The Different Groups of Reciters
The first group of reciters were those companions who were engaged in learning and teaching the Qur'an during the time of the Prophet. Among them was a group which mastered the whole Qur'an; one of this group was a woman by the name of Umm Waraqah bint 'Abd Allah ibn Harith. Study was also undertaken by four of the Ansars (or helpers, that is Medinans who became Muslim and welcomed the Muslims from Mecca). They learned the whole Qur'an by heart but were not concerned with the ordering of the verses and chapters; other scholars were responsible for memorisation of the order. Some traditions say that the position of each verse and chapter was defined at the orders of the Prophet himself but this is generally refuted by the rest of the traditions.
According to some later scholars, (namely al-Suyuti in his book al-Itqan, in the chapter dealing with the qualities of the men responsible for transmission), several of the qurra' became famous, among them 'Uthman, 'Ali, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Zayd ibn Thabit, 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud and Abu Musa al-Ash'ari. The second group of reciters were the students of the first group. They were generally tabi'un (followers of the compan- ions of the Prophet) and the more famous amongst them had centres of recitation and teaching in Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Basra and Sham. The 'Uthmanic volume was used in these five places. In Mecca were 'Ubayd ibn 'Amir and 'Ata' ibn Abi Rabah, Ta'us, Mujahid, 'Ikrimah ibn Abi Mulaykah and others. In Medina were Ibn Musayyis, 'Urwah, Salim, 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz, Sulayman ibn Yasar, 'Ata' ibn Yasar, Mu'adh al-Qari', 'Abd Allah ibn al-A'raj, Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, Muslim ibn Jundub and Zayd ibn Aslam. In Kufa were 'Alqamah, al-Aswad, Masruq, 'Ubaydah, 'Amr ibn Shurahbil, Harith ibn al-Qays, 'Amr ibn Maymun, Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami, Zarr ibn Hubaysh, 'Ubayd ibn Naflah, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, al-Nakha'i, al-Sha'bi, Abu al-'Aliyah, Abu al-Raja' Nasr ibn al-'Asim, Yahya ibn Ya'mur, Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Sirin, Qatadah, Mughirah ibn Abi Shihab, 'Uthman, Khallfah ibn Said, Abu Darda'. The third group lived during the first half of the second century after Hijrah; it included a number of Imams famous for their Qur'anic recitation who received this knowledge from the second group. In Mecca were 'Abd Allah ibn Kathir (one of the seven qurra), Humayd ibn Qays al-A'raj and Muhammad ibn Abi Muhaysin.
In Medina were, Abu Ja'far Yazid ibn al-Qa'qa', Shaybah ibn Nassah and Nafi ibn Nu'aym (one of the seven qurra). In Kufa were Yahya ibn Waththab, 'Asim ibn Abi al-Najjud (one of the seven qurra'), Sulayman al-A'mash, Hamzah (one of the seven qurra') and al-Kisa'i (also one of the seven reciters). In Basra were 'Abd Allah ibn Abi Ishaq, 'Isa ibn 'Umar, Abu 'Amr ibn al-'Ala' (one of the seven reciters), 'Asim al-Jahdari and Ya'qub al-Hadrami. In Sham 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amir (one of the seven reciters), 'Atiyah ibn Qays al-Kalla'i, Ismail ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Muhajir, Yahya ibn Harith and Shurayh ibn Yazid al-Hadrami. The fourth group consisted of the students of the third group, like Ibn 'Ayyash, Hafs and Khalaf and many of the most famous may be classed in the next section. The fifth group comprised those concerned with academic research and writing including Abu 'Ubayd Qasim ibn Salam, Ahmad ibn Jubayr al-Kufi and Isma'il ibn Ishaq al-Malih from the companions of Qalun al-Rawi. Included also are Abu Ja'far ibn Jarir al-Tabari and Mujahid. The field of researeh was widened after them by men like al- Dani and al-Shatibi who wrote a great number of books on poetry.
Adapted from: "The Quran in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"
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