Watt, Bell and Hewer on the preservation of the Qur’an

Is the Qur’an that we have today the Qur’an that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

William Montgommery Watt was a historian and Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Edinburgh University. Considered one of the most influential Western thinkers on Islam by non-Muslims and Muslims alike he was indeed a revered personality in the field of Islamic studies.

Richard Bell was a scholar of the Arabic language at Edinburgh University who was and remain as an important source of reference for those interested in the field of Qur’anic studies especially those who are in the business of critiquing the Qur’an.

Chris T. Hewer is grounded in Christian theology, Islamic studies and education. He is the St. Ethelburga Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations in London.

The following are excerpts of views on the Qur’an by the above mentioned non-Muslim scholars two of whom(Watt & Bell) are very critical commentators on the Qur’an who do not shy from making critical remarks about it. None of them ever believed in the tenets of Islam. One can easily conclude that they had no hidden motives to promote Islam.

Is the Qur’an that we have today the same as the Qur’an in the time of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.?

Watt & Bell:  “The very fact that varying and even contradictory deliverances have been preserved is strong proof that, with perhaps minor exceptions, we have the whole of what was revealed to Muhammad [1] (emphasis added)

“On general grounds then, it may be concluded that the ‘Uthmanic revision was honestly carried out, and reproduced, as closely as was possible to the men in charge of it, what Muhammad had delivered.” [2]

How can Allah have a son without a consort?

What does it mean when the Qur’an says “how can Allah have a son without a consort”

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The verse in question reads as follows:

بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَّهُ صَٰحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“the Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could it be that He should have a child without there ever having been a mate for Him – since it is He who has created everything, and He alone knows everything?” (6:101)

Many detractors of Islam including Christian missionaries will usually claim that the above contradicts the story of Mary’s virginal conception whereby she conceives and gives birth to a son without a consort. If it is possible for Mary to have a son without a consort why would it not be so for Allah? The question might seem rather difficult for the uninitiated at first sight but upon further analysis the smokescreen disappears. Mary can have a son without a husband because Allah is the one who granted her that privilege and she was able to carry Jesus in her womb for nine months and thereafter gave birth to him which was a process that legitimately made him her son. How would Allah go through such a process when He has no partner to go through what Mary did and neither does He have the anatomical makeup which Mary as a human being did to have an actual ‘son’. Glory be to Allah and high above is He from such similitude. The Qur’an makes it perfectly clear that “there is nothing like unto Him”(al-Shura, chp. 40, verse 11). Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani in his commentary on the Qur’an writes:

“It is strange that the people devise sons for God without a consort. Even the Christians cannot dare say that Mary is the wife of God, though they believe that Jesus is the son of God.  When this is not the case then how that child, who is born of Mary’s body, became the son of God? Other children of the world are also created by God from the bodies of their mothers and those children are not called the progeny of God. The difference between methods of creation – that Jesus was created only by the breath of Gabraeel without the habitual means and other children come into this world under natural laws does not involve the problem of fatherhood or sonship. Whether causes and effects or miracles – all are creted by God, and He knows best how and when and where a certain thing should be created.” [1]

Does the Qur’an misrepresent the Trinity?

Does the Qur’an reject the Trinity?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

One of the common objections levelled against the Qur’an is that it misrepresents the doctrine of the Trinity, hence facilitating the way for the Christian polemic that the Qur’an in no way admonishes Christians for their Trinitarian doctrine. There are three verses that are often cited from the Qur’an to support this objection:

“O people of the Book, be not excessive in your Faith, and do not say about Allah anything but the truth. The MasīH ‘Īsā, the son of Maryam, is only a Messenger of Allah, and His Word that He had delivered to Maryam, and a spirit from Him. So, believe in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say “Three”. Stop it. That is good for you. Allah is the only One God. He is far too pure to have a son. To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is enough to trust in.” (4:171)

“Surely, disbelievers are those who say, “Allah is the third of the three” while there is no god but One God. If they do not desist from what they say, a painful punishment shall certainly befall such disbelievers.” (5:73)

“And when Allah said, “O ‘Īsā, son of Maryam, did you say to the people: ‘Take me and my mother as gods beside Allah?” He said, “Pure are You, it does not behoove me to say what is not right for me. Had I said it, You would have known it. You know what is in my heart, and I do not know what is in Your’s. You alone have full knowledge of all that is unseen.” (5:116)

We will go through the verses one by one and prove that the Qur’an neither misrepresents nor silently concurs with the Trinity as some Christian detractors frequently claim. We will prove that the Qur’an clearly and explicitly denounces the Trinity in whatever form that it may appear.

“And when Allah said, “O ‘Īsā, son of Maryam, did you say to the people: ‘Take me and my mother as gods beside Allah?” He said, “Pure are You, it does not behoove me to say what is not right for me. Had I said it, You would have known it. You know what is in my heart, and I do not know what is in Your’s. You alone have full knowledge of all that is unseen.” (5:116)

The claim that is made regarding the above verse is that it specifically rejects a kind of Trinity consisting of Jesus, Mary and Allah which is certainly not the Trinity of mainstream Christianity. This claim however is without much substance as the verse does not say that this is any form of a Trinity belonging to any particular sect of Christianity. Secondly, even if one were to agree for the sake of argument that the above verse is indeed referring to a form of Trinity consisting of Jesus, Mary and Allah(that is God) then we will point out that there were such groups that existed which believed in such a doctrine. We will go further into this later in the article. The current verse is essentially denying that neither Jesus nor Mary are divine in any way. Dr. Louay Fatoohi writes:

Aaron sacrificed to Satan?

The sacrifice made to Satan by Aaron as “divinely” ordained

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

Would Christians be surprised to learn that the Bible depicts Aaron as being commanded by God to give something valuable to Satan? In fact, in this article I will contend that there is enough to show that it was not merely the giving of something, but it was actually a kind of sacrificial rite that was offered. Yes, there is a sacrificial rite unto Satan according to the Bible. This sacrificial rite is connected to the process of atonement of sins as we shall see.

“And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel.” (Leviticus 16:8)

The context of the above as anyone who is familiar with the book should know is the method of atoning for sins whereby two goats are chosen as a sin offering. One might wonder, “Where does it mention Satan?” Well, the verse itself does not specifically mention the word Satan, but another word or rather name is used to represent the devil or Satan which is Azazel. We will provide more details on this in due course. A fundamentalist Christian at this point would immediately scramble and put together an argument in his head which goes along the the following lines, “The two goats are meant for different things. They should not be conflated into one as if they were intertwined and thereafter provide a basis for the suggestion that Satan is involved in the work of atonement. The goat sent to Azazel is not the offering. The offering was made only to the Lord”  Such musings need not be dissected in order to be refuted. One need only cite verse five from the same context which says, “And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.” This verse shows that both goats are meant as ‘offerings’. The verse also shows that one must not be given in the absent of another, hence Barnes’ Notes of the Bible states that “the two goats formed a single sin-offering.”

“Mary, the sister of Aaron”

Does the Qur’an commit an anachronism by saying that Mary is the sister of Aaron?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

The Qur’anic verse in question is from Surah Maryam(19), verse 28:

يٰأُخْتَ هَارُونَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ ٱمْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيّاً

“O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a loose woman!”

The first thing that should be noted by anyone who is interested in really understanding the verse is that it does not say, “O Mary, mother of Jesus who sister of Aaron and Moses and the daughter of Amram”. If it had said that then the detractors of the Qur’an would have a good case against Islam and its primary text. But as any child can gather the verse simply says, “O sister of Aaron”. Those who charge that the Qur’an is confused between Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary the sister of Aaron and Moses are often Christians. Can a single Christian prove from their Bible beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mary the mother of Jesus certainly did not have a brother named Aaron? There is not a single verse anywhere in the Bible which says Mary was the one and only child of her parents. The relentless Christian detractor refusing to lose will then resort to Surah al-Imran, verse 35 which talks about “the wife of Imran”(the father of Moses, Aaron and Mary).

Does Allah pray? If yes then who does He pray to?

Refuting the nonsense that Allah prays for Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

    A couple of days ago I was chatting with some Christians who brought up this issue. One of them was arguing that Allah worships or prays on or for Muhammad s.a.w. according to the Qur’an. This contention was popularised by the Christian polemicist Sam Shamoun and his ilk. It is no doubt a reaction to Muslims who argue against the alleged divinity of Jesus Christ by pointing out that he prayed to God. The argument essentially postulates that if a person prays to God then that disqualifies him from divinity. In many Christians’ mindset by arguing that Allah prays on Muhammad that refutes the Muslims’ postulation on Jesus and his prayerful disposition, that is, Allah prays and yet he’s still God hence if Jesus prays that means he is no less divine than Allah. In this article we will illustrate that the argument propounded by Shamoun and his ilk stems from a profound ignorance and misunderstanding of the Arabic language and linguistics in general.

James White laughs at Dr. William Lane Craig

Dr. William Lane Craig’s analogy of the Trinity gets laughed at by James White

I almost never post youtube or any other videos, but I think this one is worth a place on Unveiling Christianity. Enjoy.

In summary:

Dr. William Lane Craig: The Trinity is like a three headed  dog from hell

Dr. James White : Bwahahahahahahahahaha