Miḥna and muṣḥaf : caliphal authority and the written Qur'ān
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This thesis challenges previous historiography and suggests an alternative explanation for the first appearance in writing of the ḥadīth relating the collection and codification of the Qur’ān. Rather than equating this “sudden” appearance with fabrication, I argue that the ḥadīth were already in oral circulation, and put in writing in Abū ʿUbayd’s Faḍā’il al-Qur’ān in order to serve the religio-political goals of the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma’mūn (r. 197/813-218/833). I argue that Abū ʿUbayd’s inclusion of the collection and codification accounts, which emphasize caliphal authority over the written Qur’ān, were intended to support al-Ma’mūn’s campaign to control religious authority as exemplified in the Miḥna.