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Written Text of the Qur'an
The Prophet’s Lifetime
Prophet Muhammad (S) was very vigilant in preserving the Qur'an in the written form from the very beginning up until the last revelation. The Prophet himself was unlettered, did not knew how to read and write, therefore he called upon his numerous scribes to write the revelation for him. Complete Qur'an thus existed in written form in the lifetime of the Prophet.
Whenever a new revelation use to come to him, the Prophet would immediately call one of his scribes to write it down.
‘Some people visited Zaid Ibn Thabit (one of the scribes of the Prophet) and asked him to tell them some stories about Allah’s Messenger. He replied: "I was his (Prophet’s) neighbor, and when the inspiration descended on him he sent for me and I went to him and wrote it down for him…" (14)
Narrated by al-Bara’: There was revealed ‘Not equal are those believers who sit (home) and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah’ (4:95). The Prophet said: ‘Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the ink pot and scapula bone.’ Then he (Prophet) said: ‘Write: Not equal are those believers…’ (15)
Zaid is reported to have said: ‘We use to compile the Qur’an from small scraps in the presence of the Apostle’. (16)
‘The Prophet, while in Madinah, had about 48 scribes who use to write for him’. (17)
Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar relates:… ‘The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "Do not take the Qur’an on a journey with you, for I am afraid lest it should fall into the hands of the enemy"’ (18)
During the Prophet’s (S) last pilgrimage, he gave a sermon in which he said: ‘I have left with you something which if you will hold fast to it you will never fall into error – a plain indication, the Book of God (Qur'an) and the practice of his Prophet…’ (19)
‘Besides the official manuscripts of the Qur'an kept with the Prophet (S), many of his companions use to possess their own written copies of the revelation’. (20)
‘A list of Companions of whom it is related that they had their own written collections included the following: Ibn Mas’ud, Ubay bin Ka’b, Ali, Ibn Abbas, Abu Musa, Hafsa, Anas bin Malik, Umar, Zaid bin Thabit, Ibn Al-Zubair, Abdullah ibn Amr, Aisha, Salim, Umm Salama, Ubaid bin Umar’. (21)
‘The best known among these (Prophet’s Scribes) are: Ibn Masud, Ubay bin Kab and Zaid bin Thabit’. (22)
‘Aisha and Hafsa, the wives of the Prophet had their own scripts written after the Prophet had died’. (23) May Allah be pleased with them all, Ameen.