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THE PENTATEUCH

GENESIS ---EXODUS--- LEVITICUS 1.1-7.38 --- 8.1-11.47 --- 12.1-16.34--- 17.1-27.34--- NUMBERS 1-10--- 11-19--- 20-36--- DEUTERONOMY 1.1-4.44 --- 4.45-11.32 --- 12.1-29.1--- 29.2-34.12 --- THE BOOK OF JOSHUA --- THE BOOK OF JUDGES --- PSALMS 1-17--- ECCLESIASTES --- ISAIAH 1-5 --- 6-12 --- 13-23 --- 24-27 --- 28-35 --- 36-39 --- 40-48 --- 49-55--- 56-66--- EZEKIEL --- DANIEL 1-7 ---DANIEL 8-12 ---

NAHUM--- HABAKKUK---ZEPHANIAH ---ZECHARIAH --- THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ---THE GOSPEL OF MARK--- THE GOSPEL OF LUKE --- THE GOSPEL OF JOHN --- THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES --- 1 CORINTHIANS 1-7 --- 8-16 --- 2 CORINTHIANS 1-7 --- 8-13 -- -GALATIANS --- EPHESIANS --- COLOSSIANS --- 1 THESSALONIANS --- 2 THESSALONIANS --- 1 TIMOTHY --- 2 TIMOTHY --- TITUS --- HEBREWS 1-6 --- 7-10 --- 11-13 --- JAMES --- JOHN'S LETTERS --- REVELATION

--- THE GOSPELS

Contra Islam (2)

Chapter Seven

Historical Errors of the Qur'an

Historical errors are so many in the Qur'an that we cannot cover them all, but we will be content to point out some very obvious examples:

The Crucifixion of Christ

The Qur'an explicitly denies that Jesus was crucified. It claims that the Jews became so confused that they crucified somebody else instead who had the likeness of Christ. It is recorded in the Qur'an 4:15,

"They slew him not nor crucified but it appeared so unto them."

In his commentary on this verse al-Baydawi said (p. 135),

"A group of Jews cursed Christ and his mother. He invoked evil on them and, may He be exalted, turned them into monkeys and swine. The Jews gathered together to kill him, but God, may He be exalted, informed him (Jesus) that He was going to lift him up to heaven. Thus, (Jesus) said to his companions, `Who would like to have my likeness cast on him and be killed and crucified, then enter the paradise?' One of them volunteered (to do so) and God cast on him Christ's likeness. He was then arrested, crucified and killed. It is also said that (the crucified one) was a traitor who went with the mob to guide them to Christ (he meant Judas), thus God cast on him the likeness of Jesus and he was arrested, crucified and killed."

Al- Baydawi is not the only one who records these mystical stories, but all Muslim scholars who attempt to interpret the above verse, plainly state that Jesus was not crucified. The Qur'an has ignored not only the records of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the rest of the New Testament, but also all the other chroniclers. It ignores the history of the Roman Empire which documented that a Jewish man by the name of Jesus was crucified during the time of Pilate the Pontius, the Roman Governor who gave way to the demands of the chief priests of the Jews.

It is well known that Christ's trial took place in front of the chief priests and the Roman Governor. It is also common knowledge that the arrested man did not remonstrate and say, "I am not Christ, I am Judas who wanted to betray Him and give Him away to you." All Jesus' words on the cross denote that He was Christ, especially His statement, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Jesus Himself told His disciples that He must be delivered to the chief priests and be crucified, then He would rise from the dead on the third day. Christ Himself foretold that and the crucifixion was fulfilled according to the many prophecies recorded in the Old Testament which predicted His crucifixion centuries before. Christ came to accomplish God's plan for man's salvation.

Therefore, it is not reasonable that six hundred years after Christ's crucifixion, a man should appear and declare to the world (ignoring all the historical evidence) that the one who was crucified was not Christ. This is similar to a man who comes hundreds of years from now to tell us that the one who was assassinated in the twentieth century was not Martin Luther King (or John F. Kennedy or Zia al-Haqq) but rather someone else who looked like him. Of course, nobody would believe him, even if he claimed that the angel Gabriel (or the thunder angel) revealed it to him.

 

The Virgin Mary

In many places, the Qur'an mentions Mary as the sister of Moses and Aaron and the daughter of Imran. The Qur'an has confused Jesus' mother with Aaron's sister because both of them carry the same name, though there are several centuries between them. The Qur'an indicates that Mary (Christ's mother) had a brother whose name was Aaron (chapter 19:28) and a father whose name is Imran (chapter 66:12). Their mother was called "the wife of Imran" (chapter 3:35) which eliminates any doubt that it confuses Mary, mother of Jesus, with Mary, sister of Aaron.

Muslim scholars acknowledge what happened and they are confused and fail in their desperate attempts to justify this grave error. Their contradictory interpretations fail to help them to find a solution to this dilemma. Let us examine these interpretations to see these conflicting views.

In the context of his comment on the Qur'anic statement that Mary is Aaron's sister (which is recorded in chapter 19:28), al-Baydawi (p. 405) said,

"Oh, sister of Aaron (the prophet). And she was an offspring of some of those who were with him who belonged to the same class of brotherhood. It was also said that she was one of Aaron's descendants though there were a thousand years between them. It was said too, that he (Aaron) was a righteous or a wicked man who lived during their time (time of Mary). They likened her to him to ridicule her or to insult her."

Yet Baydawi's statement is repealed by the Qur'an because the Qur'an did not refer to a moral relationship but stressed the literal meaning. If the Qur'an had meant to elevate Mary to the same level of Aaron, the prophet, or to the status of a daughter of Imran, why then did it mention that her mother was the wife of Imran as it is recorded in chapter 3:35? It is very obvious that the matter was either confused in the mind of Muhammad or of Gabriel, the angel! It is not acceptable that the Qur'an intended to say that Mary enjoys the same status as a sister of Aaron and a daughter of Imran. Therefore it is impossible to treat Mary (the mother of Jesus) as if she were the sister of Aaron and Moses.

The contemporary scholar who translated the Qur'an which was authorized by the Saudi authorities said (in the introduction of page 47 of chapter of the Family of Imran),

"Al Imran takes its title from v. 32, where `the family of Imran' (the father of Moses) occurs as a generic name for all the Hebrew prophets from Moses to John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. This with the mention of the mother of Mary as `the wife of Imran' (v. 34) and the words `sister of Aaron' addressed to Mary (XIX.28) have given rise to a charge of anachronism. Some say that the prophet confused Mary, the mother of Jesus, with Mary, the sister of Moses. Most Muslims believe (on the authority of the Qur'an) that the grandfather of Jesus Christ was named `Imran' which may also have been the name of the father of Moses. In Surah XIX 28 where Mary is addressed as `sister of Aaron', they hold the ancestral sense to be the more probable, while denying that there is any reason to suppose that the virgin Mary had not a brother named Aaron."

Thus, they fail to explain to us why the Qur'an said that the mother of Mary was the wife of Imran, especially if the Qur'an intended (as they say) to show the moral relationship only. It is an obvious historical mistake, my dear reader, because Mary had no brother named Aaron.

 

Alexander the Great

It is amazing to see the Qur'an talking about Alexander the Great as if he were a righteous man and a teacher, though it is well-known that the Greek, Alexander, was idolatrous and claimed to be the son of Amun, the God of Egypt. If the reader wonders where it is recorded in the Qur'an that Alexander was a righteous man, we would refer him to the chapter of the Cave 18:83-98 where we encounter sixteen verses which talk about this military general. These verses explicitly say that God assisted him, guided him and removed all obstacles from his way in order that he could accomplish his plans and fulfill his desires. They indicate that Alexander was the one who reached the place of the sunset and found it set down in a well of water and mud. They claim that he encountered some people and God gave him the option to torment them, to kill them or to take them captive, call them to the faith and to lead them in a straight path.

These comments are expressed by all the scholars without any exception (refer to Baydawi, p. 399, al-Jalalan, p. 251, al-Tabari, p. 339, al-Zamakhshari, part 2 of al-Kash-shaf, p. 743). If we do not refer to these great expounders of the Qur'an to whom, then, shall we refer? The Greek Alexander was not a righteous servant of God as the Qur'an said, but he was a licentious, belligerent, idolatrous man. He did not have any relationship with God and God never asked him to guide people and to teach them the faith.

 

Other Historical Errors

Does the reader believe that Abraham did not offer Isaac, but Ishmael, as a sacrifice? This is what all Muslim scholars say. Do you know that the Qur'an claims that Haman was pharaoh's prime minister even though Haman lived in Babylon one thousand years later? Yet the Qur'an says so. The Qur'an says that the one who picked Moses from the river was not his sister but his mother (28:6-8), and that a Samaritan was the one who molded the golden calf for the children of Israel and misguided them, and the golden calf was lowing (refer to chapter 20:85-88) though it is well-known that Samaria was not in existence at that time. The Samaritans came after the Babylonian exile. How could one of them have made the golden calf for the people of Israel?

Concerning the birth of Christ, the Qur'an teaches that the Virgin Mary gave birth to him under the shade of a palm tree and not in a manger of sheep (refer to Mary 19:23). The Qur'an ignores all the documented historical evidence available to all people across the ages and brings us new discoveries!

The Qur'an claims (Chapter 2:125-127) that Abraham and Ishmael, his son, are the ones who built The Ka'ba in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The late Dr. Taha Husayn (the most famous professor of Arabic literature in Egypt) acknowledges that the information recorded in the Qur'an pertaining to the construction of Ka'ba at the hand of Abraham and Ishmael is not historically documented. He said:

"The case of this episode is very obvious because it is of recent date and came into vogue just before the rise of Islam. Islam exploited it for religious reasons" (quoted in Mizan al-Islam by Anwar al-Jundi, p. 170).

This declaration invoked the rage of the Muslim scholars against him. The former president of Tunisia did the same thing when he stated that the Qur'an contains mythical stories. Muslim scholars revolted against him and threatened to kill him because these are Muhammad's orders - kill anybody who insults the Qur'an. So what could Taha Husayn or Abu Ruqayba [better known in the West as Bourgiba] (or we) do if the Qur'an rejects the most scientifically documented historical stories? Are we supposed to shut up our mouth and close our minds lest we be killed?

Chapter Eight 

Qur’anic Language and Grammatical Mistakes

Our Muslim brethren say that the eloquence of the Qur’an, the supremacy of its language and the beauty of its expression are conclusive evidence that the Qur’an is the Word of God because the inimitability of the Qur’an lies in its beautiful style of the Arabic language. We acknowledge that the Qur’an (in some of its parts and chapters) has been written in an eloquent style and impressive words. This fact is beyond any doubt and anyone who denies that does not have any taste for the Arabic language. Yet, on the other hand, we say that there are many clear language errors in other parts of the Qur’an pertaining to the simplest principles of style, literary expression and the well-known grammatical rules of the Arabic language and its expression.

We even find in the Qur’an many words which do not have any meaning and are not found in any language. There is also a great deal of vocabulary which no one can understand. Muhammad’s companions themselves have acknowledged that, as we will see, but before we examine all these issues, I would like to clarify two important points.

First, from a linguistic point of view, the eloquence of any book cannot be an evidence of the greatness of the book and proof that it was revealed by God, because what is important to God is not to manifest His power in the eloquence of style and the expressive forcefulness of the classical Arabic language, but rather to embody His power in the sublime spiritual meaning contained in that book which will lead the people to a high spiritual level which enables them to live together in peace and love. It helps them to enjoy an internal profound joy and spiritual, psychological fullness—abundant life. God does not care to teach the people of the Earth the rules and the principles of the Arabic language. God is not a teacher of a fading classical Arabic language, but the true living God is our spiritual leader in life of love and joy.

Is the content of the Qur’an properly fit to be ascribed to God? All that we intend to do here is to determine that eloquence of style is not always an evidence that the words uttered come from heaven or that the one who has spoken them is a prophet. The German poet Schiller is not a prophet, and the Iliad and the Odessa are not composed by a prophet but rather by a Greek poet. The masterpieces of Shakespeare’s poems and plays in English literature which are translated and published more than the Qur’an by ten fold have not compelled the British to say that the angel Gabriel is the one who revealed them to Shakespeare.

The second very significant point is that the eloquence of the Qur’an and the supremacy of the classical Arabic language in which the Qur’an is written have created difficulty in reading and understanding, even for the Arabs themselves. So what would we say about the non-Arabs even if they learn the Arabic language? The Qur’an will continue to be a problem for them because it is not sufficient for a person to learn the Arabic language to be able to read the Qur’an. He also has to study the literature of the Arabic language thoroughly. Thus, we find that the majority of Arabs themselves do not understand the classical language of the Qur’an which contains hundreds of words which confused Muhammad’s companions who mastered the language but failed to explain their meanings, along with many other words which even Muhammad’s companions could not comprehend.

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti composed at least one hundred pages in part II of his famous book, "The Itqan", to explain the difficult words included in the chapters of the Qur’an, under the title "The Foreign words of the Qur’an". The vocabulary of the classical Arabic language and some of its expressions are not in use anymore among the Arabs. The language itself was so diversified that the Shafi’i was led to say, "No one can have a comprehensive knowledge of the language except a prophet" (Itqan II: p 106).

The question which imposes itself on us is: What advantage do the people of the world get out of the Book of God if it is written in a difficult language which makes it impossible for Arabs (even Muhammad’s companions and his relatives) to comprehend it? Does God write a book in which people do not comprehend the meaning of many words included in the text, especially when the scholars insist that the Qur’an must be read only in Arabic? In his book al-Itqan, Al Suyuti says,

"It is utterly inadmissible for the Qur’an to be read in languages other than Arabic, whether the reader masters the language or not, during the prayer time or at other times, lest the inimitability of the Qur’an is lost. On the authority of the Qaffal (one of the most famous scholars of jurisprudence, fundamentals and exposition), reading the Qur’an in Persian cannot be imagined. But it was said to him, ‘Then no one will be able to interpret the Qur’an.’ He said, ‘It is not so, because he will bring forth some of God’s purposes and will fail to reveal others, but if somebody wants to read it in Persian he will never bring forth (any) of God’s purposes."’ 

This is why non-Arabs repeat the Qur’anic text without understanding it, because they utter it in Arabic. The same words have been repeated in Dr. Shalabi’s book (p. 97), "The History of Islamic Law". He also adds,

"If the Qur’an is translated into a non-Arabic language, it will lose its eloquent inimitability. The inimitability is intended for itself. It is permissible to translate the meaning without being literal." 

The same principle is followed by those who worked on the English authorized translation. They said (page iii),

"The Qur’an cannot be translated—that is the belief of traditional Sheikhs (religious leaders). The Arabic Qur’an is an inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy." 

This is true. If the Qur’an were translated literally into English, for example, it would lose its linguistic beauty, and could not then be compared to any other book in English, French, or German literature. In addition, a person might wonder how the many incomprehensible Arabic words could be translated.

The other question which confronts us is this, Does God belong to the Arabs only? If His book can only be in Arabic, then it is written only to the Arabs and it should not be read except in Arabic as the scholars claim as if God were an Arabic God. Thus, the scholars prohibit praying to God in any other language than Arabic in all mosques. It is also required that the call for prayers and the confession of faith which attests that the man is a Muslim must be uttered in Arabic because Muhammad (the prophet of Islam) said that Arabic is the language of paradise and the Arabs are the best nation created among peoples.

Among the famous prophetic traditions which Muhammad said to the Muslims is, "Love the Arabs for three (things): Because I am an Arab, the Qur’an is in Arabic and the language of the people of the paradise is Arabic" (refer to al-Mustadrak by the Hakim, and Fayd al-Ghadir).

Let us now examine the failure of the Arabic language in which the Qur’an is written, and limit ourselves to the following points:

 

The Original Qur’anic Text Was Without Diacritical Points, Vocalization, And Some Of Its Letters Are Omitted. 

We will attempt to explain this problem to the English reader as plainly as possible. We hope he will find it exciting and interesting. The Arabic reader knows fairly well that the meanings of the words require the use of diacritical points above or below the letters, otherwise it becomes very difficult (if not impossible) to comprehend their meanings. Vocalization also is very significant in the field of desinential inflection, along with writing all the letters of the word without omitting any of them. Thus, the reader of the Arabic language cannot believe or imagine that the Qur’an was written originally without these significant requirements, but let us assure you that this is a historical fact, well-known and acknowledged by all Muslim scholars without any exception.

We will also see that there is a large number of words about which the scholars could not agree as to their meanings. One simple example helps us to visualize the nature of the problem. Let us take the Arabic letter "ba". By changing the diacritical points, we get three different letters—"ta", "ba", and "tha". So when these letters are written without the diacritical points, it becomes difficult for the reader to know the word that is intended.

Examine the following word. Look thoroughly at the diacritical points (I repent), (plant), (house), (girl) (abided). Another example (rich), (stupid), and so on. Without these diacritical points it is very hard to distinguish the words from each other. Thus, the meaning differs from one word to another depending on the place of these diacritical points. Many of the Arabic alphabets require the presence of the diacritical point to differentiate between one alphabet and another and hence between one word and another.

Now let us quote the Muslim scholars who have the final word in these matters.

1) In his famous book, "The History of Islamic Law" (p.43), Dr. Ahmad Shalabi, professor of Islamic history and civilization remarks,

"The Qur’an was written in the Kufi script without diacritical points, vocalization or literary productions. No distinction was made between such words as ‘slaves’, ‘a slave’, and ‘at’ or ‘to have’, or between ‘to trick’ and ‘to deceive each other’, or between ‘to investigate’ or ‘to make sure’. Because of the Arab skill in Arabic language their reading was precise. Later when non-Arabs embraced Islam, errors began to appear in the reading of the Qur’an when those non-Arabs and other Arabs whose language was corrupted, read it. The incorrect reading changed the meaning sometimes." 

The same statement is made by Taha Husayn in "Taha Husayn" (p. 143), by Anwar al-Jundi.

Then Dr. Ahmad alluded to those who invented the vocalization and diacritical points and applied them to the Qur’anic text many years after Muhammad’s death such as Abu al-Aswad al Du’ali, Nasr ibn ’Asim and al-Khalil ibn Ahmad. He also added (on the same page) that "without these diacritical points, a man would believe that verse 3 of the chapter, ‘The Repentance’, would mean that God is done with the idolaters and His apostle— free from obligation to the idolaters and His apostle—while the real meaning of the verse is that God and His apostle are done with the idolaters—free from further obligation to the idolaters.

Now the question we would like to ask Dr. Ahmad and all those wise men: Why was not the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad in a perfect Arabic language complete with the literary indicators and the diacritical points lest a difference or change of meaning occur? If a student of Arabic writes an essay in Arabic without the diacritical points would the teacher give him more than zero? The answer is known to two hundred million Arabs.

The second question is: Did God inspire those who added the diacritical points and the vocalization through an angel, for example, to eliminate the different meanings on which the scholars disagree? Who instructed Nasr ibn ’Asim, Abu al-Aswad al Du’ali and Khalil ibn Ahmad to undertake this serious task and create the diacritical points and the vocalization for the Qur’anic text? Was it not more appropriate that Muhammad himself or some of his successors or companions like ibn ’Abbas and ibn Mas’ud should accomplish this work? Yet al-Suyuti himself tells us that ibn Mas’ud was not pleased with that (refer to "Itqan", part 2, p. 160), nor were other leading companions and scholars such as ibn Sirin and the Nakha’i.

2) Ibn Timiyya, Sheik of the Muslims (vol. XII, p. 101), tells us,

"The companions of Muhammad had never used the diacritical points or the vocalization for the Qur’an. For each word, there were two readings—either to use (for instance) ‘ya’ or ‘tah’ in such words as ‘they do’ or ‘you do’. The companion did not forbid one of the readings in favor of the other, then some successor of the companions began to use the diacritical points and vocalization for the Qur’an." 

On pp. 576 and 586, he adds,

"The companions (Muhammad’s friends) did not vocalize or provide diacritical points for the letters of the Qur’anic copies which they wrote, but later during the last part of the companions’ era, when reading errors came into being, they began to provide diacritical points for the copies of the Qur’an and to vocalize them. This was admissible by the authority of the majority of the scholars, though some of them disliked it. The truth is, it should not be disliked because the situation necessitated it, and the diacritical points distinguish the letters from each other while vocalization explains the grammatical inflection." 

There is a candid acknowledgment from ibn Timiyya that diacritical points are required, but did not God and His angel Gabriel along with Muhammad and his successors know about this problem? The simplest principles of sound Arabic language demand that words should have diacritical points and their letters should be written in complete form. Didn’t they know that disagreements among Muslim scholars would take place and that they would fight among themselves and that even death would result from the differences in reading the Qur’anic text? Didn’t they know also that the differences in meaning of the Qur’anic vocabulary would be decisive in the interpretation and judgments of Islamic law?

It is surprising that such things had not occurred to the mind of God, Gabriel, Muhammad, and the companions and the caliphs; then, three persons come later and insert these changes into the Qur’anic text. Yet, what is really more surprising is that when the companions discovered the differences in the readings of the Qur’anic text (as Ibn Timiyya says), they did not have any objection against any of the different readings and they did not prohibit either one. The justification for that was that Muhammad himself had acknowledged the presence of seven different readings, not just two readings as was clearly stated in the Sahih al-Bukhari, (vol. 6, p. 227). This fact is common knowledge among all the scholars.

3) Jalal-al-Din al-Suyuti

In his famous book, "al-Itqan Fi Ulum al-Qur’an" ("Adjusted Qur’anic Science"), al-Suyuti reiterates (part four, p. 160) the same words of ibn Timiyya which had been quoted by Dr. Ahmad Shalabi about those who invented the diacritical points and the vocalization of the words. He also said that some of the scholars detested that, as we mentioned before. There the Suyuti presents (part four, pp. 156,157) a list of words which could be read differently. One of them is the reading by which the Qur’an was written, though Muhammad himself had accepted and acknowledged both readings.

In part one, p. 226 of "The Itqan", the Suyuti makes an important declaration in which he says that the difference in reading has led to differences in Islamic law. He illustrated that by the following example: He indicated that some scholars demanded of the worshipper that he wash himself again (the ablution) before he prays if he shook hands with a woman. Yet other scholars require him to do so only in case of sexual intercourse and not just because he shook hands with her or touched her hand.

The reason for this disagreement is ascribed to one word found in the Chapter of Women (verse 43) and whether it has a long vowel a or not. The Jalalan (p. 70) and the Baydawi (p. 113) record for us that both ibn ’Umar and al-Shafi’i seriously disagree with ibn ’Abbas in the way they interpret this verse because ibn ’Abbas insisted that the meaning intended here is actual intercourse while the former said no, it is enough for a man to touch the skin of a woman or her hand to require having his ablution (washing) repeated.

In four full pages (226-229), the Suyuti stated that the many arguments and various interpretations pertaining to the above word have brought about different ordinances. When we read the commentary of the Jalalan or the Baydawi, we realize that whenever they come across certain words which could be read in more than one form they say: This word is read in two different forms.

Before conclude this part, let me call attention to the following everyday story: A man was asking about the place of two verses in the Qur’an. He was told that he could locate them in the Chapters of Resurrection and the Hypocrites. He made every effort to find these two chapters but in vain. Then he was told that the Chapter of Resurrection is number 75 and the chapter of the Hypocrites is number 63. He told them that chapter 75 is named "The Value" and chapter 63 is named or called "The Spenders". They told him you say so because you read them without the letter A (long vowel A) His logical answer was: "I have read them in exactly the form in which they were written without the long vowel A. Why should I add the long vowel A to the words of the Qur’an which would change the meaning?"

