Approach the Quran

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  • Approach the Quran

  • The Companions Who Memorized the Glorious Qur'an

    Qatadah asked Anas ibn Malik, "Who memorized the Qur'an at the time of the Prophet?" He replied, "Four, all of whom were from the Ansar[1] .Ubayy ibn Ka`b, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Zayd ibn Thabit and Abu Zayd."[2]


    In another narration, Anas said, "When the Prophet died, no one had memorized the Quran except four people: Abu Ad-Darda', Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Zayd ibn Thabit and Abu Zayd."[3]


    Apparently, the latter narration differs with the former in two things: (l) It signifies that only four persons amongst the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) completed the memorization of the Qur'an during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and (2) it mentioned Abu Ad-Darda' in the place of Ubayy ibn Ka`b.


    Muslim scholars do not accept that only four from amongst the Companions memorized the Quran in the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him`), basing their opinion on the view that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said this according to his own knowledge. Moreover, `Abdullah ibn `Amr said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say,


    'Learn the Quran from (any of these) four individuals: Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudhayfah, Ubbay ibn ka'b, and mu'adh ibn jabal. [4]


    The above hadith refers to the merits of those four Companions but does not confine the number of those who memorized the Qur`an to these four. lt is known that there were other Companions who had memorized the Glorious Qur'an such as the seventy men whom the disbelievers treacherously murdered at Bi'r Ma`unah.


    Al-Qurtubi commented on the above saying of Anas, explaining, "At the Battle of Yamamah seventy men from amongst the Qurra"[5]were murdered and on the day of Bi'r Ma`unah a similar number of the Qurra' were murdered. Anas, however, stated the above mentioned four Companions either because he loved them or because he remembered those four only."


    The Hafiz [6]ibn Hajar said that what was referred to by Anas was the people of Al-Khazraj not Al-Aws [7]as ibn Jarir narrated, "Once the two tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj boasted of their own remarkable traits. The people of Al-Aws said, 'From us are a man to him the Throne of the Most Merciful trembled, Sa`d ibn Mu`adh, a man whose witness equaled that of two men, Khuzaymah ibn Thabit, a man whom the Angels washed after his death, Hanzalah ibn Abu `Amir, and a man whom the hornets defended, `Asim ibn Abi Thabit.' Thereupon, the people of Al-Khazraj said, `from us are four men who, when the Prophet died, none had memorized the Qur'an except for them: Abu Ad-Dardaâ, Mu`adh ibn J abal, Zayd ibn Thabit, and Abu Zayd."[8]


    The Hafiz As-Suyuti, furthermore, referred to a woman - Umm Waraqah bint `Abdullah ibn Al-Harith who memorized the Glorious Qur'an. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to visit her, called her the martyr, and bade her to lead her family in Prayer. She had a special muezzin. During the reign of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, she was killed and fell a martyr at the hands of both her maid-servant and boy-servant. Then, `Umar commented on her martyrdom, saying, "Surely, the Messenger of Allah told the truth." And, he used to say to his Companions, "Let us visit the (female) martyr."


    lbn Hajar confirmed that Abu Bakr, according to some hadiths, learned the Glorious Qur'an by heart in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). It is reported in the Sahih, for example, that Abu Bakr built a mosque in the courtyard of his house wherein he used to recite the Glorious Qur'an. This is assured by the fact that Abu Bakr accompanied the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to the extent that `A'ishah said that her father, Abu Bakr, used to visit them in the morning and the evening. In this context, we may recall the lmdith that reads, "Let him who is more versed in the Bock 0f Allah lead the people in Prayer."[9] lt is known, according to the books of Sirah (the Prophet's biography), that Abu Bakr was appointed by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to lead the (people in Prayer during the Prophet's period of illness.   pp. 199-201.


    Accordingly, Abu Bakr was more versed in the Book of Allah than anybody else. to the extent that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) appointed him to lead the people in Prayer.


