Inimitability & Authenticity of Quran
by 'Abdur-Raheem Green -- Source: www.muslim-answers.org
Abu 'Abdullah 'Abdur-Raheem
Green is a British Muslim who is an active da'i (caller to the Truth).
He can be seen each week at "Speaker's Corner" in London's Hyde
Park. Videos of his "Dawa in the Park" are available through Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution
All praise is due to Allah and , peace and blessings on his last and final messenger Mohammed, and his family and followers. Amen.
Peace be upon the followers of guidance,
From: Adburraheem Green
To: Jochen, and whoever else is partaking in this discussion.
Indeed the Day of Judgement
is a promised day when Allah, the Almighty, the Just and Wise will take
mankind to task for what they uttered concerning Him, His Prophets and
His revelation. He knows all that is secret and hidden, and is fully aware
of those who gather to plot against the Truth. And verily they plot and
plan, and Allah is the best of planners, and the plans of the disbelievers
will come to naught, and for sure Allah will gather the criminals all together
in hell. What an evil end.
There are several points
I wish to raise and clarify. First I would like to reassure all the Muslim
readers and inform the Christian readers that the claims of Joseph Smith
that: "On this side of the Atlantic the Muslims are trying to attack
me concerning the Dome of the Rock, the Qibla, and the problem between
the Kufic and Ma'il scripts. So far I have stood my ground at Speaker's
Corner, and at the university, and I still wait for a credible defence"
is somewhat short of the truth. Let me introduce myself. I am Abdurraheem
Green. I reverted to Islam about nine years ago, and was educated in a
Roman Catholic Monastic School. I have been speaking at speakers corner
now for about eight years. Last summer I first encountered Joseph as he
started shouting challenges at me when I produced a Photostat of a page
of the Tashkent copy of the Qur'aan. He also challenged me on the issue
of hadith, and I gave what seemed to me a satisfactory answer to
the second issue. Now since I had just come from Kuwait, and had visited
there the library of the Islamic Heritage Society and talked to
Sheikh Mohammed Shaibani, an expert on ancient Arabic manuscripts, and
had inquired about the existence of an original 'Uthmanic text, which I
had heard existed, and he showed me a replica of the whole Tashkent Qur'aan,
and presented me with some copies of parts of the pages. I asked him specifically
concerning its authenticity, and he considered that it was undoubtedly
one of the thmanic" Qur'aans. I felt this would further confirm
the already well established fact of the authenticity of the Qur'aanic
When Joseph challenged me concerning the Kufic script I was unable
to answer because the issue was unfamiliar to me, so that following week
I researched the issue and found that his claims were wrong. When he came
next the Sunday I was prepared, and answered his questions, but Joseph
just would not give up, he kept repeating himself as if repeating his arguments
enough times would somehow make his erroneous statements into a valid argument.
This became so bad that even one of the non-Muslims in the audience said about
Joseph: "This man is just arguing against himself." (This is all
on video tape by the way.) Having observed Joseph's rather obdurate behaviour,
and having decided that I was talking to a brick wall, I reminded my audience
of the various dirty Christian missionary tactics, and their endless plots
against the true religion of God, and how they were inspired by Paul to
"lie for the greater glory of God." At which stage Joseph beat a
hasty retreat. Hardly "standing one's ground", unless by that he
means the type of standing when one tries to get a obstinate donkey to
move and it won't.
Since this time various Christian
Societies have challenged various Muslim societies to debates, including
Nottingham and London School of Economics and I have been called in to
deal with the issue. However my condition was that both speakers should
be given the chance to speak for one and a half hours each, and that responses
and questions and answers should also take another two to three hours.
The reason for this is so that the various complicated issues could be
dealt with properly and in a non-confrontational manner and thus some real
semblance of truth arrived at. Suddenly the Christians started backing
out. Smith himself refused on the grounds that it would not hold the public
attention, there by exposing his real intent. When he was challenged in
public in Speaker's Corner, pathetic excuses started to emerge like "I
haven't got time" and
"I'll do it under the condition that you only
bring one piece of archeological evidence, one piece of manuscript evidence
and one primary source." How pathetic can you get?
By the way, concerning the
issue of the Kufic script, I quoted Nadia Abbot, an expert in ancient Arabic
literary papyri: "We can no longer draw a chronological demarcation
line between what are commonly termed Kufi and Naskhi scripts, nor can
we consider the latter as a development of the former. This...now demands
more general recognition. Our materials show that there were two tendencies
at work, both of them natural ones." (N. Abbot, The Rise of the
North Arabian Script and its Koranic Development.) The second source
I quoted was information contained in a translation of the Qur'aan by A.
J. Arberry (a Christian Orientalist), who clearly confirms the authenticity
of the Qur'aanic text. The book further confirmed that it was originally
written in the Kufic script. I quote: "The reproduction on the front
of this jacket shows part of the Koran in Kufic script, from a MS, in the
British Museum. This script is the MOST ANCIENT FORM OF CALLIGRAPHY IN
WHICH THE QUR'AAN WAS WRITTEN."
Now, the issue of inimitability
of the Qur'aan and what are the rules. Firstly it must be in Arabic, because
the nature of the challenge is concerning aspects of the Arabic language.
(By the way, your comments on Arabic grammar reflect rather poorly on your
knowledge of the history of the Arabic language. Yes, Arabic was spoken
before the Qur'aan, but it was only with the advent of Islam, and due to
the need to preserve the understandings of the meanings of the Arabic of
the Qur'aan that books and treaties began to be written using the Qur'aanic
Arabic as the de facto standard. Now if these
that you referred to are the same as those mentioned by Shorrosh, then
I have heard them answered, and in fact the mistakes were on his side.
I rather remember in one of Shorrosh's debates with Deedat, his attempts,
plus I think fifteen other Arab Christians scholars, to rival the Qur'aan
caused the Arabs in the crowd break into fits of laughter. Perhaps someone
more versed in Arabic will be able to answer this issue specifically. So
please do post these so called "errors".) Secondly, the miraculous
quality of the Qur'aan is not merely in its eloquence, beauty, and rhetoric
but in its very structure. I don't wish to repeat what our brother has
already mentioned, so I will only mention this, and I take from a letter
I wrote to my father, so its not intended to be comprehensive, but rather
brief and understandable.
Indeed many of the Arabs
entered into Islam just from hearing the Qur'aan, because for them it was
a conclusive proof of its Divine origin. They knew that no man could produce
such eloquence. The challenge of the Qur'aan for man to produce its
like is not, as some suppose, merely like the uniqueness of Shakespeare,
Shelly, Keats, or Homer. The Qur'aan differentiated itself in its very
structure. Poetry in Arabic falls into sixteen different
and other than that they have the speech of soothsayers, rhyming prose,
and normal speech. The Qur'aan's form did not fit into any of these categories.
It was this that made the Qur'aan inimitable, and left the pagan Arabs
at a loss as to how they might combat it as Alqama bin Abdulmanaf confirmed
when he addressed their leaders, the Quraish:
" Oh Quraish, a new calamity
has befallen you. Mohammed was a young man the most liked among you, most
truthful in speech, and most trustworthy, until, when you saw gray hairs
on his temple, and he brought you his message, you said that he was a sorcerer,
but he is not, for we seen such people and their spitting and their knots;
you said, a diviner, but we have seen such people and their behavior, and
we have heard their rhymes; you said a soothsayer, but he is not a soothsayer,
for we have heard their rhymes; and you said a poet, but he is not a poet,
for we have heard all kinds of poetry; you said he was possessed, but he
is not for we have seen the possessed, and he shows no signs of their gasping
and whispering and delirium. Oh men of Quraish, look to your affairs, for
by Allah a serious thing has befallen you "
These are the sixteen Al-Bihar
(literally "Seas", so called because of the way the poem moves, according
to its rhythmic patterns): At-Tawil,
the challenge is to produce in Arabic, three lines, that do not fall into
one of these sixteen Bihar, that is not rhyming prose, nor like
the speech of soothsayers, and not normal speech, that it should contain
at least a comprehensible meaning and rhetoric, i.e. not gobbledygook.
Now I think at least the Christian's "Holy spirit" that makes you talk
in tongues, part of your "Tri-Unity" of God should be able to inspire
one of you with that!
A simple, mostly objective - and admittedly partly objective - challenge.
"...and if you cannot do it, and certainly you cannot do it, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones." This will therefore prove that it is from Allah, and thus that its contents are accurate, including the fact of its revelation to Mohammed etc. . . . and not a composition of a group in some remoter
historical period. As for the acceptance of all of this, well let's take
it one step at a time. First meet the challenge. At least you will have
answered the Creator's challenge and you can have some sort of excuse,
if you can do it. Then present it to the world. Now I don't think this
would compare to what happened to Salman Rushdie, because he wrote nothing
except a vile and insulting book. The Qur'aan does not say:
nasty, unfounded lies against Mohammed and that will prove that the Qur'aan
is not from Allah", rather the Qur'aan challenges you to bring a Surah
like it. Now I don't think anyone will try to kill you for that, since
you are only doing what the Qur'aan asks! And even if the Muslims where
after your blood, so what if Jesus has died for your sins? It amazes me
that someone who "knows he is going to Paradise" should be so afraid
of death, rather seek it, if what you say is true!
The issue of the "Satanic
Verses" was known and debated amongst the Muslim scholars themselves
a thousand years ago without a death threat being issued against any of
them. Anyhow, I don't want to go into the issue of the fatwa now,
or the Satanic Verses - perhaps another time. The Muslim scholars
have never balked at a serious rational and intellectual challenge, what
we are not very tolerant about is the use of gutter language and pure insults
hurled against the Prophet of God, and his family. In fact Joseph's stuff
poses much more interesting challenge than the "Satanic Verses"
issue, partly because this avenue (i.e. archaeology, etc.) is a comparatively
new area for Muslims. However from what I have read and heard the Muslims
have more than been up to the challenge, and have answered nearly all of
Smith's stuff really quite well. Indeed I think that upon reading Joseph's
e-mail it is his defense that is looking decidedly weak.
In your attempt to dismiss
Abu Omar you keep repeating assertions made by Humphries, Wansborough and
Rippin that do not support your argument. It is a classical example of
deception - using information that is in essence true to make an assertion
that is quite different from that which the information itself states.
Concerning Rippin it is true that what is now practiced as Islam is something
rather different from what was revealed to Mohammed. It is not true
that this means the Qur'aan is different from that which was revealed to
Mohammed. What we need to do is draw is distinction between the Islam that
Mohammed taught, the true Islam, and that which the Muslims have innovated
and added on. In fact I spend a lot of time giving lectures to the Muslims
concerning the very same issue, and that is that we need to return to the
Qur'aan and authentic Prophetic traditions (not those stories invented
about him) to be upon the correct and original guidance that Mohammed was
Concerning Wansborough and
Humphries, if what you say about them is true, then they are either liars,
idiots or plain ignorant - in either case we have no business with their
feeble meanderings in the light of the existence of a number complete Qur'aanic
manuscripts existing from seventy to one hundred years after the death
of the Prophet. This assertion that the Qur'aan was composed two to three
hundred years after the time of Mohammed is simply unfounded in the face
of the undeniable existence of at least one complete manuscript dated at
the latest 72 A.D. (but is probably earlier.). The only genuine question
mark that Smith has been able to raise from all of this material is over
the authenticity of the Tashkent and Topkapi manuscript's attribution to
'Uthmaan. If his only line of argument is the Kufi script issue, then even
that does not stand. In fact it was only on reading what Abdurrahman Lomax
had to say that has made me reconsider this particular issue! Finally I
must thank you for helping expose to the world just how feeble and unfounded
the arguments against Islam are. I'm sure many people will be guided to
Islam because of it!
" They plot and plan, but verily Allah is the best of planners "