My dear English reader have you recognized the purpose of the above paragraph? Is the word "reply" the same as "replay"? There are dozens of words like that in the Qur’an, even some of the titles of the Qur’anic chapters have been written without the long vowel A. For example, the word "masajid" (mosques) is written "masjid" (a mosque), and "sadaqat" (charities) as "sadaqta" (you said the truth). The meaning (as you see) has been completely changed, as Dr. Ahmad Shalabi and Suyuti remarked.

 

Meaningless Qur’anic words 

All Muslim scholars acknowledge that the Qur’an contains words which even Muhammad’s relatives and companions have failed to understand. In his book, "The Itqan" (part 2, p. 4), the Suyuti states clearly,

"Muhammad’s companions, who are genuine Arabs, eloquent in language, in whose dialect the Qur’an was given to them, have stopped short in front of some words and failed to know their meanings, thus they said nothing about them. When Abu Bakr was asked about the Qur’anic statement ‘and fruits and fodder’ (8:31), he said, ‘What sky would cover me or what land would carry me if I say what I do not know about the book of God?’ ’Umar ibn al-Khattab read the same text from the rostrum, then he said, ‘This fruit we know, but what is fodder?’ Sa’id ibn Jubair was asked about the Qur’anic text in chapter 13 of Mary. He said, ‘I asked ibn ’Abbas about it, but he kept silent."’ 

Then the Suyuti indicated that ibn ’Abbas said that he does not know the meanings of some of the Qur’anic verses (like these in Chapter 69:36, 9:114 and 18:9).

I have quoted the Suyuti’s text word for word, and stated the confession of ibn ’Abbas who is interpreter of the Qur’an and legal jurist of the caliphs for whom Muhammad pleaded with God to enlighten his mind to comprehend the meaning of the Qur’an. Also, who was closer to Muhammad, my dear Muslim, than Abu Bakr and Umar, the first two caliphs along with ibn ’Abbas? All of them failed to comprehend many of the Qur’anic verses. Therefore, the Suyuti warns that anyone who attempts to conceive the meanings of these words will suffer complete failure. Then he mentions that the caliphs and ibn ’Abbas, themselves, did not know their meanings.

Of course, he was right, because if those great leaders had failed to know their meanings, who would? Certainly, those intimate companions of Muhammad asked him about the meanings of those obscure words, but it is clear enough that Muhammad himself failed to know their meanings, otherwise he would have explained them to his companions as he did on several other occasions.

In addition to these ambiguous words there are at least 14 other words or symbols which are recorded at the introductory part of 29 Qur’anic chapter. These codes are entirely ambiguous. Also four of these codes are titles for four chapters; therefore, four Qur’anic chapters have meaningless titles. These chapters are chapter Taha, ya sin, Sad, and Qaf. When the Jalalan attempted to expound the meanings of these 14 obscure words and the titles of these chapters, they said, "God alone knows His own intention."

I am stating these words for the benefit of the reader as they are recorded in the authorized English translation of the Qur’an. "Aim-Alr-Almus-Hm" means nothing in any language! Is it a characteristic of Arabic eloquence to have meaningless words and titles of complete chapters which no body can comprehend?

 

The Qur’an says woe to anyone who asks for the meaning! 

The Qur’an acknowledges that there are meaningless words. In chapter of Family of ’Umran: 7, it indicates that there are allegorical verses which "no one knoweth how to explain save God." The Qur’an does not tell us why these words have been recorded in the Qur’an if no one knows their meaning. In his book, "The Itqan" (part 3, p. 3), the Suyuti refers to the above verse, then he remarks,

"The Qur’an is divided into sound, intelligible (verses) and obscure, unintelligible (verses). The obscure (verses) are only known to God such as the detached alphabets at the beginning of the chapters." 

On pp. 5 and 6, the Suyuti asserts that the majority of the companions and the successors of the companions, especially the Sunnis (among them ibn ’Abbas himself) affirm that there are words of which no one knows the interpretation save God only.

It is worthwhile mentioning here that anyone who attempted to comprehend the meaning of those words or any of the obscured verses was severely punished. On pp. 7 and 8 (part 3 of "The Itqan"), the Suyuti records for us a moving episode about a person called Sabigh who wanted to inquire about these same Qur’anic interpretations ’Umar Ibn al-Khattab severely punished him on successive days until he was almost killed due to head injuries. This is "the just ’Umar", as they call him.

 

The Qur’an Gives The Antonym (opposite) Meaning Of Words And Phrases 

This fact is well-known to all scholars. It clearly reveals that the Arabic language of the Qur’an is not always sound as some believe. In the second part of "The Itqan", the Suyuti speaks explicitly about things which no one expected to find in the Qur’an. Actually, these defects are not supposed to occur in any standard Arabic book which complies with the rules and characteristics of the Arabic language. On page 135, the Suyuti says,

"The word ‘after’ has been mentioned twice in the Qur’an so as to mean ‘before’, as in this saying, ‘We have written in the psalms (the scripture) "after the reminder" (21:105) while He meant "before."’ Also in this saying, ‘The earth "after" that He has extended (79:30) while he meant "before" and not "after" because the earth was created first "before" and not "after" He created the heavens,’ as Abu Musa indicated." 

These are the actual words of Suyuti. The question now is: Does this linguistic defect conform to any language in the world? Does this comply with the characteristics of writing and the artistic, eloquent style of Arabic language? Is it proper, in the Qur’anic style to write "after" when you mean "before"? How can the reader know the correct meaning since it is common knowledge that "after" and "before" are opposite words? Is it sensible that the angel Gabriel meant to say "before" but he instructed Muhammad to write "after"? It is difficult for us to believe that.

This problem is not confined to one word because the Suyuti provides us with eight pages (Itqan, part 2, pp. 132-139) full of similar examples found in the Qur’an in which, according to the interpreters of the texts, the Qur’an meant the opposite meaning than the literal meaning of the expression. There is no connection between the literal meaning and the meaning intended by the Qur’an.

Let us examine together some of the examples the Suyuti presented to us in his book, the Itqan, part 2,

(A) "The Qur’an means, ‘Do not those who believe know that had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind’, but he said, ‘Do not those who believe despair!’ instead of writing ‘know’ as he meant" (see Thunder: 31). Is "despair" the same as "know"?

(B) "The Qur’an says in chapter 2:23, ‘... your martyrs’, but it means here, ‘ ... your partners’ (p. 133). After the Suyuti made this remark, he commented,

"The martyr is supposed to be the person who is killed, or the one who testifies concerning people’s matters, but here it means ‘your partners."’ 

(C) "In chapter Joseph: 20 the word ‘Bakhs’ (too little) is meant to be ‘haram’ (forbidden, sacred) contrary to the usual meaning" (p. 132).

(D) "In chapter Mariam (Mary):46 the phrase, ‘I certainly will stone you’ is interpreted to mean, ‘I certainly will curse you’, and not, ‘I certainly will kill you’ as its literal meaning suggests" (p. 133).

Let the reader decide for himself as he examines these illustrations.

Why the Qur’an did not say: "Do not know those who believe.. " instead of "do not the believers give up all hope..." Is "despair" the same as knowledge? And if the Qur’an intended to say, "Did not ... know" would it be recorded as to mean "to give up all hope?" The same thing could be said about "too little" and "martyrs " Does not each word have a different meaning than the meaning indicated by the Qur’an? Is it one of the prerogatives of the language to use a word which has a different connotation than the intended meaning?

Let us state another illustration from "The Itqan" (part 3, p. 251) where the Suyuti says,

"In chapter the (Rahman):6, The Qur’an says: ‘The "Nagm" stars and the trees bow themselves.’ Here the Qur’an does not mean by ‘the stars’ the heavenly stars but the plants which do not have trunk. This is the far-fetched intended meaning."

 

We would like to state here that there is no one who would imagine or expect this meaning. Even the Saudi scholars who translated the Qur’an into English (p. 590) understood the word ‘Nagm’ ("star") to mean a heavenly star—and stated it as such. Thus, even the Saudi translators of the Qur’an could not imagine that the Qur’an has meant by the word "Nagm" ("star"), the plants which do not have trunks.

I, myself had some doubts about the Suyuti’s explanation and thought maybe it was the Suyuti’s fault and not the Qur’an’s, or the Saudi scholars. Why should we attack the Qur’an and blame it for the Suyuti’s error? Therefore, as a candid researcher, I decided to examine the interpretations of the former Muslim scholars to be sure of the proper interpretation. I referred to the Baydawi’s commentary (p. 705) and found him in full harmony with the Suyuti’s interpretation who stressed that this word alludes to the plants which sprang from the earth without a trunk. The same interpretation is found in the Jalalan (p. 450). In Al-Kash-shaf (part 4, p. 443), the Zamakh-Shari agreed with the mentioned scholars and remarks,

"And the ‘star’ which is a plant which springs from the earth without a trunk such as the herbs, for the trees do have trunks." 

Thus, let the Saudi scholars correct the translation errors of the Qur’an, along with another error (as the Suyuti comprehended it) though they are right in their interpretation of it: The word "amid most" (chapter 2:143) means - according to Suyuti - righteous or just people (p. 251 also refer to the Baydawi p. 29 and Tabari 24). Thus Suyuti says,

"The conspicuous meaning of the word suggests the (idea) of intermediary, while the intended meaning is ‘righteous’ and this is the far-fetched meaning." 

Another example in which the English translator was proper.

The Qur’an says in chapter 57:29: "Lest the people of the book may know." This is the literal translation of the phrase. The word means (in both Arabic and English) "lest" while the intended meaning is that they may know (refer to the commentary of Jalalan p. 459). The translators of the Qur’an correctly translated it as "that they may know" which is opposite to the literal meaning of the word in Arabic.

Yet, before we conclude the discussion of this point, I would like to share with the readers another strange phrase which illustrates the above mentioned point even more clearly.

In chapters 75: 1,2 and 90:1, the Qur’an repeats the phrase: "I do not swear..." This is the literal translation of the phrase, but the interpreters and the translators of the Qur’an insist that the meaning is: "I do call...," or "No, I swear" indicating that the word "do not" is redundant, and when He said, "I do not swear", he meant, "I swear" (refer to the Jalalan, p. 493, 511; Al-Kash-shaf, part 4, p. 658, 753; and Baydawi, pp. 772, 799). The Qur’an says,

"I do not swear by the Day of Resurrection" 

"I do not swear by the reproachful soul"

"I do not swear by this city" 

While he meant (according to all Muslim scholars) that He does swear by the above three things. The Zamakhshari noted that some had objected to that, and they have the right to object to this confusion, but others said that the pre-Islamic, great poet Emro Al-Qays used to do so.

 

In the Qur’an There Are Omitted Words, Incomplete Phrases, and Errors In The Structure Of Sentences 

This is strange and unjustifiable. Why should many words or even completed phrases be omitted confusing the meaning? In his book, "The Itqan", the Suyuti has discussed this matter and pointed to many omitted letters or words and sentences. He devoted ten pages of part 3, (pp. 181-192) to listing ample examples of which I quote but a few of them.

A) "We read in chapter (Surah) 22:32:

‘It is from the piety of hearts.’ 

The Suyuti says it should have been written this way,

‘Its glorification comes from the deeds of those of piety of hearts."’ 

B) "Also, in chapter 20:96, the Qur’an says,

‘So I took a handful (of dust) from the footprint of the apostle.’ 

The Suyuti says: It is supposed to be written as such:

‘...from the footprint of the hoof of the apostle’s mare"’ (refer to p. 191)

C) Among the many striking examples of the omission of various sentences is what we read in chapter 8:45,46. The Suyuti comments in p. 192,

"The verse: ‘Send ye me oh righteous Joseph...’ means, ‘Send ye me to Joseph to ask him for the interpretation of the dream.’ So he did. He came to him and said, ‘O, righteous Joseph...."’

In the Qur’an just two words at the beginning are written and two words at the end and all the words in-between are omitted!

Let the reader decide for himself if it is possible to comprehend the intended meaning, having all these words omitted from the verse until it becomes entirely meaningless.

 

Other Language Errors In Sentence Structure 

It is appropriate to refer to Muslim scholars when a person wants to study and comprehend the Qur’an. They are well acquainted with the principles of the Arabic language and the Qur’an. There is none better than the Suyuti, Baydawi, Tabari, Jalalan, and Zamakh-Shari who are great, recognized scholars and linguists quoted by the Azhar scholars in Egypt as well as the Saudi scholars. The American, European and Orientalist, with all due respect, do not understand the Qur’anic language like those great Muslim scholars. The Suyuti (part 3, p. 33), quoting several great Muslim scholars, says,

"The Qur’anic verse: ‘Let not their wealth nor their children astonish thee! Allah purposeth only to punish them in the world’ (chapter 9:85). It actually means: ‘Let not their properties and children astonish you on this Earth because God purposes to torment them in eternity."’ 

Let the reader notice that there is no mention of eternity in the verse. In pp. 34 and 35, the Suyuti remarks:

"The intended original word order of (the Qur’anic) text: ‘Have you seen the one who made his God (the object of) his compassion?’ (25:34) is to be read, ‘... who made his compassion his God’ and not, ‘... his God (the object of) his compassion’, because ‘who made his God (the object) of his compassion’ is not blame- worthy." 

In page 328, the Suyuti says that,

"There are many verses in the Qur’an which were revealed without any connection to the verses which proceeded or preceded them, such as what we read in chapter 75:13-19 because the entire chapter talks about the states of resurrection. But these verses were revealed because Muhammad used to hastily move his tongue when dictating the Qur’anic revelation. Some Muslims said that part of the chapter has been dropped, because these verses are not relevant to this chapter at all."

We conclude our discussion of this part by pointing to the boring repetition of certain phrases by which the Qur’an is characterized. The phrase, "O which of your Lord’s bounties will you deny?" is repeated thirty-one times in a chapter in which there are no more than 78 verses (chapter 75). The story of Noah is repeated in 12 chapters. Abraham’s story is repeated in 8 chapters along with the episode of Lot. Moses’ story is repeated in 7 chapters, Adam’s in 4 chapters, and John’s in 4 chapters. Moses’ conversation with pharaoh is repeated in 12 chapters. Certainly these stories differ drastically from the stories recorded in the Old Testament.

There are approximately 15-20 grammatical errors found in the Qur’an which cannot be denied by those who master Arabic grammar This has created a heated argument because these grammatical errors are not expected in a book which Muslims claim is dictated by God and its inimitability lies in its perfect Arabic language. Thus, how can the Qur’an include grammatical mistakes which a junior high school student who has a basic background in Arabic would not make? If anyone of the Arab readers wishes to expand his knowledge of these errors, we would like to refer him to the following Qur’anic verses: Chapters 2:177; 3:39; 4:162; 5:69; 7:16; 20:63; 21:3; 22:19; 49:9 and 63:10. As an illustration, we refer to one example which is found in chapter 20:63. The Qur’an says,

"These two are certainly magicians"—Inna Hazan Sahiran. The correct grammar must say, Inna Hazyn Sahiran. 

According to Arabic grammar, these two must be in the accusative case after "Inna", but they are stated in the nominative case which is completely wrong.

Chapter Nine 

Capricious Revelation of the Qur’an

The Qur’anic verses were revealed according to the caprices of Muhammad, his companions and his wives.

Muslim scholars believe that knowing the reasons for the revelation of the Qur’anic verses is very important and indispensable in comprehending the verses. The Suyuti wrote a full book concerning this fact. He called it, "The Core of Transmitted Traditions for the Reasons for the Revelations". In the book, "the Itqan" (part I, p. 82), he explains the significance of this matter to the greatest Muslim scholars, as it is the basis for understanding various verses which have been revealed after a certain incident or after a question was directed to Muhammad.

The Suyuti recorded for us several examples to prove that it was impossible to understand some verses unless the reasons for their revelation were known. This fact is confirmed not only by the former scholars but also by the Azhar and contemporary scholars (refer, for example, to Ahmad Shalabi’s book, "The History of Islamic Law" (p. 36) and the "Legal Opinion" of Sheikh Kishk.

In the next few pages, we are going to discuss only two issues. First, we look at how the angel Gabriel used to comply immediately with the wishes of Muhammad’s companions and his wives who used to instruct God and His Angel in what verses He must reveal to Muhammad. ’Umar ibn al-Khattab played an outstanding role in this area.

Secondly, a throng of verses have been revealed for worthless reasons which do not interest anybody.

There is a third issue which we will study in another chapter in which we will see how the angel Gabriel used to comply with Muhammad’s personal desires and fulfill all his wishes even if these wishes did not conform to the simplest principle of chastity, purity, and mercy. Even his wife ’Aisha told him: " I see that your Lord hastes to comply with your passion, O Muhammad," as the Bukhari record in his Sahih, part 6, p. 147.

 

The Angel Gabriel Complies With The Wishes Of Muhammad’s Companions 

We have already mentioned that ’Umar ibn al-Khattab played a major role in have the revelation which descended upon Muhammad This is the claim of ’Umar and the scholars and not the claim of the author of this book. Whenever ’Umar wanted something Muhammad answered, "Yes, God has already sent Gabriel who revealed to me this matter which ’Umar had requested" Even the inspiration, sometimes, was revealed using the same words and vocabulary of ’Umar. Thus, ibn ’Umar said, as the Suyuti mentioned, "God has placed the truth on Umar’s tongue and on his heart" (The Itqan, part I, p. 99). On the same page, we find a statement which affirms ibn ’Umar’s claim about his father. The Suyuti tells us:

"The Bukhari and others have recorded that ’Umar ibn al-Khattab said, ‘I have concurred with my Lord or My Lord has concurred with me in three (things): I said, O, apostle of God I wish we would take the site of Abraham as a place of prayer! The verse came down: And take ye the site of Abraham as a place of prayer (2:125). Then I said, O, apostle of God: Your women are visited by the righteous and the debauchee. I wish you would command them to stay behind a veil! So the verse of the veil came down. (When) the apostle’s wives joined forces against him, I told them: It may be if he divorced you (all) that Allah will give him in exchange consorts better than you.’ These exact words were bestowed in chapter 66:5." 

It is common knowledge among all Muslims that the above verses which Muslims claim are inspired by God were really uttered by ’Umar. In addition to the Bukhari (Sahih, p. 6, p. 24), other scholars (without exception) confirm that (refer to Baydawi, p. 26; Jalalan, p. 18; Zamakh-shari in the Kash-shaf, part I, p. 310; Sahih al-Musnad, p. 13; and Asbabal-Nuzul by Suyuti, p.24). The Baydawi, for instance tells us on p. 26:

"Musnad took ’Umar’s hand and told him, ‘This is the site of Abraham.’ ’Umar said, ‘Shouldn’t we take it as a place of prayer?’ Muhammad said to him, ‘God has not commanded me to do so.’ But hardly the sun set when the inspired verse was given, ‘And take the site of Abraham as a place of worship."’ 

That is, the wish of ’Umar was immediately fulfilled within a few hours. Muhammad had already commanded his followers to worship toward Jerusalem for the sixteen months before this verse.

Another incident in which ’Umar was involved is an anecdote mentioned by most Muslim scholars and recorded for us by Suyuti in his book, "The Reasons For Verses Of Qur’an" (Asbab al-Nuzul, p. 31). The Suyuti says:

"During Ramadan, (the fasting month) Muslim’s were accustomed to eat, drink and have intercourse with women if they are not sleeping. After they sleep and wake up they abstain. ’Umar had an intercourse with (one of his women) after he woke up from his sleep. He went to the prophet and told him what happened to him. God sent down this verse, ‘It is made lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the fast"’ (2:187). 

This story is recorded not only by the Suyuti but by all the scholars also (refer, for instance, to the Bukhari, part 6, p. 31; Zamakh-shari in his book al-Kash-Shaf part I, p. 337; the Baydawi, p. 39; the Jalalan p. 26, and the Sahih al-Muswad p. 17).

In this episode, we find ’Umar ibn al-Khattab does not like to refrain from sexual intercourse with his wife during the fasting month and after sleeping. Therefore, after he and other Muslim men violated the commandment, Muhammad found that he did not have a choice but either to punish and to reprove them or to rescind the order by claiming that Gabriel had come down to him with the above mentioned verse. Muhammad chose the latter to appease ’Umar and his friends.

The Suyuti also relates to us another incident about ’Umar. In page 100, part 2 of his book, the Itqan, he says:

"A Jew encountered ’Umar ibn al-Khattab and told him, ‘Gabriel, whom your (prophet) mentions, is our foe.’ ’Umar said, ‘Who is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers, to Gabriel and Michael, to, Allah is an enemy to disbelievers."’ 

This statement was later revealed, word for word, to Muhammad (chapter 2:98) and became a verse in the Qur’an (refer to the Suyuti). Yet these incidents did not involve ’Umar only. Ibn Maktum (for instance) who was a blind man and one of Muhammad’s companions was another person to whom the Bukhari referred. In part 6, p. 227, the Bukhari conveys the following episode:

"When this verse came: ‘Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and are not wounded, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah’ (4:95). Muhammad said: ‘Summon Zayd and let him sit down.’ Then he told him: ‘Write’, and he dictated the above verse to him. ’Umru ibn Maktum who was blind, was sitting behind the prophet. (Ibn Maktum) said: ‘O, apostle of God, I am a blind man! How can I go to fight? I have a handicap.’ Then, the following (phrase) was added to the above mentioned verse: ‘Other than those who have a handicap"’ (Part 6, p. 227). 

It is as if God only realized the illegitimacy of His request after ’Umru ibn Maktum, Muhammad’s friend, pointed it out. Then God revealed the additional phrase. Muhammad asked Zayd to rewrite the verse and to include the addition. This episode has been recorded not only by the Bukhari but by other scholars such as Baydawi (p. 123), Zamakh-shari in the Kash-Shaf (part I, p. 555); Suyuti in the Itqan (p. 98); Asbab al-Nuzul (p. 88); and the Sahih al-Muswad (p. 53). The Baydawi remarks clearly on p. 123:

"Zayd ibn Thabit said: ‘This verse was sent down without the phrase "other than those who have a handicap". Ibn Maktum said: ‘How could that be and I am blind?’ The inspiration came upon the apostle of God in the assembly. His thigh fell on my thigh in such a way that I feared that it would break it. Then, the (inspiration) departed and he said: ‘Zayd, write—other than those who have a handicap."’ 

In my opinion, dear reader, Muhammad did not have to pretend that God had revealed this additional phrase to him because it is not necessary and it is implicitly understood. God, indeed, would not obligate a blind man to go to war, but it seems that Muhammad believed it important to add these words in order to please ibn Maktum. If God had intended these words to be part of the verse, He would have mentioned them from the beginning. God does not need to learn from Muhammad’s friend in order to change His opinion or to alter the verse.

Of Abdullah ibn Sa’d, too, in "Asbab al-Nuzul" (pp. 120-121), the Suyuti writes:

"’Abdul ibn Sa’d used to write for the prophet (like Zayd). When the prophet dictated, ‘God is oft-mighty and oft-wise’, he would write instead, ‘God is oft-forgiving and compassionate.’ Then he would read it to the prophet who would approve it by saying, ‘Yes... they are the same.’ Ibn Sa’d relinquished Islam and returned to Quraysh. He said, ‘If God has inspired Muhammad, He has also inspired me. If God sends down His revelation to him, He also sends it down to me. Muhammad said, "...oft-mighty, oft-wise" and I said, "...oft-forgiving, compassionate".’" 

The Baydawi and the Imam Tabari agree with the Suyuti and both of them record the same episode (refer to the Tabari, p. 152, and his comment on chapter 6:93).

It is very important to state here that this verse (6:93) which was given to Muhammad without any justification proves that Abdulla was right in his claim. This verse reveals the truth about Muhammad and his claim concerning revelations from God.

