Mushaf Ali: Ali ibn Abi Talib’s Codex of Quran: The Holy Quran as Compiled by Ali, the First Scribe of Quran

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(as of Apr 09, 2024 17:41:20 UTC – Details)

The Quran, revered by Muslims as the word of God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, is the cornerstone of Islamic faith and practice. Its verses offer believers guidance, wisdom, and solace, and its recitation is central to Muslim worship.

Yet, the process by which the Quran was compiled and preserved is a story shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The Quran, as it exists today, is known as the Uthmanic codex – as it was compiled under the direction of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, around 650 CE (some 20 years after the passing of the Prophet Muhammad).

In the time of Muhammad, the Arabic society was predominantly oral (writing was not a common skill). As a result, the Quranic verses were simply memorized by the Companions. Although there were several Companions with writing skill, such as Zayd ibn Thabit and Ubay bin Ka’b, they only recorded verses of the Quran for their personal use. The verses weren’t written and compiled into a single codex.

Nonetheless, it is widely believed that Ali ibn Abi Talib (the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad) was the first person to compile the verses into one book. There are reports that Ali started collecting the Quranic verses during the Prophet’s lifetime, while other reports emphasize that Ali finalized his codex immediately after the death of Muhammad in 632 CE.

After completing the burial of the Prophet, Ali made a vow that he would never come out of his house except for the Friday prayer till he collects all of the Quran. It was due to Ali’s preoccupation with his codex that he was absent in the Saqifa meeting where Abu Bakr was elected caliph after Muhammad died.

According to some accounts, Ali offered his codex for official use after the death of Muhammad but was turned down by some of the companions. The report is as follows: after the collection of Quran, Ali and his slave, Qanbar, brought it to the Companions, they were carrying it with difficulty, and it is said that it was equal to a load of a camel. Ali told them: “This is the book of Allah as is revealed to Muhammad, I collected it in a volume.” They said: “Take away your Mushaf as we do not need it.” Therefore, Ali returned while reciting this verse: “O my Lord! Indeed my people consigned this Quran to oblivion.” (Quran 25:30)

The Mushaf of Ali
This book presents the codex as compiled by Ali, based on Tarikh al-Yaqubi, a historical record on Quran by Yaqubi ibn al-Wazih. Unlike the Uthmanic codex, Ali’s mushaf contains only 109 suras and 6,202 verses. Notice that 109 = 1+0+9 = 10 (symbol of perfection) = 1 + 0 = 1 (symbol of Ahad, the oneness of God). Similarly, 6202 = 6 + 2 + 0 + 2 = 10 (symbol of perfection) = 1 + 0 = 1 (symbol of Ahad, the oneness of God).

Furthermore, Ali’s mushaf is divided into 7 parts. Notice that seven is a spiritual number with significant symbolism in Islam (and many other religions), e.g., seven days of creation, seven heavens, seven levels of hell, seven circuits around Kaaba, seven vices, seven sacraments, seven virtues, seven chakras, seven factors of enlightenment. Seven is a symbol of completion and perfection.

Each of the seven parts contains 886 verses. Note that 8 + 8 + 6 = 22 (again, a powerful symbol of divine purpose and universal harmony; in numerology, the number 22 is called the Master Architect) = 2 + 2 = 4 (a symbol of balance, as in four elements – air, fire, water, water – and four directions – north, south, east, west). Furthermore, according to Ali: “The Quran has four different types of verses. One-fourth of it is regarding us, one-fourth is against those who hold enmity towards us, one-fourth of it contains parables, and one-fourth of it is on the muhkam wa mutashabih (clear and allegorical verses).”

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (28 Feb. 2024)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 270 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8883243553
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 21.59 x 1.73 x 27.94 cm

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