[POWERPOINT-SLIDES] : "CRITERIA FOR A HOLY BOOK - A CASE FOR AL-QUR'AN"
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Thursday, September 3, 2009
A talk on the literary characteristics of the Quran at city college New York -
The Qur'an is stunning in its beauty, captivating in its words, overpowering in its message, enchanting in its harmony and baffling in its subtlety. This description means little to most, whose only exposure to the Qur'an is in translation. Join us in this remarkably unique single weekend seminar in which we will explore the unparalleled literary beauty of the Qur'an. Designed for audiences with and without background in Arabic, the program seeks to inspire unforgettable awe and appreciation of the greatest gift to humanity, the final installment of Divine Speech.
produced by http://www.leechon.com -
presented by http://www.understandarabic.com -
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
· A claim of a Book from God must be on the basis of its original writing. Not something that has been doctored with or edited, with the intention of giving it credibility, based on newly discovered knowledge.
THE CASE FOR AL-QUR’AN
إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ
“Behold, it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high, step by step, this reminder (i.e. this Qur’an): and, behold, it is We who shall truly guard it (from all corruption).”
(Qur’an: al-Hijr: 15: 9)
The Qur’an, firstly must be noted, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., who was an “ummiy” (one unable to neither read nor write) – as a recitation. When discussing issue of preservation of religious scriptures, many overlooked this important distinction with regard to the Qur’an in that, it is not merely preservation of what was written but importantly the preservation even of what was originally recited.
The nature of the Prophet’s mission was to impart and teach with the Qur’an; to establish al-Islam with the Guidance from God. Although Muhammad’s explanations and practical manifestation in life from its teachings are also important, yet he was careful to ensure that all the recordings and memorisations of the Qur’an were to be done distinctly separate from that of his own utterances. (These, which are sayings from Muhammad s.a.w., termed as “as-Sunnah”, were later preserved, meticulously scrutinized and categorized separately, in the distinct corpus called “Ahadith”).
Recitation and memorization – the preservation through chain of reciters (muqri’) and memorizers (Huffaz) of the Qur’an.
Whenever Muhammad s.a.w. received a revelation of the Qur’an, these would be memorised and recited to his companions who, on their part, also committed them to memory. He would also direct them to collate these within the other earlier Qur’anic verses already committed or recorded, and even at times apportioned them with a given name (or theme) for each chapter (termed as “Surah”).
The companion’s recitations, memorizations, and readings from their personal recordings, were constantly checked by the Prophet s.a.w. Memorization was by far the most common method, although some companions did compile their own individual recordings (for their personal reference), but this was not commonly referred to by the general Muslims when learning the Qur’an. Some of these companions such as ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ubbay ibn Ka’ab, Ibnu Mas’ud, Ibnu Abbas, Abu Musa, Ibn Zubayr, Zaid ibn Tsabit, Salim, Umm Salamah, ‘Ayesha, Muadz ibn Jabal r.a etc. were known to have these.
The Prophet also appointed from among his companion who can write, to serve as scribes to record them down in written form, and these were collected and kept in the Prophets safe-keeping (in the house of Hafsah r.a., one of the Prophet’s wives). The while, al-Qur’an was taught through persons whom the Prophet appointed as “Muqri’ ” (literally “readers” – i.e. reciter’s, whose memorisation was constantly checked by the Prophet s.a.w. and assigned as teachers for others to learn and memorise the Qur’an from). This method ensured that even the vocalization of every word is to be meticulously checked and preserved through an unbroken chain of reciters and teachers (referred to as the “isnad” or “sanad” literally meaning “chain”) linked back up to the Prophet s.a.w. Much like learning songs or music, it is to be noted that the masses then, can even checked their own memorization directly whenever the Prophet s.a.w., (as was the nature of his mission), recited Qur’anic verses publicly, especially in congregational prayers. This primary preoccupation towards preserving the Qur’an by recitation, memorization and constant checking was the dominant method that at the end of the Prophets’ life, memorization of Qur’an has become an essential part of the general Muslims’ education. And it even continues until today. This system had ensured that for the Muslims, there can only be one al-Qur’an. This factor later proved very useful when an official written corpus was needed due to increase in literacy amongst people, and indiscriminate writing of them can lead to conflicting versions.
History of the preservation of recorded writings of the Qur’an
As stated, there were already in existence the written text of the Qur’an even during Muhammad’s time, but this (the written form) did not become important for Muslims to consider as method of learning is directly from teacher to student, in an unbroken chain that are linked back to the Prophet s.a.w., emphasizing vocal verbalization, much like learning songs or music. This can be appreciated and memorised even by common people who may be totally illiterate in the reading of musical scores.
It was during the first Caliphate of Abu Bakr’ r.a., in the campaign against the “ahl-al-riddah” (“those who renegade”), in one battle, many memorizers of the Qur’an (Huffaz) were slain. This made the Muslims to realise that reliance on something already written down during the time of the Prophet can also ensure another means as an added insurance, towards ensuring the preservation of the Qur’an - apart from dependence upon memorizers alone. Advised by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab r.a., the loose collection of the writings of the Qur’an which were still kept by the Prophet’s widow were taken out, sifted, checked collated against the general memorizations of the Muslims, and then bounded together into one “al-Mushaf” (literally “the bounded scrolls”). But this was still kept by the Prophet’s widow Hafsah r.a. until the time of the third Caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan r.a. when it’s used became important and essential.
