Unchanged Quran ? (YES) Atlantic Reivew proved wrong

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Arshad

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May 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/12/99
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> On 7 May 1999, A. Sheraz wrote:
>
> > Recent archaelogical dig in southern Saudia Arabia recovered a "paper

> > grave" of early Qurans that escaped the notice for centuries.
>

<SNIPPED IRRELAVANT MATERIAL>

Jochen Katz said:
Also, the article was about manuscript findings in Sana, in Yemen....

Br. Rice said:
> You can read Br. Saifullah's very comprehensive article (via Dejanews)
at
>
> http://www.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=435507446&fmt=text

Well, I hardly would call that a comprehensive reply. Most of what he
stated had very little to do with the central issue of finding
manuscripts that seem somewhat different from the current Qur'an.

But it might be too early to draw too many conclusions. Let us
wait for the publication and evaluation of those manuscripts,
most of which has not been published yet. The Truth has nothing
to fear from archaeology.

Jochen Katz


Arshad responds:

Let me summarize what has happened so far. The above quote
from Sheraz is from the Atlantic Review magazine, an email
address is even given in the article of one of the researchers,
I happened to contact him but he didn't have much to say.

Two copies of the Quran from the time of Uthman (r.a.) can
be found in Turkey and in Russia. Pictures of this
Quran along with pictures of passage from this Quran can
be seen here:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/OLD_PICS_main.htm


I would like you all to read Ulum al Quran: An Introduction
to the Sciences of the Quran by Ahmad von Denffer

For your convience an older copy of it has been scanned and placed
here:
http://www.islamworld.net/UUQ/index.html


I am in the process of getting the new version which contains
two more chapters and putting it in its entirety on my web
site:
http://get.to/islam


It is interesting to note that the Atlantic Review article did
make reference to this book.

So let's examine the evidence, we have the original Quran which
all the companions UNANIMOUSLY agreed was the correct Quran sitting
in Turkey and in Russia today. (Several other copies existed from
this time period but if you read in the book it will tell you what
happened to them).

So how does that explain this dig in Yemen? When one reads Ulum al
Quran you will notice that some of the companions (r.a.) had thier
own versions of the Quran with some chapters out of order and in
some cases the pronunciation of certain words in thier versions changed
the meaning of the whole passage! (see chapter 2)

Now remember many of the companions (r.a.) had memorized the Quran
as well. So not only do we have memorisation of the complete
Quran but we have written versions kept by the companions. Finally
all this information was gathered and put together in one version
that was agreed UNANIMOUSLY by all the companions (r.a.) that this
Quran was correct, pronunciation and the order. It was also ordered
that all copies of other Qurans be burned.

It is interesting to note that this Yemeni Quran was discovered
in a vault, in other words it was hidden and locked away! This
means that whoever owned this copy didn't want others to know it.
Apparently this individual did not burn his false version of the
Quran as he was told to do so.

There is the story of the French who tried to change some verses
in the Quran and pass them off as real Qurans but they were
immediately thrown away, as they were proven to be false.

I'm sure some missionary out there has probably changed many of
the verses in the Quran and has put it in some safe, hoping someone
a few hundred years opens it up and says its the real Quran and it
has discrepencies.

Jochen Katz says the truth has nothing to fear from Archaeology,
I'm sure you now see how one can fool archaeology.


The bottomline is this: We have the original Quran's from Uthman's
time, 2 copies, one in Istanbul and the other in Russia, anything
else is meaningless. (Incidently the book Ulum al Quran makes mention
of the history of different copies of the Quran and where they
are located, excellent book).


Arshad

Trying to get to Islam?
Maybe this can help:
http://get.to/islam
http://www.jannah.com
http://www.islaam.com

p.s. We will examine later what might be the motives of
some individuals to pass this hoax off, for starters:

Bible scholars say:
* There are 50,000 errors in the Bible
* 82% of what is claimed to have been said by Jesus (pbuh)
in the Bible is false

This will be a topic for another discussion


jk...@math.gatech.edu

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May 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/13/99
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In article <7hd3jb$jq6$1...@waltz.rahul.net>,
Arshad <bah...@geocities.com> writes:

> Two copies of the Quran from the time of Uthman (r.a.) can
> be found in Turkey and in Russia. Pictures of this
> Quran along with pictures of passage from this Quran can
> be seen here:
>
> http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/OLD_PICS_main.htm

What is the evidence that they are from the time of Uthman?

And why is there full text not published in an easily accessible
format so that everyone can compare whether they are indeed
identical?

Probably they are not as old as claimed, as is carefully
researched in this article:

http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/chap7.html

> I would like you all to read Ulum al Quran: An Introduction
> to the Sciences of the Quran by Ahmad von Denffer

Which hardly answers the issue brought up by those new manuscript
finds, as this book was published long before the manuscripts
became an issue. That doesn't mean you don't need to read the book,
it only says that this book will probably not give much of an answer
to the issue raised in the article under discussion.

> So let's examine the evidence, we have the original Quran which
> all the companions UNANIMOUSLY agreed was the correct Quran sitting
> in Turkey and in Russia today.

