The difference is vast:
A Catholic friend of mine asked me one day: You Muslims believe in the distortion of the Holy Bible and in the infallibility of the Qur’an, because there are many different books among the Christian denominations. Aren’t the multiple recitations of the Qur’an evidence of distortion?
I told her:
There is a vast difference between the two cases.
As a Catholic, you believe in 73 books in the Bible, while the Protestant removed 7 books for not recognizing their authenticity.
If the Catholic is right, for example, then the Protestant has distorted the Bible by removing Books from it, and if the Protestant is right, the Catholic has distorted it by adding Books to it.
This is just one of hundreds of examples.
The multiplicity of Holy Qur’an recitations does not result in different religion principles. It is a variety of methods controlled by strict rules in the vocal performance.
Unlike the Divine scriptures that preceded, the Qur’an is not kept in the hands of any particular group or Muslims clergymen which could have led to its misinterpretation or alteration. The text of the Qur’an is still in its original language (Arabic) without any change, distortion or alteration, and it is still preserved as it is until our time. It will remain so, as God promised to keep it. It is available to all Muslims. It’s known by heart to a large number of Muslims. Current Qur’an translations in multiple languages are nothing but a translation of the Quran’s meanings.
This situation does not in any way apply to the Bible.
- The Bible was translated from one language to another.
- All Bible original copies have been lost by the unanimous recognition of Christian scholars.
- The Bible was written from mostly unknown writers, and if the name of the writer is known, his lineage is not known.
- The Bible editions have been subjected to alteration and modification according to the authors’ view.
- There are tens of thousands of Bible manuscripts, of which no two manuscripts are absolutely in agreement.
- There is no single authentic chain for any of the Gospels.
logically, presenting contradicting testimonies in a court, about a road accident for instance, leads to rejecting them all. So what would you expect from an issue related to the salvation of millions of people.
Many writers continued in writing the Old Testament. The last was the writer of Second Maccabees’s conclusion [15/39-40], which is the last book of the Catholic Old Testament.
“Which if I have done well, and as it becometh the history, it is what I desired: but if not so perfectly, it must be pardoned me. For as it is hurtful to drink always wine, or always water, but pleasant to use sometimes the one, and sometimes the other: so if the speech be always nicely framed, it will not be grateful to the readers. But here it shall be ended”.
In an interpretation of the book Songs of Songs, we read in its introduction:
“Who composed it and when? Why was it composed? If it is true that its presence in the Bible law was only a coincidence, how did it gain its place? It even found its role in the Jewish Passover rank at a later time! Its difficult to determine the page order of the book with repeated verses, topics, pictures, and situations… “.
As for the Gospels, they are just written stories.
Luke says in the introduction to his Gospel (1/1-4):
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught”.
This text states:
- Luke reminds people to “compose” stories about (biography) of Jesus, their point of view.
- Luke’s goal was to write a letter to his friend “Theophilus,” in order to know the certainty of the words.
- Luke declares that he did not see the Christ, as he is only the reporter.
The situation in the Qur’an is different:
- The variaty of the recitations is a variety of vocal performance.
- There is a valid origin of the Qur’an in all recitations.
- The frequent recitations are precise and specific; not a single word differs from them.
- It is unacceptable to invent a new recitation.
- It is impossible to have a repetitive recitation that contradicts another recitation, but rather complements its meaning.
- Each recitation has a chain of transmission linked to the Messenger with frequent transmitted chains of well-known and sincere narrators, which distinguished the Islamic nation from the rest of the nations in preserving its book.
The Qur’an is one across all sects:
The Holy Qur’an received unparalleled care during the life of the Prophet and after his death.
Undoubtedly، the way of receiving the Qur’an was phonetically.
- The Qur’an was being heared vocally from the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, peace be upon them.
- The Qur’an was being heared vocally from the Messenger to the scribes of revelation first, and to Muslims in general.
- The Qur’an was being heared vocally from the scribes of revelation to listeners among all Muslims.
- The Qur’an was being heared vocally so far from the qualified memorizers to the Qur’an students.
Therefore, recieving the Qur’an phonetically is the principle since the beginning of the Qur’an revelation, until the day of Resurrection.
My catholic friend said:
Is it not neglecting the punctuation of the Qur’an that led to the differences in recitations, and thus to the possibility of distorting the Qur’an?
I told her: documenting the Qur’an in papers is not the standard, but knowing it by heart as explained.
- The Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet during twenty years on the dielegt of Quraysh. Throughout that period, the Prophet used to recite the Qur’an to his Companions with this dialect.
