The Instigator
YassineB
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Envisage
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

The Qur'an We Have Today is Not What Muhammad Dictated Verbatim.

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Envisage
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,415 times Debate No: 69347
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (152)
Votes (1)

 

YassineB

Con

Firstly, I thank Envisage for willing to debate with me on this Topic, hopefully this will turn out to be a good debate.



BOP:


- The BOP is on Pro: to prove that the Qur'an we have today is Not what Muhammad dictated Verbatim. Only arguments brought to their full conclusion will be accepted, & thus suggestions &/or questions will not be admitted as valid arguments.

- The BOP on Con: to establish with a reasonable degree that the Qur'an we have today is indeed what Muhammad dictated Verbatim.

- Authentic Sources are required. In case Pro has a hard time finding some to support some of his Arguments, I’ll then have to concede if there are authentic sources that do support his Arguments.



Structure:


-
Round 1: Acceptance & Opening Argument of Pro.

-
Round 2, 3, 4: Arguments & Rebuttals, plus Closing Argument of Pro.

-
Round 5: Closing Argument of Con, Pro must cede this Round.




Best of Luck.

Envisage

Pro

I thank Pro for This Debate

Composition of the Qu’ran
I will let Con lay down most of his case, since it is based on the reliability of the various narrations Hadith, which is literally our only first-person scope into what happened during the time of composition of the Qu’ran other than the Qu’ranic manuscripts and text itself.

In any case two basic facts are established:

1. The Quran was canonised at some point
2. This canon eventually made it into textual form at some point
3. We are assessing our textual form of the canon we have today in light of its state before the canon

This round, I will not speak too much about canon, but largely about the transmission of the Qu’ran from person to person to generation. 1,400 years has passed, of which at least 800 predated printing, and more before modern printing. The current standardised version of the Qu’ran used is based on the 1924 Qu’ran of Cairo. Thus, for the purposes of this debate I will largely be directed against this version and other variant versions extant today.

Transmission
The Qu’ran was transmissed by hand by scribes, and according to some Hadith tradition, also by oral tradition. This is problematic since both introduce a plethora or opportunity for scribal errors and recitation errors. These need not be intentional either, and western scholarship has widely recognised the role in which scribal errors play in the transmission of texts. The most widely research text, the New Testament, for example has over 6,000 ancient manuscripts, of which no two are the same, with differences becoming more severe the earlier the manuscripts are found.

The reason is rather simple, copying introduces mistakes, from lack of precision in copying, recitation, etc. Some are intentional, such as attempts to correct what ar epercieved to be previous mistakes.

Thus, before the advent of printing, we have excellent reason to assume that the Qu’ran will contain many of the same issues, since it was transmitted by humans via. comparable processes.

Evidence for Copyist Mistakes
Original Arabic
When the Qu’ran was originally composed, it was written in a basic Arabic, without the use of voweling and diacritical marks. These marks were added over the course of approximately 300 years which added the necessary precision to the text to pronounce it correctly. However this introduces obvious problems in transmission, since there is no way to know what the original “correct” pronunciation of the text is without these markings. An example of the two styles of Arabic are given below:[1]

To give an idea of what this would look like in English, this sentence here would look like:

“t gv n d f wht ths wld lk lk n nglsh ths sntnc hr wld lk lk”

Clearly, from this sentence, the insertion of various vowellings and punctuation would yield a plethora of different readings of that text, which is exactly what we have evident today. There are seven variant readings of the Qu’ran (Qira’at), with no way of knowing which if any are correct. To make things worse, this number was trimmed down to a significantly greater number before then.

To quote a 2008 study on the variants:

…First, agreements and disagreements among them are counted to see whether there are regular patterns to these. The strongest tendencies to agree unite Khalaf with two of the Kufan readers before him, M16;amza and al-KisāF2;ī, while the strongest tendencies to disagree divide M16;amza from Ibn Kathīr and NāfiF3;. However, no pattern of agreement or disagreement seems very predominant, suggesting that the Ten were not strongly influenced by regional traditions, also that traditional identifications of teachers and students do little to explain actual choices of readings.

Secondly, the nature of disagreements is analysed. A majority of disagreements have to do with vowels to supply, most of them in turn not conceivably reflecting dialectal differences.”

The paper concedes that the variant readings are largely in agreement on the consonantal text, but disagreements derive from vowel and dot insertions, which is to be expected from the Qu’ran as it was composed.[http://www.euppublishing.com...]

A study by Alan Brockett on the Hafs & Warsh noted dozens of differences between the two transmissions in both the graphical form and vocal forms., even when excluding disagreements between the manuscripts used for both Hafs & Warsh transmissions.

Thus, as it stands the current seven readings is black and white that the original meaning was not perfectly transmitted, and was susceptible to exactly the type of transmission errors discussed.

Textual Criticism
No critical edition of the Qu’ran exists today, as textual criticism of the Qu’ran in light of early manuscripts is a very new field. Preliminary work by Western Scholars Keith Paul studied over 20

...the available sources do not provide the necessary information for reconstructing the original text of the Qur’ān from the time of Muhammad. Neither do they yet provide the necessary information for reconstructing the text from the time immediately after Muhammad's death until the first official edition of the Qur’ān attributed to have been ordered by the Caliph ‘Uthmān”[http://www.amazon.co.uk...]

The dissertation also found a plethora of orthographic variants, vowelling differences and discritical marks between the manuscripts, but more seriously also found the manuscripts differed grammatically, and with clear copyist mistakes. Evidence of physical corrections, Sura ordering and verse divisions were also plain.[ http://www.euppublishing.com...]

In line with what has been found in western scholarship reading other texts, the type of mistakes made ranged from both unintentional, such as word repetition and deletion, to intentional mistakes, via. sloppy corrections etc.

The thesis concedes that the consonantal text is highly conservative among the manuscripts, but the pronunciation mistakes are severe.

Sana’a Manuscripts
The Sana’a manuscripts of the Qu’ran are most likely the earliest extant manuscripts known, with the oldest texts paleographically dated to the 7th century, and the parchment dated to 14C dated to before 669AD (95% chance), although the text is somewhat younger, due to the writing necessarily dating after the production of the parchment.[ http://www.islamic-awareness.org...]

The manuscripts are palimpsest, text that has been written over washed parchment. While the extant upper text is essentially the same as the Qu’ran we have today sans minor spelling errors, the lower text of most contains a plethora variants to the extant text today. While most only make minor changes to the meaning, several make much more significant changes.[ http://www.qurantext.org...]

For example:[ http://www.answering-islam.org...]



Standard Text:

Sana'a Palimpsest:

Translation (difference emphasis mine):
Standard: “they turn away, Allah will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And there will not be for them on earth”
Palimpest: “they turn away, Allah will punish them in this world. And there will not be for them on earth”

Regardless of the primitive vowelling, either subtractions to the palipest, or additions to the current text are extant. Errors such as in word substitution (including the consonantal text), variant spelling , deletion and insertions.[http://en.wikipedia.org...]

Summary
For the Qu’ran today to be the verbatim word of Muhummad, would require perfect textual transmission of the Qu’ran. This is clearly not the case both in practice and in principle.

Over to Con!

Debate Round No. 1
YassineB

Con

- It seems that Pro did his research poorly, & thus I am forced to define & explain what exactly is the Qur’an, & what do the Uthmanic Transcription of the Qur’an stands for.

- I am going to opt for simple & short definitions & explanations, for this is not an academic work, & we don’t have that much space anyways.

- I am going to focus in this Round more on the Preservation of the Qur’an through Narration than its Preservation through Transcription.




First: Tawatur = the condition of Flawless Succession:

> Mutawatir Narrations require at least 7 to 12 to 20 to 40 to 70 to 300 Recitations with the conditions of Reliability & non-Contrariety throughout the chain of transmission, such that:

1. Reliability: a condition fulfilled through the three following conditions on the Reciter:

* Trustworthiness: proven to have a quality of constant honesty with no precedence of lying or perjury, with testimonies backing that proof. Plus, proven to be a pious person that never showed any sign of contravention.

* Judiciousness: proven to be mentally & physically capable of sound judgement, not sick or old or with precedents of mistaken judgment, with testimonies testifying to that. Plus, proven to have an impeccable memory.

* Expertise: having been taught & licensed in the field of Qur’anic Sciences through a chain of authority that goes back to the Prophet, i.e: a real Reciter (scholar of the Qur’an), not a fake one.

* Absence of Apparent Motive: not seeming to be coerced, or persuaded, or motivated by profit, or love, or kinship, or allegiance, or fanaticism.

2. Non-Contrariety: absence of opposing testimonies, in the sense that, there aren't any opposing claims against the Reciter.


> Explanation:

Recitation <<<< Trustworthiness <<<< Reciter <<<< Judiciousness <<<< Original Recitation.

=> Reliability infers the following:

* Judiciousness => promises harmony between the Original & the Reciter: that is to say, the Reciter is believable to be fully capable of memorising the Original. << To do that, students are taught from an early age as they are made to memorise the Qur’an, over & over again, for 7 cycles, to the point where they can’t virtually make any mistake. I can attest to that, since I can do it at least for one third of the Qur’an. Besides, reciters around the world recite the Qur’an in prayer, & they very rarely omit something.

* Trustworthiness => promises harmony between the Reciter & the Recitation: that is to say, the Recitation provided by the Reciter is believable to correspond to what the Reciter actually memorised. That is, a reciter who purposely distort even one word of the Qur’an is an Apostate, unless he repents.

* Absence of Apparent Motive => rules out any reason to believe the above two conditions are not conclusive.


=> The three conditions put together makes the Reciter a Reliable one, & thus his Recitation is believable to correspond to the Original.


> In Islamic Law (same as in common or civil law), to reduce as much as possible the chances of Perjury (false testimony/narration) a severe punishment is sanctioned against such cases (if proven of course): it’s one of the Ten Grave Sins + 80 lashes + revocation of the right to testify + forfeit of one-fifth the amount of restitution (if the case involves money); Plus, in the case of proven perjury on Recitation: + potential exile + potential death penalty + promise of Hell Fire: “Do not tell lies about me, for telling lies about me leads to Hell (Fire)” the Prophet.


> Tawatur:

- The condition of Tawatur is: the transmission of an identical Recitation by a large number of Reciters in each level throughout the Chain of Transmission, such that they could not have conspired to spread falsehood.

- Let’s try & come up with a rough estimate of the chances the transmission of a Recitation by Reliable Reciters might be false.

- If we assume that the possible combinations in a sentence is primarily infinite (very large), then the probability of picking the same sentence twice (or more) will depend solely on the dependence of the consecutive picking event.

- Let X be the probability of false transmission of a Recitation by Reliable Reciters.

=> If we suppose that based on the restrictions & rules on the Reciters, 1 in every 100 reciters is liable to be Untrustworthy, & 1 in every 100 is liable to be Un-judicious, we have thus: X = 1/100 + 1/100 = 0.02 (as a high estimate = 2 in every 100).

=> If we suppose that 1 in every 10 of these is liable to commit perjury knowing the consequences, then: X = 0.02*0.1 = 0.002 (2 in every 1000).

=> If case there are ’n’ such individuals in the same level of the same chain of transmission, then the chances that they would be in the same situation is: X = 0.002^(n).

> In the case of Tawatur, the minimum Reliable Reciters required is: 7.

=> In that case: X = 0.002^(7) = 1.3^(-19) => 1 in 8 billion billion chance of false transmission of a Recitation by Reliable Reciters. => Which makes the occurrence of such event virtually impossible.


=> Point: although the above model of Tawatur is a simplistic one, the conclusion is valid: Tawatur is conclusive.


