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The Compilation of the Quran

There exists within the Islamic community a major fallacy which has been circulating amongst the public in regards to Muslim Scripture, al-Quran.  The fallacy relates to the supposed textual preservation of the Quranic text, and the notion that the Quran remains virtually intact, without additions or deletions, without any variant readings which would call into question the integrity of the Muslim text.

This fallacious argument, unfortunately, has convinced many lay people to believe that whereas the Bible has suffered textual corruption, the Quran is free from such tampering.  It is thus claimed that based on this fact the Quran is rendered superior and is a more reliable document than the Holy Bible.

However, a close examination of the historical references regarding the compilation of the Quran, demonstrates that the weight of the evidence does not support the Muslim claims.  On the contrary, the evidence tends to support the fact that the Quran has suffered much in the way of transmission.

The majority of our references will be taken directly from Islamic scholars and writings, in order to avoid the Muslim accusations of western scholarly bias.  Such accusations are often promoted in an attempt to side-track the obvious implications on Muslim claims.

The first issue which needs to be addressed is the claim that a complete Quranic Codex existed during the time of Muhammad.  This claim finds no support, since the first complete text was compiled during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr:

Narrated Zaid Bin Thabit,
“Abu Bakr sent someone to call me when Yamama people were killed.  Umar was there with him.  Abu Bakr said: ‘On the day of Yamama, Umar came to me and said that the reciters of the Quran were killed.  He was afraid that others might be killed elsewhere.  This indicatesthe loss of much of the Quran.  He suggested that I command that the Quran be compiled.’  I asked Umar: ‘How would you do something that the Prophet of Allah did not do?’  Umar kept telling me to think about it until Allah made my heart cheerful.  I took on Umar’s perspective.  Abu Bakr said to me: ‘We do not doubt that you are a wise young man.  You used to write down the revelation for the Prophet of Allah.  So trace the Quran and compile it.’  I said: ‘By Allah, if they had chosen me to move the mountain from its place, it would have been easier than compiling the Quran.  I argued: ‘How would you do something the Prophet of Allah did not do?’  He replied: “By Allah, this is good!’  Therefore, I continued compiling it from palm branched, thin stones, and the chests of men.  I found the end of Sura al-Tawba[9] with Abu Khuzaima al-Ansari.  I did not find it with anyone other than him.  The leaves (suhuf) were with Abu Bakr until he died; then they were handed down to Umar, then to Hafsah, Umar’s daughter.”  (1: pp. 47-48, citing al-Bukhari)

According to another source, “During the battle of Yamama, 450 reciters of the Quran were killed.” (Ibid. p.47, citing Ibn Kathir’s Al-Bidaya wa al-Nibaya, chapter on Battle of Yamama)

From these sources we realize that:

1.      No text had been compiled during Muhammad’s time.  This is further solidified by the following tradition:

2.      [Zaid b. Thabit said:] “The Prophet died and the Qur’an had not been assembled into a single place.” (Ahmad b. Ali b. Muhammad al ’Asqalani, ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari [13 vol., Cairo 1939], vol. 9, p.9)

3.      A great majority of the Quranic reciters had been killed at al-Yamama, forever taking with them portions of the Quran that only they knew.

4.      Zaid Bin Thabit collected the Quran from palm leaves, stones and from the memories of 
men.

5.      Zaid was not the only person who had compiled the Quran in book form. Others such as Ubayy Bin Kab and Ibn Masud also compiled Qurans of their very own.  In fact, both Ubayy and Masud had been singled out by Muhammad himself as two of the top four Quranic reciters:

 

Masruq reported:
We used to go to Abdullah Bin Amr and talk to him.  Ibn Numair said: One day we made a mention of Abdullah Bin Masud, whereupon he said: you have made mention of a person whom I love more than anything else.  I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Learn Quran from four persons: Ibn Umm Abd (i.e., Abdullah Bin Masud - he started from him -  then Muadh bin Jabal and Ubayy bin Kab, then Salim the ally of Ali Hudhaifa.  (2: no. 6024)

Another tradition confirms that besides Masud, Kab and Thabit, there were at least two others who had also collected the Quran:

Anas is reported to have said: Four persons collected the Quran during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and all of them were Ansar: Muadh Bin Jabal, Ubayy Bin Kab, Zaid Bin Thabit, Abu Zaid.  Qatada said: Anas, who was Abu Zaid?  He said: He was one of my uncles.  (Ibid. no. 6029)

Despite the fact that this tradition contradicts Zaid’s own testimony that no Quranic text had been compiled in Muhammad’s time it does confirm, however, that other Qurans were in circulation at the time of Zaid’s Codex.  Owing to this fact, controversy evolved among the Muslims who began accusing each other of tampering with the Book of Allah, which eventually led to the third Caliph Uthman to take drastic measures. 

