Many Muslims argue that the Bible is unreliable because manuscripts have copyist errors; however, the same is true for the Quran.
Muhammad Mustafa Al-Azami, Professor Emeritus at King Saud University, notes that Quran manuscripts—like the Old and New Testaments—evidence,
“obvious scribal blunders resulting from exhaustion.”
However, Al-Azami does not believe these are evidence of the Quran’s corruption.1Muhammad Mustafa Al-Azami, The History of The Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments [Leicester: UK Islamic Academy, 2003], 151
Why do Muslims assume copyist errors in New Testament manuscripts evidence its corruption, when Quran manuscripts contain similar kinds of errors?
More controversial is the textual tradition of the Quran. Is it possible that the book Muslims esteem as God’s Word is not identical to what Muhammad recited? Comparing the textual tradition of the Bible with the textual tradition of the Quran, Keith Small wrote:
There was not one initial, original text from the period of Muhammad’s career which was preserved with this high degree of precision. Instead, at best, one of the collections from among the versions available was chosen to be the one text everyone would use. It was then edited heavily, and the others were forcible suppressed, not because they were less authentic per se, but because they presented rivals to the one chosen text and could provide a basis for political and religious competition. This is in fact the role the collection of material attributed to Ibn Masud played in the first three Islamic centuries until it was finally suppressed in the wake of Ibn Mujahid’s reforms. It was a competing official text to the Canonical text attributed to Uthman. (Holy Books Have a History: Textual Histories of the New Testament & the Qur’an [Avant Ministries, 2010] 70-71)
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|1.||↥||Muhammad Mustafa Al-Azami, The History of The Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments [Leicester: UK Islamic Academy, 2003], 151|