Latest News - 24 Aug 2019

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Is there any change or omission in the Qur’an ?

Written By: Dr. Mozammel Haque

Generally people are curious and pose the question: is there any change or omission or addition in the Qur’an? I think this question must be answered in order to resolve any confusion. I think, it should be clearly said without any ambiguity that there is no changes, no additions, no omissions and no alterations in the text of the Qur’an after the Prophet peace be upon him passed away. It is also to be mentioned that once the Qur’an is collected and compiled as a text by the Third Caliph Uthman bin Affan there is no changes or nothing is omitted from the Qur’an. 

Now, at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, someone raised this question at the Islamic Circle meeting on 5th of January 2019. The Question was: Some part of the Qur’an is added or omitted or dropped from the Qur’an? That was the question. Whether this is true or not that is the question.

Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan
Director General of the Centre
Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan, Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, gave a lecture on this issue. He has already talked about the abrogation in the Qur’an or not. He said, “The Qur’an that we have now as a Book is it the real Qur’an that was revealed to Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam or there is some part of it is missing or may be, some part of it is added which is not a part of the Qur’an? This is a question.”

Dr. al-Dubayan said, “Be careful I am going to explain this. Those who believe, from the Sunnah specially, that there is abrogation in the Qur’an; they said there were some verses, may be, two or three or four verses of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam during his life and then during his life these were removed from the Qur’an. So revealed to be there and revealed to be removed. The Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam was there.”

“When the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam came to the end of his life, the Qur’an was known as a text; but not all the companions memorized the Qur’an; each one memorized some parts of them; some of them may be two-thirds of the Qur’an; some of them almost all; some of them one Juz’ or two Juz’; three Juz’; but the community, all of them, memorized the Qur’an all together; few only who can memorize the Qur’an completely. Few people only; but most of them memorized some parts,” explained Dr. al-Dubayan.

First Caliph Abu Bakr created a committee
The ICC Director General continued, “About one year, even less than one year after the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam dead, Abu Bakr Siddiq,the First Caliph, himself started to write down the Qur’an, the text. He created a committee. This committee in Madinah used to go to each one in Madinah to ask: ‘Do you memorize anything from the Qur’an? Yes, what do you memorize? I memorize this.’ Then they wrote down what he memorized and then they matched it with others and where is this? Is it this part or this chapter till they complete their work all of it.”

“Abu Bakr wrote this and kept it in his house. After his death, of course, Omar bin Khattab, the second Caliph, took it with him and then Omar bin Khattab all his life about ten years (This subject - Omar bin Khattab and the Qur’an - was talked about before) and then Omar bin Khattab was killed. Then this collection of the Qur’an was given to his daughter Hafsa, who is the wife of the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam. After two three years, the Third Caliph, Uthman bin Affan, started the process of writing the Qur’an again. He asked Hafsa to hand over these things that she had. Then Hafsa gave it to them,” Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned.  

The Third Caliph Uthman bin Affan
Created committee and wrote the Qur’an text
The ICC chief continued, “Then Uthman bin Affan again created a committee. The committee also did the same. They went to ask everybody; they checked whatever Abu Bakr wrote before, about 12 years ago; and then they wrote it again. Uthman bin Affan created a committee of companions to read it and to write it; to agree for a certain order as I said to you the Chapters; not the verses; we know from the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam. They wrote it down. In order to avoid any problem, Uthman bin Affan wrote five copies, some historians said, seven copies, some of them said, even about ten copies. He sent one to the major cities; he sent one to Kufa in Iraq; one to Basra; one to Damascus in Syria. They said he sent one to Yemen; and then he kept one in Madinah. Some people said, he sent another one to Makkah. Then the Third Caliph asked the Governor of the cities to ask people when they wanted to have a Qur’an they copied from this copy; that’s why; we have now one Qur’an.”

Companion Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman
asked to do it immediately
Dr. al-Dubayan then enquired how this idea of having one Qur’an came. He described and narrated the events for having to do this. He said, “That was the idea of another Companion who is Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman. Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman was actually in Armenia that time. Can you imagine the companions of the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam reached Armenia? He was in Armenia with Muslim army there. Then some one recited the verse of the Qur’an; some body said no, no, this is not like this; it is recited that way. Then the other person said; no, this is not correct; this is the way how it was recited.”

“Then Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman himself, who was the companion of the Prophet, realised that there is something really very dangerous. He moved from Armenia back long way to Madinah; met Uthman bin Affan and said to him: ‘You have to do something urgently before we have the same problem that the Jews and Christians have with the Bible. There are different versions.  Immediately you have to write down.’ Then Uthman bin Affan did it,” Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned the background.

Shia-Sunni story – a political issue,
not religious one
That was the background of having one Qur’an which was written down as one Qur’an after having committees during Abu Bakr, Omar bin al-Khattab and Uthman bin Affan. This is how the present Qur’an compiled as one text, one Book. Now, Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned about the opinion of the Shia and the Shia-Sunni story. He said, “Some Shia, not all Shia; by the way, said that the Qur’an is being changed; why? “There is a long explanation which I am trying to squeeze for you in a short time. You know the story of Shia and Sunni started in the beginning; it was a political issue, not religious issue. Those only dispute between Ali ibn Abi Talib RA because of the Uthman bin Affan the third Caliph was killed; then each one had different idea anyway that led to some fighting; then that was some political.”

“After that those who supported Ali tried to find, say after about, may be, eighty years after, the idea was created that Ali bin Abi Talib is the real and the first Caliph and the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam had a will for Ali. The Will, okay, was removed and then they gave it to Abu Bakr Siddiq. This is something like conspiracy done by the companions. This opinion was created, may be, one century after the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam. Not within a first century. Nobody talked about it,” Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned.

The ICC Chief went into different topic for discussion. He said, “Now the question is: If Allah SWT wanted Ali to be the first Caliph, how come then HE allows His plan to be changed. Question? We know the biography of Abu Bakr; we know the biography of Omar bin al-Khattab; we know the biography of Uthman bin Affan. They are good people. How come suddenly in the last minute of the life of the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam they become evil and they changed the will. A good Question? Another thing that is: those who believe in what we call it Immamah or Imanship of Ali; they said Imamship of Ali is something like pillar of Islam. It means, not to be a Muslim till you do not believe in this, according to them; not according to us. From this issue, there is a big question. Okay, if imamship of Ali is so important like Hajj, like Zakat, why it is not mentioned in the Qur’an; where is it? Show us in the Qur’an; where is it? Not there. It is not possible Allah says us something so important; then HE does not mentioned in the Qur’an.”

No additions, No Omissions in the Qur’an
Dr. al-Dubayan then entered into a more difficult question, saying there were two versions of those who believed there are changes in the Qur’an – one believed after the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam and another believed during the lifetime of the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam. Dr. al-Dubayan first dealt with those who believed changes took place after the Prophet. He argued, “Most of them came to the idea that the Qur’an has been changed. Good Question. How the Qur’an is changed? They said after the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam, some people just removed the whole Qur’an like this and then they removed all these verses talking about Ali and they removed them and those who cursed Omar removed them; those cursed Uthman they removed them; Abu Bakr removed them. To make them good people. Remove the verses talking about Imammat of Ali ibn Abi Talib to make it so that the people do not know about it. And they said this is the Qur’an.”

“They have a problem about this. Now, those who believed there is a change after the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam that is the problem. That means the Qur’an is not protected. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an We have revealed the Qur’an and We are going to preserve it. Preservation of the Qur’an is that you cannot change it. And till today with all these millions of manuscripts found everywhere in the world you find it always the same text. I think no additions, nothing omitted,” Dr. al-Dubayan clarified the position.

Qur’anic Manuscripts in the Birmingham University
Then Dr. al-Dubayan mentioned about the manuscripts in the Birmingham University. He said, “Recently manuscripts of three or four pages of the Qur’an found in the University of Birmingham; the oldest Qur’an actually. It is one of the oldest manuscripts actually discovered in the Birmingham University. It was actually kept there since about 1920, but nobody paid that much attention to. By chance, one of the researchers came and then found this. Even that one, I checked it myself; it is exactly the same text that is you have in the printed Qur’an. No; not even one single word added; not one single word omitted.”

“The great scholars, the Orientalist, who are not Muslims, who studied the Qur’an, they said it is not possible to find another. There is no other. Even recently, not all Shia, by the way, they follow this opinion. That is the Qur’an. Some of them, not all. Some of them start to change, said: All these Hadiths or references saying that Qur’an has been changed; it is not correct; they are weak. They are not accepted; but still there are references. Okay; some Shia believe exactly like us that the Qur’an is as it is; that’s it,” that was about the Shia, said Dr. Al-Dubayan.

One Text One Qur’an in the whole World
Now talking about the Sunni community Dr. al-Dubayan said, “All of them say that the Qur’an is preserved and these are the Qur’an as it is revealed to the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam and as it was written by Uthman bin Affan. The copies of the Uthman bin Affan, by the way, are till recently, may be hundred years or 400 years, they are still existing. Yes. One copy of it was in Baghdad and then carried to Cairo years ago and from Cairo we assume it is now in Istanbul; there is another one attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib it is in Sanaa, Yemen; and there is another one in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It is believed this is the copy of Uthman bin Affan and there was one also in Andalusia in Spain. Actually when Muslims left Spain somebody carried that copy in a ship that ship sunk in the Mediterranean and the copy lost forever.”

Ibn Battuta mentioned Qur’an by Uthman
Bin Affan in Damascus in 12th century
“Some historians talked about the copy in Madinah. They said, it is there; but where it is now we don’t know. Ibn Battuta when he entered Damascus in the 12th century he mentioned in Damascus, every Friday they used to bring out the Qur’an by Uthman bin Affan; people see it; where it is now? We don’t find. Anyway, we want to say Alhamdolillah, finally, we have only one text; one Qur’an. If you see another copy of the Qur’an another version of the Qur’an in the world you will find the same without any changes,” Dr. Al-Dubayan said finally there is only one text One Qur’an.

Dr. al-Dubayan again repeated how the Qur’an was collected and how the Surah and Chapters were arranged. He said, “The Qur’an was written during the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam but it was not collected as one collection. That happened during the days of Abu Bakr when he started this. During the days of Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam people used to memorise than to write. When something revealed, for example, Surah al-Fateha, when they heard the Prophet read in the mosque, when they heard, most of people memorised. The Arabs, by the way, are very good in their memory; memorised even thousands of poetry; so they memorised quickly and because of this, there is also interest of their religion. They have the strong desire to memorise it.”

Difference between collection and collected
“Not all the companions memorised the Qur’an but all of them, all together as a community memorised it all. But it was scattered among them all. That’s why, during the days of Abu Bakr the companions of the committees started to collect them all because there would be no other revelations; because the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam was dead already. During the days of the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam it was not collected; because the revelation was continuing; was coming. During the time of Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam, he instructed: first put this Surah in that place; there must be match, where it should be put it; but it was not collected,” mentioned Dr. al-Dubayan.

Ibn Mas’ud’s Qur’an
After explaining the difference between collection and other collected, Dr. al-Dubayan clarified about Ibn Mas’ud’s Qur’an. He said, “Ibn Mas’ud had the same Qur’an but Ibn Mas’ud had the order of the chapters; that’s one, okay. Even Mas’ud did not include Surah Qul Falaq and Qul Nas; he did not know it is part of the Qur’an. So he did not write in his Qur’an. And he had the different order of the Surah; not the verses. Surah only. May be, he has the Surah Falaq in the beginning; or Baqara in the middle. When the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan  standised the Qur’an; he said: ‘I do not want another Qur’an.’

“When Ali ibn Abi Talib was asked during his time about this, he said: “That is excellent, if he has not done it; I would do it today.’ That is what Ali said. The work of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud is the work of one man, while the work of Uthman ibn Affan is a work of the whole committee including himself, including Ali ibn Abi Talib, including Zayed ibn Thabit. They participated and they were also members of the previous committee. So it is a group of people, not one,” clarified Dr. Al-Dubayan.

Surah Al-Falaq and Surah Al-Nas were revealed during the last days of the Prophet Sallallahu wa Sallam. That time ibn Mas’ud did not think these are verses of the Qur’an. When they told him, confusion gone and he accepted.


Written By: Dr. Mozammel Haque







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