During the conquest of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Hudhaifa Ibn al Yaman went before Uthman due to a controversy which had just been recently broken out between Muslims in relation to the Quranic text: “Hudhaifa therefore said to Othman: ‘Oh commander of the Faithful, be careful of the people.’  He answered, ‘What is the problem?’  Hudhaifa said, ‘I took part in the expedition against Armenia where there were Iraqis as well as Syrians.  But the Syrians follow the reading of the Quran according to Ubai Ibn Kab, and they say some things which the Iraqis have not heard, so the latter accuse them of unbelief.  In the same way the Iraqis who follow the reading of Ibn Masud, read some things the Syrians have not heard, and the Syrians accuse them of unbelief.  Restrain this people before they differ in the Book, as do the Jews and Christians. 

“Accordingly Othman sent to Hafsa, saying, ‘Send us the sheets that we may copy them into the volumes.  Then we shall return them to you.’  Hafsa therefore sent them to Othman.  Then he commanded Zaid Ibn Thabit and Abdullah Ibn Harith Ibn Hisham, and they copied them into the volumes.  And Othman said to the copy of the three Quraishites, ‘When you differ, you and Zaid Ibn Thabit, in any portion of the Quran write it in the dialect of the Quraish, for verily it came down in their dialect.’  And they did so until, when they had copied the sheets into the volumes, Othman restored the sheets to Hafsa.  And he sent to every region a volume from what they had copied, and commanded regarding everything of the Quran besides it, in every sheet and volume, THAT IT SHOULD BE BURNED.”  (3: pp. 110-111, citing Mishkat and Bukhari) [emphasis ours]

Ikrima reported that Ali Ibn Thalib stayed at his house after the election of Abu Bakr, and it was told Abu Bakr that he resented his election!  Therefore he sent for Ali saying, “Do you resent my election?”  For which he answered, “No, by God!”  Abu Bakr asked him, “What caused you to stay away from me?”  He answered, “I saw the Book of God being added to,so I said to myself, ‘I shall not wear my mantle, except (to go) to pray, till I have collected it.”  Abu Bakr said, “Such is a most wonderful thought.”

It becomes obvious from these traditions that contrary to popular Islamic teaching, contradictions and variant readings existed between the different texts.  It is interesting to note that these variances gave rise to charges of corruption and textual perversion amongst the Muslim Umma, causing Uthman to burn texts written by eye and ear witnesses of Muhammad.

Uthman then proceeded to make Zaid’s Codex the official text, forcing others to accept his decision; a decision based not upon the wisdom of God but on one man’s choice.  The question which begs to be asked is who gave Uthman the right to burn Qurans, standardizing Zaid’s text, when there were others who had more authority for receiving official standardization of their respective texts, such as Masud and Kabb?

Both Kabb and Masud were respected for their ability to memorize, with Kabb being referred to as “the Master of the Quranic Reciters” and Masud reciting 70 surahs without error:

Abdullah (bin Masud) reported that (he said to his companions to conceal their copies of the Quran) and further said: He who conceals anything shall have to bring that which he had concealed on the Day of Judgment, and they said: After whose mode of recitation do you command me to recite? I in fact recited before Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) more than seventy chapters of the Quran and the companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) know that I have better understanding of the Book of Allah (than they do), and if I were to know that someone had better understanding than I, I would have gone to him.  Shaqiq said: I sat in the company of the companions of Muhammad (may peace be upon him) but I did not hear anyone having rejected  that (that is, his recitation) or finding fault with it.  (2: no.6022)

When informed that Zaid’s text was to receive official status, Masud reacted indifferently:
Abdullah Ibn Masud said, “I recited from the Messenger of Allah (saw) seventy surahs which I had perfected before Zaid Ibn Thabit had embraced Islam.”  (4:p.66, citing Ibn Abi Dawud’sKitab al-Masahif, p.17)

“I acquired directly from the Messenger of Allah (saw) seventy surahs when Zaid was still a childish youth - must I now forsake what I acquired directly from the Messenger of Allah?”  (Ibid., p.15)

