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TonyJ

What Is The Oldest Complete Quran?

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I understand that the oldest Quranic manuscript is the Sana'a Manuscript in Yemen which dates to the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid (705 AD). But this manuscript has been hidden from view by the Yemeni government and I believe it is only fragmentary, not a complete Quran.

 

So what is the oldest complete copy of the Quran that we have today and that is available for the public to view?

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It is pretty interesting that noone here is able to answer this question.

 

So many Muslims claim that the Quran is the unaltered and perfectly preserved words of Muhammad, yet they themselves do not even know how far back we can trace the current Textus Receptus.

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The fact that nobody has answered doesn't mean nobody is able to answer the question.

 

Read this site: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/

 

http://individual.utoronto.ca/fantastic/The_History_of_the_Quranic_Text_from_Revelation_to_Compilation.pdf

 

It may be that people are busy. Personally I am in the middle of a project...

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I want to point out something , unlike any other book or religion " Quran has been saved by memorizing in the hearts of the believers not manuscripts". you may track how 2, 3 or more Quran memorizers from different countries (northern Russia, South Africa, Middle Africa, Indonesia, .....) how they received the Quran they have in their hearts, that should go to one source who is the prophet Mohammad. Quran memorizers have what is called "Ijazah" a kind of certificate which contains a continuous chain of memorizers' names generation after another that will end up to the prophet then the angel Gebreel and Allah ahmighty.

 

Allah shows in the Quran that He, almighty, made it as very easy to be memorized and studied. Practically, you can find 10th of Millions of Quran memorizers all over the world many of them 5,6 and 7 years old, also 70,80 and 90s years old.

 

054.017  Y: And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition? 

 

029.049   P: But it is clear revelations in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge, and none deny Our revelations save wrong-doers. 

 

also the prophet urged the Muslems to memorize the Quran in many Hadeeths, For example in Al-Termisy, " it will be said inday of Judgement to the Quran memorizer read and get higher in ranks, as you used to read in the 1st life"

 

 

قال الله تعالى : (وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِنْ مُدَّكِرٍ ) (17)) القمر
للذّكر : للتذاكر والحفظ والفهم ، فهل من مُدّكر ..؟ أي : مُتذكر

قال الإمام القرطبي ـ رحمه الله تعالى ـ : أي سهلناه للحِفظ وأعَنّا عليه مَن أراد حفظه ، فهل من طالب لحفظ القرآن فيُعان عليه .. ؟ .

وقال الله تعالى (بَلْ هُوَ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ فِي صُدُورِ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْم ) العنكبوت .

لله ما أروعَ هذه الآية التي تبيّن عظم شأن الصدور التي تحفظ كلام الله عز وجل ، وتصِفُ أصحابها بأنهم هم الذين أوتوا العلم ، وهل بعد كتاب الله تعالى من علم ..؟

ويبين الله تعالى لنا من خلالها أنه اختار من عباده فئة جعل صدورهم أوعيةً لكلامه ، إن هذا لهو الفضل المبين .

بل لو تأمّل الناس هذه القضية ، قضية اختصاص هذه الأمة بأن جعل الله صدور علمائها سبباً في حفظ آيات الله البينات ـ لَعلَموا قيمة حفّاظ كتاب الله تعالى .

والأعجب من هذا أن بعض هذه الصدور أعجمية لا تنطق العربية ، ولكن ألسنتهم بالقرآن فصيحة ، كما شاهدنا ذلك كثيراً .

مكانة حفظ القرآن الكريم عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم :

أ ـ ثبت أن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يفاضل بين أصحابه في حفظ القرآن ، فكان إذا بعث بعثاً يقول : ( ليؤمّكم أكثركم قرآناً … ) صحيح البخاري .

وإذا اجتمع شهداءُ الصحابة قَدّمَ أكثرهم قرآناً للّحـد في القبر أولاً ويباشره بنفسه ( صحيح البخاري ) ، بل كان يجعلُ مهَر المرأة ما يحفظه الرجل من القرآن ، وكان يعقد الرّاية في المعركة لأكثرهم حفظاً للقرآن لميزتهم على غيرهم .

ب ـ وعن عبد الله بن عمر ـ رضي الله عنهما قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول ك ( لا حَسَد إلا في اثنتين : رجل آتاه الله الكتاب فهو يقومُ به آناء الليل وآناء النهار ، ورجل أعطاه الله مالاً فهو يتصدقُ به آناء الليل وآناء النهار ) . رواه مسلم .

ج ـ وعن عبد الله بن عمر بن العاص ـ رضي الله عنهما ـ عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : يقال لصاحب القرآن : إقرأ وارتَق ورتّل كما كنتَُ تُرتّل في الدنيا فإنّ منزلتّك عند آخر آية تقرؤها ) . رواه الترمذي .

د ـ عن عثمان بن عفان رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( خيركم من تَعلّم القرآن وعلمه ) رواه البخاري .

