Quranic Variant that Changes the Meaning – Hafs and Warsh

One of the claims of the Muslim for the perfect preservation of the Qur’an is that, since its revelation and down to the compilation, the Qur’an has maintained it pristine position, and that not a word, letter or even jot had changed! In order to validate this, Muslim apologist are quick to verse 9 of the 15th chapter of the Qur’an, which states;

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). – Yusuf Ali

Muslim Apologist and exegetes, had in the time past and currently used this verse as an evidence of Allah’s promise to protect the Qur’an from changes (corruption), in form of addition and omission. One of Islam’s most popular and respected tafsir, the tafsir of the Al Jalalayn has this to say on the verse in question;

Verily it is We nahnu emphasises the subject of inna or functions as a separating pronoun Who have revealed the Remembrance the Qur’ān and assuredly We will preserve it against substitution distortion additions and omissions. – Tafsir al-Jalalayn

Interestingly, only few Muslim Apologist makes the claim again due to the manuscripts evidence that are now being discovered from recent examinations and analysis. A good example is the recent publication of Dr. Dan Brubaker on the , you might want to see the book promo here if you haven’t, you might also want to see Dr. Jay Smith’s debate with Mansur Ahmed on this at the speaker’s corner here as well. Finally, if you haven’t bought the book, you could get it on Amazon by clicking on this link.

With that said, we want take a look at another interesting aspect of this subject, namely the readings of the Qur’an. Many Muslims today are faced with the dilemma presented by the various readings of the Qur’an available today, many are even reluctant to call them variant readings, they prefer to call them just readings of the Qur’an. Out of the multiple readings of the Qur’an that exist today, we will only examine and compare that of Hafs and Warsh, the reason being that, these two are the widely used in the Muslim ummah today.

Even though the Hafs is widely used in 90% of the Muslim world today, and the Warsh reading with about 10%, we shall examine a few textual variant between these two readings and see if they change the meaning of not. Many Muslims and Muslim Apologist claim that these readings do not really change the meaning, but are merely complementing to one another, and that the message are exactly these same, the truth is, this claim is completely false. More