Encyclopedia of the Variant Readings of the Qurʾān

Since the publication of the 1923 first official Egyptian print of the Qurʾān, most Arabs and Muslims became familiar with only one variety of the Qurʾān. This variety is one out of twenty other standard varieties of the Qurʾān all acknowledged by Muslim orthodoxy. The demarcation of what is canonical and what is not was not applied systematically throughout the Muslim world over the past 14 centuries. Up until the 20th century, Muslims recited, memorized, and taught many other varieties of the Qurʾān, varieties or Readings which are nowadays considered to be obsolete and non-canonical. It was only after the publication of the official Qurʾān by al-Azhar-Egypt in 1923, and the first complete Audio recording of the whole Qurʾān by the renowned Egyptian Qurʾān reciter al-Ḥuṣarī, that the other system Readings of the Qurʾān were eclipsed by the now “official” version, to the extent that most of these variants became forgotten and unknown to the modern lay Muslim and even scholars of Islam.

Encyclopedia of the Variant Readings of the Qurʾān (EvQ) aims to be the foundation of a critical edition of the Qurʾān. The unsuccessful scholarly attempts to establish anything close to a critical edition were/are mainly due to the conventionally held notion that critical editions must rely on physical manuscripts. The main obstacle that scholars face is the fact that the Qurʾān, as we know it today and as it existed for centuries, is not based on a Masoretic tradition. The most important defining characteristic of the Qurʾān is often neglected, namely, its orality. EvQ provides a flexible online interface through which one can easily utilize the data and access it through different filtering modules. Moreover, the project includes comprehensive audio recordings of the entire Qurʾān in all its documented variant traditions gleaned from a plethora of classical Arabic sources.