as-salamu 'alaykum.

Asser Hassanain ( wrote:
: Okay, can somebody tell me where can I obtain information about Rashad 
: Khalifa?  I heard from a previous posting that he literally changed the 
: Quran.  Is that true?

This reply may be redundant, I thought I answered this posting, but the 
answer did not appear in the usual time.

Yes, Rashad Khalifa literally changed the Qur'an, but some caution must 
be exercised in the use of the terms involved. He apparently believed 
that, rather than changing it, he was restoring the original.

If we define the "Qur'an" to mean the 'Uthmanic text as accepted today, 
he changed the following verses:

He changed baStatan in 7:69 to bastatan, following pronunciation and the 
Tashkent Qur'an. However, it should be noted that he did not adopt any 
other variations from that text, and it has many.

He spelled out the initial letter Nuwn in Sura 68. He did this in his 
first publication to detail his counting of letters by actually showing 
the counts, by using white-out and a pen. You can see it, still, in his 
Qur'ans: the letters project into the marjin. He claimed authority for 
this from old manuscripts, but he did not show us any.

More signifigantly, (since the above changes do not affect pronuciation), 
he eliminated the last two verses of Sura 9. He justified this on the 
basis of a well-known, sahih hadith about the collection of the Qur'an, 
that these verses were found only with Khuzaima.

These changes were made so that certain of his word and letter counts 
would come out as multiples of nineteen. He had already announced that 
his miracle proved that the Qur'an was perfectly preserved. But his 
original counting was riddled with errors. As the true counts became 
clear, he needed to make certain "corrections" in order for his theory to 
prove true. So he dumped the idea that the Qur'an was perfectly preserved 
in favor of his "miracle."

The fact is that the Qur'an is not and has never been "perfectly 
preserved, in every letter." Alternate readings were always allowed, and 
it is likely that the 'Uthmanic copies were not absolutely identical. 
Today, it costs $40,000 to verify a copy of the Qur'an, and to do this 
with five individually written copies would cost five times as much. 
There is no efficiency of scale. If one looks at old manuscripts of the 
Qur'an, one nearly always finds variations. Just looking through the 
Tashkent Qur'an to being indexing it, I found several variations, 
including a complete omission of "inna llaha" in a verse Sura Maryam.
This variation has no great effect on meaning, since the following "yahdi" 
still refers to Allah, only missing the emphasis. To understand how even 
careful copyists could make mistakes like this, one need only spend some 
time memorizing the Qur'an. Try Baqara for starters. It is very, very 
hard to keep all these small variations true to the text.

Ironically, Khalifa took his original count of 2698 (19x142) occurrences of 
"Allah" in the Qur'an from a concordance (though he always claimed that 
he used a computer to count). But it was a concordance to the Warsh text, 
which does not count the initial bismillah, a fact he overlooked. So the 
true count is (apparently) 2699. Since he had been publishing these 
counts for years, he was stuck. Now, people had always been complaining 
that his counts of the other "words" in the bismillah were problematic, 
one of the problems being an extra occurance of Rahim in 9:128. Khalifa 
had always explained this away by saying that this occurrence did not 
refer to Allah SWT but to the Prophet SAS; never mind that he did not 
follow such a rule when counting the supposed word "ism." So he was able 
to kill two birds with one stone by cutting out 9:128-129.

Essentially, Khalifa discovered that, by shifting definitions of what was
to be counted and how to analyse the counts, he could make the counts come
out multiples of 19. He thought this was a miracle, when, in fact, it is
quite ordinary, if tedious and time-consuming. With a similar amount of
effort, the same can be done with any text (and there are now some
publications floating around on the Internet which have done exactly this.
I think Winnie the Pooh was one of the texts so analysed.)

Abd ulRaHman

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