Changes in the Qur'an
December 2004 version

Both Muslims and non-Muslims who really want to follow the true God can agree: it is vitally important to know whether the Qur'an (or Koran) is a book from God or not. If you have ever prayed, studied, or just wondered whether it is or not, then this tract is for you.

Questions for Seekers of Truth

How can a real seeker of truth know which religion to follow? Rather than blindly following any tradition, one should "test all things, and hold fast to what is good." Until you strike a piece of metal, you cannot tell how hard it is. This discussion is not intended to offend, but something must be questioned before you can believe it intellectually.

How the Qur'an was Written Down

When Mohammed had a vision, the Bukhari Hadiths record that strange things would happen. He experienced a ringing in his ears vol.1:1;4:438, his heart beat rapidly vol.1:3, his face would turn red vol. 2 ch.16 (after no.610); vol.5:618; he breathed heavily vol.6:508 p.476, he fell on the ground with both eyes open toward the sky vol.5:170;6:448, he sweat profusely vol.1:2;2:544;3:829, and see and hear things no one else did vol.1:2,3 vol.4:458,461; vol.6:447. These would seem weird back then, but doctors recognize these as signs of an epileptic fit.

Since the fits were unpredictable, after Mohammed's death fragments of the Qur'an were written on palm leaves, rocks, and bones according to the Bukhari vol.6:509 p.478. Thus there was no organized manuscript of the Qur'an prior to his death. Some verses did not survive according to the Bukhari vol.4:57,62,69,299. Many who had memorized the Qur'an were killed, and Abu Bakr was worried that some parts of the Qur'an would be lost. Bukhari vol.6:509 p.477-478. After the Qur'an was gathered, it still needed "compiling" years later.

Abrogated Verses in Mohammed's Lifetime

"Then Allah revealed to us a verse that was among the cancelled ones later on." Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.416 p.288.

"Narrated Anas bin Malik: ... There was revealed about those who were killed at Bi'r-Ma'una a Qur'anic Verse we used to recite, but it was cancelled later on. The verse was: 'Inform our people that we have met our Lord. He is pleased with us and He has made us pleased.'" Bukhari vol.4:69 p.53. See also the History of al-Tabari vol.7 p.156.

Other references to cancelled verses are: Bukhari vol.4:57 p.45, Bukhari vol.4:299 p.191, and Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.421 p.293 all repeat the same thing about the same verse.

The Satanic Verses of the Qur'an

This term has been used for some time to describe two verses of Mohammed that were "abrogated" or taken out.

In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was a god with three daughters, al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat.

Sura 53:19-20 "Have ye thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?"

-originally followed by

"These are the exalted cranes (intermediaries) Whose intercession is to be hoped for."


"Are yours the males and His the females? That indeed were an unfair division."

At one time Mohammed compromised and said concerning the daughters of Allah in Sura 53:19 that "their intercession was to be hoped for." In other words, Mohammed said we should hope for the help of these three idols. Mohammed's followers were amazed that he said this. Mohammed later changed and said Satan had deceived him. These verses were abrogated or taken out.

It is interesting to read how Allah could have what are called "abrogated verses" in Suras 13:39; 16:101; 2:106.

Evidence of the Satanic Verses

Four different Muslim early Muslim biographers of Mohammed wrote about the Satanic verses:
1. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (died 923 A.D.) was one of Islam's foremost scholars. He wrote a Commentary on the Qur'an as well as a 38-volume work on the history of Islam.
2. Al-Wahidi/Wakidi (died 823 A.D.) wrote Asbab al-Nozul. He wrote 15-volumes.
3. Ibn Sa'd/Sa'ad (died 845 A.D.), who was aware of al-Wahidi's work.
4. Ibn Isaq/Ishaq (767 or 773 A.D.), wrote Sirat Rasulallah (The Life of Allah's Prophet).
We also have the following inferences from the Qur'an and Bukhari Hadiths:

The temptations of Satan's interjections - Sura 53:19-26; 17:73-75

Bukhari (died 870 A.D.) vol.6:385 - pagans as well as Muslims bowed.

For more info on this issue see the paper on The Daughters of Allah,'an/miracle/satanicverses.htm and Saifullah/sverses.htm.

Sura 22:52: "Never did We send An apostle or a prophet Before thee, but, when he Framed a desire, Satan Threw some (vanity) Into his desire: but God Will cancel anything (vain) That Satan throws in, And God will confirm (And establish) His Signs;..."

On the Other Hand...

The meaning of the new verses is that the people being "unfair", for saying that Allah only had less-desirable daughters (and no sons), when they had sons. Remember, this is supposed to be a timeless book, written on a tablet [in Heaven]. Sura 85:20-22.

Changes After Mohammed

Bukhari Hadiths saying parts of the Qur'an were missing and/or abrogated are vol.4:57,62, 69,229; vol.6:510,511 p.479-480.

Since there were various versions of the Qur'an, some with two more Suras than other versions, the Caliph 'Uthman ordered everyone to turn in their Qur'an, and he would issue a "standardized" version. This is the subject of the next paper though.

Transmitted Reliability of the Bible

So to compare the record of the Qur'an and the Bible we see some similarities and contrasts. Christians say that though people have made corrupt translations of the Bible, the true Bible meaning has have always been available, and it has been preserved reliably with no significant errors. If someone did hypothetically corrupt all Bibles in Middle Ages, we could simply change it back. We know the original words because of the following reasons.

1. We have manuscripts of the New Testament dated c.127 A.D, c.150 A.D., and c.200 A.D., as well as recently released copies with the Dead Sea Scrolls dated before 100 A.D.

2. We have 10,000 other manuscripts of the New Testament to compare. Scribal errors did occur, but with 10,000 manuscripts, we can track these errors. The evidence would be weaker, not stronger, if there had been a "Christian 'Uthman" to burn them.

3. The early church writers (from 97/98 A.D. to 325 A.D.) referred to every single verse in the New Testament except around 17.

4. We have copies of the Greek translation of the Old Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls of almost all of the Old Testament dated at the time of Christ, and Christ's use of Old Testament quotes.

5. We have God's promise that He will watch over and preserve His word, and that He will not let His followers be led astray. -Isa 55:10-11; 59:21; 1 Peter 1:24-25, Mt 24:35

6. Christian scholars are very keen to examine all the evidence and be as precise as possible in what the original wording was.

Christians and all seekers of truth should welcome questioning the reliability of today's Bible. But rather than asking, "what is its reliability", one should also ask "what its reliability is being compared to."

'Umar "stabilized" the Qur'an in 644 A.D. al-Tabari vol.39 p.22-23

Qur'an's Transmitted Reliability

Most Muslims believe the Qur'an is an exact copy of a tablet of the Qur'an [in Heaven] in Sura 85:20-22. But consider the following points.

1. It is strange that even in the temporary verses in the Qur'an that Muslims agree Mohammed said were abrogated, are stored for all time in Heaven. They are still in the Qur'an today.

2. Many Muslims are not aware that the Sahih Muslim Hadiths record an extra Sura that is not in the Qur'an today. Muslim apologists claim this too was abrogated, but it is not in today's Qur'an.

3. 'Ubai's early copies of the Qur'an did not contain two Suras that are in the Qur'an today.

4. 'Abdallah ibn Mas'ud was one of the four people Mohammed said to learn the Qur'an from. Yet Al-Nuri lists verses in Ibn Mas'ud's version that are not in the Qur'an today.

5. Satan always throws something in with a prophet's words according to Sura 22:52, but God has to cancel it out. This might be an explanation for why four different Muslim historical sources report that Sura 53:19-20 originally said the intercession (help) of four idol goddesses was to be hoped for.

6. 'Uthman also made changes to standardize the Qur'an, but that is the topic of the next part.

'Uthman, Editor of God?

When the Watergate Scandal hit America, the guilty people were not only the ones who stole the Watergate documents, but also the ones who covered it up. While the previous tract discussed many changes in the Qur'an, this tract discusses not just changes but also the cover-up by the Caliph 'Uthman. He threatened anyone with death if they did not turn in their Qur'an to him, so that he could burn them and re-issue new Qur'ans. Fortunately some early copies were not turned in, and we can see some of the changes that were made.

In Bukhari vol.6:525,526 Qatada and Anas relate that in the time of the prophet [i.e. before 'Uthman's rule], four people "collected" the Qur'an: Ubai, Mu'adh, Zaid bin Thabit, and Abu Zaid.

In Bukhari vol.1 chapter 8 p.56: "Anas says that Uthman got the Qur'an compiled and sent a few of its copies to far off places". Bukhari vol.4:709 p.466 says, "'Uthman called Zaid bin Thabit, 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Sa'id bin Al-'As, and 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham and then they wrote the manuscripts of the Holy Qur'an in the form of a book in several copies".

The Qur'an used to have many different readings, but 'Uthman got rid of all but one. al-Tabari vol.15 p.156

Muslims claim that God's Word, the Qur'an, will never be corrupted. Be that as it may, apparently some years after Mohammed's death, the Qur'an needed standardizing, since Caliph 'Uthman standardized the Qur'an way after Mohammed's death. Apparently in order that nobody could second-guess his editing, he burned almost all copies besides his standard ones. (Bukhari vol.6:510 p.479) For example, Ubai had several Suras in his Qur'an that 'Uthman omitted from the standardized text, and thus Muslims do not read today. The Meccan Abdollah Sarh, who once made suggestions to Mohammed, and later renounced Islam, was killed. Presumably he knew too much about how Mohammed changed the Qur'an. However, a few very interesting variant copies did survive and are now in the Azhyar Library in Cairo.

The 8th sura (al-Anfal) may have originally included the 9th sura (al-Tawbah). al-Tabari vol.11 p.94 footnote 525

A Need for Standardizing ???

Now if the Bukhari Hadiths vol.1:62, vol.4:709, and vol.6:510 are reliable at all, one has to ask why this occurred; Muslims typically do not go around destroying copies of the Qur'an.

? Why did 'Uthman have to burn other copies, unless the other copies were different?

? Why did 'Uthman need to standardize the Qur'an, unless it needed standardizing?

? Why did 'Uthman threaten death to make Muslims use the "Uthmanized" Qur'an?

? Why did some Muslims reject 'Uthman's text in favor of their own text of the Qur'an?

There is a simple answer to these questions. 'Uthman had to edit The Qur'an because there was not just one text.

1. In contrast to this, 'Uthman destroyed all but a few of the early Qur'an manuscripts, so "his tracks are covered."

2. His tracks are not completely covered because of the manuscripts of Ubai and others. (See Bukhari vol.6:527 p.489 for Ubai being the best at reciting the Qur'an, yet they leave some of what he recites.)

3. His tracks are not completely covered because of the words of 'Aisha and some Shi'ite Muslims.

4. Many Sunni Muslims have never thought to ask, "is the Qur'an they have the same as the original Qur'an?"

Some Shi'ite Muslims give an additional reason though. They say 'Uthman left out 25% of the original verses for political reasons. See McClintock and Strong Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature 5:152. This is interesting, because most Sunnis still accept Shi'ites as Muslims.

According to Mohammed's wife 'Aisha, one Sura had 200 verses. By 'Uthman's time, it only had 73. One can read this in the book Islam p.191ff by the skeptic Guillaume.

Finally, the Qur'an Sunni Muslims use today is based on the Ibn Masud Codex, which is NOT identical with 'Uthman's work. According to Geisler and Saleeb: Answering Islam p.192 there are 150 differences in Sura 2 alone, including complete sentences!

