Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conspiracy Against the Quranic Text

Chapter From the book "Conspiracies against the Qur'an" by Dr. Sayed Abdul Wadud)

"Nay but it (the Quran) is indeed a message of instruction. Therefore let whoso will, keep it in rememberance that it is in papers held in great honour, exalted (in dignity), kept pure and holy, (written) by the hands of scribes, honourable, pious and just." (80:11-16)

"It is for us to assemble it and to promulgate it. And when we have promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated). Nay more, it is for us to explain it." (75:17-19)

"We have without doubt, sent down the message and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption.)" (15:9)

"Or do they say, 'he has forged it'? Say: "Bring then a Sura like unto it, or call (to your aid) any one you can, besides God, if you are truthful." (10:38)

Certain aspects of the conspiracies against the Quran described in the previous pages require further elucidation in the light of the Quranic teachings. One such conspiracy, as stated earlier, was about the very words of the Quran. This was an attempt to shake the Muslim belief that the words of the Quran and their sequence remained unchanged since they were revealed to the last messenger of God. Thus a propaganda was let loose to the effect that Muhammad did not leave the Quran with his followers in its present form and that the words of the Quran have been changing during the first century A.H.: and that some of the verses which were originally present in the Quran are no more there; and that some of the verses that are now present in the Quranic text, have been abrogated: and that because Muhammad himself did not know reading and writing it is not certain if the scribes, to whom he dictated, took notes correctly.

The basis of the Islamic social order, is the conviction that the code of life we received through Muhammad and which was meant to channelise the human activities in the right direction, is from God and God alone. A slight deviation from this belief razes the whole structure of the Islamic social order to ground. We Muslims, also believe that revelation came to Moses and Jesus Christ, the messengers of God, which basically brought the same message as is given in the Quran; On the other hand, we believe that the Quran remains absolutely unaltered. From beginning to end, it is exactly the same as it was revealed to Muhammad. If any-body has the slightest doubt about it, it no more remains the basis of 'Deen' (the Islamic social order) with him. Thus the conspiracy to create doubts about the Quranic words and their sequence was most pernicious. Let us recall our earlier statement that the non-Arab nations, who inspite of their overwhelming material superiority could not stand against the Arabian Muslims in the battle-field, decided to change their strategy. They apparently came into the fold of Islam but in fact they used their conversion as a means to shake Muslim conviction in the Quranic truth. Thus they succeeded in introducing a belief that 'Deen' (Islamic social order) is contained not only inside the Quran but also outside it. So it became easy to change the entire concept of the basic teachings of the Quran. They took advantage of the Muslim's love and devotion to their Rasool and introduced the idea that the Ahadis attributed to him are at par with the Quran. Having done that, they based the information regarding the sequence and the mode of assemblage of the Quranic verses on Ahadis. This paved the way to forge statements about the Quranic words and their sequence, although Allah took upon Himself the safety of the Quran.

Now let us examine dispassionately if it is possible to hold such Ahadis as genuine. We shall first describe the relevant Ahadis and then examine in the light of the Quran how far these are true. There is a book entitled "Kitab al Masahif" , written by Hafiz Abu Bakr Abdullah Ibne-Abi Daud Suleman Ibe-e-Ashat Sajistani, in which all traditions dealing with the compilation of the Quran are collected. This is used as a standard book of reference in this respect. The Ahadis quoted below are taken from this book.

(Contradictory and fictitious traditions about the subject)

That the Quran was compiled not by the Rasool himself but by Zaid Bin Sabit under instructions from Hazart Abu Bakr Siddiq:

Tradition (1) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Zaid Bin Sabit, on his own authority - When Ahl-e-Yammama were murdered in large number s Abu Bakr Siddiq (1st caliph) sent for me (Zaid). Omar was also there. Abu Bakr Siddique said that Qarees (those who learn Quran by heart) have been murdered in an enormously large number and it is feared that the Quran shall become extinct. I would advise that the Quran be compiled early. I replied that how could I do a thing which the Rasool himself did not do. But they continued insisting upon it till I agreed. Thus I began a search for the Quranic verses written on places of paper, on stones, on dried leaves of date-palm and also searched for those people who had learnt it by heart, until only one verse, which the Rasool often used to recite, was left and that was also found later.

Tradition (2) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Urwa Ibn Zubair, on his own authority, that when a large number of Q'areez were murdered, Abu Bakr Siddiq feared the loss of the Quran. He thus asked Omar and Zaud bin Sabit to sit at the door of the mosque and collect the Quranic verses from anybody who could produce two witnesses each in support their being genuine.

Tradition (3) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Abd Khair, on his own authority, that he heard Hazrat Ali saying that blessed be Abu Bakr Siddiq who assembled the Quranic verses.