هـ ـ عن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( من قرآ حرفاً من كتاب الله فله حسنة ، والحسنة بعشر أمثالها ، لا أقول : ألم حرف ، ولكن ألف حرف ، ولام حرف ، وميمُ حرف ) رواه الترمذي .

و ـ وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : (( ما اجتمع قومً في بيت من بيوت الله يتلون كتاب الله ، ويتدارسونه بينهم ، إلا نزلت عليهم السكينة وغشيتهم الرحمة ، وحفتهم الملائكة ، وذكرهم الله فيَمن عنده ) . رواه مسلم .

أما سلفنا الصالح رضي الله عنه من الصحابة والتابعين ومن بعدهم فلم يكونوا بقدّمون على القرآن شيئاً ولا يرضون لطالب العلم ، أن يخطوا في طلب العلوم والحديث إلا بعد أن يحفظ القرآن :

قال الوليد بن مسلم : كنا إذا جالسنا الأوزاعي فرأى فينا حَدَثاً ، قال يا غلام قرأت القرآن … ؟ فإن قال : نعم ، قال اقرأ : ( يوُصِيكم الله في أولادِكم ) وإن قال : لا ، قال : اذهب تعلّم القرآن قبل أن تطلب العلم ) . . والآثار في ذلك كثيرة اكتفي بهذا اليسير منها .

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that is a very good point as well.  Before the gospel was canonized there was also an oral gospel and even modern Jews will tell you that Judaism is not complete without the oral tradition.  Catholics also have a strong belief in an oral tradition

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that is a very good point as well.  Before the gospel was canonized there was also an oral gospel and even modern Jews will tell you that Judaism is not complete without the oral tradition.  Catholics also have a strong belief in an oral tradition

 

But Practically Do they have 10,000,000s of memorizers? or even two from different countries have the same texts in their hearts? Also, In which language do they have it?!! do they have a "Ijazah", chains of continuous known named connected personalities who transferred the texts from one to another?

 

the Reythem way of pronouncing the Quran is easy to be memorized, you can find Millions of NON-ARABIC memorizers, Let me tell you that a Quran memorizer memorizes the whole Mushaf cover to cover every Surah, Aiah, word, letter and Tashkeel (way of pronouncing an Arabic letter).

 

the volume of the Quran is too small, 1/10 to 1/11 related to the bible by words/letter numbers.

 

also Quran is Arabic since it's been revealed, a continuous spoken and understood language by more than 400 millions, compared to any other book.

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The fact that nobody has answered doesn't mean nobody is able to answer the question.

 

Read this site: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/

 

Small world, I have been researching the question today and stumbled upon the same site. Which is an excellent resource.

 

They are rather vague in what they say about dates, but this is probably because we cannot say with much certainty exactly how old these extant copies are. But the oldest ones are listed to date from "Between the end of the First to the beginning of the Second Century AH". Which means approximately 710-750 AD.

 

Two of the most famous old ones are in Topkapi, Istanbul and Samarkand. Whilst none of these manuscripts are totally complete, Islamic-awareness.org gives the impression that there are quite a few manuscripts from this period, so there does seem to be a body of evidence to suggest that we can trace 99% of the Textus Receptus to the Late Umayyad Era (710-750 AD). But for anything earlier than that we have nothing.

 

It is interesting that the earliest Qurans seem to date from just a little later than the earliest coins that mention Muhammad or anything to do with Islam.

 

This is indicative of either the period where Arab civilization transformed from an oral to a literate society or the period where Arab rulers made a conscientious effort to formulate and propagate a foundation story to legitimize their rule, or a combination of both.

But it is rather strange that there is absolutely nothing about Islam that survives from the Rashidun Era, no coins or qurans or inscriptions.

 

 

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that is a very good point as well.  Before the gospel was canonized there was also an oral gospel and even modern Jews will tell you that Judaism is not complete without the oral tradition.  Catholics also have a strong belief in an oral tradition

 

With regards to the reliability of the oral tradition, Chase Robinson has this to say:

 

 

 

“It is true that oral history can extend back three or four generations

with some accuracy, but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule,

and even in those exceptional cases, what is remembered is generally what is

socially significant. What is more, a relatively accurate oral history is

predicated on a more or less stable social system, one that holds to old truths

and conventions; in societies undergoing rapid social and political change (such

as early Islam), oral history tends to be much less accurate.”

 

Chase Robinson, Islamic Historiography, pg. 10

 

I am rather skeptical that early Muslim Quran memorizers have perfectly preserved the Surahs. The Quran is rather repetitive, which is most likely the result of trying to compile various different versions of Muhammad's ramblings from different sources into a single source and scribes accidentally putting the same ramblings from Muhammad into different Surahs.

 

What about the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock? Does it not have a slightly different text than the Textus Receptus?

 

Those inscriptions were made under Caliph Abd Al-Malik, which suggests that the text of the Quran was still in flux in this period.

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With regards to the reliability of the oral tradition, Chase Robinson has this to say:

 

“It is true that oral history can extend back three or four generations

with some accuracy, but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule,

and even in those exceptional cases, what is remembered is generally what is

socially significant. What is more, a relatively accurate oral history is

predicated on a more or less stable social system, one that holds to old truths

and conventions; in societies undergoing rapid social and political change (such

as early Islam), oral history tends to be much less accurate.”

