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The first original scripts of the Quran were written on small stones, pieces of leather and wood, bones and similar things. All of them were burnt!
The second original of the Quran verses were gathered together during the time when Abu Bakr was the Caliph. They were burnt, too!
The third original one consisted of “yazmas” (manuscripts) copied during the time when Othman was the Caliph. They do not exist anywhere in the world!
The investigations and conveyances have shown that the verses in today’s Quran are neither exactly the same as the ones which are claimed to have been “dictated by Muhammad to his scribes”, nor does the present Quran contain “all” of the verses that existed in the original one. Caliph Mervan explains his reasons for burning the original copy as follows;
“All that was written in the original Quran was conveyed into the “Mushafs” (later copies of the Quran) by Othman, so there was no need for the original one. If it had not been burnt, some suspicions would have arisen and the doubts around the “Mushafs” would not have ceased. I was afraid of that, so I had the original scripts burnt.” (Ref.: ıb Ebi Davud, Leiden 1937, pub., p.243-Suphi e's-Salih Mebahis Fi ulum-il Kuran).

How were verses of the Quran gathered together?

The verses of the Quran were not gathered together and inscribed as they are printed now. According to hadiths, the verses were not in an order and they were inscribed on different objects such as “lihaf” (small stones), “rıka” (tree leaves, pieces of leather or a kind of paper), “ektaf” (bones of camels or sheep) and “usub” (pieces of wood). First, Caliph Abu Bakr felt the need to gather those objects together so that they would not get lost. All those objects are said to have been scattered in Muhammad’s house and later put together and tied with string so that they would not get lost. According to a hadith by Buhari, some Muslims were converting to their old beliefs and for that reason there were fights at that time. Some Muslims who knew the Quran by heart had already died and the number of such people could increase. Before all those who knew the Quran by heart passed away, the verses had to be put together in the form of a book. Omar Ibn Hattab pointed out the importance of the project to Abu Bakr. However, the suggestion did not appeal to the Caliph at first. “How could it be right to do what the Prophet himself had not done?” he thought. Omar insisted on the matter and finally convinced Abu Bakr. Zeyd Ibn Sabit was made responsible to carry out the project. Abu Bakr said to Zeyd, “You are a clever young man. As you used to be one of the scribes of the Prophet, I believe that you can succeed in doing this job. Search for all the verses and gather them together.” Zeyd said, “In the name of Allah I swear that if he had wanted me to move and carry one of those mountains, it would not have been as difficult to me as to do what he told me to do.” Yet, he eventually accepts the job and gives the account of how he did it as follows;
“I began to collect the verses; some were on date leaves, some on stones. I got some from people who had memorized them. In the end, I got the last verses of the Sura “Repentance” (Al Tawba) from Ebu Huzeymetu'l-Ensari. No-one else had those verses in mind.” Zeyd explains that those were the last verses (128 – 129) of the Sura “Repentance”. This shows that while Zeyd did this job, he depended on two sources; the objects on which the verses were inscribed and the people who had memorized the verses.
The number of the living people who had the verses in their memories in Abu Bakr’s time was controversial. As can be seen in three of Buhari’s hadiths, there were, at most, only seven people who had memorized all of the verses of the Quran. Even in Muhammad’s time, few people had been able to do that. Here are the hadiths in Buhari’s “e’s-Sahih”.
The first hadith: Amr Ibnu'l-Ass conveys, “I heard the Prophet say, ‘Get the Quran from four people; Abdullah Ibn Mes'ud, Salim, Muaz and Übeyy Ibn Ka'b. (Buhari, Fadailu'l-Kuran 8.)
The second hadith: Enes conveys, “When the Prophet passed away, there was no-one other than only four people to have memorized the whole of the Quran; Ebu'd-Derda, Muaz Ibn Cebel, Zeyd Ibn Sabit and Ebu Zeyd." (Buhari.)
The third hadith: Katade conveys, “I asked Enes Ibn Malik the number of the people who had memorized the whole Quran and he replied, ‘They are four altogether, all from Medina; Übeyy Ibn Ka'b, Muaz Ibn Cebel, Zeyd Ibn Sabit and Ebu Zeyd (Buhari, same ref., Müslim 24ö5. Hadith.)
When we make a list of the names in these three hadiths, there must have been seven people to have memorized the whole Quran when Muhammad was alive; Ibn Mesud (hadith 1), Salim (hadith 1), Muaz Ibn Cebel (hadiths 1, 2, 3.)
Islam experts claim that the explanations in these hadiths serve the anti-Islam. In his work “Al ıtkan”, (Egypt, 1978, v.1, p.94, l. 13) Suyuti gives the names of some others who knew the Quran by heart. However, the person who conveys this information says that some of those completed memorizing the whole of the Quran after the Prophet’s death. (Al ıtkan, 95-9ö.)
Zeyd Ibn Sabit would include any verses in the Quran on condition that he had two witnesses to confirm the truth. Yet, there were some exceptions to this rule; there were some verses for which he felt the need to include with only one witness. (Remember the last two verses of “Repentance” above.)
It took a year to gather the verses of the Quran and copy them into a book. When this attempt started, Omar and Zeyd sat at the gate of the mosque and asked everyone to bring whatever verses they got from the Prophet. The task that was achieved is described in references as follows;
“A book with two covers, which consists of the verses and Suras of the Quran.” The pages were kept by Abu Bakr as long as he lived, then they were passed to Omar (the Caliph) and when he died, they were given to his daughter Hafsa.

The verses of the Quran are gathered together for the second time

One hadith by Buhari reads; “There was a war to invade Armenia and Azerbaijan. Huzeyfe Ibn’u Yeman came up to Othman the Caliph and complained about the differences between the contents of the copies of the Quran that Muslims were reciting. ‘Commander of the Faithful,’ he said, ‘the Muslims found themselves in controversies as the Jews and Christians previously did.’ On this occasion, Othman sent a man to Hafsa asking her to send the pages which were written during the time of Abu Bakr so that he would make some new copies. ‘When I have finished with them, I’ll send them back,’ he said. Hafsa sent the pages to Othman. He ordered Zeyd Ibn Sabit, Abdullah Ibn Züyebr, Sa'd Ibnu'l-As and Hisham Ibn Haris Ibn Abdurrahman to produce copies of the pages, and they did.
Othman instructed three of the scribes, ‘Should there be a disagreement on any part between Zeyd (who was from Medina) and you, write that part in Quraysh dialect because the Quran was revealed only in that dialect.’
And so they did as they were instructed. Finally, Othman, when the task was completed, sent the original pages back to Hafsa and ordered his men to deliver the new copies to each central zone and had all the previous copies burnt so that not even a page would remain from the old volumes. (See Buhari, e's- Sahih, Kitabu Fedaili'l-Kuran/
3.) As can be understood from the efforts that were told to Buhari and from the way of solving the problems that might have arisen between the people of Quraysh and others, the new copies could not be exactly the same as the verses in the one that Hafsa possessed. On the one hand, it was claimed that “identical copies of the Quran were made”, but on the other hand, when asked why it was necessary to make new copies, it was said that it had to be done due to “the differences of dialects”. However, Dr. Suphi e's-Salih, says in his work called “Mebahis Fi Ulumi'l-Kuran” (Beirut 1979), on pages 80, 84, 85, that this claim is far from being convincing. According Dr. Suphi, at that time, Arabic did not have signs and punctuation marks as to spell the same words to be pronounced in different ways. Back then, apart from the letters to write, the letters with no signs had no dots, either. In short, the “Mushaf” that was produced during the time of Caliph Abu Bakr could not have been written as to contain different dialects even if had been intended. In this case, the question, “What were the differences between Abu Bakr’s (later Hafsa’s) copy and those that were produced by Othman’s scribes?” remains unanswered. What was carried out by the new efforts? This is not explained in the hadith interpreted above. Yet, from an explanation which can be counted as the rest of the hadith, it can be inferred that the work that was done was not merely producing exactly the same copies of main copy of the Quran.
Zeyd Ibn Sabit, one member of the committee of four scribes, says, “While doing the task, I lost a part from the end of the Sura Ahzab, “The Confederate Tribes”, (‘fakattu’). I had heard the Prophet read that part before. We searched for it and found out that Sabit Ibn Huzeyme el Ensari had it, so we added that part (to the Sura “The Confederate Tribes” as the 23rd verse) in the ‘Mushaf’.” (ıtkan, Egypt, 1978, vol. 1,

The purpose behind the burning of the Quran that was gathered for the first time

It was Hafsa who kept the Quran in her personal box and prevented it from being burned until her death. When this protector died, although the God of the Quran says, “Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian,” (The Rock/Al-Hijr; 9), there was no protector left. Mervan Ibn Hakem sent for it and had it burned. He explains his reason to do this as follows;
“I did it because those that were written in it were already conveyed into the official copy (Mushaf) and kept as they were. I was afraid that after a long time passed, sceptic ones would have doubts about the official copy.” (See Dr. Subhi e's_Salih, Mebahis fi Ulumi'l-Kuran, p.83. Ref: Ibn Ebi Davud, Kitabu'l-Mesahif, p.24.)
However, it was the destruction of the first copy that actually gave rise to doubts because there would have been no need to burn the first copy if there had been no difference between the two. If there had not been some additions to or removals of some verses from it, why should they have been afraid? Today’s Quran is by no means is the same as the Quran in times of Mohammad! Let’s refer to a very important witness here; Ibn Omar says, “None of you should say that he has got the whole Quran. You can never know that most of the Quran has been destroyed and gone forever. Therefore you should only say that you have got whatever has remained from it.” (See Suyuti, el ıtkan, 2/32.)
Doesn’t this testimony clearly reveal that today’s Quran is not the same as the one that was revealed to Mohammad? After all, Ibn Omar said this after the time of Othman. That means the Quran that was gathered together during the time of Othman was not the original Quran, either. That hand-written Quran does not exist anywhere in the world. Several Mushafs that are mentioned in basic references but have not been found so far are also worth mentioning. In “el ıtkan by Suyuti and in some important works of Buhari, some considerable Mushafs and lists of Suras in them are mentioned. For example, the Mushaf owned by Ibn Mesud, who was known to be one of those that were closest to Mohammad and one of the four people to be trusted in terms of memorising the Quran, the Mushaf owned by Übeyy Ibn Ka’b, who was also known to be one of the most trustworthy people in terms of memorising the holy book, the Mushaf owned by Aisha (one of Mohammad’s wives), and the Mushaf owned by Ali (Mohammad’s son-in-law) are the main ones. In addition, there are to more Mushafs, one of which is said to have belonged to Ali by the Alawis and the other which is said to be kept in India. None of the Mushafs which are mentioned in Suyuti and Buhari’s books have been able to come to our day. However, the list of the contents of them has been written. Furthermore, in some religion books, some parts of Suras and verses that are said to have existed in those Mushafs have reached our times. The differences between them and today’s Quran can clearly be seen. For example, the Sura “The Opening”, which is a basic one, does not take place in Ibn Mesud’s Mushaf. Neither do the Suras “The Dawn” and “The Confederate Tribes”. The order of the Suras in Ali’s Mushaf is not the same as in today’s Quran. Suyuti points out in his book that the Suras “The Cow” and “The Clans” are the same length. (See Suyuti, el ıtkan, 2/32) Yet, in today’s official Quran, “The Cow” has 286 verses whereas “The Confederate Tribes” has only 73.
How many copies of the Quran were made during the time of the third Caliph Othman and where they are now is a controversial issue. According to some, four copies were made, to others, five or seven copies were made. Those who claim four copies were made say that Othman kept one copy to himself and sent the others to Kufa, Basra and Damascus. Some claim that they were sent to Mecca, Yemen and Bahreyn. According to some information in some books, people were allowed to copy those Mushafs and so made private copies for themselves. But what about the fact that some verses exist in those Mushafs while the same verses do not in today’s official Quran? In some references of Islam, it is claimed that some of the Mushafs made during the time of Othman still exist. For example, there are a number of books claiming that one copy is in Taşkent. In some Turkish Islamic sources, it is said that the Quran which is exhibited in Topkapı Museum is one of those that were made in the time of Othman. Islam researcher Dr. Suphi e’s-Salih asks in his book, “Well, where is the official copy that was made in the time of Othman now?” and says that he could not get a satisfactory answer. He says that the one in Cairo Museum could not be the one that remained from Othman’s time because the book has some signs and dots which were not used in the early times of Islamism. It is true that the official content of the holy book of Muslims is the same everywhere. However, sources reveal that the Quran that is known in the Islamic World today is not the same as the one that was written by the Prophet’s “scribes of revelations”.

The rumour telling that even one letter of the Quran has not been changed is a lie!

Hammad Ibn Zeberkan used to recite the word “iyyahu” in “Repentance” (Al Tawba), verse 114, as “ebahu” and the word “izzettin” in “Sad” as “ğırratin”. The differences in all these words are confined to some letters; in the former pair of words, the letter “ya” is changed into “ba”, and in the latter pair of words, the letter “ayın” is changed into “ğayın”. Let’s give no significance to the changes of these letter.
Instead of some words existing in the Quran available, Abdullah Ibn Abbas used to recite the “synonyms” of them. Enes Ibn Malik recited the word “akvamu” in the sixth verse of “The Mantled One” as “asvabu”. Ibn Omar recited the word “fes’av” in the tenth verse of “Friday” as “femzü”, and Ibn Abbas recited the word “kel’ıhni” in the fifth verse of “The Disaster” as “k’essavfı”. Likewise, Ibn Abbas preferred to recite the word “sayhaten” as “zeyfeten”. Enes Ibn Malik recited the word “halelna” in the second verse of “Comfort” instead of “vada’na”. The changes in these cases are not changes of letters but changes of words. This means the claim that even one letter of the Quran has not been changed since the time of the Prophet is not true.
Sources refer to different mushafs. When the examples given are compared, the contents of some mushafs are not the same as those in today’s official Quran. What Ibn Omar says is also very interesting; “None of you should say that he has the whole Quran. Does he who says so know what the whole of the Quran is? It’s certain that most of the Quran has been destroyed.” (See Süyuti, el ıtkan, 2/32)
Both the first and the second original copies of the Quran were burnt by the Muslims. There is no doubt that this was done to conceal the truth. And the original copies that were made during the time of Othman and sent to certain central zones cannot be found anywhere in the world.

References: 1.Buhari E's-Sahih (Arabic); Kitabu'l Fedail-ül- Kuran Menakıbu'l Ensar, Sahihi Buhari Mustesari. Translation of Tecridi Sarih 2.Dr. S. Suphi E's-Salih (One of the main researchers of the last century in the world of Islam, who wrote a lot of books.) Mebahis fi Ulum-il Kuran, 3.Celalettin Suyuti (Interpreter of the Quran, one of the most knowledgeable and reliable Hadiths expert in the Islam world): El ıtkan Fi Ulumi-l,Kuran, 4.Müslim E's-Sahih (Arabic), 5.Ebu Davud

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