Historical Research on Islam and the Earliest Qur'anic Manuscripts
The newest Historical material we now have on the dating of the earliest Qur'anic Manuscripts (Mushafs) is breaking new historical ground. These findings have an impact on not only the authenticity of the earliest Qur'ans, but also on who Muhammad was, as well as the whole scope concerning how Islam emerged. This new material has just come to light in the last two years (2012 - 2014) and is proving to be a real 'game changer' for those of us engaging publicly with Islam, especially within the academic environment, where the significance of these findings will have the greatest impact.
Concolusions of this new research is summarised as follows :-
“Islam, as we know it, did not exist in the 7th century, but evolved over a period of 200-300 years” (Humphreys 1991:71,83-89)
“The Qur’an probably was not revealed to one man in 22 years, but likely evolved over a period of 50-100 years” (Rippin 1985:155;1990:3,25,60; Lester 99:44-45; Wansbrough 1977:160-163)
The history of Islam, at least from the time of the caliph Abd al-Malik (685-705 AD) and before, is a later fabrication (Cook 1983:65,
These are extremely direct and damaging conclusions by the respective scholars, and no doubt our Muslim friends will reject this however the evidence is there and one must then consider the Islamic scholars research and add their comments into the mix to balance the argument. Yet when we do this it is more damaging to Islam and suddenly our Muslim friends are silenced
with no answer.
Before we look at the new evidence four questions need to be asked!
Is the Qur'an eternal? (see Sura 85:22, which says so)
Was it written down complete by Uthman in 650 AD, and were four copies sent to Medina, Basra, Baghdad and Damascus by him (al Bukhari says so in Vol.6:509-510)?
Has the Qur’an changed since 650 AD (i.e. the 1989 Ibn Fahd canon)?
Do they have complete Manuscripts from the time of Uthman to prove it was complete, and that it has never changed in 1400 years (i.e. the Topkapi/Sammarkand)?
Our Muslim friends will answer yes to all these questions, yet the evidence of the quranic manuscripts say something else. Two Islamic scholars (Tayyar Altıkulaç and Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin) have been studding the six major Quranic manuscripts over a five year period (2002 -2007) and there published works have now been translated into English (2014) and the results are somewhat damaging to Islamic.
(Topkapi Museum, Istanbul, Turkey) (Early – Mid 8th c.)
Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu: (Founding Director General of IRCICA (1980-2004) & Secretary General of the Organisation of
the Islamic Conference Research Centre)
‘We have none of Uthman’s Mushafs’ (manuscripts)
‘Nor do we have any of the copies from those Mushafs’
‘These Mushafs date from the later ‘Umayyad period’
Dr. Tayyar Altıkulaç: (Leading scholar in Qur’anic studies, Ex-president of Turkish religious affairs, deputy in the Turkish parliament)
‘No serious scholarly work has been done on them’
‘These Mushafs date from the early – mid 8th cent.’
‘They are not Uthmanic, nor copies sent by him’
‘The Topkapi has 2,270 consonantal differences’
22% of the Qur’an is missing
The SAMMARQAND MANUSCRIPT (TASHKENT): (EARLY – MID 8TH C.)
Dr. Tayyar Altıkulaç: ‘It is not Uthmanic, as it dates from mid 8th c.’;
Different writing styles
Written by someone with little experience
With later additions (only goes to Sura 43) that is 66% of the Qur’an is missing
The AL HUSSEINI CAIRO MANUSCRIPT [Located: ‘al-Mashhad al-Husayni’ – Cairo, Egypt]
Dr. Tayyar Altıkulaç:
‘This is not Uthmanic’
’It is dated from early to mid 8th century’
The PARIS PETROPOLITANUS – (Early 8th c.)
Francois Deroche (Deroche 2009:172-177):
Corrections to the text
Disagrees with the Caireen Mushaf in 93 places
“Five different copyists”
“Later modified with erasures and additions”
74% of the Qur’an is missing
The MA’IL MANUSCRIPT (2165 MS, British Library) (Late 8thCentury [790 AD])
Written in an early Hijazi Script, Dated to the late 8thc.
Only goes up to Sura 43, thus it is not complete
25% of the Qur’an is missing
The SANA’A MANUSCRIPT (Located in Sana’a, Yemen; Late 7th – Early 8th Century)
Dr. Gerd Puin (1981-Present):
“Oldest parchments & papers of any Qur’anic Manuscript.”
Yet, more than half of the text is ambiguous letters which need diacritical marks for understanding.
Adding vowels helped correct mistakes.
It includes orthographical changes found in geographical tradition schools.
Many deviations are not mentioned in later literature.
SANA’A PALIMPSESTS (writing under the text):
Using Ultra-Violet light, we find a ‘Qur’anic’ script written and washed below that of the existing script (‘Script Defecto’). This
is the first evidence we have of an evolution in the Qur’anic text in one manuscript.
Western Scholars (Deroche, Böwering, Conrad, Peters, Stein, Shoemaker, etc…) conclude that the earliest Mushaf’s begin to appear in the 8th c.
Muslim Scholars (Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu & Dr. Tayyar Altıkulaç) conclude that the earliest Mushaf’s begin to appear in the
‘Islamic Awareness’ (IA) concludes there are no Uthmanic Mushafs, and that all the early Mushafs date from the 8th c., or later
Since there are NO COMPLETE MANUSCRIPTS:-
The Qur'an is NOT ETERNAL! (Despite Sura 85:22)
It was NOT COMPLETE in 650 AD (despite al Bukhari Vol.6:509510)
The Qur’an HAS CHANGED since 650 AD (despite the 1984 Ibn Fahd canon)
Thus, Muhammad had little to do with the Qur’an!
SO, WHO THEN CREATED THE QUR’AN?!!
If at all any of our Muslim friends do respond to this, take note they will change the topic and point to the Bible and miss the point been made. As a Christian we do not claim the bible is Eternal, without error or complete. Yet Islam make these claims about the Quran, we have simple accepted the Islamic tradition and chains of narration, while access was denied to the source material as noted above. Thus one must keep in mind one error, one contradiction, one change or one word missing by Quranic standards proves Islam to be false.
Thus it is extremely important for the Christian community to be ready to handle the influx of Muslim into the Christian culture in the coming years, in an honest understanding of their background, needs and proper discipleship into the Kingdom.