This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Puin The plan of Bergstrasser,Jeffery and later Pretzl to prepare a critical edition of the Qur’an was not realized, and the collection of variants derived from real old codices failed to survive the bombs of World War II. Many more old manuscripts are accessible now, which would justify a new approach, but no such undertaking is in sight. lt is true, unfortunately, that the (scriptural) variants are hardly helpful for a better understanding of much of the text which is still far from being as mubin (“clear”) as the Qur’an claims to be! Thus, even if a complete collection of variants could be achieved, it will probably not lead to a. breakthrough in Qur’anic studies. Certainly,though, it will help to reveal the stages of Qur’anic (and Arabic) orthography. An exciting “excavation” of old Qur’anic fragments took place in the Yemeni capital of San‘a from 1980 onwards. The fragments were discovered in 1972 in the loft olthe Great Mosque. Subsequently the (then) General Authority for Antiquities and Libraries took care of them in the Dar al-Makhtutat. Meanwhile the many thousand pieces of parchment have been cleaned and identiﬁed according to Mushaf, Sura and aya ; at this stage a complete microﬁlm documentation is needed in order to make the fragments available for study and for the preparation ofa catalogue. Unfortunately, the priorities of neither the German sponsor of the restoration project (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) nor of the Yemeni antiquities’ administration seem to favour the idea. Hopefully better times will come. Since no complete microﬁlm documentation is available, the details presented below are left without exact reference to the manuscripts from which they are taken. Among the fragments of roughly nine hundred different parchment Mushaf about ten per cent are written in a peculiar “pre-Kuﬁc“ variety of script, or M'ePi1. It is this group of manuscripts Which was examined in a preliminary way in order to prepare a questionnaire for a more comprehensive investigation. Examples of these observations are recorded here according to the type of deviation from the Rasm of the Egyptian standard edition of the Quran. My observations do not claim to be either new or unexpectedil, except for the last paragraph which discusses the diffcrcnt arrangements of the surahs. 1. Defective writing of he Alif constitutes the most common ‘deviation’ from the Rasm of the printed standard edition. The scriptural appearance of the following examples presupposes an established oral tradition of correct reading, much more than the familiar Rasm—which has the plene Alif—does: qalu-qala-qalat-kanu- sahir-bi sahibikoum
and even for as-sayyi'a. altogether 21 systems are distinguishahle. 4. Alifs.Medina 11+/4 -. consequently. but in a substancial number of manuscripts we find no thorough correspondence with any of the other traditional systems. either (ra'aw). Even in the most archaic manuscripts the end of a meaningful poﬂion of the text is marked by dots.which are not counted as the “end of a verse" according to the “Kufan" wanting. the ratio of identical ( + )or diverging ( — )-countings can be summed up as follows: Basra 10 +/5 -.The standard Rasm aboukoum is easily recognized as abaoukum. younger than the variants observed in San‘a. whereas aboukoum in the manuscripts. The Sa ‘ani early manuscripts in question seem to favour the “Kufan” counting. the verse separators/ verse counting realized in one archaic manuscript (no. The same is true for the variants in counting the verses. no orthographic convention was connected with the alif al wiqayah. If we compare. On the other hand. requires the oral tradition for the same pronunciation!—In cases like bil haqqi or kal jawabi the alif of the article is written defectively. By doing this we discovered that ‘our’ manuscripts contain many more Qi'ni’5l than are recorded by the old authorities. . does ka lladhi imply that the second letter Ya should not be pronounced at all? 2. Evidently.g. it is amazing how many of these cases of deviations—in absolute ﬁgures —are reported! We can now easily check any variation of the Rasm with the accumulated tradition of Muslim scholarship on the Qira'at thanks to the eight volume dictionary Mu'jam al-qiraat al-qur’aniyyah . The systems of the seven. of which Spitaler has compiled a condensed easy-to—handle survey.. again. 00-211) with the traditional systems of verse counting. Most of the canonical "readings" (Qira'at) of the Qur’anic text do not presuppose a different Rasm. Instead of qul ja'al haqqu in 34-:49 we ﬁnd qila ja'al haqqu. 3. according to his sources.Kufa 4 +/11-.Makka 11+/4 -. however. or similar signs. ten or 14 Qiraat are. then the same is true for those cases where the Alif is written in lieu of (Semitic) Hamzah: for shay'in 'as if sha'yin was intended). strokes. These examples may sufﬁce: ln 19:62 original laa tasma' was later corrected to laa tasma'ouna (instead of usual laa yasma'ouna). e. but there can be no doubt about the correct reading. Many of the separators in the Yemeni manuscripts are placed in positions. but although the proportion of the cases which deviate from the standard Rasm is relatively low. The Islamic tradition is aware of different regional counting systems. for si'at. If it is true that the defective writing of the Alif is more archaic than the plate version.
the end of Sura 26 is followed by the beginning of Sura 37 (on the same page.19-26-22 and 27—37—38—36).e. then there would be no strong reason for rejecting the validity of these reports (i.38 are close to the Ubayy list (who has the sequences 11 . again. which corresponds exactly with the leap reported about lbn Masud’s arrangement—while Ubayy’s Mushaf is said to have Iept from Sura 27 to 37. ﬁrst ﬁfty Surahs. the ‘Righteous Caliphs'.72 . . Would these manuscripts reﬂect the opinion that the BasmaIas are primordial parts of the Qur’anic text? In general the number of separators seems to exceed the number of verses counted.51 and 67 . but allow for the hypothesis that even more arrangements were in use which diﬂisrecl from the official sequence as well as from those reported to go back to the two authorities lbn Masud and Ubayy: In one case. as they are situated in the higher numbers of surah where the placement is rather arbitrary and not as easily determined as with the. concluding from their existence that most of the Surahs were not written down and put into approximately their final form during Muhammad's lifetime?—The San‘ani specimens are. A. while the leap 67 —71 is somewhat closer to lbn Masud’s codex (49-67 -64--63 — 62 -61.83 which are not even remotely reﬂected in one of the lists. Now. from Sura I9 — 22 and 36 . say. “But if most of the suras were written down and put into approximately their ﬁnal form during Muhamrnad's lifetime. The last three "leaps" are. however. Lists of the different arrangements of the surahs in their respective Mushafs have been perserved. not only proofs for their existence.—Two other leaps observed. say.— Finally. of course!). which is clear from contradictory use of separators and markers for groups of five or ten verses. viz. there are the leaps 72 . Welch connects the two issues of the arrangement and the time of the Quan's composition. not of the same importance as the preceding ones. since we do have examples of different arrangements in San‘a are we allowed to invert Welch‘s argument. Separators are observed even at places where the Egyptian standard edition has the recitation-mark (al waslu awla "enjambement is preferable")! 5.lt is noteworthy that in some ofthe Hijazi manuscripts the Basmalas at the outset of the Suras are always marked by a verse separator. Two early Qur’a.71-58).n authorities are reported to have kept their “private” Qur°an manuscripts which they refused to destroy or harmonize with the oﬁicial version promoted by the caliph ‘Uthman: lbn Masud and Uhayy ibn Ka'b. but until now no such differing arrangement has been traced in a manuscript. on different arrangements) outright". of course. The implications of the "validity of these reports" are far reaching and apt to shed some light on the question of what the Quran looked like at the time of.T.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.