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One man vs many men

Reader comment on item: Study the Koran?
in response to reader comment: Prashant: Surat al-Rahman deconstructed and Ibn Abi Kabsha aka Muhammad

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Jul 8, 2022 at 14:22

Dear Dr Pipes,

DNM's deconstruction of Surat al-Rahman prompted me to write this message. It is going to be a bit blasphemous and I will try to be humble. At one point in his deconstruction DNM said, "And Gabriel comes to the rescue and Surat al-Rahman was "revealed."".

DNM is not the first one to point out that many Quranic verses were 'revealed' to Muhammad opportunistically as he needed them. In fact, one of Muhammad's own wives was the first one to tell him that his revealed verses were opportunistic. This happened when, to his existing wives' understandable consternation, Allah, opportunistically, allowed Muhammad to bring in more than the surviving four.

It might look like a small matter to all of us but it is very significant. Islam claims the Quran to be the final world of God. It even claims that while the Jewish and Christian bibles are corrupted words of God, the Quran is the only authentic version of the God's words. I believe that the Christian and Jewish sources agree that more than one human/saint/prophet was involved in the compilation of the Bible. Either these wise people themselves wrote the books or the God arranged for them to write them.

The fact that more than one humans were involved in the writing of Bible gives me a lot of security and comfort: Many wise people were chosen by God to listen and report. These people did not have the freedom to come up with novel ideas for their personal gains. I presume they were continuously "refereed" by lots of "editors" around them. They were most likely acted for some global good because they did not have freedom to act for their personal good.

The authorship of the Quran, on the other hand, gives me no comfort about its authenticity. The Quran was a private matter between Allah, Gabriel, and Muhammad. None of us has ever been able to contact Gabriel or Allah directly (or else we will also become prophets and Muhammad will not remain the last prophet). So when it comes to Quran, Muhammad alone was the jury, judge, court and counsel. How much can we trust Muhammad when he was so amenable to his personal material gains (as indicated by Aisha) or the material gains of the community?

The Quran borrows heavily from the Jewish and Christian bibles but, sadly, even as a modified/improved edition of the bibles, it is less trustworthy. Even if I do not fully trust myself, I must trust Aisha who told the truth as she lived through it. As always, I would like to be corrected by the Islamic scholarship.


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