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In Search of ʿAlī ibn abī Ṭālib’s Codex: Study of the Traditions on the Earliest Copy of the Qur’ān

KARA, SEYFEDDIN (2014) In Search of ʿAlī ibn abī Ṭālib’s Codex: Study of the Traditions on the Earliest Copy of the Qur’ān. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The history of the text of the Qur’ān has been a longstanding subject of interest within the field of Islamic Studies, but the debate has so far been focused on the Sunnī traditions about the codices of Caliphs Abū Bakr and ʿUthmān b. Affān. Little to no attention has been given to the traditions on ʿAlī b. abī Tālīb’s collection of the Qur’ān. The Shī’ite school of thought has claimed that ʿAlī b. abī Ṭālib collated the first copy of the Qur’ān, right after the demise of the Prophet. In addition to several Shī’ite traditions on the subject, there is also a significant number of Sunnī traditions in a similar vein, recorded in some of the earliest Sunnī ḥadīth collections. The present thesis examines both Shī’ite and Sunnī traditions on the issue, aiming to date them back to the earliest possible date and, if possible, verify their authenticity. In order to achieve this, the traditions are examined using isnād-cum-matn method. This method has been proven by Western academia to be an efficient tool in dating the early Islamic traditions and involves analysis of both matn (text) and isnād (chain of transmission) with an emphasis on finding a correlation between the two.

Upon examining the variants of the relevant traditions, the thesis concludes that with the aid of the traditions attributed to Ibn Sīrīn, the narrative on ʿAlī b. abī Ṭālib’s collection of the Qur’ān can be dated back to as early as the first decade of the second century. This is the earliest date to which the history of the text of the Qur’ān can be traced through analysing Muslim traditions. In addition, in the analysis of a tradition recorded in Kitāb Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilālī, I find that the traditions concerning ʿAlī’s collection of the Qur’ān were not only transmitted orally but also recorded in written form, within the first half of the second century. This is, again, the earliest date at which the collection of the Qur’ān in written format has been mentioned.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:ʿAlī Ibn Abī Ṭālib, Shī'ite, Qur'ān, Ḥadīth, isnād-cum-matn
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Mar 2015 12:36

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