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Part 2: The True State Of The Qur'an

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The Regional Manuscript Traditions In Print And In Use By Islam Today

  The Samarqand manuscript shows signs of being a Kufan (Hafs) text. But what of the one in Istanbul (Turkey)? We do find that Turkey has its own Qur'an Tradition in print, and it 'appears' from the following to be a Kufan text: 

"Printed Hafs copies fall into five broad Traditions- 
an Iranian Tradition...
an Indian Tradition...
a Turkish Tradition...
an Egyptian Tradition...
a North-west African Tradition..." (Unpublished, Brockett, p.19)

  Surely Turkey will be copying any 'original' Kufan text if it possesses such. Yet that means that Von Denffer is again misleading us when he claims: 

"The Madina Manuscript... Some say... It has been reported...The manuscript then reached Istanbul but not Madina." (Ulum, p.62f, emphasis added).

  Whatever it is, we should be assured to be able to find most in Islam want to copy that text, as they should the Samarqand Manuscript. 

  We examine the Indian text, Pakistani Taj texts numbers #23 & #117A (which is printed alongside the Swahili translation1), the 1909 Turkish text, the 1983   Amana printing (which seems to be an Egyptian text with Turkish modifications2 as was also printed in 1975 by Islamic Foundation U.K.), the 1938 Hyderabad reprinting of the 1924 Egyptian text with M. Pickthall's translation3, and lastly a 1952 reprint of the 'original' Egyptian text, the 1924 Royal Cairo Edition. 

  This last text stands out from all the rest, for it did not exist before 1924. Its text, it is claimed, was derived solely from the 'Oral Tradition', not the existing manuscripts. It is, therefore, a text by which we can note just how much discrepancy exists between its graphic form, as the 'Oral Tradition' declares it should be, and that of the existing printed texts. 

  This should prove interesting since, compared to all other printed texts, the 1924 Egyptian contains the fullest array of 'indications' that there has been the need for 'adjustment' to the graphic form. 

The 1924 Royal Cairo 'EDITION' - The Oral Tradition vs Manuscripts

  This Arabic text Von Denffer notes as "The Egyptian Edition" (Ulum, p. 65), something on which he writes only seven (7) lines. Yet it is far more important than that! While the word "EDITION" brings heart failure to most followers of Islam, this self proclaimed "EDITION" of the Hafs Arabic text was a turning point in the history and content of the Arabic texts 

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of the Qur'an world-wide. It was also a turning point for people who think that every Qur'an is the same, and that everyone is copying an 'original.' Today this text is becoming more and more widely used. 

  The reason it was such a turning point is because until that time (1924) Egypt had been using the printed Turkish tradition of the Arabic Hafs text 4, which one would think would be the most accurate in existence since Islam is always proclaiming that it has an 'original' in Istanbul! And, though Egypt possessed its own manuscripts 5, it did not print an Arabic text based on them. That alone is suspicious! 

  In the notes to the Egyptian Edition it states that it was derived solely from the oral tradition about the text of the Qur'an as recorded by Islam's scholars, men such as ad-Dani (d. 444 A.H.)6, and abu Da'ud al-Sijistani (d. 275 A.H.) and not from any manuscript tradition 7. The notes of the 1924 Egyptian text state: 

"And its spelling has been taken from the reports of the scholars of the graphic form of the Qur'an concerning copies sent by 'Uthman to Basra; Kufa; Syria and Mecca; the copy he kept for himself; and the copies made from these." (A. Brocket, Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., p. 86; emphasis added)8

  But, why did Egypt think it was necessary or wise to create a brand new Arabic text? And, most importantly, did this text, now simply known as the Egyptian text, differ at all from the Turkish text also supposed to be a Hafs text or any other printed Hafs Arabic text? 

a/ Altering The Graphic Form

  The answer to such a question lies partly in the fact that the 'Oral Tradition' disagreed with the Turkish graphic form to some degree, thus showing 'corruption' of the Turkish manuscripts whose content is still accepted and authorised for printing Qur'ans! Also, the existing graphic forms were almost without exception 'corrected' versions 9 showing massive altering of the Arabic texts. 

  For example, the Turkish text was, and still is, a highly 'corrected' version of the 'original' graphic form that 'Uthman sent to Kufah! The others bear similar signs of correcting, but to varying degrees.

  On account of this alone a 'restoration of 'Uthman's graphic form 10 from Kufah was necessary if Islam was to have a printing of its claimed heritage 11 . Also, the Qur'an was going out into the Western world. A text was needed which included all the missing letters which previously were unknowable to an 'uninformed' reader! 

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 Since 1924 there has been a continued 'shift' to the restoration of 'Uthman's graphic form by Islam in general. This is indicated by the fact that some texts today, mainly some originating from Turkey, have notes stating that its Arabic text has been "revised according to 'Uthman's graphic form". In other words the graphic form had been adulterated with 'corrections'; the 'revising' was removing them!

 However, there are other matters.

 The Turkish text, although it is for the most part the Kufan graphic form, in certain places bears evidence of the Medinan graphic form. For example, in the graphic form of the Turkish text there is a nun (Arabic) in each of Q72:16Click to View 12, and Q73:20Click to View13,  which is absent in the pure Hafs  (Kufan)   text,   the   1924  Egyptian ( Click to View  ) ( Click to View ).  Since the Indian ( Click to View)  ( Click to View)  and the  Pakistani  Taj  (as  in  the  Swahili)  text ( Click to View) ( Click to View) also contain both nuns, they too bear this 'mixture' of the Kufan and Medinan graphic forms. The Egyptians had to edit both these 'Medinan' nuns out of the graphic form of the printed Hafs (Kufan) texts.

 "Take your own Qur'an and compare!", as Von Denffer exclaimed.
 Yet, despite taking the effort to remove these nuns, it is interesting to note that in the 'transliteration' the nuns are ignored even when they are left in! The Indian transliteration has:

 Q72:16 Click to View
                                                                             (see also Flugel, p. 20)

 Q73:20 Click to View
                                                                             (see also Flugel, p. 19)

 In each of these cases the nun is simply ignored, and the transliteration jumps from the alif ('a') to the double lam ('ll')! If the nun were included, Q72:16 would read 'anlla {instead of 'alla}, and Q73:20 would read 'anllan {instead of 'allan}.

 It must be acknowledged that since these nuns are discrepancies between the 1924 Egyptian Edition and the Turkish, Indian and Pakistani texts, they indicate that these texts are a polluted mixture of the the Medinan and Hafs copies.

 In other  places, like Q9:44, the Turkish  graphic form has alif Click to View  but the 1924 pure Hafs omits the graphic alif and instead contains a vocal hamza Click to View  . The Warsh text has a dagger alif Click to View  again indicating that the Turkish graphic form has been made so as to agree with the 'intended' Warsh content. The alif is also in the graphic form of the Indian, Pakistani Taj (as in the Swahili) and Iranian texts. The 1975 (83 Amana)

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text contains the hamza as the 1924 Egyptian.

 Similarly, in Q33:13, 53 and Q34:30  we find alif in the graphic form of the Turkish text Click to View  , all of which are omitted from the graphic form of the 1924 Egyptian Edition which  contains vocal hamza Click to View . The Warsh (Medinan) text having dagger alif in Q33:13, 53, and Q34:30 thus shows once again the Turkish Hafs content being that of the Medinan text, not the Kufan. Each of these alifs, as well as another in Q33:20 are contained in the Indian and Taj (as in the Swahili) texts. The 1975 (83 Amana) text omits the alifs and contains vocal hamzas as the 1924 Egyptian.

 In Q39:34 the Turkish graphic form is Click to View  (alif/waw/alif), but the 1924 pure Kufan graphic form  is (alif /hamza/alifClick to View . Again the Egyptians had need of correcting the graphic form. The Indian and Taj (as in  the Swahili) contain  (waw/alif/alifClick to View  as does the Warsh text Click to View . The 1975 (83 Amana) text contains alif/hamza/alif as the 1924 Egyptian.

 In Q11:119 we find that while both the Turkish and Egyptian texts contain a graphic alif Click to View  , the Indian and Taj (as in the Swahili) texts have omitted it and contain instead a vocal hamza Click to View . The 1975 (83 Amana) text contains the alif, as also the Warsh, Mushaf al-Madinahs and Iranian texts.

 In Q2 alone the Turkish text has ya in 16 places14 in its graphic form [copying the Warsh (Medinan) graphic form Click to View ], whereas the 1924 Egyptian Edition has removed them and 'replaced' them with small yas above the text to indicate they were missing from the 'Uthmanic graphic form for Kufah Click to View  . The Indian and Taj (as in the Swahili) place a short vertical line beneath the text to indicate the ya is missing Click to View  . The 1975 (83 Amana) text is like the 1924 Egyptian.

