Continues from Part I
In the same article Mingana sources another ancient writer regarding the compilation of the Qur’an. The author, a Christian apologist named Abd al-Masih al-Kindi, wrote an apology titled The Apology of Al-Kindi at the Court of al-Mamun circa A.D. 830, approximately forty years before al-Bukhari compiled his hadith collection. Al-Kindi mentions the Muslim reaction to the conflicting readings that existed amongst the different Qur’anic codices that circulated shortly after Muhammad's death:
“… Then the people fell to variance in their reading; some read according to the version of 'Ali, which they follow to the present day; some read according to the collection of which we have made mention; one party read according to the text of ibn Mas'ud, and another according to that of Ubai ibn Ka'b. When 'Uthman came to power, and people everywhere differed in their reading, 'Ali sought grounds of accusation against him. One man would read verse one way, and another man another way; and there was change and interpolation, some copies having more and some less. When this was represented to 'Uthman, and the danger urged of division, strife, and apostasy, he thereupon caused to be collected together all the leaves and scraps that he could, together with the copy that was written out at the first. But they did not interfere with that which was in the hands of 'Ali, or of those who followed his reading. Ubai was dead by this time, as for Ibn Mas'ud, they demanded his exemplar, but he refused to give it up. Then they commanded Zaid ibn Thabit, and with him 'Abdallah ibn 'Abbas, to revise and correct the text, eliminating all that was corrupt; they were instructed, when they differed on any reading, word, or name, or to follow the dialect of the Quraish.
"When the recension was completed, four exemplars were written out in large text; one was sent to Mecca, and another to Medina; the third was dispatched to Syria, and is to this day at Malatya; the fourth was deposited in Kufa. People say that this last copy is still extant at Kufa, but this is not case, for it was lost in the insurrection of Mukhtar (A.H. 67). The copy of
“After what we have related above, 'Uthman called in all the former leaves and copies, and destroyed them, threatening those held any portion back; and so only some scattered remains, concealed here and there, survived. Ibn Mas'ud, however, retained his exemplar in his own hands, and it was inherited by his posterity, as it is this day; and likewise the collection of 'Ali has descended in his family.
“Then followed the business of Hajjaj b. Yusuf, who gathered together every single copy he could lay hold of, and caused to be omitted from the text a great many passages. Among these, they say, were verses revealed concerning the House of the Umayyah with names of certain persons, and concerning the House of 'Abbas also with names. Six copies of the text thus revised were distributed to
“Then al-Kindi, addressing his Muslim friend, says: ‘All that I have said is drawn from your own authorities, and no single argument has been advanced but what is based on evidence accepted by yourselves; in proof thereof, we have the Kur'an itself, which is a confused heap, with neither system nor order.’” (Ibn Warraq, pp. 109-110)
The problem does not end just yet. The traditions record that the governor of
“When Hafsah died and we returned from her funeral, Marwan sent with firm intention to Abdullah Ben Omar (Hafsah’s brother) that he must send him those pages, and Abdullah Ben Omar sent them to him, and Marwan ordered it and they were TORN UP and he said. I did this because whatever was in it was surely written and preserved in the (official) volume and I was afraid that after a time people will be suspicious of this copy or they will say there is something in it that wasn’t written.” (Dr. William F. Campbell, The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History & Science [
We must ask who gave Marwan the authority to dare destroy an official, original copy of the Book of Allah, a copy written under the authority of Abu Bakr Siddiq, Muhammad’s personal friend and father-in-law? Further, if there was nothing missing in the transmission of the text then why was he afraid that the people would be suspicious of it?
On top of this great atrocity, the Qur'an underwent further revisions under
“Altogether al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf made eleven modifications in the reading of the Uthmanic text... In al-Baqarah (Surah 2:259) it originally read Lam yatasannah waandhur, but it was altered to lam yatasannah… In al-Maj. (sura ) it read shari ya’aten wa minhaajan but it was altered to shir ‘atawwa minhaajan.” (Gilchrist, Chapter 5. Sab’at-I-Ahruf in the Hadith Literature, p.109 – citing Ibn Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif, p.117)
It appears that Muslims felt free in adding and subtracting from the Qur'an as they saw fit, irrespective of whether it was God’s word or not. This fact is made clearer by Arthur Jeffrey’s conclusion on Hajjaj’s revisions. According to Arthur Jeffrey:
“That the practice of pointing came generally accepted and consistently carried through the whole of the Codex is said to be due to activity of the famous official al-Hajjaj b. Yusif, who was perhaps the most remarkable figure in Islam during the Caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik. When we come to examine the accounts of the activity of al-Hajjaj in this matter, however, we discover to our surprise that the evidence points strongly to the fact that his work was not confined to fixing more precisely the text of the Qur`an by a set of points showing how it was to be read, but he seems to have made an entirely new revision of the Qur`an, having copies of this new text sent to the great metropolitan centers, and ordering the destruction of earlier copies in existence there, much as Uthman had done earlier.” (The Qur'an as Scripture [New York: Books for Libraries, 1980], p.99)
Another issue which the Muslims had to deal with was variant readings. When the Qur'an was originally written, there were no vowel marks or diacritical points to differentiate the meanings of words. To help illustrate the kind of problems this style of writing can create in a text, we will write a sentence without vowels:
h gv hm bd
This sentence could be read in several possible ways depending on the context. For instance, it might mean “he gave him a bid” if he were a contractor, or “he gave him a bud” if he were in a florist’s shop, or “he gave him a bed” if in a furniture store. This textual style gave rise to thousands of variants between the codices which were available at that time.
Other variant readings stem from clauses that were either added or omitted from the text. A comparison of the texts of Uthman and Ibn Masud will illustrate this point:
S. 2:275 in Uthman’s copy begins with Allathiina yaq kuluunar - ribaa laa yaquumuuna - “those who devour usury will not stand.” Ibn Masud’s codex began in the same fashion but added “yawmal qiyamati,” The Day of Resurrection - i.e., “those who devour usury will not stand on the Day of Resurrection.”
S. 5:91 in Uthman’s text reads Fusiyaamu thaalaythati ayyammin - “Fast for three days.” Ibn Masud included after the last word the adjective mutataabi’aatin, meaning “successive days.”
S. 6:153 begins Wa anna haatha siraatii - “Verily this is my path.” Yet Ibn Masud’s version reads Wa haatha siraatu rabbakum - “This is the path of your Lord.”
S. 33:6, in regards to Muhammad’s wives, states, Wa azwaajuhu ummahaatuhuu - “and his wives are their (the believers’) mothers.” Yet Ibn Masud adds Wa huwa abuu laahum - “and he (Muhammad) is their father.” (Gilchrist, Chapter 3. The Codices of Ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy Ibn Ka’b, pp. 69-70 – citing Arthur Jeffrey Materials; Abi Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif)
It should be noted that in the four preceding examples, Ubayy b. Kab, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Abi Dawud were in agreement with Ibn Masud’s reading. In fact, the clause in S. 33:6 is multiply attested according to the late Muslim scholar and translator Muhammad Asad,
Thus, connecting with the preceding mention of voluntary, elective relationships (as contrasted with those by blood), this verse points to the highest manifestation of an elective, spiritual relationship: that of the God-inspired Prophet and the person who freely chooses to follow him. The Prophet himself is reported to have said: "None of you has real faith unless I am dearer unto him than his father, and his child, and all mankind" (Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Anas, with several almost identical versions in other compilations). The Companions invariably regarded the Prophet as the spiritual father of his community. Some of them - e.g., Ibn Masud (as quoted by Zamakhshari) or Ubayy ibn Kab, Ibn Abbas and Muawiyah (as quoted by Ibn Kathir) - hardly ever recited the above verse without adding, by way of explanation, "seeing that he is [as] a father to them"; and many of the tabi’in - including Mujahid, Qatadah, lkrimah and Al-Hasan (cf. Tabari and Ibn Kathir) - did the same: hence my interpolation, between brackets, of this phrase. (However, see also verse 40 of this surah and the corresponding note.) As regards the status of the Prophet's wives as the "mothers of the believers", this arises primarily from the fact of their having shared the life of God's Apostle in its most intimate aspect. Consequently, they could not remarry after his death (see verse 53 below), since all the believers were, spiritually, their “children”. (Source)
This explains why he inserted this into his own translation, albeit within brackets:
The Prophet has a higher claim on the believers than [they have on] their own selves, [seeing that he is as a father to them] and his wives are their mothers:
The fact is that this passage is multiply attested further mitigates against Uthman's (per)version being the most accurate and authentic.
