What the Koran Really Says

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What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text and Commentary (2002) is a book edited and translated by Ibn Warraq and published by Prometheus Books. The book is a collection of classical essays, some translated for the first time, that provide commentary on the traditions and language of the Koran, discussing its grammatical and logical discontinuities, its Syriac and Hebrew foreign vocabulary, and its possible Christian, Coptic and Qumranic sources.

Within the book is an article written by Gerd R. Puin titled "Observations on Early Qu'ran Manuscripts in Sana'a". Professor Puin is a German scholar and an authority on Qur'anic historical orthography, the study and scholarly interpretation of ancient manuscripts, and a specialist in Arabic calligraphy. Professor Puin was the head of a restoration project, commissioned by the Yemeni government, which spent a significant amount of time examining the ancient Qur'anic manuscripts discovered in Sana'a, Yemen, in 1972. In Mr. Warraq's book, Professor Puin has written:

"My idea is that the Qur’an is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. The Qur’an claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen’, or clear. But [contrary to popular belief] if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply does not make sense…the fact is that a fifth of the Qur’anic text is just incomprehensible. If the Qur’an is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Qur’an claims repeatedly to be clear but is not - there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on".

Contributing writers[edit]

Other writers who have contributed to Ibn Warraq's book include:


In his review of the book, political scientist, anarchist, and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activist As'ad AbuKhalil states that Ibn Warraq collected old writings by Orientalists who have been long discredited and added that "the more rigid and biased the Orientalists, the better for Warraq".[1]


  1. ^ AbuKhalil, As'ad (2004). ""The Islam Industry" and Scholarship: Review Article". Middle East Journal. Middle East Institute. 58 (1): 130–137. JSTOR 4329978.