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Rebuttal to Farooq Ibrahim's Article

Is the Injeel less or more trustworthy than the Quran?

By Umar

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III]

 

 

 

This article is located at: http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Farooq_Ibrahim/trustworthy3.htm

 

 

He Wrote:

  

  Is the Injeel less or more trustworthy than the Quran?

Part 3 of 3

Farooq Ibrahim

 

The purpose of this last of a three-part response is to share with my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters the discoveries I made regarding the trustworthiness of the Injeel as compared to that of the Quran while I was contending with my faith in the 1980’s. As I mentioned in my earlier portions of this study, I was seeking to find the truth in defense of the Quran, and to prove the Injeel corrupted. At that point in time, I restricted my study to the following three topics regarding the Quran and the Injeel.

     First, to understand what the Quran and the Injeel teach about what God says about communicating and protecting his message.

     Second, to investigate the history of how the early Quran and Injeel were compiled into the books that became the authoritative collection of God’s message from Mohammad and Isa.

     Third, to review what scholars say about the transmission of the Quran and Injeel manuscripts over the years, since their authoritative compilation.

In my previous response covered in the first part of this study I came to the realization that according to the Quran Allah had guaranteed the protection of the Quran as well as all of his messages to prior prophets from human tampering. God’s protection of his message is not unique to the Quran. I discovered that no human can change the words of God. In addition, nowhere did I find any strong sense from the Quran that the Jewish or Christian scriptures had been corrupted, although it does accuse the Christians and Jews of hiding the truth that was in their scriptures. Hence, based on the ayat and verses from the Quran and Injeel I came to understand that God’s words are protected from change. For more details, please refer to part one of this study. I also investigated the history of the compilation of the authoritative text of the Quran and Injeel. I concluded that the compilation of the Quran was more questionable because it had evolved, first into the Hafsa manuscript and later into the Khalifa Uthman manuscript, and the other Quran manuscripts that were in use were destroyed by order of the Khalifa. As a result of these discoveries I became more troubled about the authoritativeness of the Quran and questioned its trustworthiness more than that of the Injeel. Details of this discussion are given in part two of the study. Finally, in this last part I am going to review what the scholars say about the transmission of the Quran and Injeel manuscripts over the years since their authoritative compilation.

 

 

 

 

My Response:

 

   Please read Part I and Part II, so that you can have an idea of what we have been discussing here.

 

 

 

 

He Wrote:

 

Do we have a reliable copy of the authoritative Quran today?

Today we have printing presses and durable paper on which to print. This allows us to make millions of copies without errors. During the time of the Quran, the materials used for this purpose were not as durable and included parchment, which was made from animal skin. Later the more durable paper which was originally developed in China was introduced to Arabia. In the 15th century the printing press was developed. Until that time, Muslim scribes copied the Quran manually. Now when one looks at both the Quran and the Injeel in terms of what we have today and compare these to the oldest hand written copies or manuscripts we have in our possession, we can start to determine if there have been changes made in different times and places. Some of the oldest Qurans we have today are the Tashkent and Topkapi manuscripts. These are the names given to the Quran manuscripts that are currently located in the area of Uzbekistan and Turkey. Scholars have determined that these Quran manuscripts are not the Khalifa Uthman’s copies, but are of a later time as can be seen from the fact that these Qurans are written in the Kufic Script. Scholars have determined that the Kufic script was common during the years 100 to 200AH, or about the eighth century AD in the Kufa region that is part of Iraq today. We do have fragments of the Quran, but not a complete copy with the earlier Al Mail or Hijazi script that was common in Mecca and Medina during the time of Khalifa Uthman. Hence we may conclude that the Tashkent and Topkapi manuscripts are later than those distributed by Khalifa Uthman.

 

 

 

 

My Response:

 

The Kufic script, in reality, is actually traced back about 100 years before the foundation of Kufah:

The origin of Kufic or the angular style of Arabic script is traced back to about one hundred years before the foundation of Kufah (17H / 638CE) to which town it owes its name because of its development there.[5]

(Source: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/kufic.html )

 

So to say that the Tashkent and Topkapi Manuscripts aren't Uthmanic, will be clearly out of ignorance.

 

 

 

He Wrote:

 

What we do note is that all of these earlier fragments and Quran manuscripts do not have any dots or vowel marks that are common in today’s Quran. The lack of vowel marks was not a problem for me because I understood that most common usage of Arabic does not have them either. However, I did not know that even the marks that differentiate between a "ba" and a "taa" did not exist at all in the early Quran manuscripts. For that matter, there were no dots that differentiated a "Jeem" or "Kha" from a "Haa", or any of the other letters of similar shape. These marks indicate the sound of the letter, thus distinguishing between two letters of similar shape. However, these marks were not present in the text during the time Khalifa Uthman standardized the Quran. I discovered that the use of such marks was a much later development in the Arabic script.

 

 

 

 

My Response:

 

Now, coming to the addition of diacritical marks in the Quran:

"Dotting and Vowelization. Dotting and vowelization passed through three stages:

In the first stage: Dots were used as syntactical marks. This was in the era of Mu`awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan, who charged Abu Al-Aswad Al-Dualy to do it in order to prevent people from a faulty reading of the Quran.

In the second stage: Arabic letters were marked with different dotting to differentiate between them (e.g.:B, T,TH). This was in the time of Abdul-Malik Ibn Marawan, who charged Al-Hajjaj to do it. Al-Hajjaj, in his turn, charged Nasr Ibn Asem and Hayy Ibn Yaamor to accomplish it.

In the third stage: Complete vowel points (e.g. dammah, fathah, kasrah) were used, in the form we are using nowadays. This method was invented by Al-Khaleel Ibn Ahmed Al Faraheedi. "

(Source: http://www.sunnah.org/history/quran_compiled.htm )

If the appearance of the diacritical marks didn't change how the Quran was to be recited, infact it helped non-Arabs to read the Qur'an properly.

Also read,

" 5. Diacritical marks were added for non-Arabs

The original manuscript of the Qur’an does not have the signs indicating the vowels in Arabic script. These vowels are known as tashkil, zabar, zair, paish in Urdu and as fatah, damma and qasra in Arabic. The Arabs did not require the vowel signs and diacritical marks for correct pronunciation of the Qur’an since it was their mother tongue. For Muslims of non-Arab origin, however, it was difficult to recite the Qur’an correctly without the vowels. These marks were introduced into the Quranic script during the time of the fifth ‘Umayyad’ Caliph, Malik-ar-Marwan (66-86 Hijri/685-705 C.E.) and during the governorship of Al-Hajaj in Iraq.

Some people argue that the present copy of the Qur’an that we have along with the vowels and the diacritical marks is not the same original Qur’an that was present at the Prophet’s time. But they fail to realize that the word ‘Qur’an’ means a recitation. Therefore, the preservation of the recitation of the Qur’an is important, irrespective of whether the script is different or whether it contains vowels. If the pronunciation and the Arabic is the same, naturally, the meaning remains the same too. "

(Source: http://www.islam101.com/quran/preservedQ.htm )

 

 

 

He Wrote:

 

     The discovery that the early Arabic script did not have dots or vowel marks prompted me to investigate further into the development of the current dots and marks. I believed that since many Muslims memorize the Quran this ought not be a problem. When we look at the evidence we find that a number of Muslim and non-Muslim scholars who have looked into it critically have come to the consensus that variant qiraat, or readings of the Quran, existed and later increased as Mohammad’s companions who had memorized the Quran died. Variances existed because the Arabic script lacked the dots and vowel signs to distinguish between certain Arabic letters. It was not until a few hundred years later, that it was decided to limit the qiraat down to the seven. This limitation was set to be consistent with what was said by Mohammad. Note the Sahih Hadith of Bukhari.

Volume 6, Book 61, Number 513: Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas:
Allah's Apostle said, "Gabriel recited the Qur'an to me in one way. Then I requested him (to read it in another way), and continued asking him to recite it in other ways, and he recited it in several ways till he ultimately recited it in seven different ways."

 

 

 

My Response:

 

This issue was already dealt with in Part 2. Below, I will post the refutation again:

"7. The expansion of Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula brought about a new crisis which first became evident during the reign of Uthman. Hudhaifah ibn al-Yaman complained that factions in the army were disputing over various Quranic passages and urged him to put an end to it. Unity was being undermined. "The Syrians contended with the Iraaqis, the former following the reading of Ubayy ibn Kab, the latter that of Ibn Masud, each party accusing the other of disbelief." [Ibn Hajr in Fath]

8. The people of Hims, for example, boasted that their way of reciting adopted from al-Miqdad was superior to that of the Basrites, who had learnt from Abu Musa, whose written compilation they acclaimed as "the heart of hearts." [Ibn ul-Athir]

9. Uthman consulted the companions with him who all approved the idea of uniting the community by means of a single text as an excellent idea. [Ibn Hajr in Fath] "

(Source: http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=38 )

Now, to correct Mr.Ibrahim on "variations". The variatons of reciting Quran did NOT exist because the arabic script lacked the dots and vowels, but because of the various dialects. Prophet Muhammad (S) said recite the Qur'an in a way easy for you (see Bukhari, V3 B41 No:601), and that is exactly what they did. The reciting of the Quran, in a different way, doesn't change the doctrine of the Qur'an in the slightest way.

 

 

 

He Wrote:


This limitation was only placed on the recitation, and not on the written text. The seven authorized qiraat were those of Ibn Kathir of Mecca, Nafi of Medina, Abu Amr of Basra, Asim, Hamzah and Al-Kisai of Kufa and ibn Amir of Damascus. In addition, to provide accuracy of the written Quranic text, two ruwah (written texts or transmissions) were allowed for each qiraat of the Quran. This brought the total of the different written Quranic texts to fourteen. As I investigated whether or not these were very different from each other I discovered that there were minor variations in phrasing in the recitations and their written texts, not just in the dots, but in actual letters.

 

 

 

My Response:


For one thing, the difference in the Qiraat do NOT change the meaning of the text. Also, the fourteen transmissions (each reader had two transmissions) are not Qur'an's, but different reading systems. So we still have ONE OFFICIAL UTHMANIC TEXT, with SEVEN READING SYSTEMS.

(Source: http://www.mostmerciful.com/reply-ans-islam.htm )

 

 

 

He Wrote:


In investigating this further, I discovered that Muslim and non-Muslim scholars who have done the scholarly work have noted that variations have always been part of the history of the Quranic text. It has not been letter or vowel mark perfect. For example, this article provides some details of these variances. Eventually, the fourteen ruwah from the seven qiraat were narrowed down to two. Today in the Muslim world the predominant qiraat of the Quran is that of Asim, while its companion riwayah is that of Hafs. In other places, such as Morocco, the qiraat is that of Nafi and the riwayah of Warsh. For example some passages that begin with the command "Qul" ("say") in some qiraat are rendered "Qala" ("he will say") in other qiraat. The first implies a command from Allah to Mohammad while the latter possibly attributes the words of the Quran to humans and not to a command from Allah. The Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation and commentary on the Quran refers to these variances in some areas as can be seen by the ** below in his translation and study notes for Surah 23:112

He will say ** : "What number of years did ye stay on earth?" Surah 23:112.

** Note 2948: The usual Indian reading is "Qala", "He will say". This follows the Kufa Qiraat. The Basra Qiraat reads "Qul", "Say" (in the imperative). The point is only one of grammatical construction. See n. 2666 to xxi. 4.

This supports the fact that there was more than one way that the Quran was memorized as "Qul" is very different from "Qala". Hence we have variation in the Quran and in some cases it does change the meaning of words and sentences. In addition, note that Yusuf Ali makes the point in note 2948 that this is the "Indian" reading of the Arabic Quran; not the "universal" reading. He makes a similar point in note 2666 for Surah XXI ayah 4 that this is in the "Indian" reading of the Quran, thus validating that there were many different Quran variations in use, this one being an Indian reading. What was very interesting to me is that the Quran commentary I have is copyrighted in 1946. The revised editions of Yusuf Ali’s translation and commentary that are sold today have the word "Indian" removed but still speak of the Kufa and the Basra Qiraat. However, it can be said that these different readings and variations do not change the doctrine or teaching of the Quran. Thus, based on the witness of Islamic history we can say that the Quran we have is basically the same as, but not identical to the copy that Khalifa Uthman standardized for Muslims.