Other places where Ibn Masud’s reading found support with the other reciters include:
S. 3:127, the standard version read Wa saari’uu (“be quick”), whereas both Ibn Masud and Ubayy’s readings were Wa saabiquu (“be ahead”)
Ibn Masud and Ubayy both read Yusrifullaahu - “averted by Allah” - in replacement of Uthman’s Yusraf - “averted.” (S. 6:16) (Gilchrist, Chapter 3, p. 71 – citing Maki’s Kitab al-Kasf and Arthur Jeffrey’s Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'an)
This makes the case against the Uthmanic text receiving official status even stronger, since the evidence points to Ibn Masud’s codex as being vastly superior.
To present a brief summary of our findings we noted that:
- The Qur'an was not compiled perfectly.
- Much of the Qur'an’s contents are missing.
- More than one Qur'an was in circulation.
- Primary eyewitness codices were burned.
- On the authority of one man an official text of the Qur'an was approved.
- Even this official codex was eventually destroyed and eleven revisions were made of it.
- Thousands of variants existed between these competing texts as documented by Arthur Jeffrey’s book, which in turn cites Abi Dawud’s own work.
Before concluding, two fallacies need to be addressed. There are those within the Islamic community, such as Dr. Jamal Badawi of
1) The claim that memorization preserved the Qur'an is false due to the fact that a great number of the reciters (hafiz) were slain at the battle of al-Yamama, taking those parts of the Qur'an that they alone had memorized to the grave with them, never to be recited again.
2) It was these same reciters i.e., Ibn Masud, Ubayy etc., who were writing down codices from memory which led to contradictions, additions, omissions and to thousands of variant readings among the competing texts. This demonstrates the faulty memories of the reciters.
Interestingly, we are told that even Muhammad himself forgot certain verses:
'The Messenger of God heard a man recite by night and said, "May God have mercy on that man! He has just reminded me of a verse so-and-so and I had forgotten from sura such-and-such."' (Burton, p. 129, Bukhari, "K. Fad'il al Qur'an", bab nisyan al Qur'an)
The Prophet recited the Qur'an and omitted an aya. When he had finished the prayer, he asked, 'Is Ubayy in the mosque?' 'Here I am, Messenger of God.' 'Then why didn't you prompt me?''I thought the aya had been withdrawn.' 'It hasn't been withdrawn, I forgot it.' (Ibid., pp. 65-66, `Abdul Rahman al Tha`alibi, "al Jawahir al Hisan fi tafsir al Qur'an", 2 vols., Algiers, 1905, vol. 1, p. 95)
The second fallacy is that these variants were simply dialectal differences that existed between the different Arab tribes. It is further claimed that these dialectal differences do not affect the text, since Muhammad was allowed up to seven dialectal readings (Sab’at-l-Ahruf). On the contrary, the evidence points to much more than simple dialectal variation, but to gross omissions of entire surahs, verses and lengths of chapters. Those who expound this theory are basing it upon purely wishful thinking with no solid evidence to back up such assertions.
In fact, the seven ahruf compound the problem for the Muslims. The following Muslim response is an indication why:
Secondly, what is meant by styles (ahruf, sing. harf)?
The BEST of the scholarly OPINIONS concerning what is meant is that there are seven ways of reciting the Qur’aan, where the wording may differ but the meaning is the same; if there is a different meaning then it is by way of variations on a theme, not opposing and contradiction.
Some of the scholars said that what was meant by ahruf was the dialects of the Arabs, but this is FAR-FETCHED, because of the hadeeth of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab who said: “I heard Hishaam ibn Hakeem reciting Soorat al-Furqaan in a manner different from that in which I used to recite it and the way in which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me to recite it. I was about to argue with him whilst he was praying, but I waited until he finished his prayer, and then I tied his garment around his neck and seized him by it and brought him to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I heard this man reciting Soorat-al-Furqaan in a way different to the way you taught it to me.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, ‘Recite it,’ and he recited it as I had heard him recite it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘It was revealed like this.’ Then he said to me, ‘Recite it,’ so I recited it and he said, ‘It was revealed like this.’ This Qur'aan has been revealed in seven different ways, so recite it in the way that is easiest for you.’”
It is known that Hishaam was Asadi Qurashi (i.e., from the clan of Bani Asad in Quraysh) and ‘Umar was ‘Adawi Qurashi (i.e., from the clan of Bani ‘Adiyy in Quraysh). Both of them were from Quraysh and Quraysh had only one dialect. If the difference in ahruf (styles) had been a difference in dialects, why would two men of Quraysh have been different?
