This post is an important part of this post detailing the differences in how the Bible and Qur’an were transmitted.
(Via Jihad Watch) “This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Quran’s genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from Heaven.” Or that others later used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda — which is what I argue in my book Did Muhammad Exist?.
(Via The Telegraph) …The Prophet Muhammad is thought to have founded Islam sometime after 610AD and the first Muslim community was founded in Medina in 622AD.
During this time the Koran was memorised and recited orally but Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of the Muslim community after Muhammad’s death, ordered the Koranic material to be collected into a book.
The final authoritative written form was not completed until 650AD under the third leader Caliph Uthman.
Professor Nadir Dinshaw, who studies interreligious relations at the University of Birmingham, described the discovery as ‘startling’.
When it was found last month he said: ‘This could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam.
‘According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Qur’an, the scripture of Islam, between the years AD 610 and 632, the year of his death.
‘At this time, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today. Instead, the revelations were preserved in ‘the memories of men’…
Prior to this new find, this fragment was the oldest:
(Via Breitbart) …Some academics now say that the impact of the text could be comparable to finding a copy of the Gospels dating back to before the time of Christ.
Historian Tom Holland told the Sunday Times that evidence was now mounting that traditional accounts of Islam’s origins are wrong.
“It destabilises, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Koran emerged — and that in turn has implications for the historicity of Muhammad and the Companions [his followers],” he said.
Other very old Korans also seem to confirm that written texts were circulating before Mohammed’s death.
Needless to say, Muslim academics have disputed the claims. Mustafa Shah of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) said: “If anything, the manuscript has consolidated traditional accounts of the Koran’s origins.”
“If the [carbon] dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Koran — or at least portions of it — pre-dates Muhammad, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s.
“This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Koran’s genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven.
“This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised, somehow accounting for another book of scripture coming into existence 50 to 100 years before, and then also explaining how this was co-opted into what became the entity of Islam by around AD700.”