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Monday, December 28, 2015
What a Qur'an attributed to Abu Bakr would look like
The UAE wants us to see an Abu Bakr Qur'an in these fragments from Egypt. I'll take that thesis seriously here despite its source.
Abu Bakr - according to the traditions from his own family - was a member of the Hijazi aristocracy. After he passed on, this aristocracy rallied against the increasingly-Syrian Umayyads on several occasions: they murdered 'Uthmân, they rebelled against that one's cousin Yazîd, and their expats out East threw in with Ibn Khazim and Ibn al-Ash'ath to rebel against the next cousin 'Abd al-Malik.
The first successful band of anti-Umayyad rebels had indeed set out from Egypt; and the Zubayrid Caliphate had occupied lower Egypt for perhaps a year or so in the 60s / 680s. So an "Abu Bakr" Qur'an - probably under the name of his daughter Asma - may well have found its way to Egypt at that time.
But - could a non-Umayyad, pro-Zubayrid mushaf have survived there? The place remained the secondmost-consistently Umayyad province after Syria and Spain. 'Abd al-'Aziz bin Marwan (r. 685-705, ish) did expend some energy touting his marriage links with 'Umar's family, I suppose. But, even here, not with Abu Bakr's.
Thought experiment: if we did have an Abu Bakr mushaf it would look like the Qur'ans of those rebels. I could reasonably expect sura 20 in it. Since the Meccans got themselves involved, under Zubayr's family - we might be reading suras 14 and 22 as well. Perhaps in a different hand, at the end; those who've read House of War will understand. But I am digressing.
Sura 19 is Syrian-focused. I doubt we'd even be reading sura 19 in such a Qur'an at all.
So, although I won't rule out the survival of an Asma / Abu Bakr Qur'an somewhere in Egypt - I'd expect apocryphal Qur'ans from that region to be attributed to 'Umar first, and the Birmingham Fragments aren't even apocryphal - they are Umayyad.
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