Even today, there are differences in Arabic versions of the Qur'an. For example, in Answering Islam p.193 point out some Arabic discrepancies: Sura 28:48 [sahirani/sihrani], Sura 32:6 [ummahatuhum/ummahatuhum wa hyua abun lahum] Sura 34:18 [rabbana ba'id/rabuna ba'ada], Sura 38:22 [tis'un/tis'atun]. Sura 19:35 [tantaruna/yamtaruna]. See W. St. Clair-Tisdell A Manual of the Leading Muhammedan Objections to Christianity (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1904 p.60.). There are also significant differences between the 'Uthman's Qur'an and the Qur'an used today. Why the changes, and when will they change it back?

It is fine for a Muslim to question the transmitted reliability of the Bible. But if we are going to compare the reliability of the Bible to the Qur'an, we have to look at the issues of the reliability of the Qur'an, too.

Evidence from Abu Dawud

"Yazid al-Farisi said: I heard Ibn 'Abbas say: I asked 'Uthman b. 'Affan: What moved you to put the (Surah) al-Bara'ah which belongs to the mi'in (surahs) (containing one hundred verses) and the (Surah) al-Anfal which belongs to the mathani (Surahs) in the category of al-Sab'u al-tiwal (the first long surahs or chapters of the Qur'an), and you did not write "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful" between them? 'Uthman replied : When the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet (may peace be upon him), he called someone to write them for him and said to him : Put this verse in the surah in which such-and-such has been mentioned; and when one or two verses were revealed, he used to say similarly. ... Hence I put them in the category of al-sab'u al-tiwal (the seven lengthy suras), and I did not write 'In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful' between them." Abu Dawud vol.1:785 p.202

The Changes in the Qur'an

Have you ever though to ask, "Is the Qur'an today the same as the original Qur'an?"

Any Corruption of God's Word Prior to the Qur'an?

Abrogated Verses in Mohammed's Lifetime

Changes After Mohammed

'Uthman, Editor of God

The Qur'an Today

The Reliability of the Old Testament

The Reliability of the New Testament

God's Word Prior to the Qur'an?

Allah claimed to be the same God as Christians and Jews (do not dispute except in the best way) - Sura 29:46

Jews and Christians were to make God's word known to all mankind -Sura 3:187

Do not selectively believe in only some of God's messengers -Sura 4:150-151

Mohammed alleged the Qur'an confirmed what they already had. -Sura 4:47

God promised His word would not depart from the mouths of the Jews in Isaiah 59:21

Sura 29:46 "Dispute ye not with the people of the book, except in the best way, unless it be with those of them who do wrong but say, 'We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God is your God is One; and it is to Him we submit (in Islam)."

"And remember Allah took a Covenant from the people of the book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!" in Sura 3:187. While this Sura criticizes some who were called people of the book, it does not in any way criticize the book God gave to mankind.

Sura 4:150-151 "Those who deny Allah and his messengers, and wish to separate between Allah and his messengers, Saying: 'We believe in some but reject others': and wish to take a course midway, (151) They are in truth unbelievers;..."

"O ye People of the Book! Believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was already with you, before We change the face and fame of some (of you) beyond all recognition,..." Sura 4:47.

Isaiah 59:21

"'As for me, this is my covenant with them' says the LORD. 'My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,' says the LORD." (NIV)

Sura 5:46 - A Remarkable Verse in the Qur'an

"And in their [the prophets'] footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Torah that had come before him: we sent him the gospel; therein was guidance and light. And confirmation of the Torah that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah"

Now this verse of the Qur'an is quite remarkable. If God sent Jesus to confirm the Torah (first five books of the Bible's Old Testament), then at least in Jesus' time, the Torah that people could read and Jesus could confirm was the same Torah God sent.

Sura 5:47 goes on to say "Let the People of the Gospel Judge by what Allah hath revealed Therein...." If the People of the Gospel are to judge by what God has revealed in the Gospel, then how can the Gospel they are to judge by not be the Gospel God told them to judge by?

Sura 5:48 says, "To thee (People of the Book) We sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that hath come to thee...."

Since God had the power to give His word, God had the power to guard His word in safety. Do you agree?

Transmitted Reliability of the Old Testament

In contrast to:

■ Abrogated Verses in Mohammed's Lifetime

■ Changes After Mohammed

■ 'Uthman's Standardization

let's look at the transmitted reliability of the Old Testament.

The Bible is God's Truth -Isaiah 55:10-11; 59:21; 1 Peter 1:24-25, Matthew 24:35

Yusuf Ali says the earliest O.T. manuscript we can date with certainty is 916 A.D. (Appendix 2 after Sura 5 p.331)

Dead Sea Scrolls

1947 - Muhammad Adh-Dhib threw some stones

Over 500 manuscripts, 1/4 to 1/3 from the Bible

People lived in Qumran until the Romans killed them - 68 A.D.

Some Dead Sea Scroll Texts

BookCopies / fragmentsEarliest scrollCommen-taries
Genesis15 / 20 1
Exodus15 / 23250 B.C. 
Leviticus8 / 13 
Numbers6 / 8  
Deuteronomy25 / 29  
Parallel Torah1  
1,2 Samuel4  
1,2 Kings3 / 4  
1,2 Chronicles1  
Psalms27 / 36 chap. 37
Ecclesiastes2175-150 B.C. 
Song of Solo.4 possibly
Isaiah18 / 23120-100 B.C.1
Jeremiah4 / 6  
Daniel8120 B.C. 
Hosea3 2
Micah(4Q81)3rd century1
Nahum(4Q82) 1
Habakkuk(4Q238) 1
Zephaniah2 Possibly
Joel, Amos, Zeph, Malachi(4Q78)  
Jonah, Hag., Zech., Mal.(4Q76)  
Total O.T.175-200250 B.C.8-10
Total Other325-667 0

Other Ancient Old Testament Scrolls

The Nash Papyrus, dated 150 B.C., contains the Ten Commandments.
At Masada, there was a copy of Joshua dated 169-93 B.C. by mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating. (The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.18)
Nahal Hever (50 B.C. to 50 A.D.) is a cave near Engedi, that has a fragment of the minor prophets in Greek (8 Hev XIIgr). It was hidden during the Bar Kokhba revolt against Rome. It is a revision of the Septuagint, made in Judea, and almost identical to the Massoretic text.
wadi Murabb'at scroll (2nd century A.D.) of the Minor Prophets (Mur 88).

Yusuf Ali Again

While the Qur'anic commentator Yusuf Ali claims the Biblical Gospel today is not the Injil (Gospel) meant in the Qur'an, the Qur'anic commentator Fazlur Rahman contradicts him. Jesus was taught the Gospel according to Sura 3:48, and Christians are the people of the Gospel in Sura 5:46. Finally, 'Aisha contradicts Yusuf Ali in Bukhari vol.4:605 and Sahih Muslim vol.1:301 p.98, where she tells that Khadija took Mohammed to a Christian convert who used to read the Gospels in Arabic.

New Testament Manuscripts Preserved

100 A.D. p6 (fragment of Luke)
117-138 A.D. John Rylands (fragment of John)
100-150 A.D. Chester Beatty Papyrii (p45)
125-175 A.D. - Bodmer II (p66)
125-175 A.D. p104 (fragment of Matthew)
30 more manuscripts before 300 A.D.
8 more manuscripts around 300 A.D.
10,000 Greek manuscripts
14,000 additional manuscripts in other languages

Early Church Fathers

The early church writers (from 97/98 A.D. to 200 A.D.) referred to a many verses in the Bible.

If the Bible stands, then Islam falls

Consider the words of the prophet Jesus

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

You must make a decision about Jesus

One Point of Agreement

One thing all Christians and presumably all Muslims can agree upon is that the One True God is a God of truth. Therefore, if the Qur'an is all true and from the true God, then there are answers for every one of these points. We believe that everything mentioned in this tract is true. If you can find anything in this tract that you can show us is false, then we want to correct the information.

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