The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5

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The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5

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Thread: The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5

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    Default The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5

    The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5

    Jassim Ibn Dayan

    D.1 Influence of Judeo/Christian Societies at the time of Prophet (pbuh)
    The orientalists allege that the Prophet (pbuh) was subject to the Judeo/Christian influence of his time and that the Quran reflects this influence. It was suggested that Muhammad (pbuh) had two big problems if he were to embrace Judaism or Christianity:
    If he becomes a Christian, he would be bringing in the Christian Byzantine regime to Mecca which will not be tolerated by his people in Mecca; and,
    He could not pretend that he knew more than the older members and priests of those two religions - Judaism and Christianity.
    Thus, in both instances, he cannot take the leadership. So the orientalists suggest that Muhammad (pbuh) decided to reproduce the role of Musa or Jesus, because he could see that they were men, and what they had done, he could do.
    The orientalists alleged that the monotheistic influence was due to Christian and Jewish influence which were present in Makkah and also suggested that there was a monotheist informant from one of those religions. However at a different stage, they also suggested that, what the Prophet (pbuh) received from his informants was would be factual knowledge but the meaning and interpretation of the facts came to him by the usual process of revelation.
    They suggested that the gradual growth in accuracy of the Qurans narration pertinent to biblical stories is evidence that Muhammad got these stories from some informant.
    They alleged that the Quran reproduced contemporary errors that were originally found in the Judeo/Christian scriptures.
    It is a known historical fact that there was no Arabic version of the Old or New Testament previous to the time of Muhammad. The earliest Arabic version of the Old Testament of which we have any knowledge is that of R. Saadias Gaon A.D.900 (which was 300 years after the death of Muhammad pbuh). The oldest Arabic version of the New Testament is that published by Erpenius in A.D.1616 (which was 1000 years after the departure of Muhammad pbuh).
    There were also Christians living in Najran, in Yemen (south of Makkah) and to the north there lived some Jews in Yathrib which was later known as Madinah. There was no record whatsoever that Muhammad (pbuh) had ever traveled to Najran before or after his Prophethood. Muhammad (pbuh) has gone to Madinah before his Prophethood only thrice. When he was six years old, he accompanied his mother to visit a relative, Banu Najjar and to let Muhammad (pbuh) visit the grave of his father who had died while Muhammad was in the womb of his mother. It is too wild a speculation to imagine that at the age of six and within a day or two he could have learned all the 66 or 73 books of the Bible. At any rate, the distance between Makkah and Madinah is hundreds of kilometers and the only means of transportation at that time was camel, and it took several weeks. Muhammad (pbuh) could not have shuttled between the two cities unnoticed by his contemporaries. As such it would clearly seem that the existence of such communities could not be the source of the Quran.
    The Prophet (pbuh) was only 12 years old when he met Baheera for a very short period of time on the way to Syria with his uncle Abu Talib. This very brief meeting is not sufficient to discuss religious doctrines. Again it is stupid to assume that the young boy can learn all the 66 or 73 books of the Bible, discuss religious doctrines and scriptural prophecy about the coming of the Messenger etc, at this tender age.
    The orientalists accept a part of this meeting only, but they fail to acknowledge the other, which speak about:
    Baheeras knowledge concerning the prophecy in the Scriptures regarding the coming of the new prophet;
    Baheera recognizing the sign of Prophethood in Muhammad (pbuh); and,
    Baheera asking Abu Talib to take the boy home.
    When confronted with the above information, Muir even tries to explain it as a mistake or as a forgery by a designing monk. In order to downplay the importance of Baheeras recognition of the sign of Prophethood, Muir writes a footnote saying that the report is full of absurdities, but later realizing his folly, omits the footnote in subsequent editions without altering the main text.
    It is common knowledge that a trade caravan traveling in the harsh desert would concentrate their trade in populated areas only and avoid wandering into deserted habitations, ruined townships or empty church assemblies for the sight seeing pleasure of a young boy. Yet Muir suggests that the caravan passed near Petra, Jerash, Ammon and other ruined cities and that these sights influenced the young Muhammad (pbuh).
    In Makkah there were only a few Christians of humble social and intellectual status, being either slaves or petty retailers and mostly immigrants. Only one or two original inhabitants of Makkah such as Uthman ibn al Huwairith and Waraqah ibn Nawfal had turned Christians, the former out of personal or political considerations, and the latter as a result of his search for better faith. Waraqa had met the Prophet (pbuh) only twice , and he died three years after the first revelation, but the revelation to the Prophet (pbuh) continued for 20 more years after his death.
    The question is, would a person of Mohammeds (pbuh) stature, knowledge and intelligence, as suggested by the orientalists, proceed to propound a new religion and challenge the credibility of both the prevailing systems of Judaism and Christianity merely on the basis of hearsay and superficial knowledge of them?
    The orientalists are not consistent in their allegation when they say that:
    the Prophet (pbuh) was ambitious and therefore careful enough to avoid the political implications of embracing either Judaism or Christianity; but,
    He was careless enough to institute a new religion based on information picked up from bazaar gossips and Jewish storytellers at wine shops.


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    D.2 Monotheistic influence of Judeo/Christians
    It is nave to say that Islam is an amalgam of second hand information about Judaism and Christianity with an inkling of Arab elements in it and it is absurd to suggest that the Prophet (pbuh) was cognizant of these two religious systems.
    Pre-Islamic Arabs, independent of any Jewish or Christian influence knew the concept of Allah as the supreme God. But they felt that they were not worthy enough to approach that supreme God direct. The Quran explain their plight in the following verses:
    If you were to ask them: Who has created the heaven and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon? They will surely reply, Allah. How then are they deviating (as polytheists and disbelievers?) Ch.29: V61.
    And indeed if you ask them, Who created the heaven and the earth? They will surely say, The All-mighty, the All-Knower created them. Ch 43: V 9
    Yet they assign to some of His slaves a share with Him. Verily, man is indeed a manifest ingrate. Ch 43: V15.
    Nay! They say: We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we guide ourselves by their footsteps. Ch 43: V22
    The concept of Prophethood, the memory of Ibrahim as a prophet and founder of Kaaba which the Arabs universally cherished, as well as the Abrahams rites of Haj or pilgrimage to the Kaaba were unquestionably pre-Jewish and pre-Christian.
    The teachings of Ibrahim found haven in Arabia long before the arrival of Judaism or Christianity and the Arabs were already conversant with the word Hanif as the worshipper of One Supreme God according to Ibn Hisham. But they had neither church nor scripture. In fact the critics of the Prophet (pbuh) at his time in Makkah never thought of accusing him to have learned from the Hanifs, the Christians or the Jews but they accused him of learning it from a Roman black-smith in the out-skirts of Makkah. The Prophet (pbuh) used to go and watch him do his work. The Quran dismisses the charge in the following:
    We know indeed that they say, It is a human being that teaches him. The tongue of him they refer to is notably foreign, while this (Quran) is clear Arabic tongue. Ch. 16: V.103
    The Prophet (pbuh) accused the contemporary Arabs, the Jews and the Christians of having deviated from the original teachings of their prophets and of having degenerated into polytheism. He also rejected what they said were the teachings of their scriptures. So he cannot be misconstrued as having conceived the idea of monotheism from the Judeo-Christian influence.
    The Quran does not maintain that it is teaching a new religion. Instead it upholds and revives the original teachings God has given through all Prophets of all nations. It claims that its teachings are the same as those of Ibrahim, Musa and Jesus and speaks about all of them in glowing terms. Since every orientalist agrees on the fact that Muhammad (pbuh) has not read any of the scriptures, his source of knowledge must be something other than these scriptures.
    The rejection of biblical teachings about the son or father of the God was revealed even in the Makkan Surahs and long before the migration to Madinah. Hence it is not correct to say that these renunciations came about, in the wake of the separation from the Jews and Christians in Madinah.
    It is impossible to get even a glimpse of Monotheism from any amount of observation of Judaism and Christianity in those days as it is now. The practices of these two religious groups were steeped in corruption and superstitions, and as such they are vastly removed from being model monotheists.
    The various reform movements in Christianity, particularly the Cluniac Movement, the Iconoclastic Movement and the reformation started by Martin Luther bear testimony to the depth of degradation into which the Christians and Christianity of the day had descended. In a way, all these reform movements and the subsequent emphasis on monotheism, in spite of an adherence to the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ are, by and large due to the impact of the uncompromising monotheism enunciated and propagated by Islam. In other words, it was Islam that influenced the revival movements in Christianity.
    The tradition that the Prophet (pbuh) heard Quss ibn Saida preach at the Ukaz fair is spurious and discarded as one of its narrators Muhammad ibn Hallaj al Lakhmi is a confirmed liar. The suggestion that the Prophet (pbuh) learnt from Zayd bin Harithah does not hold ground because Zayd came to the Prophet as a little boy and as such could not have taught very much about Christianity to his foster father. Moreover, Zayd was of genuine faith in the mission of the Prophet (pbuh) and followed him till his death. The allegation that the Prophet (pbuh) received instruction from Waraqa ibn Nawfal on Christianity is rejected on the ground that, if this information is true, then the Quraishis would have made a very strong point and issue about it. If some of the Christians and Jews of Makkah have provided information about former religions as claimed by the orientalists, they would not have faith in the Prophets mission and leadership to become Muslims themselves in the first place.
    It is a fact that Muhammad (pbuh) used to have discussions with Jews and Christians, but it is wrong to hastily suggest that the Quran is the result of those discussions. Those discussions indeed took place long after the Prophet (pbuh) had started receiving the revelations of the Quran. In fact all discussions were held in Madinah while Muhammad (pbuh) began receiving the revelations in Makkah and had stayed there for 13 years, where two-third of the Quran had already been revealed, before his migration to Madinah. Even the Quran mentions those discussions. Verses 33-63 in Chapter 3 of the Quran for example were revealed in the 9th year of his migration to Madinah, on the occasion of the visit of the deputation from the Christians of Najran. The orientalists often ignore the context of those meetings. It should be noted that the Prophet (pbuh) did not meet them as a student but as a teacher, and used the opportunity to correct their dogma, i.e. of the Trinity.
    This was no different even in Makkah. The Makkans tortured a number of converts in order to extort an admission that Mohammad (pbuh) had obtained help from them. Jabr, one of the victims of oppression when persecuted and tortured to the extreme, gave a significant reply: It is not I who teaches Muhammad, rather it is he who teaches and guides me. Tafsir - Qurtubi.
    It is worth noting some of the points raised by Dr. Jamal Badawi, a renowned scholar in Canada in this connection. He says, It would be highly imaginary to say that through his occasional chats with Jews and Christians, while busy with his caravan, Muhammad (pbuh) learned enough about either or both religions to formulate a new powerful and viable religion, a task that defies the collective efforts of scholars for centuries.
    Further, the above assertion raises a number of questions. Dr. Jamal Badawi puts forth the following six questions.
    In spite of the abundance of historical material on the life of Muhammad (pbuh), and in spite of the extensive research on his life for centuries by his severe critics, why was it not possible to discover the mysterious teacher(s) through whom Muhammad (pbuh) might have learned all that?
    It is known that Muhammad (pbuh) was opposed, ridiculed and persecuted for nearly thirteen years by his own contemporaries. With this magnitude of severe enemies, was it not possible for them to prove to the masses that Mohammeds (pbuh) claim of revelation was sheer fabrication? Was it not possible for them to reveal and name which they alleged to be the human source or sources of his teachings? Even some of his adversaries who made this assertion changed their minds later on and accused him, instead, of magic or of being possessed by evil spirits etc.
    Muhammad (pbuh) was raised among his people and every aspect of his life was exposed to them, especially by the openness that characterizes tribal life in the desert. How could the multitudes of his contemporaries, including many of his close relatives who knew him so well, how could they believe in his truthfulness if they had any doubt that he was claiming credit for ideas taught to him by some other teachers without bothering to give them credit?
    What kind of teacher might have taught Muhammad (pbuh) a coherent and complete religion that changed the face of history? Why didnt he or they (if any) speak against the alleged student who continued learning from them, while ignoring them and claiming some other divine source for his teachings?
    How could many Jews and Christians amongst his contemporaries become Muslims and believe in his truthfulness if they knew that he was copying from their scriptures or learning from their priests or rabbis?
    It is known that some of the Quranic revelations came to Muhammad (pbuh) in the presence of people. The Quran was revealed during the span of twenty-three years. Where then was that mysterious perhaps, invisible human teacher of Muhammad (pbuh)? How could he have hidden himself for so long? Or how could Muhammad (pbuh) who was constantly surrounded by followers, how was he able to make frequent secret visits to that mysterious teacher or teachers for twenty-three years without being caught even once?
    D. 3 Gradual growth of Accuracy in the Quran
    The whole teachings of Islam in the Quran such as the rules and duties were indeed spelt out gradually over a period of 23 years and the arrangement of Ayahs and Suras revealed are in accordance with the needs of the society at the time. A good example is the warning about intoxicants in the Quran and how it was finally prohibited. The prohibition did not come all of a sudden. The society was first spiritually prepared to accept such a prohibition and finally when the prohibition came into effect, it was accepted openly and gladly. This may look as a gradual growth in accuracy for some of the orientalists who may make an issue of it, but it is not so. However, it is worth noting that some of the orientalists have started to discard this line of thinking.
    The similarity between any two compositions is not sufficient to infer that one of them copied from the other. It may be possible that both compositions may be based on a third common source. A Muslim may state that all divine revelations came from the same source, the One Universal God. It is true that there are some parallels between the Quran and the Bible, for example some basic moral laws. If these parallels are sufficient to accuse Muhammad (pbuh) of compiling or copying from the Bible, then the same logic should be impartially and consistently applied to all previous scriptures as well. For example, there are similarities between the teachings of Christianity and Judaism. Is it sufficient to infer that Jesus (pbuh) was not a genuine prophet and that he simply copied from the Old Testament? Is it proper to infer that Musa (pbuh) and all other Israelite prophets were false and that they simply copied from other older religions, for the only reason that there are parallels in moral laws, between Judaism and other older religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism? Or can all these parallels be due to a common source of genuine revelations from God?
    The Quran is not a derivation from the Judeo/Christian scriptures as claimed by the orientalists and as further evidenced by the following:
    Some information given in the Quran that is not even mentioned in the Bible or Old Testament:
    Some of the Prophets mentioned in the Quran i.e. Hud for the Thamud and Pbuhih for the Aad people are not even mentioned in the Bible.
    Information given in the Quran about Prophet Ibrahim, specifically about his teachings on monotheism and the resultant struggle, is not found in the Bible.
    Jesus speaking from the cradle confirming the chastity of his mother, his giving life by Gods permission to birds made of clay, the table descending from heaven.
    Musa traveling to the meeting place of two seas.
    The incident of Pharaohs plan to kill Musa and that a believer in Pharaohs court dissuaded him from carrying out his plan.
    Musa struck the rock and 12 springs gushed forth for each of the Jewish tribes.
    The magicians in Pharaohs court declare their belief in God after losing the contest with Musa (pbuh) and they were killed for it.
    The Quran contradicts accounts given in the Bible:
    Original sin of Adam and its consequences on mankind which is the very, if not only, basis of the religion of Christianity.
    The original sin was passed on to the entire human race, due to which man has to toil for his living and the woman has to give birth to the child in pain according to Bible. The Quran specifically states that Adam sought Allahs forgiveness and Allah accepted his supplications and forgave him.
    The angels visiting Ibrahim on their way to Lut;
    The preaching of Nuh was specifically monotheism according to the Quran;
    The Quran categorically denies the concept of Trinity and confirm that Jesus was no more than a Prophet not god, not the son of god and not the Trinity;
    The Quran categorically states that Jesus was not crucified nor killed;
    The Quran states that all the prophets are noble men sent by Allah and clears all of the prophets from evil intention or evil actions, as against what can be found in the Bible.
    The Quran testifies that all the prophets of God such as Musa or Haroun were sincere to their mission for which they were sent by God, and never betrayed their mission as suggested in the Bible, or sinned as in the case of Lut, David, Solomon and others.
    More details are given in the Quran as compared to the Bible:
    Incidents relating to Prophet Nuh;
    Mary being asked to pray to Allah implying that Mary is a human being who required the mercy of God;
    The whole story of Yusuf (ala) delivered in a spiritual atmosphere with more details of his life, is not found in the bible;
    It is true that some of the historical incidents are mentioned both in the Bible and in the Quran, but this does not mean that the Quran picked them from Biblical sources. Instead it is a confirmation of the events of the past but looking at them with a clear vision. There was no good library or museum in Makkah in the first place and the Prophet (pbuh) could not read or write. There were no scholars and philologists in that place to unravel the secrets of ancient religious works to the would be Prophet (pbuh),
    Where did Muhammad (pbuh) get so many details which are absent in the Bible, if the Quran was principally but not exclusively dependant on Jewish and Christian traditions? Under Christianity in Arabia the New Catholic Encyclopedia says that during the time of the Prophet, The Hijaz had not been touched by Christian preaching. Hence organization of the Christian church was neither to be expected nor found.
    While casually recognizing that there are new elements in the Quran, the Orientalists seem to have never paid attention to find out the sources of these elements. If they had done so, the Orientalists would surely have found reason to see that the assumptions under which they have hitherto been laboring so diligently and impressively need revision.
    All historical records available show that Muhammad (pbuh) has made 3 trips outside Makkah before his prophethood. At the age of six he accompanied his mother to Madinah. Between the age of 9-12 he accompanied his Uncle Abu Talib on a business trip to Syria, and in the last trip Muhammad (pbuh) was 25 and led Khadijahs caravan to Syria.
    Their first encounter occurred when Waraqa was going round the Kaaba and pbuh Muhammad (pbuh). He affectionately kissed his head. The second meeting was after Muhammad (pbuh) had received the first revelation.


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The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5

The orientalists, The seerah and the quran-5