Evidence? [not on the agreement, but that it is as old as you claim]
The agreement wasn't as unanimous either, but save that for another
time...


Jochen Katz

Arshad

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May 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/16/99
to

jk...@math.gatech.edu wrote:

> Arshad <bah...@geocities.com> writes:
>
> > Two copies of the Quran from the time of Uthman (r.a.) can
> > be found in Turkey and in Russia. Pictures of this
> > Quran along with pictures of passage from this Quran can
> > be seen here:
> >
> > http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/OLD_PICS_main.htm
>
> What is the evidence that they are from the time of Uthman?
>
> And why is there full text not published in an easily accessible
> format so that everyone can compare whether they are indeed
> identical?

It is an easy accessible format. The book is available for your
examination.
Just go to Turkey or Russia and compare for yourself. Can't get
much easier then having the whole source, now can you?


>
>
> Probably they are not as old as claimed, as is carefully
> researched in this article:
>
> http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/chap7.html

Carefully researched or carefully reworded to give a different meaning?

Quoting from the chapter you mentioned, emphasis mine:
--------------------------------------------------------
As virtually ALL the earliest Qur'an codices and fragments cannot be
dated
earlier than about one hundred and fifty years after the time of Muhammad

it would seem most improbable that portions of the Qur'an copied out at
Uthman's direction should have survived, least of all whole codices or
substantial sections thereof.


Now let me quote to you from Ulum al Quran by Ahmad von Denffer,
whom the author of your article used as one of his sources:
;---------------------------------------------------
MOST of the early original Qur'an manuscripts, complete or
in sizeable fragments, that are still available to us now, are not
earlier than the second century after the Hijra

;-----------------------------------------------
In the first case Gilchrist wants to fool the reader in believing that
ALL
the earliest Qurans upto 150 years after the death of the Prophet (SAW)
do not exist when clearly this is not the case.

For example:
There is a copy of the Qur'an in the Egyptian National
Library on parchment made from gazelle skin, which has been
dated 68 Hijra (688 A.D.), i.e. 58 years after the Prophet's
death.

A friend of mine had an opportunity to see this Quran.

>
>
> > I would like you all to read Ulum al Quran: An Introduction
> > to the Sciences of the Quran by Ahmad von Denffer
>
> Which hardly answers the issue brought up by those new manuscript
> finds, as this book was published long before the manuscripts
> became an issue. That doesn't mean you don't need to read the book,
> it only says that this book will probably not give much of an answer
> to the issue raised in the article under discussion.
>

It certainly does answer the issue. I ask that the people here read Ulum
al
Quran by Ahmad von Denffer which has been scanned and put up here:

http://www.islamworld.net/UUQ/

A new version of the book with the addition of 2 more chapters will
be put up shortly insha'Allah here:
http://get.to/islam

In the previous posting here I explained how these manuscripts were
hoaxes. The order was given to burn all the false Qurans, and
apparently someone didn't burn his copy and kept it in a vault.

>
> > So let's examine the evidence, we have the original Quran which
> > all the companions UNANIMOUSLY agreed was the correct Quran sitting
> > in Turkey and in Russia today.
>
> Evidence? [not on the agreement, but that it is as old as you claim]
> The agreement wasn't as unanimous either, but save that for another
> time...
>

The writer of the History of the Mushaf of 'Uthmtln in
Tashkent gives a number of reasons for the authenticity of the
manuscript. They are, excluding the various historical reports
which suggest this, as follows:

- The fact that the mushaf is written in a script used in the
first half of the first century Hijra.

- The fact that it is written on parchment from a gazelle,
while later Qur'ans are written on paper-like sheets.

- The fact that it does not have any diacritical marks which
were introduced around the eighth decade of the first
century; hence the manuscript must have been written
before that.

- The fact that it does not have the vowelling symbols
introduced by Du'all, who died in 68 Hijra; hence it is
earlier than this.

In other words: two of the copies of the Qur'an which were
originally prepared in the time of Caliph 'Uthman, are still
available to us today and their text and arrangement can be
compared, by anyone who cares to, with any other copy of the
Qur'an, be it in print or handwriting, from any place or period
of time. They will be found identical.

>
> Jochen Katz

mar...@vom.com

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
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as-salaamu ^alaykum

Arshad <bah...@geocities.com> wrote:

[Jochen Katz had written:]


>> And why is there full text not published in an easily accessible
>> format so that everyone can compare whether they are indeed
>> identical?
>
>It is an easy accessible format. The book is available for your
>examination.
>Just go to Turkey or Russia and compare for yourself. Can't get
>much easier then having the whole source, now can you?

I know a number of people who have seen the Topkapi ms. in Turkey.
None of them have been able to get close enough to read it.

We have a photocopy of the Tashkent, made in Russia in 1905, however.
I am nearly finished with a relatively inexpensive book presenting it.

However, the Tashkent is in poor condition; indeed, most of it is
missing. Nevertheless, what is there is *almost* identical to modern
copies, given that the vowelling is not present and it is mostly
undotted. But it *does* have dots (short strokes, actually, following
modern orthography) in some places.

