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The history of the Quran refers to the revelation of the Quran to
Islamic prophet Muhammad, and its subsequent compilation. It spans
several decades and forms an important part of early Islamic history.
Muslim accounts say it began in the year 610 when Gabriel appeared
to Muhammad in the cave Hira near Mecca, reciting to him the
first verses of the sura Iqra thus beginning the revelation of the

Throughout his life, Muhammad continued to have revelations until

before his death in 632. Muslim and non-Muslim scholars disagree on
whether Muhammad compiled the Quran during his lifetime or if this
task began with the first caliph Abu Bakr . Once the Quran was
compiled, due to the unanimity of the sources, Muslims agree that the
Quran we see today was canonized by Uthman

Upon the canonization, Uthman ordered the burning of all personal

copies of the Quran. The copy of the Quran kept with Muhammad's
wife Hafsa was accepted. Until then, several copies of the Quran were
available in different regions of Arabia with some grammatical errors,
so Uthman's order allowed only one version of the Quran to exist to
prevent any misinterpretation of Quranic text or word of God (Allah).

Even though Uthman canonized the written Quran during his reign in
653-656, small diacritical variations still remained in the written
Quran, [this is not a neutral statement since there are differences in
words and phrases in old manuscripts like the Samarkand] which can
be seen in the early manuscripts of the Umayyad and Abbasid

Due to varying historical documents, controversy is seen amongst

some scholars as to whether the Uthmanic codex we have today is
authentic and complete. Most Muslim scholars believe the Uthmanic
Quran to be the authentic revelation to Muhammad, while some nonMuslim scholars believe verses were removed and other codices of
the Quran are more absolute. Nevertheless, even according to secular
scholars what was done to the Quran in the process seems to have
been extremely conservative and the content was formed in a
mechanical fashion as to avoid redactional bias .

Due to the fact that the Quran was revealed in disjointed verses and
chapters, a point came when it needed to be gathered into a coherent
whole text. There are disagreements among both Muslim and nonMuslim scholars as to when the Quran was compiled. Some believe
Muhammad compiled it before he died, while others believe it was
collected by either Ali ibn Abu Talib or Abu Bakr.


The project compilation of the Holy Quran. Umar suggested to Abu
Bakr that all the revelations of the Holy Quran should be collected,
and compiled in the form of a book. Abu Bakr was in the first
instance reluctant to undertake the project for the reason that as
the Holy Prophet had not felt the necessity of such compilation; it
did not behoove him, as the successor to the Holy Prophet, to take
any initiative in the matter. Umar, however, continued to press his
proposal. He argued that as during the life-time of the Holy Prophet,
the process of revelation was continuous, there was no occasion
for stringing the various verses in the form of a compilation, but
after the death of the Holy Prophet, and the cessation of the
process of revelation, the position had changed, and it devolved on
the successor of the Holy Prophet to suitably conserve the Holy
Quran lest it might be lost or corrupted in the course of time. The
argument appealed to Abu Bakr, and on further consideration, he
agreed to undertake the project.
Zaid bin Thabit. Zaid bin Thabit was summoned by Abu Bakr and
entrusted with the task of collecting all the verses, and compiling
them in a book form. Zaid's immediate reaction to proposal was that
if he had been asked to remove a mountain from its original site,
and place it elsewhere, he would have considered it easier than the
task of compiling the Holy Quran. Abu Bakr appreciated the
difficulties of Zaid bin Thabit, but observed that the word of God
had to be preserved for the guidance of the coming generations,
and the task had to be undertaken, whatever the odds. Zaid
accepted the commission, and after hard labor and in consultation
with the various companions of the Holy Prophet produced a
compilation. Abu Bakr was himself a Hafiz. He, therefore, checked
the compilation of Zaid very minutely, and after making whatever
changes were necessary, he kept the finally approved copy in his

personal custody. He gave the sacred compilation the name of