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Ramadan & History of the Holy Qur'an

The Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammed ﷺ over 23 years, with the first revelations in the month of Ramadan in 610 AD.

How did the Qur’an reach us today in its final form? Who compiled it & why, & where are the oldest Qur’ans in the world?

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The Quran began to be revealed to Prophet Muhammed ﷺ during the month of Ramadan in 610, in its original form to the present day. The companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), played an important role in the compilation of the Quran, leaving an interesting story behind.

The ultimate book of universal guidance, the Holy Quran, was revealed to Prophet Muhammed ﷺ over a period of 23 years, in small parts; the holy book was not compiled until after his demise.

The process of the preservation of the Holy Quran started during the time of Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, who despite being unable to read or write, employed a certain method of conservation upon the revelation of every ‘ayah’.

The Qur'an is divided into 114 chapters of unequal size called surahs. Each surah is composed of individual verses, each called an ayah. When citing text from the Qur'an, one refers to chapter and verse, or surah and ayah (verse) or ayat (verses) by number.

In ancient times, literacy was a skill that few people had and Prophet Muhammed ﷺ himself did not know how to read or write. He dictated the verses and assigned scribes to write them down in his presence, in order to ensure the accuracy of the words.

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At the time, the verses were written on materials such as bones, leather, stones & wood. Prophet Muhammed ﷺ asked his companions at the time, to memorise the verses & recite them in their daily salah in order to help retention. Salah are the 5 daily ritual prayers.

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The need for compilation of the Quran arose during the caliphate of Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) when several companions of the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ who had memorised the Quran died causing concern because the loss of those companions also meant the loss of the Quranic content.

As a result, Umar bin Khattab (RA) suggested the idea of the compilation of the Quran to Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), who was hesitant at first, seeing as the Prophet (PBUH) himself had not taken any such measures during the course of his life.

However, upon recognising the rising need of it, he appointed Zayd ibn Thabit to supervise the project of compilation. Zayd ibn Thabit was one of the leading scribes.