The words and sentences which were revealed from God to The Holy Prophet Mohammad(pbuh) during his Prophethood are known as the Qur’an.
The Holy Qur’an was existing during the life time of The Holy Prophet(pbuh) in the form of an arranged book as approved by The Holy Prophet himself, from the saying of The Holy Prophet that:
“Gabriel would place before me, the Qur’an for review once a year but this year he did it twice which indicates that the time of my departure is close at hand.”
It is quite evident that the Divine Author and The Holy Prophet(pbuh) both have guarded the Qur’an so much that no adulteration of any kind whatsoever shall take place thereafter by any profane hand, and that the Qur’an recived its complete arrangement and order not later than about three months before the departure of The Holy Prophet(pbuh)
It is with reference to this revealed book which existed in the complete form, with in the reach of the people that The Holy Prophet(pbuh) addressing his followers declared:
“I leave amongst you Two Great Things, The Book of God and my Ahlu Bayt.”
And it was with reference to the complete Book of God, in the hand of the Muslims at the time of the departure of The Holy Prophet(pbuh) that Umar, the second Calipha dared to reply against the demand from The Holy Prophet(pbuh) for paper and ink,
“Hasbuna Ketabu-Allah!” (Sufficient is for us The Book of God)
This clearly and doubtlessly proves that a version of the Qur’an, in its complete and duly arranged form, was existing among the people, within the reach of the common man, as were the Ahlu Bayt(as) who were left by The Holy Prophet(pbuh) with The Qur’an, as otherwise all these references to the Book of God become meaningless.
The Muslims were attracted to The Holy Qur’an as the word of God, from the time of its revelation to The Holy Prophet(pbuh) and its recreation to the people The Holy Qur’an itself from the time of its revelation encouraged the people in various ways to learn, read, recite and to memorise it and to ponder over every word of it and to mindfully listen to it is recited
When One recites The Qur’an, One should first get ready to read The Book by disassociating One’s self from anything and everything which would cause the least diversion of tought or the distraction of attention.
“And when the Qur’an is recited, give ear to it and pay heed, that ye may obtain mercy.”
Qur’an: 7 verse: 204, and it also says,
“And when thou recitest the Qur’an seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast.”
Qur’an: 16 verse: 98
In short the student of the Holy Qur’an will then realise the amount of importance and care which has been attached to the Holy Qur’an by its Author; and as a natural consequenceof it. The Muslim, who rightly believe that Allah(swt) is The Author of Qur’an, and pays the utmost devotion to the Holy Book and cairied out the commandments as required of them.
They learn, and even encourage their children learn to recite it off by heart and put it glorious wise words into writing.
The Holy Qur’an was current, in use during the lifetime of The Holy Prophet(pbuh) amongest the Muslims in the whole of the Muslim World with a vehement desire on the part of both the men and the women believers and even of their children, who were anxious to own it by all means possible, in writing it and mostly by learning off by heart.
There were also the chosen scholars among the early Muslims whom The Holy Prophet(pbuh) had entrusted with the duty of the recording The Qur’an as it was revealed and recited by him then, and there the foremost of them was Ali Ibin Abe Taleb(as) and besides him were Jafar Ibin Abe Taleb, Abdullah Ibin Masoud, Mas’ab Ibin Umair, Ubayy Ibin Kaab’b, Ma’az Ibin Jabal, Salim Mawla Hozaif and many others.
These people used to record the Qur’an in writing under the direct command and the personal supervision of The Holy Prophet(pbuh), in his very presence, then and there as it was revealed, putting each part of it in its relevant place as commanded by The Holy Prophet(pbuh), and recite their writen manuscripts back to Him then and there at that moment earn His approval. These scribes were considered to be in charge and had the responsibility of teaching the Qur’an to the others.
They were considered as the masters and the teachers of the Holy Qur’an, from whom the Muslims directly or indirectly learnt the Qur’an during the life time of The Holy Prophet(pbuh) and thereafter.
These people and thousands of the prominent Sahabah (Cormpanions) who were interested in learning the Holy Qur’an and its commentary and their disciples like Abdullah Ibin Abbas and the others, all lived through out the intermediary period between the departure of The Holy Prophet(pbuh) from this world and the award of the official assent by the third Caliph Uthman to the present version and taught the Muslims throughout the length and breadeth of the then fast expanding Muslim Empire.
And the people of the various racesy creeds and different shades of opinion had learnt The Holy Book off by heart and taken it down in writing for their own use. It is enough to estimate the popularity of the Qur’an among the Muslims, that in one single battle of ‘Yamamah’, which took place only about six months after the death of The Holy Prophet(pbuh), seven hundred, ‘Huffaz’ (those who learnt the Koran off by heart) were killed in a single day’s fighting.
Also it has been declared by The Holy Prophet(pbuh) and his cousin Imam Ali(as) and the Succeeding Eleven Imams(as) of the Holy Household(as) that any narration attributing any utterance action or endorsement to them, which disagrees with The Holy Qur’an is to be considered as spurious and be rejected.
It meant that The Qur’an, as the standard and the criterion for the verification of falsehood and truth in other statments and narrations, did exist within the reach of the public throughout the ages down to 260 AH.