Don’t you see that ’Abdulla was right? If Muhammad himself approved the change which ’Abdulla made in the verse, why should Gabriel become angry at ’Abdulla and accuse him in another verse? Muhammad used to say "oft-mighty, wise", and he would write "oft-forgiving, compassionate", then he would show it to Muhammad who would approve it. Therefore he was right when he said, "If God inspires Muhammad, he inspires me also." Still, when ’Abdulla disclosed the matter, relinquished Islam and departed, Muhammad uttered this verse (6:93) to curse him, and issued ’Abdulla’s death warrant.

Concerning this matter, Qadi (Judge) ’Ayyad, in his famous book, "The Healing" (Shifa) remarks,

"’Abdulla ibn Sa’d said, ‘I used to divert Muhammad the way I wanted. He used to dictate to me "...oft-mighty, wise" and I would say "oft-knowing, compassionate" Then he would say, "Yes... It is correct". At the end, he said to me, "Write as you wish!"’" 

On page 184, the Imam Baydawi records another incident in which ’Abdulla ibn Sa’d was involved. We quote it as it is record- ed. The Baydawi says (p. 184),

" ’Abdulla ibn Sa’d was one of the prophet’s scribes when the verse, ‘We have created man from scion of mud’ was revealed, and Muhammad continued until he uttered, ‘...and then we made a different creature.’ ’Abdulla said with wonder, ‘May God be blessed. Who is the best creator.’ Muhammad said, ‘Write it, this is how it was given to me.’ ’Abdulla became suspicious and said, ‘If Muhammad is true, then I receive the inspiration as he receives it, and if he is false, then I say as he says."’ 

Thus, we have the verse recorded in chapter (Sura), "The Believers" (23:14), "This is how it has been inspired to Abdulla, not Muhammad! !"

Sa’d Ibn Moaz in the book, the Itqan (part I, p. 100), the Suyuti says,

"When Sa’d ibn Ma’adh heard what was said against Aisha, he said, ‘Glory to Allah! This is a serious slander!’ (Sura 24:16). It was set down as such in the Qur’an." 

This verse was not revealed by Gabriel but was uttered by Sa’d ibn Moaz when some of Muhammad’s companions accused Aisha (Muhammad’s wife) of adultery, among them Muhammad’s cousin who was the sister of Zaynab one of his other wives. On the same page, the Suyuti records verse 3:140 which was uttered by a woman, as well as verse 3:144 which was spoken by Mas’ab ibn al-Zubayr in the war of ’Uhud.

Women...Muhammad’s wives 

How Muhammad (I mean Gabriel) used to fulfill the desires of Muhammad’s wives! In part I, p. 97, the Suyuti indicates in the Itqan that,

"Um Salma, Muhammad’s wife said to him, ‘O, apostle of God, I do not hear that God has mentioned anything for the immigrant women.’ Then God sent down, ‘And their Lord has accepted of them and answered them, "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you"’ (Sura 3:195).’ Um Salma also said, ‘O apostle of God, you always mention men and ignore women.’ Then the verse was sent down, ‘For Muslim men and Muslim women....’ (33:35)." 

The Baydawi (pp. 100 and 558), the Zamakh-shari in the Kash-shaf (part I, p. 490), the Jalalan (p. 353) on the authority of Um ’Amara, and the Sahih al-Musnad (p. 120), confirm the exposition of these verses as they were interpreted by the Suyuti. On page 558, the Baydawi says,

"The prophet’s wives told him, ‘O apostle of God, God has mentioned men with good things, do not we women have anything good in us to be mentioned?’ Then the verse in the chapter of Parties was sent down—the above mentioned verse." 

The same text is recorded in Asbab al-Nuzul by the Suyuti (pp. 69 and 219). There is a very significant question which we cannot ignore, neglect or avoid, "Did not God know that mentioning women in the Qur’an is very important until Muhammad’s wives such as Um Salma and Um ’Amara complained? Why did Gabriel reveal these verses only after the women complained and after Muhammad’s wives expressed the necessity for them?"

The question is very plain and the answer is very clear also! The angel had nothing to do with these matters. Um Salma said to her husband Muhammad, ‘I do not hear any mention of women.’ Muhammad asked Gabriel to let her hear the mention of women, so the verses in Sura of the Parties: 35 and in Sura of the Family of Imran: 195 were given.

Aisha (Muhammad’s most beloved wife whom he married when she was nine years old and he was 54 years old) had an influence on the inspiration of many verses. It is sufficient here to allude to one episode. Muhammad was on his way back from one of his raids accompanied by Aisha. Aisha lost her necklace on the way. Now let Aisha relate the story,

"One of my necklaces fell in the desert while we were entering Medina. The apostle of God halted and made his camel kneel down. He alighted and rested his head on my lap sleeping. Abu Bakr came and kicked me severely and told me, ‘You delayed the people because of a necklace!’ He also said, ‘O daughter, in every journey you cause trouble to people.’ When we woke up in the morning, we could not find water for ablution before the time of prayer. The verse in Sura of the Table was given in which permission was given to wash with sand instead of water when there is no water. Abu Bakr told me, ‘You are a blessed woman.’ Then Usayd ibn Hadir said, ‘O, family of Abu Bakr, God has blessed people through you!"’ 

This episode is mentioned in "Asbab al Zuyul" (p. 101) by Suyuti. It is also recorded by al-Bukhari in his Sahih (part 4, p. 64) and the Commentary of the Jalalan (p. 89). This is a famous story. In order to justify Aisha’s behavior lest her father and the rest of the Muslims become angry because she delayed them in the desert (as well as the lack of water), Muhammad claimed that God told him that they can wash with sand instead of water before they pray. We don’t know what type of ablution is this, when a person performs this ritual by using sand! It is common knowledge that Muhammad himself did this several times, as the Bukhari and the rest of the scholars indicate. The scholars say, "May God bless Aisha because for her sake God allowed Muslims to use sand for ablution before prayer whenever they could not find water."

We would like to conclude this point by conveying a moving story as it is recorded in the "Biography of the Apostle" by ibn Hisham (part III, p. 23) as well as by the rest of the Muslim religious scholars such as al-Jalalan, al-Baydawi, and al-Bukhari. This episode is a famous one and is the reason behind the bestowing of a well-known verse. Ibn Hisham says,

"The (military) company of Abdulla ibn Jahsh and some Muslims who joined him attacked some people from the tribe of Quraysh and killed them. They took their bounties. When they came to Muhammad, he told them, ‘I did not command you to fight during a sacred month,’ and he refused to take from the bounty the fifth of the mules and the two prisoners. Quraysh said, ‘Muhammad and his followers made it lawful for themselves to shed blood and seize properties and capture men during the sacred months.’ (The Arabs had previously agreed to abstain from fighting during certain months. When Muslims expressed their discontent for that, especially when Muhammad himself loathed that disgraceful thing and refused to take from the bounty, God spoke to His apostle saying, ‘They ask you about the sacred month (if) fighting is allowable. Say in it there is a great fight?’ The Muslim invaders rejoiced when this verse was given and Muhammad took the bounty." 

We wonder how this happened. When Muhammad himself conquered Mecca, he commanded the Muslims to kill the infidel if they refused to believe, but only after the elapse of the sacred months (9:5). Yet here, when he saw that his followers were discontent and that might create a certain crisis among them, he was forced to claim that Gabriel had gave him a verse which made war during the sacred months allowable, as if war were a good and necessary matter.

 

Verses Sent Down For Strange And Trivial Reasons 

A puppy which entered the prophet’s home: This episode is recorded in the Commentary of the Baydawi (p. 802); the "Itqan", by the Suyuti (part I, p. 92), and Asbab al-Nuzul (p. 299). This narrative is related to us because the infidel said that inspiration had departed from Muhammad and his God had deserted him. The Suyuti says,

"Khawla, Muhammad’s servant said, ‘A puppy entered under the bedstead in the prophet’s home and died. For four days the inspiration ceased to descend on Muhammad. He said to me what happened in the house of the apostle of God to make Gabriel cease to come to me?’ I told myself, ‘What if I neatly prepared and swept the house?’ I swept under the bedstead and brought out the puppy. The prophet came in with a trembling beard, for whenever inspiration descends on him he would be taken by a seizure. God sent down at that time five verses from the Surah (chapter) of Duha." 

It is well-known that the chapter of Duha is made up of only eleven verses. God sent half of it to assure Muhammad that He had not abandoned him. Infidels claimed that God had deserted Muhammad because inspiration ceased to descend upon him because a puppy entered his home and died under the bedstead. Gabriel, as the Bukhari recorded, had already told Muhammad that he would not enter a house which has a dog or a picture. The Suyuti stated that Muslim religious scholars (among them Abu Hajr) said that the story of Gabriel’s hesitancy to enter Muhammad’s house because of the puppy is very famous.

But the truth of the matter is that it is difficult to comment on these stories which all Muslim scholars confirm. What can a person say about such a story? Would God really delay His revelation to a prophet because of a dead puppy? Besides, did not Muhammad leave his home more than once during this period? Why then God did not give His revelation to Muhammad while he was away from his home?

There are many such stories in the Islamic episodes. I would like to relate to you three more distinctive ones.

The Red Velvet  

In the Asbab-al-Zuyul (p. 65), the Suyuti says,

"Verse 161 of chapter 3, which states, ‘No prophet could ever be false to his trust,’ was given because a red velvet was missed after the War of Badr. Some people said, ‘Maybe the apostle of God took it.’ Thus, God revealed this verse to acquit the apostle... ibn ’Abbas said so." 

The Baydawi in (page 94), the Zamakh-shari in the Kash-shaf (part I, p. 475) agree with the Suyuti and state the same reason. The Zamakh-shari adds,

"Maybe this verse was sent down after the War of Uhud, when some worriers deserted their sites and came to him (Muhammad) requesting their booties. They said, ‘Maybe the apostle would not divide the booties equally as he did in the Day of Badr.’ The apostle told them, ‘Did you think that we could be false to our trust and would not give you your share?"’

The Pretty Women Worshippers 

In the reasons for the revelation of Qur’anic verses (Asbab al-Nuzul) (p. 159), the Suyuti says,

"Ibn ’Abbas said, ‘There was a woman who prayed behind the apostle of God. She was one of the prettiest women, thus some people stepped forward to be in the first row lest they see her; others lingered behind in back rows in order to look at her from under their armpits whenever they prostrated themselves.’ So God sent down verse 24 of chapter 15: ‘And verily we know the eager among you and verily we know the laggards.’ Someone asked Suhayl ibn Hanif about this verse if it was sent down in relation to fighting in the cause of Allah, he said, ‘No, but it was sent down in relation to rows of prayer."’ 

As usual the Baydawi (p. 342) confirms this interpretation and indicates that some Muslims lagged to gaze at the pretty woman, thus this verse was revealed. Also the Zamakh-shari in the Kash-shaf agrees with both the Suyuti and Baydawi. Many other scholars and chroniclers (on the authority of the ibn ’Abbas) such as Tirmadhi, Nisa’i, ibn Maja, and Imam al-Tabari assert this episode (refer to al-Kash-shaf, part 2, p. 576).

 

Give Room to Others, Says Gabriel!  

On page 265 of Asbab al-Nuzul, the Suyuti says that whenever the Muslims saw a man coming to sit among them in the assembly of the apostle, they kept back their places and refused to make room for him, thus the verse was sent down,

"O, ye who believe! When it is said make room in assemblies, then make room" (58:11). 

Indeed the Baydawi (page 722) along with the Zamakh-shari (part 4, p. 492 of the Kash-shaf) agree with the Suyuti in the interpretation of this verse.

The simple, but essential question which we would like to ask is, "Was it necessary for Gabriel to come down from heaven to reveal to Muhammad so many verses for such trivial things? Was not Muhammad himself able to teach Muslims to be unselfish and to make room for their brothers in the assemblies so they can sit like the rest of them? Could not Muhammad exhort the Muslims not to stand behind pretty woman during the time of prayer to gaze at her? Or could not he say to the woman to go and pray in another place designated for women? Was this such as obtrusive problem that it required Gabriel to descend from heaven bearing a revelation from God?"

Regarding the red velvet which was missed in the day of Badr, couldn’t Muhammad tell the Muslims, "Shame on you! How could you accuse me of stealing and still claim that you believe in God and His apostle?"

Chapter Ten

The Abrogator and Abrogated Qur’anic Verses

 In chapter 2:106, the Qur’an plainly indicates, 

"Such of our revelation as we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof."

In their interpretation of this verse (p. 16), the Jalalan say that God’s intention for this verse is,

"To eliminate the ordinance of the verse either with its wording or to keep the wording and eliminate the ordinance, or we make you O, Muhammad, to forget it; namely, we will remove it from your heart" (p. 16).

The Baydawi says in p. 22,

"This verse was given because the Jews and the infidels said that Muhammad ordered his followers to do something, then He prohibited them from it and commanded them to do something opposite to it. Abrogation means eliminating reading it as an act of worship or eliminating the ordinance inferred from it, or both of them. To forget it means to remove it from hearts."  

Refer also to the Zamakh-shari in "al-Kash-shaf" (part I, p. 303). In part 3, p. 59 the Suyuti says, "Abrogation means the removal as it is mentioned in chapter Haj: 52, and it means alteration."

In his book, "The History of Islamic Law" (p. 115), Dr. Shalabi states,

"The abrogation is to rescind something and replace it with something else, as ibn Hazm said. Muslims in general have consented that abrogation has taken place in the Qur’an as it is clearly indicated in the sound verses." 

This statement means that Muhammad was accustomed to stating something to his followers with the claim that it was revealed to him through the angel Gabriel, then later (maybe after a few hours), he would tell them that God had invalidated it. Thus the infidels used to say, "Muhammad utters something today and abolishes it tomorrow" (refer to Zamakh-shari, part I, p. 303).

In Asbab al-Nuzul, p. 19, the Suyuti says that,

"Ibn ’Abbas himself said, ‘Sometimes the revelation used to descend on the prophet during the night and then he forgot it during daytime, thus God sent down this verse: 2:106." 

Is it acceptable or sensible to think that God changes His mind during the night? Ibn ’Abbas is not the only one who insists on that because ibn ’Umar says,

"Two men read a Sura which the apostle of God had taught them, yet one night they rose up to pray but they failed to remember one word of it. The next morning, they went to the apostle of God and related it to him. He told them, ‘It is one of those, which have been abrogated, thus, forget about it.."’ (Refer to the Itqan, 3:74). 

Such strange behavior led the infidels to say that Muhammad is a calumniator and he does not receive inspiration from God for he changes his mind whenever he wishes or says, "I forgot the verse because God made me forget it and it was abrogated". Thus, a verse was written in the Qur’an referring to this debate which was waged between Muhammad and the infidel. The verse says,

"And when we put one revelation in place of another revelation—and Allah knows best what He reveals— they say, ‘To! thou art but inventing"’ (16:101). 

In his above-mentioned book, Dr. Shalabi attempts to defend the concept of abrogation. He remarks,

"God changes His ordinances according to the change of time and circumstances, therefore, the abrogation and the giving of one verse instead of the verses of the Qur’an took place" (p. 116). 

The reader can easily realize that this defense is meaningless and will not suffice because circumstances do not change drastically in a few night hours as ibn ’Abbas has claimed when he said that the verse would be received during the night and abrogated in daytime. Dr. Shalabi, in the context of his defense, says,

"Most of what was alluded to in the abrogated verses was intended to lighten (the ordinances)" (p. 117). 

In part 3, p. 69 of the" Itqan", the Suyuti refers to the same reason. It is left to the reader to answer this question, "Did God not know the circumstances of His worshippers and their abilities so that He made it a habit to decree an ordinance or dictate an order, then change His mind and replace it immediately the next day with a lighter command or an easier commandment?" The fact is that Muhammad has failed to comprehend his followers' circumstances, thus he used to order something, then change it the next day whenever he found it too difficult to be implemented. For example, the Qur’an says,

"O prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be twenty steadfast among you, they shall overcome two hundred and if there be a hundred steadfast among you, they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve. Now has Allah lightened your burden for he knows that there is weakness in you. So if there is among you one hundred who are steadfast, they shall overcome two hundred." 

This verse always confuses Muslims when they fight Israel in their efforts to liberate Palestine and the mosque (Al Aqusa).

The verses say that Allah lightened your (task) for He knows that there is a weak spot in you! Did God not know that each one of them had a weak spot before He told them that "each one of you can vanquish ten"? God had to change His mind and say that "each one of you can vanquish two" only. The Suyuti says,

"When God imposed on them that each one of them should fight ten, it became a burden and an unbearable (task) for them. Thus, God removed the burden from them and each one was (requested) to fight two men." (Asbab al-Nuzul, p. 134). 

Both Baydawi (p. 244), and Dr. Shalabi (p. 117) agree with him. Another illustration on this "lightening" is found in Sura 73:1,2,20.

"O thou wrapped up in your raiment, keep vigil the night long save a little" (73:1,2). "Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you count it not and turns unto you in mercy. Recite, then of the Qur’an why it is easy for you" (73:20). 

On p. 117, 123, Dr. Shalabi along with Suyuti says,

"The Qur’anic verse: ‘Stand (to pray) by night, but not all night’ was abrogated by the end of the Sura; then was abrogated again by (the implementation) of the five prayers." 

The entire Sura is only 20 verses. Its beginning is abrogated by its end, and its end is replaced by the injunction of the five prayers; that is, the Abrogator has been abrogated. In relation to this verse the Jalalan say (p. 491),

"When God imposed the night prayers, Muslims’ feet swelled as they stood during the night (for prayer); thus, God lightened it for them by saying, ‘Pray as much as you are able."’ 

Did God not know that this ordinance was going to be difficult for Muslims? Why did He not tell them that from the beginning before their feet became swollen?

A third illustration relevant to this discussion is the Qur’anic saying, "Fear Allah as He should be feared" (3:102). This commandment is abrogated by His saying, "Fear God as much as you are able to do so" (64:16). This is the claim of the Muslim scholars (refer to Suyuti in Asbab al-Nuzul, p. 277; Jalalan pp. 53, 473, Dr. Shalabi, p. 122). On p. 53, the Jalalan say,

"On the authority of Sa’id ibn Jubayr, he said, when the verse ‘Fear God as He should be feared’ was sent down, it became very hard for the people to do so; therefore, God bestowed, in order to lighten on the people, ‘Fear God as much as you can."’ 

The question is now why did God send down this abrogating verse after Muslims said to the apostle of God, "Who can do that?" Why, only after this objection, was this easy verse was sent down to abrogate the first one?

I believe that these illustrations are sufficient to prove the points under discussion. If anyone is interested to know more about this subject, we would refer him to the books of Suyuti and many other authors. They are filled with such examples.

Two Reasons: Lightening And Forgetting 

We believe that the reason behind the concept of abrogation is that Muhammad intended to make the performing of the Islamic rites and worship easier on his followers and to obtain their approval and satisfaction with his teachings. If he decreed something which later seemed to be too difficult for them to implement and they remonstrated against it, he would "lighten" it immediately and claim that God had ordered him to rescind what he previously uttered, and all the verses he recited were replaced by new ones.

Whenever he forgot what he related to his followers, he spared himself the embarrassment by claiming that God had abrogated what he conveyed to them before. There is no doubt that Muhammad tended to forget. This is clear from the above illustrations and the incidents recorded in the Sahih of the Bukhari, (part 3, p. 223, and part 8, p. 91). The Bukhari says,

"Aisha said, The prophet heard a man reciting in the mosque. He said, ‘May God have mercy on him, he has reminded me of such and such verses which I dropped from Sura so and so."’ 

So Muhammad sometimes used to forget some verses and his friends had to remind him of them, but whenever he did not find anybody to remind him, he claimed that they had been abrogated. We saw this before when two of his followers came to him to help them to remember some of the verses which he had taught them. Muhammad told them these verses had "... been abrogated, forget about them!" So abrogation in the Qur’an was the result of forgetfulness or to lighten the task for the Muslims.

Forgetfulness is plainly mentioned in the verse we quoted at the beginning of this discussion (Sura 2:106) and it was interpreted by Muslim religious scholars who affirmed that God used to make Muhammad forget and remove from his heart what he had revealed to him before as ibn ’Abbas, who was among Muhammad’s closest friends, admits to us.

Surely none of us believes that God suffers a wavering mind and changes his opinion in a few hours. We can believe that Muhammad himself was subject to forgetfulness and made it a habit to change his mind in order to please his followers.

 

Types of Abrogation 

Without exception, all Muslim religious scholars state that abrogation not only includes the abolishing, dropping or replacing of a verse by another verse but it also includes abolishing a provision of the verse without eliminating its wording or text from the Qur’an. Refer to Shalabi (p. 119), the" Itqan" (part 3, p. 63), ibn Hazm in "The Nasikh and the Mansukh" and others. Throughout three pages, the Suyuti provides us with many examples, but Dr. Shalabi, who is the professor of Islamic history tends not to agree with him on some of these examples. He says,

"I have a personal inclination to say that not so many abrogations took place in the Qur’an" (p. 118). 

We do not really care whether the abrogated verses are many or few, what we do care for is the concept itself. We wonder if the provision of the verse is abrogated or abolished why its text should continue to be placed in the Qur’an and to be read. The Suyuti attempts to answer this question by saying, "... so as Muslims will be rewarded whenever they read it" (part 3, p. 69). It is as if the rest of the Qur’an were not sufficient reading for obtaining the reward, or as if the reward is acquired by more reciting even if they are verses whose provisions are abolished and are not in effect anymore! !

We have already mentioned some examples pertaining to this type of abrogation, yet it is appropriate to allude to all the verses which call for peace and forgiveness of the infidel here. These verses are all abrogated by other verses which call for war. All religious Muslim scholars attest to this fact as we mentioned in chapter one. Thus, no one should believe that the Qur’an calls for peace because all these ‘peaceful’ verses are recorded in it. All of them are abrogated as all the Muslim scholars attest. The Suyuti says in this respect,

"The order for Muslims to be patient and forgiving was issued when they were few and weak, but when they became strong, they were ordered to fight and the previous verses were abrogated" (part 3, p. 61). 

Ibn ’Arabi said, "The verse of the ‘sword’ has abrogated 124 verses" (p. 69).

What is the second type of abrogation? It is a very strange type of abrogation, stranger than the previous one because it abrogates its recitation and retains its provision; that is, it keeps it in effect. If you wondered and asked what is the wisdom of that, you will find that the Suyuti himself asked the same logical question and endeavored to answer it. In part 3, p. 72, he says

"The recitation of some verses is abrogated though their provisions are retained. Some people in this respect, asked a question, ‘What is the wisdom in abolishing the recitation and retaining the provision? Why was not the recitation retained so that the implementation of the provision and the reward of reciting it will be combined?’ Some have answered, ‘That is to show the extent of this nation’s obedience without any preference to seek a determined path"’ (Al Itqan

. Refer also to Kishk legal opinions, part 4, p. 64. Sheik Kishk admitted this strange type of abrogation). 

The Suyuti throughout these pages, presents many illustrations for this strange type of abrogation. It is obvious that it is utterly meaningless to abrogate and abolish a certain verse and to retain its provisions. Concerning the subject of obedience, this could be manifested in many ways apart from this strange matter. In his illustrations which the Suyuti quoted, he relied on ’Umar ibn al-Khattab’s sayings.

 

Other Strange Things Related To Abrogation 

1) The abrogator precedes the abrogated

In part 3, p. 69 the Suyuti remarks,

"In the Qur’an there is no abrogator (verse) without being preceded by an abrogated (verse) except in two verses, and some added a third one, while others added a fourth verse" (Al Itqan). 

Then the Suyuti recorded these verses. We tell him that even if there is only one verse (not four) this matter is incomprehensible and unacceptable. Why should an abrogating verse (with which Muslims are to comply) precede the abrogated verse? How would an abrogating verse abolish something which is not yet in existence, then later, the abrogated verse is revealed and recorded in the Qur’an? Why should it be recorded if it is already abrogated?

2) In part 3, p. 70, the Suyuti himself admits to this odd and amazing situation. He indicates,

"One of the wonders of abrogation is a verse in which its beginning has been abrogated by its end. There is nothing like it. It is (placed) in the Sura of the Table 105." 

This is Suyuti’s statement which I quoted word for word.

3) Muhammad’s traditions (sayings and deeds) abrogate the Qur’an. The majority of Muslim religious scholars confirm that this truly took place and there is no room to deny it. One illustration would be the stoning of the married adulterer. The Qur’an talks only about scourging and exiling the adulterer, yet Muhammad himself stoned some adulterers. Thus, stoning the married adulterer (male or female) and not flogging them, has become Islamic law. The reason for that is that Muhammad said and did so. Therefore, the Suyuti (part

3, p. 60), as well as Dr. Shalabi (p. 121), has said that Muhammad’s traditions abrogate the Qur’an. This is also the opinion of ibn Hazm and al-Shafi’i. In this regard Dr. Shalabi says (page 121),

"God is the source of the ideas whether they are included in the Qur’an or in one of Muhammad’s Ahadith (traditions) which is inspired (by God) and not recorded in the Qur’an." 

We believe that such things conform to sound Islamic thought because such events did take place as we mentioned before, but we cannot understand why these inspired traditions which Muhammad received have not been recorded in the Qur’an. Thus, such verses would abrogate other verses, especially since the Qur’an says, "We do not abrogate a verse without revealing a better one or something like it."

Nor do we understand the saying, "... we will reveal a better one," for is there better than the word of God? We understand that there could be something like it, but better? This is something we cannot comprehend or understand.

Before we conclude the subject of abrogation in the Qur’an there are two things which are worth mentioning:

First, the disagreement among Muslim religious scholars in regard to the abrogated verses despite the seriousness and importance of this matter. The Suyuti and Dr. Shalabi (along with all Muslim scholars and chroniclers) agree on a very significant dialogue which took place between ’Ali ibn Abi Talib and one of the jurisprudents which demonstrates the importance of knowing the abrogating and the abrogated verses. On page 120, Dr. Shalabi says,

"Ibn Hazm talks about the necessity of knowing the abrogating and the abrogated (verses) in the Qur’an, and that this knowledge is a necessary condition of legal personal opinion (al-ijtihad). It was related that the Imam ’Ali saw Sa’id ibn al-Hasan presiding in his capacity as a judge in Kufa (Iraq). He asked him, ‘Do you know the abrogating and the abrogated (verses)?’ The judge answered, ‘No.’ He then told him, ‘You have perished and make (others) to perish."’ 

No doubt that if the judge does not know the abrogating and the abrogated (verses), he may issue his sentence based on an abolished ordinance. A Muslim may ask what is wrong with that? The problem and the crux of the matter is that no one knows exactly what the abrogating and the abrogated (verses) are. Scholars disagree on pinpointing the abrogated (verses). In page 118, Dr. Shalabi says,

"Some scholars like ibn Hazm in his book, ‘The Abrogating and Abrogator’ (verses), have exaggerated (the issue of) abrogation to an extent which is unacceptable even to linguistic taste. He examined the Qur’an chapter by chapter and showed the abrogating and the abrogated in each of them. We disagree with him in this procedure." 

Then, in the same book, "The History of Islamic Law", he says,

"We have to pinpoint the abrogating and the abrogated verses to be a ray of light for the students of the history of Islamic law. We will quote the Suyuti because he was sparing in his call for abrogation. He inclines toward rejecting excessive abrogation. Though the Suyuti believes that the abrogated verses are twenty, still we do not agree with him on all of them." 

So what can the students of the Islamic law and the judges like the judge of Kufa do? Ibn Hazm has recorded many abrogating and abrogated verses, then the Suyuti came after him and eliminated many of them and ended with only twenty verses. Later, Dr. Shalabi indicated that he disagreed even with the Suyuti on some of them. The disagreement on this matter is not a simple issue. It is very serious because knowing these verses is a basic condition in applying Islamic law and in the science of jurisprudence, as Dr. Shalabi indicated. It is well known that the "Ijtihad" (deduction of a legal opinion) is the third source of the Islamic law after the Qur’an and the tradition according to all Muslim scholars (refer to p. 24). That was the trend during the time of Muhammad, the companions and the Caliphs—the Qur’an first, then tradition, then the Itjihad (refer to p. 156).

Secondly: God abrogates any desire Satan frames in the heart and the tongue of Muhammad. This means that Satan has the power to infuse certain verses in what Muhammad claims to be an inspiration from God. Satan was able to place on Muhammad’s tongue certain words by which he praised the pagans’ gods. This incident is confirmed and recorded by Suyuti, Jalalan, ibn Kathir (part 3, p. 229), Baydawi, Zamakhshari, ibn Hisham, and even ibn Abbas himself along with the rest of the companions. It is all recorded in the Qur’an, chapter 22:52,

"Never sent we a messenger or a prophet before you but when he recited the message Satan proposed (opposition) in respect of that which he recited thereof but Allah abolishes that which Satan proposes." 

The Suyuti says in Asbab of the Nuzul (p. 184),

"Muhammad was in Mecca. He read the chapter of the Star. When he uttered, ‘Have you seen the Lat, the ’Uzza, and the other third Manat?’, Satan instilled in his tongue, ‘These are the exulted idols (daughters of God) whose intercession is hoped.’ The infidels said that Muhammad had mentioned their gods with good words. Then when he prostrated, they prostrated, too. Thus, the above verse 22:52 was not inspired." 

On page 282 of the Commentary of the Jalalan, we read the same interpretation, and the Jalalan added,

"Gabriel came to Muhammad after that and told him that Satan had thrust these words into his tongue. Muhammad became sad, then Gabriel delivered this verse to him to comfort him." 

This verse, as the Jalalan remarked, comforted Muhammad because it revealed that all the prophets and the apostles who came before Muhammad had experienced this trial and not just Muhammad. It is obvious here that this is false and spurious because no one ever heard that any of the apostles or the prophets had been exposed to such trials in which Satan made them utter what they proclaimed to be a revelation from God, then they later claimed it was Satan and not God who revealed it to them. If we refer to the commentary of the Baydawi (p. 447), we find that he agrees with the Suyuti and Jalalan and adds,

"Muhammad desired that a Qur’an which brings his people closer to God and does alienate them may be bestowed on him; thus, Satan ill-whispered these words to him." 

In his book, "The Kash-shaf’, the Zamakh-shari (part 3, pp. 164, 165), asserts that,

"This episode which Muhammad experienced is common knowledge and unquestionable, and is related to us by the companions of Muhammad." 

Thank you, Mr. Zamakh-shari!

It is appropriate here to refer to ibn Hisham’s statement in his book, "The Prophetic Biography". This book relies on the testimonies of Muhammad’s companions. It is also the major source for all Muslims who always quote it. In part 2, p. 126, ibn Hisham says,

"When some Muslims immigrated to Ethiopia, they received the news that the inhabitants of Mecca had accepted them. They returned to find that it was false news The reason was that the apostle of God, as he was reading the chapter of Star (53:19, 20), mentioned the idols of Mecca. Satan instilled in his recitation their praises and he (Muhammad) acknowledged their intervention. The infidels were overjoyed and said, ‘He mentioned our idols (gods) with good words.’ Then God sent down this verse (22:52). Gabriel told Muhammad, ‘I did not bring to you these verses (about the idols)."’ 

No one can accuse Salman Rushdi, in regard to the Satanic verses, of making false claims against Islam and the Qur’an because this incident is acknowledged by all Muslim scholars along with Muhammad’s companions and his relatives, especially ibn ’Abbas himself.

If we cannot comprehend how God abrogates what He Himself has inspired, we can easily understand that He abrogates what Satan utters as is recorded in verse (22:52). Yet, we have here two important questions:

First, how was Satan able to distort the inspiration and to deceive Muhammad so that he told the people that these were God’s words, then later he reversed himself and told them, "No, Satan was the one who ill-whispered to me with these words?" Muslims believe that prophets and apostles are infallible—in matters of inspiration, at least.

The second question is also very important. How was Satan able to imitate the Qur’anic text with its Arabic eloquence and profound diction? If the Arabic reader re-read Satan’s words to Muhammad he should immediately realize that they possess the same Qur’anic literary characteristics, eloquence and style. It is impossible to distinguish them from the rest of the Qur’anic verses.

Chapter Eleven

The Contradictions of the Qur’an

Christian orientalist researchers allude to dozens of Qur’anic contradictions. They indicate that there are many contradictory verses in the Qur’an. Maybe they are right. Yet, here we are going to examine only a few of these contradictions mentioned by these orientalists, mainly because we would like to quote Muslim scholars, as we agreed upon at the beginning of the book. It is sufficient that these Muslim scholars acknowledge the existence of these contradictions even though they attempted to justify them. Their justifications proved to be feeble, as the reader will soon discover Also, they completely ignored some other contradictions.

However, concerning the contradictions to which they produced some sensible justifications, we will accept what they offer since we are bound to recognize their interpretations of the Qur’an. Still, we believe that the refutations of the Orientalist researchers are more convincing in many cases. Never-the-less, we will continue to employ the same strategy we have been applying since the beginning of this study. We will cite Muslim scholars and refer the reader to their views.

 

The First Contradiction

In several verses the Qur’an indicates that it was revealed in the Arabic tongue; that is, in the Arabic language (refer to 14:4; 29:192-195; 13:37; 42 7; 39:28, and 43:3). Yet, in at least two plain verses, the Qur’an commands the deletion of any dialect other than the Arabic language in the Qur’anic text (16:103; 41:44). In his book, "The Itqan" (part 2, p. 105), the Suyuti tells us that many scholars (among them the Shafi’i, ibn Jarir al-Tabari) Their claim is based on these verses. In his book, "al-Risala", edited by Ahmad Shakir (p. 41), the Shafi’i says,

"It is said, ‘What is the proof that the Book of God is in the Arabic language without being mixed with any (foreign words)?’ The proof is the Book of God itself." 

Then the Shafi’i quoted the above mentioned verses (16:103 and 41:44). The Shafi’i want to defend these verses but he is not able to ignore the facts which all Muslim scholars verify along with the companions and the legists such as ibn ’Abbas, Mujahid, ibn Jubayr, ’Akrama, and ’Ata. Also included in this group is the Suyuti as well as other scholars like Dr. Muhammad Rajab who expressed his views in "Solidarity" (al-Tadamun) magazine (April, 1989 issue). In his book, "The Itqan" (part 2, pp. 108-119), the Suyuti lists 118 non-Arabic words recorded in the Qur’an. Ibn ’Abbas, himself (along with other great Companions) asserts that some Qur’anic words are Persian, Ethiopian and Nabatean (p. 105). Dr. Bayyumi also confirms the Suyuti’s opinions and views. Faced with these contradictions what does the Suyuti say to justify them? He says in p. 106,

"The existence of a few non-Arabic words does not make the Qur’an non-Arabic as the verses indicate." 

And we say to Suyuti: "We know that the Qur’an is an Arabic book, but the Qur’an denies that it contains non-Arabic words (refer to verses 16:103; 41:44). It is obvious that this is a contradiction, especially since there are about 118 non-Arabic words—not just five or ten words. The simple explanation for this contradiction is that Muhammad himself did not know that the origin of the words he employed in the Qur’an were non-Arabic. He was not aware that some of them were Persian, Ethiopian, Berber, Turkish and Nabatean; thus, he claimed that the entire Qur’an was revealed in pure Arabic language!

 

The Second Contradiction 

In part 3, p. 83 of "The Itqan", the Suyuti designated many pages under the title, "What is Mistaken For a Contradiction in the Qur’an." He remarks that there is something in the Qur’an to which ibn ’Abbas stopped short of giving any answer. A man told him that one verse in the Qur’an mentions that the length of the day of resurrection is one thousand years and another verse says it is 50 thousand years (al-Sayda: 5 and al-Ma’arij: 4). Ibn ’Abbas said, "These are two days which God—may He be exalted—has mentioned in His book, and God knows best." This is an honest acknowledgment by ibn ’Abbas without any attempt of justification.

When ibn Musayyib, one of the great companions, was asked about these two days and why they contradict each other, he said,

"Ibn ’Abbas avoided talking about them and he is more knowledgeable than me." Yet we find some contemporary scholars who endeavor to justify this contradiction and claim that they are more knowledgeable than ibn ’Abbas! !

 

The Third Contradiction 

In the same part (p. 79), the Suyuti says that the Qur’an states in chapter 6:22-23 that in the day of judgment, infidels attempt to conceal some thing from God while in chapter 4:42 the Qur’an contradicts that and indicates that they do not conceal anything from God. The Suyuti tries to justify this contradiction by saying that ibn ’Abbas was asked about it and he answered that they conceal it by their tongues but their hands and their limbs admit it. Yet the question is still without answer because if their hands admit it in spite of themselves, it should not be said that they did not conceal any fact from God because they did try to hide, but their hands gave it away, as ibn ’Abbas says.

 

The Fourth Contradiction 

In chapter, "al Waqiha," the Qur’an talks about those who are destined to enter paradise. It states in verses 13 and 14 that the majority will be from the nations who came before Muhammad and the minority will be from peoples who believed in Muhammad. But in the same chapter (verses 39 and 40), it is said that the majority will be from those people who came before and after Muhammad also. This is a contradiction in the same chapter. Verse 14 says, "... a few of those of later time", but in verse 40, the Qur’an says just the opposite, "... a multitude of those of later time."

I have tried to limit this discussion by quoting the interpretations of these verses by Muslim scholars, but they never presented any clear cut justification for this obvious contradiction (refer to the commentary of the Baydawi, p. 710; Zamakh-Shari in his Kash-Shaf, part 4, p. 458; and the Jalalan, p. 453). All of them just say that "... the formers are the nations from Adam to Muhammad and the latters are the people of Muhammad." Thus, one time the Qur’an remarks, "A minority from others," then it says "a majority or multitude from others." This is an obvious contradiction observed by many and no one has found any refutation against it among Muslim scholars.

 

The Fifth Contradiction 

Pertaining to marriages, it is clear that the Qur’an calls for the possibility of marrying four women at the same time. In Chapter 4:3,

"But if ye fear that you shall not treat them fairly, then only one." 

But in Chapter 4:129, we read,

"You will not be able to deal equally between your wives however much you wish to do so." 

In his book, "The Itqan", the Suyuti says,

"In the first verse we understand that fairness is possible while in the second, we perceive that fairness is not possible" (Itqan, part 3, page 85). 

Actually, from the Qur’anic point of view as well as according to Muhammad and the rest of the Muslims, "fairness is possible" to be practiced by the evidence that they got (and still get) married to four women. Even Muhammad’s companions and his successors did so. Therefore, "fairness" seemed to be possible for them because it is not reasonable that all of them, including ’Umar, ’Ali, ’Uthman and Muhammad violated the Qur’anic teaching.

Then why does the Qur’an say in chapter 4:129 that "fairness" is not possible? This is an obvious contradiction which Muslim scholars, among them the Suyuti, realized and comprehended. In order to solve the problem, the Suyuti argued,

"The first verse (meant) fairness in regard to fulfilling the pledges while the second verse is related to the heart’s inclination and it is not within the ability of a man to be fair in this matter." 

The Jalalan (page 82) and Baydawi (page 130) agree with him. The Baydawi reiterates the same statement and adds,

"Muhammad himself was fair with his women in the matter of human rights, but in the inclination of the heart, he used to say to God, ‘Forgive me in regard to that over which I have no control.’" 

Because Muhammad, according to all the scholars, favored A’isha over the rest and he did not harbor any inclination toward Sawda bint Zamea. The Zamakh-shari asserts Muhammad’s favoritism for A’isha and states that some people have interpreted the second verse to mean that you cannot be fair in love. Sheik Kashkak indicates in his book of "Opinions" (part 5, page 52), that some favoritism is permissible! Yet, the Zamakh-shari gives another significant opinion when he explicitly says in the Kash-shaf (part 1, pages 568 and 69),

"God has relieved you of (implementing) complete fairness to that which you are able to carry out because it is obligatory to treat the women equally in dividing their portions, expenses and pledges and many other things hardly uncountable. It is something which is beyond (human) ability even if they all were beloved. How would the situation be if the heart inclined toward but some of them!" 

Then the Zamakh-shari indicated, "The second verse which indicated that you will not be able to be fair" could mean "to be fair in love" as in what happened to Muhammad and A’isha. Yet, we understand from Zamakh-Shari’s statement that "fairness" is not possible in division of portions, financial support, and pledges even if they were all beloved. How much harder it would be if the man’s heart was inclined to some of them more than others. He said what is really required is to abstain from being fully inclined toward one woman which would be conducive to neglecting the rest of them. Zamakh-Shari’s interpretation here is fully in congruence with the remainder of the verse.

Muslim scholars cited Muhammad as an example, and the issue became more complicated, for what would happen to the poor wife if her husband devoted his love to another wife? She cannot object because, based on the Qur’anic text and by the example set by Muhammad, her husband is innocent of any wrongdoing. The Qur’an asserts that you cannot, from an emotional point-of-view, treat women justly, and Muhammad himself has rejected the request of his daughter, Fatima, to treat all his wives alike and not to bestow on A’isha, his favorite spouse, more than the rest of them. He expressed his favoritism publicly several times. He planned to divorce Sauda (one of his other wives). Some said he already did then he reinstated her when she agreed to relinquish her night for A’isha. What a pity for the Muslim women!

Western orientalists also say that the Qur’an contradicts itself when it alludes to the creation of earth and heaven by saying on the one hand that heaven was created after the earth (many verses) then on the other hand, in one verse, it says the earth was created after the heavens. We have not used this but have attempted and continue to attempt to quote only the Muslim scholars such as Suyuti, Baydawi, Jalalan, and Zamakh-Shari, who endeavor to explain these verses to negate any contradiction against the proper usage of the language, such as by saying the word ‘after’ means ‘before’. Or, as we read in Sura 90:1, they said that God does not swear in the sacred land (that is, Mecca), then in Sura 95:3 we see Him swearing in Mecca the sacred land. The contradiction between these two verses is evident, yet the Suyuti (along with other scholars) denied that there is any contradiction because the word ‘no’ in Chapter 90 is redundant. It is not intended to negate but to affirm!! The Suyuti mentioned this issue among many others, under the title, "What Was Mistaken to be Contradiction." He summarizes the opinions of the scholars in response to this criticism by saying:

"The people did not reject what you rejected because the Arabs may use ‘not’ in the context of their conversation and abolish its meaning."

Chapter Twelve

The Perversion of Qur’an and

the Loss of Many Parts of It

On page 131 of his book, "El-Sheaa and Correction", the contemporary Muslim scholar, Dr. Mosa-El-Mosawy, makes this frank confession,

"Those who adopt the notion of the perversion of the Qur’an are present among all different Islamic groups, but the majority of them come from the El-Sheaa scholars."  

Perversion of Qur’an is an unimaginable notion to the lay Muslim because the Scholars of Islam are hiding this truth from being published or becoming known.

Of course, we weren’t just satisfied with what Dr. El-Mosawy has already mentioned, but we went back to the most popular ancient scholars and to Muhammad’s relatives and companions to investigate this notion concerning the perversion and loss of several parts of the Qur’an because those are the trustworthy people regarding the history and development of Islam.

Upon examining the testimonies of these great companions, the answer was positive. They clearly stated that perversion and loss of large fragments of the Qur’an did occur. Let us scrutinize their testimony in order to present to deluded Muslims the truth as it is proclaimed by their trusted spiritual leaders and scholars. The deceptive veil must be removed so people can see the true face of the Qur’an.

’Ibn Umar al–Khattab explicitly admits,

"Let no one of you say that he has acquired the entire Qur’an for how does he know that it is all? Much of the Qur’an has been lost, thus let him say, ‘I have acquired of it what is available"’ (Suyuti: Itqan, part 3, page 72).

A’isha (also page 72) adds to the story of ibn Umar and says,

"During the time of the prophet, the chapter of the Parties used to be two hundred verses when read. When Uthman edited the copies of the Qur’an, only the current (verses) were recorded" (73 verses).

The same statement is made by Ubay ibn Ka’b, one of the great companions. On page 72, part 3, the Suyuti says,

"This famous companion asked one of the Muslims, ‘How many verses in the chapter of the Parties?’ He said, ‘Seventy-two or seventy-three verses.’ He (Ubay) told him, ‘It used to be almost equal to the chapter of the Cow (about 286 verses) and included the verse of the stoning.’ The man asked, ‘What is the verse of the stoning?’ He said, ‘If an old man or woman committed adultery, stone them to death."’

This same story and same dialogue which took place between the companion and one of the Muslims is recorded by Ibn Hazm (volume 8, part 11, pages 234 and 235). Then Ibn Hazm said,

"’Ali Ibn Abi Talib said this has a reliable chain of authority (The Sweetest [Al Mohalla] vol. 8.)."

The Zamakh-shari also cited it in his book, "al-Kash-Shaf’ (part 3, page 518).

These are unquestionable statements made by the pillars of the Islamic religion who transmitted Muhammad’s sayings and biography, "The Tradition", and who interpreted the Qur’an— among them Ibn ’Umar, A’isha, Ubay Ibn Ka’b and ’Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Ibn ’Umar states that a large part of the Qur’an was missed. A’isha and Ubay Ibn Ka’b assert that dozens of verses from the "Chapter of the Parties" have been lost. ’Ali confirms that, too. In regard to this particular verse, the following incident is recorded in "The Itqan" by Suyuti (part 1, page 168),

"During the collection of the Qur’an, people used to come to Zayd Ibn Thabit (with the verses they memorized). He shunned recording any verse unless two witnesses attested to it. The last verse of chapter of Repentance was found only with Khuzayma Ibn Thabit. Zayd said, ‘Record it because the apostle of God made the testimony of Khuzayma equal to the testimony of two men.’ ’Umar came with the verse of the stoning but it was not recorded because he was the only witness to it."

One can only wonder and ask, "Does ’Umar need another witness to agree with him? Would he lie to God and the Qur’an? Because of that, ’Umar said after that, "If it were not that people would say, "Umar has added to the book of God’, I would have recorded the verse of the stoning" (part 3, page 75 of the Itqan). Refer also to skiek Kishk’s book (part 3, page 64). Another confession by A’isha:

"Among the (verses) which were sent down, (the verse) of the ten breast feedings was abrogated by (a verse which calls for five breast feedings. The apostle of God died and this verse was still read as part of the Qur’an. This was related by Abu Bakr and ’Umar" (refer to Suyuti’s qan, part 3, pages 62 and 63).

 

Events Which Led To The Loss Of Some Verses

A Domesticated Animal Eats Qur’anic Verses

In his book (volume 8, part II, pages 235 and 236), Ibn Hazm says plainly,

"The verses of stoning and breast feeding were in the possession of A’isha in a (Qur’anic) copy. When Muhammad died and people became busy in the burial preparations, a domesticated animal entered in and ate it."

A’isha herself declared that and she knew exactly what she possessed. Also, Mustafa Husayn, who edited and reorganized the book, "al-Kash-shaf" by the Zamakh-Shari, asserts this fact in page 518 of part 3. He says that the ones who related this incident and said that a domesticated animal ate the verses were reliable persons among them ’Abdulla Ibn Abi Bakr and A’isha herself. This same story has been mentioned also by Dar-al-Qutni, al-Bazzar and al Tabarani, on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Ishaq who heard it from ’Abdulla who himself heard it from A’isha.

Professor Mustafa indicates that this does not negate that the abrogation of these verses may have occurred before the domesticated animal ate them. Why then did ’Umar want to record the verse of the stoning in the Qur’an if its recitation was abrogated? And why did people used to read the verses of the breast-feeding? And, if Muhammad died while these verses were still recited who abrogated them? Did the domesticated animal abrogate them? It is evident that this really did occur according to the witness of the companions, Muslim scholars, and A’isha herself.

 

Other Matters Which Were Lost, Not Recorded And Altered

In part 3, page 73, the Suyuti said,

"Hamida, the daughter of Abi Yunis, said, ‘When my father was eighty years old, he read in the copy of A’isha, "God and His angels bless (literally pray for) the prophet Oh ye who believe, bless him and those who pray in the first rows." Then she said, "That was before ’Uthman changed the Qur’anic copies.""’

On page 74, we read,

"Umar said to ’Abdul-Rahman Ibn ’Oaf, ‘Didn’t you find among the verses that we received one saying, "Strive as you strove at the first?" We do not locate it (any more).’ ’Abdul-Rahman Ibn ’Oaf told him, ‘This verse has been removed among those others which were removed from the Qur’an."’

It is well known that ’Abdul-Rahman Ibn ’Oaf was one of the great companions and was among those who were nominated for the caliphate.

Also, on the same page (74, of part 3) of "The Itqan", we read,

"Maslama al-Ansar said to the companions of Muhammad, ‘Tell me about two verses which have not been recorded in the Qur’an which ’Uthman collected.’ They failed to do so. Maslama said, ‘Oh, ye who believed and immigrated and fought for the cause of God by (sacrificing) your properties and yourselves, you received the glad tidings, for you are prosperous. Also, those who sheltered them, aided them and defended them, against whom God (revealed) His wrath, no soul knows what is awaiting them as a reward for what they did."’

Throughout pages 73 and 74 of part 3, the Suyuti records for us all the remarks made by Muhammad’s companions in regard to the unpreserved Qur’anic verses which the readers failed to find in the Qur’an which ’Uthman collected and which is currently in vogue. It is worthwhile to notice that we only quote the testimonies of the most reliable authorities whose witness is highly regarded and cited by all the scholars and students of the Qur’an such as ’Ali, ’Uthman, Abu Bakr, A’isha (Muhammad’s wife), Ibn Mas’ud, and Ibn ’Abbas. In the context of expounding the Qur’an, these scholars are always quoted to shed light on the events which took place during the time of Muhammad. No one could interpret the tenets of Islam better than these scholars could.

If we ponder the first part of "The Itqan", by the Suyuti, we read (page 184),

"Malik says that several verses from chapter 9 (Sura of Repentance) have been dropped from the beginning. Among them is, ‘In the name of God the compassionate, the Merciful’ because it was proven that the length of Sura of Repentance was equal to the length of the Sura of the Cow."

This means that this chapter has lost 157 verses. Also (page 184), the Suyuti tells us that the words, "In the name of God the compassionate, the merciful" were found in the chapter of Repentance in the Qur’anic copy which belonged to Ibn Mas’ud which ’Uthman confiscated and burned when the current Qur’an was edited.

Not only verses have been dropped, but also entire chapters have been abolished from the ’Uthmanic copy which is in the hands of all Muslims today. The Suyuti and other scholars testify that the Qur’anic copies of both Ubay and Ibn Mas’ud include two chapters called "The Hafad" and "the Khal"’. They both are located after the chapter of "the ’Asr" (103) (refer to pp. 182 and 183 of part one of the gn).

He also indicates that the Qur’anic copy of ’Abdulla-Ibn Mas’ud does not contain the chapter of "The Hamd" and "The Mu’withatan" (Surah 113, 114). On page 184, the Suyuti tells us that Ubay ibn Abi Ka’b recorded in his Qur’anic copy two chapters that start with, "Oh God, we ask for your assistance," and "Oh God, you whom we worship." These are the two chapters of "The Hafad" and "The Khal’. " On page 185, the Suyuti assures us on the authority of the most famous companions of the prophet that ’Ali ibn Abi Talib was aware of these two chapters. ’Umar ibn al-Khattab was accustomed to read them after his prostration. The Suyuti records them in their entirety on page 185. They are available to any Arab who wishes to read them. Then, the Suyuti adds that the two chapters are found in the Qur’anic copy of ibn ’Abbas also. What more we should say after we heard the testimonies of ibn ’Abbas, ’Umar, ’Ali, ibn Mas’ud and ibn Abi Ka’b Talib? It is evident that the Qur’an once included these two chapters.

If the reader asks, "What do you mean by saying ‘...the Qur’anic copy of ibn ’Abbas’, or ‘... the copy of ibn Mas’ud ... A’isha’, etc.? Were there many different Qur’anic copies?’ I will not supply the answer, but I leave that to the Muslim scholars and chroniclers as we examine how the Qur’anic copies were burned and only one universal copy was kept.

 

The Collection Of The Qur’an And The Fierce Dispute Among The Scholars And The Companions

Among the greatest events which took place during the reign of ’Uthman ibn ’Affan, third caliph after Muhammad, is the collection of the Qur’an. It is appropriate here to record briefly the story of the first collection of the Qur’an which occurred during the time of Abu Bakr after the death of Muhammad. All chroniclers, without exception, have never questioned the authenticity of the incident (refer to "The Itqan" of Suyuti, part 1, page 165, Dr. Ahmad Shalabi, pp. 37 and 38, al-Bukhari, part 6, page 477). What did the Bukhari say in this regard?

"’Umar said to Abu Bakr, ‘I suggest you order that the Qur’an be collected.’ Abu Bakr said to him, ‘How can you do something which Allah’s messenger did not do.’ Then Abu Bakr accepted his proposal and came to Zayd and said to him, ‘You are a wise young man and we do not have any doubts about you. So you should search for the fragments of the Qur’an and collect it.’ Zayd said, ‘By Allah if they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains it wouldn’t have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur’an."’

The question which presents itself is, why did not Muhammad give orders to collect the Qur’an? Why did not the angel Gabriel suggest to him to do such an important task to avoid the disagreement, dispute, and the fight which spread among the people? He could have avoided the debate about the chapters and the verses of the Qur’an which raged among the great scholars.

Secondly, why did Zayd consider the task of collecting the verses of the Qur’an more difficult than removing a mountain? There is no answer for the first question. Of course, Gabriel was supposed to order Muhammad to collect the Qur’an while he was still alive in order to save his people from the disputes and fights. The answer for the second question is evident because a great number of the reciters and the memorizers of the Qur’an had already been killed in the wars of the apostasies, especially in the battle of Yamama. So, how could Zayd collect the Qur’an thoroughly? Removing a mountain is much easier, as he said.

Now what happened during the time of ’Uthman? In his book "The History of Islamic Law" (page 38), Dr. Ahmad Shalabi says,

"The Qur’an was collected and entrusted to Hafsa. It was not proclaimed among people until the era of ’Uthman ibn ’Affan. Huthayfa, one of Muhammad’s companions who fought in Armenia and Adharbijan, said to ’Uthman, ‘The Muslims disagree on the (correct) reading of the Qur’an and they fight among themselves.’ ’Uthman ordered Zayd ibn Thabit and the other three to collect the Qur’an in one copy. After they accomplished that, ’Uthman gave the order to bum the rest of the Qur’anic copies which were in the hands of Muhammad’s companions. That was in the year 25 H."

All Muslim scholars concur—such as Al-Bukhari (part 6, page 225), Suyuti in "The Itqan" (part 1, page 170), and Ibn Kathir in "The Beginning and the End" (part 7, page 218) in which he remarks,

"’Uthman burned the rest of the copies which were in the hands of the people because they disagreed on the (correct) reading and they fought among themselves. When they came to take ibn Mas’ud’s copy to bum it, he told them, ‘I know more than Zayd ibn Thabit (whom ’Uthman ordered to collect the copies of the Qur’an).’ ’Uthman wrote to ibn Mas’ud asking him to submit his copy for burning."

When ibn Mas’ud said that he was more knowledgeable than Zayd, his claim was not questioned because he was a very reliable person. In part 7, page 162 of his book, "The Beginning and the End", ibn Kathir said about him that he used to teach people the Qur’an and the traditions. Some even thought that he was a member of Muhammad’s family because he had easy access to Muhammad’s assembly while Zayd was still young. The Bukhari comments (part 6, page 229) that Muhammad prompted his adherent to learn the Qur’an from four people, among them ibn Mas’ud Zayd was not mentioned among them. Yet, when ’Uthman asked Zayd to collect the Qur’an, he did not add ibn Mas’ud to the committee. A contemporary scholar, Sheikh Kishk, remarks in his book, "Legal Opinions" (part 1, page 102),

"The four most important commentators are ibn ’Abbas, ibn Mas’ud, ’Ali ibn Abi Talib and ’Ubay ibn Ka’bal-Ansari."

So ibn Mas’ud is one of the four great expounders of the Qur’an and Zayd ibn Thabit did not enjoy the same prestige of ibn Mas’ud.

It was common knowledge that both ibn Mas’ud and ibn Ali Ka’b were accustomed to write the two chapters of the Hafad and the Khal’ which are now eliminated from the current Qur’an which Zayd collected. Ibn Mas’ud asserts that the chapter of the praise and the Mu’withatan are not part of the Qur’an (refer to "The Itqan" by Suyuti, part 1, pp. 221, 222). Despite that, Zayd recorded them.

It was a strange thing, ’Uthman’s order to burn the companions’ copies. If we question that, we will be inclined to believe that these copies differed from the Qur’anic copy which Zayd edited and compiled, otherwise ’Uthman would not have burned them. This is not the conclusion of the author, but it is the opinion of many great contemporary Muslim scholars, among them Ibrahim al-Abyari, who expressed his view in his book, "The History of the Qur’an" (3rd print, 1982, page 107). He plainly says,

"There were also other copies of the Qur’an such as the copy of Abi Musa al-Ash’ari, al-Maqdad ibn al-Aswad, and Salim the client of Abi Huthayfa. There were differences between those copies, differences which Huthayka attested to it. That frightened ’Uthman, thus he issued an order to collect the Qur’an because the Kufis followed the copy of ibn Mas’ud; the Syrians the copy of ibn Abi Ka’b; the people of Basra, the copy of Musa al-Ash’ari; the Damascenes, the copy of ibn Maqdad."

On page 41, he adds:

"Ibn Qutayba says that the differences between the recitations of the various Qur’anic copies may include the meaning also."

Also on page 109, he says:

"When Abu Bakr and ’Umar assigned Zayd ibn Thabit to compile the Qur’an, there was a previous compilation of the Qur’an made by a group of the greatest companions such as ’Ali ibn Abi Talib, ibn Mas’ud and ibn ’Abbas and others."

The Muslim has the right to wonder and to ask why Abu Bakr and ’Umar took the trouble to do that when ibn Mas’ud and ibn ’Abbas who were (according to Muhammad) the most knowledgeable people in the Qur’an, had already accomplished it? Why did they not at least add them to the committee or solicit their opinions?

In regard to the copy of ’Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Imam Khu’i tells us in his book, "al-Bayan" (page 222), the following:

"The existence of Imam ’Ali’s copy is an unquestionable matter. All scholars admit it and say that it contains additions which are not found in the current Qur’an. These additions are under the title of ‘The Revelation of God for the Explanation of the Intended’ (purpose)."

The Imam Khu’i is one of the greatest scholars among the Shi’ites. He drew his information from what the Imam al-Tabari had recorded in his book, "’al-Ihtijaj"’ ("Apology") (refer to Dr. Musa, The Shi’ites and the Reformation, pp. 132,133).

Dr. Musa also indicates:

"Our scholars and legists infer from an episode recorded by the Tabari in the book of al-Ihtijaj about the existence of a Qur’anic copy compiled by the Imam ’Ali. This episode tells that ’Ali said to Talha (one of Muhammad’s relatives and companions) that every verse God bestowed upon Muhammad is in my possession, dictated to me by the apostle of God and written by the script of my hand, along with exposition of every verse and all the lawful and unlawful (issues)."

Dr. Musa tells us, that despite the fact that he studied Islam and jurisprudence under the direction of the Imam al-Khu’i, he was involved in a fierce argument in regard to this serious matter. But we will tell Dr. Musa that all the Shi’ites and their scholars (whose total number is more than one hundred fifty million Muslims scattered all over the Islamic countries) believe this. Even Sheikh Kishk who was one of the Sunnis’ scholars, repeats similar statements in his book, "Legal Opinions" (part 1, page 103). He says,

"’Ali remarked, ‘Ask me about the book of God. I swear to God that there is no verse which I do not know whether it was sent down at night or during time, or on a plain or on a mountain."’

He also states similar words about ibn Mas’ud. In spite of that, ’Ali ibn Mas’ud and ibn Abi Ka’b had been disqualified from contributing to the compilation of the Qur’an and their copies were neglected, though they were the most important expounders of the Qur’an along with ibn ’Abbas.

It is ’Ali’s copy which contains additional material lacked in the current Qur’an and includes revelations from God for explaining the intended purposes. This is what happened in the course of the compilation of the Qur’an during the time of ’Uthman ibn ’Affan. Thus, it is no wonder that ibn Kathir explicitly mentions that Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, the righteous, and the brother of A’isha, Muhammad’s wife had participated with ’Ammar ibn Yasir, one of the famous companions, in the assassination of ’Uthman, reiterating, "You have altered God’s book" (refer to the Bidaya and The Nihaya, part 7, page 185). On page 166, ibn Kathir records that a large number of the reciters of the Qur’an used to curse ’Uthman and encouraged people to revolt against him.

The question is, "Why do the reciters of the Qur’an do that and why does ibn Kathir vow that ibn Abi Bakr said that to ’Uthman? Did ’Uthman really change the copies of the Qur’an as Hamida daughter of Abi Yunis testified along with the rest of the great companions whom we mentioned? Yes indeed!

 

The Dispute Among The Companions And The Seven Readings Of The Qur’an

On the authority of all the scholars, the Suyuti tells us that the most eminent companions disagreed on the number of chapters of the Qur’an and their verses. They disagreed on the order of the chapters. He listed for us the order of the chapters in ’Ali’s and ibn Mas’ud’s copies (refer to the Itqan, part 1, pp. 176 and 189). He tells us that the multitude of scholars said that the order of the chapters was the outcome of the companions’ opinion and they disagreed about that among themselves. The Suyuti admits on this page that both ’Ali and ibn Mas’ud each owned his own copy. Also Ubay ibn Ka’b possessed his own, too.

He regarded the dispute over the verse, "In the name of God the Compassionate and Merciful", a striking example about the dispute between the most eminent companions and the scholars. Some said that it is not one of the Qur’anic verses, so ibn ’Abbas told them that they eliminated 114 verses from the Qur’an because it was repeated 114 times. The Zamakh-shari, who recorded this incident in the Kash-shaf (part 1, pp. 24-26) states that those who denied these verses were ibn Mas’ud himself, Abu Hanifa, Malik and all the reciters and legists of Medina, Basra and Syria.

Imam Malik used to say, "This verse should not be read aloud or privately because it is not part of the Qur’an. Sheikh Kishk agrees with the Zamakh-shari in this matter and confirms that a dispute has resulted among the greatest scholars because of this verse. Some famous scholars such as the Qurtubi and ibn ’Arabi are of the same opinion as Malik that this verse is not of the Qur’an (refer to "Legal Opinions" of the contemporary Egyptian scholar Sheikh Kishk, part 9, pp. 41-47).

Of course, this verse is included in all the chapters of the Qur’an except the chapter of the Repentance. The reason for that is a very significant story which reveals that the compilation of the Qur’an and the order of the chapters are the product of human effort in compliance with the order of ’Uthman. In his "Itqan" (part 1, pp. 172,173), the Suyuti tells us:

"Ibn ’Abbas said to ’Uthman, ‘What made you combine the chapter of the Anfal and the chapter of Tawba (repentance) without separating them by the verse, "In the name of God the compassionate, the Merciful"? (And why) did you put them among the seven long (chapters)?’ ’Uthman said, ‘The chapters used to be bestowed upon the apostle of God. The chapter of Anfal was among the early ones which were revealed in Medina and the chapter of Repentance was among the last revealed. Its story was similar to the early story (of the Anfal), so I thought that it was part of it. Then the apostle of God died without showing us that it was part of the (Anfal); thus, I combined them and did not write between them the verse, "In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful", and it is among the long ones."’

The order and organization of the Qur’an depended on ’Uthman’s view as he admitted himself to ibn ’Abbas. This time ’Uthman’s opinion was wrong. The Suyuti tells us in "The Itqan" (part 1, page 195) that a dispute broke out among the scholars because of this verse which was revealed in some of the seven readings but not in all of them.

You may wonder what "the seven readings" are, and what we mean when we say that the Qur’an was sent down in "seven letters" (readings). We would briefly answer this question before we move to the last subject in this chapter which is the religious teachings, the mythical episodes and the meaning of the chapters included in the contents of the Qur’an.

 

The Seven Letters (Readings) Of The Qur’an

Both former and latter Muslim scholars agree on this issue. They all relied on Muhammad’s famous statements which Bukhari and others recorded, as well as an incident which is frequently quoted by most of these scholars. The incident took place between ’Umar ibn al-Khattab and one of the great companions by the name of Hisham ibn al-Hakam in which Muhammad was the arbitrator.

Muhammad’s Statements

Muhammad said:

"Gabriel made me read in (one dialect), I consulted with him again and continued asking for more (dialectical reading) and he continued to add to that until I finished with seven readings" (refer to Bukhari, part 6, page 227, and "The Itqan", part 1, page 131).

The Suyuti tells us that this admission is quoted in al-Bukhari, and Sahih of Muslim on the authority of ibn ’Abbas. Also, ibn ’Abbas indicated to us (part 1, page 132) that Muhammad said,

"My Lord told me to read the Qur’an in one dialect. I sent back and asked Him to make it easy for my people. He answered me (saying), ‘Read it in two dialects.’ I requested of him again, thus he sent to me (saying), ‘Read it in seven dialects."’

"Gabriel and Michael visited me. Gabriel sat at my right side and Michael at my left side. Gabriel said (to me), ‘Read the Qur’an in one dialect.’ Michael said, ‘Add (more dialects)’ until he reached seven dialects."

These are Muhammad’s statements, but before we allude to the meaning of the seven letters (readings) as they were recorded by Muslim scholars, let us look at the incident which took place between ’Umar and Hisham (part 6, page 482 of al-Bukhari).

Umar ibn Al-Khattab said, "I heard Hisham ibn Hakim reciting Al-Furqan and I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited in several different ways which Allah’s messenger had not taught me. I was about to jump on him during his prayer and when he had completed his prayer, I put his upper garment around his neck and seized him by it and said, ‘Who taught you this Surah which I heard you reciting?’ He replied, ‘Allah’s Messenger taught it to me.’ I said, ‘You have lied for Allah’s Messenger has taught it to me in a different way.’ So I dragged him to Allah’s Messenger and said to him, ‘I heard this person reciting Surah Al-Furqan in a way which you haven’t taught me.’ Allah’s Messenger said, ‘It was revealed in both ways. This Qur’an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite out of it whichever way is easier for you."’

Refer also to Dr. Shalabi’s book (page 40) along with other major sources, for all of them have recorded this story. It is very interesting to notice that Muhammad, the prophet, approved the readings of both of them in spite of the obvious differences between them which provoked ’Umar and forced him to treat Hisham brutally and pull him by his clothes.

The Meaning Of The Seven Letters (Readings)

The Suyuti says in "The Itqan" (part 1, pp. 131-140), scholars have argued among themselves about the meaning of the seven letters Some like ibn Qutayba said that there is a difference in the meaning and not only in the usage of the vocabulary or the dialect. For some words, the meaning may change according to the vocalization of the word. The verb may be in the past tense or imperative as we find in chapter Saba’: 19; or it depends on the word’s diacritical points which incur a change in the meaning; or whether a phrase was added or deleted from the verse; or if a word is replaced by another. These are the views of ibn Qutayba who is one of the most famous scholars of his time.

Ibn al-Jazri agrees with him and admits that the meaning changes from one reading to another. The Suyuti states that Muslim scholars have said so because of the incident which occurred between ’Umar and Hisham ibn Hakeem, because both of them belonged to the same tribe of Quraysh and used the same dialect. It is impossible to say that ’Umar disapproved Hisham’s dialect. This denotes that the Seven Letters do not mean mere difference in the dialect of the Arab tribes, otherwise ’Umar would not have objected to Hisham’s reading (refer to Suyuti, part 1, page 136). Yet some other scholars such as al-Tabari argue that the difference is only in the vocabulary. One scholar agrees with the Tabari who said that ibn Mas’ud used to read:

"‘Every time the (lightning) shines, they walk therein’ (chapter 2:20). Yet other times, he may read, ‘Passed through or went forward’; that is, stating the same meaning but using different vocabularies."

It is obvious to the reader that the differences between the seven readings include the meaning and the vocabulary because both ’Umar and Hisham belonged to the same tribe which speaks the same dialect. Yet they differed in their reading of the verses because the Qur’an was given without any vocalization or diacritical points, as the scholars indicated. In this case, it is inevitable that the meaning be exposed to change and disruption as ibn Qutayba, ibn al-Jazri and others mentioned and demonstrated by definite examples.

It is evident then that there are seven different dialects in the Qur’anic text. That created a dilemma for Muslim scholars. Even Suyuti himself alluded (page 136) to the fact that this issue has created a doubt in the minds of the scholars because the seven dialects required Gabriel to deliver each verse seven times.

Scholars’ Admission Of A Strange Thing

In his "Itqan" (paragraph 1, page 137), the Suyuti remarks,

"A great scholar, that is the Mawardi, said that Muhammad had permitted the reading (of the Qur’an) on the basis of any of the Seven Letters as it happened in the episodes of ’Umar. He also allowed replacing a letter with another letter."

The Suyuti also says on (pages 141,142),

"The multitude of the scholars and the legists said that the ’Uthmanic Qur’an was (written) in accordance to one letter (dialect) only."

On pages 170 and 171, the Suyuti adds:

"When the lads and their teachers fought against each other during the era of ’Uthman due to the difference in reading (the Qur’anic text), he (’Uthman) standardized the reading and made people recite it accordingly because he was afraid of riots since the Iraqis and the Damascenes disagreed on the dialect. But before that, the Qur’anic copies (used to be read) on the basis of the Seven Letters in which the Qur’an was given."

Let us now examine what Dr. Shalabi said in this regard. In his book, "The History of Islamic Law" (pp. 40-41), he remarks:

"’Uthman wanted to have a standardized text read by all Muslims, but, after the era of ’Uthman, Muslims began again to read the Qur’an based on the Seven Letters as they used to do before. Each country followed the dialect of a famous reciter whom it trusted. Then public opinion settled on the Seven Readings taken from the most eminent reciters who were Nafi’, Ibn Khathir, Abu ’Umar, Ibn ’Amir, ’Asim, Hamza and the Kisa’i. Egypt, for instance, followed the reading of Hafas who learned it from ’Asim."

Such circumstances created a problem for many Muslims who were seeking a solution. One of the inquirers asked Sheikh Kishk a question which this scholar attempted to answer in his book, "Legal Opinions" (part 1, pp. 113 and 114). The question was, "I heard a reciter reading the Qur’anic text, ‘O ye who would believe even if a godless messenger brought you news, be cautious.’ He read it, ‘Investigate’ instead of, ‘Be cautious’. I ask for a clarification for this reading and other similar verses."

Sheikh Kishk answers:

"The reading of the reciter, ‘Investigate’, is a correct famous reading which has been handed down (to people). Hamza, Kasa’i and Khalaf followed it. These three were among the ten on whom the Muslims relied that their reading is correct. The Qur’anic copies to which the inquirer referred, do not contain this reading. Thus, the reading is correct because the Qur’anic copies with which (the inquirer) is acquainted have the diacritical points based on the recitation of Hafas. If the Qur’an, in our time was written according to the recitation of Hamza or the reading of any of those who were with him, the diacritical points would be congruent with the reading of (Hafas).

"Maybe, there are Qur’anic copies which are written in the same pattern as this reading, yet the point to be taken into account is the authenticity of the chain of authority and its uninterrupted succession. All these readings proved to be correct and they were handed down uninterrupted. If the noble inquirer had pondered a little, he would have found that the formation of the word lends itself to be read in two ways based on the difference in the diacritical points. This is one of the secrets of the ’Uthmanic copy because during the era of the caliph ’Uthman ibn ’Affan, there was no vocalization or diacritical points."

Despite this answer, the question which is still without explanation is, "In which dialect was the Qur’an given to Muhammad? In which dialect were the tablets when it was still with God? Was there one Qur’an or seven Qur’ans with seven dialects? What did Sheikh Kishk (and his prophet Muhammad) mean when he said all the dialects and all the meanings are correct?"

Chapter Thirteen

The Content of the Qur’an

In this part, we are going to discuss two issues, the mythical episodes and the religious teachings. We will be brief, otherwise we would need to write another book to deal with the strange, unacceptable things contained in the Qur’an which no sensible person believes. Our main aim is to remove this deceptive veil from the face of the Qur’an.

 

First: Some Names Of Qur’anic Chapters And Mythical Episodes

We have already mentioned that there are some chapters in the Qur’an whose names have no meaning. These chapters are: 20, 36, 38, 50, and 68. No one knows what Taha, Yasin, Sad, Qaf, or Nun mean. Mostly, they are mere letters and not words as to say, for instance, Chapter N, Chapter S, Chapter Y. Would that mean anything in English?

All the Muslim scholars have indicated that they do not know the meanings of the names of these chapters. God only knows (refer to the Jalalan). On the other hand, the meanings of the names of the rest of the chapters are understood and familiar although there are very strange names linked to a mythical episode which is meaningless, as we will see.

It should be noted that some of the Qur’anic chapters carry the names of insects or animals such as the chapters of the Cow, Ants, Spider, Elephant, Bee and the Cattle. We do not find in the Bible, for example, books with such names as "The Book of the Lion" or "The Bat" or "The Buffalo" or "The Book of the Serpent". We also find in the Qur’an some chapters entitled, "Chapter of the Afternoon", or "The Dawn", or "The Night", or "Morning".

Moreover, there are strange stories which were the reasons behind these given names. Also, we are going to relate some stories recorded in the Qur’an which are only fit to be narrated by grandparents to children as part of folklore. 

1. The Chapter Of The Ants (27:17-19)  

In this chapter, the Qur’an says:

"And there were gathered together unto Solomon his armies of the Jinn and humankind and of the birds and they were set in the battle order. Till, when they reached the valley of the Ants, an ant exclaimed, ‘O Ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you.’ And Solomon smiled, laughing at her speech." 

This is the reason why this chapter is entitled, "The Ant". All scholars (without exception) present this episode as it is recorded. They acknowledge that it is supernatural, yet it truly happened with Solomon, the Wise (refer to Baydawi, page 501; the Jalalan, p. 316,317).

When Qatada, one of Muhammad’s companions, came to Iraq, he was surrounded by some Muslims who inquired of him about this episode. The Imam Abu Hanifa who was still a lad, asked him, "Was the ant of Solomon male or female?" He answered, "It was a female." This is what Zamakh-shari has recorded. He even mentioned that the ant which warned its friends was called Tahina and Solomon heard her when he was still three miles away.

In order to have a fuller picture of the story, let us read the rest of the episode and see what happened to Solomon (chapter 27:20-22). 

"And Solomon sought among the birds and said, ‘How is it that I see not the hoopoe, or is he among the absent? I verily will punish him with hard punishment or I verily will slay him or he verily shall give me a plain excuse.’ But he was not long in coming and he (the hoopoe) said to Solomon, ‘I have found out a thing that you apprehended not and I come unto you from Sheba with sure tidings."’ 

So Solomon sent the hoopoe to the Queen of Sheba and her people to preach to them about the oneness of God. Muslim commentators (without exception) confirm this interpretation. Of course, the Bible records for us that the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon. After she observed the wisdom of Solomon and of his servants, she believed in the God of Israel, but there is no mention of a military battle between Solomon’s soldiers of vultures and Jinn and the kingdom of ants, or of the hoopoe, the teacher and the preacher!

2. The Chapter Of The Prophets (21:81, 82)  

"And unto Solomon we subdued the wind in its raging. It set by his command toward the land which we had blessed. And of the evil ones (demons) subdued we unto him some who dived for pearls for him and did other works." 

All scholars agree on the interpretations of these verses. God utilized the winds to obey Solomon’s orders. Thus, they some- times blew smoothly and sometimes they raged like a strong storm whenever he wanted them to carry him fast for a long distance. God even utilized the demons to dive deep in the sea to bring forth treasures of precious stones. They were sometimes ordered to construct cities and palaces, and to invent some progressive handicrafts. These same words are recorded also in another place in the Qur’an. The expounders presented the same interpretation for these verses (refer to Baydawi, page 435; Jalalan, page 274; Zamakh-shari in The Kash-shaf, part 3, page 130).

Of course, the Azhar scholars along with the Saudi scholars agree with the former scholars concerning the subject of the ants, the hoopoe, and the exploitation of the wind and demons to serve Solomon. For example, Sheikh Sha’rawi (the most famous preacher in the Islamic world today) asserts that this story undoubtedly happened and that God subjected the Jinn to Solomon in order to refurbish the earth and for the benefit of the people (refer to the "Legal Opinions", page 422). 

3. The Chapter Of The Jinn Or Jan (17:1)  

Since we have mentioned the Jinn, it is inevitable that we allude to the chapter of the Jinn.

"Say, O Muhammad, it is revealed unto me that a company of the Jinn gave ear and they said, ‘Lo, it is a marvelous Qur’an."’ 

All Muslim scholars, in the context of their exposition of those verses, say that God foretold this matter to Muhammad which was invisible to the eyes of Muhammad. As Muhammad was praying the morning prayer and reading the Qur’an beside a palm tree near Mecca, a party of Jinn (who were Satan’s soldiers) heard him. When they returned to their own people, they told them, "We have heard eloquent, well-styled words, and we have to repent and believe and never worship Satan again or be subservient to him." They were between three and ten persons.

The Baydawi says that the Jinn are beings which are made mostly of fire or wind, or else they are mere spirits or human souls which departed from their bodies (refer to Baydawi, page 763; Jalalan, page 488; Zamakh-shari, part 4, page 623). The Bukhari assures us that they were demons who listened to the Qur’an being recited by Muhammad during the dawn prayer while he was on his way to Suq ’Ukadh. They were moved by what they heard, and recanted. This is the testimony of ibn ’Abbas himself (refer to the Sahih of the Bukhari, part 6, page 200).

This same story of the Jinn listening to Muhammad and repenting is found in the chapter of the Ahqaf. Both Kishk and Sheikh Sha’rawi agree with the former scholars and do not question their interpretation (refer to the "Legal Opinions" by Sheikh Kishk, part 1, page 20). 

4. Chapter Of The Elephant  

This chapter could have been called the chapter of the gravel or the vultures, but it was called the chapter of the Elephant simply because the vultures carried the gravel and threw it at the elephants and their riders who marched towards Mecca to invade the Ka’ba. We read in the Qur’an the following:

"Hast thou not seen how your lord dealt with the owners of the elephants? Did he not bring their stratagem to naught, and send against them swarms of flying creatures which pelted them with stones of baked clay." 

All Muslim scholars affirm that this event took place many years before the proclamation of Muhammad’s prophethood. Some said maybe during the time of his birth. What really happened was that Abraha, king of Yemen, constructed a church in San’a. An Arab man came and defiled the church and did some damage to it. Abraha decided to demolish the Ka’ba which was a sacred site for the heathen people of Quraysh and the site of their annual pilgrimage before Islam.

Abraha headed the invasion operation along with his generals who rode on elephants. It was said that there was a huge, strong elephant called Mahmud. God sent black or green birds to attack the invading army. Each bird carried one piece of gravel in his beak and two in his claws and hit the owners of the elephants. They claim that each piece of gravel penetrated the head of a man and exited from the backside (anus - lower opening of the rectum). On each piece of gravel was written the name of the victim. Abraha suffered a violent death (refer to the Zamakh-shari in the Kash-shaf, part 4, page 797; Baydawi, page 811;Jalalan, page 519; also the "Prophet’s Biography" by ibn Hisham, part 1, pages 38 and 39).

The Qur’an does not tell us why God sent these vultures to assist the heathens against the Christians. The Qur’an was content to record the episode of this battle between the vultures and the elephants. Thus, a chapter in the Qur’an was inspired under the title of Chapter of the Elephant. 

5. The Chapter Of The Cave  

Why was it called by this strange name? The answer is simple. Some lads (accompanied by their dog) entered a cave and slept for three hundred and nine years! The story is recorded in the Qur’an in seventeen verses (18:9-25).

The Qur’an clearly relates this story and all Muslim scholars agree on its interpretation. They said that God forbade the sun to hurt them, and he used to turn them from one side to the other so the ground would not erode their flesh. Their dog whose name was Qatmir, laid down stretching its legs. The lads who entered the cave were seven. Their names were Yamlikha, Makshalmina, Mashilmina, Martush, Darnush, Shadhinush, along with a shepherd They were from the city of Ephesus. (This information is related to us by the Baydawi, page 390; Jalalan, pp. 244, 245, and the Zamakh-shari in the "Kash-shaf", part 2, page 703.) Contemporary scholars verify this information.

Before we conclude the episode of the chapter of the Cave, it is appropriate to allude to the story of Moses, the Whale, the ship and the lad. This strange story is also recorded in the chapter of the cave (l8:60-82) The gist of the story as it is stated in the Qur’an is that God disagreed with Moses who claimed that he was the most knowledgeable person. He told him that he has a servant "whose name is Khadr who is more knowledgeable than you. Take with you a whale and go to the confluence of the two seas. When the whale departs from you, you will find him (the man)."

Moses did so and found the man. Moses told him, "I will be submissive and obedient to you." The Khadr took Moses and sailed in a ship which belonged to some poor people who toiled hard in the sea. This man, Khadr, caused the boat to spring a leak big enough to sink it. When Moses complained, the Khadr told him, "We had agreed that you would never complain. I will show you in the end that I am more knowledgeable than you are." Moses kept silence.

Then they met a young boy who was playing with his friends. The Khadr seized him and violently killed him by smashing his head against the wall, the Zamakh-shari remarked. Moses objected to that, then he apologized to the Khadr. Later, the Khadr started to explain to Moses the implication of his behavior. He said, "I sank the ship because there was a wicked king who was intending to confiscate it by force. And I killed the lad because he was going to cause his righteous parents much hardship by his atheism."

This strange story is meaningless, because this poor lad was guilty of no crime that he should be brutally killed by a man of whom God boasted. God said to Moses that the Khadr was "my righteous servant and he is more knowledgeable than you". Did he foretell the future and know that this lad was going to create a lot of problems for his devout parents? Would this be a justification for his death or should it be a cause for his guidance and repentance?

This baffling issue made some people ask ibn ’Abbas, "Is it permissible for the Khadr to do that to the lad?" He answered that the apostle of God himself said, "Yes." He also added that this is lawful to anyone if he can foretell what this lad is going to do in the future (refer to Baydawi, page 396; Bukhari, part 6, pp. 111, 112; Jalalan, page 250; and the Zamakh-shari in the "Kash-shaf", part 2, page 736). The Bukhari insists that the Khadr seized the lad and pulled his head off, separating it from his body.

We have already discussed the story of Alexander the Great who had located the sun’s setting place which is recorded in this same chapter (the Cave). 

6. The Chapter Of The Cow  

In this lengthy chapter, there are at least four mythical stories recorded. We will briefly examine them as evidence of the lack of authenticity of the Qur’an.

A. Jews Transformed Into Apes 

God transformed these Jews into apes because they disobeyed His commandment and went to catch fish on a Saturday. These Jews inhabited a coastal city (refer to Chapter 2:65). The Qur’an says:

"And you know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how we said unto them, ‘Be apes, despised and hated!"’ 

The interpretation of the expositors of the Qur’an is in full agreement with the content of these verses (refer to the Baydawi, page 14; Jalalan, pages 10, 11; Zamakh-shari, part 1, page 286). We also read the same incident in chapter 7:163-166 and in chapter 5:60 in which these Jews were transformed into apes and swine.

B. Two Angels Teach People Magic 

This story is among the strangest episodes recorded in chapter 2. Who would believe that God would send two angels in order to tempt people to see whether they would be seduced into learning magic or not? Muslim scholars indicate that these two angels were called Harut and Marut and the incident took place in Babylon. They used to warn people not to learn magic "... because it is ungodly, but if this is your desire, then we will teach you." Thus, people started to learn how to cause separation between a husband and wife by employing magic (refer to the commentary of the Jalalan, page 15; The Baydawi, page 21; Zamakh-shari in the "Kash-shaf", part 1, page 301).

Contemporary scholar Sheikh Sha’rawi states in his "Legal Opinions" (part 1, page 42) that this incident of separation between a husband and wife really happened by the power of magic performed by these two angels. Sha’rawi says: 

"One of the characteristics of the Jinn is the ability of transformation. It is possible for a Jinn to take the image of an ape (and superimpose) himself on the face of a woman. Thus, her husband would hate her. Also, Satan can transform himself into a beast (and superimpose) himself on the face of a husband which would make her turn against her husband."

C. Should Angels Prostrate Themselves Before Man?  

The Qur’an says yes, and God Himself commanded them to do so; therefore, they all prostrate themselves before man except Satan who refused to obey. We read in the Qur’an (2:34),

"And when we said unto the angels, ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam,’ they fell prostrate, all save Iblis (Satan). He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever." 

The reason for all that is an obscure, meaningless story recorded in chapter 2:30-34:

"And he taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels saying, ‘Inform me of the names of these if you are truthful.’ They said, ‘Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou has taught us. Lo! Thou, only thou, are the Knower, the wise"’ (2:3 1 -32). 

We wonder why it would be a crime if the angels did not know the names of the animals. What merit does Adam have if God secretly taught him these names? Does this justify God’s command to the angels to prostrate themselves to Adam? It is well known that the Bible teaches us that such worship should be only to God.

We do not believe this story and this dialogue between God and the angels, especially since the angels’ words proved to be true and they manifested their knowledge of the future. Man defiled the earth and shed blood since the time of Cain, son of Adam, who killed his brother. Adam himself disobeyed his Lord and did not deserve worship from the holy angels—no respect or adoration, but only reproach even though he knew all the names. 

D. The Cow And The Dead Man.  

This episode is clearly taught in the Qur’an (2:67-73). Muslim commentators indicate that a righteous Israeli old man had a son who was assassinated by his cousins in order to get his inheritance. They dumped his corpse at the city gate. No one knew who had killed him. God told Moses, "Slay a cow and hit the dead man by a part of it (its tongue, or thigh, or ear) as the scholars say." When Moses did so, the deceased rose up and told them who had killed him, then he immediately died again (refer to the commentary of the Baydawi, pp. 14,15; the "Kash-shaf" by the Zamakh-shari, part 1, page 289; and the Jalalan, page 11). Indeed, we do not find this story in the biblical records of the Old Testament.

7. Chapter Of al-Hujarat (The Private Apartment)  

There is no mythical story in this chapter, but the reason for naming it is somewhat amusing and does not entail the need to receive an inspired chapter under this title. Those who translated the Qur’an into English indicate that this name was given to this chapter because of the following verse:

"Lo those who call you (Muhammad) from behind the private apartments, most of them have no sense" (49:4). 

Now, what is the interpretation of this verse? The Baydawi says (page 683),

"What is meant by ‘Private rooms,’ is ‘the women of the prophet Muhammad.’ It is tantamount to his being in seclusion with the women and their calling to him from within their private quarters. Either they came into them (private rooms) room by room or they (the women) scattered themselves among these rooms calling for him." 

We read the same words in the "Kash-shaf" of the Zamakh-shari (part 4, page 357), also in the commentary of the Jalalan (page 435). They said,

"Each one of his women called from behind (inside) her room in a voice filled with harshness and estrangement."

 These are the statements of the scholars who interpreted this verse. Does this personal, private, insignificant matter require that Gabriel inspire a chapter under the title, "The Private Rooms"; that is, the private rooms of Muhammad’s wives?

8. The Chapter Of Yunis  

It is sufficient to quote verses 90 and 91 of this chapter. The Pharaoh, while he was sinking in the sea, said, "I have believed in God," but God did not accept his repentance, and told him, "Do you say this now because you are drowning?" The commentators tell us that Muhammad’s companions, such as ibn ’Umar and ibn ’Abbas, have said that Muhammad himself told them:

"Gabriel told me, ‘I wish you had seen me taking mud from the sea to close up Pharaoh’s mouth lest he believe and be reached by God’s mercy’ (refer to Jalalan, page 179; Zamakh-shari, part 2, page 368, and others). 

Undoubtedly, this story is mythical, because if Pharaoh intended to believe, God would have accepted his repentance immediately and there is no need for the angel Gabriel to hasten to take a handful of sea mud to close Pharaoh’s mouth so that he would not make a confession of faith and be pardoned. God does not send his angels to do such wicked things.

We believe Muhammad’s companions and ibn ’Abbas who claimed that Muhammad related that to them. They cannot lie in such matters, especially since Muhammad warned them that whoever "lies and claims things which I do not do, or says things which I did not say, will occupy his seat in hell". We believe the companions in all that they convey to us on the authority of Muhammad, but we cannot believe Muhammad’s claim that Gabriel had told him that he closed Pharaoh’s mouth. The one who prevents people from believing is Satan—not an angel of God.

 

Second: God In The Qur’an 

God in the Qur’an is not the God of love, the God of the Christian revelation and the Holy Gospel. It is as if God (six hundred years after the birth of Christ) has deteriorated. After He had been full of love and affection, He has become a relentless, wrathful God. You can search the heart of this God of Islam, but you will never find the flowing, loving feelings which were clearly manifest in Jesus Christ.

Let us now probe the most significant characteristics of God as they are revealed in the Qur’an. There us no doubt, the Qur’anic God differs from the God of the Gospel. The Gospel’s God is real while the other is illusive, non-existent. We have already alluded to God’s command recorded in the Qur’an when we discussed human rights and women’s status, non-Muslims classification and the enslavement of man to his fellow man.

Yet, here we would like to magnify a very salient concept; that is, the concept of love. The God of the Qur’an lacks the element of love. The Qur’an records ninety-nine attributes of God which do not include the attribute of love although among these attributes are some which repeatedly contain the same inference, but love is not one of them. Indeed, some of these attributes indicate that God is merciful, yet you do not find mercy expressed on the pages of the Qur’an, in the life of Muhammad or among his companions. If mercy had ever been practiced in Muhammad’s life or in the life of his companions, this would have been the exception and not the rule. The rule was the application of relentless brutality and barbarism.

There is no substitute for the word love. Love is stronger and richer than mercy. We do not say that a husband bestows mercy on his wife. We say he loves her. Likewise, we do not say (even when it is fitting to say) that a mother bestows her mercy on her children, but rather that she loves them. Love is a word rich with the meanings of sacrifice and giving. Love is a warm expression elevating human relationships to the highest summit of healthy growth. The Qur’an is empty of this word whether in its relationship to man or in the area of human relationships.

God (in the Qur’an) does not liken himself to a Father who loves His spiritual children, the believers, as stated in the Gospel, but rather as a fearful master. People are but mere slaves who must always live in fear of Him.

Now let us survey some Qur’anic verses and vivid samples from the lives of the most devout Muslim believers.

1. In chapter "The Believers" (: 60), we read the following:

"And those who give that which they give with hearts afraid because they are about to return unto their lord." 

Muhammad himself spared us the trouble of interpreting this verse because he himself explained it. In Baydawi (page 457), Jalalan (page 288), and in the "Kash-shaf" of the Zamakh-shari (part 3, page 192), we read:

"A’isha said, ‘O, apostle of God, is the one who is afraid of God the one who commits adultery, steals, drinks wine, thus he is afraid of punishment?’ Muhammad told her, ‘No, O daughter of Sedik, he is the one who prays, fasts and gives alms, thus he is afraid that God may not accept these things from him."’ 

We wonder where then is the sense of security and peace of mind. Where is the assurance and the guarantee concerning eternal life? How can peace fill the Muslim’s heart? How can his soul rejoice and his spirit be filled with joy if he does not know whether God is going to accept his acts of fasting, praying and his almsgiving or not? Therefore, all Muslims suffer from fear because whatever they do of good deeds, their hearts will constantly be subjected to fear, according to the Qur’anic text and the interpretation of Muhammad himself.

We do not find among the chapters of the Qur’an and their verses one clear verse which offers a life of joy. There is no love and joy. Of course, we do not hear melodies of rejoicing bursting out of the hearts and mouths of the Muslim worshippers who gather in the mosques, but rather you see grim faces, especially those who are the most devout and those who are the most acquainted with the fundamentals of their religion, the interpretation of the Qur’anic verses and Muhammad’s expositions. The reason is because they are not sure of what to expect after death. The future of their eternal life is obscure and their God does not guarantee them anything.

The first person we quote is Abu Bakr Al Sedik, who said that there is no certainty with God. Abu Bakr (the first Caliph) is regarded by all Muslims as one of the best Muslims if not the best. Even Muhammad acknowledged that Abu Bakr Al Sedik was the closest to him. Therefore, the Muslims elected him as caliph after the death of Muhammad. Abu Bakr always believed in Muhammad and in all that he uttered. He used to obey him blindly. When Muhammad suffered from a sickness which caused his death, he ordered Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayer. What did Abu Bakr Al Sedik say about God?

"I swear to God that I do not feel safe from God’s cunning (deceitfulness) even if one of my feet is already inside paradise" (refer to the successors of the Apostle, Khalid Muhammad Khalid, page 114). 

What a striking acknowledgment uttered by Abu Bakr the caliph of the Muslims and the father of A’isha, wife of Muhammad! "I do not feel safe from God’s cunning even if one of my feet is already inside paradise". Maybe God would deceive him and push that foot outside of paradise because He changed His mind. There is no other meaning of this statement. This is not surprising, O, Abu Bakr, because the God of Islam and Muhammad as well as of the Qur’an, as you well know, does not bestow on the believer any assurance concerning eternity. He is not at all the God of the Christian revelation whom we know and experience, enjoying His love—with whom we have a personal relationship based on spiritual love because He is our heavenly father.

When we ponder the life of both Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya and Hasan al-Basri who both are renowned among Muslim circles so that students used to come from all of the Islamic world to learn from them and to receive instruction, we find that both of them lived in fear of God. Dr. Su’ad ’Abdul-Razzak says:

"Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya asked al-Hasan al-Basri and said to him, ‘What does a scholar say when asked, "If I die and the people are called in the day of resurrection (to be divided in two groups), one group to go to paradise and the other to be sent to hell, in which group will I be?" He said to her, "This is concealed, and nobody knows what is concealed except God""’ (p. 44). 

On page 87, we also read that whenever death was mentioned in the presence of Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya, she would shiver and faint. On pages 84 and 85 of the same book, we read:

"Rabi’a al-’Adawiyya’s life bore the stamp of sadness and fear; and Hasan al-Basri was heading the group of the fearful devout. Sadness dominated his life. He increasingly (spent his time) in mourning. He made mourning a norm for all people. He used to believe that the Qur’an is the key to permanent sadness. He was accustomed to saying, ‘O, son of Adam, I swear to God, if you had read the Qur’an and believed in it, your sadness would have been prolonged, and your fear would have been stronger. You mourning in the world would have been excessive.’ The people of Basra said about him, ‘Every time we see him, he looks as if calamity has recently befallen him."’ 

We have to remember that al-Hasan al-Basri received his religious education from the companions (refer to "Itqan", part 4, page 21l). Those people understood Islam and they knew that the Qur’an is the key to abiding sadness. Whoever reads it and believes it will be subject to ever-increasing sadness, fear and mourning.

On the other hand, the word Gospel, which we will discuss later, means "glad tidings" and "good news" which makes people full of joy, happiness and abiding peace.

These are living examples drawn from the lives of Rabea al-’Adawiyya, al-Hasan al-Basri and Abu Bakr Al Sedik who said when resurrection, paradise, and hell were mentioned in his presence, "I wish I were a tree eaten by an animal; I wish I had never been born" (refer to Jalalan, page 45 1). This is the same Abu Bakr who remarked, "I do not feel safe from God’s cunning."

But, there is more than that about God in the Qur’an. God is depicted in the Qur’an as if He purposed the destruction of all people. He says, for example, "I indeed will fill hell with both people and jinn." In another verse, He indicates:

"And if your lord willed, all who are in the earth would have believed together" (Yunis: 99). 

On the other hand, the Gospel declares clearly that God does will that all people be saved. God is not the cause for the eternal damnation of any man. He does not will that. God forbid! The only reason for man’s eternal damnation is his own rebellious will and his unrepentant heart. This fact is repeated dozens of times in the Gospel.

This is contrary to the Qur’an which indicates that God does not will the salvation of all people. Had He willed it, then all who inhabited the earth would have believed in Him. Such a God is not the God whom Jesus Christ proclaimed to us.

In addition to the above, the Qur’an presents God to us a God who plots against man to destroy him. If you do not believe it, turn with me to the Qur’an to read a quotation from the "Chapter of the Isra" ("The Night Journey") 17:16:

"And when we would destroy a township, we send commandment to its folk who live a life of ease and afterwards they commit abomination therein, and so the word of doom has its effect and we annihilate with complete annihilation." 

The reader should notice that God did not eradicate the town because it was filled with so much wickedness that He found himself obliged to destroy it against His will. Rather the Compassionate, the Merciful God purposed and determined to annihilate it. Therefore, He laid down a very well planned plot. He ordered its sumptuous residents to live a licentious life, thus it becomes subject to damnation. He ordered its affluent residents to commit debauchery! What a holy order!

Lastly, we say that God has disclosed his heart’s desire when He referred to hell in the chapter Mariam: 71. He said, "Not one of you but will pass through it." People asked whether this verse refers to the wicked or includes all men; and what does the phrase ‘passing through it’ mean? In "Itqan" (part 4, page 237), the Suyuti tells us that Muhammad himself has answered this question and said:

"There is no righteous or debaucher who would not enter hell." 

We do not understand the reasoning which causes God to send even the righteous to hell. Then the verse continues, "But we (God) shall save those who guarded against evil."

Sheikh Kishk asserts Suyuti’s claim that Muhammad said that all people (the righteous and the debaucher) will "pass through it" or "enter it" (refer to "Legal Opinions", part 6, page 41). This is the God of the Qur’an, my dear reader. He is indeed a fearful God who cannot be trusted; who wills and plans to annihilate people to fill hell with them. He is a God with whom nobody can feel safe, even the most devout person (like Abu Bakr) lest He does not accept him as Muhammad said. This is the acknowledgment of many great Muslims who experience this fear in their relationship with God and according to what they understood from Muhammad and the Qur’an.

What a difference between this God and the God of the Gospel which was said of Him:

"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Third: Content of Paradise 

Since we have alluded to eternal life, it is appropriate to examine the image of paradise in the Qur’an. What did Muhammad say about Paradise? How it was depicted in the Qur’an in clear verses? Paradise in the Qur’an is a place full of beautiful women and seducing virgins, grapes, and pomegranates. Yes, it is a place filled with fruits, meats, wine and honey for everlasting feasts. Also its inhabitants wear silk and splendid clothes. This is the picture of paradise which is presented to us by the Qur’an, Muhammad, and most of the former and later Muslim scholars.

It is feasible here to cite one example from among the dozens of Qur’anic verses which give us an accurate description of the Qur’anic paradise (refer to the following chapters and verses: 47:15, 87:31-33, 56:35-37, 56:22-23, 36:55-56, 55:56, 37:41-49).

Of course, the expounders agree on the interpretation of these verses. Refer, for instance, to the Jalalan (page 328), or any other commentary you like. In chapters 68:31-33 and 55:56, we are presented with the houris, who are assigned to fulfill men’s sexual pleasures. These houris are always virgins. Their sexual relationship with men does not affect their virginity. Every time men approach them, they find them always virgins. Their breasts are not hanging down loose. They are always firm. They do not age beyond thirty-three years of age. They are white with black, wide, charming eyes. Their skin is smooth. Women who died old on earth will be re-created virgins for the enjoyment of men. Read the following commentaries—Al Glalan (p. 328, pp. 451-453, p. 499), Al Baydawy (pp. 710, 711, 781), Al Zumakhary (part 4, pp. 690,453, 459-462).

This is Muhammad’ s own description of Paradise (refer to the commentary of the Baydawi, pp. 710, 711 and 781; the Zamakh-shari in ‘Kash-shaf’, part 4, pp. 453, 459-462, and 690; and the Jalalan, pp. 451-453, 499). You may also refer to any other major commentary because all Muslim expositors re-iterate the same thing. But as we read chapter Yasin: 55-56, we encounter some strange and shameful matters:

"Lo those who merit Paradise this day are happily employed (working) they and their wives, in pleasant shade, on thrones reclining." 

Ibn ’Abbas himself acknowledged that their ‘business’ is to deflower the virgins (refer to Zamakh-shari, part 4, page 21; Jalalan, page 372, and "Women of the Paradise" by Muhammad Abu al-’Abbas, page 54). This is the mission of the believers in paradise.

Is it any wonder that many people embrace Islam seeking to enjoy this imaginary paradise by which Muhammad deceived the Arabs, thus they entered God’s religion by groups? Arabs sought this alluring life in the desert. They missed the fruit, pure water, fresh milk, beautiful white women whose skin is not browned by the heat of the desert sun. This is paradise as it is depicted in the Qur’an.

In his book, "Legal Opinions", Sheikh Sha’rawi exposed Islam and Muhammad when he said on page 36:

"The apostle of God was asked, ‘Will we have sexual intercourse in paradise?’ He said, ‘Yes, I swear by the One who holds my soul in His hand that it will be a vigorous intercourse, and as soon as the man departs from her (the houri) she will again become immaculate and virgin."’ 

On page 148, the Sha’rawi says:

"The apostle of God, Muhammad, said, ‘Every morning one hundred virgins will be (the portion) of each man."’ 

On page 448, he states that:

"The houris in paradise are white with big eyes." 

He also indicates on pp. 265 and 266:

"Her (the houri, the virgin) two breasts are like the cone; that is, they are not hanging loose." 

On page 191, the Sha’rawi says that if a woman got married to more than one man either because her husband died or she was divorced, she would be given the right in paradise to choose one of them. Yet a man in paradise has the right to have dozens of the houris. It is not a secret that the Lord Christ (to Him be all glory), when He was asked the same question, said:

"You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22). 

In his "Legal Opinions" (part 6, page 42), Sheikh Kishk remarks:

But in the case of the houris, they are a blessed favor from God bestowed on his servants who sincerely worshipped Him. They are added to the man’s believing women for his enjoyment, as the texts record. But concerning women, Muhammad said, ‘Any woman who believed in God and died before she was married, God will marry her to the best of the devout."’ 

When I singled out both Sheikh Sha’rawi and Sheikh Kishk, I did so because of their reputation as famous scholars whose knowledge in the fundamentals of Islam is highly recognized and trusted by millions of Muslims all around the world.

In his famous book, "The Women of The People of Paradise; their Classifications, and Beauty", Muhammad ’Ali Abu al-’Abbas (a contemporary Muslim scholar) wrote about one hundred pages in which he specified these matters in detail. This book is a current book published in 1987. The author encourages young men to be practicing Muslims in order to acquire all the available women in paradise, food, drinks, and clothes. On page 33, he himself says,

"We pray to God that He may grant us the pleasure of virgin women of paradise because the virgin has a sweeter mouth, and is more desirable in bed, than the deflowered woman."

On page 41, he says that Muhammad, the apostle of God, said:

"Every man of the people of paradise is given the power of a hundred men for eating, drinking, intercourse and sexual desire" (The Qurtubi in his book al-Tadhkira). 

He also said that the apostle of God indicated that:

"Whoever wears silk on earth will never wear it in eternity; and whoever drinks wine on earth will never drink it in eternity" (page 40, also al-Qurtubi in the al-Tadhkira). 

The Tirmadhi also mentioned (part 7, page 161 of his book) that the apostle of God said:

"The martyr will be married to seventy-two wives of the houris. He has the right to intercede for seventy of his relatives" (page 44). 

Muhammad, the apostle of God, was asked about the meaning of the Qur’ans words, "good dwellings in paradise of Eden." Muhammad replied, "The dwellings are palaces made of pearl. In each palace there are seventy mansions. In each mansion there are seventy houses. In each house there is a bed. On each bed there are seventy sheets of different colors. On each sheet there is a nymph wife (houri) and in each house there are seventy tables, and on each table there are seventy kinds of food" (Volume 4, page 537 of "The Revival of Religious Science"—The Ghazali).

These are quotations from Muhammad’s sayings and interpretations. No wonder, then, a Muslim wishes to fight against Christians and Jews (infidels) and die as a martyr in order to get married to seventy-two women.

In his Sahih (part 4, page 142; part 7, page 47, and part 9, page 50), the Bukhari records this incident in which Muhammad related to the Muslims that when he ascended to Paradise on the back of the Buraq, he saw a beautiful, young girl beside a palace. When he asked the angel about it, the angel answered, "The palace and the girl are for ’Umar ibn al-Khattab." Muhammad turned away because he remembered ’Umar’s jealousy toward his women. When Muhammad related this incident to his companions, ’Umar started to cry, saying, "Would I feel jealous of you 0, the apostle of God!" This is Muhammad who deceived his Arab people and promised them they would be rewarded with houris (refer also to Sahih of Muslim, volume 5).

Chapter Fourteen

Some Ordinances and Laws of the Qur’an and Islam

Pilgrimage Is A Pagan Practice

All Muslims agree that the practice of pilgrimage existed before the rise of Muhammad by hundreds of years. The people of Quraysh (along with pagan Arabs) were accustomed to celebrating the pilgrimage. Even Muhammad himself did so before he claimed to be a prophet. After he installed himself as the apostle of God, he and his followers continued to perform the pilgrimage’s rites with the polytheistic pagans. He did not change many things (refer to Jawami’ al-Sira al-Nabawiyya "Prophet’s Biography" by ibn Hazm, page 14. Also "Islam: A Creed and A Law" by the Imam Mahmud Shaltut, pp. 113-115).

Almost every major Islamic history book documents these facts. Even after the conquest of Mecca, the pilgrimage has become one of the pillars of Islam. Muhammad banned the Arab polytheists from the Hajj after the year of the conquest. They were given four months either to embrace Islam or be killed, as we stated in chapter one. After that, Muhammad made very slight changes in the ceremonial rituals of the pilgrimage although he destroyed all the idols of the Ka’ba. Yet Muhammad himself continued to practice many paganistic rituals. He did not abolish them nor reject them. That created some consternation among his followers who expected him to uproot these idolatrous rudiments.

 Some Pagan Rituals

Muslims continued to practice some of the pre-Islamic, pagan rituals such as running between the two hills of Safa and Marwa or kissing the Black Stone. In the first case, Arab polytheists were accustomed to running between the two hills to glorify the idols which they erected and called them Isaf and Na’ila. When Muhammad destroyed the idols, Muslims were ashamed to continue this practice, and asked Muhammad about it. Soon, he claimed that a Qur’anic verse was given to him in which this practice was re-ordained. On page 33, of his commentary, the Baydawi says this in the course of his interpretation of chapter 2:158. Muslim scholars generally agree with the Baydawi (the Jalalan, page 22, Zamakh-shari in his "Kash-shaf", part 1). The Bukhari, for instance, remarks:

"One of the companions said to Anas ibn Malik, ‘Did you use to hate running between the Safa and Marwa?’ He said, ‘Yes, because it was part of the pre-Islamic rituals until God gave Muhammad this verse and proclaimed that it was also one of God’s ceremonial rites"’ (refer to Sahih of al-Bukhari, volume 2, page 195). 

We also read in the Sahih of Muslim:

"Adherents of the prophet, (when) they were still in the pre-Islamic period, used to come up to visit two idols, Isaf and Na’ila, then they would go and run between Safa and Marwa, then they would have their hair cut. When Islam was established, they hated to run between them, but God sent down this verse (2:158), thus they ran (between them)" (refer to Sahih of Muslim, volume 3, page 411). 

Ibn ’Abbas himself said:

"The demons in the Jahiliyya used to circumnavigate all night around these two mountains. The idols (were erected) between them. When Islam came, they (Muslims) said, ‘O, apostle of God, we would never run between the Safa and Marwa because this is an unfavorable matter which we were accustomed to do in the Jahiliyya.’ Thus, God gave this verse" (refer to Asbab al-Nuzul by Suyuti, page 27). 

So, this "unfavorable matter" was strongly related to idolatry, but even so, Muhammad refused to abolish it and several Qur’anic verses were given to confirm it. Muhammad himself performed it and Muslims are still practicing it today.

The Kissing of the Black Stone

This famous meteorite is one of the Ka’ba’s stones. The idolatrous were accustomed to worshipping it and kissing it. When Islam was established, Muhammad did not abolish this practice, but rather he himself performed it and commanded his followers to do so, in spite of their surprise and objection. In his Sahih (part 2, page 183), al-Bukhari records a famous statement made by ’Umar ibn al-Khattab which demonstrates the confusion of the Muslims. The Bukhari says:

"When ’Umar ibn al-Khattab reached the Black Stone, he kissed it and said, ‘I know that you are a stone that does not hurt or benefit. If I had not seen the prophet kiss you, I would have not kissed you."’ 

All scholars (ancient and contemporary) confirm that this statement is uttered by ’Umar (refer to Sahih of Muslim, volume 3, page 406, and "Islam: A creed and a Law" by Imam Shaltut, page 122). It is well known that Muslim pilgrims jostle around to kiss it as Muhammad and his companions did before them. Because of such crowding, the pilgrims suffer a large number of serious casualties. Sheikh Sha’rawi says:

‘The kissing of the meteorite is a firm practice in Islamic law because Muhammad did it. You must not ask about the wisdom behind that because this rite is (an expression) of worship in spite of the obscurity of its wisdom" (refer to "Legal Opinions", part 3, page 167). 

This was his answer to the Muslim youths who asked, "What is the wisdom of kissing the meteorite?"

Other Rituals Of Pilgrimage  

To be brief, we state that in addition to the kissing of the meteorite and running between the Safa and Marwa, the Muslim pilgrim has to make the trip to mount ’Arafa. Hundreds of thousands attempt to climb this mountain, but many suffer hardship which results in many casualties because they hasten toward it in a disorderly manner as they do when they jostle around the meteorite. Climbing this mountain is one of the most important rituals of the pilgrimage. Even Muhammad used to say, "’Arafa is the Hajj (pilgrimage)." After that, they go to another mountain called the Muzdalifa. Then, on the tenth day of the pilgrimage, they go to Mina and they start casting pebbles. They also have their hair cut or shortened (having it cut is better) provided that the barber starts from the right side of the head, because Muhammad did so. After that, they slay their sheep. Some prefer to offer these sacrifices before the day of Mina because these sacrifices pile up in Mina. Some are forced to donate money instead of sacrificing sheep contrary to the advice of Muslim scholars who believe that such acts abolish one of the rudiments of the pilgrimage and create a dispute among Muslims. (Refer to "Rudiments of the Hajj" by Imam Shaltute; Sahih of the Bukhari, part 2, Sahih of Muslim, volume 3, and any other source about the rudiments of the Hajj.)

The Hajj (Pilgrimage) by Substitution  

This may invoke the surprise of the reader, yet it is true and confirmed by Muslim scholars who assert that Muhammad himself allowed the Hajj by substitution. In the Bukhari (part 2, page 163), it is recorded that a Muslim asked Muhammad if it is possible to make the pilgrimage in lieu of his father. He said to him, "Yes, make the pilgrimage in lieu of your father." In "Legal Opinions" of the Sheikh al-Sha’rawi, page 188, we read:

"A woman asked Muhammad the prophet if she could make the pilgrimage in lieu of her mother who died before she was able to make the pilgrimage. He said to her, ‘Yes, do so.’ He also allowed another man to make the pilgrimage in place of his relative whose name was Bashrama." 

When Sheikh Kishk was asked plaintively (part 3, page 113 of his "Legal Opinions"), "Is it admissible for (a man) to make the pilgrimage in lieu of either a dead or a living person?" He answered, "Yes, it is admissible." Therefore, the pilgrimage is not a personal worship, but an ordinance which a Muslim has to perform, or (in some cases) have performed for him. It is worthwhile to note that fasting, like pilgrimage, can be performed by substitution. Ibn ’Abbas relates that to us:

"A man came to the prophet and told him this story: ‘O apostle of God, my mother died without fulfilling her fasting, can I perform it in her place?’ The apostle of God asked him, ‘In your view, if your mother had a debt, would you pay it for her?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ The prophet told him, ‘The debt of God is more deserving of payment"’ (refer to ibn ’Abbas, by ’Abdul-’Aziz al-Sha nnawi, page 133). 

Fasting, then, is a mere ritual which a Muslim has to perform even after death!

In the above-mentioned book, Muhammad said that:

"The Black Stone was whiter than milk when it descended (from heaven) but, the sins of children of Adam have blackened it" (refer to page 142).

The Rewards Of Pilgrimage  

In the same previous source, ibn ’Abbas asserts that Muhammad used to say that the pilgrim who rides his animal on his way to Mecca, gains seventy merits for every step his animal makes. But, if he comes walking, he will gain seven hundred merits of the Sacred Mosque for every step he makes. It was asked of him, "What are the merits of the Sacred Mosque?" He answered, "Every merit is equal to one hundred thousand merits." We need not be surprised to see Muslims strive to perform the pilgrimage and compete to kiss the black stone or climb the mount of ’Arafa or to circumnavigate around the sacred sites of Mecca in order to obtain hundreds of thousands of merits which will wipe out their misdeeds.

 

Ablution and Prayer 

It is well known that every Muslim has to pray five times a day. These are memorized prayers and must be uttered in Arabic. Originally, according to the Islamic Hadith and the testimony of Muhammad himself, God intended to impose on Muhammad and his followers praying fifty times a day instead of five, but Moses warned him and urged him to go back and negotiate with God to reduce the number to five. God approved that in the end. This incident took place during the time of the Night Journey and the Ascension. Muhammad claimed that Gabriel the angel came to him and made him ride an animal called the Buraq (an animal between a donkey and a mule). It took him first to Jerusalem, then to heaven where he experienced many things, among them the reduction of the number of prayers.

Most Muslim scholars, early and late, believe that Muhammad experienced this supernatural event in flesh. A whole chapter was inspired in which the entire story was recorded. It tells us how Muhammad traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem in a few hours where he met all the prophets and led them in prayer, then he ascended to heaven on the back of this animal. Our main concern is to re-examine the story of the reduction of the number of daily prayers. This incident is recorded in all the reliable Islamic sources, among them, "The Prophetic Biography" by ibn Hisham (part 2, page 9), Al-Sira al-Halabiyya (volume 2, page 132), also in the Sahih of the Bukhari (part 1, page 98). The story tells us: 

"The apostle of God said, ‘Then I came back and passed by Moses who asked me, "How many times a day does God require you to pray?" I said fifty prayers a day. He said, "Prayers are a heavy (task) and your people are still weak. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to lighten for you and for your people." I returned and asked my Lord (to do so). This matter was repeated several times until (God) imposed five prayers a day. Then I went back to Moses who told me the same as before. I said to him, "I have already returned to Him (several times) and asked that. I am embarrassed before Him, thus I am not going to (go back to Him)." So anyone who performs these five prayers will have the reward of fifty prayers"’ (refer to ibn Hisham).

Ablution With Water Or Sand 

The Qur’an says:

"If you find not water then go to clean high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it" (5:6). 

Before every prayer, each Muslim has to perform his ablution with water; that is, he has to wash his hands, feet, face and ears. If he does not find water he must use sand ... yes, the sand of the desert. Don’t think this is a printing error! Without exception, all Muslim scholars confirm this because of that very famous incident which happened to A’isha, wife of Muhammad and led the angel to deliver verse 6 of chapter 5. We spoke of this story earlier.

We do not understand this command. Is it cleansing or dirtying? Is this the religion of purification as they claim? Yet, this practice is acknowledged by all Muslims, even a clear Qur’anic verse alluding to it. The Bukhari set aside an entire chapter to discuss it (refer to part 1, page 91). The prophet, as the Bukhari, tells us, used to plunge his hands in the sand or wipe his face and palms with it (refer to part 1, page 93), and ordered his followers to do the same. The same statement is found in the Sahih of Muslim (volume 1, page 663).

Indeed, ablution results in great reward, no matter if the ablution is performed with water or sand. Muhammad said: 

"Whoever performs the ablution, his sins will depart from his body, they even come out from under his nails, and his former and later iniquities are forgiven" (refer to the "Riyad of the Salihin" by Imam al-Nawawi as quoted from Sahih of Muslim, chapter "The Merits of Ablution," page 312).

The Ablution Spoiled and The Prayer Made Void  

This is a very important matter because it shows that prayer in Islam is not a personal relationship and a loving conversation between man and his God, as is manifested in Christianity. It is a mere ritual and the fulfillment of an order.

Would the reader imagine that if a Muslim has performed the rites of ablution and bathing and is almost through with his prayer that this prayer will be nullified and his remuneration will be taken away, if a donkey, or a dog or a woman passes in front of him? He has to bathe or to perform the ablution anew and to repeat the prayers. We wonder and ask, "What does it mean to have the prayer invalidated? Has his conversation with God been erased? Are not prayers a conversation with God, being in His holy presence in full submission of the heart and mind? What does it mean that he has to repeat his prayer? Are prayers just uttering memorized words, or are they heartfelt fellowship? What effect does a dog or a donkey or a woman have if any of them passes in front of the worshipper?"

Muhammad says that the prayer will be defiled and invalidated. We have already alluded in chapter two of this book to the references related to this subject in the context of our discussion of the status of women in Islam. We also stated A’isha’s answer to the prophet’s companions when they pointed to this issue after they vowed that they heard those words from the lips of Muhammad. She told them, "You have equated us with a dog and a donkey." Yet, what is significant for us here, is that prayers in Islam are external practice and not internal worship. They are outward bearing, not essence.

Muhammad assures us that there is another reason for nullifying the ablution, that is breaking wind. Can the reader imagine that? In his Sahih, the Bukhari assures us that Muhammad made these statements while he was talking about ablution (refer to part 1, page 46). He said: 

"The Apostle of God said, ‘God does not accept the prayer of one who breaks wind until he performs the ablution anew."’ 

We don’t see why some gases nullify ablution and prayer!

We have already mentioned that anyone who touches a woman’s hand after ablution, has to perform it again even if he spent five minutes in carrying out this ritual. 

