Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Islam's Amazingly Unfalsifiable Claims--Part One: The Preservation of the Qur'an

Suppose my friend Bassam presents the following hypothesis: "There are undetectable aliens living on Pluto." Suppose I travel to Pluto in search of these aliens. I set up all kinds of instruments to see if there is any evidence of aliens. I return empty-handed. "Bassam," I say. "You said there were aliens on Pluto. I checked. But there aren't any." "Well," Bassam replies, "I said they're undetectable, didn't I?"

Here I would have a difficult time understanding Bassam's meaning. He's making a positive claim, namely, that there are aliens on Pluto. But at the same time, by saying that these aliens are undetectable, he's ruling out our ability to test his claim. His claim is unfalsifiable, meaning there's no way, even in theory, that we can prove his theory false via experiment or observation. How useful are such hypotheses?

Consider now the following claim made by Bassam and other Muslims: "The Qur'an has been perfectly preserved." At first, it seems like such a claim is falsifiable. That is, it seems that we can test the claim by doing some historical research. So we do a little research and we learn that Abdullah ibn Masud and Ubayy ibn Ka'b, two of Muhammad's top reciters of the Qur'an, had a different number of Surahs in their versions of the Qur'an. One would think that this falsifies the Muslim claim. "Not so," says Bassam. "Abdullah and Ubayy were simply wrong. The Qur'an we have today is, by definition, the correct one. Hence, everyone who has a different number of chapters must be wrong." So, given such a claim, even if we were to find out that every single one of Muhammad's companions except Zaid ibn Thabit had a different number of Surahs, this wouldn't count as any evidence against the perfect preservation of the Qur'an, since, by definition, only the Qur'an we have today is the correct one.

So we do a little more investigation. We find that there were all kinds of textual variants among early Qur'anic texts. That is, if we were to turn to Surah 2 in the Qur'an of Ubayy ibn Ka'b, this Surah would differ from that in the Qur'an of Ibn Masud, which would differ from that in the Qur'an of Zaid ibn Thabit, etc. These Qur'ans have spelling differences, different words, different phrases, etc. Surely this will count as evidence against the perfect preservation of the Qur'an, won't it? "No, it won't," replies the Muslim. "You see, there were seven [or ten, or twenty] different readings of the Qur'an, and all of them were correct." Here we find that there can be all sorts of differences among copies of the Qur'an, and yet this doesn't at all affect the hypothesis that the Qur'an we have today is a perfect copy of the tablet in heaven.

We dig deeper in search of the truth, and we find Muslim sources reporting that massive sections of the Qur'an have been lost. We find Aisha and Ubayy ibn Ka'b reporting that more than a hundred verses of Surah 33 are missing. Surely this will count as proof that the Qur'an hasn't been perfectly preserved. "Not so," says the Muslim. "Whatever verses are missing from the Qur'an have been abrogated (despite the fact that the Qur'an contains other verses that have been abrogated). You see, Allah changed his mind quite a bit, and he often gave us verses, only to take those verses back." Thus, we find that no matter how much evidence there is that numerous verses are missing from the Qur'an, this will never count as any evidence whatsoever against perfect preservation.

Here non-Muslims are quite confused. Were the missing verses of Surah 33 part of the tablet in heaven? If so, then the Qur'an Muslims have today is very different from the Qur'an in heaven. If not, then why were they revealed as part of the Qur'an? While we're at it, does the perfect Qur'an in heaven contain all seven readings (this would be quite an odd book). If so, then the Qur'an Muslims have today is quite different from the Qur'an in heaven, since Uthman destroyed most (but not all) of the different readings. If not, weren't the variants corruptions of the original, which contained no variants?

In the end, no matter what the evidence says, Muslims will continue to claim that the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved, for they have insulated themselves from the evidence (and this is extremely common in Islam). But non-Muslims are left asking ourselves, "What is the difference between, on the one hand, a perfectly preserved book whose early copies contain different numbers of chapters, different verses, different spellings, different words, different phrases, a different order of chapters, and which, at different times, contained completely different passages (for some were abrogated), and, on the other hand, a book that hasn't been perfectly preserved at all?" As far as evidence is concerned, there is no difference between the Qur'an and a book that hasn't been perfectly preserved, which is why the Muslim claim makes so little sense to anyone who isn't a Muslim.

38 comments:

Ibn said...

Wood:In the end, no matter what the evidence says, Muslims will continue to claim that the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved

Not only Muslims, but many non-Muslims as well. For instance, William Montgomery Watt writes, "Despite this mention of variants it should be realized that the text of the Quran is in very good condition compared with other books of that date. The variants are all very minor matters and make no difference to the essential teaching of the Quran. The good condition of the Quranic text is mainly due to the fact that the whole was revealed in twenty five years, and this is in sharp contrast to the Old Testament whose books came into existence over many centuries, and were often edited and re-edited to suit changing conditions." (A Short History of Islam, p.49)

Regarding the implications of variants with regard to the Quran in heaven, I highly recommend you watch the debate between Shabir Ally and Anis Shorrosh on the topic "The Quran vs Bible" (although its highly unlikely that you will be willing to forgo your erroneous presuppositions).

David Wood said...

Ibn,

So, in your mind, PERFECT PRESERVATION = "very good condition"?

I would agree that the Qur'an is in pretty good condition (as are the New Testament and the Old Testament). But that's not what Muslims are claiming. So tell me, who are these "many non-Muslims" who say that the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved? Watt certainly isn't one of them.

Alforreca said...

Yes... The Quran was perfectly preserved... the one I bought a few years ago is in a pristine condition... I have never seen a misspelled word, or a word that appeared where it wasn’t before… not even a sura disappearing… the actual Quarn is the perfect Quran… the same and only that existed from all the eternity near to Allah… all the other versions, with more or less variants, were falsifications… And Allah can change is will at any point… tomorrow He can say that Muhammad never existed… And the actual Quran will, then, be a false one…

Gay Muslim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matthew said...

Despite this mention of variants it should be realized that the text of the Quran is in very good condition compared with other books of that date. The variants are all very minor matters and make no difference to the essential teaching of the Quran.

So is the Bible. Checkmate!

Nakdimon said...

EXACTLY Matthew! All of a sudden a muslim thinks that a text is "in pretty good condition" is good enough to pass for Divine revelation. But notice that their argument against the Bible for ages now, was that it wasn’t perfectly preserved and their argument for the Qur’an was that the book was perfectly preserved. Now all those sources about the Qur’an’s preservation to the contrary are popping up everywhere and all of a sudden a “pretty good” condition is regarded sufficient for divine inspiration. But this muslim didn’t think about that and in the process he vindicates the Bible, since that is in “pretty good” condition too. In fact, it is in the BEST condition of all ancient texts, therefore cannot be considered “corrupted” any longer.

Muslims are the most inconsistent people I have ever met!

Fernando said...

Ibn said... For instance, William Montgomery Watt writes

Spin turne numbere one... Instead of debatting the questions presented by Doctor Wood (the haddiths thatt refer these "lacks" and "differences" in Quran's texte; the textual evidences that show those difefrences; the question of the relation betwwen the earthly and evenllie Qurans...), Ibn quotes William Montgomery Watt's "A Short History of Islam" while ignoring his same comments in "Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity" where he sais (cappital leterrs are from me...)(p.18): «Another aspect of the IDEALIZATIONn of the early Muslims is the view taht their religious devotion was such that they remembered the verses of the Qur'an perfectly and that, when they copied it as scribes, they never made mistakes. ORDINARY Muslims today will argue that there are no textual variants for the Qur'an as there are for the Bible. The scholars, however, are well awared that there are SEVEN (or some other number) SETS OF READINGS, all of which are accepted as canonical, in accordance with a HADITH (...) Modern Western scholars have in addition drawn attention to works by medieval Muslim scholars which contained lists of NON-CANONICAL TEXTAL VARIANTS variants which were in circulation prior to the standardizing of the text of the Qur'an in the caliphate of Uthman (...)»

So it lookes likke that there're were non-canonical variantts... this is, that weren't considered true readings by an Hadith providencially wrotten centuries lattere to "defend" the preservattion of the Qur'an

Ibn said... I highly recommend you watch the the debate between Shabir Ally and Anis Shorrosh

Spin turne numbere two... changging the attentions to anothers things...

Mister Spin Doctor #1 is backe!!!

DAN12345 said...

Again Ibn is now admiting there are textual variants in the quran,which means its not 100percent the same as the quran preserved in heaven,and its not the perfect word of allah no more.you posted this "Despite this mention of variants it should be realized that the text of the Quran is in very good condition compared with other books of that date. The variants are all very minor matters and make no difference to the essential teaching of the Quran."But again why do you attack the bible for these things,when it is even worse in your quran,and all muslims can actually say with a straight face"its 100 percent the word of allah without change"

george said...

preservation-does that prove it as divine book? even my grandfather 4 class book is still fine and safe so will i say it is divine?
WHEN CHRISTIAN SHOW QURAN TO BE FALSE NOW FROM THERE OWN SOURCES THEY NOW COME UP AND SAY SO AND SO IS NOT TRUE.GUD JOKE

David Wood said...

George said: "preservation-does that prove it as divine book?"

Absolutely not! This is why I'm so incredibly shocked by some of the standard Muslim arguments. Many of the Muslim arguments contain two premises, both of which are false. Here's how the Argument from Perfect Preservation goes:

(1) If a book has been perfectly preserved, it must be from God.
(2) The Qur'an has been perfectly preserved.
(3) Therefore, the Qur'an is from God.

Notice that (1) is false because it's absolutely absurd to claim that perfect preservation implies divine origin. (2) is false because history shows that it's false. And these sorts of doubly unsound arguments are standard in Islam. Consider another:

(1) If no one can write a Surah like the ones in the Qur'an, the Qur'an must be from God.
(2) No one can write a Surah like the ones in the Qur'an.
(3) Therefore, the Qur'an must be from God.

Again, (1) is false because it's absolutely absurd to claim that unique literary style implies divine origin. (2) is false because people can and have written chapters like the ones in the Qur'an.

It is quite strange for a religion to rest on such obviously flawed arguments.

Ibn said...

Nakdimon:All of a sudden a muslim thinks that a text is "in pretty good condition" is good enough to pass for Divine revelation.

Not really. Preservation, I would say, is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to determine the authenticity of a scripture. There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration as well, of course.

Nakdimon:But notice that their argument against the Bible for ages now, was that it wasn’t perfectly preserved and their argument for the Qur’an was that the book was perfectly preserved.

Really? I thought that Muslims have historically pointed to the contradictions(both internal and external) and expletives contained in your scriptures as evidence of corruption.

Nakdimon:But this muslim didn’t think about that and in the process he vindicates the Bible, since that is in “pretty good” condition too.

I don't see how I vindicated the bible, unless you believe that I believe a preserved text is all that it takes to establish the veracity of scripture.

Fine, the bible is preserved. However, it is preserved in an adulterated form, unlike the Quran.

Now for Fernando.

Fernando:Instead of debatting the questions presented by Doctor Wood.....bn quotes William Montgomery Watt's "A Short History of Islam" while ignoring his same comments in "Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity" where he sais...

You quoted Watt (I'm sure from some missionary website) thinking that it would somehow deliver a devastating blow to what I said earlier.

Yes, I know the Quran was revealed in "sab-at ahruf". So what? Watt himself acknowledges the immateriality of these so called variant readings.

Fernando:So it lookes likke that there're were non-canonical variantts... this is, that weren't considered true readings by an Hadith providencially wrotten centuries lattere to "defend" the preservattion of the Qur'an

Just like hadith, the various recitations of the Quran also come with come with chains attached. Those declared non-canonical are the ones with weak chains. So what?

Fernando:Spin turne numbere two... changging the attentions to anothers things...

How is this a red herring? The video I recommended pertains to this topic.

Dan:Again Ibn is now admiting there are textual variants in the quran,which means its not 100percent the same as the quran preserved in heaven,and its not the perfect word of allah no more.

No, the heavenly Quran is a universal of which the 7 readings are particulars. They are, therefore, the strands of the same rope.

Regarding the Quran's exquisite literary style, Wood writes:Again, (1) is false because it's absolutely absurd to claim that unique literary style implies divine origin. (2) is false because people can and have written chapters like the ones in the Qur'an.


As you speak no Arabic, your claims are profoundly ignorant.

David Wood said...

Ibn said: "As you speak no Arabic, your claims are profoundly ignorant."

Claims aren't ignorant. People are.

So am I ignorant when I claim that (1) is absurd? Notice that my objection has nothing to do with Arabic. It's simply absurd to say that unique literary style (regardless of the language) is proof of divine origin. One might just as reasonably say that since no one can write symphonies as good as Mozart's, his music was from God. Strange claim, eh?

But what about (2)? Here we must note that many people who are experts in Arabic and literature have found the Qur'an to be extremely unimpressive.

So where's the ignorance here? It can only be found among those who think that, because they like the way a book sounds, it must be from God.

DAN12345 said...

Ibn you are amazing,you really are a master of taqiyya.But we see through this,you need to look at yourself and put your arms down against yourself and just say im not going to lie to myself no more i will accept it is wrong and stop the self denial!You are trying to prove your case so much you are now even going against your own quran.I wrote "Dan:Again Ibn is now admiting there are textual variants in the quran,which means its not 100percent the same as the quran preserved in heaven,and its not the perfect word of allah no more"
you replied:
"No, the heavenly Quran is a universal of which the 7 readings are particulars. They are, therefore, the strands of the same rope."Amazing words,so you believe that the Quran that we are reading today is not the rope(the preserved tablet in heaven)but just strands of the same rope?So just as the strands are not the rope itself are you admitting that todays quran is not the same as the preserved quran in heaven.Strands are just strands such as verses are just verses when they are All put together thats when they make a complete something.Strands are strands until they are put together to make a rope,alone they are just strands.So im happy you have admitted we have just strands in todays quran,thanks for your honesty although it came out by error...

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

Sorry guys I have been away for a time. I am working my dissertation (I have a deadline)and my website, 'Christianity Answers', which God willing will be accessable on the internet in a week or two from now.

I intend to challenge any and every faction that attacks the Christian faith, but currently I have to say, the focus will be on the religion of islam.

I certainly intend to include some of the recent debates on this blog on science in the Qur'an and the Qur'anic confirmation on the integrity of the Bible.

The first articles will be few and simply, I Intend to work more on the details as soon as my present dissertation is finished.

I would like to get one advise from you guys, is it preferable to write simple articles ore more detailed and academic?

I mean which type of readers should I focus on?

If we look at the Islamic website, we have the more simple stuff as presented by Answering-Christianity, the website of Sami and Bassam, and we have the more detailed material of Islamic-awareness.

I guess the more simple website attach the majority of readers.

Would you guys advise me to focus on detailed articles or simple?

Ibn said...

You didn't understand my philosophical argument Dan. The heavenly Quran is a universal, or to be more precise, a Platonic Form. The 7 readings are manifestations of this Form.

If you still don't understand what I'm saying, I suggest you read up Platonism.

Fernando said...

Ibn said: «You quoted Watt (I'm sure from some missionary website)» ...

no... deaar Ibn.. I can post an excerpt fron annie page you wantt...

Ibn said: «thinking that it would somehow deliver a devastating blow to what I said earlier»...

no Ibn... I didn't weven bother to trie to give you anykind off blows... you do it yourself to you...

Watt himself acknowledges the immateriality of these so called variant readings...

so what? that's not the casse with other schollars... and I really can't say that what you say Watt sais is what Watt saide or meant to say... I can say that what you quoted is from a weake periode of his studies...

Ibn said: Those declared non-canonical are the ones with weak chains. So what?

looool... the fonny hadiths are the ones who camme from fonny Qura'an versions... that's a joke... could you, or anyone, present a "genneologie" off hadiths? Or it's just "this hadith doesnt suit my suit so I'll say it's from a fonny Quran

Ibn then said: How is this a red herring? The video I recommended pertains to this topic.

no Ibn... this topic's name is "Islam's Amazingly Unfalsifiable Claims--Part One: The Preservation of the Qur'an"... no whwre it it says anything about the Bible... but thanks anyway to remeber us all that the claim that the Quran is perfectly preserved acttualy meanns it's very weel preserved...

Fernando said...

Ibn said: I suggest you read up Platonism.... sure... now to know the fonny versions of the Quran one needs to know that God has seven eternal ideas easche one of them were cristalized in a particual fashion... wait... and the non-canonical versions? were them ideas from whom? I don't whant to believe a pious muslim who knew Muhhamad would make false Qur'ans... wait... I'm sorrie... that was how everything happenned in the first place... according to whom? Doctor Watt...

Ibn said...

Fernando:so what? that's not the casse with other schollars... and I really can't say that what you say Watt sais is what Watt saide or meant to say... I can say that what you quoted is from a weake periode of his studies...

Weak period? The book I quoted from "A Short History of Islam" was written very recently. For a person whose been a scholar of Islam for well over 50 years, the only periods of weak studies would be in his early stages when he could still be considered a learner. After all, a person learns more as he grows. It is therefore absolutely improbable that his latest book, written sometime before his death, is weak.


Fernando:looool... the fonny hadiths are the ones who camme from fonny Qura'an versions... that's a joke... could you, or anyone, present a "genneologie" off hadiths? Or it's just "this hadith doesnt suit my suit so I'll say it's from a fonny Quran

No, Fernando. Muslim scholars don't reject hadith whimsically.

The only thing "fonny" here is your worse than amateurish allegations of the Quran and the Muslim participants of this website.

Fernando:no Ibn... this topic's name is "Islam's Amazingly Unfalsifiable Claims--Part One: The Preservation of the Qur'an"... no whwre it it says anything about the Bible... but thanks anyway to remeber us all that the claim that the Quran is perfectly preserved acttualy meanns it's very weel preserved...

You don't have a clue, do you? I specifically said, " Regarding the implications of variants with regard to the Quran in heaven, I highly recommend you watch the debate between Shabir Ally and Anis Shorrosh". Since your deductive powers are lacking, let me explain what I meant. The reason why I directed people to that video was so they could hear Shabir Ally's explanation of the relationship between the "variant" readings and the preserved tablet.

Fernando:ure... now to know the fonny versions of the Quran one needs to know that God has seven eternal ideas easche one of them were cristalized in a particual fashion.

Where did I ever say 7 eternal ideas?

DAN12345 said...

ok ibn so you admit todays quran is not the same as the quran in heaven and the 7 different readings put together WAS the true quran?As many suras have disappeared(stoning etc)we know the 7 readings vary from each other,So todays quran is not the same as the preserved tablet,is that correct?

DAN12345 said...

And your talking about Platonism why when this disproves your religion,and you said todays quran is a strand in a rope,and then u appeal to the 7 readings Platonism etc to prove something.Now to make a long story short if you are saying the 7 readings togther is the same as the heavenly quran,then you are also saying then todays quran is NOT the same as the heavenly quran and it is NOT 100 percent the word of god preserved perfectly on earth what muslims believe.Please state this instead of beating around the bush...

Haecceitas said...

Even though I'm a Christian, I think that hypothetically, the argument from literary excellence could have a bit more merit than David seems to allow for. It's just that the argument should be recast in the form of either inductive or abductive argument.

One could argue, for example, that the supposed literary excellence of the Quran is unexpected on the hypothesis that it is a product of Muhammed and / or his companions, given what we know about their background as far as education, level of general artistic talent, etc is concerned. And on the other hand, this literary excellence would not be very surprising based on the assumption of its divine origin. This (when coupled with the Quran's own claim to be the word of God -- something that the music of Mozart, for example, would lack) could then provide the grounds for inferring that the hypothesis of divine origin is the best explanation or (perhaps more realistically) that this evidence confirms the hypothesis of divine origin somewhat (makes it at least somewhat more likely to be true in light of the evidence than on purely a priori grounds).

However, this would only work if the literary excellence of the Quran could be somehow verified in a somewhat "objective" way, which isn't something that I'm at all convinced of. (And apparently, the people during Muhammad's time weren't either.) Furthermore, such weaker inductive claim would probably not suffice as a convincing case for the Quran's divine origin.

Perhaps something similar could be argued concerning the alleged perfect preservation of the text. However, I suspect that such argument would fail to convince, given the lack of evidence for perfect preservation.

Matthew said...

David: One might just as reasonably say that since no one can write symphonies as good as Mozart's, his music was from God. Strange claim, eh?

Antony Flew wrote something similar in his article "The Terror's of Islam":

To those familiar with traditional Christian apologetic it is remarkable that no claims are made about miracles allegedly worked by or on behalf of Muhammad himself - at any rate if we except the contention that the composition of The Koran, which is apparently agreed by all those competent to judge to be the supreme masterpiece of Arabic literature, itself constitutes a miracle.

He gives a footnote:

I am reminded of a column in The Times of London in which, during the Mozart Bicentenary celebrations, Bernard Levin urged canonization, naming what he judged to be suitably miraculous compositions.

Matthew said...

Hogan, answering-islam focusses on more detailed articles and so does tektonics.org, which is why I would recommend you to write rather simple articles, but give references to those two sites if there is more information on the topic.

Even though I'm a Christian, I think that hypothetically, the argument from literary excellence could have a bit more merit than David seems to allow for

The problem with this argument is that muslims don't like to talk about textual criticism of the Qur'an, which revealed some things which make literally excellence highly implausible

Haecceitas said...

Matthew, yes, that's why I said "hypothetically".

Also, now that I think of it, one could argue that this video provides at least some inductive evidence for the truth of Christianity. After all, when did Islam ever produce anything equally beautiful? :-)

(Also, you can find a bit more groovy version by Mariah Carey from youtube, which gives a double meaning to the question I just posed). ;-)

Fernando said...

Twist # 4: Ibn said: «The book I quoted from "A Short History of Islam" was written very recently»… if you meane 1995 (eben if it wash publised the followind year…) is recente… Ok… I beggin to grappe your argumentation waves…

Twist # 5: Ibn, reffering to "A Short History of Islam" said: « his latest book»… thatts wrong… letter that 1996 Watt wrote: 1) “Islamic Political Thought” , in 1998; 2) “Islam and the Integration of Society”, thate same year; and 3) the following year, “Islam: A Short History” a rectified version off the book you quotted… lets keep them coming… Ibn…

Twist # 6: Ibn said: No, Fernando. Muslim scholars don't reject hadith whimsically. … and, mister Ibn, who said that muslims reject hadith arbitrarylly? I juste made a point that, eben by readding your oldere postes it’s typical muslim argumentation to say “well I don’t give much importatce to that hadith since his author wasn’t well informed”… accordint to what criteria? Could you explain us all? No you can’t…

Twist # 7: Ibn said: You don't have a clue, do you? (…) Since your deductive powers are lacking, let me explain what I meant. The reason why I directed people to that video was so they could hear Shabir Ally's explanation of the relationship between the "variant" readings and the preserved tablet… dear Ibn… you did not directed us ONLY to Shabir Ally's explanation of the relationship between the "variant" readings and the preserved tablet, because his affirmationes came in a more ample debate… that’s mie point preceselly…

Then Ibn said: Where did I ever say 7 eternal ideas? … my mistake… what you said is that the evenllie Quran is an eternal idea (form) of Allah… am I right? It was my mistake… butt I couldn’t beliebe you woulde say such thinges… because then the conclusion is as follows: then, would you say thate it’s unchangeable? Can onne off it’s historical manifestationes bee in contrast withe another and still be true in itself? Plus: can an historical representation off the evenly form be a perfect manifestation? No one cann telle because we can onlie know the manifestations… unless if you would say that the manifestations of a form imply the nature of the form in itself… so, dearr Ibn, WHAT you’re really sayieng is that what a muslim say is a manifestation of the evenlie Quran really as an implication in what this one is; id est, muslims fabricatt the evenlie Quran…

Ibn... don't bother to gibe us another twists... We have seen you can say anything...

Matthew said...

Do all 7 readings of the Quran have divine eloquence?

7 different readings which are all correct - are you guys kidding me?
The list of "Things Allah did which no sane person would do" gets longer and longer.

Donovan said...

I don't have the time to leave a detailed response, but I did read the rediculous claim from "Ibn" that the Bible is preserved in a corrupted form.

My only question is, "When was the Bible corrupted?"

Dhivehi Resistance said...

One must always take into account when debating a Muslim that Muslims are TRAINED NOT TO USE THEIR BRAINS. The are TRAINED TO RECITE. Among the things they are trained to recite are refutations to challenging arguments posed over the years. They of course do not understand whether their recitation makes sense or not.

Superb article David. Happy New Year
I shall post a link to it at our site..

OM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Claude said...

To Ibn,
Even if the Pope, two days before his death, had said that the Quran is the perfect words of “God “ perfectly preserved, this would not have been a proof. This not a question of autority. The proofs that Quran is Muhammad’s fabrication are in Quran and Hadiths themselves. NO NEED ANYTHING ELSE. To resort to something else is running away without end. This is an attempt to confuse people so they cannnot see the truth. This is takkhya. Period. Quran is a desorderdly and random recollection and nothing is genuine. All second hand. All hearsay. Almost all from remembrance. Some verses had been eaten by animals and lost, others burned etc. etc.
All what is in Quran comes from Talmud, apocryphal gospels and fairy tales from surrounding countries, plus achaics precepts. That’s all.
A real proof from Quran itself , simple, irrefutable ? Q 2:92-93 and Q 4:46. Jews fooled MUHAMMAD himself when they “ displaced words from their right places “ and made MUHAMMAD quote Thora falsely. Allah would not have committed such gross error. All is from Muhammad. No need to resort to Plato.

Steven said...

I'm Muslim! Yes, our book is authentic. The Holy Quran is the best perserved book in history. Let's abandon the issue of divine protection for a moment. You cant find another script, religious or secular which has maintained its purity troughtout the ages. Visit a libary with Islamic text from about the 10th century and Qurans produced today. Every mark and letter is the same. The current Christian bible didnt even have numbered chapters and verses until about 300 hundered years ago, maybe Im mistaken in the dates. The seven versions of the Quran didnt change the meaning of the words. It was just a different accent that Arabs in different parts of the Arabian pennisula had. Similar to the difference in Brittish and American accents. The diateral marks in the Quran were added later, that is true. because as non Arabs started to enter into islam they found reading the text difficult. So for the ease of non Arabs these marks were places. Again, these marks didnt change the words or the meaning of the Quran in any way. Many of you people are arguing and commenting without knowlege. You're using hadith to try and prove the Quran wrong. The hadith are valuable to Islam, but they arent divine. So its possible that some stories or accounts in the hadith about the variety of Qurans are false or made up. Im not an expert on hadith and its science. But I know that a general rule in Quranic commentary applied by Muslim throught out the ages is "if it doesnt fit with the Quran, throw it against the wall". Peace to all of you and with the guidance of Allah, I leave in best wishes and spirits.

Steven said...

To Claude and other blog readers,

Many of you have a great misunderstaning of takiyya and its role in the Muslim community. Takiyya is not unversally accepte among Muslim scholars. Takiyya was originally a concept developed by the Shiaa during purges and persecution against them by the Sunni political authority. I'm Sunni. I don't believe in Takiyya in matters of faith and belief. What is the point of lying to you about our ideas and beliefs? the Qurans says about itself and the mission of our final Prophet Muhammed "you are a CLEAR warner". Im fluent, thank God, in Arabic so dont try to pull any linguistic tricks on me. A Muslim can only use deception in limited cases which are given explanations in the Quran. One is in war1 This is common sense. War has always been a part of human history. Islam being a practical religion gives us the dimensions and morality of war. In war to defeat an enemy we must use subterfuge. Ever army uses deception to some degree to gain an advantage over their enemies in combat. This is universial not just common to Islam. This deceptions is only for military manuvers not for trying to spread our belief and values. Again, my dear brother in humanity. You re speaking with ignorance and folly. May Allah guide you to the truth.

Claude said...

Ibn, Steven
Takkhia is not the matter
If there exists in the Heaven a golden and eternal archetype of a book which ONLY comes to confirm another book, just imagine what the book that is confirmed must be ! A confirmation has nothing to sustain itself but depends entirely on which it confirms. In itself it does not worth anything. It is a gratuitous affirmation. It is a second class, a second hand book And useless because nobody never needed or asked for a confirmation of their own book. Pure nonsense. Who needed a confirmation ? Mohammad needed this pretence because he did not had any divine mission, any spiritual message elsewhere than in his tormented psyche. Because he had nothing of his own he robed other’s wealth : spiritual and mat√©rial. And the story of this great forgery and robery is all related in a golden and eternal book in heaven with all matimonial and sexual quarrel of the great Prophet ? For the eternity !Wonderfull ! The case is lost for you, my dear Ibn and Steven, . Yes, the great miracle of the Quran is that Muslims keeps on believing in such a book and see something sublime in it. Quran is not falsified IT IS a falsification. Well preserved or not a lie is a lie, a forgery is a forgery. A robbed good well preserved is still a robbery.

Fernando said...

Good to see you her frieend Steven...

You said that «Quran is the best perserved book in history»

Do you know that the book of Isaiah (one of the many bookes that are in the Holy Bible) that the Bibles todai have is 100% equal to the one found in the Dead Sea Scrools dated from circa 200 b.C.?

Even in extra-religious books onne can find examplles of better preserved books... for instance some nordic books of poetry datted for many hundreds of years before the birth of our Lord and God Jesus Christ that we have today are equally the samme that were at almost 3000 years...

