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Preservation Of The Qur'an

 :: Al-Qur'an

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Preservation Of The Qur'an

Post by Mohamed on Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:36 pm

It is true that most of the early Qur'an manuscripts with us now date after the second century Hijrah. But there are a number of fragments of Qur'anic papyri that date from the first century. There is also a complete Qur'an in the Egyptian National Library on parchment made from gazelle skin that has been dated AH 68 (688 CE).

Preservation Of The Qur'an - The Proof That Islam Is The Truth - Abdur-Raheem Green

Transcript :
Part 2 - "Preservation of the Quran"

All praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help & we ask for His forgiveness, we take refuge with Allah from the evil of ourselves & from evil consequence of our evil actions. Whomsoever Allah guides there's none to misguide & whomsoever Allah leaves to go astray there's none to guide. And today over the next series of programmes we are going to be doing our best to prove to you that that is the case, that indeed there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah & that Muhammad Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam is the Messenger of Allah. And today we are going to be talking about the preservation of the Quran. Now why are we going to be talking about the preservation of the Quran, why is that important & what has that got to do with proving that Islam is the Truth. Well, I think from one angle it's a very important issue, because if we are going to say that one of the evidences that we are going to put forward to show that Islam is indeed from Allah, the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth is the Quran, & the things that the Quran says are a type of or constitute type of evidence. Then a person may quite rightly ask: well, how do we know the Quran is authentic & to be perfectly honest this is one of the issues that Muslims themselves bring up with for example the Bible or the Vedas or the teachings of Buddha or anyone else. One of the issues that we have is that ok, when you claim these things are from this teacher or are from God or whatever, but prove it, how can we be sure that your scriptures are authentic, may be they have been corrupted, may be they have been distorted, may be there is some truth there & some falsehood there. So what we'd like to do today is to do our best to show that the Quran is indeed a book that has been preserved from corruption & from distortion. So this is really a very-very important issue from one angle because then when a person hears that something is from the Quran or indeed for that matter that something is from the Prophet Muhammad & it has been authenticated as being from the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam may God's peace & blessings be upon him, then you then you can be sure that this is something authentic, this is something verified, this is something that has not been changed & corrupted overtime. So this gives us a lot of confidence that what we are mentioning from the Quran is indeed something that is true & something that is correct. So that is what we are going to be dealing with. But Insha Allah before we do that we would just like to recap on something very important that we mentioned in a previous series of programmes. Because ultimately at the end of the day, my dear brothers & sisters, one of the strongest proofs & evidences that Islam is from Allah is what the Quran teaches about Allah. Now we've already mentioned this & we've been through this in another series of programmes. But I want to go through it again very briefly without repeating everything. You see the Quran has a very beautiful teaching about God, & in fact if this was the only thing that the Quran was teaching - the oneness of God, the uniqueness of God, the transcendence of Allah. If this was the only thing the Quran was teaching really for a person who is very logical & rational, & who is really in touch with the nature & the inner selves, then for them that probably would be enough of a proof & evidence that the Quran is from God, because what we find is that nearly every religion in some way or another way distorts the belief in the oneness of God, in some way or another. For example Christianity teaches that there is one God, there's one Creator, who has brought this whole universe into existence in one way or another this idea is corrupted by the idea or the concept that for example as Christianity teaches that God has become man & that somehow Jesus is both human & God. So this is really a corruption & a distortion of the pure teachings of monotheism, because in reality what we find is that this is type of impossibility. How can something be completely human & completely divine at the same time? Because the qualities of true divinity & the quality of true humanity are incompatible. God is eternal whereas human beings are finite, God is self-sufficient whereas human beings are needy. How can something be eternal & be finite at the same time? How can something be self-sufficient & needy at the same time? You see this is t he problem. So any religion that teaches that God is a man or that God is like some created thing, really how can we accept this to be true? Because when its talking about God is already upon a type of corruption & a distortion & a falsehood, whereas Islam is free from this type of thing. The things that Islam teaches about God are really very rational, & very reasonable & this is one of the strongest reasons for believing that the Quran is from Allah Subhana Wa Ta Allah. So what we want to emphasise upon today, my dear brothers & sisters, may Allah have mercy upon you, may Allah guide us, all of us closer to the truth, is the issue of the preservation of the Quran. Now one of the things that I want to touch upon is the historical evidence of the preservation of the Quran. But another thing I want to introduce is why this is itself a type of miraculous concept, why it is really a type of amazing thing, why the preservation of the Quran itself is one of the proofs or one of the evidences rather, this is more accurate to say, one of the evidences, 'cause proof is one, evidences are many, one of the evidences that the Quran is from Allah Subhana Wa Ta Allah the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth? So lets go into a little bit about the historical preservation of the Quran. Now according to traditional Muslim sources, according to the teachings of the Hadeeth, the teachings of the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam & those people who came after him the Sahaba & the tabein. The way that the Quran was preserved, at least in terms of writings, because there are two ways that the Quran has been preserved. It has been preserved partially through writing. Now mostly in Western culture for example a lot of emphasis & a lot of importance is given to the preservation in writing. Whereas in fact it is not necessarily true that something has been written down in a scriptual form & that we have something written down in a scriptural way is necessarily the most authentic thing. Anyway Insha Allah, brothers & sisters we are going to get back to that, that now we are going to have a short break Insha Allah, & I'll be back with you in a few minutes to talk about the historical preservation of the Quran. Salam Alleykum, brothers & sisters, welcome back to the proof that Islam is the truth & today we are talking about the preservation of the Quran. And I just wanted to read an ayat from the Quran: "Verily we have revealed the thikr, the reminder, which is one of the words for the Quran & verily upon us, Allah Subhana Wa Ta Allah is saying upon us is the preservation of it". This is a promise in the Quran that Allah will preserve the Quran. And the reality of the preservation of the Quran is without doubt one of the miraculous aspects of the Quran & one of the proof, the proofs & the evidences that this is from Allah. In fact you will find that nearly every type of book & scripture & writing through time goes through many alterations & distortions & corruptions. Now this may not be the case so much today with the invention of the printing press but of course in ancient times when books were largely transcribed by scribes then there was a lot of opportunity for corruptions & distortions & additions & deletions to take place. Yet throughout 1400 years of Islamic history the Quran has remained the same. In fact it is one of the most remarkable things that you could take a copy of the Quran today, you could take a copy of the Quran today. So for example if we took this Quran here, if we took this Quran here & we looked at the Arabics, this is of course an English-Arabic Quran, but if you looked at the Quran today, & you took this Quran & you compare it with the Quran in Saudi Arabia & you compare it with the Quran in Morocco & you compare it with the Quran in China & you compare it with the Quran in Siberia & even if you went back in history 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years, 1200 years, in fact the most ancient manuscripts that we have of the Quran day to a time that is almost contemporious to the time of the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam. It means we have manuscripts of the Quran dating back, all the way back to the time of the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam. And that the amazing thing is that if you examined these manuscripts you would find that the actual words of the Quran are exactly the same. Ok, the style of writing may be different, the use of certain diacritical marks may be different, but the actual words remain exactly the same. This is a fact. Actually this is one of the greatest arguments against those people who claim, there are some people who are trying to claim that the Quran has evolved, it's an evolved text, they are trying to make the same claims about the Quran that have been discovered about the Bible. But no one or very few people today take these claims really seriously & part of the reason is, is that the shear weight of evidence against such a claim is there. Because we have these texts of the Quran & we have different manuscripts in places like for example Tashkent, we have manuscripts in Cairo, we have manuscripts in Yemen. We have very-very ancient manuscripts that date really to the time very close to the time very close to the time of the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam. Let's go very briefly through the history of the written preservation of the Quran. Now of course during a lifetime of Rasulullah Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam the Quran was never actually collected as one book & the reason for that of course is that as long as the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam was alive it was still possible that some more verses of the Quran would be revealed. However the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam, he used to recite the Quran from beginning to end every Ramadan & in the Ramadan before he died the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam recited the Quran twice & the angel Gabriel (Jabril) used to come & go through the Quran with the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam in the month of Ramadan. So the Quran was known from Sura Al Fatiha to sura An Nas. It was known by the people who used to memorise the Quran & what was known as the Quran was understood but it was never written down as what is called a Muskaf. They wrote down the Quran in various pieces & fragments but it was never written down as one book. However after the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam died there were what was called the wars of ridda, these are the wars of apostasy when many people began to apostatise & leave the religion of Islam. And there were some wars against those people & those wars many of those people who had memorised the entire Quran who were known as the hufaz, the memorizers or the preservers from "hafith" which means to preserve in Arabic, these people had preserved & memorised the entire Quran in their memory. You will get back to that at a latest age about the oral transmission & memorisation of the Quran but now we are talking about the written preservation of the Quran. So these people many of them were killed in battle so it was said to Abu Bakr, who was the ruler of the Muslims, the first Caliph or the first ruler of the Muslims. Some people said to him: why don't you write down the Quran to make sure that we don't suffer from what the people suffered from who came before us meaning the Jews & Christians from their distortions & their corruptions in the text, because we are afraid if the Hufas are killed in great numbers then may be the preservation of the Quran will not be maintained. Anyway there was some dispute about this because some of them said well how can we do something that the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam never did. But they agreed & Omar & Abu Bakr having discussed it with each other they agreed & the companions had agreed that this was a good idea. So what they did is they got someone called Zeid Ibn Thabit. They got him to organise this collection of the Quran & with the agreement of those people who were the Hafaz who were still living they agreed to collect the Quran & to write it as one Mushaf from the beginning to the end. And they got an unanimous decision about that, in fact they got an agreement on every single ayat, two people, a minimum of two people had to agree. Every single ayat of the Quran they had to agree that this was the right ayat & it was in the right place also. So this was the first Mushaf & it stayed with Abu Bakr & then when Abu Bakr died it was given to Omar, & when Omar died he gave it to his daughter Hafsa. Hafsa was also one of the wives of the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam. Now after the death of Omar the Islam had spread over many-many different lands. Islam had entered into Persia, it had entered into Egypt, & there were so many people becoming Muslim. Now some of the people began to argue with each other about the reading of the Quran, because the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam, & it's very important, he had allowed the Quran to be read in seven different dialects. there were seven different dialects, they were all considered to be the Quran & the Prophet allowed the reading of the Quran in those seven different dialects. However some of the people who read it in one dialect began to argue with those who read it in another dialect and they were saying: "our reading is the right reading & your reading is the wrong reading" & vice versa. And they nearly came to blows over this issue. So one of the generals came to Othman Ibn Athan & said: look, this is a problem. Let us unite the people under one reading, & this way we will avoid deception & controversy." So Othman he said: "Ok, this is a good idea. What we will do is we will unite the people under the reading of the Qurashi dialect." the Qurashi dialect was the dialect that the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam he used to use the most often. Ok, this was the dialect, the Prophet Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam himself used to use. So once again he ordered a compilation of the Quran. And who did he get? The same Zeid Ibn Thabit, he got the same Zeid Ibn Thabit to make the compilation of the Quran & once again he got a total agreement for each ayat a minimum of two people had to agree about this ayat that it was correct & that its placement in the Quran was correct & once again they made a compilation of the text of the Quran. Then they compared this new compilation with the compilation that had been made by Abu Bakr & they found that the two corresponded exactly. They were both corresponding exactly one with the other. So then Othman ordered that every copy that people had made & every writing that people had made of the Quran should be destroyed & the way that they destroyed it was by burning it. Ok? This was considered to be a clean & pure way to destroy the text of the Quran. Not like in may be in Western culture these days you know when they want to get rid of books they burn the books as a type of protest. No. This was considered to be a clean way to dispose of the Quran. So every Quran they had was either washed as the Mushaf that was given to from Abu Bakr & Omar to Hafsa, it was actually washed clean. And every type of copy of the Quran was destroyed except this what is called as Imam manuscript, that was the Imam Manuscript compiled by Othman under the supervision of Zeid Ibn Thabit. And from that seven copies or may be nine copies were made. So from that Imam Manuscript seven or nine copies were made & these copies were distributed all over the Muslim world at the time. And every Quran therefore had to be an exact replica & exact copy of those Qurans. So we still have according to many experts in the field, we still have two or three of those original manuscripts existing that was compiled in the time of Othman Ibn Athan which is only some twenty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alleyhem Va Salam. And as I said you can go anywhere in the world today & you can take a copy of the Quran & you can compare it with one with Qurans anywhere. And you can go back in history 300, 400, 500 years & you can compare those Qurans then with the Qurans that we have today & you will not find they are different, not by a word, not by a letter. So this is a fact. This is a fact & this is really an astounding miracle of the Quran that Allah Subhana Wa Ta Allah he said that "verily we have revealed the Vikr, the reminder & upon us is the preservation of it." So this is the way that Allah Subhana Wa Ta Allah in his infinite wisdom has preserved the Quran. What is important here for the rest of our discussions in the series to come is of course that when we are referring to the Quran we are referring to a document that is verified & certified to be authentic. It is something that we do not differ about. All the different Muslim sects, all of us, we agree upon one single text of the Quran. And we have agreed upon one single text of the Quran for 1400 years. So this is a book that is preserved, this is a book that is authentic, this is a book that we can trust in & that we can trust in & that we can believe in, & this is Insha Allah what we will be discussing later in future programmes, the next one is "the oral preservation of the Quran" until then Assalamaleykum Arahmatullahi va Barakatu, may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon all of you.

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