The basis for the beliefs of most religions is their scriptures. Most of these scriptures are believed to be inspired or revealed by Almighty God, and are therefore sacred and perfectly suited to guide the human race. In a world where there are many competing claims for possession of “the word of God”, objective and reasonable evidence must therefore be put forward to convince anyone (including oneself!) of why one believes in any particular scripture.
Therefore, ascertaining the authenticity of a scripture is of fundamental importance in our search for the truth in a reasonable, honest and objective way.
For Muslims, proving that our conviction in the Qur’an as the authentic word of God is not blind belief but in fact the most reasonable conclusion of all alternatives also serves as a confirmation and strengthening of faith for every sincere seeker of Truth.
Let us therefore examine the authenticity of the Qur’an.
How do we know that the Qur’an of today is truly the word of God?
To answer this question, we first need to establish that the Qur’an we have today is the same Qur’an as that which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (p), and that no corruption has taken place in the transmission of that message.
In other words, we first need to prove the fact that the Qur’an has survived history perfectly preserved. Secondly, we need to establish who the author of the Qur’an really is.
This may be done by examining all possible authors, and eliminating all that are unacceptable to reason, given all the evidence available. That is, we may reasonably deduce the definite author by eliminating all unlikely authors. This two-step process is outlined below under the following headings:
i) The recording and perfect preservation of the Qur’an, and
ii) The source or authority of the Qur’an.
I. The Recording and Perfect Preservation of the Qur’an
The Glorious Qur’an was revealed in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad (p) through the angel Gabriel (peace be upon him). The revelation occurred piecemeal, over a period of twenty-three years, sometimes in brief verses and sometimes in longer chapters.
The Qur’an (literally, a “reading” or “recitation”) is distinct from the recorded sayings and deeds (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad (p), which are also preserved in a separate set of literature collectively called the “Hadith” (lit. “news”; “report”; or “narration”).
During the Lifetime of the Prophet (p)
Upon receiving revelation, the Prophet (p) engaged himself in the duty of conveying the message to his Companions through reciting the exact words he heard in their exact order. This is evident in his inclusion of even the words of Allah which were directed specifically to him, for example: “Qul” (“Say [to the people, O Muhammad]”).
The Qur’an’s rhythmic style and eloquent expression make it easy to memorize, just as nursery rhymes are easy to remember due to their rhythm, rhyme and vivid description. Indeed, Allah describes this as one of its essential qualities for preservation and remembrance, particularly in an Arab society which prided itself on orations of lengthy pieces of poetry.
Michael Zwettler notes that “in ancient times, when writing was scarcely used, memory and oral transmission was exercised and strengthened to a degree now almost unknown.” Large portions of the revelation were thus easily memorized by a large number of people in the community of the Prophet(p).
The Prophet (p) encouraged his Companions to learn each verse that was revealed and transmit it to others. The Qur’an was also required to be recited regularly as an act of worship, especially during the daily meditative prayers (salat).
Through these means, many repeatedly heard passages from the revelation recited to them, memorized them and used them in prayer. The entire Qur’an was memorized verbatim (word for word) by some of the Prophet’s Companions. Among them were Zaid ibn Thabit, Ubayy ibn Ka’b, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, and Abu Zaid.
After the Lifetime of the Prophet (p)
As the Companions spread out to various provinces with different populations, they took their memorizations (and recitations) with them in order to instruct others. In this way, the same Qur’an became widely retained in the memories of many people across vast and diverse areas of land.
Indeed, the memorization of the Qur’an emerged into a continuous tradition across the centuries, with centers/schools for memorization being established across the Muslim world. The Qur’an is perhaps the only book, religious or secular, that has been memorized completely by millions of people.
The compilation of the Qur’an into a book form was done soon after the Battle of Yamama (11A.H/633C.E.), after the Prophet’s death, during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Many companions became martyrs at that battle and it was feared that unless a written copy of the entire revelation was produced, large parts of the Qur’an might be lost with the death of those who had memorized it (the huffaz).
