Observations on the San’a’ palimpsest


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source

For further reading Sh. Ammar Khatib recommends this essay:

The Origins of the Variant Readings of the Qur’an



Categories: History, Islam, Qur'an

7 replies

  1. He’s going for the opinion that the lower-text in the palimpsest is a different reading by one of the companions, but the most reliable opinion I see is the one held by Asma Hilali in her book which is that it’s simply the standard Uthmani text with mistakes produced as part of some learning process and her evidence for that is clear to me at least such as when he writes the basmallah starts the 9th sura and then writes “don’t write the basmallah” and starts over again.

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    • Qiraat is a fascinating subject. Do variants in the text conform to any one known reading? A mixture of readings? Contain previously unknown variants? Another way of putting it: what’s the evidence it’s a qiraat?

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      • Riqaf, please fere to ‘The Qur’anic Recitation In Various Qira’at’ for further details – https://www.islamic-awareness.org/quran/text/qiraat/

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      • Thaks Omar. Is there anything on the Sanaa manuscript specifically? What I’m asking if it’s a Qiraat as the sheikh said or a different thpe of text as Hilalii says acc. To “32”?

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      • > Do variants in the text conform to any one known reading?

        They don’t conform to a particular reading, they’re a mix of Uthmanic readings with many other non-Uthmanic readings. There are variants which are easily explained to be grammatical errors, but there are also ones which are not among the slim list of some examples of non-Uthmanic readings that have been recorded by tafsir and qira’at scholars. Dr. Sami Ameri has probably the best explanation of all of this in his book Hunting for the Word of God pages 165 – 171 pdf link: https://www.aricr.org/books/hunting.pdf

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      • Thanks 32, intereting. I guess it’s not really a specific Qirast. Perhaps Hilali’s explanation is the better one.

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      • See also this comment that I found: https://ponderingislam.com/2015/02/05/understanding-the-sanaa-manuscript-find/#comment-941

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        I personally find Sadeghi’s synthesis highly unconvincing. Of course everyone agrees that there were recitations that differ from the final revision (العرضة الأخيرة), this is well established (example: [1]) — in which case they’re abrogated (which is narrated from more than one companion as Ibn al-Jazari says). The problem is that this supposed “codex” doesn’t contain a single coherant recitation, but instead a mix of different readings from a wide range of companions. Which is more believable, that the one who wrote this manuscript made a plethora of mistakes (which includes – among other things – using synonyms which just happen to match in some cases some of the companion readings before the final revision) or that he actually was writing an unidentified companion’s reading that is a mix of all these other companion readings? If he’s competent enough to know all these companion readings and make his own ikhtiyar (which didn’t appear until way after but anyways just for sake of argumentation) how come he made so many trivial mistakes?

        Note also that the term “mushaf of companion X” was primarily used to denote a recitation of a companion X that differs from the final revision. There is no evidence that the term mushaf was even used before ‘Uthman’s order (though the term suhuf was used). The other usage was to refer to suhuf (and NOT mushaf!) that contain recitations of a companion. See the great and extensive study: al-Masahif al-Mansubah li’l-Sahabah by Muhammad al-Tassan.

        [1] : https://sunnah.com/muslim/5/264

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        In any case, whether one subscribes to the first view or the second doesn’t affect the conclusion that it’s all consistent with the Islamic view of the transmission and preservation of the Qur’an.

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