"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 onhttp://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 REBUTTAL
In the name of Allah, the Most compassionate, the Most Merciful
In this response I would focus on the responses of Ninad Gaikwad to my nine points and also the bogus claims made by Kurien Varghese in his response.
Ninad misconstrued my first point. In reality Ninad was responding to something which I did not claim. It is called Straw man logical fallacy. In a way it shows that Ninad is unable to respond to my actual argument. I pointed out the fact that Prophet Muhammad is accepted by modern historians on the study of religion as a person who SINCERELY believed that he was receiving a divine revelation. My first point had to do with sincerity rather than what MOTIVATED him to undergo hardships, an argument I make in point nine, if only Ninad had cared to read my paper carefully. The whole of thrust of my first argument was that the Prophet was sincere and not deceiving the people knowingly. For this I quoted William Montgomery Watt who rubbishes the idea that the Prophet was deliberately making up stuff.  Ninad writes “If we observe the Quran according to chronological order we will observe that all the sugar coated happy stuff was revealed before he gained power. He gained a following by making such revelations, even using sneaky tactics (read the Satanic Verses) to get people on his side. I cannot imagine he would have succeeded as a prophet had he opened with invisible fire men or taking 1/5th of all war booty.” Here Ninad is basically alleging that the Prophet was deliberately deceiving the people, a claim which real scholars like William Montgomery Watt already refuse to accept based on sound historical evidence. If we accept the defective argument of Ninad that the Prophet wanted to gain power that was already refuted in my ninth point where the Quraysh actually offered him POWER, WEALTH and WOMEN if he chose to recant his message of monotheism, but the Prophet refused. The Satanic verses incident is again a red herring by Ninad. It is a completely fictitious event with no authenticity. No genuine scholar accepts it and even a non-Muslim biographer of the Prophet, Karen Armstrong, rejects this incident as a fabrication (Refer to Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet). Regarding the 1/5th war booty, I must say that it is again a preposterous argument. How could the prophet ask for 1/5th war booty in Mecca when there was no war? In any case you are again spreading false information regarding the 1/5th war booty which was gained in the battles imposed by the enemies on Muslims. Quran 8:41 does not say that the 1/5th of war booty was for the Prophet. Rather it is for (1) God and His Messenger, and (2) to near relatives, (3) orphans, (4) the needy, and (5) the wayfarer. So even according to this calculation, if the Prophet was to get anything it was 1/25th and not 1/5th. This again exposes your weak study of Islam. Regarding the one-fifth spoken of here, the most generally accepted opinion is that it is to be divided again into five parts, the Prophet, the near of kin, the orphans, the poor, and the wayfarer being equal sharers. The near of kin included all individuals belonging to the tribes of Bani Hashim and Bani ‘Abd al-Mutalib, to whom zakat money was not allowed. The poor among them were thus paid from this source of income. As to the Prophet’s twenty-fifth, it appears that it was also used for the benefit of the Muslims. That the Prophet led a life of the utmost simplicity is admitted on all hands. The remaining four-fifths of the booty were divided among those who took part in the battle, as they were not otherwise paid for their services, but there is no order to this effect in the Qur’an itself. It may be further noted that this arrangement was simply an exigency. The war was forced on the Muslims all of a sudden when the State had not yet been formed in the proper sense of the word; there was no army at all, nor a treasury from which to pay it; and just as they were required to carry it on the basis of voluntary gifts, so they were allowed a share in the war acquisitions. If the State pays its soldiers as it pays its civil servants, the war acquisitions would all go to the State treasury, just as income from Zakaat or tribute went to the State treasury.  So basically Ninad failed to refute this point that the Prophet was SINCERE.

My second point was again misconstrued by Ninad and not responded properly. I had said that the Prophet did not believe the people that the eclipse was due to the death of his son. If he was a crazy person, he would have believed their theory. What stopped him from accepting it? Ninad did not answer it. Yes eclipses are a natural phenomenon, just as the Prophet said that they are not concerned with the life and death of people on this planet. The point here is not that the Prophet attributed it to God, because all people attributed eclipses to the gods in those days. The point is he neither took advantage of this incident, which he could have done had he been an impostor nor did he believe the theory of the people, had he been a crazy person. Invoking God does not negate the eclipse being a natural event. We theists believe that all natural laws are governed by God who is the law giver. This is not the point I am making here. Again it proves he was SINCERE. This point you really need to get into your head.

 My third point: Yes, someone not being able to read and write does not mean that he can’t produce something, but that something would be full of errors, contradictions, and haphazard ideas. It won’t be a manual which will alter the very face of a nation steeped in ignorance.
The basis of the argument is that the Holy Prophet was unlettered. His compatriots and his kinsmen among whom he had spent his whole life, from birth to old age, knew fully well that he had never read a book nor ever handled a pen. Presenting this actual fact Allah says: "This is a proof of the fact that the vast and deep knowledge of the teachings of the Divine Books, of the stories of the former Prophets, of the beliefs of the various religions and creeds, of the histories of the ancient nations, and the questions of social and moral and economic life, which is being presented through this unlettered, illiterate man could not have been attained by him through any means but Revelation. If he had been able to read and write and the people had seen him reading books and undertaking serious studies, the worshippers of falsehood could have had some basis for their doubts, that he had acquired the knowledge not through Revelation but through study and reading. But the fact of his being absolutely illiterate has left no basis whatever for any such doubt. Therefore, there can be no ground, except sheer stubbornness, which can be regarded as rational in any degree for denying his Prophethood.

Ninad messed up big time while trying to refute my fourth point; extremely poor attempt. The Qurán rebuked the Prophet for a mistake which NOBODY noticed. And it is strange that Ninad use the cunningness argument again even though I have already disproved it and even though no modern historian on the study of religion accepts this theory (quoting William Montgomery Watt).  At least you should be consistent in your arguments. If the Prophet was cunning in this insignificant issue, how can you explain his lack of cunningness in taking advantage of the eclipse incident? Surely that is something which he could have cleverly/cunningly used to his advantage when his followers were ready to believe in whatever he would have said. Ninad’s theories are inconsistent and thus invalid.

My fifth point was about historical accuracy, which Ninad is again unable to respond to. Why the Quran chose a word for the ruler of Egypt at the time of Joseph, against what every Jew and Christian used i.e. Pharaoh. This argument puts to rest the copying borrowing theory. It is a valid argument and that is why Ninad had no response.

Ninad, poorly deals with my sixth point also. The prophecy was not only about Muslim victory. It was made at a time when Persia had almost vanquished the Romans. Surely ‘a cunning Prophet’ would not take the risk of making this prophecy that within few years the Romans will defeat the Persians. A cunning person will play safe. If the prophecy failed, his mission would fail too. Who would then believe in him? Again, this is going against the theory of Ninad. And my point here was not that lesser armies cannot defeat the greater ones. The point is why did the Prophet chose to make a Prophecy, which has the possibility of failing also, if at all it was him who made this prophecy. Nay, it was made by God the Almighty who knows the future. I don’t think Ninad fully understood the implication of this argument and that is why made such a poor response.

My seventh point was cleverly evaded by Ninad and instead he chooses to assume that some websites have pointed out the contradictions. Let Ninad bring one. The challenge is open. After all, an illiterate man would have made lot of contradictions. So they should be easy to find. Just assuming that there are contradictions and not bringing them up reflects poorly on our opponent.

My eighth point seems to have been too difficult for Ninad to comprehend. Let me repeat it. The Qurán makes sense of world history, and development of religion. Does Mormonism make sense of world history and the development of religion? Here Nianad would have to defend Mormonism now given that it has been brought up as an example.

My ninth point again is yearning for a decent reply.  It even shows Ninad’s lack of proper study of the life of Prophet Muhammad (sws). Ninad wrote //Before prophethood, Muhammad had a single wife and decent amount of money. After becoming a prophet he had more than a dozen wives, sex slaves// Well poor argument. He did not have to claim Prophethood to have many wives as other Arabs also had many wives. He could have easily got many wives even without claiming to be a Prophet. Most of his wives were widows who needed support and of an older age. His marriages were either to strengthen tribal relations or for social cause. It does not seem a promising theory that he would claim Prophethood merely to get wives.  Sex slaves’ argument is again idiotic for many influential Arabs had sex slaves. One did not have to claim Prophethood to get them. And the Prophet did not have sex slaves. He had wives. Again it is Ninad’s poor study. //and received 1/5th of all the war booty from the numerous tribes he attacked.// this argument I already debunked above.

So all my points are still standing and proving that the Prophet Muhammad did not make up the Qur’an but it had a Divine origin. All theories being presented by Ninad are fictitious and replete with inherent problems.

Even the quotation of Hitchens is foolish, as most of Hitchens ‘writings are. The borrowing theory is already debunked. Making immense claims does not prove it false. Surrender to truth is a noble act. Respect is demanded not only the non-believers but even from the believers (6:108; 60:8; 22:39). Lastly, I have never seen a more arrogant person than Christopher Hitchens in my life, a drunkard who supported the American invasion of Iraq and the stealing of its resources by Corporate Neocons, and who supported the barbaric and brutal slaughter of Palestinians by the Zionists. What can such a man comment on Islam, a  religion which calls for Justice, service to humanity, freeing the slaves, feeding the poor, standing up for the oppressed.

Moving on to Kurein’s medley. Kurein doesn’t even make any rebuttal, as if he is publishing a series of papers and there is no one in the debate except him. Most of his arguments are already dealt with. He cites “itqan” where all the narrations come from the section of abrogation which Suyuti himself describes. Kurein hasn’t read the book therefore he didn’t even know what he was copying from. (Refer to Saaib’s paper for a detailed discussion on all these narrations including material from Arthur Jeffery).

