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The preservation of the Quran VS the preservation of the Bible

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In this article we seek to compare and contrast the preservation of the Quran and the Bible. Indeed, when one studies the history of both texts, one will notice striking differences in how both texts were gathered and preserved by it’s followers.

Let’s start with the Quran and give a rundown of the facts:

-The Quran was written and memorized during the lifetime of Muhammad (pbuh). Whenever a verse was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) he along with his companions would begin to memorize the verse, on top of this, Muslims would regularly recite the Quran; hence there was always an oral record of the Quran. Even to this day, millions of Muslims have memorized the Quran, hence it wouldn’t matter if we lost all of the text of the Quran, as it would still existed orally.

-The Quran was collected into one manuscript during the reign of Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam, and the right hand man of Muhammad (PBUH). Though the Quran was collected and made into one manuscript, this manuscript was not copied at the time into other copies to be distributed for wide use by the general community.

-The collection of the Quran was commissioned and done by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it was basically done by the same people who lived with him while he was receiving the revelations, not by followers who came decades after him, or by people who never knew or saw him. We know the names of who commissioned the gathering, and who carried it out, they’re not anonymous people about whom we know nothing about.

-The Quranic copy gathered and compiled into one manuscript by Abu Bakr was then copied and duplicated into official standardized copies for the new Muslim population; this task was ordered by the third caliph of Islam, Uthman, who was also a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The very manuscript that Uthman used for his copies, was the one that Abu Bakr had collected into an official Quranic book.

So this essentially is how the Quran was preserved, and how we have the text of the Quran today.

Now what about the Bible?

-The Gospels were written decades after Jesus, we know of no evidence of any Gospel being written recording his teachings during his lifetime.

-The Gospels were written by authors who did not know Jesus, nor did the authors ever meet Jesus or speak with him.

-The Gospels were written anonymously, we don’t actually know who wrote them, and are only left to speculate. But what we do know for a certainty is that they were not written by Jesus’ companions, or by anyone who knew Jesus.

-The actual Gospel manuscripts we do have are not even the originals, rather they are the copies of the copies of the copies of the books that were written decades after Jesus, by unknown authors, who did not know or meet Jesus.

-It wasn't until the 4thcentury that Christians finally established an orthodox cannon of scripture, yet even after this, there were still disputes, and some books were still rejected and accepted. In other words, before the 4th century, you had several different versions of the Bible amongst several different Christian communities, what one Christian community regarded as the Bible was rejected by others, and considered in many cases to be heretical.

-Even to this day one can witness this dispute between the Catholics and the Protestants, both sets of Christianity have two different canon versions of the Bible, did the Catholics add too much? Or did the Protestants cut out some parts of the Bible? We don’t know.  

So if one were to look at these sets of facts, it becomes quite obvious as to which book is the more reliable and trustworthy one.

At the end of the day, what will always make the Quran far more reliable than the Bible is that the Quran has an oral tradition, the Quran is not solely reliant on the text, even if one were to destroy and ban all texts of the Quran, the Quran would still exist. So due to this oral tradition, it makes it very hard for someone to actually corrupt the Quran and add new verses, because the millions and millions of people who’ve memorized the Quran will catch this, and it’s also impossible for the Quran to lose verses because the ones who memorized the Quran will be able to notice this as well, you have millions of people that have memorized the Quran, so if a few people forget some verses, it’s not a problem as there’s a large number of people that can simply remind them.

The same cannot be said for the Bible, it has no oral tradition, if it lost it’s texts and manuscripts, the Bible would forever be lost since nobody has memorized it in full. This is also why it was easy to tamper with the manuscripts centuries ago, since it was not memorized, so nobody knew if text was added, or left out whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Recommended watching:

Muslim apologist Bassam Zawadi had an excellent debate with Nabeel Qureshi concerning the preservation of the Quran, and suffice to say, it was like teacher (Zawadi) teaching student (Qureshi):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMcxWXrpYxEPart one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMoNBgMsipM&feature=relatedPart two

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9iDRMXDWNU&feature=relatedPart three

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gRY1SN_jOM&feature=relatedPart four

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwJEh8k8GbY&feature=relatedQ & A

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