Therefore, at the suggestion of Umar to collect the Qur’an in the form of writing, Zaid ibn Thabit was requested by Abu Bakr to head a committee which would gather together the scattered recordings of the Qur’an and prepare a suhuf – loose sheets which collectively bore the entire revelation on them.
To safeguard the compilation from errors, the committee accepted only material which had been written down in the presence of the Prophet (p) himself, and which could be verified by at least two reliable witnesses who had actually heard the Prophet (p) recite the passage in question.
Once completed and unanimously approved of by the Prophet’s Companions, these sheets were kept with the Caliph Abu Bakr (d.13A.H./634C.E.), then passed on to the Caliph Umar (13-23A.H./634-644C.E.), and then Umar’s daughter, the Prophet’s widow, Hafsah.
Acknowledgment by Orientalists
Despite such defective theories, many orientalists themselves have admitted, like H.A.R. Gibb (1969), that, “It seems reasonably well established that no material changes were introduced and that the original form of Mohammed’s discourses were preserved with scrupulous precision.”
John Burton (1977), despite staunch skepticism of all hadith, still writes at the end of his substantial work on the Qur’an’s compilation that:
No major differences of doctrines can be constructed on the basis of the parallel readings based on the Uthmanic consonantal outline, yet ascribed to mushafs other than his. All the rival readings unquestionably represent one and the same text. They are substantially agreed in what they transmit…
He further states that the Qur’an as we have it today is “the text which has come down to us in the form in which it was organized and approved by the Prophet…. What we have today in our hands is the mushaf of Muhammad.”
Kenneth Cragg (1973) describes the transmission of the Qur’an from the time of revelation to today as occurring in “an unbroken living sequence of devotion,” while Schwally concurs that “As far as the various pieces of revelation are concerned, we may be confident that their text has been generally transmitted exactly as it was found in the Prophet’s legacy.
Oldest manuscripts of the Qur’an
The historical credibility of the Qur’an is further established by the fact that several first century mushafs still exist today, including some attributed to the time of Caliph Uthman.
II. Source or Authorship of the Qur’an
It is a foundational doctrine of Islam that the Qur’an was revealed verbatim (i.e. word for word) by God, to Muhammad (p). Non-Muslims, however, who do not support this view can have no differences with Muslims concerning the fact that the Qur’an was at least first witnessed to be uttered by Muhammad (p), a Makkan Arab in the 7th -century C.E.
A Muslims’ claim of “internal evidence” for the divine authorship of the Qur’an from the Qur’an itself (e.g. Q.4:82; 6:19; 6:92; 27:6; 45:2, etc.) is understandably looked upon with skepticism, as nearly anyone can quote passages from his or her scripture that claim that it is revelation from God. We are therefore forced by reason and objectivity to look outside textual claims of divine origin for “external evidence” of the Qur’an’s divine source or authority.
The simple proposed structure for the presentation of this “external evidence” is an “elimination process”, whereby we discover the answer to the question — “Who is the author of the Qur’an?” — by eliminating all alternative answers which are definitely implausible. In other words, the definite or (at least) most probable author or source of the Qur’an is identified by eliminating unacceptable alternative candidates.
There are various contradictory views and opinions held by some Non-Muslims as to the source of the Qur’an. The following list of “possible” authors reflects the main theories:
- Muhammad (p)
- Some other Arab poet(s), scholars, etc.
- Some non-Arab scholars, or poets or religious personalities
- Monks or Rabbis (i.e. the theory that the Qur’an was developed from the Bible or Judeo-Christian sources)
- Satan (or other deceitful “spirits” or “aliens”, etc.)
We may now proceed to examine from a closer study of the Qur’an and history how plausible these theories are.