 

Masud during a religious sermon (khutba) declared:
“The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of the Quran.  I like it to read according to the recitation of him (Prophet) whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit.  By Him besides whom there is no god!  I learnt more than seventy surahs from the lips of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, while Zayd Ibn Thabit was a youth, having two locks and playing with the youth.”  (Ibid., citing Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, p.444)

In fact, the Muslim community at Iraq refused to receive Uthman’s text, preferring Masud’s instead.  The matter becomes worse, since Uthman’s text omitted chapters and verses which the other texts included:

'>·        '>·       According to Ibn Umar and Aisha, Muhammad’s wife, one chapter, Surah al-Ahzab [33] had 200 verses in Muhammad’s time.  Yet, once Uthman was finished only 73 verses remained, eliminating nearly 140 verses.  This tradition is also confirmed by Ubay Kabb.  (1:p.61, citing Al-Suyuti’s al-Itqan fii ulum al-Quran on nasikh wa mansukh;Darwaza’s al-Quran Al-Majid)

'>·        '>·       A verse on the stoning of men and women had been expunged from the Uthmanic text.  It reads as follows,

“As for old men and women, stone them for the pleasure they have indulged in.”  Umar al-Khattab stated, “But for people who may say that Umar adds to the Book of Allah, I would have written the verse on stoning.”  (1: p.61)

'>·        '>·       Muslim’s hadith collection solidifies that at least two surahs are missing:

Abu Harb b. Abu al-Aswad reported on the authority of his father that Abu Musa al-Ashan sent for the reciters of Basra.  They came to him and they were three hundred in number.  They recited the Quran and he said:  You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them.  So continue to recite it.  (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you.  We used to recite a surah, which resembled in length and severity to (surah) Bara`at.  I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it: ‘If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.’  And we used to recite a surah which resembled one of the surahs ofMusabbihat, and I have forgotten it, but remember (this much) out of it: ‘O people who believe, why do you say that which you do not practice’ and ‘that is recorded in your necks as a witness (against you) and you would be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection.’  No. 2286

Confirmation of the legitimacy of the verse on the son of Adam comes from Anas b. Malik:

Anas reported Allah’s messenger as saying: If the son of Adam were to possess two valleys of riches, he would long for the third one, and the stomach of the son of Adam is not filled but with dust.  And Allah returns to him to repent.  No. 2282

Anas goes on to say, “I heard the messenger of Allah as saying this, but I do not know whether this thing was revealed to him or not, but he said so.”  No. 2283 (c.f. 2284, 2285)
Yet according to al-Aswad it was revealed as part of a surah which no longer exists.

'>·        '>·       According to Hamida bint Abi Yunus: “When my father was eighty years of age, he recited the following verse from the codex of Aisha: ‘Verily, Allah and His angels pray for the Prophet.  O ye who believe, pray for him and earnestly desire peace for him and for those who pray in the front rows.’”  She adds: “This verse had been there before the codicesunderwent change at the hands of Uthman.”  (Ibid.: pp. 61-62, citing al-Suyut’s al-Itqan onnasikh wa mansukh [abrogating and the abrogated])

'>·        '>·       According to Hudhaifa, Muslims read “only a quarter of  Sura al-Tawba (9) i.e., meaning a great number of its verses are missing.  (Ibid.: p.64 citing al-Mustadrak)

'>·        '>·       Ubayy Kabb included two extra surahs, al-Hafd (the Haste) and al-Khal (the Separation) that were not included in the Uthmanic text.  These surahs were also included in the texts of Ibn Abbas and Abu Musa.  (4: pp. 74-75, citing al-Suyuti’s al-Itqan, pp.152-153)

'>·        '>·       Ibn Masud refused to include surahs 1, 113 and 114, stating that these chapters were revealed as prayers and incantations to ward off evil.  This fact is confirmed by al-Razi, al-Tabari and Ibn Hajar.  (1: p. 58, citing Ibn Hajar, al-Tabari, al-Suyuti’s Itqanchapter on compilation)

'>·        '>·       According to al-Hajjaj, “a sura as long as al-Tawba was revealed, and then it was lifted up,” i.e., lost.  (Ibid.: pp.62-63, citing Bukhari, Riqaq 10; Zuhd 27; al-Tirmidi, al-Darimi Riqaq 62; and Ahmad Bin Hanbal, 111, 122, 176; iv. 368; v.117; vi.55)

