The entire Quran was however also recorded in writing at the time of revela- tion from the Prophet’s dictation, may the blessing and mercy of God be upon him, by some of his literate companions, the most prominent of them being Zaid ibn Thabit.1 Others among his noble scribes were Ubayy ibn Ka’b, Ibn Mas’ud, Mu’awiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan, Khalid ibn Waleed and Zubayr ibn Awwam.2 The verses were recorded on leather, parchment, scapulae (shoul- der bones of animals) and the stalks of date palms.3
The codification of the Quran (i.e. into a ‘book form’) was done soon after the Battle of Yamamah (11AH/633CE), after the Prophet’s death, during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Many companions became martyrs at that battle, and it was feared that unless a written copy of the entire revelation was produced, large parts of the Quran might be lost with the death of those who had memo- rized it. Therefore, at the suggestion of Umar to collect the Quran in the form of writing, Zaid ibn Thabit was requested by Abu Bakr to head a committee which would gather together the scattered recordings of the Quran and pre- pare a mushaf - loose sheets which bore the entire revelation on them.4 To safeguard the compilation from errors, the committee accepted only material which had been written down in the presence of the Prophet himself, and which could be verified by at least two reliable witnesses who had actually heard the Prophet recite the passage in question5.Once completed and un- animously approved of by the Prophet’s Companions, these sheets were kept
1 Jalal al-Din Suyuti, Al-Itqan fee ‘Uloom al-Quran, Beirut: Maktab al-Thiqaafiyya, 1973, Vol.1, p.41 & 99
2 Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Al-Isabah fee Taymeez as-Sahabah, Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1978; Bayard Dodge, The Fihrist of al-Nadeem: A Tenth Century Survey of Muslim Culture, NY: Columbia University Press, 1970, p.53-63. Muhammad M. Azami, in Kuttab al-Nabi, Beirut: Al-Maktab al- Islami, 1974, in fact mentions 48 persons who used to write for the Prophet (p).
3 Al-Harith al-Muhasabi, Kitab Fahm al-Sunan, cited in Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Uloom al-Quran, Vol.1, p.58.
Saheeh Al-Bukhari Vol.6, Hadith Nos.201 & 509; Vol.9, Hadith No.301.
Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Fath al-Bari, Vol.9, p.10-11.