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Preservation of Qur'an

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    Preservation of Qur'an (OP)


    format_quote Originally Posted by AabiruSabeel View Post
    Sure, the Torah revealed on Musa was prefect and absolute but it was meant for only the children of Israel. Moreover, the original version is no long preserved. It was meant to be replaced by Quran and Judaism was meant to be replaced by Islam from the very beginning, as Islam and Quran are for the whole of humanity until the last day.
    The original Quran has not been preserved. Uthman burnt all original copies. Muslims have no record exactly what the original Quran was.

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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

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    format_quote Originally Posted by AabiruSabeel View Post
    You are regurgitating the same allegations that have already been clarified here over the past 16 years. See the thread links given here for each of your false allegation: Index of useful threads - Page 2 (islamicboard.com)

    Read this article as well: Rebuttal to Samuel Green's Article "MUHAMMAD'S PERFECT MEMORY?" (call-to-monotheism.com)


    As for the validation of memorized Qur'an by the Prophet , the hadith says:

    Narrated Masriq:

    `Abdullah bin `Amr mentioned `Abdullah bin Masud and said, "I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, 'Take (learn) the Qur'an from four: `Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu`adh and Ubai bin Ka`b.' " [Bukhari]

    And we have mutawatir unbroken chains of recitation through one of these companions to the Prophet .


    Not all Sahabah were always present with the Prophet at all times. So it is possible that some of them might have recorded a verse that was later abrogated. This led to the differences between them, along with the different dialects that were used at that time. Uthman made copies of the original copy kept with Hafsah . He didn't simply choose one over the other. If he had done anything out of his own accord, the companions present during his time would have certainly revolted against him.


    Zaid is reported to have said, "I saw the companions of Muhammad (going about) saying, "By Allah, Uthman has done well! By Allah, Uthman has done well!" [Nisaburi]

    Ibn Abi Dawud records Musab ibn Sad ibn Abi Waqqas to have testified: "I saw the people assemble in large number at Uthman's burning of the proscribed copies; not a one spoke out against him." Ali commented, "If I were in command in place of Uthman, I would have done the same." [Zarkashi]



    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. [Bukhari]

    It is a lie that the Qur'an parchments found in San'a are different from the actual Qur'an. Read this post here for clarification: Opinion of Yemeni Fragments??
    You are regurgitating the same stock replies without showing critical thought.

    And just because your hadith claims an unbroken chain of recitation that doesn’t mean to say it’s actually the case.

    Yes Uthman made copies of the original copy kept with Hafsah. And then he burnt all other copies. Why burn them ? A man did this. Did Allah tell him to do this ?! You state there was no dissent about this from the followers? I’m not sure that’s actually the case. But even if so, then why would that be? Its obvious. The sword!
    I read your link about the Sanaa Quran. It displays typical Muslim defensiveness and lack of academic objectivity so characteristic in Muslim society. This is part of the reason Islam and Muslim countries have not advanced over the last few centuries and not likely to.

    The point about Dr. Puin writing a letter which was quoted in the Yemeni newspaper needs to be viewed in context. If you research Puin you will see the context of his quote was about him protecting his research and access to the documents from the Yemeni authorities. Yemeni authorities had already debarred Puin and Bothmer from further examination of the manuscripts. Why ? Because it was challenging their “Holy Book”!
    Also following Toby Lester's 1999 article "What is the Koran”, Puin further reinforces his position that both the oral and written versions of the Quran “were not stable.”

    Read what Puin has to say -
    “My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants.” [1]
    Also …
    “My idea is that the Quran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. The Quran claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen’, or clear. But [contrary to popular belief] if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply does not make sense…the fact is that a fifth of the Quranic text is just incomprehensible. If the Quran is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Quran claims repeatedly to be clear but is not—there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on”.
    And …
    “So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Quran is just God’s unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Quran has been out of discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Quran has a history too. The Sana’a’s fragments will help us to do this.”
    As I have said. Obviously the divinity attached to Quran is a lie. Muslims tell us that the Quran is a literary miracle but obviously it is not. My point remains. Muslims have no basis for an overly confident view of their own scriptures.

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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    Hello Spiritlead,

    format_quote Originally Posted by Spiritlead View Post
    “Speculation rather than factual information…” Have a good read. I have referenced my views with historical fact and references from the Quran and hadith. I think you are being defensive.
    I have read your post and responded to it, but I found very little factual information and the couple of references to Hadith did not support your views. I have highlighted where you are making claims without evidence and where you have failed to address points.

    My reason for starting this post was an earlier point made by AabiruSabeel stating “Moreover, the original version (of the Torah) is no long preserved.” While his point was about the Torah and not the Injel it still reveals an obvious ignorance and arrogance within the Muslim world that Muslim scriptures are far above the level of scrutiny from those of Jews and Christians. I have adequately demonstrated this is not the case.
    Muslims do believe that former scriptures such as the Torah were corrupted but this is neither out of ignorance nor arrogance. It is a statement of fact as attested to even by non-Muslims:

    'This Text of the Qur'an is the purest of all works of alike antiquity' (Wherry, Commentary on the Koran, I. p. 349).

    'Modern critics agree that that the copies current today are almost exact replicas of the original mother-text as compiled by Zayd, and that, on the whole, the text of the Koran today is as Muhammad prodcued it. As some Semitic scholar remarked, there are probably more variations in the reading of one chapter of Genesis in Hebrew than there are in the entire Koran' (Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 123).

    'It is an immense merit in the Kuran that there is no doubt as to its genuineness That very word we can now read with full confidence that it has remained unchanged through nearly thirteen hundred years' (LSK., p.3)

    'In the Kuran we have, beyond all reasonable doubt, the exact words of Mohammed without subtraction and without addition' (Bosworth Smith, Mohammamed and Mohammedanism, p. 22)

    I will repeat some of my points as you seem to have either ignored or evaded them. Civil war and the early Caliphs being murdered with an obvious political influence on the development of the Quran and hadith. Civil war at this time is a fact. Not speculation.
    There is no evidence for the idea of 'development' of the Qur'an (and Hadith) because the entire Qur'an was in the possession of the Muslim community before the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The official copies made at the time of Uthman رضي الله عنه correlated with the earlier official copy made by Abubakr رضي الله عنه. In addition, if civil war was truly a factor, there would not have been a unanimous agreement when Uthman رضي الله عنه ordered that one standard text be used and others destroyed. In the subsequent civil war between the supporters of the Khalifa Ali ibn Abi-Talib and Mu'awiya, calls for arbitration according to the Qur'an never involved claims that the other side had an incomplete or changed Qur'an. This would have been a convenient and devastating weapon if it could have been at all convincing. The different stages of the compilation of the Qur'an were never seen as evidence against the integrity of the Qur'anic text.

    And the facts remain the transmission is not as straight forward and reliable as Muslims wish to believe. Random verses written on leaves, wood, bones and stones.
    The fact that verses were written on leaves, skins, bones etc. under the supervision of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself shows that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ensured the Qur'an was written down, not just memorised. These written fragments would later be used, together with the use of witnesses who had memorised those verses directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, to compile the first mushaf which would become the authoritative copy.

    You say “we have an exact record of the Qur'an via numerous chains of transmission going directly back to the Prophet via multiple Companions.” As I said you will never be able to prove this because no originals exist. The best you can do is assume a measure of reliability. Muslims cannot prove 100 % reliability which your miracle book demands.
    This is one of the easiest things to prove. The Qur'an has been passed down from teacher to student in mutawatir narrations; in each generation, so many people narrated it that there is no question of its authenticity.

    One of our members, Ansar Al-'Adl, wrote, 'one fallacy that many people commit in discussing the preservation of the Qur'an is ignoring its oral and educational tradition, focusing merely on the textual. The Qur'an is a living text, in that its recitation forms an integral part of the daily religious practice of each and every Muslim in the world. The Imam recites from the Qur'an in the congregational prayers, and during Ramadan every year the entire Qur'an is recited from cover to cover in Mosques by the Imam from memory. Now let's take the example of the Sacred Mosque in Makkah where literally millions of worshippers congregate during the prayers in Ramadan. Standing in that congregation there are countless thousands who have memorized the Qur'an and have come from every corner of the world and many more thousands who follow along with a copy of the Qur'an. Even the slightest mispronunciation of a vowelization mark is instantly corrected.

    Muslims everywhere memorize the Qur'an, many millions memorizing the entire Qur'an from cover to cover, such that Huffaadh (singl. Hafidh - one who has memorized the entire Qur'an by heart) are ubiquitous within the Muslim community. It is not uncommon nor surprising to find children even as young as six or seven or younger who have completed their memorization of the entire Qur'an. If all the books in the entire world were to be lost or destroyed, only the Qur'an would be recovered letter for letter as it is preserved in the hearts of so many millions.'


    Copies that disagreed with the “official version” being burnt . Muslims say Uthmans Recension was only about dialects. If that was the case then why destroy them ? What was Uthman afraid of ? If there had not been serious differences between them, why would he have had to destroy such cherished copies of what all Muslims believe to be the miracle revealed Word of God? How can the Quran be the “miracle infallible word of God” if such drastic action needed to be taken?
    Uthman رضي الله عنه acted in response to what was occurring amongst some Muslims in Azerbaijan and Armenia who were not Companions and were not trained in the proper etiquette of the recitation of the Qur'an. Therefore, official copies of the Qur'an were written using the very same copy compiled at the time of Abubakr رضي الله عنه, and then they were sent to all the provinces, together with reciters of the Qur'an, which would serve to unite the Muslims on the proper recitation of the Qur'an. He ordered the eradication of all other copies/parchments because such copies were neither verified nor authorized under the consensus of the Companions. We can therefore see that it was a measure taken to preserve the integrity of the Qur'anic text.

    Your comment about there being 'serious differences' between the other copies is again a baseless assertion. Muhammad Mohar Ali writes:

    All that is proved is some dialectical peculiarities and differences in vocalization due primarily to the absence of vowel signs and points on or under some letters in the early form of the Arabic alphabet, together with the use of synonyms for a number of words in the 'Uthmanic text. The variant readings from the Old Codices, even if the reports regarding these readings be considered reliable, do not make out a case for rival and divergent texts. Neither did 'Uthman "canonize" only one of many existing texts, nor did the written copies of Qur'anic texts possessed by individual Companions of the Prophet- the so-called "Old Codices" - constitute divergent and rival texts. [The Qur'an and the Orientalists, p. 232]

    As mentioned, this decision wasn’t based on the wisdom or a command of God but on one man’.
    The action of Uthman رضي الله عنه was with the approval of all the Companions; it wasn't simply 'one man'. Obviously, everything occurred according to the Decree and Wisdom of God. Prior to this incident the Muslims took great care in writing, memorising and preserving the teachings of the Qur'an, so there is nothing difficult to understand here about the need to take care of divine Scripture.

    The Bible has never had a wholesale burning to standardize its text in the way that the Qur'an has.
    There has never been one standardised text of the Bible in the first place - there have been numerous revisions, different versions, anonymous authors... one wonders whose teachings you are actually following.

    But even it they are just minor differences how can this be justified by “the Word of God made text”. A divine book from tablets in heaven. Immutable, The “Holy” Quran , a literary miracle !?
    And example of the the kind of differences we are talking about is differences in spelling - the writing of 'alif at some places - which do not in any way affect the integrity and correctness of the text as a whole. Even if a manuscript containing significant differences was found, it would only be a case in point if an error had gone unnoticed and resulted in a variant text amongst Muslims. But Muslims have forever been united on one text free of variants and even the slightest mistake could be recognised and rejected even by a child.

    Regarding the Sanaa Quran. The Sanaa Quran is the most complete and oldest in existence.
    According to whom?

    If you research Puin and the Sanaa Quran you will see the context of Puins quote was about him protecting his research and access to the documents from the Yemeni authorities. Yemeni authorities had already debarred Puin and Bothmer from further examination of the manuscripts. Why ? Because it was challenging their “Holy Book”!And following Toby Lester's 1999 article "What is the Koran”, Puin further reinforces his position that both the oral and written versions of the Quran “were not stable. “
    Such an assessment is not surprising considering Western Qur'anic scholarship has traditionally taken place in the context of an openly declared hostility between Christianity and Islam. The findings of Dr. Puin have already been addressed by the likes of Dr M Al-Azami and Muhammad Mohar Ali, showing that his conclusions are 'clearly far-fetched and totally untenable'.

    What is interesting is that Puin referred to attempts made previously by orientalists to collect existing manuscipts of the Qur'an in order to prepare what they call a revised version by comparing any differences in them. The very large number of manuscripts collected for that purpose at the University of Munich, Germany, were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. Yet Puin omitted to mention a very important fact: shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, the authorities in charge of those manuscripts had actually issued a statement on the basis of their study of them. They had said that a study and comparison of the manuscripts, though not complete, had not revealed any discrepancy and difference in the texts except minor spelling mistakes in some places which was natural and all of which did not, however, affect the correctness and integrity of the Qur'anic text as a whole. [Muhammad Hamidullah, Khutabat-i-Bhawalpur (Urdu text), Tahqiqat-i-Islami, Islamabad, 1985, pp. 20-21; also reproduced in the Impact International, March 2000, p. 28.]

    Obviously the divinity attached to Quran is a lie.
    There is nothing obvious other than the fact you are making claims without any evidence.

    Muslims tell us that the Quran is a literary miracle but obviously it is not. My point remains.
    I am not sure what point you are referring to because this is a discussion about the preservation of the Qur'an, not its literary miracle. We haven't even touched upon the literary miracle of the Qur'an!

    Muslims have no basis for an overly confident view of their own scriptures.
    Yes, we do. See above.

    Yes I read your link about Mohmad forgetting a verse. As I said the fact remains.
    You offer no counter-argument so I fail to see how your point remains.

    plus recitation disputes amongst early believers calls into question
    I already referred you to the following threads regarding this issue. Again, no counter-argument from yourself:
    [Uloom Al-Qur'an] The Qira'at and The Ahruf (islamicboard.com)
    The revelation of the Qur’aan in seven styles (islamicboard.com)


    Christians make a different claim about the Bible as opposed to the claims Muslims make about the Quran. Muslims see the Quran as a miracle, inerrant and literal. Christians see the Bible as not being inerrant but do see it is infallible.
    How can something 'not be inerrant' and infallible at the same time?!

    Christians view the Bible similar to how Muslims view their hadith.
    The chain of narrators for every Hadith is examined and scrutinised by Muslim scholars. On the other hand, there are unknown authors of the Bible. This is simply one reason why the Bible is incomparable even to Hadith.

    You state the Bible was not complete until several decades after Jesus left this world. However what you don’t realise was that the accounts were memorised and passed on orally by the eye witnesses who were still alive at the time. There were also notes written that later contributed to the Gospels. Luke attests to that in the first chapter of The Gospel of Luke.
    Christian scholars say that 'the evidence strongly suggests the authors of the Gospels were not eyewitnesses.' They also say, 'The four Gospels were published anonymously… they seem to have been written with no authors names attached. We don’t know how or when these names were attached to these Gospels’ that is lost to history.' So you are willing to believe that anonymous people memorised the Bible and wrote it almost a century later, whereas you are having trouble accepting that the entire Qur'an was memorised and written during the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم life by numerous Companions whose names are well-documented. You are also willing to accept the Bible was written with the help of 'notes' but for some reason have a problem with the fact that Qur'an was initially written on fragments. I see a double standard in your approach here and a lack of the 'critical thinking' you spoke about.

    You say there were “different versions of the Bible each containing different numbers of books”… While there is some truth to that, what is common to them all were the four gospels – Mathew Mark, Luke and John, The Book of Acts and most of the letters.
    That hardly changes the fact that the Bibles are all different. Even in the four gospels, we find that verses were thrown out and re-inserted by Bible scholars: Variant Korans- - Page 4 (islamicboard.com)

    And in terms of the reliability of transmission, the New Testament is the most validated of all ancient writings.
    It seems Christian scholars do not agree with you:

    In the latter part of the second century, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth says: "As the brethren desired me to write epistles(letters), I did so, and these the apostles of the devil have filled with tares (changes), exchanging some things and adding others, for whom there is a woe reserved. It is not therefore, a matter of wonder if some have also attempted to adulterate the sacred writings of the Lord, since they have attempted the same in other works that are not to be compared with these."

    Rev. Professor David Jenkins, the fourth highest-ranking Bishop in the Church of England and the Bishop of Durham had the following admission to make:"[some of the events in the early mission of Jesus] were not strictly true but were added to the story of Jesus by the early Christians to express their faith in him as a Messiah." [London Daily Mail, page 12, 15/July/1984]

    "The Five Gospels," is a 550 page book containing translations of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It was the result of a six year study by 24 Christian scholars from a number of Western universities. They decided to produce a translation of the Gospels which would be uncolored by the translator's personal faith. Their conclusion (page 5) was:"Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him."

    "1 John 5:7 in the Textus Receptus (represented in the KJV) makes it appear that John had arrived at the doctrine of the trinity in explicit form ('the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost'), but this text is clearly an interpolation since no genuine Greek manuscript contains it." [The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Edited by Allen C. Myers, p. 1020]

    More ancient copies exist than any other ancient writing, for example the Roman history of Julius Caesar, and others. Plus these copies cover a huge and wide geographic area that prevented them from being gathered together and falsified.
    Dr. J.K. Elliott, of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University, wrote an article published in The Times, London (10th Sept., 1987) entitled “Checking the Bible’s Roots”. In it, he stated that:

    “More than 5,000 manuscripts contain all or part of the New Testament in its original language. These range in date from the second century up to the invention of printing. It has been estimated that no two agree in all particulars. Inevitably, all handwritten documents are liable to contain accidental errors in copying. However, in living theological works it is not surprising that deliberate changes were introduced to avoid or alter statements that the copyist found unsound. There was also a tendency for copyists to add explanatory glosses[9]. Deliberate changes are more likely to have been introduced at an early stage before the canonical status of the New Testament was established.”The author went on to explain that “no one manuscript contains the original, unaltered text in its entirety,” and that, “one cannot select any one of these manuscripts and rely exclusively on its text as if it contained the monopoly the original words of the original authors.”

    So, 5,000 manuscripts of the Bible, and no two of them agree! I reiterate my point: If you apply the same level of criticism to the Bible that you've been applying to the Qur'an, you will be forced to conclude that it is far from being 'highly reliable'.
    Last edited by Muhammad; 12-04-2021 at 05:12 PM.
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    Preservation of Qur'an




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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    format_quote Originally Posted by Muhammad View Post
    Hello Spiritlead,

    I have read your post and responded to it, but I found very little factual information and the couple of references to Hadith did not support your views. I have highlighted where you are making claims without evidence and where you have failed to address points.

    Muslims do believe that former scriptures such as the Torah were corrupted but this is neither out of ignorance nor arrogance. It is a statement of fact as attested to even by non-Muslims:

    'This Text of the Qur'an is the purest of all works of alike antiquity' (Wherry, Commentary on the Koran, I. p. 349).

    'Modern critics agree that that the copies current today are almost exact replicas of the original mother-text as compiled by Zayd, and that, on the whole, the text of the Koran today is as Muhammad prodcued it. As some Semitic scholar remarked, there are probably more variations in the reading of one chapter of Genesis in Hebrew than there are in the entire Koran' (Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 123).

    'It is an immense merit in the Kuran that there is no doubt as to its genuineness That very word we can now read with full confidence that it has remained unchanged through nearly thirteen hundred years' (LSK., p.3)

    'In the Kuran we have, beyond all reasonable doubt, the exact words of Mohammed without subtraction and without addition' (Bosworth Smith, Mohammamed and Mohammedanism, p. 22)

    There is no evidence for the idea of 'development' of the Qur'an (and Hadith) because the entire Qur'an was in the possession of the Muslim community before the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The official copies made at the time of Uthman رضي الله عنه correlated with the earlier official copy made by Abubakr رضي الله عنه. In addition, if civil war was truly a factor, there would not have been a unanimous agreement when Uthman رضي الله عنه ordered that one standard text be used and others destroyed. In the subsequent civil war between the supporters of the Khalifa Ali ibn Abi-Talib and Mu'awiya, calls for arbitration according to the Qur'an never involved claims that the other side had an incomplete or changed Qur'an. This would have been a convenient and devastating weapon if it could have been at all convincing. The different stages of the compilation of the Qur'an were never seen as evidence against the integrity of the Qur'anic text.

    The fact that verses were written on leaves, skins, bones etc. under the supervision of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself shows that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ensured the Qur'an was written down, not just memorised. These written fragments would later be used, together with the use of witnesses who had memorised those verses directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, to compile the first mushaf which would become the authoritative copy.

    This is one of the easiest things to prove. The Qur'an has been passed down from teacher to student in mutawatir narrations; in each generation, so many people narrated it that there is no question of its authenticity.

    One of our members, Ansar Al-'Adl, wrote, 'one fallacy that many people commit in discussing the preservation of the Qur'an is ignoring its oral and educational tradition, focusing merely on the textual. The Qur'an is a living text, in that its recitation forms an integral part of the daily religious practice of each and every Muslim in the world. The Imam recites from the Qur'an in the congregational prayers, and during Ramadan every year the entire Qur'an is recited from cover to cover in Mosques by the Imam from memory. Now let's take the example of the Sacred Mosque in Makkah where literally millions of worshippers congregate during the prayers in Ramadan. Standing in that congregation there are countless thousands who have memorized the Qur'an and have come from every corner of the world and many more thousands who follow along with a copy of the Qur'an. Even the slightest mispronunciation of a vowelization mark is instantly corrected.

    Muslims everywhere memorize the Qur'an, many millions memorizing the entire Qur'an from cover to cover, such that Huffaadh (singl. Hafidh - one who has memorized the entire Qur'an by heart) are ubiquitous within the Muslim community. It is not uncommon nor surprising to find children even as young as six or seven or younger who have completed their memorization of the entire Qur'an. If all the books in the entire world were to be lost or destroyed, only the Qur'an would be recovered letter for letter as it is preserved in the hearts of so many millions.'


    Uthman رضي الله عنه acted in response to what was occurring amongst some Muslims in Azerbaijan and Armenia who were not Companions and were not trained in the proper etiquette of the recitation of the Qur'an. Therefore, official copies of the Qur'an were written using the very same copy compiled at the time of Abubakr رضي الله عنه, and then they were sent to all the provinces, together with reciters of the Qur'an, which would serve to unite the Muslims on the proper recitation of the Qur'an. He ordered the eradication of all other copies/parchments because such copies were neither verified nor authorized under the consensus of the Companions. We can therefore see that it was a measure taken to preserve the integrity of the Qur'anic text.

    Your comment about there being 'serious differences' between the other copies is again a baseless assertion. Muhammad Mohar Ali writes:

    All that is proved is some dialectical peculiarities and differences in vocalization due primarily to the absence of vowel signs and points on or under some letters in the early form of the Arabic alphabet, together with the use of synonyms for a number of words in the 'Uthmanic text. The variant readings from the Old Codices, even if the reports regarding these readings be considered reliable, do not make out a case for rival and divergent texts. Neither did 'Uthman "canonize" only one of many existing texts, nor did the written copies of Qur'anic texts possessed by individual Companions of the Prophet- the so-called "Old Codices" - constitute divergent and rival texts. [The Qur'an and the Orientalists, p. 232]

    The action of Uthman رضي الله عنه was with the approval of all the Companions; it wasn't simply 'one man'. Obviously, everything occurred according to the Decree and Wisdom of God. Prior to this incident the Muslims took great care in writing, memorising and preserving the teachings of the Qur'an, so there is nothing difficult to understand here about the need to take care of divine Scripture.

    There has never been one standardised text of the Bible in the first place - there have been numerous revisions, different versions, anonymous authors... one wonders whose teachings you are actually following.

    And example of the the kind of differences we are talking about is differences in spelling - the writing of 'alif at some places - which do not in any way affect the integrity and correctness of the text as a whole. Even if a manuscript containing significant differences was found, it would only be a case in point if an error had gone unnoticed and resulted in a variant text amongst Muslims. But Muslims have forever been united on one text free of variants and even the slightest mistake could be recognised and rejected even by a child.

    According to whom?

    Such an assessment is not surprising considering Western Qur'anic scholarship has traditionally taken place in the context of an openly declared hostility between Christianity and Islam. The findings of Dr. Puin have already been addressed by the likes of Dr M Al-Azami and Muhammad Mohar Ali, showing that his conclusions are 'clearly far-fetched and totally untenable'.

    What is interesting is that Puin referred to attempts made previously by orientalists to collect existing manuscipts of the Qur'an in order to prepare what they call a revised version by comparing any differences in them. The very large number of manuscripts collected for that purpose at the University of Munich, Germany, were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. Yet Puin omitted to mention a very important fact: shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, the authorities in charge of those manuscripts had actually issued a statement on the basis of their study of them. They had said that a study and comparison of the manuscripts, though not complete, had not revealed any discrepancy and difference in the texts except minor spelling mistakes in some places which was natural and all of which did not, however, affect the correctness and integrity of the Qur'anic text as a whole. [Muhammad Hamidullah, Khutabat-i-Bhawalpur (Urdu text), Tahqiqat-i-Islami, Islamabad, 1985, pp. 20-21; also reproduced in the Impact International, March 2000, p. 28.]

    There is nothing obvious other than the fact you are making claims without any evidence.

    I am not sure what point you are referring to because this is a discussion about the preservation of the Qur'an, not its literary miracle. We haven't even touched upon the literary miracle of the Qur'an!

    Yes, we do. See above.

    You offer no counter-argument so I fail to see how your point remains.

    I already referred you to the following threads regarding this issue. Again, no counter-argument from yourself:
    [Uloom Al-Qur'an] The Qira'at and The Ahruf (islamicboard.com)
    The revelation of the Qur’aan in seven styles (islamicboard.com)


    How can something 'not be inerrant' and infallible at the same time?!

    The chain of narrators for every Hadith is examined and scrutinised by Muslim scholars. On the other hand, there are unknown authors of the Bible. This is simply one reason why the Bible is incomparable even to Hadith.

    Christian scholars say that 'the evidence strongly suggests the authors of the Gospels were not eyewitnesses.' They also say, 'The four Gospels were published anonymously… they seem to have been written with no authors names attached. We don’t know how or when these names were attached to these Gospels’ that is lost to history.' So you are willing to believe that anonymous people memorised the Bible and wrote it almost a century later, whereas you are having trouble accepting that the entire Qur'an was memorised and written during the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم life by numerous Companions whose names are well-documented. You are also willing to accept the Bible was written with the help of 'notes' but for some reason have a problem with the fact that Qur'an was initially written on fragments. I see a double standard in your approach here and a lack of the 'critical thinking' you spoke about.

    That hardly changes the fact that the Bibles are all different. Even in the four gospels, we find that verses were thrown out and re-inserted by Bible scholars: Variant Korans- - Page 4 (islamicboard.com)

    It seems Christian scholars do not agree with you:

    In the latter part of the second century, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth says: "As the brethren desired me to write epistles(letters), I did so, and these the apostles of the devil have filled with tares (changes), exchanging some things and adding others, for whom there is a woe reserved. It is not therefore, a matter of wonder if some have also attempted to adulterate the sacred writings of the Lord, since they have attempted the same in other works that are not to be compared with these."

    Rev. Professor David Jenkins, the fourth highest-ranking Bishop in the Church of England and the Bishop of Durham had the following admission to make:"[some of the events in the early mission of Jesus] were not strictly true but were added to the story of Jesus by the early Christians to express their faith in him as a Messiah." [London Daily Mail, page 12, 15/July/1984]

    "The Five Gospels," is a 550 page book containing translations of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It was the result of a six year study by 24 Christian scholars from a number of Western universities. They decided to produce a translation of the Gospels which would be uncolored by the translator's personal faith. Their conclusion (page 5) was:"Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him."

    "1 John 5:7 in the Textus Receptus (represented in the KJV) makes it appear that John had arrived at the doctrine of the trinity in explicit form ('the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost'), but this text is clearly an interpolation since no genuine Greek manuscript contains it." [The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Edited by Allen C. Myers, p. 1020]

    Dr. J.K. Elliott, of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University, wrote an article published in The Times, London (10th Sept., 1987) entitled “Checking the Bible’s Roots”. In it, he stated that:

    “More than 5,000 manuscripts contain all or part of the New Testament in its original language. These range in date from the second century up to the invention of printing. It has been estimated that no two agree in all particulars. Inevitably, all handwritten documents are liable to contain accidental errors in copying. However, in living theological works it is not surprising that deliberate changes were introduced to avoid or alter statements that the copyist found unsound. There was also a tendency for copyists to add explanatory glosses[9]. Deliberate changes are more likely to have been introduced at an early stage before the canonical status of the New Testament was established.”The author went on to explain that “no one manuscript contains the original, unaltered text in its entirety,” and that, “one cannot select any one of these manuscripts and rely exclusively on its text as if it contained the monopoly the original words of the original authors.”

    So, 5,000 manuscripts of the Bible, and no two of them agree! I reiterate my point: If you apply the same level of criticism to the Bible that you've been applying to the Qur'an, you will be forced to conclude that it is far from being 'highly reliable'.
    Muslim scholars disagree with you. Muslims such as Saeed Nasheed, Abdul Karim Soroush, Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji, Hassan Radwan have argued for taking; the bold step of challenging the very idea that the Qur’an and Sunna are infallible and asserting that instead the Quran is divinely inspired but ... human-authored [106]. Radwan, Hassan (16 December 2015).

