Hafs Qur’an is Unreliable & Untrustworthy – Qira’at Conundrum – Episode 14

This series is about the qira’at (meaning “recitation”) of the Quran. It’s the 1924  Hafs canonized Quran. 1924 is when one  text was chosen. Take a look at that pile  of Qurans that we have in front of us. These are all different, these are not  only readers but they’re also narrators. The blue one is the most  significant one  supposedly from what all the Muslims are  telling us today. But it’s actually the least  significant. Now we need to prove our point. 

Remember the 10 readers were  introduced in the 8th century starting with  736  up until 844, the mid 9th century. 

And then you have the purple 20  narrators. 

Hafs was not a good choice.

1. He was not trustworthy and therefore not  suitable. 

2. He was not chosen for textual veracity  or authenticity  but for political reasons. 

3. He  came from the wrong city.

4. He came from the wrong dialect.

5. He should have been the  last person among the thirty to have  been chosen.

Before we look at Hafs, let’s look at his reader, Aasim. What do we know about Aasim? We are told that he received his Quran  from Zarr b. Hubaysh and Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami, and Abu Amr al-Shaybani, who supposedly received it from Ali b. Abi Talib,  who is the fourth caliph and Ibn Mas’ud Kufa. Do you know of any of those? Have you  seen any of their Qurans? You don’t. Do any of them exist today? Of course not. So this is nothing more than hearsay. This is nothing more than attribution. We  don’t know if any of these came or any  of these even existed. We know of Ali b. Abi Talib (we have what is attributed to him). They have seven of them  seven of them. Has anybody done any  forensic testing on them or even dated them?

Let’s see what others said about Aasim. 

  • Aasim was reliable but made mistakes in the transmission
  • Al-Amash memorized the tradition more correctly
  • Everyone named Aasim was faulty in memorizing the tradition
  • His transmission of the tradition contains some deniable things
  • He had no problem with Aasim except poor memorization of the tradition
  • Aasim had fault of memory
  • Aasim become confused toward the end of his life

What do we know about Hafs?

  • Hafs himself said he did not depart from Aasim’s reading except in one word in Surah 30:54
  • Hafs was reliable in his reading, consistent and accurate, but not so in the transmission of the tradition
  • Hafs’ transmission of the tradition was rejected
  • He was not reliable
  • Hafs was weak in the tradition, and I intentionally avoided transmitting from him
  • He was rejected by the compilers of biographical dictionaries
  • I consider him untrustworthy and the traditions he transmitted were not recorded

These are hadith  transmitters so if these guys who collected the  hadith telling you something like this,  who supposedly were able to tell  which hadith is sound and which hadith  is not sound,  why aren’t we taking their advice? Why  are we even going to Hafs? 

  • declared him weak
  • Hafs is one of those whose traditions have disappeared. What he transmitted contained objectionable traditions
  • His traditions were not recorded, and all of them were objectionable
  • Hafs was a liar and was rejected for fabricating traditions
  • He used to change the chain of transmission, and even fabricated chains for those traditions that did not have ones

Why was Hafs chosen as the  official Quran if he was so unreliable  and so untrustworthy? We know the Ottomans chose Hafs because  he was the easiest  to understand. We know that he is the earliest of  all the narrators,  died in 796. That could have something  to do with it and the fact that he also  lived  with Aasim whereas so many other narrators came so much time  afterwards, they never knew  the readers that they were attributed. Even if  you do live with them,  why is it that your  text is not the same as the one you’re  living with?