Part 2: The True State Of The Qur’an

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a/ The ‘Seven Readers’

  While we will examine more fully the origins of the ‘7 Readings’ later, it is necessary to introduce them at this point since the content of the texts of Caliph ‘Uthman have been relayed through history as part of Islam’s ‘oral tradition’, which is the sole record of these ‘readings’. 

  Von Denffer makes an important point about the ‘7 readings’: 

"The ‘seven ‘ahruf’ are however, not identical with the well-known ‘seven readings.’ These came about in a later age." (Ulum, p. 117; emphasis added). 1

In fact, although abu Da’ud (d. 275 A.H.) had earlier written a book about the ‘Seven Readings’2, the records of Islam claim it was not until 322 A.H. in Baghdad, that ibn Mujahid and the Islamic hierarchy, implemented the present seven ‘readings’ as what was ‘officially’ to be used in reciting the Qur’an. As Von Denffer states it: 

"The ‘seven readings’ were standardised in the second/eighth century. Ibn Mujahid, a ninth-century Muslim scholar, wrote a book entitled The Seven Readings, in which he selected seven of the prevailing modes of recitation as the best transmitted and most reliable. Others were subsequently disfavoured and even opposed, among them the readings of ibn Mas’ud and ‘Ubay bin Ka’b." (Ulum, p.119)

  These then are ‘reading systems’ which have become associated with the names of specific individuals through whom they are traced, although they are not declared to be the originators of these ‘systems’ .They are listed here according to the respective Islamic centres where not only did each one live, but where they would have been expected to use the ‘Uthmanic text from that centre. Thus we have: 

  from Medinah (Nafi, d. 169 A.H.);
  from Meccah (ibn Kathir, d.120 A.H.); 
  from Damascus (ibn ‘Amir, d. 118 A.H.); 
  from Basrah (Abu ‘Amr, d. 148 A.H.); 
  from Kufah (‘Asim, d.127 A.H. ; Hamza, d. 156 A.H. ; al-Kisai, d. 189 A.H.). 

  In addition, three other ‘readers’ are accepted as filling this out to ‘the Ten’. The additional three are: 

  from Medinah (Abu Ja’far, d. 130 A.H.); 
  from Basrah (Ya’qub, d.205 A.H.); 
  from Kufah (Khalaf, d. 229 A.H.). 

  Again, others accept four more as constituting ‘the Fourteen’

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The additional four are: 
from Basrah (Hasan al-Basri, d. 110 A.H.; Yahya al-Yazidi, d.202 A.H.), 
from Meccah (ibn Muhaisin, d. 123 A.H.); 
from Kufah (al-’Amash, d. 148 A.H.). (see Ulum, p.119f.) 

b/ Several Of These ‘Readings’ Are Still In Print Today

 Although it is not readily apparent to Westerners, at present there are several ‘readings’ of the Qur’an in print among the Islamic peoples. 

 For our purpose we will examine two of these, namely, those purported to be of Warsh ‘an (according to) Nafi (d. 169 A.H.), and Hafs ‘an ‘Asim (d. 127 A.H.). As just noted, Nafi and ‘Asim were living at Medinah and Kufah respectively. Thus, one would expect to find that the ‘Uthmanic consonantal symbol texts underlying their ‘readings’ should indicate what errors these ‘Uthmanic texts contained. 

 As to the present use of these texts, Von Denffer relates: 

"...the reading transmitted by Warsh is widespread in Africa, except Egypt, where, as now in almost all other parts of the Muslim world, the reading transmitted by Hafs is observed." (Ulum, p.119, emphasis added).3

c/ ‘Expected’ Variations Between The Hafs and Warsh ‘Readings’

  As one would expect, between two differing ‘readings’4 there are variations in vowelling, obtained by the varying application of the short vowel signs of fatha  (the short stroke representing short ‘a’), kasra  (stroke underneath for a short ‘i’), and damma  (sign for a short ‘u’), things the Arabs admit were invented for writing in later times. 

 And Von Denffer openly acknowledges vowelling differences, underscoring his photographic Plates 7 and 8 with the comments: 

"A page from a printed Qur’an from North Africa...The text is vowelled according to the reading of Warsh."


"A page from a printed Qur’an from Jordan. The text is vowelled according to the reading of Hafs." (Ulum, rear of book; emphasis added).

 However, Von Denffer does not provide any examples of the other type of variation one would expect to find between the Hafs and Warsh ‘readings’, namely variations in consonants obtained through the use of different combinations of the diacritical dots. These are what indicate which consonant the original ‘consonantal symbol’ is to represent. 

 Such variations are plentiful. A few follow: 
 -Q 3:81 Ataytukum) / AtaynAkum) [diacritics give the letters nun and ta]; 

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 -Q2:259 nunshizuhA) / nunshiruhA) [diacritics give ra and za]; 
 -Q2:140 taqUlUna ( ) / yaqUlUna) [diacritics give ta and ya]5

d/ ‘Uthman's Corruptions Accepted As Divine Qur’an Till Today

 However, modern Islam seems bent on eluding what classical Islamic scholars have stated plainly, that part of the reason that the ‘reading’ of Warsh (from Nafi) is indeed different from the ‘reading’ of Hafs (from ‘Asim), is that they bear the marks of the consonantal symbol differences contained in the manuscript which Caliph ‘Uthman sent to Medina (the one which Nafi used), and the one which he sent to Kufa (the one which ‘Asim used).6

 A statement from ancient Islamic authorities like the following concerning Q2:132 where the Hafs reading is wawaSSA ( ), and the Warsh is wa‘awSa), clearly declares the corruption of the manuscripts: 

"Nafi, Abu Jafar and Ibn ‘Amir read wa‘awSa, which was how it was in the texts of the Medinese and the Syrians. The rest of the "ten" [readers] read wawaSSA which was how it was in their texts." 
(Ibn al-Jazari, al-Nashr, II, 212ff; cited from The Value..., A. Brockett, pp. 35f; emphasis added).7

 At-Tabari, Abu ‘Ubayda, al-Farra, ad-Dani, and az-Zamakshari, all admitted this consonantal symbol discrepancy in the texts of Caliph ‘Uthman. 

 Ad-Dani also noted many others: 

"This and the following example are for al-Dani (d.444/1053), two items in a long list, although he adds concerning this particular entry that Abu ‘Ubayda (d.224/838) saw wa‘awSa in the Imam, the mushaf ‘Uthman." 
(The footnote #18 reads "Al-Dani, al-Mugni...109,116,118)

[N.B.- Reproductions of Ad-Dani’s Al-Muqni, and full Qur’anic texts for all examples are provided in this present writing at end the of this Chapter]. 

 Among the other examples of textual corruption noted in ad-Dani’s al-Mugni are the following, arranged with the Hafs reading first: 
 - wasAri’U ( )/ sAri’U ) (Q3:133) [consonantal symbol ‘waw’ {= ‘and’} is present in the Hafs (Kufan) text but is missing in the Warsh (Medinan) text. 
 - yartadda ( )/ yartadid ( ) (Q5:54) [a second consonantal symbol ‘dal’ is present in the Hafs (Kufan) but not in Warsh (Medinan)]8
 - yA‘ibAdi ( )/ yA‘ibAdI ( ) (Q43:68) [consonantal symbol ya in the Warsh (Medinan) text, is not in the Hafs (Kufan) text].9

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 - Q5:53 wa yaqUlu-lazIna ( ) /yaqU-lulzina)- [Hafs text has a waw {= ‘and’}, which is omitted in the Warsh (Medinan) text.]. 
 - Q9:107 walladhIna ( ) / ildhIna ) - [Hafs has waw {= ‘and’}, which is omitted in the Warsh (Medinan) text.].10
 - Q18:36 minhA) / minhumA) [The Hafs text omits the mim which is in the Warsh (Medinan) texts.]. 11
 - Q40:26 ’aw’an ( ) / wa’an ( ) - [The Hafs (Kufan) text has alif waw {= ‘or’}; the Warsh (Medinan) text has only waw {= ‘and’}.]. 
 - Q42:30 fabimA [kasabat] ( ) / bimA [kasabata] ( ) - [The Hafs reading has fa {= ‘then’}; the Warsh (Medinan) text omits it.]. 
 - Q57:24 huwa alghanI ( ) / alghanI) - [The Hafs (Kufan) text includes the word huwa {= ‘he’}; the Warsh (Medinan) text omits the word huwa.].12
 - Q 26:217 - "The Medinan (and Syrian) reading "fatawakkal" [ ] for the Kufan "watawakkal" [ ] ..."13 - [fa {= ‘then’} in the Warsh (Medinan) text, but waw {= ‘and’} in the Hafs (Kufan) text]. 
 - Q91:15 - wa lAyakhAfu ( ) / falAyakhAfu) - [The Hafs (Kufan) text has a waw {= ‘and’}, whereas Warsh (Medinan) text has a fa {= ‘then’}]. 
 Three other differences in the graphic forms are: 
 - Q2:72 - ( ) / ( ) - [The alif is omitted in the Hafs (Kufan) text but is present in the Warsh (Medinan) text.]. 
 - Q72:16 - ( ) / ( ) - [The Hafs (Kufan) text omits the nun, which is present in the Warsh (Medinan) text.] 
 - Q73:20 - ( ) / ( ) - [The Hafs (Kufan) text omits the nun, which is present in the Warsh (Medinan) text.]. 

 These are obviously the type of things which it is said ‘Uthman saw as corruptions in the "first copy" of the last ‘Form’. They are ‘corruptions’ which Islamic authorities continue to authorise for print while denying their existence before an unsuspecting world! 

e/ "This Would Question The Perfection Of God And The Validity Of The Text"

 While the Qur’an Islam claims to revere says "Who does more harm than he who tells a lie against Allah", it seems obvious that those who claim "Not one letter has changed", and "They will be found to be identical", etc., are doing a great deal of lying! 
 But what of the Hizb ut-Tahrir declaration that, "Any text claiming 


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be divine must not contain ...adulterations since this would question the perfection of God and the validity of the text ."? 

  Of necessity, in the case of Islam with all its claims to Divine protection, WE MUST QUESTION THE PERFECTION OF ITS GOD and THE VALIDITY OF ITS TEXT. 

  But looking again at Islam’s ‘Proof’, the testimony of Islam is that due to the action of Caliph ‘Uthman, Islam has several corrupt texts and cannot be certain of the graphic form of any of its purported ‘7 Forms’. Thus there never was any such thing as ‘EXACT COPIES’, rather, they all differed

  Yet, by keeping them corrupt, and not correlating the manuscripts to obtain ‘one true copy’, Islam has given ‘Divine authority’ to each of the corrupted texts of ‘Uthman!!

  What then can we say of Islam’s ‘PROOF’, its assertion that it has "perfect manuscripts" by Divine decree, unlike everyone else? It is obviously another ‘outwitting’ of the Ummah. 

  What one can confidently say is that there IS ‘PROOF’ that within 20 years of Muhammad’s death, the people of Islam suddenly had 5 or more new Arabic ‘originals’ and no two of them were exact copies’.

  What’s more, there is ‘PROOF’ that Islam has accepted as ‘Divine’ what it admits never existed before!! There is ‘PROOF’ that Islam has accepted ‘corruption’ as ‘perfection’! There is Proof that the present Qur’ans are an unacceptable form of Bid’a (innovation)! ‘Those who want truth’ can see it! 

  All of this as well as the rest of what we will examine will cause us to perceive the irony in M. Hamidullah’s statement "Without having preserved the very spelling of the Qur’an, as established by the Caliph ‘Uthman, we would have lost this so very precious proof, which will certainly come to the help of yet others on other occasions." (Ibid., p. 79) 

[Note: Full page reproductions of the Hafs (1924 Egyptian edition) and 1964 Warsh (also printed in Egypt), as well as the pages cited from Ad-Dani’s Al-Muqni, follow so they can be viewed as they exist and thus thwart any ‘outwittings’ that they have been ‘tampered’ with by a Christian.]

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1/ Despite this admission von Denffer elsewhere tries to make them appear to be the same when he speaks of the modern ‘7 readings’ being recorded: 

"...the Qur’an is available in a number of ways of recitation (the seven ahruf) but of course a recording can present only one of the several accepted readings.
The reading presently available in recorded versions is the one by Hafs ,,, while other readings, such as the North West African style, (Warsh)..." (Ulum, p. 178)

This is important in that the original ‘7 Forms’ (ahruf) are also claimed to have been the ‘7 original readings’! So then, after `Uthman eliminated 6 of them, how is it that another ‘7 readings’ [and many more as we will note later!] admittedly "came about in a later age" and yet are deviously referred to as the 7 ahruf!!! 

