Textual Integrity : The codices of Ibn e Masud r.a. and Ubay Bin Ka’ab r.a.


There is much evidence to show that he was regarded by Muhammad himself as one of the foremost authorities on the Qur’an, if not the foremost, as appears from the following hadith:

      Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin Mas’ud was mentioned before Abdullah bin Amr who said, “That is a man I still love, as I heard the Prophet (saw) saying, ‘Learn the recitation of the Qur’an from four: from Abdullah bin Mas’ud – he started with him – Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu’adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka’b”. (

Sahih al-Bukhari

    , Vol. 5, p.96)

The same tradition in the other great work of hadith also specifically mentions that Muhammad “started from him” (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, p.1312), showing that he was deliberately mentioned first, indicating that Muhammad regarded him as the foremost authority on the Qur’an. Among others mentioned is Ubayy ibn Ka’b who, as we have already seen, also compiled a separate codex of the Qur’an before it was destroyed by Uthman.


Regarding Abdullah bin Masud there are ahadees which say that take Quran from four including Him and there are many ahadees which specify that learn the Quran from Abdullah bin Masud r.a. e.g Sahih Muslim 2464,Sahih Bukhari 3758.

So,It is regarding the recitation i.e reading which includes proper pronunciation and proper tone.

In another hadith we find further evidence of Ibn Mas’ud’s prominence in respect of his knowledge of the Qur’an:

      Narrated Abdullah (bin Mas’ud) (ra): By Allah other than Whom none has the right to be worshipped! There is no Sura revealed in Allah’s Book but I know at what place it was revealed; and there is no verse revealed in Allah’s Book but I know about whom it was revealed. And if I know that there is somebody who knows Allah’s Book better than I, and he is at a place that camels can reach, I would go to him. (

Sahih al-Bukhari

    , Vol. 6, p.488).


These are the personal point of views of these companions r.a.a,not the comments of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w


When Uthman sent out the order that all codices of the Qur’an other than the codex of Zaid ibn Thabit should be destroyed, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud refused to hand over his copy. Desai openly speaks of “Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ud’s initial refusal to hand over the compilation” (The Quraan Unimpeachable, p.44), but Siddique, in his article, prefers to leave the impression that no such objection from the distinguished companion of Muhammad ever took place, saying instead, “There is no indication that he ever objected to the ‘text of Hafsah’ during the entire Caliphate of Umar” (Al-Balaagh, op.cit., p.1)


Initial means starting.

So the fact was simply that it was the initial hesitation of Abdullah Bin Masud r.a. but it did not continue later on when he was convinced.

It was the initial response only,not the final and everlasting denial.

Before Hudhayfah had ever gone to Uthman to call upon him to standardise a single text of the Qur’an, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud had some sharp words with him and reacted to his proposal that the different readings in the various provinces should be suppressed.

      Hudhaifah said “It is said by the people of Kufa, ‘the reading of Abdullah (ibn Mas’ud)’, and it is said by the people of Basra, ‘the reading of Abu Musa’. By Allah! If I come to the Commander of the Faithful (Uthman), I will demand that they be drowned”. Abdullah said to him, “Do so, and by Allah you will also be drowned, but not in water”. (Ibn Abi Dawud,

Kitab al-Masahif

      , p.13).

Hudhaifah went on to say, “0 Abdullah ibn Qais, you were sent to the people of Basra as their governor (amir) and teacher and they have submitted to your rules, your idioms and your reading”. He continued, “0 Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, you were sent to the people of Kufa as their teacher who have also submitted to your rules, idioms and reading”. Abdullah said to him, “In that case I have not led them astray. There is no verse in the Book of Allah that I do not know where it was revealed and why it was revealed, and if I knew anyone more learned in the Book of Allah and I could be conveyed there, I would set out to him”. (Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.14).

Modern writers such as Siddique and others maintain that the only differences between the recitations of the text and the reading of each companion (qira’at) were in pronunciations and dialectal expressions, yet it is once again obvious that what Hudhayfah had in mind was the elimination of the actual written codices being used by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and the others – you cannot drown a verbal recitation – and it was this proposal which so angered Ibn Mas’ud and which proves that the differences in reading were in the texts themselves. In other traditions we find clear evidences that he regarded Zaid’s knowledge of the Qur’an, and therefore his written codex of the text, as inferior to his. After all, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud had become a Muslim at Mecca before Zaid was even born and he had enjoyed years of direct acquaintance with Muhammad while the early portions of the Qur’an were being delivered before Zaid ever accepted Islam.

      Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said, “I recited from the messenger of Allah (saw) seventy surahs which I had perfected before Zaid ibn Thabit had embraced Islam”. (Ibn Abi Dawud,

Kitab al-Masahif

      , p.17).

“I acquired directly from the messenger of Allah (saw) seventy surahs when Zaid was still a childish youth – must I now forsake what I acquired directly from the messenger of Allah?” (Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.15).


All are unauthentic references.

I really wonder how could the critic write such posts and debate on baseless grounds.

In another source we find that, when Uthman’s order came for the destruction of the other codices and the uniform reading of the Qur’an according to Zaid’s codex alone, Ibn Mas’ud gave a khutba (sermon) in Kufa and declared:

      “The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of the Qur’an. I like it better to read according to the recitation of him (Prophet) whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit. By Him besides Whom there is no god! I learnt more than seventy surahs from the lips of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, while Zayd Ibn Thabit was a youth, having two locks and playing with the youth”. (Ibn Sa’d,

Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir

    , Vol. 2, p.444).

In the light of all these traditions, which can hardly be discounted, the evasive explanations of modern Muslim writers cannot be accepted.


Again,unauthentic reference.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud clearly resisted Uthman’s order, not because of sentiment as Desai suggests, but clearly because he sincerely believed that his text of the Qur’an, gained firsthand from Muhammad himself, was more authentic than the text of Zaid. This conclusion cannot seriously be resisted by a sincere student of the history of the Qur’an text and its initial compilation.

It is also quite clear that the differences in reading were not confined to forms of dialect in pronunciation but in the actual contents of the text itself.


It was just a sentimental “initial” refusal and nothing else.

The word initial clearly implies some sort of hesitation i.e the sentimental refusal, which did not last so long.

All the stories based on unauthentic references are can not be assumed as truth.


The famous dogmatic Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm likewise rejected the suggestion that Ibn Mas’ud had omitted these surahs from his codex:

      Ibn Hazm said in the


      , “This is a lie attributed to Ibn Mas’ud. Only the reading of Asim from Zirr is authentic and in that are both the




      “. (as-Suyuti,

Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an

    , p.187).

The record goes on to say that Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani however, in his commentary on the Sahih of al-Bukhari (his famous Fath al-Baari), accepted these reports as sound, quoting authorities who stated that Ibn Mas’ud would not include the two “charm” surahs in his manuscript as Muhammad had, to his knowledge, only commanded that they be used as incantations against evil forces. He regarded the isnad (the chain of transmitters) for this record as totally sound and attempted to harmonise the conflicting records instead, suggesting that Ibn Mas’ud accepted the Fatiha and “charm” surahs as genuinely revealed but was reluctant to inscribe them in his written text.

As Uthman ordered all the codices of the Qur’an other than Zaid’s to be destroyed and as Ibn Mas’ud was eventually compelled to hand his over for elimination, it cannot be determined whether the three relevant surahs were actually included in his codex or not. If they were omitted, the reason is either that he was unaware that Muhammad had expressly stated that they were part of the Qur’an text (as alleged by Ubayy) or, less probably, that Ibn Mas’ud had actually determined that they were not part of the actual kitabullah, the Book of Allah, and that the other companions had assumed they were because they had come to Muhammad in the same form as the other surahs of the Qur’an.

When we come to the rest of the Qur’an, however, we find that there were numerous differences of reading between the texts of Zaid and Ibn Mas’ud. As mentioned already the records in Ibn Abi Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif fill up no less than nineteen pages and, from all the sources available, one can trace no less than 101 variants in the Suratul-Baqarah alone. We shall mention just a few of the differences here in illustration of the nature of the variations between the texts.

1. Surah 2.275 begins with the words Allathiina yaakuluunar-ribaa laa yaquumuuna – “those who devour usury will not stand”. Ibn Mas’ud’s text had the same introduction but after the last word there was added the expression yawmal qiyaamati, that is, they would not be able to stand on the “Day of Resurrection”. The variant is mentioned in Abu Ubaid’s Kitab Fadhail al-Qur’an (cf. Nöldeke, Geschichte, 3.63; Jeffery, Materials, p.31). The variant was also recorded in the codex of Talha ibn Musarrif, a secondary codex dependent on Ibn Mas’ud’s text, Taiha likewise being based at Kufa in Iraq where Ibn Mas’ud was based as governor and where his codex was widely followed (Jeffery, p.343).

