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172 The Americall Joumal of Islamic Soc;al Sciellces 12:2

critical edition of the text of the Qur'an."" Jeffery, in fact, intended to pub-
lish a critical edition featuring one column of Kon script facing a critical-
ly edited I;laf$ text on the opposite page."
In his attempt to introduce "rival codices"" to the Uthmanic Codex on
the basis of variant readings mentioned in works by Muslim scholars, he
produced approximately fifteen "primary" codices and thirteen "sec-
ondary" codices. The fifteen primary codices are ascribed to 'Abd Allah
ibn Mas'Od, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, 'An ibn Abu Talib, 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas,
Abu. Musa, J;Iaf~ah, Ana.<;ibn Malik, 'Umar ibn al Kha.tJab, Zayd ibn
Thabit, 'Abd 'Allah ibn Zubayr, Ibn 'Amr, 'A'ishah, Salim, Umm Salamah,
and 'Ubayd ibn 'Umayr. He also ascribed some secondary codices to mem-
bers of the next generation, among them al Aswad 'Alqamah, iji.t.tan, Sa'Jd
ibn Jubayr, Tall;tah, 'lkrimah, Mujahid, 'A.ta' ibn Ab-jRahal), al Rabi' ibn
Khuthaym, al A'mash, Ja'far al ~adiq, ~aJjJ~ibn Kaysan, and all;larith ibn
Suwayd. In addition, he lists some unnamed codices with a number of
variant readings. It should be remembered that not every person purported
to have a certain codex actually possessed a personal copy of the Qur'an.
However, based on some variant readings ascribed to these individuals
that differ from the reading of the 'Uthmanic Codex, Jeffery assigns to
each of them a rival codex, regardless of whether or not the person con-
cerned claimed or insisted upon a particular reading ascribed to him!her
after the appearance of the official recension. It is also worthy of mention
that none of these rival codices, some of which were said to exist in the
Kit&b al Ma$&l;if" and other sources'.before the time of (he official recen-
sion, have survived until our own time. As Jeffery says: "It is unfortunate
that not sufficient [material] has survived to enable us to get a real picture
of the text of any one of them.""Nevertheless, "in some cases, Jeffery was
able to detennine the primary codex from which a secondary one was

Orthographic Peculiarities of the 'Uthmanic

In his attempt to revive precanonical readings, Jeffery seems to be
very concemedabout Ibn Shanabudh (d. 328 A.H.)andIbn Miqsam (d. 362
A.H.), who were not allowed uncanonical readings or to make use of the
old variants that existed before the fixing of the text.'" He is also very crit-
ical of Ibn Mujahid (d. 324 A.H.), who settled on seven reading styles and
decreed that on:Jythey were the canonical and pennissible ways of vow-
elJing and reading the 'Uthmanic recension."'It is important to note that in
some later works on reading styles, some Muslim sch01ars added three and
others even seven more reading styles to the seven of Ibn Mujabid.
However, aJl of these readings conformed to the 'Uthmanic text's orthog-
raphy, and the major interests of the reciters (qurrii') were confined to
questions of orthography (rasm) and pause (waq{).
OIaudlwy: Orientalism on Varianl Readin&s 173

Jeffery, wbile dealing with the Odbographic peculiarities of the

'Uthmlnic recensioo, calls them "odditiesn and "mi-.Ir..." He aiticizes
at DII8 (d 444 "-If.) who. in his aJ Mill/iii, which is a book oCinstrucrions
for Qur'anicsaibes. insistson the followingspellings:-with rmal ... in
19:1, tQ with a big I alifinsteadofthcnonnal ~ in 18:36.,,"instcad
of~lrin20:9S.u.J'.insteadofu, 18:47,and ~JI instead of .:e-\!IIin
37:130,11Withoul going into the issue of whether the 'Ulbmlnk: script is
God~given (tawq1jl) or not, it is necessary to point out that it is commned
by the unanimous judgment (ijmd') of the Companions and the following
generation. D It is also important to note thaI. in mosc caRt''. Ihe peculiari-
ties of the 'Udunlnic script represent non-Quraydii dialectS. For example,
the BanDTayy wrote Ihefinal ... ratherthan . (td'marbi/Dh).-
We can concloJe the discussion on orthographic variants by saying
that the peculiarities of the 'Uthmanic script. like writing IlIlat and zalciil
with a waw. should not be overemphasized and exaggerated. Doing so
runs counter to conventional orthography only in the case of certain spe-
cific words that can be sing1ed out easily for explanation.

