"The Origin of Quran. Its transmission, compilation, corruption/preservation and current status".

A COMPREHENSIVE WRTITTEN DEBATE BETWEEN THREE ATHEISTS, A CHRISTIAN AND THREE MUSLIMS.

The debate will be hosted jointly by Exploring Faiths Organization (THIS BLOG) and the group "Religion, philosophy, let us talk about it" (http://www.facebook.com/groups/181024738596591/) and Islamic Perimeter (www.islamicperimeter.com). The debate will be published on http://www.exploringfo.blogspot.com and in the group mentioned above and also on the website http;//www.islamicperimeter.com
Mr. Shakoor Saafir: is a French Muslim of American origin. He engages in discussions with Atheists and Christians and has some articles under his name mainly dealing with Islamism and Zionism.
MR. SHAKOOR'S THE OPENING STATEMENT


“Read in the name of thy Lord”. These were the first few words of the Quran revealed to the Prophet (saw) over 1400 years ago. Muhammad (saw), who was known to have been in retreat and meditation in a cave outside Mecca, had received the first few words on a book that what would have a tremendous impact on the world of literature. Not being known to have composed any piece of poetry and not having any special rhetorical gifts, Muhammad (saw) had just received the beginning of a book that would deal with the matters of belief, law, politics, rituals, spirituality and economics in an ‘entirely new literary form’. The popular historian Karen Armstrong states,

“It is as though Muhammad had created an entirely new literary form…. Without this experience of the Quran it is extremely unlikely that Islam would have taken roots..” (Karen Armstrong, The History of God, p. 171)

This unique literary form was the cause of the dramatic intellectual revival of desert Arabs, and after 13 years of first revelation, it became the only reference for a new state in Medina. This new form of speech, The Quran, became source of the new civilization’s political, philosophical and spiritual outlook.

The Arabs, the contemporaries of the Muhammad (saw), were known for their eloquence and magnificent poetry. So Muhammad's (saw) major miracle was the Qur’an, the equivalent of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators could not produce despite the repeated challenge from the Qur’an itself. However, the beauty and power of Muhammad’s (saw) major miracle is that it removes the constraints of place and time. It is the permanent miracle for all generations to see. Muhammad (saw) is the final Messenger and his Prophet hood is, therefore, not limited to time and place, and is for all peoples (after the advent of his Prophet hood) in all times until the Day of Judgment. Now, many who would agree with everything we have stated above may reject this about Muhammad (saw) his Messengership and the scripture with which he was sent. (The Qur’an)

It is our objective here to prove without a shadow of a doubt that the source of Qur’an is in fact from God Himself. Therefore in this paper of mine, I will mainly deal with the “source of Quran”.
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And they say: 'Tales of the ancients which he has caused to be written...'

This charge of borrowing ancient materials and composing it as the Qur'ân is not new. It is as old as its time of revelation. In fact the above quotation is from the Qur'ân itself! (Surah 25, verse 5). Since the Qur'ân, in the time of its revelation, talks about the people before them, as well as which was known to them from before, it was one of the excuses of unbelievers rejection of the Qur'ân.

It is that the Qur'ân is not a divine revelation since most of it is found narrated in ancient texts and traditions, some of which are known to be myths, legends and fables, while other parts just plagiarized from the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Therefore, by implication again form this is that Muhammad(P) is an imposter who is seen to be fabricating, plagiarizing and claiming to have received divine inspiration and thus deceived the people, i.e., Muhammad(P) is an imposter and the Qur'ân is a deception.

To reply all questions on oral traditions being source of Quran, Dr. Jamal Badawi replies by asking the following six questions.

  1. Why is it in spite of the abundance of historical material on Muhammad(P)'s life, and in spite of the extensive research on his life for centuries by his severe critics, that it was not possible to discover the mysterious teacher(s) through whom Muhammad(P) might have learned all that?
  2. It is known that Muhammad(P) was opposed, ridiculed and persecuted for nearly 13 years by his own contemporaries. With this magnitude of severe enemies, was it not possible for them to prove to the masses that Muhammad(P)'s claim of revelation was sheer fabrication? Was it not possible for them to reveal and name the person whom they alleged to be the human source or sources of his teachings? Even some of his adversaries who had made this assertion, changed their minds later on and accused him, instead, of magic or being possessed by evil... etc.
  3. Muhammad(P) was raised among his people and every aspect of his life was exposed to them, especially by the openness that characterizes tribal life in the desert. How could the multitudes of his contemporaries, including many of his close relatives who knew him so well, how could they believe in his truthfulness if they had any doubt that he was claiming credit for ideas taught to him by some other teachers without bothering to give them credit ?
  4. What kind of teacher might have taught Muhammad(P) a coherent and complete religion that changed the face of history? Why didn't he or they (if any) speak against the alleged student who continued learning from them, while ignoring them and claiming some other divine source for his teachings?
  5. How could many Jews and Christians amongst his contemporaries become Muslims and believe in his truthfulness if they knew he was copying from their scriptures or learning from their priests or rabbis?
  6. It is known that some of the Qur'ânic revelations to Muhammad(P) in the presence of people. The Qur'ân was revealed over the span of 23 years, where then that was mysterious, perhaps invisible teacher of Muhammad(P)? How could he have hidden himself for so long? Or how could Muhammad(P) who was constantly surrounded by companions, how was he able to make frequent secret visits to that mysterious teacher or teachers for 23 years without even being caught once?
The answer to all these questions are never given. But the Christian missionaries' and the atheists’ logic is that still Muhammad(P) borrowed from the Judeo-Christian-Pagan sources even though there is no evidence to show. What you do not know, you do not have to show; just say it and it becomes so.
Karen Armstrong in her book A History Of God writes about the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad(P) by God:

In about the year 610 an Arab merchant of the thriving city of Mecca in Hijaz, who had never read the Bible and probably never heard of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, had an experience that was uncannily similar to theirs. (A History Of God, 1993, Ballantine Books, New York, p.132.)

Roger DuPasquier, a Swiss journalist and author, asserts that:

To this day no-one has put forward a defensible explanation of how an unlettered caravan merchant of the early seventh century might have been able, by his own devices, to produce a text of such inimitable beauty, of such capacity to stir emotion, and which contained knowledge and wisdom which stood so far above the ideas current among makind at that time.  The studies carried out in the West which try to determine the 'sources used by Muhammad', or to bring to light the psychological phenomenon which enabled him to draw the inspiration from his 'subconscious', have demonstrated only one thing: the anti-Muslim prejudice of their authors. (Unveiling Islam, 1992, The Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, p.53.)

Other people who reject the Prophethood of Muhammad (saw) agree because of the historical evidence of Muhammad’s (saw) impeccable character and truthfulness that he would not have deliberately fabricated the Qur’an, so they allege for some reason that he either had epilepsy or was delusional and actually believed that he was a Prophet. Firstly, again keeping in mind that Muhammad is perhaps history’s most well documented man, there is absolutely no evidence from his life to support this claim, and all evidence suggests that Muhammad (saw) lived a normal and sane life all the way up to his death at the age of sixty (60). Even some Orientalists (non-Muslims who have achieved considerable status as authorities on Islam) themselves have rejected these claims of epilepsy as false and ridiculous. Daniel commenting on the claim of epilepsy said:

“…epilepsy as applied to the Prophet was the explanation of those who sought to amuse rather than to instruct” (The Sublime Qu’ran and Orientalism p. 13)

John Davenport said,

"This remark that Muhammad has suffered the atta cks of epilepsy is one of the false, awkward sayings of the Greeks by which they meant to stain the prestige of the propagator of a new religion, and turn the world of Christianity against his moral behavior and qualities." (Udhri Taqsir, p.20)

Epilepsy takes control of one’s thoughts during seizures, yet Muhammad (saw) was in complete control during the revelation and was able to recall the event in detail, unlike one who would have an epileptic seizure. Beyond the known facts, one must ask how could Muhammad (saw) unconsciously know about previous nations? How could he unconsciously answer questions people asked him and be so correct? No one ever stood up to claim that they too are familiar with these stories. How could he know about future events which would later come to pass? How could he have known that the Persians and Romans would go to war and who would win the war years in advance? How could it be that he had epileptic seizures for 23 years and no one realizes it? What kind of unique disease was this which led to the formation of a book which is considered best Arabic literature? It is like throwing balls from an airplane and seeing them getting arranged so as to make an engineering marvel.

Therefore when the facts are examined, the epileptic seizures theories can not only be easily ruled out as absurd but we can only conclude that this claim is made out of outright maliciousness because the evidence is overwhelmingly against them. Norman Daniel commenting on the slanders made against Muhammad (saw) said:

"All writers (referring to Western Writers) tended - more or less - to cling to fantastic tales about Islam and its Prophet... The use of false evidence to attack Islam was all but universal."

Norman Daniel, Islam and the West, One world Publications 1993, p.267

Daniel also goes on to explain: "At the worst there was the assertion of the fantastic, and its repetition without discrimination; at the best there was the selection of only those facts that served the purpose of controversy." ibid, p.268

Rational Deduction:

This argument is based upon a well known historical fact, supported by Eastern and Western Scholarship. Before we start to discuss the historical realities of the Qur'an and linguistic capabilities of the Classical Arabs, we first need to explain what we mean by 'rational deduction'.

Rational Deduction is the thinking process starting with one universally accepted statement that no one can doubt, and using rational deduction, drawing logical conclusions that draw from that statement.