'>·        '>·       Aisha relates that, “Ten verses were revealed concerning a foster relationship.  These were annulled and replaced by another five verses.”  Yet both the abrogated and abrogating verses are nowhere to be found.  She also stated: “The verses of stoning and fostering were revealed, and the sheet of paper on which they were written was under my pillow.  But then the Prophet died.  Overwhelmed with grief, a beast came in and ate the sheet of paper.”  (Ibid.: p. 112, citing Muslim Hudud 15 and also No.3421; Ibn Maja Hudud 9) [emphasis ours]

'>·        '>·       According to Zaid, two verses located at the end of Sura al-Tawba (9) had been missed by him when he collected the Quran.  It wasn’t until after he had compiled it that he found the verses with Abu Khuzaima al-Ansari, the only person to have memorized them.  This indicates that even Zaid’s initial collection was not perfect.  (4: p. 31, citing Bukhari, vol. 6, p.478)

This process of burning eyewitness writings on the part of Uthman did not go well with Muslims in general as they declared that he had “obliterated the Book of Allah” because “The Quran was in many books, and you have now discredited them all but one.”  (4: pp. 51, 58, citing Abi Dawud Kitab al-Masahif, p.36; al-Tabari, Bk.1, chpt. 6, 2952)

The late great Egyptian Professor, Dr. Taha Hussein, summarizes the atrocity of Uthman’s actions in his book, A-Fitnato Al-Kobra (The Great Sedition):

The Prophet Muhammad said: “The Koran was revealed in seven dialects, all of them are right and perfect.”  When Uthman banned whichever he banned from the Koran, and burned whichever he burned, he banned passages Allah has revealed and burned parts of the Koran which were given to the Muslims by the Messenger of Allah.  He appointed a small group of Sahaba (close friends of Muhammad) to rewrite the Koran and left out those who heard the Prophet and memorized what he said.  This is why Ibn Massoud was angry, because he was one of the best men who memorized the Koran.  He said that he took from the mouth of the Prophet seventy suras of the Koran while Zaid Ibn Sabit was yet a young lad.  When Ibn Massoud objected to the burning of the other codices of the Koran, Uhman took him out of the mosque with violence, and struck him to the ground, and broke one of his ribs.  (pp. 160-161, 181-182)  [emphasis ours]

The problem does not end just yet.  The traditions record that the governor of Medina, Marwan, confiscated Zaid’s text which remained in Hafsah’s possession when the latter had died and proceeded to destroy it.  Ibn Abi Dawud quotes Salim bin Abdullah as saying that,
“When Hafsah died and we returned from her funeral, Marwan sent with firm intention to Abdullah Ben Omar (Hafsah’s brother) that he must send him those pages, and Abdullah Ben Omar sent them to him, and Marwan ordered it and they were TORN UP and he said. I did this because whatever was in it was surely written and preserved in the (official) volume and I was afraid that after a time people will be suspicious of this copy or they will say there is something in it that wasn’t written.”  (3: p. 120)

We must ask who gave Marwan the authority to dare destroy an official, original copy of the Book of Allah, a copy written under the authority of Abu Bakr Siddiq, Muhammad’s personal friend and father-in-law?  Further, if there was nothing missing in the transmission of the text then why was he afraid that the people would be suspicious of it?

On top of this great atrocity, the Quran underwent further revisions under Iraq’s governor al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf (A.D. 660-714).  Abi Dawud notes,

“Altogether al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf made eleven modifications in the reading of the Uthmanic text... In al-Baqarah (Surah 2:259) it originally read Lam yatasannah waandhur, but it was altered to lam yatasannah... In al-Maj. (sura 5:48) it read shari ya’aten wa minhaajan but it was altered to shir ‘atawwa minhaajan.”  (4: p.109, citing Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif, p.117)
It appears that Muslims felt free in adding and subtracting from the Quran as they saw fit, irrespective of whether it was God’s word or not.  This fact is made clearer by Arthur Jeffrey’s conclusion on Hajjaj’s revisions:

