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Christians Ask Muslims

by Gerhard Nehls Introduction Why do the Bible and the Quran not agree What the Quran teaches about the Bible There are differences between the Bible and the Quran Contradictions in the Quran The problem of abrogation (cancellation and replacement of Quran verses) Problems regarding the consistency of Quranic revelation The Holy War The romantic ideal The materialistic purpose The opposing concept of Jesus Total predestination or free will of man? Pre-ordained sin - but man's responsibility The witness of the Hadis to predestination The witness of the Quran to predestination Righteousness or mercy? Fear or love - which is the better motive? Allah directs believers Why the Quran claims to be of divine origin Five reasons The Christian answer to this How the Quran was revealed The collection of the Quran Omitted or lost passages eaten by domestic animal one whole sura lost another sura lost (with 'stoning verse') a verse connected with Al-Lat and Al-Uzza left out The adding of the verse 'blessed by Allah, the best of creators' There were differing texts four variant texts at Uthman's time different meaning through differing vowels being added examples of different readings seven variant forms used under Mohammed destruction of variant texts by Uthman final form given to today's Quran by A.H. 311

Proofs of the prophethood of Mohammed Miracles performed by Mohammed as a proof Prophecies attributed to Mohammed "Produce a sura like it" Mohammed - the warner of Arabia Mohammed did not at first claim universality The uniqueness of Jesus Mohammed, the 'seal of the prophets' All prophets are equal The Hadith and the Sunnah The integral parf the Hadis in Islam The authority of Mohammed The need for the Sunnah The collection of Hadis The meaning of Sunnah The Sunnah regulates all aspects of the life of Muslims How Christians view the Sunnah The Christian alternative to the Sunnah Some practical cases of Hadis and Sunnah The Sources of Islam Quranic concepts were taken from the Arabian past Allah Ka'aba Hajj Salat Ramadan Quranic concepts taken from the Talmud Qibla Abraham Cain and Abel The visit of the Queen of Sheba Harut and Marut Seven heavens and seven hells Quranic concepts taken from the Gospel and Apocrypha Jesus Trinity Virgin Mary Holy Spirit The Miraj Quranic concepts from Eastern sources Paradise The Balances (Haqq) The Bridge Sirat Quranic concepts taken from the Hanifites

The ethics of Islam seen from a Christian viewpoint The status of women in the Quran and Hadis The concept of prayer Evaluation of the challenge that Mohammed ought to be the model for all mankind The command to obey Mohammed Muslim objections to Western criticism A query about polygamy and concubinage Mohammed and his wives breaking of an oath revelation for personal advantages the story of Zainab and Zaid Mohammed's extended matrimonial rights his marriage to a minor jealousy among Mohammed's wives? Mohammed and his enemies Mohammed's dealings with the Jews Mohammed's dealings with the prisoners of Badr the murder of Ka'b ibnu'l Ashraf the murder of Ibn Abil Huqaiq the murder of Abu Afak and Asma The mysterious 19 in the Quran An introduction to computerised numerology The claims The possibility of co-incidence Can one produce a sentence with 19 letters? Is there another book with numeric marvels? The Bible speaks. Evaluation of the claims about Sura initials of the claim about the Bismillah problems of this theory: lack of chronology variant readings in the Quran the admission by Dr Khalifa Chart to Quranic numerology We conclude Expected Islamic objections The reason for this study Comparison of Quranic and Biblical evidences The eternal consequences of truth and error What the Gospel actually means Bibliography

1987 by Gerhard Nehls, all rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION CHRISTIANS ASK MUSLIMS SOME SINCERE QUESTIONS

In this compilation of evaluated statements and facts there is much material that is apt to upset the Muslim reader greatly. You are not requested to accept them blindly! But we beg you very sincerely to check on the factual truth of these statements without "interpreting" them away. Maybe you will find that some are based on error or on sources that are not trustworthy, but you will have to consent to the truth of others. Again we beg you and challenge you to form your opinion only after having read through all the information. Let no one put you off by arousing your emotions: "This man viciously attacks our Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran!" If these attacks are vile, untruthful and not substantiated - why get alarmed? But what IF the subject matter is documented, true and substantiated? Can any seeker after the truth base his hopes for time and eternity on religious traditions and slogans? You are entitled to use your own discretion. Grant no one to be your "soul guide". You are entitled to form your own opinion - and act on that. This may take time. It will take effort, and more: much open-mindedness and courage. We cannot consent to what a Muslim friend of ours told us about a certain book some time ago: "The facts are right, but the interpretation is wrong." A proper interpretation is always based on facts. Of course, you can "interpret" adultery as freedom, or a lie as kindness to someone, etc. But this is dishonest, hopelessly biased, and shows a total lack of love for the truth of God and His standards. It is, worst of all, cowardice. It is easy to consent with the masses and shout with the crowd. It takes a man of integrity to think what others don't, because he lives according to his own convictions and conscience.

WHY DO THE BIBLE AND THE QURAN NOT AGREE?

Despite similarities, stemming from the same subject matter, history and persons mentioned, the Bible and the Quran differ widely on fundamental concepts of faith and practice in religion. There are at least two possible reasons:
1. The Bible and the Quran do not stem from the same source, i.e. one of the two, or both, are of human or spiritist origin. 2. The Bible or the Quran, or both, have undergone editing and consequently the original nature and message has become lost.

In that case one of the two books, or both, contain error and cannot be termed reliable and trustworthy. Both Muslims and Christians are absolutely convinced of the divine origin, reliability and total trustworthiness of their respective book. One (or both) must be false. In

that case very many millions of followers of the respective faiths base their hopes for eternity on error or even deception. Representatives of both faiths have set out to prove their point, but since everyone is already committed to a definite conviction, objectivity is hardly possible. I, as a Christian, most probably am not as objective towards Islam as I should be - and neither will the Muslim reader be unbiased towards the Bible. Within the framework of these studies we shall look only at scriptural and historical facts that are established, and will not engage in philosophical polemics. We do not want to argue about theological concepts either, but desire rather to discuss those that can be checked tested and verified by anyone, anywhere - provided one is able to turn to the sources mentioned. For that reason an attempt has been made to document all assertions as thoroughly as possible. In recent years the Quran has undergone a process of spiritualisation. Some Muslims actually use Christian concepts, foreign to Quranic and traditional thinking, and explain that this is the spirit of Islam. These sentiments are difficult to accept unless they can be substantiated in the Islamic literature of old. Since the Bible existed before the Quran, the difference between the two may be solved by providing:
1. Evidence that proves that the Quran is based on a false or poor understanding and knowledge of the earlier revelation (God cannot change, and will not give contradictory statements to different prophets!); 2. Evidence that proves a change was made in the message of the Bible by Jews and/or Christians, with acceptable reasons for doing so.

The Quran repeatedly and emphatically states that the Torah and Gospel - we take this to stand for the Old and New Testaments - are revelations by the same God as the God of the Quran. What the Quran teaches about the Bible
"Say ye: 'We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses, and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord: WE MAKE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONE AND ANOTHER OF THEM." (S. Baqara 2:136).

"Allah! There is no God but He, - the Living, the Selfsubsisting, Eternal ... He sent down Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) ... as a guide to mankind." (S. Al-iImran 3:2-3). "0 ye who believe! Believe in Allah, and His Apostle - and the scripture which He sent before them". (S. Nisaa 4:136). "It was We who revealed the Law (to Moses); therein was guidance and light ... if any do fail to judge by the light of what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) unbelievers ... We sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: Therein was guidance and light ... a guidance

and an admonition to those who fear Allah. LET THE PEOPLE OF THE GOSPEL JUDGE BY WHAT ALLAH HATH REVEALED THERElN. IF ANY DO FAIL TO JUDGE BY THE LIGHT OF WHAT ALLAH HATH REVEALED, THEY ARE (no better than) THOSE WHO REBEL. Judge. . . what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires ... "(S. Ma-ida 5:44,46,47,49). "People of the Book! ... Stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that hath come to you from YOUR LORD. It is the revelation that has come to thee from THY LORD." (ibid. vs. 68). "The Quran is ... a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it". (S. Yi'inus 10:37). "If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee. The truth had indeed come to thee from thy Lord." (ibid. vs. 94). "AND DISPUTE YE NOT WITH THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK ... BUT SAY: WE BELIEVE IN THE REVELATION WHICH HAS COME DOWN TO US AND THAT WHICH CAME DOWN TO YOU". (S. Ankabut 29:46). "This is a book which We have revealed, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that thou mayest warn the Mother of Cities and all around her." (Sura 6:92). What else does this mean, than that Mohammed claims to bring revelation to Mecca and the Arabs, confirming and establishing what was sent before him?
"Before thee, also, the apostles We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye realize this not, ASK OF THOSE WHO POSSESS THE MESSAGE (Sura 21:7).

We can clearly see that the Quran presupposes the divine revelation of "the Book" and its unpolluted content at the time of the prophet Mohammed. The Quran criticises, however, the twisting and misinterpretation of "the Book":
"Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth, while ye have knowledge? (S. Al-i-Imran 3:71).

"There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (as they read) you would think it is part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book." (S. ibid. vs. 78). (All emphasis in the quotations is my own). If there is anything that comes out very clearly, it is that the Quran is emphatic that the Torah and the Gospel are revelation from God. This is what Christians believe too. The Quran says in this regard:
"No change can there be in the words of Allah" (Sura 10:64)

"There is none that can alter the words of Allah" (Sura 6:34).

Besides that, history and archaeology prevent one from arguing that the Bible has undergone any change since its official canonisation in A.D. 324. In fact almost all portions of the New Testament in their present form were in general circulation among the churches of the Second Century A.D. It was by general agreement at a Council of the bishops of 318 churches that all these were fully recognized and accepted as Apostolic and inspired. When Mohammed referred to "the Book" or "Taurat" or "Injil", he referred, no doubt, to what was in circulation in Arabia in his day and age. If words mean anything at all, then Mohammed referred to this "Book" (al-Kitab) as revelation. We take this as an established fact on the strength of the above evidence, unless it can be proved wrong. Why should a Jew or Christian before or after the time of Mohammed be interested in changing God's revelation? Does he want to go to hell?
"I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." (Revelation 22:18-19).

These are virtually the last verses of the Bible. The only conceivable reason to bring about changes would be that the Quran differs from the "Book". Consequently there are two possibilities: either the Christians refusing to accept the Quran tried to change all similarities between the Bible and the Quran; or Muslims seeing that the "Book" was in contrast to the Quran, expediently claim that the Bible must have been corrupted. The first assumption is against all evidence and logic.
QUESTION: Why do Muslims keep on claiming that the Bible is corrupt? When was the Bible allegedly polluted? Why does the Quran not clearly state that it was polluted?

There are differences between the Bible and the Quran. The Quran states that both the Torah and Gospel are revealed. But in contrast, it also claims that Jesus was not crucified:
"They (the Jews) said (in boast), 'We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah', - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them ... " (Sura 4:157).

The crucifixion receives the widest attention in the Gospel and was unmistakably prophesied in the Old Testament some 700-1000 years before it happened. See "Christians Answer Muslims", pages 48 ff., 97 ff. In Sura 19:35 we are informed that
"it beseemeth not God to beget a son"

and near the end of the Quran (Sura 112:3) it says:


"He begetteth not, nor is He begotten",

which is also part of the Rak'at. This again, is in contrast to the Bible. The words "it is not befitting Allah that He should beget a son" (Sura 19:35 and 92) suggest a physical act, which is as outrageous to Christians as it is to Muslims. Jesus was born of a virgin. She asked:
" 'How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?' He (an angel) said: 'So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, 'That is easy for me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a sign unto men and a mercy from Us.' " (Sura 19:2-21).

This, as in the Bible, does not indicate a begetting act. The whole concept of the "begotten" son is based on a misconception. In the original Greek the word "monogenes" is used, which means "only born". That God by the word of His power was the initiator of the pregancy of Mary is as clearly reflected in the Qur'an (Sura 19:16-22) as it is in the Bible. Even so, Islam assumed the Bible to teach that Jesus was "begotten", i.e. sexually conceived, an act which cannot possibly perceived of God: "It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son", we read. But immediately the biblical position is presented: "Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, he only says to it 'be', and it is." (Sura 19:35). A very similar misunderstanding we find in the concept of the "Trinity", which according to the Quran is understood to consist of Jesus and Mary besides God, God being one of three (Sura 5:116). This is in no way in keeping with the biblical texts. Christians believe in what the Bible teaches. In both the Old Testament (B.C.) and the New Testament we know of ONE God only. ("Christians Answer Muslims, pp. 92 ff.). It is a tragedy that many Muslims think that Christians worship three gods. This is indeed not the case. There are, moreover, many other differences between the Quran and the Bible, which are more of an historical nature than doctrinal: Noah escaped the flood, but his son drowned (Sura 11:42-46) according to the Quran narrative, but he (Noah) escaped with his wife, three sons and their wives (Genesis 6:7,18) in the Bible. The angel, announcing the birth of John the Baptist (Yahya) to his father, says:
"We bring thee tidings of a son, whose name shall be John: we have not caused any to bear the same name before him" (Sura 19:7 according to George Sale's translation).

or
"No namesake have We given him aforetime" (according to A.J. Arberry's translation).

or
"that name we have given to none before him" (Palmer's and Rodwell's translation).

This is incorrect. Johanan, the Hebrew form of John (Jahveh's Gift) was quite a common name, mentioned in the Old Testament. Yusuf Ali in his translation transliterates this statement therefore as "on none by that name have We conferred distinction before." His explanation:
"... for we read of a Johanan ... in II Kings 25:23."

Is a "translator" allowed to change a text like this to correct an error? Abraham was the son of Azar in Sura 6:74 and the son of Terah in Genesis 11:27. Who would change a name from early history at random? What purpose would it serve? None. Only an error can be responsible. Does Azar stand for Eliezer? He is mentioned in Genesis 15:2 as a servant of Abraham. Worse differences occur in the narrative about Moses. We are rightly told that Imran (Biblical Amram) was the father of Moses, Aaron and Miriam (by implication in Suras 19:28, 66:12, 20:25-30). But that this Miriam (or Mary) is the mother of Jesus (who was actually born 1500 years later!) is rather unlikely. The explanation offered by Yusuf Ali that she and her cousin Elizabeth were called "sisters of Aaron", because they were (in the case of Mary, "presumably": comm. 375) of a priestly family, is rather vague. The phrase, it is suggested, was derived from Luke 1:5, where Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, being of priestly descent, was called "of the daughters of Aaron". What Yusuf Ali does not explain, is that the father of Aaron and Mary, the mother of Jesus, happens to be Imran according to the Quran. This, no doubt, shows human error which can hardly be regarded as a copying mistake. It is based on lack of knowledge of, or information about, the Bible. That Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's wife (Sura 28:9) is contradicted by Exodus 2:10, where he was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter (otherwise he would also have been adopted by Pharaoh himself). Moses' wife - we understand from the context (in Sura 28:22-28), that this must be Zipporah the daughter of Jethro - was given to Moses in exchange for 8-10 years' service. The Bible does not account for this (Exodus 2:16-22). We are, however, strongly reminded of Genesis 29:18 where Jacob pledges to serve Laban 7 years in exchange for Rachel. This was approximately 220 years prior to the time of Moses. Again we should like to inquire what possible purpose could any man have in changing the words of the Bible in historical narratives like these? Or could it have been Mohammed who confused some the stories he had heard? The same applies to the statement that Haman was a servant of Pharaoh. According to the Quran, he is ordered by Pharaoh to light a kiln to bake bricks out of clay to "build me a lofty palace" (Sura 28:38, Yusuf Ali); or "high tower that I may ascend unto the God of Moses" (G. Sales); or "a tower, that I may reach the avenues of the heavens and ascend unto the God of Moses" (by Palmer and Rodwell); or "and make me a tower that I may mount up to Moses' god" (by Arberry).

We do recall the building of the tower of Babel in the Bible. But this event in Genesis 11 occurred 750 years before the time of Pharaoh in Exodus, and Haman (Book of Esther) lived 1100 years after Pharaoh. Yusuf Ali suggests (comm. 3331) that this refers to another Haman, but there is none other by that name in the Bible. We find it strange that Yusuf Ali in contrast to all other translators, speaks of a lofty palace, rather than a tower. Did he want to obscure the obvious similarities, which are embarrassing because they are historical misfits? In the Bible (Judges 7) we read how God made Gideon select his small army of 300 from 32,000 men, for a special task. In Sura 2:249 we read of a very similar event, but this time under King Saul. Yusuf Ali in his commentary is aware of this, and remarks "as Gideon did before Saul" (comm. 284). This deed of Saul's is not found in the Bible and we take it to be another error. Muslims believe that Ishmael was the son to be offered by Abraham on the altar. The Bible states that it was Isaac. This incidence highlights the whole concept of sacrifice, where a wide difference between the two Books can be detected. Idu'l-Azha is based on Sura 22:34-37 where it says, inter alia:
"We have appointed for every nation a holy rite that they may mention Allah's name over such beasts of the flocks as He has provided them ... And the beasts of sacrifice - We have appointed them for you as among Allah's waymarks; therein is good for you ... The flesh of them shall not reach Allah, neither their blood (!). But godliness from you shall reach Him."

The Christian reader immediately notices in the above a total contradiction of the Biblical message.
"Where I see the blood, I will pass over you." (Exodus 12:13).

These are the words of God to Moses and the Jews after telling them that by applying the blood of a sacrifice to the lintels and doorposts of their homes, their families would escape the judgment of God that would strike Egypt.
"The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life." (Leviticus 17:11).

This is a concise statement, representing the very heart of the Law given to Moses. Although this ultimately points to the sacrifice of Jesus, who ratified all the offerings presented by the people under the Old Covenant, the demand of God still stands:
"Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

It is a misjudgment of God's holiness and man's sinful nature to assume that our good deeds will ever be able to compensate for the evil in our lives. The origin of Idu'l-Azha can be traced back to the year when, a few months after the Hejira, Mohammed observed the Jews of Medina celebrating the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) and he saw the role that sacrifice played among the people of the Book, the Jews. A Tradition

records that Mohammed asked them why they kept the fast. He was informed that it was a memorial to the deliverance of Israel under Moses from the hands of the Egyptians. "We have a greater right in Moses than they" said Mohammed and fasted with the Jews, commanding his followers to do the same. The following year the initially friendly atmosphere between the Muslims and Jews had deteriorated and with it the Qibla was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca. Mohammed and his followers did not participate in the "Yom Kippur" (Day of Atonement) celebrated then. Instead, he instituted the Idu'l-Azha. He killed two young goats, one for himself and his family and one for the people (See Leviticus 16), still remaining true to Biblical demands. Idolatrous Arabs had been performing the annual Hajj to Mecca at this time of the year. The sacrifice of animals was also part of their ceremonial, so the institution of Idu'l-Azha may be seen also as a well-timed token of goodwill towards the Arabs of Mecca. Although there is no reference in the Quran to the fact, it is generally accepted by Muslims that this feast was instituted to commemorate Abraham's sacrifice of his son Ishmael on Mount Mina near Mecca. The reason for the above assumption is as follows: if Abraham's "only son" (Genesis 22:2) was offered, Isaac could not have been born at that stage, for Ishmael could not have been the only son anymore. But Genesis 22:2 is quite clear on this point. It actually states the name Isaac. In Sura 37:100-111 the story of the sacrifice of Abraham's son is recorded without naming the son: "We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear". Although this Sura deviates somewhat from the Biblical narrative, the event of the sacrifice is reported. As a parallel passage we should mention Sura 11:71, where, however, the chronology of the event has been somewhat mixed up. The reference in Sura 37 culminates in the words:
"We ransomed him (the son) with (another) momentous (or noble) sacrifice." (My emphasis).

The Islamic concept that Ishmael was on the altar can be supported only by the Traditions (Yusuf Ali Commentary, note 4096, 4101) ("Dictionary of Islam", page 219). Bearing everything in mind we are tempted to conclude that the Islamic view is motivated by expediency. Regarding the meaning of the sacrifice (Qurban = "approaching near", to whom? How? Why?), Muslims deny any implication of Biblical concepts whatsoever; we hold that this is not legitimate, since we are dealing with Biblical narrative and content. To the Muslim the Qurban is merely a remembrance rite to make one think of Ishmael. But even in the Quran, although denied in other passages (Sura 22:37), the issue is clear: "Ransomed by sacrifice"! Liberated from death by someone else stepping in, a momentous, noble sacrifice to redeem Isaac (or Ishmael, if you wish). Here is Biblical ground. Here is the pointer to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He became the momentous noble sacrifice to die in our stead! Today Idu'l-Azha is a feast of rejoicing. But the sacrifice is not interpreted as being a ransom! Muslims claim that Abraham took Hagar

and Ishmael, as a baby yet unweaned, to Paran (believed by Muslims to be near Mecca). This clashes with the Genesis account in the following respects:
a) Hagar and Ishmael were sent away, unaccompanied by Abraham, when b) Isaac had already been born, i.e. Ishmael was at least 14 years old (and not weaned!). c) Paran is not near Mecca but is south of Israel in the Sinai Peninsula.

We noted that in Genesis 22:2 Isaac is called Abraham's only son. This is biologically incorrect, but legally correct, for it obviously refers to:
i) the covenant bearer (Genesis 21:12); and ii) Abraham's marriage to Sarah (Hagar was Abraham's concubine)

A Muslim may contend that the given Quranic text is "nazil", or has come as revelation from heaven: God knows about the matter and it need not have been reported in the Bible for Him to know. Of course God knows all things, past present and future. He revealed many events of the future comprehensively through the prophets in the Bible to demonstrate His authorship, and every reader is able to check and test if the facts reveal the divine imprint. But judging unemotionally, just guided by the evidence, Christians fail to see any divine imprint in the Quran. See pp. 39 ff.
QUESTION: How can one, in the light of the opening text of this chapter, account for these differences?

CONTRADICTIONS WITHIN THE QURAN "Do they not consider the Quran? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancies." (Sura 4:82).

This verse is further amplified by the already quoted texts:


"No change can there be in the Words of Allah (Sura 10:64) "There is none that can alter the Words of Allah (Sura 6:34)

We Christians believe this too. Let us assume for a moment that there is no discrepancy between the message of the Bible and the Quran, which, as we have seen, is not the case, and consider the Quran on its own.

The problem of abrogation.


"When We substitute one revelation for another, - and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say 'Thou art a forger: But most of them understand not. Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth."

"None of our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar--Knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?....Would you question your Apostle as Moses was questioned of old?" (Suras 16:101 and 2:106,108). We should like to find out how a divine revelation can be improved. We would have expected it to have been perfect and true right from the start. Yusuf Ali tries to explain:
"....it means that God's message from age to age is always the same, but that its form may differ according to the needs and exigencies of the time. Some commentators apply it also to the Ayat (revelation) of the Quran. There is nothing derogatory in this if we believe in progressive revelation. In Sura 3:7 we are told distinctly about the Quran, that some of its verses are basic and fundamental, and others are allegorical, and it is mischievous to treat the allegorical verses and follow them (literally)." (comm 107).

This is fully acceptable. God has revealed His Word progressively, the revelation being levelled at the comprehension and culture of the people to whom it was first given. Everybody will agree that an allegory should not be taken literally. But what about the law of 'mansukh' (=abrogated verse; please note Sura 2:106 does not speak of intellect, culture or progressive revelation with reference to scriptures given prior to Mohammed, but to Quranic verses only!) and 'nasikh' (=the verses that take the place of the mansukh verses)? . We must recognize one important principle: If we want to know what a certain passage really means we have to make a proper exegesis. We have to establish what exactly the text in question was intended to say to the original hearers. How did they understand it? Only having done that can we interpret a text in today's situation without distortion. There are various possible ways of establishing the original meaning, but one should also look at the very old commentaries and see how they understood and interpreted the text. The "Tafsir-i-Azizi" explains three kinds of abrogations (=cancellations): i) where a verse has been removed from the Quran and another given in its place; ii) where the injunction (command) is abrogated and the letters of the verse remain; ! iii) where both the verse and its injunction are removed from the text Jalalu'd-Din, says that the number of abrogated verses has been variously estimated to range from 5 to 500 ("Dictionary of Islam", page 520) In his 'Itqan' he furnished a list of 20 verses, which are acknowledged by all commentators to be abrogated ("Dictionary of Islam", page 520).

Just a few be mentioned here:


The Qibla (prayer direction) was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca (Sura 2:142-144);

The division of inheritance left by parents or other relatives according to Sura 4:7 had to be equal (a share and a share which has to be determined). This was abrogated and replaced by verse 11, where it is commanded that males must get double the share of females. The night prayer performed by reciting the Quran ought to be more or less half the time of the night (Sura 73:2). This was changed to as much as may be easy for you (verse 20). The treatment of adulteresses is to be life imprisonment (Sura 4:15), which was changed to flogging with 100 strokes (Sura 24:2). This despite the leniency prescribed for homosexuals (Sura 4:16) on repenting. The retaliation in cases of crime, particularly murder, was to be confined to people of equal rank (slave for slave, free for free etc.) (Sura 2:178) This is in disagreement with Sura 5:48 and Sura 17:33 where retaliation is allowed against the murderer only. The Jihad or Holy War was forbidden in the sacred months (Sura 9:5) but is allowed, even encouraged in verse 36 which replaces the former. "Sura 2:106 occurs immediately before a series of sweeping changes, or rather modifications, introduced by Muhammad in both the ritual and the legal spheres.The verse thus precedes a change in the Qibla (vss. 115,177,124-151); in the pilgrimage rites (vs. 158); in the dietary laws (vss. 168-l74); in the law relating to talio (vss. 178179); in bequests (vss. 180-182); in the fast (vss. 182-187); and again in the pilgrimage (vss. 191-203). Similarly, Sura 16:101 is followed by allusions to modifications in the dietary laws (vss 114-119), and in the Sabbath laws (vs.124)" ("The Collection of the Quran" by John Burton). Elaborating on this we note that the fast is compulsory "but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one, that is indigent." (Sura 2:184). "'Here one can hardly escape the conclusion that the first verse (i.e. 184) allows a rich man to buy himself out of the fast." ("Islam" by A. Guillaume). The next verse is said to replace the former. It allows no compensation of any kind for the fast. In verse 180 of the same Sura "it is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin....". This is said to be replaced by Sura 4:11, according to which a double portion of inheritance falls to males compared to that of females.

The much discussed "verses of the sword": "....fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (or war)." (Sura 9:5) and "....when you meet the unbelievers (in fight) cut off their necks..." (Sura 47:4) are "said to have cancelled no less than 124 verses which enjoined toleration and patience." (A. Guillaume). To us it is surprising to find the mansukh and nasikh verses often near to each other. We judge these to be cases of interpolation. As stated earlier, we do believe in progressive revelation. The Old Covenant of the Law, as given to Moses, was superseded by the New Covenant of grace, which Jesus introduced. But these developments took place over a considerable time (1 500 years) with many prophetic warnings and predictions in between, so that no arbitrary action may be assumed on the side of God. In the light of this we find it unacceptable that within a space of 20 years a need for change or correction can become necessary. This surely suggests that God is either not allknowing or else the recorder made a correction. There are other verses which further add to the confusion:
"If we wished, we could make away with what we have revealed to you!" (Sura 17:86). "We shall teach you to recite it (i.e. the Quran) and you will not forget - except that Allah wills (Sura 87:6-7).

Why should anything be forgotten of an eternal revelation? To "substitute for it something better"? We do admit that an inspired man can err at times, but an inspired book (nazil) cannot! Zarkasi explains the above concept more deeply. He states (vol. I p. 235):
"The 'naskh' (sic) of the wording and recital occured by means of God's causing them to forget it. He withdrew it from their memories, while commanding them to neglect its public recital and its recording in the mushaf. With the passage of time, it would quite disappear like the rest of God's revealed Books which He mentions in the Quran, but nothing of which is known today. This can have happened either during the Prophet's life so that, when he died, the forgotten material was no longer being recited as part of the Quran; or it might have happened after the death of the Prophet. It would still be extant in writing, but God would cause them to forget it. He would then remove it from their memories. But, of course, the naskh of any part of the revelation after the death of the Prophet is not possible." ("The Collection of the Quran" by John Burton p.97).

We suggest that Allah could have spared us a lot of confusion, doubt and explaining, had He given the better text right from the beginning.
"There was a series of Hadiths designed expressly to give the impression that Muhammad had forgotten part of the revelations. The reports were specific and detailed enough to identify the actual wording of the verses in question. Anas is reported in the two Sahih's (i.e. al-Bukhari and Muslim) as declaring: There was revealed concerning those slain at Bi'r Ma'una a Quran verse which we recited until it was withdrawn: "Inform our tribe on our

behalf that we have met our Lord. He has been well pleased with us and has satisfied our desires.' ("al-Itqan by Jalal al Din).

'Abdullah b. al Zubair therefore asked 'Uthman what had possessed him to include Sura 2:240 in the 'mushaf' (document or canon), when he knew it to have been abrogated by Sura 2:234. 'Because', he replied 'Uthman, 'I know it to be part of the Quran text.' '(ibid.). ("The Collection of the Quran" by John Burton). A further problem arises from the fact that there is by no means any certainty which verses are mansukh and which nasikh, since the order in which the Quran was written down is not chronological, but according to the length of the Suras. However, even the Suras were not necessarily given in one piece. It happened that a certain portion of a Sura was given, and the next given text would be directed by Mohammed to be added to another Sura, and later again another addition was made to the first again, etc. The Hadis gives no conclusive information about the chronological order either, so that strictly speaking, there is no means of determining which of two disagreeing texts is mansukh, and which nasikh. In any case we Christians see in this whole subject just a theological gimmick to "explain" contradictions. The quotation:
"No change can there be in the Words of Allah" and "There is none that can alter the Words of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those Apostles." or "the other Apostles also said so." (Suras 10:64 and 6:34).

is contradicted by all those Muslims who claim that the Bible which is admitted to be a revealed book, has been altered and corrupted. To underline our point let us just look at two passages of the Quran that have not been reconciled in terms of the law of abrogation. In Sura 41:9-12 we read that the world was created in eight days, in Sura 7:54 we are told it were six days. It is, we suppose, up to the believer to make up his mind which of the two he will accept. QUESTION: Must we assume that God is inconsistent? Knowing all things, such contradiction surely does not originate from God? Problems regarding the consistency of Revelation. The Quran is inconsistent regarding commitments on the part of Allah on which the believer can reckon or on which he can build his life. Commitments that are given are contradicted elsewhere:
"Allah has inscribed for himself (the rule of) mercy"

or
"Allah has prescribed for himself as law to act merciful" (Sura 6:12).

is contradicted in the same Sura: (verses 35-39):


"If it were Allah's will, he would gather them into true guidance.... Whom Allah willeth he leaves to wander, whom he willeth, he placeth on the way that is straight".

As we shall see (pp 21ff.), the Muslim's hope rests on that despairing word:
"IF it pleases Allah."

This is striking, for even in the Old Testament the believer was aware of the Law of cause and Effect. Once a believer broke any of God's Laws he was cut-off from God, and was lost and perishing. But if he atoned therefor in repentance according to God's prescribed ordinance (the sacrifice) his sin was forgiven. God had committed Himself to it. This is even further elaborated in the New Testament:
"If we confess our sins (while we have fellowship with God: vs. 6), He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9).

We see a definite regression from this standard in the Quran. We also find it strange to read:
"Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, 'we are Christians'." (Sura 5:85)

This is supported to some extent by an explanatory note in the "Mishkat" (IV page 103, note 2380) where we are told that "nearly two-thirds of paradise" will be filled with "the followers of the Holy Prophet and the followers of other prophets will form one-third." In strange contrast to this are the words of Sura 5:51
"Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends."