1. Muhammad (p): unlettered and uneducated
The fact that Muhammad (p) could neither read nor write (Q.29:48) is well known and uncontested by even his Non-Muslim contemporaries and present day historians. He had no schooling or teacher of any kind, and he had never been known to compose oral poetry or prose.
The Qur’an, with its all-embracing laws and freedom from all inconsistencies, has its greatness acknowledged even by Non-Muslim scholars. Its contents treat social, economic, political and religious legislation, history, views of the universe, living things, thought, psychology, interpersonal transactions, war, peace, marriage, worship, business, and everything relating to life – with no contradicting principles. The Qur’an has never been edited or revised as it was never in need of any revision or correction.
2. Muhammad’s known Integrity
Muhammad’s sincerity, truthfulness and integrity were so well known that he was even nicknamed “Al-Ameen” (The Trustworthy) by his pre-Islamic community. Not a single lie is recorded against him, and many modern Western orientalists have themselves admitted that contrary to any deliberate deception, the fact that the Prophet (p) had a profoundly sincere conviction that it was revealed to him by God Himself is undeniable.
In addition, how reasonable is it to believe that unlettered Muhammad (p) would author the Qur’an for personal benefit and then within the Qur’an correct and reprove himself? For example:
“He frowned and turned away when the blind man came to him…” (Q.80:1-2),
“…And you did fear men, though God is more deserving that you should fear Him” (Q.33:37. See also Q.18:23-24, etc).
Why would he embarrass himself when he could simply omit or favorably modify such verses in the Qur’an? They were certainly not to his advantage if his goals were power and prestige. The existence of such verses only proves that Muhammad (p) was indeed a truthful and sincere Messenger of God.
3. The Style of the Qur’an
There is a world of difference between the style of the Qur’an and Muhammad’s own style as recorded in the books of Ahadith. These differences are immediately evident. The sayings of Muhammad (ahadith) are conversational, oratorical, and expository, of a kind the Arabs were already familiar with.
By contrast, the style of the Qur’an is authoritative (“We created the heavens and the earth…”; “Say!…”) and challenging (“…had it (the Qur’an) been from any other than God, they would have found therein much discrepancies” (Q.4:82); “…Say then: “Bring a chapter like it and call, if you can, on other than God… (Q.10:38); “…then bring a chapter like unto it… and if you cannot — for surely you cannot, then…” (Q.2:23-24)).
What fallible human being would write a book and challenge humanity to find discrepancies in it, as does the author of the Qur’an (Q.4:82)? Would any sensible student after writing an exam paper add a note to the lecturer saying “Read my answers with care and find any discrepancies or mistakes in it if you can!”? The bold and self-assured style of the Qur’an is simply that of the All-Knowing Creator.
4. Similarities and Discrepancies between the Qur’an and the Bible
The mere existence of similarities between any two books is insufficient to prove that one must have been copied from the other. Both could have drawn information from a third common source, thus accounting for some similarities between them. This, in fact, is the argument of the Qur’an – that Allah is the Source of all authentic revelation (Q.4:47).
Some scholars have noted that the only Christians that the Prophet (p) is recorded to have personally met prior to his mission did not spend enough time with him to teach him of their scripture, and no other historical record mentions that anyone taught the Prophet (p) from among the Jews or Christians.
Furthermore, could the Qur’an have been copied from the Bible if serious creedal differences exist between both scriptures? Regarding doctrines such as the concepts of God and prophet hood, sin and forgiveness, the Qur’an differs significantly with the Bible.
The Qur’an in fact addresses Jews and Christians directly when correcting what it declares are corruptions in their own beliefs and scriptures. Interestingly, Qur’anic revelations of doctrinal problems with Christianity were revealed largely in the Makkan period, prior to the Prophet’s migration to Madinah, where he would have encountered many more Jewish and Christian scholars, and prior to his marriages to wives of Jewish and Christian backgrounds.
Even in the cases of narrations common to both scriptures, vital discrepancies can be observed. For example, unlike the Bible, the Qur’an does not blame women for the mistake committed by Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) in disobeying God in the Garden of Eden. (Compare Genesis 3:12-13 to Q.91:7-8 and 2:35-37).
