Quran: A Miracle to last till the End!
The Glorious Quran is the pure word of God. There is not a single word therein that is not divine. Divine verses, therefore, have not been mingled with the history of the Arabs or the events that occurred during the period of its revelation.
The Book has been handed down to our age in its complete and original form since the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (p) . From the time the Book began to be revealed, the Prophet (p) had dictated its text to the scribes. The written text was then read out to Prophet (p), who, having satisfied himself that the scribe had committed no error of recording, would put the manuscript in safe custody.
The Prophet (p) used to instruct the scribe about the sequence in which a revealed message was to be placed in a particular Surah (chapter). In this manner, the Prophet (p) continued to arrange the text of the Quran in systematic order till the end of the chain of revelations.
Again, it was ordained from the beginning of Islam that a recitation of the Glorious Quran must be an integral part of worship. Hence the illustrious Companions would commit the Divine verses to memory as soon as they were revealed. Many of them learned the whole text and a far larger number had memorized different portions of it. [Listen to the Quran here.]
Method of preservation of the Quran during the Prophet’s time
Besides, those of the Companions who were literate used to keep a written record of several portions of the Glorious Quran. In this manner, the text of the Quran had been preserved in four different ways during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (p):
a) The Holy Prophet (p) had the whole text of the Divine Messages from the beginning to the end committed to writing by the scribes of revelations.
b) Many of the Companions learned the whole text of the Quran, every syllable of it, by heart.
c) All the illustrious Companions, without an exception, had memorized at least some portions of the Holy Quran, for the simple reason that it was obligatory for them to recite it during worship. An estimate of the number of the illustrious Companions may be obtained from the fact that one hundred and forty thousand Companions had participated in the Last Pilgrimage performed by the Prophet (p).
d) A considerable number of the literate Companions kept a private record of the text of the Quran and satisfied themselves as to the purity of their record by reading it out to the Prophet (p).
Methods of preservation of the Quran after the demise of the Prophet
It is an incontrovertible historical truth that the text of the Glorious Quran extant today is, syllable for syllable, exactly the same as the Prophet (p) had offered to the world as the Word of God.
After the demise of the Prophet(p), the first Caliph Abu Bakr, assembled all the Huffaz (those who have committed the Quran to memory), and the written records of the Glorious Quran and with their help had the whole text written in Book form.
In the time of Uthman, copies of this original version were made and officially dispatched to the Capitals of the Islamic world. Two of the original manuscripts of the Quran prepared 1400 years ago still exist today; one is in the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, and the other in Tashkent, Russia.
Both of these are identical in content with the Quran available all over the world today.
And how can one expect any discrepancy, when there have existed several million “Huffaz” (someone who has memorized the entire Quran, word for word, cover to cover) in every generation since the time of the Holy Prophet (p) and in our own time. Should anyone alter a syllable of the original text of the Quran, these Huffaz would at once expose the mistake.
In the last century, an Institute of Munich University in Germany collected forty two thousand copies of the Glorious Quran including manuscripts and printed texts produced in each period in the various parts of the Islamic World. Research work was carried out on these texts for half a century, at the end of which the researchers concluded that apart from copying mistakes.
There was no discrepancy in the text of these forty-two thousand copies, even though they belonged to the period between the 1st Century to the 14th Century of the Islamic era (roughly from the seventh to the twentieth century of the Common Era), and had been procured from all parts of the world. This institute, alas, perished in the bombing attacks on Germany during World War II, but the findings of its research project survived.
Another point that must be kept in view is that the word in which the Quran was revealed is a living language in our own time. It is still current as the mother tongue of about a hundred million people from Iraq to Morocco. In the non-Arab world too, hundreds of thousands of people study and teach this language.
The grammar of the Arabic language, its lexicon, its phonetic system and its phraseology, has remained intact for fourteen hundred years. A modern Arabic-speaking person can comprehend the Glorious Quran with as much proficiency as did the Arabs of fourteen centuries ago.
This, then, is an important attribute of Prophet Muhammad (p). The Book that God revealed to him for the guidance of mankind exists today in its original language without the slightest alteration in its vocabulary.
(This is taken from part of a speech “Message of Prophet’s (p) Seerah”, given by Syed Abul A’ala Mawdudi. He compares the history and authenticity of three scriptures, Torah, Injil and Quran.)
Many times, the Quran is challenged in its authenticity. What proves its infallibility of being the last source of guidance for mankind? Answered by Shaykh Mohammed Faqih.
Arrangement and Collection of the Quran
How were the Quran’s verses and chapters arranged?
The present arrangement of the Quran is not the work of later generations, but was made by the Prophet, peace be upon him (p), under God’s directions. Whenever a chapter was revealed, the Prophet (p) summoned his scribes, to whom he carefully dictated its contents, and instructed them where to place it in relation to the other chapters.
The Prophet (p) followed the same order of chapters and verses when reciting during ritual Prayer as on other occasions, and his Companions followed the same practice in memorizing the Quran.
It is therefore a historical fact that the collection of the Quran came to an end on the very day that its revelation ceased. The One who was responsible for its revelation was also the One who fixed its arrangement. The one whose heart was the receptacle of the Quran was also responsible for arranging its sequence accordingly. This was far too important and too delicate a matter for anyone else to become involved in.
Since Prayers were obligatory for the Muslims from the very outset of the Prophet’s mission, and the recitation of the Quran was an obligatory part of the prayers, Muslims were committing the Quran to memory during the overall process of revelation. Thus, as soon as a fragment of the Quran was revealed, it was memorized by some of the Companions. [
Hence the preservation of the Quran was not solely dependent on its verses being inscribed on palm leaves, pieces of bone, leather and scraps of parchment – the material used by the Prophet’s scribes for writing down Quranic verses.
Instead, those verses came to be inscribed upon tens, then hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands of human hearts, soon after they had been revealed, so that no scope was left for anyone to alter so much as one word of them.
Preserving the Quran in writing
When, after the death of the Prophet, the storm of apostasy convulsed Arabia and the Companions had to plunge into bloody battles to suppress it, many Companions who had memorized the Quran suffered martyrdom. This led ‘Umar, a close companion and future caliph, to plead that the Quran ought to be preserved in writing, as well as orally.
He therefore impressed the urgency upon Abu Bakr, the first caliph. After slight hesitation, the latter agreed and entrusted the task to Zayd ibn Thabit al-Ansari, who had worked as a scribe of the Prophet (p).
The procedure decided upon was to try and collect all written pieces of the Quran left behind by the Prophet, as well as those in the possession of the Companions. When all this had been done, assistance was sought from those who had memorized the Quran. No verse was incorporated into the Quranic codex unless all three sources were found to be in complete agreement, and every criterion of verification had been satisfied.
Thus, an authentic version of the Quran was prepared. It was kept in the custody of Hafsah, a widow of the Holy Prophet and daughter of ‘Umar, and people were permitted to make copies of it and also to use it as the standard of comparison when rectifying the mistakes they might have made in writing down the Quran.
In different parts of Arabia and among its numerous tribes, there existed a diversity of dialects. The Quran was revealed in the language spoken by the Quraysh of Mecca. Nevertheless, in the beginning, people of other areas and other tribes were permitted to recite it according to their own dialects and idioms, since it facilitated its recitation without affecting its substantive meaning.
In the course of time and in the wake of the conquest of a sizeable part of the world outside of the Arabian Peninsula, a large number of non-Arabs entered the fold of Islam. These developments affected the Arabic idiom and it was feared that the continuing use of various dialects in the recitation of the Quran might give rise to grave problems.
It was possible, for instance, that someone hearing the Quran in an unfamiliar dialect might pick a fight with the reciter, thinking that the latter was deliberately distorting the Word of God. It was also possible that such differences might gradually lead to the tampering of the Quran itself.
It was also not inconceivable that the hybridization of the Arabic language, due to the intermixture between the Arabs and non-Arabs, might lead people to introduce modifications into the Quranic text, thus impairing the grace of the Speech of Allah.
As a result of such considerations, and after consultations with the Companions of the Prophet, ‘Uthman, the third caliph, decided that copies of the standard edition of the Quran, prepared earlier on the orders of Abu Bakr, should be published, and that publication of the Quranic text in any other dialect or idiom should be proscribed.
The Quran that we possess today corresponds exactly to the edition which was prepared on the orders of Abu Bakr and copies of which were officially sent, on the orders of ‘Uthman, to various cities and provinces. Several copies of this original edition of the Quran still exist today.
Anyone who entertains any doubt as to the authenticity of the Quran can satisfy himself by obtaining a copy of the Quran from any bookseller, say in West Africa, and then have a hafiz (memorizer of the Quran) recite it from memory, compare the two, and then compare these with the copies of the Quran published through the centuries since the time of ‘Uthman.
If he detects any discrepancy, even in single letter or syllable, he should inform the whole world of his great discovery!
Not even the most skeptical person has a reason to doubt the Quran as we know it today is identical with the Quran which Muhammad (peace be upon him) set before the world; this is an unquestionable, objective, historical fact, and there is nothing in human history on which the evidence is so overwhelmingly strong and conclusive.
To doubt the authenticity of the Quran is like doubting the existence of the Roman Empire, the Mughals of India, or Napoleon! To doubt historical facts like these is a sign of stark ignorance, not a mark of erudition and scholarship.
(Adapted and excerpted from “An Introduction to the Quran,” by Abul-A’ala Mawdudi.)
Allah knows Best.
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- Australia.
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