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Summary of 10.2 "Source of the Quran I - Internal Evidence"

The program started by examining the internal evidence from the Quran itself and what the Quran says about it’s own sources.  We have seen that the Quran overwhelmingly claims that it came from Allah or God.  We looked into the style of the Quran and is an authority speaking directly or by using imperatives such as “say oh Muhammad.”  In addition to this we also looked into statements made by Prophet Muhammad himself which are totally consistent with what the Quran says that he has nothing to do with the wording of the Quran and that it was simply dictated to him.  In many verses we have seen that they clearly negate this Quran coming from any source other than divine revelation.  Since the discussion touched on the topic of revelation the last part of the Program briefly defined the various meanings of revelation, why they revelation to Prophets is very special and what forms they have taken in the past.


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

Host:  You said that Prophet Muhammad claimed not to be the author of the Quran, how can you verify that claim?

Jamal Badawi:

Usually a person is challenged when he claims that he had authored something or invented something.  It is not very usual for someone to come out and say that they are not the authors, they didn’t invent it.  This is a good point brought up by Dr. Jaz when he says that this alone, the testimony of the person himself would suffice to get the point across because he is not taking credit for this.


Host:  How would you reply to those who say that Prophet Muhammad attributed the Quran to God for his own benefit?

Jamal Badawi

We have to ask ourselves what kind of personal benefit the Prophet would accrue by falsely claiming that this Quran comes from God while he is the actual author of it.  We know that people usually benefit when they claim something to their credit not when they disclaim it.  In the case of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) he was a disclaimer rather than a claimer.  What kind of benefit would he be after from this kind of claim.


Host:  Suppose someone says by attributing the Quran to God, a higher authority, it may benefit the person even more?

Jamal Badawi:

To make this assumption seems to imply that (for the sake of discussion) he was not telling the truth when he said conclusively that the Quran did not come from him and this is a sort of deliberate deception.  This assumption is totally inconsistent with what we know about the Prophet in terms of character and his life.  With that reservation aside one of the useful ways to objectively examine this issue would be to look at his wealth and material life before he was a Prophet and after he became one to see if he really benefited in any way materially from claiming that to be a Prophet rather than the.  We know that before he became Prophet at the age of 25 he married a very rich woman from the Qurishites, Khadijah, who had a very successful business woman.  The Prophet was in charge of her business and he was a very successful and well liked merchant.  He lived comfortably and didn’t have any financial worry whatsoever.  When this is compared with what happened to him after he began his career as a Prophet we will notice immediately that he suffered a great deal materially and was worst of after he became a Prophet.  At times he suffered from severe hunger.  What kind of material benefit did he gain from his claim.


Host:  Could you give us documentation of his relative status?

Jamal Badawi:

In both Bukhari and Muslim his wife Aisha narrated that “A month or two would go by without fire being lit in our house (for a cooked or hot meal).”  When people asked her how the household of the Prophet survived she said “Alaswadan, altamr wa alma’a.”  Two things: water and dates.  She also added that some of the Ansar, their neighbors, would send them some goat milk which used to be the only supplement to water and dates.  We should note here that this was not just a temporary supplement for some time which was made up for when things got better.  Even after his victory and the victory of Muslims and he had lots of wealth available the same simple life, self imposed depravation continued.  In fact in the Quran in (33:28-29) describes where the household of the Prophet had unease regarding why there was so much wealth and they were living in a very difficult self imposed deprivation.

One time Hafsa, his wife, was asked about the bedding of the Prophet and she said that “his bedding was simply a piece of canvas that I used to fold and put it under him to sleep on.  One night I thought that I should make it a little bit more comfortable so I folded it four times.  When he woke up for the early morning prayer he said what did you do to my bedding?  She replied that she simply folded it four times instead of twice.  He replied that she shouldn’t fold it four times and that she should keep it at two folds because “I am afraid that this much comfort may stand in my way of waking up at night and making the late night prayer.”  Imagine the kind of life he lived at a time when Muslims were victorious and if he wanted to live as a king he could have easily done so without any problem.  One time one of his famous companions, Omar, entered his room and he started crying and the Prophet asked him what was wrong.  Omar said “When I entered the room I only saw the Prophet sleeping on a simple mat that left marks in his body and I looked in the room and only found a handful of barely in one corner.”  His reply to the Prophet was “O Messenger of God you see all the Persian kings and Byzantine emperors are living in all kinds of luxury with rivers flowing under them in their palaces and you the most select of God’s creatures and the last messenger are living in such dire need.  Why don’t you pray to God to make it a little easier and to provide a little more.”  When the Prophet heard that he sat up and said “Omar do you still have any doubt about this matter of faith?  This ease and comfort is much better in the hereafter, than in this life.”

Another companion by the name of, Alnuman Ibn Bashir, once said “I saw the Messenger of God, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), twitch because of hunger that he could not even find enough of the bad dates to fill his stomach.”  Narrated in Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad a famous companion, Abu Hurira, said “The Prophet never had a full stomach of bread for three consecutive days till he died.”  This is the sort of life that he lived.  So what sort of benefit did he get by claiming to be a Prophet except in more difficult type of life.


Host:  What were the Prophet’s assets like when he died as apposed to when he started his Prophetic career?

Jamal Badawi:

Before he started his wife was a rich successful merchant.  She was actually in charge of his trade and how she got to know about him and his skill and honesty.  They both loved each other so much, she was his only wife from the age of 25 till he was 50 during his youth and manhood, that her wealth was his wealth.  After Khadijah died and he was 50 she was 65 her wealth all became available to his disposal.  In both Bukhari, Tirmithi and Muslim we are told that when the Prophet died his shield was held as a collateral in the hand of a Jewish citizen for some barely that the Prophet bought from him.

As narrated in Bukhari and Muslim Aisha said “when the Prophet died there was nothing edible in the house except some barely.”  This is related to what was in the household.  As narrated by Amr Ibn Al Harith in both Bukhari that when the Prophet died he didn’t leave anything behind, not a dirham or denar.”  This means no dollar no cent, no wealth whatsoever.  He continues “he left no person in bondage, nor did he leave anything except his white ride and his arm.”  This was in reference to his sword.  In fact there was a piece of land knowns as the land of Fadak which some historians mistake to have been owned by the Prophet.  In fact this land was reserved by the Prophet so that the income from that land would be used to support the orphans, the poor and after his death to provide for the needs of his house hold.

The difference that might have risen may have had to do with the administration of the land but nobody ever made a justifiable claim that he ever owned that land but it was just put aside for the benefit of the poor.  In fact this is consistent with what he said “We are not supposed to leave any material possession behind us when we die for our heirs.  Whatever is left must be spent in charity.”  This not only reflects his deeds but it is consistent with what he taught: for Muslims not to be extravagant and for them to keep their eyes on the life hereafter.  In Abu Dawood when people discussed his suffering and how he could have had anything under his disposal but chose to live like any other poor person he said “What do I have to do with this life? My similitude with this life is like someone who is traveling, then on the way he stopped under a tree so he sat down to rest a little bit under the shadow of that tree then he continued his travels.”  So he regarded this entire life like moments that a person spends under a tree.  This was his attitude and his behavior.  This then brings us back to the question of what kind of material benefit did he acquired by claiming that he is not the author of the Quran and that he is the Prophet sent by God to guide humanity.


Host:  Skeptics may argue that there are other ways to benefit other than a material sense such as power and leadership?

Jamal Badawi:

There is no disagreement even among critics of Islam that as a leader Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is regarded by some as the greatest leader in history.  Some regard him as the most successful leader in human history.  A person with these qualities and talents could have very easily, without claiming Prophethood said that he is a leader by showing his wisdom, talents and qualities and people would follow.  In fact it would be easier for him to claim power and leadership because of these qualities without claiming being a Prophet.  To claim Prophet is to claim something that people can not comprehend.    For one to claim receiving revelation, the word of God being dictated to you people find to be difficult to believe.  But they find it very easy to believe that this person is a great leader.  It is also known historically that the Quran challenged the most eloquent of the eloquent and for 1400 years not one person has claimed to imitate even a portion of the Quran.  If he was that smart it could have been used as a sign of his ability in deserving leadership.  He did not have to claim that it came from God.  It would have been better to claim that the Quran was his which would have given him more power and respect by the people.

Lets look into his character in order to see if he was an egotistical person looking for personal glory and prestige.  To start with we can not separate the pursuit of power  which was raised in this question with the answer to material benefit.  When people seek power and prestige they also want to have fancy meals, big palaces and guards.  They have to behave like kings or great people if they are looking for power.  If we look at the life of the Prophet we find it to be an amazing example of humility and humbleness.  He used to sit on the ground, eat from the same pot as other poor and down trodden people.  He used to mix more with the poor and needy than with the rich.  Whenever he was invited even by a poor person for a simple meal he graciously accepted the invitation and ate from whatever was given to him.  At one point when he entered a place where believers were sitting and they stood up for him he did not like it and said “don’t stand up to glorify each other.”

Whenever he came to a place where people were seated, he did not sit in a central place as people seeking power do, but rather he just sat wherever a place was available.  No wonder how some people would come and not know who the leader was.  He was a common man and behaved like a very simple person.  In one incident a person hearing about the greatness of the Prophet and what he teaches came to him and somehow he was trembling and the Prophet patted him and told him to “take it easy I am only the son of a woman who used to eat dry bread.”

In one trip it was time to eat and they started preparing to cook the food and everyone started volunteering and the Prophet said he would collect the wood (they were surprised) and they said “O Prophet of God we can do that for you” and he said “I know that you can do that for me but I hate to have any distinction over you.”  As is narrated in Bukhari once the Prophet passed by a number of young girls who were singing and making poetry for some occasion and one of them said “among us there is a Prophet who knows what will happen in the future.”  He stopped her and told her “no don’t say that continue with your poetry that you were reciting before and don’t say that about me.”  In his own lifetime it was reported that he consulted quite a bit with his companions about many decisions and many times he accepted their opinions (in matters that were not decided by revelation) even though in some cases it was against his own personal opinion.  In all logic and from his behavior this is not the type of person who would seek power and glory.  In addition the Quran itself confirms that he never aspired for leadership or to be a prophet.


Host:  Is there any evidence in the Quran that would indicate that Prophet Muhammad did not aspire to be a leader or Prophet?

Jamal Badawi:

There are several citations in the Quran.  In (28:86) it says “And thou hadst not expected that the Book would be sent to thee except as a Mercy from thy Lord: Therefore lend not thou support in any way to those who reject ((Allah)'s Message).”  To further indicate that he was not a person looking for power or prestige or prominence he is directed in the Quran to tell the people in (6:50) “Say: "I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden, nor do I tell you I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me." Say: "can the blind be held equal to the seeing?" Will ye then consider not?”  Similarly in (7:188) “Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me: I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith.”

The Quran also indicates that the Prophet never claimed to know anything that would happen in the future except as Allah revealed to him specifically.  He did not have open knowledge which would equate him with God or make him more than human.  For example in (46:9) “Say: “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the apostles, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you.  I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner open and clear.”  One more example which is very explicit and clear is in (18:110) “Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah.”  These are only a few of the many citations we find in the Quran.  It suffices to say that he also forbade people from making his graveyard as a place of worship.  He even said it clearly as we mentioned in a previous program “Don’t you over praise me as the Christians overpraise Jesus the son of Mary I am only the servant of God and His messenger.

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