Muhammad commanded all his followers to learn the Quran from them.
The four chosen by the prophet were specifically:
1. Abdulla Ibn Mas’ud
2. Salim (a freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa)
3. Mu’adh bin Jabal
4. Ubay bin Ka’b. (Sahih Bukhari 6.61.521)
Years after Muhammad died, Abu Bakr, the first caliph decided to compile the Quran, fearing it would be lost.
Did Abu Bakr consult any one of the 4 men that Muhammad personally chose? NO.
Abu Bakr instructed Zaid Ibn Thabit, who was a scribe, to do the job.
Did Zaid consult or request help from any one of the 4 men that Muhammad chose? NO.
Were the 4 great early quran teachers UPSET that they were ignored and rejected? YES! They were FURIOUS!
They already had their own Quran codices.
After Zaid ibn Thabit finished compiling the first official Quran without input from the four….
The 2nd caliph, Umar, described the Quran: “Let no one of you say that he has acquired the entire Quran, for how does he know that it is all? Much of the Quran has been lost, thus let him say, ‘I have acquired of it what is available’” (As-Suyuti, Itqan, part 3, page 72)
In Sahih Bukhari 6.61.527 – “Ubayy was the best reciter yet we leave out some of what he recites.”
By the time the 3rd caliph, Uthman, came to power, there were many versions floating around. The books of the 4 great teachers and other hafiz had spread throughout the empire and used widely and gained popularity.
Due to this confusion, the 3rd Caliph Uthman instructed Zaid ibn Thabit to EDIT his Quran again, which he had compiled years earlier under Abu Bakr. The purpose was to come up with a standard and final official version for correct recitation.
Once that was done, Uthman ordered the burning of the rest of the versions including those of the 4 great teachers personally hand-picked by Muhammad. Sadly, Muhammad was no longer around to disapprove of the situation.
Abdulla Ibn Masud gave a passionate speech as Uthman’s henchmen were burning his Quran, tearfully declaring that he knew the Quran better than anyone else..
“By Allah other than Whom none has the right to be worshipped! There is no Sura revealed in Allah’s Book but I know at what place it was revealed; and there is no verse revealed in Allah’s Book but I know about whom it was revealed. And if I know that there is somebody who knows Allah’s Book better than I, and he is at a place that camels can reach, I would go to him.”
Authors note: The more I read about the sahaba, Ibn Masud, the more I am convinced that it was his Quran that was the true and genuine one. Unfortunately, this Quran is no longer in existence today. Thanks to Uthman.