Salam (Peace) Brother,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam. Please find part one of the answer to your question below. The second and final part at the link here.
To begin with, let us clearly understand the subject of your question, namely the Muslim belief about Allah, the Prophet, and the Quran:
- Allah (the One and Only God of the universe) is the Revealer of the Quran.
- Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him-PBUH) is the last of a series of Messengers of Allah, to whom the Quran was revealed.
- The codified revelations from God were called “Books of God” and the Noble Quran is the last and complete Book of Guidance from God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), meant for the whole of humankind for all time.
One stumbling block for a non-Muslim in understanding the above ideas is the concept of ‘revelation’.
Humans are beings capable of thinking and seeking answers to the problems they confront; and so from their very beginning, they looked for knowledge about the purpose of their own creation as well as of the world around them.
They asked questions like: “Where do I come from?”, “Where am I going?”, “What is the meaning of life and death?”
These were eternal questions to which they could not find answers on their own. And then God, out of His infinite mercy, sent to them prophets chosen from themselves, to whom answers to these questions were provided through revelation.
That is how religion came into being, and Divine Guidance was given about how they can lead a life of virtue here by overcoming the incitements to evil.
Muslims believe that all these Sacred Scriptures are from God; which means that the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus, as well as the Quran of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all) are not the works or creations of the respective prophets: they are all collections of revelations from God.
Coming specifically to the authenticity of the Quran as the Word of God, we may first consider the following points about the Prophet:
1- Muhammad (PBUH) was unschooled, illiterate: No authentic biography of his contradicts this fact. Therefore, it was impossible for him to compose anything that could stand as a book, let alone a scripture of the Quran’s incomparable status.
2- Muhammad (PBUH), before he started preaching Islam, was loved and respected by his people as Al Ameen – the Truthful One –, and nobody from his community disbelieved him on anything he said.
Even after the Prophet started preaching Islam, his people were prepared to accept him as their leader, if only he abandoned his mission.
But he risked the loss of all the worldly glory offered to him, and patiently endured persecution at their hands, and eventually succeeded in having the entire Arabia at his command.
The events of his life clearly show that Muhammad (PBUH) was a man of the highest integrity and sincerity. The records of his life do not warrant the allegation that he fabricated a scripture and a religion based on it.
And one may note that Islam, through all these centuries, has been the fastest growing religion, and continues to be so even in the West, despite all the propaganda branding it as a “terrorist religion”.
Consider the stories of the prophets narrated in the Quran. Critics allege that Muhammad (PBUH) took these stories from the Bible. But they would not tell us that no Arabic translation of the Bible was available during the lifetime of the Prophet.
In fact, the oldest manuscript of the Old Testament in Arabic dates from the first half of the ninth century (Ernst Würthwein). Similarly the first copy of the Arabic Gospel was written by Stephen of Ramleh in 897 CE (Sidney H. Griffith).
And Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) died in 632 CE. The critics allege that the Prophet got all these stories from a few Christians he might have met in his travels. However, there is no record of the Prophet having contact with scholarly Christians or priests, to copy all those stories of prophets we read in the Quran.
Now look at the Message of the Quran itself:
1- The Quran repeatedly makes it clear that God is the Speaker and the Revealer of the Quran. Muhammad was only a human chosen as the Messenger of God to convey the Divine Guidance, which was progressively being revealed through the prophets of the past.
The Quran does not present a new religion, but only confirms and completes the Religion of all the previous prophets, which is Islam. Islam means “Surrender to the will of God”. A Muslim is one who wholeheartedly and sincerely surrenders to God.
In this sense, all the prophets of old and their followers were Muslims. Muslims are asked to believe in all the prophets of old, and not to discriminate among God’s prophets, but to respect and honor them alike.
2- Quran presents the idea: God is one; nature is one; and humankind is one. This is the essence of Tawhid – or the concept of Unity.
So, any philosophy or ideology that contradicts the above principle of Unity is doomed to fail. All religions worth the name have underscored the concept of Unity and any idea opposed to it is antithetical to the Original Religion of God.
This means that elements of polytheism, as found in some religions, are not true to their origin; but are a counterfeit accretion of a later stage.
Please continue reading the second and final part at the link here.
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