Who Authored The Qur'an ?

(by: Sabeel Ahmed)

Possible Authorship of the Qur'an, thus, can be from the following sources:
- - The Christian Sources,
- - The Jewish Sources,
- - Salman Farsi (former Zoroastrian turned Muslim),
- - Muhammad (peace be upon him),
- - Allah, the One True God of the Universe.

The Christian Sources?

Concerning the presence of Arabic Gospels in the pre-Islamic period, Sidney Griffith, after extensive study, concludes:
"All one can say about the possibility of a pre-Islamic, Christian version of the Gospel in Arabic is that no sure sign of it's actual existence has yet emerged". Sidney H. Griffith, "The Gospel In Arabic: An Enquiry Into Its Appearance In the First Abbasid Century", Oriens Christianus, vol. 69, p. 166.

The New Catholic Encyclopaedia says that during the time of the Muhammad (pbuh):
"The Hijaz [Arabian Peninsula] had not been touched by Christian preaching.
Hence organisation of the Christian church was neither to be expected nor found". New Catholic Encyclopaedia (Washington D. C.: The Catholic University of America, 1967) vol. 1, pp. 721-22.

"The oldest known, dated manuscripts containing Arabic translations of the New Testament are in the collections of St. Catherine's monastery at Mt. Sinai... dating from 867 AD." Sidney H. Griffith, "The Gospel In Arabic: An Enquiry Into Its Appearance In the First Abbasid Century", Oriens Christianus, vol. 69, pp. 131-2.

This is more than two centuries after the Prophet passed away! Furthermore, the teachings in the Qur'an differ considerably from those present in the New Testament. Qur'an denies the crucifixion of Jesus (Qur'an, 4:157) which the New Testament affirms. Qur'an negates that Jesus is the Son of God (Qur'an, 9:30) which the New Testament holds dear (John, 3:16). The purely monotheistic concept of God in the Qur'an is different from the Trinitarian concept of God interpreted by Christians from the Bible. Thus Christianity cannot be a source of the Qur'an.

Jewish Sources?

The first translations of the Hebrew Bible in Arabic appeared after the advent of Islam. In fact, the oldest dated manuscript of the Old Testament in Arabic dates from first half of the ninth century. (British Museum Arab.1475). This is again two centuries after the death of Prophet Muhammed.

Furthermore, the narrations mentioned in the Old Testament has major differences from those found in the Qur'an. Example: Old Testament mentions a universal flood during the time of Prophet Noah (Genesis, Chap. 7). Qur'an also mentions the flood but never mentions that it was of a universal nature but only affecting the rejecters of Prophet Noah's message of Monotheism, thus a 'local' flood. Qur'anic narration is now proved to be scientifically accurate and the Biblical view has no scientific basis.

"According to Woolley (Geologist) the disaster engulfed an area north-west of the Persian Gulf amounting to 400 miles long and 100 miles wide, looking at the map we should call it today 'a local occurrence'" ...at any rate a flood of the unimaginable extent described in the Bible, still remains 'archaeologically not demonstrated'".  Werner Keller, The Bible as History, 2nd. ed. (New York: William Morrow, 1980), pp. 43-9.

Thus Jewish influence cannot account for the Qur'an's authorship.

Salman Farsi as a Source?

Salman Farsi accepted Islam AFTER the Prophet migrated to Medinah from Mecca. (The Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, H. A. R. Gibb, 4th. impression, 1995, p. 500; and The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. Cyril Glasse (London: Stacey International, 1989), p. 350)

"The Qur'an contains 114 chapters (Suras). 85 of these have been revealed in Mecca and 29 in Medinah". (B. Zarkashi, al-Burhan fi 'Ulum al-Qur'an, (Cairo, 1958), vol. 1, p. 193).

Therefore about two thirds of the Qur'an have already been revealed before Salman Farsi even met Prophet Muhammad!. Furthermore, the Qur'an's literary style is so sublime that even born Arab linguists who have tried over the years to imitate it have not been successful - to say nothing of a Persian or any other Zoroastrian. Thus Salman Farsi cannot be one of the sources of the Qur'an.

Mohammed (peace be upon him) Wrote It?

First of all Prophet Muhammad was an unlettered person. He does not even know how to read or write his own name! Also, Prophet Mohammed's personal statements are recorded in what we call as 'Hadith'. If we look at the Arabic style of the Hadith, and compare it with the style of the Qur'an, we can clearly see that they are two DIFFERENT, and DISTINGUISHABLE Arabic styles.

Prophet Mohammed had no reason to come up with something like the Qur'an, and cause the entire society of Arabia to become his enemy. Why would he write something going against almost all of the norms of the society, and lose his family, relatives, friends, and other loved ones? Furthermore, from where did Prophet Muhammad obtained the scientific knowledge present in hundreds of verses of the Qur'an, NONE of them contradicting established modern scientific facts?!

Dr. E. Marshall Johnson, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology and Director of the Daniel Baugh Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA, after studying the verses of the Qur'an, proclaims:
"If I were to transport myself into that era (of 7th. century) knowing what I do today and describing things, I could not describe the things that were described (in the Qur'an)... I see no evidence to refute the concept that this individual Muhammad had to be developing this information from some place... so I see nothing in conflict with the concept that divine intervention was involved."

Thus Prophet Muhammad, can't be the author of the Qur'an.

God (Allah) the Creator of the Universe Revealed the Qur'an?

This is the only explanation of the authorship of the sublime Qur'an. As the Qur'an mentions:

"He (Muhammed) was taught by One mighty in Power (Allah)" (Qur'an, 53:2-5)

"Do they not consider (ponder) on the Qur'an? If it had been from anyone except Allah, they would surely have found in it much discrepancy (contradictions)." (Qur'an, 4:82).

Qur'an is free from any type of errors. Still unsure or doubtful that Qur'an is the word of Allah? Then contemplate on the ultimate challenge from Allah Himself!:
"And if you are in doubt as to what We (Allah) have revealed to our servant (Muhammed), then produce a Chapter like thereunto (like the Qur'an's Chapters); And call your witnesses or helpers besides Allah, If you are true."
"But if you cannot, and surely you cannot, Then fear the fire Whose fuel is men and stones, Which is prepared for those who reject." (Qur'an, 2:23-24).

Thus the challenge is to produce a composition in Arabic one single chapter as eloquent, full of guidance, articulate charismatic, vibrant and a composition of the highest literary standard. This challenge of the Qur'an has mystified scholars of all ages.
As author and scholar Mr. Roger Du Pasquier truly proclaims:
"To this day no-one has put forward a defensible explanation of how an unlettered caravan merchant (Prophet Muhammed) of the early seventh century might have been able, by his own devices, to produce a text of such inimitable beauty, of such capacity to stir emotion, and which contained knowledge and wisdom which stood so far above the ideas current among mankind at that time". Roger Du Pasquier, Unveiling Islam, (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1992 p. 53.

Furthermore, Qur'an is the only scripture, which has been memorised from cover to cover by millions in each generation, from the time of its revelation till our time and preserved by Allah from any alterations for continuing guidance for generations to come.

Sir William Muir, an Orientalist of the 19th century states:
"There is probably no other book in the world which has remained twelve centuries (now fourteen) with so pure a text".
Introduction to William Muir, Life of Mohamet, vol. 1.

I finally request the readers to go to the local library or the bookstore and obtain a copy of the Qur'an (or its English translation) and examine for yourself the ultimate guidance and inimitable miracle of Allah.