The scholars mentioned NEARLY FORTY DIFFERENT OPINIONS concerning this matter! Perhaps the most correct is that which we have mentioned above. And Allaah knows best.
It seems that the seven styles were revealed with different wordings, as indicated by the hadeeth of ‘Umar, because ‘Umar’s objection was to the style, not the meaning. The differences between these styles are not the matter of contradiction and opposition, rather they are synonymous, as Ibn Mas’ood said: "It is like one of you saying halumma, aqbil or ta’aal (all different ways of saying ‘Come here’)."
With regard to the seven recitations ( al-qiraa’aat al-saba’), this number is not based on the Qur’aan and Sunnah, rather it is the ijtihaad of Ibn Mujaahid (may Allaah have mercy on him). People thought that al-ahruf al-saba’ (the seven styles) were al-qiraa’aat al-saba’ (the seven recitations) because they happened to be the same number. But this number may have come about coincidentally, or it may have been done deliberately by Ibn Mujaahid to match what was narrated about the number of styles (ahruf) being seven. Some people thought that the styles (ahruf) were the recitations, but this is a mistake. No such comment is known among the scholars. The seven recitations are one of the seven styles, and this is the style that ‘Uthmaan chose for all the Muslims.
When ‘Uthmaan made copies of the Qur’aan, he did so according to one style ( harf), but he omitted the dots and vowel points so that some other styles could also be accommodated. So the Mus-haf that was copied in his time could be read according to other styles, and whatever styles were accommodated by the Mus-haf of ‘Uthmaan remained in use, and the styles that could not be accommodated fell into disuse. The people had started to criticize one another for reciting differently, so ‘Uthmaan united them by giving them one style of the Qur’aan.
Your saying that Mujaahid’s different recitations meant the seven styles ( ahruf) is not correct, as was said by Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah. (Majmoo’ah al-Fatawa, vol. 13, p. 210) …
Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com) (Question #5142: The revelation of the Qur’aan in seven styles (ahruf, sing. harf))
In light of the preceding considerations, we have no other choice but to conclude that memorization failed to preserve the Qur'an. This is perhaps why Muslims were forced to admit that the Qur'an is an incomplete record:
`Abdullah b. `Umar reportedly said, ' Let none of you say, "I have got the whole of the Qur'an." How does he know what all of it is? MUCH OF THE QUR'AN HAS GONE [d h b]. Let him say instead, I HAVE GOT WHAT HAS SURVIVED."' (Burton. p. 117, Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. abi Bakr al Suyuti, "al Itqan fi `ulum al Qur'an", Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, pt 2, p. 25)
Some of us met to exchange hadith reports. One fellow said, 'Enough of this! Refer to the Book of God.' Imran b. Husain said, 'You're a fool! Do you find in the Book of God the prayers explained in detail? Or the Fast? The Qur'an refers to them in general terms only. It is the Sunna which supplies the detailed explanation.' (Ibid., p. 21, al Hamdani, "I`tibar", pp. 24-5)
No madhab permits unbeliever-believer inheritance; slave-free man inheritance; homicide-victim inheritance. All madahib accept the testimony of two male witnesses in homicide cases. These and many other agreed principles and procedures are unmentioned in the Qur'an. (Ibid., p. 23)
Unlike the Holy Bible which has over 25,000 manuscripts with copies dating over two thousand years (i.e.,
Thus saith Muhammad ibn Ishaq [al-Nadim]: I have seen a number of Qur’anic manuscripts, which the transcribers recorded as manuscripts from Ibn Mas‘ud. NO TWO QUR'ANIC COPIES WERE IN AGREEMENT and most of them were on badly effaced parchment. (Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad ibn Ishaq Al-Nadim, The Fihrist - A 10th Century AD Survey of Islamic Culture, edited and translated by Bayard Dodge [Great Books of the Islamic World, Inc., Columbia University Press, 1970], p. 57)
It wasn't just the MSS of Ibn Masud's Qur’an which were not uniform according to al-Nadim:
Books Composed About Discrepancies of the [Qur'anic] Manuscripts. The Discrepancies between the Manuscripts of the people of al-Madina, al-Kufa, and al-Basrah, according to al-Kisai; book of Khalaf, Discrepancies of the manuscripts; Discrepancies of the People of al-Kufa, al-Basrah and Syria concerning the Manuscripts, by al-Farra'; Discrepancies between the Manuscripts, Abu Da'ud al-Sijistani; book of al-Mada'ini about the discrepancies between the manuscripts and the compiling of the Qur'an; Discrepancies between the Manuscripts of Syria, al-Hijaz, and al-Iraq, by Ibn Amir al-Yahsubi; book of Muhammad ibn 'Abd Al-Rahman al-Isbahani about discrepancies of the manuscripts. (Ibid., p. 79)
In view of all these considerations and facts, we are inclined to conclude that Islam and the Qur'an bear no solid and verifiable evidence that would support their authority and inspiration, and that the evidence from both the manuscript tradition and early Islamic references conclusively prove that the Qur’an has not been preserved completely.
