Examining the Modifications, Changes, Alterations and Editing of the Islamic Text;By Sam Shamoun
We now come to the third and final part of our challenge (Part 1; Part 2).
Additions and Deletions in the Qur’an
In the present Qur’an we find the following verse,
And the creation of the male and the female, S. 92:3
However, al-Bukhari reports that this text has an additional clause which was not recognized and accepted by some of the very men whom Muhammad commissioned to teach and pass on the “revelation”. (1)
Narrated Alqama: I went to Sham and was offering a two-Rak'at prayer; I said, “O Allah! Bless me with a (pious) companion.” Then I saw an old man coming towards me, and when he came near I said, (to myself), “I hope Allah has given me my request.” The man asked (me), “Where are you from?” I replied, “I am from the people of Kufa.” He said, “Weren't there amongst you the Carrier of the (Prophet's) shoes, Siwak and the ablution water container? Weren't there amongst you the man who was given Allah's Refuge from the Satan? And weren't there amongst you the man who used to keep the (Prophet's) secrets which nobody else knew? How did Ibn Um 'Abd (i.e. 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud) use to recite Surat-al-lail (the Night: 92)?” I recited:-- "By the Night as it envelops By the Day as it appears in brightness. And by male and female.” (92.1-3) On that, Abu Darda said, “BY ALLAH, the Prophet made me read the Verse IN THIS WAY after listening to him, but these people (of Sham) TRIED THEIR BEST to let me say something different.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 105)
Al-Bukhari also narrates a tradition concerning this next citation,
There is no blame on you in seeking bounty from your Lord, so when you hasten on from "Arafat", then remember Allah near the Holy Monument, and remember Him as He has guided you, though before that you were certainly of the erring ones. S. 2:198
According to al-Bukhari’s report this verse initially had an additional clause that is now missing from the extant codices:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: 'Ukaz, Mijanna and Dhul-Majaz were markets during the Pre-Islamic Period. They (i.e. Muslims) considered it a sin to trade there during the Hajj time (i.e. season), so this Verse was revealed:-- “There is no harm for you if you seek of the Bounty of your Lordduring the Hajj season.” (2.198) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 44)
We further read in Q. 18:79-80 the following story concerning Moses’ encounter with an unnamed servant of Allah:
As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working on the river, and I wished to mar it, for there was a king behind them who is taking every ship by force. And as for the youth, his parents were believers, and we feared lest on growing up he should involve them into trouble through rebellion and disbelief; S. 18:79-80
Ibn Abbas, however, read it slightly different:
XXXVII: "When they had gone a distance further on, he said to his servant, 'Bring us our morning meal. This journey of ours has made us very tired.' He said, 'Do you see what has happened? When we went to find shelter at the rock, I forgot the fish. No one made me forget to remember it except Shaytan. It found its way into the sea in an amazing way'"(18:62-63)
... The Messenger of Allah said, “Would that Musa had been patient so that He would have told us more about them!”
He said that Ibn 'Abbas used to RECITE, “Before them was a certain king who seized every sound boat by force,” and he used to RECITE, “As for the youth, he was an unbeliever.” (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of Al-Bukhari, Chapter 68. Book of Tafsir, No. 4450)
The words “sound” and “he was an unbeliever” are omitted from the so-called official text.
