Q24:27 scribal error: A thorough analysis

Introduction and context

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At the end of the year 632 the Muslim leadership faced it’s first real theological challenge yet. During the Ridda Wars there was a bloody battle within the Rashidun Caliphate in the region of Al-Yamama between the forces of the Muslim leader Abu Bakr and Musaylimah, a self-proclaimed prophet. After this battle, a concerned Umar Al-khattab went to caliph Abu Bakr and lobbied for the Quran to be collected so that it could be preserved. His reasoning for this proposal was the fact that “a large number of Qurra” died in the battle and the fact that a verse was lost because the man who memorised it died. Abu Bakr was initially reluctant because he felt that if Prophet Muhammad did not do such a thing, then he certainly did not have the right to do so. He eventually however agreed to Umars idea and send for Zayd Bin Thabit to commission the project. Zayd like Abu Bakr thought he did not have the right to do so, but he also eventually agreed, saying however that it would be easier to move one of the mountains. He then scoured the community, looking for Physical fragments of Quran as well as the recitation “from the hearts of men”. After it was written down, it stayed with Abu Bakr until he died, then it went to Umar until he died, and then it went to Umars daughter Hafsa. However, this was by no means the end of the matter [1].

The second great challenge of the Muslim community in regards to the recitation came around 15 years later. During wars in Armenia and Azerbaijan, soldiers quarrelled about which recitation of certain verses was correct. At this point in time, different locations followed the readings of different people. In Syria and Damascus, they followed the reading of Ubai Bin kab. In Kufa they followed Abdullah bin Masud, and in Basra they followed Abu Musa Al-Ashari. The commander of the campaign, Hudayfa Ibn Yaman was horrified by this and lobbied the Muslim leader Uthman to standardise the text to eradicate differences and unify the community. Uthman agreed and had Hafsa send her the private copy made years earlier. Then a committee was formed led by Zayd Thabit and three men of the Qurayshi tribe (Muhammads tribe): Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr, Sayd bin Al-As and `Abdur-Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham. These men would write the Quran in a fully completed book form, and after this was done Uthman ordered that every variant Quranic reading be burned [2]. This went largely without issue, however Abdullah bin Masud rejected the standardised text and told the Kufan people to hide his reading from the government [3]. Codices were made from this master copy and were sent to the central mosques of different regions. However, not all was completely well after this.

As a lot of people should expect, not everyone was delighted or in agreement with the standard reading. Ibn Masud and the kufans as we have already mentioned refused the reading, which nearly led to civil war [4]. However most objections were never so public or threatening in nature, though there were disagreements with the standardised reading. One thing that burning Qurans can not achieve is the removal of the Quran “from the hearts of men” and this in turn allowed these variant readings ranging from whole surah differences [5], deletions [6], additions [7], word orders [8] and word changes [9] to live on, passed down by the followers of the readers. The most notable being Ubai Bin kab who died years prior to the standardisation, yet his readings are some of the most common in Muslim literature.

This article will deal with one example of these differences, and that is a simple word change. From the very beginning of the standardised readings existence, the Muslims were aware that it wasn’t written down absolutely perfectly. In fact Uthman himself in many traditions pointed out that there are errors but said “the Arabs will get it straight with their tongues” [10]. This statement of Uthman did indeed come true and in this article we shall look at an example of the Muslim community issuing a correction to a mistake in the standardised reading

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The Mistake and the correction

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The mistake and correction is by no means the only mistake recorded by the earliest Muslims by a long shot, but is probably one of the most frequently occurring in the Islamic literature, so by virtue of its common usage it seems appropriate to use this one.

The word of controversy can be found in chapter 24 verse 27 of the Quran, with the verse in question reading as follows (word in question highlighted):

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يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَدْخُلُوا۟ بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّىٰ تَسْتَأْنِسُوا۟ وَتُسَلِّمُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَهْلِهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

O You who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity and greet the inhabitants. That is better for you so that you may be mindful

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However, the emendation to the verse reads as follows:

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يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَدْخُلُوا۟ بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّىٰ تستأذنوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَهْلِهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

O You who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek permission and greet the inhabitants. That is better for you so that you may be mindful

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Here are those two words side by side

Hythem Sidky, the executive director of the International Qur’anic Studies Association endorsed the possibility of the standard reading being a scribal error, stating that “Anyone who has edited a pre-modern Arabic text certainly has come across similar textual corruption, or taṣḥīf. Both words bear a lot of similarity […]. All it would take is a momentary lapse for this to happen” [11]. Theodor Noldeke, Friedrich Schwally, Gotthelf Bergsträber and Otto Pretzl say that “some consider – not without likelihood” this variant to be correct [12]. Emory University associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies, Devin Stewart also endorses this idea and further adds that the correction makes more sense “because one would logically seek permission before entering; “familiarity” would only occur at a later stage, when one had already been invited in” [13].

I say that this proposition is incredibly possible to have occurred for both the reasons cited above: word similarly and a superior reading with the correction. It is further interesting to note that in verse 59 of the same chapter, the proposed correction is used [14]. The next hard evidence for this are the readings of the earliest Muslims

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The early Muslims VS the standard reading: sources and methodology

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The corrections given by the earliest Muslims come in the form of hadith. These reports follow a general pattern with the author of the book listing his informant for the statement who in turn listed his informant and so forth until you reach the originator of the statement. The methodology in this article for addressing this is fairly simple; each narrator in the “isnad” (the list of the informants) has been assessed by the hadith scholars to check how reliable they are in transmitting statements. For instance, whether they are reliable, whether they had bad memory, were liars, omitted their informant, etc and these assessments are recorded in various biographical books about narrators, and this will give us an idea about this. However many would argue that because of this we should discard all hadith with a narrator who has a poor reputation. This is not the way of approaching this issue whatsoever and will thus not be my approach. Rather, all narrations will be considered as having merit until there is a reason to say otherwise.

In my research on Quranic variants, I have come across countless examples of narrators who are considered liars and weak who actually were truthful in their transmissions of variants. And this article is certainly no exception to this as we shall soon see

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The Ocean that drowns the standard reading

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The first early Muslim I will look at here is the great companion Abdullah ibn Abbas (3bh-68) who is known in Islamic tradition as the founder of Quranic studies. He was known as “the interpreter of the Quran” by Abdullah bin Masud [15], “ocean of knowledge” [16] and “learned man of the Ummah”. The Islamic literature is full of statements of praise from the earliest Muslims [17], and prophet Muhammad himself according to tradition prayed to God to give him the “knowledge and interpretation” of the Quran [18].

The reading of تستأذنوا is recorded by Jalal Al-Din Al-Suyuti (d.911) in his Quran commentary Al-Durr Al-Manthur from Abdullah ibn Abbas (3bh-68) [19] who cites as his sources Abu Jafar Muhammad Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari (d.310), Sayd bin Mansur Al-Makki (d.227), Shu’ab Al-Iman by Ahmad b. Al-Husayn Al-Bayhaqi (d.427), Ibn Abi Hatim Al-Razi (d.327), Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Hakim al-Nishapuri (321-405) as well as the lost tafsirs of Abd b. Humayd Al-Samarqandi (170s-249) [20] and Muhammad b. Ibrahim Ibn Al-Mundhir Al-Naysaburi (d.318) [21], as Well as the lost Mukhtarah of Al-Diya’ Al-Maqdisi (537-643) [22] and the lost kitab Al-Mashahif of Ibn Al-Anbari (271-328).

The citation of Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari is in reference to his great tafsir, the Jami Al-Bayan [23]. In this tafsir work it records six different hadith going back to Ibn Abbas where he made his belief in the recitation of استأذنوا known. The first hadith from Al-Tabari is as follows:

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حدثنـي يعقوب بن إبراهيـم، قال: ثنا هشيـم، عن أبـي بشر، عن سعيد بن جبـير، عن ابن عبـاس، أنه كان يقرأ: «لا تَدْخُـلُوا بُـيُوتاً غيرَ بُـيُوتِكُمْ حتـى تَسْتَأْذِنُوا وَتُسَلِّـمُوا عَلـى أهْلِها» ​قال: وإنـما «تستأنسوا» وَهَمٌ من الكتاب

Yaqub bin Ibrahim Al-Abdi Al-Baghdadi (160-252) <– [24] Hashim bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95): Ibn Abbas read it “Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek permission and greet the inhabitants. He said “seeking familiarity” is a delusion in the book

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Sayd bin Jubayr had an exceptional reputation among the scholars, being cited in the canonical six. He was known as a leading first century Quran scholar and was considered by Ibn Abbas as an extension of his knowledge, indicated when Kufans would come to Ibn Abbas for Fatwa, he would say to them “Isn’t Sayd bin Jubayr among you?” because Sayd was a Kufan.[25]

Abu Bishr was universally accepted as a reliable transmitter and was even considered “the most reliable person transmitting from Sayd Jubayr” [26]. Hashim had a somewhat mixed reputation among the hadith scholars. Some deemed him trustworthy, while others said that while his hadith are authentic, the isnad is not because he committed Tadlis. [27]. Yaqub Ibn Ibrahim was universally deemed as a reliable transmitter, appearing in the 6 canonical hadith collections [28].

From this report alone we can see that Ibn Abbas does not agree with the reading of تستأنسوا. He instead reads تَسْتَأْذِنُوا and says تستأنسوا is a delusion وَهَمٌ in the completed reading project. The reason that تستأنسوا made it into the finished product instead of تَسْتَأْذِنُوا is explained in the next hadith from Al-Tabari:

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حدثنا ابن بشار قال ثنا محمد بن جعفر قال ثنا شعبة عن أبي بشر عن سعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس في هذه الآية { لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا } وقال إنما هي من خطأ الكاتب { حتى تستأذنوا وتسلموا

Bundar, Muhammad b. Bashar Al-Basri (167-252) <– Ghundar, Muhammad b. Jaffar Al-Basri (110-193) <– Shu’bah b. Hajjaj Al-Basri (82-160) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas about this verse ‘{Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity and greet the inhabitants}’. He said: ‘It is a mistake by the scribe. ‘{until you seek permission and greet}’.

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Shu’bah was universally accepted among the hadith scholars. He was one of the pioneers of the hadith movement in second century Iraq and heavily spoke against hadith fabrication [29]. Muhammad jaffar was the pre-eminent transmitter from Shu’bah. He studied with him for twenty years and wrote down all his reports and this book was the most authentic from Shu’bah. Ibn Mubarak (d.181) said: “if people disagreed about a Hadith from Shu’bah, the book of Ghundah would decide between them” [30]. Bashar for his part was a specialist in reports from Basra and collected reports from the area until his mother died. He was one of two of Tabaris most important teachers from Basrah, where we find the hadith and he had an excellent reputation as a Hadith scholar [31]. This is likely the most authentic chain of narration from Sayd bin Jubayr that exists.