The Quran was assembled by Abu Bakr Siddiq himself and Zaid Bin S'abit had only a second reading on it:

Tradition (4) Imam Ibn Abi Daood, relates from S'alam and Kharja, on his own authority, that Abu Bakr Siddiq had assembled the Quran on papers himself and had requested Zaid Bin S'abit to have a second reading on it. Zaid refused but he agreed on the insistence of Omar. The scriptures thus compiled remained with Hazart Abu Bakr Siddiq till his death, the possession being succeeded by Omar till he died, and again by Hafsa (wife of the Rasool and daughter of Omar). Osman, when he became Caliph, sent for the scriptures but Hafsa first refused to part with but later agreed on the promise that they shall be returned to her. Thus Osman returned the scriptures after he got them copied. These remained with Hafsa until Marwan, in his time, got them burnt.

The compilation of the Quran started by Hazrat Omar (not by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq) and completed by Osman (III Caliph).

Tradition (5) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Yahya bin Abdur Rahman bin Hatab that Omar (II Caliph), determined to assemble the Quran, ordered all those who kept with them the Quranic verses which were earlier collected by them from the Rasool, to produce such verses before him based on evidence of two witnesses each. Thus he gathered all those pieces of papers, stones, wooden plates and date-palm leaves on which the Quran was written. Omar left the task of compilation of the Quran incomplete when he died and it was thus taken over by Osman (III Caliph) who followed the routine of his predecessor. During this period Khazima Ibn S'abit challenged Osman that he had missed two verses and these were ultimately taken over.

Alleged Differences on the Quranic Text during the Caliphate of Osman-

Tradition (6) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Yazdi bi Moaviya, on his own authority, a story that Abu Musa Ash ari and Abdulla bin Masood read the following Quranic verse diffenently - One reading as "wa atimu ul hajja wal umrata lil bayt" and the other reading as "wa atimu ul hajja wal umrata lilah" (2:196)

Abdulla Bin Masood disagreed with the appointment of Zaid bin S'abit as the scribe of the Quran.

Tradition (7) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Ibrahim Nakhie, on his own authority that Osman ordered the destruction of all Quranic versions except his own. On this Abdullah bin Masood said, "O people! Hide the versions of the Quran that you posess because any-body who hides it, shall bring it along with him on the day of judgemnet."

Tradition (8) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Abdulla bin Atba that Abdulla bin Masood disagreed with the appointment of Zaid bin S'abit as the scribe of the Quran and said, "O believers! I am being kept away from the task of scribing the Quranic text and this responsibility is entrusted to a person who was not even born to his infidel father at the time of my coming into the fold of Islam.

Just imagine the type of behaviour attributed to the companions of the Rasool whom the Quran describes as "rahuma-u-baynahum" (48:29) kind and affectionate towards one another.

Tradition (9) Imam Ibn Daood relates from Ibn Shahab Zahri in conjunction with Ans Ibn Malik Ansari that when Syrian and Iraqi Muslims met each other in the battle of Azarbijan and Armenia, differences arose in the respective versions of the Quranic text that the two people rehearsed and there was a danger of conflict between them. Hazifa Ibn Aliman Informed Caliph Osman that he heard that differences are likely to arise amongst the Muslims, regarding the Quranic text, like the ones present amongst the Jews and Christians regarding their own scriptures. Osman got perturbed over it and sent for the script which was written by Zaid bin S'abit under instructions from Abu Bakr Siddiq and got it copied for circulation in various parts of the country. But when Marwan became the chief of Madina, he sent for the same script from Hafsa with the intention of burning it so as to avoid differences amongst the Muslims. Hafsa refused to hand over but the task of burning was completed after the death of Hafsa.

How was the Quran compiled during the days of Caliph Osman

Tradition (10) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates, on his own authority, from Ayub who related from Abu Qalaba, that during the period of caliphate of Osman teachers of Quran differed from each other in the Quranic text, and the differences were thus carried to the pupils, so much so that Muslims began to call each other infidels on account of these differences. Osman warned them against this practice and advised them to unite on one version. Thus on very difference that arose, Osman often sent for a certain person who, he remembered, had collected the disputed verse from the Rasool directly. And on occasions, when such a person was away at some far off place, Osman noted the preceding and the following verses, leaving blank space for the disputed verse, which was filled up on his arrival. After the task was completed. Osman ordered the destruction of all other versions except the one compiled by himself.

The readers may please keep an eye on the contradictory statements and the suspicions that are being created, one after the other, regarding the Quranic text.

