My question is a bit broad and opinion based so I think I first have to add some of my research and analyzes in order for you to answer. I am not looking for an absolute answer, but more a "good guess" or speculations.

Most people knows about the seven ahruf, and as I generally understand it, is that the differences are pretty small and only grammatical, like for instance (2:85) "يَعْمَلُونَ" in Warsh and "تَعْمَلُونَ" in Hafs.

In the reading of Warsh, the word: "كَثِيرًا" (kathiran) is used in a verse while Hafs has another word: "كَبِيرًا" (kabiran). These almost mean the same thing and the message wouldn't really be changed, but still, they are different words.

In the tafsir of tabari, verse 49:6, it is mentioned that the word "فَتَبَيَّنُوا" (fatabayyano) was read "فَتَثَبَّتُوا" (fatathabbato) by the most reciters in Medina. Both words is argued to have the same meaning:

واختلفت القرّاء في قراءة قوله: { فَتَبَيَّنُوا } فقرأ ذلك عامة قرّاء أهل المدينة «فَتَثَبَّتُوا» بالثاء، وذُكر أنها في مصحف عبد الله منقوطة بالثاء. وقرأ ذلك بعض القرّاء فتبيَّنوا بالباء، بمعنى: أمهلوا حتى تعرفوا صحته، لا تعجلوا بقبوله، وكذلك معنى «فَتَثَبَّتُوا».

The differences found in the Sana'a manuscript, seems generally to be the same, however it seems other words are used more frequently and some words are added/deleted. For instance:

؛{يَـٰزَكَرِيَّا إِنَّا} قَد وَهَبْنَا لَكَ غُلٰماً زَكِيَّاً ۝ وَبَشَّرْنٰهُ {بِيَحْيیٰ لَمْ نَجْعَل ﻟَّ}ﻪُ مِن قَبْلُ سَمِيًّا

Sana'a manuscript (19:7)

In Hafs we have:

يَا زَكَرِيَّا إِنَّا نُبَشِّرُكَ بِغُلَامٍ اسْمُهُ يَحْيَىٰ لَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ مِن قَبْلُ سَمِيًّا

In the Sana'a script, the wording differs a lot while the message still is the same.

It also seems that some extra detailed words are added which doesn't exist in our texts today, lets look at one other verse in surat Maryam:

فَنٰدٮٰهَا مِن تَحْتِهَـ/ـا مَلَكٌ/ أَلَّا تَحْزَنِى

This is what we read today (in Hafs):

فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي
But he called her from below her, "Do not grieve;..."

So in Sana'a, the word "مَلَكٌ" (malakon) is added, i.e given the meaning "The angel called her from below her". In the tafsirs, most scholars seems to say that it was either Jesus or an Angel (Jibril) who called her.

If the manuscript was or is accepted, then the conclusion could be drawn that it indeed was an angel who called, not Jesus. But I also think that by accepting it, it would force us to rethink lots of things that we use while deriving conclusions.

More similar verses mentioned; "صَوْماً وَصُمْتاً" while we say "صَوْماً"
(19:26) ... Most commentators do explain though that sawman here means "sawtan". An example of a removed word is "وَعَلَّمْنٰهُ الْحُكْمَ" while we say: "وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحُكْمَ صَبِيًّا". You find more examples here.

Is it likely that the sana'a manuscript was an accepted reading of the Quran?

  • This sounds more like an explanative reading, most are rather ahaad as they are based on interpretarions of sahaba.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 27, 2017 at 16:34
  • @Medi1Saif I had something similar in mind, i.e like a "private tafsir". But that seems not to explain some of the other verses when words are removed for instance; "وَلَا تَحلِقُوا" which we say in hafs "وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ"... why would one remove verses in an explanatory reading? also "فِى قُلُوبِهِم رِجْسٌ" insted of "فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَرَضٌ"... So being a explanatory reading seems to be rational but when looking on all the verses it seems not to add up fully.
    – Kilise
    May 27, 2017 at 16:48
  • See my answer about qiraat where similar instances are quoted.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 27, 2017 at 17:27
  • Great question. Nov 7, 2022 at 0:03

2 Answers 2


Please refer to the answers to the question What are the readings (qira'at) of Quran? and the papers The Codex Of A Companion Of The Prophet and Sanaa And The Origins Of The Quran.

In the paper Sanaa And The Origins Of The Quran, it is suggested that the Sanaa manuscript does not completely fit a (now) known Qiraat, though some variations are shared with known readings and the variations in general are similar to the variations documented of known readings.

The C-1 type shares a number of variants with those reported for the codices of Abdallah b. Masud and Ubayy b. Kaab, and these are listed in Appendix 1. These constitute a minority among its variants, as C-1 does not share the vast majority of its variants with these codices. Nor are most of their variants found in C-1. Thus, C-1 represents a text type of its own, a distinct “Companion codex.”

C-1 confirms the reliability of much of what has been reported about the other Companion codices not only because it shares some variants with them, but also because its variants are of the same kinds as those reported for those codices.


The fact that all these features are found both in the codex of Ibn Masud, as described by al-Amash, and in C-1 establishes that the literary sources preserve information about codices that actually existed.

Pages 116-122 carry a list of differences that match with known Qiraat variants.

Similarly, in the other paper it is noted that:

In terms of wording, the lower text also agrees with reported non-Utm̠anic variants in a few cases, as shown in Table 4; however, as a rule, reported non-Utm̠anic variants do not appear in C-1, nor are the variants of C-1 reported in the sources. Thus C-1 should not be identified with the codices whose variants have been described in the literary sources (Ibn Masud or Ubayy b. Kaʿb); it represents an independent codex, text type, and textual tradition.


In general, every type of variant found in C-1 is found also in Ibn Masud. However, Ibn Masud also has some higher-tier types not found in C-1.

Is it likely that the sana'a manuscript was an accepted reading of the Quran?

The manuscript is dated to the time of the Sahabah*, and the variations are similar to what Islamic tradition ascribes to some of their copies.

Whether it was "accepted" by the majority or how much of it was approved by the Prophet and how much is due to scribal lapses is unknowable without further finds.


It seems to be someone personal notes like he adds some words for making a better understanding and in some places remove some words when he doesn't found them important to be written and another possibility is that he may had naturally forgotten to write them the under text isnt the quran but does include some part of the quran

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .