History of the Qur’an-Origins

· Islam

History of the Quran-Origins

In searching for the origins and authenticity of the Qur’an several views have been expressed. This article attempts to examine Islamic historical evidence to support claims of the authenticity of Allah’s Word. Too little attention has been paid to the influence of Uthman ibn Affan in his personal influence through his ‘RECENSION” of the Quran. (7725 words)

The prophet Mohammad b. 570-d.632 Gabriel appeared to Muhammad 610 at age 40 till his death.
Abu Bakr b.573-d.634 1st Caliph 632-634
Umar ibn al Khattab b.586or590-d.644 2nd Caliph 634-637
Uthman ibn ‘Affan b.579-d.656 Was 3rd caliph 644-656
Hafsa bint Umar b. c609 wife of Mohammad, entrusted with that Quranic text after the second Caliph Umar died. When the third Caliph Uthman began noticing slight differences in Arabic dialect he sought Hafsa’s permission to use her text to be set as the standard dialect, the Quraish dialect now known as Fus’ha (modern Stgandard Arabic.)
Ali ibn Abu Talib b.October 23, 598,March 17, 599 or March 17, 600 Mecca – d.January 28, 661 (aged 62)Kufa. Married Fatimah Zahra, daughter of Muhammad in 623. Shia consider Ali as the first Imam and rightful successor to Muhammad and his descendants the rightful descendants and successors to Muhammad.
Ali had four children born to Fatimah, the only child of Muhammad to have surviving progeny. Their two sons (Hasan and Husain) were cited by Muhammad to be his own sons, honoured numerous times in his lifetime and titled “the leaders of the youth of Jannah” (Heaven, the hereafter.)


Who compiled the First Quran? We will attempt to gather information on the early beginnings of the Quran.

According to Sunni Islam, Abu Bakr was instrumental in preserving the Qur’an in written form. It is said that after the hard-won victory over Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama fought in 632, Umar (the later Caliph Umar), saw that many of the Muslims who had memorized the Qur’an had died in battle. Fearing that the Qur’an may be lost or corrupted, Umar requested that the Caliph Abu Bakr to authorize the compilation and preservation of the Book in written format. After initial hesitation, Abu Bakr made a committee headed by Zayd ibn Thabit which included the memorizers of the Qur’an and Umar and to collect all verses of the Book. After collecting all Qur’anic verses from texts in the possession of various sahaba, Zayd ibn Thabit and members of his committee verified the reading by comparing with those who had memorized the Qur’an. After they were satisfied that they had not missed out any verse or made any mistakes in reading or writing it down, the text was written down as one single manuscript and presented in a book form to the Caliph Abu Bakr. It is believed that this process happened within one year of the death of Muhammad when most of his sahaba (companions) were still alive.

Prior to his death, Abu Bakr gave this authorized copy of the Qur’an to Umar – his successor. (This means the Qur’an was written and completed between 632 and 634.) It remained with him throughout his tenure as Caliph (10 years). Prior to his death, Umar gave this Book to his daughter Hafsa bint Umar*, who was one of the wives of Muhammad. Umar did not nominate his successor on his deathbed, and thus preferred to leave “this copy of the Qur’an, with Hafsa so as not to indicate his personal of who should be the next caliph. (The importance of the Keeper of the Original Qur’an is therefore significant as a sign of authority for the next Caliph.) Later on, it became the basis of Uthman ibn Affan’s definitive text of the Qur’an which was published far and wide merely 18 years after the death of Muhammad. Later historians give Uthman Ibn Affan the principal credit for re-verification and publishing the Qur’an. Shi’as reject* the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection of the Qur’an. [1]


The Quran Compiled by Imam Ali (AS)

There is no dispute among Muslim scholars, whether they are Sunni or Shia, concerning the fact that the Commander of Believers, Ali (AS), possessed a special transcript of the text of Qur’an which he had collected himself, and he was THE FIRST WHO COMPILED THE QUR’AN. There are a great number of traditions from Sunni and Shia which states that after the death of the Holy prophet (PBUH&HF,) Imam Ali sat down in his house and said that he had sworn an oath that he would not put on his outdoor clothes or leave his house until he collects together the Qur’an.

There are also traditions from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt which tell us  that this was done by Imam Ali by order of the Holy Prophet. (See al-Bihar, v92, pp 40-41 48, 51-52.)

This transcript of Qur’an which was compiled by Imam Ali (AS) had the following unique specifications:

a) It was collected according to its revelation, i.e., in the order in which it has been sent down. This is the reason that Muhammad Ibn Sireen (33/653-110/729,) the famous scholar and Tabi’s (disciples of the companions of the Holy Prophet,) regretted that this had not been passed into the hands of the Muslims, and said: “If that transcript were in our hands, we would have found great knowledge in it.”

It is according to this transcript that Sunni Scholars relate that the first Chapter of the Qur’an which was sent down to the Prophet (PBUH&HF)  was Chapter al-Iqra (al-Alaq, Ch 96.)

As you know the chapter al-Alaq is not at the beginning of the present Qur’an. Also Muslims agree that the verse (5:3) was among one of the last revealed verses of the Qur’an (but not the very last one,) yet it is not toward the end of the present Qur’an. This clearly proves that although the Qur’an that we have available is complete, it is not in the order that has been revealed. These few misplacements were done by som companions on purpose at worst, or out of ignorance at least.

It was for this reason that the Commander of Believers, Ali (AS) frequently stated in his sermons: “Ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you ask me about anything that could happen up to the Day of Judgement, I will tell you about it. Ask me, for, by Allah, you will not be able to ask me a question about anything without my informing you. Ask me about the Book of Allah, for by Allah there is no verse about which I do not know whether it was sent down at night or during the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain or in a mountain.”

b) This (Ali) transcript contained commentary and hermeneutic interpretation (Tafsir and Ta’wil) from the Holy Prophet some of which had been sent down as revelation but NOT as a part of the text of the Qur’an. A small amount of such texts can be found in some traditions in Usul al-Kafi. These pieces of information were the Divine commentary of the text of the Qur’an which were revealed along with Quranic verses. Thus the commentary verses and Quranic verses could sum up to 17000 verses. As Sunnis know, Hadith al-Qudsi (the Hadith in which the speaker is Allah) is also direct revelation, but they are not a part of the Qur’an. In fact, the Qur’an testifies that anything that Prophet said was (either direct or indirect) revelation (see Qur’an 53:3-4.) The direct revelation includes the interpretation/commentary of the Qur’an.

In addition, this unique transcript contained the information from the Holy Prophet about which verse was abrogated and which was abrogating, which verse was clear (Muhkam) and which was ambiguous (Mutashabih,) which verse was general and which was specific.

c) This unique transcript also contained references to the persons, places, etc., about which the verses were revealed, what is called “Asbab al-Nuzul.” Since the Commander of Believers was aware of these facts, he frequently said: “By Allah, no verse has been sent down without my knowing about whom or what it was revealed and where it was revealed. My Lord has gifted me with a mind which has a quick and retaining understanding, and a tongue which speaks eloquently.”

After he complied this transcript, Imam Ali (AS) took it and presented it to the rulers who came after the Holy Prophet, and said:

“Here is the book of Allah, you Lord, in the order that was revealed to your Prophet.”

But they (the rulers) did not accept it and replied:

We have no need of this. We have with us what you possess.”

Thereupon, Imam Ali (A) took the transcript back and informed them that they will never see it again. It is reported that Imam Ali recited the latter part of the following verse of the Qur’an:

“And when Allah took a Covenant from the People of the Book to clarify it to mankind and not to hide its (clarification;) but they threw it away behind their backs and purchased with it some miserable gain! and what an evil was the bargain they made!” (Quran 3:187)

By “its clarification.” Imam Ali meant the unique divine commentaries. The Commander of Believers then concealed that transcript, and after him it was passed to the Imams who also kept it concealed. It remained concealed with the Imams, one after the other to this day, because they wished to be only one sequence of the Qur’an among the Muslims. because  otherwise if people have had two different sequences, it might later result to some alteration in the Qur’an by some sick-minded people. they wished people to have strictly one sequence of the Qur’an. The Qur’an and its commentary which were collected by Imam Ali ( is not available for any Shia in the world except to the Imam Mahdi (AS). If the transcript of the Commander of Believers had been accepted, that would have been the Quran with unique commentary in the hands of people but it turned out to be otherwise.

This gives the meaning of the traditions in Usul al-Kafi which say that no one but the Commander of Believers and the later Imams had the Qur’an in the order it was revealed, and that the Qur’an which they had contains, “what can be understood of the heaven, etc.” and “the Knowledge of the Book, all of it,” because they were the commentaries and interpretations noted in the transcript of Imam Ali directly from the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF.) Allah, to who belongs Might and Majesty, said:

“And We have sent down on you a Book in which is the clarification of ALL the things.” (Quran 16:89)

Sometimes the word “tahrif” is used in some traditions, and it must be made clear that the meaning of this world is changing of something from its proper place to another place, like changing the right position of a sentence, or giving it a meaning other than its true or intended meaning. Therefore, it has absolutely nothing to do with addition or subtraction from the text. t is thus with this meaning the the Qur’an states:

“Some of the Jews distort (yuharrifuna) words from their meaning” (Quran 4:46)

This meaning of “tahrif,” i.e., changing of meaning or changing the context, as it appears in the Qur’an, has not only been applied in the Muslim commuknity to the verses of the Qur’an but also to the ahadith of the Holy Prophet, even by rulers who have been prepared to use Islam to their own personal advantage. It is this “tahrif,” with this meaning, that the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt have constantly sought to oppose. As one example, Imam al-Baqir (AS complained about the situation of the Muslims and their corrupt rulers, and said:

“One of the manifestations of their rejecting the Book (of Allah behind their backs) (see Quran 2:101) is that they have fixed its words, but they have altered the limits (of its command) (harrafuheduday.) They have (correctly) narrated it, but they do not observe (what ) it (says.) Ignorant people delight in their preservation of its narration, but the knowledgeable people deplore their ignoring to observe (what) it (says.)”

This use of “tahrif” is taken as a definition for the word whenever it appears in the ahadith of the Imams, similar to what the Qur’an (4:46) has used.

It is necessary to emphasize here that all grand scholars of the Imami Shia are in agreement that then Qur’an whih is at present among the Muslims is the very same Qur’an that was sent down to the Holy Prophet, and that it has not been altered. Nothing has been added to it, and nothing is missing from it. The Qur’an which was completed by Imam Ali,(excluding the commentaries) and the Quran that is in the hands of the people today, are identical in terms of words and sentences. No word, verse, chapter is missing. The only difference is that the current Qur’an (collected by the companions) is not in the order that was  revealed.

The completeness of the Qur’an is so indisputable among Shia that the gret Shia scholar, Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn al-Husain Ibn Babwayh, known as “Shaikh Saduq” (309/919-381/991,) wrote:

“Our belief is that the Qur’an which Allah revealed to His Prophet Muhammad is (the same as) the one between the two covers (daffatayn.) And it is the one which is in the hands of the people, and is not greater in extent than that. The number of Surahs as generally accepted is one hundred and fourteen…. And he who asserts that we say that it is greater in extent than that, is a liar.”

Shi’i reference: Shi’ite Creed (al-I’tiqadat al-Imamiyyah,) by Shaikh Saduq, English version, p77.
It should be noted that Shaikh Saduq (RA) was the greatest scholars of Hadith among the Imami Shia and was given the name of Shaikh al-Muhaddithin (i.e., the most eminent of the scholars of Hadith.) And since he wrote the above in a book with the title of “The beliefs of the Imami Shia.” it is quite implossible that there could be any authentic Hadith in contrary to it. It is noteworthy that Shaikh Saduq lived at the time of minor occultation of Imam Mahdi (AS) and he is one of the earliest Shia scholars. He had the honour that he was born with the prayer of Imam Mahdi (AS.)For a more detailed discussion of completeness of the Qur’an as well as the opinion of the Shia, interested readers may look at “al-Bayan.” by Abul Qasim al-Khoei, pp 214-278.Some ignorant opponents of the Shia mentioned that we apply al-Taqiyya (dissimulation) and we do not release our actual belief on the Qur’an. These people never tried to understand that Taqiyya is for the time when my life or the life of the other fellow is in danger. There is no need to conceal my belief here since I am not under prosecution. the above article is witness to what I say. Taqiyya is not a good excuse for these people in front of Allah to disregard what Shia present. they have the liberty to check the traditions which we have mentioned in different articles, or else they can ask their “honest” Scholars to do that.And the truth is the best to be followed…Wassalam. [2]


Ghadir Khumm

As Muhammad was returning from his last pilgrimmage in 632, he made statements about Ali that are interpreted very differently by Sunnis and Shias. He halted the caravan at Ghadirt Khumm, gathered the returning pilgrims for communal prayer and began to address them:

The Investiture of Ali, at Ghadir Khumm

O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a message from my Lord and I, in response to Allah’s call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah(Qur’an) in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family.

This quote is confirmed by both Shi’a and Sunni, but they interpret the quote differently.[48]

Some Sunni and all Shi’a sources report that then he called Ali ibn Abu Talib to his sides, took his hand and raised it up declaring

For whoever I am a Mawla of, then Ali is his Mawla.

Shia’s regard these statements as constituting the investiture of Ali as the successor of Muhammad and as the first Imam; by contrast, Sunnis take them only as an expression of Muhammad’s closeness to Ali and of his wish that Ali, as his cousin and son-in-law, inherit his family responsibilities upon his death.  Many Sufis also interpret the episode as the transfer of Muhammad’s spiritual power and authority to Ali, whom they regard as the wali par excellence.

On the basis of this hadith, Ali later insisted on his religious authority superior to that of Abu Bakr and Umar.

Succession to Muhammad

After uniting the Arabian tribes into a single Muslim religious polity in the last years of his life, Muhammad’s death in 632 signalled disagreement over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. While Ali and the rest of Muhammad’s close family were washing his body for burial, at a gathering attended by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, a close companion of Muhammad named Abu Bakr was nominated for the leadership of the community. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. The choice of Abu Bakr disputed by some of the Muhammad’s companions, who held that Ali had been designated his successor by Muhammad himself.

18th century mirror writing in Ottoman calligraphy. Depicts the phrase ‘Ali is the vicegerent of God’ in both directions.

Later when Fatimah and Ali sought aid from the Companions in the matter of his right to the caliphate, they answered, O daughter of the Messenger of God! We have given our allegiance to Abu Bakr. If Ali had come to us before this, we would certainly not have abandoned him. Ali said, ‘Was it fitting that we should wrangle over the caliphate even before the Prophet was buried?

Following his election to the caliphate, Abu Bakr and Umar with a few other companions headed to Fatimah’s house to force Ali and his supporters who had gathered there give their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Then, it is alleged that Umar threatened to set the house on fire unless they came out and swore allegiance with Abu Bakr. Fatimah, in support of her husband, started a commotion and threatened to “uncover her hair”, at which Abu Bakr relented and withdrew. Ali is reported to have repeatedly said that had there been forty men with him he would have resisted. Ali did not actively assert his own right because he did not want to throw the nascent Muslim community into strife. Other sources say that Ali accepted the selection of Umar as caliph and even gave one of his daughters, Umm Kulthūm, to him in marriage.

This contentious issue caused Muslims to later split into two groups, Sunni and Shi’a. Sunnis assert that even though Muhammad never appointed a successor, Abu Bakr was elected first caliph by the Muslim community. The Sunnis recognize the first four caliphs as Muhammad’s rightful successors. Shi’as believe that Muhammad explicitly named Ali as his successor at Ghadir Khumm and Muslim leadership belonged to him which had been determined by divine order.

Ali himself was firmly convinced of his legitimacy for caliphate based on his close kinship with Muhammad, his intimate association and his knowledge of Islam and his merits in serving its cause. He told Abu Bakr that his delay in pledging allegiance (bay’ah) as caliph was based on his belief of his own prior title. Ali did not change his mind when he finally pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr and then to Umar and to Uthman but had done so for the sake of the unity of Islam, at a time when it was clear that the Muslims had turned away from him. Ali also believed that he could fulfil his role of Imam’ate without this fighting.

According to Shi’a historical reports, Ali ( Ali, as his cousin and son-in-law, inherit his family responsibilities upon his death) maintained his right to the caliphate and said:

By Allah the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill…I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it… I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn al-Khattab after himself. [3]


(1) How was the Qur’an recorded and how was it handed down?
(2) Who wrote the Qur’an and when?
(3) What were the sources of the Qur’an?
(4) What is the authenticity of the Qur’an?

The traditional account claims that the Koran was revealed to Muhammad, written down in bits and pieces and kept alive from memorisation, and not collated before Muhammad’s death.

Ali ibn Abu Talib

As described in the paragraph, “Imam Ali’s Qur’an” above, Muslims scholars acknowledge that Imam Ali did possess one of the first codices of the Qur’an. But what has become of that copy? Were they among those destroyed by Uthman?

Abu Bakr: 1st Caliph 632-634

Abu Bakr was caliph from 632-634. There are several traditions describing a collation during his reign. ‘Umar was worried that parts of the Koran might be lost after many Muslims were killed at the Battle of Yamama, since the Qur’an was then mostly committed to memory and recitation. Therefore Abu Bakr commissioned Zaid ibn Thabit, a scribe, to collect the Koran and write it down? Could this have been accomplished in only two years? The Muslims were fighting the Battle of Yamama (in Central Asia, 632,) why had these new converts memorised the Koran but the Arab converts had not? Why was this collation not an official codex but rather the private property of Hafsa*?
It appear that these traditions were conjured to credit the popular Abu Bakr and (more significantly) to debit the much maligned ‘Uthman. [4]

Umar ibn al Khattab: 2nd Caliph 634-637

Prior to his death, Abu Bakr gave this authorized copy of the Qur’an to Umar – his successor.It remained with him throughout his tenure as Caliph (10 years). Prior to his death, Umar gave this Book to his daughter Hafsa bint Umar*, who was one of the wives of Muhammad. Umar did not nominate his successor on his deathbed, and thus preferred to leave this copy with Hafsa so as not to indicate his personal preference of who would be the next caliph. [4]

Uthman ibn ‘Affan: 3rd caliph 644-656

Uthman was asked for an official codex by one of his generals because the troops were fighting over which reading of the Koran was correct. Zaid was once again commissioned, with the help of three others.
Most scholars assume that the ‘Uthmanic recension(critical revision) is correct and the Abu Bakr recension is fictitious, but they have no valid reasons for preferring it over the latter, as the same reasons for dismissing the Abu Bakr story (biased, unreliable, late sources, attempts to credit the collector etc…) can be applied to the ‘Uthman story as well. [4]
But Shi’as reject* the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection of the Qur’an. [1]
Yet when Uthman was revising the Qur’an, he requested Abu Bakr’s copy of the Qur’an that was in the possession of Hafsa binte Umar for verification. Does this authenticate the existence of the Abu Bakr Qur’an?


During the time of ‘Uthman differences in reading the Qur’an became obvious, and after consultation with the Companions, ‘Uthman had a standard copy prepared from the suhuf of Abu Bakr that were kept with Hafsa at that time.

The following is the report transmitted in the Sahih Bukhari:

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to ‘Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthmfin, ‘O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an), as Jews and the Christians did before’. So ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, ‘Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you’. Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Sa’id bin Al-‘As and ‘Abdur Rahman bin Hari-bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, ‘In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish as the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue’. They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘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. Zaid bin Thabit added, ‘A verse from Sura al-Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur’an and I used to hear Allah’s Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari’. (That verse was): ‘Among the Believers are men who have been true in their convenant xwith Allah’ (33: 23). [Bukhari, VI, No. 510]

The following events led to the preparation of the mushaf of ‘Uthman:

  • Disputes had arisen among the Muslims about the correct manner of reciting the Qur’an.
  • ‘Uthman borrowed the suhuf, which were kept with Hafsa.
  • ‘Uthman ordered four Companions, among them Zaid bin Thabit, to rewrite the script in perfect copies.
  • ‘Uthman sent these copies to the main centres of the Muslims to replace other materials that were in circulation. [5]

Judaic Origins of Islam

Allah and Islam (pp. 293-330)

Muhammad was trying to create a religious history for the Arabs, but Arabian religious history did not provide many sources for him. What references there are occur mainly in the Meccan period











. He refers to Hud, the prophet of the people ‘Ad; Salih, the prophet of the Thamud; and Shu’aib, prophet of Midian. All pagan customs not directly involving idolatry were preserved in Islam, e.g. the rituals of the Haj.

After exhausting the Arabian possibilities Muhammad began to rely on Jewish material because it was well-known and would give the new religion greater credibility in the wider world. In addition to apocryphal works, Muhammad must have been familiar with the canonical Bible, especially the Torah. He (Muhammad) only knew the (of) prophets with interesting stories and was therefore ignorant of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and all the minor prophets (Jewish ancestors) except Jonah. From popular tales the Arabs know that the Jews felt that they had descended from a common prophets (ancestor) Abraham, via Isma’il and Isaac respectively. Hagar is NOT MENTIONED IN THE KORAN. The Koran says that they (Abraham and Isma’il) built the Kaa’ba (although later Muslim doctrine says that Adam built the Kaba and Abraham cleansed it of idols.)

It is possible that the ‘hanifs’ (Arab monotheists following the religion of Abraham) are an invention of later Islam (Myths). The story of Iblis (or Shaitan) prostrating himself before Adam (38:73-77) may not refer to worship as there is a possible Jewish source for this story in Sanhedrin 596 and Mir. Rabba 8. Shu’aib is probably the Biblical Jethro. ‘Uzair is Ezra, and the Jews are accused of declaring him to be the son of God. Idris is also Ezra (the Greek name). Hebrew chronology is very week in the Koran, e.g. Muhammad seems to associate Moses near to Jesus (as Moses’ sister is also Jesus’ mother).

‘Isa ibn Maryam is Jesus. Very little is known about him by Muhammad and there are no uniquely Christian doctrines in the Koran. The little that was known about Jesus came from (1) the facts and fancies that were spread throughout all Arabia, and (2) a little via the Jews. The name ‘Isa is itself inappropriate, it should be Yeshu in Arabic. Either it was given by the Jews (associating Jesus with their ancient enemy Esau) or it is a corruption of the Syriac name (Isho). In the Koran itself Jesus doesn’t have a position higher than Abraham, Moses, or David. This elevation occurred later in the caliphate when the Arabs had closer contacts with Christians. A few Christian terms (e.g. Messiah, Spirit) work their way into the Koran without any real understanding of what they mean. It was probably the migration to Abyssinia that increased Muhammad’s interest in the Christian stories.

Rudolph and Ahrens argue that if Muhammad had learned about Jesus from the Jews then he would have ignored or insulted him. But many Jews appreciated Jesus as a teacher while rejecting Christian dogmas. Also, Muhammad was aware of the large Christian empire, so he would have distrusted anyone who insulted Jesus. The only information about Christ in the Koran is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t bother the Jews. The Koran’s view of Jesus’ mission is: (1) confirm the true doctrine of the Torah, (2) preach monotheism, (3) warn against new sects. S. 15:1-15 is a literary connection with the New Testament (Lk. 1:5-25, 57-66). This is the story of Zechariah and John was probably related by a learned man but not a Christian as it was isolated from any association with Jesus’ birth. In summary, there is nothing particularly Christian about Jesus in the Koran.

Torrey now digresses to a discussion of the composite Meccan suras, following the traditional Muslim accounts closely. He points out the implausibility of Meccan and Medinan verses being intermingled if in fact the prophet was publicly reciting his revelations and having them memorised by his followers as they were revealed. Would it not cause confusion (or scepticism) to be continually inserting new material into previously revealed suras? The traditional commentators frequently neglect the Jewish population in Mecca that may have been the target of some ayat in the Meccan suras. In fact, Muhammad’s personal contact with Jews was longer and closer pre-Hijra than post-Hijra.

Why would we assume that there was no hostility to Muhammad from the Meccan Jews? And, after the eviction or butchery of the yews in Yathrib, it’s scarcely surprising that the Jews quickly left Mecca. Torrey recommends considering the Meccan suras to be complete without interpolations unless there is unmistakable proof to the contrary. Doing this decreases the variation in style and vocabulary assumed to exist between the two periods. [NB: Basically he is arguing for literary criticism instead of form criticism.] [4]

The Similarities of the Koran, Bible and Torah

Based on the above, “Judaic Origins of Islam,” it becomes abundantly clear that Muhammad relied heavily on the historical evidence of the Torah and the New Testament to provide his new religion with
the credibility, authenticity, and dignity of antiquity by being able to relate Islam back to Adam and the Creation of the Universe. Muhammad’s use of similar Jewish ancestors (referred to as prophets in the Qur’an) including their names, the history of Creativity including the scientific details and many other aspects contained in the Bible, is proof that these revelations came from Jewish and Christian sources. But despite this much of the transposed information has been altered slightly to fake originality, but there were also many errors that were introduced of Muhammad’s own ingenuity.

THE QURAN:The Qur’an (also Quran, Koran, Alcoran; Arabic قُرْآن) is the Islamic holy book of Allah (Arabic for God.)

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the literal word of God, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 22 years. The Qur’an consists of 114 Suras (chapters) with a total of 6,236 ayats (verses). The Qur’an retells stories of many of the people and events of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, although it differs in many details.

Details of “The Similarities of the Koran, Bible and Torah” can be found in the article provided with this reference. [6]

If indeed, Muhammad was borrowing so much of his basic foundations from the Old and New Testaments myths, and even getting that wrong most of the time, how much credibility and reliability can we attribute to the angel Gabriel or to Muhammad’s visions especially as he has had to often alter earlier revelation with “newer revelations” claiming Allah knows best? Muhammad’s need to use “abrogation,” that he openly admitted, eliminates the credibility of any revelation. 



Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 510, pp. 478-479; book 61

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So ‘Uthman then sent a message to Hafsa saying,

“Send us the manuscripts (Abu Bakr’s compilation of the Quran) of the Quran so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts of you.” Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and ‘AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘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.” Said bin Thabit added, “A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur’an and I used to hear Allah’s Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): ‘Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.’ (33.23)

Here we see how the problem of having different versions of the Qur’an was fixed. It was fixed by Uthman standardising one version of the Qur’an and ordering that all others be burnt. Thus even the “seven” variations that Muhammad allowed were removed. It should be noted that the Bible has never had a wholesale burning to standardise its text in the way that the Qur’an has. [7]


Most Muslims believe that the text in the Qur’an is identical to that Muhammad received from Allah and are the literal Words of Allah. That all those words have been carefully and faithfully memorised by Muslims over the ages and handed down from generation to generation. Some of these words of Allah were eventually inscribed on to bits of stone, bark, or animal hide. But these were, in the eyes of the followers of Islam, the literal words of Allah. So unless these other scripts were corrupted and so distorted and proven fake variants, they were still the literal word of Allah. So why was it necessary for Uthman to order the destruction (burn) all these other documents that were not proven to have been in variance with Islamic doctrine?  Did Uthman set himself up as judge  of the Word of Allah while he was undertaking the recension of the Qur’an, or was there a selfish personal or political motive in destroying all other versions so that there could be no other claimants would be able to claim authorship of the Qur’an?  Dispute over the rightful heir of  Muhammad was being fought over at this time.


Abdullah ibn Ma’sud was also known as, “ibn Umm Abd” (the son of a mother who was a slave.) He joined the family of Muhammad at an early age and received instructions within the household of the Prophet and was trained in the Qirat (recitation) of the Quran by the Prophet himself. The Prophet Muhammad recommended Ma’sud to anyone who wanted to learn the Qirat. Ma’sud was also very knowledgeable of Sharia and followed the Sunnah of the Prophet very closely. Ma’sud’s copy of the Quran (Mushaf), was a very personal copy where he had made many personal notes therein, and he did not want to part with it. But did Ma’sud fear it would be destroyed because it differed from the Uthman codex?

Variations of Ibn Ma’sud’s Codex

One of the anomalies recorded in respect of Ibn Mas’ud’s text is that it is said to have omitted the “Suratul-Fatihah,” the opening surah, and the mu’awwithatayni, the two short surrahs with which the Qur’an ends (Surahs 113 and 114.) The form of these Surahs has some significance – the first is purely in the form of a prayer to Allah and the last two are “charm” Surahs, being recommended incantation of refuge with Allah which Muslim should recite as protection against sinister forces and practices.

The allegation for “Mu’awwithatayni” (Surahs 113 and 114.) being omitted by Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud is a rehashed allegation made earlier by the enemies of Islam, based upon the reported traditions. these charges have already been responded by Muslim scolars of the past like Imam Nawawi, Imam Ibn Hazm and Imam Fakhr-uddin Razi. For details please read the Introductions to these two Surahs by Muslim scholars like Mawlana Maududi or visit the Islamic site mention at the beginning of this article. There are reports that negate such unfounded claims. Reproduced below is one of the earlier quote:

One tradition states that Ubayy ibn Ka’b was at one time challenged with the suggestion that Ibn Mas’ud had made certain negative statements about these Surahs and he replied that he had asked Muhammad about them and was informed that they were a part of the revelation of the Qur’an and should  be recited as such. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.6, p.472)

The most important question is; Were these Surahs “Revealed” by Allah to Prophet Muhammad or were they simply “charm” Surahs that were traditionally recommended to Muslims for the incantations?The answer is to be found in the OPENING WORDS of both these Surahs. The opening word in Arabic is “Qul” meaning “Say (O’ Muhammad.”) There are nearly 300 or so verses within the Qur’an that begin with this word “Qul.” This Command, “Say O’ Muhammad (to the reciter)” by itself clearly denotes that these two Surahs, alike the rest of the “Qul Surahs” (e.g. verses 6:161 and 162.) were Revealed by Allah to the prophet for mankind. As for the earlier presented arguments regarding the grouping of these two so called “charm” Surahs into “one single group,” please read the item No. 4 above.
There may be a difference of opinion as to the word “Qul.” Was this word “Qul” to be repeated by the reciter while the recitation of the verse or not? As long as the rest of the text is recited in full with a complete understanding that the text recited was indeed Revealed from Allah to Prophet Muhammad and the Message conveyed is understood by the Reciter, it does not qualify as “textual variant of the Qur’an.”
Variations of text in Ibn Ma’sud’s version
Six examples are given:

1. Surah 2.275 
The Commission approved text would translate; 
…those who devour usury will not stand except like the standing of a person touched by Satan.
Ibn Mas’ud’s personal text would translate;
…those who devour usury will not be able to stand on the“Day of Resurrection” except like the standing of a person touched by Satan.

2. Surah 5.91 
The Commission approved text would translate; 
…fast for three days.
Ibn Mas’ud’s personal text would translate;
…fast for three “successive” days.

3. Surah 6.153 
The Commission approved text would translate; 
“Verily this is my path”.
Ibn Mas’ud’s personal text would translate;
This is the path of Your Lord.

4. Surah 33.6 
The Commission approved text would translate; 
…and his (Prophet’s) wives are their mothers
Ibn Mas’ud’s personal text would translate;
…and his (Prophet’s) wives are their mothers and he is their father.

5. Surah 3.127 (This verse is numbered 3:133 in Yusuf Ali & Pickthall)
The Commission approved text would translate; 
Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord…
Ibn Mas’ud’s personal text would translate;
“Be ahead” in the race for forgiveness from your Lord… 

6. Surah 6.16 
The Commission approved text would translate; 
On that day if the penalty is averted from any, 
it is due to Allah’s Mercy;
Ibn Mas’ud’s personal text would translate;
On that day if the penalty is averted “by Allah” from any, 
it is due to Allah’s Mercy;

Question No. 3:  How do we know that Uthman’s copy was better than any of the others?

Response No. 3: Having read the details so far, the answer to this question is very simple and logical. We are dealing with a Musaf (book) containing more than 6200 verses that were revealed at different places and at the various times in the history of the Prophet’s life, over an extensive period of 23 years. To place one’s complete confidence upon the solitary work of any individual, for such a huge collection, would be to virtually to say that person  was an infallible individual. On the other hand the Commission’s work was based upon the texts collected from various individuals. The Commission had the opportunity to cross check works of several companions of the Prophet and only those that met their guidelines were included. Thus it qualifies to be a better collection and an authenticated compilation, superior than any of the others. [8] [9] [10]

Questions on Authenticity of the Qur’an

Following the presentation above raises several obvious doubts not often raised.
[33.40] Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the Last of the prophets; and Allah is cognizant of all things.

SURAH 7, AYAT 54-56:

54 Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!

55 O mankind! Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo! He loveth not aggressors.

56 Work not confusion in the earth after the fair ordering (thereof), and call on Him in fear and hope. Lo! the mercy of Allah is nigh unto the good.

(1) If “Allah is cognizant of all things,” why was there no unique concept of the “creation of the world” rather than the obvious borrowing of the concept of “creativity” from the Jewish (myths) already published in the Old Testament? The fallibility of Allah, in this incidence, clearly shows that it was Muhammad who made this human error, and that the Angel Gabriel’s message’s were actually uttered from the mouth of Muhammad. No god would not have foreseen the discoveries of Hubble and Astro-science. This of course places “creativity and evolution” on a collision course, as far as the facts contained in the Old Testament are concerned. But it does not, in this author’s opinion, deny the possibility of a Creator. The doubts lie in the detail.

Even Muhammad’s claim to be descendants of Adam and Abraham were erroneous as anthropologists have proven. Thus placing more doubts on the fire.

(2) This author also must come to the conclusion that Imam Ali’s Qur’an lies in the realms of mythology, unless it was destroyed some time ago by those determined to belittle him. But there has been no such verifiable documentation of such an act. This Qur’an if it could have been produced and proven would have elevated the status of the Shi’ites immensely, so why did they not bring it out of hiding? I can only come to the conclusion that it does not exist and is a myth.

(3) Uthman’s orders to destroy all other Qur’anic script after he had completed his recension raises several questions. According to Muslims, Allah’s words were retained through memorisation and later inscribed on bits of bark, stone, hide or other material. How did Uthman, or his Commission, headed by Zayd ibn Thabit – a reputable scribe and  personal secretary to the Prophet, decide which bits of the Quran were authentic and which were not? How was Uthman certain he was not destroying Allah’s literal words when he ordered them destroyed. Does this place Uthman above Allah? Who gave Uthman this authority, certainly not Allah?

Recent Finds of Islamic Documents (Update 03.04.12)

The Qur’anic Manuscripts

There has been a polemic going on that the Qur’an does not have manuscripts from the first century of hijra. However, this is not true. Many fragments of early Qur’anic manuscripts were shown by Orientalists notably Nabia Abbott in her work The Rise of the North Arabic script and its Kur’anic development, with a full description of the Kur’an manuscripts in the Oriental Institute (1939, University of Chicago Press). There she discusses some of the Quranic manuscripts, dated from second half of the first century hijra onwards, at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. The aim of this page is to highlight some of the early Qur’anic manuscripts to refute the claim that the Qur’an lacks manuscripts from the first century of hijra.

The dig at the Great Mosque in Ṣanʿāʾ, Yemen, had found a large number of manuscripts of the Qur’an dating from first century of hijra. The date of building the Great Mosque in Ṣanʿāʾ goes back to 6th year of hijra when the Prophet Muhammad entrusted one of his companions to build a mosque. The mosque was extended and enlarged by Islamic rulers from time to time. In 1385 H/1965 CE heavy rains fell on Ṣanʿāʾ. The Great Mosque was affected and the ceiling in the north west corner was damaged. During the survey, the workers discovered a large vault full of parchment and paper manuscripts of both the Qur’an and non-Qur’anic material.

The UNESCO, an arm of the United Nations, had compiled a CD containing some of the dated Ṣanʿāʾ manuscripts as a part of “Memory of the World” programme. In this CD there are many Qur’anic manuscripts written in the hijazi script which are dated from 1st century of hijra, one of them belonging to early 1st century. Many more manuscripts have been dated from the period 1st / 2nd century of hijra. We will be showing only a few examples below.

A few more examples of the 1st and 1st / 2nd century hijra Qur’anic manuscripts can be found in the book Maṣāḥif Ṣanʿāʾ (1985, Dār al-Athar al-Islāmiyyah). This book is a catalogue of an exhibition at the Kuwait National Museum, with articles by Hussa Sabah Salim al-Sabah, G. R. Puin, M. Jenkins, U. Dreibholz in both Arabic and English. It is expected that the Ṣanʿāʾ manuscripts will throw a great deal of light on the early Islamic history of calligraphy and illumination and even the various ahruf (they were seven) in which the Qur’an was revealed.

A few words of caution concerning the dating of the Qur’anic manuscripts need to be mentioned. It is to be remembered that assigning a date to an undated early Qur’anic manuscript is rarely simple especially in the absence of wakf marking. There is a tendency to assume that those in large scripts and without vowels are of the earliest date. This assumption, true to some extent, is nevertheless misleading in two respects. It ignores that fact that small as well as large maṣāḥif of the Qur’an were among the earliest written and that both types continued to be written thereafter. Though the assumption that manuscripts with the vowels must be considered later than those without is true in some cases, it is not always so, for some very early manuscripts of the Qur’an, originally written without vowels, may well have been voweled later. Furthermore, the first vowel system came into use shortly after the first maṣāḥif were written. There are also examples of latermaṣāḥif which were unvoweled even after 3 centuries after hijra!

As a matter of caution, we stress the fact that we are only showing a single leaf of the manuscripts in the cases below. A manuscript may contain additional sūrahs. The reader is advised to go through the references for additional information. [11]


[1] Abu Bakr and Quran: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr
[2] Imam Ali’s Quran: http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter8/4.html
[3] Succession to Muhammad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali
[4] Origins of the Qur’an: http://debate.org.uk/topics/books/origins-koran.html
[5] The Mushaf of Uthman: ttp://www.sunnipath.com/library/books/B0040P0009.aspx
[6] Similarities of Koran,Bible, and Torah: http://www.zimbio.com/Islam/articles/139/Similarities+between+Bible+Quran+Torah+Common
[7] Uthman Burns Other Qur’anic Manuscripts: http://www.answering-christianity.com/quran/other_books.htm
[8] Text Variants in Quran: http://www.mostmerciful.com/reply-ans-islam.htm
[9] Textual Variants of Quran: http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Text/
[10] Codices Ibn Mu’saf: http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/chap3.html

[11] Quranic Manuscripts: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/

Related References:
[1a] Who authored the Quran: http://www.mukto-mona.com/Articles/kasem/quran_origin5.htm
[2a] Quranic Manuscripts: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/
[3a] List of Arabic Manuscripts: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/hijazi.html
[4a] Quran and Bible compared: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:xDkaotFuE4oJ:www.worldevangelicals.org/resources/pdf/Qur%27an_and_Bible_Compared.pdf+Similarities+of+Qur%27an+and+Bible&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg-hGRquuijh5ym8SuHAwGH9OyzV2q6nB3twxbDvXiVI5o3UfslUz96IVJ1j84i9d-qn6TFq7rEL0u0KhWLTXVxcONQWptTr9XVLCgeuVc5_MjrOnq6QdkB-TRg8frRPo7CYzQW&sig=AHIEtbShFNbubSdJxsBxYYl38M8V3rD-Eg&pli=1
[5a] Historical Authenticity of Qur’an: http://www.answering-christianity.com/quran/quran_textual-reply.html#1c
[6a] Islamic Awareness (site): http://www.islamic-awareness.org/
[7a] Qur’an Preserved: http://islam.vishwas.org/is-quran-preserved.html

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