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M Tovey: Very Brief Introduction to the Canonization of the Qur'an in 1923-1924

Reader comment on item: Study the Koran?
in response to reader comment: Identification of the Creator - by Determination of a Man's Interpretation or Self-Identification of the Actual Deity

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Sep 7, 2022 at 08:19

You wrote:

>Depending upon which version of the phrases one understands, if the esteemed scholarship of al-Tabari could not distinguish the correct phraseology, then one wonders of the authenticity of its authorship and veracity of its intent.

It is very clear, and this is only one example, that in the late second and early 3rd century of Islam, al-Tabari was struggling with understanding what the authors (plural) of the Quranic text are saying. This is why his Tafsir is very much Masoretic exegesis. And this is how Wansbrough defines "what is really Masoretic exegesis." Check this link page: 202


So this is what really happened:

1. al-Tabari had a complete text of what was to become the canonized Qur'an but it lacked short vowels, and at times the letter alif, and it lacks Hamza and Shadda and most important, nuqat which can distinguish for example Ba, Ta, Tha, Ya

The claim that the Qur'an was memorized then it was written is a myth. If it was really memorized then al-Tabari should not have been struggling with the word Khalaq v Khaliq in Surat al-Nuur: 45.

The Qur'an is a text with no provenance

2. The names of the Suras were still in flux in the 9th century so Surat al-Feel (Q105) was called by al-Tabari Surat Alm Tara.

3. The numbers or the verses and the Suras were added much later. It is very interesting that to this day Arabic speaking Muslims do not use numbers when quoting a verse. They quote the verse with the assumption that who ever is listening knows where to find the verse in the text of the Qur'an. And this is indeed what one would find in al-Tabari's exegesis.

4. al-Tabari is editing the text and as an example is Surat al-Nuur:45.

5. Now, what would al-Tabari do next? The Quranic text must be canonized first by the community and then he can provide an exegesis of the text. This activity cannot be dated before the 3rd century of Islam. Why? Because when al-Tabari was writing his exegesis the meaning of much of the text was lost. Example? The word "Samad" in Surat al-Ikhlas:2. No one has a clue al-Tabari included what al-Samad really means.

This could also mean that either the Quranic text predates Muhammad or the text was indeed revealed between 610 AD and 632 AD but the text was not canonized and 2-3 centuries later when al-Tabari wrote his exegesis, the meaning was lost

4. There must have been doubts in the minds of the Persian Mufasereen about the Quranic text and the many significant problems in the text for example: strange grammar and syntax, words that have no clear meaning etc...

And the "Tabrir" was to generate traditions attributed to 'A'isha and Othman

'A'isha is quoted as saying: "This is the work (read this as the mistakes) of the scribes, they made mistakes in the Book (read this as The Qur'an)."

Othman was quoted as saying: "Do not change then (read this as mistakes) Truly the Arabs will change it (read this as correct the mistakes." And it is clear that what he had in mind is the most celebrated Quranic grammatical error and that is Surat Taha:63.

However, in the early 20th century AD those in charge of al-Azhar in Egypt "discovered" that their students had different reading of the Qur'an! And this is why in 1923-1924 the Qur'an was, at last, canonized with selecting the so called Hafs recitation of the Qur'an. And what happened to the "variant reading" still available? We are told they were all "dumped" in the Nile!


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