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Is the Quran the Word of God? No - An Academic perspective from a Christian Apologist

Is the Quran the Word of God? No - An Academic perspective from a Christian Apologist

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Published by Tyler
Polemic against the Quran, accuratly sumarises the textual criticisim discussion of the Quran.
Polemic against the Quran, accuratly sumarises the textual criticisim discussion of the Quran.

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Published by: Tyler on Jul 31, 2009
Copyright:Public Domain

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02/05/2013

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Position Paper :Is the Quran Divine and Unaltered?Dr.James SmithHyde Park Chrstian FellowshipSmith Vs Dr. Bedawi1995
 
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"Is the Qur'an the Word of God?" - Part 1
Islam claims that the Qur'an is not only God's Word, but that it is the finalrevelation given to humanity. It comes from the "Mother of all books"according to sura 43:2-4. Muslims maintain that the Qur'an is an exactword-for-word copy of God's final revelation which is found on theoriginal tablets that have always existed in heaven. They point to sura85:21-22 which says, "Nay this is a glorious Qur'an, (inscribed) in a tablet preserved." Islamic scholars contend that this passage refers to the tabletswhich were never created. They believe that the Qur'an is an identical copyof the eternal heavenly book, even so far as the punctuation, titles anddivisions of chapters are concerned.According to Muslim tradition, these revelations' began to be sent down(Tanzil or Nazil) (sura 17:85), to the lowest of the seven heavens in themonth of Ramadan, during the night of power or destiny (lailat al Qadr)(Pfander, 1910:262). From there they were revealed to Muhammad ininstalments, as need arose, via the angel Gabriel (sura 25:32).Consequently, every letter and every word is free from any humaninfluence, which gives the Qur'an an aura of authority, even holiness, andwith such, its integrity.It is only now, as secular scholars of Islam (known as "Orientalists") re-examine the Islamic sources, that evidence is being uncovered which putsinto question much of what we have been led to believe concerningMuhammad and his revelation,' the Qur'an.The findings of these scholars indicate that the Qur'an was not revealed to just one man, but was a compilation of later redactions (or editions)formulated by a group of men, over the course of a few hundred years(Rippin 1985:155; and 1990:3,25, 60). In other words, the Qur'an whichwe read today is not that which was in existence in the mid-seventhcentury, but was more than likely a product of the eighth and ninthcenturies (Wansbrough 1977:160-163). It was at this time, the Orientalistssay, particularly in the ninth century, that Islam took on its classicalidentity and became that which is recognizable today. Consequently, theformative stage of Islam, they contend, was not within the lifetime of 
 
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Muhammad but evolved over a period of 200-300 years (Humphreys1991:71, 83-89).Source material for this period, however, is sparse. Essentially the onlysources which had been available to the historians were Muslim sources.What is more, outside the Qur'an,' the sources are all late. Prior to 750A.D. we have no verifiable Muslim documents which can give us awindow into this formative period of Islam (Wansbrough 1978:58-59). Nothing exists with which to corroborate Muslim Tradition' material (thatis, Islamic history based on their traditions). Later documents simply drawupon earlier documents, which no longer exist today (if indeed theyexisted at all) (Crone 1987:225-226; Humphreys 1991:73). This classical period (around 800 A.D.) describes the earlier period, but from its ownviewpoint, much like an adult, writing about their childhood will tend toremember those areas which were pleasant. Thus, the account is coloured,and biased, and as such cannot be accepted as authentic by historicalscholars (refer to Crone's studies on the problems of the traditions,'especially those which were dependent on local storytellers, in MeccanTrade....1987, pp.203-230 and Slaves on Horses, 1980, pp. 3-17).Consequently, the demarcation line between what the historian will acceptand that which Muslim Traditions maintain is growing further apart for thefollowing reasons: Islam, according to orthodox Muslim scholars, givescomplete credence to divine intervention for its revelation. MuslimTradition asserts that Allah sent down his revelation to Muhammad via theangel Gabriel (Jibril) over a period of twenty-two years (610-632 A.D.), inwhich time many of the laws and traditions which delineate that which wedefine as Islam were formulated and worked out.Yet it is this scenario which secular historians are balking at today, as it presupposes that in the early seventh century, Islam, a religion of immensesophistication, of intricate laws and traditions was formulated in a backward' nomadic culture and became fully functional in only twenty twoyears.The Hijaz (central Arabia) before that time was hardly known in thecivilized world. Even the later traditions refer to this period as Jahiliyya(or period of ignorance, implying its backwardness). Arabia beforeMuhammad did not have an urbanized culture, nor could it boast asophisticated infrastructure needed to create, let alone maintain thescenario painted by the later traditions for the early period of Islam

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