Variant Readings of al F~ti~ah

To analyze aitk:aUy Jeffery's treatment of various Qur'ank: readings,
it seems beuer to use one siirah as an example. We will use $irah oJ
FdtiJ)ah. He stales bl'AbeI Allah Ibn Mas'Dd is IqMted to have read:
<I!'o for~
~ fordp!
~ for..,:Jr and
;,;l for ~ ./.1

Ubayy ibn ]{a'b is reported to have read

:.g. and ~ forJdJI:.
:4I>J for at! ~ ,
~ and di. for I¥'I
~I~ for~lJ.t~1
~I for~ and
:li> for 'I.-
'All ibn Ab1'fIJib is reported to have read:
* and ;.J!:;£ for A'I:.
I2i! for 4A1 ,and
-;. for ' ,n
'Abel Allah ibn 'Abbas is reported 10 have read:
J.I'~ for I.r.t- all through the Qur'an..
'Umar ibn at Kha.lJlb is reponed to have read:
*' for ~ ,
~ for ~I ,and
~'-'t~ for~I'(,,70
'A'ishah and Sa'ad ibn Ab1 WaqqA~ are n:portcd to have read:
#- for ~~ ."
174 The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 12:2

Some of Jeffery's secondary codices followed the primary codices in

variant readmgs of al FAtibah, AM Ralfi ibn Khuthaym, who generally fol-
lowed 'Abel Allah ibn Mas'Qd in variant readings, Is reported to have read
.1.1»11 for~I"""lin al FatiJ;lah and in the rest of the Qur'an," AI
A'mash, another follower of Ibn Mas'ad, is also reported to have read
.1.\»11 for.l.I"",,'throughout the Qur'an."
With regard to al Fatibab, in addition to what Jeffery has mentioned in
his Materials, many other variant readings have been mentioned by
Muslim scholars on the various reading styles (qirii'iit), For example, AM
Mubammad Mak1a ibn Am TMib al Qaysl (d, 437 A,H.)along with many
other variants of this silrah, ascribes some more readings to the Compan-
ions. He says that AbU Hurayrah is reported to have read #- for -<!r. ,"
and 'Abd Allah ibn al Zubayr (as well as 'Umar ibn al Kha.tJib) to have
read ~:;'.I.r for:.:.o:i""1.1' ,:1<He has also mentioned that YaI)yA ibn
WaththAb, a member of the following generation, has read ~"; with
kmrah on the first niin for~" , withfiititrah on the first niin, and that
AbO Sawlr al GhanaWi, one of the most eloquent Arabs in history, read
<!~~iI;. for<!...r;:.;aJJ~!." Ibn Khalawayh (d. 376 A.H.),on the authority of
al ~"i, says that AbU.'Amrread 1.1:.,>11 for.l.t~,>6
Other variant readings of al Fatii)ah have been given by Jeffery. In
view of its central character in the Qur'an and because of its encompass--
ing central theme of the unity of God, he tries to make it a counterpart to
the Lord's Prayer of Christianity and concludes:

[The Fatii).ah], when we examine it, proves to be more or less a

cento of ideas and expressions taken from other pans of the
Qur'an. It is possible, of course, that as a prayer it was con.
strucled by the Prophet himself, but its use and its position in our
presenl Qur'an are due to the compilers, who placed it there, per-
haps on the fly-leaf of the Standard Codex."

In this article, he reproduced a variant text of a] Fatii)ah from some

Shi"i traditions." The text reads as follows:
..., . r.__II'I.'''',''''<tr;':'''''''''
~""""'.-.,,- -~~. "'t"..., lI...';&:' I""'V"

He then introduces another unauthentic version of this swah that,

comprised of variant readings. is different from the 'Uthmanic recension
in a most sensational andjoomalistic way. This new version does not have
a complete chain of namUors, although it has "survived" 10 our day,
Moreover, the dates of the manuscript and the name of the scribe are not
ascertainable. Jeffery says:
0IaudIwy: Orienralism on Variant Readings 175

Last summer in Cairo I came across a similar variant version. It is

given in a little manual offiqh, whose beginning, unfommately, is
missing, so that we do nol know the name of the aUlhor. It is a
quite unimportant summary of ShAfi' fiqh, written, if one may
venture a judgement from the writing, about one hundred and fifty
years ago, perhaps a little earlier, in a clerldy hand, and the vari-
ant version is written on the inside COVetunder the rubric: qird'ar
shiidhdhah Ii al Fiitil}ah. The MS is in private possession, and
though the owner was willing to lend me the copy of the passage,
and use it if I saw it fit, be was not willing that his name be
revealed, lest he come into disrepute among his orthodox neigh-
bors for allowing an unbeliever 10see such an ID1canonicalversion
of the openjng sUra of their Holy Book.JI'
The text of this variant has some certain similarities to that already
given, and runs":
-- Fz:...uJ..-"'-"I"
- '"'!:"\.I : :.;,jj':;r.~~.!'
:.J. ., '-..~Ir-"-~ ~~..,
---'I '~.'I. '.'''''I
""-.. ..d:...J1
.".'~I'r...'" -",,'.'.--,-..

