Twentieth-century debates about the status of the
Kartarpuri Pothi have remained inconclusive.
– Prof Gurinder Singh Mann (1949-present)
The most important extant manuscript of the Adi Granth, the earliest compilation of the Sikh scripture, is the Kartarpuri Bir (also referred to as Pothi, “volume” or “recension”, and henceforth abbreviated KB).
Although it is said to be originally compiled by the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, in 1604 CE, this recension has been the subject of intense scholarly debate vis-á-vis its authenticity for well over a century.
Historian Jeevan Deol revealed that the traditional stance towards this manuscript has always been the following:
An account of how this manuscript came to be in their hands is briefly delineated below by Daljeet Singh, a dedicated proponent of said manuscript’s authenticity:
Gurinder Singh Mann on the other hand disputed whether Maharaja Ranjit Singh ever did procure the KB:
Whatever the case, what is beyond dispute is that this protracted debate has not always been conducted cordially and respectfully. As we shall see, some academics bold enough to question the manuscripts traditional association to Guru Arjan and Bhai Gurdas have been met with bullying tactics and subjected to intense vilification and criticism from Sikh fundamentalists.
The man who elicited the most concerted response, however, was the Western non-Sikh scholar, Hew McLeod. He provoked a band of fundamentalists to setup an organisation in Chandigarh, India, dedicated towards defending, among other things, the authenticity of the KB. The specific details of their establishment were chronicled by them below:
It was only in the late seventies that a group of free lancers, notably Justice Gurdev Singh, S. Daljeet Singh and S. Jagjit Singh took up the challenge and set out to controvert the misleading theses of the Group led by Dr McLeod. They worked first in their individual capacity, but later they organised themselves into ‘The Institute of Sikh Studies’ at Chandigarh. As a result of their efforts a number of publications have already appeared and all the points raised by McLeod and his group have been adequately dealt with. The following books need special mention in this connection:
- ‘Sikhism – A Comparative Study of its theology and Mysticism’ by Daljeet Singh (1979)
- ‘Sikh Ideology’ by Daljeet Singh (1984)
- ‘The Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir’ by Daljeet Singh (1987)
- ‘The Sikh Revolution’ by Jagjit Singh (1981)
- ‘Perspectives on Sikh Studies’ by Jagjit Singh (1984)
- ‘In the Caravan of Revolutions’ by Jagjit Singh (1988)
- ‘The Sikh Tradition’ by Justice Gurdev Singh (Ed.) (1986)
- ‘Advanced Studies in Sikhism’ by Jasbir Singh Mann & Harbans Singh Saraon (Eds.) (1989) 
And yet “W.H. McLeod was not the first scholar to suggest that the authenticity of the Kartarpur Pothi was suspect”, notes J.S. Grewal. “He was preceded by a considerable number of Sikh scholars and two Western scholars, namely J.C. Archer and C.H. Loehlin”. 
McLeod himself made mention of the following three Sikh scholars in this regard:
Overall, however, Mann states:
Hence the question of textual analysis is irrelevant and stands distinctly eliminated by the Guru. – Prof Daljeet Singh
As for the hostile stance adopted by proponents of the KB, then their position is predicated on the following assumption elucidated by Grewal that “[s]ince the Kartarpur Pothi was believed to have provided the base for the Guru Granth Sahib, any doubt cast on the former’s authenticity could be seen as a doubt cast on the authenticity of the latter. It is understandable, therefore, that Justice Gurdev Singh charged McLeod with doubting the authenticity of ‘the current version of Guru Granth Sahib which is widely accepted and used by the Sikhs'”.  (bold ours)
McLeod too picked up on the degree of dogmatism displayed by the Chandigarh group, which essentially explained their intransigent attitude:
His speculations, however, certainly seem justified in view of the fact that two leading members of the Chandigarh institute, Daljeet Singh and Kharak Singh Mann, rejected any mention of the science of textual criticism being applied to their scriptures by arguing:
It is, therefore, this conviction that the scripture currently in the custody of the Sodhi family and believed to be the Adi Granth compiled by Guru Arjan, which explains both the ad hoc approach adopted by these traditionalists, and what motivates them to defend their position hook or by crook. As S.S. Sodhi conceded:
What this paper will examine then, are the arguments both for and against the KB with the aim of determining whether its proponents, particularly the Chandigarh scholars, have, as they claim, succeeded in satisfactorily answering all significant doubts raised by their opponents.
THE POTHI’S POLEMICAL PAST
Let us begin by firstly exploring the birth and chronological evolution of this controversy. It began with a man Pashaura Singh described as “the traditional historian Rattan Singh Bhangu, who wrote in the middle of the nineteenth century that both the original Amritsari granth [KB] and the Damadami granth had been carried off by Afghans in 1762 during the battle of the Great Holocaust (vadda ghalughara)“. , 
Yet the manuscript’s authenticity only really came into sharp focus at the turn of the twentieth century after a series of incidents. The first involved Kahn Singh Nabha, “a leading Sikh scholar”,  who in 1918 claimed to have seen a copy of the KB which “contained in its concluding section the Ratanmala (The garland of jewels), [and] a brief narrative written in prose called the Hakikati Rah Mukam Raje Shivnabh ki (The route to the abode of Raja Shivnabh)”. ,  However, their conspicuous absence from the final version of the Sikh scripture ratified by the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, meant that if the KB really was written by Bhai Gurdas under the direct supervision of the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, then only three plausible explanations would exist. Either:
- Nabha was wrong, thereby raising questions against the honesty and integrity of this well-respected Sikh scholar.
- Gobind Singh disagreed with his predecessor, Arjan, over their inclusion – a far more problematic issue when taking into consideration the fundamental concept of Ik Joti (Doctrine of the Same Spirit),  which holds that it is impossible for any of the Gurus to contradict or disagree with one another.
- The KB had been tampered with by unknown and unauthorised hands at a later date.
If, on the other hand, one were to accept both Nabha’s account and these compositions as genuine inclusions of the original, then the only other alternative would be to reject the preparatory involvement of Bhai Gurdas and Guru Arjan in toto, thus, rendering this a spurious manuscript of questionable origin.
According to Mann, “Bhai Jodh Singh’s account from the late 1940s, however, found none of these items in the pothi. Furthermore, Bhai Jodh Singh did not conceal his disdain for Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha for having given what he thought was false information”.  In Mann’s view, such an accusation “does not explain how a scholar of Nabha’s eminence and stature could have reported the presence of [said] compositions” especially when “[o]thers also claim to have seen these compositions in the text of the Kartarpur Pothi”. , 
The irrepressible Jodh Singh was also involved from another related angle vis-á-vis “the controversy that raged in the first half of the twentieth century on the issue of ‘Ragamala'”.  In this regard, Piar revealed that this “matter was referred by the SGPC to a committee consisting of Bhai Jodh Singh, Prof. Teja Singh, Principal Ganga Singh and Jathedar Mohan Singh. They were to inspect the Kartarpuri Bir and report whether Ragamala in it was an interpolation or genuinely an integral part thereof. The committee, all along, proceeded on the presumption that the Kartarpuri Bir was the original manuscript prepared by Bhai Gurdas. This was, in fact, an article of faith with Bhai Jodh Singh“.  (bold, underline ours) And since he was working “in an atmosphere of fierce controversy over the continued existence of the Ragmala in the Adi Granth”, Mann suggested that he consequently “argued that because the Ragmala appears in the Kartarpur Pothi it is an authoritative composition. Given this context, he interpreted any question about the authenticity of the Kartarpur Pothi as a challenge to Sikh canon and consequently an attack on the very foundation of the Sikh community. This line of thought resulted in the introduction of a complex religious dimension into a purely academic debate with the assumption that those who do not recognize the Kartarpur Pothi as a genuine document pose a threat to the text of the Adi Granth”. 
So when “G.B. Singh brought scriptural manuscripts into sharp focus in 1944 by publishing his Sri Guru Granth Sahib dian Prachin Biran”, wherein he opined that “neither the Granth prepared by Guru Arjan nor any earlier manuscript was extant”, thereby implying that “the Bir in the possession of the Sodhis of Kartarpur was not authentic”, but “a copy of Bhai Banno’s Bir [i.e. the Goindval Pothis]”, Jodh immediately leapt to arms in defence of the KB. According to Grewal, after having conducted “[a] close examination of the manuscript at Kartarpur”, Jodh not only accused his opponent of having never seen and, thus, never directly examined the two manuscripts he spoke on, but also declared his opponent’s observations to be “imaginary (man-gharat), false (kusatt), unfair, and unjust”. Jodh instead affirmed that “the Kartarpuri Bir was the one prepared by Guru Arjan and authenticated later by Guru Gobind Singh. Therefore to cast doubt on the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir was to cast doubt on Guru Granth Sahib”.
It did not stop there. “The second half of the twentieth century has been marked by protracted, and sometimes bitter, controversies with regard to the making of Guru Granth Sahib,” Grewal continues, where “[t]he authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir in particular has been the subject of contention”.
