Source of image: SANA
This tale was fabricated last July 2015 and is intermittently popping up its head to incite mischief. The slander was purposefully unleashed by mainstream media, cashing in on the sentiments of Muslims around the world to defame the Syrian leader.
While the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) stated that President Assad had "launched a new standard version of the Quran" (which meant printing a 'new edition'), the Western media and several anti-Assad Arabic outlets changed it to a "revised version of the Quran" alluding that Assad had changed parts of the original Quranic contents. The lack of details in SANA provided an opportunity to rogue mainstream channels to distort the truth with offensive headlines giving the impression that the ""Syrian dictator is tampering with the Quran."" Independent and VICE mentioned, “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad updates Koran .." and “Syrian President Assad’s Government Has ‘Revised’ the Holy Quran,” respectively. Newsweek, the most bloody-minded and ignorant of all, called it "new copy of the controversial Quran." Such grossly misleading captions were followed by furious tweets in the social media stating that the ""dictator,"' the '"filthy pig"" had derived a new idea to cling on to power ""by revising the Quran."" One can imagine the zealotry that must have erupted during Friday sermons in Wahabi infested mosques soon after this myth began selling like hot cakes to biased rabble-rousers.
What is being trumpeted as "Assad revising the Quran" is in reality and unambiguously the calligraphic beautification of the Arabic script of the Quran which is similar to printing a written matter only with a different font; it also includes works such as marking the start and finish of sentences in the Ayats, standardizing the size of the script and placing the phonetic marks on words to enable correct pronunciation. All of this is simply for the purpose of better legibility of the Quranic script and assistance in understanding the Quranic grammar. It was a laudable task successfully accomplished by Syrian religious academics. NOTHING of the original has been changed. Ignorant minds fail to perceive (or purposely won't) that changing the design of the script and changing the words or contents of that script are two VERY DIFFERENT aspects. The Syrian scholars have constantly been extra-careful during their work NOT to disturb the original contents, not even a single word.
The Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) in Damascus has issued a detailed report on their works concerning their strict and careful adherence to maintaining the original. This report has been intentionally ignored by the rumor mongers.
President Assad's statement: “We truly need such acts at this critical stage of distortion and misleading when it comes to the Holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him),” was a reference to those changes of script-design and phonetics for simplifying legibility. But the rogue mainstream media and parts of the Arab world used it as a nasty innuendo on changing the Quranic substance. The original Quranic substance has NEVER been changed NOR as a practicing Muslim would Assad ever conceive of such a negative idea nor would the Syrian scholars ever indulge in it.
Take a look at the article by Ryan Shulz at StepFeed titled "Did Syria's Bashar Assad 'revise' the Quran?" Although this author is politically anti-Assad, he has rejected this rumor as flatly false and needless.
The Syrian state media also stated that copies of this new calligraphic version of the original Quran were sent to Egypt's Al-Azhar University which is the seat of Sunni learning in the Muslim world. Would Al-Azhar ever accept these copies if they contained changes of the original Quranic text? The work is an improvement on the style and functions of Quranic script for which the religious circles in Syria have labored much. Works on developing the Script for the benefit of readers have been taking place periodically from the time of the second, third and fourth righteous Caliphs soon after the compilation of the Quran and throughout the era of the Abbasids and the Ottomans; and Syria has since long been one of the citadels of Islamic learning in our history.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwiat etc. that are too busy squandering their petro dollars, jungle-modernizing their cities, destroying Islamic heritages and financing terrorists for killing civilians and bombing mosques couldn't care less for the Quran, let alone work hard for a beautiful presentation of the original Divine Book. Those who do not know the truth nor are interested in knowing it, have the 'right to remain silent' instead of claiming utter nonsense and maligning well-meaning people who are rendering useful services to the Most Noble Quran.