|Proof of Authenticity: An Aproach
be stressed here that the Qur'an is accurate about many,
many things, but accuracy does not necessarily mean that
a book is a divine revelation. In fact, accuracy is only
one of the criteria for divine revelations. For instance,
the telephone book is accurate, but that does not mean
that it is divinely revealed.
The real problem lies in that one must establish some
proof of the source the Qur'an's information. The
emphasis is in the other direction, in that the burden of
proof is on the reader. One cannot simply deny the
Qur'an's authenticity without sufficient proof. If,
indeed, one finds a mistake, then he has the right to
disqualify it. This is exactly what the Qur'an
Once a man came up to me after a lecture I delivered
in South Africa. He was very angry about what I had said,
and so he claimed, "I am going
to go home tonight and find a mistake in the
Qur'an." Of course, I said, "Congratulations. That is the most
intelligent thing that you have said."
Certainly, this is the approach Muslims need to take with
those who doubt the Qur'an's authenticity, because the
Qur'an itself offers the same challenge.
And inevitably, after accepting it's challenge and
discovering that it is true, these people will come to
believe it because they could not disqualify it. In
essence, the Qur'an earns their respect because they
themselves have had to verify its authenticity.
An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough
concerning the authenticity of the Qur'an is that one's
inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not
require his acceptance of the phenomenon's existence or
another person's explanation of it.Specifically, just
because one cannot explain something does not mean that
one has to accept someone else's explanation.
However, the person's refusal of other explanations
reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a
feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous
concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the
Qur'anic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one
who says, "I do not believe
it." At the onset of refusal one immediately
has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he
feels others' answers are inadequate.
In fact, in one particular Qur'anic verse which I have
always seen mistranslated into English,God mentions a man
who heard the truth explained to him. It states that he
was derelict in his duty because after he heard the
information, he left without checking the verity of what
he had heard.
In other words, one is guilty if he hears something
and does not research it and check to see whether it is
true. One is supposed to process all information and
decide what is garbage to be thrown out and what is
worthwhile information to be kept and benefitted from
immediately or even at a later date.
One cannot just let it rattle around in his head. It
must be put in the proper categories and approached from
that point of view. For example, if the information is
still speculatory, then one must discern whether it's
closer to being true or false. But if all the facts have
been presented, then one must decide absolutely between
these two options. And even if one is not positive about
the authenticity of the information, he is still required
to process all the information and make the admission
that he just does not know for sure.
Although this last point appears to be futile, in
actuality, it is beneficial to the arrival at a positive
conclusion at a later time in that it forces the person
to at least recognize, research and review the facts.
This familiarity with the information will give the
person "the edge" when future discoveries are
made and additional information is presented. The
important thing is that one deals with the facts and does
not simply discard them out of empathy and disinterest.
Exhausting the Alternatives
The real certainty about the truthfulness of the
Qur'an is evident in the confidence which is prevalent
throughout it; and this confidence comes from a different
approach - "Exhausting the alternatives." In
essence, the Qur'an states,
"This book is a divine revelation; if you do not
believe that, then what is it?" In other
words, the reader is challenged to come up with some
other explanation. Here is a book made of paper and ink.
Where did it come from? It says it is a divine
revelation; if it is not, then what is its source? The
interesting fact is that no one has yet come up with an
explanation that works. In fact, all alternatives have
bee exhausted. As has been well established by
non-Muslims, these alternatives basically are reduced to
two mutually exclusive schools of thought, insisting on
one or the other.
On one hand, there exists a large group of people who
have researched the Qur'an for hundreds of years and who
claim, "One thing we know for
sure - that man, Muhammad (s), thought he was a prophet.
He was crazy!" They are convinced that
Muhammad (s) was fooled somehow. Then on the other hand,
there is a group which alleges,
"Because of this evidence, one thing we know for
sure is that that man, Muhammad (s) was a liar!"
Ironically, these two groups never seem to get together
In fact, many references to Islam usually claim both
theories. They start out by stating that Muhammad (s) was
crazy and then end by saying he was a liar. They never
seem to realize that he could not have been both! For
example, if one is deluded and really thinks that he is a
prophet, then he does not sit up late at night planning, "How will I fool the people tomorrow
so that they think I am a prophet?" He truly
believes that he is a prophet, and he trusts that the
answer will be given to him by revelation.
The Critic's Trail
As a matter of fact, a great deal of the Qur'an came
in answer to questions. Someone would ask Muhammad (s) a
question,and the revelation would come with the answer to
it. Certainly, if one is crazy and believes that an angel
put words in his ear, then when someone asks him a
question, he thinks that the angel will give him the
answer. Because he is crazy, he really thinks that. He
does not tell someone to wait a short while and then run
to his friends and ask them, "Does
anyone know the answer?"
