Islam and Scripture
As a way of life, there is a lot more to the adherence of Islam than the Qur'an, and, initially, the Qur'an itself can be hard to comprehend. This page contains easy-to-read summaries of articles discussing Islam and the understanding of its various scriptures and texts.
- 1 Qur'an
- 2 Qur'an (Criticism)
- 3 Hadith
- 4 Hadith (Criticism)
- 5 Other Text
- 6 Miscellaneous
- 7 See Also
- 8 References
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|"The sun sets in a muddy spring" |
"Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: “O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness." - Quran 18:86 (read more)
The Qur'ān (القرآن) is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. They also consider the text in its original Arabic, to be the literal word of Allah revealed by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) to Prophet Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years, and view the Qur'an as God's final revelation.
Taken from Ibn Warraq's book The Origins of the Koran, Classic Essays on Islam’s Holy Book, this article discusses the following points:
- How did the Koran come to us.?—That is the compilation and the transmission of the Koran.
- When was it written, and who wrote it?
- What are the sources of the Koran? Where were the stories, legends, and principles that abound in the Koran acquired?
- What is the Koran? Since there never was a textus receptus ne varietur of the Koran, we need to decide its authenticity.
Except for the first surah, Al-Fatiha, the Qur'an is organized by descending length of the sura. That is the longest sura is Sura 2 and the shortest is Sura 114. This organization prevents recovery of any chronology by a simple examination of the text. Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed in two phases: before and after the Hijrah from Mecca to Medina. Thus, the terms Meccan Surahs and Medinan Surahs arose.
- Main Article: Chronological Order of the Qur'an, See also: The Chronological Shift from Pacifism to Jihad
This page lists the chronological (or revelational) order of the Qur'an. if read in this order, you will notice, over time, the revelations changed style, from a poetic to a more straight forward and aggressive style in the later years.
The messages of later Medinan Qur'anic revelations changed and often contradicted earlier Meccan ones. So the Qur'an, when read at face value with its non-chronological organization, can support any number of views on several subjects. However, in Islam there is a method in sorting through the various verses; this is known as the doctrine of abrogation (Naskh). Some apologists will say that this doctrine does not exist or is not a part of mainstream Islam. However, when you view the chronological order of the revelations, it becomes undeniable. Moreover, Muslims adhere to this doctrine everyday, by prohibiting the consumption of alcohol.
When discussing the present-day commands of the Qur'an, you will often be told that many of the less agreeable verses apply only to its original revalational circumstance. Although the logic behind this is fatally flawed (unless you accept that the Qur'an and Islam are both out-dated and no longer relevant to the modern world), it does make for some interesting reading. This in-depth article lists many revelational circumstances behind the Qur'anic verses, as recorded in the major Hadith collections.
Chapter 9 of the Qur'an- Al Taubah (Repentance) is considered to be the closing remarks of Allah. The only Surah (chapter) said to have been revealed after this is Al Nasr (Victory), which consists of only a few verses. Considering the apparent militant disposition of Islam; it should not come as a big surprise to learn that this final chapter is not at all about making peace among the people, but about dividing it into the domain of believers (Dar al-Islam) and unbelievers (dar al-kufr) with the aim of preserving endless enmity between the two. Provided it is read in context, this chapter is essential for non-Muslims who would like to know what Allah commands of Muslims in their affairs.
Muslims say the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved, but is this claim true? The textual integrity of scripture is an important topic in Muslim circles and will be brought up by both Islamic scholars and non-scholars alike. Muslims claim the text of the Qur'an today is identical to that received by Muhammad. However, there are many problems with this argument making it an untenable position.
The similarities between the Qur'an and previous scriptures has been noted since the beginning of Islam. However, the Judeo-Christian tales and their Qur'anic counterparts do not always match. There are three explanations for this:
- The original Judeo-Christian scriptures have been corrupted (as Muslims like to claim).
- Muhammad imperfectly borrowed from the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
- The Qur'an has been corrupted.
