A mus'haf (Arabic: مصحف, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈmʊsˤħaf] with the ṣ and ḥ as two separate consonants, not *mʊʃaf, plural "suhuf") is a is an arabic word for a codex or collection of sheets, but also refers to a physical bound volume of the Quran. The Quran, which Muslims believe to have been revealed at various times and in various ways during a 23-year period of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's life. After his death, it was collected into a codex under the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan.
In Arabic, al-Qur’ān means 'the Recitation' ("from the fact that it was `read`" to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel), and in Islam denotes the content of the sacred work, as opposed to the physical bound volume. Use of "mus'haf" to refer to the physical book may come from the Quran's "collection" after it was "dispersed" by Muhammad.
The word mus'haf isn't mentioned in the Quran, which refers to itself as kitab. However the plural form "suhuf" (both mus'haf and suhuf come from the root "sahifa") appears in several verses (20:133, 87:18, 87:19, 53:36, 80:13, 98:2, 74:52, 81:10). Noting this, some scholars have argued that the Quran does not present itself as a "book", which implies it is finished and complete, so much as a "scripture", something written or communicated over time, which gives it more dynamism and life. The Quran speaks of itself as having been a kitab even before it was put into writing.
- Wehr, Hans. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (PDF) (3rd ed.). Spoken Language Services Inc. p. 523. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- The Book of Fatimah (AS)
- Wheller, Brannon M. Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis, Continuum Books, 2002, p. 5.
- The Difference Between “Qur’an” and “Mushaf” Qur’anic Studies, 17 March 2010
- Madigan, Daniel. The Qur'an's Self-Image: Writing and Authority in Islam's Scripture, Princeton University Press, 2001.