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HISTORY OF THE QURAN
This page, as the rest of this site, is not intended to convey a pretense of authority but rather to provide seed for further study. In regard to the textual history of the Quran, it is important to first note that the Arabic language itself is relatively new to the scene, and does not enjoy a history from prior to the Christian era. The language of today's Quran is known as "Modern Standard Arabic" as opposed to "Classical Arabic" of the 6th century. The oldest examples of written Arabic only date to about the 4th century AD, as compared to written examples of Hebrew that date to well over a thousand years (10th century BC) prior to those of Arabic.
Charlie Jay writes in soyouwanna: "Like all other Semitic languages, Arabic is the descendant of a so-called "Proto-Semitic" language, which is currently believed to have developed in East Africa and which never evolved in a written form. Arabic and Amharic, the two most recent Semitic languages, both arose in the mid-300s."
African origins of Arabic would be consistent with Dr. Rafat Amari's suggestion that the descendents of Muhammad's tribe the Quraish were not Ishmaelites, but rather originally migrated to Yemen from across the strait in Ethiopia, generations before the Quraish migrated north from Yemen to where Mecca was eventually settled in around the 4th century AD. Additionally, there is no evidence of an overland connection between northern and southern Arabia, prior to about the 6th century BC, or well over a thousand years after Abraham. There may be evidence of some very ancients of perhaps thousands of years prior to Abraham, having inhabited more central portions of Arabia, but according to Richard Covington's article in Saudi Aramco World, the Arabian peninsula began to desertify thousands of years before Abraham. This desertification had disconnected northern Arabia from southern Arabia by Abraham's day.
Habeeb Salloum writes of the Arabic language: "The Arabic language is the youngest of Semitic idioms which include Aramaic, the Assyro-Babylonian tongues, Ethiopic, Hebrew and South Arabic like Sabean and Himyaritic."
While admitting: "As to the Arabic script, there is still some dispute as to when it was developed. Some writers indicate [in other words, claim without evidence] that its origin can be traced back to some 4,500 years, but well established archaeological records only go back to the 4th century A.D."
Which would once again seem to highlight the disparity, between actual historical record, and Islamic so-called "tradition". The difference is between historical fact, or Islamic taqiyyah and fiction, that was all created and put to the pen in the 7th-10th centuries AD without reference to any actual historical record from prior to the 5th century AD. So the question begs, on what factual basis, could anyone claim that Arabic can be "traced back" 4,500 years? How could men even today, let alone semi-literates that lived in the SW Arabian desert in the 7th-10th centuries AD, have any idea what went on thousands of years before Muhammad through an absolute vacuum of a historical record? We've covered enough on the language as you can web search the history of the Arabic language for yourself. Please also web search the history of Mecca while you are at it. (you can start on our companion site)
Which brings us to the textual history of the Quran itself.
Textual History of the Quran (URL)
Please scroll to the 48 minute mark of this video for discussion of the 6 oldest Qurans in existence:
A Wikipedia article informs us that Gerd Rüdiger Puin is an authority on Qur'anic historical orthography and a specialist in Arabic paleography.
"Gerd Puin was the head of a restoration project, commissioned by the Yemeni government, which spent a significant amount of time examining the ancient Qur'anic manuscripts discovered in Sana'a, Yemen, in 1972, in order to find criteria for systematically cataloging them."
"According to writer Toby Lester, his examination revealed "unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment."
"Some of the papyrus on which the text appears shows clear signs of earlier use, being that previous, washed-off writings are also visible on it. In 2008 and 2009 Dr Elisabeth Puin published detailed results of the analysis of Sanaa manuscript DAM (dar al-makhtutat) 01.27-1 proving that the text was still in flux in the time span between the scriptio inferior and the scriptio superior of the palimpsest"
"In the 1999 Atlantic Monthly article referenced below, Gerd Puin is quoted as saying that: My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants.
The Koran claims for itself that it is 'mubeen,' or 'clear,' but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn't make sense. Many Muslims—and Orientalists—will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Koranic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Koran is not comprehensible—if it can't even be understood in Arabic—then it's not translatable. People fear that. And since the Koran claims repeatedly to be clear but obviously is not—as even speakers of Arabic will tell you—there is a contradiction. Something else must be going on."
In "Islam Reviewed" (available free online) M. Ali writes: "Almost every Muslim is taught from infancy to cling to the notion that the Bible has been corrupted and changed, while the Koran is free from corruption, perfectly preserved since the time of Muhammad. But a thorough study of the textual history of the Koran will show that it is not the Bible, but the Koran that has been changed. That is what Islamic historians themselves bequeathed to us."
"The Deedats, the Joommals, and the so-called Sheiks continue their unwarranted attack on the Bible while suppressing the fact that Khalif Uthman burned all the Koranic manuscripts apart from Hafsa's, and that Governor Marwan followed the example of Uthman by destroying the Hafsa text as well. Anyone with the slightest regard for truth would have to admit that the Textus Receptus of the Koran now in circulation is a far cry from the textus originalis!"
Let alone that even after all that trashing and burning, a whopping 71 out of only 114 chapters of the Quran are subject to abrogation! Compare that with the scribal methodologies and textual integrity of the Bible in the "Corruption of the Scriptures" section on the home page.
That textual integrity of scripture while it is suggested of the Quran: "[Narrated 'Aisha] "The verse of the stoning and of suckling an adult ten times were revealed, and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my bed. When the messenger of Allah expired and we were preoccupied with his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper."
Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal. vol. 6. p. 269; Sunan Ibn Majah, p. 626; Ibn Qutbah, Tawil Mukhtalafi 'l-Hadith (Cairo: Maktaba al-Kulliyat al-Azhariyya. 1966) p. 310; As-Suyuti, ad-Durru 'l-Manthur, vol. 2. p. 13 Default;
Come on, really? A goat ate part of the Quran? Is that all the better of a job Muhammad's “Allah” could do of preserving his words?
It cannot be disputed that by Muhammad's 7th century, the Bible had been translated into every popular language, copied tens of thousands of times, and had been read all over the known world for centuries. In that same 7th century Muhammad proclaimed of the Gospel:
Surah 5:47 Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.
And of the whole Bible:
Surah 5:68 Say: "O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.
Surah 80.13 (It is) in Books held (greatly) in honour, 14 Exalted (in dignity), kept pure and holy,15 (Written) by the hands of scribes- 16 Honourable and Pious and Just.
So what do modern-day Muslim's claims of "corruption" of the scriptures, suggest about their own "messenger", having apparently been ignorant to what today's Muslims claim against him? What do those actual "pure and holy" "books" suggest, about Muhammad's followers feeble efforts to excuse away such, as the Quran proclaiming the exact opposite of the whole subject Gospel?
1John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
Who Really Authored the Quran? (URL)
It's no secret that while Muhammad may have been illiterate, he certainly wasn't deaf, and was surrounded by formerly "Christian" and Jewish wives, concubines and slaves taken as "spoils of war booty", as well as friends and acquaintances.
In "Anatomy of the Quran" G.J.O. Moshay writes: "From a number of Islamic books we gather that Mohammed was surrounded by many Christians - even if nominal. One of them was Waraqa ibn Naufal, the cousin of Khadija, Mohammed's wife. One of his wives, Umm Habbibah, was formerly the wife of a Christian, Ubaidu'llah ibn Jahsh. Another wife of Mohammed, Miriam, and her sister, Sirin, were Christian slaves given to Muhammad. Biographer Ibn Ishaq records that Abdu'llah ibn Salam (one of the best reciters of the Qur'an) was a seasoned Jewish Rabbi before he became a Muslim and personal friend of Muhammad."
We can at least add Rayhanah bt. Amr to that list, who was a Jewess of the tribe of the Banu Quaryza who Muhammad took as a concubine from his "spoils of war booty", after his mass murder of the Banu Qurayza.
Sura 16.103 We know indeed that they say, "It is a man that teaches him." The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear.
Again quoting from Anatomy of the Quran by G.J.O. Moshay:
"The 'man that teaches him' is a young 'Christian' friend of Muhammad called Jabr, whom Muhammad always visited at Marwah Quarters, not too far from his house. The allegation was that when Muhammad visited Jabr and heard the stories of the Bible, some were put on record. People believed that Muhammad usually presented these parchments and claimed he had received them hot from heaven through the angel Gabriel.
Muhammad refuted this strong allegation through another 'revelation' from 'Gabriel.' The defense was that since Jabr was of "a foreign tongue" (he was not an Arab by birth), he could not have taught Muhammad anything. But it does not matter if Jabr was a non-Arab. Since he had stayed long in Arabia, he could have known Arabic very well and related his stories to Muhammad in good Arabic. How could Jabr be a close friend of Muhammad (if he did not understand Arabic) since Muhammad did not understand any other language? We must realize too that Muhammad's main Secretary was a Jew. According to Muslim writer Muhammad Haykall, Muhammad...
'...had chosen him (the Secretary) for his capacity to write letters in Hebrew and Syriac as well as Arabic. After the evacuation of Jews from Madinah, the Prophet no longer trusted a non-muslim to write his letters.'
If Muhammad's own Secretary was of "a foreign tongue" and yet well versed in Arabic, Syriac and his own Hebrew language, then it is not inconceivable to get Hebrew scriptures and literature interpreted and translated into Arabic by the Secretary. Since the Secretary was such a brilliant fellow and was versatile in these three languages, therefore, the alleged brilliance of the language of the Qur'an is not a necessary and sufficient proof of heavenly authorship. Rather, it can be a reflection of the brilliance of Jabr, since Muhammad is believed to have been illiterate."
"In fact the case of Jabr was so well known to the people in Mecca that they began to mock Jabr as the 'Holy Spirit' or "Angel Gabriel" from whom Muhammad was receiving some of his revelations."
Regarding Mohammed's claim of the Quran being "pure Arabic" there are over 100 non-Arabic words in Persian, Syriac, Hebrew, old Egyptian, Assyrian and Greek. So even Mohammed's claimed "proof" in the above sura is untrue. For example the word for "Gospel", "Injil", is a Syriac word.
Plagiarism in the Quran (URL)
Quran 8:31: When Our Signs are rehearsed to them, they say: "We have heard this (before): if we wished, we could say (words) like these: these are nothing but tales of the ancients."
The reason the Quraish said that is of course because they were tales from before Muhammad.
Moshay: "It has been established that verses 1,29, 31 and 46 of Sura 54 (Surat al-Qamar) were lifted from a poem of a pre-Islamic poet, Imraul Qais. Even at the time of Muhammad, some sneered at the challenge to 'produce a chapter like it.' For example the poet Imraul Qais' daughter was still alive when Muhammad started his religion. One day this lady was listening to Muhammad reciting the 'revelations' he had just received hot from heaven from his Angel Jubril. She recognized the verses from her father's poems, and stood aghast and amused, wondering how these could be a revelation written by Allah and preserved in the 'Preserved Tablet' in heaven from before the creation of the world!
Another time, this lady met Fatima, Muhammad's daughter, reciting the first verse of Surat Qamar. Qais' daughter said:
'Oh that is what your father has taken from my father's poems ('Mollaqat') and calls it something that has come down to him from heaven!'
If the original works of a secular Arab poet could be seen in the Qur'an, then it is scarcely of any use to maintain the claim that the Qur'an is so wonderful that the most learned Arab or even a spirit could not produce it's kind."
"The Bible records that the Lord Jesus was born in a manger. The Qur'an says that he was born under a palm tree. Sura 19:29-31 speaks of a one-day-old baby Jesus speaking in the cradle. These errors did not originate in the Qur'an. They were lifted from an Arabic apocryphal fable written in Egypt titled First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ. The original fable says:
'.....Jesus spake even when he was in the cradle, and said: 'Mary, I am Jesus the son of God. That word which thou didst bring forth according to the declaration of the angel.....'
In the Qur'an, however, the expression 'son of God' was changed to 'slave (or servant) of God.'
There is also the story of a young Jesus making a live bird out of clay. There is no biblical basis for such a story. But this story is found to have been culled from the anthology of fables called "Gospel of Infancy' referred to above. Several of such stories abound." - Anatomy of the Quran by G.J.O. Moshay
Any Christian would readily accept the challenge to "produce a chapter like it", indeed far more beautiful than anything the Quran has to offer, from a book that was penned hundreds of years before Muhammad was ever born.
I would suggest that any rational follower of Muhammad that reads "Anatomy of the Qur'an" by G.J.O. Moshay, will run from Muhammad's anti-religion like a scalded dog.
From Dr. Rafat Amari's 20 year full-time study: THE TRUE STORY OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE OF MECCA:
"Asa’d Abu Karb, also called Tubb'a, occupied the city of Yathrib before coming to Mecca.[vi] It seems he found many temples in Yathrib, but when he came to Mecca, he didn’t find any temple there. Because the inhabitants were recent emigrants from Yemen, Asa’d Abu Karb built them a modest temple in the Yemeni style. He did this to connect the people with himself. He also wrote a poem in which he described the sun setting in a spring of black mud, something Mohammed included in the Qur’an."
"Tubb’a also tried to build bridges with the Jewish community in Yathrib. He learned their religious thoughts and rites. He learned the Jewish myths, such as the legend of the hoopoe bird that announced the kingdom of Saba to Solomon. This myth came from the Jewish mythological book called the Second Targum of Esther. Mohammed incorporated the same myth into the Qur’an."
More on Islamic fables and myths.
Waraqa bin Naufal (URL)
Muhammad's first wife Khadijah's cousin, Waraqa bin Naufal, was an occult Ebionite priest. It was Waraqa to whom Khadijah sent Muhammad, when he became suicidal over a dry spell in his "revelations". Waraqa, being an Ebionite, may well be properly credited with Muhammad's denial of the whole subject of the Gospel - the crucifixion of Christ. The Ebionites received their Gnosticism by way of men like Saturninus and Basilides, who were disciples of the famous first century Gnostic Simon Magus. Simon Magus was also known as Simon the Sorcerer, and Simon the Magician, and early church fathers dubbed him the "father of heresies". He was such a Satan driven fraud that he even "....taught that it was himself who appeared among the Jews as the Son, but descended in Samaria as the Father while he came to other nations in the character of the Holy Spirit."