- Furthermore, the above model of Tawatur is called: Tawatur as-Sanad (Flawless Succession by Chain), which is the weakest of 4 degrees of Tawatur. The Qur’an takes into account 3 of these degrees, from which also the strongest called: Tawatur at-Tabaq’i = General Flawless Succession = i.e the transmission of a Fact by an entire human generation to the next, in out case: the transmission of a Recitation by all Reliable Reciters of a generation to all Reliable Reciters of the next.




Second: Qiraat = Recitations


- Qur’an = What is Revealed to Muhammad, in other words what he has recited & dictated as Revelation.


- Qiraa = Recitation = a modes of Reciting the Qur’an transmitted through chains of authorities going back to the Prophet.


- Ahrum Sab’a = The Seven Letters = Includes the most elequent of the tongues of Arabs & their variants.

> “The Qur'an has been revealed in seven different Huruf (ways, letters, tongues), so recite it in the way that is easier for you.” the Prophet (Mutawatir Hadith = i.e. Hadith fulfilling the degree of Tawatur, which makes it 100% true).


- Mushaf Uthman = The Uthmanic Codex compiled by Abu Bakr (the 1st Caliph) 2 years after the Prophet’s death, & canonised by Uthman (the 3rd Caliph) 20 years after the Prophet’s death. = It has at least 5 copies:

> Medinian Codex.

> Meccan Codex.

> Kufi Codex.

> Shami Codex.

> Basri Codex.

=> These Codexes are almost identical, with very minor differences (exactly 55 as maximum estimate).


- Qiraat al’Ashar = The Ten Recitations of the Qur’an = they are the 10 Schools (Modes) of Recitation (amongst 50 in total) that fulfil the three following conditions:

> The degree of Tawatur as-Sanad. (as established above)

> Corresponding to at least one of the Uthmanic Codexes. => Recited in spelling & pronunciation according to one or more of the Transcribed Uthmanic Codexes.

> Corresponding to the Qurashi Arabic Tongue (or one of its variants). => Having a root in the known Arab tongues, & not outside of it.


- These Ten Recitations allow a number of variants embedded in the Qur’an, though not all of them.

> Variants of Rhythm.
> Variants of Derivation.
> Variants of Case.
> Variants of Addition.
> Permutations.
> Commutations.
> Variants of Pronunciation.

=> I’ll talk about this in later Rounds.


- All these variants are part of the Original Revelation of the Qur’an, for they are:

> Recited by the Prophet to his Companions & transmitted thereafter by Mutawatir Chains of Transmissions.

> Transcribed by the Prophet’s scribes, compiled then by Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s Successor, & copied into the Canonical Uthmanic Codex.

> Contained in the Seven Huruf of the Arab tongue.


=> Therefore, the Ten Recitations are very much the Verbatim Word of Muhammad.




Three: Rebuttals


- Pro makes the following mistakes:

> Assumes that the Preservation of the Qur’an is analogue to that of the Bibles, & concludes thus that they must have the same problems. All that with NO proof whatsoever.

> Concludes that there are Variants in the Qur’an, enforcing thus the muslim position for certain, & NOT his own.

> Uses an palimpsest of the Qur’an, transcribed around the same time when Uthman ordered the removal of all previous Manuscripts of the Qur’an, & substituted them with the Canonical Codex, thus enforcing the Muslim Narrative that says Uthman did indeed order the removal & substitution of such Manuscripts (apparently the same fate Sanaa Palimpsest suffered) rather than contradicting it!

> & Especially, Pro abuses the Arabic language in an unfathomable manner, or should I say his source. Although Pro obviously has a perfectly good excuse of that: he is not Arab :).


=> I’ll elaborate on the last point in later Rounds:


- I’ll be also discussion more about Arabic Grammar, & why exactly is it that diacritics are just part of it, & implementing them in a text is generally useless. & why is it implemented in the Qur’an.

- I’ll be also discussing, other topics of Arabic, & why is it that it may be even written with no dotting, & how can one know how to read such a writing. . .

- I’ll be also discussing the Variants of the Qur’an, & what do they mean exactly, especially those of Pronunciation.

- & also the Preservation of the Qur'an through Transmission.

. . . etc.

Envisage

Pro

Sourcing
Con provides literally no sources nor evidential backing to any of the claims Cn made last round. Thus has left me unable to fact-check his claims. This should weigh heavily against Con in the arguments since virtually everything Con states when making factual claims about the transmission of the Qu’ran commit the bare assertion fallacy.


Thus, rather than wasting time attempting to attack my research (which is an ad hominem fallacy), or skills in Arabic, Con would be better off actually backing up all his claims of evidence rather than assertion.

Tawatur – Precision of Succession
Con provides no sources for any of this so I cannot fact-check his claims. The resolution is “The Qur'an We Have Today is Not What Muhammad Dictated Verbatim”, there are two key conditionals here:


1. What Muhummad dictated
2. The Qu’ran we have today


Pro attacks my notion of what the Qu’ran is, but fails to provide a superior definition himself. I asserted that there are largely two extant recitations of the Qu’ran, the Hafs & the Warsh. Both of this have their textual variant today, and both have canonised editions that are largely in use. The major recitation, the Hafs, has a canonised textual edition in the 1924 Cairo editionas already stated.[http://tinyurl.com..., http://tinyurl.com...]. In any case, my arguments are non-specific, neither edition(s) are likely to be the verbatim word of Muhammad because of the implications already mentioned.

Con asserts, baldly, that there is a flawless chain of recitation to Muhammad, but makes no attempt to prove this is the case. We simply do not have all the facts that expand this chain through 1400 years. Moreover Con makes enormous assumptions regarding the competency of the all the reciters between the gap of Muhammad’s death and our first complete transcripts of the Qu’ran with its full implementation of diacritical elements.

Given we know scribes inevitably make errors in the copying of passages by hand, even highly trained ones that were revered in the Jewish written tradition.[http://en.wikipedia.org...] Thus, what chance does oral tradition have being perfect> This is made worse by the fact that oral traditions inherently have no proof-checking process. If anything if forgotten/remembered incorrectly then there is no record of what it originally was, and no way to know how reliable that transmission was in an objective manner.

Moreover, if Con is citing today’s traditions in reciting the Qu’ran, he needs to demonstrate this was the case for the entirety of the Qu’ranic history. Since one “mental copy” is only as good as the previous mental copy. Thus any errors introduced from the previous generation will accumulate in the next generation, and so on and so forth. Thus, if there was one error in the 60,000 word recital per generation, and say 50 generations until it the textual canon became clear, then we have 50 accumulated errors. I argue the situation is evidentially *much* worse than this in my opening round, the sheer number of textual variants which are in large part, a result of the variant oral traditions, are only to be expected of a transmission process that is not infallible.

Moreover, the most sensitive years of the Quality of the Qu’ran are the first ~350 years, during the period in which the text became canonised, the number of oral variants were trimmed, and the first textual copies were produced. Thus, Con needs to assert everything he claims was true in that period of Islam (600-950AD).

Con extensively addresses intentional/deliberate changes to the Qu’ran over the course of its transmission, but that doesn’t affirm what Con wants it to. That at best only makes a decent case against deliberate changes to the Qu’ran. However the vast majority of variants in any transmission tradition are unintentional ones, thus virtually all of Con’s argument is off-target. Furthermore, Islamic law was in it’s infancy in the first few centuries, with many different legal systems arising, which is evidenced by the large number of forged Hadith that we possess today.[http://en.wikipedia.org..., http://www.quranicpath.com...]

Mathematical Argument
Con makes an oversimplistic mathematical argument for the reliability of the transmission of the Qu’ran, as well as plugging extremely overly optimistic values in with no evidence to support any of them.

Even assuming Con’s absurdly simplistic argument, if we assume that 2 in every 100 Hafaz are either unjudicious, or untrustworthy, then we have a 2% chance PER GENERATION of errors being incorporated in the chain of transmission. Since people who learned the Qu’ran via. oral tradition necessarily learned from their predecessor, and their recollection of the QU’ran is only going to be as good as the source material they have had.

Thus, what we end up with is something like this:

Gen 1: 100% authentic
Gen 2: 98% authenti
Gen 3: 96% authentic
Gen 4: 94% authentic

The math is oversimplistic, but it gets the point across, each generation 2% of all reciters will be unreliable, and thus their transmissions will be unreliable, and their erroneous transmissions will affect a proportionate number of future recitations, and so on. Thus, over time, the portion of reciters with a perfect copy of the Qu’ran back to Muhammad decreases.

If for example, one unreliable reciter taught 10 Muslims, and all 10 of those Muslims were themselves perfect and flawless in their transmission, it simply would not matter, as their recitation is only as good as their source material. Con needs to actually present evidence that the chain of narration indeed is reliable all the way to Muhammad, and that there is a mechanism that can perfectly correct for inevitable errors that will arise in the transmission, and that this mechanism has been in place for the entirety of history. A tough burden to bear

Qira’at
Just how is this an argument for the Qu’ran being the verbatim word of Muhammad> I have read over this argument dozens of times and I have yet to find one. Muhammad dictated the Qu’ran one way, and now we have seven ways. If there ever was a time where the law of non-contradiction was useful it is this time. Con essentially shoots himself in the foot by bringing this argument up since at most one of these Qira’at can be what Muhammad dictated.

Moreover, we already know that the Qira’at end up changing the meaning of what is stated in the Qu’ran in several instances, and that we are missing the manuscripts for five of these Qira’at and we know there were many more than just seven ways from the Hadith. Thus I have no idea how Con can make the following claim:

Hadith fulfilling the degree of Tawatur, which makes it 100% true”

Clearly he cannot make that claim if he doesn’t know the contents of all but two of these Qira’at. Furthermore, Con’s argument here presupposes the Uthmanic Codex is a reliable transmission from Muhammad. Given that the codex had not been compiled before then then we are left relying on the accuracy of transmission from Muhammad to Xaid.

“I found the last verse of Surat at-Tauba (Repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him. The verse is: 'Verily there has come to you an Apostle from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty ... (till the end of Bara'a)'.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.478).

This raises an important point.

Either:

1. Zaid was searching for the recitation
2. Zaid was searching for a manuscript

If Zaid was searching for a manuscripts, then this seriously undermines the case for reliable oral transmission from Muhammad to his followers, since:


1.Zaid would have just compiled the Qu’ran from memory (he was one of the four claimed people to have known it in it’s entirety) if he believed oral tradition was as strong as Con claims, especially given the primitive nature of Arabic at the time.
2.The availability of written portions of the Qu’ran was limited

If Zaid was searching for the recitation, then this is even worse for Con, since the whole notion of reliable oral tradition back to Muhummad is dubious. Thus Con has a choice of which horn of the dilemma to grapple.[ http://www.answering-islam.org...]

What we see instead is what appears to the objective viewer to be nothing more than an honest attempt by someone who knows his limitations at gathering the scattered Qu’ran. For example in the following Hadith:

Narrated Zaid: “So I started looking for the Qur'an and collecting it from (what was written on) palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones, and also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last verse of Surat at-Tauba (repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did not find it with anybody other than him. Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.478

This is understandable given verses were lost using the battle of Yamama

Variant Codexes
If the early oral transmission was as infallible as Con claimed it to be, then we would not expect to see variant codexes of the Qu’ran in the early history (for evidence, I cite Con’s dubious math), yet we are already aware that the Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy ibn Ka'b codexes varied significantly from the Uthmanic codex, and they existed before it was canonised. Moreover, the ibn Mas’ud condex is expecially problematic for Con because he was a prestigious follower of Muhummad

No study of the early transmission of the Qur'an would be complete without an analysis of the contribution of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, one of the most prominent of Muhammad's companions. He was one of his earliest disciples and we are told that he was "the first man to speak the Qur'an loudly in Mecca after the apostle" (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah, p.141).”[ http://www.answering-islam.org...]

Debate Round No. 2
YassineB

Con

It must be noted the Rules require that Pro must prove that the current Qur’an is in fact not what Muhammad dictated verbatim, & proving the existence of one wrong verse, or even one wrong word would suffice to uphold the BOP. On the other hand, the BOP on Con is simply to establish, to a reasonable degree, that the Qur’an is what Muhammad dictated verbatim.


As for the sources, I’ll source all my points either in this Round or the next; time is right lately :) .



Rebuttals:



- Fancy statements like these:

> neither edition(s) are likely to be the verbatim word of Muhammad because of the implications already mentioned.

> We simply do not have all the facts that expand this chain through 1400 years.

> no way to know how reliable that transmission was in an objective manner

> I argue the situation is evidentially *much* worse than this in my opening round,

> to be expected of a transmission process that is not infallible.

> the vast majority of variants in any transmission tradition are unintentional ones.

> Even assuming Con’s absurdly simplistic argument.

> plugging extremely overly optimistic values in with no evidence to support any of them.

Are inadmissible until proven, & so far NONE are:

> An argument based on ‘the preservation of Qur’an is analogue to that of the Bible, therefore they must be subject to same problems” is inadmissible until the Analogy is established, & so far it is both unsupported by Pro & false.

> An argument based on ‘we don’t have the facts, we don’t know, we can’t verify’, is an ignorance-based claim, & thus false, until proven.

> An argument based on ‘maybe there is doubt’ is not admissible, Pro must prove there is definitely doubt, not just there might the doubt (about the authenticity of the Qur’an).

> An argument based on ‘there are variants in the Qur’an’ is no argument at all, for there ARE indeed variants in the Qur’an. Pro must bring an example of a variant in the Qur’an that didn’t exist in its original form.

> Bold claims in fancy words are no arguments.


- False statements like these:

> the first ~350 years, during the period in which the text became canonised.

> Islamic law was in it’s infancy in the first few centuries.

> With many different legal systems arising, which is evidenced by the large number of forged Hadith that we possess today. (seriously!!! NO correlation, LoL).

Are simply inadmissible.



Given we know scribes inevitably make errors in the copying of passages by hand. . .


- Scribes of the Qur’an don’t copy it from other sources, but from memory, & thus errors can not cumulate. & they don’t do it solo either, & thus the likelihood of there being errors is even much smaller. Plus, the copies of the Qur’an are verified by others, other than the scribes themselves. [1]



the fact that oral traditions inherently have no proof-checking process.


- There is, it’s called Tawatur: Flawless Succession.[2]



if Con is citing today’s traditions in reciting the Qu’ran, he needs to demonstrate this was the case for the entirety of the Qu’ranic history


- I don’t need to demonstrate it, for that’s not my BOP. I need only to show that it’s known to be the case [3]. It’s on Pro to prove that it wasn’t the case to support his position.



Con needs to assert everything he claims was true in that period of Islam (600-950AD).


- I do not! I need just show that it was the case in a general sense. It’s on Pro to show that during that period there is reason to believe that my assertions are not True.



Con extensively addresses intentional/deliberate changes to the Qu’ran over the course of its transmission. That at best only makes a decent case against deliberate changes to the Qu’ran.


- That’s not true. The ‘Trustworthiness’ condition eliminates the eventual intentional changes, the Judiciousness condition eliminates the eventual unintentional changes. A judicious but not trustworthy person is liable to commit changes intentionally. &, a trustworthy non-judicious person is liable to commit changes unintentionally.[4]



thus virtually all of Con’s argument is off-target.


- I just proved that it’s Pro who is off-target.



Islamic law was in it’s infancy in the first few centuries.


- That’s an ignorant claim, & how is it even relevant! Islamic Law is founded by the Prophet himself, & was implemented fully by his successors, more than it was ever implemented after them [5], especially concerning penalty. The first three of the sources of Islamic Law are: the Qur’an, the Sunnah, & the Consensus, which originate almost entirely from the Prophet & his companions. & all that which concerns Penalty Jurisprudence is solely founded on these 3 sources, & thus Pro’s argument is not just ignorant, it’s also false.



we have a 2% chance PER GENERATION of errors being incorporated in the chain of transmission.


- False.

- First, Pro considers only those liable to make intentional/unintentional changes, & does not account for how many of these are actually going to do it, being untrustworthy doesn’t imply lying necessarily. Now, how many of these are actually going to make mistakes in the Transmission of the Qur’an?!

=> In my demonstration in R-2, I took a very low estimate: 1 in every 10 of these will go ahead & lie (intentionally or not) in his transmission, while knowing the Penalty for such a thing, if he was ever caught.

- Second, Pro ignores the condition of Tawatur, which necessitate at least 7 Reliable Reciters in every level throughout the chain of transmission, & supposes that there is only one instead of 7. << Which is the whole point of the argument.

=> As I proved through a simple calculation that, under the condition of Tawatur, we have a 0.00000000000000013% chance of error per generation, per verse. <<< Because my premise was about the ‘transmission of a recitation of one sentence by Reliable Reciters (under the condition of Tawatur)’.



The math is oversimplistic, but it gets the point across


- & it’s false.



Con [. . ;] there is a mechanism that can perfectly correct for inevitable errors that will arise in the transmission, and that this mechanism has been in place for the entirety of history. A tough burden to bear


- The mechanism is the one I presented, under which the Ten Recitations are preserved, fulfilling:

> The degree of Tawatur as-Sanad. (as established above) <<< Tawatur is a condition that is required throughout the chain of transmission, if it fails once, the Tawatur fails.

> Corresponding to at least one of the Uthmanic Codexes.

> Corresponding to the Qurashi Arabic Tongue.

- & no, it’s not my burden to prove it. Providing an authoritative Islamic source showing that those are indeed the requirements needed for a Recitation to be authenticated will be enough.[5]



Muhammad dictated the Qu’ran one way, and now we have seven ways.


- Muhammad dictated the Qur’an in Seven Huruf, not one way! [6].



at most one of these Qira’at can be what Muhammad dictated.


- First, one Recitation does not correspond to one Harf [7]. & thus, even having 7 Huruf will not imply having only 7 Recitations.

- Second, a Recitation is exactly what it says it is: the sum of series of recited verses. Within the same Recitation not all verses are necessarily recited in the same Harf [8]. Some my pertain to one Harf, & others to another. & thus, the number of theoretically possible Recitations is a great number: if we suppose half the Qur’an admits variants (not Muhkamat), then we’d have a theoretical estimations of = ~3,000^(7) = ~2^(24) possible Recitations.



we already know that the Qira’at end up changing the meaning of what is stated in the Qu’ran in several instances


- No, the Qira’at are part of the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an was intended to have all the meanings the Seven Huruf bring with them, or else they wouldn't be in the first place.



we are missing the manuscripts for five of these Qira’at.


- First, the 5 Uthmanic Codexes correspond to the Ten Recitations (& some others beyond). A Qira’a is a Recitation, as the name suggests: it’s not a written transmission, it’s an oral transmission.

=> The Narration of the Qur’an through Recitations is done & studied throught the Sciences of Recitation independently from its Transcription. & the Transcription of the Qur’an is done & studied through the Science of Uthmanic Depiction [9].

- Second, all the Uthmanic Codexes are transcribed in the Qurashi Harf (one of the Seven Huruf) [10]. & because the Quashi Harf contains mixtures of other Hurufs, because the Arabic of Quraysh was a sort of mixture of all Arab Huruf, because all Arab tribes come to Quraysh to perform Hajj, for commerce in their nation-wide market, & to compete in Poetry in Suk Ukath [11].

=> The other Huruf survived in other Recitations beyond the Ten Recitations (there are in total 50 Recitations), as those corresponding to Ibn Masud’s Codex, or Ali’s codex, or Aisha’s Codex. . .

- Second, & similarly to before, one Recitation does not mean one Uthmanic Codex. However, Recitations tend to conform most to the Uthmanic Codex available in the same region. Because the Caliph Uthman upon sending his Codexes to different places, he sent with them Companions that would teach what corresponds to those Codexes [12].

- Third, the manuscript of Tuk Kabi is not yet ruled out as an Authentic Uthmanic manuscript [13].



[. . .] if he doesn’t know the contents of all but two of these Qira’at.

- Wrong, knowing by heart the Ten Recitations is a minimum requirement for any muslim Scholar. Hafs & Warsh are commonly used by the populace [14].




->>> Finally I’ll talk about the Transcription of the Qur’an in my next round.




Conclusion:


- Con so far provided absolutely no argument to support his claim, only guesses & questions based on misinformation, ignorance & inexistent assumptions.

Envisage

Pro

Thanks Pro.

Sourcing
Pro once again provides no sources for any of his claims (he numbers his claims but doesn’t bother to provide me with references), so I cannot fact-check this round either. The fact that Pro provides no sources last round should count heavily against him since this is my final round of argumentation, thus I will be unable to respond to any of Pro’s sources and factual claims. We have absolutely no way to know if Con is making argument ex culo, PIDOOMA.[http://rationalwiki.org...]

Pro commits the bare assertion fallacy throughout this entire debate, and spends virtually half of his previous round simply declaring my points false by fiat. Ignoring that I provided evidence or argument for virtually all of his listed statements. I will fill in the few gaps I do see this round (which Pro will have a chance to respond to unlike I myself will with his).[http://en.wikipedia.org...]

Defence of Positive Case

Oral & Textual Transmission
Cumulative Errors
Pro ignores the bulk of my arguments in round 1, appealing to false analogy, however I provided a logical progression for my arguments against both textual and oral traditions from which the Qu’ran must fall within. Pro’s only substantive point in his gish gallop is hand-waving was:

An argument based on ‘we don’t have the facts, we don’t know, we can’t verify’, is an ignorance-based claim, & thus false, until proven.”

While I object to the portrayal of my argument in this light (they are much more substantive than argument ad ignorantum) Even if we accept Con’s portrayal, it STILL affirms the resolution since:

  1. 1. The default position is to believe no text is transmitted perfectly
  2. 2. Thus, in ignorance of reasons to believe the text was transmitted perfectly, we should believe that any text was not transmitted perfectly


This is simply an application of inductive reasoning, and I have given plenty of reason to believe the first premise here, due to the limited nature in which texts could be accurately transmitted before printing existed, and even since printing. Thus to believe the Qu’ran is any different either requires:

  1. 1. Special pleading
  2. 2. Good positive reasons to believe otherwise


So far I have shown the latter has not been upheld by Con.

Both oral and textual transmission run into problems of cumulation of errors. If one member of the chain introduces an error, then all transmitters, oral or textual, will contain the same errors. It application of biblical scholarship here has been thin, I only drew a parallel here for illustrative purposes, because it is this exact type of observations that have been studied in the textual criticism of the NT. The same field of textual criticism of the Qu’ran, especially by western scholars is by comparison in its infancy.

This is especially problematic in the first few generations of each text, where:

  1. 1. The expansion of the text, from one copy to thousands of copies, will be most sensitive to introduced errors
  2. 2. Most susceptible to changes before canonisation


Con simply has not addressed my arguments for the accumulation of errors.

Textual Variants
I presented two lines of arguments here:

  1. 1. Textual Variants among early Uthmanic Manuscripts
  2. 2. Significant textual variants among Non-Uthmanic Manuscript

Remember, our early manuscripts are essentially a snap-shot into what the oral tradition was at that time and place. For some bixxarre reason Con believes that the presence of variants affirms his position, which I simply cannot be more absurd.

Textual variants demonstrate:

  1. 1. The oral/written tradition is not perfectly transmitted generation to generation
  2. 2. The route of transmission is not perfect
  3. 3. Thus errors within the present-day Qu’ran are inevitable (which satisfies the resolution)

In both the Sana’a and early Uthlamic manuscripts, I presented theses that attest that indeed there are numerous variants, and these variants do affect the meaning of the text, which fulfils even the most stringent interpretation of this debate resolution.

