The Immutability Of The Quraan-e-Majeed


I have found out about a person called Daniel _____ who claims to have found errors in the Quran, I have not checked the claims so I have come to refer to you in hope of an answer, and is his book true, does the Quran have many versions like the bible that are being hidden?


Allah E declares in the Quraan-e-Majeed:

اِنَّا نَحنُ نَزَّلنَا الذِّكرَ وَاِنَّا لَه لَحٰـفِظُونَ

Translation: Without doubt it only We have revealed the Reminder (the Quraan-e-Majeed) and We shall certainly be its Protectors.
)Al-Hijr : 9)

Allah E Himself undertaking the responsibility of the protection of the Quraan-e-Majeed from any alteration throughout time is sufficient for any Muslim to accept its undeniable immutability. However, for antagonists of Islam and apologetic Muslims alike, who do not accept the authenticity of the Quraan-e-Majeed to begin with, this verse does not serve as proof (for them) of the immutable nature of the Quraan-e-Majeed.

It is necessary that a few fundamental principles be mentioned below, which if understood correctly, will remove the necessity for repudiation of the fallacies presented by Daniel _____ and his ilk. It is due to ignorance of these principles, or a complete lack of understanding thereof, that they lead themselves down a road of confusion and folly and wish to plant seeds of suspicion and doubt in the minds of innocent, unwary Muslims.

When the term Quraan is used, it refers to the revealed word of Allah E. It is neither the word nor meaning of the Quraan-e-Majeed in isolation, but rather a combination of both.

A Mus-haf refers to a written copy of the Quraan-e-Majeed. The word Mus-haf (collection of pages) originates from the word Suhuf (pages). The Quraan-e-Majeed in its written form has become synonymous with the word Mus-haf.

A direct translation of the word Kalaamullah would be the: The Word of Allah E, His E Speech. The Speech of Allah E however, is unlike ours. It refers to the immutable revelations of Allah E.

Furthermore, during the lifetime of the Nabee G, the Quraan-e-Majeed was revealed in seven different Qira’aat (dialects). The term Qira’at, when used in relation to the Quraan-e-Majeed, refers to a special manner of reciting the Quraan-e-Majeed in accordance to the way in which an Imaam/Expert of Qira’at recited it. The dialects differed slightly in their pronunciation of certain letters and words, but the overall meaning was unchanged.

Therefore, the manner in which the Quraan-e-Majeed is recited will be called Qira’at and the recitation itself will be called Tilaawat.

The learning, teaching and reading of the Quraan-e-Majeed relied initially above all, on oral transmission. Writing has and will always remain a secondary aid. Nevertheless, to ensure correct reading of the written texts of the Quraan-e-Majeed, particularly for those coming after, steps were taken to gradually to improve the orthography (the way in which spoken letters are represented textually and graphically) of the Quraan-e-Majeed. This was achieved by introducing optional reading aids such as dots and Harakaat (diacritical markings).

In summary, the immutable Quraan-e-Majeed is the Kalaam or Speech of Allah E revealed to us in seven different Qira’aat (dialects), with both its word and purport. A written or printed form of the Arabic Quraan-e-Majeed is referred to as a Mus-haf and the recited Quraan-e-Majeed is referred to as Tilaawat, recited in different Qira’at.

These intricacies are at most times unknown to non-Muslims. If known, they are ignored when they attempt to refute the immutability of the Quraan-e-Majeed.

The antagonists of Islam attack its immutability on the following premises:

1. The Qira’aat (dialects) are different versions of the Quraan-e-Majeed.

2. The introduction of Harakaat and reading aids are alterations to the Quraan-e-Majeed, without which the Quraan-e-Majeed cannot be understood.

3. The scriptural discrepancies found in the texts are due to alterations in the Quraan-e-Majeed and the claim that not a dot or letter has been altered is not true.             

We reiterate that all these claims are unfounded, due to a lack of understanding and have very simple rebuttals:

1.     The terms ‘version’ and dialect imply that the text is initiated with an original, after which it is updated with new modes of Qira’aat/Recitation (to facilitate pronunciation), resulting in a “new version“ or “mode of Qira’aat”. The Qira’aat are hence not per se independent versions or editions of the Quraan-e-Majeed, rather, they are merely different recitation modes of the same single version and revelation. Nabee G did not replace one mode with another. Simply put, Nabee G  recited the Quraan-e-Majeed (revealed word of Allah E) in multiple modes (Qira’aat).

2.     Nobody considers reading aids to be alterations to any script. Colour-coding has been introduced for the aid of Tajweed (the correct articulation and pronunciation of letters and words). Nobody can lay claim to this being an alteration in the Quraan-e-Majeed.

Secondly, Harakaat are not used in everyday written use in the Arab world. Many or most of  their publications are void of Harakaat except in a few places. The claim of the antagonists implies that no Arab should be able to read the publications and that the publications are a mere waste of paper and ink which nobody can understand. However, since the opposite is true, their claims are completely unfounded.

A manuscript refers to any handwritten document. Scribes, were people who copied books or wrote on behalf of others. Not all scribes were professional and many merely copied shapes. It is for this reason that Islamic texts have been preserved from generation to generation via transmission of the recited and spoken word as stated above. Therefore, when scripting errors occurred, they were easily identified and corrected. This is also the very reason why in none of the examples given by critics of the Quraan-e-Majeed, can they demonstrate where a change was introduced and then adopted en masse by the Muslim world.

Consider the following: If the Imaam makes an error in the recitation of the Quraan-e-Majeed in Salaat, according to the claims of the critics it would imply that the Quraan-e-Majeed has been altered. At times we copy Ayaat (verses) when learning to read or write the Arabic language and occasionally mistakes occur in writing. These errors do not imply that the Quraan-e-Majeed has been altered, because we differentiate between our personal mistakes and the adoption of our mistake as being part of the very Quraan-e-Majeed itself.

When Muslims lay claim that not a dot or letter of the Quraan-e-Majeed has been altered, the claim is not that the preservation of the Quraan-e-Majeed lies in the preservation of the manuscripts, dots and Harakaat. The responsibility of protecting the Quraan-e-Majeed taken upon by Allah E in the aforementioned verse, covers the total protection of the words as well as the meanings of the Quraan-e-Majeed in that they remain protected against alteration or distortion, not the manuscripts. The scripting of manuscripts is the action of the human-being, which always has the potential for errors, errors that are then corrected when identified as such.

It should be well borne in mind that it is considered an alteration to the Quraan-e-Majeed when the Arabic Quraan-e-Majeed, when presented as an Uthmanic Mus-haf uses a Rasm (the written use of the consonantal letters of the Arabic language) outside of the accepted Uthmanic Rasm allowing for a Qira’at which has not been authorized by Nabee G and which has become part of our Tawatur (mass transmission) today. No such case exists.

An Episode from the Court of Ma’mun as mentioned in Ma Ariful Quran:

“Imam Al-Qurtubi has authentically reported an event from the court of Abbasi Khalifah, Al-Ma’mun. He was used to patronizing occasional debates on intellectual issues at his court where all scholars were welcome. It so happened that a Jew came to attend one of these debates. By his looks, dress and manners, he seemed to be an elegant person. Then, his address during the debate was eloquent and intellectually bright. When the meeting was over, Ma’mun called for him and asked him if he was an Israelite, which he confirmed. To test him, Ma’mun asked him to become a Muslim in which case he could hope to have the best possible treatment from him.

He said that he was not willing to leave the religion of his forefathers which was his religion too. The matter ended there. That person went away. Then, after a year, the same person returned as a Muslim and made a very distinct contribution in the court meeting on the subject of Islamic jurisprudence. After the session was over, Ma’mun called for him and asked him if he was the same person who had come last year. He said: Yes, I am. Ma’mun asked: At that time, you had refused to accept Islam. Tell me what made you accept Islam now.

He said: When I went back from here, I decided to do some research on contemporary religions. I am a scribe. I write books and sell them. They bring good price. This time I wanted to conduct a test. First, I calligraphed three manuscripts of the Torah in which I made some additions and deletions on my own. I took these manuscripts to the Synagogue. The Jews found them interesting and bought them. Then, I did the same things with the Injil. I calligraphed three manuscripts, complete with my additions and deletions, and took them to the Church where the Christians were pleased with these manuscripts and bought them from me. After that, I tried the same thing with the Qur’an. I calligraphed three good looking manuscripts of the Quran, of course with the usual additions and deletions of my own. When I went out to sell them, I faced a problem. Every buyer I went to would take the manuscript, look into it to determine if it was correct or not, and when he would notice additions or deletions made into it, he would quietly give the manuscript back to me.

From this episode, I learnt my lesson that this Book is protected, and protected by Allah Ta’ala Himself, therefore, I embraced Islam. Qadi Yahya ibn Aktham, the narrator of this event says that, by chance, he had the Taufiq of performing his Hajj in the same year. There he met Sufyan ibn Uyainah to whom he related this event. He said: Surely, this is how it should be because this is confirmed by the Quran. Yabya ibn Aktham asked about the Ayah he had in mind. He said: When the glorious

Quran mentions the Torah and the Injil, there it says: (that is, the Jews and Christians have been entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the Torah and Injil, the Books of Allah – 5:44). This is the reason why, when the Jews and Christians did not fulfill their duty of protecting them, these Books were lost through distortions and alterations. This is contrary to the case of the Holy Quran about which Allah Ta’ala has said: إنا له لحفظون (And We are there to protect it 15:9).

Thus, when Allah Ta’ala Himself arranged to have it remain protected, then, despite thousands of efforts made by enemies, not a single change in one tiny dot or case mark could be made.

Today, over fourteen hundred years have passed since even the blessed age of the Nabee and there has been a shortfall and neglect on the part of Muslims in all areas of their religious matters, yet the continuous arrangement of memorizing the Holy Quran all over the world stands firmly established as it was. In every period of time, there are millions of Muslims, old and young, male and female, always present on the scene, blessed people in whose hearts and minds the Holy Quran lives protected. Before them, not even the highest of the high religious scholar can dare recite a single letter of the Quran wrong, for there would be around at that time many, seniors or children, who would promptly apprehend and correct the error.”

To delve into every example mentioned by the author would make this response unnecessarily lengthy. The cause of the scribal errors in many of the examples the author presents could be due to parablepsis, a circumstance in which a scribe miscopies text due to inadvertently looking to the side while copying. We will suffice on explaining two examples here:

In examples 3.1 to 3.7 and example 17 the author makes the observation that the word “الله” has been dropped and that this was done so intentionally by the scribe and were not mistakes. He goes on further to state that prior to the insertion of the word “الله” the script would not make sense. In other words, he admits that the verses in the script having the word “الله” dropped are grammatically incorrect, yet he persists on describing this as intentional.

In example 11, the portion

تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا
is penned as
تُوبُوا إِلَى ا
 تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا

The author fails to recognize that in the name الله the Alif (ا) is at the end of the line. In many manuscripts the Alif (ا) is isolated from the rest of the word with the rest of the word being completed on the next line. Here it is glaringly obvious that the scribe wrote the Alif (ا) on the line above and forgot to complete the word الله in the line below. Here again he himself admits that he does not know what was intended by the original version or whether it could have been read viably.

Lastly, it is pertinent that the greatest precaution always be taken in matters of Deen, and as a consequence, where the knowledge of Deen is acquired from. This can be better understood by means of an example:

A dentist would not go to a motor-mechanic to have his tooth extracted, and neither would a motor-mechanic have his vehicle serviced by a dentist. Even though both may lay claim to having read the textbooks of the profession of the other, and understood the terminology thereof, and that some of the tools used might be similar, the motor-mechanic will say to the dentist that his hands are not occupied daily by an open engine compartment. So too, the dentist will say to the motor-mechanic that his hands are not occupied daily by the human mouth. The understanding derived from the experience and environment of both the individuals is what finally matters.

Similarly, it is not apt for a Muslim whose heart is immersed in the Noor of Imaan to take matters of Deen from a non-Muslim whose heart is filled with darkness. The understanding they have of Deen and Islam can at most be said to be academic. As outsiders to Islam, they are never able to recognize and identify that which pleases Allah Ta Ala and will finally lead to salvation in Aakhirat, which is the purpose for which a Muslim has been created.

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.


عَنْ عَبْد اللَّهِ بْن عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا  أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ أَقْرَأَنِي جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَرَاجَعْتُهُ فَلَمْ أَزَلْ أَسْتَزِيدُهُ وَيَزِيدُنِي حَتَّى انْتَهَى إِلَى سَبْعَةِ أَحْرُفٍ

قَالَ ابْنُ شِهَابٍ بَلَغَنِي أَنَّ تِلْكَ السَّبْعَةَ الْأَحْرُفَ إِنَّمَا هِيَ فِي الْأَمْرِ الَّذِي يَكُونُ وَاحِدًا لَا يَخْتَلِفُ فِي حَلَالٍ وَلَا حَرَامٍ

صحيح البخاري كتاب فضائل القرآن باب أنزل القرآن على سبعة أحرف 4705

صحيح مسلم كتاب صلاة المسافرين وقصرها باب بيان أن القرآن على سبعة أحرف وبيان معناه819

التبيان في علومالقران (1/336)

Ma’ariful Quran (5/298)

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