3. the Codex of 'ali (a)

The first person to start the collection of the Qur'an after the demise of the Prophet (S) was 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (A). He did so in accordance with the instructions and testament of the Prophet (S). 33 He arranged the verses chronologically and mentioned their context and place of revelation.

Ibn al-Nadim writes:

"After the demise of the Prophet (S), 'Ali (A) vowed not to leave his home until he had collected the Qur'an. He remained at home for three days and collected the Qur'an. He was the first one to have compiled the Qur'an from memory; this compilation remained in the custody of the family of Ja'far". 34

It is inferred from the observations of Ibn al-Nadim that 'Ali (A) had already memorized the Qur'an before the demise of the Prophet (S) and after his (S) demise he retrieved it from his memory and compiled it. Perhaps he had already written parts of it, because even a highly skilled scribe cannot write the entire Qur'an in three days from memory or copy it from another copy.

Since there is no evidence that 'Ali (A) copied the Qur'an from another copy, it follows that he had previously written the Qur'an as and when it was revealed in that order, and since the Prophet (S) was aware of 'Ali's (A) work and his writing of the Qur'an, he (S) instructed him (A) to collect and compile the same, so that it was safeguarded from destruction and tahrif like the revealed scriptures of the past.

Ibn al-Juzzi in at-Tashil and al-Zarakshi in al -Burhan 35 observe that during the time of the Holy Prophet (S) the Qur'an was scattered in the form of suhuf, loose pages and in the memories of the Companions. Some of them, like 'Uthman and 'Ali (A), even used to recite it in presence of the Holy Prophet (S). Al-Shaykh al-Mufid cites the statement in his tract, Ajwibat al-masa'il al-Sarawiyyah. 36

From the foregoing account that 'Ali (A) collected and compiled the Qur'anic text in the order of its revelation, it is inferred that the 'short surahs, which are generally Meccan, were placed at the beginning of the Qur'an, followed by the longer ones revealed at Madinah. Further, the context of revelation of the verses was also mentioned and the nasikh and mansukh verses were also specified.

Al-Ya'qubi in his Ta'rikh (Najaf, ii, 113) mentions the order of the surahs as arranged by 'Ali (A). Ibn al-Nadim, while discussing 'Ali's (A) codex in al-Fihrist, had left some empty space but apparently could' not record the order of the surahs from the codex written by 'Ali (A) which he had seen. This is in itself evidence that the surahs were arranged differently by 'Ali (A).

4. Codices Attributed to 'Ali (A)

The codex compiled by 'Ali (A) existed until the time of Ibn al Nad'im, i.e. the last decades of the 4th/10th century." As mentioned in al Fihrist, he saw this codex in the possession of Abu Ya'la Hamzah al-Hasani and it remained as a legacy in the family of al-'Imam al Hasan (A). 38 Probably, the aforementioned person is al-Sharif Abu Ya'la - Hamzah ibn Zayd ibn al-Husayn al-Hasani al-'Aftasi who was a disciple of al-Sayyid al-Murtada. 39

Considering that al-Fihrist was written in the year 377/987 and al-Sayyid al-Murtada was probably born in 355/966, Abu Ya'la's meeting with Ibn al-Nadim must have preceded his discipleship of al Sayyid al Murtada for it is unlikely that Abu Ya'la may have become the Sayyid's pupil before the latter had reached the age of 22 years.