The Qur’ân manuscript with Hafsah bint `Umar

The Qur’ân manuscript with Hafsah bint `Umar

How accurate is what we know of the events related to Hafsah and `Uthmân with respect to the early Qur’ân manuscripts?
Answered by
Sheikh `Abd Allah b. Wakîl al-Shaykh
The scholars of Islam have paid careful attention to the reports of the historical events that took place during the era of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and during the era of the Companions and the Successors by demanding and then scrutinizing complete and unbroken chains of transmission from the eye-witnesses at the time the event happened up to the time the books were compiled.

These chains of transmission are what the scholars rely upon. The reports would be declared authentic if they are unbroken and all of the narrators are reliable. If these conditions are not met, or if some other defect is present, then the historical report will be declared weak.

The story of Hafsah bint `Umar keeping a manuscript of the Qur’ân is authentic. Al-Bukhârî relates it in his Sahîh in the Book of the Qur’ân’s Virtues, Chapter on the Compilation of the Qur’ân (#4797 & 4798).

In brief, when `Umar observed how many of the people who memorized the Qur’ân were dying in battle. He consulted with Abû Bakr on compiling the Qur’ân in one authoritative volume. This was in the year 12 A.H.

Zayd b. Thâbit wa appointed to the task. Zayd was among those who had completely memorized the Qur’ân. He and `Umar went to all of the Companions to hear what they had memorized of the Qur’ân. Many of the Companions who had memorized the Qur’ân in its entirety were still around.

The authorized written edition that was in accordance with what all the Companions had memorized and recorded was called a “mushaf”. It remained with Abû Bakr until his death. Then it remained with `Umar until he died as well. Then it stayed with `Umar’s daughter Hafsah, since this is what `Umar had instructed before his death.

It remained with her in the same state until the next Caliph, `Uthman b. `Affân, requested it from her. He wanted to get all copies of the Qur’ân in line with one manuscript. Copies were made and dispatched to all the major cities of the Islamic realm. When this work was completed, the original copy was returned to her and remained with her until her death.

[Refer to Fath al-Bârî 98/739-650)]

Source: IslamToday


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