The Textual Purity of the Qur'an is Disputed

Continuing the thought from the previous article, there is a contrast between two methods of testing. In the Qur’an, the primary means of authenticity is in the majestic quality of the Surahs. In other words, the objector will be sustained in his objection if he can produce a Surah of the same quality. If this is does, then the Qur’an can be shown to be no higher than the quality of man’s work – nothing divine about it necessarily. Another means of authenticity is in connection to the lives changes by the Qur’anic teachings. This is contrasted with the Bible (Scriptures) approach to authenticity. There are a number of methods applied. They are the accuracy of textual transmission, archaeology, and prophetic language. It is the accuracy of textual transmission that is the focus in this article.

Apologists for the Qur’an’s textual credibility argue that the Qur’an “is the only revealed Book whose text stands pure and uncorrupted today” (Yusuf, footnote 2289). Yet, there is evidence that brings into question the credibility of this sentiment. Evidently, within the first twenty years after the death of Mohammad there was some significant dispute concerning the textual integrity of the Qur’an. “The Quran cannot allow us to come any closer to the original text than the Uthmanic Revised Standard Version 20 years removed from Muhammad” (www.answeringmuslims.com).

The reason for this dispute is associated with four people who were directly commissioned by Muhammad to be credible people in the “reciting” of the Qur’an” (www.islamtomorrow.com/articles/Bible_vs_Quran.asp) after his death. Of those four, one died in battle, so that left three. Of those three, there was some variation between the versions they produced. This, naturally, produced some confusion. At the request of one person, the leader of the Islamic community (the Caliph Uthman) set about to produce a uniform copy of the Qur’an. “Uthman then ordered four men to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies…and ordered that all other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (www.harvardhouse.com).

From this we learn there was an “original Qur’an” (634 CE), but this was destroyed in A.D. 667 by Muslim leaders. It’s clear “the original Qur’an was not accepted” (ibid). The obvious question to ask in this regard is why? Was it because there existed drastic differences from the earlier versions compared with the newest one? Was it because there were but small variations between the copies? “Why were the other copies and fragments ordered to be burnt?” The answer is found in the original statement: ‘Hudhaifa was afraid of the different recitations of the Qur’an’” (www.harvardhouse.com).

Thus, the “pure” Qur’anic text assertion is not so much the case. From one source, the oldest Qur’anic text dates to around A.D. 790, well over 150 years after the time of Muhammad’s death (www.bibleprobe.com/corruptedquran.htm). Of course, this is disputed by Islamic scholars. Without much comment, Yusuf Estes says there is one Arabic version (though he admits varied translations), but he addresses nothing of the historical remarks above.

#muslims, #quran, #textual-purity

A QUESTION OF VERACITY (credibility)

It is my goal to read the Surah via three different translations and to consider the remarks presented by these translators especially in relation to what the Bible actually teaches. In other words, what does the Qur’an say about what the Bible teaches? Does it assert something the Bible does not? Does the Qur’an misuse the Bible? Please my first article in this series.

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In Surah 2:23, the Qur’an sets forth an evidentiary test. The focus of this test is in ascertaining whether or not one can know “that there is revelation” from Allah. This is called a “concrete test” (Yusuf), the challenge given to man is for him to produce a Surah that “can inspire spiritual truth in such noble language” (footnote 42). Reading the words of Maulana one gets a better sense of what might be in mind. “Is it a question of mere style and diction?” After asking the question, Maulana says the Qur’an gives no indication of such, but its “chief characteristic….is the wonderful transformation which it accomplished, and it is to this characteristic that it lays claim in the very commencement when it says that this Book is a guide” (Maulana, footnote 36). Asad gives a different perspective than Maulana, but somewhat akin to Yusuf: one is to come forth with a Surah and a witness to “attest that your hypothetical literary effort could be deemed equal to any part of the Qur’an” (footnote 2:14).

This is not all that we should understand. “…every word of the Qur’an gives expression to divine majesty and glory in a manner which is not approached by any other sacred book” (ibid). Thus, in conjunction with this portion of the 2nd Surah (2:23), there are three other places where this challenge is set forth: Surah 10:38, Surah 11: 13, and Surah 17:88. In 10:38 and 11:13, the charge is laid against Muhammad that he forged this word rather than received it in revelatory fashion. In 10:38, his challengers are asked to bring forth a Surah and a counter to what he has offered, and in 11:13, his challengers are asked to bring forth ten Surahs. Yusuf gives nothing in the way of commentary on this, but references his words in 2:23. Maulana does comment on 11:13 and connects it to Surah 17:88 where we are told that there was an initial challenge given by Muhammad to his objectors to produce a similar work as that which is found in the Qur’an; later, this challenge is reduced for an objector to produce only ten Surahs, and finally, the challenge is for one to produce a single Surah (as stated in 2:23).

SUMMARY CONCLUSION: From the preceding we are to understand: 1) there is a concrete test of verification and authenticity, 2) an objector to the Qur’an should be able to produce something comparable to the Islamic holy book, otherwise his objection has no merit, 3) the style and diction is of great quality and majesty, 4) that the Qur’an merits the status of divine inspiration is seen in the lives transformed from ungodliness to godliness, 5) there is no other book given among men that is uncorrupted, the text standing pure. In this light, Yusuf Ali tells us that the Qur’an “is the only revealed Book whose text stands pure and uncorrupted today” (footnote 2289). More will be said on the corrupted text later.

A CONTRAST IN METHODS: This is to be understood in contrast to that which the Scripture says of itself and verifiability. First, there is the historicity of the Scriptures that can easily be verified (or not). For instance, one can check on the places mentioned in Scripture to ascertain accuracy. One can consider the people mentioned in Scripture against the historical records of the various nations. Josh McDowell has a chapter on the reliability of the Bible, the Old Testament especially. He writes: “The Old Testament has been shown to be reliable in at least three ways: (1) textual transmission (the accuracy of the copying process down through history), (2) the confirmation of the Old Testament by hard evidence uncovered through archaeology, and (3) documentary evidence also uncovered through archaeology” (New Evidence, p. 69). Contrast this veracity methodology with that which is proffered by the Qur’an.

Second, the Lord Himself has set forth a method of testability for the Israelites in the long ago, “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if thou say in thy heart: ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?’ When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:18-22, the Jewish Publication Society translation).

Jesus reaffirm this approach in John, “The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, “I said, you are gods”? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came–and Scripture cannot be broken–do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God”? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10:33-38, ESV).

#credibility, #islam, #methodology, #muslim, #quran, #surah-2, #veracity

The Qur'an and Jesus

Perhaps you are not aware of what the Qur’an says about Jesus. That which is taught, one can learn in Surah 2 (a “Surah” will correspond to a “Book,” or perhaps a “chapter” in the Bible). For instance, in Surah 2:87, one learns that Jesus was mortal. One won’t read that in the verse, but Islamic commentators will declare it. “Maulana gives some instruction concerning the Qur’an’s use of the Arabic word for Jesus (Īsā), followed by the epithet ‘son of Mary,’ ‘to show that he was a mortal like other prophets of God’” (footnote 128 in Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation and commentary on the Qur’an; from RT’s personal study notes of the Qur’an).

The significance of this is in relation to what the Scriptures teach relative to Jesus. Note what charge the apostle Paul gave to Timothy, a young preacher he left in Ephesus: I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen (1 Timothy 6:13-16, ESV).

One does not need any other reason to oppose Islam, though there are untold numbers more!

#eternal, #islam, #jesus, #muslim, #quran, #resurrection