"The Origin of Quran. Its transmission, compilation, corruption/preservation and current status".


The debate will be hosted jointly by Exploring Faiths Organization (THIS BLOG) and the group "Religion, philosophy, let us talk about it" (http://www.facebook.com/groups/181024738596591/) and Islamic Perimeter (www.islamicperimeter.com). The debate will be published on http://www.exploringfo.blogspot.com and in the group mentioned above and also on the website http;//www.islamicperimeter.com

Mr. Shakoor Saafir: is a French Muslim of American origin. He engages in discussions with Atheists and Christians and has some articles under his name mainly dealing with Islamism and Zionism.


Some assertions have been made about Islam that has nothing to do with the Quran. I will address only those topics relating to the Quran.

Ninad makes the assertion that the Quran has been plagiarized from previous scriptures. The Quran itself answers these charges by explaining that the same God who sent down previous scriptures with other prophets has sent down the Quran to Muhammad. It is not a plagiarism but God has confirmed the truth of what was sent down before it.

"He has sent down upon you, the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Injeel"

The creed of Islam is not so new or different but likewise is found in the Bible once we analyze it. The creed of Islam basically is an affirmation or the first commandment in the Bible that there is no true deity but one God alone.

[Exodus 20:3, Deut. 5:7, Isaiah 46:9, Hosea 13:4, 2Sam 7:22, Psalms 86:10, 1 Ch. 17:20]

This creed is repeated throughout the Bible as well as in the Quran. In Islam we say,

"(there is) no god but God"

لا إله إلا الله

[37:35, 47:19, 2:255, 3:2, 3:18, 4:87, 6:102, 9:129, 11:14, 20:08, 20:14, 20:98, 23:116, 27:26, 40:62, 59:22-23, 64:13]

Ninad mentioned diacritical marks known as "tashkeel" were added to the Quran. This is true. These marks do not change the Quran but indicate to the person unfamiliar with the Arabic language how to pronounce the words of the Quran.

It's as if I wrote the word "cat" then a foreigner would come along and then try to pronounce it as "kāte". Of course we know "căt" and "cāt" don't have the same pronunciation although spelled the same. This is why we add the breve over the "ă" to indicate how it should be pronounced as "căt". Notice the word is still the same without the diacritical mark but the pronunciation is much clearer with it! In this way that the Quran pronunciation has been made more clear without actually changing the Quran. The Uthmani Quran did not have diacritical marks.

Ninad also mentioned the inscription on the Dome of the Rock differing from that found in the Quran. The inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock were in part borrowed and sampled from the Quran and recreated with artistic license and was never meant to be an exact copy of the Quran or verses therein. It becomes apparent once we read the inscription.

"In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate." (part of shahadah)

Unto Him belongeth sovereignity and unto Him belongeth praise. He giveth life and He giveth death; and He is Able to do all things"
[a conflation of 64:1 and 57:2].

"Muhammad is the servant of God and His messenger" [variant completion of the shahadah],

"Indeed God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation" [33:56 complete].

"The blessing of God be on him and peace be on him, and may God have mercy"
[blessing, not in the Qur'anic text].

"O, People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion (dini//kum) nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not 'Three' - Cease! (it is) better for you! - God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And God is sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a servant unto God, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him" [4:171-72 complete].

"Oh God, bless Your messenger and Your servant Jesus son of Mary" (interjection introducing the following passage). "Peace be on him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the day he shall be raised alive!" [19:33 complete].

"Such was Jesus, son of Mary, (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt. It befitteth not (the Majesty of) God that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is" [19:34-35 complete].

Indeed, God is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path" [19:36 complete, except for initial "and"].

"God (Himself) is witness that there is no God except Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witnesses). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God except Him, the Almighty, the Wise. Lo! religion with God (is) The Surrender (to His will and guidance). Those who (formerly) received the Book differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. Whoso disbelieveth the revelations of God (will find that) indeed God is swift at reckoning" [3:18-19 complete].

Ninad mentions the Satanic verses. There is some dispute among the scholars as to the authenticity of this story because the chain of narration is weak. Supposedly Muhammad pbuh was reciting Surat an-Najm near the Kaaba and somehow by Satanic influence Muhammad uttered words praising the pre-Islamic false idols al-Lat, al-Uzza, and al-Manat who were the false daughters the pagans had invented for Allah (אלה), the Creator God, borrowed from Abraham and Ishmael.

The angel Gabriel is said to have came down and rebuked Muhammad pbuh for reciting the Satanic verses and gave him a verse to replace the fabricated scripture concerning the intercession of the invented daughters of God.

Personally, I don't understand how Muhammad or the companions could not say anything against false idols being mentioned. To me the story is incredulous. Islam is strictly monotheistic!

Now some critics will argue, if Muhammad can be inspired by Satan, why should we believe anything in Quran? How do we know other verses aren't also contaminated by Satan? These are legitimate questions but as we see in this example of the Satanic verses, the angel Gabriel corrected Muhammad. We would expect the angel Gabriel to have corrected Muhammad had there been any other gaffes as in this situation. Indeed the angel Gabriel used to recite the Quran every year with Muhammad and twice in the year he died insuring the correctness of the Quran.

Dave Rowlands made the conditional statement that "if Allah doesn't exist, neither does his protection." I could derive a simple logical truth by negating his negative statement, "If Allah exists, then so does his protection."

The fact that the Quran exists today should be a testament of its preservation. There is no Sunni Quran or Shia Quran like the Catholics and the Protestants have a different cannon. The Quran is all in Arabic unlike the Bible which is translated from Aramaic to Hebrew to Greek and is admittedly tampered with. Even by Bible standards the Quran was compiled within a considerably shorter time frame than the NT after Jesus. We don't have Apocryphal chapters or books of the Quran. The Quran exceeds the Bible in all categories of being preserved and memorized by its adherents. This even Kurien can't deny this!

Dave mentioned the San'a manuscript. There is really not much to argue here except for three points.

1. Some Quran chapters were out of order. This is not really a big deal since this does not change the Quran. There are 2 Quran version in which the chapters are instead ordered chronologically. One is an 1861 translation by A. Rodwell into English and the other by a Bengali Ahmediyya Muslim. So as long as the verses are in order, the chapters can be read in any order. I myself used to memorize the Quran starting with the surahs from the back of the quran because they were the most shortest and work my way backwards to the front of the Quran.

2. Some words are spelled differently. This is probably due to scribal error.
إبرهم / إبرهيم

قرن / قران

سيمهم / سيماهم

3. The verses are numbered differently. The whole numbering system is arbitrary and the numbering system does not affect the message of the Quran.

Some critics may asked, what about the washed off verses? These washed off verses were found to conform to other verses in the Quran and do not contradict the Quran in anyway. [2]

With regard to Dave's mention of spiritual corruption of the Quran, it's not the Quran that has become corrupt, it's the interpreter. Anyone can take anything out of context and apply it how they wish to their understanding or mistranslation, this does not mean the Quran is corrupt. It is important to understand the tafsir behind the verse and why and how it was revealed. The holy prophet said, “My Ummah cannot go astray when they get together on a matter.” -Ahmad & al-Tabarani
The Quran is something we should all see eye to eye on or some will go astray.

I can tell by Kurien's own introduction he does not know about the Quran and knows even less about his own book the Bible!

I will diverge one moment from the subject of the Quran to entertain his ramblings about evil. Kurien says he believes in freedom of speech and equality of humanity, does he believe women should remain silent in churches and that they are not allowed to speak and must remain submissive? [1 Cor 14:34]
Should women be killed if they are not a virgin on their wedding night? [deut. 22:21-22]
Kurien thinks its evil that apostates be killed. Was the God of the Bible evil for revealing this in your book?
[deut. 13:8-12] Should raped females be forced to marry their attackers? [deut. 22:28-29] again, is your God evil for revealing this in your book? Do you say this is from your "holy God" in the Bible or do you believe it's from the Devil?

Kurien makes the claim no contemporary writings or inscriptions about Muhammad were never found. This is not true. There were letters written to the contemporary rulers imploring them to accept Islam. Letters were sent to King Negus, the Byzantine Emperor, the Persian Emperor, and the rulers of Syria, Egypt, and Bahrain. [3] Muhammad was also the subject of the Hudaybiyyah Treaty.

Kurien mentioned there were several different dialects or "ahruf" of the Quran. This is true and all were valid. The holy prophet said the Quran was revealed in 7 dialects.

Abdullah Inn Masud Ibn said:

The Messenger of God (P) said: "The first Book came down from one gate according to one harf, but the Qur'an came down from seven gates according to seven ahruf: prohibiting and commanding, lawful and unlawful, clear and ambiguous, and parables. So, allow what it makes lawful, proscribe what it makes unlawful, do what it commands you to do, forbid what it prohibits, be warned by its parables, act on its clear passages, trust in its ambiguous passages." And they said: "We believe in it; it is all from our Lord."
[Ibid p.29]

The trouble began to start when some Muslims in the outer provinces began to boast that their Quran recitation was best among the dialects. This created a rivalry and what Uthman did was issue one standard harf (dialect) of the Quran according to the Quraysh for all Muslims to follow. [5]

Kurien mentions that some Quranic verses were eaten by a goat specifically a verse for stoning and breastfeeding an adult. The verse for stoning for adultery was not allowed to be written in the Quran by the holy Prophet himself.

It is reported in a narration from Kathir bin Salt that: Zaid (b. Thabit) said: 'I heard the Messenger of Allah say, 'When a married man or woman commit adultery stone them both (to death)', (hearing this) Amr said,

فقال عمرو : لما نزلت أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلت : أكتبها ؟ فكأنه كره ذلك

'When this was revealed I came to Prophet and asked if I could write it, he (the Prophet) disliked it.' (Mustadrik Al-Hakim, Hadith 8184. Hakim called it Sahih)

About this 'verse' Kathir bin Salt says that he, Zaid bin Thabit and Marwan bin Hakam were discussing as to why it is not written in the Quranic manuscript and Umar bin Khattab was present with them and listening to their discussion he said he knew it better then them and told them that he came to Messenger of Allah and said:

يا رسول الله أكتبني آية الرجم قال فأتيته فذكرته قال فذكر آية الرجم قال فقال يا رسول الله أكتبني آية الرجم قال لا استطيع ذاك

"'O Messenger of Allah, let the verse about stoning be written for me.' He (the Prophet) said, 'I can't do this.'" (Sunan Al-Kubra Baihiqi 8/211 & Sunan Al-Kubra Nasai Hadith 7148. Albani (in Sahiha 6/412) said Baihiqi pointed to its authenticity)

With regard to a verse breastfeeding an adult 10 times, this was abrogated to 5 times ten later abrogated to 1 time. It concerns making a marriage illegal between foster kin due to a foster mother's suckling.

We still read this verse in the Quran.

Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers' daughters and sisters' daughters and your mothers that have suckled you and your foster-sisters and mothers of your wives and your step-daughters who are in your guardianship, (born) of your wives to whom you have gone in, but if you have not gone in to them, there is no blame on you (in marrying them), and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

(Your foster mothers who suckled you, your foster milk suckling sisters) means, just as your mother who bore you is prohibited for you in marriage, so is your mother from suckling prohibited for you.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that `A'ishah, the Mother of the Faithful, said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا تُحَرِّمُ الْوِلَادَة»

(Suckling prohibits what birth prohibits.)

In another narration reported by Muslim,

«يَحْرُمُ مِنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ مَا يَحْرُمُ مِنَ النَّسَب»

(Suckling establishes prohibited degrees just as blood does.)

Less than five incidents of suckling will not establish prohibition for marriage.

In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that `A'ishah said, "Among the parts of the Qur'an that were revealed, is the statement, `Ten incidents of suckling establishes the prohibition (concerning marriage).' It was later abrogated with five.

On the other subjects Kurien mentioned, as a born again Christian, he should make sure similar laws aren't first in his Bible revealed by his God. If he contradicts the Levitical law of his own book and does not call these teachings evil, he should not be a hypocrite when it comes to Islam.

[1] http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Dome_Of_The_Rock/Estwitness.html

[2] http://www.islamhinduism.com/noble-quran/145-al-quran-sana-manuscript-response

[3] http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/letters.html

[4] http://www.iium.edu.my/deed/articles/qiraat.html

[5] http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Qiraat/hafs.html#2

[6] http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2010/10/myth-quran-verses-eat-goat.html?m=1
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