Muslim Scholars Acknowledge Corruption Of Qur'anic Text
Not all Muslim scholars believe that the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved, but freely admit to wholesale corruption of the Islamic text at the hands of Uthman, Islam’s third Caliph. These Muslims are predominantly of the Shiite sect, a branch which believes in Ali ibn Abu Thalib’s primacy as the rightful heir of Muhammad, being his first cousin and son-in-law.
This fact is amazing since Muslims are fond of quoting liberal Christian theologians, Christians with an anti-supernatural bias, to prove that the Holy Bible has suffered tampering. Yet here we find within Islam a group of God-fearing individuals who do believe in inspiration and miracles, who affirm and uphold Muhammad’s prophethood, and who are still honest enough to acknowledge the fact that much is missing from the Islamic revelation.
One of the most famous Shiite books written on the subject of corruption is The Abridgement on the Distortion of The Book of the Lord of Lords, by Imam al-Nuri. According to him, many Imams such as al-Saduuq, al-Tubrusi, al-Sighaar, al-Kalleeni, Ibn Shahir Ashuub, al-Ayyaashi, al-Majlisi and al-Nu`maani agree that Uthman woefully tampered with the Qur'an, excluding and adding verses which best suited him. According to al-Nuri:
“There were different collectors, the prince of the believers was the first among them, whose collection was at variance with all the other collectors. There are other three copies of the Koran collected by the caliphs, beside the copies of Ibn Ka`b, Ibn Mas`uud, which are four copies by themselves.”
“When these general and particular accounts are considered closely, we learn, from both their literal or suggested meaning, that the Koran now existing between the hands of the Muslims in the east and the west as it is bound by two jackets, and according to its collection and arrangement, was not so during the life of the Messenger.” (See Nuri’s book)
Other books include Ahmed Ibn Muhammad’s The Distortion and Muhammad Ibn Hasan al-Sairati’s Distortion and Substitution.
According to these Islamic sources, more than two hundred verses have either been tampered with or completely omitted. Here is a listing taken from the books of the Shiites:
According to Shiite scholars, one whole sura titled al-wilaya has been expunged by Muhammad’s successors. It reads as follows:
“O Apostle! Make known my admonition, so they will know. Truly, those who turn a deaf ear to my verses and judgment are the losers. Those who keep their pledge to you, I shall reward with pleasing paradises. Truly, Allah is forgiving and offers great reward.
Truly, Ali is of the pious, and he shall be granted his merit on the Day of Judgment. In no way are we ignorant of the injustice done to him. We gave him honour over all your household. He and his offspring are the patient. Their adversary is the leader of the criminals.
Say to those who disbelieved after they have believed: “Do you seek the worldly pleasures of life, running after it, forgetting what Allah and His Apostle have promised you, breaking the promises after reaffirming them?” We have given you parables that you may be guided. O Apostle, we have revealed unto you evident verses. In them are those whom Allah may claim as dead, and whoever shall stand by him will be exposed. Shun away from them as they avoid you. We shall bring them on a day where nothing will help them or grant them mercy.
In hell, they have a status which will befit them. Give praise to your great Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves. We sent Moses and Aaron, yet they wronged Aaron. May it be good patience! We have made monkeys and pigs out of them and cursed them until the day they shall be resurrected. Be patient, for they shall be granted victory. Through you, as it has been for former messengers before you, judgment is fulfilled. From them we have made a legal guardian to you, so that they may repent. Whoever turns his back on My commandment, I shall bring him back, so let them enjoy their disbelief for a little while.