According to Arthur Jeffrey, “That the practice of pointing came generally accepted and consistently carried through the whole of the Codex is said to be due to activity of the famous official al-Hajjaj b. Yusif, who was perhaps the most remarkable figure in Islam during the Caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik.  When we come to examine the accounts of the activity of al-Hajjaj in this matter, however, we discover to our surprise that the evidence points strongly to the fact that his work was not confined to fixing more precisely the text of the Qur`an by a set of points showing how it was to be read, but he seems to have made an entirely new revision of the Qur`an, having copies of this new text sent to the great metropolitan centres,and ordering the destruction of earlier copies in existence there, much as Uthman had done earlier.”  (The Quran as Scripture [New York: Books for Libraries, 1980], p.99)  

Another issue which the Muslims had to deal with was variant readings.  When the Quran was originally written, there were no vowel marks or diacritical points to differentiate the meanings of words.  To help illustrate the kind of problems this style of writing can create in a text, we will write a sentence without vowels:

h  gv hm bd

This sentence could be read in several possible ways depending on the context.  For instance, it might mean “he gave him a bid” if he were a contractor, or “he gave him a bud” if he were in a florist’s shop, or “he gave him a bed” if in a furniture store.  This textual style gave rise to thousands of variants between the codices which were available at that time.
Other variant readings stem from clauses which were either added or omitted from the text.  

A comparison between Uthman and Masud’s text will illustrate,

'>·        '>·       S. 2:275 in Uthman’s copy begins with Allathiina yaq kuluunar - ribaa laa yaquumuuna - “those who devour usury will not stand.”  Ibn Masud’s codex began in the same fashion but added “yawmal qiyamati,” The Day of Resurrection - i.e., “those who devour usury will not stand on the Day of Resurrection.”

'>·        '>·       S. 5:91 in Uthman’s text reads Fusiyaamu thaalaythati ayyammin - “Fast for three days.”  Masud included after the last word the adjective mutataabi’aatin, meaning “successive days.”

'>·        '>·       S. 6:153 begins Wa anna haatha siraatii - “Verily this is my path.”  Yet Masud’s version reads Wa haatha siraatu rabbakum - “This is the path of your Lord.”

'>·        '>·       S. 33:6, in regards to Muhammad’s wives, states, Wa azwaajuhu ummahaatuhuu - “and his wives are their (the believers’) mothers.”  Yet Masud adds Wa huwa abuu laahum - “and he (Muhammad) is their father.”  (Ibid.: pp. 69-70; citing Arthur Jeffrey Materials; Abi Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif)

It should be noted that in the four preceding examples, Ubayy Kabb, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Abi Dawud were in agreement with Masud’s reading.  Other times when Masud’s reading found support with the other reciters are,

'>·        '>·       S. 3:127, the standard version read Wa saari’uu (“be quick”), whereas both Masud and Kabb’s readings were Wa saabiquu (“be ahead”)

'>·        '>·       Masud and Kabb both read Yusrifullaahu - “averted by Allah” - in replacement of Uthman’s Yusraf - “averted.”  (S. 6:16)  (Ibid.: p. 71, citing Maki’s Kitab al-Kasf and Arthur Jeffrey’s Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Quran)

This makes the case against the Uthmanic text receiving official status even more strong, since the evidence points to Masud’s codex as vastly superior.
To present a brief summary of our findings we note that,

'>·        '>·       The Quran was not compiled perfectly.

'>·        '>·       Much of the Quran’s contents are missing.

'>·        '>·       More than one Quran was in circulation.

'>·        '>·       Primary eyewitness codices were burned.

'>·        '>·       An official text was decided upon by one man’s authority.

'>·        '>·       Even this official codex was eventually destroyed and eleven revisions were 
made of it.

'>·        '>·       Thousands of variants existed between these competing texts as documented by Arthur Jeffrey’s book who in turn cites Abi Dawud’s own work.

Before concluding, two fallacies need to be addressed.  There are those within the Islamic community, such as Dr. Jamal Badawi of Nova Scotia, Halifax who claim that the memorization of the Quran insured its preservation and authority.  It is claimed by these men that hundreds of individuals were alive who had memorized the Quran and who were personally taught by Muhammad, thus insuring the proper enunciation and contents of the Quran.  This logic is fallacious for two reasons,

1. 1. The claim that memorization preserved the Quran is false due to the fact that a great number of the reciters (hafiz) were slain at the battle of al-Yamama, taking those parts of the Quran that they alone had memorized to the grave with them, never to be recited again.  (See page number 1 for details)