Tradition (11) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Masaab Ibn Saad, on his own authority, that Osman felt concerned on the people expressing doubts on the Quranic text only after 13 years of the death of the Rasool. He thus ordered them to braing to him all that they possessed regarding the Quran. They brought pieces of papers and hides on which the Quran was written. After the lot was collected. Osman sat inside inviting men individually, each stating each stating on oath that the material produced by him was the one collected by him from the Rasool directly. After the completion of this task, he enquired as to who was the best scribe amongst them and who was the person who knew the Arabic language best? They named Zaid bin S'abit and Saeed bin 'Aas respectively. Osman, thus, ordered Saeed to dictate and Zaid to write it down. This completed version of the Quran was criculated amongst the people.

The sequence of the Quranic verses was set by Osman.

Tradition (12) Imam Ibn Daood Relates from Ibn Abbas, on his own authority that he pointed out to Osman as to why did he place Sura 'Baraat' with Sura 'Anfal'. Osman replied that he thought Sura 'baraat' was a part of Sura 'Anfal', and that is why he (Ibn Abbas) did not point it out during the life time of the Rasool that it was not a part of Sura 'Anfal'.

Tradition (13) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from Abdul A'ala bin Abdulla bin Abdulla bin 'Aamir Qarshi, on his own authority, that after the script was completed Osman complemented his people by saying, "You have done well but there are some linguistic mistakes left but these the Arabs can correct themselves."

How fantastic that even after this some mistakes were left which Osman ignored.

Tradition (14) Imam Ibn Abi Daood relates from 'Akrama Tai, in his own authority, that when the script, after compilation, was brought before Osman, he noticed certain mistakes in it and remarked that if the one who dictated was from Banu Hanzil tribe and the scribe was from Banu Saqif tribe, these mistakes would not have occurred.

Tradition (15) It is related from Saeed Ibn Jabeer that there are four words which are not correct in the Quran:

1- "As-sabi-oona" (5:69) 2- "wal muqeemina" (4:62) 3- "fa assadaqa wa akun min as saliheen" (63:10) 4- "inna hazzane la sahiraane" (20:13)

Tradition (16) Urwa said that when he pointed out to Hazrat Aisha (Wife of the Rasool) about the four mistakes pointed out above, she replied, "My nephew! It is the scribes who made these mistakes."

Tradition (17) Zubair Ibn Khalid asked Aban Ibn Osman about certain verse and he replied that it had been wrongly written by te scribes.

Tradition (18) Khalid Ibn Ays bin Sakhra Abi Aljaham relates that he read the script compiled by Osman and pointed out to him that it differs from the scripts possessed by the people of Madina at 12 different points. In order to remove this difficulty Osman got prepared copies of his own version for distribution, but this also could not serve the purpose because as Imam Ibn Abi Daood has mentioned, on his own authority, that even the scripts which were copied for despatching to different cities were different from each other at several hundred points. Not even that, Imam Ibn Abi Daood points out that these differences were present not only during the lifetime of the Rasool but even after that and that the present script of the Quran is the one finally corrected by Hajaj Ibn Yousaf who made amendments in Osman's script at eleven places.

In short, these traditions tell us that the present version of the Quran that we possess today was neither compiled by the Rasool nor by his companions but it is the one finally amended by Hajaj Ibn Yousuf about a century after the death of the Rasool. This was the period when traditions began to be recorded. The crux of the whole matter is that the conspiracy wants to assert that the Quranic text and the Ahadis are both at par with each other, as far as their care, recording and finalisation is concerned, and if the purity and authenticty of the traditions is doubtful, the same may be said about the Quranic text. The conspiracy wants to impress that the present Quranic text is not the one dictated by the Rasool himself but, rather, it is the one finally corrected by Hajaj Ibn Yousaf.

This is only a brief extract from the book "Kitab al Masahif" written by Abu Bakr Abdullah Ibn Abi Daood of Baghdad (230-316 A.H.) who was held in great esteem by the traditionalists, the people and the Government of Baghdad. How far the traditions quoted above vary and contradict each other is apparent. That the Quran was compiled by Zaid bin S'abit under instructions from Abu Bakr siddiq (1st Caliph); that Abu Bakr Siddiq assembled himself and Zaid bin S'abit had a second look over it; that the assemblage of te Quran was started by Omar (II Caliph) and completed by Osman (III Caliph); that it was assembled during the caliphate of Osman only, by Zaid bin S'abit; that the sequence of the Quranic verses was arranged by Osman himself and so on.

All these self-contradictory traditions are attributed to the companions of the Rasool who, according to the Quran, were the most truthful people. One can well imagine the poison these traditions can inject into the minds of the readers against the Quran and how much suspicion they can raise against its purity and integrity. If such traditions are relied upon there is no difference left between the Quran and the present versions of torah and Bible which we believe are not in their original forms as revealed to Moses and Jesus Christ respectively. On the basis of these traditions, the non-Muslim Orientalists ask us today to explain as to how could the Quran be called a safe and unaltered book. Thus a learrned orientalist, Arthur Jaffery has collected all such diverse and contradictory traditions regarding the compilation of the Quran in his book entitled, Material for the History of the text of the Quran. He has particularly mentioned that it may not be taken in the spirit that his book has been compiled by a non-Muslim. The authority for it, he said, is no less than the famous book "Kitab al Masahif". Thus he has tried to challenge our claim that the Quran we possess today is exactly the same that was revealed to Muhammad.

This particular conspiracy against the Quran by the non-Arabs is very unfortunate indeed but fortunately the Quran itself stands as a witness against it and is sufficient by itself to explode the myth of this conspiracy. Still more unfortunate is the fact that our Mulla is holding these traditions as a sacred trust. When it is said that such traditions cannot form part of the basis of our 'Deen' because they were not given to Muslims by the Rasool, in the form of a safely compiled book, the reply comes from Mulla that the same is the case with the Quran, so that the Ahadis and the Quran are at par with each other as far as their safety and integrity is concerned. But, on the other hand, the verses of the Quran are so explicit, so logical and so dynamic that no argument by Mulla or anybody else can stand against it.

Now let us examine how far the Quran itself throws light on the subject under discussion-

The Quran has laid great stress on writing. The permanent records of speech can be kept only in a written form because the spoken words when uttered are lost for ever like the breath which carried them. As the divine message was to spread far and wide through time and space, and the message was not carried to individual human beings, written speech formed the nucleus for te spread of human knowledge and even by other messengers of God long before him. How much emphasis the Quran laid on writing is apparent from the fact that the very first revelation the came to Muhammad was in the following words:

"Proclaim that your sustainer is the bestower of greatness; He Who taught the
use of Pen; taught man that which he knew not." (96:3-5)

Again it is said:

"We bring into evidence the pen and that which they write." (68:1)

How much importance the Quran gave to writing and how freely the writing of documents was in practice during the period of quranic revelation is apparent from the following verse;

"O you who believel when you deal with each other in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing." (2:282)

It is further said in the same verse:

"Disdain not to reduce in writing (you contract) for a specific period, whether it be small or big." (2:282)

It can readily be inferred from the above that when it is not allowed to leave in doubt the matters related to ordinary mutual transactions, how could the writing of the Quran, the final message for the guidance of mankind, be ignored. That is why the first revelation that came to Muhammad impressed upon him the importance of reducing the verbal message into writing.

About the non-believers the Quran says:

"Or is it that the unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down." (68:47)

The verse points out that the unseen is not within the knowledge of non-believers otherwise they could have written it down for their own guidance or for the guidance of others, as was being done in the case of Quran.

Secondly it is far from expectation that Muhammad did not learn writing after the first revelation instructed him to do so. In fact it is clear from the verse that follows that he remained unlettered only as long as the revelation did not come to him:

qablihi min kita_biw wa la_ tahut tuhu_ biyaminika izal lar ta_bal mubtilu_n

"And you were not able to recite a book before this (revelation), nor were you able to transcribe one with your right hand: in that case indeed those who follow falsehood have doubted." (29:48)

The word in this verse is significant which means "before this revelation came." Thus the Quran has put the record straight that Muhammad could read and write after the start of revelation.

Next comes the Quranic evidence that Muhammad himself used to write the revealed verses which he then dictated to others. Thus it is said:

ak tatabaha_ fahiya tumla_ alaihi bukrataw wa asila

"And they (non-believers) say (these are) the tales of the ancients which he (Muhammad) has written down and which are dictated before him morning and evening." (25:5)

Here the word "aktatab" is significant which means "to take notes especially when a second person is dictating."

Moreover the practice of keeping written records of revelation started centuries before the Quran was revealed. To reduce the verbal divine message into writing was not a new thing to start with.

Thus the Quran says:

"Mankind was one single nation and God sent messengers with glad tiding and warnings and with them He sent the book in truth, to judge between people in matters they differed." (2:213)

"We sent our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the book and the balance." (57:25)

"And when there came to them a messenger from God confirming what was with them, a party of the people of the book, threw away the book of God (Quran) behind their backs, as if it had been something they did not know." (2:101)

The holy Quran has used the word 'book' for itself at so many places. Scattered written sheets of paper are never called a book. A book is a treatise written on a number of sheets which are fastened together. After 'Sura Fateha' the opening chapter, the Quranic text begins with the following verse-

"Here is the book, in it there is no ambiguity, uncertainty or psychological complex. It is a guidance to those who save themselves from the consequences of going against the Divine laws." (2:1)

At hundreds of other places the Quran has called itself a book in different contexts. The Quran is a book which is a collection of various "Sura" chapters. Thus in support of the truth contained therein, the Quran challenges the vain-glorious opponents of Muhammad who doubted the revelation of the Quran and said that he (Muhammad) composed the verses himself, in the following words:

'Or do they say, "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Sura like onto it." (10:38)

"Or they may say, "He forged it". Say, "Bring you then ten Suras forged like unto it." (11:13)

Again it is repeated:

""Say: "If the whole of mankind both civilised and uncivilised were to gather together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." (17:88)

Thus the whole world is challenged to produce a book like this and it has not been able to produce one. Its beauty, standard and purity is a proof by itself that it is a book revealed by Allah and compiled by one to whom it was revealed.

The Quran is a book which was not only written but also rehearsed side by side with its gradual descent. Thus it is said:

"Recite from the book what has been revealed to you." (29:45)

"And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the book of thy Rabb: None can change His words." (18:27)

But in spite of all this, when the non-believers persisted in their opposition to the Quran, they were questioned in the following words:

"Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to thee the book which is rehearsed to them?" (29:51)

Again it is said:

"Or have you a book through which you learn?" (68:37)

It clearly indicates that Quran is a book which was written and compiled side by side with its revelation and that Muhammad and his companions used to read the book. The non-believers were asked whether they also get a revelation like this and whether they also write it down and then rehearse as is done by Muhammad and his companions. This also indicates that the verses of the book had a regular order and sequence, so thay could be rehearsed by the Rasool and his followers.

The Quran was composed in the from of a book which was absolutely safe from corruption and invention:

"Furthermore I call to witness the location of the heavenly bodies and that indeed is a mighty witness if you but know that this is indeed the Quran, which benefits humanity by raising its stature without lowering its dignity, in a book well guarded which none shall touch (or be benefited) but those who are clean (in body, mind, thought and attention); a revelation from the Sustainer of the universe." (56:75-80)

The sociological laws given to mankind through the messengers of God are the reflections of the fundamental laws that govern the organization of all matter at all levels which indicates that the law-giving authority is One. The stars follow courses, exactly computed, which are controlled by laws that are immutable.

So are the laws contained in the holy Quran for the guidance of mankind immutable, and if followed, produce results which never change. Thus the Quran is preserved in the form of a book which lies absolutely safe since it was revealed. But only those people can be benefited by it who have a clean and unbiased mind, free from prejudice and fixed notions.

Material used by Muhammad for writing the Quran-

The Quran points out that the book, the exactness of which is compared above with the controlled movement of the stars, was recorded by Muhammad and his companions, not on places of stones, nor on date-palm leaves, nor on pices of bones but on parchment paper.

In the verses given below five things are produced as a witness to support the truth that the way of life followed by non-believers shall bring destruction, and one of these five things is the Quran written on parchment scroll. Thus it is said:

Wa kita_bim mastu_r Fir raq qim manshu_r Wal baitil ma mu_r Was saqfil marfu_Wal bahril masju_r In na aza_ba rab bika lawa_qi

"By the mount (of Revelation), by the book inscribed on parchment unfolded, by the much-frequented house (Kaba), by the canopy of outer space raised high, by the ocean filled with swell; Verity, the doom of thy Lord will indeed come to pass." (52:1-7)

So far we have learnt from the verses described above that the Quran was present with Muhammad in the form of a written book, in a specific order and sequence, and that is was written on a parchment scroll.

The holy Quran describes further the distinctive marks of the scribes who used to write the Quran in the presence of Muhammad. Thus it is said:

"Look! This Quran is indeed a message of instruction, therefore let whoso will keep it in remembrance that it is in papers held in great honour, exalted (in dignity), kept pure and holy, (written) by the hands of scribes, honourable, pious and just." (80:11-16)

It is abundantly clear from the above verses that the Quran was dictated, as soon as it is was revealed to Muhammad, to the scribes who were honourable, pious and just. Thus the question of any addition, alteration or invention does not arise. This process of dictation, from the original text kept by Muhammad himself, continued day and night. How could it be possible, otherwise, for a book to remain a code of life for all future generations of mankind.

The practice of learning the Quran by heart was prevalent during the days of Muhammad and still continues from the last 14 centuries:-

We learn from the above description that the Quran laid great stress on writing and that the Rasool and his companions were devoted to the practice of recording the revealed message. But if we cast a glance at the history of the world and the revolution that took place in the past, we learn how the great treasures of knowledge had been destroyed. The Christians had the Bible in written form. The Jews took pain keep the Torah well protected, so much so that a copy if it was kept locked up in a box which was held in great honour. But the invasion of Bakht Nasr and the onslaught of Romans deprived both the people of their sacred books for ever. Similarly the great Egyptian civilization was razed to the ground by the Greeks. Thus even to keep the record of knowledge in written form is not enough. It becomes still more safe if certain thing is also learned by heart in succession. Both these safeguards for the preservation of knowledge, combined together, assure the greatest measure of safety.

