Ulum al Qur'an
CONTENTS ONLINE LIBRARY
The Difference between Abu Bakr's and 'Uthman's Collection
Abu Bakr had made one single copy from the various verbal and written material. This copy was later kept by 'Umar and then by his daughter Hafsa.
'Uthman had many copies prepared from this copy and sent them to various places in the Muslim world, while the original suhuf were returned to Hafsa and remained with her until her death. Later, Marwan b. Hakam (d. 65/684), according to a report in Ibn Abi Dawud, collected it from her heirs and had it destroyed, presumably fearing it might become the cause for new disputes. 'Uthman also kept one of the copies for himself. This version of the text, also known as 'Mushaf 'Uthman in fact constitutes the ijma'(consensus) of the sahaba, all of whom agreed that it contained what Muhammad had brought as revelation from Allah. [According to Ibn Abi Dawud (117-8) eleven changes wcre madu under al-Hajjaj, among them e.g. 5:48 'shari'atan wa minhajan' into 'shir'atan wa minhajan'; 12:45 'ana atikum bi-ta'wilihi' into and unabbi'ukum bi ta'wilihi. These are again according to Ibn Abi Dawud mistakes which were made in the preparation of Uthmans copy (pp. 37-49). The first version of 12:45 e.g. was the reading of 'Ubay (ibid. p. 138) and Ibn Masud (ibid. p. 39).]
The wide distribution of this text and its undisputed authority can also be deduced from the reports on the battle of Siffin (A.H. 37) 27 years after the death of the Prophet, and five years after 'Uthman's copies were distributed, Mu'awiya's troops fixed sheets from the Qur'an on their spears to interrupt the battle. [See Suyuti, History of the Caliphs. transl. H. S. Jarrett. Baptist Mission Presss Calcutta. 1881, p. 177.] However nobody accused anyone else of using a 'partisan' version of the text, which would have made a splendid accusation against the enemy.