It had been written:

>> > So let's examine the evidence, we have the original Quran which
>> > all the companions UNANIMOUSLY agreed was the correct Quran sitting
>> > in Turkey and in Russia today.

We do not have sufficient evidence to be able to say that, when it
comes to the level of exact letter-by-letter correspondence.

In fact, the Tashkent contains variations from the modern text. They
are not large, but they do exist. Some authors have stated that it is
completely identical (including Dennfer, at least as an implication),
but this was obviously based on an incomplete examination or on
hearsay.

>The writer of the History of the Mushaf of 'Uthmtln in
>Tashkent gives a number of reasons for the authenticity of the
>manuscript. They are, excluding the various historical reports
>which suggest this, as follows:
>
>- The fact that the mushaf is written in a script used in the
> first half of the first century Hijra.

This is highly controversial. First of all, the Tashkent is written in
more than one style. *Some* of it may indeed be Mashq, though I am
certainly not an expert. Some of it is regular Kufic, which is
probably of later provenance.

>- The fact that it is written on parchment from a gazelle,
> while later Qur'ans are written on paper-like sheets.

Again, some of it is on parchment and some on paper. We may speculate
at this time that the parchment is original and the paper is later
repair, but no good study has been done, and I have no means of
distinguishing which parts are paper and which parts are parchment.

>- The fact that it does not have any diacritical marks which
> were introduced around the eighth decade of the first
> century; hence the manuscript must have been written
> before that.

It has diacritical marks in many places.

>- The fact that it does not have the vowelling symbols
> introduced by Du'all, who died in 68 Hijra; hence it is
> earlier than this.

This is a non sequitur. A manuscript may be written later than the
introduction of a new scheme, and, in fact, this is often done with
sacred texts out of a reluctance to change them, even in seemingly
inconsequential details. We know that there was some objection to the
introduction of diacritical remarks. So this piece of evidence is
inconclusive. Many later texts also have no vowelling marks, I
understand.

>In other words: two of the copies of the Qur'an which were
>originally prepared in the time of Caliph 'Uthman, are still
>available to us today and their text and arrangement can be
>compared, by anyone who cares to, with any other copy of the
>Qur'an, be it in print or handwriting, from any place or period
>of time. They will be found identical.

(1) We have no clear evidence demonstrating that the two copies in
question are actually 'Uthmanic.

(2) There is some evidence that the Tashkent is *not* 'Uthmanic, at
least that part of it is not.

(3) It is not completely identical. It shows the kinds of variations
which are always found in handwritten copies of a book.

However, it is very close to the modern text.

I do not know of anyone who has been able to examine the Topkapi
manuscripts in detail, and no photocopies of it have been published,
again, as far as I know. This has been stated here in s.r.i. many
times, and, so far, no one has come up with evidence to show
otherwise.


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

mar...@vom.com

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
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mar...@vom.com

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May 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/20/99
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Arshad

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May 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/29/99
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mar...@vom.com wrote:

> as-salaamu ^alaykum
>

Walaikum asalaam,


>
> Arshad <bah...@geocities.com> wrote:
>
> I know a number of people who have seen the Topkapi ms. in Turkey.
> None of them have been able to get close enough to read it.
>

What does that prove? That you know some people that didn't get
permission to see it?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Why did you delete
the link I gave of the pictures from this Quran?

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/OLD_PICS_main.htm

>
> We have a photocopy of the Tashkent, made in Russia in 1905, however.
> I am nearly finished with a relatively inexpensive book presenting it.
>

The one from Tashkent I don't know what condition it is in, so I can't
say.
I did post pictures and the information from the one in Turkey.

The final 2 chapters of the new version of Deffner's book have been
scanned and insha'Allah I will have that up soon.

<SNIPPED IRRELEVANT INFORMATION>


> >> > So let's examine the evidence, we have the original Quran which
> >> > all the companions UNANIMOUSLY agreed was the correct Quran sitting
> >> > in Turkey and in Russia today.
>
> We do not have sufficient evidence to be able to say that, when it
> comes to the level of exact letter-by-letter correspondence.
>

Perhaps you should follow the same advice I gave to Jochen Katz, and that
is to read the book I posted. To make it easier on you I even gave the
URL
of a site that has the older edition up:

http://www.islamworld.net/UUQ/

Ulum al Quran by Ahmad von Denffer

>


> In fact, the Tashkent contains variations from the modern text. They
> are not large, but they do exist. Some authors have stated that it is
> completely identical (including Dennfer, at least as an implication),
> but this was obviously based on an incomplete examination or on
> hearsay.
>

This was OBVIOUSLY based on an incomplete examination
or on hearsay?

You just admitted before that the people you know couldn't
examine this version of the Quran. If in fact they could not examine
it or have any proof how can you say OBVIOUSLY there are variations?

This is pure nonsense.

Apparently you have not read Denffer's book otherwise you would
not be making such wild claims.


> >- The fact that it is written on parchment from a gazelle,
> > while later Qur'ans are written on paper-like sheets.
>
> Again, some of it is on parchment and some on paper. We may speculate
> at this time that the parchment is original and the paper is later
> repair, but no good study has been done, and I have no means of
> distinguishing which parts are paper and which parts are parchment.
>

The pictures of the one in Turkey looked like they were of one
material.

