The Qur'an says in surah 3:7 that there are clear and unclear verses in the Qur'an. One of the greatest Muslim theologians, Al-Ghazali said that "The number of the clear verses is 500." (Suyuti, 'Itqan Fii 'Ulum Al-Qur'an, Al-Hai'ah Al-Misriyah Al-'Aamah Lil-Kitab, 1975, Part II, Section 65: Al-'Ulum Al-Mustanbata Men Al-Qur'an. ), i.e., a mere 8% of the 6616 verses in the Qur'an. Thus, the Qur'an commands Muhammad and the Muslims to refer to the Jews and the Christians (surah 21:7).
The Missing Bismillah,
ibn `Abbas asked `Uthman what possessed him to place surat al Anfal, one of the mathani, with Bara'a, one of the mi'in, join them with no bismillah between them and place them among the seven lengthy suras. `Uthman replied that often the Prophet received quite long revelations. He would call for one of the scribes and say, 'Put these verses in the sura in which so-and-so occurs.' Anfal was among the first of the Medina revelations and Bara'a among the last. Since its contents resembled those of Anfal, `Uthman took it to belong with it, for the Prophet had died without explaining that it was part of it. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 164 quoting Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. abi Bakr al Suyuti, "al Itqan fi `ulum al Qur'an", Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, pt 1, p. 60)
Malik had a shorter explanation for the absence of this bismillah. The beginning of Bara'a fell out and its bismillah fell out with it. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, pp. 164-165 quoting Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. abi Bakr al Suyuti, "al Itqan fi `ulum al Qur'an", Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, pt 1, p. 65)
the Missing Stoning Verse,
Muslim jurists are unanimous about the penalty for adultery:
... the majority of the madahib are unanimously of the view that in certain circumstances, the penalty for adultery is death by stoning. Now, we know that this penalty is not only nowhere mentioned in our texts of the Qur'an, it is totally incompatible with the penalty that is mentioned: al zaniyatu wa al zani fajlidu kulla wahidin minhuma mi'ata jaldatin (The adulteress and the adulterer, flog each one of them one hundred strokes) (Q 24.2). (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 72)They differed, however, as to the source of this law. Thus some contend that its source is the sunna, which is also believed to be inspired:
The above hadith, however, does not say explicitly if the verse was sunna or part of the Qur'an.
Others contended that the penalty came from the Book of God and was recited during the time of Muhammad:
The above hadith is an apparent contradiction with the earlier hadith involving `Ali.
The above hadith clearly tried to reconcile the conflicting reports by saying that it is both in the Qur'an and is sunna.
In a variant version `Umar fears that with the passage of time some will say, 'We do not find the stoning verse in the Book of God.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 78)
Two men brought a case before the Prophet. One of them said, 'Messenger of God, judge between us in accordance with the Book of God.'
The other, who was more familiar with litigation, said, 'Yes, Messenger of God, judge between us in accordance with the Book of God and let me speak first. My son served as a hired hand under this man, but he fornicated with his employer's wife. The man, informing me that my son had incurred the stoning penalty, I ransomed him from that penalty with 100 sheep and a slavegirl I had. Subsequently I enquired of the learned who informed me that the stoning penalty lay on the man's wife.'
The Messenger of God said, 'By Him in Whose hand is my soul! I will judge between you in accordance with the Book of God. Your cattle and slave girl are to be restored to you.' (Malik b. Anas, "al Muwatta'", K. al Hudud)
At this point, the direct speech ends, but the hadith continues, 'He awarded the son 100 strokes and banished him for a year. He ordered Unais al Aslami to go to the employer's wife, and in the event that she confess, imposed the stoning penalty. She confessed, and Unais stoned her.'
There are strong grounds for considering this continuation foreign and irrelevant to the hadith. ibn Hajar, for example, comments,
The Book of God might refer to the verdict of God. It has also been held that it refers to the Qur'an. ibn Daqiq al `Id suggested that the first explanation was preferable since neither stoning nor banishment is mentioned in the Qur'an, part from the general injunction to obey the Prophet's commands. One might also consider the possibility that the reference is to God's words, 'or until God appoint a way'. The Prophet showed that the way was the flogging and banishment of the virgin, and stoning the non-virgin. A further possibility, it may be, is that the Book of God is a reference to a verse whose wording has been withdrawn, that is, the stoning verse, although the verse also fails to mention banishment. Finally, the reference may be to the Qur'an prohibition of wasting another's property without legal title to it. The man had taken possession of the other's cattle and slavegirl, but the Prophet insisted that they be returned. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, p. 76-77, Ahmad b. `Ali b. Muhammad al `Asqalani, ibn Hajar, "Fath al Bari", 13 vols, Cairo, 1939/1348, vol. 12, p. 115)The last suggestion may imply that the hadith at one time terminated with the words 'Your cattle and slavegirl are to be restored to you.'