Certain Times In Which Prayer Is Forbidden  

Muhammad forbade Muslims from praying to God at sunrise or sunset, that is, from dawn until sunrise or afternoon until sunset. If you ask for the reason, the prophet of the Muslims tells you, "Satan at this time brings his head closer to the sun so those prostrate to it become infidels." All these strange things are confirmed by Muhammad’s followers (refer to Sahih of Muslim, volume 2, pp. 476-486 under the title, "The Times in which Praying is Forbidden").

We do not understand these things because Christ taught us in the Gospel that we ought to pray all the time. Also we read, "Pray without ceasing." It is permissible for the believer to pray anytime he wishes. He can enter his own room and close the door to pray to his Heavenly Father as Christ commanded us. Yet, Muhammad forbade the Muslims to pray at particular times such as sunrise or sunset because Satan brings his head close to the sun during these times! 

Reward And Punishment Regarding Friday Praying  

One Friday, Muhammad was addressing the Muslims. A caravan of camels arrived from Syria and most of the audience left him except for twelve men. Thus, a Qur’anic verse was given which says, "Whenever they had (an opportunity) for trade or entertainment, they hastened to it and left you standing alone" (refer to Sahih of Muslim, volume 2, page 514). Thus, Muhammad promised many great rewards for those who pray the Friday prayer. Ibn ’Abbas quotes Muhammad as saying:

"Bathing on Friday atones for sins, and walking to the mosque (on Friday) is like working twenty years. If the Muslim completes the Friday prayer, he will receive a reward equal to one hundred years of work" (refer to ibn ’Abbas by ’Abdul-’Aziz al-Shannawi, page 121). 

What a strange claim !

It is also recorded in Sahih of Muslim, volume 2, page 510: 

"Whoever performed the ablution, then attended the Friday prayers and listened (to the sermon), all his sins he would commit between that Friday and the following Friday would be forgiven including three more days." 

What an easy way to obtain forgiveness!

But the one who neglects prayers is regarded as an apostate, and must be killed if he does not repent as we mentioned in chapter one. This is related to us by Muslim scholars such as ibn Hazm, ibn Timiyya, Imam al-Shafi’i and Malik, on the authority of Muhammad who said so. But Imam Abu Hanifa, who was more merciful than the rest, said, "He must not be killed, but should be beaten and thrown in jail until he prays, otherwise, he must be continuously beaten until he prays even if his beating results in his unintentional death." In regard to this subject, the Azhar scholars have published many important statements ascribed to Muhammad in the Egyptian Magazine, "The Liwa’ al-Islami", issue of 12/31/1987. They claim that Muhammad said: 

"The one who neglects to pray will die thirsty, hungry, humiliated and his grave will become so narrow that it will press his ribs tight until they break. A snake called the ‘Bald Brave’ will be set on him to beat him in the grave until he plunges into the ground seventy cubits. Then, (the snake) will pull him by his face to the fire of hell." 

Are these not meaningless words uttered by Muhammad? 

The irony is that these great scholars have believed and accepted these claims. Yet, what makes it worse is that the one who abandons his prayers is subject to death, or in the best case, he will be beaten and jailed. Some scholars quoted Muhammad, saying: 

"Whoever neglects part of the prayer will complete them after his death on a mountain of fire."

 

Some Statutes And Penalties Of Islamic Law

The Penalty Of The Thief  

Islamic law is very clear about this crime. It says that a thief’s hand must be cut off. This sentence is based on an explicit Qur’anic text which says:

"As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah." (Refer to chapter "The Table": 38.) 

All legists confirm that Muhammad has endorsed this penalty. They all quote his statement:

"A hand is cut off if he steals (anything) that costs one-fourth of a dinar and over. May God curse the thief. If he steals an egg, his hand must be cut off, or if he steals a rope, his hand must be cut off" (refer to Sahih of the Bukhari, part 8, pp. 199-201). 

On these same pages, the Bukhari assures us that A’isha, Muhammad’s wife, and the rest of his companions have said that Muhammad used to cut off a thief’s hand if he stole a shield which cost three dirhams (refer to Sahih of Muslim, volume 4, page 258 and on; ibn Timiyya, volume 8, page 331, ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Zad of al-Ma’ad, part 5, page 49; The Baydawi, page 149; The Jalalan, page 93, and the Zamakh-shari in the Kash-shaf, part 1, page 612).

The Azhar scholars have been very explicit about this. In "The Statute of Legal Penalties", we turn to page 5 to read: 

"A person found guilty of theft shall be punishable as follows: 1 - amputation of the right hand for the first offense, 2 - amputation of the left foot for the second offense, 3 -imprisonment till the time of evident repentance for subsequent offenses." 

On the same page, the Azhar scholars remark that there are cases in which the penalty is not to be carried out. These cases are:

"When theft occurs in a public place during its hours of activity or in a place to which the culprit had free access unless stolen property is found in his possession." 

In his book, "Zad of the Ma’ad" (part S, page 50), ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya says that the embezzler and the thief who steals fruit are not subject to the penalty of the Islamic law. He adds that Muhammad had commanded that they drop the penalty against them.

There are two illogical elements in this Islamic law concerning the penalty of the thief.

Muhammad’s claim that the embezzler or the thief who robs public property, are not subject to the penalty, is meaningless. There is no law in any country of the world which endorses such an unjust, irrational, and illogical statement. Why should an embezzler not be punished? We do not find any answer for that.

Why should a father not be punished if he robs his son? It is possible that the son is a diligent person who is responsible for his wife and children while his father is a reckless and extravagant man who wastes his money on his own pleasures. Why then should he and other relatives who rob their own kin, not be punished? When Muhammad said to someone, "You and your property belong to your father," he was stating a meaningless verdict because each person lives an independent life and has his own distinctive entity.

What about the larceny of the public property? It is evident that the thief must be punished. This is the opinion of the Imam Malik, but all other scholars disagree with him on the basis of Muhammad’s deeds and sayings. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya tells us that Muhammad issued an order in which he dropped the penalty against the plunderer, the embezzler, and the traitor of the trust (refer to part 5, page 50).

Obviously, the relentlessness of Islamic law and Muhammad’s attitude are evident. Is it reasonable that a man’s hand is not worth more than a quarter of a dinar, or three dirhams, or an egg? Would it not be more fair that the punishment be in proportion to the crime? Should Muhammad cut off the hand of a man whether he steals an egg or a shield? What logic or sensible person would accept that? Is it fair that a person be disabled to work or to be productive and inflicted with a permanent handicap because of such a simple matter? Also, does he have the right to replace it with an artificial hand or not? Contemporary scholars disagree on this problem.

More than that, it was Muhammad’s habit to cut off the thief’s hand and to hang it around his neck to make an example of him, to humiliate him, and as a warning to other people (refer to ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in Zad of al-Ma’ad, part 5, pp. 52, 56). Ibn al-Jawziyya also mentioned that Muhammad ordered the death of a thief after he stole for the fifth time (part 5, page 56).

 Moving Stories  

The following famous moving stories are recorded by most Muslim scholars. One is a story of a woman who was accustomed to borrowing things and failing to return them. So, Muhammad cut off her hand in spite of the intercession of his companions (refer to the Bukhari, part 8, page 199). Another story related by the majority of the scholars who said:

"A man stole the gown of Safwan while he was in the mosque. Safwan, who was one of Muhammad’s famous companions, arrested him and brought him to Muhammad. Muhammad ordered his hand to be cut off. Safwan shouted with surprise, ‘Because of my gown you cut off his hand? I give it to him free.’ Muhammad said to him, ‘That would only have been possible before you brought him to me.’ Muhammad ordered his hand to be cut off immediately" (refer to ibn Timiyya, volume 28, page 311; ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, part 5, page 51 of Zad of the Ma’ad). 

Is it fair, then, after Safwan has given up his gown and presented it to the thief as a gift, that Muhammad still cut off the thief’s hand instead of reducing his punishment? What does it matter if Safwan did that before he brought the thief to Muhammad or afterward? He waived his right, what more is needed? If someone claims that this is God’s right and the cutting off of the hand is a must, then the question is, why did Muhammad tell Safwan that waiving of punishment would have been possible before he brought him before Muhammad? What eccentric behavior!

If somebody steals a gown or an egg, they cut off his hand, but the one who loots public property and embezzles the state’s treasury is not subjected to the punishment. This is iniquitous law devoid of rationale and fairness! 

Other Strange Things  

Islam allows the beating of the accused, if he acts suspiciously. Muhammad himself whipped and jailed a defendant before the charge was proven true against him (refer to ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, part 5, page 56). Such a practice is left in the hands of the plaintiff who decides whether to request the whipping of the suspect or not. But if the plaintiff demanded the beating of the suspect and it was proven that he was innocent, then the plaintiff (the owner of the stolen property) would be beaten. Muhammad himself did so and told the accusers, "If you wish me to beat them (the suspects), I will do so, and if your property is found with them, then let it be. Otherwise, I will flog your backs as I flogged their backs." They asked him, "Is this your verdict?" He said, "(It is) God’s verdict and His apostle’s" (refer to ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, part 5, pp. 52, 53, under the title, "Testing the Suspect by Beating Him’).

We do not believe that this is God’s decree as Muhammad claims because God does not punish a man before he is proven guilty. Neither God nor a free, just society would accept this. Such abuse is the reason behind the torture inflicted on the defendants in the Arabic and Islamic countries in order to force them to confess to crimes they never committed. What an intolerant law, an unforgiving religion ... and an unmerciful prophet! 

The Drunkard  

The punishment of the drunkard is to be flogged forty times, and to be killed if he is arrested drunk for the fourth time. This is according to Islamic law and to actions and sayings of Muhammad. In the book of "A Proposal For The Law Of Legal Penalties" which was published by the Azhar (page 27), we read:

"Whipping is approved by a saying of the prophet, peace be on him, narrated by Abu Daud and others, ‘Whip those who drink wine."’ 

This same book describes (page 8) the flogging procedure as follows:

"The punishment of whipping shall be inflicted by means of a knotless whip of medium length and a single tip after stripping the convict of such clothing as may prevent pain to the body. Strokes must be divided all over the body; regarding women, the strokes may only be on her back and shoulders." 

It is very evident that the Islamic Tradition has a significant role in the implementation of Islamic Law since it records all the sayings and the deeds of Muhammad. It explained, interpreted and demonstrated some essential elements of worship which the Qur’an either did not deal with, or was brief. Because of its role, the Hadith’s books (Sahih of Bukhari, Sahih of Muslim and other books which collected or recorded the Islamic Tradition) occupy a very important place in Islam. Most of these traditions are handed down to us by Muhammad’s companions, his wives—A’isha in particular—as well as others who lived around Muhammad.

Without the information we obtain from the Traditions, it would be impossible to construct a detailed system of worship, procedure of pilgrimage, list of unlawful food, or laws of inheritance. Many of the religious penalties, such as the punishment of the drunkard, the punishment of the married adulterer, are not mentioned in the Qur’an but uttered by Muhammad (refer to the "History of the Islamic Law" by Dr. Ahmad Shalabi, pp. 142-153). Dr. Shalabi asserts that the Islamic Tradition is a basic source of Islamic law, not because it explains new ordinances which are not mentioned in the Qur’an only, but also because in it Muhammad expounded the Qur’anic verses and the reasons for their revelation. All contemporary scholars agree with Dr. Shalabi.

Let us now examine the implementation of the penal code on the drunkard as it is recorded in the Sahih of the Bukhari which is regarded by all scholars as the most important book about Islamic Tradition. 

Beating with Brutality and Savagery  

In his book, part 8, pp. 196, 197, the Bukhari says:

"The prophet’s custom was to beat the drunkard with palm branches and sandals. When a drunkard was brought to him, he ordered his companions to beat him with their hands, sandals and robes. One of Muhammad’s companions by the name of al-Sa’ib ibn Yazid says, ‘We used to bring the drunkard before the apostle of God and during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and in the first stage of the caliphate of ’Umar, and we would beat him with our hands, sandals and robes. During the last part of ’Umar’s caliphate, he ordered us to flog him eighty times"’ (refer to ibn Timiyya, volume 28, page 336; and the book of the Sunna and its Significance, by Dr. M. Yusuf, page 29).

What brutality to see Muhammad and his followers rise against the drunkard to beat him altogether at the same time with their sandals and hands with the poor man agonizing in the middle. Later, during the last days of ’Umar, the penalty of the drunkard was eighty lashes and not forty. Likewise, ’Ali ibn Abi Talib sometimes used to lash the drunkard either forty times or eighty. It is no secret that Muhammad really did whip anyone who drank even a drop of any intoxicating drink. Yes, even one drop! This was confirmed by all the scholars when Muhammad was asked about wine as a medicine. He said, "No, it is its own malady and can never be a remedy" (refer to ibn Timiyya, volume 28, page 339, and Sahih of Muslim, volume 4, page 666).

More Than Flogging  

This is true, because Muhammad said, "If someone drinks wine, lash him, if he drinks again, lash him, if he drinks for the third time, lash him, but if he drinks for the fourth time, kill him" (refer to ibn Timiyya, volume 28, page 336).

On page 347, ibn Timiyya tells us that: 

"Some people came to Muhammad and told him, ‘We use a drink made of wheat to protect us against the cold of our country.’ Muhammad said, ‘If it intoxicates (you), shun it.’ He was told that the people would not relinquish it. Muhammad said, ‘If they do not relinquish it, then kill them."’ 

So, the penalty was (and still is) to lash and even kill anyone who drinks any intoxicating drink, even if it is used moderately or in a small amount as a protection against cold.

What a law! If somebody steals an egg or anything which costs a quarter of a dinar, they cut off his hand. If that is repeated for five times, they kill him. If someone drinks even one drop of wine, they brutally beat him with sandals, palm branches, and hands. If he repeats that four times, they kill him.

Despite that they tell us this is the justice and the wisdom of Islamic law. They also tell us that Islam is the religion of forgiveness, and Muhammad is the prophet of mercy. Can we believe that the one who hangs the amputated hand of the thief around his neck, then orders his followers to parade him around, is the prophet of mercy? Such an act makes our bodies quiver, our souls feel disgusted and our free consciences rebel, especially if the defendant was punished before he was proven guilty as Muhammad said and did.

Section Four

Chapter Fifteen

Facts About Christianity

One God, The Holy Trinity

A Christian is one who believes in one God who has no equal in glory or in authority.

It is natural to believe in one God since the universe itself has no need except for one, almighty, omniscient God, the God of love and justice. In fact, Christ confirmed that God is one God and so did all the disciples and apostles who wrote the New Testament books as they were moved by God’s Holy Spirit. Christ said, "The Lord is one" in Mark 12:29. James, the apostle, said, "You believe that there is one God. You do well" (James 2:19), and Paul, the apostle, said, "For there is one God" (I Tim. 2:5). There are clear evidences of the oneness of God in Christianity.

As to the subject of the Trinity, it is a different issue that does not contradict or disprove the fact of the absolute oneness of God since the Trinity explains and clarifies the nature of this oneness of God. It is impossible to believe that the oneness of God is an abstract as is the oneness of material things such as a pen or a chair. It is certain that the oneness of God is a universal, comprehensive oneness.

Regarding the number, it is absolutely sure that our God is one with no partner and no one equal to Him. God can never be three gods or the third of three gods, God forbid. This one God is alive in His Holy Spirit and not dead. He is speaking in His Word (Logos) and reasoning in His Wisdom. Christ is called, "The Word of God" (John 1) and "The Wisdom of God" (Proverbs 8). The fact that man himself is a body, a reasoning soul, and a spirit does not disprove that he is one and not three! Just so, God is one but He has a Spirit and a mind; i.e., understanding and wisdom.

In fact, the existence of this one God is of His own doing; i.e., spontaneous—that is why we call him "The Father". He is alive in His own Spirit who is called "The Holy Spirit". This great one God is reasoning in His Wisdom and speaking in His Word who is called "The Son." "The Trinity" is 1 x 1 x 1 and not 1 + 1 + 1.

 

What Does The Term " Son Of God" Mean?

As Christians, we say that Christ is God the Son and this expression has a simple, spiritual meaning (not a carnal, physical one) since it is impossible to conceive that God has a wife. God chose to incarnate Himself in Jesus who said, "A body You have prepared for Me" (Heb. 10:5). The expression, "Son of God", means that Christ shares the spiritual nature and character of God.

It is obvious that Christ led an absolutely perfect life, which is why no one can object to the statement that Christ has the character and nature of God. As evidenced early, Christ never sinned, has never yielded to the temptations of Satan, nor has God ever said to Him, "I have taken away your sins that have bent your back" as Muhammad claimed that God said to him.

In addition to that, He was born of a virgin and He ascended to heaven as the living Lord. What a wonderful life is His! Moreover, His life was unusually great and His miracles were amazingly wrought. His authority extended even to the realm of nature as it was claimed in the Qur’an in the Table Surah 5:110 (Al-Maeda) that Christ created birds out of clay; i.e., a living creature. Here, Muhammad inadvertently witnesses to the deity of Christ, for who can create but God Himself? This is a special characteristic limited to God alone since God is the only creator. This is Christ and this is the meaning of Christ, the "Son of God."

New Birth and Highest Moral Standard for Life

In Christianity, you will discover wonderful doctrines and principles that at first seem to be unusual and difficult to understand, yet you will discover later on how simple and practical they are. One who believes in these precious doctrines and principles and submits himself completely into the hands of God will have a wonderful, exciting experience called, "being born again" (John 3 :1-18). His heart will also be filled with inner power as well as real joy and peace, and consequently he will experience a personal, living relationship with God as he discovers the meaning of his own life. No longer will he need to be frightened of eternity that comes after this short life is over now. Death becomes "gain" as Paul the Apostle said in Philippians 1:21.

Referring to Christ, the Gospel says,

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).

Christianity teaches that when one becomes a child of God, he experiences the new birth and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So, in the new birth, God implants anew nature into the inner being of man, a nature which man has never had before. In addition, God sends His Spirit to indwell man’s heart as he receives Christ into his life. In fact, one needs to accept Christ as the incarnate Word of God who died on the cross to save him from sins and ascended to heaven. Such a relationship with God is man’s dire need.

In order to have spiritual union, fellowship and love between man and his God, we must have God’s Holy Spirit who is the agent of the new birth. Moreover, the Holy Spirit gives us inner power and leads us into a life of joy and happiness as well as a life of knowing God personally, not as a master but as a father. Assurance of eternal life after death is a gift of the Holy Spirit to the believing heart. It is difficult to describe all the spiritual and psychological blessings which one will experience as a result of belief in the God of Christian revelation—accepting Christ as personal Savior. May the reader experience all these blessings.

In Christianity, God gives man everything. His indwelling Holy Spirit embraces him in a wonderful way even to the extent of total union between God and man in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17). As a matter of fact, God in Christianity is not a remote, silent God but He is a caring, loving God who united Himself with us through Jesus Christ. Christ is known as the Son of God as well as the Son of Man. In taking on "the likeness of men" (Phil 2:7), He became fully man and fully God. Through His Spirit, man is able to experience a glorious life and every day, he can enjoy personal, inner fellowship with God, man’s heavenly Father.

Day after day as he grows in grace and knowledge, the Christian experiences more power in his life and becomes able to express and convey love to all those around him. The life of holiness and purity becomes his normal pattern of life as well as having genuine love and inexpressible joy, even amidst all situations and hardships (II Peter 1:3,4).

 

The Cross

In fact, the cross is not merely a historic event but it is the purpose for which Christ came to our world as He mentioned frequently, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28). So, the cross is the key to understanding the books of the Old Testament which are full of prophecies about the cross which were written thousands of years before Christ—such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

It is well known that David’s psalms and the Pentateuch were available to many people in different parts of the world long before the coming of Christ. In Christ, the prophecies were fulfilled, including all those concerning His crucifixion.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). 

The cross is the evidence that God loves us and without the cross, we would not have comprehended the meaning of love or recognized its standard which is to sacrifice for those whom we love (Gal. 5:22-25). Without the cross, there would be no perfect example to teach us the great meaning of sacrificial living.

Not only do we have forgiveness for our sins in the cross since Christ redeemed us and was punished for us, but we also have power to enable us to lead a life of wonderful ideals. The Bible says,

"Knowing this that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Rom. 6:6). 

The "old man" is that sinful nature within us which is inclined to selfishness, egocentricity as well as deviation from God’s love. It is only in the cross that one can experience victory over this "old man", a corrupted heart and a sin-driven soul.

Because He is God and man, our old nature was crucified with Him, and we are enabled to experience victory. Jesus was crucified as a man like us for He had identified Himself with our humanity So we died in Him and we rose with Him as the Bible says,

Moreover, the Bible teaches us that we are seated with Him in heavenly places. What a wonderful high position it is! Therefore, our behavior and conduct must be heavenly (Col. 3:1-10).

These are profound truths of Christianity which proclaim that the loving God indwells us and empowers us in our daily life. Thus, our spiritual desires are fulfilled as a result of our union with God (Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:16). What more does one need than union with God, receiving God’s Holy Spirit, and being filled with Him?

My friends, in Christianity God has given us everything, even His own Spirit (II Peter 1:3,4). We need only to open our hearts to God’s wonderful love which was manifested to us when He came to our world in the person of Jesus Christ, accomplished our redemption; indwelling, enabling, and empowering us through His Holy Spirit, equipping us through His Word. Anyone who knows who God really is, will offer himself to God to enjoy being present in the bosom of the loving Father—the God of love, tenderness and compassion

Verses From the Bible

It is time now for us to conclude this book with verses from the Bible so that the reader may realize that there is no other book deeper or sweeter than the Bible. The Bible is the sole and only revelation of God in our world. Unlike all other books, the Bible has spread to all parts of the world in all the languages of mankind.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

"For God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). 

"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9).

 Peace, Joy and Pleasure Are Found in God 

"In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). 

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10).

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:4-7). 

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2). 

A Life of Love 

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:43-45).

"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (I Jn. 3:16, 18). 

Prayer and Fasting 

"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the comers of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door. pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matt. 6:5,6).

"When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting" (Matt. 6:16). 

A Life of Holiness

"As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy"’ (I Peter 1:15,16).

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). 

"Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). 

"The women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation" (I Tim. 2:9).

God’s Providence 

"The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt. 10:30).

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake" Psalm 23: 1-3).

With these words of this beautiful psalm, we conclude this book. May God bless you.

 

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THE PENTATEUCH

GENESIS ---EXODUS--- LEVITICUS 1.1-7.38 --- 8.1-11.47 --- 12.1-16.34--- 17.1-27.34--- NUMBERS 1-10--- 11-19--- 20-36--- DEUTERONOMY 1.1-4.44 --- 4.45-11.32 --- 12.1-29.1--- 29.2-34.12 --- THE BOOK OF JOSHUA --- THE BOOK OF JUDGES --- PSALMS 1-17--- ECCLESIASTES --- ISAIAH 1-5 --- 6-12 --- 13-23 --- 24-27 --- 28-35 --- 36-39 --- 40-48 --- 49-55--- 56-66--- EZEKIEL --- DANIEL 1-7 ---DANIEL 8-12 ---

NAHUM--- HABAKKUK---ZEPHANIAH ---ZECHARIAH --- THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW ---THE GOSPEL OF MARK--- THE GOSPEL OF LUKE --- THE GOSPEL OF JOHN --- THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES --- 1 CORINTHIANS 1-7 --- 8-16 --- 2 CORINTHIANS 1-7 --- 8-13 -- -GALATIANS --- EPHESIANS --- COLOSSIANS --- 1 THESSALONIANS --- 2 THESSALONIANS --- 1 TIMOTHY --- 2 TIMOTHY --- TITUS --- HEBREWS 1-6 --- 7-10 --- 11-13 --- JAMES --- JOHN'S LETTERS --- REVELATION

--- THE GOSPELS 1