QUERIES ON ISLAM

IS THE QUR’AN GOD’S WORD? - Part 5

RELIGIOUS ILLUSION THEORY

Those who profound the religious illusion theory and the subconscious theory assume that the Qur’an had actually originated from Muhammad's (Pbuh) knowledge, imagination, experiences and environment, although he himself was not aware of this fact. Some of such non-believers even allege that he was crazy (God Forbid).

This theory is refuted easily. The Prophet preached a consistent message for about 23 years. It is unlikely that a crazy person or a visionary feeding of his own sub-conscious, would be able to be so consistent.

Secondly a visionary would not be able to falsely convince himself for 23 years that he was receiving a scripture from divine sources, when it was actually originated within himself.

The Qur’an contains so much information which could not have originated from a human being's mind, whether crazy, conscious or subconscious.

A. One such example is Surah Kahf chapter 18 of the Qur’an which was revealed in reply to the questions posed by the mushriks (polytheists) of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, in order to test Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). These questions were :-

i.   Who were the sleepers of the cave ?

ii.  What is the real story of Khizar ?

iii. What do you know about Zulqarnain ?

As these three questions concerned the history of the Jews and Christians and were unknown in Hijaz, a choice of these were made to test whether the Prophet (pbuh) possessed any source of knowledge of the hidden and unseen things. The Prophet (pbuh) replied, ‘tomorrow I will tell you’. However, when they came for the answers, he had to put them off day by day until 15 nights had passed and still he had received no revelation of any kind. The people of Makkah taunted him, and he was distressed and sad that he received no Divine help, which he longed for. It was after fifteen days from the time that the questions were posed that Archangel Gabriel brought him a revelation that gave him the answers to these questions. The long wait he had to endure was explained in Al Qur'an 18:23-24)

Nor say of anything,

I shall be sure to do

So and so tomorrow”-

Without adding

“If Allah wills”.

The delay of this revelation although painful to the Prophet (pbuh) was in reality on added strength. Those pagans of Quraish who mere in two minds were convinced that had the Prophet (pbuh) invented the earlier revelations then there was no reason to delay this latest one, especially when so much was at stake. It is difficult to conceive how religious illusion could have helped him to state the correct replies which silenced his critics.

Besides these types of information there are several other sets of information in the Qur’an which no human mind could have produced at that time in human existence, whether consciously, sub-consciously or unconsciously.

 FOR INSTANCE THE QUR’AN CONTAINS :

a) Historical facts and events which were not known to the Prophet (pbuh) or his contemporaries e.g. about Zulkarnain, city of Ihram.

b) Several prophecies about the future which have come true.

c) Several scientific facts which were unknown and only discovered hundreds of years after the revelation of the Qur’an.

II. THE QUR’AN PLAGIARIZED FROM THE BIBLE:

Many critics state that while Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was not the author of the Qur’an he learnt it from other human sources or plagiarized it, i.e. copied or adapted from previous scriptures or revelations.

 1. MUHUMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM A ROMAN BLACKSMITH WHO WAS A CHRISTIAN:

Some pagans accused the Prophet (pbuh) of learning the Qur’an from a Roman Blacksmith, who was a Christian and lived in the outskirts of Mecca. The Prophet very often use to go and watch him do his work. A revelation of the Qur’an was sufficient to dismiss this change. The Qur’an says : 

 “We know indeed that they say,

“It is a man that teaches him.”

The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign,

while this is Arabic, pure & clear.”

(Al Qur'an 16:103)

How could a person whose mother tongue was foreign and could hardly speak little but of poor broken Arabic be the source of the Qur’an which is pure, eloquent, fine Arabic? To believe that the blacksmith taught the Prophet (pbuh), the Qur’an, is somewhat similar to a Chinese immigrant to England, who did not know proper English, taught Shakespeare.

2. MUHAMMAD (PBUH) LEARNT THE QUR'AN FROM WARAQA - THE RELATIVE OF KHADIJAH (R.A.)

Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) contact with the Jewish and Christian scholars was very limited. The most prominent Christian was an old blind man called Waraqa Ibn-Naufal who was a relative of the Prophet’s first wife Khadijah (R.A.). He, although of Arab descent was a convert to Christianity and was very well versed with the New Testament. The Prophet (pbuh) met him only twice, first when Waraqa was worshipping at the Ka'aba, (before the prophetic Mission) and he kissed the Prophet’s forehead affectionately. The second was when the Prophet (pbuh) went to meet Waraqa after receiving the first revelation. Waraqa died 3 years later and the revelation continued for about 23 years.

3. PROPHET’S RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS:-

It is true that the Prophet (pbuh) did have religious discussions with the jews and christians but these discussions took place in Madinah more than 13 years after the revelation of the Qur’an had started. The allegation that these jews and Christians were the source is the reverse, since in these discussions Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was the teacher inviting them to embrace Islam and pointing out that they deviated away from their true teaching of Monotheism. Several of them later embraced Islam.

4. PROPHET LEARNT THE QUR’AN FROM JEWS AND CHRISTIANS THAT HE MET OUTSIDE ARABIA:

All historical records available show that Muhammad (pbuh) had made only three trips outside Makkah before his Prophethood.

 i)   At the age of 6 he accompanied his mother to Madinah.

ii)  Between the age of 9 & 12, he accompanied his uncle Abu – Talib on a business trip to Syria,

iii) At the age of 25, he led Khadija’s (R.A) caravan to Syria.

 It is highly imaginary to assume that the Qur’an resulted from the occasional chats and meetings with the Christians or Jews from any of the above three trips.