Talk:Islam/Archive 4

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Some pinhead is disrespecting Islam and updating the Texas Revolution entry. Hilarious!

the "creed"

I moved the hyphens to the proper morphological boundaries: Lā ilāhā illāllāh; Muhammadu-r-rasulu-llāh. Wouldn't it be more correct to give the full i'rab, though, i.e. Lā ilāhā illā-llāhu; Muhammadu-r-rasulu-llāhi? dab 15:37, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)

ٍSounds good to me. - Mustafaa 16:23, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)

ok. you may have noticed I'm on a "unify arabic transliteration" campaign, at the moment. Another thing is this: I am not a native (or even fluent) speaker, but according to my understanding, it should be Muhammadu-rasulu-llāhi rather than Muhammadu-r-rasulu-llāhi (rasul in construct state). I found both versions on the internet. Which is correct? dab 18:25, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The latter; Muhammadun rasuulu llaahi > Muhammadur rasuulu llaahi, by the regular contraction n+r > rr. I think the process is termed sandhi in English. - Mustafaa 20:44, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Wait (sorry if I seem to abuse this page for arabic lessons), you mean to say that the first r is really nunation, i.e. indefinite state? Then the literal translation would be "there is a certain Muhammad who is the messenger of God" rather than "(the well-known) Muhammad is the messenger of God"? In that case, the properly hyphenated transcription would be Muhammadur-rasulu-llāhi. dab 08:39, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Not exactly; just as some names require the definite article (eg Al-Amiin or al-`Aas), some require the indefinite article (eg Faatimah). It has no particular implication of indefiniteness, because it would be impossible to say *al-Muhammad to mean "the Muhammad" (that would rather be taken to mean "the praised".) Incidentally, good work on this unification business - how did you learn Arabic? - Mustafaa 22:20, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

just from books, and from a few expatriates... I would have expected Muhammadu for "the Muhammad" and Muhammadun for "a Muhammad", but I believe you, of course. dab 09:39, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Edited Qur'an section

I've attempted an NPOV discussion of what most Muslims believe, rather than stating those beliefs as if they were facts. I will rewrite the main Qur'an article too, but that's going to take me some time; I ordered WAY too many expensive books from Powell's and I'm going to have to read them once they arrive. Plus there are a fair number of books I'd like to read that are out of print and unavailable. Dunno what I'm going to do about those.

I've left a question mark where there should be the Unicode for Qur'an in Arabic. I would also appreciate it if someone could put A.H. dates in parentheses after the C.E. dates -- or, if you wish, put the A.H. dates in the place of honor and add the C.E. dates in parentheses. I should think that more Wikipedia readers are going to recognize C.E. dates, which would mean putting them first, but ... it doesn't really matter as long as both are available. Zora 00:42, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Many errors there:
(1) The rest of the article spells the name "Muhammad," not Muhammed.
Aargh. I've been doing so much reading, and the name has at least three common variants. Sorry. I'll edit. Zora 08:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
(2)The Qur'an originally didn't have vowels but this was not a problem at that time. They wrote everything without vowels (not just the Qur'an). They knew how to pronounce the words; it was their native tongue.
Reading Arabic without the vowels is like reading English without the vowels; t's hrd bt t s pssbl. But you can perhaps see why some sentences might be hard to parse. Islamic commentators argued long and hard about some sections, and there are still several accepted interpretations of some of the rasm. I don't think you can just shrug this off as "that's just the way it was".
No, it was never an issue for early Muslims. You don't know what you are talking about. Notice the so-called "vowels" (or diacritic marks) are not even used that much today. See for example Al Jazeera site. Only a few diacritic marks are there. This was not a big problem for Arabs. Notice that the "vowels" (or diacritic marks) were not put in the Qur'an by Uthman (he didn't see any problem there). They were invented much latter by Haljaj.OneGuy 09:58, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
please be polite. yes, diacritics are still not commonly written. But it's not as simple as you would have us believe. vowelless scripts were an improvement over earlier syllabaries in about 1000 BC (Ugarit), but one that has been superseded for more than 2500 years now. The adherence to such a system shows, shall we say, a remarkably conservative attitude. The diacritics are a half-hearted medieval patch that can be used for disambiguation. It can be argued that arab illiteracy wouldn't be quite as high if the language would use a more convenient alphabet. It may not have been a problem for native arabs, but even in early Islam (8th century), a substantial portion of Muslims were converts. The desinences were lost very early, even among native speakers. The very reason the diacritics were introduced was that people didn't know how to recite the text without them, so it certainly was not "never an issue". dab
8th century isn't "early." That's like 70 years latter. You didn't show it was problem earler at the time of Muhammad or immediate after his death OneGuy 12:00, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I consider "early Christianity" to be more or less the first three centuries (pre-Nicaea) (of a total 2000). I consider early Islam to be the first 200 years or so (of 1400) or the age of conquest. No, Muhammad probably didn't need the diacritics. But then he didn't need the letters, either, seeing as he had other sources, so to speak. dab 12:20, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Not just Muhammad but the Arabs at the time or immediatly after his death. The section on the Qur'an seems confused about "seven reading" and what happened at the time of Uthman and so-called "vowels" (or diacritic marks) that were put in much latter by hajjaj. OneGuy 13:12, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yes, we need to get that correct. However, Muhammad's dialect must have been one of the latest to preserve desinences (i'rab), and already at that time, many native arab speakers didn't have them. For non-final vowels you are right in principle. But note that no matter how good your arabic, many non-vocalized forms, and also notably forms without shadda (or even worse, undotted letters, also commonly used in those days), are ambiguous, and you have to *guess* the meaning (eg. person, verbal voice, mood, verbal stem). Now, to have to guess what may have been the word of God is of course not acceptable (and I am convinced you could get some pretty far out (but grammatically correct) readings from an unvocalized quran!). The intricacies of this belong on Arabic alphabet, however. dab 09:34, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
This had nothing to do with why Muslims (early or now) memorized the Qur'an. The vowels were added for nonnatives by Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef (d 714) latter on when Islam spread to other parts outside Arabia., and only after that these vowels became part of the written language.
Again, there wouldn't be seven accepted readings of the rasm (some scholars accepted more) if it hadn't been a problem even for Arabic speakers. Though I will say that some of my sources argued that it was an increasing problem as the Arabic of the Qur'an and colloquial Arabic diverged, under the pressures of distance and mixing with the tongues of the conquered peoples. Which is why there's a story about the redactors of the Qur'an under Uthman being advised to go to the Bedouin of the desert if they didn't understand something. Zora 08:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You don't know what you are talking about. The seven readings has nothing to do with these "vowels" (or diacritic marks). That is totally different issue. There were seven "Ahruf" ("letters" or "dialects") of the Qu'ran which according to a hadith, Muhammad referred to as all having divine authority. This has nothing to do with vowels. Read this article to clear at least some confusion. (Read the article before you reply here again). OneGuy 09:58, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I've just looked at that article, and spent about three hours flipping through books and websites. The question is whether or not the seven ahruf mentioned in a hadith of Bukhari (died 870 C.E.) are the same thing as the seven acceptable pointings, or vowellings, of Uthman's rasm, as defined by Ibn Mujahid in 934 C.E. (322 A.H.). The only source I found that tackled this head on was an actual Christian missionary source, Gilchrist. So I'm a little suspicious of it. I much prefer academic sources, and I can't find any on this particular topic. (At least until my book order from Powell's arrives!) Gilchist says that the hadith, or the hadith tradition, had previously been interpreted as sanctioning all existing traditions of Qur'an recitation, even though there were more than seven known. Ibn Mujahid identified seven of those traditions as the seven ahruf and rejected the rest. His ruling prevailed. Of his seven traditions, five are not recited often, if at all, leaving one majority tradition (Hafs) and one minority tradition (Warsh).
That site also has a section on Gilchrist. Did you see it? OneGuy 00:03, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
By academic standards, the hadiths are LATE sources and unreliable. There's no evidence at all as to what the hadith understood as the seven acceptable variants, and no evidence to confirm or deny that Ibn Mujahid made the right choices in matching existing recitation traditions to the hadith. I'm probably going to look over this paragraph in the Qur'an section and make sure it's accuration in the light of my recent travails. Zora 23:42, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
(3) Mu'tazili argument was that the Qur'an is created by GOD (not created by human as the article claims). Others argued that if God is eternal then his knowledge and words (like the Qur'an) must be eternal too. At any rate, whether the Qur'an is eternal or a creation of God is not a big issue among ordinary Muslims. It's not an article of faith to believe that the Qur'an is eternal.
Hmmm. I think you're right. It's a subtle point, but important. Eternal versus created by Allah at one point in time for one particular purpose. OK, I'll revise. But ... there seem to be a lot of Muslims out there who DO believe that the Qur'an is eternal and perfect. YOU tell THEM not to threaten scholars. Zora 08:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Only Western scholars and Christian evangelicals (while debating Muslims and having to defend trinity) seem to be obsessed with this theological debate. You don't have to believe that the Qur'an is eternal to be a Muslim (I doubt most Muslims even heard about this theological debate).
No, their side has won so thoroughly that they don't even KNOW that there's another side.
(4) The article goes on to repeat the claim by some western scholars that Muslims don't like textual criticism and that textual criticism of the Qur'an is in its infancy; ignoring the fact that the books these scholars write (like Arthur Jeffery's book on the variants of the Qur'an) are borrowed entirely from Muslim writers/scholars like Abu Hayyan (930-1023), Suyuti, and Ibn Abi Dawud (from whom Jeffery got material for his book). OneGuy 03:06, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Um, no. Academics and scholars are increasingly trying to break out of the trap of relying exclusively on LATE Islamic sources. They're trying to find extremely old Qur'an manuscripts, working on paleography and dating, looking at inscriptions and archaeological evidence, and scouring contemporary reports from non-Muslim observers (who had their own axes to grind, of course, but it's at least an outside viewpoint). They've come up with some off-the-wall theories (IMHO) but I think we're getting somewhere in the course of arguing them. And yes, a lot of Muslims think textual criticism is blasphemy. Some of the online commentators I read were certainly quite angry. Angry enough, in fact, that some scholars publish under pseudonyms so as not to attract fatwas, a la Rushdie. Or murder attempts, like the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz.
Not that Christians and Jews didn't/don't react much the same way to textual criticism. I don't think it went as far as fatwas, but there was public vilification and lost jobs and social ostracism and suchlike. Humans! We can be so ugly ... Zora 08:57, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You are relying again too much on that Atlantic article and so making completely silly points (like that article did). If you knew anything about Rushdie affair, you would have known that the reason he got in trouble was because he supposedly insulted Muhammad (by calling him Mahound) and calling his wives prostitutes.
I haven't even read the book (I don't particularily enjoy Rushdie as a writer) but as I understand it, the author gave the names of the Prophet's wives to the inmates of a brothel. A shocking juxtaposition, but not a declaration of any sort. Are you suggesting that it's NOT PERMISSIBLE to diss Muhammad, his wives, the Qur'an, Islam, in any way, and that death is the appropriate punishment? And then you claim that there's no problem doing research on Islamic history?
No, what I said was that the book had nothing to with textual criticism of the Qur'an. To give that as an example that Muslims are against "textual criticism" and "scientific research" shows the person is really confused and doesn't know what he is taking about OneGuy 00:03, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
BTW, my reading hasn't been limited to the Atlantic article. But I don't see why you have so much animus against it. It still seems like a reasonable article to me. Zora 23:42, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
This had nothing to do with questioning the text of the Qur'an (like that Atlantic article claimed). There was nothing about the Qur'an in his novel. The phrase "Satanic Verses" was not invented by Rushdie. He got it from William Muir (no one issued a death sentence on Muir). As for the manuscript evidence, these scholars completely ignore the fact that primary source for the preservation of the Qur'an was memorization. You cannot ignore that part (as these scholars do). OneGuy 09:58, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Since when did I ignore it? I said that there were several accounts of the chain of transmission -- some stressing oral transmission, some stressing writings -- and that given the nature of the writing system at the time, they could be seen as much the same thing. Any "manuscripts" would have been ambiguous at some points without an oral tradition to disambiguate them. Zora 23:42, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Besides everything I said above, if you are really interested watch this debate on the Qur'an. You will see arguments for both sides here. That will clear some confusion about what issues are. OneGuy 10:25, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I looked at the first few minutes of the debate. Hey, it's a debate between Christians and Muslims, and I'm not even a Christian. If I have a side, it's the side of trying to figure out exactly what happened -- which I hope is the scholarly or academic side. I'm definitely not on the "Christian" side.
What does that have to do with anything? I am neither a Muslim nor a Christian, but yet I watched the debate. Watch the whole debate. You will see many of the same arguments about Ibn Masoud, variant text , and seven reading. 00:03, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
And to add more to the errors (and POV) in this section, the article goes on to repeat the same POV assertion from confused Atlantic article (as if it was a fact), that Muslims are hostile to scientific research of the Qur'an (ignoring thousands of books written on the topic by both Western and Muslim scholars). The section from A to Z is messed up OneGuy 14:51, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I said many Muslims are -- and frankly, the responses I'm getting here rather supports the conclusion. One incident I didn't mention -- one researcher in early Islamic history, Suliman Bashear, who taught at the University of Nablus, was thrown out of a second-story window by students who felt that his research was un-Islamic.
The response you got was from me, and I am not Muslim. You got that response because you inserted confused POV and other weak and condfused arguments in the article. OneGuy 00:03, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Under attack again