 

Chase Robinson, Islamic Historiography, pg. 10

 

I am rather skeptical that early Muslim Quran memorizers have perfectly preserved the Surahs. The Quran is rather repetitive, which is most likely the result of trying to compile various different versions of Muhammad's ramblings from different sources into a single source and scribes accidentally putting the same ramblings from Muhammad into different Surahs.

 

What about the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock? Does it not have a slightly different text than the Textus Receptus?

 

Those inscriptions were made under Caliph Abd Al-Malik, which suggests that the text of the Quran was still in flux in this period.

 

could be right for many things but not Quran...

 

Since, writing & reading wasn't common at the time of the prophet, very few Sahabah (10s) among the whole number of them (10,000s) could do it, Quran has been transmitted orally from the prophet, just as it is now, to 1000s of them (too easy to be memorized even by 5-6 years old boys)

 

no more one year and those Sahabahs spread out in the whole Arabia to defend their religion and spread Islam...[individually and separately transmitted Quran to others  ]

 

few years later, those Sahabas spread out to Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Syria.....[individually and separately transmitted Quran to others  ]

 

all over the world, ........ etc.

 

Theoretically and Practically those separated isolated chains of transmission of the Quran (communications was too difficult between chains) led to 10,000,000s of Quran memorizers of one Quran. there is no the slightest difference between the Quran memorizers (even in the pronunciation of letters) in Nigeria, china, Russia, Indonisia......every where, I can see that there is no explanation but, that's Quran is preserved meraculaslly and that's the same Quran cited by the Prophet (pbuh)

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Small world, I have been researching the question today and stumbled upon the same site. Which is an excellent resource.

 

They are rather vague in what they say about dates, but this is probably because we cannot say with much certainty exactly how old these extant copies are. But the oldest ones are listed to date from "Between the end of the First to the beginning of the Second Century AH". Which means approximately 710-750 AD.

 

Two of the most famous old ones are in Topkapi, Istanbul and Samarkand. Whilst none of these manuscripts are totally complete, Islamic-awareness.org gives the impression that there are quite a few manuscripts from this period, so there does seem to be a body of evidence to suggest that we can trace 99% of the Textus Receptus to the Late Umayyad Era (710-750 AD). But for anything earlier than that we have nothing.

 

It is interesting that the earliest Qurans seem to date from just a little later than the earliest coins that mention Muhammad or anything to do with Islam.

 

This is indicative of either the period where Arab civilization transformed from an oral to a literate society or the period where Arab rulers made a conscientious effort to formulate and propagate a foundation story to legitimize their rule, or a combination of both.

But it is rather strange that there is absolutely nothing about Islam that survives from the Rashidun Era, no coins or qurans or inscriptions.

 

 

 

I don't know where you got this quote: ""Between the end of the First to the beginning of the Second Century AH". The site has a list of Qur'anic manuscripts dating to the first century after Hijra. There is no need to arbitrarily to set up a cut-off date of  710-750 AD as you have done. First century AH manuscripts do not equal automatically 710 AD or after. Thus, you  are wrong in asserting that before 710 AD we have nothing. 

 

There are more first century AH manuscripts. They are mentioned in this work: http://individual.utoronto.ca/fantastic/The_History_of_the_Quranic_Text_from_Revelation_to_Compilation.pdf

 

Read pages 314-318.

 

 

As for the Dome of the Rock inscriptions:

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Dome_Of_The_Rock/Estwitness.html

 

Ah yes, I have heard about this coin argument before on this forum. According to this argument, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not exist nor the rightly guided Caliphs. In other words, Islam, the Qur'an, the Prophet and his Companions, are merely a foundation story, a good legend, and this is based on the argument of there being no coins. It's fair to say that this is quite ignorant. The reason why there are no coins, with Islamic inscriptions on them of course or Islamic coins, is deceptively simple. There weren't any from the Rashidun period because they did not start their own coinage system. Byzantine and Persian coins were in use during the Rashidun era - as they had been during the Prophet's (pbuh). Later Caliphs decided that Muslims needed their own coinage system. You have to take into account that the Rashidun Caliphate expanded rapidly. A lot of advancements were made, but you can't achieve everything. 

 

As for inscriptions, well, the thing is that there is no Sunnah of inscribing Qur'anic verses in Masjids or buildings. Thus, the Rashidun did not do that. The inscription of Qur'anic verses on buildings started later on. The reason is quite simple once again. Muslims became better builders as time passed and became more interested in arts such as making beautiful inscriptions. 

 

As for Qur'ans, well, there are manuscripts from first century AH. Thus, it is not fair to conclude that there definitely aren't any manuscripts from the Rashidun era.

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The Quran is rather repetitive, which is most likely the result of trying to compile various different versions of Muhammad's ramblings from different sources into a single source and scribes accidentally putting the same ramblings from Muhammad into different Surahs.

 

This is just your personal conjecture.

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