I have found an article in https://amp.theguardian.com/education/2000/aug/08/highereducation.theguardian, It says,

Dr Gerd R Puin, a renowned Islamicist at Saarland University, Germany, says it is not one single work that has survived unchanged through the centuries. It may include stories that were written before the prophet Mohammed began his ministry and which have subsequently been rewritten

It also says nonsense like thet the Quran has been changed,

As years went by, the correct reading of the Koran became less clear, he says. People made changes to make sense of the text.

Puin gives as example Hajjaj bin Yusuf, governor of Iraq from 694-714 AD, who

was proud of inserting more than 1,000 alifs [first letter of the Arabic alphabet] in the Koranic text.

Did he really examine Sana'a Quran? He even said

There are dialectal and phonetical variations that don't make any sense in the text

Can anyone tell me if Gerd R Puin has any authority in quranic study and regarding Sana'a Quran? As I know, the difference between the Sana'a Quran and the current editions doesn't affect it's meaning but this article is making me doubt. Also about alif, is this a vowel sign that was added later in quran by hajjaj?

  • Wish we could just copy paste answers aswell.
    – AbduRahman
    Dec 7, 2022 at 16:05
  • don't be sarcastic!!!I was concerned about it🤧 Dec 8, 2022 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


The Arabic writing used in the Quran edition that was written down under Uthman was deficient to a degree that it was hard to read without any oral knowledge of the text; all the consonant dots were missing so that e.g. j, t th, n all looked the same. The Sana'a manuscript is still held in this writing.

Fortunately, it was not Hajjaj bin Yusu himself who did this (Muslim and non -Muslim sources describe him as a brutal and intolerant warlord) but rather Hasan al-Basri who added the consonant dots (not the vowel dots which were added later). The Alif is often used to indicate a long A rather than the glottal sound it originally stands for. As to my information, al-Basri also invented the Alif-hamza to make a difference between the two roles of this letter. Comparison between the Sana'a manuscript and the later text show quite little difference in the orthography, so that it's likely rather 1000 Hamza than 1000 Alif added.

Nevertheless, our understanding of the Quran strongly depends on the knowledge of al-Basri as many words in the original writing could also be read differently, yielding a really different sense.

Gerd R Puin is part of the Saarland School. They claim that the Quran was not written down in more or less the same form as today under Uthman but had further redactions. The positions are disputed among Islamic scientists. He has certainly the knowledge and the means to study the ancient manuscripts but his findings seem to be very biased to support his thesis that all was different from what the later tradition reports, whereas objectively, one could only state that things may have been different.

Links: Wikipedia on Gerd Rüdiger Puin

Inarah website

Karl-Heinz Ohlig / Gerd-Rüdiger Puin (Hg.), Die dunklen Anfänge. Neue Forschungen zur Entstehung und zur frühen Geschichte des Islam (German)

A secondary article on him (German)

Wikipedia on Revisionist schools in Islamic science in general

Literature collection: Wild,

  • Thank you Jeschu.Can you recommend any good online source so that I can know about islamic and quranic history more? Dec 10, 2022 at 13:48
  • 1
    If you want to get an overview on Islam history, I recommend Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Islam?wprov=sfla1. It contains a lot of useful links.
    – Jeschu
    Dec 12, 2022 at 13:17
  • Jeschu, Sorry to bother you again but I have a confusion. Was hamza alif later added by Hasan al basri in the text of quran for glottal sound and before that for glottal sound no alif or any symbol were used?I'm confused cause Puin said 1000 alif were added later and it was not before in the text so there is no need to make difference between the role of two alifs and he gives credit to Hajjaj for that. Dec 18, 2022 at 14:42
  • According to the cited publication, it's not Puin who says that 1000 Aliphs were added but rather an older source (which I don't know) that claims that Hajjaj had done it. But that source need not be accurate. Anyway, the original Quran is not been written down by the Prophet, so that the really important question is how reliable the oral tradition was - a question that can hardly be answered from written documents.
    – Jeschu
    Dec 19, 2022 at 16:26
  • oh,ok,thank you😊 Dec 20, 2022 at 12:05

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