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.
I have the pleasure and honor of spending this Ramadan with my teacher in Tajweed Shaykh Waleed Atif of Alexandria. For those who don’t know, Shaykh Waleed was the inspiration behind my Tajweed book Childrens Bequest, which is based primarily on his lessons. After nearly a decade, Shaykh Waleed, master of Quranic readings, returns to the US to lead Taraweeh prayer in al-Minhaal Center in South Plainfield, NJ. Exhausted from his flight a few hours earlier, he led prayers flawlessly, delivering a recitation characterized by power, precision and sweetness. This video is from Ramadan 2, August 2 2011. Please visit my youtube channel for the nightly recordings.
Imām Ibn ‘Āmir al-Shāmī (d 118H): Abū ‘Imrān ‘Abdullah b. ‘Āmir b. Yazīd b. Tamīm al-Yaḥṣabī was born in the northern region of Jordan in the year 8H (in the lifetime of the Prophet) and migrated with his family at the age of ten to Syria, one of the promising new Muslim lands. He lived his entire live in Damascus, the Muslim capitol, where he learned from and was trained by the wealth of Companions who flooded those lands, including Mu‘āwiyah b. Abī Sufyān, al-Nu‘mān b. Bashīr, Abu’l-Dardā’ and others. He excelled in the knowledge of the Qurʼān and became the Imām of the Umayyad Mosque during the time of ‘Umar b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Azīz and later the chief judge (Qāḍī) of the capitol. Among the Imāms of recitation, he has the highest chain of narrators to the Prophet. The scholar Ibn Mujāhid who first documented the seven readings wrote that the reading of Ibn ‘Āmir was the dominant one in Syria and the Arabian peninsula in his day. Ibn al-Jazarī confirmed that the people of Syria remained exclusively upon this reading until the sixth century. He died in Damascus in the year 118 on the day of ‘Āshūrā at the age of 110. Today his reading lives on in portions of Yemen.