The History of the Quranic Text.pdf - THE HISTORY OF THE QUR'ANIC TEXT THE HISTORY OF TH QUR>ANIC TEXT From Revelation to Compilation A Comparative

The History of the Quranic Text.pdf - THE HISTORY OF THE...

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Unformatted text preview: THE HISTORY OF THE QUR'ANIC TEXT THE HISTORY OF TH QUR>ANIC TEXT From Revelation to Compilation A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments MUI:IAMMAD MU~TAFA AL-A<~AMI Kalamullah.Com UK ISLAMIC ACADEMY LEICESTER· ENGLAND For my dear motlier, wlioseface I was tooyoung to remember, whose greatest wislifor me(as I was late told)was to memorise tlie Qur'an, and wlio I liope t meet again in tlie gardens ofHeaven. :May)l[fali accept from us our 6est deeds. Jlmeen. VI THE AUTHOR MlJl:lAMMAD MUHAFA AL-A'~AM1, one of the world's p Hadith, was born in Mau, India in the early 1930s and rec successively at Dar al-'Ulum Deoband, India (1952),al-Azha (M.A., 1955), and University of Cambridge (Ph.D., 196 Emeritus at King Sa'ud University (Riyadh) where he department of Islamic Studies; he holds a Saudi citizenship as curator of the National Public Library, Qatar; Associate al-Qura University (Makkah); Visiting Scholar at University Arbor); Visiting Fellow at St. Cross College (University of O Visiting Professor for Islamic Studies at Princeton; and V University of Colorado (Boulder). He is also an Hon University of Wales (Lampeter). His publications include St Literature, Hadiih. Methodology and Literature, On Schacht's Orig Jurisprudence, Diriisatfi al-Haditn an-Nabauii, Kuttab an-Nabi, Ma Muhaddithin, and al-Muf;addithiin min al-Yamdmah. Among his 'Ilal qf Ibn al-Madini, Klwb at-Tamyi; qf Imam Muslim, M 'Unoah ibn Zubayr, Miaoaua' Imam Malik, $aJ;1lJ ibn Khuzaim MiiJah. Many of al-A'zami's works have been translated inte forthcoming works include The Qyr'iinic Chal1£nge: A Promis Isniid !iJstem: Its Origins and Authenticity. In 1980 he was th prestigious King Faisal International Award for Islamic Stu CONTENTS PREFACE 1. The History of the Qjir'anic Text 1. INTRODUCTION 2. A BRIEF LOOK 1. Pre-Islamic Arabia i. The Geo-Political Condition ii. Ibrahlm and Makkah iii. Qu~ayy Gains Full Control of Makkah iv. Makkah: A Tribal Society v. From Qu~ayy to Muhammad ~ vi. The Religious Conditions in Arabia 2. Prophet Muhammad (53 B.H.-ll A.H./571-632 C.E.) i. The Birth of Muhammad :I ii. Muhammad ja, the Amin iii. Muhammad the Messenger of Allah iv. Abu Bakr and his Acceptance of Islam v. The Prophet Preaches Openly vi. Quraish Offers Muhammad ~ Great Temptation vii. Quraish Boycotts Muhammad :I and his Clans viii. The Pledge of 'Aqaba ix. The Plot to Assassinate the Prophet x. Muhammad ja in Madinah xi. Prelude to the Battle of Badr xii. The Execution of Khubaib bin 'Adi al-Ansari xiii. The Conquest of Makkah 3. Death of the Prophet and Accession of Abu Bakr i. Abu Bakr Handles Widespread Apostasies ii. Military Advances in Syria 4. The Countries and Provinces Conquered During the R of 'Dmar and 'Dthman 5. Conclusion EARLY HISTORY OF ISLAM: Vlll THE HISTORY OF THE QUR' ANIC TEXT 3. REVELATIONS AND THE PROPHET MUI:IAMMAD ~ 1. The Creator and some of His Attributes i. The Purpose Behind Mankind's Creation ii. The Message of the Prophets 2. The Final Messenger 3. Receiving the Revelations i. The Beginning of Wal,J.y and the Miracle of ii. The Impact of the Prophet's Recitation on th 4. The Prophet's Roles Regarding the Qur'an 5. Recitation of the Qur'an in Turns withJibrli 6. A Few Remarks on Orientalist Claims 7. Conclusion 4. TEACHING THE QUR'AN 1. Incentives for Learning, Teaching and Reciting t Qur'an 2. The Makkan Period i. The Prophet as Teacher ii. The Companions as Teachers iii. The Outcome of this Educational Policy in Makkan Period 3. The Madani Period i. The Prophet as Teacher ii. Dialects used by the Prophet for Teaching i iii. The Companions as Teachers 4. The Outcome of the Educational Activities: Huf 5. Conclusion 5. THE RECORDING AND ARRANGEMENT OF THE QU 1. During the Makkan Period 2. During the Madani Period i. Scribes of the Prophet ii. The Prophet's Dictation of the Qur'an iii. Recording the Qur'an was Very Common A Companions 3. The Arrangement of the Qur'an i. The Arrangement of Verses Within Suras ii. The Arrangement of Suras iii. The Arrangement of Suras in Some Partial 4. Conclusion CONTENTS 6. THE WRITTEN COMPILATION OF THE QUR'AN 1. Compilation of the Qur'an During Abu Bakr's Reign i. Appointment of Zaid bin Thabit as Compiler of t Qur'an ii. Zaid bin Thabit's Credentials iii. Abu Bakr's Instructions to Zaid bin Thabit iv. How Zaid bin Thabit Utilised the Written Materia v. Zaid bin Thabit and the Use of Oral Sources VI. Authentication of the Qjir'an: The Case of the L Two Verses from Sura Bara'a vii. Placement of the Suhuf into the State Archives 2. 'Umar's Role in the Spread of the Qjir'an 3. Conclusion 7. 'UTHMAN'S MU~l;IAF 1. Disputes in Recitation and 'Uthman's Response 2. 'Uthman Prepares a Mushaf Directly from the Suhuf 3. 'Uthman Makes an Independent Copy of the Mushaf i. Appointing a Committee of Twelve to Oversee the ii. Arranging for an Autonomous Copy iii. 'Uthman Retrieves the Suhuf from 'A'isha for Comp iv. 'Uthman Retrieves the Suhuf from Hafsa for Verific 4. The Sanctioning and Distribution of 'Uthman's Mush i. The Final Copy Read to the Companions ii. The Number of Certified Copies Made iii. 'Uthman Burns All Other Manuscripts iv. 'Uthman Sends Reciters Along with Mushafs v. 'Uthman's Instructions with the Mushafs He Sent 5. Studies on 'Uthman's Mushaf i. Studies on the Mushaf of Malik bin Abi 'knir al-A 6. Al-I:Iaiiaj and His Contribution to the Mushaf 7. Mushafs in the Marketplace 8. Conclusion 8. THE EVOLUTION OF READING AIDS WITHIN THE MU~l; 1. Sura Separators 2. Ayah Separators 3. Conclusion 9. THE HISTORY OF ARABIC PALAEOGRAPHY 1. The Historical Background of Arabic Characters 2. Studies in Early Arabic Documents and Inscriptions x THE HISTORY OF THE QUR'ANIC TEXT i. The Blurred Line Between Nabataean and A Inscriptions ii. What Language Did the Nabataeans Speak? iii. The Early Arabic Language Possessed a Dis AJphabet iv. The Emergence of Various Scripts and the I Dating Knfic Mushafs 3. Conclusion 10. ARABIC PALEOGRAPHY AND ORTHOGRAPHY IN TH 1. Writing Styles During the Time of the Prophet 2. Studies on the Orthography of 'Uthman's Mush 3. The Nuqat (Dotting) Scheme in Early Mushafs i. Early Arabic Writings and the Skeletal Dots ii. The Invention of the Diacritical Markings iii. Parallel Usage of Two Different Diacritical Schemes 4. Sources of the Skeletal and Diacritical Dotting S 5. Orthographic and Pa1aeographic 'Irregularities' Non-Qur'anic Script 6. Conclusion 11. CAUSES OF VARIANT READING 1. The Qjra'at is Sunna 2. The Need for Multiple Readings: Simplifying Re for Unaccustomed Masses 3. Main Cause of Multiple Readings (Variants): the Orientalist View 4. Secondary Cause of Multiple Readings (Variants 5. Altering a Word for its Synonym During Recitat 6. Conclusion 12. THE MUSLIM EDUCATIONAL METHODOLOGY 1. The Hunger for Information 2. Personal Contact: An Essential Element for Lear 3. Beginning and Development of the Isnad System i. The Phenomenon of Isnad: Proliferation 4. The Authentication of Isnad and Hadnh i. Establishing Trustworthiness ii. The Unbroken Chain iii. Supporting or Negating Evidence iv. A Test Case with a Misleading Isnad CONTENTS 5. The First Generations of Scholars 6. Preserving Books from Adulteration: A Unique System i. Conditions for Utilising a Book ii. Glosses: the Addition of External Material iii. Establishing Authorship 7. Certificates of Reading i. The Importance of Reading Notes 8. Impact of Hadith Methodology on Other Branches 9. Isnad and the Transmission of the Qur'an 10. Conclusion 13. THE SO-CALLED MU~I:lAF OF IBN MAS'DD AND ALLEDE VARIANCES THEREIN 1. First Point: The Arrangement of Ibn Mas'ud's Mushaf 2. Second Point: The Text Differed from Our MU~1;af 3. Third Point: Three Suras were Omitted i. Analysis of the Contents of Ibn Mas'ud's Mushaf ii. Ibn Mas'ud's Beliefs 4. When Can Any Writing be Accepted as Part of the Qj i. Principles for Determining Whether a Verse Belongs