What about being together in Paradise? The reason is just as strange:


"They (Jews and Christians) are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

It can hardly be said that Jews and Christians have ever protected each other, except that they agree on the authenticity of the Old Testament. It is said of Mohammed that he was the first to bow down to Allah (in Islam) (Sura 6:14, 163, 39:12). But it is also said of Abraham, his sons and Jacob that they were Muslims (Sura 2:132), and of all earlier prophets who brought 'books' (i.e. Moses, David and Jesus) (Sura 28:52-53). Again it is reported of the disciples of Jesus that they were Muslims (Sura 3:52). All these we view as contradictions. Some would not be of a serious nature, were it not for the claim that the Quran is "nazil" or "brought down" from heaven to Mohammed without the touch of human hand - except for the act of writing itself.

QUESTION: Is there any uncontradicted statement in the Quran on which a Mulsim can rely to have eternal life in heaven?

THE HOLY WAR

The romantic ideal Muslims emphatically insist that the Jihad, or Holy War, was only a means of defence and was never used as an offensive act. This is underlined in the explanatory notes of the Sahih Muslim:
"Jihad in Islam is not an act of violence directed indiscriminately against the non-Muslims; it is the name given to an all-round struggle which a Muslim should launch against evil in whatever form or shape it appears. Fighting in the way of Allah is only one aspect of Jihad. Even this in Islam is not an act of mad brutality....It has MATERIAL and MORAL functions, i.e. self-preservation and the preservation of the moral order in the world." ("Sahih Muslim, III, page 938 - explanatory note).

"The sword has not been used recklessly by the Muslims; it has been wielded purely with humane feelings in the wider interest of humanity" (ibid. page 941 - also explanatory note). The materialistic purpose. Let us investigate how this claim is supported by the actual facts of history.
"Jihad is one of the chief meritorious acts in the eye of Islam -- and it is the best source of earnings, but it shall be undertaken with the intention of self-defence." "Mishkat" II, page 340 - explanatory note).

One could also call it robbery in self-defence, if there is such a thing.


"The Holy Quran strictly prohibited conversion by force, saying: 'There is no compulsion in religion' (Sura 2:256)" (ibid).

This is reasonable - though one would, perhaps, object to war as a means of income. This income, no doubt, is at the expense of someone's livelihood. But let us look at Muslim warfare in practice:
"When an infidel's country is conquered (in self-defence?) by a Muslim ruler, its inhabitants are offered three alternatives: 1. The reception of Islam, in which case the conquered became enfranchised citizens of the Muslim state; 2. The payment of a poll-tax (Jazyah) by which unbelievers in Islam obtained "protection" and become Zimmis, provided they were not idolaters (of Arabia);

3. Death by the sword to those who would not pay the poll-tax. ("Dictionary of Islam", page 243).

"....Kill those who join other gods with Allah wherever you find them; besiege them, seize them, lay in wait for them with every kind of ambush...."(Sura 9:5). "When you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great slaughter among them...."(Sura 47:4). "....Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in Allah, or in the Last Day, and who forbid not what Allah and His Apostle have forbidden....until they pay tribute..." (Sura 9:29). "Say to the infidels: If they desist, what is now past shall be forgiven them; but if they return, they have already before them the doom of the ancients! Fight then against them till strife be at an end, and the religion be all of it Allah's." (Sura 8:39). "Proclaim a grievious penalty to those who reject faith." (Sura 9:3). All of the above texts are contradicted by:
"There is no compulsion in religion".

From the Hadayah (II, page 140) we learn with regard to the Jihad, that:
"To whichever village you go and settle therein, there is your share therein, and whichever village disobeys Allah and His Messenger, its one-fifth is for Allah and His Messenger and the remainder is for you." ("Mishkat" II, page 412).

"In the actual war-field in the midst of hostilities, some concessions were sometimes given to soldiers for recreation. Captive virgin girls in war were once made lawful for the soldiers for copulation. "(ibid. page 440 and "Sahih Muslim" II, pages 705-707). What is right today cannot be wrong tomorrow, otherwise we have an example of situational ethics. To an objective observer the following picture emerges: interest in material gain was as important as the making of converts One cannot help feeling that the Holy War was a pretence to make booty and receive continuing taxes. This must have persuaded many a man to join the Holy War and thus to become a mercenary. This interest no doubt gave enormous political and military momentum to the cause of Mohammed. Each warrior had a right to the belongings of the man he had slain, and could sell for ransom any prisoner he had made. Women and children were also reckoned as booty and a Muslim saw no moral irregularity in taking married woman prisoners as concubines as long as they were not pregnant. He would also have his share of the combined booty, of which; however, one-fifth belonged to Mohammed (and in the case of no fight taking place, it belonged to him totally). We are aware, however, that Mohammed never lived an extravagant life or hoarded goods. On the contrary, he was most generous in every aspect, particularly to the poor, to orphans and to widows.

Taxes could be very harsh indeed as in the case of the defeated Jews who lived in Khaiber. They
"were allowed to stay in Khaiber on condition that they would pay half the produce of their lands to the Holy Prophet and in addition Jazyah tax". ("Mishkat" II, page 455, footnote).

"After the Battle of Badr, the verse dealing with the booties was first revealed. The verse introduced the rule for the first time that the spoils of war would be the property of the soldiers who actually take part in the battle...THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS why the soldiers of Islam fought tooth and nail. They would get Paradise in case of death in a Holy War, and booties in the case of CONQUEST. Jihad is therefore the best source of all acquisitions." ("Mishkat" II, page 406, explanatory note). Jihad "is the best method of earning both spiritual and temporal. If victory is won, there is enormous booty and (sic) CONQUEST of a country, which cannot be equal to any other source of earnings." (ibid. page 253, explanatory note). "In the battle of Muraisi with Banu Mustalig, the booties gained were nearly 200 camels and 5 000 goats. In the campaign of Hunain, the booties that fell to the hands of the Muslims were 24 000 sheep, 4 000 silver coins and innumerable camels. In the Battle of Badr and Uhud, the booties were also great." (ibid. page 406). There is little wonder that a poem ascribed to Ali ibn Abi Talib, reads thus:
"Our flowers are the sword and the dagger: Narcissus and myrtle are nought. Our drink is the blood of our foeman; Our goblet his skull, when we've fought."

The opposing concept of Jesus. Earlier we accepted the concept of progressive revelation. Progress is seen, for instance, in Moses being told by God that the then prevailing revenge custom (you knock out my tooth and I will cut off your neck) had to be changed to: "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" - no more! This was progress. Then in a developing process of revelation, God revealed through Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, His concept for the Christian believer:
"Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God....You have heard that it was said: 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' but I say to you, do not resist one who is evil, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also....You have heard that it was said (in the Old Covenant) 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...." (Matthew 5:9, 38-44).

Again this is progress. This may not appear very practical--if one excludes God's doings in this world - but it is His way. It is sad to say that few, if any, nominal Christians give heed to this teaching of Christ's. We find that Mohammed's ethical standards constitute a return or regression to the time before Christ The question we should like to put is: How does the statement "There is no compulsion in religion" agree with: "Kill those who join other gods with Allah", "strike off their heads" and "fight then against them till strife be at an end, and the religion be all of it Allah's."? Christians wonder why they are not allowed to build churches and freely propagate their faith in Islamic countries, whereas Muslims enjoy religious freedom in most non-Muslim lands, except behind the Iron Curtain. Recently the only church in Afghanistan was bulldozed down. The claim that Muslims acted only in defence is patently untrue. What were the Muslims defending in Spain, France, India, Persia or at the very gates of Vienna? The fact that people were not prepared to become Muslims by choice ("there is no compulsion in religion") does not constitute aggression toward the Muslims. The repeated claim that booty could not have been a motive - because the Holy War must have pure religious motives - is insincere, for if it were so, booty would surely not have been made an incentive. We believe that the promise of booty served to attain political aims. From a purely military point of view we can see no fault in Mohammed's actions, if we consider that most other military leaders acted similarly. No doubt he was a superior general. administrator, leader, social reformer and politician; but his actions and what he commissioned, do not in the view of Christians, qualify him to be the ultimate Prophet of God. QUESTION: If God wants to extend His rule by the use of force of His followers, which we see possible, would it be a spiritual inscentive to offer booty? Why are Muslims always stressing the defensive character of Mohammed's warfare, knowing it was mostly offensive? Why were most of the conquests orientated on political and material gains, rather than on the propagation of the Almighty God?

TOTAL PREDESTINATION - OR THE FREE WILL OF MAN?

Risaleh-i-Barkhavi says:
"Not only can He do anything, He actually is the only One Who does anything. When a man writes, it is Allah who has created in his mind the will to write. Allah at the same time gives the power to write, then brings about the motion of the hand and the pen and the appearance upon paper. All other things are passive, Allah alone is active."

Is this true? In Arabic the word "qadar" (or "taqdir" in theological language, meaning "preordering"; compare also "Qismet") is expressed in Sura 9:51:

"Nothing shall ever befall upon us except what Allah has ordained for us."

How Muslim theologians have tried to accommodate this concept alongside responsibility for actions has been outlined by Alfred Guillaume:
"There are texts which clearly assert that man is responsible for his own actions, though the majority of texts seem to assert that they are definitely decreed. The Mutazila dealt with these passages as best as they could by softening the language of predestination, but still it could not be denied that the orthodox party had the Quran on their side when they asserted that God's predestination was absolute. This view is borne out by the chapter on predestination in the books of canonical tradition which do not contain a single saying of Muhammad's which leaves freedom of action to man. Everything is predestined from the first and a man's fate is fixed before he is born....Orthodox reaction to the doctrine of free will took rather a strange form. The Mutazilites were dubbed dualists because it was said that by their assertion that man has 'power' over his actions they made him the 'creator' of his works and thus encroached on the almighty power of God, for there would be two creators of actions." ("Islam" by A. Guillaume p.131).

Pre-ordained sin - but man's responsibility? In a dispute between Adam and Moses (!), which is reported in the Hadis ("Sahih Muslim", pages 1396 - 1398), Moses argues with Adam,
"'You are our father, you did us harm and caused us to get out of Paradise. Adam said to him ... 'You blame me for an act which Allah had ordained for me 40 years before he created me.' Allah's Apostle then said (or added): 'This is how Adam came the better of Moses."'

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle as saying:


"Verily Allah has fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in, and which he of necessity must commit (or "there would be no escape from it)."

We find the "interpretation" in a footnote (2900 of Sahih Muslim):


"... the simple and straight meaning of this Hadis is ..." that "each person is endowed with a sexual lust of a certain measure, according to which he has his sexual yearnings from which he cannot escape."

We hold that, if words mean anything at all, the commentator in this footnote deliberately twisted the meaning of the original Hadis. The orthodox Sunni view (Asharian) states the Allah has written preserved tablets. He wills good and evil. Man is under compulsion to do what Allah decrees. Allah may - or may not - admit to Paradise, or cast into hell. ("Dictionary of Islam" pages 472 ff.). This is in keeping with the Quran (Sura 76:29-31):

"This is an admonition: whosoever will, let him take a path to his Lord. But ye will not, except as Allah wills ... He will admit to his mercy whom He wills. But the wrongdoers - for them has he prepared a grievous penalty."

Christians view mercy as grace or an undeserved favour. It cannot be earned, for then mercy would not be needed. Since all mankind is in need of mercy from God, all mankind is dependent on His action. The above-mentioned text from Sura 76 was used as an argument by the Asharians against the Mutazilites (rejected as heretics, because they advocated the free will of man). In contrast, the Jabrians (from jabr = complusion) deny all free agency in man and say that man is necessarily constrained by the force of Allah's eternal and immutable decree to act as he does. Allah can, if he so wills, admit all men to Paradise, or cast all into hell. Elsewhere it says that:
"nothing can happen in the world, whether it respects the conditions and operation of things, or good or evil, or obedience and disobedience, or faith and infidelity ... that is not contained in the written tablet of the decree of Allah." ("Dictionary of Islam" by T.P. Hughes, pages 472-473).

The witness of the Hadis. To be able to judge the complexity of the problem we turn to the Mishkat (vol. III, pp. 93121).
"The strong Muslim solidarity which the Prophet had once so laboriously cemented has been greatly weakened on account of bitter controversies over this question. This is because there are apparent conflicting views on the subject in the Quran and Hadis. On the one hand, the scriptures uphold the doctrine of freedom of will and the consequent responsibility for actions, and on the other they emphasize that it is only God who guides and misguides as He pleases and that the fate of man and everything was pre-determined before their creation. Among the former Muslims (and we think we ought to consult them for their view, as they were much more concerned with the original form of Islam: G.N.), there were two extreme schools of thought - the Zabariyas and the Qadriyas. The former school holds that God is the creator of Man's deeds without responsibility in the matter. They contend that man has got no power to go beyond his destiny or decree of God before his creation: 'No evil befalls on the earth, nor on your own souls but it is in a book before We bring into existence' (Sura 57:22). The Holy Prophet said: 'Nothing repels a pre-decree except supplication' (Mishkat 38:11) (here we would question the logic of this statement: G.N.).

"The Qadriyas and later on the Mutazilas hold that man has got absolute freedom of will and the consequence (sic) responsibility of actions, and that if the former view is accepted, the rewards for virtuous acts and punishments for sins cannot at all be explained: 'And whatever affliction befalls on you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought.' (Sura 42:30). (We note that this is flatly contradicted by Sura 76:2931, see p. 22).

"The two views as above noted are diametrically opposite to each other, and none could find out a satisfactory solution of the problem....Let us, however, try to harmonize the apparent conflict to some extent leaving the rest to God." The 'solution' of the problem is, however in no way acceptable, if justice is to be done to the Quran or Hadis. It is just a simple fact that contraditions cannot be reconciled or explained.
"There shall come to pass sinking down of earth and metamorphosition among my followers, and that will be among those who will disbelieve in pre-decree". This is reported by Ibn Omar about what Mohammed has said. Another Hadis reports:

"If you spend gold like Uhud mountain in the way of Allah, Allah will not accept it from you till you believe in pre-decree and know that whatever afflicts you is not due to your fault, and whatever fault you commit does not go to afflict you. If you had died upon (a condition) other than this, you would have entered Hell..." (Mishkat vol. III, pp. 112-113). "The Messenger of Allah said Verily the Almighty and Glorious Allah finished five things for every man of His creation: his fixed term (time), his ACTION, his resting place, his movements and his provision." "The Holy Prophet said: 'Allah created Adam....Then He stroked (sic) his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroked his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards Paradise and I don't care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder. Towards Hell and I don't care." "I heard the Messenger of Allah say - Verily the Almighty and Glorious Allah caught one hold (or party) with His right hand and another with another hand, and said: This is for this, and this is for this, and I don't care. AND I DON'T KNOW IN WHICH OF THE TWO PARTIES I AM." (My emphasis) It is hardly possible in the framework of this little study to consider more quotations, but we can see without difficulty what "pre-decree" is all about. We also see the immense problem facing theologians that have to piece all this together. We fear that an honestly God-fearing man will see his limits here! Just as in the case of the God of the Bible, Allah is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. We are alarmed, however, to realize that his omnipotence is decidedly arbitrary in nature:
"Allah blots out and establishes what He pleases." (Sura 13:39). "Allah has power over all things." (Sura 3:159).

This teaching resulted in the rejection of the Law of Cause and Effect. Only Allah causes things to be or be done. Logically then, a man can do neither a good deed, nor a bad deed on his own. Consequently, man cannot be held responsible for his actions and a righteous God cannot condemn him. A certain Hadis says:
"At creation Allah took a lump of mud, divided it into two, threw one into hell saying, 'I do not care'. Likewise he threw the other into heaven, saying, 'I do not care.'" ("Der Islam", by Kellerhals, page 74 and "Handwrterbuch des Islam", page 247).

How did this concept arise? A Hadis by Al-Bukhari and Muslim enlightens us:
"Allah created Adam ... brought forth from him a family and said, 'I have created this family ... for hell, and their actions will be like those of the people of hell!" Then a man said to the Prophet, 'Of what use will deeds of any kind be?' He said, 'When Allah creates his servant for Paradise, his actions will be deserving for it until he dies - and when Allah creates one for the fire, his actions will be like those of the people of hell till he dies, when he will enter therein." (AI-Bukhari LXXVII:611, Mishkat, vol.3 chapter XXXII:4 and 14).

"The Holy Prophet said: 'When you hear about a mountain that it has shifted itself from its place, believe it, but when you hear about a man that he had changed his nature, don't believe it as it will return to what it was created upon.'" (Mishkat, vol. 3 chapter XXXII:32 (458w). "'0 Prophet of Allah! I believe in you and in what you have come with. Do you still fear for us?' 'Yes', said he, 'the hearts are between the two fingers of Allah. He changes them as He likes.'" (Mishkat, vol. 3 chapter XXXII:20). "Allah created His creations in darkness, and then cast His light upon them, so whoever got anything from that light found guidance, and who so missed it became misguided." (Mishkat, vol. 3 chapter XXXII:19). In the light of the above it seems strange that Muslims, who accept this concept, find it puzzling that a sinner is acceptable to God when the atoning sacrifice of Jesus has provided a covering for his sin. The suffering of the just for the unjust, is to the Muslim blatant injustice! We can learn from this just how much our morality can be influenced by our upbringing and environment. The witness of the Quran When Mohammed saw the stubborness of the people of Mecca, which according to him was against all reason, he must have concluded that it could have been caused only by Allah. It is not surprising, then, that many of his inspirations had this message:
"If we had so willed, we could have given every soul this guidance, but now my word is realized: 'Assuredly I shall fill Gehenna (hell) with jinns (spirits) and men altogether.'" (Sura 32:13).

The omnipotent Allah determines, who of his creatures go to bliss and who to damnation. He is Lord.
"If Allah had willed he would have made you one nation. But he leads astray whom he will and guides whom he will. But you shall certainly be called to account for all your actions." (Sura 16:93).

Regarding unbelievers, we read in Sura 2:6-7:

"It is equal to them, whether you warn them or not, they will not believe. Allah has put the seal upon their hearts."

Speaking of all mankind, it says in Sura 7:178-179 :


"Whomsoever Allah guides, he is rightly guided, and whom he leads astray, they are the losers! We have created for Gehenna many jinns and men ..."

"Do ye desire to guide him whom Allah led astray? Whom Allah leads away, you will find no way for him." (Sura 4:88). "If Allah willed he would have made mankind one nation, but they continue in their differences, excepting those on whom your Lord has mercy. To that end, he created them and perfectly is fulfilled the word of your Lord: 'I shall assuredly fill Gehenna with jinns and men altogether.'" (Sura 11:118-119). "Allah leads astray whomsoever he will and guides whomsoever he will." (Sura 14:4). This is repeated also in Suras 35:8 and 74:31. According to Sura 91:8, Allah "breathed into it (the soul) wickedness and piety" (other translation - "lewdness and godfearing").
"With Allah is the argument that reaches home: if it had been His will, He could indeed have guided you all." (Sura 6:149).

The Hadis (Sahih Muslim, page 1395) confirms the meaning of this verse:
"Allah's Messenger, what is your opinion that the people do in the world, and strive for, is something decreed for them, something preordained for them, and (sic) will their fate in the Hereafter be determined by the fact that their prophets brought them teachings which they did not act upon, and thus they became DESERVING of punishment? Thereupon he said:

"'Of course, it happens as it is decreed by Destiny and preordained for them, and this view is confirmed by this verse of the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious: 'Consider the soul and Him who made it perfect, then breathed into it its sin and its piety.'" (My emphasis). Also in Sura 5:18 we read:
"He forgives whom he pleases and punishes whom he pleases."

A Hadis reports:
"Two men in a village died, one had concern for Allah, not the other. The village Imam saw the pious in hell and the unrighteous with wine houris in Paradise. When the pious complained about this obvious injustice, Allah replied: 'Be silent! Have I not the right to do as I please with what is my own?'"

All this is total determinism. Man is judged and condemned for what he cannot help doing. This is, in fact, also total injustice. Dare one overlook all these statements with a sentimental glance at the Islamic doctors of religion, expecting them not to mislead anyone for, no doubt, one takes it for granted that they must have the right answers? No, one cannot, for Islamic theologians have and had in fact no greater problem to deal with - and have discussed this issue for centuries. Modern writings within Islam strongly tend towards the view that man has a free will. This is in keeping with the Bible and, of course, modern philosophical understanding. But it is not in keeping with the Quran. The Mutazilite Theologians reasoned that if this is what predestination entails: "what is the use of commandments, and prohibitions, rewards and punishment, threats and promises, prophets or books?" They received no satisfactory answer. They were, in fact, silenced. Submission to Islam demands the acceptance of the tenet of predestination - or shall we say fatalism. Perhaps we ought to be reminded that the word used for predestination in Islam does not indicate pre-knowlege, but pre-ordering! There is an apparent ray of hope, however: In Sura 6:12 we are told that
"Allah has inscribed (prescribed: G.N.) for himself (the rule of) mercy."

Verse 35 of the same Sura, however, says, in flat contradiction thereto:


"If it were Allah's will, he could gather them together unto true guidance."

Consequently, the great Islamic theologian, al-Ghazali writes:


"Allah's justice is not to be compared with the justice of man. A man may be supposed to act unjustly by invading the position of another, but no injustice can be conceived on the part of Allah. It is in his power to pour down torrents upon mankind and if he were to do it, his justice would not be arraigned. There is nothing he can be tied to, to perform, nor can any injustice be supposed of him, nor can he be under obligation to any person whatever."

Thus Allah is exempted from all ethical norms - those of mankind and those of himself. He is not bound by any promise. He may also change the standard of his behaviour and this would be completely justified.
"If We (i.e. Allah) willed, We could withdraw that which We have revealed unto thee, then thou wouldst find no guardian for thee ..." (Sura 17:86).

We must assume then, that this is what happened when: Allah curses all liars - and yet permit Mohammed to break an oath (Sura 66:1-2); or: Allah alone is to be worshipped - yet Satan and the angels were ordered to worship Adam and Satan was eternally punished, because he refused to do so (Sura 2:34).

Ibn-Hazm observes:
"While the Quran uses the name of Allah, which means 'the most merciful of those who show mercy', this cannot mean that he is merciful in the way we understand the word, for Allah is evidently not merciful. He tortures his children with all manners of sickness, warfare and sorrow. What then does the Quran mean? Simply that "merciful" is one of Allah's names. A name that is not in any way descriptive of Allah or meant to throw light on his nature. We must use it because the Quran uses it, but not pretend to understand what is meant by it."

A certain Islamic scholar put it in these words:


"The word originally used in the Quran must have had a different meaning in that day, which we cannot really understand today. Nevertheless, we must continue to use the word, because we can not change the words of the Quran."

The problem that arises is simple and clear: If Allah in the Quran manifests himself as the arbitrary God who acts as he pleases without any ties even to his own sayings, he adds a thought totally foreign to the former revelations, which Mohammed claimed to confirm, and in which we are encouraged to take God at His Word. We should like to suggest that God is consistent, righteous and holy. In the case of contradictions or any flaws of any kind in any record supposed to have come from Him, man must be blamed, and not God. It is intolerable to cover these up to protect the image of a book or prophet, or possibly a religion and its leaders. If what has been quoted in these pages is news to you, dear reader, then either you have no knowledge of the Quran whatever (and consequently entrust your eternal welfare to other ignorant men); or you are in the hands of men who are aware of this knowledge, but have kept it from you because it disagrees with the general concept of what you learned in the Madressa: namely, that keeping the five pillars of faith, doing good and leaving the rest to the mercy of Allah, will do. QUESTION: For what reason should a Christian give up his position as an accepted and forgiven person with the God-given assurance of eternal life in His presence - to swop it for total insecurity? Righteousness or mercy? Another problem is whether we see God as the merciful, forgiving One. OR instead as the God Who is just and righteous? As they stand these attributes cannot be reconciled, for they are a contradiction in terms. Apparently this thought has not been considered by most people. If a judge is righteous, he must punish sin. If he forgives (whom he pleases), he is neither righteous nor just. We must hasten to add, however, that the Bible presents a similar problem. On the one hand we have a loving and forgiving God. whom we accept as righteous. This is correct, but on the other hand we should not overlook the fact, that our Holy God has punished sin by executing judgement on the substitutional sacrifice, thereby meeting the required standard of justice.

The sin IS punished, though not the offender - the punishment being borne by God Himself in Christ on the cross (Please write for our booklet "Comparing, Confusing, Considering, Concluding"). So forgiveness and mercy need not contradict His righteousness. God's solution for sin is "atonement" or reconciliation. Forgiveness does not work by a magic formula. It is not just that God forgets about it. No! A righteous God cannot tolerate unjust judgement. Sin is so abominable to God, that He has to deal with it - by righteous judgement! But how can the righteousness of God and the love of God toward us meet? An incident from history may illustrate this point: Shamuel was a Caucasian prince living a couple of hundred years ago. His people were at constant war with the Turks. Once he besieged a Turkish city with his army. As usual his mother was with him in his camp. One night he planned a surpirse assault, but the enemy was lying in wait. His secret plans had been betrayed. The battle was lost. In anger Shamuel announced that the traitor would be punished with 100 lashes of a whip, if found out. Again in great secrecy another surprise attack was planned. With the same result. But the traitor was discovered. It was Shamuel's mother. For three days and nights he withdrew to his tent. What should he do? If he were to spare his mother all would rightly say that he was unjust. Were he to punish her, however, all would say: 'Look at Shamuel! He does not even have pity for his own mother!' At long last he appeared. His army gathered expectantly. In a sinister tone he addressed his people: 'We have lost two battles because of treason. Our men have been killed. There is no excuse. The crime was committed, and so the culprit shall be punished according to my law: with 100 lashes! Righteousness and judgement must be maintained." His mother was led into the circle. She was pale and shivering with fear. The executioner lifted his whip - but before the first lash fell, Shamuel cried: "Wait! - This is my mother. I am of her flesh and blood. I will take the punishment for her!" He went into the circle, took off his garment and commanded "Executioner, dare not strike more lightly than with the last victim. Do your duty. Hit on!" Lash after lash found its mark, until he broke down unconscious. He did survive though, against all expectation. This event, perhaps more than any other in history, fits the picture of jesus. He was God in bodily form. He had and has to execute righteous judgement. But in His perfect love He took on Himself our - my own, your own - sin and suffered the cruel, but just consequences on the cross. We are aware though that it was not only the physical suffering, bad as it was, that was so cruel, but that the very pure and holy God took on Himself all the ugly filth of our sin. Righteousness and love met at the cross of Jesus. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses (of God's Law) unto them" (II Cor. 5:19). This happened once and for all. This sacrifice for sin is good enough for all men at all times. It is God's grace, God's gift to us, which we did not deserve. A gift is, however, only mine, when I accept it. And keep it. When in sincerity I bring all my sin to Him in a prayer of confession, I shall be cleaned: "I will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:34). "You will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea." (Micah 7:19). "As far as the East is from the West, so far does He remove our transgressions from us" (Ps. 103:12). "If we confess our sins. He is

faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9). I am quite convinced, that no man, after realizing who Jesus is and what He has done, and thus having some understanding of the Person Who is now without a physical body in eternal Glory, can ask the God of the Bible for forgiveness lightly. I mean: without real remorse over what was his part in nailing Christ to the cross. After all, how CAN a person after this realization consider more sin in his heart? Yes, we may be tripped. We may fall. But we will not contemplate and plan actions that will hurt God. This is the attitude on which we can base our prayer of forgiveness. In the parable of the 'Prodigal Son' (Luke 15:11 ff.), Jesus speaks of a man who has two sons. One went away with his heritage and wasted it in far places, until he had spent all. Working in a pigsty "he came to himself". He seriously and honestly assessed his situatron. He had an 'after thought'. The Bible has this word translated as 'repentance'. It went like this: The young man made a resolution. "I will (a) rise and (b) go to my Father and (c) say to Him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, I am no more worthy to be called your son". All he wished was to be a servant to his Father instead of serving a stranger in a pigsty which had led to his near starvation. This resolution was very good indeed. Perhaps we have made such a resolution before. But it was not enough. The young man in our parable did not stop short of actually fulfilling his resolution: "He (d) arose and (e) came to his Father." Much to his surprise the Father was looking out for him. More surprising, he still recognized him Much earlier he had ridden away confidently, but his high expectation of a successful, truly happy and fulfilled life had not come true. He returned as a filthy, stinking, wretched hobo. But most surprisingly, his Father ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed him! The son could hardly stammer out his confession, before his Father (1) had clothed him (covered his dirt. In Hebrew the word is from the same root as 'atonement', i.e. to reconcile) with 'the best robe', (2) put a ring on his finger (i.e. signet ring to indicate his acceptance as son again), (3) and put shoes on his feet (only free men were allowed to wear them). Then (4) he ordered a feast to be prepared, for "this my son was dead, and he is alive again, he was lost and is found". No doubt the way home was a very hard one. Repentance, however, is most marvellous, when it is over and done with. Our Father will remember our sins no more! There will be no embarrassing questions on the Day of Judgement. Judgement has already been passed on Jesus. But the Father had two sons, remember. When the other one came home from the fields and heard the feasting and was told it was for his brother, he became angry. He could not be persuaded to join the feast for 'this your son'. He had always been at home, had always done his work. There was never any feast for him! He had never feasted, although he could have! His sonship was a burden. The Christian faith is not occupied with do's and don'ts. After the treasurer of Queen Candace (Acts 8:27 ff.) had seen the Light "he went his way rejoicing!" New things occupy the mind of a Christian. New understanding of the world around us leads to new conclusions, purposes and aims. Obviously the old aims and purposes are superseded, and become less important or obsolete. A tremendous new horizon and new meaning in life will emerge, while one is occupied with the things of God, and they will push out old aims and purposes. But this cannot be understood as a sad 'good-bye' to well-loved pleasures. It is rather a fading away of former values to give way to an abundant life. Anything less is legalistic, deadening, a yoke

of bondage. It is, in fact, in opposition to a truly spiritual life and an insult to God, Who would then be a taskmaster instead of a Saviour. The real New Birth is an essential part ot salvation or conversion: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Except a man is born by water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3,5) The New Birth is the beginning of the New Life. This is a process of growth, however, Repentance, the New Birth and conversion may happen within one hour. The Christian's life should grow until he leaves this world. All this change in a person is actually the 'conversion' (conversion = change) of that person. It is brought about by the loving devotion of such a person who begins to see the folly of his former self-centred life and desires to live in a way pleasing to HIM, in an attitude of thankfulness. This loving devotion is the work of God in a person. When the wedge of sin is gones, God begins to communicate with man, "who was dead and is alive again". "And you He made alive, when you were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1). The process of 'making alive again' is called the 'the New Birth' (John 3:3-5). This, of course cannot be effected by man. It is a divine interaction. QUESTION: Why do Muslims want to "buy" by "good deeds" what cannot be bought? Why does he refuse the gift of God? Is it ignorance? Fear? Pride? Fear or love? Commitment is then followed by a life devoted to, and empowered by God. We desperately need this power to live godly lives, else we would be starting a life of frustration. This power is love. What no law in the world can achieve, is acchieved by love. And there can be no flaw in a love-relationship with God, for He is absolutely trustworthy and faithful. Being loved by Him brings about all the good in man. Love excludes demands, obligation or force, Love needs freedom of choice and action to unfold itself. Freedom of choice, however, may be exploited, and indeed is exploited by all those who use it for their own ends. Freedom is not only directed upwards, it is at the same time freedom to decline. This is the essential risk factor involved in loving. A religion may produce all kinds of moral and ritual forms which can be enforced by fear of punishment or social pressure. But abiding by these laws, good though they may be to suppress evil, brings bondage and frustrates love. Moral quality is not improved by suppression of the evil act as such. Moral quality is found in the resentment of evil for what it is. Outwardly a society under religious laws appears to be morally cleaner, but the nature of the heart of man remains unchanged, and it is the pure heart that God seeks. God wants to change the mind, intent and purpose (we may call this the 'heart') of man. Therefore Christians do not seek merely to patch up a broken society. The main concern and the social conscience of a Christian is directed at the renewal of society from within. Christians, like Christ, seek to heal the world by sharing the message of the Love of God with others. Love alone is able to renew the spirit and mind of each of the many individuals that care to respond, thereby up-rooting evil instead of trying to control its growth.

