Carbon dating of what has been called the world’s oldest Q’uran suggests that the manuscript may have been written before the Muhammed was born, so that the book of which this is a copy would be even older. Islam teaches that the Q’uran was delivered directly to the prophet from Heaven, but this would indicate that he may have been drawing on a pre-existent text in formulating the new religion.
But in fairness, it is possible to put a different construction on the evidence. The carbon dating has the manuscript as having been written between 568-645 A.D. Muhammad lived from 570-632 A.D. Islamic tradition says that the Q’uran was given to the prophet between 610-632 A.D., with the writings formally collected into a single book around 650 A.D.
Carbon dating gives a range, not a precise date. And it seems to me that the traditional accounts still fall within this range.
Scholars believe a copy of the Koran held in England may be even older than the Prophet Muhammad.
Carbon dating of a fragment from a Koran stored at a Birmingham library suggests that the book was produced between 568 and 645 A.D., said scientists at the University of Oxford, but Islamic scholars generally believe Muhammad lived between 570 and 632 A.D.If the carbon dating is accurate, the Koran was made before the first formal text was assembled on orders from the caliph Uthman in 653 — and it could date from Muhammad’s childhood or even before his birth, reported The Times of London.
That’s comparable to the discovery of gospel sayings dating from Jesus Christ’s infancy, academics say.
“According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Qur’an, the scripture of Islam, between the years AD 610 and 632, the year of his death,” explained Professor David Thomas, Professor of Christianity and Islam and Nadir Dinshaw Professor of Interreligious Relations at the University of Birmingham.
“At this time, the divine message was not compiled into the book form in which it appears today. Instead, the revelations were preserved in ‘the memories of men.’ Parts of it had also been written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels,” Thomas said. “Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of the Muslim community after Muhammad, ordered the collection of all Qur’anic material in the form of a book. The final, authoritative written form was completed and fixed under the direction of the third leader, Caliph Uthman, in about AD 650.”
HT: Paul McCain