What's new | A-Z | Discuss & Blog | Youtube |
Rebuttal to Denis Giron's "Qur'an: A Work of Multiple Hands?" article
This article is in response to Denis's article "Quran: A Work of Multiple Hands?", which can be accessed here http://www../library/modern/denis_giron/multiple.html
The article has already been responded to in this article http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/Quran/Sources/multiple.htm, but I felt it would only be appropriate to write another one to finish Denis off.
[The Qur'an] is strikingly lacking in overall structure, frequently obscure and inconsequential in both language and content, perfunctory in its linking of disparate materials, and given to the repetition of whole passages in variant versions. On this basis it can plausibly be argued that the book is the product of belated and imperfect editing of materials from a plurality of traditions.1
This is the conclusion Michael Cook and Patricia Crone came to after following the scholarship of Dr. John Wansbrough. The argument is that textual analysis of the Qur'an will lead one to realize that Islam's holiest scripture is actually nothing more than a compilation of variant traditions; traditions that were floating around at the time of the book's writing. Such theories are formulated by applying modern Biblical scholarship to the Qur'an.
In the nineteenth century, scholars took an in depth look at the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, which is essentially Judaism's equivalent of the Qur'an. Literary and historical analysis caused these scholars to theorize that the Torah is not a single narrative but a composite of four different source documents cleverly combined in such a way as to appear to be one continuous narrative chronicling the early history of the Hebrew people. The process through which the discovery was made came to be known as Documentary Hypothesis or Higher Criticism, and is credited largely to the nineteenth century historian and Bible scholar, Julius Wellhausen. This theory has since gained greater popularity due to the writings of Richard E. Friedman2 and others.
In recent years, Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more"), when in discussions with their Christian counterparts on the topic of the Bible versus the Qur'an, have willingly parroted this theory, not fully understanding how scholars came to these conclusions. To the Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more"), the fact that Western scholars had concluded that the Bible is nothing more than variant traditions woven together into a single text was more than enough to invalidate the Bible, and somehow simultaneously validate the Qur'an. What none of these Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") ever realized was that the same theories could be applied quite easily to the Qur'an as well.
Opinions of people like Patricia Crone hold no value anymore. They have already been dealt with http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/offa.html
You can also hear how Shabir Ally refutes Joseph Smith when he uses Patricia Crone to back up his claims against Islam. Listen to "The Great Debate II", which can be downloaded here http://www.aswatalislam.net/DisplayFilesP.aspx?TitleID=50018&TitleName=Shabir_Ally
Qur'an: The Speech of Allah?
The claim that the Qur'an is the word of God is, at this point, wholly unsupported. This is a claim that Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") accept on blind faith. To a Muslim, such statements may seem both blasphemous and outrageous, but we must approach such things rationally. We cannot take a certain group on their word when it comes to the origins of their tribal folklore. To be fair, a Muslim would first have to prove that God, or Allah, actually exists before they can begin attributing books to Him or Her.
Completely untrue. We have nothing but hardcore and undeniable evidence in order to conclude nothing but the Quran is the word of God. I don't have time to explain why the Quran is the word of God because it has nothing to do with the topic. So all I could recommend is visit the following:
http://www.irf.net/irf/download/index.htm, then download "Is the Quran Gods Word", or you can download and watch it on video here http://www.aswatalislam.net/DisplayFilesP.aspx?TitleID=50027&TitleName=Zakir_Naik
However, the style of the Qur'an is something that will undoubtedly come up when putting forth any theory about the Qur'an's origin. Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") will no doubt be somewhat offended by the application of Biblical criticism to the Qur'an. The Bible does not read as the direct "word of God" the way the Qur'an does. For example, in the Bible, God is consistently referred to in the third person (e.g. "God said to Moses," et cetera). The Qur'an, on the other hand, is narrated in the first person3. It is generally presented as God's word to Muhammad. Because of this, Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") will claim there is no comparison between the Qur'an and Bible.
First of all, it should be noted that the examples that this article will focus on will be the variant stories presented in the Qur'an (regardless of the narrator), thus the exact style will be, at times, irrelevant. Second, despite the propaganda of the Islamic missionaries, the Qur'an is not always presented as the speech of God. Numerous critics of the Qur'an have pointed to instances where God is mentioned in the third person. Regarding these critics, Benjamin Walker writes:
"Some asked what need there was for God to take oaths like any mortal being, as when he swears by the fig and olive, and by Mount Sinai (95:1); by the declining day (103:1); and by the stars, the night and the dawn (81:15-18). Above all, they asked why the Almighty had to swear on himself[.]"4
Another, rather obvious example would be al-Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Qur'an. As Ibn Warraq notes, "[t]hese words are clearly addressed to God, in the form of a prayer."5 Much like the critics mentioned by Walker above, one might wonder why God would begin with the words bismillah, ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem ("in the name of God, the most merciful, the most benevolent").
One final example would be the verse6 that Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") claim is referring to the israa7. The verse begins with "asraa bi cabdeehee lailan," ("glory to Him who caused his servant to travel by night"). If we were to even accept the fantastic claim that the Qur'an is the word of some provincial sky god, one would need to ask who is speaking in this verse, and even label it an interpolation! Why does the Mighty Phantasm of Islam feel the need to praise himself? Surely this is the speech of Muhammad, Jibreel8, or whomever the reciter(s) of the Qur'an may have been.
These issues have already been dealt with, I recommend the following
Putting aside the assumption that Allah is the source of the Qur'an (i.e. the skygod hypothesis), this verse still is a possible example of an interpolation in the Qur'an. The verse continues, "from the sacred place of worship, to al-masjidul-aksa." According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad went from Mecca to Jerusalem, stopping at al-masjidul-aksa, or the al-Aksa Mosque. The problem is, the al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem was built roughly 46 years after the traditional time given for Muhammad's death. Therefore, if this verse is in fact claiming that Muhammad paid a visit to this Mosque, one would have to conclude that the verse was an interpolation added into the text.
Some Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") have tried to reconcile this error by claiming that al-masjidul-aksa is actually the temple of Herod, but this is impossible, as that temple was destroyed five centuries before the traditional time given for Muhammad's birth. In short, to claim that it was referring to the temple of the Jews is to admit an error in the Qur'an, and to instead accept that it is a reference to the actual masjidul-aksa now standing in Jerusalem is to admit that this is an interpolation placed in the Qur'an after Muhammad was long dead. The only reasonable response I have seen is that put forth by Saqib Virk9. Virk decided to abandon Orthodox Islamic tradition, and claim that Muhammad merely went to "the farthest mosque" (the literal translation of al-masjidul-aksa), which is an unknown point. Stories about Muhammad visiting Herod's temple or the al-Aksa Mosque were merely created afterwards to make sense of the verse.
Taken from https://www.answering-christianity.com/nightjourney_rebuttal.htm
The Arabic word "Masjid", which means Mosque or Temple, is derived from the root word "Sujood", which means Prostration. A Masjid does not have to be a building decorated with arts and standing on strong pillars. It can be an area of worship where it is surrounded by boundaries; whether it is small walls or stones gathered by men. So it is quite possible that since the area where the modern "Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa" is located in is believed to be the place where the Temple of Solomon was built in, that the Jews used to gather together and do their Prayers and Prostrations to GOD Almighty there. That area can be technically called a Temple or Mosque; a place of Prostration.
That is why "Qubbat Al-Sakhra", which is the building with the golden dome top, was built. It is strongly believed that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him had set his foot on that land before he was taken up to Heaven and sent back. It was an open land. So to preserve that holy site, the Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") decided to build Qubbat Al-Sakhra near the Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. This should prove my theory that the area where the Temple of Solomon was believed to be built in was really an open area that was dedicated for worship. That area was called Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, which means the Farthest Mosque.
So technically, there is no error in the Noble Quran's claims regarding this matter.
An article that deals with this issue in greater detail is http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/aqsa.html
Qur'an: The Speech of Muhammad?
I originally was inspired to write this article after reading Zulfikar Khan's essay "Koran - The Ultimate Truth"10. Khan's essay is an unflinchingly brutal attack on the Qur'an's integrity, which focuses mainly on the issue of contradictions in the text. While the essay is a fun read, Khan commits what I feel is a fallacy committed by many critics of Islam: he assumes that because the Qur'an is not the word of God, it must be the word of Muhammad. For example, Khan will show a numerical discrepancy in the Qur'an, and exclaim something along the lines of "apparently, Muhammad didn't know how to add integers."
Zulfikar Khan exposed numerous contradictions in the Qur'an, and there is no doubt that Muslim apologists will offer all kinds of wild confabulations in an attempt to reconcile each one. It is quite obvious that in the world of apologetics, such characters are more than willing to sacrifice their intellectual integrity in order to salvage their cherished beliefs. Regardless, this is not an issue I'm interested in. At this time, the issue is with regards to the fact that Khan never considered the possibility that the Qur'an is a work of multiple authors. Surely numerous conflicting statements in a text is a sign that the text is from a plurality of sources.
Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") offered nothing but clear and logical answers to all these so called contradictions. Denis just wants to psychologically make people think that the Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") couldn't and therefore not encourage the reader to go and find out the rebuttals to these alleged claims.
The failure to consider authors other than Muhammad, the fallacy of bifurcation11, is a problem that is found in nearly all criticisms of Islam. Everything we know about Muhammad comes not from the Qur'an, but from extracanonical sources such as sira literature, and various ahadith compilations; and, unfortunately, critics are a bit too willing to accept it all on face value. Even with writers such as Ibn Warraq12 and Ibn al-Rawandi13, writers who have set a new tone in secular criticism of Islam, there is a hint of conflict. The writer seems torn between rejecting the traditional claims about the Qur'an's origin, and working with these traditions in order to formulate an understanding of Muhammad's role.
The reality is we have no reliable sources from which we can make any decisions with regard to the role Muhammad played in the creation of the Qur'an. The Qur'an itself tells us nothing, outside of a few ambiguous mentionings of a certain muhammad, or "praised one." All information on Muhammad, who he was, his interaction with Jibreel, his prophethood, et cetera, are derived from a highly questionable source: the ahadith. These are traditions that were, for the most part, written down and compiled more than two hundred years after the events they are allegedly relating. In fact, by the admission of the Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") themselves, the most respected ahadith are those compiled by Imam Bukhari, who died in the late ninth century (roughly 870 CE), nearly two hundred and forty years after the time that Muhammad allegedly lived.
Furthermore, the dating system of the early Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") is so weak that the issue of the gap in time between the writing of the ahadith and the events they are reporting becomes even more of a problem. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was born during 'am-al-fil, the year of the elephant, which was allegedly 570 CE. This was, according to Islamic folklore, a year that many of the pre-Islamic Arabs remembered, because it is when an army of Ethiopian warriors on Elephants was repelled by birds throwing stones. Following that, we get another tradition that tells us that Muhammad was called to prophethood at the age of forty (approximately 610 CE). It is from here that the Islamic calendar starts, based on a shaky tradition, that is itself based on another shaky tradition, and therefore it is totally unreliable14.
Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") will, no doubt, demand that we accept the highly tendentious ahadith collections as a reliable source of information, but there is no real reason to do so. Many of these traditions contradict one another, or are of a highly absurd nature. Even worse, the Qur'an itself seems to warn the believers against resorting to any hadith-based information. One verse of the Qur'an15 warns against those who spread "frivolous stories" (lahv-al-hadith), and yet another16 says, in a very straight forward way: "tilka aayaatullahi nutloohaa 'alayka bil haqqi fabi-ayyi *HADEETHI* ba'dallaahi wa aayaatihi yoominoon," or "These are the revelations of God which we recite to you correctly; in what hadith other than God and his revelations will they believe?"
Qur'an: Repetitive Revelation?
From the literary point of view, the Koran has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn. It is humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries, and that millions of men are still wasting time absorbing it.18
This description of the Qur'an by Salomon Reinach is rather fitting, particularly the part about repetition. One would wonder why the same statement needs to be said over and over again if it is from a single person. What is worse, many of these duplicate statements differ in context and wording. Once one is aware of this, it is easier to understand the theory that the Qur'an is a work of multiple hands.
The first example will be the discussion between Allah and Iblis (or Satan) that allegedly took place at the time Adam, the first man according to the Islamic folklore, was created. As the story goes, when Allah created Adam, He demanded all the angels prostrate before the first man (it seems this would be an act of shirk19, but that's another issue). Everyone bowed before Adam, with the exception of Iblis. A conversation between Allah and Iblis took place, and resulted in Iblis being expelled from heaven. Now we will look at two versions of the story (ten verses each), one from fifteenth chapter of the Qur'an (surah al-Hijr), and the other from the thirty eighth chapter of the Qur'an (surah Sad).
[al-Hijr 15:28] Behold! thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud moulded into shape;
[al-Hijr 15:29] "When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him."
[al-Hijr 15:30] So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together:
[al-Hijr 15:31] Not so Iblis: he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves.
[al-Hijr 15:32] (God) said: "O Iblis! what is your reason for not being among those who prostrated themselves?"
[al-Hijr 15:33] (Iblis) said: "I am not one to prostrate myself to man, whom Thou didst create from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape."
[al-Hijr 15:34] (God) said: "Then get thee out from here; for thou art rejected, accursed.
[al-Hijr 15:35] "And the curse shall be on thee till the day of Judgment."
[al-Hijr 15:36] (Iblis) said: "O my Lord! give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised."
[al-Hijr 15:37] (God) said: "Respite is granted thee."
[al-Hijr 15:38] "Till the Day of the Time appointed."
[Sad 38:71] Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay:
[Sad 38:72] "When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him."
[Sad 38:73] So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together:
[Sad 38:74] Not so Iblis: he was haughty, and became one of those who reject Faith.
[Sad 38:75] (God) said: "O Iblis! What prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with my hands? Art thou haughty? Or art thou one of the high (and mighty) ones?"
[Sad 38:76] (Iblis) said: "I am better than he: thou createdst me from fire, and him thou createdst from clay."
[Sad 38:77] (God) said: "Then get thee out from here: for thou art rejected, accursed.
[Sad 38:78] "And My curse shall be on thee till the Day of Judgment."
[Sad 38:79] (Iblis) said: "O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised."
[Sad 38:80] (God) said: "Respite then is granted thee-
[Sad 38:81] "Till the Day of the Time Appointed."
Now the two stories are essentially the same. First, one wonders why this story needs to be repeated. If, as is the claim of Orthodox Islamic tradition, Muhammad was receiving this information from God, why would God need to say this numerous times? Aside from the above two versions, the story also appears numerous times elsewhere in the Qur'an20. Worst of all, all these versions differ in one detail or another.
One question that I have asked Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") before with regard to the verses above is: what was the exact conversation? What exactly did Allah say to Iblis? What was Iblis' exact response? The Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") may claim that al-Qur'an yufassiru bacduhu bacdan (different parts of the Qur'an explain one another), and others will simply say that such questions should not be asked, but the reality is that none of them have an answer. The reason for this is that, while the general theme of the story is the same, the exact details differ. This is undoubtedly caused by multiple traditions that were floating around at the time of the Qur'an's compilation; variant traditions that were woven into the text.
For the repetition, there can be two possible answers. One could be..
Taken from http://www.irib.ir/worldservice/imam/Revolution/22.htm
Repetition and Practice
The Books which have come to make man, such as the Qur'an and the books written on ethics, aiming at making man and constructing the society, their topics are repeated in accordance with their importance. In the Qur'an there are many repetitions. Some question this repetition, whereas they are necessary. One of the things which is useful in constructing man is repetition. If a man himself wanted to make himself, he must repeat to himself the relevant matters. If a point was wanted to have a fixed effect in the soul it must be repeatedly suggested to oneself so as to be imprinted in the soul. The point in repeating the du`as and the salat many times in the day and night is that by saying and hearing them, such as repeating to oneself suratul Hamd [The surah of the Opening], there will be a good teaching lesson, a constructing lesson. Man should repeatedly suggest them to himself and prepare himself to hear them. When one says something, the hearer hears it and it enters his heart, but it is first stamped on the sayer's heart, and then he utters it, and once again he hears it, and once again it enters his heart. Repetition is of the necessary things. My repeating one thing sometimes to my friends is because the thing is important, it concerns the making of a community, a nation. Unless a nation, a society, is well built, it cannot implement its lofty objectives. So the important matters are to be repeated. The sayers should repeat them, and the hearers are to repeat them to themselves, so that it may have its effect in the soul, insha'allah.
Or another explanation could be any of the following..
Taken from http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Koran
A notable feature of the Qur'an is its rather frequent partial repetition, ranging from brief epithets (eg "Lord of the heavens and the earth") to sentences. For instance, in the story of Adam, the words "And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis", are repeated verbatim in suras al-Baqarah, al-Isra, al-Kahf, and Ta-Ha, and with only slight change in al-A'raf. Similarly, "Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength" is found both in al-An'am 152 and in al-Isra 34. These repetitions sometimes serve to emphasise an important point, and sometimes are repeated in different contexts to illustrate different points.
Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qur'an
There are many repeated epithets (e.g. "Lord of the heavens and the earth"), sentences ("And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis"), and even stories (such as the story of Adam) in the Qur'an. Muslim scholars explain these repetitions as emphasizing and pointing up different aspects of important themes.
Taken from http://www.al-islam.org/adab/48.htm
In the very story of Adam and Eve and their affairs with Iblis, from the very moment of their creation till their descent to the earth, which story is repeated by Allah several times in the Qur'an, there are so many overt and covert teachings [ma'arif] and admonitions, and it reminds us of so many of spiritual faults and Satanic characters, as well as many perfections of the soul and human knowledge which it introduces to us, whereas we still disregard them.
Taken from http://www.islamic-paths.org/Home/English/Quran/Prophets/Adam.htm
Adam opened his eyes and saw all the angels prostrating before him except one being who was standing at a distance Adam did not know what kind of creature it was that did not prostrate before him nor did he know its name. Iblis was standing with the angels so as to be included in the command given to them but he was not one of them. He was a jinn, and as such he was supposed to be inferior to the angels. What is clear is that this prostration was to show respect and did not mean that the angels were worshipping Adam. Prostrating in worship is done only for ALLAH.
Almighty Allah recounted the story of Iblis's refusal to prostate before Adam: Remember when your Lord said to the angels, "I am going to create a man (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. So when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him then fall you down prostrating yourselves unto him." SO the angels prostrated themselves all of them together, except Iblis, he refused to be among the prostrators. Allah said: "O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among the prostrators?" Iblis said: "I am not the one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud." Allah said: "Then get out from here for verily you are Rajim (an outcast or cursed one). Verily the curse shall be upon you till Day of Recompense (Day of Resurrection). (Ch 15:28-35 Qur'an).
In another surah Almighty Allah recounted it thus: Surely We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam and they prostrated except Iblis he refused to be of those who prostrate.
Allah said: "What prevented you Iblis that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?" Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and him You created from clay." Allah said: "Get down from this Paradise, it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced." Iblis said: Allow me respite till the Day of Resurrection)." Allah said: "You are of those allowed respite." (Ch 7:11-15 Qur'an).
Ibn Jarir reported that Muhammad Ibn sirin said that the first one to reach a conclusion by reasoning was Iblis and that the sun and moon were not worshiped except through this method.