It is an epistemological argument to which of the three is correct. The Qur'an’s assertion that the Judeo-Christian scriptures have been corrupted is mere accusation devoid of evidence. This thirteen-page long in-depth study looks at the following parallelisms between the Qur'an and Judeo-Christian Scriptures:
- Main Article: Contradictions in the Quran
This section deals with contradictions in the Qur'an. It is no secret that the Qur'an contains contradictions, as Islamic scholars are familiar with the Abrogation laws within Islam. Below, you will find a large amount of discrepancies. Even when compared with the alleged discrepancies within the Bible, the list is huge. This is especially apparent when you consider the Qur'an is less than a third of the size, and is supposed to have been narrated by a single individual, rather than be a collection of several books authored by various individuals, and compiled over the course of many years.
"O Jesus son of Mary!" said the disciples, or so claims the Qur'an in surah 5:112. On the surface this quote from one of Jesus' (Isa's) disciples may seem unextraordinary, but there is a subtle error here that few ever notice. However, once it is noticed, few will ever forget. This article will show beyond a doubt that Muhammad was putting words into other people's mouths and fabricating quotes so that he could artificially create reinforcement and confirmation of the points he was trying to make, which is that Jesus was not the Son of God and Muhammad is Allah's prophesied final Messenger. It was by Muhammad's good fortune that he was such a great military leader, for as a playwright he would have been sorely lacking.
The Qur'an permits pedophilia. The following Qur'anic verse allows sex with pre-pubescent girls who have not yet menstruated.
What is being discussed is the Iddat (العدة), which is a waiting period a female must observe before she can remarry. According to this verse, the stipulated waiting period for a divorced girl who has not yet menstruated is three months.
We would like to enlighten our readers on grammatical problems in the Arabic Qur'an, mainly diacritical marks. The Arabic writing system was still in development during the time of Muhammad, so the Qur'an was originally written without today's diacritical marks. These were added years after the final Qur'anic revelation and Muhammad's subsequent death. The problem with this is the addition or subtraction of diacritical marks radically alter the meaning of Arabic text, thereby potentially altering Allah’s book. In this article we examine the use of diacritical marks and the problems they posed when they were added to the Qur'an.
Many Muslims and apologists use mis-interpreted and/or misleading paraphrased Qur'anic verses to propagate Islam to the West. Below is one example.
These pages discuss a few of the more popular ones, and provides you with their correct meanings.
In Al-Hijr (15:9) Allah declared that the Qur'an is his revelation and he promised to preserve it and protect it from corruption. In An-Nahl (16:103), Al-Dokhan (44:58) and Al-Qamar (54:22, 32, 40), it is emphasized that the Qur'an was revealed in straight forward, easy to understand, and pure Arabic. It would seem, this promise of preservation does not extend to translations, as most prominent and officially recognized interpreters like Yusuf Ali, Dr. Rashad Khalifa and Muhammad Asad have not honored the integrity of translation and were involved in deception in interpreting the Qur'an. The reasons were not due to the difficulty of the verses themselves or the so-called "complexity" of the Arabic language, but due to the embarrassment to tell the truth to non-Arabic readers, especially those who already believe in the validity of Islam.
These pages discuss a few of the more popular ones in detail, and provides you with the correct translations.
This page lists various types of scientific errors found in the Qur'an. The subjects of these errors include; Evolution, Astronomy, Biology, Geology, Zoology and many others which are often confirmed by the hadith.
The best-known chapter of the Qur'an is al-Fatiha ‘The Opening’. This surah is recited as part of all the mandatory daily prayers and repeated within each prayer. A faithful Muslim who said all their prayers would recite this surah at least seventeen times a day, and over five thousand times a year. The hadith literature make negative references to the Jews and Christians in connection with this surah. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali incorporate this within their translation. Ayah 6-7 thus reads; "Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians)." It is remarkable that the daily prayers of every Muslim, part of the core of Islam, include a rejection of Christians and Jews as misguided and objects of Allah’s wrath.