to the Qur'an ii. Examples of Scholars Punished for Violating the Above Principles 5. Conclusion II. The History of the Biblical Scriptures 14. EARLY HISTORY OF JUDAISM: A BRIEF LOOK 1.Jewish History Prior to Establishing the Kingdom 2. Jewish History After Establishing the Kingdom i. The Divided Kingdoms ii. The Destruction of the First Temple (586 B.C.) an the Babylonian Exile (586-538 s.c.) iii. The Restoration of Jerusalem and the Establishment of the Second Temple (515 s.c.) iv. The Hellenistic rule (333-168 s.o.) and the Maccabaean Revolt (168-135 B.C.) v. The End of the Maccabaean Dynasty (63 B.C.), the Roman Rule and the Destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.) 3. Conclusion XlI THE HISTORY OF THE QUR'ANIC TEXT 15. THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ITS CORRUPTION 1. History of the Old Testament i. History of Torah According to Jewish Sourc ii. History of the Torah According to Modern 2. The Sources of Jewish Literary Culture i. Original Language of the Old Testament w Called Hebrew ii. The Early Jewish Script: Canaanite and Ass iii. The Sources of the Torah 3. History of the Oral Law 4. History of the Hebrew Text: The Masorah i. Only Thirty-one Surviving Masorah Text o 5. In Search of an Authoritative Text i. The Role of the Council of Jamnia - Late F Century C.E. ii. The Old Testament Text was known in a V Differing Traditions iii. Approximately 6000 Discrepancies Between Samaritan and Jewish Pentateuchs Alone iv. Unintentional Corruptions of the Text v. No Qualms Felt in Altering the Text when t Appeared to be Adequate Doctrinal Reason vi. No Single Authoritative OT Text Existed Ti vii.Jewish Scholars Established the Text of the Tenth Century, Actively Destroying Earlier M viii. The Masora and Textual Integrity 6. The Jewish Revival: a Legacy of Islamic Literary Advancements i. Pointing and Vocalization Induced by Islam Achievements ii. Masoretic Activity Flourished in the West U Islamic Influence iii. The Talmud and Islamic Influence 7. Establishing the Date for a Fixed, Authoritative i. Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The We ii. The Counter View: The Terminus Datum o and Other Caves is False 8. Some Major Examples of Deliberate Textual Co 9. Conclusion CONTENTS 16. EARLY HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY: A BRIEF LOOK 1. Did Jesus Exist? i. References toJesus in Non-Christian Books from the First Century ii. The Historical Christ in Christian Circles iii. Christ and His Mother-Tongue iv. Christ: the Moral Attributes of God? 2.Jesus' Disciples i. Some Remarks on the Twelve Disciples 3. Jesus and his Message: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand i. Jesus and the Scope of his Message ii. Christian Creeds iii. The Implications of the Term 'Christian' in the Early Days 4. The Persecution of Early Christians 5. Practices and Belief in Early Christianity and its Aftermath 6. Conclusions 17. THE NEW TESTAMENT: ITS ANONYMOUS AUTHORSHIP A CORRUPTION 1. The Lost Gospel Q - A Challenge 2. The Authorship of the Present Four Gospels 3. Are the Gospels Inspired? 4. Transmission of the New Testament i. The Creation of Different Text Types ii. Dates of Recensions 5. Textual Corruption i. Variant Readings in the New Testament ii. Scribal Alterations 6. The Erasmus Bible and the CommaJohanneum 7. Contemporary Corruption of the Text 8. Early Manuscripts Negates the Prevalent Christian Doc 9. Conclusion THE HISTORY OF THE QUR'ANIC TEXT XIV III. An Appraisal of Orientalism 18. THE ORIENTALIST AND THE QUR' AN 1. The Necessity of Proving Distortions in the Qu 2. Orientalist Criticism of the Qur'an's Compilatio 3. Transmutation of Islam into Foreign Idioms 4. Orientalist Accusations of Appropriation i. Accusations of Botched Appropriation ii. A Counterfeited Bible 5. Deliberate Distortion of the Qur'an i. Fliigel's Attempted Distortion of the Qur'a ii. Blachere's Attempted Distortion of the Qu iii. Mingana's Attempted Distortion of the Qu 6. Puin and the San'a' Fragments i. Are the Santa' Fragments the Only Proof o Qur'an's Completion by the First Century? 