Holy Qur'an

Hazrat Ubayy bin Kaab was well versed in the Holy Quran. On one occasion, the Holy Prophet (sa) asked him – and I have narrated this incident in a previous sermon, two or three weeks ago – (he asked) “Which verse of the Quran should be declared the greatest verse?” Initially he replied by saying, “God and His Messenger (sa) know best.” When the Holy Prophet (sa) insisted, he said “Ayatul Kursi could be declared the greatest verse.” I also related an incident regarding Ayatul Kursi. The Holy Prophet (sa) was pleased to hear this and said, “O Ubayy! May Allah bless your level of knowledge. Undoubtedly Ayatul Kursi is a great verse of the Quran.”

(Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitab Al-Witr, Bab Ma Ja’a Fi Ayatil Kursi, Hadith 1460)

In another narration, it is mentioned that the same year the Holy Prophet (sa) passed away, he completed one reading of the Holy Quran with Ubayy bin Kaab.

(Kanzul Ummal, Vol. 13 p. 266, Hadith 36779, Beirut 1985)

With the permission of Hazrat Umar (ra), [Ubayy bin Kaab] would teach people the knowledge of the Quran as well as its exegesis.

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Salat Al-Tarawih, Hadith 2010)

Once, the Holy Prophet (sa) was leading the Fajr [pre-dawn] prayer, during which he forgot to recite a verse in his recitation [of the Holy Quran]. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) was not able to join the congregation from the beginning of the prayer, instead he joined in the middle [of the prayer]. Upon completing the prayer, the Holy Prophet (sa) enquired if anyone in the congregation had noticed anything different in his recitation. Everyone remained silent. Then, the Holy Prophet (sa) asked whether Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab was present. By this time, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) had completed offering his Salat. Despite joining the congregation late, he must have joined by the second rak‘ah [unit of prayer] to have been able to hear the mistake that was made or notice the verse which had been forgotten.

In any case, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab had completed offering his Salat and informed the Holy Prophet (sa) that he had not recited such and such verse. He said, “O Messenger (sa) of Allah, you did not recite such and such verse during your recitation; has it been abrogated or did you simply forget to recite it?” The Holy Prophet (sa) replied that he had merely forgotten to recite it. Then, the Holy Prophet (sa) said to Ubayy (ra), “I knew you would be the only one to notice this.”

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 148)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) further states:

“The following 15 names of scribes are those to whom the Holy Prophet (sa) dictated the Holy Quran and are proven from history. They are, Zaid bin Thabit (ra), Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab, Abdullah bin Saad bin Abi Sarah (ra), Zubair bin al-Awam (ra), Khalid bin Saeed bin al-Aas (ra), Aban bin Saeed al-Aas (ra), Hanzala bin al-Rabi al-Asadi (ra), Mu‘ayqib bin Abi Fatima (ra), Abdullah bin Arqam Zuhri (ra), Shurahbil bin Hasanah (ra), Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra), Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Umar (ra), Hazrat Uthman (ra) and Hazrat Ali (ra). When [a portion] of the Holy Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet (sa), he would call one of these individuals and dictate the revelation to him.”

(Dibachah Tafsir al-Quran, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 425-426)

During the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), the compilation of the Holy Quran [into book form] was initiated. A committee consisting of [several] companions was formed for this task of which Hazrat Ubayy (ra) was its supervisor. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) would recite the Holy Quran and the companions would write it down. Since this committee comprised of those who were very learned and possessed deep knowledge, occasionally they would have discussion and discourse on certain verses. When the following verse of Surah al-Taubah was being written down:

ثُمَّ‭ ‬انْصَرَفُوْا‭ ‬صَرَفَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬قُلُوْبَهُمْ‭ ‬بِاَنَّهُمْ‭ ‬قَوْمٌ‭ ‬لَّا‭ ‬يَفْقَهُوْنَ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

[Then they turn away. Allah has turned away their hearts because they are a people who would not understand. (Ch.9: V.127)]

It was mentioned that this was the final verse to be revealed. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) stated that in fact there were two more verses that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught him after this. Therefore, this was not the last verse, rather there were two verses revealed after that as well.

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 142)

One can gauge an understanding of Hazrat Ubayy bin Kaab’s (ra) mastery over the qir‘aat [readings of the Holy Quran] that the Holy Prophet (sa) himself would recite the entire Holy Quran to him. Thus, the year in which the Holy Prophet (sa) passed away, he recited the Quran to Hazrat Ubayy (ra) and stated, “Gabriel has told me that I should recite the Quran to Ubayy.”

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 149)

And so, the Holy Prophet (sa) recited the Holy Quran to Hazrat Ubayy (ra).

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:

“A Jew once said to Hazrat Umar (ra), ‘There is a verse in the Quran, if it was revealed in our scripture, we would decree that day as a day of celebration.’ Hazrat Umar (ra) asked which verse it was. He replied:

اَلْيَوْمَ‭ ‬اَكْمَلْتُ‭ ‬لَكُمْ‭ ‬دِيْنَكُمْ

“Hazrat Umar (ra) replied, ‘That day was a double celebration for us, i.e. the day the verse was revealed it was a Friday and also the Day of Arafah.’”

(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 4, p.6)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states that the names of prominent huffaz [those who have memorised the entire Quran] from the Ansar were Ubadah bin Samit (ra), Muaz, Mujama bin Harithah (ra), Fuzalah bin Ubaid (ra), Maslamah bin Mukhallad (ra), Abu Darda (ra), Abu Zaid (ra), Zaid bin Thabit (ra), Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab, Saad bin Ubadah (ra) and Umm Waraqah (ra).

(Dibachah Tafsir al-Quran, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 20, p. 430)

Explaining the commentary of Surah al-Nur, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) states:

“Allah the Almighty states that one form of nur [spiritual light] is the light of divine cognisance as a result of which one is able to distinguish between good and bad. This spiritual light is found in those homes in which Allah the Almighty is remembered morning and evening. Those who dwell in such homes are like merchants, whose houses may be small but one day, Allah the Almighty will grant them bigger abodes. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) compiled the Holy Quran, then after him, it was Hazrat Umar (ra). Hazrat Uthman (ra) was the one to circulate it and through Hazrat Ali (ra) its spiritual verities were conveyed to the world.”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) stated that he learnt various verities of the Holy Quran directly from Hazrat Ali (ra). Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) further states:

“In these rukus, Allah the Almighty also revealed that Khilafat will never be amongst the Ansar; rather, it will remain among the Muhajireen. It also states that they will be opposed by the Muslims as well as the disbelievers. This is precisely how the opposition was for Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) as some of the people were not in favour of Khilafat. Allah the Almighty has given the example of both groups as follows; one who considers a mirage in a desert to be like actual water whilst the other is those who will oppose despite being in the deep sea of Shariah.”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) further states:

“The ultimate result will be that the vultures will eat their flesh. Among the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) had to face great difficulties. While the army under the command of Hazrat Usama (ra) had been sent [for an expedition], an uprising of rebellion began in the Arab land. The people in Mecca were almost on the verge of becoming a part of this; however, a wise man came in time and reminded them that they were the last ones to accept Islam and now they were going to be the first ones to leave Islam. Upon this, they refrained from being a part of this.”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) further states:

“The group mentioned in the following words:

اِذَا‭ ‬فَرِيْقٌ‭ ‬مِّنْهُمْ‭ ‬مُّعْرِضُوْنَ ‬‬‬ “[a party of them turn away. (24:49)] was never successful, nor did they receive any divine support; neither in the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Umar (ra), Hazrat Uthman (ra), nor in the time of Hazrat Ali (ra). This group was never successful.

“The other group was the one described as:

سَمِعْنَا‭ ‬وَاَطَعْنَا‬

“[We hear and we obey. (24:52)] and these were the ones who were always successful.

“Thus, it states in the Holy Quran:

وَ‭ ‬اُولٰٓىِٕكَ‭ ‬هُمُ‭ ‬الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ‬‬‬

“[And it is they who will prosper. (24:52)].” (Haqa‘iq al-Furqan, Vol. 3, p. 223)

Hazrat Uthman (ra) also had the opportunity to write down the verses which were revealed to the Holy Prophet (sa). According to one of the narrations, Hazrat Uthman (ra) had the good fortune of writing down the verses revealed in Surah al-Muzammil. Umm Kulthum bin Samama relates that she asked Hazrat Aisha (ra) if she could relate something about Hazrat Uthman (ra) because people were asking about him quite a lot. Upon this Hazrat Aisha (ra) stated, “In a night which was extremely hot, I saw Hazrat Uthman (ra) in the company of the Holy Prophet (sa) inside the house in which Hazrat Gabriel (as) was bringing down divine revelation. Whenever divine revelation was brought down to the Holy Prophet (sa), he would experience a great weight upon him. Allah the Almighty has stated:

اِنَّا سَنُلْقِيْ عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيْلًا

“‘Verily, We are charging thee with a weighty Word.’ And Hazrat Uthman (ra) was sat before the Holy Prophet (sa) and was writing [the revelation] down and the Holy Prophet (sa) was stating, ‘O Uthman, write!’”

Hazrat Aisha (ra) stated that Allah the Almighty only grants a highly honourable person such nearness to the Holy Prophet (sa).

(Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 13, p. 23, Kitab al-Fada‘il, Fada‘il al-Sahabah, Hadith 36217, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah,Beirut, 2004)

During the blessed lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Ubayy (ra) taught the Holy Quran to Hazrat Tufail bin Amr Dausi, who in return presented him with a bow as a gift. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) took hold of the bow and presented himself before the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) enquired where he got the bow from and Hazrat Ubayy (ra) submitted that it was a gift from one of his students. The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed him to return it and to refrain from such gifts. Similarly, another student gifted him a piece of cloth and the Holy Prophet (sa) gave the same instruction. Thereafter, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) completely abstained from taking anything in return of teaching the Holy Quran.

The people of Syria would learn the Holy Quran from Hazrat Ubayy (ra) and would also get the scribes of Medina to produce copies of the Holy Quran. In return of their services for transcribing the copies of the Quran, they would invite the scribes to eat with them. However, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) would never accept their invitation. Once, Hazrat Umar (ra) enquired from Hazrat Ubayy (ra) regarding the kind of foods eaten in Syria and he replied that he never ate with them and would always eat his own food.

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 151-152)

At another instance, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states in relation to Hazrat Ali (ra):

“It is mentioned in the hadith that once, while the Holy Prophet (sa) was reciting the Holy Quran [during prayer], Hazrat Ali (ra) reminded him of a certain portion. After the prayer had concluded, the Holy Prophet (sa) said to Hazrat Ali (ra), ‘It was not your duty to do so; I have appointed certain people to remind me if I ever make a mistake.’”

(Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 33, p. 299)

The Holy Prophet (sa) was reciting the Holy Quran during prayer when he missed a portion, upon which Hazrat Ali (ra) reminded him. The Holy Prophet (sa) told him that he had already appointed certain people for this task and so Hazrat Ali (ra) did not need to, despite the fact that Hazrat Ali (ra) was quite learned as well.

It is also stated that certain revelations that were received by the Holy Prophet (sa) were such that Hazrat Umar’s (ra) personal view was in accordance with it. In the Sihah-e-Sittah [the six most authentic books of hadith], there is mention of three instances where Hazrat Umar’s (ra) view on a matter corresponded [to the verse revealed]. If one looks at these various narrations of the Sihah-e-Sittah in conjunction, they add up to seven in total.

In one narration of Sahih al-Bukhari, it is mentioned that Hazrat Umar (ra) stated, “On three occasions, my opinion was in accordance with the will of my Lord. Once, I said ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, we should make the place of Abraham (as) a place of worship,’ then the verse:

وَاتَّخِذُوْا‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬مَّقَامِ‮ ‬إِبۡرَاهِيمَ‭ ‬مُصَلًّي

‘And take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer,’ was revealed. And in relation to the [verse] regarding the observance of the veil for women, I said, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, I wish you ordered your wives to observe the purdah because among the men are virtuous as well as evil ones who speak to them.’ Following this, the verse regarding the observance of the veil was revealed. On one occasion, the wives of the Holy Prophet (sa) came together in order to seek a particular demand from the Holy Prophet (sa), upon this I said to them”, i.e. the wives, among whom was his own daughter as well, “‘It may be if he divorced you all, that his Lord would grant him better wives in your place.’ Then the following verse was revealed:

عَسَىٰ‭ ‬رَبُّهُۥٓ‭ ‬إِن‭ ‬طَلَّقَكُنَّ‭ ‬أَن‭ ‬يُبۡدِلَهُۥٓ‭ ‬أَزۡوَٰجًا‭ ‬خَيۡرٗا‭ ‬مِّنْكُنَّ ‘It may be that if he divorce you, his Lord will give him instead wives better than you.’”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Bab ma Ja‘a fi al-Qiblah, Hadith 402)

There is a narration of Sahih Muslim in which Hazrat Ibn Umar (ra) relates:

“Hazrat Umar (ra) stated, ‘There were three occasions when my view on a matter was in accordance with the will of my lord. That is, the station of Abraham (as), the observance of the veil and in the case of the prisoners of Badr.’”

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi (sa), Bab min Fada‘il Umar (ra), Hadith 6206)

However, the narration regarding the prisoners of Badr is incorrect, and Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) has explained this at length.

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) has also written about this whilst presenting various proofs and also various earlier scholars and commentators of the Holy Quran have written about it and proven that the narration regarding the punishments given to the prisoners of Badr is incorrect. I have also given details about this in a previous sermon.

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) relates that Hazrat Umar (ra) used to say, “The most excellent reciter of the Holy Quran amongst us is Ubay (ra) bin Kaab and the one who is best in giving verdicts is Ali (ra).”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafsir, Surah al-Baqarah, Bab Qauluh Ma Nansakhu… Hadith 4481)

During the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), the various manuscripts of the Holy Quran were gathered together, which he kept with himself. Then they were kept with Hazrat Umar (ra) and after him, they were in the possession of Hazrat Hafsa bint Umar (ra). During the era of Hazrat Uthman’s (ra) Khilafat, the following narration is found in regard to him acquiring these manuscripts.

Hazrat Huzayfa (ra) bin Yaman relates that he was fighting along with the people of Iraq against the Syrians for the lands in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Upon returning from there, he presented himself before Hazrat Uthman (ra). Hazrat Huzayfa (ra) was concerned owing to the difference in their reading [Qiraat] of the Holy Quran in those lands. He submitted before Hazrat Uthman (ra), “O leader of the faithful, take care of the ummah lest they begin to dispute with one another over the book of Allah just like the Jews and Christians did.”

Following this, Hazrat Uthman (ra) sent a message to Hazrat Hafsa (ra) and asked her to give the various manuscripts of the Holy Quran so that he could produce various copies of the Holy Quran from it and then those manuscripts would be returned to her. And so, Hazrat Hafsa (ra) sent those manuscripts to Hazrat Uthman (ra). Hazrat Uthman (ra) then instructed Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit, Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Zubair, Hazrat Saeed (ra) bin Aas and Hazrat Abdur Rahman (ra) bin Harith bin Hisham to produce copies from those manuscripts. Hazrat Uthman (ra) then told the latter three of the aforementioned companions, who were from among the Quraish, that if there was a difference [in the qiraat] in their copy of the Quran and the Quran written by Zaid, then they should write it according to the language of the Quraish for the Quran was revealed in the language of the Quraish [i.e. their dialect of Arabic]. Thus, these companions worked on this task. When the copies of the Holy Quran were completed, Hazrat Uthman (ra) returned the original manuscripts of the Holy Quran to Hazrat Hafsa (ra) and sent the various newly produced copies of the Holy Quran to various countries and instructed that if there was any other copy of the Holy Quran besides this, it should be burnt.

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il al-Quran, Bab Jam‘ al-Quran Hadith 4986, 4987)

Allama ibn Al-Tin states that the difference between Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hazrat Uthman (ra) compiling the Quran was that Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) compiled the Holy Quran fearing that if the huffaz-e-Quran [i.e. those who had committed the entire Quran to memory] passed away, then some parts of the Holy Quran may be lost because until then, the Holy Quran had not been compiled in one single form. Thus, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) compiled the Holy Quran by placing the verses in the same order as the Holy Prophet (sa) had taught the companions to memorise it. On the other hand, Hazrat Uthman (ra) compiled the Holy Quran owing to the increasing difference in the dialects of the language. People began to recite the Holy Quran according to their own dialect and style of pronunciation and would deem the reading style [qirat] of others to be incorrect. Hazrat Uthman (ra) was concerned that perhaps this would lead to a more serious situation. And so, Hazrat Uthman (ra) compiled the various manuscripts, which Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) had initially collected, into a single copy according to the sequence of its chapters. Moreover, Hazrat Uthman (ra) kept it in the language of the Quraish and the reason he gave for doing this was that the Quran was revealed in the language of the Quraish. Although initially it was also permitted that one could recite the Quran in other dialects as well for the purpose of ease; however, when Hazrat Uthman (ra) observed that there was no longer any need to do it in this manner, he instructed for it to be recited in only one style of reading [qirat].

Allamah Qurtabi states that if the question is posed that why did Hazrat Uthman (ra) feel the need to compile the Quran and standardise it to one single reading for the people even though before him Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) had already compiled it, then the answer to this is that Hazrat Uthman (ra) did not do this in order to compile the manuscripts. This [was already done] because Hazrat Uthman (ra) had sent a message to Umm-ul-Momineen, Hazrat Hafsa (ra) requesting for those very manuscripts of the Holy Quran so that he could produce various copies from it and thereafter he would return to her the original manuscripts. Thus, the reason why Hazrat Uthman (ra) did this was that people had started to disagree with one another over the different styles of reading [qiraat] of the Quran because the companions had travelled and settled in various cities. This was leading to a very serious situation and the differences between the people of Syria and Iraq had taken the form as described by Hazrat Huzayfa (ra).

(Ali Muhammad al-Salabi, Sirat Amirul Momineen Uthman (ra) bin Affan Shakhsiyyatuhu wa Asruh, Ch. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2006]) pp. 232-231)

With regard to him, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) also writes in Sirat Khatam-un-Nabiyyeen [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophet (sa)] that Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was not from among the people of Quraish, but belonged to the tribe of Huzail. He was a very poor man and used to graze the sheep of Uqba bin Abi Mu‘ayt, chief of the Quraish. After accepting Islam, he stayed with the Holy Prophet (sa) and eventually became a great scholar as a result of the company of the Holy Prophet (sa). The majority of Fiqh Hanafiyyah [Hanafi School of jurisprudence] is based on his accounts and interpretations.

(Sirat Khatam-un-Nabiyyeen, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra), p. 124)

There is a narration regarding his proficiency in religious knowledge. Hazrat Ibn Mas‘ud states, “People know that I have a lot of knowledge of the Holy Quran. I know when and where each chapter and every verse of this Holy Book was revealed.” Abu Wa-il narrates, “No one raised any objection to this”, i.e when Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud made this statement.

(Ashaab-e-Badr, Qazi Muhammad Sulaiman, p. 107, Maktabatul Islamiyyah, Lahore, 2015)

The four Companions regarding whom the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed [the believers] to learn the Holy Quran from, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud is on the top of this list.

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitaab-ul-Munaaqib, Baab Munaaqib Abdullah bin Mas’ud (ra), Hadith no. 3760)

Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has explained this in detail in Dibacha Tafsirul Quran [Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran] in the following manner, “As the eagerness of the people for memorising the Quran increased, the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed four principal teachers of the Quran who used to memorise it under the supervision of the Holy Prophet (sa) and then taught other people to commit it to memory. These four in turn trained a number of other people who became competent to teach the Quran. These four were: Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Salim Maula Abi Hudhaifa, Mu‘az bin Jabal and Ubayy ibn Ka‘b. The first two of these were Muhajirin, early Muslims who had migrated from Mecca to Medina, and the last two were Ansar, early Muslims of Medina. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud used to occupy himself as a labourer, Salim was a freed slave, and Mu‘az and Ubayy were two of the leading men of Medina. Thus, the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed teachers of the Quran from among different sections of society. It has been mentioned in a Hadith:

خُذُواالْقُرْاٰنَ مِنْ اَرْبَعَۃٍ مِنْ عَبْدِاللّٰہِ ابْنِ مَسْعُوْدٍ وَسَالِمٍ وَ مَعَاذِ ابْنِ جَبَلٍ وَ أُبَیْ بِن کَعْبٍ

‘Those of you who wish to learn the Quran should learn it from Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Salim Maula Abi Hudhaifa, Mu‘az bin Jabal or Ubayy ibn Ka‘b.’ These four had learnt the whole of the Quran under the supervision of the Holy Prophet (sa). But many other Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) had also learnt portions of it directly from him. It is related that on one occasion when Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was reciting the Quran, Hazrat Umar pointed out that a certain word should be pronounced in a particular way. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud protested that he had been taught by the Holy Prophet (sa) to pronounce it in the manner in which he had pronounced it. Hazrat Umar (ra) took him to the Holy Prophet (sa) and complained that he did not recite the Quran correctly. The Holy Prophet (sa) asked him to recite the portion concerning which there was a difference of opinion between the two and when he recited it, the Holy Prophet (sa) said he was quite right. Thereupon Hazrat Umar (ra) submitted that he had been taught by the Prophet to pronounce the word differently. The Holy Prophet (sa) then asked him to recite the verse and when he did so, told him that that was also correct.” Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra)thus concluded from this that “This shows that in addition to the four Companions whom the Holy Prophet (sa) used to teach the whole of the Quran, there were others who used to learn portions of it from him. Umar’s submission that he had been taught to pronounce a certain word in a particular way shows that he, too, used to learn portions of the Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) himself.”

(Dibacha Tafsirul Quran, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 20, pp. 427-428)

It is mentioned that after the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was the one to recite the Holy Quran in public for the very first time. There is an incident mentioned regarding this:

“One day, the Companions had gathered and it was mentioned that the Quraish had not yet heard the recitation of the Holy Quran aloud in public. They enquired if there was anyone who could recite it to them. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud responded, ‘I will recite the Holy Quran to them.’ They replied, ‘We fear that the disbelievers may cause you harm as you are a poor man. It would be better to find someone of a prominent status instead and his tribe will protect him if the disbelievers resort to violence.’ Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud responded, ‘Do not worry about it as God shall protect me.’” These Companions had such extraordinary passion. “The next morning, he began reciting the Holy Quran publicly near the Ka‘bah. He recited:

بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْم۔ الرَّحْمٰنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْاٰنَ

That is, ‘In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. It is God, the Gracious. Who has taught the Qur’an’. (Al-Rahman:1-3)

The people of Quraish were astonished when they heard this and some said, ‘He is reciting from the same scripture of Muhammad (sa) recites’ and when they heard this recitation they got up and began to strike Abdullah bin Mas‘ud on his face. However, he continued with the recitation and finished the entire portion he had intended to recite. When he returned, the Companions saw the marks on his face because of the beating he had endured and they said that this is exactly what they feared that he would be attacked. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud replied, ‘In my sight, these enemies of God have never been as insignificant as they seemed when they were attacking me. If you’d like, I can do the same tomorrow.’ The Companions responded, ‘No! This is enough. You made them listen to something they did not want to hear.’”

(Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 383, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) states, “People attribute Hazrat Uthman (ra) to be Jami‘ al-Quran [i.e. the collator of the Holy Quran] whereas this is incorrect. They have assumed this simply because of the rhyming pattern with the name Uthman [and Jami‘ al-Quran]. Indeed, if one were to say he was responsible for the published version of the Quran [we have today], then that would be correct to an extent. During his Khilafat, Islam spread far and wide. For this reason, Hazrat Uthman (ra) ordered a few copies of the manuscript of the Quran to be made and sent them to Mecca, Medina, Syria, Basra, Kufa as well as to other lands. He adopted the order of the Quran as was desired by Allah the Almighty and instructed by the Holy Prophet (sa), and then ensured that the same copy reached us. Indeed, to read it and safeguard it is our responsibility.”

(Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 4, p. 272)

As I have mentioned in previous sermons, Hazrat Umar (ra) was the one who gave the suggestion to safeguard and compile the Holy Quran. I shall also mention it here.

With regard to when 70 huffaz [those who committed the Holy Quran to memory] were martyred in the battle of Yamamah during the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit Ansari relates:

“When 70 huffaz were martyred at Yamamah, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)called me and Hazrat Umar (ra) was also there with him at the time. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)stated, ‘Umar (ra) has come to me saying that many people have been martyred in the Battle of Yamamah, and he fears that more qaris [reciters] of the Quran may die in future battles, and thus many parts of the Holy Quran may be lost, unless you compile the Holy Quran into one form. My advice would therefore be to compile it all into one place.’ Hazrat Umar’s (ra) suggestion was to gather all [the parchments] of the Holy Quran in one place. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)then stated, ‘How can I do something that the Holy Prophet (sa) never did?’ Hazrat Umar (ra) replied, ‘By Allah, this would be a great service on your part.’ Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)then said, ‘Umar (ra) has repeated this to me over and over until Allah the Almighty has opened up my heart to it, and so now I too deem it appropriate what Umar (ra) deems suitable.’” That is to say, it should be compiled.

Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit then began compiling it.

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafsir, Bab Qauluh Laqad Ja‘a fikum Rasul min Anfusikum, Hadith 4679)

As I have stated, these details have been mentioned previously as well.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states in one instance that the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed a group of teachers who taught the Holy Quran; they learned and memorised the entire Holy Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) and taught it to others. There were four esteemed teachers who were responsible for learning the Holy Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) and teaching it to others, and there were many companions under them who would also teach the Holy Quran to others. The names of these four esteemed teachers are Abdullah bin Mas‘ud (ra), Salim, the freed salve of Abu Hudaifah (ra), Muaz bin Jabal (ra) and Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab. The first two were Muhajireen and the latter two were Ansar. With regard to their work, Abdullah bin Mas‘ud (ra) was a labourer, Salim (ra) was a freed slave, while Muaz bin Jabal (ra) and Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab were chieftains of Medina. Thus, keeping in view every member of society, the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed qaris from each rank.

It is narrated in a hadith that the Holy Prophet (sa) used to say:

خُذُوا الْقُرْاٰنَ مِنْ اَرْبَعَةٍ (مِنْ) عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ بْنِ مَسْعُوْدٍ وَ سَالِمٍ وَ مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ وَ اُبَيِّ بِنْ كَعْبٍ

“Anyone who desires to read the Quran should learn from the following four individuals: Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Salim, Muaz bin Jabal and Ubayy bin Kaab.”

These were the four people who either learned the entire Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) or would recite it before him to ensure they did not make any mistakes. Aside from them, there were also many other companions who learned various portions of the Holy Qur’an directly from the Holy Prophet (sa).

(Dibachah Tafsir al-Quran, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 427-428)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) further states:

“It is proven regarding Hazrat Ali (ra) that he had committed the Holy Quran to memory (hafiz) and in fact, he had started the work of compiling the Holy Quran according to the order of its revelation immediately after the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa).”

