Variant Readings of the Quran – Are They All the Same?

I have found in my dialogue with Muslims is that they absolutely detest the idea of textual variants in Quranic manuscript. I am yet to find a Muslim who is actually prepared for this kind of discussion and I believe this is due to the openness of Muslim apologists and faux academics making the claim that all Quranic manuscripts are exactly the same. (I have previously challenged this claim in examining textual variants in the oldest Quran manuscripts compared to today’s version )

When the Muslim cannot respond to such a claim they tend to employ the Red Herring Fallacy.

A red herring is an argument, given in reply, that does not address the original issue. Critically, a red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument. [1]

NB: Some Muslims have recently responded to this and as was predicted-  the response was a red herring. They did not engage with the issue, my arguments or the examples. Meaningful variants among Quranic manuscripts  and versions is a fact of life apologists of the Islamic faith cannot deal with as they are in denial.

Their usual Red Herring is in regard to the variant readings of the Quran. These variants occur with the addition of vowelisations etc for professionalised recitations to the original Uthmanic text. Now, these variant readings do not usually change the meaning of the Quran and the Muslim will give you the blanket statement that there are no differences in the Quran as a result of these variants. But is this statement true?

In regard to the variant recitations, Professor James A. Bellamy states:

These variants, however – I have counted more than two-hundred that make a difference in the meaning – are important in that they tell us there was no solid oral tradition stemming directly from the prophet to prove which variant was correct. [2]

So, we can see that there are many variants among the readings and Bellamy has recorded over 200 which render a different meaning within the text.

Professor Bellamy then goes on to provide an example:

in Surah 6:63, of the seven readers, the two from Kufah recite ‘njyn‘ (anjana) “he saves us.” and the other five ‘njytn’ (anjay- tana) “you (sg.) save us.” These two words sound so dif- ferent that no one, unless he were deaf, could mistake one for the other, and the words on both sides of the word in question are unambiguous. One cannot argue that the prophet used one variant one day and the other the next. Nor can one maintain that there is a firm oral tradition that guarantees the reading of the unambiguous words but breaks down when more than one reading is possible. [3]

In short – beware of taking Muslim claims in regard to the integrity of the Quran at face value. As has been demonstrated above, there are a number of changes in meaning that result from the variant readings of the Quran.

References:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring_(logical_fallacy)#Red_herring
2. Bellamy, p. 1
3. Bellamy, p.2

Bibliography:

James A. Bellamy (2001), ‘Textual Criticism of the Koran’. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 121 No. 1 (Jan-Mar. 2001), pp. 1-6.

See also:

Morals of Islam: Rape + Suicide = Paradise

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks.

In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women”, Major General Qassim Atta said.

“She confessed her responsibility for these actions, and she confirmed that 28 attempts had been made in one of the terrorists’ strongholds,” he said.

Samira Jassim was arrested on January 21. She is allegedly linked to the Ansar al-Sunnah insurgent group.

Two of the attacks for which Samira Jassim admitted responsibility in the video confession took place in Diyala province, in central Iraq, which is considered one of the most dangerous areas of the country.

The Associated Press reports US military figures indicate at least 36 female suicide bombers attempted or carried out 32 attacks last year. Women are often allowed through military checkpoints without being searched, making it easier for them to hide explosives under their traditional robes.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25006101-12335,00.html
For once in my life I am speechless in regard to these abhorrent acts.

Why was Muhammad above the laws of Allah?

Why could he take more wives than the Quran edicted?

Just a question. I have searched around and all the answers have avoided that direct question and simply been a series of red herrings and straw man fallacies.
Thanks.

Blaming Others (Farooq Sulehria)

The Amnesty International report on human rights for the year 2007 is out. The Muslim world constitutes, as usual, bleakest chapter. Every single country across the Muslim world has been pointed out by the Amnesty International either for executions and torture or discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities. Punishments never handed down even during the Stone Age, have been awarded in 21st century Muslim world. In one case, two Saudi nationals were awarded 7,000 lashes. Yes, 7,000. And executions? Well, 335 in Iran, 158 in Saudi Arabia and 135 in Pakistan. Violation of human rights, it seems, is the only thing that unites the otherwise divided Muslim world.