2. Surah 5.91, in the standard text, contains the exhortation fasiyaamu thalaathati ayyaamin’ – “fast for three days”. Ibn Mas’ud’s text had, after the last word, the adjective mutataabi’aatin, meaning three “successive” days. The variant derives from at-Tabari (7.19.11 – cf. Nöldeke, 3.66; Jeffery, p.40) and was also mentioned by Abu Ubaid. This variant reading was, significantly, found in Ubayy ibn Ka’b’s text as well (Jeffery, p.129) and in the texts of Ibn Abbas (p.199) and Ibn Mas’ud’s pupil Ar-Rabi ibn Khuthaim (p.289).

3. Surah 6.153 begins Wa anna haathaa siraatii – “Verily this is my path”. Ibn Mas’ud’s text read Wa haathaa siraatu rabbakum – “This is the path of Your Lord”. The variant derives again from at-Tabari (8.60.16 – cf. Nöldeke 3.66; Jeffery, p.42). Ubayy ibn Ka’b had the same reading, except that for rabbakum his text read rabbika (Jeffery, p.131). The secondary codex of Al-A’mash, mentioned by Ibn Abi Dawud in his Kitab al-Masahif (p.91), also began with the variant wa haathaa as in the texts of Ibn Mds’ud and Ubayy ibn Ka’b (Jeffery, p.318). Ibn Abi Dawud also adds a further variant, suggesting that Ibn Mas’ud read the word siraat with the Arabic letter sin rather than the standard sad (Kitab al-Masahif, p.61).

4. Surah 33.6 contains the following statement about the relationship between Muhammad’s wives and the believers: wa azwaajuhuu ummahaatuhuu – “and his wives are their mothers”. Ibn-Mas’ud’s text added the words wa huwa abuu laahum – “and he is their father”. The variant was also recorded by at-Tabari (21.70.8 – cf. Nöldeke 3.71; Jeffery p.75). This variant was likewise recorded in the codices of Ubayy ibn Ka’b (Jeffery, p.156) as well as those of Ibn Abbas (p.204), Ikrima (p.273) and Mujahid ibn Jabr (p.282), except that in these three cases the statement that Muhammad is the father of the believers precedes that which makes his wives their mothers. In the codex of Ar-Rabi ibn Khuthaim, however, where the variant also occurs, it is placed in the same position in the text as in the codices of Ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy (p.298). The considerable number of references for this variant reading argue strongly for its possible authenticity over and against its omission in the codex of Zaid ibn Thabit.

These four examples are of texts where the variant consisted of the inclusion of extra words or clauses not found in Zaid’s codex and, in each case, the variant is supported by inclusion in other codices, notably those included in Ubayy’s text. The majority of variants, however, relate to consonantal variants in individual words or different forms of these words. In some cases whole words were omitted, such as in Surah 112.1 where Ibn Mas’ud omitted the word qul – “say” as did Ubayy ibn Ka’b (Fihrist S.26 Z.26 – cf. Nöldeke 3.77; Jeffery, pp. 113 and 180).

In other cases the variant related to the form of a word which also slightly altered its meaning, as in Surah 3.127 where Ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy both read wa saabiquu (“be ahead”) for wa saari’uu (“be quick”) in the standard text (cf. Nöldeke, 3.64; Jeffery, pp. 34 and 125).

In yet other cases one single word might be added not affecting the sense of the text, as in Surah 6.16 where once again both Ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy recorded the same variant, namely yusrifillaahu – “averted by Allah” – for the standard yusraf – “averted” (recorded from Maki’s Kitab al-Kasf, cf. Nöldeke, 3.66; Jeffery, pp. 40 and 129).


Believe me,all of them are unauthentic references.


We are not informed as to why Muhammad considered himself especially obliged to commit parts of the Qur’an to Ubayy but these two traditions do serve to show how highly regarded he was as an authority on the Qur’an. Nonetheless his codex also contained a vast number of readings which varied from Zaid’s text and, as we have already seen, these readings often agreed with Ibn Mas’ud’s text instead. The addition of the word mutataabi’aatin in Surah 5.91, which we have already seen was recorded by at-Tabari as part of the codex of Ibn Mas’ud, was independently attributed to Ubayy as well (Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.53). His order of Surahs, in some ways similar to Zaid’s, was nonetheless different at many points (as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an, p.150).