(Dibachah Tafsir al-Quran, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 20, p. 429)

The Holy Qur'an

After the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophet (sa) went to Hunayn. Hunayn is a valley situated north-east of Mecca, near Ta‘if. The Holy Prophet (sa) kept Hazrat Mu‘az (ra) bin Jabal in Mecca, so that he could teach the people of Mecca about Islam and the Holy Quran.

(Ibn Sa‘d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 2, Mu‘az(ra) bin Jabal, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990] 265) (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-i-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], 109)

With regard to a reply given by Hazrat Umar (ra) to a Jew, there is a narration by Tariq. He narrated from Hazrat Umar bin al-Khattab, “A Jewish man came to Hazrat Umar (ra) and said, ‘O Leader of the Faithful! There is a verse in your Book which you recite, if it was revealed to us’”, i.e. revealed to the Jews, “‘we would declare that day as a day of celebration.’ Hazrat Umar (ra) asked which verse was it. The man replied:

اَلْيَوْمَ‭ ‬اَكْمَلْتُ‭ ‬لَكُمْ‭ ‬دِيْنَكُمْ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬اَتْمَمْتُ‭ ‬عَلَيْكُمْ‭ ‬نِعْمَتِيْ‭ ‬وَرَضِيْتُ‭ ‬لَكُمُ‭ ‬الْاِسْلَامَ‭ ‬دِيْنًا

“‘This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion [Ch.5: V.4]’. Hazrat Umar (ra) replied, ‘I can recall that day and the place where this verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet (sa). It was a Friday, and the Holy Prophet (sa) was standing in Arafat.’”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Iman, Hadith 45)

Hazrat Anas (ra) narrates that there were four people during the time of the Holy Prophet (sa) who committed the entire Quran to memory, all of whom were from the Ansar; Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab, Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal (ra), Hazrat Abu Zaid (ra) and Hazrat Zaid bin Thabit (ra). This narration is from Sahih al-Bukhari.

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar, Bab Manaqib Zaid bin Thabit, Hadith 3810, translated version, Vol. 7, p. 290, Nazarat-e-Ishaat Rabwah)

Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab also had a special relationship with God Almighty. It is written in Bukhari that on one occasion the Holy Prophet (sa) said to him, “God Almighty has ordered me to recite the Quran to you.” The Holy Prophet (sa) said to his companion that God Almighty had instructed that Ubayy bin Kaab recite the Quran to him. Hazrat Ubayy bin Kaab asked in astonishment, “Has God Almighty mentioned me by name? Has the Lord and Master of the Universe mentioned me by name and instructed you to recite the Quran to me?” The Holy Prophet (sa) replied: “Yes, he has mentioned you by name.” Upon hearing this Ubayy bin Kaab became overwhelmed with emotions and began to cry. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet (sa) recited the Surah of “Lam Yakunilladhina Kafaru…” (Surah Al-Bayinah).

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Tafsir Al-Quran, Bab “Kallaa La In-Lam Yantahi”, Hadith 4960-4961)

Sometime later, when someone asked Ubayy bin Kaab, “On hearing this, you must surely have felt overjoyed”, he replied, “If God Almighty has stated for one to be delighted with His blessings and mercy, then why would I not be overjoyed.”

(Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 111, Al-Mizan Nashiran Wa Tajiran Lahore)

On one occasion Hazrat Umar (ra) met a caravan of people. But because of the darkness he was unable to see them. Among that group was Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud. Hazrat Umar (ra) sent someone to ask where the group had come from. When he enquired, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud answered “Fajjul Ameeq”, i.e. from a distant track. He then asked “where are you heading to?’” He answered, “To the Baitul Ateeq (Ancient House)” i.e. to the Ka’bah. Hazrat Umar (ra) asked, “Is there any scholar among them?” and instructed someone to ask them which verse of the Holy Quran is the loftiest. Upon the enquiry of Hazrat Umar (ra), Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud, who was in that delegation answered, ‘Allah — there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep.’ (Al-Baqarah 256). He stated Ayatul Kursi. Hazrat Umar(ra) then asked, “Which is the most encapsulating verse of the Holy Quran?” Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud answered, ‘Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred;’ (Al-Nahl 91). Hazrat Umar (ra) then instructed the man to ask which is the most comprehensive verse of the Holy Quran? Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud answered, ‘Then whoso does an atom’s weight of good will see it, And whoso does an atom’s weight of evil will also see it.’ (Al-Zilzal 7-9). He then asked which is the verse of the Holy Quran which causes one to tremor the most? Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud answered, ‘It shall not be according to your desires, nor according to the desires of the People of the Book. Whoso does evil shall be rewarded for it; and he shall find for himself no friend or helper beside Allah.’ (Al-Nisa 124). Hazrat Umar (ra) told him to ask which of the verses of the Holy Quran is the most promising? Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ud replied, ‘Say, “O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls! despair not of the mercy of Allah, surely Allah forgives all sins. Verily He is Most Forgiving, Merciful. (Al-Zumar 54)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:

“During the time of Hazrat Uthman (ra), instead of the people of Mecca living only in Mecca, the people of Medina only residing in Medina, the people of Taif only remaining confined to Taif, the people of Najd remaining in Najd, the people of Yemen living in Yemen alone and being unaware of each other’s language and idioms, Medina had become the capital and all tribes had become one. Since the governance was in the hands of the people of Medina, a large portion of whom were the Muhajireen of Mecca, even the residents of Medina had learnt the Hijaz dialect of Arabic owing to their association and interaction with the Meccans. Thus, since they were responsible for enforcing the law and they were responsible for the wealth (i.e. those who were in authority) and the eyes of everyone were fixed upon them, the people of Taif, Najd, Mecca, Yemen and also the majority of the people residing in other areas would regularly travel to Medina. They would meet the Muhajireen and Ansar of Medina and learn about Islam from them. Thus, over time the official language of academia through which the teachings were imparted became one. Then, some of them even came and settled in Medina and so they fully adopted the Hijazi dialect. When these people would return to their hometowns, since they were scholars and teachers, most certainly them travelling there would have had an effect on the people.

“Aside from this, owing to the wars that were taking place, people of various tribes had the chance to stay together. Given that the officers [of the army] were the eminent companions, staying in their company would instil within them a natural desire to emulate their example and this would include learning their language as well. Although in the beginning, people may have had some difficulties understanding the Quran; however, after Medina became the capital and all the tribes of Arabia began regularly converging upon Medina as the centre of Arabia, this difficulty [in understanding the Quran] would have been removed. The reason for this is that by that time, all those who possessed a scholarly disposition became fully acquainted with the language and meanings of the Quran.

“Thus, when the people understood this fully, Hazrat Uthman (ra) ordered that from then on, only the Hijazi qirat [reading] of the Quran would be used and no one was permitted to use the other readings. The intention behind this command was that people had become acquainted with the Hijazi dialect, therefore there was no longer any reason for people to be permitted to substitute words for Hijazi Arabic [dialect].

“Owing to this command issued by Hazrat Uthman (ra), the Shias – who are opposed to the Sunnis – say that the current manuscript of the Quran is the version created by Uthman (ra). However, this allegation is completely false; up until the era of Hazrat Uthman (ra), owing to their social interactions and intermingling, the various Arab tribes had become familiar with the differences in the dialects of their language. By this time, there was no need for the permission to recite the various qiraat to remain.

“This permission was only temporary and the reason it was granted was that they were the early days and there were different tribes; within these tribes a difference in dialect changed the meanings of certain words. Owing to this difference, for a brief time, those tribes were permitted to substitute the words of the actual revelation with other words revealed by God Almighty that were prevalent within those tribes. The reason for this was so that the commandments of the Holy Quran could be understood and there would be no obstacle preventing people from understanding it; also so that each tribe could read the Quran using the idioms of their language and in their own dialect.

“When 20 years had elapsed since this permission was granted, the situation had changed completely and the tribes had progressed. Those Arabs that were once several tribes had become one mighty tribe; in fact, they had become a formidable government. They were responsible for upholding the law and providing an education. They had the power to distribute various offices and began implementing penal laws. Subsequently, there were no longer any impediments in people understanding the primary dialect in which the Quran was revealed.

“When this situation became prevalent, Hazrat Uthman (ra) annulled the permission that was only meant to be temporary and this indeed was the will of God. However, the Shias allege this to be Hazrat Uthman’s (ra) biggest mistake in that he stopped all other qiraat [readings] and only adopted one reading. However, if they had pondered over the matter, they would have realised that Allah the Almighty permitted the reading of the different qiraat in the second era of Islam, not in the early era. This proves the fact that although Holy Quran was revealed in the Hijazi dialect, the different qiraat came about as various tribes accepted Islam. The language between the different tribes varied and they either could not pronounce certain words correctly or specific words have different connotations amongst the different tribes. For this reason, in such cases where this difference would have arisen, under the directive of God Almighty, the Holy Prophet (sa) granted permission to use a word from a different dialect or to use a different word in its place. However, this difference had no bearing on the meaning or understanding of the verses; in fact, if this permission was not given, then this difference [in meaning and understanding] would certainly have arisen.

