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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Collection of the Quran - Part 2 of 3

The Era of Abu Baker 632 – 634 C.E

After the death of the Prophet (pbuh), there arose three main groups opposed to Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.

1. The first group was made up of those who decided that they did not want to pay Islamic tax, Zakaah, to anyone other than the Prophet (pbuh). They did not feel that Zakaah was a pillar of Islam just like Salaah (prayers), Sawm (fasting) and Hajj (pilgrimage). They instead looked at Zakaah as a tribute; a kind of tax paid to the one who conquered them. So, when the Prophet (Pbuh) died, they felt that they were no longer required to pay it. When Abu Baker became a leader of the Muslim state, this group refused to pay Zakaah and sent armies to the capital, Medina, in order to topple the Muslim State, They demanded to be excused from paying Zakaah or else they would attack and destroy the centers of Islam.

2. The first group was joined by those who had entered Islam in order to escape defeat, as well as those who simply wanted to be on the winning side. This group did not believe in Allah and His messenger at all. They wanted to destroy Islam so they could be free to do whatever they wanted to do. Since the armies of those who refused to pay Zakaah appeared strong, many of these hypocrites joined them.

3. The Third Group was the false Prophets and Prophetesses. In the Najd, in the region of Yamaamah, an Arab from the tribe of Haneefah called Mysaylima claimed prophet hood. In the southern part of Arabia, another Arab from the tribe of ‘Ans called Al Aswad, claimed prophet hood and took over Najran, To the north of Arabia an Arab woman called Sajaah from the Tameem tribe also claimed the prophet hood and rose in arms against the Muslim State. These false prophets all invited people to leave Islam by claiming that Allah had revealed to them new laws making allowable most of the things which were forbidden by Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).

True Muslims under the leadership of Caliph Abu Baker, were forced to fight these three groups in order to re establish Islam throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

The First Writing:

During these wars known as the Riddah (Apostasy), many of those who had memorized large portions of the Quran were killed. Those Muslims who had a lot of Quran in their hearts knew well the rewards which Allah has promised those who fight for Islam. So, they would always be in the front lines of all the battles.

Umar Ibn Al Khattab realized the danger of what was happening and feared that if something was not done immediately, the Quran would be lost to future generations of Muslims. So he went to Caliph Abu Baker and advised him to have the whole Quran written down in one book in order to preserve it from being lost. Abu Baker at first refused to do so, because the Prophet(Pbuh) had not told men to do it. He was afraid of bringing anything new into religion because the Prophet(pbuh) had warned them about changing the religion. Christians had gone ashtray before them because they changed the religion which Prophet (Isaa) Jesus brought after he left them. So Abu Baker was very much against making any changes in the religion which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had not told him to do so. However, after thinking over the situation very carefully, he came to realize that Umar’s Advice was right and that it was not really a change in the religion. The Prophet (pbuh) had ordered them to write down the various verses and chapters of the Quran, while it was being revealed, in order to help preserve it.

Compiling all of what was written into one complete book was then only the completion of the Prophet (pbuh) had begun.

Caliph Abu Baker asked Zayd Ibn Thaabit to be in charge of collecting and writing down the whole Quran, Zayd at first refused to do it for the same reasons that Abu Baker had, but after sometime he also came to realize that it was right. Zayd was chosen because he was:

*One of the best reciters of the Quran
*One of the few who had memorized the whole Quran during the Prophet’s lifetime
*One of those whom the Prophet(pbuh) asked to write down the Quran
*One of the Few who were present when the Prophet (pbuh) recited the whole Quran during the last Ramadan of his life.

Zayd began the process by collecting all of the material on which the Quran had been written. He then gathered around him all of those who had also memorized all of the Quran or large portions of it. He then compared what was written down with what he and others had memorized, If all agreed, he would then write down on pages of leather. In this way the whole Quran was written down during the reign the first Caliph. On its completion, Zayd turned it over to Caliph Abu Baker who kept it until his death, two years after he had become Caliph. Just before his death, Abu Baker turned over the Quran to Umar whom he had chosen to be the second Caliph. Umar kept this copy of the Quraan with him until his death ten years later at the hand of an assassin named Abu Lulu. The Quran was then turned over to his daughter, Hafsah, who was also one of the Prophet’s wives. Hafsah kept the Quran in her house in medina, but she made it available to anyone to make copies from it, or check the accuracy of what they had memorized.

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