GOD’ED? The Case for Islam as the Completion of Revelation english islamic book pdf download

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Dr. Laurence B. Brown
GOD’ED?
The Case for Islam as the Completion of Revelation
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New
King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked “NRSV” herein are from the New Revised
Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian
Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2007 Dr. Laurence B. Brown
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1-4196-8460-4
ISBN-13: 978-1419684609

Lines lead from the very first Jewish Christianity to the seventh
century, indeed to Islam. . . . The analogies between the Qur’anic
picture of Jesus and a Christology with a Jewish-Christian stamp are
perplexing. These parallels are irrefutable and call for more intensive
historical and systematic reflection.
—Hans Küng, Islam, Past, Present and Future
(2007, One World Publications. pp. 37, 44)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
– NOTES ON SCRIPTURAL SOURCES AND TRANSLATIONS – ……………………………………………..4
– INTRODUCTION – ………………………………………………………………………………………………..6
PART I: THE HOLY QUR’AN ………………………………………………………………………………… 11
1: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOLY QUR’AN …………………………………………………………. 12
2: EVIDENCE — AN OVERVIEW …………………………………………………………………………. 27
3: EVIDENCE #1 — INNATE APPEAL……………………………………………………………………. 30
4: EVIDENCE #2 — THE LANGUAGE OF THE QUR’AN ……………………………………………… 38
5: EVIDENCE #3 — RELATION OF REVELATION TO PRECEDING EVENTS ……………………… 59
6: EVIDENCE #4 — RELATION OF REVELATION TO CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS …………. 77
7: EVIDENCE #5 — RELATION OF REVELATION TO SUBSEQUENT EVENTS …………………… 82
8: EVIDENCE #6 — REVELATION OF THE UNKNOWN ………………………………………………. 99
9: SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE …………………………………………………………………………….. 137
PART II: MESSENGERS ……………………………………………………………………………………… 142
1: ADAM TO MOSES ………………………………………………………………………………………. 145
2: MOSES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 148
3: JESUS CHRIST …………………………………………………………………………………………… 161
4: MUHAMMAD ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 169
PART III: PROOF OF PROPHETHOOD …………………………………………………………………. 179
1: MIRACULOUS SIGNS ………………………………………………………………………………….. 180
2: MIRACLES PERFORMED ………………………………………………………………………………. 186
3: CHARACTER …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 191
4: PERSISTENCE AND STEADFASTNESS ………………………………………………………………. 208
5: LACK OF DISQUALIFIERS …………………………………………………………………………….. 219
6: MAINTENANCE OF THE MESSAGE …………………………………………………………………. 231
PART IV: THE UNSEEN ……………………………………………………………………………………… 238
1: ANGELS ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 239
2: DAY OF JUDGMENT ……………………………………………………………………………………. 242
3: DIVINE DECREE ………………………………………………………………………………………… 245
PART V: CONCLUSIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………. 251
1: THE “DEVIANT” RELIGION ………………………………………………………………………….. 252
2: SURRENDER …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 255
3: THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOGIC…………………………………………………………………….. 260
APPENDIX 1—IDOLATRY …………………………………………………………………………………. 264
APPENDIX 2—RECOMMENDED READING …………………………………………………………. 285
BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 289
GLOSSARY OF TERMS ……………………………………………………………………………………… 299
ENDNOTES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 301
– Notes on Scriptural Sources and Translations –
Biblical quotes in the following work, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the
New King James Version. The reason for selecting this version of the Bible does not
relate to the degree of scriptural fidelity, which is debatable, but rather to the popularity
of the text. In English-speaking countries, the 1611 edition of the King James Version is
the most widely read translation of the Bible. The New King James Version (NKJV) grew
from an effort to render the 1611 translation more accessible to modern readers, tossing
the thees and thous out the window. Unfortunately, little effort has been made to
reconcile differences between the 1611 King James Version and the Sinaiticus and
Vaticanus codices, which were discovered two centuries afterward and contain the oldest
and most authoritative New Testament manuscripts found to date. Now that they are
available, one can reasonably expect to see their influence upon more modern
translations, but this is not the case in the New King James Version, which retains verses
and passages in conflict with the most ancient and respected New Testament manuscripts.
Therefore, while this book predominantly cites the New King James Version in the
interest of satisfying the Protestant majority of Western Christianity, a complementary
version is employed where greater scholastic accuracy is required.
The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) fills this gap. Like its predecessor,
the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the NRSV is an ecumenical collaboration, reflected
in its three separate Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox editions. More
importantly, the NRSV reflects modern biblical scholarship hitherto unavailable. Indeed,
the dust had barely been blown off the Dead Sea Scrolls when the RSV translation of the
Old Testament was first published in 1946. For these reasons, the NRSV has effectively
replaced the Revised Standard Version and enjoys the broadest acceptance of all Bible
translations.
Quotations from the World Bibliography of Translations of the Meanings of the
Holy Qur’an (hereafter TMQ), unless otherwise noted, are taken from Abdullah Yusuf
Ali’s The Holy Qur’an: Translation and Commentary. Where more exacting translation is
required, those of Saheeh International or of Muhammad Al-Hilali and Muhammad Khan
(i.e., The Noble Qur’an) are employed.
Those who question the use of multiple translations need to understand that no
language, and most especially one as complex as Arabic, can be translated with complete
accuracy. As Professor A. Guillaume stated, “The Qur’an is one of the world’s classics
which cannot be translated without grave loss.”1

Hence the need for multiple translations, for no single translation can adequately
convey the meaning of the original.
– Introduction –

Life is rather like a tin of sardines—we’re all of us looking for the key.
—Alan Bennett, Beyond the Fringe2

This is the second of two books devoted to an analysis of the three Abrahamic
faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As stated in the first book, MisGod’ed, the
goals of this analysis are to define the valid links in the chain of revelation, trace this
chain to its conclusion, and in the process expose the faithful and unfaithful (i.e., the
“God’ed” and “mis-God’ed”) from among those who claim divine guidance. I assume
readers have already finished the first book in the series, but for those who haven’t,
MisGod’ed defined the differences between the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic
understandings of God, analyzed the doctrinal differences that separate Christianity from
Islam, and exposed the weaknesses of Judeo-Christian scripture and dogma. With regard
to the latter, many of these weaknesses have become compounded, such as when false
tenets of Christian faith were derived from scribal errors or scriptural forgeries. In other
cases, illegitimate tenets of Christian faith were derived from non-biblical sources, which,
of course, means scripture had little or nothing to do with them. Where elements of
Christian canon were derived from biblical sources, it is shocking to find Paul’s teachings
given priority over those of Jesus Christ, especially when the two teachings openly
conflict.
This unreliability of Judeo-Christian sources forces many sincere seekers to look
elsewhere for guidance. Hence this second volume in the series. Many who question
institutionalized Jewish or Christian dogma find their logical objections opposed by the
fiery emotion that accompanies blind indoctrination.
Not so with Islam.
In the words of Margaret Nydell, “They [i.e., Arab Muslims] are secure in their
belief about the completeness of Islam, since it is accepted as the third and final
refinement of the two previously revealed religions, Judaism and Christianity.”3
Many find the Islamic approach to religion refreshing, for Islam condemns blind
indoctrination and demands derivation of religious truths from foundational evidence.
Islam teaches accepted beliefs, to be sure, but it also claims not to overstep the
boundaries of reason. Objective study is expected to reveal the chain of revelation and
expose the unacceptable, ungodly elements of all scriptures and philosophies superseded
by the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. Those who agree with this opinion recognize
“submission to the will of God” as the only code of life acceptable to the Creator, and
discover the teachings of Islam not only in the Holy Qur’an, but also in the scriptures that
preceded it.
The Islamic claim is that sincere seekers should not feel intimidated, for Islam is
nothing more than a revival and confirmation of the teachings of all the prophets. As
stated in the Holy Qur’an, “This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than
Allah; on the contrary, it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller
explanation of the Book—wherein there is no doubt—from the Lord of the Worlds”
(TMQ 10:37). On the other hand, Jewish and Christian institutions might feel very much
threatened, for Islam exposes the false foundations upon which these institutions were
constructed—foundations that, more often than not, were fabricated from followers’
teachings in preference to those of the prophets themselves.
How did this happen? According to Islam, in the days of oral tradition, Allah
(i.e., God) sent a prophet to every nation. But when Allah gifted mankind with written
language, the books of scripture supplanted the need for such a plethora of prophets.
Revelation reached subsequent generations through the combination of oral tradition,
written scripture, and religious men and women who served as pious examples to their
communities.
God reportedly gifted mankind with a series of scriptures, having revealed the
suhuf (“sheets”) to Abraham, the zaboor (psalms) to David, the tawraat (Torah) to
Moses, the injeel (gospel) to Jesus, and the Qur’an to Muhammad. Each book replaced
the preceding record once the pristine message of God’s revelation became sufficiently
adulterated to warrant correction.
This scenario might sound familiar, for history is no stranger to the numerous
individuals who altered or selectively interpreted revelation in accordance with deviant
desires. With regard to these individuals, Allah teaches, “There is among them a section
who distort the Book with their tongues, (as they read) you would think it is a part of the
Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, ‘That is from Allah,’ but it is not from
Allah: it is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!” (TMQ 3:78),
and “Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: ‘This is
from Allah,’ to traffic with it for a miserable price!—woe to them for what their hands do
write, and for the gain they make thereby” (TMQ 2:79).
The historical result is that a common theme runs throughout the scriptural
threads of the Abrahamic religions. As discussed in MisGod’ed, both Old and New
Testaments bear undeniable earmarks of corruption. And yet a common creed courses
through the revelation chain of the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Holy Qur’an.
All three books teach divine unity and command adherence to God’s commandments.
The deviations crept in when the job of recording, translating, or canonizing fell into the
hands of those who sought to design religion closer to their hearts’ desire.
Consider, for example, the Psalms of David. If anyone believes that what remains
in the hands of man is a complete and unadulterated book of guidance, capable of
standing on its own merit, they had better have another read. Consider next the Old
Testament, which is sufficiently riddled with errors to render the entire work suspect.
Then consider the New Testament, which excluded anywhere between an estimated 250
and 2,000 non-canonical acts, epistles and gospels (which were discarded and burned
with only a handful of “apocryphal” survivors).4(EN) One wonders about the character of
the men who made that editing choice, their intention and religious orientation, and their
willingness to compromise scriptural truth in support of group ideology.
And then we have the renowned expert of textual criticism, Professor Bart D.
Ehrman, telling us that scholars estimate the number of New Testament manuscript
variants in the hundreds of thousands, some estimating as high as 400,000.5
In Ehrman’s
now famous words, “There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are
words in the New Testament.”6
So where does this leave the seeker of religious truth, if not searching for the
final, unadulterated book of God’s revelation? And could that final revelation be the Holy
Qur’an? I leave all readers to answer that question themselves, based upon the evidence
that follows.
Lastly, the problem with heavily referenced works such as this is that the reader
doesn’t always know whether it’s worth flipping pages to read the endnotes. To solve this
problem, endnotes containing explanatory text are denoted by the endnote number
followed by (EN), like this,36(EN) which means, “Endnote number 36: Explanatory Note.”
Endnote numbers lacking the (EN) denotation contain purely bibliographical information.
PART I: THE HOLY QUR’AN

When Satan makes impure verses,
Allah sends a divine tune to cleanse them.
—George Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the
Black Girl in Her Search for God

1: A Brief History of the Holy Qur’an

One reason that history repeats itself is that so many people were not
listening the first time.
—Margaret Hussey

The Holy Qur’an was revealed at the beginning of the seventh century,
approximately six hundred years following the ministry of Jesus Christ. Muslims contend
that, word for word, the revelation was placed in the mind and mouth of the prophet
Muhammad during the last twenty-three years of his life. Conversely, nonbelievers
charge Muhammad with a full rapsheet of false prophecy. Claims of scriptural
plagiarism, deception, lying, and delusional thinking have all been advanced, as has the
patronizing view of Muhammad having been a man of extraordinary intelligence and
insight, but nothing more. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that Muhammad was
epileptic, and the Holy Qur’an is a compilation of his mutterings while in the throes of
seizure.
Perhaps this is due to recorded descriptions of Muhammad’s altered appearance
while receiving revelation. His beloved wife, A’ishah, noted that he broke out in a sweat
when receiving revelation, even on a cold day. Those who seek to summarily execute
Muhammad’s character can fashion whatever garment of conclusions suits their taste
from such scraps of evidence. However, those more circumspect might consider an
altered appearance not just excused, but expected. What, after all, should we expect to
read from the face of any mortal confronted with the spiritual assault of direct revelation?
Those who have experienced the pounding pulse, crawling skin, rising hair, spinal
chill, and quickening of senses that accompany a spiritual anomaly can easily imagine the
angel of revelation to elicit greater shock. Certainly a focused attention, a sweat on the
brow, a blank stare would in no way exceed expectations. Far more unreasonable would
be to assume that any mortal could converse with the angel of revelation in casual and
comfortable terms—say, over a cappuccino and biscotti at one’s local café. Many people
break out in a sweat simply facing their boss. Just how much tighter their nerves might be
stretched should they face the Creator of all bosses is hard to predict. Furthermore,
anybody who has witnessed grand mal seizures knows epileptics do not produce
intelligible speech, and cannot communicate during a seizure or even during the recovery
of senses that follows. As W. Montgomery Watt comments,

Opponents of Islam have often asserted that Muhammad had epilepsy,
and that therefore his religious experiences had no validity. As a matter
of fact, the symptoms described are not identical with those of epilepsy,
since that disease leads to physical and mental degeneration, whereas
Muhammad was in the fullest possession of his faculties to the very
end. But, even if the allegation were true, the argument would be
completely unsound and based on mere ignorance and prejudice; such
physical concomitants neither validate nor invalidate religious
experience.7

Hartwig Hirschfeld, a man never short of slanders against the Qur’an, a man who
exposed his prejudice in the preface to his New Researches into the Composition and
Exegesis of the Qoran with the words, “The Qoran, the text-book of Islam, is in reality
nothing but a counterfeit of the Bible,”8
nonetheless concluded,

What remains now of epileptic or hysterical influence on the origin of
Islam? Absolutely nothing. Never has a man pronounced a sentence
with more circumspection and consciousness than Muhammad did in
the iqra’ [the 96th surah, or chapter, of the Qur’an]. Should he have
proclaimed it with nothing but prophetic enthusiasm, he must have
been the greatest genius that ever lived.9

Of course, Muslims claim Muhammad pronounced the entire Qur’an, Surah (i.e.,
chapter) Al-‘Alaq (commonly known as the Iqra’ Surah) included, completely devoid of
circumspection, for he only repeated what was revealed to him. Hirschfeld, though in
clear disagreement with the Muslim viewpoint, nonetheless dismissed the charge of
epilepsy as a blatant slander.
Delusional thinking should also be dismissed, for Muhammad did not appear to
fully comprehend his first experience of revelation. So traumatic was his initial encounter
with the angel Gabriel that Muhammad required convincing. As per the New Catholic
Encyclopedia, “Mohammed himself was frightened, incredulous, and unsure of the
meaning of the experience. It required persuasion from his wife and friends before he was
convinced and believed that he had actually received a revelation from God.”10
Deluded people readily believe their delusions. That is what the word implies: a
readiness to accept the implausible due to some warpage in the thought process.
Furthermore, a significant period of time passed (some say as little as forty days, others
as much as two years) between Muhammad’s first and second revelation. Now, a deluded
person’s mind summons up bizarre ideas on a frequent basis. That is the nature of those
who are psychologically disturbed—their bent reasoning does not spontaneously
straighten out for a couple of days, much less a week, much less forty days or more. Such
is also the case with charlatans and pathologic liars, who seem incapable of turning off
their deceptions, which eventually become recognized in any case.
History having cleared Muhammad of the charges of delusion, lying and
deception, no true scholar entertains such slanders. For example, Thomas Carlyle
commented,

How he (Muhammad) was placed with Kadijah, a rich widow, as her
steward, and traveled in her business, again to the fairs of Syria; how he
managed all, as one can well understand, with fidelity, adroitness; how
her gratitude, her regard for him grew: the story of their marriage is
altogether a graceful intelligible one, as told us by the Arab authors. He
was twenty-five; she forty, though still beautiful. He seems to have
lived in a most affectionate, peaceable, wholesome way with this
wedded benefactress; loving her truly, and her alone. It goes greatly
against the impostor-theory, the fact that he lived in this entirely
unexceptionable, entirely quiet and commonplace way, till the heat of
his years was done. He was forty before he talked of any mission from
Heaven. All his irregularities, real and supposed, date from after his
fiftieth year, when the good Kadijah died. All his “ambition,”
seemingly, had been, hitherto, to live an honest life; his “fame,” the
mere good-opinion of neighbours that knew him, had been sufficient
hitherto. Not till he was already getting old, the prurient heat of his life
all burnt out, and peace growing to be the chief thing this world could
give him, did he start on the “career of ambition;” and, belying all his
past character and existence, set up as a wretched empty charlatan to
acquire what he could now no longer enjoy! For my share, I have no
faith whatever in that.
Ah no: this deep-hearted Son of the Wilderness, with his beaming
black eyes, and open social deep soul, had other thoughts in him than
ambition. A silent great soul; he was one of those who cannot but be in
earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere. . . . We will
leave it altogether, this impostor-hypothesis, as not credible; not very
tolerable even, worthy chiefly of dismissal by us.11

With regard to other attempts to disqualify the revelation Muhammad claimed, we
must turn to an analysis of the Qur’an itself.
To begin with, the word Qur’an does not refer to a book, but to a revelation.
Islamic tradition holds that this revelation was transmitted verbally to the prophet
Muhammad by the angel of revelation, Gabriel. And so it has been maintained—as an
oral tradition preserved to this day in the hearts and minds of devout hafith (memorizers,
or “protectors” of the Qur’an), whose number in the present day is conservatively
estimated to be no less than thirty million.
The Qur’an was also recorded by scribes, who faithfully transcribed each element
of revelation at the time it was revealed. Unlike the New Testament, whose earliest books
were written decades following Jesus’ ministry, the Holy Qur’an is the only book of
scripture recorded at the time of revelation and preserved unchanged to the present day.
Writing material was scarce, so the Holy Qur’an was originally recorded on palm leaves,
sheets of leather, shoulder blades of large animals, and whatever else was immediately
available. This bulky and inconvenient record was commissioned by Abu Bakr (the first
Caliph)12(EN—Explanatory Note, as opposed to a bibliographical reference) to be copied and compiled into an
official mushaf (book) roughly two years after Muhammad’s death.
This project was overseen by Zaid ibn Thabit, one of Muhammad’s faithful
scribes. Between four and eight copies were completed during the caliphate of Uthman,
and each copy was dedicated to one of the territories of the Islamic world. Two of these
books still exist—one in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the other in Istanbul, Turkey—and
continue to serve as templates. Any Qur’an, anywhere in the world, can be authenticated
against these “originals” to demonstrate the integrity and preservation of the sacred book
of Islam. It is this very preservation that many consider a miraculous proof of the sanctity
of the Holy Qur’an. Dr. Laura Vaglieri adds this element of authenticity to her list of
evidence: “We have still another proof of the divine origin of the Quran in the fact that its
text has remained pure and unaltered through the centuries from the day of its delivery
until today . . .”13
Professor Arthur J. Arberry, Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University from
1947 to 1969, contributes: “Apart from certain orthographical modifications of the
originally somewhat primitive method of writing, intended to render unambiguous and
easy the task of reading the recitation, the Koran as printed in the twentieth century is
identical with the Koran as authorized by Uthman more than 1300 years ago.”14
This opinion is not new. Sir William Muir, the nineteenth-century Orientalist and
biographer of Muhammad, penned the following: “The recension of Othman has been
handed down to us unaltered. . . . There is probably in the world no other work which has
remained twelve centuries with so pure a text.”15
Whereas a more contemporary opinion can be summed up in the words of Adrian
Brockett,

The transmission of the Qur’an after the death of Muhammad was
essentially static, rather than organic. There was a single text, and
nothing significant, not even allegedly abrogated material, could be
taken out nor could anything be put in. This applied even to the early
caliphs. . . . The transmission of the Qur’an has always been oral, just
as it has always been written.16

Tens of thousands of sahaba (Muslims who lived and interacted with the prophet
Muhammad) unanimously approved the written record of the Holy Qur’an. All of these
sahaba had memorized portions of the Qur’an and many were hafith, having memorized
the Qur’an in its entirety. When the Qur’an was first compiled into a book, many sahaba
possessed personal copies of their own recording. Many of these copies were incomplete
and others (such as those of Abdullah ibn Masud, Ubay ibn Kab and Ibn Abbas), while
correct in one reading, did not leave room for the multiple readings that constitute one of
the miracles of the Qur’an.17(EN) Consequently, these partial records were not
acknowledged, even by their possessors, as having been either complete or authoritative.
The only written record of the Qur’an to be accepted by unanimous approval was
the officially adopted mushaf compiled by Zaid ibn Thabit and commissioned by Abu
Bakr. To prevent confusion and the possibility of division in future generations, all other
personal copies were voluntarily turned in and, along with the remnants of the bones,
animal skins, and papyrus etched with the scripture, destroyed. Had this not been done,
future generations may have fallen prey to ignorance or pride, preferring one of the
incomplete works passed down in a family or tribe to the true and complete revelation.
Tribal solidarity and religious schism almost certainly would have resulted. The pious
sahaba appear to have recognized and eliminated this risk by preserving only the
complete revelation, discarding the bits and pieces which, at the very least, could have
become sources of contention.
Muslims are fond of pointing out that not a single one of Muhammad’s
contemporaries disagreed with the text of the official mushaf. Not a single sahaba
claimed a passage was left out or a non-Qur’anic passage inserted. Most importantly, the
texts that were gathered and destroyed were incomplete records and not differing records.
The possessors voluntarily relinquished their copies, because the mushaf compiled by
Zaid ibn Thabit was comprehensive: there simply were no accurate records unrepresented
therein. Furthermore, as stated above, the Qur’an has primarily been preserved not in
writing, but in the memories of the faithful. Memorizers cross-checked and confirmed the
official mushaf, and validated its completeness and accuracy. Not a single hafith
dissented. And they numbered in the thousands.
The existence of even a few memorizers of the Qur’an after 1,400 years is
extraordinary, but the existence of tens of millions? That . . . well, that seems miraculous.
According to contemporary census statistics, there are a billion Christians and
many millions of Jews in the world, but not one of them holds the original scripture of
their religion in memory. A rare rabbi might have memorized the Torah—not as it was
revealed, but as it was reconstructed roughly two centuries following the destruction of
the original, during the sacking of the Temple of Solomon by the conquering Babylonian
empire in 586 BC. The only known version of the Old Testament, whether in memory or
in print, contains the ungodly errors discussed in depth in my previous book, MisGod’ed.
Moreover, it is an extremely rare Christian who has memorized the entire New
Testament, in the translation of just one of the thousands of versions known to exist.
Even rarer, if not completely nonexistent, is the Christian who has memorized one of the
5,700 extant Greek manuscripts. But nowhere in the world and nowhere in history has
anyone ever been known to have memorized the original Gospel of Jesus—simply
because, as far as we know, it no longer exists. If it did exist, the Christian world would
cease struggling to rectify the hundreds of thousands of variations in their extant Greek
manuscripts, and would face the world with the uncorrupted original.
The Qur’an, then, is unique. It’s the only book of scripture recorded at the time of
revelation and maintained in the purity of the original to the present day. There may be
different translations into non-Arabic languages, but there is only one original. Hence,
there is no confusion such as exists with the many versions of the Bible. There is no
frustration, such as results from lacking a definitive original scripture. There is no
uncertainty, such as wondering what truths are sequestered from the public eye in the
private library of the Vatican or in the fiercely guarded Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls. No
one need wonder how much the predominantly Koiné Greek differs from the spoken
Aramaic of the prophet Jesus. Should the errors of translation from Aramaic and ancient
Hebrew to Koiné Greek have been as numerous and grave as the errors that occurred
translating Koiné Greek to English, all hope of biblical accuracy should have been
dismissed long ago.
One huge difference between the Bible and the Qur’an is that the Qur’an was
always in the hands of the people, whereas the Bible most definitely was not. Anybody
who ever wanted a Qur’an could have one. Modern Bible content, however, was not
defined until the fourth century, by Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, widely
regarded as the “Father of Orthodoxy.” In his Festal Letter of 367 CE, Athanasius
provided the first extant inclusive listing of the twenty-seven books of the Catholic Bible.
Even then, it was strictly maintained in the Latin Vulgate for more than a millennium.
And when John Wycliffe’s English translation of the New Testament in 1382 was
followed by that of William Tyndale (completed by Miles Coverdale and edited by John
Rogers) and Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German (both of which were
translated only as recently as the sixteenth century), what was Tyndale’s reward?
Death—burned at the stake in 1536. Rogers’? Same fate, different stake, in 1555. Their
predecessor, Wycliffe, escaped execution but not the fire, for the ecumenical Council of
Constance condemned him posthumously in 1415, and his bones were exhumed and
publicly burned. Had it not been for the intercession of Denmark, Miles Coverdale would
have been similarly condemned. And like their authors, Wycliffe’s and Tyndale’s
translations were publicly burned.
So for over 1500 years the Christian scriptures were available only in Greek or
Latin: languages only the educated class and the more learned clergy could read, for
many Catholic clergy were illiterate with regard to their own scripture. It is a sobering
thought to realize that were Jesus Christ to return, even he would not be able to read
either the Greek of our New Testament manuscripts or the Latin of the Catholic Vulgate,
for his native tongue was Aramaic.18 Indeed, the educated class were a miniscule
percentage of the population compared to today; only they could read the Bible, and then
only if they had one. The combination of the great expense and scant availability of
Bibles (all copied by hand), along with harsh laws prohibiting Bible possession by laity,
severely curtailed their acquisition. Many of these laws prescribed death, especially for
possession of translations in the vernacular or of unauthorized translations considered to
be aligned with heresies, of which Protestant Bibles were considered the most offensive
examples.
Not until Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type in the 1450s was mass
production of Bibles feasible, and not until the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth
century was the Bible not only translated into languages of the literate laity (i.e., German
and English), but mass-produced and permitted to the public.
For the first time in history, the sixteenth century witnessed the production of
Bibles translated into the vernacular, together with the growth of new, non-Catholic
churches endorsed by a sympathetic monarchy. Responding to the pressures of the
Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church produced the Douay-Rheims Bible, which
presented the translation of the Latin Vulgate into English for the first time. The New
Testament portion was completed in Rheims, France in 1582, and the Old Testament was
completed in Douay in 1609–10. All the same, even with mass production then feasible,
availability was severely constrained, for, “. . . it was calculated that there must have been
about 25,000 printed Bibles in circulation in western Europe around 1515, one third of
them in German, for about fifty million inhabitants; i.e. one Bible for every 2,000
souls.”19
What this means is that for over 1,500 years the common citizen could not verify
the teachings of the Christian scriptures, both for lack of literacy and lack of Bibles. For
an even greater period, laity could not question the canonized doctrines forced upon them
for fear of a “bloodless death”—the pleasant-sounding euphemism by which burning at
the stake came to be known.
Catholics argue that restriction of scriptural interpretation and religious education
to the offices of the church was (and remains to this day) necessary to maintain orthodox
understanding. Others argue that the church was less concerned with sheltering scripture
from misinterpretation than it was with sheltering their power base and privileged
position in society. Well do we know that the church believed the intricacies of the
Christian mysteries were unlikely to be understood through deductive reasoning and the
conclusions of laity. What is less well known is that the church did not even trust their
own scholars with biblical interpretation. As Pope Innocent III stated in 1199,

The mysteries of the faith are not to be explained rashly to anyone.
Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone, but only by
those who are qualified to understand them with informed
intelligence. . . . The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only
the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but
also the educated and the gifted.20

The Protestant stand, however, was that all humans were created with brains and
the ability to interpret scripture for themselves. Protestants argue now, as they did in the
past, that once people could freely read and study the Bible in their own language, they
were able to discern biblical fact from canonized fiction. Once the errors of Catholicism
were laid bare and the foundation of Catholic theology exposed as predominantly (and in
many cases, entirely) non-biblical, gravitation toward Protestantism was inevitable.
Muslims take this argument one step further and assert that the shaky foundation
of Christian scriptures should not drive people from one Christian sect to another, still
basing beliefs upon a scriptural canon peppered with demonstrable errors and
inconsistencies. Rather, they believe those seeking the truth of God should recognize the
need for the Creator to have renewed His revelation.
Claiming this final revelation to be The Holy Qur’an, Muslims point out that the
Qur’an was always in the hands and minds of the people. The Qur’an has been recited
aloud in the daily prayers of the Muslims ever since revelation. Every year, in the month
of Ramadan, the Qur’an is recited in its entirety aloud, in virtually every mosque in the
world. Any Muslim listening could voice correction, but for 1,400 years there has never
been so much as a single letter in dispute among orthodox (Sunni) Muslims. At the
present day, that adds up to a billion unanimous votes. Amazingly enough, over time
there have been many factions among the Sunni Muslims, some of them at war with one
another. Uthman, the third Caliph, was assassinated while reading the Qur’an, and his
dried blood is still to be seen on the pages. However, among all of these differing Muslim
groups, and throughout all of these centuries, the authenticity of the Qur’an has never
been questioned. Certainly the same cannot be said of the Bible. As F.F. Arbuthnot
commented a century ago,

From a literary point of view, the Korân is regarded as a specimen of
the purest Arabic, written in half poetry and half prose. It has been said
that in some cases grammarians have adapted their rules to agree with
certain phrases and expressions used in it, and that, though several
attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant
writing is concerned, none have as yet succeeded.
It will thus be seen, from the above, that a final and complete text
of the Korân was prepared within twenty years after the death (A.D.
632) of Muhammad, and that this has remained the same, without any
change or alteration by enthusiasts, translators, or interpolators, up to
the present time. It is to be regretted that the same cannot be said of all
the books of the Old and New Testaments.21

The Qur’an, furthermore, exists in a living language, understood by hundreds of
millions of devout followers even to the present day. The Bible exists primarily in the
dead language of Koiné Greek, with snippets of equally necrotic ancient Hebrew (not the
Modern Hebrew spoken today) and Aramaic. In the entire world there are only a few
scholars with partial understanding of these dead languages, and even they don’t agree on
translation. Evidence of the difficulty is found in the Preface to the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, which was authorized by vote of the National Council of the
Churches of Christ in the USA in 1951. The RSV appears to have subsequently enjoyed
the widest popular acceptance throughout the Christian world, but despite its ecumenical
scholarship and global acceptance, the RSV admits,

Many difficulties and obscurities, of course, remain. Where the choice
between two meanings is particularly difficult or doubtful, we have
given an alternative rendering in a footnote. If in the judgement of the
Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure,
either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of
our present knowledge of the language, that fact is indicated by a note.
It should not be assumed, however, that the Committee was entirely
sure or unanimous concerning every rendering not so indicated.22

Understanding of biblical manuscripts increases with each new discovery, as
evidenced by the motivation of church authorities to revise the King James Version of
1611 to the American Standard Version of 1901, and subsequently to the Revised
Standard Version fifty years later. The motivation for such revisions lay, as stated in the
Preface of the RSV, in that the KJV suffers from “grave defects.” More specifically, it
contends, “The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text
that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of
manuscript copying.”23
And while understanding of the Greek New Testament continues to be refined, it
is far from comprehensive at the present time, and is unlikely ever to be. In such a
climate of uncertainty, mistranslation—whether deliberate, accidental, or
well-intentioned—is easily passed off as accurate to those who lack the linguistic
background to know better. The same is not true if the language is understood by the
faithful, which is precisely the case with the Arabic language and the Holy Qur’an.
We might wonder, then, how Muslims support the assertion that the Qur’an is
unique and unchanged. Unsubstantiated claims are not acceptable. Most of humanity
have been asked—correction, forced to blind belief for too long. The sophisticated laity
are tired of the appealing but unsubstantiated lines, sprinkled with the spittle of the
proselytizers, and spiritually cold to the bone. Sincere seekers need a blanket of evidence
to warm their convictions. Not just a cover that looks nice and cozy at a distance, but one
that does the job.
What follows, then, are the myriad Qur’anic facets that stitch much of the quilt of
evidence with which Muslims comfort their convictions.
2: Evidence — An Overview

When speculation has done its worst, two and two still make four.
—Samuel Johnson

The lack of references in the following discussion of Islamic history and Qur’anic
constitution might seem surprising to those unfamiliar with Islamic history, but in fact are
considered common knowledge among educated Muslims. Consequently, just as such
well-known statements as, “The Bible is the foundational book of Christianity and
contains the gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” needs no reference,
neither does most of that which follows.
Nonetheless, details can be confirmed through a number of respected source
books, among them Manaahil al-‘Irfaan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an by Shaykh Muhammad
‘Abd al Adheem az-Zarqaanee, al-Madkhal li Dirasaat al-Qur’an al-Kareem by
Muhammad Abu Shahbah, and two books, both by the title of Mabaahith fee ‘Uloom
al-Qur’an, one by Dr. Subhee al-Saalih, the other by Dr. Mannaa’ al-Qattaan. These
books have yet to be translated from Arabic, but there are two excellent books in English.
‘Ulum Al-Qur’an: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an, by Ahmad Von
Denffer, is a basic though superficial introduction to the subject. A more scholarly and
comprehensive work is An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, by Abu Ammaar
Yasir Qadhi.24

On the other hand, the conclusions of many, if not most, non-Muslim authors are
often tainted by religious prejudice. Most of these critical works rate so low in objective
scholastic value as to have been cast out not only by Muslims, but by educated clergy,
orientalists, and religious scholars as well, leading one author to lament,

The totally erroneous statements made about Islam in the West are
sometimes the result of ignorance, and sometimes of systematic
denigration. The most serious of all the untruths told about it are,
however, those dealing with facts; for while mistaken opinions are
excusable, the presentation of facts running contrary to the reality is
not. It is disturbing to read blatant untruths in eminently respectable
works written by authors who a priori are highly qualified.25

Furthermore, many so-called “scholastic works” are discredited by the author’s
own educated co-religionists. For the most part, however, the following details are simply
omitted from such books, presumably because discussion of the subject is uncomfortable
for those who deny the signs that seem to validate the Islamic revelation.
On the other hand, there is virtually zero disagreement throughout the Muslim
world on the following subjects, and verification thereof is relatively easy considering the
accuracy of historical record-keeping typical of the Islamic sciences and traditions.
Admittedly, some modern books of Muslim authorship also suffer inaccuracies,
frequently from overzealous attempts to either modernize or glorify the religion.
Nonetheless, the same commonly accepted elements of Qur’anic history are found to
course through most such works with remarkable consistency. It is just these commonly
accepted elements that will be discussed in this present work. Items of personal,
sectarian, deviant (such as Ahmadi’ite, Shi’ite and Nation of Islam), or minority opinion
are avoided herein, being left for those who wish to explore the less mainstream sects of
Islam on their own.
3: Evidence #1 — Innate Appeal

All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.
—Thomas Henry Huxley, On the Study of Biology

On the most superficial level, Muslims hold the truth of the Qur’an to be
self-evident by the simple fact that it makes sense, precisely conforming to our inborn
understanding of God and His methodology. But what religion lacks this claim? No proof
satisfies all mankind, as evidenced by the fact that the world is not Muslim. However, on
an individual level the proof is in the exposure. Many who read the foundational books of
various religions find themselves inexplicably drawn to one specific book and the
ideologies expressed therein. The Qur’an is no different. People simply have to sit down
and read it.
Those who do will encounter a book of strikingly different character than those of
the other Abrahamic faiths. Whereas the Old Testament is largely a book of laws, lengthy
“begat” lists and dry history, the New Testament exudes spirituality while denying the
reader concrete guidance on the significant issues of life. The Holy Qur’an, on the other
hand, provides the foundation not only for the Islamic religion, but also for Islamic law,
government, social conduct, family structure, and every facet of worldly and spiritual
existence. H. G. Wells commented on the teachings of Islam as follows:

They established in the world a great tradition of dignified fair dealing,
they breathe a spirit of generosity, and they are human and workable.
They created a society more free from widespread cruelty and social
oppression than any society had ever been in the world before. . . . It
[i.e., Islam] was full of the spirit of kindliness, generosity, and
brotherhood; it was a simple and understandable religion; it was
instinct with the chivalrous sentiment of the desert; and it made its
appeal straight to the commonest instincts in the composition of
ordinary men. Against it were pitted Judaism, which had made a racial
hoard of God; Christianity talking and preaching endlessly now of
trinities, doctrines, and heresies no ordinary man could make head or
tail of; and Mazdaism, the cult of the Zoroastrian Magi, who had
inspired the crucifixion of Mani. The bulk of the people to whom the
challenge of Islam came did not trouble very much whether
Muhammad was lustful or not, or whether he had done some shifty and
questionable things; what appealed to them was that this God, Allah, he
preached, was by the test of the conscience in their hearts, a God of
righteousness, and that the honest acceptance of his doctrine and
method opened the door wide in a world of uncertainty, treachery, and
intolerable divisions to a great and increasing brotherhood of
trustworthy men on earth, and to a paradise not of perpetual exercises
in praise and worship, in which saints, priests, and anointed kings were
still to have the upper places, but of equal fellowship and simple and
understandable delights such as their soul craved for. Without any
ambiguous symbolism, without any darkening of altars or chanting of
priests, Muhammad had brought home those attractive doctrines to the
hearts of mankind.26

The keystone of Islamic faith, as emphasized over and over again in the Holy
Qur’an, is the simple message of monotheism. Muslims propose this message to have the
greatest innate appeal of all knowledge, since the Creator instilled knowledge of His
oneness and unique attributes into the mind, heart, and soul of every human being. Thus,
no person (unless conditioned in life to do so) is likely to object when taught the oneness
of the Creator, His many and unique names, and His perfect attributes.
With regard to the oneness of Allah, Islamic ideology is explicit on this point.
Allah is One, eternal and absolute, not begotten and not begetting, without partner or
co-sharer in divinity:

Say: He is Allah, The One and Only;
Allah, The Eternal, Absolute;
He begets not, nor is He begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.
(TMQ 112:1–4)

It is this clarification of Allah’s uncompromised Unity to which Trinitarian
Christians object, for Trinitarian ideology teaches that God is indeed One, but also three
in One. Trinitarian arguments were discussed at length in my previous book, MisGod’ed,
so here we can propose a test of innate understanding. Should we assume that convictions
are comforted by embracing inherent understandings, the opposite most certainly should
be true. Embracing teachings in conflict with inborn knowledge should bring stress and
discomfort. Hence the test. Those living a religion that conforms to innate, God-given
understanding (such as the oneness of the Creator) will be at ease explaining their
convictions, for their explanation will match their audience’s inherent understanding as
well. On the other hand, those who attempt to explain notions that conflict with inborn
knowledge will manifest frustration, both in the weakness of their arguments and in their
inability to force their notions upon an audience that knows better. Resorts to emotional
appeals, plays at self-righteousness and histrionics are the hallmark of those who fail in
rational debate.
Secondary to creed, the Holy Qur’an presents many teachings applicable to
everyday life. Manners are corrected, with an emphasis on modesty. The use of money,
time, and energy is addressed, with focus on a balanced application to person, family,
religion, and society. Miserliness is condemned, as is unwarranted extravagance. Even
war is regulated, with laws laid down to foster honorable conflict, beginning with war
being allowed only in circumstances where all other options are exhausted. Even then,
Muslims are instructed not to abuse an advantage won, and to be merciful as much as the
situation permits.
Fairness and equality, mercy and love are underlying Qur’anic themes that at
times give way to a system of justice that is fair but harsh against those whose
transgressions threaten the peace of Islamic society. No laws in the history of man have
been more successful in restricting the evils of murder, rape, theft, adultery, fornication,
homosexuality, alcohol, and drugs. Cheating, lying, bribery, usury, prejudice, and all
forms of injustice are condemned, giving way to a social reform that, if implemented,
would likely unite all mankind under the One God.
Polygamy, while practiced by only a minority of Muslims, permits a lawful
avenue for those whose lusts might otherwise drive them to adultery. Women, on the
other hand, are protected. Fourteen hundred years ago, Islam gave women rights to
property, inheritance, religion and education—rights that were denied in Western society
and Old and New Testament religions up until the twentieth century.
As the Holy Qur’an emphasizes the merits of freeing slaves, so too it frees the
mind—correcting wrong beliefs and encouraging free thought. Objective truth is given
priority over personal opinion, societal customs, family tradition, canonized institutional
teachings, and all prejudicing outside influences. Compulsion of religion is forbidden in
all circumstances. In addition, the Qur’an challenges and stimulates the intellect while
soothing the spirit. In short, the Qur’an may be viewed as a “final testament,” giving
mankind balanced guidance in all facets of life.
Muslims conceive the revelation to be undeniable. Non-Muslims disagree; they
consider the revelation very much deniable, and profess the Muslims’ claim to innate
appeal false. After all, it doesn’t appeal to them.
How do Muslims resolve this difficulty? Muslims believe unprejudiced minds
will be receptive to teachings of the Holy Qur’an. Like a fertile field, open minds will
best cultivate that which they were created to receive. However, most minds are very
much prejudiced. By the time most Westerners learn about Islam, they have been
subjected to a lifetime of anti-Islamic propaganda in social, religious and media circles.
As a result, their hearts and minds are closed.
By analogy, the photon theory of light and prismatic effects on the visible
spectrum will mean little or nothing to a blind person. Likewise, those whose hearts and
minds are closed to Islam are not expected to appreciate Islamic evidence. But like light
to a blind person, failure to perceive does not negate reality; it just won’t convince those
who fail to appreciate it. Those who study the message and find it a source of strength
will understand the Islamic viewpoint; those who don’t, won’t.
Allah tells us He could have ordered mankind to all be of one mind: “If your Lord
had so willed, He could have made mankind one People: but they will not cease to
dispute” (TMQ 11:118), but for reasons best known to Him, He didn’t. The obvious
implication is that God guides some and leaves others to stray, and this is exactly what
the Qur’an teaches: “Truly Allah leaves to stray, whom He will; but He guides to Himself
those who turn to Him in penitence” (TMQ 13:27). The fact that God guides some and
not others is far from arbitrary. In fact, it’s the result of each individual’s actions and
receptiveness, for “We send the Messengers only to give good news and to warn: so those
who believe and mend (their lives), upon them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. But
those who reject Our Signs, punishment shall touch them, for that they did not cease from
transgressing” (TMQ 6:48–49), and “Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but
whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself” (TMQ 4:79).
In other words, God guides those who acknowledge Him, seek His guidance, and
prove worthy. All others slam their own doors in the face of His guidance. That God
guides only those who acknowledge Him and seek His guidance is no less understandable
than the fact that teachers only instruct those who attend class, and gas station attendants
only give directions to those who ask. As the Bible reports Jesus having stated, “Ask, and
it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For
everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be
opened” (Matthew 7:7–8). Don’t ask, don’t seek and, well, what do people expect, if not
to be left in the state of ignorance they themselves choose?
All this is one more link in the chain of continuity from the Old and New
Testaments to the Holy Qur’an. The Old Testament teaches, “They do not know nor
understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that
they cannot understand” (Isaiah 44:18). The New Testament effectively repeats this
lesson in Mark 4:11–12 and Matthew 13:11–15.
The burden of choice, then, is upon the individual. Those who seek guidance will
answer the call to righteousness. Those who deny Allah will earn His wrath, but will have
nobody to blame but themselves. That Allah guides those who turn to Him with sincerity
is a manifestation of His mercy; that He leaves astray those who deny Him is a
manifestation of His justice.
This viewpoint may seem elitist, but then so are all religions. The world is a
heterogeneous mix of our-sect-is-saved-by-the-grace-of-God-and-all-others-will-burn-inhell religious factions. Many religions paint themselves the elect of God and argue why
they, and only they, will achieve salvation. Such arguments usually fall short not in
reasoning why any one particular group is “saved,” the explanation of which always
sounds good to those who belong, but in the inability to explain why the rest of mankind
are condemned. The difference between the Islamic religion and others in this regard is
that Islam provides a concrete explanation that satisfies both ends of the equation. Other
religions largely fail to address this subject, and leave the outsider questioning why God
would guide some and not others. The concept of an arbitrary God is simply not
acceptable in the minds of most.
Muslims claim that, for those exposed to all the evidence Islam offers, one or
more will appeal. Consistent with the purpose of revelation, Allah provides something
from among all the evidence to convince each and every individual of the divine origin of
His revelation. Recognition is easy; refusal requires obstinacy.
Hence, reward versus punishment.
4: Evidence #2 — The Language of the Qur’an

Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of
God.
—Noah Webster

The Holy Qur’an exists in one written form but ten different (though
complementary) readings or recitations, and in seven different dialects. A person may
wonder how this is possible. The answer lies in the intricacies of the Arabic language
that, unlike non-Semitic languages, maintains an extraordinary flexibility owing to the
fact that the alphabet does not contain short vowel letters. Short vowels, the most
common vowels in Arabic, are designated by diacritical marks (distinguishing signs, like
a slash or a whorl) placed above or below consonants. For example, the Arabic letter
equivalent to B in English would be pronounced ba if a slash is above the letter, but bi if
the slash is below the letter. Other formulations may render the letter bu, baan, been,
buun, baa, bii, buu, bai, bau, etc.
When words are written with their diacritical marks, we readily understand their
correct pronunciation and meaning. However, when Arabic is written without diacritical
marks, we must rely upon context to determine each word’s correct meaning, for
identically spelled words can have different meanings depending upon how they are
vowelled. For example, in the sentence, “A speck of dust flew into my eye,” the Arabic
word for “eye” can be vowelled to mean a spy, an important person or a high-ranking
official, or even nobody. In fact, this one word can have over thirty meanings, including
such diverse possibilities as a fountainhead of water and a capital asset. But only one
meaning typically makes sense in any given context. Rarely, multiple meanings can
apply, but only extremely rarely can all possible meanings apply in the context in which a
word is written. Imagine a sentence that contains one or more words that have multiple
possible meanings, with all of these meanings making sense. Now that is a rich language.
Moreover, that is one of the miracles Muslims cite regarding the Holy Qur’an, for that is
how the Qur’an is written, from beginning to end.
To begin even to grasp the complexity of this issue, we can leaf through any
respected Arabic-English dictionary, such as Hans Wehr’s A Dictionary of Modern
Written Arabic. What we will find is that the overwhelming majority of Arabic words
bear multiple translations. If we look up the same words in the most respected reference
book, Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, we find the English explanation of a single Arabic
word frequently runs into not just paragraphs, but pages.
In light of this complexity, there is little wonder that the Qur’an can exist in ten
officially recognized recitations in seven different dialects. To accommodate this
diversity, the original mushaf (book) of the Qur’an lacks diacritical marks, allowing for
differences in pronunciation and meaning according to the rules of how vowel points can
be assigned to the unvowelled text. What is astonishing, however, is that despite the
many linguistic possibilities, all recitations not only make sense, but also complement
one another. Nowhere does a single sentence, much less a word, of one recitation
contradict another. For example, the Arabic words for owner and king differ by only one
vowel point, and yet both are appropriate descriptions of Allah. The result is that
Qur’anic recitation, to a person endowed with comprehensive knowledge of Arabic, does
not convey one specific lesson, but rather evokes a kaleidoscope of imagery and
understanding.
Jews and Christians who find difficulty with the concept of an unvowelled
scripture should recognize the common ground between the Bible and the Qur’an in this
respect, for the foundational manuscripts of the Old Testament are similarly unvowelled.
As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Since texts traditionally omitted vowels in writing, the Masoretes27(EN)
introduced vowel signs to guarantee correct pronunciation. Among the
various systems of vocalization that were invented, the one fashioned in
the city of Tiberias, Galilee, eventually gained ascendancy. In addition,
signs for stress and pause were added to the text to facilitate public
reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue.28

Similarly, modern books of the Qur’an are predominantly recorded in the Hafs
‘an ‘Aasim recitation, which has become the most popular of the many accepted
recitations among Muslims. One important difference between these two examples is that
the Masoretic text of the Old Testament “gained ascendancy” from “among the various
systems of vocalization that were invented” (and let’s pause over that word, invented),
whereas the Hafs ‘an ‘Aasim recitation of the Holy Qur’an is one of the recognized
recitations of the original.
As discussed in the previous volume, MisGod’ed, neither of the original
revelations sent down to Moses or Jesus are known to exist, but like the Arabic of the
Qur’an, both were written in Semitic languages (ancient Hebrew for the Torah of Moses;
Aramaic—Jesus’ native language—for the Gospel of Jesus). Hence, were the original
Gospel of Jesus available, we would expect the text to be unvowelled. But because the
original Torah and Gospel of Jesus are not available, Old and New Testament translators
have attempted to compensate for this deficiency. The Preface of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible notes the following, with regard to the Old Testament: “The vowel
signs, which were added by the Masoretes, are accepted also in the main, but where a
more probable and convincing reading can be obtained by assuming different vowels, this
has been done.”29
Oh. Well, doesn’t that give us a warm and comfortable feeling, considering our
salvation hangs in the balance.
The room for textual manipulation is obvious, and the thought teases the
imagination: prior to standardization by the Masoretes, the Jewish Bible lacked
punctuation marks, vowels, capital letters, and even word spaces. Just for fun, we can run
the words of any sentence in any language together, reduce capital letters to small case,
remove punctuation, vowel letters and diacritical marks, and then see how easily this
model of the original message can be corrupted.
For example, the teaching, “God is One” would be written gdsn, which could be
re-expanded to “God is One.” However, gdsn could just as easily be misinterpreted to
mean “Good son,” “Good sin,” “Go do sin,” “God’s son” (following the rules of Semitic
languages a single consonant, such as the S in this case, can be doubled), or even
“Sun-God” (in Semitic languages, a modifier follows its noun. Hence, gdsn could be
expanded to “God-Sun,” the Semitic equivalent of “Sun-God” in English).
In this manner, we could easily misinterpret or manipulate the condensed gdsn
from orthodoxy to heresy, and those reading the translation would be clueless to our
corruption. How much more easily could we (or, more to the point, the Bible translators)
misinterpret entire pages of Old and New Testament manuscripts closer to our desires
than to the actual meaning? And yet, the same can not be done with the Holy Qur’an, for
at no time was the scripture of Islam ever lost; the original was always available as a
primary source by which to identify errors.
Punctuation is critical as well, as pointed out by F. F. Arbuthnot, who relates the
amusing story of a British Member of Parliament forced to issue a retraction after calling
another member a liar. The member worded his retraction as, “I said the gentleman lied,
it is true; and I am sorry for it.” However, the following morning the retraction appeared
in the local paper as, “I said the gentleman lied. It is true; and I am sorry for it.”30 A
reversal in meaning can result from a mistake in a single punctuation point in such
circumstances.
We can fairly question, then, who determined what constituted a “more probable
and convincing reading” of the relatively featureless, unvowelled, unpunctuated,
uncapitalized Jewish scriptures? Was that decision based upon doctrinal prejudice or
objective research? And if the vowel system of the Masoretes was trustworthy enough to
be accepted as the scriptural authority for an entire religion, why the need to assume
“different vowels” in certain places in order to obtain “a more probable and convincing
reading”? Lastly, why restrict audience awareness of these controversies to the rarely
read preface rather than note them where they occur in the text?
The answer to this last question is easy—the controversies are too numerous.
Entire books have been written regarding these disputes, and to include these discussions
in the text of the Jewish Bible would more than double its size. It would also discourage
the readership. Even blind faith has trouble overlooking too many controversies.
The conditions rightfully provoke no small degree of suspicion on the part of
those who recognize the potential for adjusting translation to match doctrinal preference.
The Preface to the RSV continues as follows: “Sometimes it is evident that the text has
suffered in transmission, but none of the versions provides a satisfactory restoration. Here
we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the most probable
reconstruction of the original text.”31
The fact that the most universally accepted Bible in history admits to the text
having “suffered in transmission” does not necessarily imply any fault of modern
scholarship, but it does imply an uncertain foundation.
So while both the Bible and the Qur’an were recorded in consonantal texts, the
two vary greatly in reliability. The Qur’an was revealed and maintained as an oral
tradition until the present day, so pronunciation and meaning have never been in
question. The various readings of the Qur’an are all complementary, unlike the Bible
where the “more probable and convincing reading” seeks definition, since the various
verbal possibilities differ significantly in meaning. The Qur’an has been maintained
unchanged to the present day, whereas (to quote again from the RSV Preface) “for the
New Testament we have a large number of Greek manuscripts, preserving many variant
forms of the text.”32 No single one of which is authoritative.
The context in which the literary miracle of the Qur’an was revealed is important
in this regard, for each prophet appears to have been endowed with a sign that was
uniquely impressive to those to whom he was sent. The skill most revered by ancient
Egyptians was magic, and that most respected by Jews, doctoring. No surprise, then, that
Moses was given miracles that stunned Pharaoh’s court sorcerers into submission.
Equally, there should be no surprise that Jesus was given the miracle of healing.
So what was the highest skill and most respected art of the Arabs? Poetry, and
eloquence of the spoken word. The complexity of the Arabic language stems from a
profusion of dialects that, “could diversify the fourscore names of honey, the two
hundred of a serpent, the five hundred of a lion, the thousand of a sword, at a time when
this copious dictionary was entrusted to the memory of an illiterate people.”33
So devoted were the Arabs to the impact of the spoken word that they held annual
festivals, described as follows:

Thirty days were employed in the exchange, not only of corn and wine,
but of eloquence and poetry. The prize was disputed by the generous
emulation of the bards; the victorious performance was deposited in the
archives of princes and emirs, and we may read, in our own language,
the seven original poems which were inscribed in letters of gold, and
suspended in the temple of Mecca.34

R. Bosworth Smith comments,

What the Olympic Games did for Greece in keeping up the national
feeling, as distinct from tribal independence, in giving a brief cessation
from hostilities, and acting as a literary center, that the annual fairs at
Okaz and Mujanna were to Arabia. Here tribes made up their
dissensions, exchanged prisoners of war, and, most important of all,
competed with one another in extempore poetic contests. Even in the
“times of ignorance,” each tribe produced its own poet-laureate; and the
most ready and the best saw his poem transcribed in letters of gold, or
suspended on the wall of the entrance of the Kaaba, where it would be
seen by every pilgrim who might visit the most sacred place in the
country.35

In short, the Arabs liked their poetry.
The consistency plays out, for as the miracles of Moses overwhelmed the magic
of Pharaoh’s sorcerers, and as Jesus’ ministrations humiliated the physicians of his time,
Muhammad transmitted a revelation composed in the most beautiful Arabic ever known
to man. One passage of the Holy Qur’an can reduce hardened desert dwellers to tears,
while another can elevate the spirits of the faithful to heights of ecstasy. The novelist
James A. Michener, in his essay, “Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,” writes:

The Koran is probably the most often read book in the world, surely the
most often memorized, and possibly the most influential in the daily
life of the people who believe in it. Not quite so long as the New
Testament, written in an exalted style, it is neither poetry nor ordinary
prose, yet it possesses the ability to arouse its hearers to ecstasies of
faith.36

The miraculous beauty of the Qur’an is so affecting as to have spawned a plethora
of testimonies. Most convincing is the historical record of the enemies of Muhammad,
many of whom were so drawn by the beauty of the Qur’an that they would sneak at night
through the inky desert darkness to eavesdrop on nighttime recitations. On one such
occasion, a number of these men bumped into one another on the way home from the
reading. Identifying one another as the leaders of Muhammad’s enemies (Abu Sufyan
and Abu Jahl being two of the three), they vowed never to return. The next night they ran
into one another under the same circumstances again. This time they really swore not to
return, pledging an oath by their idols in testimony to their sincerity. The next night they
collided in the darkness once again.37 Muslims regard this story as evidence of the
irresistible beauty of the Holy Qur’an—a beauty so affecting that it drew the ears and
imaginations of even the most hardened of detractors, the staunchest of enemies.
The conversion of Umar, one of the greatest warriors of his time and, up to the
moment of his conversion, a greatly feared opponent of Islam, is frequently cited. Setting
out to kill Muhammad, he was diverted to his sister’s home where, upon hearing the
recitation of just one surah, he converted on the spot.
Other exemplary cases are to be found in the examples of Unays al-Ghifaaree and
Al-Kindii, two of the greatest Muslim poets of Muhammad’s time. Unays al-Ghifaaree
had this to say after his first encounter with Muhammad: “I have met a man of your
religion in Makkah who claims to be sent by Allah. The people claim that he is a poet, or
a sorcerer, or a magician. Yet, I have heard the words of sorcerers, and these words in no
way resemble those uttered by a sorcerer. And I also compared his words to the verses of
a poet, but such words cannot be uttered by a poet. By Allah, he is the truthful, and they
are the liars!”38 Al-Kindii, when asked to compose a passage like that found in the
Qur’an, stated that it simply wasn’t possible. Al-Kindii indicated that he would need to
write books in order to convey the meaning of just a few lines of the Qur’an. His inability
to match the beauty and content of the Qur’an is held by Muslims as testimony to the
divine nature of Allah’s challenge to mankind: “And if you [Arab pagans, Jews and
Christians] are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur’an) to
Our slave (the prophet Muhammad), then produce a surah [chapter] of the like thereof
and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful” (TMQ
2:23). The reader is reminded that the “We” and “Our” in the above quote are English
translations of the “royal plural” (as discussed in MisGod’ed) and not the plural of
numbers. Having said that, the quote benefits from closer examination.
Allah is recorded as having challenged mankind no less than five times to attempt
to match the Qur’an. The first challenge (in order of revelation, not in the order presented
in the chapters) was to write an entire book equal to that of the Qur’an (surahs 17:88 and
52:33–34). When the greatest poets of the Arabic language could not produce even a
single contestant, Allah issued a second challenge to write ten chapters the like of the
Qur’an (surah 11:13). When the Arabian nation hung its head in abject literary
humiliation, Allah reduced the challenge to producing one lone surah the like of that
found in the Qur’an (surah 10:38, followed by surah 2:23). For 1,400 years native
Arabic-speaking Jews, Christians, pagans, and atheists have struggled to disprove the
Qur’an for religious, political, and personal reasons. And Arabic is their native tongue.
Something seems almost surreal about this scenario, for the shortest surah in the
Qur’an is Al-Kauthar, number 108, weighing in at a power-packed, meaning-filled three
lines. Three. Three lines totaling a scant ten words. So why has mankind been unable to
write three lines equal or better for the past 1,400 years? Why has mankind been unable
to “produce a surah of the like thereof”?
Muslims point out that human standards are easily broken. Seemingly impossible
barriers are routinely transgressed, unbeatable records beaten, and previously unimagined
successes achieved. The four-minute mile has been broken, the speed of sound shattered,
the moon trod upon, the atom split, and electrons frozen. But why has all of mankind
been unable to write the like of the Qur’an? After 1,400 years? It’s not for lack of time to
think about it, that’s for sure.
Al-Waleed ibn al-Mughera, a lifelong antagonist of Islam and a poet in his own
right, admitted, “By Allah, I heard a speech (the Qur’an) from Muhammad now; it is not
from men or jinn (spirits)—it is like sweetness. It is like the highest fruit in a tree
growing in rich soil, and nothing can be above it.”39 When the best poets and the most
avowed enemies admit the supremacy of the revelation, such opinions should be
respected.
While some assert that Muhammad was just a very great poet, Muslims point out
that one character trait of great artists is that when they finish cutting their ears off, they
fret over their dissatisfaction with their work. Would a person expect Beethoven, who
struggled mightily over his masterpieces, as his heavily marked-over scores attest, to
challenge the world to write better music? Or would Michelangelo, who shattered his
statues to shards because he felt they weren’t good enough, challenge the world to sculpt
a better statue? Such a bold challenge could only be made, with confidence, by the One
Who orders creation and knows He will never allow the challenge to be met. And so,
1,400 years later, as noted by numerous authors, the challenge still stands. Professor A. J.
Arberry states: “The Koran undeniably abounds in fine writing; it has its own extremely
individual qualities; the language is highly idiomatic, yet for the most part delusively
simple; the rhythms and rhymes are inseparable features of its impressive eloquence, and
these are indeed inimitable.”40

Dr. Laura Vaglieri contributes,

The Miracle of Islam par excellence is the Quran, through which a
constant and unbroken tradition transmits to us news of an absolute
certainty. This is a book which cannot be imitated. Each of its
expressions is a comprehensive one, and yet it is of proper size, neither
too long nor too short. Its style is original. There is no model for this
style in Arab literature of the times preceding it. The effect which it
produces on the human soul is obtained without any adventitious aid
through its own inherent excellences. The verses are equally eloquent
all through the text, even when they deal with topics, such as
commandments and prohibitions, which must necessarily affect its
tone. Stories of Prophets, descriptions of the beginning and the end of
the world, enumerations and expositions of the divine attributes are
repeated but repeated in a way which is so impressive that they do not
weaken the effect. The text proceeds from one topic to another without
losing its power. Depth and sweetness, qualities which generally do not
go together, are found together here, where each rhetoric figure finds a
perfect application. . . . We find there vast stores of knowledge which
are beyond the capacity of the most intelligent of men, the greatest of
philosophers and the ablest of politicians.41

And A. Guillaume sums up as follows:

The Qurān is one of the world’s classics which cannot be translated
without grave loss. It (The Holy Qurān) has a rhythm of peculiar beauty
and a cadence that charms the ear. Many Christian Arabs speak of its
style with warm admiration, and most Arabists acknowledge its
excellence. . . . indeed it may be affirmed that within the literature of
the Arabs, wide and fecund as it is both in poetry and in elevated prose,
there is nothing to compare with it.42

One notable point about the language of the Qur’an is that Muhammad first
received revelation when he was forty years old. People knew his character, his walk, his
talk, his ethics, his morals. They knew his speech. The observation is frequently made
that habits and personality traits do not markedly change past the age of thirty. An ancient
Chinese proverb correctly states, “With men as with silk, it is most difficult to change
colors once the dye has set.”
By the age of forty, most people have settled into a solid framework of character
traits. Not only had Muhammad proved himself no author (a point referred to in the
verse, “And you were not [able] to recite a Book before this [Book came], nor are you
[able] to transcribe it with your right hand; in that case, indeed, would the talkers of
vanities have doubted” [TMQ 29:48]), but the language of Muhammad was identifiably
on a much lower plane than that of the Qur’an. Furthermore, Muhammad was very
specific about which words were recorded as revelation. He initially forbade his
companions to record his own words in any form whatsoever, and commanded, “Do not
write anything from me except the Qur’an. Whoever writes anything besides the Qur’an
should burn it.”43
Even later, when Muhammad permitted the recording of hadith, his words and
those of the revelation were never mixed, and there is no confusion over the fact that the
words of Muhammad never approached the divine eloquence of the Qur’an. To this day,
we can verify this language difference by comparing any book of hadith with the Holy
Qur’an. The traditions of Muhammad were recorded in scores of volumes of hadith,
preserving his speech in a multitude of sources that give the reader extraordinary insight
into his character and literary abilities. Yet the rhyme and rhythm, the emotionally
evocative essence of the message and the unique beauty of the Qur’an are nowhere found
in Muhammad’s own speech. As Dr. Laura Vaglieri questioned, “How could this
marvelous book be the work of Muhammad, an illiterate Arab who in all his life
composed only two or three verses, none of which reveals the least poetic quality; e.g. ‘I
am the Prophet and do not lie. I am the son of Abd el-Muttalib.’?”44
Professor A. J. Arberry elaborates as follows:

We know quite well how Mohammed spoke in his normal, everyday
moods; for his obiter dicta have been preserved in great abundance. It
is simply untrue therefore to say, as Margoliouth said, that “it would be
difficult to find another case in which there is such a complete identity
between the literary work and the mind of the man who produced it.”
Accepting, as we have good reason to accept, the sayings of
Mohammed recorded in the books of Traditions as substantially
authentic, and supposing, as Margoliouth supposed, that the Koran was
Mohammed’s conscious production, it would be more reasonable to say
that it would be difficult to find another case in which the literary
expression of a man differed so fundamentally from his ordinary
speech.45

The point is that the difference between the language of Muhammad and that of
the Qur’an is so readily identifiable that detractors of Islam have driven their
imaginations great distances in order to deny the Qur’an as revelation. Many
non-Muslims, such as the above-referenced Oxford orientalist, David Margoliouth, have
gone so far as to allow religious prejudice to override scholastic standards. These
orientalists disingenuously deny what, to less biased scholars, is a clear reality.
Non-Muslim Arabic scholars (such as the aforementioned A. J. Arberry46(EN)) readily
appreciate the difference between Muhammad’s speech and the literary miracle of the
Qur’an. Consequently, this difference demands explanation. For if not from the mind of
Muhammad, what was the source of the Holy Qur’an?
In trying to provide an explanation without crediting revelation, some scholars
have gone so far as to suggest that Muhammad must have had a teacher who tutored the
composition of the Qur’an. This, they propose, would explain the difference. And indeed
it might. However, Muhammad’s contemporaries recognized that the structure of the
Qur’an was completely foreign to all lexical forms of Arabic poetry.47 It remains so to
this day. Furthermore, if ever there had been such an accomplished tutor, who was he (or
she) and what happened to his other works? Where are his other equally glorious and
distinctive compositions? Common sense tells us a people who valued their literature as
much as the Arabs would have preserved such treasures from this alleged tutor. And yet
none are known to exist.
To expand the argument, the Holy Qur’an broke many, if not most, of the
pre-existing literary rules. For one thing, poetry most frequently concerns matters of
common interest—wine, women and song, for example—with excursions into the
esoteric at the pens of the masters. In Muhammad’s time Arabic poetry, like its Western
parallel, reveled in romantic and hedonistic delights. However, issues of tribal
superiority, the virtues of people and animals of noble breeding or notable qualities,
contests of strength and wit, local heroes and history were also the subject of poetic
glorification. As can be imagined, much of Arabic poetry extolled the virtues of one’s
own person, tribe, kith and kin, while denigrating all others.48(EN)
The Qur’an broke this mold. Exaggeration was avoided, descriptions were
confined to the limits of reality, and chosen topics strayed into the fields of law and
legislation, manners and morals, social and civil responsibilities, and religious beliefs and
practices. The combination of such seemingly dry topics with unembellished accounting
fails to constitute what most people would consider ingredients for a literary masterpiece.
And yet, fourteen hundred years of Arab poets identify the Holy Qur’an as the most
eloquent and provocative expression of their language the world has ever seen.
Hard to believe.
But isn’t that what a miracle is? An extraordinary reality that defies reasonable
expectations?
Though repetitive, the Qur’an is not monotonous; though conveyed through a
human conduit (i.e., Muhammad), it does not betray the fluctuations of mood and tone
that is unavoidable among poets; though revealed over a period of twenty-three years,
there is no evolution of style, no development of technique typical of a work written over
such a long period of time. In defiance of normal human variability, the Qur’an remained
consistent in its expression and superlative in its eloquence, from topic to topic, from
beginning to end.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the superlative beauty of the Holy Qur’an is
that it was not revealed in chronological order. As verses were revealed, Muhammad was
commanded to place each new verse in a specific spot in the framework of what had been
revealed up to that point. Frequently new verses were sandwiched between two
previously revealed verses, inserted at a divinely ordained position in the scripture. In the
Preface to his translation of the Holy Qur’an, Professor A. J. Arberry commented on this
process as follows:

I have followed the traditional arrangement for all its admitted
perplexities. The Suras themselves are in many instances—and this has
been recognized by Muslim students from the earliest times—of a
composite character, holding embedded in them fragments received by
Muhammad at widely differing dates . . .49

Again, Muslims point out the inconsistency between this process and human
methodology. People tell stories and relate historical accounts, and attempt to link them
together. Whether we examine a history book or the Bible, the pattern is the same—
stories are strung together end-to-end, in an effort to achieve continuity. Constructing the
Qur’an piecemeal, as was done, violates both human capacity and methodology.
Furthermore, if Muhammad had faked revelation, literary contortionism just was not
necessary, for throughout history false messiahs have mislead the masses with far, far
less, and for good reason—false messiahs are lazy. No false messiah can be imagined to
ever have worked this hard!
Consequently, to be fair, those who believe they can come up with three verses
that rival those of the Qur’an now have to do it backwards! Now they have to write the
last line first (without having previously conceived the first two lines), the first line next
and the second line last. Or something like that. Now they have to do it in such a way that
each stage of the composition stands by itself, bears an intelligent message, and achieves
an unrivaled literary eloquence. Additionally, the teachings have to foretell a future
event, address a current concern, or teach a scientific fact that will not be known for the
next 1,400 years. Ten different readings in seven different dialects at each stage of
passage construction are required—each one complementary in meaning, each one
embodying the above qualities. If it sounds impossible, the Muslim claim is that, from a
human perspective, it is!
Yet the Qur’an was recorded in just this fashion over a period of twenty-three
years, with the revelation transmitted through the lips of an illiterate man, Muhammad. If
construction of just three lines seems impossible, how could Muhammad have composed
a complete book in this manner, when he could neither read nor write in the first place?
And lacking the luxury of a written work-in-progress to which he could refer, how could
he have filled in the missing pieces over a period of two decades? Each stage of the work
bears a comprehensible message of such practicality and beauty that no human has been
able to match as little as three lines. There are no demonstrable errors, inconsistencies, or
disruptions in flow. Can we imagine all of the above, at each of the hundreds (if not
thousands) of stages of revelation, having been accomplished by a human being? Most
people can’t assemble a do-it-yourself project without putting the long bolt in the short
hole, misplacing shelves and partitions, or similar errors—and all that despite having a
manual in hand. In the end, human efforts approach perfection through a series of
corrected errors.
So could a book of such complexity have been written by one man, or even a
team of men? Muslims assert that the revelation and content of the Holy Qur’an defy
both human ability and methodology. After just a few years, if not a couple months,
events would have conspired to negate planned verses, the plan to put such-and-such a
verse here or there would have been forgotten, and the whole thing would have
degenerated into an incoherent mess.
If nothing else, no human could predict they would live long enough to complete
the task; an early demise would have left the work with gaping holes where future
passages were planned.
Fourteen centuries ago, a forty year-old man living in the desert could have
reasonably expected to be at the end of his life, and to have had a good run of it. To have
expected to live another twenty-three years in that time and under conditions of
persecution and warfare against overwhelming odds would have seemed grossly
unrealistic at best. An even greater breach from reality would have been to imagine that
anyone could foresee the events around which future passages of the Qur’an would be
revealed.
One of the first lessons a con artist learns is that good liars have to have better
memories. But the Islamic view is that no human has ever lived with the memory
necessary to compose such a complex work. And yet, this is how the Qur’an was
revealed. Verse by verse, over a period of twenty-three years, the Qur’an was pieced
together and filled out in such a manner that it was, at all stages of development, an
incomparable, eloquent revelation of such sublime force and beauty as to change the
hearts of man and the direction of mankind.
The question as to Who the author was, in the mind of the Muslim, does not
entertain a human candidate.
There are those who agree that no human could write such a book, but who assert
it must be the work of Satan. Such assertions are disappointing, at best, for the New
Testament relates that many disbelieving Jews made the same claim about Jesus—that his
works were not of God, but of Satan, the prince of devils (Matthew 12:24, Mark 3:22,
Luke 11:15).
On one hand, Christian hearts melt at the stories of the miracles of Jesus,
wondering how the disbelieving Jews could possibly have denied these miracles as
evidence of Jesus’ prophethood. The Christians who read these biblical stories think that,
had they been there, they wouldn’t have been so blind—they would have believed. But
would they have? After all, these are frequently the same Christians who slander the
miracle of the Qur’an as the work of the devil. Such Christians begin to look very much
like the disbelieving Jews in Jesus’ day, for despite the weight of evidence (miracles
included), they not only adopt elaborate excuses to dismiss the Muslim scripture, but they
frequently advance the same reflexive claim—that it is the work of the “prince of devils.”
Even that challenge has an answer, though, for Muslims point out that the Holy
Qur’an’s teachings preclude such a possibility. Surah 16, ayah 98 (i.e., chapter and verse)
directs the Muslim, “When you do read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Shaytan
the Rejected One” (Yusuf Ali translation). The Muhammad Al-Hilali and Muhammad
Khan translation is even more explicit: “So when you want to recite the Qur’an, seek
refuge with Allah from Shaitan (Satan), the outcast (the cursed one).” Common sense
tells us that Satan would not write a book that directs a person to take refuge from
himself with Almighty God. Some might stretch their imaginations far enough to assert
that Satan is just that tricky, but only the hypocritical Christian can make such a claim,
for the Bible reads,

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom
divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house
divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is
divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matthew
12:25–26)

This teaching is echoed in Mark 3:23–27 and Luke 11:17. To deny the argument
is to deny not only Jesus, but also three of the New Testament gospels. And for those
who consider the Bible the word of God, it is denial of God Himself. The point? That
surah 16, ayah 98 is not just a Muslim argument. It is, in fact, a biblical argument!
The Islamic world thus presents this challenge: If man and Satan are excluded as
authors, exactly Whom does that leave?
5: Evidence #3 — Relation of Revelation to Preceding Events

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
—L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between, Prologue

Many biblical stories are retold in the Qur’an, but with significant differences. A
frequent challenge is the assertion that the Qur’an was copied from the Old and New
Testaments. There are many difficulties with this proposal, the first being that
Muhammad was illiterate, and could not have read the Jewish and Christian scriptures
had he tried. For that matter, Arab Jews and Christians could not have read their Bibles,
even had they tried. Why? Because they didn’t exist. Evidence suggests there was no
such thing as an Arabic Bible during the lifetime of Muhammad, and for centuries to
follow.
This lack of an Arabic Bible is disturbing to those who propose that Muhammad
copied biblical stories into the Qur’an. Although discovery of an Arabic Bible predating
the seventh century would bring considerable joy to such claimants, this search has
proved disappointing. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, a series of voluminous
tomes filled with poison and slanders aimed at Islam, nonetheless admits, “There is no
evidence of any parts of the Bible having been translated into Arabic before Islam.”50
Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible attributes the first Arabic translation of the Bible to the
tenth century,51 while Encyclopedia Judaica attributes the first Arabic translation of the
Old Testament either to Hunayn ibn Ishaq (800–873 CE) or to Saadiah (born Joseph
Gaon, 882–942 CE).52

Thus, we have to wonder what Jewish and Christian sources existed in
Muhammad’s day. If there was no Arabic Bible, what was there? Copying something that
didn’t exist would be, well, tough—even tougher for the illiterate.
The presence of Jews and Christians in the Arabian Peninsula during
Muhammad’s time is well known. Khadijah (Muhammad’s first wife) had an aged
cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who was Christian. Furthermore, Muhammad came into
contact with Bahira-Sergius, a Nestorian monk of Syria, at a young age. Contact with the
Jews of his community, and the opportunity for instruction in their religion, was no less
likely. Thus a case can be made for Muhammad having learned the basics of the Jewish
and Christian religions through their oral traditions. As the Jews and Christians passed
the teachings of their religions to one another, they also could have conveyed them to
Muhammad. Such a case can be made. And such a case can be destroyed.
The problem with this proposal is not that Jewish and Christian oral traditions
were unavailable, for no doubt they were readily available. No, the problem relates to
exactly what Jewish and Christian teachings circulated in the Arabian Peninsula during
Muhammad’s time. For in fact, the Arabs do not appear to have embraced the mainstream
views of the Jewish and Christian religions during this period. Regarding the period of
Muhammad’s prophethood, the New Catholic Encyclopedia comments,

Neither Arabian Jews nor Arabian Christians, unfortunately, were to be
classed among the better representatives of their faiths at the time. The
former had lived in comparative isolation possibly since the middle of
the 1st millennium B.C., although they had been mildly successful in
proselytism, and the latter were mainly heretical Monophysites, remote
in every sense from the centers of Christian learning.53

Paul D. Wegner, author of The Journey from Texts to Translations, contributes
this:

The Scriptures do not seem to have been extant in an Arabic version
before the time of Muhammad (570–632), who knew the gospel story
only in oral form, and mainly from Syriac sources. These Syriac
sources were marked by Docetism (believed that Jesus had only a
divine nature and only appeared to be incarnate—they thought the
material world and thus one’s body was inherently evil) . . .54

Hence the problem. The proposal is that Muhammad copied from Jewish and
Christian sources, even though he was illiterate, hard copies of the Bible didn’t exist, and
the only sources of Jewish and Christian oral traditions were those of the poorer
“representatives of their faiths.” In other words, these were the traditions of the heretical
Monophysites, Docetists, and Nestorians. Why, then, doesn’t the Qur’an just copy the
dogma peculiar to these heretical sects? Why does the Qur’an condemn associating Jesus
Christ with divinity, rather than endorse the Monophysite belief in a union of godhead
and manhood in the one nature of Jesus Christ? Why does the Qur’an validate Jesus
Christ as a man, and not advocate the Docetist concept of Jesus having been a phantasm?
And why does the Qur’an reject the Nestorian claim to union of God (the son) with Jesus
(the man)? If the Qur’an was copied from oral traditions, and the Jewish and Christian
Arabs were poor representatives of their faiths, why are their heresies not argued in the
Holy Qur’an? Why does the Qur’an address the valid beliefs of the Jewish orthodoxy, the
commonly accepted historical accounts of both Old and New Testaments, and the
mainstream issues of the Trinitarian Christianity of Constantinople? Why doesn’t it
present the unorthodox concepts of the Arab Jews and Christians of Muhammad’s time?
Similarly, we have to wonder why the Qur’an records history differently from
how the Arabs understood it. The Qur’an repeatedly claims to reveal historical details
previously unknown to the Arabs—Jews and Christians included. Following the story of
Noah, the Qur’an teaches, “Such are some of the stories of the Unseen, which We have
revealed to you: before this, neither you nor your people knew them” (TMQ 11:49).
And yet no one, whether well-traveled pagan, scholarly Jew or Christian, or even
Muslim, ever ran to the front of the congregation yelling, “Wait a minute, I knew that!”
Once again, copying Jewish or Christian traditions that didn’t exist, either on paper or in
oral tradition, would be, well, troublesome. What could possibly have been the source of
such information if the other religious authorities were themselves clueless?
The most significant point, however, is that the Qur’an corrects, rather than
repeats, biblical errors. What should we think of a book that corrected the as-yet
unrecognized errors considered “gospel truth” during Muhammad’s lifetime? A
man-made book designed to appeal to the masses would be expected to confirm, rather
than deny, popular opinion. True revelation, however, would be expected to correct
falsehoods, no matter how distasteful the truth may seem. And such is the case with the
Holy Qur’an—correct beliefs were reinforced and unrecognized errors were rectified.
The most important corrections relate to elements of belief, as discussed in the
first volume of this series, MisGod’ed. The Holy Qur’an challenges Christians by telling
them to look in their own book, for they will find that Jesus never called himself “Son of
God” (see MisGod’ed). Now, how could Muhammad have known that? As discussed
above, he couldn’t read their book. For that matter, they couldn’t read their book; it
would be two centuries before a translation would be available to them. So what were
Muhammad’s sources? Again, the most he could have heard were snippets of Christian
oral traditions. But how could he have known he had heard them all? Or correctly?
Without a Bible for reference, how could he have known that throughout the New
Testament, Jesus never identified himself as the “Son of God”? The safer bet, given what
he must have been told, would have been to state the exact opposite. To this day, it is the
rare Christian who knows Jesus never called himself “Son of God” in the Bible. So how
did Muhammad know this?
Examples of more objective, verifiable corrections include scientific evidence.
But we can also consider such simple elements as Jesus’ age at the beginning of his
ministry.
According to the Bible, “Now Jesus himself began his ministry at about thirty
years of age . . .” (Luke 3:23)
So says the Bible.
And so say most Christians.
However, history suggests Jesus was considerably older—perhaps as old as
forty-six, but not less than thirty-eight.55 Where do we get these numbers? Jesus was born
during the reign of King Herod the Great of Judaea (who died shortly after a lunar eclipse
dated by astronomers to March 12–13, 4 BC) and began his ministry after John the
Baptist’s imprisonment. Why was John the Baptist imprisoned? For rebuking Antipas—
King Herod the Great’s son, also known as Herod the Tetrarch (i.e., governor) of Galilee
and Perea—for marrying his own niece and sister-in-law. Now, we can fairly assume that
Antipas could not have married his sister-in-law unless his brother was, by one means or
another, out of the picture. Some small degree of sibling rivalry might otherwise have
ensued. Sure enough, in his Jewish Antiquities, the first-century historian Josephus
documents that Herod’s dear brother Philip died “in the twentieth year of the reign of
Tiberius,” which corresponds with 33–34 CE.56 A soap opera here, a battle there, a
journey to fetch the questionably grieving widow, a marriage, a public rebuke, and John
the Baptist found himself in jail waiting for the manipulative step-daughter to dance. The
timing works out to Jesus having started his ministry on or after 34 CE, as per the gospels
of Mark and Luke: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching
the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14).
The time span from 4 BC to 34 CE being thirty-eight years, Jesus could not have
started his ministry before the age of thirty-eight.
Assuming that Jesus was not born on the day King Herod the Great died, and
allowing a more reasonable period of time for his son, Herod Antipas, to have acquired
his sister-in-law, Jesus was more likely well into his forties. Such an assumption is not
unreasonable. To understand why, let us consider the sequence of events:

  1. Jesus Christ was born during the reign of King Herod the Great. (Matthew 2:1)
  2. Following Jesus’ birth, the Magi (wise men), having seen the star signaling his
    miraculous birth, came to Jerusalem from the east. (Matthew 2:1)
    ——That’s one major trip. In a period of history when first-class transportation
    meant a camel that didn’t spit, such things took time.
  3. Herod sent the Magi on a reconnaissance trip to Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:8)
    ——That’s a second trip.
  4. The Magi returned to their countries, unbeknownst to Herod. (Matthew 2:12)
    ——That’s a third trip.
  5. An angel of God directed Joseph to “arise,” and flee. (Matthew 2:13)
  6. Joseph arose. . . (Matthew 2:14)
    ——That may only have taken a minute or so.
  7. And took the family to Egypt for an indefinite leave of absence. (Matthew 2:14)
    ——That probably took slightly longer. A fourth trip.
  8. Herod found out about the deception. (Matthew 2:16)
    ——That probably took some time, too. A fifth trip (by the messenger).
  9. Herod, being a man of such paranoia as to have executed his beloved wife
    Mariamne and, on separate occasions, three sons thought to threaten his throne,
    sent his flunkies in tyranny to kill all the male children two years old and less in
    Bethlehem and the vicinity. (Matthew 2:16)
    ——Why two years old and younger? “. . . according to the time which he had
    determined from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16). In other words, Jesus Christ was
    getting on in infancy.
  10. After an unspecified period of time, Herod died. (Matthew 2:19)
    Given the above scenario, we can reasonably expect Jesus to have been born at
    least two years prior to King Herod the Great’s demise. In other words, he was born in or
    before 6 BC. Similarly, we can reasonably expect that events surrounding Herod Antipas’
    shady marriage unfolded somewhat slower than a snap of the fingers.
    Suddenly the question posed to Jesus in John 8:57, “You are not yet fifty years
    old, and have you seen Abraham?” makes sense. We can logically expect that, had Jesus
    been in his thirties, this challenge would have been worded, “You are not yet forty years
    old . . .” But it isn’t. And now we understand why.
    Illustrating yet another biblical difficulty is not the point. The take-home message
    is that to this day Christians read Luke 3:23 (“Now Jesus himself began his ministry at
    about thirty years of age . . .”) and assert that Jesus started his ministry around the age of
    thirty. Had Muhammad asked, this is almost certainly what he would have been told.
    Now, what does the Qur’an say? That Jesus spoke to the people in childhood, and when
    he was kahlan (surah 5:110). Kahlan describes a man aged between thirty and fifty.57
    Had the Bible been copied, we would expect to find “Luke’s” claim that Jesus was “about
    thirty.” However, just as historical evidence defies the biblical record, the Qur’anic
    description corrects, rather than repeats, this biblical error.
    How about another example? The title pharaoh was applied to Egyptian rulers
    only during the years 1539–1292 BC and circa 945–730 BC.58 To quote, “The Egyptian
    term became a title of respect for the king during the 18th dynasty. . . . Any use of
    ‘Pharaoh’ for kings preceding Thutmose III is an anachronism.”59 And Thutmose III
    lived—drum roll, please—from approximately 1490 to 1436 BC.60 So any use of the term
    pharaoh prior to the 1490s BC would be an anachronism: “an attribution of a custom,
    event, etc., to the wrong period.”61
    What does this have to do with the Bible and the Holy Qur’an?
    During the prophet Joseph’s time (around 1700 BC), Egypt was ruled by a
    different line of monarchy. And had been for some time. The Hyksos Dynasty were
    ethnic Arabs who usurped the Egyptian throne circa 2000 BC, and ruled Egypt to the end
    of the fifteenth century BC. They never called their kings “Pharaoh.” And here Joseph
    was, in the minus-seventeen hundreds, smack-dab in the middle of the Hyksos Dynasty.
    Yet the Bible labels both the kings of Joseph (Genesis, chapters 39–50) and of Moses
    (Exodus 2–18) as “Pharaoh.” What we know of history, however, conflicts with the use
    of this term during the time of Joseph. But oh, well, one out of two isn’t bad, if that is the
    standard of accuracy we seek in a book of revelation.
    Now, what about the Qur’an?
    The Qur’an correctly acknowledges the king of Moses’ time as “Pharaoh,” but
    identifies the king of Egypt in the time of Joseph as just that—the “King” (See Surah
    Yusuf—i.e., surah 12). Here again, the Qur’an corrects, rather than repeats, a biblical
    error, despite the fact that the Qur’an mentions the title “Pharaoh” over seventy times.
    However, each of these mentions refers to a historical period when the monarch of Egypt
    was actually identified as “Pharaoh.” Considering this context, the conspicuous
    avoidance of this term in reference to the ruler during Joseph’s time appears significant.
    Speaking of Egypt, the Qur’an records Pharaoh having ordered a man called
    Haman to bake bricks for construction (TMQ 28:38). The word haman comes to us from
    hieroglyphics and is believed to mean “the chief of the workers in the stone-quarries.”62
    In other words, in a time and place where construction was largely tantamount to stacking
    blocks, “Haman” was in charge of supplies.
    Now, hieroglyphics died out centuries before Muhammad’s time, and was only
    relearned with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 CE. Here is what happened:
    After the deaths of Marcus Antonius (i.e., Marc Antony) and Cleopatra in 30 BC, Roman
    governorship superseded the Egyptian dynastic system, and Latin became the language of
    the realm. Consequently, the writing system of hieroglyphics died out within the next
    century. Discovery of the Rosetta Stone resuscitated the hieroglyphics, but this was by no
    means easy. Even with the Rosetta Stone in hand, the effort demanded time (more than
    twenty years), inspiration, and some of the most brilliant minds of Europe. All of which
    leads us to question how the author of the Qur’an knew to title the man in charge of
    construction supplies “Haman.” With hieroglyphics dead and buried for over five
    hundred years, and such titles presumably extinct as well, what was the source of such
    knowledge in Muhammad’s day?
    Now let’s consider a less obscure example.
    Jesus never identified his followers as “Christians.” In fact, his followers did not
    adopt this label until years following his ministry. Nonetheless, once adopted, the label
    stuck. So if Muhammad had asked the Christians of his time what they called themselves,
    they would have said, “Christian” (or Masihiyyun, in Arabic). Masihiyyun describes the
    followers (-iyyun) of Christ (Messiah in Hebrew, Masih in Arabic).
    Makes sense? Sure. To this day, Western Christians identify themselves as just
    that—Christians. Likewise, their Arab counterparts identify themselves as Masihiyyun
    (followers of Christ). By what name, then, would Muhammad have known Jesus’
    followers? As Masihiyyun. Why, then, is this word not mentioned once in the Qur’an?
    Not one, single, solitary time?
    The Qur’an mentions Christians repeatedly, not as “Christians” or Masihiyyun,
    but as Nasara (Nazarenes). Now, wait a minute. How many Christians, anywhere in the
    world, have ever called themselves “Nazarenes”? Very few, I suspect. Why then does the
    Qur’an employ the faithful biblical term of “Nazarene,” rather than the popular Arabic
    label of Masihiyyun? Who told Muhammad that although virtually all Christians identify
    themselves as “Christian,” Jesus never did? We find in Acts 11:26 that “the disciples
    were called Christians first in Antioch.” In other words, non-believers first applied this
    term to Christ’s followers around 43 CE, roughly ten years following his ministry.
    Furthermore, it doesn’t appear to have been a polite term.
    Contrary to popular belief, the term Christian appears to have been conceived as a
    name of contempt. It’s what disbelievers called the followers of Christ—a distasteful
    name to believers who knew themselves as Jews, following the latest in the line of Jewish
    prophets. And yet that very label is now worn with pride, despite the fact that, “it appears
    to have been more widely used by pagans, and according to Tacitus it was in common
    use by the time of the Neronian persecution (Annals, 15.44).”63
    In other words, “Christian” was a derogatory label imposed upon believers by
    their enemies. And yet the term stuck and, with typical Christian humility, was eventually
    adopted.
    Fine. Now we know. But how many readers knew this fact before reading it here?
    More to the point, who told Muhammad? Who told Muhammad the term “Christian”
    (Masihiyyun in Arabic) began its life as a derogatory term, and was never uttered by
    Jesus Christ? Who told Muhammad a more respectful biblical term is Nasara? And why
    would Muhammad bother to swim against such an overwhelmingly strong current of
    public opinion? Unless, that is, he only conveyed words given to him—words that
    corrected his own opinion as well as that of most of the rest of mankind?
    The above issues, while addressing relatively small details of historical accuracy,
    are highly significant. It is these minute details that function as tripwires upon which
    false prophethood snags a toe. Nobody trips over a building; it is always the small,
    seemingly insignificant bumps people stumble over. However, rather than painting a new
    gloss over old errors, it is just these minute points of detail the Qur’an corrects with
    exquisite accuracy.
    The Bible teaches, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much;
    and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10). If this teaching
    is applied to the Bible, the significance of even the smallest error (i.e., unfaithfulness to
    detail) becomes apparent. Even as little as a copying error should sound the alarm to the
    fact that “he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” Details are important,
    for it is on the basis of detail that we differentiate between human fallibility and divine
    inerrancy.
    And then there is Iram.
    The Holy Qur’an makes passing mention of a city named Iram (TMQ 89:7). As it
    turns out, Iram was lost to history for over 3,500 years, and only recently discovered.
    Who, then, knew to mention Iram in the Holy Qur’an? For two thousand years prior to
    the revelation, there was no evidence it had ever existed.
    The archeological roadmap to Iram passes through the ancient city of Ebla, as
    discussed in the December 1978 issue of National Geographic. The article, “Ebla,
    Splendor of an Unknown Empire” outlines one of the greatest archeological finds of the
    present epoch—the discovery of the city of Ebla in Northwest Syria.64 The magnitude of
    the Ebla find is related as follows: In 1975, Matthiae [Paolo Matthiae, one of the two archaeologists in
    charge of the dig] hit an archeological jackpot. In the ruins of a palace
    apparently destroyed in the 23rd century B.C., he came upon the
    greatest third-millennium archive ever unearthed. More than 15,000
    cuneiform tablets and fragments—the commercial records, treaties,
    chronicles—whispered, through the mists of ancient and ambiguous
    syntax, of an unknown Semitic empire, with Ebla as its seat, that once
    dominated much of the Middle East. . . . this find struck the scholarly
    world like a thunderbolt.65

How big is this find? To quote Dr. Ignace J. Gelb, “Ebla was a mighty kingdom,
treated on an equal footing with the most powerful states of the time.”66 How important
are the cuneiform tablets? To quote Dr. Giovanni Pettinato, “All the other texts of this
period recovered to date do not total a fourth of those from Ebla.”67
This massive collection of cuneiform plates (clay tablets inscribed with
wedge-shaped writing) lifts the veil of obscurity from the face of history to reveal an
image contrary to many classical preconceptions. These tablets reveal a rich culture in a
thriving community—so much so that archeological experts conclude: “Ebla rivaled
Egypt and Mesopotamia as a major power of the ancient world.”68
Wow.
So what happened to so great a culture? Where did it go?
Into the ground.
Around 2300 BC, Sargon defeated Ebla and razed the city. The burning of the
palace turned the library into a kiln, and the fire baked the clay tablets into ceramic
preservation. Excavated layers of the ruins reveal that Ebla was rebuilt only to be
destroyed again around three centuries later, most likely by the Amorites. Rebuilt upon
the ruins once more, “Ebla flourished briefly once again, but around 1800 B.C. the city
began to decline, and within two hundred years finally disappeared from history.”69
What does this have to do with Iram? Ebla, like all major world powers, kept
records of all cities with which they transacted business or from which they exacted
tribute. These records were stored in the palace library. And what do we find there?
Mention of Beirut, Damascus, Gaza, Sodom, Gomorrah, among others. What else? “Also
included is Iram, an obscure city referred to in surah 89 of the Koran.”70 So in 1975 Iram,
as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an 1,400 years ago, became historically verified.
What else was verified? Ebla’s library records also mention the cities of Ad and
Shamutu (believed to be the city of the early Arabian people known as the Thamud): two
other lost civilizations mentioned in the Qur’an.71 As a matter of fact, five short Qur’anic
verses (89:6–10) mention four lost civilizations, all of which are now historically
identified: Iram, Ad, Shamutu, and the people of Pharaoh.
Could Muhammad have known of Iram? Ad? No doubt he knew of the people of
Pharaoh, and almost certainly he knew of Shamutu, in structure if not in name, for the
ruins of Shamutu exist to this day in the Arabian city of Mada’in Salih. But Iram and Ad?
Could Muhammad have known of cultures that disappeared thousands of years before the
sun rose on his first day in his mother’s arms? Could he have known the names of lost
cities in a time and place where the closest thing to an information superhighway was a
level trail and a fast camel?
Not likely.
The average American can’t name the first three settlements in the United States,
and might miss the correct answer even if offered in the form of a multiple-choice
question. And those settlements are not only well known, but are only a few centuries
old. So by what means did Muhammad come up with the names Iram, Ad, and Thamud?
To reference lost names is risky—unless, that is, you’re God.
And that, Muslims assert, is the point.
When we conjure up an image of a false prophet, we tend to imagine someone
who struggles to gain confidence from his followers. A false prophet would be foolish to
deal in any facts, prophecies, or beliefs other than the commonly accepted ones, whether
valid or not. So why would Muhammad have gone out on a limb by naming lost
civilizations when he could have limited his comments to famous cities, like Nazareth?
The Christians around Muhammad must have filled his ears with tales of Nazareth, so we
have to wonder why Nazareth isn’t mentioned in the Qur’an. Giving Nazareth a plug
would have fostered considerable goodwill among his Christian compatriots, and we are
hard-pressed to imagine the harm. Unless, that is, Nazareth didn’t exist. And, as a matter
of fact, it may not have.
Nazareth is mentioned twenty-nine times in the New Testament, but no town by
that name appears to have existed in the time of Jesus. Now, whether or not Nazareth did
in fact exist isn’t terribly important. But it is interesting to note that the Romans had
comprehensive mercantile and tax records of all the towns in Palestine. They were
methodical about these records, for they didn’t like having to scour the countryside
seeking pockets of peasants to beat the taxes out of. Nazareth, however, is not mentioned.
In addition, Nazareth “is not among the places mentioned in Joshua 19:10f., nor is it
referred to by Josephus, who gives the names of forty-five Galilean towns, nor by the
Talmud, which names sixty-three.”72
In fact, Encyclopedia Judaica informs us that outside of the Bible, Nazareth isn’t
mentioned in the historical record until the third century CE.73 We have to wonder if this
reflects a deficiency in the historical record or an error in the Bible. Was there, or was
there not, a Nazareth in Jesus’ day?
Some scholars speculate that Nazareth and modern day en Nasira are one and the
same. But no one knows for sure.
Why, then, was Jesus Christ called the Nazarene? Hard to say. However,
Nazarene is the English translation of the Greek Nazoraios, which appears to derive from
the Hebrew Nozrim, which itself stems from Nozrei ha-Brit—the ancient Hebrew name
by which the Qumran community identified themselves as “Keepers of the Covenant.”74
If the extraction seems strained, we might consider that the modern-day Tsar (or Czar)
derives from Kaiser, itself derived from Caesar, and bearing no relation to either seeded
hamburger rolls or gourmet salads. As all etymologists know, words separated by two
thousand years wrinkle with age.
But to get back to Nazarene,

Contrary to the assumptions of later tradition, it has nothing whatever
to do with Jesus’ alleged upbringing in Nazareth, which, the evidence
(or lack of it) suggests, did not even exist at the time. Indeed, it seems
to have been the very perplexity of early commentators encountering
the unfamiliar term “Nazorean” that led them to conclude Jesus’ family
came from Nazareth, which by then had appeared on the map.75

