Muslims are told by their Imam’s that the Quran recited today is the same original Quran from the time of Uthman. Is this true according to the Islamic sources, and if not what does that mean for Islam?
Whole Qur’ānic Manuscripts copies burnt
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to `Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to `Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So `Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to `Uthman. `Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, `Abdullah bin AzZubair, Sa`id bin Al-As and `AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. `Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, `Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. `Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. — Sahih al-Bukhari 4987
According to the authentic Hadiths (Sahih) from Bukhari there was a war and a Muslim named Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman approached Uthman (the son-in-law to Muhammad). Because the Quran was memorised by men there was concerns that during the war individuals who knew the Quran by memory would be killed, thereby, they would lose portions of the Quran. Hudhaifa was afraid of the differences in the recitation of the Qur’an and said to Uthman “Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before”.
This is interesting, the Hadith is saying there were different recitations of the Quran which means different verses and words. Uthman then sought to standardize all of the different readings into 1 Quran.
Uthman then orders his men to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies, afterwards he returns Hafsa’s manuscripts and orders to burn any other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies. This proves that Uthman was trying to destroy other Arabic versions of the Quran which contradicts the Hafs version in order to make 1 Quran.
The Early Muslims forgot whole Surah’s
Abu Harb b. Abu al-Aswad reported on the authority of his father that Abu Musa al-Ash’ari sent for the reciters of Basra. They came to him and they were three hundred in number. They recited the Qur’an and he said: You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them. So continue to recite it. (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you. We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara’at. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it:” If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.” And we used so recite a slirah which resembled one of the surahs of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it, — Sahih Muslim 2286
In this Hadith we have the account of Musa al-Ash’ari sending for “the reciters of Basra”, these were 300 Muslim men. These 300 men were the best among the inhabitants of Basra. Yet they used to recite Surah Bara’at but they forgot this Surah. They also had another Surah Musabbihat which was also forgotten. The Question is where are these Surah’s because they are not in the Quran, the Hadith mentions Bara’at and Musabbihat?
Missing verses of the Quran because of being eaten by sheep
It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.” — Grade: Hasan (Darussalam) Sunan ibn Majah 1944
Here in this Hadith we’re told that the were verses referring to stoning and adult breastfeeding 10 times revealed by Muhammad. These verses were in Aisha’s possession under her pillow, these verses are also not found in the Quran because they were eaten by a sheep. Therefore, the claim that the Quran is preserved cannot be true.
Abu Bakr burns the books of Hadith
Aisha the wife of Muhammad narrated in Abu Dhahbi’s “The memorial of the Hadith masters” that Abu Bakr collected 500 Hadith’s of Muhammad then after a night of torment, he asked Aisha to tell him the Hadith she knew and she did and then he gathered them and burned them. Aisha asked him why did you burn them? And he said “I feared that I would die with these words on me and they would be full of his words that I trusted but it would transpire that it was not what he said and I would have relayed them incorrectly”. This narrative is verified by Abu Bakr who has the least narrations of the Hadith of all the companions of the prophet despite him being the companion that was with him the most. Al Nawawi said “Abu Bakr Al Sadeek narrated one hundred and forty-two Hadith, Bukhari and Muslim agreed only on six of them, Bukhari verified eleven on his own and Muslim confirmed one Hadith. The reason for him having so few hadiths despite him being the closest companion of the prophet is because he died before the spread of Hadith and the followers of Islam becoming more concerned with hearing, gathering and preserving them.”
Narrated Aisha: My father gathered the ahadith of the Messenger of Allah, and they totalled five hundred, then he spent his night sleeplessly turning on his sides. I thought that he was upset because of someone’s complaint, or because of some news which he had heard. The next morning, he said to me, `Daughter! Bring me the ahadith in your possession,’ so I brought them to him, and he set them on fire.” Then he said: “It is possible that there should be certain things in it which did not correspond textually with what the Prophet had uttered, so I was worried that I die and these ahadith remain with me. — Reference: p. 237, Vol. 5, of Kanz al-`Ummal Refer also to Ibn Kathir’s book Al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya as well as p. 5, Vol. 1, of al-Dhahabi’s Tadhkirat al-Huffaz
Qur’ānic Manuscripts From Uthman?
We’ll end with a quote from two Islamic scholars Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Dr Tayyar Altıkulaç.
Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: of Turkey is the former Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. (OIC). He’s written numerous books, articles and papers in Turkish, English and Arabic on science, Islamic culture, Turkish culture, relations between the Muslim world and the Western world, and Turkish-Arab relations.
Dr Tayyar Altıkulaç: was born in Devrekani in Kastamonu in 1938.He went to primary school in the district where he was born and finished secondary and high school in Istanbul. He became a hafiz at the age of 9 before finishing primary school. In 1963, he graduated from High Islamic Institute. He taught at Imam Hatip (Religious) High School until 1965. He was a research assistant and lecturerat the High Islamic Institute in Istanbul and Kayseri. In the meantime, he specialized in Arabic Language and Literature at Baghdad University in the 1967-68 academic year. He completed his doctorate in interpretation.
In there book called Al-Mushaf Al-Sharif Attributed To Uthman Bin ‘ Affan, page 35 we have the following quote concerning if the current Quran used world wide by Muslims. The Hafs Quran also known as the 1924 Cairo edition is the same Quran manuscripts from Uthman’s time.
“One of the most important questions of Qur’ānic history is the whereabouts of the Mushafs attributed to Caliph Uthman and whether any of them reached the present day. Unfortunately, we do not have a positive answer to this question …In our view, this situation is one of the greatest weaknesses of the Islamic world throughout history” — Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Dr Tayyar Altıkulaç, Al-Mushaf Al-Sharif Attributed To Uthman Bin ‘ Affan, p. 35
If the scholars are saying they don’t “have a positive answer to this question”. Then the question must be asked, where is the “Mushafs attributed to Caliph Uthman and whether any of them reached the present day”? Any Muslims know the answer?