New to Islam? Preservation of the Qur'an

Sabeel Ahmed
New to Islam?

Page 3 of 10

Companions of the Prophet: The First Generation Memorizers

Prophet Muhammad (S) encouraged his companions to learn and teach the Qur'an:

'The most superior among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur'an and teach it'. (4)

'Some of the companions who memorized the Qur'an were: 'Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Ibn Masud, Abu Huraira, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Amr bin al-As, Aisha, Hafsa, and Umm Salama'. (5)

'Abu Bakr, the first male Muslim to convert to Islam used to recite the Qur'an publicly in front of his house in Makka'. (6)

The Prophet also listened to the recitation of the Qur'an by the Companions: 'Allah Apostle said to me (Abdullah bin Mas'ud): "Recite (of the Qur'an) to me". I said: "Shall I recite it to you although it had been revealed to you?!" He Said: "I like to hear (the Qur'an) from others". So I recited Sura-an-Nisa' till I reached: "How (will it be) then when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these people?"' (4:41) 'Then he said: "Stop!" Behold, his eyes were shedding tears then'. (7)

Many Qur'anic memorizers (Qurra) were present during the lifetime of the Prophet and afterwards through out the then Muslim world.

'At the battle of Yamama, many memorizers of the Qur'an were martyred. 'Narrated Zaid bin Thabit al Ansari, who was one of those who use to write the Divine Revelations: Abu Bakr sent me after the (heavy) casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Qurra were killed). Umar was present with Abu Bakr who said: "Umar has come to me and said, the people have suffered heavy casualties on the day of (the battle of) Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be some casualties among the Qurra (those who memorized the entire Qur'an) at other place..."' (8)

'Over the centuries of the Islamic Era, there have arisen throughout the various regions of the Islamic world literally thousands of schools devoted specially to the teaching of the Qur'an to children for the purpose of memorization. These are called, in Arabic, katatib (singular: Kuttab). It is said that the Caliph 'Umar (634-44) first ordered the construction of these schools in the age of the great expansion'. (9)
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