Considering that almost all parchment books were scrapped clean from older books and then rewritten the dating problem is hardly a surprise. What it does confirm is that the text was fixed early on and likely about 650 with Caliph Abu Bakr.
Researchers Just Made A Bombshell Discovery That Could Shake Islam To Its Core
The history of Islam may have to be "revised."
Randy DeSoto August 31, 2015 at 2:24pm
Scientists at Oxford University in England have determined that a recently discovered text of the Koran could predate the life of the Prophet Muhammad, undermining the account of how the book came into being.
The discovery “…destabilises [sic.], to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Koran emerged — and that in turn has implications for the historicity of Muhammad and the Companions [his followers],” historian Tom Holland told the Sunday Times.
According to Islamic teachers, the Prophet Muhammad received a series of revelations through angelic visitations–which took place between 610 and 632 A.D., when he died. Tradition holds that these revelations were memorized and recited orally by the religion’s earliest teachers and adherents. The first Muslim community was founded in Medina in 622 A.D.
Caliph Abu Bakr, the first leader of the Islamic community following Muhammad’s death, ordered the teachings to be consolidated in a book. The book was completed in 650, under the leadership of Caliph Uthman (who had succeeded Abu Bakr), according to the Daily Mail.
Carbon dating of the Birmingham Koran–discovered last month and believed to be the oldest known version of the book–place its origins between 568 A.D. and 645 A.D., which could predate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (570 A.D.), as well as the revelations he reputedly received as being the source of the Koran (between 610-632) and the historical account of when the finalized text came into being (650 A.D.)
Breitbart reports: “Needless to say, Muslim academics have disputed the claims. Mustafa Shah of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) said: ‘If anything, the manuscript has consolidated traditional accounts of the Koran’s origins.'”
Shady Hekmat Nasser from the University of Cambridge added: “We already know from our sources that the Koran was a closed text very early on in Islam, and these discoveries only attest to the accuracy of these sources.”
“Dr Keith Small, a Koranic manuscript consultant at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, admits the carbon dating applies to the parchment, not the ink, while the calligraphy is characteristic of a later style. Nevertheless, he believes the dates are probably correct and could raise serious questions for Islam,” according to Breitbart.
“If the [carbon] dates apply to the parchment and the ink, and the dates across the entire range apply, then the Koran — or at least portions of it — pre-dates Muhammad, and moves back the years that an Arabic literary culture is in place well into the 500s,” said Small.
“This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Koran’s genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven,” the expert noted.
“This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised…” he contended.