HOW AND WHY THE QUR'AN WAS STANDARDIZED

View previous topic View next topic Go down

HOW AND WHY THE QUR'AN WAS STANDARDIZED

Post  Johntheservant on Sun 21 Jun 2009, 3:58 pm

By: Samuel Green


A common claim made of the Qur'an is that it has come directly to us from Allah through Muhammad with no other human intervention or editing. Thus it is claimed that it was Muhammad who standardized what is in the Qur'an. I have read this claim several times in books and leaflets that Muslims have given me to read. Consider the following claims by Muslim authors:

The text of the Qur'an is entirely reliable. It has been as it is, unaltered, unedited, not tampered with in any way, since the time of its revelation. (M. Fethullah Gulen, Questions this Modern Age Puts to Islam. London: Truestar, 1993. p.58)

It (the Qur'an) was memorised by Mohammed and then dictated to his
companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during
his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters (suras) have ever
been changed over the centuries. (Understanding Islam and the Muslims,
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc. (pamphlet) Nov. 1991).

Are claims like these true? Or are they an exaggeration? This is a reasonable question to ask. To answer this question we will consider what Islamic sources say.

Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 514, p. 482; book 61

Narrated Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting Surat Al-Furqan during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle and I listen to his recitation and noticed that he recited in several different ways which Allah's Apostle had not taught me. I was about to jump over him during his prayer, but I controlled my temper and when he had completed his prayer, I put his upper garment around his neck and seized him by it and said, "Who taught you this Surat which I heard you reciting ?" He replied, "Allah's Apostle taught it to me". I said, "You have told a lie, for Allah's Apostle taught it to me in a different way from yours". So I dragged him to Allah's Apostle and said, "I heard this person reciting Surat Al-Furqan in a way which you haven't taught me!". On that Allah's Apostle said, "Release him (Umar) recite, O Hisham!" Then he recited in the same way I heard him reciting. Then Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed in this way", and added, "Recite, O Umar", I recited it as he had taught me. Allah's Apostle then said, "It was revealed in this way. This Qur'an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it whichever is easier for you."
Bukhuri: vol. 4, hadith 682, book 56
Narrated Ibn Mas'ud:
I heard a person reciting a (Quranic) Verse in a certain way, and I had heard the Prophet reciting the same Verse in a different way. So I took him to the Prophet and informed him of that but I noticed the sign of disapproval on his face, and then he said, "Both of you are correct, so don't differ, for the nations
before you differed, so they were destroyed."
The above hadiths clearly shows that Muhammad allowed some variation regarding the reciting of the Qur'an.

Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 509, p. 477; book 61

Narrated Zaid-bin-Thabit:
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq sent for me when the people of Yama-ma had been killed (i.e. a number of the prophets companions who fought against Musailama). (I went to him) and found Umar bin Al-Khattab sitting with him. Abu Bakr then said to me, "Umar has come to me and said: `Casualties were heavy among the Qurra of the Qur'an (ie those who knew the Qur'an by heart) on the day of the battle of Yama-ma, and I am afraid that more heavy casualties may take place among the Qurra on other battle fields, whereby a large part of the Qur'an may be lost. Therefore I suggest that you (Abu Bakr) order that the Qur'an be collected'." I said to Umar, "How can you do something Allah's Apostle did
not do?"
Umar said, "By Allah, that is a good project". Umar kept on urging me to accept his proposal till Allah opened my chest (persuaded me) for it and I began to realise the good idea which Umar had realised.
This hadith clearly shows that Muhammad never made a final collection of the Qur'an before his death, for when Abu Bakr was asked to collect the Qur'an into one volume he said: How can you do something Allah's Apostle did not do? Muhammad did not make a final collection of the Qur'an because there were many of his companions whom he trusted to teach the Qur'an and these made their own collections:

Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 521, pp. 487-488; book 61
Narrated Masruq:
... I heard the Prophet saying, "Take (learn) the Qur'an from four (men): `Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu'adh and Ubai bin Ka'b."