This hadith unlike the first one specifies the exact reason for this opinion of Ibn Abbas. According to this tradition, a scribe who was writing down this particular passage for the final copy of the Quran made a mistake (خطأ) in writing down the word, so we got تستأنسوا written in the book instead of تَسْتَأْذِنُوا. Based on the fact that there are two informants that report this variant reading from Abu Bishr, we can certainly conclude that this reading was taught by Abu Bishr at the beginning of the second century at the latest as being a part of the recitation of Ibn Abbas. The next hadith from Al-Tabari also gives further information on why Ibn Abbas believed in تَسْتَأْذِنُوا.

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حدثنا أبو كريب، قال: ثنا ابن عطية، قال: ثنا معاذ بن سليمان، عن جعفر بن إياس، عن سعيد، عن ابن عباس ( حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا ) قال: أخطأ الكاتب، وكان ابن عباس يقرأ ” حَتَّى تَسْتَأْذِنُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا ” وكان يقرؤها على قراءة أُبيّ بن كعب

Muhammad B. Abu Qurayb al-Kufi (161-248) <– Ibn Atiyah <– Muadh bin Sulaiman <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas {until you seek familiarity and greet the inhabitants}. He said: it is a mistake by the scribe. Ibn Abbas recited “Until you seek permission and greet” and he used to recite it on the basis of the recitation of Ubai bin Ka’b.

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Muadh bin Sulayman had an absolutely appalling reputation among the hadith scholars. They all unanimously abandoned him [32]. Abu Qurayb however, had an excellent memory and was thus seen in a very positive light by the hadith scholars, appearing in the canonical six [33]. I am unfortunately unable to find an “Ibn Attiyah” who transmitted from Muadh and to Qurayb [34].

This hadith while being the only one to cite the reason for Ibn Abbas’ belief in تَسْتَأْذِنُوا, is not without merit. It is well known that Ibn Abbas studied Quran with Ubai Bin kab so this idea of Ubai as a source for this belief in تَسْتَأْذِنُوا is not actually that far-fetched. Assuming this hadith is true, then Ibn Abbas learnt تَسْتَأْذِنُوا from Ubai Bin kab presumably between Muhammads death and Ubais death between 639 and 642 [35]. Then when the canonisation happened years later, Ibn Abbas found that a scribe accidentally made a mistake and wrote تَسْتَأْنِسُوا instead. By this point however it was already canonised. The fourth hadith is as follows:

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َأْذِنُوابن بشار، قال: ثنا أبو عامر، قال: […] قال سفيان: وبلغني أن ابن عباس كان يقرؤها: “ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْذِنُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا ” وقال: إنها خطأ من الكاتب

Bundar, Muhammad Ibn Bashar Al-Basri (167-252) <– Sayd bin Amir Al-Basri <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161): I was informed that Ibn Abbas was reading it: “Until you seek permission and greet” and he said the scribe made a mistake

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Sufyan is a scholar of impeccable reputation, and was known as the man who brought a fountain of wealth in knowledge to Kufa, even having his own school of jurisprudence [36]. Sayd bin Amir Al-Basri was considered a righteous and truthful narrator, however some accused him of making mistakes in his transmissions [37]. This report is disconnected between Sufyan al-Thawri and Ibn Abbas as the former was born in 97 and the latter died in 68.

However, there are two other sources which gives us Sufyan al-Thawris informants for this statement of Ibn Abbas. The first can in fact be found in the manuscript tafsir of Sufyan al-Thawri himself [38]:

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سفين عن جابر عن مجاهد في قوله { لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتاً غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّىٰ تَسْتَأْنِسُواْ } قال، هو التنحنح، قال ابن عباس، أخطأ الكاتب ” حتى تستأذنوا “.

Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Jaber bin Yazid Al-Jaafi (d.128) <– Mujahid Ibn jabr Al-Makki (19-102): “Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity.” He said: clearing your throat. Ibn Abbas said its a mistake by the scribe. “until you seek permission.”

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Mujahid Jabr was a student of Ibn Abbas, he was a Qass and is reported to have said that he went through the entire Quran with Ibn Abbas three times, stopping to ask him about the occasion of revelation of each verse. It is likely here that Ibn Abbas told Mujahid about this mistake. He was extremely highly regarded in the field of tafsir, with Sufyan al-Thawri for instance saying: “If you get Mujahids tafsir, it is enough for you” [39]

Jabir Al-Jafi was viewed with disdain among the hadith scholars. They accused him of lying, weakness, confusion and abandoned him. The people who knew him however were more conflicted. Ayyub Sakhtani and Sufyan Uyaynah called him a “liar” but Sufyan al Thawri said “He is trustworthy and he was pious in hadith. I never saw more pious in hadith than him” and Shu’bah bin Al Hajjaj said “He is trustworthy, he is one of the most trustworthy people” [40].

The second informant of Sufyan al-Thawri is Abu Bishr, and this can be found in the hadith collection Al-Mustadrak by Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Hakim al-Nishapuri (321-405) [41]:

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حدثنا أبو علي الحافظ أنبأ عبدان الأهوازي ثنا عمرو بن محمد الناقد ثنا محمد بن يوسف ثنا سفيان عن شعبة عن جعفر بن إياس عن مجاهد عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما : في قوله تعالى : { لا تدخلوا بيوتا غير بيوتكم حتى تستأنسوا } قال : أخطأ الكاتب حتى تستأذنوا

Abu Ali Al-Nisaburi (277-349) <– Abdullah bin Ahmed bin Musa bin Ziyad Al-Ahwazi (216-306) <– Amr bin Ali Al Falas Al-Basri (160-249) <– Muhammad bin Yusuf bin Waqid bin Othman Al-Furyabi (120-212) <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Mujahid Ibn jabr Al-Makki (19-102) that ibn Abbas used to say about the statement of Allah ‘{do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity}’ He said: It is a mistake by the scribe’ (actually its) until you seek permission’’

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All of the scholars in the isnad are absolutely of impeccable reputation. Muhammad bin Yusuf was especially distinguished in his hadith from Sufyan al-Thawri [42]. Amr bin Ali Al Falas was extremely distinguished as well, appearing in the six canonical collectons. The only Hadith that were considered untrustworthy from him are his narrations from Yazid ibn Zura [43]. Abdullah bin Ahmed bin Musa and Abu Ali Al-Nisaburi had completely impeccable reputations among the scholars and were known to seek out hadith and were renowned for brilliant memory [44,45].

Al-Hakim al-Nishapuri after recording this hadith said “This Hadith is (Sahih) as per the conditions of the two Shaykhs although they have not recorded it”. On the top of it, Imam Dhahabi, in his abridged version of the collection named “Talkhis al-Mustadrak” commented on its authenticity and stated: “Its on the condition of Bukhari and Muslim” [41].

Based on the fact that this narrative is reported by another source from Mujahid Jabr (Jabir bin Yazid Al-Jafi and Abu Bishr) and that both of these men carry the same report from him, means that this should indeed be accepted as being taught by Mujahid Ibn Jabr in the second half of the first century.

With this in mind, we can now complete the isnad from the tafsir of Al-Tabari:

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Bundar, Muhammad Ibn Bashar Al-Basri (167-252) <– Sayd bin Amir Al-Basri <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Jaber bin Yazid Al-Jaafi (d.128) <– Mujahid Ibn jabr Al-Makki (19-102) <– Ibn Abbas (3bh-68).

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Or

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Bundar, Muhammad Ibn Bashar Al-Basri (167-252) <– Sayd bin Amir Al-Basri <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Mujahid Ibn jabr Al-Makki (19-102) <– Ibn Abbas (3bh-68).

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This statement from Mujahid b. Jabr from his teacher Ibn Abbas perfectly correlates with all the narratives reported from Sayd bin Jubayr. This allows us comfortably conclude that this indeed was understood by Ibn Abbas’ students to be a scribal error, and based on the birth date of Sayd Bin Jubayr in 45ah, we can also with certainty say that this would have been taught by Ibn Abbas probably between the year 55ah-68ah, over 30 years after the canonisation project.

The fifth hadith reads as follows:

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حدثنا محمد بن سعد، قال: ثني أبي، قال: ثني عمي، قال: ثني أبي، عن أبيه، عن ابن عباس، قوله: ( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا ) قال: الاستئناس: الاستئذان.

Muhammad b. Sa’d Al-Awfi Al-Baghdadi (d.276) <– his father: Sa’d b. Muhammad b. Al-Hasan al-Awfi Al-Baghdadi (d.220-230) <– his uncle: Al-Husayn b. Al-Hasan al-Awfi al-Kufi Al-Baghdadi (d.201) <– his father: Al-Hasan b. Attiyah Al-Awfi al-Kufi (d.187) <– his father: Attiyah b. Sa’d al-Awfi al-Kufi (before 61-111/127) <– Ibn Abbas said: {O You who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity and greet the inhabitants} he said: seeking familiarity: seeking permission

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Suyuti in the Durr cites this report from the tafsir of Al-Tabari as well as Sayd bin Mansur and the tafsir of Ibn Mardawayh. Whilst I am unable to find this report from Sayd bin Mansur [46] or Ibn Mardawayh, the isnad of the Al-Awfi family going to Ibn Mardawayh is known [47] and is the following:

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Ahmad b. Musa Ibn Mardawayh Al-Ishabani (323-410) <– Ahmad b. Kamil Al-Baghdadi (260-350) <–Muhammad b. Sa’d Al-Awfi Al-Baghdadi (d.276) <– his father: Sa’d b. Muhammad b. Al-Hasan al-Awfi Al-Baghdadi (d.220-230) <– his uncle: Al-Husayn b. Al-Hasan al-Awfi al-Kufi Al-Baghdadi (d.201) <– his father: Al-Hasan b. Attiyah Al-Awfi al-Kufi (d.187) <– his father: Attiyah b. Sa’d al-Awfi al-Kufi (before 61-111/127) <– Ibn Abbas

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None of the Al-Awfis were considered as reliable among the hadith scholars. Attiyah Al-Awfi was a Shia scholar in Kufa who according to tradition was given his name by Ali bin Talib himself. He was flogged for refusing to curse Ali. In hadith, he was considered weak by the vast majority of the scholars, and was massively criticised for his transmissions from the companion Sayd Khudri. He would report things on his authority that actually came from his student Muhammad b. Saib Al-Kalbi, a narrator of appalling reputation. For this, Ibn Hajar Asqalani declared this fraud as “Evil” [48].

Al-Hasan Attiyah was universally regarded by the hadith scholars as weak in hadith [49]. Al-Husayn b. Al-Hasan al-Awfi was deemed weak in hadith and narrated munkar hadith. They especially cited his narrations from Sulayman Al-Amash as example [50]. Sa’d b. Muhammad b. Al-Hasan al-Awfi was for his part denounced and considered weak. [51]

These descendants of Attiyah were certainly not scholars at all, they were in fact largely obscure figures. This makes it rather curious as to why they transmitted this tafsir report. In Tabaris tafsir, this isnad is used over 1500 times but these men were never recorded as ever teaching this tafsir of their ancestor Attiyah Al-Awfi. It would thus make sense to presume that these family members passed down this tafsir in written form [52] until it reached Muhammad b. Sa’d Al-Awfi Al-Baghdadi who is actually recorded as being a hadith scholar (though not one with a stainless reputation) [53].

It is then for this reason that this report and indeed all the others from the Al-Awfi family should be considered as genuine transmissions from Attiyah Al-Awfi.

Moving to Ibn Mardawayhs Isnad, the isnad is exactly identical up to Tabari, but instead of Al-Tabari Ahmad b. Kamil Al-Baghdadi, a prominent author of works Sirah and tafsir who was universally regarded as reliable among the hadith scholars [54].

The report itself is extremely brief and simply consists of the two readings (تَسْتَأْنِسُوا and تَسْتَأْذِنُوا)  in the noun form, next to each other. The noun form of تَسْتَأْذِنُوا which is الاستئذان was used after the noun form of تَسْتَأْنِسُوا implying that Ibn Abbas favoured تَسْتَأْذِنُوا. While it doesn’t give his reason for this, it can easily be explained by the other narrations from Ibn Abbas analysed above as him teaching people to “seek permission” or him teaching what is in his view the correct reading. It should of course be noted that this narration is unique to Attiyah Al-Awfi so the reliability of it word for word is questionable. However it does further show that both of these readings were discussed by Ibn Abbas in the early half of the first century. Tabaris final hadith from Ibn Abbas is as follows [55]:

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قال: ثنا هشيم، قال: أخبرنا جعفر بن إياس، عن سعيد، عن ابن عباس أنه كان يقرؤها: ” يأيُّها الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حتى تُسَلِّمُوا عَلى أهْلِها وتَسْتَأْذِنوا ” قال: وإنما تستأنسوا وهم من الكتاب.

Al-Qasim b. Hasan Al-Baghdadi (d.272) <– Al-Husayn b. Da’ud, Sunayd Al-Missisi (d.226) <– Hashem bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas read it: “O! You who believe, do not enter houses other than your own until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission” but “seeking familiarity” is a delusion in the book

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Sunayd Al-Missisi was the author of a tafsir book and had an uneven reputation among the scholars [56]. Tabari in his Tarikh has 32 reports from Sunayd, of which 29 are transmitted to Tabari by Al-Qasim, an obscure individual appearing in the works of Tabari as only transmitting from Sunayd [57]. The fact that Tabari chose such an obscure individual as a source from Sunayd, and the fact that the biographies don’t record Qasim transmitting from Sunayd implies that he possibly had a manuscript of Sunayds tafsir [58].

The main things to note about this narration is that it, much like the first narration we looked at contains the statement تستأنسوا being a “delusion in the book”.

The second thing to note is the fact that in this hadith, the word order of the verse has changed. Instead of “seek permission and greet their inhabitants” it is “greet the inhabitants and seek permission”. It seems highly unlikely to me that Ibn Abbas did actually believe in this inverted word order as all other sources up to this point use the standard order including the other hadith of Hashim. However, this is not the only instance where this word swapping occurs. It is in the recitations of 3 early Muslims, and this can also be traced to Ibn Abbas in the final hadith of Shuab Al-Iman by Bayhaqi.

The hadith of Al-Tabari alone provide a lot of information about the variant reading. Based on these alone it can be reasonably concluded that Ibn Abbas believed in تستأذنوا as was reported from three of his companions. We can also conclude that Abu Bishr taught this extensively to his students, but his students taught slightly different narratives that do not however affect the central point that Ibn Abbas believed in تستأذنوا and used it to correct the standard reading.

The third citation from Al-Suyutis Durr we are going to look at is that of Shu’ab Al-Iman by Ahmad b. Al-Husayn Al-Bayhaqi (d.427) [59]. There are 5 hadith from Ibn Abbas regarding this issue. The first is as follows:

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وأخبرنا أبو نصر ، قال : أنا أبو منصور ، قال : نا أحمد ، نا سعيد ، قال : نا أبو عوانة ، عن أبي بشر ، عن سعيد بن جبير ، عن ابن عباس قوله : حتى تستأنسوا وتسلموا على أهلها، قال ابن عباس : « الاستئناس : الاستئذان » هذا فيما أحسب مما أخطأت به الكتاب

Abu Nasr bin Qatada <– Abu Mansur Al-Abbas bin Al-Fadl Al-Harawi (d.372) <– Ahmed bin Najda Al-Harawi <– Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227) <– Abu Awanah, Al-Wadah bin Abdullah Al-Yashkar Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.176) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas regarding his saying: {until you seek familiarity and greet their inhabitants} Ibn Abbas said: seeking familiarity: seeking permission. It is in my opinion a mistake made in the book.

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Abu Awanna was seen with very high praise amongst the scholars, especially in the hadith from his book [60]. He in turn transmits to Sayd bin Mansur, the incredibly renowned tafsir and hadith scholar who authored his own extensive Sunan and tafsir book as briefly mentioned in the discussion of the tafsir of Al-Awfi [46,61]. However the other people in the isnad appear to be relatively unknown people, with only a mere few statements about them recorded by the hadith scholars at best. Abu Nasr was considered a generally unknown individual, most notable for being a source of Al-Bayhaqi [62]. Ahmed bin Najda was trusted [63]. Al-Abbas bin Al-Fadl Al-Harawi was seen positively by the hadith scholars [64].

This hadith adds another interesting element to this discussion. According to this particular narrative, Ibn Abbas says that it is his “opinion” that تستأنسوا is a mistake by a scribe, leading some to possibly argue that Ibn Abbas wasn’t completely against the reading of تستأنسوا because he wasn’t convinced that it was a scribal error.

However it could also be interpreted as him simply giving what was, in his opinion the most likely reason why this false (in his mind) reading of تستأنسوا appeared in the final copy instead of تستأذنوا. In my view based on what has been examined so far, this is the most likely and correct explanation.

The second hadith from Shuab Al-Iman is carried by the same Isnad but this time Sayd bin Mansur transmits from Hashim:

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قال : ونا سعيد ، قال : نا هشيم ، قال : نا أبو بشر ، عن سعيد بن جبير ، عن ابن عباس ، أنه كان يقرأ : ( لا تدخلوا بيوتا غير بيوتكم حتى تستأذنوا وتسلموا على أهلها ) وقال : إنما هو وهم من الكتاب .

Abu Nasr bin Qatada <– Abu Mansur Al-Abbas bin Al-Fadl Al-Harawi (d.372) <– Ahmed bin Najda al-Harawi <– Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227) <– Hashem bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95): <– Ibn Abbas, that he used to recite: {Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek permission and greet their inhabitants}  And he said: it is a delusion in the book.

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This hadith appears somewhat textually corrupt in that it says تستأذنوا was a delusion in the book. However we know this to be untrue and it contradicts all narrations so far. It would seem much more plausible to conclude that an explanation of him saying that تستأنسوا was what is included in the book dropped out of this report. This is evidenced by the fact that hadith 1 and 6 from Tabaris tafsir, both of which include Hashim Al-Qasim as a narrator that we looked at had ibn Abbas saying that تستأنسوا was in the book instead of his version: تستأذنوا.

The third hadith from Shuab Al-Iman is a bit different from the others in that it is carried by two different Isnads that diverge after Sufyan al-Thawri.

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أخبرنا أبو علي الروذباري ، قال : أنا إسماعيل بن محمد الصفار ، قال : نا عباس بن محمد الدوري ، قال : نا قبيصة بن عقبة ، قال : نا سفيان ، وأخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ ، قال : نا أبو علي الحافظ ، قال : نا عبدان الأهوازي ، قال : نا عمرو بن محمد الناقد ، قال : نا محمد بن يوسف ، قال : نا سفيان ، عن شعبة ، عن جعفر بن إياس وهو أبو بشر ، عن مجاهد ، عن ابن عباس ، في قوله عز وجل : «لا تدخلوا بيوتا غير بيوتكم حتى تستأنسوا» « قال : أخطأ الكاتب : حتى تستأنسوا ، إنما هي : تستأذنوا وتسلموا.

Al-Hassan bin Muhammad Al-Tusi <– Ismail bin Muhammad Al-Saffar Al-Baghdadi (247-341) <– Al-Abbas bin Muhammad Al-Douri (173-271) <– Qabisa bin Uqbah bin Muhammad bin Sufyan bin Uqbah bin Rabi`ah Al-Kufi (d.215) <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Shu’bah b. Hajjaj Al-Basri (82-160) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Mujahid Ibn jabr Al-Makki (19-102) on the authority of Ibn Abbas

And:

Abu Abdullah Al-Hafiz (336-430) <– Abu Ali Al-Nisaburi (277-349) <– Abdullah b. Ahmed bin Musa bin Ziyad Al-Ahwazi (216-306) <– Amr b. Ali Al Falas Al-Basri (160-249) <– Muhammad b. Yusuf b. Waqid b. Othman Al-Furyabi (120-212) <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Shu’bah b. Hajjaj Al-Basri (82-160) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Mujahid Ibn jabr Al-Makki (19-102) on the authority of Ibn Abbas

Regarding the Almightys saying: {Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity} it is a mistake by the scribe: until you seek familiarity, but it is: seek permission and greet.

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Regarding narrators for the first Isnad, Al-Abbas bin Muhammad Al-Douri was unanimously deemed trustworthy by the hadith scholars [65] as was Ismail saffar [66]. Al-Hassan bin Muhammad Al-Tusi seemed somewhat more unknown, but Dhahabi trusted him [67]. Qabisa was an extremely distinguished Hadith scholar, though some were concerned about his transmissions from Sufyan al-Thawri because he met him at a young age [68]. However the next hadith suggests that in this instance this is not an issue.

As for the second isnad, Al-Hafiz was, as the name suggests impeccable in reputation among the scholars [69]. The rest of the isnad is that which is found in Al-Hakims Al-Mustadrak discussed above. This actually helps in finding out where the wording of this report comes from because in Al-Mustadrak, the hadith says this “It is a mistake by the scribe (actually its) ‘seeking permission’’’. However this version says “it is a mistake by the scribe: until you seek familiarity, but it is: seek permission and greet”. This would imply that this is indeed the wording of the first Isnad.

The fourth hadith from Shuab Al-Iman is as follows:

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أخبرنا أبو الحسين بن الفضل القطان ، قال : أنا أبو سهل بن زياد القطان ، قال : نا يعقوب بن إسحاق المخرمي ، قال : نا أبو عمر الحوضي ، قال : نا شعبة ، عن أيوب السختياني ، عن سعيد بن جبير ، عن ابن عباس ، في هذه الآية : «حتى تستأنسوا وتسلموا على أهلها» . قال : إنما هي : حتى تستأذنوا ، ولكن سقط من الكاتب.

