The History of The Quranic Text Full – From Revelation To Compilation A Comparative Study With The Old And New Testaments by Muhammad Mustafa Al-Azami
This work comprises a short introduction to the history of the Qur’an, its recording and its collection. The reader may therefore be puzzled as to why one third of the material in this book tackles the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT), wondering what significance this has on the Qur’an’s history.
This significance shall, I hope, be made clear as the chapters progress, since I have attempted to present only those details which have a direct bearing on the current subject matter.
The idea of authoring a book about the Qur’an, about its collection and immaculate preservation, had long germinated in my mind, and approx imately three and half years ago I finally began working on this book alongside another entitled Islamic Studies: What Methodology?
It was journalist Toby Lester’s article in The Atlnntic Montlzfy Uanuary 1999) however, and the chaos it had the potential to sow among Muslims, which prompted a greater concentration on this work.
His article suggested that Muslims, despite believing in the Qur’an as the unadulterated Book of Allah, were thoroughly incapable of defending this view in any scholarly fashion.
The gauntlet was thrown, and I felt it necessary to take on this challenge and explain the stringent methodology used by early Muslim scholars in accepting a text as genuine, or rejecting it as fake. This has lead to the unavoidable repetition of some material in both books.
As most of the scholars that Lester quotes are either Jews or Christians, I also considered it fitting to cover the histories of the Old and New Testaments by way of comparison. This should help the reader to regard the disparity of opinions between Muslim and Orientalist scholars with a fair measure of insight.
With their insistence on a purely oral transmission, most Orientalists reject all reports that cite recording and compilation of the Qur’an during the Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime.
Many of them even deny that any final compilation occurred during Abu Bakr’s reign, while some accept the role of the third caliph ‘Uthman in this regard.
Only fifteen years lapsed between the Prophet’s death and ‘Uthman’s distribution of written copies of the Qur’an to different provinces of the Muslim world. Viewing this interval
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