(Please take note of Ubai (Ubayy) and Masud. Their collections of the Qur'an were important to the later events in the history of the Quran.)

These companions of Muhammad made their own collections of the Qur'an and taught the Qur'an to their students. However these Qur'ans were not the same and confusion soon arose amongst the early Muslims as to what was the right way to recite the Qur'an. The next two hadiths give examples of this confusion:

Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 468, p. 441-442; book 60

Narrated Ibrahim:
The companions of 'Abdullah (bin Mas'ud) came to Abi Darda', (and before they arrived at his home), he looked for them and found them. Then he asked them,: "Who among you can recite (Qur'an) as 'Abdullah recites it?" They replied, "All of us." He asked, "Who among you knows it by heart?" They pointed at 'Alqama. Then he asked Alqama. "How did you hear 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud reciting Surat Al-Lail (The Night)?" Alqama recited:'By the male and the female.' Abu Ad-Darda said, "I testify that I heard me Prophet reciting it likewise, but these people want me to recite it:--

'And by Him Who created male and female.' But by Allah, I will not follow them."
The above hadith shows that Muslims from different regions disagreed as to the way a particular verse should be read. Those who learnt the Qur'an from 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud said surah 92:1-3 as 'By the male and the female.' while other Muslims said, 'And by Him Who created male and female.' Thus the early Muslims had not all memorized the Qur'an the same way.

We see this problem again in the following hadith.

Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 527, p. 489; book 61
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
Umar said, `Ubai (Ubayy) 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'. But Allah said: `None of our revelations do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We substitute something better or similar.' (Qur'an 2:106).
This hadith clearly shows that the Companions of Muhammad disagreed over which verses were abrogated/removed. Here we see that Ubaicontinued to recite the Qur'an with verses that the other Companions considered to have now been abrogated/removed. It seems that Ubai refused to accept that the verses had been abrogated for he says: I have taken it from the mouth of Allah's Apostle and will not leave for anything whatever. The hadith then quotes surah 2:106 to explain that this was an example of abrogation. The result, however, was that the Companions recited the Qur'an differently, for Ubai continued to recite the abrogated verses.

The above two hadiths record how Masud and Ubai recited the Qur'an differently to other Muslims. We have already seen that these two men were recommended by Muhammad as men worthy to learn the Qur'an from. However since their collections of the Qur'ans were not the same this caused problems for the Muslims who learned the Qur'an from them. The Muslim scholar Labib as-Said records that:

"The Syrians," we are told, "contended with the `Iraqis, the former following the reading of Ubayy ibn Ka`b, the latter that of `Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud, each accusing the other of unbelief" (Labib as-Said, The Recited Koran: A History of the First Recorded Version, tr. B. Weis, et al., Princeton, New Jersey: The Darwin Press, 1975, p. 23)
Some Muslims scholars like Labib as-Said [1] and Ahmad Von Denffer [2] have claimed that the different collections of the Qur'an made by Ibn Masud and Ubai (and other Companions) were only intended for "private use". However, the hadiths quoted above show that the companion Ibn Masud taught his version of the Qur'an to his students as did Ubai, and that in time these students were in conflict with each other. Muslim history and recent archaeological discoveries also support the conclusion that these collections were not for "private use" but public use [3].

We see how this problem was resolved in the next hadith.

Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 510, pp. 478-479; book 61
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to 'Uthman, "O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) ..." So 'Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, "Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you." Hafsa sent it to 'Uthman. 'Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, 'Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and 'AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. 'Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, "In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue." They did so, and when they had written many copies, 'Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. 'Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. ..."
Here we see how the problem of having different versions of the Qur'an was fixed. It was fixed by Uthman standardizing one version of the Qur'an and ordering that all others be burnt. Thus even the "seven" variations that Muhammad allowed were removed and so were the other collections made by the other Companions. Thus from now on all oral and written tradition would have to conform to Uthman's version of the Qur'an.

It should be noted that the Bible has never had a wholesale burning to standardize its text in the way that the Qur'an has. The next question that we need to ask is, "Did Uthman and
his team do any editing or selecting when they made their version of the Qu'ran?" The next three hadiths show us that there was editing and selecting involved.

