THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF SHAYKH ABBAS ZAKARIYYA AL-QĀRĪ TO QUR‟AN RECITATION IN IBADANLAND
1.1 Background to the Study
In every religion there is a scripture which is considered its canon of law. People of the past also had theirs; Tawrāh, Injīl( the Bible), Zabūr (the Psalm) and the Qur‟ān were revealed to Mūsā (Moses),„Īsā(Jesus),Dāwūd(David)and Muhammad respectively. The last revealed scripture, which is the Noble Qur‟ān, occupies a very important position in the life of Muslims. It is the word of Almighty Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad through Angel Jibrīl. Its recitation serves as an act of worship. Recitation of the Holy Qur‟ān is highly rewardable in Islam as it attracts many rewards. It was reported that the Prpohet Muhammad said:
“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah will have a reward and that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that Alif Lām Mῑm is a letter, rather I am saying Alif is a letter, Lām is a letter and Mῑm is a letter”.1
Furthermore, there has been a thirst for such great reward among the Muslims of the past till the time of the contemporary Muslims. The virtue gained in recitation of the Qur‟ān encourages the Muslims towards learning and teaching recitation of the Qur‟ān. This attitude also serves as part of the features of the best among the ummah. This is in consonance with the sayings of Prophet Muhammad who was reported to have said:
“The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur‟ān and teaches it”.2
The Prophet of Islam was himself a reciter of the Qur‟ān; he was taught by Angel Jibrῑl and his companions also learned it from him. Thus, there were many reciters among the companions such as Ubayy bn Ka῾b, Zayd bn Thābit, Abdullah bn Mas῾ūd among others. It is documented in the books of Hadῑth that the Prophet once asked one of his companions (Ibn Mas῾ūd) to recite the Qur‟ān for him and that when the companion reached verse 41 of chapter 4, the Prophet burst into tears.3
During the time of the first caliph, Abūbakr, the Qur‟ān was compiled after the loss of eminent reciters among the companions in the battle of Yamāmah.4 It was done in order to safeguard the Qur‟ān from alteration so also to enhance the recitation of the Qur‟ān. The trend of Qur‟ān recitation continued after the era of the companions till date. Also, Qur‟ān recitation later became a field where scholars have had various contributions.