On the other hand, there is no such doubt about the
Glorious Qur'an. It contains nothing but the Revelations received by the Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh). The Revelations came to him in fragments, from time to time.
As soon as he received any, he used to communicate it to his Companions and ask
them not only to commit it to memory, but also to write it down. Muhammad
(pbuh) used to indicate in a precise manner the place to which the Revelation belonged.
Thus the complete Qur'an was committed to writing and also preserved in the
hearts of hundreds of Muslims in the life time of the
After the demise of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, the first
Caliph, charged Zaid ibn Thabit with the task of preparing an authentic copy of
the entire Text in the form of a book. The Companions of the Prophet wrote the
Revelations that had come to the Prophet on parchments or pieces of leather.
Zaid ibn Thabit collected all these and, after comparing them with what the followers
of the Prophet had learnt by heart, compiled a copy, called Mushaf (bound
leaves), about the genuineness or correctness of which there was absolutely no
At the order of 'Uthman, the third Caliph, seven copies of
the Mushaf edition of the Glorious Qur'an, again confined by the memory of
those who had learnt it by heart (hafiz), were prepared and sent to the
different centers of the vast Islamic world. One of these seven copies is still
in existence in Tashkent. The Czarist government of Russia had published it with
a facsimile reproduction; and we see that there is a complete identity between
this copy and the text otherwise in use all over the world. The same is true of
the other extant MSS of the Qur'an, complete or fragmentary, dating from the
first century of the Muslim era.
From the time of the Prophet to our own time the practice
of learning the whole of the Qur'an by heart has continued unbroken, and the
number of hafiz can now be counted by hundreds of thousands all over the world.
The result is that no scholar, Eastern or Western, Muslim or non-Muslim, has
ever cast any doubt on the purity of the text of the Glorious Qur'an. Even such
an unfriendly critic as Sir William Muir writes about the Qur'an:
"There is probably in the world no other book which
has remained twelve centuries with so pure a text."