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

13.1.5. Has the Qur'an been perfectly preserved?

The perfect preservation of the Qur’an is another false claim which Muslim sources themselves disprove. We find in many Islamic sources that parts of the original Qur’an were lost. For example, Qurtubi in his Qur’an commentary writes:

“Aisha narrates: ‘Surah Ahzab contained 200 verses during the lifetime of the Prophet but when the Qur’an was collected we only found the amount that can be found in the present Qur’an (which is 73 verses)’.” (Qurtubi, Qur’an commentary on Surah Ahzab).

Muslim gives another example of a change in the Qur’an in the following Hadith:

“Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger and said: ‘Verily Allah sent Muhammad with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah’s Messenger awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah’s Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or if there is pregnancy, or a confession (of guilt)’.” (Sahih Muslim)

And there is documentation of a third change in the Qur’an recorded by Ibn Majah, who related that Mohammed’s wife Aishah said:

“The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

These are but three of many sources which indicate that the claim of perfect preservation of the Qur’an is another false claim that is believed by the vast majority of Muslims but not supported by Islamic sources.

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