Home Islam How the Qur’an Preserved During the Prophet’s ﷺ Time 

How the Qur’an Preserved During the Prophet’s ﷺ Time 

by Abru Farzeen

The Quran is a unique book that’s considered to be unchanged throughout centuries. The Words of God reserved as a miracle of Allah that despite obnoxious efforts, the Qur’an could have never been tempered. Let’s explore the Preservation of the Qur’an During the Time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

The preservation of the Qur’an during the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ stands as a remarkable testament to the meticulous care and devotion with which the revelations were safeguarded. It is interesting to know how it was possible to safeguard the Quran in a time without modern technology. The methods employed to ensure the accuracy and sanctity of the Qur’an were both ingenious and profound. 

Oral Narration Tradition 

Arabs unbelievably have exceptional memory. There was a society deeply rooted in oral tradition. So, the recitation and memorization of the Qur’an would hold paramount importance. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself recited the revelations to his companions, who would then repeat them back to confirm accuracy. This process enabled a living chain of narration in the Prophet’s life. 

Qur’an Memorization (Hifz) 

As we earlier mentioned, Arabs possess sharp memory. Though, the companions of the Prophet ﷺ demonstrated unparalleled dedication to memorizing the Qur’an. Their memory skills were honed through constant repetition. It allowed them to commit the words of the Qur’an to heart with astonishing precision. This commitment to Quran memorization played a pivotal role in preserving the textual source later with its authenticity. So now for Muslims, it is necessary to hifz quran by starting a quran memorization program.

Inscription on Various Materials  

While the paper was not used at that time. So, the Companions of the Prophet (SAWW) would inscribe the revelations of the Qur’an on various materials. Palm leaves, pieces of parchment, flat stones, Halal animal bones, and even the shoulder blades of animals were used as inscribing surfaces.  

Compilation By Caliph Abu Bakr 

After the demise of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ Caliph Abu Bakr realized the need for a standardized compilation of the Qur’an. Under the guidance of Zaid ibn Thabit, a close companion of the Prophet ﷺ a subjective collection was conducted. This effort involved gathering the scattered verses from different sources and compiling them into a single manuscript. 

Standardized Writing System 

 During the reign of the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, the need for a uniform script became evident as Islam spread to various parts of the world. Caliph Uthman commissioned a committee led by Zaid ibn Thabit to produce multiple copies of the Qur’an in the Quraishi dialect. Then it distributed the manuscripts to different regions. This step ensured consistency in the written text and prevented linguistic variations. 

Prudent Scrutiny with Careful Authentication 

 Since the times of Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an’s authenticity was with a strict preservation process including meticulous examination of the written copies. Later on, during the reigns of caliphs, if in cases of any perceived discrepancy, copies were meticulously compared to the memorized versions to verify authenticity. This rigorous approach aimed to uphold the integrity of the revelations. 

Protection through Recitation 

The recitation of the Qur’an was not only an act of worship but also a means of preservation. Since the Prophet Muhammad’s age, all companions were Huffaz. It served as a powerful tool to keep the text alive and intact. Regular communal recitation sessions facilitated the identification of errors, thereby allowing for swift correction. 

Battle of Yamama Against Counterfeiters 

The Battle of Yamama fought against those who attempted to distort the Qur’an. This counterfeiting attempt brought to light the unwavering commitment of the early Muslims to preserve the text. Many who had memorized the Qur’an fell as martyrs during the battle. So, it was saved with their dedication to safeguarding the divine message. 

Devotion to Teaching 

Prophet Muhammad would teach the Quran to their companions with a fervent commitment. It was to educate subsequent generations about the Qur’an. They passed down not only the words but also the rules of recitation and interpretation, ensuring a comprehensive transmission of knowledge. 

Spiritual Connection of the Early Muslims  

Prophet Muhammad had inculcated a profound spiritual connection in the companions of the Qur’an. It played a pivotal role in the preservation of the Quran. Their devotional reverence for the words of Allah fueled their determination to protect the text from any distortion or alteration. 

Final Thoughts

The Qur’an was preserved during the Prophet Muhammad’s time through rigorous oral transmission, immediate memorization, diverse reciters, occasional writing, and direct validation by the Prophet himself. Culminating in its compilation into a single written manuscript shortly after his passing under the guidance of early Muslim leaders, ensuring its accuracy and authenticity.

It’s important to note that the compilation of the Qur’an into a single written manuscript took place shortly after the passing of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during the caliphate of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, and was further organized and standardized during the caliphate of the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan. The efforts of these early Muslim leaders, along with the commitment of the companions to preserve the Qur’an, played a vital role in maintaining the accuracy and authenticity of the Qur’anic text that we have today.

The Qur'an was preserved during the Prophet Muhammad's time through rigorous oral transmission, immediate memorization, diverse reciters, occasional writing, and direct validation by the Prophet himself.

Most surviving leaves represent a Quran that is preserved in various fragments, the largest part of which is kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, as BNF Arabe 328(ab).

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