The pagan Arabs were mostly illiterate and very rarely had the facilities or the wherewithal to put down in writing the verses of the Quran. Most of the Quran had to be memorised by those who were attending Muhammad at any one time.
Since Muhammad had to inform some of his immediate followers of his alleged 'revelations'at different times, in different places to different companions - over the incredibly long period of twenty three years - it was impossible for him to keep track of the verses, their contents and to which Sura they belonged.
He was after all, giving different versions of a verse to different companions at different times and different localities. This caused of course, dissent, consternation and bewilderment among his followers.
When confronted by the numerous and very embarrassing discrepancies, Muhammad escaped this dilemma by informing his gullible and ignorant followers that the Quran was 'revealed' in SEVEN different ways, modes, versions or dialects.
Allah, who gave the Torah to Moses in only one form and in a singular language, had to give the'glorious and inimmitable' Quran in SEVEN different ways.
The reader should be reminded that many of the MEMORIZERS of the Quran perished in the earliest battles of 'Islam',BEFORE the Quran was finally collated and collected.
Hence, even according to the Hadiths, innumerable verses were lost in that way as well as in other ways as detailed in 'The Collection of the Quran' section.
Al-Tirmidhi HadithHadith 2215Narrated byUbayy ibn Ka'b
Ubayy told of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) meeting Gabriel and saying, "I have been sent, Gabriel, to a people who are unlettered, among whom are old women and old men, boys and girls, and men who have never read a book." He replied, "The Qur'an, Muhammad, has been sent down in seven modes."
Tirmidhi transmitted it.
Al-Muwatta Hadith Hadith 15.5 About the Qur'an
Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abd al-Qari said that he had heard Umar ibn al-Khattab say, "I heard Hisham ibn Hakim ibn Hizam reciting Surat al-Furqan (Sura 25) differently from me, and it was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who had recited it to me. I was about to rush up to him but I granted him a respite until he had finished his prayer. Then I grabbed him by his cloak and took him to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah, I heard this man reciting Surat al-Furqan differently from the way you recited it to me.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Let him go.' Then he said, 'Recite, Hisham,' and Hisham recited as I had heard him recite. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'It was sent down like that.' Then he said to me, 'Recite' and I recited the sura, and he said, 'It was sent down like that.This Qur'an was sent down in seven (different) ways, so recite from it whatever is easy for you .' "
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 9.640Narrated byUmar bin Al Khattab
I heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting Surat-al-Furqan during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle, I listened to his recitation and noticed that he was reciting in a way that Allah's Apostle had not taught me. I was about to jump over him while He was still in prayer, but I waited patiently and when he finished his prayer, I put my sheet round his neck (and pulled him) and said, "Who has taught you this Sura which I have heard you reciting?" Hisham said, "Allah's Apostle taught it to me." I said, "You are telling a lie, for he taught it to me in a way different from the way you have recited it!" Then I started leading (dragged) him to Allah's Apostle and said (to the Prophet), "I have heard this man reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way that you have not taught me." The Prophet said: )O 'Umar) release him! Recite, O Hisham." Hisham recited in the way I heard him reciting. Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed like this." Then Allah's Apostle said, "Recite, O 'Umar!" I recited in the way he had taught me, whereupon he said, "It was revealed like this," and added, "The Qur'an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it whichever is easy for you ."(See Hadith No. 514, Vol. 6)
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 6.514Narrated byUmar bin Al Khattab
I heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting Surat Al-Furqan during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle and I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited in several different ways which Allah's Apostle had not taught me. I was about to jump over him during his prayer, but I controlled my temper, and when he had completed his prayer, I put his upper garment around his neck and seized him by it and said, "Who taught you this Sura which I heard you reciting?" He replied, "Allah's Apostle taught it to me." I said, "You have told a lie, for Allah's Apostle has taught it to me in a different way from yours." So I dragged him to Allah's Apostle and said (to Allah's Apostle),
"I heard this person reciting Surat Al-Furqan in a way which you haven't taught me!" On that Allah's Apostle said, "Release him, (O 'Umar!) Recite, O Hisham!" Then he recited in the same way as I heard him reciting. Then Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed in this way," and added, "Recite, O 'Umar!" I recited it as he had taught me. Allah's Apostle then said, "It was revealed in this way. This Qur'an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it whichever (way) is easier for you (or read as much of it as may be easy for you)."
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 3.601Narrated byUmar bin Al Khattab
I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to that of mine. Allah's Apostle had taught it to me (in a different way). So, I was about to quarrel with him (during the prayer) but I waited till he finished, then I tied his garment round his neck and seized him by it and brought him to Allah's Apostle and said, "I have heard him reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to the way you taught it to me." The Prophet ordered me to release him and asked Hisham to recite it. When he recited it, Allah's Apostle said, "It was revealed in this way." He then asked me to recite it. When I recited it, he said, "It was revealed in this way. The Qur'an has been revealed in seven different ways, so recite it in the way that is easier for you."
Sahih Muslim HadithHadith 1787/9Narrated byUbayy ibn Ka'b
The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) was near the cistern of Banu Ghifar when Gabriel came to him and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Qur'an in one dialect to your people. Upon this he said: I ask from Allah pardon and forgiveness. My people are not capable of doing it. He then came for the second time and said: Allah has commanded you that you should recite the Qur'an to your people in two dialects. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) again said: I seek pardon and forgiveness from Allah, my people would not be able to do so. He (Gabriel) came for the third time and said: Allah this He said: I ask pardon and forgiveness from Allah. My people would not be able to do it. He then came to him for the fourth time and said: Allah has commanded you to recite the Qur'an to your people in seven dialects, and in whichever dialect they recite, they will be right.
*** It was excatly because of these various versions of the Quran that Uthman bin Affan allowed only ONE Quran to exist by BURNING the SIX other versions.
He would NOT have taken such an extreme measure if the differences were only DIALECTICAL but most certainly if they were TEXTUAL.
Since Muhammad accepted and allowed the seven variations of the Quran, as agreed upon with Allah through Gabriel, no MORTAL had the right to burn any of them as each one was supposedly divine.
This UNILATERAL act of desecration was one of the important causes for the rebellion and dissention that ended with his murder.
This SACRILIGIOUS act, nullifies the UNFOUNDED and totally SPURIOUS claims of the followers of Muhammad that the Quran was never changed or tampered with, in DEFIANCE of the reports in most of the books written by the earlier Muhammadan exegetes that show otherwise ***