14 Islamic history

Amongst the early accounts of Macoraba membership was the eminent Al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam
(943AD),an early convert to Islam and very wealthy businessman.He had numerous properties
including a lodging house in Bara,Iraq and also property in Alexandria,Egypt.He was a successful
merchant and trader and had ships and owned thousands of camels.Another early convert and
member was Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf who had over a thousand camels and ten thousand sheep.
When he died he left 340,000 gold dinars.Yet another merchant was Ya’la ibn Munya reportedly
left over a million dinars.It would appear that these men were representative of the type and class
of people that were invited to join the inner circle.Concerning individual wealth,Al-Mas udi,the
tenth century scribe and chronicler said that when Uthman was murdered he reportedly had 10,000
gold dinars and over one million Persian dirhams.Additional,his estate and animals was worth
200,000 dinars.During the early years of Islamic expansion war booty matched by extravagant
expenditure was on a scale previously unseen in the region.

Umar was only fifty three years of age when he died. He made no provision for succession. Upon his deathbed he appointed a committee (shūrū) of six of his Companions from whom he ordered that from one they elect a new caliph. The choice fell on Uthman, an aristocrat from the Mekkan
clan. He became caliph in 644CE. From the outset Uthamn was under pressure from his opponents. He had no praetorian guard to fall back on and his personality lacked the charisma of his immediate predecessor. His murder was a pre-cursor to a major inter-Arab civil war which broke out in 565CE. Apart from his position of power Uthamn had large gold and silver savings amounting to tens of thousands of dinar the distribution of which is not recorded. It is very probable that part or all of this money was buried alongside the artefacts found on Mt Hira. If that is the case then there recovery is not recorded.

We know from what records were then made that during the nine months up until he was murdered he had been repeatedly warned by his advisors that various parties including the Egyptian perpetrators had him in their sights. With this danger in mind he took some precautions which
included safeguarding some of his assets. Regardless, his life was lost and with it the power struggle
commenced leading to Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’s cousin and son in law occupied a key position.

He was also the husband of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima. As the Prophet’s kinsman he was a
candidate for the title. His followers became known as the Ali, sh’atu Ali, or more commonly
referred to as the Shi’a. His reign only lasted to 661CE when he too was murdered by an assassin.

The massacre of Karbalā speeded up the transformation of the Shi’a from initially being merely a
politically motivated party to becoming a full blown religious sect. This bitterness, and open hatred
that resulted from the rift had a lasting impact on the two main sides of Islam, a division that can, in
many ways be compared with the Protestant breakaway from the Roman Catholic church in the 16 th century. This act prompted by Henry VIII equally resulted in a significant amount of inter-faction bloodshed.

The Muslim Empire was first ruled from Medina, in Arabia. By 661AD it had moved to Damascus
where the Umayyad dynasty took over. This lasted for 90 years when in 750AD, after a power
struggle the Abbasids took over political control and moved the caliphate to Baghdad. Thought-out
this period the modus operendi remained more or less the same. The ruling caliphs extracted as much revenues from the those living in conquered territories as they could. Instead of following the
western feudal system, which was based on tithes the Arabs generated their income from a poll tax or jizah or sometimes via a land tax called kharaj. The rationale for these levies was that the conquered nation was thereafter protected by the Arabs. As a consolation, the rulers permitted the
underclass to continue practicing their religions. As the jizah was imposed solely on the non-Muslims there was no need to convert them to Islam. For centuries Syria, Palestine and Egypt were
predominantly Christian but nevertheless paid their taxes to their Arab rulers. This status did have its drawbacks, the underclass could not build any new churches, ring church bells or partake in their
religious festivals. In law they could not bear witness against a Muslim, or carry weapons. All in all,
the Arabs administration had compete control of their subjects.

15 Qur’an

The ongoing arguments as to the authenticity of the words written in both the Qur’an and Old and
New Testaments abound, the problem largely stemming from the fact that these holy of holy
documents were complied by scribes and followers decades, or, in some cases even centuries after
the events therein.

