Muslims – Chain of Transmission

I understand Muslims place heavy emphasis on the chain or narration in order to ensure the Quran was transmitted faithfully. I’m wondering if the chain of transmission had not be kept would Muslims still be absolutely confident the Quran has been faithfully preserved, free from corruption?

Let me just throw something in here for you to consider–though I’m not sure it really has to do with the “chain of transmission” in the Quran. If you read a little about Mohammed and the muslim faith, you will find that it’s highly doubtful that this Mohammed which the muslim religion holds in such high esteem even actually visited some of the places where some of the supposed "miracles of his life occurred. You don’t even have to to the library or buy books to discover that what I say is true. You can simply do some cursory searches on line. Here is just 1 link you might look at–there are some even better and more informative ones if you look a little! To me, if the story of his life isn’t even true, what does a supposed “chain of transmission” matter one way or the other? God bless!

I have thought about this and my conclusion is that this could not be done faithfully.

One cannot transmit words recorded verbatim faithfully in post-script. One needs a transcript of the recital or conversation, like a modern reporter or secretary, in order to do that correctly.

That was not done and Mohammad, the major source of the Quran was dead when it was compiled and therefore proof reading and approval by him was not available.

There is evidence that some ancient manucripts of the Quran are not in congruent to the Quran the Muslims have today.

Besides the only source of evidence to verify the Quran had been burnt by Caliph Uthman. That goes against the veracity of the Quran.

I agree with you both :thumbsup:

I had a debate with a Muslim, he concurred regarding the Septuagint and Masoretic texts that there are isolated contradictory verses but the essence of both texts are virtually the same. Since he agreed the essence of both texts are the same all that he has to defend himself was the chain of transmission. Then it occurred to me that Allah never commanded to keep this sort of records, that is just plain Islamic scholarship (the Muslim also agreed with this using different words). I pointed out to him that no other works of antiquity are safeguarded by chains of transmission either therefore using his standard there is no certainty of any ancient works being free from corruption, yet no serious scholar has ever claimed corruption regarding Homer or Shakespeare’s works.

It comes down to the chain of transmission really, this is the hinge that safeguards Muslims, they have nothing else to fall back on…

Might help.

The chain of transmission or Isnad as it is known in Arabic is used to scrutinize hadith in order to weigh the reliability of the hadith.

After Muhammad’s § death there were a lot of hadiths being fabricated and further more the hadiths were not centrally collected. They were memorized and then transmitted from one person to another.

The hadiths were centrally collected by hadith scholars a few hundred years after Muhammad’s § death and they found a lot of the hadiths did not originate from Muhammad § and so they developed a methodology to scrutinize the hadiths by examining the persons who transmitted them.

The Qur’an is a different story altogether and was not subject to the same problems as hadiths were.

There is no Chain of Transmission for Quran. That Chain is for Hadiths and it is a long story. Quran is so obvious reliable to not being corrupted.

Revelation have continue until deaths of Prophet. So there was no mean to compile and collect whole Quran in a book before that because book would be changed so frequently and every book should have been destroyed. This stuation would cause many troubles.

After deaths of Prophet first Caliph Abu Bekr compiled verses in a book. He did not this work by himself. He constituted a commission to collect verses.

Verses had been located(numbered) in Suras by Prophet. But İt is not obvious how or who got ordered(forming a line) Suras in book. That does not ruin validity of Suras.

There were hundreds people who have memorized whole Quran. Chairman of commission also memorized. And verses were written by a lot of Sahabes(one of them was Ali ibn Abu Talib).

Commission collected and compared and match all avaliable verses under supervision of Sahabes. İf they have would not solve any disagreement about verses even about a letter they would not be able to complete that work. Because all Sahabes were so critical and sensitive about religious issues that they would not accept any false.

By time İslam spread to wide countries. Some of Muslims were not Arabic and also Arabians were spoken Arabic in different dialects. Diversity of dialect was no problem in meaning but caused problems in reading. So third Caliph Uthman have written Quran in Quraish dialect and detsroyed  other different copies in varied dialects/reading.  Uthman got writen 5 or 7 copies and send these copies to İslam centers.  Afterwards all copies were written from that original copy and different others got destroyed.

( I did not give details not to exhaust.)

