Do the Variant Readings (Qira’at) Affect the Meanings of the Quran?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


It is usually said that the different qira’at do not affect the meanings of the Quran. But part of 17:102 means: He said: Truly you know that none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has sent down these as clear proofs”

While the recitation of Al-Kisa’i changes “’alimta” to “’alimtu”, meaning “I know” instead of “you know”. What is the explanation for such a difference when the Quran is meant to be wholly preserved?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which pleases Him, Amin.

The Quran as we have it today is wholly preserved, and there is no doubt about that. More than 1400 years of scholarship attests to that. The Quran was revealed in seven “ahruf” or variants and part of that entails slight changes in meaning, all of which, are part of the preserved revelation. ie, part of the Quran, and Allah knows best.

Understanding the Variant Reading

The history and theory of the variant readings of the Quran require much elucidation, beyond the scope of the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.

Please watch this lesson for an explanation of the Seven Ahruf.

Please see SeekersGuidance Essentials of Quranic Certificate: quran-studies-stream

Please read more about the above topic in this book by Qari Saleem Gaibie (pages 28-34)

I pray this is of benefit.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.