In these differing principles the deep split between the Islamic and Christian message becomes apparent. We find that religious demands, fear and even force in Islam stands in contrast to the message of willingness in love in Christianity. We must be realistic enough to admit that the keeping of the Sunnah, the practice of the five pillars of faith and the tremendous social pressure on anyone turning from Islam represents demand, fear and pressure. The group of those individuals that respond to such love forms the Church. It is not organized on a grand scale, but is present, though often as a small minority, all over the world. In and from it we ought to find this principle of love directed on the horizontal level from person to person. The process will never be complete, for the self-willed, through fear of losing something they may get or enjoy, will always exclude themselves from the Kingdom of God. This is the sad side of man's God-given freedom. Without this freedom, however, man can be no more than an automat. Perhaps you would like to ask why there are so many drunkards among Christians, why there is such a lot of immodesty and immorality and exploitation. The answer is very obvious. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). These are words of Jesus. Not every bottle which is labelled 'Coca Cola' is filled with it. There are empty bottles, and there are those that are alienated in use, may be filled with turpentine - or even brandy. A true Christian can only be a person who has received with a penitent and grateful heart the gift of forgiveness as described above, and who then lives in vital communion with his Lord in total surrender. All this is strange to and is rejected by lslam. However, there can then be no means of reconciling righteousness with mercy without atonement, and this is precisely what Islam contradicts. In contrast to the "former revealed Books" the 'heart' of Allah is not involved. In Islamic theology, Al-Barkhawi comments:
If all infidels became believers, He (Allah) would gain no advantage. If all believers became infidels, He would suffer no loss.

Al-Ghazali confirms this:


"Love is to sense a need of the beloved and since Allah cannot be said to have a need or an experience of a need, it is therefore impossible that Allah should love."

We compare this with what Jesus said, speaking of Himself:


"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Fatner love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of

myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10:14-18).

Jahveh (God) in the Bible will judge man according to His fixed laws. But in Jesus, He provided the sacrifice that can take away the sins of all men, as long as man does not refuse God's pardon in Christ. Here is a clear relationship between cause and effect. The believer is told in no uncertain terms what the will and purpose of God is. "We know" is the ever repeated statement that we see throughout the New Testament. In reality no Muslim has any guarantee of, or basis for, an assurance of salvation. Allah directs all things, thereby determining all ends. Thus no man has any influence on his destiny, hard though he may try. Surely this cannot be true! the Muslim, on the other hand, may hope for the best, but his problem remains that however much he tries to be justified by doing good works or through reliance on the Quran, if Allah alone is active and if he leads astray, man no longer has a basis for knowing that his sin is forgiven and his peace with God has been effected. The Quran gives no answer to this dilemma. In one passage, however, the Quran does speak of cause and effect:
"The unbelievers say, 'Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?' Say: 'Truly, Allah leads astray whom he will, but he guides to himself those who turn to him in penitence.' "(Sura 13:27).

This verse is no explanation of previously quoted verses, but is a clear contradiction of them. Apart from Allah's arbitrary action, we also find a different concept altogether, namely that portrayed in Sura 3:29 (and many others). QUESTION: How can any man prefer to live a life of uncertainty and fear to a life of peace with God in love?
Allah directs believers. "If you love Allah, follow me, (i.e. Mohammed), Allah will love you and forgive your sins. Allah is forgiving, merciful..." (Sura 3:31)

"Allah directs the hearts of those that believe him...". "....ask pardon for thy sin....". (Sura 47:19) "The balance will be true" (Sura 7:8-9). (i.e. The good or bad of one's life will determine one's destiny - but destiny is foreordained! G.N.). "Not a soul will be dealt with unjustly." (Sura 21:47). Again we cannot regard these statements as complementary to the earlier quotations, for they are in obvious contrast thereto rather than an explanation thereof. Looking at this evidence we can conclude only that Islam must mean submission to the inevitable.

We must mention here, that the concept of 'predestination' is not foreign to the Bible either. There, however, we see predestination not as something arbitrarily decreed or pre-ordered, but rather as something resulting from God's foreknowledge:
"For those whom He foreknew He also predestined..." (Romans 8:29).

In the Bible we are commanded to choose whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15 etc.). This demands a decision after intelligent and comprehensive consideration. To choose God means also to choose His Way and His Word as a basis for information and trust. Taking God at His Word means trusting His promises and executing His Will. This trust with its resultant action is called faith. The Bible clearly teaches that it was the faith of Abraham, Moses and all the other men of renown that made them acceptable to God. And it was and it is this faith alone that was and is reckoned to them and us as righteousness (Hebrews 11, Romans 4:18-25, Genesis 15:6). So the righteousness needed to enter the presence of God is not the result of an effort by man to repair somehow the damage done, by offering to God good works as payment. There is no merit in doing what is our duty! Nobody is a Christian because he does good works, but a Christian does good works because he is a Christian. Gratitude and love are the motivating power. Christian faith accepts God's way of reconciliation alone. He has decreed that no person can be saved from the judgement to come except by accepting His offer: Pardon through Jesus, Who offered Himself in our stead to suffer the just punishment for the sins that you and I have committed: Jesus said of Himself:
"The Son of Man (for meaning see Daniel 7:13) came ... to give his life as a ransom (price to buy free a slave) for many". (Matth. 20:28).

He also said:
"...this is my blood of the (new) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Luke 22:20).

Speaking of Jesus the Apostle Peter said:


"There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." This explains the name Jesus (Hebrew Yeshuah=Salvation). (Acts 4:12).

Jesus made this very same claim:


"I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me!" (John 14:6).

That these statements were not vain talk is clear, for the very life of Jesus was foretold in every detail in the Old Testament by the prophets hundreds of years before (see "Christians answer Muslims") and thousands of eyewitnesses would have protested against the writings in the New Testament, had these been false. We deem it unacceptable to reason: "Why did God do it this way and not that?" or. "How can God die for unworthy sinners?", etc. God has spoken! And so it stands. And His Word is supported with enough evidence to be proved divine. That leaves you, dear reader, with a decision that no-one can make for you and which you cannot escape: Whether or not you will investigate in an honest and reasonably unbiased way the statements made in this book. You should consider both points of view, of course. Consider all the facts and supporting evidence, and read the New Testament alongside the Quran, earnestly praying for clarity on the Truth of God. This is your holy responsibility before God, Whose will it is that all men should come to a knowledge of the truth and true repentance. (I Timothy 2:4, II Peter 3:9). It is primitive and foolish to reason that one's way of thinking and believing is correct, without having tested it in a valid way. It is bordering on insanity to depend on hear-say when it comes to whether or not eternity will be spent in the presence of Almighty God or in hell. QUESTION: Are you prepared to risk such research and will you dare to act according to the outcome, however the consequences?

FIVE REASONS WHY THE QURAN CLAIMS TO BE OF DIVINE ORIGIN There are no contradictions in the Quran
1. "Do they not attentively consider the Quran? If it had been from any besides Allah, they would certainly have found therein many contradictions." (Sura 4:82, translation by George Sale). The Quran confirms and explains the Bible 2. "This Quran could not have been composed by any except Allah; but it is a confirmation of that which was revealed before it, and an explanation of the scripture; there is no doubt thereof; sent down from the Lord of all creatures." (Sura 10:37). The unsurpassed literary quality

3. "Will they say, 'Muhammed hath forged it'? Answer: 'Bring therefore a chapter like unto it, and call whom ye may to your assistance, besides Allah, if ye speak truth.'" (Sura 10:38). This is amplified and underlined by the commentator of the Mishkat:

"The Quran is the greatest wonder among the wonders of the world. It repeatedly challenged the people of the world to bring a chapter like it, but they failed and the challenge remains unanswered up to this day. ... 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." (Mishkat III, page 664). (An answer to this challenge is given on pp. 72 ff.). The Quran says: "If men and jinn (spirit) should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they cannot bring the like of this Quran, they cannot bring the like of it, though some of them help others. ... (Sura 17:88), (see also Sura 2:23).
Literary quality was one of the earliest arguments for the divine character of the Quran, and that is why Mohammed repeatedly challenged his contemporaries "This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it and a fuller explanation of the Book wherein there is no doubt from the Lord of the Worlds. Or do they say "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah if it be ye speak the truth!" (Sura 10:37-38) (see also Suras 11:13 and 52:33-34).

In Sura 43:3 it is said that the Quran is in the "Mother of Books", referring to the eternal heavenly tablets on which it is preserved. Because of this it is also called glorious. (Sura 85:22). In many Islamic writings, we are told that Islam and the Quran are superior to the Bible and Christianity. This argument is substantiated by pointing to "Christian society" or the "Christian world" of today, where materialism, immorality and faithlessness are rampent. We disregard this, because there is in reality no "Christian society", or a "Christian world" to which one can point. In reply, we would ask Muslims some questions: WHAT EXACTLY AND PRECISELY IN THE QURAN IS SUPERIOR TO THE BIBLE? IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE QURAN THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE BIBLE? IN WHICH RESPECTS IS ISLAMIC MORALITY OR ITS ETHICS SUPERIOR TO THE BIBLE'S?
4. There are people alive who are able to quote the Quran from memory. (Hafiz). 5. Unlike the Bible the Quran has never been changed since it was given to Mohammed.

The Christian answer to the above:


A. The attestation by one witness of a revelation without objective divine proof such as prophecy of divine signs, is unacceptable. (Isaiah 41:21-23, Deuteronomy 18:21-22, Exodus 10:1-2, etc.).

Mohammed's coming was not accompanied by these (Suras 17:59, 88:93; 13:7,30; 6:37,109,124; 7:203; 2:87,99,118 -119,151, 252; 3:183). The Bible demands them as signs (Deuteronomy 18:22; Isaiah 41:21-24). The contemporary Jews demanded such credentials for Mohammed's prophethood - but he was unable to comply, as his reply to them shows: Sura 3:183:
"They said: 'Allah took our promise not to believe in an Apostle, unless he showed us a sacrifice consumed by fire (from heaven)'. Say: 'There came to you Apostle before me with clear signs and even with what you asked for. Why then, did you slay them if they speak the truth? Then if they reject thee, so were rejected Apostles before thee, who came with clear signs, books of dark prophecies, and the Book of Enlightenment." B. If the message is the revelation from God (=nazil), it must contain neither error, nor contradiction in the original text. Muslims claim that the Quran has remained unchanged from its inception but it does in fact contain both error and contradiction as we have seen.

It contains contradictions between it and the Bible, which in many of the cases mentioned earlier are from Genesis and Exodus - books that were written 2 000 years earlier than the Quran. This means that the Biblical source is contemporary to the events or at least very considerably closer to them, and consequently more trustworthy than the Quran. In addition, the Quran contradicts itself as we have observed. One would, for example, turn to Caesar's "Gallic War" to discover the history of that era rather than to a much later writer whose account did not quote other sources and that differed widely from the "Gallic War".
C. Where two "Books" i.e. the Bible and the Quran, both claim to be final, sole, full and universal in their message, yet display strongly contrasting standpoints, only internal and external evidence will reveal which of the two is divine. D. The diacritical marks and vowel signs of the Arabic language were introduced only after the Quran became widely known. Those marks can change the meaning of words, and indeed, when introduced, there were arguments about many a word. (See chapter "Collection of the Quran", pp. 44, 47-48, 57). E. The claim that the Quran is entire and complete is not acceptable. (See chapter "Collection of the Quran"). F. The Quran, according to most scholars, cannot be interpreted (Tafsir) without consulting the tradition (Hadis) of the Prophet Mohammed. Muslims consider the life of Mohammed to have been an explanation and an interpretation of the Quran. The Hadis, as we shall later see, by no means provides an accurate or conclusive picture of Mohammed, since these

traditions were collected and recorded about two and a half centuries later, and the selection thereof (only 1 % of all the collected traditions were selected by al-Bukhari) was again entirely dependent on the judgement of one person. G. The emphasis on the total absence of variation in manuscripts (in contrast with the Biblical manuscripts, which do vary, not in message, but in some detail) can be adequately understood only if one remembers that the third Khalif, Uthman, ordered the destruction of all manuscripts after having compiled one version. (See chapter "Collection of the Quran"). H. Concerning the fine literary quality of the Quran (measured obviously against other human pieces of literature): it is as irrelevant as the statement that a Rolls Royce, being the best motor car ever produced, is for that reason divine. In every written language there must be a "best piece" of literature.

Regarding the content of the message we should like to ask whether the Quran contains any information or has any qualities that were not accessible or available in some form during the life of Mohammed.
If the Quran is an eternally preexisting, divine revelation, Muslims will have to explain the very apparent marks of man in it. Large portions of the Quran are preoccupied with the personal and political affairs of one man and his companions at one particular stage in history. Most of these statements have no value to any other generation in history. (See chapter "Sources of Islam"). J. There is what is called a photographic memory. This can easily account for the memorization of the Quran. We are, however, also aware of such faculty originating from spiritist sources. K. The last point is frequently met with strong emotional rejection by Muslims. We must, therefore, apologize in advance for touching on a matter that is most contentious. If we offend any religious feelings here or elsewhere, it is not done from a sneering or superior attitude. The reader will have to accept that we do not want to hurt him in any way - except with a view to uncovering facts that might help him to find the Truth of God and eternal life. I.

Christians and Muslims believe in good and bad, light and darkness, God and the Devil. There is constant spiritual warfare between these forces. Each man or woman; boy or girl living on earth is the prize in this battle. God gives His rewards to His followers - and so does the Devil. One of the main tasks of the Devil is betrayed by his biblical name. He is called "diabolos" or "one who mixes up things." From time immemorial we know first of primitive, but later developing, forms of witchcraft and spiritism. This incorporates direct contact with spirits and intelligent communication between a medium and a spirit and vice versa. Fortune telling, which one may call the "prophecy" of the devil, is one of the features that is inclined to bring man into bondage. Spiritism of any form is rejected by and forbidden in the Bible in no uncertain terms (Deuteronomy 18:10:14, Leviticus 20:6 etc.).
"Whoever does these things is an abomination (disgust) to the Lord....the Lord your God has not allowed you so to do."

This passage is immediately followed by the words:


"The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from among you.... I will put my words in his mouth, and he (in contrast to spirits) shall speak to them all that I command Him."

It has been established ("Christians Answer Muslims", pp. 111ff.) that this refers to Jesus. So we must not go to any other source but Him. To ensure us of His trustworthiness and reliability, the prophets of old foretold His coming and work in much detail. (ibid. pp. 48 ff.). It lies in the nature of the diabolos, Satan, to confuse this. His first words recorded in the Bible are "Should God have said....?" - sowing doubt and distrust. Consequently, in the battle for mankind, Satan has provided his revelations also. They are subtle, no doubt, or else noone would be tripped up thereby. So we Christians are extremely careful not to accept anything as coming from God, which is actualy from another source. With this in mind we ask the question: Is the Jahveh Elohim (Lord God) of the Bible really the same as al'illah of the Quran? Contrary to the view of the Quran, the objective student must agree that - although we may use the English term "God" for both - they are not likely to be the same. Who is Allah then? He was not, of course, an invention of Mohammed's. Al'illah was not unknown before the coming of Mohammed. Allah is a form of "al'illah", which means "the God". We note the article, "the". He was generally known before Mohammed's time as can be seen in the name of Mohammed's father, for instance, which was Abd-ullah (slave of Allah). His uncle's name was Obeidallah.
"The Quran itself bears out the fact that the old polytheism had no real hold as a religion, and that Allah was in a sense recognized as a supreme deity by the polytheists themselves....In all the opposition to Muhammad we scarcely meet a defence of the old religion which can be called an argument in its favour. The Quran is quite frank in recording the objections raised by opponents; but there is no reference to any defence of polytheism which could be said to rest on a conviction of its truth....It is inherently probable that the heathen themselves had some such idea of the relation of their special gods to a supreme deity....They will admit that Allah is the creator of the worlds....It seems clear that the Arabs had the idea of a supreme God, in a sense superior to their local deities, but only turned to in their times of stress." ("The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment" by Richard Bell, pp. 55-57).

We also know of poets who used the name Allah before Mohammed.The seven "Moallaqat" by Imra'ul Cays and the "Dewan" by Labid refer to Allah. (For further information on preIslamic knowledge we refer to the chapter "Sources of Islam" pp. 96 ff.)." We are aware of the explanation by our Muslim friends, that over the period of some 2 500 years since Abraham and Ishmael began worshipping God to the time of Mohammed, Allah had gradually been degraded in status to be placed, eventually, among the heathen deities of idolatrous Arabia. This maybe so, but does not really convince us. Also, we see no support for this view in the faith that the Hanifites had in the God of Abraham. They must have been in contact with the Jews and Christians in the Arabian Peninsula, who had knowledge of the story of Abraham in the Bible. What confirms this is that of the six contemporaries of Mohammed that are titled Hanif, half became Christians and one confessed not to know the right way. The following account is from the Sirat:
"The Coreish were once gathered together during their Eid beside one of their idols, slaying sacrifices, praying and making circuits around it, as they used to do at this festival every

year. Just then four friends stood apart, and spoke secretly to one another in righteous terms. These were Waraca, Obeidallah grandson of Abdul Mutalib. Othman and Zeid ibn Amr. They said: - 'By the Lord! Our people have nothing left of the faith of Abraham. What is this stone that we should encircle it? It can neither hear nor speak, neither hurt nor help. O our people! Look out for your souls, for by the Lord you are altogether wanting.' Then they separated, and departed into various lands to find out the true faith of Abraham. Waraca embraced the Christian religion, and studying the books of its people, became fixed in their faith. Obeidallah remained in his doubts, but at last embraced Islam; then with a party of the Moslems he emigrated to Abyssinia along with his wife Omm Habibah, daughter of Abu Sofian and also a believer. There, however, he afterwards became a Christian, and perished. When he was converted to Christianity, he said to his companions: - We see, but you are only blinking' - this is, cannot see plainly, like a whelp trying to open its eyes. The Prophet himself married his widow....Now as to Othman, he repaired to the court of the Emperor of Byzantium, where he obtained a high rank and embraced the Christian faith....Last of all we come to Zeid, who stood fast, joining neither the Jewish nor the Christian religion. He broke off from his people's faith, and gave up idols, the eating of carrion, blood, the slaughter of animals for the gods, and the putting of daughters to death. He said: - I worship the God of Abraham; but he blamed the people for having chosen evil ways....Zeid, then very aged, leaning with his back on the Ka'aba....prayed: - O, Lord! If I know what way was most pleasing unto thee, I would worship thee in that manner, but I know it not.' " (Siratu'l Rasool vs. 144 p. 99).

All these points on which we are to elaborate in this study show justifiable reasons why Christians are so sceptical about Islam. We find that the common belief of Muslims is not really based on historical Islam and on the original theology of the Quran, the Hadis and the theologians who understood Islam and its message in its original context. QUESTION: If you compare the evidences for the inspiration of the Quran with those of the Bible, must you not honestly admit that the Biblical evidences ("Christians Answer Muslims" pp. 43ff., 105, 135) are incomparable?

HOW THE QURAN WAS REVEALED

We are disturbed about an important aspect of the childhood of Mohammed. In the "Siratu'l Rasul" (vss. 105-106) of Ibn Hisham, we are told that the husband of Mohammed's nurse, Halimah, fancying that something very serious was coming upon young Mohammed, said to her:
"Halimah, I fear that this lad has become afflicted, therefore unite him with his people ere that become manifest in him.' When Halimah gave him back to his mother, Aminah, the latter was surprised and said: 'Dost thou then fear that Satan has come upon him? His nurse admitted that she did. " ("Mizanu'l Haqq", page 347).

"....Ali Halabi, in his Turkish work entitled 'Insanu'l Uyun', informs us that many people declared that Aminah, Mohammed's mother, used a spell in order to recover him from the influence of the evil eye....(ibid.). Of his childhood we know only a few facts, but one of them is that, when he was quite a young boy, living in the desert with his foster parents, a peculiar incident occured. The story is told differently by various authorities, but Muslim's account is based on a Tradition handed down from Anas (ibn Malik):
"As for the Apostle of Allah, Gabriel came to him while he was playing with the (other) lads. He took him and threw him on the ground and split his heart. Then he took out of it a drop of clotted blood, and said, 'This is Satan's portion of thee'.... And the lads came running to his mother (foster mother) and said: 'Verily Mohammed has been killed.' They went to meet him, and he had changed colour." (Muslim) (Mishkat IV, page 367).

We realize that both reports describe the same incident. We cannot doubt that supernatural powers guided Mohammed. When we observe the evidence of Mohammed's behaviour and the circumstances under which he received the messages, supernatural guidance can hardly be denied. Furthermore, it is beyond doubt that Mohammed was deeply troubled by his first revelations (Siratu'l Rasool vs. 156). One Hadis goes so far as to state that he even contemplated suicide. He also doubted his calling during a period of silence (Fatra). Before the revelations came to Mohammed. "he saw prophetic dreams and heard unseen voices and calls" (Mishkat IV. page 354). The experience of his first revelation is equally impressive:
"....he used to seclude himself to the cave of Hira and engaged therein in deep devotion (we would ask to what or whom? Allah had not yet revealed himself! G.N.) for many nights (!) before he went to his house and provided himself with food....until the truth came to him while he was in the cave of Hira."

We know how this continued, but it is nevertheless striking to hear the words of the Hadis:
"Then he (Gabriel) took me and pressed me a third time till there appeared a great exhaustion on me."

On his coming home he said to Khadijah:


"Wrap me up, wrap me up! Then they wrapped him until the dread went away from him." (Mishkat IV, pages 356-357).

Reading the oldest historical account about the first revelation in Hira (Siratu'l Rasool vs. 152), we feel uneasy, for the entire experience is removed from reality, being a dream. Gabriel, the angel who transmitted the revelations, "came to me, said the apostle of God while I was asleep....". After reporting the conclusion of the revelation, we read on (vs. 153)

that he awoke from his sleep. This is identical to the experience of the night journey from Mecca to the Masjid al-Aqsa (which was not in existence at that time!) on Buraq. Mu'awiya ibn Abu Sufyan said that this was a vision and Aisha used to say "The Apostle's body remained where it was, but God removed his spirit by night." (ibid. vss. 265-266) (See also vs. 151). Strangest of all to us is the test which Khadija, the first wife of Mohammed, applied to identify the source of the first revelation. She asked Mohammed to notify her whenever the messenger should appear again. This time it obviously did not happen in a dream. Upon his notification that Gabriel had come, she said: "Get up, O son of my uncle and sit by my left thigh'. The apostle did so, and she said: 'Can you see him?' 'Yes,' he said." This was repeated on her right thigh with like result. After that she asked him to sit in her lap with the same result. Now "she disclosed her form and cast aside her veil while the apostle was sitting in her lap (according to 'Abdullah ibn Hasan' she made the apostle of God 'come inside her shift') whereupon Gabriel departed." (ibid. vs.154). The report ends with Khadija being satisfied that it must have been an angel and not Satan. We have to ask the question: What did Khadija know about Satan and angels, at least at that stage, and what did she know about Allah? It is surprising that even straight after the first revelation Khadija said:
"By Allah, never will Allah humiliate you." (ibid).

"Ibn Ishaq says that, before the Revelation first began to descend upon him, Mohammed's friends feared that he was suffering from the evil eye: and that, when it came upon him, almost the same illness attacked him again. In tradition it is stated that he (Mohammed) said: 'I fear lest I should become a magician, lest one should proclaim me a follower of the Jinn (spirit)', and again: 'I fear lest there should be madness' (or demonic possession) 'in me.' After an accession of shivering and shutting his eyes, there used to come over him what resembled a swoon, his face would foam and he would roar like a young camel." (Mizanu'l Haqq, page 345). "The Apostle of Allah said (to Ayshah) 'Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell and that is the most troublesome to me....sometimes the angel assumes the form of a man for me and talks with me and I retain in memory what he says! Ayshah reported 'And indeed I saw him while the revelation descended upon him on an intensely cold day; then it left him while his brow steamed with sweat.' "(Mishkat IV, page 360). Other Hadis mention that when inspiration was sent down to him, Mohammed's countenance changed and he was troubled at the happening. He also became very heavy, so that his camel, if he was sitting on it, went down. Zaid-ibn-Thabith reported that:
"Once his leg fell upon mine, and, by Allah, there is no such heavy leg as was that of the Apostle of Allah....As often as the Prophet received inspiration, it seemed as if his soul was being taken from him, for he had always a kind of swoon and looked like one intoxicated." (Insanu'l Uyun as quoted in Mizanu'l Haqq, page 346).

If we look at all these by no means scanty Hadis, a picture begins to form. Anyone acquainted with spiritist phenomena sees certain happenings that can be expected at any

"good" seance or with a "good" medium. Occult phenomena in childhood; day dreams; the hearing of voices and calls; nightly devotions; extreme persperation during trances and the subsequent exhaustion and swoonlike condition - even the ringing of bells, is not uncommon. Most interesting is the materialization or "forming" of the man who talked with Mohammed and also the condition that looked like intoxication. Anyone being in a real and reasonably deep trance has that look. (On many occasions the writer has witnessed this himself.) All this will also explain the aversion of Mohammed to the crucifixion of Jesus, the symbol of the cross and the God-provided atonement. Speaking of the returning Jesus (Mahdi): he will destroy the "myth of the cross", "destroy the cross", or "break the cross". (Mishkat IV, page 80 ff.). It is related by Waqidi that
"Mohammed had such a repugnance to the form of the cross, that he broke e verything brought into his house with that figure upon it." ("Dictionary of Islam" page 63).

All this speaks of a very deep rift between the Biblical revelation and the Quranic one. Revelation in the sense we understand it, is the making known of something that was hidden before. It concerns truth and wisdom from God, which man needs to be directed in life. Animals are equipped with an instinct that guides them. They are not equipped to make moral decisions. Consequently, man turns to God - and God reveals all we need to know about Himself and His purpose and plan with His creation. To us it is plain mockery, when we read in a certain instance of revelation that:
"Sauda (one of Mohammed's wives. G.N.) went out (in the fields) in order to answer the call of nature....She had been a bulky lady, significant in height amongst the women, and she could not conceal herself from him who had known her. Umar B. Khattab saw her and said: 'Sauda, by Allah, you cannot conceal from us'....She turned back. Allah's Messenger was at that time in my (Ayshah's) house having his evening meal and there was a bone in his hand. She (Sauda) came and said: 'Allah's Messenger, I went out and Umar said to me so and so. She (Ayshah) reported: 'There came the revelation to him and then it was over, the bone was then in his hand and he had not thrown it and he said: 'Permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs.' " (Sahih Muslim III, page 1186).

If the Quran is nazil, no trace of human hand (character of writer; objectives; culture, traceable similarity to existing cults; emotion, etc.) should be noticeable, but in fact the character, objectives, aims and personal affairs of Mohammed and the context of his time are very clearly detectable. Mohammed was also criticized by his contemporaries for copying: Rouzat al Ahbab (Hadis):
"It was Mohammed's practice to converse in their own language with people of every nation who visited him. and hence the introduction of some Persian words into the Arabic language."

According to the Siratu'l Rasool ("Life of the Prophet") Mohammed had among his companions, a Persian called Salman. It is said that some of the Prophet's opponents spoke of this Persian as having assisted him in the composition of the Quran. The answer to this accusation is recorded in Sura 16:105:
"...We know that they say, 'Truly a certain man teaches him,' But the tongue of him unto whom they incline, is a foreign one, (but) this (Quran) is the tongue of perspicuous Arabic."

"This Quran could not have been forged apart from God....The say, 'Why has he forged it?' Say: 'then produce a Sura like it'...." (Sura 1O:39). It was the custom for poets to hang their compositions upon the Ka'aba. The seven "Moallaqat" were so exposed by Imra'ul Cays. We are told that Fatima, the Prophet's daughter, was repeating as she went along, the verse:
"The hour is come and shattered is the moon" (Sura 54:1).

Just then, she met the daughter of Imra'ul Cays, who cried out:
"Oh that is what your father has taken from my father's poems and calls it something that has come down to him from heaven!"

Imra'ul Cays' poetry is so apparently similar in style and diction to the Quran, that many Muslim scholars held it to be poetry existing within the heavenly tablet from all eternity. ("Sources of Islam", page 9). Ibn-Hisham further relates:
"Mohammed sat in the assembly, prayed and read the Quran to them, After he had left one day, Nadr, son of al-Harith, came in and told them stories of the great Rustem and Isfandeyar and the kings of Persia. He then said, 'I swear by the Lord, that the stories of Mohammed are not better than my own. They are nothing but tales from the past, which he has written out, just as I have written out mine." Again the Quran answers:

"The unbelievers say, 'This is naught, but a calumny he has forged and other folk have helped him to it.' So they have committed wrong and falsehood. They say 'Fairy tales of the ancients, that he has written down, so that they are recited to him at the dawn and in the evening.' Say: 'He sent it down, who knows the secret in heavens and earth; he is all forgiving, all compassionate.' " (Sura 25:6,7). The sad fate of Nadr (or Nadir) which resulted from his frankness in voicing his opinion about Mohammed is recorded on page 119. In addition, we refer to the chapter: "The Sources of Islam" regarding this subject. QUESTION: How can one be sure that a revelation comes from God - and not from another source? Are there any objective evidences showing the divine origin of the Quran?

THE COLLECTION OF THE QURAN

It is the general opinion and testimony of Muslims that (unlike the Bible as they assert) the Quran is clear and uniform. There are no differing versions and documents. There is but one Quran and all Muslims everywhere use the identical text, given word for word by Gabriel to Mohammed who, in turn, recited it to his scribes and companions for recording or memorization. These pieces were collected under the Khalifships of Abu Bakr and Umar by Zaid-ibn-Thabith. When a little later contentions arose between believers because of differing recitations (in prayer), Uthman ordered the text to be edited according to the dialect of the Quraish, and this text is the one before us today. As we shall see, this is not correct - or it is, to say the least, a very romantic concept. We must say here, however, that by "different versions" of the Bible is generally meant various translations, which do indeed have differences in phrasing as any one translation of a certain text has when compared to another translation of the same text - translations of the Quran not excepted. Muslims interpret the honesty Christians display about some variant readings of the Bible MSS as weakness and claim that the Quran never had more than one version. Any differences, they say, concerned variant dialects only and never affected the meaning of the text. This is definitely incorrect as the following paragraphs will prove. Omitted passages. After the sudden death of Mohammed, Zaid-ibn-Thabith was ordered to compile and write down the Quran (Mishkat'ul Masabih). It is attested that at least three revelations were left out. One of these, according to Mohammed's wife, Aysha, with whom he resided at this death, was kept under their bed at the time of Mohammed's death, but was eaten by a domestic animal (related by ibn-Mayah in "Kitabu'l Sunan" with Sahih Muslim, page 740.) According to the biographer and Hadis compiler Muslim (page 501):
"Abu Musa al Ashari said to 300 reciters of the Quran in Basra: 'We used to recite a Sura resembling in length and severity (Sura) Bara-at (Sura 9). I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this, which I remember out of it: 'If there were two valleys of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.' And we used to recite a Sura which resembled one of the Suras of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it, but remember out of it: 'O people who believe, why do you say that which you do not practise' and 'that is recorded in your necks as a witness (against you) and you would be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection.' "

The latter quotations may be from Suras 61:2 and 17:13, but the first, the same length as Sura 9(129 verses) is missing in the Quran! In this case the possible explanation, namely that of abrogation, is unacceptable, for it would render God very human indeed. We conclude that the statement about the completeness of the Quran cannot be maintained - and with that the argument of "nazil" i.e. that it came from heaven and complete as it is. Another tradition states (Sahih Muslim, page 912, Mishkat II, page 534 and others):

"Umar said: 'Verily Allah sent Mohammed with truth and revealed the Book to him. Out of the verses, the Almighty Allah revealed. there was the verse of stoning to death. The Messenger of Allah stoned to death (Sahih Muslim, page 920) and after him we also stoned to death: And in the BOOK OF GOD stoning to death is a truth against one, who commits adultery. The verse was thus: 'The old man and the old woman, if they have committed adultery, they stoned them both assuredly.' "

This passage too, is not in the Quran.


"There is a tradition from 'A'isha, the prophet's wife, that a certain chapter which now consists of 73 verses once contained no less than 200; and that when Uthman compiled the Quran, the missing verses could not be found. One of them was called the verse of Stoning, and is said to have contained the order to stone a man or woman who had committed adultery....This verse is said to have been part of the original Quran. Many early authorities say so, and what is very significant is that the first Caliphs punished adulterers by stoning; this is still the penalty prescribed in Muslim law-books, whereas the Quran (24:2) prescribed a hundred stripes." ("Islam" by A. Guillaume, p. 191).

At a later date when Uthman was Khalif, he sent for the existing manuscripts in Hafsah's possession and others, had them revised to one text, and copied several times by Zaid-ibnThabith and three men of the Quraish tribe.
"When you differ in anything of the Quran, write it in the dialect of the Quraish, because it was revealed in their dialect "

Uthman sent out one copy of this newly established original to every country and issued orders that every differing compilation or script of the Quran should be burnt. (Mishkat vol.III p.708). Hafsah's copy of the Quran was burnt by Marrah. Why? Muslims as a rule explain this Hadis (Tradition) as meaning a revision to conform to the language (Quraish) of the original. But we hold that "the difference in the Quran reading" does not only refer to this. Why then burn other codices? Others will reason that the burnt scripts were really corrupt texts. Who was the judge? They were also in writing! Zaid-ibn-Thabith could just as well have used these in his collection. Much of this chapter is really no more than a compilation of quotations from eminent scholars, linked only by some of my own sentences. Where not mentioned otherwise (and apart from the connecting sentences), the quotations are from "the book The Collection of the Quran" by Dr. J. Burton (University of Cambridge)
"In Sura 53:19 we read 'Have you considered al Lat and al- Uzza and Manat the third other?' This was once followed by the words 'Verily they are the exalted maidens (gharaniq, also translated 'cranes') and their intercession is to be hoped for' ('is approved' in another version). The earliest authority on the life of Mohammed (i.e. Ibn Hisham) asserts that these words were uttered by Mohammed at the instigation of Satan." ("Islam", page 189 and "New Light in the Life ot Muhammad". page 38 by A. Guillaume).

"The Quran has made a slight alteration and a significant omission to the first text: instead of saying By 'al Lat,' etc., it reads, 'Have you considered al-Lat', etc. and the sentence about the exalted maidens is dropped altogether. Subsequently Gabriel came to the prophet and denied that he had revealed the word to him. ('Sirat'ul Rasool' as revised by Ibn Hisham, (vs. 239), Tabari pp. 1 192 ff, al Suhayli, p. 229, Guillaume). The polytheists of Mecca were delighted about this, for these words were those of the chant of the Quraish as they processed around the Ka'aba, but some companions doubted and left Mohammed. Who were the three maidens? The three principle idols in the Ka'aba of pre-Islamic Mecca." (ibid.). Strange as it may sound, Muslim theologians converted this rather embarrassing account of interpolation or abrogation (however one looks at it) into a story of the victory of light over darkness. A summary of other contentions about the reliability of the Quranic texts will give us more clarity on the subject.
"A curious story is told about "Abd-Allah ibn-Abi-Sarh. While Mohammed was dictating to him the passage beginning (with Sura) 23:12, he was carried away by wonder at this description of the creation of man; and, when Mohammed paused after the words 'another creature', exclaimed 'blessed be God, the best of creators'. Mohammed accepted this as the continuation of the revelation, and told him to write it down. This aroused doubt, however, in ibn-Abi-Sarh, and later he gave up Islam and returned to Mecca; at the conquest of Mecca he was one of those proscribed, but was pardoned on the intercession of Uthman." ("Introduction to the Quran", page 37, by Richard Bell quoting from al-Baidawi's and Zamakshari's commentries).

"The canonical traditionists report that Sura 4:95 was dictated by the prophet to his amanuensis Zayd thus: 'Those believers who sit at home are not equal to those who fight in the way of God with their goods and their persons.' A blind man was present and heard the words. He immediately interjected that were he as other men he would certainly fight; whereupon the prophet interposed the words 'except those who suffer from a grave impediment' which stand in the text today." ("Islam" by A. Guillaume, p.191). We can see from this that even before the collection of the Quran, the assumed scrutiny and exactness of the revelations was violated.
"Abu Bakr collected the Quran into volumes on the deaths of those killed at Yemama. 'Uthman later derived from these volumes a single text."

"Abu Bakr collected the Quran between two covers" differs from " 'Uthman formed but a single text": 'Uthman alladi jama'a al masahif 'ala mushaf wahid'. " 'Uthman united the Muslims on a single text": "Jama'a 'Uthman al nas 'ala hada al mushaf", is not what Abu Bakr did when he jama'a al- Quran'." ("Katibal Mugni" by ibn Sa'id Dani).

There were differing texts It has been clearly documented that at the time of the collection of the Quran there were a number of differing texts. Four main versions became apparent, which co-existed for a considerable time, though they were not always tolerated. Alfred Guillaume, perhaps the best-known and accepted Western scholar on Islam from the non-Islamic world, sketched this situation in his book "Islam", thus:
"Before an authorized version was established under the Caliph Uthman there were four rival editions in use. These have long since disappeared, but we are told that they differed from the authorized version, some containing more and some less than the latter. When men who had learned one version came into conflict with those who possessed a rival version it was feared that scriptural exegesis would pursue the course it had taken among Jews and Christians who at that time accused the one another of corrupting and falsifying the sacred text. Uthman then entrusted a commission, in which Zayd took a prominent place, with the task of preparing a text which everyone must accept. Only the men of Kufa refused the new edition, and their version was certainly extant as late as A.D. 1000. Uthman's edition to this day remains the authoritative word of God to Muslims. Nevertheless, even now variant readings, involving not only different reading of the vowels but also occasionally a different consonantal text, are recognized as of equal authority one with another. The old Kufic script in which the Quran was originally written contained no indication of vowels, and so the consonants of verbs could be read as actives or passives, and, worse still, many of the consonants themselves could not be distinguished without the diacritical dots which were afterwards added, when and by whom we do not know....Originally considerable freedom prevailed, until a later generation insisted on uniformity but never entirely achieved it... The arrangement of the text is arbitrary and haphazard....The Muslim world has not yet come to grips with the problem which Christian Europe faced after the Renaissance, but signs are not wanting that thoughtful Muslims are seeking a way out of the logical impasse....Until all the rival readings scattered in manuscripts and books not readily to be consulted have been collected on a scale comparable with the critical apparatus of the Bible, and until a trustworthy lexicon of the Quran has been compiled, details--many of great importance - will remain obscure." (A. Guillaume pp. 57-60).

"Without diacritical marks a word could be read active or passive and many consonants could not be distinguished without the diacritical dots which were added afterwards, when and by whom we do not know." ("Collection of the Quran" by John Burton). It is clear from these statements that Islam has taken up a strange position: It is totally reluctant, not to say opposed, to subject the Quran, the Hadis and other related manuscripts to a critical scrutiny and evaluation; but at the same time uses the materials collected by Western researchers to declare the Bible corrupt. The relatively superficial critical research on Islam by Western scholars is largely unknown to Muslims and frowned upon, but research, particularly critical research, is bound to be document and fact-orientated, and not romantic.

"The Uthman collection tradition poses a difficult question: which Quran tradition is the more authentic, 1. the Hijazi tradition represented in the universally acknowledged text; 2. the Kufan tradition claiming descent from Abdullah ibn Mas'ud; 3. the Basran stemming from Abu Musa; or 4. the Syrian from Ubayy ibn Ka'b one of the scribes of Mohammed (or from Miqdad/? Mu'ad)?"

"Relative to the Companion texts, Uthman's is the text without interpolations. Relative to the revealed Quran, Uthman is incomplete." "Uthman quite ignores the most significant feature of reported variants, namely, the attempt to document differing local approaches to certain legal questions." That the differences in the texts caused much concern, even antagonism, can be clearly seen in the fact that:
"ibn Mas'ud ordered his followers to lay their Qurans in hiding and withhold them from the government agents charged with their destruction."

How did the differences occur?


"The origin of the reported difference was simply that Umar had memorized the Sura at an early date. Hisam became a Muslim only at the time of the conquest of Mecca. Umar was unaware of the later additions to the Sura." ("Fath al Bai by ibn Hajar").

The variant readings were not copied from one another in a faulty manner:
"The relation between texts is clearly not one in which the author of the ibn Mas'ud variants had the Uthmanic texts before him, and recognizing the ambiguity of his 'Vorlage' (i.e. model or pattern), prepared to select a positive reading. Rather, for him, the meaning of the verse was still alive and this is what he sought to express in the clearest manner. He differs from the author of the Uthmanic texts in that he makes even greater efforts to achieve a clear expression insofar as the deficiencies of the script will permit this. Finally, it is necessary to posit the existence of a parallel tradition independent of the Uthmanic text to account for those innumerable variants which are too trivial and insignificant to be regarded as deliberate alterations ("Die Geschichte des Korantexts" by Th. Nldeke).

"For the (theological) schools, the Uthmanic and the non Uthmanic Quran traditions were regarded as parallel and equally sovereign." "That the variant readings appealed to continue to be (sic) associated with individuals among the Companions suggests that they had always been recognized as varying from the generally accepted Quran texts." There are signs of liberty in arranging the order of the text, at least to some degree:
"ibn Abbas asked Uthman what possessed him to place Surat al Anfal, one of the mathani, with Bara'a, one of the mi'in, join them with no bismillah between them; and place them

among the seven lengthy Suras. Uthman replied that often the Prophet received quite long revelations. He would call for one of the scribes and say, 'Put these verses in the Sura in which so-and-so occurs.' Anfal was among the first of the Medina revelations and Bara'a among the last. Since its contents resembled those of Anfal, Uthman took it to belong with it, for the Prophet had died without explaining that it was part of it". ("al Itqan" by Jalal al Din).

"Malik had a shorter explanation for the absence of this bismillah. The beginning of Bara'a fell out and its bismillah fell out with it". ("al Itqan" by Jalal al Din) Variant readings were generally accepted and explained.
"The Muslims were fully alive to the import of variant readings: 'The differences in the readings indicate the differences in the legal rulings.' (Jalal al Din: "al Itqan")."

"Two opposing doctrines - the invalidation of the ritual purity (wudu') and the contrary doctrine - could both be referred to the Quran, according as the contending fuqaha' read: Lamastum/Lmastum; or the permissibility of sexual intercourse with the menstruating woman at the expiry of her period but before she has cleaned herself, and the contrary doctrine, according as they read either yathurna or yattahirna." "There is an interesting discussion on verses yielding two-fold readings. Abu al Laith reported two views: 1. God had uttered them both; 2. God had uttered only one, but permitted the verse to be read in two possible ways. Samarqanti's own view was that if each of the two readings was susceptible of a distinct interpretation and legal application, God had uttered both. In such instances, the two readings were the equivalent of two distinct revelations. If the two readings yielded a single meaning. God had uttered only one reading, but permitted the other, owing to the differences between the dialects of the peninsular Arabs." "In Sura 5:7 the verse imposing the wudu yielded a two-fold reading, the distinction this time residing in the vowelling. 'The verse was revealed to sanction two distinct legal doctrines: arjulakum - enjoined the washing of the feet arjulikum - permitted the wiping of the feet' ("al Itqan" by Jalal al Din)." "...the differences over the Fiqh of this question had called forth the differences in reading." "Local variation was possible solely within the range demonstrated by readings based on the consonantal framework of the universally agreed text. The scholars were in consequence driven to seek the liberties they craved in varying the vocalic data (arjulakum/arjulikum), or the diacritical pointing (yathurna/yattahirna), or by questioning the punctuation of the individual verses.

"The reading variants that were indentified had been rationalized by attribution to the several Companions." But it was not only variant readings based on differing interpretation of vowelling and diacritical marks that caused differences. In certain instances we find words interpolated (or forgotten - depending on the standpoint from which one looks at it):
"It was of the highest significance for the history of the development of Islamic Law and to the attendant school polemic whether one read fa m stamta'tum bihi minhunna (Q 4.24) with or without the attempted interpolation il ajalin musamman. ("Kitab al Masahif" by ibn abi Da'ud). The sole purpose of the attempt was to provide a Quranic basis (asl) for the doctrine of temporary marriage, mut'a, whose rejection by other scholars was currently based upon evidence circulating in the Sunna. It is of the highest significance whether one read Q 5.89 or Q 4.24 with or without Abdullah's or Ubayy's reported interpolations. Only with the Ubayy interpolation does Q 4.24 sanction the doctrine of mut'a, or temporary marriage, rejection of which was elsewhere being propounded on the basis of information from a third Companion of the Prophet as a part of the Sunna. Evidently the Quran, in the form of the Ubayy reading, is playing the role of a counter-sunna, rather, a counter-exegesis, the function of the Ubayy interpolation being to gloss and bring out the full meaning of the root of stamta'tum, m t'."

The above statements are acknowledged by the teaching of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who in his work "Towzihol-Masael" accepts temporary 'marriage':
"Girls and boys who attend coeducational classes in grammar schools, high schools, universities, or other teaching establishments, and who, in order to legalize such a situation, wish to contract a temporary marriage may do so without the permission of their fathers. The same applies if the boy or girl are in love but hesitate to ask for such permission."

"If a woman authorizes someone to marry her to a man for a period of ten days, for example, without specifying the exact date, the man may contract the marriage at his pleasure, but if the woman has specified a precise day and hour, the formula must be spoken at that specified time." "Young boys or girls in full sexual effervescence are kept from getting married before they reach the legal age of majority. This is against the intention of divine laws. Why should the marriage of pubescent girls and boys be forbidden because they are still minors, when they are allowed to listen to the radio and to sexually arousing music?" (from "The Little Green Book" or "Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini", Bantam Books). If the Ayatollah knows no reasons, we do! But that is besides the point here. In another instances the meaning of Sura 5:92 has been altered by the insertion (or omission) of a word. Ghazali relates:
"The fast in expiation for a breach of one's oath need not be consecutive, even if Abdullah did read, 'three (consecutive) days'. This reading is not universally acknowledged to be the

Quran text. Perhaps Abdullah adduced this reading in order to elucidate what he took to be a justifiable exegesis."

Sarakhsi (A.H. 490) a Hanafi, argued,


"The fast in expiation of a breach of oath is consecutive on the basis of Abdullah's reading which was in circulation as late as the time of Abu Hanifa, but did not turn out to be mutawatir, the sole criterion for inclusion in the mushaf. No one can question Abdullah's veracity, nor his memory. We can but conclude that the word 'consecutive' was part of the original wording of the Quran and has been preserved in Abdullah's reading. The word was apparently withdrawn in the lifetime of the Prophet. The Muslims were caused to forget it, with the exception of Abdullah who was honoured with its preservation, in order to preserve the ruling. The isolate sunna-hadith may establish a practice: the isolate Quran-hadith can do no less". ("Usul" by al Sarakhsi).

Variant readings were common during the life-time of Mohammed.


"Variant readings, although transmitted from Companions, claim to derive from the Prophet himself."

"A man recited in the presence of Umar who corrected him. The man, incensed, claimed to have recited for the Prophet and he had not corrected him. They carried their dispute to Muhammad. When the Prophet endorsed the man's claim that Muhammad had personally instructed him, doubts sprang up in Umar's mind. Reading Umar's expression, the Prophet struck him on the chest, exclaiming, 'Out devil!' Muhammad then explained 'All the modes of reciting are correct so long as you don't turn a statement on mercy into one on wrath and vice-versa.' "(Tafsir of Tabari). "It is claimed that the Quran cannot be imitated. So that which is verbally inimitable can scarcely have passed through a phase of multiple wordings when the individual Companions had the Prophet's permission to substitute whichever word chanced to correspond with the meaning revealed by God." "It may be argued that there may be different readings (texts). The wording of the Quran is not its most relevant feature. The meaning matters above all. Differing readings were known to the Prophet and he lacked the pedantry to object." "Ubayy entered the mosque and, hearing a man recite, asked him who had instructed him. The man replied that he had been taught by the Prophet. Ubayy went in search of the Prophet. When the man recited. Muhammad said, 'That is correct.' Ubayy protested, 'But you taught me to recite so-and-so,' The Prophet said that Ubayy was right too. 'Right? right?' burst out Ubayy in perplexity. The Prophet struck him on the chest and prayed, 'O God! cause doubt to depart.' Ubayy broke into a sweat as his heart filled with terror. Muhammad disclosed that two angels had come to him. One said, 'Recite the Quran in one form.' The other advised Muhammad to ask for more than this. That was repeated several times until finally the first angel said. 'Very well. Recite it in seven forms.' The Prophet said, 'Each of the forms is grace-giving, protecting, so long as you don't terminate a punishment verse with an expression of

mercy, or vice-versa - as you might for example say, Let's go; or, let's be off.' " (Tafsir of Tabari.). "The different readings have the Prophet's (and Heaven's) approval. Differences in utterance are not material. The meaning is paramount. The differing readings are all equally valid, having been revealed in parallel. The difference appears to consist simply in the use of this as opposed to the synonym. That ought to occasion neither wonder nor alarm, neither squabbling nor scandal. All readings are correct. All readings come down from the days of the Prophet. All readings carry the seal of his approbation. "...Differences reported from the Companions on Quran matters, which divided them already in the days of the Prophet, concerned more than merely verbal matters "Abdullah reports, 'We differed about a Sura, as to whether it consisted of thirty-five or thirty-six verses, so we went to the Prophet who was engaged in conversation with Ali. When we told him we disagee over the reading, his face reddened as he replied, "Those before you perished through their disagreements." He whispered something to Ali who said, "The Prophet commands you to recite as you were taught.' "(Tafsir of Tabari). "A man complained to the Prophet, Abdullah taught me to recite a Sura of the Quran. Zaid taught me the same Sura and so too did Ubayy. The readings of all three differ. Whose reading ought I to adopt?' The Prophet remained silent. Ali who was at his side replied, 'Every man should recite as he was taught. Each of the readings is acceptable, valid.' " (Tafsir of Tabari). "Umar said, I heard Hisam b. Hukaim reciting Surat al Furqan and listened to his recital. On observing that he was reading many forms which the Prophet had not taught me, I all but rushed upon him as he prayed. But I waited patiently as he continued, and, collaring him when he had finished, I asked him, 'Who taught you to recite this Sura?' He claimed that the Prophet had taught him. I said, 'By God! you're lying!' I dragged him to the Prophet telling him that I had heard Hisam recite many forms he had not taught me. The Prophet said, 'Let him go. Recite, Hisam.' He recited the reading I had already heard from him. The Prophet said, 'That is how it was revealed.' He then said, 'Recite, Umar', and I recited what he had taught me. He said, 'That's right. That is how it was revealed. This Quran was revealed in seven forms, so recite what is easiest.' "(Tafsir of Tabari). (See also Mishkat vol.III pp. 702-705). Also, Al Baizawi (in his commentary on Suras 3:100, 6:91, 19:35, 28:48, 33:6, 34:18, 38:22, etc.) suggests variations extant in his time. (Mizanu'l Haqq, page 261). "The scholars were to disapprove of the use by the Muslims of the post-Apostolic ages of isolate Quran readings at prayer. That is not, however, the point of the report. The earliest rationalization of reading variants was that, as all had been revealed, all were equally legitimate. Abu Huraira reports the Prophet as saying, 'The Quran was revealed in seven forms and contention about the Quran is disbelief.' " (Tafsir of Tabari).

We would be eager to know what is meant by 'form'. The whole context of this subject seems to leave no doubt, however, that it is not just a matter of dialect or pronounciation, though partly so.
"Ibrahim reports that ibn Abbas heard some man reter to 'the former Quran text'. He asked him what he meant. The man explained, 'Umar sent Abdullah to Kufa as instructor and the people there adopted his reading. Uthman altered the text, and so they refer to Abdullah's reading as "the former text".' ibn Abbas rejected this. 'Abdullah's is the later, based on the final review.' ibn Abbas also reports that Abdullah attended the final review and learned what had been withdrawn and what had been abrogated." (al Qurtubi).

Tradition speaks of a "final review" of all the given revelation by Gabriel. This does not agree with many of the previous quotations, however.
"Zaid is also said to have attended the final review and to have learned what was withdrawn and what remained." ("al ltqan" by Jalal al Din).

"al-Bagawi in Sarh al Sunna, concluded, 'The mushaf which has been traditionally accepted represents the final review text. Uthman ordered it to be copied into the mushafs he despatched throughout the empire, simultaneously making away with all the other Quran materials with the aim of preventing differences. Whatever is at variance with the written text is now to be regarded in the same light as that which has been abrogated and withdrawn. It is no longer competent for any man to go beyond the text'. "("Fath al Bari" by ibn Hajan). "Tabari taught that the Companions agreed to write out that which they were certain represented the text as checked on the occasion of the final review. They were unanimous that all other Quran materials must be abandoned." "The Qadi Abu Bakr holds 'that the entirety of the Quran, as God revealed it, and as He commanded that it be recorded, such as He did not abrogate, nor withdraw in respect of the wording alone, is represented in the mushaf of Uthman.' " "In Baqillani's view, therefore, the Uthman mushaf, as collected by Zaid, equals the Quran minus two classes of verses; nask a hukm we al tilawa and naskh al tilawa duna al hukm." "ibn Zibyan reports that ibn Abbas asked him which of the two texts he recited. He replied the former reading, that of ibn Umm 'Abd (i.e. Abdullah's). 'But.' said ibn Abbas, 'it is the later of two.' "("Fath al Bari" by ibn Hajar). "Abdullah is himself reported as declaring, 'Did I know of anyone whom camels could reach who had later information on the final review than I have, I should go to him.' " "Despite the statement attributed to Abdullah that he who denies a single verse of the Quran denies the entire revelation, Abdullah is depicted in the literature as having denied three whole chapters of the Quran!"

"The codex ascribed to Abdullah is said to lack three of the Suras present in our (the Uthmanic) text. The codices ascribed to ibn Abbas, Ubayy and Abu Musa are said to contain two Suras which the Uthmanic text lacks." ("al Itqan" by Jalal al Din). "The Mutazili scholar al Nazzam is reported to have impugned Abdullah's memory on the ground that he had denied two Suras (sic) which are part of the Book of God. This is a reference, says ibn Qutaiba, to Q 113 and Q 114, and for his attitude Abdullah had justification. Men may opine and opine wrongly. This is possible for prophets and for ordinary mortals more possible still. What induced Abdullah to refrain from recording the two Suras in his mushaf was that he observed that the Prophet used the chapters as charms to invoke the divine protection upon his grandsons, al Hasan and al Husain." "A similar cause led Ubayy, on the contrary, to copy into his mushaf the two qunut prayers which he noted the Prophet reciting at the ritual service. Abdullah, taking two chapters to be prayers, thought them to be no part of the Quran, while Ubayy, taking two prayers to be Suras, thought that they were part of the Quran." "Of the two reports, it was that concerning Abdullah's supposed omission of Q 113 and Q 114, but more especially his refusal to record the first Sura, the Fatiha." "ibn Mas'ud, the eponym of the Quran of the Kufans, is reported to have said, 'I recited from the very mouth of the Prophet some seventy Suras while Zaid still had his ringlets and was playing with his companions.' In a second version, 'The Prophet taught me to recite seventy Suras which I had mastered before Zaid had even become a Muslim.' Or, again, 'Am I to be debarred from copying the mushafs and the job given to a man who was an infidel in his father's reins when I first became a Muslim?' Abdullah is supposed to have enjoined his followers, 'Lay up your Qurans! How can you order me to recite the reading of Zaid, when I recited from the very mouth of the Prophet some seventy Suras?' " " 'Am I,' asks Abdullah, 'to abandon what I acquired from the very lips of the Prophet?'" "I went to Abu Musa's house and saw there Abdullah and Hudaifa. I sat with them. They had a mushaf that Uthman had sent ordering them to make their Qurans conform with it. Abu Musa declared that anything in his mushaf and lacking in Uthman's was not to be omitted. Anything in Uthman's and lacking in his own was to be added. Hudaifa asked, 'What is the point of all our work? Nobody in this region will give up the reading of this saikh, meaning Abdullah, and nobody of Yemeni origin will give up the reading of Abu Musa.' " ("Kitab al Masahif" by ibn abi Da'ud). A very interesting development can be observed. At first the authenticity of a statement would be measured by the seniority of the man in question. This is apparent from the above texts. There came a shift to giving preference to the younger - the one who was aware of the abrogations and the withdrawn texts.
"In the legal sciences, where hadith reports clash, a brilliant and elegantly simple technique was developed to resolve the problem. This involved employment of isnad theory in terms of ta'akhkhur, the later abrogates the earlier if they differ." ("Kitab al Umm" by al Risalah).

"This resulted, however, in earliness of conversion being driven out in favour of lateness of conversion."
This is the obvious reason why Zaid ibn Thabith was considered more trustworthy to edit Uthman's version than any of the older companions of the Prophet, like ibn Mas'ud, Ubayy or Abu Musa. And that was also the reason for the intended destruction of their versions. "Uthman prohibited the variant readings since he feared dissension. It is said that when Uthman received the completed mushaf, he noticed certain linguistic irregularities." ("Masahif").

"Yazid b. Mu'awiya was in the mosque in the time of al Walid b. Uqba, sitting in a group among whom was Hudaifa. An official called out, 'Those who follow the reading of Abu Musa, go to the corner nearest the Kinda door. Those who follow Abdullah's reading, go to the corner nearest Abdullah's house. 'Their reading of Q 2:196 did not agree. One group read, 'Perform the pilgrimage to God. 'The others read it, 'Perform the pilgrimage to the Ka'aba' Hudaifa became very angry, his eyes reddened and he rose, parting his qamis at the waist, although in the mosque. This was during the reign of Uthman. Hudaifa exclaimed, 'Will someone go to the Commander of the Faithful, or shall I go myself? This is what happened in the previous dispensations.' " ("Kitab al Masahif" by ibn abi Da'ud). "Hudaifa said to Uthman, 'Whatever you would do if you heard someone talking of the reading of so-and-so, and the reading of another, as the non-Muslims do , then do it now.'"(" Kitab al Muqni" by b. Sa'id al Dani). "Hudaifa said, "The Kufans say, "the text of Abdullah"; the Basrans say, "the text of Abu Musa". By God! if I reach the Commander of the Faithful, I will recommend that he drown these readings.' (Masahif). Abdullah said, 'Do and God will drown you, but not in water!' " (ibid). "Abdullah, Hudaifa and Abu Musa were on the roof of Abu Musa's house. Abdullah said, 'I hear you say such and such.' Hudaifa said,' Yes, I deplore folk talking about this one's reading and that one's reading. They are differing like non Muslims.' Hudaifa continued, 'Abdullah b. Qais, you were sent to the Basrans as governor and teacher. They have adopted your adab, your dialect and your text.' To b. Mas'ud he said, 'You were sent to the Kufans as their teacher and they have adopted your adab, your dialect and your reading.' " 'In that case,' retorted b Mas'ud, I have not misled them. There is no verse in the Book of God but that I know where and in what connection it was revealed. Did I know of anyone more learned than myself on the subject I should go to him.' (Masahif.). And yet he differs in content from the Uthmanic version.
"The conclusion which such reports invite us to draw is that there was genuine fear that Islam. like the religions before it, would be fragmented into warring sects as a result of the differences arising in the reading of the sacred texts. Uthman's purpose and his achievement

was to unite the Muslims on the basis of a single agreed Quran reading." ("Fath al Bari" by ibn Hajar).

"During the reign of Uthman, teachers were teaching this or that reading to their students. When the students met and disagreed about the reading, they reported the differences to their teachers. They would defend their readings, condemning the others as heretical. News of this came to Uthman's ears and he addressed the people, 'You who are here around me are disputing as to the Quran, and pronouncing it differently. It follows that those who are distant in the various regional centres of Islam are even more widely divided. Companions of Muhammad! act in unison; come together and write out an imam (iman?) for the Muslims.' "("Kitab al Masahif" by ibn abi Da'ud). "The reading disputes were apparently not restricted to the provinces. They appear to have prevailed also at Medina. We are unfortunately given no information on the nature of these differences, nor any explanation as to how they might have arisen. We are told, however, that when the completed mushaf was delivered, Uthman observed certain irregular uses." (ibid.). "Unanimity is often claimed by appeal to the authority of Ali who is projected as averring that what Uthman had done in respect of the mushaf, and especially in respect of the most sensitive issue of all, the alleged destruction of all Quranic records other than the textus receptus achieved as the result of his initiative, he had done only after the fullest consultation with the Companions. Far from protesting at this highhandedness, they had applauded and blessed his decisiveness." "By God! he did not act on the mushaf except in the fullest consultation with us, for he said, 'What is your view in this matter of reading? I have heard that some even say, "My reading is superior to yours." This is tantamount to heresy.' We asked him, 'What are you thinking to do?' He replied, 'My view is that we should unite the Muslims on the basis of a single mushaf. That way, there will be no disagreement, no segmentation.' We replied, 'An excellent idea!' Someone then asked, 'Whose is the purest Arabic? and whose the greatest acquaintance with the recitation (alt. Quran)? 'They said that the purest Arabic was that of Sa'id b. al As and that the one most acquainted with the recitation (Quran) was Zaid b. Thabith. Uthman said, 'Let the one write and the other dictate.' The two then set to work and in this way Uthman united the Muslims on the basis of a single text." "Ali concludes his report with the declaration, 'Had I been in power, I should have done just what Uthman did." (ibid.). (The above quotations are taken from the book "Collection of the Quran" by Dr. John Burton). "It is not without interest, that records show that the Quranic text was finally fixed by the two visirs ibn Muqlah and ibn-'Tsa in A.D. 933 (A.H. 311) with the help of the learned ibn Mujahid. Ibn Majahid admitted seven readings, which had developed because of lack of vowel and diacritical marks, as canonical." ("History of the Arabs" by Philip K. Hitti, page 123 as quoted from "Materials for the History of the Text of

the Koran" by Arthur Jeffery and "New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the Koran" by Hartwig Hirschfeld). All this proves beyond any doubt that the very accusation levelled by Muslims against the Bible, can be reversed and applied far more effectively against the Quran. When a Muslim refers to the Quran as "nazil" he is flying in the teeth of the facts recorded above. Therefore, considering the absence of external and internal evidence that should effectively verify the revelatory character of the Quran, we find it very hard, if not impossible, to accept the Quran as a Message sent by God. This is particularly so, because the Quran contradicts earlier revelation, the evidence for the origin of which is given above. (See pp.3 ff.). QUESTION: Why do Muslims continually discredit the Bible on grounds that the Quran, though 600 years younger, shows in a very much exaggerated way? Why is the unity of the Quran so strongly taught, when historical records prove the contrary? Were you, dear reader, made aware of the basic facts outlined above?

