What Is Qira’at?

In Islam, Qira’at (recitations, readings) refers to the method of recitation of the Quran. Traditionally, there are ten recognised schools of qira’at, and each one derives its name from a famous reader of Quran recitation. Each Qira’at is then transmitted via a riwaya (transmission) named after its primary narrator. Each riwaya a corpus of recitation containing the whole of the Qur’an as recited by a master in all the variants which are transmitted from him. The forms of each recitation are referred to by the notable students of the master who recited them. So we will find the turuq (transmission lines) of so-and-so, the student of the master. Then under the Turuq, there are also the wujuh. We find the wajh of so-and-so from the tariq of so-and-so. There are about twenty riwayat and eighty turuq.[1]

Recitation should be done according to rules of pronunciation, intonation, and caesuras established by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, though first recorded in the eighth century CE. The most popular reading is that of Hafs on the authority of `Asim. Similarly, each melodic passage centers on a single tone level, but the melodic contour and melodic passages are largely shaped by the reading rules, creating passages of different lengths whose temporal expansion is defined through caesuras. Skilled readers may read professionally for mosques in cities.

Revelation of the Quran in seven Ahrûf

Hadith literature differs on variants of the Quran. According to some hadith literature, the Quran was revealed in seven Ahruf (the plural of harf) or “styles”, with the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad, listening to their recitation and approving each of them. According to one source (Saalih al-Munajjid), “the best of the scholarly opinions” defining ahruf is wordings that differ but have the same — not opposing and contradicting — meaning.[2]

The most famous of the hadith on ahruf is reported in the Muwatta compiled by Malik ibn Anas.

Malik Ibn Anas has reported:[3]

Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Abd al-Qari narrated: ” Umar Ibn al-Khattab said before me: I heard Hisham Ibn Hakim Ibn Hizam reading Surat Al-Furqan in a different way from the one I used to read it, and the Prophet himself had read out this surah to me. Consequently, as soon as I heard him, I wanted to get hold of him. However, I gave him respite until he had finished the prayer. Then I got hold of his cloak and dragged him to the Prophet. I said to him: “I have heard this person [Hisham Ibn Hakim Ibn Hizam] reading Surah Al Furqan in a different way from the one you had read it out to me.” The Prophet said: “Leave him alone [O ‘Umar].” Then he said to Hisham: “Read [it].” [Umar said:] “He read it out in the same way as he had done before me.” [At this,] the Prophet said: “It was revealed thus.” Then the Prophet asked me to read it out. So I read it out. [At this], he said: “It was revealed thus; this Quran has been revealed in Seven Ahruf. You can read it in any of them you find easy from among them.

Saalih al-Munajjid cites a hadith of Abd Allah ibn Abbas who narrated that Muhammad said that the angel Jibreel (Gabriel), who revealed the Quran to Muhammad, “taught me one style and I reviewed it until he taught me more, and I kept asking him for more and he gave me more until finally there were seven styles.”[4][2]

Suyuti, a famous 15th-century Islamic theologian concludes his discussion of this hadith:[5]

And to me the best opinion in this regard is that of the people who say that this Hadith is from among matters of mutashabihat, the meaning of which cannot be understood.

However, many reports contradict presence of variant readings:[6]

  • Abu Abd Al-Rahman al-Sulami reports, “the reading of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Zayd ibn Thabit and that of all the Muhajirun and the Ansar was the same. They would read the Quran according to the Qira’at al-‘ammah. This is the same reading which was read out twice by the Prophet to Gabriel in the year of his death. Zayd ibn Thabit was also present in this reading [called] the Ardah-i akhirah. It was this very reading that he taught the Quran to people till his death”.[7]
  • Ibn Sirin writes, “the reading on which the Quran was read out to the prophet in the year of his death is the same according to which people are reading the Quran today”.[8]

Other hadith

  • From Abu Hurairah: The Messenger of Allah said: “The Quran was sent down in seven ahruf. Disputation concerning the Qurʾan is unbelief” – he said this three times – “and you should put into practice what you know of it, and leave what you do not know of it to someone who does.”[9]
  • From Abu Hurairah: The Messenger of Allah said: “An All-knowing, Wise, Forgiving, Merciful sent down the Qur’an in seven ahruf.”[9]
  • From ʿAbdallâh Ibn Masʿūd: The Messenger of Allah said: “The Quran was sent down in seven ahruf. Each of these ahruf has an outward aspect (zahr) and an inward aspect (batn); each of the ahruf has a border, and each border has a lookout.”[9]

