This series is a translation from the book القراءات في نظر المستشرقين والملحدين by Sheikh Abdul Fattaah Abdul Ghinaa al-Qaadi. The book is a response to what the orientalist Goldziher wrote against the Qur’an and the Qiraa’aat.
He (Goldziher) said on page 5:
In all the events of Islamic history, the inclination to unify the text did not score except small victories.
I (Abdul Fattaah al-Qaadi) say:
According to this section, a party of the Muslims were inclined towards the unification of the Qur’anic text, but their inclination towards this unification did not succeed except in getting very little support.
This is a claim which has no proof, rather there are proofs which refute this, and go against its very foundation, since it has not been established that it ever even occurred to anyone from the Muslims to unify the texts of the Noble Qur’an, and if this had happened it would have definitely reached us because of the huge number of allegations that would have come up against its transmission.
As for what the third Khalifah Uthman bin Affan رضي الله عنه did of writing the masahif (i.e. the mus-haf copies), and sending them to the Muslim lands, and the people abiding by what was in these, then the reason was not inclination to unifying the Qur’anic text. Rather, what drove this was only a desire to gather the Muslims upon the established Qiraa’aat, from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم via tawaatur, without other than these of the Qiraa’aat which were revealed initially as a means of ease for the Ummah, but were later abrogated in the Last Recital, and those who hadn’t come to know they were abrogated were still reciting them.
And leaving the masahif clean of any dots and marks was a fulfilment of the Khalifah Uthman’s wish, and helped him gather the people upon the Qiraa’aat mutawaatirah without the abrogated and shaadh ones. [Because this allowed flexibility in the way the words could be recited, allowing for a mus-haf to accommodate more than one Qiraa’ah]
There is no bigger proof for what we said, that these masahif which the Khalifah Uthman ordered to be written, had differences between them in many places, following the differences of the Qiraa’aat in these places, as has been documented in books of the Qiraa’aat and Rasm al-Qur’an (Qur’anic Script).
So if Uthman’s intent had been the unification of the Qur’anic text, the masahif would have been written in exactly the same form, and there would have been no difference at all between them. So their being written in these different forms, and a number of ways, is a clear proof that Uthman did not intend the unification of the text.
Rather he only intended to gather the people upon what had been established of the Qiraa’aat via tawaatur, without anything that did not match up to this level.