We noticed above the measures adopted by the Rasool and his companions for keeping the written record of the Quran. Now let us turn the other aspect i.e. the learning of the Quran by heart. The Rasool was intructed, in the very begining of the period of revelation, in the following words:

"O the creature of harmony and single mindedness in the ranks of your followers! Stand (to prayer) by night, but not all night; half of it or a little less, or a little more and recite the Quran in slow well arranged and integrated stages (so as to enable your companions to follow closely its sequences, deep meaning, significance, beauty proportion.)" (73:1-4)

Though it was the Rasool who was given this instruction in particular, in fact it was meant for the whole Muslim community who faithfully followed this practice. But as the volume of the Quranic text gradully increased and at the same time the responsibilities for the establishment and maintenance of Islamic Social Order increased, it was no longer possible to recite the whole of the Quran every night. So the Divine instructions for the recitation of the Quran were modified. Thus it is said in the last verses of the above -said chapter:

"Your Cherisher and Sustainer knows that you stand forth (to prayer) nigh two - thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night and so does a party of your companions. But Allah apoints the measures of day and night, and he knows that you are unable to keep count thereof. So He has turned to you (in benevolence): read you, therefore, of the Quran as much as may be easy for you." (73:20)

But history tells us that the practice of recitation of the whole of the Quran in one night continued and stills continues especially during the holy month of Ramazan. The result is that the learning of the Quran by heart has remained the practice amongst the Muslims for the last fourteen centuries. The number of 'Haffaz' (those who learned the Quran by heart) has been and is by no means small in every part of the Muslim population all over the wold. Thus it is said:

"Nay, this Quran is a collection of explicit verses contained in the hearts of those endowed with knowledge." (29:49)

There is yet another aspect of the Quran worth mentioning. The sequence of the Quranic verses and their assemblage in the form of a book were instructed by Allah by means of revelation:

"Move not thy tongue (concerning the Quran) to make haste therewith. (Rest assure) it is for Us to assemble it and to promulgate it. And when We hve promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated). Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear)." (75:16-19)

Here it is impressed upon the Rasool not to be impatient in reciting a message before the revelation is firmly grasped by him, because Allah took upon Himself the collection, the correct recital and the explanation of the Quran.

Now let us recount the facts gathered so far, from the Quran itself, regarding the safety of the Quran-

1. In the very first revelation to Muhammed, the importance of writing was impressed upon him, as a written document is much more authentic and beyond suspicion.

2. Muhammed remained unlettered only till the time revelation came to him.

3. After the start of revelation, Muhammed used to dictate the revealed verses to his companions immediately after they were revealed and this become a regular practice.

4. The Quran has called itself a book at scores of places and it is apparent that scattered leaves are not called a book.

5. The Quran is a collection of various chapters.

6. The copies of Quran were present with the Muslims during the lifeime of Muhammed and they used to read it by sight.

7. The material used for writing the Quran was large pieces of unfolded parchment.* (i)

8. The scribes to whom the Rasool dictated the Quranic verses were most honourable, and pious men of great integrity.

9. The Rasool and his companions used to recite the whole Quran every night which indicates that the words of the Quran had a regular sequence.

10. Men and woman learnt the Quran by heart and thus it was safety preserved in the memory of a vast number of Muslims during the lifetime of the Rasool.

11. Allah took upon Himself the assemblage, the correct recital and the explanation of the Quranic verses, by presenting a subject in various ways and different contexts.

Then comes the great proclamation:

"We have, without doubt, sent down the message and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." (15:9)

Again it is said:

<..wa in nahu_ lakita_bun aziz-La_ yatihil ba_tilu mim baini yasaihi wa la_ min khalif tanzilum min hakimin hamid

"..Indeed it is a book of exalted power (whose prescribed way of life is bound to dominate). No falsehood can approach it, from before or behind it (i.e., openly or secretly). It is sent down by One full of wisdom and worthy of praise." (41:41-42)

Thus the Quranic text has been guarded eternally from corruptions, inventions and accretions, even if the whole world is bent upon destroying it.

The Quran as viewed by non-Muslim Historians-

It is an established fact that the Quran which we processes today is exactly what was revealed to the last messenger of God, Muhammed. This view is held not only by those who believe in the Quran but also by those who have scrutinised this aspect of the Quran purely from the research point of view. The famous orientalist Caroness Margaret Von Strein writes:-

"Though all the Divine scriptures were revealed by God yet the Quran is the only scripture which has not undergone even the slightest alteration and is safe in its original form."