 In Q106:2  the  Turkish  (and  Iranian)  text  contains ya as part of the graphic form Click to View ,  as does the 1964 Warsh text (printed in Egypt) Click to View  . However, the 1924 Egyptian Edition did not include it in the graphic form, but rather has  a small ya in the line of the graphic form as if it were a 'vocalisation' sign Click to View . This is said to be:

 "The graphic form of the 1342 Cairo text (and hence of all printed Hafs texts bar the Turkish and the Iranian ones and of the Egyptian Wars text), and the vocal form, according to all commentators of the concensus.
 The absence of the ya in the 1342 Cairo text as opposed to its presence in almost all manuscripts... is probably due to al-Dani's statement that all the metropolitan codices were unanimous in writing 

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this word without ya (al-Muqni, pp.96.4, 146.17)." (Studies..., Ph.D., Brockett, p. 234; emphasis added).

 If all "the metropolitan codices" of 'Uthman omitted this ya, then sometime later it was inserted in the graphic form of the Warsh text. As the pattern seems to be that the Turkish text is following the [later?] Medinan graphic form, the presence of the ya would seem to indicate that it has been included in the manuscript the Turk's are using by copying from a late text!

 The Indian text  and Pakistani Taj  both contain only a short stroke to indicate that 'a problem exists' - something that is to be 'corrected with the tongue' in the Kufan 'version' of the graphic form.

 In  Q30:8  we  find  a  hamza  in  the Turkish Click to View     and Iranian Click to View  and  Medinan Click to View  graphic forms; but in the Egyptian there is a  ya Click to View . Again the Egyptian ('Oral Tradition' on the Kufan text) disagreed with the manuscripts. The Mushaf al-Madinahs have ya thus further showing their disagreement with the true Medinan text.15

 Concerning the five (5) differences [four of which are alifs] which Otto Pretzel noted existed between the Kufan text according to the 'Oral Tradition' and the 1924 Egyptian Edition we note:

"The fifth concerns the 1342 Cairo text's ayna ma for al-Dani's aynama, but al-Dani added that there was disagreement here. (Muqni, p 77.13ff.)" (Studies..., Ph.D., Brockett, p. 10) 

 The text of the 1924 Egyptian text  in  Q26:92 is ayna maClick to View , the unjoined  form;  but   ad-Dani  records  it  in  the  joined  form  aynamaClick to View  .

 In Q68:6 we find that the 1924 Edition has added an extra ya Click to View  when  compared  with the Turkish  text Click to View .  The  Warsh  has  ya Click to View and so in this one instance we find the Turkish text disagreeing with the Medinan graphic form. 

 Finally we note that the word 'IsrA'Il is spelled with graphic alif in Q2:211 in the Turkish text Click to View [as also the Warsh Click to View  - Q2:209] but the 1924 Kufan Edition has removed it Click to View . Brockett notes this some 15 times in Surah 12 [e.g. 12:127, 132] and notes further that the Indian copies and the Warsh are alike on the spelling of  but the Indian takes after the 1924 Edition in the case of the word 'IbrAhIm, as just mentioned.

 Other variations will be seen as we deal with the topic of tampering with the Qur'anic texts. 

 We have seen but a very few examples of the many differences between the graphic forms of the 1924 Egyptian Edition and the previously favoured Turkish text. It indicates not only that the graphic forms of 

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printed Hafs texts differ, but that some texts which are used as 'Kufan' have a decidedly 'Medinan' influence in their graphic forms. This latter is most likely from utilising the Medinan graphic form for the Hafs reading 

  It may well be, then, that for once Von Denffer is partly correct and that there is some form of a copy of the Medinan manuscript in Istanbul (see Ulum, p. 62f). However, if this is so, it means they are EDITING out the more obvious discrepancies as cited by ad-Dani between the Medinan and Kufan graphic forms while leaving those where the texts have a desire for agreement.

  Yet, one would expect that after admitting the corruption of the other texts by creating a new and 'pure' Kufan text, Islam would discontinue printing what are thus corrupted 'versions'. However, it continues not only to print them, but to tell everyone that they are all 'perfect'! 

  So, we see again why Islam has been striking out at everyone else. It is a method of diverting attention away from itself while it alters the Arabic Qur'ans again - exactly what it falsely accuses others of doing when their English translations change ever so slightly! And who can know what else Islam has been altering if all this has been happening to the 'protected' text? 

  Perhaps the answer lies in the following which transpired at al-Azhar: 

"An interesting modern example occurred during the last visit of the late Prof. Bergstrasser to Cairo. He was engaged in taking photographs for the Archive and had photographed a number of the early Kufic Codices in the Egyptian Library when I drew his attention to one in the Azhar Library that possessed certain curious features. 
He sought permission to photograph that also, but permission was refused and the Codex withdrawn from access, as it was not consistent with orthodoxy to allow a Western scholar to have knowledge of such a text." (Materials, Jeffery, p. 10, footnote 2)

  Most importantly,everything we have been noting trumpets the fact that there is no 'original' Arabic manuscript in existence that all of Islam is copying! Especially not in Istanbul!

b/'Purifying' the Reading

  But there was another equally important factor in the necessity of a new Edition, and that was that the notes to the 1924 Edition stated: 

"This copy was written and vocalised according to Hafs' transmission of the reading of 'Asim on the authority of al-Sulami...". (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 86) 

  It was thus claiming to be publishing a pure version of what Hafs was said to have transmitted from 'Asim (and he from al-Sulami from....), 

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something finally claiming to have come from Muhammad, from Gabriel, from Allah. 

  Because it was Egypt's purpose to proclaim this 'purity', the Egyptian Edition included an isnad (chain of transmitters) acknowledging its source to be that of the Hadith (the 'Oral Tradition'). In fact this isnad recorded names from Allah all the way to ad-Dani (d. 444 A.H.)16! But, to the followers of Islam, such an isnad 'guaranteed' that this text represented what Hafs' version of 'Asim's reading was17, and not a mixture as had been printed until this time. 

  The need for the Egyptians to do this underlines the fact that the readings in the existing texts were not 'pure' at all. In fact they contain a 'hodge-podge' of vocalisations rather than a pure version of one reading. This is evident in that the 1924 Egyptian Edition contains several thousands of shadda, which double the consonant under it, which are absent from the Turkish text. This means that all these extra consonants are intended to be represented in the 1924 Edition! 

  The Pakistani and Indian Hafs texts, on the other hand, contain a mixture of Hafs and Warsh 'vocalisations'. 

  No wonder my Pakistani acquaintance said in reference to the 1990 Mushaf al-Madinah, "I can't read that one!", for it is has as many differences between it and the Taj text as does the 1924 Egyptian Edition!! The poor man was confused! 

  All of this indicates that not only until 1924, but also until now, Islam in all these regions has been satisfied with an impure reading of the Qur'an, not an application of one of the '7 Readings' according to one transmission. This questions Islam's motive in declaring to the world that it has '7 Readings' of the text, when it hasn't applied one 'pure' reading to the other Hafs Qur'ans in print!! 

  It must be then that any general stress upon the '7 Readings' by Islam is simply another 'outwitting', a pretending that the knowledge of these 'reading systems' is important in Islam. In fact, it wasn't till 1924 that Islam actually decided that a 'pure' text, let alone a 'pure' reading meant enough that it decided to put it in print! Both before 1924, and since, Islam has maintained a carefree attitude towards the content of the Qur'an, something quite different from what it would have everyone believe. 

  Since all the texts contained a mix, no isnad would be obtainable. It is not surprising then that "documenting the isnad of the early transmission at the back of a copy was a new departure with the 1342 Cairo text." 

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(Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 86). 18 

  In fact, this entire 1924 Arabic Edition, both consonantal symbol text (graphic form) and 'vocalisation', is declared to be taken from the 'oral' source. Therefore the only 'pure' Kufan text under a 'pure' Hafs reading is a 400 year old Hadith - much older than the much debated 'Sahih' collections to which we will refer later. 


  1/ For the benefit of those in East Africa we will provide comparisons between this Taj text and the 1983 Amana text which are available and in use in your area. These examples are reliable and are taken from copies of these texts in our possession. We will note when the content varies between the 2 Taj printings whose numbers are found on the outside cover. You should also find that the so-called Mushaf Al-Madinah is available also. 

  2/ The author has also seen a copy of this text which was printed in Beirut, and it may be the one of which Brockett mentioned: "While the Damascus copy is Turkish with Egyptian modifications, this Kadirgali text revised by al-Dabba is the converse." (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 41). Kadirgali was a Turkish calligrapher who lived near the turn of the century. 

