The Basis of Muslim Belief
The Basis of Muslim Belief
By Gary Miller
|About The author
||Dilemma of Applying
|Sign of God
||The Big Bang Theory
||Taking a Stand
||The City of Iram
|The Two Phenomena
and Mention of Words
|Good and Evil
||Occurrence of Words
Balance of Words
of the Qur'an
it to the Devil
Prophet Like Moses
About Gary Miller, the author
Gary Miller (Abdul-Ahad Omar) shows how we can
establish true faith by setting standards of truth. He illustrates a simple but
effective method of finding out the right direction in our search for truth.
G.R.. Miller is a mathematician and a theologian. He
was active in Christian missionary work at a particular point of his life but he
soon began to discover many inconsistencies in the Bible. In 1978, he happened
to read the Qur'an expecting that it, too, would contain a mixture of truth and
He discovered to his amazement that the message of
the Qur'an was precisely the same as the essence of truth that he had distilled
from the Bible. He became a Muslim and since then has been active in giving public
presentations on Islam including radio and television appearances. He is also the
author of several articles and publications about Islam.
Dilemma of Applying Reason
Almost all of us have been faced with the questioning of
a child by repeating one word over and over. He can be very frustrating to us as he asks,
"WHY?" If you put a knife beyond his reach, he wants to know "WHY?"
When you explain it is sharp, he asks "WHY?" And so you explain, "in order
to cut fruit," and he asks, "WHY?" And so it goes.
It illustrates the dilemma of applying reason. What we
have to do when we apply reason is first set standards of proof. We decide for ourselves,
"What will I be satisfied with if I find such and such and so and so that constitutes
for me a final proof?" We have to decide on that first.
What happens though, is that on the really important
issues, the philosophical matters, thinkers set standards of proof and they take a look at
their subjects and eventually they may arrive at their standards. They may arrive at the
point which say would constitute a proof. But then they ask for a proof of the proof.
The key to avoiding this endless dissatisfaction is to
satisfy ourselves about the standards first; to satisfy ourselves that such and such are a
list of criteria that constitute proof, satisfying proof, and then we test the subjects
that we examine. In particular I will apply this to the Qur'an.
Ask a thoughtful Christian why he is a Christian, and he
will usually reply, "The miracle of the Resurrection." The basis for his belief
being that about two thousand years ago a man died and he was raised from the dead. That
is his miracle, his 'touchstone', because all else depends on that.
Ask a Muslim, "Well, what is your miracle? Why are
you a Muslim? What is your miracle? Why are you a Muslim? Where is your miracle?" and
the Muslim can go over and take his miracle off the shelf and hand it to you because his
miracle is still with us today. It is the Qur'an; it is his 'touchstone'.
Sign of God
While all the Prophets have their signs, Moses had the
competition with the magicians and the Pharaoh, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead
and so on, one Sign was given to the last of the prophets. According to the Muslims, this
is the Qur'an. And this one Sign is still with us. Does not that after all seem fair, that
if prophethood is to end that the last prophet should bring something that stays with us
so that, in fact, a Muslim who takes his religion seriously suffers no disadvantage to
Muslims who lived fourteen centuries ago?
Those people who kept company with the Prophet had
access to no more of the necessary information than we have today. They had the Qur'an.
That was the sign for them. It is still a sign to us today, the same miracle.
Well, let us test the Qur'an. Suppose that if I say to a
man, "I know your father." Probably he is going to examine the situation and see
if it seems likely that I have met his father. If he is not convinced, he will start
asking me questions like: "You know my father, you say, is he a tall man? Does he
have curly hair? Does he wear glasses?," and so on. If I keep giving him the right
answers to all these questions, pretty soon he is going to be convinced. "Well, I
guess this man did meet my father like he said." You see the method.
The Big Bang Theory
Verses in the Qur'an claim that the author of Qur'an was
present when the universe first appeared, when life first began billions of years ago.
We have a right to question this claim. We ask the
author, "Well tell us something to prove to us that YOU were there when they world
began, life began."
In reply to our challenge, the Qur'an contains a
dumbfounding statement. It reads,
"Have not the disbelievers seen
that the Heavens and the Earth were one piece and we parted them? And We made every living
thing from water. Will they not then believe?" (21:30)
(in the Qur'an, 'We' is used not to show plurality, that
several Gods exist but rather as a sign of respect)
There are 3 key points in (21:30). First of all, it is
the DISBELIEVERS (non-Muslims) who are mentioned as being those who would DISCOVER that
the heavens and the earth were one piece and then parted and it is the DISBELIEVERS
(non-Muslims) who will DISCOVER that all life came to be made from water.
Coincidentally, the universally accepted theory of 'the
origin of the universe' is now the BIG BANG THEORY. It maintains that at one time ALL OF
HEAVENS AND THE EARTH were one piece, the 'monoblock' as it is called. At a particular
point in time, this 'monoblock' burst and it continues to expand. This is the origin of
the universe we have today.
THIS IS A RECENT CONFIRMATION.
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded only a few years
ago to those who confirmed the Big Bang Theory origin of the universe. It was only 200
years ago that Leeuwenhoek and others perfected the microscope and discovered for the
first time that LIVING CELLS ARE COMPOSED OF 80% WATER.
The above information which was scientifically confirmed
only in the last 2 centuries, can be found in the Qur'an which originated 14 centuries
ago! Could it then have been written by an ordinary man or can it only be the work of God?
The verse above, (21:30) states that DISBELIEVERS
(non-muslims) will scientifically prove the Big Bang Theory and that living cells are made
of water -- Those Nobel Prize winners and the Dutchman who invented the microscope were
NOT muslims. And yet they confirmed the vital statement that at one time, the universe was
one piece, that life was made from water, just as verse says,
"Have not the disbelievers seen
that the Heavens and the Earth were one piece and we parted them? And We made every living
thing from water. Will they not then believe?" (21:30)
Does this not prove that the author of the Qur'an, has
indeed met the challenge, "Was He there when the universe began, when life
Taking a Stand
Everyone must be committed to something. You have to put
your foot down some place. It is impossible to be neutral at all times. There has been a
point of reference in the life of any thinking individual. You have to take a stand
somewhere. The question, of course, is to put your foot down in the right place. Since
there is no such thing as a proof of a proof and so on, in order to find the right place
to put one's foot down, to take a stand, we have to search and find that place and it is
by a method that I hope to illustrate here.
It is a question of finding a point of convergence. You
see, we search for truth in many places and we begin to know that we are succeeding in
finding the truth if all our different paths start to converge; they start to come
together at the same point.
If we are examining a book, looking for evidence of
divine origin, and we are led to Islam, this is one path. If at the same time, we
examining the words of all those who were called prophets and we find ourselves led to
Islam, we have a firmly grounded basis for belief. We started looking for truth in two
different places and found ourselves going down the path headed for the same destination.
No one ever proves all things. We have to stop at some
point being satisfied with our standards as I have mentioned earlier. The point is, in
order to take a stand and to be sure it is in the right place, we want to examine all the
evidence around us and see where does it lead us and anticipate this point of convergence;
to say it looks like all things are pointing to this place. We go to that place and then
look at the data around us to see if it fits into place. Does it now make sense? Are we
standing in the right place?
The Expanding Heavens
Let me first show more of our examination of the Qur'an,
and then an examination of some words of prophets to find this point of convergence. In
Chapter 51, verse 47, it is mentioned that the heavens are expanding. As I mentioned
earlier, this is in connection with the 'Big Bang' origin of the universe, as it is
usually called, and it was in 1973 that the Nobel prize was awarded to three men who were
confirming that, after all, the universe is expanding.
The comments of Muslims over the centuries on this verse
which speaks of the heavens doing exactly that is very interesting. The wisest among them
stated that the words are very clear, that the heavens are expanding, but they could not
imagine how that could be so. But they were content to leave the words as they were, to
say: "Allah knows best."
The City of Iram
The Qur'an mentions a city by the name of Iram (89:7).
The city of Iram has been unknown to History, so unknown that even Muslim commentators,
out of embarrassment or feeling apologetic for their religion, have commented on this
mention of the city in the Qur'an as being perhaps figurative, that Iram was possibly a
man and not a city.
In 1973, the excavation in Syria at the site of the
ancient city of Eblus uncovered the largest collection of cuneiform writings on clay
tablets ever assembled. In fact, the library discovered in Eblus contains more clay
tablets that are more than four thousand years old than all the other tablets combined
from all other sites.
Interestingly enough, you will find the details in the
National Geographic of 1978 which confirms that in those tablets the city of Iram is
mentioned. The people of Eblus used to do business with the people of Iram. So here in
1973, comes confirmation of the fact that, after all, there really was an ancient city by
that name, wherever it was. How did it find its way into the Qur'an, we might ask?
Those Muslims who may have offered their comments,
trying to explain away this reference that they were uncomfortable with, were outsmarted
by the author of the Qur'an. They were those who would attempt to outsmart the author of
the Qur'an. Primarily, their activity would involve trying to produce the evidence that
the author of this book had a primitive understanding of the world around us.
The Smallest Matter
For example, there is a word which is translated today
usually in Arabic as Zarrah. This is usually translated as 'atom' and it is usually
thought of in Arabic as being the smallest item available at one time. Perhaps, the Arabs
thought it was an ant or a grain of dust. Today, the word is usually translated as 'atom'.
Those who would outsmart the author of the Qur'an have
insisted that, well, the atom is not after all the smallest piece of matter because in
this century it has been discovered that even the atom is made of still smaller pieces of
matter. Is it them possible to outsmart the author who chose to use this word? Well, there
is an interesting verse, in chapter 10, verse 61, which speaks of items the size of a zarrah,
(atom) or smaller. There is no possibility that on this subject someone is going to say a
new discovery has outdated the words of the Qur'an on the issue of the size of matter or
the ultimate particles. The verse talks about items the size of a zarrah (atom) or
smaller. [hence, it IS written in the Qur'an that an atom IS NOT the smallest particle!]
Speaking of outsmarting the author of the Qur'an, the
Islamic point of view is that when a man embraces Islam, his past is forgiven from the
very beginning. This has been the invitation to Islam: come to Islam and all is forgiven
from the past.
But consider this. There is only one enemy of Muhammad,
peace be upon him, who is mentioned by name in the Qur'an: one Abu Lahab. In a short
chapter of this book, he is condemned to punishment for his sins.
As it happens, the man himself was alive for many years
after this revelation. He could therefore have finished Islam very easily. He needed only
to go to the Muslims to announce his conversion. They had in their hands the revelation
which said that this man is doomed to punishment. He could have gone to Muslims and say:
"I accept Islam, am I forgiven or not?"
He could have confused them so much as to finish this
small movement because he would have been pointing out to them that they were now in
confusion. The policy was instant forgiveness of the past, but their own revealed
scripture announced that he was not forgiven. As it was, Abu Lahab died without accepting
In fact, the Qur'an confidently predicted a number of
things only a few years before they came to pass. The fall of the Persian Empire, for
example, was predicted in spite of the fact that it had just suffered a serious military
reverse. The evidence was all to the contrary. But in the chapter entitled Rom, the fall
of the Persian Empire who were recently victors over the Romans was predicted.
When all the Muslims in the world could meet in one
room, the revelations were already discussing their future successes. In confidence, they
were planning for the day when they would be in charge of the city where they were forced
at that time to hide for their very lives.
Evidence of Divine Origin
Some people may like to find any number of things in the
Qur'an. But an honest method in examining this book, looking for evidence of the Divine
origin, is to take things at their value, to look for things that are clear and to look in
those places where we are invited to look. Remember the passage that I quoted earlier:
"Have not the disbelievers seen..." This a common phrase of the Qur'an: "O
Man, Have you not seen." The invitation is to examine the evidence in these places.
We are doing the sensible thing if we examine the words used to look for the doubted
meaning and to find evidence of the Divine origin.
Each one of us is an expert on something. One does not
have to have a degree in a particular subject to decide that now, "I can take my
expertise to the Qur'an and see what I can find." We all now something for some from
our own experience and life.
I heard a story, several years ago in Toronto, of man
who was given the Qur'an to read. The man was a member of the merchant marines who spent
his life on the sea. When he read a verse in the Qur'an describing the wave on the ocean,
"waves within waves and the darkness between," he was surprised because the
description was just what he knew the situation to be. When he returned the Qur'an to the
man who gave it to him to read, he asked him (because he was completely ignorant of the
origins of Islam): "This Muhammad, was he a sailor?" Well, of course, he was
quite surprised to know that the man spent his life in the desert. So he had to ask
himself: "From where did he get this knowledge of what looks like on a stormy
We all know something that we can be confident of and if
we can turn to the Qur'an to read what it says about that subject, we are asking for
confirmation of our belief in the Divine origin of the book.
The Two Phenomena
A friend of mine from the University of Toronto, had the
experience of dealing with a man who was doing his doctorate in psychology. He chose as
his subject: 'The Efficiency of Group Discussion'.
He suggested a number od criteria as to what constitutes
an efficient discussion. He graphed the process; that is, he achieved a measure of
efficiency of all groups in their discussions according to an index by his system. On his
graph he indicated the progress made by the discussion groups of various sizes.
The interesting thing that happened which he did not
expect to find when he began his project was that, while there were some differences
between the size of any given group and how well they did in discussions, he was surprised
to find that groups of two were completely off his scale! In other words, when people sit
down to discuss something, they were so much more efficient than any other size of group
that it went completely off his scale of measurement.
When my friend heard about this, something went on at
the back of his mind. My friend, being a Muslim, thought there was something familiar here
about this idea. The psychology researcher was not a Muslim. He was debating with himself
on changing the topic of his thesis. Should he call it 'The Phenomenon of Two' or 'The Two
Phenomena? He was SO surprised at his discovery.
Meanwhile, my friend found that there is a verse in the
Qur'an, and he found it for himself on the same night, which speaks on discussions and the
size of groups and how efficient they are. And maybe we should not be surprised to find
that it is the groups that are two in numbers that do the best in achieving results. The
main verse in the Qur'an reads, concerning discussion groups, that when discussing the
Qur'an one should sit alone and reflect on its meaning or discuss it in groups of two.
Use and Mention of Words
For myself, as I said everyone knows something for sure
or has an interest and experience in life; my interest is in mathematics and logic. There
is a verse in the Qur'an which says:
"This a scripture whose verses are perfected and
then expounded." (11:1)
Which tells me that there are no wasted words in the
Qur'an; that each verse is perfected and then it is explained. It could not be in a better
form. One could not use fewer words to say the same thing or if one uses more words one
would only be adding superfluous information.
This directed my attention to a particular mathematical
subject, a logical subject, and I examined the Qur'an to see if I could find something of
what I knew to be the case.
A revolution in logic has occurred in the last one
hundred years, primarily over the difference between use and mention of words. A structure
of logic seemed to be in danger of collapsing about a hundred years ago because it came to
the attention of the people who studied these matters that the structure was not quite
sound. The issue involved 'self-reference' and the use and the mention of words which I
will explain briefly.
Aristotle's law of the 'excluded middle' was the
statement that every statement is either true false. About a hundred years ago, somebody
pointed out that the law of the excluded middle is a statement and is therefore not a law
after all. It could just as well be false as well as true.
This was a tangled knot for the logicians to untie until
they came to understand the difference between the use and the mention of a word.
When we use a word, we consider its meaning. When we
mention a word we are discussing the word itself. If I said Toronto is a large city, I
mean Toronto, that place, is a large cit. If I say Toronto has seven letters, I am talking
about the word 'Toronto'. In the first case I used the word and in the second I mentioned
the word. You see distinction.
Jesus and Adam
Connecting these ideas and the idea that the Qur'an
composed of verses that are perfected and then expounded for us, consider the verse which
"The likeness of Jesus before Allah is as the
likeness of Adam." (3:59)
It is very clear that what we have in the statement is
an equation. This verse goes on to explain how that is true because they both came under
unusual circumstances rather than having a mother and a father in the usual human
reproductive way. But more than that, I got to consider the use of the mention of words.
The words are used clearly enough. Jesus is like Adam
and by Jesus and Adam, we mean those two men. But what about the mention of the words? Was
the author aware of the fact that if we were considering the words as words themselves,
this sentence also read that 'Jesus' is something like 'Adam'. Well, they are not spelt
with the same letters, how can they be alike in this revelation? The only answer came to
me fairly quickly and I took a look at the index of the Qur'an.
The index of the Qur'an has been made available only
since 1945. This book was the result of years of work by a man and his students who
assembled a book which lists every word in the Qur'an and where it can be found.
So, when we look up the word Isa (Jesus), we find it in
the Qur'an twenty-five times. When we look up Adam, we find it in the Qur'an twenty-five
times. The point is that they are very much alike in this book. They are equated. So,
following up on this idea, I continued to examine the index looking for every case where
something was set up as an equation, where the likeness of something was said to be the
likeness of some other thing. And in every case, it works. You have to example a verse
"The likeness of this who reject our signs is as
the likeness of the dog." (7:176)
Well, the phrase is Arabic for 'the people who reject
our signs' could be found in the Qur'an exactly five times. And so is the Arabic word for
'the dog' (al-kalb). And there are several instances of exactly the same occurrence.
It was some months after I found this for myself that a
friend of mine, who is continuing this investigation with me, made a suggestion that there
are also some places in the Qur'an where one thing is said to be not like another thing.
As soon as he mentioned this up to me, we both went for
the index and had a quick look at several places where on thing is said to be not like
another thing and counted their occurrence in the Qur'an. We were surprise and maybe
should not have been to find that, after all, they do not match up. But an interesting
thing does happen. For example, the Qur'an makes it very clear in the verse that trade is
not like interest. The two words will be found six times for on and seven for the other.
And so it is in every other case.
When one thing is said to be not like another, they over
for a difference of one time. It would be five of one and four of the other, or seven of
one and eight of another.
Good and Evil
There is one interesting verse which, I felt, spoke
directly to me from right off the page. It mentions two words in Arabic, al-khabeeth
(the evil), and al-taib (the good). The verse reads:
"Say, the evil and the good are not comparable,
even though the abundance of evil will surprise you. So be mindful of your duty to
Allah, O Man of understanding, that you may succeed." (5:100)
When I had a look at those two words in Arabic, the evil
and the good, and found it in the Qur'an that they both occur seven times. Yet the
verse here is saying that they are not comparable. I should NOT expect to find that they
occur the same number of times. BUT what does the rest of this verse say?
"The evil and the good are not comparable. The
abundance of the evil will surprise you" - and it did for there were too
many of them. But it continues...
"So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O Man of
understanding, that you may succeed." - So press on. Use your understanding and you
will succeed. This is what the verse said to me. Well, I found the answer on one verse
"Allah separates the evil from the good. The evil
He piles one on top of the other, heaping them all together." (8:37)
Here is the solution to the difficulty. While we have
seven occurrences of al-khabeeth (the evil) which matches up with the occurrences
of al-taib (the good), according to the principle of the verse, evil is separated
from good and is piled one on top of the other and heaped altogether as one. Hence, we do
not count them as 7 separate instances.
Occurrence of Words
A favourite difficulty, or supposed difficulty, which
critics like to cite concerning the Qur'an is that - the author of this book was ignorant
because he advised Muslims to follow the lunar new year instead of the solar year.
The critics say the author was unaware of the
differences in the length of years, that if one follows the twelve lunar months, one loses
eleven days every year. However, the author was well aware of the distinction between the
length of the solar year and lunar year.
In Chapter 18, Verse 9:
It mentions 300 years and gives their equivalent as 309
years. As it happens, 300 SOLAR years is equal to 309 LUNAR years.
The arabic word for 'month', shahar will be found
12 times in the Qur'an. There are 12 months in a year. If we find twelve months, how many
days should we expect to find? The word in arabic is yaum, and as it happens you
will find that the word occurs 365 in the Qur'an.
The original issue which had me interested in looking up
the occurrence of months and days was this distinction between solar year and the lunar
year. Well, for 25 centuries, it has been known that the relative positions of the sun,
moon and earth coincide every 19 years. This was discovered by a Greek by the name of
Meton, and it is called the 'Metonic' cycle.
Knowing this, I looked again in the index of the word
'year', sanah and found, sure enough, that is occurs in the Qur'an 19 times.
Perfect balance of Words
Now, what is the point of this perfect balance of words?
For myself, it shows the author was well aware of the distinction between using words and
mentioning words, a fine logical point. But more than that, it indicates the preservation
of this book.
After giving a lecture on the subject of the Qur'an , I
touched on some of these subjects and a questionnaire from the audience afterwards said:
"How do we know we still have the original Qur'an. Maybe pieces of it have been lost
or extra parts been added?" I pointed out to him that we had pretty well covered that
point because since these items, the perfect balance of words in the Qur'an, have come to
light only in this generation, anybody who would have lost the portion of this book,
hidden some of it, or added some of their own would have been unaware of this carefully
hidden code in the book. They would have destroyed this perfect balance.
It is interesting to note too that, well, such a thing
might be possible to organize today by the use of a computer to coordinate all words so
that whatever thought you might have as to a meaning of a sentence or however you might
construe an equation out of a sentence, you could check for yourself and the book will
always have the balance of words.
If that were possible today, if it were possible
fourteen centuries ago, why would it be done and then left hidden and never drawn to the
attention of those who first saw this book? Why it would be left with the hope of the
author who contrived this, that maybe in many centuries someone will discover it and have
a nice surprise? It is a scheme that does not make sense.
We are told in the Qur'an that no questionnaire will
come to the Muslims with the question for which a good answer has not been provided, and
the best explanation for whatever his question. This verse says:
"For everything they say we are given something
to go back to them and reply." (25:33)
We looked again to the index of the Qur'an and we found
the word, qalu (they say), is found three hundred and thirty-two times. Now, what would be
the natural counterpart? The Arabic word, qul, which is the command 'say' and you will
find at the index it also occurs three hundred and thirty-two times.