The following from Basilides reads like it could have been quoted directly from some of Muhammad's followers on the web:
Chapter XXIV.—Doctrines of Saturninus and Basilides.
4. "He appeared, then, on earth as a man, to the nations of these powers, and wrought miracles. Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them."
Wikipedia regarding the Ebionites reads like a description of Islam:
"The majority of Church Fathers agree that the Ebionites rejected many of the precepts central to Nicene orthodoxy, such as his pre-existence, divinity, virgin birth, atoning death, and physical resurrection. The Ebionites are described as emphasizing the oneness of God and the humanity of Jesus as the biological son of both Mary and Joseph, who by virtue of his righteousness, was chosen by God to be the messianic "prophet like Moses" (foretold in Deuteronomy 18:14–22) when he was anointed with the Holy Spirit at his baptism. Origen (Contra Celsum 5.61) and Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica 3.27.3) recognize some variation in the Christology of Ebionite groups; for example that while all Ebionites denied Christ's pre-existence there was a sub-group which did not deny the virgin birth."
Much more on Waraqa's connection to Muhammad's Gnosticism on our companion site at this link.
In light of Muhammad's having pirated, plundered and plagiarized his cobbled together collection of so-called "revelations", it's no wonder that an amazing 71 out of only 114 chapters in the Quran are subject to abrogation. Naskh, or Al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh is the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, and title of the classic Islamic book by esteemed Islamic scholar Abil-Kasim Hibat-Allah Ibn-Salama Abi-Nasr, that details all of the abrogated verses, and what they have been abrogated by.
Muhammad even being compelled to initiate the doctrine in his own day, because of the cacophony of folks that recognized all of the contradiction:
Surah 2:106 (Asad) Any message which, We annul or consign to oblivion We replace with a better or a similar one. Dost thou not know that God has the power to will anything?
Muhammad's having made such a contradictory mess of his "revelations" over the short space of just 23 years, obviously indicates not divine revelation, but the changing whims of the author. No less so than Muhammad switching the direction he originally had his followers face to pray which was toward Jerusalem, later on to Mecca, after the hijra. When Muhammad's also switched his followers "holy" day from the Sabbath to Friday. Yet through abject ignorance no shortage of Muhammad's followers actually parrot suggestion that Muhammad's unholy anti-religion has something to do with the old covenant law, when they don't even keep the Sabbath! Not unlike when Muhammad's followers proclaim they believe in Jesus, even as they blaspheme the Son of God and reject the whole subject of the Gospel, and the whole purpose for which the Messiah - the Passover Lamb of God - was revealed to us. For the remission of sin through faith in his shed blood.
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
No surprise Muhammad was stuck having to try to excuse away these problems, to the cacophony of those around him, who recognized his pirating and plagiarizing:
Surah 16:101 When We substitute one revelation for another, and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages), they say, "Thou art but a forger": but most of them understand not.
Given all of the difficulty, it's no wonder Mohammed cautioned his followers away, from seeking out the truth:
Surah 5:101 O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing.
Perhaps like not asking questions about how Ishamel traveled across 1200 kilometers of harsh, barren, unexplored, untraveled desert - over a thousand years before a caravan route was established along the Red Sea - in time to join Isaac to bury their father Abraham in Hebron! Let alone why there is not a shred of historical or archaeological evidence that suggests that Mecca ever existed prior to the 4th century AD.
The reason Muslims are instructed to avoid asking questions is made clear in the very next verse:
102 Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.
Lost their faith in Muhammad alone. Illustrating Islam's 1400 year fear of Muhammad's follower's coming to know the love of the one true God, through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The same reason that Mohammed had poets killed and to this day prohibits his followers from befriending non-Muslims.
Quran Sura 5:51: O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.
After all, what could be worse than for a Muslim to become "of" Christians, when Muhammad's followers are expected to believe that each and every Christian throughout a period of nearly 2,000 years, has lived and died in a state of committing the single most "heinous" and ONLY UNFORGIVABLE sin in Islam, by confessing that Jesus is the Son and God His Father as proclaimed by hundreds of verses, and even for praying in Jesus' name. The same reason the Gospel is banned or restricted in Islamic countries.
"Allah has hated for you three things: ... 3. And asking too many questions (in disputed religious matters)." Al-Bukhari V2, #555
My Muslim friends, what kind of god would "hate" his followers "asking too many questions"? The ONE true God of the Christians and Jews is very much the opposite:
1Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Jesus IS TRUTH:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Why not try reading a Gospel today?