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Koran Redux (1)

It is clear now that the outburst of the Arab Spring was a mere mirage in a sky full of expectation of change in the Arab world. Nothing has changed, really, for the bedrock foundation of all Arab societies, one on which there is almost complete consensus, is the role of religion in public life. All these societies have surrendered to the dictates of Islam, believing that its scripture is holy, handed down by Allah to his prophet Mohammed in the 7th century, and contains all there is to know about how to live in this world and beyond. This is why Islam is perceived to foster fatalism, encouraging people to downplay their human abilities for creative and critical thinking, and adopt various degrees of feverish obedience to God’s will as outlined in the Koran. If Islam has all the answers already, Muslims exist only to make sure that such answers are duly observed and implemented.

How then would Muslims feel if they were told that Islam, the religion they cherish so deeply, is, in fact, a human creation, not a divine one? If one were to look at the Koran very closely, it certainly appears to be the work of generations of writers, working in different circumstances, reflecting the politics and concerns of their times, not the eternal word of the Creator. Scholarship in this field is still tricky partly because many Muslims turn violent when anyone tries to examine revelation in the light of reason and history, but attempts have been made, even though much more needs to happen in the future.

Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural by John WansbroughIn this article, we will take a quick look at John Wansborough, whose book, Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation (written between 1968 and 1972 and published by Oxford University Press in 1977), broke ground—the scholar Andrew Rippin says—for a new scholarly approach to the study of the Koran. To the common five stages involved in the process of textual or scriptural canonization—“composition, circulation, revision, collection, and recognition”—Wansborough had the insight of adding the “commentarial literature” that confirms the authority of the text.

The widespread notion that it was Caliph Uthman who assembled the Koran derives from a quest to confer “unquestioned stability and absolute authority” on the text, but the written Arabic of that time was “far too ambiguous” to provide that assurance. To be sure, the Koran is unlikely to have emerged ex nihilio from the disputes of later centuries; in fact, that process is one that presumes an already existing text, or texts. However, it is the “compositional history” and evolution of this text—which, by definition, implies an editorial process—that had been neglected.

Wansborough’s book is, indeed, an exhaustive comparative study of the Koran as it was collected and canonized over a period of three centuries or so. This work, which relies on many languages, reflects the huge gap separating the standards of scholarship in the West and those in Arab or Muslim nations. Just like the Koran is incomprehensible without the corpus of exegetical literature that developed around it, Wansborough’s Quranic Studies will require decades of intensive study to yield its secrets.

With its “elliptical presentation” and “very repetitive style,” the Koran is concerned with  salvation, deploying threats and inducements to bind members of the emerging Muslim community to the new religion. It is significant that early Muslim jurisprudence did not derive from the Koran—this would be a phenomenon of the 9th century. Similarly, reference to a singular mushaf (codex), not the plural masahif, also dates from this period.

This was also the time when the Sunna (Prophet’s sayings and doings) was being formulated. If Mohammed were to be the new anointed prophet in this Koranic script, then a biography had to be written about the man who would have such an impact on history. His portrait was fashioned gradually, responding to the needs of an Arabic-speaking community. His prophecy was found to have been predicted in earlier scriptures; his breast was split open miraculously for purification and was blessed with infallibility (`isma); he was transported on a nocturnal journey (isra’) and ascended to the highest heavens (mi`raj) to meet Allah and return with a list of prescriptions for his people; and he was the transmitter of the inimitable and uncreated Koran, written in the language of the Arabs.

The Sectarian Milieu: Content And Composition of Islamic Salvation History by John Wansbrough
The Sectarian Milieu: Content And Composition of Islamic Salvation History by John Wansbrough

In a later book, The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History (1978), Wansbrough describes the Koran as “referential.” By that, he means that it could only make sense to people who had been familiar with biblical stories, such as those of Joseph (Yusuf). Otherwise, there are too many gaps in the Koranic narrative for the stories to make sense.