The meaning of this hadith is explained as:[9] (pp. 31)

As for the Prophet’s words concerning the Quran, each of the ahruf has a border, it means that each of the seven aspects has a border which God has marked off and which no one may overstep. And as for his words Each of the ahruf has an outward aspect (zahr) and an inward aspect (batn), its outward aspect is the ostensive meaning of the recitation, and its inward aspect is its interpretation, which is concealed. And by his words each border …… has a lookout he means that for each of the borders which God marked off in the Quran – of the lawful and unlawful, and its other legal injunctions – there is a measure of God’s reward and punishment which surveys it in the Hereafter, and inspects it …… at the Resurrection ……

  • Abdullah Ibn Masʿud said: The Messenger of Allah said: “The first Book came down from one gate according to one harf, but the Quran came down from seven gates according to seven ahruf: prohibiting and commanding, lawful and unlawful, clear and ambiguous, and parables. So, allow what it makes lawful, proscribe what it makes unlawful, do what it commands you to do, forbid what it prohibits, be warned by its parables, act on its clear passages, trust in its ambiguous passages.” And they said: “We believe in it; it is all from our Lord.”[9] (pp. 39)
  • Abu Qilaba narrated: It has reached me that the Prophet said: “The Quran was sent down according to seven ahruf: command and prohibition, encouragement of good and discouragement of evil, dialectic, narrative, and parable.”[9]

Difference between Ahruf and Qira’at

Bilal Philips writes that the Quran continued to be read according to the seven ahruf until midway through Caliph ‘Uthman’s rule when some confusion arose in the outlying provinces concerning the Quran’s recitation. Some Arab tribes had begun to boast about the superiority of their ahruf and a rivalry began to develop. At the same time, some new Muslims also began mixing the various forms of recitation out of ignorance. Caliph ‘Uthman decided to make official copies of the Quran according to the writing conventions of the Quraysh and send them along with the Quranic reciters to the major centres of Islam. This decision was approved by Sahaabah and all unofficial copies of the Quran were ordered destroyed. Uthman burned the unofficial copies of the Quran. Following the distribution of the official copies, all the other ahruf were dropped and the Quran began to be read in only one harf, according to Philips. Thus, Philips writes, the Quran which is available throughout the world today is written and recited only according to the harf of Quraysh.[10]

On Qirâ’ât, Philips writes that it is for the most part a method of pronunciation used in the recitations of the Quran. These methods are different from the seven forms or modes (ahruf) in which the Quran was revealed. The seven modes were reduced to one, that of the Quraysh, during the era of Caliph ‘Uthman, and all of the methods of recitation are based on this mode. The various methods have all been traced back to the Prophet through a number of Sahaabah who were most noted for their Quranic recitations. That is, these Sahaabah recited the Quran to the Prophet or in his presence and received his approval. Among them were the following:

  • Ubayy Ibn K’ab,
  • ‘Alee Ibn Abi Taalib,
  • Zayd Ibn Thaabit,
  • ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud,
  • Abu ad-Dardaa and
  • Abu Musaa al-Ash’aree.

Many of the other Sahaabah learned from these masters. For example, Ibn ‘Abbaas, the master commentator of the Quran among the Sahaabah, learned from both Ubayy and Zayd.[10] (pp. 29–30)

On transmission of Quran, Philips writes that among the next generation of Muslims referred to as Tabi’in, there arose many scholars who learned the various methods of recitation from the Sahaabah and taught them to others. Centres of Quranic recitation developed in al-Madeenah, Makkah, Kufa, Basrah and Syria, leading to the evolution of Quranic recitation into an independent science. By mid-eighth century CE, there existed a large number of outstanding scholars all of whom were considered specialists in the field of recitation. Most of their methods of recitations were authenticated by chains of reliable narrators ending with the Prophet. Those methods which were supported by a large number of reliable narrators on each level of their chain were called Mutawaatir and were considered to be the most accurate. Those methods in which the number of narrators were few or only one on any level of the chain were referred to as shaadhdh. Some of the scholars of the following period began the practice of designating a set number of individual scholars from the previous period as being the most noteworthy and accurate. By the middle of the tenth century, the number seven became popular since it coincided with the number of dialects in which the Quran was revealed.[10] (pp. 30)

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi on the other hand while commenting on hadith in Muwatta[3] writes that if Ahruf are taken in the context of pronunciation (for which actual words are lughat and lahjat), then the content of the hadith rejects this meaning itself as it is known that Umar and Hisham belonged to the same tribe – Quraysh, and people from same tribe cannot have different pronunciation. Hence, he questions those hadith which purport “variant readings”. He also insists on the basis of Quranic verses ([Quran87:6-7][Quran75:16-19]) that Quran was compiled in the life of Muhammad, hence he questions those hadith which report compilation of Quran in Uthman’s period.[6] As most of these narrations are reported by Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, Imam Layth Ibn Sa’d in his letter to Imam Malik has written:[6][11]

And when we would meet Ibn Shihab, there would arise a difference of opinion in many issues. When any one of us would ask him in writing about some issue, he, in spite of being so learned, would give three very different answers, and he would not even be aware of what he had already said. It is because of this that I have left him – something which you did not like.

It is said that Abu ‘Ubayd Qasim Ibn Sallam (d. 224 AH) selected twenty five readings in his book. The seven readings which are famous in current times were selected by Abu Bakr Ibn Mujahid (d. 324 AH) at the end of the third century hijrah. Thus it is generally accepted that their number cannot be ascertained but every reading is Quran which has been reported through a correct chain of narration, are found in any way in the masahif prepared by ‘Uthman and are correct from any aspect as far as the Arabic language is concerned. Some of these readings are regarded as mutawatir; however, a look at their chains of narration which are found in books leaves no doubt that they are ahad (isolate), most narrators of which are suspect in the eyes of the rijal authorities.[6]

Quranic orthography

To ensure correct reading of the written texts of the Quran, particularly for those coming after the first generation of Muslims, steps were taken gradually to improve the orthography. This started by introducing dots to distinguish between consonants of similar shape. Afterwards, there were also dots to indicate different vowels and nunation and these were put in different coloured ink from that of the text. This work was carried out chiefly by three men: Abu’l Aswad ad-Du’alî (d. 69 / 688), Naṣr Ibn ʿĀṣim (d. 89 / 707) and Yaḥya Ibn Yaʿmur (d.129 /746). Understandably there was some opposition at first to adding anything to the way the Qurʾān was written. Ibn ʿUmar (73/692) disliked the dotting; others welcomed it, clearly because it was, in fact, doing no more than ensuring proper reading of the Quran as received from the Prophet, and this view was accepted by the majority of Muslims throughout the different parts of the Muslim world, from the time of the tabiʿun. The people of Madinah were reported to have used red dots for vowels – tanwintashdid, takhfif, sukun, waṣl and madd and yellow dots for the hamzas in particular. Naqt (placing dots on the rasm), became a separate subject of study with many books written on it.

Conditions for the validity of a qirā’a (reading)

For any given recitation to be accepted as authentic (Sahih), it had to fulfill three conditions and if any of the conditions were missing such a recitation was classified as Shâdhdh (unusual).

The first condition was that the recitation has an authentic chain of narration in which the chain of narrators was continuous; the narrators were all known to be righteous and they were all known to possess good memories. It was also required that the recitation be conveyed by a large number of narrators on each level of the chain of narration below the level of Sahaabah (the condition of Tawaatur). Narrations which had authentic chains but lacked the condition of Tawaatur were accepted as explanations (Tafseer) of the Sahaabah but were not considered as methods of reciting the Quran. As for the narrations which did not even have an authentic chain of narration, they were classified as Baatil (false) and rejected totally.

The second condition was that the variations in recitations match known Arabic grammatical constructions. Unusual constructions could be verified by their existence in passages of pre-Islamic prose or poetry.

The third condition required the recitation to coincide with the script of one of the copies of the Quran distributed during the era of Caliph Uthmân. Hence differences which result from dot placement (i.e., ta’maloon and ya’maloon) are considered acceptable provided the other conditions are met. A recitation of a construction for which no evidence could be found would be classified Shaadhdh. This classification did not mean that all aspects of the recitation was considered Shaadhdh, it only meant that the unverified constructions were considered Shaadhdh.

