Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SHAWWAL 1424 H
December 2003
Volume 16-12 No : 204
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Is the Quran God's Word? - Part 3

Is the Quran God's Word? - Part 3

From the previous article we further continue analyzing probabilities given by skeptics of why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could have written such a Book without claiming its authorship.

By Dr. Zakir Naik

UNITY AND LIBERATION OF THE ARABS:

The theory that Muhammad (pbuh) had authored the Qur'an in order to unite and liberate the Arabs is very difficult to defend for those who postulate and propound it...

a) There is not a single verse in the Qur'an calling for the unity or liberation specifically of the Arab nation. In fact the Qur'anic concept of Ummah i.e. nation is ideologically against any manifestations of nationalist tendencies. The Qur'an recommends unity of the whole human kind on the criteria of truth. According to the Glorious Qur'an, in Surah Hujuraat chapter 49 verse 13:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (49:13)

The criteria for judgment in the sight of Allah for unity is not based on caste, colour, sex, wealth, nationality, political affiliation or blood ties but on "Taqwa" i.e. God-consciousness, piety and righteousness.

b) In practice this sometimes meant the separation of father & son, brother & brother and husband and wife. According to Surah Taubah chapter no. 9 verse 24

Say: If it be that your fathers your sons your brothers your mates or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah or His apostle or the striving in his cause; then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious. (9:24)

c) The unity that prevailed in Arabia after the triumph of Islam was ideological, and meant for the whole world, and that unity is strongly encouraged by the Qur'an. For instance, in Surah Al Imran chapter 3 verse 103 Allah commands:


"And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves;" (3:103)

d) Had the unity of the Arabs been Muhammad's main consideration, he would have gladly accepted the offer to be the King of Arabia and use his power and influence to build a unified Arabia.

e) There are several verses in the Qur'an which contradict the idea that Muhammad's (Pbuh) motive was to build Arab Nationalism. According to Surah Al Imraan Chapter 3 verse 42:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you; chosen you above the women of all nations. (3:42)

Why should Muhammad, an Arab, say that Mary, the mother of Jesus (pbuh) who was a Jewess, be chosen as above the women of all nations? Such an honour is not to be found even in the Christian Bible. There is a complete chapter, Surah Mariam chapter 19 of the Qur'an, which is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus (pbuh). There is no book or chapter named Mary in the whole Bible. Why should Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) provoke the Arabs by praising the Jews who were hostile to the Arabs by saying that a Jewess is chosen above the women of all nations? If he wanted to foster Arabs Nationalism, he would have preached the superiority of the Arab nation and chose any other Arab woman i.e. his own mother, his wife or his own daughter as above the women of all nations. The answer is given in the following verses of Surah Al Imraan chapter 3 verse 44:

This is part of the tidings of the things unseen which We reveal unto you (O Apostle!) by inspiration;

The Prophet had no choice, whether to praise the Jewess or not, since it was an inspiration - a revelation from Almighty God.

f) The Arab Unity theory is also incapable of a satisfactory explanation due to the following type of verses which are repeated several times in the Qur'an. For e.g. Surah Baqarah Chapter 2 Verse 47:

O children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favor which I bestowed upon You and that I preferred you to all others (for My message).(2:47) MORAL REFORMATION

Some may put forward moral reformation as a probable motive for Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) to have allegedly compiled the Qur'an.

a) Moral reformation is a noble objective which could be achieved without resorting to unmoral means like deceit and lies. The reason for his choice of unmoral means to build a moral society is not logical. The Qur'an designates lying against God as the wicked deed in the sight of Allah (swt)

b) One of the objectives of the Qur'an and of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was indeed moral reformation but not only of Arabia but of the whole world.

If the Prophet would have falsely claimed that the Qur'an is from God, when he himself allegedly was its author, he would not have mentioned all these verses in the Qur'an. He would have instead written somewhat similar to what Saint Paul had mentioned in the Bible in the New Testament in the Book of Romans chapter 3, verse 7 which says, "If my lie glorifies the truth of God, then I am not a sinner."

This verse in the Bible implies that God requires falsehood to prove he is great. However, as per Islam, God is truly Great, and therefore He does not require support of falsehood to prove that He is Great.

Unlike some other religions, in Islam, the means are not separated from the ends. If you want justice, you should get it by being just and through fair and just means. If you want truth, you get it by being truthful. Therefore the means (i.e. the path taken) has to fit with the end result.

Many people only consider the end result and not the explanation or the way or means to that result. Sometimes a person may have the truth but to prove that truth, he uses a false argument. For e.g., if a person says 2+2 = 4, though he is speaking the truth, if asked for an explanation for his answer, he says because my teacher had taught it. The answer is correct but the means i.e. the explanation is wrong. Suppose, if the teacher would have taught 2+2 = 5 then the person would have been wrong. The explanation should be true on its own merit, irrespective who has said it. For e.g. if you take 2 coins and add another 2 coins to them, and if you count the total number of coins, the total number of coins is four. Therefore 2+2 = 4.

If you use false argument for the truth, the other person may use the same false argument to prove his untruth. He may argue that because your teacher said 2+2 = 4 and you believe in it, my teacher said that a person in order to lead a luxurious life is entitled to rob. Therefore I am justified if I rob.

Similarly it is illogical to say that I refuse to use the telephone as it was invented by Alexander Graham Bell who was a liar.

(To be continued)

The author, Dr. Zakir Naik, is a well-known orator and scholar of Comparative Religion. He is the President of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. He may be reached at zakir@irf.net

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