Readings of the Qur'an:
A Critical Study
of their Historical and Linguistic Origins
Ahmad ‘Ali al Iman
Published By: The International Institute of
Islamic Thought (IIIT), Herndon
Paperback 191 Pages
This book attempts to
investigate the nature of the seven ahruf in which the Quran has been revealed
and the reason for the variations in readings among the Qurra of the Quran.
Ahmad ‘Ali al Imam had a very profound religious education but his
excellence throughout led him to the University of Edinburgh where he obtained
his P.H.D. On the variant readings of the Quran.
Chapter 1 studies the revelation of the Quran in the seven
ahruf and concludes that they represent seven linguistical ways of recita-tion.
Chapter 2 deals with the compilation of the Quran during the
lifetime of the Prophet and the preservation of the Quran in the memories of
the Companions as well as in written form, the compilation during the time of
Abu Bakr, and the further compilation during the time of Uthman. The problem
of naskh is discussed to demonstrate the com-pleteness and trustworthiness of
the Quran and that no verses are missing or were read and abrogated by naskh
al tilawah either with or without hukm.
Chapters 3 and 4 deal with the Uthmanic masahif and their
relation to the seven ahruf. The most acceptable two opin-ions among the
scholars are that they accommodate all or certain ahruf that correspond with
the orthography of the masahif and that these masahif include what is
transmitted by tawatur and avoid ahad readings that belong to certain personal
manuscripts and are transmitted to us in unauthentic chains.
Chapter 5 discusses the language of the Quran and whether it
includes one, several, or all the dialects of the Arabs. It is conclud-ed that
the language of the Quran represents the common spoken lit-erary language of
the Arabs, which is based on all their dialects with a predominance of the
Quraysh dialect features.
Chapter 6 examines the origin of the qiraat and studies
condi-tions governing accepted readings.
Chapter 7 studies ikhtiyar (i.e., the selection of one
reading rather than another) and the rules gov-erning the purva who selected a
reading. It is shown that the gurra do not have a free hand in this, and that
any reading should be sub-ject to the correspondence with riwayah, the
orthography of the masahif, and the Arabic language. These readings may differ
in meaning but do not contradict each other
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of Islamic thought. The Institute was established in the United States of
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