2. 2. It was these same reciters i.e., Masud, Kabb etc., who were writing down codices from memory which led to contradictions, additions, omissions and to thousands of variant readings among the competing texts.  This proves that memorization failed to preserve the Quran intact.  This is why Ibn Umar would say, “Let none of you say ‘I have acquired the whole of the Quran.  How does he know what all of it is when much of the Quran has disappeared?  Rather let him say “I have acquired what has survived.’”  (1: p. 109, citing al-Suyuti’sAl-Itqan Fii Ulum al-Quran [p.524])

The second fallacy is that these variants were simply dialectal differences between the different Arab tribes which did not effect the text, since Muhammad was allowed up to seven dialectal readings (Arabic - Sab’at-l-Ahruf).  On the contrary, the evidence points to much more than simple dialectal variations, but to gross omissions of entire surahs, verses and lengths of chapters.  Those who expound this theory are basing it upon purely wishful thinking with no solid evidence to back up such assertions.

 

Conclusion
Unlike the Bible which has over 25,000 manuscripts with copies dating over two thousand years (i.e., Dead Sea Scrolls), the Quran has no corroborating manuscript evidence dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries.  The two oldest copies, Samarqand and Topkapi texts, date to approximately 160 years after the Uthmanic codex.  The style of these writings is Kufic, a script which was not in fashion during Uthman’s reign (Al-Mail script was used at that time).  Additionally, many pages of the materials differ extensively from one another, thus exposing the penmanship of multiple authors.

Due to the lack of any evidence until the ninth century, many scholars have come to question the integrity of the Quran.  One such scholar, Dr. Robert Morey, draws a timeline illustrating why scholars reject the authenticity of both the Quran and the Traditions:
Time Line

 

570

The Birth of Muhammad

7th Century

 

 

 

610

The Call to Prophethood.

 

632

Death of Muhammad.

 

650

Uthman Made Caliph.

 

691

Dome of Rock Sieged.

8th Century

700

Legends and myths are recorded in order to elevate Muhammad of history into the Muhammad of traditions.

9th Century

800

Nearly 700,000 traditions compiled.

 

850

Imam Bukhari collects and compiles traditions.

10th Century

923

Al-Tabari’s Commentary.

A gap of nearly two hundred years exists between Muhammad’s death and any written record of Islam’s origins and the Quran’s compilation.  This calls into question the whole issue of the reliability of the religion of Islam since more than sufficient time elapsed for legendary and mythological fables to develop around the historical events.  This point is even more pertinent when we note that there were no eyewitnesses to these events still living who could expose any fraudulent tales.

Furthermore, no references to Muhammad as a prophet have been discovered in the contemporary inscriptions or writings, again casting doubt on the contents of the Quran.  Yet, in the case of Jesus Christ and the New Testament documents, we have secular writings and manuscript evidence alongside church fathers’ scriptural quotations from within the latter part of the first and second centuries that establishes the reliability and preservation of these writings, being handed down within the first generation of eyewitnesses.

In view of all these considerations and facts, we are inclined to conclude that Islam and the Quran bear no solid and verifiable evidence which would support their authority or inspiration.

 

Keys to the numbers:

1. The True Guidance, pt. 4 - An Introduction To Quranic Studies

2. Sahi Muslim

3. Dr. William Campbell: The Quran And The Bible In The Light Of History And Science

4. John Gilchrist: Jam Al-Quran- The Codification Of The Quran Text

 

Appendix A

Muslim Scholars Acknowledge Corruption Of Quranic Text

Not all Muslim scholars believe that the Quran has been perfectly preserved, but freely admit to wholesale corruption of the Islamic text at the hands of Uthman, Islam’s third Caliph.  These Muslims are predominantly of the Shiite sect, a sect which believes in Ali ibn Abu Thalib’s primacy as the rightful heir of Muhammad, being his first cousin and son-in-law.

This fact is amazing since Muslims are fond of quoting liberal Christian theologians, Christians with an anti-supernatural bias, to prove that the Bible has suffered tampering.  Yet, we find within Islam a group of God-fearing individuals who do believe in the inspiration and miracles, upholding Muhammad’s prophethood, who are still honest enough to acknowledge the fact that much is missing from the Islamic revelation.