The Ten Readers and their Transmitters

The Ten Readers and their Transmitters

The Seven Readers and their transmitters
Qari (Reader) Rawi (Transmitters)
Name Born Died Full name Additional info Name Born Died Full name Additional info Present region of use
Nafi’ al-Madani 70 AH 169 AH – 785 CE[12] Ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Abi Na’im, Abu Ruwaym al-Laythi Roots from Isfahan; commonly confused with the other Nafi’, mawla of Ibn Umar Qalun 120 AH 220 AH – 835 CE[12] Abu Musa, ‘Isa Ibn Mina al-Zarqi Client of Bani Zuhrah Libya, Tunisia, and parts of Al-Andalus and Qatar[13]
Warsh 110 AH 197 AH – 812 CE[12] ‘Uthman Ibn Sa’id al-Qutbi Egyptian; client of Quraysh Al-Andalus, Algeria, Morocco, parts of Tunisia, West Africa and Sudan[13] and parts of Libya.
Ibn Kathir al-Makki 45 AH 120 AH – 738 CE[12] ‘Abdullah, Abu Ma’bad al-‘Attar al-Dari Persian Al-Bazzi 170 AH 250 AH – 864 CE[12] Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdillah, Abu al-Hasan al-Buzzi Persian
Qunbul 195 AH 291 AH – 904 CE[12] Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman, al-Makhzumi, Abu ‘Amr Meccan and Makhzumi (by loyalty)
Abu ‘Amr Ibn al-‘Ala’ 68 AH 154 AH – 770 CE[12] Zuban Ibn al-‘Ala’ at-Tamimi al-Mazini, al-Basri   Al-Duri 150 AH 246 AH – 860 CE[12] Abu ‘Amr, Hafs Ibn ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Baghdadi Grammarian. Blind. Parts of Sudan and West Africa.[13]
Al-Susi ? 261 AH – 874 CE[12] Abu Shu’ayb, Salih Ibn Ziyad Ibn ‘Abdillah Ibn Isma’il Ibn al-Jarud ar-Riqqi  
Ibn Amir ad-Dimashqi 8 AH 118 AH – 736 CE[12] ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amir Ibn Yazid Ibn Tamim Ibn Rabi’ah al-Yahsibi   Hisham 153 AH 245 AH – 859 CE[12] Abu al-Walid, Hisham ibn ‘Ammar Ibn Nusayr Ibn Maysarah al-Salami al-Dimashqi   Parts of Yemen.[13]
Ibn Dhakwan 173 AH 242 AH – 856 E[12] Abu ‘Amr, ‘Abdullah Ibn Ahmad al-Qurayshi al-Dimashqi  
Aasim ibn Abi al-Najud ? AH 127 AH – 745 CE[12] Abu Bakr, ‘Aasim Ibn Abi al-Najud al-‘Asadi ‘Asadi (by loyalty) Shu’bah 95 AH 193 AH – 809 CE[12] Abu Bakr, Shu’bah Ibn ‘Ayyash Ibn Salim al-Kufi an-Nahshali Nahshali (by loyalty)
Hafs 90 AH 180 AH – 796 CE[12] Abu ‘Amr, Hafs Ibn Sulayman Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Abi Dawud al-Asadi al-Kufi   Muslim world in general.[13]
Hamzah az-Zaiyyat 80 AH 156 AH – 773 CE[12] Abu ‘Imarah, Hamzah Ibn Habib al-Zayyat al-Taymi Taymi (by loyalty) Khalaf 150 AH 229 AH – 844 CE[12] Abu Muhammad al-Asadi al-Bazzar al-Baghdadi  
Khallad ? 220 AH – 835 CE[12] Abu ‘Isa, Khallad Ibn Khalid al-Baghdadi  
Al-Kisa’i 119 AH 189 AH – 804 CE[12] Abu al-Hasan, ‘Ali Ibn Hamzah al-Asadi Asadi (by loyalty). Persian. Al-Layth ? AH 240 AH – 854 CE[12] Abu al-Harith, al-Layth Ibn Khalid al-Baghdadi  
Al-Duri ? 246 AH – 860 CE Abu ‘Amr, Hafs Ibn ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Baghdadi Transmitter of Abu ‘Amr (See Above)

In addition to the above there are three more readers whose reading is collected separately from the Seven. These are:

