As far as I know there are more than one reading for Quran. Some say they are 7 and others say they are 14.
What does that mean? Are there more than one Quran? Which reading is the correct one and why?

What is the role of Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) exactly concerning these readings?

5 Answers 5


I'll start by answering the last question first.

What is the role of Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) exactly concerning these readings?

Quran has been transmitted through the time by oral memorization and recitation on a hand of Scholar not through a book. To understand this, we have to understand the definitions.

Quran (القران): is the word of Allah that is recited verbally in any of the authentic readings. "Way of Reading - Qar'ah (plural: Qira't)". Please note that all the readings existed at the time of the prophet and the arc angel Jibreel (AS) taught prophet Mohamed all the authentic methods. The Quran was collected and recited in oral form in the last Ramadan of the prophet death. Arc angel Jibrel (AS) came to the prophet and made him recite the Quran twice in the last Ramadan of the prohet's liefe. As a proof for this claim, the Hadith of Omar (RA):

I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to that of mine. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) had taught it to me (in a different way). So, I was about to quarrel with him (during the prayer) but I waited till he finished, then I tied his garment round his neck and seized him by it and brought him to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and said, "I have heard him reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to the way you taught it to me." The Prophet (ﷺ) ordered me to release him and asked Hisham to recite it. When he recited it, Allah s Apostle said, "It was revealed in this way." He then asked me to recite it. When I recited it, he said, "It was revealed in this way. The Qur'an has been revealed in seven different ways, so recite it in the way that is easier for you."

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَبْدٍ الْقَارِيِّ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ هِشَامَ بْنَ حَكِيمِ بْنِ حِزَامٍ، يَقْرَأُ سُورَةَ الْفُرْقَانِ عَلَى غَيْرِ مَا أَقْرَؤُهَا، وَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَقْرَأَنِيهَا، وَكِدْتُ أَنْ أَعْجَلَ عَلَيْهِ، ثُمَّ أَمْهَلْتُهُ حَتَّى انْصَرَفَ، ثُمَّ لَبَّبْتُهُ بِرِدَائِهِ فَجِئْتُ بِهِ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقُلْتُ إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ هَذَا يَقْرَأُ عَلَى غَيْرِ مَا أَقْرَأْتَنِيهَا، فَقَالَ لِي ‏"‏ أَرْسِلْهُ ‏"‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ ‏"‏ اقْرَأْ ‏"‏‏.‏ فَقَرَأَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ هَكَذَا أُنْزِلَتْ ‏"‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ لِي ‏"‏ اقْرَأْ ‏"‏‏.‏ فَقَرَأْتُ فَقَالَ ‏"‏ هَكَذَا أُنْزِلَتْ‏.‏ إِنَّ الْقُرْآنَ أُنْزِلَ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَحْرُفٍ فَاقْرَءُوا مِنْهُ مَا تَيَسَّرَ ‏"‏‏.‏

And the other Hadith:

Gabriel used to repeat the recitation of the Qur'an with the Prophet (ﷺ) once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year he died. The Prophet (ﷺ) used to stay in Itikaf for ten days every year (in the month of Ramadan), but in the year of his death, he stayed in Itikaf for twenty days.

حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدُ بْنُ يَزِيدَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ، عَنْ أَبِي حَصِينٍ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ كَانَ يَعْرِضُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْقُرْآنَ كُلَّ عَامٍ مَرَّةً، فَعَرَضَ عَلَيْهِ مَرَّتَيْنِ فِي الْعَامِ الَّذِي قُبِضَ، وَكَانَ يَعْتَكِفُ كُلَّ عَامٍ عَشْرًا فَاعْتَكَفَ عِشْرِينَ فِي الْعَامِ الَّذِي قُبِضَ ‏{‏فِيهِ‏}‏

Mushaf (المصحف): is the written form of the Quran or the book. Uthman (RA) ordered the collection for the 2nd time of the know Quran into a book to maintain the knowledge in written format as well. And to help those from non Arab origins, who joined Islam recently, to be able to read and learn. The reason he burnt all the other sources is to maintain a revised and authentic version of the Mushaf. Please note that first time the Quran was collected in written format was at the time of Abu Bakr (First Caliph). The difference between the 2 version is the quality of the writing and the materials used for the book but the content was the same as they were collected by the same person (Zaid Ibn Thabet). I could go into details of the process Zaid had followed to authenticate the collection of each verse in the Quran but this is irrelevant to this question. The reason Abu Bakr ordered the collection of the Mushaf is that there is a large number of the holder (memorizers) of the Quran whom had martyred in the battle of Yamamah and Abu Bakr was worried that he might Quran by lost with the death of the memorizers.