Abu Al-Hussein bin Al-Fadl Al-Qattan Al-Baghdadi (335-415) <– Abu Sahl bin Ziyad Al-Qattan Al-Baghdadi (259-350) <– Yaqoub bin Ishaq Al-Makhrami (d.281-290) <– Abu Omar Al-Houdhi Al-Basri (d.225) <– Shu’bah b. Hajjaj Al-Basri (82-160) <– Ayoub b. Kaysan Al-Sakhtiani Al-Basri (68-131) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas regarding his verse: {Until you seek familiarity and greet their inhabitants}. he said: and it is ” until you seek permission” but it fell from the book

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Ayyub Al-Sakhtiani was considered one of the people of knowledge of hadith. The biographies are littered with statements of praise from him, and Shubah Al-Hajjaj even called him the master of jurists and Muslims [70], Abu Omar for his part was impeccable in reputation among the scholars [71], as was Abu Al-Hussein [72]. Abu Sahl’s reputation was mostly positive [73], but Yaqub is an entirely unknown figure among the scholars [74].

This narrative also has a unique element to it. Instead of him saying that the reading of تستأنسوا accidentally made it into the book, he says تستأذنوا was dropped. Its a tiny detail that does not affect anything whatsoever but it should definitely be noted.

The last hadith from Shuab Al-Iman is as follows:

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أخبرنا أبو سعيد بن أبي عمرو ، قال : نا أبو العباس الأصم ، قال : نا محمد بن الجهم ، قال : نا الفراء ، قال : حدثني حبان ، عن الكلبي ، عن أبي صالح ، عن ابن عباس ، قال : ( حتى تستأنسوا ) وتستأذنوا ، وقال : « هذا مقدم ومؤخر » ، إنما هو : حتى تسلموا وتستأذنوا ، تقول : « السلام عليك ، أدخل ؟ »

Muhammad bin Musa bin Shathan Al-Nisaburi (D.421) <– Abu Al-Abbas Al-Asamm Al-Nisaburi (247-346) <– Yahya bin Ziyad Al-Farra Al-Kufi Al-Baghdadi (d.207) <– Hibban b. Ali Al-Kufi (d.171) <– Muhammad b. Al-Saib Al-Kalbi Al-Kufi (d.146) <– Abu Salih Badham Al-Kufi (d.110-120), on the authority of Ibn Abbas: {Until you seek familiarity}: “and Seek permission“, And he said: “this comes last” so it is: until you greet and seek permission. You say:” assalamualaikum, can I enter?

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Most of Abu Salihs reports were tafsir based, and he is recorded as being the author of a tafsir book. He was seen terribly by the hadith scholars, and there even exists a report to one of his students where he says his transmissions are lies [75].

Kalbi was a very controversial figure as Shahab Ahmed notes on page 163 of his book “before orthodoxy” quoting Harris Birkeland: “It is a notorious fact that numerous interpreters who had not achieved a fame in other branches of religious sciences, viz. in hadit or Qira’a or fiqh, but were only known as interpreters, were held as unreliable. Characteristic is the verdict of Ibn Sa’d … on Muhammad b al-Sa’ib Al-Kalbi (d. 146), the great authority of pre-Islamic genealogy and history. Ibn Sa’d admits that he is ‘Alim in these branches and Tafsir. However, he was held to be “very weak,” daif giddan, in his transmission, riwaya … He is even called a liar and an unbeliever” [76].

The vast majority of the hadith scholars condemned Hibban as a weak and abandoned narrator, though some said he was at least sincere [77]. Yahya Ibn Ziyad for his part was considered trustworthy and sincere by them [78]. Muhammad bin Musa [79] and Abu Al-Abbas Al-Asamm [80] had absolutely stainless records among the scholars.

This hadith starts off in perfect parallel with the vast majority of these hadith so far. Ibn Abbas said تستأذنوا instead of تستأنسوا, but then the report expands more on what arrangement the verse should come in. In the standard recitation it is “seek familiarity” first and greet last. Ibn Abbas simply says “seek permission” is last and then gives his updated version of the verse, then telling people the way to seek permission. This hadith, is most likely incorrect when it talks about the word order. However, it does clearly show that this narrative of Ibn Abbas believing in تستأذنوا was taught likely by Abu Salih Al-Kufi at the end of the first century.

The fourth citation from Al-Suyutis Durr we are going to look at is that of the tafsir of Ibn Abi Hatim Al-Razi (d.327) [81]. In this tafsir work there exists two hadith on this issue. One coming from an entirely different source in the authority of Ibn Abbas and the other being extremely helpful in finding a source for a particular unique statement in these narratives. The first hadith is as follows:

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حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، ثنا أَبُو صَالِحٍ، حَدَّثَنِي مُعَاوِيَةُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ ابْنِ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَوْلَهُ: لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا يَقُولُ: حَتَّى تَسْتَأْذِنُوا.

Muhammad bin Idris Ibn Hatim Al-Razi (195-277) <– Abdullah b. Salih Al-Misri (137-223) <–  Muawiyah b. Salih Al-Himsi al-Andalusi (d.158) <– Ali b. Abi Talha Al-Walibi al-Himsi (d.143) <– Ibn Abbas: {Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek familiarity}. He said: Until you seek permission

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Talha had a rather uneven reputation among the hadith scholars in terms of reliability. He never actually met Ibn Abbas, however he is believed to have heard from students of Ibn Abbas [82, 83]. Most considered Muawiyah b. Salih to be acceptable in hadith with the exception of Yahya Qattan who denounced him [84]. Abdullah b. Salih was very mixed among the scholars with some saying he is righteous, trustworthy and sincere. Others however said he mixed up hadith and some accused him of lying [85]. Despite this though, this isnad from Ibn Abbas was considered extremely authoritative and reliable, being cited in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari and scholars like Ahmad Hanbal saying it is worth going to Egypt for the sole reason of studying it. Muhammad bin Idris Ibn Hatim was the father of Ibn Abi Hatim and had an absolutely immaculate reputation amongst the scholars [86].

Whilst this summary report needs nothing much said about it, it does further confirm that the recitation of تَسْتَأْذِنُوا by Ibn Abbas was well known and accepted in the first century. The next hadith is as follows:

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حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ الْحَسَنِ الْهِسِنْجَانِيُّ، ثنا مُسَدَّدٌ، ثنا أَبُو عَوَانَةَ عَنْ أَبِي بِشْرٍ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَوْلَهُ: حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا قَالَ: هُوَ فِيمَا أَحْسَبُ مِمَّا أَخْطَأَتْ بِهِ الْكُتَّابُ، الاسْتِئْنَاسُ: الاسْتِئْذَانُ

Ali bin Hassan Al-Hasanjani Al-Razi (d.275) <– Musaddad bin Musarhad Al-Basri (d.228) <– Abu Awanah, Al-Wadah bin Abdullah Al-Yashkar Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.176) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas: until you seek familiarity. He said: It is in my opinion a mistake made in the book, seek familiarity: seek permission.

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Ali bin Hassan Al-Hasanjani was seen as truthful in his transmissions by Ibn Hatim himself [87], while Musaddad was universally recognised as truthful by the hadith scholars, being known as the first to compile Al-Musnad in Basra [88].
This hadith allows for a likely explanation as to the origin of the words “It is in my opinion a mistake made in the book”. So far we have found hadith with 4 informants from Abu Bishr; Shubah, Muadh, Hashim and Abu Awannah. Abu Awannah is in the isnad for two of these hadith and both of them have this extra sentence, while none of the narrations from Shubah, Muadh and Hashim do. Based on the fact that the informants from Abu Awannah are different in both hadith, we can either conclude that this statement was a mistake (or deliberately inserted) by him, or that this is indeed how it was taught to him by Abu Bishr.

Suyutis final extant source is the Sunan of Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227) [89], which we briefly discussed in the discussion on Shuab Al-Iman. In this text it contains two reports on the matter, one from Hashim and one from Abu Awanah via Abu Bishr <– Sayd bin Jubayr <– Ibn Abbas.

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حدثنا سعيد قال : نا أبو عوانة ، عن أبي بشر ، عن سعيد بن جبير ، عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنه ، في قوله عز وجل { حتى تستأنسوا و تسلموا على أهلها } ، قال إبن عباس : الاستئذان ، فيما أحسب مما أخطت به الكتاب .

Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227) <– Abu Awanah, Al-Wadah bin Abdullah Al-Yashkar Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.176) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas may God be pleased with him, in the saying of the Almighty, “Until you seek familiarity and greet their inhabitants” Ibn Abbas said: seeking permission, in my opinion this is a mistake in the book

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And:

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حدثنا سعيد، قال نا هشيم، قال : نا أبو بشر ، عن سعيد بن جبير، عن إبن عباس أنه كان يقرأ :” لا تدخلوا بيوتا غير بيوتكم حتى تستأذنوا على أهلها و تسلموا ” و قال انها وهم من الكتاب .

Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227) <– Hashem bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95): <– Ibn Abbas, that he used to recite: {Do not enter houses other than your own until you seek permission and greet their inhabitants}  And he said: it is a delusion in the book.

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Not much needs to be said about these narrations in their content other than what has already been discussed.

However given that Sayd bin Mansur was considered exceptionally reliable and wrote down his report, and the fact that his narrations correlate with all other narrations from Abu Awanah and Hashim, one is encouraged to accept that these transmissions are indeed genuine from both Abu Awanah and Hashim.

Furthermore, one is also encouraged, because of the striking similarities, to accept the citations from Sayd Bin Mansur in Shuab Al-Iman with the isnad Abu Nasr bin Qatada <– Abu Mansur Al-Abbas bin Al-Fadl Al-Harawi <– Ahmed bin Najda al-Harawi as indeed being genuine transmissions from Sayd bin Mansur [90].

The last source that I could find, and this was not mentioned in Al-Suyutis Durr, is the manuscript tafsir of Yahya b. Sallam Al-Basri Al-Qayrawani (d.200). Yahya b. Sallam was born in Basra and it is here he took the report from Ashath bin Sayd Al-Rabi Al-Basri, before he travelled to Qayrawan and Egypt where his tafsir became influencial.

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حَدَّثَنِي أَشْعَثُ، عَنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ أَبِي وَحْشِيَّةَ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ: أَخْطَأَ الْكَاتِبُ، حَتَّى تَسْتَأْذِنُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا

Ashath bin Sayd Al-Rabi Al-Basri <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95) <– Ibn Abbas said: it is a mistake by the scribe. {Until you seek permission and greet their inhabitants}

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Ashath bin Sayd had a terrible reputation amongst the hadith scholars because in their eyes his memorisation was appalling [91]. However in this particular instance it seems he was correct as this narration perfectly corroborates authentic narrations on this issue.

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Summary and conclusion

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All hadith from Ibn Abbas regarding chapter 24 verse 27 are fundamentally agreed on the fact that Ibn Abbas recited تَسْتَأْذِنُوا in place of the standardised reading of تَسْتَأْنِسُوا. The fact that 5 of his students transmitted this makes it almost impossible to say anything other than Ibn Abbas did indeed do so.

However there are of course other details included in different reports. There are 6 of these all together.