One of the most famous Shiite books written on the subject of corruption is The Abridgement on the Distortion of The Book of the Lord of Lords, by Imam al-Nuri.  According to him, many Imams such as al-Saduuq, al-Tubrusi, al-Sighaar, al-Kalleeni, Ibn Shahir Ashuub, al-Ayyaashi, al-Majlisi and al-Nu`maani agree that Uthman woefully tampered with the Quran, excluding and adding verses which best suited him.  According to al-Nuri, “There were different collectors, the prince of the believers was the first among them, whose collection was at variance with all the other collectors.  There are other three copies of the Koran collected by the caliphs, beside the copies of Ibn Ka`b, Ibn Mas`uud, which are four copies by themselves.”

And,

“When these general and particular accounts are considered closely, we learn, from both their literal or suggested meaning, that the Koran now existing between the hands of the Muslims in the east and the west as it is bound by two jackets, and according to its collection and arrangement, was not so during the life of the Messenger.”  (see  Nuri’s book)

Other books include Ahmed Ibn Muhammad’s The Distortion and Muhammad Ibn Hasan al-Sairati’s Distortion and Substitution.

According to these Islamic sources, more than two hundred verses have either been tampered with or completely omitted.  Here is a listing taken from the books of the Shiites:

'>·        '>·       According to Shiite scholars, one whole sura titled al-wilaya has been expunged by Muhammad’s successors.  It reads as follows:

O Apostle! Make known my admonition, so they will know.  Truly, those who turn a deaf ear to my verses and judgment are the losers.  Those who keep their pledge to you, I shall reward with pleasing paradises.  Truly, Allah is forgiving and offers great reward.
Truly, Ali is of the pious, and he shall be granted his merit on the Day of Judgement.  In no way are we ignorant of the injustice done to him. 

We gave him honour over all your household.  He and his offspring are the patient.  Their adversary is the leader of the criminals.

Say to those who disbelieved after they have believed: “Do you seek the worldly pleasures of life, running after it, forgetting what Allah and His Apostle have promised you, breaking the promises after reaffirming them?”  We have given you parables that you may be guided.  O Apostle, we have revealed unto you evident verses.  In them are those whom Allah may claim as dead, and whoever shall stand by him will be exposed. 

Shun away from them as they avoid you.  We shall bring them on a day where nothing will help them or grant them mercy.

In hell, they have a status which will befit them.  Give praise to your great Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves.  We sent Moses and Aaron, yet they wronged Aaron.  May it be good patience!  We have made monkeys and pigs out of them and cursed them until the day they shall be resurrected.  Be patient, for they shall be granted victory. 

Through you, as it has been for former messengers before you, judgement is fulfilled.  From them we have made a legal guardian to you, so that they may repent.  Whoever turns his back on My commandment, I shall bring him back, so let them enjoy their disbelief for a little while.

You shall not be asked about the treacherous.  O Apostle! We have made a pledge for you in the necks of those who have believed.  Therefore, take hold of it and be of the thankful. 
Verily, Ali is one of the obedient, lying prostrate at night, warning of the Last Day, and hoping for the reward of his Lord.  Say, shall these oppressors be treated equally while knowing of my torture?  Feathers will be filled around their necks, and they shall regret their works.  We have told you the good news that his offspring was to come.  Our order they shall not break. Upon them and for me be prayers and mercy, whether they are alive or dead, until they are resurrected. 

Upon those who do them wrong after you is My wrath, for they are a losing folk.  Upon those who follow their steps be mercy from Me, they shall be safe in the rooms.  Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. (The True Guidance, pt. Four, pp.65-66; Citing al-Nuri’s Fasl al-Khitab, p.110)

'>·        '>·       According to one Abu Ja`far, the original readings of S. 2:59 is, “Those who transgressed against the family of Muhammad changed the word from that which had been given them, so we sent a plague from heaven upon who transgressed against the family of Muhammad.” (Ibid., p.67; Citing Ibrahim al-Qummi’s commentary, vol. 1, p.48)

'>·        '>·       Abu Abdallah states that S. 2:91 correctly reads, “... What Allah has sent down concerning Ali, they say...”  (Fasl al-Khitab, p.205)

'>·        '>·       S. 2:143 is supposed to be, “We have made you justly balanced imams, that is, leaders that you might be witnesses over the nations.” (Ibid., p.213)

'>·        '>·       S 3:128 begins with, “Not for you is the decision...”  Yet, Abu Abdallah reads     it, “For you is the decision...”  (Ibid., pp.218-219)

'>·        '>·       S. 4:65 is read by Abu Abdallah as, “... against your decision in the matter of rule but submit to Allah and accept them with the fullest conviction.”  Yet Abu Ja`far reads it, “and find in their souls no resistance to what Muhammad and the family of Muhammad had decided...” (Ibid.,pp.225,226)

