Ulum al Qur'an
CONTENTS ONLINE LIBRARY
VARIETY OF MODES
What is the meaning of al-ahruf al-sab'a?
The word sab'a means seven, and ahruf is the plural form of harf, which has many meanings, among them 'edge' border, letter, word', etc. In technical language it describes the variety of modes of the Qur'an transmitted to us, also expressed in various forms of writing the text.
Read the two versions of Sura 2:9 given on plates 7 and 8. Disregard the difference in style of writing. The first example is from a Qur'an from North Africa, the second from a Qur'an from Jordan. In the North African version, the word 'yukhadi'una' (they deceive) is used twice, while in the Jordan version, the word occurs as 'yakhda'una' in the second instant. Both are correct and accepted readings, since they have been transmitted to us. Also there is no objection from the viewpoint of grammar or correct language and the writing without vowel signs can carry both readings.