Christians endured persecution under the Romans until 313AD during the reign of Constantine. The
pivotal turning point came with the Edict of Toleration which made Christian worship legal
throughout the Roman Empire.

Jerusalem has always been revered by the Muslims, Jerusalem being their third most holy place after Mekkah and Medina. In former times Muslims prayed in the direction of Jerusalem, this being the spot from which the Prophet went to heaven. Later, the Ka’bah became the main focal point for prayer. This general direction persists to this day.

One of the earliest Islamic texts that have survived was written in 692AD. The mosaic is known as the Sanaa script. In essence, it is a very clear warning to the Christians. It states that Jesus is
accepted by the Muslims as being an apostle but nothing more than that. This writing was written at
a time when the Muslim armies were on the ascendency making great inroads across the Mediterranean, North Africa and East towards Mesopotamia.

The words within the ornate mosaic read: “people of the Book, do not transgress the bounds of your religion. Speak nothing but the truth about God. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle and his apostles and do not say, ‘Three’. Forebear and it shall be better for you. God is but one God. God forbid that he should have a son. He is all that the heavens and the earth contain. God is all –sufficient protector”.

The copy of the Koran was found in the Great Mosque of Sanaa, Yemen in 1972. The text throws a new light on the content and composition of very early Koranic text. Sanaa, east of Mekkah is one of the closest, and most isolated of the regional capitals. The city is a thriving, integrated, built up cosmopolitan trading centre. This commercial entrepot differs from Mekkah in so far as it relies on trade rather than visitors, hajjis. As such, it did attract the same degree of adverse political and religious attention as Mekkah. Since very early times Mekkah has been ravaged by raiding parties and later by the Wahhabi. Many of its stone built buildings and mosques built in Sanaa have miraculously survived, largely intact.

Two versions of the Qur’an’s text appear in the mosaic, one being an overlay of the other. This new evidence provides us with two distinct versions of the holy Qur’an. These manuscripts date back to the early 8th century. How this came about is not clear but, upon study it would appear that at the time the agreed text matter, content and composition was still in flux. If, and when the Ali Golden Tablets are found and analysed then much of the controversy pertaining to the specific wording of the Holy Qur’an will be settled, once and for all. In that respect there is every reason why new efforts should be taken to locate the Raynald horde located near Brignole, Provance. Un-invasive,large area geo-physical mapping techniques might be the answer to this problem. Using high definition camera systems, including infra-red, thermal imaging and other photographic techniques it should be possible to undertake a detailed survey of the area to identify likely targets for more detailed evaluation. An abundance of sophisticated scientific techniques abound, these include geophysical field research, advanced monitoring systems, EMF, sound and thermal mapping techniques plus and other forms of land based and aerial fused data analysis. By reverting back to the original summaries produced by the Roman Catholic Church it should be able, by a process of
elimination to accurately identify the site. If and when the contents of Raynald consignments are known then it would be hugely beneficial if such a search was made. If this line of enquiry is positive then the outcome would be a discovery landmark.

Concerning the transfer of data generally. Prior to the advent of moveable type in the 16th century
the only available means of book reproduction was via the laborious copying of every character by
hand. This was generally done by the Latin monks and translators in the scriptorium by private
sector copiers, many of whom were not necessarily well educated. The academic and scribes
employed within religious Orders may well have produced more reliable work but even so, many
undertaking this line of work did so because they were so trained, with a good hand and plenty of
patience. When undertaking such work the scribe’s mandate was simple,merely to transfer data
from the original copy onto a new substrate,vellum,parchment or handmade paper. Depending on
the legibility or otherwise of the mater being copied this could be a straightforward or complex
process which depending on the source needed varying degrees of judgement and interpretation.

Very often the copyists may not themselves have been conversant with the language that they
were copying, and as such the results of their work might well have included errors,these would,
thereafter be repeated in subsequent renditions. Such texts could become corrupted sometimes
through apathy,poor judgement or simply due to incompetence. As such, regardless of the fact the
end result was eventually enshrined as authentic copy of the original. In the case where annotations
were adjoined to the original manuscript,usually within the margins these notes were,sometimes,
erroneously included within copied text thus confusing the original meaning. Such mixed text
deviated from the objective of facsimile reproduction.

In the Roman Catholic church such errors were apparent. By the time of Charlemagne it was clear
that something needed to be done to regulate and standardise all key reference material. For this a
team of academics and specialists were put together to re-appraise the works under review. The
outshot of this time consuming undertaking was a set of works which passed muster. The libraries of Monte Cassino and Rome were the two most important libraries of well edited manuscripts, this being due to proper academic due diligence undertaken during the Carolingian period when
Emperor Charlemagne ordered the work. Alcuin of York, The Anglo Saxon was sent to undertake this work at the Abbey of St Martin’s, Tours, France . He was responsible for the recession of the texts of the Vulgate (Latin Bible) and for revising the liturgical books to confirm with the traditions of the Roman Catholic church. He, and a group of scribes, which he referred to as the crowd of scribes( turba scriptorium) completed the project, the end result of which can still be seen, the books of common in daily use. These comments are accurate only as they apply to the Latin material created and reproduced to the order of the Curia in Rome for the Roman Catholic church. In general and practical terms the process is exactly the same for any other language and as such it should mirror the problem that the Arab Companions of the Prophet Muhammad witnessed. In some respects the Muslim calligraphers took the art form to a far higher level than many of their European contemporaries.

16 Mekkah

At the time when the Prophet Muhammad was born Mekkah was essentially a place of pilgrimage,
the Ka’bah being the venerated stone for numerous local gods. The tribesmen and passing pilgrims
could worship their preferred god or deity freely within the city walls. Amongst those favoured by
the Makkans in descending role behind Allah were Manat, Uzza, and Allats.

When the Prophet Muhammad received his revelations all this changed. He demanded the
destruction of all the pagan gods and idolatry. This edict provoked a certain amount of antagonism
within the community as the idols had been worshiped for centuries before. Against this background of open hostility to the Prophet he sought support for his belief elsewhere. In 622AD he along with his closest followers vacated Mekkah and went north to Yathrib, where his ideology was more in keeping with popular sentiment. This portage was referred to later as the ‘Hegira’, or migration as it was intended to be a permanent move.

The Black Stone

Having received the revelations from God Muhammad attempted to reconcile the meaning of the
messages and establish how it might fit with previous communications between man and God and
for this he discussed the matter with the Jews. Muhammad agreed with the Old Testament writings
about the prophets Abraham, David, Moses and Solomon. The Jews however rejected his central
philosophy and belief which was that he was merely restoring the religion as prescribed by Abraham,who had created the Ka’bah. From that time the Prophet ordered all his followers to pray towards the Ka’bah and not Jerusalem. Additionally the Prophet gave his followers, who had been
persecuted by the Mekka people permission to wage war against these people. This edict became
to be known as the ‘jihad’, or holy war. A war based on the principals of oppression and injustice.

Soon after this very principal was used by his followers against the Mekkan people, those who
formally had chased the Prophet away. Initially this was limited to unprovoked, albeit lucrative raids on their caravans. Later, in AD629 his army took Mekkah by force.

Old print of built-up Mecca

The Prophet Muhammad was born in Mekkah on a Friday the 17th day of the lunar month of Rabi’-I,in 570CE. His mission began when he was 40 years of age in 630 CE on 27th day of the month of Rajab. It was on this day that he received his first Holy Revelation. For the next 23 years the Prophet Muhammad received a series of further Holy Revelations. These deliverances were structured into one complete entity which we now know as the Holy Qur’an. The Prophet Muhammad received a single copy of these revelations on Gold Tablets which were later kept in a place of safe keeping in Mekkah. The Prophet Muhammad was the son of Abdullah, the son of Abdul-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, whose ancestry reaches back in time to the Prophet Ismael son of the Prophet Abraham. As an infant the Prophet Muhammad was taken care of by Omm Ayman. After his father’s death the young Muhammad was brought up by his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib, who became his legal guardian. At the tender age of 7 years Muhammad’s mother Aamenah died. The following year his grandfather died and he was taken care of by his uncle Abu Talib, chief of the Quraysh, Bani-Hashim clan. The emergence of a religious leader created a problem for the Sheikhs of the Quraysh .They went as far as trying to kill the Prophet Muhammad. Failing in this quest they put an embargo on him and his followers effectively extraditing them from Mekkan society.

The Prophet ensured continuity of his doctrine using God’s word as written in the Qur’an as the
central theme of Islam. Following his untimely death by poisoning on 28th day of the lunar month of Safar 11th year of the Hijrah circa 630CE. The Prophet Muhammad commissioned Ali son of Abu-Talib to gather together all the notes that he had compiled over a 23 year span. As the Prophet was apparently illiterate such notes would have been produced by scribes and his advisors. Ali was born to Abu Talib and his wife Fatimah bint Assad in 600CE. The Prophet Muhammad took a personal interest in his cousin and played an important role in the young man’s upbringing and education. In this regard he ensured that Ali was literate and a man of words. This investment later paid great dividends as Ali became one of the Prophet’s most loyal followers. Furthermore it was Ali that the Prophet confided in when he instructed him to undertake the task of transcribing each and every one of his revelations. Ali dutifully obliged and from his voluminous records he created a master copy inscribed on gold tablets. The Prophet Muhammad validated and authenticated the calligraphy,order and composition of this compound masterpiece. A copy of this work was made available for public viewing at the mosque.

In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine
Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity,
near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens;and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the
Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily,
they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the
sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

17 The Origins of the Qur’an

When the Prophet Muhammad was formulating the basic concepts of his’ new’ religion he would
have been mindful of his predecessors in time. In particular he would have reflected back to the
role of the Greeks, the great thinkers from ancient time. Within a Mediterranean context their
contribution was then as now ever present and had been perpetuated by the Romans and
successive political regimes. The history, myths and legends from the past were kept alive in the
Hejez largely by oral transmission. This means of communication is in stark contrast to present
times were the masses enjoy open access to a myriad of communication formats including the most
potent of all, the internet.

The Greek philosopher Euhemerus introduced a concept in a book written around 200 BCE based on his observation that myths and legends derive from multiple retellings of events, thoughts and
happenings often being transcriptions from foreign languages, hence variations in sense and
meaning. His idea reflects the basis upon which the Greek myths were based.

Muhammad was born at a time when paganism was rife across the region and Mekkah was
dominated by the influence of a myriad of sects and their adherents. Beliefs amongst these
groupings ranged from the mildly obscure to the ridiculous making Muhammad’s task that much
more difficult. Satanic worship, evil spirits, magic potions and such like were part of this flourishing
trade, a trade which has always thrived on the fringes of polite society. Much later in time, in the
11th century in northern Italy and much of southern France a similar group called the ‘Cathars’
thrived. Bogomil missionaries from the Balkans brought with them a religion based on an ideology
much like that practiced by the Gnostics. They argued that the universe was created by an evil
power. Jesus descended into a world of evil from a world of light to guide those therein how to
escape. Their doctrines found favour and were taken up in Provance and other regions. By 1200AD the church was established as the majority religion with the credentes (believers) forming the mass.The clergy or the Perfecti , or perfect ones followed a strict vegetarian diet and practiced celibacy,much in the way many Catholics monks did at the time. The Cathars rejected all the Catholic sacraments and replaced them with their own rituals and conventions. The Roman Catholic Church realising the threat from this fast growing group was predictable. At first they tried by persuasion.When this failed, under the direction of Pope Innocent III they launched a crusade upon the Cathars.Using forces loyal to Louis VIII an army descended upon the Cathars and wiped them out. Over half the population of the south of France was slaughtered. By 1244AD when the last Cathars strongpoint of Montségur fell the population had been decimated many had either been killed or had fled to Italy or Bosnia. What the French army failed to do the Dominican monks did later in the Inquisition that followed. This purge lasted a full half century.