I reverted one anonymous edit that replaced the whole "Belief" section with "Islam is shit". Zora 02:33, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This is unbearable. I've been watching this page for two days now, and it has been vandalized about five times. Is there an option to protect a page from anonymous edits while still allowing logged-in users to edit? dab 08:58, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

transliteration, capitalisation, diacritics

I have given some thought as to how to present arabic terms in this (and related) articles. There are several stages of "latinization"/"anglicization":

  • arabic in arabic script: الإسلام
  • arabic phrases in scientific transliteration: lā ilāhā illā-llāhu
  • transliterated arabic words in english context: Allāh
  • arabic words, dropped diacritics: Usul, Din.
  • "english orthography" phonetic transcription: Usool, Deen
  • hybrid arabic words with english morphology: Sunnite, Shiite
  • Arabic loan-words in English: Moslem, Muslim, Islam, Allah....... Admiral, magazine, alcohol

They all have legitimate uses, but we should not mingle them randomly. For example, "Deen" next to "Usul" (or "Usool" next to "Din") is inconsequent. My suggestion is:

  • for entire phrases in arabic, like the creed, to use scientific transliteration with no capitalisation (it's tempting to capitalise Muhammad for example, but the name of God is difficult to capitalise consistently, because looks weird to have Llāh besides Allāh.
  • For newly introduced terms, give full diacritics (Allāh, Dīn), but later occurrences can well drop the diacritics (Allah, Din), since many readers will not know what to make of them anyway, and people who want to know can take the information from the first occurrence
  • loanwords and words with English morphology can be treated as English words (no italics): Muslim, Allah, Islam, Sunnite.
  • transliteration options: the "official" transcriptions of alif, gim, shin, ayin are ʾ, ǧ, š, ʿ but it doesn't do any harm to use ', j, sh, `

dab 08:58, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Mustafaa's edits to Qur'an section

Many of the edits were OK and I'm not going to quibble over them. However, Mustafa quotes hadith as being the actual words of the historical figures, which no scholar would accept. Hadith are late and unreliable. An oral chain of transmission hundreds of years long cannot be taken as reliable for reproducing every single spoken word, though it might indeed be evidence for the gist of the matter transmitted. Also, Mustafa seems to paper over disagreements in the actual sources, and put together a synthetic version that stresses the reliability of the Qur'anic transmission. Again, this is putting piety over scholarly rigor. I'll be working on tweaking the para -- when I finish doing some mending for my daughter, and baking some cookies to send to her at college. Zora 00:12, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

More confused assertions. No scholar accepts hadith? LOL.
Skeptical, cautious scholars would accept hadith as being PRIMARY sources for the time that they were written down, if that can be documented. Bukhari rejected thousands of spurious hadith, which were invented in order to glorify Islam, buttress current political or legal arguments, etc. But there's no way to KNOW if the ones he, and the other reputable collectors, reflect in any way things that happened hundreds of years ago. There may be truths there, there may be falsehoods, they may be mingled, and there's no way to know. So hadith are SECONDARY sources for the times they purport to describe. Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You claimed that no scholar accepts hadith. That was a factually incorrect statement. Many Western scholars do. OneGuy 15:13, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Many scholars accept sciences of hadith (isnad or different methods to see if a hadith is authentic or fabricated and such).

Isnads are fabricated easily enough. In fact, academics say that the more impeccable the isnad, the more likely it is that the hadith is fabricated. Zora
Only obnoxious "academics" make that claim. There is assumption here that everyone is a liar and everything is fabricated, and if isnad proves that a tradition could be true, it must have been deliberately fabricated. If you don't make that stupid assumption, then isnad does help to see if a tradition could be believable or not. OneGuy 16:51, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You can also reject hadith if they include anachronisms, etc. But when it comes down to it, you don't know. Any written document that can be dated, or dated inscription, or archaeological dig, take precedence over oral tradition. If they corroborate some aspects of an oral tradition, that's great -- it means that the tradition is more likely to be true. But there's too darn little of the evidence that can be used to corroborate oral tradition. It will be wonderful if researches start using some of the new dating methods and date manuscripts with something other than paleography (which is a slippery "science"). Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
No written document goes back to the original source. You always have copies of copes of copies, etc. How do you know that Pluto and Aristotle existed? There is no manuscript that dates back at that time. Jewish historian Josephus wrote Jewish Antiquities (supposedly 94 AD). How do you know that a guy called Josephus existed? All the manuscripts are much older. If the historian Josephus didn't exist, there goes your source for much of history. It would be hard for you to prove 99% of history if you take this idiotic approach that everyone is a liar and everything is fabricated. You have to assume that historical record is correct until there is a reason to believe otherwise. OneGuy 15:13, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yes, well, that's what textual criticism is all about. You have umpteen texts, of various dates, and perhaps some minor differences between them, and you're trying to figure out how they're all related and what the lost original might have looked like. Indeed, that's what history is all about -- being very clear about primary and secondary sources, dating things as precisely as you can, and collating different types of information to see if they can be used as cross-checks. That's the reason that historians don't just work with documents any longer, but pay a great deal of attention to archaeological digs, rock inscriptions, and the like. Historians have to be detectives and doubt everyone, because people DO lie and fabricate.
I speak as someone who trained as an anthropologist but actually ended up spending a lot of time in dusty archives. Also a lot of time collecting stories from people, trying to figure out their sources and motives, and get some sense of what "really" happened. As elusive as that is. If as a scholar you are truly devoted to looking for "truth", you soon realize that it's as precious and as elusive as salvation, or enlightenment, or whatever your religion calls it. The quest should make you humble. Not that it always does, alas. Zora 22:01, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A few question some collections that Muslims consider authentic, but to make that into no scholar "accepts" hadith is silly. If you really believe that no scholar accepts hadith (what a joke) .. can you explain why do you believe Uthman compiled the Qur'an and not Muhammad himself (what source are you going to use to prove that?)

I didn't say that I believed Uthman did the collection. The section that I wrote said that Muslim scholars say. I'm not at all sure that Uthman did it. I think it's more likely than not, but the exact details given may be wrong in all kinds of ways. Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
See above. You have to prove that they wrong (one by one). You cannot assume that that everything is wrong, like Wansbrough did. He assumed that all Islamic sources are fabricated and ended up reaching a really idiotic conclusion that Qur'an was "written" (or came into existence) in the 8th century. This shows that a "scholar" can also be an idiot. The Islamic empire was stretched from India to North Africa around 8th century. If the Qur'an came into existence in the 8th century , there should have been dozens of different versions in different parts of the world. Shows how stupid the guy is OneGuy 15:13, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"Hadith" are just oral traditions .... all scholars have to use it. Without that, you don't know if there was a guy called Uthman who even existed. OneGuy 01:13, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

You see the problem. Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I would certainly question your wholesale rejection of the hadith - some hadith are unreliable, but a considerable body of scholarship exists dedicated to sifting out the unreliable ones - but I'm happy to add the proviso "according to Muslim historians". As to the supposed papering over of disagreements - I'll be interested to see what you can come up with; such claimed examples as I've seen are single-letter differences with no effect on meaning. - Mustafaa 00:23, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You didn't have to add "according to Muslim" historians. Many (or most) Western scholars accept that. Only very few people question these facts (like Wansbrough). She claims that the "scholars" don't accept early Islamic sources (what a joke). If that's the case, why did she wrote that Western scholars have compiled the Qur'an in chronological order? Where did these scholars get this data from?
I said Islamic scholars; I should have said Muslim. And it's not just Wansbrough, Crone and Cook, and the like. They're just the most radical of the recent scholars. There have been any number of skeptics during the last 100 years of academic study of Islam. I was just looking over a 1916 essay by Hurgronje (recently published online by Distributed Proofreaders -- I was one of the proofreaders) and found a quote saying that scholars "knew" less and less of Islamic history, and that this was good. Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You are a little behind. As far as I know, Crone (not sure about Cook) has revised most of her earlier views. That leaves you with Wansbrough. You can remove Crone from that list. And 1916 essay? A lot of nonsense was written in 1916, as it is being written now. Nothing new there. OneGuy 15:13, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
So the fact that it was written in 1916 proves it was nonsense? I was surprised, as I was proofing it, by how contemporary and clear-headed it seemed. As to Crone, Cook, and Wansbrough -- I've only read excerpts from their works. I've got a Wansbrough reprint on order and I'm not looking forward to reading it. His style is horrible. As for Hagarism, the book that cocked a snook at staid academia, it's out of print, the local libraries don't have it, and the used-book services list one copy at $400. Anyone have a pirate e-book copy? Zora 22:01, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

How does she know that the there were at least seven different readings and variants, or that Uthman burned variant readings? What were some of these variant readings? If you reject all Islamic sources, then you don't know any of this ever happened OneGuy 02:00, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Right, we don't know that. All the evidence for it is late, hundreds of years after the events. Bukhari died in 870 C.E., and Uthman's recension was supposedly done in 650-656 C.E., or thereabouts. A two hundred year old oral tradition will get all the details right? Doesn't seem likely to me. I'm not saying that people can't memorize things and pass them on, but you need a social context for the memorizing (a college of memorizers, frex, ready to criticize deviance) and usually a poetic form as a framework (harder to alter things). Most scholars, even the skeptics, would agree that there was such a context and framework for the Qur'an, but it's not clear that there was such a thing for the hadith. Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
By the way, even what you wrote about why Uthman standardized the text is not entirely correct. There were several different readings (supposedly authorized by Muhammad). These readings didn't change the meaning, but some Muslims started to argue that their reading (or dialectic) is better than the others. In response to these arguments, Uthman standardized the text to the reading (or dialectic) of Quraish (the tribe of Muhammad). Read this article. The article is just a collection of quotes from Tabari and other sources.
But the story of the several different readings is, I believe, found in a hadith from Bukhari, which is 300 years from the time of the story. Does anyone know of an earlier source? It's possible. I wondered if it would be in Ibn Ishaq and an hour of searching later, I can't find anything. Just the story of the Satanic verses, and the missing aya re stoning for adultery. Zora 13:43, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Now it has become 300 years? LOL. You are getting desperate there.
Well, I wrote that at 4 AM and it was tired. Yes, it's a mistake. Zora 22:01, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

How do you know that a guy called Bukari existed? What's the oldest manuscript? How do you know Ibn Ishaq existed? At any rate, to answer your question, Ibn Ishaq sira survives only via the edition of Ib Hisham (died . 834 -- not that early than Bukari). But now you need to prove that Ibn Hisham existed OneGuy

Yes, that's a problem too. Especially since Ibn Hisham is supposed to have edited Ibn Ishaq and taken out some things he considered scandalous. More scandalous than the Satanic verses section, which some Muslims completely refuse to accept?
Figuring out which evidence is reliable is a big problem, since I'm using mostly secondary sources, many of which are not at all rigorous. If I'm reading an Islamic site that says "it is related in a hadith that ... " often enough the source for the hadith is not given. Perhaps it's from one of the respected collections, perhaps it isn't. (And of course, even if it were, its reliability is not guaranteed.) The Christian missionary anti-Islam sites are only interested in ammunition to upset Muslims, not in ferreting out the truth, so they'll just use anything. Nobody seems to talk about oldest surviving document, except in the case of the Qur'an. Some of the Western scholars, like Karen Armstrong, are so nicey-nice that they're not going to doubt ANYTHING that a majority of Muslim scholars believe.
My own take is that the later you get in Islamic history, the more sources you have, the more outside sources you have, the more cross-checks possible. There's also less incentive to fabricate, since details of the reign of a particular Abbasid caliph, say, aren't usually considered the basis for Islamic law and practice. But everyone who had a pronounced viewpoint in religious matters had an incentive to fabricate hadith to support their claims.
It's not just Islam that does this. There are late Hellenic and Christian authors like Pseudo-Dionysius, trying to give their ideas spurious prestige. Most of the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures are pious frauds -- but then they don't even try to be historical. It's just the Buddha preaching to an assembled multitude of devotees and celestial beings, in never-never land.
So while I'd reject most Hadith as history, I don't think they're necessarily useless from a religious viewpoint. If someone of great piety and learning had an idea to convey, and chose to attribute it to Muhammad, the attribution may be wrong, but the idea or sentiment may be helpful. However, that's me speaking as a religious person, not as a scholar. Zora 22:01, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
That's why there was this controversy. The opponent of Uthman argued that Uthman is suppressing readings (or dialectic) authorized by Muhammad himself (notice Uthman was killed by some people due to this controversy). OneGuy 02:21, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)


To avoid clutter, I will put responses to different parts here:

If the oldest manuscript is hundreds (or in some cases thousands) of years latter, how do you know that everything is not a lie and fabricated? If you assume everything is fabricated, you cannot know anything about history. Archeology cannot give you a detail history of say Romans. That's not the answer. As for comparing different manuscripts, you can also compare different oral traditions in different cities and countries and see if they are consistent. That's a part of sciences of hadith (i.e. if a hadith was reported by different people at different places in such a way that it would make it impossible for all of them to conspire -- that would make it a stronger hadith). You can examine each tradition one by one and give a reason to reject each, but you cannot start with assumption that everything is fabricated and everyone is a liar (like Crone did in her book). That's clearly stupidity.

As for Satanic Verses, they do give reasons why they do not accept the story. Like Satanic Verses

And Karen Armstrong is not an Islamic scholar, but someone like Montgomery Watt is. I don't think he (like most other scholars) reject all Islamic sources. Only a very few loony "scholars" start with the assumption that everything is fabricated. OneGuy 02:47, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Paragraph removed

Zora wrote:

Because of the widespread belief that the Qur'an in heaven, the Qur'an revealed to Muhammad, and the Qur'an codified by Caliph Uthman are identical and perfect, many Muslims have been extremely hostile to the attempts of scholars to study the Qur'an with the same tools of textual criticism and scientific research that have been applied to the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

Something kinda like this might be worth putting in, but I question its NPOV status. The traditional study of isnad is textual criticism, refined to a rather high degree, and is exacting enough that its standards would exclude almost all of the Bible from consideration.

Isnad, proof by assertion, hardly constitutes "textual criticism." For example, no hadith claims to be revelation from Allah tompainetompaine
Huh? Of course not. It would be thoroughly contrary to Islam to imagine that Hadith were revealed by Allah. I'm not sure what you think "isnad" means. - Mustafaa 00:38, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Academic scholars do not consider this a sufficient guarantee that the oral traditions recorded reflect occurences several hundred years ago. People can be honest, upright, and well-meaning, but still distort the truth. An isnad can be forged. Claiming that isnad is reliable IS a POV. Zora 02:32, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Several hundred? From this site Malik ibn Anas died 795 (so his collection must be earlier than his death), Abu Dawud died 818, ibn Humama died 826, Muslim died 875, Darimi died 869, Bukhari died 870. None of that is several hundred years. At any rate, as I said, you can examine each hadith one by one, you can consider that if a hadith is reported by several different people at several different places (making it impossible for them to collaborate; thus making it a stronger hadith), you can examine the isnad and criticize that, you can give other specific reason to reject a specific hadith (like if it can be proven to be false logically or if it contradicts a stronger narration or historical fact), but you cannot start with assumption that everything is fabricated and everyone is a liar. OneGuy 03:13, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You know, Zora, it's really quite patronizing to treat "academic scholars" as a category with no overlap with "Muslim scholars". - Mustafaa 11:03, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think it sounds patronizing because I'm tiptoeing around the subject. There ARE people like Suliman Bashear and one fellow -- Al-Rawandi -- who seems to have taken Crone and Cook quite to heart. I found another scholar who might be Muslim, guessing from his name, Sajjad Rizvi. I found this review he wrote [1] Zora
Al-Rawandi is not a Muslim; he is just another pseudonym anti-Islamic bigot, like Ibn Warraq. Moreover, there are Arab Christians too. Just because you have a name that sounds Arabic doesn't mean the guy is a Muslim. Moreover, there is no way you can be a "Muslim" if you believe the theories of Crone and Cook. It would be like claiming that Christians have taken the theory that Jesus never existed to heart. At any rate, forget the Muslims, many western secular scholars are critical of Crone book. The book was published in 70s, and I don't think their radical theories took off any big way. OneGuy 01:30, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
by googling and it seemed so sound and balanced that I've just spent $200 I can ill afford on books that he recommended. $100 on just one book, by Herbert Berg, on weighing the hadith evidence. Zora
Why would you spend money on books that are recommended by a guy who praises a book like Crone that is universally rejected by even most western scholars? OneGuy 01:30, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Anyway, given Bashear's experience (being thrown out a window for his views) I can see why a scholar living in a Muslim country might worry about being too skeptical. But it's more than just that. It's that the ulama and the universities in Muslim countries aren't teaching the controversial material and students aren't exposed to it (so far as I can tell). It's that even if students find these things on their own, they're going to hesitate before possibly alienating themselves from their friends and families.
(I recall a graduate student at the University of Chicago who was raised Mormon, and still kept the Mormon Word of Wisdom (no caffeine drinks, basically). I asked her if that meant she still believed in Mormonism. No, she said, but she loved her family and she was not going to do anything that cut herself off from them.)
So it's most likely that Muslim scholars living outside Muslim countries are going to feel free to investigate these charged matters, and there simply aren't that many of them yet. Just wait a few decades. Zora 20:36, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

A more accurate phrasing might be: "... attempts of non-Muslim scholars to find evidence that the Qur'anic text has evolved through time and changed between the time of Muhammad and the time of its standardization, using, among other arguments, textual criticism-based methods analogous to those applied by Western academics to the Hebrew and Christian scriptures."

That's not a bad phrasing, except for the use of the term "non-Muslim". I keep seeing this. History or criticism is acceptable only if written by a Muslim. Translations of the Qur'an are acceptable only if done by a Muslim. IMHO, beliefs aren't worth much if they're such hot-house plants that they must be insulated from all outside examination. Zora 02:32, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
"History or criticism is acceptable only if written by a Muslim." - says who?
"Certainly, not all Western writings on Islam have the same degree of bias they run the range from willful distortion to simple ignorance and there are even a few that could be classified as sincere efforts by non-Muslims to portray Islam in a positive light. However, even most of these works are plagued by seemingly unintentional errors, however minor, due to the author's lack of Islamic knowledge."
By Robert Squires, a convert. Source: [2]
If I clicked around, I could multiply quotations. There seem to be quite a few vocal people out there who believe that only Muslims should study Islam. Zora 20:36, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
No one has ever said only Muslims should study Islam. The guy you quoted basically said that Western writings on Islam are distorted. Big difference between what he said, and what you claimed he said. OneGuy 02:13, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Non-Muslims' historical work can certainly be of value. However, by definition only non-Muslim scholars can be attempting the enterprise described above,
Huh? Here you're saying that believing Muslims will not engage in any academic study that threatens the edifice of Islamic scholarship. Whereas earlier you were challenging me to come up with the names of Muslims who are doing such study. I'd just like you to stop and consider whether Islam is the whole edifice of inward-turning Muslim scholarship, or whether it's between Allah and the soul, with no human or human-created intermediaries. Zora 20:36, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
No; I'm saying that a believing Muslim will not set out with the goal of proving "that the Qur'anic text has evolved through time and changed between the time of Muhammad and the time of its standardization", whereas an unbeliever may well set him/herself that goal. I'm certainly not saying, as you seem to suppose, that if a believing Muslim found that the results of their study contradicted "the edifice of Islamic scholarship" (edifice? why the subtle implication that it's monolithic?) s/he would refuse to publish. And incidentally, when was I "challenging me to come up with the names of Muslims who are doing such study"? - Mustafaa 23:36, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

and in practice we can observe that their own ideological biases very often play a crucial role both in their goals and in their conclusions. Witness the Atlantic article you linked to, which accurately observes that "Western Koranic scholarship has traditionally taken place in the context of an openly declared hostility between Christianity and Islam." - Mustafaa 11:03, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Most academics start with the assumption that the Qur'an is a human creation with a history, and that this history should be studied. (An assumption, they would say, required of any inquiry into scripture, not just into the Qur'an.) They start with the question, “What do we really KNOW?” and work from dated manuscripts, archaeological inscriptions, and the like. If one believes that the Qur'an is a divine creation with no history, the very endeavour will seem blasphemous.

What does this somewhat idealized description of academics' psychology have to do with the article? I could maybe see it as a proviso attached to a section on these "textual critics"' views, but as it stands I would argue that it adds nothing of substance to an article on Islam. - Mustafaa 22:48, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Incidentally, it may be time to take these debates to the Qur'an article, which I've worked over a bit lately. - Mustafaa 22:49, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Of course that's a POV. She inserted a POV (and a completely false one she got from that Atlantic artcle) that western scholars can't study the Qur'an because of fear of death. She hasn't apparently seen thousands of books written on the topic in the past 200 years. OneGuy
OneGuy, I'm trying to be patient and civil, but I'm feeling irked by the way you exaggerate my positions and then sneer at them. It's as if you're more concerned to WIN than to look for what's true. [ User:Zora ]
OneGuy, I would understand if Zora at this point would decide to ignore you. It is one thing to point out somebody's mistakes, and Zora has shown prepared to admit mistakes. It is another thing to keep bickering about it, or trying to ridicule someone. Are you even aware how your behaviour appears to the observer, the way you keep making bad-faith assumptions about somebody who consistently replies coherently and politely? WP is not just about being right, it is also about good grace and allowing people who you believe are wrong to have a say in the article (properly NPOV-contained). dab 07:26, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I don't think I have been that impolite :)) I disagreed with her and showed why some her statements are incorrect. She wrote this in the article: "Muslims have been extremely hostile to the attempts of scholars to study the Qur'an with the same tools of textual criticism and scientific research."
Now what is "hostile"? Disagreeing with "scholars" (which is very legitimate) or threatening them physical harm? Since she mentioned Rushdie above, it's safe to assume by "hostile" she meant physical harm. What western secular scholar has ever been threatened for writing scholarly books on the Qur'an? Thousands of books have been written on the topic. I know some cases against Muslims in Muslim countries who were critical but never against a western secular scholar for textual criticism. That was one of the problem with that Atlantic article that annoyed me OneGuy 08:13, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
You have a point, and you may have been justified reverting her and giving your reasons. "Muslims have been hostile..." is certainly an unacceptable wording: no matter how unified Islam is compared to Christianity, Muslims are still individuals, and have individual views or tendencies, so obviously a qualifier, at the least "some" or "many" is required. But it's not okay for you to bash Zora now every time she says something, no matter what, just because she once made a dubitable edit. dab 09:01, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Actually I had modified the early, too sweeping sentence to say "many Muslims" -- many being a weaselword. I don't know what results you'd get if you polled every Muslim in the world <g> Zora 18:49, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, I don't think I ever "bashed" her or used ad hominem argument. All my replies were on the subjecct OneGuy 11:07, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Zora's latest revision

I started expanding Mustafaa's version of the section, taking things that he had stated as fact and showing that there were in fact various versions rather than just one. The section started getting so long and convoluted that I decided that all the minutiae should go into the main article. I then cut the Qur'an compilation section drastically, trying to be NPOV. Let's see if this version is satisfactory. Zora 22:51, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Mostly looks fine. However:

Many Muslims believe that Abu Bakr, the first caliph, ordered Zayd ibn Thabit to collect all the authentic verses of the Qur'an and that this collection, privately treasured by Muhammad's daughter Hafsa, was used by Uthman and is the basis of today's Qur'an.
Hafsa is the Prophet Muhammad's wife, and the daughter of his companion and later the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab. 00:30, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Can you give any examples of Muslims who don't believe this, or historical accounts which contradict this?

Because the Qur'an was first written in the Mashq, Ma'il, and Kufic scripts, which write consonants only and do not supply the vowels, there was some disagreement as to the correct reading of many verses.

This theory is debatable to say the least; oral transmission has always been a primary path of transmission for the Qur'an. At least two equally plausible explanat ions for the qira'at's differences exist:

  • Dialect differences among the tribes, specifically alluded to in some hadith as affecting the pronunciation of the Qur'an;
  • Differences in the Prophet's recitation at different times.
Eventually scripts were developed that used "points" to indicate vowels and distinguish between look-alike consonants.

These are two separate issues. The chronology of the former is not disputed; the latter, however, seems to be disproved by several early inscriptions, notably PERF 558 (22 AH), where dots are used sporadically to disambiguate some words, while not yet being obligatory as they are in modern Arabic.

This is all I notice for the moment, but I'm still looking into the whole issue. - Mustafaa 23:31, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

OK, made minor edits. See if that's better. Zora 00:21, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Cool; that addresses the last two issues very well, thanks. But for "Many Muslims believe that...", I'd still like to hear examples of Muslims who don't believe this, or historical accounts which contradict it. - Mustafaa 00:27, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Just a side note. Surfing around, I found a review of Atlantic Monthly article by a Muslim here OneGuy 02:47, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I miised that part below above and will respond here:

So the fact that it was written in 1916 proves it was nonsense? I was surprised, as I was proofing it, by how contemporary and clear-headed it seemed. As to Crone, Cook, and Wansbrough -- I've only read excerpts from their works. I've got a Wansbrough reprint on order and I'm not looking forward to reading it. His style is horrible. As for Hagarism, the book that cocked a snook at staid academia, it's out of print, the local libraries don't have it, and the used-book services list one copy at $400. Anyone have a pirate e-book copy? Zora

No, I meant a book can be "nonsense" whether it was written in 1916 or now. Before Wansbrough, there were scholars like Goldziher (d 1921) and Schacht; though they only rejected legal traditions by claiming that these were forged because of the disagreements between sects. They accepted historical traditions (with some skepticism). Crone, Wansbrough took this to extreme. This is not original "invention" by Wansbrough, Crone., etc.
Now how is it possible that everything was fabricated deliberately only 100/150 years after the death of Muhammad in the vast Islamic empire? How can everyone be a liar? How everyone collaborated (while living in different parts -- like Iraq, North Africa, Palestine, Iran, and even as far as India, with each other to fabricate their history?
Hagarism? All I know about the book is that (like Wansbrough) she rejects all Islamic sources (claiming everything is "fabricated") and recreates the Islamic history by using non-Islamic sources. But why aren't the non-Islamic sources fabricated too? How does she know they are not liars too? Why would non-Mulims (as far as Armenia -- some of her sources) know the history of Arabia and early Islam anyway? She claims that early Muslims didn't use the words "Islam" and "Muslim" but called themselves Mahgraye, descendants of Abraham by Hagar. She got the title of her book from that, apparently.
But if non-Islamic sources called the invaders "Mahgraye," that doesn't mean this was the name used by the invaders too. How stupid could she be? OneGuy 11:03, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

And, if it comes to that, has Crone never heard the Arabic word Muhajir? Or does she not realize how little that word has to do with Hagar? I've read that book, and, while it was useful for its quotes from non-Islamic sources, its thesis struck me as completely valueless; one could as easily doubt the historicity of Alexander the Great. Furthermore, she ignores some early attestations of the word Islam, such as a 71 AH tombstone. - Mustafaa 11:24, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

OneGuy's edits

OneGuy made a number of edits using the term "early Islamic sources" or "Islamic sources". This is not really clear, as there are many "sources" recognized by historians, and the historians' problem is mainly with the hadith, as being oral tradition. So I changed Islamic sources to hadith, and made a few other tweaks. I hope that the section is clearer now.

