Andrew Rippin's response to the Yemeni Find (Re: Atlantic Monthly Article)

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ilo...@my-dejanews.com

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Jan 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/6/99
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Salaam,

I've emailed Andrew Rippin and to the best of his knowledge this is what he
has to say right now:

Some of the differences to be noted are of a type that affects the
consonantal shape of the words but may (or may not) inicate long vowels.
It's a similar situation that exists in the Uthmanic text where "qala",
he said, for example, can be written without the alif and thus allowing
the reading "qul", say. Some such readings make a lot of difference.
There are no short vowel markings on the early texts. There are also
some differences in the actual consonants written in places but not
enough study has been done to suggest whether these are "mistakes" in
these particular texts or whether they are readings which are, in fact,
to be preferred on text-critical grounds.

I am well aware, of course, that matters such as "text-critical" issues
have a negative reverberation among many/most Muslims. These are
scholarly issues of interest to a small number of people. One of the
problems of making this sort of research more widely available is that
the *intention* behind it becomes questioned rather than the results.

Salaam

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AbdulraHman Lomax

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Jan 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/10/99
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as-salamu 'alaykum.

ilo...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>I've emailed Andrew Rippin and to the best of his knowledge this is what he
>has to say right now:
>
> Some of the differences to be noted are of a type that affects the
> consonantal shape of the words but may (or may not) inicate long vowels.
> It's a similar situation that exists in the Uthmanic text where "qala",
> he said, for example, can be written without the alif and thus allowing
> the reading "qul", say. Some such readings make a lot of difference.

Yes, they can, which is why some writers would probably add them where
appropriate according to the reading. This is actually done in many
modern Qur'ans, especially those published in India or Pakistan. And
it would definitely be done with practice writing, either deliberately
(because the primary goal is correct pronunciation, not writing per
se) or inadvertently.

> There are no short vowel markings on the early texts. There are also
> some differences in the actual consonants written in places but not
> enough study has been done to suggest whether these are "mistakes" in
> these particular texts or whether they are readings which are, in fact,
> to be preferred on text-critical grounds.

In other words, so far, there is nothing of major significance to our
discussions of textual variation which Rippin could report. Still, I,
for one, would like to see the Yamani texts.

> I am well aware, of course, that matters such as "text-critical" issues
> have a negative reverberation among many/most Muslims. These are
> scholarly issues of interest to a small number of people. One of the
> problems of making this sort of research more widely available is that
> the *intention* behind it becomes questioned rather than the results.

Now, what would be interesting would be a variation, involving letters
other than alif, which was consistent across many suhuf. If one found
that, it would indicate a variant reading. If these suhuf were in
different hands, it would indicate agreement on such a reading. But
this is speculation at this point. My expectation is that if such
consistent variations are found, they will still represent no
significant variation in meaning from the received text. If this
expectation is denied by the evidence, there would indeed be
"reverberations."

The intention behind true research is nothing other than the service
of truth, beholden to no other god. wa huwa l-Haqq, and He is the
truth, wa huwa a'lamu bimaa fiy Sudurihim, and he knows best what is
in their hearts.

patience and truth, my brothers and sisters, truth and patience.


AbdulraHman Lomax
mar...@vom.com
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433
USA

Asad Khan

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Jan 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/10/99
to
Assalaam alaikum!

I've heard that it was practice among the Sahabah (R) to replace words in the
Quran with another word that to them made the meaning clearer, however all these
"Qurans" were destroyed and were never considered the Quran proper.

And Allah knows best.

Asad.

AbdulraHman Lomax

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Jan 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/11/99
to
as-salamu 'alaykum

Asad Khan <as...@nojunkemail.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>I've heard that it was practice among the Sahabah (R) to replace words in the
>Quran with another word that to them made the meaning clearer, however all these
>"Qurans" were destroyed and were never considered the Quran proper.

That synonymous usages were allowed is supported by many hadith, it
appears, including one in which the Prophet, SAS, was reported as
explicitly allowing it. It has been said that this is mutawaatir
(redundantly reported in such a way as to make it very unlikely that
it is not true). Generally, these hadith refer to recitation and do
not mention writing, but there is no reason to believe that the
writing was any more uniform than the reading.

It strikes me as unlikely that *all* these materials were burned; it
would have been quite difficult to collect absolutely every scrap.
Early fragments have survived which *may* be examples of them (such as
"Dr. Mingana's leaves," mentioned by Muhammad Ali in his introduction
to the Qur'an), but the Yemeni suhuf would probably not be from this
period. The discovery of the Yemeni hoard points out the possibility
that new materials may yet come to light.

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