Scholars working during the Abbasid period refashioned the tales they found in their sectarian milieu and turned them into a unique Muslim document. It was a scholarly elite operating in an open, cosmopolitan society, engaged in polemics conferring legitimacy on their new (Arab) order that composed “the Islamic version of salvation history,” compiled the “prophetical Sunna,” edited the “Muslim scripture” and expounded the “dogmatic theology” of Islam. They distilled the Judaeo-Christian tradition, neutralizing key elements of these major faiths, to create a new religion, whose origins were projected back onto the barren land of Arabia, not the Fertile Crescent. In this sense, Islam, despite being derivative, initiated “a successful semantic shift.”

Once elaborated, the Koran, encoded in Arabic, was placed outside the stream of history and was canonized as God’s timeless and eternal word transmitted to humans through angelic mediation. Ninth-century thinkers such as Ibn Rawandi and Abu Isa al-Warraq rejected such preposterous claims because, for them, philosophers and mystics were seekers for wisdom, not merely blind consumers of scriptures. But they were in the minority. After so many centuries, their voices continue to be silenced by the deafening sounds of blind faith.

All Comments (1)

  1. IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL THE COMPILATION OF THE QURAN We Muslims believe that the Quran which was revealed and compiled in the book form with the sequence of the verses maintained, as revealed, before the death of the Prophet. However there was a conspiracy among the non-Muslims to propagate the belief that the Quran was not in the book form when Prophet departed but was compiled later, through the efforts of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, Hazrat Umar ibn Khattab, Usman bin Affan and Zaid bin Shabit. We also believe that the Torah and the Bible are the revelations of God but was corrupted and made impure by the interference of human beings and we can no longer believe in its authenticity and sacredness. Conviction is the foundation of system and upon which the structure of the system is built. If there is a slight tilt in the foundation, then the whole structure, which was standing straight, will crumble and collapse. Since the non-Muslims could not manipulate the Quran as it is well guarded by God, they applied a wicked scheme by fabricating and amalgamating hadith and attributing to Prophet. If the revealed Quran was not compiled in the book form by the Prophet, but was later compiled, gives rise to suspicion whether we have a pure Quran as was revealed to Prophet or an adulterated one. Now it must be seriously considered that if we have the slightest doubt about this book, then for that individual, Quran will not remain the source of Deen at all. It will have the same status as that of previous holy books of Torah and Bible. For the sake of reference, one is invited to read Hafiz Abu Bakr Abdullah ibne abi Dawood Sulaiman ibne Asha’ee Sajastani’s famous work entitled ‘KITAB UL MASAHIF”,’ that carries much significance in this matter. In this book, all the traditions linked with Quran are classified in a separate chapter. The same traditions are found scattered in other Hadith books. Abu Bakr ibne Abdullah abi Dawood was born in hijra 230 and died in hijra 312. He was the son of one of the famous six Hadith narrators, Imam Abu Dawood Sulaiman ibn Asha’ee Sajastani and whose famous book is part of’ Sahaa Sita.’ Consequently the book ‘KITAB UL MASAHIF,’ is taken as one of the authentic books of Hadith. Imam Ibnul Jazre called him ‘the most trustworthy.’ In Baghdad he was known as ‘Imam ul Iraq,’ in the elite and in public he was looked upon with great honor and respect. The Sultan of those days had erected a throne for him in the mosque of Baghdad. He sat on this throne and narrated the ahadith. The sages of Iraq took from his ahadith, but no one was able to reach his status. Let us examine some ahadith from the famous ‘KITAB UL MASAHIF.’ This particular conspiracy against the Quran by the non-Muslims is very unfortunate indeed but fortunately the Quran itself stands as a witness against it and is sufficient by itself to explode the myth of this conspiracy. Still more unfortunate is the fact that our Mullas and Scholars are holding these traditions as a sacred trust. When it is said that such traditions cannot form part of the basis of our ‘Deen’ because they were not given to Muslims by the Prophet, in the form of a safely compiled book, the reply comes from Mullas and Scholars that the same is the case with the Quran, so that the Ahadis and the Quran are at par with each other as far as their safety and integrity is concerned. But, on the other hand, the verses of the Quran are so explicit, so logical and so dynamic that no argument by Mulla or anybody else can stand against it. A. QURAN WAS FIRST SENT DOWN AS AN INSPIRATION AND SECONDLY SENT DOWN IN A BOOK FORM, ALSO A SECOND COPY DRAFTED AQ 53:10 Inspired to begin into HIS servent what is to be inspired. AQ 03:07 He Who has sent down to you the Book, of it are verses that are entirely clear, they are the Original Book and another, a Master Copy. As for those in whose hearts there is an aberration (from the truth) they follow (only) that it likes in order to sedition and in order to construed and what knows construed except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it; both is from our Lord.” And none receive admonition except men of understanding. AQ 02:183 Ramdhan is the month in which was sent down The Quran…. AQ 44:02 By the Book that makes things clear. AQ 44:03 I sent it down during a blessed night AQ 97:01 I have indeed revealed this in the night of power AQ 52:2 – And by the Book drafted / composed. AQ 52:3 – In a published parchment / roll. AQ 56:77 – That this is indeed a Qur’an (reading) most honourable AQ 56:78 – In a Book protected Quran a Book drafted / composed by ALLAH [SATAR to write (down) to compose draw up draft to rule line draw lines to streak stripe bar] Quran is published in parchment / roll by ALLAH RAQQ = parchment roll MANSHOR = unrolled stretched out leaflet pamphlet circular prospectus, outspread published opened emitted released catalogue flier publication prism NASHRA = to spread (out) stretch out to unfold unwind to spread propagate disseminate to diffuse to circulate to promulgate publicize to publish put out issue bring out to deploy to hang to resurrect to saw publishing publication putting out bringing out, resurrection B. ALLAH DID NOT SENT THE QURAN WRITTEN ON SHEET OF PAPERS AQ 6:7 – If We had sent unto thee a written (Message) on a sheet of paper so that they could touch it with their hands the unbelievers would have been sure to say: “This is nothing but obvious magic!” QIRTAS = paper, sheet of paper C. The Quran inscribed on Tablet AND well-protected AQ 85:21 – Nay this is a Glorious Qur’an AQ 85:22 – (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved! MAKNON = hidden concealed well-kept cherished covered harbored sheltered harbored = protected SAFHA = page sheet leaf surface face D. THE COMPILATION OF QURAN AND THE SEQUENCE OF VERSES WERE DONE BY ALLAH HIMSELF AQ 17:106 – And a Qur’an having divided in order that you might recite it to men and I downloaded it to the fullest. AQ 76:23 – I, We Who have sent down the Qur’an to thee to the fullest. E ALLAH SEND THE VERSES WELL ARRANGE AND IN A SPECIFIC ORDER. AQ 25:32 – Those who reject Faith say: “Not a single sentence was revealed to him” That We may strengthen thy heart thereby and arranged it in a specific order. RATTAL = TARTILA = F. THE COMPILATION AND EXPLANATION OF QURAN WAS UPON ALLAH AQ 75: 16/17/18/19 – Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is upon Us to compose, compile it and to recite it: But when We have recited it to you, follow thou its recital: Then it is upon Us (Allah) to explain it to you. JAM3A = to gather collect to combine to compile group to join unite to assemble bring together rally to add up to compose set typeset Summary of the verses: 1. The People of the Book made The Torah written on sheet of papers. 2. Quran was not send written on sheet of paper 3. Quran a Book drafted / composed by God 4. Quran published on a parchment / roll by ALLAH during the lifetime of Prophet. This is the Master Copy – 03:07 5. Quran inscribed in Tablets like Torah 6. Quran in a well-protected Book 7. Quran verses were sent to the fullest and well arranged. 8. Quran composition and explanation was done by ALLAH HIMSELF. AQ 45:06 – These are the communications of Allah which We recite to you with truth; then in what announcement would they believe after ALLAH and His communications? Anyone who believes in ALLAH and in HIS Quran will believe the above, and the one who does not believe in ALLAH and in HIS Quran will believe in the following fabricated and contradictory hadiths Bukhari: 6:509 Zaid bin Thabit Abu Bakr As-Siddiq sent for me when the people of Yamama had been killed (i.e., a number of the Prophet’s Companions who fought against Musailama). (I went to him) and found ‘Hazrat Umar bin Al-Khattab sitting with him. Abu Bakr then said (to me), “Hazrat Umar has come to me and said: ‘Casualties were heavy