arel van gogh
This is a post i sent to an atheist quite a while ago. He sent me some questions and in this reply i attempted to answer him.
Here is my answer.
1) Where is the original copy of Quran? If we do not have the original, then God failed to protect it. How can you convince me the Quran was not corrupted if the original is gone?
The preservation of Quran happened in two ways, firstly, by scribing and secondly, by committing it into memory. One of the prophet scribers was Zaid b. tsabit.
The preservation of Quran happened during the reign of Caliph Abu Bakar Al-Siddiq (Quran was put into a book form for the first time). When he died it was being passed on to Caliph Usman b Affan and finally the original copy of the quran was kept by Saidatina Hafsah Binti Abu Bakar. And it was during Caliph Usman bin Affan that the Koran was copied (from the copy kept by Hafsah) and sent to Kufah, Basrah, Syam and Mecca (the original was kept in Medina ). The copy writing was done by Zait B. tsabit, Abdullah B. Zubair , Said B. `Ash and Abdurrahman bin harits b. Hisyam under strict supervision by Caliph Usman himself. Other copies that were not from the original copy were burned and destroyed.
"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption). [Al-Qur’an 15:9]
The following is information from Institute of Islamic information and education that tells you existence of ancient scriptures of the Quran. [http://www.iiie.net/]
The historical credibility of the Qur'an is further established by the fact that one of the copies sent out by the Caliph Uthman is still in existence today. It lies in the Museum of the City of Tashkent in Uzbekistan , Central Asia . A facsimile of the mushaf in Tashkent is available at the Columbia University Library in the USA . This copy is proof that the text of the Qur’an we have in circulation today is identical with that of the time of the Prophet and his companions. A copy of the mushaf sent to Syria (duplicated before a fire in 1310AH/1892CE destroyed the Jaami' Masjid where it was housed) also exists in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul , and an early manuscript on gazelle parchment exists in Dar al-Kutub as-Sultaniyyah in Egypt . More ancient manuscripts from all periods of Islamic history found in the Library of Congress in Washington , the Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin ( Ireland ) and the London Museum have been compared with those in Tashkent , Turkey and Egypt , with results confirming that there have not been any changes in the text from its original time of writing .
2) If the original Quran is lost, then what is the oldest copy of Quran in existence today?
At one given time hundreds thousands Muslim memorized the whole Quran perfectly word per word around the world. Should the original copy has gone the Muslim will be able to produce the 114 verses like the originals all over again. The entire Quran was memorized verbatim (word for word) by some of the Prophet’s Companions. Among them were Zaid ibn Thabit, Ubayy ibn Ka’b, Muadh ibn Jabal, and Abu Zaid. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari Vol.6, Hadith No.525.) Through the centuries the oral tradition of the entire Quran has been maintained by the professional reciters (qurraa). The following are words by some non-Muslim scholars regarding the preservation of the Quran trough memorization.
The Quran is perhaps the only book, religious or secular, that has been memorized completely by millions of people [William Graham, Beyond the Written Word , UK : Cambridge University Press, 1993, p.80.]
“…this phenomenon of Quranic recital means that the text has traversed the centuries in an unbroken living sequence of devotion. It cannot, therefore, be handled as an antiquarian thing, nor as a historical document out of a distant past. The fact of hifdh (Quranic memorization) has made the Quran a present possession through all the lapse of Muslim time and given it a human currency in every generation, never allowing its relegation to a bare authority for reference alone. [Kenneth Cragg, The Mind of the Quran, London : George Allen & Unwin, 1973, p.26.]
3) Why is the oldest known copy of Quran not written with proper Arabic syntax (i.e. proper grammar)?
