Posted: 653 AD
Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Sources in Arabia report Muslim mobs have destroyed copies of the Holy Quran in book-burnings held at cities throughout Arabia and the Muslim world.
Instigated by a fatwa of the Caliph Uthman that proscribes any unauthorized copy of Islam's Holy Book following a newly completed rescension, all existing older copies of the Quran have been rounded up and consigned to the flames.
According to noted Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn Bahadur Zarkashi “Ibn Abi Dawud records Musab ibn Sad ibn Abi Waqqas to have testified:
"I saw the people assemble in large number at Uthman's burning of the proscribed copies; not a one spoke out against him." Ali commented, "If I were in command in place of Uthman, I would have done the same."Ali was a companion of the Prophet (pbuh) himself, during his lifetime and clearly approved the actions taken by Caliph Uthman. During Uthman's rule Islam had spread to many areas where the Muslims were not Arabs and couldn't read Arabic properly, so many variant readings sprung out. To correct this Uthman appointed a committee of scribes to produce a standardized version of the Qur'an, which was sent to each city under Muslim rule. All older copies were to be collected and burned.
Even though Arabia is one of several countries where desecrating the the Quran may be punishable by death, officials have shown little interest in this case. No arrests were made, and no official investigation has been undertaken to date.
As told by Wikipedia, most schools of Islamic law dictate that a Muslim may not touch the Qur'an, which is regarded as the literal word of God, unless he or she is in a state of ritual purity (wudu). Muslims must always treat the book with reverence, and are forbidden, for instance, to pulp, recycle, or simply discard worn-out copies of the text. Intentionally insulting the Qur'an is regarded as a form of blasphemy, and has led to rioting.
As of this writing the fate of the original copy of the Holy Quran, compiled by the Messenger Himself (pbuh) remains uncertain. The hadith make it clear that the Qur'an was available in written form from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), reports Sahih Al-Bukhari, our most reliable source. He tells us,
“Narrated Qatadah: I asked Anas Ibn Malik: ‘Who collected the Qur’an at the time of Prophet?’ He replied: ‘Four, all of whom were from the Ansar: Ubay Ibn Ka‘ab, Mu‘adh Ibn Jabal, Zayd Ibn Thabit and Abu Zayd.'”This first Quran was allegedly in the possession of Hafsa bint Umar, a daughter of Umar and one of Muhammad's widows, and was thrown into the fires and burnt with the other old copies. The loss of this original manuscript, reputed to be the literal word of God, would arguably be a great loss to historians.
Skeptics, who asked to remain anonymous, dismissed Uthman's latest move as political grandstanding designed to gain support for his illegitimate Caliphate and distract attention from the War in Baluchistan.