among the Qurra’ of the Qur’an (i.e. those who knew the Quran by heart) on the day of the Battle of Yalmama, and I am afraid that more heavy casualties may take place among the Qurra’ on other battlefields, whereby a large part of the Qur’an may be lost. Therefore I suggest, you (Abu Bakr) order that the Qur’an be collected.” I said to ‘Hazrat Umar, “How can you do something which Allah’s Apostle did not do?” ‘Hazrat Umar said, “By Allah, that is a good project.” ‘Hazrat Umar kept on urging me to accept his proposal till Allah opened my chest for it and I began to realize the good in the idea which ‘Hazrat Umar had realized.” Then Abu Bakr said (to me). ‘You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you, and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah’s Apostle. So you should search for (the fragmentary scripts of) the Qur’an and collect it in one book).” By Allah If they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur’an. Then I said to Abu Bakr, “How will you do something which Allah’s Apostle did not do?” Abu Bakr replied, “By Allah, it is a good project.” Abu Bakr kept on urging me to accept his idea until Allah opened my chest for what He had opened the chests of Abu Bakr and ‘Hazrat Umar. So I started looking for the Qur’an and collecting it from (what was written on) palmed stalks, thin white stones and also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last Verse of Surat At-Tauba (Repentance) with Abi Khuzaima Al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him. The Verse is “Verily there has come unto you an Apostle (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty…(till the end of Surat-Baraa’ (At-Tauba). (9.128-129) Then the complete manuscripts (copy) of the Qur’an remained with Abu Bakr till he died, then with ‘Hazrat Umar till the end of his life, and then with Hafsa, the daughter of ‘Hazrat Umar. (Please note this) – Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq lived as a caliphate for nearly 2 years 3 months and ten days. And for sure a Book like Quran, which is approximately 800 pages and in the manner in which the project was executed, would have consumed more years than the period of Abu Bakr’s Calipahte. Remember that Zaid collected verses from Palmed stalks, White stones, and from Men who memorized it, but no mention of parchment which is mentioned by God in the Quran. One last verse was with Abi Khuzaima: 128/129 Surat Tauba. Copy of Quran with Abu bakr, then passed to Hazrat Umar and then to Hafsa no mention of Aisha. Bukhari: 6:510 Anas bin Malik Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. Said bin Thabit added, “A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur’an and I used to hear Allah’s Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): ‘Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.’ ” (33.23) In this hadith verse 33:23 was missing and found with the sahaba Khuzaima Thabit whereas in the hadith by Zaid bin Shabit there was no such missing verse. Bukhari: 6: 515 Yusuf bin Mahk While I was with ‘Aisha, the mother of the Believers, a person from Iraq came and asked, “What type of shroud is the best?” ‘Aisha said, “May Allah be merciful to you! What does it matter?” He said, “O mother of the Believers! Show me (the copy of) your Qur’an.” She said, “Why?” He said, “In order to compile and arrange the Qur’an according to it, for people recite it with its Suras not in proper order.” ‘Aisha said, “What does it matter which part of it you read first? (Be informed) that the first thing that was revealed thereof was a Sura from Al-Mufassal, and in it was mentioned Paradise and the Fire. When the people embraced Islam, the Verses regarding legal and illegal things were revealed. If the first thing to be revealed was: ‘Do not drink alcoholic drinks,’ people would have said, ‘We will never leave alcoholic drinks,’ and if there had been revealed, ‘Do not commit illegal sexual intercourse,’ they would have said, ‘We will never give up illegal sexual intercourse.’ While I was a young girl of playing age, the following Verse was revealed in Mecca to Muhammad: ‘Nay! But the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense), and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.’ (54.46) Sura Al-Baqara (The Cow) and Surat An-Nisa (The Women) were revealed while I was with him.” Then ‘Aisha took out the copy of the Qur’an for the man and dictated to him the Verses of the Suras (in their proper order). Hadith by Zaid Bin Shabit one copy was with Abu Bakr, then it passed on to Hazrat Umar and then to Hafsa, but in the above hadith there is one copy with Aisha. From where did she have the copy? The above are only three hadithes and all three are contradicting with each other. In Kitabul Masaahif” there are nearly 18 narrations on the compilations of Quran and all are contradicting with each other. It is not advisable to write the full hadithes as it will take 135 pages, but a summary will be enough to awaken the dead faith of Muslims in the Quran. That the Quran was compiled not by the Prophet himself but by Zaid Bin Sabit under instructions from Hazart Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq: 2. The Quran was assembled by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq himself and Zaid Bin S’abit had only a second reading on it: Tradition (1) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Zaid Bin Sabit, on his own authority – When Ahl-e-Yammama were murdered in large number s Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (1st caliph) sent for me (Zaid). Omar was also there. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique said that Qarees (those who learn Quran by heart) have been murdered in an enormously large number and it is feared that the Quran shall become extinct. I would advise that the Quran be compiled early. I replied that how could I do a thing which the Prophet himself did not do. But they continued insisting upon it till I agreed. Thus I began a search for the Quranic verses written on places of paper, on stones, on dried leaves of date-palm and also searched for those people who had learnt it by heart, until only one verse, which the Prophet often used to recite, was left and that was also found later. Tradition (2) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Urwa Ibn Zubair, on his own authority, that when a large number of Q’areez were murdered, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq feared the loss of the Quran. He thus asked Omar and Zaud bin Sabit to sit at the door of the mosque and collect the Quranic verses from anybody who could produce two witnesses each in support their being genuine. Tradition (3) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Abd Khair, on his own authority, that he heard Hazrat Ali saying that blessed be Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq who assembled the Quranic verses. 3. The compilation of the Quran started by Hazrat Omar (not by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq) and completed by Osman (III Caliph). Tradition (4) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from S’alam and Kharja, on his own authority, that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq had assembled the Quran on papers himself and had requested Zaid Bin S’abit to have a second reading on it. Zaid refused but he agreed on the insistence of Omar. The scriptures thus compiled remained with Hazart Abu Bakr Siddiq till his death, the possession being succeeded by Omar till he died, and again by Hafsa (wife of the Prophet and daughter of Omar). Osman, when he became Caliph, sent for the scriptures but Hafsa first refused to part with but later agreed on the promise that they shall be returned to her. Thus Osman returned the scriptures after he got them copied. These remained with Hafsa until Marwan, in his time, got them burnt. Tradition (5) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Yahya bin Abdur Rahman bin Hatab that Omar (II Caliph), determined to assemble the Quran, ordered all those who kept with them the Quranic verses which were earlier collected by them from the Prophet, to produce such verses before him based on evidence of two witnesses each. Thus he gathered all those pieces of papers, stones, wooden plates and date-palm leaves on which the Quran was written. Omar left the task of compilation of the Quran incomplete when he died and it was thus taken over by Osman (III Caliph) who followed the routine of his predecessor. During this period Khazima Ibn S’abit challenged Osman that he had missed two verses and these were ultimately taken over. 4. Alleged Differences on the Quranic Text during the Caliphate of Osman Tradition (6) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Yazdi bi Moaviya, on his own authority, a story that Abu Musa Ash’ari and Abdulla bin Masood read the following Quranic verse differently – One reading as ” ” and the other reading as ” ” (2:196) Abdulla Bin Masood disagreed with the appointment of Zaid bin S’abit as the scribe of the Quran. Tradition (7) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Ibrahim Nakhie, on his own authority that Osman ordered the destruction of all Quranic versions except his own. On this Abdullah bin Masood said, “O