Ibn Kathir says that in Ibn Masud’s Qur’an the last clause of the following reference,
“... and above every one possessed of knowledge is the All-knowing one.” S. 12:76
... `Abdullah bin Mas`ud read the Ayah this way “And above every scholar, is the All-Knower (Allah).” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
Moreover, according to Aisha the following verse,
Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer, and stand up with devotion to Allah. S. 2:238
Has a missing clause:
(29). 2982. Abu Yunus, the freed slave of ‘Aishah, said: “Aishah ordered me to write a Mushaf for her, and she said: ‘When you get to this Ayah then tell me: Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat.’ So when I reached it, I told her and she dictated to me: ‘Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat, and Salat Al-Asr. And stand before Allah with obedience.’ She said: ‘I heard that from the Messenger of Allah.’” (Sahih) (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi – Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], ahadith edited & referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), Volume 5, From Hadith No. 2606 to 3290, Chapter 2. Regarding
Another example of a passage that has a part of it missing or lost is Q. 33:6 which reads as follows,
“The prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers…”
The late Muslim translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali records that Ubayy b. Ka‘b, a companion of Muhammad and considered to be one of the best reciters/readers as we shall see, had an additional clause which was attested by other Muslim readers:
“In spiritual relationship the Prophet is entitled to more respect and consideration than blood-relations. The Believers should follow him rather than their fathers or mothers or brothers, where there is conflict of duties. He is even nearer - closer to our real interests - than our own selves. IN SOME QIRAATS, LIKE THAT OF UBAI IBN KA'B, occur also the words ‘and he is a father to them,’ which imply his spiritual relationship and connect on with the words, ‘and his wives are their mothers.’ Thus his spiritual fatherhood would be contrasted pointedly with the repudiation of the vulgar superstition of calling any one like Zaid ibn Haritha by the appellation Zaid ibn Muhammad (xxxiii. 40): such an appellation is really disrespectful to the Prophet.” (Ali, The Holy Qur'an, p. 1104, fn. 3674)
The following renowned Muslim authority and jurist admitted that:
... An unusual reading of the Qur'an includes, “He is a father to them,” but it is no longer recited since it is AT VARIANCE with the version of ‘Uthman. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], pp. 29-30)
Interestingly, the late Muslim scholar and Qur’an translator Muhammad Asad actually inserted this variant within brackets into his English version:
“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...”
Here is his reason why he chose to add this to his version:
Thus, connecting with the preceding mention of voluntary, elective relationships (as con trasted 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 [sic], "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". (*)
It gets even worse for the Muslims. According to the second caliph the Qur’an contained specific verses, such as the command to stone the adulterers, which are no longer found in the extant manuscripts:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: 'Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, "We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” 'Umar added, “Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 816)
… In the meantime, 'Umar sat on the pulpit and when the callmakers for the prayer had finished their call, 'Umar stood up, and having glorified and praised Allah as He deserved, he said, “Now then, I am going to tell you something which (Allah) has written for me to say. I do not know; perhaps it portends my death, so whoever understands and remembers it, must narrate it to the others wherever his mount takes him, but if somebody is afraid that he does not understand it, then it is unlawful for him to tell lies about me. Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and memorized it. Allah's Apostle did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him.
I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, ‘By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah's Book,’ and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female), who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if the required evidence is available or there is conception or confession. And then we used to recite among the Verses in Allah's Book:‘O people! Do not claim to be the offspring of other than your fathers, as it is disbelief (unthankfulness) on your part that you claim to be the offspring of other than your real father’...” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 817; see also Vol. 9, No. 424)
To top it off, Muhammad’s own childbride Aisha admitted that the Qur’an used to contain certain abrogated and abrogating verses concerning suckling which are no longer present:
'A'isha reported that it had been revealed in the Holy Qur'an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah's Apostle died and it was before that time (found) in the Holy Qur'an (and recited by the Muslims). (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3421)
She even claimed that there was also a verse regarding the breastfeeding of adults and that the manuscript which contained it was eaten by a sheep!
1944. It was narrated that ‘A’ishah said: “The Verse of stoning and breastfeeding of AN ADULT ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.” (Hasan) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah – Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], ahadith edited & referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), Volume 3, From Hadith No. 1783 to 2718, Chapter 36. Breastfeeding An Adult, pp. 113-114)
For more on this controversial topic of adult breastfeeding in Islam we recommend the following article and rebuttal:
The importance of Ubayy bin Kab and Abdullah bin Masud
The readers may be left wondering why are these variant readings taken from the codices of Ubayy b. Ka’b and Abdullah ibn Masud such important witnesses to the corruption of the Qur’an. The reason is because they are based on the compilation of two of the four men whom Muhammad personally named as individuals that Muslims were required to learn the Qur’an from!
