Père Zakaria Boutros
(Episode 42)

Multiplicity of quran versions and their discrepancies

The author      : Father Zakaria Boutros
The publisher:

- The broadcaster: there is a question; we as Muslims don't have except one quran only so how do you say that  there are many qurans , do you mean that they are copies of one quran ?, and what are the Islamic references you refer to?

- Father Zakaria: that's a nice and important question; I'd like to answer it here

The main reference that I referred to is the breviary of the Islamic encyclopedia
The original encyclopedia was issued on 1933 in huge volumes, then a breviary for it was made on 1998, this work was introduced to in part one by his eminence Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Sayed Tantawy, Sheikh of the great Al-Azhar Mosque, he said : the Islamic encyclopedia that was published by the General Egyptian Organization for Books in association with Al-Sharka intellectual innovation center is considered on the top of the scientific projects that guides the minds to treasures of the dignified knowledge

It is really a wonderful encyclopedia; I thank God in the first place, then those who made that encyclopedia
The Islamic encyclopedia was published between the years 1913 and 1936 in three editions, in English, German and French , it was said that: The Islamic encyclopedia is still till our present time the only complete work of encyclopedia on Islam

In part 26, page 8175 it said: the quran text that was accredited by Othman Ibn Affan was just one text among other texts found throughout the first four Hijri centuries, it added: there were other qurans in connection with the companions; they were famous in Al-Basra, Al-Kophah and Al-Sham

-The broadcaster; so there are other qurans in connection with the companions, do you remember the references for that?

- Father Zakaria: the most important reference is the Islamic encyclopedia. It exist in 33 complete volumes from " Alf to Ya'"{A to Z} there are also other books speaking about the differences as Abu-Gaefar Al- Nahas, Al-Itqan (the perfection) in quran science by Al-Syouty and other references , but I recommend the Islamic encyclopedia as it is simple and integral and  it is available
Of that different references and resources speaking about the differences between the different qurans, in the Islamic encyclopedia Ibn Al-Nadeem mentioned the titles of 11 research works in that field of the differences between the qurans of them:

- The differences between the qurans of the people of Al-Sham, Iraq and Al-Hijaz (by Ibn Amer Al-Yahsoudy, deceased on the year 118 H)

- The differences between the people of Al-Madina, Al-Kophah and Al-Basra in the qurans (by Al-Kithany)

- The differences between the qurans of the people of Al-Kophah, Al-Basra and Al-Sham (by Abe-Zakaria Al-Faran)

- The differences in the qurans and the collector of the different recitations

 In addition to three books all of them having the title "the qurans"the most famous of them is that of: Abu-Dawûd Al-Sagistany, Al-Asfhany and Ibn Al-Kabany

-The broadcaster: what did all of those references say about the differences of the qurans?

- Father Zakaria: the Islamic encyclopedia, page 8176, the second column said: the brief book named "the qurans" by Abu-Dawûd Al-Sagistany, the famous narrator (as he has the famous book of converses named Sonan Abe-Dawûd) includes some thousands difference in the text of the quran

-The broadcaster: where are those differences? All of us know that there is only one quran

- Father Zakaria: Actually there are many different qurans

- The broadcaster: those qurans you mentioned, do they exist now?

- Father Zakaria: Here we have Ottoman's quran and Qualown's quran, about Qualown's quran; it was mentioned in the definition of that quran: it was written according to the narration of Abu- Mosa Ibn Mina, known by the name Qualown, narrated from Obi Ibn Ka'b

-The broadcaster: Is there any difference between that quran and the other one?

- Father Zakaria: there is a difference in the spelling and the grammar, there is also another quran named Waresh quran, on that quran it was mentioned that: It was recited by Imam Nafe' Al-Madny from the narration of Hafs, narrated from Assem Al-Korashy

There was an agreement that Dar Al-Ma'aref Al-shameia will be granted the authority to modify the quran text of the available codex narrated from Hafs, so there are changes in the qurans

- The broadcaster: I learned when I was young that the words of God couldn't be altered, now you are saying that there are more than one quran, here are 3 different qurans

- Father Zakaria: Actually the Islamic encyclopedia , part 26, page 8180 describes those differences saying: there are other differences in the recitations of Muslims of the second generation as Ibn Yazid , Akrama and Khatab , also there were other differences attributed to other minor qurans

About that, Al-Tabry deceased on 311 H, spoke about those differences saying: the quran text was not fixed on my time, here is a witness

What are the opinions of the Islamic scholars about the disputed quran text, and the multiplicity of qurans 31 qurans?

- The broadcaster: those 31 quran are they available and currently in use?

-Father Zakaria: some of them are available, some others were burned by Othman Ibn Affan, and those are really hidden facts

- The broadcaster: did the Islamic encyclopedia mention some details about those differences?

- Father Zakaria: the Islamic encyclopedia is saying in page 8177: most of that mentioned concerning the differences  were between the quran of Ibn Masoud in Al-Kophah and the quran of Obi-Ibn Ka'b in Al-Sham and the quran of Abe-Mosa Al-Asharee in Al-Basra

those qurans started during the time of the prophet as Abdullah Ibn Masoud, deceased on the year 33 H , was a companion to the messenger of God , he took from him 77 chapters of the quran , and one of those promised to enter the paradise

- The broadcaster: it was said the Abdullah Ibn Masoud refused to execute the commandment of Othman to slender his quran, and he refused to give his quran to Othman to burn it

- Father Zakaria: that's right, he fled away, he was at that time on Iraq, and he refused to give his quran to Othman to burn it

The quran of Abe- Mosa Al-Asharee was popular in Al-Basra, according to the encyclopedia  he told his followers: when the messenger of Othman arrives , don't cancel any part of my quran even if that part is not existing in Ottoman's quran ,, he added: and if any part exists in Ottoman's quran but not in mine , you add that part to my quran

So the quran of Abe- Mosa Al-Asharee was so huge and included the two extra chapters that are not present in the quran of Obi

-The broadcaster: did the Islamic encyclopedia mention the number of those qurans?

- Father Zakaria: in page 8179 it mentioned the quran of Abdullah Ibn Masoud's, Obi-Ibn Ka'b' and Abe- Mosa Al-Asharee

-The broadcaster: who are those are they the writers?

- Father Zakaria: those are the companions who had their own qurans

It was written also that there are qurans attributed to the twelve companions, the second Caliph Omer Ibn Al-Khatab, the fourth caliph Ali-Ibn Abe Taleb and three qurans attributed to three of the prophet's wives , one for Aeisha, the daughter of Abe-Baker, one for Hafsa the daughter of Omer , and Om-Salma making the total of 8 qurans

Other qurans are those for: Zaied Ibn Thabet, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Anes Bin Malek, Abdullah Ibn Al-Zoubir, Salem Maola Abe Hozaifa , Abdullah Bin Amre Ibn Al-Ass and Obaid  Bin Omeir Al-Laithy

 Abu-Dawûd Al-Sagistany added: the quran of Ata' Abe Rabeh ,Akrama ,Moujahid ,Saeed Bin Gabber and the quran of Al-Asoad Ibn Yazid and that of Muhammad Bin Abe Mosa

Also the quran of Talha, Suleiman Ibn Mahran making the total of 25 qurans

-The broadcaster: Amazing!!! You mentioned 25 qurans mentioned in the Islamic encyclopedia and Al-Sagistany, do you have other Islamic references telling about more of those qurans that were existing

 - Father Zakaria: Al-Sagistany added also 2 other qurans; the quran of Abu-Zaied, and that of Moaaz Bin Gabel , in addition to the chapters that were written during the time of Muhammad on the bones and stones ,what happened to those chapters?, they are not existing now and nothing mentioned about them in any reference
While he is saying" It is we who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, we will guard it"
There is Also the quran of Abe Baker Al-Sedeek which was assembled by Zaied Ibn Thabet and the quran of Othman Ibn Affan which was also assembled by Zaied Ibn Thabet, in addition to the quran of Al-Hajaj Ibn Yousef Al-thakafy  in which he made radical changes

-The broadcaster: I am wandering where had all of those qurans gone 31 qurans?

- Father Zakaria: while there are about half a million converses, had they lost the qurans while they kept the converses? It is a big question

Is it one quran or 31qurans, they are different qurans and not copies

Where had those qurans gone? The simplified Arabic encyclopedia (by Muhammad Shafik Ghorbal) said in page 1187:" Othman had burned all the qurans except the one which he ordered to be distributed and generalized

How did they dare to burn those qurans? They should have left them to the people to inspect and see the differences by themselves

-The broadcaster: that makes me skeptical of the credibility of the quran we have

- Father Zakaria: that's why we are asking Al-Azhar scholars to explain that  respecting the mind of people in the twenty first century , How does the Muslim take the basis of his faith on doubts in the quran which is the main reference for him? 31 qurans, nothing left of them but only three

Those are inquires pushing themselves on our minds and we are requesting answers, let they tell us How and Why that happened and clarify things to us

© pour la traduction française