Hence, when “J.C. Archer and C.H. Loehlin, doubted the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir and advocated its thorough study, Bhai Jodh Singh’s Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, published in 1968 partly in response to such expressions of doubt, was meant to establish that the Kartarpuri Bir, with the Ragmala as its original part, was absolutely authentic”. 
Although this did not have the desired result, by this stage, Jodh had “emerged in the mid decades of the twentieth century as the leading spokesperson for the traditional view regarding the Kartarpur Pothi” to the extent that “[r]eceived wisdom on how early Sikh manuscripts were compiled is based on the view Bhai Jodh Singh popularized in his elaborate discussion of the Kartarpur Pothi”. 
The committee, all along, proceeded on the presumption that the Kartarpuri Bir was the original manuscript prepared by Bhai Gurdas. This was, in fact, an article of faith with Bhai Jodh Singh. – Prof Gurinder Singh Mann
Jodh’s best efforts, however, could not stop controversial Western academic, W.H. McLeod, from taking up “the sceptical argument” and publishing in 1975 his Evolution of the Sikh Community, as well as some other later works. By this time, however, a new generation of KB supporters, viz. the Chandigarh apologists headed by Daljeet Singh, had taken up the baton from Jodh. And yet in spite of their efforts, Guru Nanak Dev University’s (GNDU) Prof Piar Singh published a scathing critique that not only “refuted all the arguments of Daljeet Singh in his Gatha Sri Adi Granth in 1992″,  but also earned him the ire of Sikhdom’s premier organisation, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC). Resorting to censorship, not only did the SGPC through the order of Akal Takht (the highest seat of Sikh religious authority) manage to ban the sale of Piar’s book shortly after its publication, but also compelled him to appear before the Akal Takht a year later to atone for what he would have thought was his academic right in expressing his scholarly opinions and conclusions.
As a matter of fact, Piar revealed that after “the decision of the SGPC to impose a wholesale ban on any sort of research on the Holy Scripture, the Guru Granth”, the atmosphere of hostility reached such a level that “[t]he question of freedom of expression and the need to carry on research on the Sikh Holy Scripture was defended by Harcharan Bains, S. Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, former Advocate General, Dr. Darshan Singh Maini and a number of other renowned writers”. 
Before his death, Piar managed to publish a follow up to his original thesis, this time in English, titled Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy (1996) – a comprehensive riposte to Daljeet’s Essays on the Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir and the Integrated Logic and Unity of Sikhism (1987). In this final work, he specifically countered Daljeet’s accusation that “he [Piar] admits he has not seen the Kartarpuri manuscript (Abs. Jan., 93, p. 42)”, by confirming:
More recently, the defence of the KB was taken up by two Western Sikh academics, of which one was McLeod’s protégé Pashaura Singh. In Grewal’s view, Pashaura “appreciates Bhai Jodh Singh’s work, and refers to Daljeet Singh’s attitude as ‘too dogmatic’ in maintaining that the Kartarpuri Bir contained ‘the actual words uttered by the Gurus’. In his own view, Guru Arjan introduced ‘linguistic refinement’ and ‘other minor modifications’ without changing the original meaning and rhythm of the hymns he revised in the final text”.
The second was Gurinder Singh Mann who, Grewal said, “has gone into the history of the Kartarpur Pothi, its internal structure and contents, and its place in the transmission of the sacred corpus”.
Grewal thus concluded:
As regards this paper, then we will be examining the more recent exchanges that have taken place between arguably the most important players in the current debate, viz. Piar, Daljeet, Pashuara, and Mann. The focus will particularly be on the strength of arguments posited in support of the KB’s authenticity, as well as answering the question of whether all doubts and opposing arguments have been satisfactorily refuted.
TEXTUAL VARIANTS IN THE KARTARPURI BIR
As is evident from notes in the Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, Bhai Jodh Singh could discern SIX hands that worked at the Kartarpuri Bir …. This fact of more than two hands at work on the Bir falsifies its claim to be the original bir prepared by Bhai Gurdas. – Prof Piar Singh
There are three basic positions held by Sikh academics vis-á-vis the collation and writing of the KB. Whereas one group rejects the traditionalist’s view of Guru Arjan’s supervisory role in the compilation process, the remaining two, while acknowledging his involvement, nevertheless, differ over the number of scribes. Although the traditionalists rigidly confine this role to Bhai Gurdas alone, there are those who reject such constraints on the basis of the evidence available to them.
Although Mann acknowledged Bhai Gurdas’ “assistance”, he was also of the opinion that the KB “is in the handwriting of the scribe who … inscribed most of its text”,  (bold ours) though not all of it. Similarly, Pashaura saw him more as the “primary” scribe as opposed to a lone one. 
Daljeet on the other hand affirmed “that the original Aad Granth [was] scribed by Bhai Gurdas under the direction and supervision of Guru Arjun himself”.  He unequivocally stated that not only was the “historical tradition  consistant that the Kartarpuri Bir is the original Bir compiled by the fifth Guru”, but that:
As we noted, not only did Daljeet (along with his Chandigarh cohorts) dismiss textual criticism of the SGGS on the absurd premise that it was recorded and authenticated by the Gurus themselves, but he also believed SGGS to be ipsissima verba (the very words) of God, and cited Guru Nanak below as evidence of this:
They say: “Glory be to the words of God, they have emanated from the Perfect Guru.” “Consider the words of Guru as true since it is God himself who has them spoken.” “The words I speak are conveyed by Him who created the world.” ,  (bold ours)
As such, the Bani commands the highest sanctity, it being from the very fount of Truth and the guide and Guru of the Sikhs: (i) “The Word (Sabad) is the Guru, my consciousness is the follower of the immanent mystic force”.  (ii) “The True Guru is the Word (Sabad), and the Word is the True Guru; it leads to the path of God-realisation”.  (iii) “The Bani (word) is the Guru and the Guru is the Bani, all spiritual truths are enshrined in it.”  (iv) “The embodyment [sic] of the Guru are his words, their meaning is revealed in the company of saints.”  Hence the fundamental necessity of identifying and separating the revealed Bani from the unauthentic and the unrevealed.  (bold ours)
He further elucidated that “Guru Nanak made it plain that his Guru or Enlightener was God. As such, in all the hymns of Guru Nanak, the word Guru means God, the Enlightener. There are many other verses of Guru Nanak that lead to the same conclusion. … ‘He who does not meet the True Guru (God) is never able to cross the seal of life.’  … ‘We meet Satguru (God) through the Word.’  … Consequently, in the Guru Granth, all references to Guru only mean God’s Immanence and His attribute as the Enlightener. In this context, it is reasonable to conclude that in the Guru Granth the word Guru should normally be taken to mean God”. 
On this basis, Daljeet surmised:
Hence, given that “the only Bir about which a claim of its being original has been made is the Kartarpuri Bir, and, this claim is undisputed”, he reached the following conclusion:
In spite of these confident conclusions, however, one man who “provided a strong rebuttal to Daljeet Singh’s arguments and set aside the authenticity of the Kartarpur bir with his scholarly approach” to the point, warns Pashaura, that “[n]o textual critic can afford to ignore his arguments”, was Piar Singh. 
In his final work, Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy (hereinafter referred to as Gatha), Piar took strong exception against Daljeet’s claim that SGGS contained the words of God by arguing:
Pashaura raised the same contention:
And the underlying reason for such reservations on the part of both men is their acknowledgement of textual-variants in the SGGS. In Pashaura’s view, “this particular notion of revelation cannot be sustained in the light of variant readings that we encounter in the Adi Granth and also in the collation of certain pre-canonical texts”.  (bold ours) Likewise, Piar recognised that “[t]here are hundreds of codices of the Adi Granth, and the text-variants in them, in accordance with the findings of the SGPC’s own scrutinizing team,  runs into THOUSANDS“.  (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)
In his view, “[t]his situation can be explained only by postulating” an entirely different definition that would more accurately and honestly accommodate the problem of these thousands of text variants, and one that would require a paradigm shift on the part of Daljeet et al, “that, when in tune with the Universal Consciousness, revelations came to the Gurus in ideas, concepts or truths, which the Gurus put in the common parlance and broadcast them for the benefit of the people at large”.  (bold ours) Pashaura too agreed with Piar’s evaluation:
And the example cited by both academics was Guru Nanak’s So Daru hymn of which Piar states:
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Before continuing, an important point to bear in mind is that of all the books challenging the authenticity of the KB, the only one to have been banned from publication by the Akal Takht at the behest of the SGPC was Piar’s. A knee-jerk reaction such as this strongly indicates that, if nothing else, the SGPC were incapable of academically responding to the challenge thrown down by Piar and, thus, irrationally resorted to bigoted censorship and hostility.
PIAR SINGH’S REJECTION OF THE KARTARPURI BIR
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie
– deliberate, contrived and dishonest –
but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
One thing that Piar and Daljeet shared in common despite being at opposite ends of the fence was their dependency upon and extensive use of a single publication Mann described as “the most notable single work describing the pothi’s contents”  – Jodh’s seminal work: Kartarpuri Bir De Darshan.
