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The Qur’an Exposed: Truth, Lies or Forgery? By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis Presentation for the Liverpool University Islamic Awareness Week 4 th March 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Qur’an Exposed: Truth, Lies or Forgery? By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis Presentation for the Liverpool University Islamic Awareness Week 4 th March 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Qur’an Exposed: Truth, Lies or Forgery? By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis Presentation for the Liverpool University Islamic Awareness Week 4 th March 2008

2 Introduction My background My background www.theinimitablequran.com www.theinimitablequran.com hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com Popular culture Popular culture Socio-political implications Socio-political implications

3 Setting the Scene The Islamic perspective The Islamic perspective –Searching for truth is based upon evidence –There is no blind thinking or blind adoption of the Islamic creed –Pre-requisite is belief in a sole cause for the universe (creator) –Unlimited ‘mind’ vs. limited mind –External revelation is required

4 The Qur’an: Its History & Preservation

5 Recurrent Reporting & Verification Recurrent reporting oral tradition (mutawatir) Recurrent reporting oral tradition (mutawatir) The huffadh were dying, as a result Zayd Ibn Thaabit was the main scribe instructed to write down the whole Qur’an The huffadh were dying, as a result Zayd Ibn Thaabit was the main scribe instructed to write down the whole Qur’an Zayd referred to all those who had memorised the Qur’an and to all the written copies, verifying them with other witnesses Zayd referred to all those who had memorised the Qur’an and to all the written copies, verifying them with other witnesses Others that were included in the recurrent reporting were: Others that were included in the recurrent reporting were: –Umar Ibn al- Khattab –Ali –Uthman –Abu Bakr –Ubay Ibn Kab –Abdullah Ibn Masood –Muadh ibn Jabal –Abu Musa al-Ashari –Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan –Uqba ibn Amir –Abdullah ibn Aqram –Khaleed ibn Saeed –And others

6 Manuscript Evidence & No Variants Tashkent Manuscript (2nd Century after hijra) Tashkent Manuscript (2nd Century after hijra) Topkapi Manuscript (Uthmanic) Topkapi Manuscript (Uthmanic) Husayn Mosque in Cairo (Ali’s manuscript) Husayn Mosque in Cairo (Ali’s manuscript) There is no deviation in the manuscripts we have today There is no deviation in the manuscripts we have today The Institute fur Koranforschung, University of Munich, Germany, collected and collated some 42,000 complete or incomplete copies of the Qur’an gathered from all over the world. After some fifty years of study they reported that in terms of differences there was no variants. The Institute fur Koranforschung, University of Munich, Germany, collected and collated some 42,000 complete or incomplete copies of the Qur’an gathered from all over the world. After some fifty years of study they reported that in terms of differences there was no variants.

7 Western Scholarship Adrian Brockett Adrian Brockett “The transmission of the Qur’an after the death of Muhammed was essentially static, rather than organic... The efforts of those scholars who attempt to reconstruct any other hypothetical original versions of the (written) text are therefore shown to be disregarding half the essence of the Muslim scripture.” Arthur J. Arberry Arthur J. Arberry “… the Qur’an as printed in the twentieth century is identical with the Qur’an as authorized by Uthman more than 1300 years ago.”

8 The Qur’an: Linguistic & Literary Miracle

9 The Eternal Challenge Qur’an Chapter 2 Verse 23 Qur’an Chapter 2 Verse 23 “ And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to our servant (Muhammed pbuh ) then bring a chapter of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah if you are truthful ” General Meaning General Meaning Historical Scholarly Approach Historical Scholarly Approach Six Main Arguments Six Main Arguments

10 Six Main Arguments Rational Deduction Unique Literary Form Unique Genre Eloquence Six Main Arguments Rhetoric Complexities of Classical Arabic Grammar

11 The Unique Literary Form

12 Unique Literary Form Prose Qur’an Poetry Saj’Mursal Rhythmical Patters Unique Arabic Language

13 Forms of Speech Arabic Language has two main forms of speech Arabic Language has two main forms of speech –Poetry –Prose Prose: Saj’ and Mursal Prose: Saj’ and Mursal Poetry: Strict Rhythmical Pattern. Poetry: Strict Rhythmical Pattern. 16 Types of Patterns: al-Bihar 16 Types of Patterns: al-Bihar

14 Metrical Patterns 1. at-Tawîl 2. al-Bassit 3. al-Wafir 4. al-Kamil 5. ar-Rajs 6. al-Khafif 7. al-Hazaj 8. al-Muttakarib 9. al-Munsarih 10. al-Muktatab 11. al-Muktadarak 12. al-Madid 13. al-Mujtath 14. al-Ramel 15. al-Khabab 16. as-Saria'