By this time (the third Caliph ‘Uthman’s), the expansion of Islam has included vast regions and has gained multitudes of followers from various ethnicities, many of whom were non-Arabs; the need for an official written copy of the Qur’an became important. This was when Hudzaifah al-Yamani r.a., a Companion of the Prophet s.a.w. whilst in Azerbaijan, Armenia, he witnessed altercations amongst Muslims with regard to written copy of the Qur’an. Although learning of the Qur’an was through teachers, yet those who wanted to write it down were left to their own devise. Written Arabic (because as a Semitic language, it does not have vowels and letters then do not have diacritical markings) for the uninitiated and non-Arabs, this can lead to misreading. Even amongst Arabs, due to differences in dialect, such error in recitations can occur. And if these were to be then dictated and again (without an official written copy) re-written, and others misread them again – the disunity it can cause would be immense. This worry was then communicated to the Caliph.
Caliph ‘Utman ibn ‘Affan r.a. convened a special committee comprising of muqri’ and Huffaz amongst the Prophet’s Companions, and to be headed by Zaid ibn Tsabit r.a., who had been the chief amanuensis or scribe to the Prophet s.a.w. in the writing of the Qur’an during the Prophets time. The “Mushaf” already compiled during Abu Bakr’s time was taken out to be referred to. Yet, their task was to reproduce 7 identical copies of the Qur’an, with meticulous care in terms of spelling (rasm) and with strong emphasis in basing them upon pronunciations of words in the Quraysh dialect (the dialect of the Prophet s.a.w.). When completed, these were publicly checked by all the Companions of the Prophet and memorizers of the Qur’an in Madinah, before being endorsed by the Caliph’s marking. Since then these exact identical copies were referred to as the “mushaf Uthmaniy”. One was kept by the Caliph in Madinah (sometimes called “Mushaf Imam”), while others were dispatched to the various centres of Islam accompanied by a Muqri’ (teacher or reciter of the Qur’an). A decree was then issued to Muslims to destroy all other previous written copies and that reference for the written text of the Qur’an henceforth should be based on this official Mushaf, which has been reliably authenticated, verified unanimously accepted by the whole Ummah.
Copies of these “mushaf Uthmaniy” are still extant even until today, kept in Egypt (Cairo), Samarqand (Tashkent), Iraq (Baghdad), Syria (Damascus) Iran (Qum), Morocco (Fez) and Turkey (Istanbul). It is also known that copies – some microfilmed from the original – is also available elsewhere e.g. Columbia University Library, USA; the British museum, London UK, and in other Islamic countries etc.).
But it must be remembered that the method for learning of the Qur’an through recitation and memorization directly with teachers and memorizers who are linked to the unbroken chain of teachers of the Qur’an, still continued even till today. The famous school of recitations are still being taught up to the present day in the science of Qur’anic recitation (‘ilm Qiro’atil-Qur’an) variously named: viz. Hafaz from ‘Asim (the most famous), Abu ‘Amer ibn ‘Ala’, Hamzah al-Kufy, Qolun from Imam Nafi’ , Abdullah ibn ‘Amir, Ibn Katsir, al-Kisa-iy etc. and ‘ijazah (licence or permission from the teacher) are continually being conferred through the method called “talaqqi” (student having to recite, face to face, the whole of the Qur’an with the Sheikh [teacher] who possesses link to the isnad).
Diacritical markings added to script
To assist non-Arabic speakers, as well as to ensure correctness in reading of text especially by those who do not know Arabic grammar, Abu’ al-Aswad ad-Du’ali r.a. a companion of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib r.a., was assigned to add diacritical markings to the text. This do not in any way changes the recitation, but rather ensure conformity with the original recitation.
The high regard for the sanctity of the written Qur’an flowered into the art of calligraphy (khat) for writing the scripts, emphasising beauty with clarity in its written form. This can be seen in the Muslims continuing to develop beautiful styles of writing the Arabic scripts, and copies of the Qur’an were handwritten by Islamic calligraphers (khattat) and even embellished with motifs and decorations – but always faithful to the original recitation. This is important to note that the concern was not only what was written but how it will be recited.
With the increase use of paper and with the introduction of printing press, in 1926, the renown University al-Azhar was commissioned by King Fuad to publish a Mushaf for the Muslim world. This Mushaf was more towards ensuring that recitation conformed to the famous school of recitation of Hafaz from ‘Asim ibn Abin-Nujud.. The chain reads: “from Hafaz, from ‘Asim ibn Abi an-Nujud, from Abi ‘Abdur Rahman ‘Abdullah ibn Habib as-Sulaim, who studied under various Companions of the Prophet namely ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Uthman ibn ‘Affan, Zaid ibn Tsabit and Ubay ibn Ka’ab (all of them were tutored directly by the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. whose recitation were constantly checked by Jibra’il a.s.)”
In 1980, another Mushaf was compiled and published in Saudi Arabia called Mushaf al-Madina. Its peculiarity is in terms of strictly following the rasm or spelling of the ‘Uthmaniy Mushaf, by segregating all vowels which in previous Mushaf may have been written as part of a word (these are now put separately, to still ensure that the recitations do not change).
Many other countries also, since then published their own Mushaf but strictly following the same convention as mentioned above. The universal scrutiny by Muslims has also ensured no deviation in this matter will ever occur.
“Musabaqah tilawah al-Qur’an” and proliferation of “Ma-ahad Tahfiz al-Qur’an”
Today, international Qur’an recitals (musabaqah tilawah al-Qur’an) are organized annually where Muslim reciters from many countries present their recitation to be judged by experts in this field. This is unique only to the Qur’an and demonstrates clearly that indeed there is only one Qur’an – and it conforms to the same recitation through the unbroken chain of reciters up to our Prophet s.a.w. The tradition for committing Qur’an to memory also has now begun to be re-emphasized worldwide with special centres for memorization of the Qur’an called “ma’ahad tahfiz al-Qur’an” sprouting in many Muslim countries, adding to those being done in mosques. Also, Islamic institutes of higher learning such as Al-Azhar have made memorization of the Qur’an as a primary entrance requirement for their students pursuing higher Islamic studies.
With all these factors, no one can doubt the authenticity and purity of the preservation of the Qur’an. Any attempt to tamper, to exclude or to add on to it has been and would be easily detected. Discovery of so-called ancient text, like the so-called Sana’a, (Yemeni) text is irrelevant, for these are already accounted for as unverified or perhaps even spurious copies, either pre-dating the caliph Uthman’s period or, if post dated, then, it would already have been rejected universally by the Muslim ummah. Orientalists and other non-Muslim scholars of religion should note that in Islamic scriptural history of the Qur’an, we do not have such problems as that found in other religious traditions, like that of the ‘apocrypha’ as in Biblical studies. Absence of any gaps or lacunae; affirmed through the unbroken chain of memorizers / reciters; it being subjected to scrutiny universally amongst the Muslims – are unique factors which has no equal amongst the history of religious scriptures, which indeed only the Qur’an can claim.
وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَكِتَـٰبٌ عَزِيزٌ۬ لَّا يَأۡتِيهِ ٱلۡبَـٰطِلُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ
“For behold, it is a sublime divine writ: no falsehood can ever attain to it openly, and neither in a stealthy manner, [since it is] bestowed from on high by One Who is truly wise, ever to be praised.”
(Qur’an: al-Fussilat: 41: 41-42)
 Thus the literal meaning of “Al-Qur’an” is “the Recitation”.
 (Ibn Abi Dawud in “Masaahif” counted 23 written copies existed during the Prophets lifetime – reference: “The Qur’anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society” – Karachi 1973)
 r.a. (abbreviation from Arabic “radiallaahu an-ha” or “radiallahu anhu”) meaning “may Allah be pleased with him or her.” A respectful address whenever the wives or companions of the Prophet are mentioned.
 Ahmad Von Denffer “’Ulum al-Qur’an: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an”: published in 1983 by The Islamic Foundation, London UK.
 Example such as Brunei, Malaysia etc.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Any religious book is to be regarded primarily as a book for guidance and does not need to claim to be an authority on science. Yet, in an age where science is regarded as representing progress and advancement of contemporary modern civilization, some people may want to compare teachings found in these ‘old’ religions with modern scientific findings – either to debunk religion or to add credibility to a particular religion. This reflects the uneasy relationship between science and religion in the West, ever since scientific community positing secular-materialism have claimed to have deposed traditional god of religion (specifically, they refer to Christianity) and installed “Science” in its place.
For the case of the Qur’an, Muslims have never had this problem since to us the author of the Book is also the Creator of all creations. Our understanding of empirical science and human discovery in nature is that of the inevitable outcome in man’s reflection of God’s signs in the universe and would not lead to any definitive contradiction in terms of scientific facts.
Yet science, being relative and cannot claim to have absolute certainty, is therefore inadequate to be used as a definitive criteria. There were instances where knowledge of science were insufficient then, to fathom the veracity of facts narrated in the Qur’an (some may even seem to be contrary, as in the case of 1600 CE pre-formation theory in Embryology), but this knowledge (scientific theory) later had to be discarded when new findings were discovered. Thus to try to prove the book’s veracity by agreement with current scientific findings has to be qualified – that it need not always have to be so. For the sake of accommodating the interest in some people who wish to see how the Qur’an fare when subjected with such test, we may agree perhaps, to present some astonishing findings – that if a book was from God, then whatever it stated concerning the physical universe, subsequent discovery of it by man would not render it obsolete but rather it should enhance and confirm some of them, thus showing the omniscience of the author (a Divine attribute). We have provided only a few of these to show that the Qur’an has fulfilled this criterion, although to do justice on this subject alone, whole books can be and has been written about them.
Even before Muhammad’s time, there already prevailed a well-known theory of atomism advanced by the Greek philosopher, Democritus. He and those after him have assumed that matter consists of tiny, indestructible, indivisible particles called “atoms.” The Arabs too, used to adhere to the same idea in which the word “dzar-rah” was commonly understood as referring to the smallest particle known to man - the atoms. Now modern science has discovered that this smallest unit of matter (i.e. the atom) has yet smallest elements still, and thus atom can be split into its component parts, and new terms given to these elements yet smaller than atoms – protons, neutrons, electrons, photons, quarks etc;. This is a new idea, a development of the 20th century. Yet, we may ask what has the Qur’an to say regarding this. Has it already accepted the notion that an atom was the smallest? It would be interesting to note a statement in the Qur’an:
وَلَا تَعۡمَلُونَ مِنۡ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا ڪُنَّا عَلَيۡكُمۡ شُہُودًا
“We are your witness [from the moment] when you enter upon it: for, not even an atom’s weight [of whatever there is] on earth or in heaven escapes thy Sustainer’s knowledge; and neither is there, anything smaller than that, or larger, but is recorded in [His] clear decree.”
(Qur’an: Yunus: 10: 61)
In this verse, the man’s understanding of “dzar-rah” as the smallest element is differentiated from God’s knowledge (author of the Book, not Muhammad, the man) since it qualifies even further by stating “…anything smaller than that ... is recorded in [His] clear decree.” Thus the possibility of finding of still smaller elements have been implicitly included by the author of the Book, although men (even the Arabs) at that time may not know of the existence of yet smaller elements than atom or “dzar-rah.”
The science of embryology was a recent development (circa 1950’s). Previous to this there were theories already held e.g. with regard to the biological explanation whence it was purported that the male sperm had already some formation (too small to be discerned), and when it penetrated the ovum (female egg), would thence forth continue to develop in accordance with its pre-formation into a foetus. This pre-formation theory has been held since the 1600. But, with the development of micro-biology and embryology, knowledge of chromosomes and DNA etc., in the early 20th century, this theory was shattered. Scientists were now able to discern directly human development and this idea of ‘pre-formation’ is proven untenable.
In 1980, Islamic scholars in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia began compiling verses from the Qur’an and Ahadith, of those mentioning the human growth in the womb. They then invited the well-known Canadian Professor of Embryology then, a Dr. Keith L. Moore – author of the text book “The Developing Human”. He was surprised by the accuracy of many Qur’anic descriptions, some of which even made him to re-look and then changed aspects of his textbook. Amongst the verses which cause his astonishment were these:
وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ مِن سُلَـٰلَةٍ۬ مِّن طِينٍ۬
ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ نُطۡفَةً۬ فِى قَرَارٍ۬ مَّكِينٍ۬
ثُمَّ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلنُّطۡفَةَ عَلَقَةً۬ فَخَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡعَلَقَةَ مُضۡغَةً۬
فَخَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡمُضۡغَةَ عِظَـٰمً۬ا فَكَسَوۡنَا ٱلۡعِظَـٰمَ لَحۡمً۬ا
ثُمَّ أَنشَأۡنَـٰهُ خَلۡقًا ءَاخَرَۚ
فَتَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ أَحۡسَنُ ٱلۡخَـٰلِقِينَ
“We created man from a quintessence (gentle extraction) of clay; We then placed him as a drop (nutfah) in a place of rest firmly fixed; then We made the drop into an “alaqah” (leech-like); and then We change the “alaqah” into “mudghah” (chewed-like substance); then We made out of that “mudghah” bones (‘izam); then We clothed the bones with flesh (‘lahm); then We developed out of it another creation. So blessed be Allah, the best to create.”
(Qur’an : al-Mu’minun : 23:12-15)
Back in Canada, Dr. Moore, in a television presentation mentioned his astonishment that the Qur’an (which appeared 1400 years ago) contains such description concerning stages of growth of a human foetus. In fact regarding the above verse, to him the description was so amazing. He even checked up (for the Arabic word “’alaqah”) how a leech looked like and found the similarity fitting. So too were the ‘chewed-like substance’ (Arabic word “mudghah”) where in the slide at one stage of a foetus he presented, distinct teeth-mark on it can be seen.
Dr. Moore also wrote a book on clinical embryology, and when he presented his findings in Toronto, it caused quite a stir with one newspaper carrying a headline: “Surprising thing found in ancient prayer book!” (This reference to the Qur’an as prayer book - demonstrates the West’s total unfamiliarity with Islam’s Holy Scripture.) When suggested by a reporter that “perhaps the Arabs could have known this things through performing crude dissections and then the information somehow may have gotten into the book!” Dr. Moore immediately pointed out that the reporter had missed the point – that, all the slides of the developing stages of the embryo which he had presented and shown had come from photos taken through a microscope. He said, “It does not matter if someone tried to discover embryology fourteen hundred years ago. They could not have seen it!”
The tectonic plates and geology, hydrology, atmospheric pressure, polarity in the creation etc.
وَأَلۡقَىٰ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَوَٲسِىَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِڪُمۡ
وَأَنۡہَـٰرً۬ا وَسُبُلاً۬ لَّعَلَّڪُمۡ تَہۡتَدُونَ
وَعَلَـٰمَـٰتٍ۬ۚ وَبِٱلنَّجۡمِ هُمۡ يَہۡتَدُونَ
“And He has placed firm mountains on earth, lest it sways with you, and rivers and path, so that you may find your way, as well as [various other] means of orientation: for [it is] by the stars that men find their way.”
(Qur’an: an-Nahl: 16: 15-16)
سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلۡأَزۡوَٲجَ ڪُلَّهَا
مِمَّا تُنۢبِتُ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَمِنۡ أَنفُسِهِمۡ
وَمِمَّا لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
“Limitless in His glory is He who has created opposites in whatever the earth produces, and in men’s own selves, and in that of which [as yet]they have no knowledge.”
(Qur’an: Ya Sin: 36: 36)
فَمَن يُرِدِ ٱللَّهُ أَن يَهۡدِيَهُ ۥ يَشۡرَحۡ صَدۡرَهُ
ۥ لِلۡإِسۡلَـٰمِۖ وَمَن يُرِدۡ أَن يُضِلَّهُ ۥ يَجۡعَلۡ
صَدۡرَهُ ۥ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجً۬ا ڪَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ
ڪَذَٲلِكَ يَجۡعَلُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرِّجۡسَ
عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ
وَهَـٰذَا صِرَٲطُ رَبِّكَ مُسۡتَقِيمً۬اۗ
“And whomsoever God wills to guide, his bosom He opens wide with willingness towards self-surrender [unto Him]; and whomsoever He wills to let go astray, his bosom He causes to be tight and constricted, as if he were climbing unto the skies: it is thus that God inflicts horror upon those who will not believe. And undeviating is this thy Sustainer’s way.”
(Qur’an: an’am: 6: 125)
Logic – using of and mention of
 References are aplenty in the book where it asked us to ponder with the phrase: “And among His wonders (signs)….” (see for example Qur’an: Surah ar-Rum: 30: 17-29; Surah ar-Ra’ad: 13: 2-4; Surah al-Hijr: 15: 19-22 as well as in Surah aali ‘Imran: 3: 190; etc.)
 One such book is “The Bible, The Qur’an and Science (Le Bible, le Coran et la Science)” by Maurice Bucaille, (English version published by North American Trust Publication, 1878)
 Recollection of lecture by a visiting Canadian scholar Dr. Gary Miller (Abul Ahad Omar) during his tour of Singapore in 1980’s.
Friday, January 23, 2009
By itself, this criterion alone is insufficient proof for divinity of a Book, yet it can be said to be an indispensable factor to be considered. We have below some of these (not exhaustive) for the purpose of fulfilling the case for the Qur’an.
THE CASE FOR AL-QUR’AN
تَبَّتۡ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ۬ وَتَبَّ مَآ
أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡهُ مَالُهُ ۥ وَمَا ڪَسَبَ سَيَصۡلَىٰ نَارً۬ا ذَاتَ
لَهَبٍ۬ وَٱمۡرَأَتُهُ ۥ حَمَّالَةَ ٱلۡحَطَبِ فِى جِيدِهَا
حَبۡلٌ۬ مِّن مَّسَدِۭ
“Doomed are the hands of Abu Lahab, and doomed is he! What will his wealth avail him, and all that he has gained? [In the life to come] he shall have to endure a fire fiercely glowing, together with his wife, that carrier of evil tales, [who bears] around her neck a rope of twisted strands.”
(Qur’an: al-Masad: 111: 1-5)
(b) The victory for Muslims at the battle of Badr
إِذۡ تَسۡتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَجَابَ لَڪُمۡ أَنِّى
مُمِدُّكُم بِأَلۡفٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ مُرۡدِفِينَ وَمَا جَعَلَهُ
ٱللَّهُ إِلَّا بُشۡرَىٰ وَلِتَطۡمَٮِٕنَّ بِهِۦ قُلُوبُكُمۡۚ وَمَا ٱلنَّصۡرُ
إِلَّا مِنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“Lo! You were praying unto your Sustainer for aid, whereupon He thus responded to you: ‘I shall verily aid you with a thousand angels following one upon another! And God ordained this only as a glad tiding, and that your hearts should thereby be at rest – since no succour can come from any save God: verily, God is almighty, wise!”
(Qur’an: al-Anfal: 8: 9-10)
The Prophet then recited a previous verse revealed to him much earlier while he was still in Makkah, which implicitly prophesized a clear victory for the believers when facing such a force, appealing for its fulfilment:
أَمۡ يَقُولُونَ نَحۡنُ جَمِيعٌ۬ مُّنتَصِرٌ۬
سَيُہۡزَمُ ٱلۡجَمۡعُ وَيُوَلُّونَ ٱلدُّبُرَ بَلِ ٱلسَّاعَةُ
مَوۡعِدُهُمۡ وَٱلسَّاعَةُ أَدۡهَىٰ وَأَمَرُّ
“Or do they say, “We are a group united, [and therefore] bound to prevail”? [Yet] the hosts [of those who deny the truth] shall be routed, and they shall turn their backs [in flight]!”
(Qur’an: al-Qomar: 54: 44-46)
And the outcome of the battle of Badr was a resounding victory for the Muslims. A feat which astonished the Quraysh and all Arab tribes in the Arabian Peninsula who had taken this small Muslim community of Madinah for granted.
لَّقَدۡ صَدَقَ ٱللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ ٱلرُّءۡيَا
بِٱلۡحَقِّۖ لَتَدۡخُلُنَّ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ءَامِنِينَ
مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمۡ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَۖ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمۡ
تَعۡلَمُواْ فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَٲلِكَ فَتۡحً۬ا قَرِيبًا
“Indeed, God has shown the truth in His Messenger’s vision: most certainly shall you enter the Inviolable House of Worship, if God so wills, in full security, with your heads shaved or your hair cut short, without fear: for He has [always] known that which you yourselves could not know. And He has ordained [for you], besides this, a victory soon to come.”
(Qur’an: al-Fath: 48: 27)
هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَرۡسَلَ رَسُولَهُ ۥ بِٱلۡهُدَىٰ
وَدِينِ ٱلۡحَقِّ لِيُظۡهِرَهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱلدِّينِ كُلِّهِۦ وَلَوۡ كَرِهَ
‘He it is who has sent forth His Messenger with [the task of] spreading guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He make it prevail over all [false] religion, however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught but God.”
(Qur’an: as-Saff: 61: 9)
وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مِنكُمۡ
وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَيَسۡتَخۡلِفَنَّهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ڪَمَا
ٱسۡتَخۡلَفَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمۡ دِينَہُمُ ٱلَّذِى
ٱرۡتَضَىٰ لَهُمۡ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّہُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ خَوۡفِهِمۡ أَمۡنً۬اۚ
يَعۡبُدُونَنِى لَا يُشۡرِكُونَ بِى شَيۡـًٔ۬اۚ وَمَن ڪَفَرَ بَعۡدَ ذَٲلِكَ
فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡفَـٰسِقُونَ
“God has promised those of you who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds that, of a certainty, He will cause them to accede to power on earth, even as He caused [some of] those who lived before them to accede to it; and that, of certainty, He will firmly establish for them the religion which He has been pleased to bestow on them; and that, of a certainty, He will cause their erstwhile state of fear to be replaced by a sense of security – [seeing that] they worship Me [alone], not ascribing divine powers to aught beside Me.”
(Qur’an: an-Nur: 24: 55)
Muslims believe that the above verse containing God’s promise has timeless relevance for them in the effort of spreading the message of Islam through peaceful means and by personal example of faith with righteous works. They do not have to fear any other power on earth which may be hateful towards them and may impede them, even threaten them with military hostility, for the Muslims are assured of God’s security for them if they have faith and do righteous deeds. An objective look to the history of the success of Islamic propagation will indicate this. The myth of Islam being spread by the sword, has been debunked by modern scholarship as false propaganda which past western historians had perpetuated by depicting out of context, the cause of wars which Muslims had to face in the course of their history. If one was to analyse the history of the spread of Islam especially in South-east Asia where today large majority of Muslims are to be found, one will discover that the Muslims acceded to power in this region not through military conquest but by peaceful proselytization. This was because of the absence of hostility of the people, kings or rulers here towards Muslims and due to tolerance shown towards all religion which gave relative freedom for people to chose their faith.
Even in China since the Tang Dynasty, Muslims were accorded powers in high positions in government as well as in the army and as skilled artisans, by Chinese emperors. Muslim presence in China has a longer history from whence their numbers significantly grew even until today, and there never was any kind of Muslim military invasion or conquest of China in the name of Islam.
Even today, in spite of the Islamaphobia and negative image projected by Western media, observers of demographic trends agree that Islam is yet the fastest growing religion in Europe and America. Some analyst even suggested that it was because Islam and the Muslims were targeted and widely highlighted, even though negatively, yet it has made many in the West to begin having interest to study this religion. Interestingly, just after September 11 tragedy, translations of the Qur’an was sold out in most bookshops in the United States of America and conversion to Islam continue to increase steadily in spite of the negative image of the Muslims profusely projected by the media. Why is this possible? Academicians and pundits may speculate on the possible factors or reasons for this anomaly, but Muslims believe this trend as indicating fulfilment of the prophecy of Islam’s triumph over other faith “no matter how hateful the unbelievers may be towards it.”
(e) The Persian will be vanquished by the Byzantine
About seven years (circa 615 CE) before the Prophet’s migration to Madina, the Persians and the Byzantines were at war. The few Muslims with the Prophet in Makkah identified with the Byzantines, who were Christians, as belonging to the monotheistic faith whereas the pagan Quraysh sympathized with the Persian. At that time, the Persian army had already conquered parts of Syria and Anatolia, Damascus and even laid siege to Constantinople, the heartland of the Byzantines. The total destruction of the Byzantine Empire seemed almost certain. When news of this imminent defeat of the Byzantines caused discomfort and gloom to the Muslims in Makkah, and much elation to the pagan Quraysh, this Qur’anic verse was revealed:
غُلِبَتِ ٱلرُّومُ فِىٓ أَدۡنَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
وَهُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِهِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُونَ فِى بِضۡعِ سِنِينَۗ لِلَّهِ
ٱلۡأَمۡرُ مِن قَبۡلُ وَمِنۢ بَعۡدُۚ وَيَوۡمَٮِٕذٍ۬ يَفۡرَحُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ
بِنَصۡرِ ٱللَّهِۚ يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَآءُۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ
“Defeated have been the Byzantines in the lands close-by; yet, notwithstanding this their defeat, they shall be victorious within a few years : for with God rests all power of decision, first and last.”
(Qur’an: ar-Rum: 30: 2-5)
In 622CE, about seven years after this prediction, the tide turned in favour of the Byzantines. In that year Emperor Heraclius succeeded in defeating the Persian at Issus south of Taurus Mountain, and subsequently drove them out of Asia Minor. By 624CE he pushed the Persian army onto the defensive and carried the war into Persian territory and by the end of 626CE, the Byzantines completely routed the Persian army – true to the Qur’anic prophesy.
(f) Concerning the Pharaoh of Moses time
In the story of the Prophet Moses a.s. and the Exodus, one verse of the Qur’an narrates thus:
وَجَـٰوَزۡنَا بِبَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ
فَأَتۡبَعَهُمۡ فِرۡعَوۡنُ وَجُنُودُهُ ۥ بَغۡيً۬ا وَعَدۡوًاۖ حَتَّىٰٓ
إِذَآ أَدۡرَڪَهُ ٱلۡغَرَقُ قَالَ ءَامَنتُ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا
ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَامَنَتۡ بِهِۦ بَنُوٓاْ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ وَأَنَا۟ مِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ
ءَآلۡـَٔـٰنَ وَقَدۡ عَصَيۡتَ قَبۡلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ
فَٱلۡيَوۡمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنۡ خَلۡفَكَ ءَايَةً۬ۚ
وَإِنَّ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ عَنۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا لَغَـٰفِلُونَ
“And We brought the children of Israel across the sea; and thereupon Pharaoh and his hosts pursued them with vehement insolence and tyranny, until [they were overwhelmed by the waters of the sea. And] when he was about to drown, [Pharaoh] exclaimed: ‘I have come to believe that there is no deity save Him in whom the children of Israel believe, and I am of those who surrender themselves to Him!
[But God said:] “Now? - when ever before this thou hast been rebelling [against Us], and hast been among those who spread corruption?[Nay,] but today We shall save only thy body, so that thou mayest be a [warning] sign unto those who will come after thee: for behold, a good many people are heedless of Our messages!”
(Qur’an: Yunus: 10:90-92)
In the above text, it states very clearly that the Pharaoh’s body will be saved, to serve as a sign for future generations. At the time of Muhammad s.a.w. (i.e. when the Qur’an was being revealed), the bodies of all the Pharaohs who are today considered (rightly or wrongly) to have something to do with the Exodus were in their tombs of the Necropolis of Thebes, on the opposite side of the Nile from Luxor. At the time however, absolutely nothing was known of this fact, and it was not until the end of the Nineteenth century that they were discovered there. As the Qur’an states, the body of the Pharaoh of the Exodus was in fact rescued.
(g) Mankind future discoveries
In appealing to mankind that this book indeed is from God, it states as a prophecy, that in future man will discover signs from nature which will vindicate its claim to Divine authorship is the truth, because its references to the wonders in creation would become known profoundly then. When they witness such profoundness, they must concede that it must have been witnessed or known to some consciousness other than man, if not at it is as though these things had existed in vain. For man to adamantly believe that only they are the only being capable of knowledge and of consciousness is arrogance. Who gave them these? God the creator of every creation including mankind surely exist, and He is witness to everything; and He is the source of the revelation in the Qur’an:
سَنُرِيهِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فِى ٱلۡأَفَاقِ وَفِىٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ.حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمۡ أَنَّهُ ٱلۡحَقُّۗ أَوَلَمۡ يَكۡفِ بِرَبِّك
أَنَّهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ شَہِيدٌ
“In time We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them that this [revelation] is indeed the truth. [Still] is it not enough [for them to know] that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?”
(Qur’an: Fussilat: 41: 53)
From the Islamic perspective, this Qur’an is regarded as a sign, the word (ayat qauliyyah) from God in as much as the whole creations in the universe including mankind itself contain God’s sign, the handiwork of God (ayat kauniyyah). Both would inevitably point man to the same author, God, Who is the Creator, Sustainer and Cherisher of the universe. The Qur’an always asserts that this universe cannot be the outcome of mere accident, not a result of chance from random chaos which certain scientist purports, and therefore would seemed to be purposeless. Rather, the Qur’an invites mankind to contemplate creation to discover that everything in nature and creation has purpose, contains manifestation of wisdom or a Will recognizable by man, which therefore inevitably indicates to him existence of a Creator, God. To merely ascribe these wonderful creations to “nature”, a formless entity randomly produced by chance (i.e. a non-being), and not from a Being which is self-aware and have a will of its own who has created - is unsatisfactory. It only reveals the arrogance of modern man who clings to the notion of creation coming out from mere chance, no matter how remote such a probability is to him. And in time thinking man will have to shed this arrogance when they discover much more fascinating, amazing discoveries which cannot be ascribe to mere chance that it will debunk the atheistic notion regarding creation, held thus far. It prophecies that man will see these “in the utmost horizons [of the universe]”, i.e. in the field of astronomy and space travel; as well as “within themselves” i.e. alluding perhaps to biology, medical sciences, genetics, psychology, etc. that knowledge which pertains to human being and his knowledge of the self.
For example in one verse, it invites mankind to analyse His creation thus:
وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بَنَيۡنَـٰهَا بِأَيۡيْدٍ۬ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ.وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ فَرَشۡنَـٰهَا فَنِعۡمَ ٱلۡمَـٰهِدُونَ وَمِن ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ.
خَلَقۡنَا زَوۡجَيۡنِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُونَ
“And it is We who have built the universe with [Our creative] power; and, verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it. And the earth have We spread out wide – and how well have We ordered it! And in everything have We created opposites, so that you might bear in mind [that God alone is One].”
(Qur’an: az-Zaariyat: 51: 47-49)
In the above, the author alludes to the creation of the universe. What is interesting or rather amazing is the phrase “We who are steadily expanding it.” – it explicitly states that the universe is not static but is ever expanding! This assertion had remained unnoticed, (rather man was not able to verify it – neither proving its truth nor to categorically refute it) - Not until the late 20th century with better understanding of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, aided with better technology in astronomy and astrophysics, better telescope etc. scientists have now confirmed that the universe indeed is expanding. This conclusion meant that the universe must have originated from a centre somewhere, a single mass or point of origin, and since then is ever expanding. This led to scientists accepting the “theory of the Big Bang” – this conclusion as well as another accepted scientific theory which states that living things must have originated from water, have already been asserted more than 1400 years ago and preserved in the Qur’an:
أَوَلَمۡ يَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ ڪَانَتَا
وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ حَىٍّۖ أَفَلَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ
“Are, then, they who are bent on denying the truth not aware that the heavens and the earth were [once] one single entity, which We then parted asunder? – and that We made out of water every living thing? – Will they not, then, [begin to] believe?”
(Qur’an: al-Anbiya’: 21: 30)
What is significant about ‘finger-tips’ and resurrection?
أَيَحۡسَبُ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ أَلَّن نَّجۡمَعَ عِظَامَهُ ۥ.بَلَىٰ قَـٰدِرِينَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن نُّسَوِّىَ بَنَانَهُ ۥ.بَلۡ يُرِيدُ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ لِيَفۡجُرَ أَمَامَهُ
“Does man think that We cannot [resurrect him and] bring his bones together again? Yea indeed, We are able to make whole his very finger-tips!”
(Qur’an: al-Qiyamah: 75: 3-4)
What is there in the finger-tips? In the past this does not mean much, but the author mentions this 1400 years ago as though anticipating that man in time will understand profoundly this reference. Today, we know of the amazing fact that no two finger-prints are exactly the same. Each one of us has a unique identity and has been sophisticatedly created. This shows that our own creation as a human cannot be random, because outcome of random chance usually will tend to produce several identical resultants. To refer then to the area of the fingertips where the pattern of each finger printing will have to be unique (not repeated ever again), yet it can fit all permutation which encompass the total number of every human being, displays the work of a conscious Will, of the Creator with the highest artistry. To deny God’s existence would be sheer arrogance because today modern man prides themselves as being creator of yet smaller micro-chips, nano technology etc. yet they ascribe the creation of their own human self with all its apparent sophistication, to no one but product of mere chance in nature. And they conveniently deny the possibility of resurrection because they have denied the existence of God. The above verse is warning man that most certainly, after death they will each be resurrected individually and as distinct as their personal identity on earth has been – because God, the Creator of man in the first instance is surely capable of re-making man whole again.
 His full name was ‘Abd al-‘Uzza ibn Abdul Mutalib. “Abu Lahab” (meaning ‘father of flame’) was a nickname on account of expressed glowing countenance (according to Baghawi, Zamakhshari and Razi).
 Authentic tradition reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal etc.
 Reported by Bukhary.
” In the Qur’anic phrase “fee-bidw-‘i si-neen” (“in a few years”) the Arabic term “bidw-‘ “denotes any number between three and ten.
 Maurice Bucaille “The Bible, The Qur’an and Science” chapter on the Exodus pp 239.