Muqatta`āt (Arabic): مقطعات ,are unique letter combinations that begin certain chapters of the Quran. Muqatta`āt literally means abbreviated or shortened. They are also known as Fawātih (فواتح) or openers as they form the opening verse of the respective chapters. In Arabic language, these letters are written together like a word, but each letter is pronounced separately. None of these combinations actually form a meaningful Arabic word. These letters appear joined together. Muqatta'at have been and continue to be a topic of intense research and academic discussions in Islamic literature and Quranic studies.
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|"The prophet discourages manumission of a slave" |
"Narrated Kurib: the freed slave of Ibn 'Abbas, that Maimuna bint Al-Harith told him that she manumitted a slave-girl without taking the permission of the Prophet. On the day when it was her turn to be with the Prophet, she said, "Do you know, O Allah's Apostle, that I have manumitted my slave-girl?" He said, "Have you really?" She replied in the affirmative. He said, "You would have got more reward if you had given her (i.e. the slave-girl) to one of your maternal uncles." - Sahih Bukhari 3:47:765 (read more)
- Main Article: Hadith
The Hadith (الحديث ahadith, plural) are traditions of Muhammad, giving us important information about him and his life. They are usually narrations about a certain incident in which he said or did something. Unlike the Qur'an, they typically follow a chronological order, and most of them are compiled by category (i.e. Jihad, Nikah, etc.) The Hadith is where Muslims determine the Sunnah (or way) of the prophet, which is Muhammad's words, actions, and practices. This is key to Islam since Muslims are commanded, by the Qu'ran, to obey and emulate him, so even the most insignificant of actions on his part have a drastic effect upon the doctrines and laws of Islam.
Daleel (دليل) is an Arabic word meaning evidence. In regards to Islamic hadith, Daleel can either be Maudu (fabricated), Da`if (weak), Hasan (good), or Sahih (authentic). Generally in Islam, only the authentic (sahih) and good (hasan) hadiths are used in deriving the rules. The weak (da`if) hadiths have no value for the purpose of formulating sharia, and the fabricated (Maudu) narrations are not even considered to be hadith at all.
Sahih (صَحِيْح) is an Arabic word that means genuine/authentic/sound. It is used in classification of ahadith and is the highest level of authenticity given to a narration that passes all of Imam Bukhari's criteria for classification as a sahih hadith. When dealing with ahadith, a sahih narration is the closest you can get to: "yes this incident definitely happened." Therefore, when refusing to accept the content of a narration, the onus is on the Muslim to use his own criteria to disqualify the narration and not on the opponent to prove it is authentic.
The Importance of Hadith
The Qur'an alleges that it is entirely composed of Allah’s commands, not Muhammad’s, yet the Qur'an itself orders Muslims to obey the Messenger.
If you do not know what the Messenger had ordered, then this is impossible. Most non-Muslims are unaware of the hadith collections and their importance within Islam. Incredibly, four out of five of Islam’s Pillars would not exist without the Hadith.
In Islam, Muhammad is known as uswa hasana, al-Insān al-Kāmil. It is an Arabic phrase loosely translated, meaning, the "perfect human. We find in the Hadith, Muhammad repeatedly told his followers to follow his Sunnah (example) and in the Qur'an we see that Allah even asserts his morality as being “sublime” (68:4), therefore this particular Islamic doctrine encourages Muslims to emulate Muhammad and his (7th century) actions as closely as they can, as a form of devotion to Allah.
Weak and Fabricated Hadith
Some apologists have started to reject sahih (authentic) hadith, in favour of maudu (fabricated) or da`if (weak) ones. Some of these hadith are obvious fabrications which do not have any scriptural sources.
This page lists some of the most humorous narrations that are found in Hadith collections.
This page lists some of the contradictions that are found in Hadith collections.
This page lists various types of scientific errors found within the Hadith. The subjects of these errors include; Astronomy, Biology, Geology, Zoology and many others which often refute the erroneous claims of science in the Qur'an by explaining the true meanings behind some of the more abstract or distorted Qur'anic verses.
