Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Jibreel taught me one style and I reviewed it until he taught me more, and I kept asking him for more and he gave me more until finally there were seven styles.” (Agreed Upon)
The most reliable meaning regarding the ahruf (styles) is that there are seven methods of reciting the Qur’an, where the wording may differ but the meaning still the same. There are seven mutawatir readings and three mashhur ones.
The Mutawatir are:
Nafi` – Ibn Kathir – Abu `Amr ibn Al-`Ala’ – Ibn `Amir – `Asim – Hamzah – Al-Kisa’i
The three Mashhur are:
Abu Ja`far – Ya`qub – Khalaf
Enjoy watching this interesting talk with Dr. Shabir Ali to realize the reason of the different readings of the Qur’an.
Source: Qur’an Speaks Channel.