When was the Quran compiled and written?

The Holy Quran was not sent down in a day or a two, the complete book of was revealed to mankind slowly and gradually in 23 years. It, therefore, wasn’t sent down in a book form as we have it today. The Holy Quran was compiled, written and punctuated at a later stage.

Stage 1: Writing down the Holy Quran

The Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Jibrail عليه السلام used to come down with the message of Allah towards Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. 

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had bestowed down the duty to some writers to write down the Ayahs. The scribers would thereby, under instructions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would write down the Ayahs upon paper parchments, leaves, leather, and other material.

The evidence suggests that the entire Holy Quran was written during the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The manner every ayah is placed today remains the same since then.

Zaid bin Thabit رضي الله عنه, one of the scribers told that the Holy Quran compiled under the invigilation of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. In order to make sure that no mistake has been made while jotting down the Quran, Jibrail عليه السلام would come down every Ramadan and would listen to the recitation of Holy Quran by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Jibrail عليه السلام used to repeat the recitation of the Qur’an with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year he died. – Sahih al-Bukhari 4998

Stage 2: Compilation of Holy Quran

The Holy Quran was compiled in a book during the caliphate of Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه. Soon after the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, a man named Muslimah claimed himself to be the Prophet.

The Muslims got furious and thereby Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه, the Caliph sent down a number of Muslims to rage a war against him. The Muslim army fought a battle at Yamamah in 632 A.D. The intense battle made Muslims suffer from loss of many Hafiz-e-Quran.

This was something that alarmed Umar bin Khattab رضي الله عنه. It came to him that if Quran Hafiz died in such great numbers, soon the Muslim Ummah would lose the major portion of the Quran.

It stuck to him that the Quran should be compiled in a form of a book so that it shall remain safe. He went to Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه and briefed him about the idea. The Caliph was shocked.

He could not take such a huge step! This was a serious matter for him; he told Omar that he cannot do this. If this was to be done, it should have been done by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

However, Umar bin Khattab رضي الله عنه continued to persist. Soon Allah Almighty opened up the heart of the Caliph and he agreed upon it.

The Caliph called upon Zain bin Thabit رضي الله عنه and asked him to compile the Holy Quran. 

Zaid bin Thabit رضي الله عنه along with other scribers undertook the mission of compiling the Holy Quran. They collected all the bits of the Quran and started to write it down carefully and would crosscheck each ayah.

When their task got completed and the Holy Quran was compiled into a book, it was handed down to Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه. 

Stage 3: Punctuation of Quran

Soon Islam started to spread into the non-Arab world. The people of those countries couldn’t understand nor speak the Arabic language. Gradually they started to learn the Arabic language to get aware of the message of Allah Almighty.

Yet when they would recite the Holy Quran, there was a difference in pronunciation. Hudaifah bin Yaman رضي الله عنه, one who had made Muslims turn out victorious in countries like Syria, Iraq, Armenia, and Azerbaijan reported that he had heard the difference in recitation by people of these countries.

When Usman bin Affan رضي الله عنه was filled in with the news, he got depressed. This could raise conflicts among the Muslim ummah. He got worried and asked Zaid bin Thabit رضي الله عنه to make copies of Quran with punctuation. 

The copies were made by a committee which consisted of Zaid bin Thabit رضي الله عنه, Abdullah bin Zubair رضي الله عنه, Sa’id bin Al A’as رضي الله عنه and Abdur Rahman bin Harith رضي الله عنه.

They were instructed that upon any disagreement, the Ayah shall be written in the pronunciation of Quraish. Once the committee was done with their task, they sent down the original copy to Hazrat Hafsa and the rest were distributed among different nations were Islam was spreading.

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