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17. Understanding Islam
13.1. Belief in the preservation of the Qur’an and the corruption of the original Bible

13.1.2. Did Mohammed immediately dictate the Qur’an to his companions who wrote it down without any editing?

Mohammed’s immediate dictation to his companions is also a claim not supported historically by Islamic sources. We are even told that Mohammed edited the Qur’an while he was dictating it ad-hoc:

“Narrated Zaid bin Thâbit that the Prophet dictated to him: ‘Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home) and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah…’. Zaid added: ‘Ibn Umm Maktum came while the Prophet was dictating to me and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! By Allah, if I had the power to fight (in Allah’s Cause), I would,” and he was a blind man. So, Allah revealed to His Messenger while his thigh was on my thigh, and his thigh became so heavy that I was afraid it might fracture my thigh. Then that state of the Prophet was over and Allah revealed: “... Except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame).” ’ ”

After Mohammed’s death, his companions say that complete chapters of the Qur’an are forgotten and we no longer have them. One of Mohammed’s companions, Abu Musa al-Ashari, was sent to the reciters of the people of al-Basrah, and three hundred men who had memorised the Qur’ân came to see him. He said:

“You are the best of the people of al-Basrah and their reciters, so recite it, but do not let a long life cause your hearts to become hardened as did the hearts of those who came before you. We used to recite a Surah which we likened in length and power to Surah al-Barâ’ah (today called Surah at-Tawbah), then I was caused to forget it, but I remember of it (the words): ‘If the son of Adam had two valleys of wealth he would desire a third, but nothing will fill the belly of the son of Adam but dust.’ And we used to recite a Surah which we likened to one of the Musabbihât, but I was caused to forget it, but I remember from it the words: ‘O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do. It will be written as a testimony on your necks, and you will be questioned about it on the Day of Resurrection.’ ” (Sahih Muslim)

This chapter is nowhere to be found in the Qur’an today, so we either have a missing chapter, or Sahih Muslim (which Muslims consider to be their second most authentic compilation of Hadith) is wrong about the collection of the Qur’an and therefore can’t be trusted (which would cause all sorts of difficulties).

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