Is Islam wrong or fake? Quran copies that predate the Muslim prophet Muhammad may exist, according to some researchers. If their theories are true, then some claim this discovery shakes the very foundation of Islam, but others say the response to this claim is all in the writing.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, experts at the University of Oxford used radiocarbon analysis to date the parchment on which the Quran text was written to the period between 568 and 645, which creates quite a problem for Muslims if some scholars are to be believed.
"This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Koran's genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence … rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven," claimed Keith Small of the University of Oxford. "This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised, somehow accounting for another book of scripture coming into existence 50 to 100 years before, and then also explaining how this was co-opted into what became the entity of Islam by around AD 700."
According to the press release by the University of Birmingham, the radiocarbon dating of the Quran sample has an estimated accuracy of 95.4 percent. The Quran manuscript consisted of sections of Suras 18 to 20, and was misbound for years with a similar Quran copy that was dated to the seventh century. The only reason the university had the Quran dated is because a chunk could be removed.
"Testing is destructive – whatever we send for testing doesn't come back," explained David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham. "We had the parchment dated because there was a small fragment hanging off one corner."
But how does that prove Islam false? Muhammad is generally believed to have lived between 570 and 632, and he is thought to have founded Islam starting in 610 by establishing a Muslim community in Medina. It is claimed by some that the carbon dating of the world's oldest Quran "contradicts the Islamic belief that Muhammad originated the Koran through revelations from Angel Gabriel," because "Muhammad's followers did not produce written portions of the Koran but memorized them and passed them down orally."
According to Fox News, Mustafa Shah, senior lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), claims the ancient Quran does not prove Islam wrong, since the style of writing is at odds with the radiocarbon dating.
"[With] the style of the writing – it would be like saying you saw an iPhone in the 1990s," he said. "Once the style and orthography of the script in these folios are taken into account, they bear all the hallmarks of a late 7th century codex. Matching Qur'anic fragments from other collections have been placed within this sort of timeframe."
Professor Thomas does admit that the writing matches "features that are generally thought to have developed later in the history of Islamic calligraphy, but maybe what's generally accepted about that history needs to be looked at with a fresh pair of eyes." Unfortunately, the only way to prove Shah's hypothesis is to date the ink itself, but ink testing "at the moment could only tell us the dates of the elements that make up the ink, not the ink itself."
What do you think?
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