reply to post by Laurauk
Indeed muslims can make the same claims. They can't however, claim to have compared the text to any of an antiquity greater than about 610 AD, when
the initial "revelations" were alleged to have been given to Mohammed. So for one thing, the track record is necessarily shorter, allowing for less
change over time. That would be a GOOD thing, I would think.
Then you have to add in other factors. The "revelations" were not complied during Mohammed's lifetime, they were recited only, by professional
reciters (qurra,"reciters", related to Qur'an, "recitations"). When Mohammed died in 632 AD, the recitations carried on, but variations crept in,
as folks memories change over time. To combat this, the verses were written down on various items at hand, individually. Potsherds, leaves, anything
handy, and large enough for a verse.
The verses got a bit scrambled then.
Eventually, there were at least seven, and probably a great many more. variant "readings". Some sources say as many as 40.
The first collection of the Qur'an as a complete text was by ibn Thabit, one of the companions of Mohammed, under Abu Bakr, the first Caliph. Over
time, the variant readings grew out of the fact that the Islamic Empire was so widely flung. In the further reaches, variants developed faster.
About 19 years after Mohammed died, the variations had become so pronounced that Uthman, the third Caliph, commissioned a standardized text, and
ordered all others destroyed. This would have been around 651 AD.
Not all of them were, but he gave it a bully effort.
There is evidence of further changes after the time of Uthman, and overall, some of the verses were forgotten, lost, or what muslims call
"abrogated". It's sometimes a touchy subject with them. If allah, like God, is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why would he capriciously
change his mind? Their answer is that he didn't really, he just "abrogated" some of the verses. I never really grasped the difference.
Now, when Christian scholars find a "new" old text of a biblical book, it's thrown to the wolves in academia to be picked apart, and so comparisons
are bound to follow. Not so with ancient copies or the Qur'an that may be discovered.
That always made me wonder what there was to fear.
Right now, it has recently been discovered that there are something like 400,000 pages of ancient Qur'anic manuscripts in the posession of a German
scholar, but for some odd reason they won't be released. In 1965, I believe in Yemen, another cache of ancient Qur'anic manuscripts were found
stashed. Some of these may go back to within 50 or 75 years of Mohammed's death.
I've often wondered why comparison with the modern Qur'an is not allowed with these ancient manuscripts of what is supposed to be the same thing, as
is regularly done with biblical texts. Well, I don't really wonder TOO hard.
Also, there is evidence from the hadith that there WERE verses in the Qur'an that aren't there any more.
This is a long, complex subject, best suited to another time or place, but that's a general overview.
To answer the question about the bible having been rewritten to cover an agenda, it would have had to have begun long ago, thousands of years ago, and
continue to this day, in order to remain covered up, since the texts we have to compare the modern text with go back well over 2000 years, to before
the time when parts of the bible were even written.
In essence, the argument would be better framed as it having initially been written with the modern agenda, rather than changed. The textual
comparisons belie the change argument.
I've been afforded all the verification I need for a faith in the text we have now, but that may not be so for most. The essence is that each is
entitled to his own beliefs, and I have no quarrel with any in the matter, save those who would try to change my belief, through force or subterfuge.
I also acknowledge that they are entitled to their own beliefs, as we will each answer for our beliefs individually, or not as the belief may be.
It IS interesting to note that if an individual is led to leave Islam for any other belief, or lack of a belief, he's given 2 days to repent, and
return to Islam, or is thereafter fair game for any muslim that would want to snuff him.
I find that odd for a tolerant religion of peace, which should be a bit more secure in itself than that. The refusal to allow textual criticisms is
also suspect for a religion that ought to be more secure in itself.