 

 

 

My Response:


I would like to break to Farooq Ibrahim, that I also have the Abdullah Yusuf Ali commentary on the Qur'an. I don't know of any revised edition of his commentary, but I have the one that Farooq Ibrahim has. Now, if you read the footnote carefully which Farooq posted, it says:

** Note 2948: The usual Indian reading is "Qala", "He will say". This follows the Kufa Qiraat. The Basra Qiraat reads "Qul", "Say" (in the imperative). The point is only one of grammatical construction. See n. 2666 to xxi. 4.

It tells us also to look at footnote 2666, in Sura 11 Ayat no:4, and that is exactly what I did. Here is the footnote:

"Notice in the usual Arabic texts printed in India, the word qala is here and in xxi.112 below, as well as in xxiii 112, spelt differently from the usual spelling of the word in other places (e.g., in xx,125-126). Qul is the reading of the Basra QIraat, meaning, "Say thou" in the imperative. If we construe "he says", the pronoun refers to "this (one)" in the preceding verse, viz.: the Prophet. Bot more than one Commentator understands the meaning in the imperative, and I agree with them. The point is merely one of verbal construction. The meaning is the same in either case. See n.2948 to xxiii.112"

(Source: The Qur'an: Text, Translation, and Commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Footnote# 2666, bold emphasis ours)

I do not know who told Mr. Farooq that the commentary of Yusuf Ali was revised, I think he is misinformed, because I have the same commentary he does.

 

 

 

He Wrote:


   Do we have a reliable copy of the authoritative Injeel today?

As I started to look at the transmission process of the Injeel, I reflected on what I understood was the major issue with the Injeel as I had been taught by a number of Muslim teachers. According to them there is so much variation and corruption in the different versions of today’s Injeel that it cannot be trusted. I decided to investigate how true this claim was.

I started by finding out the language in which the Injeel was originally written. I had seen at least two English versions of the Injeel that had different wordings and knew of other English language versions of the Injeel. What I discovered was that at the time of Isa, the common Jewish language in Jerusalem was Jewish Aramaic. It was different than the Hebrew of the Torah. This is similar to the difference between Arabic of the Quran and the local Arabic of different Arabic speaking lands. However, by Isa’s day, the Romans had been ruling Jerusalem for many years. Therefore, another common language was Koine Greek. Koine Greek is not the classical Greek of the early Greek philosophers but was the common language of most of the people that were ruled by the Greek and Roman Empires. The Jewish scholars many centuries earlier had translated their scriptures to this Koine Greek as the Jewish people who traveled through the Roman Empire also commonly used this form of Greek. This made sense to me as having grown up in Pakistan where the British had ruled for many years, I was more adept with English than Urdu or any other local dialect. Some Arabic speaking countries in Africa for the same reason also speak French. The Roman soldiers spoke Latin, as that was the main language of Rome. The fact that three languages were spoken in and around Jerusalem is seen from the Injeel account of the crucifixion of Isa. The Injeel records that the Romans made a sign in three languages and posted it on the cross of Isa.

And Pilate wrote an inscription also, and put it on the cross. And it was written, "JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS". Therefore this inscription many of the Jews read, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew (Jewish Aramaic), Latin and in Greek. John 19:19-20

 

 

 

My Response:


   
Thank you for the history lesson..

 

 

He Wrote:


God inspired the apostles to write the Injeel in Greek because that was the dominant language of the whole area ruled by Rome. This made sense to me as in this way more of the people in the vast Roman Empire covering Asia, Africa and Europe would be able to study the word of God. Since the language of the Injeel is Greek, any translation from it would be inadequate to express the complete depth of its message. Hence, these English translations of the Injeel differ just as the Quran translations do. For example the English translations for Surah 4:136 is given below. Note how each translator interprets the words differently.

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.
PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray.
SHAKIR: O you who believe! believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger and the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His messengers and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.

This resolved for me the difference we have in the English translation of the Injeel since the language of the Injeel is Greek.

I next resolved to understand what variations existed within the Greek manuscripts. For example the earliest complete Injeel manuscripts are from the 4th century AD, with the Sinaiticus Manuscript in the British Library in London and the Vaticanus Manuscript in the Vatican Library in Italy. Also similar to the Quran, there are major segments of the Injeel that date earlier than the complete manuscripts. For example, the Chester Beatty papyri dated about 200 AD. There are other smaller fragments that are dated as early as 90 AD

 

 

 

My Response:


It is interesting that Farooq cites the Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Vaticanus, since neither of the two contain the last 12 verses of Mark. These 2 manuscripts, are the oldest complete New Testaments available. The rest are just partial NT Papyri. For more on NT fragments, please visit:

http://www.biblefacts.org/history/oldtext.html#b7q4

 

 

 

He Wrote:


As I investigated, I found that there are certainly more variant readings in the Injeel manuscripts as compared to the Quran. This caused me to wonder whether the Injeel was corrupted, or whether one could still determine the original teachings of Isa from the manuscripts like we were able to do for the Quran? To answer this question, I started looking at the nature of the variances and whether or not they could be explained. Could it be that we still have an authoritative Injeel in spite of the variations accumulated during its transmission? I started by trying to understand the process of making manuscripts.

Long before the days when the more durable parchment was available for Quran manuscripts, the Injeel manuscripts had to be copied by hand on papyri material that would fade and break down. Hence, the manuscripts of the Injeel would periodically have to be copied as older ones faded and disintegrated. There are presently over 5,000 Greek Injeel manuscripts in existence today. In addition there are over 19,000 copies of translations of the Injeel in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. Hence, hand copied manuscripts of the Injeel that exist today exceed 24,000. The question is whether all of the 5000 Greek Injeel match perfectly? The answer is no, there are variations. Most of them are simply copying errors, some of them word differences and still others are more significant differences in the text. If a manuscript had a difference, this led to a variance. So the question is if one can say getting it perfect to the original is 100%, how far is the Injeel off from this number? As I investigated, I was pleased to find out that much research has been done and documented by Christian and non-Christian scholars on this topic. I found numbers from as low as 62.9% to as high as 99.5% perfection. Upon investigation it became clear that the 62.9% number was identifying all of the variances without determining if these were easily identifiable copying errors or if these were actual differences which are harder to rectify.

For example, in the following verse from the Injeel is a type of error dealing with spelling of proper names. Some manuscripts spell it "Beelzebul" others "Beezebul". Hence, this would be an example of a verse that has a variation.

"It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Matthew 10:25

Another example of variation was dealing with minor textual variation. For example some manuscripts have "he was saying" and in others "people were saying" as in the example verse below:

And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, "John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him." Mark 6:14

Yet another type of variation was missing or added words. In the following verse the oldest manuscripts have "or mother", but the later ones do not have it. This could be explained by coping errors where it was left out accidentally, possibly due to problems with fading, etc.

"But you say, ‘Whoever shall say to his father or mother, anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God," he is not to honor his father or mother.’ And thus you invalidate the word of God for the sake of your traditions." Matthew 15:6

 

 

 

My Response:


Unlike the New Testament, the Qur'an is memorized by many people. If parchments of the Qur'an faded away, it really didn't matter, since many people memorized the Qur'an by head, therefore, it could still be re-written, without the fear of falsehood being mixed into it.

 

 

 

He Wrote:

   As I investigated these types of variation, I found that it is possible to get a more accurate reading of the text by looking at the large number of manuscripts, especially the older ones. Note that I am using English for explanation, but the example is meant to reflect the original Greek of the Injeel. Most of the variations in the Injeel are of this type. If one considers all of them as errors, we come up with the purity value of only 62.9%. However, it can be seen as I have discussed above that these types of variation are mostly scribal errors that can be easily rectified; we can with confidence determine the correct reading. Thus, one may conclude that the purity of the Injeel gets closer to 99.5%.

Hence, I arrived at the following conclusion regarding the transmission of the Injeel from the fourth century to today.

     The variations in the English Injeel were very simple to resolve as these are translations from the original Greek language of the Injeel. Just as English translations of the Quran are different from the Arabic, so also English translations of the Injeel are different from the Greek. Such differences are inevitable when translating from one language to another.

     I had started with the understanding that the different copies of the Greek Injeel had so many variations that the Injeel could no longer be trusted. After reviewing all that the Christian and other scholars have done in this regard, I was impressed that in spite of many years of perishable materials, copying errors, persecution and other challenges, the Injeel was up to 99.5% pure. Also, similar to the variations in the Quran, these variations in the Injeel did not change Isa’s message or Christian doctrine.

