From Jochen Katz <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam Subject: Re: al-hajjaj revisited Date: Thu Jul 17 11:24:30 EDT 1997 Message-Id: <email@example.com> This posting is in response to From Metallica <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam Subject: al-hajjaj revisited Date: Tue Jul 15 09:32:53 EDT 1997 Organization: University of Cambridge, England Message-Id: <email@example.com> assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu: regarding al-hajjaj jochen's homepage screams the same way as the tabloids that we see in the UK (e.g., "the sun" or "daily mirror") "Al-Hajjaj changed Uthman's Qur'an text". and if one goes through the article it is easier to smell deceit arising from a shoddy scholarship which jochen persistently embraces and expects that muslims will lap it up. selective reading, as most of the people of SRI know, is a forte of jochen and this post will be enough to prove the point. more than that, jochen accused me once of being ignorant of my own book and its origin (and i do not take accusations lightly!!). at the end of this post a reader can decide whether the accusation is correct. and as usual, i request jochen to stick this post in his homepage so that people will know the truth and jochen himself claims to be a keen person to know the truth. at least he should consistently prove himself. As usual, Mr. Saifullah couldn't help but include some emotional appeals in his posting. My web page doesn't scream, it plainly states. Also your ad hominem about "deceit" etc. is absolutely uncalled for. I don't know on what basis you expect me to give you space on my website if you can't conduct a dicussion in a respectful tone. But as you can see, this posting is added to my web page and all of your elaborations are kept intact, so that you can't say I am manipulating and deceiving. The only changes I made is to correct some of your spelling errors. Furthermore, it is factually correct from all we know, and it is not even contested by you at all, that al-Hajjaj has changed Uthmanic one or more Uthmanic manuscripts. What you contest is the interpretation and impact of it. before starting the story, the capital letters are used to differentiate between the quoted and unquoted material. people have complained to me that it is disconcerting but a sincere searcher of truth should at least differentiate between a "reason" and an "excuse". my sincere thanks are to brother abdurrahaman lomax for his useful comments and drawing my attention to certain points that i missed. Which will in effect mean that Mr. Lomax will have to bear some of the blame for the inaccuracies as well. More about that later. every problem has a source. but the problem of al-hajjaj seems to have two sources: a christian and a muslim one. we will first discuss the origins of the christian source, the problems with it and then the muslim source and the problems with interpretation of the source. Going about it systematic is a good thing. but I do wonder that Mr. Saifullah first makes a big noise about my web pages and calls them deceitful, and then ignores my web pages for the rest of the posting and talks about arguments made by other people on this topic which have no relationship to me web pages at all. In particular he writes: THE CHRISTIAN SOURCE: -------------------- there is a persistent tradition in the eastern christian churches, often refered to by the oriental christians even at the present day, to the effect that early in the VIIIth century there was an exchange of letters on the question of the respective merits of christianity and islam, between the ummayd caliph 'umar II and the byzantine emperor leo III. the details of the letter can be seen in an article appeared in harvard theological review in 1944. in the letter to 'umar II, the byzantine emperor leo III writes: "IN BRIEF YOU ADMIT THAT WE SAY THAT IT (i.e., quraan) WAS WRITTEN BY GOD, AND BROUGHT DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS, AS YOU PRETEND FOR YOUR FURQAN, ALTHOUGH WE KNOW THAT IT WAS 'UMAR, ABU TURAB AND SALMAN THE PERSIAN, WHO COMPOSED THAT, EVEN THOUGH THE RUMOUR HAS GOT AROUND AMONG YOU THAT GOD SENT IT DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS." [, pp. 292] and this is a rather peculiar statement by leo III and the author arthur jeffery admits that in his footnotes on the same page. (by abu turab, leo III meant ali (ra) son in law of the prophet). and continuing the letter of leo III to umar II, we see that: "AS FOR YOUR (BOOK), YOU HAVE ALREADY GIVEN US EXAMPLES OF SUCH FALSIFICATIONS, AND ONE KNOWS, AMONG OTHERS, OF A CERTAIN HAJJAJ, NAMED BY YOU AS THE GOVERNER OF PERSIA, WHO HAD MEN GATHERED UP YOUR ANCIENT BOOKS, WHICH HE REPLACED BY OTHERS COMPOSED BY HIMSELF, ACCORDING TO HIS TASTE, AND WHICH HE PROPAGATED EVERYWHERE IN YOUR NATION, BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER BY FAR TO UNDERTAKE SUCH A TASK AMONG THE PEOPLE SPEAKING A SINGLE LANGUAGE. FROM THIS DESTRUCTION, NEVERTHELESS, THERE ESCAPED A FEW WORKS OF ABU TURAB, FOR HAJJAJ COULD NOT MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY." [, pp. 298] and in the footnotes jeffery mentions that "THIS IS A RATHER CONFUSED REFERENCE TO THE WORK OF AL-HAJJAJ ON THE TEXT OF THE QURAAN. THE ORTHODOX MUSLIM THEORY ASSUMES THAT THE TEXT AS CANONIZED BY 'UTHMAN WAS THE FINAL CANONIZATION, BUT THERE IS A REASON TO BELIEVE THAT A RECENSION OF 'UTHMAN'S TEXT WAS MADE BY THE DIRECTION OF AL-HAJJAJ, SO THAT WE ONLY KNOW OF THE TEXT OF 'UTHMAN IN THIS LATER RECENSION. THIS FACT WAS APPARENTLY WELL KNOWN TO ORIENTAL CHRISTIAN WRITERS, FOR AL-KINDI IN HIS APOLOGY, SPEAKS OF AL-HAJJAJ NOT LEAVING A SINGLE CODEX THAT HE DID NOT GATHER UP, AND LEFT OUT MANY THINGS, AND OF WHICH HE SENT OUT COPIES OF HIS NEW RECENSION, AND DIRECTED HIS ATTENTION TO DESTROYING THE OLDER CODICES. THIS STATEMENT OF AL-KINDI HAS ALWAYS BEEN LOOKED AT ASKANCE AS A PIECE OF CHRISTIAN POLEMIC." [, pp. 298] the author also mentions about the putting of diacritical marks in the quraanic text by al-hajjaj to make the reading more certain as mentioned in the work of ibn abi dawud (which will be discussed later, inshallah). and after this the author went on to say: "IT WOULD THUS SEEM THAT SOME REVISION OF THE TEXT, AS WELL AS CLARIFICATION BY DIVISION AND POINTING, WAS UNDERTAKEN BY AL-HAJJAJ, AND THAT THIS WAS KNOWN TO THE CHRISTIANS OF THAT DAY, AND NATURALLY EXAGERRATED BY THEM FOR POLEMICAL PURPOSES." [, pp. 298] and further "AS THIS WORK WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY AL-HAJJAJ DURING THE PERIOD OF OFFICE UNDER CALIPH 'ABD AL-MALIK BIN MARWAN WHO DIED IN 86AH = 705AD, THERE IS NO DIFFICULTY IN SUPPOSING THAT LEO MAY HAVE HEARD OF IT DURING HIS OFFICIAL LIFE IN SYRIA." [, pp. 298] it is quite natural to see whether the document between 'umar II and leo III is authentic. the author's opinion on this issue is: "THE QUESTION REMAINS AS TO THE GENUINENESS OF THIS CORRESPONDENCE, AND THAT IS A MATTER FOR THE HISTORIANS TO ARGUE ON THE BASIS OF THE MATERIAL ITSELF." [, pp. 330-331] and as far as my research goes the genuineness of this correspondence has not been established yet. and the next step will be to see the use of this material whose genuineness has not been estabhlished by other authors in proving a point which can not be proven. in his book "the quraan as scripture", arthur jeffery seems to miss the point that is mentioned in the book "kitab al-masahif" of ibn abi dawud which he quotes to support his point of view. he says: "WHEN WE COME TO EXAMINE THE ACCOUNTS OF THE ACTIVITY OF AL-HAJJAJ IN THIS MATTER, HOWEVER, WE DISCOVER TO OUR OWN SURPRISE THAT THE EVIDENCE POINTS STRONGLY TO THE FACT THAT HIS WORK WAS NOT CONFINED TO FIXING MORE PRECISELY THE TEXT OF THE QURAAN BY A SET OF POINTS SHOWING HOW IT WAS TO BE READ, BUT HE SEEMS TO HAVE MADE AN ENTIRELY NEW RECENSION OF THE QURAAN, HAVING COPIES OF HIS NEW TEXT SENT TO THE GREAT METROPOLITAN CENTRES AND ORDERING THE DESTRUCTION OF EARLIER COPIES IN EXISTENCE THERE, MUCH AS UTHMAN HAD DONE EARLIER. MOREOVER THIS NEW TEXT PROMULGATED BY AL-HAJJAJ SEEMS TO HAVE UNDERGONE MORE OR LESS EXTENSIVE ALTERATIONS."[, pp. 99] it is quite surprising that the author arthur jeffery on one hand relies on "kitab al-masahif" of ibn abi dawud and on the other hand always makes the statements starting with "HE SEEMS" OR "AL-HAJJAJ SEEMS" to draw the attention towards uncertainity of the extent to which al-hajjaj was responsible for the changes in the text. and note a sharper tone of the author in this issue. the author again clarifies the issue of al-kindi: "THE CHRISTIAN WRITER AL-KINDI IN HIS POLEMICAL WORK KNOWN AS THE "APOLOGY OF AL-KINDI", MAKES A CONTROVERSIAL POINT OUT OF THE ALTERATIONS HE CLAIMED THAT AL-HAJJAJ, AS EVERYONE KNEW, HAD MADE IN THE TEXT OF QURAAN, BUT THIS WAS REGARDED BY SCHOLARS AS JUST A POLEMICAL EXAGERRATION SUCH AS ONE MIGHT EXPECT IN A CONTROVERSIAL WRITING." [, pp. 99] but not everyone takes controversial writing as controversial. crone and cook in their book "Hagarism" use the above two christian polemics to reconstruct the islamic history. "NOW BOTH CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM SOURCES ATTRIBUTE SOME KIND OF ROLE TO HAJJAJ IN THE HISTORY OF MUSLIM SCRIPTURE. IN THE ACCOUNT ATTRIBUTED TO LEO BY LEVOND, HAJJAJ IS SAID TO HAVE COLLECTED AND DESTROYED THE OLD HAGARENE WRITINGS AND REPLACED THEM WITH OTHERS COMPOSED ACCORDING TO HIS OWN TASTES." [, pp. 18] and in the book "Discovering the Quran: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text" we see a full chapter (Chapter 3: An Alternative Account of the Rise of Islam) devoted to refute the book "Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World". so, an orientalist refuting another orientalist!! and this point is quite well dealt with in . "THE LETTER ASCRIBED TO POPE LEO MAY SIMPLY BE A CONVENIENT LITERARY DEVICE USED BY A CHRISTIAN POLEMICIST LIVING AT A LATER DATE. EVEN IF IT IS AUTHENTIC, AND THE ALLEGATIONS WHICH IT CONTAINS HAVE SOME SUBSTANCE, THE ACTIVITY OF HAJJAJ MAY HAVE BEEN LIMITED TO DESTROYING THE SECTARIAN WRITINGS, AND EARLY CODICES OF THE QURAN WHICH PRESERVED THE SURAHS IN A DIFFERENT ORDER." [, pp. 56] and very tersely, Waines in his book "An Introduction to Islam" says: "THE CRONE-COOK THEORY HAS BEEN ALMOST UNIVERSALLY REJECTED. THE EVIDENCE OFFERED BY THE AUTHORS IS FAR TOO TENTATIVE AND CONJECTURAL (AND POSSIBILY CONTRADICTORY) TO CONCLUDE THAT ARAB-JEWISH WERE AS INTIMATE AS THEY WOULD WISH THEM TO HAVE BEEN." [, pp. 273-274] summarzing the christian sources: we see that the christian sources from leo III and abd al-masih al-kindi have a polemical purpose and exagerration of the events that took place during al-hajjaj's time. the saying lacks factual basis and it has been well understood by the orientalists long back. also it is important to look at two things when we talk about the transmission of the quraan. till now the issue has been only with the written text. the oral transmission seems to have taken the backseat and neglected by arthur jeffery. DID THE CHANGES THAT AL-HAJJAJ MADE WERE CONFINED TO THE TEXT OF THE QURAAN OR IT EVEN CHANGED THE ORAL TRANSMISSION? unless this point is proved by historical evidence we CAN NOT say that al-hajjaj CHANGED the quraan. A CHANGE SHOULD REFLECT IN TEXTUAL AS WELL AS ORAL TRANSMISSION OF THE QURAAN. and this point has been missed by arthur jeffery in his work. Mr. Saifullah, in attack of my web pages, managed now to discuss and criticize Leo III, al-Kindi, Crone and Cook (the latter under the heading "Christian" even though I am not aware that they make any such claim), but he is strangly silent about the arguments on my web pages, particularly the chapter by John Gilchrist, which makes the bulk of my web material on this topic. Why are you calling me deceitful, and then go on to refute my(?) material while not interacting with it at all? If you want to write about Leo III (of whom I hadn't even heard before) and al-Kindi of whom I have heard the name and that is it, then please do so, but keep your personal attacks on me out of it because I never used this material anywhere. MUSLIM SOURCES & NON-MUSLIM SOURCES: ----------------------------------- in this section we will deal with the muslim sources as well as some of the non-muslim sources. let us first deal with the idea of introduction of vowel signs of in the quraan and the need for it. these signs are called "tashkil" in arabic and they help to determine the correct pronunciation of the word and to avoid the mistakes. when the islamic state expanded more and more muslims of non-arab origin and also many ignorant arabs studied the quraan, faulty pronunciation and wrong readings began to increase. "IT IS RELATED THAT AT THE TIME OF DU'ALI SOMEONE FROM BASRA READ THE AYAH 9:3 FROM THE QURAAN IN A FAULTY WAY, WHICH CHANGED THE MEANING COMPLETELY FROM: "that god and his apostle dissolves obligations with the pagans" TO "that god dissolves obligations with the pagans and the apostle" THIS MISTAKE OCCURED WRONGLY READING "RASULIHI" IN PLACE OF "RASULUHU" WHICH COULD NOT BE DISTINGUISHED FROM WRITTEN TEXT, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO SIGNS OR ACCENTS INDICATING THE CORRECT PRONUNCIATION. UNLESS SOMEONE HAD MEMORIZED THE CORRECT VERSION HE COULD OUT OF IGNORANCE COMMIT THE MISTAKE." [, pp. 58] and in the footnotes of [, pp. 58] we read that: "YAQUT REPORTS IN HIS BOOK THAT AL-HAJJAJ BIN YUSUF HIMSELF ONCE READ "AHABBA" IN 9:24 WRONGLY AS 'AHABBU'". [, pp. 58] and hence arose a need to have tashkil in order that the non-arabs could read the quraan in a proper way. and the oriental sources make use of this muslim source as well as other sources and expand the argument and draw the conclusions. in the book of Naabia Abbott we read: "WHEN WE COME TO CONSIDER THE VOWEL SIGNS, 1ST CENTURY MANUSCRIPTS ARE OF NO AID, SINCE NO SUCH SIGNS APPEAR IN ANY SECULAR DOCUMENT OF THAT DATE. HOWEVER, KUR'AN MANUSCRIPTS CREDITED TO THE PERIOD SHOW A CONSISTENT VOWEL SYSTEM IN WHICH A SINGLE RED DOT ABOVE, BELOW, OR TO THE SIDE OF A LETTER STOOD FOR THE VOWELS A, I, AND U RESPECTIVELY, AND TWO SUCH DOTS INDICATED THE TANWIN. THE TEXT OF EARLY KUR'ANS, HOWEVER, IS NEVER COMPLETELY VOWELED, THE VOWEL SIGN FOR ONE OR MORE OF THE LETTERS OF A GIVEN WORD BEING USED ONLY WHERE IT WAS ESSENTIAL FOR A CORRECT READING. THE ARABIC TRADITIONS PLACE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE SYSTEM EARLY IN THE MUSLIM ERA, IN FACT CREDITING 'ALI WITH IT. WHETHER 'ALI DESERVES THE CREDIT OR NOT MAKES LITTLE DIFFERENCE FOR THE DATE IN QUESTION, FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE SOURCES CREDIT A CONTEMPORARY OF 'ALI , ABU AL-ASWAD AL-DU'ALI, WITH THE SYSTEM. THEY TELL HOW, HAVING AT FIRST REFUSED TO INTRODUCE THE SYSTEM AT THE REQUEST OF ZIYAD IBN ABIHI, GOVERNOR OF IRAK, HE FINALLY DID SO WHEN HE HEARD THE KURAN BEING WRONGLY RECITED. THE SYSTEM COULD NOT HAVE BEEN WIDELY SPREAD OR GENERALLY USED, FOR WE FIND HAJJAJ FACING THE SAME PROBLEM IN IRAK AND ORDERING NASR IBN ASIM TO SAFEGUARD THE PRONUNCIATION OF THE KUR'AN; NASR, SO THE STORY GOES, INTRODUCED THE DOUBLE DOTS FOR THE TANWIN. EVEN THIS DID NOT ESTABISH THE GENERAL USE OF THE SYSTEM, FOR AGAIN WE FIND YAHYA IBN YA'MAR GIVEN CREDIT FOR IT, WHICH CREDIT IS LIKEWISE SHARED BY HASAN AL BASRI. STILL THESE EFFORTS AND THEIR RESULTS PROVED INSUFFICIENT, FOR AGAIN KHALIL IBN AHMAD IS CREDITED WITH INTRODUCING THE HAMZAH AND THE SHADDAH, THE RAUM AND THE ISHMAM, AS HE IS ALSO CREDITED WITH THE VOWEL SIGNS THAT ARE STILL IN USE FOR A, I, AND U. THE LAST WERE ORIGINALLY MINIATURES OF THE LETTERS ALIF, Y AND W, RESPECTIVELY." [, pp. 39] and in the book "Arabic Literature To The End of The Ummayad Period". regarding the introduction of dots and strokes in the arabic, we see that: "DOTS AND STROKES WERE INTRODUCED TO MARK READINGS, A METHOD APPARENTLY COPIED FROM THE USE IN SYRIAC TEXTS. FROM THE LIMITED INFORMATION WE HAVE, IT SEEMS THAT THESE MARKING WERE USED AT FIRST SIMPLY TO INDICATE THE VARIANTS, WITH THOSE PARTS OF THE TEXTS THAT WERE NOT IN DISPUTE BEING LEFT UNMARKED. THIS PRACTICE WAS FROWNED UPON IN MANY QUARTERS AS A DANGEROUS INNOVATION. HOWEVER, WITH THE STRONG SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNER OF IRAQ, THE FAMOUS AL-HAJJAJ BIN YUSUF, IT WAS DEVELOPED INTO A CONSISTENT SYSTEM WHICH COULD BE APPLIED TO THE WHOLE TEXT. THIS ALLOWED NOT ONLY FOR LETTERS OF THE SAME BASIC FORM TO BE DISTINGUISHED FROM ONE ANOTHER, BUT ALSO FOR SHORT VOWELS TO BE ADDED. IN ADDITION THE USE OF WEAK LETTERS TO MARK LONG VOWELS BECAME MORE SYSTEMATIC, AND THE MARKING OF "HAMZ" WAS INTRODUCED." [, pp. 243] and going further we read: "IT IS DIFFICULT TO ASSESS THE ROLE OF AL-HAJJAJ. WE MAY IGNORE THE ARGUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN 'ABD AL-MASIH AL-KINDI THAT AL-HAJJAJ WAS VERY MUCH RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR TEXT, AS THESE HAVE A POLEMICAL RATHER THAN FACTUAL BASIS. THE ACCOUNT MOST WIDELY FOUND HAS HIM ORDERING NASR BIN 'ASIM TO INTRODUCE THE MARKINGS TO SAFEGUARD THE PROTECTION OF THE TEXT. THIS IS A PLAUSIBLE REASON FOR THE INNOVATION, AND THE STORY IS UNCHALLENGED, DESPITE STRONG HOSTILITY OF THE SOURCES TOWARDS AL-HAJJAJ." [, pp. 243] now we have established two facts: firstly, the christian polemics of abd al-masih al-kindi and leo III has no factual basis. secondly, the need of tashkil or vowel signs arose because of the wrong readings by non-arabs and ignorant arabs. and now our aim is to estabhlish the exact role of al-hajjaj and what he did after the uthmanic collection. No, you have established that some authors consider them polemical. You know this orientalist's writing is not objective truth, not a revelation from God. But, I don't disagree with you. It might well be mostly polemics that claims that al-Hajjaj was "very much responsible for our text" as this sounds like he made most of the text up himself. I never claimed anything like it. My pages that you are attacking according to your intro to this posting, only claim that al-Hajjaj made changes to the consonantal text in eleven verses. Eleven out of about 6,200 verses. It was never ever claimed by me that he made substantial changes. In any case, this was one of Mr. Saifullah's already classical approaches to beat the straw dog if you don't have much to say about the presented argument. First greatly exaggerate the claim of the discussion partner, proceed to show that your own exaggeration was indeed an exaggeration and in the grand finale blame me for your(!) exaggerated argument and call it deceitful. Well, I am not falling for those tactics. So far, you have not addressed even a single argument from my pages. Let's see how you continue in the last quarter of your posting after the first 3/4 were definitely interesting information (and I learned from them, thanks for doing the research) but they also were completely irrelevant as a response to the arguments I posted or present on my web pages. "ACCORDING TO IBN ABI DAWUD ELEVEN CHANGES WERE MADE UNDER AL-HAJJAJ. THESE ARE AGAIN ACCORDING TO IBN ABI DAWUD, MISTAKES WHICH WERE MADE IN THE PREPARATION OF 'UTHMAN'S COPY." [, pp. 56] a further explanation of the changes that al-hajjaj made is dealt with in . "HOWEVER, THIS SEEMS TO BE ONLY A PARTIAL EXPLANATION OF WHAT HAPPENED. ON THE OTHER HAND WE HAVE THE TRADITION IN IBN ABI-DA'UD THAT AL-HAJJAJ WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ELEVEN CHANGES IN THE CONSONANTAL TEXT. IF THIS IS SO, HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A MINOR RECENSION AT LEAST. AGAINST THIS WE MUST SET THE EVIDENCE OF EARLY COPIES OF THE QURAN THAT HAVE SURVIVED. THESE SHOW THAT FOR SOME CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TIME THE NEW SYSTEM WAS USED SPARINGLY AND MAINLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE VARIANTS." [, pp. 243] and the above statements brings us to another important point. what happened to the oral transmission? were there any changes in that part of the transmission? I can't see your connection between the above quotation and the oral transmission, since the above statements do not mention "oral transmission" I can't see how they "bring you to this point". The only thing I can see [not having those books available] is that both of these citations affirm the the changes in the consonantal text of eleven verses. And the latter quotation seems to say that there were variants of the Qur'an text that were used in parallel, but it doesn't specify if those variants are just in pronounciation [and vowel dots] or if the author means that the pre-Hajjaj consonantal text was used in parallel with the recension by al-Hajjaj for some time. Which variants is this author talking about? the tradition of oral transmission in arabia is well known and does not need to be emphasized (see the books "Literary History of The Arabs" by Nicholson (1930, Cambridge University Press), & "Arabic Literature" by H A R Gibb (1963, Oxford at Clarendon Press), also check reference ). a few comments on the oral tradition of the quraan will suffice: "ORAL TRADITION HAS SERVED AS THE FINAL ARBITRATOR OF THE WRITTEN TRADITIONS; ONLY THOSE FRAGMENTS WRITTEN DOWN IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PROPHET WERE ACCEPTED AS MATERIAL FOR THE WRITTEN TEXT, AND ANY DIFFERENCES IN THE FRAGMENTS WERE SETTLED BY ORAL TRADITION. MUHAMMAD SPREAD THE MESSAGE BY SENDING OUT RECITERS, NOT TEXTS, AND CALIPH UTHMAN SENT WITH EACH COPY OF THE STANDARD TEXT A RECITER WHO COULD TEACH ITS RECITATION." [, pp. 3] This is actually an interesting quotation, but I wonder if that is only the opinion of this author or if she also brings some evidence for this opinion. Interestingly, she seems contradicts herself in this paragraph. If _only_ fragments _written_ in the presence of Muhammad were accepted as material for the written text, then it is the written text that is more important than the oral tradition, since passages which were not found written but only were memorized would not have been accepted. As such, the written text is above "purely oral" texts. adrian brockett in his article "The Value of Hafs and Warsh Transmissions for The Textual History of The Quraan" in  deals with various issues of the orally transmitted traditions and the seven ahruf in which the quraan can be recited. his conclusions regarding the oral side of quraan's transmission is: "THE TRANSMISSION OF THE QURAAN AFTER THE DEATH OF MUHAMMAD WAS ESSENTIALLY STATIC, RATHER THAN ORGANIC. THERE WAS A SINGLE TEXT, AND NOTHING SIGNIFICANT, NOT EVEN ALLEGEDLY ABROGATED MATERIAL, COULD BE TAKEN OUT NOR COULD ANYTHING BE PUT IN." [10, pp. 44] the famous orientalist John Burton had stated in the conclusions of his book "The Collection of The Quraan": "WHAT WE HAVE TODAY IN OUR HANDS IS THE MUSHAF OF MUHAMMAD." [, pp. 239-240] Now, this is quite an interesting use of sources. I don't have most of the books your are quoting and would have to take a substantial trip to other libraries to be able to check on your quotations whether they are in context or out of context and in particular what the presuppositions of the various authors were. Every conclusion is only as good as the basic assumptions and presuppositions it is derived from. If my axioms are incompatible we might as well forget all conclusions derived from them. And that is the blunder you have committed. In your discussion on the seven readings (ahruf) you brought as evidence [you even called it proof] a number of hadith to show that these seven readings are all divinely revealed and correct Qur'anic text. And now you quote John Burton's conclusion, which is built on diametrically opposed presuppositions. Let me quote a posting from the ISLAM-L mailing list from some weeks ago, when John Burton's conclusion was quoted there, it got the response (I have permission to repost this): ======================================================================== > But may I point out that John Burton who is a Professor of > Arabic at the University of Edinburgh and has been studying > the subject for thirty years maintains that the codex > we have in our hands is that which was approved and edited by the > Prophet - it is the codex of MuHammad. Now I'm not saying that > Mr Gilchrist is unnecessarily prejudiced but I do feel that > Professor Burton's credentials are superior in this regard > - wouldn't you agree ? Well, accepting Mr. Burton's conclusions implies accepting his premisses. If I remember correctly, his conclusion (that what we have in our hands today is the codex of Muhammad) is based on his assumption that *all* of the hadiths dealing with the collection of the Qur'an are forged. His thesis doesn't make sense in any other way. Thus when accepting his thesis, we have to accept that at least some of the hadiths which muslim tradition holds as sahih are in fact forged without anybody noticing, and that at least in this example no traditions of the event as it really happened are recorded anywhere. This would be a rather strong point against the authenticity of the hadith literature. But I haven't found many people so far who agree with Mr. Burton's findings. His assumptions seem to be rather arbitrary to me. I didn't find his argument convincing that all hadiths on this subject were forged and not a single hint survived of what really happened. Greetings, Andreas Goerke ======================================================================== So, Mr. Saifullah, and Mr. Lomax (since I know that Mr. Lomax has read John Burton carefully), here the blame goes to both of you. Are you quoting John Burton's conclusion because you are in agreement with his premises? From many of your earlier postings I didn't have the impression that you are a "Qur'an only" activist. You do put usually a good measure of trust into the sahih hadith, and Mr. Saifullah even quoted them as *proof* for the issue of the seven readings. But if you consider sahih hadith as trustworthy you cannot with intellectual honestly use Burton's conclusion as if it dovetails nicely with all quotations of all the other authors you quoted. This is indeed deceptive or at least extremely careless. I don't know most of the books/authors quoted here. But seeing the quote of Burton (ab)used in this way it might actually be worthwhile to investigate the presuppositions of the other authors and to see whether they are consistent or if we actually have a lot scrap more of these nice quotes because one cannot have all of them if they are built on contradictory assumptions. people in the west have reached this conclusion long time ago. and this is not something newly discovered. W Muir in his book "The Life of Mahomet" states: "THE RECENSION OF 'UTHMAN HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN TO US UNALTERED. SO CAREFULLY, INDEED, HAS IT BEEN PRESERVED, THAT THERE ARE NO VARAITIONS OF IMPORTANCE, - WE MIGHT ALMOST SAY NO VARIATIONS AT ALL, - AMONGST THE INNUMERABLE COPIES OF THE QURAN SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE VAST BOUNDS OF EMPIRE OF ISLAM. CONTENDING AND EMBITTERED FACTIONS, TAKING THEIR RISE IN THE MURDER OF 'UTHMAN HIMSELF WITHIN A QUARTER OF A CENTURY FROM THE DEATH OF MUHAMMAD HAVE EVER SINCE RENT THE MUSLIM WORLD. YET BUT ONE KORAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN CURRENT AMONGST THEM.... THERE IS PROBABLY IN THE WORLD NO OTHER WORK WHICH HAS REMAINED TWELVE CENTURIES WITH SO PURE A TEXT." [, pp. xxii-xxiii] if you see this book you will find that the author sir w muir put the words "ONE KORAN" in capital letters to stress the point. Muir's book is a century old. Not exactly the most up to date scholarship. But even he says "no variants of importance" i.e. he acknowledges the existence of variants only that they do not in any substantial way influence the central meaning of the text. Furthermore, his statement is a comparative one not an absolute one. Yes, in comparision with other texts the Qur'an might well be the one best preserved text of comparative age. But that is a statement on relative purity, and in particular, I can't see what this statement has to do with our topic as al-Hajjaj doesn't even seem to be mentioned. Also, (as far as I remember Sir Muir has written several books, but in any case) "The Life of Mohammad", which you quote here, is probably not expected to go into great detail on textual transmission since that is not the topic as the title indicates. The reference even shows that this is a comment from the introduction to the book and not even from the main body of the text, so that is part of the "side remarks" the book starts out with and not a conclusion after detailed discussion of this very issue of textual transmission. As such, this quote isn't much of an authority. But the most important point is: Does Sir Muir discuss al-Hajjaj at all? If not, how on earth can you bring him as witness into this discussion? The same holds for many of your other quotes which don't seem to discuss al-Hajjaj but textual transmission in general. But these conclusions on transmission will never be based on the consonantal change in 11 words when those are insignificantly small in a book of over 6,2000 verses. I would have prefered to see you cite literature that doesn't discuss the text "in general" but the recension of al-Hajjaj and the quotations of ibn Abi Dawud in particular. But for some reason you have not touched on this at all. John Gilchrist gives the eleven consonantal changes, he gives the citations from ibn Abi Dawud and he discusses them at some length. You have titled your posting "al-hajjaj revisited" but you have not discussed al-Hajjaj at all [other than in passing remarks] and have instead brought many quotations on transmission of the Qur'an text "in general" but this was not the topic. You should be glad that I not your professor and don't have to give you grades. I would have to write under your paper: The student has shown much zeal and effort and amassed many interesting quotations. Sadly they are partially contradictory, but the most severe problem is that he has missed the assigned topic altogether. and coming back to the modern scholarship and summarizing the issue: "MODERN STUDY OF THE QURAAN HAS NOT IN FACT RAISED ANY SERIOUS QUESTIONS OF ITS AUTHENTICITY. THE STYLE VARIES, BUT IS ALMOST UNMISTAKABLE. SO CLEARLY THAT THE WHOLE BEAR THE STAMP OF UNIFORMITY THAT DOUBTS OF ITS GENUINENESS HARDLY ARISE." [, pp. 51] I never said anything else. What is your point? and these are not the statements from muslims but from the orientalists who are all out to check out the quraan and its scholarship by muslims. in other words if the quraan has changed after the death of muhammad (saw) then we would have been seeing lots of changes in the quraan but surprisingly one finds that the transmission has been static i.e., unchanging. and historically speaking, there is no evidence for a sudden change in the oral transmission when al-hajjaj corrected the 'uthmanic manuscripts either. How would "evidence for a sudden change in the oral transmission" look like? The only thing we have is written evidences. And concluding from your quotations on textual transmission of the Qur'an "in general" to your last remarks is a complete non-sequitur since you have not investigated the topic of al-Hajjaj's recension. Quotations that are not about al-Hajjaj cannot give you a basis on which to draw conclusions about al-Hajjaj. What then do you make of ibn Abi Dawud? Are you going to discuss this in a second part? You have not indicated that you plan to write a part two. that leads us to the conclusion that al-hajjaj did not tamper with the text of the quraan or rather he made corrections of the errors which the scribes made in the 'uthmanic text. Again, you make conclusions from silence and out of thin air. Why do you completely disregard ibn Abi Dawud? and allah knows the best. truth is from allah and mistakes are mine. Something we can easily agree on. Sincerely, Jochen Katz ma'assalama saifullah References ----------  "Ghevond's Text of The Correspondence Between 'Umar II and Leo III", 1944, Arthur Jeffery, Harvard Theological Review, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.  "The Quraan As Scripture": 1952, Arthur Jeffery, Russell F Moore Company Inc. New York.  "Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World", 1977, P Crone and M Cook, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 21133 6  "Discovering the Quran: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text", 1996, Neal Robinson, SCM Press Ltd. ISBN 0 334 02649 0  "An Introduction To Islam", 1995, David Waines, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 42929 3  "'Ulum Al-Qura'n", 1994, Ahmad von Denffer, The Islamic Foundation, ISBN 0 86037 248 0  "The Rise Of The North Arabic Script & Its Kuranic Development", 1939, Nabia Abbott, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.  "Arabic Literature To The End of The Ummayad Period", 1983, Ed. A F L Beeston, T M Johnstone, R B Serjeant and G R Smith, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 24015 8  "The Art of Reciting The Quraan", Kristina Nelson, 1985, University of Texas Press, Austin. ISBN 0-292-70367-8  "Approaches of The History of Interpretation of The Quraan", 1988, edited by Andrew Rippin, Clarendon Press, Oxford.  "The Collection of The Quraan", 1979, John Burton, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 29652 8  "The Life of Mohammad", 1912, W Muir, Edinburgh, John Grant.  "Introduction to the Quraan", 1994, W M Watt & R Bell, Edinburgh at University Press. ISBN 0 7468 0597 5
And as we see below, part 2 doesn't give any more answer to the real issues than part 1 above ...
From Metallica <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam Subject: al-hajjaj and the state of arabic language Date: Thu Jul 17 11:13:42 EDT 1997 Organization: University of Cambridge, England Message-Id: <email@example.com> assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu: in my last post "al-hajjaj revisited" we have seen how some of the christian polemics started by the letter of leo III to 'umar II became quite rife [, pp. 292, 298] and source of all further work even in this century [, pp. 18]. of course, all of this is rejected by the orientalists who have studies the quraan in this century [, pp. 56,, pp. 273-274]. and interestingly enough the line of attack against the quraan is not yet exhausted. i was trying to skim through various sources to see what are the other ways of attacking the quraan by orientalists who have used the christian polemic sources. one such reference is from the "Journal of The Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society" which is about "The Transmission of The Quraan". since it is a huge article, i am quoting only the conclusions which the author alphonse mingana has made from a point of view of rudimentary state of arabic language during the time of the prophet (saw). he says: "IF ALL THE SIGNS DO NOT MISLEAD US, VERY FEW ORACULAR SENTENCES, IF ANY, WERE WRITTEN IN THE TIME OF THE PROPHET. THE KIND OF LIFE HE LED, AND THE RUDIMENTARY CHARACTER OF READING AND WRITING IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD IN WHICH HE APPEARED, ARE SUFFICIENT WITNESSES IN FAVOUR OF THIS VIEW. OUR IGNORANCE OF THE ARABIC LANGUAGE IN THAT EARLY PERIOD OF ITS EVOLUTION IS SUCH THAT WE CAN NOT EVEN KNOW WITH CERTAINITY WHETHER IT HAD ANY WRITINGS OF ITS OWN IN MACCAH OR MADINAH. IF ANY WRITING EXISTED IN THESE TWO LOCALITIES, IT MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR TO THE ESTRANGELO OR THE HEBRAIC CHARACTERS." [, pp. 45] the author also claims that arabs learnt the art of writing from jews and christians. [, pp. 46] and only during the time of abd al-malik and al-hajjaj (using the al-kindi polemic) the quraan was brought into the shape that we have today. now since we are concerned about the state of written arabic language arabic language when the quraan was compiled we need to check into the sources. nabia abbott answers the above allegations of mingana in his book . "THE CONDITION OF ARABIC WRITING IN MUHAMMAD'S TIME IS INDICATED BY PERF NO. 558 (our plates IV-V), AN ARABIC PAPYRUS OF THE REIGN OF 'UMAR DATED A.H. 22 AND WRITTEN IN A FAIRLY WELL DEVELOPED MANUSCRIPT HAND IN THE DISTANT PROVINCE OF EGYPT, WHERE GREEK AND COPTIC WERE THE WRITTEN LANGUAGES IN GENERAL USE. IF WRITTEN ARABIC WAS SO PRIMITIVE AND RARE IN ITS OWN HOMELAND AT THE TIME OF MUHAMMAD'S DEATH, HOW DO WE ACCOUNT FOR ITS PRACTICAL USE IN EGYPT ONLY A SHORT DOZEN YEARS AFTER THAT EVENT? AGAIN TO GRANT THE INCOMPLETE DEVELOPMENT OF ORTHOGRAPHY WOULD GIVE US REASON TO SUSPECT ONLY THE ORTHOGRAPHIC ACCURACY OF EARLY QURAANIC EDITIONS BUT NOT THE POSSIBILITY OF THEIR EXISTENCE. IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT NOWHERE IN THE TRADITIONS OF THE EARLIEST TRANSMISSION OF THE QURAAN IS THERE ANY HINT OF SERIOUS ORTHOGRAPHIC OR VOWEL DIFFICULTIES; RATHER IT IS THE DIFFERENCES IN THE ARABIC TRIBAL DIALECTS AND DIFFERENCES ARISING OUT OF FOREIGNER'S USE OF ARABIC THAT SEEM TO DEMAND ATTENTION. THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS LEAD ONE TO BELIEVE THAT, IF WE ALLOW FOR SUCH COMMON MISTAKES AS WRITERS AND COPYISTS ARE LIABLE TO MAKE, THE ARABIC WRITERS OF MUHAMMAD'S TIME AND OF THE TIME OF EARLY CALIPHS WERE ABLE SCRIBES CAPABLE OF PRODUCING AN ACCEPTABLE EDITION OF A WRITTEN QURAAN DESPITE THE LACK OF ALL THE IMPROVEMENTS OF MODERN WRITTEN ARABIC. [, pp. 48] that proves the point rather well. and we never know christian missionaries can come up with an argument even along these lines. so, it is better to be ahead of them in their arguments. and another interesting point which nabia abbott raises that there was no mention of quraan in the writings of earlier christian writers. about the christian writers in early islam he says: "WHY SHOULD WE EXPECT WRITERS WHOM THEIR OWN TESTIMONY PROVES TO HAVE BEEN SO INCAPABLE OF KEEPING UP WITH THE MARCH OF EVENTS ALL AROUND THEM THAT THEY EVEN FAILED TO REALIZE THAT A NEW RELIGIOUS IDEA, MONOTHEISM, WAS TAKING HOLD OF THEIR ARAB NEIGHBOURS AND MASTERS - WHY SHOULD WE EXPECT SUCH MEN TO BE SO WIDE AWAKE AND SO WELL INFORMED AS POSITIVELY TO KNOW OF A MUSLIM BOOK OF WHICH, AT THE BEST, BUT A FEW COPIES WERE IN EXISTENCE AND THOSE FEW CAREFULLY GUARDED FROM "UNBELIEVERS"? EVEN IF WE SUPPOSE THAT SOME OF THEM DID KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON, THEIR INTERESTS WERE LARGELY LIMITED TO THEIR CONGREGATIONS AND TO CHRISTIAN HERESY THAT THE CHANCES ARE AS GOOD, PARTICULARLY IN EARLY ISLAMIC TIMES, FOR THEIR NOT MENTIONING THE QURAAN AS FOR THEIR MENTIONING IT; THEREFORE THEIR FAILURE TO MENTION THE QURAAN IN THEIR WRITINGS MUST BE IN GENERAL VIEWED AS INCONCLUSIVE, CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE." well, abbott has in fact raised a very important point regarding the ignorance of christian writers during the time of early islam and this does not go unsubstantiated for we have the proof of corrspondence between 'umar II and leo III. leo III writes: "IN BRIEF YOU ADMIT THAT WE SAY THAT IT (i.e., quraan) WAS WRITTEN BY GOD, AND BROUGHT DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS, AS YOU PRETEND FOR YOUR FURQAN, ALTHOUGH WE KNOW THAT IT WAS 'UMAR, ABU TURAB AND SALMAN THE PERSIAN, WHO COMPOSED THAT, EVEN THOUGH THE RUMOUR HAS GOT AROUND AMONG YOU THAT GOD SENT IT DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS." [, pp. 292] and continuing the letter of leo III to umar II, we see that: "AS FOR YOUR (BOOK), YOU HAVE ALREADY GIVEN US EXAMPLES OF SUCH FALSIFICATIONS, AND ONE KNOWS, AMONG OTHERS, OF A CERTAIN HAJJAJ, NAMED BY YOU AS THE GOVERNER OF PERSIA, WHO HAD MEN GATHERED UP YOUR ANCIENT BOOKS, WHICH HE REPLACED BY OTHERS COMPOSED BY HIMSELF, ACCORDING TO HIS TASTE, AND WHICH HE PROPAGATED EVERYWHERE IN YOUR NATION, BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER BY FAR TO UNDERTAKE SUCH A TASK AMONG THE PEOPLE SPEAKING A SINGLE LANGUAGE. FROM THIS DESTRUCTION, NEVERTHELESS, THERE ESCAPED A FEW WORKS OF ABU TURAB, FOR HAJJAJ COULD NOT MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY." [, pp. 298] and in the footnotes jeffery mentions that "THIS IS A RATHER CONFUSED REFERENCE TO THE WORK OF AL-HAJJAJ ON THE TEXT OF THE QURAAN.THE ORTHODOX MUSLIM THEORY ASSUMES THAT THE TEXT AS CANONIZED BY 'UTHMAN WAS THE FINAL CANONIZATION, BUT THERE IS A REASON TO BELIEVE THAT A RECENSION OF 'UTHMAN'S TEXT WAS MADE BY THE DIRECTION OF AL-HAJJAJ, SO THAT WE ONLY KNOW OF THE TEXT OF 'UTHMAN IN THIS LATER RECENSION. THIS FACT WAS APPARENTLY WELL KNOWN TO ORIENTAL CHRISTIAN WRITERS, FOR AL-KINDI IN HIS APOLOGY, SPEAKS OF AL-HAJJAJ NOT LEAVING A SINGLE CODEX THAT HE DID NOT GATHER UP, AND LEFT OUT MANY THINGS, AND OF WHICH HE SENT OUT COPIES OF HIS NEW RECENSION, AND DIRECTED HIS ATTENTION TO DESTROYING THE OLDER CODICES. THIS STATEMENT OF AL-KINDI HAS ALWAYS BEEN LOOKED AT ASKANCE AS A PIECE OF CHRISTIAN POLEMIC." [, pp. 298] and hence we see the gross ignorance on their part regarding the events happening in the islamic empire. as usual, my request to jochen is to stick this post in his homepage too along with the first one. this completes my argument. and allah knows best. ma'assalama saifullah REFERENCES ----------  "Ghevond's Text of The Correspondence Between 'Umar II and Leo III", 1944, Arthur Jeffery, Harvard Theological Review, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.  "Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World", 1977, P Crone and M Cook, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 21133 6  "Discovering the Quran: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text", 1996, Neal Robinson, SCM Press Ltd. ISBN 0 334 02649 0  "An Introduction To Islam", 1995, David Waines, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 42929 3  "The Transmission of The Quraan", 1916, Alphonse Mingana, Journal of The Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society, Manchester at the University Press.  "The Rise Of The North Arabic Script & Its Kuranic Development", 1939, Nabia Abbott, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Later Mr. Saifullah continued to write on this topic, but instead asked only Mr. Adnan Khan to link the further discussion from his site which is the place where I accidentally found it.
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