The Three Readers and their transmitters
Qari (Reader) Rawi (Transmitters)
Name Born Died Full name Additional info Name Born Died Full name Additional info
Abu Ja’far ? 130 AH Yazid Ibn al-Qa’qa’ al-Makhzumi al-Madani   ‘Isa Ibn Wirdan ? 160 AH Abu al-Harith al-Madani Madani by style
Ibn Jummaz ? 170 AH Abu ar-Rabi’, Sulayman Ibn Muslim Ibn Jummaz al-Madani  
Ya’qub al-Yamani 117 AH 205 AH Abu Muhammad, Ya’qub Ibn Ishaq Ibn Zayd Ibn ‘Abdillah Ibn Abi Ishaq al-Hadrami al-Basri Client of the Hadramis Ruways ? 238 AH Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad Ibn al-Mutawakkil al-Basri  
Rawh ? 234 AH Abu al-Hasan, Rawh Ibn ‘Abd al-Mu’min, al-Basri al-Hudhali Hudhali by loyalty
Khalaf 150 AH 229 AH Abu Muhammad al-Asadi al-Bazzar al-Baghdadi Transmitter of Hamza (see above) Ishaq ? 286 AH Abu Ya’qub, Ishaq Ibn Ibrahim Ibn ‘Uthman al-Maruzi al-Baghdadi  
Idris 189 AH 292 AH Abu al-Hasan, Idris Ibn ‘Abd al-Karim al-Haddad al-Baghdadi  

هذا الملف من أنشائي أنا أبو المنذر الدوماوي صاحب حساب moonray1973 على الويكي وهو تبرع ووقف لتسهل فهم سند القراءات الأربعة عشر وليس عليه حقوق نشر فيجوز لأي أحد أو ناشر نشره بشرط عدم التصرف في محتوياته

The chain of narration of different Qirâ’ât

In this section, the chain of narration or isnad of each Qirâʾât will be presented. It is worth noting that the chains of narration here are mutawâtir.

Qirâʾa from Madinah: The reading of Madinah known as the reading of Nâfiʿ Ibn Abî Naʿîm (more precisely Abû ʿAbd ar-Raḥmân Nâfiʿ Ibn ʿAbd ar-Raḥmân). Nâfiʿ died in 169 H. He reported from Yazîd Ibn al-Qaʿqâʿ and ʿAbd ar-Raḥmân Ibn Hurmuz al-‘Araj and Muslim Ibn Jundub al-Hudhalî and Yazîd Ibn Român and Shaybah Ibn Nisâʾ. All of them reported from Abû Hurayrah and Ibn ʿAbbâs and ʿAbdallâh Ibn ‘Ayyâsh Ibn Abî Rabî’ah al-Makhzûmî and the last three reported from Ubayy Ibn Kaʿb from the Prophet.[14]

From Nâfiʿ, two major readings came to us: Warsh and Qâlûn.

Qirâʾa from Makkah: The reading of Ibn Kathîr (ʿAbdullâh Ibn Kathîr ad-Dârî): Ibn Kathîr died in 120 H. He reported from ʿAbdillâh Ibn Assa’ib al-Makhzûmî who reported from Ubayy Ibn Kaʿb (The companion of the Prophet). Ibn Kathîr has also reported from Mujâhid Ibn Jabr who reported from his teacher Ibn ʿAbbâs who reported from Ubayy Ibn Kaʿb and Zayd Ibn Thâbit and both reported from the Prophet.[15]

Qirâʾa from Damascus: From ash-Shâm (Damascus), the reading is called after ʿAbdallâh Ibn ʿAamir. He died in 118 H. He reported from Abû ad-Dardâ’ and al-Mughîrah Ibn Abî Shihâb al-Makhzûmî from ʿUthmân.[16]

Qirâʾa from Basrah: The reading of Abû ʿAmr from Basrah: (According to al-Sabʿah, the book of Ibn Mujâhid page 79, Abû ʿAmr is called Zayyan Abû ʿAmr Ibn al-ʿAlâʾ. He was born in Makkah in the year 68 and grew up at Kûfah.) He died at 154 H. He reported from Mujâhid and Saʿîd Ibn Jubayr and ʿIkrimah Ibn Khâlid al-Makhzûmî and ʿAtâʾ Ibn Abî Rabâh and Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd ar-Rahmân Ibn al-Muhaysin and Humayd Ibn Qays al-ʿA’raj and all are from Makkah. He also reported from Yazîd Ibn al-Qaʿqâʿ and Yazîd Ibn Rumân and Shaybah Ibn Nisâ’ and all are from Madinah. He also reported from al-‘Assan and Yahyâ Ibn Yaʿmur and others from Basrah. All these people took from the companions of the Prophet.[17]

From him came two readings called as-Sûsi and ad-Dûrî.

