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In the bible, there are many textual variations. Various sources ,such as the Qumran manuscripts, the Septuagint, and the Masoretic text, all say different things. Sometimes comparing those differences are useful to "guess" what the original text actually said.

In Islamic history, Uthman destroyed all "different" versions of Qur'an when he compiled and standardized the Uthmanic text. So we never know what all those other versions are.

Are there surviving ancient copies with slight variations like in the Bible?

Is there any controversy between the modern Qur'an and what the originals text may have said?

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I don't know of any significant controversy on this front; it is commonly accepted that the Uthmanic text was compiled during Uthman's lifetime, and that this was due (at least in part) to conflicts arising from Qur'anic variants that had spread throughout the Islamic world by that time.

Just the fact that the text was not only standardized, but standardized during the first generation of Islam while people who had been the original recipients of the message were still alive, gives a level of authority to Uthman's text that can't really be found in Biblical manuscripts. Pretty much every historical manuscript found is based off the Uthmanic text.

The Sana'a manuscript, discovered in 1972, contains examples of the pre-Uthmanic text, and is possibly the only preserved pre-Uthmanic text available. As expected, this contains many textual variations to Uthman's standard text.

That said, the means of transmission at that time — and for generations after — was still predominantly verbal, and the alphabet used at the time was, shall we say, incomplete. Even with the exact same text, there were still many ways — often conflicting — to read any particular passage.

There are now multiple readings (qira'at) of the Uthmanic text accepted by scholars; with no real consensus on which of them is most correct — given hadith reports that the Qur'an was revealed in multiple dialects simultaneously, it's quite possible that they're all correct — they are typically considered co-valid. Variant readings do exist, but these are generally rejected.

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No , There is no different versions and no controversy , But there was 7 main Arabic dialects in the past , and Othman (not Omar) decide to save only Quraysh's one (the purest and easiest)

In (Al Hijr 9){إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ} which means {Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.}

IMHO : Arabic was not complete-written language in the past (there was no points , no Conformation) so writing was not that Big Important to save Quran , Where the main way to save was memorizing , and Muslims belive that the Quran reach this age "Verbally" and this is an important point .

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During the life of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), his followers used to recite Quran in front of him. If there was any mistake, he definitely would have corrected it. Quran in textual form was given less importance during Muhammad(PBUH) time due to the ability of people to memorize huge verses of Quran. Quran in textual form rose in importance when huge number of Islamic scholars died in a battle. It was then decided to have a formal text based Quran. The Quran was composed in presence of the important Sahabi's who had the written proof of Quran, somewhere in leather or bark. There might be discrepancies due to different dialect in Saudi Arabia, but as someone here already mentioned that during Uthman(RA) lifetime that sort of discrepancies were removed, by burning of all but one dialect of Quran.

Just to add, there was also edition of Quran during Muhammad (PBUH) lifetime. Not all verses that were send to him took the final form of Quran. But after Muhamma(PBUH) lifetime, the Quran is what is, and it is in that form till today.

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    Welcome to Islam. Please provide some references. – Bleeding Fingers Jan 5 '14 at 15:18
  • @BleedingFingers: I am a Muslim by birth. I never used internet for learning Islam. Its all in paper book. I have the books and I learned from Islamic scholars, that is about that.So, I think I will be least welcomed here, ha! – motiur Jan 5 '14 at 15:41
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    Of course not, you are definitely welcome. I'm sure you can provide precise reference to the relevant content of those books. You can scan or take a good quality picture and upload them here, but it would be preferred, although it wouldn't be as convenient as cut-paste, that you type them here, that increase the searchablity. Welcome again. But I request you to go around this site and How to Ask, How to Answer, help center and Islam Meta. And also the formatting tools that are available. – Bleeding Fingers Jan 5 '14 at 15:49
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There were many different versions. But when Uthman undertook the job of collecting the Kuran, he was more disposed for the version of Quraysh quite arbitrarily. And he ordered the burning of the rest.

Actually, the Kuran is not very much guarded like fellow Mustafa has said. There's at least a lost verse about one of the Hudud of stoning the adulterer to death. There's a sahih Hadith by Ayisha describing the loss of the verse on the day of the of the prophet's death when a poultry ate it.

Here's a fatwa about it in Arabic (sorry, I know of no English version). There are 7 approved readings of the Kuran. They were actually 14 but again arbitrariness.

  • Here is the question. What you mean by Quran? There were also hundreds of verses about sahaba. In surah baqarah(106) Allah says "We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?". – hellzone Jan 6 '14 at 12:58

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