Muslims have always claimed that there is only 1 Qur’an, and that every Qur’an in the world is exactly the same, without one word, nor one letter different.
This claim went unchallenged until a 5 foot 2 inch lady from Turkey named Hatun Tash found 26 different Arabic Qur’ans, with over 93,000 different words between them, and these different words not only changed the meanings in every case, but often changed the theology, the doctrine and sometimes even the practices.
In June of 2016, Hatun took her 26 Qur’ans and held them up for the whole world to see at Speaker’s Corner in London, England, which caused such a problem for many Muslims, and especially for Mohammed Hijab (a well-known Muslim Internet YouTube junky), that on June 8th, of 2020, he had an interview with the world’s leading Muslim scholar on the Qira’ats and Ahruf, Dr. Yasir Qadhi, where he asked him which of these (now 30 official Arabic Qur’ans) was the one which was in heaven.
Here were Dr Qadhi’s 12 replies in that interview:
1) This is not a subject to talk about in public as the Ahruf & Qira’at are the most difficult topics for Muslim scholars to explain, or even understand
2) Therefore, you don’t tell the new converts to Islam about the Qira’at or the Ahruf, as it would send them packing
3) In fact, you only go into this problem with the more advanced students, where you do a “deep dive” on the issue, preferably with him, taking one of his classes
4) The reason is that Muslim scholars for the past 1,000 years have not solved the Qira’at problem, so they certainly aren’t going to solve it now
5) What’s important to understand is that Muslims have a “respect” for the Qur’an. They put a ‘red-line’ beyond which they do not go; and certain questions which they do not ask, unlike here in the West, where there are no red lines, and anyone can ask any questions they like
6) This is especially a problem for Muslims in the East (i.e. 99% of the Muslim world) because Qadhi said “The Standard [Islamic] Narrative has Holes in it”, a statement which has now become his ‘signature piece’
7) What’s more, Western academics have jumped ‘leaps and bounds’ on this issue in the last 100 years, and therefore he, living in the West, has a real problem trying to deal with them
8) Why? because they look at the rest of us Muslims like an ‘emperor with no clothes’
9) This is such a difficult problem that, as he admitted, “I’ve never lectured on this subject for 25 years, nor ever will, except in my class”, suggesting that if he hasn’t talked about the Qira’ats publicly for 25 years, then why should anyone go to his classes to get an answer?
10) This is such a problem that the subject of the Qira’ats and Ahrufs should never be brought up in Public, and certainly not on camera
11) And as for which Qira’at should be written on the ‘blank Mushaf’ Mohammed Hijab was asking at the very beginning, well…they are all the Qur’an
12) Which means all 30 Qira’ats are the Qur’an, which includes all 93,000 differences between them. You just add a little bit of this one and a little bit of that one so that we’ll never know exactly which is the real un-created and eternal Qur’an which resides in heaven.
What then were these Qira’at Qur’ans, and why were they created?
The Arabic which is used in the Qur’an today does not come from the Hijaz (i.e. from Mecca and Medina), but from much further north, from Nabataea (Jordan). This Arabic was better known as ‘Nabataean Aramaic’.
Today’s current Arabic has 28 consonantal letters, while the 7th century Nabataean Arabic, only had 16 consonantal letters, or ‘Rasm’.
Obviously, in the 7th century this caused a problem in understanding what was being written.
Thus, in the 8th century 5 dots (I’jam) and 3 vowels (Harakah) were added to the script to help Muslims read the text, and that is why we now have 28 letters.
Unfortunately, a single consonantal letter could now be pronounced 5-8 different ways, depending on where you put the dots and vowels, which led to many Muslim men deciding to write their own Qur’an applying the dots and vowels wherever they chose. This led to hundreds of Qur’ans being created.
From the 100s of Qur’ans, 7 were chosen in 936 AD, and another 14 were chosen in 1194 AD, and another 9 were chosen in 1429 AD, so that by the 15th century there were 30 official Qur’ans.
This caused such a dilemma that in 1924 one from amongst the 30, the Hafs Qur’an was chosen for the city of Cairo, which was chosen for all of Egypt in 1936, and then was chosen for the whole world as the official Qur’an in 1985.
And that is why we now have just 1 Qur’an, the Hafs Qur’an, chosen from amongst the 30, but no one knows still whether it was the one which is in heaven, or the one Muhammad received.
© Pfander Centre for Apologetics – US, 2022
(62,740) Music: “Natural Paradise” by musiclfiles, from filmmusic-io