The Mushaf that was collected by Uthman incorporated all the readings of the Quran. Please note that this Mushaf didn't have dots that are present in the current Arabic language letters. And that how the Arabic letters were written at that time. You might ask how would they know how to differentiate between the words? The answer it was kind of understanding that an arab would right away spot the word and understand the actual mapping. Dots were introduced latter in the time of Aummiat's Caliphate because the people of non-arab background didn't recognize the writing.

What does a reading of Quran means? Does that mean we have different versions of the Quran?

Reading of Quran: is a set of rules that guides the reader on how he or she could pronounce the Quran which includes the how use your mouth, tounge extensive to generate a specific sound.

There are very few differences in words between some of the readings of the Quran based on Uthman's Mushaf. This difference come from the location of the dot like the letters: ج, ح, خ

As you see the above letters, the only difference is the location of the dot. Educated Arab back then was able to recognize the word even if it didn't have those dots.

The differences could be in 1 or 2 letters used in conjecture like "and: و ", etc...

But again those differences are minimal and they are known for a person who studies the readings of the Quran and none changes the meaning of the Quran by all means. It either strengthen the meaning or just a difference in pronunciation.

What is an authentic reading of the Quran? Scholars agreed that an authentic narration is a narration that has a strong chain or chains of known narrators from the narrator till prophet Mohamed (PBUH). These chains of narrations still exist till today for all the different readings of the Quran. The shorter the chain between the scholar till the prophet the stronger the narration. Today there is a person who have 27 or 26 narrators between him and the prophet. And that scholar lives in Egypt currently.

How the oral transmission works? To become a narrator, you have to be permitted "تجاز" or get an a permission of narration. To get that permission, you need to stay with scholar for a time in which you recite the whole Quran from Memory with correct pronunciation of each letter. Usually, the stronger the narrator "shorter chain", the tougher he is to give you that "permission". Because by giving you that permission, he gives you the allowance to transmit that knowledge. And you become one of the holders of the Quran. And this is a major task. It would take some people about 3 to 6 years with a Scholar to get that permission for one reading. The toughest is the first reading, once you get that it would becomes easier for the rest of the readings as there not to much differences. All you need to understand the differences and the difference in pronunciation. Please note that you get a permission per reading. Each reading require another permission.

What are the known Qirat? How many are they? And why they are named that way? At the time of the prophet, usually each companion kind of memorized the Quran using one of those Qirat. Once those companions started to teach the new comers to Islam, 10 major scholars became known and each with different reading based on whom from the companions and the followers of the companions taught them. Those scholars are:

  1. Assem (عاصم)
  2. Abu Amr elbasery (ِابو عمرو البصري)
  3. Nafia (نافع)
  4. Ibn Kathir (ابن كثير)
  5. Hamza (حمزة)
  6. ElKasaai (الكسائي)
  7. Ibn Ammer (ابن عامر)
  8. Abu Jaffar (ِابو جعفر)
  9. Yaqub (يعقوب)
  10. Khalaf (خلف)

After each of the major scholars mentioned above, each have 2 major students who became popular. The most popular reading in the muslim world right now is one called: Hafs from Assem (حفص عن عاصم) which means, the major student "Hafs" recited on Assem and he became a scholar him self.

There are 4 other readings which doesn't have a continuous chain of narrations, so scholars study them for completion. It's forbidden to pray with those 4. I was not able to get the names for those ones. Which makes the total 14 readings. But usually, people refer to the major 10 listed above.

Now, you might hear that they are only 7 (dropping the last 3 in the list above). The reason why, at the beginning of the Muslim conquest the 7 major scholars and their students stayed in a certain area while the other 3 were spread in a different area of the world until a scholar by the name of "Ibn el Jazerry (بن الجزري)" came and traveled through out the world and he found about the other 3 readings. He collected the 3 with 7 known make them 10 including the 2 major students of each which makes the total 20. As I mentioned there are 4 other readings are not authentic (not mentioned in the list above). "القرأت الشاذة"


- https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki

- https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki (2)

- https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki (3)


(Shia view)

What does that mean? Are there more than one Quran?