He goes on to say that under the text there is a Sl:ater..lentabout its

chain of transmission:
and, in the end, concludes: "[It is] quite possible that Khalil had access to
good old tradition as the primitive reading of the FAtil)a. I can make noth-
ing of the rest of the i;rtUidfrom KhaJll to aI-Jubbi'i, and possibly it is
much later than the main from KhaJll.".1

Sab'at Abruf
When analyzing the above-mentioned variant readings in the opening
swah of the Qur"an, it seems imperative to discuss how they arose. This
subject has been discussed abundantly in the Kitdb 01 Mo~ii1)if, the
Muqaddimatiin, and other books on variant readings. These are also the
sources used by Jeffery in his studies. The Prophet is reported to have said
that the Qur'an was revealed to him in seven ways (in seven al)ruf. plural
of l)arj), by which he meant dialects or seven different ways of recitation."
h is narrated by Ibn .AbbAs that the Prophet said: "Gabriel recited the
Qur'an to me in one way. Then I requested him (to read it another way),
and continued asking him to recite it in other ways. He recited it in sever-
al ways till he ultimately reciled it in seven different ways (al}rufJ.'~ To
make it easier for the elderly, the illiterate, and the nomadic people 10
recite die Que'an, the Prophet allowed them to recite various dialectal vari-
ants in their own way, which eventually led to diversification in reading
176 The American Journal oflslamic Social Sciences 12:2

styles. The books on variant readings show that the Companions used this
concession fully and continued to do so until 'Uthm!n finalized the codex
and issued an official recension that abrogated all other readings and
dialectal usages and maintained the readings used by the Prophet.
It is reported that Anas ibn Milikrecited IOi."a ~,.1I
(94:1-2). When this was objected to, he said "~';,j,QJ.o..i.Ji;.. all the various
different readings [diaJects] from the same:" On the authority ofIbn S"tfin,
it is narrated that Ibn 'Abbas said that J"'-r1' and J,il
are one and the same.'-' II is said that Ubayy ibn Ka'b was teaching a
Persian Siirah 44:44 ";'~I,.W., )li~'" . The man said repeatedly
,..;.I',.1.oJ" . When the Prophet learned of this, he asked him to recite
,.HIIII,.W. instead of H''''''',.I.oJ", which was easier for him."

Dialectal Variants in the Arabian Peninsula

The interaction and overlapping of various Arabian dialects has been
a complex issue in the history of the Arabic language. leffel)', a western
scholar who lacked facility in Arabic, could not understand the extent of
dialectal. variants and their usages in the times of the pre.'Ulhmiinic recen-
sion. Therefore, after seeing a variety of variant readings ascribed to the
Companions, he developed the idea of introducing "rival codices" to the
'UthmAnic recension.
To understand the extent and role of various Arabic dialects 8Sregards
the various reading styles without going into dialectal details, it is impor-
tam 10 point out that it is generally accepted that the Qur'an was revealed
in the common Ambic (allughah al'Arablyah al mushrarakah), a lan-
guage underslood throughout the peninsula and used by poets and orators
as a medium of communication."' As this common Arabic., which was the
vehicle for Qur'anic expression, had a vivid impress of the Quraysh1
dialect on it, it is generally assumed that the Qur'an was revealed in that
particular dialect. A small book on the dialects used in the Qur'an,"
ascribed to Ibn 'Abbas (d. c. 68 A.H,)," and transmitted by Ibn l;Iasnun,
contains numerous entries from different tribal dialects. Although proba-
bly not comprehensive, the work detennines the dialectal origin of at least
265 words used in the Qur'an. Of these, 104 are derived from the dialect
of the Quraysh. 45 from Ihe Hudhayl, 36 from the Kinanah. 23 from the
I:Iimyar, 21 from the Jurham, 13 from the Tamim and the Qays 'lIan, 6
from the 'Amman, the Azd Shanii'ah, and the Khath'am; 5 from !be Tay',
the Midhl)aj, the Madyan, and the Ghassan; 4 from the Banu l:IanlfOO,the
l:Ia~awt, and the Ash'ar; 3 from the 'Ammro-; 2 from the Khuzl'ah, the
SabA', the Yamimah, the Muzaynah. and the Thaqif; I from the Azd; I
from the Khauaj; and I from the aJ 'Am~liqah, SadQs, and Sa'ad al
It should also be kept in mind that while the Qur'an represented an
amalgam of Arabian dialects, it was in the most eloquent and inimitable
style and was a code of life and a book for everybody. All who adhered to
Chaudhary: Orientalism on Variant Readings 177

Islam, whether illiterate, bedouin, or non-Arab, was e:>;pectedto recite it.

