By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
31 May 2021
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
Inserting Reconciliatory Verses Or Removing Others That On Face Value Promote Violence Or Malign Others Is Not Any New Issue
1. Qur’anic pronouncements serve as irrefutable proof of the integrity of its text.
2. Prophet’s immediate successors were as intense in their faith in the Qur’an as their predecessors during the Prophet’s lifetime.
3. Qur’an features scores of verses exhorting the followers of the Prophet to fight against their pagan attackers and violators of treaty and those who first attacked them and expelled them from their homelands.
Inserting reconciliatory verses or removing others that on face value promote violence or malign others is not any new issue. As the Qur’an testifies, even the Prophet Muhammad was under pressure from his Meccan foes to make some alterations in the Qur’an as it was under revelation. The Qur’an responded with the following declaration:
“If he (Muhammad) attributed to Us any false speech (69:44), We would seize him by the right hand (45), then We would sever his aorta (46) and none of you could prevent it (69:47).
As the Prophet’s followers held him in utmost veneration, the gravity of this warning, however symbolic it may be, heightened their spiritual consciousness to ensuring the integrity of the revealed passages as they memorized them.
These Qur’anic pronouncements serve as irrefutable proof of the integrity of its text. Had there been any alteration in the Qur’an, the Prophet’s enemies as well as the general Arab public would not have embraced Islam during his lifetime as they would have seen the Qur’an failing in its above claim that was repeated several time in general terms as listed / referenced below:
“The Words of your Lord will be fulfilled truthfully and justly: none can change His Words, for He is All-Knowing and Aware” (6:115);
“Surely We have sent down this Reminder, and surely. We will protect (preserve) it” (15:9)..[Also proclaimed with immaculate consistency in the verses 6:34, 18:27, 41:42]
“Nay! This is a Glorious Qur'an (85:21). (Inscribed) in a Tablet (well) guarded (lauh al-mahfuz) (against corruption)” (85:22)
Even if, for the sake of argument, the prevalent historical setting prevented the Arabs from dismissing the Qur’an if it were altered during the 23 year span of revelation, they would have definitely rejected it immediately after the Prophet’s death. However, this did not happen. The Prophet’s immediate successors were as intense in their faith in the Qur’an as their predecessors during the Prophet’s lifetime.
Thus there can be no iota of doubt that the Qur’an was handed down to the Prophet’s successors and through them to the posterity in its original form.
From a different perspective, the Qur’an puts an eternal seal of authenticity in its very opening declaration - Zalikal Kitabu La Raiba Fih [“this is an edict/book that is free from any doubts.”] Any doctoring of the Qur’an at any point in history will invalidate this opening claim and create doubts about its authenticity as word of God. Thus the Qur’an leaves no cards in the hands of its potential detractors of history to corrupt its text.
With This We Come To The Verses Of The Qur’an That Allegedly Promote Violence.
The Qur’an features scores of verses exhorting the followers of the Prophet to fight against their pagan attackers and violators of treaty alliances, and those who first attacked them and expelled them from their homelands. These verses were specific to the context of the revelation and do not form a part of its clearly stated tenets of guidance to humanity. They must, however, be retained in the Qur’an to attest to the defensive character of the Prophetic mission, the principles of justice and moderation in warfare (allowing severe action as an exception rather than rule) and the granting of security to fleeing civilians and non-combatants caught in the war . However, the Qur’an moderates its fighting verses with reconciliatory verses. Thus, a passage dating from the late Medinite period asks the Muslims to be just and virtuous to those who did not fight against them over religion, nor expelled them from their homelands (60:8), and reminds them that their enemies could eventually become their friends (60:7). The revelation also clarifies that it forbade the Muslims to befriend only those who fought against them over religion, and expelled them from their homelands and helped (others) in their expulsion (60:9).
God does not forbid you to be virtuous and just to those who did not fight you over religion, nor drove you from your homelands. Indeed, God loves the just (60:8). God only forbids you to befriend those who fought against you over religion, and expelled you from your homelands, and backed (others) in your expulsion; and whoever befriends them – it is they who are unjust” (60:9).
In light of foregoing, any suggestion to make any alteration to the Qur’an – let alone deleting some of its verses is simply childish if not malicious, politically motivated and the brainchild of one who has abjured reason and is mentioned in the Qur’an in these words:
“The worst kind of all living creatures in God’s sight are the deaf and dumb, who do not use reason” (8:22).
It is hoped that this clarification will assuage the anger of the Indian Muslims for one Waseem Rizvi or a thousand of them writing in unison cannot dismiss the Qur’an as a corrupted book. So they must take him as an amateur if not mentally demented as a Muslim (assuming he has read the Qur’an back to back) and pray that he realizes his colossal folly, seeks forgiveness of God and honourably withdraws his petition.
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
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