Question: I would like to ask a question about the Riwāyah of Ḥafṣ from Imām ʿĀṣim. Is this the first Qirāʾah (Reading) of the Qurʾān? Why is it more prevalent in the world than the other Readings? Is it the most grammatically eloquent of the Readings, or is it the easiest? Is this the Reading that was recited by the Companions the most? Why is the Riwāyah of Shuʿbah not as prevalent, since he was also a transmitter from Imām ʿĀṣim?
Answer by Shaykh Muḥammad al-ʿArīfī:
All praise is for Allah, the Noble and Graceful One, the One who showers blessings and excellence, the One Merciful to His friends, Who brings them out of darkness into light and guides them to the even way. Blessings are invoked for the one who was sent as a mercy to the worlds, and upon his family, companions and those who followed his guidance and practiced his way until the Day of Judgment. To proceed:
Every generation has witnessed a group of people concerned with memorizing the Noble Qurʾān and transmitting its reading. However, when disputes arose in the ummah surrounding the various ways the ʿUthmānic muṣḥafs were being read, from matters such as the vowels, the imālah pronunciation, the assimilation of certain letters, differences regarding the hamzah letter and other features of the different modes of reading, the people of knowledge agreed to choose from each region a well-known scholar of the Qurʾān who was known for his trustworthiness, reliability and precision, so that the people could take the Qurʾān from them, so long as these Readings were transmitted in a multiplicitous manner (tawātur), conformed with the ʿUthmānic script and were broadly consistent with the principles of Arabic grammar.