Search Palestine now, and we find Nazareth in lower Galilee (i.e., Northern
Palestine). The problem is, the city by this name does not appear to have existed in
biblical times. So, does the naming of a Palestinian city as “Nazareth” represent a
Christian effort to backfill a scriptural deficiency? Maybe. But more likely, as is the case
with the American city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the founding fathers of the
Palestinian city of Nazareth adopted its biblical name simply because they liked it.
One thing we can say for sure is that Jesus Christ wasn’t born in Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania. Similarly, there is no good reason to presume he had any association with
the Palestinian city that now claims the title of Nazareth.
However this juggling of biblical names occurred, the point is that this constitutes
one more point of Qur’anic accuracy. The Bible mentions a place that appears not to have
existed in Jesus’ lifetime, whereas the Qur’an doesn’t. Avoiding repetition of this
little-known biblical error tells us something important about the Qur’an and its author.
“Nazareth” is just the kind of popular scriptural currency that would have appealed to the
Christians of Muhammad’s time, yet it bears no mention in the Holy Qur’an.
Weird.
That is, if we assume the Qur’an to have been authored by a man.
But back to Iram. To propose the existence of a city for which there was no record
during Muhammad’s lifetime (not to mention for the next fourteen centuries) is pretty
bold for a man. Even bolder would be the mention of not just one but three such cities, in
succession. That’s . . . that’s . . . well, that’s beyond unlikely. Muhammad would had to
have been both foolish and historically fortunate. And what, we might ask, was the
motivation? For there was nothing to be won and a great deal to be lost from such a
mention.
On the other hand, Muslims propose that our all-knowing God would have known
that 1,400 years later evidence of Iram, Ad, and the Thamud people would be identified,
providing signs for this present age.
Hmm.
Muslims hold that one of the miracles of the Qur’an is just this—it is timeless.
Although the revelation was completed roughly 1,400 years ago, the miracles continue to
surface even in the present day.
6: Evidence #4 — Relation of Revelation to Contemporaneous Events

Truth would become more popular if it were not always stating ugly
facts.
—Henry H. Haskins

The fact that specific passages of the Holy Qur’an were revealed at the same time
as the events they describe is not particularly surprising. What is surprising, however, is
not what the revelation contains, but what is conspicuously absent.
For example, Muhammad outlived his first love and first wife, the woman with
whom he spent twenty-five years of his youth, Khadijah. She died after two long, painful
years during which the Makkan pagans ostracized, persecuted, and starved Muhammad
and his followers. Twenty-five years of love, support, caring, and kindness—gone. His
first wife, so beloved that he remained faithful to her throughout their marriage and
throughout his youth—gone. The first person to believe in his prophethood, the wife who
bore all but one of his eight children—gone. So devoted was she that she exhausted her
wealth and sacrificed her tribal relationships in support of him. After which, she was
gone.
Musicians croon over their lost loves; artists immortalize their infatuations in
marble and on canvas, photographers fill albums with glossy memorials and poets pour
their hearts onto paper with the ink of liquid lamentation. Yet despite what a person
might expect, nowhere does the Qur’an mention the name Khadijah. Not once. The wives
of Pharaoh, Noah, and Lot are alluded to, but Khadijah is not mentioned a single solitary
time. Why? Because she wasn’t loved? When Muhammad later had several wives, his
then favorite wife, A’ishah, commented that she was never as jealous of any woman as
she was of Khadijah, for Muhammad remembered her frequently, with love and respect.
A’ishah once related that Muhammad commented,

She believed in me when no one else did. She embraced Islam when
people disbelieved in me. And she helped and comforted me in her
person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand.
I had children only from her.76

And yet the woman who so filled the life and mind of Muhammad was never
mentioned in the Qur’an. For that matter, neither his father (who died before his birth),
his mother (who died while he was a child), nor his wife Khadijah, nor any of his sons or
daughters is mentioned. They are not even hinted at.
Many orientalists claim that the Qur’an is not true revelation, but came from
Muhammad’s mind. Compounding the peculiarity of this claim is the startling fact that
the only woman the Qur’an mentions by name is Mary, an Israelite and the mother of
Jesus. And she is mentioned in glowing terms. As a matter of fact, a whole surah bears
her name. The Muslim questions if this could be the product of the mind of a man. To
declare Muhammad a false prophet, when he excluded the women who filled his life and
memory from the revelation he claimed, in favor of an Israelite woman and the mother of
an Israelite prophet, drives recklessly against the flow of reasonable expectation.
During Muhammad’s life, he saw every one of his four sons die. All but one of
his four daughters predeceased him. His favored uncle, Hamzah, was killed in battle and
mutilated in a horrific manner. Muhammad and his followers were regularly insulted,
humiliated, beaten, and on occasion murdered. On one occasion the offal of a slaughtered
camel was dumped on Mohammad’s back while he was prostrate in prayer. The sheer
weight of this offal reportedly pinned him to the ground until his daughter uncovered
him. Now, camels smell bad enough while they’re living. Try to imagine the smell of
their decomposing guts in the tropical sun. Then try to imagine being buried in the
tangled mass of their slimy offense, rivulets of rotting camel juice running down exposed
arms, cheeks and, oh yes, behind the ears. A refreshing massage-head shower is a couple
thousand calendar pages away, with soap not yet registered in the patent office.
Such events must have tortured Muhammad’s memory. Yet they are described nowhere
in the Qur’an.
On a more positive note, Muhammad was obsessed about oral hygiene. He
brushed his teeth before every prayer, which equates to no less than five times a day.
Furthermore, he taught his companions to brush the tongue as well, over 1,300 years
before the tongue was recognized as the primary source of halitosis. Cleanliness was a
passion of the Prophet’s, and a practice associated with Muslim prayer. Mentioned in the
Qur’an? Not once.
Muhammad taught that every illness has a cure. Whether true or not, reliable
traditions relate that he firmly believed this. Why, then, don’t we find the Qur’an filled
with home remedies? The only mention of any product of medicinal value is a reference
to honey, in which “there is healing for men” (TMQ 16:69). Certainly the throat lozenge
and cold-and-flu pharmaceutical companies do not dispute this point.
So the Qur’an is remarkable in that its content does not reflect the mind of the
messenger. In fact, in some cases the Qur’an does the exact opposite, and corrects
Muhammad’s errors in judgment.
For example, many passages defined issues with which Muhammad and his
companions were immediately concerned, or delivered lessons regarding
contemporaneous events. Such passages are legion. However, instead of affirming
Muhammad’s judgment, the Qur’an not only admonishes certain of the believers, but
even corrects Muhammad on occasion. Surah 80 admonishes Muhammad for having
frowned and turned his back on a blind Muslim who, in seeking guidance, interrupted a
conversation to which Muhammad mistakenly assigned priority. The error in judgment
was understandable, but it was an error nonetheless. And according to the Holy Qur’an, it
was an error deserving of correction.
On other occasions, revelation admonished Muhammad for forbidding himself the
use of honey (after being deceived into believing it gave his breath a bad odor—TMQ
66:1), for directing his adopted son to keep his marriage when divorce was preferable
(TMQ 33:37), and for praying for forgiveness of the Hypocrites (Muslims-in-name-only
who were denied the mercy of Allah due to their obstinate rebellion—TMQ 9:80). The
admonishment for his error of judgment with regard to his adopted son, Zaid, and his
unhappy marriage to Zainab, was of such extreme embarrassment that Muhammad’s
wife, A’ishah, later commented to the effect that, “Were Muhammad to have concealed
anything from the revelation, he would have concealed this verse [i.e., TMQ 33:37]”77
In one case Muhammad was corrected for being vengeful,78(EN) in another for
being lenient.79(EN) Although such errors of judgment were rare, they highlight his
humanity.80(EN) Equally important, they reveal his sincerity, for Muhammad’s errors
required correction by the One Whom Muhammad represented, lest they be misperceived
as bearing God’s approval. However, unlike a false prophet, who would have concealed
his shortcomings, Muhammad conveyed revelation that immortalized his mistakes, and
Allah’s admonition thereof.
So here is a man who claimed every letter of revelation was from God, including
the passages that corrected his own errors and instructed him to repent. Weird. If, that is,
we imagine the Qur’an to have been authored by a false prophet. False prophets are either
liars or deluded, and both types attempt to build confidence in their followers by
portraying themselves as perfect. The author of the Qur’an fails to fit this profile. So if
not a man, Who, then, authored the Qur’an?
7: Evidence #5 — Relation of Revelation to Subsequent Events

I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.
—Ralph Abernathy

As Albert Einstein wisely commented, “I never think of the future. It comes soon
enough.” The problem is that when the future does come, it is frequently contrary to
expectations. Hence the difficulty with predictions. The only One who can know the
future with certainty is the One who determines it. All others expose their human
fallibility when they play with predictions, for future events typically prove them wrong,
at least part of the time.
The validity of biblical predictions is no surprise to those who presume much of
the Bible to be from God. So, too, with the Holy Qur’an. What is problematic, however,
is to consider the Qur’an to have been of human authorship in the face of the remarkable
accuracy of its predictions.
Unlike other books, the Bible included, Muslims assert there is not a single
prediction made in the Qur’an that is assailable from a historic or scientific point of view.
And, in fact, those who desire to discredit the holy book of Islam have desperately sought
a weak link in Qur’anic prophesies for nearly 1,400 years. To date, they have discredited
nothing, for no such error has ever been found. For this reason, we must note that
detractors of the Islamic religion typically focus their criticisms upon emotional issues,
such as Islamic practices considered distasteful in Western society. In other words, they
tell us what they don’t like about Islam, rather than discredit the Islamic evidence. This
is, at best, a capricious approach.
We should bear this phenomenon in mind, for the fact is that there is no book in
history, other than the Qur’an, which succeeds so completely with its predictions. Choose
any book of a philosopher, soothsayer or false prophet, and you may find a few
predictions that came true, but you’ll also find a great many that didn’t. Not so with the
Holy Qur’an, the accuracy of which repels any reasonable criticism.
For example, early in the history of the Qur’an, while the Muslims were still an
oppressed minority in Makkah, a verse was revealed in the “Moon” surah that promised
victory (in battle) to the Muslims over the pagan Quraysh (i.e., the dominant tribe in
Makkah):

Are you Unbelievers (O Quraysh) better than they?
Or do you have an immunity in the Sacred Books?
Or do they say: “We, acting together, can defend ourselves?”
Soon will their multitude be put to flight, and they will show their
backs.
(TMQ 54:43–45)

Now, at the time of this revelation, the Muslims were few, weak, and regularly
beaten and killed by the pagan majority. Five years later, when emigrating to Medina, the
Muslims were still so weak that the main tribe of Makkah, the Quraysh, confiscated their
land, property and wealth, detained their wives, and tortured and killed those unfortunate
few who lacked tribal protection. Not only were the Muslims no force to contend with,
but they lacked sufficient numbers to expect anything but a life of persecution. The syrup
on the kanafa81(EN) was that the verses of the Qur’an that command the Muslims to fight
oppression and tyranny had not yet been revealed. Furthermore, among a people whose
family ties were tight enough to chafe, the concept of waging war on one’s own tribe was
foreign to all but the most sociopathic of imaginations.
So seemingly out of place was this prediction that the future second caliph of
Islam, Umar ibn al-Khattab, questioned, “Which group will we defeat?”82 Even he did
not immediately grasp that the revelation spoke of the Muslims defeating the pagans of
his own tribe of Quraysh. And only later, when the Muslims were actually commanded to
fight tyranny and oppression, did they have sufficient numbers to do so. The following
verse from the “Light” surah was subsequently revealed in Makkah, prior to the Muslim
emigration to Medina:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work
righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land,
inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He
will establish in authority their religion—the one which He has chosen
for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which
they (lived), to one of security and peace: “They will worship Me
(alone) and not associate anything with Me.” If any do reject Faith after
this, they are rebellious and wicked. (TMQ 24:55).

As predicted in the “Moon” surah, the “multitude” of unbelieving Quraysh were
“put to flight” and “showed their backs” at the Battle of Badr. The Quraysh army
outnumbered the Muslims by more than four to one, but it was the Quraysh who suffered
the greatest losses. Rather than massacring the Muslims, as their overwhelming
superiority in men and arms might have led us to expect, the Quraysh dead outnumbered
the Muslim dead five to one. Both sides reported seeing angels fighting among the
Muslim ranks, and the Quraysh fled in terror.83,84

Subsequently, in fulfillment of the “Light” surah, the Muslims were decisively
victorious when they peacefully retook Makkah in 8 AH.85(EN) True to the prediction,
their fear and insecurity was replaced by security and peace, due to their established
authority both in power and religion.
The peace and security encountered in Makkah is itself a fulfillment of revelation,
as follows:

Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to
which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves . . .
(TMQ 28:5786)

And this as well:

Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary,
while men are being snatched away from all around them?
(TMQ 29:6787)

As foretold, Makkah has not only remained a “secure sanctuary” to this day, but
despite the barren land and harsh desert climate, the plethora of food and fruit stores
stands testimony to the promise of “fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves . . .”
This mention of fruits and provision in revelation may at first seem peculiar, for
to what purpose would such a mention be made? Speculation aside, the fact is that such a
mention was made, and despite the barren volcanic terrain, harsh desert climate, and
geographic isolation, the holy city of Makkah has since enjoyed a most ample and
unlikely food supply.
With regard to the above conquest, this verse was revealed:

When comes the Help of Allah, and Victory, and you see the people
enter Allah’s Religion in crowds . . . (TMQ 110:1–3)

Following the conquest and conversion of Makkah, delegates from all over the
Arabian Peninsula bore the pledge of allegiance of entire tribes and communities. Such
history of en-masse voluntary conversions defies religious norms. And yet it was
foretold.
What else was foretold?
Prior to their conquest of Makkah, the Muslims faced tremendous hardship, for
they were sandwiched between the opposition of the disbelievers and the treachery of the
Hypocrites within their ranks. While in Medina, the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadir reneged
on their treaty with the Muslims, and were ordered to leave the city within ten days.
Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the head of the Hypocrites in Medina, pledged support to the Bani
Nadir in the form of an army of two thousand men, and promised to follow the Jews if
they left or were expelled. The following days were a tense period for the Muslims, who
took solace in the revelation,

Have you not observed the Hypocrites say to their misbelieving
brethren among the People of the Book (i.e. the Christians and/or
Jews)? “If you are expelled, we too will go out with you, and we will
never hearken to anyone in your affair; and if you are attacked we will
help you.” But Allah is Witness that they are indeed liars. If they are
expelled, never will they go out with them; and if they are attacked,
they will never help them . . . (TMQ 59:11–12)

Any fears vanished with the expulsion of the Bani Nadir within the ten-day
ultimatum. True to the Qur’anic prediction, the Hypocrites neither accompanied nor
defended them. At a time when the Muslims were still weak and vulnerable, predictions
such as the one above would be considered supremely optimistic, if not frankly foolish,
had they come from a man.
A prediction that must have seemed similarly rash, given the circumstances, was
the following:

Say to the desert Arabs who lagged behind: “You shall be summoned
(to fight) against a people given to vehement war; then you shall fight,
or they shall submit” (TMQ 48:16).

