Quranic Modes of Reading

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In Islam, Qirāʼah, (pl. Qirāʼāt; Arabic: قراءات, lit. 'recitations or readings') are different linguistic, lexical, phonetic, morphological and syntactical forms permitted with reciting the holy book of Islam, the Quran. Differences between Qiraʼat are slight and include varying rules regarding the prolongation, intonation, and pronunciation of words, but also differences in stops, vowels, consonants (leading to different pronouns and verb forms), and less frequently entire words. Qiraʼat also refers to the branch of Islamic studies that deals with these modes of recitation.There are ten different recognised schools of qiraʼat, each one deriving its name from a noted Quran reciter or "reader" (qāriʾ pl. qāriʾūn or qurr'aʿ), such as Nafi‘ al-Madani, Ibn Kathir al-Makki, Abu Amr of Basra, Ibn Amir ad-Dimashqi, Aasim ibn Abi al-Najud, Hamzah az-Zaiyyat, Al-Kisa'i. While these readers lived in the second and third century of Islam, the scholar who approved the first seven qira'at (Abu Bakr Ibn Mujāhid) lived a century later, and the readings themselves have a chain of transmission (like hadith) going back to the time of Muhammad. Consequently, the readers/qurr'aʿ who give their name to Qira'at are part of a chain of transmission called a riwaya. The lines of transmission passed down from a riwaya are called turuq, and those passed down from a turuq are called wujuh.Qiraʼat should not be confused with Tajwid—the rules of pronunciation, intonation, and caesuras of the Quran. Each Qira'ah has its own Tajwid. Qiraʼat are called readings or recitations because the Quran was originally spread and passed down orally, and though there was a written text, it did not include most vowels or distinguish between many consonants, allowing for much variation. (Qiraʼat now each have their own text in modern Arabic script.)Qira'at are also sometimes confused with Ahruf—both being variants of the Quran with "unbroken chain(s) of transmission going back to the Prophet". There are multiple views on the nature of the ahruf and how they relate to the qira'at, a common one being that caliph Uthman eliminated all but one variety of ahruf sometime in the mid-7th century CE. The seven readings, or Qira'at, were selected later and canonized in the 9-10th century CE.Even after centuries of Islamic scholarship, the variants of the Qira'at have been said to continue "to astound and puzzle" Islamic scholars (by Ammar Khatib and Nazir Khan), and along with Ahruf make up "the most difficult topics" in Quranic studies (according to Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi). Qira'at may also seem to conflict with the doctrine that the Quran "exists exactly as it had been revealed to the Prophet; not a word - nay, not a dot of it - has been changed", which many Muslims assume means there must be only one reading of the Quran. The Qira'at include differences in consonantal diacritics (i‘jām), vowel marks (ḥarakāt), and the consonantal skeleton (rasm), resulting in materially different readings (see examples).The maṣḥaf Quran that is in "general use" throughout almost all the Muslim world today is a 1924 Egyptian edition based on the Qira'at "reading of Ḥafṣ on the authority of `Asim" (Ḥafṣ being the Rawi, or "transmitter", and `Asim being the Qari or "reader"). ..More on Wikipedia
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