The report is no exception. The Muslim world cuts a sorry figure every time a global watchdog releases its findings. Freedom of expression here remains curtailed, Reporters Sans Frontieres annually reports. Regarding freedom of expression, there is a joke often told in Arab world. At a meeting, a US journalist says: “We have complete freedom of expression in the US. We can criticise the US president as much as we like.” The Arab journalist replies. “We also have complete freedom of expression in Arab world. We can also criticise the US president as much as we like.”

Similarly, it is either Bangladesh or Pakistan or Nigeria which is on top of Transparency International’s corruption indexes. However, when Nobel laureates gather in Stockholm every December, Muslim scientists and writers are conspicuous by their absence. In case, as Naguib Mahfouz is crowned, he is stabbed and rendered paralysed. The irony, or tragedy, is that his attacker had not even read his excellent books. Or we disown Dr Abdul Salam just because he belonged to the Ahmadiya community. Salam’s case deserves special mention since it underlines the absurdity that characterises this part of the world.

When all else fails, “Jews” and “Christian” West are there to lay the blame for all our ills. Conspiracy theories instead of scientific, rational thought holds sway across much of the Muslim world. And every time a rights abuse is highlighted in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, a typical Muslim answer is: Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Chechnya. True, imperialism and Zionism have a hand in our predicament. However, there are many wounds one can only describe as self-inflicted.

Take, for instance, the Iran-Iraq war, one of the last century’s bloodiest conflicts. There is no denying the fact that the United States backed the Saddam regime. But it was the Arab sheikhdoms, panicked at the Iranian revolution, that stoked the flames of war. And, ironically, now in the post-Saddam era when the “Christian” West has written off Iraq’s Saddam-era debt worth $66 billion, Iraq’s Arab brothers refuse to write off that country’s $67 billion loans.

Similarly, last century’s bloodiest Muslim genocide was not carried out by Serbs, Israelis, Americans, Europeans or Hindus. It was Pakistan’s military that refused to respect a democratic verdict and plunged East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, into an ocean of blood. Millions were killed, maimed, raped and rendered homeless. Luckily, Pakistan has a “Hindu” neighbour. “Hindus are born enemies of Islam’. Hence, Pakistani children are now taught that a Bengali traitor (revered by Bengalis as founder of Bangladesh), in connivance with our “Hindu” neighbour, dismembered Pakistan. Ironically, of all her South Asian neighbours, Pakistan enjoys most cordial relations with the world’s only Hindu state, Nepal. The other big genocide was perpetrated by Indonesia. The target was: its own citizens who were members of the Communist Party.

Figures are not available but Israel perhaps cannot match Iran in executing Arabs. Iran’s confessional regime is a champion of the Arab cause in Occupied Territories but Arabs of its Khuzestan province are regularly sent to the gallows. Seizing the opportunity, one may also point out how only recently Afghan refugees were driven out of Iran as if Afghan refugees were not as Muslim as Palestinians. And, by the way in the fallen “Emirate of Afghanistan” itself, Hazaras were slaughtered by the Taliban in their thousands almost a decade ago – mainly because Hazaras are Shia. In Iraq, more people have been killed in Shia-Sunni clashes than in resisting the US occupation. Shia-Sunni clashes in Pakistan have claimed more lives than those lost in its wars against India. Ironically, this only “nuclear power” of the Muslim world is not being occupied on its eastern front by its “Hindu” neighbour but is losing territory on its western front to its own citizens.

One can mention from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the recent Hamas-Fatah infighting (a shameful tribute to Israel on its 60th anniversary). The list is long. Indeed, unending. However, the solution to all our problems is always simple: return to an imagined past which, mercifully for the people of the seventh century, never existed. Every time, a scientist in the West is ready with an invention, our readymade answer is: we knew about it 1,400 years ago what the West has found only now. We kill Theo van Gogh when confronted with a film. We burn down our own cities in response to a blasphemous and racist caricature. Still, we refuse to understand that our answer to every “provocation” is either a fatwa or mindless violence – perhaps because creativity is anathema to us. Not because we lack fertile minds, but because we lack liberation and freedom — liberation from self-imposed mental, moral, and cultural censors. And freedom to think and express. Time to heed the great Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, who said:

Five thousand years

Growing beards

In our caves.

Our currency is unknown,

Our eyes are a haven for flies.

Friends,

Smash the doors,

Wash your brains,

Wash your clothes.

Friends,

Read a book,

Write a book,

Grow words, pomegranates and grapes,

Sail to the country of fog and snow.

Nobody knows you exist in caves.

People take you for a breed of mongrels.

This great article appeared in the The News International:
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=118852

15 child brides used to settle Pakistan feud

It started with a dead dog, escalated into a tit-for-tat tribal war, and has now reached a grotesque climax with the exchange of 15 child brides.

Pakistani human rights activists are outraged at reports that a long-running blood feud in a remote corner of western Baluchistan province has been resolved by the handing over of 15 girls, aged between three and 10, for marriage.

“There has to be action,” said Asma Jahangir, a leading rights campaigner. “These people who force others to sell their daughters must be sent to prison.”

The new government in Islamabad, led by the party of the late Benazir Bhutto, has promised to act. “We will not allow young girls to be traded like this,” said the information minister, Sherry Rehman. “The culprits who tried to do this will be arrested. The orders have been given.”

But Jahangir said those orders had not been acted upon. “There is a dysfunction in the whole system. They are not listening to the government,” she said. “We need to see them being more effective than just rhetoric.”

Vanni, an ancient tribal practice in which feuding clans settle their differences by exchanging women for marriage, is illegal in Pakistan. In 2004 the Sindh high court outlawed all such “parallel justice” systems. But the writ of government is weak in rural areas, and local police often turn a blind eye.

The current controversy started with a row over a dog, said Muhammad Paryal Marri, a researcher in northern Sindh for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

A dog owned by one tribe, the Chakranis, was shot dead because it strayed too close to a well controlled by their rivals, the Qalandaris. In revenge the Chakranis shot a donkey belonging to the other side. A ferocious bout of tit-for-tat killings ensued in which 19 people, including five women, were killed.

The fighting ended in 2002 when Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti – a rebellious tribal chieftain who was later killed by the Pakistan army – brought the two sides together. Bugti ordered the Chakranis to hand over 15 child brides in compensation; at a jirga, or tribal council. Last Friday they finally agreed to make good on that promise, said Marri.

“They agreed to pay some money and exchange the ladies,” he said.

Such brutal traditions have only come to light for a broader public in the past decade, thanks to activism by human rights groups and publicity from local media.

“Barbarity in the name of tradition,” declared the English-langauge newspaper Dawn earlier this week in a scathing editorial against the “medieval mindset that dominates many sections of our society”.

But, despite previous shows of similar anger, official action has lagged far behind. “The government is unwilling to use its authority to protect women. It will find any excuse,” said Jahangir.

Muhammad: Setting the ultimate pedophile example to be followed today.

An Abhorrent practice.

Britain’s slide into dhimmocracy

There can hardly be a more graphic illustration of Britain’s helter-skelter slide into dhimmitude that this story:

Two Christian preachers were stopped from handing out Bible extracts by police because they were in a Muslim area, it was claimed yesterday. They say they were told by a Muslim police community support officer that they could not preach there and that attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity was a hate crime.

The community officer is also said to have told the two men: ‘You have been warned. If you come back here and get beat up, well, you have been warned.’ A police constable who was present during the incident in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham is also alleged to have told the preachers not to return to the district.

