Why do Muslims think that the Quran has been perfectly preserved? Because that is what they have been told. Have you bothered to check for yourselves if this is true?
Well, let’s put it to the test. Prove it. Bring your oldest manuscript and let’s compare it with the present Quran and see if it is the same.
One of the most important findings is the Sana’a manuscript in 1972, in which carbon-dating puts the origin of some of the parchments to 645–690 CE, while calligraphic dating has pointed to their origin in 710–715 AD.making them, perhaps the oldest Quran in existence.
The study of these documents was undertaken by Gerd R. Puin of Saarland University, Germany. Puin is a renowned specialist in Arabic calligraphy and Quranic paleography. For more than 10 years he extensively examined these parchment fragments.
What did he find?
Puin, after extensively studying these manuscripts, came to the conclusion that the text is actually an evolving text rather than simply the word of God as revealed in its entirety to Muhammad (Warraq, 2002, p. 109).
…disturbingly at odds with the existing form. There are unconventional verse ordering, small but significant textual variations, different orthography (spelling) and different artistic embellishment (decoration)…
Puin even concluded (cited Taher, 2000) that
“It is not one single work that has survived unchanged through the centuries. It may include stories that were written before the prophet Mohammed began his ministry and which have subsequently been rewritten”.
Puin’s findings also confirm Wansbrough’s assumption about the Quranic text. In the 1970s, Wansbrough concluded that the Quran evolved only gradually in the seventh and eighth centuries after a long period of oral transmissions
Said Puin, “My idea is that the Quran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. The Quran claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen’, or clear. But [contrary to popular belief] if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply does not make sense…the fact is that a fifth of the Quranic text is just incomprehensible. If the Quran is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Quran claims repeatedly to be clear but is not—there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on”.
The extraordinary discovery of Puin fascinated Andrew Rippin, a Professor of religious studies and a leading expert on Quranic studies. Rippin (cited Warraq, 2002, p. 110) concluded, “Their variant readings and verse orders are all very significant. Everybody agrees on that.
Warraq (1998, p. 14) has the same view as Rippin, “Muslim scholars of the early years of Islam were far more flexible in their position, realizing that parts of the Quran was lost, perverted and that there were many thousand variants which made it impossible to talk of ‘the’ Quran”.
There is another proof that Quranic messages were distorted in the early days of Islam and nothing like ‘The’ Quran does exist anymore. Inscriptions of several Quranic verses are decorated on the Dome of Rock of Jerusalem, which is most probably the first Islamic monument meant to be a major artistic achievement, built in 691 CE (Whelan, 1998, p. 1–14). These inscriptions significantly differ from the present standard text (Warraq, 2000, p. 34).
Cook and Crone (1977, p. 18) concluded that “[The Quran] strikingly lacking in overall structure, frequently obscure and inconsequential in both language and content perfunctory in its liking of disparate materials and given to the repetition of whole passages in variant versions. On this basis, it can be argued that the book is the product of a belated and imperfect editing of materials from a plurality of traditions.” Crone (cited Warraq, 1998, p. 33) wrote elsewhere that “The Quran has generated masses of spurious information”.
So much for “the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God”. This proves that the Quran has been distorted, perverted, revised, modified, and corrected, and textual alterations had taken place over the years purely by human hands.
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