The History of the Quran
Adherants to Islam state that more than fourteen hundred years have passed and not a single word of this Qur'an has changed.
History teaches otherwise. From "Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions" we read:
"Each sura is made up of short verses, the exact delineation of which has varied slightly in different copies and editions (Western language translations follow one or two different systems of versification, which makes it on occasion hard to find a given numerical reference; the variance can be up to seven ayaha)."
Again, we read:
"Still, at Muhammad's death there was no Qur'an as a single, codified book, still primarily an oral reality for the Muslims, the Arabic “recitations” from the Divine book in Heaven were not yet a single text between two boards".
Whether the traditions about the early attempts under Abu Bakr and especially Umar to collect the "recitations" and organize them are accurate, or not, it is clear that under the aegis of the third caliph, 'Uthman, a largely successful effort was made to compile an authoritative text from the variant readings of the best reciters from among the Companions of Muhammad."
Here we see that it was not until the third caliph, after the death of Muhammad, that the Qur'an was composed in it's entirety. An interesting historical fact concerning this `Uthman should be noted, and that is that this ruler of the relatively new religion of Islam came from a clan which was opposed to Muhammad. The Dictionary of Living Religions says, concerning `Uthman:
"Third Caliph of Islam. Uthman was an early, pre-Hijra convert to Islam, although he was a member of the Umayyad clan which took a leading role in opposing Muhammad. After the death of the second caliph, 'Umar, in A.D. 644, He was chosen caliph by the council named by Umar on his deathbed. Since he was an Umayyad, his appointment may be seen as a victory of the old Meccan oligarchy. His caliphate was a troubled one, leading to a series of civil wars which fragmented the Islamic community. Uthman was charged by his critics, especially in the provinces, with nepotism in that he favored Umayyads in his appointments-for example, the appointment of his kinsman Mu'awiya (later the founder of the Umayayad Dynasty, A.D. 661-750) as governor of Syria. The traditional portrait of 'Uthman among Islamic historians is of a weak, indecisive caliph dominated by his family."
That the compilation of the QUR'AN is credited to him should leave no Muslim secure as to the veracity of their scriptures. M. Ali, an African pastor who was once a Muslim has written a book titled: "Islam reviewed".
In it, he mentions that after the famous battle of Aqraba in 632, many of the Muslims who knew the Qur'an by heart were killed (THIS WOULD SEEM TO INDICATE THAT A GREAT PORTION OF THE QU'RAN WAS LOST IN 632).
As a result, Umar Ibn Al-Khattib advised Abu Bakr (SUCCESSOR TO MUHAMMAD) of the need to compile the Qur'an into a standardized text. He ordered the compilations 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 posession of Hafsa, one of Muhammad's widows, also one of Umar's daughters.
The companions of the prophet also did their own compilations and produced other manuscrits for use in various provinces. There were four rival provinces, each using a different Qur'anic text.
In Kufa, the Manuscript of Abdullah ibn Masud was in use.
In Syria, that of Ubyy Ibn Ka'b was used.
In the province of Hims, the one edited by Migdad Ibn Amr was in circulation, and in Basra, Iraq, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari's edition was used.
During Uthman's reign, reports came to him that in various parts of Syria, Armenia and Iraq, Muslims were reciting the Qur'an differently from the way it was being recited by Arabian Muslims. Immediately, Uthman sent for the manuscript in Hafsa's posession and ordered Zaid Ibn Thabit and three others to make copies of the text and make corrections where neccesary.
Whereupon, '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, whole copies, to be burnt.' (Sahih al- Bukhari Vol 6 page 479)
We read further in M. Ali's book, " 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 destroyed.
Indeed, as proof that manuscripts have been changed, and texts have been lost, in The lives of the sahabah, vol.3, pg 503-504 we read:
"It is reported from Hazrat Sa'eed bin Musayyab that when Hazrat 'Umar set out from Mina, he caused his she-camel to sit down on a sandy ground, made a heap from the pile of gravel, covered it with a corner of his coverlet lied down upon it, and, raising both hands towards the sky, said: "O my Allah! I am advanced in age, my strength has weakened, and my subjects have spread too much. Lift me towards yourself before I am wasted or get involved in any excess."
“Thereafter, when he came to Madinah, he addressed the people, and said: “O people! I have made the obligations explicit for you and have stated the sunnahs clearly and have set you to an explicit method.” Then he struck his right hand on his left, and said: “Beware that you mislead people to the right or to the left. Then save yourselves from this thing that you are ruined by denying the verse of rajm (stoning) and saying that We don't find it's mention in the Book of Allah.”
“I have sent it that his holiness (Muhammed) performed rajm and after him we too performed rajm.” Listen! Shortly after there after him we too have performed rajm.
So by Allah! If there were no fear that the people would say that Umar invented a new thing in the Book of Allah, I would have written the verse of rajm in the Qur'an. We have read that verse of rajm: “When a married man and a married woman are guilty of adultery, do lapidate them”.
We can see that Umar (the second Caliph from Muhammad) quoted a verse from the Qur'an, which is no longer there. Obviusly, he must have read one of those manuscripts which had been burnt.
The order of the Caliphs of Islam is this:
Muhammad died in 632
Abu Bakr 632-634
There was a period of between 10-20 years AFTER the death of Muhammad that the Quran was not yet compiled in written text.
History traditionally dates the first revelation around A.D. 610, and the Quran is said to have been revealed to Muhammad over the next twenty years.
During the time that these revelations were taking place, they were not yet a text that was uniformly compiled. Muslim scribes would write Muhammad's revelations on whatever was at hand. Sometimes leaves, buckets, boards; whatever was near when Muhammad had a “revelation” was used to record the revelation. These revelations were committed to memory by the scribes who had written them, in the event that the material on which it had been written would be lost.
Muslims Generally agree that the Uthmanic text is the accepted text, although some among the SHI'A have made charges of omissions concerning Ali and his descendants.
So it is safe to say that the Qu'ran was not formally compiled as a book for some 30 to 40 years after the initial revelation, AND CONSIDERING THE MEDIA ON WHICH THE WORDS OF MUHAMMAD WERE RECORDED, IT IS SAFE TO ASSUME THAT MANY THINGS THAT WERE SAID WERE LOST, AND OTHER THINGS MAY HAVE BEEN ADDED BY THE SCRIBES WHO INTERPRETED THE WORDS FROM LEAVES THAT WERE PARTIALLY DECAYED, AND ROTTING BOARDS, AS WELL AS CLAY VESSELS (BUCKETS) THAT WERE BROKEN OVER THE THIRTY TO FORTY YEARS THAT HAD PASSED.
THE JEWISH SCRIBES WHO RECORDED THE BIBLE, ON THE OTHER HAND, WERE FAR MORE ADVANCED IN THEIR TRANSCRIPTS, AND NOT AS HAPHAZARD IN THEIR METHOD. THE MEDIA WHICH WAS USED FOR THE BIBLE WERE PAPYRUS AND LEATHER.
CONTRADICTIONS IN THE QURAN AND MUSLIM THEOLOGY