PROOFS OF THE PROPHETHOOD OF MOHAMMED

Miracles performed by Mohammed as a proof Despite the fact that Mohammed repeatedly claimed in the Quran to be a warner to Arabia, one who did not pertorm miracles and signs, tradition records a number of occasions on which miracles are alleged to have been performed. Let us first look at what the Quran has to say:
"They (the Jews) say: 'We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth from the earth (as Moses in Exodus 17:6) or thou have a house adorned with gold (Solomon in I Kings 6:21 ff.), or thou mount a ladder right into the skies (Jacob in Genesis 28:12)'...Say: 'Glory to my Lord! Am I aught but a man, - an Apostle?' "(Sura 17:90-93).

So were Moses, Solomon and Jacob!


"We refrain from sending the signs, only because the men of former generations treated them as false." (Sura 17:59).

"The unbelievers say: 'Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord? But thou art truly a warner and to every people a guide (Sura 13:7). "When there comes to them a sign (from Allah) (i.e. the Quran Sura 2:99, 151, 252) they say: 'We shall not believe until We receive one like those received by Allah's Apostle! Allah knows best where (and how) to carry out His mission." (Sura 6:124). "They say: 'Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?' Say: 'Allah hath certainly power to send down a sign. 'But most of them understand not!" (Sura 6:37). "Say those without knowledge: 'Why speaketh not Allah unto us? Or why cometh not unto us a sign?' So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts

are alike. We have indeed made clear the signs...We have sent thee in truth as a bearer of good tidings and a warner." (Sura 2:118-119). All this is plainly contradicted by the Hadis that tell us stories of signs. May just a couple be representative of the rest: We read in the "Sahih Muslim" (IV, page 1 467):
"We were along with Allah's Messenger at Min that moon was split up into two. One of its parts was behind the mountain (the mountain covered one of its parts according to another writer) and the other one was on this side of the mountain." "The people of Mecca demanded from Allah's Messenger, that he should show them (some) signs (miracles) and he showed them the splitting of the moon."

We find this rather a strange argument. How did the witness know that the other part was behind the mountain? A number of Hadis tell about miracles: Mohammed, being thirsty, asks permission to milk an almost "dry" goat. After obtaining it he invoked blessing on it and it supplied milk profusely, enough for the owner, his companions and himself ("Mishkat" IV, page 450). Asked for credentials of his prophethood, he
"called a tree while it was by the side of a valley, and so it came, tearing the ground till it stood in his presence. He wanted it to recite three attestations (Kalimas). So it attested thrice as he had said and then it returned to its root."

On another occasion Mohammed called date trees, which came at his command, fell down near him, and returned (ibid. page 436).
"Ibn Mas'ud reported from the Messenger of Allah who said: 'Verily you will be given help and gain (booties), and there will be victory for you.' "(ibid. page 437).

This is considered fulfilled prophecy, i.e. a miracle. We would ask that this prophecy be compared with those in the Bible ("Christians Answer Muslims" pp. 43ff.). The feeding of a battalion of his soldiers to the full with some scrap foods that multiplied miraculously, reminds one a little of the feeding of the 4 000 (5 000) in the Bible. (Mishkat IV p 429). Likewise the provision of water "springing forth from amidst the fingers of the Apostle of Allah", is a well-known Hadis (ibid. pages 407 and 427). Water in the desert is the most important commodity. Hence a number of stories of its miraculous provision are in circulation. On another occasion, the well of Hudaibiyyah was exhausted on the day of the battle of the same name. Mohammed, having heard about it, called for a pot of water.

"He made ablution and then gurgled and invoked. Thereafter he poured it therein (the well) and then said: 'Leave it for an hour.' Then they allowed satisfaction to themselves and their riding animals by water till they departed." (ibid. page 408).

We are, of course, aware that wells do fill up again after having been depleted! To the Christian reader many of these reports sound very much like the legendary stories of the New Testament Apocrypha. These are well-meaning "reports" often very fanciful in character. They lack just one thing: authenticity. The Apocrypha dates mainly from the Second Century A.D. i.e. 70-l70 years after the death of jesus. The Hadis was compiled approximately 250-300 years after the Hegira. This being the case, we have to take both the Apocrypha and the Hadis with a pinch of salt."
"A man wrote to the Prophet that he turned an apostate from Islam and joined the infidels (the man was according to the foot note, first a Christian, then turned Muslim and reverted again to the Christian faith). The Prophet said: 'Verily the earth will not accept him.' Abu Talhah informed me that he had come to the land wherein he died. He found him thrown outside. He said: 'What is the matter with him?' They said: 'They buried him several times, but the earth did not accept him.'" (ibid page 419).

One is tempted to compare the attitude of Mohammed with that of the early Christians. Tradition has it that when the Apostle john returned to Ephesus after having been banned to the Isle of Patmos for a period of time, he found a young man of the Christian fellowship there missing. On enquiring, he found out that he had back-slidden and joined the robbers in the hinterland mountains. "You did not love him enough," exclaimed the very old John and asked to be taken into the mountain to the robbers. He recognized the man and saw that he returned to Christian fellowship. Another alleged miracle of Mohammed's took place at the battle of Hunain:
"The companions of the Apostle of Allah took (to their) heels. When they (apparently the enemies. G.N.) surrounded the Apostle of Allah, he got down from the mule (Mohammed always rode a white mule. G. N.) and then caught a handful of dust from the earth, threw it toward their faces and said: 'May thy faces be disfigured!' Allah did not create a man out of them, but filled up his eyes with dust (sic) as a result of that handful and so they turned back. Thus Allah routed them, and the Apostle of Allah divided their booties among the Muslims." (ibid. page 413).

Another account of the same event reports


"The Prophet was looking while riding upon his mule like one eagerly longing to kill them. He said: 'This was when the blood boiled in veins.' Thereafter he took some pebbles and threw them at the faces of the infidels and then said: 'Be routed by the Lord of Mohammed.' By Allah defeat was not due but to his throwing stones at them." (ibid. page 411).

Is there any need for proof that a prophet is indeed from God? Yes, undoubtedly--otherwise anyone could claim to be a messenger of God. (Many have actually done so and misled millions of ignorant and uncritical and well-meaning people.). Prophecies fulfilled and signs

prove the authenticity of a messenger of God and his message. Christians seek in vain for prophecies and signs in Mohammed's life. The above-mentioned ones are in disagreement either with what Mohammed himself had said or what the Quran reports. Prophecies attributed to Mohammed Applying Biblical standards, we find it difficult to reach the conclusion that Mohammed was a prophet of God:
"HOW MAY WE KNOW THE WORD WHICH THE LORD HAS NOT SPOKEN?"

"When a prophet speaks in the Name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken, the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). "Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome, or declare us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods." (Isaiah 41:21-23). In addition we refer to a statement in the Mishkat Volume IV, page 396 where it says:
"The greatest thing in miracles is a prophecy i.e. a forecast of future events. This us not a political forecast but a forecast of future secrets derived from Divine Knowledge. Prophecy is greatest for the following reasons. It can be historicalIy proved but a miracle cannot. Prophecy manifests God's fore-knowledge, while a miracle God's power. As knowledge is greater than power, prophecy is greater than a miracle."

When we consider Mohammed in the light of this, we find that he spoke about past events, but as has already been pointed out, his knowledge was scanty and displays historical misconceptions. Did Mohammed then foretell future events? We shall investigate the matter: Books have been written about this subject (I refer especially to one by Q. I. Hingora), but generally there are said to be twenty-two PREDICTIONS IN THE QURAN. These are recorded in the following passages:
Sura 2:23 and 24, 88 and 89 3:10,106,107,144 5:70 8:7 9:14 15:9,96

24:55 28:85 30:1-4 41:42 48:16-21,27,28 54:44-45 56:1-56 110:1,2

They may be divided into three categories:


1. Those that refer to Mohammed's victories; 2. Those relating to the Quran itself; 3. A prophecy regarding the victory of the Byzantines of Syria, i.e. a political forecast.

With regard to the victories, it is impossible to prove these to be valid predictions, since the time between prediction and fulfilment was almost nil. We also realize that Mohammed obviously expected victory, otherwise he would not have been fighting. Besides that, he also needed to encourage his warriors. In every war that has been fought, both parties have expected and predicted victory. One of the two parties has always been right; therefore we cannot regard these predictions as prophecies. The prophecies regarding the Quran are predictions about the preservation of the Quran in a state of completeness and without injury (Sura 15:9). If we consider the destruction of all original manuscripts by Uthman, after he had revised and reduced these to one uniform copy, as well as the loss of Suras as recorded in the Traditions (See page 49), we must conclude that this prophecy was not fulfilled. The remaining prophecy is in Sura 30:1-4 and reads:
"The Romans have been defeated in the nearest part of the land and they shall conquer in a small number of years after their defeat."

This passage refers to the defeat of the Byzantines in Syria by the Persians under Khusran Parvis. (A.D. 615 - 6 years before the Hegira). However, the defeat of the Persians should take place soon--"in a small number of years". In the light of this prediction, Abu-Bakr undertook a bet with Ubai-ibn-Khalaf that this prediction would be fulfilled within three years, but he was corrected by Mohammed who stated that the "small number" is between three and nine years (Al-Baizawi). Muslims tell us that the Byzantines overcame their enemies within seven years. The fact, however, is that the Byzantines defeated Persia in A.D. 628 (Al-Baizawi commentary). That was twelve years after the prediction of Mohammed. Consequently this passage does not qualify as a prophecy, particularly as the time between prophecy and fulfilment was far too short, and in addition the event was easily predictable.

Perhaps we ought to realize, that some "prophecies" uttered by Mohammed in the Quran, have not been fulfilled, e.g. Sura 4:159:
"There is none of the People of the Book (Jews) but must believe in him (Jesus) before his death."

There are two possible interpretations to this text. This depends on whose death the writer refers to. If it refers to the "People of the Book", is has already been proved incorrect; if to the death of Jesus Christ, this is to occur, according to the Hadis, after his return to earth at the end of time. This is equally unacceptable as a prophecy. (Above information i.a. from Mizanu'l Haqq, page 277). The prophetic argument thus breaks down. We may conclude that we do not find Quranic prophecy conforming to the Biblical standard as set out in ("Christians Answer Muslims", pp. 44ff.). QUESTION: We saw earlier that the Quran does accept the Bible as revelation. In this revelation God warns of false prophets and provides a pattern for testing fulfilled prophecies. According to this pattern we, as the contemporary Jewish and Christian believers, find it not possible to accept Mohammed as one of God's prophets. Can we be expected to go against God's standards? Will God abandon His standands for others (Muslims)? Do we have to assume inconsistency on the part of God?

"PRODUCE A SURA LIKE IT!"


"The Quran is the greatest wonder among the wonders of the world. It repeatedly challenged the people of the world to bring a chapter like it, but they failed and the challenge remained unanswered up to this day. The Quran declares: 'And if you are in doubt as to which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it, and call on your helper, besides Allah, if you are truthful.' (Sura 2:23)." "Say: "If men and Jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they cannot bring the like of it, though some of them help others. And certainly We have made distinct for men every kind of description but majority of men do not consent but denying (sic)". (Sura 17:88). "As the Quran was revealed, no credit is given therefore to the Prophet, but the fact remains that 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." (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, Volume III, pp.664665).

We can add another challenge as found in Sura 10:37-38:


"This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it and a fuller explanation of the Book wherein there is no doubt-from the Lord of the Worlds. Or do they say, 'He forged it'? Say: 'Bring a Sura like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!'"

As Christians we do not want to comment on statements such as the Quran being "the greatest wonder among the wonders of the world, that it is second to none in the world according to the unanimous decision of the learned men in thoughts, soundness of laws and regulations to shape the destinies of mankind". We have sound reasons for differing and have expressed them in these studies. We should like to ask, however, why anyone would be interested in writing a Sura? Obviously only two motives could prompt a man to do so:
1. A man is called upon by God to do so, and is given a message to convey - or a person has imagined this to have happened to him; or 2. A person pretends to have been called by God to give a message to mankind and is a deceiver and liar. 3. Someone receives a message and believes it to be divinely inspired, but it is, in fact, from another source.

But there may yet be another consideration. A man writes a book. Anyone taking up his pen to write down thoughts (other than those pertaining to business, either domestic, commercial or public), wants to convey a certain message. This may be purely informative news; it may be the deep thoughts of his heart - a philosophy, or a spiritual conviction - but also the overflow of a filthy mind. By this means the man who wants to convey this message to readers becomes a messenger. He may be a messenger of himself, of some political or philosophical cause; or he may be used by the devil or be used by God. In the latter case he is, to some extent at least, a messenger of God. This must not be confused with the revealed Word of God, however. But, if we accept the Quranic challenge: "Produce a Sura like it!" It will not be out of place to compare (like it!) some Suras (or parts thereof complete in themselves) of the Quran with the written thoughts of certain men of various eras and places in history. Because the tastes of people vary, one may argue about features like diction, style and particularly rhetoric, so we should like you to compare the soundness, beauty and spirituality of thought of each extract rather than the form. For reasons that to us are unaccountable, most Quran translators have an inclination to clothe their works in a style that is rather outdated and studded with words that an average person must look up in a dictionary. This is not because the translations were made hundreds of years ago, but it has been done to give them an appearance of dignity and age which inspires trustworthiness. We take as an example Yusuf Ali whose Quran translation was first published in 1938, at a time when all translators of the Bible were making an effort to present the original text in the most intelligible and comprehensive way. Take the case of the reader who does not understand Arabic and who is thus dependent on a translation. He is quite unlikely to gain the impression - and for that he must be forgiven that the Quran is second to none in the world in points of diction, style and rhetoric. He is obliged to use other translations, perhaps by a non-Muslim translator, to get the actual message or meaning, which may be very clear and simple in the original. Is it perhaps from motives of expediency that an English that makes the message of the Quran obscure has so often been used?

A final remark before we turn to the extracts to be compared. The phrase "second to none" surely does not exclude "previous revelations". Therefore we feel obliged to use some Biblical passages also. We were somewhat tempted to use them exclusively. To our knowledge, the Quran itself does not disqualify the Bible as revelation. There are no references given with the texts. The reason is that you, the reader, may in a reasonably unbiased fashion select the best texts. Then you may find out the source of your choice from the index given - and reach your own conclusion.
1. "To know God is the beginning of joy, To serve God is the continuation of joy, To see God is the consummation of joy." "God weighs more the love with which a man works than the work he does." 2. "Grant me, Almighty God, that I may circumspectly explore your will for my life, that I may truly know it and completely fulfil it. Arrange my life that it may bring honour to you and salvation to me. Add to this, 0 Lord, a free heart, a strong heart, a vigilant heart, an unchangeable heart. Make me modest without presumption, serious without sadness truthful without deceit brave without fear active without being thoughtless. Let my way reach its purpose safely. Let me set my hope on you forever, you the loving God of my life." 3. "It is not important what people think and say to us, but what we are before God. It is not important what we do, but how and why we do it. It is not important that we escape suffering, but that suffering fulfils its purpose. It is not important when we die, but that we are ready to meet God!" 4. "For the covenants (of security and safeguard enjoyed) by the Quraish, their covenants (covering) journeys by winter and summer, let them adore the Lord of this House, who provides them with food against hunger, and with security against fear (of danger)." 5. "The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 6. "Is he, then, to whom the evil of his conduct is made alluring, so that he looks upon it as good (equal to one who is rightly guided)? For God leads astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. So let not thy soul go out in (vanity) sighing after them." 7. "The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

8.

9. 10.

11.

12. 13.

14.

"God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?" "I am the good shepherd ... I lay down my life for my sheep. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord." "This is an admonition: whosoever will, let him take a path to his Lord. But you will not, except as God wills ... He will admit to his mercy whom He wills. But the wrongdoers, for them has he prepared a grievous penalty." "If God had willed he would have made you one nation. But He leads astray whom He will and guides whom He will. But you shall certainly be called to account for all your actions." "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish." "Perish the hands of the `Father of Flame' (nickname of a person G.N) Perish he! No profit to him from all his wealth and all his gains! Burnt soon will he be in a fire of blazing flames! His wife shall carry the (crackling) wood as fuel! A twisted rope of palm leaf fibre round her (own) neck!" "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: that I practice love where I am hated, that I forgive where I am offended, that I heal where there us strife, that I speak truth where there us error, that I bring faith where doubt oppresses, that I rouse hope where despair torments, that I kindle your light where darkness reigns, that I bring joy where sadness is dwelling. Lord, let me not seek to be comforted but that I may comfort others also; not seek to be understood but to understand others also; not seek to be loved but to love others also. For he that gives shall receive, he that forgets himself shall find, he that forgives shall be forgiven, he that dies shall awake to eternal life." "He is surely and truly invincible that clings to God and to whom God is the only good." "You can only live for what is worth dying for." "He does not love truth most that speaks about it but he that endures it." "I renounced for the love of Him everything that was not He, and I live as if there was none but He and I in the world. ... I found no small pain in the exercise and yet I continued it. ... As for what passes in me at present I cannot express it. I have no pain or difficulty about my state because I have no will but that of God which I endeavour to accomplish in all things and to which I am so resigned that I would not take up a straw from the ground against His order or from any other motive than purely that of Love of Him. ... God has infinite treasure to bestow, and we take up with little sensible devotion which passes in a moment. Blind as we are, we hinder God and stop the current of His grace. But when He finds a soul

15.

16.

17.

18.

19. 20.

penetrated with a living faith, He pours into it His grace and favours plentifully. ... We often stop this torrent by the little value we set upon it. But let us stop it no more! ... Let us make way for grace, let us redeem the lost time for perhaps we have but little left. Death follows us close. Let us be well prepared for it. ... I have taken the liberty to impart to you these good sentiments that you may compare them with your own. I will serve to kindle and inflame them. ... I know that for the right practice of it the heart must be empty of all other things because God will possess the heart ALONE and as He cannot possess it alone without emptying it of all besides, so neither can He act there, and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him ... God knows best what is needful for us and all that He does is for our good. If we knew how much He loves us we should always be ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter. All would please that came from Him. That sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, except when we see them in the wrong light." "By the sun and his (glorious) splendour. By the moon as she follows him. By the day as it shows up (the sun's) glory. By the night as it conceals it. By the firmament and its wonderful structure. By the earth and its (wide) expanse. By the soul and that which shaped it. And inspired it to wickedness and piety, As to its wrong and its right. Truly he succeeds that purifies it And he fails that corrupts it." "The realisation of God without the realisation of our misery makes man proud. The realisation of our misery without the realisation of God leads to despair. The realisation of Christ mediates between the two, for in Him we find God and our misery." "Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? He sent against them flights of birds striking them with stones of baked clay. Then did He make them like an empty field of stalks and straw (of which the corn) has been eaten up." "Say: O ye that reject faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your way, and to me mine." "He is no fool that gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me

21.

22.

23.

24.

in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." "Lord, when I have surrendered my life, spirit, soul and body, to you; when you have all of me - and I have you; then your love for me is not wasted: I will be spiritual and faithful in all I think or speak or do. More: my love for you and for the unloved and unlovable around me will be motivated and constrained by the love which you have lavished on me. I will have courage to speak the truth, exercise self-control in my moods and actions and will be disciplined in spending my time - in your presence, always!" "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, - flog each of them with a hundred stripes; let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God if ye believe in God and the Last Day: and let a party of believers witness their punishment." "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they said unto him, 'Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?' This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.' And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And when they heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, 'Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?' She said, 'No man, Lord.' and Jesus said unto her, 'Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall- not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." "If you believe Him for forgiveness, you must believe Him for deliverance. He Who saves us from the guilt of sin can deliver us from the power of sin ... He can cut the chains that bind him to his former master ... He purchases us that He might possess us ... If we want deliverance from the power of indwelling sin, we must rely in simplicity upon His Word, accepting without question what God says to us about it. We must still move in faith ... The aim of the Lord involves two things: the praise of God and the perfecting of the believer, that is to say His glory and our glorification. ... He is prepared, for His glory and our good, to go all lengths with us. In occupying our vision with Christ, He seeks to show us what He desires our likeness to become. In this way, the more we behold Him the more we are prepared to endure that we might be conformed to His beauty ... God puts the believer to the test, but in effect it is Himself He puts on trial. When He proves us, He expects us to prove Him. When a person who believes God is put through harrowing experiences, God waits, as it were, to see whether that person will consider Him worthy of his trust to the bitter end. His glory in that circumstance is linked up with that man's faith. When faith triumphs in the sufficiency of God's grace, then God is glorified in the world ... The entrustment (by God) of trial and discipline is one therefore of highest honour (to us). He dares to expose Himself, to see whether in the darkest hour we will really respond to Him who is invisible, more than all the visible terror about us; to see whether we will love Him

25.

26.

27.

28.

more than life and count His joy more to be grasped at than the moment's excitement of an apparent security." "When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant, I was like a beast toward thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou dost hold my right hand. Thou dost guide me with thy counsel, and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. For lo, those who are far from thee shall perish; thou dost put an end to those who are false to thee. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all thy works." "To the Thamud people (We sent) Salih one of their own brethren: He said: "O my people! Worship God , ye have no other god but Him. Now hath come unto you a clear (sign) from your Lord! This she-camel of God is a sign unto you so leave her to graze in God's earth and let her come to no harm or ye shall be seized with a grievous punishment. And remember how He made you inheritors after 'Ad people and gave you inhabitations in the Land: ye build for yourselves palaces and castles in (open) plains and carve (sic) out homes in the mountains so bring to remembrance the benefits (ye have received) from God and refrain from evil and mischief on the earth." "They say: `Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?' Say: `God hath certainly power to send down a sign but most of them understand not ... those who reject our signs are deaf and dumb in the midst of darkness profound: whom God willeth, He leaves to wander, whom He willeth, He placeth on the Way that is straight.' ... Say: `For me I have an obvious sign from my Lord but ye rejected it' ... They swear their strongest oaths by Allah that if a (special) sign came to them, by it they would believe. Say: `Certainly all signs are in the power of God but what He wisheth you to understand is that (even) if a (special) sign comes, they will not believe." "What makes a man great, the wonder of creation pleasing in the eye of God? What makes a man strong, stronger than the world? What makes him weak, weaker than a child? What makes a man hard, harder than a rock and what makes him as soft as wax? It is love. What is older than everything else? Love. What shall survive everything else? Love. What cannot be taken away yet gives it all? Love. What has permanence when all else staggers? Love. What comforts when all other comfort fails? Love. What endures when all else changes? Love. What remains when everything temporal fades away? Love. What witnesses when prophecies cease? Love. What does not pass away when revelations cease? Love. What illuminates when sinister thoughts overwhelm. Love. What blesses the abundance of gifts? Love. What gives utterance of right emphasis? Love. What turns the "Widow's mite" into abundance? Love. What makes wise the speech of the simple? Love. What never changes when all else changes? Love. Only that is love, that never changes!"

29. "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends!" 30. "We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power: and what will explain to thee what the Nigh of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the spirit by God's permission on every errand; Peace! This until the rise of morn!" 31. "Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which bath been forbidden by God and His Apostle nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book until they pay the poll-tax with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." 32. "Blessed are the poor in spirit (i.e. those who stand empty-handed or humble before God), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven." 33. "O ye who believe! Enter not the prophet's houses, until leave is given you, for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. but when ye are invited, enter; and when you have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but God is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth ... God and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him and salute him with all respect. Those who annoy God and His Apostle - God has cursed them in this world and in the Hereafter and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment." 34. "Humility and a deep consciousness of our own unworthiness are the true marks of holiness. The nearer we live to Him of Whom the angels chant 'Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, the more we will confess our own sinfulness and rejoice in His Holiness." 35. "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord over them and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whosoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many." 36. "By the Break of Day by the Nights twice five by the Even and Odd (contrasted) and by the Night when it passeth away; Is there (not) in these an adjuration (or evidence) for those who understand? Seest thou not how the Lord dealt with the Ad (people) of the (city of) Iram with lofty pillars the like of which were not produced in (all) the land? And with the Thamud (people) who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley? And with Pharaoh Lord of stakes? All these transgressed beyond bounds in the lands and heaped therein mischief (on mischief). Therefore did thy Lord pour on them a scourge of diverse chastisement for thy Lord is (as a guardian) on a watch-tower."

37. "Love may cause pain to its object but only on the supposition that that object needs alteration to become fully loveable. ... Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis - in itself very bad news - before it can win a hearing for the cure. ... A recovery of the old sense of sin is essential to Christianity. Christ takes it for granted that men are bad. Until we really feel this assumption of His to be true, though we are part of the world He came to save we are not part of the audience to whom His words are addressed." 38. "God has not abandoned His first purpose. Still He plans that a great host of mankind should come to love and honour Him. His ultimate objective is to bring them to a state in which they please Him entirely and praise Him adequately a state in which He is all in all to them, and He and they rejoice continually in the knowledge of each other's love - men rejoicing in the saving love of God, set upon them from all eternity, and God rejoicing in the responsive love of men, drawn out of them by grace through the Gospel. ... His immediate objectives are to draw individual men and women into a relationship of faith hope and love toward Himself, delivering them from sin and showing forth in their lives the power of His grace; to defend His people against the forces of evil; and to spread throughout the world the Gospel by means of which He saves." 39. "Have we not expanded thy breast? And removed from thee thy burden the which did gall thy back? And raised high the esteem (in which) thou (art held)? So verily with every difficulty there is relief: Verily, with every difficulty there is relief. Therefore when thou art free (from thine immediate task) still labour hard and to thy Lord turn (all) thy attention." 40. "So I lift up my hands to my Redeemer. Who after His coming had been predicted for four thousand years has come to this earth to suffer and die for me at the time and in the manner as it had been prophesied. Through His grace I can await my death in peace resting on the hope of being united with Him forever. Until that time I live content and in gladness of heart, be it with the provisions that He has been pleased to give me or in sufferings which He has sent to promote His salvation and which He has taught me by His example to endure."

No doubt the style and content of the above quotations have betrayed the origin of some. Before looking at the sources, try to give an impartial evaluation. Mark the squares at the end of a quotation. If it is, in your honest opinion, a very spiritual message, mark it 1. If it is very poor in its message fill in a 5 or fill in, according to your own discretion and honest opinion of the quality, any number between 1-5. In the second square give your opinion of the diction, style, rhetoric and beauty of the text. Mark them with any letter from A-E. Then look up the source and decide whether some of the given texts are as good as - or superior to - the Quranic texts. If that is so, you will have agreed with us that the argument (that the Quran is "the greatest wonder among the wonders of the world" and that is is "second to none in the world") is without foundation. With that the only Quranic "sign" or evidence that the Quran is the ultimate and final revelation of God replacing the Bible as the Word of God and source of salvation has been disqualified. We need to stress again, however, that your judgement must be impartial, and, as far as possible, unbiased and sober. You may hold it against the extracts that the selection of the portions from the Quran has been unfavourable in contrast to the other quotations. To a certain extent this is true. But does it not say "produce a chapter like it"? A chapter would mean any chapter, no doubt. It is not unfair to select the very best of the pen of a spiritual man to "produce a chapter like it." This was obviously not possible. We have utilised only extracts from books at hand in our home

and have indeed picked both the book and their extracts without doing very much selection. We also did not systematically go through the Quran to pick those Suras or parts thereof which from our point of view were best to quote. So we deem this test to be fair. We are aware also that this test could be reversed. Biblical texts could be taken and opposed in similar fashion. This has been done but unfortunately the opposition has never taken into consideration that many statements and events described in the Bible are historical records, including quotations uttered by opponents of God, and which do not necessarily reflect the consent, thought and will of God. Taken out of context such tests may be abused to support just about anything. One must always bear in mind that the Islamic concept of "nazil" is not the Biblical concept of revelation, a fact that must be respected. In the above quotations we were careful not to quote a portion out of its context. That is why we chose several short, but complete Suras. Most quotations have been translated from one language into another, often twice (for example from Latin to German to English, or even English to German to English again etc.). This obviously must have a negative effect on the expression and beauty thereof, which the reader will no doubt confirm. Sources: 1. Thomas a Kempis(1380-1471 A.D.) (German) 2. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) (Italian) 3. Eva von Thiele-Winkler (German) 4. Sura 106 5. O.T. (Old Testament or Torah) I Samuel 16:7 6. Sura 35:8 7. N.T. (New Testament or Gospel) I Timothy 2:4, Luke 15:3-4, John 10:14,18 8. Sura 76:29-30 and Sura 16:93 9. N.T. John 10:27-28 10. Sura 111 11. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226 A.D ) (Italian) 12. St. Augustin (354-430 A.D.) (North Africa) 13. A. de Saint-Excupery (reported missing in 1944 at a reconnaissance flight over the Sahara Desert (French) 14. Brother Lawrence around 1666 (quote from "The Practice of the Presence of God" (French) 15. Sura 91 16. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) (French mathematician) 17. Sura 105 18. Surah 109 19. Jim Elliot (martyr for the Gospel in Amazon Jungle 1956) (American) 20. O.T. Psalm 23 21. Unknown 22. Sura 24:2 23. N.T. John 8:3-12 24. Geoffrey Bull (from "God holds the Key", thoughts during his time of imprisonment in a Chinese Communist Camp) (English) 25. O.T Psalm 73:21-28 26. Sura 7:73-74

27. Sura 6:37,39,57,109 28. Soren Kirkegaard (1815-1855) (Danish), see also Mark 12:42 (Bible) 29. N.T. I Corinthians 13:4-7 30. Sura 97 31. Sura 9:29 32. N.T. Matthew 5:3-12 33. Sura 33:53,56-57 34. Jim Elliot (American) 35. N.T. Matthew 20:25-28 36. Sura 89:1-14 37. C.S. Lewis (from "The Problem of Pain") (English) 38. J.I. Packer (from "Knowing God") (English) 39. Sura 94 40. Blaise Pascal (French) QUESTION: Does one need a longer list of writings to show that the claim of uniqueness in beauty and content of the Quran is not justified?

This material is taken from "Christians Ask Muslims" by Gerhard Nehls, pages 72-85, 1987 SIM International / Life Challenge, ISBN 0-620-09874-0

MOHAMMED - WARNER TO ARABIA

It is clearly evident in the Quran that Mohammed understood himself as being the warner to the people of Arabia - a people who did not have a prophet of their own to relate to them the universal message about the unity of God and His claims as it had been revealed to other nations previously. Now God had sent him to speak to them in their own tongue:
"By the book that makes things clear, - We have made it a Quran in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand." (Sura 43:3).

"Before this was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy; And this book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue." (Sura 46:12). "Thus have We sent by inspiration to thee an Arabic Quran: That thou mayest warn the mother of cities (i.e. Mecca) and all around her." (Sura 42:7). "Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the Spirit of Faith and Truth to thy heart and mind that thou mayest admonish (warn) in the perspicuous Arabic tongue. Without doubt it is (announced) in the mystic Books of former peoples." (Sura 26:192-196). "An Arabic Quran have We sent down that you may understand it." (Sura 12:2).

