Islam provides only one prime source of information on Muhammad and the formation of Islam written within two centuries of the time he lived and it was conceived. Ishaq's Sira, or Biography, stands alone - a singular and tenuous thread connecting us to a very troubled man and time. Over the next two hundred years, other Hadith Collections were compiled by the likes of Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim. Their assemblages of oral reports, or Traditions, were said to have been inspired by Allah. They purport to convey Muhammad’s words and example. They also explain the Qur'an - a book so deficient in context and chronology, it can only be understood when seen through the eyes of the Sunnah writers.
Throughout Prophet of Doom, I have been less concerned with the validity of these sources than with what they have to say. Their message is all Muslims have. Together, the Sunnah and Qur'an are Islam. Therefore, I was willing to take them at face value.
But you don't have to dig very deep to find the truth. Even a cursory reading of the Qur'an is sufficient to prove that it is a fraud. There is no way the creator of the universe wrote a book devoid of context, without chronology or intelligent transitions. Such a creative spirit wouldn't need to plagiarize. He would know history and science and thus wouldn't have made such a fool of himself. The God who created man wouldn't deceive him or lead him to hell as Allah does. Nor would he order men to terrorize, mutilate, rob, enslave, and slaughter the followers of other Scriptures he claims he revealed, wiping them out to the last. One doesn't need a scholastic review of the Qur'anic text to disprove its veracity. It destroys itself quite nicely.
While that remains true, I believe that I owe it to readers, especially Muslims, to explore the textual evidence for the Sunnah and Qur'an. I'll start with what the Hadith has to say about the Qur'an's origins, but I'm going to dispense in short order with the circular reasoning Islamic scholars use in that they all quote the Sunnah. While there are Hadiths that say Bakr tried to assemble the Qur'an and others that credit Uthman, Muhammad’s third successor, it's like using the results of Carbon-14 dating to prove the validity of Carbon-14 dating. The source is the same.
In Bukhari's Hadith Collection alone we find a sea of disturbing and contradictory claims regarding the compilation of Allah’s book. There were differing versions, even in Muhammad’s day: "Ibn Abbas asked, 'Which of the two readings of the Qur'an do you prefer?' The Prophet answered, 'The reading of Abdallah ibn Mas'ud.' Then Abdallah came to him, and he learned what was altered and abrogated." This is reasonably clear. The Hadith says that portions of the Qur'an were conflicting, changed, and cancelled.
Tradition tells us that Muhammad had not foreseen his death, and so he had made no preparations for gathering his revelations. He left it up to his followers to sift through the conflicting versions. That's astonishing. Islam’s lone "prophet" left his Qur'an as vapor, sound waves that had long since faded.
Bragging one day, the imposter called his surahs a miracle: Bukhari:V6B61N504 "Muhammad said, 'Every Prophet was given miracles because of which people believed. But what I have been given is Divine Inspiration which Allah has revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will outnumber the followers of the other Prophets.'" If the Qur'an was his only "miracle," why would he leave it in such horrid condition? I believe the answer is clear. Muhammad knew his recitals had been nothing more than a figment of his less-than-admirable imagination, situational scriptures designed to satiate his cravings. Preserving these recitals would only serve to incriminate him, as this Hadith suggests. Muslim: C24B20N4609 "The Messenger said: 'Do not take the Qur'an on a journey with you, for I am afraid lest it would fall into the hands of the enemy.' Ayyub, one of the narrators in the chain of transmitters, said: 'The enemy may seize it and may quarrel with you over it.'"
A number of Bukhari Hadith suggest that Muhammad’s companions tried to remember what they could of what he had said, but there was a problem. Like today, those who knew the Qur'an were militants. So Abu Bakr feared that large portions would be forgotten. The best Muslims were dying on the battlefield subduing fellow Arabs. In one battle alone, most of the Qur'an's most knowledgeable reciters were lost, and many Qur'anic passages along with them. Bukhari:V6B60N201 "Zaid bin Thabit, the Ansari said, 'Abu Bakr sent for me after the (heavy) casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Muhammad’s Companions were killed). Umar was present with Bakr. "The people have suffered heavy casualties at Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be more casualties among those who can recite the Qur'an on other battlefields. A large part of the Qur'an may be lost unless you collect it." I replied to Umar, "How can I do something which Allah’s Apostle has not done?" Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal.' Zaid bin Thabit added, 'Umar was sitting with Abu Bakr and was speaking (to) me. "You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you of telling lies or of forgetfulness. You used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah’s Apostle. Therefore, look for the Qur'an and collect it (in one manuscript)." By Allah, if Abu Bakr had ordered me to shift one of the mountains (from its place) it would have been easier for me than the collection of the Qur'an. I said to both of them, "How dare you do a thing which the Prophet has not done?"
Zaid declared that collecting the Qur'an's surahs would be an impossible task. He said that it would be easier to move mountains than to turn Muhammad’s string of oral recitals into a book. The reason for this rather troubling statement is obvious: Zaid's search for Qur'anic passages forced him to rely upon carvings on the leg or thigh bones of dead animals, as well as palm leaves, skins, mats, stones, and bark. But for the most part, he found nothing better than the fleeting memories of the prophet's Companions, many of whom were dead or dying. In other words, the Qur'an, like the Hadith, is all hearsay.
There were no Muslims who had memorized the entire Qur'an, otherwise the collection would have been a simple task. Had there been individuals who knew the Qur'an, Zaid would only have had to write down what they dictated. Instead, Zaid was overwhelmed by the assignment, and was forced to "search" for the passages from men who believed that they had memorized certain segments and then compare what he heard to the recollection of others. Therefore, even the official Islamic view of things, the one recorded in their scripture, is hardly reassuring.
Worse still, the Muslim chosen for this impossible task was the one in the best position to plagiarize the Torah and Talmud. Moreover, it's obvious he did. Remember: Tabari VII:167 "In this year, the Prophet commanded Zayd bin Thabit to study the Book of the Jews, saying, 'I fear that they may change my Book.'"
As is typical of the Islamic Traditions, the more one digs, the worse it gets. Bukhari:V6B61N511 "Zaid bin Thabit said, 'I started searching for the Qur'an till I found the last two Verses of Surat At-Tauba with Abi but I could not find them with anyone other than him. They were: 'Verily there has come to you an Apostle from amongst yourselves.'" [Qur'an 9:128] This is incriminating. The 9th surah was the second to last revealed. If only one person could remember it, there is no chance those revealed twenty-five years earlier were retained. Furthermore, this Tradition contradicts the most highly touted Islamic mantra: Most Muslims contend Uthman, not Bakr, ordered the collection of the Qur'an a decade later.
And who knows what version they finally committed to paper, if in fact they ever did? Bukhari:V6B61N513: "Allah’s Apostle said, 'Gabriel recited the Qur'an to me in one way. Then I requested him and continued asking him to recite it in other ways, and he recited it in several ways till he ultimately recited it in seven different ways.'" So there were at least seven Qur'ans.
That wasn't the end of the confusion. In version two of the angelic recital, Muhammad was the reciter, not Gabriel. Bukhari:V6B61N519: "In the month of Ramadan Gabriel used to meet Muhammad every night of the month till it elapsed. Allah’s Apostle used to recite the Qur'an for him." Then, we go from every night to once a year. Bukhari:V6B61N520: "Gabriel used to repeat the recitation of the Qur'an with the Prophet once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year he died."
No wonder they couldn't remember who said what to whom. Bukhari:V6B61N549 "Allah’s Apostle said, "The example of the person who knows the Qur'an by heart is like the owner of tied camels. If he keeps them tied, he will control them, but if he releases them, they will run away." To release something you have memorized you would have to share it. So this Hadith is apparently telling Muslims not to recite surahs for fear of losing them. And speaking of losing it: Bukhari:V6B61N550 "The Prophet said, 'It is a bad thing that some of you say, "I have forgotten such-and-such verse of the Qur'an." For indeed, I have been caused to forget it. So you must keep on reciting the Qur'an because it escapes from the hearts of men faster than a runaway camel.'"
This frivolity is important because it exposes a lie that sits at the heart of Islam. It’s irrational to think God would shift from a reliance on literate Jewish prophets to an illiterate Arab. The foundation of Islamic teaching is based upon the notion that God chose Arabs because they had good memories. Therefore, they reason, the Qur'an wouldn't be changed the way the Bible was corrupted. All Islamic schools from Alazahr to Pakistan are centered around this obvious lie. The Qur'an was forgotten; it was changed and recited by so many people it was corrupted beyond hope before it ever found paper. And since the Bible started out as words on a page, it has remained true to its initial inspiration.
But it's worse than that. Muslims insist on confining the Qur'an to Religious Arabic - a language which is so hard to learn with its complex grammar and antiquated vocabulary, it's ranked second by linguists after Chinese, as the world's least hospitable communication medium. Worse still, even in Arabic much of the Qur'an cannot be understood because many words are missing and others are nonsensical. It’s not rational to think that God would choose illiterate people and such a difficult language if he wished to communicate his message to the whole world. It’s like using diesel to fuel a lamp and then hiding it in a swamp.
But there is a method to their madness. By confining the Qur'an to Religious Arabic, Islamic clerics and kings can say whatever they want - and they do. An Egyptian doctor who edited Prophet of Doom wrote: "You would be amazed how they can distort facts to deceive others."
In keeping with the camel theme, Allah’s divinely inspired messenger announced: Bukhari:V6B61N552 "The Prophet said, 'Keep on reciting the Qur'an, for Qur'an runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.'" In the interest of full disclosure, I present: Bukhari:V6B61N559 "The Prophet said, 'Why does anyone of the people say, "I have forgotten such-and-such Verses (of the Qur'an)?" I am, in fact, caused (by Allah) to forget.'" It’s a wonder anyone takes Islam seriously.
Continuing to cripple its own claim that the Qur'an was retained as Allah’s Pen wrote it: Bukhari:V6B61N561 "Umar bin Khattab said, 'I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat Al-Furqan during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle. I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited it in several ways which Allah’s Apostle had not taught me. So I was on the point of attacking him in the prayer, but I waited till he finished, and then I seized him by the collar. "Who taught you this Surah which I have heard you reciting?" He replied, "Allah’s Apostle taught it to me." I said, "You are lying. Allah’s Apostle taught me in a different way this very Surah which I have heard you reciting." So I led him to Muhammad. "O Allah’s Apostle! I heard this person reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way that you did not teach me." The Prophet said, "Hisham, recite!" So he recited in the same way as I heard him recite it before. On that Allah’s Apostle said, "It was revealed to be recited in this way." Then the Prophet said, "Recite, Umar!" So I recited it as he had taught me. Allah’s Apostle said, "It was revealed to be recited in this way, too." He added, "The Qur'an has been revealed to be recited in several different ways, so recite of it that which is easier for you." If Muhammad were alive today and made this statement, he would be branded an apostate, hunted down and murdered. As we shall soon discover, he just contradicted Islam’s holy grail.
Examining these Hadith we discover that the first "manuscript" wasn't even in Muhammad’s tongue, requiring it to be translated. Bukhari:V4B56N709 "Uthman called Zaid, Abdallah, Said, and Abd-Rahman. They wrote the manuscripts of the Qur'an in the form of a book in several copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi persons, 'If you differ with Zaid bin Thabit on any point of the Qur'an, then write it in the language of the Quraysh, as the Qur'an was revealed in their language.' So they acted accordingly." Because there was such confusion, Uthman ordered competing versions to be burned. But by destroying the evidence, he destroyed the Qur'an's credibility. Now all Muslims have is wishful thinking.
Since "wishful thinking" isn't sufficient, and since the Islamic Hadith is more conflicting than helpful, I am going to turn to reason and fact to determine what is true and what is not.
First, let's establish what Muslims believe so that we can direct our attention to determining whether or not it is accurate, or even reasonable. As evidenced by the official Islamic introduction to the Qur'an, Islamic scholars contend: "The Qur'an is one leg of two which form the basis of Islam. The second leg is the Sunnah of the Prophet. What makes the Qur'an different from the Sunnah is its form. Unlike the Sunnah, the Qur'an is quite literally the Word of Allah, whereas the Sunnah was inspired by Allah but the wording and actions are the Prophet's. The Qur'an has not been expressed using any human words. Its wording is letter for letter fixed by Allah. Prophet Muhammad was the final Messenger of Allah to humanity, and therefore the Qur'an is the last Message which Allah has sent to us. Its predecessors, such as the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels have all been superceded." Funny thing, though, the Allah-inspired Sunnah just confirmed that the Qur'an used "human words" and that it wasn't "fixed letter for letter by Allah." Muslims ought to read their own scriptures.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, including their own, Islamic scholars contend that today’s Qur'an is an identical copy of Allah’s Eternal Tablets, even so far as the punctuation, titles, and divisions of chapters are concerned. Maududi, one of the most esteemed Qur'anic scholars said, "The Qur'an exists in its original text, without a word, syllable nor even letter having been changed." (Towards Understanding Islam, Maududi) Abu Dhabi, another leading Muslim said, "No other book in the world can match the Qur'an. The astonishing fact about this Book of Allah is that it has remained unchanged, even to a dot, over the last fourteen hundred years. No variation of text can be found in it." That's factually untrue, every word of it.
The Qur'an says of itself: "Nay this is a glorious Qur'an, (inscribed) on a Preserved Tablet." (85:21) "A Scripture Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Qur'an in Arabic." (Qur'an 41:3) "We have coined for man in this Qur'an. (It is) a Qur'an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein)." (39:27) Richard Nixon tried that line too. It didn't work any better for him than it does for Allah. Over the course of these pages you'll discover why.
This appendix follows twenty-five chapters of Islamic scripture, all punctuated by my analysis, so I thought you'd be best served if this section was driven by most qualified Islamic scholars. While their findings are shocking, don't say you weren't warned. I dedicated the opening of the "Heart of Darkness" chapter (pages 115-8) to this very problem.
The best-researched scholastic analysis of the validity of the Qur'an and Sunnah was presented in 1995 by Jay Smith. In his debate at Cambridge University, he said, "Most Westerners have accepted Islamic claims at face value. They have never had the ability to argue their veracity, because the claims could neither be proved nor disproved, as their authority was derived solely from the Qur'an itself. There has also been a reticence to question the Qur'an and the prophet due to the adverse response directed upon those who were brave enough to attempt it in the past. So Westerners have been content to assume that Muslims have some evidence to substantiate their beliefs." We are about to discover that they have no such data. And what little exists serves only to destroy Islam’s credibility.
According to Wansbrough, Schacht, Rippin, Crone, and Humphreys: "Almost universally, independent scholars studying the Qur'an and Hadith, have concluded that the Islamic scripture was not revealed to just one man, but was a compilation of later redactions and editions formulated by a group of men, over the course of a few hundred years. The Qur'an which we read today is not that which was in existence in the mid-seventh century, but is a product of the eighth and ninth centuries. It was not conceived in Mecca or Medina, but in Baghdad. It was then and there that Islam took on its identity and became a religion. Consequently, the formative stage of Islam was not within the lifetime of Muhammad but evolved over a period of 300 years." While these are strong words, rest assured: the scholars prove their case.
What's interesting here is that apart from the Islamic Hadith, virtually nothing is known about the formation of Islam and the creation of the Qur'an. The scholars agree: "Source material for this period is sparse. The only manuscripts available to historians are Muslim sources. What is more, outside the Qur'an, the sources are all late. Prior to 750 A.D., and Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, we have no verifiable Muslim documents which can provide a window into Islam’s formative period. Even then, his manuscript has been lost so we are dependent upon those who wrote fifty to one hundred years thereafter. And no independent secular document exists with which to corroborate any Hadith," says Smith on behalf of Crone, Humphreys, Schacht, and Wansbrough.
"During the ninth century, Islamic sages in Baghdad attempted to describe Islam’s beginnings from their viewpoint. But much like an adult writing about their childhood, the account is colored and biased. The picture that Islam was fully developed religiously, politically, and legally by an illiterate man in one of the most primitive places on earth isn't feasible," Smith claimed in his Cambridge debate.
Sure, Muhammad’s scripture was feeble - equal parts delusional, dimwitted, and demented, regurgitated, plagiarized, and twisted - but there was too much of it to have been compiled and retained in the vacuum of the Hijaz. Central Arabia wasn't part of, or even known to, the civilized world at the time. And the Islamic Traditions themselves refer to this period as Jahiliyyah, or Period of Ignorance, implying its backwardness. "Arabia did not have an urbanized culture, nor could it boast of having the sophisticated infrastructure needed to create, let alone maintain the scenario painted by the later Traditions. There is no historical precedence for such a scenario."
Fortunately, historical experts have recently converged on Islam. They include: Dr. John Wansbrough of the University of London, Michael Cook, Patricia Crone of Oxford, now lecturing at Cambridge, Yehuda Nevo from the University of Jerusalem, Andrew Rippin from Canada, and others, including Joseph Schacht. They sought out, examined, and probed every source concerning the Qur'an and Sunnah to ascertain clues as to their origins.
In his debate, Smith said, "In order to critique the Qur'an we must go back to the beginning, to the earliest sources which we have at our disposal, to pick up clues as to its authenticity. One would assume that this should be quite easy to do, as it is a relatively new piece of literature, having appeared on the scene, according to Muslims, a mere '1,400 years ago.'"
However, the first century of Islam is dark, a veritable black hole from which nothing emerges. "The primary sources which we possess are 150 to 300 years after the events which they describe, and therefore are quite distant from those times and characters," say Nevo, Wansbrough, and Crone. "For that reason they are, for all practical purposes, secondary sources, as they rely on hearsay material. The first and largest of these sources is what is called the 'Islamic Traditions' or 'Hadith.'"
Jay Smith was kind enough to publish his research in advance of his Cambridge debate. So as not to turn this appendix into a book, I have elected to abridge his findings. While I have come to the same conclusions, the words that follow are either his or quoted from cited sources. "Islamic Traditions comprise writings which were compiled by Muslims in the late eighth to early tenth centuries concerning what the prophet Muhammad said and did back at the dawn of the seventh century. There is also one early commentary on the Qur'an. These make up the sole body of material which we have on Islam’s formation. The Qur'an by itself is difficult to follow, as it leaves readers confused while it jumps from story to story, with little background narration or explanation. So the Traditions are critical as they provide the context of place, circumstance, and time which otherwise would be lost.
"In some instances the Hadith prevails over the Qur'an. For example, the Qur'an refers to three daily prayers (surahs 11:114, 17:78, 30:17). The Hadith demands five. Muslims prostrate themselves in accordance with Muhammad’s Sunnah orders rather than Allah’s Qur'anic command.
"A number of genres exist within the Islamic Traditions. Their authors were not writers themselves, but were compilers and editors who drew together information passed to them. There were many compilers, but the four who are considered by Muslims to be the most authoritative in each genre lived and assembled their material between 750-923 A.D. (or 120-290 years after Muhammad’s death). Here is a list of their works, along with their dates: The Sira (Arabic for "Biography") is an accounting of the life of the prophet, including his raids. The earliest and most comprehensive Sira was composed by Ibn Ishaq, who died 765 A.D. His manuscript has been lost. Consequently, we are dependent on the Sira of Ibn Hisham, who died in 833. He edited Ishaq, and by his own admission, he omitted Hadith which he thought might have caused offense."
While Smith quoted Crone as his source, I'd like you to read what Hisham wrote. Ishaq:691 "For the sake of brevity, I am confining myself to the Prophet's biography and omitting some of the things which Ishaq recorded in this book in which there is no mention of the Apostle and about which the Qur'an says nothing. I have omitted things which are disgraceful to discuss, matters which would distress certain people, and such reports as al-Bakkai told me he could not accept as trustworthy - all of these things I have omitted." Since the character, deeds, and words of Muhammad presented in Hisham's edits of Ishaq are revolting, I can't imagine what would have been too "disgraceful to discuss." And in case you're wondering, the "matters that would distress certain people" comment speaks volumes. Hisham is telling us that Wansbrough, Cook, Crone, Humphries, Rippin, Margoliouth, and Muir are right. The Hadith that make up the Sunnah were composed and compiled in a highly politicized environment 200 years after Muhammad’s death. A compiler's life was dependant upon not offending the cleric-kings.
While the Sira is nothing more than a collection of Hadith arranged in chronological order, the most "official" Islamic Hadith collection was compiled by al-Bukhari, who died in 870 A.D. "These include two thousand short reports or narratives (akhbar ) on the sayings and deeds of the prophet. Of the six most famous collections of Hadith, those of al-Bukhari and Muslim are considered to be the most authoritative.
"The Ta'rikh (which means "History" in Arabic) provides chronologies of the prophet's life and the formation of Islam. The earliest and most famous was written by al-Tabari, who died in 923 A.D." Some portions of Ishaq's original manuscript, discarded by Hisham, were retained by Tabari. Of particular interest is Ishaq's recording of Muhammad’s Islamic creation accounts and his entanglement in the Quraysh Bargain and Satanic Verses. As such, the Ta'rikh, or History of al-Tabari is the oldest surviving uncensored account of Muhammad and Islam.
According to the Islamic scholars, "The Tafsir comprise the fourth most reliable Islamic source documents. They are commentaries and exegesis on the Qur'an. The earliest, most universally respected, and best known was also written by Tabari."
As an interesting aside; I am routinely threatened by Muslims who assail my character in colorful ways. They claim that I know nothing about Islam and that my words are offensive, repulsive, disgraceful, bigoted, hateful, intolerant, mean-spirited, and #%$&*. But little do they know, they are not my words. All I have done is report what Islam has to say about itself. Apart from the Sira-Ta'rikh-Hadith collections of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim, nothing is known about Muhammad or Islam. The Qur'an literally disintegrates without them, since without context and chronology, it is gibberish.
This puts Muslims in a hellish predicament. If the Hadith compilations of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim are true, their prophet was the most evil man who ever lived - a bloodthirsty pirate, a ruthless terrorist, and a sexual pervert. His Islam was nothing more than the Profitable Prophet Plan. Allah was just one of many moon rocks. That's not good. But if the Hadith compilations of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim are not true, Islam evaporates.
Returning to Smith's debate paper, we find: "Obviously, the first question which we must ask is why these Traditions were written so late, 150 to 300 years after the fact? We simply do not have any account from the Islamic community during the initial 150 years or so. Not a single document has been found that can be traced to the period between the first Arab conquests of the early seventh century and the appearance of the Sira-Ta'rikh-Hadith collections of Ishaq, Tabari, and Bukhari towards the late eighth and ninth century. 'As historians and scholars, we would expect to find, in those intervening two centuries, at least remnants of evidence for the development of Islam; yet we find nothing,' say Nevo, Crone, and Wansbrough. And that means the totality of the Islamic conquests from Spain to India were complete before the first verse of Islamic scripture was written or retained.
"A few Muslims disagree, maintaining that there is evidence of an earlier Tradition called the Muwatta by Malik ibn Anas. He died in 795 A.D. Yet even a cursory review shows this collection consists of 'schooled texts,' transmitted and developed over several generations. More incriminating still, they follow 'Shafi'i's law' which demands that all Hadith be traced to Muhammad by way of isnad. Yet the law and its observance did not come into effect until after 820 A.D."
Shafi'i was one of four Islamic Imams, who along with Malik Ibn Anas, Abu Hanefa, and Ibn Hanbul, was credited with creating Islamic Law, or Feqh. Each had their own interpretation of the Qur'an and Hadith. The most extreme, militant, and radical was Ibn Hanbul, nicknamed Hunbali. In the Middle East, his name is used to describe a highly religious or obsessed person. The Hunbali School, which is similar to that of Ibn Taymea, forms the basis of Saudi Arabian Wahabism.
The Oxford accredited curator of Ancient Islamic Manuscripts for the British Museum, Martin Lings, a devout Muslim, confirmed in his Muhammad, His Life Based Upon the Earliest Sources, that Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah was Islam’s earliest and most reliable accounting of Muhammad’s life. His "Key References" list the books upon which Prophet of Doom was based: "The Qur'an, the Ta'rikh of al-Tabari, and the topical Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim." Lings does, however, acknowledge two additional sources. The first is Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, a compilation of Muhammad’s raids. While interesting, Waqidi doesn't help explain Islam as he focused on battles and invasions. He doesn't even venerate Muhammad as a prophet. Lings also referenced Ibn Sa'd's Kitab at-Tabaqat al-Kabgir, even though its portrait of Islam’s prophet was especially vulgar.
Sir John Glubb has written eleven books on Islam and lived among Muslims for the better part of his life. Under the heading "Sources" in his The Life and Times of Muhammad, he wrote: "There are three sources for the life of Muhammad: the Qur'an, the biographies and the traditions." Glubb said, "The Qur'an's value as a source is limited for it was not intended to be a narrative of events." Glubb's next assertion is also universally acknowledged: "The second source at our disposal is the biographies and histories of the first Arab writers. The earliest of these is Muhammad ibn Ishaq, who wrote his Life of Allah’s Apostle, the Sirat Rasul Allah, about 120 years after the prophet's death. The only edition of Ibn Ishaq which has survived is that edited by Ibn Hisham, who died some 200 years after Muhammad. Another early narrative is the Al Mughazi of Waqidi, who died 197 years after the prophet." A "mughazi" is an Islamic raid or invasion inspired by Muhammad, so Waqidi's work is only valuable if one is looking to judge Muhammad’s skill as a combatant, not a prophet. "The third source of information on the life of Muhammad is the traditions, called in Arabic Hadith. This word really means a conversation or verbal report. After the death of Muhammad, his companions took great pleasure in describing him, recounting his sayings and sharing their experiences in his company. New converts listened to these stories and passed them on, until an immense quantity of such anecdotes was in circulation. The two most reliable and famous tradition collectors are Bukhari and Muslim. Bukhari compiled his massive work The True Traditions which consists of ninety-five books or sections, about 220 years after the death of Muhammad. Muslim published his Hadith collection some five or six years later."
The 20th century's most universally respected Islamic scholar is Dr. Arthur Jeffery. He headed the Department of Middle East Languages at Columbia University and taught linguistics at the School of Oriental Studies in Cairo. He wrote: "The briefest investigation suffices to reveal that the problem of Islamic sources is relatively simple, for most volumes represent little more than the working over (with fabulous and irrelevant additions and modifications) of perhaps half a handful Arabic texts of primary importance. The earliest Life of Muhammad of which we have any trace was written by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, who died in 768 C.E. i.e., 130 years after the death of the prophet. The Sirat Rasul Allah of Ibn Ishaq, however, has perished, and all we know of it is what is quoted from it (and these quotations are fortunately considerable) in the works of later writers, particularly Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari. This work of Ibn Ishaq, in addition to being the earliest known attempt at a biography, has a further importance in that, whether because the writer was somewhat of a free thinker, or because he had not come under the influence of later idealizing tendencies, his work contains very much information of a character that is distinctly unfavorable to Islam’s prophet."
To validate his point, Jeffry quotes Dr. Margoliouth's review of Muhammad’s character from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (Volume 8, p. 878) that I have shared with you twice before. It begins: "The character attributed to Muhammad in the biography of Ibn Ishaq is exceedingly unfavorable." Moving on, Arthur Jeffry concludes his review of Islamic source material by confirming the validity of what we have read from others. In his The Quest of the Historical Muhammad, he writes: "The first important source that has actually come down to us, therefore, is Waqidi's Kitab al-Maghazi, or Book of the Raids. Al-Waqidi died 822 C.E. and his book may best be consulted in the translation of the important parts of it given in Wellhausen's Muhammad in Medina (Berlin, 1882). Waqidi's work, however, has the serious limitation that it deals only with Muhammad’s campaigns.... Later Arabic biographies are of very secondary value as compared with these. And even these works are not primary sources, as they are themselves based on two sources, Tradition and the Qur'an. The most important collections of Tradition are those of Bukhari (who died in 870 C.E.), and Muslim (who died in 874 C.E.). What value can be placed on the Traditions is questionable because the dates of the Hadith collections are even later than those of the biographies."
For a little more contemporary view, let's review the sources used by F. E. Peters, as he is considered to be one of today’s most learned scholars on the subject of early Islam. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages, Literature and History at New York University and has authored four insightful books on Islam. Recognizing that the process of defining the sources define Islam is less than inspiring, Peters put his source evaluation in an appendix at the end of his, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam. In it we read: "The earliest integral example we possess of a biography is the Life of the Apostle of Allah composed out of earlier materials by the Muslim scholar Ibn Ishaq (d. 767). In some ways this, by now standard Muslim Life, looks like a Gospel, but the appearance is deceptive. Ibn Ishaq's original, before a certain Ibn Hisham (d. 833) removed the 'extraneous material' from the work, was more in the nature of a 'world history' than a biography. The story began with Creation, and Muhammad’s prophetic career was preceded by accounts of all the prophets who had gone before him. This earlier, 'discarded' section of Ishaq's work can to some extent be retrieved." Ishaq's discarded Hadith depicting Islamic Creation and Muhammad’s presentation of Biblical patriarchs was retained in Volumes I-V of The History of al-Tabari.
Speaking of the Qur'an's deficient presentation of Muhammad, Peters said: "We do not have material in the Qur'an to compose a biography of Muhammad because the book is a disjointed discourse, a pastiche of divine monologues that can be assembled into a homily or perhaps a catechism but that reveals little or nothing about the life of Muhammad and his contemporaries.... The Qur'an give us no assurance that its words and sentiments are likely to be authentic in the light of the context they were delivered and in the manner of their transmission. There are no clues as to when or where or why these particular words were being uttered.... The Qur'an is of no use whatsoever as an independent source for reconstructing the life of Muhammad. The Qur'an is not terribly useful even for reconstructing the Meccan milieu much less the life of the man who uttered its words; it is a text without context."
Peters debunks the myth that "the formation of Islam was played out in the clear light of history." He writes: "For Muhammad, unlike Jesus, there is no Josephus to provide a contemporary political context, no literary apocrypha for a spiritual context and no Qumran Scrolls to illuminate a sectarian milieu. From the era before Islam there is chiefly poetry whose contemporary authenticity is suspect, but was nevertheless used as the main vehicle of Arab history in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods. The fact remains that between the contemporary Greek and Roman sources about Arabia and the later Islamic Traditions about the same place, there is a total lack of continuity. Despite volumes of information supplied by later Muslim literary sources, we know pitifully little for sure about the political or economic history of Muhammad’s Mecca or of the religious culture from which he came."
F.E. Peters acknowledges, as do all serious scholars, that "the earliest 'biographers' of the Prophet, whose work is preserved by Ibn Ishaq and Tabari, were little more than collectors of oral reports or Hadith on the raids conducted by or under Muhammad. Yet, despite these obvious and serious disabilities, Ibn Ishaq's Biography of Allah’s Apostle, is on the face of it a coherent and convincing account and gives the historian something to work with, particularly if the latter closes his eyes to where the material came from."
While I could share the source evaluations of another score of Islamic scholars with you, suffice it to say, nothing would change. The Qur'an is regarded as deficient due to its lack of context and chronological order. Ishaq's Sira is the oldest and most reliable source, but sadly it's composed only of oral reports a century removed from their authors. Moreover, the Sira has been edited for political consumption so we are reliant on Tabari's Ta'rikh. It thus provides the oldest uncensored narrative of Muhammad’s words and deeds, his ambition, god, and religion. Bukhari and Muslim are additive but their lack of historical grounding, their late date, and their constant contradictions render them considerably less valuable. But as bad as these are, they are the best Islam has to offer.
Bemoaning the dearth of accurate and contemporaneous source material, Humphreys says: "Muslims, we would suppose, would have taken great care to record their spectacular achievements, and the highly literate and urbanized societies which they subjugated could hardly avoid coming to grips with what had happened to them. Yet all we find from this early period are sources which are either fragmentary or represent very specific or even eccentric perspectives, completely annulling any possibility of reconstructing Islam’s first century." "We have no reliable proof that any Hadith Tradition actually speaks of the life of Muhammad, or even of the Qur'an," Joseph Schacht attests after putting the Hadith through the most rigorous scholastic investigation in history.
Schacht was ingenious. He used the court records from the early ninth century to show that neither defense nor prosecution used Hadiths that have since become the backbone of Islamic law. There is no chance men would have been convicted or exonerated in an Islamic court without referencing the most appropriate Hadith unless they simply didn't exist at the time. Schacht, therefore, dates the creation of a Hadith to the time they were first used at trial. Not only did he find late dates for most Hadiths, he discovered something very sinister. Hadith with the best isnads were the most suspect.
Humphreys said: "We are asked to believe that these documents written hundreds of years later are accurate, though we are not presented with any evidence for their veracity, outside of isnads, which are nothing more than lists purporting to give the names of those from whom the oral traditions were passed down. Yet even the isnads lack any supportive documentation with which to corroborate their authenticity." Simply stated, insights into Islam’s formation, the Qur'an's creation, and Muhammad’s life are as black as the message they proclaim.
"Muslims maintain that the late dates of the primary sources can be attributed to the fact that writing was simply not used in such an isolated area or at that time. This assumption is completely unfounded, however, as writing on paper began long before the seventh century. Paper was invented in the fourth century, and used extensively throughout the civilized world thereafter. The Umayyad dynasty of Islam’s first one hundred years was headquartered in the former Byzantine area of Syria, not Arabia. Thus, unlike Arabia, it was a sophisticated society which used secretaries in the Caliphal courts, proving that manuscript writing was well developed. Yet nothing has been found to support the religion of Islam. Not a single Hadith or Qur'an fragment dates to this time or place. The Muslims who had managed to conquer and tax much of the world during Islam’s first 100 years couldn't manage to write a single scroll, surah, Sira, or Sunnah during those same 100 years.
"So we must ask how we came by the Qur'an if there was no Muslim scribe, cleric, or scholar capable of putting pen to paper before the eighth century? Muslims claim the existence of a number of codices of the Qur'an shortly after the death of Muhammad. The Uthmanic text, for example, had to have been written, otherwise it wouldn't be a text, right? Writing was available, but for some reason, no record was written prior to 750 A.D." As I am sure you're aware, these are very serious accusations. And ultimately they will lead us to a singular, undeniable, and very dire conclusion.
"Muslim scholars maintain that the absence of early documentation can be blamed on old age. They believe that the material upon which the primary sources were written either disintegrated over time, leaving us with no examples, or wore out and so were destroyed. But this argument is dubious. In the British Library we have ample examples of documents written by individuals in communities near Arabia. And they predate Islam by centuries. On display are Renewed Covenant manuscripts such as the Codex Syniaticus and the Codex Alexandrinus, both of which were written in the fourth century, 400 years before the period in question! Why have they not disintegrated with age?
"Where this argument is especially weak, however, is when we apply it to the Qur'an itself. The 'Uthman text,' the final canon supposedly compiled by Zaid ibn Thabit under the direction of the third Caliph, is considered by all Muslims to be the most important piece of literature ever written. According to Qur'an 43:2, it is the "Mother of all Books." It is considered to be an exact replica of the "Eternal Tablets" which exist in heaven (Qur'an 85:22). Muslim Traditions claim that all other competing codices and manuscripts were destroyed after 650 A.D. Even Hafsah's copy, from which the final recension was taken was burned. If this Uthmanic text was so important, why then was it not written on paper, or other material which would have lasted? And if the earliest manuscripts wore out with usage, why were they not replaced with others written on skin, like so many other older documents which have managed to survive?
"'We have absolutely no evidence of the original Qur'an,' say Schimmel, Gilchrist, Ling, and Safadi. 'Nor do we have a surviving fragment from the four copies which were made of this recension and sent to Mecca, Medina, Basra and Damascus.' Even if these copies had somehow disintegrated with time, there would surely be some fragments we could refer to. By the end of the seventh century Islam had expanded right across North Africa and up into Spain, and east as far as India. The Qur'an (according to tradition) was the centerpiece of their faith. Within that enormous sphere of influence, there should be some Qur'anic documents or manuscripts which have survived. Yet, there isn't even a scrap from that period. There is literally nothing from the first three generations of Islam to suggest that the Qur'an existed.
"While Christianity can claim more than 5,500 known Greek fragments and manuscripts of the Renewed Covenant, 10,000 Latin Vulgates and at least 9,500 other early versions, adding up to 25,000 Renewed Covenant sources still in existence (McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict), most of which were written between 25 to 350 years after the death and resurrection of Yahshua (or between the 1st and 4th centuries), Islam cannot provide a single manuscript until well into the eighth century (Lings, Safadi, Schimmel). If Christians could retain so many thousands of ancient documents, all of which were written centuries earlier, at a time when paper had not yet been introduced, forcing the dependency on papyrus which disintegrated more rapidly, then one wonders why Muslims were unable to forward a single manuscript from this much later period? This renders the argument that all the earliest Qur'ans simply disintegrated with age, absurd to the extreme."
The evidence, or lack thereof, leads us to a solitary rational conclusion. The reason no one has found a single surviving Qur'an or Hadith fragment, manuscript, or scroll dating to within a hundred years of the time they were allegedly revealed is they never existed. The Qur'an and Hadith, and therefore Islam, were born in Baghdad, not Mecca or Medina in the late eighth and early ninth centuries, not at the cusp of the seventh.
If you waited to read this appendix until you were finished with much or all of Prophet of Doom, you may be horrified knowing that what you have read from the Qur'an and Sunnah was fabricated. While that's true, it has been my contention all along that it doesn't matter. First, something happened to turn good men bad. For the first 3,000 years of recorded history the Bedouins of Arabia were self-reliant, peace- and freedom-loving peoples. They conquered no one. Then at the dawn of the seventh century everything changed. These Arabs, now Muslims, became the planet's most ruthless militants. They conquered the civilized world, plundering and taxing it for booty. They left oceans of blood and dictatorial tyrannies in their wake. Someone and something changed them. If not this man and these words, who and what?
Second, it doesn't matter what actually happened in the searing sands of the Arabian Desert. What counts is what Muslims believe happened. It is why they terrorize us, shouting: "Allahu Akbar!" While neither the Qur'an nor Sunnah are accurate reflections of Muhammad, Allah, and Islam, they are the only reflections. The faith of a billion people is based upon them. If we want to understand why they kill, if we want to stop them, we must come to understand what they believe. And to their shame, the characters, deeds, and words presented in Islam’s Hadith and Qur'an provide a believable and realistic portrayal of what turned good men bad.
I have, therefore, taken the Qur'an and Sunnah at face value, sharing the Hadith as if it were an accurate accounting of Muhammad’s words and deeds. I have exposed the Qur'an as if Muhammad actually recited it. I did this for many reasons. First, it is the only means we have to understand the motivation for terror. Second, the words contained in these books are sufficient in and of themselves to demonstrate the deceitful, hateful, intolerant, immoral, and vicious nature of Muhammad, Allah, and Islam. So by reviewing them we have killed three birds with the same stone. I have proved that Islam is without merit, rotten to its core. The motivation for Islamic terror has been exposed. We know why good Muslims are 2,000% more violent than the rest of us. And by comparing the Islamic scriptures to Mein Kampf, we have been warned: we ignore Islam at our peril.
Returning to the Cambridge debate, Smith said: "In response, Muslims contend that they have a number of the Uthman Qur'ans, original copies from the seventh century, still in their possession. I have heard Muslims claim that there are originals in Mecca, in Cairo, and in almost every ancient Islamic settlement. I have often asked them to furnish me with the data which would substantiate their antiquity; a task which, to date, nobody has been able to do." Smith's experience is typical. Islam has bred a community of liars.
"There are two documents, however, which hold some credibility, and to which many Muslims refer. These are the Samarkand Manuscript, which is located in the State Library at Tashkent, Uzbekistan (in the southern part of the Russian Federation), and the Topkapi Manuscript, which can be found in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. These two documents are old, and there has been ample etymological and paleographical analysis on them by scriptologists, as well as experts in Arabic calligraphy to warrant discussion.
"The Samarkand Manuscript is not a complete document. Out of the 114 surahs found in today’s Qur'ans, only parts of suras 2 to 43 are included. Of these much of the text is missing. The actual inscription of the text in the Samarkand codex presents a real problem, as it is very irregular. According to Gilchrist's research, 'Some pages are neatly and uniformly copied while others are quite untidy and imbalanced. On some pages the text is expansive, while on others it is severely cramped and condensed. At times the Arabic letter KAF has been excluded, while on other pages it is the dominant letter on the page. Because so many pages differ so extensively from one another, the assumption is that we have a composite text, compiled from portions of different manuscripts. Also within the text, one finds artistic illuminations between the surahs, usually made up of colored bands of red, green, blue and orange medallions.' 'These illuminations have compelled the scriptologists to give the codex a ninth century origin, as it is grossly unlikely that such embellishments would have accompanied a seventh century Uthmanic manuscript sent out to the various provinces,' say Lings, Safadi, and Gilchrist.
"The Topkapi Manuscript in Istanbul is also written on parchment. It is devoid of the diacritical points needed for vocalization and word discernment. Like the Samarkand text, it is supplemented with ornamental medallions indicating a later age. Some Muslims claim that it must be one of the original copies, if not the original one compiled by Zaid ibn Thabit. Yet one only needs to compare it with the Samarkand codex to realize that they most certainly cannot both be Uthmanic originals. For instance, the Istanbul's Topkapi codex has 18 lines to the page whereas the Samarkand codex in Tashkent has only half that many; the Istanbul codex is inscribed throughout in a very formal manner, while the text of the Samarkand codex is often haphazard and considerably distorted. One cannot believe that both were copied by the same scribes.
"Experts in manuscript analysis use three tests for ascertaining age. They test the age of the paper on which the manuscript is written, using such chemical processes as carbon-14 dating. Precise dating of between +/-20 years is possible. There has been a reticence to use it, however, even though a refined form of carbon-14, known as Accelerator Mass Spectometry, requires only 0:5 mg. of material for testing. Yet, to date, neither of these manuscripts have been tested by either method.
"Experts also study ink, analyzing its makeup, discerning where it originated, or if it had been erased and copied over. But the inaccessibility of these manuscripts for detailed research has precluded that. Those who guard them are afraid of what the tests will reveal. Thus specialists must go to the script itself to determine whether the manuscript is recent or old. This study is known as paleography. 'Styles of letter formation change over time. These changes tend to be uniform as manuscripts are written by professional scribes. Thus penmanship tends to follow easy to delineate conventions, with only gradual modifications,' says Vanderkam, an expert in the field. 'By examining handwriting in texts whose dates are known and noting their development over time, a paleographer can compare them with other undated texts and thereby ascertain the time period to which they belong.'
"When experts apply the paleographical test to the Samarkand and Topkapi manuscripts they arrive at some interesting conclusions. The evidence proves that neither could be from Uthman’s time. What most Muslims do not realize is that both manuscripts were written in Kufic Script, a script which according to modern Qur'anic experts, such as Martin Lings and Yasin Hamid Safadi, did not appear until late into the eighth century (790s or later). It was not in use at all in Mecca or Medina in the seventh century.
"The reasons for this are quite simple. The Kufic script, properly known as al-Khatt al-Kufi, derives its name from the city of Kufa in Iraq. It would be rather odd for this to be the official script of an Arabic Qur'an as it takes its name from a city that had just been conquered by Muslims." Arabic was a foreign language to the Persians. Further, for most of Islam’s first century, the new empire was ruled from Syria, the very place where written Arabic had recently evolved from Aramaic via Syriac. Baghdad and Damascus were vying for power, and at the time, the Syrians were in charge.
"We know in fact, that the Kufic script reached its perfection during the late eighth century, one hundred and fifty years after Muhammad’s death. Thereafter it became widely used throughout the Muslim world. This makes sense, since after 750 A.D. the Abbasids controlled Islam, and due to their Persian background, they moved the Islamic capital to Kufa and then Baghdad. They would thus have wanted their script to dominate, having been themselves dominated by the Umayyads who were based in Damascus for 100 years. It would be quite understandable that an Arabic script which originated in their area of influence, such as the Kufic script, would evolve into that which we find in these two documents mentioned here. (Kufa, Najaf, and Karbala are the most important towns for Shia Muslims even today.)
"Another factor which points to the late dates for these manuscripts are the format in which they are written. Due to the elongated style of the Kufic script, they both use sheets which are wider than they are tall. This 'landscape' format was borrowed from Syriac and Iraqi Christian documents of the eighth and ninth centuries. 'Earlier Arabic manuscripts were all written in the upright format,' explained Dr. Hugh Goodacre of the Oriental and India Office of Collections. 'Because the Topkapi and Samarkand Manuscripts were written in the Kufic script, and because they use the landscape format, they could not have been written earlier than 150 years after Uthman’s Recension was supposedly compiled,' Gilchrist confirmed.
"So what script would have been used in Central Arabia at that time? 'The first Arabic scripts in Mecca and Medina were al-Ma'il and Mashq,' say Lings and Safadi. The Ma'il Script came into use at the end of the seventh century and is easily identified, as it was written at a slight angle.' The word al-Ma'il means 'slanting.' The Mashq Script emerged at the same time. It is more horizontal and can be distinguished by its cursive and leisurely style. If a Qur'an had been compiled in Mecca or Medina in the seventh century, it would have had to have been written in the Ma'il or Mashq script.
"Interestingly, we have a Qur'an written in the Ma'il script, and many considered it to be the earliest Qur'an in our possession. Yet it is not found in either Istanbul or Tashkent, but, ironically, resides in the British Library in London. It has been dated towards the end of the eighth century by Martin Lings, the former curator for the manuscripts of the British Library, who is himself a practicing Muslim. Therefore, with the help of script analysis, scholars are certain that there is no known manuscript of the Qur'an which can be dated to within a century of the time it was allegedly revealed.
"Furthermore, none of the earliest Qur'an fragments can be dated earlier than 100 years after the time of Muhammad, either. In her book Calligraphy and Islamic Culture, Annemarie Schimmel underscores this point as she talks about the recently discovered Sana'a Qur'ans. 'The earliest datable fragments go back to the first quarter of the eighth century.'
"The Sana'a Qur'ans still remain a mystery, as the Yemen government has not permitted the Germans who were called to investigate them to publish their findings. There have been suggestions that the actual words in these early eighth century Qur'ans do not correspond to those which we have today. We still wait to know the whole truth." I will cover the Sana'a fragments and deal with the most recent findings surrounding them later in this appendix. Jay Smith's intuition was proved correct.
There is much discussion amongst secular historians and Islamic clerics as to the credibility of the Hadith compilations. "It now seems obvious that the early ninth century schools of law authenticated their own agenda by asserting that their doctrines came initially from the companions of the prophet and then from the prophet himself," Joseph Schacht reported.
Schacht maintains that the inspiration for his investigation was Islamic scholar al-Shafi'i, who died in 820 A.D. He stipulated that all Traditions of law must be traced back to Muhammad in order to retain their credibility. Schacht explains: "A great mass of legal traditions invoking the authority of the prophet originated during the time of Shafi'i and later. Consequently, they all express Iraqian doctrines, and not those from early Arabia or even Syria. The Iraqi legal and political agenda imposed by each school demonstrates that most Hadith were conceived in the ninth and tenth centuries, invalidating the authenticity of the Sunnah."
In his debate, Smith said something readers of Prophet of Doom already know. "Certain compilers wrote reports which contradict other reports which they had themselves collected. Tabari, for instance, often gives conflicting accounts of the same incidents. Ishaq informs us that Muhammad stepped into a political vacuum upon entering Yathrib, but then later tells us that he snatched away authority from an established ruler. He says the Jews in Medina were supportive of their Arab neighbors, and yet were molested by them. Which are we to believe? Crone points out, 'The stories are told with complete disregard for what the actual situation in Medina may have been.'
"Contradictory accounts are also given by different compilers. Many are variations on a common theme. For example, there are fifteen different versions of Muhammad being blessed by a representative of a non-Islamic religion who 'recognized' him as a future prophet. Some place this encounter during his infancy, others when he was nine; some say he was twenty-five at the time. One Tradition maintains he was recognized by Ethiopian Christians, several by a Syrian monk, many by Yathrib Jews, one by a local Hanif, while others maintain it was a sorcerer. Some even suggest it was the belly of a dead animal. Crone concludes: 'What we have here is nothing more than fifteen equally fictitious versions of an event that never took place.'
"To make matters worse, the later the Hadith, the more detail it contains. Take for instance of the death of Abdallah, Muhammad’s father. Ishaq and Tabari were agreed that Abdallah died early enough to leave Muhammad an orphan; but as to the specific details of his death, 'Allah knows best.' Waqidi, who wrote a half-century later, tells us not only when Abdallah died, but how he died, where he died, what his age was, and the exact place of his burial. According to Michael Cook, 'This evolution in the course of fifty years from uncertainty to a profusion of precise detail suggests that a fair amount of what Waqidi knew was not knowledge. This is rather typical of Waqidi. He was always willing to give precise dates, locations, names where Ishaq had none. But given that this information was all unknown earlier to Ishaq its value is doubtful in the extreme. And if spurious information accumulated at this rate in the three generations between Ishaq and Waqidi, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that even more must have accumulated in the four generations between Muhammad and Ishaq.'
"The sheer number of Hadith which suddenly appear create a good deal of skepticism. Bukhari claims that by 850 A.D. there were 600,000 Hadith about the prophet. They were so numerous the ruling Caliph asked him to pick the 'true' sayings of the prophet out of the sea of false ones. Bukhari never spelled out the criteria which guided his choice, except for vague pronouncements of 'unreliability' or 'unsuitability.' In the end, he retained only 2,602 Hadith (9,082 with repetition) - a mere 0:5%! Of the 600,000 Hadith 597,398 were false, and had to be scrapped." Thus, by the time they were collected, 99:5% of the Oral Traditions upon which Islam was based were considered spurious.
Muslim scholars maintain that the primary means for choosing between authentic and spurious Hadith was a process of oral transmission called an isnad. This, Muslims contend, was the science which was used by Bukhari, Tabari and other ninth and tenth century compilers to authenticate their compilations. The compilers provided a list of names, which supposedly traced back the authorship through time to the prophet himself. For the early Muslim, an isnad was considered essential, because it was considered to be the signature of those from whom the document came. "Unfortunately, we have no evidence the isnads are legitimate. Rather it seems that isnads were simply applied to Hadith that approved or outlawed matters of interest to the Iraqi community in generations after Muhammad had died. These isnads, and the Hadith that they supposedly authenticate, merely testify to what the exegetes chose to enact rather than to what can be deemed historical fact. Isnads weaken that which they sought to confirm. We are left with the realization that without any continuous transmission between the seventh and eighth centuries, the Traditions can only be considered a snapshot of the later ninth and tenth centuries and nothing more.
"Humphreys asserts: 'The "science" of isnad set about to authenticate isnads in the tenth century, long after the isnads in question had already been compiled, and have little relevance. Consequently, the larger the list, which includes the best known historical names, the more suspect its authenticity.'"
Therefore, from a credibility standpoint, the Islamic Hadith is no better than the Qur'an. There isn't a single glimmer of light from Islam’s first one hundred and fifty years. Archeologists haven't found a scrap of paper, a papyrus scroll, a parchment, even a rock carving to suggest a single Hadith was coined within a century of Muhammad’s death. Then, all of a sudden, two hundred and fifty years later, there are 600,000 of them that emerge out of thin air. Once again there is a singular rational explanation. They didn't exist previously. The Islamic Sunnah upon which Islam is based, upon which the Five Pillars are composed, upon which suicide bombers blast their way into infamy is a farce. Like the Qur'an, the Sunnah was created in Baghdad.
But that does not mean that they are completely untrue. I believe much of what has come down to us in the Sunnah and Qur'an is a somewhat accurate depiction of what Muhammad said and did. First, it is inconceivable that Islamic clerics just made it all up. Somebody conquered them, and something made them Muslims. Second, somebody and something motivated Arabs to stream out of Arabia wielding swords. The portrayal of Muhammad presented in the Hadith provides a perfect explanation of what caused the first Muslims to behave so badly. While the glove was woven in Mecca and decorated in Baghdad, the hand that fits inside belongs to the real Muhammad.
Third, attributing rape, incest, pedophilia, deceit, thievery, kidnapping, ransom, the slave trade, torture, and terrorist raids to a religious prophet in a land subjected to his doctrine, is unimaginable if not true. If you were going to conceive a "prophet" out of thin air, you wouldn't include the Quraysh Bargain, the Satanic Verses, the Pledge of War at Aqaba, the Naklah raid, the real motivation for Badr, the Qurayza genocide, the Khaybar rape, or Bakr's pan-Arabian war over taxes. The Persians were way too smart for that.
What I believe happened is embellishment. The Qur'an was insufficient religiously, so eighth century scholars buffed it up. You'll soon discover where they got their material. The Hadith gained fables, miracles, exaggerations, laws, religious rituals and dogma - the kind of stuff the ruling elite in Baghdad needed to control and fleece those who were now under their spell.
Having demonstrated that there isn't a shred of credible evidence (outside of Islamic behavior) to support the validity of the Qur'an and Hadith historically, scientifically, archeologically, or rationally, Smith turned his attention to its content. He began by positioning the Islamic claims so that his rebuttal would be on target. He said: "Muslims claim that the superiority of the Qur'an over all other revelations is due to its sophisticated structure and eloquent literary style. They quote from suras 10:37-8, 2:23, or 17:88, which say: "Will they say Muhammad has forged it? Answer: Bring therefore a surah like it, and call whom you may to your assistance, besides Allah, if you speak truth." This boast is echoed in the Hadith: "The Qur'an is the greatest wonder among the wonders of the world. This book is second to none in the world according to the unanimous decision of the learned men in points of diction, style, rhetoric, thoughts and soundness of laws and regulations to shape the destinies of mankind."
"Muslims conclude that since there is no literary equivalent in existence, this proves that the Qur'an is a miracle sent down from God, and not simply written by any man. It is this inimitability, or uniqueness, termed i'jaz in Arabic, which Muslims believe proves its divine authorship and thus its status as a miracle. It confirms Muhammad’s prophetic claims as well as the entire veracity of Islam."
Yet, the Qur'an is a horrid book by any criterion. It promotes terrorism. It condones rape, incest, thievery, kidnapping for ransom, the slave trade, mass murder, and worst of all, world conquest by way of the sword. It is nauseatingly repetitive, foolishly plagiarized, contradictory, and false scientifically and historically. And it's a literary disaster with grammatical errors, missing words, and meaningless words. One out of every five verses is senseless. The speaker ducks in and out of first, second and third person and doesn't know if he is one or many. He doesn't even know his name. There are no intelligent transitions. And it's jumbled together haphazardly, lacking any pretense of sensible organization by subject, context, or chronology. It’s little more than a childish rant revealing the demented, decadent, and delusional nature of its author. It is unsound in every way.
Pfander reports, "It is by no means the universal opinion of unprejudiced Arabic scholars that the literary style of the Qur'an is superior to that of other books in the Arabic language. Many doubt whether in eloquence and poetry it surpasses the Mu'allaqat by Imraul Quais, or the Maqamat of Hariri, though in Muslim lands few people are courageous enough to express such an opinion." Pfander elaborates by comparing the Qur'an with the Bible. "When we read the Old Covenant in the original Hebrew, scholars hold that the eloquence of Isaiah and the Psalms, for instance, is far greater than that of any part of the Qur'an. Hardly anyone but a Muslim would deny this." Although, that isn't saying much; all coherent writing is superior to the Qur'an.
"A comparison with the Bible brings other problems to light. When anyone familiar with it begins to read the Qur'an, it becomes immediately apparent that the Qur'an is an entirely different kind of literature, whatever its poetic merits. Whereas the Bible provides a historical context for everything, the Qur'an contains almost none. Whereas the Bible goes out of its way to explain unfamiliar terminology or territory, the Qur'an remains silent. In fact, the very structure of the Bible, consisting of a library of 66 books, written over a period of 1,500 years reveals that it is ordered according to chronology, subject, and theme. The Qur'an, on the other hand, reads more like a jumbled and confused collection of statements and ideas, many of which bear little relationship to preceding chapters and verses. Scholars admit that the Qur'an is so haphazard in its make-up it requires the utmost sense of duty for anyone to plow through it."
The German secular scholar Salomon Reinach states: "From the literary point of view, the Qur'an has little merit. Declamation, repetition, puerility, a lack of logic and coherence strike the unprepared reader at every turn. It is humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries, and that millions of men are still wasting time in absorbing it." I have also struggled with this thought. Muhammad and his scripture are so moronic and repulsive, I feel like I am wasting my time. Then I think of the billion people who are victimized by Islam. Without a voice willing to proclaim the truth, no matter how disgusting it is, they will never be freed from its clutches. Then I think of victims of Islamic terror and my soul cries out, hoping to limit future carnage. Finally, I read Isaiah's prophecies, and those by Ezekiel, Daniel, and John. If I am interpreting them correctly, within a quarter century one quarter of the earth's people are going to die as a result of Islam. That's motivation enough.
McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia maintains: "The Qur'an is exceedingly incoherent and sententious, the book being without any logical order of thought either as a whole or in its parts. This agrees with the desultory and incidental manner in which it is said to have been delivered." Even the Muslim scholar Dashti laments the literary defects: "Unfortunately the Qur'an was badly edited and its contents are very obtusely arranged. All students of the Qur'an wonder why the editors did not use the natural and logical method of ordering by date of revelation."
Fortunately, you know the answer. By arranging the Qur'an in the order it was revealed and by infusing it with the context of the Sira, the message becomes very dark and sinister. A correctly ordered Qur'an proves that the whole of Muhammad’s recital was composed to serve a covetous, immoral, criminal, and murderous agenda.
"Another problem is that the reader of the Qur'an must endure endless repetition of the same material." The stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Pharaoh, Jesus, and Mary are collectively retold one hundred times. "The frequency with which we find alternative versions of the same passage in different surahs is troublesome."
The Qur'an has other literary difficulties. "The subject matter within surahs jumps from one topic to the next, with duplications and inconsistencies in grammar, law, and theology," Rippin suggests. "The language is semi-poetical, while its grammar, due to omission, is so elliptical as to be obscure and ambiguous. There is grammatical discord such as the use of plural verbs with singular subjects, and variations in the treatment of the gender nouns (2:177; 3:59; 4:162; 5:69; 7:160; & 63:10). Many times sentences leave verbs out.
The Qur'an is replete with dangling modifiers. It has few explanations. Consequently the Qur'an is difficult to read and impossible to comprehend."
As an example, Qur'an 3:60 omits the words "This is." The verse begins: Qur'an 3:60 "the truth from your Lord, so be not from those who doubt." But it gets worse. The Arabic "word" used for "doubt" is "momtreen." It is not used anywhere else in the Arabic language except in this verse. Islamic Imams are clueless as to what momtreen means so the translators simply guessed "doubt." In Qur'an 7:160 "Fanbagesat" is a nonexistent, and thus meaningless word, as well.
Similarly, "al Sa'boon" in Qur'an 5:69 isn't a word. The only place it's used in all of the Arabic language is in this one verse. No one knows what al Sa'boon means. And there are a hundred more mystery "words" like these.
The oft-quoted and superficially tolerant verse: Qur'an 5:69 "Surely, those who believe and those who are Jews, Sabians and Christians, whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and works good, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve," was abrogated. The Noble Qur'an says: "This verse should not be misinterpreted. It was abrogated by 3:85 . After the coming of Prophet Muhammad no other religion except Islam will be accepted from anyone."
An example of a grammatical error can be found in Qur'an 63:11. "Ethny Asher Asbatan" according to Arabic grammar rules should be: "Ethny Asher Sebtan" not "Asbatan." As it was written is says: "Allah will not delay in taking a soul in it is time." He meant to say: "when it dies."
These aren't the only problems. Patricia Crone points out: "Within blocks of verses trivial dislocations are surprisingly frequent. Allah may appear in the first and third persons in the same sentence. There are omissions, which if not made good by interpretation, render the sense unintelligible."
In response to these accusations, the theologian-grammarian al-Rummani argued that the ellipses and grammatical irregularities were really positive rhetorical devices rather than evidence of rushed or sloppy writing. It’s another Islamic first: the Qur'an is so poorly written only god could have bungled it.
Muir discovered: "Al-Kindi, a Christian polemicist employed in the Caliphal court, had discussions with Muslims as early as 830 A.D., immediately after the Qur'an was canonized based upon the historical evidence. He seemed to understand the agenda and the problem. Anticipating the claim that the Qur'an itself was proof for its divine inspiration he responded by saying: 'The result of all of this process by which the Qur'an has come into being is that it's patently obvious to those who have read these scriptures that your histories are all jumbled together and intermingled. It is an evidence that many different hands have been at work therein, and caused discrepancies, adding or cutting out whatever they liked or disliked. As such, the conditions are right for a new revelation to be sent down from heaven.'" Interestingly, Al-Kindi's pronouncement as early as the ninth century agrees with the conclusion of Wansbrough over eleven hundred years later; both maintaining that the Qur'an was the result of a haphazard compilation by later redactors a century or more after the alleged revelation.
"Another difficulty with the Qur'an is scope. Some verses state that it is a book only for Arabs (surahs 14:4; 42:7; 43:3 & 46:12), while others imply it's a revelation for all mankind (34:28; 33:40). This also speaks to the problem of choosing Arabic. If God wanted to communicate to mankind in the seventh century, Greek or Latin would have been vastly superior choices.
