Usool of the Qiraa’aat | Part 5: The Differences in Qiraa’aat and their Reasons


This series is a translation of Ustaadhah Amani bint Muhammad ‘Aashoor’s work: الأصول النيرات في القراءات on the Usool of the 10 Qiraa’aat.  It presents the rules of recitation for all of the authentic Qiraa’aat, explanation of their history, common terms used, types of Qiraa’aat, their benefit, and much, much more.  Even if you don’t know what the Qiraa’aat are, you’ll still benefit from this series since it will give you all the information you need to understand and learn the Qiraa’aat, in sha Allah. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

What is meant by the topic about the differences in the Qiraa’aat here, is the differences in the Qiraa’aat which are Mutawaatirah.  As for the non-Mutawaatirah types then we won’t venture into those just as the Scholars of Usool and Fiqh (May Allah have mercy on them) have consensus that the Shaadh is not considered Qur’an due to the required conditions not being met in it, and the vast majority of them were of the opinion that it is haram to recite it.  And if it is recited without the belief that it is Qur’an, and in a way where this impression (that it is Qur’an) will not be given, rather just reciting for legal rulings or for rulings of (the Arabic) Language, then there is no difference of opinion that the recitation is allowed.  And based upon this those who used to recite the Shaadh from the former reciters said:

And likewise it is allowed to document it in books and to speak about what is in it, and they have consensus that there is no other Tawaatur (recitation) above the 10 famous recitations.

The reasons for differences in Qiraa’aat are due to a number of matters of which we shall mention the following:

Firstly:  these multiple Qiraa’aat go back to a closely followed Sunnah and not to opinion and invention, and likewise (they go back to) authentic transmission connected to the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, since it is not for anyone to recite a Qiraa’ah based solely on their opinion or according to their desires, that they change an expression with another, or a word with a synonym, because the Qiraa’ah is a closely followed Sunnah.

Of what supports this is that the Qurra’ may agree in some places and differ in some, which confirms that the Qiraa’ah is only taken from oral learning and instruction.

Indeed in the differing of the companions (May Allah be pleased with them) in Qiraa’ah during the time of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم is the best evidence that the basis of Qiraa’ah and what it goes back to is hearing from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and transmitting from him, and there is no place for Qiyas (analogy) or Ijtihad (independent reasoning).

Secondly:  that the Sahabah (May Allah be pleased with them) indeed differed in what they learned from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, so from amongst them were those who learned the Qur’an in one Harf, and amongst them those who learned it from him in two Harfs, and amongst them those who learned more than that, and from here the differences of Qiraa’aat originated.

Thirdly:  that the Khalifah Uthman (May Allah be pleased with him) endeavored to send with each Mus-haf, a Sahabi to teach the people the Qur’an according to what was in the Mus-haf sent to them, so each Sahabi taught the residents of his region what he had heard from the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, and the people of each region held to what they had learned hearing from the Sahabi who taught them.

And due to this, differences in the Qiraa’aat became apparent, and the people of each region continued to preserve what the Sahabi who instructed them in the Qur’an as he had learned from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, had left amongst them, then people narrating from them remained holding fast to that, till the Imams of the Qurra’, the ones of the famous Qiraa’aat learned that, the ones who specialised and devoted themselves to the Qiraa’aat, reciting, following and spreading them, then narrators transmitted from them those Qiraa’aat upon those differences, about which there is consensus of the Muslims that there is no harm in the authenticity of the Qur’an and soundness of its transmission from the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم just as he taught them it.

And all of this explains that the differences in the Qiraa’aat are not differences which oppose or contradict each other, because of the impossibility of that occurring in the Qur’an; but rather they are differences of type and change where parts confirm others, and parts explain others, and parts bear witness to others, and that is in accordance to what the Sahabah learned from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم.

And it is against all logic that the Sahabah so close to the time of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, following in his tracks, and following his example, that they would allow any of them to deviate even the measure of a hair from what the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم has left them upon of Tawqeef and teaching, and especially when it came to everything related to the transmission of their Mighty Book:  Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy.

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