They are 15 different reciting methods but with the same text of Quran. This does not mean they are different text of Quran. But all are the same text but with different reciting methods (like different accents).

Which reading is the correct one and why?

According to Shia Islam the reading of Hafs from Asim is the most correct method because it is the method of reciting Quran by Imam Ali a.s. that he directly learned from prophet s.a.w.a. he was most of times with prophet from when he was child and heard verses at the same time of reveal. he said I know each single verse exactly when revealed at day or night at what place. Imam Ali a.s. taught his exact reciting method to Asim and Asim taught it to Hafs and was known as most correct reciting method among 15 methods.

What is the role of Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) exactly concerning these readings?

When Uthman was Caliph ordered to all cities to send all Qurans to him and he burnt all of them and made a standard Quran. The reason he said for this burning was that people recite Quran by different methods and this can lead to different meanings of Quran. but Imam Ali a.s. did not deliver his Quran (that was dictated to him directly by prophet and written by Imam Ali a.s. on skins of animals) to be burnt and kept his Quran and left it as heir for Imam Hasan a.s. and currently this Quran is with Imam Mahdi a.s.


  • Asim never met Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) but he learned his reading from Abu Abderrahman a-Salami (or Sulami?) أبي عبد الرحمن السلمي
    – Medi1Saif
    Jul 27, 2015 at 10:50
  • 1
    Shi’ism is different from Islam, please keep your religion away from the straight path.
    – maounkhan
    Apr 5, 2018 at 22:56

The Qur'an is the orally transmitted word of Allah

First, you should know that the Quran has been transmitted through time by oral memorization and recitation by a handful of Scholars beginning with the Sahaba (May Allah be pleased with them) and not through a book (even today), and those who learned the Quran only through books are not accepted as teachers of a reading (qira'a), if their reading isn't approved by a Sheikh/Scholar who has a direct Narration chain until our Messenger (peace be upon him)!
Allah () therefore says:

Rather, the Qur'an is distinct verses [preserved] within the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. And none reject Our verses except the wrongdoers. (29:49)

'Othman and the Rasm al-'Othmany of the Quran copies

The Quran text 'Othman (Uthman) (may Allah be pleased with him) has spread by sending 4 or 5 or...7 Quran copies to the different regions/cities (one of them was kept in Medina) ... one of them is known as the "Mushaf al Imam" (the copy he left for himself) while all are written with the "rasm al 'Othmany".

As "@Battle of Karbala" mentioned he also asked to burn older copies and if there are differences in the language (dialect?) they should choose the language (dialect?) of Quraish (here's a reference from Sahih al-Bukhari) ... and he wanted to keep one "universal" text as some of the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) had their own Masahif with some differences in the text like additional words to explain a verse or a word in a verse.

The Mushaf al-Imam and its copies were intended to be a standard or a reference or guideline for the learner if the teacher is not near. At that time the Arabic letters didn't have any points/dots (i'jam إِعْجَام) or tashkil (تَشْكِيل) like shadda (شَدَّة) or nunation=tanwin (تَنْوِين) or hamza (همزة) -which now helps as to make differences in pronunciation -so the "fa, ف" and the "qaf, ق" for example looked the same (See also here). This differentiation came later (mostly during the Umayyad dynasty) due to the same reasons 'Othman wanted to fix a standard Quran (Here are fragments of Quran copies from the 3rd century a.H. in Hijazi letter style)!

To give you some examples how difficult this could be in Arabic:

  • There is a great and well-known 'Alim (scholar) called جلال الدين السيوطي whose Father was born in Asyut اسيوط in Egypt and in Arabic some call him as-Suyuti and others as-Sayuti and both readings are correct. By the way he wrote a great book about the Quranic sciences (Ulum al Quran) called al Itqan fi 'Ulum al Quran الإتقان في علوم القرآن. This is maybe the best book about this Science!
  • Also the well-known scholar Al-Ghazaly الْغَزَالِي is according to different sources called al-Ghazzaly (الْغَزّالي with shadda).
  • Now let's go back to the Quran and see the Fatiha (Sura 1 in the Quran) the script in Verse 4 is (ملك يوم الدين) "maliki yawmi dyn" but according to some sane qira'a it is read (مالك يوم الدين) "maaliki yawmi dyn" with an extended "alif (a)".
  • You may find many other differences in different sane riwayat (or qiraa't I will introduce the difference later) for example in Surat al Baqara (2:10) the rawys from Kufa read (يَكْذِبُونَ) the others (يُكَذِّبون) and in Verse (2:259) some read (ننشرها) others(ننشزها) and in Surat ash-Shams (91:15) (فلا يخاف عقباها) and (ولا يخاف عقباها) just to give you a very small overview. You can find lots of books and articles which show up these differences, explain them and their benefits.
  • And here's a hadith which shows a difference -AFAIK the qira'a our Messenger (peace be upon him) used according to this statement is only equal to the qira'a of Al-Kissaiy (among the 7 qira'at)!

Finally here some examples of qira-at which are not accepted according to the rules (which I will explain later)

  • in Surat an-Nur (24:15) you find (إذ تلقونه بألسنتكم) it is narrated that Sufyan (a-Thawri?) said that his mother learned from her father a reading from ibn Masu'd (إذ تثقفونه بألسنتكم) with the same meaning.

  • And Again ibn Masu'd read (101:5) (كالعهن المنفوش) in some riwaya (كالصوف المنفوش) with the same meaning!

  • As a clear example it is narrated (in Tafssir al Qurtubi) that ibn Masu'd was teaching a man to read (44:43-44) ( إن شجرة الزقوم43 طعام الأثيم) but the man couldn't spell the word (الأثيم) (the sinner) right so he spelled it (اليتيم) (the orphan) then ibn Masu'd asked him can you say (طعام الفاجر) (the wicked's food) the man said yes. Ibn Masu'd told him to read it this way (as this was the nearest to the original meaning)!

  • And so did the other Sahaba (May Allah be pleased with them) before the copies were sent out to the cities. By the Way ibn Mas'ud was from the tribe Hudhail هذيل therefore his language/dialect is hudhali. We still can find many words in the Quran which originally are in dialects different then Quraish!

  • Maybe one should also mention the so called explicative quira-at, for example the reading of "حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ" with the addition "والصلاة الوسطى صلاة العصر" or "وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا " with the explanation "فاقطعوا أيمانهما" which refers to the right hand (first)!

The scholarly view on these qur'an teaching by synonyms is that the prophet () has taught these sahabah () the verse in different languages and that they didn't teach it based on their own effort or ijtihad. As the qur'an as the word of Allah can't be called so if the words chosen are from a human, even if he did ijtihad or had knowledge in Arabic language. However, a few scholars apparently regarded this as an ijtihad therefore imam al-Anbary said (as quoted by al-Qurtubi in his tafsir):
In the following I'm translating from Arabic language as these translations are of my own take them carefully!

قال أبو بكر الأنباري: وقد ترامى ببعض هؤلاء الزائغين إلى أن قال: من قرأ بحرف يوافق معنى حرف من القرآن فهو مصيب، إذا لم يخالف معنى ولم يأت بغير ما أراد الله وقصد له، واحتجوا بقول أنس هذا.
Abu Bakr al-Anbari said: Some of these deviants sought to say: Whoever recites a letter (harf) that matches the meaning of a letter (harf) from the Qur’an is correct, if it does not contradict the meaning and does not come with what Allah wanted and intended for him, and they argued with this saying of Anas (referring to a hadith of Anas about a recitation of verse 73:6).

وهو قول لا يعرج عليه ولا يلتفت إلى قائله، لأنه لو قرأ بألفاظ تخالف ألفاظ القرآن إذا قاربت معانيها واشتملت على عامتها، لجاز أن يقرأ في موضع الحمد لله رب العالمين [الفاتحة: 2]: الشكر للباري ملك المخلوقين،
And it is a saying on which one does not turn to nor does one pay attention to those who made this claim, because if one reads with words that contradict the words of the Qur’an, if their meanings are close to them and include them on the whole, then it would be permissible to read in the place “Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds”: Thanks to the Creator, the King of creation.

