How we got the present day Mus-haf (copy of Qur’aan)
Before the advent of the printing press, each copy of the Qur’aan were calligraphered ( written by hand), and for this purpose, there always has been, in every age, a large group of calligraphers whose sole purpose in life was (and still is) nothing else except the calligraphy of the Qur’aan.
There many styles of writing, but two are the most popular for the Mus-haf (style of writing for Qur’aan)
In addition to lithography, and photocomposition, lately word processors may have be used to print the of Holy Qur’an. However, to date the best quality of Holy Qur’aan are always initially hand written by the master calligrapher and then photograph and printed.
There are several Qur’anic styles of writing however, two of them widely used. Both are different in style as well as some slight differences in sign convention.
The first style is most popular among middle east and African countries
The second style is most popular in Sub-Continent, (India, Pakistan Bangladesh)
The second style is most popular among the non-Arab because the Arabic letters are large and bold rounded with word clearly separated the vowels signs accurately placed over or under the letters. This is very essential because of overwhelming majority of this group of Muslims hardly have any background in Arabic language. Without the diacritical marks placed clearly over and under the letters overwhelming majority would not be able to read the Holy Qur’aan properly.
The script of Holy Qur’aan is printed according to the Riwaayah, Qira’ah (recital) and I’raab (diacritical marks including markings, signs and pointers for proper pronunciation) of Hafs ibn Sulayman ibn Al-Mugirah Al Asaiy Al Kufiyy.
Hafs ibn Sulayman who learned the Holy Qur’aan from the Imam (expert) of Qiraa’ah (recital) Aa’sim ibn Abi Nujood Al Kufiyy At Taabi-iyy who learned from Abu Abdur Rahmaan Abdullah ibn Habeeb As Sulamiyy who learned from Sayyidina ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (radhiAllahu anhu) Sayyidina ‘Aliyy ibn Abi Taalib (radhiAllahu anhu), Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud (radhiAllahu anhu), Sayyidina Zaid ibn Thaabit (radhiAllahu anhu) and Sayyidina Ubay ibn Ka’b (radhiAllahu anhu) and they all learned from the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (sallallahu alaihi wa salam).
The script of Holy Qur’aan is according to that which is related by Imam of Rusm (script) from the Qur’an of Sayydina Uthmaan ibn Afaan (radhiAllahu anhu), which he had send to Ba’srah, Kufa (Iraq), Shaam (Syria) and Makkah. It was the Qur’aan that was kept for the people of Madinah, the Qur’aan that he (Uthmaan) used for his own recital and also from those Qur’aans that were transcribed . There is no doubt that every word of the Holy Qur’aan ( exception of dots and diacritical marks and pointers) are in accordance with the authorized copies of Sayydina ‘Uthmaan ibn Affan (radhiAllahu anhu).
Where the Imam of Rusm (script) have differed in the style of script of some words, the apparent overwhelming and preferred script is followed. In additions this also by considering the recital method of the expert Qurraa (reciters) whose recital method is printed. However, the simplicity of script, including the clarity of Tushkee (I’raab i.e. diacritcal pointer and marking guides) have been used for the easy and correct rectial by the non-Arab (Ajamiyy) reader.
Both Mus-haf, style of writing, also slightly differ in the convention of diacritical marks. This should be kept in our mind that the Word of Allah The Holy Qur’aan was revealed to Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) in speech. In the past, it was and still is, common tradition among the Muslim community to memorise the entire or part of the Qur’aan. One main reason, to preserve the Holy Qur’aan in writing and later development of dots, diacritical marks and pointers, was so that Holy Qur’aan may be accessible to Non-Arabs Muslims living far from the Arabian peninsula. The diacritical system later served tremendously to preserve its correct pronunciation with minimum of effort to the Arab or non-Arab alike.
It is generally believed that Sayyidna ‘Uthmaan (radhiAllahu anhu) had accomplished the preparation of five copies, but Abu Hatim Sijistani says that a total of seven copies were prepared. Out of these one was sent to Makkah al-Mukarramah, one to Syria, one to Yemen, one to Bahrain, one to Basrah and one to Kufah, and one was preserved in Madinah at-Tayyibah.
The ummah reached a consensus on the rule that it is not permissible to write the text of the noble Qur’aan using any method other than the ‘Uthmaani Script. Consequently, all copies of the Qur’aan were, later on, written in accordance with this method.
Upto this time, there existed only one single copy of the noble Qur’aan – complete, authentically standard and collectively attested by the whole ummah. These distinguished persons prepared more than one copy of this newly organized Mus-haf (copy of the Qur’aan).