Bukhari: vol. 8, hadith 817, p. 539-540; book 82

Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married person (male and female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse), and we did recite this Verse and understood 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.
It is obvious that `Umar was convinced that stoning an adulterer was part of the Qur'an and should not be removed. The modern Qur'an however does not contain these verses. So where have they gone? These verses must have been removed by those who were in charge of the text of the Qur'an. What is clear is that `Umar remembered these verses and did not think that they should be edited out while others obviously did, and so today they are not in the modern Qur'an.

We see Uthman's control over the text again in the following hadith.


Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 60, p. 46; book 60
Narrated Ibn Az-Zubair:
I said to `Uthman, "This Verse which is in Surat-al-Baqara: `Those of you who die and leave wives behind............ without turning them out,' has been abrogated by an other Verse. Why then do you write it (in the Qur'an)?" `Uthman said, "Leave it (where it is), O son of my brother, for I will not shift anything of it (i.e. the Qur'an) from its original position."
Here we see that Ibn Az-Zubair and Uthman disagreed over whether or not a particular verse should be included in the Qur'an. Ibn Az-Zubair believed that the verse had been abrogated and therefore should be removed from the Qur'an, while Uthman was insistent that the verse should remain. Uthman had his way and so this verse is in the Qur'an today.

Continued below...

Johntheservant
Christian Talk Member

Mood : I feel Blessed
Male

Number of posts : 87
Age : 35
Location : USA
Registration date : 2008-12-14
Points : 14642
Reputation : 4
Country :

Warning :

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: HOW AND WHY THE QUR'AN WAS STANDARDIZED

Post  Johntheservant on Sun 21 Jun 2009, 3:59 pm

Again in the next hadith we see how Uthman had control over the final state of the text of the Qur'an.

Mishkat Al-Masabih: book 8, ch. 3, last hadith [4]

Ibn Abbas said he asked Uthman[1] what had induced them to deal with al-Anfal[2] which is one of the mathani[3] and with Bara`a[4]
which is one with a hundred verses, joining them without writing the
line containing "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the
Merciful,"[5] and putting it among the seven long ones. When he asked
again what had induced them to do that, Uthman replied, "Over a period
suras with numerous verses would come down to God's messenger, and when
something came down to him he would call one of those who wrote and
tell him to put these verses in the sura in which such and such is
mentioned, and when a verse came down he would tell them to put it in
the sura in which such and such is mentioned. Now al-Anfal was one of
the first to come down in Medina and Bara`a was among the last of the
Qur'an to come down, and the subject-matter of the one resembled that
of the other, so because God's messenger was taken without
having explained to us whether it belonged to it, for that reason I
joined them without writing the line containing `In the name of God,
the Compassionate, the Merciful,'
and put it among the long suras."


Here we see that Uthman was questioned by other Muslims as to why he did not include the phrase, "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful", at
the beginning of sura 9. His answer was that Muhammad had died without
explaining where sura 9 belonged and so he (Uthman) joined it to sura 8
because they "resembled" each other. What is obvious is that some
Muslims felt the phrase should have been there while Uthman did not.
Uthman's decision prevailed and so the phrase is not included in the modern Qur'an.

These
three examples from the hadith clearly show that there was some editing
involved by those who compiled the Qur'an. It is also clear that the
editors' decision was not universally agreed upon; it did not have
universal consensus.

The next hadith shows the reaction of one of the Companions to Uthman's Qur'an.

Muslim: vol. 4, hadith 6022, p. 1312; book 29
`Abdullah
(b. Mas'ud) reported that he (said to his companions to conceal their
copies of the Qur'an) and further said: He who conceals anything he
shall have to bring that which he had concealed on the Day of
Judgement, and then said: After whose mode of recitation do you command
me to recite? I in fact recited before Allah's Messenger (may peace be
upon him) more than seventy chapters of the Qur'an and the Companions
of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) know it that I have better
understanding of the Book of Allah (than they do), and if I were to
know that someone had better understanding than I, I would have gone to
him. Shaqiq said: I sat in the company of the Companions on Muhammad
(may peace be upon him) but I did not hear anyone having rejected that
(that is, his recitation) or finding fault with it.
Four basic observations can be seen from this hadith.