The Qur’an also emphasizes that Adam and Eve repented to God (Q.7:23) and were forgiven by Him (Q.2:37), contrary to the Bible’s account that they were not forgiven and their “original sin” carried on to all succeeding generations of humankind. (Genesis 3:14-17).
It further mentions that the eventual dwelling of Adam and Eve on Earth was already part of God’s plan even before He created them (Q.2:30). It does not necessarily consider man’s dwelling on earth as a sort of punishment, as does the Bible (Genesis 3:17-19).
The Qur’an also mentions a good amount of historical information about which the Bible is completely silent. From which portion of the Bible could the following have been copied?
- The stories of the people of ‘Ad and Thamud (Q.29:38), and their Prophets, Hud (p) (Q.7:65) and Salih (p) (Q.11:61-68).
- The dialogue between Prophet Noah (p) and his son before the flood (Q.11:42-43).
- The dialogue between Abraham (p) and his father (Q.6:74), as well as between him and a king (Q.2:258), and between him and his people (Q.22:70-102; 29:16-18; 37:83-98; 21:57).
- The mention of the city of Iram (Q.89:7).
- The Pharaoh of the Exodus having drowned, with his body preserved as a sign for people of future generations (Q.10:90-92).
- Jesus’ miracles of speaking from the cradle (Q.3:46), and his producing (by God’s will) a bird from clay (Q.3:49), etc.
For further examples, see the following references from the Qur’an: 21:69, 2:260, and 3:37.
5. Qur’anic Teachings about Satan and about morality
Some claim that the Qur’an was the work of the devil. Those who make this claim believe the devil to be evil and deceptive, and therefore believe the Qur’an was devised to mislead people away from Truth and the ‘glory of God.’ Let us examine how much sense, rather, non-sense this allegation makes.
If he authored or inspired the Qur’an, why would Satan, within his message, curse himself and call himself an open enemy of man (Q.2:168, 208; 6:142; 7:22; 17:53; 35:6; 36:60; 43:62), a deceiver (Q.35:5), man’s deserter (Q.25:29), and an arrogant (Q.38:74-75) sneaking whisperer (Q.114:4-5)? Why would he discourage people from associating with him using words as compelling as:
And the one who takes Satan as a patron instead of Allah has surely incurred a great loss. He makes promises to them and arouses desires in them, but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception. (Q.4:119-120; 17:64).
And why would Satan command that before reciting the Qur’an, one must first say “I seek refuge in God from Satan the accursed” (Q.16:98)? Which of his aims would be furthered by Satan so vehemently condemning and sabotaging himself?
Also, is it acceptable to reason to hold the view that Satan would compel people towards personal and societal spiritual and moral growth, ask people to do good, to be virtuous, to worship none but God, to not follow Satan or his whispers, and to avoid and struggle against evil, especially through the doing of good?
And does it make sense to think that Satan would tell others in the Qur’an that he really has no power over them (Q.16:99) and that everyone is accountable for their own choices (Q.3:25; 17:15; 40:17, 45:22, 75:14; 81:14); that God is Most Forgiving (Q.15.49; 39:53; 85:14) and rewards all those who are patient and sincerely repent to Him (Q.5:74, 16:119, 42:25); and that God will not do the least injustice to anyone (Q.17:71, 23:62)?
Which of these attributes of the Qur’an is at all deceptive or responsible for leading people away from truth? Which of the Qur’an’s teachings has ever been proven false, so that the Qur’an may be considered as not promoting truth?
If it is agreed that Satan is evil and promotes vice, whereas the attitude of the Qur’an is an overwhelming condemnation for evil and the ultimate ambition of the Qur’an for a human being is the eradication of vice, how can the Qur’an be or satanic authorship?