The first is the swapped word order, which appears only in the narration of Abu Salih and one of the three reports from Hashim. This is undoubtedly an untrue attribution to Ibn Abbas, as the other two reports from Hashim keep the standard word order intact. The standard word order is also quoted from him via Shubah and Muadh from Abu Bishr, as well as the reports from Mujahid Jabr. It is highly unlikely that these people would forget such an important detail.

The second is the statement that Ibn Abbas’ source for the reading was Ubai. This is likely untrue too as this is completely unique to one report, a report with an isnad that is completely unique and never seen again.

The third is the statement that the standard reading was a delusion in the book. This statement is completely unique to Hashim from Abu Bishr, making it a single strand transmission.

The fourth is the statement that the variant reading was omitted from the book. This is unique to the Ayyub Sakhtiani transmission from Sayd bin Jubayr, making it again a single strand transmission.

The fifth is the saying “in my opinion it is a mistake in the book”. This is unique to the transmissions from Abu Awannah. Making it also a single strand transmission.

The sixth is the statement “it is a mistake by the scribe”. This statement is must more stronger than the others as it is multiply attested too. It appears in the transmission of Muadh, Astath and Shubah from Abu Bishr (as well as Abu Awannah if you discount his addition). It is also in the transmissions from Mujahid Jabr as both Abu Bishr and Al-Jafi quote it from him. It is also i the most reliable chain of transmission from Sayd bin Jubayr. It seems likely that this is indeed a true statement of his.

It should be noted also that none of the five other details in anyway conflict with this statement that it is a scribal error.

Another interesting thing to note is that two of Ibn Abbas’ students taught this variant reading on their own authority. Sayd Bin Jubayr for instance is recorded as doing so in Tabaris tafsir:

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حدثنا ابن المثنى قال ثنا وهب بن جرير قال ثنا شعبة عن أبي بشير عن سعيد بن جبير بمثله غير أنه قال: إنما هي {حتى تستأذنوا} ولكنها سقط من الكاتب.

Muhammad b. Al-Muthanna Al-Basri (167-251) <– Wahab bin Jarir Al-Basri (130-206) <– Shu’bah b. Hajjaj Al-Basri (82-160) <– Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125) <– Sayd bin Jubayr the same but he added: ‘It is supposed to be {until you seek permission} but it fell because of the scribe

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Ibn Al-Muthanna is universally deemed reliable, appearing in the canonical six collections [92] while Wahab b. Jarir was universally accepted by the hadith scholars as reliable [93].

Another follower of Ibn Abbas who believed in this reading was Ikrimah Al-Barbari Al-Basri. This report can be found in Kitāb al-nāsikh wal-mansūkh by Abu Jaʿfar An-Nahhas (d.338) [94]:

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كما قرئ على عبد الله بن أحمد بن عبد السلام ، عن أبي الأزهر ، قال : حدثنا روح ، عن عثمان بن غياث ، عن عكرمة ، ( حتى تستأنسوا قال : « حتى تستأذنوا »

Abdullah bin Ahmed bin Abd al-Salam Al-Nisaburi (d.294) <– Ahmed bin Al-Azhar Al-Abdi (D.261) <– Rawh bin Ubadah Al-Basri (d.205) <– Uthman bin Ghayath Al-Basri <– Ikrimah: until you seek familiarity. he said: “until you seek permission”

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Uthman b. Ghayath was seen positively among the scholars, almost universally agreed that he was sincere and trustworthy [95]. Rawh was seen incredibly highly by them [96]. Al-Ahzar was much the same as Uthman Ghayath [97] while Abdullah was for the most part completely unknown [98].

The fact that this reading is attributed to Ibn Abbas by 5 different students of his shows that the idea that the Quran could indeed contain a scribal error was seen by the earliest Muslims as something that was entirely possible and a potentially common phenomenon.

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Kufa says Poofa to the standard reading

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I briefly mentioned Ibn Masud and the kufan stance on the canonisation project of Uthman in the introduction, however I do feel like some more context surrounding this event is needed. Ibn Masud is perhaps one of if not the Greatest of the companions when it comes to Quran. He was always by Muhammads side [99], acquiring first hand knowledge of the revelations and knew 70 surahs when Zayd Thabit was a boy [100]. Muhammad told his people to learn the Quran from him as well [101].

When the project took place Ibn Masud, who was the leading Quran scholar of Kufa and was extremely popular addressed the population of Kufa, telling them to reject the standard reading saying, among other things: “So conceal the manuscripts! I like it better to read according to the recitation of him whom I love more than that of Zayd bin Thabit.” [102] And: “I had heard seventy Surahs from the tongue of the Holy Prophet, shall I leave all those things that I had obtained from the tongue of Holy Prophet? [100]”

Uthman wrote to him after this sermon, calling for him to follow the standard reading for what he described as the greater good, and for unifying the community and not having disagreements [103].

He agreed and left Kufa to go to Uthman in order to make peace. As he was leaving the people of Kufa were incredibly upset at this news, and pleaded with him to not go and that they would protect him from the Uthman government. He refused and gave his reasoning to Kufa as “I owe him my obedience and there will be conflicts and tribulations and I do not want to be the one that starts them.” [104]

Ibn Masud was very clear with his words that the only reason he capitulated to the government is for the purpose of unity and to prevent a civil war, not that he thought that the Uthman Quran was correct.

The reports after this differ slightly but have the same central narrative. Ibn Masud went to Uthman in the prophets mosque, was insulted by Uthman, words were exchanged and Uthman had him violently thrown out where he had ribs broken. He was banned from leaving Medina and his pension was severed for the rest of his life. He died around the age of 60 in medina.

Despite the burning by Uthman and the capitulation of Ibn Masud, the kufans still used his readings for years after the Uthman rescension. As such, many of his readings survived through hadith transmission throughout the centuries via the kufan students of Ibn Masud and Kufan Quran scholars, and his reading of Q 24:27 is no exception to this.

In this version ascribed to him it states “Until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission”, whereas the standard reading is “Until you seek permission and greet the inhabitants”. Suyuti in the Durr cites three sources recording this reading. One from Al-Tabaris tafsir, one from Bayhaqis Shuab Al-Iman and the third from Sayd bin Mansurs Sunan. Sayd bin Mansurs narration is as follows [89]:

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حدثنا سعيد، قال : نا هشيم ، قال نا مغيرة ، عن ابراهيم، قال : ” في مصحف عبد الله :” حتى تسلموا على أهلها و تستأذنوا” .

Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227) <– Hashem bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183) <– Muhammad bin al-Mughira Al-Kufi (82-159) <– Ibrahim Al-Nakha’i Al-Kufi (50-96): In Abdullah’s Quran: until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission” .

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Ibrahim Nakhai held a remarkably high standing overall in Kufa and was known as the jurist of the people of Kufa and the mufti of the people of Kufa. A prominent transmitter of variant readings of Ibn Masud, he and the rest of the Kufan children were taught the codex at Quran school alongside what is now the standard recitation [105]. It is for the reason that Ibrahim never met Ibn Masud directly, instead learnt his reading from the education system, that his citations were rejected by the hadith scholars [106]. Al-Mughira for his part was considered to be reliable among the hadith scholars, with the exception of some criticisms from his transmissions from Al-Zuhri [107]. The second hadith from Bayhaqis Shuab Al-Iman is as follows [59]:

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أخبرنا أبو نصر بن قتادة ، قال : أنا أبو منصور العباس بن الفضل النضروي ، قال : نا أحمد بن نجدة ، قال : أنا مغيرة ، عن إبراهيم ، قال : في مصحف عبد الله : « حتى تسلموا على أهلها ، أو تستأذنوا »

Abu Nasr bin Qatada <– Abu Mansur Al-Abbas bin Al-Fadl Al-Harawi (d.372) <– Ahmed bin Najda al-Harawi <– [Sayd bin Mansur Al-Balkhi Al-Makki (d.227)?] <– [Hashem bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183)?] <– Muhammad bin al-Mughira Al-Kufi (82-159) <– Ibrahim Al-Nakha’i Al-Kufi (50-96), he said: In the mushaf of Abdullah: “Until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission.”

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Once again, as seen in the narrations from Shuab Al-Iman we have the isnad of Abu Nasr bin Qatada <– Abu Mansur Al-Abbas bin Al-Fadl Al-Harawi <– Ahmed bin Najda al-Harawi. The isnad as it stands is completely impossible however as it would be impossible for Ahmed bin Bajda to have met Al-Mughira. But judging from the fact that these men were transmitters of the other narrations on this topic from Sayd bin Mansurs Sunan, it seems very likely they also transmitted this one. Thus the full isnad can now be completed

The final hadith from Al-Tabari is as follows [23]:

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حدثنا القاسم، قال: ثنا الحسين، قال: ثني هشيم، قال: أخبرنا مغيرة، عن إبراهيم، قال: في مصحف ابن مسعود: ” حَتَّى تُسَلِّمُوا على أهْلِها وَتَسْتَأْذِنُوا “.

Al-Qasim b. Hasan Al-Baghdadi (d.272) <– Al-Husayn b. Da’ud, Sunayd Al-Missisi (d.226) <– Hashem bin Bashir bin Al Qasim bin Dinar Al-Baghdadi (104-183) <– Muhammad bin al-Mughira Al-Kufi (82-159) <– Ibrahim Al-Nakha’i Al-Kufi (50-96): in the mushaf of Ibn Masud: “Until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission”.

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All three are agreed upon the fact that Ibn Masud recited “Until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission”. Based on the fact that there are 2 divergences from Hashim, it is reasonable to accept that he taught this in the second half of the second century as constituting the reading of Ibn Masud. However to date anything earlier than that is difficult with this information alone, as Hashim reportedly never even met Mughira Al-Kufi thus making the origin of the reading rather dubious.

However, Tabari in his tafsir, alongside Ibrahim Nakhais citation of the Ibn Masud codex, also records a narration from Ibrahim Nakhai himself about his recitation of the verse. It also has the inverted word order, implying that he certainly was influenced by Ibn Masuds reading [23]:

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حدثنا ابن حميد، قال: ثنا يحيى بن واضح، قال: ثنا أبو حمزة، عن المغيرة، عن إبراهيم، قوله: ( لا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ ) قال: حتى تسلموا على أهلها وتستأذنوا.