  1. Ibn Mas'ud is telling people to conceal their Qur'ans for some reason.
  2. He seems to have been commanded by someone to use a different mode
    of recitation
    . This can only be referring to the time when Uthman
    standardized his version of the Qur'an and had all others burnt.
  3. Ibn Mas'ud's objection to changing the way he recited the Qur'an was
    that: I (Mas'ud) have better understanding of the Book of Allah
    (than they do).

  4. Shaqiq said that the Companions of Muhammad agreed with Mas'ud.

The Islamic scholar Ahmad `Ali al Imam also records that not all Muslims accepted Uthman's Qur'an:

After the compilation of `Uthman, all the Qurra' (readers of the Qur'an)
were asked to read only according to the `Uthmanic masahif. For this
reason the personal codices were collected and destroyed. Eventually, the
`Uthmanic masahif dominated all the cities (amsar), but with some
slight resistance, for instance, as in the case of Ibn Mas`ud and Ibn
Shunbudh. (Ahmad `Ali al Imam, Variant Readings of the Qur'an, Virginia:
IIIT, 1998, p. 120)

It seems that Ibn Mas'ud never accepted Uthman's Qur'an and Uthman may have even
had Ibn Mas'ud publicly whipped for this.

Ibn Mas'ud refused to deliver his copy to the committee whose
president, although one of the readers of the word of God, had earned much
less trust and authority than he. This refusal incited such a level
of indignation from the Khalif that he publicly whipped the "old saint".
One notes that the old companion of the prophet had two ribs broken from
the violence of the strikes and that he died after three days. This
cruelty, that drew upon Othman the hatred of his contemporaries, is
today regarded by the "schutes" as an atrocious crime. (T. J. Newbold,
Journal Asiatique, December 1843, p. 385)

In Summary

  1. Muhammad never finalized how the Qur'an was to be recited and allowed variation.
  2. There were real variations in the way the Qur'an was being memorized and
    recited after Muhammad's death. This caused problems.
  3. Uthman and a team of others did a certain amount of editing to
    produce a standard text of the Qur'an.
  4. Then Uthman ordered that all other Qur'ans be burnt and his
    version be made the only standard version for the Muslim world. Oral and
    written tradition now had to conform to Uthman's standard version.
  5. Some of the Companions, like Ibn Mas'ud, were not happy with Uthman's actions and
    suffered for it.
Conclusion
At the beginning of this article we considered the following claims:
The
text of the Qur'an is entirely reliable. It has been as it is,
unaltered, unedited, not tampered with in any way, since the time of
its revelation. (M. Fethullah Gulen, Questions this Modern Age Puts to Islam. London: Truestar, 1993. p.58)

It
(the Qur'an) was memorised by Mohammed and then dictated to his
companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during
his lifetime. Not one word of its 114 chapters (suras) have ever been
changed over the centuries. (Understanding Islam and the Muslims, The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc. (pamphlet) Nov. 1991).
Having
now read many of the hadiths and other sources it is obvious that these
Muslim claims are an exaggeration and have no support at all from the
authoritative hadiths. In fact the hadiths record the opposite. They
say that Muhammad never standardized the Qur'an and allowed variation
and that the early Muslims memorized the Qur'an slightly differently.
Then Uthman and a team of others edited and standardized one version of
the Qur'an and had all others burnt. I have no doubt that the
collection of the Qur'an that Uthman made is one good record of what
Muhammad recited. However it was not the only good collection that was
made, and it was not a collection made by Muhammad.


Source: Koran

Johntheservant
Christian Talk Member

Mood : I feel Blessed
Male

Number of posts : 87
Age : 35
Location : USA
Registration date : 2008-12-14
Points : 14642
Reputation : 4
Country :

Warning :

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum