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Preserving the Qur'an against distortion

Q: A friend of mine raises doubts regarding the authenticity of the Mus-hafs (written copies of the Qur‘an) we have nowadays. He claims that they contain interpolations and, according to him, there was a scribe who refused to hand the manuscript (copy) of the Qur‘an that he had to …Uthman Ibn …Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) which was in Yemen.....Therefore, I wrote to you requesting your Fatwa on this issue and information on how the Qur‘an was transmitted, for I face such situations for being a member in Tabligh and Da…wah (a group calling to Islam).

A: The Qur‘an is Allah‘s Word which Jibril (Gabriel, peace be upon him) received from Allah and recited to Muhammad (peace be upon him), who in turn listened and learned it carefully from Jibril exactly as spoken by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). Moreover, Allah (Exalted be He) caused Muhammad (peace be upon him) to memorize it by heart.

Allah (Exalted be He) says (what means):
"Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur‘ân, O Muhammad peace be upon him) to make haste therewith.   It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) the ability to recite it (the Qur‘ân).   And when We have recited it to you [O Muhammad peace be upon him] through Jibrîl (Gabriel)], then follow its (the Qur‘an‘s) recital.   Then it is for Us (Allâh) to make it clear (to you)." [Surah Al Qiyamah 75: 16-19].

In his Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur‘an), Ibn Jarir (may Allah be merciful with him) said,
’The exegetes of the Qur‘an differed regarding the reason why it was said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur‘ân, O Muhammad peace be upon him) to make haste therewith.  Some of them view that it was said to him because once any part of the Qur‘an was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he would hasten to memorize it out of deep love for it. Hence, he was ordered not to hasten and recite the revelation to memorize it for Allah will engrave it on his memory.

Other exegetes view that it was said to him because he was always reciting the Qur‘an for fear that he might forget it, whereupon he was ordered not to move his tongue hastily reciting the Qur‘an, for Allah would collect it in his chest, and He would make it easy for him to recite it (in the same way that it was revealed to him). And because Allah would make him recite the Qur‘an, he shall not forget it. Allah (Exalted be He) says: "Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur‘ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)." [Surah Al-Hijr, 15: 9]. Accordingly, Allah safeguarded the Qur‘an for Muslims. The Qur‘an was, therefore, transmitted from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to his Companions, who committed it to memory and writing; who in turn transmitted it to future generations fresh and pure, without any distortion or interpolation in it. It was compiled into a single book by Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) during his caliphate under the supervision of Zayd Ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him). Then it was complied by …Uthman during his caliphate according to one Harf (way of reciting), so that the Ummah (nation) would not disagree therein.

Thus, whoever claims that the Qur‘an is not divinely-guarded and preserved or has been exposed to any additions or deletions is astray and is leading others astray. Such a person is to be asked to repent, and if he does, he will avert punishment. Otherwise, authorities must impose capital punishment for apostasy, as his claim contradicts the Statement of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He): "Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur‘ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)."  [Surah Al-Hijr, 15: 9]. It also conflicts with the Ijma… (unanimous consensus) of the Ummah that the Qur‘an is divinely-safeguarded. On this basis, Muslim scholars have denounced the Batiniyyah Shia claim that the Qur‘an Muslims have today is flawed and that it is they who have its preserved version. Indeed, this is one of the worst of all lies!

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta‘
Member     Member     Deputy Chairman     Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Qa`ud     `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan     `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify     `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

Permanent Committee Fatwas>Group 1>Volume 4: (Tafsir)>Tafsir>Qur'an and its sciences>Qur'an is the words of Allah>Preserving the Qur'an against distortion>Fatwa no. 6137