"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. Mushafiq Sultan: A very distinguished personality. He is the founder and lead administrator of the very famous "Islam and Hinduism Initiative" which deals with comparative religion, mainly in Hindu-Muslim polemics. He is a columnist. One of his important works is on "Textual Criticism of Vedas". Mr. Mushafiq is a Kashmiri Muslim who has done his bachelors in Humanities.


MR. MUSHAFIQ'S OPENING STATEMENT

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
All praises are due to Allah, Sustainer of the Worlds. May Allah’s peace and blessing be upon all of his Prophets, the final Prophet, Muhammad, and upon all those who follow their path of righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

Let me begin by saying that Prophet Muhammad is accepted by modern historians on the study of religion as a person who sincerely believed that he was receiving a revelation from the Almighty God. For example, William Montgomery Watt, in his book Muhammad, Prophet and Statesman writes,

One of the common allegations against Muhammad is that he was an impostor, who to satisfy his ambition and his lust propagated religious teachings which he himself knew to be false. Such insincerity makes the development of the Islamic religion incomprehensible. …Only a profound belief in himself and his mission explains Muhammad's readiness to endure hardship and persecution during the Meccan period when from a secular point of view there was no prospect of success. Without sincerity how could he have won the allegiance and even devotion of men of strong and upright character like Abu-Bakr and ‘Umar?... There is thus a strong case for holding that Muhammad was sincere.”
[Muhammad, Prophet and Statesman.Oxford University Press, 1961. Pg. 232.]

This is my first point. The fact that Prophet Muhammad endured tremendous hardship in the difficult Meccan period proves that he sincerely believed that he was receiving a message from God. That does not of course mean that what he believed was true.  But it does help us negate the possibility that he was somehow trying to deceive people, in which case he might have been trying to colour everything to make it look good. There is a difference between a person who believes that what he is doing is on behalf of God and a person who knows that he is deceiving others.

My second point is that people might like to suggest that even if he was sincere, he could have been suffering from some hallucination and be under the wrong impression that he was a Prophet. However, certain incidents in his life, do not allow us to conclude so. For example, Muslim traditions (Hadith) narrate an incident from his life, that when he was an older man he had a son whom he named Ibraheem. The son died when the child was 2 years old. Now Bukharinarrates on the authority of Mughira bin Shu'ba,

“On the day of Ibrahim's death, the sun eclipsed and the people said that the eclipse was due to the death of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah's Apostle said, "The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of someone's death or life. So when you see them, invoke Allah and pray till the eclipse is clear."  [Bukhari Volume 2; Book 18 Eclipses; Hadith 168]

If he were suffering from some hallucination, he would have believed what they said and affirmed their belief. Had he been a liar or imposture, he would have taken advantage of it and played on their ignorance. But he denied that eclipses have any connection with the life and death of anyone. Contrast this with the Gospel account of Jesus’ alleged crucifixion, where the ‘Gospel writers’ tend to use these unusual natural events as proof that Jesus was an important divine person. Luke 23:44-46 relates

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, certainly this was a righteous man.

Here we see how Christian writers tend to use a natural coincidence to their advantage, while Prophet Muhammad explicitly rejected it.

My third point is that Prophet Muhammad, for all we know, was unable to read and write. Without assuming that the Qurán is the word of God, one would naturally take the Qurán as a document that was contemporary with the Prophet. So, naturally, if it mentions a biographical detail about him, there is no reason why we should not accept such a biographical detail. Moreover, it is known that the Prophet had many opponents, skeptics and cynics to deal with. If he had said something that was factually incorrect, there would be someone to object to his statement. So, when he promulgated the Qur’an and the Quran indicates that the Prophet Muhammad is unlettered (Surah 7:157 and Surah 29:46), that should be taken as a factual piece of data, even without our first assuming that the Qurán is the word of God.

My fourth point is that the Qurán speaks to the Prophet Muhammad and addresses him on several occasions. For example,
  • ·         They ask you, (O Muhammad), of new moons. Say: They are fixed seasons for mankind and for the pilgrimage. (2:189)
  • ·         They question you about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness. And they ask youwhat they ought to spend. Say: that which is superfluous. (2:219)
  • ·         They ask you of the (destined) Hour, when it will come to port. Say: Knowledge thereof is with my Lord only. (7:187)
  • ·         Say: He is Allah, the One and Only (112:1)

If the Qurán were his own production we would have the curious scenario that the he actually was speaking to himself.  The Prophet Muhammad was known to be a sane leader; one of the wisest persons of history. Even if one does not agree that he was receiving a genuine revelation from God, one must nevertheless classify him with the Great Prophets, Sages and Teachers of old. The fact that he was a sane individual, and if we should say that he himself produced a book, in which he speaks to himself is strange.

My fourth point is that the Qurán surprisingly contains some chastisement of the Prophet for some minor ‘mistakes‘, which no one even noticed. For example, we read in Surah 80 that a blind-man, who was a believer, interrupted the Prophet, when he was explaining the teachings of Islam to an assembly of the leaders of the Quraish. The Prophet took this untimely interruption ill (he frowned), on which he received this revelation. This incident shows that the source of the Holy Prophet’s revelation was other than his own mind. In the first place there was no ill-treatment for which the Holy Prophet should have repented. The Prophet’s inattention to an intruder, while he had not yet finished his conversation, was quite natural. Again, he did not chide the intruder for his interruption, but only disliked it and gave him no answer, as the words ofthe Qur’an plainly show. Secondly, even if he may be supposed to have repented for nothaving given an answer to the blind man, it would have been sufficient to have recalled him and treated him more gently. At any rate, if it were left to the option of an individual, he himself would be the last person to give permanence to a reproval for his own act. Hence the source from which the Holy Prophet received his revelation was outside hisown heart or his own inclinations.

My fifth point is that the Qurán speaks about past history, and independent investigations of that history demonstrate that the information which was mentioned in the Qurán, in the first place was not known to Prophet Muhammad and his contemporaries. On the other hand this information turned out to be accurate. For example, In the Old Testament, the Egyptian ruler during the period of Prophet Abraham and Prophet Joseph is called "Pharaoh." However, this title was actually employed after the eras in which these two Prophets lived. When Joseph entered Egypt, the kings of a dynasty known as the Hyksos ruled there. They were ethnically Arabs, and had usurped the Egyptian throne, ruling in that country from 2000 BC until the end of the 15th century BC. The indigenous population then rebelled against foreign rule and the Hyksos dynasty came to an end. While addressing the Egyptian ruler at the time of Prophet Joseph, the word "Al-Malik" in Arabic is used in the Qur'an: It refers to a ruler or king (12:50). The ruler of Egypt in the time of the Prophet Moses is referred to as "Pharaoh (e.g. 7:104)"This distinction in the Qur'an is not made in the Old and New Testaments or by Jewish historians. In the Bible, the word "Pharaoh" is used, in every reference to an Egyptian monarch. On the other hand, the Qur'an is far more concise and accurate in the terminology it employs. This also refutes the oft repeated ignorant claims that stories in the Quran were borrowed from the Bible, because despite there being similarities in the accounts, there are significant differences.

My sixth point is that the Qurán accurately speaks about the future, and since only God knows the future, we might expect the Qurán to be wrong on occasions if it were not the Word of God. But the Qurán remains remarkably true. For example, in Sura 30, The Romans, verses 1-6, the Qurán speaks about a battle which had recently taken place in which the Romans were defeated. In fact, it was such a thorough defeat that no one could have imagined that the Romans would have turned around and eventually gain a victory. In 613 and 614, Damascus and Jerusalem were besieged and captured by General Shahrbaraz, and the True Cross was carried away in triumph. Soon afterwards, General Shahin marched through Anatolia, defeating the Byzantines numerous times, and then conquered Egypt in 618. The Byzantines could offer but little resistance, as they were torn apart by internal dissensions, and pressed by the Avars and Slavs, who were invading the Empire from across the Danube River.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khosrau_II#Military_exploits_and_early_victories

When the news of this conquest reached Makkah, the Quraish were jubilant, as their sympathies were with the fire-worshipping Persians more than with the Christians, who, being the followers of the scriptures, were classed by them with the Muslims. It was in the year 615 or 616 that the revelation came to the Prophet, containing two different prophecies, one about the vanquishment of the victorious Persians, who had reached the very gates of Constantinople, by the Romans, who were by this time quite exhausted, and the other about the vanquishment of the powerful Makkans by the handful of persecuted Muslims.In 624 Heraclius advanced into northern Media, where he destroyed the great fire-temple of Goudzak. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khosrau_II#Turn_of_tides In the same year, 313 Muslims, many of whom were raw, inexperienced youths without any arms, routed a strong force of about a thousand of the Quraish warriors, killing all the leaders and dealing a death blow to the power of the enemy (The Battle of Badr). The successes of the Muslim army, on the one hand, and of the Romans, on the other, continued until the Quraish were utterly rushed by the conquest of Makkah in 630, while “the Persian Empire, from the apparent greatness which it had reached ten years ago, sank into hopeless anarchy"(Encyclopedia Britannica).

