From his beginner Arabic lessons, Yusuf Estes explains his understanding of a number of Arabic words – Quran, kitab, qa-ra-ah, qaari, and iqra. He says:
Another amazing thing about the Quran is the recitation itself, because “Quran” doesn’t mean “book”. In some of our other programs we discussed this in more detail. “Quran” actually means “that which is being recited – Qa-ra-ah.” And when someone is being ordered to recite, the statement in Arabic is “iqra”. And one who recites is called a “qaari”. “Quran” – the recitation…
Source: “Misrepresentation and Lies about the Quran,” produced by Huda TV (2008) from the series called, “Lifting the Fog.” On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6RwO6RQ7V4 at precisely 11:55 to 12:28 (uploaded on July 17, 2009).
Yusuf Estes has also said:
The word “Quran” in Arabic does not mean a book. The word for book in Arabic is “kitab”. Although we refer to the kitab of Allah, meaning the Book of Allah. When we speak of “Quran” it actually means that which is being recited. You can not hold Quran in your hand because you can not hold a recitation…
Source: “Miracles of Muhammad” produced by Islam-1.net (2006). On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzYgjC44dhA at precisely 3:30 to 4:10 (uploaded on March 1, 2012).
Yusuf Estes explains Arabic words here, to produce a very strange and unprecedented conclusion – that the Quran written in book form is not considered the Quran. The basic Islamic beliefs based on the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) as his honorable Companions understood stands as a witness against this false idea.
The Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) said, what means:
(( Do not travel with the Quran, since I can not guarantee that the enemies would not get a hold of it. )) [Saheeh Muslim #1869]
Quite obviously, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) was not referring to the Quran memorized in their hearts or the Quran in al-Lowh al-Mahfooth (the Preserved Tablet)! He was referring to the mus-haf, the written Quran, and he explicitly called it “the Quran”.
‘Alee ibn Abee Taalib, the fourth Caliph (may Allah be pleased with him), said:
“May Allah have Mercy on Aboo Bakr, for he was the first one to gather the Quran between two book covers (i.e. in one mus-haf).” [Fadhaa’il as-Sahaabah]
Aboo Haneefah (d.150), the first of the four widely-followed imams (may Allah have Mercy on him), said:
“The Quran is written in the mus-hafs, memorized in the hearts, and recited on the tongues.” [Al-Fiqh al-Akbar]
Another of the great imams, Ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204), said:
“What we recite from the Quran on our tongues, listen to with our ears, and write in our mus-hafs is all called the Speech of Allah.” [Ali-tiqaad of al-Bayhaqee]
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.246), the fourth of the widely-followed imams (may Allah have mercy on him), was reported to have said:
“You interact with the Quran in five ways:  memorizing it by heart,  reciting it on the tongue,  listening to it with the ear,  viewing it with the eye, and  writing it by hand.”
Imaam Al-Bukhaaree (d.256, may Allah have Mercy on him), said:
“As for the Quran that is recited, written in the mus-hafs, written down and recorded (therein), understood in the hearts, then it is the Speech of Allah the Most High, not something created.” [Khalq Af’aal al-‘Ebaad]
Imam Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree (d.310) said:
The Speech of Allah, the Mighty and Honored, is not created, no matter how it is written, no matter how it is recited, no matter where it is recited, whether it is found in the heavens or on earth, wherever it is memorized, whether it is written in al-Lowh al-Mahfooth (Preserved Tablet) or drawn on the boards in children’s classrooms, whether it is engraved on a stone, written on a paper, memorized by heart, or recited verbally. Whoever says otherwise, or claims that a Quran on earth or in the heavens is not the same Quran we recite with our tongues and write in our mus-hafs, or believes otherwise, whether he hides it or speaks openly with it as his Religion, such a person is a disbeliever in Allah, subject to capital punishment. He is free from Allah, and Allah is free from him… [Sareeh as-Sunnah, p.18]
This grave error propagated by Yusuf Estes is a very serious mistake, considered by our early scholars as a statement of apostasy.
For more information on this important topic, and what the Muslims of Ahlus-Sunnah have always believed, refer to this free e-book: