Did Muhammad Copy the Qur’an from the Torah and the Bible?


Muhammad was illiterate, so he would have been unable to read either the Torah or the Bible.

Neither the Torah nor the Bible were readily available in central Arabia until long after Muhammad’s time. Paper, for example, did not reach Arabia until over a century after Muhammad’s death. The available writing materials were bulky and uneven. It would have required a wheelbarrow to tote the biblical scriptures around.

The vast majority of Muhammad’s people were pagan idolators — neither Jews or Christians — with little or no knowledge of the content of the Torah or the Bible. Christians and Jews were not allowed to live in Makkah, and those passing through were not allowed to share their beliefs. There were Jewish tribes living in Madinah, but Muhammad had been sharing much of the Qur’an for 13 years in Makkah, to those who would listen, before he and his followers migrated to Madinah (by invitation, and to escape persecution).

Muhammad had a life-long reputation for honesty prior to claiming that he was receiving revelation, at the age of 40. He shared the revelations in sections over a 23-year period — 13 years in Makkah and 10 years in Madinah. The Qur’an was not published all at once.

Much of the Qur’an covers materials that are in the Torah and the Bible. If, as Jews and Christians claim to believe, the biblical scriptures are divine revelation, and if, as Muslims claim to believe, the Qur’an is divine revelation, then the similarity of material is explained by the common author — namely, the Almighty.

In covering much of the same materials, the Qur’an differs with the Torah and the Bible in some significant respects, among them:

  • The idea that God needs rest. The Qur’an states repeatedly that God never needs rest.
  • The idea that God ever makes a mistake. In the story of Noah in the book of Genesis, it is said that God repented of the mistake he had made in creating the human being. The Qur’an makes no such statement, and, in fact, the story of Noah as told in the Qur’an is completely different from the biblical version. In the Qur’an, Noah is a messenger calling on his people to repent; when they reject his message, God tells Noah to build a boat; the boat is open to all who follow Noah, not just his family; the flood is not world-wide, but only drowns those of Noah’s people who don’t get on the boat; Noah’s own son is among those who do not get on the boat, so he drowns, to Noah’s dismay. Nowhere in this story, or in any other story related in the Qur’an, is there even a hint of God making a mistake.
  • The idea that the Creator of the entire vastness of the cosmos has a son is rejected with great intensity in the Qur’an. According to the Qur’an, the son of Mary (called `Eesaa in the Qur’an) does not have a father. God said “Be” and he was, even though Mary had never been touched by a man. (The English version of the name given to us in the New Testament would be “Joshua”; Arabic-speaking Christians call him by the same name as the man who succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites, which is “Joshua” in English.)

Muhammad’s life is well-recorded. He spent his entire life in Arabia, making only one trip to Syria, with a caravan, when he was twelve. As a young man, he herded goats for a living. Later, he became a businessman, managing caravans for a wealthy widow. Impressed by his character, she proposed marriage, and he accepted — at the age of 25, marrying a 40-year-old widow named Khadijah. She bore him several children, only one of which — Fatimah — survived him. Khadijah died as a result of the persecutions Muhammad and his followers endured in Makkah, not long before the hijrah — the migration to Madinah.

This is an issue of integrity. Did Muhammad fabricate the Qur’an? Or is the Qur’an actually what Muhammad claimed it to be — a revelation from God (Allah)? I have read the entire Qur’an several times (in the original and astonishingly poetic Arabic). I was raised on the Bible, and eventually I decided to read the entire King James Version, which I did a few years ago. I have also studied the life of Muhammad and the history of those who came after him, and I have concluded that Muhammad was sincere and honest, and that the Qur’an is an actual revelation from the Almighty. (What happened after the passing of Muhammad is another story entirely! Muslims got some ‘splainin’ to do.)

About the Author

Former Assistant Professor at Fayetteville State University2005-2010

Ph.D. Music Composition, Harvard University, 1973

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Al-Faatihah — The Opening of the Qur’an — “bismillah”

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

 (You may want to read Al-Faatihah — The Opening of the Qur’an before reading this.)

bismillaah

  • bismil-Laah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem

(In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

This is the beginning of the Qur’an.

bi-” is a particle which attaches to the following word. (The “i” is pronounced as in “bit”.) It can be translated as “with” or “in” or “by” or “for” or “to”, depending on the context.

-ism” is a noun which begins with the “joining-hamzah“, a glottal stop which is not pronounced when preceded by another word or particle. Therefore, “bi-” “-ism” becomes “bism“.

-ism” is usually translated as “name”. “Name” is an inadequate and misleading translation. In the English language, a name is a label we attach to something. An -ism is inherent in everything that exists. For example, the object we have named “sun” has had that name only as long as English-speaking people have given it that name. But that object has had asmaa’ (the plural of -ism) from the moment of its creation.

(The “s” in “-ism“, “bism“, and “asmaa’” is always pronounced like the “s” in “this”. The glottal stop is the sound we make at the beginning of “it” and other words that, in English, are said to begin with a vowel. In Arabic, the glottal stop — called  “hamzah” — is considered a consonant.)

“Allah” is form of address used to refer to the one who has always existed and who created the entire vastness of the physical cosmos and the vast higher non-physical realities beyond (the earth and the heavens, in the language of the King James Bible). This is the form of address used by all Muslims, by all Arabic-speaking Christians, by all non-Zionist Arabic-speaking Jews (who have lived in peace with their Muslim neighbors for 14 centuries), and in the ancient biblical scriptures. (In addition, Allah has at least hundreds, if not thousands, of names in the many diverse languages of the world. In English, Allah is commonly referred to and addressed as “God”.)

There is a unique peculiarity in the pronunciation of the name “Allah”. Normally, the middle “a” (which should be drawn out — “aa”) is pronounced almost like the “a” in “saw”. But when the first syllable becomes “i”, then the middle “aa” is pronounced like the “a” in “hat” (but should still be drawn out, as if we were saying “haat”).

The word “allaah” (there are no upper- or lower-cases in the Arabic writing system) also begins with the “joining-hamzah“. Therefore, “bi-” “-ism” “allaah” becomes “bismillaah“.

Arabic nouns have case endings. As the subject of a sentence, or the doer of a verb, the ending is “-u” (as in “put”). As the object of a verb, the ending is “-a” (as in “hat”). When preceded by certain particles, or in the possessive case, the ending is “-i” (as in “bit”). (Arabic has only those three vowels.) Therefore, “-ismi” is the case that follows “bi-“. And because “allaah” begins with the joining-hamzah, the first syllable becomes “-il” instead of “al” — the “-i-” being the case-ending of “-ismi“.

Whereas, in English, words are normally (in formal speech) separate from each other, like bricks, in Arabic words normally flow into each other organically.

The grammatical from of “-ismillaah” is a construct-formation, a common feature of the Arabic language. In English, we say “the name of Allah”. In Arabic, no word corresponding to “of” is necessary.

The translation “in the name of Allah” is misleading and inadequate. The expression “bismillaah” might better be rendered as “with the quality of Allah”. The primary quality of Allah is compassion — the compassion of abundant giving without asking anything in return (ar-Rahmaan), and the compassion of abundant mercy (ar-Raheem).

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Allahu Akbar (Allah is greater) — Ten Billion Times a Day

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

“Allahu akbar” (“Allah is greater”) is a simple statement. Any Muslim who is performing the daily salawaat is saying “Allahu akbar” 100 times aloud each day. (And saying it at least another 116 times silently.) (Salawaat is the plural of salaah, which does not mean “prayer”, the closest English equivalent being “purification”.)

“Allah” is the name of the one who created everything, and who is known by many names by all kinds of people in many languages all over the world.

Saying Allahu akbar 100 times a day — or thousands of times a day — will not convince anyone who does not already believe it. Its effect is to remind those of us who do believe it that nothing is more important than the one who created and sustains us.

If people treat us badly, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is more important. When we are beset with problems, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is more important. When our life or our well-being seems threatened, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is more important. When we learn that the cosmos is inconceivable vast, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is even more vast. When we learn that the cosmos is inconceivably ancient, Allahu akbar reminds us that Allah is even more ancient.

In the course of the five daily salawaat, Allahu akbar is immediately followed by bowing at least 30 times, by prostration at least 90 times, by asking Allah for forgiveness and mercy at least 30 times, and by reminding ourselves that Allah is generous and merciful at least 30 times. This is what at least a hundred million Muslims (or perhaps a billion or almost two billion Muslims) are doing every day all over the world.

If less then ten percent of the Muslims — only a hundred million Muslims — are performing the five daily salawaat each day, at 100 takbeers per Muslim (“takbeer” means saying “Allahu akbar”), that’s ten billion takbeers a day, a reminder that the generous and merciful one who created and sustains us is more important.

 

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The Three Big Mysteries

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

For the scientific community, there are three big mysteries — the beginning of the cosmos, the cause of life, and the origin of consciousness.

The Beginning

Evidence for what came to be dubbed “The Big Bang” was first discovered in 1962 (when I was 16 years old). Since then, more evidence has accumulated for what I prefer to call “The Initial Event” (a simple description which avoids saying that what happened was either big or loud). In the scientific community, there are those who say that this event came out of nothing — contradicting the logical dictum that nothing comes from nothing. And, there are those who are trying to find out what happened “before the beginning”. The question — where did the “Big Bang” come from is still a big mystery.

Life

How did physical matter become living beings, that is the question. The effort to answer this question involves biologists, paleontologists, astrophysicists, and specialists in other fields. The study of other planets includes the search for life in environments other than Earth. The study of ancient rocks here on Earth includes the search for the earliest living creatures. Biologists and biochemists are studying the nature of today’s living creatures partially with the aim of finding how life originated. So far whatever has caused life to emerge from non-living matter remains a big mystery.

Consciousness

What is consciousness? When and how did living creatures become conscious? Perhaps, if investigators arrive at a clear idea, or definition, of what constitutes consciousness, they can make better progress at finding its cause. Depending on how consciousness is defined, and on whatever evidence exists, consciousness in biological organisms may have emerged only a few thousands of years ago (in human beings) or many millions of years ago (in pre-human or non-human creatures). As it stands, the origin (as well as the nature) of consciousness is a big mystery.

Higher Realities

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

I love this statement. It is concise. It is straightforward. It has communicated to us for thousands of years of our history.

For tens of thousands of years, every human being — without exception — was convinced that the world is flat. The meaning of the phrase “heaven and earth” was clear. Heaven is up there — the sky. Earth is down here — the ground.

When we learned that the Earth is round — a reality that would have made no sense to earlier ages — we saw heaven as the enveloping celestial realm, in which moved the moon, the sun, the planets, the stars, and the occasional comet, and we saw the Earth as this central, unmoving, and solidly physical reality.

Once we came to realize that the Earth is moving — turning on its axis and revolving around the sun — the distinction between the heaven above and this Earth below created a problem in interpretation. In effect, the Earth is in heaven — in the sky, moving swiftly through the vastness of cosmic space. If we accept the first verse of the Book of Genesis, quoted above, as a statement from the All-Knowing and always truthful Creator, then it is reduced to a poetic conceit. Its all-encompassing message is reduced to clever simplicity.

I am convinced that the deeper message is that the word “heaven” refers to the higher reality — the non-physical reality — and that the word “earth” refers to this entire vast physical reality we call the cosmos. While the books of the Old Testament and of the Hebrew Scriptures contain little to support this interpretation, the New Testament — and common Christian understanding — supports the idea that heaven is a higher, non-physical realm, that has no location in this physical cosmos.

In both the Bible and the Qur’an, heaven is referred to in both the singular and the plural. Both the Bible and the Qur’an refer to seven heavens. I believe the number has symbolic meaning (for which I do not offer an interpretation here). What is important is that we are being told that there are higher realities.

Answers?

No. I just want to put the questions — the mysteries — in perspective.

In the Qur’an, the Creator is referred to as alive and aware. This means that life and consciousness existed before the physical world was created — before the Big Bang.

I look forward to all of the scientific findings regarding the origin of biological life and regarding how living creatures became conscious, and I love reading about everything scientific investigators learn about the origin of the cosmos. Believing as I do that the Qur’an is the authentic and perfectly-preserved final message from the all-knowing creator and master of all that exists, I would be astonished if investigators find conclusive evidence of anything that contradicts clear statements in the Qur’an about the nature of the world. So far, as documented in The Bible, the Qur’an, and Modern Science by Maurice Bucaille, nothing has been found in the Qur’an that contradicts the findings of modern science.

One thing is fairly certain, that the efforts of scientific investigators to find answers to these three big mysteries will lead to surprise after surprise after surprise.

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The Nameless One

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

Only in English. (Or in a few other languages.) But in the language of the Qur’an, anyone and anything that exists has an ism (pronounced “iss-mun”, with the “-un” case ending). Normally, ism is translated into English as “name”. But, in English, things have names because people have named them. So, until people come along and name things, those things don’t have names.

Not so with asmaa’ (the plural of ism). Everything in the entire vastness of the cosmos — big or little, humongous or submicroscopic — has asmaa’. If it is tiny, that is one of its asmaa’. If it has a magnetic field, that is one of its asmaa’. If it is spinning rapidly, that is one of its asmaa’.

As best we can tell, the cosmos — the entire physical world — came into being over 13 billion 500 million years ago. The cosmos — along with everything in it — has asmaa’. When we study the cosmos — when we study the galaxies, the stars, the planets, the components of stars and planets, the living creatures (if any), the molecules, the atoms, and the component parts of atoms — when we study these things, we are learning their asmaa’. Then we give them names.

The one (and only) who created the entire vastness of the cosmos and everything in it has countless asmaa’ — and he has had those countless asmaa’ since before he created the cosmos, before he created time and space. But when did he get the name Allah, or God, or any of the hundreds or thousands of other names that we people call him? Only recently. Once we started speaking. At most, a hundred or two hundred thousand years ago. Only an instant compared to the over 13-billion-year age of the cosmos.

I call him Allah, but he is the Nameless One.

He has countless asmaa’, but for countless eons before he created us, there were no people around to call him by a name or to argue over what name to call him. If you want to argue over the existence — or non-existence — of Allah, then reflect on the countless eons before people, or life, or even the Earth itself came into being, and reflect on the Nameless One — alive, aware, self-sufficient — who gave us the ability to study and learn the asmaa’ of things and to give them names, so that we can talk about them.

Allah does not need us to think about him or to call him by one name or another. We are the ones in need of names and naming. So that we can speak about things, and talk to each other, and speak about Allah and talk to him. He does not need a name. He has countless asmaa’.

He is the Nameless One.

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Trump Unbecoming

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

My Dad is so obsessed with Trump that I felt the need to share this thought with him:

Offer me a billion dollars — no, a trillion dollars, or even all the money in the world — I would not become Donald Trump. If you offer me all the money in the world to be Donald Trump for just five minutes, I would refuse. Why? It’s just five minutes. Well, it may be just five minutes, but an entire lifetime would not be enough time to recover from the trauma.

I am also absolutely certain that if Donald Trump himself discovered the opportunity to be some other person, he would leap at the opportunity — without hesitation. For one thing, his entire persona is an act. There is no real person there.

Reflect on this: In the entirety of human history, there has never ever been a single individual who has made such a colossal fool of himself in front of the entire world.

He could — possibly — have read a decent speech before the United Nations. But he couldn’t help himself.

Donald Trump is a person who needs to have billions of dollars — or seem to have billions of dollars — and become President of the United States in order to feel real.

And it still doesn’t work. Sad.

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Perspective

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

We are small.

We are small creatures living on a small planet. The volume of the Earth is less than one ten-trillionth the volume of a sphere with the diameter of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

And yet, the orbit of the Earth is small. The volume of the sphere encompassing the Earth’s orbit is less than a half-trillion times the volume of the Solar System (going out to the Oort Cloud, one light-year from the Sun, about 6.6 trillion miles).

And, even the Solar System is small. The volume of the sphere encompassing the Solar System is less than one thousandth of a trillion times the volume of a sphere encompassing the Milky Way Galaxy.

And, even that is small. The volume of a sphere encompassing the Milky Way Galaxy is less than one thousandth of a trillion times the volume of a sphere encompassing all sighted galaxies (based on the Hubble Deep Field).

Here on Earth, we are small.