In stark contrast to this Christian development Islam is based on a more grounded concept, the
threshold of which being the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an was given to mankind direct from God via
Gabri’el to Muhammad. This analogy ties in with the account given by King Numan 1st who, similarly witnessed a miracle when, in the deep of night he was also visited by the Archangel Gabri’el who bestowed upon him the power of God in the form of a Signet Ring, the very ring that ultimately ended up with the Prophet Muhammad.

God is the only source of Islam. Islam retains much from pre-Islamic Arabia including the word Allah,the name for God. The concept of monotheism did exist in the Jahiliyya, even the pagans believed in one supreme God that ruled over all others. The Ka’ba was the Masjid of many tribes as early as 60BC. The tradition of kissing the black stone is pagan. Some accounts state that the Black Stone was originally white and only through the repeated process of multitudes of followers kissing the stone and banishing their sins did its colour transform to Black. The Qur’an provided the Arabs with a common identity. The first written Arabic version of the Qur’an appeared late in the 7th century. The style is semi-poetical, rhyme is maintained but rhythm is rarely used. Certain dialectical differences were not a problem, as Arabic script at the time could not differentiate between dialectical variations. This led some confusion due to the lack of diacritical marks. For example Hamza, who later helped invent point notation confesses to having confused ‘la zaiti fihil’ (no oil in it) with ‘laraiba’ (no doubt). This remark highlighting the problem of transcription. By the time of the Ma’mun caliphate 198-218AD a system of pointing had been adopted who forbade the use of both diacritical and vowel marks. There is no evidence that the Prophet Muhammad made any provision for continuing political and religious leadership after his death. Had he done so then this point would have been clarified in advance. In the absence of a Last Will and Testament only the Prophet’s written legacy remained intact. For this reason the initial copies of the ‘Qur’an became extremely valuable to the reciters of his teachings. The various Qurra established a power base based on their knowledge and as their influence gained in momentum so the mass became ever more critical of their military and political leadership many of who were ignorant of the Qur’an. The personal copy of the Qur’an made to order by Abu Bakr was in the Quraysh dialect and not distributed or copied during his lifetime. After his period in office in 634AD ‘Umar became caliph. He was worried that following the battle of Yamama in Central Arabia many Muslims had been killed and as such muchof their Qur’anic memory went with their demise. The Abu Bakr copy passed to ‘Umar and on his death passed to his daughter Hafsa. This codex was always considered her private property rather than the property of the state. Other versions ascribe the idea to Ali, the forth caliph, and founder of the Shias. The revised edition was completed before the death of ‘Uthman in 656AD. Copies were sent to Basra, Kufa, Damascus and Mekkah. The provenance of this record is open to question and some ascribe the origin back to Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law. The Sheikhs, learned elders and tribal leaders that then made up the Macoraba claim that the Gold Qur’an was written in cipher and that only they understood its full meaning. They support the general view that the inscribed gold leaf form is the only genuine Qur’an and all others are mere copies. Some historians identify the role of the Macoraba as pre-dating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad by hundreds of years. Others mark their origin as being much later to a the time of the deliverance of the Holy Qur’an.

What is clear, is that from the time the Prophet mobilised his army and started the spread of Islam across the region the Macoraba played a pivotal supporting role. These learned men promoted the
faith by applying their knowledge, systems, and cultural awareness. By so doing they provided
valuable strategic support to the Prophet Muhammad. In this respect their patronage of the arts
and culture generally has made a significant contribution to the growth of regional Islamic society.

By ensuring that the framework of the Prophet’s central philosophy was not compromised few
deviations to the original concepts and words occurred. By applying a rigid structure, the faith was
not polluted or altered. Accuracy of secure communications was key to oral and written
transmissions. It was in this area that the Macoraba played such a vital part. As such, this influential
group provided the faithful with a valuable base for all other writing and oral communication either
in Hadith format or in the transcription of the original Qur’an. Many historians place doubt on the
prodigious memories of the Companions and other ordinary folk. At a time when folk lore was the
only means of passing on the legend and history, whilst it is reasonable to assume that a few could
remember lengthy dialogues the successive transfer of the exact same words and meaning is more
difficult to believe. For example the story of Joseph takes up 11 verses. Oral tradition on face value
tends to change and therefore cannot be relied upon to construct a factual record of scientific
history. This position was not critical to the early Muslims; they were more flexible in their
interpretation. Over time the text has frozen, and is now unchallengeable.

