Him, as a leader and a mercy, readeth it, and before it was the Book of Moses."
The difference in the sense is considerable, for the Shi'ah party explain that 'Ali is the
"witness" here referred to, and this reading would apply the words, "a
leader and a mercy," to him, and not to the Torah of Moses. Moreover, some assert
that a whole Surah, called the Suratu'n Nurain, has been purposely omitted from the
Qur'an. This Surah is quoted at full length by Mirza Muhsin of Kashmir, surnamed Al Fani,
in his Dabistan-i Mazahib
مذاهب), pp. 220, 221.
We do not wish to express an opinion upon the correctness of the statements that some
have made about the omission of part of the text of the Qur'an or the addition of verses
and Surahs to it after Muhammad's death. But when we are considering whether the Qur'an is
or is not a proof of Muhammad's Divine commission, it is our duty to be aware of the fact
that such statements have been made and ably maintained by some learned Muslims.
We must now inquire in what manner the scattered Surahs and verses of the Qur'an were
brought together into one book. In this matter also we appeal to Muslim authorities only.
Al Bukhari informs us that, apparently about a year after Muhammad's death, the Qur'an
was first put together into one collection by Zaid ibn Thabit at the command of the
Khalifah Abu Bakr. Zaid's 1 own account, quoted by Al Bukhari, is this:
"At the time of the slaughter of the people of Al Yamamah, Abu Bakr sent for me, and
lo! 'Umar ibnu'l Khattab was with him. Abu Bakr said: Verily 'Umar has come to me and has
said, Truly the slaughter on the day of Al Yamamaha was severe 2 among the
Reciters of the Qur'an, and indeed I fear that there has been severe slaughter in the
battlefields among the Reciters, therefore much of the Book is going away (i. e.
And I consider that thou shouldest give orders for the collecting of the Qur'an. I said
to 'Umar; How wilt thou do a thing which the Apostle of God did not do? Then 'Umar said:
By God,1 this is good. And 'Umar did not desist from repeatedly urging me,
until God expanded my breast thereto, and I have formed the same opinion as 'Umar has. Abu
Bakr said: Verily thou art an intelligent young man, we do not distrust thee, and thou
usest to write out the Revelation for the Apostle of God. Therefore search out the
[various chapters and verses of] the Qur'an and gather it together. And, by God if he had
enjoined upon me the removal of one of the mountains; it would not have been heavier upon
me than what he commanded me regarding the collecting of the Qur'an. I said: How will ye
do a thing which the Apostle of God did not do? He said: By God, it is good. Accordingly
Abu Bakr did not desist from repeatedly urging me, until God expanded my breast to that
which Abu Bakr's breast and that of 'Umar had explained to him. Accordingly I sought out
the Qur'an: I gathered it together from leafless palm branches and thin white stones and
men's breasts, until I found the end of Suratu't Taubah 2 with Abu
Khuzaimah the Ansari, I found it not with anyone except him: 'There came unto you an
Apostle from among yourselves,' 3 unto the conclusion of Bara'ah. And
the sheets were with Abu Bakr until God caused him to die, then with 'Umar during his
life, then with Hafsah, 'Umar's daughter." This same account, except the last
sentence, is quoted by 4 As Suyuti also.
Probably only this one copy of the Qur'an was made by Zaid, and no other copy of the
complete Qur'an existed anywhere except between its covers. Hence