Muhammad b. Humayd Al-Razi (160-248) <– Yahya bin Wahid al-Ansari <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Muhammad b. al-Mughira Al-Kufi <– Ibrahim Al-Nakha’i Al-Kufi (50-96): (Do not enter houses other than yours) He said: Until you greet the inhabitants and seek permission

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Yahya bin Wahid was seen with very high praise among the hadith scholars [108]. His student Muhammad b. Humayd was one of Tabaris main teachers in Rayy, the latter studying with him primarily for his transmissions of Ibn Ishaqs Sirah. He had a mixed reputation with the hadith scholars, with Darqutni, Tirmhidi and Ahmad Hanbal believing him to be reliable, however the scholars of Rayy said: “if he (Ahmad hanbal) knew him as we did, he would not have spoken well of him”. He was accused of attaching matns to isnads when they are not meant to be and accused of lying about studying with the students of Ibn Ishaq [109]. I should note that in my own research, I have found Humayd to accurately transmit hadith material, such as the satanic verses incident and the Quran variant in chapter 62 verse 9

But that’s not all. This inverted word order also appears in Quranic manuscript form in the lower Sanaa palimpsest. This manuscript had A radiocarbon analysis done and dated the parchment of one of the detached leaves sold at an auction, and hence its lower text, to between 44bh and 49ah with a 95% aaccuracy [110]. B. Sadeghi & U. Bergmann concluded that the text belonged to the period of the companions of Prophet Muhammad [111].

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حتى تسلموا على اهلها و تستئذنوا

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The evidence for the reading of تستأذنوا in kufa continues to grow with another hadith from Al-Tabari recording the opinion of another early Kufan reader, Sulayman Al-Amash [23]. Sulayman Al-Amash was the primary student of Ibrahim Al-Nakhai in Kufa and was described as “the heir of the pre-Uthmanic reading of Ibn Masud” by Shady Naseer [112]. He was well known to follow Ibn Masuds readings and remarked when he came to Kufa “the reading of Zayd was not amongst you, except as the reading of Abdullah which is more prevalent with you today: no-one read it (the reading of Zayd) except one or two men” [113]. Amash was among the the fourteen readers and has a high reputation among the Hadith scholars, appearing regularly in the canonical collections [114].

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َأْذِنُوابن بشار، قال: ثنا أبو عامر، قال: ثنا سفيان، عن الأعمش أنه كان يقرؤها: ” حَتَّى تَسْتَأْذِنُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا ”

Bundar, Muhammad Ibn Bashar Al-Basri (167-252) <– Sayd bin Amir Al-Basri <– Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161): Al A’ mash used to read it: “Until you seek permission and greet”

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Al-Amash further reveals his source for this reading in the tafsir of Sufyan al-Thawri Al-Kufi [38]:

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سفين عن الأعمش قال، كان أصحاب عبد الله يقرءونها { حتى تستأذنوا وتسلموا على أهلها}

Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161) <– Sulayman Ibn Al-Amash Al-Kufi (61-148): The companions of Abdullah recited it {until you seek permission and greet its inhabitants

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Al-Amash was known to have met and transmitted from all of the companions of Ibn Masud, a list of which was given by Ibn Mujahid in his book on Qiraat [115]:

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.و اما اهل الكوفة فكان الغالب على المتقدمين من اهلها قراءة عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه لأنه ( هو) الذي بعث به اليهم عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله تعالى عنه ليعلمهم، فاخدت عنه قراءته قبل أن يجمع عثمان رضي الله تعالى عنه الناس على حرف واحد ،ثم لم تنزل في صحابته من بعده ياخدها الناس عنهم . كعلقمة ، الاسود ، بن يزيد، مسروق بن الاجدع ، زر بن جيش ، ابى وائل ، ابى عمر ، الشيباني ، عبيدة السلماني

And most of the people of kufa were adherents of abdullah ibn masuds (May god be pleased with him) reading, because the one who sent him to them was Umar Ibn Al-khattab (May god be pleased with him) so he could teach them. So his reading was taken before Uthman ibn affan’s gathering of the people around one letter. After him, many of the scholars came after him (and followed his reading). The scholars were Alqama, Al-Aswad, Ibn Yazid, Masruq Ibn Al-Ajda, Zirr Bin Hubaysh, Abu Wael, Abu Umar, Al-Shaybani, Ubaydah Al-Salmani

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Based on what has been recorded above, it is hard not to conclude that the reading of تستأذنوا was indeed used by the Kufan population in the first and early second century based on the reading of Abdullah bin Masud.

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Other Tabis who read تستأذنوا

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So far we have recorded the reading of تستأذنوا in the readings of 4 different Tabis: Al-Amash, Ibrahim Nakhai, Sayd bin Jubayr and Ikrimah as well as the companions of Ibn Masud of which there were many. However the Islamic sources record the readings of two more Tabis that we have not yet mentioned.

The first is Qatadah bin Diamah Al-Basri. Qatadah was considered to be one of the most important important mufassirs of the first century. He was a Qass, known for his brilliant memory and his work was regularly cited upon by tabari (3000+ times), ibn Hatim (1200+ times) and others [116].

There are three sources that give the reading of Qatadah. The first is from the manuscript tafsir of Abd al-Razzaq Al-Sanani (d.211) known as MS Ankara, Saib 4216:

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حدّثنا عبد الرزاق، قال: أنبأنا معمر، عن قتادة في قوله تعالى: { حَتَّىٰ تَسْتَأْنِسُواْ }: قال: تستأذنوا وتسلموا

Abd Al-Razzaq b. Hammam al-San’ani (126-211) <– Ma’mar B. Rashid Al-Basri Al-San’ani (95-153) <– Qatadah b. Di’amah Al-Basri (60-117): in the Almighty’s verse: {Until you seek familiarity}. he said: seek permission and greet.

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All individual reports in the manuscript start with Abd al-Razzaq Al-Sanani, however the manuscript is as a whole transmitted by his student Salamah Ibn Shabib Al-Makki, making this full isnad as Follows:

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Salamah Ibn Shabib Al-Makki (d.247) <– Abd Al-Razzaq b. Hammam al-San’ani (126-211) <– Ma’mar B. Rashid Al-Basri Al-San’ani (95-153) <– Qatadah b. Di’amah Al-Basri (60-117)

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There is another manuscript tafsir of his named MS Dar Al-Kutub, Tafsir 242. This tafsir has the same initial isnad as MS Ankara, Saib 4216 with the addition of Muhammad ibn abd Al-Salam Al-Khushani Al-Qurtubi. With this addition in the isnad, the variant moves to spain [117]. Sadly I am not aware of this report appears in this manuscript as well.

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Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Salam Al-Khushani Al-Qurtubi (221-286) <– Salamah Ibn Shabib Al-Makki (d.247) <– Abd Al-Razzaq b. Hammam al-San’ani (126-211) <– Ma’mar B. Rashid Al-Basri Al-San’ani (95-153) <– Qatadah b. Di’amah Al-Basri (60-117)

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Mamar was one of Qatadahs most prominent students and studied with him age 15 [118]. Abd al-Razzaq was a student of Mamar during his time in Yemen and was known as “the leading scholar of Yemen” and was held in mostly high regard by the hadith scholars [119]. Harold Motzki argues that the works of Abd al-Razzaq are sources of authentic traditions from the first Hijri century, stating that the wholesale rejection of hadith literature “deprives the historical study of early Islam of an important and useful type of source. [120]” Both Salamah and Qurtubi were seen very highly by the hadith scholars [121,122].

This narration from Abd al-Razzaqs tafsir is further bolstered in its reliability by another transmission of the tafsir of Abd al-Razzaq, this time found in the tafsir of Al-Tabari [23]:

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حدثنا الـحسن بن يحيى، قال: أخبرنا عبد الرزاق، قال: أخبرنا معمر، عن قَتادة: { حتـى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا } قال: حتـى تستأذنوا وتسلِّـموا

Al-Hasan bin Yahya bin Ja’d Al-Jurjani Al-Baghdadi (d.263) <– Abd Al-Razzaq b. Hammam al-San’ani (126-211) <– Ma’mar B. Rashid Al-Basri Al-San’ani (95-153) <– Qatadah b. Di’amah Al-Basri (60-117): (until you seek familiarity) He said: Until you seek permission and greet

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Al-Hasan was one of the most important transmitters of Abd al-Razzaqs tafsir and was Tabaris main source for the work, appearing over 1000 times in his tafsir [123]. The fact that these two reports are exactly the same yet diverge after Abd al-Razzaq Al-Sanani, means with almost certainly that this was indeed taught by Abd al-Razzaq in the mid second, to early third century.

The third narration from Qatadah comes from Al-Bayhaqi Shuab Al-Iman with a variant chain of transmission [59]:

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أخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ ، قال : نا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب ، قال : نا يحيى بن أبي طالب ، قال : أنا عبد الوهاب بن عطاء ، قال : أنا سعيد هو ابن أبي عروبة ، عن قتادة ، في قوله عز وجل : ( لا تدخلوا بيوتا غير بيوتكم حتى تستأنسوا ، قال : « هو الاستئذان » . وقال قتادة في بعض القراءة : ( حتى تستأذنوا )

Abu Abdullah Al-Hafiz (336-430) <– Abu Al-Abbas Muhammad bin Yaqoub Al-Nisaburi (247-346) <– Yahya bin Abi Talib Al-Baghdadi Al-Wasiti (180-275) <– Abdul Wahhab bin Ata’a Al-Baghdadi (d.204) <– Sayd Ibn Arubah Al-Basri (d.156) <– Qatadah b. Di’amah Al-Basri (60-117), in the saying of the Almighty: {Do not enter houses than your own until you seek familiarity} he said it is seek permission. And he said: Qatadah said in some readings it is: until you seek permission.

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Sa’id b. Abi ‘Arubah was one of the first scholars to compile a collection of prophetic hadith according to subject matter. He had a generally high reputation as a hadith scholar until he lost his memory near the end of his life. Although averse to writing down hadith, he is reported to have made a point of writing down the tafsir of Qatadah. Yahya b. Ma’in considered him the most reliable of Qatadahs students [124].

Abdul Wahhab bin Ata was generally seen as acceptable among the hadith scholars. He was especially noted much like his teacher for writing down reports and was considered by Ahmad Hanbal as “one of the most knowledgeable people in the hadith of Sa’id b. Abi ‘Arubah” [125]. Yahya bin Ali Talib had a rather mixed reputation, with some finding him acceptable and others called him weak. Musa bin Harun Al-Hamal however called him a liar [126].

From these two reports coming from two different students of Qatadah, we can make a fair conclusion that this variant was indeed used by Qatadah in the first century. There are a couple possibilities about where he got this reading from. The first is Ibn Masuds reading, he was an incredibly common and renowned transmitter of Ibn Masuds reading in Basra [127]. The second is from the local population, as many people who followed this reading and taught it were Basrans including Ikrimah Al-Barbari, Abu Bishr, Shu’bah b. Hajjaj, Ayoub Al-Sakhtiani and Al-Astath.

The second Tabi is Yahya ibn Abi Kathir Al-Basri (d.129), and this can be found in the manuscript tafsir of Abd al-Razzaq Al-Sanani (d.211), MS Ankara, Saib 4216:

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حدّثنا عبد الرزاق، عن معمر، عن يحيى بن أبي كثير، في قوله تعالى: { حَتَّىٰ تَسْتَأْنِسُواْ }:، قَالَ: هو الاستئذان.

Abd Al-Razzaq b. Hammam al-San’ani (126-211) <– Ma’mar B. Rashid Al-Basri Al-San’ani (95-153) <– Yahya ibn Abi Kathir Al-Basri (d.129): {Until you seek familiarity}, he said: It is seek permission.

