I received an article a while back–or research paper, actually which spoke about the variant readings of the Qur’an. As we know there is this mass attack on the Qur’an these days, an attack on its authenticity, its language, message, etc. One of these attacks focuses on the number of Ayaat that are present in the Qur’an–and how this number varies according to the different Qira’aat.

Of course, to even begin this discussion, one should know enough about the Qira’aat of the Qur’an–that there are about 10-15 Qira’aat that we know of today, 10 of these having been related to us through Mutawaatir chains of narration–a degree of hadeeth that is undisputable.

How can the total number of Ayaat in the Qur’an be different amongst the different Qira’aat? The first thought that comes to people’s minds is that Ayaat have been taken out, or added. But this isn’t the case as we shall soon see. The number of Ayaat present in the Mushaf are indeed the same, but some Qira’aat might break up an Ayah into two Ayahs, for instance.

Some examples:

صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم ولا الضالين

[1:7]

Some Qurra’ actually divide this well known ayah into two, stopping at صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم.

وأورثنا القوم الذين كانوا يستضعفون مشارق الأرض ومغاربها التي باركنا فيها وتمت كلمة ربك الحسنى على بني إسرائيل بما صبروا ودمرنا ما كان يصنع فرعون وقومه وما كانوا يعرشون

[7:137]

The Qira’ah of Naafi’ divides this ayah into two, stopping at:

وأورثنا القوم الذين كانوا يستضعفون مشارق الأرض ومغاربها التي باركنا فيها وتمت كلمة ربك الحسنى على بني إسرائي

So we can see that actually there isn’t really an addition or subtraction from the Qur’an, but just a difference in the way Ayaat are separated. And there are numerous examples of this and this answers the question of the total number of Ayaat in the Qur’an.

 

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