The Message of Islam to Humankind

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Preservation of the Revelation Received by the Prophets Muhammad and Jesus

By:
Dr. Ahmad Shafaat

(First published in the Journal of the Muslim Research Institute, July-August 2001, Vol. 5, No. 2)


(© Copyright: Ahmad Shafaat 2001)

                    The booklet may be reproduced for Da`wa purpose with proper references.

Please pray for the mercy of God for the author.


Contents

Introduction

Part 1: REVELATION RECEIVED BY PROPHET MUHAMMAD

The Qur'an

            A general but conclusive argument against allegations of alteration

            “Collection” after the death of the Prophet

            Copies made under ‘Uthman

            Alleged verses about ‘Ali or the Umayyads

            Alleged verse about stoning for adultery

            Other allegations

            Non-Muslim writers

The Hadith

Part 2: REVELATION RECEIVED BY PROPHET JESUS         

Extensive observable alterations at every stage

Christian responses to the unreliability of most gospel reports

SUMMARY

Part 3. APPENDICES

I:   Pre-Islamic and Islamic Arabic script

II:  The nature of provable variants of the Qur'an

            Written text

            Comparison with the New Testament

            Recitation

            A simple mathematical calculation

            The original can be completely recovered

            Provable variants may be considered a part of revelation

III: Seven ahruf

            Examining the reliability of the ahadith about ahruf

            Difficulty in interpreting the seven ahruf

            Wide disagreement among scholars

            The positive message in the ahadith about ahruf

Christian missionaries’ rejection of the ahaditth about ahruf: an example of double standards

IV. Detailed examination of some alleged variants without textual support

V: Earliest Qur'an manuscripts

VI: Some theological comments

            The promise of preservation

            The function of traditions alleging variations

            The function of provable variants

Introduction

Muslims believe that the revelation brought by the Prophet Muhammad consisted of the verbal teachings as well as actions. The Qur’an and the Hadith, the sources of this revelation, contain both the teachings delivered through the Prophet Muhammad and the reports of, or references to events in his life. Muslims further believe that the Qur'an was memorized during the life of the Prophet and recited in prayers with exactly the same text in which it has come down to us. The reliability of Hadith however is not asserted with the same degree of certainty.

Christians also believe that Jesus' words and works formed part of the Christian revelation. The sources of these revelatory words and works are primarily the Gospels. Sometimes the Gospels are compared with the Qur'an. Christians also often compare Jesus himself with the Qur'an. But actually neither comparison is adequate. The Gospels should be compared with the Hadith and Jesus should be compared with Muhammad. The Qur'an should be compared, if at all, with the revelatory sayings and deeds of Jesus, had they been written down under the supervision of Jesus and then passed on to us.

In this article I briefly discuss the historical question of the extent to which the revelations received by Muhammad and Jesus have been preserved.

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