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The new fragments of the Qur'an raise more questions and provide very few answers about the reliability of the Islamic Historical Tradition

Reader comment on item: Study the Koran?

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Jul 25, 2015 at 09:26

Dr. Pipes

Dating of Quranic fragments is very difficult and even if the dating of these fragments is correct it still does not change anything about what Wansbrough tells us about the nature of the very early Arabic language literary sources and it is as follows

1. Why would al-Mufasereen the likes of al-Tabari have great difficulty in telling us how to read words in the Qur'an the likes of Ilaf in surat Quraish or even worse what does the word Ilaf really mean? and how about the very celebrated strange word Kalala? why would al-early mufasereen have no clue about the meaing of words and examples here would be al-samad in Surat al-Ikhlas or 'An Yad in Surat al-Tauba 29 unless there was a disconnect either that predates Muhammad or for 2-3 centuries after his death when al-Tabari was trying to tell us what the Qur'an really says

2. Why would al-Mufasereen have no idea if the word MLK in Surat al-Fatiha is Maaliki or is it Maliki? and why would al-Tabari struggle with reading the word يَعْصِرُونَ or Ya'suroon in Surat Yusuf 49 and he provided three diffrent readings with differences in not just vowels but also in consonants

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!

The only way that the above can be explained is that

1. The Qur'an was a text in writing (and the real clue infront of our eyes and it is called al-Qur'an which is not even an Arabic word but a Syriac word Qeryana or lectionary and in Arabic Wa3z) and the claim by the Islamic historical tradition that the Qur'an was a memorized text is not true otherwise Muslims would agree if the word in Surat al-Fatiha is Maaliki or Malki and the correct reading of the word Ya3siroon in Surat Yusuf

2. It also means that the Qur'an either predates Muhammad (example here would be Layka al-Ayka tradition and Surat al-'Adiyat) and by 610CE the meaning of the text was lost to those that were able to read it

Surat al-'Adiyat? It is more likely than not a Syriac Christian hymn that talks about Nuns doing their daily tasks and not about horses and war

3. Or the Qur'an was not canonized until the late second and early 3rd century of Islam and by then no one had a clue what does the word Ilaf (Q105) really mean and why would the Qur'an says that the punishment of those that fornicate is "scourage them 100 stripes" when the Islamic Sharia tells us that it should be stonning

4. There are also literary problems in the Qur'an that are difficult to explain without admitting that the text was still changing and not even stable after the death of Muhammad as in the case of the interpolations (examples here would be Q74:31 and Q53:32) that these verses were added to the text by the editors and if the text indeed was ready to go when Muhammad died then these interpolations would not be in the text

The tradition also fails to explain the strange literary phenomenon al-Iltifat and the only way that it could be explained is that the editors of the Qur'an were dealing with a text and it was not oral transmission of the text otherwise the poor syntax of al-iltifat would have been corrected

And how can the tradition explain the Mary and the palm tree tradition also known now as the Kathisma Church tradition unless the Qur'an in the case of the story of Mary was still being composed after the Arab invasion of Palestine

Wansbrough never claimed that there were no circulating logias and pericopes and these discovered fragments proves that he is indeed right

And most damaging to Muslims that want to believe that by finding these fragments then the Qur'an existed this early on and al-mufasereen knew what the Qur'an is really saying, is far from the truth

I do be believe that the Qur'an is a mix of many texts written by different hands over a long period of time and some of the material predates Muhammad and the Qur'anic logias and pericopes were still being composed and edited after his death and the Qur'an was meant to be a lectionary in a Judeo-Christian community in either Palestine or Mesopotamia


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