Has the Qur’an Been Perfectly Preserved?

Opened_Qur'an

 

Acts17 Apologetics has written a fantastic article concerning Muslim’s claim that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved. As you can see from the article below, not only is the claim false, it disqualifies the Qur’an as being the Word of God.

“Surah 15:9 of the Qur’an proclaims:

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).

Muslim scholars interpret this ayah (verse) as a divine promise that the text of the Qur’an would be preserved perfectly, down to the smallest detail. The Qur’an therefore offers us a way to test its divine origin, based on whether Allah’s promise in Surah 15:9 was fulfilled. In this pamphlet, we will review the history of the Qur’an according to Muslim sources, allowing us to see if this book has Allah’s stamp of approval.

I. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE QUR’AN

The first Qur’anic revelation came to Muhammad around the year 610. Muhammad delivered many more verses to his scribes and companions for memorization and recording over the next two decades. These verses were written on stalks of palm leaves, bones of dead animals, flat stones, and other materials. There was no complete manuscript of the Qur’an during this time.

Qur’anic revelation ceased when Muhammad died. Shortly after Muhammad’s death, Caliph Abu Bakr needed to suppress a rebellion, and he sent many huffaz (people who had memorized portions of the Qur’an) to fight at the Battle of Yamama. Many of these huffaz died, and Muslim sources tell us that portions of the Qur’an were lost:

Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif—Many (of the passages) of the Qur’an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama . . . but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur’an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them.

Abu Bakr decided that it was time to gather what remained of the Qur’an in order to prevent more from being lost, and he appointed Zaid ibn Thabit to this task. After Zaid completed his codex around 634 AD, it remained in Abu Bakr’s possession until his death, when it was passed on to Caliph Umar. When Umar died, it was given to Hafsa, a widow of Muhammad. (For a fuller account see Sahih al-Bukhari 4986.)

During Caliph Uthman’s reign, approximately 19 years after the death of Muhammad, disputes arose concerning the correct recitation of the Qur’an. Uthman ordered that Hafsa’s copy of the Qur’an, along with all known textual materials, should be gathered together so that an official version might be compiled. Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Sa’id bin Al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith worked diligently to construct a revised text of the Qur’an. When it was finished, “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 or whole copies, be burnt” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4987). The Qur’an we have today is descended from the Uthmanic codex.

II. DISPUTES AMONG MUHAMMAD’S SCHOLARS

Not all Muslims approved of the new Qur’an. Indeed, some of Muhammad’s top teachers rejected Zaid’s version.

Muhammad once told his followers to “Learn the recitation of the Qur’an from four: from Abdullah bin Masud—he started with him—Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu’adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka’b” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3808). Interestingly, Ibn Masud (first on Muhammad’s list) held that the Qur’an should only have 111 chapters (today’s version has 114 chapters), and that chapters 1, 113, and 114 shouldn’t have been included in the Qur’an.

Because of this (along with hundreds of other textual differences), Ibn Masud went so far as to call the final edition of the Qur’an a deception! He said, “The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of the Qur’an. I like it better to read according to the recitation of him [i.e. Muhammad] whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 444).

Should Muslims submit to this “deceit”? Not surprisingly, Ibn Masud advised Muslims to reject Zaid’s Qur’an and to keep their own versions—even to hide them so that they wouldn’t be confiscated by the government! He said:

Jami at-Tirmidhi 3104—“O you Muslim people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man”—meaning Zaid bin Thabit—and it was regarding this that Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: “O people of Al-Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them.”

But Ibn Masud wasn’t the only one of Muhammad’s trusted teachers who disagreed with Zaid’s Qur’an. Ubayy ibn Ka’b was Muhammad’s best reciter and one of the only Muslims to collect the materials of the Qur’an during Muhammad’s lifetime. Yet Ibn Ka’b believed that Zaid’s Qur’an was missing two chapters! Later Muslims were therefore forced to reject some of Ibn Ka’b’s recitation:

Sahih al-Bukhari 5005—Umar said, “Ubayy was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur’an), yet we leave some of what he recites.” Ubayy says, “I have taken it from the mouth of Allah’s Messenger and will not leave it for anything whatever.”

Due to these disputes among Muhammad’s hand-picked reciters, Muslims are faced with a dilemma. If Muslims say that the Qur’an we have today has been perfectly preserved, they must say that Muhammad was horrible at choosing scholars, since he selected men who disagreed with today’s text. If, on the other hand, Muslims say that their prophet would know whom to pick regarding Islam’s holiest book, they must conclude that the Qur’an we have today is flawed!

III. MISSING CHAPTERS

Simply knowing the facts about such disputes is enough to dismiss the claim that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved. Nevertheless, we may go further by briefly considering certain other problems.

When Ibn Umar—son of the second Muslim caliph—heard people declaring that they knew the entire Qur’an, he said to them: “Let none of you say, ‘I have learned the whole of the Koran,’ for how does he know what the whole of it is, when much of it has disappeared? Let him rather say, ‘I have learned what is extant thereof’” (Abu Ubaid, Kitab Fada’il-al-Qur’an).

One of Muhammad’s companions, Abu Musa, supported this claim when he said that the early Muslims forgot two surahs (chapters) due to laziness:

Sahih Muslim 2286—Abu Musa al-Ash’ari sent for the reciters of Basra. They came to him and they were three hundred in number. They recited the Qur’an and he said: You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them. So continue to recite it. (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you. We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara’at. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it: “If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.” And we used to recite a surah which resembled one of the surahs of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it . . .

This shows that entire chapters of the Qur’an were forgotten.

IV. MISSING PASSAGES

We know further that large sections of certain chapters came up missing. For instance, Muhammad’s wife Aisha said that roughly two-thirds of Surah 33 was lost:

Abu Ubaid, Kitab Fada’il-al-Qur’an—A’isha . . . said, “Surat al-Ahzab (xxxiii) used to be recited in the time of the Prophet with two hundred verses, but when Uthman wrote out the codices he was unable to procure more of it than there is in it today [i.e. 73 verses].”

According to Aisha, the collectors simply couldn’t find all of Surah 33. Why not? As we’ve seen, many huffaz were killed at the Battle of Yamama. Apparently, no one who knew the entire chapter survived.

V. MISSING VERSES

Aisha also tells us that individual verses of the Qur’an disappeared, sometimes in very interesting ways:

Sunan ibn Majah 1944—It was narrated that Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”

The verses on stoning and breastfeeding an adult ten times are not in the Qur’an today. Why? Aisha’s sheep ate them.

VI. MISSING PHRASES

Since entire chapters, large portions of chapters, and individual verses of the Qur’an were lost, it should come as no surprise that short phrases were forgotten as well. Let’s consider two examples.

First, Surah 33:6 declares that “The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.” Ubayy ibn Ka’b and other early Muslims held that a phrase (“and he is a father of them”) is missing from this verse. Even the great translator Yusuf Ali admits this in his commentary. Ali writes: “In some Qira’ahs, like that of Ubayy ibn Ka’ab, occur also the words ‘and he is a father of them,’ which imply his spiritual relationship and connection with the words ‘and his wives are their mothers’” (Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, Note 3674). It seems that Muslims have been left with an incomplete verse.

Second, if we open a modern edition of the Qur’an, we find that Surah 2:238 commands Muslims to “Guard strictly your (habit) of prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).” According to Aisha, Muhammad recited this verse as follows: “Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat, and Salat Al-Asr. And stand before Allah with obedience” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 2982). Hence, the phrase “and Salat Al-Asr” is missing from modern editions.

VII. ASSESSMENT

Obviously, the Qur’an has changed significantly over the years. The evidence shows that entire chapters were lost, that large sections of chapters came up missing, that individual verses were forgotten, and that phrases have been left out. Muhammad’s best teachers and reciters couldn’t even agree on which chapters were supposed to be in the Qur’an.

This raises an obvious question. What’s the difference between a book that’s been perfectly preserved, and one that hasn’t been perfectly preserved? If Muslims are right, there’s no difference at all. The typical characteristics of a book that hasn’t been perfectly preserved are (1) missing phrases, (2) missing passages, (3) missing chapters, (4) disagreements about what goes back to the original, etc. But the Qur’an has all of these characteristics. Thus, Muslims who are aware of the evidence but who also want to maintain the perfect perseveration of the Qur’an must say something like this: “Yes, the Qur’an has all the characteristics of a book that hasn’t been perfectly preserved, but it’s been perfectly preserved anyway.” Can anyone make sense of such a claim?

We must also take note of the obvious. Anyone who has read the Muslim sources (e.g. Hadith, Tafsir, etc.) knows that the Qur’an has not been perfectly preserved. Muslim scholars are well aware of the fact that the Qur’an has been changed, and yet they tell less-educated Muslims that the Qur’an has always been exactly the same. Why are Muslim scholars and leaders deceptive about the history of their book? Moreover, if they are willing to deceive their fellow Muslims about the history of the Qur’an, what else are they being deceptive about?

Friends, whenever a book is passed on and copied by human beings, mistakes are going to be made (e.g. spelling errors, inadvertent omissions, intentional changes, and so on). This is true of all books, including the Qur’an and the Bible. The difference between the Qur’an and other books is that the Qur’an promises that no changes in its text will ever occur. As we have seen in this study, the Qur’an has not been perfectly preserved, which means that the promise of Surah 15:9 was not kept. The Qur’an cannot therefore be the Word of God.”

The Omnitemporality of God: Why God Can Forgive the Sins of Old Testament Saints Because of the Death of Jesus Before the Actual Death of Jesus Occured

trinityBadmanna has written a fantastic blog on the omnitemporality of God and why this attribute allows him to forgive the sins of Saints which occurred before the atonement of Christ. This is a solid read, be sure to click through and visit the entire blog.

“The Omnitemporality of God or why God can forgive the sins of the Old Testament saints because of the death of Jesus before the actual death of Jesus occured in time”

“How old is God? One popular answer is to say that God is infinitely old. However that is incorrect. God does not have an age as such, not even an infinite age. What time is it for God? There are 24 time zones in the world. Which one does He dwell in? To specify an exact time is to mis-understand what God is like. An atheist, no doubt, would exploit such conundrums about God and time and assert that God cannot exist. Some believers might dismiss such questions as esoteric or trite. However, God’s relationship to time is an important theological issue that Christians have wrestled with since the days of the early church.”

click here to continue reading

Resource: The Qur’an Dilemma

Any Muslim on the planet can click on the site in complete privacy and examine the Qur’an, word by word, line by line, sura by sura. Every scientific error is noted. Every historical error. Every grammatical error. Every geographical error. Every contradiction. The site also includes scholarly articles and analyses.

For years, thequran.com project has been painstakingly developed by scores of former Muslims and passionate Islamic scholars representing a variety of Arabic and Middle-Eastern cultural backgrounds, as well as educational specialties in the field of Islamic studies. They include Islamic researchers, academic teachers, scholars, writers, editors, and translators and span several continents.

This project is not a bunch of Western Christians dissing Islam’s holy book. It’s former Muslims, just like me, who have the courage to challenge the system. Who said, okay, if our Qur’an is the word of God, it should easily stand up to scrutiny. If God said it, there will be no mistakes in it. So they examined it, and they discovered the truth.” – Mosab Hassan Yousef

Word of Faith Teachers: Origins & Errors of Their Teaching (Full Film)

Apologist Keith Thompson has put together a definitive refutation of the heretical word of faith movement and the prosperity gospel.

“Are you or someone you know a follower of Joel Osteen, Paula White, Cindy Trimm, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, or T. D. Jakes? This film takes a responsible look at the major doctrines which separate this movement from historic biblical Christianity. Its origins and errors are documented with evidence and fact.”

Election 2012: Thoughts on Obama, Romney and the Church

The election is over and the results are in. I just want to highlight a few points that I think are worth considering.

Pray for our president.

This should go without saying and I’m sure many churches do. However I’m a little taken aback at how Christians are praying. First and foremost we should be praying for his conversion. That’s right, his salvation. This probably sounds judgmental except for the fact that Jesus instructs to judge with “right judgement” in John 7:24 and to look at the fruit of those who claim to be of Christ as Matthew 7:16 says. So let us judge with right judgement by examining the fruit of Obama’s actions.

1. he is the most radically pro-abortion president to ever sit in office;

2. he is pro-homosexual; and

3. he supports the defamation of marriage by supporting same sex marriage.

These sound like progressive cultural stances, shouldn’t we be applauding him? I mean Obama has said in the past he’s a Christian, shouldn’t we just take him at his word? What looks progressive is actually worldly wisdom and a sign of God’s revealed wrath against this nation. Romans 1 clearly describes what it looks like when God gives a society over to depravity in his wrath.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another…Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural onesIn the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error…God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” Romans 1:18-32

It’s clear from this text that homosexuality and murder are the hallmark signs of God’s wrath among others. So let me ask you this…if Obama was a Christian would the fruit of his actions be the very thing God uses to display his wrath against a sinful mankind? Obama’s actions march lock step with what the text calls “being given over to sinful desires.” If we judge by right judgement and if we examine fruit as the scripture tells us, then the answer is more than clear. We as a church must be on our knees praying for this man’s conversion. The fruit of a true Christ follower will never be what God describes as evidence of his wrath. Homosexuality, the defamation of the God given institution of marriage, and the murder of millions of unborn children are meant to be warning signs, not simply ignored under the guise of humility or not judging others.

Why two unbelievers?

The scriptures constantly refer to God as “establishing government and authority”. As Romans 13:1 states, “for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” So if this is true, and God is completely sovereign over those who rule over us, then why did he only give us two unbelievers to choose from? Why didn’t he raise up a man of God who is a servant of Christ to lead this nation? Instead we got a Mormon and a secular humanist.

The answer comes from a biblical paradigm God has used over and over again. In scripture, whenever the children of Israel were disobedient, God raised up a pagan nation of unbelievers to rule over them. It was God’s way of chastising them in order to turn their hearts back to him. Time and time again Israel was exiled and subjected to the morality and laws of pagan unbelieving nations. If it’s God who establishes all authority with his own purposes, then we can safely assume he is doing the same here. So when you and I look at Romney and Obama, we were never meant to see and champion a “lesser of two evils”. We were meant to see our only two choices are people who blatantly reject the lordship of Christ and be broken over it. Our poor selection should be a constant reminder that as a nation, we have to turn our hearts back to God. Instead what we ended up doing was championing a morality that doesn’t flow from the cross and was simply less evil than it’s predecessor. Seeing the possibility of two unbelievers ruling over this nation should have provoked us to prayer and repentance, instead it drove us to mistake morality for godliness. This isn’t to say it was wrong to vote for Romney. I’m simply saying let’s not miss the bigger picture here that everything is not well just because someone shares 80% of your moral values and happens to be a candidate. The bigger picture is confession, repentance, and a heart that flows with affection for the King.

Where do we go from here?

If we are going to be blunt about it, God just gave the nation of America over to it’s own sinful desires under the hand of an unbeliever. Abortion, homosexuality, the degradation of marriage, you name it, God gave us over to it. We should rest in the fact that God has purpose for doing this…repentance.

We should also keep in mind that the primary way God changes a culture is from the proclamation of the gospel. While we may be discouraged about the direction our nation is taking politically, we can be certain that our commission remains the same. Go and make disciples and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. May these next four years be fruitful in prayer, fasting and repentance, in the hope our God will restore our land and raise up a true man of God to lead this nation and not simply someone who has some of the same morals we do, yet rejects our God.

Get out into the marketplace. Engage society with the deep truths of God. Don’t be distracted with life and let complacency take hold. Stand up for the gospel, proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. Make up your mind that these next four years are going to be a turning point for you spiritually as you deepen your affection for Christ and forsake your life for his fame and glory. The issues of homosexuality and abortion aren’t simply lifestyle choices. They’re serious signs you have been judged as a society and been found wanting. Engage one another in dialogue about these matters. Stand against abortion, make your voice heard. Develop a strong apologetic against homosexuality and proclaim the truth of Christ to the gay community in love.

Forsake the world and set eternity before you. No candidate will be your hope, no candidate will be your joy. Christ alone is your King. “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:14