The Koran the Book of Allah



The year following the death of Muhammad, according to the orthodox view, abu-Bakr, on the recommendation of ‘Umar, who had observed that the Koran memorizers (ḥuffāẓ) were becoming extinct, ordered that the scattered portions of the Koran be collected. Zayd ibn-Thābit of al-Madīnah, formerly Muhammad’s secretary, was entrusted with the task. Fragments from “ribs of palm-leaves and tablets of white stone and from the breasts of men”1 were brought together and a text was constructed. In the caliphate of ‘Uthmān (644–56) various readings in the current copies arose, due mainly to the defective nature of Kufic script; ‘Uthmān accordingly appointed in 651 the same Zayd as chairman of the committee on revision. Abu-Bakr’s copy, then in the custody of Ḥafṣah, daughter of ‘Umar and one of Muḥammad’s widows, was used as a basis. The original codex of the fresh version was kept in al-Madīnah;2 three copies of this text were made and forwarded to the three military camps in Damascus, al-Baṣrah and al-Kūfah, and all others were destroyed.


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  1. 3.
    Arthur Jeffery, Materials for the History of the Text of the Koran (Leyden, 1937), pp. 1–10; cf.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Hartwig Hirschfeld, New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the Koran (London, 1902), pp. 138 seg.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Consult The Legacy of Israel, ed. E. R. Bevan and C. Singer (Oxford, 1928), pp. 129–71.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip K. Hitti 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Princeton UniversityUSA

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