The hadith dealing with the seven accepted reading styles (sab'ar al'}.ruf)
and many other slories-" indicate that the Prophet, while teaching the
Qur'an, always made sure that the message was understood by those who
were being addressed. In such a situation, especially in the early years of
Islamic history, it seems very natural to have variant readings or to use
synonyms when necessary.
The topic of tribal dialects and their appreciation in pre-Islamic and
early Islamic times can be understood better by naITating a frequently
repeated story concerning a man of the Ban.u Kilab or the Banu 'Amir.
This man visited Dhli Jadan, a king of Yemen, who was sitting on a raised
platform. The king said to him: "Thib" ( :,,:;), i.e., which means "sit," in
the Yemeni dialect. The visitor understood it as meaing "jump" (from
wathaba, yafhibu) and therefore jumped from the platform and died." In
another report, it is said that one day when Abu Hurayrah was with the
Prophet, the Jatter dropped a knife and said to him:" ~'.)Ji" ." Abu
Hurayrah did not understand, and so the Prophet repeated his request. At
last AbU Hurayrah asked: " ~:"'.)~;11 ."..Sikkin is a Hijaii word and
does not appear in the Azdi diaJect, where the relevant word is mudyah."
It is thus clear that not all Arabs in preofficial recension times understood
the implications of the Qur'an's vocabulary and, 'logically, they would
feel more inclined to read it if the text were closer to their own dialect.
The orthographic variations of the rival codices, which have not been
recorded in the 'Uthmanic codex (i.e., reading al sirii.t with $iid, sin, and za'
in the opening sarah), and the use of synonyms (i.e., reading !'.lJ..;.
and ili.. for the 'Ulhmanic text's I'.~. ~~ in Silrah 94) can be under-
stood in the light of the statement by lbn Jinn-l (d. 392 A.H.):
.o.L.I...,JI.o.W0fi:.,J-.)Jidl:'.:.IS I}I..-'>-II 1.LiI~I",.;s L.k..

"Wherever there are more words to give the same meaning, there is
every likelihood that those words are representing different dialects [and
linguistic units]."" He also cites, on the authority of al A$ma'!, an inter-
esting controversy between two men over the word $aqr. One pronounced
it with a $ad whi1e the other used a sin. They decided to ask for a third
opinion. The third man, who pronounced it with a zi1', differed from both
of them. What this shows is that each individual was using his own dialect
to pronounce the word in queslion. "
Jeffrey's claim that "the mass of variant readings that has survived to
us from the codices of Ubayy and Ibn Mas'od shows that they were real tex-
tual variants and not mere dialectal peculiarities"'. indicates that the substi-
tution of one word with a synonym" from another dialect in the rival
codices 1ed him to the above conclusion. He does not seem to have under-
stood the Prophet's permission for new Muslims, many of whom were
elderly, illiterate, bedouin, and without any background in Arabic, to use
variant readings. It is also evident from the above-mentioned examp!e of
Ubayy and the Persian who could not pronounce a certain word. In an oft-
178 The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 12:2

quoled hadith on the seven reading styles mentioned in $0l)1l)01 Bukhdri, it

is very clear thai the Prophet, after listening to Hishlm ibn l;IaJam's and
'Umar ibn al Kha.~tab'sdiffering recitations of Sinh al FurqAn, approved
each reading. In fact, it is recorded that Ihe Prophet had taught these differ-
enl readings to them. He said: .This Qur'an has been revealed 10be recited
in seven different aQruf (ways), so recite it whichever (way) is easier for
you:"" Pearson seems 10 have difficulty in understanding the word al)ruf
and says: '"The meaning of Ibis expression in the hadith is uncenajn, the
tenn al}rufbeing the plW11Jof l)alf, 'letter.' Nevertheless, Jbn Mujihid
has made il quite clear that it means "seven readings,'~ regardless of
whether they belong to differenl dialects or are different dialectal readings
for Ihe same word."
II is interesting 10 note thai Jeffery, in view of the unauthenticated
chain of transmissions that accompany such uncanonical varianl readings,
could not venture to bring any reading par excellence with that of the
'UthmAnic text. On the contrary, he says lhat "some of the variants, in the
fonn in which they have survived to us, seem linguistically impossible,
and in certain cases Ihis has been noted in the source which quotes the
variant.''"'- He concedes further that

Betgstrasser in his preliminary colleclion of the uncanonicaJ read-

ings of Ibn Mas'fid and Uba'i made an attempt to estimate the
value of these two texts as compared with the 'Uthmlnic text.
With the increase of malerial one feels less inclined to venture on
such a judgment of the value.~J

He tries to explain the variants found in the uncanonical codices as

being improvements on the 'Uthmanic lext, as Ibn Mas'jjd and Ibn 'Abbas
are reponed to have read ~ instead of L.~ in 2:137. Jeffery sug-
gesls further that these Companions may have suggested such variants out
of piety." One should be aware, however, that when Jeffery deals with any
aspect of Islam, he does so through a Christian paradigm. For example, he
stales thai Islam, like O1rislianity, has a sacred book but never goes on to
say that it is one of the three Abrahamic religions. OJ In the case of the New
Testament, il is generally held that

all the gospels originally circulated anonymously. Authoritative

names were later assigned to them by unknown figures in the
early church. In most cases the names are guesses or perhaps the
result of pious wishes.'"