There are hundreds of codices of the Adi Granth, and the text-variants in them, in accordance with the findings of the SGPC’s own scrutinizing team, runs into THOUSANDS. – Prof Piar Singh
Describing this work as “a very detailed and meticulous page by page description of the Kartarpuri Bir”, Daljeet acknowledged that while “there is no authentic, much less detailed, record of the particular features of the Kartarpuri Bir. Our examination is based on the evidence collected in this book (which has also been referred to by us) and a personal study and verification of all the special and salient features of the Bir by an examination of the original Bir at Kartarpur”. 
In contrast, while Piar fully acknowledged Jodh’s “meticulous work” as “[t]he first and most important of our authorities”, which he would “revert to … time and again in our discussion on the authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir”, he nevertheless concluded that “the Kartarpuri Bir is not the original bir got prepared by the Fifth Guru. It is rather an independent compilation that was at some stage given the semblance of the original bir by casting it, as far as possible, into the mould of the original”. 
In his “view, the Kartarpuri Bir is an independent compilation embodying material lifted from primary collections. … This independent compilation was later on cast most probably into the mould of the Adi Granth that was preapred [sic] by Guru Arjun or of some other copy thereof”.
Piar also disagreed with the traditionalists over the year of completion being 1604 CE: “Our study of the Kartarpuri Bir’s orthographic and caligraphic patterns place its preparation somewhere near AD 1640.” 
He further insisted that while Daljeet and “[t]he Chandigarh contenders hold that there was only one-lone and final-attempt at compilation and canonization of Gurbani, and it was undertaken and finished by Guru Arjun. As against this, we hold that there were a number of earlier attempts at compilation and canonizing of Gurbani. Replicas of earlier compilations in their rudimentary form may be seen in Guru Hari Sahai Pothi, Bahowal Pothi and Granth Bhai Painda Sahib, Mohan Pothis and MS 1245 (GNDU)”. 
Instead, he continued, Daljeet et al “think it enough to reiterate the dogma that the Guru’s decision to compile the Kartarpuri Bir categorically emphasizes that any composition that is variant in form and content from the Kartarpuri Bir is not Sachi Bani of the Gurus. Therefore, a variant manuscript can neither be used, nor have any claim to authenticity (P. Att., p, 117); and the matter ends there”.  Piar, in fact, discerned that “[i]t is a practice with all [these] fundamentalists to brand as ‘fake’, ‘spurious’, ‘apocrypha’, etc., anything that is not to their liking. A second stratagem is to lable [sic] it as hailing from some schismatic group.” Hence: “The net result of all this is that whatever does not stand the test of their dogma, is ‘motivated interpolation’, ‘forgery’ and ‘blasphemy’, and the bir that does not conform to this notion of theirs, is a suspect document”. 
But, unlike his appraisal and recognition of Jodh’s knowledge of the KB and his expertise in manuscriptology and textual criticism, Piar did not think the same of Daljeet’s; quite the opposite actually. He revealed (from what seems like first-hand experience) the following: “Notwithstanding loud pretensions to a knowledge of manuscriptology made by Daljeet Singh in his work Authenticity of the Kartarpuri Bir, he could not, by himself, make out any thing [sic] of MS 1245 shown to him. I, therefore, had to explain to the visitors its peculiar features”. Piar then dedicated most of his book, Gatha, to critically dissecting and refuting Daljeet’s many arguments before concluding that “his adventure into manuscriptology … has proved to be absolutely unreliable (Art., 12)”. 
THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE SINGLE SCRIBE
One such example of Daljeet’s unreliability, as highlighted by Piar, revolves around the issue of the number of scribal hands involved in transcribing the KB. Notwithstanding the few corrective annotations of “sudh” (correct) and “sudh kichai” (correction/ correct it, which is examined below) said to have been inserted by the hand of Guru Arjan, Daljeet held Bhai Gurdas to be the sole scribe, and on this basis he asserted:
What was surprising, however, was that, according to Piar, Daljeet seemed to have overlooked his champion’s contrary observation:
It is interesting to note that while having carelessly missed this vitally important observation by Jodh, Daljeet was far more fastidious in recognising that “the Banna Bir has been written generally by one hand or at the most by a few hands not exceeding two or three”.  Be that as it may, what concerns us is that if, as Piar notes, “[f]ive to six hands can be discerned at work in the Bir, [t]hey have to be accounted for, since the claim is that the Granth is solely in the hand of Bhai Gurdas”.  In this case, Daljeet completely failed to do so.
As for Jodh’s belief that “the main corpus of the Granth [is] in Bhai Gurdas’ hand, with sprinklings of Guru Arjun’s hand here and there”, then Piar cited “Randhir Singh, late research scholar of the SGPC, who had an opportunity of examining the Bir at close quarters along with Bhai Mahan Singh in 1946, [and who] does not subscribe to Bhai Jodh Singh’s view. He holds that the hymns Bhai Sahib considers to be in Guru Arjun’s hand, are in reality in the hand of a different scribe who was instrumental in entering a few hymns mostly belonging to the Fifth Guru at the end of Guru’s respective columns in the ragas concerned”.  (bold, underline ours)
One of the hymns in question was “Darshan Ko Loche Sab Koi”. Daljeet too picked up on this, and while conceding that it was written “in a handwriting different from that of the scribe [Bhai Gurdas]” immediately sided with Jodh who “feels that this Sabad had been written by the fifth Guru himself because the handwriting i.e. the shape of the letters and of the ‘Lag matras’, is identical with the handwriting in which the Nishan of the fifth Guru at page 29/1 stands written”. 
For Piar, however, such an inference created the following catch-22 for the Chandigarh crew:
Additionally, while Pashaura only went so far as to recognise the couplet having been “incorporated … in a different hand”, he not only made known that “[a]n editorial comment explains that ‘this shalok is just an ordinary one’ (ih salok aime hai)”, but also suggested “at least two possible reasons why Guru Arjan disapproved of this”:
But this explanation merely begs the question of how and why the hymn came to be included in the first place, and by whom? If it was in the hand of the Guru, then how does one reconcile between the claim of infallibility and the possibility of Arjan having initially included it only to later recognise such a glaring mistake? Conversely, if it was in a third hand other than Arjan’s and Bhai Gurdas’, then this threatens the traditionalist’s position.
What is worse, this was not the only hymn attributed to Kabir to be rescinded; there were an additional three.
The first was identified by Mann as the “incomplete”  “hymn in rag Sorathi, [of which] only the opening verse, Audhu so jogi guru mera. Is pad ka kare nibera (That ascetic is my Guru. Who explains this word to me.), was recorded in the original handwriting; it was crossed out later”. Both Mann and Pashaura shared the same reasons for its probable deletion. The former proposed that “it is likely that the tantrik imagery was deemed similarly inappropriate. After the opening verse was copied down, the idea of recording the rest of this hymn was dropped”.  Whilst the latter declared: “Evidently, the whole hymn [“the complete version of which is to be found in some later manuscripts of the Banno recension of the Adi Granth”] is full of tantric language and concepts. … Further, there are some paradoxical statements (ultabamsi) too …. These esoteric teachings of tantric yoga would scarcely be acceptable to guru Arjan.” 
The second was Kabir’s gauri couplet, which according to Pashaura was “incorporated in a different hand”. In his assessment: “Guru Arjan would never approve of this couplet because of its emphasis on the discipline of hatha-yoga. Although it was originally recorded in the Kartarpur volume, it was subsequently deemed unworthy of inclusion and was deleted with the use of hartal.” 
However, it is the final one that is arguably the most problematic. As a matter of fact, Piar considered it “so patently out of tune with the Sikh thought and ideology that no Sikh Guru, much less Guru Arjun, would ever countenance its inclusion in the Sikh’s Holy Scripture”.  This hymn is in the musical mode of Asa and reads:
And Mann was quite clear as to the reasons for its exclusion:
Pashaura provided a similar though more incisive evaluation:
These wasted insertions, in effect, serve as further evidence of a hand other than those of Arjan and Gurdas that penned in the Gauri couplet. What is more, the incomplete and introductory inclusion of the sorathi hymn was, Mann divulges, “recorded in the original handwriting”, i.e. Bhai Gurdas.
Now Bhai Gurdas’ reputation as a learned Sikh proceeded him. According to H.R. Gupta:
As such, he was taught by three successive Gurus, viz. Ram Das, Arjan Dev, and Hargobind. It is for this reason, therefore, that Sher Singh described him as “the first theologian of the Sikhs”. 
Bhai Gurdas’ contribution towards correctly understanding the Sikh scriptural corpus was so significant, in fact, that Sher declared:
Likewise, Gurnek Singh, dept. head of SGGS studies at Punjabi University in Patiala, while also recognising him as the “first ever Sikh theologian”, elucidated further:
Randhir Singh, late research scholar of the SGPC, who … does not subscribe to Bhai Jodh Singh’s view… holds that the hymns Bhai Sahib considers to be in Guru Arjun’s hand, are in reality in the hand of a different scribe. – Prof Piar Singh
On this basis, therefore, “Bawa Budh Singh in his ‘Hans Chog’ calls Gurdas, the St. Paul of the Sikh”. 