'>·        '>·       Abdallah’s commentary on 3:110 is: “Will the best of peoples kill the Prince of Believers [Ali], al-Hasan and al-Husain [Ali’s sons]?  The correct reading is: ‘You were the best imams evolved for mankind.’”  (Ibid., p.217)

'>·        '>·       The last clause in S. 4:79 according to Abdallah should have read, “... evil happens to you I have foreordained!”  (Ibid., p.226)

'>·          '>·        Abu Ja`far indicates that 3:185 should have had “and will be resurrected” as the concluding part of the sentence.  (Ibid., p.219)

Although there are many more verses we can present, these examples are sufficient to demonstrate quite clearly that the Quran is far from being perfectly preserved, a fact affirmed by God-fearing Muslims themselves.

 

Appendix B

Sahi-Bukhari on the Quranic Text

Since the Hadith collection of Imam Bukhari is considered by Muslims to be the premiere collection of Islamic Traditions, viewing it as second only to the Quran itself, it is incumbent upon us to examine it in relation to the Quran’s compilation.  On examining the evidence presented by Bukhari, we find that the statements given are in total agreement with the other Islamic reference works quoted within this study.

Far from affirming the Quran’s perfect compilation, Bukhari’s collection acknowledges the fact that the Quran did suffer much corruption during its transmission from oral to written format.

Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s nine-volume English translation of Sahi-Bukhari will be used throughout, more specifically volume six of his set:
6.  no. 509

'>·        '>·       A large number of reciters killed in Battle of Yamama (against Musailama).

'>·        '>·       Portions of Quran feared lost.

'>·        '>·       Quran to be compiled into a single collection, something not done by 
Muhammad.

'>·        '>·       Zaid b. Thabit compiled the Quran.

'>·        '>·       Could not find last verse of S. Al-Tawba except with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari
6.  no 510

'>·        '>·       During war against Azerbaijan and Armenia, Hudhaifa bin al-Yamama informed Uthman that the Iraqis, who read Masud’s version of the Quran, and the Syrians, who read Kabb’s version, accused each other of adding and/or omitting from the Quranic text.

'>·        '>·       Uthman commissioned Zaid, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Said b. al-As, and Abdur-Rahman b. Harith b. Hisham to rewrite the Quranic M.S.S. in the Quraish dialect.

'>·        '>·       New copies sent to each province.

'>·        '>·       Qurans of other companions ordered to be burnt.
6.  no. 511

'>·        '>·       Last two verses of S. Al-Tawba found with only one person, Abu Khuzaima.  
This fact destroys the myth that the Quran had been preserved perfectly through memorization, since if this were the case why was it that only Khuzaima had the last two verses of Al-Tawba at his disposal?  Should these not have been in the possession of all the memorizers?
              
In fairness, it must be stated that according to certain other Islamic traditions, Ubayy b. Kabb also acknowledged the existence of these last two verses:
              
They collected the Quran into a mushaf in the reign of Abu Bakr, some men writing to the dictation of Ubayy.  When they reached Q 9:127 some supposed that that was the last part of the Quran to have been revealed.  But Ubayy pointed out that the Prophet had taught him two verses more and, since they were the last of the Quran to be revealed, the Book should close on the note on which it had begun. (John Burton, The Collection of the Quran, 1977, p.124 - citing Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah b. Abi Da’ud’s Kitab Al Masahif)

               Yet, this actually confirms the fact that not everyone had memorized the Quran completely, since only two from out of all the community could remember these verses.
              
It is presumed that the Hadith is referring to the fact that only Khuzaima had written the verses out on paper, while the rest had committed them to memory.  Again, this seems to be wishful thinking, since this Hadith says nothing about verses written on codices.  Hence, this presumption cannot be taken seriously due to the lack of any evidence in support of such a view.
6.  no. 515

'>·        '>·       Contradictory order of surahs existed between the conflicting versions of the Quran.
6.  no. 527

'>·        '>·       Some reciters left out verses mentioned by Kabb, in spite of the latter’s reputation as the best reciter.  This strongly suggests that many verses have disappeared.
6.  no. 558, 562

'>·        '>·       Muhammad himself forgot portions of the Quran.
All this evidence from the best and the most reliable Hadith collection leaves no doubt that the Quran is far from being a perfect compilation.



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©2003 Faith Defenders