Friday, 8 May 2009

Islam, the Qur’an and Mohammad

The Qu’ran Part IV

From Part III



The Qur’an is the Muslim’s Holy Book - they call it "The Glorious Qur’an" or Al-Mushaf Al-Shareef. It contains one hundred and fourteen suras ( a surat is a chapter). The suras are not arranged chronologically but by length. As those who arranged the Qur’an put the longest suras first and the shortest at the end.

Strange Names

Many suras in the Qur’an are named after animals or small creatures or other objects. One surat is named after the jinn ( evil spirits).

Surat Al-Baqarah (Number 2) The Cow
Surat Al-An’am (Number 6) The Cattle
Surat Al-Ra’d (Number 13) The Thunder
Surat Al-Nahl (Number 16) The Bee
Surat Al-Kahf (Number 18) The Cave
Surat Al-Naml (Number 27) The Ant
Surat Al-’Ankabut (Number 29) The Spider
Surat Al-Dukhan (Number 44) The Smoke
Surat Al-Tur (Number 52) The Mount
Surat Al-Najm (Number 53) The Star
Surat Al-Qamar (Number 54) The Moon
Surat Al-Hadid (Number 57) The Iron
Surat Al-Qalam (Number 68) The Pen
Surat Al-Jinn (Number 72) The Jinn
Surat Al-Buruj (Number 85) The Mansions of the Stars
Surat Al-Fajr (Number 89) The Dawn
Surat Al-Shams (Number 92) The Night
Surat Al-Layl (Number 92) The Night
Surat Al-Duha (Number 93) The Morning Hours
Surat Al-Tin ( Number 95) The Fig
Surat Al-’Alaq (Number 96) the Clot
Surat Al-Asr (Number 103) The Declining Day
Surat Al-Fil (Number 105) The Elephant
Surat Al-Falaq (Number 113) The Day Break

These are strange names for section of a book which Muhammad claimed was the book of Allah. It is difficult to understand why Allah would name the chapters of his book. The Cow, The Bee, The Ant, The Spider, The Star, The Sun, The Night, the Fig, The Elephant and even the Jinn.

How the Qur’an Was Written

Sheikh Abd El-Fatah El-Kady wrote in his book Al Mushaf Al-Shareef (The Qur’an - Its History and Tests), pages 14 and 55.

The Qur’an was not delivered to Muhammad all at once. It came piecemeal according to the events and occasions, as we read in the Qur’an. [It is] a Qur’an which we have divided [into parts form time to time], intervals  We have revealed it by stages
(Surat Al-Isra 17:106)

He continues:

The Qur’an was written during Muhammad’s like, on the branches of palm trees, on thin stones, on paper, on skin, on shoulders and side bones of animals.

All of the Qur’an was written during Muhammad’s life, but was not collected in one volume. Its suras were not organized. It was scattered on the branches of palm trees, skin and in the memories or breasts of Muhammad's "close friends" (Al-Sahaba in Arabic).

Not only were the Qur’anic writings disorganized, but there were seven different versions of them. The reason for these different versions of the Qur’an is that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad in seven different ways (Al-Mushaf Al-Shareef, page 64).
Muhammad said in the Hadith:

The Qur’an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it that which is easier for you (Sahih-al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, page 510).

Tabari, the great expositor of the Qur’an, said that the difference between, the seven versions of the Qur’an (Al-Ahruf Al-Sabaa) was not in the meaning but in the words. To illustrate: A person can use the word grace, gracefulness. Or the work goods, possessions, or property. But the fact is that the difference in those seven versions were not purely of words but at times related to the basic content of the Qur’an's text itself.

After Muhammad’s death, at the time of caliph Abu-Bakr, many of those who had memorized the Qur’an died while fighting the apostates in the battle of " Alyamama, "Omar feared that the death of those men would result in the loss of a great portion of the Qur’an and suggested to Abu-Bakr that the Qur’an should be collected in one volume. Abu-Bakr was reluctant to do that, because Muhammad did not collect the Qur’an in one volume during his life. After much discussion Omar persuaded Abu-Bakr to order the collection of the Qur’an. Abu-Bark ordered Aid Bin Sabot to do the job (Al-Mush Al-Shareef, page 59,60).

By Allah If they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur’an. Zaid Ibn Sabit said. Then I said to Abu-Bakr, " How will you do something which Allah's Apostle did not do?" Abu-Bakr said " By Allah, it is a good thins"
(Sahih-al-Bukhari, Part 6, page 477).

It is quite clear that the collection of the Qur’an is something which Muhammad did not do. It is also clear that the Qur’an was not completely written in one volume during Muhammad’s life. This is why Omar and Abu-Bakr feared the loss of great portions of the Qur’an, If the men who memorized it should die.

Therefore Zaid Ibn Sabit agreed to collect the various pieces of the Qur’an. However, when Islam became the religion of many countries, every country used the version of the Qur’an which was known among them: the Syrians read AbiKaab’s version, the people of Kofa read Abdallah Ibn Massoud’s version, others read Abu Moussa Alashaby’s version and so on.

When Caliph Uthman took the caliphate, he was confronted by such confusion and sedition concerning the reading of the Qur’an in the different Islamic countries that he ordered it to be rewritten.

Uthaman ordered Zaid Ibn Sabit and three other men from Quraysh, Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubeer, Saeed Ibn El-Uss, and Abdelrahman Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Hesham, to rewrite the Qur’an. It was Uthman’s order to the scribes " If you disagree with Zaid Ibn Sabit in anything of the Qur’an, write it in the language of Quraysh, because the Qur’an was revealed in the language of Quraysh." They did (Al-Mushaf Al-Shareef, Pages 66,70).

After Uthman competed his Qur’an he forced all the Islamic countries to have one Qur’an - and banned all other codices. He finished the matter by burning all other codices of the Qur’an.

Dr. Taha Hussein , a well known author, college professor, and minister of education in Egypt, wrote in his book Al- Fitnato Al-Korba (The Great Sedition):

The prophet Muhammad said: "The Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects all of them are right and perfect." When Uthman banned whichever he banned from the Qur’an, and burned whichever he burned of it, he banned passages Allah has revealed and burned parts of the Qur’an which were given to the Muslims by the messenger of Allah. He appointed a small group of the Sahaba (close friends of Muhammad) to rewrite the Qur’an and left out those who heard the prophet and memorized what he said. This is why Ibn Massoud was angry, because he was one of the best men who memorized the Qur’an. He said that he took from the mouth of the prophet seventy suras of the Qur’an while Zaid Ibn Sabit was yet a young lad. When Ibn Massoud objected to the burning of the other codices of the Qur’an, Uthman took him out of the mosque with violence, and struck him to the ground, and broke one of his ribs (The Great Sedition, pages 160,161,181,182).

It is very clear that much of the orginal Qur’an was burned, while other parts were rewritten. How can we reconcile these historical facts with the following words of the Qur’an?

Nay, this is a Glorious Qur’an [inscribed] in a Tablet preserved (Sarat Al-Buru 85:21,22).

That this is indeed a Qur’an most honorable in a book well guarded ( Sarat Al-Waqiah 56:77,78).

If the Qur’an was inscribed in “a tablet preserved,” and in “a book well-guarded,” why was it necessary for Utham to rewrite the Qur’an? How could he burn the other codices? Why were there other codices in the first place? These are very serious questions regarding a book said to be God’s word.

The Bible Is The Gold Standard

To rightly evaluate the Qur’an, we have to compare it with the Bible. The Bible is the gold standard by which we must evaluate the Qur’an. Even the Qur’an declares that the Bible is the absolute standard. When Mohammad doubted the revelations given to him by the spirit who appeared to him at the cave of Hira,, Allah directed him to ask those who read the Bible before him

And if thou [Muhammad] art in doubt concerning that which we reveal unto thee, then question those who read the scripture [that was] before thee. (Surat Yunus 10:94MPT).

It is clear that the scripture that was before Muhammad is the Holy Bible. We have thousands of manuscripts of the Bible which were in existence before Muhammad.

The late Robert Chapman of England wrote the following statemant concerning the Bible.

This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, it precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrims’ staff, the pilot’s compsss, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It shoul fill the memory, test the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents. (The Bible Has the Answer, page 31).

Contrary to the Qur’an, the Bible is arranged in chronological order. It begins with the Book of Genesis and ends with the Book of Revelation. Dr. Lehman Srauss wrote in the introduction of his book, The book of The Revelation, pages 17,18:

One careful reading of the Bible will convince anyone that this inspired volume forms a complete cycle. Genesis is the book of commencement; Revelation is the book of consummation. Revelatioon is an excellent finish to the devine library.

Genesis - The commencement of Heaven and earth (1:1)
Revelation - The consummation of Heave and earth (21:1)

Genesis - The entrance of sin and the curse (3:1-19)
Revelation - The end of sin and the curse (21:27; 22:3)

Genesis - The dawn of Satan and his activities (3:1-7)
Revelation - The doom of Satan and his activities (20:10)

Genesis - The tree of life is relinquished (2:9;3:24)
Revelation - The tree of life is regained (22:2)

Genesis - Death makes it extrance (2:17;5:5)
Revelation - Death makes its exit (21:4)

Genesis - Sorrow begins (3:16)
Revelation - Sorrow is banished (21:4)

The first book of the Bible knows no completion apart from the last book of the Bible, and all the rest of the sixty-four books in between are dependent upon each other. Not one book in the Bible is an independent contribution to be divorced from the other books.

This is not the case with the Qur’an. Its opening surat is a prayer which must be repeated five times a day by evey Muslin, followed by Surat Al-Baqarah which contains many verses that were abrogated in other suras, and it ends with the follwing surat:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent , the Merciful Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, The God of mankind, from the evil of the sneaking whisperer, who whispereth in the hearts of mankind, of the jinn of mankind. (Surat Al-Nas 114:1-6 MPT)

This is how the Qur’an ends, with fear of Jinn, fear of the sneaking whisperer, and of men, while the Bible ends with the hope of the second coming of Christ and with the grace of Christ on the believers (Revelation 22:20,21). The Qur’an is complety different fromt he Bible in its language, style, and seting. The Bible reconts the stories of the fall of Adam, of the call of Abraham, the stories of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses and other prophets and great men of God. These stories demonstrate the truthfulness and honesty of the Bible and the precious lessons from the life of those patrarchs. It also records how human begins got to speak different languages even thoughtthey are the decendants of one man. Adam, and one woman, Eve.

Contradiction Between the Bible and the Qur’an

The Qur’an mentions many stories and commandments written in the Bible with great distortions and contradiction. The following are a few examples:

1. Noah’s Wife And Son

The Qur’an declares that Noah’s entered hell, and that one of his sons was drowned by the flood:

Allah cited an example for those who disbelieve: The wife of Noah and the wife of Lot, who were under two of our righteous slaves, yet betrayed them so that they [the husbands] availed them naught against Allah and it was said [unto them]: Enter the fire along with those who enter (Surat Al-Tahrim 66:10 MPT).

And it sailed [the ark] with them amid waves like mountains, and Noah cried unto his son and he was standing aloof - O my son! Come ride with us, and be not with the disbelievers. He said: I shall betake me to some mountain that will save me from the water, [Noah] said: This day there is none that saveth from the commandment of Allah save him on whom He hath had mercy. And the wave came in between them, so he was among the drowned. ( Surat Hud 11:42,43 MPT).

These Qur’anic verses contradict the Bible which says:

In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark (Genesis 7:13).

Whom should we believe, the Qur’an or the Bible? The Bible tells us that the human race descended after the flood from Shem. Ham and Japheth. Since none of them drowned, the Qur’an is in error.

2. Miriam and Mary

In the Arabic Bible both Miriam, the sister of Aaron, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are named “ Maryam.” But in the Qur’an we read that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the daughter of Imran, and the sister of Aaron.

And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her virginity (literal translation, and we breathed into [her body] of our spirit (Surat Al-Tahrim 66:12).

O sister of Aaron! (Surat Maryam 19:28).

Read also verses 29-34 of the same surat.

The fact is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is not the daughter of Imran or the sister of Aaron. The difference in time between the two Marys is more than 1300 years. Besides, Mary the mother of Jesus, was from the tribe of Judah, Mary the sister of Aaron was from the tribe of Levi.

3. The Planet Earth Circle Or Flat?

Hundreds of years before Copernicus and Galieo, the prophet Isaiah declared that the planet earth is a sphere, he wrote:

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22 NKJ).

Four times the Qur’an declares that the planet earth is flat:

Do they not consider ... How the earth has been flattened out? (Surat Al- Ghashiyah 88:20 T.B. Irving)

Have We not made the earth as a side expanse, and the mountains as pegs? (Surat Al-Naban 78:6).

And the earth and Him who spread (Surat Al-Shams 91:6).

And the earth have we spread out (Surat Al-Hijr 15:19).

This is clear evidence that the Bible was inspired by God, while the Qur’an was not. If the Qur’an was inspired by God, the spirit who spoke to Mohammed would have told him that the planet earth is a sphere.

Moreover, the Bible declared, thousands of years before any scientific discoveries concerning the planet earth, that the planet earth is hanging on nothing:

He hangs the earth on nothing (Job 26:7).

This is how accurate the Bible is.

5. The Throne Of God, Is It On Water Or In Heaven?

The Qur’an declared that the throne of God is upon water:

And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and his throne was upon the water (Surat Hud 11:7 MPT).

The Bible declares that the throne of God is in heaven:

Swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne ( Matthew 5:34).

6. How Are The Dead Resurrected?

In the Qur’an we read that Abraham asked to show him how He gives life to the dead:

Behold! Abraham said: “My Lord! show me how that givest life to the dead.” He said: “Dost thou not then believe?” he said: “Yea! but to satisfy my own heart. “He said: “ Take four birds, tie them {cut them into pieces], then put a portion of them: on every hill, and call to them: they will come to thee [flying] with speed. Then know that Allah is exalted in power, wise” (Surat al-Baqarah: 2:260).

Is The Bible Corrupted?

Because of the many contradictions between the Bible and the Qur’an, and because the Bible does not mention any prophecies concerning Muhammad, Muslim scholars claim that the Bible has been altered and corrupted. Such a claim is totally against several clear verses of the Qur’an.

The Qur’an states explicitly that the Old and the New Testaments are the inspired word of God. Here we have to emphasize the fact that we have at least five thousand ancient manuscripts of the entire Bible which are called codices. These codices go back to the year 350 A.D. that is almost two hundred and fifty years before the birth of Muhammad. One of these ancient codices is kept in the British Museum in London, others are kept in France and in the Vatican at pome.

Because these ancient codices were in existence before the Qur’an, which came more than six hundred years after Christ, what the Qur’an declares about the Bible must be applied to these without any dispute. This is what the Qur’an declares concerning the Old and the New Testament which were in the hands of the Jews and the Christians.

We gave Moses the Book, and made it a guide to the children of Israel... (Surat Al-Isra 17:2).

We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses: Be not then in doubt of its reaching [thee]: And We made it a guide to the children of Israel (Surat Al-Sajdah 32:23).

How can they choose you as ajudge when they have the Torah, which contains God's judgment?...We have sent down the Torah containing guidance and light (Surat Al-Maidah 5:43, 44 T.B. Irving).

It is clear from these Qur’anic verses that it was not necessary for the Jews to go to Muhammad for judgment, because they had the Torah which came down from heaven and contained all the needed guidance and light. They had no need for Muhammad or his Qur’an.

It is we who revealed the Torah [to Moses]: therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed to Allah's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: For to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's Book, and they were witnesses thereto:

Therefore fear not men, but fear Me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by what Allah hath revealed, they are unbelievers (literally infidels) (Surat Al-Maidah 5:44).

This verse declares that the Torah was revealed to Moses, that it gives guidance and light, and that the prophets, rabbis and doctors of law were entrusted the protection of Allah' s book.

The important question is: Will God entrust His word to people who would corrupt and alter it? Obviously not. Moses said to the children of Israel:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neithershall ye diminish aughtfromit, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you (Deuteronomy 4:2).

The apostle Paul declares:

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much every way: Chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:1, 2).

God committed His oracles to the Jewish prophets. They were kept pure throughout history.
If the Jews had altered the Old Testament, they would have taken out the story of the fall of their King David (1I Samuel 11:1-26); the hard words directed to them (Isaiah 1:21); and the terrible prophecies concerning their future (Zechariah 14:1,2).

The existence of these and other stories related to them indicate the truthfulness of the Old Testament.

Now let us examine the testimony of the Qur’an concerning the New Testament (Ingeel in Arabic).

And in their footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Torah that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light. And confirmation of the Torah that had come before him: A guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah (Surat Al-Maidah 5:46).

According to this Qur’anic verse, Jesus confirmed the Torah. The New Testament also teaches that Jesus confirmed the Torah:

Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: forhewroteofme. But if you believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5: 45-47).

The Qur’an declares that the Gospel was sent to Jesus. What is the Gospel? The apostle Paul defines the Gospel in the following words:

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once (I Corinthians 15:1-6 NKJ).

In this passage we see that the death of Jesus Christ was to fulfill the Scriptures, and that His burial and resurrection were also to fulfill the Scriptures. The crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were not a man made story. It was a Biblical and historical reality, foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.

The Gospel was given in four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The four books were in reality one gospel in different settings, but their focal point was the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Moreover, each book gave a special picture of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Matthew is the Gospel of Jesus the King. The Gospel of Mark is the Gospel of Jesus the Servant. The Gospel of Luke is the Gospel of Jesus the Perfect Man. The Gospel of John is the Gospel of Jesus the Son of God. But the four Gospels concentrated on one issue, and one event that is the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is clear from the Qur’anic verses which will be mentioned below that the Qur’an does not supersede the Torah or the Gospel. If the Qur’an supersedes them why does the Qur’an say that the people of the book (Jews and Christians) will not have any guidance until they keep the Torah and the Gospel?

Say: O' people of the scripture! Ye have naught [of guidance] till ye observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord (Surat Al-Maidah 5:68).

Let the People of the Gospel judge by what AUah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by what Allah hath revealed, they are those who rebel (Surat Al-Maidah 5:47 MPT).

The Qur’an is explicit in confirming the authenticity of the Bible:

Lo! We even we, reveal the reminder [that is the word of God] and Lo! We verily are its guardian (Surat Al Hijr 15:9 MPT).

No change can there be in the words of Allah (Surat Yunus 10:64).

It is very clear from these verses that God promised to guard His word. There is no way to alter it.

If God is immutable and unchangeable, and most certainly He is, then this principle must be applied to all his books. He can not guard one of his books and leave the other to be corrupted. No one would trust a God who guards a part of his word and leaves another part to be tampered with. The conclusion is, since the Bible is the Word of God, then it was guarded and kept pure throughout history by the power of God. We have no choice but to accept it as such without any dispute.

The claim, by some Muslims, that the Bible was corrupted, is in conflict with the Quran which confirms the Bible. At the same time it is an insult to God, who gave the Torah to Moses and the Gospel to Jesus, to say He was unable to guard these books from corruption. In addition, the New Testament ends with these solemn words:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18, 19).

Who would dare to add or take away from the Word of God after such a warning?

We are assured that the God of the Bible is immutable, unchanging, and most certainly He, blessed be His name, guarded the Bible and kept it pure.

For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).

So, the question is, which one is the true word of God, the Qur’an or the Bible? The truth is that the Bible is the original Word of God. It was in the hands of the Jews and the Christians 600 years before the Qur’an. The Qur’an must be the altered document because of the clear contradictions between it and the Bible.

The Bible is like a piece of pure gold. It holds in itself the proof of its purity. The Bible is self-interpretive. It can be understood by comparing its verses to interpret scripture with scripture. When anyone receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her savior, the Holy Spirit illuminates his or her heart and mind to understand and enjoy.

Concerning the Qur’an we read:

No one knows its true meaning except Allah (Surat Al-Imran 3:7).

The Qur’an is a book the meaning of which no one can know. Would God give us a book that no one can understand?


Continues on Part V


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