Surely no religion on the face of the earth makes such bold claims for itself as Islam does. As the commentator of Sahih Muslim states a small portion of those claims:
"Muhammad (may peace be upon him) is the last of the Prophets; his followers are the last of the Ummahs, the Qur'an is the last revealed Book of Allah, and the Shari'ah of Islam is the last of Shari'ahs. On the Day of resurrection, however, the holy Prophet would occupy the highest place of eminence among the Prophets and his Ummah would be distinguished from the other Ummahs." (Vol.2, p. 405, footnote #1126).
Certainly no religion makes a bolder claim for what it asserts is its 'Book'. Yet, the followers of Islam tell us it isn't they who make the claims for the Qur'an, but that the Qur'an' contains the claims. To them that means it is the reliable Word of the True God and must be believed.
Furthermore, the followers of Islam assert that the Qur'an has offered itself for testing for fourteen centuries, and it has stood the test of time, and man.
But, the Qur'an only offers a narrow range of testing to prove its authenticity, and the question does come to mind that even if someone did offer 'a Surah like it', would most in Islam be knowledgeable enough about Arabic to make such an assessment? Anyway, simply on the grounds of their beliefs no devout follower of Islam would acknowledge that another piece of literature could equal the Qur'an.
And, considering that this 'test' was offered to the People of the Book, like the Jews of Muhammad's day, who asked "Muhammad, are you sure this Qur'an came from God? As for us, we do not see it is arranged like the Torah is?" (Sirah of ibn Ishaq, #399), one must question whether the 'test' actually addressed the issue at hand - why was the Qur'an so different.
Further, as to the ability of later generations to 'test' the Qur'an in other ways, if we were frank with one another we might both concede that more often than not through the centuries outsiders and followers of Islam alike have had a rather shallow perception of the state of the Arabic texts of the Qur'an.
So most people have been unable to think further than the proffered 'test' of "produce a Surah like it" simply because they have had to accept what the Qur'an and Islam have told them were the facts about the text. They accepted the claims of 'protection' and 'perfection' as true because they had no other recourse.
The only inkling of possible differences seemed to be evidence for dif
ferences exists far back in its history and this only surfaces in what ancient scholars had recorded as 'the Companion readings', said to come from the different Codices of the Companions. Sometimes the reports about the Codices are claimed to represent only 'personal notebooks' and not the 'original' Qur'anic texts or even their 'readings'. Were there actually different 'original' texts? Islam itself seemed divided.
Even, on the topic of the Qur'an's 'perfection' most people have been unaware of any inconsistency in Islam's proclamation, nor had they been made aware of anything in the officially published texts of the Qur'an (Arabic) which would lead them to come to another conclusion.
Today, however, Islam has set out to tell the World about itself. Learned Islamic scholars are publishing in-depth books on deeper levels of evidence about the Qur'an in which the works of classical Islamic scholars are quoted. Even these classical Islamic works are increasingly being made available either through translations or through copies of the Arabic texts themselves which have been imported for the followers of Islam to study. And so we have been enabled to see for ourselves what the early classical Islamic scholars recorded, and the modern scholars as well.
Finally, today the Arabic texts of the Qur'ans from various regions of the Islamic world are also easily obtainable either through those who come from those regions or through travellers purchasing Qur'ans.
All this knowledge together can allow the testing of Islam's claims about the Qur'an - something most in Islam don't think is wise or necessary. Can it stand the test? Will it prove to be all that it is claimed to be?
Yet, much more than just the Qur'an is involved, for Islam has literally surrounded itself with an aura of 'infallibility'. It claims not only to be following the last prophet and Book, but that everyone else has turned aside from truth, while it, it maintains, possesses the Din which has been the religion of the True God and every prophet since Adam.
This 'infallibility' extends itself into areas which make others appear guilty of even altering history. Some in Islam disagree with all the recorded 'religious' history before Muhammad and further maintain that Adam built the Ka'ba; that Noah built the Ark in Mecca and landed on Mt. Judy (in Israel), thereby laying Islam's claim to a pre-Israeli ownership to that land; etc., etc., etc..
As to the self-confident attitude which arises from all this, to a people claiming that they alone have retained adherence to the Divine truth, and that everyone else has not only distorted, but in fact completely rewritten their
history, Beliefs and 'Book', there is no room for accepting the least evidence that in fact it is Islam which is conveying error.
Despite the fact that this is not 'a religious game', all too often the followers of Islam treat it like it is, even falsely accusing those who would encourage such testing with being 'CIA', or 'FBI', or 'Israeli Secret Police', or 'haters of Islam', instead of acknowledging that they are 'lovers of Truth and of the people of Islam'. (The present writer has a concerned love for the people of Islam.)
The need to rely on such false accusations, such 'scare tactics' does not indicate a people who are confident of their religion or of their Qur'an. Rather it appears more like the reactions of Roman Catholics who are bound by centuries of 'tradition' and a 'priesthood' which does not allow them to consider honestly their condition before God in light of Truth. Only the 'priests' know how to 'rightly divide the religion' - or so they claim.
We realise that in some instances the followers of Islam shout such 'CIA' slogans is
because of what has occurred in the distant past. For example, a recent reading by the present writer of an article on the Internet entitled Islam and the Catholic Crusade Movement in Zanzibar (SEE http://victorian.fortunecity.com/portfolio/543/crusades_in_znz.htm) has made the writer aware of why in the case of Zanzibar - and perhaps also the coastal region of Tanzania and Kenya - one may find such declarations.
It is most likely evidence of fear that it will happen again. To bring understanding on this matter, in the present writing we have included in Appendix D considerable information as to why 'Roman Catholicism' is not 'Christian', and these alone are reason why such followers of Islam need not fear collusion between the 'Catholics' and the 'Protestants'. We encourage our sincere readers to take the message to heart. As for those in Jihad - you are fighting the pagan nations for the nations are not 'Christian'.
However, the truth about 'Catholicism' and the nations does not alter the need of the followers of Islam to examine their own religion carefully and without prejudice. Only Those Who Love Truth will have a desire to do so.
Are you willing to test the Qur'an, and Islam and its claims knowing that Heaven and Hell are at stake? Are you really interested in pleasing the True God more than those around you?
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob grant you the will to do so.
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