people! Hide the versions of the Quran that you possess because any-body who hides it, shall bring it along with him on the day of judgement.” Tradition (8) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Abdulla bin Atba that Abdulla bin Masood disagreed with the appointment of Zaid bin S’abit as the scribe of the Quran and said, “O believers! I am being kept away from the task of scribing the Quranic text and this responsibility is entrusted to a person who was not even born to his infidel father at the time of my coming into the fold of Islam. Just imagine the type of behaviour attributed to the companions of the Prophet whom the Quran describes as ” ” (48:29) kind and affectionate towards one another. Tradition (9) Imam Ibn Dawood relates from Ibn Shahab Zahri in conjunction with Ans Ibn Malik Ansari that when Syrian and Iraqi Muslims met each other in the battle of Azarbijan and Armenia, differences arose in the respective versions of the Quranic text that the two people rehearsed and there was a danger of conflict between them. Hazifa Ibn Aliman Informed Caliph Osman that he heard that differences are likely to arise amongst the Muslims, regarding the Quranic text, like the ones present amongst the Jews and Christians regarding their own scriptures. Osman got perturbed over it and sent for the script which was written by Zaid bin S’abit under instructions from Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq and got it copied for circulation in various parts of the country. But when Marwan became the chief of Madina, he sent for the same script from Hafsa with the intention of burning it so as to avoid differences amongst the Muslims. Hafsa refused to hand over but the task of burning was completed after the death of Hafsa. Tradition (10) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates, on his own authority, from Ayub who related from Abu Qalaba, that during the period of caliphate of Osman teachers of Quran differed from each other in the Quranic text, and the differences were thus carried to the pupils, so much so that Muslims began to call each other infidels on account of these differences. Osman warned them against this practice and advised them to unite on one version. Thus on very difference that arose, Osman often sent for a certain person who, he remembered, had collected the disputed verse from the Prophet directly. And on occasions, when such a person was away at some far off place, Osman noted the preceding and the following verses, leaving blank space for the disputed verse, which was filled up on his arrival. After the task was completed. Osman ordered the destruction of all other versions except the one compiled by himself. 5. The readers may please keep an eye on the contradictory statements and the suspicions that are being created, one after the other, regarding the Quranic text. Tradition (11) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Masaab Ibn Saad, on his own authority, that Osman felt concerned on the people expressing doubts on the Quranic text only after 13 years of the death of the Prophet. He thus ordered them to bring to him all that they possessed regarding the Quran. They brought pieces of papers and hides on which the Quran was written. After the lot was collected. Osman sat inside inviting men individually, each stating each stating on oath that the material produced by him was the one collected by him from the Prophet directly. After the completion of this task, he enquired as to who was the best scribe amongst them and who was the person who knew the Arabic language best? They named Zaid bin S’abit and Saeed bin ‘Aas respectively. Osman, thus, ordered Saeed to dictate and Zaid to write it down. This completed version of the Quran was circulated amongst the people. 6. The sequence of the Quranic verses was set by Osman and that even after this some mistakes were left which Osman ignored. Tradition (12) Tradition (12) Imam Ibn Dawood Relates from Ibn Abbas, on his own authority that he pointed out to Osman as to why did he place Sura ‘Baraat’ with Sura ‘Anfal’. Osman replied that he thought Sura ‘baraat’ was a part of Sura ‘Anfal’, and that is why he (Ibn Abbas) did not point it out during the lifetime of the Prophet that it was not a part of Sura ‘Anfal’. Tradition (13) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from Abdul A’ala bin Abdulla bin Abdulla bin ‘Aamir Qarshi, on his own authority, that after the script was completed Osman complemented his people by saying, “You have done well but there are some linguistic mistakes left but these the Arabs can correct themselves.” Tradition (14) Imam Ibn