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Sura · Ayah

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Tajwid · Hizb · Tarteel · Qur'anic guardian · Manzil · Qari' · Juz' · Rasm · Ruku' · Sujud ·


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Origin and development

Meccan revelations · Medinan revelations


Persons related to verses · Justice · Asbab al-nuzul · Naskh · Biblical narratives · Tahrif · Bakkah · Muqatta'at · Esoteric interpretation

Qur'an and Sunnah

Literalism · Miracles · Science · Women

Views on the Qur'an

Shi'a · Criticism · Desecration · Surah of Wilaya and Nurayn · Tanazzulat · Qisas Al-Anbiya · Beit Al Qur'an

The study of the origins and development of the Qur'an can be said to fall into two major schools of thought, the first being a traditionalist view and the later being a non-traditionalist view.

The traditionalist view, which relies on the early Islamic literature as authentic or reliable, ascribes to the view that the Qur'an began with Muhammad's claims of divine revelations in 610. Most of these revelations were either memorised or obscurely written down during the lifetime of Muhammad. These revelations were subsequently collected and were standardised in today's version by the caliph Uthman c. 653/654. The text was later given vowel pointing and punctuation in the seventh and eighth centuries.[1]

The non-traditionalist view covers a variety of schools of thought generally anathematised by Muslim academia.[2] Their view generally treats the early Muslim traditions, which arose over a century post-hoc,[3] with scepticism and evaluates the claim of the Qur'an as a text on the basis of higher critical analysis, independent evidence and source hypotheses.


The Traditionalist view

According to the traditional Muslim view, the origin and development of the Qur'an began with Muhammad receiving divine revelations in 610. According to traditional Muslim history the verses of the Qur'an were written on palm trees and fiber and memorized during the life of Muhammad and collected shortly after his death. During the caliphate of Uthman the Qur'an was standardized in 653. Slight developments in dotting and other punctuation happened during the seventh and eighth centuries.[1]

Muslim and some western scholars hold this account to be true.[4][5]


The Qur'anic revelation started one night during the month of Ramadan in 610 AD, when Muhammad believed that the angel Gabriel visited him, and considered himself responsible for inscribing these messages from God.[6]

Muslim scholars believe that prophet Muhammad was an illiterate, as mentioned in the Qur'an itself,

"Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them......"Qur'an 7:157.

However, the Arabic word translated here as 'illiterate' also means 'gentile'.[7]

He would memorize the Qur'an by ear, and later recite it to his companions, who also memorized it. Before the Qur'an was written down, speaking it from memory prevailed as the mode of teaching it to others. This fact, taken in the context of seventh century Arabia, was not at all an extraordinary feat. People of that time had a penchant for recited poetry and had developed their skills in memorization to a remarkable degree. Events and competitions that featured the recitation of elaborate poetry were of great interest.[8] Some scholars, like William Montgomery Watt and Maxime Rodinson believe that Muhammad was literate and educated.[9][10]

Written text

The initial revelations were written on different sorts of parchments, tablets of stone, branches of date trees, other wood, leaves, leather and even bones.[11][12]

Sahaba began recording Suras in writing before Muhammad died in 632. Allusions to written portions of the Qur'an can be found in many events. Immediately before his conversion in 615, Umar ibn al-Khattab caught his sister reading the Qur'anic text (Ta-Ha) from parchment. Muhammad said that reading the Qur'anic text earns a believer twice as much reward as reciting it from memory yet he prohibited carrying written copies of it into battle.[11] He sent some copies of the Qur'an to different tribes and cities in order to teach people the religion of Islam.

At Medina, about forty companions are believed to have acted as scribes for the Qur'an. Twenty-two such persons are mentioned by name in the Hadith. Among them were well known persons, such as Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Ibn Masud, Abu Huraira, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Amr bin al-As, Aisha, Hafsa and Umm Salama.[11] Others went over the contents of the Qur'an with the Prophet before his death

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, Muadh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid".[Bukhari 6:61:525]

The Sahabas wrote down the revelations under Muhammad's guidance:

Narrated al Bara: There was revealed 'Not equal are those believers who sit and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah' [Qur'an 4:95]. The prophet said: 'Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the ink pot and the scapula bone.' Then he said: 'Write: Not equal are those believers..."[Bukhari 6:61:512]

Muslim scribes believed that they would receive heavenly reward by writing down the Qur'an.[12]

Abu Bakr

During the life of Muhammad, parts of the Qur'an, though written, were scattered amongst his companions, much of it as private possession. After Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr initially exercised a policy of laissez faire as well. This policy was reversed after the Battle of Yamama in 633.[13] During the battle, 700 Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an were killed. The death of Sālim, however, was most significant, as he was one of the very few who had been entrusted by Muhammad to teach the Qur'an. Consequently, upon Umar's insistence, Abu Bakr ordered the collection of the hitherto scattered pieces of the Qur'an into one copy.[14]

Zaid ibn Thabit, Muhammad's primary scribe, was assigned the duty of collecting all of the Qur'anic text. This was his reaction:

"...By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur'an... So I started locating the Qur'anic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms and from the memories of men.[Bukhari 6:60:201]]

The task required ibn Thabit to collect written copies of the Qur'an, with each verse having validated with the oral testimony of at least two companions. Usually the written copies were verified by himself and Umar - both of whom had memorized portions of the Qur'an. Thus, eventually the entire Qur'an was collected into a single copy, but it still wasn't given any particular order.[13]

This compilation was kept by the Caliph Abu Bakr, after his death by his successor, Caliph Umar, who on his deathbed gave them to Hafsa bint Umar, his daughter and one of Muhammad's widows.[13]

Ali ibn Abu Talib

According to Shia as well as some Sunni scholars Ali compiled a mushaf, a complete version of Qur'an,[15] within six months after the death of the Prophet. When the volume was completed it was brought to Medina, where it was shown. The order of chapters of Ali's volume were rejected by some and Ali.[16]


By the time of the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan, there was a perceived need for the compilation of the Qur'an. The Caliphate had grown considerably, bringing into Islam's fold many new converts from various cultures with varying degrees of isolation. These converts spoke a variety of languages but were not well learned in Arabic and so a complete written text of the Qur'an had to be compiled. Another reason for compiling the Qur'an was that many of the Muslims who had memorised portions of the Qur'an were dying, especially in battle.

Uthman is said to have begun a committee (including Zayd and several prominent members of Quraysh) to produce a standard copy of the text. Some accounts say that this compilation was based on the text kept by Hafsa. Other stories say that Uthman made his compilation independently, Hafsa's text was brought forward, and the two texts were found to coincide perfectly.

Until this time there was reportedly only one written text of the Qur'an. According to Islamic accounts, this text was faithful to its original version. Non-Muslim scholars believe that, while this is entirely possible, there must at least have been slight variations produced from some corruptions.[6]

Thus, this became known as al-mushaf al-Uthmani or the "Uthmanic codex".[17]

Uthman's reaction in 653 is recorded in the following:

"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. Said bin Thabit added, "A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur'an and I used to hear Allah's Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): 'Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.' ([Qur'an 33:23])"[Bukhari 6:61:510]

Although the order of his earlier script differed from the Uthmanic codex, Ali accepted this standardized version.[16]

Some scholars suggest that the early Uthmanic texts of the Qur'an differed in terms of punctuation from the version traditionally read today. It is believed that early versions of the text did not contain diacritics, markers for short vowels, and dots that are used to distinguish similarly written Arabic letters such as r[ر] & z[ز] or t[ت] & ṭ[ث] or f[ف] & q[ق]. One claim is that dots were introduced into the writing system sometime about half a century after the standardization of the Uthmanic text around 700 A.D.[18]

When the compilation was finished, sometime between 650 and 656, Uthman sent copies of it to the different centers of the expanding Islamic empire. From then on, thousands of Muslim scribes began copying the Qur'an.[12]


It is a point of contention among Muslims that the entire Qu'ran was preserved by Uthman, but some hadith attest that some verses could not be found,[19][20] that variant copies were burnt,[21] and that a saying of Muhammad was misremembered as a Qu'ranic verse.[22] A contemporary essay from John of Damascus describes a surah called the "Camel of God" which is no longer extant,[23] although the story of the camel is preserved somewhat in other surat.[24] For these reasons and others, Western scholars believe that Uthman performed a recension of the Qu'ran.[25][26]

Oldest copy known today

Fragments from a large number of Qur'an codices were discovered in Yemen in 1972. They are now lodged in the House of Manuscript in Sana'a. Carbon-14 tests date some of the parchments to 645-690 CE.[27] However, the text itself is somewhat younger, since Carbon-14 estimates the year of the death of an organism, and the process from that to the final writing on the parchment involves an unknown amount of time. Calligraphic datings have pointed to 710-715 CE.[28]

Several manuscripts, including the Samarkand manuscript, Topkapi manuscript, and others claim to have been distributed by Uthman.[29]

According to the Hadith (Al-Bukhari, Vol6, #510), four Uthmanic manuscripts were prepared, after 653CE/31AH and before Uthman's death 656CE/34AH. Al-Kindi (d. 850CE/236AH) wrote in the early 3rd century AH, that only the Damascus copy remained and that was currently in Malatja. Various dates have been given for when the Damascus manuscript perished, and various manuscripts at different times have claimed to be the Damascus manuscript. The last of these remained alleged Damascus manuscripts with a traceable past was in Damascus until the fire of 1892CE/1310AH.

There have also been large numbers of manuscripts alleged to be the Damascus manuscript — or even one of the other perished manuscripts. However, there is no sufficient evidence to prove such a link.[30]

Having studied early Qur'an manuscripts, John Gilchrist states: "The oldest manuscripts of the Quran still in existence date from not earlier than about one hundred years after Muhammad's death." ("Jam' Al-Qur'an", page 153) He comes to this conclusion by analysing the state of development of the script used in the two of the oldest manuscripts available at the time he is writing, the Samarkand and Topkapi codices. The codices are both written in the Kufic script. It "can generally be dated from the late eight century depending on the extent of development in the character of the script in each case." (Ibid. page 146) This technique has been criticised by some Muslim scholars, who have cited many instances of early Kufic and pre-Kufic inscriptions. The most important of these is 240m of Qur'anic inscriptions in Kufic script from the founding of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem(692CE/70AH).[31] Inscriptions on rock Hijaaze and early Kufic script may date as early as (646CE/24AH). Clearly early Kufic scripts existed in the seventh century. The debate between the scholars has moved from one over the date origin of the script to one over state of development of the Kufic script in the early manuscripts and in datable 7th Century inscriptions.

As for the copies that were destroyed, Islamic traditions say that Abdallah Ibn Masud, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, and Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, had preserved versions that differed in some ways from the Uthmanic text. Muslim scholars record certain of the differences between the versions; those recorded consist almost entirely of orthographical and lexical variants, or different verse counts. All three (Ibn Masud, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, and Ali) are recorded as having accepted the Uthmanic text as final.

Uthman's version was written in an older Arabic script that left out most vowel markings; thus the script could be interpreted and read in various ways. This basic Uthmanic script is called the rasm; it is the basis of several traditions of oral recitation, differing in minor points. The Qur'an is always written in the Uthmanic Rasm (Rasm al Uthman). In order to fix these oral recitations and prevent any mistakes, scribes and scholars began annotating the Uthmanic rasm with various diacritical marks indicating how the word was to be pronounced. It is believed that this process of annotation began around 700 CE, soon after Uthman's compilation, and finished by approximately 900 CE. The Qur'an text most widely used today is based on the Rasm Uthmani(Uthmanic way of writing the Qur'an) and in the Hafs tradition of recitation, as approved by Al-Azhar University in Cairo in 1922. (For more information regarding traditions of recitations, see Qur'anic recitation, below.)



Some secular scholars accept something like the traditional Islamic version; they say that Muhammad put forth verses and laws that he claimed to be of divine origin; that his followers memorized or wrote down his revelations; that numerous versions of these revelations circulated after his death in 632 CE, and that Uthman ordered the collection and ordering of this mass of material in the time period (650-656). These scholars point to many characteristics of the Qur'an — the repetitions, the scientific mentions, the arbitrary order, the mixture of styles and genres — as indicative of a human collection process that was extremely respectful of a miscellaneous collection of original texts. Examples of traditionalists would be Richard Bell, Montgomery Watt, and Andrew Rippin.

Sceptical scholars

Other secular scholars, such as John Wansbrough, Michael Cook and Patricia Crone, were less willing to attribute the entire Qur'an to Muhammad (or Uthman), arguing that there "is no hard evidence for the existence of the Koran in any form before the last decade of the seventh century...[and that]...the tradition which places this rather opaque revelation in its historical context is not attested before the middle of the eighth." "There is no proof that the text of the Qur'an was collected under Uthman, since the earliest surviving copies of the complete Qur'an are centuries later than Uthman. (The oldest existing copy of the full text is from the ninth century.[32]) They contend that Islam was formed gradually over a number of centuries after the Muslim conquests, as the Islamic conquerors elaborated their beliefs in response to Jewish and Christian challenges.[33]

Wansbrough wrote in a dense, complex, almost hermetic style, and has had much more influence on Islamic studies through his students than he has through his own writings. His students Crone and Cook co-authored a book called Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (1977), which was extremely controversial at the time, as it challenged not only Muslim orthodoxy, but the prevailing attitudes among secular Islamic scholars.

Crone, Wansbrough and Nevo argue that all the primary sources which exist are from 150–300 years after the events which they describe, and thus are chronologically far removed from those events[34][35][36]

The absence of contemporaneous corroborating material from the very first century of Islam has raised numerous questions as to the authenticity of the account provided by later traditionalist sources. All that is preserved from this time period are a few commemorative building inscriptions and assorted coins.[37 ] Secular scholars point out that the earliest account of Muhammad's life by Ibn Ishaq was written about a century after Muhammad died and all later narratives by Islamic biographers contain far more details and embellishments about events which are entirely lacking in Ibn Ishaq's text.[38]

Another school of secular study of the origins of the Qur'an has focused on the examination of the vast body of the Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Coptic accounts of non-Muslim neighbors of the 7th and 8th centuries which in many cases contradict the traditional Islamic narratives. Historian Patricia Crone for instances argues that the consistency of the non-Muslim sources spread over a large geographic area would tend to rule out a non-Muslim anti-Islamic motive to these sources.[39]

The untraditionalist approach has been further expanded by Christoph Luxenberg, who supports claims for a late composition of the Qur'an, and traces much of it to sources other than Muhammad. Luxenberg is known for his thesis that the Qur'an is merely a re-working of an earlier Christian text, a Syriac lectionary. See also Gerd R. Puin.[40]

Fred Donner has argued for an early date for the collection of the Qur'an, based on his reading of the text itself. He points out that if the Qur'an had been collected over the tumultuous early centuries of Islam, with their vast conquests and expansion and bloody incidents between rivals for the caliphate, there would have been some evidence of this history in the text. However, there is nothing in the Qur'an that does not reflect what is known of the earliest Muslim community.[41]

In 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of San'a, in Yemen, laborers stumbled upon a "paper grave" containing tens of thousands of fragments of parchment on which verses of the Qur'an were written. Some of these fragments were believed to be the oldest Qur'anic texts yet found.

In well known Professor G.R. Hawting's academic review and in partial support of Gerd R. Puin's book (Hidden Origins of Islam: New Research into Its Early History),[37 ] Hawting says Puin refers "to some puzzling evidence that must be taken into account by anyone concerned by a period that is, indeed, in many ways obscure."[42]

The variations from the received text that he found seemed to match minor variations in sequence reported by some Islamic scholars, in their descriptions of the variant Qur'ans once held by Abdallah Ibn Masud, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, and Ali, and suppressed by Uthman's order.[43][44]

Similarities to the Bible

Skeptical scholars account for the many similarities between the Qur'an and the Jewish and Hebrew Scriptures by saying that Muhammad was teaching what he believed a universal history, as he had heard it from the Jews and Christians he had encountered in Arabia and on his travels. These scholars also disagree with the Islamic belief that the whole of the Qur'an is addressed by God to humankind. They note that there are numerous passages where God is directly addressed, or mentioned in the third person, or where the narrator swears by various entities, including God.[45]

"Created" versus "uncreated" Qur'an

An early controversy regarding the Qur'an concerns its created- or uncreatedness.

It concerns the traditional Islamic notion that the Quran is uncreated, or, in other words, it is eternal and has existed since the "beginning", just as God. Such an assertion, however, contradicts the Islamic notion of monotheism, or "tawhid" in Arabic, which is the belief that there is only one God and that he is eternal and the creator of everything. This argument is often used by the apologists of Judaism to argue that Quran and the Islamic faith are in direct contradiction to each other, and therefore, that the Quran could not be revealed to Muhammad by God.


There are three arguments which suggest that the Qur'an is not complete.[46] Some Muslims, Sunni and Shia alike, believe that the Qur'an itself was never abrogated, but instead that the Qur'anic verse [Qur'an 2:106] is referring to Muhammad's recitations being abrogations of the Torah and the Injil. However, the consensus of the early and most authoritative Tafsir writers hold to the perspective that the verse in fact refers to abrogation of the Qur'an.[47][48][49]

According to both Shia and Sunni authentic traditions, there are a number of authentic hadith that make reference to disputes over the Uthmanic edition of the Qur'an. These disputes include variant readings of individual ayats, missing ayats, missing surahs and surahs of substantially different lengths.[50] , pp. 5–39.

The two arguments presented for the incompleteness of the Qur'an are:

  • Muhammad had revelations before he revealed those currently attributed to him and that it is possible that Muhammad being human and imperfect did not fully comprehend the significance of the first revelations. Muslims respond to this by saying that this view is of a speculative nature and not based on any grounds, and that the same logic could be applied to any revelation received, prior to Muhammad, by any human. Usually either Surah 96 or 74 is accepted as the first Surah to be revealed to Muhammad.
  • The Qur'an itself allows for there to be revelations which might have been forgotten (87:6-7), replaced ([Qur'an 2:106], [Qur'an 16:101]), divinely changed ([Qur'an 22:52]). But here too Muslims cite the Bible and torah as examples to elucidate these verses, and not the Quran itself.


  1. ^ a b Brief History of Compilation of the Qur'an. Perspectives. Vol 3, No. 4, August/September 1997
  2. ^ See Nasr Abu Zayd, Suliman Bashear and Dr. Ahmed Sohby Mansour
  3. ^ Patricia Crone, M. A. Cook, p.3
  4. ^ Donner, Fred M. (1998). Narratives of Islamic Origins. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press. p. 23.  
  5. ^ Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period p. 240
  6. ^ a b Hooker, Richard. The Qur'an. Washington State University website.
  7. ^ Oxford University Press: The Qur'an: Translated by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem
  8. ^ Al Faruqi, Lois Ibsen (Autumn - Winter, 1987). "The Cantillation of the Qur'an". Asian Music 19 (1): 3–4.  
  9. ^ William Montgomery Watt, "Muhammad's Mecca", Chapter 3: "Religion In Pre-Islamic Arabia", p. 26-52
  10. ^ Maxime Rodinson, "Mohammed", translated by Anne Carter, p. 38-49, 1971
  11. ^ a b c Usmani, Mohammad Taqi; Abdur Rehman, Rafiq (editor); Siddiqui, Mohammed Swaleh (translator) (2000). An approach to the Quranic sciences. Karachi: Darul Ish'at. pp. 181–9.  
  12. ^ a b c Schimmel, Annemarie; Barbar Rivolta (Summer, 1992). "Islamic Calligraphy". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series 50 (1): 3.  
  13. ^ a b c Usmani, Mohammad Taqi; Abdur Rehman, Rafiq (editor); Siddiqui, Mohammed Swaleh (translator) (2000). An approach to the Quranic sciences. Birmingham: Darul Ish'at. pp. 191–6.  
  14. ^ Hasan, Sayyid Siddiq; Nadwi, Abul Hasan Ali; Kidwai, A.R. (translator) (2000). The collection of the Qur'an. Karachi: Qur'anic Arabic Foundation. pp. 34–5.  
  15. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2007). "Qur'an". Encyclopedia Britannica Online.  
  16. ^ a b See:*Tabatabaee, 1987, chapter 5 See also:
    • Observations on Early Qur'an Manuscripts in San'a
    • The Qur'an as Text, ed. Wild, Brill, 1996 ISBN 90-04-10344-9
  17. ^ Wild, Stefan (2006), "Canon", in Leaman, Oliver, The Qur'an: an encyclopedia, Great Britain: Routledge, pp. 136–139  
  18. ^ The Arabic Writing System and the Sociolinguistics of Orthographic Reform, Mahmoud, Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 1979, p. 8.
  19. ^ Ibn Abī Dāwūd, Kitab al-Masahif, p. 23
  20. ^ Imam al-Suyuti. Dur al-Manthur. Volume 1 page 104
  21. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari VI.61.510
  22. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari VII.76.445, compare VII.76.446; Sahih Muslim V.2285
  23. ^ Fount of Knowledge
  24. ^ John Merrill. "Of The Tractate of John of Damascus on Islam". The Muslim World XLI (1951), pp. 88-99.
  25. ^ Arthur Jeffery, The Qur'ân As Scripture. 1952, Russell F Moore Company Inc., New York, p.99.
  26. ^ A F L Beeston, T M Johnstone, R B Serjeant and G R Smith (eds.), Arabic Literature To The End Of The Ummayad Period, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.243.
  27. ^ Carole Hillenbrand, The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 1, p.330
  28. ^ Saifullah, M S M; Ghali Adi & ʿAbdullah David (2008-11-08). "Radiocarbon (Carbon-14) Dating And The Qur'ānic Manuscripts". Retrieved 2008-12-08.  
  29. ^ The Qur'anic Manuscripts,, retrieved April 2, 2006
  30. ^ Salih p 87
  31. ^ The Arabic Islamic Inscriptions On The Dome Of The Rock In Jerusalem,; also Hillenbrand, op. cit.
  32. ^ Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World, Crone, Patricia & Cook, Michael, p.3 Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977
  33. ^ P. Crone and M. Cook, Hagarism: The Making Of The Islamic World, 1977, Cambridge University Press
  34. ^ Yehuda D. Nevo "Towards a Prehistory of Islam," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, vol.17, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1994 p.108
  35. ^ John Wansbrough The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1978 p,119
  36. ^ Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, Princeton University Press, 1987 p.204
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^ Patricia Crone, The Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, pp. 203-30), where she argues that much of the classical Muslim understanding of the Koran rests on the work of storytellers and that this work is of very dubious historical value. These storytellers contributed to the tradition on the rise of Islam, and this is evident in the steady growth of information: "If one storyteller should happen to mention a raid, the next storyteller would know the date of this raid, while the third would know everything that an audience might wish to hear about it." 53 Then, comparing the accounts of the raid of Kharrar by Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi, Crone shows that al-Waqidi, influenced by and in the manner of the storytellers, "will always give precise dates, locations, names, where Ibn Ishaq has none, accounts of what triggered the expedition, miscellaneous information to lend color to the event, as well as reasons why, as was usually the case, no fighting took place. No wonder that scholars are fond of al-Waqidi: where else does one find such wonderfully precise information about everything one wishes to know? But given that this information was all unknown to Ibn Ishaq, its value is doubtful in the extreme. And if spurious information accumulated at this rate in the two generations between Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that even more must have accumulated in the three generations between the Prophet and Ibn Ishaq."
  39. ^ Patricia Crone, Slaves on Horses, pp. 15-16. All the while that Islamic historians have been struggling with their inert tradition, they have had available to them the Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Coptic literatures of non-Muslim neighbors and subjects of the Arab conquerors, to a large extent edited and translated at the end of the last century and the beginning of the present, and left to collect dust in the libraries ever since. It is a striking testimony to the suppression of the non-Islamic Middle East from the Muslim sources that not only have these literatures been ignored for questions other than the chronology of the conquests and the transmission of Greek philosophy and science, but they have also been felt to be rightly ignored. Of course these sources are hostile, and from a classical Islamic view they have simply got everything wrong; but unless we are willing entertain the notion of an all-pervading literary conspiracy between the non-Muslim peoples of the Middle East, the crucial point remains that they have got things wrong on very much the same points. That might not, it is true, have impressed the medieval Muslims who held the Jews and Christians capable of having maliciously deleted from their scriptures precisely the same passages relating to the coming of Islam; but as the Jews and Christians retorted, given their wide geographical and social distribution, they could scarcely have vented their anti-Muslim feelings with such uniform results. It is because there is agreement between the independent and contemporary witnesses of the non-Muslim world that their testimony must be considered; and it can hardly be claimed that they do not help: whichever way one chooses to interpret them, they leave no doubt that Islam was like other religions the product of a religious evolution.
  40. ^ The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Qur'an 2007 English edition
  41. ^ Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing, Donner, Darwin Press, 1998, p. 60., ISBN 0-87850-127-4
  42. ^ Journal of Qur'anic Studies, Volume 8, Pages 134-137 (August 2006)
  43. ^ Observations on Early Qur'an Manuscripts in San'a
  44. ^ The Qur'an as Text, ed. Wild, Brill, 1996 ISBN 90-04-10344-9
  45. ^ Introduction to the Qur'an 2nd Edition, Richard Bell, W. Montgomery Watt, Edinburgh University Press, 1970, ISBN 0748605975, 9780748605972 p.66
  46. ^ The Encyclopedia of Religion, By Mircea Eliade. Volume 12 pg. 165-6, pub. 1987 ISBN 0-02-909700-2
  47. ^ Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas, trans. Mokrane Guezzou, 2:106
  48. ^ Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza, 2:106
  49. ^ Tafsir Ibn Kathir Translation, Dar-us-Salaam Publishing
  50. ^ Hossein Modarressi. (1993). Early Debates on the Integrity of the Qur'ān: A Brief Survey. Studia Islamica. No. 77 (1993)

Further reading

  • Ibn Warraq, ed (1998). The Origins of The Koran: Classic Essays on Islam’s Holy Book. Prometheus Books. ISBN 157392198X.  
  • Ibn Warraq, ed (2000). The Quest for the Historical Muhammed. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573927872.  
  • M. M. Azami (2003). The History of the Qur'anic Text from Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments. UK Islamic Academy.  

External links

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