The actual wordings of this verse can be found, with slight variations in several hadiths:
Men! the Sunna has been established, the obligatory duties imposed and you have been left in no uncertainty. Beware lest you neglect the stoning verse on account of those who say, 'We do not find two penalties in the Book of God.' The Prophet stoned, and we have stoned. By Him Who holds my soul in His Hand! but that men would say, '`Umar has added to the Book of God', I would write it in with my hand, 'The saikh and the saikha, when they fornicate, stone them outright.' (Malik b. Anas, "al Muwatta'", K. al Hudud, cf. "Fath", vol. 12, p. 119)
The version that occurs in the Hulya reads, 'I would write at the end of the Qur'an.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 78)
But that men would say, '`Umar has written what is not the Book of God', I would write it in, for we used to recite it, 'The saikh and the saikha, when they fornicate, stone them outright, as an exemplary punishment from God. God is mighty, wise.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 78)
`Umar declared, 'I fear that with the passage of time some will say, "We do not find stoning in the Book of God", and will neglect a divine injunction revealed by God. Stoning is a just claim against the non-virgin fornicator when valid proof is brought, or pregnancy occurs, or confession is made. We used to recite it, "the saikh and the saikha, when they fornicate, stone them outright." The Messenger of God stoned and we have stoned.'Bukhari's version stops at confession is made', and ibn Hajar suggests that Buhkari deliberately ignored the remainder of the hadith.
Nasa'i stated that he knew of no transmitter who included the words of the 'verse' in his hadith, apart from Sufyan who here transmits the report as from Zuhri to `Ali b. Abdullah. Nasa'i took Sufyan's version to be erroneous, as numerous transmitters relate the hadith from Zuhri without this addition.
But ibn Hajar reminds that the report is transmitted by Malik and by others in this form which he judges to be 'correct'. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 79, Ahmad b. `Ali b. Muhammad al `Asqalani, ibn Hajar, "Fath al Bari", 13 vols, Cairo, 1939/1348, vol. 12, p. 119) ... but Noldeke observed that the terms saikha and battata are alien to the vocabulary of the Qur'an. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 79, GdQ2, vol. 1, p. 251, n. 3)
There are reports that say that the verse was not added to the mushaf but in margins:
The verse orginally was from Surat al-Ahzab:
A variant of this hadith speaks of writing out the mushaf with, however, no mention of date or attribution. ibn al Anbari concluded from `A'isa's report that God withdrew from the sura everything in excess of its present length, and Mekki reminds us that withdrawal is one of the modes of naskh. (John Burton, The Collectio of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 84 quoting Burhan al Din al Baji, "Jawab", MS Dar al Kutub, Taimur "majami`", no. 207, f. 10)
Ahzab has only seventy-three verses in today's mushaf. (ibid, p. 84)
The Missing ibn Adam Verse,
Ubayy said, 'Yes.' This was before the copying of the `Uthman mushafs on the basis of which the practice now rests. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 83, Burhan al Din al Baji, "Jawab", MS Dar al Kutub, Taimur "majami`", no. 207, f. 17)
The Missing Suckling Verse,
It had been revealed in the Qur'an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) died and it was before that time (found) in the Qur'an (and recited by the Muslims). (Sahih Muslim 8.3421)
`Abdullah b. al Zubair reports, 'The Prophet said, "Not one and not two sucklings constitute the bar, nor one nor two sucks."' `Urwa reports that the Prophet commanded the wife of Abu Hudaifa to nurse Salim five times to set up the bar. She did so and always considered Salim a son.
Salim b. `Abdullah reports that `A'isa sent him away and refused to see him. He was being suckled by her sister Umm Kulthum who had fallen ill after suckling him only three times. Salim said, `I could never visit `A'isa, since I have not completed the course of ten.' ... Safi`i adopted the rule of five sucklings as coming from the Prophet on the strength of the `A'isa report that the five were Qur'anic and constituted the ban. (Abu `Abdullah Muhammad b. Idris al Safi`i, al Mutaalibi, K. Jima` al `ilm, in "Umm", 7 vols., Bulaq 1324, vol 5, pp. 23-4, and pp. 87-88, Mekki, "bab aqsam al naskh")
In the opinion of the Hadith specialists, Malik was by far the more reliable transmitter. He reported from `Abdullah b. abi Bakr from `Amra from `A'isa that she said,
Among what had been revealed in the Qur'an was the provision that ten attested sucklings set a bar to marriage. The ten were subsequently replaced by the rule that five attested sucklings set up the bar. The Prophet died and the five were still being recited as part of the Qur'an. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p 95, Abu Muhammad `Abdullah b. Muslim, ibn Qutaiba, "K. ta'wil mukhtalif al Hadith", Cairo, 1966/1386, pp. 310-15)
Anas is reported in the two Sahih's as declaring:
'There was revealed concerning those slain at Bi'r Ma`una a Qur'an verse which we recited until it was withdrawn: "Inform our tribe on our behalf that we have met with our Lord. He has been well pleased with us and has satisfied our desires."' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, pp. 48-49, Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. abi Bakr al Suyuti, "al Itqan fi `ulum al Qur'an", Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, pt 2, p. 26)
The Prophet sent seventy men from the tribe of Bani Salim to the tribe of Bani Amir. When they reached there, my maternal uncle said to them, "I will go ahead of you, and if they allow me to convey the message of Allah's Apostle (it will be all right); otherwise you will remain close to me." So he went ahead of them and the pagans granted him security But while he was reporting the message of the Prophet , they beckoned to one of their men who stabbed him to death. My maternal uncle said, "Allah is Greater! By the Lord of the Kaba, I am successful." After that they attached the rest of the party and killed them all except a lame man who went up to the top of the mountain. (Hammam, a sub-narrator said, "I think another man was saved along with him)." Gabriel informed the Prophet that they (i.e the martyrs) met their Lord, and He was pleased with them and made them pleased. We used to recite, "Inform our people that we have met our Lord, He is pleased with us and He has made us pleased." Later on this Quranic Verse was cancelled. The Prophet invoked Allah for forty days to curse the murderers from the tribe of Ral, Dhakwan, Bani Lihyan and Bam Usaiya who disobeyed Allah and his Apostle.