In fact, S.S. Kohli quoted that Guru Arjan was “said to have uttered these words very graciously: ‘Bhai Sahib! Your work will be studied by the Sikh in order to understand the profound thoughts of ‘Gurbani’. It will be the key to Gurbani.'”. 
Hence, the question that arises is: was Bhai Gurdas sufficiently aware of the tantric contents of the Sorathi hymn and, if so, why did he decide on introducing it? Was this eminent theologian ignorant of the noticeably antithetical nature of tantrism?
These questions, however, seem rhetorical when faced with the far more conspicuously objectionable content of the Asa hymn. How could the use of “abusive”, “offensive”, and “explicit language, including images of incest”, which is “hardly the language of self-abasement or the poetics of humility or even respect” and which is “so patently out of tune with the Sikh thought and ideology that no Sikh Guru, much less Guru Arjun, would ever countenance its inclusion in the Sikh’s Holy Scripture”, have slipped past someone like Bhai Gurdas? If, on the other hand, it was added at the behest of Arjan, then how could a so-called infallible Satguru have ever reached such a decision in the first place?
THE MIRABHAI HYMN
In the same vein as the Asa hymn is the hymn of Mirabhai, which, Mann explained “refers to her love for Krishna, whom she regarded as God. The obvious conflict between this notion and the Sikh belief in God’s formlessness probably accounts for the subsequent deletion of the hymn”. He cited Sahib Singh as “argu[ing] at length that this hymn was not present in the manuscripts compiled before 1675 but was inserted in some manuscripts after the death of Guru Tegh Bahadur”. ,  Pashaura was certain, however, that while the hymn was written in “a different hand” it “was subsequently deemed unworthy of inclusion and hence was crossed out”. In his view, “the decision to exclude Mira Bai’s hymn must have been made by Guru Arjan himself”.  Notwithstanding Mann’s observation that “[t]he hymn appears in all mid-seventeenth-century manuscripts … but was not incorporated into Adi Granth … [and] was eventually struck out from the Kartarpur Pothi”,  the obvious point that requires answering is if not the Guru, then who was so ignorant as to include such an ungodly hymn as this? Of course, the traditionalists only have two choices: either their Guru or Bhai Gurdas.
Daljeet, on the other hand, managed to interpret these evidences in an entirely positive light. While acknowledging that said hymn “stands scored out”, his line of reasoning lead him to conclude that “the scoring out of unapproved Bani is a common feature of the Kartarpuri Bir which suggests both that the Guru did not approve the concerned Bani and that the Kartarpuri Bir is the original Bir.” 
But such an explanation clearly misses the forest for the trees for it fails to provide a credible response to the problem of how such dubious hymns and couplets came to be included by the “first Sikh theologian”, Bhai Gurdas, or his ‘infallible’ Guru, Arjan, in the first place? In other words, simplistically appealing to the Guru’s authority explains nothing.
GURU ARJAN’S HYMNS
However, what if it were found that this questionable process of editing was also utilised on the very works of Guru Arjan himself; what then? In this respect, Piar revealed:
While Pashaura attempted to hazard an answer:
But again, this just begs the question of how it could have been inserted twice over?
In Daljeet’s case, he saw this apparently slipshod editing “[a]s a distinct pointer to the originality of the Kartarpuri Bir, because the scribe of the Kartarpuri Bir was not merely a copyist but he was a person working under the distinct directions and authority of the Guru, who alone approved or disapproved what had to be recorded or retained”.  Hence, on this ad hoc basis, though he readily accepted the existence of such duplications, these were again dubiously interpreted by him as confirmatory features of the manuscript’s authenticity:
Piar, however, disagreed over the presence of duplications being a unique hallmark of only original manuscripts. In his understanding, although “[d]uplications do occur in original compilations, but these do not prove that the Kartarpuri Bir is the original bir prepared by Guru Arjun Dev, for … there has not been one but several sporadic attempts at compilation some of which show this phenomenon of duplication“.  (bold ours)
Pashaura identified a more subtle incongruity vis-á-vis the marginal note inserted beside Arjan’s duplicatory hymn on folio 836/1 which clarified: “This hymn is repeated here; its actual place is at [number] fifty-two.” In his view: “The final version that appears at number 52 in folio 834/1 differs slightly from the above hymn in terms of wording and sequence of line.”  (bold ours) Although no specific details are given in respect to the number of words changed or whether these changes would affect the overall meaning and content, these subtle changes seem to point more towards a fallible process of trial and error vis-á-vis the compositional attempts made by Guru Arjan as opposed to an infallible and immutable divine one. This contention is further supported by the presence of incomplete hymns. Mann identified two such occurrences which he attributed to Guru Arjan:
But such an explanation raises more questions than answers. For one, was the Guru unaware of his impending demise? More significantly, if, as the Chandigarh scholars hold, SGGS is the very words of God, then was God unaware that His revelation would be left incomplete? Conversely, if these hymns were composed carefully and incrementally through the very human processes of critical thinking, imagination, and creativity, then such a model throws open an entirely different, though no less significant, can of worms.
Finally, this line of reasoning suggests that if, as Daljeet et al believe, the Guru was the overseer of the entire compilation process, then was he and/ or his erudite amanuensis not aware that these hymns had already been inserted earlier? Or did the ‘infallible’ Guru and his scribe both suffer from a momentary lapse of concentration or memory loss?
GURU ARJAN’S RAMAKALI HYMN
There is then the intriguing case of the “incomplete” hymn of Guru Arjan composed in the Ramakali mode and copied on folio 703/1. According to Pashaura:
May I ask … how to reconcile the two situations … of the plethora of deletions, additions and corrections made in the text, and of the close scrutiny made by Bhai Gurdas and the Guru himself? – Prof Piar Singh
Given the presence of blank space of “more than two folios after the opening verse of the Ramakali hymn”, Pashaura postulated that “[t]hese sayings … were perhaps intended to be developed into a complete hymn later”. He then cited Var Basant as another such example, which “was recorded in the Kartarpur manuscript much later”, but remained incomplete because “Guru Arjan was executed by the Mughal authorities in 1606 before he could complete these compositions”. 
Notwithstanding Pashaura’s valiant attempt at offering an original explanation, albeit a speculative one, Daljeet, while fully recognising that “Basant Ki Var composed by the fifth Guru  is recorded on page 854/2 by the scribe in the middle of this page. Apart from the space above this page, the previous page is more than half vacant. But, there is no reference of this Var in the Tatkara [index], showing that the fifth Guru composed it and got it included after 1604 A. D.”,  (bold ours) typically resorted to citing this as yet more evidence of the manuscript’s authenticity without offering a single credible reason why.
As for the Ramkali hymn, then Daljeet decided to entirely ignore the more damning assertion made by McLeod that “there occurs a single couplet where there should apparently be a complete hymn”.  Instead, he dedicated a large portion of space responding to McLeod’s more insipid objection of “why it was recorded in a section of the Adi-Granth devoted to longer Chhant form” by stating that in “the scheme of the Granth … the Chhant hymns in question could only be where these are, and could not be recorded elsewhere, without violating the scheme of the Adi-Granth”. 
Mann agreed that the “late introduction of these hymns into the Kartarpur Pothi’s text indicates that they were composed after the pothi’s original compilation and must have been added to it with the permission of Guru Arjan”. More notably, however, he admitted that only the “opening verses are recorded and some space is left blank for anticipated later completion of the hymns”. 
Daljeet et al have, therefore, done nothing to address the problem of how God could allow a hymn intended for incorporation into His divine scripture to remain incomplete? What is more, even if the execution of Guru Arjan resulted in this eventuality, why did his equally ‘infallible’ successors decide on including something incomplete to the final version of SGGS?
There is then the presence of a number of inaccuracies in the KB documented by a team of scholars from Tarn Taran who identified them when “[t]hey worked on it for about fourteen weeks beginning with October 19, 1924, and ending on January 9, 1925”. 
Daljeet too was certainly aware of this team’s endeavour for he divulged:
And though he was privy to the fact that a “[l]eaf by leaf comparison of an unbound Bir of the Guru Granth was made with the Kartarpuri Bir. Every variation in the unbound Bir was corrected in accordance with the Kartarpuri Bir“,  he failed, or perhaps again wilfully ignored, to address any of the so-called text-variants tabulated by them.
In contrast, Piar quoted the team’s diary wherein they noticed the errant removal of the Gurmukhi vowel, aunkar, on page 90 of the KB with “yellow paste” (hartal), which not only forced them to infer that “the present bir had been checked up with some other bir”, but also impelled Piar to conclude that its erasure “was obviously effected under compulsion of a check-up with some bir … without the aunkar but was wrongly thought to be authentic”.
