To ensure the preservation of an important spiritual teaching, one must keep the text as far away from potential corruption as possible. Wise Chinese and Jews learned early on that memorization poses potential problems and decided it is far better to put things down in writing.
Muhammad and the first Muslims, on the other hand, were not so wise. They depended solely on memorization. And the result was nothing short of catastrophic for the "integrity" of their original text (bold print mine for emphasis):
“Many (of the passages) of the Qur'an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama ... but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur'an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them.” -- Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.23
Second caliph ‘Umar bin al-Khattab stated emphatically that certain verses, including the verse of stoning adulterers, were lost. -- Bukhari 8.82.816-817; 9.424; 4.52.299; 5.59.416, 421; Muslim 5.2286Islamic sources also relate that, because they relied on their memories rather than on pen and paper, or perhaps more accurately in their case, quill and papyrus (or vellum), Muslims actually forgot entire passages of their Quran:
Abu Harb b. Abu al-Aswad reported on the authority of his father that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari sent for the reciters of Basra... We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara'at. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it:" If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust." -- Sahih Muslim 2286, "The Book of Zakat (Kitab Al-Zakat)"Surah Bara'at is the ninth chapter of the Quran, has 129 verses and is alternately titled, Sura at-Taubah. Abu Harb admitted above that Muslims forgot an entire chapter of the Quran that would have been almost the same size as the Apostle Paul's Book of Galatians. An entire chapter of the Quran lost forever because of the failure of Muslim memories!
One Islamic website gives us a better idea of just how much of the Quran was lost in total:
"At-Tabarani has narrated with trustworthy chain of narrators from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that he said, 'The Qur'an is one million and twenty seven thousand letters..." (As-Suyuti, al-Itqan, vol. 2. p 70.) But the total of the letters in the whole Qur'an is not more than 267,053 as is recorded at the end of many editions of the Qur'an. In other words, three-fourths of the Qur'an was lost!"The same site explains that this loss was confirmed by a substantial number of reliable sources close to Muhammad:
"Unfortunately the 'ahadith' of major or minor deletions are attributed to many famous personalities of Islam, like Ummu 'l-mu'minin 'A'ishah, Ummu 'l-mu'minin Hafsah, Ummu 'l-mu'minin Umm Salimah, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf, 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, Zayd ibn Arqam, Jabir ibn 'Abdullah, Buraydah, Maslamah ibn Makhlad, Abu Waqid al-Laythi, and the aunt of Abu Amamah ibn Sahl, in addition to the tabi'in (disciples of the companions) 'Ikrimah and Imam Malik ibn Anas."Islamic scholars affirm this very important point which, not surprisingly, we never hear about from Muslim debaters:
`Abdullah b.`Umar reportedly said, 'Let none of you say, "I have got the whole of the Qur'an." How does he know what all of it is? Much of the Qur'an has gone. Let him say instead, "I have got what has survived."' -- Jalal al Din `Abdul Rahman b. Abi Bakr al Suyuti, al-Itqan fi `ulum al-Qur'an, Halabi, Cairo, 1935/1354, Volume 2, p. 25Another resource relates...
Said Abu ‘Ubaid:
Isma’il b. Ibrahim related to us from Ayyub from Nafi‘ from Ibn ‘Umar who said – Let none of you say, “I have learned the whole of the Koran,” for how does he know what the whole of it is, when much of it has disappeared? Let him rather say, “I have learned what is extant thereof.” -- Ibn Warraq, Origins of the Koran – Classic Essays on Islam’s Holy Book [Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY 1998], Part Two: The Collections and the Variants of the Koran, 9. Abu ‘Ubaid on the Verses Missing from the Koran, by Arthur Jeffery, p. 151One of the early Sunni scholars Qasim bin Salam (d. 222 H) records:
حدثنا إسماعيل بن إبراهيم ، عن أيوب ، عن نافع ، 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 منه
Ismail bin Ibrahim narrated from Ayub from Naf’ee from Ibn Umar who said: ‘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.’
Ismail bin Ibrahim: Dahabi said: ‘Hujja’ (Al-Kashif, vol. 1, p. 242), Ibn Hajar said: ‘Thiqah’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, vol. 1 p. 90). Ayub al-Sekhtiani: Dahabi said: ‘The master of scholars’ (Siar alam alnubala, vol. 6, p. 15), Ibn Hajar said: ‘Thiqah Thabt Hujja’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, vol. 1, p. 116). Naf’ee: Dahabi said: ‘The Imam of Tabayeen’ (Al-Kashif, vol. 2, p. 315), Ibn Hajar said: ‘Thiqah Thabt’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, vol. 2, p. 239). (Fadhail al-Quran by Qasim bin Salam, Volume 2 p. 135)"
Why did Allah not instruct Muhammad to write it all down?
One of Allah's 99 names is supposed to be that of Master Planner (other translations say, "Best of Deceivers"). But how could the Master Planner not have planned for a back up copy of his "revelations?"
How could Allah not know that Muhammad and his Muslims would forget particular verses in the Quran?
How could he not know that so many hafiz would die in the Battle of Yamama?
How could he not know that a tame goat (other sources say sheep) would eat his ayat on adult suckling and stoning?
The Quran is a stark contrast to the pure and preserved Word of the Son of YHWH God, Who said,
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35
Borrowing from an old joke about a computer contest between Jesus and Satan, we learn that while Allah failed to make a back up, Jesus wins on every front every single time...
Much of the Quran has disappeared and the Muslims can’t do anything about it!: An Analysis of Ibn Umar’s Statement that the Quran is Incomplete, by Sam Shamoun
Is There Truly Only One Quran?
Some Ahadith of Omission