The History of the Qur'anic Text from Revelation to Compilation
Author: M M. Al-Azami
The Qur'an reigns supreme in Muslim hearts as the most sacred of texts: a profusion of exalted ideas to rouse the mind, noble histories to stir the soul, universal truths to awaken the conscience and precise injunctions directing humanity to its own deliverance, all distilled into the melodious essence that is the Word of Allah. Through fourteen centuries Muslims have persevered in championing the text against corruption, memorising its every word and contemplating its every phrase, so that in our own times untold millions have enthusiastically committed each letter to heart. Beginning with a catalogue of ancient and contemporary attacks on the Qur'an, this expansive book provides unique insights into the holy text's immaculate preservation throughout its history, as well as exploring many of the accusations leveled against it. The reception of divine revelations, Prophet Muhammad's role in teaching and disseminating these verses, the text's compilation under his guidance and the setting of its final external shape shortly after his death, are meticulously and scientifically examined alongside such topics as the origins of Arabic, its palaeography and orthography, the so-called Mushaf of Ibn Mas'ud, and the strict methodology employed in assembling textual fragments. By way of comparison, the author investigates the histories of the Old and New Testaments, relying entirely on Judaeo-Christian sources including the Dead Sea Scrolls and uncovers a startling range of alterations that touch almost every fact of the Biblical Scriptures. Using this as a springboard for assessing Western theories regarding the Qur'an, he makes a sophisticated yet passionate case for questioning the aims of Western scholarship in continuously undermining Islam's holy book, and illustrates convincingly that such research, motivated by more than mere curiosity, has no scientific bearing on the Qur'an's integrity. This monumental effort, a scholarly work composed in an impassioned tone, provides a welcome foundation for sincere study at a time when assailing the Qur'an has become all too common.