This type of behavior is characteristic of one who
does not believe that he is a prophet. What the
non-Muslims refuse to accept is that you cannot have it
both ways. One can be deluded, or he can be a liar. He
can br either one or neither one, but he certainly cannot
be both! The emphasis is on the fact that they are
unquestionably mutually exclusive personality traits.
The following scenario is a good example of the kind
of circle that non-Muslims go around in constantly. If
you ask one of them, "What is
the origin of the Qur'an?" He tells you that
it originated from the mind of a man who was crazy. Then
you ask him, "If it came from
his head, then where did he get the information contained
in it? Certainly the Qur'an mentions many things with
which the Arabs were not familiar."
So in order to explain the fact which you bring him,
he changes his position and says,
"Well, maybe he was not crazy. Maybe some foreigner
brought him the information. So he lied and told people
that he was a prophet." At this point then
you have to ask him, "If
Muhammad was a liar, then where did he get his
confidence? Why did he behave as though he really thought
he was a prophet?"
Finally backed into a corner, like a cat he quickly
lashes out with the first response that comes to his
mind. Forgetting that he has already exhausted that
possibility, he claims, "Well,
maybe he wasn't a liar. He was probably crazy and really
thought that he was a prophet." And thus he
begins the futile cycle again.
As has already been mentioned, there is much
information contained in the Qur'an whose source cannot
be attributed to anyone other than God. For example, who
told Muhammad (s) about the wall of Dhul-Qarnayn - a
place hundreds of miles to the north?
Who told him about embryology? When people assemble
facts such as these, if they are not willing to attribute
their existence to a divine source, they automatically
resort to the assumption someone brought Muhammad (s) the
information and that he used it to fool the people.
However, this theory can easily be disproved with one
simple question: "If Muhammad
(s) was a liar, where did he get his confidence? Why did
he tell some people out right to their face what others
could never say?"Such confidence depends
completely upon being convinced that one has a true
A Revelation - Abu Lahab
Prophet Muhammad (s) had an uncle by the name of Abu
Lahab. This man hated Islam to such an extent that he
used to follow the Prophet around in order to discredit
him. If Abu Lahab saw the Prophet (s) speaking to a
stranger, he would wait until they parted and the would
go to the stranger and ask him,
"What did he tell you? Did he say, 'Black'? Well,
it's white. Did he say 'morning'? Well, it's night."
He faithfully said the exact opposite of whatever he
heard Muhammad (s) and the Muslims say. However, about
ten years before Abu Lahab died, a little chapter in the
Qur'an (Surah al-Lahab, 111) was revealed about him.It
distinctly stated that he would go to the fire (i.e.,
Hell). In other words, it affirmed that he would never
become a Muslim and would therefore be condemned forever.
For ten years all Abu Lahab had to do was say, "I
heard that it has been revealed to Muhammad that I will
never change - that I will never become a Muslim and will
enter the Hellfire. Well, I want to become Muslim now.
How do you like that? What do you think of your divine
revelation now?" But he never did that. And yet,
that is exactly the kind of behavior one would have
expected from him since he always sought to contradict
In essence, Muhammad (s) said,"You
hate me and you want to finish me? Here, say these words,
and I am finished. Come on,say them!" But Abu
Lahab never said them. Ten years! And in all that time he
never accepted Islam or even became sympathetic to the
How could Muhammad (s) possibly have known for sure
that Abu Lahab would fulfil the Qur'anic revelation if he
(i.e., Muhammad) was not truly the messenger of God? How
could he possibly have been so confident as to give
someone 10 years to discredit his claim of prophethood?
The only answer is that he was God's messenger; for in
order to put forth such a risky challenge, one has to be
entirely convinced that he has a divine revelation.
Another example of the confidence which Muhammad (s)
had in his own prophethood and consequently in the divine
protection of himself and his message is when he left
Makkah and hid in a cave with Abu Bakr (ra) during their
emigration to Madeenah.
The two clearly saw people coming to kill them, and
Abu Bakr was afraid. Certainly, if Muhammad (s) was a
liar, a forger and one who was trying to fool the people
into believing that he was a prophet, one would have
expected him to say in such a circumstance to his friend,
"Hey, Abu Bakr, see if you can
find a back way out of this cave." Or "Squat
down in that corner over there and keep quiet." Yet,
in fact, what he said to Abu Bakr clearly illustrated his
confidence. He told him, "Relax! God is with us, and
God will save us!"
Now, if one knows that he is fooling the people, where
does one get this kind of attitude? In fact, such a frame
of mind is not characteristic of a liar or a forger at
So, as has been previously mentioned, the non-Muslims
go around and around in a circle, searching for a way out
- some way to explain the findings in the Qur'an without
attributing them to their proper source.
On one hand, they tell you on Monday, Wednesday and
Friday, "The man was a
liar," and on the other hand, on Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday they tell you, "He was crazy." What
they refuse to accept is that one cannot have it both
ways; yet they need both theories, both excuses to
explain the information in the Qur'an.
An Encounter with a Minister
About seven years ago, I had a minister over to my
home. In the particular room which we were sitting there
was a Qur'an on the table, face down, and so the minister
was not aware of which book it was. In the midst of a
discussion, I pointed to the Qur'an and said, "I have confidence in that
Looking at the Qur'an but not knowing which book it
was, he replied, "Well, I tell
you, if that book is not the Bible, it was written by a
man!" In response to his statement, I said, "Let me tell you something about
what is in that book." And in just three to
four minutes, I related to him a few things contained in
After just those three or four minutes, he completely
changed his position and declared, "You
are right. A man did not write that book. The Devil wrote
it!" Indeed, possessing such an attitude is
very unfortunate - for many reasons. For one thing, it is
a very quick and cheap excuse. It is an instant exit out
of an uncomfortable situation.
As a matter of fact, there is a famous story in the
Bible that mentions how one day some of the Jews were
witnesses when Jesus (pbuh) raised a man from the dead.
The man had been dead for four days, and when Jesus
arrived, he simply said, "Get
up!" and the man arose and walked away. At
such a sight, some of the Jews who were watching said
disbelievingly, "This is the
Devil. The Devil helped him!"
Now this story is rehearsed very often in churches all
over the world, and people cry big tears over it, saying, "Oh, if I had been there, I would
not have been as stupid as the Jews!" Yet,
ironically, these people do exactly what the Jews did
when in just three minutes you show them only a small
part of the Qur'an and all they can say is, "Oh, the Devil did it. The devil
wrote that book!" Because they are truly
backed into a corner and have no other viable answer,
they resort to the quickest and cheapest excuse
The Source of the Qur'an
Another example of people's use of this weak stance
can be found in the Makkans' explanation of the source of
Muhammad's message. They used to say, "The devils bring Muhammad that
Qur'an!" But just as with every suggestion
made, the Qur'an gives the answer. One verse (Surah
Al-Qalam 68: 51-52) in particular states: "And they say, 'Surely he is
possessed [by jinn],' but it [i.e., the Qur'an] is not
except a reminder to the worlds."
Thus it gives an argument in reply to such a theory.
In fact, there are many arguments in the Qur'an in reply
to the suggestion that devils brought Muhammad (s) his
message. For example, in the 26th chapter God(SWT)
"No evil ones have brought
it [i.e., this revelation] down. It would neither be
fitting for them, nor would they be able. Indeed they
have been removed far from hearing." (Surah
And in another place (Surah an-Nahl 16:98) in the
Qur'an, God (SWT) instructs us
: "So when you recite the
Qur'an seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan, the
Now is this how Satan writes a book? He tells one, "Before you read my book, ask God to
save you from me?" This is very, very tricky.
Indeed, a man could write something like this, but would
Satan do this? Many people clearly illustrate that they
cannot come to one conclusion on this subject.
On one hand, they claim that Satan would not do such a
thing and that even if he could, God would not allow him
to; yet, on the other hand, they also believe that Satan
is only that much less than God. In essence they allege
that the Devil can probably do whatever God can do. And
as a result, when they look at the Qur'an, even as
surprised as they are as to how amazing it is, they still
insist,"The Devil did
Thanks be to God (SWT), Muslims do not have that
attitude. Although Satan may have some abilities, they
are a long way separated from the abilities of God. And
no Muslim is a Muslim unless he believes that. It is
common knowledge even among non-Muslims that the Devil
can easily make mistakes, and it would be expected that
he would contradict himself if and when he wrote a book.
For indeed, the Qur'an states (Surah an-Nisa 4:82):
"Do they not consider the
Qur'an? Had it been from other than God, they would
surely have found therein much discrepancy."
In conjunction with the excuses that non-Muslims
advance in futile attempts to justify unexplainable
verses in the Qur'an, there is another attack often
rendered which seems to be a combination of the theories
that Muhammad (s) was crazy and a liar.
Basically, these people propose that Muhammad was
insane, and as a result of his delusion, he lied to and
misled people. There is a name for this in psychology. It
is referred to as mythomania. It means simply that one
tells lies and then believes them.
This is what the non-Muslims say Muhammad (s) suffered
from. But the only problem with this proposal is that one
suffering from mythomania absolutely cannot deal with any
facts, and yet the whole Qur'an is based entirely upon
facts. Everything contained in it can be researched and
established as true. Since facts are such a problem for a
mythomaniac, when a psychologist tries to treat one
suffering from that condition, he continually confronts
him with facts.
For example, if one is mentally ill and claims, "I am the king of England,"
a psychologist does not say to him "No
you aren't. You are crazy!" He just does not
do that. Rather, he confronts him with facts and says, "O.K., you say you are the king of
England. So tell me where the queen is today. And where
is your prime minister? And where are your guards?"
Now, when the man has trouble trying to deal with these
questions, he tries to make excuses, saying "Uh... the queen... she has gone to
her mother's.Uh... the prime minister... well he
And eventually he is cured because he cannot deal with
the facts. If the psychologist continues confronting him
with enough facts, finally he faces the reality and says,
"I guess I am not the king of
The Qur'an approaches everyone who reads it in very
much the same way a psychologist treats his mythomania
patient. There is a verse in the Qur'an (Surah Yunus
10:57) which states:
"O mankind, there has come
to you an admonition [i.e., the Qur'an] from your Lord
and a healing for what is in the hearts - and guidance
and mercy for the believers."
At first glance, this statement appears vague, but the
meaning of this verse is clear when one views it in light
of the aforementioned example. Basically, one is healed
of his delusions by reading the Qur'an. In essence, it is
therapy. It literally cures deluded people by confronting
them with facts.
A prevalent attitude throughout the Qur'an is one
which says, "O mankind, you
say such and such about this; but what about such and
such? How can you say this when you know that?"
And so forth. It forces one to consider what is relevant
and what matters while simultaneously healing one of the
delusions that facts presented to mankind by God can
easily be explained away with flimsy theories and
New Catholic Encyclopedia
It is this very sort of thing - confronting people
with facts - that had captured the attention of many
non-Muslims. In fact, there exists a very interesting
reference concerning this subject in the New Catholic
Encyclopedia. In an article under the subject of the
Qur'an, the Catholic Church states:
"Over the centuries, many
theories have been offered as to the origin of the
Qur'an... Today no sensible man accepts any of these
Now here is the age-old Catholic Church, which has
been around for so many centuries, denying these futile
attempts to explain away the Qur'an.
Indeed, the Qur'an is a problem for the Catholic
Church. It states that it is revelation, so they study
it. Certainly, they would love to find proof that it is
not, but they cannot. They cannot find a viable
explanation. But at least they are honest in their
research and do not accept the first unsubstantiated
interpretation which comes along.
The Church states that in fourteen centuries it has
not yet been presented a sensible explanation. At least
it admits that the Qur'an is not an easy subject to
dismiss. Certainly, other people are much less honest.
They quickly say, "Oh, the
Qur'an came from here. The Qur'an came from there."
And they do not even examine the credibility of what they
are stating most of the time.
Of course, such a statement by the Catholic Church
leaves the everyday Christian in some difficulty. It just
may be that he has his own ideas as to the origin of the
Qur'an, but as a single member of the Church, he cannot
really act upon his own theory. Such an action would be
contrary to the obedience, allegiance and loyalty which
the Church demands. By virtue of his membership, he must
accept what the Catholic Church declares without question
and establish its teachings as part of his everyday
So, in essence, if the Catholic Church as a whole is
saying, "Do not listen to
these unconfirmed reports about the Qur'an,"
then what can be said about the Islamic point of view? If
even non-Muslims are admitting that there is something to
the Qur'an - something that has to be acknowledged - then
why are people so stubborn and defensive and hostile when
Muslims advance the very same theory? This is certainly
something for those with a mind to contemplate -
something to ponder for those of understanding!
Testimony of an Intellectual
Recently, the leading intellectual in the Catholic
Church - a man by the name of Hans - studied the Qur'an
and gave his opinion of what he had read. This man has
been around for some time, and he is highly respected in
the Catholic Church, and after careful scrutiny, he
reported his findings, concluding, "God
has spoken to man through the man, Muhammad." Again
this is a conclusion arrived at by a non-Muslim source -
the very leading intellectual of the Catholic Church
I do not think that the Pope agrees with him, but
nonetheless, the opinion of such a noted, reputed public
figure must carry some weight in defense of the Muslim
position. He must be applauded for facing the reality
that the Qur'an is not something which can be easily
pushed aside and that, in fact God is the source of these
As is evident from the aforementioned information, all
of the possibilities have been exhausted, so the chance
of finding another possibility of dismissing the Qur'an
Burden of Proof on the Critic
If the book is not a revelation, then it is a
deception; and if it is a deception, one must ask, "What is its origin? And where does
it deceive us?" Indeed, the true answers to
these questions shed light on the Qur'an's authenticity
and silence the bitter unsubstantiated claims of the
Certainly, if people are going to insist that the
Qur'an is a deception, then they must bring forth
evidence to support such a claim. The burden of proof is
on them, not us! One is never supposed to advance a
theory without sufficient corroborating facts; so I say
to them, "Show me one
deception! Show me where the Qur'an deceives me! Show me,
otherwise don't say that it is a deception!"