Some examples of instances where he agreed with Ibn Mas’ud and differed in turn from Zaid (there were in fact a very large number which could be mentioned) are the following:

1. For the standard reading wa yush-hidullaaha in Surah 2.204 he read wa yastash-hidullaaha (cf. Nöldeke 3.83; Jeffery, p.120).

2. He omitted the words in khiftum from Surah 4.101 (cf. Nöldeke 3.85; Jeffery, p.127).

3. He read mutathab-thibiina for muthabthabiina in Surah 4.143 (cf. Jeffery, p.127).

There are a number of cases where whole clauses differed in his text. In Surah 5.48, where the standard text reads wa katabnaa ‘alayhim fiiha – “and We inscribed therein for them (the Jews)” – the reading of Ubayy ibn Ka’b was wa anzalallaahu alaa banii Isra’iila fiiha – “and Allah sent down therein to the Children of Israel” (cf. Nöldeke 3.85; Jeffery, p.128).

From Abu Ubaid we find that, whereas Surah 17.16 in the standard text reads amarnaa mutrafiihaa fafasaquu, Ubayy read this clause ba’athnaa akaabira mujri-miihaa fdmakaruu (cf. Nöldeke 3.88; Jeffery, p.140).


All are unauthentic references.

The Qur’an as it has come down through the centuries is not the single text without any variants that has been divinely preserved without so much as a dispute regarding even one letter as Muslim writers conveniently choose to believe.


The so called disputes are all gathered from unauthentic sources.

The ahadees about the verses which were present with Khuzaimah r.a.a only were regarding their written forms.

The Ahadees about Ubai Bin Ka’ab are regarding his recitation,his reading of Holy Quran.

See Sahih Bukhari 3806,3758,3808.

The records of the Qur’an’s compilation in the heritage of Islam, however, show convincingly that there were a whole number of different codices in vogue during the first generation after Muhammad’s demise and that these all varied considerably from one another.

The universally accepted text of the Qur’an in the Muslim world is not so much the mushaf of Muhammad but rather the mushaf of Zaid ibn Thabit, and its unchallenged authority today has come about, not through divine decree or preservation, but by the imposition of one man acting on his own initiative against the many other codices of equal authority which he summarily consigned to the flames.


It was neither the mashaf of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w,nor the book of Zaid r.a., rather it was the Book of Allah,which was collected even during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w. and again collected+verified many times + compiled after the death of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.


This Book of Allah was collected,compiled and verified (each and every verse)  many times by the companion Zaid r.a. who had collected Quran even during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.

Narrated Qatada:

Anas said, “The Qur’an was collected in the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) by four (men), all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubai, Mu`adh bin Jabal, Abu Zaid and Zaid bin Thabit.” I asked Anas, “Who is Abu Zaid?” He said, “One of my uncles.” (Bukhari 3810)

Narrated Qatada:

I asked Anas bin Malik: “Who collected the Qur’an at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) ?” He replied, “Four, all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubai bin Ka`b, Mu`adh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid.” (Bukhari 5003)

Anas is reported to have said:

Four persons collected the Qur’an during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and all of them were Ansar: Mu’adh b. Jabal, Ubayy b. Ka’b, Zaid b. Thabit, Abu Zaid. Qatada said: Anas, who was Abu Zaid? He said: He was one of my uncles.(Muslim 2465)
Narrated Qatadah:
that Anas bin Malik said: “Four gathered the Qur’an during the time of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), all of them are from the Ansar: Ubayy bin Ka’b, Mu’adh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit, and Abu Zaid.” I said to Anas: “Who is Abu Zaid?” He said: “One of my uncles.” (Tirmizi 49:4163)

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

When the Prophet (ﷺ) died, none had collected the Qur’an but four persons;: Abu Ad-Darda’. Mu`adh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid. We were the inheritor (of Abu Zaid) as he had no offspring . (Bukhari 5004)

He r.a. collected after the death of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w too.

The records of the Qur’an’s compilation in the heritage of Islam, however, show convincingly that there were a whole number of different codices in vogue during the first generation after Muhammad’s demise and that these all varied considerably from one another.


The stories of differences are all taken from unauthentic sources.Believe me..!

The adoption of a single text came only twenty years after his death and only through the unilateral choice of one of the varying codices as the standard text at the expense of the others.


It was the matter of verification and regarding the choice,it was really best because Zaid r.a. was the one who had already collected Quran during the lifetime of prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w,he just had to verify from the other sources and compile into a book from only.

There could be no error at all.

The disputes,the stories of differences are taken from unauthentic sources so all are baseless claims.