death.1 One man would read a verse one way, and another man another way, each saying that his reading was better than his neighbour's, and contending for the same; and there was change and interpolation, some copies having more and some less. When this was represented to Othmān, and the danger urged of division, strife, and apostacy, he thereupon caused to be collected together all the leaves and scraps that he was able, together with the copy that was written out at the first. But they did not interfere with that which was in the hands of Aly, or of those who followed his reading. Obey was dead by this time. As for Ibn Masūd, they demanded his exemplar, but he refused to give it up, and so Abu Mūsa was appointed governor of Kufa in his room.2 Then they commanded Zeid ibn Thābit, and with him Abdallah ibn Abbās (others say Mohammed, son of Abu Bekr), to revise and correct the text, eliminating all that was corrupt. Now both were young;3 and they were instructed, when they differed on any reading, word, or name, to follow the dialect of the Coreish. On many points they did differ. For instance, Zeid wrote Tābūh, and Ibn Abbās Tābūt. When the recension was completed, four exemplars were written

1  The sentence is remarkable, preceding as it does the notice of Othmān's recension, and also as plainly imputing to Aly a design prepense on the life of Othmān.

2  The deposition is true, but not the cause here alleged for it

3  Our Author is not accurate. At the Hegira, Zeid was eleven, and Abdallah six years of age; so at the era of Othman's recension they must have been thirty and thirty-five years old, respectively.


out in large text, and one sent to Mecca, and another to Medina. The third was despatched to Syria, and is to this day at Malatia (Melitene). The copy at Mecca remained there till the city was stormed by Abu Sarāya (that is, the last time the Kaaba was sacked, A.H. 200); he did not carry it away ; but it is supposed to have been burned in the conflagration. The Medina exemplar was lost in the reign of terror, that is, in the days of Yezīd ibn Muāvia. The fourth exemplar was deposited in Kūfa, then the centre of Islam and home of the Companions of the Prophet. People say that this copy is still extant there; but this is not the case, for it was lost in the insurrection of Mukhtār.1

"After what we have related above, Othmān called in all the former leaves and copies, and destroyed them, threatening those who held any portion back; and so only some scattered remains, concealed here and there, survived. Nothing remained to show the discrepancies which are known to have existed. It is said for example that Sura Nūr (xxiv.) used to be longer than Sura Bacr (ii),2 and that Sura Ahzāb (xxxiii.), is mutilated and incomplete; so also that there was originally no division between Sura Barāt (ix.) and Sura Anfāl (viii.), and accordingly we see that the invariable heading. In the name of God most Merciful, is wanting in the former. Similar is the case of the two 'Incantation Suras,3 of which Ibn

1  Mukhtār was slain in the rebellion here referred to, A.H. 67.

2  The longest Sura, in the Coran

3  The last two Suras, of only a line or two each.