Ulum al Qur'an
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There is a difference of opinion among classical Muslim scholars on the subject of the 'seven modes', to the extent that one of them was able to say: 'the degree of difference of opinion (ikhtilaf) among the scholars is to the extent of 35 sayings'. [Itqan, I, p.45.]
Some of these different opinions are that the 'seven modes' are:
Different languages (dialects) current
among the Arabs at the time of revelation, such as e.g. Quraish, Hudhail, Tamim, etc., who
had different ways of pronunciations which could even affect the spelling, e.g.
al-tabuh and al-tabut. (2: 248) [See Kamal, op. cit., p.46.]
or: hiyaka for iyaka (1:5).
or: atta for hatta (12: 35).
It may also be the usage of words from the different languages in the Qur'an (this is considered one of the most sound views).
Usage of synonyms in the Qur'an, i.e. that a variety of expressions describe one and the same concept. A well-known example is Sura 101: 5, which reads as 'Ka-l-'ihni-l-manfush', but in another version 'Ka-s-sufi-l-manfush' both meaning 'like carded wool'. The word arshidna was read in place of ihdina (Sura 1: 6), etc. [Both examples from Ibn Mas'ud. This view is also very close to the Idea of various dialects. and many scholars tend to accept such usage of synonyms, as meaning the seven modes'.]
Different aspects of the revelation, such as e.g. order, prohibitions, promise, narrations, etc.
Seven differences, such as possible ways of reading words and structures in the Qur'an, e.g. the word 'trusts' in 23: 8 which can be read both 'trust' (sg.) or 'trusts' (pl.) according to the plain text without vowels: li-amanatihim or li-amanatihim .
Slightly different wordings of a particular passage, such as e.g. in 9: 100: 'Gardens under which rivers flow' which some read as 'Gardens from under which rivers flow', adding the word 'from' (min) to the text.
Different ways of pronunciation as they have been explained in great detail by the scholars of qira'a (recitation) such as e.g. imala, idgham, etc. [This view has also been favoured by many, because it does not cause much controversy.]
However, even non-Muslim orientalists concede that 'no major differences of doctrines can be constructed on the basis of the parallel readings based on the 'Uthmanic consonantal outline, yet ascribed to mushafs other than his. All the rival readings unquestionably represent one and the same text. They are substantially agreed in what they transmit ... [Burton, J,: The Collection of the Quran, Cambridge. 1977, p. 171.]