There is no need for speculation, my suggestion to you is to contact
the author and read the book, instead of giving your wild baseless
accusations.


>
> >- The fact that it does not have any diacritical marks which
> > were introduced around the eighth decade of the first
> > century; hence the manuscript must have been written
> > before that.
>
> It has diacritical marks in many places.
>

Well if it does then apparently you are looking at something different,
then

aren't you?

Certainly the pictures from the Uthman Quran in Turkey had no
diacritical marks on thier pages and Denffer verified this.

Again I ask you to read the book, and to stop making wild baseless
accusations.

>
> >In other words: two of the copies of the Qur'an which were
> >originally prepared in the time of Caliph 'Uthman, are still
> >available to us today and their text and arrangement can be
> >compared, by anyone who cares to, with any other copy of the
> >Qur'an, be it in print or handwriting, from any place or period
> >of time. They will be found identical.
>
> (1) We have no clear evidence demonstrating that the two copies in
> question are actually 'Uthmanic.

We certainly do, we have evidence from an expert Ahmad Denffer and
pictures of the text and countless references.


On the other hand what proof do you have? You have made some
wild baseless accusations and given no proof! This is clearly a waste
of people's time.


> (2) There is some evidence that the Tashkent is *not* 'Uthmanic, at
> least that part of it is not.

Other then your wild claims with no proof, do you have
any evidence?

> I do not know of anyone who has been able to examine the Topkapi
> manuscripts in detail, and no photocopies of it have been published,
> again, as far as I know. This has been stated here in s.r.i. many
> times, and, so far, no one has come up with evidence to show
> otherwise.

Your baseless accusations and wild speculations have proved
nothing. It is unfortunate that SRI readers had to read these
baseless accusations.

Now then, from personal experience, I know that the Quran dated
to be in the year 68 A.H. in Egypt on Gazelle skin mentioned in Denffer's
book is in fact in
the mueseum in Egypt and a colleague at work had an opportunity
to go take a look at it a few weeks ago.


>
> AbdulraHman Lomax

Arshad

Trying to get to Islam?

Then try: http://get.to/islam

mar...@vom.com

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Jun 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/2/99
to
as-salaamu ^alaykum

Arshad <bah...@geocities.com> wrote:

[I had written:]

>>
>> I know a number of people who have seen the Topkapi ms. in Turkey.
>> None of them have been able to get close enough to read it.
>>

[and he replied:}


>
>What does that prove? That you know some people that didn't get
>permission to see it?
>
>They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Why did you delete
>the link I gave of the pictures from this Quran?
>
>http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/OLD_PICS_main.htm

Not for any particular reason. I frequently delete material from posts
to which I am responding. I wish others would do the same, more often
than they do. It is only offensive when it results in an alteration of
meaning. Otherwise it is merely good editing, or, at worst, dumb. As
it happened, I had not checked the web site, for lack of time. This
time, I did.

Arshad has made a mistake. His web site does not contain any text from
the Topkapi ms. It does contain a rather fuzzy photo of the book,
probably taken from somewhat the same distance as my friends.

>From that photo, we can tell that the book is in quite good condition,
unlike the Tashkent. This actually, in the absence of other evidence,
would tend to lead to the conclusion that the book is not an original
'Uthmanic manuscript. It is *highly* unlikely that such a book would
survive without more damage than is shown. Take your average book and
let it sit around for a thousand years and it will be a pile of
fragments, unless it is held in very good conditions. And books which
are being used fall apart.

>> We have a photocopy of the Tashkent, made in Russia in 1905, however.
>> I am nearly finished with a relatively inexpensive book presenting it.
>>
>
>The one from Tashkent I don't know what condition it is in, so I can't
>say.
>I did post pictures and the information from the one in Turkey.

There were two photographs on the site which are merely reproductions
of what is in Dennfer's book. Arshad should realize that I have a copy
of the entire Tashkent ms. as it was in 1905. (It is said that some
pieces have been taken from it since then.)

>The final 2 chapters of the new version of Deffner's book have been
>scanned and insha'Allah I will have that up soon.

I have the 1983 edition. It will be interesting to see what more
Dennfer will say. But see below.

>> >> > So let's examine the evidence, we have the original Quran which
>> >> > all the companions UNANIMOUSLY agreed was the correct Quran sitting
>> >> > in Turkey and in Russia today.
>>
>> We do not have sufficient evidence to be able to say that, when it
>> comes to the level of exact letter-by-letter correspondence.
>>
>
>Perhaps you should follow the same advice I gave to Jochen Katz, and that
>is to read the book I posted. To make it easier on you I even gave the
>URL
>of a site that has the older edition up:
>
>http://www.islamworld.net/UUQ/
>
>Ulum al Quran by Ahmad von Denffer

It appears that this work is posted without a copyright notice, but
the original is copyright 1983 by The Islamic Foundation. Arshad may
be in violation of copyright law...

Anyway, I have the original and I have already read it, and not just
once.

