The following is a video lecture made by Hamza Yusof on July 14th, 1997 and in cooperation with Alhambra Productions. The topic of the history of the Qur’an and its compilation, and forms as part of a “Foundations of Islam” series of lectures. Hamza Yusof gave a good historical background of the Qur’an, its history and how it was Revealed in stages to the Prophet Muhammad (P), its compilation after the passing of the Prophet (P) as well as demonstrating the textual integrity of the Qur’an, as opposed to the textual frailty of the Judeo-Christian text which stands on shaky ground. Also of interest is the Question & Answer session towards the end of this lecture which we hope our readers will find beneficial.
The issue raised by this monograph thus can only exist, as a historical issue, if there is a marked difference between the Qur’an and what the author parenthetically calls “Muslim traditional literature.” This is precisely the author’s position, and he posits that a historical gap existed between the formation of the Qur’an and the appearance of this Muslim traditional literature (pp. 17-18). The Qur’an, according to the author, predates all the other literature. Moreover, the knowledge hitherto accepted as historical that we have about the rise of early Islam is not, according to the author, a product of the Qur’an but of this literature (which he defines as comprising everything but the Qur’an). The whole of the monograph is dedicated to proving that the Qur’an is not arguing against “real” pagans when it argues with the group it calls mushrikun, those who practice shirk or associationism, that is, worshiping other deities in addition to Allah. Rather, the author claims, the Qur’an is adopting a rhetorical stratagem that is very common to monotheistic traditions. To call someone a “pagan” or “idolater” was to label them as less Christian or less Jewish than the accusing faction. The same should be held true for the arguments in the Qur’an.
A response to the Christian missionary and polemicist, Jay Smith’s video, “Is The Qu’ran Corrupted? Biblical Characters in the Qu’ran” by Iqra Productions. This video will show that the sources that the Christian missionary Jay Smith uses are dubious, deceptive and have been dealt with extensively by Muslim scholars of the past. It also exposes the weaknesses of the Bible narratives and challenges the missionary to explain the similarities of the Bible narratives with earlier sources and texts.
Some Christian missionaries have the inherent fantasy that Sura’ al-Fatihah (the first Sura’ of the Qur’an) somehow supports their false pagan doctrine of the Trinity. They will first cite the whole ayaat and then twist this interpretation to suit their false doctrine. Let us now deal with this latest polemic in the following paragraphs.
They certainly have no inkling about the development of a language, whether it is Arabic or otherwise; grammar was not the machine that produced the Arabic language, rather it is simply a logical explanation to ways of Arabic speech. Due to their inherent stupidity, the Christians do not recognize the correct historicity of its chronological order: Arabs speak the language first, then explanatory rules are formulated later (after the advent of Islam). Consequently, grammar should agree with Arabic speech, not vice versa.
If you ask what is the best method of tafsir, the answer is that the best way is to explain the Qur’an through the Qur’an. For, what the Qur’an alludes to at one place is explained at the other, and what it says in brief on one occasion is elaborated upon at the other. But if this does not help you, you should turn to the Sunnah, because the Sunnah explains and elucidates the Qur’an. Imam Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi`i has said: “All that the Prophet, peace be upon him, has said is what he has derived from the Qur’an.”