Monday, 4 August 2014

Is Surah Ahzab 33:56 Incomplete?

Certain skeptics have become excited after reading a Quranic verse:
Surah Ahzab 33:56:
"Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect."

Then, reading a hadith:
حميدة بنت أبي يونس ، قالت : قرأ علي أبي - وهو ابن ثمانين سنة - في مصحف عائشة ( إن الله وملائكته يصلون على النبي يا أيها الذين آمنوا صلوا عليه وسلموا تسليما وعلى الذين يصلون الصفوف الأول ) . قالت : قبل أن يغير عثمان المصاحف .
"Hamida Bint Yunus said: "My father who was eighty years old recited for me the verse of salutation from the Mushaf of Aisha the following: "Allah and his angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye who believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect, and upon those in the front row for prayers." She said: "This was before the Mushaf of Uthman was changed."" (Imam Suyuti's: Al-Itqan Fi Ulum Al-Quran - Source).

So, they claim that because Quran lacks "and to those in the front row for prayers" therefore, the Quran is incomplete and hasn't been preserved. Now, is the narration even authentic? It's stated in Tafsir At-Tabari that Ahmad Shakir said that the narration is munkar, as one transmitter mixed up things from his memory, plus also mixed up things later on in his life1. Scholars defined "munkar" as:

"The term 'unacceptable (munkar), for a hadith could mean that this version of the hadith narrated through a certain isnad was unreliable but other authentic versions existed, or that the tradition was entirely forged." (Dr. Jonathan A. C. Brown - Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy In The Medieval And Modern World - Oneworld, 2009 - Page 99).

"Definition: It is the hadith which was narrated by a weak narrator in contradiction to the narration of more reliable narrator or narrators. Ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on him) has a second definition: It is the hadith whose isnaad contains a narrator who has committed serious mistakes, unable to distinguish true from false or he is an open sinner. Status of Al-Munkar: It is very weak (ضعيف جدا)." (Science of Hadith (8) - Slide 3 - Source)

Another narrator is majhool (which means: unknown).1 So, we request skeptics to cite scholars who accept this narration even though it is weak, or skeptics should cite scholars who declare it is authentic. Even if we do accept the narration for sake of argument, we can say it was abrogated in it's recitation, but not it's ruling (which is a type of Quranic abrogation in Islam). To learn the types of abrogation that Islam teaches and more, read this, this, this and this. In Suyuti's own work, the narration is under:
ما نسخ تلاوته دون حكمه
"The abrogation of recitation without the ruling." [Imam Suyuti's: Al-Itqan Fi Ulum Al-Quran - Source. Also mentioned here, (2/68)].

Moreover, Zaid bin Thabit (a member of the 12 men committee) was in charge of making sure no abrogated verses were written in the copy, as 2 witnesses per source were demanded. Uthman's copy was based on this copy. (Ahmed Von Denffer - Ulum Al-Quran - Source). The following hadith implies no abrogated verse was written in Zaid's copy:
Sahih Bukhari - Volume 6, Book 60, Number 8:
"Narrated Ibn Abbas: Umar said, "Our best Qur'an reciter is Ubai and our best judge is 'Ali; and in spite of this, we leave some of the statements of Ubai because Ubai says, 'I do not leave anything that I have heard from Allah's Apostle while Allah: "Whatever verse (Revelations) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We bring a better one or similar to it." (2.106)."

Ibn Hajar's Fathul Bari (commentary of this Bukhari narration) implies this as well. Moreover:

"Qazi Abu Bakr in Al-Intisaar says, "The sequence of Al Quraan was an obligatory order and Jibraeel used to tell Rasulullah to place a particular Aayat at a particular place." He further says, "The whole Quraan Shareef was revealed by Allaah Ta'aala who ordered that it be kept safe in written form. Hadhrat Uthman, neither deleted anything from it nor did he add anything to it and its sequence and arrangements are the same as arranged by Allaah Ta'aala, Rasulullah who confirmed the same arrangement and sequence. He neither brought any verses forward and nor did take any verses backward from its original position and the Ummah recorded the same sequence from Rasulullah." (Suyuti's: Al-Itqan  - cited in: Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias - Quraan Made Easy (Complete) - Zam Zam Publishers, Karachi-Pakistan, 2008 - Page 28).

Therefore, accepting the narration for sake of argument doesn't prove that Surah 33:56 is incomplete or unpreserved.

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