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Summary of 10.3 "Source of the Quran II - Impossibility of Muhammad’s Authorship"

We continued with verification of Prophet Muhammad’s claim that the Quran is not his and that he received it directly from God through Angel Gabriel.  We indicated that his own witness should be enough because usually people claim things to be the opposite rather than having to prove that they are not the author rather than proving that they are the authors.  We also examine the possibility that he might have claimed the authorship of the Quran in order to benefit materially from that and we indicated that by examining his life before and after he was a Prophet we find that he became much worst off.  He didn’t have any financial worries as he was married to a rich woman but we find that he lived like any poor person until he died.  We indicated that this simple live continued even after much wealth was available right under his finger tips.  He however still imposed this kind of discipline on himself.  In the last part of the Program a question was raised as to if a person was not pursuing material benefit that he may have been looking for some sort of power or leadership and we indicated that people who look for prestige and power also look for wealth in order to show off that power.  Second, by examining some examples of his life we saw that he was a very simple and humble individual who forbade his people from over glorifying himself.  It appears that grounds for claiming material benefit or egotistic needs doesn’t have a very strong foundation.


10.4     Source of the Quran III - Absence of Personal Motives

Host:  Can we examine the historical record that would show us that the Prophet did not aspire to leadership, power and authority?

Jamal Badawi:

Historically the Prophet began his career as a Prophet at the age of 40.  If there were any aspirations to power from birth to the age of 40.  The question here is if he did in fact prepare himself to be a leader.  Usually people who have that desire would address that desire to the people closest to them for example his beloved wife Khadijah whom he lived with for a quarter century.  If the person was looking for leadership and power they should go about it the right way. For example nowadays if the person wants to pursue a position of power or leadership he has to to get into the political process, get nominated and show his ability so that down the line people would appreciate that he is a good politician and deserves that leadership.  In the time of the Prophet the leading tribe of Qurishe had a place called dar al nadwa which is was a meeting place for the leaders of their people.  There is no record that the Prophet used to go there and sit and discuss his ability, he shunned that and instead he would go to the mountain, isolated, in order to contemplate, think and pray that he would be guided to the path of truth.  If he was seeking political power he was going about it the wrong way.

There is another logical reason that he never aspired for that.  It is known that when the first revelation came to him while contemplating and meditating in the cave of hira outside of Mecca he came down trembling and very afraid which was reported by many including his wife.  If a person aspired and expected to be a Prophet or leader he would have been very happy and proud that his hopes had finally been achieved.  Why however was he afraid?  He was afraid because he didn’t have any expectation that he would be in that position and would play such an important role in human history.  Even after this initial experience of the first revelation, when the revelation came again on a very cold day many companions who had seen it first hand say that even though it was very cold that he was very tense and was sweating.  A person who is looking for power would be composed and would not show emotion and lack of control but would stand strong, comfortable and composed and would talk to people.  Both of these assumptions of the Prophet looking for material benefit or power can not stand firm because without the agony that he went through, hardship, risk to his life and the difficulty he and his companions went through he could have easily attained all kinds of wealth and power without these sacrifices.


Host:  How could he have achieved power and material power if he had wished?

Jamal Badawi:

Historically speaking we know that the Prophet and his companions went through all kinds of suffering because of their mission and belief.  They were mocked, persecuted, tortured, some were killed under torture and he was hurt a great deal when he went to Al Taif and threw stones at him and his feet were bleeding, their lives and livelihoods were threatened and in the midsts of all of these difficulties when there was no hope that he would succeed victoriously over his adversaries he received a very interesting offer.  A representative from the pagans by the name of Ukbah Ibn Rabia came to him and he said “Listen, you have divided our people, caused so much dissension.  Let me talk to you about something: you may accept some of my suggestions.  He said “If you are doing this because you want wealth, stop and we will collect enough money for you so that you are the richest from among all of us.  If you are doing this in order to attain leadership we are willing to appoint you as our leader and we will never decide on any matter without your approval.  If you want to be a king we will crown you king.  If what comes to you and claims to be revelation from God is some kind of evil visions we are willing to collect money so that you can seek a cure for you.  But please, I plead with you to accept.”  If the Prophet was a seeker of power, ego or leadership he would have accepted.  The price was for him to stop attacking the wrong beliefs that they had or the idol worship and to accept the legitimacy of their worship and for him to worship Allah as he wished.  All they wanted was that he would stop trying to convince people of his belief.  His answer was in Surah 41 in the first 38 verses.  He replied from the word of God and that it says that this Quran has been sent to people carrying or brining glad tiding or warning to those who reject but many of them turned away as if they don’t hear and they said our hearts are concealing from hearing what you have to say and so on.  It went on pointing out that his missions was not money or ego and that he was only bringing the message of God to them in order to open their hearts, minds and their eyes to the truth.

This was not the only incident.  After it failed they didn’t send him one person but they sent a deputation of the most noble representatives of his people to plead with him again.  They basically made the same offer: money, leadership etc.  And again his answer was the same and he said “Listen, I did not come up with this message on my own.  Nor do I do it in the pursuit of your money, respect, leadership or to become a king.  It is God who sent me as a messenger to you and He has given me a book, the Quran, so I am only and simply communicating and conveying the message of my lord and advising you.  If you accept my advice this would be your luck and share in this life and in the Hereafter.  If you reject it I will be patient until Allah decides between you and me.”  Prior to these two incidents they tried to use psychological pressure by sending him his most beloved uncle Abu Talib.  He loved the Prophet so much and the Prophet loved him too.  Abu Talib used to be a protector of the Prophet by pressing the pagans not to hurt him.  He came to the Prophet and told him that he is causing them so many problems and tried to plead with him to ease up a little bit and the Prophet’s answer was exemplary.  As narrated in Ibn Hisham a biography about the Prophet he said “Oh my uncle if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand in order for me to give up this mission of mine, I will never do it till I die in defense of that truth or God decides whatever He pleases.”  This was his attitude, certitude and fortitude in terms of patience and perseverance in terms of carrying his mission.  If the Prophet were an imposture or a person who is seeking material benefit or power he could have lived as a king.  He did not have to worship idols, he could have worshiped as he wished but all he had to do was accept the legitimacy of the wrong beliefs that they had.  This shows that his intentions were more noble than these perishable benefits.


Host:  How would you react to the Prophet’s motive being to reform people of his time?

Jamal Badawi:

To reform people from darkness to light is a very nobel objective.  This noble objective must be sought through noble means.  One can not achieve a nobel objective through fabrication, forgery or lying.  If this assumption were true, why didn’t he claim that everything that he said was divine revelation too.  As we mentioned in the introduction, even though the Quran was uttered through the tongue of the Prophet which is totally different than Hadith which is not directly communicated to him through Gabriel.  These two sources are totally separate.  If his motive was to influence people he could have claimed that everything that he said was dictated to him by Gabriel.  Third people loved and trusted him so much to the point that they would have followed him even if he said it was his own saying.  Why did he make such a meticulous distinction between what he said and what he actually received in dictation.  How could he have possibly claim that the Quran comes from God if he was really the author of the Quran while in day and night recited to the people from that same Quran that the most abominable crime against God is to create a lie against God or to say that God said something He did not.


Host:  What does the Quran mention about lying?

Jamal Badawi:

In (6:93) it says “Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or saith, "I have received inspiration," when he hath received none, or (again) who saith, "I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed"? If thou couldst but see how the wicked (do fare) in the flood of confusion at death! - the angels stretch forth their hands, (saying),"Yield up your souls: this day shall ye receive your reward,- a penalty of shame, for that ye used to tell lies against Allah, and scornfully to reject of His signs!”  The verse goes on to describe the bad news these people will get when the time of death comes and when they receive the bad news that they will be punished eternally.  In another passage in the Quran (69:44-47) it says “And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).”  The threat is made that any Prophet making this false claim would immediately punished.  In another citation in (42:24) it says “What! Do they say, "He has forged a falsehood against Allah.? But if Allah willed, He could seal up thy heart. And Allah blots out Vanity, and proves the Truth by His Words. For He knows well the secrets of all hearts.”  We have to remember that nothing good and noble comes through some thing that is wicked and false.  Falsehood doesn’t emanate from a person who’s character is like that of Prophet Muhammad.  This is expressed very nicely in the Quran in (16:105) “It is those who believe not in the Signs of Allah, that forge falsehood: it is they who lie!”  A person who’s fundamentals are based on the belief in one God and all the moral teachings that one could think of could not achieve this noble objective by committing the worst of all crimes: lying against God, claiming Prophethood or forging a claim that the Quran came from God.


