reblogged from Dr Yasir Qadhi
This is one of the most ancient manuscripts of the Quran that we currently posses, written in the Hijazi script. It is displayed at the University of Birmingham, and has been Carbon-14 dated to the same era (plus or minus a few decades) of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam). To the right of the manuscript is the typed up version of the same text (courtesy of Prof Alan Godlas).
It is patently clear, even to those of us who can’t read the ancient Hijazi script with ease, that the two texts are essentially the same. No other religious text can even come close to this level of preservation. The earliest complete copies of the New Testament date back to more than three centuries after the era of Jesus Christ, and the earliest manuscripts of the Old Testament to more than a thousand years after the era of Moses.
What is more amazing is that the Quran isn’t even primarily preserved through manuscripts – it is first and foremost preserved through the memorization of huffadh of every single generation, to the point of tawatur (meaning: in each generation numerous people have recited the Quran and passed it down to the next generation, to the point that it would be impossible for all of them to be mistaken about it).
The preservation of the Quran is a matter that all Muslims have agreed on, from the beginning of Islam, and hence it is of the most fundamental and essential beliefs of Islam.
Anyone who denies that the Quran has been preserved is simply not a Muslim.
Of the most fascinating disciplines of our academic tradition, therefore, is the specialty of documenting the preservation of the Quran, and of explaining the evolution of the script, the addition of the tashkil and diacritic marks, the development of the various recitations (the ‘seven’ and the ‘ten’ and the ‘fourteen’ and others), the classification and codification of these recitations and the differences between them, and of course the relationship of these recitations to the ‘modes’ (Ar. ‘ahruf’) that are referenced in the hadith. Scholars have always had many fascinating and at times heated discussions regarding all of these facets and more, and many books have been written about these topics, such as those by Ibn Abi Dawud and Ibn Mujahid and Makki b. Abi Talib and al-Dani and Ibn al-Jazari and a host of others. But despite all of the differences of opinion found in these classical works, none of those discussions ever negated the basic fact that all Muslims believe in: that the Quran, as the Speech of Allah, has always been preserved.
“Truly, we have sent down this Remembrance, and We shall, for sure, preserve it” [al-Hijr; 9].
All praise is due to Allah for revealing the Quran to us and gifting us belief in His Speech!