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Islam Reviewed
 4 - TEXTUAL HISTORY OF THE KORAN
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Almost every Muslim is taught from infancy to cling to the notion that
the Bible has been corrupted and changed, while the Koran is free
from corruption, perfectly preserved since the time of Muhammad.
But a thorough study of the textual history of the Koran will show
that it is not the Bible, but the Koran that has been changed. That is
what Islamic historians themselves bequeathed to us.

After the famous battle of Aqraba in 632 AD, during the Caliphate
of Abu Bakr, many Muslims who knew the Koran by heart were killed.
As a result, Umar B. Al-Khattab advised Abu Bakr of the need to compile
the Koran into a standardized text. Abu Bakr ordered the compilation to
be made by Zaid Ibn Thabit from inscriptions on palm leaves, stones and
from the remaining reciters.

When the compilation was done, it was kept by Abu Bakr until his
death. His successor, Umar, then took custody of it. Afterward, it came
into the possession of Hafsa, one of Muhammad's widows (a daughter of
Umar).1 The companions of the prophet also did their own compilations
and produced other manuscripts for use in various provinces. There were
four rival provinces, each using a different text of the Koran.2

During the reign of Khalif Uthman (the third Khalifah),  reports
reached him that in various parts of Syria, Armenia and Iraq, Muslims
were reciting the Koran differently from the way it was being recited by
Arabian Muslims. Uthman immediately sent for the manuscript in Hafsa's
possession and ordered Zaid Ibn Thabit and three others, Abdullah Ibn
Zubair, Said Ibn Al-As and Abdullah Al-Rahman Ibn Harith B. Hisham to
make copies of the text and make corrections where necessary. When
these were completed, we  read that Uthman took violent action
regarding other existing Koranic manuscripts:
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1 See Mishkatul Massabih, ch. 3
 2  In Kufa, the manuscript of Abdullah ibn Masud was in use. That of Ubyy Ibn
Ka'b was in the possession of the Syrians. The one edited by Migdad Ibn Amr was
in circulation in the province of Hims. While that of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari was in use
in Basra, Iraq.
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 Islam Reviewed    21

"Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they
had copied and ordered that all the other koranic materials,
whether written in fragmentary manuscripts, whole copies, to
be burnt." (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 6 Page 479).

To  eliminate  variant  readings  and  contradictions,  all  other manuscripts were indeed burned, but the Uthmanic edition itself was not perfect and met with a similar fate. When Marwan was governor of Medina, he ordered Hafsa's manuscript to be destroyed. The only reasonable conclusion one can have is that during Uthman's time, some of the contradictions in Hafsa's text were so glaring that a total destruction of it was called for rather than a revision. From then until now, conflicting passages and historical inaccuracies exist within the  Koranic texts.

The Deedats, the Joommals, and the so-called Sheiks continue their unwarranted attack on the Bible while suppressing the fact that Khalif Uthman burned all the Koranic manuscripts apart from Hafsa's, and that Governor Marwan followed the example of Uthman by destroying the Hafsa text as well. Anyone with the slightest regard for truth would have to admit that the Textus Receptus of the Koran now in circulation is a far cry from the textus originalis! It  is not too wild to suggest that were Muhammad alive at the time of these incidents, he would have received one of his usual "revelations" to back up those burnings.

Contrary  to Muslim belief,  there were more  than  just  language differences between Uthman's text and the texts which were ordered to be burned. In every case, there were considerable verbal differences between them and the text Uthman determined (by whim) to be the final standardized version of the Koran.

These differences were real textual variants and not just language peculiarities as is often taken for granted. In several cases there were words and sentences found in some codices that were missing in others. In other instances, the variants concerned whole clauses and consonantal variants in certain words. No wonder Khalif Uthman had to resort to wholesale burning as his best option.1
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1 See Jeffery, Materials for the History of the Text of the Koran, pp. 24-114. The
author has gone to considerable effort to collect solid evidence from the many
Islamic sources that are documented in this book.
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 22   Islam Reviewed

Evidence abounds to this day, that verses, indeed whole passages are
missing from the Koran that is in circulation today. For instance, the
second Khalifah, Khalif Umar, stated in his life-time that certain verses
prescribing stoning for adultery were recited by Prophet Muhammad
himself as part of the Koran:

"God sent Muhammad and sent down the scripture to him. Part
of what he sent down was the passage on stoning. We read it,
we were taught it, and we heeded it. The apostle stoned and we
stoned after him. I fear that in time to come men will say that
they find no mention of stoning in God's book and thereby go
astray in neglecting an ordinance which God has sent down.
Verily, stoning in the book of God is a penalty laid on married
men and women who commit adultery." (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat
Rasulullah p. 684)

The verse on stoning, no longer to be  found  in the Koran, is
incontrovertible proof that the Koran as it stands today is not the same
as the one spoken by Muhammad.

What the public does not know is that Jihad has many faces. Jihad
is not just slaughtering people for Islam, but it is also  a  systematic
suppression of truth and propagation of lies.1 If not, how can Muslims
boldly assert (despite hard historic evidence to the contrary) that the
Bible has been changed while the Koran has been perfectly preserved
since Muhammad's time?
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2 Archeological Note: In support of M. Ali's statement: the true site of Mt. Sinai was
found over two decades ago by the archeologist Ron Wyatt. Sinai is now known to
be Jebel el-Lawz on the Arabian Peninsula. It is right where the Bible has been
saying it was all along (see Galatians  4:25). However, the Saudi government has
surrounded  the  Mt.  Sinai  site  with  a  chain-link  fence  and  suppressed  the
information, probably because of the devastating effect that discovery could have
on the validity of Islam and the Koran. If the information on that site were to be
released, it would discredit the Islamic claim that the Bible has been corrupted.
That  site,  the  artifacts  therein  (and  similar  sites  in Arabia  such  as Rephidim),
exactly fit the Bible's description of the Israelite wilderness wanderings. Those sites
prove the Bible to be both accurate and true. (Videos of that ancient site and many
others are available from Wyatt Archeological Research, 713 Lambert Dr.,
Nashville, TN 37220).
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 Islam Reviewed    23

You cannot tell me that Islamic scholars are ignorant of the many
defects in the Koran, nor of the havoc that the various Khalifs have done
to it.1 We, ourselves, are not in any way amazed for the Bible has said:

Such teachings [Propaganda] come through hypocritical liars,
whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
(1 Timothy 4:2, NIV)

The plain truth is that the Koran has been changed through
suppression and burning, and many of its passages have been deliber-
ately removed or altered.
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1 M.O.A. Abdul, in his book entitled Studies in Islamic Series, vol. 3, pp. 19-20, 1st
printing 1971, mentioned the incidents that led Khalif Uthman to burn Koranic
manuscripts.
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