The noteworthy point about this incident is that it was a Muslim police ancillary officer who was involved. He did not uphold the law of the land, which gives people the freedom to say in public whatever they want within the law. Instead he upheld the Islamist principle that this particular area of an English city was a Muslim area, within which it was not permissible to do anything contrary to Muslim principles such as preach Christianity.

When the Bishop of Rochester recently warned that Britain was developing Muslim no-go areas, he was denounced the length and breadth of the establishment, with government ministers and bishops falling over each other to declare that they did not recognise the country he was describing. ‘There are no no-go areas in Britain’ they all declared. Well, here it is, in glowing technicolour and flashing lights, in Alum Rock Birmingham. What are they all saying now, those government ministers and bishops of the Church of England, to a situation where in the heart of England a British police support officer, employed by the British state to enforce the law of England, aggressively prevents Christians from preaching the established faith of England on the grounds that this is now a ‘hate crime’?

This is not a one-off. Alert readers will note that it was the West Midlands police force which tried to prosecute the Dispatches TV programme for revealing the true ‘hate crime’ in Britain’s so-called moderate mosques which preach hatred of the west and sedition. This in turn is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. Up and down the country, police forces led by politically correct imbeciles are recruiting large numbers of Muslims, mainly as police community support officers like the officer in Alum Rock, in order to ‘build bridges’ with the Muslim community, and with minimal or non-existent security vetting in case they upset or offend the said Muslim community. The result is, among other things, the development of Muslim no-go areas enforced by British police officers.

Welcome once again to Londonistan.

Non-Muslim Minorities in Bangladesh: Victim of Bloody Religious Persecution

At last the Department of State of the Government of USA has admitted through a circular issued on September 14, 2007, that the religious minorities, e.g. the Christians, Buddhists and the Hindus, are being persecuted brutally in Bangladesh by the Muslims. According to a press report appeared in the 17th September edition of the Kolkata based Bengali daily Bartaman, the circular says that the entire non-Muslim population, belonging to religious communities of Hinduism, Buddhism etc are victims of violent religious discrimination and torture by the Muslims, the majority religious group. The circular also says that, though Dhaka speaks of religious tolerance and freedom of religion, the attack on religious minorities has recently assumed a extremely savage and fierce. These unfortunate people are targeted for all kinds brutal and barbaric atrocities.

The report says that, as a result of this inhuman religious discrimination, minorities are losing their lives and properties. After the formation of independent Bangladesh in 1971, the Government grabbed Hindu land with the help of the so called “Vested Property Act”. Though the said black Act was repealed later on, the minorities did not get back their land snatched away by the Government. By a verdict in 2001, the Bangladeshi Supreme Court had directed the government to return the land, grabbed with the help of the said black Act, to the real owner. In spite of that, few Hindus could get back their land. According to a Professor of the University of Dhaka, nearly 2 million Hindu families have, so far, lost about 40,000 acres of agricultural fertile land. Many are convinced that this is only a tiny tip of an iceberg. In fact, land grabbing is a enshrined policy of jihad against the kafirs as ordained by Allah in Koran. Prophet Mohammad had taught this lesson in his life time by driving away the Jews of Medina, belonging to the Beni Nazir and Beni Kanuika clan and slaughtering the Jews of Beni Koreiza en-masse and acquiring their land and property.

It is difficult for an ordinary individual to guess the social condition of non-Muslim kafirs in an Islamic State. Koran does not consider these kafirs as human beings. Allah has condemned them as godless beasts and has empowered the Muslims to heap any kind of atrocity and torture on them. Not only that, he is alluring such oppressors of rewards in the Paradise. So, an Islamic court in an Islamic Country does not consider such atrocities even a crime at all. And the reality is that, in such a country, judiciary is heavily influenced by the religion of Islam and cannot play neutral in giving verdicts.

That is why the US circular has said that in Bangladesh, the government and its machineries are heavily influenced by religion and hence they cannot do much to stop all such religious discriminations. Not to speak of Hindus and Buddhists, even the Ahmadiyas, a sect of Islam, have declared non-Muslims and turning victims of similar religious discriminations.