Piar also noticed “another clue confirming Kartarpuri Bir’s check-up with some other bir”:
That is not all. Piar then continued by citing 27 examples of “incorrect text” in the KB derived from both Manna Singh Pathi, i.e. “over two hundred text-variants spotted by him [and] given in Lal Singh of Sangrur’s book, Guru Granth Sahib de Kathin Pathan di Kunji”, as well as Gurbachan Singh Khalsa Bhindranwala’s “eighty-six text-variants along with a note that their actual number is more than fifteen hundred” recorded in his book Gurbani Path Darshan. Piar, thus, concluded:
This allusion is mainly in reference to Randhir Singh who “writes that the writer of the Kartarpuri Bir has made profuse use of the nasal sound in Var Raga Malar and even at places not necessary. … At certain places, where it should have been used, it is missing”. Randhir had also “taken note of many irregular and even funny headings … reproduced by us [Piar] in the Gatha (pp. 196-197)”. 
Finally, following his summation, Piar made mention of a strange entry in the Tarn Taran team’s diary that is certainly worth quoting:
In other words, let all these imperfections not find the light of day.
What we can surmise from all the above, however, is what Piar concluded below:
TABLE OF CONTENTS CONUNDRUM
There are then issues with the discrepancies found in relation to the manuscript’s Table of Contents (TOC) where, as Mann observed, “the table of contents contains one thing but the text shows something else”.
We have already briefly made mention of one such instance where two entries are recorded in the TOC, but are conspicuously missing from the contents. In this respect, Mann elaborated further:
Tables of contents of the manuscripts were prepared only after their text had been completely inscribed, and an entry at the head of the table of contents confirms this practice. The scribe of the Kartarpur Pothi claims that, having written the pothi, he began recording the table of contents on Bhadon vadi 1, Samat 1661 [1604 C.E.]. As referred to earlier, some hymns were introduced into the Kartarpur Pothi after its original inscription, and they were entered in the table of contents. The Ragmala tatha Singhladip ki Shivnabh Raje ki Bidhi is a unique instance of texts mentioned in the table of contents but not included in the body of the pothi. The Ragmala is recorded at the end of the pothi, but the Hakikati Rah Mukam Raje Shivnabh ki and the Siahi ki Bidhi are both absent.
The challenge that confronts us, or more appropriately Sikhdom, is hence two-fold:
- Well before Jodh’s extensive study in the 1940s, eminent scholar, Kahn Singh Nabha, had reported seeing these in the TOC of the KB two decades earlier in 1918.
- Mann added: “The pothi as it stands today ends with the Ragmala, on folio 974, followed by a number of blank folios that are not identical with the original folios of the manuscript; they differ in texture and color of paper. Although Bhai Jodh Singh did not describe in detail the four folios that follow the Ragmala text, he did note that they differed from those that preceded.”  Hence, the TOC of today’s KB is consistent with the TOC of the Sikh scripture officially ratified by the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh.
It is certain that changes were made in the Kartarpur Pothi during the late 1920s. According to some senior scholars, Pandit Kartar Singh Dakha, Master Ishar Singh Tarn Taran, and Pandit Wariam Singh Jabboval were involved in the rebinding of the pothi at that time; but what exactly they did is not known. Probably, though, in a misconceived attempt to prove the authenticity of the Kartarpur Pothi, its custodians permitted some ANACHRONISTIC ALTERATIONS to its structure. – Prof Gurinder Singh Mann
Although Mann conceded that “Bhai Jodh Singh faithfully reproduced the entry in the table of contents for the Ragmala tatha Singhlatlip ki Shivnabh Raje ki Bidhi without commenting on its absence in the text itself“,  he, nevertheless, revealed: “Physical evidence confirms that the entry was made in one hand at one time and was recorded along with the rest of the table of contents, in the SAME HANDWRITING and ink.” (bold, capitalisation ours)
And since its inclusion was in the same hand that inscribed the entire TOC and the majority of the manuscript, then for the sake of consistency, one would imagine Daljeet et al presumably accepting this one hand to be none other than that of Bhai Gurdas’. However, this creates another tricky catch-22. If it was indeed Bhai Gurdas who included these in the TOC, then he must have done so either upon the explicit instructions of his Guru, or, being fully cognisant of their rightful place in the manuscript (perhaps to be added to at a later date), on his own initiative. Yet, their absence suggests two possible scenarios: either they were never part of the contents, or they were, but later removed.
In regards to the former, then it begs the question as to why they were entered in the TOC in the first place. Did Bhai Gurdas presuppose their canonicity without having first consulted or been instructed by his Guru? If so, then on what basis and authority? Or did Guru Arjan initially intend to include them, but later decide against it? If so, then how could this indecision arise when he is alleged to be both one with God and the recipient of His divine words? Alternatively, was this the theologically incoherent case of God changing His mind? And finally, if it were a genuine mistake, then why was it not, like in so many other instances, amended and struck out with the use hartal?
As to the latter, then although Grewal noticed that Mann “tries to meet all arguments against the authenticity of the Kartarpur Pothi”,  he only really managed an attempt at one, which is worth mentioning below in full:
Despite extensive fieldwork, I have not found a single copy of the Kartarpur Pothi as it stands now among the extant seventeenth-century manuscripts. There are other early manuscripts … that claim to be copies of the Kartarpur Pothi. They all include at the closing of their text the set of compositions to which the Kartarpur Pothi’s table of contents refers. These are the same compositions that Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha claimed to have seen when he examined the Kartarpur Pothi.
I have referred to two nineteenth century manuscripts, one presently at India Office Library in London and the other at Moti Bagh in Patiala, both believed to have been copied from the Kartarpur Pothi, which are actually identical to the text of the Adi Granth – and not to the Kartarpur Pothi.  The simple explanation for this peculiarity is that the custodians of the Kartarpur Pothi were aware of the textual differences between the pothi in their possession and the Adi Granth and were doing their best to generate copies that conformed to what had become the authoritative version of Sikh scripture.
The Sodhis’ awareness of this issue provides the background for understanding the differences between the text of the Kartarpur Pothi as seen by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha in the 1940s and by Bhai Jodh Singh and others in the 1940s. It is certain that changes were made in the Kartarpur Pothi during the late 1920s. According to some senior scholars, Pandit Kartar Singh Dakha, Master Ishar Singh Tarn Taran, and Pandit Wariam Singh Jabboval were involved in the rebinding of the pothi at that time; but what exactly they did is not known.  Probably, though, in a misconceived attempt to prove the authenticity of the Kartarpur Pothi, its custodians permitted some ANACHRONISTIC ALTERATIONS to its structure. The changes were made primarily to conform to what later Sikh tradition held to constitute the Kartarpur Pothi: the Adi Granth minus the hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
That some changes were made toward the end of the Kartarpur Pothi is confirmed by examining the flaws in its last three gatherings. Folios 958, 959, and 965 are missing; folio 966 contains several thickly pasted layers with new writing recorded over them; and folios 964 and 973 and the four folios following 975 differ from the original folios of the pothi, both in the texture of the paper and in the design of their margins. Bhai Jodh Singh also noted these anomalies but did not note the possibility that alterations had been made when the Kartarpur Pothi was rebound earlier in the twentieth century.  …
In my view the Kartarpur Pothi originally contained the compositions mentioned in its table of contents. As I explain in chapter 5, this information substantially clarifies our understanding of the history of the Sikh scriptural text during the seventeenth century.  (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)
Yet, it is not quite as simple as merely recognising the possibility that an unauthorised hand wilfully tampered with the manuscript so as to bring it in agreement with Guru Gobind’s Granth, and hoping the matter will rest there. The implications are far more serious. If we grant that these compositions were included by Bhai Gurdas at the behest of his Guru, then why were they not carried through and included in Guru Gobind’s Granth? Why were they later expunged? Unless Sikhism ascribes to the concept of scriptural abrogation comparable to that found in Islam, then this raises the seemingly insurmountable difficulty of ‘infallible’ Gurus, who are considered a single personification manifesting through ten separate though interrelated lives (Ik Joti), contradicting themselves. In other words, how could any of the ten ‘infallible’ Gurus, all of whom are said to agree perfectly with each other, contradictorily decide to oppose one or more of the other Gurus over the initial decision to include said compositions by subsequently expunging them?
Daljeet, in fact, posed an example very much similar to this situation, albeit the reverse implications, from which he drew certain inferences and conclusions that, in principle, work as proof against him in this respect. He said:
He thus concluded:
By the same logic, if late additions to the manuscript resulted in them not being indexed in the TOC due to a lack of space, although, as Pashaura pointed out, this was not the case with Singhladip ki Shivnabh Raje ki Bidhi “where some of the words of this entry (Sivanabh Raje Ki vidhi) are written vertically in the margin as there is no space for them in the next line”  (bold ours), then what of those that were? It stands to reason that indexed compositions were included in the TOC precisely because they had already been included in the main corpus of the KB. Hence, what is currently preserved in the TOC has only survived because its corresponding bani was approved either for immediate inclusion or postponed for a later date. And this understanding is probably the reason why Pashaura offered the following two explanations:
First, the last words in the entry (Tatha Sin(g)hla-dip Sivanabh Raje Ki Vidhi) were added much later to make an attempt to include this apocryphal text in the scripture, but it was somehow turned down. Second, the inclusion of this text was not approved by Guru Arjan himself, although its mention had already been made in the index entry. Whatever the case may be, it is certain that the last words in the index entry were written in an unconventional way.  (bold ours)
We have already mentioned the theological implications of a composition intended for inclusion, either by Guru Arjan or his amanuensis, “somehow [being] turned down”. But, given its entry both in the TOC by the same hand as the main scribe, and in the main body of the manuscript as evidenced by Nabha, as well as its existence in manuscripts said to be early copies of the KB, it is unsurprising that Mann, of course, wholly disagreed with his western academic colleague:
In the end, neither Mann and Pashaura, nor Daljeet et al. have come close to addressing the serious theological questions we have raised above.
