Origin and development of the Qur'an


Origin and development of the Qur'an

The study of the origins and development of the Qur’an can be said to fall into two major schools of thought, the first being a traditionalist Muslim view and the later being a non-traditionalist view.

According to the traditionalist view, the Qur'an began with Muhammad's claims of divine revelations in 610 AD. The verses of the Qur'an were written down and memorized during his life. After his death and the Battle of Yamama in December 632, written collections started to take form. The caliph Uthman standardized one particular text in c. 653/654 AD. The text was later given vowel pointing and punctuation in the seventh and eighth centuries.Brief History of Compilation of the Qur'an. "Perspectives". Vol 3, No. 4, Aug/Sept 1997]

The non-traditionalist view has primarily been put forward by scholars in the West who have disputed the authority of the text Uthman chose to canonize over other available versions. They also question the practice of simply accepting the accounts of Muslim historians on Muslim history as true. The non-traditionalist view has failed to gain serious credibility amongst mainstream scholarship

The most important "revisionists" include Christoph Luxenberg (scholar of ancient Semitic languages in Germany), and John Wansbrough (formerly of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London). Their ideas are isolated and have never gained any degree of serious currency except amongst certain fundamentalist Christians.

History

The origin and development of the Qur'an began with Muhammad's divine revelations in 610 AD. The verses of the Qur'an were, according to accepted history, written down and memorized during his life on palm trees and fibre and collected shortly after his death. During the caliphate of Uthman the Qur'an was standardized in 653 AD. Slight developments in dotting and other punctuation happened during the seventh and eighth centuries.Brief History of Compilation of the Qur'an. "Perspectives", Vol 3, No. 4, Aug/Sept 1997]

Muslim and numerous western scholars hold this account to be true.cite book
last = Donner
first = Fred M.
title = Narratives of Islamic Origins
publisher = Darwin Press
date= 1998
location = Princeton, NJ
pages = 23
] " [http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521240154 Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period] " p. 240]

Muhammad

The Qur'anic revelation began when Muhammad began reciting it one night of Ramadan of 610 AD. Muhammad believed the recitation to have come from angel Gabriel, and considered himself responsible for inscribing these messages from God.Hooker, Richard. [http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ISLAM/QURAN.HTM The Qur'an] . Washington State University website.]

According to some, since Muhammad could neither read nor write, he would memorize the Qur'an by ear, and later recite it to his companions, who also memorized it. Before the Qur'an was written down, speaking it from memory prevailed as the mode of teaching it to others. This fact, taken in the context of seventh century Arabia, was not at all an extra-ordinary feat. People of that time had a penchant for recited poetry and had developed their skills in memorization to a remarkable degree. Events and competitions that featured the recitation of elaborate poetry were of great interest.cite journal
last = Al Faruqi
first = Lois Ibsen
title = The Cantillation of the Qur'an
journal = Asian Music
volume = 19
issue = 1
pages = 3–4
date = Autumn - Winter, 1987
] Some scholars, like William Montgomery Watt and Maxime Rodinson believe that Muhammad was literate and educated. [William Montgomery Watt, "Muhammad's Mecca", Chapter 3: "Religion In Pre-Islamic Arabia", p. 26-52] [Maxime Rodinson, "Mohammed", translated by Anne Carter, p. 38-49, 1971]

Written text

The initial revelations were written on different sorts of parchments, tablets of stone, branches of date trees, other wood, leaves, leather and even bones.cite book
last = Usmani
first = Mohammad Taqi
coauthors = Abdur Rehman, Rafiq (editor); Siddiqui, Mohammed Swaleh (translator)
title = An approach to the Quranic sciences
publisher = Darul Ish'at
date= 2000
location = Karachi
pages = 181-9
] cite journal
last = Schimmel
first = Annemarie
coauthors = Barbar Rivolta
title = Islamic Calligraphy
journal = The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series
volume = 50
issue = 1
pages = 3
date = Summer, 1992
]

Sahaba began recording Suras in writing before Muhammad died in 632. Allusions to written copies of the Qur'an can be found in many events. Immediately before his conversion in 615, Umar ibn al-Khattab caught his sister reading the Qur'anic text (Ta-Ha) from parchment. Muhammad said that reading the Quranic text earns a believer twice as much reward as reciting it from memory yet he prohibited carrying written copies of it into battle. He sent some copies of the Qur'an to different tribes and cities in order to teach people the religion of Islam.Fact|date=September 2007

At Medina, about forty companions are believed to have acted as scribes for the Qur'an. Twenty two such persons are mentioned by name in the Hadith. Among them were well known persons, such as Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Ibn Masud, Abu Huraira, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Amr bin al-As, Aisha, Hafsa and Umm Salama. Others went over the contents of the Qur'an with the Prophet before his death:Narrated Qatada: "I asked Anas bin Malik: 'Who collected the Quran at the time of the prophet?' He replied, "Four, all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubai bin Ka'b, Muadh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid"."Bukhari-usc|6|61|525|s=s|b=b

The revelations given to Muhammad were written down by Sahabas under his own (Muhammad's) guidance::Narrated al Bara: "There was revealed 'Not equal are those believers who sit and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah' Quran-usc|4|95. The prophet said: 'Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the ink pot and the scapula bone.' Then he said: 'Write: Not equal are those believers..."Bukhari-usc|6|61|512|s=s|b=b

Muslim scribes believed that they would receive heavenly reward by writing down the Qur'an.

Abu Bakr

During the life of Muhammad, parts of the Qur'an, though written, was scattered amongst his companions, much of it as private possession. After Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr initially exercised a policy of laissez faire as well. This policy was reversed after the Battle of Yamama in 633 AD.cite book
last = Usmani
first = Mohammad Taqi
coauthors = Abdur Rehman, Rafiq (editor); Siddiqui, Mohammed Swaleh (translator)
title = An approach to the Quranic sciences
publisher = Darul Ish'at
date= 2000
location = Birmingham
pages = 191-6
] During the battle, 700 Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an were killed. The death of Sālim, however, was most significant, as he was one of the very few who had been entrusted by Muhammad to teach the Qur'an. Consequently, upon Umar's insistence, Abu Bakr ordered the collection of the hitherto scattered pieces of the Qur'an into one copy.cite book
last = Hasan
first = Sayyid Siddiq
coauthors = Nadwi, Abul Hasan Ali; Kidwai, A.R. (translator)
title = The collection of the Qur'an
publisher = Qur'anic Arabic Foundation
date= 2000
location = Karachi
pages = 34-5
]

Zaid ibn Thabit, Muhammad's primary scribe, was assigned the duty of collecting all of the Quranic text. This was his reaction: :"...By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Quran... So I started locating the Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms and from the memories of men.Bukhari-usc|6|60|201|s=s|b=b]

The task required ibn Thabit to collect only written copies of the Qur'an, with each verse having validated with the oral testimony of at least two companions. Usually the written copies were verified by himself and Umar - both of whom had memorized the Qur'an. Thus, eventually the entire Qur'an was collected into a single copy, but it still wasn't given any particular order.

This compilation was kept by Umar, who on his deathbed gave them to Hafsa bint Umar, his daughter and one of Muhammad's widows.

Ali ibn Abu Talib

According to Shia as well as some Sunni scholars Ali compiled a "mushaf", a complete version of Quran, [cite encyclopedia|last=Nasr |first=Seyyed Hossein | authorlink=Seyyed Hossein Nasr | title=Qur'an |year=2007| encyclopedia=Encyclopedia Britannica Online | accessdate=2007-11-04|location=|publisher=|http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-68890/Quran] within six months after the death of the Prophet. When the volume was completed it was brought to Medina, where it was shown. The order of chapters of Ali's volume were rejected by some and Ali would later accept the standard version.

tandardization

By the time of the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan, there was a perceived need for the standardization of the Qur'an. The Caliphate had grown considerably, bringing into Islam's fold many new converts from various cultures with varying degrees of isolation. These converts spoke a variety of languages but were not well learned in Arabic, so rather than reciting the Qur'an as it originally had been (in full Arabic as some Muslims claim it is composed of) used substitute words. Also, large numbers of Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an (and other sayings of Muhammad) were dying.