Sana’a manuscripts

Pro omits my original point that it’s not just one QU’ran that the collection represents of non-Uthmanic tradition, but four variant Qu’rans, all with their own variations.[ https://www.scribd.com...] Moreover these variants make several indications:

“The order in which the s$3;ra's were put together is a different matter.Different Companion codices had different s$3;ra sequences, indicating that the order was not completely fixed at the time of the Prophet. This is supported by C-1, which adopts a non-standard s$3;ra order. In aprevious article, one of us mentioned thres$3;ra transitions found in thelower writing, and subsequently another author mentioned two more.“[ p. 24 https://www.scribd.com...]

They noted numerous variant sura transitions, in addition.

Con needs to assert that the Uthmanic version is the correct version from Muhammad, however this is problematic:
1.If the Uthmanic version was correct, then the oral and textual transmission would have been near-perfect in the early years
2. If the oral & textual transmission was near-perfect in the early years, then we would expect non-Uthmanic traditions that are virtually identical to the Uthmanic tradition
3.If the oral & textual transmission was near-perfect in the early years then we would expect virtually no variants outside of minor dialectic differences

However, both of these expectations are violated when it comes to early Qu’ranic manuscripts. I also noted Ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy ibn Ka'b who themselves had significantly variant versions of the Qu’ran which persisted for a while after canonisation. We simply would not expect these to exist if the transmission was perfect (remember, the Qu’ran is 60,000 words).

Rebuttal of Con’s Case

Textual Transmission

“Scribes of the Qur’an don’t copy it from other sources, but from memory, & thus errors can not cumulate. & they don’t do it solo either, & thus the likelihood of there being errors is even much smaller. Plus, the copies of the Qur’an are verified by others, other than the scribes themselves.”

  1. 1. No evidence for claims (non-solo scribe work, inability of errors to accumulate, cross-verification)
  2. 2. No reasons to believe memory is better than textual transmission
  3. 3. Almost certainly not applicable to early Islam (since these systems were in their early Infancy)


Remember, I affirmed that errors accumulate via both progressive oral and textual transmission, thus unless Con has some third medium then his arguments are flat out false. Con attempts to shift his BoP by baldly asserting that today’s succession techniques were in use throughout the entire Qu’ranic history (necessary for there to be 0 errors) ignoring that we have excellent reasons (already mentioned) to believe this could not have always been the case, and also prima facie unlikelihood of a 1400 year old chain that always operated in exactly the manner which Con describe (which I argued even then doesn’t make it very likely there are no errors).

Pro: “Con extensively addresses intentional/deliberate changes… That at best only makes a decent case against deliberate changes to the Qu’ran"
Con: “That’s not true. The ‘Trustworthiness’ condition eliminates the eventual intentional changes”

  1. 1. Intentional =/= Unintentional
  2. 2. Bare assertion fallacy


Also, Con implicitly assumes that both a trustworthy & judicious person is incapable of making errors –a quite frankly absurd assumption if I have ever seen one. Also I am waiting for a source for these alleged numbers uses (especially given I have reasons to doubt Pro’s judiciousness and trustworthiness, hah).

“Islamic law was in it’s infancy in the first few centuries.

- That’s an ignorant claim, & how is it even relevant! Islamic Law is founded by the Prophet himself, & was implemented fully by his successors, more than it was ever implemented after them .”

  1. 1. Bare assertion
  2. 2. The Hadith which dictate Islamic law today were not compiled for another 200 years after Muhammad’s death (including false Hadith, evidently politically motivated), and the notion that
  3. 3. I was inaccurate with my statement, I was talking about the Islamic Law regarding the preservation of the Qu’ran
  4. 4. The Qu’ran evidently did not have a mature system in place to preserve the Qu’ran, given it was scattered, and only compiled into a single text/Qu’ran at least two years after Muhammad’s death.


Oral Transmission

“we have a 2% chance PER GENERATION of errors being incorporated in the chain of transmission.”

I already addressed most of Con’s responses to this in my previous points. He flat out ignores my reasoning for the cumulation effect, which negates Con’s absurd mathematical argument, with equally absurd input statistics. Remember, we have 1,400 years to span, which assuming a 20 year turn-over is 70 generations. Moreover one is not committed to the premise that there is even one person in this transmission chain who is immutable, and gave a perfect teaching of the Qu’ran each time. I cited manuscript, and other oral traditions for reasons to believe that to be the case. Thus, any error, even on the sub% scale, will accumulate over generations. For example a 0.01% average error per person would lead to a ~ 0.07% error over 70 generations (1.0001^70) which yields ~ 42 word errors per 60,000 in the Qu’ran.

This ignores the fact that I have already shown Con’s claim here to be evidentially false from the textual variants noted within the Uthmanic tradition (round 2), thus Con’s math here is moot.


Conclusion

Con has failed spectacularly at ddression the evidential problem of textual variants. Most of Con's rebuttals are bare assertion fallacies, moreover Con completely drops my arguments against the canonisation of the Qu'ran. Thus voters are justified in voting Pro that the Qu'ran is not what muhummad dictated verbatim.

Debate Round No. 3
YassineB

Con


Thanks Pro for extending the time limit on my Round :), much appreciated.



I’ll leave a link to a google document which will take the place of this Round:



https://docs.google.com...


Envisage

Pro

I cede this round as according to the rules. I would like to thank Yassine for this debate, to voters, please do read Yassine's (now posted) round in his link. If you have trouble accessing his round then please message in the comments so that he can make amends.

When accounting for Yassine's final round, please check it's within the 10,000 character limit including sources, if it's over then just disregard the excess portion.

