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In the book "Fadhael al-Quran" written by Abū ʻUbayd al-Qāsim ibn Sallām (a scholar from the Salaf), Ibn Umar says:

Verily among you people one would say that he has found the Quran whilst he is unaware of what the total quantity of the Quran was, because most of the Quran has been lost rather one should say that verily he has found the Quran that has appeared.

~ Fadhael al-Quran - Volume 2, Page 135

I know, this book is not that much popular but the authenticity in Islam is not measured by book's popularity but Isnad & the Isnad of the above quote is 100% authentic as the chain of narration is:

Ibn Umar -> Nafi -> Ayub -> Ismael bin Ibrahim.

All these narrators are reliable according to Ibn Hajar and al-Dhahabi.

  • See Al-Kashif, vol. 1 page 242 by Dhahabi and Taqrib al-Tahdib, vol. 1 page 90 by Ibn Hajar for Ismael Bin Ibrahim's reliability.
  • See Siyar alam alnubala, vol. 6 page 15 by Dhahabi and Taqrib al-Tahdib, vol 1 page 116 by Ibn Hajar for Ayub's reliablity
  • See Al-Kashif, vol. 2 page 315 by Dhahabi and Taqrib al-Tahdib, vol. 2 page 239 by Ibn Hajar for Nafi.

So:

How do we explain the saying of Ibn Umar?

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Ibn Hajar writes:

وقد أخرج بن الضريس من حديث بن عمر أنه كان يكره أن يقول الرجل قرأت القرآن كله ويقول إن منه قرآنا قد رفع

“Ibn ad-Durays has narrated a report of Ibn ‘Umar that he used to dislike the person who said, ‘I have recited the whole of the Qur’an.’ He (Ibn ‘Umar) used to say, ‘But (the reality is) a part of the Qur’an has been abrogated.’

Fath al-Bari, Vol. 9, pp. 65

Dr. Sa‘d bin ‘Abdullah al-Humayyid comments on this particular narration:

و يفهم من كلام ابن عمر لضى الله عنه: أنه في رأيه أن الآيات المنسوخة بعد نسخها تسمى كذالك قرآناً أو باعتبار ما كان

“And it appears from the words of Ibn ‘Umar that in his opinion even the abrogated verses could also be called Qur’an after their being abrogated or (they could be so called) by the way what they once were.”

Sunan Sa’eed bin Mansoor Vol. 2, 433

Imam al-Alusi helps explain the issue:

أجمعوا على عدم وقوع النقص فيما تواتر قرآنا كما هو موجود بين الدفتين اليوم، نعم أسقط زمن الصديق ما لم يتواتر وما نسخت تلاوته … وعليه يحمل ما رواه أبو عبيد عن ابن عمر قال: لا يقولن أحدكم قد أخذت القرآن كله وما يدريه ما كله قد ذهب منه قرآن كثير ولكن ليقل قد أخذت منه ما ظهر

“Verily they (i.e. people of Sunnah) have agreed on there being no loss in the Qur’an as is continuously reported like we today find between the two bindings. Yes during the time of (Abu Bakr) as-Sidiq the part which was not reported continuously and was (rather) abrogated was dropped (out of the official mushaf)…and to this relates that which is reported by Abu ‘Ubayd from Ibn ‘Umar, who said: ‘None of you should say that he has taken the whole of the Qur’an; how could he know what all of it was! A lot of the Qur’an has passed him by! Let him say instead: I have taken of the Qur’an that which became apparent.’

Tafseer Ruh al-M’ani Vol. 1, pp. 26

If we connect the dots, we see that:

  1. Ibn Umar himself testified that the Qur'an was preserved and this is agreed upon.
  2. It is understood that no part of the Qur'an is missing rather the lost part in reality are abrogated.
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  • I agree with everything you said and ofcourse, Ibn Umar believed Quran is preserved... But my question is about the authentic saying of Ibn Umar? How do you explain that? If he believed Quran is preserved, he also believed most of the Quran has beel lost. You can't doubt his saying I've quoted as it is 100% authentic... – Ghz... Jun 20 at 16:07
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    Read the answer again, the "lost part" he was referring to is actually just abrogated verses. – Affan Jun 20 at 16:22
  • Yes, I know what you are saying but this is not about 1,2 verses... Ibn Umar said "most of the Quran has been lost" which in your terms mean "most of the Quran has been abrogated" ?? More than 50% of the Quran has been abrogated ?? – Ghz... Jun 20 at 16:31
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    The Arabic word katheer does not mean ‘much’ in the comparative sense. In the comparative sense it can even be used to mean less than what it is compared to. The same is the case with abrogation that we are discussing. The abrogated part of the Qur’an was definitely less than what remains. Ibn ‘Umar only aimed to highlight the fact that verses of the Qur’an were abrogated and no one should say that they have memorized the whole of the Qur’an (including those verses) as it rests in the guarded tablets with Allah. – Affan Jun 20 at 16:35

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