Uthman is said to have begun a committee (including Zayd and several prominent members of Quraysh) to produce a standard copy of the text. Some accounts say that this compilation was based on the text kept by Hafsa. Other stories say that Uthman made his compilation independently, Hafsa's text was brought forward, and the two texts were found to coincide perfectly. Still other accounts omit any reference to Hafsa.Fact|date=September 2007

Until this time there was reportedly only one written text of the Qur'an. According to Islamic accounts, this text was faithful to its original version. Non-Muslim scholars believe that, while this is entirely possible, there must at least have been slight variations produced from some corruptions.

Thus, this became known as "al-mushaf al-Uthmani" or the "Uthmanic codex".Citation
last = Wild
first = Stefan
contribution = Canon
year = 2006
title = The Qur'an: an encyclopedia
editor-last = Leaman
editor-first = Oliver
pages = 136-139
place = Great Britain
publisher = Routledge
id =
]

Uthman's reaction in 653 AD is recorded in the following: :"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 'AbdurRahman 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.' (Quran-usc|33|23)"Bukhari-usc|6|61|510|s=s|b=b

Although the order of his earlier script differed from the Uthmanic codex, Ali accepted this standardized version.See:*Tabatabaee, 1987, chapter 5See also:
*Observations on Early Qur'an Manuscripts in San'a
*The Qur'an as Text", ed. Wild, Brill, 1996 ISBN 90-04-10344-9]

It is an increasing claim made by some Muslim and non-Muslim scholars that early Uthmanic texts of the Quran differed in terms of punctuation from the version traditionally read today. It is believed that early versions of the text did not contain diacritics, markers for short vowels, and dots that are used to distinguish similarly written Arabic letters such as r [ر] & z [ز] or t [ت] & ṭ [ث] or f [ف] & q [ق] . One claim is that dots were introduced into the writing system sometime about half a century after the standardization of the Uthmanic text around 700 A.D. ["The Arabic Writing System and the Sociolinguistics of Orthographic Reform", Mahmoud, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 1979, p. 8.]

When the compilation was finished, sometime between 650 and 656 CE, Uthman sent copies of it to the different centres of the expanding Islamic empire. From then on, thousands of Muslim scribes began copying the Qur'an.

He ordered the destruction of all other copies.Fact|date=September 2007

Oldest copy known today

Fragments from a large number of Qur'an codexes were recently discovered in the Yemen. They are now lodged in the House of Manuscript in Sana'a. Carbon-14 tests applied to one of the most complete manuscripts date it to 645-690 CE. Carole Hillenbrand, "The New Cambridge Medieval History", vol. 1, p.330 ] In all at least forty manuscripts or fragments at Sana'a are believed to date from the 1st century AH (622 – 719 CE). [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/ The Qur'anic Manuscripts] , "islamic-awareness.org", retrieved April 02, 2006]

Also worthy of note are the 240 metres length of Qur'anic inscriptions from the founding of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem in AH 72/CE 692. [ [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/DoTR.html The Arabic Islamic Inscriptions On The Dome Of The Rock In Jerusalem] , "islamic-awareness.org"; also Hillenbrand, "op. cit."]

Several manuscripts, including the Samarkand manuscript, are claimed to be the original copies sent out by Uthman [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss The Qur'anic Manuscripts] , "islamic-awareness.org", retrieved April 02, 2006] in the 7th century CE. Some non-Muslim scholars, however, doubt that any of the Uthmanic originals remain.

