Nafi’ Al-Madani was one of the prolific readers and teachers of the Qur’an in early Islamic history.
Nafi’ bin Abdir Rahman bin Abi Na’im was born in 70 A.H., and his roots are from Isfahan in modern day Iran. Though his family came from Isfahan, he was described as having black (aswad) skin and having been enslaved. He was a client (mawla) of Ja’wanah Al-Laythi, who was described by Adh-Dhahabi as being the ally of Hamza (RA) and Al-Abbas (RA), the uncles of the Prophet (SAWS).
It is said that when Nafi’ was asked a question pertaining to the Qur’an, his speech was like a breeze of musk perfume. Malik bin Anas (RH), one of the imams of the four Sunni schools of thought, considered him to be the top teacher of his time in Al-Madinah of the Qur’an in all seven readings. Two of out the seven readings of the Qur’an, which we have today are transmitted through the chain of Nafi’. Those two readings which are the prominent recitation styles of the Qur’an currently in Africa are Warsh and Qalun.
He passed in the year 169 A.H.