The compilation of Quran was done under the rightly guided Caliphs Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Usman.
During The First Caliphate Of Hazrat Abu Bakr:
At the time of prophet’s (P.b.u.h) death no official copy of the Quran existed in a complete written form.
During the caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr many people who had memorized the Quran died in the battle of yamama, which was fought against one of the false prophet’s Musailma.
So Hazarat Umar suggested to Hazrat Abu Bakr to make a written collection of the Quran. He was worried that if more people who had memorized the Quran were killed, the Quran might be lost.
Hazrat Abu Bakr was at first reluctant to do something that prophet Muhammad himself hadn’t done and said:
“How shall I do something which the Apostle of Allah did not do?”
But he finally agreed and persuaded Zayd Bin Thabit – trusted secretary of the Holy Prophet (P.b.u.h) to do this.
“Umar went on persuading me to accept his suggestion till I was convinced that he was right so I accepted his suggestion.”
Zaid Bin Thabit worked very hard and is reported to have said:
“It would be far easier to carry a mountain on his head then to shoulder such a great responsibility”
A commission was formed headed by Zaid Bin Thabit. It traced out and collected the chapters of Quran from every person who had it in their possession. He even collected verses of the Quran written on stones, palm leaves and bones of animals, as well as from the hearts of men to ensure that the copy they made was flawless and Allah’s word was reserved in its truest form. He copied the verses on sheets called as “suhuf”
When Hazrat Abu Bakr died the second Caliph Umer took possession of these.
After Hazrat Umer’s death the copy was given to Hazrat Hafza, a widow of the prophet, and likewise it came to be known as Mushaf- e – Hafza.
During The Third Caliphate Of Hazrat Usman:
During the third caliphate of Hazrat Usman. The Muslim empire expanded greatly. Hazrat Usman learnt that some people were reading the Quran in a different way. Hazrat Usman thought that the original meaning of the true Quran might change as it has happened to other books of Allah. He ordered Zaid Bin Thabit to make a true collection.
Zaid Bin Thabit did this work with the help of other senior Muslims. They collected all the true copies of Quran and they ensured these contain only the words of the prophet. They checked that they were written in the dialect of Quraish, because it was the Holy Prophets (P.b.u.h) speech.After much hard work the collection was made.
Hazrat Usman ordered a number of copies of this authoritative collection to be made and had them sent to the major cities of the empire. He also ordered that all other versions of Quran should be destroyed in order to prevent this problem to arise again in the future.
Significance to Muslims Today Of Having The Quran In The Book Form:
It ensures a standard copy.
Having a standardized copy also ensures the likelihood of it being reproduced with mistakes.
If the Quran hadn’t been collected in a book form some of its parts may have been lost.
It also suggests unity between Muslims as they use the same book. Read it in its original language, even if the language is not their own.
Why The Caliphs Felt A Need To Compile The Quran:
- Many memorizers were killed in the battle of Yamama.
- Thus, he felt that Quran can’t be kept in memories alone.
- Although prophet hadn’t made a written compilation of the Quran, he realised that this needs to be done in order to preserve the authentic Quran.
- If different versions were allowed to exist the original meaning might no longer survive.
- Muslims wouldn’t have a single source of supply.
- Rival interpretation might break the unity of the community as only the original revelation given to the prophet could preserve unity.