To hold such a view is clearly repugnant to reason, as Satan would only have undermined himself and his objectives, furthered the cause of God, and instilled more hope in true believers of God through this means. Even the Bible attests, “And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.” (Mark 3:26). This argument applies to any “Satanic forces”, be they “evil spirits”, “deceitful aliens”, or other similar sources.
The argument that the Qur’an must be the work of Satan because it contradicts some beliefs held by Non-Muslims assumes that those (non-Qur’anic) beliefs are true. Unless such an assumption is founded on reasonable evidence (as we are attempting to establish for the Qur’an), the allegation rests on shaky foundations.
Clear and verifiable criteria need to be established for a scripture to be accepted as absolutely true. Otherwise, the same doubt and allegation of Satan’s intervention may be applied to any other scripture, including the Bible, and indeed, any other oral or written composition of knowledge in existence today.
Hence, the allegation of Satan having authored the Qur’an is not based on any reasonable or empirical evidence. Rather, the allegation is based only on the suspicion of ulterior motives, and serves to justify ‘blind disbelief’.
6. The Qur’an’s factual contents and scientific information
Within the Qur’an are recorded facts about ancient times that were unknown to Muhammad’s contemporaries and even to historians in the first half of the 20th century.
In scores of verses, we also find references to scientific wonders, some only recently discovered, regarding the universe, biology, embryology, astronomy, physics, geography, climatology, medicine, history, oceanography, etc.
Below are some examples of modern scientific discoveries that are mentioned in the Qur’an.
a. The Lost City of Iram (Qur’an 89:7)
The existence of the city of Iram was unknown to any historian in the world prior to an excavation in Syria (in 1973) at the site of the ancient city of Ebla where clay tablets found there confirmed that the people of Ebla used to have business relations with the people of Iram.
Details of this can be found in the National Geographic magazine of December, 1978, which also notes that the only mention of Iram archaeologists and historians have ever otherwise come across is in the Holy Qur’an.
So unknown was the city of Iram until recently that even some Muslim commentators commented on the mention of the city in the Qur’an as being perhaps figurative, saying that Iram was possibly a tall man and not a city! How did the author of the Qur’an know of the existence of the city of Iram (Q.89:7) when no one else knew it?
b. Worker bees being female (Qur’an 16:68)
A subtle yet extraordinary precision in describing a natural phenomenon occurs in Q.16:68: “And your Lord inspired the bee, (saying), ‘Take for yourself dwellings in hills, on trees and in what they (mankind) build.’”
The imperative “take” above is the translation of the Arabic word “ittakhidhiy”, which is a feminine form (since Arabic expressions, unlike English ones, differentiate between the sexes). In Arabic, the feminine is used when all those to whom a word refers are female, whereas the masculine is used when a group contains at least one male. Therefore the Qur’an is in fact saying: “Take for yourself, you female bee, dwellings…”
Science has gradually discovered that a swarm of bees comprises three types: a queen, the worker bees that collect pollen, produce honey and build the hive, and the male drones, whose sole purpose is to impregnate the queen and are then killed off by the worker bees. These worker bees are all females with underdeveloped sex organs..
Thus the phrasing of this command in the Qur’an is in perfect correspondence with the fact that male bees do not participate in the construction of the hive or bees’ “dwellings”, which is the sole work of the females. This is an example of the sort of precision in the Qur’an which refutes the idea of it having been produced by guesswork, for probability dictates that the masculine form should have been used.
c. Mountains as “pegs” and stabilizers
In his co-authored book entitled “Earth,” Professor Emeritus Frank Press (1982) says that mountains are not just high above ground but have underlying roots. These roots are deeply embedded in the ground. Thus, mountains are shaped like pegs.
This is just how the Qur’an has described mountains. The Creator is recorded in the Qur’an as saying: “Have We not made the earth as a resting place (for you), and the mountains as (its) pegs?” (Q.78:6-7)
Modern earth sciences document that, like icebergs, underground mountain roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground.
