It is not clearly known from which source finally the Quran was compiled whether from earlier fragmented writings preserved on Animal skins, bone, Date palm wood and animal shoulder or whether from people’s memory. I have seen some answers here which claims that sources are from both.

A written source is always undisputed and is logically the authentic source as compared to a memorised one. This is basically so because a memoriser can wilfully twist and recite (However trusted he may be) and there is no way of verifying it unlike a written source. With this I mean there is scope for N numbers of instances for omission and additions.

So if there were written sources of Quran then there was no need to consult the memorisers at the time of compilation of Quran. it is like taking best of the two sources. Was it therefore from both sources or either of the one source?

  • possible duplicate of How do we know that the Qur'an has never been changed?
    – Abdullah
    Sep 14, 2012 at 10:07
  • 4
    "a written source is always undisputed" is a gross over-simplication; written sources are often disputed; in terms of pedigree, authenticity, completeness, correctness, accuracy, translation (where appropriate), whether they've been modified, whether they are actually derived from earlier works (written or oral-tradition), etc Sep 14, 2012 at 10:19
  • Accepted but… Oral version too are subject to all these probabilities of pedigree, authenticity, completeness, correctness, accuracy, translation. Conversely there is high probability of written sources of not being so, as compared to oral sources which can change at every flip of your fingers.
    – user426
    Sep 14, 2012 at 11:00
  • @Abdullah I have seen that answer but it does not say anything about the reliability of the original sources.
    – user426
    Sep 14, 2012 at 11:05
  • the quran has a strong oral tradition. To know how it works you would need to open another question, but i have answered below only about a written source.
    – islam101
    Sep 14, 2012 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


The Quran has a very strong oral tradition. The effectiveness of this oral tradition can be observed by simply picking any number of quranic reciters who may be worlds apart and asking them to recite any part of the Quran.

Quran's historic reliability by "written source"

When the quran was being revealed to the Prophet(pbuh), he would by heart it himself and make all his companions by heart it. The companions would keep on revising and checking each other often. This happened while the prophet(pbuh) was amongst them and even after.

The oldest Quran that exist today is the Uthman Quran. This Quran was compiled under the khilafah of Uthman(ra). It was compiled 19 years after the prophet(pbuh).

At the time of compilation there were many companions of the prophet(pbuh) who had learnt it directly from the prophet(pbuh) so verification was never a problem.

A point to note here is that even though different sects in Muslims differ in many rulings there is consensus about every word of the Quran.

  • Nice answer, I don't understand why they cant photocopy Uthman Quran? Sep 14, 2012 at 12:16
  • 2
    This is far from an answer to the question. It is also not clear as what it tries to justify, since the matter is for oral source and the heading is for written source. The question is though is very pointed. Whether the Quran was compiled from oral or written source? Answer seems to suggest that Quran was from oral traditions and not from written tradition for some valid reasons. Then the next questions arises as to what were the differences in written source as compared to oral ones.
    – user426
    Sep 15, 2012 at 4:13
  • @user426 you wanted a written source which is "undisputed", so above I have given the same. If another question arises, pls ask a new one, not as a comment.
    – islam101
    Sep 15, 2012 at 15:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .