Tawatur: Forgotten Historical Evidence in the Studies of Wansbrough and His Followers

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran

2 Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran

Abstract

For Muslims, the tawatur of the Quran—the fact that it has been massively and consecutively transmitted from generation to generation since the time of the Prophet—is among the most important proofs which shows that the Qur’an we have today is the same scripture that was revealed to the Prophet. However, this proof has been neglected in the studies of Western scholars on the topic of the history of the Quran. Moreover, some Western scholars, such as John Wansbrough and Gerald Hawting, claim that since the Quran does not give any information about its formation and because there are no sources with information about the Quran that date back to the first two centuries of Islam, the Quran should be considered the product of the discussions and debates between Muslims and followers of other religions, with its text finalized in the early third century AH. However, contrary to Wansbrough and other like-minded scholars, who hold that the first two centuries of Islamic history are obscure and vague, a quick look at the history of Islam shows that in the first decades of Islam, Muslims had gone to different parts of the World, including some parts of Europe, and the Christians and Jews were watching the developments of this new religion. Hence, it is not possible that an important event, such as the formation of the Quran, could occur in the second or third century AH without any of the non-Muslim historians noticing it. In addition, many Western academics who have studied Islam and the Quran in recent centuries have trusted Muslim accounts on the matter.

Keywords


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