Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Has the Qur’an been revealed all at once or piece by piece?

Exposing Qur’an’s contradictions… (Just the first of a long list…)

In several places, the Qur’an implies that it was sent down all at once on a specific night.

Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down (onzila) the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. S. 2:185 Y. Ali

Ha-Mim. By the manifest Book (this Qur'an) that makes things clear, We sent it (this Qur'an) down (anzalnahu) on a blessed night [(i.e. night of Qadr, Surahh No: 97) in the month of Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments. Amran (i.e. a Command or this Qur'an or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), (As) a Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, if you (but) have a faith with certainty. S. 44:1-7 Hilali-Khan

Behold, We sent IT down (anzalnahu) on the Night of Power; And what shall teach thee what is the Night of Power? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months; in it the angels and the Spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, upon every command. Peace it is, till the rising of dawn. S. 97:1-5 Arberry

The above passages presuppose that the entirety of the Muslim scripture was "revealed" all at once. Note that the texts do not speak of parts of the Qur’an being sent down but that it itself was given on a specific night in the month of Ramadan. Lest we be accused of distorting the meaning of the afore quoted references note how the following commentary explains Q. 97:1:

Lo! We revealed it, that is, the Qur’an, IN ITS ENTIRETY, [sending it down] from the Preserved Tablet to the heaven of this world, on the Night of Ordainment, that is, [the Night] of great eminence. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn;

Yet these Qur’anic passages contradict the following texts:

We sent down (anzalnahu) the (Qur'an) in Truth, and in Truth has it descended (nazala): and We sent thee but to give Glad Tidings and to warn (sinners). (It is) a Qur'an which We have divided (into parts from time to time), in order that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals: We have revealed it (wa-nazzalnahu) by stages. S. 17:105-106 Y. Ali

And those who disbelieve say: "Why is not the Qur'an revealed (nuzzila) to him all at once?" Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. (It was revealed to the Prophet in 23 years.). S. 25:32 Hilali-Khan

These conflicting and
contradictory statements have caused Muslim scholars to come up with a convenient ad hoc explanation. It is asserted that the entire Qur’an was sent down from Allah himself to the lowest heaven where it remained. From there Allah sent Jibril/Gabriel to reveal portions of the book to Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years!

As renowned Salafi scholar Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips explains:

According to Allaah’s statements in His Book, there were two distinct revelations of the Qur’aan which took place. It is important that these two revelations be understood in order to clear up the apparent contradictions [sic] in the various terms used in the Qur’aan and Sunnahh to describe the Qur’aan’s revelation. On one hand, the Qur’aan is referred to as having been revealed in its totality in Ramadaan or on Laylatul-Qadr, the Night of Decree; while on the other hand, it is referred to as having been continuously revealed in segments up until the death of the Prophet.

The First Revelation

Allaah caused the Qur’aan to descend from the Protected Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfooth) on which it was written to the lowest heaven. In this revelation all of the Qur’aan was sent down at one time to a station in the lowest heaven referred to as "Bayt al-‘Izzah" (The House of Honor or Power). The blessed night on which this descent took place is called "Laylatul-Qadr" (The Night of Decree), one of the odd-numbered nights in the last ten days of the month of Ramadaan. Allaah referred to this initial revelation as follows [quotes Q. 44:1-3; 97:1; 2:185]…

These verses have [sic] to refer to the initial revelation because it is a known fact [sic] that the whole Qur’aan was not revealed to Prophet Muhammad on a single night on Ramadaan. Ibn ‘Abbaas stated that the Qur’aan was first separated from its station in the upper heavens and placed in Bayt al-‘Izzah in the lowest heaven. One version states that this took place on the Night of Decree in Ramadaan. Had it been Allaah’s wish, the Qur’aan could then have been revealed as a whole to the Prophet in a single revelation. This was the method by which all of the earlier books of revelation were sent down. But, Allah chose to divide the revelation into two parts [sic]. The first revelation within the heavens represented an announcement to the inhabitants of the heavens that the final book of revelation was being sent down upon the last of the prophets. (Philips, Usool at-Tafseer, 6. The Revelations of the Qur’aan, pp. 94-96; sources
1, 2;)

Another Islamic source says:

 (The month of Ramadan is) the month in (which was revealed the Qur'an) whereupon Gabriel brought down the ENTIRE Qur'an to the first heaven, dictated it to the scribes among the angels (al-safarah) and then took it down to Muhammad (pbuh) day after day, sometimes revealing to him just one, two or three verses and sometimes an entire Surahh, … (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs;


And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Lo! We revealed it): '(Lo! We revealed it) He says: We sent Gabriel with the entire Qur'an to the scribes of the nether heaven (on the Night of Power) on the night of judgement and decree; it is also said this means: on a night blessed with forgiveness and mercy, and then it was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) in instalments. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs;

The reader can immediately spot the problem with the above assertion.
The Qur’an nowhere says that it was revealed in two stages, one in which the entire revelation was sent down at once to the lowest heaven, and the other where only parts of it was conveyed to Muhammad. This is simply a desperate attempt of explaining away the gross error within the Muslim scripture which claims in certain places that Allah sent down the Qur’an as a whole on a certain night, thereby contradicting those passages that state that Muhammad received the so-called "revelations" in segments.

In fact,
one of the verses expressly says that the Qur’an was sent down in the month of Ramadan as a guide to mankind:

Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, … S. 2:185

Instead of saying that the Qur’an was given to the angels in the lowest heaven in Ramadan, the passage actually claims that
the book was sent down for the guidance of mankind. This certainly sounds like it was sent down to mankind in Ramadan, in seeming contradiction to the theory postulated by the above scholars.

For Muslims, their is a fully detailed explanation of everything and
doesn’t need any outside source to explain it:

And no question do they bring to thee but We reveal to thee the truth and the best explanation (waahsana tafseeran) (thereof). S. 25:33 Y. Ali

Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained?. S. 6:114-115

Certainly, We have brought to them a Book (the Qur'an) which We have explained in detail with knowledge, - a guidance and a mercy to a people who believe. S. 7:52 Hilali-Khan
In their history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding. It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for folk who believe. S. 12:111

and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mer… S. 16:89 Y. Ali

Thus, to claim otherwise,
e.g. that one needs to consult Muhammad’s so-called Sunnah, is to falsify what the Qur’an says of itself. For more details please consult the article
How Muhammad’s Sunnah Trumps Allah’s Book.

Yet this in itself introduces another contradiction, specifically, the
Muslim scripture is anything but complete since it lacks essential details and necessary background information, as well as context. The fact of the matter is that the Qur’an is a rather disjointed, incoherent and unintelligible piece of writing, just as many scholars have pointed out:

"There are indeed many roughnesses of this kind, and these, it is here claimed, are fundamental evidence for revision. Besides the points already noticed – hidden rhymes, and rhyme-phrases not woven into the texture of the passage – there are the following: abrupt changes of rhyme; repetition of the same rhyme word or rhyme phrase in adjoining verses; the intrusion of an extraneous subject into a passage otherwise homogeneous; a differing treatment of the same subject in neighboring verses, often with repetition of words and phrases; breaks in grammatical construction which raise difficulties in exegesis; abrupt changes in the length of verses; sudden changes of the dramatic situation, with changes of pronoun from singular to plural, from second to third person, and so on; the juxtaposition of apparently contradictory statements; the juxtaposition of passages of different date, with the intrusion of late phrases into early verses. In many cases a passage has alternative continuations which follow one another in the present text. The second of the alternatives is marked by a break in sense and by a break in grammatical construction, since the connection is not with what immediately precedes, but with what stands some distance back." (Richard Bell & W. M. Watt, Introduction to the Qur’an [Edinburgh, 1977], p. 93 - as cited in Ibn Warraq's Why I am not a Muslim [Prometheus Books; Amherst NY, 1995], pp. 112-113)

The astute remarks and comments of the late Iranian Muslim scholar Ali Dashti still hold true:

The Qor'an contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects. These and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Qor'an's eloquence. The problem also occupied the minds of devout Moslems. It forced the commentators to search for explanations and was probably one of the causes of disagreement over readings." (Dashti, Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, translated from Persian by F.R.C. Bagley [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], pp. 48-49)

And: "
To sum up, more than one hundred Qor'anic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic have been noted. Needless to say, the commentators strove to find explanations and justifications for these irregularities.

Among them was the great commentator and philologist Mahmud oz-Zamakhshari (467/1075-538/1144), of whom a Moorish author wrote: ‘This grammar-obsessed pedant has committed a shocking error. Our task is not to make the readings conform to Arabic grammar, but to take the whole of the Qor'an as it is and make the Arabic grammar conform to the Qor'an.’

"Up to a point this argument is justifiable. A nation's great speakers and writers respect the rules of its language in so far as they avoid modes of expression which are not generally understood and popularly accepted, though they may occasionally find themselves obliged to take liberties. Among the pre-Islamic Arabs, rhetoric and poetry were well developed and grammatical conventions were already established. The Qor'an, being in the belief of Moslems superior to all previous products of the rhetorical genius, must contain the fewest irregularities.

"Yet the Moorish author's censure of Zamakhshari is open to criticism on the ground that it reverses the usual argument. This is that the Qor'an is God's word because it has a sublime eloquence which no human being can match, and that the man who uttered it was therefore a prophet. The Moorish author maintained that the Qor'an is faultless because it is God's word and that the problem of the grammatical errors in it must be solved by changing the rules of Arabic grammar. In other words, while most Moslems answer deniers by citing the Qor'an's eloquence as proof of Mohammad's prophethood, the Moorish author, having taken the Qor'an's divine origin and Mohammad's prophethood for granted, held all discussion of the Qor'an's wording and contents to be inadmissible." (Pp. 50-51)

For more on the unintelligibility and disjointedness of the Qur’an please consult the articles found the section on
The Incoherence of the Qur’an.

It isn’t that we believe in the Qur’an alone and reject the ahadith, since we neither affirm the inspiration of the Qur’an nor the authenticity or authority of the hadiths. Rather, we appeal to these sources to show how the
Qur’an not only contradicts itself, but that there are major problems within the collection of traditions since these reports often conflict with one another as well as teaching things that are contrary to the Muslim scripture itself.

The Qur’an also doesn’t bother to mention the names of the prophets’ wives, i.e. it never tells its readers that Abraham had children from three different women but actually suggests that his sons Isaac and Ishmael are from the same mother! In fact, the Qur’an implies that Ishmael was the father of Isaac and that Isaac and Jacob were brothers (
1, 2)!

The Muslim scripture also doesn’t know the names of Adam’s first two sons, doesn’t record God’s command to Moses to observe the Passover, the major event which marked the Exodus. Nor does it ever mention Jerusalem but suggests that the Israelites actually inherited the land of Egypt (

The Qur’an promised to Jesus that his faithful followers will become uppermost and remain dominant till the last day:

When Allah said, "Jesus, I will take thee to Me and will raise thee to Me and I will purify thee of those who believe not.
I will set thy followers ABOVE the unbelievers TILL THE RESURRECTION DAY. Then unto Me shall you return, and I will decide between you, as to what you were at variance on." S. 3:55

O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: as said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the Disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved:
But We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, AND THEY BECAME THE ONES THAT PREVAILED. S. 61:14

The Qur’an claims that the true believers would prevail over the disbelievers till the day of resurrection.

In other words, if the Qur’an is correct then the Apostel Paul must have been one of the believers that God used to spread the true message of Jesus since this is the message, the Gospel, which has prevailed and is spreading throughout the entire world till this very day. Yet if Paul corrupted Christianity, as Muslims such as Zawadi contend, then the Qur’an is mistaken since Allah failed to preserve Jesus’ message and wasn’t powerful enough to guarantee that the true believers in Jesus would continue to prevail till the last day.

We encourage readers, however, to consult the following where it is document how the Qur’an indirectly confirms Paul’s apostleship (

Some Muslims argue that Q. 2:185 doesn’t prove that the entire scripture was sent down in the month of Ramadan:

 “The verse does not say that the entire Qur'an was revealed to mankind in that one night. The verse only says that the Qur'an, which is a book that contains guidance for mankind was revealed that night. That is all. There is a big difference between saying that the Qur'an was revealed to mankind and saying that the Qur'an, which contains guidance for mankind was revealed, since the latter does not necessarily express to whom the Qur'an (which contains guidance) was being revealed to.
So Surahh 2:185 does not say that the entire Qur'an was revealed to mankind in one night. It only says that the Qur'an was revealed (doesn't say to whom) and that the Qur'an contains guidance for mankind.”

It is obvious from this statements that it doesn’t bother considering the context carefully since it is evident that this is referring to the Qur’an being "
sent down" specifically to guide and instruct the Muslims concerning how to carry out their religious obligations such as fasting:

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint, - (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will, - it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. S. 2:183-185

It therefore makes absolutely
no sense to argue, that the Qur’an was sent down in Ramadan for the specific purpose of guiding mankind even though it wasn’t given to them until much later! There is not the slightest hint in the above text that the phrase "as a guide to mankind" is to be separated from the first part of the verse and actually refers to a different time than the one mentioned, i.e. Ramadan. The theory that the Qur’an was actually not sent to mankind but to the angels in Ramadan and only later revealed to Muhammad piece by piece and that stretched out over more than twenty years has no basis in the text itself but is forced onto it from the outside..

There is a narration from Musnad Ahmad which provides further attestation that the Qur’an was "revealed" or "sent down" on the 24
th night of Ramadan to Muhammad, and not to the lowest heaven:

(The Suhuf (Pages) of Ibrahim were revealed during the first night of Ramadan. The Torah was revealed during the sixth night of Ramadan. The Injil was revealed during the thirteenth night of Ramadan. Allah revealed the Qur'an on the twenty-fourth night of Ramadan.)

By sourcing this particular narration, we introduces another contradiction, and it further proves why the so-called Sunnah fails to explain the Qur’an with all its host of errors and contradictions. According to this particular narration, the Muslim scripture was "sent down" on the 24
th day of Ramadan.

The above hadith is found in Musnad Ahmed and hadith scholar Ahmad Shaakir in
'Umdat-ut-Tafseer, Volume 1, page 220 pointed out that it is an authentic narration.

The problem which Zawadi now faces is that, according to the Qur’an’s own witness, the
Muslim scripture was "revealed" on the night of decree or power (laylat al-qadr):

We have sent it (this Qur'an) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibrael (Gabriel)] by Allah's Permission with all Decrees, Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.
S. 97:1-5 Hilali-Khan

CDXLIX: Tafsir of Suraht al-Qadr, which begins "We sent it down"
It is said that
"matla'" (97:5) is rising, and matla' is the place from which it rises.
In "Anzalnahu" (97:1) the ha' refers to the Qur'an. It is in the plural when it is Allah who sent it down. The Arabs stress the action of one and makes it plural so that it has greater stress. (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 68. Book of Tafsir; source)

These next narrations say that the exact date of this night was unknown by Muhammad since he had forgotten it!

II: The excellence of the Night of Power

Allah Almighty says
, "Truly We sent it down on the Night of Power. And what will convey to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. In it the angels and the Spirit descend by their Lord's authority with every ordinance. It is Peace until the coming of the dawn." (97)

Ibn 'Uyayna said, "The
ma in the Qur'an in 'ma adraka' indicates that He has informed him, and the ma in 'ma yudrika' that He has not informed him." …

III: Looking for the Night of Power during the last seven days

1911. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that some of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were shown in a dream that
the Night of Power is during the last seven days. The Messenger of Allah said, "I think that your dreams agree about the last seven. Those who want to look for it, should look for it in the last seven."

1912. It is related that Abu Salama said, "I asked Abu Sa'id, who was a friend of mine, and he said, 'We did
i'tikaf with the Prophet during the middle ten days of Ramadan. He came out on the morning of the twentieth and addressed us, saying, "I was shown the Night of Power and then I was made to forget it (or I forgot it). So look for it on the odd nights of the last ten. I dreamed that I was prostrating in water and mud. Those who did i'tikaf with me should continue." We continued and did not see the slightest wisp of a cloud in the sky. A cloud came and it rained until the roof of the mosque, which was made of palm-fronds, was soaked. The iqama for the prayer was given and I saw the Messenger of Allah prostrating in water and mud so that I could see the marks of the mud on his forehead.’" (Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 35. The Book of Tarawih Prayers; source)

How, then, can there be a sound report which gives the exact date of the month that the Qur’an was "sent down" when t
here are other so-called authentic narrations of Muhammad where he didn’t know this date because he was made to forget and even told Muslims to look for it within the last ten days of Ramadan because of it?

Moreover, in the narration of Musnad Ahmad it is the 24
th night of Ramadan, while in the second set of narrations it supposedly happened in an odd night within the last seven or last ten nights of that month. Is 24 an odd number according to Islam?

What is obvious is that the Qur’an is contradicting itself since certain passages claim that it was composed piecemeal whereas other verses suggest that it was "revealed" in its entirety all at once. What is further obvious is that Muslims who saw the problem came up with the convenient explanation that the passages that speak of the entire Qur’an being "sent down" refer to its alleged descent to the lowest heaven, even though the Muslim scripture itself never states this. What is also obvious is that Muslim think that narrations which were composed hundreds of years after Muhammad’s death are reliable enough to explain the Muslim text, but has no problem questioning the NT documents, specifically the canonical Gospels, despite the fact that these are first-century writings which were composed within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses to Christ!



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