‘The Quran’ by Professor Nicolai Sinai at Oxford University, explores the Quran based on the Quran itself. He explores the Quran with a ‘historical-critical’ method with a close reading of the text and other relevant sources of the period when the Quran was revealed.
THE QURAN THAT CONTAINS THE PROOF
The Proof within the Quran was revealed 1400 years after the revelation of the Quran. God distinguishes the Quran from its Proof in 38:1, 36:69 and Sura 98. Although the verifiable Proof does not adorn the corridors of universities yet, it clears up the following predicaments in the book.
Enigmatic or Isolated letters as in 2:1
Becca instead of Mecca in 3:96
Abrogation of proof rather than verse in 2:106
Basmallah omitted in Sura 9
Final arrangement or recension of the Quran
Examining the placement of 74:31
Purified sheets in 98:2
The Proof within the Quran resolves all of the above. The Quran initials in 29 suras are part of the intricate mathematical structure of the Quran. Mecca is spelled as Becca in 3:96 to preserve the count of the letter ‘M’ or ‘Meem’ in the Sura as a multiple of 19. Verse 2:106 refers to abrogation of a proof or miracle rather than abrogation of a verse as the Arabic word ‘ayah’ is a multiple meaning word of either sign, revelation, verse, proof, miracle.
When we abrogate any miracle, or cause it to be forgotten, we produce a better miracle, or at least an equal one. Do you not recognize the fact that GOD is Omnipotent? 2:106
The missing Basmallah while being a component of the miracle of the Quran also is a forewarning that Sura 9 was altered by addition of two false verses 9:128-129. Professor Nicolai Sinai in his discussion on 9:128 points out the verse ‘even attributes to him (Mohammad) the qualities of kindness and mercy that are elsewhere predicated only of God.’ One proof that the two verses are false is ascribing an attribute used exclusively for God to Muhammad.
The proof within the Quran authenticates the final arrangement of the Quran as we have it now. In addition, the Arabic word ‘ummi’ signifies gentiles or people without scripture, rather than illiterate. Prophet Muhammad wrote down the Quran as it was revealed to him. His copy had instructions for the final placement of each verse.
Professor Nicolai Sinai questions the placement of 74:31 next to small verses. Sura 74 deals with the Proof within the Quran. The sura is entitled ‘The Hidden Secret.’ Verse 74:30 states, ‘Over it is 19’ and verse 74:31 gives five reasons for the proof based on the number 19.
OTHER TOPICS IN THE BOOK
First and third person reference to God
[41:12] Thus, He completed the seven universes in two days, and set up the laws for every universe. And we adorned the lowest universe with lamps, and placed guards around it. Such is the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient.
In the Quran, God gives credit to the angels when carrying out His commands. There are seven universes, with us (the humans and jinns) confined to the lowest universe. Angels carry out duties in the lowest universe and thus the use of ‘we’ in 41:12 is the form used to acknowledge their participation. The seven universes were completed by God alone and thus ‘He’ is utilized. In all the Quran, ‘we’ is used when participation of the angels is involved. Needless to mention, the ‘days’ in the above verse is simply a yardstick.
Creation of Adam
There is a reference in the Quran to events prior to the creation of Adam such as the feud in 38:69.
Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son
[37:102] When he grew enough to work with him, he said, “My son, I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. What do you think?” He said, “O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, GOD willing, patient.”
[37:103] They both submitted, and he put his forehead down (to sacrifice him).
[37:104] We called him: “O Abraham.
[37:105] “You have believed the dream.” We thus reward the righteous.
The dream was from Satan. God does not advocate evil (7:28) and such a command will not originate from Him. There is nothing in the Quran which supports a point of view that such a command originated from God.
Polemics for Christians and Jews
The Quran is just as polemical to the traditional Muslims as the perception the author has for Christians and Jews. The Quran advocates monotheism and the absolute worship of God alone. The Christians fail to worship God until and unless the name of Jesus is attached to God in some form or fashion. The same applies to traditional Muslims who cannot separate the association of Muhammad next to God in their prayers and religious activities, in defiance of the Quran. Jews uphold the Mishnah and Gamarra instead of the Torah, while traditional Muslims uphold Hadith and Sunnah instead of the Quran. The Quran explicitly forbids upholding any hadith other than the Quran itself.
[39:45] When GOD ALONE is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied.
[17:46] We place shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you preach your Lord, using the Quran alone, they run away in aversion.
[57:14] They will call upon them, “Were we not with you?” They will answer, “Yes, but you cheated your souls, hesitated, doubted, and became misled by wishful thinking, until GOD’s judgment came. You were diverted from GOD by illusions.
Obey God and the messenger
The Quran is a book of law. It is also fully detailed and does not provide freedom to follow any other words as a source of religious law (25:1, 6:112-114, 6:19). Obeying God and the messenger boils down to obeying God whose words are fully detailed in the Quran. The Quran gives examples of mistakes made by Prophet Muhammad as well as other messengers.
Basic law regulating relations with unbelievers
[60:8] GOD does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. GOD loves the equitable.
[60:9] GOD enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors.
Cutting-off of thief’s hand
The commandment in the Quran is to mark the hand of thief, not cut it off. The same word in 5:38 is used in 12:31 and 12:50. It is obvious that the women did not cut-off their hands.
[5:38] The thief, male or female, you shall mark their hands as a punishment for their crime, and to serve as an example from GOD. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.
[12:31] When she heard of their gossip, she invited them, prepared for them a comfortable place, and gave each of them a knife. She then said to him, “Enter their room.” When they saw him, they so admired him, that they cut their hands. They said, “Glory be to GOD, this is not a human being; this is an honorable angel.”
[12:50] The king said, “Bring him to me.” When the messenger came to him, he said, “Go back to your lord and ask him to investigate the women who cut their hands. My Lord is fully aware of their schemes.”
[27:76] This Quran settles many issues for the Children of Israel; issues that they are still disputing.
Nicolai Sinai points out the ‘removal’ of Adam’s creation in God’s image. He also points to the preeminence of ‘Inviolable House’ from Jerusalem to Mecca. So too is the case with verses 19:16-33 and other verses about Jesus and Mary of settling issues about them and their appropriate standing.
“Intended Prayer Suras” (last few short Suras)
Although traditional Muslims use these last few Suras in their daily sanctioned prayers, it is not correct, Nicolai Sinai presents one reason in the book. Sura 1 is sanctioned, and its words of prayer are to God. The reasoning presented by the author is that the last few sura’s start with ‘Say’. It makes little sense in a contact (Salat) prayer to God to start with ‘say’ or ‘Proclaim.’