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The Holy Quran – Its Unique Preservation

40 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS THE HOLY QURAN ITS UNIQUE PRESERVATION (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) One of the distinctive features of the Quran which has not been shared by any other revealed scripture is its purity of text which has been preserved in its original form free of interpolation of any kind. This subject has been dealt with at length in Volume 2 of the Holy Quran with English translation and commentary published by the Ahmadiyya Community, Rabwah, Pakistan and extracts from the commentary follow:- Sir William Muir, the well known critic of Islam, says about the Quran: “We may, upon the strongest presumption affirm that every verse in the Quran is the genuine and ualtered composition of Mohammad himself.” Again, “There is otherwise every security, internal ‘and external, that we possess the text which Mohammad himself gave forth and used. ” Again, “To compare (as the Muslims are fond of doing) their pure text with the various readings of our scriptures, is to compare things between which there is no analogy.” (Introduction to “The Life of Mohammad”). Prof. Noldeke, the great German Orientalist writes as follows: “Slight clerical errors there may have been, but the Quran of Othman contains none but genuine elements, though sometimes in very strange order. Efforts of European scholars to prove the existence of later interpolations in the Quran have failed. “(Encyclopaedia Brit). Professor Nicholson says in his “Literary History of the Arabs”. “Here (in the Quran) we have materials of unique and incontestable authority for tracing the origin and early development of Islam such materials as do not exist in the case of Buddhism or Christianity or any other ancient religion.” The importance of this security of the Quranic text is further enhanced when we compare it with other revealed scriptures. The Quran was revealed among an illiterate people, while most other scriptures were revealed among peoples who were comparitively more literate and therefore better qualified to preserve the purity of their scriptures. Yet they failed to do so, while the Quran, the most widely read of all revealed scriptures, enjoys complete immunity from all sorts of corruption. This miraculous preservation of the Quranic text is no mere accident. It has been brought about by the special providence of God in accordance with an openly_declared prophecy of the Quran. The following additional factors also very much materially contributed to the preservation of the Quran: 1. That God has inspired the Muslim with an extraodinary love for the Quran. They enjoy the reading of the Book even if they do not understand the meaning of the text. This leads to its being preserved in their hearts. THE HOLY QURAN UNIQUE PRESERVATION 41 2. That the rhythm of the Quran is so sweet and its language so charming and so easy to learn and the construction of its sentences so beautiful that it can be committed to memory with great case. 3. That God so ordained that immediately after the Quranic revelation became complete, it spread far and wide, to the remotest corners of the world, among all nations and all peoples, so that it became practically impossible for anyone to tamper with its text. 4. That from the beginning the Quran formed for Muslims the basis of all the sciences and learning they acquired and developed with a.view to serving it. Various branches of knowledge, such as Grammer, Rhetoric, History, Philosophy and Logic were cultivated and developed by Muslims for the sake of a better understanding of their holy Book. 5. That God has preserved Arabic, the language of the Quran, as a living language, while the language of all other revealed books, which were not meant to last for ever, have become practically dead. Again it is not the text of the Quran only that has been preserved intact by God. He has provided for the preservation of its spirit, also . This has been done by raising divinely inspired Reformers among the Muslims from time to time. These Reformers, known in Islamic terminology as Mujaddids, receive revelations from God and interpret and. explain the true meaning of the Quranic text. Such Reformers appeared among the followers of other religions also, but that was only for so long as such scriptures served as guides for their followers. After the advent of Islam, however, all other religious systems and their Scriptures, which were intended only for specific periods and specific peoples, became abrogated and divinely inspired Reformers ceased to appear among them. Now, therefore, the Quran alone among all revealed Scriptures of the world holds the field as a living book and hence divinely inspired Reformers now appear only among the followers of Islam. In our own time God has raised Ahamd, the Promised Messiah, Founder of the Ahmadiyya- Movement, to demonstrate the truth and excellence of the Quran in a manner unparalled in the history of Islam. Ahmad’s presentation of Islam is not like one praying for a hearing as was the vogue among the apologetical school of Muslim writers, but as a victor challenging the protagonists of all other relgious systems and the so called modernists and Higher Critics to find fault with any teaching of Islam; and also as a judge passing his judgement on them. The appearance of such Reformers in itself constitutes proof of the living power of a religion and its scripture inasmuch as they are really the fruit of their religion and their appearance proves its efficacy. 42 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The above commentary has revealed a great truth which no non-Muslim can deny. It is surprising how many Christians there are who believe that the Bible is the perfect word of God free of all interpolations and contradictions. When they are told that interpolations certainly do exist and contradictions abound they usually answer by saying that they are only “seeming” contradictions etc, etc. Let us quote what are the findings of certain Christian Biblical scholars: Matthew 17:21 is omitted in the best M. S. S. and was probably added with some alterations from Mark 9.21. (A New Commentary on the Holy Scriptures by Bishop Gore) 1 John v 7 is recognised as an interpolation (Doctrine of Trinity by Theodore Christbel. D.D.) The text of Hosea has been imperfectly handed down. A multitude of passages are corrupt, some incurably. (Dictionary of the Bible by J. Hastings) Most of the ancient authorities omit John 7:53 – 8:11. Those which contain it vary much from each other. (Marginal note in the Authorised Version of the Bible.) Malachi 14:18 ‘The text is probably corrupt’ (Marginal note in the Authorised Version of the Bible) Revelations 2:13. The Greek text here is somewhat uncertain.” (Marginal note in the Authorised Version of the Bible). That Muhammad really lived cannot be disputed. The development of Islam at least when compared with the other world religions.is open to the clear light of history, and presents us with yet another proof that the Prophetic personality is the original source of the new religious creation…. Even today, after a period of development of thirteen centuries, one may clearly discern in genuine Islamic piety the uniqueness which is ultimately derived from its founder’s personal experience of God. (Tor Andrea, Muhammad: The Man and his Faith.)