Read also: Suras 16:103; 41:3-4, 43-44; 39:28; 20:113. Universality for Islam and the Quran, as claimed by Muslims today, is contradicted by the Quran wherein Mohammed is seen as a warner to the Arabic speaking people, particularly Mecca. The term "Arabic Quran" obviously presupposes at least one other Quran (=reading or recitation) and not doubt refers to the Hebrew "Quran" and, if you wish, the Greek "Quran" (being the Old and New Testaments). These "Qurans" are not invalidated by an Arabic Quran, but rather confirmed. There is only one problem: an Arabic Quran was not announced in the "mystic Books of former peoples". To say the least, there is no such book available today, neither was it known at the time of Mohammed. Another very interesting aspect is that in the pages of both the Quran and the Bible Jesus enjoys a uniqueness that elevates Him above all other prophets. We very much recommend the booklet "The Uniqueness of Jesus in the Quran and the Bible" by John Gilchrist. (See Bibliography). In it the attributes of Jesus are investigated in depth, all of which are absent in all the other prophets:
1. He was born of a virgin (Suras 19:16-34, 21:91); 2. He was sinless (faultless) (Sura 19:19) in contrast to:

Adam Suras 2:36, 7:22-23 Abraham Sura 26:82 Moses Sura 28:15-16 Jonah Sura 37:142 David Sura 38:24-25 Mohammed Suras 40:55, 47:19, 48:1-2, 33:36-38; and all other men;
3. He ascended to heaven (Suras 4:158, 3:55): 4. He will return to this earth to judge mankind, (Sura 43:61); and, we may add: 5. That He came with signs to prove His identity (heal the blind and lepers; raise the dead). (Sura 5:113).

Indeed, Jesus over and above His uniqueness is universal, even according to the Quran:
"We made her (Mary) and her son (Jesus) a sign for all people." (Sura 21:91).

Surely that should give all people food for thought, particularly those who believe in the message of the Quran. None of the above can be invalidated by the statement:
"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets." (Sura 33:40).

Yusuf Ali's Commentary on this verse explains it as follows:


"When a document is sealed it is complete and there can be no further addition. The holy Prophet Mohammed closed the long line of Apostles."

This is in keeping with the Islamic concept that the Quran had to replace former scriptures, because of their incompleteness and corruption and that Mohammed, being the last of the prophets, is the greatest of them all. This interpretation is, however, contradicted by other verses:
"Say ye: 'We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses, and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord:

WE MAKE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONE AND ANOTHER OF THEM." (Sura 2:136). "Say: 'We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what is revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one and another among them ..." (Sura 3:84). It is only later in his career that Mohammed extends his call and apostleship universally (Sura 34:28). We consequently conclude: Islamic theology that juggles Jesus into second place, or creates an image of Jesus that does not coincide with the teaching of the Gospel, or even with that of the Quran, is the result of embarrassment over the obviously different position that Jesus had in relation to the other prophets, for Jesus was not a prophet within the normally accepted meaning of the word, but the only Salvation that God ever offered to mankind. This is decidedly expressed in His very name Jesus (=salvation). The Bible claims universality for Jesus as the only liberator from sin, if sin is properly understood (John 14:6, Acts 4:12 and many other passages). The uniqueness of the life of Jesus and the evidences in support of the divine source of the Bible provide sufficient proof for this claim. Why should any man seek help elsewhere?

THE HADIS AND SUNNAH Some of us met to exchange hadith reports. One fellow said, 'Enough of this! Refer to the Book of God.' Imran b. Husain said, 'You're a fool! Do you find in the Book of God the prayers explained in detail? Or the Fast? The Quran refers to them in general terms only. It is the Sunna which supplies the detailed explanation.' ("L'tibar" by al Hamdani).

The Hadis (or Hadith) is the collection of biographic reports about the sayings, customs and doings of Mohammed and his companions; they also reflect on what Mohammed enjoined and tolerated in his presence or forbade. In the introduction to the Mishkat, a collection of Hadis, we read:
"Indeed the Quran without the Hadis remains unintelligible in many cases in the work-a-day life of a man. It is the very injunction of the Quran to follow the Prophet in all his deeds and sayings. Therefore if the Quran is believed, there is no other alternative but to believe in the

Hadis of the Prophet. 'It behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice (in their matter) when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter; whoso disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he surely strays off a manifest straying.' "(Sura 33:36).

"I have left you two things and you will not stray as long as you hold them fast. The one is the Book of God and the other the Law (Sunnah) of his Prophet." (Mishkat 1:120, Volume I, page 173). "Whoso obeys me (i.e. Mohammed) shall enter Paradise and whoso disobeys me, has indeed rejected truth." (Mishkat 1:97, page 159). "He who seeks the Quran will seek 'sunnah', because it is the commentary of the Quran and its explanation. Gabriel (the angel) revealed 'sunnah' to the Prophet as he revealed the Quran to him." (ibid. Introduction, page 5). "From the above verses, traditions and sayings of theologians it is now beyond question that all Muslims to whatever ages and climes they belong, must necessarily follow the Hadis of the Holy Prophet." (ibid). "That which the Prophet of God has made unlawful is like that which God himself has made so." "Verily, the best word is the word of Allah, and the best rule of life is that delivered by Mohammed."(Hadis as recorded in "Dictionary of Islam", page 639). Sunnah (or Sunnat) and Hadis are technically synonymous terms, but sunnah
"implies the doings and practices of Muhammad." (Sahih Muslim Introduction, page IX of Volume I). 'It is thus a concrete implementation, a tangible form and the actual embodiment of the Will of Allah...."(ibid.). Literally it means a "path", "way", "a manner of life".

If Mohammed is reputed to have done something it is "sunnah" to his followers. This obviously applies also in the negative sense: if Mohammed rejected or condemned something, it is forbidden to all Muslims. In the Hadis the Muslim seeks guidance for his actions in every aspect of daily life. To copy the sayings and doings of Mohammed, is (to the Muslim) the safest way to live a life pleasing to Allah. Therefore salvation is sought by copying as closely as possible the life of the Prophet, who is considered to be the greatest of all human beings. Most Muslims believe that Mohammed's life and everyday talk were as inspired as the Quran itself. Sober scrutiny will cast doubt on the reliability of the Hadis, however. To give an example: Abu Da'ud, one of the collectors of Hadis, accepted only 4 800 traditions out of 500 000 and even in his careful selection, he states that he had written down only "those which seem to be authentic and those which are nearly so." (Ibn-Khallikan Volume I, page 590). Of 40 000 persons who had been instrumental in handing down Traditions, al-Bukhari acknowledges only 2 000 as reliable authorities. From 600 000 Hadis he selected 7 200 of which about half are duplicates of others. The selection thereof was done according to the judgement of one individual collector.

He selected 1,2% of the available traditions well over 200 years after the recorded events took place. (Today we would have to think in terms of happenings that had been verbally transmitted from the time of the composer Frederick Hndel or Frederick the Great of Prussia). We must conclude that these traditions cannot reflect a true and reliable picture of Mohammed, although a methology for the determination of reliability has been developed. ("Dictionary of Islam", page 640). The fact that many Muslims insist that a Hadis is only acceptable if it does not contradict the Quran, underlines our problem. There is the Hadisu's-sahi, a "genuine Tradition", handed down by truly pious persons, distinguished for their integrity. Then there is the Hadisu'z-Za'if, which is a "weak Tradition". Another school divides them into "exhorted Traditions", "restricted Traditions" and "intersected Traditions". Yet another school divides the Hadis into "undoubted Tradition", "well-known Tradition", "rare Tradition" "poor Tradition" and a "single saying". All this after having been extensively sifted by the collectors! From the host of Tradition-collectors, Muslim scholars have singled out six of some 1 465 collections as being the "correct books" (Sihahu's-Sittah):
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. al-Bukhari 256 A.H. (After the Hegira, i.e. A.D. 622) Muslim 261 A.H. at-Tirmize 279 A.H. Abu-Da'ud 275 A.H. Abu-Abdi'r-Rahman 303 A.H. Abu Abdi'llah Muhammad 273 A.H.

In addition must be mentioned the Mishkat (or "Mishkat-ul-Masabih").


"being a collection of most authentic sayings and doings of the Prophet Muhammad selected from the most reliable collections of Hadis literature" by al-Baghawi. The theological and judical system of Islam and its practical application are thus based on these books.

Since only few people are sure of the morality of their actions, it has always been considered a "good" way to do what most people do. To copy the one who was Allah's chosen Prophet, who must have been well-pleasing to Allah is surely to follow the best example. (J. Christensen). So every good Muslim follows, and in doing the right actions seeks the favour of Allah. As we saw earlier, Mohammed directly and indirectly agreed with and encouraged Sunnah.
"Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day."

A brief look at some traditions will illustrate what this involves:

"Umar looked towards the black stone at Mecca and said, 'By Allah, I know that thou art only a stone, and canst grant no benefit, canst do no harm. If I had not known that the Prophet kissed thee, I would not have done so, but on account of that, I do it.' "(Muslim and alBukhari in Mishkat III, page 604).

Abd-ullah ibn-Umar was seen riding his camel round and round a certain place. In answer to an enquiry as to his reason for so doing, he said: 'That I know not, only I have seen the Prophet do so here." Ahmad-ibn-Hambal would not eat watermelons, because although he knew the Prophet ate them, he did not know whether he ate them with or without the rind, or whether he broke, bit or cut them. Even so his action was not 'Sunnah', for Mohammed ate watermelons! Muslims proudly regard Islam as the "natural religion" in which every aspect of life is considered and regulated: from prayer to the cleaning of teeth; from the pilgrimage to marriage and the raising of children. The pattern for this is largely provided in the Hadis. Basically this leads to submission to a long set of rules for behaviour, rather than getting to the heart of the human condition. To put it Biblically:
"Why do you submit to regulations: Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigour of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20b-23).

"Gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper, but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation (i.e. during the time of the dispensation under the Law of the Old Testament. G.N.) (Hebrews 9:9-10). Jesus Himself taught us: "Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and so passes on? But what comes out the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." (Matthew 15:17-20). We should like to make ourselves clear: We do not criticize good habits! We do not want to discourage anyone from following a good example - on the contrary! But we must not expect spiritual results from this. The realization of sin; the hatred for sin; true repentance and deep love for God, does not result from keeping laws! Christians do not despise laws either. What would we do without law and order in this already corrupt and perverse world? Never mind how insufficient and poor these laws often are. In the New Testament we find that the Law of God is to love Him and to love one another. This love is kindled, like any other human love relationship, by an appreciation of the oblect of our love. This again springs from our occupation with the One we love - or wish to love.

As within a human relationship, we have to probe, make contact, seek information, test and converse. In spiritual terms this means occupation with God's Word, besides our talking to Him in prayer. This means more than the recitation of the Rak'at seventeen times a day or more. No man can honestly claim that he can possibly have intimate contact with God after the first thousand times of recitation, as little as an experienced nurse is moved at the sight of blood. Adoration, worship, praise and prayer are the overflow of a loving and grateful heart towards God, Who, despite our sinfulness in thought and deed, did not cast us aside, but is willing to receive us back to Himself and to shower His love over us - all by grace, i.e. by presenting this to us as an undeserved gift. This we may accept. Now we in turn can present ourselves to Him. The Bible puts it this way in Romans 12:1-2:
"I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

We suggest that there are two ways of achieving submission to God. One is through fear. I fear the consequences of my actions against established rules and laws, and consequently I try to keep them. The relationship between God and man in this case is that between Master and slave. The other is based on love. Because I love God with all my heart, I hate nothing more than to disappoint Him, I hate sin. Anything He likes I endeavour to do, I burn to please Him, as He wants to please me. This is a Bridegroom - bride relationship. The former relationship is predominantly apparent in the Old Testament in God's dealings with a rebellious Israel; the latter relationship begins to appear in the Old Testament, but is unfolded fully only in the New Testament. We need power to overcome sin. Love is the most superior propellant of life, as we all know. Therefore love as a motive is superior to fear. Disregarding polemics. we must state that the following of rules degrades a man to being a mechanical servant. The law is a "schoolmaster" (N.T. Galatians 3:24):
"but only until Christ came, That we might be justified by faith. But now That faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian."

We obverve the shift from mechanical obedience to loving response and to responsible action. We are lifted to a higher plane - promoted to act as free men, bound only by love. This, however, is granted only to those who do indeed love God in a sincere manner, otherwise we have chaos - as is widely seen in this world that professes religion, but does not possess the sincerity to live it. If, with this in mind, we look at certain sunnah, we must seriously ask what kind of spiritual effect, even by implication, they may produce:
"The Apostle of God's said: 'When a fly falls into a vessel belonging to anyone of you, then let him immerse the whole of it Afterwards let him throw it out, for verily (!) in one of its wings is healing, and in the other disease.' " (Al-Bukhari and Abu Da'ud in Mishkat II, page 152).

"Jabir reported that Allah's Messenger commanded the licking of fingers and the dish saying: 'You do not know in what portion the blessing lies.' "(Sahih Muslim, page 1 120). "When anyone eats food, he should not wipe his hands until he had licked it (hands and dish) himself or has given it to someone else to lick it. (ibid., page 1 119). "Ibn-Umar reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'A believer eats in one intestine, whereas a non-believer eats in seven intestines.' "(ibid., page 1 137). Mohammed said: "The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures." (Hadis of Abu-Talhah). "Every maker of pictures is in the fire. Allah will appoint for him, for every picture which he has drawn, a person who will punish him in hell." (Hadis of ibn-Abbas). Yet even in Islamic countries pictures are painted, photos taken and films viewed - not to mention T.V.
"If a man steals an egg or a length of rope, his hand should be cut off." (Sahih Muslim ch. DCLXXVIII vs. 4185, vol.III, p.908 and Mishkat Ch. XXV vs. 123, vol. II, p. 555 confirming Sura 5:38).

Interpreters today, however, say Mohammed means this to be the extreme and final penalty for incorrigible thieves. However, those who ignore the Hadis and thereby ignore following "such tradition today, would violate the spirit of the Quran."
The Messenger of Allah said: "Allah loves sneezing but hates yawnings. So when one of you sneezes and praises Allah, it becomes the duty of every Muslim who hears to say for him, 'May Allah be kind to thee.' As for yawning, it is surely from the devil. So when one of you yawns, let him return it if he can, because when one of you yawns, the devil laughs at him." (Mishkat I, page 590). The explanatory notes enlighten us: "Yawning is the result of sloth and sluggishness and has therefore been termed (as) coming from the devil, and sneezing is the result of a sound brain and sound health and is therefore termed to be of an angel."

Allah's Messenger said: "When one of you yawns, he should keep his mouth shut with the help of his hand, for it is the devil that enters therein." (Sahih Muslim, page 1 540). All the above statements need neither comment nor explanation regarding their usefullness and acceptability in the light of anatomy, medicine, bacteriology and technology. Of course, we are aware that the above selection does not represent a balanced view of the Hadis. However, an unemotional reader of the Hadis, searching for peace with God and joy in

His presence, as we Christians experience it, will find little but detailed rules on how exactly to prostrate in prayer, perform the Hajj, shave the hair of the body, perform ablutions, etc. etc. Of course, this can be noticed only by those who experience another kind of relationship with God. The man who draws saline water from a deep well in the Kalahari considers it terrific, until he moves to a house with running water, hot and cold. Without wishing to be superior, we note that anyone comparing life under the New Testament with the life under the Old Covenant must realize the tremendous change and freedom that came with Jesus. Islam leads its followers back under the Law. (Galatians 3 and 4). Christians, as mentioned earlier, certainly do not live lawlessly. We have been, as it were, promoted from the stage of observing strict ordinances that regulate every aspect of life by detailed commandments, which is basically the situation sought after by the immature. It is no doubt more beautiful to live under the Law of Love, for as Francis of Assisi put it once: "Love God - and then do what you like!" But love also dictates restraint! It is not something that I must force myself to do. I do it to please the One whom my soul loves. We must hasten to add, however, that this applies only to the genuine, practising Christian - not to just any Church member. Here perhaps more than in any other area can we see the difference that the Christian faith makes. There is no point in stating that Islam and its way aims at just that. It does not. It is a delusion and self-deception to assume that. QUESTION: Is it reasonable to build or support ones faith for eternity on traditions which are so vague in their rational substance and dependability?

THE SOURCES OF ISLAM

(This chapter leans heavily on the book of the same name by W. St. Clair-Tisdall). If Islam builds on the Quran as a revelation ("nazil", i.e. come down from heaven) as indeed it does, then it must provide evidence supporting its "nazil" character. If, however, some or much of the Quran, i.e. the text, can be shown to have been existing knowledge that was available to Mohammed, and if it was indeed incorporated into the Quran, the argument supporting "nazil" collapses. If the Quran reflects the Torah and the Injil (i.e. the previous revelations), this will strengthen the basis of nazil--unless, of course, such reflections can be shown to be historically and Biblically false. "Nazil" will also be disproved if what purport to be Biblical sources turn out in fact to be Talmudic, Apocryphal or heretical. It has been alleged that Islam:
"...is simply Talmudic Judaism adapted to Arabia, the apostleship of Jesus and Mohammed...The sources (says Mr. Rodwel, a Quran translator) whence Mohammed

derived the materials of his Koran, are, over and above the more poetical parts, which are his own creation, the legend of his time abd country, Jewish traditions based upon the Talmud, and the Christian traditions of Arabia and of Syria."("Dictionary of Islam", page 515).

Since Mohammed was aware of Jewish and Christian criticism concerning this, he counterattacked by claiming that the Christians and Jews had perverted their Books (see page ) We have already investigated these allegations in "Christians Answer Muslim" and need not repeated them. But we shall have to determine the degree to which: Quranic concepts were taken from the Arabian past ALLAH This name was well known before the time of Mohammed as can be proved by the names of relatives of Mohammed: his father's name was Abd-ullah (slave of Allah) and his uncle as well as one of the hanifs was named Obeid-allah. Besides this, Mohammed's reference to Allah was not criticized by the infidels of Mecca, as can be seen in the chapter 'The Collection of the Quran'. THE KA'ABA (Also called the Holy Masjid) is described as a shrine of worship by Deodorus Sicolus in 60 B.C. HAJJ The pilgrimage to the Ka'aba was practicized before Mohammed's time, including visits to Safa and Marwa and also the throwing of stones against a stone pillar, symbolizing Iblis (the devil), in Wadi Mina. This is still practised today. PRAYER The now extinct tribe of the Sabaeans who lived in the Arabian Peninsula observed seven daily prayers at appointed times. Mohammed appointed five of these. The Sabaeans also prayed for the dead, a custom that has been maintained. RAMADAN The Sabaeans fasted thirty days every year and celebrated the Eid. The fast was prolonged by one day, should the new moon not be clearly visible on Eid. Again this practise was incorporated in the new religion of Islam. In the Mishna Berkhoth (Jewish Talmud) it was said that fasting should begin and stop at the time when one could begin to distinquish between a white and black thread. This custom has also been incorporated in Islamic traditions.

We cannot accept that these imitations are purely accidental. We hold that they were known to, and approved, by Mohammed and that he incorporated them in the Quran, while others were incorporated in the Hadis. Quranic concepts taken from the Talmud In the Arabian Peninsula there were many Jewish communities living in the diaspora after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Many of these were guided by legends (Hagadda, etc.) and Talmudic writings, rather than the Torah. Many Jews at the time believed that the Talmud had been added to the "preserved tablets" (i.e. to the Ten Commandments, which were kept in the Ark of the Covenant and were believed to be replicas of the heavenly book). Mohammed added to this the Quran. There are several traditions from Judaism that were accepted by Mohammed and incorporated in Islam: QIBLA i.e. the direction in which one faces while praying. At first, the direction was towards jerusalem, as was Jewish practice. When the Jews fell into disfavour with Mohammed, however, this was changed to Mecca. (Sura 2:142). ABRAHAM Whatever Mohammed knew about Abraham is not from the Torah, but from Jewish legends, the source being the Midrash Rabbah (Suras 2:260; 6:74-84; 19:42-50; 21:52-72; 26:70-82; 29:16,17; 37:83-89; 43:26-30 and 60:4). SATAN'S REFUSAL TO WORSHIP ADAM as reported in Sura 2:34 can also be traced back to the Talmud ("Islam" by A. Guillaume p. 62). CAIN AND ABEL The way the story of Cain and Abel is related in Sura 5:30-35 shows quite clearly that this is copied from the Targum of Jonathan-ben- Uzziah, the Targum of Jerusalem and Pirke Rabbi Eleazar. THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA is related in Sura 27:17ff. We can also determine the source, which evidently is the II Targum of the Book of Esther (paraphrased translation), although Mohammed reports this as to be from the Bible. HARUT AND MARUT Are two angels mentioned in Sura 2:102. Harut and Marut were idols worshipped in Armenia. Their existence was inspired by Marut, the Hindu god of the wind. We find this story related in the Talmud (Midrash Yalzut, chapter 44). SEVEN HEAVENS AND SEVEN HELLS

as reported of in Sura 15:44 and 17:44, find their source in the tradition called Hagigah and Zuhal. Quranic concepts from the Gospel and Apocrypha it was relatively easy for Mohammed to have access to these stories, simply because many a Christian sect had found refuge in the Arabian Peninsula from the Roman Church, which persecuted them. Because of their heretical teachings they did not gain the approval of the early Church. One of Mohammed's concubines, Mary the Copt, could have related these stories to him. Significant is the fact that the Apo- cryphal writings that had been rejected as non-apostolic and lacking in authenticity by the Church, were the main source of information to these sects. This is undeniably reflected in the Quran. JESUS His name in the Arabic Quran is Isa. In Sura 19:16-31 it is related that He was born under palm trees. This story can be traced back to the "History of Nativity". When Mary was accused by her family for having a child without being married. the new-born Jesus speaks out of the cradle in defence of His mother. The source for this is the "Gospel of Infancy".(Both sources are not Biblical, but are from the Apocrypha). In Sura 3:49 and 5:113 it is related that as a child Jesus made clay pigeons and by breathing on them made them come alive so that they could fly away. This was taken from the "Gospel of Thomas" (Apocry- pha). In Sura 4:156, as in the general context of the Quran and Hadis, it is related that Jesus was neither killed, nor crucified. The source for this is a Docetic or Gnostic heresy, promoted by Basilides, an erly Christian heretic of the second Century. The Hadis speaks of the return of Jesus in a way that is foreign to the Bible: He will return to earth, live forty years, marry and have children, then die and will be buried next to Mohammed in Medina. THE TRINITY Christians are surprised to discover in Suras 5:119, 4:171 and 5:75-76 that the Trinity comprises God, Mary and Jesus. This thought is foreign to every Christian and the Bible, but no doubt finds its origin in the veneration of Mary as "The Mother of God" by the Catholic Church. THE VIRGIN MARY Christians read with surprise in Sura 19:28-29 that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a sister of Aaron. Learned men of Islam, who are aware that between Miriam, the sister of Aaron, and Miriam or Mary, the mother of Jesus there is a gap of 1500 years, try to persuade us that Mary had a brother, who also happened to be an Aaron. We reject this possibility, because she is also described as the daughter of Imram (Sura 66:12), the Amram of Exodus 6:20. He was indeed the father of Aaron, Moses and Miriam. Besides that, Jelalood Deen has stated that Mary's mother was Hannah. The one who was mentioned in 1 Samuel, chapters 1-2, and who lived about a 1000 years before her "daughter".

All this is a hopeless mix-up of historical events and no argument will convince one that in fact the Quran is right and the Christian have changed their Bibles, as in fact claimed by the Muslims. "The Gospel of James", another Apocryphal book, was the source of the report that as a girl, Mary lived in the Temple, receiving food from the Angels and that Joseph was chosen to be her husband by miraculous rods (Sura 3:35-36 and 42-47). THE HOLY SPIRIT Jesus is called the Spirit of God in the Quran. This could be tolerable in the light of Christian doctrine, but in Sura 61:6 we read:
"Jesus son of Mary said ...'I am indeed the messenger of God to you, conforming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.'"

This false concept has been refuted already in "Christians answer Muslims" p. 118. THE MIRAJ is the reported ascent of Mohammed to the seventh Heaven after a miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on a "horse" called Buraq. This story is related to us in Sura 17. More detail is furnished in the "Mishkat". We can trace this story back to a fictitious book called the "Testament of Abraham"(B.C. 200), which was written in Egypt and then translated into Greek and Arabic. THE CAVE OF SEVEN SLEEPERS is a story related to us in Sura 18:9-26. It is not difficult to detect its striking resemblance to a book called the "Story of Martyrs" by Gregory of Tours. It is a legendary tale of Christians under persecution who fell asleep in a cave for 200 years. In the Quran, this period was prolonged to 309 years. Quranic concepts from Eastern sources PARADISE The description of Paradise in Suras 55:56 and 56:22, 35-36,which speak of "wide-eyed houris with eyes like unto pearls, a recompense for what they laboured", has interesting parallels in the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, where the name is not houris, but paaris. BALANCES For some strange reasons throughout the Western World, the idea of a huge set of balances that God will operate at the Day of Judgement has been in the minds of people. In fact, this is in total contrast to the basic teaching of the Bible where justification is by faith and not by good deeds.

Although the balances and judgement concept is found in the Quran, in Suras 101:5,6 and 42:17, we discover that the original source is the "Testament of Abraham". "The book of the Dead", also from Egypt, refers to judgement by Osiris, an Egyptian deity, and here the same concept of judgement by balances is apparent. SIRAT The bridge that leads over the deep gulf of hell to Paradise, is called Chinavad (the connecting link) in the Zoroastrian book "Dinkart". These likenesses may perhaps be claimed to be accidental and they may well be, although we are aware that there was much contact between Arabia and the culturally advanced Persians. We also recall Salman the Persian, who is mentioned directly in the Siratu'l Rasool and indirectly in the Quran (pp. ). However, the concepts taken from the Bible cannot be explained in any way, other than that Mohammed's knowledge of the Bible was scanty and poor and that he was misled into believing that the legendary tales he heard were actually Biblical. Quranic concept from the Hanifites There are known to have been six men who rejected the polytheistic worship prevalent in preIslamic Mecca. They believed in one God. the God of Abraham. One can assume that their knowledge about the one God of Abraham came from their contact with the Jews, who lived in their environment; or even that the story of Abraham has been handed down verbally from the time of Ishmael and that they had experienced a new awareness of their forefather (though this is not likely). Hanifite concepts, the Quran, and Hadis have very obvious similarities. All three reject idolworship and the burying of infant girls; they accept the unity of God; Paradise and hell; and call Allah "Lord Most Merciful and Compassionate." Admittedly it may have been purely accidental, but the probability is that Mohammed, when he withdrew to the cave Hira, met Zaid-ibn-amr, one of the six who, for the statement:"I worship the God of Abraham", had been expelled from Mecca and lived on Mount Hira. In Islam the word Hanifite means "One that is inclined to God" or "Orthodox". In pre-Muslim Arabia Hanifite meant "unclean" or "apostate", because Hanifites had abandoned their religion. Mohammed, however, clothed this word with a positive meaning. Abraham was called a Hanifite by Mohammed. In Suras 4:125, 3:95 and 6:161 we are strongly admonished to:
"Follow the faith of Abraham, the Hanif, he was not a pagan."

It is sad to realize that today's Muslims do not follow the faith of Abraham. Had they turned to the Taurat for their knowledge about him, history would have taken another course. In the conclusion, it is revealing to consider what is known about the fate of the Hanifites. Obeidallah first lived in doubt, then turned to Islam, but was subsequently converted to Christianity. Uthman went to Byzantium and became a Christian. Waraca also became a Christian.(Siratu'l Rasool vss 143-144).

QUESTION: When making a choice, why should a man select as basis for eternal life a book which shows such dependence on other sources and even misrepresents them?

THE ETHICS OF ISLAM SEEN FROM A CHRISTIAN POINT OF VIEW

Like any other religion, Islam has a definite Code of ethics. These are based decidedly on Sunnah. What Mohammed did, is right and commendable. What he rejected, is wrong and to be condemned. here we find irreconcilable differences between Christian ethics and those of Islam. Without wishing to be polemical, we should like to mention the position of women within Islamic culture. We are told that the status of equality of women derived from Islam, whereas the "Christian" Westerner has exploited women and made them object of crude sexuality. We observe, however, that the Quran permits polygamy. Although we do not desire to give polygamy a positive or negative connotation, we wish to state that equality would mean that women should have the same rights as men. This is not so in a polygamous society, for a woman cannot be married to more than one man at the same time. Some quotations from the Hadis enlarge on privileges of men:
"When a woman spends the night away from the bed of her husband, the angels curse her until morning," or" until she comes back." "Allah's messenger said: 'By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed and she does not respond, the One who is in heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleased with her." or"When a man invites his wife to his bed and she does not come, and he (the husband) spends the night being angry(!) with her, the angels curse her until morning." ("Sahih Muslim" II, page 732).

"The Messenger of Allah said: 'If I were to order anybody to make prostration to anybody, I would have ordered a woman to prostrate before her husband." ("Mishkat" I, page 210). "O Messenger of Allah! What right has the wife of one among us got over him? He said: 'It is that you shall give her food when you have taken food(!), that you shall clothe her when you have clothed yourself(!), that you shall not slap her on the face, nor revile (her), not leave (her) alone except within the house." ("Mishkat" I, page 212). Mohammed was asked who among women is the best. He replied: "She who gives pleasure to him when he loves, obeys him when he bids, and who does not oppose him regarding herself and her riches, fearing his displeasure." (ibid. p. 216). "Fear Allah about women, because you have taken them with the trust of Allah and made their private parts lawful with the words of Allah. You have got right over them that they shall not entertain anybody on your bed which you dislike. If they do that scourge them without being oppressive. And they have got right over you that you shall clothe them and feed them in a just manner." ("Mishkat" III, page 588).

"Your wives are a tilth (=field) for you, so go into your tilth when you like (Sura 2:223). In Christian ethics, and this is reflected in the ethics of "Western World", this is a most degrading and unacceptable concept. In the Bible we are commanded:
"Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord...Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her." (Ephesian 5:22,25). This is strengthened sby the interpretation of love: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal... Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believe all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." (I Corinthians 13:1,4-8). Marriage in Islam is a contract that, in the days of Mohammed, was engaged rather lightly. All it required, was that a dower had to be paid, which was often of very little value, however. It could be a garment or even a few handfuls of dates: "A woman came to Allah's Messenger and said: 'Messenger of Allah, I have come to entrust myself to you.' Allah's Messenger saw her and cast a glance at her from head to feet. Allah's Messenger then lowered his head. When the woman saw that he had made no decision in regard to her, she sat down. There stood a person from amongst his companions and said: 'Messenger of Allah, marry her to me if you have no need of her.' He (the holy Prophet) said: 'Is there anything with you (which you can give as a dower)?' He said: 'No, Messenger of Allah, I have nothing.' Thereupon Allah's Messenger said: 'Go to your people and see if you can find something.' He returned and said: 'I have found nothing.' "Encouraged again to look for even an iron ring, which again he could not obtain, he declared that his only possession was a lower garment, which he was prepared to share. This being rejected by Mohammed, he was asked:" 'Do you know any of the Quran? He said: 'I know such and such Suras.' whereupon he said. 'Can you recite them from heart? He said, 'Yes', whereupon he (Allah's Messenger) said: 'Go, I have given her to you in marriage for the part of the Quran which you know.'" ("Sahih Muslim" II, pages 717-718). The value of the dower Mohammed gave for his wives amounted to approximately R50.00 (US$75. ). -

If marriage was easy, so was divorce. Three "pronouncements" by the husband (except during the time of menstruation) dissolved a marriage. (ibid. pages 769-770, 754, 759).
"Recent years have brought some amelioration of the hard lot of women in Muslim countries in the matters of divorce. Under the Hanafi law--and this, be it remembered, obtains in the greater part of the Muslim world--a husband may divorce his wife for any reason or for no reason at all...The husband can divorce his wife by simply saying so three times. On the other hand, a woman can never divorce her husband on any ground whatever, unless she has his permission to do so. Nor can she get a judicial dissolution of marriage for neglect, ill-treatment, or positive cruelty...A feature of the Hanafi system is that a divorce

uttered in jest (for fun) and not meant seriously is just as binding as a deliberate utterance. But this is not all. Even a divorce spoken when a man is drunk is valid if he was culpably drunk, and so, too, is a divorce uttered under compulsion." ("Islam" by Alfred Guillaume p. 172). Again Jesus shows us a different concept: "And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause? 'He answered, 'Have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.' They said to Him, 'Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?' He said to them, 'For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." (Matthew 19:3-9). At the turn of this century 99% of Muslims women were illiterate. There were no state schools for girls, because Islamic leaders opposed them.

