Compilation of the Qur'an and Textual
The Qur'an in use today was one of two dozen
different Qur'ans compiled after Muhammad's death. Muhammad's 'prophethood'
ministry lasted 23 years, ending with his unexpected death. During
these 23 years, Muhammad received 'revelations', and recited them to
his followers. The word 'Qur'an' means 'recitation'. These
'revelations' constituted the Qur'an. Much of it was memorized by
his closest companions. During his life, some of it was written
The original written Qur'an was basically compiled
by one man, named Zaid bin Thabit, under the 3rd Caliph's (Uthman)
direction. His final recension of Qur'anic material became the
During Muhammad's life the Qur'an was not compiled
as a complete codex. There was no collected, collated, arranged body
of material of his revelations. Portions of it were written,
but it did not exist as a complete book.
Following his death, several prominent Muslims wrote
their own Qur'ans. In the Hadith, it is recorded that Muhammad
himself had recommended several men to learn the Qur'an from:
"Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin Masud was mentioned before Abdullah
bin Amr who said, "That is a man I still love, as I heard the
prophet saying 'Learn the recitation of the Qur'an from four: from
Abdullah bin Masud - he started with him - Salim, the freed slave of
Abu Hudhaifa, Mu'adh bin Jabal, and Ubai bin Ka'b'". Sahih al-Bukhari
vol. 5, p. 96
Two of them mentioned were Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud and
Ubay Ibn Ka'b (these men figure into the story later). Other
knowledgeable Muslims used these Qur'ans as a basis for their own
Qur'ans. For the most part these were in agreement. However,
there were distinct textual differences between them, and Zaid's
INITIAL COLLECTION OF THE QUR'AN
After Muhammad's death, several tribes that had
accepted Islam revolted and wanted to leave the Islamic fold. The
man who succeeded Muhammad as the supreme Islamic leader
(Caliph) was Abu Bakr. He dispatched several armies to forcibly
bring these rebellious tribes back into submission. The first two
armies were soundly defeated, the third army, at the battle of
Yamama, defeated the rebels. During these battles, many of
Muhammad's closest companions, who had received the Qur'an directly
from him, were killed. What followed concerning the Qur'an's
compilation is described in the Hadith...
"Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr sent for me when
the people of Yamama had been killed. ....Then Abu Bakr said (to
me): "You are a wise young man, and we do not have any suspicion
about you, and you used to write the divine inspiration for Allah's
apostle. So you should search for (the written fragments of) the
Qur'an, and collect it (in one book). [Zaid replied] "By Allah! If
they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have
been heavier for me than this ordering to collect the Qur'an." Then
I said to Abu Bakr, "How will you do something which Allah's Apostle
did not do?" Abu Bakr replied "By Allah, it is a good project"."
Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 6, p. 477.
One thing is clear from this passage; Muhammad did
not compile his own Qur'an.
Zaid's hesitation was derived from Muhammad's own
disinterest in codifying the Qur'an, and from the enormity of the
task in compiling the entire Qur'an. It was not going to be an easy
task. If Zaid was a perfect 'hafiz' i.e. and had memorized the
entire Qur'anic revelation and knew it by heart, and if there were
still remaining a number of companions who were likewise perfect
'hafiz', then the collection would have been simple. He only needed
to write it down and have the other perfect 'hafiz' inspect his
Many Muslims believe that these 'hafiz' had indeed
memorized the entire Qur’an, but as seen from the following Hadith,
this was definitely not the case, as Zaid describes the beginning of
his task: "So I started looking for the Qur'an and collecting it
from (what was written on) palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones, and
also from the men who knew it by heart, till I found the last verse
of Sura at-Tauba (Repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did
not find it with anybody other than he." Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 6, p.
So, Zaid used what was previously written, and what
had been memorized. He was a diligent scribe, who searched high and
low for portions of the Qur'anic material. Some later Muslim
traditions claim that Muhammad did compile his own Qur'an, and
stored it in his own house, and that Zaid relied on these materials.
But the earliest, most authentic records of Hadith literature state
that Zaid made a widespread search for these materials. So there was
no complete central repository of Qur'anic material.
There is another reference to Qur'anic material and
the battles of surrounding Yamama. It is found in Ibn Abi Dawud's "Kitab
al-Masahif", p.23: (This book deals with the Qur'an's compilation),
"Many (of the passages) of the Qur'an that were sent down were known
by those who died on the day of Yamama... but they were not known
(by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had
Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur'an, nor
were they found with even one (person) after them." It should be
noted that although that Abi Dawud's work was compiled very early in
Islamic history, and it deals with the collection of the Qur'an, it
is not part of the Hadith.
The impact of
the statement is that passages of the Qur'an were lost, known only
to men who died during the battles. And, they were lost for good. A
Hadith that does support the possibility that part of the Qur'an was
lost states that even Muhammad forgot Qur'anic verses: "Aisha said:
"A man got up (for prayer) at night, he read the Qur'an and raised
his voice in reading. When morning came, the apostle of Allah said:
"May Allah have mercy on so-and-so! Last night he reminded me
of a number of verses I was about to forget.""" Sunan Abu Dawud, vol
3, p.1114. The Qur'an also references part of it being forgotten:
'None of our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten but
We substitute something similar or better. Knowest thou not that
Allah has power over all things?' - sura 2:106
MISSING VERSES FROM THE QUR'AN
Let's review this already quoted verse. "So I started
looking for the Qur'an and collecting it from (what was written on)
palm-leaf stalks, thin white stones, and also from the men who knew
it by heart, till I found the last verse of Sura at-Tauba
(Repentance) with Abi Khuzaima al-Ansari, and I did not find it with
anybody other than he." Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 6, p. 478.
This verse shows that there were not numerous hafiz
who had memorized the Qur'an. In fact, Zaid diligently searched
until he found this verse with only one man. And it is probable that
had this man not been found, this verse would have been omitted from
Abi Dawud has a
reference similar to Bukhari's, it shows that Zaid missed these
verses completely: "Khuzaimah Thabit said: "I see you have
overlooked two verses and have not written them". They said "And
which are they" He replied "I had it 'directly' (he got these verses
first hand from Muhammad) from the messenger of Allah (Muhammad):
(these verses are sura 9, ayah 128): "There has come to you a
messenger from yourselves. It grieves him that you should perish, he
is very concerned about you: to the believers he is kind and
merciful, (these verses belong at) the end of the Sura". Abi Dawud,
Kitab al-Masahif, p.11. So, it was not Zaid who found them missing,
it was Khuzaimah, who on his own initiative, pointed out that they
were missing, and told Zaid where to place the verses in the sura.
These verses were missed completely by Zaid.
ZAID'S Qur'anic COLLECTION FOR ABU BAKR
When Zaid finished the collection of the Qur'an for
Abu Bakr, Bakr kept it for himself, for his own personal use. It
stayed with him until his death, and afterwards, Umar kept it, and
after Umar died, his daughter Hafsa kept it. Ref. Bukhari vol 6, p.
478. As mentioned, Bakr was the first Caliph, followed by Umar,
followed by Uthman. No doubt Zaid's Qur'an was, for the most part,
very accurate and authentic. However, this Qur'an was not made into
the 'official Qur'an'. This Qur'an was kept for personal use by
those who owned it. Hafsa was a recluse because Muhammad commanded
that his wives not be allowed to marry after his death. This Qur'an
became obscure; it was kept under her bed, some traditions say it
began to be eaten by worms, but was later pronounced fit for use.
It is also feasible to assume that if Zaid's Qur'an
was known to be 100% complete, accurate, and authentic, then Bakr
would have given it immediate public prominence. Instead, it became
a personal Qur'an. Zaid no doubt knew that other, better, masters of
the Qur'an - Masud, Ubay, and others, had also compiled their own
Qur'ans. It is understandable then that Zaid's Qur'an became
obscure... there were better Qur'ans out there being used.
After Bakr's death, Umar became Caliph. After Umar's
murder, Uthman became Caliph. During Uthman's time a Muslim general
- Hudhayfah al-Yaman, led an expedition into northern Syria. There
was a big problem concerning different Qur'anic recitations between
Muslim troops of Iraq and Syria. Each region where these troops were
from had their own Qur'ans, and these soldiers had memorized much of
their respective Qur'ans. The quarrel became so intense that some
soldiers went so far to even deny that what the other troops were
using was even valid Qur'anic material! Hudhayfah, notified Uthman
about it. Uthman became alarmed, foreseeing future discord.
