The preservation of the Qur’an

From Tafseer Sayyid Qutb:

It is We Ourselves who have bestowed this Reminder from on high, and it is We who shall preserve it intact. (Qur’an 15:9)

Preservation of the Qur’ān

The sūrah then calls on them to look carefully on God’s guidance and reflect on it. God only sends down the angels with the truth. He commands them to establish and implement it. In the case of persistent unbelievers, the truth is to destroy them. Not only do they deserve this, but it is also inevitable. Such destruction, then, is a truth in itself and the angels carry it out without delay. God chooses for them what is better than the choice they make for themselves. He gives them the Reminder so that they may reflect on it and follow its guidance. This is much better than sending down the angels with the final truth, if only they would reflect: “It is We Ourselves who have bestowed this reminder from on high, and it is We who shall preserve it intact.” (Verse 9)

It is much better for them, then, to approach it positively, because it will remain intact, suffering no loss or change. It will remain pure, unaffected by falsehood, free of distortion. It guides them to the truth with God’s care, if they really want the truth. If they were asking for angels to make sure of it, they should know that God does not wish to send down angels for them, because He wants what is better for them. Hence, He sent down the Reminder which is preserved intact. That is better than sending angels to destroy them.
When we look today, after the passage of many centuries, at the fulfillment of God’s promise to preserve the Qur’ān, we see a great miracle testifying to the fact that it is God’s book. We see that the circumstances and situations that it has endured over the centuries could not have left it intact, suffering no change of even a single sentence or a single word, without the interference of a superior power. That power, which is greater than all situations, factors and circumstances, has preserved this book keeping it pure from change or distortion.

There was a time when many sects and groups sought to find support for their ideas in the Qur’ān and the Ĥadīth. The resulting conflict was fuelled by the Jews, the diehard enemies of this faith, and by those who advocated nationalism. These were known in Islamic history as Shu`ūbiyyīn. These groups sought to introduce foreign elements into the Sunnah. Only the colossal efforts of scores of bright, pious and meticulous scholars, over several decades, purged the Ĥadīth from that which did not belong to it.

In times of conflict and strife, such sects deliberately misinterpreted Qur’ānic verses, twisting Qur’ānic texts so that they could cite them in support of their views and rulings. But they were all, even in the darkest and hardest circumstances, totally unable to introduce a single change into the text of the Qur’ān, the book God has guaranteed to preserve. Its text has remained exactly as it was revealed by God, providing a challenge to every would-be perpetrator of distortion. This is irrefutable testimony to the fact that this Qur’ān is God’s own book and He is the One who guarantees its preservation.

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