It was stated in Chapter III that 1200 Muslims were killed in the battle of 'Aqraba, among whom were committing the Qur'an to memory. `Omar bin al Khattab, whose brother Zayd was among the dead, thought deeply of what might happen if wars continued and more such people were killed. He reached the conclusion that if the Qur'an was to be preserved, it ought to be compiled1into one volume. At that time it was scattered among the companions of the Prophet, with each preserving part of it. Methods of preservation differed. Some had it written on parchment2; others on palm branches stripped of leaves; a third group on shoulder bones; and a fourth on stone tablets; a large number also learnt it by heart. If many of those who had memorized it were killed, then a part of the Holy Book might disappear. So ''Omar went to the caliph, who was then sitting in the Prophet's grand Mosque. He discussed his idea with him, but Abu Bakr rejected it because it had not been approved by the Prophet. A lengthy3 debate followed, after which Abu Bakr was convinced that ''Omar was right.
He called for Zayd bin Thabit, a youth of perfect character, and commissioned him to compile the Qur'an into one volume. At first Zayd objected for the same reason which had made Abu Bakr protest. Then he acquiesced, but felt that the commission was very onerous4. He had to collect every verse and every chapter from those who owned them and then classify them in the order which was prescribed by the Prophet .
After Zayd accomplished the tedious task and had organised the Qur'an into one book, he submitted the precious collection to Abu Bakr, who kept it in his possession until the end of his life. During 'Omar's caliphate it was placed in the custody5 of Abu Bakr's daughter, Hafsah, the Prophet's wife. Finally in `Othman's days, when different readers began to recite it differently, the caliph had several copies of it made and distributed them to the various countries which comprised the Islamic world. The modern edition of the Qur'an is the `Othman copy, which is considered the standard to which every other copy should conform.
Abu Bakr's compilation of the Qur'an is regarded by many people as his most significant feat, more significant even than the wars of apostasy and the conquest of 'Iraq and Syria. `Ali bin Abi Talib used to say: "May God have mercy upon Abu Bakr! He is worthy of being superbly rewarded, because he was unique in compiling the Qur'an."