Mushaf of Imam Ali (a)
Muṣḥaf of Imām ʿAlī (a) (Arabic: مصحف امام علي (ع)) is the first Qur'an collected after the demise of the Prophet (s). Imam Ali (a) presented the Mushaf to the Companions. Still, they did not accept it, so Imam Ali (a) hid it, so the Mushaf is not available, and apparently the order of its suras is not as the order of the existing Qur'an.
Collection of Qur'an by Imam Ali (a)
After the demise of the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a) who was, according to the Prophet (s), the most knowledgeable person about Qur'an, collected Qur'an in his house and after less than 6 months, loaded it on a camel and presented it to the companions of the Prophet (s). This Qur'an is known as Mushaf of Imam Ali (a).
The narrators who clearly mentioned the Mushaf of Imam Ali (a) or the collection of Qur'an by Imam Ali (a) are:
- Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilali (d. 76/695) in his book mentions the Mushaf of Imam Ali (a) and its features. He narrates it from the close companions of the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a): Abu Dhar, Salman al-Farsi, 'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas.
- 'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas, has independently remarked about the Mushaf.
Opinion of al-Shahristani
In the exegetic book of al-Shahristani (d. 548/1153) it is mentioned: after the collection of Qur'an, Ali (a) and his slave, Qanbar, brought it to the Companions, they were carrying it with difficulty and it is said that it was equal to a load of a camel. Imam Ali (a) told them: this is the book of Allah as is revealed to Muhammad (s), I collected it in a volume. They said: 'take away your Mushaf as we do not need it.' Imam Ali (a) said: 'by Allah, you will never see it again, I had the responsibility to inform you when I collected it.' Then he returned while he was reciting this verse: "O my Lord! Indeed my people consigned this Qur'an to oblivion." (Quran 25:30)
Al-Shahristani then criticizes the response of who rejected the Mushaf of Imam Ali (a):
- How they did not want the Qur'an collected by Ali (a)? Could Zayd b. Thabit write better? Or was Sa'id b. al-'As more literate and more familiar with the Arabic grammar than Ali? They were more close to the Prophet (s) or Ali (a) was? They ignored the work of Ali (a) and forgot it. But when Ali (a) completed the burial of the Prophet (s), made a vow that he will never come out of his house except for the Friday prayer till he collects all of the Qur'an. Certainly, he was responsible for this duty. He collected Qur'an as it was revealed; the Prophet (s) had instructed him about the verses and suras and their meaning and order.
Opinion of Ibn al-Nadim
Ibn al-Nadim in his book al-Fihrist says: after the demise of the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a) stayed in his home for 3 days and collected Qur'an and this was the first collected Qur'an. This Mushaf was among the progeny of Ja'far, and I saw the Mushaf with the handwriting of Ali b. Abi Talib (a), in possession of Abu Ya'li Hamza al-Hasani, which some of its pages was decayed. The progeny of al-Hasan (a) had inherited it and this is the order of suras in Mushaf of Imam Ali (a): …
In the existing manuscripts of al-Fihrist the part of the order of suras is totally wiped; the reason for this change is not known.
Seven Parts of Mushaf of Imam Ali (a)
Part 1 is named "al-Baqara" with 886 verses and 15 suras: al-Baqara, Yusuf, al-'Ankabut, al-Rum, Luqman, Ha' mim sajda , al-Dhariyat, Hal ata ala l-insan , Alif lam mim tanzil sajda , al-Nazi'at, Idha l-shamsu kuwwirat, Idha l-sama'u-nfatarat, Idha l-sama'u-nshaqqat, Sabbih isma rabbika l-a'la, and Lam yakun.
Part 2 is named "Al 'Imran" with 886 verses and 16 suras: Al 'Imran, Hud, al-Hajj, al-Hijr, [[Sura al-Ahzab|al-Ahzab], al-Dukhan, al-Rahman, al-Haqqa, Sa'al-a sa'il, 'Abas, Wa l-shams-i wa duhaha, Inna anzalna, Idha zulzilat, Wayl-un li-kull-i humazat-in lumaza, A-lam tara, and Li-ilaf.
Part 3 is named "al-Nisa'" with 886 verses and 16 suras: al-Nisa', al-Nahl, al-Mu'minun, Ya Sin, Ha mim ayn sin qaf, al-Waqi'a, Tabarak al-mulk, Ya ayyuha l-muddaththir, A-ra'ayt-a, Tabbat, Qul hu-wa Allah-u ahad, al-Asr, al-Qari'a, Wa l-sama'-i dhat al-buruj, Wa l-tin wa l-zaytun, and Ta' sin al-naml.