>> In fact, the Tashkent contains variations from the modern text. They
>> are not large, but they do exist. Some authors have stated that it is
>> completely identical (including Dennfer, at least as an implication),
>> but this was obviously based on an incomplete examination or on
>> hearsay.
>>
>
>This was OBVIOUSLY based on an incomplete examination
>or on hearsay?

Yes, obviously. It is not also obvious how I could say that?

If I have two books in front of me, and a person says that he has
looked at them and that they are "completely identical," or merely
says the latter without saying the former, what would bring me to say
that this persons comment is "obviously based on an incomplete
examination or on hearsay"?

Would it not be the fact that I have myself seen differences?

I've written about this in the past in soc.religion.islam, and noted
exactly where one of these differences is. It is very clear. It is
also without any significant effect on meaning.

this is one difference:

huwa min ^indi llah inna llaha yarzuqu man yashaa'

which is the received text, and means:

It is from [the presence of] God. God provisions whom he wills.

(This is what Maryam, AS, says to Zakariya, when he asks her why she
has food with her in the mihraab. For lack of time, I haven't
transcribed it from the Qur'aan but from memory, but I just looked to
get the verse number and it is 3:36.

The Tashkent has the same *except* inna llah is omitted, and thus it
would be translated:

It is from [the presence of] God, he provisions whom he wills.

>You just admitted before that the people you know couldn't
>examine this version of the Quran. If in fact they could not examine
>it or have any proof how can you say OBVIOUSLY there are variations?

I said it all before, but Arshad appears so convinced that he is right
that he imagines contradictions in what I have said. *I have examined
the Tashkent photocopies myself; I'm not depending on my friends.*

This variation is in the Tashkent, which I have consistently said, not
in the Topkapi ms. Arshad should realise that when one writes for
s.r.i., the writing is broadcast all over the world. This is nice if
what one writes is clear and helpful, and less than pleasant when one
realized that one has just made a very public mistake.

Caution befits believers.

>This is pure nonsense.
>
>Apparently you have not read Denffer's book otherwise you would
>not be making such wild claims.

Arshad gets himself in deeper.

>> >- The fact that it is written on parchment from a gazelle,
>> > while later Qur'ans are written on paper-like sheets.
>>
>> Again, some of it is on parchment and some on paper. We may speculate
>> at this time that the parchment is original and the paper is later
>> repair, but no good study has been done, and I have no means of
>> distinguishing which parts are paper and which parts are parchment.
>>
>
>The pictures of the one in Turkey looked like they were of one
>material.

The pictures on the web site are not from Turkey, they are from the
Topkapi ms, the same ms. as I have. And one cannot tell about the
material on which an entire book is written merely be examining two
pages! It is known that some of the Tashkent is on parchment and there
is some paper repair. We do not know which pages are parchment and
which are paper. Further, those photographs are not of the book
itself, but of a facsimile edition done in Russia in 1905, and they
are very high-contrast, pure black and white. It is impossible to tell
if the material is uniform or not from these photos. But other pages
show many interesting phenomena. Some pages are very sloppily written,
others are very clear, clean, and regular.

>There is no need for speculation, my suggestion to you is to contact
>the author and read the book, instead of giving your wild baseless
>accusations.

Ah, one of these days I will put up photos of that page on the web. As
it is, I have faxed it to one scholar; I also gave a copy of the
entire ms. to another.

>> >- The fact that it does not have any diacritical marks which
>> > were introduced around the eighth decade of the first
>> > century; hence the manuscript must have been written
>> > before that.
>>
>> It has diacritical marks in many places.
>>
>
>Well if it does then apparently you are looking at something different,
>then aren't you?

Obviously that is one possibility. But my copy contains the exact same
pages as Dennfer's pictures.

>Certainly the pictures from the Uthman Quran in Turkey had no
>diacritical marks on thier pages and Denffer verified this.

Arshad continues to repeat his error. The URL he gives has photos from
the Tashkent, not the Topkapi. And Dennfer does not say that he has
personally verified any of this. He goes on for a while with the same
broken record...

>> >In other words: two of the copies of the Qur'an which were
>> >originally prepared in the time of Caliph 'Uthman, are still
>> >available to us today and their text and arrangement can be
>> >compared, by anyone who cares to, with any other copy of the
>> >Qur'an, be it in print or handwriting, from any place or period
>> >of time. They will be found identical.
>>
>> (1) We have no clear evidence demonstrating that the two copies in
>> question are actually 'Uthmanic.
>
>We certainly do, we have evidence from an expert Ahmad Denffer and
>pictures of the text and countless references.

First of all, Dennfer is not an expert in this field, as near as I can
tell. He appears to have published no scholarly papers; the book 'Ulum
al-Qur'an is a good and useful book, but it is not a scholarly work;
it is a popular presentation of some of the facts about the Qur'an,
written for a general audience.

Secondly, the text of the Tashkent is reputed to be in Kufic. Is
Dennfer reffering to this when he says about it that "the muSHaf is


written in a script used in the first half of the first century

Hijra?"

As has often been pointed out by our critics, the Tashkent would not
have been written in Kufic. I showed a calligraphy expert the text of
the Tashkent and his opinion was that it was not 'Uthmanic; he expects
that the 'Uthmanic manuscripts would have been written in another
script, perhaps what is called mashq or ma'il.

Now, "mashq" simply means "sloppy writing." And some of the Tashkent,
which my friend may have overlooked -- and I was not so familiar with
the manuscript when I showed it to him -- is indeed in a *very* sloppy
hand. But is this part of the original or is it part of a later clumsy
repair? We do not know at this time.

If it is original, those few pieces *might* be from an 'Uthmanic
muSHaf. But, if so, the handwriting is rather embarrassing.
Nevertheless, our earliest scribes of the Qur'an may have been
concerned, it appears, with other things than beauty of script.

>On the other hand what proof do you have? You have made some
>wild baseless accusations and given no proof! This is clearly a waste
>of people's time.

Actually, it is Arshad who has given no proof. Personal testimony
based on eyewitness is a shari'a proof. Reference to others is not,
unless those references are themselves based on eyewitness, and then
they are somewhat weaker than would be direct witnessing, how much
weaker depends on the reliability of the primary and secondary
witness.

I strongly hope to have my presentation of the Tashkent done this
month. Then anyone will be able to see for themselves what is
identical to modern texts and what is not. Of course, one could claim
that the photocopies were forgeries, but, if so, they were forgeries
made by a Russian scholar in 1905; and then we would be left with no
knowledge abou the Tashkent at all, since nearly all we know about it
comes from him and his publication.

Of course, someone may at any time examine the originals, if
permission can be obtained, and then we might come to know much more.
But until much more research is done, we cannot say that the Tashkent
is 'Uthmanic. The opinion of the early researchers was that is
"probably from the first century Hijra."

It has no vowel marks and only some pages (some of the well-written
ones) have what we now call "dots." (They are short strokes
paralleling the top of points, thus distinguishing baa, taa, and thaa,
and, indirectly, nuwn and hamza. It is possible that these were added
later, though I somewhat doubt it from the way they appear. It is more
likely, in my view, that the entire pages were added later, as
repairs. This is another question that could rather easily be answered
by direct examination.)

By the way, the textual variation I noted above is on a page which
does not have dots.

I have elsewhere written that it would be astonishing to find that
there was *exact* agreement of a complete 'Uthmanic text with modern
readings, if such comes to be found. It is a tremendous task to
produce a manuscript the size of the Qur'an with no errors; the
'Uthmanic copies, it seems from the reports, were not prepared with
the necessary care. (Rather, it is likely that written copies checked
by reciting from the text while those who knew the Qur'aan listened.
This will discover most, but not all, errors, because of the
phenomenon that a person who knows a text will frequently miss small
errors in the reading of it; the mind tends to insert what it knows,
particularly where there is any ambiguity in pronunciation.)

Modern Qur'anic proofreaders, after the development of great concern
about accuracy and the arising of a class of scholars concerned with
such things, charge, I am told, about $30,000 U.S. to proofread a new
copy of the Qur'an, and they are not well-paid, I am fairly sure. And
even then mistakes are made.

In fact, elsewhere in Dennfer (footnote, p. 56) it is noted the report
from Ibn Abi Dawud that the 'Uthmanic copies did in fact contain
variations from the Qur'aan of the reciters, which were corrected
under al-Hajjaj.

(Which suggests to me that I should obtain a list of allegedly
corrected verses from Ibn Abi Dawud and determine if they are present
in the Tashkent.... I have done this with the two corrections that
Dennfer cites, and found that they would have been in the missing
pages. I have previously published in s.r.i. the list of verses
present in the Tashkent, and I can send it on request, so if anyone
with access to Ibn Abi Dawud cares to look at this, I'd certainly
appreciate more information.)

>> (2) There is some evidence that the Tashkent is *not* 'Uthmanic, at
>> least that part of it is not.
>
>Other then your wild claims with no proof, do you have
>any evidence?

Okay. First of all, I consider that it is *possible*, but not proven,
that parts of the ms. are 'Uthmanic. But the evidence that part of it
is not 'Uthmanic I have already mentioned. Some of is in clear,
regular, pure Kufic, and some of these pages are dotted. It is highly
unlikely that these pages are 'Uthmanic.

A thorough study of the text as we have it remains to be done. I can
read this text, but with difficulty; I have examined every page, but I
have not *read* every page, and even less have I compared it with a
modern text. Because it is mostly unmarked, and the variant readings
of the Qur'an mostly deal with marks of one kind or another, it may
not be possible to identify it with a particular reading. The true
letter variations in the readings are rare, and none of the verses
containing them are in the parts of the Tashkent that remain. Have I
mentioned that the manuscript is far from complete?

>> I do not know of anyone who has been able to examine the Topkapi
>> manuscripts in detail, and no photocopies of it have been published,
>> again, as far as I know. This has been stated here in s.r.i. many
>> times, and, so far, no one has come up with evidence to show
>> otherwise.
>
>Your baseless accusations and wild speculations have proved
>nothing. It is unfortunate that SRI readers had to read these
>baseless accusations.