Qirâʾa from Basrah: From Basrah, the reading known as Yaʿqûb Ibn Ishâq al-Hadramî the companion of Shuʿbah (again). He reported from Abû ʿAmr and others.[18]

Qirâ’a from Kûfah:The reading of ʿĀsim Ibn Abî an-Najûd (ʿAasim Ibn Bahdalah Ibn Abî an-Najûd): He died in 127 or 128 H. He reported from Abû ʿAbd ar-Raḥmân as-Solammî and Zirr Ibn Hubaysh. Abû ʿAbd ar-Rahmân reported from ʿUthmân and ʿAlî Ibn Abî Tâlib and ‘Ubayy (Ibn Kaʿb) and Zayd (Ibn Thâbit). And Zirr reported from Ibn Masʿud.

Two readings were reported from ‘Asim: The famous one is Hafs, the other one is Shu’ba. Hafs was ‘Asim’s step-son and it is believed that he didn’t differ from him in his reading of the Quran. ‘Asim also retained the reading of his teacher Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and it reported that the latter had read the Quran out to the Commander of the Believers, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. The case can therefore be made that the reading of Hafs is exactly the same as the reading of ‘Ali which he inherited from the Prophet to the very last dot.[14]

Qirâʾa from Kûfah: The reading of Hamzah Ibn Habîb (from Kûfah as well) Hamzah was born in the year 80 H and died in 156 H. He reported from Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd ar-Rahmân Ibn Abî Laylâ (who reads the reading of ʿAlî Ibn Abî Tâlib, according to the book of Ibn Mujâhid called al-Sabʿah – The Seven – page 74) and Humrân Ibn A’yan and Abî Ishâq as-Sabî’y and Mansur Ibn al-Mu’tamir and al-Mughîrah Ibn Miqsam and Jaʿfar Ibn Muhammad Ibn ʿAlî Ibn Al-Husayn Ibn ʿAlî Ibn Abî Tâlib from the Prophet via ʿAlî Ibn Abî Tâlib.[20]

Qirâʾa from Kûfah: The reading of al-‘Amash from Kûfah as well: He reported from Yahyâ Ibn Waththâb from ‘Alqamah and al-‘Aswad and ‘Ubayd Ibn Nadlah al-Khuzâ’y and Abû ʿAbd ar-Raḥmân as-Sulamî and Zirr ibn Hubaysh and all reported from Ibn Masʿud.[21]

Qirâaa from Kûfah: The reading of Ali Ibn Hamzah al-Kisâ’i known as al-Kisâ’i from Kûfah. He died in 189 H. He reported from Hamzah (the previous one) and ʿIsâ Ibn Umar and Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd ar-Raḥmân Ibn Abî Laylâ and others.[22]

Variations between readings

There are many consonantal differences between the various readings, for example between Al-Duri and Ḥafs:

Ḥafs Al-Duri Ḥafs Al-Duri  
وَيُكَفِّرُ وَنُكَفِّرُ and He will remove and We will remove Al-Baqara 2:271 (2:270 in Al-Duri)

Examples of readings from Ḥafs and Warsh


رواية ورش عن نافع رواية حفص عن عاصم Ḥafs Warsh  
يَعْمَلُونَ تَعْمَلُونَ you do they do Al-Baqara 2:85
مَا تَنَزَّلُ مَا نُنَزِّلُ we do not send down… they do not come down… Al-Ḥijr 15:8
قُل قَالَ he said Say! Al-Anbiyā’ 21:4
كَثِيرًا كَبِيرًا mighty multitudinous Al-Aḥzāb 33:68
بِمَا فَبِمَا then it is what it is what Al-Shura 42:30
نُدْخِلْهُ يُدْخِلْهُ he makes him enter we make him enter Al-Fatḥ 48:17

