How was the Quran Revealed and Compiled?
To get know-how about the compilation of Quran, we are back with a piece of information. Quran was revealed gradually over 23 years. Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, was very vigilant and keen about collecting and preserving the Quran.
That is why he used to call sahabah and ordered them to write down verses. Then he ordered them to recite the written verses as a cross-check to remove any ambiguity or mistake.
Moreover, Muslims were advised to memorize and recite these verses in salah.
Why Compilation of Quran was Important?
An exciting incident occurred. The idea of a compilation of Quran originated when many sahaba participated in a battle during the rule of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique.
Zayd ibn Thabit, Muhammad’s primary scribe, was assigned to gather all Quranic texts. He gives an insight into what happened during the meeting between Abu Bakr, Umar, and himself:
” Abu Bakr sent for me at a time when the Yamama battles had witnessed the martyrdom of numerous Companions. I found ‘Umar bin al-Khattab with him. Abu Bakr began, Umar has just come to me and said,
‘In the Yamama battles, death has dealt most severely with the Reciters of the Quran, and I fear it will deal with them with equal severity in other theatres of war. As a result, much of the Quran will be gone. ” ‘I am therefore of the opinion that you should command the Quran be collected.'”
Abu Bakr continued, “I said to ‘Umar, ‘How can we embark on what the Prophet never did?’
‘Umar replied that it was a good deed regardless, and he did not cease replying to my scruples until Allah reconciled me to the undertaking, and I became of the same mind as him.
Zaid, you are young and intelligent, you used to record the revelations for Muhammad, and we know nothing about your discredit. So pursue the Quran and collect it together.”
(Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Jam’i al-Qur’an, hadith no. 4986; see also Ibn Abu Dawud, al-Masahif, pp. 6-9)).
Who Wrote the Quran?
Hazrat Zaid Bin Sabit, the Companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) compiled the Quran by the instructions of the Caliph Abu Bakr and Umer Bin Khattab.
Zaid bin Sabit later said,
“…By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Quran… So I started locating the Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms, and the memories of men.
[Bukhari Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:60:201]
Once all of the great companions agreed upon the decision. They formulated a strategy of compilation of Quran. Every person had to visit the committee of the assemblage with the evidence of the verses they had got. And they must bring two witnesses to the authenticity of the text.
People brought the verses they had, some on paper, some on leather, some on wooden bark, etc. They recruited services of huffaz for verification.
“So I started looking for the Holy Quran and collected it from (what was written on) palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones, and also from men who knew it by heart until I found the last verse of Surat at-Tauba (repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p. 478).
People did cross-validation from written texts and memory of huffaz. In this way, a compilation of Quran went on. And with the sincere efforts of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), the Quran was written. After collection, it was read out loud many times in front of the sahabah. They had memorized the Quran to eradicate any mistakes left.
When the Compilation of Quran completed?
The Compilation of Quran ended under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, about twenty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in 650 CE. However, the date is not exact because early Arab annalists did not record it. The Qur’anic canon is the form of the Quran as recited and written, which is religiously binding for the Muslim community. This canonical corpus is closed and fixed because nothing can be changed or modified in the Quran.
By the time of Uthman’s Caliphate, there was a perceived need for clarification of Qur’an reading. The Caliphate had grown considerably, expanding into Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Iran, bringing into Islam’s fold many new converts from various cultures with varying degrees of isolation. These converts spoke a variety of languages but were not well learned in Arabic, so Uthman felt it was important to standardize the written text of the Quran into one specific Arabic dialect. Another reason for compiling the Quran was that many Muslims who had memorized the Quran in its entirety was dying, especially in battle.
One Short Verse:
During the compilation of Quran, an exciting event took place. When the assemblage was in its final stages, Hazrat Zaid bin Sabit remembered one short verse that Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) had once gotten as a revelation. But he had no written proof of verse. He had only in his memory. As per the committee’s rule, two witnesses are required for this ayah to include in the primary scripture. Hazrat Zaid met many huffaz and discussed the matter, but no one knew the ayah, so no one testified! At last, he found one sahabi who knew the ayah and was ready to attest it.
But from where to get the second witness? Luckily, the witness sahabi is blessed by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) for his act of righteousness. From the day onward, his witness would be equal to the witness of two men! SubhanAllah!
In that way, ayah was finally included in the Quran. The purpose of telling this whole long story was to put light on the efforts and delicacy of companions of the Prophet in this matter of grave concern. May ALLAH reward all these great people who sincerely devoted their whole lives to the love of the Prophet and deen.