Hortwig Horchfeld writes in his book entitled: New Researches into the Composition and Exegeses of the Quran-

"The research workers of the modern age agree on the point that the present version of the Quran is the exact copy if the original script which was written by Zaid Bin Sabit abd its text is exactly the same as was given by Muhammed".

It is stated Encyclopedia Britannica, under the heading of Quran:-

"All efforts of the European research workers to prove later additions in the Quranic text have proved absolutely futile."

Sir William Muir writes in his book titled, Life of Muhammed:-

"Otherwise all sorts of external and internal evidence in there to prove that we have exactly the same Quranic text which Muhammed gave (to his followers) and used himself."

That the Quran remained absolutely safe and unaltered, since it was revealed, is thus a proved fact admitted even by the non-Muslim research scholars.

Above-described is the direct evidence in support of the safety of the Quran, from the Quran itself and also the views of the non-Muslim research workers.

The characteristics of the Quran as a Book-

Next we shall describe some of the verses in which the Quran calls itself a 'book'. The object being to illustrate the various characteristics of the book and the degree of its excellence, so that a reader may be able to judge himself, whether a book of this calibre which was to serve as a guide to mankind for all times to come, could be in a uncared for on pieces of stones, bones and leaves etc., without being complied in a regualr and orderly manner by one who was not its recipient but also a deliverer and whose responsibility also included the establishment of a social order subject to the Divine message. Thus it is said:

"This Quran is not such as can ever be originated by anybody other than Allah; But it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and is a detailed code wherein there is no doubt that is from the sustainer of the worlds." (10:37)

<Tanzilul kita_bi la_ raiba fihi mir rab bil a_lamin. Am yaqu_lu_naf tara_r bal huwal haq qu mir rab bika litunzira qaumam ma_ ata_hum min nazirim min qablika la al lahum yahtadu_n

"This is the gradual and systematic descent of the book in which there is no doubt that it is from the One Who brings up the universe from the point of its origin to the point of its final destination. Or will they say, "He (Muhammad) has forged it? Nay it is the finally established truth from the sustainer." (32:2-3)

The word "Tanzeel" in the verse significant. It means to place things in an orderly manner and in appropriate place respectively. It indicates that revelation of the Quran is not a subjective thing. It is not the product of Rasool's brain. But it was given to him objectively. It is not a thing that was discovered but, on the other hand, it was revealed. The word "Tanzeel" has occurred at so many other places in the Quran. As for example:

"The gradual and systematic descent of this book is from Allah power and wisdom are boundless." (39:1,45:2,46:2)

"A book which We have revealed unto thee, that it might lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light so as to put them on the way planned by their Sustainer who is exalted in power and worthy of all praise." (14:1)

"And We sent down the book to thee for the express purpose that thou should make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and pattern of nourishment to those who believe." (16:64)

At several other places the Quran has been called, "Kitab un mubeen". A word with the root ("B"-"Y"-"N" ) which means 'to disclose what is hidden', To make things manifest and explicit. It is opposite of the word "katmun" which means 'to hide'. Thus the Quran is a book, a code of life, which discloses hidden realities.

"These are the verses of the book, the Quran that expresses itself clearly and explicity." (15:1, 27:1)

"These are the verses of the book that is explicit.

"We swear by the book that is explicit. (43:2, 44:2)

The Quran has been called "Kitab bil Haqq" which means it is a finally proved and established truth, a reality that cannot be challenged, a constructive code of life.

"That is because Allah sent the book with a finally proved and established truth gradually and orderly, (2:176)

"He has sent down to thee, step by step, the book with the reality that cannot be challenged, (3:3)

We have gradually sent down the constructive book,

"These are the signs from the book which has been sent down to thee from thy sustainer as a finally proved and established truth

The code of life given in the Quran has been called "Mubarak" A word with the root ("B"-"R"-"K") which means, "Preservation, stability, growth, development and manifestation." The word is characteristic of the phenomena relate to the origin of life on the earth. Thus it said:

"Here is the book, a code of life which We have gradually revealed to promote preservation, stability, development and manifestation of human potentialities (6:155)

"Here is the book which We have revealed to thee, providing preservation, stability, development and manifestation to human potentialities,

"This is the book whose verses are explained in detail (so that there remains no ambiguity); a Quran whose language is clear and explicit for men of knowledge." (41:3)

"Shall I seek for judge other than God? When it is He Who has sent unto you the book explained in detail." (6:114)

"We have explained to mankind by displaying different aspects of things in the Quran with every kind of similitude." (18:54)

"Allah has revealed the message from time in the from of a book such a way that it has reached its height in balance and proportion. It is consistent with itself (yet) repeating (its teaching displaying its various aspects)." (39:23)

The Quran is not a book which contains imaginary descriptions. It is rather a code of life.

