Scribes of the Quran

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The term "scribes of the Quran" refers to the group of the people that were involved in inscribing the Quran during the period of its revelation (circa 609-632 CE). Some scholars believe that during the lifetime of prophet Muhammad several individuals including Zayd ibn Thabit, Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, Abdullah ibn Sa'd and Ubay ibn Ka'b were involved in scribing and recorded verses of the Quran.


The Pre-Islamic Arabia was predominantly oral, various forms of writing, including rock inscriptions, graffiti, and occasional papyrus documents did exist. Since, the writing was not widespread in the Arab society and culture during the time of Muhammad; he would recite the Quranic verses to his Companions for them to memorize and when possible have them write these verses down on pieces of bones, parchments, palm leaves, stones, and some other material.

Diffrent Muslim historians provide different number (26-42) of the Wahy scribes, but some of these companions are confirmed by all. There seems to have been three different groups of companions or people who are known to have scribed the revelations of Quran. Some of these people were permanent and some kept changing. The first group was during the Mecca period, second was after the flight to Medina (Hijrah), and the third one was organized after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.

List of the Scribes

circa 609-632 CE

Following is a tentative and non-exhaustive list of the companions based on Zad al-Ma'ad Fi Hadyi Khair Al 'Ibaad, the work of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim;

  • Abdullah ibn Abi Quhafa
  • Abdullah ibn Sa'd though initially a scribe for the Quran, Abdullah later apostatized, leading to questions about the preservation of certain verses. Despite this, his initial contributions to transcribing the Quranic text are noteworthy
  • Ali ibn Abi Talib the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, Ali was among the select few entrusted with the task of transcribing the divine revelations. His unwavering dedication ensured the accuracy of the Quranic manuscripts
  • Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan
  • Ubay ibn Ka'b another esteemed companion who played a pivotal role in recording the Quranic revelations. Ubayy's commitment to accurately documenting the Quranic verses contributed significantly to its preservation
  • Uthman ibn Affan
  • Zayd ibn Thabit is renowned as the chief scribe of the Prophet, Zayd meticulously transcribed the Quranic verses under the direct supervision of Prophet Muhammad. His meticulousness and dedication ensured the preservation of the Quranic text. He is also known to write to the kings on prophet's behalf.
  • al-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwaam
  • 'Aamir ibn Fuhayrah
  • 'Amr ibn al-‘Aas
  • 'Abd-Allaah ibn al-Arqam
  • Thaabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas
  • Hanzalah ibn al-Rabee’ al-Usaydi
  • al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah
  • 'Abd-Allaah ibn Rawaahah
  • Khaalid ibn al-Waleed
  • Khaalid ibn Sa'eed ibn al-'Aas is known is some traditions as the first person to write something down for the prophet Muhammad
  • Husayn Al-Numayri (see notes)


See Also

External Resources


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