 

 

 

My Response:


     Now, let us examine a claim by Mr. Ibrahim:

"However, it can be seen as I have discussed above that these types of variation are mostly scribal errors that can be easily rectified; we can with confidence determine the correct reading. Thus, one may conclude that the purity of the Injeel gets closer to 99.5%."

  I suppose it was also a scribal error when Matthew contradicted Mark regarding the "cursing of the fig tree" ( see Mark 11:13-15, and Matthew 21:12-19)?

 

 

 

 

He Wrote:

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, many Muslims believe that the Quran contains the literal words of Allah which have been perfectly preserved and transmitted through the ages. Muslims make this claim not based on Islamic history as I have investigated and discussed above, but purely as a statement of faith. I discovered that once the Quran was standardized, there were minor variations over time due to the various readings and transmissions of the Quran; these variations were in addition to the dots and vowel marks that were added over time. When it comes to the Injeel, it is clear from the history of its transmission, that the variations in it are more than those in the Quran. However, I was able to conclude that neither one was 100% pure, and that the variations in the Quran or the Injeel have not altered the teachings of Mohammad or Isa respectively.

At this juncture I was satisfied that the word of God as revealed in the Injeel had not been altered. I was now prepared to undertake a more thorough study of the Injeel and compare it to the Quran. I continued to seek God’s guidance through the scripture and prayer. I was committed to depend on God to help me understand the truth that was in his word.

If you would like to send me your comments or questions, please write to me.

 

 

 

My Response:

 

  Let us read Farooq Ibrahims answer to his initial question "Is the Injeel less or more Trustworthy then the Qur'an?":

"When it comes to the Injeel, it is clear from the history of its transmission, that the variations in it are more than those in the Quran. However, I was able to conclude that neither one was 100% pure, and that the variations in the Quran or the Injeel have not altered the teachings of Mohammad or Isa respectively. "

Now, I would like to post an Ayat from the Holy Qur'an:

[004:082] Do they not consider the Quran (with care)? Had it been from other Than God, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.

Also, I would like to post something else, which is not an Ayat of the Qur'an:

“It is to be noted that in the Qur’an the Prophet’s life, the history of the Arabs and the events which occurred during the period of the revelation of the Qur’an have not been mingled with the Divine Verses, as is the case with the Bible. The Qur’an is the pure word of Allah. Not one word therein is not divine. Not a single word has been deleted from its text. The Book has been handed down to our age in its complete and original form since the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. From the time the Book began to be revealed, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had dictated its text to the scribes. Whenever some Divine Message was revealed, the Prophet would call a scribe and dictate its words to him. The written text was then read out to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who, having satisfied himself that the scribe had committed no error of recording, would put the manuscript in safe custody.

The Prophet used to instruct the scribe about the sequence in which a revealed message was to be placed in a particular Surah (chapter). In this manner, the Prophet continued to arrange the text of the Qur’an in systematic order till the end of the chain of revelations. Again, it was ordained from the beginning of Islam that a recitation of the Holy Qur’an must be an integral part of worship. Hence the illustrious Companions would commit the Divine verses to memory as soon as they were revealed. Many Ahadith explain how frequently they used to consult the Prophet regarding their recitation of the Qur’an and beautiful stories were told about women who asked their husbands-to-be to teach them a part of the Qur’an as their dowries.

Method of preservations of the Qur’an during the Prophet's time

Besides, those of the Companions who were literate used to keep a written record of several portions of the Holy Qur'an. In this manner, the text of the Holy Qur'an had been preserved in four different ways during the lifetime of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him:

a) The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had the whole text of the Divine Messages from the beginning to the end committed to writing by the scribes of revelations. The Prophet used to keep scribes in his service. The four Rightly Guided Caliphs, as well as Zayd ibn Thabit, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, Mu‘awiya ibn Abi Sufyan are among those who were known as scribes.

b) Many of the Companions learned the whole text of the Qur’an, every syllable of it, by heart.

c) All the illustrious Companions, without any exception, had memorized at least some portions of the Holy Qur'an, for the simple reason that it was obligatory for them to recite it during worship.

d) A considerable number of the literate Companions kept a private record of the text of the Qur'an and satisfied themselves as to the purity of their record by reading it out to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