  3/ This text contains notes declaring some of the ways in which they altered the 1924 Egyptian text. Others will be obvious as we continue our examination. 

  4/ Since the Turkish text we are using was printed in Egypt in 1909, during the pre-1924 period, it will give us a clear picture of just what Egypt abandoned, and why textually they had to do so. 

  5/ Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 39. 

  6/ Ad-Dani (d. 444 A.H.) is lauded by ibn Khaldun in the following way; "...there appeared Abu `Amr Ad-Dani. He achieved the greatest perfection in the reading of the Qur'an. The knowledge of it rests with him, and its transmission in its entirety goes through him." (Muqaddimah, Vol. 2, p. 441). 
Indeed, it is the knowledge recorded by this man from those who came before him, that is the source not only of the Egyptian text, but ultimately of all the verifications for the Arabic manuscripts of the Qur'an world-wide. His work, al-Muqni, is the type of book in which is recorded what the people of Islam have passed down from one generation to another, as being what various individuals used as 'the reading of Warsh from Nafi' or of 'Hafs from `Asim', etc. Ibn al-Jazari's (d. 833 A.H.) al-Nashr is an oft-cited later work. 

  7/ A Hizb-ut-Tahrir follower, when asked which 'original' the Egyptians had used for their 1924 Edition, after rolling his eyes off into space remarked that they must have copied the text in Istanbul! His discomfort showed he didn't really believe this at all. 

8/ Having already seen that these `Uthmanic manuscripts were not 'exact copies', 

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one can only think that the Egyptians mentioned all the `Uthmanic texts hoping that some would think that they are all identical, and so confirm each other. But, for their purposes, they were really only interested in what was recorded about the Kufan text, and even some of that they did not accept. 

  9/ Brockett mentions that the 'official' Indonesian text is perhaps the exception. (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., p. 42). 

  10/ "And the possible new emphasis on the term "'bir-ram il-`Utmani" could be seen to capture the motivation behind the whole new Egyptian Tradition. This was to take it to mean "according to the graphic form of the caliph `Utman", rather than any reference to the Ottoman script." (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 40) 
"The explanatory notes to the Teheran Kadirgali text ...clearly refer to the orthography of the "Ottoman" copies in the way the Egyptians refer to the orthography of the copy of `Utman." (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 12). 

  11/ Yet, the graphic form of the Indian Arabic text which differs greatly from that of the Egyptian text because it has suffered so much correcting, has also made the claim to contain the `Uthmanic graphic form, for as noted, "Claims to the authority of the "recension of Utman" had certainly been made in the Indian copies since at least 1878" (Unpublished, Brockett, p. 12). Islam seems confused on this matter too. Which one actually is ''Uthman's graphic form'? The partly corrected Indian one, in which the very graphic form has been altered(!), or the Egyptian one with many more 'indications' that there were thousands of 'original' letters missing that needed to be added!? 

  12/ Also it is present in 'Mushaf al-Madinah', Iranian, Pakistani Taj (as in the Swahili) and Indian texts. It is missing in the 1975 Islamic Foundation (83 Amana) text, and 1938 'Indian-ised' version of the 1924 Egyptian text. 

  13/ As mentioned earlier, the 1990 King Fahd and 1995 Amana printings of the Mushaf al-Madinah both include this nun. The Noble Qur'an printing excludes it. It is also in all the other texts. 

  14/ These occur in Q2:124, 125 (x2), 126, 127, 130, 132, 133, 135, 136, 140, 258 (x3), 260. 

  15/ The Indian, Taj and 1975 Islamic Foundation (83 Amana) text all contain the graphic ya. These latter three have suffered 'correcting' and this we will examine momentarily. 

  16/ Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 85f. 

  17/ The true importance of this Isnad is defined in the following statement: "Sanad literally means: On which something is dependable. Because the authenticity of a Matn [content] of Hadith was dependent upon the true knowledge of Sanad, the term Isnad became common. It is defined as 'the way to Matn'." (Criticism of Hadith Among Muslims With Reference to Sunan Ibn Maja, Abdul Ghaffar, p. 32) 

  18/ Another Qur'an issued in 1952 (1370 A.H.) from Baghdad states: "The six carried out their revision of the vocalisation in accordance with the tradition of Hafs. The isnad is as in the 1342 Cairo text." (Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, Ph.D., Brockett, p. 33)

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