Sunnis Have 28 Different Authorized Qiraat – Join islam

Qira’at ( قراءات ) refers to the different canonical methods of reciting the Quran. These variations encompass differences in pronunciation, intonation, meanings, verse counts, and, in the more extreme cases, differences in the words and phrases used.

Historically these differences took root after the death of the prophet when Islam expanded to new lands. Various communities learned to recite the Quran in their respective regions, and over time, this led to slight differences in recitation. In the 3rd/9th century, the scholar Abu Bakr Ibn Mujahid (d. 936 CE) played a crucial role in standardizing these recitations. He selected seven reciters from various regions whose recitations were widely recognized and respected. These seven reciters were:

  1. Nafi‘ al-Madani
  2. Ibn Kathir al-Makki
  3. Abu ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ala’
  4. Ibn ‘Amir ad-Dimashqi
  5. ‘Asim ibn Abi al-Najud
  6. Hamzah az-Zaiyyat
  7. Al-Kisai

After Ibn Mujahid’s time, scholars recognized the existence of other legitimate recitations that were not included in the original seven. The scholars Abu ‘Amr ad-Dani (d. 1053 CE) and Abu Shamah (d. 1267 CE) documented additional recitations to encompass these. The recitations of three additional reciters were eventually recognized, bringing the total to ten. These additional reciters were:

  1. Abu Ja‘far al-Madani
  2. Ya‘qub al-Hadrami
  3. Khalaf al-Bazzar

    Four more recitations were recognized in later centuries, particularly by the efforts of scholars like Ibn al-Jazari (d. 1429 CE). These included:

    1. Al-Hasan al-Basri
    2. Al-A‘mash
    3. Ibn Muhaisin
    4. Yahya al-Yazidi

    In addition, each of the ten canonical reciters had two primary students, known as “rawis,” who transmitted from their teacher’s recitation style. Here is an overview of each reciter and their two main proponents:

    The Seven Reciters and Their Proponents

    1. Ibn ‘Amir ad-Dimashqi
      • Hisham (Ibn Ammar)
      • Ibn Dhakwan (Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Bashar)
    2. Ibn Kathir al-Makki
      • Al-Bazzi (Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Bazzi)
      • Qunbul (Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Makhzumi)
    3. ‘Asim ibn Abi al-Najud
      • Hafs (Hafs ibn Sulayman)
      • Shu‘bah (Abu Bakr ibn Ayyash)
    4. Abu ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ala’
      • Ad-Duri (Hafs ibn Umar ad-Duri)
      • As-Susi (Salih ibn Ziyad as-Susi)
    5. Hamzah az-Zaiyyat
      • Khalaf (Khalaf ibn Hisham al-Bazzar)
      • Khallad (Khallad ibn Khalid)
    6. Nafi‘ al-Madani
      • Warsh (Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Qutbi)
      • Qalun (Isa ibn Mina)
    7. Al-Kisai
      • Al-Duri (Hafs ibn Umar ad-Duri)
      • Abu al-Harith (Luhay ibn Khalid al-Baghdadi)

    The Three Additional Reciters and Their Proponents

    1. Khalaf al-Bazzar
      • Ishaq (Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Maruzi)
        Idris (Idris ibn Abd al-Karim al-Haddad)
    2. Abu Ja‘far al-Madani
      • Ibn Wardan (Isa ibn Wardan)
      • Ibn Jummaz (Sulayman ibn Jummaz)
    3. Ya‘qub al-Hadrami
      • Ruways (Abu al-Hasan al-Ruways)
      • Rawh (Rawh ibn Abd al-Mu’min)

