بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Wa Alaikumussalamu Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh
At the outset, one should know that the variant readings of the Holy Quran is established from the hadith in which the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:
“This Quran has been revealed in seven letters. Read according to the method that is easy for you.” (Bukhari)
The preferred view regarding the explanation of seven letters of the Holy Quran is that it refers to the seven types of differences found among the variant readings of the Holy Quran. For details, refer to Ulum ul-Quran of Mufti Taqi Usmani pg. 97 onwards.
Furthermore, Almighty Allah has taken it upon Himself to preserve the Holy Quran. He says:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
Translation: Indeed We have revealed the Dhikr (the Quran) and indeed We will protect it. (Quran 15:9)
“And We will protect it” means: We will protect it from being changed or distorted or anything being added to it or removed from it. (Tafseer Jalaalayn)
Those who want to see the promise of Allah SWT manifest itself can clearly see it, provided their heart is not sealed – May Allah SWT protect us. There’s hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, in every generation from the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) till this very day who have memorised the Holy Quran from “cover to cover” (even when the Quran was not written down as it is today), including the Arabs and the non-Arabs, those who understand Arabic and those who don’t, young children as well as the elderly.
After the brief introduction, let’s come to your specific questions:
1- What is his proof for claiming that “These minute differences should not be attributed to variant readings because they do not add any new content in the Text of Quran”? The burden of proof is on the claimant. There are many minute differences in the variant readings of the Holy Quran that do not change the meaning of the Quran and cannot possibly be a scribal error simply because they are written in the exact same way, such as لكنَّ and لكنْ and غيرُ الله and غيرِ الله.
2- What is his proof for that? Most of the sahaba could not read or write, but they had superb memories. The Arabs were known for their extraordinary memory. A simple Arab Bedouin would memorise thousands of poems and would know not only their lineage by heart but that of their camels and horses as well. The primary method of safeguarding and preserving the Holy Quran during the time of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was through memory and oral transmission: they would learn the Holy Quran directly from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and memorise it.
(Ulum ul-Quran of Mufti Taqi Usmani: pg.177)
The sahaba did not do ijtihad for reading the Quran, they learnt it directly from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Then they taught it to others and they taught it to others etc. The scope of ijtihad is only in ijtihadi matters. The words of the Holy Quran is based on revelation and has no scope for ijtihad.
Finally, it does not behoove a Muslim to fabricate theories about the Quran, thereby possibly losing his iman in the process. Instead, one should study such matters under the tutelage of a qualified, expert teacher. Furthermore, one should not watch videos or listen to audios of those who cast doubts regarding the Holy Quran and other sensitive matters on which is the foundation of our iman, unless one is a well-grounded expert who does so in order to give answers to the doubts, silence the critics and preserve the truth.
And with Allah Ta'ala is all success.
Mufti Faizal Riza
Darul Ifta Australia
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