Putting ourselves in a similar circumstance, we can’t help but wonder how we
would have felt as new converts to Islam, were we told that we would be called upon to
fight “a people given to vehement war.” Surely this disheartening revelation would have
been considered a peculiar way of encouraging a following, were it to come from a man.
However, the prediction was made, and years following Muhammad’s death the Muslims
not only battled, but defeated, the Roman and Persian empires, great world powers “given
to vehement war.” Can we accuse Muhammad of having manipulated events to fulfill the
revelation he transmitted? Of having attacked the Roman and Persian empires for the
purpose of making the revelation come true?
Uh, no. He passed away before the prophesy was fulfilled. And in any case, who
could possibly foresee that any group would ever conquer either the Roman or Persian
empires, much less both?
One of the most interesting predictions in the Holy Qur’an is surah 111’s
condemnation of Abu Lahab (one of Muhammad’s uncles) and his wife to hell. Now,
quite obviously, nobody can witness to the final disposition of this couple. However,
Islam teaches that all Muslims will eventually achieve salvation. Why? Because Islam
teaches that Allah may punish unrepentant believers for their sins, but that Allah will
eventually rescue all Muslims from the tortures of hell and place them in paradise in
reward for their faith. That is what Muslims believe, and it is a cornerstone of their
convictions.
How does this pertain to the prediction of Abu Lahab and his wife being
condemned to hell? Simple. Abu Lahab was one of Muhammad’s most notorious
antagonists. His animosity drove him to contradict virtually everything Muhammad said,
and he used to follow Muhammad around town for just this purpose. So why, when a
surah was revealed that implied that Abu Lahab would never repent, didn’t he just stand
up and say, “I repent”? After all, that was his nature—whatever Muhammad said, he
would contradict. Even in hypocrisy, all he or his wife had to do was say the shahada
(testimony of faith), and pretend to become Muslim. Had either of them done so, they
could have created a conflict sufficient to damage or even destroy the religion. Either the
Qur’an’s prediction of their condemnation would have been proven to be wrong, or the
teaching that all Muslims would eventually be blessed with paradise would have been
contradicted by their conversion. Either way, to the satisfaction of observers, the
revelation would have been invalidated.
So why didn’t either or them do it? Why didn’t either of them pretend to convert?
It’s not for lack of time to think about it, that’s for sure.
Surah 111, which contained the prediction under discussion, was revealed in 3–4
BH (“before Hijra”), and Abu Lahab died in 2 AH.88 His wife died roughly six years
later.89 So Abu Lahab and his wife had over five and ten years respectively to speak out.
No doubt there were Muslims who pressed them to do so, and anti-Islamic friends who
tried to goad them into claiming conversion. Now remember, this couple’s code of ethics
included lying, torture and murder of the believers. So why did they draw the line at
hypocrisy?
Muslims maintain that only one thing held them back—they didn’t have
permission. The One who makes the rules of this life, the One who has lent mankind
minds and bodies (and will demand their return), the One who can open or close the
minds, mouths, and hearts of His creation, this One can make the boldest of claims, the
most assured of predictions. Why? Because He not only knows the future; He determines
the future. And if He decrees that certain words will not pass the lips of specific people,
well, that’s all there is to it.
Muslims claim that no human can make promises such as this. That promise can
only be made by the One who knows He will not allow His book to be contradicted.
The prophesy is doubly impressive, not just because of the boldness of the claim,
but because the example is repeated. Surah 74:11–26 condemns another of Muhammad’s
antagonists—this time Al-Walid ibn Al-Mughirah.90 Al-Walid organized a convention of
antagonists in an attempt to consolidate their criticism of the Holy Qur’an. The story of
the conflict between his private realization and public profession beautifully exemplifies
how rational thought can be overridden by pride.
The story is as follows: Al-Walid heard Muhammad reciting the Qur’an and
seemed moved by it. He stated that the recitation was not poetry, magic, or madness, but
could only be the speech of Allah. When news of this got to Abu Jahl (another notorious
antagonist), he accused Al-Walid of trying to curry favor with the prophet: a rumor
circulating among the Quraysh. Al-Walid succumbed to pride and replied, “Quraysh
knows that I am the richest of them and do not need anything from Muhammad.” Abu
Jahl said, “Then you should let your position be known. Tell them what you think of
Muhammad.” Al-Walid responded, “What should I say of him? By Allah there is none
among you more knowledgeable of Arabic poetry and its scales than me, nor of the
poetry of the Jinn [spirits]. What he [Muhammad] says does not resemble any of that. By
Allah, it is a beautiful speech and it crushes that which is below it and it surpasses that
which is above it.” Abu Jahl stated, “People will not be pleased with this. You must think
of something to say.” Al-Walid said, “Leave me to think.” When he returned to commune
with the leaders of Quraysh over what they should say about Muhammad, some said
Muhammad was a magician, and others said he was crazy. Al-Walid stated, “All of these
things that you are saying I know are untrue, but the closest of these sayings is that he is a
magician, because magic breaks apart a son from his father, a person from his brother, a
husband from his wife, or a person from his tribe.”91
Such also is the effect of revelation, incidentally, for Jesus Christ is recorded as
having taught, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all,
but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two,
and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother
against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51–53).
But I digress. The point is that Al-Walid succumbed to pride, and shortly
afterward the verses were revealed:

Leave Me (i.e., Allah) alone, (to deal) with the (creature)
whom I created (bare and) alone!
To whom I granted resources in abundance,
And sons to be by his side!
To whom I made (life) smooth and comfortable!
Yet is he greedy—that I should add (yet more)
By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory!
Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities!
For he thought and he plotted;
And woe to him! How he plotted!
Yes, woe to him: how he plotted!
Then he looked round;
Then he frowned and he scowled;
Then he turned back and was haughty;
Then he said: “This is nothing but magic, derived from of old;
This is nothing but the word of a mortal!”
Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire!
(TMQ 74:11–26)

This verse was revealed ten years before the subject of these verses, Al-Walid ibn
Al-Mughirah, died.92 So once again, the boldness of the Qur’anic prediction demands
explanation. How could the author of these verses have known that Al-Walid would
never return to his initial impression and convert—or just fake it in order to throw the
revelation into question? And would a false prophet have risked his claim to prophethood
on such a risky and unnecessary prediction?
For another of these unlikely predictions, we have to return to the Romans and the
Persians, and ask if a false prophet would have risked his reputation on long shots such as
these:
Surah Ar-Rum (i.e., the Romans), surah 30, ayah 2–4, was revealed at the time of
a Persian victory over Rome, prior to news of the battle reaching Makkah. These verses
acknowledged Persia’s victory and predicted a reversal of fortunes within three to nine
years. As history records, Persia celebrated victory over Rome at Antioch in 613 CE, and
the Byzantines were subsequently defeated in Damascus, driven out of Armenia, and
overrun in their cherished city of Jerusalem.93 The Persians took Chalcedon in 617 CE
and conquered Egypt in 619.94,95 The Persians were on a roll and the situation looked
bleak for the Roman Empire, right up until Heraclius launched his historic campaign of
622–627 CE. The Romans decisively pounded the Persian forces on Armenian soil in
622 CE, three years after losing Egypt, nine years after the defeat at Antioch, and
bracketing the other above-mentioned defeats within a period of three to nine years.96,97
Surah 30:2–4 reads:

The Romans have been defeated.
In the nearest land (Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine),
and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.
Within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before and after
(these events) is only with Allah.
And on that Day, the believers (i.e. Muslims) will rejoice.
(TMQ 30:2–498)

The history is remarkable, for by this time the Roman Empire was in decay
(historians date the Fall of the Roman Empire to 395–476 CE). The Visigoths sacked
Rome in 410 CE, the Vandals and the Alani plundered it in 455 CE, Attila the Hun
overran the area a short time later, and the last emperor of the undivided Roman Empire
was deposed in the late fifth century. So a prophecy that the already disintegrating
Roman Empire would gain a victory over the seemingly superior Persian army in the
early seventh century would have seemed rash, if made by a man. And so it was judged
by those who denied the revelation. Men like Ubay ibn Khalaf.
The story is narrated in many accounts of Arabian history. The Arabs perceived
the conflict between Persia and Rome as a contest between paganism and revealed
religion. The pagan Arabs considered the fire-worshiping Persians to be brothers in
paganism whereas the Muslims deemed the Romans, who were Christian by this time, to
be followers of the prophets and the chain of revelation, worshippers of the same God.
Many Arabs believed victory on the battlefield reflected superiority of the god of the
winner. Hence, when the Persians were victorious over Rome, the pagan Arabs
celebrated. Following this, the above ayat (verses) were revealed, strengthening the
hearts of the believers. When the future first caliph, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, learned the
revelation, he bet one of the pagan Arabs, Ubay ibn Khalf, a hundred camels that the
Persian victory would be overturned in three to nine years, as foretold. Nine years later
Abu Bakr gained a herd of camels and the encyclopedia of Islamic evidence gained one
more entry.99

The icing on the cake of this prediction is the final line, “And on that Day, the
believers (i.e. Muslims) will rejoice.” In Muhammad’s time, news took weeks to months
to find its way across the Arabian sands. How, then, could the Qur’an predict the
Muslims would be rejoicing on the same day the Persians were defeated? Yet such was
precisely the case, for the Persians were defeated on the exact same day that the Muslims
celebrated their own victory over the disbelievers at the Battle of Badr. An unlikely
human coincidence—or divine plan?
But enough about Rome.
Let’s turn to surah 15, ayah 9, which promises that “we (i.e., Allah) have, without
doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)” (TMQ
15:9). This promise is remarkable on several levels, the first being that, to date, it has
been fulfilled—the present-day Qur’an is unchanged from the original revelation.
The extent of this miracle is apparent when we compare the Qur’an with the scriptures of
other world religions, for, as discussed in MisGod’ed, no other book of revelation exists
in the purity of the original, the Old and New Testaments included. And while the
revelation transmitted through Moses seems to be partially preserved, the gospel of Jesus
is lost in entirety.
Another point is that the above prediction (that Allah will guard the Qur’an from
corruption) would have been both foolish and unnecessary had Muhammad been an
imposter. He stood to gain nothing from such a sweeping prophesy, and would have lost
everything had a single letter of revelation been misplaced or forgotten. And there were
over 300,000 letters at stake.
Another strikingly bizarre prophesy is encountered in surah 5, ayah 82:

Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers will you find the Jews
and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers will you
find those who say, “We are Nasara [i.e., Nazarenes, or Christians]”:
because among these are men devoted to learning and men who have
renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.

Taken in context, the uniqueness of this prophesy is not only the fact that 1,400
years of history have proven it true, but also that Muhammad forged several cooperative
treaties with different Jewish tribes. Consequently, this ayah (verse) is just one of many
at risk of having been disproved within Muhammad’s lifetime. But such was not the case.
Despite reasonable expectation for the Jews to have sided with the increasingly powerful
Muslims, the various Jewish tribes violated virtually every treaty they made—a trend
maintained to the present day in Zionist Israel’s lengthy track record of UN and peace
accord violations in Palestine.
A wonder, then, that Muhammad discharged his bodyguards. Living among
hatred and treachery, the Prophet survived multiple attempts upon his life. On separate
occasions he was severely beaten, choked with his own mantle, and stoned until blood
filled his shoes. One tribe attempted to crush him with a boulder; another poisoned his
food. Different enemies took up swords to kill him, and not just in battle. Twice Bedouins
pulled Muhammad’s own sword (once while he was sleeping in the desert and once while
sitting at a well), intending to kill him in a defenseless state. Both Bedouins dropped the
sword, for they found themselves physically unable to hold it. On the evening of his
emigration to Medina, every tribe in Makkah sent a representative to kill Muhammad
according to a pact to share the deed, so as to escape the blame. The list goes on. And so,
not unreasonably, Muhammad kept bodyguards while he slept. Yet when the following
verse was revealed, he discharged them:

O Messenger! Proclaim the (Message) which has been sent to you from
your Lord. If you did not, you would not have fulfilled and proclaimed
His Mission. And Allah will defend you from men (who mean
mischief). For Allah guides not those who reject faith (TMQ 5:67).

Muhammad heard Allah’s promise of divine protection, and immediately
announced to his guards, “Oh people, leave me for Allah the most High has protected
me.”100
And so it happened.
Following the discharge of his guards, attempts upon the Prophet’s life continued
but were somehow always frustrated. In the end, Muhammad’s soul departed within the
walls of his own home, his head cradled in the arms of his wife, A’ishah, after suffering a
brief but fatal illness. Point of the story? In a time and place and under circumstances
where a person might reasonably feel the whole world was out to get him, Muhammad
discharged his bodyguards on the promise of revelation, and that promise was fulfilled.
The bizarreness of the scenario has an undeniable ring of truth. False prophets are
rightfully paranoid. As attempts upon their lives increase in number, they raise their
guard and become reclusive. To release their bodyguards in a time of war—and with a
history of serial assassination attempts—defies worldly reason. If the Qur’an came from
the mind of a charlatan, we would expect the exact opposite. We would expect the
“prophet” to convey false revelation that exhorts his believers to protect him from his
enemies. But it didn’t happen that way with Muhammad, once again challenging
mankind to consider the divine source of the Qur’an. Furthermore, who has the power to
fulfill such bold promises of lifelong protection? Beyond a doubt, it is not a man.
The final entry of this chapter involves a familiar Old Testament story. Pharaoh
was a tyrant who oppressed a nation, killed upon whim, and slaughtered the children of
the Jews, fearing the multitude of their race. While Pharaoh’s soldiers doled out
infanticide in the village, Moses washed up in a gift-basket on the riverbank of Pharaoh’s
palatial estate. So while big stones were being hoisted off the squashed slaves and
stacked according to royal decree, Moses grew up to stun the world with his fear of God
and piety.
A couple of heated court conversations, a few ignored divine signs, and several
periods of plague and pestilence later, Moses took his people on a divinely ordained
nature walk. The point is that no matter how the story is told, everybody knows how it
ended: Pharaoh’s pathetic dog-paddle didn’t stand up to the raging torrent of two walls of
water clapping its unforgiving hands over his mis-commanding mouth.
This story is so well known, in fact, it is unimaginable that Muhammad didn’t
know it. However, the common impression is that Pharaoh was buried beneath a couple
million tons of seawater, where he and his men slept with the fishes—until the fish woke
up and ate them, that is. It is not commonly accepted that Pharaoh’s body was preserved.
And yet, the Qur’an records just this: Allah’s promise to preserve Pharaoh’s body after
his death:

This day shall we save you in your body, that you may be a sign to
those who come after you! But verily, many among mankind are
heedless of Our signs! (TMQ 10:92)

Only in 1898 CE was the mummified body of Merneptah, successor to
Rameses II—and the most likely candidate to the title of “Pharaoh of the Exodus,”
according to biblical history and archaeological evidence—discovered at Thebes in the
King’s Valley.101 The body is on display, along with various other royal mummies, in the
Cairo Museum. Hence, over 1,200 years after the revelation, the Qur’anic promise of
preserving Pharaoh’s body as a sign to future generations appears to be satisfied. But how
could Muhammad have foretold such a find, and why would he have gone out on such a
thin limb of speculation over such a seemingly insignificant detail?
Unless, that is, the words were not his own.
8: Evidence #6 — Revelation of the Unknown
(That Which Was Beyond the Experience of the Prophet)

No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to
themselves.
—William Hazlitt, Sketches and Essays, “On Taste”

Perhaps a better title of this chapter would be “Scientific Evidence.” However,
such a title might strike the audience as overly bizarre, for most Westerners consider
science and religion to be mutually exclusive. The examples of Giordano Bruno
(convicted of heresy and burned at the stake in the year 1600 CE) and Galileo (who
escaped punishment in 1633 only by issuing a retraction) are well known. Both were
persecuted for having supported the “heretical,” but correct, Copernican theory of
heliocentrism (the theory of the sun being the center of the solar system), contrary to the
officially sanctioned, though incorrect, Ptolemaic theory of geocentrism (the planet Earth
being the center). This conflict gave rise to the Western perception that science and
religion are incompatible housemates.
In fact, considering the many church teachings that ran contrary to what are now
known to be evident truths, an odder couple than science and religion is difficult to
imagine. The voices of those who dared to oppose such church teachings, stilled by the
fires that consumed their mortal bodies, would be expected to have agreed.
The horrors perpetuated by an intolerant, oppressive and, most importantly,
wrong church won sufficient condemnation to eventually force a separation of church,
science and state. The process was bloody, as seems to have been typical of any
circumstance where church doctrine and beliefs bumped up against a contrary reality, and
incalculable suffering was the result. This left the present generation with a tradition in
which religion and science remain shy to dabble in one another’s affairs. For many, no
other system can be imagined.
On the other hand, separation of church and science has no place in Islam. The
Islamic revelation is comprehensive, and influences most areas of human life. Islam
defines not only tenets of faith and articles of worship, but also the will of the Creator
with regard to politics, personal conduct, family and social structure, economic
principles, civil and criminal law, and many other practicalities of human existence.
Science and nature are nurtured by a revelation that encourages investigation while
condemning closed-mindedness. Multiple passages of the Holy Qur’an direct people to
think for themselves, and condemn those who violate God-given logic. Among the things
Allah has forbidden are “sins and trespasses against truth or reason . . .” (TMQ 7:33)
The Muslim world witnessed an explosion of knowledge following Muhammad’s
time, in no small part because the needs of the religion stimulated certain lines of
investigation. A religion that enjoins prayer within set times of the day and fasting in a
particular month naturally stimulated advances in timekeeping and calendar computation.
Similarly, a religion that requires payment of varying percentages of wealth according to