The Westerner who visits Islamic countries is at once aware of the absence of women in public life everywhere. Whether it be in the cafes, shops, restaurants or cinemas, one sees men only. Again this is not a criticism of cultural concept, but rather of the Islamic concept of equality. According to Sura 4:35 :
"Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fe may be ar rebellious, admonish; banish them off their couches and beat them. If then, they obey you, look not for any way against them; God is all high, all great." It sounds almost ironic that a Muslim lady (Olive Toto) wrote a poem that was published in an Islamic paper sometime back, part of which reads as follows: "Islam lifts women to a high degree; Gives them their full rights legally. By Islam's Law a woman's property (Whether single or married she be) Is still her own right lawfully".

Without suggesting that this is typical, we ought to mention the "flexibility" one may have regarding the Shariat (Law). Ibn-Saud of Arabia admitted to having had over 200 wives, but maintained that since he had never had more than four at one time, he had never sinned.

According to the laws of inheritance, daughters inherit only half of the portion of the sons and in court it takes the evidence of two women to equal the evidence of one man. On the other hand we see a very strong emphasis on the care of orphans and widows and the poor, as well as people in distress. Mohammed himself set a shining example in this field. The hospitality of a Muslim home in exemplary. Christians find many of the Islamic concepts of ethics strange, to say the least. One sample may be presented at random:
"The Prophet was asked: 'Which of the actions is best? He said: 'Prolonged standing (in prayer)'...'Which prayer is best?' He said: 'Prolonged prostration' " ("Mishkat" IV, page 357). A Christian will at once recall what Jesus had to say about prayer: "And when you pray, you must not be like the hyprocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil." We realize that the exhibitionist aspect of prayer is a temptation to Muslims and Christians alike, and don't we all become painfully aware of it time and time again? But the Christian is challenged to forget about form of any sort--the outward, visible, checkable, measurable--be it in posture, quantity, timing or pattern; and have communion with the Father; love Him, appreciate Him, adore Him, follow Him, obey Him and be devoted to Him alone! In my mind's eye I see our Muslim friends protesting and saying that we misunderstand them, for as Muslims they also pray in the above way. Perhaps some do, but that is not what Islam demands. Besides, as we have, already observed, many a Christian concept has been absorbed by Islam, but such tendencies do not represent the "Spirit of Islam." QUESTION: Do Muslims as a rule approve of such ethics relating to women by practicing them, or have they preferred to accept the "Western" style of partnership? Would any Muslim lady like to be regarded and treated as outlined above, particularly when knowing of true

partnership and equality? Is there a young wife who does not mind to share her husband with another wife? We now venture to discuss a highly delicate subject. We do not need to apologize for this, for it is in reply to a challenge. Measured by Christian, i.e. Biblical standards--and that is legitimate for Muslims also, for the Torah and the Gospel are accepted as revealed by God--how do certain sayings and actions of Mohammed stand up to scrutiny? How can they be related to his prophethood and the Islamic rejection of the Bible?

EVALUATION OF THE CHALLENGE THAT MOHAMMED OUGHT TO BE THE MODEL OF ALL MANKIND "...If you love Allah, then follow me (Mohammed)..." (Sura 3:31).

"Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day." (Sura 33:21). "I leave with you two things. If you hold fast by them both, you will never be misguided - the Book of Allah and Sunnah of the Prophet." ("Mishkat" I, page 173). "Whoso obeys me shall enter Paradise and whoso disobeys me, has indeed rejected the truth." (ibid. pages 5 and 159). "All the utterances and deeds of the Holy Prophet are divinely inspired, and in them alone can one find the true meaning and the real significance of the will of Allah...The Prophet alone is best fitted and, therefore, divinely authorized to determine the meanings of the Holy Quran, to unfold before humanity the deep wisdom contained in it...It is by following Muhammad that we can achieve the cherished goal of winning Allah's favour. ("Sahih Muslim" I, Introduction pp. i-ii). See also chapter: "The Hadis and Sunnah", page 46. It is essential, that our Muslim friends do not assume that Christians are just trying to be difficult when they imply that Mohammed was not a man of immaculate quality.
"For three centuries, they (writers of European countries) have cried themselves hoarse over their accusations of Muhammad being a licentious man, an imposter, a murderer, a liar and all other vile epithets which their hearts could accept. And they go on repeating these lying accusations believing that some of the mud they throw may stick....And what proof have these writers of Muhammad being a licentious man? Nothing but the fact that after he was 53 years old, he gradually contracted a number of marriages which they dislike, and the further fact that whilst he limited the number of wives to his followers at a maximum of four he made an exception of the law in his own case... Abraham, David, Solomon and many other prophets and saints of the Old Testament had many wives. Were they all licentious men? God forbid such an accusation!" ("Dictionary of Islam", pp. 399-400).

In reply to this, we should like to state that the word "European" has no place here. It is not a question of nationality, race or colour, but rather of truth or error. Racism with all its consequences is evil wherever it comes from. We reject the implication that certain objections raised by Christians are not supported by fact. We cannot be ruled by our emotions on this subject. It ought to be mentioned also, that all our information about Mohammed comes from Islamic sources. Every substantiated statement can consequently not be a "lying accusation." If it is demanded of a person that he follow and obey a certain leader he may weigh up the pros and cons and reach a decision. But when Truth and eternal life are involved, expediency on temporal issues matters no longer. So when we are told to follow the footsteps of a spiritual leader, our confidence must not be emotional only, but most important of all, it must be rational. That presupposes as deep a study of the quality of the life of the example, as possible. One should not give a deaf ear to negative reports, provided they are substantiated. Also one would not explain away possible flaws. But most of all one must have a fixed standard by which to measure right and wrong, good and evil. As Christians we use the standard that is found in the Bible. Ultimately our concept of what is moral and what immoral will find its origin there. May just one text indicate what we mean by this:
"Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous ... has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man ... who keeps his oath even when it hurts ... " (from Psalm 15).

Since it has been mentioned already, let us look at the concept of monogamy and polygamy. Was Abraham polygamous? He had Sarah, his wife, and after her death he "took another wife whose name was Ketu'rah" (Genesis 25:1). But then he had Hagar for a short period of time on the advice of Sarah, whose servant she was (Genesis 16:1-2) with the object of raising a descendant and heir to Abraham. This was, at least in a sense, polygamy. What was God's view of this relationship? We have only one and that by implication: after this episode God had no communion with Abraham for 13 years. (Genesis 16:16-17:1). Besides this, we see the inevitable problem of jealousy coming up, which eventually led to Hagar and Ishmael's banishment from the family. Also in the case of David we read of no comment by God on his polygamy, although God severely judged him for his adulterous act with Bathsheba (II Samuel 12). Solomon lived in absolute excess as far as women were concerned, yet there is no direct condemnation, except in that he took idolatrous wives who led him away from the Lord in the latter years of his life. There were other cases of polygamy also, but we see no rejection of this practice in the Old Testament. Jesus, when approached on the question of divorce, re-instituted, however, the original purpose of marriage:

"He (God) who made them from the beginning made them male and female" (implying not male and females!) and said, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (not wives!) and the TWO shall become one. So they are no longer TWO but ONE. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder." They said to him: 'Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?' He said to them, 'For your hardness of heart Moses (not God) allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you: Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

"And he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Matthew 19:4 and Luke 16:18). Why? Because polygamy excludes devoted love, for love between the sexes is exclusive, otherwise it is degraded in essence to mere sexual fulfilment. No woman who loves her husband and wishes to be fully loved in return, can tolerate a partner. One may lose sight of this fact in a polygamous society, but even Ayshah, the favourite wife of Mohammed, confessed to having been jealous. How much more would the others have been! But there is one further aspect: Monogamy gives recognition, status and integrity to a woman. It is silly to argue that a polygamous society makes prostitution unnecessary. What about sexual fulfilment for the woman, who has to share her husband with other wives? And what about the men who surely have to go without wives, because someone else has more than one? The fact that there is a numerical superiority of girls over boys, is too insignificant to justify the legalisation of polygamy. We cannot accept the argument that during the "Holy Wars" when many men were killed, polygamy was a justifiable provision for the widows. According to notes in "Sahih Muslim" III, page 941, in all the 82 hostilities during the lifetime of Mohammed, only 259 Muslims lost their lives. He moved to Mecca with 10 000 men. How many of them would have had a chance of marrying even one widow? 2%! Be that as it may, we do not wish to regard the custom of polygamy as a sinful practice, simply because it appears that in Old Testament times at least, God overlooked it--maybe because of the "hardness of heart" of the people or simply because it was part of their culture. Had it been of much consequence spiritually, God would, no doubt, have spoken out. Nevertheless to a Christian and even in Western Society the above quotation by Jesus and the reasoning that follows, give polygamy a negative connotation. We have to remember that Mohammed lived in a polygamous society. But he also lived after Jesus and ought to have been aware of His teaching. Mohammed and his wives In Sura 66:1 ff we read:
"Oh prophet, why do you hold forbidden what Allah has made lawful to thee? Thou seekest to please thy wives. And Allah is all-forgiving, all-compassionate. Allah hss ordained for you

the dissolution of your oaths. Allah is your protector and he is the all-knowing and the allwise. When the Prophet confided to one of his wives a certain matter; and then when she told of it, and turned aside one part; then when he told her of it, she said, 'Who told thee this?' he said, 'I was told of it by the All-knowing and the All-aware. If you two repent to Allah, yet your hearts certainly inclined, but if you support one another against him, Allah is his protector and Gabriel and the righteous among the believers and after that the angels and his supporters. It is possible that, if he divorces you, his Lord will give him in exchange wives better than you, women who have surrendered, believing, obedient, penitent, devout, given to fasting, who have been married and virgins too."

Al-Baizwi, (Commentary Vol.II, pp. 340-341), the Quranic commentator, gives an explanation of this passage:
"It is related that Mohammed was alone in company with Mary in Ayshah's or Hafsah's turn. Hafsah became aware of that and therefore scolded him about it. He declared he had taken an oath, but admitted his unlawful behaviour, therefore these verses descended." ("Mizanu'l Haqq, page 330). (The "Mishkat" names Zainab instead of Hafsah - "Mishkat" II, pages 680681).

(The complete story is told in the Rauzatu'r Saf , Vol. II, page 188). It is in brief, as follows:
"Mary (the Copt) was a Christian slave given to Mohammed 7 A.H. (628 A.D.) by the Governor of Egypt, Elmokaukas. Her sister, Shereena was also given at the same time. Mohammed became intimate with Mary and she bore him Ibrahim, who died in 10 A.H. The intimacy took place in the home and bed of his wife Hafsah (daughter of Umar) who was absent at that moment and on the day which was either her or Ayshah's turn. When Hafsah found this out and questioned him he promised (on oath) not to touch Mary again if she would keep this a secret, and promised that Umar and Abu-Bakr should be his successors. Hafsah, however, told Ayshah about this event, and for a full month Mohammed had no dealings with any of his wives, living with Mary alone." During that period this "revelation" was given. ("Der Koran", translated by Ludwig Ullman, Footnote 2 of Sura 66:1-2, page 456).

It is noteworthy that a revelation from the Holy One should promote and commend a breach of oath by Mohammed--and under such circumstances! We conclude that Mohammed, at least in his later years, used Quranic utterances in favour of his personal interests. That certain revelations were used for his personal convenience is obvious, and bewilder us:
"O believers, enter not the house of the Prophet, except leave (permission) is given you for a meal without watching for its hour. But when you are invited, then enter. And when you have had the meal, disperse, neither lingering for idle talk; that is hurtful to the Prophet and he is ashamed before you." (Sura 33:53).

According to the Hadis ("Sahih Muslim" II, page 723 ff. and "Mishkat" II, page 210) this "revelation" came when Mohammed had just married Zainab and he wanted the guests to leave. In Sura 33 there are other instances that no-one can really term ethical. The Sura records:
"It is not fitting a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and his Apostle, to have any option about their decision. If anyone disobeys Allah and his Apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path." (Sura 33:36).

We find it presumtuous - not to say blasphemous - when a prophet assumes a position of equality with God ("..... has been decided by Allah and his Apostle...."). This suspicion is amplified when the very next text covers up, or even makes acceptable, an action which we consider unethical, never mind what the circumstances. In this case Mohammed married the wife of his adopted son, Zaid-ibn-Haritha. The story is rather obscure, but was reported by Al-Baizwi thus:
"Mohammed beheld her, (Zainab, Zaid's wife) after he (Mohammed) had wedded her (Zainab) to him (Zaid), and she fell into his soul; therefore he said: 'Praise to Allah who turneth hearts upsidedown.' Zaid heard it and there occured to his soul an aversion from her society (nearness). Therefore he came to the Prophet and said: 'I desire to put away my wife!' After having been persuaded to keep her on, Zaid tried a while, but then divorced her. After the time prescribed following a divorce, (a waiting period of 90 days), another "revelation" came to Mohammed: " 'We wedded her to thee' (Sura 33:37)... the meaning is that He (Allah) made her his (Mohammed's) wife without the interposition of a marriage contract. And what confirms it (i.e. this explanation) is that she used to say to the rest of the Prophet's wives, 'Verily Allah acted the part of a relative in my being given in marriage, and as for you, your relatives gave you in marriage.' And it is said that Zaid was the go-between in her betrothal, and that was a great trial, and an evident witness to the strength of his faith". (Commentary of Al-Baizwi Volume II, page 129), (Mizanu'l Haqq, pages 331-332).

The latter statement of Baizwi is, also reflected in the "Sahih Muslim" (page 724):
"Allah's Messenger said to Zaid to make a mention to her (Zainab) about him. Zaid went-and said: 'Zainab, Allah's Messenger has sent (me) with a message to you!' She said: I do not do anything until I consult the will of my Lord.' So she stood at her place of worship and the (verse of) the Quran (pertaining to her marriage) was revealed, and Allah's Messenger came to her without permission."

This "revelation" can be read in Sura 33:37-38:


"When Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her with the necessary (formality = 90 days' waiting), We (= Allah) joined her in marriage to thee ... And Allah's command must be fulfilled.

There can be no difficulty to the Prophet in what Allah has indicated to him as a duty." All the modern commentators explain that both Zaid and Zainab, being incompatible, were suffering in their marriage; that both were encouraged by Mohammed to stay together, until the marriage could last no longer; only then did Zaid (a freed slave) divorce Zainab (of a noble family); and Mohammed, feeling partly responsible for the failure and wanting to reinstate Zainab, married her. We have not found any support for this modern interpretation in the Traditions. We are reminded of the words of Jesus:
"He who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Luke 16:18).

One may argue that in Zainab's case Mohammed was subject to the culture and customs of those days. True. But when God speaks He gives absolute standards that are binding to all who claim to be believers. Also very strange to us is a special concession to Mohammed concerning his matrimonial affairs. In Sura 4:3 the number of wives for a Muslim is restricted to four at a time, plus, however,
"what your right hand possesses", i.e. concubines or slave girls (Al-Baizwi).

We would contend that prisoners or slaves are still human beings with needs and feelings. One could degrade them to animals or use them like a shirt or socks, but we hold that this is barbaric and unethical. If that was the practice in a barbaric society, a man of God could not fall in line with it. Purely for that reason alone we ought to say that an intimate relationship, without giving the woman concerned the status of wife, constitutes exploitation, even if the social environment does not regard it as such. That is why concubinage is a practice rejected by Christians. In Sura 33:50-57, however, we notice a different law:
"O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives (1) to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses (2) and of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; (3) and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts (4) who migrated with thee (from Mecca); and any believing woman (5) who dedicates her soul to the Prophet--if the Prophet wishes to wed her. This only for thee and not for the believers....Thou mayest defer (the turn of) any of them that thou pleasest, and thou mayest receive any thou pleasest, and there is no blame on thee if thou invitest one whose (turn) thou hast set aside....It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for other wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess."

"It is not right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Apostle, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time: truly such a thing is Allah's sight an enormity....Allah and his Angels send blessings on the Prophet. 0 ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. Those who annoy Allah

and his Apostle--Allah has cursed them in this world and in the hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment." Thus Mohammed indeed enjoyed a superhuman status. Ayshah, Mohammed's favourite wife,
"reported that Allah's Apostle married her when she was seven years old, and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her, and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was 18 years old." ("Sahih Muslim", page 716).

In Sura 4:23 marriage is forbidden with two sisters at the same time. It is not well-known, but Mohammed had as slave-concubine not only Mary, the Copt, but also her sister, Shereena. How Mohammed's wives must have felt about all this is reflected to some extent in a Hadis of Ayshah's:
"I used to backbite those (females) who offered themselves for the Messenger of Allah. So I asked: 'Does a woman offer herself? Then the Almighty Allah revealed: 'You may put off whom you please of them, you may take to you whom you wish, and if you desire any whom you have separated no blame attaches you.' (Sura 33:51) I said: 'It seems to me that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire.'" ("Mishkat" I, page 210).

We must emphasize, that all this information comes from authentic Islamic sources! Not without reason Christians are inclined to be critical about expedient "revelations" like this:
"Ayshah reported that Allah's Messenger sought our permission when he had (a turn to spend) a day with (one of his wives) amongst us (whereas he had wanted to visit his other wives too). It was after this that this verse was revealed: 'Thou mayest put off whom thou pleasest of them, and take for thee whom thou pleasest.' (Sura 33:51)." ("Sahih Muslim" II, page 762).

Muslims seem to be under the impression, that sexuality in the case of Mohammed played a very subordinate role in his marriages. Quotations from the Hadis do not confirm this. Perhaps one Hadis of Al-Bukhari's (Volume I, page 165) will illustrate this:
"Anas bin Malik said, 'The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.' I asked Anas, 'Had the Prophet the strength for it?' Anas replied, 'We used to say that the Prophet was given strength of thirty (men).' "

There are some final questions. Was there no envy or jealousy among the wives of Mohammed? Did he actually make use of his special privileges? Did he treat all his wives alike, as is prescribed in the Quran? Let us hear another of Ayshah's accounts ("Sahih Muslim" IV, pages 1 299-1 301):

"The wives of Allah's Apostle sent Fatima, the daughter of Allah's Messenger, to Allah's Apostle. She sought permission to get in as he had been lying with me in my mantle (robe). He gave her permission and she said: 'Allah's Messenger, verily your wives have sent me to you in order to ask you to observe equity in case of the daughter of Abu Quhfa' (It happened to be "her turn" G.N.). Ayshah said: 'Keep quiet.' Thereupon Allah's Messenger said to Fatima: 'O daughter, don't you love whom I love?' She said: 'Yes!' Thereupon he said: 'I love this one'. Fatima then stood up when she heard this from Allah's Messenger, and went to the wives of Allah's Apostle and informed them of what she had said to him and what Allah's Messenger had said to her. Thereupon they said to her: 'We think that you have been of no avail to us. You may again go to Allah's Messenger and tell him that his wives seek equity in case of the daughter of Abu Quhfa.' Fatima said: 'By Allah, I will never talk to him about this matter.' Ayshah (further) reported: The wives of Allah's Apostle then sent Zainab, the wife of Allah's Apostle, and she was one who was somewhat equal in rank with me in the eyes of Allah's Messenger, and I have never seen a woman more advanced in religious piety than Zainab...., more close to Allah, than her. She, however, lost her temper very soon, but was soon calm. Allah's Messenger permitted her to enter as she (Ayshah) was alone with Allah's Messenger in her mantle, in the very same state when Fatima entered. She said, 'Allah's Messenger, your wives have sent me to you, seeking equity in the case of the daughter of Abu Quhfa.' She then came to me and showed harshness to me and I was seeing the eyes of Allah's Messenger whether he would permit me. Zainab went on until I came to know that Allah's Messenger would not disapprove if I retorted. Then I exchanged hot words until I made her quiet. Thereupon Allah's Messenger smiled and said: 'She is the daughter of Abu Bakr' "

We have not quoted the above to slander Mohammed, but try to balance the one-sided romantic picture that has persisted in Islam down the centuries. This is despite the above negative information being available - information that prevents us from being able to accep that Mohammed's life is the product of divine revelation. We appeal to those who present a totally one-sided impression of the life of Mohammed to the followers of Islam, to be impartial. We are aware that prophets are only people, after all. But we do not expect them to secure an exclusive position for themselves, and seek privileges that would be called sin in others. For instance, we cannot accept the sentimental suggestions by many Muslims, that Mohammed's matrimonial (and extra-matrimonial) affairs are the result of unselfish sacrifice to unite Arab tribes and protect exploited widows, although this should not be ruled out. That Mohammed lived in monogamy until Khadiyah's death (when he was 50) and that he married no virgin (apart from Ayshah) does not seem to prove anything when one considers reports in the Hadis such as quoted above. Mohammed and his enemies As Christians our ethics are strongly influenced by and have their origin in the teaching of Jesus Christ and His attitudes towards His enemies. Admittedly a very high standard is set here, perhaps too high for the normal individual to be realized in full on every occasion. Consequently, Biblical Christianity rejects force of any description, at least in attaining spiritual goals. We reject as totally unjustifiable all "religious" wars such as Crusades and those of the "Conquistadores". Christ's Kingdom "is not of this world", otherwise His

servants would have fought for it (John 18:36). When Peter used force to defend Christ, he was reprimanded. Practising Christians therefore have no sympathy with "holy wars". That churches have repeatedly given their blessings to wars and even bombs is a sad proof of the fact that mass-Christianity has little concern for Biblical standards and consequently has no right to call itself truly Christian. Here we should like to have a closer look at the subject of one's enemies on a more personal level:
"We were (sitting) in the mosque when the Messenger of Allah came to us and said: (Let us) go to the Jews. We went out with him until we came to them. The Messenger of Allah stood up and called out to them (saying): 'O ye assembly of Jews, accept Islam (and) you will be safe.' They said: Abu'l Qasim (=Mohammed) you have communicated (Allah's message to us).' "This was twice repeated with the same answer. Then Mohammed added: "You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I wish that I should expel you from this land." Mohammed expelled Banu Nadir. ("Sahih Muslim" II, pages 963-960 and "Mishkat" II, page 454). The Banu Quraiza (also Jews) put up a resistance.

"Then he killed their men and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah, who granted them security. They embraced Islam." ("Sahih Muslim" III, pages 963-964). "The people of Quraiza surrendered accepting the decision of Sad ibn Mu'adh (a loyal Muslim) about them....Sad said; 'You will kill their fighters and capture their women and children.' (Hearing this), the Prophet said: 'You have judged by the command of God.' " (ibid. page 966). We are told in practically all the explanations of this incident, that the Quraiza had been acting treacherously towards the Muslims. We could not find this claim confirmed in any Hadis, but even if we had, the following event would not be justified:
"Then the Apostle of Allah went out to the market place of Medinah....and caused to be dug in it trenches. Then he sent for them and beheaded them in those trenches. They were brought forth unto him as sent for....there were 600 - 700 of them. And he who estimates their number highest says that they were between 800 and 900....And that state of affairs did not come to an end until the Apostle of Allah had finished with them....

Ayshah says:
"None of their women were slain, except one woman....she was with me, talking with me....while the Apostle of Allah was killing her men in the market place, when a crier cried out her name.....She said, 'It is I, by God.' I said to her, 'Alas for thee, what is the matter with thee?' She said, 'I shall be killed.'I said, 'And why?' She said, 'For the talk which I talk.' Then she was taken off and beheaded." Ayshah used to say, " By Allah, I do not forget my surprise at her, the godliness of her person...." "Then verily the Apostle of Allah divided the goods of the Banu Quraiza and their wives and children among the Muslims....And the Apostle of God

chose for himself of their women Rihnah....and she was with the Apostle of Allah until he died from her, and she was among his concubines." (Siratu'l Rasool vss. 689-693).

She remained in that state, yet this was despite the clear ordinance that
"when war ceases, the slave women and girls, when taken at home, cannot be used (!) for sexual intercourse without regular marriage. Look at the case of the Prophet. He did not keep any captive women of war without marriage....This was repeated in the verse: '(You may marry) of those whom your right hands have possessed (=prisoners) from among your believing maidens. (Sura 4:25). There is mention of fornication in the above verse if the slave girls are not taken lawfully in marriage." ("Mishkat" II, page 460- commentary).

Considering the easy and superficial way marriage could be concluded and dissolved, this means very little effort indeed. Again we conclude that this action, however much justification is given to it, is not appropriate for a man of God, all the more when we compare it to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.
"In the Battle of Badr, 70 prisoners fell to the hands of Muslims, some of them were released without any ransom by the clemency of the Prophet and some with ransom." ("Mishkat" II, page 439).

Maybe the compiler of this Hadis overlooked what Muslim had recorded. There it is related ("Sahih Muslim" III, pages 961-962) that Mohammed asked Abu Bakr for his opinion concerning the 70 captives. Considering that they were of the same tribe, he suggested release for ransom. Thereupon Ibn Khattab was also asked. His reply was:
"I am of the opinion that you should hand them over to us so that we may cut off their heads."

Mohammed did not approve. Next the narrator Ibn Abbas found Mohammed and Abu Bakr shedding tears. Asked for the reason, he said:
"I weep for what has happened to your companions for taking ransom (from the prisoners). I was shown the torture to which they were subjected (in hell? G.N.). Then Allah revealed the verse: 'It is not befitting for a prophet that he should take prisoners until the force of the disbelievers has been crushed....' to the end of the verse: 'So eat ye the spoils of war, (it is) lawful and pure'. (Sura 8:69). So Allah made booty lawful for them."

Yet another account of the same situation we read in the "Dictionary of Islam" (page 380):
"On the morrow (the day after Badr), the prisoners were brought before him (Mohammed). As he scrutinized each, his eye fell fiercely on Nadir, son of Harith. `There was death in that glance,' whispered Nadir trembling to a bystander. `Not so,' replied the other, `it is but thine own imagination.' The unfortunate prisoner thought otherwise and he sought Musab to intercede for him. Musab reminded him that he had denied the faith and persecuted

believers. `Ah!' said Nadir, `had the Quraish been made thee a prisoner, they would never have put thee to death!' `Even if it were so,' Musab scornfully replied, `I am not as thou art; Islam hath rent all bounds asunder.' Micdad the Captor, fearing lest the prisoner, and with him the chance of a rich ransom, was about to slip from his hands, cried out: `The prisoner is mine!' But at this moment the command to strike off his head was interposed by Mohammed, who has been watching what passed. ... Nadir was forthwith beheaded by Ali. Two days later Ocba another prisoner, was ordered for execution. He ventured to expostulate and demanded why he should be treated more rigorously than the other captives. `Because of thy enmity to Allah and His Prophet,' replied Mohammed. `And my little girl?' cried Ocba, in the bitterness of his soul, `who will take care of her?' `Hellfire!' exclaimed the ... conqueror and on the instant his victim was hewn to the ground.'"

Still more distasteful if not in numbers, then in sordidness, is the record of the murder of Ka'b ibnu'l Ashraf, a Jew of the tribe of Banu Nadir. He is said to have conspired against the life of Mohammed and to have sung obscene songs defaming Muslim women.
"These crimes were enough to take his life", is the comment on this account in the "Sahih Muslim",

"The Messenger of Allah said: 'Who will kill Ka'b ibnu'l Ashraf? He has maligned Allah, the Exalted, and His Messenger!'" (This was after the Muslims apparently were in control of the war situation.) "Muhammad ibn Maslama said: 'Messenger of Allah, do you wish that I should kill him?' He said: 'Yes" ... so Muhammad ibn Maslama came to Ka'b and pretended to be a dissident of Islam to gain his confidence. He asked for the loan of foodstuffs. It was agreed upon to pledge the weapons in exchange. Muhammad ibn Maslama promised that he would return with three (four) friends. That night they went. When his wife heard them, she exclaimed: "I hear a voice which sounds like the voice of murder", but Ka'b quietened her and went down to them. Muhammad (ibn Maslama) said to his companions: "As he comes down, I will extend my hands towards his head and when I hold him fast, you should do your job.'" They conversed about the "very fine smell" of the scent of his hair. Being allowed to smell his hair, he held his head fast" and said to his companions: 'Do your job.' And they killed him." ("Sahih Muslim" III, pages 990-991). Ibn Hisham in the "Siratu'r Rasul" (vss. 550-553) has a more elaborate version. When Muhammad ibn Maslama doubted his ability to execute the "job", Mohammed said to him:
"'All that is incumbent upon you is that you should try. 'He said: 'O Apostle of God, we shall have to tell lies.' He answered: 'Say what you like, for you are free in the matter.'" So lies and deception were used. Mohammed accompanied them for a while and blessed them in parting: "Go in God's name; O God help them." After having seized the locks of Ka'b he said: "'Smite the enemy of Allah'. Accordingly they smote him. Their swords came in collision with one another and effected nothing. Muhammad ibn Maslama said: 'Then I recalled to mind my dagger ... I seized it. The enemy of Allah cried out with such a cry, that around us there remained not a stronghold on which a fire was not kindled. Then I stuck it into his abdomen, then I pressed upon it till it reached his genitals, and the enemy of Allah fell.'" In the grappling with the swords one of the companions was wounded. They carried him back to

Mohammed who was - "standing praying. We saluted him, and he came out to us. We informed him of the killing of the enemy of Allah. He spat upon our comrade's wound, and went back." The laconic end of the story goes like this: "Our attack upon God's enemy cast terror among the Jews, and there was no Jew in Medina who did not fear for his life."

In the same verses, we are told that Ibn Ishaq said:


"the Apostle of Allah said, 'Kill any Jew that falls into your power.'" (vs. 553).

This resulted in the killing of a Jewish merchant. (vss 714-715) We are told that rivalry existed between the tribes of the Ansars, Aus and Khazraj, each being resolved that the others should not excel it in zeal for Islam and Mohammed.
"When the Aus had destroyed Ka'b ibnu'l Ashraf ... the Khazraj said: 'By Allah, they shall never excel us in this!' They remembered a man who was hostile to the apostle, Sallam ibn Abu'l Huqaiq, at Khaibar. They asked permission of the apostle of Allah to slay him, and he gave them leave. Abdullah ibn Atik was placed in command of the group of five by Mohammed. He also forbade them to kill a child or a woman. Again in a treacherous way they pretended to seek to buy corn. Having been admitted by his wife, they found him in bed. "We went in to him, we locked the room upon ourselves and upon her (thereby shutting her out), through fear lest, if there should be a combat over him, she should intervene between us and him. Therefore his wife cried out and screamed at us. (How impolite! G.N.) We came unexpectantly upon him with our swords: (he was in his bed) ... Accordingly, when we struck him with our swords, Abdullah ibn Unais pressed upon him with his sword in his belly till he pierced him through ... and we went out."