ويتسع الأمر في هذا حتى يبطل لفظ جميع القرآن، ويكون التالي له مفتريا على الله عز وجل، كاذبا على رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا حجة لهم في قول ابن مسعود: نزل القرآن على سبعة أحرف، إنما هو كقول أحدكم: هلم وتعال وأقبل،
And the matter expands in this until the wording of the entire Qur’an is invalidated, and the one who follows it will be a slanderer against Allah Almighty, a liar against His Messenger, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, and there is no evidence for them in the saying of Ibn Masoud: The Qur’an was revealed in seven letters, but it is like the saying of one of you: “Come synonym 1:هلم (hallumma), come تعال (ta'aala), and come أقبل (a'qbil).”

لأن هذا الحديث يوجب أن القراءات المأثورة المنقولة بالأسانيد الصحاح عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا اختلفت ألفاظها، واتفقت معانيها، كان ذلك فيها بمنزلة الخلاف في هلم، وتعال، وأقبل، فأما ما لم يقرأ به النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وأصحابه وتابعوهم رضي الله عنهم، فإنه من أورد حرفا منه في القرآن بهت ومال وخرج من مذهب الصواب.
Because this hadith necessitates that the known and accepted recitations (qira'aat) which were transmitted by authentic chains of transmission from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, if their words differ, and their meanings agree, then that would be the same as the disagreement (or differences) about come (hallumma), come (ta'aala), and come (a'qbil). For whoever mentions a letter of it in the Qur’an is slanderous and moneyed and departs from the correct doctrine.

قال أبو بكر: والحديث الذي جعلوه قاعدتهم في هذه الضلالة حديث لا يصح عن أحد من أهل العلم، لأنه مبني على رواية الأعمش عن أنس، فهو مقطوع ليس بمتصل فيؤخذ به، من قبل أن الأعمش رأى أنسا ولم يسمع منه.
Abu Bakr said: The hadith that they made as their basis for this misguidance is a hadith that is not authentic on the authority of any of the people of knowledge because it is based on the narration of al-A’amash on the authority of Anas, so it is cut off and not connected, to be taken from it, from the perspective that al-A’amash saw Anas but did not hear from him.

1: A better translation to make things clearer here would be to distinguish between: Come, Come here, Come on. All intending to call a person to come to you.

Conditions for an accepted Reading

So any reading (Qira-a) or recitation that fulfills the following 3 conditions is considered to be sahih (sane):

  1. the recitation has an authentic chain of narration in which the chain of narrators was continuous until the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him); the narrators were all known to be righteous and they were all known to possess good memories. It was also required that the recitation be conveyed by a large number of narrators on each level of the chain of narration below the level of Sahabah (the condition of Tawaatur).

  2. the variations in recitations match known Arabic grammatical constructions:

  3. the recitation to coincide with the script of one of the copies of the Quran distributed during the era of Caliph 'Othmân is correct.

The 7 Readings and Readers (See also)

With time there were 7 well-known Quran Recitator Imams some added 3 others so they speak about the 7 readings (qira'aat which is the plural of qira'a) or 10 readings (all of them are sahih).

The highest level in correctness (=Tawaatur) according to the conditions above:

  • Is the Reading of Nafi (نافع) from Medina (His major rawis -narrators- are Warsh and Qalun)
  • then Ibn 'Amer (ابن عامر) from Shaam (His major rawis are Hisham and ibn Dhakwan)
  • then Ibn Kathir (ابن كثير) from Mekka (His major rawis are al-Bazzi and Qunbul)
  • then Abu 'Amr (أبو عمرو) from Basra (His major rawis are ad-Duri and as-Susi), Asim ibn Abi an-Nujud (عاصم) (His major rawis are Hafs and abu Bakr ibn 'Ayash also known as Sho'abah), Hamzah (حمزة) (His major rawis are Khalaf and Khallad) and Al-Kissaiy (الكسائي) (his major rawis are ad-Duri and abu al-Harith) from al-Kufa.

But as I said there have been much more than these known readings but ibn Mujahid (324a.H.) has counted these 7 readers in the 4th Islamic century to be the highest level. Other scholars have had different opinions and choices His teacher imam at-Tabari for example has chosen 8 qari'a and added Ya'aqub (see later) to the seven of ibn Mujahid and ibn Mihran ابن مهران who was the first to compile a book on the 10 qira'at!

Nowadays all Qira-at and Riwayat go back to a handful of sources that's why some (sahih) Qira-at are unknown now!

