardization of Qur’an

  • Standardization refers to the process of employing measures to create uniformity and similarity.
  • We learnt that during the reign of caliph Uthman the Qur’an was recited in different dialects such as Kinaana, Quraish, Thaqeef, Hawazeen, Hudhyl and Tameem, which resulted in varied pronunciation.
  • This was observed in Provinces such as; Makkah, Madina, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Basra and Kufa.
  • Hence there was need for the Qur’an to be consistent.
  • Hudheifa came to Uthman (RA) at the time when the people of Syria and the people of Iraq were at war with Armenia and Azerbijan.
  • He was alarmed by the differences in the recitation by the people of Syria and Iraq, and he said to Uthman, “O leader of the believers! Save this nation before they dispute about the Qura’n as the Jews and the Christians did dispute about their books.” Uthman listened to the advice and took the noble task to ensure that the Qur’an is recited uniformly.
  • We shall therefore discuss some of the circumstances that led to the standardization of the Qur’an during the reign of Caliph Uthman (RA).
  • These are as follows;
    • The Qur’an was recited in seven dialects of the Arabic language. Each tribe wanted to popularize its own dialect thus posing unnecessary competition and at the same time creating confusion among the new converts. This also led to the misinterpretation of the Qur’an. It was therefore necessary to select a uniform dialect for the purpose of consistency and to unite all the Muslims.
    • The expansion of the Muslim empire. Islam spread rapidly during the time of the Caliphs. The new converts needed a copy of the Qura’n to refer to. The only available copy was the one compiled during Caliph Abubakar’s time and kept in the custody of Hafswa. It was therefore necessary to standardize the Qur’an so as to make its application easier. Several copies were also produced in order to make the Qura’n accessible to many Muslims.
    • The position of the Qura’n as the first source of Sharia for the Muslims. Standardization of the Qur’an was necessary in order to make it applicable to the entire Muslim Ummah.
  • Caliph Uthman (RA) played a very important role in the compilation of the Quran as follows:
    • He sent for the standard copy of the Qur’an that had been compiled at the time of Abubakar (RA) and kept under the custody of Hafswa. Uthman said, “Send us the manuscript so that we may make copies and we will return the manuscript to you.”
    • He appointed a committee led by Zaid bin Thabit to spearhead the process of standardization. He was assisted by Abdallah bin Zubeir, Abdul Rahman bin Harith and Sa’ad bin Al A’s. Uthman asked the committee to use the Quraish dialect in case they disagreed. The scribes unanimously agreed to use the Quraish dialect. This is because it was the dialect of the Prophet and rich in vocabulary. Besides, it was one of the most popular dialects among the Arabs. The scribes reproduced several copies of the Qur’an using the Quraish dialect and sent them to each of the Provinces. He then collected all other personal copies of the Qur’an and burnt them.

2. Diacriticalization of Qur’an

  • In this subtopic we shall discuss how the vowels and articulatory sounds were inserted in the Holy Qur’an and the circumstances behind this exercise.
  • This exercise is refered to as diacriticalization.
  • Diacriticalization of the Qur’an is a method of inserting articulation symbols e.g the harakat(fatah, dhumma and qasra)tanwin(fatahtein,kasrtein,dhummatein) and other punctuation symbols in order to enhance correct pronunciation.
  • This is also meant to create uniformity in the actual recitation of the Holy book.
  • These marks were introduced into the Qur’anic script during the time of Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan (685-705 C.E.)

    Some of the Arabic Diacritics

     ـَ  FAT-HA  /a/ vowel  Abun (father)
     ـِ  KASRA  /i/ vowel  Ismun (name)
     ـُ  DHUMMA  /u/ vowel  Ummun (mother)
     ءً  FAT-HATEIN  Adding /n/ sound after fat-ha  Idhan (then)
     ءٍ  KASRATEIN  Adding /n/ sound after kasra  Li akhin (for brother
     ءٌ  DHUMMATEIN  Adding /n/ sound after dhumma  Abun (father)
     ـْـ  SUKUN  Absence of a vowel in a consonant  Ismun (name)
     ـّـ  SHADDA  Double consonant for stressing a consonant  Rubba (may be)
     ٱ  ALIF  Symbol of dipthong  Alaa! (surely!)
     ـٓ  MADDA  Symbol of tripthong  Yaaaa! (O You!)
  • The original Qur’anic text, which was in Arabic language, did not have any signs indicating the vowels.
  • Since Arabic was their first language, the Arabs did not need any vowel signs or diacritical marks for appropriate pronunciation of the Qur’an.
  • But for the non-Arabs found it difficult to read the Qur’an correctly without the vowels.
  • Due to the expansion of Muslim empire, differences arose especially to those non Arab and non - Quraish in reciting the Qur’an without vocalization.
  • In order to solve the problem, raliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan organized the diacitilization of the Qur’an to ensure uniformity in the reading of the Qur’an across vast Muslim empire.

3. Qur’an as the Book for Guidance

  • In form One, we defined the term ‘Qur’an.’
  • In the definition, we mentioned that the Qur’an is a book of guidance.
  • Here, we shall discuss the reasons which make the Muslims regard the Qur’an as a book for guidance.
  • Some of the reasons are as follows:
    • The Qur’an refers to itself in Surah tul Baqara as “Hudan lil Muttaqeen” which mean guidance for those who fear Allah (SWT) [Q 2:2]
    • The content of the Qur’an is comprehensive in that it covers all forms of knowledge including scientific, social, political and economic.
    • It gives a detailed explaination on the performance of acts of worship such as performance of Wudhu, Hajj, fasting etc
    • The Qur’an provides in depth guidance on human relations that foster harmonious co- existence.
    • It narrates the events and history of the past Prophets from which the Muslim Ummah draw lessons to better their lives.
    • It warns mankind on Allah’s punishment and at the same time encourages the performance of virtuous deeds.

Suratul Nur (The Light) [Q.24]

Historical Background of the Surah

  • This is the twenty fourth chapter of the Holy Qur’an.
  • This Madinan Surah derives its name from the word ‘Nur’ found in the Surah in verses 31.
  • Nur is an Arabic word which means light.
  • In the context of this verse, the word Nur is used symbolically to refer to the guidance of Allah (SWT).
  • These verses discussing ‘the light’ are a parable.
  • They explain about the niche, the lamp and the olive oil.
  • The guidance of Allah (SWT) enables humankind to enjoin the good and what is lawful and permissible.
  • The opposite of light is darkness, which symboliyses the unpermissible, unlawful and forbidden.
  • The Surah is connected to the incident of slander concerning Aisha (RA), the wife of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
  • This happened after the victory of the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Khandaq.
  • The success of Muslim was attributed to their moral superiority.
  • The enemies of Islam led by the hypocrites and the Jews started a campaign of defamation against the Muslims and the Prophet.
  • One of the attempts was the slander against Aisha (RA) the wife of the Prophet (PBUH).
  • They accused her of commiting adultery with Safwan bin Muattal, the prophet’s slave.
  • This incident took place while the Muslims were returning from the Campaign against Banu Mustaliq.
  • On their return journey, the Muslim caravan led by the Prophet (PBUH) stopped at a place and camped there for the night.
  • Lady Aisha went out to ease her self and accidentally dropped her necklace.
  • On the same night, the caravan began to prepare for departure.
  • While on their way, Lady Aisha (RA) realized that her necklace was missing and hurriedly returned at the halted place to look for it.
  • Meanwhile the caravan left and she had to spend the night there hoping that the caravan would come back for her rescue.
  • In the morning the Prophet’s slave, Safwan bin Muattal passed by and saw Lady Aisha.
  • He hastily escorted her to meet the caravan.
  • A man by the name Abdulla Ibn Ubay saw this as an opportunity to create a scandal.
  • This almost brought chaos to the Muslims and the Prophet (PBUH) had to calm down the situation by giving a sermon.
  • In order to clear the uncertainty among the Muslims and to protect the chastity of Aisha (RA) and maintain the respect of the Prophet (PBUH), Allah (SWT) revealed the verses of slander in this Surah which shall be discussed later in this chapter.

Teachings of the Surah

  • It prescribes the punishments for women and men guilty of zinaa. Those found guilty of the offence to be flogged 100 lashes each in public. The punishment to be witnessed by a party of believers and no pity upon them.
  • It stresses that a believer should not marry a fornicator or a polytheist.
  • The punishment for the slanders is explained .i.e. flogging 80 lashes.
  • It emphasizes the importance of seeking enough evidence for any offence committed before the award of punishment.
  • It stresses the need to bring forth witnesses in any case concerning zinaa.
  • It explains the oath of condemnation (Li’an) i.e. for men who accused their wife of adultery and fail to bring witness except themselves should take four oaths and invoke a curse upon them in the fifth oath.
  •  The Surah warns believers against spreading evil talks which may damage other people’s character.
  • It discourages a Muslim from speaking things which one has no knowledge of. I.e. guarding the tongue.
  • The Surah also cautions those who love to hear and circulate scandals among the believers. Allah (SWT) assures such people of a great punishment in this world and in the hereafter.
  • It explains the etiquette of entering people’shouseholds. Believers should seek for permission before entering people’s habited houses.
  • It explains the etiquatte of greeting the inhabitants of the houses you are permitted to enter.
  • It identifies occasion when servants and your children should not enter private rooms.
  • These are:-
    • Before Fajr Swalat (morning prayer)
    • During midday
    • After Isha prayers
  • Grown up children should seek permission before entering the private rooms of their parents.
  • It emphasizes on modesty e.g. lowering one’s gaze in order to control oneself from looking at the forbidden things.
  • It emphasizes on good moral values e.g abstaining from illegal sexual relations in order to attain purity.
  • It prohibits the believing women from exposing their beauty except to the people mentioned in verse 31.
  • It prescribes that believing women should lower their veils over their bossoms.
  • Believing women should not strike their feet while walking lest they draw attention to their hidden ornaments.
  • It highlights the marrying of slave girls but should be honoured with their dowry.Slave woman should not be forced into prostitution by their masters and moreso to free them accordingly.
  • It reminds those to whom Allah (SWT) has bestowed with wealth to help their kinsmen, those who ask for their help and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause.
  • It guides Muslims to accord respect and honour to the houses which have been raised by Allah (SWT). These houses includethe Kaaba and all the Mosques. Muslims should perform prayers and glorify Allah’s name in these places.
  • It prescribes that Muslims should honour invitations without bias whether it is from the visually impared, physically challenged or the sick or from other relatives.
  • It teaches that traders should remember Allah (SWT), perform regular prayer, pay Zakat and fear the Day of Judgment.
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Read 7217 times Last modified on Monday, 17 January 2022 12:35
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