    Abu Zayd strongly opposes the belief in a “single, precise and valid interpretation of the Quran handed down by the Prophet for all time”40] Kermani-From revelation to interpretation, 2004: p.173.He argues that it (Quran) was a cultural product that had to be read in the context of the language and culture of seventh century Arabs, [33] and could be interpreted in more than one way. Cook, Michael (2000). The Koran : A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0192853449.
    Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji is quoted – “…now we know that most of the stories that appear in it (Quran) are incompatible with reason. There is no point in interpreting them. We should simply omit what contradicts reason. [38]

    Al-Qabbanji rejects the concept of the Koran as the word of Allah, saying instead that it is full of untruths, contradiction, superstition, and immoral behavior. [21]
    He does not believe that the Quran is the direct word of God: rather that “the Koran was created by the Prophet Muhammad, but was driven by Allah.”

    So if the Koran is not the word of Allah, what is it? Al-Qabbanji believes that the Koran was created by the Prophet Muhammad, and that the contradictions within it, which are clear to all, attest to its man-made origin… [21] Lecture on "Rationality in Jurisprudence," October 13, 2012.
    Hassan Radwan - “However I don't believe the Qur'an is infallible. … it is inextricably tied to its context and environment…Most important of all, … it is fallible and must be subject to human reason, and not the other way around.”

    ''The Origins of the Koran,'' and ''The Quest for the Historical Muhammad,'' by a former Muslim Ibn Warraq. 1998. Challenges the notion that the Qur'an is error free, a view held by most Muslims. And disproves the historical reliability of the earliest Islamic sources

    You know yourself the Quran took 23 years to be “fully revealed”. You also know that both during the time of Mohamad and also during the turbulence after his death there were political and cultural influences on the religion. This is fact. You are evading or ignoring the human impact – the historicity of your “Miracle Book”!

    And you have missed the point between reliability and proof. The best scholars can do within the limits of historicity for the Quran (and the Bible for that matter) is attempt to achieve a degree of reliability. 100 % proof will never be achieved without the original documents. It’s a fact. They do not exist. This more of a problem for you however as your Quran is supposed to be a direct revelation and direct recitation from God hence by its very nature it requires 100 % proof. Christians do not make that same claim about the Bible so not such proof is required.

    Your argument by Ansar Al-'Adl, offers nothing of substance and we have already discussed the point regarding your Huffaadh. You are saying nothing different here from what has been said and it still does not refute my point that you cannot prove “the original Quran”.

    Your attempt to explain Uthmans motivation to protect the “divine scripture” is not adequate. The fact the action was instigated by a human being and not directed by God indicates Allah could not protect His message for Himself !

    And my point about serious differences with other copies of the Quran stands in the light of the Sanaa Quran which I will discuss again below.

    In the mean time however, I reiterate my statement. The Bible has never had a wholesale burning to standardize its text in the way that the Qur'an has. Your comment that There has never been one standardised text of the Bible in the first place is only partly true. Yes the Christian canon did develop organically but there were also councils on occasion that discussed canon. This is a strength as it negated the threat of political interference as what happened with the burning of your Quran.

    Bible revisions ? different versions and different lists of canon? Sure to a point. As I said the canon developed organically. There was some periphery variance amongst communities as to what constituted canon but the four Gospels, Acts and the letters were universally accepted. No issue here and thankfully no political interference like as what happened with the burning of your Quran.

    The Sanaa Quran being the most complete and oldest Quran in existence. According to whom? Me. You name for me one Quran as comprehensive and as old.
    You state” Western Qur'anic scholarship has traditionally taken place in the context of an openly declared hostility between Christianity and Islam”. Your response is typical of Muslim “crusader paranoia”.

    I am familiar with the comments from Dr M Al-Azami and Muhammad Mohar Ali, and they also come across as ideologically defensive. Their claim that Puins conclusions were “clearly far-fetched and totally untenable'. Really? We are talking about Dr Gerd Puin – a leading world authority on Qur'anic historical orthography and a specialist in Arabic paleography. Interestingly Yemeni authorities at the time invited German scholars, because there was no one in the Muslim world capable of working on the find. Why was that ? Muslim criticism of the Quran is rare and almost non-existent as Sina (2008, p. 6) lamented, “Muslims are genuinely incapable of questioning Islam”.
    No wonder considering Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws. No wonder the Muslim world is incapable of advancing. Besides its not just Puins assessment on scrutiny here. Consider other academics such as Rippin, Warraq, Cook and Crone.

    Your point about that Puin referring to attempts made previously to collect existing manuscripts is not relevant. We are talking about the Sanaa Quran here.

    You are unsure of my point on the Quran being a “literary miracle” due to our discussion being about the preservation of the Qur'an. It should be obvious considering the claims the Quran makes about itself. For example -
    “this is a Glorious Quran (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved.” 85: 21:22

    “Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). “15:9

    “With it came down the truthful spirit, to your heart that you may admonish, in the perspicuous (plain to understand, precise, clear,)Arabic tongue.” 26: 193-195).

    Qur’anic deviations large or small the reveal the human influenced historicity of the “sacred” Quran. Claims of the Quran being the eternal, unaltered word of God are obviously not valid and it shatters the orthodox Muslim belief that the Quran, as it has reached us today, is “the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God”.
    The Quran says of itself ‘no change there can be in the words of God’ (10:64) and, ‘there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of God’ 6:34.
    No to all of the above. it is obvious the Quran is human influenced.

    “The chain of narrators for every Hadith is examined and scrutinised by Muslim scholars. “ Yes and Christian textual assessment of the Bible goes back 2000 years. My original point stands however. Neither the hadith or the Bible claim to be a direct revelation like your Quran does.

    You ask how can the Bible 'not be inerrant' and infallible at the same time? The Bible was written by human beings -men. Men who were imperfect vessels but yet were inspired by God. Any error in scripture is limited to the shortcomings of the vessel and not the message. The Scriptures are always right only in fulfilling their primary purpose: revealing God, God’s vision, God’s purposes, and God’s good news to humanity.

    You provide no proof to your statement Christian scholars say 'the evidence strongly suggests the authors of the Gospels were not eyewitnesses.' It is actually unanimously believed the gospels were the collated accounts of eye witnesses. Besides they speak for them selves. Read Luke Chapter 1 and you will see that Luke collated accounts.
    'The four Gospels were published anonymously? Nothing new here! It is obvious John and Luke wrote John and Mark and there is good evidence indicating Mathew and Mark were written by Mathew and Mark. Besides the veracity of all the Gospels stand in that they are all based on eye witness accounts.
    You claim a double standard in my approach to criticise written scraps of notes and the oral tradition for the Quran but use this argument for the Bible. My point is that Muslims make a different claim about the Quran than Christians do for the Bible. Muslims claim the Quran is supposed to be a direct revelation and direct recitation from God. Christians do not make this claim about the Bible. The Muslim claim the Quran is a direct revelation and recitation from God by its very nature requires a higher standard of proof. As Christians do not make this claim about the Bible no such burden of proof is required.
    And you have missed the point between reliability and proof. The best scholars can do within the limits of historicity for the Quran (and the Bible for that matter) is attempt to achieve a degree of reliability. 100 % proof will never be achieved without the original documents. It’s a fact. They do not exist. As I said this is a problem for Muslims, not Christians.
    You are wrong in your claim that the Bibles are all different. There has always been universal acceptance for the inclusion of the four gospels – Mathew Mark, Luke and John, The Book of Acts and most of the letters. We have Greek manuscripts—thousands of them, some reaching as far back as the second century. And we have very ancient translations directly from the Greek that give us a good sense of the Greek text that would have been available in those regions where that early version was used. These include Latin, Syriac, and Coptic especially. Altogether, we have at least 20,000 handwritten manuscripts in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic and other ancient languages that help us to determine the wording of the original. Almost 6000 of these manuscripts are in Greek alone. And we have more than one million quotations of the New Testament by church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity). There is absolutely nothing in the Greco-Roman world that comes even remotely close to this wealth of data. As a result the New Testament has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability.
    Where is your evidence that verses were thrown out and re-inserted by Bible scholars. This is not even worth responding to until you provide the evidence and in the light of Bible reliability I have identified above.
    And you ignore the point these copies cover a huge and wide geographic area that prevented them from being gathered together and falsified. Unlike the Quran which was gathered together and burnt.

    Your point about Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth is Irrelevant when you consider reliability as above. Your argument of “The Five Gospels has little weight as The Jesus Seminar and has come The Jesus Seminar has come under considerable criticism regarding its method, assumptions and conclusions.
    1 John 5:7 ? nothing new here. No secrets either. Most house hold bibles have a footnote that the verse is not in early manuscripts. And you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship.

    Christian scholars agree with me on the reliability of the Bible -
    “One may fantasize about all kinds of wild changes being introduced between the first, complete written form of a given book and the oldest copy we actually have, but it will be just that—fantasy…” Craig Bloomburg Can We Still Believe the Bible?
    and
    the consensus among textual critics is that in the modern critical editions of the Greek New Testament we have, either in the text itself or in the footnotes upwards of 97% of what the original authors wrote reconstructed beyond any reasonable doubt, (The Historical Reliability of the Gospels [revised 2007], 333).
    People ask, “Are the manuscripts trustworthy in the sense that they are trustworthy witnesses to what the original text actually said?” And I can say, “Absolutely. Yes, we have an extraordinarily reliable Bible.” Daniel Wallace.

    The Bible cannot err, since it is God’s Word, and God cannot err. This does not mean there are no difficulties in the Bible. But the difficulties are not due to God’s perfect revelation, but to our imperfect understanding of it. The history of Bible criticism reveals that the Bible has no errors, but the critics do. Most problems fall into one of the following categories. By Norman L. Geisler
    Bruce Metzger’s said -“ it has increased the basis of my personal faith to see the firmness with which these materials have come down to us, with a multiplicity of copies, some of which are very, very ancient.” (p. 71).
    “It is reassuring at the end to find that the general result of all these discoveries and all this study is to strengthen the proof of the authenticity of the Scriptures, and our conviction that we have in our hands, in substantial integrity, the veritable Word of God “Sir Frederick Kenyon (d. 1952),(qtd. in Wegner, p. 25).
    Your point about the 500 manuscripts having accidental errors is irrelevant. Christian scholars have known about these minor variances for centuries and none of them effect any fundamental Christian doctrine. Less than one percent of all variants are both meaningful and viable. And as I said you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship.
    Deliberate changes to the Bible? Again my evidence as mentioned above for the reliability of the Bible negates your point.
    I repeat. Muslims claim the Quran is supposed to be a direct revelation from God. Christians do not make this claim about the Bible. As a result, burden of proof and reliability is more a problem for Muslims than it is for Christians.

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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    format_quote Originally Posted by Spiritlead
    ... Saeed Nasheed, Abdul Karim Soroush, Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji, Hassan Radwan ...
    Quoting Shiite heretics about Islam or Quran doesn't give any credibility to your post. It is not even worth entertaining.
    The earlier reply by Muhammad should be sufficient. Instead of providing any historical factual information, you are simply quoting the heretics who already hold anti-Islam and anti-Quran views.

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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    format_quote Originally Posted by AabiruSabeel View Post
    Quoting Shiite heretics about Islam or Quran doesn't give any credibility to your post. It is not even worth entertaining.
    The earlier reply by Muhammad should be sufficient. Instead of providing any historical factual information, you are simply quoting the heretics who already hold anti-Islam and anti-Quran views.
    Quoting humanistic liberal “Christian scholars” by Muhamad doesn’t give credibility to his post.

    Muhamad’s earlier reply was not sufficient. Ample historical factual information was provided. Obviously you did not read my post and could not get past your frustration of the first line. Muhmad and others here simply quote the standard anti Christian posts without thinking freely for themselves.

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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    Hello Spiritlead,

    format_quote Originally Posted by Spiritlead View Post
    Muslim scholars disagree with you. Muslims such as Saeed Nasheed, Abdul Karim Soroush, Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji, Hassan Radwan have argued for taking; the bold step of challenging the very idea that the Qur’an and Sunna are infallible and asserting that instead the Quran is divinely inspired but ... human-authored[106].
    It is very clear to anyone doing a bit of research that these are not Muslim scholars and their views do not represent mainstream Islamic views. Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji is a liberal Shi'ite whose views sparked accusations of heresy even in Iran. Abdul Karim Soroush is an Iranian controversial figure and the Iranian conservative clergy and politicians have repeatedly accused him of undermining Islam. Hassan Radwan runs a blog for 'Agnostic Muslim Khutbahs' where he apparently thinks you can be a Muslim and agnostic and appears to reject fundamental Islamic beliefs such as heaven, hell and the Day of Judgement. As for Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, he was declared an apostate by an Egyptian Shariah court in 1995. The fact that you quoted such individuals is a very poor and desperate attempt on your part and certainly does question your credibility.

    Quoting humanistic liberal “Christian scholars” by Muhamad doesn’t give credibility to his post.

    Muhamad’s earlier reply was not sufficient. Ample historical factual information was provided. Obviously you did not read my post and could not get past your frustration of the first line. Muhmad and others here simply quote the standard anti Christian posts without thinking freely for themselves.
    Which of the scholars that I quoted are anti-Christian or liberal? As you will see, the scholars I have quoted are church fathers, experts in Bible research, 'saints', writers of Bible translations and others. Even those that are not Christian scholars are people who have done scholarly research on these topics. None of them are comparable to outright Islam-haters like Ibn Warraq and others that you have quoted who haven't even studied the sciences of the Qur'an.

    ''The Origins of the Koran,'' and ''The Quest for the Historical Muhammad,'' by a former Muslim Ibn Warraq. 1998. Challenges the notion that the Qur'an is error free, a view held by most Muslims. And disproves the historical reliability of the earliest Islamic sources
    Ibn Warraq is just one of many Islam-haters whose writings have been refuted, so I am not sure what your point of quoting him is. In reviewing Ibn Warraq's essay in his 'Quest for the Historical Muhammad', Fred Donner, a professor in Near Eastern studies, notes his lack of specialist training in Arabic studies, citing "inconsistent handling of Arabic materials," and unoriginal arguments, and "heavy-handed favoritism" towards revisionist theories and "the compiler's [i.e. Ibn Warraq's] agenda, which is not scholarship, but anti-Islamic polemic." As for his other book, 'Origins of the Koran', François de Blois criticized Ibn Warraq's work for including the essay by St. Clair Tisdall describing it as a "shoddy piece of missionary propaganda" and the "worst" among the essays of the book. De Blois also indicated that there are "quite a few mistakes in the spelling of both of Arabic and of European languages" and added that "the fact that the piece of Qur'anic calligraphy reproduced on the front cover has been printed up-side down is not, presumably, an intentional insult to the editor's former co-religionists".

    If you think the historical reliability of the Qur'an has been 'disproved', you need to bring that proof. It is no good quoting apostates whose opinions are of no value.

    You know yourself the Quran took 23 years to be “fully revealed”.
    Yes, the gradual revelation was considered a blessing that Allah سبحانه وتعالى gave to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Qur'an itself refers to its gradual revelation and from these verses we understand a number of merits and benefits of this piece-meal process.

    You also know that both during the time of Mohamad and also during the turbulence after his death there were political and cultural influences on the religion. This is fact. You are evading or ignoring the human impact – the historicity of your “Miracle Book”!
    To the contrary, you have failed to show what evidence there is that 'human impact' or 'political and cultural influences' caused alteration of the Qur'an. In addition to this, you have completely ignored the points I mentioned earlier, which are strong evidences that the Qur'an was preserved exactly as it was recited by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. I have listed the key points so that they won't escape you this time:

    1. The entire Qur'an was in the possession of the Muslim community before the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and it was memorised by a number of Companions. The fact that many of these same Companions were present at the time of Uthman رضي الله عنه means it is inconceivable that any corruption of the text could occur because it would be immediately recognised and opposed.

    2. The fact that the action of Uthman رضي الله عنه was agreed upon by all of the Companions proves that we are not dealing with 'political and cultural influences' because if that was the case, there would have been numerous objections and disputes.


    3. In particular, the Companion Zayd ibn Thabit رضي الله عنه was a part of both committees assiged to the task of compiling the Mushaf at the time of Abubakr as well as Uthman, and Zayd himself witnessed the last recitation of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to Jibreel. He was also the primary scribe of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and had memorised the entire Qur'an during the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Any potential mistake or change in the compilation of the Qur'an would have been detected by him.

    4. The official copies made at the time of Uthman رضي الله عنه correlated with the earlier official copy made by Abubakr رضي الله عنه (which was based on both written and oral evidence). This shows that no alteration took place between this time despite whatever 'turbulence' may have been occurring.

    5. In political conflict, calls for arbitration according to the Qur'an never involved claims that the other side had an incomplete or changed Qur'an. This would have been a convenient and devastating weapon if it could have been at all convincing.

    6. There is no proof that Uthman رضي الله عنه somehow added any theological or legal idea into the Qur’an. Even in the case of old manuscripts such as those found in San'a, we are merely talking about differences in spelling, synonyms etc. which is evidence for the fact that Uthman رضي الله عنه was sincere in his efforts to compile the Qur’an. Anyone who claims that Uthman رضي الله عنه was acting for his own interests must show which verse was added/removed, which ruling was contradicted or which law was repealed. Not a single shred of evidence has been brought to prove this.

    7. Uthman رضي الله عنه was one of the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم closest Companions and his son-in-law. There is no reason to believe a person of his status would act in such an unbefitting way, similar to how Christians would immediately reject the idea that one of Jesus' closest disciples would willfully distort the Word of God.

    It is easy to make claims without evidence. But if you are truly interested in facts then you must address these issues otherwise you are forced to drop your baseless allegations.

    And you have missed the point between reliability and proof. The best scholars can do within the limits of historicity for the Quran (and the Bible for that matter) is attempt to achieve a degree of reliability. 100 % proof will never be achieved without the original documents. It’s a fact. They do not exist.
    This is what your Christian scholars tell you about the Bible. It does not apply to the Qur'an. When you have mutawatir chains of transmission, original documents are only of secondary importance. When the entire Muslim Ummah has accepted the Qur'an we have in our hands, we do not need to search for original documents because that would neither add nor detract from our Scripture. Having said that, there do exist several dozen first-century manuscripts of the Qur'an in various libraries around the world - see later for a couple of examples.

    Your argument by Ansar Al-'Adl, offers nothing of substance
    As a matter of fact, it does, because it shows the importance and huge role of the oral and educational tradition of the Qur'an, and how this needs to be accounted for when discussing the preservation of the Qur'an. It seems you are not willing to accept this point so I have broken it down further for you.

    As stated previously, it is very easy to prove that Muslims have the original Qur'an because the Qur'an has been passed down from teacher to student in mutawatir narrations; in each generation, so many people narrated it that there is no question of its authenticity. Millions of scholars are part of an unbroken chain that leads directly back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, with the names of every person in the chain recorded.

    Moreover, t
    he recitation of the Qur'an is a vital element of all prayers and during Ramadan every year the entire Qur'an is recited from cover to cover in Mosques by the Imam from memory. (Note that use of the Qur'an in prayer is made not in the form of reading out from a written piece, as is done in the Christian liturgy, but from memory, either silently or audibly.) This integral role that the Qur'an plays in daily Muslim life makes it impossible for any corruption of the Qur'an to take place. Al Azami points out, 'that the exact same words echoed from every mosque, school, house and bazaar throughout all corners of the Muslim nation was a greater safeguard against corruption than anything any human system could have promised.'

    In addition to this point, it should be highlighted that Muslims have never been exclusively reliant on books. Learning the Qur'an directly from a knowledgeable teacher has always been emphasised over simply owning a written copy of the Qur'an. Thus, when Uthman رضي الله عنه sent the official copies to the provinces, a teacher was sent with each copy to ensure that people would recite the Qur'an correctly free of any mistakes, further ensuring the preservation of the Qur'an and guarding it against corruption.

    and we have already discussed the point regarding your Huffaadh.
    Yes, and I pointed out how you had no valid argument. Memorization of the Qur'an has always been the tradition of the Muslim community and it is one of the features of the Qur'an that distinguishes it from every other scripture in the world. There is no other scripture which has such a massive number of people who memorise it. There are members of this forum who have memorised the entire Qur'an, word-for-word, letter-for-letter. This tradition did not spontaneously arise in the Muslim community, it has been there since the beginning.

    If any corruption had occurred to the Qur'an, people all across the world would not be reciting the Qur'an exactly the same. So well established is this fact that if all the books in the entire world were to be lost or destroyed, the Qur'an would still be recovered letter for letter as it is preserved in the hearts of so many millions.


    You are saying nothing different here from what has been said and it still does not refute my point
    You have brought nothing but speculation so there is nothing to really refute.

    The fact the action was instigated by a human being and not directed by God indicates Allah could not protect His message for Himself !
    The fact that Allah protects His message does not mean humans don't bother to do their part. We see that even the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم showed extreme care in transmitting the Qur'an - he took simultaneous steps to have the revelations memorised as well as written down. The Companions followed in his footsteps and their decisions speak of their great wisdom and prudence. This is how Allah سبحانه وتعالى Decreed that His Book would be preserved.

    And my point about serious differences with other copies of the Quran stands in the light of the Sanaa Quran which I will discuss again below.
    You have neither shown nor even discussed 'serious differences' with other copies of the Qur'an. It's just another empty claim of yours.

    In the mean time however, I reiterate my statement. The Bible has never had a wholesale burning to standardize its text in the way that the Qur'an has. Your comment that There has never been one standardised text of the Bible in the first place is only partly true. Yes the Christian canon did develop organically but there were also councils on occasion that discussed canon. This is a strength as it negated the threat of political interference as what happened with the burning of your Quran.
    You have confirmed the point; there was no one standardised text of the Bible so there was no need to burn anything because there was no way to distinguish between truth and falsehood. On the other hand, the entire Qur'an was with the Muslim community so distinguishing between the Qur'an and uncorroborated copies was easily possible and done with utmost precision. As for the canonical councils you mention, I fail to see how a council taking place more than 300 years after Jesus' ascension negates the threat of political interference.

    Bible revisions ? different versions and different lists of canon? Sure to a point. As I said the canon developed organically. There was some periphery variance amongst communities as to what constituted canon but the four Gospels, Acts and the letters were universally accepted.
    As far as the Gospels are concerned, it is important to understand that they appeared at a time of fierce struggle between two communities. These 'combat writings', as Father Kannengiesser (professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris) calls them, emerged from the multitude of writings on Jesus. These occurred at the time when Paul's style of Christianity won through definitively, and created its own collection of official texts. These texts constituted the 'Canon' which condemned and excluded as unorthodox any other documents that were not suited to the line adopted by the Church. So The Gospels did not become known until fairly late. The Ecumenical Translation of the Bible estimates the date they acquired the status of canonic literature at around 170 A.D. Contrary to what certain commentators are still writing today, before 140 A.D. there was no witness to the knowledge that a collection of Gospel writings existed.

    The Sanaa Quran being the most complete and oldest Quran in existence. According to whom? Me.
    You have highlighted the problem right there. Instead of attempting to use fact and accuracy in your posts, you are using guesswork and assumption, as you have clearly admitted here. The San'a manuscripts are not necessarily the 'most complete' because the 82 folios that were found are said to comprise roughly half of the Qur'an. On the other hand, the Topakpi manuscript is almost a complete copy of the Qur'an with only 2 pages lacking. The 'Codex Parisino-petropolitanus' is another mansucript which was initially kept in Fustat, Egypt and all of its folios comprise about 46% of the Qur'an. Codex B. L. Or. 2165 is another manuscript from the 1st century of Hijrah which comprises about 57% of the Qur'an.

    As for 'oldest', this is more difficult to prove because radiocarbon dating is only an estimate, therefore dates are given between a certain time-frame with percentage probability, and that too will differ according to different sources. Both the Codex Parisino-petropolitanus and Codex B. L. Or. 2165 mentioned above have been dated as early as the 1st century AH, which overlaps with the dating of the San'a manuscript.

    In reality, whether the San'a manuscript is truly the oldest manuscript (and even if it was the most complete) changes nothing in our discussion. What I've taken exception to here is your blatant disregard for facts and historical accuracy which is a recurrent theme throughout your posts.

    You state” Western Qur'anic scholarship has traditionally taken place in the context of an openly declared hostility between Christianity and Islam”. Your response is typical of Muslim “crusader paranoia”.
    Understanding the context and history behind statements is not 'crusader paranoia', rather it is necessary to establish credibility.

    I am familiar with the comments from Dr M Al-Azami and Muhammad Mohar Ali, and they also come across as ideologically defensive.
    Their points are well referenced and researched. Saying they 'come across as ideologically defensive' does not negate their work.

    Their claim that Puins conclusions were “clearly far-fetched and totally untenable'. Really? We are talking about Dr Gerd Puin – a leading world authority on Qur'anic historical orthography and a specialist in Arabic paleography.'
    Yes, besides being an expert in restoration and preservation of manuscripts, it is clear that Puin had orientalist motives. In his article he explicitly referred to the attempts made previously by orientalists like Jeffery Arthur and Otto Pretzel and expressed hope that the San'a find would offer an opportunity to resume that project of work.

    Interestingly Yemeni authorities at the time invited German scholars, because there was no one in the Muslim world capable of working on the find. Why was that ?
    It's ridiculous to assume that 'no one in the Muslim world was capable'. In the words of Qadhi Al-Akwa himself, it was because he did not think the Yemenis or the people in many Islamic countries had an appreciation of the architectural heritage of their country in contrast with the ‘concern’ registered by foreign observers. Al-Akwa managed to interest Puin, who was visiting Yemen for research purposes in 1979. Puin in turn persuaded the German government to organise and fund a restoration project.

    Furthermore, the openness of the Yemeni authorities towards international study of the manuscripts is to be noted. In 2007 Sergio Noja Noseda (an Italian scholar) and Christian Robin (a French archaeologist) were allowed to take pictures of the Sana'a palimpsest. They write that according to Robin, his colleagues were "granted greater access than would have been possible in some European libraries." They report a similar view from Ursula Dreibholz, the conservator for the restoration project, who describes the Yemenis as supportive. They quote Dreibholz as saying that the Yemenis "brought school children, university students, foreign delegations, religious dignitaries, and heads of state, like François Mitterrand, Gerhard Schröder, and Prince Claus of the Netherlands, to see the collection."

    Muslim criticism of the Quran is rare and almost non-existent. as Sina (2008, p. 6) lamented, “Muslims are genuinely incapable of questioning Islam”.
    It's unfortunate that you speak of criticism of the Qur'an yet seem to be unaware of your own Bible history. Christians condemned the textual criticism of the New Testament; any one who ventured into this field was condemned or ignored. Furthermore, parts of the Bible would be hidden from Christians to avoid people asking difficult questions. Dr. Maurice Bucaille recalls that,

    'Not so very long ago, the majority of Christians knew only selected sections of the Gospels that were read during services or commented upon during sermons. With the exception of the Protestants, it was not customary for Christians to read the Gospels in their entirety. Books of religious instruction only contained extracts; the in extenso text hardly circulated at all. At a Roman Catholic school I had copies of the works of Virgil and Plato, but I did not have the New Testament. The Greek text of this would nevertheless have been very instructive: it was only much later on that I realized why they had not set us translations of the holy writings of Christianity. The latter could have led us to ask our teachers questions they would have found it difficult to answer.' [The Bible, The Qur'an and Science]

    We also find historically that Christians were prohibited from reading the New Testament on their own. According to the decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): "We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books."

    It is little wonder that Father Roguet laments,
    'Many Christians need to learn how to read the Gospels". [Initiation à l'Evangile, 1973]

    No wonder considering Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws. No wonder the Muslim world is incapable of advancing.
    In a discussion on the preservation of the Qur'an you've jumped to apostasy and blasphemy laws. This is not even worth responding to as it's nothing but a desperate attempt at evading the discussion at hand.

    Besides its not just Puins assessment on scrutiny here. Consider other academics
    Certainly.
    Ursula Dreibholz, a conservation expert who worked on the project for eight years (longer than Puin did), who worked full-time in Ṣan'ā' until the end of 1989, completed the restoration of the manuscripts, designed the permanent storage, collated many parchment fragments to identify distinct Quranic manuscripts and directed the Yemeni staff in the same task, said:
    'Despite the rumors that have circulated, it is important to emphasize here that no distortion was found in the manuscripts found in the Great Mosque in Sanaa, as the differences were limited to the vowel symbols used in the early Islamic ages' [Ursula Dreibholz (1989). Early Quranic parchments discovered in the Great Mosque in Sanaa. Sana'a: German Archaeological Institute. p. 13.]

    Your point about that Puin referring to attempts made previously to collect existing manuscripts is not relevant. We are talking about the Sanaa Quran here.
    The reason it is relevant is because Puin himself made reference to the manuscripts collected in Germany, yet didn't comment on the fact that they didn't reveal any significant discrepancy. This casts doubt on his intentions for studying the San'a manuscripts.

    You are unsure of my point on the Quran being a “literary miracle” due to our discussion being about the preservation of the Qur'an. It should be obvious considering the claims the Quran makes about itself.
    I think you misunderstood me. We are discussing the preservation of the Qur'an in this thread, not the literary miracle of the Qur'an which is a separate issue. You have made no argument against the literary miracle of the Qur'an in any of your posts, yet you seem to think you have made an 'obvious' point somewhere. Perhaps you are unaware of the difference between the two topics so the following link may help to clarify:
    Evidences For Qur'an's Divine Origin? (islamicboard.com)

    Qur’anic deviations large or small the reveal the human influenced historicity of the “sacred” Quran.
    There are no Qur'anic 'deviations'. It seems to me that you are not bothering to do any research and are simply parroting meaningless remarks.

    My original point stands however. Neither the hadith or the Bible claim to be a direct revelation like your Quran does.
    This is incorrect. The Hadith contain the teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم which are considered to be a form of revelation separate to the Qur'an, and they have a chain of narrators to verify they came directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Bible is a different type of work altogether; Christians cannot prove its teachings originated from Jesus عليه السلام.

    You ask how can the Bible 'not be inerrant' and infallible at the same time? The Bible was written by human beings -men. Men who were imperfect vessels but yet were inspired by God. Any error in scripture is limited to the shortcomings of the vessel and not the message.
    If there are errors in a scripture due to the 'imperfect vessels' then that scripture is not infallible.

    You provide no proof to your statement Christian scholars say 'the evidence strongly suggests the authors of the Gospels were not eyewitnesses.' It is actually unanimously believed the gospels were the collated accounts of eye witnesses.
    That is a view held by Dr Raymond Brown, a Biblical scholar, who says, 'The view that the evangelists were not themselves eyewitnesses of the public ministry of Jesus would be held in about 95% of contemporary [biblical] scholarship.' [101 Questions and Answers on the Bible, p. 59] Your claim of it being a unanimous belief is therefore untrue.

    Father Kannengiesser, a professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris, warns that 'one should not take literally' facts reported about Jesus by the Gospels, because they are 'writings suited to an occasion' or 'to combat', whose authors 'are writing down the traditions of their own community about Jesus'. Concerning the Resurrection of Jesus, which is the subject of his book, he stresses that none of the authors of the Gospels can claim to have been an eye-witness. He intimates that, as far as the rest of Jesus's public life is concerned, the same must be true because, according to the Gospels, none of the Apostles-apart from Judas Iscariot-left Jesus from the moment he first followed Him until His last earthly manifestations. [Faith in the Resurrection, Resurrection of Faith (Foi en la Resurrection, Resurrection de la foi)]

    'The four Gospels were published anonymously? Nothing new here! It is obvious John and Luke wrote John and Mark and there is good evidence indicating Mathew and Mark were written by Mathew and Mark.
    Doston Jones argues, 'That the Gospels were not originally composed bearing their traditional titles is now a well-established matter in New Testament scholarship. This mainstream view is conceded even among various conservative scholars such as Craig L. Blomberg, who stated: “It’s important to acknowledge that strictly speaking, the gospels are anonymous.” [The Case for Christ (Strobel, Lee) p. 23].

    Even the Catholic Church now recognizes that those traditional titles are pseudonymous. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “the first four historical books of the New Testament are supplied with titles (Euangelion kata Matthaion, Euangelion kata Markon, etc.), which, however ancient, do not go back to the respective authors of those sacred writings. […] It thus appears that the present titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the evangelists themselves.

    You claim a double standard in my approach to criticise written scraps of notes and the oral tradition for the Quran but use this argument for the Bible. My point is that Muslims make a different claim about the Quran than Christians do for the Bible. Muslims claim the Quran is supposed to be a direct revelation and direct recitation from God. Christians do not make this claim about the Bible. The Muslim claim the Quran is a direct revelation and recitation from God by its very nature requires a higher standard of proof. As Christians do not make this claim about the Bible no such burden of proof is required.
    This is irrelevant here because we are discussing preservation of scripture merely from a historical perspective to identify textual integrity. Claiming that Christians require a lower standard of proof is a cop-out because even if you say the Bible is not a direct revelation, its reliability and integrity as a text is crucial for Christian doctrine. As for the higher standard of proof from Muslims then this is evidently present from what we have already discussed. So with regards to the oral tradition: if you believe there is an oral tradition for the Bible that survived for centuries without corruption, why would you not be willing to accept an oral tradition for the Qur'an which is of a much higher standard? The same argument applies for the written preservation.

    You are wrong in your claim that the Bibles are all different. There has always been universal acceptance for the inclusion of the four gospels – Mathew Mark, Luke and John, The Book of Acts and most of the letters.
    The Catholic Bible consists of 73 books, whereas the Protestant Bible consists of 66. That's a difference of 7 entire books! Even if we focus on the New Testament, words, sentences and entire verses are omitted depending on which Bible version you use. Clearly, not all Bibles are the same. See these links for examples:
    Various Contradictions and Omissions in Bible Translations (av1611.com)
    List of New Testament verses not included in modern English translations - Wikipedia

    Where is your evidence that verses were thrown out and re-inserted by Bible scholars. This is not even worth responding to until you provide the evidence and in the light of Bible reliability I have identified above.
    This was in reference to 1 John 5:7 - the Trinitarian statement that is found in the KJV version of the Bible yet omitted in others such as the ESV. Later in your post you acknowledge this and said, 'Most house hold bibles have a footnote that the verse is not in early manuscripts. And you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship.'

    The history of why this verse was removed and re-inserted highlights the 'integrity', or rather the lack thereof, of Christian scholarship. In 1516, Erasmus omitted the Trinitarian statement (Comma Johanneum) from his first and second editions of the Greek-Latin New Testament because it was not in his Greek manuscripts. He added the Comma Johanneum to his Novum Testamentum omne in 1522 after being accused of reviving Arianism and after he was informed of a Greek manuscript that contained it. Though Erasmus inserted the passage in his third edition, he felt it necessary to append a lengthy footnote expressing his suspicion that the manuscript was a forgery. This spurious passage still found its way into the Authorised King James Version printed in 1611, although the RSV (which is the 1946 revision of the 1901 American version of the 1881 revised edition of the 1611 KJV) omits some of the crucial words. So what we see here is a deliberate and major theological corruption taking place as late as the 16th century.

    We have Greek manuscripts—thousands of them, some reaching as far back as the second century.
    You do not have the original text of any of the books of the New Testament, only copies made many years (centuries) later. Moreover, numbers mean nothing here. What matters is the quality of the manuscripts, their age, text-type, etc. The vast majority of them (including most of the earliest manuscripts) contain only a portion of the New Testament or exist in fragmentary form, at times containing no more than a couple of verses or even less. Only about 8% of the manuscripts cover most of the New Testament.

    As for their dating, out of the 5,000 or so Greek manuscripts, around 94% of them date more than 800 years or so after the birth of Jesus. Several books of the New Testament find no manuscript support until the 4th century CE. The earliest available manuscripts date from over a century after Jesus.

    Dr. Klaus Junack, a researcher at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung, Universität Münster, Germany, considered one of the leading experts connected with the UBS Greek New Testament project, stated: 'Today more than 5,000 manuscripts are known: the overwhelming majority of these are from the medieval and late medieval periods, but on occasion they also preserve readings from the early period.' [K. Junack, "The Reliability Of The New Testament Text From The Perspective Of Textual Criticism", The Bible Translator, 1978, Volume XXIX, Issue I, p. 131.]

    Furthermore, no two manuscripts of the New Testament anywhere in existence are alike. According to Ehrman, there are more differences among the manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. [B. D. Ehrman, The New Testament: An Historical Introduction To The Early Christian Writings, p. 443.]

    The following quote from Ehrman summarises why the reasoning behind using the numerical superiority of the manuscripts is faulty. This is because the earliest manuscripts are not only fragmentary, but also because most are centuries removed from the originals; none of these manuscripts being error-free:
    'At one time or another, you may have heard someone claim that the New Testament can be trusted because it is the best attested book from the ancient world, that because there are more manuscripts of the New Testament than of any other book, we should have no doubt concerning the truth of its message. Given what we have seen..., it should be clear why this line of reasoning is faulty. It is true, of course, that the New Testament is abundantly attested in the manuscripts produced through the ages, but most of these manuscripts are many centuries removed from the originals, and none of them perfectly accurate. They all contain mistakes - altogether many thousands of mistakes. It is not an easy task to reconstruct the original words of the New Testament.

    Moreover even if scholars have by and large succeeded in reconstructing the New Testament, this, in itself, has no bearing on the truthfulness of the message. It simply means that we can be reasonably certain of what the New Testament authors actually said, just as we can be reasonably certain what Plato and Euripides and Josephus and Suetonius all said. Whether or not any of these ancient authors said anything that was true is another question, one we cannot answer simply by appealing to the number of surviving manuscripts that preserve their writings.' [B. D. Ehrman, The New Testament: An Historical Introduction To The Early Christian Writings, 2000, op. cit., p. 449.]

    There is also another problem which is that studies on New Testament papyri indicate that the text was much more fluid during the first two hundred years of transmission than originally thought. This has been confirmed by research, which has demonstrated that both "orthodox" and "heretical" scribes were indulging in deliberate theological changes to their biblical text. According to Harry Gamble:
    'Complaints about the adulteration of texts are fairly frequent in early Christian literature. Christian texts, scriptural and nonscriptural, were no more immune than others from vicissitudes of unregulated transmission in handwritten copies. In some respects they were more vulnerable than ordinary texts, and not merely because Christian communities could not always command the most competent scribes. Although Christian writings generally aimed to express not individual viewpoints but the shared convictions and values of a group, members of the group who acted as editors and copyists must often have revised texts in accordance with their own perceptions. This temptation was stronger in connection with religious or philosophical texts than with others simply because more was at stake. A great deal of early Christian literature was composed for the purpose of advancing a particular viewpoint amid the conflicts of ideas and practices that repeatedly arose within and between Christian communities, and even documents that were not polemically conceived might nevertheless be polemically used. Any text was liable to emendation in the interest of making it more pointedly serviceable in a situation of theological controversy.'[H. Y. Gamble, Books And Readers In The Early Church: A History Of Early Christian Texts, 1995, Yale University Press: New Haven & London, pp. 123-124.]

    We can therefore see that merely quoting the number of Greek manuscripts available does not allow us to have a greater degree of confidence in the reliability or trustworthiness of the resultant New Testament text.

    And we have very ancient translations directly from the Greek that give us a good sense of the Greek text that would have been available in those regions where that early version was used.
    There are enormous problems with using these to figure out what the original Greek authors wrote. The manuscripts in these languages are themselves centuries after the originals, even if the translations themselves were centuries earlier. And so we cannot know how these later manuscripts have been changed over the years of copying away from what the original translations said.

    The copies of various books from the NT during the first several centuries were made generally by non-professionals who rarely checked for errors afterwards. There was little incentive to check them anyway because almost all Christians during the first century expected the impending return of Jesus and likely never realised they were preserving a text for the distant future. Additionally, the early Christians did not necessarily treat the NT as a sacred text, so some of them may have felt inspired on occasion to make alterations. [Refer to P.W. Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the NT, p. 6]

    O. Culmann, in his book, The New Testament, writes the following: "Sometimes the latter are the result of inadvertant flaws: the copier misses a word out, or conversely writes it twice, or a whole section of a sentence is carelessly omitted because in the manuscript to be copied it appeared between two identical words. Sometimes it is a matter of deliberate corrections, either the copier has taken the liberty of correcting the text according to his own ideas or he has tried to bring it into line with a parallel text in a more or less skilful attempt to reduce the number of discrepancies. As, little by little, the New Testament writings broke away from the rest of early Christian literature, and came to be regarded as Holy Scripture, so the copiers became more and more hesitant about taking the same liberties as their predecessors: they thought they were copying the authentic text, but in fact wrote down the variations. Finally, a copier sometimes wrote annotations in the margin to explain an obscure passage. The following copier, thinking that the sentence he found in the margin had been left out of the passage by his predecessor, thought it necessary to include the margin notes in the text. This process often made the new text even more obscure."

    Dr Bucaille writes, 'The scribes of some manuscripts sometimes took exceedingly great liberties with the texts. This is the case of one of the most venerable manuscripts after the two referred to above, the Sixth century Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis. The scribe probably noticed the difference between Luke's and Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, so he put Matthew's genealogy into his copy of Luke, but as the second contained fewer names than the first, he padded it out with extra names (without balancing them up)'. [The Bible, The Qur'an and Science]

    The writers of the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible admit, "All that modern textual criticism can do in this respect is to try and reconstitute "a text which has the most likelihood of coming near to the original. In any case, there can be no hope of going back to the original text itself."

    And we have more than one million quotations of the New Testament by church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity).
    There are a number of problems with using such quotations. Church fathers often did not cite passages by chapter and verse, because they didn’t have chapters and verses. They all quoted the passages of the New Testament in different ways, either because their own manuscripts of it differed from one another, or because they were quoting it from memory. It goes without saying that reminiscences and allusions are of less value to the textual critic than specific citations of the very words of the scriptural passage.

    Bart Ehrman, whose PhD research was on this topic, mentioned some of the associated problems by using an example of the verse John 3:3:
    But suppose that my quotation of John 3:3 was the *only* quotation of John 3:3 that survives, and we didn’t have any manuscript or printed text of John to compare my quotation to. You would not know the quotation was from John; you would not know it came in what is now in chapter 3. You would not know that it followed what is now verse 2 and came before what is now verse 4. And you would not know if that’s what the author originally wrote or not. The problems are enormous and, I’m afraid, insuperable. [Can We Reconstruct the Entire New Testament from Quotations of the Church Fathers? | The Bart Ehrman Blog]

    In addition to this, Ehrman says:
    The other set of problems unique to Patristic sources concerns the history of their own transmission. The MS traditions of virtually all the church fathers show that later copyists tend to "correct" quotations of the Bible to the form of text prevalent in their own day... Biblical citations in such sources do not necessarily represent the text of the Father, but often only known to his later copyists [B. D. Ehrman, Didymus The Blind And The Text Of The Gospels, 1986, op. cit., p. 6.]
    Similarly, the Alands observe that:
    It is as true of the New Testament quotations in the Church Fathers as it is of the versions that they are often misjudged and consequently misused. The route from a modern edition of a Church Father's works back to the text which he read in his New Testament may be long and tortuous... But even when a modern critical edition is available there is no certainty that it preserves the New Testament quotations of a work as they occurred in its original form. [K. Aland & B. Aland (Trans. E. F. Rhodes), The Text Of The New Testament: An Introduction To The Critical Editions And To The Theory And Practice Of Modern Textual Criticism, 1995 (2nd Revised Edition), op. cit., p. 171.]
    And you ignore the point these copies cover a huge and wide geographic area that prevented them from being gathered together and falsified. Unlike the Quran which was gathered together and burnt.
    Covering a wide geographic area does not prove reliability when there are so many other factors involved and ways for textual corruption to occur, as shown above. As for your claim about the Qur'an, it was not possible to falsify it for the reasons mentioned earlier and to make such a claim reflects nothing but sheer ignorance.

    Your point about Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth is Irrelevant when you consider reliability as above.
    Yet this man whom Christians regard as a saint (and some as a martyr) seems to throw that theory of reliability out of the window.

    Christian scholars agree with me on the reliability of the Bible
    I am sure you will find many that do. My point was to show how a number of Christian scholars and textual critics have demonstrated that the Bible is certainly not as reliable as some would like to have you believe. These are not mere opinions or unsubstantiated claims; they are researched and referenced views.

    Your point about the 500 manuscripts having accidental errors is irrelevant. Christian scholars have known about these minor variances for centuries and none of them effect any fundamental Christian doctrine. Less than one percent of all variants are both meaningful and viable.
    How is it possible to be satisfied by explanations of this kind. Only a person who accepted everything unconditionally would find such apologetic set-phrases acceptable.

    We saw earlier how Harry Gamble pointed out that, 'complaints about the adulteration of texts are fairly frequent in early Christian literature', and that, 'A great deal of early Christian literature was composed for the purpose of advancing a particular viewpoint amid the conflicts of ideas and practices that repeatedly arose within and between Christian communities, and even documents that were not polemically conceived might nevertheless be polemically used. Any text was liable to emendation in the interest of making it more pointedly serviceable in a situation of theological controversy.'

    Al Azami summarises:
    'Towards the end of the first century a few biographical works appeared; the authors were anonymous, none had any first-hand knowledge of Jesus' life, and none disclosed their sources of information. Rival sects emerged, each bearing no scruples in altering the necessary verses to strengthen its unique vision of Christ. Text types developed, diverged, gave birth to new ones, became popularised. Recensions commenced, interpolations continued, textual analysis began casting out many significant passages. And to this day each Bible can carefully choose its variants, its wording, and so arrive at a slightly different Jesus.' [The History of the Qur'anic text from Revelation to Compilation, p. 298]
    Last edited by Muhammad; 12-12-2021 at 05:14 PM.
    Preservation of Qur'an




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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    format_quote Originally Posted by Muhammad View Post
    Hello Spiritlead,

    It is very clear to anyone doing a bit of research that these are not Muslim scholars and their views do not represent mainstream Islamic views. Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji is a liberal Shi'ite whose views sparked accusations of heresy even in Iran. Abdul Karim Soroush is an Iranian controversial figure and the Iranian conservative clergy and politicians have repeatedly accused him of undermining Islam. Hassan Radwan runs a blog for 'Agnostic Muslim Khutbahs' where he apparently thinks you can be a Muslim and agnostic and appears to reject fundamental Islamic beliefs such as heaven, hell and the Day of Judgement. As for Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, he was declared an apostate by an Egyptian Shariah court in 1995. The fact that you quoted such individuals is a very poor and desperate attempt on your part and certainly does question your credibility.

    Which of the scholars that I quoted are anti-Christian or liberal? As you will see, the scholars I have quoted are church fathers, experts in Bible research, 'saints', writers of Bible translations and others. Even those that are not Christian scholars are people who have done scholarly research on these topics. None of them are comparable to outright Islam-haters like Ibn Warraq and others that you have quoted who haven't even studied the sciences of the Qur'an.

    Ibn Warraq is just one of many Islam-haters whose writings have been refuted, so I am not sure what your point of quoting him is. In reviewing Ibn Warraq's essay in his 'Quest for the Historical Muhammad', Fred Donner, a professor in Near Eastern studies, notes his lack of specialist training in Arabic studies, citing "inconsistent handling of Arabic materials," and unoriginal arguments, and "heavy-handed favoritism" towards revisionist theories and "the compiler's [i.e. Ibn Warraq's] agenda, which is not scholarship, but anti-Islamic polemic." As for his other book, 'Origins of the Koran', François de Blois criticized Ibn Warraq's work for including the essay by St. Clair Tisdall describing it as a "shoddy piece of missionary propaganda" and the "worst" among the essays of the book. De Blois also indicated that there are "quite a few mistakes in the spelling of both of Arabic and of European languages" and added that "the fact that the piece of Qur'anic calligraphy reproduced on the front cover has been printed up-side down is not, presumably, an intentional insult to the editor's former co-religionists".

    If you think the historical reliability of the Qur'an has been 'disproved', you need to bring that proof. It is no good quoting apostates whose opinions are of no value.

    Yes, the gradual revelation was considered a blessing that Allah سبحانه وتعالى gave to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Qur'an itself refers to its gradual revelation and from these verses we understand a number of merits and benefits of this piece-meal process.

    To the contrary, you have failed to show what evidence there is that 'human impact' or 'political and cultural influences' caused alteration of the Qur'an. In addition to this, you have completely ignored the points I mentioned earlier, which are strong evidences that the Qur'an was preserved exactly as it was recited by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. I have listed the key points so that they won't escape you this time:

    1. The entire Qur'an was in the possession of the Muslim community before the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and it was memorised by a number of Companions. The fact that many of these same Companions were present at the time of Uthman رضي الله عنه means it is inconceivable that any corruption of the text could occur because it would be immediately recognised and opposed.

    2. The fact that the action of Uthman رضي الله عنه was agreed upon by all of the Companions proves that we are not dealing with 'political and cultural influences' because if that was the case, there would have been numerous objections and disputes.


    3. In particular, the Companion Zayd ibn Thabit رضي الله عنه was a part of both committees assiged to the task of compiling the Mushaf at the time of Abubakr as well as Uthman, and Zayd himself witnessed the last recitation of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to Jibreel. He was also the primary scribe of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and had memorised the entire Qur'an during the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Any potential mistake or change in the compilation of the Qur'an would have been detected by him.

    4. The official copies made at the time of Uthman رضي الله عنه correlated with the earlier official copy made by Abubakr رضي الله عنه (which was based on both written and oral evidence). This shows that no alteration took place between this time despite whatever 'turbulence' may have been occurring.

    5. In political conflict, calls for arbitration according to the Qur'an never involved claims that the other side had an incomplete or changed Qur'an. This would have been a convenient and devastating weapon if it could have been at all convincing.

    6. There is no proof that Uthman رضي الله عنه somehow added any theological or legal idea into the Qur’an. Even in the case of old manuscripts such as those found in San'a, we are merely talking about differences in spelling, synonyms etc. which is evidence for the fact that Uthman رضي الله عنه was sincere in his efforts to compile the Qur’an. Anyone who claims that Uthman رضي الله عنه was acting for his own interests must show which verse was added/removed, which ruling was contradicted or which law was repealed. Not a single shred of evidence has been brought to prove this.

    7. Uthman رضي الله عنه was one of the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم closest Companions and his son-in-law. There is no reason to believe a person of his status would act in such an unbefitting way, similar to how Christians would immediately reject the idea that one of Jesus' closest disciples would willfully distort the Word of God.

    It is easy to make claims without evidence. But if you are truly interested in facts then you must address these issues otherwise you are forced to drop your baseless allegations.

    This is what your Christian scholars tell you about the Bible. It does not apply to the Qur'an. When you have mutawatir chains of transmission, original documents are only of secondary importance. When the entire Muslim Ummah has accepted the Qur'an we have in our hands, we do not need to search for original documents because that would neither add nor detract from our Scripture. Having said that, there do exist several dozen first-century manuscripts of the Qur'an in various libraries around the world - see later for a couple of examples.

    As a matter of fact, it does, because it shows the importance and huge role of the oral and educational tradition of the Qur'an, and how this needs to be accounted for when discussing the preservation of the Qur'an. It seems you are not willing to accept this point so I have broken it down further for you.

    As stated previously, it is very easy to prove that Muslims have the original Qur'an because the Qur'an has been passed down from teacher to student in mutawatir narrations; in each generation, so many people narrated it that there is no question of its authenticity. Millions of scholars are part of an unbroken chain that leads directly back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, with the names of every person in the chain recorded.

    Moreover, t
    he recitation of the Qur'an is a vital element of all prayers and during Ramadan every year the entire Qur'an is recited from cover to cover in Mosques by the Imam from memory. (Note that use of the Qur'an in prayer is made not in the form of reading out from a written piece, as is done in the Christian liturgy, but from memory, either silently or audibly.) This integral role that the Qur'an plays in daily Muslim life makes it impossible for any corruption of the Qur'an to take place. Al Azami points out, 'that the exact same words echoed from every mosque, school, house and bazaar throughout all corners of the Muslim nation was a greater safeguard against corruption than anything any human system could have promised.'

    In addition to this point, it should be highlighted that Muslims have never been exclusively reliant on books. Learning the Qur'an directly from a knowledgeable teacher has always been emphasised over simply owning a written copy of the Qur'an. Thus, when Uthman رضي الله عنه sent the official copies to the provinces, a teacher was sent with each copy to ensure that people would recite the Qur'an correctly free of any mistakes, further ensuring the preservation of the Qur'an and guarding it against corruption.

    Yes, and I pointed out how you had no valid argument. Memorization of the Qur'an has always been the tradition of the Muslim community and it is one of the features of the Qur'an that distinguishes it from every other scripture in the world. There is no other scripture which has such a massive number of people who memorise it. There are members of this forum who have memorised the entire Qur'an, word-for-word, letter-for-letter. This tradition did not spontaneously arise in the Muslim community, it has been there since the beginning.

    If any corruption had occurred to the Qur'an, people all across the world would not be reciting the Qur'an exactly the same. So well established is this fact that if all the books in the entire world were to be lost or destroyed, the Qur'an would still be recovered letter for letter as it is preserved in the hearts of so many millions.


    You have brought nothing but speculation so there is nothing to really refute.

    The fact that Allah protects His message does not mean humans don't bother to do their part. We see that even the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم showed extreme care in transmitting the Qur'an - he took simultaneous steps to have the revelations memorised as well as written down. The Companions followed in his footsteps and their decisions speak of their great wisdom and prudence. This is how Allah سبحانه وتعالى Decreed that His Book would be preserved.

    You have neither shown nor even discussed 'serious differences' with other copies of the Qur'an. It's just another empty claim of yours.

    You have confirmed the point; there was no one standardised text of the Bible so there was no need to burn anything because there was no way to distinguish between truth and falsehood. On the other hand, the entire Qur'an was with the Muslim community so distinguishing between the Qur'an and uncorroborated copies was easily possible and done with utmost precision. As for the canonical councils you mention, I fail to see how a council taking place more than 300 years after Jesus' ascension negates the threat of political interference.

    As far as the Gospels are concerned, it is important to understand that they appeared at a time of fierce struggle between two communities. These 'combat writings', as Father Kannengiesser (professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris) calls them, emerged from the multitude of writings on Jesus. These occurred at the time when Paul's style of Christianity won through definitively, and created its own collection of official texts. These texts constituted the 'Canon' which condemned and excluded as unorthodox any other documents that were not suited to the line adopted by the Church. So The Gospels did not become known until fairly late. The Ecumenical Translation of the Bible estimates the date they acquired the status of canonic literature at around 170 A.D. Contrary to what certain commentators are still writing today, before 140 A.D. there was no witness to the knowledge that a collection of Gospel writings existed.

    You have highlighted the problem right there. Instead of attempting to use fact and accuracy in your posts, you are using guesswork and assumption, as you have clearly admitted here. The San'a manuscripts are not necessarily the 'most complete' because the 82 folios that were found are said to comprise roughly half of the Qur'an. On the other hand, the Topakpi manuscript is almost a complete copy of the Qur'an with only 2 pages lacking. The 'Codex Parisino-petropolitanus' is another mansucript which was initially kept in Fustat, Egypt and all of its folios comprise about 46% of the Qur'an. Codex B. L. Or. 2165 is another manuscript from the 1st century of Hijrah which comprises about 57% of the Qur'an.

    As for 'oldest', this is more difficult to prove because radiocarbon dating is only an estimate, therefore dates are given between a certain time-frame with percentage probability, and that too will differ according to different sources. Both the Codex Parisino-petropolitanus and Codex B. L. Or. 2165 mentioned above have been dated as early as the 1st century AH, which overlaps with the dating of the San'a manuscript.

    In reality, whether the San'a manuscript is truly the oldest manuscript (and even if it was the most complete) changes nothing in our discussion. What I've taken exception to here is your blatant disregard for facts and historical accuracy which is a recurrent theme throughout your posts.

    Understanding the context and history behind statements is not 'crusader paranoia', rather it is necessary to establish credibility.

    Their points are well referenced and researched. Saying they 'come across as ideologically defensive' does not negate their work.

    Yes, besides being an expert in restoration and preservation of manuscripts, it is clear that Puin had orientalist motives. In his article he explicitly referred to the attempts made previously by orientalists like Jeffery Arthur and Otto Pretzel and expressed hope that the San'a find would offer an opportunity to resume that project of work.

    It's ridiculous to assume that 'no one in the Muslim world was capable'. In the words of Qadhi Al-Akwa himself, it was because he did not think the Yemenis or the people in many Islamic countries had an appreciation of the architectural heritage of their country in contrast with the ‘concern’ registered by foreign observers. Al-Akwa managed to interest Puin, who was visiting Yemen for research purposes in 1979. Puin in turn persuaded the German government to organise and fund a restoration project.

    Furthermore, the openness of the Yemeni authorities towards international study of the manuscripts is to be noted. In 2007 Sergio Noja Noseda (an Italian scholar) and Christian Robin (a French archaeologist) were allowed to take pictures of the Sana'a palimpsest. They write that according to Robin, his colleagues were "granted greater access than would have been possible in some European libraries." They report a similar view from Ursula Dreibholz, the conservator for the restoration project, who describes the Yemenis as supportive. They quote Dreibholz as saying that the Yemenis "brought school children, university students, foreign delegations, religious dignitaries, and heads of state, like François Mitterrand, Gerhard Schröder, and Prince Claus of the Netherlands, to see the collection."

    It's unfortunate that you speak of criticism of the Qur'an yet seem to be unaware of your own Bible history. Christians condemned the textual criticism of the New Testament; any one who ventured into this field was condemned or ignored. Furthermore, parts of the Bible would be hidden from Christians to avoid people asking difficult questions. Dr. Maurice Bucaille recalls that,
    'Not so very long ago, the majority of Christians knew only selected sections of the Gospels that were read during services or commented upon during sermons. With the exception of the Protestants, it was not customary for Christians to read the Gospels in their entirety. Books of religious instruction only contained extracts; the in extenso text hardly circulated at all. At a Roman Catholic school I had copies of the works of Virgil and Plato, but I did not have the New Testament. The Greek text of this would nevertheless have been very instructive: it was only much later on that I realized why they had not set us translations of the holy writings of Christianity. The latter could have led us to ask our teachers questions they would have found it difficult to answer.' [The Bible, The Qur'an and Science]

    We also find historically that Christians were prohibited from reading the New Testament on their own. According to the decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): "We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books."