For example, in Fath al Bary you find the following statement of Makky ibn abi Taleb (514 a.H.):

at the head of the 200 (a.H.) people of Basra read with the qira-a of Abu Amr and Ya'aqob, in Kufa read the qira-a of Hamza and Asim, in a-Shaam they read the qira-a of Ibn 'Amer, in Mekka Ibn Kathir and in Medina Nafi'. And this remained like that for a long period of time. Then the qira'a of Ya'coob was the most prevalent in Basra until the end of the fifth century while the people of a-Shaam kept reading the qira'a of ibn 'Aamer until the end of the fifth century... But Ibn Mujahid toke al Kissai and left Ya'aqob because the Rawys of his Qira-a were, much more...and their have been Qura-a who have the same or higher state than those 7 but they haven't had much rawys.

For example some Qira-at which are now unknown are that of:

  • Shaybah ibn Nisah (شيبة) from Medina,
  • ibn Mohaysin 2(and his prominent rawi's are al-Bazzi and ibn Shunbudh) and al-A'raj from Mekka,
  • ibn Wathib and Sulayman ibn Mahran al-A'amash 2(and his prominent rawi's are al-Hassan ibn Sa'id al-Matu'i, abu al-Faraj and abu a-Shatwi) from al-Kufa,
  • 'Abdullah ibn abi Isahaaq and Asim Al Jahdary (عاصم الجحدري) from Basra.
  • 'Atyyah al-Kilabi and Yahya a-Dhamary from a-Shaam.
  • And also that of al-Hassan al-Basry 2(and his prominent rawi's are Shuja' al-Balkhi and ad-Duri) and al-Yazidi 1(and his prominent rawi's are Sulayman ibn al-Hakam and Ahmad ibn Farah).
    2: The reading of these four is considered as shaadh (irregular) by the agreement of many scholars.

Reading/Qira'a - Riwya/Transmition or narration- Tariq/Path

Nowadays 10 Readings are still known and more or less practiced and memorized.

Each of these Readers have 2 after him known Students (so-called Rawys, narrators) who spread their different Readings, because for example Naf'i has collected (via some Tabi'yn) the Readings from abu Hurayra, ibn Abas, Ubay ibn Ka'ab and Zayd ibn Thabit...(may Allah be pleased with them). After the Rawys (in the narrator chains) you find the so-called tariq/torouq.

These Rawys have been in case of Nafi Warsh and Qalun. For example some torouq of Warsh are al-Azraq and al-Asbahani. In fact this way there are 144 Tariq of the qira'a of Nafi'i that are well known. Riwayat Warsh according to al-Asbahani (died 294 a.H.) was well known in the 'Iraq after the 3rd Hijri century! Warsh and ad-Duri (who studied 2 different readings the ones of al-Kissai and abi 'Amr) were somehow more than students of one reader. Warsh came to Nafi' after learning the readings in Egypt and Nafi' accepted or corrected him! And Khalaf a student of Hamzah himself is one of the 10 readers, but his own reading is considered just a midway between the readings from Kufi scholars! The reading of Hamzah was somehow disliked for some reasons by the salaf (some called it invention) for example his use of sakt (pause) was not used by anybody before him nevertheless his reading was correct.

In case of the now most spread reading of 'Asim they were Hafs and the formerly more known riwaya of Sho'ba (also known as abu Bakr ibn Ayach). By the way, we say the the qira-a of 'Asim in/according the riwaya of Hafs قراءة عاصم برواية حفص or riwayat Hafs according (the reading of) 'Asim رواية حفص عن عاصم. 'Asim has collected (via some Tabi'yn) the Readings of ibn Mas'ud, 'Othman ibn 'Affan, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, Zayd ibn Thabit and Ubay ibn Ka'ab (may Allah be pleased with them). And according to some narrations Hafs only was taught the Reading of 'Ali while Sho'ba was taught the Reading of ibn Masu'd and they differ in about 520 words/letters in their Readings according to ibn Mujahid.

To complete the 10
We find on top of them one of the teachers of Nafi' abu Ja'afar (Yazid ibn al-Qa'aqa') أبو جعفر المدني who was before Nafi' and later Qalun the Imam at the Masjid an-Nabawi. His major transmitters were ibn Jammaz سليمان بن مسلم بن جماز and ibn Wardan عيسى بن وردان. His reading has a tawatur which is close to that of ibn Kathir (see above).
Then Ya'qub ibn Ishaaq al Hadrami يعقوب الحضرمي (From Basra). His major rawys were Ruways رويس and Rooh روح.
And Khalaf ibn Hisham (al-Bazzaar) خلف بن هشام who was also a student of Hamza! His major rawys were Is-haaq إسحاق بن إبراهيم and Idriss إدريس بن عبد الكريم الحداد.

The riwaya of Hafs has been afterwards mostly unknown -even in Kufa- until the 'Othmans declared it as their official reading. As 'Asim was from Kufa like Imam abu Hanifa (and in fact abu Hanifa was his student in Qur'an matters) and the 'Othmans where officialy Hanafya!

By the way especially al-Kissaiy and Abu 'Amr are known linguists of their time and representatives of the Arabic grammatical schools of Basra and Kufa!

On this page the author has made some effort and made statistics on the differences between all ten approved qira'at and found out, that: There are 1315 words in the Qur'an with two different (way of) qira'a. 105 words with three different (way of) qira'a. 24 words with four different (way of) qira'a. 3 words have five different (way of) qira'a one of them was repeated 11 times. And no word that has six or more different qira'a!

These numbers only reflect actual differences between words in their qira'a' far away from the basic rules (osol) of any qira'a and the recitation style/rules like imalah, madd etc. which may create a larger difference. As a word might be written the same way and read and interpreted differently!


The role of Hazrat Usman:

In the beginning there were 7 ahruf of Quran Recitation. Each of these 7 Ahruf's belonged to the 7 Big Tribes of Arab at the time. In the era of Hazrat Usman(R.A), Qabail(Tribes) started fighting over the best Harf(plural: Ahruf). Some said there was the best others said that there harf was the best. At the same time people tried to mix different sort of styles in Quran.

Noticing this, Caliph 'Uthman(R.A) decided to make official copies of the Quran according to the writing conventions of the Quraysh and send them along with the Quranic reciters to the major centres of Islam. This decision was approved by Sahaabah and all unofficial copies of the Quran were destroyed. Uthman burned the unofficial copies of the Quran.

So, there is only one correct reading style and that is what exists today.

That leaves 7/14 part of your question.

The 7 Rawayaats of Recitation

There are seven main Qari's(Reciters) of Quran. Each of them recited the Quran with a little variation. Each of this recitation style was transmitted to the people by two Rawi's(Transmitters). So, total 14 Rawayaats. They are as follows:

  1. Nafi‘ al-Madani
    • Qalun
    • Warsh
  2. Ibn Kathir al-Makki
    • Al-Buzzi
    • Qunbul
  3. Abu ‘Amr Ibn al-‘Ala'
    • Hafs al-Duri
    • Al-Susi
  4. Ibn ‘Amir ad-Dimashqi
    • Hisham
    • Ibn Dhakwan
  5. ‘Aasim al-Kufi
    • Shu‘bah
    • Hafs
  6. Hamzah al-Kufi
    • Khalaf
    • Khallad
  7. Al-Kisa'i al-Kufi
    • Al-Layth
    • Hafs al-Duri

So, when they say Hafs-An-Aasim. It means Riwayat Hafs From Qari Aasim-al-Kufi. Hafs from Aasim is the most common riwayat around the world. This is the riwayat used in Masjid-ul-Haraam, Ka'ba.

In addition to this, there are three more Qaris.

All of the Rawayaats are correct recitation of Quran. But to be a master of all is no small feat.

Examples of different qirats by Mishary Al-Afaasi:

  1. Surah Fatihah
  2. Surah Ikhlaas

For more info:


The Seven Ahruf (Quran Various Readings/ Qiraat) are associated with the Linguistic Science and Linguistic Engineering and the Language pathology guides revealed with the Holy Quran: Do you know that Quran confirms Bible 10 Commandments? Read them here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5eRG5TNKU3BODhIaDluYWlSMjA

  • 1
    Welcome to Islam.SE! Answers here should be elaborate, and focused on answering the question. Claims should be supported by evidence. Please visit our tour in the help center, and refer to how to answer questions. The ahruf is not the qira'at. You may want to consider providing references to your answer.
    – III-AK-III
    May 6, 2017 at 12:28

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