Having studied early Quran manuscripts John Gilchrist, a non-Muslim, states: "The oldest manuscripts of the Quran still in existence date from not earlier than about one hundred years after Muhammad's death." ("Jam' Al-Qur'an", page 153) He comes to this conclusion because two of the oldest manuscripts, the Samarqand and Topkapi codices are both written in the Kufic script. It "can generally be dated from the late eight century depending on the extent of development in the character of the script in each case." (Ibid. page 146)

However it is important to note that the inscriptions in the Dome of the Rock are Kufic inscriptions. They date about 692 CE. So the Kufic script already did exist in the late seventh century.

As for the copies that were destroyed, Islamic traditions say that Abdallah Ibn Masud, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, and Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, had preserved versions that differed in some ways from the Uthmanic text. Muslim scholars record certain of the differences between the versions; those recorded consist almost entirely of orthographical and lexical variants, or different verse counts. All three (Ibn Masud, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, and Ali) are recorded as having accepted the Uthmanic text as authoritative.

Uthman's version was written in an older Arabic script that left out most vowel markings; thus the script could be interpreted and read in various ways. This basic Uthmanic script is called the rasm; it is the basis of several traditions of oral recitation, differing in minor points.The Quran is always written in the Uthmanic Rasm (Rasm al Uthman). In order to fix these oral recitations and prevent any mistakes, scribes and scholars began annotating the Uthmanic rasm with various diacritical marks indicating how the word was to be pronounced. It is believed that this process of annotation began around 700 CE, soon after Uthman's compilation, and finished by approximately 900 CE. The Quran text most widely used today is based on the Rasm Uthmani(Uthmanic way of writing the Quran) and in the Hafs tradition of recitation, as approved by Al-Azhar University in Cairo in 1922. (For more information regarding traditions of recitations, see "Quranic recitation", below.)

Views

Traditionalists

Some secular scholars accept something like the traditional Islamic version; they say that Muhammad put forth verses and laws that he claimed to be of divine origin; that his followers memorized or wrote down his revelations; that numerous versions of these revelations circulated after his death in 632 CE, and that Uthman ordered the collection and ordering of this mass of material in the time period (650-656).Fact|date=September 2007 These scholars point to many characteristics of the "Qur'an" — the repetitions, the scientific mentions, the arbitrary order, the mixture of styles and genres — as indicative of a human collection process that was extremely respectful of a miscellaneous collection of original texts. Examples of traditionalists would be Richard Bell, Montgomery Watt, and Andrew Rippin.

Sceptical scholars

Other secular scholars, such as John Wansbrough and his students Michael Cook and Patricia Crone, were less willing to attribute the entire Qur'an to Muhammad (or Uthman), arguing that there is no real proof that the text of the Qur'an was collected under Uthman, since the earliest surviving copies of the complete Qur'an are centuries later than Uthman. (The oldest existing copy of the full text is from the ninth century. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/texts/quran_1.shtml The Qur'an] , "bbc.co.uk", retrieved February 17, 2007] ) They alleged that Islam was formed slowly, over the centuries after the Muslim conquests, as the Islamic conquerors elaborated their beliefs in response to Jewish and Christian challenges.. [P. Crone and M. Cook, "Hagarism: The Making Of The Islamic World", 1977, Cambridge University Press ]

Such an approach to the Qur'an is not accepted as true by some other western scholars. Alan Jones asserts that such views are a product of prejudice and speculation.

Wansbrough wrote in a dense, complex, almost hermetic style, and has had much more influence on Islamic studies through his students than he has through his own writings. His students Crone and Cook co-authored a book called "Hagarism" (1980), which was extremely controversial at the time, as it challenged not only Muslim orthodoxy, but the prevailing attitudes among secular Islamicists.

Crone, Wansbrough and Nevo argue that all the primary sources which exist are from 150–300 years after the events which they describe, and thus are chronologically far removed from those events [Yehuda D. Nevo "Towards a Prehistory of Islam," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, vol.17, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1994 p.108] [John Wansbrough The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1978 p,119] [Patricia Crone, "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam," Princeton University Press, 1987 p.204]

The absence of any Islamic corroborating material for the first century of Islam has raised numerous questions as to the authenticity of the material provided by traditionalist sources. Secular scholars point out that the earliest account of Muhammad's life by Ibn Ishaq was written about a century after Muhammad died and all later narratives by Islamic biographers contain far more details and embellishments about events which are entirely lacking in Ibn Ishaq's text. [Patricia Crone, The Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, pp. 203-30), where she argues that much of the classical Muslim understanding of the Koran rests on the work of storytellers and that this work is of very dubious historical value. These storytellers contributed to the tradition on the rise of Islam, and this is evident in the steady growth of information: "If one storyteller should happen to mention a raid, the next storyteller would know the date of this raid, while the third would know everything that an audience might wish to hear about it." 53 Then, comparing the accounts of the raid of Kharrar by Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi, Crone shows that al-Waqidi, influenced by and in the manner of the storytellers, "will always give precise dates, locations, names, where Ibn Ishaq has none, accounts of what triggered the expedition, miscellaneous information to lend color to the event, as well as reasons why, as was usually the case, no fighting took place. No wonder that scholars are fond of al-Waqidi: where else does one find such wonderfully precise information about everything one wishes to know? But given that this information was all unknown to Ibn Ishaq, its value is doubtful in the extreme. And if spurious information accumulated at this rate in the two generations between Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that even more must have accumulated in the three generations between the Prophet and Ibn Ishaq." ]

Another school of secular study of the origins of the Qur'an has focused on the examination of the vast body of the Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Coptic accounts of non-Muslim neighbors the 7th and 8th centuries which in many cases contradict the traditional Islamic narratives. Historian Patricia Crone for instances argues that the consistency of the non-Muslim sources spread over a large geographic area would tend to rule out a non-Muslim anti-Islamic motive to these sources.Patricia Crone, Slaves on Horses, pp. 15-16. "All the while that Islamic historians have been struggling with their inert tradition, they have had available to them the Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Coptic literatures of non-Muslim neighbors and subjects of the Arab conquerors, to a large extent edited and translated at the end of the last century and the beginning of the present, and left to collect dust in the libraries ever since. It is a striking testimony to the suppression of the non-Islamic Middle East from the Muslim sources that not only have these literatures been ignored for questions other than the chronology of the conquests and the transmission of Greek philosophy and science, but they have also been felt to be rightly ignored. Of course these sources are hostile, and from a classical Islamic view they have simply got everything wrong; but unless we are willing entertain the notion of an all-pervading literary conspiracy between the non-Muslim peoples of the Middle East, the crucial point remains that they have got things wrong on very much the same points. That might not, it is true, have impressed the medieval Muslims who held the Jews and Christians capable of having maliciously deleted from their scriptures precisely the same passages relating to the coming of Islam; but as the Jews and Christians retorted, given their wide geographical and social distribution, they could scarcely have vented their anti-Muslim feelings with such uniform results. It is because there is agreement between the independent and contemporary witnesses of the non-Muslim world that their testimony must be considered; and it can hardly be claimed that they do not help: whichever way one chooses to interpret them, they leave no doubt that Islam was like other religions the product of a religious evolution." ] :Of course these sources are hostile, and from a classical Islamic view they have simply got everything wrong; but unless we are willing entertain the notion of an all-pervading literary conspiracy between the non-Muslim peoples of the Middle East, the crucial point remains that they have got things wrong on very much the same points. That might not, it is true, have impressed the medieval Muslims who held the Jews and Christians capable of having maliciously deleted from their scriptures precisely the same passages relating to the coming of Islam; but as the Jews and Christians retorted, given their wide geographical and social distribution, they could scarcely have vented their anti-Muslim feelings with such uniform results. It is because there is agreement between the independent and contemporary witnesses of the non-Muslim world that their testimony must be considered; and it can hardly be claimed that they do not help: whichever way one chooses to interpret them, they leave no doubt that Islam was like other religions the product of a religious evolution.Patricia Crone, Slaves on Horses, pp. 15-16] The anti-traditionalist banner dropped by Crone and Cook has been taken up by scholars such as Christoph Luxenberg, who supports claims for a late composition of the Qur'an, and traces much of it to sources other than Muhammad. Luxenberg in particular is well-known for his claims that the Qur'an is merely a re-working of an earlier Christian text, a Syriac lectionary. See also Gerd R. Puin. [The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Qur'an 2007 English edition]

Fred Donner has argued for an early date for the collection of the Qur'an, based on his reading of the text itself. He points out that if the Qur'an had been collected over the tumultuous early centuries of Islam, with their vast conquests and expansion and bloody incidents between rivals for the caliphate, there would have been some evidence of this history in the text. However, there is nothing in the Qur'an that does not reflect what is known of the earliest Muslim community. ["Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing", Donner, Darwin Press, 1998, p. 60., ISBN 0-87850-127-4]

In 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of San'a, in Yemen, laborers stumbled upon a "paper grave" containing tens of thousands of fragments of parchment on which verses of the Qur'an were written. Some of these fragments were believed to be the oldest Qur'anic texts yet found.

The European scholar Gerd R. Puin has studied these fragments and published some preliminary findings:: "My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants. The Qur’an claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen,’ or clear, but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn’t make sense. Many Muslims will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Qur’anic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Qur’an is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Qur’an claims repeatedly to be clear but is not—there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on.” [Atlantic Monthly 1999 What is the Koran "My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants. The Qur’an claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen,’ or clear, but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn’t make sense. Many Muslims will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Qur’anic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Qur’an is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Qur’an claims repeatedly to be clear but is not—there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on.” [http://cremesti.com/amalid/Islam/Yemeni_Ancient_Koranic_Texts.htm] ]

The variations from the received text that he found seemed to match minor variations in sequence reported by some Islamic scholars, in their descriptions of the variant Qur'ans once held by Abdallah Ibn Masud, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, and Ali, and suppressed by Uthman's order. ["Observations on Early Qur'an Manuscripts in San'a"] ["The Qur'an as Text", ed. Wild, Brill, 1996 ISBN 90-04-10344-9]

Similarities to the Bible

Skeptical scholars account for the many similarities between the Qur'an and the Jewish and Hebrew scriptures by saying that Muhammad was teaching what he believed a universal history, as he had heard it from the Jews and Christians he had encountered in Arabia and on his travels. These scholars also disagree with the Islamic belief that the whole of the Qur'an is addressed by God to humankind. They note that there are numerous passages where God is directly addressed, or mentioned in the third person, or where the narrator swears by various entities, including God.Fact|date=March 2008

Textual evidence

The Qur'an has much common theology, narratives, and commands as the Bible as well as non-canonical Jewish and Christian documents that have no historical validity according to skeptics. (See Legends and the Qur'an.) Critics write that Muhammad did not know these documents were faulty and used them. Because they are not historically accurate, the Qur'an cannot be historically accurate.

"Created" versus "uncreated" Qur'an

The most widespread varieties of Muslim theology consider the Qur'an to be eternal and uncreated. Given that Muslims believe that Biblical figures such as Moses and Jesus all preached the same message as Islam, the doctrine of an unchanging, uncreated revelation implies that contradictions between the statements of the earlier divine revelations (the Torah and then the Bible), and the final revelation from God, the Qur'an, must be the result of human corruption of the earlier texts.

Some Muslims have criticized the doctrine of an eternal Qur'an as diluting the doctrine of "tawhid", or unity of God. Holding that the Qur'an is the eternal uncreated speech of Allah, speech that has always existed alongside Him, may be a step in the direction of a more plural concept of God's nature (which leads to what Muslims consider the sin of "shirk", the association of something with God). This interpretation echos the Christian concept of God's eternal word or "logos", some Muslims (e.g. Mu'tazilis and Shi'a) reject the notion of the Qur'an's eternality.