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Ubai Bin kab

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Ubai Bin kab has been briefly mentioned already in this article as a possible source of the reading of Ibn Abbas as well as his codex in Syria. However what I haven’t mentioned is that Ubais status in the field of Quran rivals Ibn Masud. He was one of the four that Muhammad told his people to learn the Quran from, he was Muhammads secretary and was commanded by Allah to recite recitation to Muhammad. In short his status is huge [128].

Suyuti in his Dur al Manthur [19] cites three sources where Ubai reads تستأذنوا but sadly they are all lost. Ibn Mundhirs tafsir as well as Ibn Humayds are gone, or at least this portion is, and I can not find this report in Ibn Shaybahs surviving work:

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وأخرج ابن أبي شيبة وعبد بن حميد وابن المنذر عن عكرمة قال: هي في قراءة أبي { حتى تسلموا وتستأذنوا }.

Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abd bin Hamid and Ibn Al-Mundhir narrated on the authority of Ikrimah, who said: It is in the recitation of Ubai {until you greet and seek permission}.

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In contrast to the narration from Tabari on the reading of Ubai, this version flips the word order much Iike Ibrahim Nakhai and his citation of Ibn Masud as well as the lower Sana’a text. Speaking of the Sana’a manuscript, there is one other manuscript which may have contained تَسْتَأْذِنُوا.

It is Wetzstein 1913 where the reading of تستأنسوا is the result of a modification. The only bit of that word that looks original is تستـ…وا, meaning that the section that would make تَسْتَأْذِنُوا is removed. We can’t be 100% sure if تَسْتَأْذِنُوا is the original, but from what we’ve seen it is fairly likely as Stated by Hythem Sidky [11]:

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I don’t know of any other manuscript attesting tastaʾdhinū. However, Wetzstein 1913 looks like it *might* have at some point, but we can’t be certain. Clearly (tastaʿnisū) is the result of modification. The تستـ…وا looks original but there is an erasure in the middle.

Radiocarbon analyses of folios combinedly date the codex to 662–765 CE with 95.4% probability, with that range being broken down into a 72.8% probability that it dates to between 662 and 714 CE and a 22.6% probability that it dates to between 745 and 765 CE, making it from tlthe second half of the first century to the beginning of the second century AH [129].

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Conclusion

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Despite the unfortunate loss of much literature on this variant to the companions we still have enough source material to draw a substantive conclusion about the variant reading.

First, it is undoubtedly early first century, even going as far as the time that Muhammad was alive. The evidence for this is the Sanaa manuscript dated from 44bh-49ah which includes the reading, as well as the absolutely unwavering opinion of Ibn Abbas who said that this was a correction for a scribal error that took place in the Uthman standardisation project around the year 26ah. Thus, it is not an unreasonable proposition to say that this reading stretches back even further, possibly to Muhammads time as Ibn Abbas was 13 when Muhammad died, meaning that he could have learnt it straight from him.

Ibn Masud is another piece of evidence that this is early first century. Undoubtedly he learnt this reading straight from Muhammad himself and carried it to Kufa after he died, where he taught it and it became engrained in the Kufan recitation for centuries, being carried on by his loyal companions. Kufans who followed and promoted this reading in Hadith reports include Sayd bin Jubayr Al-Kufi (45-95), Qabisa bin Uqbah bin Muhammad bin Sufyan bin Uqbah bin Rabi`ah Al-Kufi (d.215), Sufyan Al-Thawri Al-Kufi (97-161), Sulayman Ibn Al-Amash Al-Kufi (61-148), The companions of Abdullah Ibn Masud, Muhammad b. al-Mughira Al-Kufi, Ibrahim Al-Nakha’i Al-Kufi (50-96), Yahya bin Ziyad Al-Farra Al-Kufi (d.207), Hibban b. Ali Al-Kufi (d.171), Muhammad b. Al-Saib Al-Kalbi Al-Kufi (d.146)Abu Salih Badham Al-Kufi (d.110-120), Attiyah b. Sa’d al-Awfi al-Kufi (before 61-111/127) and Muhammad B. Abu Qurayb al-Kufi (161-248).

This reading also appeared dominant in Basra, appearing here in the second half of the second century at the latest. Followers and transmitters of this variant include: Yahya ibn Abi Kathir Al-Basri (d.129), Abi Bishr Jaffar b. Wahshiyyah Al-Wasiti Al-Basri (d.125), Bundar, Muhammad b. Bashar Al-Basri (167-252), Ghundar, Muhammad b. Jaffar Al-Basri (110-193), Shu’bah b. Hajjaj Al-Basri (82-160), Ikrimah Al-Barbari Al-Basri (d.105), Amr bin Ali Al Falas Al-Basri (160-249), Abu Omar Al-Houdhi Al-Basri (d.225), Ayoub b. Kaysan Al-Sakhtiani Al-Basri (68-131), Sayd Ibn Arubah Al-Basri (d.156), Qatadah b. Di’amah Al-Basri (60-117), Ma’mar B. Rashid Al-Basri (95-153), Rawh bin Ubadah Al-Basri (d.205), Uthman bin Ghayath Al-Basri, Muhammad b. Al-Muthanna Al-Basri (167-251) Wahab bin Jarir Al-Basri (130-206), Musaddad bin Musarhad Al-Basri (d.228), Abu Awanah, Al-Wadah bin Abdullah Al-Yashkar Al-Basri (d.176) and Ashath bin Sayd Al-Rabi Al-Basri.

Based on all this, it is not at all unlikely whatsoever that تَسْتَأْذِنُوا is completely correct and that the reading of تَسْتَأْنِسُوا is a scribal error canonised by accident in the year 25ah.

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Sources:

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[1] Sahih-Bukhari: USC-MSA web (English) reference Vol, 6, Book 61, Hadith 509

[2] Sahih-Bukhari: USC-MSA web (English) reference Vol, 6, Book 61, Hadith 510

[3] Ibn Sa’d’s, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p.444, Siyar alam al-nubala vol. 1, p.487

[4] “The people (of Kufa) gathered around him (Ibn Masud) and told him “Stay and do not go. We will protect you from anything that might harm you.” And he said: “I owe him my obedience and there will be conflicts and tribulations and I do not want to be the one that starts them.” Quoted from Siyar a`lam al-nubala vol. 1, p.489 by Dhahabi

[5] Ibn Masud for instance rejected Surah 113 and 114. See Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari vol.8, p.74

[6] In Quran 4:101 Ubai Bin kab for example had “if you fear” removed in his codex. See Jami Al-Bayan by Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari vol. 5 p.331

[7] For instance, in Quran 33:6 the words “and he is their father” was removed from the standardised reading but exists in companion codices of Ubai Bin kab and Ibn Abbas (Tafsir Qurtubi vol. 14 p. 123) and Ibn Masud (tafsir Nasafi vol. 3 p.394)

[8] In Quran 24:25 Ibn Masud, Ubai Bin kab and Muawiyah bin Haida had a changed word order which resulted in the extra words “Allah the just”. See Tabaris Jami Al-Bayan vol. 18, p.141 and Suyutis Al-Durr Al-Manthur 6/167

[9] The early Muslims favoured reading “go to” the Friday prayer instead of “Hasten to”. Examples include Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Zubayr, Abu Aliyah, Ubai Bin kab, Umar and Ibn Umar. See my work “Quran 62:9: A universally unpopular Quranic reading

[10] Tafsir Qurtubi, Vol.11, p. 212

[11] Sadly he deleted his Twitter account so the information and threads on the topic are lost

[12] “The consonantal errors in the uthmanic text” in “The history of the Quran”, edited and translated by Wolfgang H.Behn, pg. 390.

[13] “Notes on medieval and modern Emendations of the Quran” by Devin Stewart. From “The Quran in its historical context” by Gabriel Sayd Reynolds, pg 230-231 (Note: Devin Stewart in his work incorrectly attributes this variant to Ibn Hatim Al-Razi)

[15] Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Madhkal ila al-Sunan al-Kubra 126

[16] Al-Mustadrak vol. 5, p. 277

[17] Al-Bidayah wa’n-Nihayah vol. 12, p.78-81 by Ishmael Ibn Kathir; Ibn Sa’ds At-Tabaqat al-Kubra vol.2, p. 283; al-Isabah fi Tamyiz as-Sahaba vol.4, p. 125, Al-Majmu‘ al-Mughib by Abu Musa al-Madini vol.2, p. 450 and an-Nihayah by Ibn al-Athir vol.3, p.240

[18] Fath Al-Bari 1/385-386, Translated by Khalid Williams (English)

[19] Dur al Manthur, Vol 5, p. 38

[20] The relevant portion of this tafsir work has unfortunately not survived, however a fragment of it does exist. It covers Quran 3:1 and ends at 4:176 (see here). As a sidenote, the text of this manuscript corresponds closely to Suyutis citations of the tafsir in the Durr, meaning that this reference of the reading of recitation of from Ibn Abbas did indeed appear in this work

[21] Like Abd b. Humayds tafsir, the relevant portion of this tafsir work has unfortunately not survived, however a fragment of it does exist which covers Quran 2:272 – 4:92. Suyutis citations of Ibn Mundhir also correspond with the manuscript, meaning this did indeed appear in his work.

[22] There is a manuscript of parts of this work also dated to Maqdisis lifetime. However to my knowledge this report does not feature in it. Maqdisi in his book cites reports from previous works which contains Sahih reports that weren’t mentioned in Bukhari or Muslim. However on occasion he cites reports that seem authentic but do have a weakness and lets it be known. See Shahab Ahmad “before orthodoxy”, pages 224-225.

[23] Al-Tabari, Jami Al-Bayan, vol. 18, p. 145-146. Tabari before quoting the narrations on the topic says “People of the interpretation disagreed on that. Some of them said that it’s right interpretation is: “O! You who believe, do not enter houses other than your own until you seek permission”. Curiously, the vast majority of the reports Tabari mention are not interpretation at all as we shall soon see. For Al-Tabaris understanding, teaching and opinion on variant readings of the companions and followers, see “The transmission of variant readings of the Quran” by Shady Hekmat Nasser, p. 43-47.

[24] This <– is a transmission director. In this example, Hashim transmitted the report to Yaqub, or if you prefer: Yaqub received it from Hashim.

[25] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.4, p.321-343 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.4, p.11-14

[26] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.5, p.465-466 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.5, p.83-84

[27] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 30, p.280-288

[28] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.12, p.141-142

[29] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.7, p.202-228 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.4, p.338-346. G.H.A Juynboll argued that Shubahs opposition to hadith fabrication made him fabricate the prophetic hadith “Who lies about me deliberately, let him prepare his seat in the fire”. See “shu’ba al-Hajjaj and his position among the traditionalists in Basra” by G.H.A Juynboll in le museon p. 187-296.