On the basis of this information, then, the most suitable word to describe mountains is the word “pegs”, since most of a properly set (tent) peg is hidden underground and the term would be most familiar to the seventh century desert community that received the revelation.
How did the author of the Qur’an know such a precise description when the theory of mountains having deep roots was introduced only in the latter half of the nineteenth century?
d. Development of the Human Embryo
The Qur’an (23:12-14) describes the development of the embryo at a microscopic level inside the womb in the following manner:
“Man did We fashion from a quintessence of clay. Then We placed him as (a drop of) seminal fluid in a place of rest firmly fixed. Then We fashioned the seminal fluid into a leech-like thing that clings.
Then We fashioned that leech-like thing that clings into a chewed-like lump. Then We fashioned the chewed-like lump into bones and We clothed the bones with flesh. Then We developed it into another creature. So hallowed be Allah, the Best of creators”; Q.96:1-2: “…who fashioned man from a leech-like thing that clings”; and Q.22:5: “We fashioned you out of dust, then out of a drop of fluid, then out of a leech-like thing that clings, then out of a morsel of flesh – partly formed and partly unformed…”
e. The Expanding Universe (Qur’an 51:47)
By studying the galactic spectrum, scientists have recently established that the universe is expanding. In the Qur’an (51:47), we read: “The firmament have We built with power, and verily, We are expanding it.” The word “samaa’a” means firmament or heaven in the sense of the extra-terrestrial world, and the word “musi‘un” is the present plural participle of the verb “awsa‘a”, which means “to widen, to extend, to expand.” This scientific fact is explained further in Stephen Hawking’s classic, A Brief History of Time.
f. An Original Explosion of Mass (Qur’an 21:30)
In Qur’an 21:30 we read: “Have not those who disbelieve seen that the heavens and the earth were fused (ratq) and then We clove them asunder (fataqnaa), and We made every living thing out of water. Will they then not believe?”
Scientists have postulated for some time now that the universe was originally a single primary mass of nearly infinite density that subsequently split into multiple fragments after a tremendous explosion, commonly known as the “Big Bang.” While the Qur’an does not elaborate whether the entire Big Bang Theory as we know it is true or false, it does corroborate with scientific observations that the universe expanded from an explosion of initial primary mass.
g. That the whole universe was once nothing but a cloud of “smoke” (Q.41:11)
The Qur’an’s description of the universe as having been shaped out of a cloud of smoke: “And He who turned [His design] to the skies when it had been smoke (dukhaan)…” (Q.41:11) is now an undisputed principle of modern cosmology. The term “smoke” is most befitting to explain the opaque, highly dense and hot gaseous composition that existed prior to the universe’s expansion. New stars are in fact still forming, as astronomers explain, from the remnants of that primary “smoke.”
It is virtually inconceivable that a person of seventh century Arabia could have known such information about the beginnings of the universe.
These are just a few of the numerous scientific revelations in the Qur’an. How many well trained modern scientists and geniuses with the aid of hi-tech equipment, satellites, telescopes, microscopes and computers were required to discover the above facts, and over what time span? Is it even conceivable that any human being over 1,400 years ago could have produced a scripture with such information in it, let alone a person who had never been educated?
The Elimination Process:
In examining the various claimed sources of the Qur’an, the following points have been discussed:
- Muhammad’s being unlettered,
- Muhammad’s integrity,
- The Style of the Qur’an,
- Discrepancies between the Qur’an and the Bible,
- Qur’anic teachings about Satan and about morality, and
- The Qur’an’s factual contents and scientific information.
This numbering serves as a key to the “elimination” table below, which illustrates what points may be used to eliminate unacceptable candidates for authorship of the Qur’an:
|Other Arab Poets||X||X||X|
|Non-Arab contemporaries of
|Christian or Jewish learned men||X||X||X||X||X|
|Satan or other deceitful non-humans||X||X|
The following points were presented to aid us in our “elimination process” of unacceptable authors of the Qur’an:
- Muhammad (p): It would be reasonable to start by eliminating Muhammad (p) from the list of possible authors of the Qur’an. There is no conceivable way he could have self-composed the Qur’an in view of points 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 presented, at least.
