Part 1: The Gist Of The Matter
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CHAPTER III:"PRODUCE YOUR PROOF"
"Not A Blind Emotional Argument"
Strangely, although the Qur’an which Islam claims as ‘the Word of Allah’ challenges others, "Produce your proof if you are truthful" (Q2:111), it is only the last group cited above, the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, who even acknowledge that it is not enough for Islam itself to simply make verbal claims, but that such claims must also be upheld by "a rational proof for the validity of the text, not a blind emotional argument". The context of this statement makes it quite clear just how vitally important this is:
"Throughout history, there have been messengers and prophets, men sent from the Creator, bringing laws and revelation on how man should conduct his life. They were given miracles which proved to mankind that they were bringing revelation. A miracle is something which goes against the laws of nature. For example Prophet Musa (Moses) had a stick which parted the Red Sea. Prophet Isa (Jesus) had the ability to cure the sick by just touching them.
The miracles performed by the above prophets were only miracles for that specific period of time. But how do we know these messengers existed or that such miracles really occurred? In fact, how do we know that they are not just legends or fables?
Thus such events are not proof for us because they cannot be validated by themselves. So, what miracle do we have right now to convince the mind and guide man through his life?
There are many texts available today claiming divine status from God. But is the guidance contained in them in its original form ...?Any text claiming to be divine must not contain contradictions, discrepancies or adulterations since this would question the perfection of God and the validity of the text. If we apply this acid test to these ‘divine books’, we find that none except the Qur’an fulfill the above criteria.
Many religions contain aspects of the same truth (since messengers have come to each nation) but this truth has been tampered with by man. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the Word of God. Muslims believe that ... it has kept its authenticity, i.e. nothing has been removed or added to it by any man since it was revealed.
But as we could not believe in the Creator, God (Allah [swt]), until we become intellectually convinced, similarly the ‘divine’ message must be examined and proved. There needs to exist a rational proof for the validity of the text, not a blind emotional argument." (The Islamic Belief, ibid.; emphasis added)
The perceived ‘perfection’ of the Qur’anic text is thus held up as the "Proof’ that the Qur’an alone is the Truth. No follower of Islam would dispute the fact that this means the Arabic text of the Qur’an, not a mere
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translation into another language 1.
And,so we find Mr. Deedat sneering under the heading, "Demand For Proof" where he states:
"When confronted by the extravagant and conflicting claims of the Jews and the Christians and their exclusive rights to salvation, Allah subha nahu wa-ta aala commands us to demand for proof. He says SAY: "PRODUCE YOUR PROOF IF YE BUT SPEAK THE TRUTH". And they have produced the only proof they have; in over fifteen hundred languages! Eleven different dialects of the Bible for the Arab’s alone! Are we going to swallow them hook line and sinker? No! It is presupposed that when Allah commands us to demand for proof, that we would be in a position to analyse the proof, once it is produced. Otherwise, it makes no sense to demand for proof; it would be nonsense!" (Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction, Ahmed Deedat, p. 6; emphasis added)
Indeed, the followers of Islam often cite Q2:111 "Produce your proof if you are truthful.", as their 'Divine prerogative' to demand ‘Proof’ of others! And what kind of ‘Proof’ does Mr. Deedat demand? He, as the other followers of Islam just cited, has no time for the slightest textual imperfection:
"They [Christians] now boast of being in possession of over 5000 "originals" of which no two "originals" are identical. Amazing!", and, "The "cultists" are now claiming 24 thousand Manuscripts; to which of course the same stricture will apply."(Crucifixion..., p. 7, 25; emphasis added).
But, since it is Islam’s claim that the ‘Proof’ that the knowledge of salvation is with it is that it possess a perfect Book, we must agree with Mr. Deedat’s final conclusion that "it is nonsense" not to "analyse the proof" when claims such as this are made. And so we must accept the Qur’an’s challenges, even though the followers of Islam are confident of their ‘Proof’:
"’The Book’? Yes, the "BOOK" itself, carries its own evidence proving its Divine Authorship. Study the Book from any angle. Scrutinize it. Why not take up the Author’s challenge if your doubts are genuine?"(Al-Qur’an The Miracle of Miracles, Ahmed Deedat, p. 11)
Again we find:
"...more important perhaps from modern day’s way of thinking, are the manuscripts of the Qur’an dating back to the family members and the Companions of the Holy Prophet. There is the copy of the Qur’an which was used by the 3rd Khalif; there are the Qur’ans written by Hadrat Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.), Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) and Imam Ali Raza (a.s.). And all of them have the same text, same arrangement of Ayats and Suras, as we have today. This is proof, apart from all other proofs, is enough to show that the Qur’an has reached us in the same
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form in which it left by the Holy Prophet." (Qur’an and Hadith, Seyyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, chief Shi’a missionary of Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania, p. 36; emphasis added).
"In other words: two of the copies of the Qur’an which were originally prepared in the time of Caliph `Uthman, are still available to us today and their texts and arrangement can be compared, by anyone who cares to, with any other copy of the Qur’an, be it in print or handwriting, from any place or period of time. They will be found to be identical."(Von Denffer, Ulum al-Qur’an, p.64; emphasis added)
And the followers of Islam while maintaining they possess an abundance of ‘proof’ for Islam’s "purity and truthfulness" accuse others of deliberately making "falsehood appear true":
"CHRISTIANITY: MEN WITHOUT RELIGION"; "A Muslim never lacks proofs about the purity and truthfulness of his religion...Christianity is men without religion; yet, by their endeavour, adventurous spirit, patience and monetary contributions they are able to falsify truth and make falsehood appear true.". (The Noble Qur’an, 1995, notes by Dr.M.T. Hilali, p.1181; emphasis added)
Obviously, we will be looking for the ‘Proof’ that Islam is free of such ‘guilt’ and that indeed:
"...of all religious systems, Islam alone can successfully stand the test of unbiased criticism."(Islam at the Crossroads, M. Asad, 1934/1975, p. 76)
However, in direct opposition to what has been claimed by the aforementioned followers of Islam, and as if to confirm the greatest fear of every follower of Islam, ibn Khaldun, whom Von Denffer quotes and mentions as "Ibn Khaldun (d. 809H/1406), the well-known author of the muqaddima" (Ulum, p. 75), has, in that very same writing, documented some examples of problems with the Qur’an and stated clearly where such problems originated:
"Arabic writing at the beginning of Islam was, therefore, not of the best quality nor of the greatest accuracy and excellence. It was not (even) of medium quality, because the Arabs possessed the savage desert attitude and were not familiar with crafts.
One may compare what happened to the orthography of the Qur’an on account of this situation. The men around Muhammad wrote the Qur’an in their own script which, was not of a firmly established, good quality. Most of the letters were in contradiction to the orthography required by persons versed in the craft of writing.... Consequently, (the Qur’anic orthography of the men around Muhammad was followed and became established, and the scholars acquainted with it have called
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attention to passages where (this is noticeable).
No attention should be paid in this connection with those incompetent (scholars) that (the men around Muhammad) knew well the art of writing and that the alleged discrepancies between their writing and the principles of orthography are not discrepancies, as has been alleged, but have a reason. For instance, they explain the addition of the alif in la ‘adhbahannahU "I shall indeed slaughter him" as indication that the slaughtering did not take place ( lA ‘adhbahannahU ). The addition of the ya in bi-ayydin "with hands (power)," they explain as an indication that the divine power is perfect. There are similar things based on nothing but purely arbitrary assumptions. The only reason that caused them to (assume such things) is their belief that (their explanations) would free the men around Muhammad from the suspicion of deficiency, in the sense that they were not able to write well. They think that good writing is perfection. Thus, they do not admit the fact that the men around Muhammad were deficient in writing." (Muqqadimah, ibn Khaldun, vol. 2, p.382).
In another place ibn Khaldun explains in a kinder fashion these same, and other evidences for the inability of Muhammad’s scribes:
"The Qur’an contains many letters that are used differently than is usual in writing. There is, for instance, the addition of the y in bi-ayydin "with hands (power)"; the addition of the alif inla ‘adhbahannahU"I shall indeed slaughter him", and in wa-la’-’awda’U"and indeed they would walk swiftly"; the addition of the w in jazA’uw-z-zalimIna"the sinners’ reward"; and the omission of the alif in some places and not in others. Then, there are the t’s that are written in the Qur’an with the letter t, while they should be written with the h with two dots over it, and other things." (Muqaddimah, p. 442)
Muhammad’s scribes couldn’t write properly and so they not only made ‘mistakes’ in the Arabic texts, but the texts actually say "NO" when they should say "YES"?!
Then one couldn’t think for a moment that men who couldn’t write well would only make a couple of spelling mistakes. And indeed, as we will see, they did not. This is obviously why a man like Von Denffer is so reluctant to write more than a few lines on the topic of ‘Some Peculiarities of the Ancient Writing’ (see Ulum, p. 60), and footnotes our next article.
In full agreement with ibn Khaldun, Muhammad Hamidullah, the modern, world-renowned Islamic scholar known to virtually every Sunni,has published the following admission, only one of many revelations about the Qur’an. Strangely, it is cited by one of the most vocal among the first quotations, Von Denffer (Ulum, p. 60, ft.6), whose book is faithfully distributed by I.P.C.I.. Hamidullah’s article was published in the land of the ‘blasphemy law’, Pakistan in 1981 and openly declares the absence of 'the Divine Hand' on the Arabic of the Qur'an:
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"In pre-Islamic days there was no uniformity in employing this superfluous letter [alif] at the end of certain plural forms, and its traces are found in the Qur’an, where it is sometimes added to the singular also where it was not necessary, and omitted in the plural where it was necessary according to the rule in vogue. But, as said, a "sign of silence" is marked wherever it occurs in the Qur’an, and the absence in case of necessity has no bearing on the subject we are treating, viz., how to read correctly." (p. 77)
These are admissions of further errors in the ‘original’ Arabic Qur’an! What then of Islam’s ‘Proof’ of a ‘perfect’ Qur’an?
Although Hamidullah has not mentioned it in the main body of his text, he later provides examples to confirm what ibn Khaldun has written, that, among other things, in the ‘original’ perfect Arabic Qur’an, sometimes the text says ‘NO’ when it should be ‘YES’!
Hamidullah even claims that the reverse can also be found;
"Lastly I must bring into relief the case of the word la ( ), which in four or five cases is only l ( ) without the final alif. The word la means no, and the word l means certainly. It is horrible to think when it is meant "the believers certainly shall assemble unto God" and "the unbelievers certainly shall assemble in the hell", and the unfortunate ignorant reader unintentionally says "not" instead of "certainly". We will point out these passages in our second list" (Orthographical Peculiarities In The Text Of The Qur’an, M. Hamidullah, Islamic Order (Karachi), Vol. 3, no. 4, 1981, p.78; article received from Islamic Foundation U.K. as per citation in Ulum al-Qur’an, p.60; emphasis added).
While it is traditional for Islam to defend itself with simply the statement, "this does not represent the ‘ijm (concensus)", it will be apparent to anyone who examines Islam’s own evidence, that Islamic scholars have admitted these matters from the beginning. As we will also see, those cited above are not alone in what they have documented. They are not rebels but realists.
They belong in the same category as those scholars who documented the discrepancies between the ‘copies’ of Caliph `Uthman:
"Abu Amr states that he received the following revelation from Katada as-Sadusi: "When the first copy of the Qur’an was written out and presented to [the khalif] Othman Ibn Affan, he said: ‘There are faults of language in it, and let the Arabs of the desert rectify them with their tongues." (Biographical Dictionary, Ibn Khallikan, p. 401)
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The Early Arabic Script
Almost everyone in Islam acknowledges the extreme incompleteness of the written Arabic language at the time of Muhammad. As Ahmad Von Denffer states it:
"The script used in the seventh century, i.e. during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, consisted of very basic symbols, which expressed only the consonantal structure of a word, and even that with much ambiguity. While today letters such as ba, ta, tha, ya, are easily distinguished by points, this was not so in the early days..." (Ulum, p.57)
M. Hamidullah also states:
"When the Meccans, probably the first in Arabic, introduced a script for their language, importing it from Hira, as the tradition goes, on the eve of Islam, this script was crude and extremely defective. So much so that 22 out of 28 letters of the alphabet were always uncertain. To wit, if b, t, th, n, y, (i m q ã í) were written exactly alike - since there were no dots on them which now distinguish them -- so were j, h, and kh (u y ?), d and dh (sic) (Arabic letters), r and z (Arabic letters), s and sh (Arabic letters), peculiarly Arabic s and z (sic.) (Arabic letters), t and z (Arabic letters), `a and gh (Arabic letters) and f and q (Arabic letters). Further, Arabic script has got the longer vowels (aa, ee, oo), but not the shorter vowels (a, i, u) in the alphabet. The result is that a trilateral word could be pronounced in as many as 69 different ways; for instance, they wrote BDR (Arabic), and pronounced badr, bidr, budr, badar, bidar, budar, badran, badrin, badrun, etc. What is terrible in all this is that in the last three possibilities, badran meant "to a full moon", badrin "with a full moon", and badrun "a full moon has..." How can, for instance, "God has said," "one said to God" and "one asked the help of God" be alike, yet in the Arabic script, when the final vowel is not marked (allahu, allaha, allahi), it is impossible to say whether the word "Allah" is in nominative case or accusative or else. The constitution of the Arabic words and the inflexions add to the difficulty: mundireen () means "those who warn, i.e., the prophets", and mundhareen (), which is written alike, and in the absence of the marking of the vocalization sign it is impossible to distinguish, means "those who have been warned, i.e., the infidels".
The early Arabs guessed and deciphred (sic.) as best they could even as we decipher a peculiarly bad handwriting when we master the language, although there will yet be no comparison between the difficulties of both these categories.
This was on the eve of Islam. When Islam came things had to change for the better, yet only gradually."
(Orthographical Peculiarities in the Text of the Qur’an, M. Hamidullah, Islamic Order, Vol. 3, no. 4, 1981, p. 73; copy received from Islamic Foundation U.K., Leicester; emphasis added)
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12simple consonantal symbols, and, as can be seen, 9 of them were symbols representing 22 of the entire 28 letters between them. One represented 5 consonants, another 4 consonants, and the other seven represented 2 consonants each. The other 3 were symbols that were used to produce ‘long vowels’, namely consonantal symbols alif (A= aa), waw (U = oo), and ya ( I = ee). Obviously, any written text would have constituted only a very basic consonantal symbol outline.2
It is with such an understanding that we examine the Qur’an, its history and its claims.
1/ Yet, Islam does not weigh others in this way, for, usually it considers it sufficient to refer to the various English translations of the Bible as its ‘Proof’ because it is convenient that its followers know enough English that they can confirm that the English wording is slightly different! Yet even Islam has such variations in its English translations.
For example, we find the following English ‘versions’ of Q16:93, not only giving different wording, but altering the very Divine attributes:
Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation is; "If God so willed , He could make you all one People: But He leaves straying Whom He pleases, and He guides Whom He pleases: but ye Shall certainly be called to account For all your actions."
M. Pickthall translates it; "Had Allah willed He could have made you all one nation, but He sendeth whom He will astray and He guideth whom He will, and ye will indeed be asked of what ye used to do." Von Denffer even declares of Yusuf Ali’s English translation, "this book is of mixed value, since the translation is a little far from the text." (Ulum, p. 147). We need not cite more examples as the point is obvious.
2/ For those who have no access to an Arabic al phabet, and the accompanying transliteration of those letters that is in general use, and will accompany some of our examples, we reproduced what is found in Qur’anic Arabic by M. I. Surty (see at right).
Not everyone uses the identical transliteration. For example Hamidullah uses ‘aa’ for long ‘a’, ‘ee’ for long ‘i’, and ‘oo’ for long ‘u’.
Also as we examine the Hafs and Warsh texts it will become obvious that the Warsh text uses a slightly differing diacritical dot notation for certain consonants. For example while Surty’s (the normal) table notes ‘q’ as having 2 dots above the symbol, the Warsh text uses 1 dot above. This makes it complicated in that the 1 dot above is ‘normally’ indicative of the letter ‘f’, but in the Warsh text ‘f’ has 1 dot underneath the symbol. It omits also the ‘stem’ of the letter sad.
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