Uthman took action, he did four things: 1) He
announced in the mosque that if anyone had Qur'anic materials, to
bring it to Zaid, 2) Uthman ordered Hafsah to send him her Qur'anic
materials. (These materials were Zaid's earlier Qur'an). Bukhari vol
6, page 479, 3) He appointed a committee of three Qurayshi (Meccan)
men to work with Zaid, to scrutinize all the material sent in, to
accept only that for which two witnesses could be found, 4) When
this recension was finally completed, he had it copied and the
copies were sent to the great metropolitan centers, with orders that
all other codii or portions of revelation material in circulation be
destroyed. This time became known as "the year of the
destruction of the codii". Many of the companions had bitter
hostility against this. Masud said that "(Uthman) had obliterated
the book of Allah".
Uthman wanted to standardize the Qur'an. The fact
that Uthman ordered this drastic action of burning the other
Qur'ans, against the desires of many prominent Muslims, shows that
these had serious textual differences with Zaid's Qur'an.
Uthman canonized the Medinan text, (Zaid was from
Medina, Muhammad was from Mecca), and prohibited the use of any
other. Many of the Quarra did protest, and state that Uthman's
Qur'an was in error, most notably, Ibn Mas'ud. Also note that often
only one witness was found, so the committee had to wait for another
witness to some back from the wars to verify it. Even then they
couldn't agree where certain passages belonged in the collection =
more confusion. This is one reason why some western scholars view
the Qur'an as discombobulated.
During the work of his 2nd recension, Zaid found that
he had made an error: "Zaid said "I missed a verse from al-Ahzab (sura
33), when we transcribed the written text (under Uthman). I used to
hear the messenger of Allah reciting it. We (the committee) searched
for it and found it with Khuzaimah (the same one as before). [It
reads:] "From among the believers are men who are faithful in their
covenant with Allah". So we inserted it in the sura in the text". -
sura 33:23 This shows that Zaid's attempt to produce a complete
codex was not entirely successful, and it was only after the other
copies of Uthman's Qur'an had been made that the relevant verse was
hastily included. Further, this verse was not included in
Zaid's first recension. This is more proof that it was incomplete,
and possibly inferior to the other Qur'ans in use.
Another verse has been called into question by
Hadith literature: verse 2:238. In Uthman's Qur'an it reads
"Maintain your prayers, particularly the middle prayer, and stand
before Allah in devoutness". The variant reads "... the middle
prayer, and the afternoon prayer.....". Muwatta Imam Malik, p. 64.
This Hadith is from Aisha (several of Muhammad's other wives also
made the same change to their Qur'anic material). She commented that
her way was the way she used to hear Muhammad say the verse. She had
her scribe change Uthman's text to read it as she remembered
Muhammad reciting it. Abi Dawud's "Kitab al-Masahif" also records
this variant. We also know that Ubay's Qur'an also reads in
accordance with Aisha's edit. Further, we know that Zaid's original
codex also was in agreement with Aisha's change.
At-Tabari's commentary on the Qur'an records that the
people said to Uthman "the Qur'an was in many books, but now you
have discredited all but one." Jami al-Bayan fii Tasfir al-Qur'an,
1.6.2952 Uthman's Qur'an is the product of a well meaning Caliph,
and one (Zaid) approved authority of the text. Zaid's made an honest
attempt, using his own discretion, as to what should be included or
excluded in the Qur'an. But it was not perfect.
THE Qur'an OF ABDULLAH bin MAS'UD
Who was Masud, and what were his credentials to
justify his collection of the Qur'an? He was one of the first
converts to Islam. He was a Muslim before Umar (the 2nd Caliph) was
a Muslim. He was the first one (besides Muhammad) to recite the
Qur'an in public in Mecca. Masud had been on the hijrahs to both
Abyssinia and Medina. He fought in both the battles of Badr and
Uhud. He was a 'Companion' of Muhammad.
He diligently applied himself to learn the Qur'an by
heart. There is much evidence to show that he was regarded as one of
the foremost authorities on the Qur'an. He was definitely one of the
most highly regarded Qur'anic scholars, as the following Hadith
shows: "Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin Masud was mentioned before
Abdullah bin Amr who said, "That is a man I still love, as I heard
the prophet saying 'Learn the recitation of the Qur'an from four:
form Abdullah bin Masud - he started with him - Salim, the freed
slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu'adh bin Jabal, and Ubai bin Ka'b'". Sahih
al-Bukhari vol. 5, p. 96
Sahih Muslim also acknowledges that Muhammad started
with him...vol 4, p. 1312. Masud was regarded as probably the
foremost authority on the Qur'an. Note Ubay is also mentioned. Ubay
also compiled his own Qur'an, well before Zaid's final recension.
