Part 2: The True State Of The Qur'an

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a/ Should It Be Spelled With ‘ ’ (ta’ tawila) or ‘’ (ta’ marbuta)?

As we read earlier, Ibn Khaldun spoke openly about the imperfect writing of Muhammad’s scribes. One of the reasons mentioned was:

"Then, there are the t’s that are written in the Qur’an with the letter t, while they should be written with the h with two dots over it, and other things." (Muqqadimah, p. 442)

These occur consistently in the graphic forms of the Medinan and Kufan printings:

"On the graphic side, the correspondences between the two transmissions are overwhelmingly more numerous than differences, often even with oddities like ayna ma and aynama being consistently preserved in both transmissions (e.g., Q. 2/148, 3/112 and Q. 4/78, 16/76), and la’nat Allahi spelt both with ta’ tawila and ta’ marbuta in the same places in both transmissions (Q. 3/61 and 3/87)." (Value..., Brockett, p. 34; emphasis added)

Indeed in the 1924 Egyptian we find la’nat Allahi spelled with ta’ tawila in Q3:61 and spelled with ta’ marbuta in Q3:87 . As Brockett mentions, this occurs also in the Warsh text where we find Q3:61 with ta’ tawila and Q3:87 with ta’ marbuta . The Taj, and all our other texts include this consistently transmitted spelling mistake. 

The Flugel concordance of which Von Denffer notes "In 1858, the German orientalist Fluegel produced ... a very useful concordance..." (Ulum, p. 65) lists both Q3:54, 81 and Q24:7 (p. 173, as seen at right  - his number system is somewhat different) in the corrected form with ta’ marbuta  .

We note, however, that in the existing printed texts Q24:7 also contains the wrong spelling  .

In fact, the only place where the word occurs with a ta’ tawila is in Q7:38 where it is required because of the context. There we find and the translation "It curses", being a verb form. On the other hand, what we have just been examining, the spellingtranslates as "the curse of Allah", being a noun form (as signified by the sukun above the second letter, instead of a fatha which would signify the verb form).

To have translated Q24:7 as "invoke the curse of" is a deception. Not only is the noun form  present, but the verb "invoke" is not in the Arabic text but the verb "to be" needs to be supplied. Then, the only possible translation could be "God curses them if they tell a lie"!!

It is thus truly ironic, or, as those outside Islam would see it, a case of Divine 

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intervention, that the translation they chose for Q24:7 reads:

"...that they solemnly invoke the curse of Allah on themselves if they tell a lie".

b/ ‘Dagger-Alifs’

1/ ‘Originals’ Or Non-’Uthmanic ‘Additions’?

There is, however, one major difference which is immediately noticeable between the new 1924 Egyptian Edition and the old Turkish one. That is that beginning with al-Fatihah (Surah 1), and all the way to the end of Sura 114, there are an incredibly large number of alifs which are consonantal symbols (part of the graphic form) in the Turkish text, but which appear only as short vertical ‘strokes’ in the Egyptian text.1

One can plainly see the ‘short stroke’ in  in aya (verse) 7 of the following reproduction of Q1 from the Egyptian text, and the graphic alif in  in the same place in the Turkish text. This type of thing is obvious in several other places in these versions of Q1. [See page following]

In fact, in a complete comparison of these two texts we find some 5300 ‘short strokes’ in the 1924 Egyptian text, in places where the Turkish text has consonantal symbol alifs. Yet, there are about the same number of places again where both texts contain short ‘strokes’, and they apparently agree on these. Thus the 1924 has over 9,000 such ‘strokes’ altogether!

By comparison, between the Taj (as in the Swahili) text from Karachi and the 1975 Islamic Foundation (‘83 Amana) text, itself bearing the Egyptian ‘Uthmanic graphic form 2, there are only about 1600 such places where the Taj text contains graphic alifs and the Egyptian text contains short ‘strokes’.3

But, how did these discrepancies enter the Arabic texts of Pakistan and Turkey, and what does Islam have to say about these ‘short strokes’?

First, Hamidullah tells us about the ‘short strokes’ and what they represent:

"For printing the Qur’an they have invented a new sign, a small alif, which is marked just above the letter which this alif is to follow, and the difficulty is removed." (Orthographical..., p. 78; emphasis added)

Since printing the Qur’an has only been around for a couple of hundred years, we can see how ‘new’ this ‘small alif’ is when compared to the ‘original’!

Secondly, Hamidullah tells us how the massive tampering came about:

"...several attempts have been made, particularly during Ottoman times, to "reform" the script of the Qur’an." (Orthographical..., p. 79; emphasis added).4

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Above: Surah 1 - Turkish text (printed in Egypt 1909)
Right: Surah 1 - 1924 Egyptian Edition

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                                        CHAPTER 13 (CONT'D)