“We find proof of this from the fact that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught one qirat [reading or recitation] of a particular chapter to Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud and a different qirat of the same chapter to Hazrat Umar (ra). The reason for this was that Hazrat Umar (ra) was born and brought up in a city and Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud was a shepherd and comparatively interacted more with Bedouins. Thus, both languages were very different.

One day, Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud was reciting that same chapter of the Holy Quran and when Hazrat Umar (ra) walked past he heard Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud reciting the chapter with certain differences. Hazrat Umar (ra) was astonished as to how this could be because the wording he knew was different and Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud was reading it in another way. Hazrat Umar (ra) took hold of him by the neck and said, ‘I will present your matter before the Holy Prophet (sa). Some words of the chapter are different to the way you are reading them.’ Thus, Hazrat Umar (ra) brought him to the Holy Prophet (sa) and said, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! You have taught me this chapter in one way and Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud is reciting it in another.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) asked Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud how he was reading the chapter. He became worried and began trembling thinking that he had made a mistake, but the Holy Prophet (sa) said to him not to worry and to recite it. When Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud recited the chapter, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘This is absolutely correct.’ Hazrat Umar (ra) responded, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah! You taught me in another way.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘That way is also correct.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) then added, ‘The Holy Quran has been revealed in seven qiraat [readings]. Do not quarrel amongst yourselves about these minor differences.’ The reason behind this difference was that the Holy Prophet (sa) thought since Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud was a shepherd, his dialect was different and so he taught him the reading that was closest to his dialect.

Regarding Hazrat Umar (ra), the Holy Prophet (sa) considered that since he belonged to the city, therefore he should be taught the Meccan dialect in which the Quran was primarily revealed. Thus, the Holy Prophet (sa) permitted Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud to recite the chapter in his own dialect and Hazrat Umar (ra) to recite the chapter in the dialect known in the city. These minor differences have arisen due to the various qiraat [readings]. However, there was no difference in the actual meaning of the text and everyone knew that this was a natural consequence of the various civilisations, education and differences in the dialects.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) further states:

“[…] The [Muslim] civilisation and government transformed individual tribes into one nation and one language and everyone became familiar with Hijazi Arabic. Therefore, Hazrat Uthman (ra) thought that to keep the use of different Qiraat would be the means of creating division [among the tribes] and he was absolutely correct. For this reason, he stopped the common use of different qiraat, but the qiraat themselves would remain preserved in the books of qiraat. Thus, keeping this virtuous intention in mind, he forbade the common use of any other qiraat other than the Hijazi script, which was the original dialect. Subsequently, in order to unify both Arabs and non-Arabs alike for the recitation of the Quran, he permitted the Hijazi script which was the initial qirat [reading].”

(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 9, pp. 49-51)

Hazrat Ubayy (ra) would teach the Holy Quran to an Iranian in the blessed era of the Holy Prophet (sa). When he taught him the verse,

إِنَّ‭ ‬شَجَرَةَ‭ ‬الزَّقُّوْمِ‭ ‬طَعَامُ‭ ‬الْأَثِيْمِ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Iranian was not able to properly pronounce the word “atheem” [sinners] and whenever he would recite the word atheem, he would recite it as yateem. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) was very concerned as to how he could teach him. The Holy Prophet (sa) happened to be passing by and seeing the concern on the face of Hazrat Ubayy (ra), he stopped. When he heard the discussion he said in Persian, “Try saying it as طَعَامُ‭ ‬الظَّاثِمْ [ta‘amun zathim] this is with a ظ [zaa]. When he tried reciting it in this manner he very clearly said اثيم [atheem]. Thus, when Hazrat Ubayy (ra) read out ظَاثِمْ [zathim] and the Iranian replied saying اثيم [atheem] and was able to pronounce it correctly. ‬‬

Thereupon, the Holy Prophet (sa) said to Hazrat Ubayy (ra), “Correct his speech according to his own language so that he may learn to recite the Holy Quran correctly, and ensure he pronounces the letters fully, God Almighty will reward you for this.”

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 152)

People with knowledge, especially those who were well versed in the Holy Quran, were greatly esteemed in the eyes of Hazrat Umar (ra), whether they were youths, children or adults. There is a narration in Bukhari where Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) relates:

“Uyaina bin Hisn bin Huzayfa came to Medina and stayed with his nephew, Hur bin Qais, who was among those individuals who had the opportunity to sit close to Hazrat Umar (ra). The Qaris of the Quran, young and old alike, would sit near to Hazrat Umar (ra) during his gatherings and they would also give various suggestions to him in relation to the Holy Quran. Uyaina said to his nephew, ‘O my nephew! You are honourable in the eyes of this chief. Therefore, seek permission for me to meet him.’ Hur bin Qais said, ‘I will seek permission for you to see him.’”

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) further narrates:

“Hence, Hur sought permission for Uyaina and Hazrat Umar (ra) granted him permission. When Uyaina approached him, he said, ‘O son of Khattab! What is the matter here? By God! You neither give us an abundance of wealth, nor do you make a fair decision with regard to the wealth between us.’ Hearing this, Hazrat Umar (ra) became angry, so much so that he was just about to say something to him, when Hur said to Hazrat Umar (ra), ‘O Leader of the Faithful! Allah the Almighty has said to His Messenger (sa):

خُذِ‭ ‬الْعَفْوَ‭ ‬وَأْمُرْ‭ ‬بِالْعُرْفِ‭ ‬وَأَعْرِضْ‭ ‬عَنِ‭ ‬الْجَاهِلِيْنَ

“‘“Take to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” [7:200] This Uyaina is also from among the ignorant.’ By Allah! When Hur recited this verse before him, Hazrat Umar (ra) immediately stopped and did not say anything. Hazrat Umar (ra) would refrain [from doing anything] after hearing the Book of Allah!”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Tafsir, Surah al-A‘raf, Hadith 4642)

Hazrat ibn Mas‘ud himself narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed him to recite Surah al-Nisa to him. (He is relating his own incident and states,) “The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed me to recite Surah al-Nisa to him. I replied, ‘What can I recite to you since this was revealed to you?’ The Holy Prophet (sa) replied, ‘I like it when others recite the Holy Quran and I listen to it.’” He then states, “I began to recite it and when I reached the verse:

فَکَیْفَ اِذَا جِئْنَا مِنْ کُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ بِشَہِیْدٍ وَّ جِئْنَا بِکَ عَلٰی ہٰؤُلَآءِ شَہِیْدًا

‘And how will it fare with them when We shall bring a witness from every people, and shall bring thee as a witness against these!’ (Al-Nisa:42) the eyes of the Holy Prophet (sa) were filled with tears.” It is also mention in the narrations that the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed him to stop.

(Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 383, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut), (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Fazail-ul-Quran, Hadith no. 5050)

Similarly, during the Battle of Badr, the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed him as the leader of the Saaqah. Saaqah is a part of the army that follows behind for protection. On one occasion, he said to the Holy Prophet (sa), “O Prophet (sa) of Allah! In how many days should I complete the recitation of the entire Quran?” The Holy Prophet(sa) replied, “In fifteen nights.” Hazrat Qais (ra) said, “I find myself capable of doing more than this.” Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “You may complete it in the duration of one Friday to the next.” To this, he said, “I find myself capable of doing even more than this.” Following this, he recited the Holy Quran in this very manner for a long time. He continued with this practise till he grew old and had to cover his eyes with a piece of cloth. He then began to complete the recitation of the entire Quran in fifteen days. At that time, he used to say, “If only I had accepted the concession granted by the Holy Prophet (sa).”

(Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 4, p. 408, Qais bin Abi Sa’sa, Dar-ul-Kutb al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003) (Taj-ul-Aroos).

At another instance, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:

“There is a commandment in the Holy Quran that before consulting with the Holy Prophet (sa) on any matter, one should give sadaqa [alms]. It is mentioned that before this commandment, Hazrat Ali (ra) had never consulted with the Holy Prophet (sa). However, after this commandment had been revealed, Hazrat Ali (ra) went to the Holy Prophet (sa) and after giving some amount as sadaqa [alms], he said that he wished to consult the Holy Prophet (sa) on a matter and so the Holy Prophet (sa) took Hazrat Ali (ra) to one side and spoke with him.

“Another companion later asked Hazrat Ali (ra) what it was that he had consulted the Holy Prophet (sa) about. Hazrat Ali (ra) replied, ‘I did not need to consult about anything specific; however, I wished to fulfil this commandment of the Holy Quran.’”

(Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 33, p. 752)

Such was the example of the companions.

In another narration, with regard to this incident, it is mentioned that a companion would go from house to house in order to fulfil the Quranic injunction that if a member of a house turns them away, then they must return from there. He says, “I tried on several occasions, and in fact, at times I would go daily to people’s houses hoping that one would tell me to go back and that I may do so happily and thereby fulfil this commandment of the Holy Quran; yet this wish of mine was never fulfilled as no one from any of the houses would tell me to return.”