(Sahih Bukhari 4.57)
Narrated Anas bin Malik:Wow! thirty/forty days of cursing.
For thirty days Allah's Apostle invoked Allah to curse those who had killed the companions of Bir-Mauna; he invoked evil upon the tribes of Ral, Dhakwan, and Usaiya who disobeyed Allah and His Apostle. There was reveled about those who were killed at Bir-Mauna a Quranic 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."
(Sahih Bukhari 4.69):
Other Missing Verses,
[Hudaifa remarked] 'They don't recite a quarter of al Bara'a today.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 130)
Zuhri reports, 'We have heard that many Qur'an passages were revealed but that those who had memorised them fell in the Yemama fighting. Those passages had not been written down, and following the deaths of those who knew them, were no longer known; nor had Abu Bakr, nor `Umar nor `Uthman as yet collected the texts of the Qur'an. [Burton: The published text ought here to be amended: for "fa lamma jama`a Abu Bakr", I propose to read: "wa lamma yajma` Abu Bakr", to follow: "lam yuktab".] Those lost passages were not to be found with anyone after the deaths of those who had memorised them. This, I understand, was one of the considerations which impelled them to pursue the Qur'an during the reign of Abu Bakr, committing it to sheets for fear that there should perish in further theatres of war men who bore much of the Qur'an which they would take to the grave with them on their fall, and which, with their passing, would not be found with any other. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, pp. 126-127, Abu Bakr `Abdullah b. abi Da'ud, "K. al Masahif", ed. A. Jeffery, Cairo, 1936/1355, p. 23)
Anas ibn Malik said:
We used to read a verse of the Qur'an revealed in their connection, but later the verse was cancelled. It was: "convey to our people on our behalf the information that we have met our Lord, and He is pleased with us, and has made us pleased." (Sahih Bukhari vol. 5, p. 288)
`Abdullah b. Mas`ud reported that the Prophet had taught him to recite a particular Qur'an verse which he learned by heart and copied out in his personal mushaf. When night came, and `Abdullah rose to pray, he desired to recite that aya but could not recall a syllable. 'In the morning he consulted his mushaf, only to find the page blank! He mentioned this to the Prophet who told him that that verse had been withdrawn that very night. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 133, 199)
For Q 2.106 at least a dozen suggested reading have been recorded -- ample evidence of the extent, and hence of the significance, of the dispute as to the meaning. What was eventually settled as the joint exegesis of Q 87 and Q2 (the interpretation of each of these verses operating upon that of the other) was that there was indeed verses once revealed to Muhammad as part of the 'total Qur'an revelation' which, however, have been omitted from the collected texts of the Qur'an, the mushaf. That had by no means occurred from Muhammad's having merely forgotten them. Q 87 refers to God's will and Q 2 uses the root n.s.y. in the causative. God had caused Muhammad to forget in conformity with the mysterious divine intention as to the final contents of the Book of God. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 48)
He instances the report from Abu Musa as to the sura like Bara'a which was revealed, but later withdrawn. Abu Musa recalled something of it, but Mekki resolutely refuses to go into further detail. The Qur'an text cannot be established on the basis of reports. The many examples of this category he would therefore prefer to pass over in silence. God alone knows the truth of the matter. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 85, Mekki, "bab aqsam al naskh")
The extreme Sh`ia, the Rafidis, alleged that the impious rulers had expunged from the mushaf some 500 verses including those which most unambiguously marked out `Ali as the appointed successor to the Prophet.... The rebels against `Uthman, justifying their revolt, enumerated amongst their grievances their resentment at his 'having expunged the mushafs.' (Abu Bakr `Abdullah b. abi Da'ud, "K. al Masahif", ed. A. Jeffery, Cairo, 1936/1355, p. 36)
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