What is unfortunate is that some persons may be deluded by what Arshad
has written into thinking that something is true which is not true, or
that something is false which is not false, or that something is
proven that has not been proven. All of these are dangers. I have
already shown that on the face Arshad's comments are in error. The web
page he references does not contain photos from the Topkapi
manuscript, but only a single unclear view of the whole book. The
pages which can be read are from the Tashkent.

I first obtained a copy of the Tashkent from a source which obtained
it from one of the Pisareff copies in London. My publication, however,
is mostly taken -- except for some additional material -- from M.
Hamidullah's Philadelphia latest Philadelphia reprint of the Pisareff.
I did this because the photocopies I have from London sometimes have
an edge shaved off because of sloppy copying.

>Now then, from personal experience, I know that the Quran dated
>to be in the year 68 A.H. in Egypt on Gazelle skin mentioned in Denffer's
>book is in fact in
>the mueseum in Egypt and a colleague at work had an opportunity
>to go take a look at it a few weeks ago.

Dennfer does not consider that manuscript to be 'Uthmanic; he says
about it that "it is quite possible that it was copied from the MuSHaf
of 'Uthman."

I assume that by "personal experience" Arshad means that he has
himself seen this copy, not that he has personally dated it to 68 H.

Dennfer does not state how the ms. was dated, only that it "has been
dated." This is an example of how Dennfer has not written a scholarly
work; rather his book is a popular summary.

Dennfer makes an obvious error (or reports the claim of another), by
the way, when he claims that the ms. does not have diacritical marks
or vowelling, and must therefore have been written before the dates
when these were known to be introduced.

I have samples of Arabic written in this century that do not contain
diacritical marks or voweling, which, I think, points out the
absurdity of such a conclusion.

The existence of those marks would indicate that the ms. was probably
written at or after the time of the introduction of the writing
innovations, but the absence of them does not even strongly imply that
it was written earlier, since it takes time for innovations to find
general usage.

Adnan

unread,
Jun 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/3/99
to

On 2 Jun 1999 13:08:16 -0700, in soc.religion.islam you wrote:

>As has often been pointed out by our critics, the Tashkent would not
>have been written in Kufic. I showed a calligraphy expert the text of
>the Tashkent and his opinion was that it was not 'Uthmanic; he expects
>that the 'Uthmanic manuscripts would have been written in another
>script, perhaps what is called mashq or ma'il.

I saw a video on IslamicCity site called "Preservation of the Holy Quran,"
http://www.islam.org/islamicity/Video/ibts3.ram,
and in it they claim that Uthmanic manuscripts were written in Kufic scripts.

Furthermore, 'Abdur-Raheem Green in his debate with Jay Smith said this
regarding Kufic script: http://idt.net/~balboa19/smith/joseph.doc

"To begin with the quote of a Muslim, al-Kalkashandi, he maintains (Kitab
al-A'sha 3/p.15) that Kufic is said to have been the earliest script from which
the others developed, he writes: "The Arabic script (khatt) is the one which is
now known as Kufic. From it evolved all the present pens." This is a very
profound statement as its findings differ greatly from Smith's assertions!
Though Nabia Abbott's conclusions perhaps may not go so far as to agree ad totum
with this conclusion we find that she does say: "...the Muslim tradition that
the original Arabic script was Kufic (that is, Hiran or Anbaran) is one of those
statements which, though known to be half wrong, may yet be half right."
[Abbott, Rise and Development, p.17]

The terms that came to be applied to these scripts by early Arabs themselves
could not have the chronological significance that some later Arabs and most
Western writers have put to them. For is it the case that the name of a thing
(e.g. Kufic) necessarily indicates its ultimate origin? The fact is that the
script which later came to be known as Kufic has its origin far earlier than the
founding of the town of Kufah. Atiq Siddiqui writes: "The Kufic or the angular
variety of the Arabic script, has been traced about a hundred years before the
foundation of the town Kufa, 638CE (AH17) to which place the style owes its
name." [Siddiqui, The Story of Islamic Calligraphy, p.9]

That is to say, the town was founded in AH17, and the Kufic style originated 100
years before that time! Where does this leave Smith's theory. This conclusion is
agreed upon by other writers; we read in 'The Splendour of Islamic Calligraphy':
"However, Kufic script cannot have originated in Kufa, since that city was
founded in 17/638, and the Kufic script is known to have existed before that
date." [Sijelmasi and Khatibi, The Splendour of Islamic Calligraphy, p.97]

Smith's arbitrary dating of the origins of this script also contradicts early
coin and rock inscriptions which have been commented upon by Western writers,
some of them being:

31AH
Tombstone of Abdar-Rahman ibn Khair al-Hajari.
Nabia Abbott writes: "The earliest Muslim inscription, the tombstone of
Abdar-Rahman ibn Khair al-Hajari, dated 31/652... It is certainly not Makkan and
can safely be considered as poor Kufic." [Abbott, Rise and Development, p.19]

pre 93AH
The milestone, dated from the time of the Caliph Abdal-Malik (reign 685 -
705CE), written in Kufic script. [see Welch, Calligraphy in the Arts of the
Muslim World, p.44]

107AH
Umayyad coin, minted in Damascus, inscribed in early Kufic script. The
inscription reads: "There is none worthy of worship but Allah, He is One and has
no partner" [British Museum, Room 34]

108AH
Umayyad coin, minted at Wasit, Iraq, inscribed in early Kufic script. The
inscription reads: "There is none worthy of worship but Allah, He is One and has
no partner" [British Museum, Room 34]

These dates alone are from between 60 years to 140 years before the period to
which Smith alludes!