This is absolutely clear. To claim that only Muslims believe that Uthman compiled the Qur'an is not true. That's factually wrong. OneGuy 10:58, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Oh, and Mustafaa -- I know now where the "several stories" came from. Several commentators, among them the dread Ibn Warraq, picked up on discrepancies between the several versions recorded by Bukhari. Bukhari collected several versions of the same event, and told them in different ways.

  • Abu Bakr orders the collection and Hafsa keeps the leaves.
  • Abu Bakr, Hafsa, Hafsa gives leaves to Uthman.
  • Uthman orders a committee to collect Qur'an texts.
  • Uthman gives the committee Hafsa's leaves and they use the leaves.

So we have several pieces of story, told in different ways. There's the final piece, that Mustafaa included and that comes from a different source, in which the committee does its work, compares the results to Hafsa's text, and lo and behold! they are exactly the same.

It seems clear that Bukhari's hadith can be assembled into two stories, one involving Abu Bakr and Hafsa, and another involving a committee charged by Uthman to assemble the Qur'an. If the Abu Bakr story is true, then there's no need for Uthman to order the committee to collect texts. He would already have known of his predecessor's work. Then the committee story would be false. If the committee story is true, then it is likely that the Abu Bakr story is false. This problem is neatly solved by the other source (I know I found it online, and didn't write it down -- darn it) which claims that Abu Bakr collected the Qur'an AND Uthman collected the Qur'an, and they miraculously agreed. Thus turning a discrepancy in the hadith into a marvelous proof of the inerrancy of the whole process.

There is no contradiction here if Zaid was only collecting the entire text in one book, and latter Uthman purpose was to standardize the text by destroying all the other variant collections. Where is the contradiction?
By the way, there other hadith too that show that Zaid was involved in the collection, like this one.
"Zaid bin Thabit said, "When the Quran was compiled from various written manuscripts, one of the Verses of Surat Al-Ahzab was missing which I used to hear Allah's Apostle reciting. I could not find it except with Khuzaima bin Thabjt Al-Ansari, whose witness Allah's Apostle regarded as equal to the witness of two men. And the Verse was:-- "Among the believers are men who have been true to what they covenanted with Allah." (33.23) OneGuy 17:22, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

My own view -- which I have tried to avoid writing into the article -- is that the revisionist historians have been TOO determined to stand Muslim scholarship on its head, and that it's reasonable to assume that there was a Muhammad and that his followers did memorize his revelations/speeches/sermons/poems. However, I doubt that his followers were thinking in terms of a complete scripture; they were only saving things that they thought should be saved, and hence from the very beginning the personal or congregational collections began to diverge. The divergence only increased in the decades after Muhammad's death, when the Muslim empire expanded enormously, early converts were killed, new converts flooded in, etc. At the same time, the early unity of the ummah unravelled. Hence the necessity for a common version of the text, to unify a disintegrating community. I really do think Uthman created a committee, which tried to collect all versions and bring them into some kind of harmony. However, they couldn't be too cavalier about excising repetitions, or contradictions (presumed abrogations), or modifying the texts such that the groups then using them wouldn't recognize them. Hence also the arrangement of the suras by size -- much the same kind of thing as listing actors in alphabetic order, so as not to imply anything about rank or precedence. IMHO, the Qur'an's untidy, repetitious form is politically motivated. And it could be said that as a political ploy it failed, considering the sad death of Uthman and the community splitting into Sunni, Shi'a, and Kharjite factions. Zora

Well, I am sorry to say but you are wrong. You are free to be skeptical but at least the skepticism should be based on facts, not wishful thinking. The differences between Sunnis, Shi'as, and Kharijites had nothing to do with the text of the Qur'an. That was a political dispute and became a serious problem much latter during the caliphate of Ali (and latter). I know some isolated reports about some Shi‘as complaining about the text and missing suras, but almost all Shia's unanimously reject these reports. Notice, that despite all the problems, wars, and disagreements between early Muslims, there is no sect that disagrees about the text. This shows that disagreement about the text was never really a problem. Secondly, given that memorizing and reciting the Qur'an in prayers always had been a part of the religion, if there were versions that differed significantly, they would have survived. Why don't we have such versions? If the text of the Qur'an is exactly as it was taught by Muhammad, that doesn't mean it's "uncreated" or "literal word of God." I am not a Muslim. I don't believe in God. Why do you have to use this weak argument about how the text differed in response to "uncreated" theory? That was another problem with that Atlantic article. Instead of questioning the interpretation/understanding of Quranic text by Muslims today, it went irrelevantly promoting silly far fetched theories of Crone OneGuy 12:08, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

In other words, I believe the committee story and think that the Abu Bakr-Hafsa story is a fiction, devised to give an earlier pedigree to the Qur'an.

But that's just me, trying to make sense out of a welter of sources. I certainly wouldn't write that into an article. I should note that while the believers in the uncreated Qur'an would probably be offended by this version, I can see a liberal Muslim appreciating the presumed attempt of the committee to include everything, to please everyone, and to reconcile all the factions. That's a laudable aim. Zora 09:53, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well, I'm now more or less satisfied with the current state of the article - a good NPOV effort, as far as I can see. As for the multiple hadith, the most interesting thing I've found relating to that is the report of Khalid ibn Iyas ibn Sakhr ibn Abi al-Jahm, who (according to Ibn Abi Dawud's al-Masahif) later compared the Madinah mashaf (which I assume refers to Hafsah's text) to the Uthmanic text, and found 12 differences, 11 of which are single-letter differences, and none of which affect the meaning of a verse. To my mind, that suggests that, perhaps for political reasons, Uthman wanted an independent edition, and having prepared it, found that the 12 differences were insignificant enough to ignore. - Mustafaa 10:23, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Oh, and one important point - what date is your reference for "However, some skeptics doubt the recorded oral traditions (hadith) on which the account is based and will say only that the Qur'an must have been compiled before 750 CE, the date of the earliest known complete Qur'an manuscript -- or at least the earliest known and accepted as such by all researchers."? Because I've seen several of the Sanaa manuscripts listed as first half of the first century AH (though I suppose they may not be complete.) - Mustafaa 10:26, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Yes, her date of 750 is not correct. Did you read this article by Estelle Whelan This article is not written by Islamic-Awareness apologists. They apparently scanned it from the Journal Of The American Oriental Society. So here is a scholar contradicting the date 750 by dating the Qur'anic verses on the Dome of the Rock to 691-92OneGuy 14:18, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The important thing is the word "complete". You can't point to just one page or one inscription and say, "Look, the Qur'an existed then". That's proof only of the one page, or the one aya, or whatever. Since even the sternest of the skeptics believe that there were proto-texts from which the Qur'an was assembled, the issue is the date at which the complete version was created. Zora 19:08, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

As for differences over the Qur'an being the reason for the splitting of the community, no, that's not what I meant. Having reread my words, I can see why they can be interpreted that way, but perhaps I was not precise enough. IMHO, squabbling about the text of the Qur'an was one symptom of the general malaise and disunity. Uthman tried to fix the symptom, but the underlying problems ended in his ugly death and all the wars and factionalism that followed. As to the underlying problems ... well, that's another flamewar. Zora 19:08, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Despite all the disagreements and wars, no sect ever developed that disagreed about the content of the Qur'an. Muslims memorize the Qur'an and recite it in prayers. If there were more suras or drastically different version, they should have survived. Nothing like that happened. That's strong evidence that Islamic version of what happened is more likely than the theory of latter development or significantly different version of the text. OneGuy 01:56, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Not so. The Kharjites (surviving as Ibadis in Oman, I understand) rejected the story of Joseph, as being a salacious interpolation, the Shi'a speak of missing verses, and Ibn Ma'sud held to his version of the Qur'an and rejected the Uthmanic version, at least for a time. But since it seems to me, at least, that Uthman's presumed committee made every effort to combine versions that were already cherished, it's not surprising that complaint was muted. People would be much more apt to complain if familiar material were omitted or altered. Instead, they got their familiar material plus EXTRA GOODIES <g>. Just speculation, of course. Zora 18:41, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Not quite - one very minor extinct sect of Kharijites, the Maymuniyya, rejected the story of Joseph, on the grounds that it contained a love story. The Ibadis do not. - Mustafaa 00:59, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As I said, Ibn Ma'sud did not reject Uthmanic version. All we know about that is that he initially refused to destroy his copy. He probably had personal notes in it or some other attachment to his own copy. He continued to support the Caliph. Shi'as don't speak of missing verses. There might be some isolated claims by a few Shi'as here and there, but Shi'a community has a whole doesn't speak of missing verses. OneGuy 10:39, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Different versions or different copies?

OneGuy, I just noticed that you changed my "versions" to "copies". Mustafaa has slowly and painfully educated me as the importance of oral traditions of recitation, and that's why I used "versions" -- it can refer to oral or written versions. "Copies" can only refer to written versions. Since it is very clear that there were different oral traditions, I think the article needs to be changed back to "versions". I'll wait a bit to make the changes, however. I've got REAL LIFE stuff to do. Zora 19:25, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"variant version" and "version differed" is redundant. "version" by definition means "different." The paragraph where this is mentioned is talking about the copies that were destroyed by Uthman, not "oral" memorizers of the Qur'an. Where is it "clear" that there were different version of memorizers (other than dialectic)? Post evidence for that OneGuy 02:13, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
OneGuy, you've changed the para back to saying "copies" even though it's been made CLEAR to you that it's not just a question of manuscripts differing, but of differing oral traditions as well. The whole question of ahruf and quirirat (sp?) and how/whether they are the same thing, hinges on both issues, and there's been a great deal of scholarly back and forth on the subject. You're making the para just plain FALSE with your insistence on being right. Please let go. Zora 02:55, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Ok, then I will explicitly say qirat/ahruf OneGuy 03:41, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

No! Nahin! You're assuming that the seven ahruf mentioned in various hadith are the same thing as the qira'at (seven authorized oral recitations -- I think that's a better transliteration -- dab or Mustafaa might know better). In fact, Muslim commentators have argued over the exact meaning of ahruf. Some say that the ahruf were levels of meaning, some that they were rhetorical devices, etc. The most common view seems to be that the ahruf were different dialects, and that Uthman decided to standardize on the Quraysh dialect and suppress the others. Dialectical differences apparently involved differences in the rasm. Qira'at, on the other hand, are different readings from the same rasm. Hence saying that ahruf and qira'at both refer to the same thing is extremely misleading.

Now that's just the Muslim commentary. You'd get even more divergent formulations if you included ALL scholarly opinions. The non-Muslim scholars are less focused on harmonizing hadith and more on accurately dating and describing Qur'an manuscripts. Which is why the (probably) pre-Uthmanic fragments from Sana'a are so important.

Mustafaa and I wrote that para the way we did because there are so many different views. If we explained all the different views thoroughly, the Qur'an SECTION of the Islam article would be longer than the Qur'an article per se. We've got to be NPOV, we've got to be accurate, and we've got to be succinct. It's like walking through a minefield. That's why it was so wonderful that Mustafaa and I seemed to have negotiated the minefield successfully. Please, appreciate all the constraints involved and don't drag in disputes that it would take too much space to unpack. Zora 07:53, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

No, I am not assuming that qirat and ahruf are the same. I gave you the link to this page Why would I assume this when I gave you the link? Qirat (and there are more than seven) are supposedly minor differences due to the missing diacritical marks/pronunciation. The ahruf (supposedly) were seven dialects of different tribes at the time of Muhammad, not just differences due to missing diacritical marks and pronunciation. The word "readings" describes both and doesn't assume that they are the same. Looks fine to me. OneGuy 09:02, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
And this page OneGuy 12:58, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I noted that Qur'an does not explain the terms ahruf or qira'a. qira'at are called "readings" there. I think the distinctions should be made clearer there. dab 14:39, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Ok, I did, and added a wiki link there so distinction between qirat and ahruf would be on separate page OneGuy 14:56, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
no, I meant the Qur'an article itself. Also, it would be cool to have a list of what the differences actually are (for both ahruf and qira'at. Are the different ahruf even preserved, or have they all been destroyed?). dab 15:20, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
From the link I posted, "The forms matched the dialects of following seven tribes: Quraysh, Hudhayl, Thaqîf, Hawâzin, Kinânah, Tamîm and Yemen." Then he quotes a source according to which, "the phrase 'alayhim (on them) was read by some 'alayhumoo and the word siraat (path, bridge) was read as ziraat and mu'min (believer) as moomin." After Uthman, apparently, the dialect of Quraysh became the only standard. OneGuy 15:47, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I like the moomin part (*ducks*). Seriously though, let's work this into the article (or create a new qur'anic variants or something. dab 15:57, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Guys, this is why the Islam article as a whole is over 32K and you get a warning message every time you edit the whole article. You can't stuff EVERYTHING into the main article. The Qur'an article is the place for material about variants, not the Islam article. NO, let's take out ahruf and qira'at, not confuse the reader, and switch to working on the Qur'an article.
I've noticed the same phenomenon with the Hawai'i article. There's a whole community of people dedicated to working over the Hawai'i article, and they argue, and add, and the article is TOO LONG. But no one is working on the various linked articles that are actually supposed to contain the detail.
There's got to be a name for this wiki madness/main article fixation. Zora 18:48, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The section about the Qur'an is fine as it is now. It's not big, nor confusing. Leave this and go to the Qur'an article OneGuy 19:29, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, Zora. I meant the Qur'an article. I know this is is Talk:Islam, but since you all are on both pages anyway, just brought it up here. Sorry for the confusion. (and, yes, I know the problem, from e.g. Human or God). dab 10:45, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Another try at pesky para

I just spent an hour fussing over one para in the Qur'an section. I left the discussion of dialects and ahruf to the Qur'an main article and condensed the whole question of copies, versions, variants, whatever, to "provenance". I hope this will do. Using "copies" gives entirely the wrong impression, as we're in fact talking about "copying" as creating manuscript lineages (there's probably some technical term for this, which I don't know), which can branch and then mingle again, and surviving manuscripts as being located in a particular lineage. Scholars can map these lineages in great detail for some old texts, but not -- alas -- for the Qur'an. Yet. Perhaps further investigation of Qur'an graveyards and scientific dating of old manuscripts will give us a much better picture of developments between the death of Muhammad and the compilation of the currently-known Qur'an. Then we can rewrite the article <g>. Zora 23:09, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Scholars can map them from "old text" because old manuscripts of other literature are very different from each other. This is not the case with the Qur'an. There are only minor differences between the oldest manuscripts of the Qur'an, Tashkent manuscript, Istanbul manuscript, (plus more full manuscripts after that). How are you going to do this with the Qur'an when the variations in "old text" are insignificant?
The problem is not with the Qur'an or it's manuscripts. The problem is with insisting to apply the method "map them from old text," even when the very old text (like Tashkent) is almost identical to the present text. OneGuy 06:57, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Any difference is good for the mapping. If a copyist makes one error, all texts copied from that copy will have the same error. Anyway, it's not so much a question of later versions of the Qur'an, which should differ in the pointing and calligraphy only, as of the very very earliest versions. Now if you believe that the Qur'an took its final form under Abu Bakr, we're not going to see variation. But according to the German scholar who's working with the Sana'a fragments, he's found one fragment already where the suras are in a different order. The order matches a tradition about the version of the Qur'an that Ibn Masud didn't want to give up. So that confirms a tradition (which should make you happy) but also shows that there were variations. So far, however, these variations seem to be minor -- which should also make you happy. I'm willing to believe in very few variations, if that's what research shows. Zora 07:29, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I will take the words of that German scholar with some grain of salt, especially because of his comments in Atlantic article. Ibn Masud only initially refused to give up his copy. This can be explained by the fact that this was his personal copy and he might have personal notes in it. OneGuy 11:07, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)


There is no criticism of Islam in this argument at all, no criticism of Jihad, no criticism of Fundementalism, no criticism of the Hadith. There is plenty of criticism in the articles of other religions e.t.c Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism. I'd like to see some criticisms being brought into this article or at least another article being created for the very same subject. It is simply not fair that other articles contain very veciferous criticisms and this holds none. Too much POV from one side.