In A.H. 25 there was a rebellion against ‘Uthman. His response was immediate. He quickly identified the root of the problem and, fifteen years after the Abu Bakr version instructed the same scribe, Zaid ibn Thabit to compile an up-dated, unified Qur’an. This was done on parchment scrolls (suhufs).Later these were placed in book form by ‘Abdul Malk and Hajjij b. Yusuf. This recession thus superseded the personal Abu Bakr version. Four copies were made but all were destroyed. Anyone who recited any other version was proclaimed a heretic. This action removed the Qurra monopoly of Qur’an related knowledge. Ibn Ka’b was one of the Ansar. He was secretary to Muhammad in Medinah. His codex was dominant in Syria. He worked on the ‘Uthman text but his personal codex failed to surpass that of Ibn Mas’uds codex and was accordingly destroyed by ‘Uthman. Ibn Masu’d was a warrior and fought in the battles of Badr and Uhud. He was very close to the Prophet and later became a teacher in his own right. His codex was used in Kufa. Copies then in circulation where deemed by Zaid ibn Thabit as being inferior to his own. His codex omitted Suras 113 and 114 as well as ‘The Band and The Lamb’.When Hajjaj b. Yusuf became powerful during the Abdul-Malik caliphate 684-704AD he gathered together all copies of the Qur’an and produced six revised versions. Some sources refer to him as being the founder of the Macalabra as it was he who produced both coded and cipher messages when communicating confidential data pertaining to the older versions. Whilst the use of cipher text was limited in the Hedjaz at this time the scribes would have been conversant with some quite sophisticated Arab cipher systems. As the nature of this particular assignment was highly contentious any and all inclusions or deletions would have needed to have been jealously guarded prior to final agreement and publication.

Since A.H. 322 the text as we now know it was fixed in time by Wazirs Ibn Muqla and Ibn ‘Isa. Older versions were thereafter destroyed or allowed to perish. Following the death of the Prophet
Muhammad four of his Companions sequentially succeeded him, the last of which was the Prophet’s cousin and son-in law Ali. Ali was unable to establish his authority in the north, where the Syrian governor was Mu’awiya. Reputedly his war cry was “Vengeance for ‘Uthman” against Ali. Both ‘Uthman and Mu’awiya were members of the Mekkan clan of Umayyad. They were also related and met in the indecisive battle of Siffin. Ali was murdered in A.H. 661 and Mu’awiya was elevated to the title of first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty. The rivalry between Ali and Mu’awiya can be traced back to the time when Ali spent time with the Prophet. Mu’awiay knew full well that the Prophet had confided in Ali and resented this privileged status. Ali was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in law and as such was within the close family circle of trust. During the Prophet’s life Ali was used as both servant and teacher by the Prophet. It is not clear whether the Prophet Muhammad was literate but in this respect Ali oversaw the transcription of the original Qur’an. This he did with the aid of a trusted servant, called Al-Muzaykayh who hailed from Al-Yemen, a skilled craftsman and calligrapher. A set of wafer thin gold tablets were hammered out and upon them under the eye of Ali the trusted servant inscribed the Suras as precisely as they had been dictated by the Prophet. His Suras are distinct and very different to those of ‘Uthman. Under duress he was ordered to destroy his hand scribed file of scrolls under the order of ‘Uthman but retained the master file finely inscribed on gold leaf.