My seventh point is that the Qurán, as the Word of God, claims to befree from contradictions and it invites people to find a contradiction in it to prove it is not from God (4:82). So the Qurán is daring people to find a real contradiction in the Quran to disprove it as a Word of God. No one has been able to find a real example of a contradiction, although many people have wasted their lives trying to find contradictions in it.

My eighth point is that the Qurán makes sense of world history, and development of religion. The Qurán speaks about the scriptures that came before. The Qurán does say that the scriptures prior to the Quran owe their origin to God but those scriptures have been modified by the learned clergy for their petty material interests. This is true when we take a look at the Bible, the Hindu scriptures, etc and how they have been changed. With this view of the previous scriptures, it is erroneous to allege that the Qurán has its origin in scriptures of other religions, because if there are similarities between the teachings of the Qurán and previous scriptures, it shows only that the message of the Prophets, which has survived in those scriptures, who were sent to all the nations, was essentially same. Thus the take of the Qurán on the development of religion is true.

My ninth point is we find that Prophet Muhammad was actually materially more well off BEFORE claiming Prophethood than afterwards.Some claim that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) wrote the Qur’an for some type of material gain or for power and glory. However, this claim is at odds with the historical evidence. At twenty-five years old, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) was married to the wealthy widow named Khadijah and lived a life of relative comfort. However, after his call to Prophethood, his standard of living declined dramatically, sometimes going two months without cooking anything, surviving only on dates andwater, because of the extreme hardships that he and his family endured after proclaiming God’s message.

The most significant refutation to this claim that the Prophet was seeking wealth and power is the following story when the Chiefs of Makkah came to him trying to get him to stop preaching his message:
“O’ Muhammad ...Listen to what I propose and see if any of it is acceptable to you. If it is wealth that you seek, we will gather our wealth and make you the richest amongst us. If you seek honor, we will make you our over lord and we will make no decision without your consent. If you seek Kingship, then we will make you our King. And if you cannot get rid of this demon that appears to you, we will find you a physician and spend all our money until you are cured.”  [Life of the Prophet Muhammad, Ibn Hishaam]

The Prophet refused the offer. So had his aim been wealth and power, then he could have easily achieved his goal without going through the hardship and poverty he went through up until his death.
Due to the word restriction, I have only put forward these nine points to establish that Prophet Muhammad or any other human did not author the Qurán but it has originated from Allah, Lord of the worlds.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE DEBATE INTRODUCTION. 

CLICK HERE TO READ PAPER 1 i.e MR. SHAKOOR'S OPENING STATEMENT.

CLICK HERE TO READ PAPER 2 i.e MR. DAVE MARK ROWLAND'S STATEMENT.

CLICK HERE TO READ PAPER 3 i.e MR. KUREIN VERGHESE'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. 

THE NEXT PAPER WILL BE PUBLISHED WITHIN HALF AN HOUR FROM NOW. THE PAPER WILL BE THE OPENING STATEMENT OF MR. OPUS OBSCURE (in place of Ninad Gaikwad). 

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2 Response to "The Origins of Quran. Paper 4. Mushafiq's Opening Statement."

  1. simtiyaznawaz Said,

    Mashallah its Awesome brother. May Allah Reward you Jannah. Ameen.

    Posted on 20 June 2012 at 12:37

     
  2. Syed Faizan Sadat Said,

    JAZAKALLAH KHAIR...I wonder how people can exaggerate baseless points about QURAN when their own scriptures contain countless errors. They are trying to be scholars by putting together their futile ideas, if they really have some intellect they should first read their own scriptures before poking their nose into ISLAM. A verse from QURAN best fits to such people "Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path)".

    Posted on 20 June 2012 at 19:54

     

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