Host:  In your answer you indicated that the character of the Prophet negates the quality of forgery: how widely was his honesty, integrity and so on recognized by his contemporaries?

Jamal Badawi:

His reputation was beyond reproach.  We will look at his life form birth till the time he began his mission as a Prophet at the age of 40.  For 40 years he was well known for his truthfulness, honesty with his chastity to the point that he was given the title Alameen, the trustworthy.  This was given to him by all the people.  It was used as a nickname for him.  When God ordained him to declare the mission of Islam, because in the initial period it remained secret till he convinced those immediately around him.  When he received the command to go public to with Islam he gathered and called on the different tribes, then he stood among them and he said: “If I were to tell you that behind that hill there are horses (an army) that are going to invade you would you believe me?”  The all responded “We never experienced a lie from you.”  Which means that they would believe anything you say.  He replied “I am a warner to you before a sever punishment will come unto you (on the Day of Judgement).  I warn you to give up idol worship and believe in the one true God and worship him alone.”  The interesting part of this was the response of all of his people when they said “We never experienced a lie from you.”  Is it reasonable to assume that a person with this character for his whole life, with not a single lie, to suddenly become, at the age of 40, such a forger that he lies in the name of God and claims falsely that he received revelation.

When the first group of Muslims migrated under persecution to Abyssinia, now Ethiopia, to a kind and fair king the pagans got angry and sent some of their representatives to retrieve them in order to take them back and persecute them.  They were afraid that their belief might grow and they might attract others.  The King of Abyssinia asked the Muslims to explain what kind of person Prophet Muhammad was and what he taught their spokes person Jaafar the son of Abi Talib answered that they were living in darkness and he mentioned some of the evil that they did before he came with is message.  He said this man came to us, we knew everything about him, his lineage and his truthfulness, honesty and chastity so he taught us and ordered us to worship the one true God alone and to give up idol worship.  He taught us to be truthful in what we say, honest in our dealings and to be kind to our relatives.  Again we find biographies about the Prophet like Ibn Hisham we are shown that these characteristics were the brightest points that attracted all of those who had good will and the intention to follow the truth.


Host:  From some of the passages it seems that some people accused him of fabricating his claim about the source of the Quran, could you explain that?

Jamal Badawi:

That is natural, as there are always enemies of truth.  They always try to resist the truth and suppress it.  When they lack concrete evidence they start throwing accusations like that.  It happened in the life of all Prophets which includes Moses who was accused of many things by Pharaoh, it happened to Jesus who was accused by the Israelites.  They couldn’t drive people away from any truthful and good Prophet.  But in all cases we find that non of the accusers could give any concrete evidence logically or historically.  Historical references do not show any instant where a Prophet lied, but they say that it is not possible for the person to have received revelation so he must be lying, a magician etc.  These people were just throwing accusations without justification.  An interesting thing that gives us a look into the attitude of his enemies is that the night when the Prophet secretly migrated from Mecca to Medina, because they were about to kill him, and before he left his cousin Ali and told him “After I leave please make sure to return these things to the non Muslims.”  What does this signify?  This means that his own persecutors trusted him so much that they chose him to keep their deposits with him.  And even though the Prophet was leaving, he wanted to make sure they would get their deposits back.  Another interesting example that was mentioned in both Bukhari and Muslim is that when Qurish tried to suppress him and they couldn’t they went to Hercules the Byzantine emperor with Abu Suphian in order to seek his help against the Prophet and Muslims.  One of the questions the Roman Emperor asked was whether Muhammad was accused of lying to them before he claimed Prophethood and they answered no.  He asked if he ever betrayed his trust before he claimed Prophet hood and they answered no.  This was a witness given by one of his arch enemies at the time.  We find numerous examples that the enemies before the friends and companions could not admit that he was not absolutely honest and truthful.


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