The journey of the Quran, which began to be revealed to Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan in 610, in its original form to the present day is a characteristic that none of the previous sacred books have.
The companions of Prophet Muhammad, who were great people, played an important role in the compilation of the Quran, leaving an interesting story behind.
During the 23 years of Muhammad's time as a prophet, the verses of the Quran were memorized as they were revealed, and about 42 scribes wrote the verses on different materials such as paper, cloth, bone fragments and leather.
In ancient times, literacy was a skill that few people had and Muhammad himself did not know how to read or write.
During the time of Caliph Abu Bakr, when 70 people who knew the Quran by heart (qari), were killed in the Battle of Yamama, Umar ibn al-Khattab became concerned and appealed to Abu Bakr in order to compile the Quran into a book.
Abu Bakr formed a delegation under the leadership of Zaid ibn Thabit, one of the leading scribes.
This delegation of 12 people, including famous figures such as Uthman ibn Affan, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talha ibn Ubaydullah, Abdullah ibn Masood, Ubayy ibn Kab, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Hudhaifah and Saleem, came together in Umar's house and collected all the materials on which verses from the Quran were written.
In addition, the verses memorized by the companions were heard as well. Each of them was asked to show two witnesses for the verse they read.
Thus, all the verses of the Quran that describe the creation of the universe and people, judgment day, exemplary stories of the people who lived before and the beliefs, worship, morals and legal bases that believers should obey were collected together into a single-volume book. Each of the verses was taught by the archangel Gabriel and declared by Prophet Muhammad. The verse is the name given to each sentence of the Quran and the surah is the name given to each part of the holy book. There are 6,236 verses, 114 surahs and about 323,000 letters in the Quran.
Saeed ibn al-Aas, who was renowned for the beauty of his handwriting, wrote them down on gazelle skin. The writing used was the Arabic script of the time, which was already old and used commonly at that time in Hejaz.
The companions reached a consensus that this writing, which was used by Prophet Ismail in Hejaz, is the writing of Muslims.
The copy of the Quran was recited to the companions at a general meeting. There was no objection. So, a book called "mushaf" emerged, which means written verses.
A total of 33,000 companions agreed that every letter of the Quran was in the right place. Then this mushaf was sent to Umar ibn al-Khattab. After his death, this book passed on to Hazrat Hafsah, the daughter of Umar and a wife of Prophet Muhammad.
Dialect of Quraysh
A difference was observed in the recitation of the Quran in the Armenia battles between Muslims from Damascus and Iraq during the period of the third caliph, Uthman.
Hudhaifah, one of the companions, went before the caliph on his way back from an expedition and asked him to prevent this.
On the 25th year of the hijra (647), Uthman gathered a delegation attended by Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, Saeed ibn al-Aas and Abd al-Rahman ibn Harith under the leadership of Zaid ibn Thabit. All of them, except for Zaid, were from Quraysh. Uthman said that the dialect of Quraysh should be preferred if they were to fall into conflict with Zaid regarding the dialect, since Muhammad was from the Quraysh tribe. The Quran had been revealed in seven dialects of the Arabic language of the time.
The first Muslims who were literate could easily read the writing of their own language, but somewhat differently, since at the time the Arabic script did not have diacritical marks to differentiate letters or vowel symbols.
For example, those from the Tameem tribe pronounced the letter "sin" as "te" and read the word "nas" as "nat." It was diverse and convenient, and did not change the meaning.
The delegation brought the original mushaf from Hafsah. In this mushaf, the surahs were not separated from each other. The surahs were sorted according to the order of their descent in Ali's manuscript and according to their lengths in the manuscript of Abdullah ibn Masood.
Now the verses were written in the Quraysh dialect. The surahs were arranged in rows, separated from each other regarding their length and alignment with each other. The order of the surahs was not based on the order the archangel Gabriel gave them to Prophet Muhammad, but on the consensus of the companions.
The old copies were destroyed to prevent future conflicts. Because of this, there are some Shia sects that accusing Uthman of changing the Quran.
From the new copy, some mushafs were also written on parchment and sent to different places such as Bahrain, Damascus, Basra, Kufa, Yemen and Mecca, accompanied by a qari. There are also rumors that copies were sent to Egypt and Jazeera.
The copy that stayed with the caliph was called al-Mushaf al-Imam (the head mushaf). There is no difference between the mushafs recited around the world today since they were all copied from original copies.
Thus, the Quran was written during Muhammad's lifetime, while its compilation was done during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and it was copied during the caliphate of Uthman.
Uthman also established special schools for the correct recitation and writing of the Quran. During the caliphate of Ali, saw the introduction of diacritical marks. During the time of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik, vowel marks were also added.
Since then, countless Muslims have memorized the Quran. In the month of Ramadan, the entire Quran is recited in the Tarawih prayer at the Kaaba. Even the slightest mistake can stand out to Muslims who know it well from all around the world.
Some of these first seven mushafs have disappeared over time. Today, in Topkapı Palace and the Museum of Turkish-Islamic Arts in Istanbul, there are mushafs from Uthman and Ali's period. One of them was handwritten by Uthman, and the other two by Ali.
While the copy in Egypt was in the Mosque of Amr ibn al-Aas, it was presented to Ottoman Sultan Selim II and brought to Topkapı Palace after the conquest of Egypt.
Some claim that this is in fact the copy from Medina and that the last survivor of the Abbasid family took it with him while escaping to Egypt from the Mongol massacre. It is said that due to a blood-like stain on it, this is the mushaf that Uthman read while he was martyred.
Other mushafs belonging to the first period of Islam are displayed in Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the British Library in London, Hast Imam Library in Tashkent and other museums.
A newly opened museum in Mecca also features verses of the Quran written on bones and stones. The verses written on rocks and stones in the seventh century in Arabia have also survived to the present day.