Also note that Zaid ibn Thabit is not mentioned in this list.
There is another Hadith that gives us further
evidence of Masud's prominence in respect of his knowledge of the
Qur'an: "Narrated Abdullah bin Masud: By Allah other than Whom none
has the right to be worshipped! There is no Sura revealed in Allah's
book but I know at what place it was revealed; and there is no verse
revealed in Allah's book but I know about whom it was revealed.
And if I know that there is somebody who knows it better than I, and
he is at a place that camels can reach, I would go to him." Bukhari,
vol 6, p. 488.
In a similar Hadith, Masud also says that he had
recited more than 70 Suras of the Qur'an in Muhammad's presence,
alleging that all of Muhammad's companions were aware that no one
knew the Qur'an better than he did, to which Shaqiq, sitting by
added "I sat in the company of the companions of Muhammad but I did
not hear anyone having rejected that (Masud's recitation of the
Qur'an) or finding fault with it" Sahih Muslim, vol 4, p. 1312.
Obviously, Masud had exceptional knowledge of the
When Uthman ordered that all other Qur'ans be burned,
Masud refused to hand over his copy. By this time, Masud's Qur'an
had become established in Kufa as the standard text, (and Ubay's
Qur'an was the standard text in Syria) while Zaid's first Qur'an had
become relatively obscure. Ref: Abi Dawud "Kitab al Masahif" p. 13.
Masud had always considered his text as authentic, as
the word of God. Before the general Hudaifah contacted Uthman
concerning the standardization of the Qur'ans, Masud and he
exchanged words: "Hudaifah said "It is said by the people of Kufa,
'the reading of Masud', and it is said by the people of Basra, 'the
reading of Musa', (another Muslims Qur'an). By Allah! If I come to
the commander of the faithful (Uthman), I will demand that they (the
various Qur'ans) be drowned! Masud said to him, "Do so, and by Allah
you will also be drowned, but not in water". Ref: Abi Dawud "Kitab
al Masahif" p. 13.
Hudaifah went on to say, "O Abdullah ibn Qais, you
were sent to the people of Basra as their governor, and teacher and
they have submitted to your rules, your idioms and your reading". He
continued, "O Abdullah ibn Masud, you were sent to the people of
Kufa as their teacher who have also submitted to your rules, idioms
and reading". Abdullah Masud said to him, "In that case I have not
led them astray. There is no verse in the book of Allah that I do
not know where it was revealed and why it was revealed, and if I
knew anyone more learned in the book of Allah and I could be
conveyed here, I would set out to him." Note that this is similar to
what's quoted in Bukhari.
Clearly, this dispute occurred because there were
differences between the various texts of the Qur'an.
Regarding Zaid's Qur'an, Masud said "I recited from
the messenger of Allah seventy suras which I had perfected before
Zaid Thabit had embraced Islam. Abi Dawud "Kitab al Masahif" p. 17.
I acquired directly from the messenger of Allah 70
suras when Zaid was still a child, must I now forsake what I
acquired directly from the messenger of Allah?" Abi Dawud "Kitab al
Masahif" p. 15.
Ibn Sa'd's "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol 2, p.444
(I think this translates to: The book of the great companions
contains a reference also to Masud's protest of the order to burn
his Qur'an: The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of
the Qur'an. I like it better to read according to the recitation of
him (Muhammad) who I love more than that of Zaid Thabit. By
Him besides Whom there is no god! I learnt more than 70 suras from
the lips of the apostle of Allah, while Zaid Thabit was a youth,
having two locks and playing with the youth".
Masud clearly regarded his text to be superior to
Zaid's text (SOME OF THE VARIANT READINGS BETWEEN MASUD'S AND
The list of variants between Masud's and Uthman's
Qur'ans fills up 19 pages. There are over 110 variants in sura #2
alone, and about 47 in sura #3. Also, Masud's Qur'an does not have
the first sura, and the last two suras - #s 113, and 114.
Here are a few of the examples:
1) Sura 2:275 begins with "Allathiina
yaakuluunar-ribaa laa yaquumuuna" = "those who devour usury will not
stand". Masud's has the same words but adds "yawmal qiyaamati" = "on
the Day of Resurrection". This variant is found in other Qur'ans,
and Muslim sources.
2) Sura 5:91 contains the exhortation "fasiyaamu
thalaathati ayyaamin" = "fast for three days", Masud's text adds
after the last word an adjective "mutataabi'aatin.. meaning "fast
for three successive days". This variant was also found in Ubay's
Qur'an, and other Qur'ans.
3) Sura 6:153 begins with "Wa anna haathaa siraatii"
= "Verily, this is my path", Masud's text says "Wa haathaa siraatu
rabbakum" = "This is the path of your Lord". Again, other Qur'anic
material also had this variant.
4) Sura 33:6 contains "wa azwaajuhuu ummahaatuhuu" =
and his wives are their mothers", Masud's adds "wa juwa abuu laahum"
= and he is their father". Other Qur'ans also have this variant.
5) In sura 112:1, Masud's omits the word "qul" =
"say". Ubay's does also.
This is a small selection of the hundreds of variant
readings between Uthman's and Masud's Qur'ans.
THE Qur'an OF UBAY IBN KA'B
Who was Ubay, and what were his credentials to
justify his collection of the Qur'an? To start with, he was the
fourth man mentioned of the men Muhammad mentioned to learn the
Qur'an from: "Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin Masud was mentioned
before Abdullah bin Amr who said, "That is a man I still love, as I
heard the prophet saying 'Learn the recitation of the Qur'an from
four: from Abdullah bin Masud - he started with him - Salim, the
freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu'adh bin Jabal, and Ubai bin Ka'b'".
Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 5, p. 96
Ubay was Muhammad's personal secretary - 'ansar'. His
codex was in use before Uthman's, he was a scholar of the Qur'an,
his codex agrees far more with Masud's than Zaid's. In sura two
alone, there are over 90 differences between Ubay's and Zaid's, and
over 30 variants found in sura 3. The following Hadith also notes
Ubay as a great reciter of the Qur'an: "Affan ibn Muslim informed
us... on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, he on the authority of the
Prophet; he said: The best reader (of the Qur'an) among my people is
Ubay ibn Kab." Ibn Sa'd "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol 2, p. 441.
In consequence, Ubay became known as "Sayyidul-Qurra"
= "The Master of the Readers". (Those that recite the Qur'an).
Ubay's codex also contained a vast number of readings which varied
from Zaid's text, and they often agree with Masud's text. As already
shown, Ubay's text agree with Masud's text, and differed from
Zaid's. His order of suras was also different than Zaid's. Further,
Ubay's Qur'an contained two suras that Zaid's Qur'an did not contain
- "The Haste", and "The Separation". These two suras were
found in the codii of Ibn Abbas and Abu Musa.
Here are a few more examples where his Qur'an agreed
with Masud's and differed with Zaid's:
1) 2:204 - Zaid's - "wa yush-hidullaaha", Ubay's -
2) 4:101 - Ubay omitted the words 'in khiftum' from
3) 4:143 - Zaid's - "muthabthabiina", Ubay's -
4) 5:48 - Zaid's - "wa katabnaa 'alayhim fiiha" =
"and We inscribed therein for them (the Jews)" Ubay's - "wa
anzalallaahu alaa banii Isra'iila fiiha" = "and Allah sent down
therein to the Children of Israel"
5) 17:16 - Zaid's - "amarnaa mutrafiihaa fafasaquu"
Ubay's - "ba'athnaa akaabira mujrimiihaa famakaruu"
These variant readings show that the difference
between the Qur'ans was in textual content, not in methods of
pronunciation and dialect.
MISSING PASSAGES OF THE Qur'an
One early Islamic book that deals extensively with
the compilation of the Qur'an is as-Suyuti's "Al-Itqan fii Ulum
al-Qur'an". As previously quoted, many passages of the Qur'an were
lost during the battles around Yamama. Suyuti states (p. 524):
"It is reported from Ismail ibn Ibrahim from Ayyub from Naafi from
Ibn Umar who said: "Let none of you say "I have acquired the whole
of the Qur'an'. How does he know what all of it is when much of the
Qur'an has disappeared? Rather let him say "I have acquired what has
One example as listed is (p.525): "The religion with
Allah is al-Hanifiyyah (the Upright Way) rather than that of the
Jews or the Christians, and those who do good will not go
According to at-Tirmithi in his Kitab al-Tafsir, one
of the sections of his Jami', (his collection of Hadith, which rates
as one of the six major works of authentic tradition literature in
Islam, alongside Bukhari and Muslim, and the three Sunan works of
Abu Dawud, an-Nasai, and Ibn Maja), this verse at one time formed
part of sura 98 - in the Qur'an. This is quite possible as it fits
well into the context of the short sura which contains some of the
words appearing in the missing text, such as 'diin', 'aml, and
'hunafa'. It is also significant to note that in 3:19, Zaid's text
reads "the religion before Allah is Islam", Masud's reads "the
religion before Allah is the upright way".
There are other early Islamic writings that say that
Ubay recalled that there was a time when the sura 33 was the same
length of sura 2, which means it is now missing about 200 verses.
Significantly this missing section is said to have contained the
verses commanding the death sentence for adulters, (to be mentioned
Another reference to a missing verse from Abu Musa,
one of the early authorities on the Qur'an, and a companion of
Muhammad is found in Sahih Muslim, vol 2, p. 501: "We used to recite
a Sura which resembled in length and severity to sura 2. I have
however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember
out of it: "If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of
Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the
stomach of the son of Adam but dust". Suyuti (p. 526) also quotes
Musa as saying "We used to recite a sura similar to one of the
musabbithaat, and I no longer remember it, but this much I have
indeed preserved: "O you who truly believe, why do you preach that
which you do not practice?" [and] "It is inscribed on your necks as
a witness and you will be examined about it on the Day of
Resurrection". These verses are found elsewhere in the Qur'an (many
Qur'anic verses are often repeated in the Qur'an).
The last missing verse I'll address is that of the
stoning verses. Umar is reported to have said the following: "Allah
sent Muhammad with the truth and revealed the holy book to him, and
among what Allah revealed, was the verse of the Rajam (the stoning
of married persons, male and female, who commit adultery) and we did
recite this verse and understood and memorized it. Allah's apostle
did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him. I
am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say 'By
Allah, we do not find the verse of the Rajam in Allah's book', and
thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has
revealed." Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 539. The Qur'an today says the
punishment for adultery is 100 stripes (24:2).
The Jewish law also prescribes stoning for adultery.
It is clear that Umar believed that the Rajam verse originally
valid, was missing, and that adultery should still be enforced. AND,
Umar did not believe that this verse should have been abrogated.
The earliest biography of Muhammad also states:
"Verily stoning in the book of God is a penalty laid on married men
and women who commit adultery, if proof stands or pregnancy is clear
or confession is made.” Ibn Ishaq, "Sirat Rasulallah", p. 684.
Both Bukhari and the Sirat also add that Umar made
mention of another missing verse which was once part of the book of
God: "O people, do not claim to be offspring of other than your
fathers, as it is disbelief on your part to claim to be the
offspring of other than your real fathers." Bukhari, vol 8, p.540.
The Hadith of Muwatta Imam Malik (p. 350) illustrates
Muhammad's actions concerning adultery: "Ibn Shihab reported that a
man in the time of the Apostle of Allah acknowledged having
committed adultery and confessed it four times. The apostle of Allah
then ordered and he was stoned".
Suyuti relates the missing verse of stoning in the
following tradition (p.524): "Zirr ibn Hubaish reported: "Ubay ibn
Kab said to me, 'What is the extent of suratul Ahzab'? I said,
'Seventy, or seventy-three verses'. He said, 'Yet it used to be
equal to Suratul Baqarah and in it we recited the verse of stoning'.
I said, 'And what is the verse of stoning?' He relied, 'The
fornicators among the married men and married women, stone them as
an exemplary punishment from Allah, and Allah is Mighty and wise."
Umar did not believe that this verse was abrogated.
In another Hadith he says "See that you do not forget the verse
about stoning and say: We do not find it in the book of Allah; the
apostle of Allah had ordered stoning and we too have done so, after
him. By the Lord Who holds possession of my life, if people should
not accuse me of adding to the book of Allah, I would have this
transcribed therein: 'Ash-shaikhu wash-shaikhatu ithaa zanayaa
faarjumuu humaa'. We have read this verse". Muwatta Imam Malik, p.
352. Umar went so far as to say he felt that this verse should have
been added to the Qur'an!
The records of the Qur'an's compilation in the
heritage of Islam, show convincingly that there were a whole number
of different codii in vogue during the first generation after
Muhammad's death, and that these all varied from one another. The
adoption of a single text (Zaid's) came only twenty years after
Muhammad's death. The original Qur'an is the work of primarily one
man, Zaid, who admitted making mistakes, and missing verses.
Most of this was
taken from two works by John Gilchrist (http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/index.html):
"Jam' al-Qur'an - The codification of the Qur'an Text", and
"Muhammad and the Religion of Islam".
Compellation of Koran