In order to equate the Qur'an with the Bible, Jeffery suggests that some
of the Companions made "changes and improvements" in the Qur'anic text
based on "motives of piety." Unfortunatelyfor him, he seems 10 have
missed the fact that any addition or deletion to the Qur'an is such a heinous
crime that one cannol imagine that a Companion would do such a Ihing. It
also would not have been lolerated by hisJher fellow Companions.
ChlIdIary: Orlenlal18l11on Vll'lint RMdinp 179

We can swn up the discussion in lite following points:

I. Ir is clear that V8riant ,-Imp. such u pronouncing al pm! in

SUrahaI FIb)lh with aldd. a ibt, or a 14' or Ibn M8t0d'. reading of 'nii
for IJand in SDrah 12:35. reflect the tribal diaJea ~ Ihc individual RdIc:r.'"
It chnodd be noted 1haI" and 'aJllo u weD u ali/and qI/, are inIcrdIangcd
in various Anb di.IHM. Similarty.1hc readinJS of iT.Jdbl. wiyycita. and
hayJdJu in aI FItibIh lie clialeaa1v.. ;"Ib. ..Ihe afijis .a:.d.-.ged with
1hewdw 8nd lite It6' In mious rIi'llIml-The readina 01 mtdiJul with w-
ralr on Ihe finI IIiII II also a .118"""'" YUiInI, u ,rlamJna II rad for
JdIamUa in Sonb 2:56 and tUwadd. (or NUWGdd. in SOnh 3:106 in Ibe
Banii Asad di.1H1..-The radinI' 01 "",'ik. "",flak, IfttI/k,Iftiflif, and IIIIJrrJ:
in Sinh aI Ficibah are also diateaal varianll and I~ lame allowed ~
ing scyIes. These dialcaal variantl of maliA: have been ascribed 10 1he
Prophet, who is reponed 10have re8d Ihem." Had these variants been inad-
missible, the Companions would not have differed in lheir recilaOOn of
The substitution 01 illdinll and III with their respective synonyms
arshidnlJ and ,'{hayra in Sarah al Fltibah also represent dialectal variants
that arc amana the pennltted recitation.. Jeffery, in his attempt 10 inlJ'O.
duce rival codices. bas Ignored the f8Cllihat tho ,lirah is recited out Joud
in most of the dajly prayers and thai a reading not allowed by the Prophet
would not have been allowed or perpetUated. Moreover, Jeffery has failed
10bring any objection from a Complilion thll this slirall, IS il appears in
the 'Udunlnic recension. wa. nOt In accord with Ibe Prophet's reclwion.

2. While creaIin&doubts and maklnJ inlin"8tWo" about the 'Uduninic

, ,dnri and despite his acctptance thatlhe tnnsmission of Ihe variants
is through weak chains of IransmissioD. Jeffeq is nevertheless besilanllo
admit 1he reality of 1he MPllim world consensus (ijIttiI') on iL If we sup-
posethal: some vari8ntlucJelluine and were used iDpe-'Uthminicra:en-
sian times due 10 Iheir confonniIy 10Ibo seven pamiw'ble readin&s. even
Ihen atm InnImiued Ihrou&h one MInIor (d.(tdd)camot be prefamilO
a leX(tI:mdP.ddown by one aenendon 10 die nexl (Iawdntr). n

3. While dcalin& with Ihc variant rcadiop. Jeffery has I8ftORd com-
pIeIdy the im a...t factor of the Qur'an'. oral Innsmis.sion. The
'Uthmlnie rcc:ension wu not just another ol'ficial document 10be shelved
aftu lite committee bad completed IL The canonical version was avail-
able 10everyone. One copy of the otrlCial recension (al MIlII)aj tJ/lmiim)
was kept in Madinah. while copiel were lent to 0Iher cities in the Islamic
stale of that lime, Thousands of Companions who had memorized moSt,
if not all, of the Qur'an and who had lirsl-hand knowledge of how the
Propbel had recited the Qur'an. were in Madinah. It musl also be remem-
180 The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 12:2

bered !bat all of the Companions, despite the fact that the scribes and
many Companions had written materials with them, approved the
'UthmAnic recension as the recitation of the Prophet and accepted its
authenlicity and accuracy.

4. In his zealous drive to introduce rival codices, Jeffery ignored !he

fact that Ibn Mas'Od, although after some hesitation, surrendered his
codex to 'Ulhmin" and thereafter never appears to have insisted on any
rearnng ascribed 10 him. Moreover, Jeffery has failed utterly to produce
any statemenl from Tho Mas'Od implying that what was in the 'Uthmanic
recension was not from the PropheL After Thn Mas'Od, Ubayy ibn Ka'b
is the second Companion 10 whom a bulk of variant readings has been
ascribed. Al!hough Jeffery recognizes chat all secondary codices have
been derived from Ibn Mas'Qd's and that no codex has been derived from
Ubayy's. he gives primary importace 10 che variants ascribed to !he lat-
ter and thus ignores the fact that Ubayy participated in the gigantic task
of completing the 'Uthmanic recension. 'Atl ibn Abi Talib, who is held
to have had a codex before Ihe official recension, is reported to have
showed his gratitude and satisfaction with the 'Uthmimic recension by
saying: "If I were in command in place of 'Uthman, I would have done
the same.""

