Print PDF

Summary of 10.1 "Introduction"

We first began with preliminary remarks as to how this series connects with previous series.  It was an overview of the topics that fall under the broader tittle of Sources of Islam.  Then we addressed basic questions such as the word Quran, which used to be referred to as Koran, but Quran is more accurate.  We addressed where it comes from, its different names which appear in the Quran: for example the Book, the Criterion and the significance of these names in expressing the nature of the Quran..  We discussed briefly how the Quran, as the word of Allah, differed from Hadith which is the Prophetic sayings.  Mainly we discussed the issue that the Quran was given in meaning and word to the Prophet unlike the Hadith.  We indicated that the fact that the Quran was dictated to the Prophet word for word doesn’t mean that his role was simply like a tape recorder.  His role included understanding, communicating and applying the Quran in his own life and in the life of the community.  In a way he exemplified and interpreting the Quran for the people in his role as a living Quran.  In fact not just a book was given to the people but a model of how that book becomes a reality in the lives of the people.


10.2     Source of the Quran I - Internal Evidence

Host:  How do we know who the author of the Quran is?

Jamal Badawi:

There are a number of sources on this subject in Arabic such as Al Naba’ Al Atheem.  There are also writings on the subject by Rasheed Rida, Alwahi Muhamaddi by Muhamad Lutfi Juma’a, Thouwrat Al Islam Wa Batal Al Anbia.  There is a little booklet that was published by the Islamic Society of North America that is “Muhammad: A Prophethood and Analytical View” which touches on this subject in English.  As Dr. Draz suggests we can start with something that everyone agrees is true regardless of whether they are a Muslim, non-Muslim, believer in God or atheist everybody acknowledges that the Quran was recited for the first time by a man who was born in Arabia in the sixth century by the name of Muhammad (PBUH).  This leaves us with the basic question of the source of the Quran.  It would appear that there are only three logical possibilities.  One that the Quran was authored by Prophet Muhammad himself.  Second is that he was not the author of the Quran but he learned it from other human authors.  Third, that the Quran didn’t have any other author but that it came from God.  It is only through  a carful examination of each of these possibilities, comparison of the variety of evidence (internal and external evidence) that we may arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to who the author of the Quran is.


Host:  What do you mean when you use the term external evidence?

Jamal Badawi:

Internal evidence is evidence found in the Quran itself about its source aside from what is being said about the Quran.  The essence of this internal evidence is that the Quran was not authored by Prophet Muhammad or any other human being but that it was a direct revelation from God.  The first time when Prophet Muhammad received revelation when he was meditating in the cave of Hirra’a outside of Mecca, Angel Gabriel came to him held him and said “Iqra’a.”  He said Iqra’a, recite, then he said recite in the name of your Lord who creates.  These were the first verses or passages of the Quran reveled to the Prophet.  It is obvious from the wording that read is a command given to the Prophet and he can not be an author of this.  This appears in Surah 96.  It is no wonder that we find that the Surahs of the Quran start with “In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful.”

In the Quran we find numerous passages that the Quran did not come from any human and emanated from the Creator.  An example is that the Quran in (56:80) “A revelation which came down from the Lord of the worlds.”  In (57:16) “the Truth which has been revealed.”  In the Quran in (25:1) “Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures.”  “We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by Allah. so be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust”(4:105).

“It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)”(3:3).  “(We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought”(16:44).  “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)”(15:9).  In (26:192-194) of the Quran it describes the Quran “Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth- to they heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish.”  It is repeated in the Quran that the source of the Quran emanates from the Creator not from any other author.


Host:  Is there any indication that it is Allah who is speaking in the Quran rather than any person?

Jamal Badawi:

The examination of the Quran shows that there isn’t a single passage in the Quran which gives any impression that the author is human.  I am talking about the style and the way it addresses mankind.  The thing which becomes quite evident for anyone who examines the Quran even without any background about Islam is to notice that the address there is from the creator to the creators.  It is not like someone who is telling a story or writing a biography, but rather it is a direct address from the Creator to the human being.  Many times God speaks in first person and sometimes by using the phrase “say.”  In (15:26) “We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape.”  Notice the term “We” that God uses to refer to Himself does’t mean that God is plural but in majestical language a King says “We the King” not “I the King.”  In (15:85) God says “We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, but for just ends.”  The use of an imperative, which is when God speaks and tells the Prophet say such and such, I have counted 340 places in the Quran where God addresses the Prophet by commanding him to “say.”  How could the Prophet be the author when he is constantly being commanded to tell the people such and such.  Examples of that are found in the last three Surahs (112, 113 and 114) which all start with Qul “Say O Muhammad unto mankind.”  This is not the only imperative used but sometimes the term baliqh, proclaim, is used or utlu, recite.  Some examples of this are found in (15:49), (18:27) are examples of God speaking with imperatives.  In other words when we look at the style of the Quran and the way it addresses the human kind it is obvious it is not the words of any human being.  The human being in this case, Prophet Muhammad, is simply a medium who is told to tell people what God wishes.


Host:  Are there any passages that negate any claim to human authorship of the Quran?

Jamal Badawi:

Yes, an example is one of the most famous and widely quoted Ayah, passage, in the Quran in (17:88) “Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”  A second example is the Quranic response to those who had doubt if the Prophet himself had anything to do with the Quran or if he was the source of the Quran in (7:203) “If thou bring them not a revelation, they say: “Why hast thou not got it together?”  Say “I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord: this is (nothing but) lights from your lord, and Guidance, and mercy, for any who have faith.”  In (10:15) it replies not only to those who doubt the authorship and think that the Prophet may be the author but even to those who thought that it was within his authority to change or modify the Quran rather than communicating it exactly as it is.  It reads “But when Our Clear Signs are rehearsed unto them, those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, Say: “Bring us a reading other than this, or change this,” Say: "It is not for me, of my own accord, to change it: I follow naught but what is revealed unto me: if I were to disobey my Lord, I should myself fear the penalty of a Great Day (to come).”  The evidence is quite consistent in the Quran itself not only in terms of affirmation but negation of any human source of the Quran.


Host:  Does Prophet Muhammad have sayings about the source of the Quran?

Jamal Badawi:

Lets go back to the beginning of revelation when Angel Gabriel came to Prophet Muhammad in the cave of Hirra’.  As narrated in both Bukhari and Muslim it was mentioned that Gabriel simply dictated the Quran to him.  This is a manifestation according to the witness of the Prophet that this is what happened to him.  In Muslim there is a very interesting Prophetic saying where he says “No Prophet from among the Prophets came in the past without God giving him some sign (miracle) which lead many people to believe in him.  What was given to me was a revelation which God has revealed unto me and I pray and hope that on The Day of Judgement I will have the largest of all the followers of the Prophets.”  This is interesting because the sort of signs that were given to Prophets prior to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were reported to largely be metaphysical miracles.  The difficulty with this is that as time goes by only those who saw those miracles and only those who believe the witnesses of those miracles can really come to the conclusions that the Prophet was a truthful one.  Since Prophet Muhammad was the last of all Prophets and no one came after him it is essential even in the mind of the sceptic to be able to see an existent miracle.  A sceptic might say that some may have seen it but that they had not seen it themselves.

The Quran itself is the miracle or the greatest sign of the truthfulness of the Prophet.  This will be clarified throughout this series.  What we see here is that what the Prophet mentions is consistent with what the Quran mentioned by way of internal evidence.  First, the Quran brings to the attention of people that the Prophet had already lived among his people for 40 years before he received the commission from God to act as his last Prophet.  In the Quran (10:16) “Say: "If Allah had so willed, I should not have rehearsed it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. A whole life-time before this have I tarried amongst you: will ye not then understand?”  One of the interesting situations in the Quran which teaches the Prophet how to respond to this (29:48) “And thou wast not (able) to recite a Book before this (Book came), nor art thou (able) to transcribe it with thy right hand: In that case, indeed, would the talkers of vanities have doubted.”  In other words if the Prophet was highly literate and knows how to read or right and if he were a scholar and recited scripture before maybe then those who accuse him of fabricating his claim of the original source of the Quran could have some grounds for doubt.  In the absence of this it sounds like a very strange claim.  The conclusion here is that the statements by the Prophet himself are in totally consistent with the claims made in the Quran itself that its source is divine and not human.


Host:  What is meant by the term revelation?

Jamal Badawi:

There was a fairly lengthy discussion of this in the second series on the topic of Prophethood.  First of all, we can not fully understand the phenomena of revelation if we insist that the only world that exists is the word of the physical, tangible world.  We see things with our eyes but we can see things with our mind and our soul as well.  The fact that there is a difficulty the word that is unseen and unknown to us doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.  Second, even in this age of scientific progress, we find that there are so many things that have been proven but can not be explained on a physical or tangible grounds.  For example: telepathy, or dreams that come true or predicting that certain things will happen.  This doesn’t happen on a full basis but one realizes that there is something beyond the seen world.  The Arabic word for revelation is wahi and etymologically speaking it means subtle and quick.  It appears in the Quran in a variety of meanings.  It is mentioned in (16:68) to refer to the inspiration that God gives to animals.  In that case it talks about bees or insects and how it is given to them so they know how to survive.  This could refer as we find in (19:11) as a subtle sign without words as is found in the story of Prophet Zakariya.  It also means some kind of inspiration that God gives to people who are not Prophets as is find in (28:7) in the story of the mother of Moses.  It could also be a command to the Angels as we find in (8:12) to support the believers in the battle field.  In some cases it could even mean evil prompting, if one sticks to the purely etymological meaning as is found in (6:12).  Of course the most important and highest level of revelation is that which is given to Prophets and Messengers of God.


Host:  How do Prophets receive revelation?

Jamal Badawi:

This is summarized in a passage in the Quran in (42:51) “It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with Allah’s permission, what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise.”  From this passage we see that there are three basic ways that a Prophet can receive revelation.  One is inspiration or insight, God guides him to have the proper judgement on certain matters.  Second is rom behind a vail which does not have to by physical but could be a vail of light psychological barrier but not through direct communication.  Third is by sending a messenger which is a reference to Angel Gabriel which communicates a specific message to the Prophet.


Host:  Which of the types of revelation were given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?

Jamal Badawi:

He was honored by receiving revelation through all of them.  First of all, he received inspiration from God to guide him in the conduct of the affairs of the believers.  Second, he talked to God from behind a veil, of light, in the Miraj incident (night of ascension) when God talked to him and even Gabriel did not go past a certain point and left the Prophet to talk to God.  He also received the revelation of the Quran through the agency of Angel Gabriel who brought the Quran word for word to him.  There is also other inspirations in the form of Hadith, which was an inspiration of meaning into his heart and then he used his own words to express it.  It is interesting to notice that while one Prophet or another might have been blessed by one or more form of revelation; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the last of God’s messengers was blessed by all forms of revelation.


| + - | RTL - LTR
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.