The Quran was Compiled in
a Book by Prophet Muhammad
Because it is not so possible to contact you via e-mail possibly due to the hundreds of messages that you receive on daily basis, I wanted to try here, The Facebook’s comments section. Actually I would love to share my story with you but here I will keep it short and only share a view on a very little part of an issue: the integrity of Quran. Maybe you have already been aware of what I will say. If so, I am sorry. But this is something that I have realized and been able to relate very recently.
Sunnis claim-at least in a few hadiths-that in the time of the prophet, Quran had been written on the feathers and bones of animals, stones so on, but not compiled as a book. This attribution is also used and supported by some other opposing views claiming that the Quran couldn’t have stood up as preserved. However in the Quran (21:104), we encounter to a reference which I think is very thought-provoking and a very strong denial to the aforementioned attribution. Verse 21:104 likens the end of the universe to the collapsing pages of an open book.* This reference is to nothing but to ‘the book’, to its archetypal structure so as to help the hearers of the holy message envision metaphorically how the universe will end.
What I have inferred from that is, if the books were so much common enough to be given as references in the Quran in the time that it was revealed, how could Quran itself not be transferred to papers and not be compiled as a book immediately? To make my point clearer, in accordance with its very basic aim-guiding people in the way of the truth-, Quran wouldn’t expect people to envisage a case through an object that they were not familiar with. Therefore, we can readily comprehend that the people of every level had already known, observed and grasped how a book was like up until that time.
In the time that the Quran revealed, books were not rare as much as many people conceive as if so today. We can support this with many evidences. For example, a type of book which is the product of the Roman world, called ‘Codex’ was available at least in the first century CE., as some sources indicate. I don’t even mention another type of book, Scroll which is the preceding one of the Codex and was probably so much easier to provide. (To see some sources please follow the link http://en.m.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Codex I know that the Wikipedia should strictly be avoided sometimes, but the references to the dates in the page are from some solid sources.) We can also infer that these two type of books-mostly the latter one which I have mentioned, scroll) resemble the type told and described by the verb “roll up” in the aforementioned ayah. (Also, as far as I remember in one of your podcasts you have mentioned the very comprehensible possibility of bringing papyrus to Arabia from Egypt)
What sects claim in hadiths or various sectarian books seems more obscure, if we consider the fact that writing had already begun becoming a common practice in the Near East-though Arabia not included in- in the second millennium BCE. (At least, in that time, it had no longer been a mysterious practice.)** Additionally considering the fact that Quran refers to ‘the writing’ ‘to pen (kalem)’ in 96:4 saying “Who taught by the pen”, these claims come out even more obscure. I think we are being warned in the ayah against such kind of later fabrications denying the holy book compiled in the time of the prophet. The ayah is very clear: Your God taught you to write, that is, you know how to write, how to use a pen.
All in all, with the help of the two before-mentioned ayahs (21:104 and 96:4) which direct us to contemplate on the issue painstakingly, we can infer that the Quran had already been written and compiled as a book in the time of the prophet. It was the book sent by God, and its receivers and believers would later be obliged to pay some big prices just because of their loyalty to the message of the God. For instance, they would later be forced to leave their lands, be threatened with their lives. So then, is it something reasonable to think that those people acted such negligently and did not compiled the message for which they ventured to be killed?
* The Quran contains accurate information about cosmology, such as, the big bang, expansion of the universe and close universe. See: Quran: a Reformist Translation.
** C. Warren Hollister, Roots of the Western Tradition, (USA: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1996) p. 45