Hatun and Jay now move to a critique of the Qur’an’s preservation in the early centuries of its origins, specifically, in this case, the mid 7th century.
They referred to the Traditional narrative on the Qur’an’s compilation, that derived from the account compiled by al Bukhari, volume 6, hadith numbers 509 – 510.
Al Bukhari was clear that there simply was no written or codified Qur’an at the time of Muhammad’s death in 632 AD.
A crisis was subsequently caused when 70 of the companions of the prophet who had memorized the Qur’an died at the battle of Yamama, which created a dilemma for Abu Bakr, because if all those who had memorized it died, the Qur’an would then die with them.
So Abu Bakr had Zaid ibn Thabit, the secretary of Muhammad collect what he could of the Qur’an, and have it compiled into its first written form.
Thabit did this by collecting what he could from stones, bark, palm fronds and from the memory of those who had memorized the text.
This compilation was then given to Hafsa, one of the wives of Muhammad, who put it under her bed for safe-keeping.
About 20 years later, during the reign of Uthman, there was another battle, this time against the Azerbaijanis in the north. After the battle some Medinan Muslims went to a mosque to pray and heard Qur’anic verses which were different from that which they were using.
Udaifah, the leader of the Medinans quickly returned home to demand Uthman correct this problem by commissioning another Qur’an which would be written in the ‘Quraishi dialect’.
Uthman complied immediately and ordered Zaid ibn Thabit to take Hafsahs earlier copy and rewrite it, but this time in the Quraishi dialect.
Some of you may see a problem at this point right away… In the 7th century the Arabic only had 16 consonantal letters which were devoid of any of the 5 dots or 3 vowels which our current Arabic uses today. Those would finally be created about a century later. So, how could someone have written the Arabic Qur’an in a specific “Quraishi” dialect without using those 5 dots or the 3 vowels? Obviously Bukhari, when he wrote this in the 9th century didn’t take that into consideration.
Nonetheless, once Thabit had the Qur’an finished Uthman had 5 copies of it sent to 5 cities (Mecca, Medina, Basra, Kufa, and Damascus) to be the standard for all future Qur’ans, and he then took all of the remaining Qur’ans which differed with his official text and had them burned!
So, where are those 5 original Qur’ans sent to the 5 cities? Not one of them exists today.
What’s more, according to the Traditions, one of the favourite companions of Muhammad, Ubay ibn Ka’b, who lived in Damascus wrote his own Qur’an which had 116 Surahs, which is 2 more than the Qur’an we are using today.
Another of his companions, Ibn Masu’d, from Kufa (in present day Iraq) wrote his own Qur’an, which had 111 Surahs, which is 3 fewer than our present Qur’an.
Arther Jeffery, in the last century did a study of what the Traditions said concerning these ‘Metropolitan codices’ of the Qur’an and was able to tabulate over 15,000 differences between them.
So, it is obvious that even in the 7th century, there were many problems with the Qur’an’s preservation, proving that we can not hope to find the original text of the Qur’an due to these many changes and manipulations.
© Pfander Centre for Apologetics – US, 2022
(67,320) Music: “Inspiring Teaser” by Rafael-Krux, from filmmusic-io