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The Quran is Perfectly Preserved


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Please do not accept this debate unless you are a Muslim debater.

-- TOPIC --

Resolved: The Quran is Perfectly Preserved


Quran: the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel and written down in Arabic

Perfectly Preserved: The Islamic dogma that the Quran we have today is the exact same Quran, down to the very letter, that the prophet Muhammad sent down.


1. Opening
2-4. Rebuttals
5. Closing

-- RULES --

1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is on Pro; Con's BOP lies in proving Pro wrong. Con may make original arguments if he wants to.
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
11. Violation of any of these rules merits a loss.

Round 1

Thank you for accepting this debate. Before we begin I want to make a quick addendum to the rules. The current rules say that the BOP is on PRO however I forgot to change this when I copied and pasted the rules from a previous debate. In this debate, the BOP is equally shared.

I. A Brief History of the Quran

It's important to note two things: (1) The prophet Muhammad was illiterate. Because he was illiterate, he used scribes to write down his revelations. (2) The Quran was originally meant to be memorized and recited. If you know anything about memory, you will know that it is fallible and memorizing things is one of the worst ways to preserve it.

After Muhammad's death, copies of the Quranic manuscripts were compiled together. These manuscripts contained variant readings and contained significant differences between them. Things were so bad that Uthman had ordered copies of the Quran that disagreed with his copy to be burned. However, not everyone liked the Uthman manuscripts. Let's look at Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3104 [1]: 

From Anas who said: "Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman came to 'Uthman, at the time when the people of Ash-Sham and the people of Al-'Iraq were waging war to conquer Arminiyah and Adharbijan. Hudhaifah saw their (the people of Ash-Sham and Al-'Iraq) different forms of recitation of the Qur'an. So he said to 'Uthman: 'O Commander of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book as the Jews and the Christians did before them.'

In other words, Muslims were panicking that the differences in the Quran would be as great as the differences in the Torah and New Testament!! But it gets worse from here

So he ('Uthman) sent a message to Hafsah (saying): 'Send us the manuscripts so that we may copy them in the Musahif (plural of Mushaf: a written copy of the Qur'an) then we shall return it to you.' So Hafsah sent the manuscripts to 'Uthman bin 'Affan. 'Uthman then sent order for Zaid bin Thabit, Sa'eed bin Al-'As, 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham, and 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubair to copy the manuscripts in the Musahif. 'Uthman said to the three Quraish men: 'In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the (recitation dialect of the) Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish for it was in their tongue.'

Huh? What about perfect preservation? If the Quran was perfectly preserved why are there any disagreements at all!! But it just keep getting worse...

So when they had copied the manuscripts, 'Uthman sent one Mushaf from those Musahif that they had copied to every province." Az-Zuhri said: "Kharijah bin Zaid [bin Thabit] narrated to me that Zaid bin Thabit said: 'I missed an Ayah of Surat Al-Ahzab that I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) reciting: Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah, of them some have fulfilled their obligations, and some of them are still waiting (33:23) - so I searched for it and found it with Khuzaimah bin Thabit, or Abu Khuzaimah, so I put it in its Surah.'" Az-Zuhri said: "They differed then with At-Tabut and At-Tabuh. The Quraish said: At-Tabut while Zaid said: At-Tabuh. Their disagreement was brought to 'Uthman, so he said: 'Write it as At-Tabut, for it was revealed in the tongue of the Quraish.'" Az-Zuhri said: "'Ubaidullah bin 'Abdullah bin 'Utbah informed me that 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud disliked Zaid bin Thabit copying the Musahif, and he said: 'O you Muslim people! I am removed from recording the transcription of the Mushaf and it is overseen by a man, by Allah, when I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man' - meaning Zaid bin Thabit - and it was regarding this that 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: 'O people of Al-'Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them. For indeed Allah said: And whoever conceals something, he shall come with what he concealed on the Day of Judgement (3:161). So meet Allah with the Musahif.'" Az-Zuhri said: "It was conveyed to me that some men amongst the most virtuous of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) disliked that view of Ibn Mas'ud."

In other words, the people of Al-'Iraq were told to conceal their copies to prevent them from being burned. 

Now that we have an introductory understanding of how the Quran was compiled, let's look at some Sunnahs that show that verses were lost and forgotten. 

2. Missing Parts of the Quran

A. Valley of Gold

Sahih Muslim 1050 [2]
"You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them. So continue to recite it. (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you. We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara'at. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it:" If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust." And we used so recite a surah which resembled one of the surahs of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it, but remember (this much) out of it:" Oh people who believe, why do you say that which you do not practise" (lxi 2.) and" that is recorded in your necks as a witness (against you) and you would be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection" (xvii. 13)." 

Surah Bara'at has 129 verses. According to the Sunnah at minimum 129 verses were lost just from this forgotten Surah. Ask yourself: If the best of reciters forgotten verses and Surahs then how much more of the Quran was lost? 

B. Verses of Stoning/Breastfeeding

Sunan Ibn Majah 1944 [3]
It was narrated that 'Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”

It's important to have an understanding of what is going on here. There was a question about what should happen if an unmarried man and an unmarried woman have to be alone together for sometime. To prevent sexual immorality between the two Muhammad ordered the woman to breastfeed the male 10 times. This was later abrogated to 5 times. 

This leads me to my final point

3. Differences Among Manuscripts 

If the above is true, then we should find evidence of this when we compare the existing Quran manuscripts. Unfortunately since Uthman burned the Quran manuscripts he didn't like, it's impossible to say how significant of a problem textual variants are. That said, we do have some old surviving manuscripts and they do show some differences. 

A. Sanaa Manuscript

The Sanaa manuscript is one of the oldest Quran manuscripts. Although it is not complete, the parts that survive can be compared to the text we have today. Scholars have noted that this manuscript was apparently erased and had another text written above it. The upper text is Uthmanic, but the lower text has significant variants. Here are just a two examples [4]: 

In Q 2.196, C-1 has fa-in kāna aḥadun instead of the standard fa-man kāna (If any of you be sick vs. Should one of you be sick) 
In Q 63.7, C-1 has min ḥawlihi after yanfaḍḍū. (They are the ones whosay, “Do not spend(alms) on those who arewith the Messenger ofGod in order that theymay disperse.” vs They are the ones whosay, “Do not spend(alms) on those who arewith the Messenger ofGod in order that theymay disperse fromaround him.”)


The evidence speaks for itself. The Quran is not perfectly preserved. 

4. Ṣan‘ā’ 1 and the Origins of the Qur’ān Behnam Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi 1Stanford University / Harvard University

It is a known fact that the Quran was unchanged since it was first made. If you don't believe me, go to the store and buy any two Arabic Qurans you like. The only difference you can see is the font. The words and the meanings are exactly same. You can even see pictures of ancient Qurans to compare. It is very foolish to think that the Quran has ever been changed.
Round 2
Thank you. My opponent never addressed my opening argument. I have shown from Islamic sources and textual analysis that the Quran has been corrupted and changed over time. 

Round 3
Leave Islam
Round 4
Islam is a lie
Round 5
You can't spell Muhammad without mad