THE ‘AUTHENTICITY’ OF THE KARTARPURI BIR
The Bir continues to be as poor a specimen of work
as we shall feel ashamed of presenting to the world
as a work of a highly competent amanuensis like Bhai Gurdas,
much less an infallible Guru of the calibre of Sri Guru Arjun Dev.
– Prof Piar Singh (1914-1996)
Where then do we stand in light of all the above and the question of the authenticity of this manuscript? What is apparent is that while the late Piar Singh published his critique almost two decades ago, there has not been much of a response from the Chandigarh camp following the ignominious decision of banning his book, Gatha.
Ironically, the two scholars who did manage to put up a defence of sorts, namely Pashaura and Mann, soon discovered that their efforts as Western academics only earned them the ire of both the Chandigarh fundamentalists and certain members of the SGPC. Notwithstanding their attempts, however, they too have struggled to adequately deal with Piar’s piercing critique.
We have presented questions and problems that certainly require attention if the claim that the KB was prepared by Guru Arjan is to remain unchallenged. In fact, there exists a catch-22 in upholding this dogma and the belief in the Guru’s infallibility given the many aforementioned inconsistences, errors, and oversights.
Take the examples of scriptural erasions where four compositions attributed to Kabir and Mirabhai, respectively, were presumably entered under the guidance of the Guru, despite the conspicuously antithetical nature of their contents, only to then be struck out at a later date. In addition, we also asked how someone touted to be as erudite and scholastic as Bhai Gurdas could have also failed to recognise the anti-Sikh message contained therein.
This is exactly what Piar stated:
There are then the dubious issues of not just duplicate compositions being introduced only to be deleted later by their author Guru Arjan, but also the question of why his hymns were left incomplete and, more importantly, why his successors chose to retain them in the final draft.
What is more, rather than reflecting the guiding hand of an ‘infallible’ Guru and the precision and care of an expert amanuensis, the manuscript shows instead all the hallmarks of a shoddy and imprecise textual compilation given the presence of inaccuracies, mistakes, and other scribal errors.
And last, but not least, there are the theological implications that arise not only from the allegation that unscrupulous hands tampered with the manuscript at a later time in order to bring it in line with today’s version of SGGS, but also what clearly seems like a case of missing compositions which are indexed in the tatkara (table of contents), yet are absent in the main body of the text.
Despite all this and as already alluded to above, Daljeet et al intransigently defended the dogma of Guru Arjan and Bhai Gurdas being the lone participants in the compilation process, despite evidence to the contrary. For instance, he readily conceded to the existence of a large number of, what he called, “corrected mistakes” as follows:
Hence this feature of the Kartarpuri Bir, especially the large number in which these incongruities or omissions appear, proves its authenticity and originality. …
The large number of cancellations and uncorrected numberings in this Bir prove its originality since such a state could never occur in a copy. 
Piar, however, berated Daljeet for his rigidity in this regard:
And he especially took Daljeet to task over his dual belief that:
(b) In each case the Bani of the Gurus, collected from whatever source, was, before its final inclusion, scrutinized by Bhai Gurdas and the Guru. (Auth, p. 5).
Instead, he rhetorically asked:
These deletions, additions and corrections cannot be invoked to prove the genuineness of the Kartarpuri Bir ….  (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)
And one way in which Daljeet and his cohorts attempted to prove this “close scrutiny made by Bhai Gurdas and the Guru himself” was by constantly referring to a corrective feature allegedly implemented by Arjan himself, and said to be in his own hand. This involves the insertion of the editorial comments “sudh” and “sudh kichai” to highlight any mistakes. Daljeet particularly peddled this argument as conclusive proof of the manuscript’s authenticity:
Mann elaborated in more detail:
Hence, what we are being fed is that after the compilation process was more or less accomplished, Guru Arjan carefully checked through the text in order to identify and mark out any mistakes and errors made by Bhai Gurdas. As Daljeet confirmed:
But this merely compounds the situation further for if the Guru did meticulously scrutinise the text in the way they describe, then the number of text variants, which as already stated amount to between 200-plus according to Manna Singh, and 86 with a note that the actual number is more than 1500 according to Gurbachan Singh Khalsa Bhindranwala, seriously undermines this claim. More significantly, however, if infallibility means the inability to err in transmitting and teaching revealed truth, then these text-variants and errors also serve as evidence against claims of Guru Arjan’s infallibility.
What is more, contrary to the convictions of Jodh and Daljeet, Piar revealed that Randhir Singh “does not hold sudhu and sudhu keeche to be in the Guru’s hand. He considers them to be in the hand of the main copyist. He surmises that in his zeal to have a faithful copy, he transcribed these too alone with the text”. (bold ours)
Piar also questioned the efficacy of these corrective comments from the angle of consistency. He asked why “[o]f the twelve ragas that have no vars, only one, namely Todi has this mark (sudhu); the rest [of the] eleven are without it. Lack of this uniformity in the Kartarpuri Bir creates doubt about the marks being in Guru Arjun’s hand. If they are by Guru Arjun, they should have appeared at the end of all the ragas. A doubt, therefore, persists that they are vestiges of some other primary source”.
He further revealed that “[t]here is yet another big snag in accepting them to be in Guru Arjun’s hand. “Var Raga Ramkali M 3 has the approval mark of sudhu at its end, yet it is not free of mistakes”, and after noting six such faults (pauri 7, sloka 1; pauri 12, sloka 3; pauri 12, sloka 5; pauri 13, sloka 2; pauri 14, sloka 1; pauri 18, sloka 1;) tabulated by the Tarn Taran scrutineers, he opined that “a bir that is not free from mistakes and yet has the sudhu mark at the end, cannot be the work of [an] infallible Guru and a very competent amanuensis as Bhai Gurdas was”. 
In light of all the above, therefore, it is unsurprising that Piar reached this conclusion:
Pashaura, however, entirely missed the point by arguing:
But this is merely a strawman for Piar’s argument is not predicated on the presumption that it was transcribed by any human hand, but the hand of Bhai Gurdas “under the DIRECT SUPERVISION of ‘an infallible Guru'” (bold, underline, capitalisation ours). If his definition of infallibility entails the perfect transmission and teaching of revealed text, then the non-existence of such a manuscript would mean that Guru Arjan is fallible. Under this concept, the errors, oversights, corrections, and deletions would be perfectly understandable and acceptable.
Furthermore, Pashaura’s defence is problematic in that one would need to presuppose that interpolations occured without Arjan’s approval and knowledge in order to say that these were subsequently detected and deleted by him. This, in effect, would wholly undermine the position of those who insist that the Guru had complete supervision over the compilation process. As we have seen, this certainly does not seem to be the case for as Piar highlighted, Kabir’s hymn was included in the hand of the very same Guru who presumably “detected” his own slip and then decided to delete it!
But, let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Guru Arjan did have complete supervision except in this instance; then the more serious question of who audaciously bypassed his authority to include said hymn would need to be addressed. Was it Bhai Gurdas, as is traditionally accepted, or someone else? If it is the case that Guru Arjan did not overlook the entire compilational process, but permitted others to exercise their personal discretion over the inclusion of material, then not only would it shift the blame towards and raise doubts against this third person, but more significantly cast serious doubts over the reliability of the methodological process implemented in the preparation of the Kartarpuri manuscript.
Since the KB is considered the single most important work in Sikh manuscriptology, the difficulties collated in this paper raise compelling questions against the overall compilation of SGGS, and unless these are fully addressed, then boasts, similar to those expressed by Dr Mohinder Kaur Gill that the “Guru Granth Sahib is the best example of the combination of brilliance and planning”,  come across as nothing more than exaggerations. 
On a similar note, Daljeet and his Chandigarh allies propounded the idea that Guru Arjan possessed the written material of his four predecessors before starting out on the KB project. For example, Kharak Singh and Gurnam Kaur said:
Daljeet was of the opinion that “Dr. Sahib Singh and Harbhajan Singh have collected a mass of circumstantial evidence which clearly shows that the Gurus were not only knower of the Bani of the earlier Gurus, but they were also quite aware of Bani of some Bhagats“.  (bold ours)
Sangat Singh concurred believing that “Sahib Singh has conclusively proved that the compositions of first five Gurus traveled from one to the other as a normal course. This reading is justified by him firstly by identity of language used by various Gurus – 1st to 3rd and thereafter by 4th and 5th Gurus. This showed that they were in possession of compositions of their predecessors”.  (bold ours)
According to Manjeet Singh Sidhu: “The important point … is that Guru Arjan while compiling the Adi Granth collected only such writings of his predecessors as were not in his possession, which forms only a negligible portion of their writings.”  (bold ours)
Likewise, Ranbir Singh Sandhu noted:
Dhillon too subscribed to something similar asserting that “[e]vidence at hand suggests that the process of recording, compilation and canonization did not take place once but over and over again for nearly a century, coming to an end with the codification of the Adi Granth in 1604 C.E.”. 
However, with the existence of so many text variants, errors, omissions, additions, and deletions, Piar disputed Sahib Singh’s thesis by stating:
He later added:
As we saw, the sheer weight of inconsistencies also forced people like Piar and Pashaura to reject the traditionalist’s view of the SGGS being the very words of God. Pashaura, for instance, believed there were “participants in the current scholarly debate on the Adi Granth text [who] have … a notion which they may have picked up from the Islamic tradition” In doing so, he continues, “they seem to superimpose Islamic concepts on Sikh tradition and maintain that actual words were revealed to the Gurus rather than the content of the words (that is, knowledge)”. According to his research though, “this particular notion of revelation cannot be sustained in the light of variant readings that we encounter in the Adi Granth and also in the collation of certain pre-canonical texts”. As such, for him:
Can supervision of an INFALLIBLE Guru be so lax as to allow scores and hundreds of omissions and commissions to creep in the body of so important a Granth? Or, could a work of so talented an amanuensis as Bhai Gurdas was, be so slip-shod to have allowed hundreds of mistakes [to] creep in? Certainly “not”! – Prof Piar Singh
What is, therefore, difficult to comprehend is how Sikh academics like him, who are aware of said shortcomings, end up brazenly downplaying the apparent implications. In this respect, Pashaura reasons “that apart from a small number of disputed passages (which I have discussed in this study) there has always been complete agreement on the contents of the bani in all three versions of the Adi Granth, even in the seventeenth-century manuscripts. This was due to Guru Arjan’s editorial insights, whereby he devised certain checks and balances, which made it extremely difficult for anyone to interpolate any extraneous matter in the text. Each entry in the Adi Granth is numbered and its position is further determined by its raga, authorship, metrical form and so on. Guru Arjan gave to Sikhs an authoritative scripture, which provided a framework for the shaping of the community”.  Such a pronouncement comes across as acutely inane especially when considering Piar’s observation of similar doublestandards employed by the Chandigarh scholars who, while wary of the scribal mistakes pointed out by him, continued to “ignore the voluminous book covering 860 pages containing over SIX THOUSAND text-variant prepared by their own scholars and published by the SGPC itself in 1977″.  (bold, capitalisation ours)
In spite of these mental aberrations, however, Piar seemed to take his research to its ultimate logical conclusion and to this end broke down his approach as follows:
It is entirely understandable when critically taking into consideration all the points we have raised in this paper why Piar felt the way he did towards the alleged authenticity of the KB as expressed below:
APPENDIX A – IK JOTI
Sher Singh elucidated on the significance of this doctrine of Ik Joti by way of the following analogy:
What this doctrine, therefore, upholds is that all ten Gurus are seen to be one and the same person who agreed perfectly with each other without any possibility of contradiction.
Sher elaborated further:
The belief is also confirmed from the Granth. Satta and Balwanda, the two musicians of the house of Nanak, composed a war [sic] in praise of the earlier Gurus, in which they say, that not only the second Guru had the same light which the first Guru had, but also the mode of life and activities of Anged were the same. Further they say that Nanak simply changed bodies from one to the other. Another contemporary of the Guru, Bhai Gurdas in his writings emphasises the same point. He traces this trans-mission of light from God to the First Guru and from him to the Second and so on to the Sixth Guru in whose days he breathed his last. The reader may like to know the views held by the Gurus themselves on this point. Nanak’s hymn has already been referred to in a note of this section. Guru Gobind Singh made the whole thing very explicit in his autobiography entitled “Bachitra Natak” – the wonderful drama. In it he says:
The holy Nanak was revered as Angad,
Angad was recognised as Amar Das,
And Amar Das became Ram Das,
The pious saw this but not the fools,
Who thought them all distinct;
But some rare person recognised that they were all one.
When Ram Das was blended with God,
He gave the Guruship to Arjan.
Thus he continues to say that all the Gurus were one. (bold, underline ours)
Sher, thus, concluded that “[t]his evidence … shows that the Gurus in all activities … considered themselves to be one with Nanak. … [T]he Sikh Gurus believed, all in all, as one and the same individual continuing the same soul with different bodies”. 
Daljeet affirmed exactly the same thing when he says:
Or as he put it elsewhere:
APPENDIX B – MISCONCEPTION OVER THE QUR’AN’S COMPILATION
The mistaken notion that Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the only scripture to have been recorded during the time of the prophet(s) concerned is one that has been asserted by a number of Sikh academics. For instance, Daljeet Singh and Kharak Singh Mann audaciously assert:
While Jaswant Singh Neki goes so far as to say that “the Qur’an was compiled long after the demise of Prophet Muhammad. Only Guru Granth Sahib has the distinction of having been preserved by the Gurus themselves”. 
Such an argument, however, amounts to nothing if the scripture in question is proven to have remained completely unchanged and fully preserved from the time of the prophet’s demise until its compilation, or if a scripture said to have been compiled during the time of the prophet is found to have been corrupted.
Though true that the gathering of the entire Qur’an into a single manuscript, i.e. a Textus Receptus, did not take place until after the death of Prophet Muhammad (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him), one significant feature unique to its compilation, which, to our knowledge, remains unparalleled in history, is that the entire Qur’an was collectively recorded in written form  and memorised by thousands of Muhammad’s (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him) companions during his life time and through his meticulous and careful supervision. 
It is historically documented that Zaid ibn Thabit, arguably the most accomplished of Prophet Muhammad’s (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him) amanuenses and the one tasked by Abu Bakr for this undertaking, despite having himself memorised the Qur’an fully while also possessing his very own personal copy of it, utilised a stringent methodology that involved the entire Muslim population. As Qadhi notes:
Al-Azami elaborates more fully by noting that the following procedure employed by Zaid over fourteen centuries ago for “outlining manuscript gradations” in determining the authenticity of a text is “precisely” the same for “textual criticism and editing established by Orientalists in the 20th Century”:
Spurred on by the zeal of its organisers, this project blossomed into a true community effort.
Al-Azami further mentions that although “focus lay on the written word … the writings were verified not only against each other but also against the memories of Companions who had learned directly from the Prophet. By placing the same stringent requirements for acceptance of both the written and memorised verse, equal status was preserved”. 
Hence, given that the Qur’an was finalised, completed, and “perfected”  in terms of its revelatory contents, to say that it was “finalised” after the Prophet’s passing away, thereby implying that it was incomplete or could have been added to by others, or to claim, as Daljeet does, that “the scripture was prepared by the devotees, decades or even centuries, after the demise of the prophet”,  is simply disingenuous and wholly untrue.
Furthermore, it is an exaggeration to suggest that the completion of the Textus Receptus occurred “long after” his demise. To the contrary, this endeavour would have been completed within barely two years of the Prophet’s death (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him) in June 632 CE. It is known that said task began soon after the Battle of al-Yamamah in December 632 and was completed before Abu Bakr’s passing away on August 634 (21 Jumada al-Akhirah, 13 AH).
 J.S. Deol (2001), Text and Lineage in Early Sikh History: Issues in the Study of the Adi Granth, (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 64, No. 1), p. 37.
 B.S. Giani (Ed.) (1994), Planned Attack on Aad Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Academics or Blasphemy, (International Centre of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh), p. 294.
 H.R. Gupta (2008), History of the Sikhs – The Sikh Gurus 1469-1708, Vol. 1, (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi), p. 45.
 For a more comprehensive picture of the political machinations and intrigues of Prithi Chand, read our article: The Guru’s Family Feuds.
 D. Singh, K. Singh (Ed.) (1997), Sikhism – Its Philosophy and History, (Institute of Sikh Studies, New Delhi), pp. 681-2.
 G.S. Mann (2001), The Making of Sikh Scripture, (Oxford University Press, New Delhi), p. 62.
 K. Singh, G.S. Mansukhani, J.S. Mann (Eds.) (1992), Fundamental Issues in Sikh Studies, (Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh), p. 248.
 J.S. Grewal (2011), Recent Debates in Sikh Studies: An Assessment, (Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi), p. 219.
 W.H. McLeod (1996), Gatha Sri Adi Granth and the Controversy. By PIAR SINGH. (Grand Ledge, Mich.: Anant Educatioan and Rural Development Foundation, Inc.), pp. 703-4.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 67.
 J.S. Grewal, op. cit.
 W.H. McLeod, op. cit., p. 703.
 B.S. Giani, op. cit., pp. 116-7.
 Ibid., p. 294.
 Fn. 89: Rattan Singh Bhangu, Sri Guru Panth Prakash, ed. Jeet Singh Sital (Amritsar: Sikh Itihas Research Board, SGPC, 1984), p. 459. Also see Piar Singh, Gatha, p. 78.
 P. Singh (2011), The Guru Granth Sahib: Canon, Meaning and Authority, (Oxford University Press, New Delhi), pp. 58-9.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 10.
 Fn. 57: This information appears in a letter written by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha published in Panth Sevak, December 12, 1918. For the text of the letter, see Bhai Jodh Singh, Sri Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, pp. ura-era.
 Fn. 58: Bhai Jodh Singh, Sri Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, p. iri.
 The concept of Ik Joti has been further elaborated upon in Appendix A.
 Fn. 58: Bhai Jodh Singh, Sri Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, p. iri.
 Fn. 59: Piar Singh, Gatha Sri Adi Granth, p. 452.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 65.
 We have written an article aptly titled The Ragmala Controversy which details the dispute surrounding its canonicity.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 14.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 68.
 D. Singh (Ed.) (2004), Guru Granth Sahib among the Scriptures of the World, (Publication Bureau Punjabi University, Patiala), pp. 28-31.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., pp. 46, 68.
 D. Singh (Ed.) (2004), op. cit., p. 31.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 60.
 Ibid., p. 115.
 D. Singh (Ed.) (2004), op. cit., pp. 31, 33, 37.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 63.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 235.
 B.S. Giani, op. cit., p. 294.
 D. Singh (1995), Essays on Authenticity of Kartarpuri Bir and the Integrated Logic and Unity of Sikhism, (Publication Bureau, Punjabi University, Patiala), pp. 3-4, 7.
 Fn. 11: SGGS: 308, 306.
 D. Singh (2004), Sikhism – A Comparative Study of its Theology and Mysticism, (Singh Brothers, Amritsar), pp. 251-2.
 Fn. 1: Guru Granth Sahib, p. 722.
 Fn. 2: ibid, p. 723.
 Fn. 3: ibid, p. 566.
 Fn. 4: ibid, p. 763.
 Fn. 5: ibid, p. 35.
 Fn. 6: ibid, p. 308.
 Fn. 7: ibid, p. 943.
 Fn. 8: ibid, p. 1310.
 Fn. 9: ibid, p. 982.
 Fn. 10: Bhai Gurdas, var 24. Pauri 25.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 3.
 Fn. 7: SGGS, p. 22.
 Fn. 10: Ibid., p. 1111.
 D. Singh (2004), op. cit.
 D. Singh (1994), Essentials of Sikhism, (Singh Brothers, Amritsar), p. 261.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., pp. 3-4.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 59.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 149.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 13-4.
 Ibid., p. 14.
 Fn. 8: See Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji dian Santha Sainchian ate Puratan Hath-likhat Biran de Parspar Path Bhedan di suchi prepared by S. Randhir Singh, Giani Kundan Singh and Bhai Gian Singh Nihang and published by SGPC in 1977.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., pp. 149-50.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 14-5.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 149.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 62.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 10.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., pp. 14, 27, 50.
 Ibid., p. 111.
 Ibid., p. 151.
 Ibid., p. 129.
 Ibid., p. 122.
 Ibid., pp. 57, 112.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 16.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 84.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 43.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 29.
 Ibid., p. 84.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 16.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 85.
 What kind of enlightenment is this where a Bhagat produces hymns that are both acceptable and objectionable?
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 192-3.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 81.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., pp. 114-5.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 191-2.
 Ibid., pp. 188, 189.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., pp. 100-1.
 Fn.38: Kartarpur MS, f. 374/2.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 189.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., pp. 114-5.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 190.
 H.R. Gupta, op. cit., p. 47.
 S. Singh (1986), Philosophy of Sikhism, (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar), p. 176.
 G. Singh (2007), Bhai Gurdas: The Great Sikh Theologian – His Life and Work, (Publication Bureau Punjabi University, Patiala), pp. vii-viii.
 Ibid., pp. 2, 3.
 G. Singh, op. cit., p. 6.
 Fn. 43: Sahib Singh, Adi Bir bare, pp. 197-198.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., pp. 115-6.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 193-4.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 116.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 40.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 56.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 40.
 D. Singh, K. Singh, op. cit., pp. 684-5.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 98.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 55, 56.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 63.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., pp. 115, 122.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 27.
 Ibid., p. 50.
 Ibid., pp. 58-9.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., pp. 63, 80.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 102.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 69.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., pp. 102-3.
 Ibid., p. 106.
 Ibid., pp. 107-8.
 Ibid., p. 104.
 Fn. 60: Bhai Jodh Singh, Sri Kartarpuri Bir de Darshan, p. 122.
 Fn. 61: Ibid., p. 4.
 D. Singh (Ed.) (2004), op. cit., p. 33.
 Fn. 63: See nn. 41 and 43.
 Fn. 64: In one of our conversations, Giani Gurdit Singh told me that Pandit Kartar Singh Dakha spoke to him about the rebinding of the pothi and removing some folios from it.
 Fn. 65: Bhai Jodh Singh, Sri Kartarpur Bir de Darshan, pp. 121-122.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., pp. 65-7.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 26.
 Ibid., p. 28.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 63.
 Ibid., pp. 63-4.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 66.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 111.
 D. Singh, K. Singh, op. cit., pp. 685-6.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 97.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., pp. 100-1.
 D. Singh, K. Singh, op. cit., pp. 683-4.
 G.S. Mann, op. cit., p. 99.
 Fn. 14: Sarup Das Bhalla: Mehma Parkash, p. 362.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., pp. 4-5.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., pp. 90-1.
 Ibid., p. 83.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 192.
 J. Singh (2010), Guru Granth Sahib – The Sikh Scripture, (K. K. Publications, New Delhi), p. 165.
 Another exaggeration of sorts, which patently stems from ignorance, is the claim made by a number of Sikh academics that SGGS is the only scripture to have been recorded during the time of the prophet(s) concerned. We have tackled this misconception in Appendix B.
 B.S. Giani, op. cit., pp. 57-8.
 D. Singh (1995), op. cit., p. 6.
 S. Singh (2006), Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, (Abstracts of Sikh Studies, Vol. VIII, Issue 1, Jan-Mar/ 53738 NS), p. 21.
 B.S. Giani, op. cit., p. 222.
 Ibid., p. 125.
 B.S. Dhillon (1999), Early Sikh Scriptural Tradition Myth and Reality, (Singh Brothers, Amritsar), pp. 59-60.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 152.
 Ibid., p. 33.
 P. Singh (2011), op. cit., p. 14.
 Ibid., p. 235.
 P. Singh (1996), op. cit., p. 160.
 Ibid., p. 103.
 Ibid., p. 104.
 S. Singh (1986), op. cit., p. 42.
 Ibid, pp. 43-5.
 D. Singh, K. Singh, op. cit., p. 72.
 D. Singh (1999), Sikhism and Civilisation, (Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh), p. 123.
 B.S. Giani, op. cit., p. 116.
 D. Singh (Ed.) (2004), op. cit., p. 57.
 According to Muhammad Mustafa al-Azami, there were “approximately sixty-five Companions who functioned as scribes for the Prophet at one time or another:
– M. al-Azami (2003), The History of the Qur’anic Text from Revelation to Compilation, (UK Islamic Academy), p. 68.
In addition, Yasir Qadhi further notes some companions who had scribed their own personal copies of the Qur’an:
Those Companions who were famous for their mus-hafs were Ubay ibn Ka’ab, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, ‘Alee ibn Abee Taalib, and some of the wives of the Prophet amongst them ‘Aa’ishah and Hafsa. Some sources have listed over fifteen Companions who were recorded to have written down most of the Qur’aan.
– A.A.Y. Qadhi (2003), An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, (al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution), p.130. (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)
 Qadhi also points to the level of attention given by the Prophet (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him) in this matter:
When it was revealed: “Not equal are those believers who sit at home and those that strive in the cause of Allaah…” [4:95] the Prophet said ‘Call Zayd ihn Thaabit for me, and tell him to bring the ink-pot and the scapula bone (i.e., paper and pen).’ When Zayd came, the Prophet told him, ‘Write: “Not equal are those believers who sit at home and those … (to the end of the verse)”‘.
This incident shows the haste with which the Prophet recorded the Qur’aan to ensure its preservation. Not only did the Prophet ensure that the Qur’aan was written down, but he also checked whether it was written correctly. Zayd narrates, “I used to write the Revelation (the Qur’aan) for the Prophet, and he would dictate it to me. When he finished, he would command me: ‘Read it (back to me)!’ So I used to recite back to him (what I had written)…”
– Ibid., p.129. (bold ours)
 Ibid., p.134.
 M.M. Al-Azami, op. cit., pp. 81-2.
 The following Qur’anic verse was one of the final ones to be revealed indicating not just the finality of revelation in Prophet Muhammad, but also the perfection of Islam through the unerring transmission of the Qur’an to mankind via His final Messenger (may Allaah’s peace and blessings be upon him):
 D. Singh, K. Singh, op. cit., p. 65.