Origin of the Qur'an
An interesting feature of the Qur'an is that it replies
to critics as to its origin. That is, no one has yet come up with suggestion as to where
this book came from which is not commented on within the book itself.
In fact, the new Catholic Encyclopedia, under the
heading Qur'an, mentions that over the centuries there has been many theories as to where
this book came from. There conclusion: today, no sensible person believes any of these
theories. This leaves the Christians in some difficulty. You see, all the theories
suggested so far , according to this encyclopedia, are not really acceptable to anyone
sensible today. They are too fantastic.
Where did the book come from? Those who have not really
examined the Qur'an usually dismissed it as being, they say, a collection of proverbs or
aphorisms, saying that one man used to announce from time to time. They imagined that
there was a man who, from time to time during the day, will think of some witty little
saying and spit it out and those around him will quickly write it down and eventually
these were all collected and became the Qur'an.
Those who read the Qur'an will find that it is not
anything like that at all. The collection of things said by the Prophet is the subject and
the content of the Hadith. But the subjects and contents of the Qur'an are all in a form
of a composition and explanation. I site as an example the chapter, Yusuf, which is an
entire story in great detail about on e particular episode of one portion of the life of
one man. It is a composition.
It is for this reason that virtually all those who have
actually examined the Qur'an usually refer to it as being the product of the authorship as
attributed to Muhammad and his 'co-adjudicators'. These were supposed to be people who
would sit with him and composed the Qur'an. You see they imagined that the Qur'an was
composed by a committee.
They acknowledged that there was too much information
and it was too well composed for one man to have assembled. So, they imagined that a
committee of men used to meet regularly, brought their various sources of information,
composed something and then handed to this man and told him, "Go to the people
tomorrow, this is your revelation." In other words, it was a fraud concocted by a
group of people. But what do we know about fraud? The Qur'an reminds us as it says:
"Saw, now the truth has come, and falsehood
neither invents anything nor restores anything." (34:49).
It is hard to translate it into English precisely, but
what this verse is telling us is that falsehood is not the source of a new thing. A new
and truthful thing cannot come from falsehood and falsehood does not restore, to our
minds, the facts. Truth is in agreement with facts. Falsehood is something else. So
falsehood is empty. If something is born fraud, it will never bring us new information. It
will never endure; it will only collapse over a period of time.
Another interesting verse is a challenge which is
addressed to those non-believers. It reads:
"Have they not considered the Qur'an, if it
came, other than Allah, surely they will find in it many inconsistencies." (4:82)
Here is a challenge to the reader. If you think you have
an explanation where this book came from, have another look at the book. Surely you will
be able to uncover some inconsistencies to support your case.
Imagine a student submitting a term paper or a final
exam and then writing at the bottom of the page a not to his teacher: "You will find
no mistakes in this paper. There are no mistakes on this exam." Can you imagine the
teacher letting that rest? The teacher would probably not sleep until uncovering some
inconsistency after a challenge like that. It is not the way human beings speak. They do
not offer challenges like that. But here we have it in the Qur'an, a direct challenge
saying: "If you have a better idea as to where this book came from, here's all you
need to do. Find some inconsistencies."
There are critics who make the attempt, critics who try
to say the Qur'an contains inconsistencies. A publication that came to my attention
recently suggested that the Qur'an was contradictory on the subject of marriage, because
in one place, it says: "don't marry more than one wife unless you can provide for
them all," and in another place it says: "Don't marry more than four." They
see this as a contradiction. What they have is a counter-distinction. In one case, the
qualification for marrying more than one has been given. In the other case a limitation on
how many may be married is given. There is no contradiction.
Critics are too quick to grab hold of something, give it
an interpretation, and then offer it as an excuse to escape the reality of this document.
For critics who would attack the Qur'an and insist it
contains mistakes, we can use the same method as in our reply to Christians who claim that
Jesus is on record as claiming to be equal to God. Remember the three categories of
evidence offered. The evidence offered was insufficient, ambiguous or impossible.
You see, if someone cites a verse from the Qur'an,
trying to show that it is a mistake, we only need to show that the verse cited is
insufficient to establish that there is a mistake or we need to show that the verse cited
cannot possible have the interpretation which the critic is giving it. It will always fall
into one of these three categories.
