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Original Copy Of Qur’an Was Burnt; A Myth Or Reality?


Allah, who revealed the Qur’an Himself, made arrangements for its safety and security forever. Alah says in the Glorious Qur’an “Verily It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption) {15:09}.

No sooner was a passage of the Qur’an revealed than it was recorded on the leaves of date-palm, bark of trees, bones etc, at the dictation of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and all these pieces were put in a bag. Besides this, some of the Companions themselves wrote these pieces for their own use. At the same time, the Muslims committed these passages to memory as they had to recite them during Salah (prayer) which was obligatory from the very beginning of Islam.

Though many Companions had committed the whole Qur’an to memory during the life time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it had not been compiled in Book form. But immediately after his death, an event occurred that necessitated this work. A furious storm of apostasy broke out and many of the companions, who went to war to suppress it, got martyred. Among these martyrs were some who had committed whole Qur’an to their memory. Then it occurred to Hazrat Umar(ra) that necessary steps should be taken to preserve the Qur’an intact in its original form against any and every kind of danger and that it was not wise to depend exclusively on those who had remembered it by heart .He therefore urged to put the whole of it in black and white form of an authenticated Book. He tried to impress the necessity on Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), who had first showed hesitation to do what Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had not done. But after some discussion he agreed to it. Accordingly, he entrusted this work to Hazrat Zaid bin Thabit(ra) who also showed hesitation at first like Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) for the same reason. But later he agreed to do this historic work.

Hazrat Zaid bin Thabit(ra) was best qualified for this work. He had frequently acted as an amanuensis to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and was one of those companions who learnt the Qur’an directly from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Moreover, he was also present on the occasion when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recited the whole of the Qur’an to angel Gabriel (as). Arrangements were, therefore, made to collect and gather all the written pieces of the Qur’an left by the Prophet and those in the possession of his Companions. Then with the cooperation of those Comp[anions who had committed whole or a part of the Qur’an to their memory word for word, all the written pieces were compared with each other for verification. Hazrat Zaid (ra) would not tally down anything till all the sources matched with one another. Thus was compiled one correct and complete copy of the Qur’an. This authenticated copy was kept in the house of hazrat Hafsa (ra) (daughter of Hazrat Umar (ra) and one of the wives of the Prophet) and it was proclaimed that anyone who desired to make a copy of it or compare with it the copy he already possessed.

As regards the sequence of the Surahs (chapters), hazrat zaid (ra) followed the same sequence that was followed by the Prophet himself because he could not and would not have followed any other. He was so particular about following the Prophet in everything he did, that, at first, he hesitated to undertake the work of the Compilation, just because this thing had not been done during the life-time of the Prophet. It is therefore wrong to suppose that the Surahs were arranged in the existing order after the death of the Prophet. The very fact that the Prophet recited the whole of the Qur’an twice before angel Gabriel (as) during the last Ramadan of his life, is a clear proof of the fact that he must have followed the same order. And as already cited a Tradition to the effect that Hazrat Zaid (ra) attended the second of the two recitals. Likewise those Companions, who had committed the whole of the Qur’an to their memory, must have done it in the same order and that too could not have been any other but the one followed and taught by the Prophet. Moreover at several places Qur’an speaks itself as a Book. For example in Surah Muzzammil. This also shows that Qur’an was meant to be in a Book form from the beginning of the revelation.

Difference of Dialects
Though Arabic was the common language of the whole Arabia, there existed some variations in the dialects of different parts and tribes.

For obvious reasons the Qur’an was revealed in the dialect of the Quraish of Makkah. However, the Arabs living in the different parts of the country were, at first, allowed for the sake of simplicity, to recite it according to the dialect of their own clan or district but this did not produce any difference in its meanings. But when Islam spread beyond the boundaries of Arabia and the Arabs came into contact with the non-Arab Muslims, the Arabic language gradually began to be influenced by its new environment. Then it was feared that the different dialects of the Qur’an might give rise to various kinds of mischief and might cause disputes among persons having different dialects. They might even accuse each other of tampering with the Qur’an. Moreover, there was danger that the pure and beautiful Arabic of the Qur’an might be altered or changed by those Arabs who came in contact with non-Arabs. Therefore, Caliph Hazrat Usmaan (ra), in consultation with other Companions of the Prophet, decided that the authenticated copies of the Qur’an compiled by the order of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), should alone be used in the while of the Muslim world, and the use of all other copies in any other dialect or idiom should be prohibited. As a precautionary measure, he had all the other existing copies burnt to ward off any possibility of future confusion and misunderstanding. For instance, some of the Companions had noted down explanatory words and comments on the margins of their copies and it was feared that these might get mixed up with the original text of the Qur’an. Though such a possibility did not exist at that time, it was the act of most prudent foresight to make Qur’an safe and secure.

The Qur’an which is now used all over the world, is the exact copy of the Qur’an which was compiled by the order of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and copies of which were officially sent to different places. Even today many of the old copies are found in big libraries in different parts of the world and if anyone has any doubt as to whether Qur’an has remained absolutely safe and secure against every kind of change and alteration, he can compare any copy of the Qur’an with these copies and reassure himself. If even then anyone has any doubt left in his mind, he’s advised to take any copy of the Qur’an and ask anyone, out of the millions who know the Qur’an by heart, to recite word for word from the beginning to the end. He will find that the recitation confirms word for word with the written text. This is a clear and an irrefutable proof that the Qur’an which is in use today is the same that was presented to the world by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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