Quran itself means recitation (it is not a book). It is the preservation of the Quran recitation that is most important for if the pronunciation and the Arabic is the same, naturally, the meaning remains the same too. The reason the other copies of Quran were burnt was because it was during caliph Usman b. Affan that muslim in different cities recited the Quran in different ways ensued an effort in preservation. The following is some information I obtain regarding diacritical marks of Quran. Diacritical marks were added for non-Arabs The original manuscript of the Qur’an does not have the signs indicating the vowels in Arabic script. These vowels are known as tashkil, zabar, zair, paish in Urdu and as fatah, damma and qasra in Arabic. The Arabs did not require the vowel signs and diacritical marks for correct pronunciation of the Qur’an since it was their mother tongue. For Muslims of non-Arab origin, however, it was difficult to recite the Qur’an correctly without the vowels. These marks were introduced into the Quranic script during the time of the fifth ‘Umayyad’ Caliph, Malik-ar-Marwan (66-86 Hijri/685-705 C.E.) and during the governorship of Al-Hajaj in Iraq . [http://www.islam101.com/quran/preservedQ.htm]
4) There are more than 1 versions (readings) of Quran in use in the world today! Which version (reading) do you use?
There is one and only Quran used throughout the world. The Quran that I am using is called Mas-haf Usmani. It is named after the effort that was carried out by Caliph Usman b. Affan in preserving the Quran. The name doesn’t affect the contents at all. As far as the content is concern, it is perfectly the same as what is used by other Muslims worldwide, a Quran that has 6000 over thousands ‘ayat’ and 114 verses (revealed for 23 years in Mecca and Medina combined). I also use what we call as tafseer or the translation of the Quran into languages of the world. It is of utmost beneficial for people who do not understand Arabic. While I can access to the meaning in my mother tongue, the original language of the Quran (Arabic) is neatly preserved on every page alongside its translation. And the translation is done by people who are eminent and possess the highest authority in the religion of Islam.
5) What proof did Muhammad provide to substantiate his claims of prophethood? If Muhammad did not perform any miracles, then how do I know that he was a messenger of God? If miracles are not required, then anyone can claim to be a prophet of God. I can claim to be a prophet of God too. In fact there are something like 250 new prophets, messengers, and messiahs showing up every year somewhere in the world and claiming to have some kind of connections with the spiritual world or claiming to receiving messages in their hearts etc.
From this question, it seems clear that for one to be prophet he needs to perform miracles. However, performing miracles doesn’t serve as a yes or no answer to attest prophet hood because what had happened to previous prophets preceding Prophet Muhammad who had successfully perform miracles ended up being ridiculed and accused of being sorcerer, magician and mentally disabled (Prophet Moses and Esa ( (Jesus) to name a few). There was no way for them to see the truth.
However, in Islam the greatest miracle of Prophet Muhammad is the holy Quran itself (there are other miracles but I decided to focus on Quran at the moment). It is evident that the book claims that it is the word of god and indeed it has spoken for itself. Here are some evidence.
1) It stands for 1400 years without any changes. Not even one word is added into it.
"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption). [Al-Qur’an 15:9]
Unlike bible, the 4 gospels were written at least 40 – 100 years since the death of Jesus Christ and there is no biographical evidence to describe who those 4 bible writers are.
2) No one has had ever succeeded in composing even an ‘ayah’ like it in the history of mankind until the day of judgment. It is an unmet challenge of Quran to mankind and jinn.
Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support. (Al-Quran 17:88)
The challenge is yet to be met.
3) It contains scientific knowledge that is continuously being proved by modern science for its accuracy.
“Do those who disbelieve not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not believe? (Al-Qur'an, 21:30)
And there are numerous verses talking about scientific facts.
4) Reciting the Quranic verses can never lead to boredom
A true muslim recites the Quranic verses in their 5 daily prayers for a lifetime. Other than the daily prayers there are countless others of sunnah prayers (recommended prayers) where verses from the Quran are also recited. There are thousands Muslim all around the world are putting an effort to memorize all its 114 verses (huffaz). Reciting the Quran and at the same paying a close attention to its meaning can invoke emotion. There was an incident of non-muslim lady burst into tears upon listening to the Quran even she didn’t understand a bit of it.
There comes a question why Quran is Prophet Muhammad’s miracle?
God has promised for the Quran to be preserved until the end times. This is because Prophet Muhammad is the final messenger. That means, there will be neither prophets nor new religion is going to be revealed. Then, who is going to make sure that the Muslims will stay true to the Islamic teachings? This leads to the preservation of Quran and As-Sunnah as two of utmost important references particularly for the Muslims and humankind as a whole. There is no other holy scriptures like it. (The previous one namely Thalmud, Torah and Bible had been corrupted (there had been human intervention). Quran is being revealed as a final testament.