You shall not be asked about the treacherous. O Apostle! We have made a pledge for you in the necks of those who have believed. Therefore, take hold of it and be of the thankful. Verily, Ali is one of the obedient, lying prostrate at night, warning of the Last Day, and hoping for the reward of his Lord. Say, shall these oppressors be treated equally while knowing of my torture? Feathers will be filled around their necks, and they shall regret their works. We have told you the good news that his offspring was to come. Our order they shall not break. Upon them and for me be prayers and mercy, whether they are alive or dead, until they are resurrected. Upon those who do them wrong after you is My wrath, for they are a losing folk. Upon those who follow their steps be mercy from Me, they shall be safe in the rooms. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds . (The True Guidance, pt. 4, pp. 65-66 – citing al-Nuri’s Fasl al-Khitab, p. 110)
According to one Abu Ja`far, the original readings of S. is:
“Those who transgressed against the family of Muhammad changed the word from that which had been given them, so we sent a plague from heaven upon who transgressed against the family of Muhammad.” (Ibid., p. 67 – citing Ibrahim al-Qummi’s commentary, Volume 1, p. 48)
Abu Abdallah states that S. 2:91 correctly reads:
“… What Allah has sent down concerning Ali, they say…” (Fasl al-Khitab, p. 205)
S. 2:143 is supposed to be:
“We have made you justly balanced imams, that is, leaders that you might be witnesses over the nations.” (Ibid., p. 213)
S 3:128 begins with:
“Not for you is the decision…”
Yet Abu Abdallah reads it:
“For you is the decision…” (Ibid., pp. 218-219)
S. 4:65 is read by Abu Abdallah as:
“… against your decision in the matter of rule but submit to Allah and accept them with the fullest conviction.”
Yet Abu Ja`far reads it:
“and find in their souls no resistance to what Muhammad and the family of Muhammad had decided…” (Ibid., pp. 225-226)
Abdallah’s commentary on 3:110 is:
“Will the best of peoples kill the Prince of Believers [Ali], al-Hasan and al-Husain [Ali’s sons]? The correct reading is: ‘You were the best imams evolved for mankind.’” (Ibid., p. 217)
The last clause in S. 4:79 according to Abdallah should have read:
“… evil happens to you I have foreordained!” (Ibid., p. 226)
Abu Ja`far indicates that 3:185 should have had “and will be resurrected” as the concluding part of the sentence. (Ibid., p. 219)
Although there are many more verses we can present, these examples are sufficient to demonstrate quite clearly that the Qur'an is far from being perfectly preserved, a fact affirmed by God-fearing Muslims themselves.
Sahih al-Bukhari And the Qur'anic Text
Since the Hadith collection of Imam al-Bukhari is considered by Muslims to be the premiere collection of Islamic Traditions, viewing it as second only to the Qur'an itself, it is incumbent upon us to examine it in relation to the Qur'an’s compilation. On examining the evidence presented by Imam al-Bukhari, we find that the statements given are in total agreement with the other Islamic reference works quoted within this study.
Far from affirming the Qur'an’s perfect compilation, al-Bukhari’s collection acknowledges the fact that the Qur'an suffered corruption during its transmission from oral to written format.
Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s nine-volume English translation of Sahih Al-Bukhari will be used throughout, more specifically volume six of his set. You can also read this translation on line: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/
Volume 6, Book 061, Number 509
- A large number of reciters killed in Battle of Yamama (against Musailama).
- Portions of Qur'an feared lost.
- Qur'an to be compiled into a single collection, something not done by Muhammad.
- Zaid b. Thabit compiled the Qur'an.
- Could not find last verse of S. Al-Tawba except with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari
Volume 6, Book 061, Number 510
- During war against Azerbaijan and Armenia, Hudhaifa bin al-Yamama informed Uthman that the Iraqis, who read Ibn Masud’s version of the Qur'an, and the Syrians, who read Ubayy’s version, accused each other of adding and/or omitting from the Qur'anic text.
- Uthman commissioned Zaid, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Said b. al-As, and Abdur-Rahman b. Harith b. Hisham to rewrite the Qur'anic MSS in the Quraish dialect.
- New copies sent to each province.
- Qur'ans of other companions ordered to be burnt.