[30] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.9, p.98-102 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.9, p.96-98

[31] Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.9, p. 70-73

[32] Ibn Udays Al-Kamil Al-Du’afa vol. 4, p.228-238

[33] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.11, p.394-398 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.9, p. 385-386

[34] I cannot find the isnad Abu Qurayb <– Ibn Attiyah <– Muadh Sulayman in any other place in any book of any genre. Even looking up the Isnad online will always send you to this passage in Tabaris Jami Al-Bayan

[35] “The Quran under the caliph Uthman” in “The history of the Quran”, edited and translated by Wolfgang H.Behn, pg. 254. The most reliable date of Ubai Bin kabs death is 642/22, which was stated by Ubais family as found by Al-Waqidi. Later dates include 650/30 or 652/32 but these are considered forgeries for the sake of plausibility that he contributed to the canonisation project of Uthman

[36] Kitab wafayat Al-Aeyan by Ibn Khalkan vol. 2, p. 386-391

[37] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.8, p.114

[38] This copy of Sufyans tafsir is generally considered to be third century, though this is uncertain

[39] Shahab Ahmad “before orthodoxy”, page 192.

[40] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 4, p.467-470

[41] Mustadrak al Hakim Vol.3, p.253 Hadith 3496

[42] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.10, p.114-118

[43] Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.14, p.117

[44] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.7, p.104

[45] Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.8, p.622

[46] Hadith 17 and 18 are from the Sunan of Sayd bin Mansur, however this narration cited by Suyuti is not. However, Sayd bin Mansur was not only the author of a Sunan, but he was a tafsir author as well and certainly this hadith would fit this genre. While Suyuti in vol. 1, p. 14 of the Durr cites his the Sunan as his source of Sayd bin Mansurs work, he says in his Al-Itqan vol. 1, p.18 that the tafsir a part of the Sunan. Furthermore, Suyutis citations of Sayd bin Mansur sometimes do not exist in the version of Sayd bin Mansurs Sunan we have today, meaning that a fuller version of the work with much more tafsir was in circulation during Suyutis time but is now lost. Al-Thalabi, it should be noted, cites in his Mufassiru Sharq, p. 47 a tafsir of Sayd bin Mansur with a totally different chain of narration to what we have today.

[47] See for instance Badr Al-Din Al-Aynis Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari vol. 7, p. 100.

[48] Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.7, p. 224-226, Imam Sakhavis Fath al-Mughith vol.3, p.210, Ibn Hajars Tabqat Mudallisin vol 1, p.50. For translated quotes from the hadith scholars and a response to those who authenticated him see this article.

[49] Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.8, p. 524

[50] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.9, p.395-396

[51] Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.9, p. 126-127

[52] Shahab Ahmad “before orthodoxy”, page 192. This Tafsir of Attiyah Al-Awfi was one of the sources of the tafsir giant Muqatil Sulayman (d.150) and was cited in the tafsir of Abdullah bin wahb (d.197), meaning that Attiyah Al-Awfi was almost certainly the author, but it became well known again when a descendant of the author, Muhammad b. Sa’d took interest in the field of hadith and transmitted it to two tafsir scholars: Tabari and Ahmad Kamil.

[53] Darqutni thought him to be okay, Al-Baghdadi said he was weak. Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.5, p. 322-323 and Dhahabis Mizan vol.3, p.560

[54] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.15, p.544-446 and Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.4, p. 358

[55] The narration previous to this one was from Ibn Masud and included the initial link Al-Qasim <– Sunayd. However after Hashim it diverged. It is likely that both are actually carried by Al-Qasim <– Hussain but Tabari is quoting where it diverges from Hashim only. To take the isnads as literal would make them impossible.

[56] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.10, p.627-628 and Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.8, p. 42-43

[57] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.13, p.158 and Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.12, p. 432-433

[58] Evidenced by the fact that he is not recorded as meeting Sunayd

[59] Shuab Al-Iman Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya – Beirut, First Edition, 1410. Vol. 6 p. 437

[60] Alaa Al-Din Mughlatis Kitab iikmal tahdhib Al-Kamal vol. 12, p. 214-219

[61] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.10, p.586-590 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.4, p. 89-90

[62] kitab “‘iithaf almurtaqi” bitarjumat ma-shaykh al-bayhaqi by Mahmoud Al-Nahal p. 365-369

[63] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.13, p.571

[64] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 16, p. 311

[65] Alaa Al-Din Mughlatis Kitab iikmal tahdhib Al-Kamal vol. 7, p. 214

[66] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 15, p. 440-441

[67] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 17, p. 219

[68] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 23, p.481-490

[69] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.9, p. 468

[70] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.6, p.15-25 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.1, p. 397-399

[71] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.5, p. 556

[72] Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.3, p. 44 and kitab “‘iithaf almurtaqi” bitarjumat ma-shaykh al-bayhaqi by Mahmoud Al-Nahal p. 440-443

[73] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.7, p. 886

[74] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.6, p. 854

[75] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.5, p. 37-38 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.1, p. 416-417

[76] Kalbi was famous for tafsir and it was well received during his time and after. However the hadith scholars hated him and was frequently called a liar. Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.9, p. 178-181

[77] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.4, p. 598

[78] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.5, p. 141

[79] kitab “‘iithaf almurtaqi” bitarjumat ma-shaykh al-bayhaqi by Mahmoud Al-Nahal p. 500-503. He was in fact most renowned for his transmissions from Abu Al-Abbas Al-Asamm Al-Nisaburi.

[80] al-kitab al-muetad fi tarikh al-muluk wal’umam by Ibn Al-Jawzi vol.14, p. 113

[81] Tafsir Ibn Hatim vol. 8, p. 2566 hadith number 14344, 14345

[82] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 20, p.490-494

[83] Islamweb Fatwa 281764 Scholars generally think that the link between Talha and Ibn Abbas is Mujahid Jabr and/or Sayd bin Jubayr. However, this has little basis and this report does not match the narrations already discussed from either of the two.

[84] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 7, p. 159-162

[85] Kitab Al-Kawakib Al-Niyrat by Ibn Al-Kayyal vol.1, p.480-481

[86] https://islamweb.net/ar/library/index.php?page=bookcontents&ID=2526&bk_no=60&flag=1

[87] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.6, p. 578

[88] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 10, p. 591-595

[89] Sunan Sayd bin Mansur vol. 6, p.409

[90] Abu Nasr was mostly unknown, but his entry praises him as a transmitter of Sayd bin Mansurs work

[91] Ibn Udays Kitab Al-Kamil fi-Duefa al-Rijal vol. 2, p.48-52

[92] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 12, p. 123-126 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.9, p. 425-427

[93] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 31, p.121-124

[94] Kitāb al-nāsikh wal-mansūkh vol. 2, p. 1, hadith 400

[95]http://hadith.islam-db.com/narrators/5548/%D8%B9%D8%AB%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%86-%D8%BA%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AB

[96] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 9, p.238-245

[97] Tahdib Al-Kamal by Abu Hajjaj Al-Mazzi vol. 1, p.255-261

[98] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 14, p. 88-89

[99] Sahih-Bukhari: USC-MSA web (English) reference Vol, 5, Book 57, Hadith 107

[100] Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 4, p. 88 Hadith 3929 and Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.1, p. 487

[101] Sahih-Bukhari: USC-MSA web (English) reference Vol, 5, Book 57, Hadith 104

[102] Ibn Sa’d’s, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p.444

[103] al-Bidaya wal al-Nihaya vol.7, p.244 by ibn Kathir: “And Uthman wrote to him, calling him to follow the Companions in what they have agreed was for the greater good, and unifying the community and not having disagreements. So he relented and agreed to follow and to let go of dissent, may Allah be pleased with them all”

[104] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol.1, p. 489

[105] sharh Mukhtasar Al-Tahawi by Al-Jassas vo.7, p.405-406

[106] Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari vol.8, p.492

[107] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 7, p. 139-149

[108] Ibn kathirs kitab al-Takmil fi aljurh waltaedil wamaerifat wal-thiqat wal-daeif wal-majhul vol. 2, p.295-296

[109] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 11, p. 503-506, Ibn Udays Kitab Al-Kamil fi-Duefa al-Rijal vol. 6, p.274-275, Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.9, p.127-131.

[110] “The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qurʾān of the Prophet” by Sadeghi & Bergmann 2010, p. 348

[111] ibid, p. 344-347

[112] “The transmission of variant readings of the Quran” by Shady Hekmat Nasser, p. 57.

[113] Kitab Al-Saba’a by Ibn Mujahid, page 67

[114] Dhahabis Tarikh Al-Islam vol.3, p. 883-888

[115] Kitab Al-Saba’a by Ibn Mujahid, page 66

[116] Shahab Ahmad “before orthodoxy”, page 167.

[117] Abd al-Razzaqs tafsir was still being transmitted in Spain in the sixth century. Al-Ishbilis Fahrasah p. 54-56

[118] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 7, p. 5-18 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.10, p. 243-246

[119] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 9, p. 563-580 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.6, p. 310-315

[120] “The Muṣannaf of ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Sanʿānī as a Source of Authentic Aḥādīth of the First Century A. H” by Harald Motzki.

[121] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 12, p. 256-257 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.4, p. 146-147

[122] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 13, p. 459-460

[123] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 12, p. 356-357 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.2, p. 324-325

[124] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 6, p. 413-418 and Ibn Hajars Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib vol.4, p. 63-66

[125] Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad vol.12, p. 276-281

[126] Dhahabis Siyar a’lam Al-Nubula vol. 12, p. 620

[127] For instance, he transmitted Ibn Masuds reading of ووصَّى in place of وقضى (Tabaris Jami Al-Bayan, vol.17 p.414). See also Abd al-Razzaqs tafsir for Q62:9 and Q18:25 for further examples.

[128] MATERIALS FOR THE HISTORY OF THE TEXT OF THE QUR’AN: THE OLD CODICES by Arthur Jeffrey, p. 114-116

[129] Kodex Wetzstein II 1913 – A Qur’ān Located At Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, From 1st / 2nd Century Hijra — Islamic Awareness

26 thoughts on “Q24:27 scribal error: A thorough analysis

  1. Excellent Work. I came across your platform through Abdullah Samier (The ex-muslim) and I never regret this knowing this website.
    Keep the good work.
    Much love from Lagos, Nigeria.

    Like

      1. sorry for misspelled name. Sameer.

        Also, I’m not claiming he mentioned you. It was on his twitter account comment session where someone share your link. Sorry I didn’t make it clear in my comment.

        Like

  2. It turns out “seek permission” is just a widespread tafsir of the verse among the early muslims
    ☝🏼☝🏼☝🏼Debunked ☝🏼☝🏼☝🏼

    Like

    1. Where and who debunked it

      Give your evidence

      I know you Muslims throw away your sources when it expose you.

      Both Quran and haddith and TAFSIR are bunch of scam ever existed.

      You are dupe by Arab who want to make money from your visit to hajj.

      The tawheed Mohammed called you to is the one that will make the Arabs submit to the Quraish and for non Arabs pay jizya to them. (says Mohammed Abdullah Ibn of Muttah)

      Like

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