Part 4 is named "al-Ma'ida" with 886 verses and 15 suras: al-Ma'ida, Yunus, Maryam, Ta' sin mim al-shu'ara', al-Zukhruf, al-Hujurat, Qaf wa l-Quran al-majid, Iqtarabat al-sa'a, al-Mumtahana, Wa l-sama'i wa l-tariq, La uqsim-u bi-hadha l-balad, A-lam nashrah lak-a sadrak, al-'Adiyat, Inna a'taynak-a l-kawthar, and Qul ya ayyuha l-kafirun.
Part 5 is named "al-An'am" with 886 verses and 16 suras: al-An'am, Subhan-a, Iqtarab-a, al-Furqan, Musa wa Fir'awn, Ha mim al-mu'min, al-Mujadala, al-Hashr, al-Jumu'a, al-Munafiqun, al-Qalam, Inna arsalna Nuh-an, Qul uhi-ya ilayy-a, al-Mursalat, al-Duha, and Alhakum.
Part 6 is named "al-A'raf" with 886 verses and 16 suras: al-A'raf, Ibrahim, al-Kahf, al-Nur, Sad, al-Zumar, al-Shari'at, Alladhin-a kafaru, al-Hadid, al-Muzzammil, La uqsim-u bi-yawm al-qiyama, 'Amma yatasa'alun, al-Ghashiya, al-Fajr, Wa l-layl-i idha yaghsa, and Idha ja'a nasr Allah.
Part 7 is named "al-Anfal" with 886 verses and 15 suras: al-Anfal, Bara'a, Ta Ha, al-Mala'ika, al-Saffat, al-Ahqaf, al-Fath, al-Tur, al-Najm, al-Saff, al-Taghabun, al-Talaq, al-Mutaffifin, and al-Mu'awwadhatayn (Sura al-Falaq and Sura al-Nas).
The above suras are 109 suras and 5 suras are not mentioned.
Mahmud Ramyar, the author of Tarikh-i Qur'an (the History of Qur'an), says: the report of al-Ya'qubi is very odd. All historians and narrators have said that Mushaf of Imam Ali (a) was ordered according to the order of revelation and contained the context of revelation (Asbab al-Nuzul) and the explanation of the ambiguous verses. Still, the narration of al-Ya'qubi is in contrast with all of them.
Most of the reports and narrations indicate that the Mushaf of Imam Ali (a) was ordered according to the order of revelation; but about whether it only contained the text of the Qur'an or it has some extras like the context of revelation, the exegesis of the verses, nasikh and mansukh; there are different reports.
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "there's no one who can say that 'I have collected Qur'an as Allah revealed it' unless he is lying. No one preserved and collected Qur'an with the order of revelation except Ali b. Abi Talib."
As al-Shahristani says in his book, the Mushaf of Imam Ali (a) had exegetic gloss in addition to the text of the Qur'an. According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid and some other scholars, there was the interpretation of the verses in the Mushaf of Imam Ali (a). Also nasikh was before mansukh. It is said that many of the ambiguous verses, including the names of some of the hypocrites, were explained in the marginal notes. These were the reasons that the Mushaf was not accepted; so Imam Ali (a), while verifying the Qur'an collected by the command of 'Uthman, hid his Mushaf.
- Tabataba'i, Qur'an dar Islam, p.113; al-Sajistani, Kitab al-masahif, p.16; al-Suyuti, al-Itqan, vol.1 p.161
- Ayazi, Mushaf Imam Ali, p.167
- Al-Shahristani, Mafatih al-asrar, vol.1 p.15
- Ayazi, Mushaf imam Ali, p.172-173
- Ibn al-Nadim, al-Fihrist, p.30
- Ramyar, Tarikh-i Qur'an, p.368
- Ibn Abi Ya'qub, Tarikh al-Ya'qubi, vol.2 p.15-16
- Ramyar, Tarikh-i Qur'an, p.370-371
- Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol.88 p.92
- Al-Shahristani, Mafatih al-asrar, vol.1 p.15
- Al-Mufid, Awa'il al-maqalat, p.94
- Al-Zanjani, Tarikh al-Qur'an, p.54
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