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"And [as for] those of your women who (read allā'ī or allā'i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall [also] be three months - both cases apply to other than those whose spouses have died; for these [latter] their period is prescribed in the verse: they shall wait by themselves for four months and ten [days] [Q. 2:234]." - al-Jalalayn
Tafsirs are commentaries written by scholars, using the hadith collections to explain the meanings of verses in the Qur'an (as the Qur'an is largely without context). The most respected and widely used being the Tafsir ibn Kathir. Many Muslims who deny the more unsavory aspects of Islam will attempt to deflect criticism away from the Qur'an by claiming it can only be correctly understood when read in conjunction with an authoritative tafsir. However, more often than not, the tafsirs confirm the views of the critics.
The Sirat Rasul Allah (Life of the Messenger of Allah), by ibn Ishaq. A collection of hadith that is arranged in chronological order, forming the earliest biography of Muhammad. This, along with the Qur'an and hadith, are sometimes referred to as the Trilogy of Islam, as all major doctrines are found within these three texts. The sira and hadith collectively form Muhammad's Sunnah, and with the Qur'an, they form what we know as the Shari'ah.
Books of Fiqh
Books of Islamic jurisprudence (فقه Fiqh) are complimentary expansions of the Shari'ah (Qur'an and Sunnah), written by Islamic jurists (experts on Islam). Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik is just one example of many. However, these books are often watered-down in translation for Western consumption. An example of this can be found here.
This page quotes statistical analyses of Muslim scriptures from various sources. A few examples of the statistics include:
- There are 164 Jihad verses in the Qur'an and nearly 500 verses (roughly 1 out of every 12) that speak of Hell.
- Practicing Muslims recite anti-Semitic and anti-Christian rhetoric at least 17 times a day, and over 5,000 times a year.
- 122 peaceful Qur'anic verses have been abrogated by the Sword verse (9:5) and Fighting verse (9:29).
Muhammad in Other Scriptures
The figure of Muhammad and the religion he founded is often depicted negatively in other religious scriptures.
In the Bhavishya Purana, one of the eighteen major Hindu Puranas, Muhammad is depicted as a reincarnated demon, Islam as a demonic religion, and its followers as "the corrupters of religion".
In the Haran Gawaitha, a Mandaean text which tells the history of the Mandaeans and their arrival in Iraq as Nasoreans from Jerusalem, Muhammad is referred to as "the Son-of-Slaughter, the Arab", "the most degraded of false prophets", "the Seal of prophets of the Lie", who "converted people to himself by the sword".
And in the Kālachakra Tantra, a ninth century Tibetan Buddhist text, Muhammad is referred to as a demonic incarnation and a "false impostor". Muslims are described as invading "barbarians", bringing with them the barbarian religion ("mleccha-dharma"), a religion of violence ("himsa-dharma") that also advocates savage behavior ("raudra-karman").
- Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars - This section of WikiIslam lists quotations from the Qur'an, Hadith and Islamic Scholars
- Compendium of Muslim Texts
- The History of al-Tabari
Other Core Articles
Core articles contain an overview of other articles related to a specific issue, and serve as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn about Islam:
- Islam and Apostasy
- Islam and Homosexuality
- Islam and Miracles
- Islam and Pedophilia
- Islam and Propaganda
- Islam and Science
- Islam and the People of the Book
- Islam and Violence
- Islam and Women
- Qur'ān, Chapter 2, Verses 23-24
- Living Religions: An Encyclopaedia of the World's Faiths, Mary Pat Fisher, 1997, page 338, I.B. Tauris Publishers,
- Qur'an, Chapter 17, Verse 106
- Qur'an, Chapter 33, Verse 40
- Watton, Victor, (1993), A student's approach to world religions:Islam, Hodder & Stoughton, pg 1. ISBN 0-340-58795-4
- Jacob Bender - Jewish-Muslim Dialogue and the Value of Peace - The American Muslim, July 19, 2007