Abi Dawood relates from ‘Akrama Tai, in his own authority, that when the script, after compilation, was brought before Osman, he noticed certain mistakes in it and remarked that if the one who dictated was from Banu Hanzil tribe and the scribe was from Banu Saqif tribe, these mistakes would not have occurred. Tradition (15) It is related from Saeed Ibn Jabeer that there are four words which are not correct in the Quran: 1- ” ” (5:69) 2- ” ” (4:62) 3- ” ” (63:10) 4- ” ” (20:13) Tradition (16) Urwa said that when he pointed out to Hazrat Aisha (Wife of the Prophet) about the four mistakes pointed out above, she replied, “My nephew! It is the scribes who made these mistakes.” Tradition (17) Zubair Ibn Khalid asked Aban Ibn Osman about certain verse and he replied that it had been wrongly written by the scribes. Tradition (18) Khalid Ibn Ays bin Sakhra Abi Aljaham relates that he read the script compiled by Osman and pointed out to him that it differs from the scripts possessed by the people of Madina at 12 different points. In order to remove this difficulty Osman got prepared copies of his own version for distribution, but this also could not serve the purpose because as Imam Ibn Abi Dawood has mentioned, on his own authority, that even the scripts which were copied for despatching to different cities were different from each other at several hundred points. Not even that, Imam Ibn Abi Dawood points out that these differences were present not only during the lifetime of the Prophet but even after that and that the present script of the Quran is the one finally corrected by Hajaj Ibn Yousaf who made amendments in Osman’s script at eleven places. In short, these traditions tell us that the present version of the Quran that we possess today was neither compiled by the Prophet nor by his companions but it is the one finally amended by Hajaj Ibn Yousuf about a century after the death of the Prophet. This was the period when traditions began to be recorded. The crux of the whole matter is that the conspiracy wants to assert that the Quranic text and the Ahadis are both at par with each other, as far as their care, recording and finalisation is concerned, and if the purity and authenticity of the traditions is doubtful, the same may be, said about the Quranic text. The conspiracy wants to impress that the present Quranic text is not the one dictated by the Prophet himself but, rather, it is the one finally corrected by Hajaj Ibn Yousaf. This is only a brief extract from the book “Kitab al Masahif” written by Abu Bakr Abdullah Ibn Abi Dawood of Baghdad (230-316 A.H.) who was held in great esteem by the traditionalists, the people and the Government of Baghdad. How far the traditions quoted above vary and contradict each other is apparent. That the Quran was compiled by Zaid bin S’abit under instructions from Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (1st Caliph); that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq assembled himself and Zaid bin S’abit had a second look over it; that the assemblage of the Quran was started by Omar (II Caliph) and completed by Osman (III Caliph); that it was assembled during the caliphate of Osman only, by Zaid bin S’abit; that the sequence of the Quranic verses was arranged by Osman himself and so on. All these self-contradictory traditions are attributed to the companions of the Prophet who, according to the Quran, were the most truthful people. One can well imagine the poison these traditions can inject into the minds of the readers against the Quran and how much suspicion they can raise against its purity and integrity. If such traditions are relied upon there is no difference left between The Quran and the present versions of Torah and Bible, which we believe, are not in their original forms as revealed to Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ respectively. On the basis of these traditions, the non-Muslim Orientalists ask us today to explain as to how the Quran could be called a safe and unaltered book. Thus a learned orientalist, Arthur Jaffery has collected all such diverse and contradictory traditions regarding the compilation of the Quran in his book entitled, “Material for the History of the text of the Quran”. He has particularly mentioned that it may not be taken in the spirit that his book has been compiled by a non-Muslim. The authority for it, he said, is no less than the famous book “Kitab al Masahif”. Thus he has tried to challenge our claim that the Quran we possess today is exactly the same that was revealed to Muhammad. ALLAH KNOWS THE TRUTH

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