Today's Quran: The Same Revelation?

Question and answer details
Is the Quran we have today the same as that was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him)? What proof do we have to ensure this? I heard it's only recorded by Muslim historians and not non-Muslims? Is the Arabic spoken today in Arabia the same as Quran? If so, why do we have so many different translations of the Quran? Please help.
Ahmad Saad
 Salam Dear Brother,

Let me first of all thank you for such a creative and innovative question that reflects your critical mind and your real search for ascertaining the authenticity of everything around you.

In fact, we are required to do so, since Almighty Allah has gifted us with minds to use in finding the truth and working hard to achieve the highest level of certainty about our beliefs. In our quest for this, we should stick to objectivity and be totally dedicated to truth.

Promise of Protection

You asked if the Quran we have today is the same one which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The simple and the clear answer is yes. It is the same exact one without any addition or omission and the evidence is self-evident inside the Quran as well as outside it.

Let me give you some explanation here. The first place we should go to ascertain the fact about the authenticity of the Quran should be the Quran itself. We can simply read in the Quran such a great and unfailing pledge in which Almighty Allah says:

{Surely, We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.} (Al-Hijr 15:9)

Logically speaking, the Quran being the final message of Allah is going to be unchangeable till the Day of Judgment. For this job to be fulfilled, it has to remain the same because if, God forbids, any change occurs, there will be no point behind its being the final message of Allah.

Therefore, Almighty Allah Who knows the hearts and the nature of human beings has taken the responsibility of guarding and protecting the Quran from any change, so that it keeps on fulfilling its job and guiding all human beings till the Last Day.

Unanimity of Muslim Scholars

The unanimity of Muslim scholars throughout the ages has also proved that the Quran we have is the same which the Prophet had. The same holds true for some unbiased Orientalist scholars who studied the Quran and found the style and the wording exactly the same as that which was common during the time of the Prophet himself.

Another point that needs reflection is that the Quran contains many scientific miracles that were proven to be correct only recently; it therefore stands to reason that had there been any change in the Quran, such verses or many of them, would have disappeared and even changed, and thus proven wrong.

Oral Transmission

Moreover, the Quran has been handed down through generations and centuries by means of oral transmission alongside the written text and that one of the unique merits of Muslims is their ability of maintaining an unbroken chain proving the authenticity of their texts throughout all these centuries.

Many people memorize the Quran in various parts of the world. All of them meet in one place at one time and recite the same Quran. This leaves no doubt that the Quran we have today is the exact one that was recited fifteen hundred years ago when the Prophet was alive.

Language of the Quran

Another logical proof is the decline in the level of the Arabic language and the spoken dialects which we find everywhere in the Arab world.

The deterioration in the level of the spoken Arabic, although affecting the tongues of people, did not in fact come close to the Quranic text. It is because of this that we find the Quranic text being unique in the way it is recited and the way it is written.

It is different in the written form as well as the oral form from the other written or oral texts.

Why? Because it was protected against the factors of time and space.

And for this job to be completed, Allah has enabled many scholars who specialized in the Quranic text whether in the written or the oral form and made their vocation in life to transmit it as exactly as it existed in the Prophet's life.

Quranic Manuscripts

Another physical proof showing the authenticity of the Quran is the large number of Quranic manuscripts dating back to the early times of Islam. One of the manuscripts existing today is the personal copy of the mus-haf (physical copy of the Quran) that belonged to Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan.

This copy still carries the traces of the blood of Uthman who was killed when he was reciting the Quran not long ago after the death of the Prophet. The manuscript has been examined not only by Muslims but also by non-Muslims, and it exists till today as standing evidence of the authenticity of the Quran.

By bringing this manuscript and comparing it with all other manuscripts that have been written through different generations in different parts of the Muslim world, we can see how exactly the same they are.

We can also notice the difference between the text written there and the normal way of writing Arabic words and the question will rise: why did not the normal way of writing affect the way of writing the Quranic text? The simple answer to this is that the uniqueness of the Quran made it very special and as a way of keeping this specialty is keeping it in the same formula it was firstly written.

Challenging the Quran

A long time ago, the Quran challenged people to produce something similar to one verse or ten verses or one surah of it. The challenge was not met and people are still unable to meet the challenge which means the text is still the same miraculous one that was recited during the Prophet's lifetime.

Of course, some biased non-Muslim Orientalists have tried their best to raise misconceptions regarding the authenticity of the Quranic text we have today.

These attempts have been very old indeed and all of them have failed to prove anything.

Why So Many Translations?

As for the question why there are many different translations of the Quran, in fact, this has nothing to do with the text.

Rather, the translations are merely human attempts to understand the Divine text. Because they are merely human and not Divine, such attempts will be limited and imperfect.

Therefore, we can have many translations, since all of them are human contributions and attempts of conveying the message contained in the original text which was Divinely worded and arranged.

None of these translations is perfect, protected, or even considered to be "the Quran"; only the Arabic text which is inimitable is considered the Divine revelation.

I hope this answers your question. Please stay in touch.


Useful Links:

What Is the Quran?

The Quran: Whose Word Is It?

Protecting the Quran

Could the Quran Be a Copy of the Bible?!

Proving the Quran Is the Word of God

Does the Quran Include Everything?

Quran: Any Significance in the Order?

Has the Quran Changed?

A Different Quran?

One Quran, Many Translations

Lost in Translation: The Meaning of "Servitude" to Allah

Recommended Translations of Quran

The Original Quran and the Discovery of Makkah

Is the Quran Outdated?

How Do We Know the Quran Is God's Word?

The Quran's Appeal to Rationality

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