Resources on variant readings of the Quran

Variants and translations

The Bridges Foundation translation of the ten Qiraʼat by Fadel Soliman was published in 2020, and is now available on Quran.com Select Fadel Soliman’s translation in settings, or add ?translations=149 after the verse number in the URL for a shareable link.

Words with canonical variants appear in red font with explanatory footnotes. The translation is widely available to purchase in hard copy or as a downloadable pdf for a low price on the foundation website. The back cover states that they translated 30% of the variants, those that change the meaning. That’s around 400 words out of around 1400 that have canonical variants (the Quran has around 77,000 words).

Corpus Coranicum project The Lesarten tab of this German language website lists the transliterated variants for each verse in the seven main canonical readings. These appear in the blue rows as described by ad-Dānī. It sometimes also gives the three readings after the seven as described by Ibn al-Jazarī, and some non-canonical readings. The Handschriften tab provides manuscript images for each verse.

Brill.com has an open access appendix from Shady Nasser’s 2020 book, The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān (324/936), in which he lists and categorises the variants recorded by Ibn Mujāhid in his Kitab al-Sab’ fil-qirā’āt (Book of the seven readings). It is downloadable in pdf format or can be browsed on the website.

Phd thesis by Fawzi Ibrahim Abu Fayyad entitled The Seven Readings of the Qur’an: A Critical Study of Their Linguistic Differences in which he lists the transliterated variants in the canonical readings, organised into category sections, with discussion of interesting examples at the start of each section.

nquran.com (Arabic) This website highlights in coloured Arabic script the differences in the ten canonical readings, including the two canonical transmissions of each. The verse can be chosen by via the url.

quranx.com brings together in one place a range of useful tools including word by word Arabic root and morphology, concordance, lexicons etc.

Non-canonical and pre-Uthmanic readings

Mu’jam al-Qirā’āt (Arabic) by Abd al-Latif Al-Khatib (عبد اللطيف الخطيب: معجم القراءات) lists the variants reportedly read by canonical and non-canonical readers in a dozen volumes. It is often cited by academics and can also be found online in scanned form.

Materials for The History of the Text of the Quran: The Old Codices (English and Arabic) Published in 1937 with scanned copies available online, this famous work by Arthur Jeffery compiles from various sources the variant readings attributed to companions and early reciters of the Quran before Uthman standardised the text. An important source for these, Kitāb al-Masāhif by Ibn Abū Dāwūd is the back half of the book.

The History of the Qur’an by Theodor Noldeke et. al. This 1909 work has been translated into English by W. H. Behn W. H. (2013, Brill: Leiden). Pages 413 onwards translate and discuss a wide selection of companion variants and how they compare to the standard text.

Books (try Google books preview)

Shady Nasser, The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qurʾān: The Problem of Tawātur and the Emergence of Shawādhdh, Brill 2012.

Shady Nasser, The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān (324/936): Ibn Mujāhid and the Founding of the Seven Readings, Brill 2020.

Papers (articles on the JSTOR site can be read with a free account)

Uthmanic codex:

Marijn van Putten (2019) The ‘Grace of God’ as evidence for a written Uthmanic archetype: the importance of shared orthographic idiosyncrasies Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 82 (2): 271-288

Hythem Sidky. (2020) On the Regionality of Qurʾānic Codices Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association, 5(1): 133-210

Canonical readings:

Christopher Melchert (2008) The Relation of the Ten Readings to One Another Journal of Qur’anic Studies Vol.10 (2): 73-87

Shady H. Nasser (2013) “The Two-Rāwī Canon before and after ad-Dānī (d. 444/1052–3): The Role of Abū ṭ-Ṭayyib Ibn Ghalbūn (d. 389/998) and the Qayrawān/Andalus School in Creating the Two-Rāwī Canon”, Oriens 41 (1-02): 41-75

Ṣan‘ā’ 1 palimpsest:

Behnam Sadeghi & Uwe Bergmann. “The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qurʾān of the Prophet”, Arabica (2010).

Behnam Sadeghi & Mohnsen Goudarzi. “Ṣan‘ā’ 1 and the Origins of the Qur’ān”, Der Islam (2012).

Reading of Ibn Masud:

Ramon Harvey (2017). “The Legal Epistemology of Qur’anic Variants: The Readings of Ibn Masʿūd in Kufan fiqh and the Ḥanafī madhhab” (PDF). Journal of Qur’anic Studies. 9 (1): 72–101.

Morteza Karimi-Nia (2019-11-01). “A New Document in the Early History of the Qurʾān: Codex Mashhad, an ʿUthmānic Text of the Qurʾān in Ibn Masʿūd’s Arrangement of Sūras”. Journal of Islamic Manuscripts. 10 (3): 292–326

Dialect of the QCT:

Marijn van Putten & Phillip Stokes (2018). Case in the Qurˀānic Consonantal Text. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes (108): 143–179.

Marijn van Putten (2018). Hamzah in the Quranic Consonantal Text. Orientalia. 87 (1): 93–120

Marijn van Putten (2017). The Feminine Ending -at as a Diptote in the Qurānic Consonantal Text and Its Implications for Proto-Arabic and Proto-Semitic Arabica (64): 695–705

Blogs

Theislamissue blog has a number of detailed articles on specific variants read by multiple companions, including cases in which the Uthmanic reading was called a scribal error.