    The Four Additional Reciters and Their Proponents

    1. Al-Hasan al-Basri
      • Salih ibn Ayyub
      • Abu al-‘Aliyah
    2. Ibn Muhaisin
      • Al-Mutawakkil ibn Harun
      • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman
    3. Yahya al-Yazidi
      • Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ayyash
      • Hafs al-Kufi
    4. Al-A‘mash
      • Yahya ibn Waththab
      • Abu Shu‘aib al-Shaibani
    # Reciter Full Name Died (AH) Recitation Region Proponent 1 Proponent 2
    1 Ibn ‘Aamir ‘Abd Allaah ibn ‘Aamir Yahsabī 118 Shām Hishaam ibn ‘Ammaar (153-245 AH) Ibn Dhakwaan (173-242 AH)
    2 Ibn Kathīr ‘Abd Allaah ibn Kathīr Daaramī 120 Makkah al-Bazzī (170-250 AH) Qunbul (191-295 AH)
    3 ‘Āsim ‘Āsim ibn Abī ’n-Najūd Asadī 128 Kūfah Hafs ibn Sulaymān (90-180 AH) Hafs Shu’bah Abū Bakr ibn ‘Ayyāsh (95-193 AH)
    4 Abū ‘Amr Zabbān Abū ‘Amr ibn ‘Alā’ Māzanī 154 Basrah Dawrī Hafs ibn ‘Umar (died 246 AH) Duri Mūsa Sālih ibn Ziyād as-Susi (died 261 AH) Susi
    5 Hamzah Hamzah ibn Habīb Zayyāt 156 Kūfah Khalaf ibn Hishām (150-229 AH) Khallād ibn Khālid (died 220 AH)
    6 Nāfi‘ Nāfi‘ ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Laythī 169 Madīnah ‘Īsā ibn Mīnā’ (120-220 AH) Qalun ‘Uthmān ibn Sa‘īd (110-197 AH) Warsh
    7 Kisā’ī ‘Alī ibn Hamzah 189 Kūfah Layth ibn Khālid (died 240 AH) Dawrī – Hafs ibn ‘Umar
    8 Khalaf Khalaf ibn Hishām 229 Baghdad Abū Ya’qūb (died 286 AH) Abū ‘l-Hasan (died 292 AH)
    9 Ya’qūb Ya’qūb Hadramī 205 Basrah Ruways (died 238 AH) Rūh (died 235 AH)
    10 Abū Ja’far Abū Ja’far Makhzūmī 130 Madīnah Ibn Wardān (died 160 AH) Ibn Jammāz (died 170 AH)
    11 Hasan al-Basrī Hasan ibn Yasār 110 Basrah Shujā‘ Balkhī (120-190 AH) Dawrī (died 246 AH)
    12 Ibn Muhaysin Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān 123 Makkah Bazzī (170-250 AH) Ibn Shanbūdh (died 328 AH)
    13 Yazīdī Yahyā ibn Mubārak 202 Basrah Sulaymān ibn Hakam (died 235 AH) Aḥmad ibn Faraj Darīr (died 303 AH)
    14 ‘A‘mash Sulaymān ibn Mihrān Asadī 148 Kūfah Shanbūdh (300-388 AH) Muṭawwa‘ī (died 371 AH)

    14 reciters x 2 proponents = 28 different Readings

    It is worth pointing out that many of the recognized readings (Qira’at) were based on the reciter’s personal ijtihad (independent reasoning) rather than pure taqlid, repeating exactly their teacher’s recitation without discretion. Each trained reciter exercised their own judgment in their reading style, expressing their interpretation rather than strictly transmitting their teacher’s recitation. Consequently, each reciter’s reading is attributed to their own judgment and expertise, similar to how a jurist’s view is attributed to themselves rather than to their teacher.

    According to Harvard Professor Shady H. Nasser, as stated in his book Transmission of the Quran, on page 77:

    “Early Muslim scholars did not look at the variant readings of the Qur’an as divine revelation. They attributed the Qur’anic variants to human origins; either to the reader’s ijtihad [“independent reasoning”] in interpreting the consonantal outline of the Qur’an or simply to an error in transmission. This position changed drastically in the later periods, especially 5th/11th century where the canonical Readings started to be treated as divine revelation, i.e. every single variant reading in the seven and ten eponymous Readings was revealed by God to Muhammad.”

    This distinction is important because it shows that the basis of each reciter’s reading is their ijtihad, not necessarily a continuous tradition from their teacher. Since each teacher had two primary students, and each of those students used their discretion in recitation, this resulted in a total of 28 different authorized recitations.


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