Kurein quotes A. Jeffery but that is of no use unless you prove that Jeffery is correct.

Kurein also helped to prove the authenticity of Quran by claiming that someone had collected Quran prior to the compilation done under Abu Bakr. Kurein refuted most of the allegations related to dying of reciters in battle of Yamama by telling us that many people other than Zaid had collected Quran in book form. After this Kurein sings praises of Ibn Masud, thanks for that.


Most probably, while plagiarising, Kurein was copying from an Islamic website. That is why whatever he cites proves Quran to be authentic. After writing his complete paper on events which happened within 10-15 years after the Prophet’s death Kurein beautifully writes, in capital letters, “HISTORICALLY WE HAVE NO DATA FOR 200 YEARS (after) OF MUHAMAD (death).” What do we conclude from this? We conclude that whatever allegations he had made earlier were his own fabrications if no data about the events is present.

We have complete Quran in manuscripts from 200 years after the Prophet’s death. We can verify from these that the Quranic text is same as what we have now. Thus we can conclude that Quranic text has remained stable.

To remove the veil from the snakes face, Kurein had his entire paper copied from Sam Shamoun’s article found on AI and many other Christian apologetic website. Thus when Kurein writes “A brief summary of my findings” he lied because he was copying Sam Shamoun’s findings. And the fallacies which Kurein talks about were from same article. Copying and not giving credit is really a problem.
Anyways, what were Kurein’s (Sam Shamoun’s) findings? Here are the findings with responses:

1.       The Qur'an was not compiled perfectly.

The very existence of single text upon which whole of Muslim Ummah agrees unanimously is a proof that the compilation was perfect. Quranic text was stable from its earliest days. Take for example the case of Uthman. Uthman prepared an independent copy of Quran relying entirely on primary sources, which included Companions’ parchments along with the suhuf which was in Aisha’s possession. Later this independent copy was again rechecked against the official suhuf lying with Hafsa. Here comes a story which is unique in the history of mankind. Narrates Zaid, “in comparing the two, I found NO DISCREPANCIES.” This is recorded in Ibn Shabba’s tarikh al-Madina, pp 1001-2. This can also be verified from Mushkil al-Athar, Hadith 2645. THE PROBABLITY OF SUCH A THING HAPPENING IS ZERO (1 divided by factorial of the number of alphabets in the Quran).

THIS ARGUMENT IS ALREADY REFUTED IN EARLIER PAPERS IN DETAIL.

2.       Much of the Qur'an’s contents are missing.

None of the Quran’s contents are missing. Kurein has to show us manuscript evidence to prove that a part of Quran is missing (forget about MUCH OF ITS CONTENTS, you can show us a few verses missing).

THIS ARGUMENT HAS ALREADY REFUTED IN EARLIER PAPERS IN DETAIL.

3.       More than one Qur'an was in circulation.

But each Quran had the same reading. Yes if Kurein meant that more than one ahruf (concession to certain arab tribes who could not pronounce a particular Arabic word properly) was in circulation then we have no problem.

THIS ARGUMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN REFUTED IN EARLIER PAPERS IN DETAIL.

4.       Primary eyewitness codices were burned.

Yes because it would have been impossible to cross check each and every one of them. That is why it was better to destroy them. Interesting is the fact that none of the companions objected to it.

THIS ARGUMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN REFUTED IN EARLIER PAPERS IN DETAIL.

5.       On the authority of one man an official text of the Qur'an was approved.

Never was the official text of Quran approved on the authority of one. Produce your proof if you are truthful.

THIS ARGUMENT HAS ALREADY BEEN REFUTED IN EARLIER PAPERS IN DETAIL.

6.       Even this official codex was eventually destroyed and eleven revisions were made of it.

Never was the official codex destroyed because it was accepted by masses and there is no historical evidence whatsoever hinting towards mass destruction of Quranic copies after the Uthmanic compilation. Kurein talks about eleven revisions of official codex. Eleven revisions and we didn’t even come to know about one. Fabricating things up to this level is unique to Christians.

7.       Thousands of variants existed between these competing texts as documented by Arthur Jeffrey’s book, which in turn cites Abi Dawud’s own work.

The most striking feature of the book, which Kurin is pointing towards, is the regularity with which the reader encounters expression of Jeffery's scepticism concerning the reports of the variant readings. This is due to the fact that sufficient material
“... has not survived to enable us to get a real picture of the text of any of the pre-cUthmânic codices.” (Arthur Jeffery, Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'ân: The Old Codices, 1937, Leiden, E J Brill, p. X)
It is to be noted that Jeffery's list of variant readings are surprisingly devoid of proper isnâd or chain of transmission thus making them worth throwing into dustbin.

THE ARGUMENTS FROM JEFFERY HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED IN DETAIL IN OTHER PAPERS.

By now the reader must have realized that the debate has gone one sided because of lack of scholarship and proper argumentation from the non-Muslim side. Indeed when truth is hurled against falsehood, falsehood perishes.

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