Did Muhammad write the Quran? Did he plagiarize the Bible? Part I

Did Muhammad write the Quran? Did he

plagiarize the Bible? Part I

The charge against the Prophet Muhammad

that he concocted the Qur’an is a very prevalent

one, especially in the West. Even those who are

sympathetic to Islam among Western writers

cannot admit that the Qur’an is revelation and its

author is God himself. There is a long and deeprooted

tradition in Western literature that views the

Qur’an as the work of the Prophet. Thus, we will

look at this issue, though extremely briefly, in light

of well-documented historical facts, logic, as well

as with respect to the Prophet’s personality, life

and career.

The Prophet Muhammad is perhaps the most

fully documented person in antiquity and history.

This fact enables us to examine closely the claim

that he wrote the Qur’an himself. This is a topic of

volumes, as scholars have discussed in detail

hundreds of strong evidences that establish the

divine origin of the Qur’an. Considering the scope

of this booklet, we will mention just a few.

First, it was well-known among the early

Arabs of Mecca that the Prophet Muhammad did

not read or write, and was not formally educated.

The Qur’an itself states that the Prophet was

unlettered, specifically in the sense that he could

not read or write. No one in the Meccan

community attempted to deny this claim of the

Qur’an: “Believe, then, in God and His Messenger

– the unlettered Prophet who believes in God

and His words – and follow him, so that you might

find guidance!” (7:158)

As is recorded in his biography, when the

angel Gabriel approached the Prophet for the first

time at the age of 40, and revealed to him the first

verse of the Qur’an, “Read!”, the Prophet’s

response was that he was unable to read. Thus

even at the start of revelation, the Prophet was in

no position to compose a book. Indeed as the

Qur’an states, the Prophet’s being unlettered was

itself a matter of divine wisdom: “Never have you

recited Scripture before this (Qur’an oh Prophet)!

Nor have you transcribed one with your right

hand. For then, the progenitors of falsehood

would have had cause to doubt (the revelation).”

(29:48)

Second, in various instances in the life of the

Prophet Muhammad where a problem arose, he

was unable to find a solution until it was revealed

to him by God. In many of these instances, the

answer was delayed often causing the Prophet

great anxiety. If the Prophet had devised the

answers himself, why would he need to wait on

revelation? Here are a few examples:

  • • Once a group of people accused the Prophet’s

wife Aisha of adultery. The slanderous

accusations shook the community in Medina,

and resulted in the Prophet separating from

his wife temporarily. During this extremely

difficult ordeal he did not know what to do.

Finally, verses were revealed that established

the innocence of Aisha and rebuked those

who made the false accusations against her.

  • • The leaders of Quraysh once asked the

Prophet a few questions in order to test him

and to see if he really is the Messenger of

God. They asked about stories and issues,

such as the Seven Sleepers, Dhul Qarnain, the

nature of the spirit, etc. Weeks had passed

and the Prophet would not give any answers,

because he did not have knowledge of them at

that time. As a result of the delay, the Prophet

was accused of being a liar by the Quraysh.

Finally, the Prophet received by revelation a

whole chapter of the Qur’an, called the Cave

(Chapter 18), as well as other verses,

answering all the questions asked to the

Prophet by the Quraysh.

  • • In the early days of Islam, the Muslims used

to face Jerusalem while praying. The Prophet

wished and wanted to change the direction of

prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. But he did

not instigate the change himself; instead, he

waited for a command from his Lord, raising

his head towards the heavens in anticipation.

The Qur’an states: “We have seen you (O

Prophet) often turn your face towards

heaven…” (Qur’an 2:144). Thereafter God’s

commands arrived, and Muslims immediately

turned their faces towards the direction of

Mecca, turning from North to South.

In all of these incidents and many others the

Prophet did not act until revelation came to him

with an explicit answer or command. This was the

case even though the delay caused him to be

rebuked and accused of being a false Prophet. If

the Qur’an were from the Prophet, surely he could

have “revealed” the verses earlier. This shows the

Quran is a revelation from God, and not from

Muhammad’s own imagination.

Third, the Arabs, both Muslims and non-

Muslim, have testified to the high calibre and literal

mastery of the Qur’an:

  • • Umar bin al Khattab used to be a judge of the

poetry festival in Mecca. His mastery of the

Arabic language was superb. Nonetheless,

when he heard a portion of the Qur’an, he

was spellbound, and because of it embraced

Islam. How could the Prophet produce such

a literal masterpiece at the age of 40 when he

had never shown such talent before?

  • • Similarly, there were many others like At-

Tufayl bin Amr al-Dawsi, Utbah bin Rabiha

and others who had such experiences when

they heard portions of the Qur’an. They

would repeat statements such as, “I have

heard words of such that I never heard

before. By God, it is not poetry, nor magic,

nor divination.” This was often their first

impression. This shows that the Qur’an was

something beyond the Prophet’s talent or

genius, as its origin was other than the

Prophet Muhammad.

Fourth, there is a marked difference between

the Prophet’s sayings and Qur’anic verses. The

Prophet’s sayings are recorded in volumes, called

hadith, which are more voluminous than the

Qur’an. When he spoke, his sayings were not

accompanied with any extraordinary experiences,

but when he received the revelation he would often

experience abnormal sensations. When verses were

revealed to him, sometimes he would sweat even

on cold days, his face would become red, his body

would become heavy, etc. Was he just acting?

Definitely not! How could he have lived such a

pretentious and complicated life for 23 years? This

is indeed the difference between the hadith and the

Qur’an. As for the Qur’an, he received it by

revelation from God verbatim, and as for the

hadith, they were his own words.

Another crucial point in this respect is the

huge difference between the linguistic style of the

Qur’an and that of hadith. A comparison of both

suggests unequivocally that the author of the

Qur’an is entirely different from that of the hadith.

It is also recorded authentically that the Arabs

themselves were surprised by the language of the

Qur’an because the Prophet was not known to

have composed any literal piece before its

revelation. Clearly, the language of the Qur’an was

not from Muhammad’s own tongue. Even non-

Arabic speaking people can see this vast difference

in style and language between the Qur’an and the

hadith, even by reading translations.

http://www.mercyprophet.org/mul/node/6800

Ten Questions and Answers

about the Prophet Muhammad

May the Blessings and Peace of Allah be upon Him

By Ibrahim H. Malabari

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