Some modern-day Muslim scholars touch on the doctrine of the eternal Qur'an when they question common conceptions of Islamic law. Reza Aslan has argued that such laws were created by God to meet the particular needs and circumstances of Muhammad's community. Likewise, Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid has claimed that the verses of the Qur'an that talk about Islamic law cannot be understood outside their historical context. However, other Muslim scholars assert that the Qur'an is eternal and is uncreated, while acknowledging that some verses in the Quran were revealed in response to specific historical circumstances. This view has been supported by notable Islamic scholars in the past, such as Ahmed ibn Hanbal.

Completeness

There are three arguments which suggest that the Qur'an is not complete. ["The Encyclopedia of Religion", By Mircea Eliade. Volume 12 pg. 165-6, pub. 1987 ISBN 0-02-909700-2] Most Muslims, Sunni and Shia alike, believe that the Quran itself was never abrogated, but instead that the Quranic verse Quran-usc|2|106 is referring to Muhammad's recitations being abrogations of the Torah and the Injil. This is demonstrated further in the Quran which states that "...There hath come to you our Apostle, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book..." Quran-usc|5|15. This is a verse directed at Ahlul Kitab, or People of the Book (Christians and Jews). It states that Muhammad is revealing parts of the Holy Scriptures that Christians and Jews hid/forbade and that they were subsequently lost and the Quran is there to clean up the mess. Majority Muslim opinion maintains that the Quran itself was not abrogated in the sense that parts of it were removed for something better, but that certain parts were later expanded. An example of this is how at the start of Muhammad's prophethood, the Meccan verses dealt more with spirituality, the Medinan verses didn't abrogate the Meccan verses, but added to the collection and created a better understanding of the whole.

According to Mircea Eliade, there are a few hadith that suggest that parts of the Qur'an have gone missing. However, according to Sunni sources, [http://web.archive.org/web/20051215142750/http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Stu/azarinni/Belief.htm Belief] , "Answering-Shiism". Retrieved April 11 2008 at the Internet Archive] such allegations are not true as those verses have been abrogated, and quote the above verse. The two arguments presented for the incompleteness of the Qur'an are:
*Muhammad had revelations before he revealed those currently attributed to him and that it is possible that Muhammad being human and imperfect did not fully comprehend the significance of the first revelations. MuslimsFact|date=February 2007 respond to this by saying that this view is of a speculative nature and not based on any grounds, and that the same logic could be applied to any revelation received, prior to Muhammad, by any human. Usually either [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/096.qmt.html Surah 96] or [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/074.qmt.html 74] is accepted as the first Surah to be revealed to Muhammad.
*The Qur'an itself allows for there to be revelations which might have been forgotten ( [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/087.qmt.html#087.006 87:6-7] ), replaced (Quran-usc|2|106, Quran-usc|16|101), divinely changed (Quran-usc|22|52), or eliminated by Satan's influence (Quran-usc|22|52). Akbarally Meherally, a Muslim comparative religion analyst, responds by saying that verse Quran-usc|2|106 is being misread and taken out of context. [ [http://www.mostmerciful.com/abrogation-and-substitution.htm Are the verses of the Qur'an abrogated?] , "Most Merciful", retrieved April 08, 2006] The verse reads::"Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things?":He states that this verse opens with a conditional sentence. Therefore the opening portion of the sentence is subjected to the rest of it. Substitution is acknowledged. The abrogation is negated and so is the concept of causing to be forgotten.:For claims of Satanic influences in the Qur'an, he responds by saying that again the verse Quran-usc|22|52 is again a conditional sentence and is subject to the next part of the verse, and that the verse is being improperly quoted. [ [http://www.answering-christianity.com/craig_winn_eye_witness_rebuttal.htm Rebuttal to Craig Winn "Prophet of Doom: EYE WITNESS" article] , "Answering Christianity", retrieved April 08, 2006] Verses Quran-usc|22|52 reads::"Never sent We a messenger or a prophet before thee but when He recited (the message) Satan proposed (opposition) in respect of that which he recited thereof. But Allah abolisheth that which Satan proposeth. Then Allah establisheth His revelations. Allah is Knower, Wise"