15 Why is it Unique? Nelson & Arberry: All pre-Islamic and post- Islamic poetry fit into the al-Bihar Nelson & Arberry: All pre-Islamic and post- Islamic poetry fit into the al-Bihar Arberry, Nicholson, Lawrence, Gibb, Qutb, Haleem: The Qur’an can not fit into any of the known forms Arberry, Nicholson, Lawrence, Gibb, Qutb, Haleem: The Qur’an can not fit into any of the known forms This is achieved by not adhering to the rules of poetry and prose, by intermingling metrical and non-metrical speech and stylistic differences such as semantically orientated assonance. This is achieved by not adhering to the rules of poetry and prose, by intermingling metrical and non-metrical speech and stylistic differences such as semantically orientated assonance.

16 Eloquence

17 Eloquence “Eloquence consists in expressing an appropriate meaning with a noble, apt and clear phrase, indicating what is to be without superfluous additions.” Imam al Haramayn al Juwayni Imam al Haramayn al Juwayni “…humans cannot imitate the Qur'an because their knowledge does not encompass all the words of Arabic, all the ideas in them, and all the varieties of structure.” Issa Boulata

18 Word Order Example: Example: ‘You shall not kill your children because you cannot support them. We provide for you and for them.’ Qur’an 80:151 Qur’an 80:151 ‘You shall not kill your children for fear of want. We will provide for them and for you.’ Qur’an 17:31

19 Meticulous Accuracy In the first verse when the killing is from want due to the poverty of the family, the Qur’an emphasizes Allah’s provision over the parent thus they are mentioned first. In the first verse when the killing is from want due to the poverty of the family, the Qur’an emphasizes Allah’s provision over the parent thus they are mentioned first. In the second verse however the killing of such innocent children is conceded by the fear of the future possibility of poverty, Allah assures one not do so by emphasizing the children before the family and how they will receive this provision. In the second verse however the killing of such innocent children is conceded by the fear of the future possibility of poverty, Allah assures one not do so by emphasizing the children before the family and how they will receive this provision. The words are meticulously chosen even the letters are meaningfully used. No addition, elision, advancing, or retarding occurs but by careful design. This approach is unequalled in any human composition. It is only found in the Qur’an. The words are meticulously chosen even the letters are meaningfully used. No addition, elision, advancing, or retarding occurs but by careful design. This approach is unequalled in any human composition. It is only found in the Qur’an.

20 The Unique Linguistic Genre

21 Cohesive & Rhetorical Features The Qur’an combines rhetorical and cohesive features in every verse. The Qur’an combines rhetorical and cohesive features in every verse. Rhetoric in the Arab tradition is “…the conveying of meaning in the best of verbal forms” Rhetoric in the Arab tradition is “…the conveying of meaning in the best of verbal forms” Cohesiveness is the feature that binds sentences to each other grammatically and lexically. It also refers to how words are linked together into sentences and how sentences are in turn linked together to form larger units in texts. Cohesiveness is the feature that binds sentences to each other grammatically and lexically. It also refers to how words are linked together into sentences and how sentences are in turn linked together to form larger units in texts.

22 Why is it Unique? These elements combine with each other in such a way that interlock and become inseparable. These elements combine with each other in such a way that interlock and become inseparable. This unique combination captivates the reader and achieves an effective communicative goal. This unique combination captivates the reader and achieves an effective communicative goal. The rhetorical and cohesive components of the Qur’anic text cannot be divorced from each other. The rhetorical and cohesive components of the Qur’anic text cannot be divorced from each other. K. Gragg in his book “The Event of the Qur’an”: K. Gragg in his book “The Event of the Qur’an”: “…the Qur’an is understood to say what it says in an inseparable identity with how it says it.” “…the Qur’an is understood to say what it says in an inseparable identity with how it says it.”

23 Example Example: Example: “Men who remember Allah much and women who remember” Qur’an 33:35 The Qur’anic verse above, in a different word order such as the verse: The Qur’anic verse above, in a different word order such as the verse: “Men who remember Allah much and Women who remember Allah much” The non Qur’anic verse would not deliver the same effect as it has lost its rhetorical effect and is superfluous in meaning. The non Qur’anic verse would not deliver the same effect as it has lost its rhetorical effect and is superfluous in meaning. Non-Qur’anic Arabic texts mostly employ cohesive elements but the Qur’an uses both cohesive and rhetorical elements in every verse. Non-Qur’anic Arabic texts mostly employ cohesive elements but the Qur’an uses both cohesive and rhetorical elements in every verse.

