Koran older than Mohammed?


It is plausible, but it isn’t conclusive. Carbon dating is pretty reliable, but it wasn’t done on the ink. It was done on the parchment. At least for Latin manuscript texts, the dating of the script is usually done via other means, such as paleography (the form of letters). It doesn’t seem that they have done that here, so thus far the ink and script remain unexamined. Using older parchment to write more recent things was quite common in the Late Antique and medieval world.

Well a couple of things occur to me…

Note of caution in the article:

Small cautioned that the carbon dating was only done on the parchment in the fragments, and not the actual ink,

Parchments were expensive and sometimes reused… Just as paintings were painted over in the middle ages.

Second … there was no standard calendar in use in Arabia at the time of the Prophet… The calendar was adopted under the Caliphate of Omar well after the passing of the Prophet.

The revelations received by Prophet Muhammad were recited soon after they were received and set down by secretaries on a variety of materials.

I read the article & just don’t buy it!

Islam’s history records the written Koran put is book form after the prophets death.

My goodness does anyone bother proofreading anything before publishing on news sites anymore?

Headline: Fragments of world’s oldest Koran may predate Muhammad, scholars say

Body: The Times of London reported that radiocarbon dating carried out by experts at the University of Oxford says the fragments were produced between the years 568 A.D. and 645 A.D. Muhammad is generally believed to have lived between 570 A.D. and 632 A.D. The man known to Muslims as The Prophet is thought to have founded Islam sometime after 610 A.D., with the first Muslim community established at Medina, in present-day Saudi Arabia, in 622 A.D.

Let’s consult a number line, shall we?

568 A.D. ----- 570 A.D. ----- 610 A.D. ----- 622 A.D. ----- 632 A.D. ----- 645 A.D.

Wake me up when either the radiocarbon data indicate the fragments are clearly from before the 6th century or the historical record indicates that Muhammed clearly existed no earlier than the 7th century.

Also, does anyone know what exactly is contained in these fragments of a “Koran”? I’m suspicious that all the news stories about this discovered “Koran” have been playing fast and loose with the word “Koran”. Do these fragments in any way indicate that they came from a truly compiled Koran or are the just a couple Surahs which may’ve been written long before any truly canonized Koran existed? In other words, is this analogous to discovering, say, an autograph of The Acts of the Apostles from the 1st century and news sources indiscriminately claiming that it’s the world’s oldest “Bible”?

There is one other famous example of that in the early manuscript history of the Quran. The Sana’a manuscript, which has been found to have two layers of text: an earlier one which was washed off and a later one that was put down afterward. Such is called a palimpsest. The earlier one pre-dates the so-called Uthmanic recension, where all non-official copies of the Quran were to be burned. The undertext of the Sana’a manuscript seems to have missing suras and textual variants. That gives some reason to doubt the orthodox Muslim story, along with some stories like how Ibn Masud refused to hand over his version of the Quran to Uthman.

It would be very useful to analyze this manuscript for any left-behind earlier text.

Second … there was no standard calendar in use in Arabia at the time of the Prophet… The calendar was adopted under the Caliphate of Omar well after the passing of the Prophet.

The earliest attestation of the Islamic calendar is in the PERF 558 text, which is really odd. It includes a date of 643 AD on it. Right before, “in the name of Allah,” there’s a cross. Doesn’t add up if that’s a Muslim document. But Muslims generally didn’t call themselves Muslims until after that… they were “believers” or “hejirants” for most of the seventh century.

The revelations received by Prophet Muhammad were recited soon after they were received and set down by secretaries on a variety of materials.

So the story goes. But after the Battle of Yamama in 632:
Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif—Many (of the passages) of the Qur’an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama . . . but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur’an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them.
According to this statement, portions of the Quran were lost. But if there was a manuscript of the Quran that pre-dates this, as this new find indicates, it throws the canonical Muslim story into total disarray.

Combine that with the Common Link analysis done by Juynboll in the Encyclopedia of Canonical Hadith, demonstrating pretty conclusively that none of the 6 canonical Sunni Hadith can be verified as existing before the early 8th century, around the caliphate of Abd-al Malik, and the entire story of early Islam that Muslims have believed for so long seems to have no grounding.

My impression is that Ali ibn abu Talib probably had a good grasp of the Qur’anic revelations and it is suggested he had his own copy of the Qur’an before the order of Surihs was standardized under Caliph Uthman… So from the beginning of the revelation until after a standardized text was recognized you have one significant figure… Ali.

For reference see:


Yes!!. Someone gets the idea… This helps to further shape the idea that the Quran came from a preexisting document was not a revelation to Muhammad, that it was not first written in Arabic, that is was in part, a lectionary of heretical Christianity. Islam formed over time and not as the Hadith literature tries to make the case. What about crosses on “Islamic” coins and inscriptions? The location of Mecca? Catholics should keep on top of these discoveries that fly in the face of the Islamic narrative…I think it is part of the collapse of a world religion we are witnessing and would only be possible in this day and age…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.