Amayzing no? Perhaps you shoulde reconsider your fasty words my friennd Steven...

And no Steven... I'm afraid the Qur'an hasn't been well preserved... it's your own schoolars that admit it whwn they're not forced to lyie when living in muslim countries...

Best wished to yo my friendd Steven in your travel to the truth!!! I'll be praying for you!!!

Nabeel Qureshi said...

Steven:

The fact is, as much as Muslims claim that today's quran is the exact same as the one Muhammad revealed, there is no way to prove this, or even come close.

The only way you can begin to provide evidence for this is to compare today's quran to the quranic texts existed in Muhammad's time (or the earliest version before any significant changes could have been introduced). Unfortunately, Uthman orchestrated an empirewide revision and burnt all the evidence you could possibly use to support your claim.

You cannot prove your claim to any degree, and thus you are just repeating dogma that you have been baselessly taught.

On the other hand, two methods exist to disprove the perfect preservation of the Qur'an: historical records and textual records. As this series of posts has been showing, both these records strongly indicate the Quran is not perfectly preserved.

Muslims' Case for the Quran's perfect preservation: No possible evidence

Our case against the Quran's perfect preservation: Two types of possible evidence, both strongly in our favor.

I pray that God will open your eyes to these truths, ameen.

Sincerely,
-Nabeel

Bassam said...

David said: “So we do a little research and we learn that Abdullah ibn Masud and Ubayy ibn Ka'b, two of Muhammad's top reciters of the Qur'an, had a different number of Surahs in their versions of the Qur'an. One would think that this falsifies the Muslim claim. "Not so," says Bassam. "Abdullah and Ubayy were simply wrong. The Qur'an we have today is, by definition, the correct one. Hence, everyone who has a different number of chapters must be wrong."

As for the case of Ibn Masud, he did not believe that those three suras were not revelations, it’s just that his manuscript didn’t contain them. However, we already have evidence directly from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself that these Surahs do indeed belong to the Qur’an. Since he is the dominant authority as the Messenger of God, Muslims shouldn’t have to doubt. Appealing to the fallibility of individuals won’t strengthen your case David for we do not rely upon single individuals for the preservation of the Qur’an, rather we rely on the overwhelming consensus of the Muslims and there is surely no doubt there.

As for the case of Ubay see Here (I address it briefly here)

David said: “Here we find that there can be all sorts of differences among copies of the Qur'an, and yet this doesn't at all affect the hypothesis that the Qur'an we have today is a perfect copy of the tablet in heaven.”

These differences you speak about could be explained by the concept of the seven ahruf and Qir’aat. Where’s your refutation to that?

David said: “We find Aisha and Ubayy ibn Ka'b reporting that more than a hundred verses of Surah 33 are missing.”

I argued in the previous thread that this narration is weak. You didn’t respond to that and prove that it is authentic.

David said: “Thus, we find that no matter how much evidence there is that numerous verses are missing from the Qur'an, this will never count as any evidence whatsoever against perfect preservation.

Loool, what evidence? We already stated that Islam teaches that there could be verses whose recitation is abrogated. Just because you don’t like that teaching, that doesn’t mean that you have shown that we are “missing” Qur’anic verses.

David said: “Here non-Muslims are quite confused. Were the missing verses of Surah 33 part of the tablet in heaven? If so, then the Qur'an Muslims have today is very different from the Qur'an in heaven. If not, then why were they revealed as part of the Qur'an? While we're at it, does the perfect Qur'an in heaven contain all seven readings (this would be quite an odd book). If so, then the Qur'an Muslims have today is quite different from the Qur'an in heaven, since Uthman destroyed most (but not all) of the different readings. If not, weren't the variants corruptions of the original, which contained no variants?

Yes, the abrogated verses are part of the Qur’an in the tablet and were part of the Qur’an temporarily here on earth. However, they are not destined to be in the Qur’an on earth anymore due to God’s wisdom.

There are seven readings of the Qur’an in heaven. Anyone of them suffices us as evident from the Prophet’s teachings since he did not force his companions to know all seven, but that one was enough. So we having one today (there is a difference of opinion on that, some scholars say that all seven are in the Qur’an today) is enough.

David said: “Consider another:

(1) If no one can write a Surah like the ones in the Qur'an, the Qur'an must be from God.
(2) No one can write a Surah like the ones in the Qur'an.
(3) Therefore, the Qur'an must be from God.

Again, (1) is false because it's absolutely absurd to claim that unique literary style implies divine origin. (2) is false because people can and have written chapters like the ones in the Qur'an.

It is quite strange for a religion to rest on such obviously flawed arguments.”


And

It's simply absurd to say that unique literary style (regardless of the language) is proof of divine origin. One might just as reasonably say that since no one can write symphonies as good as Mozart's, his music was from God. Strange claim, eh?

But what about (2)? Here we must note that many people who are experts in Arabic and literature have found the Qur'an to be extremely unimpressive.

First of all, none of us here really understand the rules of Arabic grammar and are not qualified to really examine whether this challenge has been met or not. This challenge was mostly put forth to the Arabs at the time of the Prophet.

Secondly, the challenge does not necessarily only entail the literary aspect, but it also entails the aspect of content, meaning and truth. The Qur’an speaks about the unseen and spiritual matters and they are the truth, not false hood and it is communicated in a beautiful rhyming tone. Shakespeare, Mozart nor anyone else does that. How do we know if it is truth or not? Well we put it to the test.

Thirdly, it must influence people just like the Qur’an influences people. Mozart’s music doesn’t.

Nabeel said: The fact is, as much as Muslims claim that today's quran is the exact same as the one Muhammad revealed, there is no way to prove this, or even come close.

The only way you can begin to provide evidence for this is to compare today's quran to the quranic texts existed in Muhammad's time (or the earliest version before any significant changes could have been introduced). Unfortunately, Uthman orchestrated an empirewide revision and burnt all the evidence you could possibly use to support your claim.

You cannot prove your claim to any degree, and thus you are just repeating dogma that you have been baselessly taught.

On the other hand, two methods exist to disprove the perfect preservation of the Qur'an: historical records and textual records. As this series of posts has been showing, both these records strongly indicate the Quran is not perfectly preserved.

Muslims' Case for the Quran's perfect preservation: No possible evidence

Our case against the Quran's perfect preservation: Two types of possible evidence, both strongly in our favor.



Nabeel your methodology is false. Who said that we must have textual evidence to support our case? Our case for oral preservation is very strong. You’ve presented no evidence in your favor so I don’t know what you are talking about.

As for manuscript evidence for the Qur’an please visit The Qur'anic Manuscripts (I address it briefly here)

Claude said...

To David.
Quotation from Bassam: “Yes, the abrogated verses are part of the Qur’an in the tablet and were part of the Qur’an temporarily here on earth. However, they are not destined to be in the Qur’an on earth anymore due to God’s wisdom.

There are seven readings of the Qur’an in heaven. Anyone of them suffices us as evident from the Prophet’s teachings since he did not force his companions to know all seven, but that one was enough. So we having one today (there is a difference of opinion on that, some scholars say that all seven are in the Qur’an today) is enough.”

My dear David, what a prodigy ! Here is a man like you and me, who KNOWS that abrogated verses are on the Quran in the heaven etc, who KNOWS that there is seven Qurans in the Heaven, like if they were in his own library. He KNOWS that the revelation of only one was enough, maybe two, he is not sure, that Muhammad did not force his companions to know them all. Yes, my friend, anything but that. Seven Quran ! Seven Quran with little variations on each one, in Heaven where he never went, that he never saw. And Muhammad who did not force his companions to learn them all. And he speaks about that like he were speaking about his car or his computer.And he is damn serious ! We are not on the same world. We lose our pain.

Imagine if we begin to use reason and logic to make him explain how an abrogated verse is together in the Golden Quran, with the one he abrogates, if it is only on one of these Qurans or on two or on three and why. Is the abrogated verse at the end of this or these Qurans in an appendix, or side by side with the one which abrogates, why there are not in all Quran and just in two, is it written somehow or graved, etc etc.how an abrogated verse is eternal, Is of the same quality of eternity as the one which abrogates and this, ad infinitum. And he will always find an answer. I am sure.
I don’t want to insult anybody but this must be said. This is surrealist.

Claude said...

To David.
Quotation from Bassam: “Yes, the abrogated verses are part of the Qur’an in the tablet and were part of the Qur’an temporarily here on earth. However, they are not destined to be in the Qur’an on earth anymore due to God’s wisdom.

There are seven readings of the Qur’an in heaven. Anyone of them suffices us as evident from the Prophet’s teachings since he did not force his companions to know all seven, but that one was enough. So we having one today (there is a difference of opinion on that, some scholars say that all seven are in the Qur’an today) is enough.”

My dear David, what a prodigy ! Here is a man like you and me, who KNOWS that abrogated verses are on the Quran in the heaven etc, who KNOWS that there is seven Qurans in the Heaven, like if they were in his own library. He KNOWS that the revelation of only one was enough, maybe two, he is not sure, that Muhammad did not force his companions to know them all. Yes, my friend, anything but that. Seven Quran ! Seven Quran with little variations on each one, in Heaven where he never went, that he never saw. And Muhammad who did not force his companions to learn them all. And he speaks about that like he were speaking about his car or his computer.And he is damn serious ! We are not on the same world. We lose our pain.

Imagine if we begin to use reason and logic to make him explain how an abrogated verse is together in the Golden Quran, with the one he abrogates, if it is only on one of these Qurans or on two or on three and why. Is the abrogated verse at the end of this or these Qurans in an appendix, or side by side with the one which abrogates, why there are not in all Quran and just in two, is it written somehow or graved, etc etc.how an abrogated verse is eternal, Is of the same quality of eternity as the one which abrogates and this, ad infinitum. And he will always find an answer. I am sure.
I don’t want to insult anybody but this must be said.It is surrealist.