24 Rational Deduction

25 Historical Fact Margoliouth, Muir and Zammit: Historical fact that the Arabs at the time of revelation were masters in the use of Arabic Margoliouth, Muir and Zammit: Historical fact that the Arabs at the time of revelation were masters in the use of Arabic They were articulate users of the language but also held those skilled in the arts of linguistic composition in high esteem. They were articulate users of the language but also held those skilled in the arts of linguistic composition in high esteem. “It should be known that Arabs thought highly of poetry as a form of speech. Therefore, they made it the archives of their history, the evidence for what they considered right and wrong, and the principal basis of reference for most of their sciences and wisdom.” Ibn Khaldun

26 They All Failed If the people best placed to challenge the Qur’an failed, then who can do it? If the people best placed to challenge the Qur’an failed, then who can do it? Some of the challengers: Some of the challengers: –Musaylamah –The Quraish –Ibn Al-Mukaffa‘ –Abu'l-'Ala Al-Marri –Yahya b. Al-Hakam al-Ghazal –Sayyid 'Ali Muhammad –Ibn al-Rawandi –Bassar bin Burd –Sahib Ibn 'Abbad –Abu'l - 'Atahiya

27 A Failure “The elephant. What is the elephant? And who shall tell you what is the elephant? He has a ropy tail and a long trunk. this is a [mere] trifle of our Lord's creations.” Musaylamah Concerning the style of his speech; he followed the kahin style of rhymed prose, and of the pronouncing of oaths. Concerning the style of his speech; he followed the kahin style of rhymed prose, and of the pronouncing of oaths. If the Arabs at that time failed, who is the author? Using Rational Deduction, it can not be a Arab, a non-Arab or even the Prophet Muhammed. If the Arabs at that time failed, who is the author? Using Rational Deduction, it can not be a Arab, a non-Arab or even the Prophet Muhammed.

28 God’s Word? Rational deduction Rational deduction Is it from an Arab, Non-Arab, the Prophet (pbuh) or the Creator? Is it from an Arab, Non-Arab, the Prophet (pbuh) or the Creator? The Prophet and Hadith – Linguistic differences The Prophet and Hadith – Linguistic differences The pre-requisite – Creator The pre-requisite – Creator No other rational explanation! No other rational explanation!

29 Western Scholarship

30 Non-Muslim Scholarship Consensus opinion on the superior nature of the Qur’an’s language. Consensus opinion on the superior nature of the Qur’an’s language. "The Koran [sic] admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world…. it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a nation of heroes…." G. Margoliouth

31 Miracle After Miracle My favourite….. My favourite….. “As tangible signs Qur’anic verses are expressive of an inexhaustible truth. They signify meaning layered within meaning, light upon light, miracle after miracle.” Bruce Lawrence “…and that though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant writing is concerned, none has as yet succeeded.” F. F. Arbuthnot

32 Conclusion: A Miracle Indeed it is! Martin Zammit concludes in his book “A comparative Lexical Study of Qur’anic Arabic”: Martin Zammit concludes in his book “A comparative Lexical Study of Qur’anic Arabic”: “Notwithstanding the literary excellence of some of the long pre-Islamic poems…the Qur'an is definitely on a level of its own as the most eminent written manifestation of the Arabic language.” Rev. R Bosworth Smith concludes that the Qur'an, in his book "Muhammad and Muhammadanism", is: Rev. R Bosworth Smith concludes that the Qur'an, in his book "Muhammad and Muhammadanism", is: "…It is the one miracle claimed by Muhammad, his standing miracle, and a miracle indeed it is."

33 Forgery?

34 Grammatical Mistakes? The Qur’an is a source text for Arabic grammar! The Qur’an is a source text for Arabic grammar! Example: “You notice that the word was written Saabi'uuna in 5:69 and was written Saabi'iina in 2:62 and 22:17. In the last two verses the word was declined correctly. But the word Saabi'uuna in 5:69 was given the 'uu….This then is an obvious grammatical error.” Example: “You notice that the word was written Saabi'uuna in 5:69 and was written Saabi'iina in 2:62 and 22:17. In the last two verses the word was declined correctly. But the word Saabi'uuna in 5:69 was given the 'uu….This then is an obvious grammatical error.” Neal Robinson, Haleem, Abdur Raof and Ibn Athir: This change in case is similar to changes of number and person and tense. All these are used in the Qur’an for rhetorical purposes in their contexts. This is a well known feature called iltifaat. Of which there are countless examples in Classical Arabic Neal Robinson, Haleem, Abdur Raof and Ibn Athir: This change in case is similar to changes of number and person and tense. All these are used in the Qur’an for rhetorical purposes in their contexts. This is a well known feature called iltifaat. Of which there are countless examples in Classical Arabic

35 Foreign Words? Claims that the Qur’an is not, as it states, in a “…plain Arabic Qur’an” due to the presence of ‘foreign’ words: Claims that the Qur’an is not, as it states, in a “…plain Arabic Qur’an” due to the presence of ‘foreign’ words: Mount (Qur’an 95:2) borrowed from Syriac Heavy (Qur’an 18:31) from Persian Sinai (Qur’an 95:2) from Nabatean The Inscription (Qur’an 18:9) from Greek The Sea (Qur’an 7:136) from Coptic To turn onto someone (Qur’an 7:156) from Hebrew Imam Shafi’i: Natural Linguistic phenomenon - These foreign words in the Qur’an had already been naturalised into the Arabic language Imam Shafi’i: Natural Linguistic phenomenon - These foreign words in the Qur’an had already been naturalised into the Arabic language al-Suyuti: A few foreign words does not make it any less Arabic then the presence of foreign words in a Persian Poem would not make it any less Persian. al-Suyuti: A few foreign words does not make it any less Arabic then the presence of foreign words in a Persian Poem would not make it any less Persian. Additionally the reference to “Plain Arabic…” is to the Qur’an as a whole, and not the individual words in it. Additionally the reference to “Plain Arabic…” is to the Qur’an as a whole, and not the individual words in it.

36 Authorship Theories A Poet? A Poet? A Madman? A Madman? Taught by Others? Taught by Others?

37 A Poet? Claims by Bell, Rodinson and Stobart Claims by Bell, Rodinson and Stobart Bell describes the Prophet as a poet Bell describes the Prophet as a poet “…not of the ordinary type”! Stylistic differences Stylistic differences Non-conformity to the Metrical patterns Non-conformity to the Metrical patterns “This is not the word of a poet! Little faith you have!” Qur’an 69:41

38 A Madman? Claims by San Pedro and the Historian Theophanes Claims by San Pedro and the Historian Theophanes Historian Phillip K. Hitti wrote “The Prophet experienced ecstatic seizures as he received the revelations, giving rise to the charge he was epileptic” Historian Phillip K. Hitti wrote “The Prophet experienced ecstatic seizures as he received the revelations, giving rise to the charge he was epileptic” Even Orientalists like Daniel refute these claims “…epilepsy as applied to the Prophet was the explanation of those who sought to amuse rather than to instruct” Even Orientalists like Daniel refute these claims “…epilepsy as applied to the Prophet was the explanation of those who sought to amuse rather than to instruct” “Do they not reflect and ponder? There is no madness in their companion..” Qur’an 7:194 “Do they not reflect and ponder? There is no madness in their companion..” Qur’an 7:194 Incongruence between medical symptoms an Islamic literature Incongruence between medical symptoms an Islamic literature

39 Taught by Others? Claims by Muir, Margoliouth and others that Baheerah the monk taught the Prophet, allegedly when they met when he was a teenager. Claims by Muir, Margoliouth and others that Baheerah the monk taught the Prophet, allegedly when they met when he was a teenager. Even if the incident is true how can the whole Qur’an be developed from a meeting lasting only a few hours? Even if the incident is true how can the whole Qur’an be developed from a meeting lasting only a few hours? Others such as Menzes and Gardner claim the Qur’an was taught by Salmaan al-Farsee Others such as Menzes and Gardner claim the Qur’an was taught by Salmaan al-Farsee Where did the Prophet get all of the other information before he met the convert Salmaan al-Farsee? Where did the Prophet get all of the other information before he met the convert Salmaan al-Farsee? Other such as Bodly and Gibb claim it was the Arab Christian Qis ibn Sa’eedah. Other such as Bodly and Gibb claim it was the Arab Christian Qis ibn Sa’eedah. They both conveniently forget that this individual died over a century before the Prophets birth! They both conveniently forget that this individual died over a century before the Prophets birth!