Alfred Guillaume, perhaps the best-known and accepted Western scholar on Islam from the non-Islamic world, sketched this situation in his book “Islam”, thus:

"Before an authorized version was established under the Caliph Uthman there were four rival editions in use. These have long since disappeared, but we are told that they differed from the authorized version, some containing more and some less than the latter. When men who had learned one version came into conflict with those who possessed a rival version it was feared that scr1ptural exegesis would pursue the course it had taken among Jews and Christians who at that time accused the one another of corrupting and falsifying the sacred text. Uthman then entrusted a commission, in which Zayd took a prominent place, with the task of preparing a text which everyone must accept. Only the men of Kufa refused the new edition, and their version was certainly extant as late as A.D. 1000. Uthman’s edition to this day remains the authoritative word of God to Muslims. Nevertheless, even now variant readings, involving not only different reading of the vowels but also occasionally a different consonantal text, are recognized as of equal authority one with another. The old Kufic script in which these older Qur’an copies were originally written contained no indication of vowels, and so the consonants of verbs could be read as actives or passives, and, worse still, many of the consonants themselves could not be distinguished without the diacritical dots which were afterwards added, when and by whom we do not know…Originally considerable freedom prevailed, until a later generation insisted on uniformity but never entirely achieved it…

The arrangement of the text is arbitrary and haphazard…The Muslim world has not yet come to grips with the problem which Christian Europe faced after the Renaissance, but signs are not wanting that thoughtful Muslims are seeking a way out of the logical impasse…Until all the rival readings scattered in manuscripts and books not readily to be consulted have been collected on a scale comparable with the critical apparatus of the Bible, and until a trustworthy lexicon of the Qur’an has been compiled, details–many of great importance - will remain obscure." (A. Guillaume pp. 57-60).

It must be made clear that the Quran was not written by the original author, Mohammad, who received the revelation. It was written and compiled by someone else very much later. Thus whatever you call it, the Quran is still hearsay in a strict sense of the word. I am not saying that you should doubt its authenticity but you have to realize that as long as it was transmitted through a chain and compiled by another person, it is still hearsay.

By right Mohammad should be the imprimatur of the Quran which he could not have done so.

This is obviously wrong unless you are saying that the present Quran is incomplete.

The fact that there was no proper record of the Quran before the compilation is very much the problem. The Quranic verses were not arranged in a chronological order and understanding of them posed difficulty since scripture does not always self-explain.

There were versions of the Quran by the time Caliph Uthman chose an official version.

Still the Quran came without vowels and punctuations; and Muslims have to depend on whoever added them as a true representation of the original. Since this was not done by the sahabas, let alone Mohammad, the chances of misrepresentation are always there. It is just common sense.

Of course we cannot underestimate the oral practice of the Semitic people. Likewise there were Jews who memorized the Torah where it was taught in the synagogues or by teachers to children at early age.

But oral tradition is still not the same as written materials. Until it is written, there are always chances that oral and written versions are not the same.

You should mention here that Zayd Ibn Thabid was the authority in the compilation of the Uthman’s Quran and that when there were differences among the sahabas, Zayd was the final word. There were by no means that all the sahabas agreed with him.

Again your narration is in conflict with other Muslim posters here. Apparently Muslims are not in agreement of how the Quran was revealed as some maintain that it was revealed in seven dialect and Mohammad and Gabriel had to recite it seven times, some say ten times.

Destroying other copies was a bad thing to do and smacked of totalitarianism. Had other religions done this, there would be much criticism on the validity of the final product. They should not be destroyed but kept in secured places for future references and verification.

There were probably not many details regarding the history of the Quran that we do not know already and as it is with all ancient books, many information, some of them damning, were lost.

ReubenJ and GaryTaylor

Quran was not written by the original author, Mohammad:)

İf I say something and you beside me write what I exactly say than can you claim that words are not mine. Muhammed (pbuh) say and writers of revelation wrote at the same time. The verses have not been writen after deaths of Prophet but were compiled.


his is obviously wrong unless you are saying that the present Quran is incomplete:)

Do you mean that God did not know when revelation have finished? Did God take His Prophet’s soul before He has not finished his task yet? Muhammed have completed his task and God witnessed this.

(There were versions of the Quran by the time Caliph Uthman chose an official version)

There are 7 reading versions(kıraat) of Quran. Quran was revelated to Prophet as 7 redaing versions. That means all 7 readings(dialects) are valid and authentic. There are different voices and tones between reading versions. And there are different words which has same meaning. But meaning never change or corrupt. Different readings is a easiness. Muslims read Quran as 7 different reading untill today. So there were not different versions of Quran but different reading versions.

(Still the Quran came without vowels and punctuations)

İf you look at the Arabic news paper you will not see punctuation. Arabians read and write without punctuation. But non-Arabic can not read like that. İf they try to read they will make many falses. Vowels and punctuation is a need for non-Arabic and poor educations. Meaning does not change with punctuaiton but gets escaped from errors. This progress have made by several persons at several times. İt will take long to narrate. But this punctuation find acceptence by Muslims because of wining easiness.

(Of course we cannot underestimate the oral practice of the Semitic people)

Verses were not only memorized but all verses were written by several Sahabes. Some of them also memorized verses.

Zayd ibn Thabit was chief of commission and he did not decide any thing by himself. To put verses in book he must witness at least 2 other writers. Muhammed and Angel Gabriel have used to read revelated verses to each other every year. Muslims and Prophet read Quran in Salat prayer which is 5 times in a day and in 3 times audible that every one can hear. Verses fixed in minds and hearths time and time again.


Destroying other copies was a bad thing to do)

There are more than one Gospels that cause conflicts. So it is a good thing but not bad. That does not mean that İslam play down thougths. Even Prophet did not order Sahabes to compile Quran but Sahabes did that most important and divine task by their decision which Prophet has earned to them. More issues in İslam religion are being solved in that way. Anyway there was a unique Quran in different reading dialects. Muslims did not reduce numbers of Quran to odd.

A Muslim from another forum disagrees with you. He has demonstrated there are chains of transmission for the Quran…see below.

For the sake of objectivity, let us be honest about this. In our enthusiasm in defending the Quran, let’s remember that in reality the way the Quran was formed may not as what we like to think it was.

First of all, all the Quran verses were not written in one place. They were scattered in bit and pieces written haphazardly on skins, parchments and leaves, some which were lost, damaged and even eaten by goats.

Secondly, there was no evidence to indicate that all the verses were written in the mode you mention. Some revelation seemed to be an afterthought or pre-designed. The one about not to adopt a child was clearly arise when Mohammad married his adopted son’s wife thus freeing him to marry his daughter-in-law.

You defended that a book could not be written because the revelation did not stop until late into Mohammad’s death. My bad then for misunderstanding you for saying the Quran is incomplete.

Let’s start again. The revelation was interspaced for a period of more than twenty years, until Mohammad’s death right? That was quite a long time. A compilation could be done even if it was without the last revelation.

Just how many revelations were there that came late until the death of Mohammad? Not many, right? So why not a book be written so that the earlier revelations were not lost? You can add the last revelations which were not included in the compilation into the Quran later.

Seven dialects. Different words which has same meaning. Yeah …

I have heard from other Muslims but I want to ask you. In how many dialects was the Quran revealed to Mohammad?

If there were no changes in the meaning then why were the other dialects destroyed if they were authentic revelations? Why were Allah’s revelation destroyed?

I am not a language expert and more so in Arabic. I however have heard explanation about the Arabic Quran and it is a classic Arabic, something not spoken in everyday language. Vowels and punctuations were needed to bring out the specific meaning of the sentences and this is not just for non-Arabic speaking people. The addition of both can alter the meaning of the sentence and the word because they depend on what vowels you put in and how you add the punctuation.

I am not saying that the Muslims should not accept the addition of vowels and punctuation; I am merely saying that the original Quran did not come with them and when they were added centuries later, it was done not by Mohammad and the sahabas, the people who really knew about the original Quran.

Mohammad, because he was the receiver of the revelations and Zayd, because he was the editor of the Quran. When you want to change the content of a book, you have to go back to the authors. Besides new addition would always bring changes to something original. Whether you like this or not, but that’s how it is.

All verses written by several Sahabas? Where did you get this information? For this is not true. Not all Sahabas wrote their memories of the Quran. Many of them died in a battle before it was compiled. Some verses were only known to one or two Sahabas.

I beg to differ in that Zayd did not decide by himself for he did when there were differences between him and the other sahabas. There were incidents where the other sahabas did not agree with him. I am not sure where to find that but I saw it before.

Mohammad did not ask to compile the Quran and yet it was compiled. This was a clear proof that there was no proper record of the Quran before the compilation.

Suppressing information was not a good thing. You can have the official Quran but you should not destroy the others. They could be kept and not to be used for religious purpose.

By destroying them, you are allowing yourself to be dictated by human decision and not Allah’s. That people and not Allah, that decide lots on the lives of the Muslims has become a trend of Islam until today. The way you dress and even what you eat during a fasting month. The reason – to solve issues (like you said). But we see that many issues are not solved in the Muslims world.

I will not comment on the Gospels because this is not a thread for them. I can only tell you that there is no conflict there. If you mean conflict among the people, there would be always one and Islam included.

You are correct, with every science of the religion, whether it is Islamic Law, Islamic Spirituality, Islamic belief, Hadith, commentary of Hadith, Quran, commentary of Quran, etc etc etc. There are chains of transmission for all these.

It is just with the Quran, there is no difference of opinion between the Islamic scholars that it is 100% authentic from Prophet Muhammad. So many Muslim may not speak about these chains, may be ignorant of them, because there is no disagreement regarding them, but they exist today.

And God knows best.

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