- Other Arab Poet(s), Scholar(s), etc.: We may also eliminate any other Arab from the list of ossible authors in view of points 2, 3 and 6 (at least).
- Some non-Arab: The reasons for the elimination of any Arab from the list also eliminate any non-Arab scholar, poet or religious personality.
- Christian Monks or Jewish Rabbis (i.e. Judeo-Christian sources): To consider this as an alternative source of the Qur’an is unreasonable in view of points 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.
- Satan (or deceitful spirits, aliens, or any devil-inspired source): This option is also unacceptable in view of the points discussed, especially under 5.
- God (i.e. Allah): In the absence of any acceptable alternative as source and author of the Qur’an, one is more or less compelled by reason to accept the Qur’an for what it claims to be — revelation from God through His Prophet Muhammad (p). This position seems reasonable not just because it is the only option that cannot be objectively eliminated, but because it is only reasonable to expect that a book with such qualities and contents would come from man’s Creator and Guide. Of all the arguable sources for the Qur’an, it is only God, the inevitable alternative, that even makes a claim to the scripture’s authorship.
The position, therefore, which holds that Allah is the author of the Qur’an remains valid in view of all available information. However, having undertaken this task ourselves, the Muslim’s assertion that the Qur’an is the Word of God is not just a product of blind faith, but, in fact, the result of very sound and reasoned judgment in the light of the above analysis.
Indeed, after having assessed the evidence, it may be considered ‘blind disbelief’ to contend otherwise. The Qur’an’s challenge (or falsification test ) remains open to anyone to disprove this claim.
The evidence for the Divine Authorship of the Qur’and is also evidence for the existence of the Divine. Allah must exist, unless a more reasonably acceptable author of the Qur’an can be produced. The challenge remains!
1 Muhammad Hamidullah, Introduction to Islam. (London: MWH Publishers, 1979), p.17
2 Q.44:58; 54:17, 22, 32, 40
3 Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.6, no.546, in Alim 6.0
4 Ibn Hisham, Seerah al-Nabi (Cairo, n.d.), vol.1, p.199
5 Sahih al-Bukhari, vol.6, hadith nos.201 & 509; vol.9, no.301, in Alim 6.0
6 Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Fath al-Bari (n.d.), vol.9:14-15
7 H.A.R. Gibb, Mohammedanism (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), p.50
8 John Burton, The Collection of the Qur’an (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 171
9 Ibid., pp.239-40.
10 Kenneth Cragg, The Mind of the Qur’an (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1973), p.26.
11 See M. M. Azami, The History of the Qur’anic Text From Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments (Leicester, UK: UK Islamic Academy, 2003), pp.316-318 for a partial list of such early first century manuscripts, and where they are housed today.
12 see Fredrick Denny, Islam (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), p.88; Dr. Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science (Indianapolis, USA: American Trust Publications, 1983), p.163; and H.A.R. Gibb, Wither Islam (New York: A.M.S. Press, 1932), p.350; etc.
13 See for example, H.A.R. Gibb, Mohammedanism (London: Oxford University Press, 1962), p.25; and W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Mecca (London: Oxford University Press, 1953), p.52.
14 The unique style of the Qur’an has been extensively analyzed by Neal Robinson, Discovering the Qur’an: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1996). Robinson writes that while the Qur’an at first glance may appear to be jumbled and disordered in its series of discourses, especially when reading its passages in a continuum, closer examination reveals a remarkable structure and logic behind its expressions and arrangement. For example, the Qur’an’s frequent interchanging of pronouns for Allah (within the same verse) follows a distinct pattern to enhance the purpose of those passages where this occurs
15 Bilal Philips, Usool at-Tafseer (Sharjah: Dar al-Fatah, 1997), pp.127-128
16 e.g. the Qur’an rejects that this Prophet was ever a worshipper of idols – compare Q.2:102 with 1 Kings 11:4.
17 e.g. the Qur’an describes the account of the story of God’s command to sacrifice his son as occurring in a dream with his son as a willing participant before being saved by God’s intervention, while the Bible speaks of God speaking directly to him and his son as unaware of his plans – compare Q.37:99-111 with Genesis 22:1-19.
18 The Bible describes the Great Flood as covering the entire Earth whereas the Qur’an describes the flood as a local event only, a description which is more consistent with scientific evidence – compare Q.25:37 with Genesis 7:23.
19 A critical difference is the Qur’an’s insistence that Jesus (peace be upon him) was never truly crucified.
20 (p) — Peacebe upon him
21 See Norman Daniel’s Islam and the West: the Making of an Image (UK: Edinburgh University Press, 1989), p.83, 94, etc.
22 Some misinterpret the Qur’anic verse 22:52: “Never did We send a Messenger or a Prophet before you but that when he framed a desire Satan threw something into his desire but God will cancel anything Satan throws in and God will establish His signs for He is full of knowledge and wisdom” to mean that the Prophet (p) mistakenly recited words whispered to him by Satan when he was conveying the Revelation to some idol-worshippers. These whispers have been called by some the “Satanic verses” which were supposedly later abrogated by Allah in subsequent revelations. This story has been discredited with authoritative proofs by M. Mohar Ali, Sirat al-Nabi and the Orientalists, Vol.1A. (Madina: King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, 1997), pp.683-702.
23 Cited in H.M. Njozi, The Sources of the Qur’an: A Critical Review of the Authorship Theories (Saudi Arabia: WAMY Publications, 1991), p.96Q.44:58; 54:17, 22, 32, 40
24 Also known as Eblus
25 Howard LaFay, “Ebla: Splendor of an Unknown Empire”, National Geographic Magazine, 1978, pp.735-736 – The full article spans from pp.730-759
26 “Keepers are all Abuzz Tending to their Bee Hives: Natural Honey Rewards Efforts”, The Washington Times, May 2, 2002, p.M14, New World Communications Inc
27 If one had no prior knowledge about bees and gender or role-differentiation, the bees being addressed in the verse could either consist of: some males and some females, all males, or all females. All things being equal, if the feminine may only be used if the bees addressed were all female, the probability of guessing correctly out of all possible combinations of genders among the bees are as follows: masculine – ⅔, feminine – ⅓ This conservative figure does not acknowledge socio-cultural and historical biases which would favor the view that male animals would most likely be involved in any serious labor, and thus increase the probability even more of opting for the masculine form
28 Press and Siever, Earth, 3rd edition. (San Francisco, USA: W.H. Freeman and Co., 1982), p.435
29 See also E.J. Tarbuck and F.K. Lutgens, Earth Science, 3rd edn. (Columbus: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1982), pp.157-158, for illustrations.
30 Z.R. El-Naggar, The Geological Concept of Mountains in the Qur’an, 1st edition. (Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1991), p.5
32 The word “’alaq” is sometimes incorrectly translated as “a blood-clot”. While “blood clot” is a derived meaning, the original meaning is in fact more exact in its description of the embryo at this stage – see Maurice Bucaille, What is the Origin of Man? (Paris: Seghers, 1983), p.186
33 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (London: Bantam Books, 1990), p.13
34 More information on various unresolved issues that arise from the Big Bang Theory may be found in J. Malone, Unresolved Mysteries of Science (Canada: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2001)
35 Stephen Weinberg, The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe, 5th printing (New York: Bantam Books, 1984), pp.94-105. See also I.A. Ibrahim, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, 2nd edition. (Houston, USA: Darussalam Publishers, 1997), p.14
36 Q.4:82: “…had it been from any other than Allah, they would have found therein much discrepancy.”