5. Despite his admission that many variant readings have been invent-
ed by later theologians, philologers, and grammarians and then ascribed to
early authorities in order to gain prestige," Jeffery is stiU interested in
restoring the .'original reading" of the Qur'an.1o More recently, two other
orientalisl:s-John Burton and John Wansbrough-have concluded that all
of the accounts about "Companion codices," "metropolitan codices," and
individual variants were fabricated by later jurists and philologers.1'
Jeffery has also ignored the fact that the earliest basic sources for variant
readings are the reports of Ibn Abl Diwlid (d. 316 A.H.),Ibn al Anbir'i (d.
328 H.), and Ibn al Ash,tah (d. 360 A.H.).Howevet, their reportS do not
have pOpel narration chains and are not supported by genuine b'ansmis-
sion chains.

6. As was the case with his predecessor Bell, Jeffery has failed to
camouflage his prejudice against Islam and the Qur'an when dealing
with its compilation. Following BeIl,1J,he declares that the recension of
Abu Bake was his own purely private affair."" It is very surprising to note
that he accepts as valid all of the variants indicated in the MlUladdimaran
and the Kittih al Maia~if but ignores (without explaining why) these
same sources' assertion about Abn Bakr's collection of the Qur'an, a facl
that has been supported powerfully by early sources of history and
hadith." Nevertheless, it is indubitable that the Qur'anic recension pre-
pared by Abu Bake served as the principal basis for the 'U!hmAnic recen-
Cliaudhlry; Orienillilm on Varilnl Readings 181
7. Jeffery has also failed to understand 'Ulhmln's reasons for under-
taking his recension and to acknowledge the factors of propagating
dialectal varianls and 'Uthmln's concern with complaints stemming
from variant readings. Aba Mubammad Makb, like Other MusJim
exegetes, makes il clear that 'Ulhman soughl to deat with this issue by
codifying the Qur'anic text (the Prophet's reading) and abrogating all
other readings, even if they had been permitted by the Prophet during his
lifetime." AI QaySJ.also mendoos that a team of ..least twelve Ihousand
Companions and Followers (Tdbi1n) worked 00 Ihe official recension
and destroyed the uncanonical vcrsiona.1aII is inconceivable that such a
large team of eminent Muslims could enforce a recension containing
reading.s that, although asaibcd 10 the Prophd:, were of a doublful

8. Despite his claim, Jeffery could Dot observe the principles or high..
er ailicism while dealing with the Qur"an and its V8riant readings. In his
lecture on ''The Textual History of the Qur'an." delivered in Jerusalem
(1946) and published in his Th~ Qur'Qn as &riplllr~ (1952). he fails 10
mention the Archive's conclusion regarding the colleclion of Ihe Qur'an
and the textual differences in various versions. Dr. f;lamldullah. who had
met Dr. Pretzl when the laucr came to Paris to collecl pholocopies of the
Qur'anic scriptures availab1e in Ihe libraries !here..:! says that PretzJ lo1d
him: "Our institute (Archive) has collected the?otographs of 42.000
copies of !he Qur'an and we are collating them' and that. after accom-
plishing this task before its destruction, issued a '"provisional repon" that,
acconIing to him, reads:

The work of collation of various copies of the Qur'an is nor:c0m-

pleted yet. However, on Ihc basis oflbe work accomplished so far,
we can say that there are occasional mistakes of !he copyists, but
there is no textual d.iffeK:nce found [in Ihe 42.000 copies of Ihc
Qur"an. which have been collated},-

JdfeJy, in his trcatmenIof the Qur'an. laib exclusivelyabout me

Archive and his collaboration with Professors Bcrgstrasser and PreIzl, but
surprisingly omits the ",Qoo of the Archive's report and findings.

9. Finally, it seems awaOvriate to wgaest thar such oricnlalisu as

Pearson, who continues 10 pursue Jeffery's missioo to invalidale the char-
acter of the Qur'an as an unadulteraled revealed book, should appJy me
princip1es of higher ailicism in an affumalive way. By so doing, they
would discover for themselves the nuth of Ihe Qur'anic claims: "Had it
been from other than Allah they would surely have fOW'ldmuch discrep.
andes and contradictions in it" (4:82) and ''We have, without doubt, senl
down the message {Qur'anJ and We wiIJ surely guard it (from COITUpiion
and adultcralion)" (15:9),
182 The American Journal of !shIRlieSocial Sciences 12:2