(Al-Qurtubi, Tafsir al-Jami‘ li Ahkam al-Quran, Vol. 15, p. 199, Surah al-Nur, Ayah 29, Mu‘assisat al-Risalah, Beirut, 2006)

Nowadays, if it is said to anyone that they are busy and they should return or that they cannot meet, people get offended by it, but the level of righteousness of the companions was such that they would try to act upon each and every injunction of the Holy Quran.

The Holy Qur'an

The Holy Prophet (sa) once said that the most benevolent upon his people was Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra). The strictest with regard to God’s religion was Hazrat Umar (ra), meaning he was very strict in adhering to religious principles. The most modest was Hazrat Uthman (ra), as in he had achieved the greatest levels of modesty. The person with the greatest understanding of what is lawful and unlawful was Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal (ra). The person with the greatest awareness of his obligations was Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit. The person with the highest knowledge in recitations of the Holy Quran was Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab. And every ummah has a Custodian; and the Custodian of this Ummah was Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah (ra) – whose accounts have been narrated previously.

(Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Manaqib, Bab Manaqib Muaz bin Jabal … Hadith 3790)

Whilst mentioning the names of the scribes of the Holy Quran, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) states:

“As soon as a revelation was received by the Holy Prophet (sa) it was recorded in writing from his dictation. A number of persons are known to have been assigned by the Holy Prophet (sa) for this purpose. Of these the names of the following fifteen have been mentioned in historical accounts; Zaid bin Thabit (ra), Ubayy bin Ka‘b (ra), Abdullah bin Sa‘d bin Abi Sarh (ra), Zubair bin al-Awwam (ra), Khalid bin Saeed bin al-Aas (ra), Abaan bin Saeed al-Aas (ra), Hanzla bin Rabi al-Asadi (ra), Muayqib bin Abi Fatima (ra), Abdullah bin Arqam az-Zuhri (ra), Sharahbeel bin Hasana (ra), Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra), Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Umar (ra), Hazrat Uthman (ra) and Hazrat Ali (ra). Whenever the Holy Prophet (sa) received a revelation, he would send for one of these persons and dictate to him the text of the revelation he had received.”

(Dibacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwarul Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 425-426)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states that there was an individual who used to teach Hazrat Ali’s (ra) sons, Hassan (ra) and Hussain (ra). Once, Hazrat Ali (ra) passed by his sons and heard their tutor teaching them to pronounceخَاتِمَ‭ ‬النبيين [Khatiman Nabiyyeen]. Hazrat Ali (ra) said, “Do not teach my sons to sayخَاتِمَ النبيين ; rather, teach them to say‭ ‬خَاتَمَ النبيين [Khataman Nabiyyeen]” in other words, with a fathah [a diacritical mark] above the latter ta as opposed to a kasrah [a diacritical mark] under it. “Despite the fact that both pronunciations are possible; however, I prefer for it to be pronounced as خَاتَمَ النبيين because it means the ‘Seal of the Prophets’ whereas خَاتِمَ‭ ‬النبيين would mean ‘the one who ends prophethood.’ Thus, teach my sons [to pronounce it] with a fathah above the letter تاء[ta].” ‬‬‬

(Farizah-e-Tabligh aur Ahmadi Khawatin, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 18, p. 404)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) has stated in relation to Hazrat Umar’s (ra) memorisation of the Holy Quran:

“Abu Ubaidah relates, ‘The following Muhajireen companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) had memorised the Holy Quran: Abu Bakr (ra), Umar (ra), Uthman (ra), Ali (ra), Talhahra, Saad (ra), Ibn Mas’ud (ra), Huzayfa (ra), Saalim (ra), Abu Hurairah (ra), Abdullah (ra) bin Sa‘ib, Abdullah bin Umar (ra) and Abdullah bin Abbas (ra).’”

(Dibachah Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, p. 429)

There is mention in Sahih Muslim with regard to Hazrat Umar’s (ra) view to not lead the funeral prayers of the hypocrites being in accordance with Quranic revelation. Hazrat Ibn Umar (ra) narrates:

“When Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulool died, his son Abdullah (ra) bin Abdillah went to the Holy Prophet (sa) and requested the Holy Prophet (sa) to grant him his upper garment as a burial cloth for his father. The Holy Prophet (sa) granted him the cloth. He then requested the Holy Prophet (sa) to lead his funeral prayer. The Holy Prophet (sa) went to lead the funeral prayer, upon which Hazrat Umar (ra) stood up and held the cloth of the Holy Prophet (sa), saying, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, you are about to lead his funeral prayer even though Allah the Almighty has forbidden you from doing so.’

“In response, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘Allah the Almighty has given me the choice by saying:

ٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ‭ ‬لَهُمۡ‭ ‬أَوۡ‭ ‬لَا‭ ‬تَسۡتَغۡفِرۡ‭ ‬لَهُمۡ

“‘“Ask thou forgiveness for them, or ask thou not forgiveness for them, even if thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times …” therefore, I will seek forgiveness more than seventy times.’ Hazrat Umar (ra) said that he [Ubayy bin Sulool] was a hypocrite; however, the Holy Prophet (sa) still led the funeral prayer. Thereafter, Allah the Almighty revealed the verse:

وَلَا‭ ‬تُصَلِّ‭ ‬عَلَىٰٓ‭ ‬أَحَدٖ‭ ‬مِّنۡهُم‭ ‬مَّاتَ‭ ‬أَبَدٗا‮ ‬

“‘And never pray thou for any of them that dies,’” i.e. the hypocrites, and never pray at their graves.

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi (sa), Bab min Fada‘il Umar (ra), Hadith 6207)

In the commentary of the verse:

وَاَنْفِقُوْا فِیْ سَبِیْلِ اللّٰہِ وَلَا تُلْقُوْا بِاَیْدِیْکُمْ اِلَى التَّہْلُکَۃِ وَاَحْسِنُوْا اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَ

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) has stated: “People have erred greatly in their understanding of the verse:

وَاَنْفِقُوْا فِیْ سَبِیْلِ اللّٰہِ وَلَا تُلْقُوْا بِاَیْدِیْکُمْ اِلَى التَّہْلُکَۃِ وَاَحْسِنُوْا اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَ

“From this, they infer that whenever they are faced with a difficulty in the way of Allah, they immediately say that this is akin to ruining oneself with one’s own hands. They claim that since Allah the Almighty Himself has stated, ‘And cast not yourselves into ruin with your own hands,’ therefore they are unable to partake in such matters. However, this verse does not mean that whenever a Muslim is faced with a trial [from Allah the Almighty] whereby his life is under threat, he ought to run away from it and show cowardice. In actuality the meaning of this verse is that when there is war against the enemy, one ought to readily spend one’s wealth in this cause. If one does not spend their wealth, it will be akin to ruining oneself with their own hands.

“A narration is found in the ahadith in which Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari (ra) said when he had gone to conquer Constantinople, ‘This verse was revealed regarding us, the Ansar.’ He then further stated, ‘Initially we would spend our wealth in the way of God Almighty. But then when God Almighty established His religion and honoured it by granting Muslims victory, we stated:

قُلْنَا ہَلْ نُقِیْمُ فِیْ اَمْوَالِنَا وَ نُصْلِحُہَا

“That is, it would be better if we safeguard our wealth and save it. At that time, this verse was revealed that one should not hold back in spending in the way of Allah Almighty for if one does that then it will be akin to casting oneself to ruin. Therefore, you ought not to accumulate wealth, rather spend it in the way of Allah the Almighty, otherwise your lives will go in vain and the enemy will overcome you and you will be completely destroyed.”

(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 429)

After the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Umar Farooqra often recounted this incident. Once, while standing at the pulpit in Masjid al-Nabawi [the Prophet’s Mosque], he said that the greatest qari was Ubayy (ra). Once, during his expedition to Syria, whilst in Jabiyah – which is a settlement near Damascus – he delivered a sermon wherein he said:

مَنْ‭ ‬اَرَادَ‭ ‬الْقُرْآنَ‭ ‬فَلْيَاْتِ‭ ‬اُبَيًّا‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Meaning, “Whoever has a desire to learn the Holy Quran should go to Ubayy.”

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 149) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi] 91)

Hazrat Uthman (ra) bin Affan selected 12 people from among the Quraish and Ansar for the codification [standardisation into a single codex or consonantal text] of the Quran, including Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab and Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit.

(Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2017] 381)

During the era of Hazrat Uthman (ra), differences in pronunciation and dialect of the Quran became widespread throughout the Islamic lands. In order to eliminate these differences, Hazrat Uthman (ra) summoned the companions who recited variant readings and heard all these variants individually. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab, Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (ra) and Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal (ra) all had different dialects. In observing this, Hazrat Uthman (ra) wished to unite all Muslims upon a single mode of recitation of the Quran. There were twelve people from among the Quraish and Ansar who were extremely proficient in the Quran.

Hazrat Uthman (ra) assigned this important task to them and appointed Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab as the head of this committee. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) would recite the words of the Quran and Hazrat Zaid (ra) would write them down. All the various codices [manuscripts] of the Quran that are present today are in accordance with the reading of Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab.

(Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 143)

Qatadah relates that he heard Hazrat Anas (ra) say, “In the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), four people compiled the Holy Quran, who were all among the Ansar. They were: Hazrat Mu‘az (ra) bin Jabal, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Ka‘b, Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit and Hazrat Abu Zaid (ra).” Hazrat Abu Zaid (ra) was the paternal uncle of Hazrat Anas (ra).

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab Faza‘il al-Sahabah, Bab min Faza‘il Ubayy bin Ka‘b…, Hadith 2465)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra) narrates that he heard the Holy Prophet (sa) say, “Learn the Quran from four people – Ibn Mas‘ud (ra), Salim (ra) the freed slave of Abu Huzaifah (ra), Ubayy (ra) bin Ka‘b and Mu‘az (ra) bin Jabal.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar, Bab Manaqib Mu‘az bin Jabal, Hadith 3806)

Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has explained this Hadith. Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states:

“The Holy Prophet (sa) appointed a group of teachers who taught the Holy Quran; they [learned and] memorised the entire Holy Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) and taught it to others. These were four esteemed teachers who were responsible for learning the Holy Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) and teaching it to others and there were many companions under them who would also teach the Holy Quran to others. The names of these four esteemed teachers are Abdullah bin Mas‘ud (ra), Salim (ra), the freed slave of Abu Huzaifah (ra), Mu‘az (ra) bin Jabal and Ubayy (ra) bin Ka‘b. The first two were Muhajireen and the latter two were Ansar. With regard to their work, Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud was a labourer, Salim (ra) was a freed slave, while Mu‘az (ra) bin Jabal and Ubayy (ra) bin Ka‘b were chieftains of Medina. Thus, the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed qaris [reciters] keeping in view every member of society.

“It is narrated in a Hadith that the Holy Prophet (sa) used to say:

خُذُوا الْقُراٰنَ مِنْ اَرْبَعَۃٍ (مِنْ) عَبْدِاللّٰہِ بِنْ مَسْعُوْدٍ وَ سَالِمٍ وَ مُعَاذِ بِنْ جَبَلٍ وَاُبَیِّ بِنْ کَعْبٍ

“‘Anyone who desires to read the Quran should learn from the following four individuals; Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Salim, Mu‘az(ra) bin Jabal and Ubayy bin Ka‘b.’

“These were the four people who either learned the entire Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) or would recite it before him to ensure they did not make any mistakes. Aside from them, there were also many other companions who learned various portions of the Holy Quran directly from the Holy Prophet (sa).

“It is related in another narration that on one occasion, when Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud [was reciting the Quran, he] pronounced a word differently. Hazrat Umar (ra) stopped him and said that it should be pronounced in such and such manner. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud stated that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught him to pronounce it in that very manner. Hazrat Umar (ra) took him to the Holy Prophet (sa) and complained that he did not recite the Quran correctly. The Holy Prophet (sa) asked Abdullah (ra) bin Mas‘ud to recite. When he recited it, the Holy Prophet (sa) said he was reciting correctly. Thereupon Hazrat Umar (ra) submitted, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, you taught me to pronounce the word differently.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) told him that that was also correct.

“This shows that in addition to the four companions who learnt the Holy Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa), there were others who also used to learn portions of the Holy Quran from him. Hazrat Umar’s (ra) submission that he had been taught to pronounce a certain word in a particular way shows that he too used to learn the Quran from the Holy Prophet (sa) himself.”

(Dibachah Tafsir al-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, p427-428)

Whilst explaining the following verse of Sura Al-A‘la:

سَنُقْرِئُكَ‭ ‬فَلَا‭ ‬تَنْسٰى‬‬

“We shall teach thee [the Quran], and thou shalt forget [it] not.” [Ch.87: V.7]

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:

“The meaning of this verse is ‘We shall teach you the Quran, which you shall not forget till the Day of Judgment and this will continue to remain in the same form as it is today.’ This claim is testified by even the staunchest opponents of Islam who openly accept that the Holy Quran has remained preserved in the exact same form as it was first presented by the Holy Prophet (sa).

“[Theodore] Nöldeke, Sprenger and William Muir have all acknowledged in their books that apart from the Holy Quran they cannot categorically and definitely say this about any other scripture that it exists in the same form today as the founder of its religion had originally presented it. It is only the Holy Quran regarding which it can be conclusively said that it exists in the exact same form today as it was first presented by the Holy Prophet (sa) to his companions. Since they do not believe that the Holy Quran is a book revealed by God Almighty as they claim that it was written by the Holy Prophet (sa) himself, therefore they do not say that it remains preserved in the exact same form as it was revealed, but nonetheless, they do say that this book remains in the exact form as it was first presented by Muhammad (sa). For example, Sir William Muir writes in his book, The Koran, that all the various proofs grant assurance to one’s heart that the Quran which we read today is exactly the same, word-for-word, which the Prophet (sa) would recite to the people.

Sir William Muir then further writes in his book, Life of Mahomet [sic]:

“‘What we have, though possibly created and modified by himself, is still his own’.

“Similarly, he further writes:

“‘We may upon the strongest presumption affirm that every verse in the Quran is genuine and unaltered.’

“Then, Nöldeke, who is a German orientalist, writes:

“‘Slight clerical errors there may have been, but the Koran [sic] of Othman [sic] contains none but genuine elements, though sometimes in a very strange order. Efforts of European scholars to prove the existence of later interpolations in the Koran [sic] have failed.’

“In short, even the European writers have acknowledged that there is absolutely no doubt with regard to the physical preservation of the Holy Quran. In fact, it is word for word and letter for letter, the exact same book as Muhammad (sa) recited before the people.”

(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 9, pp. 421-422)

Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab narrates, “Once, I was in the mosque when a man entered and began offering Salat. He recited the Quran in such a manner which seemed very unusual to me. Then another man entered the mosque and started reciting [the Holy Quran] with a different qir‘ah [reading]. When we had all offered our Salat, we went to the Holy Prophet (sa).

“I informed the Holy Prophet (sa) that this person has recited the Holy Qur’an in such a qir‘ah [reading] which seems strange to me. Then another person came who recited it in a different reading to the first person. So the Holy Prophet (sa) asked both of them to recite their qir‘aat of the Holy Quran, to which they recited. The Holy Prophet (sa) then declared both their qir‘aat to be correct and told them both they had recited correctly.”

Upon the reversal of his own opinion, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) says, “When I had formed an opinion that such and such person recited incorrectly and the Holy Prophet (sa) corrected my view declaring both readings to be correct, I became extremely embarrassed in a manner I had not even experienced in the era of ignorance when I knew little. The embarrassment I felt at that point was like none other I had felt in my entire life.

“When the Holy Prophet (sa) saw me overcome in this state and the embarrassment was plain to see on my face, he placed his hand on my chest. I was covered in sweat as if I was beholding God Almighty in this state of fear. Then the Holy Prophet (sa) said to me, ‘O Ubayy, I was instructed that I should recite the Holy Quran in one qir‘ah. I replied by requesting ease for my people. I was then instructed that I should recite it, i.e. the Holy Quran in two qir‘aat, to which I again replied asking ease for my people. On the third try, he instructed that I should recite it in seven qir‘aat. Thus, in response to each one of my requests I was told by the angel that I have been given the right to seek whatever I wish from God,’ i.e. the angel Gabriel said, ‘For each response [to your request], Allah the Almighty has granted you the right to seek from Him whatever you desire of Him.’ ‘I then said (i.e. the Holy Prophet (sa) states), “O Allah, forgive my people, O Allah, forgive my people. And I deferred the third prayer for the day in which all of creation will turn to me [for intercession], including Prophet Abraham (as).”’”

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab Salat al-Musafirin wa Qasriha, Bab Bayan anna al-Quran…, Translation of Nur Foundation, Vol. 3, pp. 308-309)

Once, Hazrat Umar Farooq (ra) was at Arafat when a man approached him and said, “O Leader of the Faithful (this is after he was elected as the Khalifa) I have come from Kufa and I have seen a man there dictating the Holy Quran without looking.” Hazrat Umar (ra) said angrily, “Woe to you! (This is a style of speech of the Arabs) Who is this man?” The man replied fearfully, “Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.” When Hazrat Umar (ra) heard this his temper subsided and returned to the state he was in before. He then said, “In terms of undertaking this task, I do not see anyone more worthy and befitting than Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.”

(Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, p. 128, Hadith no. 175, Alim-ul-Kutb, Beirut, 1998).

He could write the entire Holy Quran without looking.

Hazrat Umar (ra) states, “One night, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and I were in the company of the Holy Prophet (sa) when we passed by Abdullah bin Mas‘ud who was reciting the Holy Quran whilst offering voluntary prayers. He was standing in prayer reciting and the Holy Prophet (sa )stood listening to his recitation. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud then bowed and went into prostration. The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘O Abdullah, whatever you now ask of God will be granted to you.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) then departed saying, ‘Whoever desires to read the Holy Quran with such freshness as though it was just revealed, then he should learn the Holy Quran from Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.’” This Hadith and narration is of Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal.

(Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, pp. 156-157, Hadith no. 265, Alim-ul-Kutb, Beirut, 1998)

Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab relates:

“The Holy Prophet (sa) stated, ‘O Abu Munzir, do you know which verse in Allah’s book that has been granted to you is the greatest of all?’ I submitted, ‘Allah and His Messenger (sa) know better.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) again asked, ‘O Abu Munzir, do you know which verse in Allah’s book that has been granted to you is the greatest of all?’ I gave the same response, but when the Holy Prophet (sa) asked again, I stated:

اَللّٰهُ‭ ‬لَآ‭ ‬اِلٰهَ‭ ‬اِلَّا‭ ‬هُوَ‭ ‬الْحَيُّ‭ ‬الْقَيُّوْمُ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

[Allah – there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. (Ch.2: V.256)]

Hazrat Ubayy (ra) states, “The Holy Prophet (sa) placed his hand upon my chest and stated, ‘By God, O Abu Munzir, may your knowledge be a source of blessing for you.’”

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab Salat al-Musafirin wa Qasriha, Bab Fadl Surat al-Kahf wa Ayat al-Kursi, Translation of Nur Foundation, Vol. 3, p. 300.)

In other words, the Holy Prophet (sa) expressed his approval to his answer.

The first scribe to write a revelation of the Holy Prophet (sa) after his migration to Medina was Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab. At the time, it was not common for the scribe’s name to be written at the end of a Quranic inscription; however, Hazrat Ubayy (ra) initiated this practice and the other companions also adopted this practice.

(Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2016] 170) (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaah Urdu Bazar, 2004] 158)

Meaning, the name of the person who had inscribed the text would not be written, rather the text would simply be written out [without any indication of who transcribed it]. Hazrat Ubayy (ra) began signing his name at the end of an inscription to make it known that it had been written by him, and thus, it became common practice.

In relation to the prohibition of alcohol, there is mention in Sunan al-Tirmidhi of Hazrat Umar’s (ra) opinion on the matter being in accordance with Allah the Almighty’s revelation. Hazrat Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab prayed, “O Allah, grant us a conclusive decision with regard to alcohol”. Then, the following verse of Surah al-Baqarah was revealed:

يَسۡـَٔلُوْنَكَ‭ ‬عَنِ‭ ‬الۡخَمۡرِ‭ ‬وَالۡمَيۡسِرِۖ

“They ask thee concerning wine and the game of hazard. Say: ‘In both there is great sin and also some advantages for men; but their sin is greater than their advantage.’”

When this verse was revealed, it was recited to Hazrat Umar (ra). Having heard it, Hazrat Umar (ra) said, “O Allah, grant us a clear commandment in relation to alcohol.” Then the following verse of Surah al-Nisa was revealed:

‮ ‬لَا‭ ‬تَقۡرَبُوا‭ا ‬لصَّلَوٰةَ‭ ‬وَأَنتُمۡ‭ ‬سُكَٰرَىٰ‮ ‬

“O ye who believe! Approach not Prayer when you are not in [full] possession of your senses, until you know what you say.”

Hazrat Umar (ra) then came once more and this verse was recited to him. He again supplicated, “O Allah, grant us a clear commandment with regards to alcohol.”

Then the following verse of Surah al-Ma‘idah was revealed:

إِنَّمَا‭ ‬يُرِيدُ‭ ‬الشَّيۡطٰنُ‭ ‬أَنْ‭ ‬يُوْقِعَ‭ ‬بَيۡنَكُمُ‭ ‬الۡعَدٰوَةَ‭ ‬وَالۡبَغۡضَآءَ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬الۡخَمۡرِ‭ ‬وَالۡمَيۡسِرِ‭ ‬وَيَصُدَّكُمۡ‭ ‬عَن‭ ‬ذِكۡرِ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬وَعَنِ‭ ‬الصَّلَوٰةِۖ‭ ‬فَهَلۡ‭ ‬أَنْتُم‭ ‬مُّنْتَهُوْنَ‮ ‬ “Satan desires only to create enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and the game of hazard, and to keep you back from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. But will you keep back?”

Hazrat Umar (ra) came once again and this verse was recited to him. Upon this, he stated, “Surely we will refrain from this, surely we will refrain from this.”

(Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Tafsir al-Quran, Bab wa min Surah al-Ma‘idah, Hadith 3049)

Aside from the narration in the Sihah-e-Sittah regarding these instances of agreement [of his viewpoint with the Word of Allah], historians have recorded a number of other incidents of such agreements. Allamah Suyuti Sahib has recorded 20 such incidents.

(Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 98, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut, 1999)

With regard to Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab, it is mentioned that Allah the Exalted commanded the Holy Prophet (sa) to recite the Quran to Ubayy (ra). Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (sa) said that Ubayy (ra) was the best qari [who recites the Quran according to the rules of recitation] among his people.

(Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2017] 378)

It is mentioned in regard to him that he had great knowledge of the Holy Quran due to this very reason. Other narrations about this will be mentioned later.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:

“Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab was among those four individuals with regard to whom the Holy Prophet (sa) said that they are the qurra-e-ummat [reciters of the Holy Quran] of this ummah.” That is, if anyone wished to learn to read the Quran, they should learn from them.

(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 84)

During the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (ra) Khilafat, 70 Huffaz-e-Quran [those who had committed the entire Quran to memory] were martyred during the Battle of Yamamah. In regard to this, Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit Ansari relates that upon the martyrdom of the Muslims at Yamamah, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) called for him. At the time, Hazrat Umar (ra) was with Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra). Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) stated, “Umar has come to me and informed me that many people have been martyred in the Battle of Yamamah. He has expressed his concern lest more qaris [reciters of the Holy Quran] pass away owing to the battles and in this way, a large part of the Holy Quran will be lost, unless we collate all the manuscripts of the Quran in one place. He suggests that I should gather these various manuscripts in one place.”

Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) then stated, “I told Umar that how can I do something which the Holy Prophet (sa) did not do himself. However, Umar (ra) has stated, ‘By Allah, this action of yours is a very noble deed.’ Umar continuously said this to me until Allah the Almighty granted my heart contentment to carry out this work and now I deem what Umar said to be the most appropriate course of action.” At the time, Hazrat Umar (ra) was sat next to him and was completely silent. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) then said to Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit, “You are a very young and wise man. We do not find any ill in you. You used to write down the revelations that the Holy Prophet (sa) would receive, therefore wherever you find the manuscripts of the Holy Quran, you should gather them in one place.”

Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit stated, “By Allah, if he had asked me to move a mountain from one place to another, I would have found that easier than this task which he had commanded me to carry out, in other words, to collate the various manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an. I then said to them, ‘How can you two carry out such a task which the Holy Prophet (sa) did not do himself?’ Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) replied, ‘By Allah, this is a noble deed.’”

Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit stated, “I kept asking them this question until Allah the Almighty granted my heart contentment to carry out this task as he had granted to Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hazrat Umar (ra). I then stood up to go and search for the various manuscripts of the Holy Quran. I then began to gather these which were inscribed on parchments made from animal skin, the shoulder bones of the animals and the branches of the date palm trees as well as that which was memorised by the people. There were two verses of Surah al-Taubah which I only found with Hazrat Huzaimah Ansari (ra) and no one else had these verses with them. These verses are as follows:

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُوْلٌ مِّنْ اَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيْزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيْصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

“Surely, a Messenger has come unto you from among yourselves; grievous to him is that you should fall into trouble; he is ardently desirous of your welfare and to the believers he is compassionate and merciful.”

(Ch.9: V.128)

In this narration, only this verse has been written; however, the hadith mentions that there were two verses, perhaps the other verse was the one that follows after this verse.

It is mentioned that these manuscripts of the entire Quran remained in the possession of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) until his demise and then they were in the possession of Hazrat Umar (ra) until his demise, they were then in the possession of Hazrat Hafsah (ra) bint Umar and then given to Hazrat Usman (ra) as mentioned once before.

(Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Al-Tafsir, Hadith no. 4679)

Hazrat Ubayy (ra) bin Kaab states in one narration that he completes one reading of the Holy Quran in eight nights.

(Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2017] 379.)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) narrates an incident in relation to the court of Hazrat Umar (ra) in the following manner. He says:

“A chief came to the gathering of Hazrat Umar (ra) and he was appalled seeing a 10-year-old child sitting there and thought what did boys have to do in such an esteemed gathering. Coincidentally, Hazrat Umar (ra) became upset owing to something that the chief did. He called for a jallad [a person who was assigned to flog others with a whip] but that very same boy exclaimed:

وَالْكَاظِمِيْنَ‭ ‬الْغَيْظَ

“[and those who suppress anger (Ch.3: V.135)]

“And then recited [the verse]:

وَ‭ ‬اَعْرِضْ‭ ‬عَنِ‭ ‬الْجَاهِلِيْنَ

“[and turn away from the ignorant. (Ch.7: V.200)]

“The boy then said:

هٰذَا‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬الْجَاهِلِيْن

“[He is also from among the ignorant.] The complexion of Hazrat Umar’s (ra) face changed and he remained silent. At that time, his brother”, i.e. the brother of the boy who said this, “said, ‘You see, that very same boy, whom you considered inferior, has saved you.’”

(Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 2, p. 122)