    It is little wonder that Father Roguet laments,
    'Many Christians need to learn how to read the Gospels". [Initiation à l'Evangile, 1973]

    In a discussion on the preservation of the Qur'an you've jumped to apostasy and blasphemy laws. This is not even worth responding to as it's nothing but a desperate attempt at evading the discussion at hand.

    Certainly. Ursula Dreibholz, a conservation expert who worked on the project for eight years (longer than Puin did), who worked full-time in Ṣan'ā' until the end of 1989, completed the restoration of the manuscripts, designed the permanent storage, collated many parchment fragments to identify distinct Quranic manuscripts and directed the Yemeni staff in the same task, said:
    'Despite the rumors that have circulated, it is important to emphasize here that no distortion was found in the manuscripts found in the Great Mosque in Sanaa, as the differences were limited to the vowel symbols used in the early Islamic ages' [Ursula Dreibholz (1989). Early Quranic parchments discovered in the Great Mosque in Sanaa. Sana'a: German Archaeological Institute. p. 13.]

    The reason it is relevant is because Puin himself made reference to the manuscripts collected in Germany, yet didn't comment on the fact that they didn't reveal any significant discrepancy. This casts doubt on his intentions for studying the San'a manuscripts.

    I think you misunderstood me. We are discussing the preservation of the Qur'an in this thread, not the literary miracle of the Qur'an which is a separate issue. You have made no argument against the literary miracle of the Qur'an in any of your posts, yet you seem to think you have made an 'obvious' point somewhere. Perhaps you are unaware of the difference between the two topics so the following link may help to clarify:
    Evidences For Qur'an's Divine Origin? (islamicboard.com)

    There are no Qur'anic 'deviations'. It seems to me that you are not bothering to do any research and are simply parroting meaningless remarks.

    This is incorrect. The Hadith contain the teachings of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم which are considered to be a form of revelation separate to the Qur'an, and they have a chain of narrators to verify they came directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Bible is a different type of work altogether; Christians cannot prove its teachings originated from Jesus عليه السلام.

    If there are errors in a scripture due to the 'imperfect vessels' then that scripture is not infallible.

    That is a view held by Dr Raymond Brown, a Biblical scholar, who says, 'The view that the evangelists were not themselves eyewitnesses of the public ministry of Jesus would be held in about 95% of contemporary [biblical] scholarship.' [101 Questions and Answers on the Bible, p. 59] Your claim of it being a unanimous belief is therefore untrue.

    Father Kannengiesser, a professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris, warns that 'one should not take literally' facts reported about Jesus by the Gospels, because they are 'writings suited to an occasion' or 'to combat', whose authors 'are writing down the traditions of their own community about Jesus'. Concerning the Resurrection of Jesus, which is the subject of his book, he stresses that none of the authors of the Gospels can claim to have been an eye-witness. He intimates that, as far as the rest of Jesus's public life is concerned, the same must be true because, according to the Gospels, none of the Apostles-apart from Judas Iscariot-left Jesus from the moment he first followed Him until His last earthly manifestations. [Faith in the Resurrection, Resurrection of Faith (Foi en la Resurrection, Resurrection de la foi)]

    Doston Jones argues, 'That the Gospels were not originally composed bearing their traditional titles is now a well-established matter in New Testament scholarship. This mainstream view is conceded even among various conservative scholars such as Craig L. Blomberg, who stated: “It’s important to acknowledge that strictly speaking, the gospels are anonymous.” [The Case for Christ (Strobel, Lee) p. 23].

    Even the Catholic Church now recognizes that those traditional titles are pseudonymous. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “the first four historical books of the New Testament are supplied with titles (Euangelion kata Matthaion, Euangelion kata Markon, etc.), which, however ancient, do not go back to the respective authors of those sacred writings. […] It thus appears that the present titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the evangelists themselves.

    This is irrelevant here because we are discussing preservation of scripture merely from a historical perspective to identify textual integrity. Claiming that Christians require a lower standard of proof is a cop-out because even if you say the Bible is not a direct revelation, its reliability and integrity as a text is crucial for Christian doctrine. As for the higher standard of proof from Muslims then this is evidently present from what we have already discussed. So with regards to the oral tradition: if you believe there is an oral tradition for the Bible that survived for centuries without corruption, why would you not be willing to accept an oral tradition for the Qur'an which is of a much higher standard? The same argument applies for the written preservation.

    The Catholic Bible consists of 73 books, whereas the Protestant Bible consists of 66. That's a difference of 7 entire books! Even if we focus on the New Testament, words, sentences and entire verses are omitted depending on which Bible version you use. Clearly, not all Bibles are the same. See these links for examples:
    Various Contradictions and Omissions in Bible Translations (av1611.com)
    List of New Testament verses not included in modern English translations - Wikipedia

    This was in reference to 1 John 5:7 - the Trinitarian statement that is found in the KJV version of the Bible yet omitted in others such as the ESV. Later in your post you acknowledge this and said, 'Most house hold bibles have a footnote that the verse is not in early manuscripts. And you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship.'

    The history of why this verse was removed and re-inserted highlights the 'integrity', or rather the lack thereof, of Christian scholarship. In 1516, Erasmus omitted the Trinitarian statement (Comma Johanneum) from his first and second editions of the Greek-Latin New Testament because it was not in his Greek manuscripts. He added the Comma Johanneum to his Novum Testamentum omne in 1522 after being accused of reviving Arianism and after he was informed of a Greek manuscript that contained it. Though Erasmus inserted the passage in his third edition, he felt it necessary to append a lengthy footnote expressing his suspicion that the manuscript was a forgery. This spurious passage still found its way into the Authorised King James Version printed in 1611, although the RSV (which is the 1946 revision of the 1901 American version of the 1881 revised edition of the 1611 KJV) omits some of the crucial words. So what we see here is a deliberate and major theological corruption taking place as late as the 16th century.

    You do not have the original text of any of the books of the New Testament, only copies made many years (centuries) later. Moreover, numbers mean nothing here. What matters is the quality of the manuscripts, their age, text-type, etc. The vast majority of them (including most of the earliest manuscripts) contain only a portion of the New Testament or exist in fragmentary form, at times containing no more than a couple of verses or even less. Only about 8% of the manuscripts cover most of the New Testament.

    As for their dating, out of the 5,000 or so Greek manuscripts, around 94% of them date more than 800 years or so after the birth of Jesus. Several books of the New Testament find no manuscript support until the 4th century CE. The earliest available manuscripts date from over a century after Jesus.

    Dr. Klaus Junack, a researcher at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung, Universität Münster, Germany, considered one of the leading experts connected with the UBS Greek New Testament project, stated: 'Today more than 5,000 manuscripts are known: the overwhelming majority of these are from the medieval and late medieval periods, but on occasion they also preserve readings from the early period.' [K. Junack, "The Reliability Of The New Testament Text From The Perspective Of Textual Criticism", The Bible Translator, 1978, Volume XXIX, Issue I, p. 131.]

    Furthermore, no two manuscripts of the New Testament anywhere in existence are alike. According to Ehrman, there are more differences among the manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. [B. D. Ehrman, The New Testament: An Historical Introduction To The Early Christian Writings, p. 443.]

    The following quote from Ehrman summarises why the reasoning behind using the numerical superiority of the manuscripts is faulty. This is because the earliest manuscripts are not only fragmentary, but also because most are centuries removed from the originals; none of these manuscripts being error-free:
    'At one time or another, you may have heard someone claim that the New Testament can be trusted because it is the best attested book from the ancient world, that because there are more manuscripts of the New Testament than of any other book, we should have no doubt concerning the truth of its message. Given what we have seen..., it should be clear why this line of reasoning is faulty. It is true, of course, that the New Testament is abundantly attested in the manuscripts produced through the ages, but most of these manuscripts are many centuries removed from the originals, and none of them perfectly accurate. They all contain mistakes - altogether many thousands of mistakes. It is not an easy task to reconstruct the original words of the New Testament.

    Moreover even if scholars have by and large succeeded in reconstructing the New Testament, this, in itself, has no bearing on the truthfulness of the message. It simply means that we can be reasonably certain of what the New Testament authors actually said, just as we can be reasonably certain what Plato and Euripides and Josephus and Suetonius all said. Whether or not any of these ancient authors said anything that was true is another question, one we cannot answer simply by appealing to the number of surviving manuscripts that preserve their writings.' [B. D. Ehrman, The New Testament: An Historical Introduction To The Early Christian Writings, 2000, op. cit., p. 449.]

    There is also another problem which is that studies on New Testament papyri indicate that the text was much more fluid during the first two hundred years of transmission than originally thought. This has been confirmed by research, which has demonstrated that both "orthodox" and "heretical" scribes were indulging in deliberate theological changes to their biblical text. According to Harry Gamble:
    'Complaints about the adulteration of texts are fairly frequent in early Christian literature. Christian texts, scriptural and nonscriptural, were no more immune than others from vicissitudes of unregulated transmission in handwritten copies. In some respects they were more vulnerable than ordinary texts, and not merely because Christian communities could not always command the most competent scribes. Although Christian writings generally aimed to express not individual viewpoints but the shared convictions and values of a group, members of the group who acted as editors and copyists must often have revised texts in accordance with their own perceptions. This temptation was stronger in connection with religious or philosophical texts than with others simply because more was at stake. A great deal of early Christian literature was composed for the purpose of advancing a particular viewpoint amid the conflicts of ideas and practices that repeatedly arose within and between Christian communities, and even documents that were not polemically conceived might nevertheless be polemically used. Any text was liable to emendation in the interest of making it more pointedly serviceable in a situation of theological controversy.'[H. Y. Gamble, Books And Readers In The Early Church: A History Of Early Christian Texts, 1995, Yale University Press: New Haven & London, pp. 123-124.]

    We can therefore see that merely quoting the number of Greek manuscripts available does not allow us to have a greater degree of confidence in the reliability or trustworthiness of the resultant New Testament text.

    There are enormous problems with using these to figure out what the original Greek authors wrote. The manuscripts in these languages are themselves centuries after the originals, even if the translations themselves were centuries earlier. And so we cannot know how these later manuscripts have been changed over the years of copying away from what the original translations said.

    The copies of various books from the NT during the first several centuries were made generally by non-professionals who rarely checked for errors afterwards. There was little incentive to check them anyway because almost all Christians during the first century expected the impending return of Jesus and likely never realised they were preserving a text for the distant future. Additionally, the early Christians did not necessarily treat the NT as a sacred text, so some of them may have felt inspired on occasion to make alterations. [Refer to P.W. Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the NT, p. 6]

    O. Culmann, in his book, The New Testament, writes the following: "Sometimes the latter are the result of inadvertant flaws: the copier misses a word out, or conversely writes it twice, or a whole section of a sentence is carelessly omitted because in the manuscript to be copied it appeared between two identical words. Sometimes it is a matter of deliberate corrections, either the copier has taken the liberty of correcting the text according to his own ideas or he has tried to bring it into line with a parallel text in a more or less skilful attempt to reduce the number of discrepancies. As, little by little, the New Testament writings broke away from the rest of early Christian literature, and came to be regarded as Holy Scripture, so the copiers became more and more hesitant about taking the same liberties as their predecessors: they thought they were copying the authentic text, but in fact wrote down the variations. Finally, a copier sometimes wrote annotations in the margin to explain an obscure passage. The following copier, thinking that the sentence he found in the margin had been left out of the passage by his predecessor, thought it necessary to include the margin notes in the text. This process often made the new text even more obscure."

    Dr Bucaille writes, 'The scribes of some manuscripts sometimes took exceedingly great liberties with the texts. This is the case of one of the most venerable manuscripts after the two referred to above, the Sixth century Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis. The scribe probably noticed the difference between Luke's and Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, so he put Matthew's genealogy into his copy of Luke, but as the second contained fewer names than the first, he padded it out with extra names (without balancing them up)'. [The Bible, The Qur'an and Science]

    The writers of the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible admit, "All that modern textual criticism can do in this respect is to try and reconstitute "a text which has the most likelihood of coming near to the original. In any case, there can be no hope of going back to the original text itself."

    There are a number of problems with using such quotations. Church fathers often did not cite passages by chapter and verse, because they didn’t have chapters and verses. They all quoted the passages of the New Testament in different ways, either because their own manuscripts of it differed from one another, or because they were quoting it from memory. It goes without saying that reminiscences and allusions are of less value to the textual critic than specific citations of the very words of the scriptural passage.

    Bart Ehrman, whose PhD research was on this topic, mentioned some of the associated problems by using an example of the verse John 3:3:
    But suppose that my quotation of John 3:3 was the *only* quotation of John 3:3 that survives, and we didn’t have any manuscript or printed text of John to compare my quotation to. You would not know the quotation was from John; you would not know it came in what is now in chapter 3. You would not know that it followed what is now verse 2 and came before what is now verse 4. And you would not know if that’s what the author originally wrote or not. The problems are enormous and, I’m afraid, insuperable. [Can We Reconstruct the Entire New Testament from Quotations of the Church Fathers? | The Bart Ehrman Blog]

    In addition to this, Ehrman says:
    The other set of problems unique to Patristic sources concerns the history of their own transmission. The MS traditions of virtually all the church fathers show that later copyists tend to "correct" quotations of the Bible to the form of text prevalent in their own day... Biblical citations in such sources do not necessarily represent the text of the Father, but often only known to his later copyists [B. D. Ehrman, Didymus The Blind And The Text Of The Gospels, 1986, op. cit., p. 6.]
    Similarly, the Alands observe that:
    It is as true of the New Testament quotations in the Church Fathers as it is of the versions that they are often misjudged and consequently misused. The route from a modern edition of a Church Father's works back to the text which he read in his New Testament may be long and tortuous... But even when a modern critical edition is available there is no certainty that it preserves the New Testament quotations of a work as they occurred in its original form. [K. Aland & B. Aland (Trans. E. F. Rhodes), The Text Of The New Testament: An Introduction To The Critical Editions And To The Theory And Practice Of Modern Textual Criticism, 1995 (2nd Revised Edition), op. cit., p. 171.]
    Covering a wide geographic area does not prove reliability when there are so many other factors involved and ways for textual corruption to occur, as shown above. As for your claim about the Qur'an, it was not possible to falsify it for the reasons mentioned earlier and to make such a claim reflects nothing but sheer ignorance.

    Yet this man whom Christians regard as a saint (and some as a martyr) seems to throw that theory of reliability out of the window.

    I am sure you will find many that do. My point was to show how a number of Christian scholars and textual critics have demonstrated that the Bible is certainly not as reliable as some would like to have you believe. These are not mere opinions or unsubstantiated claims; they are researched and referenced views.

    How is it possible to be satisfied by explanations of this kind. Only a person who accepted everything unconditionally would find such apologetic set-phrases acceptable.

    We saw earlier how Harry Gamble pointed out that, 'complaints about the adulteration of texts are fairly frequent in early Christian literature', and that, 'A great deal of early Christian literature was composed for the purpose of advancing a particular viewpoint amid the conflicts of ideas and practices that repeatedly arose within and between Christian communities, and even documents that were not polemically conceived might nevertheless be polemically used. Any text was liable to emendation in the interest of making it more pointedly serviceable in a situation of theological controversy.'

    Al Azami summarises:
    'Towards the end of the first century a few biographical works appeared; the authors were anonymous, none had any first-hand knowledge of Jesus' life, and none disclosed their sources of information. Rival sects emerged, each bearing no scruples in altering the necessary verses to strengthen its unique vision of Christ. Text types developed, diverged, gave birth to new ones, became popularised. Recensions commenced, interpolations continued, textual analysis began casting out many significant passages. And to this day each Bible can carefully choose its variants, its wording, and so arrive at a slightly different Jesus.' [The History of the Qur'anic text from Revelation to Compilation, p. 298]
    Hello Muhamad. Thank you for your interesting reply. I apologise for the delayed response.

    Saeed Nasheed, Abdul Karim Soroush, Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji, Hassan Radwan are all from Muslim backgrounds and scholars well versed in the Quran and your traditions. “Liberal Shiite” …“Heresy”… “undermining Islam”… “fundamental Islamic beliefs”… “declared an “apostate”... All you are demonstrating is the fear based mindless conformity that under pins Islamic ‘scholarly’ traditions. Your apostasy and blasphemy laws keep you and your Umma ignorant and in line. Muslims are scared to analyse the Quran under the same scrutiny that Christians have done with the Bible for centuries. Most of your critiques of the Bible you wouldn’t even know if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholars.
    You ask ” Which of the scholars that I quoted are anti-Christian or liberal”? Bart Erhman for one.

    You say “the scholars quoted are church fathers … 'saints, “writers of Bible translations” … You obviously don’t know “church fathers” refers to early Church Apostles, not modern scholars. You mis use the term “Saint” and don’t appear to realise the Biblical meaning applies to all Christians, not just scholars. “Writers of Bible translations”. Which ones? What people you have named were “translators of the Bible”? You need to verse yourself better in Christian terms and traditions if you want to present yourself with credibility.
    Special pleading (double standard) on your behalf. You criticise Muslim background academics with brain washed arguments based on “Liberal Shiite” …“Heresy”… “undermining Islam”… “fundamental Islamic beliefs”… “apostate”… but contradict your self in using liberal humanistic ‘Christians’.

    According to Islamic tradition, the Quran was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in seven ahruf ("editions", "styles", "ways", "forms" and "modes"). Although Muslim scholars differ on their exact nature, it is thought they constituted a degree of acceptable variation in the Quranic text.
    The Quran itself talks about it being recorded in the preserved tablet in heaven, but interestingly, makes no mention of there being any variant modes/forms/readings of it. However, there are references to the seven ahruf in hadith.
    But yet Islamic history records confusion and dissension amongst the companions around the different styles of Quran recitation. See - Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 468; also Sahih Muslim: bk. 4, no. 1799-1802,Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 041, Number 601, Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1787.
    The standardisation of the Quranic rasm c. 650 CE and destruction of the mushafs by Uthman and the extent to which the Uthmanic codex contains the seven ahruf has been a subject of debate. (Dutton 2012, p. 28, quoting Ibn al-Jazari from his work al-Nashr fī l-qiraʾāt al-ʿashr: "Whether theʿUthmānī muṣḥafs contain all the seven aḥruf is a major issue (masʿala kabīra) about which all the ʿulamā have different opinions.")Ahruf were banned about 1400 years ago, according to Islamic literature, when Uthman destroyed all but the official copies of the Quran, so the variants cannot be compared today.
    As a result of confusion and dissension amongst the companions based on different ahruf evidenced by the above hadith, some modern scholars argue the oral Quran was never reliable. Explanations given by traditional Muslims for the recitation controversies in the hadith is to creatively interpret the hadith and/or argue the recitation differences are simply reflected in tribal dialects.
    Whatever the case. Emphasizing the difficulty of the issue, Suyuti, a noted 15th-century Islamic theologian, concludes the "best opinion" of this hadith is that it is "mutashabihat", i.e. its meaning "cannot be understood."(Suyuti, Tanwir al-Hawalik, 2nd ed. (Beirut: Dar al-Jayl, 1993), p. 199.)
    A modern critic, Shezad Saleem, has doubts about the validity of the hadithSuyuti, Tanwir al-Hawalik, 2nd ed. (Beirut: Dar al-Jayl, 1993), p. 199)
    Conservative Islamic scholar Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi stated in a 2020 interview that –"every single student of knowledge ... who studies ulm of Quran" knows "that the most difficult topics are ahruf and qira’at",[42] so vexing that even "the most advanced of our scholars, they are not quite fully certain how to solve all of it and answer questions in there",[43] and so sensitive that it "should never be brought up in public” and is "not something you discuss among the masses".(In the Hot Seat: Muḥammad Hijāb Interviews Dr. Yasir Qadhi. YouTube, Yasir Qadhi, 8 June 2020, video at 1h29m29s.^ Ibn Warraq (February 2008). "Which Koran?". New English Review. Retrieved 17 March 2021.)
    In conclusion, just as the companions back in the day expressed confusion and dissension over ‘the correct’ recitations, later and modern Muslim scholars such as Suyuti , Saleem and Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi imply it is impossible to justify the reliability of the Quran because of these controversial hadith.

    But yet the Quran says of itself -
    “These are the verses of the Book that is clear.” 12.1 and 27.1.
    Obviously not !

    Gerd Puin adequately demonstrates the human and cultural influences on the Quran. Puin states-
    “My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian ubstrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants.” [1]^ a b Lester, Toby (January 1999).

    And it not just Puin that presents problems for the reliability of the Quran. Bevan Jones argues the Muslim attitude toward a textual tradition of the Quran highlights an important difference between Christianity and Islam. “Christianity is rooted in history and it’s beliefs and Scriptures are therefore subject to historical methods of investigation. The Quran, according to Muslim doctrine, is an eternal book; therefore, Muslims do not typically look favourably on the idea that the text had a history and manuscript tradition. Does the Quran (mushaf) have a history? Yes. “
    And Dr. Stefan Wild has said, “there were certainly more than one embryonic preliminary stage and prototype that preceded the codified and canonized version [of the Quran] which we know.”
    “Is there a manuscript tradition of the Quran (mushaf) with variant readings? Yes. How much can we say about them? Very little because the Quran has gone through textual purgings, while it may be true that no other work has remained for twelve centuries with so pure a text, it is probably equally true that no other has suffered so drastic a purging” (L Bevan Jones, The People of the Mosque, p.62).

    Andrew Rippin has drawn conclusions similar to Puin’s. Referring to the San‘ä’ manuscripts, Rippin writes -"the text contains variant readings of a minor nature that suggest to some scholars that the idea of an oral tradition running parallel to the written one cannot be given historical credence. What we may have evidence of is the interpretative nature of the detailed annotations that were added to the text later: that is, that the current text is the product of reflection upon a primitive written text and not upon the parallel transmission of an oral text as the Muslim tradition has suggested."[44]
    Rippin goes on to discuss Sura XXI.4 and 112. Should the two verses begin with the imperative "Say!", [in Arabic:qul] thus indicating that God is the speaker, or should the word be read as "He said" [qäla]? What do the printed Korans say?
    Muslims : Their Beliefs and Practices. Andrew Rippin. Pg 38.

    You are wrong in your claim that the same standards of reliability and proof do not exist for the Quran and Bible. Unless you can produce for me a pre Uthman Quran you will never have proof only at best a degree of reliability.
    Your point about “the entire Muslim Ummah has accepted the Qur'an we have in our hands, we do not need to search for original documents because that would neither add nor detract from our Scripture”. Only demonstrates a blind conformist ignorance.
    Your arguments based on Ansar Al-'Adl Al, Azami, mutawatir chains of transmission, Huffaadh reveal a disconnect of logic. I accept your attempt to show the traditions of transmission prior to Uthman but as m4ntioned from my discussion of Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 468; also Sahih Muslim: bk. 4, no. 1799-1802,Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 041, Number 601, Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1787 and the conclusions as Suyuti , Saleem and Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi come to this is certainly not clear. Besides you cannot use this as an argument for the validity of your present day Quran because without the originals you can ‘prove’ nothing. Unless you can produce for me a pre Uthman Quran that escaped Uthmans censorship fires, the best you or any Muslim can argue is a only degree of reliability.
    You state a teacher was sent with each copy to ensure that people would recite the Qur'an correctly free of any mistakes. ‘Mistakes’ according to who ? Uthman !
    And a mere man helping God to protect His Holy Word! Did Uthman have a direct revelation to light his censorship fires?
    I presume you as a Muslim believe the earlier scriptures were corrupted. God obviously wasn’t able to preserve those so what make you think yours were adequately protected ?

    Puin goes on -
    the 16000 sheets or parchments of Koranic fragments discovered in San‘ä’, Yemen, has uncovered even more variants in the rasm that are not found in the mammoth work of eight volumes, Mu‘jam al-qirä’ät al-qur’äniyyah,[39] edited in Kuwait recently. This dictionary lists over ten thousand variants, of which about a thousand are variants of or deviations in the rasm. Which Koran? (Part II)The Significance of Koranic Variation by Ibn Warraq (March 2008).
    You confirm my point. It was a strength that the Bible developed organically over time. And added to that was that Christianity was not part of, or vying for the established political status quo like Uthman did. Its obvious Uthman was partly motivated in needing to maintain the unity of Muslims in outlying provinces. For the Bible the threat of political interference on the scriptures was minimised by the gradual organic development of canon. The canonical councils were simply part of that process over the first few centuries.

    “Combat writings”” mentioned by Father Kannengiesser ? Nothing new here. No conspiracy. Any Christian who has read the New Testament Epistles is well aware this was an issue for the early Church. Also the term “combat writings ”imply violence as similar to early Muslim history. This tension was theological not political. I suggest you research the Christian historical situation of the time.
    Your mention of Pauls writings is a red hearing and not even accurate. If you knew your Bible you would know that Pauls beliefs and writings were consistent from the very beginning with those of Peter, James and John.
    The condemnation and exclusion of other teachings as unorthodox was due to their obvious Gnostic theology. One didn’t then or now need to be an expert theologian to recognise that. At the time and now they are obviously not consistent with Jewish traditions but of pagan Egyptian and Greek theology. All of this condemnation and exclusion was based on peaceful debate in a non political environment (unlike Islam).
    Canon criteria made it easy to establish unorthodoxy from orthodoxy based on 1. Apostolicity (written by apostle or associate of)2. Catholicism (accepted widely) and 3. Orthodoxy (consistent with established Jewish / Christian theology ).
    You are misrepresenting the process of canonisation in your quote of the Ecumenical Translation putting the date to 170 AD. That is only partly the case. I suspect you are quoting sources such as the Ecumenical Translation out of overall context. 170AD was simply when the canon became more formalised. The canon was fluid until this date as there was no demand or need for a canon and it simply developed organically. The process of canon took 400 years and the councils merely rubber stamped what most of the church already knew as the proper authoritative books. Prior to 170AD there was universal acceptance among the widely spread Christian communities that the 4 Gospels, Epistles and Book of Acts were credible. Prior to 170AD the canon was accepted but not established. If you want to know why 170 AD was important I suggest you read about the Marcion controversy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcion_of_Sinope
    https://www.theopedia.com/development-of-the-canon
    You are also misrepresenting what “certain commentators are still writing today”. All serious Christian scholars know about the significance of 170 AD.

    The Sanaa Quran vs the Topakpi manuscript or Codex Parisino-petropolitanus? You are simply attempting to evade with technicalities. The Sanaa Quran is of major significance no matter what.“Crusader paranoia and understanding the context and history behind statements ?” Western textual criticism bases itself on Western science which is facts driven. Not ideologically driven. Something Muslims like Al-Azami and Muhammad Mohar Ali can learn from. Compare their tone with the likes of Puin. Their defensiveness is apparent, so yes, it does negate their work. Your use of the term “orientalist motives” likewise betrays your defensiveness.
    No one in the Muslim world capable to assess the Sanaa Quran? Islam has no tradition of professional textual criticism as the West does. All it has is theological elucidation. Any thing more than that enters the realm of apostasy and blasphemy. Your mention “the openness of the Yemeni authorities towards international study of the manuscripts is to be noted.” Sergio Noja Noseda, Christian Robin, Ursula Dreibholz. All non Muslims ! Why is that ? Ursula Dreibholz was a simply involved in the preservation of the manuscripts. She is not a textual critic like Puin.
    You claim the Sanaa Quran has no distortion as the differences were limited to the vowel symbols used in the early Islamic ages. You are wrong. As Ive written above there were
    “over ten thousand variants, of which about a thousand are variants of or deviations in the rasm.”

    Puin goes on to say-
    As years went by, the correct reading of the Koran became less clear, he says. People made changes to make sense of the text. Puin gives as example Hajjaj bin Yusuf, governor of Iraq from 694-714 AD, who "was proud of inserting more than 1,000 alifs [first letter of the Arabic alphabet] in the Koranic text".
    Ibn Warraq aslo writes-
    It is clear that many hundreds of variants, though not all, were invented by Muslim grammarians, philologists, and exegetes of the 3rd and 4th Muslim centuries to explain all sorts of obscurities of the Koran, whether of sense or reference, Koranic grammatical aberrations,[42] or even more seriously, for doctrinal reasons to defend some particular theological position.[43]. The Significance of Koranic Variants by Ibn Warraq (March 2008).
    Your logic seems disconnected in your comment that “Puin made references to other manuscripts collected in Germany, yet didn't comment on the fact that they didn't reveal any significant discrepancy …”. I think you are being evasive.

    Your comment of Christians having condemned the textual criticism of the New Testament is off target by several centuries. You are obviously referring to the extreme non biblical Catholic Christianity of the Middle Ages at the most extreme time of state / church rule. You say 'Not so very long ago Christians knew only selected sections of the Gospels” Really ? When not so long ago exactly ? You also seem to ignore the fact that the populace back then was by and large illiterate. And you have done your argument no favours in quoting Father Roguet lamenting 'Many Christians need to learn how to read the Gospels". Here we have a Christian leader encouraging Christians to read the Gospels, not discouraging them !

    All of this discussion was from my claim that Muslim criticism of the Quran is rare and almost non-existent and Muslims are genuinely incapable of questioning Islam”. Rather than address the point all you are doing is evade it by talking about Christianity hundreds of years ago. And your criticism that I’ve jumped the discussion on the preservation of the Qur'an to apostasy and blasphemy laws is baseless. Its obvious. The ability to critique ones scriptures objectively is integral to issues of reliability. But I think you know that.

    Regarding the difference between the Bible and Quran. Again you miss my point. The Quran is supposed to be a direct recitation from Allah and “Golden Tablets in Heaven” to Mohmad via the Angel Gabriele. A supposed “divine” miracle revelation. That is not how Christians view the Bible. Christians view the Bible as written by men who were “inspired” by God. As a result Muslims have a harder job than Christians to explain Qur’anic deviations large or small that reveal the human influenced historicity of the “sacred” Quran. And you yourself have stated above there were differences in spelling, synonyms and you yourself know there were differences in recitation.
    The difference between inerrant' and infallible is not that hard to understand Muhamad. One is about the ‘message’, the other is about the ‘vessel’of transmission. Your Quran being a “divine miracle” has more difficulty explaining and justifying its historicity as a water tight vessel of transmission than the Bible does.
    My claim that the Quran as a supposed ‘direct revelation from God’ requires a higher standard of proof stands. You are not correct to say it is irrelevant as we cannot separate claims of revelation from historical reliability. They are inseparable. You have not demonstrated this burden of proof for the Quran, and by extension the same thing applies to the oral tradition.

    Regarding the eye witness accounts of the Gospels. I suggest you read Luke Chapter 1 -
    1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you…
    Father Kannengiessers assessment of not taking the facts of the Gospels literally does not line up with the scholar Craig Blomberg (Dr. Blomberg on the reliability of the Gospel of John.) who examined John’s Gospel verse by verse and identifies an abundance of historical details and facts that support a literal interpretation of the Gospel. See below -
    Given the early Christian tendency towards asceticism, the wine miracle is an unlikely invention [2:8].
    Jesus’ own testimony being invalid without the Father is an unlikely Christian invention [5:31]; a later redactor would be eager to highlight Jesus’ divinity and would probably make his witness self-authenticating.
    The crowds wanting to make Jesus king reflects the well-known nationalist fervor of early first-century Israel [6:15].
    Christ’s command to eat his flesh and drink his blood would not be made up [6:53].
    The rejection of Jesus by many of his disciples is also an unlikely invention [6:66].
    The two predominant opinions of Jesus, one that Jesus was a “good man” and the other that he “deceives people,” would not be the two choices John would have made up [7:12]; a later Christian writer would have probably inserted the opinion that Jesus was God.
    The charge of Jesus being demon-possessed is an unlikely invention [7:20].
    Jewish believers wanting to stone Jesus is an unlikely invention [8:31, 59].
    The healed man calling Jesus a “prophet” rather than anything more lofty suggests the incident is unembellished history [9:17].
    Given the later animosity between Christians and Jews, the positive depiction of Jews comforting Martha and Mary is an unlikely invention [11:19].
    The burial wrappings of Lazarus were common for first-century Jewish burials [11:44]; it is unlikely that a fiction writer would have included this theologically irrelevant detail.
    Anointing of a guest’s feet with perfume or oil was sometimes performed fro special guests in the Jewish culture (12:3); Mary’s wiping of Jesus’ feet with her hair is an unlikely invention [in easily could have been perceived as a sexual advance].
    Waving of palm branches was a common Jewish practice for celebrating military victories and welcoming national rulers [12:13].
    Peter asks John to ask Jesus a question [13:24]; there’s no reason to insert this detail if this is fiction; Peter could have asked Jesus himself.
    “The Father is greater than I” is an unlikely invention [14:28], especially if John wanted to make up the deity of Christ [as the critics claim he did].
    Use of the childbirth metaphor [16:21] is thoroughly Jewish; is has been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls [1QH 11:9-10].
    The standard Jewish posture for prayers was looking “toward heaven” [17:1].
    Jesus’ admission that he has gotten his words from the Father [17:7-8] would not be included if John were inventing the idea that Christ was God.
    The name of the high priest’s servant [Malachus], who had his ear cut off, is an unlikely invention [18:10].
    John’s claim that the high priest knew him [18:15] seems historical; invention of this claim serves no purpose and would expose John to being discredited by the Jewish authorities.
    Anna’s questions regarding Jesus’ teachings and disciples make good historical sense; Annas would be concerned about potential civil unrest and the undermining of Jewish religious authority [18:19].
    The crucifixion of Jesus [19:17-30] is attested to by non-Christian sources such as Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, and the Jewish Talmud.
    Crucifixion victims normally carried their own crossbeams [19:17].
    Josephus confirms that crucifixion was an execution technique employed by the Romans [Wars of the Jews 1.97; 2.305; 7.203]; moreover, a nail-spiked anklebone of a crucified man was found in Jerusalem in 1968.
    The execution site was likely outside ancient Jerusalem, as John says [19:17]; this would ensure that the sacred Jewish city would not be profaned by the presence of a dead body [Deut. 21:23].

    Doston Jones stating 'That the Gospels were not composed bearing their traditional titles. Yes, so what ? Nothing new here. And particularly nothing new that impacts on the Bibles reliability.
    Interesting that you cite Craig L. Blomberg and lee Strobel who both argue for the reliability of the Bible. I can only conclude you cherry pick quotations out of context and as I said you wouldn’t even know about the issue around the anonymity of the authors if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship. Christians have long known that the original manuscripts were not titled by authorship. Take the Q hypothesis for instance. Or take Papias, an early Christian from the second century, who stated “Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote down accurately, but not in order, all that he [Peter] remembered of the things said and done by the Lord. Or take Luke Chapter 1 Luke said that “many” before him had written down (that is, “taken in hand to set forth,” verse 1) accounts of the life and teachings of the Savior (that is, “those things which are most surely believed among us,” verse 1) but that it seemed like a good idea to him to write an account that was better and more orderly (that is, “in order,” verse 3). In other words, Luke knew of previously written Gospel accounts and used them as he compiled his own Gospel.
    It is important to note, however none of this implies the writings as inaccurate. It only means that early Christians who originally possessed one Gospel seem to have either been unaware of or unconcerned about the identity of the author of their Gospel account. It also may mean that the authors of these Gospels were not really concerned about taking credit for their work. These Gospels were testimonies about the Savior; they were not about the authors.[25] Even Luke, who is the only Gospel writer to say anything about himself, does not refer to himself by name (see Luke 1:1–3; Acts 1:1–2). All the Gospel accounts, even Matthew and John, are written in the third person and not in the first person.[26] (The Anonymity of the New Testament History Books: A Stylistic Device in the Context of Greco-Roman and Ancient near Eastern Literature.Armin D. Baum).
    At the end of the day its the Church writing to the Church. And that is what is important.

    “The Catholic Bible consists of 73 books, whereas the Protestant Bible consists of 66.” No issue here. You are simply referring to the deutro canonical books that are seen as helpful but not primary canon due to not meeting the higher standards of primary canon. A bit like your less reliable hadith perhaps ? Before Islam ever came on the scene Christians knew the deutro canonical books.
    Regarding “not all Bibles being the same” you are over stating ‘the problem’. In the years since 1611, many older manuscripts have been discovered and carefully evaluated by scholars. Their conclusion is that the older manuscripts are more reliable. This has given modern translators unprecedented access to manuscripts much closer in time to the original documents. Therefore, translations such as the NIV actually reflect better Bible scholarship than was available in 1611 when the KJV was published. The verses or phrases that appeared in the KJV, but have been “omitted” in most trusted translations today, are not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. Modern translators include or reference them in footnotes. These footnotes are intended to help the reader understand that certain perceived differences in the text are due to improved biblical scholarship. The treatment of these verses has not changed recently and reflects a consensus among the majority of Bible scholars. It is important to note that no doctrines of the Christian faith are affected by differences between the KJV and translations such as the NIV that follow the more reliable sources.
    Here’s an interesting video to explain it to you.
    https://www.biblica.com/resources/bi...issing-verses/

    Ive already discussed 1 John 5:7 and as I said there is nothing new here. No secrets either. Most household bibles have a footnote that the verse is not in early manuscripts. And you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship. And as I said you need to prove it to be significant in the light of overall of Bible reliability. Your mention of 1 John 5:7 does nothing to undermine the robustness of bible reliability as I challenged you to do in my last post.
    You state Christians don’t have the original manuscripts. Remember – neither do Muslims!

    You are wrong in stating numbers of manuscripts mean nothing. The value of having a large number of manuscripts is obvious in that it provides us with ample opportunity to compare writings, which is especially valuable when cross-checking manuscripts from different geographic areas or from different time periods. When making these comparisons you can determine whether it is apparent that the documents were reliably copied from the same source, and you can quantify how much they may have strayed from that source by seeing where and how they differ. In short, having an abundance of manuscripts shows us that copying Scripture was not like a game of “telephone.” Comparing the incredible amount of manuscript evidence has shown that the New Testament is 99.5% accurate, and the vast majority of differences are in spelling or minor copyist errors.
    You say “94% of ancient NT manuscripts dated more than 800 years or so after the birth of Jesus. “ This changes nothing. New and far older manuscripts are being discovered all the time. Even from what we do have there is ample very early evidence to support the Bible we currently have. Take the -
    Maurtoinan manuscript and Diatessaron both dated to dated to 170 AD.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muratorian_fragment
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatessaron
    You contradict your own argument in quoting Dr. Klaus Junack and the 5000 manuscripts. He says “on occasion they also preserve readings from the early period.” And your quote of Bart Erhman about differences among the manuscripts is a red hearing. Out of 150,000 variants, 99 percent hold virtually no significance whatsoever. Many of these variants simply involve a missing letter in a word. There is nothing in them that effect fundamental doctrine.
    Dr. Benjamin Warfield would disagree with Bart Erhman. He states "If we compare the present state of the text of the New Testament with that of no matter what other ancient work, we must...declare it marvellously exact."
    And
    Rene Pache states – “The historical books of antiquity have a documentation infinitely less solid." By comparing the manuscript support for the Bible with manuscript support for other ancient documents and books, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that no other ancient piece of literature can stand up to the Bible. Manuscript support for the Bible is unparalleled! There are more [New Testament] manuscripts copied with greater accuracy and earlier dating than for any secular classic from antiquity”. In -Comparing the Bible to Other ancient Writings.
    And your Erhman quote that “even if scholars have succeeded in reconstructing the New Testament, this, in itself, has no bearing on the truthfulness of the message” also goes for Muslim claims on the truthfulness of the Quran.

    You have provided no proof of evidence from Harry Gambles claim about writers “ indulging in deliberate theological changes”. Until you do so it is simply a baseless claim. You quote Gamble - 'Complaints about the adulteration of texts are fairly frequent in early Christian literature.” What does this tell you ? It tells me the issue was well known and well debated and guarded against in the early Christian community. No conspiracies here. And nothing that negates either the robustness of the canon criteria or the reliability of transmission, both of which I have adequately explained to you. Once again you can thank the openness and integrity of Christian scholarship for this. No defensiveness withing Christianity here as would be evident in Islam in a similar situation.

    You are wrong in claiming “enormous problems with using Greek manuscripts to figure out what the original Greek writing authors wrote. Most modern day Christian leaders are well versed in ancient Greek and Greek is one of the most grammatically precise ancient languages which leads to a high degree of accuracy in transmission and interpretation. Your point about “non professional” scribes is far from being “enormous” in the light of overall criteria for textual criticism. What exactly is your criteria for “professional”? Plus this is baseless until you provide evidence.
    And your point about Christians in the first century expecting the return of Jesus not realizing they were preserving a text for the future is equally weak. Please tell me why would they have copied the documents? And as said this negates neither the robustness of the canon criteria or the reliability of transmission.
    In your quote from the writers of the Ecumenical Translation stating the best Christian textual critics can do “is to try and reconstitute a text” you are simply stating what all Christian scholars of textual criticism freely admit. And you state nothing to negate the evidence for Bible reliability.
    And” no hope of going back to the original text itself." Again nothing new or radical here. Besides this is special pleading (double standard) on your behalf as Muslims also do not have their original text. And why is that? Because Uthman burnt them ! Something Christians never did with their originals.

    Regarding the one million quotations of the New Testament by church fathers and your claim Church fathers didn’t have chapters and verses is evidence of your lack of Bible knowledge. You seem to be unaware that chapters and verses were only introduced into the Bible in the year 1560. And this has little bearing on the reliability of textual criticism.
    There are over 86,000 quotations of the New Testament in the early church fathers. There are also New Testament quotations in thousands of early church Lectionaries (worship books). There are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct all but 11 verses of the entire New Testament from material written within 150 to 200 years from the time of Christ.
    J. Warner Wallace states -
    … These Early Church Fathers sat at the feet of the apostles and learned from the apostolic eyewitness accounts. These secondary leaders then wrote letters and documents of their own, repeating the claims of their teachers.
    I focused on the work of Ignatius, Polycarp and Clement and isolated the content of their non-canonical writings to the early Church. What did they say about Jesus? Did they ever reference the writings of the New Testament? It turns out that the Early Church Fathers did, in fact, quote the scripture as it was handed down to them…
    “Can We Construct The Entire New Testament From The Writings Of The Church Fathers”. 2016

    Your use of Bart Erhman is not strong. He has long been criticised as an example of a theologian who often takes a critical view with a very rigid form of fundamentalism which seeks mathematical certainty in matters of NT text. Erhman does not have a good understanding on what inspired text means or on understanding the complementary differences of the synoptic gospels. Erhman also places far too much emphasis on the variants within the text.
    New Testament scholar Gordon Fee scholar has said “Unfortunately Ehrman too often turns mere possibility into probability and probability into certainty, where other equally viable reasons for (textual) corruption exist”
    Gordon D Fee review of The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (Misquoting Jesus is a popularized version of in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture) Critical review of Books in religion. (1995).

    Talking of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth you use that word “saint” again. As I mentioned above your use of the word only demonstrates your lack of biblical knowledge and the quote by Dionysius illustrates that early Christian leaders were adequately able to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate writings. If you read the Bible Epistles you will see the issue of false teachers was well known and exposed by the early apostles at the very beginning of Christianity. As a result they were exposed, refuted and the true message was safe guarded. Your evidence contradicts your point. Your lack of biblical knowledge and early church history throws your credibility out of the window. Nothing new here that Christians didn’t know about and openly discuss long before the advent of Islam and long before Al Azami was born. And the issue of variances has already been discussed.

    Your point about how a number of Christian scholars and textual critics have demonstrated that the Bible is certainly not as reliable as some would like to have me believe is equally true for you with the Muslim scholars I presented demonstrating the Quran is not as reliable as some would like to have you believe.
    Regarding Al Azamis point Ive already discussed the criteria for the canon above.ie. Apostolicity (written by apostle or associate of), Catholicism (accepted widely) and Orthodoxy (theology was consistent with Jewish / Christian theology). It was such criteria that negates his argument.

    I note you are fond of quoting Bart Erhman. In an interview where he was asked “How about a work on the Quran” he replies, “When I stop valuing my life that’s what I’ll do”. https://bible-quran.com/bart-ehrman/
    Why do you think he would say that Muhamad?

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    Re: Preservation of Qur'an

    Hello Spiritlead,

    Please accept my apologies for the huge delay in replying to your post. It has certainly been an interesting discussion, however, I have decided to close this thread for the following reasons: It is clear that we have come very far from an academic discussion since you are simply quoting orientalists - people who have open hostility for Islam and rely on distortion of facts to support their conclusions. You have posted lies against scholars of Islam. You are ignoring key parts of posts that you are unable to offer a response to, then repeat the same claims. An example of this is the point about official copies of the Qur'an compiled under the supervision of the Caliph Uthman. I presented seven points in my previous post to show why it is inconceivable that the Qur'an could be corrupted in any way yet you didn't respond to a single one of them. This is truly astonishing. You then continue to claim that Muslims 'do not have their original text' even though this has been shown to be a pure lie that goes against all the evidence. One can only conclude from this that you are not interested in an honest discussion and there is no point in providing further responses. If I have quoted anything out of context then I apologise in advance and will be happy to be corrected.

    format_quote Originally Posted by Spiritlead View Post
    Saeed Nasheed, Abdul Karim Soroush, Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji, Hassan Radwan are all from Muslim backgrounds and scholars well versed in the Quran and your traditions.
    Being from a 'Muslim background' does not make a person a scholar. To say that these individuals are 'well versed in the Qur'an' is comical to say the least - one will struggle to find which of them have studied Ulūm al-Qur'an or any Islamic science for that matter. The fact that you can only find apostates and heretics demonstrates your inability to find any credible person to support your claims.

    “Liberal Shiite” …“Heresy”… “undermining Islam”… “fundamental Islamic beliefs”… “declared an “apostate”... All you are demonstrating is the fear based mindless conformity that under pins Islamic ‘scholarly’ traditions. Your apostasy and blasphemy laws keep you and your Umma ignorant and in line.
    This has nothing to do with 'mindless conformity' or 'apostasy and blasphemy laws'. We are talking about basics of intellectual discourse where credible sources are used, so it is ironic that you accuse Muslims of ignorance yet seem to be unable to engage in factual discussion.

    You ask ” Which of the scholars that I quoted are anti-Christian or liberal”? Bart Erhman for one.
    [...]
    Special pleading (double standard) on your behalf. You criticise Muslim background academics with brain washed arguments based on “Liberal Shiite” …“Heresy”… “undermining Islam”… “fundamental Islamic beliefs”… “apostate”… but contradict your self in using liberal humanistic ‘Christians’.
    The people you quoted above are not academics. Bart Ehrman is in a totally different league as he began as a devout and committed Christian and has spent decades studying the Bible. He is 'Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies' at the University of North Carolina and is considered a 'leading authority' on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. None of the individuals you quoted are considered authorities by Muslims.

    You say “the scholars quoted are church fathers … 'saints, “writers of Bible translations” … You obviously don’t know “church fathers” refers to early Church Apostles, not modern scholars.
    Not necessarily. The Eastern Orthodox Church extends the scope of the term 'Fathers of the Church', denying a time limit for it by including later influential writers. [art. 'Fathers of the Church,' F. L. Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, third edition by E. A. Livingstone, p.600]

    You mis use the term “Saint” and don’t appear to realise the Biblical meaning applies to all Christians, not just scholars
    This depends on your definition of 'saint'. According to Catholics, the term ‘saint’ is reserved for those individuals who have led a 'holy and exemplary life' and is thought to be in heaven. Hence, you will find Dionysius on the Catholic list of saints; his feast day is commemorated on April 8.

    Muslims are scared to analyse the Quran under the same scrutiny that Christians have done with the Bible for centuries.
    The Qur'an has produced the largest and most diverse civilization ever to exist on Earth, and for one and a half millennia it has been recited, memorized, and practiced by billions of human beings across the globe. Entire libraries of books have been devoted to the study of the text’s revelation, preservation, recitation and interpretation. If Christians truly analysed their Bible as Muslims have the Qur'an, then contradictions, improbabilities and incompatibilities would not pass unnoticed by many of them. Sadly, they have been influenced by commentaries that provide calculated explanations to reassure them with apologetic verbiage.

    Most of your critiques of the Bible you wouldn’t even know if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholars.
    Unfortunately, there are many examples to show that integrity was highly lacking when it came to transmission of the Bible, as we will see later.

    “Writers of Bible translations”. Which ones? What people you have named were “translators of the Bible”?
    In reference to the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible as well as Erasmus (who omitted the Comma Johanneum from his first and second editions of the Greek-Latin New Testament). I have also quoted from Kurt and Barbara Aland whose work in the field of New Testament research is internationally acclaimed.

    According to Islamic tradition, the Quran was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in seven ahruf ("editions", "styles", "ways", "forms" and "modes"). Although Muslim scholars differ on their exact nature, it is thought they constituted a degree of acceptable variation in the Quranic text. The Quran itself talks about it being recorded in the preserved tablet in heaven, but interestingly, makes no mention of there being any variant modes/forms/readings of it. However, there are references to the seven ahruf in hadith.
    The revelation of the Qur'an in seven Ahruf is well established in Islam and recorded in so many Ahadith that it reaches the level of Mutawatir (i.e. it is reported by a large number of narrators in every stage of the chain, so much so that they could not all be mistaken or agree upon a lie).

    But yet Islamic history records confusion and dissension amongst the companions around the different styles of Quran recitation. See - Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 468; also Sahih Muslim: bk. 4, no. 1799-1802,Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 041, Number 601, Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1787.
    When the honest researcher studies these Ahadith he will see that the situation was anything but 'confusion and dissension'. Such are the attempts of orientalists to distort the truth but these narrations are actually a proof against them, as we shall see. The following is a well-known narration:
    Narrated Umar ibn al Khattab: I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting surat-al-Furqan in a way different to that of mine, Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم had taught it to me (in a different way). So, I was about to quarrel with him (during the prayer) but I waited till he finished, then I tied his garment around him and seized him by it and brought him to Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and said, 'I have heard him reciting surat-al-Furqan in a way different to the way you taught it to me.' The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ordered me to release him and asked Hisham to recite it. When he recited it, Allah's Apostle said, 'it was revealed this way.' He then asked me to recite it. When I recited it, he said, 'It was revealed this way. Indeed the Qur'an has been revealed in seven Ahruf, so recite it in the way that is easier for you.' [Sahih Bukhari Vol. 3, Book 41, Hadith 601]

    In another Hadith, Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Jibreel recited the Qur’aan to me in one Harf, and I recited it back to him, but I requested him to increase (the number of Harf) and he continued to increase it for me, until we stopped at seven Ahruf.' Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri (d. 124 A.H.), one of the narrators of the Hadith, said, 'It has reached me that these seven Ahruf are essentially one (in meaning), they do not differ about what is permitted or forbidden.' [Sahih Muslim, 819]

    A number of important points need to be noted from such narrations:

    1. The different Ahruf are all directly from Allah سبحانه وتعالى and not from the Companions or anyone else. It is clear that each Companion had been taught directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said to both Umar and Hisham, 'It was revealed this way.' This narration provides explicit proof that the two different readings were taught by the Prophet ﷺ and that it was the Prophet ﷺ himself who instructed each companion to recite it in the precise manner in which they did.

    2. We can understand one of the wisdoms behind the Qur'an being revealed in seven Ahruf from other narrations, where the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prayed to increase the number of Ahruf because in his Ummah were '... old and young men and women, and those who have never read any writing.' [At-Tirmidhi 2944] So it was to make the memorisation and recitation of the Qur'an easier and the limitations of the Qur'an being in only one Harf (sing. of Ahruf) have been removed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى as a blessing for this Ummah.

    3. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to teach the different Ahruf to different Companions depending on the condition and situation of that Companion. It can be assumed that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم chose the particular Harf to recite to a Companion depending on which one would be the most suitable for that particular Companion to memorise, since one of the purposes of the Ahruf was to simplify recitation and memorisation. Therefore, in the initial phase, some Companions did not know about the existence of the different Ahruf until they learnt this from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

    4. The differences between these Ahruf were not so great as to prevent recognition of what was being recited. In other words, even though Hisham was reciting the Qur’an in a different Harf than Umar, Umar could still recognise that Hisham was reciting Surah al-Furqan, thus showing that the Ahruf were not radically different from each other. Also, the narration of Ibn Shihab shows that the basic meaning of all these Ahruf was the same.

    5. Each one of these Ahruf is complete in and of itself. The proof for this is the statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم '…so whichever one of them they recite, they are correct.' [Muslim 820] This is not to say that the Ahruf do not complement one another in meaning, but rather that the recitation of the Qur’an in one Harf is sufficient.

    6. These Hadith illustrate the concern and diligence of the Companions in the preservation of the correct recitation of the Qur'an. They were not content with listening to recitations that were different from what they had learnt until they had taken the matter to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself.

    We can now see how the claim of 'confusion and dissention' falls flat on its face. When the Companions disagreed on the reading of certain verses, they sought the guidance of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would listen to each party and he would give his approval of these Ahruf as being divine. This was reported in the previously mentioned incident of Umar with Hishām in addition to several other recorded incidents.

    The reports of the seven Aḥruf clearly indicate that the Companions read precisely as they were taught by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. The aforementioned diversity in reciting the Qur’an did not pose a problem during the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as the Companions became accustomed to the concept of seven Aḥruf and diverse modes of recitation. The Prophet ﷺ sent different companions to teach the Qur’an to different tribes and communities and the different readings were transmitted. However, as Islam spread to distant lands, disputes began to arise between Muslims reciting according to different modes and dialects and it was precisely this emerging confusion that led the Caliph Uthmān to compile and distribute a copy of the Qur’an to eliminate such confusion.

    See - Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 468;
    As regards to Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنه reciting verse 92:3 differently, then this may be for one of two reasons: (1) he sometimes added an explanatory word or expression to say what he understood from the verse. In this case he did not add that because he thought it was from the Quran, but rather he wanted to clarify the meaning. (2) Abdullah ibn Masu'd might not have memorized the last presentation of the Quran so he might have unknowingly kept in his Mushaf what was abrogated in that last presentation. The transcription of the Qur'an was committed by Uthman to Zaid Ibn Thabit رضي الله عنه who recited from memory the last presentation of the Quran to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم just before the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم death. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood did not memorize this last presentation.

    Ibn al-Jazarī (d. 833 AH) explains,
    It was possible that they (i.e. the Companions) would include tafsīr in the qirāʾah, as clarification and elucidation. This is because they were well-versed in what they had learned directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as Qur’an, so they were secure from confusing between them. And it was possible that some of them would write it (i.e., tafsīr) alongside it (i.e. Qur’an). [Ibn al-Jazarī, al-Nashr fī al-Qirā’āt al-ʿAshar, 1:44]

    What is important is that the qualified investigators in this field unanimously agree that Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood reverted to the Uthmani Mushaf. The most sound evidence for this is that most recurring transmissions of the Quran's recitation were related from Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (as well as Ubayy ibn Ka'b).

    The standardisation of the Quranic rasm c. 650 CE and destruction of the mushafs by Uthman and the extent to which the Uthmanic codex contains the seven ahruf has been a subject of debate. (Dutton 2012, p. 28, quoting Ibn al-Jazari from his work al-Nashr fī l-qiraʾāt al-ʿashr: "Whether theʿUthmānī muṣḥafs contain all the seven aḥruf is a major issue (masʿala kabīra) about which all the ʿulamā have different opinions.") Ahruf were banned about 1400 years ago, according to Islamic literature, when Uthman destroyed all but the official copies of the Quran, so the variants cannot be compared today.
    By 'standardisation of the Rasm of the Qur'an' and 'destruction of the mushafs' I assume you (or rather wikipedia) are referring to the incident where official copies of the Qur'an were made under the supervision of Caliph Uthman رضي الله عنه. This issue was addressed in the previous post (which you totally ignored) so there is no need to repeat that here.

    With regards to the extent to which the Uthmani Mushafs contain the seven Ahruf, there are certainly different opinions, however, regardless of which opinion one takes, it does not have a bearing on the preservation of the Qur'an. To claim that 'Ahruf were banned' is a gross misrepresentation of this issue, as it is evident that at least one Harf was preserved. Moreover, according to the opinion of Ibn al-Jazari and others, a portion of the seven Ahruf are preserved based upon the final reading of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to Jibril عليه السلام. It was during this final review that some of the Aḥruf were abrogated and excluded from the final recitation.

    Ibn al-Jazari (d. 832 AH), says:
    The majority of the scholars of the salaf and the later generations are of the opinion that the Uthmani Mushafs contain of the seven Ahruf only that which its script allows. (What is preserved) are the recitations that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم recited to Jibril (during the last year of his life). The present Mushaf contains all this reading, and not a single letter from it is missing. [an-Nashr, v.1 p.31, with changes].

    Al-Baghawī (d. 516 AH) states:
    It is said that Zayd ibn Thābit attended the final review in which it was clarified what was abrogated and what remained.
    Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī said, “Zayd recited the Qur’an twice to the Prophet during the year in which he passed away, and this recitation is called the qirāʾah of Zayd because he transcribed it for the Prophet and recited it to him and witnessed al-ʿarḍah al-akhīrah (the final review), and he taught its recitation to people until he passed away. That is why Abū Bakr and ʿUmar relied upon him in its compilation and ʿUthmān appointed him in charge of writing the maṣāḥif—may God be pleased with them all. [al-Baghawī, Sharḥ al-sunnah (Beirut: Al-Maktab Al-Islami, 1983), 4:525–26]

    We can therefore appreciate that what was preserved was everything that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم recited to Jibril in the final year. Not a single letter is missing. The Companions, in their thousands, unanimously agreed to discard all readings that conflicted with the Mushaf of Uthman, which is a powerful testimony that they all assented to the purity of the Mushaf's text.

    It is important to point out that the word 'variant' is a misleading term because 'variant' results from uncertainty, such as what happens when a scribal error occurs and subsequent editors cannot distinguish between the correct wording and the incorrect, so they cite other versions in the margin. We see this frequently in the Bible. On the other hand, the case of the Qur'an differs distinctly because the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself taught certain verses in multiple ways. There is no principle of doubt here, no fog or confusion, and the word 'variant' fails to convey this. Instead it is perhaps more accurate to use the term 'multiple readings'.

