The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qurʾān

The Problem of Tawātur and the Emergence of Shawādhdh

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Author: Shady Nasser
This work is a study of the transmission of the variant readings of the Qurʾān, the canonization of the system Readings, and the emergence of the non-canonical shawādhdh readings. Nasser argues that Ibn Mujāhid and the early Muslim scholars viewed the variant readings as legal rulings aḥkām and that the later generation of Qurrāʾ were responsible for moving the discipline of Qirāʾāt from the domain of fiqh to the domain of Ḥadīth. After studying the theories of tawātur in detail, Nasser shows that the transmission of the system Readings of the Qurʾān failed to meet the conditions of tawātur set by the Uṣūlīs, thus creating a paradox between the transmission of the physical text, the muṣḥaf, and the transmission of its oral recitation, the “Qurʾān”.

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Shady Hekmat Nasser, Ph.D. (2011), Harvard University, is a senior Lector of Arabic at Yale University.
“…a detailed and well written study.”
Shahrul Hussain in The Muslim World Book Review34.4 (2014).

“Nasser’s work is thorough and thought provoking; his efforts to understand the history of the transmission of the variant readings of the Qurʾān have surely paid off.”
Ghassan el Masri in Al-Abhath 62-63 (2014-2015), 170-173.
"Cet ouvrage important souligne la nécessité d’une édition véritablement critique du Coran, contenant des variantes de lecture, en même temps qu’il en fournit des éléments, théoriques et empiriques, indispensables à sa réalisation."
J. Dean in: REVUE D’HISTOIRE ET DE PHILOSOPHIE RELIGIEUSES, 2014, Tome 94 n° 4.
Introduction
Chapter 1: The variant readings and the sabcat aḥruf of the Qur’ān
Chapter 2: Ibn Mujāhid and the canonization of the seven
Chapter 3: Ḥadd al-Qur’ān and the tawātur of the canonical Readings
Chapter 4: The transmission of the canonical Readings and the emergence of Shawādhdh
Chapter 5: The Nature of the Qur’ānic variants
Conclusion and future Research
Bibliography
Professors and graduate students of Arabic and Islamic studies especially those interested in the Qurʾān, early Arabic poetry, and textual variants.