Smith insists that if the Qur'an had in fact been first compiled in the Hijaz
during the Caliphate of Uthman then it we should expect it have been written in
one of two other scripts, amongst which he names the Mashq script. Little does
he realise that the Mashq script itself had its origins in the same region
(Iraq) as the Kufic. Why then should the Kufic script be excluded from its usage
especially now that we have shown its early origin?

Baladhuri's account of the origins and spread of the North Arabic script [Futuh
al-Buldaan, pp.471-74] points, as do other sources, to Hirah as the seat of the
North Arabic script by the close of the 5th century. What is of note here is
that it is the Hiran (or Anbaran) script which later came to be classified as
the Kufic. Abbott writes: "...Kufah and Basrah did not start their careers as
Muslim cities until the second decade of Islam But these cities were located
closer to Anbar and Hirah in Irak, Kufah being but a few miles south of Hirah.
We have already seen the major role the two earlier cities played in the
evolution of Arabic writing, and it is but natural to expect them to have
developed a characteristic script to which the newer cities of Kufah and Basrah
fell heir, so that for Kufic and Basran script one is tempted to substitute
Anbaran and Hiran... our study so far shows that the script of Hirah must have
been the leading script in the 6th century and as such must have influenced all
later scripts, including the Makkan - Madinan." [Nabia Abbott, Rise and
Development, pp.6-7]

The city of Kufah therefore inherited and took on the script which was already
prevailing in Hirah. The script, as we have mentioned, which was later to be
titled as Kufic.

Baladhuri states further that Bishr ibn Abdul-Malik, a Christian, used to
frequent Hirah, where he learned to write Arabic. Later Bishr came to Makkah and
taught the writing there. Abbott in discussing the Makkan, Madinan, Kufic and
Basran scripts highlights that: "...one need hardly expect any spectacular
variations in the scripts of these four leading cities, for as we have already
seen, increased activities in writing in Makkah and Madinah date from the days
of Bishr (note: approx 500CE), who avowedly taught the script he had himself
learned in Hirah. Thus a fundamental similarity of the four scripts is to be
expected." [Abbott, ibid, p.18]

The use, therefore, of a script which was later recognised as Kufic in the Hijaz
during the time of the Prophet and after is no surprise since Bishr, who himself
had learnt this script from its point of origin in Hirah, had already begun to
teach it in the Hijaz some 100 years earlier!

Smith also argues that it is the view of both Martin Lings and Yasin Safadi that
the Kufic script 'did not appear until late into the eighth century (790's and
later).' It is difficult to see how this view can be ascribed to Safadi because
he himself, in his work 'Islamic Calligraphy' (p.11), details the tombstone from
the period of the Caliph Abdal-Malik (see above) which he describes as being in
the Kufic script. This is a minimum of 80 years before the date which Smith
ascribes to Safadi. Safadi writes: "The Kufic script, which reached perfection
in the second half of the eight century..." [ibid, p.10]. Can we then assume
from this, taking into account the previous evidence, that Safadi held the
belief that the script first originated at this time? No, rather he is clearly
stating that it is here when it reached its 'perfection'. Martin Lings and
Safadi again arrive at a similar conclusion for their book in honour of the 1976
Qur'an exhibition at the British Museum (p.12)!

Smith is found to be not only incorrect in his dating of the origins of the
Kufic script, but also erroneous in his opinion that Kufic is not a script that
we would expect to have been employed in the Hijaz during the Caliphate of
Uthman. In respect of Lings and Safadi, he has merely misread their claims.

To conclude, Abbott thinks that the Uthmanic Qur'an's probably were in
Makki-Madini scripts, "Yet when these Qur'ans were written Kufa was already in
the foreground, and indeed, even before the edition of Uthman was undertaken,
prominent Kufans were working on a similar, though non-official project.
Furthermore Sa'id ibn al Kais, a member of Zaid's Qur'an committee, was at the
same time governor of Kuffa." [Rise and Development]

Jeremiah McAuliffe

unread,
Jun 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/3/99
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On 2 Jun 1999 13:08:16 -0700, mar...@vom.com wrote:


<stuff about old mss>

Salaams,

Fascinating!

But, so, why is it that the museum has not given anyone permission to
examine the mss? There must be plenty of qualified people wanting to
do so. Man! That would be *real* interesting.

And y'know what seems really interesting to me? The sloppy writing!
One can imagine, though I have no idea, that at the time of Muhammad,
God love him, those who *could* write would be sloppy in their
handwriting. Does anyone know when calligraphy became an art form? My
guess would be it did not have this status at the time of the Qur'anic
revelation.... but only later did it take on this status *because* of
the Qur'an.


Jeremiah McAuliffe ali...@city-net.com
Visit Dr. Jihad! Page O' Heavy Issues Y2K
http://speed.city-net.com/~alimhaq/miaha.html


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