Al Asma’i was known as one of the greatest scholars of Islamic history. He had a special place with the Khalifah, Harun Ar Rasheed and Al Asmai’s opinions were highly favored among other scholars.
It is reported that Al Asma’i rahimahullah was once reading Surat al Ma’idah and read ayah 38 as ” السارق والسارقة فاقطعوا أيديهما جزاء بما كسبا نكالا من الله( والله غفور رحيم) ”
A man among the Arabs listening to al Asma’is recitation asked: “O Asma’i, whose speech is this?” Al Asma’i responded, “This the speech of Allah!”. The man said, “This is not the speech of Allah.” Al Asma’i said angrily, “O man, fear Allah! This is the speech of Allah!”. The man however, insisted that it was not the speech of Allah. Al Asma’i asked the man, “Do you have the Qur’an memorized?” The man said, “No.” Al Asma’i asked, “Do you have surat al ma’ida memorized?” The man said “No”. Al Asma’i asked, “Do you have this verse memorized?” Again, the man responded “No”. Al Asma’i said, “Woe to you! You do not have the Qur’an memorized, nor the Surah nor the Ayah, then on what basis do you claim that this is not the speech of Allah?!”
The man replied, “You said ‘[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. Indeed Allah is Most Forgiving Most Merciful.’
However, this is not a scenario of forgiveness and mercy rather one of Might and Wisdom and thus the aya should conclude with والله عزيز حكيم And Allah is All Mighty and Wise”
Al Asma’i looked at the mus-haf and found that indeed the ayah ended that way. He began to weep and said, “By Allah we do not know the language of the Quran”.
لَّا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلَا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ ۖ تَنزِيلٌ مِّنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ ﴿٤٢﴾
Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy.