6 The Doubt of 'Umar
8 The Recension of Uthman
11 Curious Letters
12 The Seven Dialects
15 Disapproval of Uthman's Recension
16 Shi'ah Objections
19 Sura of the Two Lights
24 Shi'ah Claim Untenable


THE various portions which now form the Qur'an were recited by the Prophet during a period of twenty-three years, but during his lifetime they were never collected together or systematically arranged. Passages were written on palm leaves, leather, and on such other materials as came to hand, by individual hearers, but these were all disconnected and had no special authority. The great storehouse of the Qur'an was the marvellous memory of the Arab people. It was recited again and again at each act of worship, and it was held in such reverence that the committal of it to memory was an act of the highest virtue.

We owe the Qur'an as we now have it to two recensions, made by the first and third Khalifas, Abu Bakr and 'Uthman. At the battle of Yemana, probably within a year of the death of the Prophet, when the usurper Musailama was overthrown, a great many of the Qur'an reciters were slain, and 'Umar, afterwards the second Khalifa, began to fear lest the true text should be lost. Mirkhond says: 'when Abu Bakr received the news of the battle he thought that in course of time the words of the Lord Most High might be blotted out from the minds of the people and so ordered the Qur'an to be published.'1 There is a well authenticated tradition by Zaid ibn Thabit which records 'Umar's speech: 'I fear,' he said to Abu Bakr, 'that the battle may again wax hot amongst the Qur'an reciters in other fields of battle, and that much may be lost therefrom; now, therefore, my advice is that thou shouldst give speedy orders for the collection of the Qur'an.' This advice approved itself to the Khalifa. He then summoned to his presence Zaid, who had been an amanuensis of the Prophet and had a great reputation for his knowledge of the Qur'an. He said to him: 'Thou art a young man

1 Raudatu's-Safa. Part ii, vol. iii, p. 141.