The reference to the tablets is seen in the last two verses of sura LXXXV, Al Buraj, read: (21) hawa qur’anun majidun; (22) fulawhin mahfuzun/in. the last syllable is in doubt. If it is in the genitive – in,it gives the meaning “It is a glorious Qur’an on a preserved tablet”- a reference to the Muslim doctrine of the Preserved Tablet. If it is in the nominative ending –UN, we get “It is a glorious Qur’an preserved on a tablet.” Here the inference relates back to the Prophet’s gold Qur’an, the one and only word of God. Mu’awiya continued his fearsome tirade against Ali. He gave an instruction to Al Mughira, governor “do not tire of abusing and insulting Ali and calling for God’s mercifulness for‘Uthamn, defaming the Companions of Ali, removing them and omitting to listen to them”. This is a direct reference to Hadith that they, Ali and his Companions propagated. The Umayyads and their political followers had no scruples in promoting tendentious lies in a sacred religious form and were only concerned to find pious authorities who would be prepared to cover such falsifications.

As-Suyuti pointed out that, A’isha, the favourite wife of the Prophet recounted that “during the time of the Prophet, the chapters of the Sura, Parties used to be two hundred verses when read. When‘Uthman edited the Qur’an only the current 77 verses were recorded”. She was well aware of the slimming down process. He also tells the story about Uba ibn Ka’b, one of the leading, and most trusted of his Companions. This famous Companion asked a fellow Muslim “How many verses in the chapter of the Parties?” He replied “Seventy Three Verses”. He (UBA) told him, “It is almost equal to the chapter of the Cow. (about 286 verses) and included the verse of the stoning”. The man asked “What is the verse about the stoning?” He (UBA) said, “If an old man or women committed adultery,stone them to death”. Abu ‘Ubaid al-Qasim. Sallam AH154-244 confirms the disappearance of various chapters from the Ali ‘gold standard’ version and points to both Ai’sha and ‘Umar for supporting evidence. ‘Umar is reported to having said that much of the Qur’an had disappeared and Ai’sha said that sura 33 had been reduced to 77 verses from its original 200 verses. This was reinforced by Ibn Ka’b who added that it had included the verses of the stoning. This point was not missed by ‘Uthamn, several Hadith confirm this sentiment. Abi Ayyub b. Yunus refers to a verse in the A’isha’s codex that has since been removed. He goes on to say that A’isha accused ‘Uthamn of having altered the Qur’an. Verses confirmed by Zaid ibn Thabit are recoded to have been lost by Adib. Adi. The most telling omission was made by ‘Umar who questioned the loss of another verse, and was informed by Abd ar-Rahman b. Auf that “it dropped out among what dropped from the Qur’an”.

A plausible reason for these various omissions was that even though historically they might have
been recited during prayers they were not passed down be the savants, the memory men because
they were considered extra, or very similar to other verses. Different metropolitan areas followed
different codices, Homs and Damascus followed al-Aswad, and Kufa-Ibn Mas’d Basra as-Ash’air and Syria ibn Ka’b. The lost codices are recorded in works undertaken in the 4th century A.H. by Ibn al-Anbari, Ibn Ashta and Ibn Abi Dawud. Whether Muhammad was literate or illiterate is not known. He never authorised any of his Companions to produce a complete version of the Qur’an. The only version that he authorised was scribed by his favourite wife. The gap in time between the meeting between the Prophet and Bahira and the first major Christian debate on the Qur’an is about 200 years, i.e. in 830 CE some forty years before Bukhari. It would appear that most Christians were not aware of the Qur’an until the end of the 8th century. Abu Nosh, secretary to the governor of Mosul and Timothy, the Nestorian patriarch of Seleucia supported the view that Bahira was an advisor to the Prophet Muhammad on matters concerning the Christian faith. The Medinah sura contains sketches of the histories of previous prophets, laws and the manner and principals by which followers were to live. Qur’an is written Following the death of the Prophet Abu Bakr was caliphate from 632-634 AD. He was popular at the time. After the Prophet’s death many Arabs revolted against Abu Bakr and forcibly put him down. A contender by the name of Musailima was executed by Abu Bakr. Some 30 years after the Prophet’s death ‘Umar sought the services of Zaid ibn Thabit to collate the Qur’an. This codex was given to Hafsa. To avoid confusion ‘Uthman ordered the destruction of all other codices. Arguments broke out and Ibn Mas’ud opposed the use of Zaid’s codex, arguing that he ibn Mas’ud had been a Companion of the Prophet longer than Zaid.

TO BE CONTINUED…