With regards to the Qur'an, the universally accepted statement is that the Arabs at the time of revelation reached the peak of expressing themselves in the Arabic language. The Qur'an came with a challenge - to produce 3 lines of Arabic that will match the linguistic and literary reality of the text. Many at the time of revelation attempted to challenge the Qur'an, and as can be seen by the preserved written challenges, they all failed. They came to the conclusion that it was a form of 'magic' and what is interesting to note is that they never claimed that Muhammad was the author or the Qur'an.

So who was the Author?

When questioning the authorship of the Qur'an, in the context of the 'universally accepted statement' and the other arguments below, one must first understand who the Qur'an could have possible come from. There are a few options:

i. An Arab ii. A non-Arab iii. Muhammad iv. The Creator

The Qur’an is matchless in its Arabic and beyond comparison amongst other literature. It defies sense for it to have been written by someone who could not understand Arabic. Think of a literary work in English e.g. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Could one without English have been the author? Do the same for literature in other languages. Dante’s Divine Comedy, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Aristophanes’ Clouds and so on. It would not be serious to claim that such work could be achieved without access to the language itself therefore the first option of a non-Arab authoring the Qur’an can be safely eliminated.

If the Qur’an was authored by an Arab then the test of inimitability would not pose a real challenge just as it does not in other languages. Whatever one writes another can write a little in the same style but the challenge has been attempted by leading authorities in Arabic throughout history and has left all exhausted. Whenever an Arab attempts a passage trying to imitate the Qur'an's style and literary form he/she remains utterly elusive so we can safely state that the author of the Qur’an could not have been an Arab.

Muhammad, for all his greatness, was still an Arab like his brethren. It is also a matter of fact that the Prophet Muhammad was never accused of authoring the Qur’an by his contemporaries, even those who sought his death and ruin. Furthermore the hadith(recorded narrations attributed to the Prophet) are in a totally different style to the Qur'an. How can any man speak with two distinct styles over a 23 year period?

The only rational answer left is the Creator.

Little bit on the transmission, compilation, preservation and current status of Quran.
  • ·        Entire Quran was present in written form before the death of the prophet.
  • ·         Quran was compiled into one book under the Caliphate of Abu Bakr.
  • ·         The official copy of Quran was passed on to Umar, under whom Islam spread to distant areas.
  • ·         Under Uthman the problem of dialects needed to be sorted out.
  • ·         Uthman commissioned a new committee to compile the Quran again from the primary sources.
  • ·         This new Mushaf was found to be the exact replica of earlier official copy.
  • ·         8 copies of this Mushaf were made.
  • ·         These copies were sent to different centers of Quran learning along with a reciter.
  • ·         All other Mushafs were burnt.
  • ·         No one doubted Uthman’s sincerity.
  • ·         Today’s Quran is vowel and dots added to Uthman’s Mushaf.
  • ·         Manuscript evidence proves that Quranic text has ever remained static.
  • ·         Mainstream scholarship agrees that the Quran didn’t suffer corruption.
  • ·         The writing was always supported by memorization.
  • ·         Millions of people have memorized the entire Quran. Even if the Mushaf contains a mistake, memorization helps in restoration.


How to prove us wrong?

  • ·         Produce 4 verses like Quran.
  • ·         Produce strong manuscript evidence proving corruption of text.
  • ·         Produce a strong evidence to show a different origin of Quran.
  • ·         Produce a well established fact going against Islamic scholarship wrt the Quran.
  • ·         Produce an alternative theory which explains all of the established facts.


Thanks.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE DEBATE INTRODUCTION.

CLICK HERE TO READ "PAPER 2" - MR. DAVE MARK ROWLANDS' OPENING STATEMENT. HE IS AN ATHEIST AND HIS PAPER IS CRITICAL TO ISLAM.

CLICK HERE TO READ "PAPER 3" - Mr. KUREIN VERGHESE'S OPENING STATEMENT.

CLICK HERE TO READ "PAPER 4" - MR. MUSHAFIQ SULTAN'S OPENING STATEMENT.

CLICK HERE TO READ PAPER 5 i.e MR. NINAD GAIKWAD'S OPENING STATEMENT.

CLICK HERE TO READ PAPER 6 i.e MR. SAAIB AHMED'S OPENING STATEMENT. 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE DEBATE NOW. (CLICK ON SUBSCRIBE JUST BELOW) Or Just Comment. or do both.
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3 Response to "The Origins of Quran. Paper 1. Shakoor's Opening Statement."

  1. Anonymous Said,

    Alhamdulillah

    Posted on 20 June 2012 at 02:09

     
  2. Verla Said,

    Truth will prevail..May Allah be with you brother..

    Posted on 20 June 2012 at 04:44

     
  3. simtiyaznawaz Said,

    Truth stands out clear from error. Indeed Allah will reward you for your great works towards Islam.

    Posted on 20 June 2012 at 12:47

     

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