Ijma And Tawatur Of Qirat-ul-Ammah & Tafsir Of Quran (75:17-18)
There are two facts that we need to consider:
1. The mass reading (qir’at al-‘ammah) has reached us through ijma and tawatur. It is this reading (also known as the reading of Hafs) which was religiously sanctioned by the Prophet before his departure. No other reading can claim to have ijma and tawatur like the mass-reading. It is this reading and its mode of transmission which guarantee the absolute preservation of Quran.
2. The primary basis (apart from historical references) of the conclusion drawn above is the meaning of the following verses of Surah al-Qiyamah:
“Upon Us is its collection and recital. So when [at that time] We recite it follow that recital.” (Qur’an 75:17-18)
But there is no ijma and tawatur about the meaning of (75:17-18).
How do we reconcile between the two points above? To put it differently, on the one hand we are claiming that the ummah from day one had a unanimous understanding of the religious authority of ‘Ardah al-Akhirah (the final reading), which is the Qir’at al -Ammah in its transmission sense. But on the other hand we are saying that the basis on which this ‘Ardah al-Akhirah stands, i.e. the meaning of (75:17-18), has not reached us through ijma and tawatur of the ummah.
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