2/ It is also known that he only recorded a rather scanty rendition of each of 32 readings, something that does not indicate that everyone was passing along something even vaguely resembling complete forms of the new ‘7 readings’! This may also have helped the modern scholar al-Said who wrote, "Each of the [ten] readings in question is associated with a famous Koran-reader by whom the Reading in question was transmitted at that point in Islamic history when the various readings began to emerge as distinct systems." (al-Said, The Recited Qur’an, Princeton; cited from Studies in two transmissions of the Qur’an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 94) 

3/ However, Warsh texts do get printed, and used, outside the aforementioned area. In the Yemen the Warsh reading is known as "the reading of Nafi". The 1964 Warsh copy in the possession of the present writer was authorised by al-Azhar, Cairo (permit no. 1-15), and was also printed in Egypt. It was designated for distribution in Lebanon and Syria. A text with the same permit number purchased in Morocco is also in hand and apart from omitting the statement about being bound for Labanon, etc., it is identical in every respect, probably coming from the same plates, as Brockett noted of others. 
In fact, many regions of the Islamic world print Hafs Arabic texts which are based upon their own manuscript traditions which show definite signs of corruption. [We will note some of this later.] Consequently, in the West, it is the Hafs (Kufan based) text which is seen among the Islamic peoples whether it is a Turkish, Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani, or Iranian, etc., text, and whether it comes as an Arabic text on its own, or whether it is accompanied by one of the various translations, of, for example, A. Yusuf Ali, M. Pickthall, M. Asad, M. M. Katib, M. Hamidullah, etc.. In fact the Yusuf Ali translation has been printed with several ‘versions’ of these Arabic texts (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur’an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 29), as can be verified by an comparison of those texts in print. 

4/ As just mentioned, according to its generally proposed history we should expect Islam to possess only one reading, that representing the one remaining ‘Form’. However, such does not exist since Islam has accepted more than one for 

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`Uthman’s text. 

5/ Examples from Value..., Brockett, p.38; the Arabic has been added and is that of the 1952 reprint of the 1924 Egyptian Hafs Edition, and that of the 1964 Warsh printed in Egypt by authority of al-Ahzar. 

6/ Some, despite ad-Dani’s clear assertions that the readings of the various centres represented "how it was in their [i.e. local] text" of ‘Uthman, attempt to blame later scribes maintaining that they copied the graphic differences in the ‘readings’ into the mushaf! This would assert that there is ‘interpolation’ from later scribes into the Qur’anic texts! This most would adamantly deny! 

7/ Yet, it must not be thought that this agreement between the Medinan and Damascan texts indicates that they agreed on all points. Not at all, for ad-Dani provides, among others, the following examples where the Kufan (K) and Medinan (M) texts agree and differ with the Damascan (D) copy. 
-Q4:66 (K -none  / M -none  / D -alif 
-Q6:32 (K -lam / M -lam / D -none 
 It is obvious that the Medinan and Damascan copies did not always agree. It will also become apparent that there was no consistency in the way the corruptions occurred in the `Uthmanic texts. 

8/ And again ibn al-Jazari stated: 

"Abu Ja’ar, Nafi and Ibn `Amir read yartadid, which was how it was in the texts of the Medinese and the Syrians. The rest of the ‘ten’ [readers] read yartadda which was how it was in their texts. All, however read yartadid in [the same phrase in] Q2/217 because of the unanimity of the texts...".(the footnote #22 reads "Ibn al-Jazari, ii. 255."). And: "Here also al-Dani cited Abu Ubayda as having seen yartadid in the imam.". (the footnote reads, "al-Dani, al-Muqni, 110, also, 116, 118"). 

Thus the texts did agree on the spelling in some places. 

9/ As cited from Brockett, The Value..., pp.35f; the footnote, #28, states "Ibn al-Jazari, vol. 2, p. 176-179; see also Al-Dani, al-Muqni, 36") 

10/ This makes it continuous with the content of the preceding sentence. It is omitted in the Warsh which makes the sentence distinct from the preceding one. 

11/ The Hafs readings says "from it", being masculine singular and refers to a ‘thing’; the Warsh reading says "from them", being dual, not plural, and refers to ‘two people’, not ‘something’. 

12/ The Hafs text thus says, "God is the generous praised One"; the Warsh text says, "God the generous praised One". Again the omitted word makes the difference. 

13/ Studies in two transmissions of the Qur’an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 75, ft. 47; emphasis and Arabic added. 

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