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 What did the Prophet leave behind?

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PostSubject: What did the Prophet leave behind?   Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:45 pm

What did the Prophet leave behind?

The way the material of revelation was left by the Prophet at his death was the most suitable for the Companions in that:

All parts of the revelation were available both in written form and memorised by the Companions.
All pieces were available on loose writing material, making it easy to arrange them in the proper order.
The order already fixed of the ayat within the suras, in the written form, as well as in the memory of the Companions, and of the suras in the memory of the Companions.
What arrangement could have been better than to have everything to hand in written form, as well as memorised by the Muslims, and to have the order and arrangement already determined, partially in the written form and completely in the memories of the people?

It is for these reasons that a later scholar, al-Harith al-Muhasibi in his book kitab fahm al-Sunan, summarised the first phase of the written collection of the Qur'anic material in the following words:

'Writing of the Qur'an was no novelty, for the Prophet used to order that it be written down, but it was in separate pieces, on scraps of leather, shoulder blades and palm risp, and when (Abu Bakr) al-Siddiq ordered that it be copied from the (various) places to a common place, which was in the shape of sheets, these (materials) were found in the house of the Prophet in which the Qur'an was spread out, and he gathered it all together and tied it with a string so that nothing of it was lost. [Suyuti, Itqan, I, p. 58.]

It is obvious that the history of the Qur'anic text (Textgeschichte) cannot be compared with that of other Holy Scriptures. While the books of the Old and New Testaments, for example, were written, edited and compiled over long periods, sometimes centuries, the text of the Qur'an, once revelation had ceased, has remained the same to this day.
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