Quran: The Paradox Within
This is the Book (the quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon (pious) [Quran. Chapter 2 Verse 2]
Starting off with verses of Quran, I have a definite contention here that is challenging the authenticity of Quran as god’s uncorrupted book.
Quran being an almighty god’s book and nothing more or less than it is the common Muslim belief, so anything added in it from an outside source will be disproving its authenticity as god’s unalterable writ. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam; was getting revelations from his lord and what Quran about is the sum total of words he obtained through divine route.
Belief goes thus and my contention is against it. There are later additions in Quran that can not be attributed to Muhammad, who is said to have been at the receiving end of revelations. I will prove it from within the perimeters of Quran alone not sourcing anything extraneous.
Before embarking the topic, it is necessary to have a precise understanding of what made Quran we have today a possibility or reality. In absence of such awareness, it is going to be tough to grasp how the verses above and necessarily many other verses of Quran are way erroneous and self refuting. So, let us get into the making of Quran first in brief.
How does or how can one view Quran as of a liberal perspective? Theologically speaking, Quran is the holy book of Muslims to which they attribute divinity. It was not made or slowed down in a single night. As of the fundamental outlook of Muslims, Quran was revealed to Muhammad by god via Gabriel as revelations stage by stage. It took 23 or more years for god of Islam to complete the process of revealing his words. So to be succinct, I would say the context of Quran is the last 23 or more years of Muhammad’s life. It never was a book that one could or did write within a single night.
Moreover, there was not a Quran (as we have today) at the time of Islam’s prophet. Or it was not possible to codify alleged words of an “almighty” into one single book during the time of Muhammad for the reason god continued revealing verses after verses. Muslims argue, the words of god as they are revealed to the prophet had been written down at the same time of revelation in then available means. I am not going to either accept or refute this. Fact however is; a single copy of Quran was not available for reference during the time of prophet. The revelations were written down but they never had been unified into being a single book. That is why we see the first and last revealed verses are not sequenced in Quran. The book is an entirety of various verses amalgamated but chaotically. Thence, what we have today A to Z of Quran is a later totaling that did not have the consent of the man to whom the verses were said to have revealed.
Now, Just go through the verses of Quran I quoted to start this article. It is denotative of a paradox within the Quran: If Quran was not in existence (as we have now) during the time of Prophet Muhammad, how could it be possible for god to refer Quran as a book? These verses are not the sole self referral a reader will go through while examining this book. There are a lot more to add to this and quite interestingly, these statements frilled with challenges are also considered to be god’s words. See such a challenge below:
Say: “If the mankind and the djinns were together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.” [Quran: Chapter 17 Verse: 88]
God challenges humankind (and djinns) to produce a Quran. I stress on the word Quran because god is demanding a discomfiting task. If these verses were the last words of god to his beloved prophet, then the claim will have been a little pertinent though not entirely appropriate. According to Mufassirs (Quran interpreters) the last revelation Muhammad had from god is not the above verses, connoting god’s challenge is nonsensical. He should not have made such a challenge until he dispatched his last revelation, or should have waited for his words to get lodged into a single book. And again, this challenge should have been an addendum of Quran not a part of it.
So, my contention is these self referrals and challenges find in Quran are obviously later additions to Quran made by the compilers of it. If I am wrong here, that only results in more reasons to believe Allah was being foolhardy to discharge such and such in quite unbefitting junctures.
Now, for the purpose of reinforcing my contention, I will bring out the verse I quoted earlier again here to scrutinize so a conclusion will be made possible.
We see as early as in the second chapter of Quran:
This is the Book (the quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon (pious) [Chapter 2 Verse 2]
Focus on the verses: what is this book referred here by god? Over again, these verses are not the closing remarks of Quran. They have been revealed to Muhammad much earlier and even after obtaining them from his god, Muhammad got blessed with many more revelations. Yet god speaks of a book that is undoubtedly the guidance for pious believers. Which book? There has not been a book yet, but only fragments that are waiting to get accumulated into one..!
There is more to follow:
When I first issued this in FFI forum, it led to heated debates. Arguments against the contention have been: in verses 2:2 God is not referring a book rather it is of what he managed to reveal till then. Hardly has it held water, because verses 2:2 mention a book that serves as guidance to the whole of pious faithful. If God only managed to reveal few but not all at that time, those readily available will seldom serve as true guidance to the pious, because Quran as a whole is what makes absolute guidance, not few of it. To make the guidance for the whole of pious believers, god should reveal the whole of what he wants to reveal, but this particular declaration of Quran’s dignified status comes much earlier. There is no good reason to believe god was just pointing to few verses that he revealed. God had more to say, and he did say more after revealing those verses.
After all, Allah- the god of Muslims is definitely entitled to proclaim of his work but not before the work is done. If he needs such a long time (23 years) to finish off his work, he can not pop up in the middle with bizarre claims and challenges regarding to it. Let the work be done then discharge whatever he wants to acclaim, but god did not follow this logical route. Instead he went for the erroneous alternative to be too premature to release claims on something that has yet to be finished.
How apposite it could be for god to act so prematurely? He is dispatching his revelations to a seventh century Arab in stages and as early in a stage he releases statements as his own on the very work under process; insisting they are too considered to be the part of his divine writ..!
Is it because Allah is irrationally petulant?
In conclusion: The verses find in Quran referring to itself as Quran or divine writ are not the words god revealed to Muhammad who was at the receiving end. Again, the challenge of “to produce a Quran similar to Quran” too should be considered as not exactly god’s own. Quran itself or the “making of Quran in stages as it is stated in it” is very much evidential to this conclusion.