The Qira’aat Today:
The qira’aat were once a vital part of the Muslim itmmali, and each part or the Muslim world used to recite according to one of the qiraaat. Not surprisingly, the people of a particular city would recite in the qiraa’a ol the Oaaree of that city.
Thus, for example, Makkee ibn Abee Taalib (d. 437 A.H.) reported, in the third century of the hijrah, that the people of Basra followed the recitation of Aboo Amr, those ol Koofah followed ‘Aasim, the Syrians followed Ibn Aamir, Makkah took after Ibn Kalheer, and Madcenah followed Naafl”.
Eventually, however, most of the other qira’aat died out and were replaced by other ones.
Thus, the situation today is that the vast majority of the Muslim world recites only the qiraa’a ol Aasim through the riwaya of Hals (Hafs ‘an Aasim). However, there are certain areas in the world where other qira’aat are prevalent, This is obviously a very rough breakdown, based on the population in these respective countries.
The Benefits of the Qira’aat:
Since the qiraat arc based on the almtf, many ol the benefits of the qira’aat overlap with those of the almtf. Some of the benefits are as follows.
1) The facilitation ol the memorisation ot the Qur’aan. This includes not only differences in pronunciations that the different Arab tribes were used to. but also the differences in words and letters.
2) Proof that the Qur’aan is a revelation trom Allaah. for notwithstanding the thousands ol dillerences between the qira’aat. not a single dillcrcncc is contradictor)’.
3) Proof that the Qur’aan has been preserved exactly, as all of these qira’aat have been recited with a direct, authentic, mutaivaatir chain of narrators back to theProphet ($g).
4) A further indication of the miraculous nature Cijaaz) of the Qur’aan. because these qira aat add to the meaning and beauty ol the Qur aan in a complementary manner, as shall be shown in the next section.
5) The removal of any stagnation that might exist with regards to the text of the Quran. In other words, there exist various ways and methodologies ol reciting the Quran that are different trom each other in pronunciation and meaning, and thus the text remains vibrant and never becomes monotonous.
Some Examples of the Different Qiraat:
It is appropriate to conclude this chapter by t|uoting various verses that demonstrate some ol the differences in the qira’aat, with a discussion of the various meanings. 4“” Four verses were chosen, the first ol which deals with belief, the second and
third with stories, and the last with laws. In each verse, it will be seen that, far from contradicting each other, the qiraaal taken together add much deeper meanings and
connotations than any one ofthem individually. In fact, the various readings between
tile qiraaal are considered in terms of extracting rulings from verses – as two separate verses, both ol which must be looked into, anil neither ol which can abrogate the other.
The scholar ol this century, Muhammad Ameen ash-Shanqcetec (d. 1393 A.H.), said in his famous lafscer, Adwaa al-Bayaan, “In the event that the different qira’aal seem to give contradictory rulings, they are considered as different verses…”‘1“‘ meaning that both ol them must be taken into account for the final ruling to be given. This same principle applies in verses that deal with stories or belief, as the examples below will show.
1) Soorah Faatihah, verse 4.
(مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (4
The first reading, that of ‘Aasim and al-Kisaa’ee, is maalily yatvm ad-deen. This is
the recitation that most ol the readers will be familiar with. The word maalik means
‘master, owner,” and is one of the Names oi Allaah.
The meaning of this name when attributed to Allaah is that Allaah is the one who Possesses and ( )wns all of the Creation, and therefore He has lull right to do as He pleases with His creation, and He has the power to do what He pleases with His creation, and no one can stop or question Him.
The verse therefore translates, “The Only Owner of the Day of Judgement.” This name laalil is also mentioned in.
قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مَالِكَ الْمُلْكِ
Say: Allaah! Mtiulilf (Possessor) ol (all) Kingdoms!” [3:26] Allaah is the Owner who Possesses all things, and on the Day of Judgement, He will Own Rulership and Kingship.
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