Differences in Qur’anic Readings

Differences in Qur’anic Readings

Muslims theologians have disagreed on the Bismallah (invocation) in the Qur’an: Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi (“In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate”).

Reciters and Sheikhs of the Qur’an in Medina, Basra, and Syria agree that the Bismallah is not the first verse in Sura al-Fatiha, or even in any other Sura.

For that matter, in his appendix to al-Zamakhashri, al-Said said: “The Islamic nation by and large has agreed that the Bismallah in Sura al-Naml (27) is a verse (30) of that Sura which means it is definitely part of the Qur’an.”

Yet, there has been disagreement concerning the Bismallah the comes at the beginning of the Suras. Ibn Mas’ud, Malik, Abu Hanifa ,and his followers said that it is not a part of the Qur’an. No wonder they do not recite it when praying. This means that there are an extraneous 113 verses in the Qur’an. But sheikhs and reciters of the Qur’an in Mecca and Kufa claimed that it is indeed a Qur’anic verse. That is why it is prayed aloud. Ibn Abbas said: “if anyone leaves it out, he has left out 113 verses of the Qur’an.”

For the sake of a purely objective approach to this issue, we present a few examples

As quoted from Kitab al-Masahif by Abu Bakr al-Sijistani, the following quotations tackle the question of differences in the readings of the Qur’an while exposing the peculiarities in each codex. No two codices are exactly the same:

In Sura al-Fatiha 1:6 show us in the Arabic has two readings: ihdina or arshidna

In al-Fatiha verse 7, not the lost can be read as wala or ghaira.

In Sura al Baqarah 2:1 “that is the book” is read as dsalika or tanzilu.

In verse 7, “set a seal” is read as ghishawatun or gashwatun or ghashiyatun.

In verse 9, “they deceive” is read as yukhadiun or bishayatinihim.

In verse 14, “their evil ones” is read as ila shayatinihim or bishayatinihim.

In verse 17, “when it lighted” is read falamma adaat or fa adaat.

In verse 18, “deaf, dumb, and blind” is read as summun, bukmun, umyun or summan, bukman, umyan.

In verse 20, “snatches away” is read as yakhtafu or yakhtifu; “every time is read as awa kullama or kulla ma; “they walk therein” is read as mashaw fihi or marru fihi or madaw fihi; “take away” is read as lazahaba or laazhaba which changes the following baa to zaida.

In verse 23, “we have revealed to our servant” is read as nazzbalna ala abdina or anzalna ala ibadina.

In verse 24, “prepared for” is read as uiddat or ub’tiddat or uidat.

In verse 25, “pure” is read as mutahharatun or in the plural.

In verse 26 “a mosquito” is read as ma budtatun or va baudtatun, but others say it is read as baudtatun only. “He causes many to stray” and “many he leads astray in the right path” is read as udillu bihi kathiran wa yahdi bihi kathiran or udilla bihi kathirun wa uhda bihi kathirun. “He causes not to stray except those who forsake the path” is read as ma udillu bihi illa al-fasiqina or ma uhdiya bihi illa al-fasiquna.

In verse 23, “he placed them” is read as aradahum or aradahunna.

In verse 23, “he placed them” is read as aradahum or aradahunna.

In verse 36, “make them slip” is read as faadallahuma or fawaswasa lahuma.

(Most of this chapter was quoted from Al-Mashif by Sijistani and Al-Mushaf by Ibn Ashtah.)

April 30, 2001