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Warsh (ورش)
Other namesAbu Sa'id Uthman Ibn Sa‘id al-Qutbi, عثمان بن سعيد بن عبد الله ، أبو سعيد المصري

Abu Sa'id Uthman Ibn Sa‘id al-Qutbi, better known as Warsh (110-197AH), was a significant figure in the history of Quranic recitation (qira'at), the canonical methods of reciting the Qur'an.[1] Alongside Qalun, he was one of the two primary transmitters of the canonical reading method of Nafi‘ al-Madani.[1][2][3] Together, their style is the most common form of Qur'anic recitation in the generality of African mosques outside of Egypt,[4] and is also popular in Yemen[5] and Darfur despite the rest of Sudan following the method of Hafs.[6] The method of Warsh and his counterpart Qalun was also the most popular method of recitation in Al-Andalus.[7] The majority of printed Mushafs today in North Africa and West Africa follow the reading of Warsh.[8]

He died in 812CE.[2]

Warsh recitation[edit]

Warsh 'an Naafi' is one of the main canonical methods of reciting the Qur'an. The recitations of the Quran, known in Arabic as Qira'at, are conducted under the rules of the Tajwid Science.[9] It is attributed to Imam Warsh who in turn got it from his teacher Nafi‘ al-Madani who was one of the transmitters of the seven recitations. The recitation of Warsh 'an Naafi' is one of two major recitation traditions. The second is Hafs 'an 'Asim.


Imam Warsh (110-197AH) was born Uthman Ibn Sa‘id al-Qutbi in Egypt. He was called Warsh, a substance of milk, by his teacher Naafi' because he was light skinned.[10] He learned his recitation from Naafi' at Medina. After finishing his education, he returned to Egypt where he became the senior reciter of the Quran.[11]

In the 10th century, the Muslim scholar Ibn Mujāhid canonized the seven readings of the Quran including Warsh 'an Naafi'. However, only the transmission of Asim and Warsh remains influential.[12] The Warsh 'an Naafi' recitation became widespread in North Africa, in large part because it was the preferred recitation of Imam Malik ibn Anas, whose Maliki school of jurisprudence predominated in that region of the world. In Medieval times, it was the main Quranic recitation in Islamic Iberia. The Warsh 'an Naafi' transmission represents the recitational tradition of Medina.

Comparison of Warsh and Hafs recitation[edit]

The Warsh 'an Naafi' recitation of the Quran differs from Hafs 'an Asim in orthography. The majority of differences do not affect the meaning. Yet in some cases the differences change the implications of the verse. In verse 2:184 Hafs recites the verse to be "... a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person...". On the other hand, Warsh reads it "... a ransom [as substitute] of feeding poor people..."[13] Other variants that go beyond orthography include :

رواية ورش عن نافع رواية حفص عن عاصم Ḥafs Warsh Chapter and Verse
يَعْمَلُونَ تَعْمَلُونَ you do they do Al-Baqara 2:85
وًأَوْصّى وَوَصَّى enjoined instructed Al-Baqara 2:132
سَارِعُوا وَسَارِعُوا And hasten to Hasten to Al 'imran 3:133
مَا تَنَزَّلُ مَا نُنَزِّلُ we do not send down... they do not come down... Al-Ḥijr 15:8
قُل قَالَ he said say! Al-Anbiyā' 21:4
كَثِيرًا كَبِيرًا mighty multitudinous Al-Aḥzāb 33:68
بِمَا فَبِمَا then it is what it is what Al-Shura 42:30
نُدْخِلْهُ يُدْخِلْهُ he makes him enter we make him enter Al-Fatḥ 48:17

Another major difference between Hafs and Warsh recitation of the Quran is the pronunciation of the words. Modern Qurans have diacritical marks (known as Tashkil) and in some cases pronouncing the word differently could imply different meaning. Here are some examples:

رواية ورش عن نافع رواية حفص عن عاصم Ḥafs Warsh Chapter and Verse
مَلِكِ مَالِكِ Owner King Al-Fatihah Q1:4 (Q1:3 in Warsh)
يٌكَذّبُونَ يَكْذِبُونَ they lie they were lied to (or) they deny Al-Baqara Q2:10 (Q2:9 in Warsh)
قُتِلَ قَاتَلَ And many a prophet fought And many a prophet was killed Al 'imran Q3:146
سَاحِرَانِ سِحْرَانِ two works of magic two magicians Al-Qasas Q28:48

See also[edit]

Ten readers and transmitters[edit]

Fa:قرائت ورش از نافع


  1. ^ a b "The Ten Readers and their Transmitters". www.islamic-awareness.org. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  2. ^ a b Nasser, Shady (2012-11-09). The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur??n: The Problem of Taw?tur and the Emergence of Shaw?dhdh. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-24081-0.
  3. ^ McAuliffe, Jane Dammen (2006-11-23). The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'ān. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-53934-0.
  4. ^ Glassé, Cyril (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira. ISBN 978-0-7591-0190-6.
  5. ^ Small, Keith E. (2011-04-22). Textual Criticism and Qur'an Manuscripts. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-4291-2.
  6. ^ Ali, Hamid Eltgani (2014-08-21). Darfur's Political Economy: A quest for development. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-96464-3.
  7. ^ Harvey, L. P. (2008-09-15). Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-31965-0.
  8. ^ Geissinger, Aisha (2015-06-02). Gender and Muslim Constructions of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qurʾān Commentary. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-29444-8.
  9. ^ Glassé, Cyril; Smith, Huston (14 November 2016). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira. ISBN 978-0-7591-0190-6 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Encyclopedia, The Arabic. "الموسوعة العربية".
  11. ^ Nasser, Shady Hekmat. The Transmission of the Variant Readings of the Qur'an: The Problem of Tawatur and the Emergence of Shawadhdh. Leiden: Brill, 2013, p. 154
  12. ^ Melchert, Christopher (2000). "Ibn Mujahid and the Establishment of Seven Qur'anic Readings". Studia Islamica (91): 5–22. doi:10.2307/1596266. JSTOR 1596266.
  13. ^ A.Brockett, Studies in Two Transmission of the Qur'an, doctorate thesis, University of St. Andrews,Scotland, 1984, p.138