40 Conclusion

41 To Conclude… There is a corpus of material available concerning today’s topic There is a corpus of material available concerning today’s topic The Qur’ans claim has been proven and affirmed by western scholarship The Qur’ans claim has been proven and affirmed by western scholarship The Qur’an has shown that it is a unique inimitable Arabic textual construction that has stood the test of time The Qur’an has shown that it is a unique inimitable Arabic textual construction that has stood the test of time Modern authorship theories do not provide adequate evidence and the question of authorship continues to baffle academics Modern authorship theories do not provide adequate evidence and the question of authorship continues to baffle academics The Qur’an is the final testament that doesn’t claim a monopoly on the truth, but claims it is divine and has an unbroken chain The Qur’an is the final testament that doesn’t claim a monopoly on the truth, but claims it is divine and has an unbroken chain This presentation should evoke many questions and provide a fertile ground for a frank and honest discussion This presentation should evoke many questions and provide a fertile ground for a frank and honest discussion

42 Thank you! Email: a_tzortzis@yahoo.com Email: a_tzortzis@yahoo.com Mobile: 07988850946 Mobile: 07988850946 www.theinimitablequran.com www.theinimitablequran.com hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com Alhamdulillahir Rabbil’Alameen [All Praises & Thanks Due to the Lord of the Worlds]

43 References & Further Reading hamzatzortzis.blogspot.comwww.theinimitablequran.comwww.islamic-awareness.org H. Abdul-Raof. 2003. Exploring the Qur'an. Al-Maktoum Institute Academic Press. M. Abdullah Draz. 2001. The Qur'an an Eternal Challenge (al-Naba' al-'Azim).The Islamic Foundation. M. Sells. 2000. A Literary Approach to the Hymnic Surahs of the Qur'an. Curzon Press. Muhammed Abdel Haleem. 2004. The Qur'an: A New Translation. Oxford University Press. Muhammed Abdel Haleem. 1999. Understanding the Qur’an: Themes & Styles. I. B.Tauris Publishers The history of the Qur’anic text from revelation to compilation – A comparative study with old and new testaments, Dr M. M. al-Azami G. Yule. 1985. The Study of Language. Cambridge University Press, p. 52 H. Abul-Raof. 2003. Exploring the Qur’an. Al-Makhtoum Institute Academic Press, p. 38 A. Jeffrey. 1938. The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an. Baroda: Oriental Institute, p. 110 al-Suyuti. 1996. al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Qur’an. Vol. 1. Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Ulum, p. 367 M A S Abdel Haleem Grammatical Shift For The Rhetorical Purposes: Iltifāt And Related Features In The Qur'ān Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1992, Volume LV, Part 3. Approaches to the History of Interpretation of the Qur’an, p 44 Arberry’s translation of the Qur’an, Introduction William Wright. 1955 (1898). A Grammar of the Arabic Language, Vol II, part 4. Cambridge University Press, p. 350-390 Louis Cheikho, Shu’ara' 'al-Nasraniyah, 1890-1891 Bruce Lawrence. Journal of Qur’anic Studies. Vol VII, Issue I 2005. Approximating Saj’ in English Renditions of the Qur’an, p. 64

44 References & Further Reading A Literary Approach to the Hymnic Surahs of the Qur'an: Spirit, Gender and Aural Intertextuality. Curzon Press, p. 3-25; Mitwalli al-Sharawi, The Miracles of the Qur’an. Dar ul Taqwa. See Qur’an 15:45-52 & 12:31-35 for examples of the unique fusion of metrical and non- metrical speech. Guide to Conclusive Proofs for the Principles of Belief, Imam al Haramayn al Juwayni Rhetorical Aspect of the Qur’an, Issa Boulata H Abdul-Raof. 2001. Qur’an Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis. Curzon Press, p. 137 I Boullata. 1988. The Rhetorical Interpretation of the Qur’an: I’jaz and Related Topics. Oxford: Claredon Press, p. 143 R H Abdul-Raof. 2001. Qur’an Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis. Curzon Press, p. 107-108 K Cragg. 1994. The Event of the Qur’an. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oneworld, p. 46 H Abdul-Raof. 2001. Qur’an Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis. Curzon Press, p. 137 Martin Zammit. 2002. A comparative Lexical Study of Qur'anic Arabic. Brill Academic Publishers & R. Bosworth Smith. 2004. Muhammad and Muhammadanism. Kessinger Publishing. Bruce Lawrence, p. 18. The Qur’an: A Biography. 2006. F. F. Arbuthnot. 1885. The Construction of the Bible and the Koran. London, p 5 G. Margoliouth. 1977. Introduction to J.M.Rodwell’s, The Koran. Everyman’s Library, p. vii Ibn Khaldun, Al-Muqaddima, 1406. vol. 3, 375. Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1967, pp. 87 ff. Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1967, pp. 87 ff. Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah 6:320 and Al-Isabah 3:225 A F L Beeston, et al (Ed.), Arabic Literature To The End Of The Ummayyad Period, 1983, CUP, p. 212


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