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Thread: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

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    Default Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    I've come to learn that historically there have been different Korans. By different, these Korans have retained the same meaning in their passages but are not literally, word-for-word the same.

    If the Korans are not exactly the same, then I wonder which Koran, if any, was the one angel Gabriel dictated to Muhammad and Muhammad recited to his scribes.

    Richard Kroes explains:

    Arabic is a 'defective' script: only consonants can be written with it, vowels are omitted. Furthermore, when the Qur'an was codified a script was used in which several consonants shared the same signs. Only 17 signs were used to write 28 consonants. Just 7 signs in this alphabet, called rasm, are unequivocal. About a century after the first compilation of the Qur'an the various consonants were distinguished by adding 'diacritical dots'. From that moment on the five consonants for example that were written with a 'hook' ﺒ b, ﺘ t, ﺜ th, ﻨ n en ﻴ y could be distinguished. Eventually, three centuries later, after some experimenting with systems for the notation of vowels, the vowels were also added.

    In 1923 the al-Azhar university in Egypt issued a standard text that is now used worldwide. This standardisation too had its reasons because despite Uthman's standardisation, several versions of the text of the Qur'an developed.

    Discussions between traditional Muslims and western scholars of Islam on this topic can run high. On the side of the faithful it is claimed that these only represent the various Arabic dialects or modes of recitation, the qira'at. All 7 (or 10, or 14) are considered canonical. On the side of scholarship however, differences at the level of meaning are recognised.

    A good example are the last three words of Q 2:10. In the Egyptian standard edition these are: بِمَا كَانُو ا يَكْذِبُونَ bima kanu yakdhibuna, 'for their persistent lying'. The standard text is based on the text of imam Asim († 744 AD) as transmitted by imam Hafs († 796 AD). It is used in the whole Islamic world, except in North Africa. Here the text of imam Nafi († 785 AD) as transmitted by imam Warsh († 812 AD) is used. In the latter, the same passage runs like this: بِمَا كَانُو ا يُكَذِّبُونَ bima kanu yukadhdhibuna, 'for what they denied'. 'Lying' or 'denying', there is a subtle difference...[4]
    http://www.livius.org/opinion/Luxenberg.htm

    So, did angel Gabriel say to Muhammad for their persistent lying or for what they denied? Ignoring the 'subtle difference', these two "canonical" Korans are not identical. Word-for-word, Allah's book has passages which do not literally match with one another. How are Muslims to know that the passage they are reading in their Koran was what was exactly uttered to the scribes under Muhammad's dictum?

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    Moderator shaad_lko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    this has been dealt multiple times on the forum itself, so you could have saved everyone the trouble by doing a search. Also, its not a new discovery - its an oft-repeated accusation by orientalist evangelicals and the net is full of refutations of it too... Anyway,

    Quote Originally Posted by ProphetofTolerance View Post
    I've come to learn that historically there have been different Korans. By different, these Korans have retained the same meaning in their passages but are not literally, word-for-word the same.

    If the Korans are not exactly the same, then I wonder which Koran, if any, was the one angel Gabriel dictated to Muhammad and Muhammad recited to his scribes.
    no, let me qualify this statement - Quran is always the same word-for-word. The variation in recitation (which is what you are referring to) is not a literal variation as we see below:


    Richard Kroes explains:
    Arabic is a 'defective' script: only consonants can be written with it, vowels are omitted. Furthermore, when the Qur'an was codified a script was used in which several consonants shared the same signs. Only 17 signs were used to write 28 consonants. Just 7 signs in this alphabet, called rasm, are unequivocal. About a century after the first compilation of the Qur'an the various consonants were distinguished by adding 'diacritical dots'. From that moment on the five consonants for example that were written with a 'hook' ﺒ b, ﺘ t, ﺜ th, ﻨ n en ﻴ y could be distinguished. Eventually, three centuries later, after some experimenting with systems for the notation of vowels, the vowels were also added.

    In 1923 the al-Azhar university in Egypt issued a standard text that is now used worldwide. This standardisation too had its reasons because despite Uthman's standardisation, several versions of the text of the Qur'an developed.

    Discussions between traditional Muslims and western scholars of Islam on this topic can run high. On the side of the faithful it is claimed that these only represent the various Arabic dialects or modes of recitation, the qira'at. All 7 (or 10, or 14) are considered canonical. On the side of scholarship however, differences at the level of meaning are recognised.

    A good example are the last three words of Q 2:10. In the Egyptian standard edition these are: بِمَا كَانُو ا يَكْذِبُونَ bima kanu yakdhibuna, 'for their persistent lying'. The standard text is based on the text of imam Asim († 744 AD) as transmitted by imam Hafs († 796 AD). It is used in the whole Islamic world, except in North Africa. Here the text of imam Nafi († 785 AD) as transmitted by imam Warsh († 812 AD) is used. In the latter, the same passage runs like this: بِمَا كَانُو ا يُكَذِّبُونَ bima kanu yukadhdhibuna, 'for what they denied'. 'Lying' or 'denying', there is a subtle difference...[4]

    http://www.livius.org/opinion/Luxenberg.htm
    the article reflects poor understanding of the Quranic transmission. Firstly, the primary means of its transmission is oral, not recitation - so lack of diacritical marks and vowels is hardly a defect - language exists to communicate ideas and ideas were initially communicated via oration (esp. in the case of Divine Revelation), not by print. So, if vowels are added later to distinguish Quranic pronunciation, it is for the benefit of those who do not know how to read - otherwise those who already know the Quran by heart, are not confused in the least by similar looking consonants. Any speaker of Arabic knows this fact very well. I gave up reading the link after encountering the "fact" that the Quran was "written" in mixed Syriac-Arabic (a contradictory assertion from the pov of the article itself if it was written later anyway..)


    So, did angel Gabriel say to Muhammad for their persistent lying or for what they denied? Ignoring the 'subtle difference', these two "canonical" Korans are not identical. Word-for-word, Allah's book has passages which do not literally match with one another. How are Muslims to know that the passage they are reading in their Koran was what was exactly uttered to the scribes under Muhammad's dictum?
    Well, there was no process of canonization of the Quran since a canonized authenticity was never needed - in the case of Hadith, yes there was canonization, but not so for the Quran which is preserved in mutawatir (well-established, numerous) chains of transmission traced back to the Prophet (sws). Interestingly, the example of 2:10 is amusing because lying/denying in this case is the same which becomes apparent from the context (that of the hypocrites and Jews) - words used in the Quran incorporate layers of meanings simultaneously without sacrificing clarity of intent of the text - in fact I look at this as another aspect of the textual miracle of the Revelation.
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Senior Member naderM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaad_lko View Post
    the article reflects poor understanding of the Quranic transmission. Firstly, the primary means of its transmission is oral, not recitation - so lack of diacritical marks and vowels is hardly a defect - language exists to communicate ideas and ideas were initially communicated via oration (esp. in the case of Divine Revelation), not by print. So, if vowels are added later to distinguish Quranic pronunciation, it is for the benefit of those who do not know how to read - otherwise those who already know the Quran by heart, are not confused in the least by similar looking consonants. Any speaker of Arabic knows this fact very well.
    Of course, the Hebrew Bible was similarly only punctualized in the 9th century CE to help the person less familiar with Hebrew and who was only introduced to the book in script form.
    41:53 We will soon show them Our signs in the Universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth.

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Interestingly, the example of 2:10 is amusing because lying/denying in this case is the same which becomes apparent from the context (that of the hypocrites and Jews) - words used in the Quran incorporate layers of meanings simultaneously without sacrificing clarity of intent of the text - in fact I look at this as another aspect of the textual miracle of the Revelation.
    So is the author wrong? Is the Egyptian standard edition different from Korans in parts of North Africa? Does one Koran say 'lying' and the other say 'denying'?

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProphetofTolerance View Post
    So is the author wrong? Is the Egyptian standard edition different from Korans in parts of North Africa? Does one Koran say 'lying' and the other say 'denying'?
    the author does not understand what is meant by difference in recitation and difference in text. No, all Muslims are using the same Quran - what they understand from the same words depends on many factors- how they process an interpretation, their background, scholarly input, etc.
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Hmm, I'm wondering if I'm getting the run around here.

    The author is very clear that the Egyptian standard edition is different from a Koran used in some parts of North Africa - and quotes the Arabic and provides the translation.

    بِمَا كَانُو ا يَكْذِبُونَ bima kanu yakdhibuna, 'for their persistent lying'

    بِمَا كَانُو ا يُكَذِّبُونَ bima kanu yukadhdhibuna, 'for what they denied'

    So where did the author get these two quotes from? And is the Arabic not different from each other (I can clearly see the phoenetic Arabic is different)?

    I ask, because when I paste one Arabic script into my search box, it never highlights the other Arabic script; indicating the two are clearly not the same.

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    Moderator shaad_lko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProphetofTolerance View Post
    Hmm, I'm wondering if I'm getting the run around here.

    The author is very clear that the Egyptian standard edition is different from a Koran used in some parts of North Africa - and quotes the Arabic and provides the translation.

    بِمَا كَانُو ا يَكْذِبُونَ bima kanu yakdhibuna, 'for their persistent lying'

    بِمَا كَانُو ا يُكَذِّبُونَ bima kanu yukadhdhibuna, 'for what they denied'

    So where did the author get these two quotes from? And is the Arabic not different from each other (I can clearly see the phoenetic Arabic is different)?

    I ask, because when I paste one Arabic script into my search box, it never highlights the other Arabic script; indicating the two are clearly not the same.
    hmm, I think I couldnt explain clearly firsthand - we need to get out of the yes/no syndrome to understand this aspect: The Arabic alphabet is composed only of consonants. Unlike English the vowels here are the diactrical marks which really are secondary, and the author though right that the original script did not have it, concludes incorrectly since it is not exactly a defect by any means. Quran was preserved primarily through oral recitation, which brings me to the next point.

    As to the differences in recitation, there are two opinions - one is that only (what you refer to as) the Egyptian standard is the one traced back to the Prophet (sws). And the traditional opinion is that both kinds of recitation are permissible and established from the Prophet (sws). I personally see no dissonance here since each Arabic word can include a range of meanings, much the same like Hebrew based as they both are on the triliteral root system.

    Lastly, the difference in script that you see in your search box is because the Arabic text there includes the diacritics. The original script still remains the same as it had only consonants and anyway majority of Muslim world follows only one recitation. Or maybe its one of those things that you wont understand unless you believe..

    So as to the OP :

    I've come to learn that historically there have been different Korans. By different, these Korans have retained the same meaning in their passages but are not literally, word-for-word the same.
    I dont think one can substantiate that these are different Qur'ans. Though I actually disagree with the second sentence - meaning is a function of human interpretation, Quran is same word-for-word but historically its understanding has been diverse - people who come with preconceived notions get the same confirmed by reading it, while those with a blank slate get much more. Its like the Prophetic hadith - the best of those after accepting Islam are the ones who were the best before accepting it.
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProphetofTolerance View Post
    So is the author wrong? Is the Egyptian standard edition different from Korans in parts of North Africa? Does one Koran say 'lying' and the other say 'denying'?
    Forgive me if I haven't took the time to look at the previous posts..

    But does your understanding of the text lead to a contradiction when saying that lying is not equal to denying?
    Perhaps you need to take a step back..
    Perhaps your approach to interpreting the text could be made more flexible if you'd derive the most common qualities of both notion of "lying" and "denying", say the word "negating" would match in for the term كذب?

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Differences in script doesn't make the content different. This is what i call a strawman argument.

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    THers only one Noble Quran. But nice try from the Islamophobe League.
    Anyone believe not is suggesting that Allah(swt) has broken his promise to protect it

    Its another Devious attempt by the Ismaphobes and Zionist to attack.
    May Allah(swT) protect us from their disgusting ideas and may Allah(swt) grant us muslim the Knowledge. Courage, Victory, and patients agaisnt those haters and war mongerers.

    Inshallah
    Inshallah
    Inshallah

    Please do not loose faith what Allah the exhalt command you and me to follow. It is their game to put you astry !
    Last edited by Peace; 9th May 2012 at 21:45.

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by hyd View Post
    Differences in script doesn't make the content different. This is what i call a strawman argument.
    I would argue that differences in script means Allah has broken his promise in the Koran that the Koran will never be changed.

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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProphetofTolerance View Post
    I would argue that differences in script means Allah has broken his promise in the Koran that the Koran will never be changed.
    THeres a contradiction in your post as usual.

    ...and you're right one thing the the Noble Quran (splet this way not the western way) will never be changed as it is perfected since the beginning therefore their was only one Noble Quran.

    If there were any changes they were correceted and followed after reasoning and understanding came up them.

    If you want to know the REal QUran how about going to ANY Islam Book store and pick up any Noble Quran. They are all the same trought the world

    May Allah(swt) guide us, to have Patients and Taqwa, make us resliant against Satans work, and the enemies of Islam, gain Knowldge and never make the UNNah to go astray.

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    Moderator shaad_lko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Koran was the one Muhammad recited?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProphetofTolerance View Post
    I would argue that differences in script means Allah has broken his promise in the Koran that the Koran will never be changed.
    for that argument to be tenable, you need to prove that there was a specific promise to protect the diactrical marks. Everyone knows Quran means a recitation, so it is the oral recitation that would be looked at first and foremost.
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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