On Earth, ants and termites in Africa alone weigh over 25 times as much as all human beings put together. There are more gazelles than people, more domesticated cattle than people. The microscopic life-forms weigh more than all of the visible life-forms combined. All life on Earth (that we know of) exists in a thin layer less than one-thousandth the diameter of the planet.

If you have one trillion human cells in your body, you have ten trillion microscopic creatures living in your body. There are as many microscopic creatures living in your mouth as there are people on Earth. Those creatures – as far as we know – don’t know we exist. Our body is their home.

We are “Mister Big Stuff”. We are “all that”. We are so important. To ourselves. When we all die, the Cosmos will be unaffected. The creatures inhabiting our bodies may regret the loss of their home, but other creatures will delight at a new and abundant feast. And the Earth itself will not notice a thing.

We are small.

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Mass Shooting Day — 0075

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

In the United States of America, every day is a Mass Shooting Day. It is no longer news. It is the new normal. (The “new normal”?! What is this — a fashion statement?) It should never be normal. We need to reject it.

Just as the daily news reports counted the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis, so should we count the days of mass shootings — until we put an end to it. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume that this day and every day is a Mass Shooting Day.

I started the count Saturday, June 17, 2017. Today (August 30, 2017) is day 0075. Hopefully, we will put an end to this scourge before I run out of numbers.

Mass Shooting Day 0075.

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Mass Shooting Day — 0074

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

In the United States of America, every day is a Mass Shooting Day. It is no longer news. It is the new normal. (The “new normal”?! What is this — a fashion statement?) It should never be normal. We need to reject it.

Just as the daily news reports counted the days of the Iran Hostage Crisis, so should we count the days of mass shootings — until we put an end to it. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

  • It’s not just the illegal drugs.
    • It’s not just the prescription drugs — the pain-killers, the psychiatric drugs, whatever the doctors give us to make us feel better.
    • It’s not just the over-the-counter pain-killers, antacids, and headache remedies.
    • It’s not just that we want to be entertained constantly — by everything that isn’t classified as “work” (which is to say, chasing money) —
      • Entertained by movies and television, by the Internet, by the latest apps on our smartphones
      • Entertained by a constant glut of music designed to make us feel good (much of it deliberately contrived to be addictive)
      • Entertained by anything and everything (to the extent possible) that we still read.
    • It’s not just that we want our food to be entertaining, even if it’s not nourishing.
      • We gladly eat fake food that’s imitation and artificial.
      • We are addicted to food that has too much salt.
      • We are addicted to food that has too much sugar.
      • We don’t find water entertaining enough, so we drink flavored sugar-water.
    • The problem is that, instead of facing, analyzing, and working to solve the problems in our lives and in our society, we work hard to kill the pain caused by unsolved problems.
      • As a result, the unsolved problems are getting worse.
      • And, in response to the worsening problems, we become even more addicted to killing the pains that are telling us — urgently — that we have problems that need to be solved.
      • This is the death-spiral of our society. The daily incidence of Mass Shootings is only one of the signs.
  • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue addressing issues of importance in the life of the society?
    • Do the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews even know what their books are telling them? Do they even realize than a sincere and intelligent reading of those books will help them to solve the problems of the society?
    • Is your church, mosque, or synagogue an uplifting house of enlightenment and compassion and intelligent commitment to reform and healing and helpfulness? If not, get the hell out.

Unless I hear otherwise, I assume that this day and every day is a Mass Shooting Day.

I started the count Saturday, June 17, 2017. Today (August 29, 2017) is day 0074. Hopefully, we will put an end to this scourge before I run out of numbers.

Mass Shooting Day 0074.

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The Crushing Disaster

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

Hurricane Harvey is already one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.

I have been waiting — almost holding my breath — since the inauguration of the current regime. These people have created one unnecessary and artificial crisis after another since they — the Congress controlled by the Republican Party, and the President who is also, nominally, a Republican (but actually a godless maniac) — since they assumed office. I have been holding my breath because I have been convinced that that Almighty has caused real crises to be on hold. Until Harvey, has there been a real crisis that was not manufactured by these godless idiots?

Now they have a real crisis.

Now we shall see who has more sense — headless chickens, or the current regime.

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