There was an unexpected casualty. On fleeing down the staircase, one of the murderers fell down and hurt himself. The dying victim's friends tried to pursue the murderers, who were then hiding. The victim died when his friends returned.
"We carried our wounded comrade and came to the Apostle of Allah and informed him about the killing of the enemy of Allah. And in his (Mohammed's) presence we differed among ourselves about his killing, each of us laying claim to it. Therefore the Apostle of Allah said: 'Bring your swords.' We brought them to him. He looked at them and said: 'Truly the sword of this Abdullah ibn Unais has killed him: On it I see the traces of food!'"

Sallam ibn Abu'l Huqaiq was also known under the name of Abu Rafe, and we find the above report confirmed in "Mishkat" IV, page 404:
"Bara'a reported: The holy Prophet sent a party to Abu Rafe'. Abdullah ibn Atik entered his house at night while he was asleep and killed him. Abdullah ibn Atik said afterwards, 'I fixed my sword over his belly till it went out by his back.' He fell thereafter and broke his leg. It was bandaged and then he went to Mohammed to report the murder, whereupon he healed him."

In similar manner Abu Afak, a very old man, was slain as also was Asma daughter of Marwan, a poetess who attacked Mohammed in her verses. (Ibid. vs. 995)

"The Apostle of Allah said, 'Who will rid me of the daughter of Marwan?' "

Umair ibn Udaj went to her house and killed her.


"Then in the morning he was with the Apostle of Allah and said to him, 'O Apostle of Allah, verily I have killed her.' Then (Mohammed) said, 'Thou hast helped Allah and His Apostle, o Umair!' "

In a footnote (2,272) in "Sahih Muslim" III, page 991, we find a commentary by the wellknown Maulana Maududi regarding the murder of Ka'b ibnu'l Ashraf:
"It is wrong to infer from this that taking of the lives of the chiefs of the enemy secretly is a permanent clause in the ethics of Islamic warfare. ... We find in the whole history of Islam only two persons who were killed this way: one Ka'b ibnu'l Ashraf and the other Abu Rafi'.... This goes to prove, that killing of an enemy secretly, is not the war policy of Islam, but an exceptional case, which is permitted under exceptional circumstances, when the enemy does not come to the forefront, but constantly conspires against the Muslims secretly." ("alJihad fi'l-Islam", pages 259-260).

This, as many similar comments, shows the embarrassment of Islam about certain actions in early Islamic history. This is a hopeful sign. Disappointing, however, is the fact, that such despicable terrorism is covered by a cloak of respectibility--simply because Mohammed is involved. The sincere love for the Truth at any cost is absent. All these reports undermine the possibility that Mohammed is the final and universal Apostle of God. The evidence given here speaks for itself. It may be objected that this chapter is one-sided that may be so - yet a camouflage or denial of these facts, is just as one-sided. If we consider Hitler, for example, and leave out his failures and negative trends we would have a person who eliminated unemployment in a country that was riddled with it and who built up a new economy, sense of nationhood and integrity for a whole nation. He built roads and highways, initiated the Volkswagen, which at that time cost two months' salary of the average employee and had tremendous home ownership schemes for the workers, How wonderful! But he left Germany in a chaos of ruins and despair. So, in fairness, we have to present the other side of the picture. QUESTION: As mentioned before, Christians have a code of ethics by which the above behaviour and happenings are absolutely unacceptable. Can an honest Muslim with a sense of justice and righteousness see any quality reflecting divine inspiration in such actions? Comparing the reports above with the reports of the life of Jesus, can anyone fail to see the total difference? Can any Christian be blamed to prefer being a Christian with a knowledge of the above facts?

The Mysterious 19 in the Quran A Critical Evaluation

In the last few years Muslims have been made acutely aware of a new proof for the divine content of the Quran:
"Using the ultimate in scientific proof namely mathematics, the physical examinable evidence is provided that the Quran is the infallible word of God." ("Al-Quran: the Ultimate Miracle" by Ahmed Deedat)

Dr. Rashad Khalifa, a Muslim scholar living in the United States wrote a book entitled "The Perpetual Miracle of Muhammad." According to his testimony he was taken up by a verse in the Quran (Sura 74:30) which reads:
"Over it are nineteen."

This verse does not make any sense in its context. This is no isolated case, for many of the Suras have been composed of several revelations over a period of time and are not in chronological sequence. Many of these revelations can be understood only in the light of certain happenings involving the person of Mohammed which are at least partially recorded in the Hadis. Nevertheless, there are passages that provide problems for the interpreter and one such verse is Sura 74:30. Now Dr. Khalifa has tried to solve this riddle by means of an "electronic wizard" or "magic beast", as Mr. Deedat in his booklet "Al-Quran The Ultimate Miracle", chooses to call a computer. He discovered a number of combinations of letters and words to which the number 19 is the key. To him this is such breathtaking evidence of God's authorship of the Quran that he shares it with the readers of his literature:
"Everyone whether he has seen a computer or not, has heard about the magic and marvel of this machine and his life is affected by it. And, astonishingly, it always gives you the right answer, whether Christian-owned or Communist-owned. If you ask the computer even with your own preconceived notions - What is one plus one plus one? the unerring answer will always be Three . If you ask a Roman Catholic owned computer, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost - How many gods do they make? It will immediately respond Three without blushing. It has no feeling or sympathy for its owners, who desire to hear one ."

Perhaps it is necessary to point out that a computer is neither magic nor, on the other hand, is it a beast that can answer any given question on its own. The computer is rather an instrument that is able to store data on any specified subject and makes the given information and combinations thereof available in almost an instant when an answer is requested. It presupposes that the basic information is fed into the computer and a programmer draws up a programme that will enable this computer to provide the necessary combinations on demand. There exist, for instance, computers that are programmed to play chess. It is almost impossible for even a chess master to beat such a computer because it is able to review all the possibilities of all the following moves of that game and so devise the best possible move in an instant. The computer draws on the wealth of information that was "fed" into it by a mathematician - chess master, who worked out all the possible combinations beforehand.

It is here that we have to state that if you ask that computer any opinion about the Quran or space travel or cybernetics or any other subject, it can and will not give an answer until a programme providing for such an answer plus the necessary information has been fed into it. When Dr. Khalifa began to investigate the mystery of the number 19 in the Quran, he needed, first of all, to feed the Quran into the computer. He could then, with the appropriate programme ask for instance: "How many A's, L's, M's, R's etc. are in such and such a Sura" or "the whole Quran" and he would get an instant answer without any effort time-wise. He could also be informed about all combinations of letters that in some way bear a relationship to the number 19. He could, for instance, ask: "Which letters in a given Sura sum up to a number that is divisible by 19?" Using such methods, he has been able to single out all combinations that enable him in turn to produce figures that appear to constitute such a phenomenal chance, that it cannot be regarded as chance anymore. These combinations, so it is argued, provide logical proof by their intricacy and the obvious innability of Mohammed to have devised them, that the origin of the Quran is divine. Our basic comments on this approach are as follows:
1. A message claiming to be divine and apparently proved to be so because it contains a startling combination of numbers should still not be accepted if the historical and moral content of such a message or book fails to confirm its divine origin. Christians have rightly perceived that if the sources of the information in the Quran are found to have been in existence before the time of Mohammed, as indeed they were; and if its content offers personal advantages to its Apostle (pp. 108-123) and if its historical information is faulty (pp. 49-65); then the Quran cannot be accepted as divine. We thus find the "proof" offered by this type of numerology to be simply deceptive. 2. We find it difficult to accept that God would use a system of proof that excludes all the people who needed it during the 1400 years of the Quran's existence and who groped in the dark when puzzled by unintelligible verses. 3. Although, as we shall discover later, the presence of the number 19 in the Quran as presented by Dr. Khalifa, is impressive, it nevertheless lacks the persuasiveness that divine intervention would have provided. Mr. Deedat in his booklet (page 69) says: "If the electronic wizard was asked What are the possibilities of a book being written and by 'chance' successfully weaving an interlocking system based on the number 19? the computer's reply is - The odds of such happening are: 626 Septillions to one against such a happening. "

We would object to such an answer because the question is formulated in far too general a way: 'a book being written', 'an interlocking system based on the number 19', 'successfully weaving'. No exact figure other than extreme odds could be given by any computer in reply to such a vague question.
4. We have to realize that coincidences do occur. It is reported from Britain that two trains were passing each other. The brake-lining of one engine came loose, was hurled through the air and hit the driver of the other train on the head killing him. Brake-linings of trains do not normally come loose, and if they do come loose, what would be the chance of hitting the driver of an oncoming train so as to kill him? It can be worked out, and the chance would be equally slim, yet this freak accident did actually occur. In a photograph that once appeared

in a newspaper three cars were shown parked behind one another, - the same make, model and colour. All three had identical registration numbers but all came from different cities. They belonged to different owners, who were totally unaware of this. Coincidence! These things do happen don't they? What are the odds against their happening? Are all such happenings necessarily the result of divine intervention? Definitely not! 5. Finding a system of numerics like the one mentioned in Dr. Khalifa's and Mr. Deedat's books is, in the opinion of this writer, possible for any piece of literature, or music if you wish. Any piece of literature will have combinations of letters perhaps in relation to the title, that will allow a computer, properly fed and programmed to find a system of combinations that will prove equally surprising. If so, would the piece be of divine origin?

Not being a computer scientist I cannot substantiate the above reasoning, but am convinced that it could be done. Certainly Mr. Deedat's claim - that it is unlikely that a writer in his lifetime would be able to find a sentence consisting of 19 letters with which to start a book - is nonsense. To prove my point, here are just ten quickly composed sentences of 19 letters each:
1. "Beware, false prophets!" 2. "There is deceit in lies." 3. "Seek first His Kingdom." 4. "Prepare like a wise man." 5. "Do not lay up treasures." 6. "Jesus forever the same." 7. "I am a loving Christian." 8. "Love is patient, is kind." 9. "Truth and love will win."

We would have no problem combining any number of sentences each containing 19 letters and if we did not wish to waste time we could, by using a computer, be even more successful still. We find, therefore, the over-dramatic presentation of this matter to be highly suspicious and inappropriate.
The statement by Dr. Khalifa that there is no other book extant with any similar numerical system, is untrue. The Bible is one such book. Let us select only one number and one verse to illustrate what we mean.

We shall investigate the presence of the number seven - a number used very often with the symbolic meaning of divine completeness - in the first verse of the Bible.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

The verse consists of 7 Hebrew words and 28 letters (7 x 4). There are three nouns: God, heavens, earth. Their total numeric value (Hebrew has no numbers but these are represented by letters: the sum of the number letters being the numeric value) is 777 (7 x 111). The verb 'created' has the value 203 (7 x 29). The object is contained in the first three words - with 14 letters (7 x 2) The other four words contain the subject also with 14 letters (7 x 2). The Hebrew words for the two objects - "the heavens and the earth" - each have seven letters.

The fourth and fifth words have 7 letters. The value of the first, middle and last letters in the verb 'created' is 133 (7 x 19) the numeric value of the first and last letters of all the words is 1393 (7 x 199) and the value of the first and last letters of the verse is 497 (7 x 71). The Hebrew particle 'eth' with the article 'the', used twice, has the value 407 (7 x 58) and the last letters of the first and last words equal 490 (7 x 70). In all, there are over 30 different numeric features related to 7 in this verse. The odds against the above features occurring by chance are 33 Trillions:1. But the number seven is also interwoven throughout the Bible. Creation took 7 days; Naaman had to wash 7 times in the Jordan to be cleansed from leprosy; the Israelites had to march around Jericho 7 days and 7 times on the 7th day; they had to set aside one day in 7 for rest and worship. There was a 7-armed lampstand in the temple, etc. In the last book, Revelation, we find mentioned 7 spirits, 7 lampstands, 7 churches, 7 stars, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, 7 thunders, 7 plagues, 7 mountains and 7 kings. The tribulation period is to be 7 years being the last "week of years" of Daniel's 70 weeks (Dan 9:24 ff). Beyond this we know that the incubation period of the human embryo is 280 days (7 x 40). In Genesis we are told that man was formed from the dust of the ground. The "dust of the ground" contains 14 (7 x 2) elements, and so does the human body. Every cell in the human body is renewed every 7 years and every 7th day the pulse beats slower. In certain diseases the critical days are the 7th, 14th, 21st, etc. and the female cycle is 28 (7 x 4) days. Light is made up of 7 colours, the moon completes its orbit around the earth in 28 days (7 x 4) and the earth is 49 (7 x 7) times larger than the moon. (This information is taken from "The Seal of God" by F.C. Payne. The actual numerics were compiled by Ivan Panin). This information was available for many years, long before the advent of computers. It never persuaded a single Muslim, to our knowledge, to accept the challenge of receiving the Bible as the Word of God - although the evidence is more convincing than the findings of Dr. Khalifa. Why? Despite the superiority of this presentation over the one figured out by Dr. Khalifa, we can and would not suggest that anyone accept numerics alone as a basis for faith in the Bible. It is at best a crutch.
Evaluation

Dr. Khalifa, unlike Mr. Deedat, exposed himself to criticism by providing a table in order to illustrate the system on which his findings are based. His main theme is to show that exactly half (we are not quite sure what "exactly half" in this instance is supposed to prove) of the letters of the Arabic alphabet, i.e. fourteen letters, are used - some of them repeatedly - as "Mystic initials" at the beginning of 29 Suras. According to many old commentators, these initials (called "al-Mukkataat") are the initials of the scribes of the Suras concerned: ALM, ALMS, ALR, ALMR, KHYAS, TH, TSM, TS, YS, S, HM, HMASQ, Q, N. ALM, for example, stands for Amar Li Muh. Dr. Khalifa, with the aid of his computer, discovered, however, that in certain Suras the sum of all the letters that are represented in the initials above the Sura are divisible by the

mysterious 19. To give an example: Three initials (ALR) stand at the head of Sura 15. In the text of this Sura, the sum of the L's is 323 and this figure represents 17 x 19. In the case of Sura 68 which has the initial N above it, the sum of all the N's in the Sura is 133, i.e. 7 x 19. Then again if one were to add up all the letters of all Suras that have the initial A at the top, we would again have a number divisible by 19. Similarly the totals of all the letters of the initials above each individual Sura when added up are divisible by 19. In Sura 36, for instance, where the initials are Y and S, there are 48 S and 237 Y. Though neither of these sums can be divided by 19, the combined total is 15 x 19. In Dr. Khalifa's table we have, therefore, 14 vertical columns and their totals, representing the sums of each individual letter; and 29 horizontal columns where the totals are given of all letters as represented in the initials of each individual Sura. Of the 121 figures given in toto in this table, including the 43 totals, 22 are divisible by 19, which is roughly one in six-and-a-half. Of the 78 figures that are given in the table (excluding the totals), six are divisible by 19. This is one out of every 13, which is hardly above average odds. We have to reject this as proof of divine action having been involved. Coming to the vertical totals (i.e. the sums of all letters represented by the initials of each individual Sura) we find a more spectacular result:
Eight of the twenty-nine totals are divisible by 19 which is about one in three-and-a-half. Much more convincing still are the totals of each individual letter represented in the 29 Suras: 8 of the 14 sums are divisible by 19. Do these figures constitute evidence of divine intervention? Bearing in mind the arguments contained in points 1 to 7 above, we would say impressive, yes; divine, no.

How impressive in fact are these findings? We realize firstly that the method is based on manipulation. If we used a critical method of programming, our results would be average because we would reduce the combinations in our system that show evidence of 19. We note that Dr. Khalifa (and Mr. Deedat p. 67-68) has tried his best to improve his results by stating for example that in all Suras with the initials ALM at the top, the respective letters in the three Suras combined add up to a figure that is divisible by 19. In his case the sum of all A's and L's and M's in Suras 2,3,7,13,29-32 add up to 26676, which is equal to 19 x 1404. In order to make this total divisible by 19, he had to leave the initials out in the case of Sura 7. The reason is that this Sura has the initials ALMS, which disqualifies it from being included, because it is not a Sura with the initials ALM. So in order to produce a number divisible by 19, he included Sura 7 but excluded the 98 S's. The same applies to the use of Sura 13 (ALMR) in this context. The same type of manipulation was used in the set of Suras 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 which begin with the initials ALR (except 13 which has the initials ALMR). Adding up all the ALR's of these six Suras, Dr. Khalifa arrives at the sum of 9709 (= 19 x 511) but my computer shows that the sum is 10813 which is not divisible b y 19. Dr. Khalifa arrived at this figure by adding all the letters indicated by the initials ALR of these Suras excepting Sura 13 (which begins with ALMR) and adds from this Sura only the figure 137, i.e. the number of times the initial R occurs, conveniently leaving out the A's and L's for otherwise the sum (10813) would not be divisible by 19, as we have shown. He does not expect his readers to check on his data, and perhaps we are the first to do so. It is so much easier simply to be impressed by the "divine" touch and to be strengthened in faith by a manipulation which is needed as a crutch to support a religion without other evidence. Other manipulations can be seen in Sura 42. Here the sum of all the letters as represented in the initials HMASQ is 570 or 19 x 30, but it is divided into 361 + 209 to fit the first sum into the

total of all HM's. In order to increase his successes, Dr Khalifa gives the final figure for Sura 68 as 152, which is already reflected in the vertical column of the letter N and is therefore a duplication. These are findings that strike the eye of a superficial reader who is totally unacquainted with statistics or mathematics. We would still have to check whether the figures given for the A's, L's, M's, etc. in the various chapters do in fact correspond with the number of times they occur in the Quran. It is beyond the scope of this investigation to undertake such checking. However, as the given figures that can be easily checked were found to be unreliable, we may well assume that those that we cannot check without great effort are hardly likely to be any more trustworthy. A rather striking statement in addition to the table we have just investigated is that the
"key to Mohammed's perpetual eternal miracle is found in the very first verse of the Quran which says: In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful or as it reads in the Arabic: Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim. "

When we count the Arabic letters that make up this verse we find they total 19. Dr. Khalifa discovered that every word in this verse is mentioned a number of times in the Quran and these numbers are multiples of nineteen. The first word "name" is allegedly found exactly 19 times in the entire Quran. The second word "Allah" in mentioned in the Quran 2698 times (19 x 142); the third word of the verse, "al-Rahman", is found in the Quran 57 times (3 x 19); and finally, the fourth word in the first Quranic verse, "al-Rahim", is mentioned 114 times (6 x 19) in the entire Quran. (so far Dr. Rashad Khalifa). We are amazed at this statement, because every child in the Madressa school is aware that of the 114 Suras of the Quran, 113 begin with this verse "In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful." We do not understand how Dr. Khalifa can state that the word name is found in the whole Quran exactly 19 times or "al-Rahman" 52 times or "al-Rahim" 114 times. We suspect that the so-called "Bismillahs", i.e. the opening verses of almost all Suras have been expediently left out by Dr. Khalifa. Had he included them, his totals would no longer have been divisible by 19. We must conclude that Dr. Khalifa has purposely tried to mislead his readers when he states that the whole Quran is meant. He has left out the Bismillahs to suit his own purpose of providing divinity through deception. We should like to conclude this chapter by repeating in our own words a statement in this connection made by John Gilchrist: Surely if 19 were a divinely chosen seal on the Quran, Sura 19:19 would give the ultimate message of the Quran. What does it say there? It speaks about the "holy son," Jesus. Surely this is significant when we compare it with verse 19 of Sura 47 where it states that Mohammed should "ask forgiveness for his fault." In his booklet Mr. Deedat claimed regarding the very first revelations that Muhammad received that the first five verses of Sura 96 were followed by verses 17-30 of Sura 74 which ends "over it are 19." He concludes that 5 verses plus 14 verses add up to 19 verses; hence the verse "over it are 19." We state that it is by no means historically established that the

sequence of the revelations was as Mr. Deedat claims. According to J M Rodwell, a Quranic translator and chronologist, Sura 74 was second in sequence after Sura 96 although no verses are indicated. Jalalu'd-din, a Muslim chronologer, names Sura 74 as being the fourth one revealed. Sir W. Muir estimates it to be the 21st. Apart from that, we are aware that the division of verses in the Quran is based on five different systems:
y y y y y

the Kufah system, following the tradition of Ali; the Basra system, following Mohammed's companion Asim ibn Hajjaj; the Shami system of Syria used by Mohammed's companion Abdu'lla-h ibn Umar the Makkah system and the Madinah system.

This makes it obvious that Mohammed did not undertake the division into verses. As far as the ordering of the Suras is concerned this was done by Khalif Uthman and thus the whole of Mr. Deedat's argument falls flat. (Information from "Dictionary of Islam", pages 489-492) In order to check Dr. Khalifa's data we wrote to ask him to supply us with the mathematical methods of research he used so as to enable us to repeat his experiments. We also asked for the mathematical formula which he had used to calculate the probability of the pattern occurring by chance; a copy of the magnetic tape of the whole Quran that he used as information for the computer; as well as the computer programme that was used to analyse the text to determine the numerical pattern he had discovered. The reply to this letter was most surprising. Dr. Khalifa wrote:
"To repeat the work, all you need to is count the letters in a Quran written according to the original Uthmani method. Most of the facts are simple and need no mathematics.

We wonder what the extensive use of a computer, as mentioned in his book, was all about. Perhaps you, dear reader, have arrived at your own conclusion by now. (See chart pages 140 & 141)

WE CONCLUDE

We are aware that this book makes enormous claims that must have shocked you: the unquestioned integrity of the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed has been challenged. As a Muslim you may be upset or be experiencing a mixture of anger, disgust, surprise, and perhaps curiosity. What will your reaction be? We intend to upset you. A lot depends on your reaction: your decisions, your peace of mind (do I believe the truth - or do I err?), and even more important, your eternal destiny. An emotional answer is foolish ("We can't be wrong!" That man is a liar and deceiver!", etc.). There is one very simple way to avoiding the feeling that you have been "taken for a ride" or deceived, and that is to check on all the information given. For your own sake, you are urgently requested, encouraged and challenged to do this. Is the information given, true? Look it up in the Quran and Hadis or the "Siratu'r Rasul". Is it distorted? Misquoted? Taken

out of context? Falsely interpreted? You must check it for yourself before forming an opinion. The given facts, all from Islamic sources, are well-documented, so that the sober, honest and reasonably unbiased reader can easily determine whether our facts are true or false. Don't trust modern Tafsir(Commentary), which is tailored to evade and sift out problems. And think for yourself. You will have to give an account of your faith before God alone too! When you have done that (and not before!) ask your learned men, your Sheik about it. But beware of "pat answers"! Emotional cover-up should not be an argument here! Obviously this book will be subjected to slander and criticism. That is fine - but is the reply you receive factual and based on evidence? "Another enemy of the Prophet throws his dirt! An enemy of Allah who tries to discredit His word!" Such statements are nothing more than a smoke screen! Authors of quotations in this book who are non-Muslims will be called unobjective and biased, perhaps even ill-informed. Ironic remarks about orientalists will be heard again, but these are men of the sciences and are as credible as archaeologists, astronomers, or physicists for that matter. They, of course, do not argue from a religious point of view. Most of them possibly do not even have religious convictions of much consequence and are as critical of Islam as of any other religion. But they undertake systematic and critical studies of the whole complex of Islamic literature. This activity in itself does not make them anti-Islamic, at least not from an objective point of view. They merely evaluate their findings in the light of history. They are largely unable to make spiritual statements. They will have nothing to say about God, revelation or eternity - and they don't say anything! But they do uncover inconsistencies or bring to the surface facts which Muslims are not in favour of being published, for such facts do not serve the cause of Islam. Had it not been for books like those by Mr. A.S.K. Joommal and Mr. A. Deedat and for their lectures, there would have been little need for these pages. If the Bible had not been totally discredited by these men, Muslims and Christians could have sat together in a scholarly fashion to search objectively for the truth. However, this has been inhibited, for anti-Christian indoctrination has led rather successfully to a halt in all communication. In addition it must be stated, that Christians, often being unaware of the arguments used by Muslims against Christianity (such as the "Gospel of Barnabas", etc.), have not sought to communicate with Muslims either. We must point out again, that this book does not intend to give a balanced view of the Quran, Mohammed or Islam. It is merely trying to present the other side--the one that is not known to most Muslims. We are aware that the Arabic Quran is an excellent piece of literature. We are also aware of the fact that since being edited by Khalif Uthman the words of the Quran have hardly been changed (except where this may have happened through the introduction of the vowels and the diacritical marks). We would indeed be untrue to ourselves if we neglected to point out the qualities of Mohammed, as we have done at least in part, here and there. Any such favourable comment, however, does not mean that the claims of the superiority of the Quran over the Bible and of Mohammed over Jesus Christ are acceptable, for the facts given in this book view them in a very serious and justifiably critical light.

To the Christian Islam offers little more than a way of life, outward forms and rites. It is a religion which promotes hygiene and cleanliness (which, of course, is as positive as it is subjective). Islam provides for a religious society, a state religion (the Islamic republic of the Ayatollah Khomeini typifies this) with all its problems: Who is to interpret the Shariat? How is it to be enforced in a civilized world? Can force of habit or social, religious or criminal laws arouse genuine spirituality? To what extent is one's quality of life improved and enriched by religious legislation? What incentive has a person to commune with God when he has to perform his religious duties under obligation. To this is added the often alien language (Arabic) which is to be used in prayer, and which obviously lacks the expressiveness of the mother tongue, especially if one lacks a complete command of Arabic. Many of the statements, claims and the work of Jesus Christ are totally opposed by those of Mohammed. All the documented facts show abundant evidence for the trustworthiness and reliability of the Bible. We have found little or none in support of Islamic claims. Only fanatics close their eyes to the facts without giving them sufficient thought and subjecting them to tests, because they are scared to find themselves in the wrong. You are perhaps at the most vital crossroad in your life. No doubt you are thinking of the warnings not to commit "shirk" (the sin of apostacy) and namely of the consequences that turning away from traditional Islam will involve, your rejection by the Ummah (or congregation of the faithful Muslims) as a Murtadd (apostate). Please accept that no Christian--certainly not the writer of this study - intends to harm your soul, your feelings or your family ties. It is in the sad realization that the messagge of this book will hurt, that it has been compiled--with the aim, however, of seeing you rejoicing in the truth Jesus Christ, the sure way of finding forgiveness and a new life altogether--a life enjoying the love of God. Love and truth belong together, however! All obstacles on the path towards truth must be removed. God in the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah expressed it this way: "... to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord...behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over Kingdoms and over nations:
to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow and to build and to plant!" (Jeremiah 1:5-10)

This thought is underlined in the New Testament:


"Though we live in the world, we are not carrying out a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly (carnal) but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take eve thought ry captive to obey Christ." (II Corinthians 10:5)

"Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness. but instead expose them...Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WILL OF THE LORD is!" (Ephesians 5:10-11, 15-17).

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may PROVE WHAT IS THAT GOOD, AND ACCEPTABLE, AND PERFECT, OF GOD." (Romans 12:1-2). "THE LORD is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, NOT WISHING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that all should reach repentance." (II Peter 3:9). "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. He destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ, according to THE PURPOSE OF HIS WILL, to the praise of His glorious grace which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (Jesus). In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. For HE HAS MADE KNOWN TO US IN ALL WISDOM AND INSIGHT THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL, ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him, according to the purpose of Him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of HIS WILL, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory. In Him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:3-14). "For this is THE WILL OF GOD, YOUR SANCTIFICATION" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). It is God's will that all men should repent to avoid perishing in hell. Repentance is the turning away from all sin in thought, word and deed. But it is also a turning to Him. When we turn to Him we automatically turn away from sin - otherwise we fool ourselves! We are, however, careful to note a principle that is very often overlooked"
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get. 'But the tax collector standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14).

This parable was told by Jesus Himself. You have already got the message.
"And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in

the passions of our flesh, following the desires of the body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God - not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Salvation cannot be earned or deserved, as Islam proposes when demanding "rigorous religious exercises" (Five Pillars of Islam). It is the gift of God to all who turn to Him - His Way:
"Jesus said to him, 'I am The Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.'" (John 14:6).

Jesus was the One who laid down His life as our sacrifice. He stood in our place of condemnation. He, the righteous God, suffered the punishment for the sins you and I have committed. Consequently, He is the only way by which we can come to God. Otherwise we have to suffer the consequences of our sins ourselves! In hell! Forever! Grace and mercy are the gift of God! And to accept this gift brings salvation. That is the Gospel-truth. We are not Christians because we are good, but are good because we are Christians. And there is a world of difference between the two. But as forgiven sinners we become children of God. In love, devotion and gratitude we follow Him! That is the sign of the genuineness of our faith. The works we do, verify our faith. But without this salvation all the works in the world cannot undo our sin. Jesus and the Bible made this very clear. This is not applicable, of course, if we have never sinned. We have been "plucking up", "breaking down", "destroying" and "overthrowing" What? " Every argument and proud obstacle to the knowledge of God". But we do not want to leave it at this! We want to "build" and "plant". What? A life that is "pleasing to the Lord", "obeying Christ" in the knowledge of "what the will of the Lord" is, to encourage you to have faith the way it is expected and commanded by God. "Present", therefore, "your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God"! "Be holy", i.e. live separate from dirt, filth and sin! But that all begins with repentance - that is the will of God.
"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the service of reconciliation; that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are

ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ:

BE RECONCILED TO GOD! (II Corinthians 5:18-20) This is a commandment of God to all mankind:
"God...now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed, and of this He has given assurance to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31).

We like to persuade you not to rest until you have formed within you an honest, unprejudiced and true picture of the Word, Nature and Will of God - and until you have obeyed the Almighty and Eternal God. Do contact us for further information. We like to recommend to you the other copy of this twin set: "CHRISTIANS ANSWER MUSLIMS".

BIBLIOGRAPHY

"The Quran" with commentary by Yusuf Ali "The Quran" interpreted by Arthur J. Arberry "The Koran" with explanatory notes by George Sale "The Meaning of the Glorious Koran", an explanatory translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall "Der Koran" translated by Ludwig Ullman and revised and explained by Leo Winter "Dictionary of Islam" by T.P. Hughes "Sahih al-Bukhari" Hadis "Sahih Muslim" Hadis "Mishkat-ul-Masabih" collected by al-Baghawi and with comentary by Al-Haj Maulana Fazlul Karim "Siratu'l Rasool" by Ibn Ishaq revised by Ibn Hisham "The Sources of Islam" by W. St. Clair-Tisdall "Mizanu'l Haqq" by C.G. Pfander "The Light" by al-Haj Sultan Hafiz Abdul "Islam" by Alfred Guillaume "New Light on the Life of Mohammed" by Alfred Guillaume "Antiquitates Judaicae" by Flavius Josephus "The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment" and "Introduction to the Quran" by Richard Bell "The Collection of the Quran" by John Burton "Der Islam" by Emanual Kellerhals "The Bible - Word of God or Word of Man?" by A.S.K. Joommal "The Prophecies of the Holy Quran" by Q.I. Hingora "The Perpetual Miracle of Muhammad" by Dr. Rashad Khalifa

"Al-Quran, the ultimate Miracle" by Ahmed Deedat "The Gospel of Barnabas" as translated by Lonsdale and Laura Ragg "The Little Green Book" of "Sayings of the Ayatollah Khomeini", Bantam Books