This means that Iblis tried to compare himself to Adam. He believed that he was more honorable than Adam. Therefore he abstained from prostrating even though Allah had commanded him to do so, just as He had commanded the angels. If an analogy is made we see that Iblis is vain. For indeed clay is better than fire because in it can be found the qualities of calmness, clemency, perseverance and growth; whereas in fire can be found heedlessness, insignificance, haste, and incineration.
Iblis tried in vain to justify his refusal: "Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?" Iblis said: "See? those whom You have honored above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!" (Ch 17:62 Qur'an).
Adam was following what was happening around him and had feelings of love, awe, and astonishment. Deep love of Allah,Who had created and glorified him and Who had made His angels prostrate before him. Awe of the Creator's wrath when He excluded Iblis from His mercy. Adam was surprised by this creature, Iblis who abhorred hiwithout even knowing him and who imagined himself better than Adam without having proved that he was worthier. What a strange creature Iblis was, and how strange was his excuse for not prostrating!
He imagined that fire is better than clay, but how did he get such an idea? Such knowledge is exclusive to Allah Who fire and clay and Who knows which is the better of the two.
From the dialogue Adam realized that Iblis was a creature characterized by cunning and ingratitude. He then knew that Iblis was his eternal enemy. He was greatly astonished at Iblis's audacity and Allah's tolerance. Immediately after his creation Adam witnessed the large amount of freedom that Allah gives to His commissioned creatures.
Allah knew that Iblis was not going to obey Him in prostrating before Adam. Allah could have totally annihilated him or turned him into a handful of dust or stifled the refusal in his mouth. Yet, Allah gives His commissioned creatures absolute freedom even to the extent that they can refuse Allah the Almighty's commands. He grants them the freedom of denial, disobedience, and even disagreement with Him.
His kingdom will not diminish if the disbelievers do not believe in Him nor will it be extended if many people believe in Him. On the contrary, the disbelievers will lose, and the believers will gain but Allah is above all of that.
There were many traditions about Iblis at the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that Iblis had been the head of the angels in the worldly heavens. Ibn Abbas said in one narration that his name had been Azazil and in another narration he said it had been Al Harith. Ibn Abbas also said that Iblis was a jinn and that they had once been the keepers of Paradise, with Iblis the most honorable and the most learned and the most pious of them. Another tradition says that he had been one of the famous four possessors of wings (angels), before Allah transformed him into the accursed Satan.
Allah Almighty recounts Iblis's disobedience in another surah: Remember when your Lord said to the angels: "Truly I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him." So the angels prostrated themselves all of them; except Iblis, he was proud and was one of the disbelievers.
Allah said: "The truth is, and the truth I say, that I will fill Hell with you and those of them (mankind) that follow you together." (Ch 38:71-85 Qur'an).
As for the exact responses, well the other passages emphasize more or mention a statement that either God or Iblis said that was not mentioned in the other passage. There are no contradictions in either passage.
There are numerous other examples of repetition, such as the story of Jesus' miraculous virgin birth, obviously taken from Christian folklore, and ultimately coming from Hindu folklore21. While the story is generally the same, the exact dialog between Mary and the angel(s) differs22. Moreover, surah al-Imran 3:45 begins with "When the angels said..." while the version in Maryam 19:17 only has one angel. Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") have tried to reconcile this by claiming that the version in al-Imran is actually referring to only one angel, but he is spoken of in a plural tense out of respect. Regardless of how true this claim is, the fact still stands that in one version the angel is given this "royal plurality," while in the other he is not given such respect. This points to variant traditions.
Qur'an: A Compilation of Contradictions?
In the previously mentioned essay of Zulfikar Khan, numerous contradictions are mentioned. While Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") may be able to explain away some, there are others that are simply inescapable. One example would be the contradiction between surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah 41:9-12 and surah An-Nazi'at 79:27-30. Here are the respective verses, courtesy of the scientifically conscious Ahmed Ali translation:
[Ha Mim As-Sajdah 41:9-12] Say "Do you refuse to believe in Him who created the earth in two spans of time, and set up compeers to Him, the Lord of all the worlds? He placed firm stabilisers rising above its surface, blessed it with plenty and growth, and ingrained the means of growing its food within it, sufficient for all seekers in four spans. Then he turned to the heavens, and it was smoke. So He said to it and the earth: "Come with willing obedience or perforce." They said: "We come willingly." Then he created several skies in two spans [...]
[An-Nazi'at 79:27-30] Are you more difficult to create or the heavens? He built it, Raised it high, proportioned it, gave darkness to its night, and brightness to its day; And afterward spread out the earth.
Putting aside the absurd idea of clouds that speak (they said: "we come willingly;" talking water vapor?), and other nonsense that can be found in the above, I would like to comment on the obvious contradiction between these two variations of the creation story. In the first version, the heavens are adorned after it was said the earth was in existence, while the latter claims exactly the opposite. It is quite easy to see how these contradictory accounts came to be in a single text. Before the Qur'an was compiled, there must have been different people with their own traditions. When the text was put together, variant traditions were given equal consideration, and included into the compilation.
Allah is only using a figure of speech in order to show how obedient his creation is to him. That his creation does not disobey him and it is perfect.
For example, someone might say well I control my car
when I put the key into the ignition, that does not mean that the car has feelings
However, a car could fail. It could have a flat tire, engine could be messed up etc. However, Allahs creation does not have these problems.
Denis claims that there is a contradiction. But there is no contradiction here. The word "summa" in surah 41 could mean 'moreover" in Arabic.
I recommend reading the following article even though it does not directly deal with the verses mentioned above, it does however answer the question.
One more quick example should be more than enough. In the Qur'an, on two occasions it is written that the Jews, the Christians, the mysterious Sabians, and anyone else who believes in God and does good deeds shall have nothing to fear or regret23. However, surah al-Imran 3:85 contradicts this claim, by stating that anyone who chooses a religion other than Islam will have paradise denied them. Some heterodox Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more"), such as the followers of Rashad Khalifa, have translated islaam in surah al-Imran to mean "submission to God," thus including Jews and Christians, and making the verse fit with the previously mentioned verses.
Unfortunately this still does not work when one considers surah an-Nisa' 4:150-151, which speaks of painful punishments for those who do not accept all the prophets of Islam. These differing views cannot be reconciled, and amount to a contradiction. This contradiction is so embarrassingly obvious that tafsir24 informs us that al-Imran abrogates the the other verses. The claim of abrogation opens the door to arguments about invalid verses, Allah changing his mind, and the dubious claim that the Qur'an is a copy of an unalterable book in heaven25. It is quite obvious that there were different persons or groups with their own versions of what God said. Some preached a tolerant Islam, where Jews and Christians were seen as fellow believers; others had a differing view, where only Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") were on the right path.
Those Jews and Christians refer to the people at the time
of the prophets who accepted the true message, which is Islam. Its talking about the Jews
(true followers of Moses), Christians (true followers of Christ).
This explanation is agreed upon by the 4 most respectable
Through all this, it has been shown that the Qur'an is indeed given to repetition of whole passages of variant versions. Blatant contradictions have been shown. With this now before us, how can we conclude that this text is the word of an Almighty God, or even a single Arab nomad? It is quite clear that the Qur'an is, as Cook and Crone said at the outset, "the product of belated and imperfect editing of materials from a plurality of traditions." There is simply no other possibility. Whenever the Qur'an was compiled, its compiler(s) took numerous variant traditions into consideration, and included many, or even all, of them into the official cannon. The result is the Qur'an we have today.
Throughout the whole article, Denis's arguments have been refuted. I did not even need to write anything, I simply just had to post links to websites that already addressed the issues. Denis posed no new arguments. The reason why I wrote this rebuttal is only to provide a comprehensive rebuttal to Denis Giron's weak and desperate arguments against Islam.
Back to Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.
Rebuttal to Denis Giron section.
Bassam Zawadi's Rebuttals section.
Send your comments.
Back to Main Page.
What's new | A-Z | Discuss & Blog | Youtube