Attributing it to the Devil
I had experience, on one occasion, describing some of
the contents in the Qur'an to a man who did not know the book I was talking about. He sat
next to me with the cover turned over. I just told him about the book, what it contained
and told him it was not the Bible. His conclusion was, the book was miraculous. This man
was a minister in a Christian Church. He said, "Yes, that book could not possible
have originated with the man and therefore it must come from the devil, because it's not
The Qur'an comments on this suggestion in chapter
twenty-six, verse two-hundred and eleven, as to those who would suggest that the book came
from the devil. It points out that it does not quite suit him, does it? Is this how the
devil misleads people? He tells them, worship none but God, he insists that they fast,
that they practice charity. Is this how the devil misleads people?
Compare the attitude of someone like this, to the
attitude of the Jews who knew Jesus and opposed him until the very end. There is an
episode reported in the Bible where Jesus raised a man from the dead, one Lazarus, who had
been dead for four days. When Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive again those Jews who
were watching, what did they do? Did they suddenly say that this man is a true prophet and
become believers? No, the Bible says they immediately discussed among themselves that
"since this man is working on his signs soon everyone will believe in him. We've got
to find a way to kill him," and they attributed his miraculous powers to the devil.
He raised that man by the power of the devil.
Now, the Christians who read that episode will feel very
sorry for those Jews who had clear evidence right before their very eyes and attribute the
miracles to the devil. Does it not appear that they may be doing the same thing when we
illustrate what we have in the Qur'an and their final excuse is only: "It originated
with the devil."
A Different Story
There are those who insist that the Qur'an was copied,
that it originated in Christian and Jewish sources. As a matter of fact, a book published
in recent years called Worshipping the Wrong God has stated, as though it were a fact,
that after the first revelation of the Qur'an came to Muhammad, peace be upon him, that
his wife died and so he quickly married a Jew and a Christian, and this is where he drew
the rest of his sources for his book.
Well, they have the facts partly right. It was ten years
after the first revelation of the Qur'an that his wife died, and it was another ten years
after that when the Qur'an was virtually completed that he married a Jew and a Christian.
Did he copy from Jewish and Christian sources? In the
Qur'an, the ruler of Egypt who opposed Moses is known as Fir'aun, not Pharaoh. The Jews
and Christians have always said 'Pharaoh'. It is easy for an Arab to say 'Pharaoh'. But in
the Qur'an, it is Fir'aun, with an 'n'. Why? Surely the Jews must have teased them about
that and said: "You've got the word wrong. It's 'Pharaoh' and not Fir'aun." But
they insisted on it and it continues that way in the Qur'an, Fir'aun.
As it happens, this historical writings of Herodotus,
the Greek historian, exist to this day, and Herodotus comments on the ruler of Egypt,
being in his day and in the centuries before him, one man who went by the title of
Did the book copy from the Christians sources? The
Qur'an insists that Jesus was not crucified, that this was only an illusion, but that the
Jews who thought they crucified Jesus were mistaken because it was not really so.
Christians would have no part of that. As it happens, the idea that Jesus was not really
crucified is really very ancient and can be traced back to the first century. But
Christians who believed that were eliminated as heretics within the first two-hundred
years after the time of Jesus and they were not teaching this doctrine anywhere around the
Arabian Peninsula fourteen centuries ago.
Could the author of the Qur'an have been copying from
Christian sources when he says that Jesus spoke to man as a babe (3:46) and in later life?
The Arabic word used indicates that he was still speaking to man and teaching to them in
the forties. The Christians have always maintained that Jesus was gone by the time he was
thirty-three. It indicates that there could have been no copying. In fact, a man would
have to be stubborn and insists on the points as explained in the Qur'an in the face of
Christian opposition who would have said: "No! No! I wasn't like that. We tell the
Now we go to the words of the prophets themselves, which
represent another path that leads to Islam. In the Persian scriptures, which have been
around for thousands of years, we read:
"When the Persians should sink so low in
mortality, a man will be born in Arabia whose followers will upset their throne, religion
and everything. The mighty stiff-necked ones will be overpowered. The house which was
built and in which many idols have been placed will purged of idols and people will say
their prayers facing towards it. His followers will capture the towns of the Farsi, Entaus
and Balkh, and other big places round about. People will embroil with one another. The
wise men of Persia and others will join his followers." (Desature no.14)
The Muslims recognize this very quickly because the
Ka'bah, the building which all Muslims face in prayers everyday, was at one time filled
with idols and it was part of the mission of Muhammad , peace be upon him, to purge the
house of idols till today. It was in the next generation, after the time of the Prophet
that the wise men of Persia and others did join his followers.
A Prophet Like Moses
In the Bible, in Deuteronomy chapter eighteen, we have
the words of Moses who reports that God told him that H would raise up a prophet, from
among the brothers of the Israelites, like Moses.