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: Allah's Apostle neither talked in an insulting manner nor did he ever speak evil intentionally. He used to say, “The most beloved to me amongst you is the one who has the best character and manners.” He added, “Learn the Qur'an from (any of these) four persons: ‘Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Ubai bin Ka'b, and Mu'adh bin Jabal.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 104)
Narrated Masriq: ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr mentioned ‘Abdullah bin Masud and said, "I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet saying, ‘Take (learn) the Qur'an from four: ‘Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu’adh and Ubai bin Ka'b.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 521)
Ubayy is also one of four men to have the entire Qur’an in his possession.
Narrated Qatada: I asked Anas bin Malik: “Who collected the Qur'an at the time of the Prophet?” He replied, “Four, all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubai bin Ka'b, Mu'adh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 525)
… When the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, breathed his last, NOT MORE THAN FOUR PERSONS HAD THE QUR'AN IN ITS ENTIRETY. All of them were of the Ansars and there is a difference about the fifth one. The persons of the Ansars who had collected it in its entirety were Zayd Ibn Thabit, Abu Zayd, Mu'adh Ibn Jabal and Ubayyi Ibn Ka'b, and the person about whom there is a difference was Tamim al-Dari. (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. (Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India), Volume II, Parts I & II, pp. 457-458)
In the case of ibn Masud he was also one who had memorized the entire Qur’an:
Narrated Shaqiq bin Salama: Once 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud delivered a sermon before us and said, “By Allah, I learnt over seventy Suras direct from Allah's Apostle. By Allah, the companions of the Prophet came to know that I am one of those who know Allah's Book best of all of them, yet I am not the best of them.” Shaqiq added: I sat in his religious gathering and I did not hear anybody opposing him (in his speech). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 522)
Narrated 'Abdullah (bin Mas'ud): By Allah other than Whom none has the right to be worshipped! There is no Sura revealed in Allah's Book but I know at what place it was revealed; and there is no Verse revealed in Allah’s Book but I know about whom but that I know about what it was revealed. If I had known that someone had better knowledge of the Book of Allah than I do, and he was at a place which could be reached by camel, I would have ridden to him (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 524)
He was followed by 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Zayd ibn Thabit, and 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As. All that is taken from the Companions has excellent preference because they witnessed the revelation and its descent in their language. 'Amir ibn Wathila said, "I saw 'Ali ibn Abi Talib speaking. I heard him say in his khutba, 'Ask me. By Allah, you will not ask me about anything that will happen until the Day of Rising but that I will tell you about it. Ask me about the Book of Allah. By Allah, there is no ayat but that I know whether it was revealed at night or in the day, revealed on flat ground or on a mountain.'" Ibn al-Kawwa' rose and asked about
'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "If I knew of anyone with more knowledge of the Book of Allah than me, who could be reached by mounts, I would go to him." A man asked him, "Have you not met 'Ali ibn Abi Talib?" 'Yes," he replied, "I have met him." Masruq said, "I found some of the Companions of Muhammad like pools which water one person, some like pools which water two, and some such that if all people had come to it, it would satisfy them. 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was one of those pools." (Bewley,Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Introduction: What is reported regarding threats against engaging in tafsir of the Qur'an by means of opinion (ra'y) or being bold in that, and the ranks of the commentators, pp. 38-39:*)
The Qadi did not mention 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud and Salim, the client of Abu Hudhayfa, although they were among those who knew the entire Qur'an. It is reported that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said, "I was with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and with him were Abu Bakr and whomever Allah wished. We passed 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud who was praying. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked, 'Who is reciting the Qur'an?' He was told, ''Abdullah ibn Umm 'Abd.' He said, ''Abdullah recites the Qur'an fresh as it was revealed.'"
One scholar said that this meant that he recited the first harf in which the Qur'an was revealed rather than the other seven which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was allowed after the Messenger of Allah, Jibril, recited the Qur'an to him in Ramadan. It is related that Abu Æubyan said, "'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas asked me, 'Which of the recitations do you recite?' I replied, 'The first recitation, that of Ibn Umm 'Abd.' He told me, 'Rather it was the last. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to present the Qur'an to Jibril once a year. In the year that he died, the Messenger of Allah read it to him twice. 'Abdullah was present and knew what was abrogated and changed in that.'" In Muslim, 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr stated that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "Take the Qur'an from four: Ibn Umm 'Abd – and he began with him – Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Ka'b and Salim, the client of Abu Hudhayfa."