6) How do you explain the fact that there were other prophets before Muhammad that also claimed to be last messengers. For example prophet Mani claimed to be last messenger of God in approximately 250 AD. He also claimed that bible was corrupted. It appears to me that Muhammad simply plagiarized some of the ideas from other self appointed prophets. You can try to google on Mani if you want for fun.
I would like to begin by defining plagiarize.
transitive verb : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
The claim that says Prophet Muhammad simply plagiarized some of the ideas from other self appointed prophets and ancient books is not new. In fact, this issue was also raised 1400 years ago by the pagan Arabs. God revealed answer in Quran to silence them,
“And thou wast not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: In that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted” (Al-Quran 29:48)
The following is list of questions I created to challenge this issues.
1. What were the books (the existing sources) that he plagiarized from?
2. In what period the plagiarizing was done? And Where?
3. He must be a genius to learn it from other books and later beautifully authored his own. He must have teachers who taught him. Who were the teachers?
4. Did he have any kind of library to keep all the ancient books and document of his work? If yes, where was it?
5. Were there anyone helping him with the work of authoring the book? Who?
6. How long the plagiarizing took place? In what way the plagiarizing was done?
7. Did he have some sort of formal education that enable him to copy and later compose the Quran?
8. Where did he learn the language of other ancient books so that he was able to
Comprehend them and used that idea in his book?
9. Where did he get those books?
10. While he was accused to borrow some ideas from other books, how about the other parts of the book? Were those his original idea?
11. Why he was the only one who produced such book (holy Quran) during his time? (When the challenge came out to the unbelievers to produce an ‘ayat’, all of them were miserably fail until today).
Muslim never has to answer the above questions because there never was plagiarizing occurred. One of the reasons that the Quran was revealed in Arabic is in fact an answer that Quran was neither adapted nor adopted from one book to another. The prophet himself was an Arab and therefore it only makes sense that the Quran was revealed in a language that he understood. There was no historical evidence at that time to point that Arabic bible was available for the plagiarizing to possibly take place. Furthermore, the prophet (PBUH) was born and lived in pagan Arab community and there is no historical recount that he had extensive contact with the Christians so that he could learn from their holy book. A brief history of the Christian with the pagan arab in Mecca is the Abrahah Al-Ashram (Christian from Yemen ). His elephant army attacked Mecca to destroy kaaba. He built a church in Yemen to attract pilgrims to visit the church instead of Kaaba. God preserved it in one of his verses
1. Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephant? 2. Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? 3. And He sent against them Flights of Birds, 4. Striking them with stones of baked clay. 5. Then did He make them like an empty field of stalks and straw, (of which the corn) has been eaten up. (Al-Quran 105:1-5)
Muslim believes the fact that there will never be a new prophet after Prophet Muhammad because he himself had made it clear to the Muslim that Islam had come to the perfection of religion. There is no need for another revelation. The last verse reveled of the Quran justifies this matter,
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Al-Quran 5:3)
Orientalists have never stopped working to create false claims on Islam and its history. However, there are some of them who are honest and openly made a statement on the authenticity of Quran. Palmer writes;
That the best of Arab writers has never succeeded in producing anything equal in merit to the Qur'an itself is not surprising. In the first place, they have agreed before-hand that it is unapproachable, and they have adopted its style as the perfect standard; any deviation from it therefore must of necessity be a defect. Again, with them this style is not spontaneous as with Muhammad and his contemporaries, but is as artificial as though Englishmen should still continue to follow Chaucer as their model, in spite of the changes which their language has undergone. With the Prophet, the style was natural, and the words were those in every-day ordinary life, while with the later Arabic authors the style is imitative and the ancient words are introduced as a literary embellishment. The natural consequence is that their attempts look laboured and unreal by the side of his impromptu and forcible eloquence.
E H Palmer (Tr.), The Qur'an, 1900, Part I, Oxford at Clarendon Press, p. lv.
arel van gogh