"The Companions did not start to learn new verses before they memorized ten verses and practiced them." Will you give information about the statement above? Will you explain the place of the Quran in the life of the Companions?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In his book called "Kitabul-Bayan", Abu Amr ad-Dani narrates the following from Hz. Uthman, Hz. Ibn Mas'ud and Hz. Ubayy by including the chain of narrators:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) taught the Companions ten verses. They would not move on to the next ten verses unless they learned the issues of deeds related to those ten verses. Thus, the Prophet taught us both the Quran and to practice what is in the Quran together."

According to the narration of Abdurrazzaq from Ma'mar, from Ata b. as-Saib, Abu Abdurrahman as-Sulami said, “When we learned ten verses from the Quran, we would not move on to the next ten verses unless we learned the halals, harams, orders and prohibitions in those verses. According to what Imam Malik states in his book called Muwatta, Abdullah b. Umar learned the chapter of al-Baqara in eight years (1).

The Place of the Quran in the life of the Companions:

The Companions consist of a group that is a miracle of the Quran and the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). This fact has been expressed by many scholars up to now. For instance, Qarafi (d.684), one of the most important Islamic law methodologists, expresses his view regarding the issue as follows:

"If Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) had not had any miracles other than the Companions, they would have been enough for his prophethood."(2)

Sayyid Qutub, one of the great tafsir scholars of the last century, expresses the extraordinariness of the Companions in various places in his tafsir, for instance, while interpreting verses 188 and 203 of the chapter of al-Araf. Mustafa Sadiq ar-Rafii, who is one of the greatest scholars regarding the miraculousness of the Quran, emphasizes that the Companions were a living form of the miracle of the Quran (3).

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi attracts attention to the fact that the Companions were the most famous, respectable and religious people who were educated by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and who were at the peak in terms of foresight and wisdom (4); he made the following evaluation:  

"The Companions, who were among a primitive people and in an unlettered environment, devoid of all social life and political thought, without any scripture and lost in the darkness of a period between prophets, came to be the masters, guides, and just rulers of the most civilized and politically and socially advanced peoples and states, and to rule the world from east to west in universally approved fashion in a very brief time." (5)

The most important thing in the life of the Companions was to learn every verse of the Quran and to live in accordance with it. Those who were engaged in any job or trade spent some of their days doing it and the rest of the day in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. They waited in the presence of the Prophet (pbuh) in turns in order to learn the revelation that came and tried not to miss even a word. According to what is reported from Bukhari, Hz. Umar went to see and listen to the Messenger of Allah one day and sent his neighbor from Ansar to listen to him the next day; they would tell each other about the religious issues they learned and the other incidents that took place (6). Besides, as it will be mentioned below, there was Ashab as-Suffa, which consisted of the Companions who spent all of their time in the mosque and who devoted themselves to memorizing the divine revelation and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.

They did not stop reading the Quran even in the most dangerous moments. For instance, during an expedition, the Messenger of Allah stopped near a valley with his Companions to rest. Two Companions kept guard in turns voluntarily. The Companion who kept guard started to perform a prayer. The enemy noticed him and started to shoot arrows at him. The Companion removed the arrows that hit his body and continued praying. When his friend noticed it, he asked, "Why did you not inform me when the first arrow hit you?" The Companion who continued praying though he was wounded by the arrows answered: "I was reading a chapter; I did not want to stop it and abandon the prayer."(7) As it is seen, the Companion was so keen on reading the Quran that he did not finish the prayer before finishing the chapter he was reading though he was wounded.

The adherence of the Companions to the Quran and their integration with it was accepted by everybody, whether they were friends or enemies. For instance, the rulers of Persia and Byzantium tried to know those people, whom they could not cope with, through various ways. They received the same answer from the spies they sent among the Companions and the soldiers that fought against them:  

"They worshipped during the night and fought during the day. If you try to speak to the person next to you in their presence, you will not understand what he says because of the sound of the Quran and dhikr. They always read the Quran and make dhikr."(8)

Taking the Quran into Consideration

The lives of the Companions were arranged around the Quran and were shaped under the surveillance of divine revelation. Many issues related to them from their worshipping to their struggle in the way of Allah, from their relationships with one another to their way of addressing the Prophet (pbuh), from their eating to whispering and even to what they have in their hearts were mentioned in the Quran; verses about them were sent down (9). Their lives were interconnected with the Quran. For instance, once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) called Ubayy b. Ka'b and said to him, 'Allah ordered me to read the Quran to you.' Ubayy asked, 'Did He pronounce my name?' The Prophet said, 'Yes.' Thereupon, he started to cry (Bukhari, Tafsir 98:2).