- Nearly two years before Prophet Muhammad’s death, after the number of adherents to Islam increased, God’s permission came to recite the Qur’an in multiple dialects, so that tribes with different dialects would be able to understand the Qur’an and work according to it.
That’s where the various quranic recitations emerged from.
She said : Why did Othman bin Affan burn the Qur’an?
I told her: Caliph Othman burned the paper copies of the Qur’an, not the Qur’an itself.
She said: and what’s the difference?
I told her: There is a big difference.
The Qur’an is preserved in the hearts of children and adults. If all copies of the Qur’an were burned today, the Qur’an would have been collected and written down in a short period of time.
As for the era of Uthman, he ordered the burning of the paper copies that were in the hands of the Companions in the countries and existed in different dialects.
He sent them new copies identical to the original, which the Prophet left and compiled by the first caliph “Abu Bakr” , in order to ensure that all countries refer to the same original copy, which is the only one left by the Prophet.
Uthman compiled the Qur’an on one dialect, which is the tongue of Quraish in which the Qur’an was revealed.
He kept the letters’ structure of the Qur’an without punctuation which allowed various kinds of differences in vocal performance to some words that do not go beyond the structure of letters, based on the divine permission to recite it on multiple dialects.
Differences between recitations are slight and include varying rules regarding the prolongation, intonation, and pronunciation of words.
Among the valid recitations controls, in addition to chain authenticity of transmission, are:
Matching the letters’ structure of the Ottomanic Qur’an, which was unanimously agreed upon in the era of Othman.
Therefore, scholars agreed that it is forbidden to write the Qur’an in any other style than letters’structure known as the ottomanic drawing.
In accordance with these and other controls, the valid recitations were distinguished from the so-called abnormal or false recitations.
She said: What did Abu Bakr do then?
I told her:
Prophet Muhammad left the Qur’an documented and written down by the Companions to recite it and teach it to others. The caliphate Abu Bakr ordered at his time the collection of these papers to be in one place and to be referred to.
- The quranic recitations are a divine revelation.
- The recitations are limited, counted, and well-known. Scholars have explained their reading aspects.
- The word that is read on two or more sides, has an acceptable meaning that increases and enriches the meaning, making it take the place of multiple verses, thus achieving brevity. This is a type of rhetoric.
- The qur’anic recitations do not lead to a defect the quranic verses.
- The multiplicity of recitations are evidence that the Qur’an is the word of God, because despite its plurality, it does not lead to a contradiction in content.
The differents recitations are linguistic, lexical, phonetic, morphological and syntactic forms.
Examples of different recitations:
- (would We punish anyone but the ungrateful? ) [Saba: 17]. God speaks here in the first person pronoun using the “Royal We” as a sign of His Majesty. (would anyone be punished but the ungrateful?) God refers to Himself using the passive voice in this recitation.
- (Our Lord! Place longer distances between our journey-stages) [Saba: 19]. In this recitation a verb of command is used. (Our Lord placed longer our journey-stages). In this recitation a past tense verb is used.
My friend said:
Some of the non-Muslims say that the original copies sent by Uthman to the Islamic countries were lost.
I told her:
In fact, there is a complete copy of the Qur’an of Uthman in Sarmankand, in addition to the copy of Topkapi in Istanbul.
Before the Second World War, the Berlin Institute collected forty thousand copies of the Qur’an through the ages; trying to find any misrepresentation in it. Years later issued a preliminary report. They had finished comparing more than eighty percent of what they have collected. This report is in the National Library in Berlin, admits that there is no distortion in the Holy Qur’an.
Evidence for the foregoing:
The reality today bears witness to the infallibility of the Qur’an. The Orientalist Willem Moyer summarized it, saying:
“The Qur’an collected by Uthman was transmitted from hand to hand until it reached us without any distortion. It has been preserved with great care so that there has been no change in it. Rather, we can say: it has not undergone any change at all in the unchangeable copies. It was only one Qur’an in the Islamic countries for all the conflicting Muslim sects. This collective use of the same text accepted by all even today is an argument and evidence for the correctness of the available text, which goes back to the era of Uthman”.
Dr. Munqith Al-Sakar’s website.
Interpretation of the Bible / Books of Wisdom, Bible Societies, p. 1378.
Are the seven recitations distortion in the Qur’an?
Dr. Abd al-Rahim Khairallah al-Sharif
Question and Answer book about Islam.
A German report before the World War proved the integrity of the Qur’an from distortion