The Qur'an We Have Today is Not What Muhammad Dictated Verbatim.
Firstly, I thank Envisage for willing to debate with me on this Topic, hopefully this will turn out to be a good debate.
- 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.
I thank Pro for This Debate
To give an idea of what this would look like in English, this sentence here would look like:
Translation (difference emphasis mine):
- 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.
> 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.
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 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.
> “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).
> Medinian Codex.
> Meccan Codex.
> Kufi Codex.
> Shami Codex.
> Basri Codex.
=> These Codexes are almost identical, with very minor differences (exactly 55 as maximum estimate).
> 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.
> Variants of Rhythm.
=> I’ll talk about this in later Rounds.
> 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.
> 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 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.
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.
> 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.
> 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 . 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.
=> 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 .
- Second, all the Uthmanic Codexes are transcribed in the Qurashi Harf (one of the Seven Huruf) . & 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 .
=> 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 .
- Third, the manuscript of Tuk Kabi is not yet ruled out as an Authentic Uthmanic manuscript .
- Wrong, knowing by heart the Ten Recitations is a minimum requirement for any muslim Scholar. Hafs & Warsh are commonly used by the populace .
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.
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.
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:
“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.”
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:
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!
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