The Prophet’s Encouraging the Companions to Read the Quran

The Companions who heard the revelation from the Prophet memorized the verses or wrote them down. Those who could not write or who did not have any materials to write tried to memorize the verses by listening to them from the Prophet (pbuh) in prayers, while preaching or in any other occasion (10). The Prophet increased their enthusiasm toward the Quran (11); he said, "the best of you are those who learn the Quran and who teach it to others" (12) He attracted attention to the value of being busy with the Quran in the eye of Allah (13) and stated the following:

"Allah Almighty said, ‘If a person cannot ask something from me because of being busy with reading the Quran, I will give him more than what I give to those who ask from me." (14)

The Companions’ Fondness for Reading the Quran

The area that the Companions gave the most importance in their lives was the Quran. Every verse that was sent down was like a divine dinner table from the sky. They were fascinated by the divine attraction of the verses that were sent down, did their best to learn them, to practice them and to teach them to others. They virtually competed against one another to memorize, to recite and to understand the verses (15). The amount of the verses memorized by the Companions was regarded as a means of virtue among them (16). They virtually had a race of virtue to see who would memorize more verses. Sometimes the mahr of a woman was a chapter to be taught to her by her husband, which was a means of joy for the woman (17). They preferred getting up at night to perform prayers and reading the Quran at dawn to sleeping in their beds comfortably (18). Those who passed by their houses at night would hear a humming sound (19). They were the top representatives of the following issue mentioned in the Quran:

"They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, And in the hour of early dawn, they (were found) praying for Forgiveness" (20).

Acting in Accordance with the Decrees of the Quran Being Necessary for Everybody:

In that era, every Companion wanted to learn what Allah wanted from him in the message He sent and to practice them. It was one of the natural characteristics that encouraged them to learn the Quran and caused them to become Muslims. Besides, the Prophet (pbuh) sometimes wanted one of them to read him the Quran. (21) That was another motive that made them learn the Quran.

The Companions did great services to convey the Quran to humanity after the death of the Messenger of Allah. For instance, Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud taught thousands of students the Quran in Kufa (22). Abu Musa al-Ash'ari did the same thing in Basra. Abu Raja al-Utaridi, one of the students of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, stated the following:

"Abu Musa taught us the Quran in Basra Mosque every day. He made us sit in the circles containing ten people and made us read the Quran."(23)

Thus, he explained that the Companions taught the Quran to many people based on a certain system. Similarly, Abu Darda taught people the Quran in Damascus Mosque from the morning until noon. He made his students sit in circles of ten and appointed a person as a guide for each circle; he checked all of them one by one. When the students had a difficulty, they would go and ask him (24).

The Companions conveyed and transferred the Quran to humanity by writing and memorizing it. Besides, as history witnesses it, they had very retentive memories, bright minds and hearts that were so enthusiastic about the Quran that nobody could match them; they sacrificed their most valuable things and abandoned their homeland for their religion; they spent their lives reading and practicing the Quran. What could have prevented those distinguished people from learning and memorizing the Quran and what could have taken the place of the Quran? Is it possible for people who value something very much, show respect to it, believe that it is an honor to memorize it and sacrifice their lives for it to ignore its protection, maintenance and not to give importance to transferring it without distorting it? (25)

Footnotes:

1. Muwatta, Quran 11; Qurtubi, al-Jamiul Ahkamil-Quran 1/244-246.
2. Qarafi, al-Furuq Anwarul-Buruq fi Anwail-Furuq 4/305.
3. Rafii, I'jazul-Quran, 158-159.
4. Nursi, Şualar, 109.
5. Nursi, Sözler, 524.
6. Bukhari, Talaq 83.
7. Abu Dawud, Taharah 79; Hakim, 1/258.
8. Ibn Asakir, Mukhtasar Tarikhi Dimashq, 2/96; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya, 7/16.
9. The Quran, 8:5; 33:22; 24:63; 49:2-4; 24:61; 33:53; 58:1; 2:284.
10. Hamidullah, Kur'an-ı Kerim Tarihi , 45; Suat Yıldırım, Kur'an-ı Kerim ve Kur'an İlimlerine Giriş, 60.
11. Bukhari, At'ima 30; Muslim, Musafirin 243.
12. Bukhari, Fadailul-Quran 21; Abu Dawud, Salah 349.
13. Muslim, Salatul-Musafirin 251.
14. Tirmidhi, Thawabul-Quran: 25.
15. Zarqani, Manahilul-Irfan fi Ulumil-Quran, 1/241; Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 37.
16. Bukhari, Janaiz 73; Muslim, Janaiz 27.
17. Bukhari, Nikah: Abu Dawud, Nikah: 30.
18. Kandahlawi, Hayatus-Sahaba, 3/141-144.
19. Ibn Sa'd, 3:110; Ibnul-Athir, 3:284.
20. Adh-Dhariyat 51/17-18.
21. Bukhari, Fadailus-Sahaba, 25; Tafsir, 4/9; Tirmidhi, Janaiz, 14; Musnad, 1: 374, 390, 433.
22. Ibn Asakir, ibid.14:43; Dhahabi, Marifatul-Qurrail-Kibar alat-Tabaqat wal-Athar, 1/13.
23. Abu Nuaym, Hilyatul-Awliya wa Tabaqatul-Asfiya, 1/256; Kawthari, Maqalat, Maktabatul-Azhariyya, 14-15.
24. Kawthari, ibid.14-15.
25. Dr. Ergün Çapan, Kur'an'ın İntikalinde Sahabe'nin Rolü.

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