Thanks for the debate, best of luck in voting!
Debate Round No. 4
152 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by YassineB 1 year ago
YassineB
- So, regardless of the vote, you honestly believe you won the Resolution?!
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
No, you definitely didn't win this debate. Not by a long shot.
Posted by YassineB 1 year ago
YassineB
@Envisage

- We both know I won the debate. The vote is valueless.
Posted by YassineB 1 year ago
YassineB
@ TheYummyCod,

- I know you dedicated a good amount of time into casting your Vote, & I appreciate that. so I am responding directly to your RFD:
>>> You said: "However, you had difficulty responding to arguments by Pro casting doubt on whether or not Tawatur has always been used consistently for 70 generations."

=> & that's simply not accurate, for the definition of Tawatur necessitate it, Tawatur is "the transmission of an IDENTICAL Recitation by a large number of Reciters in each level THROUGHOUT the Chain of Transmission" (check Round 2).

=> THROUGHOUT means from the very beginning to the very end, without failing once. If it fails once it doesn't fulfil the condition of Tawatur.
=> IDENTICAL means Verbatim.
==>> Done: BOP carried.

=> Tawatur largely suffices. The fact that the Ten Recitations COINCIDE with the Transcribed Uthmanic Codex adds to it strength, not the opposite. If one wants to doubt the Textual Transmission, one has to invalidate the Tawatur first, for arguing against the Textual Transmission means arguing against the Ten Recitations (because they rely on the Uthmanic Codex = the Textually Transmitted Qur'an), which also means arguing against Tawatur (because they rely on Tawatur too).

- Here is my conclusion:
> "I established that the 10 Recitations are the Verbatim word of Muhammad, to a reasonable degree, by showing that the Methodology behind them is solid & conclusive."

=> The BOP on Pro was to prove doubt, not to doubt there is doubt. i.e. Ha had to cast a conclusive doubt on Textual or Oral Transmission, & since what I am arguing for is Ten Recitations, He had to prove both:
> Tawatur is inconclusive.
> The Uthmanic Codex contains error.
=> & he did neither.

- He brought three evidence for doubting the Textual Transmission:
1. Analogy with the Christian & Judaic tradition.
2. Ordering of Surat.
3. Zaid & the verse he found transcribed with only one person.
=> The three of which have been impeccably dealt w
Posted by YassineB 1 year ago
YassineB
@ TheYummyCod

- Correction: Tawatur is "the transmission of an IDENTICAL Recitation by a large number of Reciters in each level THROUGHOUT the Chain of Transmission" (check Round 2).

=> THROUGHOUT means from the very beginning to the very end, without failing once. If it fails once it doesn't fulfil the condition of Tawatur.
=> IDENTICAL means Verbatim.
==>> Done: BOP carried.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
I appreciate you taking the time to vote again, this RFD was helpful, thanks.
Posted by TheYummyCod 1 year ago
TheYummyCod
One final note: This is not based on what is true, or what is false. This is about what you have shown to be true or false to me, the voter. Despite my respect for Islam, I know little about the Qur'an itself, and this was an interesting topic to learn about. My only sources of information were your arguments, and the sources you provided to back them up, and based upon those arguments, I've made my decision.
Posted by TheYummyCod 1 year ago
TheYummyCod
OVERALL:
Neither BOP was established. Pro failed to prove that the Qur'an we have today is Not what Muhammad dictated Verbatim, but he got very close wit his tearing apart of the Textual Transmissions. Con also got very close to his BOP, establishing that oral transmissions were accurate, but not able to establish to a reasonable degree that the Qur'an itself was Verbatim, especially in light of the Textual Transmissions.
Posted by TheYummyCod 1 year ago
TheYummyCod
To the Arguments Themselves:

There were multiple categories of arguments from what I observed:
Oral Transmission,
Textual Transmission,
Variants in the Qur'an, and
Historical Arguments relating mostly to how the Qur'an was originally pieced together.

Let's examine this one by one:

ORAL TRANSMISSION
Oral Transmission goes to Con. Con did an exceptional job establishing the reliability of oral transmissions. However, he doesn't get all the Kudos for it, as he had difficulty combating whether or not it's reasonable to assume if the method of oral transmission was consistent.

TEXTUAL TRANSMISSION
Textual Transmission goes to Pro. Especially in his first argument, Pro outlined an argument, heavy with academic sources, as to how the Verbatim word of Muhammad had changed due to interpretation of diacritical marks, and how there isn't enough necessary information for reconstructing the original text of the Qur'an. Con mostly combated this with his exceptional Oral Transmission arguments, and a few Wikipedia-backed remarks towards the end, but wasn't able to refute Pro's arguments against Textual Transmission.

VARIANTS IN THE QUR'AN
The arguments over the Qira'at goes to Con. Most of Pro's arguments attacking the seven variants in the Qur'an fell with Con's assertion that the Qur'an is by definition seven variants.

HISTORICAL ARGUMENTS
Historical arguments are a tie. For me, the historical arguments were probably the most fascinating yet most confusing arguments, and it was hard to keep track of them all. Pro did a good job at showing the voter that for the first 350 years, there wasn't an established and mature way to record the Qur'an, and how the fact it was scattered raises eyebrows to how accurate it was when put back together, 200 years later. However, Con did a good job showing that it most certainly could have been put together well. However, there's still some doubt provided from the arguments, so nobody gets points for this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheYummyCod 1 year ago
TheYummyCod
YassineBEnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Both sides conduct was despicable. You guys kept arguing in the comments like little children. Grammar: Both sides had grammar and spelling errors. I was continually annoyed by Pro's consistent misspelling of "Qur'an," but it's inconsequential, so I gave nobody points for that. Convincing Arguments: Pro did a brilliant job at refuting Con's points, especially on the reliability of oral recitations, and on those mathematical principles, and most of his points went throughout the debate unchallenged except with vague "That's false" comments by Con, unsupported by evidence or reasoning. Reliable sources: Pro was undoubtedly the winner on sources, being the only one to actually give any. Con gave no reasoning or backing while trying to discredit Pro's sources, so his sources still stand. Con: You have overwhelming knowledge, but don't make blanket statements without backing and expect people to believe you. Pro: You did well. Just don't argue in the comments afterward.