Method of preservations of the Qur’an after the demise of the Prophet

It is an incontrovertible historical truth that the text of the Holy Qur’an extant today is, syllable for syllable, exactly the same as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had offered to the world as the Word of Allah. After the demise of the Prophet, the first Caliph Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, assembled all the Huffaz (those who kept the Qur’an by heart) and the written records of the Qur’an and with their help had the whole text written in Book form. In the time of the third Caliph ‘Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, copies of this original version were made and officially dispatched to the Capitals of the Islamic World. Two of these copies exist in the world today, one in Istanbul and the other in Tashkent. Whosoever is so inclined may compare any printed text of the Holy Qur’an with those two copies, he shall find no variation. And how can one expect any discrepancy, when there have existed several million Huffaz in every generation since the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and in our own time? Should anyone alter a syllable of the original text of the Qur’an, these Huffaz would at once expose the mistake.

In the last century, an Institute of Munich University in Germany collected FORTY-TWO THOUSAND copies of the Holy Qur’an including manuscripts and printed texts produced in each period in the various parts of the Islamic World. Research work was carried out on these texts for half a century, at the end of which the researchers concluded that apart from copying mistakes, there was no discrepancy in the text of these forty-two thousand copies, even though they belonged to the period between the first century to fourteenth century of Hijrah and had been procured from all parts of the world. This Institute, alas, perished in the bombing attacks on Germany during World War II, but the findings of its research project survived.

Another point that must be kept in view is that the word in which the Qur'an was revealed is a living language in our own time. It is still current as the mother tongue of about a hundred million people from Iraq to Morocco. In the non-Arab world too, hundreds of thousands of people study and teach this language. The grammar of the Arabic language, its lexicon, its phonetic system and its phraseology, have remained intact for fourteen hundred years.

A modern Arabic-speaking person can comprehend the Holy Qur'an with as much proficiency as did the Arabs of fourteen centuries ago. This, then, is an important attribute of Prophet Muhammad, which is shared by no other Prophet or Leader of Religion. The Book which Allah revealed to Him for the guidance of mankind is today's in its original language without the slightest alteration in its vocabulary."

The above quotation is based on Mawlana Abu al-A‘la al-Mawdudi’s article “History of the Qur’an”.

The above-mentioned facts about the accuracy and preservation of the Holy Qur’an is even acknowledged by several Western writers. Examples of non-Muslims’ statements about the Qur’an are the following:

“On the whole we find in it a collection of wisdom which can be adopted by the most intelligent of men, the greatest of philosophers and the most skilful of politicians… But there is another proof of the Divinity of the Qur’an; it is the fact that it has been preserved intact through the ages since the time of its Revelation till the present day… Read and re-read by the Muslim world, this book does not rouse in the faithful any weariness, it rather, through repetition, is more loved every day. It gives rise to a profound feeling of awe and respect in the one who reads it or listens to it … It was, therefore, neither by means of violence of arms, nor through the pressure of obtrusive missionaries, that caused the great and rapid diffusion of Islam, but, above all, through the fact that this Book, presented by the Muslims to the vanquished with the liberty to accept it or reject it, was the Book of God.” (Laura Veccia Vaglieri, Apologie de I’Islamisme, pp.. 57-59)

“…It will thus be seen, from the above, that a final and complete text of the Qur’an was prepared within twenty years after the death (A.D 632) of Muhammad, and that this has remained the same, without any change, or alteration by enthusiasts, translators, or interpolators, up to the present time. It is to be regretted that the same cannot be said of all the books of the Old and New Testaments. (F.F. Arbuthnot, The construction of the Bible and the Qur’an, London 1885, p.5)

So there has been no opportunity for any forgery or pious fraud in the Qur’an which distinguishes it from almost all other important religious works of ancient times…It is exceedingly strange that this illiterate person should have composed the best book in the language.” (Basanta Coomar Bose, Mohammadanism, Calcutta, 1931, p.4). "

(Source: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503545420&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaE , bold emphasis ours)

 

It is evident, that there was no opportunity for forgery in the Holy Qur'an. Allah SWT tells us also, that he will protect the Holy Qur'an:

[015:009] We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).

Scholars agree, that the Qur'an has been guarded, and safe-guarded from corruption, showing it is indeed the True Word of God!

May Allah Almighty lead Mr.Ibrahim to Islam.... Ameen!

 

 

 

 

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