Tilāwah: Sūrah al-Isrāʾ, Verses: 70 to 87
Riwāyah: Ḥafṣ ʿan Āṣim
On the Chehlum of Imām Ḥusayn AS, an occasion also known globally as “Arbaʿīn”, Shehzada Husain Bhaisaheb Burhanuddin Saheb DM delivered an eloquent recitation of Sūrah al-Isrāʾ in the narration of Ḥafṣ ʿan ʿĀṣim, the most widely read narration of the Qurʾān in the world.
Contrary to what many would assume, this recitation was part of the Lesser Ten Readings and not the Greater Ten. This difference and a brief explanation of what are the Lesser and the Greater ten is given below:
Firstly, let us discuss the Lesser Ten Readings of the Qurʾān. As is known to those who have read previous blog articles, the Lesser Ten Readings are a collection of 20 narrations stemming from 10 readings, 14 of which have been compiled by Al-Shāṭibī in his composition: Ḥirz al-Amānī and the remaining 6 by Ibn al-Jazarī in his composition: al-Durrah. These 20 narrations have been transmitted through a single channel (ṭarīq) only. For example, in the case of the narration of Ḥafṣ, Al-Shāṭibī compiled it while adhering to the ṭarīq of ʿUbayd b. al-Ṣabbāḥ who narrated from Ḥafṣ directly and thus this particular channel being attributed to him in the case of Al-Shāṭibī’s narration thereof.
Secondly, and on the other hand, Ibn al-Jazarī himself compiled a further set of narrations where he did not limit himself to a single channel. This compilation is entitled: Ṭayyibah al-Nashr. It contains multiple turuq emanating from each narrator (rāwī), for example: In the Ṭayyibah, Ibn al-Jazarī narrated from the ṭarīq of ʿUbayd b. al-Ṣabbāḥ as well as from that of ʿAmr b. al-Ṣabbāḥ both of whom directly narrated from Ḥafṣ. Due to the multiplicity of ṭuruq, the narrations contained within the Ṭayyibah are referred to as the Greater Ten Readings.
It was immediately noticeable in the recitation of Shehzada Saheb DM that the madd munfaṣil was being elongated till 4 ḥarakāt. This was a clear indication that Shehzada Saheb DM was narrating from the Lesser Ten Readings and not the Greater Ten. The reason for that is as follows:
The narration of Ḥafṣ contained in Al-Shāṭibī’s composition and categorized as part of the Lesser Ten does not permit the limiting of madd munfaṣil to two ḥarakāt. It compels the reader to elongate this madd in equal measure as the madd muttaṣil. Whereas, one of the ṭuruq contained in the Ṭayyibah viz. the ṭarīq of al-Ḥammāmī transmitted from al-Waliyy from al-Fīl from ʿAmr b. al-Ṣabbāḥ from Ḥafṣ and popularly known as the Ṭarīq al-Miṣbāḥ in attribution thereof to the book Kitāb al-Miṣbāḥ of al-Shahrazūrī, one of the principle sources of Ṭayyibah with regard to the narration of Ḥafṣ does permit the limitation (qaṣr) of the madd munfaṣil to two ḥarakāt. This is a widely read tarīq of the narration of Ḥafṣ often used by students memorizing the Qurʾān.
With regard to the chain of narration of Ḥafṣ himself, it is as follows: Ḥafṣ directly narrated from ʿĀṣim who directly narrated from ʿAbdullāh b. Ḥabīb al-Sulamī who directly narrated from Mawlānā ʿAlī b. Abū Ṭālib AS. As acknowledged by Al-Shāṭibī himself, the reading of Ḥafṣ is the most perfect:
فأما أبو بكر وعاصم اسمه * فشعبة راويه المبرز أفضلا
وذاك ابن عياش أبو بكر الرضا * وحفص وبالإتقان كان مفضلا
Coming to the recitation itself, Shehzada Saheb DM narrated the second last verse several times making waqf on different words. This particular verse was narrated in the maqām of ṣabā. It invoked an emotion of gratitude unto Allah Taʿālā who reminds mankind through Rasulullāh SAW in this verse that if He wills He could surely withdraw what He has revealed of the Qur’an and man would then be helpless against Allah Taʿālā.
The recitation came to a close on the subsequent verse.