Christians wish to apply this to Jesus, to say he was
the prophet like Moses. It is uncomfortable for them to recognize, however that Jesus was
not very much like Moses and Jesus had no father, no wife, no children; he did not die of
old age, and he did not lead a nation; all these things Moses had or did. But they say,
well, Jesus will return; he will return as a victorious person, and so he will be more
like Moses. Do they really expect he will return to also acquire a father and a wife and
children and then die of old age? Not usually. Moreover, Jesus was an Israelite. The
passage of scripture says that this prophet that was foretold would be raised up among the
brothers of the Israelites, not from the Israelites.
In the third chapter of Acts, the disciple Peter speaks
to a crowd of people and explains that Jesus has been take up and he is in heaven. He will
remain in Heaven and he cannot return until all the things that were promised but God come
to pass. So what are we still waiting for, does he tell the crowd? He quotes this very
saying of Moses saying:
"For God will raise up a prophet from among the
brothers of the Israelites like Moses..."
The point is very clear. Christians like to see this
prophet as being Jesus. But read carefully Acts chapter three, what it says is that Jesus
awaits a return. He cannot return until the fulfillment of this prophecy, that another
prophet has to come. Jesus spoke of it himself and the words survived, just barely, but
they survived in the bible. Jesus spoke of God sending another 'Paraclete'.
There is a lot of argument over the meaning of this word
'Paraclete'. For now we can leave that aside. What is a 'Paraclete'? It does not matter.
The first letter of John shows that Jesus was a 'Paraclete'. He is called a 'Paraclete'
and we have Jesus promising another 'Paraclete' is going to be sent. We lose a lot by this
word 'another' in English because it is ambiguous. If someone's car breaks down, and it is
a Toyota, and I say, '" I'll go get you another car," maybe I mean, "I'll
go and get you another Toyota because this one you have is broken," or maybe I mean,
"Forget Toyota, they're no good; I'll go and get you a Datsun." It is an
ambiguous word. But the Greeks had a word for it. When they meant 'another' of the same
kind, they said aloes. When they meant another of a different kind, they said heteroes.
The important thing there is that when Jesus, who was himself a Paraclete, said "God
will send you another Paraclete" he used the word aloes, not heteroes.
Christians want to say that this other 'Paraclete' that
has been sent was different from Jesus. It was not a man, it was a spirit. What Jesus said
was: God will send you another one like me, another man." Muslims believe that
Muhammad is the fulfillment of this prophecy by Jesus. The Qur'an says that this man is
mentioned in the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians (see7:157).
Christians came to expect that the return of Jesus
because of a Jewish misunderstanding. 'Messiah' and 'Son of Man' have been given special
significance by the Jews, even though may people were called by this same name as in the
Bible. The Jews came to expect a victorious leader. When Jesus did not turn out to be
quite what many expected, they hatched the idea that he would return some day and fulfill
all these prophecies.
Follower of Jesus
Suppose that someone observed Jesus two-thousand years
ago, and he left this planet, or he went to sleep for two-thousand years an returned today
to look for the followers of Jesus, who would he find? Who would he recognize? Christians?
I conclude with just this food for thought: the Bible says very clearly that Jesus used to
fast. Do Christians fast? Muslims fast; it is obligatory on month every year. The Bible
says that Jesus prayed by touching his forehead to the ground. Do Christians pray in this
manner? Muslims do. It is characteristic of their prayer and no one on earth is probably
ignorant of that fact.
According to Jesus, he told his disciples to greet one
another with the expression, "Peace be with you." Do the Christians do that?
Muslims do, universally, whether they speak Arabic of not. The greeting for one to another
is Assalamu' alaikum (peace be with you).
The brother of Jesus in the Book of James, stated that
no man should suggest what he is about to do of highlight his plans for the next few days
in anyway without adding the phrase "if God wills." Do not say "I will go
here and there do this and that" without adding the phrase "if God wills."
Do Christians do that? Muslims do, whether they speak Arabic or not. If they so much as
suggest they are going downtown to pick up some groceries, they will add Insha-Allah,
which in Arabic means, "If God wills."
These conclude my thoughts on this subject. May Allah
guide us always closer to the truth.
This booklet is published all over the
world and you can get your hands on it pretty easily. My copy was published by:
The Muslims Converts' Association of
Darul Arqam Singapore
32 Onan Road
Fax: 344 6891
The following is stated: NO
COPYRIGHT. Any organisation or individual wishing to reprint this booklet may do so
freely. An acknowledgment will be appreciated.
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