Likewise you will not find detailed criticism of the Crusades, the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, etc., in the article Christianity; Judaism doesn't give any space to the views of Tacitus or Israel Shahak; Hinduism has a brief mention of the caste system and doesn't even have a cross-reference to Hindutva; and so forth. Could you be more specific about the vociferous criticisms you claim to have spotted in articles on other major religions, please? —No-One Jones (m) 05:30, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The difference is that the Crusades were not encouraged or demanded by the Christian holy scriptures. Jihad is considered the 6th pillar by many.
Isn't the OT part of Christian scriptures? There are a number of wars and massacres (even killing of children and animals) commanded by God OneGuy 03:45, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Furthermore detailed criticisms of jihad, Islamic fundamentalism, and the hadith would be out of place in this overview article; the place for such criticisms would be, oddly enough, in the articles jihad, Islamic fundamentalism, and hadith. —No-One Jones (m) 05:44, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Should we remove all criticism from the Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, placing it instead in other pages? Lance6Wins 20:49, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Factual error ?

the article states "Since Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, claims descent from the monotheist tradition of the biblical patriarch Abraham, it sees itself as an Abrahamic religion."

is this true? Or does Islam believe/state that Abraham was a Muslim...there is quite a difference. Lance6Wins 20:49, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, it is true that Islam sees itself as an Abrahamic religion - in fact, as the Abrahamic religion, of which the other two are deviations. - Mustafaa 20:58, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

the other two are deviations from the religion that Abraham/Ibrahim practiced. That would make Abraham/Ibrahim a Muslim. Do you disagree? Lance6Wins 17:00, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Of course - like Moses, Jesus, Adam, and every other prophet. What I disagree with is that this is different from it "seeing itself as an Abrahamic religion". - Mustafaa 21:43, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

AH....perhaps I am starting to understand. Are you saying that Islam "sees itself as THE Abrahamic religion" (Abrahamic religion meaning religion of Abraham the person) as opposed to "an Abrahamic religion" ? Lance6Wins 15:34, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That's not a bad way to put it - it sees itself as "Abraham's religion", and Judaism or Christianity as "Abraham-based religions". The term "Abrahamic" in English seems to encompass both those meanings. - Mustafaa 14:59, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

article editted to be the following: Islam sees itself as being the religion of biblical patriarch Abraham and his son Ishmael. It holds that Judaism and Christianity are derivations and therefore also Abrahamic religions. Lance6Wins 15:23, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Stance on Issues

Can someone start a section on where Islam stands on issues such as capital punishment, illegal drugs, alcohol, stem cell research, abortion, etc. This would be a great addition to this article. Thanks Monkeyman 05:32, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think you could possibly write such a section, any more than you could write an article on the Christian stand on any of these things. There are lots of Christian and Muslim sects, lots of clerics and believers, and lots of opinions. Zora 07:21, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I know very little of Islam which is why I came to this article. An overview of their stance on issues would be a good primer for someone like me. Surely they have stated opinions about such major issues, no? Monkeyman 17:42, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Those are U.S. political issues, and there is an article on Islam in the United States, I believe, with links to the various U.S. Muslim organizations. If there are any statements to be made, they'd probably be found on those web pages. But the organizations might not have discussed and taken stands on these issues. Zora 18:40, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
They seem more like worldwide social issues rather than U.S. political issues. I checked out the "Islam in the United States" article but there's nothing listed relating to the above issues. Will check out the links and see if I can find anything. Monkeyman 18:51, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The position of a number or Christian organization is quite clear on some of these issues. The Catholic Church, Anglican Church, and a number of other demoninations issue statements/encyclicals. These could/should? be quoted directly.

Al-Azhar University is considered the/a preeminent source of Sharia (Islamic Law) decisions for Sunni Muslims. Statements issued from Al-Azhar could/should be quoted for this article. Alcohol and drugs would appear to be trivial. Does anything state that Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol?

Google: Islam alcohol --> and for instance

Lance6Wins 17:10, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"capital punishment, illegal drugs, alcohol, stem cell research, abortion, etc.": capital punishment is specifically permitted by the Qur'an (being merciful is said to be better, but is left to the discretion of the murdered person's family); alcohol is forbidden, though this prohibition is in practice ignored in some countries; the others, there is no single Islamic position on, but a reasonably typical Islamic position would be against illegal drugs and abortion. - Mustafaa 21:48, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Permitted" ? never required? no offenses that are punishable only by death?

Will you be adding this information to the article? You might be better versed in the matters at hand. I dont mind doing so, if you decline. Lance6Wins 15:36, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC

I would strongly oppose venturing into these hot-button U.S. political issues in the article, which is already TOO DARN LONG. Monkeyman to the contrary, these are U.S. political issues for the most part. They have their own pages, I presume, and information on the stands of various religious organizations could be added there, if necessary. Or in the Islam in the U.S. article. Or someone could start a new article on "Major religions' stand on abortion" or whatever. But given that the Islam page is already controversial, and a target for vandalism, it would be just asking for trouble to mix other controversies into it. (by User:Zora signature omitted [3]

Would you support removal of the same matter/issues from the other pages mentioned, among which are Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc ? Lance6Wins 18:27, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

A quick glance at the other articles you mentioned shows no mention of the laundry list of issues, that I can see. The Buddhism article has a section on vegetarianism, because that comes up IN THE CONTEXT of Buddhist religious practice. The issues for which you want opinions may be burning issues for U.S. political discourse, but they aren't central to most people's religious practice. So there's no removal necessary. Zora 18:52, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Please see Roman_Catholic_Church#Criticisms The question was "Would you support removal of the same matter/issues..." Lance6Wins 20:12, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That's in the Roman Catholic Church article, not in the Christianity article. The RC church has a unified hierarchy, makes official pronouncements, and takes stands on U.S. political issues. Some officials even take stands on U.S. candidates. The RC church makes the news for doing so. So far as I know, the various Muslim groups in the U.S. have taken public stands primarily on religious discrimination issues. Now if you want to comb their web pages for stands on various issues, or write to them and ask them for their stands, that could be an interesting article. Zora 21:39, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Ok, so far the reasons for not adding this information is: The article is already too long, it's a target of vandalism, they're not social issues ... they're political issues, the information would be better suited for a different article, and that it would be impossible to write such a section. Well you're right, it was foolish of me to expect an article on Islam to deal with modern issues that people are faced with and discuss every day. Am I taking crazy pills??? Monkeyman 20:52, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There should be article on this topic. Why not right a separate article and then that can be linked from the main article like other articles are linked from different sections? OneGuy 21:05, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
look, this is an article on Islam, not on Sharia. We duly link to Sharia, and your stuff belongs there. The only bindingly uniting scripture in Islam is the Qur'an, and as Mustafaa said, it addresses alcohol and capital punishment. Gay marriage and abortion are simply not covered, and will be part of islamic nations' politics, not of Islam itself. Sheesh, this would be like treating Flat Earth on Christianity. Sure, some popes were bashing people around over the question, but that doesn't make Flat Earth a central tenet of the christian faith. dab 10:46, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)