    As a result of confusion and dissension amongst the companions based on different ahruf evidenced by the above hadith, some modern scholars argue the oral Quran was never reliable. Explanations given by traditional Muslims for the recitation controversies in the hadith is to creatively interpret the hadith and/or argue the recitation differences are simply reflected in tribal dialects. Whatever the case. Emphasizing the difficulty of the issue, Suyuti, a noted 15th-century Islamic theologian, concludes the "best opinion" of this hadith is that it is "mutashabihat", i.e. its meaning "cannot be understood."(Suyuti, Tanwir al-Hawalik, 2nd ed. (Beirut: Dar al-Jayl, 1993), p. 199.)
    Scholars have certainly differed over the precise definition of 'Ahruf'. The interpretation that it refers to the seven dialects of the Arabs prevalent at that time is one that has strong evidence historically and from the meanings of the Ahadith, therefore it is not true that it is 'creatively' interpreting anything. The key point, though, is that such a difference relates to theoretical purposes only. Despite all of the differences of opinion found in classical works, none of those discussions ever negated the basic fact that all Muslims believe in: that the Quran, as the Speech of Allah, has always been preserved.

    Regarding Imam as-Suyuti, his opinion on the meaning of Ahruf has absolutely nothing to do with the issue of preservation of the Qur'an, and to suggest he was questioning its reliability is a lie against this great scholar of Islam. Anyone who has read his works will know the great esteem and reverence he had for the Qur'an. Just look at his introduction to his magnum opus, Al-Itqān:
    Praise be to God, Who sent the Book down to His slave as an admonition to the possessors of intelligence; placed in it wondrous forms of knowledge and wisdom; and made it the most glorious of books in value, the most abundant in knowledge, the most pleasing in arrangement, and the most eloquent in address, a Qur'an in Arabic without any crookedness... there is no suspicion or doubt in it... Our Book the Qur'an is the wellspring and source of all knowledge; it is the orbit in which the sun of knowledge rises and sets. In it God Almighty has placed the knowledge of all things, and expounded all forms of guidance and misguidance. Thus the practitioners of every art seek aid from the Qur'an and rely upon it. [As-Suyuti, Al-Itqān fi Ulūm al-Qur'an, p.3]

    A modern critic, Shezad Saleem, has doubts about the validity of the hadith
    It is not clear how informing us of such 'doubts' is relevant because the fact that the Qur'an was revealed in seven Ahruf is found in so many narrations that it reaches the level of Mutawatir. Such a well established fact cannot be questioned on the basis of the 'doubts' of a 'modern critic'.

    Conservative Islamic scholar Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi stated in a 2020 interview that –"every single student of knowledge ... who studies ulm of Quran" knows "that the most difficult topics are ahruf and qira’at",[42] so vexing that even "the most advanced of our scholars, they are not quite fully certain how to solve all of it and answer questions in there",[43] and so sensitive that it "should never be brought up in public” and is "not something you discuss among the masses".(In the Hot Seat: Muḥammad Hijāb Interviews Dr. Yasir Qadhi. YouTube, Yasir Qadhi, 8 June 2020, video at 1h29m29s.^ Ibn Warraq (February 2008). "Which Koran?". New English Review. Retrieved 17 March 2021.)
    Again, this is deliberate misquoting; Yasir Qadhi qualifies these statements within the same video but they have been conveniently omitted to create a false picture. Firstly, Ahruf and Qira'at is an advanced science and requires pre-requisite knowledge to gain a good understanding, as with any in-depth study. So it is not surprising that Yasir Qadhi refers to it as the most difficult topic in Ulum al Qur'an, because some topics are more technical and advanced than others.

    His words, 'it should never be brought up in public' are clarified by his statement: 'these issues should only be discussed amongst people who know what Qira'at are and understand some of these questions being raised' (1h25m18s). The context of the whole discussion is actually about people who acted irresponsibly by publicising a private discussion intended for people of knowledge. So he is not saying that the matter should not be discussed but rather it's about the appropriate setting. You cannot give a lecture on neuroscience to students who haven't even studied the basics of biology and chemistry. Thus he refers to doing a class 'last semester' on Ulum al-Qur'an and introduced students to this science (1hr29m). He also has a book on the issue which covers these topics in some detail.

    Most importantly, Yasir Qadhi explicitly says, (1hr17m50s), 'We believe as a matter of theology that Allah preserved the Qur'an - no question about it.' He also says, 'As somebody who has memorised the Qur'an as a teenager, Alhamdulillah in my entire life I have never doubted that the Qur'an is divine - you cannot doubt that... it's never been an issue.' (1hr23m50s). On twitter, he further clarifies: 'Anyone who thinks that my (poor) choice of words in an interview with @Mohammed_hijab in any way refers to the preservation of the Quran is grossly mistaken. The Quran has been, is, and always will be preserved.' https://twitter.com/yasirqadhi/statu...05782001823744

    In conclusion, just as the companions back in the day expressed confusion and dissension over ‘the correct’ recitations, later and modern Muslim scholars such as Suyuti , Saleem and Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi imply it is impossible to justify the reliability of the Quran because of these controversial hadith.
    After looking at each of these issues in turn, we can clearly see that such a conclusion is nothing but a lie. We have seen how the Ahadith highlight the concern and diligence of the Companions in preserving the Qur'an and how their recitation was taken directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. We saw how the quotes from Imam as-Suyuti and Yasir Qadhi were taken out of context and absolutely do not support such absurd claims. We also noted how the statement regarding Shezad Saleem carried no relevance or meaning.

    Gerd Puin adequately demonstrates the human and cultural influences on the Quran. Puin states- “My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian ubstrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants.” [1]^ a b Lester, Toby (January 1999).
    Gerd Puin is simply speculating (and that too beyond his area of expertise which was Arabic orthography); it is not an 'adequate demonstration' of anything. His 'idea' does not carry any meaning because he strings many words together but provides no examples of this supposed 'huge body of contradictory information' and the claim of a 'Christian substrate' is mere peddling of old allegations that have been refuted elsewhere, for example: Hidden messages through historical texts, confused about Islam (islamicboard.com)

    And it not just Puin that presents problems for the reliability of the Quran. Bevan Jones argues the Muslim attitude toward a textual tradition of the Quran highlights an important difference between Christianity and Islam. “Christianity is rooted in history and it’s beliefs and Scriptures are therefore subject to historical methods of investigation. The Quran, according to Muslim doctrine, is an eternal book; therefore, Muslims do not typically look favourably on the idea that the text had a history and manuscript tradition. Does the Quran (mushaf) have a history? Yes. “
    And Dr. Stefan Wild has said, “there were certainly more than one embryonic preliminary stage and prototype that preceded the codified and canonized version [of the Quran] which we know.” “Is there a manuscript tradition of the Quran (mushaf) with variant readings? Yes. How much can we say about them? Very little because the Quran has gone through textual purgings, while it may be true that no other work has remained for twelve centuries with so pure a text, it is probably equally true that no other has suffered so drastic a purging” (L Bevan Jones, The People of the Mosque, p.62).
    Perhaps the most critical fallacy of Western academics who enter the arena of Qur’anic scholarship is that they presume that the Qur’an is like the Old or New Testament and consequently rely solely on manuscripts to construct a picture of its transmission and preservation, neglecting the importance of the oral tradition of the Qur'an and its central role in Islam. Indeed, what percentage of Christians have memorized the entire New Testament in Koine Greek and recite it on a daily basis? Meanwhile, practically every Muslim community in the world is blessed with plentiful Ḥuffāẓ (singular Ḥāfiẓ): those who have memorized the entire Qur’an by heart in Arabic. The Qur’an is recited out loud in daily congregational prayers and from cover to cover during congregational prayers in Ramadan. This unbroken practice of reciting the Qur’an publicly in daily prayers since the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is one of the reasons why revisionist Western narratives seem so fanciful to Muslim scholars familiar with the lived practice of Islam.

    Moreover, having an official copy of the Qur'an imposed by the leader of the Muslim Nation in the lifetime of the majority of the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and having a consensus at that early time by these Companions that this text was identical to the original message revealed to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, makes the integrity of the text out of question. Conversely, the continual changes made to the New Testament text from the earliest known phase of its transmission have given rise to a most regrettable situation regarding its veracity, which is totally opposite to the certainty that the Qur'an remains pristine. This fact is borne out by the history of the transmission of the Qur'an.

    Professor Sami Ameri writes:
    The doing away with the non-Uthmanic manuscripts cannot throw suspicion on the authenticity of the Qur'anic text as we have it today, because the destroyed variants did not contain contradictory variants; they were either examples of the pronunciation of words in an Arabic idiom other than that of Quraysh (the Prophet's tribe), they offered synonyms to the revealed words, or they were expansions on the meaning of the inherited text. The Companions and subsequent generations did not view the discarding of the other variants as something that took away from the status of the holy inherited text. They punctured/burned their own copies of those variants because they were convinced that the Uthmanic Mushaf preserved the exact words revealed to the Prophet... [Hunting for the Word of God, p.164]

    These allegations are in fact very similar to those made by other orientalists like Arthur Jeffery, whose claims were refuted by Muhammad Mohar Ali:
    All the sources unanimously state that 'Uthman, on receipt of Hudhayfah's report, immediately consulted his principal colleagues, borrowed the master copy of the Qur'an prepared by 'Abu Bakr and then in the custody of Umm al-Mu'minin Hafsah, had copies of it made by a committee and sent these copies to the different provinces, with instructions to destroy and put into disuse the extant incomplete and uncorroborated copies. This prompt measure was adopted to preserve the integrity of the Qur'anic text and to prevent any divergent and extraneous elements being introduced into it. That is why all the surviving Companions of the Prophet, including those who had in their possession their personal "codexes" supported and welcomed 'Uthman's action...

    ...Thus the 'Uthmanic copy, which was in fact the complete authentic copy of the Qur'an made during 'Abu Bakr's time by taking into consideration all memorized and written texts including those possessed by individual Companions, was accepted by all the surviving Companions of the Prophet. It is obvious, however, that in spite of 'Uthman's directive to destroy the incomplete and inauthentic codexes, some of these, including that of Ibn Mas'ud, were not destroyed. Jeffery gathers from Ibn 'Abi Daud's Kitab ai-Masahif and several Qur'an commentaries the names of 13 "Secondary Codices" of which 7 "are based on the Codex of Ibn Mas'ud". Be that as it may, the variant readings that he has tabulated from the Qur'an commentaries and Arabic Lexicographical works and are reported to be derived from the various codices do not, however, prove his thesis that these codices were "divergent", "several" or "rival types of text." All that appears from the list of variants is that they relate to a very small number ayahs in the Qur'an and are then mostly synonyms or explanatory expressions on the words in the 'Uthmanic text.

    The most important question is, however, the authenticity of the reports that ascribe the readings to the various old codices...

    ...In any case, serious scholarship demands that each and every report attributing a certain variant reading to a particular authority should be thoroughly looked into and its authenticity or otherwise be ascertained before hazarding a drastic conclusion on the basis of that reading. The fact remains that Jeffery has not done anything of that sort. And in view of the fact that the popular Qur'an commentaries contain many uncorroborated and inauthentic reports and that many interested groups had readily had recourse to fabrication of reports, the majority of the variant readings listed by Jeffery are suspect and are unworthy of credence...

    ...Thus the facts mentioned by Jeffery himself go to show the weakness and untenability of his theory of the "Old Codices" being divergent and "rival types of texts." All that is proved is some dialectical peculiarities and differences in vocalization due primarily to the absence of vowel signs and points on or under some letters in the early form of the Arabic alphabet, together with the use of synonyms for a number of words in the 'Uthmanic text. The variant readings from the Old Codices, even if the reports regarding these readings be considered reliable, do not make out a case for rival and divergent texts. Neither did 'Uthman "canonize" only one of many existing texts, nor did the written copies of Qur'anic texts possessed by individual Companions of the Prophet- the so-called "Old Codices" - constitute divergent and rival texts. [The Qur'an and the Orientalists, pp. 229-232]

    Further arguments against such allegations are mentioned in the next point.

    Andrew Rippin has drawn conclusions similar to Puin’s. Referring to the San‘ä’ manuscripts, Rippin writes -"the text contains variant readings of a minor nature that suggest to some scholars that the idea of an oral tradition running parallel to the written one cannot be given historical credence. What we may have evidence of is the interpretative nature of the detailed annotations that were added to the text later: that is, that the current text is the product of reflection upon a primitive written text and not upon the parallel transmission of an oral text as the Muslim tradition has suggested."[44]
    According to some researchers, these 'variant readings of a minor nature' actually confirm the reliability of what was already narrated in Islamic literature about the Qira'at of Companions. In their 2012 essay studying folios of the lower text, Benham Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi mentioned that, 'it constitutes direct documentary evidence for the reality of the non-Uthmānic text types that are usually referred to as ‘Companion codices...’' [Sadeghi and Goudarzi, 17–20]

    Dr Nazir Khan and Ammar Khatib write:
    There are a number of reported readings that differ from the ʿUthmānic codex and were recited by companions of the Prophet ﷺ... These readings in a select number of verses have historically been recorded in books of qirāʾāt and classical works of tafsīr (commentary on the Qur’an) and occasionally works of jurisprudence and typically relate to the presence of additional explanatory words or word substitutions. Manuscripts like those of San'a demonstrate wordings that precisely match those wordings attributed to the companions in the classical tradition. [Quoted with slight modification: The Origins of the Variant Readings of the Qur’an | Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research]

    Thus, Muslim scholars are familiar with readings reported from Companions that differ from the Uthmāni Mushaf and have discussed the reasons for their existence, such as their representing abrogated readings in the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or exegetical readings of some of the Companions. These studies of ancient manuscripts of the Qur’an have demonstrated the incredible precision and accuracy of the Muslim tradition in faithfully transmitting these readings in circulation amongst the earliest Muslim community. Thus, the Muslim tradition erred on the side of caution in preserving and documenting a larger volume of reported readings beyond what was established exclusively through authentic chains of transmission.

    Professor Sami Ameri believes that the evidence proves that the inferior text of the San'a palimpsest was written prior to the compilation of the official Uthmani Mushaf because of the radiocarbon dating as well as the fact that it has many readings known in Islamic literature as belonging to the 'Companions' codices'. Moreover, he is of the view that the palimpsest is a training copy because some of the readings are obviously present in the text due to a flawed memory and others show scribal mistakes indicating that the scribe was not professional and was not making on official copy of the Qur'an to be used by other people. For example, Chapter 9 in the Qur'an is the only one which does not start with the phrase 'Bismillah...' The palimpsest placed this phrase at the beginning of the surah but in the next line the scribe wrote, 'Do not say Bismillah'. Another example is where he made a mistake when he was trying to remember the text so he put in a synonym for the standard reading, then he erased what he wrote and finally wrote the traditional reading (see Q.9:20; 19:8; 24:31). In addition to this, Professor Ameri writes:
    The inferior text can in no way throw doubt on the integrity of the Uthmanic recension as we have it, because the Uthmanic version has its own perfect lineage, attested to by innumerable chains of narrators and by all the other extant manuscripts. According to Hilali, the text of the palimpsest has no historical reliability to compete with the Uthmanic text because it is only a bad copy of it. [Hunting for the Word of God, p. 169]

    At this point it is worth noting that for a mode of recitation to be considered as Qur'an, it must fulfil the following three conditions:

    1- That it has reached us through an authentic successive chain of transmission
    2- That it agrees with the written scripture as collected by Uthman رضي االله عنه
    3- That it agrees with a sound principle from the principles of the Arabic language

    Anything that fails to meet any of these conditions is not considered to be the Qur'an. Al-Azami writes:
    Let us evaluate any fragment that is ascribed as Qur'an in light of the above principles. Clearly the first condition is missing, as the fragment cannot proffer any details about the scholars who transmitted it. On to the second condition: does it agree with the Uthmani Mushaf? The presence of even the slightest disagreement in the consonantal skeleton causes the fragment to lose all credibility; it may be considered anything except part of the Qur'an. Such has been the unanimous ruling of Muslims for the past fourteen centuries. [The History of the Qur'anic text, p. 204]

    This is why Ibn Abi Dawud, author of al-Masahif and the purveyor of many variant Qira'at which clash with the Uthmani text, categorically denies their value as Qur'an. He says, 'We do not submit that anyone should recite the Qur'an except what is in Uthman's Mushaf. If anyone recites in his prayer against this Mushaf, I will order him to re-do his prayer.' [Ibn Abi Dawud, al-Masahif, pp.53-54]

    We can now see how Jones', Wild's and Rippin's statements have no justification whatsoever as they try to view the Qur'an through the same lens as one would view the New Testament. The New Testament has no oral tradition whatsoever that might have been inherited from the earliest centuries; its entire history can only be examined through extant manuscripts, while the Qur'an was transmitted through unbroken oral chains, and its manuscripts were not used as a means for the preservation of the text, by themselves. Their ideas also ignore or sidetrack numerous key facts and cannot be taken seriously by any honest researcher. Consider the following points:
    (1) A great many of the Companions learnt by heart the surahs as they were given out by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Abdullah ibn Mas'ud stated that he memorised more than seventy surahs of the Qur'an simply by hearing them from the lips of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم [Bukhari, 5000; Muslim, 2462]. The Qur'an was thus already in the possession of the community before the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم death. In addition, the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not simply write down and memorise the Qur'an; they lived and conducted themselves by its teachings. Many of these same Companions were present at the time of the official compilation supervised by Uthman رضي الله عنه. All of this illustrates the purity of the transmission of the Qur'an and refutes any notion of later 'reflection upon a primitive written text'.
    (2) Zayd bin Thabit, who had memorised the whole Qur'an, who recited the Qur’an twice to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم during the year in which he passed away, and who had been present during the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم last recitation to Jibril, very specifically stated that nothing was included in the compilation unless it was corroborated simultaneously by the written records and from memory or by two independent witnesses. This is indicative of how serious the rules imposed by the first Muslims were when collecting the text of the Qur'an and leaves no room for doubt as regards its preservation.
    (3) The different Companions made their copies of the Qur'an during the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and at his dictation or listening to his recitation. They did not begin to collect the revelation material only after the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم passed away.
    (4) If an original copy that had a text different from the circulating text existed, this would surely have given rise to problems and conflicts, and that clearly never occurred.
    (5) The Uthmanic copy was in fact the complete authentic copy of the Qur'an made during Abu Bakr's time by taking into consideration all memorized and written texts including those possessed by individual Companions, thus the Qur'anic text was thoroughly stable from the earliest days and not fluid and volatile.
    (6) The consensus of the thousands of Companions who heard the Qur'an during the life of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, that the material which was collected by Uthman was an original text, is categorical proof that the Qur'an remained unaltered.
    (7) Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb is reported to have said that the reading of the Qur’an is Sunnah and it is transmitted by the first generation to later generations [Ibn Mujāhid, Kitāb al-sabʿah fī al-qirāʾāt, 51]. In other words, one must have learned directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or from him through his students and successors. There was nothing left to the discretion of the individual in this regard; it was necessary to recite precisely as one learned. There was no such thing as 'detailed annotations that were added to the text later'.
    (8) The preservation of the text was considered a crucial issue embodied in the heart of the message of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, and it was not a late concern that emerged after generations from the first writing of the text, or centuries as is the case with the New Testament.
    (9) The existence of total unity in the Qur'anic text throughout the world for fourteen centuries, between all countries and all Muslims of different backgrounds is further proof of the faithfulness of the transmission of the Qur'an.
    (10) Today, Muslims continue to recite multiple authentic recitations that conform to the Muṣḥaf and have been transmitted by generations upon generations with unbroken chains of authority tracing to the Prophet ﷺ.

    Al-Azami further elucidates:
    Knowledge of correct Qira'at (the science of proper recitation) comes from the Prophet himself, a Sunna which dictates the manner of reciting each verse. Aspects of this are intrinsically linked with the Qur'anic revelations: the text was revealed verbally, and by promulgating it verbally the Prophet simultaneously provided both text and pronunciation to his community. Neither can be divorced from the other.
    Umar and Hisham bin Hakim once differed in reciting a verse from surah al-Furqan; having learned this passage directly from the Prophet, Umar asked Hisham who had taught him. He replied, 'the Prophet'. A similar incident occurred with Ubayy bin Ka'b. None of these Companions were innovating so much as a syllable: all minutiae of recitation had been inherited from the Prophet... The point is that no reading emanated from a vacuum or some innovator's personal guesswork; where more than one authoritative reading existed, the source of this multiplicity was traceable to the Prophet. [The History of the Qur'anic Text, pp. 152-153]

    Thus, the readings of the Qur'an are something to inherit, not to create. This is a historical fact evinced by the Muslim educational methodology from the earliest centuries of transmitting and teaching Quran.

    You are wrong in your claim that the same standards of reliability and proof do not exist for the Quran and Bible. Unless you can produce for me a pre Uthman Quran you will never have proof only at best a degree of reliability.
    As mentioned before, the oral tradition of the Qur'an is more than adequate in terms of reliability; Muslims do not rely solely on manuscripts to construct a picture of its transmission. In contrast, Christians constantly need to make numerous changes to their Bible based upon new manuscript findings. Moreover, the term 'pre-Uthman Qur'an' is misleading as though to suggest the copy made under Uthman was something of a 'later' work. This is by no means the case as shown by the numerous points mentioned above.

    Your point about “the entire Muslim Ummah has accepted the Qur'an we have in our hands, we do not need to search for original documents because that would neither add nor detract from our Scripture”. Only demonstrates a blind conformist ignorance.
    To the contrary, it is an indisputable fact and a clear demonstration of Allah's سبحانه وتعالى promise to protect the Qur'an.

    Your arguments based on Ansar Al-'Adl Al, Azami, mutawatir chains of transmission, Huffaadh reveal a disconnect of logic.
    In what way? You are evading the arguments that you are unable to find a response to, which shows your inability to have an open discussion on this matter. You are doing exactly the same as Rippin and others of his ilk, who try to downplay or outright ignore key issues which do not support their preconceived conclusions.

    You state a teacher was sent with each copy to ensure that people would recite the Qur'an correctly free of any mistakes. ‘Mistakes’ according to who ? Uthman !
    Such an idea clearly opposes not only historical accuracy but logical possibility. A large number of Muslims had memorized the Qur’an and had learned the recitation of it directly from the Prophet ﷺ. These well-versed reciters (Qurrāʾ) were then instructed by the Prophet ﷺ to teach others the recitation of the Qur’an. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'Learn the Qur'an from four people: Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Ubayy bin Ka'b and Mu'adh bin Jabal.' [Al-Bukhari Book 62, Hadith 105] Al-Azami lists no fewer than thirty-nine companions by name who memorized the Qur’an directly from the Prophet ﷺ (and this list evidently includes only the most famous who lived to teach others).

    Likewise the Companions understood the importance of the oral transmission of the Qur'an: Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Caliph, sent several prominent Companions to various cities to teach people Qur'an. Thus, when Uthman sent teachers along with the Mushafs, they would teach the people what they had learnt from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. We can see that the Qur'an was transmitted via numerous chains of transmission going directly back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم via multiple Companions. Thus, the more one appreciates the widespread teaching and learning of the Qur'an across different lands and the central role of the Qur'an in the life of Muslims, the more one realises the impossibility of one person trying to change even one letter of the Qur'an.

    And a mere man helping God to protect His Holy Word!
    No, in Islam we do not believe that God needs any help. The diligence and care of human beings in transmitting the scripture does not contradict the fact that God is its ultimate Protector.

    I presume you as a Muslim believe the earlier scriptures were corrupted. God obviously wasn’t able to preserve those so what make you think yours were adequately protected ?
    Because God did not promise to protect earlier Scriptures. This was a promise unique to the Qur'an and clearly evident to any unbiased researcher. The immense precision with which the Qur'an has been preserved is without a doubt unparalleled by any other book in the history of human civilization. Today, Muslims continue to recite the Qur'an which has been transmitted by generations upon generations with unbroken chains of authority tracing to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

    Puin goes on - the 16000 sheets or parchments of Koranic fragments discovered in San‘ä’, Yemen, has uncovered even more variants in the rasm that are not found in the mammoth work of eight volumes, Mu‘jam al-qirä’ät al-qur’äniyyah,[39] edited in Kuwait recently. This dictionary lists over ten thousand variants, of which about a thousand are variants of or deviations in the rasm. Which Koran? (Part II)The Significance of Koranic Variation by Ibn Warraq (March 2008).
    It is first worth noting how Puin himself admits his reliance upon the integrity of Muslim scholarship when he says, 'We can now easily check any variation of the Rasm with the accumulated tradition of Muslim scholarship on the Qira'at, thanks to the eight-volume dictionary Mu'jam al-Qira'at al-Qur'aniyyah.' Orientalists rely upon the classical works of Muslim scholars, some of which are more than 1000 years old, in which Muslims knew what the 'variant' readings of the Qur'an were and from where they originated.

    With regards to the Mu'jam al-Qira'at al-Qur'aniyyah, it is an encyclopedia which includes words that are not even considered to be a part of the Qur'an, as well as consisting of certain Tafsir from the Shi'ah. This is clearly outlined in the introduction of the book. We saw earlier that for a mode of recitation to be considered as Qur'an, it must fulfil three conditions. What they have included in the encyclopedia is all that is in accordance with the Arabic language but there are certain readings mentioned that don't have a proper chain of transmission or are not compliant with the Rasm Uthmani, so those are not considered as part of the Qur'an (although certain readings can still be studied for other purposes such as grammar or tafsir). So it is not a book to study for Qur'an, rather one could benefit from it in terms of studying the Arabic language. There is no use in quoting material that does not have authentic chains of narration as 'variant' to the text of the Qur'an since the authority of these readings is not established. It is also noteworthy that many of the 'variants' in the book are actually repetitions of the same word, and often represent very subtle differences in pronunciation only, not changing the form or meaning of words. We can understand from all this that the idea of 'ten thousand variants' is very misleading as it is confusing authentic modes of recitation with readings that are not even considered to be a part of the Qur'an.

    Turning our attention to Puin's words, the claim that the fragments contain 'even more variants', even if true, is inconsequential in view of the fact that non-standard readings are a known phenomenon in the Islamic tradition and the use of robust criteria in differentiating between what is considered to be Qur'an and what is not. But we should note that one of the examples Puin gives is the word Qul (قل) in verse 34:49 which he says is written as Qila (قيل). In reality, this is an example of misread texts by orientalists. T. Altikulaç consulted the manuscript mentioned by Puin and witnesses that, 'the scribe forgot to write the word; when someone or personally he noticed the omission, this word was inserted in the text. However, as all signs resembling dots used as stops signs at the end of the ayat [verse] were not covered by this word that was written later, these dots were identified by Dr. Puin as the dots of قيل. When the word is enlarged and examined it is seen that the ya between qaf and lam has no tooth.' (Altikulaç, Al-Masahif al-Sharif: Attributed to Ali b. Abi Talib, Istanbul: Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, 2011, p.143].

    In conclusion to this point, it is enough to say that no scholarly work was published through past decades that claims that the text of the Qur'an found in San'a discredits the integrity of the standard text. Angelika Neuwirth, Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and Member in the School of Historical Studies, says:
    New findings of Qur'anic text fragments, moreover, can be adduced to affirm rather than call into question the traditional picture of the Qur'an as an early fixed text composed of the suras we have. Nor have scholars trying to deconstruct that image through linguistic arguments succeeded in seriously discrediting the genuineness of the Qur'an as we know it. [Angelika Neuwirth, 'Structural, Linguistic and Literary Features,' in Jane Dammen McAuliffe, ed. Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, p.100]

    You confirm my point. It was a strength that the Bible developed organically over time. And added to that was that Christianity was not part of, or vying for the established political status quo like Uthman did. Its obvious Uthman was partly motivated in needing to maintain the unity of Muslims in outlying provinces. For the Bible the threat of political interference on the scriptures was minimised by the gradual organic development of canon. The canonical councils were simply part of that process over the first few centuries.
    The Bible developing organically is one of the greatest indictors of its unreliability because it allowed the conflicting earlier Christian sects to shape it any way that fit their theological and historical convictions. In contrast, the supervised control of the collected text of the Qur'an, which text was attested to by the Companions, gave no chance for any corruption of its wording to creep in under the influence of any sectarian schism in the formative period of the Islamic epoch.

    In fact, a wide range of textual critics affirm the fluidity of the New Testament text in the first two hundred years. This has been confirmed by research, which has demonstrated that both 'orthodox' and 'heretical' scribes were indulging in deliberate theological changes to their biblical text. [B. M. Metzger, "Explicit References In The Works Of Origen To Variant Readings In New Testament Manuscripts", in J. N. Birdsall and R. W. Thomson (Eds.), Biblical And Patristic Studies In Memory Of Robert Pierce Casey, pp. 78-95]. Textual critics describe this period as 'the period of relative freedom' or 'the period of relative creativity'. During this period the majority of changes to the text of the New Testament, both accidental and intentional, originated. The original collection of Jesus' teachings was drowned by other competing influences while the new religion was still in its infancy. The texts that subsequently emerged in Christian circles, seeking to fill this void, began to acquire the status of Scripture. As the staggeringly dissolute reams of theology attempted to discover the basis for their beliefs in these Scriptures, various sects - holding vastly different views on the life of Jesus - played their parts in mending and moulding the text, aiming to achieve its own particular theological vision.