Volume 6, Book 061, Number 511
- Last two verses of Surah Al-Tawba found with only one person, Abu Khuzaima, as the following traditions confirm:
`Umar decided to collect the Qur'an. He addressed the people, 'Let whoever received direct from the mouth of the Prophet any part of the Qur'an now bring it here to us.' They had written what they had heard on sheets, tablets and palm-branches. ` Umar would not accept anything from anyone until two witnesses bore testimony. He was assassinated while still engaged on his collection. His successor, `Uthman addressed the people, 'Let whoever has anything of the Book of God bring it here to us.' `Uthman would accept nothing from anyone until two witnesses bore testimony. Khuzaima b. Thabit said, 'I see that you have omitted two verses. You have not written them.' They asked what they were and he said, 'I had direct from the Prophet: “There has come to you…” `Uthman said, 'And I bear witness that these verses come from God.' He asked Khuzaima where they should enter them. He replied, 'Make them the close of the latest Qur'anic revelation.' Thus was Bara'a sealed with these words. (John Burton, Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 123- citing Abu Bakr `Abdullah b. abi Da'ud, "Kitab al-Masahif", ed. A. Jeffery, Cairo, 1936/1355, p. 10)
[Zaid reports:] I found the last verse of sura al Tawba in the possession of Abu Khuzaima al Ansari, having found it with no one else, “There has now come to you…” to the end of the sura. (Burton, p. 119- citing Ahmad b. `Ali b. Muhammad al `Asqalani, ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari, 13 volumes, Cairo, 1939/1348, vol. 9, p. 9)
This fact further destroys the myth that the Qur'an had been preserved perfectly through memorization, since if this were the case why was it that only Khuzaima had the last two verses of Al-Tawba at his disposal? Should these not have been in the possession of all the memorizers?
It is presumed that the Hadith is referring to the fact that Khuzaima was the only one that had written the verses down, while others had committed them to memory. Again, this seems to be wishful thinking since this Hadith says nothing about looking for codices that contained these verses.
Interestingly, this assertion was first made by Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Asqalani ibn Hajar in his Fath al-Baari fii Sharh al-Bukhari. Ibn Hajar was born in 773 A.H. (1372 A.D.) and died in 852 A.H. (1451 A.H.). The following appears in John Burton's The Collection of the Qur'an, pp. 127-128:
It does not follow from Zaid's saying that he had failed to find the aya from surat al Tawba in the possession of anyone else, that at that time it was not mutawatira among those who had learnt their Qur'an from the Companions, but had not heard it direct from the Prophet. What Zaid was seeking was the evidence of those who had their Qur'an texts direct from the Prophet… The correct interpretation of Zaid's remark that he had failed to find the aya with anyone else is that he had failed to find it in writing, not that he had failed to find those who bore it in their memories. (Fath al-Baari, Vol. 9, p.12)
The problem with Ibn Hajar’s claim is that he is not an eyewitness, nor is his work an early record of the compilation of the Qur'an. Rather, his work is a much later commentary on the collection of Sahih al-Bukhari, which itself is not an eyewitness record.
Hence, the earliest source claiming that Zaid was looking for authorized written texts that included these verses dates no less than eight centuries after Muhammad's death! Therefore, the Muslim assertion cannot be taken seriously since no eyewitness evidence exists to support such an erroneous claim.
In fairness, it must be stated that according to other Islamic traditions, Ubayy ibn Kab also acknowledged the existence of these last two verses:
They collected the Qur'an into a mushaf in the reign of Abu Bakr, some men writing to the dictation of Ubayy. When they reached Q 9:127 some supposed that that was the last part of the Qur'an to have been revealed. But Ubayy pointed out that the Prophet had taught him two verses more and, since they were the last of the Qur'an to be revealed, the Book should close on the note on which it had begun. (Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, p. 124 – citing Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah b. Abi Da’ud’s Kitab Al Masahif)
Yet this actually confirms that not everyone had memorized the Qur'an completely since there were only two Muslims that even recalled these verses.
Volume 6, Book 061, Number 515
Contradictory order of surahs existed between the conflicting versions of the Qur'an.
Volume 6, Number 527
Some reciters left out verses mentioned by Ubayy ibn Kab, in spite of the latter’s reputation as the best reciter and his reluctance to follow them in omitting what he had personally heard from Muhammad:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: 'Umar said, “Ubai was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur'an) yet we leave some of what he recites.” Ubai says, “I have taken it from the mouth of Allah's Apostle and will not leave for anything whatever.” …
This strongly suggests that many verses have disappeared.
Volume 6, Book 061, Numbers 558, 562
Muhammad himself forgot portions of the Qur'an.
All this evidence from the best and the most reliable Hadith collection leaves no doubt that the Qur'an is far from being a perfect compilation.
In the service of our Great God and risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s beloved and eternal Son, forever and ever. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come. We will always love you as your sovereign grace enables us.