Muslims maintain that the verse actually implies satans attempts to 'sway' prophets (not just Muhammed) away from the divine will, and Satan's influence does not pertain to the Quran. This can be seen in A. Yusuf Ali's commentary of the above verses.

Notes

References

Sources

* "Quest for the Historical Muhammed", edited and translated by Ibn Warraq, Prometheus Books, 2000, hardcover, 554 pages, ISBN 1-57392-787-2
* "Origins of the Koran: Classic Essays on Islam's Holy Book", edited by Ibn Warraq, Prometheus Books, 1998, hardcover, 420 pages, ISBN 1-57392-198-X
* "", Patricia Crone (1980)
* M. M. Azami, "The History of the Qur'anic Text from Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments", UK Islamic Academy, 2003 pp. 12
* "What is the origin of man?: The answers of science and the Holy Scriptures", by Dr. Maurice Bucaille, Publisher: A.S. Noordeen, ISBN B0007-C9WF-A

External links

* [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlyquran.html Dated Texts Containing The Qur’an From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE] Islamic Awareness
* [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlyislam.html Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam] Islamic Awareness
* [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/vowel.html From Alphonse Mingana To Christoph Luxenberg: Arabic Script & The Alleged Syriac Origins Of The Qur'an] Islamic Awareness
* [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/nevo.html Nevo & Negev Inscriptions: The Use & Abuse Of The Evidence] Islamic Awareness
* [http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/ Examining the Qur'an] Islamic-Awareness
* [http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/sacredthemesionly.html Several early Qur'ans: information, zoomable images] British Library website


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Development of the New Testament canon — For the Jewish canon, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon. For the Old Testament canon, see Development of the Old Testament canon. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Development of the Jewish Bible canon — This article is about the selection of the books which make up the Tanakh. For the fixing of the text itself, see Masoretic Text. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Development of the Old Testament canon — For the Jewish canon, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon. For the New Testament canon, see Development of the New Testament canon. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Biblical narratives and the Qur'an — The Qur an, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to over fifty people also found in the Bible, typically in the same or similar narratives.Western secular scholars have tended to analyze such similarities as evidence for the… …   Wikipedia

  • Legends and the Qur'an — This article considers the relation of the Qur an, the central religious text of Islam, and myths and legends. Myths are narratives that serve to explain and describe the experienced world by laying bare its archetypal patterns; they are often… …   Wikipedia

  • Qur'an — The Qur’an [pronounced qurˈʔaːn ( scripture ). The latter two terms also denote units of revelation. Other related words are: , transliterated as: ArabDIN|bismi llāhi ar raḥmāni ar raḥīmi .] an Arabic phrase meaning ( In the name of God, Most… …   Wikipedia

  • Qur'an translations — Translations of the Qur an are interpretations of the holy book of Islam in languages other than Arabic. Even though translating the Qur an has been a difficult concept, both theologically and linguistically, Islam s scriptures have been… …   Wikipedia

  • The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran —   …   Wikipedia

  • Qur'an and science — The relation between Qur an and science is a strong relation in the Islamic thought. Almost all sources, classical and modern, agree that the Qur’an condones, even encourages the acquisition of science and scientific knowledge.Ahmad Dallal,… …   Wikipedia

  • The Book of Healing — (Arabic: الشفاء Al Shefa , Latin: Sanatio ) is a scientific and philosophical encyclopedia written by the great Islamic polymath Abū Alī ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) from Asfahana, near Bukhara in Greater Persia (now Uzbekistan). Despite its English title …   Wikipedia