"We have not instructed (Muhammad) in poetry (false, and imaginary descriptions). Nor does it suit a person (who has come with a revolutionary message). This is no less than a code of life and a Quran that makes things manifest and explicit." (39:69)

The Quran has been called "Kitab in Hakeem" A word with the root ("H"-"K"-"M") which means, "To harness, To place a thing in proper perspective and exact proportion."

Thus it is said:


"These are the verses of the book which places things (related to human problems) in their proper position and provide them the exact proportion." (10:1)

"These are the verses of the book which harnesses the human activities in the right direction and provides guidance and pattern to those who lead a life of balance and proportion." (31:2-3)

"This is the book the laws of which are based on permanent values, (11:1)

The Quran is the complete and the final code of life revealed by Allah. It provides guidance for the development of human personality as well as the smooth running of the human society as truly today as it did 1400 years ago and it shall remain as such for all times to come. Anything constructive that we find in the human world today is in consonance with this code; and anything positive, constructive and lasting, which man is in search of, shall be available from this very source. Anything repugnant to this code of life is bound to be negative. Destructive and pershable. Humanity is bound to adopt this code of life, may be willingly or after trails and errors:

"wa innahu la Kitabun Aziz"

"And indeed it is a book whose code of life is bound to dominate." (41:41)

Now let the reader judge for himself. Is it not fantastic to allege that the Quran, after it was revealed, was left uncared for, for a century or so, in a haphazard manner, scattered on pieces of stones, bones and leaves etc. Is it necessary to seek the help of the intriguers, conspirators and the Muslim priests to find out how and by whom the Quran was compiled in the form of a book? In the words of the Quran itself-

(1) It is not a forged book.

(2) It is a confirmation of the revelation which went before it and is a criterion of differentiation between right and wrong.

(3) It places things related to human problems in an orderly manner, in correct perspective and in exact proportion.

(4) It is a book which discloses hidden realities of life.

(5) It is a constructive book.

(6) It is a book whose code of life promotes preservation, stability, growth and manifestation of human personality as well as society.

(7) It is a book which explains itself.

(8) It is not poetry (false, futile, and imaginary description).

(9) It is a book whose laws are based on permanent values.

Can a revealed book of this standard which, according to the Quran itself, was dictated gradually and in bits, simultaneous with its revelation, to the most honourable and pious scribes who were men of great integrity: and then copied, learnt by heart and rehearsed daily by a large number of believers, and whose safety Allah took upon Himself, be said to have been left uncared for?

* (i) "Incidentally a friend of mine, who just had a glimpse of the proof of this chapter while under print, brought to my notice that a Christian Missionary often poses a question, "Where is that parchment paper, on which the Quran was dicated by Muhammed to his scribes?" I explained to him that after the publication of this book of mine, the manuscript on the writing of which I have put in great labour, shall lose its importance. After a few years probably I may not be able to find it out myself. Similarly after the Quran got circulated far and wide, through writing and through the memory of thousands of those who learnt it by heart in the presence of the Rasool, the preservation of the original parchment paper remained no more a matter of great significance. Moreover the companions of the Rasool being men of action, became more absorbed in putting the Quran into action, aftr they grasped it firmly in their memory as well as in a written form; and after the great proclamation the like of which, the world has never heard of:

"We have without doubt sent down the message and We will assuredly guard it." (15:9)

The material world is destructible but not the words of the Quran. After 1400 years, today, there is not a single copy of the Quran which is different from the other even in a small dot; and there is an uproar in the Muslim world if somebody recites or writes down a word of the Quran in a different way. I counter-pose the question, "Is that the case with the Bible or any other revealed book?" Such frivolous objections against the Quran are not new ones. Non-believers raised such objections even during the lifetime of the Rasool. Along with their ridiculous preconditions for the acceptance of the Quranic truth, such as:

"We shall not believe in thee until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth; or until thou have a garden of date-trees and vines, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst carrying abundant water; or thou cause the sky to fall into pieces, as thou say shall happen against us; or thou bring God and angels before us face to face; or thou have a house adorned with gold; or thou mount a ladder right into the skies. No, we shall not even believe in thy mounting until thou send down to us (from above) a book that we can read." (17:90-93)

The above-said question raise by the Christian missionary is not an endeavour to find out the reality but is only a manifestation of the perverted mental outlook.

Note: The book, "Conspiracies against the Qur'an" by Dr. Sayed Abdul Wadud" is available from Dost Associates, Al-Kareem Market, Urdu Bazar, Lahore 54000, Pakistan Tel/Fax: (92-42) 7122981, E-mail: shahid.adil@usa.net, tluislam@brain.net.pk

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