These reports indicate that 'Abdullah knew all the Qur'an in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, contrary to what was said, and Allah knows best. In Kitab ar-Radd, al-Anbari transmitted that 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "I learned 72 (or 73) suras from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I read to him from al-Baqara as far as 'Allah loves those who repent' (2:222)." Abu Ishaq says that he learned the rest of the Qur'an from Mujammi' ibn Jariya al-Ansari. If this is true, the consensus which Yazid ibn Harun mentioned is true and that is why Qadi Ibn at-Tayyib did not mention him among those who knew the Qur'an by heart in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah knows best.
Part of what will indicate the soundness of Ibn Mas'ud's knowledge of the Qur'an is that the people with the readings among the people of the Hijaz, Syria and Iraq all traced their readings which they chose back to one of the Companions who read it to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. 'Asim traced his reading to 'Ali and Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn Kathir to Ubayy as did Abu 'Amr ibn al-'
This is the same ibn Masud who spoke out against Uthman’s Qur’an which Zaid ibn Thabit had compiled:
… Az-Zuhri said: “Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah informed me that Abdullah bin Mas'ud disliked Zaid bin Thabit copying the Musahif, and he said: ‘O you Muslim people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man’ – meaning Zaid bin Thabit – and it was regarding this that Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: ‘O people of Al-Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them. For indeed Allah said: And whoever conceals something, he shall come with what he concealed on the Day of Judgement. So meet Allah with the Musahif.’”
Az-Zuhri said: “It was conveyed to me that some men among the most virtuous Companions of the Messenger of Allah disliked this view of Ibn Mas’ud.” (Sahih) (Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Volume 5, From Hadith No. 2606 to 3290, Chapter 9. Regarding
And, as we saw in part 2, ibn Masud also disagreed with the other memorizers such as Ubayy ibn Kab in that he did not include surahs 1 and 113-114 as part of his codex, whereas Ubayy’s codex had a total of 116!
CDLXXII: The Tafsir of
Mujahid said that "darkness when it gathers" (113:3) is sunset. It is said that it is clearer than the splitting and separation of dawn. "Waqaba" (113:3) is when it enters into everything and darkens it.
4692. It is related that Zirr ibn Hubaysh said, "I asked Ubayy ibn Ka'b about the two refuge verses and he said, 'I asked the Messenger of Allah and he said, "I was told them and so stated them." We say what the Messenger of Allah said.'"
CDLXXIII: Tafsir of
It is mentioned from Ibn 'Abbas about "waswas" (114:3) that when someone is born, shaytan takes hold him. If Allah is mentioned, he goes. If Allah is not mentioned, he remains firm in his heart.
4693. It is related that Zirr said, "I asked Ubayy ibn Ka'b, ‘Abu'l-Mundhir, your brother Ibn Mas'ud says such and such [about the two refuge verses not being part of the Qur'an].’ Ubayy said, 'I asked the Messenger of Allah and he told me, 'I was told them [i.e. they were reveal d] and so I stated them.' Ubayy added, 'We say what the Messenger of Allah, said.’” (Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 68. Book of Tafsir)
See also Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan's version of Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Numbers 500 and 501.
Hence, Ibn Masud had only 111 chapters in his Qur’an, ibn Kab had 116, whereas Uthman’s codex contained 114 surahs!
In light of this how do Muslims today know with absolute certainty that the Qur’an contains only 114 surahs when even Muhammad’s companions couldn’t agree?
An ancient witness to the corruption to the Qur’an
The fact that the Qur’an has been corrupted is not some new information just recently discovered since there have been critics even back then that noted the textual perversion of the Muslim scripture. One such example is the Christian apologist Abd al-Masih al-Kindi who wrote an apology titled The Apology of Al-Kindi at the Court of al-Mamun, circa A.D. 830, around 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
The author, Mingana, concludes with the following statement from al-Kindi:
“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, p. 109-110:*)
With that said it is now time to take a look at what scholars have stated concerning the way the Muslim scripture was gathered and edited.
Continues on Part 3b