According to Dr. Crone, "There were other people in existence at that time, who lived close by and have left us material which we can use to evaluate the Qur'an. The non-Muslim evidence is found in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Coptic literature from the time of the conquests in the seventh century onwards," Nevo shares, "We also have a large body of Arabic inscriptions, which pre-date the Muslim Traditions. Yet, these materials all contradict the Islamic Hadith and Qur'an." This evidence is particularly troubling. If Muslims wish to save Islam, they will need to come up with a ready defense. Attacking the messenger and putting their heads in the sand will not suffice.
Patricia Crone discovered: "A papyrus dated 643 A.D. speaks of the year "twenty-two," suggesting that something happened in 622 A.D. This coincides with the year of the Hijra according to Islamic Traditions." But in reality, all the papyrus did was undermine Islam. It demonstrated that written Arabic existed by 643, eleven years after Muhammad’s death. And it proves that a fragment could have survived from that period. So, since we have this meaningless fragment, why don't we have even a single document referencing the supposedly meaningful Qur'an or Hadith?
At Cambridge, Smith revealed: "Crone finds interesting support for a Hijra outside Arabia. She documents 57 attestations which come from within and without the Muslim Tradition, which point to a Hijra, or exodus, not from Mecca to Medina, but from more prominent places to garrison cities in the north. This is indeed interesting, as much of what we will learn from here on will parallel and corroborate her findings." What we are about to discover is that the Sunnah and Qur'an are not the only things to have disappeared in time. There is no evidence for Mecca either.
"According to archaeological research carried out by Creswell and Fehervari, the floor-plans of the Umayyad mosques in Iraq, one built by the governor Hajjaj in Wasit (the oldest surviving mosque), and another attributed to roughly the same period near Baghdad, have Qiblahs (the direction the mosques face to accommodate prayer) which do not point to Mecca, but are oriented to the north. The Wasit and Baghdad mosques are off by 33 and 30 degrees, respectively."
As an interesting aside, Hajjaj (Al Hajjaj Ibn Yoseef Althaqafi) was one of the most brutal Islamic governors, even by Muslim admission. He appointed Kora Ibn Shoreek Alasady as his correspondent in Egypt. They extracted the money used to build the Dome of the Rock. To "encourage" Christians to pay "their fair share" they killed all those they felt were miserly. Al Hajjaj speeches still echo throughout the Islamic world. They remain as famous and as menacing as Hitler's maniacal diatribes in Nazi Germany.
Returning to the misaligned Qiblahs, Baladhuri testifies: "The Qiblah of the first mosque in Kufa, Iraq, supposedly constructed in 670 A.D., lay to the west, when it should have pointed almost directly south. The original floor plan of the Fustat mosque of Amr b. al As, outside Cairo, shows a Qiblah pointed too far north. If you take a map you will soon find where all these mosques were pointing. The Qiblah was not towards Mecca, but to Jerusalem." Yet Muslims, ever ready with an excuse, say one should not take these findings too seriously as many mosques have misdirected Qiblahs. But the, if the Muslims were so incapable of ascertaining directions, they should all happen to be pointing to a singular location: Jerusalem?
"We find further corroboration for this direction of prayer by the Christian traveler Jacob of Edessa, who, writing in Syriac as late as 705 A.D., was a contemporary eyewitness in Egypt. In a letter, which can be found in the British Museum, he refers to the Mahgraye , saying, 'It is clear that it is not to the south that Jews and Mahgraye here in the regions of Syria pray, but towards Jerusalem their Ka'aba, the patriarchal places of their races.' (The mention of a Ka'aba does not infer Mecca since there were many Ka'abas at the time, usually in market towns. It was profitable to build a Ka'aba in trading centers so that people coming to market could also do their pilgrimage or penitence to the idols contained within.)
"The Ka'aba Jacob of Edessa was referring to in his letter was situated at 'the patriarchal places of the races.' Both the Jews and Muslims (Mahgraye) maintain a common descent from Abraham who was known to have lived and died just outside Jerusalem, as has been corroborated by recent archaeological discoveries. Therefore, according to Jacob of Edessa, as late as 705, the direction of prayer towards Mecca had not yet been established." It was to Jerusalem instead. If this is correct, as all of the archeological evidence seems to indicate, there is no chance the Qur'an was canonized before 705 A.D., as the 2nd surah expressly forbids the Jerusalem Qiblah and mandates that all Muslims turn to Mecca.
This is devastating for Islam. If there is no historical or archeological evidence for the existence of a seventh century Qur'an ordaining Mecca, or even a seventh century Mecca, what is left of Muhammad and Islam besides blood, taxes, fables, and folklore?
"New research carried out by Patricia Carlier on the Umayyad Caliphal summer palaces notes that the mosques at these palaces also had Qiblahs pointing towards Jerusalem. According to Dr. Hawting, who lectures on Islam at the University of London, no mosques have been found from the seventh century which face towards Mecca. Yet, the Qur'an devotes a score of verses on the importance of Mecca as the only acceptable Qiblah; it's called a test for Muslims. And the 2nd surah was allegedly revealed in 623 A.D.
"According to Crone, Cook, Carlier, and Hawting, the combination of the archaeological evidence from Iraq along with the literary evidence from Syria and Egypt points unambiguously to a sanctuary in Jerusalem, not Mecca. So why is there such a glaring discrepancy between the Qur'an and that which archaeology has revealed, especially as late as 705 A.D?" Smith asks.
"Muslims argue that perhaps the early Muslims didn't know the direction of Mecca. Yet these were desert traders, caravaneers! Their livelihood was dependant on traveling the desert, which has few landmarks, and, because of the sandstorms, no roads. They, above all, knew how to follow the stars. Their lives depended on it. Certainly they knew the difference between north and south. Furthermore, the mosques in Iraq and Egypt were built by civilized and sophisticated people who were adept at finding directions. If they miscalculated their Qiblahs by so many degrees they couldn't have performed the obligatory Hajj. And why are all of the earliest mosques facing Jerusalem?"
Muslims maintain that Mecca is the center of Islam, and the center of history. "It’s Allah’s Home on Earth." According to Qur'an 3:96: "The first sanctuary appointed for mankind was in Mecca, a blessed place, a guidance for the peoples." In surahs 6:92 and 42:5 we find that Mecca is the "Mother of all Settlements." The Hadith claims Adam placed the Black Stone in the original Ka'aba, while according to the Qur'an (2:125) it was Abraham and Ishmael who built/rebuilt the Ka'aba. Thus, by implication, Muslims consider Mecca to be the first and most important holy city in the world. But there is no documentary or archaeological evidence that Abraham ever went to Mecca. In fact, there is no evidence the little town existed before the creation of the Islamic scriptures in Baghdad during the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries of our era.
"From research carried out by Crone and Cook, the first and only pre-Islamic allusion to a town some have mistakenly thought was Mecca is a reference to a city called 'Makoraba' by the Greco-Egyptian geographer Ptolemy in the mid-2nd century A.D. Though it appears that this citation by Ptolemy didn't actually refer to Mecca, because the three Arabic root letters for Mecca (MKK) do not correspond with the three Arabic root letters for Makoraba (KRB), as the letters 'ma,' which precede 'koraba,' signify 'the place of.' With that report thereby discredited, there is absolutely no other mention of Mecca or its Ka'aba in any authenticated ancient document prior to the eighth century. In fact, says Crone and Cook, 'The earliest references are those found in one Syriac version of the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius.' However, while the Apocalypse itself dates from the very late seventh century, the references to Mecca are only found in much more recent copies. They are not present in the European or older Syrian traditions, and make no appearance in the Vatican Codex,' which is considered by etymologists to be the earliest text.
"The next allusion to Mecca occurs in the Continuatio Byzantia Arabica. It dates from the reign of the Caliph Hisham, who ruled between 724-743 A.D. Therefore, the earliest corroborative evidence we have for the existence of Muhammad’s home town is a century after Islam was allegedly formed. If it was so important a city, someone, somewhere would have mentioned it; yet we find nothing prior to the eighth century." How is it possible that three of Islam’s four most enduring symbols - Mecca, Qur'an, and Sunnah - show no indication whatsoever that they existed at the time they were said to exist? The trail simply vanishes the closer one gets - just like a mirage.
For Muslims, the dilemma only gets worse. Their "scriptures" fall apart at the seams if Mecca wasn't a thriving trade center. Otherwise Muhammad and Allah wouldn't have been justified in rebuking the Quraysh for their money-grubbing behavior. If the Meccans weren't rolling in riches while neglecting the needy, the Qur'an's first 90 surahs serve no purpose. If Mecca wasn't on a major trading route, if the Quraysh weren't mighty merchants, if Allah’s Ka'aba wasn't something special, then the Qur'an and Sunnah are tales of a pirate and terrorist, nothing more.
Trying to salvage their illusion, Muslims the world over steadfastly maintain that Mecca was a great and prosperous city, a thriving commercial center at the crossroads of world trade - a place on par with Jerusalem. Yet, according to all historical and archeological research, none of that is true. Bulliet, an expert on the history of trade in the ancient Middle-East, claims that Mecca wasn't on any trading route. The reason for this, he contends, is: 'Mecca is tucked away at the edge of the Peninsula. Only by the most tortured map reading can it be described as a natural crossroads for any north-south traffic and it could never have been used going from east to west.'"
His findings are corroborated by the research of Groom and Muller, who contend that Mecca simply could not have been on a trading route, as it would have entailed a detour from the natural course. In fact, they maintain the trade route must have bypassed Mecca by some one hundred miles. A great distance across jagged mountains and searing desert sands.
Patricia Crone, in her Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, adds a practical reason which is too often overlooked. "Mecca was a barren place, and barren places do not make natural halts. This is especially true when there are famously green environments close by. Why should caravans have made a steep descent into the barren valley of Mecca when they could have stopped at Ta'if? Mecca may have had a modest well and humble sanctuary, but Ta'if not only had vastly superior ones, they had a ready food supply, too."
"Furthermore," Crone says, "there was no commodity available in Arabia that could be transported such a distance, through such an inhospitable environment, and still be sold at a profit large enough to support the growth of a city in a peripheral site bereft of natural resources." Dr. Crone points out: "Some Muslims maintain it was camel herding; yet that's not possible in a barren environment." Jay Smith agreed: "According to the latest research by Kister and Sprenger, the Arabs engaged in the trade of leather and clothing; hardly items which could have founded a commercial empire of international dimensions. Moreover, Mecca couldn't have been a center for either as there was insufficient pasture and water for animals or crops. But the real problem with Mecca is that there simply was no international trade taking place in Arabia, let alone in Mecca, in the centuries prior to Muhammad’s birth.
"The Greek and Roman trade between India and the Mediterranean was entirely maritime after the first century A.D. One need only look at a map to understand why. It made no sense to ship goods across such distances by land when a waterway was available close by. Patricia Crone shares: 'In Diocletian's Rome it was cheaper to ship wheat 1,250 miles by sea than to transport it fifty miles by land. The distance from Najran, Yemen in the south, to Gaza in the north was roughly 1,250 miles. Why would the traders ship their goods from India by sea, and unload it Aden, where it would be put on the backs of much slower and more expensive camels to trudge across the inhospitable Arabian desert to Gaza, when they could simply have left it on the ships and followed the Red Sea route up the west coast of Arabia?'
"There were other problems as well. Greco-Roman trade collapsed by the third century A.D., so that by Muhammad’s time there simply was no overland route, and no Roman market to which the trade was destined. Of even more significance, the Romans and Greeks to whom the trade went, had never heard of a place called Mecca. If, according to the Islamic Hadith, Mecca was so important, certainly those to whom the trade was going would have noted its existence. Yet, we find absolutely nothing."
Crone says: "Greek trading documents refer to the towns of Ta'if (which is close to present-day Mecca), and to Yathrib (later Medina), as well as Khaybar in the north, but no mention is ever made of Mecca. Even the Persian Sassanids, who had incursions into Arabia between 300 and 570 A.D. mentioned the towns of Yathrib and Tihama, but not Mecca. That indeed is troubling. The fact is, the overland route was not used after the first century A.D., it certainly was not in use in the fifth or sixth centuries, and much of what has been written concerning Mecca should have been corrected long before now."
We are left in a quandary. If Mecca was not the great commercial center the Muslim Traditions would have us believe, if it was not known by the people who lived and wrote from that period, and, if it could not even qualify as a city during the time of Muhammad, it certainly could not have been the center of the Muslim world, much less Allah’s world. What city, therefore, was? The answer is not difficult to guess. It seems Jerusalem, not Mecca, was the center and sanctuary of the Maghrebites until around 700 A.D.
"In the center of Jerusalem sits an imposing structure called the Dome of the Rock, built by Abd al-Malik in 691 A.D. One will note, however, that the shrine is not a mosque, as it has no Qiblah (no direction for prayer). It is built as an octagon with eight pillars, suggesting it was used for circumambulation. Thus, it was built as a sanctuary - a Ka'aba. Today it is considered to be the third most holy site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. Muslims contend that it was built to commemorate the night when Muhammad went up to heaven to speak with Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and Allah concerning the number of prayers required of believers. The wild ride is known as the Mi'raj.
"Yet according to the research carried out on the inscriptions by Van Berchem and Nevo, the earliest dated writings in the edifice say nothing of the Mi'raj, but relate merely polemical quotations which are somewhat Qur'anic, and aimed primarily at Christians. In defense, Muslims are quick to point out that both surahs 17:1 and 2:143, which speak of the 'inviolable place' and the 'change of Qiblah,' can be found on the inscriptions on the drum of the dome and the doorway facing south. But they would do well to read the history of those inscriptions. What they will find is that neither are original, nor are they old. The entire dome was rebuilt by al Zaher Li-L'zaz in 1022 A.D. due to an earthquake in 1016. It was rebuilt again in 1318. But the inscriptions (both the lower surah 36 and the upper surah 17) were not added until 1876 by Abdul Hamid II. The present doors (where Qur'an 2:144 is found) were not erected until 1545. The southern portico where Qur'an 2:143 is written was not built until 1817 by the Sultan Mahmud.
Van Berchem and Nevo attest: "The earliest inscriptions speak of the Messianic status of Jesus, the acceptance of prophets, Muhammad’s receipt of revelation, and the use of the terms 'Islam' and 'Muslim.' It must be noted, however, that even their early dates are in doubt due to a different design attributed to the supporting pillars from an account by the Persian Nasir Khusran in 1047 A.D."
"If the sanctuary was built to commemorate such an important event in the history of the prophet's life (the Mi'raj), why don't any of the earliest inscriptions refer to it? They don't mention the Night's Journey, Heaven, the Winged Buraq, nor Abraham, Moses, Gabriel, or Allah. There isn't even a mention of the required five prayers, which was the purpose of the event. How can this be rationalized?"
Driving home his point, Jay Smith said, "The best explanation is that the story of the Mi'raj either didn't exist or wasn't known at this time, but was redacted later on during the Abbasid period. This becomes apparent when one realizes that the idea of five prayers also emanated from this time. The only Qur'anic references to prayer occur in suras 11:114; 17:78; 20:130; and 30:17, and they require three, not five prayers. If the Qur'an is from Allah, why doesn't he know how many prayers a Muslim is required to perform? And why, if the Dome of the Rock were built to commemorate that momentous event, does it say nothing about it until a 1,000 years later?
"It’s obvious this building was originally constructed for purposes other than commemorating the Mi'raj. The fact that such an imposing structure was built so early suggests that this was deemed to be Allah’s House and therefore the center of the Islamic world up until at least the dawn of the eighth century. From what we read earlier of Muhammad’s intention to fulfill his and Ishmael's birthright, by taking back the land of Abraham - Israel - it makes sense that Abd al-Malik would build this structure as the centerpiece of that fulfillment. Is it no wonder then, that when Abd al-Malik built the dome in which he proclaimed the prophetic mission of Muhammad, he placed it over the temple rock itself.
"According to Islamic Tradition, the Caliph Suleyman, who reigned as late as 717 A.D., went to Mecca to ask about the Hajj. Hadiths composed in the ninth century claim that he was not satisfied with the response he received there, and so chose to follow 'abd al-Malik's ritual rite of circumambulating the Dome of the Rock.' This fact, according to Dr. Hawting at the University of London, confirms: 'There was considerable confusion as to where Allah’s Ka'aba was as late as the early eighth century.'"
Having seen three of Islam’s four most enduring symbols vanish, we are about to lose the fourth. Apart from the Sunnah, Muhammad is yet another mirage. "The earliest Islamic documents," according to Dr. John Wansbrough, "say nothing of Muhammad’s prophethood. The Maghazi, stories of his battles and campaigns, are the earliest Islamic documents we possess. Yet they tell us little about Muhammad’s life or teachings. In fact, nowhere in these documents is there a veneration of Muhammad as a prophet!" The earliest comprehensive history of Muhammad’s life, Ishaq's Sira steadfastly refrains from calling Muhammad a "prophet," too.
"In order to know who Muhammad was, and what he did, we must, therefore, go back to the time he lived, and look at the evidence which existed then, and still exists, to see what it can tell us about this infamous figure. The most prolific artifacts are Arabic rock inscriptions scattered all over the Syro-Jordanian deserts and the Peninsula, especially in the Negev. The man who has done the most research on these rock inscriptions is Yehuda Nevo. In his Towards a Prehistory of Islam, he explains that the Arab religious carvings dating from this period show a monotheistic creed. However, he contends that this creed 'is demonstrably not Islam, but a dogma from which Islam could have developed.'" Sounds like Qusayy's religious scam to me.
Nevo found: "In the Arab religious documents during the Sufyani period there is a complete absence of any reference to Muhammad. Neither the name Muhammad nor any Muhammadan formulae (that he is the prophet of Allah) appears in any inscription dated before the Dome of the Rock - and even those are dubious. This is true whether the purpose of the inscription is religious, or whether it was used as a commemorative carving."
Muhammad’s name is absent from all seventh century inscriptions, even religious ones. Since the Sira, Ta'rikh, and Hadith, which make up the Sunnah, are almost entirely narratives on the prophet's life, making him the example all Muslims must follow, why don't we find this same emphasis in earlier Arabic inscriptions which are closer to the time he lived? Even more troubling, why is there no mention of him at all? His name isn't found in Arab inscriptions until the eighth century. What's more, the first dated occurrence of the phrase "Muhammad Rasul Allah" (Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah) was discovered on an Sassanian coin of Xalid from the year 690, which was struck in Damascus, not Arabia.
The first occurrence of what Nevo calls the "'Triple Confession of Faith,' which includes the Tawhid (Allah is one), the phrase, Muhammad Rasul Allah, and the denial of the Messiah's divinity (Rasul Allah Wa-Abduhu), is in Jerusalem, not Arabia. Before this inscription, the Muslim confession cannot be attested at all." So neither Muhammad, his prophetic status, his god, nor their profession of faith are even so much as mentioned in their land or in their century.
Nevo explains, "Religious content on rock inscriptions does not become pronounced until after 700 A.D. And though they bear religious messages, they don't mention the prophet or his message. This means that the official Arab religious confession did not include Muhammad or his claim to being a prophet within 100 years or more after his death. What they did contain was a monotheistic form of belief, belonging to a certain body of sectarian literature with developed Judeo-Christian conceptions in a particular literary style, but one which contained no features specific to any known monotheistic religion, including Islam.
"The Muhammadan formulae only began to be used on rock inscriptions of the Negev around 740 A.D. And even these," according to Nevo, "though they are Muhammadan, are not Muslim. The Muslim texts only begin to appear at the beginning of the ninth century, around 820 A.D., coinciding with the first written Qur'ans, as well as the first written Sunnah compilations."
The terms "Muslim" and "Islam" are also an enigma. While the Qur'an says in surah 33:35, that the faithful were Muslims and their religion was Islam, neither term was used until the late seventh century. According to Crone and Cook: "Islam and Muslim in the sense of 'submission' and 'one who submits' was borrowed from the Samaritans. The verb aslama has cognates in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac, but whereas neither Jewish nor Christian literature provides satisfactory precedent for the Islamic usage, we find exact parallels in the Memar Marqah, which is the most important Samaritan text of the pre-Islamic period. The sense of submission can readily be seen as intended to differentiate the Hagarene covenant from Judaism."
While hunting for archeological inscriptions, Cook found: "The quotations from the Qur'an on both the 690 coin and Dome of the Rock differ from that which we find in today’s Qur'an." Van Berchem and Grohmann are etymologists who have done extensive research on the Dome inscriptions. They maintain: "The earliest contain variant verbal forms, extensive deviances, as well as omissions from the current Qur'anic text. If these inscriptions had been derived from the Qur'an, the variants they contain prove that the Qur'an could not have been canonized prior to the late seventh century."
These sources also seem to suggest that the Qur'an was put together rather hurriedly. Dr. John Wansbrough reports, "The book is strikingly lacking in overall structure, frequently obscure and inconsequential in both language and content, perfunctory in its linking of disparate materials, and given to the repetition of whole passages in variant versions. On this basis it must be argued that the book is the product of the belated and imperfect editing of materials from a plurality of traditions."
I believe the reason is obvious. Muhammad’s companions plundered the world on verbal instructions. And the next two generations of Muslims were too busy wielding swords and accumulating booty to be bothered with scripture. But then things settled down. The war capital of Islam moved to the more civil city of Baghdad. There, the new Caliphs had to control and fleece those others had conquered. The best way to do that was with religion. So they invented one, complete with a prophet, god, and scripture. They took the pirate who had inspired the conquests and dressed him up in fancier clothes.
Crone and Cook say, "It was under governor Hajjaj of Iraq in 705 A.D. that we have the most logical historical context for the formation of the Qur'an. In an account attributed to Leo by Levond, the governor is shown to have collected all the old Hagarene writings and replaced them with others 'according to his own taste, and disseminated them everywhere among his nation.'" This is particularly provocative considering that Hajjaj was ruthless. Some would say he was Hitleresque is his behavior and demeanor.
"All these findings give us good reason to question the authority of the Qur'an as the word of God. Archaeology, as well as documentary and manuscript evidence indicates that much of what the Qur'an maintains does not coincide with the factual data at our disposal. From the material amassed from external sources in the seventh and eighth centuries, we can conclude: that the Qiblah was initially toward Jerusalem and not fixed toward Mecca until the eighth century; that the Dome of the Rock was the first Islamic shrine; that Muhammad was not classified as Allah’s prophet until the late seventh century; that the terms Muslim and Islam were not used until the end of the seventh century; that five daily prayers as well as the Hajj were not standardized until the eighth century; that the earliest Qur'an does not appear until the mid-eighth century; and that the earliest Qur'anic writings do not coincide with the current text." Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
"All scientific, historical, and archeological data contradicts the Qur'an. The ramifications of this assertion are astounding indeed. Whichever way one chooses to interpret the facts, they leave no doubt that the Qur'an was the product of an evolving revelation, canonized during the early Abbasid period towards the mid to end of the eighth century, in what is today Iraq." It gives an altogether different insight into Revelation's "Whore of Babylon."
"Wansbrough takes the position that the Qur'an was compiled even later than the Hadith, and was used as an authoritative stamp to authenticate later rites and laws by those who were responsible for imposing Islam. If he is correct, then one would wonder whether Muhammad would even recognize the Qur'an which we possess today."
Jay Smith concluded by quoting Wansbrough: "Readers are faced with many structural and literary difficulties which bode ill for a document claiming to be the final and perfect word of God. We are presented with spurious Biblical accounts, which parallel known second century heretical Talmudic and Apocryphal documents. And while we wonder how these very human documents found their way into a supposedly non-human scripture, we are introduced to scientific peculiarities which have also found their way into its pages. These problems all point away from a divine authorship and toward a more plausible explanation: the Qur'an is simply a collection of disparate sources borrowed from surrounding pieces of literature, folk tales, and oral traditions present during the seventh and eighth centuries, and accidentally grafted in by unsuspecting later compilers of the Abbasid period."
The oldest surviving Qur'an fragments were discovered by accident in 1972, during the restoration of the Mosque of Sana'a in Yemen. Workers found a paper grave between the mosque's inner and outer roofs. While it looked to be an unappealing pile of old parchment in Arabic, fused together over the millennia, and gnawed at by rats and insects, it was really a stash containing Qur'ans. Seven years later, the curator of the mosque managed to interest a German scholar in the discovery.
The best investigative study of the Sana'a find was conducted by Toby Lester. Writing for the Atlantic Monthly, he reports: "Some of the parchment pages from the paper grave seem to date back to the eighth century, making them the oldest Qur'ans in existence. What's more, some of these fragments reveal intriguing aberrations from the standard text - devastating in that Muslims are told that the Qur'an, as it has reached us today, is the perfect and unchanging Word of God - letter for letter how he wrote it."
The first scholar to examine the Yemeni fragments was Gerd Puin, a specialist in Arabic calligraphy and Qur'anic paleography. His inspection revealed unconventional verse orderings, textual variations, and artistic embellishments. Scripture was written in a rare and early Hijaz Arabic script. And newer scripts were very clearly written over earlier, worn-out versions. Therefore, the text evolved. It wasn't simply revealed in its entirety to the prophet Muhammad in the early seventh century, as alleged.
More than 15,000 sheets of the Yemeni Qur'an's have been flattened, cleaned, treated, sorted, and assembled. They await further examination in Yemen's House of Manuscripts. Yet that is something Islamic authorities seem unwilling to allow. Puin suggests, "They want to keep this thing low-profile, as we do, although for different reasons."
Puin, and his colleague Graf von Bothmer, an Islamic historian, have published short essays on what they discovered. They continue to feel that when the Yemeni authorities realize the implications of the find, they will refuse further access. Von Bothmer, however, in 1997 shot 35,000 microfilm pictures of the fragments, and has brought the pictures back to Germany. The texts will soon be scrutinized and the findings published freely - a prospect that pleases Puin. "So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Qur'an is Allah’s unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Qur'an has been out of this discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Qur'an has a history too. The Sana'a fragments will help us accomplish this."
In his article on the Yemeni fragments, Toby Lester quoted many of the same scholars Jay Smith referenced in his Cambridge debate. A second perspective on their insights, and what this find might mean for Islam, is important as we are navigating perilous waters. One such expert was Andrew Rippin, a professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary, and a man at the forefront of Qur'anic studies. He said, "The impact of the Yemeni manuscripts is still to be felt. Their variant readings and verse orders are all very significant. Everybody agrees on that. These manuscripts say that the early history of the Qur'anic text is much more of an open question than most have suspected. The text was less stable, and therefore had less authority, than has been claimed."
Stephen Humphreys, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, says, "To historicize the Qur'an would in effect delegitimize the whole experience of the Muslim community. The Qur'an is the charter for the community, the document that called it into existence. If the Qur'an is a historical document, then the whole Islamic struggle of fourteen centuries is effectively meaningless."
The Encyclopedia of Islam says: "The closest analogue in Christian belief to the role of the Qur'an in Islam is not the Bible, but Yahshua. If Yahshua is the Word of God made flesh, the Qur'an is the Word of God made text." Questioning its sanctity or authority is thus considered an outright attack on Islam.
The prospect of a Muslim backlash has not completely deterred the critical and historical study of the Qur'an. In 1996 the Qur'anic scholar Günter Lüling wrote in The Journal of Higher Criticism: "The wide extent to which both the text of the Qur'an and the official Muslim account of Islamic origins have been distorted has been unsuspectingly accepted by Western Islamicists until now." In 1994, the journal Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam published a study by Yehuda Nevo of the Hebrew University, detailing seventh- and eighth-century religious inscriptions on stones in the Negev Desert. Dr. Nevo said, "These pose considerable problems for the traditional Muslim account of the history of Islam." That same year, and in the same journal, Patricia Crone, a historian of early Islam currently based at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, published an article in which she argued that elucidating problematic passages in the Qur'anic text is only possible by "abandoning the conventional account of how the Qur'an was born."
Patricia Crone collaborated on a book with Michael Cook, called Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. They claim that the Qur'an came into being later than is now believed. "There is no hard evidence for the existence of a Qur'an in any form before the last decade of the seventh century, and that only includes inconsistent and sparse quotations from inside the Dome of the Rock." Hagarism, however, came under immediate attack from Muslims for its heavy reliance on hostile, non-Islamic sources.
Gerd Puin says, "My idea is that the Qur'an is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information."
Crone agrees: "The Qur'an is a scripture with a history like any other, except we don't know this history and tend to provoke howls of protest when we study it. Nobody would mind the howls if they came from Westerners, but Westerners feel deferential when the howls come from other people. Muslims shout: 'Who are you to tamper with our legacy?'"
Personally, I share William Muir's perspective. Many consider Muir to be Islam’s foremost scholar. He contends: "The Qur'an is the most stubborn enemy of Civilization, Liberty, and Truth which the world has yet known."
But Muslims would rather be indoctrinated than investigate. The truth frightens them, as do facts and rational thought. They routinely reject all non-Islamic study of the Qur'an. Unable to refute the assault on their holy books with facts, history, or reason they simply assail the messengers of news they do not want to hear.
An Egyptian doctor who edited Prophet of Doom explained: "Their response is psychological. It is what you'd expect from someone who has been told that their religion is a delusion. The revelation triggers a defense mechanism of anger. This is what I faced every time I tried to discuss Islam with them. Our only hope is that Muslims learn to contain their anger and then make use of their minds. But I'm afraid that will not be tolerated by those who benefit from imposing Islam. If Islam suddenly disappears, Muslim clerics and kings, dictators and terrorists, would lose their power and funding. A million Islamic clergy, dictators, and terrorists would instantly be out of work."
Here is an example of how they respond. In 1987, in the Muslim World Book Review, an Islamic apologist, Parvez Manzoor, wrote: "The Western enterprise of Qur'anic studies is a project born of spite, bred in frustration and nourished by vengeance. The Western man, coordinating the powers of the State, Church and Academia , launched his most determined assault on the citadel of Muslim faith with arrogance, reckless rationalism, and a world-domineering fantasy of sectarian fanaticism, joined in an unholy conspiracy to dislodge the Muslim Scripture from its firmly entrenched position as the epitome of authenticity and moral unassailability. The ultimate trophy that the Western man sought by his daredevil venture was the Muslim mind itself. In order to rid the West forever of the 'problem' of Islam, Muslim consciousness must be made to despair of the cognitive certainty of the Divine message revealed to the Prophet. Only a Muslim confounded of the historical authenticity or doctrinal autonomy of the Qur'anic revelation would abdicate his universal mission and hence pose no challenge to the global domination of the West. Such, at least, seems to have been the tacit, if not the explicit, rationale of the assault on the Qur'an."
These boys have a vivid imagination. Like their prophet and god, they see conspiratorial plots being hatched everywhere. And nowhere is there a word of reason to refute any adverse claim. Muslims are so used to lying and being lied to they have become paranoid and delusional. It is part of their every day life, the perceived cause of all their troubles. If Western doctors inoculated Muslim children against disease, imams preach that they are infecting them with HIV. When Americans deliver food to feed starving families, the clerics claim the food is drugged so as to make Muslims barren. When it doesn't rain, it's a CIA plot. It’s pathetic. Yet to believe a scheme as deceptive and delusional as Islam one's mind has to be corroded, so it's not surprising.
But in a way, Manzoor was right. The motivation for exposing the Qur'an (at least mine) was "spite, bred in frustration and nourished by vengeance." The spiteful and frustrated vengeance of the 9/11 terrorists motivated me to learn why Muslims were killing us. And Manzoor was also correct in displaying his panicked paranoia over the Qur'an. By showing it to be a fraud, the curse of Islam can be removed from the world. But then, alas, Manzoor and clerics like him would have to get a real job.
Another Muslim scholar, Abu Zaid, protests: "The Qur'an is a literary text, and the only way to understand, explain, and analyze it is through a literary approach. This is essentially a theological issue." While Zaid may not like Prophet of Doom, that was precisely the approach I took - analyzing the Qur'an based upon what it said theologically. But free speech is not tolerated in Islam, nor are contrarian views. In 1995 Abu Zaid was officially branded an apostate, a ruling that was upheld by Egypt's highest court. Yet Zaid steadfastly maintains that he is a pious Muslim.
Abu Zaid sought to refute the charges of apostasy, but in the face of death threats and relentless public harassment he fled Cairo for Holland, calling the affair: "a macabre farce." Sheikh Youssef Badri, the cleric whose preaching inspired much of the opposition to Zaid, was ecstatic. "We are not terrorists; we have not used bullets or machine guns, but we have stopped an enemy of Islam from poking fun at our religion.... No one will even dare to think about harming Islam again." Sorry sheikh, not everyone is so easily dissuaded.
"Abu Zaid seems to have been justified in fearing for his life and fleeing. In 1992 the Egyptian journalist Farag Foda was assassinated by Islamists for criticizing Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. In 1994 the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed for writing an allegorical novel, structured like the Qur'an, but presenting 'heretical' conceptions of Allah and Muhammad." Algerian Mohammed Arkoun, a professor emeritus of Islamic Thought at the University of Paris, said: "Deviating from the orthodox interpretation of the Qur'an is a very sensitive business with serious implications. Millions refer to the Qur'an to explain their actions and to justify their aspirations." And therein lies the problem.
I agree with Lester: "Despite its repeated assertions to the contrary, the Qur'an is extremely difficult for contemporary readers - even highly educated speakers of Arabic - to understand. It makes dramatic shifts in style, voice, and subject matter from verse to verse. It assumes a familiarity with language, stories, and events that seem to have been lost even to the earliest Muslims, which is typical of a text that initially evolved through oral tradition. Its inconsistencies are easy to find: Allah is referred to in the first and third person in the same sentence; divergent versions of the same story are repeated at different points in the text; and divine rulings contradict one another. The Qur'an, anticipating this criticism, defends itself by asserting the right to abrogate its own message: 'Allah blots out or confirms what He pleases.'" Every independent scholastic review of the Qur'an gives Allah failing marks.
Toby Lester went on to write: "As Muslims came into contact with literate people during the eighth century, the wars of conquest were accompanied by theological challenges, in which Christians and others latched on to the confusing literary state of the Qur'an as proof of its human origins. So Muslim scholars found themselves fastidiously cataloguing the problematic aspects of Allah’s Book. These include: incomprehensible vocabulary, omitted words, foreign words, grammatical incongruities, contradictions, historical inaccuracies, scientific errors, and deviant texts. Yet for complicated political reasons, the official Islamic doctrine became that of i'jaz, or the 'inimitability' of the Qur'an. As a result, 'Allah’s Book' is recited in Religious Arabic by Muslims worldwide, the overwhelming majority of whom do not understand any form of the language." Rather than defend the Qur'an rationally and objectively, they hide under the cover of an arcane language virtually no one understands.
After studying the Yemenite parchments, Gerd Puin speaks with disdain about the traditional willingness, on the part of Muslim and Western scholars, to accept the conventional understanding: "The Qur'an claims for itself that it is 'mubeen,' or clear, but if you just look at it, you will see that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn't make sense. Many Muslims will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Qur'anic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Qur'an is not comprehensible, if it can't even be understood in Arabic, then it's not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Qur'an claims repeatedly to be clear but is not - there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on." You would have to search long and hard for a better summary of the Qur'an from a more knowledgeable source.
Stephen Humphreys, writing in Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry, concisely presented the nature of the historical vacuum surrounding the formation of Islam. "If our goal is to comprehend the way in which Muslims of the late 8th and 9th centuries understood the origins of their society, then we are very well off indeed. But if our aim is to find out what really happened in terms of reliably documented answers about the first century of Islamic society, then we are in trouble."
In his Atlantic Monthly article, Toby Lester reported: "The person who, more than anyone, has shaken up Qur'anic studies in the past few decades is John Wansbrough, formerly of the University of London. Puin is 're-reading him now' as he prepares to analyze the Yemeni fragments. Patricia Crone says that she and Michael Cook 'did not say much about the Qur'an in Hagarism that was not based on Wansbrough.' Anybody engaged in the critical study of the Qur'an must contend with Wansbrough's two main works - Qur'anic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation and The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History.
"Wansbrough applied the entire arsenal of 'instruments and techniques of Biblical scholarship - form, source, and redaction criticism - to the text.' He concluded: 'The Qur'an evolved only gradually in the eighth century, during a long period of oral transmission when Jewish and Christian sects were arguing volubly with one another well to the north of Mecca and Medina, in what are now parts of Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Iraq. The reason that no Islamic source material from the first century or so of Islam has survived,' Wansbrough said, 'is that it never existed.' Wansbrough's theories have been contagious in scholarly circles, but Muslims have found them deeply offensive. Parvez Manzoor has described Wansbrough and others as 'a naked outburst of psychopathic vandalism.'" Another messenger lies wounded by Islam’s intolerant tongue while his facts lay undisputed.
The hostility experienced was not unique. One of his most famous predecessors was a prominent Egyptian government minister, and university professor, Taha Hussein. He is considered by many Muslims to be the Dean of Arabic Studies. "Hussein devoted himself to understanding pre-Islamic Arabian poetry and ended up concluding that much of that body of work had been fabricated well after the establishment of Islam in order to lend outside support to Qur'anic mythology." This confirms that the Qur'an's vocabulary was defined and its grammar was established by fabricated sources.
Recently, the Iranian journalist and diplomat Ali Dashti, in his Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad, took his fellow Muslims to task for not questioning the traditional accounts of Muhammad’s life, much of which he called "myth-making and miracle-mongering." Ali is right. What's more, it's obvious.
Lester explains: "Such work has not come without cost, however: Taha Hussein, like Nasr Abu Zaid, was declared an apostate in Egypt; Ali Dashti died mysteriously just after the 1979 Iranian revolution. Muslims interested in challenging doctrine must tread carefully. 'I would like to get the Qur'an out of this prison,' Abu Zaid has said of the prevailing Islamic hostility, 'so that it becomes productive for our culture, which is now being strangled.' Yet the majority of Muslims are unlikely to question the orthodox approach to the Qur'an and Islamic history." There is something distasteful about being killed, I suppose.
The first thing Muslims would discover by exposing the Qur'an to rational, historic, scientific, and linguistic scrutiny is that Arabic didn't exist when the Qur'an was allegedly scribed by the Pen on Heavenly Tablets. Scholars have determined that written Arabic evolved relatively recently from Aramaic by way of Syriac. The earliest trace of Syriac turned Arabic is found, ever so appropriately, on a gravestone. The earliest document is the Qur'an itself.
By way of background, the Aramaic and Syriac languages had fewer consonants than Arabic; so, during the 7th century new letters were created by adding dots to existing ones in order to avoid ambiguities. Diacritics indicating short vowels were introduced, but they are only used so that the Qur'an can be recited. There are two types of written Arabic. Classical or Religious Arabic is the language of the Qur'an. It differs from Modern Standard Arabic in style and vocabulary, much of which is archaic - antiquated beyond understanding.
Arabic inscriptions were virtually unknown prior to the birth of Islam in the seventh century. The Nabataeans, living in modern-day Jordan, wrote with a highly cursive Aramaic alphabet that some believe eventually evolved into Classical Arabic. The first inscriptions in what could be called an Arabic alphabet are also found in Jordan. They were carved by Syriac Christians. Scholars suggest that a range of inscriptions in northern Arabia, datable to the fifth century A.D., exhibit a group of dialects which may be the ancestors of Arabic as we know it, although they cannot be termed Arabic any more than Anglo-Saxon could be termed English. The dialects of pre-Islamic South Arabia are a separate language within the Semitic family, and are not in any sense ancestors of the Qur'anic language.
As evidence that written Arabic was unknown in Mecca during Muhammad’s lifetime, Ishaq, the first to write on behalf of Islam, tells us: Ishaq:85 "The Quraysh found in the corner a writing in Syriac. They could not understand it until a Jew read it for them. It read: 'I am Allah the Lord of Mecca. I created it on the day that I created heaven and earth and formed the sun and moon.'" This was "found" as the crumbling Ka'aba stones were being restacked. The Tradition is the final Sunnah event prior to Muhammad’s battle with the cave-dwelling spirit that became the Qur'an's initial revelation. Yet no Arab could read the script from which written Arabic was derived and Allah’s "Book" was allegedly written. As always, the Islamic scripture does a better job destroying Islam than does any scholar.
Here's the bottom line: Arabic, especially in written form, is a recent phenomenon linguistically. Not only wasn't it one of man’s earliest languages, it was derived from a language that predated it by 3,000 years. There is no evidence that written Arabic existed in Mecca when the Qur'an was handed down. Therefore, it couldn't have been the language of Allah if, as the Qur'an and Hadith attest, written scrolls were given to Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus prior to the time written Arabic was conceived. And that would make Allah a liar and the Qur'an a fraud.
There is more you should know about the difference between the Classical Arabic of the Qur'an and the language spoken by Arabs today. First, there is a wide gap between written Arabic and all varieties of the spoken language. The spoken dialects aren't used in writing. The modern colloquial dialects are not mutually intelligible. In nations where Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is used, speakers must learn a local colloquial Arabic dialect to communicate as their native language and then gain a greater or lesser fluency with MSA as an educated and commercial language.
Second, there are major differences between Modern Standard Arabic and Religious Arabic. Classical Arabic only survives in some questionable poetry and in the Qur'an. Being schooled in MSA does not prepare a student to understand the Qur'an, as its form of Arabic is substantially different than MSA and massively different than spoken dialects. For example, Muslims are required to take classes called Tagweed, every year for ten years just to learn how to recite the Qur'an. But even then, they don't know what the words mean.The situation is similar to contemporary Italian and Latin. Being literate in one does not make one literate in the other.
The biggest differences between Religious and Standard Arabic are word order, grammar, and vocabulary. Classical Arabic is always verb-subject-object, rather than the more familiar subject-verb-object. If someone aims to learn Arabic he or she would have to learn MSA, Classical, and at least one local dialect. To make matters worse, Arabic has a wicked property - diglossia - a phenomenon in which two forms of one language are used side by side. One variety is formal; the other is mostly oral.
This brings us to a shocking conclusion. Less than three percent of the world's population speaks Arabic, and almost all of them need to have the Qur'an translated into MSA before they can understand it. Thus the Islamic apologists who scream that the Qur'an must remain in Religious Arabic are saying that they only want an infinitesimal fraction of three percent of the world's population to understand it. Fortunately, you know why.
The Qur'anic headaches get worse, not better. During the Qur'an's first century, the emerging Arabic alphabet did not have diacritical points, and letters were omitted. The text Uthman canonized, if this actually occurred, was a bare consonantal text with no marks to show verse endings, to distinguish consonants, or vowels. Without them it is impossible to comprehend the intended meaning of the text. In the introduction to his translation of the Qur'an, Dawood said, "Owing to the fact that the Kufic script in which the eighth and ninth century Qur'ans were originally written contained no indication of vowels or diacritical points, variant readings are recognized by Muslims as of equal authority."
For example, without the diacritical points the following words would be indistinguishable: repent, plant, house, girl, and abide, as are rich and stupid. There are thousands of Arabic words like these in which the meaning changes depending upon the placement of the diacritical marks. Yet the Qur'an was neither revealed nor initially scribed with these designations. Thus men had to guess as to what Allah was trying to say. The Qur'an cannot be letter for letter as Allah revealed it, because without the diacritical points and vowels, the identity of most letters is missing.
The principles of sound Arabic demand that words have diacritical points and their letters should be written in complete form. It is inconceivable that God would have revealed a book in such an inferior condition. To demonstrate the magnitude of this problem, try to establish the meaning of the following sentences extracted from this page with vowels removed along with one out of every five consonants and punctuation: ltrs r ssng h smlst pncpls snd rc lngg mnd tt wrd hv dctcl pts nd hr ltrs shd be wttn n mplt fm t s nmprhnbl th gd wl hv rvd bk n ch n nrr cndn t. Now, imagine trying to do this without having an intelligible text right before your eyes. Then, to equate this challenge to deciphering the Qur'an, remove every fifth word and replace some of those that remain with an unknown vocabulary. This is what you would have left: r ssng h adgh snd rc lngg tt wrd hv dctcl nd hr ltrs shd be n mplt fm @$%&*! th wl hv rvd bk n ch n nrr cndn. Try to make sense of that.
Our Muslim brethren claim the eloquence of the Qur'an, the supremacy of its language and the beauty of its expression, is conclusive evidence that it was revealed by Allah. "Forget the content," they say. "The inimitability of the Qur'an lies in its stylistic use of the Arabic language." Yet how can this be if there are so many omissions and errors pertaining to acceptable principles of style, literary expression, and grammatical rules? We even find many words that don't have any meaning whatsoever and aren't found in any language. Simply stated: much of the vocabulary no one understands, and much of the text is oblique, obscure, and senseless.
But even so, the eloquence of any book cannot be an evidence of the greatness of the scripture or proof that it was revealed by God. What must be important to God in communicating to man is not manifest in style, but substance - the power, truth, clarity, and usefulness of the revelation. And this is where the Qur'an fails so miserably.
Speaking of style over substance, in his Comprehensive Commentary on the Qur'an, E.M. Wherry, wrote: "Though it be written in prose, the Qur'an's sentences generally conclude in a long continued rhyme. And for the sake of rhyme the sense of what is being communicated is often interrupted. Unnecessary repetitions too frequently made, appear still more ridiculous in a translation, where the ornament, such as it is, for whose sake they were made, cannot be perceived. However, the Arabians are so mightily delighted with this jingling, that they employ it in their most elaborate compositions, which they also embellish with frequent passages of, and allusions to, the Qur'an. It is probable the harmony of expression which the Arabians find in the Qur'an considerably contributes to making them relish the doctrine and efficacy of argument which, had they been nakedly proposed without this rhetorical dress, might not have so easily prevailed." He is saying that Muhammad’s militants, like Hitler's minions, were stupefied. Beguiled by a twist of phrase, they were unable to see the base and vile nature of the words themselves. The Qur'an is Islam’s equivalent of rap music.
Stealing a page from Mein Kampf, Wherry concludes: "Very extraordinary effects are related to the power of words well chosen and artfully placed, whose power can ravish or amaze. Wherefore much has been ascribed to the best orators. He must have a very bad ear who is not uncommonly moved with the very cadence of a well-turned sentence; and Muhammad seems not to have been ignorant of the enthusiastic operation of rhetoric on the minds of men. For this reason he has not only employed his utmost skill in reciting his pretend revelations. The sublimity of style might seem worthy of the majesty of that being whom he gave out to be the author of them as he tried to imitate the prophetic manner of the Old Covenant. Yet it was only in the art of oratory wherein he succeeded, strangely captivating the minds of his audience. Some thought it the effect of witchcraft and enchantment, as the Qur'an itself so often complains."
Wherry's conclusion squares quite nicely with Muhammad’s confessions: Bukhari:V6B60N662 "Allah’s Apostle said, 'Some eloquent speech is as effective as magic.'" Bukhari:V9B87N127 "The Prophet said, 'I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with terror so the treasures of the earth were given to me.'"
The Qur'an is like a Christmas tree. Decorated in its holiday finery it appears beautiful, but the tree is dead. Worse, everything it stands for is pagan, even Satanic. The festival, its date, tree, ornaments, and exchange of presents all date back to the time when they were used to celebrate Lucifer's birthday. Trimmings can be deceiving. (The Messiah was born on the Feast of the Tabernacles, in September.) The Winter Solstice was the birthday of Tammuz, the Babylonian sun god - and all sun gods thereafter. Lucifer wasn't called the Morning Star for nothing.
But the ornamentation of the Qur'an was only superficial. The document is severely flawed. Jalal al-Suyuti dedicated a hundred pages of his Itqan to explain the difficult vocabulary. Under the title "Foreign Words of the Qur'an," he suggests that Religious Arabic is incomprehensible. "No one can have a comprehensive knowledge of the language except the Prophet." (Itqan II: p 106)
Jalal al-Suyuti states: "Muhammad’s Companions, in whose dialect the Qur'an was given, failed to understand the meaning of many words, and thus they said nothing about them. When Bakr was asked about the Qur'anic statement "and fruits and fodder," he said, "What sky would cover me or what land would carry me if I say what I do not know about the book of Allah?" Umar read the same text from the rostrum, then said, "This fruit we know, but what is fodder?" Then he was asked about the Qur'anic text in chapter 13 discussing Mary and he had no response. Ibn Abbas said that he did not know the meanings of Qur'an verses like 69:36, 9:114, and 18:9." Suyuti suggests that only Muhammad knew what they meant. Ibn Warraq in his scholastic anthologies on Islam compiled thick tomes of linguistic analysis of the Qur'an's hopelessly incoherent condition.
Next we learn that the Arabic found in the Qur'an was not as sound as Muslims infer. In the Itqan, Suyuti speaks explicitly about things which no one expected to find in the Qur'an - defects which shouldn't occur in any Arabic book. For example: "The word 'after' was used twice in the Qur'an so as to mean 'before.' As in this saying: (Qur'an 21:105) "We have written in the Psalms after the reminder" while He meant 'before.' Also in this saying, (Qur'an 79:30) "The earth after that He has extended" while Allah meant "before" Suyuti wrote: "The Qur'an means: 'Do not those who believe "know" that had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind', but Allah said, 'Do not those who believe "despair"' instead of writing "know" as He meant. The Qur'an says in chapter 2:23: '... your martyrs', but it means, '... your partners.' The martyr is supposed to be the person who is killed, but here it means 'your partners.' In chapter 20 on Joseph the word 'bakhs' (too little) is meant to be 'haram' (forbidden or sacred). In surah 46, Mariam, the phrase, 'I certainly will stone you' is interpreted to mean, 'I certainly will curse you', and not, 'I will kill you' as its literal meaning suggests."
In another illustration from Itqan, Jalal al-Suyuti claims, "In the Rahman chapter the Qur'an says: 'The "nagm" stars and the trees bow themselves.' Here the Qur'an does not mean by 'the stars' but the plants which do not have trunks. This is the far-fetched meaning." There are hundreds of similar examples, but there is no need to belabor the point.
As you have read, the Qur'an claims that it is pure Arabic. But this is not true. First the erroneous claim: Qur'an 46:2 "And before it the Book of Musa was a guide: and this is a Book verifying (it) in the Arabic language." Qur'an 39:27 "We have coined for man in this Qur'an every kind of parable in order that they may receive admonition. (It is) a Qur'an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein)." Qur'an 41:3 "A Scripture Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Qur'an in Arabic, for people who have knowledge." Then... Qur'an 41:44 "Had We sent this as a Qur'an (in the language) other than Arabic, they would have said: 'Why are not its verses explained in detail? What! (a foreign tongue, a Book) not in Arabic and (a Messenger) an Arab?' Say (to them, Muhammad): 'It is a Guide to those who believe; and for those who do not believe it, there is a deafness in their ears, and a blindness in their (eyes)!'" While the purpose of these Qur'an quotes was to confirm Allah’s Arabic claims, consider the number of words the translators had to add inside the parenthesis for Allah’s message to make any sense.
The Qur'an's Arabic assertion is not true. There are many foreign words or phrases which are employed in the Qur'an. Arthur Jeffrey, in his book Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'an devoted 300 pages to this study. One must wonder why so many foreign words were borrowed, as they refute the Arabic claim and put doubt on whether "Allah’s language" was sufficient to explain what Muhammad intended. According to Alphonse Mingana in his Syriac Influence on the Style of the Qur'an, almost all of the religious terms found in Allah’s book were derived from Christian Syriac. These include the words Muhammad used for: priest, Christ, judgment, scribes, parable, salvation, infidel, sacrifice, resurrection, heaven, garden, angel, holy spirit, soul, sign, verse, proof, God, prayer, fast, sin, pagan, hanif, Muslim, idolatry, Qur'an, faith, creation, grace, and even the zakat tax. The proper names of Biblical personages found in the Qur'an are used in their Syriac form rather than Hebrew or Arabic. These include: Solomon, Pharaoh, Isaac, Ishmael, Israel, Jacob, Noah, Zachariah, Mary, John, Jonah, and Isa supposedly for Yahshua (commonly known as "Jesus"). The words for demons, the path, disciple, and Muhammad’s first "god," Ar-Rahman are Persian. Rahman is a derivative of the Persian name for the Devil.
Adam and Eden are Akkadian words from Mesopotamia. A more correct term for "Adam" in Arabic would be basharan or insan, meaning "mankind." "Eden" should have been janna in Arabic, which means "garden." Yet the foreign words were repeated over twenty times. Abraham, sometimes recorded as Ibrahim, comes from the Assyrian language. The correct Arabic equivalent is Abu Raheem.
Harut and Marut are Persian names for angels. The Persian "sirat" meaning "the path" was repeated thirty times yet it has an Arabic equivalent, altareeq, which was not used. The Persian "hoor" meaning "disciple" has the Arabic equivalent, tilmeeth. Guess which one Allah selected?
The Persian word "Jinn" meaning "demon" is used consistently throughout the Qur'an. Entire surahs are dedicated to Satan’s allies. Yet there is an Arabic equivalent, Ruh. Going the other way, Islam’s decadent heaven is called by the Persian word "firdaus" meaning "the highest or seventh heaven" rather than the Arabic equivalent, jannah.
Some of the Hebrew words are: heber, Sakinah for Yahweh's presence, maoon, taurat, jehannim, and tufan, which means deluge. The Greek word "Injil," which means "gospel" was borrowed, even though there is an Arabic equivalent, bisharah. Iblis, the Qur'anic name for Lucifer or Satan, is not Arabic. It is a corruption of the Greek word Diabolos. Muhammad said that believing in the "Day of Resurrection" was a third of his message, yet he chose a Christian Syriac derivative of an Aramaic word, Qiyama, for resurrection rather than the Arabic one.
The Qur'an is fixated on stripping the Messiah of his divinity and of the sacrifice he made to save mankind. You'd think that Allah would at least get his name right. But Christ's Qur'anic name, "Isa," is erroneously applied. Isa is the Arabic equivalent of Esau, the name for the twin brother of Jacob. The correct Arabic name for Yahshua would be Yesuwa, yet the "all-knowing" Allah doesn't mention it. And this mistake is unlike the erroneous translations of the Bible. God got his name right in Hebrew; the English translators erred. Even Arabic speaking Christians in the Middle East use the name Yesuwa for "Jesus." Only Muslims use Isa.
By way of recap, we've learned that the Qur'an wasn't, as Allah claims, a book memorialized on heavenly tablets, but instead consisted of evolving text. The oldest Qur'ans differ from one another and from today’s version. We discovered that the original written copies were devoid of diacritical points, so most words were chosen on the basis of educated guesses. Their meanings were interpreted two centuries after the Qur'an was revealed orally. It’s not pure Arabic as Allah claims, as there are a plethora of foreign words. There are also missing words, wrong words, and meaningless words. And most important of all, the leading authority of the initial script of the Qur'an, studying the oldest fragments says: "One out of every five verses is indecipherable - meaningless in any language."
Moving on, let's see if what is left is accurate historically and scientifically. Allah’s claim, "This Qur'an must be the Word of Allah or they would have found fault in it" is torn asunder if it contains obvious errors of fact.
A number of online websites were kind enough to chronicle a plethora of errors, so I have elected to present some of their findings. Let's start with the historical blunders. The Qur'an claims that the Samaritans enticed Israel to make a golden calf when Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Yet the term "Samaritan" hadn't been coined when the events depicted in Exodus unfolded. The Samaritan people could not have existed during the life of Moses as they didn't become a nation until 800 years later. The city of Samaria was founded by King Omri in 875 B.C. and the Samaritans became a "people" just after the tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians in the seventh century B.C. Thus Qur'an 20:85-7, and 95-7 are erroneous.
In surahs 7:124 and 26:49 we find Pharaoh admonishing his sorcerers because they believed in the superiority of Moses' power over them. Pharaoh threatens his magicians with cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides (Qur'an 5:33), and then says they will all die on the cross by crucifixion. But there were no crosses in those days. Crucifixion was first practiced by the Assyrians in 519 B.C. under the rule of Darius I. Encyclopedia Britannica reports: "Crucifixion did not exist any earlier than about 500 B.C." Muslim scholar, Malik Farid, in his translation of the Qur'an, says in footnote 1033, "Incidentally, the verse shows that even as early as in the time of Moses the punishment of death by crucifixion was in vogue" Rather than admit the Qur'an contained a historical blunder, a Muslim rewrote history to bail his god out.
Another interesting historical glitch occurs when Allah erroneously calls Mary the sister of Aaron in Qur'an 19:28, and the daughter of Imran (the Biblical Amran) in 66:12. While Miriam and Mary are the same name, the first Miriam, the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Amran, died 1,500 years before Mary, the mother of Yahshua, was born. (18:28; 66:12; 20:25-30) Hearing Muslims explain away the spectacular coincidence that both Mary and Miriam had a brother named Aaron and a father named Amram sounds identical to the way Catholics perform etymological gymnastics to explain away the fourteen Bible passages that clearly state Mary had other children.
Another difficult passage concerns Haman. In the Qur'an he is a servant of Pharaoh and built a high tower to ascend up to the God of Moses (Qur'an 28:38; 29:38; 40:25,38). Yet the Babel tower dates 750 years earlier and is Babylonian, not Egyptian. The name Haman is brought to us by Esther. She writes about what became Persia 1,100 years after Pharaoh. While Muslim apologists say it is simply another Haman, the name is not Egyptian, but uniquely Babylonian.
Qur'an 17:1 claims Muhammad went to the "farthest mosque" during his Night's Journey. Consistent with the Hadith, Muslims believe this was the either the Jewish Temple or the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem. But neither existed in 620 A.D. The last Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and the Dome of the Rock was not built until 691, 59 years after Muhammad’s death! There are a host of other chronological breakdowns. One of my favorites is Allah’s insistence that Nimrod was a contemporary of Abraham.
This ignorance of history and earlier Scripture speaks of a certain isolationism, which one would expect if the stories had been transmitted orally in an environment distant from that in which they originated. Although Muslims attempt to talk their way out of Mary being called a sister of Aaron, the misplaced and mistimed the tower of Babel, and Samaritans at the time of Moses, they just throw in the towel without a fight and proclaim world history wrong when it comes to crucifixion.
As impossible as it is to reconcile these Qur'anic mumblings with the historical record, the "setting place of the sun" and the tales of Alexander the Great are more challenging still. Qur'an 18:86 states, "Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a people: We said: O Dhu al Qarnayn..." The sun does not set in a muddy spring. There are no extraterrestrials living where the sun goes to bed, and no human - and that would include Alexander the Great - has ever visited with such creatures.
In the continuing story of the Islamicized version of the Greek conqueror, we learn that Alexander's power was given to him by Allah. Muslims contend, as the Hadith confirms, that he was an Islamic prophet. He was even credited with building an enormous wall of iron and brass between two mountains, which was tall enough and wide enough to keep an entire army at bay. Muhammad claimed that a hole was cut in the wall during his lifetime. Yet it is simple to test these claims because Alexander lived in the full light of history. We know that he was a great general whose debauchery and drunkenness contributed to his untimely death. He was an idolater, actually claiming to be the son of the Egyptian god Amun. The temple drawing depicting Alexander worshiping the sun god Amun is still present in Egypt. To say that he was an Islamic prophet, and that Allah was the agent for his power, is historically inaccurate. And why is there is no evidence anywhere that Alexander built a wall of iron and brass between two mountains, a feat which would have proven him to be one of the greatest builders and engineers in history? It’s one thing that the Qur'an has no prophecies - predictions of things that are to come - but it can't even get the past right.
Moving from history to science, surahs 16:15; 21:31; 31:10; 78:6; 88:19 tell us that Allah threw down mountains like tent pegs to keep the earth from shaking. For illiterate men this would sound logical, since mountains are large and therefore, their weight would seemingly have a stabilizing effect. Yet the opposite is true. Mountains were built up, not thrown down. Rather than create stability they are the result of instability. Colliding tectonic plates push up the earth's surface forming all non-volcanic mountains.
Qur'an 16:66 says that cow's milk comes from between the excrement and the blood of the cow's abdomen. That doesn't make sense, and it isn't true. In Qur'an 16:69 we're told that honey comes out of a bee's abdomen. That's not true either. Then, Qur'an 6:38 claims all animals and flying beings form communities like humans. While some do, most don't. Take for example spiders, where in some species the female eats the male after mating. That's not exactly a community like ours. Qur'an 25:45 maintains that the sun moves to create shadows. In other surahs it is shown orbiting and swimming. Even the moon was said to be effaced and racing the sun.
Other statements make no sense at all. Qur'an 4:59 states, "Greater surely than the creation of man is the creation of the heavens and the earth; but most men know it not." This implies that greatness is only measured by size. Yet we have learned that the complexity of life is much greater than the simplicity of all stars and dirt combined. Qur'an 65:12 reads, "It is Allah who has created seven heavens and as many earths." Where might we find the other six earths? If these refer to the planets in our solar system, then they are short by two or three depending upon how one looks at Pluto.
Meteors, and even stars are said to be missiles fired at eavesdropping Satans and Jinn who seek to listen to the reading of the Qur'an in Heaven (15:16-8; 37:6-10; 55:33-5; 67:5; 72:6-9 & 86:2-3). Are we to believe that Allah throws meteors (which are made up of carbon dioxide or iron-nickel) at non-material devils who listen to heavenly council? Are we to believe that there is a Jinn convention each time there's a meteor shower? I don't think so.
Adlibbing on the Bible, Allah stammers. He claims king Solomon was taught the speech of birds and the language of ants (27:16-9). In addition to birds and ants, Jinn were forced to work for Solomon, making him whatever he pleased, such as palaces, statues, large dishes, and brass fountains (34:11-3). A malignant jinn was even commissioned to bring the Queen of Sheba's throne in the twinkling of an eye (27:38-44).
Following Solomon's lead, in the 105th surah, Allah claims to have used birds to drop clay pebbles on Abraha's army. But according to the historical record, his troops withdrew after smallpox broke out, not because they were dirty.
Qur'an 18:9-25 tells the story of "some youths and a dog who sleep for 309 years with their eyes open and their ears closed" which is a clever trick in itself. The object was to show Allah’s ability to keep people and dogs without food or water for as long as he likes. In actuality the whole story was pilfered from a 6th century Syriac Christian manuscript: The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.
In surahs 2:65-6 and 7:163-7, Allah turns people who break the Sabbath into apes for their disobedience. Darwin must have been confused because he had it the other way around.
In Qur'an 11:81 and 15:74 the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are turned upside-down with angelic wings. There are as many errors in the accounting as there are sentences. We know this because these cities have been unearthed. The Bible's account is accurate. The Qur'an's is not.
Moving on to theological errors, Qur'an 5:116 represents Christians as worshipping Mary as the third member of the Trinity. The Qur'an says: "Allah will say, O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, Make me and my mother idols beside Allah?" It was not until the seventeenth century - a thousand years after the Qur'anic revelation - that Alphonsus Liguori, (1696-1787) wrote his book, The Glories of Mary, in which he hoodwinked Catholics into promoting Mary to her present-day status. Interestingly, an insignificant and heretical sect called the Cholloridians held this view, and lived in the Middle East at the time of the Qur'an's compilation in the eighth century. While this might have been be the source for such a gross error, an all-knowing God should have been aware of a core tenet of the Christian faith. But Allah got the whole of Yahshua the Messiah's message and mission wrong.
In an effort to show the scientific accuracy of the Qur'an, Muslim's are quick to say that the embryology revealed in it was beyond what man had discovered for himself. However, Muslims are completely unaware that all of the information in the Qur'an about embryology had already been revealed many centuries before. Furthermore, it has all been shown to be scientifically inaccurate - as is the totality of the Sunnah on this subject. The alleged "genius" of the Qur'an is found in its repetitive stories concerning the stages of formation of a fetus (surahs 22:5; 23:12-4; 40:67; 75:37-9; & 96:1-2). According to these surahs it passes through four stages, starting with torab, which means dust. Using a little hocus pocus, Muslims scholars translate torab as sperm, just to keep Allah from looking foolish. It becomes nutfah and alaqa. Though no one seems to know what the words "nutfah" or "alaqa" mean. Many have tried, contending that they are something which clings, a clot, an adhesion, an embryonic lump, and even chewed-up meat. The alaqa then creates motgha and uncreated motgha. But no one has a clue what motgha means. So some brilliant scholar suggested: "bones that are finally covered by flesh." The alaqa to bone stage is also in Qur'an 23:13-4 which introduces us to: "We made him a nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge) in the safe lodging. Then We made the nutfah into an alaqa (piece of thick coagulated blood), then a motgha (little lump of bones clothed in flesh)." A more accurate translation would be: "I haven't got a clue."
Yet even the translators' wishful interpretations are inaccurate. Neither sperm nor dust becomes a "lump" or "adhesion." There is no clotting stage during the formation of a fetus. "The thing which clings" does not stop clinging to become "chewed meat," but remains clinging for nine months. And the skeleton is not formed independent of flesh. In fact, muscles form several weeks before there are calcified bones, rather than arriving later as the Qur'an implies. It is, therefore, ironic to hear the above accounts cited as proof by modern day apologists of the Qur'an's divine authority, when in fact, once the truth is known, the very science which they hope to harness for their cause proves to be their undoing.
Before we leave professor Allah’s lecture on gestation, I'd like to repeat what Muhammad had to say about such things: Bukhari:V4B55N549 "Allah’s Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, 'As regards to your creation, every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for another forty days, and then a piece of flesh for forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed. Then the soul is breathed into his body. So a man may do deeds characteristic of the people of the Hell Fire...but he enters Paradise. A person may do deeds characteristic of Paradise...but he will enter the Hell Fire.'" It’s easy to see where Allah got his material and why he was so confused.
In Qur'an 16:4, one of Allah’s twenty-five variant creation accounts, says, "He has created man from a sperm-drop," But this was understood 2,000 years before Allah’s book was revealed. The Bible says, "Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother." (Genesis 38:9) Another Qur'anic assertion, that "man was created from the dust of the earth" was recorded in Genesis a few millennia before Muhammad ennobled his town's rock idol.
Muslim doctors, like Ibn-Qayyim, were first to blow the whistle when they saw the Qur'anic material mirrored by a much earlier Greek doctor named Galen. He lived in 150 A.D. In 1983 Basim Musallam, Director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, concluded, "The stages of development which the Qur'an and Hadith established for believers agreed perfectly with Galen's account. In other words when it comes to embryology, the Qur'an merely echoes the scientific knowledge man had already discovered 450 years earlier."
The Qur'an is wrong when it states: "He is created from a drop emitted, proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs." This echoes the error of Hippocrates who believed semen originated from all the fluid in the body, starting from the brain down the spinal chord, before passing through the kidneys, testicles and penis. While Hippocrates error is understandable, Allah’s is not.
In addition to factual errors, grammatical mistakes are prevalent and frequent. And while that wouldn't be a big deal if we were talking about the Bible, it destroys the Qur'an. Yahweh never claimed that the Bible was inerrant. He knew better because he inspired men to write it with an imprecise tool called language. Allah wasn't that smart. He claimed that his Qur'an was perfect because he says he wrote it himself. A single deficiency in a book claiming to be written by God, and dictated letter for letter as Muhammad memorialized it, is sufficient to destroy its credibility. But as you have grown to expect, grammatical errors abound. In Qur'an 2:177, the word sabireen should be sabiroon because of its position in the sentence. In 7:160, the phrase "We divided them into twelve tribes," is written in the feminine plural: "Uthnati ashrat asbaataan." To be grammatically correct, it should have been written in the masculine plural: "Uthaiy ashara sibtaan," as all human plurals are automatically male in Arabic.
In Qur'an 4:162, the phrase "And (especially) those who establish regular prayer" is written as "al Muqiyhina al salaat," which again is in the feminine plural form, instead of the masculine plural. The following phrases, "(those who) practice regular zakat, and believe in Allah" are both correctly written in the masculine plural form. So the first phrase is simply a grammatical error. Qur'an 5:69 uses the title al Sabioon, referring to the Sabians, but it should be al Sabieen. And then we have schizophrenia. Allah refers to himself in first and third person, singular and plural, in the same surah. Subjects, verbs, and objects are routinely omitted from Allah’s sentences and dangling modifiers abound.
While there are scores of examples, copyediting Allah is hardly entertaining. So for those who are still in doubt as to whether the Qur'an is subject to grammatical errors, consider the insights of one of the last Muslim scholars to write before such revelations became a dead sentence. Dashti said: "The Qur'an contains sentences which are incomplete and not intelligible; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent ; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects... To sum up, more than one hundred Qur'anic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic have been noted." (Ali Dashti, Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad, p 48)
The Qur'an contains so many grammatical errors, Muslims defend it by finding similar errors in pre-Islamic poetry. What they don't know, however, is that this poetry was fabricated for the specific purpose of defending the Qur'an. Egyptian scholar Taha Hussein, said, "The vast quantity of what is called pre-Islamic poetry has nothing to do with the pre-Islamic literature, but it is fabricated after Islam. Thus our research will lead us to a very strange conclusion; that this poetry cannot be used in interpreting the Qur'an." (Fil-Adab al-Jaheli, Taha Hussein, Dar al-Ma'aref, p. 65-7)
As we analyzed the Qur'an's bastardization of the Biblical patriarchs, I suggested that Muhammad garnered much of his errant material from Jewish oral traditions - the Talmud, Midrash, Targum, and other apocryphal works. Here is proof as revealed by Abraham Geiger in 1833, and further documented by Jay Smith and Dr. Abraham Katsh, of New York University (The Concise Dictionary of Islam, Katsh; The Bible and the Qur'an, Jomier; Studies, Sell; Islam, Guillaume).
I'll begin with Smith's analysis. "Possibly the greatest puzzlement for Christians who pick up the Qur'an and read it are the numerous Biblical stories which bear little similarity to the original accounts. The Qur'anic versions include distortions, amendments, and some bizarre twists. So where did these stories come from, if not from the previous scriptures?
"Upon investigation we discover that much of it came from Jewish apocryphal literature, the Talmud in particular. These books date from the second century A.D. - about seven hundred years before the Qur'an was canonized. By comparing stories we destroy the myth that the Qur'an was inspired by God. The similarities between these fables, or folk tales, and the stories which are recounted in the Qur'an, are stunning."
It’s ironic in a way. By plagiarizing fairytales and claiming that they were divinely inspired histories, Muslims actually destroyed the credibility of the book they were trying to bolster. And by writing such nonsense, the Jews loaded the gun Muslims are using to kill them.
The Talmudic writings were compiled from oral folklore in the second century. They evolved like the Islamic Hadith. As Jews became more numerous and urbanized, clerics and kings desired a more comprehensive set of laws and religious traditions to help them control their subjects. So Jewish rabbis set an example for Islamic imams. They created laws and traditions and artificially traced them back to Moses via the Torah. Then to help make the medicine go down, the rabbis coated their new commands in a syrupy slew of fanciful tales. Very few Jews consider the Talmudic writings authoritative, and none consider them inspired. They are only read for the light they cast on the times in which they were conceived.
So how did these uninspired Jewish Talmudic writings come to be included in the Qur'an? There are two ways, equally likely. After being hauled into captivity by the Babylonians, many Jews elected to stay. In fact, in 1948 when Israel became a state, the fourth largest concentration of Jews was in Iraq. So the Persians who canonized the Qur'an in the eighth and ninth century would have had ample access to them. And we know that Yathrib was principally a Jewish community. According to the Qur'an and Sunnah, Muhammad bought oral scripture recitals from the Jews before he robbed, banished, enslaved, and killed them.
Some scholars believe that the Islamic compilers of the eighth to ninth centuries merely added this body of literature to the nascent Qur'anic material to fill it out and make it seem more like scripture because scores of Qur'anic tales have their roots in second century Jewish apocryphal literature. Since the devil is in the details, I beg your patience as we work our way through them.
One of the Qur'an's Cain and Abel stories is found in Qur'an 5:30. It begins much as it does in the Biblical account with Cain killing his brother Abel, though Allah doesn't seem to recall their names in this rendition. Yet the moment one unnamed brother kills the other, the story changes and no longer follows the Biblical trail. The Qur'an's variant was plagiarized from books drafted centuries after the Old Covenant had been canonized, after even the Renewed Covenant was written: the Targum of Jonathan-ben-Uzziah, The Targum of Jerusalem, and The Pirke-Rabbi Eleazar. All three are Jewish myths composed from oral traditions between 150 to 200 A.D.
The Qur'an says: Qur'an 5:31 "Then Allah sent a raven who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the shame of the dead body of his brother. 'Woe is me!' said he; 'Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the dead body of my brother?' Then he became full of regrets." We find a striking parallel in Talmudic sources. The Targum of Jonathan-ben-Uzziah says: "Adam and Eve, sitting by the corpse, wept not knowing what to do, for they had no knowledge of burial. A raven came up, took the dead body of its fellow, and having scratched at the ground, buried it thus before their eyes. Adam said, 'Let us follow the example of the raven,' so taking up Abel's body, he buried it at once." Apart from the contrast between who buried whom, the two stories are otherwise uncannily similar. We can only conclude that it was from here that Muhammad, or a later compiler, obtained his "scripture." A Jewish fable came to be repeated as a historical fact in the Qur'an.
Yet that is not all. We find further proof of plagiarism of apocryphal Jewish literature; this time in the Jewish Mishnah Sanhedrin. The Qur'an reads: Qur'an 5:32 "On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew all mankind: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humanity." The Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 says: "We find it said in the case of Cain who murdered his brother, the voice of thy brother's blood cries out , and he says, it does not say he has blood in the singular, but bloods in the plural. It was singular in order to show that to him who kills a single individual, it should be reckoned that he has slain all humanity. But to him who has preserved the life of a single individual, it is counted that he has preserved all mankind."
There is no Qur'anic connection between the previous verse, 31, and that which we find in the 32nd. What does the murder of Abel by Cain have to do with the slaying or saving of the whole people as there were no other people? Yet a rabbi's comments on the verse are repeated almost word-for-word in the Qur'an. The muses of a mere human become the Qur'anic holy writ, and were attributed to God. That's real embarrassing.
Speaking of embarrassing, I'd like to share something directly related to this Qur'an passage. The largest commercial radio station in the United Kingdom asked me to spend two hours speaking about the relationship between fundamental Islam and terrorism. Over the course of the interview, the station received several hundred phone calls and emails from irate Muslims. One woman, toward the end of the program, said, "You are typical of Americans who speak about things that you know nothing about. You don't understand Islam or the Qur'an. You've taken everything out of context and have interpreted it too literally." She went on to explain, "Islam is nonviolent because the Qur'an says: 'If anyone kills a person, it is as if he killed all mankind and if anyone saves a life, it is as if he saves all of mankind.' This was the very line the President of the United States, George W. Bush, quoted in a most revealing speech on terrorism. He said that Islam was a noble religion, and was peaceful because of the supposed existence of this verse, which he too improperly quoted in his speech.
Forgetting for a moment that the entire quote was pilfered verbatim from Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, proving that Qur'an 5:32 was plagiarized and not inspired, the Islamic apologist omitted the core of the verse and all of what follows. She misquoted the Qur'an by omitting the exemption for murder from the verse: "except in retaliation or the spread of mischief." The "spread of mischief" is "non-Islamic behavior" and a "mischief maker" is anyone who does not "submit to and obey Allah and his Apostle." The caller and President Bush took the verse out of context by not completing the point Allah was making. The next verse flows from the previous one. Qur'an 5:33 is violent, murderous, and intolerant: Qur'an 5:32 "The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and who do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified, or their hands and their feet shall be cut off on opposite sides, or they shall be exiled. That is their disgrace in this world, and a dreadful torment is theirs in Hell." Then: Qur'an 5:34 "Except for those who came back (as Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power."
In trying to defend Islam and the Qur'an, the President of the United States and the Muslim woman quoted a verse that was inspired by Jewish folklore rather than Muhammad’s god. Then they did what she falsely accused me of doing; she and George misquoted the Qur'an and took it out of context. But worst of all, they tried to deceive the millions into believing that Islam, the Qur'an, and its god were peaceful when the very passage they selected required Muslims to "punish" and "disgrace" non-Muslims with: murder, torture, mutilation, enslavement, or exile so that Allah might "torment them in Hell."
It’s hard to know if the woman and the President of the United States had been deceived or if they were intent on deceiving. Both are equally bad, and both are symptomatic of Islam. In the President's case, either is criminal.
And lest I forget, the next caller angrily told me, "I pledge to kill you to save mankind from you." Trying to save Muslims from the deception of Islam and non-Muslims from the terror it inspires, requires patience and love.
Moving on, in Qur'an 21:51-71, we find one of the Qur'an's many stories of Abraham. It says that Abraham confronted his people and his father because of the idols they worshiped. After an argument between Abraham and the people, they depart and Abraham breaks the smaller idols, leaving the largest one intact. When folks see this, they call Abraham and ask if he's responsible, to which he replies that it must have been the larger idol who axed the little guys. After challenging the mutilated idols to speak, the locals reply, "You know full well that these idols do not speak!" To which Abraham gives a taunting retort, and they throw him into a fire. Then in the 69th verse, Allah commands the fire to be cool, making it safe for Abraham, and he miraculously walks out unscathed.
There are no parallels to this story in the Bible. But there is an equivalent in a second century book of Jewish folktales called The Midrash Rabbah. In its account, Abraham breaks all the idols except the biggest one. His father and the others challenge him on this, and he claims the bigger idol smashed the smaller ones. The enraged father doesn't believe his son's account, and takes him to a man named Nimrod, who throws him into a fire. But God made it cool, and he walked out unscathed. The uncanny similarity between these stories is unmistakable. Second century Jewish folklore and myth is repeated in the Qur'an as if it were divinely inspired scripture.
The next example is even more incriminating. In the 27th surah, named "Ants," the Qur'an makes up a story along the lines of something you'd expect to see in a children's fairytale. Come to find out, that's where it came from. In 27:17-44 Allah tells a story about Solomon, a Hoopoe bird, and the Queen of Sheba. Let's compare the Qur'anic account with one taken from Jewish folklore, the II Targum of Esther, which was written nearly five hundred years before the creation of the Qur'an." (Tisdall and Shorrosh)
Qur'an 27:17 "And before Solomon were marshaled his hosts of Jinns and men, and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks. And he took a muster of the Birds; and he said: 'Why is it I see not the Hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees? I will certainly punish him with a severe penalty, or execute him, unless he brings me a clear reason (for absence).' But the Hoopoe tarried not far: he (came up and) said: 'I have compassed (territory) which you have not compassed, and I have come to you from Saba with tidings true. I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne.' (Solomon) said: 'Soon shall we see whether you have told the truth or lied! Go you, with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them: then draw back from her, and (wait to) see what answer she returns.' (The queen) said: 'You chiefs! Here is delivered to me - a letter worthy of respect. It is from Solomon, and is as follows: "In the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim: Be you not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (Islam, the true Religion)."' She said: 'You chiefs! Advise me in (this) my affair: no affair have I decided except in your presence.' They said: 'We are endued with strength, and given to vehement war: but the command is with you; so consider what you will command.' She said, 'But I am going to send him a present, and (wait) to see with what (answer) return (my) ambassadors.' So when she arrived, she was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs. He said: 'This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass.'"
From: II Targum of Esther : "Solomon gave orders 'I will send King and armies against you (of) Genii beasts of the land the birds of the air.' Just then the Red-cock bird, enjoying itself, could not be found; King Solomon said that they should seize it and bring it by force, and indeed he sought to kill it. But just then, the cock appeared in the presence of the King and said, 'I had seen the whole world (and) know the city and kingdom of Sheba which is not subject to you, My Lord King. They are ruled by a woman called the Queen of Sheba. Then I found the fortified city in the Eastlands (Sheba) and around it are stones of gold and silver in the streets.' By chance the Queen of Sheba was out in the morning worshipping the sea, the scribes prepared a letter, which was placed under the bird's wing, and away it flew, and (it) reached the Fort of Sheba. Seeing the letter under its wing Sheba opened it and read it. 'King Solomon sends to you his Salaams. Now if it please you to come and ask after my welfare, I will set you high above all. But if it please you not, I will send kings and armies against you.' The Queen of Sheba heard it, she tore her garments, and sending for her Nobles asked their advice. They knew not Solomon, but advised her to send vessels by the sea, full of beautiful ornaments and gems...also to send a letter to him. When at last she came, Solomon sent a messenger to meet her...Solomon, hearing she had come, arose and sat down in the palace of glass. When the Queen of Sheba saw it, she thought the glass floor was water, and so in crossing over lifted up her garments. When Solomon seeing the hair about her legs, (He) cried out to her..."
There are only two rational options available to us. If Solomon really marshaled devils, spoke to birds, and castles were made of glass, then both the Qur'an and Targum could have been inspired writings. But if this is not historically or scientifically accurate, then the Qur'an is a fake, a rotten job of plagiarism, nothing more. This counterfeit alone is sufficient to prove that the Qur'an is a colossal forgery. If you are Muslim reading these words, wake up.
One of the most documented and damaging facts about the Qur'an is that Muhammad used heretical Gnostic Gospels and their fables to create his "scripture." The Encyclopedia Britannica comments: "The Gospel was known to him chiefly through apocryphal and heretical sources."
The odd accounts of the early childhood of "Jesus" in the Qur'an can be traced to a number of Christian apocryphal writings: the Palm tree which provides for the anguish of Mary after Jesus' birth (Qur'an 19:22-6) comes from The Lost Books of the Bible; while the account of the infant Jesus creating birds from clay (Qur'an 3:49) comes from Thomas' Gospel. The story of the baby 'Jesus' talking (Qur'an 19:29-33) can be traced to an Arabic apocryphal fable from Egypt named The First Gospel of the Infancy of Christ.
