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is reason to conjecture that the greater portion, of at least the most important chapters, were laid up in the habitation of one of the Prophet's wives (for he had no separate room or dwelling-place of his own), or left in the custody of the scribes or secretaries who had first recorded them. They were, moreover, treasured up with pious reverence in the memories of the people; and transcripts of the several Suras or fragments, especially of those most frequently in use for meritorious repetition, or for public and private devotion, were even before the Flight in the hands of many persons, and so preserved with religious and even superstitious care. As the Faith extended, teachers were sent forth to the various tribes throughout Arabia to instruct the new converts in the requirements of Islam; and these carried with them, either in a recorded form or indelibly imprinted on the mind (for the Arab memory was possessed of a marvellous tenacity) the leading portions of the Revelation.

Such was the state of things at the Prophet's death, and so it continued for about a year. After the battle of Yemâma, in which many of the reciters of the Corân were slain, the risk of leaving the Revelation on this precarious footing presented itself forcibly to the mind of Omar. "I fear," he said, addressing, the Caliph Abu Bekr, "that slaughter may again wax hot among the reciters of the Corân in other fields of battle, and that much may be lost therefrom. Now, therefore, my advice is that thou shouldest give speedy orders for collecting the same together." Abu Bekr, recognizing the wisdom of this counsel, appointed Zeid, the chief amanuensis of the Prophet, to the task; and so


Zeid sought out the various Suras and fragments of the Corân from every quarter, and "gathered them together from palm-leaves and tablets of white stone, and from the breasts of men." The manuscript of the Corân, as thus compiled, was committed to the keeping of Haphsa, one of the Prophet's widows, and continued to be the standard text during the ten years of Omar's Caliphate.

But by degrees variety crept into the many transcripts from this compilation, and the Caliph Othmân was persuaded to apply a trenchant remedy. Zeid was appointed to the recension of his former work; and as the differences were mainly of dialect and expression, a syndicate was nominated of three Coreish authorities to act as final judges in the matter. The various readings were searched out from all the provinces of the Empire, and the new collection was assimilated to the pure Meccan dialect in which Mahomet had given utterance to his inspiration. Transcripts were then multiplied, and forwarded to the chief cities as standards for reference. All previous copies were called in, and committed to the flames. The recension of Zeid has been handed down unaltered. So carefully has it been followed, that there is but one and the same Corân in use throughout the vast bounds Of the Mahometan world. Various readings are almost unknown. The few variations are almost entirely confined to the vowel forms and the diacritical points, which, having been invented at a later period, formed no part of the original or of Zeid's recension.

There is ever security that the work of Zeid was executed faithfully; and, indeed, the acceptance of


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