Dear Dr. Karen Armstrong,
I read with keen interest your inspiring biography of Prophet Muhammad (saws) published by Harper (1993). I am a great admirer of your work on Islam and am currently reading your book “Islam–A short History”.
May I with due respect and in all humility bring to your notice the following statement in the Biography of the Prophet needs reconsideration:
A. When the first official compilation was made in about 650, some twenty years after Prophet’s death, the editors put the longer suras at the beginning and the shortest, which include those revealed earliest to the Prophet at the end” ( page 50, para 2)…
The fact is, as borne out by authentic sources that an official copy of the full text of the Qura’n was scribed during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (ra) () within two years of the death of the Prophet(saws). It remained in the custody of Khalifa Umar(ra) after the death of AbuBakr. It was kept in the custody of Lady Hafsa.after Umar’s death Khalifa Uthman(ra) obtained this officially compiled and scribed copy of the Qur’an from Lady Hafsa. He got multiple copies of this text scribed in the Quraisihi dialect and distributed a copy each to the then main centres of the Islamic realm..
The texts of the Qur’an which we read today is the same as it was arranged by the Prophet.The final text of the Qur’an was notrearranged by Khalifa Uthman. In fact according to a tradition it was suggested to Khalifa Uthman that “Bismillah-hirrahmanirr-rahim ” should be added in the beginning of sura Al-Tauba( Chapter 9) which he refused because the Prophet had not included it.