The source of Qur'an 3:35 is the book called The Protevangelion's James the Lesser. From it, Allah has Moses' father beget Mary and then show his disappointment for having a girl. The source of Qur'an 87:19's fictitious "Books of Abraham" comes from the apocryphal Testament of Abraham. The fantastic tale in Qur'an 2:259 that God made a man "die for a hundred years" with no ill effects on his food, drink, or donkey was from The Jewish Fable. The false notion in Qur'an 2:55-6 and 67 that Moses was resurrected came from the Talmud. The errant account of Abraham being delivered from Nimrod (surahs 21:51-71; 29:16; 37:97) came from the Midrash Rabbah .
In Qur'an 17:1 we have the report of Muhammad’s "journey by night from the sacred mosque to the farthest mosque." From later Traditions we know this verse refers to him ascending up to the seventh heaven, after a miraculous night journey (the Mi'raj) from Mecca to Jerusalem, on an "ass" called Buraq. Yet we can trace the story back to The Testament of Abraham, written around 200 B.C., in Egypt, and then translated into Greek and Arabic centuries later.
The source of the devilish encounter in the Jewish court depicted in the 2nd surah is found in chapter 44 of the Midrash Yalkut. The Qur'anic myth in 7:171 of God lifting up Mount Sinai and holding it over the heads of the Jews as a threat to squash them if they rejected the law came from the apocryphal book Abodah Sarah .
The making of the golden calf in the wilderness, in which the image jumped out of the fire fully formed and actually mooed (7:148; 20:88), came from Pirke Rabbi Eleazer. The seven heavens and hells described in the Qur'an came from the Zohar and the Hagigah. Muhammad utilized the apocryphal Testament of Abraham to teach that a scale or balance will be used on the day of judgment to weigh good and bad deeds in order to determine whether one goes to heaven or hell (42:17; 101:6-9).
Neither the Jewish nor Christian apocryphal material is canonical or inspired. They have always been considered to be heretical by believers and literate people everywhere. For this reason scholars find it suspicious that the apocryphal accounts should have made their way into a book claiming to be the final revelation from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Another analogous account is that of The Secrets of Enoch (chapter 1:4-10 and 2:1), which predates the Qur'an by four centuries. What Allah didn't steal from the Jewish fable, he borrowed from an old Persian book entitled Arta-i Viraf Namak. It tells how a pious young Zoroastrian ascended to the skies, and, on his return, related what he had seen, or professed to have seen.
The Qur'anic description of Hell resembles the portrayals in the Homilies of Ephraim, a Nestorian preacher of the sixth century," according to Sir John Glubb, although I'm convinced most of hell's torments came from the abuse Muhammad suffered in the desert as a youth.
The description of Paradise in suras 55:56, 56:22, and 35-7, which speak of the righteous being rewarded with wide-eyed houris, or virgins, who have eyes like pearls has interesting parallels in the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, where the maidens are quite similar. The rivers in the Persian Paradise flow with wine as well. Bukhari:V4B54N469 "Allah’s Apostle said, 'The first batch who will enter Paradise will be like a full moon; and those who will enter next will be like the brightest star. Their hearts will be as the heart of a single man, for everyone of them shall have two wives from the houris, each of whom will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the flesh. They will never fall ill, and they will neither blow their noses, nor spit. Their utensils are silver, their combs are gold, the fuel used in their centers will be aloe, and their sweat will smell like musk.'"
Muhammad, or whoever compiled the Qur'an, incorporated parts of the religion of the Sabeans, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism into Islam. He adopted such pagan rituals as: worshiping at the Ka'aba, praying five times a day towards Mecca, the zakat tax, and fasting in Ramadhan.
This caustic brew of uninspired ingredients may be why William St. Clair Tisdall, in his Original Sources of the Qur'an, wrote: "Islam is not an invention, but a concoction; there is nothing novel about it except Mohammed's mixing old ingredients in a new panacea for human ills and forcing it down by means of the sword." He went on to say: "Islam’s scriptures came to reflect the carnal and sensual nature of its founder. Islam therefore may aptly be compared with: 'that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed,' which, receiving into its bosom the waters of many streams that united form a basin that turns them into one great Sea of Death, from whose shores flee pestilential exhalations destructive to all life within reach of their malign influence. Such is Islam. Originating from many different sources, it has assumed its form from the character and disposition of Muhammad; and thus the good in it serves only to recommend and preserve the evil which renders it a false and delusive faith, a curse to men and not a blessing. Muhammad’s concoction has turned many of the fairest regions of the earth into deserts, deluged many a land with innocent blood, and has smitten with a moral, intellectual, and spiritual blight every nation of men which lies under its iron yoke and groans beneath its pitiless sway."
It’s hard to imagine a more adept description of the poisons that oozed from Muhammad’s soul or a more adept summation of Islam’s legacy. Tisdall went on to write: "While the devout Muslim believes that the rituals and doctrines of Islam are entirely heavenly in origin and thus cannot have any earthly sources, scholars have demonstrated beyond all doubt that every ritual and belief in Islam can be traced back to pre-Islamic Arabian culture. In other words Muhammad did not preach anything new. Everything he taught had been believed and practiced in Arabia long before he was ever born. Even the idea of 'only one God' was borrowed from the Jews and Christians."
Carlyle's dictum on the Qur'an was also enlightened: "It is as toilsome reading as I ever undertook, a wearisome, confused jumble, crude, incondite. Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any European through it." Samuel Zwemer, in The Influence of Animism on Islam wrote: "In no monotheistic religion are magic and sorcery so firmly entrenched as they are in Islam; for in the case of this religion they are based on the teaching of the Qur'an and the practice of the Prophet." In other words, it's Satan’s book.
Official Islamic dictionaries, websites, and commentaries are consistent when they describe the nature of the elements which compose Islam. The scholastic summation proclaims: "As Islam solidified as a religious and a political entity, a vast body of exegetical and historical literature evolved to explain the Qur'an and the rise of the empire. The most important elements of which are Hadith, or the collected sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad; Sunnah, or the body of Islamic social and legal custom; Sira, or biographies of the Prophet; and Tafsir, or Qur'anic commentary and explication. It is from these Traditions - compiled in written form in the eighth to tenth centuries - that all accounts of the revelation of the Qur'an and the early years of Islam are ultimately derived."
You've seen the following clerical proclamation before, but it's worth repeating: "The Qur'an is one leg of two which form the basis of Islam. The second leg is the Sunnah of the Prophet. What makes the Qur'an different from the Sunnah is its form. Unlike the Sunnah, the Qur'an is quite literally the Word of Allah, whereas the Sunnah was inspired by Allah but the wording and actions are the Prophet's. The Qur'an has not been expressed using any human words. Its wording is letter for letter fixed by Allah. Prophet Muhammad was the final Messenger of Allah to humanity, and therefore the Qur'an is the last Message which Allah has sent to us."
This is what Islamic clerics and scholars had to say about Bukhari's Hadith Collection: "Sahih Bukhari is a collection of sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), also known as the Sunnah. The reports of the Prophet's sayings and deeds are called Hadith. Bukhari lived a couple of centuries after the Prophet's death and worked extremely hard to collect his Hadith. Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur'an, and the veracity of the chain of reporters had to be painstakingly established. Bukhari's collection is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). Bukhari Abu Abdallah Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin al-Mughira al-Ja'fai was born in 194 A.H. and died in 256 A.H. His collection of Hadith is considered second to none. He spent sixteen years compiling it, and ended up with 2,602 Hadith (9,082 with repetition). His criteria for acceptance into the collection were amongst the most stringent of all the scholars of Hadith."
While there is no question Bukhari's collection is sound religiously, its complete lack of chronology limits its usefulness. If you are interested in a subject like taxes or jihad you could turn to the appropriate chapter and read what Muhammad had to say about such things. But without the grounding of time, circumstance, constituents, and place, you'd be forced to take everything you read out of context. That's why every accurate and unbiased presentation of the Muhammad of Islam must be based upon the biographical and historical Hadith collections compiled by Ishaq and Tabari. They, and they alone, enable a person to speak with authority about Islam without taking Muhammad’s example and scriptures out of context.
Quite recently, however, there has been a new movement afoot in the Islamic world. Cleric and king have come to recognize they have a problem. The Qur'an and Sunnah are repulsive - so are their prophet, god, and religion. They do not stand up to scrutiny. While they have been able to fool politicians and the media by repeating "Islam is a peaceful religion," and they have been able to cower religious leaders by threatening them, it hasn't worked on everyone. Enough Americans have learned the truth to put the Islamic power brokers in a terrible bind.
So, those who benefit from Islam have deployed a new strategy. They proclaim that the Qur'an may not be translated out of the arcane language only 0.0003% understand. Imagine that; they want 99:9997% of those who listen to the surahs being recited to have no earthly idea of what is being said. In Classic Arabic, the verses have a good beat and the rhyme sounds heavenly. And if the only people who are authorized to interpret them all benefit from Islam, who is going to confess that the words are hellish?
In this regard, the Qur'an is no different than rap music. Its cadence and rhyme are seductive while its lyrics are often corrupting. And the Qur'an works the same way, too. Those who listen are fleeced.
While disguising the Qur'an's evil intent via a language few understand solves one problem, the Islamic establishment still needs to deal with the vile message of the Sunnah. It’s one thing to say Allah’s jingle is too majestic to be translated, but Muhammad’s words were written in prose.
To fix this problem, Islamic officials unveiled a different strategy during my earliest debates with them. They said that they were "unaware" of Tabari's History. When that didn't fly, they protested saying, Tabari isn't "approved." Then they claimed that it was just a "history book and not a collection of Hadith." Some even said that it contained "unauthorized material." While that's not true, it created confusion and served their interests.
Their rejection of Tabari is unsound for several reasons. First, Ishaq's original manuscripts have been lost, so Tabari is the oldest unedited account of Muhammad’s life and the formation of Islam. Second, Tabari is nothing but a collection of Hadiths. Everything I quoted came complete with a chain of transmitters. In fact, Tabari's isnads are more complete than Bukhari's. And third, the Hadith Tabari compiled are no different than those arranged a century earlier by Ishaq, or by his near contemporary, Bukhari. They were all pumping from the same well - digging out of the same pit.
So why do you suppose Islamic officials ganged up on their best source? Because it was translated into English and available, while the others were not; that's why. In each debate I urged listeners to go to the S.U.N.Y. Press website and buy Tabari and then read it for themselves. That was easy enough. If what I was quoting was accurate, everything Muslims were saying about their religion was a lie. America would know the truth. And if I misrepresented Tabari's message, I promised to go away, never to be heard from again.
The Islamic apologists knew what I was saying was not only true but devastating. They stopped debating me and started discrediting Tabari because they were aware of what I had discovered: the only English translation of Ishaq's Sira was out of print and nearly impossible to find. I searched for a year, ordering it from the largest booksellers, the publisher, even used bookstores. I searched libraries, too, but to no avail. Muslims check Ishaq out and burn it. Fortunately, a Christian couple who had listened to one of my debates found a copy in a university library. They photocopied the Sira - all 900 pages - and sent it to me.
The reason this is important is because those who benefit from Islam know that without a chronological presentation of Muhammad’s words and deeds, they can get away with murder - literally. They can say whatever they like, and they do. Without Ishaq or Tabari, the Qur'an is senseless. Muslims can claim that the god of the Qur'an is the same as the God of the Bible when they are opposites. They can say Islam is peaceful even though it condemns peace and promotes war. They can argue that Muhammad only fought defensive battles, when his scriptures say he was a terrorist. They can posture the notion that Islam made the Bedouins better, when in fact it transformed them into bloody pirates and immoral parasites. They can claim that the Qur'an is Allah’s perfect book; when, by any rational criterion, it's hideous.
To put this in perspective, being a Muslim without the information contained in the only chronological presentations of Muhammad’s words and deeds would be like being a Christian without the Gospels. It would be impossible to be Yahshua-like without knowing Yahshua, his message and example. It would be like being a Jew without the Torah. All you'd have are prophets and psalms, and that's just not enough, not even remotely.
As you have discovered, the Qur'an isn't like any intelligent book. It’s jumbled together without context or chronology, rendering it nothing more than a mean-spirited rant, a demented, delusional, and dimwitted tirade. Without the chronological Hadith collections of Ishaq and Tabari, Islam becomes whatever Islamic clerics and kings want it to be. So in their fiefdoms it's all about jihad. In the free world, it's all about peace.
To prove my point, I'd like to review Islam’s Five Pillars to see if they stand without the Hadith collections found in the Sunnah. But before we begin, Islam provides an important clue. To find the Pillars, we must turn to the Hadith, not the Qur'an. And while I will conduct this analysis using the "approved" version of Islam’s Five Pillars, there are competing scenarios we must consider. As you might expect, Muhammad himself couldn't decide what his priorities were - much less Allah’s.
The most famous Islamic proclamations echo the Qur'an's incessant command to fight jihad in Allah’s Cause. Muhammad established jihad's preeminence, claiming that fighting was the foundation upon which Islam’s other pillars must stand. Under the title "Fighting In Allah’s Cause - Jihad," we read: "Jihad is holy fighting in Allah’s Cause with full force of numbers and weaponry. It is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars. By Jihad Islam is established, Allah’s Word is made superior (which means only Allah has the right to be worshiped), and Islam is propagated. By abandoning Jihad Islam is destroyed and Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim. He who tries to escape from this duty, or does not fulfill this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite."
The reason jihad supercedes the other pillars is because: Bukhari:V4B52N44 "A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, 'Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad in reward.' He replied, 'I do not find such a deed. Can you, while the Muslim fighter has gone out for Jihad, enter a mosque to perform prayers without ceasing and fast forever?' The man said, 'No one can do that.'" So Jihad is superior to endless prayer and fasting. But there was more: Bukhari:V4B52N46 "I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, 'The example of a Mujahid in Allah’s Cause - and Allah knows best who really strives in His Cause - is like a person who fasts and prays without ever stopping. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.'" It’s the Devil's rendition of the win-win scenario. And that leads us to the capper, the line that confirmed jihad was better than all of the Five Pillars combined: Bukhari:V4B52N50 "The Prophet said, 'A single endeavor of fighting in Allah’s Cause is better than the world and whatever is in it.'"
From the very beginning, there was always a direct causal link between the religion of Islam and Islamic terror: Bukhari:V4B52N63 "A man whose face was covered with an iron mask of armor came to the Prophet and said, 'Allah’s Apostle! Shall I fight or embrace Islam first?' The Prophet said, 'Embrace Islam first and then fight.' So he embraced Islam, and was martyred. Allah’s Apostle said, 'A Little work, but a great reward.'" Consistent with this message, Bukhari:V1B2N25 "Allah’s Apostle was asked, 'What is the best deed?' He replied, 'To believe in Allah and His Apostle Muhammad.' The questioner then asked, 'What is the next (in goodness)?' He replied, 'To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s Cause.' The questioner again asked, 'What is the next (in goodness)?' He replied, 'To perform Hajj (Pilgrim age to Mecca in accordance with the Traditions of the Prophet.'" This is important because it establishes Three Pillars, with Jihad being the second most important.
The next rendition of Pillars eliminates the Hajj, which was number three above, and replaces it with the Khumus - Muhammad’s share of stolen booty. Bukhari:V1B2N50 "They said, 'O Allah’s Apostle, order us to do some religious deeds that we may enter Paradise.' The Prophet ordered them to believe in Allah Alone and asked them, 'Do you know what is meant by believing in Allah Alone?' They replied, 'Allah and His Apostle know better.' Thereupon the Prophet said, 'It means: 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. 2. To offer prayers perfectly. 3. To pay the Zakat obligatory tax. 4. To observe fast during Ramadhan. 5. And to pay the Khumus (one fifth of the booty to be given in Allah’s Cause) to Allah’s Apostle.'"
Contradictions aside and priorities confused, I promised to resolve Islam’s absolute reliance on the Sunnah by analyzing the "officially recognized" Pillars. To begin: Bukhari:V1B2N7 "Allah’s Apostle said: 'Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle.'" Let's tackle them one at a time. In its present order, the Qur'an's initial surah, the 2nd, (the 1st is an invocation, not a revelation as it speaks to god not to man) makes a transition from Ar-Rahman to Allah. But as we read on, this changes. The Qur'anic God becomes Ar-Rahman again and then a nameless Lord. Without the chronology the Sira's Hadith provide, Muslims don't know who God is or how many of them there are. Furthermore, they know nothing about the "Apostle." Without the Sunnah, acknowledging him in the profession of faith is like a recording device asking to be credited for bringing you the songs of your favorite artist.
But it gets worse. The Qur'an orders Muslims to obey the Messenger. If you don't know what he ordered, that's impossible. The Qur'an alleges that it's entirely composed of Allah’s commands, not Muhammad’s, so you'd be out of luck. The Qur'an also tells Muslims that they must follow the Messenger's example, yet the only place that example is established is in the Sunnah. Therefore, Islam’s First Pillar is utterly meaningless, and impossible to implement, without Ishaq and Tabari.
The Second Pillar is: "2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly." Once again, that's not feasible. The "compulsory congregational prayer" isn't described in the Qur'an. There aren't even any clues. In fact, the Qur'an says that there should be three prayers, none of which it depicts, and the Hadith demands five. The only explanation of the obligatory prostration is found in the Sunnah - and even then it's never described by the prophet himself. Muslims are performing a ritual without Qur'anic precedence. As such, the Second Pillar is rubble.
Let's see if the Third Pillar survives without the Sunnah. To find out, we turn to the Hadith: Bukhari:V1B2N7 "3. To pay Zakat." How is that possible when the terms of the Zakat are omitted from the Qur'an? The first to commit them to paper was Ishaq. A century later, Tabari referenced Ishaq's Hadith. The only reason Muslims can pay the Zakat is because Ishaq explained it to them. The Profitable Prophet Plan is bankrupt without the Sira.
Surely the Fourth Pillar will fare better: "4. To perform Hajj." Nope. That's impossible too. The only explanations of the Hajj are in the Sunnah. No aspect of the pilgrimage can be performed without referencing the Hadith. Muslims would be lost without it.
Do you suppose Allah will redeem himself and explain the final pillar in his "perfect, detailed, and final revelation to mankind?" Bukhari:V1B2N7 "5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan." Guess what? Allah forgot to explain the nature of the fast. Without the Hadith, Muslims would be expected to forgo eating during the entire month of Ramadhan. But that's not the way they observe the fast, for it's not the way it's explained in the Sunnah. As a matter of fact, without the Hadith, Muslims wouldn't know why Ramadhan was special. The only account of the initial revelation is in their Traditions - initially chronicled by Ishaq and then copied by Bukhari, Muslim, and Tabari.
Without Ibn Ishaq and those who copied and edited his arrangement of Hadith concerning Muhammad’s words and deeds, there would be no Islam. The Qur'an is senseless and the Five Pillars are meaningless. Faith is folly. And that's especially true since the lone individual responsible for Islam, Allah, and the Qur'an, preached: Bukhari:V9B88N174 "Allah’s Apostle said, 'Far removed from mercy are those who change the religion of Islam after me! Islam cannot change!'"
The penalty for escaping Muhammad’s clutches has always been high. Bukhari:V4B52N260 "The Prophet said, 'If a Muslim discards his religion, kill him.'" This was no ordinary prophet or religion. No, Muhammad was special. He was a terrorist and a pirate, and you don't find too many of those in religious circles. Bukhari:V4B52N220 "Allah’s Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror. The treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.'"
Yes, Islam was the Profitable Prophet Plan. It was all about Muhammad, and he knew it. That is why he required his Sunnah, or example to be enacted as law. Tabari IX:82 "The Messenger sent Khalid out to collect taxes with an army of 400 and ordered him to invite people to Islam before he fought them. If they were to respond and submit, he was to teach them the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Prophet, and the requirements of Islam. If they should decline, then he was to fight them." His Sunnah has become the basis for Islamic law - the most repressive code on earth. And Muslims follow his example, which is why they are the most violent people on earth.
So it all comes down to this: If the Hadith Collections of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim are true, Muhammad was the most evil man who ever lived, Allah was the most demented god ever conceived, and Islam was the most vile doctrine ever imposed on humankind. If, however, the Hadith Collections are untrue, then nothing is known of Muhammad, the conception of his god, or his formation of Islam. There is no rational reason to believe it, observe it, suffer under it, or die for it.