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So what do we now about the Qur'an as a text?

Reader comment on item: Dhimmis No More
in response to reader comment: Sectarian Milieu

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Feb 10, 2018 at 11:29

The text here is the Qur'an a text in the words of Peters and the Qur'an is' "Text with no context"

And yes the study of the Qur'an is still far behind Biblical studies However, there is so much we know about the Qur'an as a text but where did it come from? We really don't know Could it be that the story of Othman burning copies of the Qur'an really happened and that Muslims destroyed their own history and may be burned Syriac texts? Compare with the Egyptians who did not burn let us say "The Gospel of Thomas" and elected to have it buried and the rest is history

However, we have the Qur'an albeit the 1923 Cairo Qur'an or the 1959 Tunisian Qur'an and this is what we know:

1. The Qur'an has a significant layer of Syriac which means that at least the Qur'an must have been composed in an area where Syriac would have been well understood otherwise the text would have no meaning and where else could this be but in al-Sham and Mesopotamia? al-Hijaz? Very unlikely

2. Yes the Qur'an has its share, as it should, of foreign words eg: Ethiopic, Hebrew, Persian, Latin, Greek, Egyptian and if we are to believe al-Tabari some undefined Indian language This again would place the Qur'an not in isolated Mecca but in the cosmopolitan al-Sham and Mesopotamia

3. The Qur'an tells us that the pagans made fun of Muhammad that he was just telling them stories of the ancients or Asateer al-Awaleen the likes of the story of Ahl al-Kahf and Dhul Qarnain and they already heard these stories being told before Were these stories known in Mecca? May be but more likely than not he heard them in the civilized Middle East And this is indeed why the Islamic Tradition tells us that he was a Tajir (trader) which makes you wonder that the tradition was,making things up

4. The Qur'an is a very heterogeneous book The way out? The tradition tells us it is because there was a Meccan period as well as a Medina period But it very well could be the Mecca and Medina periods are different because we have different authors

5. The problem of al-Kalam al-Mukarrar and Allah's habit of repeating himself in different literary forms. The tradition tells us it can be explained on the basis of Asbab al-Nuzul (reasons for revelation) However Wansbrough calls this phenomenon: Variant Traditions Which really means that the Qur'an has multiple authors Makes perfect sense

6. The strange literary phenomenon of al-Iltifat where the author of the Qur'an changes direction in mid sentence with change in subject and the object. al-Mufasereen tell us that this is eloquence at its best which is nonsense Another possibility: Could al-iltifat be present because of simple literary lacunas in the Qur'an text? I guess we will never know

7. The grammatical Quanic mistakes by the standards of CA of the 9th century could very well mean that the grammar of Quranic Arabic is not the same as that of CA after all how could Allah make mistakes in grammar?

8. Why would al-Mufasereen be unable to tell us what these al-Ahrf al-Muqata' or these strange words the likes of Ilaf and Kalala really mean? The Islamic Historical tradition fails to answer However, this could either mean that the Qur'an pre-dates Muhammad or the Qur'an was not canonized until al-Tabari told us what it really says in his Tafsir which was some 250-300 years after the death of Muhammad This is very puzzling!

9 Puin believes that the story of ahl al-Ayka pre-dated Muhammad by some 600-700 years after all this story is talking about Leuke Kome a city and a name that disappeared from the literary sources in the 2-3rd century and the name of the city became the Aramaic Hawra (white)

10 The Quran has its share of interpolation and al-Mufasereen knew that much eg: Q53:32 also Q74:31 These are clear interpolations al-Mufasereen explain it on the basis of of "Oh these are Medina verses" but why would be a Medina verse be placed in the middle of a Meccan Sura? Unless this is interpolation

11. The Quran has its share of editing as in al-Tabari editing of words the likes of MLK and is it Maaliki or Maliki in Surat al-Fatiha and Ya'soroon in Surat Yusuf 49 and most significant are the vast difference between the text that is Dhahir and the text that is Batin in the Sana' Codex Also notice that the Quranic Zakwa and Salwa (clearly from Syriac) are now edited as Arabic Zakat and Salat

This would be enough for now The Qur'an is for sure a strange text

Submitting....

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