The Compilation Of The Qur'an As Recorded In The Hadith

Qur’an of today is different than what Muhammad revealed!

The Compilation Of The Qur'an As Recorded In The Hadith
The Hadith tells us how the stories in the Koran came to be in one book. After Muhammad’s death his converts noticed many wide ranging differences and discrepancies in what the Muhammad revealed. So a man named "Abu Bakr" began to gather all known "Kuranic" materials. He then, like a newspaper editor, he sat down what would go in the Koran and what was to be thrown out. He even had to translate certain parts of the Koran back into the Quarish dialect. Once he decided upon a final version of the Koran, he had to issue an order (likely at the threat of death) to destroy all known fragments of the Koran. Since Islam was contained in a relatively small geographic area at this point, the order to destroy variant texts was easier. At the same time, Abu Bakr sent out his final edited version of the Koran, which was ordered to be the sole OFFICIAL version. That is the version that we see today.

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The Muslim Claim that the Qur’an is unchanged:

No other book in the world can match the Qur'an ... The astonishing fact about this book of ALLAH is that it has remained unchanged, even to a dot, over the last fourteen hundred years. ... No variation of text can be found in it. You can check this for yourself by listening to the recitation of Muslims from different parts of the world. (Basic Principles of Islam, Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan Charitable & Humanitarian Foundation, 1996, p 4)

The Compilation Of The Qur'an As Recorded In The Hadith: The Qur’an of today is different than what Muhammad revealed!

The Hadith are the records of the actions of Muhammad and the companions of the Prophet. To Muslims, they are the second most important source of authority for their beliefs and practices. The Hadith interpret the Qur'an. For example, Muslims pray five times a day, and the prayers are rigidly prescribed. One cannot learn about these prayers from the Qur'an, but must go to the Hadith to learn about them.

One of the claims made by Muslims is that the Qur'an today is exactly as it was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. The information cited below from the Hadith indicates that this claim is not accurate.

1. Caliph Uthman ordered the Qur'an collected into one volume: Hadith 709 & 507

The Qur'an had not been collected into one volume prior the third Caliph, some 25 years after Muhammad's death.

  • 709. Narrated Anas: Uthman called Zaid bin Thabit, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Said bin Al-As and Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham, and then they wrote the manuscripts of the Holy Quran in the form of book in several copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi persons." If you differ with Zaid bin Thabit on any point of the Quran, then write it in the language of Quraish, as the Quran was revealed in their language." So they acted accordingly. (Zaid bin Thabit was an Ansari and not from Quraish). Vol. 4 - Prophet and His Companions - Hadith 709

Some translation was necessary to put portions of it back into the Quarish dialect.

  • 507. Narrated Anas bin Malik: (The Caliph Uthman ordered Zaid bin Thabit, Said bin Al-As, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair and Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham to write the Quran in the form of a book (Mushafs) and said to them." In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit (Al-Ansari) regarding any dialectic Arabic utterance of the Quran, then write it in the dialect of the Quraish, for the Quran was revealed in this dialect." So they did it. Vol. 6 -Virtues of the Quran - Hadith 507

2. Claims that the Qur'an was collected during Muhammad's life are contradicted by one who is alleged to have collected it. Compare with Hadith 201 of Volume 6

  • 155. Narrated Qatada: Anas said, "The Quran was collected in the lifetime of the Prophet (SAW) by four (men), all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubai, Muadh bin Jabal, Abu Zaid, and Zaid bin Thabit." I asked Anas, "Who is Abu Zaid?" He said, "One of my uncles." Vol. 5 - Merits of the Ansar - Hadith 155

3. Zaid bin Thabit Al-Ansari's First Account of the Compilation of the Qur'an: Hadith 201

The following things are proven from Hadith 201:

  1. Abu Bakr had to be persuaded to compile the Qur'an into one volume.
  2. Muhammad had not commanded the Qur'an to be compiled into one volume.
  3. Zaid had to be persuaded to compile the Qur'an into one volume.
  4. Zaid declared it would be a "mountain moving" task.
  5. Two verses were not generally known and found only with one man.
  • 201. Narrated Zaid bin Thabit Al-Ansari who was one of those who used to write the Divine Revelation: Abu Bakr sent for me after the (heavy) casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Qurra were killed). Umar was present with Abu Bakr who said, Umar has come to me and said, 'The people have suffered heavy casualties on the day of (the battle of) Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be more casualties among the Qurra (those who know the Quran by heart) at other battle-fields, whereby a large part of the Quran may be lost, unless you collect it. And I am of the opinion that you should collect the Quran, "Abu Bakr added, " I said to Umar, "How can I do something which Allah's Apostle (SAW) has not done?' Umar said (to me), 'By Allah, it is (really) a good thing.' So Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal, till Allah opened my bosom for it and I had the same opinion as Umar." (Zaid bin Thabit added:) Umar was sitting with him (Abu Bakr) and was not speaking. Abu Bakr said (to me), "You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you (of telling lies or of forgetfulness): and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle (SAW). Therefore, look for the Quran and collect it (in one manuscript)." By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains (from its place), it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Quran. I said to both of them, "How dare you do a thing which the Prophet (SAW) has not done?" Abu Bakr said, "By Allah, it is (really) a good thing. So I kept on arguing with him about it till Allah opened the bosoms of Abu Bakr and Umar. So I started to search for the Quranic material and to collect it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart). I found with Khuzaima two Verses of Surat-at-Tauba which I had not found with anybody else, (and they were): 'Verily there has come to you an Apostle (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad (SAW)) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided.) (9:128) The manuscript on which the Quran was collected, remained with Abu Bakr till Allah took him unto Him, and then with Umar till Allah took him unto Him, and finally it remained with Hafsa, Umar's daughter. Vol. 6 - Interpretation of the Quran - Hadith 201

4. Zaid bin Thabit's Second Account of the Collection of the Qur'an: Hadith 509

The following things are proven from Hadith 509:

  1. It was feared that portions of the Qur'an would be lost. This indicates that there was not yet a complete recognized cannon.
  2. Abu Bakr was not familiar with a collected Qur'an and said that Muhammad had never decreed it be collected.
  3. The best that was available was "fragmentary scripts."
  4. When ordered to compile the Qur'an, Zaid at first refused on the grounds that Muhammad had not done so.
  5. Zaid declared that it would be a difficult task.
  6. There were three methods of recording Zaid searched out - palm leaf stalks, thin white stones and also from the men who knew it by heart.
  7. One verse was found only in the possession of one man.

509. Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr As-Siddiq sent for me when the people of Yamama had been killed (ie. a number of the prophet's Companions who fought against Musailama). (I went to him) and found Umar bin Al-Khattab sitting with him. Abu Bakr then said (to me), Umar has come to me and said: Casualties were heavy among the Qurra of the Quran (ie. those who knew the Quran by heart) on the day of the Battle of Yamama, and I am afraid that more heavy casualties may take place among the Qurra in other battlefields, whereby a large part of the Quran may be lost. Therefore I suggest, you (Abu Bakr) order that the Quran be collected." I said to Umar, "How can you do something which Allah's Apostle (SAW) did not do?" Umar said, "By Allah, that is a good project." "Umar kept on urging me to accept his proposal till Allah opened my chest for it and I began to realize the good in the idea which "Umar had realized." Then Abu Bakr said (to me). 'You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you and you used to write the not have any suspicion about you and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle (SAW). So you should search for (the fragmentary scripts of) the Quran and collect it (in one book)." By Allah! if they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Quran, Then I said to Abu Bakr, "How will you do something which Allah Apostle (SAW) did not do? Abu Bakr replied, "By Allah, it is a good project." Abu Bakr kept on urging me to accept his idea until Allah opened my chest for what He had opened the chests of Abu Bakr and Umar. So I started looking for the Quran and collecting it from (what was written on) palm leaf stalks, thin white stones and also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last Verse of Surat At-Tauba (Repentance) with Abi Khuzaima Al Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him. The Verse is: Verily there has come unto you an Apostle (Muhammad (SAW)) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should from amongst yourselves receive any injury or difficulty. (till the end of "Surat-Baraa (At-Tauba) (9:128-129) Then the complete manuscripts (copy) of the Quran remained with Abu Bakr till he died then with Umar till the end of his life and then with Hafsa, the daughter of Umar. Vol. 6 -Virtues of the Quran - Hadith 509

5. Anas bin Malik's Account of the Collection of the Qur'an: Hadith 510

The following things are proven from Hadith 510:

  1. There were differing versions of the Qur'an in the early years of Islam.
  2. Uthman ordered the Qur'an compiled into one volume.
  3. Some of the manuscripts were not in Muhammad's original tongue and needed to be translated.
  4. Uthman ordered competing versions to be burned, indicating that there were other versions in existence at the time!
  5. There was only one man who remembered one of the verses of the Qur'an.

510. 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 Quran. 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 sent a message to Hafsa saying, "Send us the manuscripts of the Quran so that we may compile the Quranic 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, Said bin Al-As and Abdur Rahman 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 Quran, then write it in the dialect of Quraish as the Quran 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 Quranic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. Zaid bin Thabit added, "A verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Quran and I used to hear Allah's Apostle (SAW) 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) Vol. 6 -Virtues of the Quran - Hadith 510

6. Contrary to Muslim claims, some verses had not been memorized by everyone: Hadith 511

511. Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr sent for me and said "you used to write the Divine Revelations for Allah's Apostle (SAW): So you should search for (the Quran and collect) it." I started searching for the Quran till I found the last two Verses of Surat At-Tauba with Abi Khazaima Al-Ansari and I could not find these Verses with anybody other than him. (They were): 'Verily there has come unto you an Apostle (Muhammad (SAW)) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. . . (9:128-129) Vol. 6 -Virtues of the Quran - Hadith 511

7. There seems to be a conflict in the claims as to when the Qur'an was collected, and there was not a generally accepted version available: Hadith 525 & 526

525. Narrated Qatada: I asked Anas bin Malik, "Who collected the Quran at the time of the Prophet (SAW)?" He replied, "Four, all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubai bin Kab, Muadh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid." Vol. 6 -Virtues of the Quran - Hadith 525

526. Narrated Anas (bin Malik): When the prophet (SAW) died, none had collected the Quran but four persons: Abu Ad-Darda, Muadh bin Jabal, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Zaid. We were the inheritors (of Abu Zaid) as he had no offspring. Vol. 6 -Virtues of the Quran - Hadith 526

8. Zaid bin Thabit's Third Account of the Collection of the Qur'an: Hadith 301

The following things are proven from Hadith 301:

  1. Caliph Uthman ordered the Qur'an compiled into one volume.
  2. The Qur'an was not collected during Muhammad’s lifetime.
  3. Zaid had to be persuaded to do that which the Prophet had not doen.
  4. There was only one man who remembered some of the verses of the Qur'an.

301. Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr sent for me owing to the large number of casualties in the battle of Al-Yamama, while Umar was sitting with him. Abu Bakr said (to me), "Umar has come to me and said, 'A great number of Qaris of the Holy Quran were killed on the day of the battle of Al-Yamama, and I am afraid that the casualties among the Qaris of the Quran may increase on the battle-fields whereby a large part of the Quran may be lost. Therefore I consider it advisable that you (Abu Bakr) should have the Quran collected.' I said, 'How dare I do something which Allah's Apostle (SAW) did not do?' Umar said, 'By Allah, it is something beneficial.' Umar kept on pressing me for that till Allah opened my chest for that for which He had opened the chest of Umar and I had in that matter, the same opinion as Umar had." Abu Bakr then said to me (Zaid), "You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you, and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle (SAW). So you should search for (the fragmentary script of) the Quran and collect it (in one Book)." Zaid further said: By Allah, if Abu Bakr had ordered me to shift a mountain among the mountains from one place to another it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Quran. Then I said (to Umar and Abu Bakr), "How can you do something which Allah's Apostle (SAW) did not do?" Abu Bakr said, "By Allah, it is something beneficial." Zaid added: So he (Abu Bakr) kept on pressing me for that until Allah opened my chest for that for which He had opened the chests of Abu Bakr and Umar, and I had in that matter, the same opinion as theirs. So I started compiling the Quran by collecting it from the leafless stalk of the date-palm tree and from the pieces of leather and hides and from the stones, and from the chests of men (who had memorized the Quran). I found the last Verses of Surat-at-Tauba: 'Verily there has come unto you an Apostle (Muhammad (SAW)) from amongst yourselves.' (9:128-129), from Khuzaima or Abi Khuzaima and I added to it the rest of the Sura. The manuscript of the Quran remained with Abu Bakr till Allah took him unto Him. Then it remained with Umar till Allah took him unto Him, and then with Hafsa bint Umar. Vol. 9 - Judgements - Hadith 301

By Ney Rieber

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