Rajab 1424 H
Volume 16-09 No : 201
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Islam is not the name of some unique religion presented for the first time by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who should, on that account be called the founder of Islam.
By Dr. Zakir Naik
The Qur’an states that Islam - the complete submission of man before his one and only Unique Creator - is the one and only faith and way of life consistently revealed by God to humankind from the very beginning. Noah, Solomon, David, Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jesus - prophets who appeared at different times and places - all propagated the same faith and conveyed the same message of Tawheed (Oneness of God), Risaalat (Prophethood) and Aakhirah (the Hereafter). These prophets of God were not founders of different religions to be named after them. They were each reiterating the message and faith of their predecessors.
However, Muhammad (pbuh) was the last Prophet of God. God revived through him the same genuine faith which had been conveyed by all His Prophets. This original message was earlier corrupted and split into various religions by people of different ages, who indulged in interpolations and admixture. These alien elements were eliminated by God, and Islam - in its pure and original form - was transmitted to humankind through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Since there was to be no messenger after Muhammad (pbuh), the Book revealed to him (i.e. the Qur’an) was preserved word for word so that it should be a source of guidance for all times.
The miracle of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), i.e. the Qur’an, is for all times
All the previous Prophets of God were sent only to their people and their nation and their complete message was meant for a particular time period. Therefore the miracles they performed such as parting of sea by Prophet Moses (pbuh), giving life to the dead by Prophet Jesus (pbuh), etc. convinced the people of that time but these miracles cannot be analyzed and verified by us today.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final Messenger of God, sent for the whole of humankind and the message he delivered is for eternity. The Qur’an says:
“We sent you (Prophet Muhammad) not but as a mercy for all creatures.” (Al-Qur’an 21:107)
Therefore the miracle of the last and final Messenger should also be everlasting, examinable and verifiable by people of all ages, after its revelation. Though Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed several miracles as are mentioned in the Hadith (recorded traditions, sayings and actions of the Prophet), he never emphasized them. Though we Muslims believe in these miracles we only boast of the ultimate miracle given to him by Almighty God, which is the Qur’an.
Al-Qur’an is the miracle of all times which proved itself to be a miracle 1400 years ago and which can be reconfirmed today and forever. In short, it is the Miracle of Miracles.
Many people have a misconception that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the founder of the religion of Islam. However, Islam is in existence since the first man (Prophet Adam) first set foot on earth. Since then, Almighty God sent several prophets and revelations, the last in this chain being Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur’an.
Three options regarding authorship of the Qur’an
Probably, the only point of agreement amongst those who have the slightest knowledge of the Qur’an irrespective of whether they are Muslims or not, is that the Qur’an was recited for the first time by a man who was born in Makkah in Arabia in the 6th century (C.E.) by the name of Muhammad (pbuh).
Regarding the sources of the Qur’an there can be three basic assumptions for a non-Muslim:
Muhammad (pbuh) was not the author of the Qur’an
1. Muhammad (pbuh) never claimed the authorship of the Qur’an
It is highly abnormal to challenge the testimony of someone who disclaims responsibility for producing a great work, whether literary, scientific or other. Yet this is precisely what orientalists and others, who are suspicious about the origins of the Qur’an, do when they claim that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the author of the Glorious Qur’an.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never ever claimed responsibility for originating it. He honestly said that it was Allah who revealed this Scripture to him. To think otherwise is illogical because it would mean that he was telling a lie.
From history we learn that between his youth and the prophetic mission that commenced at the age of 40, he had never been known to lie. He was so well known for his truthfulness, honesty and chastity that he was given the title “Al-Ameen” i.e. “The trust worthy” by friends and foes alike. Then why should he lie at the age of 40 while claiming to be a messenger of God?
It is interesting to note however, that although many of the Meccan Pagans rejected Islam and regarded the Prophet as a liar, they nevertheless trusted him and deposited their valuables with him for safe-keeping. This is apparent from the fact that when the Prophet decided to leave Makkah to foil an assassination attempt on him, he left the valuables with Hazrat Ali (R.A.) to distribute it to the rightful owners.
Once when Abu Sufiyan, one of the pagan chiefs of Makkah, went to Emperor Heraclius to ask for his support against the Prophet, on being questioned whether the Prophet had been accused of lying, prior his to claim to be a Prophet or whether he had betrayed his trust, Abu Sufiyan the arch enemy of the Prophet had to answer “No”. Thus even his opponents acknowledged his sincerity, truthfulness and honesty.
What logical reason can a person think of, for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to lie while stating that he was a Prophet and not the author of the Qur’an?
(To be continued)
The author, Dr. Zakir Naik, is a well-known orator and scholar of Comparative Religion. He is the President of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )
Bangalore: Dr Zakir Naik delivered two talks in Bangalore’s Quddus Sahib Eidgah on Aug 23-24 at the Inviattion of Centre for Religious Studies. the Talks titled “The Quran, the Bible in the light of Science” and “Terrorism and Jihad.” Nearly 6,000 people including 1,500 women participated in the two lecturers. The talks were followed by open session with scores of Non-Muslim brethren clarifying their doubts and coming out with oft-repeated alligations in the media.