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Footnote: Very brief introduction to al-Tabari and the canonization of the Qur'an

Reader comment on item: Convincing Anti-Zionists that the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is Over
in response to reader comment: M Tovey: The canonization of the Qur'an

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Sep 13, 2020 at 16:23

1. The names of the Suras were still not stable in the late 2nd and early 3rd century of Islam: al-Tabari's was dealing with a text of unknown provenance. The names of the Suras were still unstable and an example: He calls Q105: سورة الم تر or "Did you not know" and these are the first two of the Sura: الم تر. However, the name we have today for the Sura is not الم تر and the name now is: سورة الفيل or The Chapter of the Elephant.

There are many other examples as in the case of Q17 سورة بني اسراءيل and سورة الاسراء. Also Q9 سورة التوبة and سورة براءة

This really means that by the late 2nd and early 3rd century the names of the Suras were still not stable and this means that the names of the Suras did not drop from the sky

2. The reader will also notice that al-Tabari does not use numbers for both a Sura or an Aya (verse) that he is quoting and this is still what Arabic speaking Muslims do today. They mention the name of the Sura and then they quote the verse they have in mind. Example: سورة التوبة اية السيف in the the rest of the world it would be Qur'an 9:5. Numbering of Ayas and Suras were not provided by al-Tabari which makes it clear that these numbers did not drop from the sky and it is a later development in the Quranic text

3. al-Tabari seems to be struggling with the meaning of many words and case in point: الصمد in Q112:2 where he provides 7 very different definitions for the word الصمد, which clearly means that he had no idea what this word really means and then he selects الداءم or the eternal/absolute. Why did he select الداءم? We will never know.

4. Qur'an 30: He edits the word غلبت and as in Semitic languages the short vowels make all the difference and here are the two readings that he provides:

--- غُلِبَت or Ghulibat or Defeated (in the war)

--- غَلَبِتْ or Ghalabit or Won (the war)

You can see how slight changes in short vowels without any change in ductus would change the meaning of the verse and more evidence that al-Tabari was dealing with a text that had no short vowels

More interesting example where al-Tabari is not just editing the short vowels but also editing the ductus and the consonants and this is Q12:49 where al-Tabari is clearly seems to be struggling with the word يَعْصِرُونَ and he provides 3 reading where he is not only changing short vowels but also consonants (and this is from an old post of mine):

1. يَعْصِرُونَ or ya3siruun (the first letter is a Y)

2. تَعْصِرُونَ " بِالتَّاءِ , or Ta3siruun with a Ta (T)

3. يُعْصَرُونَ " بِمَعْنَى : يُمْطَرُونَ or Yu3saruun and the meaning is yumataruun or to have rain!

Now, if we turn to al-Tabari he provides the following meanings for the word in its number 1 form

The implications here are:

1. al-Tabari is indeed editing the Qur'an!

2. We are told in the Islamic Tradition that the text of the Qur'an was transmitted orally then it was written, is not true. The Qur'an was a written text and this is why al-Tabari was struggling with the word يَعْصِرُونَ

There are many other examples that would really confirm that we had a text that was missing the short vowels and at times the long vowels as well as the Hamza and the Shadda (double consonant) and it must be al-Tabari that was editing the text.

This means that the masoretic exegesis cannot be dated before the late 2nd century and the early 3rd century of Islam which really means that the Qur'an could not have been canonized before the early 3rd century of Islam

This would be enough for now. Stay tuned for more

PS: The readers should be aware that the English translations these days seem to be done by what I call "Key-board Jihadists" and I suspect most of them are Indian and Pakistani. Their English it really very bad and when they struggle with an Arabic word the word will be transliterated and the meaning is lost

Submitting....

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