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The Divine Origin Of The Qur'an Shall Ever Remain Unchallenged

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 Many orientalists

 

Many orientalists, Jewish and Christian scholar held that the Quran was written by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that he was not illiterate.

To disprove their assertion we shall have to go in short about the historical facts particularly about Mec­ca. It was the most important town of Arabia in the sixth century, not only a centre of annual pilgrimage but also

The population of Mecca was mostly illiterate. There were no schools, no teaching institu­tions. Only few people knew to read and write who recorded the trade transactions are documents of loan but these were very few.

 

The art of writing was intro­duced in Mecca by some people of Hira (Kufa) in the time of father of Abu Sufyan. This lat­ter was a contemporary of the Prophet. See Futuh al-Buldan Leyden p. 471-472)

 

Nicholson in his 'Literary History of the , Cambridge, 1962, p. 125 writes: 'The crown and seal of the Arabs' way of life was 2 poetry, and the oldest extant Arabic poems date from 512 A.D. but it was only two centuries later that these were committed to writing. There was virtually no prose written before the days of Islam: The Quran is the oldest Arabic Book in prose.'

 

H.R. Gibbs and J.H. Kramer in the 'Short Encyclo­pedia of Islam' p.370 write: Do these conditions justify the pre­sumption that as a merchant the Prophet must have had a certain knowledge of reading and writ­ing.

“Muhammad was called a driveller, star gazer and maniac-poet, thorns were strewn in his path, and stones thrown on him. His uncle Abu Jahal and the main body of the citizens treat­ed him with that contemptuous indifference, which must have been harder to bear than active persecution," writes R. Bos­worth Smith in his "Muhammad and Muhammadanism", Lon­don 1876 p. 185, a Western bi­ographer of the Prophet. He also adds, " there is no single trait in his character up to the time of Hijra which calumny itself could couple with imposture. But the question is why the Prophet's detractors did not expose his `pious fraud' by showing that he could very well read and write while he claimed to be an unlet­tered Prophet"?

There has been no dearth of scholars in the west who have reached the conclusion that the Prophet did not know how to read and write. " As to the ac­quired learning" writes George Sale "he had none at all. See his book 'The Koran and Pre­liminary Discourse' , (London Fradrick Warne and Co.p.30.) Another competent scholar Dr. Theodore Noldeke testifies "For though it remains an open ques­tion whether Mohammad was ignorant of reading and writ­ing. It is certain that he had nei­ther read the Bible nor any other books.

The same author writes at another place that the Prophet "did not himself understand the language of writing. (Historians History of the World, London 1908 p. 11 and p.113.)

The orientalists, Jewish and Christian scholars also doubt on the sagacity of the compi­lation of the Quran. They say: The compilation of the written Quran spanned several decades and forms an important part of early Islamic history. Through­out his life Muhammad contin­ued to have revelations until be­fore his death in 632 A.D. These scholars disagree that whether the Prophet compiled the Quran during his life time or this task began with the first caliph Abu Bakar As-Siddiq during 632-

634.

Once the Quran was com­piled with the unanimity of the sources, Muslims agree that the Quran we see today was can­onized by Uthman ibn Affan during 653-656. Upon the can­onization of the Quran Uthman ordered the burning of all per­sonal copies of the Quran. This order was given as many Mus­lims had recorded few verses on various parchments, therefore, after compilation the Quran should exist as One Book and not in piece meal.

Even after this order by Uth­man of canonization small dia­critical variations remained in the written Quran which could be seen in the early manuscripts of the Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties said some non-Mus­lim scholars. Due to varying historical documents those who oppose the divinity of the Quran say the Uthmanic codex can­not be considered as authentic. Hence non-Muslim traditional scholar reject this literature in its entirety.

The Divine Origin of the Quran

The fact is that the Quran was revealed in disjointed vers­es and chapters, a point came when it needed to be gathered into a coherent whole text there is unanimity that Muhammad compiled it before he died. Dur­ing his life time he has ordered that whatever he says it should be recorded. There were Anas bin Malik, Zayd ibn Thabit and Ubayy ibn Kaab who had re­corded the verses of the Quran. During his life time the number of the scribes had become 48.

The Muslim scholars are unanimous that the Quran was written in its entirety much be­fore the Prophet's Death. Ibn Abbas describes the way in which the final version of the Quran was fixed: The Prophet

recited the Book before Ga­briel every year in the month of Ramadan, and in the month in which he died he recited it twice. The term reciting the Quran twice means compiling all the Quranic revelations into a complete and final version.

In a report of Muslim, the Prophet of Allah said: I leave among you two things, if you stick to it you will never get strayed, the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of your Prophet....'

Some scholars argue, that this provides evidence that the Quran had been collected and written during his life time because it is not correct to call something a

`Book' when it is merely in the people's memories. The word Al-Kitab signifies a single and united entity and does not apply to a text which is scattered and not collected.

5 .Another argument that the Prophet attached so much im­portance to the Quran that he had to have its writing during his life time. Zayd ibn Thabit

reported, "We used to record the Quran from parchments in the presence of the Messenger of God.

The most authentic evidence is given by the Quran itself; it said: Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel. He enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong. (7/157)

Thus we see that the Quran itself confirms that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was unlet­tered.


The Quran challenging all those who doubt on the authen­ticity of this Holy Book said: And if you (Arab pagans, Jews and Christians) are in doubt con­cerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Quran) to Our slave (Muhammad) then pro­duce a Surah (Chapter) of the like thereof and call your aides if any beside God (The Unique) if you are truthful. (2/23)

This verse is an open chal­lenge to the people in general who held that this Book which has been sent down to the Prophet is not from God, they are asked to produce a Surah (Chapter) lengthy are small in support of their claim. Ibn Ab­bas explaining 'And call your aides' said: It means call your helpers to whom you follow (Ibn Jarir). That is you take the assistance of whomsoever you like to produce a Surah match­ing the Quran, if you are truthful in your assertion.

God did call them to this challenge on quite some places in His Book: Say if mankind and Jinn get together to produce the like of this Quran, they can­not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another. (17/88)

`Or do they say: He (Muham­mad) has invented it? Say: Bring then a Surah like unto it, and call upon whomsoever you can be­side Allah, if you are truthful' . (10/38) It may be noted there are hundreds of Arabic scholar among the Jews and Christians in Beirut Universities and in London, they teach Arabic, yet no one could meet this standing challenge of the Quran.

The Quran is a great mira­cle. If mankind and Jinn attempt together to produce a Surah like Quran, they would end in ut­ter disappointment. The Arabic of the Quran shall ever remain matchless in the fluency, elo­quence and its rhetoric style.

The European scholars who had held that the Prophet had written this Quran, the aforesaid facts proved that he was unlet­tered, he could never read or write, secondly they objected the compilation of the Quran was not done in his life time, it is proved above that the compi­lation had occurred in his life. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had recited before the Holy Ghost Gabriel who had listened from him twice this Quran in the month he had died. Thus the compilation was continuing and it was completed during his life. It was canonized later by Uth­man.

 

- By Ahmad Wahaj Al-Siddiqui