Ulum al Qur'an
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Collection of Revelation during the Prophet's Lifetime
During his last pilgrimage, at the sermon which he gave to the large gathering of Muslims, the Prophet 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 and the practice of his prophet. [Ibn Hisham, p. 651.]
This advice from the Prophet to the Muslims implies that the revelation was available as kitab (writing) before his death, for otherwise he would have referred to it in some other term.
From other reports also, we can conclude that the Prophet himself took care of the actual arrangement of the revelation, when it was written down.
Zaid is reported to have said:
'We used to compile the Qur'an from small scraps in the presence of the Apostle.'[Itqan, I, p. 99; Salih, p.69.]
'Uthman said, that in later days, the Prophet 'used to, when something was revealed to him, call someone from among those who used to write for him and said: Place these ayat in the sura, in which this and this is mentioned, and when (only) one aya was revealed to him, he said: Place this aya in the sura in which this and this is mentioned'. [Jeffery, A.: Materials for the history of the text of the qura'n, (incl. Kitab al-masahif by Ibn Abi Dawud (abbr. as Ibn Abi Dawud, masahif) Leiden, 1937, p. 31.]
This indicates that not only was the revelation written down during the lifetime of the Prophet, but that he himself gave instructions for the arrangement of the material. According to some other reports, it is also clear, that this proper arrangement and order of the ayat was well known to the Companions of the Prophet, and they were not prepared to tamper with it.
'Narrated Ibn Az-Zubair: I said to 'Uthman "This verse which is in Sura al-Baqara: 'those of you who die and leave wives behind ... without turning them out' has been abrogated by another verse. Why then do you write it in the Qur'an?" 'Uthman said: Leave it (where it is) O son of my brother, for I will not shift anything of it (i . e. the Qur'an) from its original position.' [Bukhari, VI. No. 60.]
Similarly quite a number of reports mention the various Suras by their names or beginnings. Two examples may suffice to make this point:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet used to recite the following in the Fajr prayer of Friday: Alif Lam Mim Tanzil (Sajda) (32) and Hal-ata 'ala-l-Insani (al-dahr) (76).[Bukhari, II, No. 16.]
Abu Huraira said: God's messenger recited in both rak'as of the dawn prayer: "Say O unbelievers (99) and Say, He is God, one God (112).'[Robson, J. (transl.): Mishkat al Masabih, Lahore, 1963, I, pp. 172-3 - Tabrizi: Mishkatal-masabih, Beirut, 1961, I, No. 842.]
The order and arrangement was of course well known to the Muslims due to the daily recitation of the Qur'an in the prayers at the mosque of the Prophet and at other places. Finally there are three ahadith in Sahih Bukhari, informing us that the Angel Gabriel used to recite the Qur'an with the Prophet once a year, but he recited it twice with him in the year he died. The Prophet used to stay in i'tikaf for ten days every year (in the month of Ramad. an), but in the year of his death, he stayed in i'tikaf for twenty days. [Bukhari, VI, No. 520; see also Nos. 518, 519.]
We can therefore distinguish the following measures which ensured the collection of the revelation in writing during the lifetime of the Prophet: