Some unpleasent truth
We are disturbed about an important aspect of the childhood of Mohammed. In the "Siratu'l Rasul" (vss. 105-106) of Ibn Hisham, we are told that the husband of Mohammed's nurse, Halimah, fancying that something very serious was coming upon young Mohammed, said to her:
"Halimah, I fear that this lad has become afflicted, therefore unite him with his people ere that become manifest in him.' When Halimah gave him back to his mother, Aminah, the latter was surprised and said: 'Dost thou then fear that Satan has come upon him? His nurse admitted that she did. " ("Mizanu'l Haqq", page 347).
"....Ali Halabi, in his Turkish work entitled 'Insanu'l Uyun', informs us that many people declared that Aminah, Mohammed's mother, used a spell in order to recover him from the influence of the evil eye....(ibid.).
Of his childhood we know only a few facts, but one of them is that, when he was quite a young boy, living in the desert with his foster parents, a peculiar incident occured. The story is told differently by various authorities, but Muslim's account is based on a Tradition handed down from Anas (ibn Malik):
"As for the Apostle of Allah, Gabriel came to him while he was playing with the (other) lads. He took him and threw him on the ground and split his heart. Then he took out of it a drop of clotted blood, and said, 'This is Satan's portion of thee'.... And the lads came running to his mother (foster mother) and said: 'Verily Mohammed has been killed.' They went to meet him, and he had changed colour." (Muslim) (Mishkat IV, page 367).
We realize that both reports describe the same incident. We cannot doubt that supernatural powers guided Mohammed. When we observe the evidence of Mohammed's behaviour and the circumstances under which he received the messages, supernatural guidance can hardly be denied.
Furthermore, it is beyond doubt that Mohammed was deeply troubled by his first revelations (Siratu'l Rasool vs. 156). One Hadis goes so far as to state that he even contemplated suicide. He also doubted his calling during a period of silence (Fatra).
Before the revelations came to Mohammed. "he saw prophetic dreams and heard unseen voices and calls" (Mishkat IV. page 354).
The experience of his first revelation is equally impressive:
"....he used to seclude himself to the cave of Hira and engaged therein in deep devotion (we would ask to what or whom? Allah had not yet revealed himself! G.N.) for many nights (!) before he went to his house and provided himself with food....until the truth came to him while he was in the cave of Hira."
We know how this continued, but it is nevertheless striking to hear the words of the Hadis:
"Then he (Gabriel) took me and pressed me a third time till there appeared a great exhaustion on me."
On his coming home he said to Khadijah:
"Wrap me up, wrap me up! Then they wrapped him until the dread went away from him." (Mishkat IV, pages 356-357).
Reading the oldest historical account about the first revelation in Hira (Siratu'l Rasool vs. 152), we feel uneasy, for the entire experience is removed from reality, being a dream. Gabriel, the angel who transmitted the revelations, "came to me, said the apostle of God while I was asleep....". After reporting the conclusion of the revelation, we read on (vs. 153) that he awoke from his sleep. This is identical to the experience of the night journey from Mecca to the Masjid al-Aqsa (which was not in existence at that time!) on Buraq. Mu'awiya ibn Abu Sufyan said that this was a vision and Aisha used to say "The Apostle's body remained where it was, but God removed his spirit by night." (ibid. vss. 265-266) (See also vs. 151).
Strangest of all to us is the test which Khadija, the first wife of Mohammed, applied to identify the source of the first revelation. She asked Mohammed to notify her whenever the messenger should appear again. This time it obviously did not happen in a dream. Upon his notification that Gabriel had come, she said: "Get up, O son of my uncle and sit by my left thigh'. The apostle did so, and she said: 'Can you see him?' 'Yes,' he said." This was repeated on her right thigh with like result. After that she asked him to sit in her lap with the same result. Now "she disclosed her form and cast aside her veil while the apostle was sitting in her lap (according to 'Abdullah ibn Hasan' she made the apostle of God 'come inside her shift') whereupon Gabriel departed." (ibid. vs.154). The report ends with Khadija being satisfied that it must have been an angel and not Satan. We have to ask the question: What did Khadija know about Satan and angels, at least at that stage, and what did she know about Allah?
It is surprising that even straight after the first revelation Khadija said:
"By Allah, never will Allah humiliate you." (ibid).
"Ibn Ishaq says that, before the Revelation first began to descend upon him, Mohammed's friends feared that he was suffering from the evil eye: and that, when it came upon him, almost the same illness attacked him again. In tradition it is stated that he (Mohammed) said: 'I fear lest I should become a magician, lest one should proclaim me a follower of the Jinn (spirit)', and again: 'I fear lest there should be madness' (or demonic possession) 'in me.' After an accession of shivering and shutting his eyes, there used to come over him what resembled a swoon, his face would foam and he would roar like a young camel." (Mizanu'l Haqq, page 345).
"The Apostle of Allah said (to Ayshah) 'Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell and that is the most troublesome to me....sometimes the angel assumes the form of a man for me and talks with me and I retain in memory what he says! Ayshah reported 'And indeed I saw him while the revelation descended upon him on an intensely cold day; then it left him while his brow steamed with sweat.' "(Mishkat IV, page 360).
Other Hadis mention that when inspiration was sent down to him, Mohammed's countenance changed and he was troubled at the happening. He also became very heavy, so that his camel, if he was sitting on it, went down. Zaid-ibn-Thabith reported that:
"Once his leg fell upon mine, and, by Allah, there is no such heavy leg as was that of the Apostle of Allah....As often as the Prophet received inspiration, it seemed as if his soul was being taken from him, for he had always a kind of swoon and looked like one intoxicated." (Insanu'l Uyun as quoted in Mizanu'l Haqq, page 346).
If we look at all these by no means scanty Hadis, a picture begins to form. Anyone acquainted with spiritist phenomena sees certain happenings that can be expected at any "good" seance or with a "good" medium. Occult phenomena in childhood; day dreams; the hearing of voices and calls; nightly devotions; extreme persperation during trances and the subsequent exhaustion and swoonlike condition - even the ringing of bells, is not uncommon. Most interesting is the materialization or "forming" of the man who talked with Mohammed and also the condition that looked like intoxication. Anyone being in a real and reasonably deep trance has that look. (On many occasions the writer has witnessed this himself.) All this will also explain the aversion of Mohammed to the crucifixion of Jesus, the symbol of the cross and the God-provided atonement.
Speaking of the returning Jesus (Mahdi): he will destroy the "myth of the cross", "destroy the cross", or "break the cross". (Mishkat IV, page 80 ff.).
It is related by Waqidi that
"Mohammed had such a repugnance to the form of the cross, that he broke everything brought into his house with that figure upon it." ("Dictionary of Islam" page 63).
All this speaks of a very deep rift between the Biblical revelation and the Quranic one.
Revelation in the sense we understand it, is the making known of something that was hidden before. It concerns truth and wisdom from God, which man needs to be directed in life. Animals are equipped with an instinct that guides them. They are not equipped to make moral decisions. Consequently, man turns to God - and God reveals all we need to know about Himself and His purpose and plan with His creation. To us it is plain mockery, when we read in a certain instance of revelation that:
"Sauda (one of Mohammed's wives. G.N.) went out (in the fields) in order to answer the call of nature....She had been a bulky lady, significant in height amongst the women, and she could not conceal herself from him who had known her. Umar B. Khattab saw her and said: 'Sauda, by Allah, you cannot conceal from us'....She turned back. Allah's Messenger was at that time in my (Ayshah's) house having his evening meal and there was a bone in his hand. She (Sauda) came and said: 'Allah's Messenger, I went out and Umar said to me so and so. She (Ayshah) reported: 'There came the revelation to him and then it was over, the bone was then in his hand and he had not thrown it and he said: 'Permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs.' " (Sahih Muslim III, page 1186).
If the Quran is nazil, no trace of human hand (character of writer; objectives; culture, traceable similarity to existing cults; emotion, etc.) should be noticeable, but in fact the character, objectives, aims and personal affairs of Mohammed and the context of his time are very clearly detectable.
Mohammed was also criticized by his contemporaries for copying:
Rouzat al Ahbab (Hadis):
"It was Mohammed's practice to converse in their own language with people of every nation who visited him. and hence the introduction of some Persian words into the Arabic language."
According to the Siratu'l Rasool ("Life of the Prophet") Mohammed had among his companions, a Persian called Salman. It is said that some of the Prophet's opponents spoke of this Persian as having assisted him in the composition of the Quran. The answer to this accusation is recorded in Sura 16:105:
"...We know that they say, 'Truly a certain man teaches him,' But the tongue of him unto whom they incline, is a foreign one, (but) this (Quran) is the tongue of perspicuous Arabic."
"This Quran could not have been forged apart from God....The say, 'Why has he forged it?' Say: 'then produce a Sura like it'...." (Sura 1O:39).
It was the custom for poets to hang their compositions upon the Ka'aba. The seven "Moallaqat" were so exposed by Imra'ul Cays. We are told that Fatima, the Prophet's daughter, was repeating as she went along, the verse:
"The hour is come and shattered is the moon" (Sura 54:1).
Just then, she met the daughter of Imra'ul Cays, who cried out:
"Oh that is what your father has taken from my father's poems and calls it something that has come down to him from heaven!"
Imra'ul Cays' poetry is so apparently similar in style and diction to the Quran, that many Muslim scholars held it to be poetry existing within the heavenly tablet from all eternity. ("Sources of Islam", page 9).
Ibn-Hisham further relates:
"Mohammed sat in the assembly, prayed and read the Quran to them, After he had left one day, Nadr, son of al-Harith, came in and told them stories of the great Rustem and Isfandeyar and the kings of Persia. He then said, 'I swear by the Lord, that the stories of Mohammed are not better than my own. They are nothing but tales from the past, which he has written out, just as I have written out mine." Again the Quran answers:
"The unbelievers say, 'This is naught, but a calumny he has forged and other folk have helped him to it.' So they have committed wrong and falsehood. They say 'Fairy tales of the ancients, that he has written down, so that they are recited to him at the dawn and in the evening.' Say: 'He sent it down, who knows the secret in heavens and earth; he is all forgiving, all compassionate.' " (Sura 25:6,7).
The sad fate of Nadr (or Nadir) which resulted from his frankness in voicing his opinion about Mohammed is recorded on page 119.
In addition, we refer to the chapter: "The Sources of Islam" regarding this subject.
QUESTION: How can one be sure that a revelation comes from God - and not from another source? Are there any objective evidences showing the divine origin of the Quran?