I. Arlhur Jeffery. Ma/erialsfor 1M HisloryoflMTotoflM Qur'on (London: E. J.
Brill. 1937). This book. edited by Jefft'fY. appcaml in one volume with the Kitab al
MO$iH;ifby AM Bakr 'Abel Allah ibn Alii DiwOd Sulayman II Sijistln1 (d. 316 K.).
Jeffery also edited IWO0IIter manusaiprs under the tille of Muqaddimoldn jI 'Ulum 01
Qu,'dn. 2d ed (Cairo: Maktabat al Khinji, 1972). This book deals with the colleClion and
variant readingsof the Qur'an. One portion contains the MlIqIlddimalrXi/db 01Mobani,
whose author is unknown (the manusaipllacks the essential rlnl. folio). However, on the
"'.H. and entitled it Xildb al Mabini fi Hapl! al "'a'dnl. The second portion, entilled 01
his Qur'anie commenlary. Both Noeldete and his pupil Schwally have based their
research on these worts. Tbe language, Slyle, and chains of IransmiS$ionemployed there.
2. For details, see Jaurnal ofBib/ieal SllIdiu, 19(MardJ 19(0): l:viii.Ix..
3. Arthur Jefft'fY.TMKortIn. Se/«tN SamJ (New York: Heritage Press, 1958). 20.
4. For a detailed account of orientalists. see 'Abdur Ral)min Momin. "Islamic Fun-
damentalism," Hamdard Islamic/U 10, no. 4 (Winle£ 1981): 35-40.
5. Anhur Jeffery. TM Qlll"tlll OJ ScriplJUr (New York: Russell F. Moore Co.,
6. Ibid.
7. Jeffery, Koran. 14-15.
8. Ibid., 15. See also Jeffery, Qlll"ollosSt:rip1ure, 93--97.
9. Jeffery. Mo/eriofs.viii.
10. Jeffery, Koran, 21.
11. Jeffery.Moleriofs.viii.
12. Jeffery, Qur'on os Scripture. 103.
13. Ibid.
14. Jeffery calls lhe personal coUections of someCompanions "rival codices." These
collections were sum:tldered 10 'UIhmin after !he official m;ension had been oompiled.
Some details can be seen in !he worIt edited by Jeffery himself: Ibn Mas'Od sunmdered his
codex 10'UthmAn.SeeJeffery,Muqoddimol<in. 95. Pean;ooalsoclusif~ the personal C<:II.
leclions of the CompaniOlll in !he preofflCiai recension period as "rivals." He has relied
mainly on Jeffery'sMtI/erials when dealing with varianl readings in his essay ~AI.Kur'an,"
in Th~ EII'J,ropedia of Is/om (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1981). 5:406-8.
15. According 10 Ibn Alii D6wM. AM Bakr was the fll'St 10 collect Ihe Qut'an. He
mentions the names of len Companions said by Jeffery as having "primary codices."
Althougllibn AbI DlW\!d never implies thai all of them had wrilten copies of the Qur'an,
he mentions varianl readinp ascribed 10them under the liI1eofMIII~of. He also uses sueh
pltrases asjama'a 01QIt,'on{liI., Mhecollected d1eQur'an") forone woo has memorized it.
See Ibn Alii DAwl1d,Ki,db of Ma$41Jif,ed. by Arthur Jeffery I. ed. (Cairo: 1936),5, 10,
50.87. Ibn Ab1DIwod has made iI even clearer by saying !hat he uses the word mlq~flO
mean 1).orforqirltoh {re:ading)lO!hallhevariantaheqUOleli need IlOl:be teganled u com.
ing from aclUalwrillell codices. SecJeffery,MalHials, 15.
16. For a detailed 8CCOIInI of !he recensiona of AbO BUr and 'Uthmln. see Mu~am'
mad f:lam1dullail, Kh,,!ubd/+BaIuw.'tIlpur {Bahawalpur, PakiSlan: Islamic University,
1401 AH),3-29.
19. Jeffery, Malerials. 1-3.
20. These seven s)"Slemsare I$O'ibed 10Nitti' of Madinalt (d. 169 11.),Ihn Kathlr of
Makkah (d. 120 "'.K.).lbn 'Amir of Damascus {d. 118 H.), Abu 'Amr of Ba~rah {d. 154
A.H.),'A"imofKMah(d. 128 ".11.).T:Jamza\IofKilfah (d. 158 II.),andal Kisa"i of Knfah
(d. Ja9 H.).
Chaudhary: Orientalism on Variant Readings 183
22. For ",ails, see Lamb al Sa'ld, Tht Rtcirtd KOIWI,trans. Bernard Weiss. M. A.
Raut. and Mon'oe Berger (Prinoeton: The Darwin Press, 1975),45-50,
24. Jdfay, Milier/a/s. 15.
25. While enlisting tt:e variants, Jeffury has read iI incorrectly: ~! 4 at.
for ~...:.!:r.iiliG. See Je.ffery, Malerials. 111. As Jeffery never-gives lhe
phrase CiJoj:.l'''!I.if"" ,which obviously seems ro be incorJeC1.
21. Ibid.. 185,
29. Ibid.. 220.
30. Ibid., 233.
33. Abil Mul;1ammadal QayA, Kifiib II/ /biil1f1hfiMa'ii,ii al Qirii'iif. Isl ed. (Damas.
34. Ibid,. 96.
36. 100 Khllawayh, frob TfuJlt'JlhillSurah min al Q.u6n a/ Karim (Cairo: Oir al
31.Ar1hur Jeffery. "A VarianI:Text of the Faliha." The Moslem Worfd.29 (1939):
t58. Jeffery. although he included the translation ofal Fiti1)ah andal Mu'..- adhatiln
(Two Charms) in The Koran - Srlecfed Sumhs, doe!!:not COlL'Iiderthem to be pan oflhe
Qur'an: '"The form in which we !lave it [i.e" al-Qur'anl comprising one hUlldro:l and
eleven SUfU"and says in the introduction to the tnmslation ofal Fltil;1ah:"'This.bon Sura
does not be)ona 10 tlte Qw'an proper, but (is] a liule pra)'U, .lr.ind of cenlO msde up of
Koranic phnIses, placed as an introduction to the Book. and commonly reciled before the
resdingofanyportioo thereof."Jeffery,Koran, 15,23.
38. Published in Mul;1ammadBiqir Majlis-I,TlldhkirullllA'jmmol! (Tehran: 1331A.H.)
39. .Jeffery, "A Variant Ten." 159,
40. Ibid... 159.
41.Ibid., 160.62.
42. MuhammadMuhsinKhan.URns.,$(1/.11/.1aI8..kMr/ (Riyldh: Malr.tabalII Riyldlt
al Had1dtah, 1981), 6:483: Ibn In al Tabar;, T"lsir "I TIIlHtrr(Cairo: DIr al Ma,'lrif,
45. Ibid..
41. ' Wal;1'ldWan, Fiqh al LII~h"h, 8th ed. (Cairo: n.d.), 108; Ibrihlm Anls,Fi
al Ltlhajiil "I 'Arab1yah(Cairo: 1965),40, For characteristics of common Arabic, see
'~rGr Takawwunal 'Arablyah al Fu$1;1AWI Kha~'i$UhI,"in 'Abd al Tawwlb Ram&\lin,
Fiq;;lfi Fi4h al 'Arab1yab (Cairo: 1913),62.78,
4S.There are disclIssionson Ihis topic scaueredthmughout the variousbooks 011Ihe
Arabic:language. AI SuyQ.fihas a detaiJed chapter on il in his 01 lIqiillfl 'Uliima/Qur'ii" .
49. 'AbdAllah ibn 'Abbas.K.7tJbal LughiitflaIQu,.'an. ed..Salal) al Din alMunaijid
(Cairo: 1946).
SI. Fordetails,see Jeffery (ed.).MuqqadimatiJn. 229-30,
(Sew: 1913).300,
53. 'Ab.hl f:iamid al Shalqini,Rilo'liyat 0/ LugfuJh(Cairo: 1971). 336-37: l:Iasan ?J.~,
Kalam a/'Arab mill QUifayiial LugfuJh al'Araliiyah (Beirut: 1916), 104.
184 The American Journal of IsI~ic Socilll Sciences 11:1
55. Ibid.
57. In a number of cases, variants in the old codices Me merely synonyms for words
used in Ihe 'Uthmanic !eJIOl. Jeffery,MOlerio/s, 16-
58. Khan,$tllfl~,6:482-83.
59. Pearson,YAI-Kur'an."408.
60. Ibid., 409.
61. Forde!ails. see Jeffery, MWftlddimoriin, 218-30.
63. Ibid.
64. Ibid.
6S.Jeffery, Qiu'onu.lScriplure.I.
66. Robert W, Funk, RoyW. Hoover,and the Jesus Seminar,The Five Gospds (New
67. Jeffery, Mtl/eritl/s, 49. See also Ibn Man~Or, of Lisan (BeiRII: DIr SAdir, n.d.),
68. For uample, in Sarah 17:JI, uqqital is read as waqqiffJIby Ibn Mu'CId. Jeffery,
Malerials. 101. In the SIIR1eway. w4w and alijare imerchangeabIe, as in wujiih and 'ujUh.
69. ThnManti)r,aIUsiin.SeeAl-Afifall.JJyyinah andaya.15:421,438-441.
71. Ibn KMJawayh,l'riJh.22-24.
72. FOI"de!ails.lice Jeffery, MllqQddimOliin,38;
. al QaySI, allbanah, 73.
73. Jeffery.MllqaddimaliJn,9S.
74.lbn Abl DiwOd. Kiliih 01MOfii~if. 23.
75. Jeffery, MOleriols. 1. 15.
76. Ibid.. 16. -
77. Pearson, MAI-Kur'ln," 401408. For details, see also John Bunon, TM Co/leel;OIT
of /he Qar'tln (Cambridge: 1977), 199-112: John W;msbrougb, Qur'all Studies; Sources
and Methods o[Saiplurol/nterprntJtion(Oxford: 1977),44-46,102.7-
78. See, for example, W. Mon/&omery Wan. Belfsllllroductioll 10 Ihe Qur'an {Edin-
burgh: 1917),43.
79. Jeffery, Maleriols. 6-7,
80. See, for eJIOample,Khan,$ahih,6:476-80.
8J. al Qays1. al/h6"oh. 96.97.