Related Terms of Interest

Tareeq: Every reciter has students who narrate from him and they are referred to as رُوَاة (pl. for رَاوِي). Every رَاوِي had students as well who narrated from him, and they are referred to as أَصْحَاب الطُّرُق (literally: companions of the paths). The students of these أصحب الطرق and their subsequent students are also referred to as أصحاب الطرق. For example, the reciter ‘Aasim had two well-known narrators (راوي) who were Shu’bah and Hafs. Two well-known students learned from Hafs: ‘Amr and ‘Ubayd. Two well-known students learned from ‘Amr: al-Feel and Zar’aan, etc. So, if you came to know that Ibn al-Jazari narrated in his book al-Nashr with his chain of narration, upon the authority of al-Shahrzoori, the author of al-Misbaah who narrated on the authority of al-Hammaami, from al-Waliy, from al-Feel, from ‘Amr, from Hafs, who narrated from ‘Aasim, then you would say:

The recitation (قراءة) of ‘Aasim, the narration (رواية) of Hafs on the authority of ‘Aasim, from the way (طريق) of ‘Amr or al-Feel, or al-Waliy, or al-Hammaami, or al-Misbaah, or al-Nashr.

al-Shatibiyyah: This is the poem written by al-Imam al-Shatibiy, its formal name being: al-Hirz al-Amani wa wajhu al-Tahani. It is more famously known as al-Shatibiyyah, named after its author. al-Shatibiy recorded in this poem 7 Qiraa’aat of the Imams:

Naafi’ Ibn Katheer Abu ‘Amr Ibn ‘Aamir ‘Aasim Hamzah al-Kisaa’ee

al-Durrah: This was the poem written by Ibn al-Jazari where he recorded 3 Qiraa’aat more; these Qiraa’aat were for the Imams:

Abu Ja’far Ya’qoob Khalaf This poem actually completed the Shatibiyyah poem, whereby both poems combine between the 10 authentically narrated Qiraa’aat.

Tayyibat al-Nashr: It is the poem written by Ibn al-Jazari whereby he also recorded the 10 Qiraa’aat, but this time he didn’t restrict himself to the ways (طُرُق) that were recorded in Shatibiyyah and Durrah. He added many more طرق in Tayyibah.


  1.  The Seven Qira’at of the Qur’an by Aisha Bewley
  2. Saalih al-Munajjid, Muhammad (28 July 2008). “The revelation of the Qur’aan in seven styles (ahruf, sing. harf). Question 5142”Islam Question and Answer. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  3. Malik Ibn AnasMuwatta, vol. 1 (Egypt: Dar Ahya al-Turath, n.d.), 201, (no. 473).
  4.  narrated by al-Bukhari (Sahih al-Bukhari), 3047; Muslim Sahih Muslim, 819
  5.  Suyuti, Tanwir al-Hawalik, 2nd ed. (Beirut: Dar al-Jayl, 1993), 199.
  6. Javed Ahmad GhamidiMizanPrinciples of Understanding the Qu’ranArchived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback MachineAl-Mawrid
  7.  Zarkashi, al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Qur’an, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1980), 237.
  8.  Suyuti, al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Baydar: Manshurat al-Radi, 1343 AH), 177.
  9. Abû Jacfar Muhammad bin Jarîr al-Tabarî (Translated & Abridged by J Cooper, W F Madelung and A Jones), Jamic al-Bayân ‘an Tâ’wil ay al-Qur’an, 1987, Volume 1, Oxford University Press & Hakim Investment Holdings (M.E.) Limited, p. 16.
  10. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, Tafseer Soorah Al-Hujuraat, 1990, Tawheed Publications, Riyadh, p. 28-29
  11.  Ibn Qayyim, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in, vol. 3 (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d.), 96.
  12. Shady Hekmat Nasser, Ibn Mujahid and the Canonization of the Seven Readings, p. 129. Taken from The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur’an: The Problem of Tawaatur and the Emergence of ShawaadhdhLeidenBrill Publishers, 2012. ISBN9789004240810
  13. Samuel Green, THE DIFFERENT ARABIC VERSIONS OF THE QUR’ANRetrieved 2008 Nov 17
  14.  New Light on the Collection and Authenticity of the Qur’an: The Case for the Existence of a Master Copy and how it Relates to the Reading of Hafs ibn Sulayman from ‘Asim ibn Abi al-Nujud, By Ahmed El-Wakil: [1][2]
  15.  رواية ورش عن نافع – دار المعرفة – دمشق Warsh Reading, Dar Al Maarifah Damascus
  16.  رواية حفص عن عاصم – مجمع الملك فهد – المدينة Ḥafs Reading, King Fahd Complex 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia