Part 2: The True State Of The Qur'an

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   Before we examine what can only be described as some thousands of other tamperings to ‘Uthman’s texts, we recall that Islam does not at all claim to have an ‘ordinary Book’, something which may be compared to what ‘the People of the Gospel’ possess.

  What Islam openly boasts for the Qur’an can only be met with one answer if it fails to be so - Allah failed. The need for tampering because of many problems, let alone the need to acknowledge that the ‘NO’/’YES’ problem just examined is considered ‘original’ can mean only one thing in Islam - a need for rejecting the Qur’an.

  Consequently, the true situation for Islam is best exemplified in a conversation Mr. Deedat tells us he had with a member of the non-Christian Jehovah’s Witness cult. He relates how he handed the young man a Jehovah’s Witness publication entitled Awake! in which was an article titled "50,000 Errors in The Bible?". The young man’s interchange with Mr. Deedat is given as:

"He began, "The article says that "most of these errors have been eliminated." I asked "If MOST are eliminated, how many remain out of 50 000? 5 000? 5 00? 50? Even if 50 remain, do you attribute those errors to God?" He was speechless." (Is the Bible God’s Word?, Ahmed Deedat, p. 14; underlining added)

  Of course, it is Islam which must be "speechless", for there are two (2) major differences here. First, as the complete text of the article (available from IPCI) tells us, the reference to ‘error’ was to the early English translations being inaccurate because of insufficient knowledge of the ‘original’ language at the time when these translations were made - almost 400 years ago. 

  Secondly, the obvious problem for the followers of Islam though, is not whether even one ‘error’ is in either the early English translations, or even in the ‘originals’ of the Bible, but that there are errors in the ‘perfect protected Qur’an’ - placed in the ‘originals’ by men who did not only know how to write well but were responsible for writing down "the exact Words of Allah"

  Thus it admits such errors [perhaps it was the intended text?] are in the ‘original Arabic’ not mere translations, and that Islam not only keeps publishing them, but keeps tampering with them to make them appear not to exist - even when it has also to change the translations from ‘NO’ to ‘YES’. Please - tell us no more stories about ‘perfection’. 

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  Further, as we have just seen again, Islam has varying numbers of such ‘problems’ from text to text. 

  In the end, it is to the followers of Islam that Mr. Deedat’s question must be addressed:

"If MOST are eliminated, how many remain out of 50 000? 5 000? 5 00? 50? Even if 50 remain, do you attribute those errors to God?"

  If you do not believe these errors are from "Allah", then you attribute them to man, and another of Mr. Deedat’s assertions must be applied to you:

"If words have any meaning, do we need to add another word of comment to prove our case? No! But the professional propagandists, after letting the cat out of the bag, still have the face to try and make their readers believe that they have proved beyond the shadow of any doubt that the [Qur’an] is the "irrefragable Word of God." Their semantic gymnastics - equivocating, and playing with words - is amazing!
Both these Doctors of Religion are telling us in the clearest language humanly possible that the [Qur’an] is the handiwork of man, all the while pretending that they were proving to the contrary." (Is the Bible God’s Word?, Ahmed Deedat, p. 2)
[The word irrefragable is footnoted by Mr.Deedat as meaning indisputable]

  According to all that Islam has claimed, these statements fully apply to those in Islam. Islam has been playing verbal games, in one breath claiming the Qur’an is "the Words of Allah", both ‘Perfect’ and ‘Protected’, and in the next admitting that the multitude of errors in them are because of men - even because of Muhammad. In the Islamic theology about the Qur’an, these two cannot coexist! If they are "the Words of Allah" and ‘Preserved’ then they cannot contain errors or Allah is charged with imperfection!

  The cries of "perfect Qur’an" and "50 000 errors in the Bible" can only be seen as an ‘outwitting’ meant to make it easier for Islam to hide the massive number of errors from those who are ignorant of the truth.

  By centring its argument on the claim of a "perfect Qur’an" with only "the Words of Allah", it sought to create in the mind of its followers the illusion that it was better than everyone else. By claiming ‘Perfection’ and ‘Protection’ it hoped to ensure that its people would believe its railing accusations against the content of the Scripture of the People of the Gospel.

  This means that the early scholars who in spite of all this accepted the Qur’an as "the Words of Allah" had to busy themselves with trying to piece together a text which they could display as ‘the revealed one’. At the same time they also admitted having incorporated ‘original errors’ from the ‘Uthmanic copies as part of their ‘Divine revelation’, and proceeded to alter ‘NO’ to ‘YES"!

  Surely this state of the Qur’an should not only strike terror in the heart 

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of the followers of Islam, but it should also open everyone’s eyes to the fact that there never was any such thing as a ‘sent down Book’ with ‘only the Words of God’ which was kept in a ‘perfect and preserved’ state. 

The Qur’an provides much ‘Proof’ against itself in this matter as we are about to see. However, before we do so let us look again at a couple of the public claims we noted earlier: 

"The Qur’an, which is now in use all over the world, is the exact copy of the Qur’an which was compiled by the order of Hadrat Abu Bakr and copies of which were officially sent by Hadrat `Uthman to different places. Even today many very old copies are found in the big libraries in different parts of the world and if anyone has any doubt as to whether the Qur’an has remained absolutely safe and secure against every kind of change and alteration, he can compare any copy of the Qur’an with any of these copies and reassure himself. Moreover, if one gets a copy of the Qur’an from a bookseller, say, of Algeria in Africa in the West and compares it with a copy obtained from a bookseller, say, of Java in the East, one will find both copies to be identical with each other and also with the copies of the Qur’an made during the time of Hadrat `Uthman. ... This is a clear and irrefutable proof of the fact that the Qur’an which is in use today is the same Qur’an which was presented to the world by Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him). A sceptic might entertain a doubt about its revelation from Allah, but none can have any doubt whatsoever regarding its authenticity and immunity and purity from any and every kind of addition or omission or alteration, for there is nothing so authentic in the whole human history as this fact about the Qur’an that it is the same Qur’an that was presented by the Holy Prophet to the world." (The Meaning of Qur’an, Maududi, as in the Introduction, The Holy Qur’an, p.xxxv, Islamic Foundation U.K., 1975) 

We have already seen that the ‘old copies’ are not as the modern ones. However, this assertion further claims a perfect adherence to the ‘Uthmanic graphic form world-wide - something that has already been disproven in the ‘NO’ / ‘YES" section. But, there is more to view on the topic of graphic differences. 

Also there are even more extreme claims made: 

"Letters and Wovels (sic) counted: How much care has been devoted by Muslims to safeguard the Qur’an from any possible alteration may be seen from the fact that they counted not only the Ayats and Ruku, but every single letter of the alphabet; and every single sign of wovel (sic) has been meticulously counted and recorded. For example, we know that there are 48872  [alif] and 11428  [ba] and so on. Also we know that the Qur’an has 53243 Fatha ( ) and 1258 Tashdid ( ) [i.e. shadda]." (Qur’an and Hadith, Seyyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, p. 37f; emphasis added).

Can we simply accept such proclamations without examining

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them? The reader must judge the evidence as to how true such statements are.
He must also judge how much of what he is seeing belongs in the category of what Ibn Khaldun described as:

"One may compare what happened to the orthography of the Qur’an on account of this situation. The men around Muhammad wrote the Qur’an in their own script which, was not of a firmly established, good quality. Most of the letters were in contradiction to the orthography required by persons versed in the craft of writing...
No attention should be paid in this connection with those incompetent (scholars) that (the men around Muhammad) knew well the art of writing and that the alleged discrepancies between their writing and the principles of orthography are not discrepancies, as has been alleged, but have a reason." (Muqqadimah, ibn Khaldun, vol. 2, p.382, emphasis added).

  It must be admitted that this last statement about "most of the letters were in contradiction to the orthography required by persons versed in the craft of writing" leaves us with the image that Muhammad’s scribes were like a group of bush men who have encountered people who write, and then made some sort of attempt at duplicating the sounds they made with similar symbols onto "bones, flat stones, palm leaves".

  Anyone who has seen a semiliterate person attempt to write will know what we are talking about. How well would we expect such persons to do with the simplest of words, let alone a complex sentence? How well, then, do we expect the men around Muhammad do with the complex text of the Arabic Qur’an?

  It is only by viewing the existing texts of the Qur’an with this historical mindset that we can get a glimpse from ibn Khaldun’s perspective and grasp the answer to the question of how well they did. It is then that we will see the fallacy of the many ‘outwittings’ which tell us how the Qur’an’s Arabic shows only ‘the Hand of Allah’ and not that of man. 

 The section which follows combines all the above subjects - the correlation between the texts world-wide; the truth about whether there is an ‘exact’ number of alifs and shaddas; the examination of some admitted errors of Muhammad’s scribes.

  It is a broad examination of broad claims and admissions.

[NOTE: We apologise for the thick appearance of some of the scans of the Muhammad Hamidullah article. This is due to the quality of the copy received.]

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