    As for 'gradual organic development of canon', it is well known that the canon of the NT is a subjective selection that starts off being labelled as orthodox, but which did not prove its self-orthodoxy. The canonisation of the 27 books of the NT was made without a discernible methodology and in an indeterminate environment (see later). On the other hand, the Uthmanic project was a meticulous project to keep an original (consonantal) version of the text, made with unprecedented care and patience in an open political, cultural and religious environment.

    or vying for the established political status quo like Uthman did. Its obvious Uthman was partly motivated in needing to maintain the unity of Muslims in outlying provinces.
    The reason behind Uthman's رضي االله عنه compiling of the Mushafs is clearly stated in the Hadith where Hudhaifah رضي االله عنه said, 'O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur'an) as Jews and the Christians did before.' [Al-Bukhari 4987] It was a response to differing in the recitation of the Qur'an amongst newcomers to Islam and people who were ignorant of the Arabic of the Qur'an. No verse was added, no ruling contradicted, no law repealed. It was clearly to unite the Muslims on the proper recitation of the Qur'an. In addition, just by looking at early manuscripts of the Qur'an from the first century Hijra, there is confirmation that the Qur'anic text was not affected by any early religious schism, political events or newly absorbed cultures. It is the same text all over the first century of the Hijra. Thus, claiming that the Uthmanic project was politically driven is sheer misinformation which cannot be proved through an analysis of the Qur'anic text or of its history.

    Also the term “combat writings ”imply violence as similar to early Muslim history. This tension was theological not political.
    It is clear you are not familiar with Muslim history because there were no 'combat writings', unlike Christianity where scripture was constantly changing at the whims and fancies of the scribes and the leaders of the Church.

    Your mention of Pauls writings is a red hearing and not even accurate. If you knew your Bible you would know that Pauls beliefs and writings were consistent from the very beginning with those of Peter, James and John.
    Paul's writings were mentioned to give context to how the gospels emerged from a multitude of writings and fierce struggles. As for the claim that Paul's teachings were consistent with others, it is worth noting that every Book of the NT was written after Paul began his mission, thus one could easily assume that his writings influenced every book so written and that only books in line with Paul's 'New Religion' would be included. Paul's style of Christianity won through definitively and created its own collection of official texts. These texts constituted the 'Canon' which condemned and excluded as unorthodox any other documents that were not suited to the line adopted by the Church.

    The condemnation and exclusion of other teachings as unorthodox was due to their obvious Gnostic theology. One didn’t then or now need to be an expert theologian to recognise that. At the time and now they are obviously not consistent with Jewish traditions but of pagan Egyptian and Greek theology.
    Gnostic theology was one out of many competing influences. There was confusion about fundamental aspects of Christianity, as Bart Ehrman points out:
    [T]here were, of course, Christians who believed in only one God; others, however, claimed that there were two gods; yet others ascribed to 30, or 365, or more... some Christians believed that Christ was somehow both a man and God; others said that he was a man, but not God; others claimed that he was God, but not a man; others insisted that he was a man who been temporarily inhabited by God. Some Christians believed that Christ's death had brought about the salvation of the world; others claimed that this death had no bearing on salvation; yet others alleged that he had never even died. [The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, p.3]

    Even something as 'obvious' as Gnostic theology seems to have been a challenge, as Bruce Metzger (world-renowned New Testament scholar) writes:
    It was not easy for the Church to defend herself against Gnosticism. Certain elements in the gospel tradition itself seemed to give verisimilitude to the Gnostics' claim. For example, in the account of the Transfiguration it is said that Jesus, having revealed his messianic glory to his three most intimate disciples, commanded them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of man had risen from the dead (Mark ix. 9). [The Canon of the New Testament, p.78]

    All of this condemnation and exclusion was based on peaceful debate in a non political environment (unlike Islam).
    According to some accounts, at the first council of Nicaea the debate became so heated that Arius was slapped in the face. I am not sure how you can be so confident that it was a non-political environment considering how Christianity was engulfed in controversies and intense polemics and that the first three centuries of Christian history were imbued with persecution. This is certainly unlike Islam because we did not need to hold councils debating fundamentals of our religion 300 years on.

    Canon criteria made it easy to establish unorthodoxy from orthodoxy based on 1. Apostolicity (written by apostle or associate of)2. Catholicism (accepted widely) and 3. Orthodoxy (consistent with established Jewish / Christian theology ).
    The early church outlined no definitive criteria for the selection of canonical books. Rather, scholars today analyse the process by which certain books of the New Testament became canonical and then create certain criteria which, in their opinion, the early church utilised. As a result, the criteria proposed can sometimes be contradictory and be quite distinct from criteria proposed by other scholars. De Jonge makes reference to a comprehensive study on the criteria of canon contained in Karl-Heinz Ohlig's, Die Theologische Begründung des Neutestamentlichen Kanons in der alten Kirche. Ohlig mentions eleven different criteria used by the early Christians in deciding upon the canonicity of any given writing. These criteria were not applied consistently, neither were they applied universally. [H. J. de Jonge, "Introduction: The New Testament Canon", in J. -M. Auwers and H. J. de Jonge (Eds.), The Biblical Canons, 2003, op cit., pp. 313–314]

    Apostolicity is the first point on Ohlig's list. But biblical criticism has conclusively shown that many books of the New Testament cannot be considered as apostolic. This point is succinctly explained by L. M. McDonald. He says:
    ...if apostolicity is still a legitimate criterion for canonicity of the NT literature, as it was for the churches that first drew up biblical canons, should the church today continue to recognize the authority 2 Peter, the Pastorals, and other nonapostolic literature of the NT? If the Spirit's activity was not considered to be limited to apostolic documents... can we and should we make arguments for the inclusion of other literature in the biblical canon? For example, should our attention be on the authorship of a document or on the substance of the document itself in determining its inspiration and authority? Although there was considerable doubt about the authorship of Hebrews among the church fathers, the book nevertheless was included into the biblical canon because its message was both relevant and important to the Christian communities that adopted and preserved it as scripture. Is it not the intrinsic worth of the writing to the church in establishing its identity and facilitating its ministry that is the ultimate criterion for canonicity? [The Formation Of The Christian Biblical Canon, 1995, op cit., p. 255]

    Many other early Christian writings are spoken favourably of by early fathers and considered by them to be 'divinely inspired', such as I Clement (II Clement), the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. In fact, scholars have shown that these writings were used more often, were more widely accepted, and found in larger geographical areas than other writings that were eventually canonised in the New Testament such as, Hebrews, II Peter, James, and II and III John. One notes, however, that these books did not make their way into the final collection of the twenty-seven book (Protestant) canon. Conversely, other books that did find their way into the canon, such as the Catholic Epistles and Revelation, were disputed by many in the early church – disputes that continue to this very day. Also, numerous apostolic fathers simply made no reference whatsoever to many writings that would eventually be found in the twenty-seven book (Protestant) canon. One can see that this lack of terminological rigour has caused the missionary to misinterpret the historical data through which he constructs his own hypotheses regarding the essential elements of the concept of canon and the historical processes that are clearly elucidated in the scholarly discussions on the subject.

    You are misrepresenting the process of canonisation in your quote of the Ecumenical Translation putting the date to 170 AD. That is only partly the case. I suspect you are quoting sources such as the Ecumenical Translation out of overall context. 170AD was simply when the canon became more formalised. The canon was fluid until this date as there was no demand or need for a canon and it simply developed organically. The process of canon took 400 years and the councils merely rubber stamped what most of the church already knew as the proper authoritative books. Prior to 170AD there was universal acceptance among the widely spread Christian communities that the 4 Gospels, Epistles and Book of Acts were credible. Prior to 170AD the canon was accepted but not established.
    There is a difference between certain texts being 'credible' and their becoming 'canon'. Your claim that the canon was accepted before 170AD cannot be true because each Christian community was actively advocating their canon of scripture as there was no authoritative universally agreed-upon canon. During the period of the fourth and very early fifth centuries, there were fifteen undisputed lists of canon, the bulk of them differing from each other.

    The Catholic Encyclopaedia, discussing the historical development of the New Testament canon from 100 – 220 CE, states:
    The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council. ["Canon Of The New Testament" in Catholic Encyclopaedia, available online (3rd September 2005).]

    Eckhard J. Schnabel, a German evangelical theologian and professor of the New Testament, writes:
    By the middle of the fourth century the canonical status of the NT books was still not universally agreed upon. In the West, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude were disputed. In the East, the national Syrian church used the Diatessaron instead of the four gospels, rejected the Epistle to Philemon but accepted a third epistle to the Corinthians, and omitted the four shorter catholic epistles (2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude) as well as Revelation. [History, theology and the Biblical canon, an introduction to basic issues, Vol. 20, Issue 2]

    Even Athanasius (who is regarded as the first Christian to advocate the 27 book list of the New Testament) faced intense disagreement regarding his proclamation in his own church in 367CE. Didymus the Blind, a contemporary and close friend of Athanasius, claimed that II Peter was a 'forgery'. He also considered several additional scriptures not listed by Athanasius to be authoritative and canonical (the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas and I Clement). The first Church councils to ratify Athanasius decision, the Synod of Hippo Regius and the third Synod of Carthage, were not ecumenical councils; they were merely local (Western), temporary assemblies whose voice had authority only within their local sees. So it is clear that Athanasius was not the only person advocating a canonical list of the New Testament; many other notable figures were involved in promulgating a canon of the New Testament, each entity representing their own community/church. Thus, it becomes abundantly clear that 'the Church' did not come to 'universally' accept the twenty-seven book canon of the New Testament by the fourth century CE, let alone the 'complete' Bible.

    You say that 'the process of canon took 400 years', yet astonishingly it seems the canon was still not decided for at least 1500 years. With regard to the New Testament, M. J. Sawyer, Professor of Theology at Western Seminary, concludes:
    The canon of the New Testament was not closed historically by the early church. Rather, its extent was debated until the Reformation. Even then, it was closed in a sectarian fashion. Therefore the question must be asked, is it then heresy for a person to question or reject a book of the present canon? There have been repeated reevaluations of the church's canon. This happened during the initial sifting period. It happened again during the Renaissance and Reformation period, and it is beginning to happen again now. In such instances the fringe books of the canon have been repeatedly questioned. [M. J. Sawyer, Evangelicals And The Canon Of The New Testament]

    Thus it is well known by Church historians that the extent of the New Testament canon was debated well into the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance. Moreover, the decision to close the canon was made in a sectarian fashion. We have to wait approximately 1,500 years after the birth of Jesus before a (Roman Catholic) 'Church-wide' pronouncement (1546 CE) on the issue of canon is decreed. Even then there was disunity in this announcement. Of the select few who were invited to participate in the debate regarding the extent of the canon, twenty-four voted in favour of a twenty-seven book New Testament whilst fifteen rejected the proposal and sixteen abstained. To think that the Trinitarian deity would wait over 1,500 years after the birth of Jesus before enabling a 'Church-wide' decree on the canon of scripture is remarkable in itself. To then think that the Trinitarian deity would 'inspire' fifteen people to reject this canon of scripture in a final vote, and have sixteen people abstain, (which when added together is greater than the number of people who voted for!) has some troubling implications for the missionaries and apologists theology of divine providence as well as their view on the majesty and truthfulness of God. Consequently, it is important to note whether the Trinitarian deity has since 'inspired' the Christians and/or the Church to a unified canon? Examining the canon lists of the churches in both Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) Christendom, we discover that the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Coptic, Ethiopic, Syriac, Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Slavonic/Russian church, all have a different 'inspired' canon of scriptures. A quick survey of recent scholarly opinions shows that several modern day theologians and textual critics, including Metzger and Aland (who both, significantly, play a huge role in deciding what constitutes the Bible textually), consider the New Testament canon to be open.

    The issue of whether the canon is open or closed has certainly dogged many a Christian scholar. So grievous is the state of affairs that it is 'the wound in the body' and cause of 'illness', according to Aland:
    This present state of affairs, of Christianity splintered into different churches and theological schools, is the wound in the body. The variety in the actual Canon in its different forms is not only the standard symptom, but simultaneously also the real cause of its illness. This illness - which is in blatant conflict with the unity which is fundamental to its nature - cannot be tolerated. [K. Aland, The Problem Of The New Testament Canon, pp. 30-31]

    Equally unflattering are the lack of Greek manuscripts bearing the 'complete' twenty-seven book canon of the New Testament. Missionaries and apologists are unable to muster even a meagre amount of documentary evidence to support their claim of a widespread 'church-wide' accepted canon by the fourth century CE, or indeed throughout any period of Christian history.

    You are also misrepresenting what “certain commentators are still writing today”. All serious Christian scholars know about the significance of 170 AD.
    This was in reference to a different point, which was: 'before 140 A.D. there was no witness to the knowledge that a collection of Gospel writings existed.'

    The Sanaa Quran vs the Topakpi manuscript or Codex Parisino-petropolitanus? You are simply attempting to evade with technicalities. The Sanaa Quran is of major significance no matter what.
    Whether the San'a manuscripts are of significance or not is not the issue. The issue is whether it was accurate to say they are 'the most complete and oldest' and you admitted to making this assumption from your own self with no regard for factual accuracy.

    “Crusader paranoia and understanding the context and history behind statements ?” Western textual criticism bases itself on Western science which is facts driven. Not ideologically driven. Something Muslims like Al-Azami and Muhammad Mohar Ali can learn from. Compare their tone with the likes of Puin. Their defensiveness is apparent, so yes, it does negate their work. Your use of the term “orientalist motives” likewise betrays your defensiveness.
    It is not defensiveness, rather it is clear from Puin's own words that his work was based on orientalist motives. Not only did he explicitly refer to the previous attempts of orientalists like Jeffery and Pretzel, but he also said, 'the only way to break through this barrier is to prove the Koran has a history too. The San'a fragments will help us to do this.' Does that sound like the words of someone who is facts-driven to you? The agenda is clear from his own words. On the other hand, Al-Azami and Mohar Ali are obviously going to defend their beliefs against the lies and distortions of orientalists, but they do so using facts and logical arguments. Their works are well-referenced and researched. You are simply making up excuses to dismiss works that disagree with your own views.

    No one in the Muslim world capable to assess the Sanaa Quran? Islam has no tradition of professional textual criticism as the West does. All it has is theological elucidation.
    You are simply demonstrating your ignorance here. Islamic civilization has been witness to a veritable celebration of knowledge. Every traditional Islamic city possessed public and private libraries and some cities like Cordoba and Baghdad boasted of libraries with over 400,000 books. The scholar has always been held in the highest esteem in Islamic society. The Islamic university system predates renowned schools such as The University of Oxford and Cambridge by more than three centuries. As regards textual criticism, here is an example of a research paper on early manuscripts of the Qur'an: Early Manuscripts of Quran (Through Data of Hijazi Calligraphy and Archaeological Evidence) (ekb.eg)

    Any thing more than that enters the realm of apostasy and blasphemy.
    If you study Islam with an open mind you will see that Islam invites each human being to its clear and pure message by appealing to intellect and reason. Its laws are based upon ease and mercy. The Qur'an repeatedly calls its reader to reflect and ponder over its message.

    Your mention “the openness of the Yemeni authorities towards international study of the manuscripts is to be noted.” Sergio Noja Noseda, Christian Robin, Ursula Dreibholz. All non Muslims ! Why is that ?
    Because we are specifically talking about 'openness of the Yemeni authorities towards international study'.

    Ursula Dreibholz was a simply involved in the preservation of the manuscripts. She is not a textual critic like Puin.
    Likewise, Puin is not a world-authority on the entire history of the Qur'an on the basis of his restoration of old manuscripts. If you want to see what other researchers have said then the example was quoted earlier of Benham Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi. As mentioned earlier, no scholarly work was published through past decades that claims that the text of the Qur'an found in San'a discredits the integrity of the standard text.

    Puin goes on to say-As years went by, the correct reading of the Koran became less clear, he says. People made changes to make sense of the text. Puin gives as example Hajjaj bin Yusuf, governor of Iraq from 694-714 AD, who "was proud of inserting more than 1,000 alifs [first letter of the Arabic alphabet] in the Koranic text".
    This issue relates to spelling conventions and has nothing to do with the 'correct reading' becoming 'less clear'. Firstly, Puin is unable to even quote accurately as, according to the narration of Ibn Abi Dawud, it was Yazid al-Farsi who wrote the Alifs for Ubaidullah bin Ziyad. Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf then questioned him about that, and he replied, 'may Allah keep you on the right path; he was raised up in the lowly community of Basra [i.e. far from the learned areas, in a region lacking literary taste and sophistication]'. What Ubaidullah wanted was to simply standardise the spelling within his Mushaf, writing قلو as قالوا and كنو as كانوا.

    Al-Azami quotes this narration in a discussion about spelling pecularities and how Alif can be dropped for abbreviation. Very importantly, he mentions that, given that reading and recitation were based on an oral learning tradition, such shorthand did not threaten to corrupt the text. He comments:
    As the matter did not involve corrupting the text but rather reinstating some vowels which had been dropped for abbreviation, Al-Farsi left al-Hajjaj's company unscathed. Referring to the concordance of the Qur'an we note that قالوا occurs 331 times, while كانوا occurs 267 times: a combined total of 598 words. Recall that Ubaidullah added two extra alifs in each of these, amounting to approximately 1200 extra letters. The figure of two thousand (as mentioned in the narration) was probably a rough guess. Ibn Abi Dawud's narrative bears a defective and weak isnad, giving scholars enough cause to reject it. But even if it were genuine, what Ubaidullah was guilty of (was) tampering with his own copy to bring it in accordance with the prevalent spelling conventions, nothing more...The custom for most printed Mushafs now is to adhere faithfully to the Uthmani spelling system... a few verses still spell قال as قل, indicating that this abbreviation was valid in Uthman's time and that he allowed the inclusion of both. [The History of the Qur'anic Text, p.133-134]

    Therefore, even if this narration were authentic, it offers no support whatsoever for Puin's claims.

    Ibn Warraq aslo writes-It is clear that many hundreds of variants, though not all, were invented by Muslim grammarians, philologists, and exegetes of the 3rd and 4th Muslim centuries to explain all sorts of obscurities of the Koran, whether of sense or reference, Koranic grammatical aberrations,[42] or even more seriously, for doctrinal reasons to defend some particular theological position.[43]. The Significance of Koranic Variants by Ibn Warraq (March 2008).
    Such a collection of 'variants' would be void from the start as they do not constitute the Qur'an. We saw earlier that for a mode of recitation to be considered as Qur'an, it must fulfil certain conditions. Anything that fails to meet any of these is simply not Qur'an. For anyone familiar with the history of the Qur'an, it is not difficult to notice the sheer lunacy of the insinuation that even a single letter of the Qur'an could be corrupted. The Qur'an has been passed down from teacher to student in mutawatir narrations; in each generation, so many people narrated it that there is no question of its authenticity. Millions of scholars are part of an unbroken chain that leads directly back to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Moreover, the recitation of the Qur'an is a vital element of all prayers and during Ramadan every year the entire Qur'an is recited from cover to cover in Mosques by the Imam from memory. (Note that use of the Qur'an in prayer is made not in the form of reading out from a written piece, as is done in the Christian liturgy, but from memory, either silently or audibly.) This integral role that the Qur'an plays in daily Muslim life makes it impossible for any corruption of the Qur'an to take place. Al Azami points out, 'that the exact same words echoed from every mosque, school, house and bazaar throughout all corners of the Muslim nation was a greater safeguard against corruption than anything any human system could have promised.'

    Your logic seems disconnected in your comment that “Puin made references to other manuscripts collected in Germany, yet didn't comment on the fact that they didn't reveal any significant discrepancy …”. I think you are being evasive.
    The point of mentioning that is to show the subjective nature of Puin's research, and by extension your blind defence of Puin shows the subjective nature of yours.

    Your comment of Christians having condemned the textual criticism of the New Testament is off target by several centuries. You are obviously referring to the extreme non biblical Catholic Christianity of the Middle Ages at the most extreme time of state / church rule.
    By this you have refuted your own statement that, 'Muslims are scared to analyse the Quran under the same scrutiny that Christians have done with the Bible for centuries.' Christians clearly haven't been scrutinising their Bible when the Catholic Church officially deprived the common people from reading or even possessing the Bible in their own language - a historical fact admitted by Catholic writers. Christians only had access to the limited editions that the clergy presented. Not only this but, astonishingly, there were only around fifty 'complete' New Testaments in existence before the advent of the printing press; given this fact, Metzger comments, '... it suddenly becomes clear that only a very small proportion of Christians could have owned, or even seen, a copy of the complete canon of the New Testament before the invention of printing.' [The Text Of The New Testament: Its Transmission Corruption, And Restoration, p. 263.] Even more astounding is the fact that over the entire date range of Christendom, there are an infinitesimal number of 'complete' Greek Bibles – numbering only eight. The overwhelming majority of Christians (either scholars or laymen) would never have seen a complete New Testament – let alone a complete Bible. Where in Muslim history do you find the common people being denied access to the Qur'an, or councils making decrees to refuse lay people reading the scripture? The Qur'an plays a role in the daily life of a Muslim. It calls its reader to reflect, ponder over and study it. It is a direct address to each individual human being. No institution can hide or distort any part of it.

    You say 'Not so very long ago Christians knew only selected sections of the Gospels” Really ? When not so long ago exactly ? You also seem to ignore the fact that the populace back then was by and large illiterate.
    Dr. Bucaille gave his own experience from a Roman Catholic school so it is not difficult to guess this would have been less than 100 years ago. The argument of illiteracy is countered by the fact that they were being given works of Plato and Virgil at the school but not the New Testament. Moreover, why would the Bible be allowed in one language but not another? Why even make a ban in the first place if no one will be able to read it anyway?

    And you have done your argument no favours in quoting Father Roguet lamenting 'Many Christians need to learn how to read the Gospels". Here we have a Christian leader encouraging Christians to read the Gospels, not discouraging them !
    Yes, but the point is why would he even need to do that, if Christians have been analysing their Bibles 'for centuries' as you claim!

    All of this discussion was from my claim that Muslim criticism of the Quran is rare and almost non-existent and Muslims are genuinely incapable of questioning Islam”. Rather than address the point all you are doing is evade it by talking about Christianity hundreds of years ago.
    You are making unfounded claims about Muslims and Islam, so I am simply pointing out that Christians are guilty of the very things you accuse others of, and this is not just 'hundreds of years ago' as we saw in the example of Dr Bucaille's experience at Catholic school.

    And your criticism that I’ve jumped the discussion on the preservation of the Qur'an to apostasy and blasphemy laws is baseless. Its obvious. The ability to critique ones scriptures objectively is integral to issues of reliability. But I think you know that.
    I am not sure why you are trying to deny this when it is clearly viewable in your previous posts. Many objective arguments have been brought forward with regards to the preservation of the Qur'an, yet you prefer to close your eyes to these facts and are looking for ways to evade the discussion.

    Regarding the difference between the Bible and Quran. Again you miss my point. The Quran is supposed to be a direct recitation from Allah and “Golden Tablets in Heaven” to Mohmad via the Angel Gabriele. A supposed “divine” miracle revelation. That is not how Christians view the Bible. Christians view the Bible as written by men who were “inspired” by God. As a result Muslims have a harder job than Christians to explain Qur’anic deviations large or small that reveal the human influenced historicity of the “sacred” Quran. And you yourself have stated above there were differences in spelling, synonyms and you yourself know there were differences in recitation.
    Even if we take into consideration the different natures of the Qur'an and the Bible, we find that there is nothing to contradict the fact that the Qur'an was revealed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى, yet there is significant contradiction with the fact that the Bible was 'inspired' by God. Not only this, but the double standard lies in the way one applies objective criticism. In seeking to replicate the vices of Bible history in that of the Qur'an, you view all evidence given by Muslims with a jaundiced eye whilst the Bible is given the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Indisputable facts have been presented to you regarding the oral preservation of the Qur'an yet you have totally ignored these points. On the other hand, glaring problems with the Bible have been mentioned yet you pretend they are of no significance.

    You mention 'Qur'anic deviations' but you seem to be confusing different issues and in reality, there is no evidence to support such claims. When it comes to differences in spelling, this does not in any way affect the integrity and correctness of the text as a whole. We saw above that there is evidence to suggest that the inferior text of the San'a palimpsest was written prior to the compilation of the official Uthmani Mushaf and that it could even represent a training copy, therefore such orthographic discrepancies are not at all surprising. We also looked at the issue of why synonyms might exist in recitations of Companions and that any reading which does not conform to the three conditions mentioned earlier is not considered to be Qur'an.

    As for differences in recitation which represent the authentic Qira'at, all of these readings have come to us directly from the Prophet ﷺ himself. They did not arise due to scribal error or alteration. They constitute a unique feature of the Qur’an that multiplies its eloquence and aesthetic beauty. The vast majority of these differences are quite subtle, although in certain cases they add nuances in meaning, complementing one another. All of these modes of recitation adhere to the Muṣḥaf of the Qur’an compiled under the supervision of the Caliph ʿUthmān رضي االله عنه, which was written without diacritics, thus accommodating the variations. Today, Muslims continue to recite multiple authentic recitations that have been transmitted by generations upon generations with unbroken chains of authority tracing to the Prophet ﷺ. All of this supports the fact that the Qur'an was revealed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

    Compare this with the anonymous authorship of the New Testament, books appearing well after the time of Jesus عليه السلام and how its formative stages occurred in epochs of great volatility, the political realities throwing the text into complete disarray. We also noted above how it took over 1,500 years after the birth of Jesus عليه السلام before a 'Church-wide' decree on the canon took place, and despite this, how churches in Eastern and Western Christendom all have a different 'inspired' canon of scriptures. All of this has troubling implications for a scripture supposedly 'inspired' by God.

    The difference between inerrant' and infallible is not that hard to understand Muhamad. One is about the ‘message’, the other is about the ‘vessel’ of transmission.
    But these two are inseparable: the message being delivered is entirely dependent on the accuracy of the vessel transmitting it. So if you acknowledge that the vessel is indeed errant, then it means you don't have an infallible message. The conservative New Testament textual criticism scholar Wilbur N. Pickering summed up his essay on the Greek New Testament Text reconstructed according to the eclectic method (UBS/NA) by stating: 'the eclectic text incorporates errors and contradictions that undermine the doctrine of inspiration and virtually vitiate the doctrine of inerrancy.' ['What Difference Does It Make?' in Jay P. Green, Unholy Hands on the Bible: An Examination of Six Major New Versions, p.574]

    Regarding the eye witness accounts of the Gospels. I suggest you read Luke Chapter 1 -1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you…
    What is clearly established by the opening of Luke is that it was certainly not written by an eyewitness; the author is openly saying that he is writing an account based on what was handed down to him by eyewitnesses, so he himself isn’t an eyewitness. Instead, the author is simply going through several different accounts of Jesus’ life and putting his own piece together.

    Father Kannengiessers assessment of not taking the facts of the Gospels literally does not line up with the scholar Craig Blomberg (Dr. Blomberg on the reliability of the Gospel of John.) who examined John’s Gospel verse by verse and identifies an abundance of historical details and facts that support a literal interpretation of the Gospel. See below -
    Yet Dr. Maurice Bucaille notes contradictions between the gospels, for example:
    Father Roguet himself notes that Passover is placed at different times in relation to Jesus's Last Supper with His disciples in the Synoptic Gospels and John's Gospel. John places the Last Supper 'before the Passover celebrations' and the other three evangelists place it during the celebrations themselves. Obvious improbabilities emerge from this divergence: a certain episode becomes impossible because of the position of Passover in relation to it. When one knows the importance it had in the Jewish liturgy and the importance of the meal where Jesus bids farewell to his disciples, how is it possible to believe that the memory of one event in relation to the other could have faded to such an extent in the tradition recorded later by the evangelists? [The Bible, the Qur'an and Science]

    A book by Fathers Benoit and Boismard (both professors at the Biblical School of Jerusalem 1972- 1973), called the Synopsis of the Four Gospels (Synopse des quatres Evangiles) stresses the evolution of the text in stages parallel to the evolution of the tradition:
    ...the wording and form of description that result from a long evolution of tradition are not as authentic as in the original. Some readers of this work will perhaps be surprised or embarrassed to learn that certain of Jesus's sayings, parables, or predictions of His destiny were not expressed in the way we read them today, but were altered and adapted by those who transmitted them to us. This may come as a source of amazement and even scandal to those not used to this kind of historical investigation.

    Father Benoit addresses himself to the readers of the gospel by warning them and giving them the following compensation:
    If the reader is obliged in more than one case to give up the notion of hearing Jesus's voice directly, he still hears the voice of the Church and he relies upon it as the divinely appointed interpreter of the Master who long ago spoke to us on earth and who now speaks to us in His glory.

    Doston Jones stating 'That the Gospels were not composed bearing their traditional titles. Yes, so what ? Nothing new here. And particularly nothing new that impacts on the Bibles reliability.
    It impacts reliability because the point being made is that the original authors are unknown. Surely this is of tremendous doctrinal importance if the accuracy of the gospel accounts is uncertain!

    Interesting that you cite Craig L. Blomberg and lee Strobel who both argue for the reliability of the Bible. I can only conclude you cherry pick quotations out of context and as I said you wouldn’t even know about the issue around the anonymity of the authors if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship. Christians have long known that the original manuscripts were not titled by authorship.
    Not only were they not titled by authorship but their writers were anonymous, as you now seem to admit. This brings us to the issue of isnad. The purpose of isnad is the disclosure of the source of information. In the final stage, the source must lead to the person who had direct contact with the highest authority to whom the statement belonged. The difference between the assessment of Islamic literature and Biblical literature is like the difference between night and day. In Islamic literature, the disclosure of sources is akin to the law of witnesses. The witnesses are examined according to their moral uprightness and chronology. If one applies this methodology to Biblical literature, not a single sentence could be proven to be authentic due to the absence of disclosure with regard to the source of information. For example, assuming a certain character called 'John' wrote the Book of Revelation, how do we know who he was? What were his religious beliefs? What about his personal character? Was he an honest man? Did he have a strong memory? This is a very serious issue affecting the reliability of the Bible.

    “The Catholic Bible consists of 73 books, whereas the Protestant Bible consists of 66.” No issue here. You are simply referring to the deutro canonical books that are seen as helpful but not primary canon due to not meeting the higher standards of primary canon.
    This shows that each Church has its own set of books which it considers as 'inspired'. The various editions contain a different mixture of books and/or labels such as canonical, deuterocanonical, non-canonical, apocryphal, accepted and disputed. This presents a major issue if you cannot even agree on what is the 'inspired' word of God.

    Regarding “not all Bibles being the same” you are over stating ‘the problem’. In the years since 1611, many older manuscripts have been discovered and carefully evaluated by scholars. Their conclusion is that the older manuscripts are more reliable. This has given modern translators unprecedented access to manuscripts much closer in time to the original documents. Therefore, translations such as the NIV actually reflect better Bible scholarship than was available in 1611 when the KJV was published. The verses or phrases that appeared in the KJV, but have been “omitted” in most trusted translations today, are not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. Modern translators include or reference them in footnotes. These footnotes are intended to help the reader understand that certain perceived differences in the text are due to improved biblical scholarship. The treatment of these verses has not changed recently and reflects a consensus among the majority of Bible scholars. It is important to note that no doctrines of the Christian faith are affected by differences between the KJV and translations such as the NIV that follow the more reliable sources...Ive already discussed 1 John 5:7 and as I said there is nothing new here. No secrets either. Most household bibles have a footnote that the verse is not in early manuscripts. And you wouldn’t even know about it if it wasn’t for the integrity of Christian scholarship. And as I said you need to prove it to be significant in the light of overall of Bible reliability. Your mention of 1 John 5:7 does nothing to undermine the robustness of bible reliability as I challenged you to do in my last post.
    This is exactly the problem: Christians are dependent on new manuscript findings to keep updating their Bibles. The New Testament ran into the problems of living the life of a 'living text', hence the modern day scholars are trying to figure out what the 'original reading' is from the mass of divergent manuscript evidence available. Most of the Bible translations are based on the Nestle-Aland critical text, which is currently in is 28th edition. A couple of decades later may see the 'word' of God running into its 29th or 30th edition. Of course, remembering the fact that Nestle-Aland's text is a working text and as more manuscript evidence gets in, revision will take place. On the other hand, the Qur'an is not subjected to the mercy of manuscripts.

    It is also important to note that these Bible revisions are no trivial matter. These are not spelling mistakes or insignificant errors. The publishers of the RSV Bible (which is the revised version of the ASV which itself was a revised version of the KJV) say, 'This Bible (RSV), is the product of thirty-two scholars, assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty co-operating denominations'. They conclude in their preface, 'Yet the King James Version has grave defects...' and the discovery of many manuscripts made it manifest, 'that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision.' This is the orthodox Christian scholars of 'the highest eminence' admitting they had grave and serious defects in their holy writ and their reasons for eliminating them. In fact, when the Revised Version was published at the end of the nineteenth century, many 'orthodox' scholars felt that the new 'updates' in the text so badly damaged the Christian faith that they decided to launch an offensive campaign against the team of scholars responsible for it, accusing them, or their preferred manuscripts, of straying from the faith.

    You claim that 'no doctrines of the Christian faith are affected by differences between the KJV and translations such as the NIV that follow the more reliable sources'. This is again denial of clear facts. Many choice passages, traditional favourites of evangelists and the bedrock of the average Christian's knowledge of his own religion, have either been weakened through cautionary footnotes or altogether omitted. These passages touch the very essence of Christian doctrine. 1 John 5:7 was just one example - this verse is used by Christians to prove their belief in the trinity, yet this key-stone of the Christian faith has been scrapped from the RSV. It has been a pious fraud all along! The sole remaining trinitarian passage of any clarity is Matthew 28:19-20: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.' Regarding this, the Dictionary of the Bible states, 'this late post-resurrection saying, not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the NT, has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of 'making disciples' is continued in 'teaching them,' so that the intervening reference to baptism with its trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion into the saying.' [Dictionary of the Bible p.1015]

    Let us look at another clear example of doctrine being affected by Bible revisions. One of the most serious of those 'grave defects' which the authors of the RSV had tried to rectify concerned the Ascension. There have been only two references in the gospels to the most stupendous event in Christianity - of Jesus being taken up into heaven. These two references were obtained in every Bible in every language, prior to 1952, when the RSV first appeared. After this, the last words of Luke 24:51 ('and was carried up into heaven') is missing from various early manuscripts and is therefore often relegated to a footnote. When we look for Mark 16:19 we are shocked to find that the whole of twelve verses (including the Ascension) is nowhere to be found in numerous manuscripts, leaving contemporary Bibles in the clumsy situation of having to provide both an extended and an abbreviated ending. The end result is that not a single verse explicitly citing the Ascension has survived textual scrutiny in the four gospels. Every honest Christian has to admit that he does not consider any footnote in any Bible as the word of God. Why should the paid servants of Christianity consign the mightiest miracle of their religion to a mere footnote?

    You state Christians don’t have the original manuscripts. Remember – neither do Muslims!
    It is interesting to note, despite the fact that Muslims do not need to rely on the testimony of the manuscripts, that there exist manuscripts from the first century Hijra that cover most if not all of the Qur'an. The Italian orientalist Sergio Noja Noseda, with F. Deroche, studied the Hijazi script manuscripts of the Qur'an written on parchment that belongs to the first century of the Hijra, and he concluded that almost eighty-three percent of the Qur'anic text is available in these manuscripts. Compare this with the absence of any New Testament manuscripts of the first century AD! Note that they did not include in their study the Qur'anic text written in papyri, nor the Hijazi parchments from San'a, nor the ones written in Kufic script. [F. Deroche and S.N.Noseda, eds. Sources de la Transmission Manuscrite du Texte Coranique. 1. Les manuscrits de style hijazi.Volume2. Tome 1. Le manuscrit Or. 2165 (f. 1 à61) de la British Library, London: Fondazione Ferni Noja Noseda, Leda, and British Library, 2001, p. xxvii] Unlike the original manuscripts of the books of the NT, the original manuscripts of the Qur'an were widespread and accessible to people in the earliest time of Islam.

    You are wrong in stating numbers of manuscripts mean nothing. The value of having a large number of manuscripts is obvious in that it provides us with ample opportunity to compare writings, which is especially valuable when cross-checking manuscripts from different geographic areas or from different time periods. When making these comparisons you can determine whether it is apparent that the documents were reliably copied from the same source, and you can quantify how much they may have strayed from that source by seeing where and how they differ. In short, having an abundance of manuscripts shows us that copying Scripture was not like a game of “telephone.”
    It is not myself who is cautioning against the wrong impression given by appealing to the 'abundance' of Greek New Testament manuscripts, it is New Testament scholars like Bruce Metzger, who writes:
    Lest, however, the wrong impression be conveyed from the statistics given above regarding the total number of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, it should be pointed out that most of the papyri are relatively fragmentary and that only about fifty manuscripts (of which the Codex Sinaiticus is the only Uncial manuscript) contain the entire New Testament. [B. M. Metzger, The Text Of The New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption & Restoration, op. cit., p. 34, note 3]

    According to Michael W. Holmes, approximately 85% of the manuscripts were copied in the eleventh century or later, over a millennium after the writing of the New Testament. And the closer one gets in time to the origins of the NT, the more scarce the manuscript evidence becomes. [Text and Transmission in the Second Century' in Robert B. Stewart, The reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace in Dialogue, p. 61] This means we do not have much certainty over what the original text said and whether the text was changed significantly before it began to be reproduced in such large quantities. The fact that no two manuscripts of the New Testament anywhere in existence are alike shows that they have not been reliably copied. As for comparing writings, how does one choose between variations that change the meaning? It is a well known fact that a very old scribe's correction can lead to the definitive reproduction of the corrected text. A single word in a passage from John concerning the Paraclete radically alters its meaning and completely changes its sense when viewed from a theological point of view.

    We also have another problem. The New Testament manuscripts are classified as Alexandrian ('Neutral' or 'Egyptian'), Western, Caesarean and Byzantine ('Majority' or 'Syrian') according to their text-form. With regard to the Greek New Testament manuscripts that are available, some 80% to 90% represent the Byzantine or the 'Majority' text. The Byzantine text-type, almost universally considered to be the worst text-type in relation to preserving the "earliest attainable text" of the New Testament, is characterised by smoothing, conflation, harmonisation and outright fabrication. Therefore, using the numerical superiority of the New Testament manuscripts means acknowledging that a very large proportion of the witnesses are of the worst kind. This is why textual critics have chosen only a fraction of manuscripts (5% - 18%) for preparing the critical editions of the Greek New Testament. Therefore, the quantity of the manuscripts cannot veil the deficiency of their quality, and without a plausible quality, we will be forever distant from the lost original.

    Comparing the incredible amount of manuscript evidence has shown that the New Testament is 99.5% accurate,
    These percentages are almost always guesses and quoted from scholarship that is more than a century old. The modern day textual critics, who have discovered more manuscripts, give a very different picture of the accuracy of the New Testament. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland in their book, The Text Of The New Testament, compared the differences between seven popular critical editions of the New Testament, excluding orthographic differences and differences of only one word. They calculated that only 62.9% of the verses of the entire New Testament are in agreement with each other. If we focus on the four gospels, the percentage agreement of their verses is a mere 54.5% (very close to the probability that a head or tail appears when a coin is tossed). If we look at the textual 'certainty' of the United Bible Societies' The Greek New Testament, the result is close to 83.5%. There is no mention of 99.5% agreement here. Note that the NIV Bibles often used by missionaries and apologists are based on the very same critical editions of the New Testament by the very same people who have calculated the above percentages!

    and the vast majority of differences are in spelling or minor copyist errors.
    The above percentages of 62.9% and 83.5% excluded these minor spelling (orthographic) differences and differences of only one word, so this suggests significant differences. According to the Ecumenical Translation, two hundred and fifty other known parchments exist throughout the world, the last of these being from the Eleventh century A.D. 'Not all the copies of the New Testament that have come down to us are identical', however. 'On the contrary, it is possible to distinguish differences of varying degrees of importance between them, but however important they may be, there is always a large number of them. Some of these only concern differences of grammatical detail, vocabulary or word order. Elsewhere however, differences between manuscripts can be seen which affect the meaning of whole passages'.

    New and far older manuscripts are being discovered all the time. Even from what we do have there is ample very early evidence to support the Bible we currently have. Take the -Maurtoinan manuscript and Diatessaron both dated to dated to 170 AD.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murato...ki/Diatessaron
    Most of the earliest manuscripts are quite fragmentary, at times containing no more than a couple of verses or even less. The Muratorian fragment is just a list of most of the books of the New Testament. As for the Diatessaron, your link says 'the original text has not survived, but was reconstructed in 1881 by Theodor Zahn from translations and commentaries'. This is very far from being 'ample' evidence to support the current Bible.

    You contradict your own argument in quoting Dr. Klaus Junack and the 5000 manuscripts. He says “on occasion they also preserve readings from the early period.”
    Instead of only looking at the last half of his sentence, look at the comparison he is making. He says that out of 5000 manuscripts, 'the overwhelming majority of these are from the medieval and late medieval periods'. Only a small percentage date from the early period.

    Dr. Benjamin Warfield would disagree with Bart Erhman. He states "If we compare the present state of the text of the New Testament with that of no matter what other ancient work, we must...declare it marvellously exact."
    Dr. Benjamin Warfield was writing at least 100 years ago, when they had less manuscripts to compare with. The modern day textual critics, who have discovered more manuscripts, give a very different picture of the accuracy of the New Testament.

    And your Erhman quote that “even if scholars have succeeded in reconstructing the New Testament, this, in itself, has no bearing on the truthfulness of the message” also goes for Muslim claims on the truthfulness of the Quran.
    There is no comparison. The history of the Qur'an is known to us from the time of its revelation to the present day. The details of its transmission are clear with no vagueness, so there can be no doubt regarding the truthfulness of its message. The situation is drastically different for the New Testament, as manuscripts written by unknown people, in unknown circumstances, cannot make the case for an unaltered text or its originality, thus leaving us in the dark about its truthfulness.

    You have provided no proof of evidence from Harry Gambles claim about writers “ indulging in deliberate theological changes”. Until you do so it is simply a baseless claim. You quote Gamble - 'Complaints about the adulteration of texts are fairly frequent in early Christian literature.” What does this tell you ? It tells me the issue was well known and well debated and guarded against in the early Christian community.
    Harry Gamble is clearly contradicting you. He says that Christian texts were 'no more immune than others from vicissitudes of unregulated transmission... copyists must often have revised texts in accordance with their own perceptions... A great deal of early Christian literature was composed for the purpose of advancing a particular viewpoint amid the conflicts... Any text was liable to emendation in the interest of making it more pointedly serviceable in a situation of theological controversy.' This is obviously the opposite of being 'well known and well debated and guarded against'!

    As for deliberate theological changes, this is something proclaimed by Bible scholars themselves. Metzger affirms regarding intentional changes to the NT that these were of two types: 'those which involve the elimination or alteration of what was regarded as doctrinally unacceptable or inconvenient, and those which introduce into the Scriptures 'proof' for a favourite theological tenet or practice.' [B.M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, p.201]

    A summary of this type of alteration is provided by Williams, who refers to 'tendencious [sic], reverential and doctrinal alterations' which raise 'the most fascinating problems in the whole field of the textual criticism of the New Testament.' He offers examples of passages altered and omitted because they didn't fit with the theology of the scribes (including Luke 22:43 f. - omitted because of its christology; and 23:24 - omitted by scribes because Jesus' prayer had not been answered). [C.S.C. Williams, Alterations to the Text of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts, pp.5-9]

    Bart Ehrman mentions numerous examples. Take, for example, the debate surrounding Luke 3:22. The context of this is Jesus’ baptism by John: '...and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.' It is argued that 'in you I am well pleased' is actually an attempt to theologically correct an earlier reading, 'today I have begotten you.' This reflects the difference in theology between the Adoptionists who believed Jesus’ Sonship wasn't eternal but occurred at a specific moment, and those Christians who believed otherwise. Other examples are summarised in the conclusion to his book:
    Orthodox Christians of the second and third centuries opposed a number of individuals and groups who espoused docetic views of Christ. Of the various representatives of these views, we are best informed about the secessionists confronted by the author of 1 John, the unnamed opponents of Ignatius in Asia Minor, several groups of Gnostics attacked by a range of heresiologists, and, above all, Marcion of Pontus, the most infamous and influential dissident of the period.

    Although the docetic Christologies embraced by these various individuals and groups were not identical in every respect, they all denied that Christ was a real flesh and blood human being, a man who experienced pain and suffering, who actually shed blood and died, who was raised bodily from the dead and exalted to heaven. Some of these Christologies denied any kind of birth to Christ; they all denied a birth in which he received his body from a human mother. Many of the representatives of these views rejected the creation of the world as the act of an evil or inferior deity; most of them denied any real connection between this God, the God of the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ.

    The orthodox opposition to these views was not only read out of the texts of Scripture, it was also read into them—commonly in the process of interpretation, and occasionally in the process of transmission. Of the textual corruptions that resulted, some of the most interesting occur in texts that speak of the physical reality of Christ’s passion (e.g., Luke22:43-44; John 19:28; Matt 20:22, 23; 27:49; Mark 9:12) or of its salvific necessity and redemptive effect (e.g., Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11:23; Col1:14; Mark 14:22, 24; 1 Cor 15:50). They occur no less frequently in narratives of Jesus’ resurrection, passages that showed the orthodox that Jesus was actually raised in the body, making his post resurrection existence physical rather than numinous... The Western tradition itself, however, was by no means immune to such changes (cf. Luke 23:53; 24:37), which in any case were not restricted to the narratives of the Third Gospel (cf. Matt28:3; John 20:30).

    The orthodox belief in Jesus’ bodily ascension into heaven made an analogous impact on New Testament texts (Luke 24:51–52, Mark 16:4;19), as did the notion that he would return in judgment (1 John 2:28;Acts 20:31; Luke 23:42). Moreover, several orthodox modifications speak directly to the physical dimension of Christ’s existence (1 John 5:9, 20;Heb 2:14; Eph 5:30) or stress that he was “a man” (John 19:5; 7:46; Matt8:27) or emphasize his real physical birth (Gal 4:4; Rom 1:3). Finally, proto orthodox scribes occasionally modified their texts in order to link Christ more closely with the Old Testament and the God of Israel (John10:8; Rom 9:5; Gal 5:16, 17). In all of these textual modifications, great or small, we can detect the anonymous workings of proto orthodox scribes, unnamed Christians who were very much involved in the conflicts and struggles of their day. Despite the slight attention afforded these combatants in modern scholarship, the alterations they made in the text of the New Testament prove to be significant, not only in revealing the orthodox Christology in its early stages, but also in showing how this Christology came to be cemented in the evolving Christian tradition and thereby endowed with canonical authority. [Orthodox corruption of Scripture, pp. 241-242]

    You are wrong in claiming “enormous problems with using Greek manuscripts to figure out what the original Greek writing authors wrote. Most modern day Christian leaders are well versed in ancient Greek and Greek is one of the most grammatically precise ancient languages which leads to a high degree of accuracy in transmission and interpretation.
    You have misunderstood the point here: I was referring to your claim that you have 'very ancient translations directly from the Greek that give us a good sense of the Greek text'. I was pointing out that the manuscripts in these languages are themselves centuries after the originals. This is not about how well scholars are versed in ancient Greek. By the way, Bart Ehrman would disagree with your assessment of the Greek language leading to a 'high degree of accuracy in transmission and interpretation':
    The problem is even bigger, though, because some elements of Greek cannot be detected by means of translation. For example, there are lots of instances where two different Greek grammatical constructions of a sentence could theoretically be translated the *same* way in many of the versions. And so if you have two different grammatical ways of expressing a sentence for a verse in, say, John’s Gospels – -that is, some Greek manuscripts read one way, others another – and both readings could in theory be translated the *same* way in Latin, then the Latin manuscripts will not tell you which of the two ways was found in the original Latin translator. Isn’t textual criticism fun? Can We Reconstruct the Entire New Testament from Quotations of the Church Fathers? | The Bart Ehrman Blog

    Your point about “non professional” scribes is far from being “enormous” in the light of overall criteria for textual criticism. What exactly is your criteria for “professional”? Plus this is baseless until you provide evidence.
    These are the words of Philip Wesley Comfort: professor, writer, senior editor and expert on the Bible who specializes in textual criticism of the New Testament, in his book ['Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament', p.6]. Are you accusing your own Bible scholars of making baseless claims?

    And your point about Christians in the first century expecting the return of Jesus not realizing they were preserving a text for the future is equally weak. Please tell me why would they have copied the documents? And as said this negates neither the robustness of the canon criteria or the reliability of transmission.
    Professor Comfort explains, 'many of the papyri were produced by literate men who were working on a document that they knew would be used by a church for reading... but when these Christian scribes made copies of various parts of the NT, it is quite unlikely that they had much thought of preserving a piece of literature for the future...' Professor Comfort then goes on to mention that these scribes did not necessarily treat the NT as a sacred text, so some of them may have felt inspired to make 'adjustments'. This certainly does negate the reliability of transmission.

    Metzger writes, 'The writers of these apostolic Epistles, though confident that they speak with authority, reveal no consciousness that their words would come to be regarded as a permanent standard of doctrine and life in the Christian Church. They write for an immediate purpose, and just as they would have wanted to speak, had they been able to be present with those whom they address.' [The Canon of the New Testament, p.4]

    And” no hope of going back to the original text itself." Again nothing new or radical here.
    Are you sure? In your previous post you said, 'Altogether, we have at least 20,000 handwritten manuscripts in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic and other ancient languages that help us to determine the wording of the original'. Here you are being contradicted by the writers of the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible, and you say 'nothing new or radical'!

    Regarding the one million quotations of the New Testament by church fathers and your claim Church fathers didn’t have chapters and verses is evidence of your lack of Bible knowledge. You seem to be unaware that chapters and verses were only introduced into the Bible in the year 1560. And this has little bearing on the reliability of textual criticism.
    That is exactly the point - they didn't have chapters and verses in their time, therefore it makes it very difficult to know what they are referring to in their quotations - they could even quote something without telling you they are quoting it. This is related to the next point about reconstruction of the NT, because without having chapters and verses, you usually would have no way of knowing how the quotations were to be arranged, in what sequence, from beginning to end.

    There are other factors that affect reliability such as transmission. Ehrman says:
    The other set of problems unique to Patristic sources concerns the history of their own transmission. The MS traditions of virtually all the church fathers show that later copyists tend to "correct" quotations of the Bible to the form of text prevalent in their own day... Biblical citations in such sources do not necessarily represent the text of the Father, but often only known to his later copyists. [B. D. Ehrman, Didymus The Blind And The Text Of The Gospels, 1986, op. cit., p. 6]

    There are over 86,000 quotations of the New Testament in the early church fathers. There are also New Testament quotations in thousands of early church Lectionaries (worship books). There are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct all but 11 verses of the entire New Testament from material written within 150 to 200 years from the time of Christ.
    The popular statement that the New Testament can be reconstructed solely from the citations of the early Church Fathers is far-fetched for a number of reasons. In the previous point the lack of chapters and verses was mentioned. This point is highlighted by Bart Ehrman:
    Let me illustrate the problem. Imagine you decided to cut up a Charles Dickens novel with scissors, cutting out whole sentences sometimes (never more than two or three at once), but far more often just clauses or phrases. You then shuffle together the tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of scraps you have, and then you try to figure out how to arrange them to create the novel. You could do it if you already *have* the novel to compare the scraps to, but you couldn’t do it (or at least know that you had done it right) if you did *not* have the novel. So without the novel, you couldn’t reconstruct the novel. And what if you didn’t cut these scraps from a single book, but from hundreds of different copies of the novel, and each of the copies you used was different from each other? That’s what we have with the patristic citations. Can We Reconstruct the Entire New Testament from Quotations of the Church Fathers? | The Bart Ehrman Blog

    In addition, the patristic citations play no more than a 'supplementary and corroborative' role in today's critical editions of the New Testament, particularly in passages where the primary evidence (i.e. Greek manuscripts) is insufficient to reconstruct the text with absolute certainty. If we examine the evidential selection principles behind the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior, it becomes apparent that readings with exclusively Patristic support struggle to make it into the critical apparatus, let alone ever being considered as an actual verse of the Greek New Testament. If we check the UBS we will not come across any reading supported solely by the Church Fathers' citations.

    There is also the problem of Church fathers all quoting the passages of the New Testament in different ways, either because their own manuscripts of it differed from one another, or because they were quoting it from memory. It goes without saying that reminiscences and allusions are of less value to the textual critic than specific citations of the very words of the scriptural passage. Caspar Rene Gregory professes, 'the very earliest of the Christian writers did not make a point of quoting the New Testament with any precision.' [Canon and the Text of the New Testament, p.425]

    With specific regard to the Apostolic Father's quotations, their quotations are important as they are the only possible serious source that can allow us to really approach the original text of the NT. However, scholars have noted the deficiency both in their quantity as well as quality:
    Vincent Taylor says, 'Until about A.D. 150 the quotations are of little value for textual purposes.' [The Text of the New Testament, A Short Introduction, p.40]
    Frederic George Kenyon says, 'Quotations from the New Testament are found in the earliest writers of the sub-apostolic age, but they are so scanty as to be of little service for our present purpose.' [Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p.209]
    Bruce Metzger writes, 'The Apostolic Fathers seldom make express citations from New Testament writings.' [The Canon of the New Testament, Its Origin, Development and Significance, p.40]
    Marvin Vincent notes, 'The Apostolic Fathers are of little value for patristic quotation, since they do not so much quote as blend the language of the New Testament with their own.' [A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p.38]

    It is not surprising, therefore, that there are scholars who deny the hypothesis of being able to recreate the NT through patristic citations. A.T. Robertson stated that, 'some passages are not referred to at all by any writers,' [An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, P.132], and Scrivener, who gave a bitter testimony when he said, 'Many important passages of the New Testament have not been cited at all in any very ancient work now extant.' [A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Studies, p. 416]

    Your use of Bart Erhman is not strong. He has long been criticised as an example of a theologian who often takes a critical view with a very rigid form of fundamentalism which seeks mathematical certainty in matters of NT text. Erhman does not have a good understanding on what inspired text means or on understanding the complementary differences of the synoptic gospels. Erhman also places far too much emphasis on the variants within the text.
    These reasons for rejecting Ehrman are not strong. What is meant by seeking 'mathematical certainty' and not understanding what 'inspired text' means? These are very vague statements. Earlier you were praising Christians for criticising their scripture, yet here there is a problem with someone taking a 'critical view'.

    and the quote by Dionysius illustrates that early Christian leaders were adequately able to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate writings.
    Dionysius seems to be lamenting over changes made to scripture - there is no illustration of distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate writings. You seem to be reading into quotes whatever you want.

    If you read the Bible Epistles you will see the issue of false teachers was well known and exposed by the early apostles at the very beginning of Christianity. As a result they were exposed, refuted and the true message was safe guarded.
    Above we have seen many issues related to textual corruption and numerous statements from Bible scholars and even notes in Bible translations all showing that the true message could not have been safeguarded.

    Your evidence contradicts your point. Your lack of biblical knowledge and early church history throws your credibility out of the window.
    The same applies to your arguments about the Qur'an and your lack of knowledge regarding its preservation.

    Nothing new here that Christians didn’t know about and openly discuss long before the advent of Islam
    This seems to be your standard response to nearly every point, yet we can see that there are clearly new and troubling issues for Christians as reflected in the words of Christian scholars themselves.

    Your point about how a number of Christian scholars and textual critics have demonstrated that the Bible is certainly not as reliable as some would like to have me believe is equally true for you with the Muslim scholars I presented demonstrating the Quran is not as reliable as some would like to have you believe.
    It is not true at all because no Muslim scholar has made such claims and the only thing you presented was misquotation and deception. On the other hand, I have quoted renowned scholars of the Bible clearly indicating its unreliability.

    Regarding Al Azamis point Ive already discussed the criteria for the canon above.ie. Apostolicity (written by apostle or associate of), Catholicism (accepted widely) and Orthodoxy (theology was consistent with Jewish / Christian theology). It was such criteria that negates his argument.
    Simply quoting canon criteria is not a negation of Al-Azami's points which touched on multiple points. In any case, the issue of canon criteria was addressed earlier.

    I note you are fond of quoting Bart Erhman. In an interview where he was asked “How about a work on the Quran” he replies, “When I stop valuing my life that’s what I’ll do”. https://bible-quran.com/bart-ehrman/Why do you think he would say that Muhamad?
    Indeed, why would he say that when so many orientalists and Christian missionaries expend so much effort, research and publish numerous books with the misplaced aim of discrediting the Qur'an. Their arguments continue to be refuted by Muslim scholars in an open and academic environment.

    To conclude, let us mention an incident reported in Imām Al-Qurṭubī's Tafsir of the following verse of the Qur'an:

    Indeed, it is We who sent down the message [i.e., the Qur’ān], and indeed, We will be its guardian. [Qur'an 15:9]

    The ‘Abbāsī Khalīfah, al- Ma’mūn, was used to hosting occasional debates on intellectual issues at his court where all scholars were welcome. It so happened that a Jew came to attend one of these debates. By his looks, dress and manners, he seemed to be an elegant person. Then, his address during the debate was eloquent and intellectually bright. When the meeting was over, al-Ma’mūn called for him and asked him if he was an Israelite, which he confirmed. Al-Ma’mūn asked him to become a Muslim in which case he could hope to have the best possible treatment from him. He said that he was not willing to leave the religion of his forefathers which was his religion too. The matter ended there. That person went away. Then, after a year, the same person returned as a Muslim and made a very distinct contribution in the court meeting on the subject of Islamic jurisprudence. After the session was over al-Ma’mūn called for him and asked him if he was the same person who had come last year. He said: 'Yes, I am.' Al-Ma’mūn asked: 'At that time you had refused to accept Islām. Tell me what made you accept Islām now.' He said:
    When I went back from here, I decided to do some research on contemporary religions. I am a scribe. I write books and sell them. They bring a good price. This time I wanted to perform an experiment. First, I wrote three manuscripts of the Torah in which I made some additions and deletions of my own. I took these manuscripts to the Synagogue. The Jews found them interesting and bought them. Then, I did the same thing with the Injīl. I wrote three manuscripts, complete with my additions and deletions, and took them to the Church where the Christians were pleased with these manuscripts and bought them from me. After that, I tried the same thing with the Qur’ān. I wrote three good-looking manuscripts of the Qur’ān, of course with the usual additions and deletions of my own. When I went out to sell them, I faced a problem. Every buyer I went to would take the manuscript, look into it to determine if it was correct or not, and when he would notice additions or deletions made into it, he would throw it back at me. From this episode, I learnt my lesson that this Book is protected, and protected by Allāh تعالى Himself; therefore, I embraced Islām.
    Last edited by Muhammad; 2 Weeks Ago at 06:16 PM.
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