    As-Suyuti said that Ibn Kathir has confirmed this trait of Abu Bakr before Ibn Hajar.[10]


    Ibn Abu Dawud reported on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ka`b Al-Qirzi that in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) five men from the Ansar had memorized the Glorious Qur'an: Mu`adh ibn Jabal, `Ubadah ibn As-Samit, Ubayy ibn Ka`b, Abu Ad-Darda', and Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. Here, `Ubadah and Abu Ayyub were added to the aforementioned four in the narration of Anas.


    In his Al-Qira'at, Abu `Ubayd mentioned the Qurra' from amongst the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him`). From the Muhajirun[11], he stated: The four Rightly-guided Caliphs, Talhah, Sa`d, ibn Mas`ud, Hudhayfah, Salim, Abu Hurayrah, `Abdullah ibn Asâ-Sa'ib, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, `Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr, `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As, `A'ishah, Hafsah, and Umm Salamah. Also, he stated from the Ansar: `Ubadah ibn As-Samit, Mu`adh who was called Abu Halimah, Majma` ibn Jariyah, Fudalah ibn `Ubayd, and Maslamah ibn Mikhlad. Abu `Ubayd, however, disclosed the fact that some of them completed the memorization of the Glorious Qur'an after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him).


    As-Suyuti said. "Abu Dawud stated that amongst the Companions who had memorized the Glorious Quran were Tamim


    Ad-Dari and `Uqbah ibn `Amir. According to Abu `Amr Ad-Dani, Abu Musa Al-Ash` ari memorized the Glorious Qur'an also."[12]


    No doubt, the number of the Companions who memorized the Glorious Qur'an is not equal to the number of those who memorize it today, for the Companions used to learn and apply the Qur'an in their lives besides memorizing it. In this connection, ibn `Umar said, "We used to revere the man who memorizes surat Al-Baqarah and surat Al `Imran." When `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) completed the memorization of surat Al-Baqarah, he sacrificed a camel to Allah expressing his gratitude to Him, Most High.


    At our early age, we used to call surat Al-Baqarah Al-Khatrnah As-Sughra (the minor end of the Qur'an) and the whole Qur'an Al-Khatniah Al-Kubra (the major end of the Qur'an).


    lt is no wonder that surat Al-Baqarah enjoys these great merits. In this context, Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,


    "Don't turn your houses graves. Verily, devils do not enter a house wherein Surat Al-Baqarah is recited. "[13]


    Abu Umamah Al·Bahli (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say,


    'Recite surat Al-Baqarah, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief and the magicians cannot confront it. '"[14]


    Ibn Mas`ud said, "This Qur'an is the banquet of Allah. So, whoever could learn anything from it, should do so. The most desolate house is that in which there is no (recitation of the) Qur'an... Satan goes out from the house in which sum! Al-Baqarah is recited."[15](" Once more, he said, "Everything has a hump; and the hump of the Qur'an is sumt Al-Baqarah."[16]



    [1]  Ansari (pl. Ansar) means the people of Madinah who supported and helped the Messenger of

        Allah (pbuh) and his Companions after the Hijra. (Trans.)

    [2] Reported by Al-Bukhari.

    [3] Reported by Al-Bukhari.

    [4] Reported by Al-Bukhari.

    [5] The Arabic word Qarf (pl. Qurra') refers to the person who learns the Glorious Quran

         by heart  And recites it in the correct way. (Trans.)

    [6] Hafiz is a title given to anyone who memorizes one thousand hadiths and upward.

    [7] Al-Khazraj and Al-Aws were the two main tribes that inhabited Madinah before the

         advent of  islam. After the Hijra of the Prophet (peace be upon him`) no Madinah.

         these tribes  Intermingled with the coming Muslims from Makkah. (Trans.)


    [8] vol.1 pp. 199-201.


    [9] Reported by Muslim.


    [10] As-Suyuti.A!-Irqarr. vol. l. p. 20l.


    [11] Mulzqjmm, as an lslamic term. refers to the persons who migrated with the Prophet (pbuh) from Makkah to Madinah. (Trans.)


    [12] As-Suyuti. Al-ltqan. vol. l, pp. 202-202.


    [13] Reported by At-Tirmidhi.


    [14] Reported by Muslim.

    [15] Reported by At-Tabarani.

    [16] Reported by Al-Hakim.

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