THE COMPOSITION OF
THE REVEALED TEXT (4)
Accordingly, Leblois affirmed: “Today, the Qur’an is the only Sacred Book which does not contain any notable variations. W. Muir had proclaimed before him: “Othman’s compilation of the Qur’an had arrived from hand to hand until it reached us without any alteration. It was so scrupulously preserved that there are no important variations and we can even say that there is no variation because of the numerous copies of the Qur’an which are circulating in the vast lands of Islam. There has never been but one the Qur’an; and this unanimous usage of the same text accepted by all up to today is a proof of the sincerity of the text which we possess and which goes back to the unfortunate Caliph Othman (who was assassinated).
However, we disagree with Muir in two issues. First, he attributed the Qur’anic text to Othman; whereas - as we have seen - Othman did nothing but publishing the manuscript compiled under Abu Bakr. Which was nothing but the integral reproduction, following the order of the last collation of the text registered under the dictation of the Prophet himself (This order should not be confused with the chronological order of the revelation). Second, the judgement asserts that the copies in use do not contain any variations in reading whereas we know the opposite. Long vowels are always written in the body of Arabic words, while short and medium vowels are never written. In addition, a large group of Arabic letters do not differ one from the other except by points are known as diacritics such as (I = يـ ) may be pronounced (n= ن ) or (t = ت ) or (b = بـ ), if one or two points are added above or under. Such points were neither in use in the Prophet’s life nor in the period of the first three Caliphs. Most frequently, the pronunciation could not be determined without an oral indication. Nevertheless, Tradition informs us that the Prophet in teaching the Qur’an to Muslims did not follow one unique pronunciation. It was not rare that he gave many good and significant readings for one word (rather for the same radical). For example, the word ملك could be read: Mâlik = proprietor, owner, master, and Malik = king. The same thing for the word فتثبتوا could be read fatabayyanou = فتبينوا “Be informed” and fatathabbatou = “act with caution”. These different readings are in accordance
with the Tradition. Al-Bukhari narrated that one day Omar was very furious against Hishâm Ibn Hakîme Ibn Hizâm’s recitation of surah XXV in a way different from that he learned from the Prophet. At-Tabari said that Obaï Ibn Ka’ab was shocked by a difference in the reading of surah XVI. The Prophet approved later on the two readings and added: “Verily, the Qur’an was revealed in seven readings or variants, therefore recite the Qur’an according to that you find easy”.
 Leblois, Op. cit, p. 54.
 W. Muir, the Life of Mahomet. Quoted by B. St. - Hilaire, Mahomet et le Koran, P. 33.
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