Narrated Zaid bin Thabit Al-Ansari, one of the scribes of the Revelation : Abu Bakr sent for me after the casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Qurra were killed). ‘Umar was present with Abu Bakr who said: “Umar has come to me and said, the People have suffered heavy casualties on the day of (the battle of) Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be some casualties among the Qurra (those who know the Qur’an by heart) at other places, whereby a large part of the Qur’an may be lost, unless you collect it. And I am of the opinion that you should collect the Qur’an.’
Abu Bakr added, ‘I said to ‘Umar, “How can I do something which Allah’s Apostle has not done?”
‘Umar said (to me) “By Allah, it is (really) a good thing”.
So ‘Umar kept on pressing trying to persuade me to accept his proposal, till Allah opened my bosom for it and I had the same opinion as ‘Umar’.
(Zaid bin Thabit added:) ‘Umar was sitting with him (Abu Bakr) and was not speaking.
Abu Bakr said (to me), ‘You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you (of telling lies or of forgetfulness); and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah’s Apostle. Therefore, look for the Qur’an and collect it (in one manuscript)’.
By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains (from its place) it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur’an.
I said to both of them, ‘How dare you do a thing which the Prophet has not done?’
Abu Bakr said, ‘By Allah, it is (really) a good thing.
So I kept on arguing with him about it till Allah opened my bosom for that which He had opened the bosoms of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. So I started locating the Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart). I found with Khuzaima two verses of Sura at-Tauba which I had not found with anybody else (and they were):
‘Verily there has come to you an Apostle (Muhammad) from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad) is ardently anxious over you (to be rightly guided)’
[Surat at-Tawbah, 9:128]
The manuscript on which the Qur’an was collected, remained with Abu Bakr till Allah took him unto Him, and then with ‘Umar till Allah took him unto Him, and finally it remained with Hafsa, ‘Umar’s daughter.
[Bukhari, VI, No. 201; found in ‘An Introduction to Sciences of Quran’ by Ahmad von Denffer, pp. 18.]