7. Conclusion 19. ORIENTALIST MOTIVATIONS: A STUDY OF SUBJE 1. The Jewish Analogue i. The Validity of an Anti-Semitic Work ii. Can an Anti-judaic Scholar be Impartial W with aJewish Theme? iii. Are Jewish Scholars Free to StudyJewish T 2. The Muslim Counterpoint i. Israeli Suppression of Palestinian History ii. An Orientalist Pioneer and Deceiver of Mu 3. Searching for Impartiality i. A Historical Perspective: Jews, Christians, a ii. Impartiality in Modern Studies 4. Pressures and Motives i. Colonialism and the Demoralisation of Mu ii. The Jewish Question and the Erasure of H Fabrication of a New One 5. Conclusion 20. CLOSING REMARKS BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX '0\\~\\;t~ ~ ~~~~/ In the Name Q/ Alldh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful PREFACE This work comprises a short introduction to the history of the recording and its collection. The reader may therefore be pu why one third of the material in this book tackles the Old Testa and the New Testament (NT), wondering what significance the Qur'an's history. This significance shall, I hope, be made c chapters progress, since I have attempted to present only those de have a direct bearing on the current subject matter. The idea of authoring a book about the Qur'an, about its col immaculate preservation, had long germinated in my mind, a imately three and half years ago I finally began working on this side another entitled Islamic Studies: VVhat Methodology? It was jour Lester's article in The Atlantic Monthl;y (january 1999) however, an it had the potential to sow among Muslims, which prompted concentration on this work. His article suggested that Muslim believing in the Qur'an as the unadulterated Book of Allah, were incapable of defending this view in any scholarly fashion. The g thrown, and I felt it necessary to take on this challenge and e stringent methodology used by early Muslim scholars in accep as genuine, or rejecting it as fake. This has lead to the unavoidabl of some material in both books. As most of the scholars that Le are eitherJews or Christians, I also considered it fitting to cover t of the Old and New Testaments by way of comparison. This s the reader to regard the disparity of opinions between Muslim entalist scholars with a fair measure of insight. With their insistence on a purely oral transmission, most O reject all reports that cite recording and compilation of the Qu the Prophet Muhammad's lifetime. Many of them even deny th compilation occurred during Abu Bakr's reign, while some acc of the third caliph 'Uthman in this regard. Only fifteen years laps the Prophet's death and 'Uthman's distribution of written co Qur'an to different provinces of the Muslim world. Viewing t THE HISTORY OF THE QUR' ANIC TEXT XVI with serious misgivings, Orientalists have often focused on deep-seated corruptions crawling into the text within this gely, many Biblical scholars deem the text of the Old historically viable even though some of the OT books purely as an oral tradition for up to eight centuries. 1 The Orientalist spotlight has also been cast on the A discussions of its shortcomings, though it took only half a Prophet's death for the script to evolve and extinguish its i They blame this period again for triggering textual disto doing so they contradict themselves and negate their ea oral transmission (which is a fact, in that people were memo even while they possessed it in written form). Hence the should not have had any impact within a span of fifty year Hebrew script, transforming with the return of Jews fro in Babylon to Palestine, was thoroughly devoid of vo remained so for two thousand years, until contact with t spurred them on in this regard. To suppose that the la proved damaging to the Qjir'anic text whilst the OT, severely disjointed oral tradition and a vowel-less text f deserves a more hearty benefit of the doubt is totally u Along similar lines, there exist Mushafs in the Hejazi sc first century of Hijra (late 7th-early 8th C.E.)2 as well as d of portions of the Qur'an belonging to the first century value of these specimens, Orientalists claim that they a prove that the text is untainted by corruption; some choos them as fakes." By comparison the oldest complete and of the Hebrew Bible belongs to the beginning of the 11 th Even the existence of this oral transmission is highly questiona Whenever possible I will use C.E. (common era) as a subs Domini), the latter of which means 'year of the Lord.' 3 M. Minovi in his article "Outline History of Arabic Writin extant early Qur'anic specimens are all either forgeries or susp "The Problem of Dating Early Qur'ans", DerIslam, Band 33, H 217]. 4 In the words of A.B. Beck in his introduction to the Leni Leningrad Codex is the world's oldest complete manuscript of t The only other extant manuscript of the 'complete' Hebrew Bi tradition is the Aleppo Codex, which is about a century old Aleppo Codex is now fragmentary and undated, while the L complete and dated 1008 or 1009 C.E." ["Introduction to the Le The Leningrad Codex: A Facsimile Edition, WB. Eerdmans Publishin x.]. For further detail see this work pp. 238-40. 1 2 PREFACE the earliest dated Greek manuscripts of the Gospels were writ 10th century C.E.,5 yet these same concerns do not seem to ap This discrepancy in the attitudes towards the Qur'an on the o and the 01' and NT on the other, must be addressed if we ar assess the Qur'an's integrity. The established practice at the dawn of Islamic literary histor any religious text (~ad'ith, tqfsir,jiqh etc.) had to be transmitted by t had learned the work directly from its authors, they in turn teac the next generation. Full records of these transmissions were kept us to peer into the pedigree of every book regarding shan'a,6 at early stages - a method of authentication unsurpassed in the w now.7 If we were to apply the tenets of Muslim literary transmiss random book at the local bookstall, proving its authenticity and a would in all likelihood be impossible. Despite all the books of the NT having been penned anonymously, however, Western scholar it easier to grant them historical legitimacy than to the Muslim tra chains, which are often cast under suspicion or found altogether in After delving into both the Muslim and Western methodologies the reader decide which of the two is the most reliable. Judaism and Christianity are undoubtedly religions in history, the doubt does arise is on the authorship of the Old and New Te The answer cannot in fact be established. The 01' was initially c a work of revelation, but was later deemed the work of Moses; theory is that multiple sources (extending over approximately one years) contributed to the authorship of the five books of Mos were these shadow writers? How honest and accurate were th reliable was their knowledge of the incidents involved? Did participate in any of these incidents? And how did these books e reach us? The only known facts are that the 01' books appear scene only to disappear promptly for a few hundred years, before resurfacing? Again they disappeared without trace for many 5 According to B.M. Metzger, " ... one of the earliest dated Greek man the Gospels .,. was written by a monk named Michael in the year of the (= A.D. 949). It is now in the Vatican Library (no. 354)." [The Text if the Ne Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3rd enlarged edition, Oxford U 1992, p. 56]. For more detail see this work pp. 285-6. 6 Islamic law. 7 See Chapter 12. 8 Muslims believe that the Torah and the Zabur were revealed but were s lost or corrupted. A very small percentage of the current Old Testament m the original revelations, but it is scattered throughout the text. Recognising i the only criterion is that it must agree with the teachings of the Qur'an a 9 See 2 Kings 14-l6. XVlll THE HISTORY OF THE QUR'ANIC TEXT and were once again suddenly recovered. Compare thi of a few thousand honest souls living alongside the Pr participating with him in war and peace, in jest and mis and ease, meticulously documenting every verse and biographies form ...
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