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Silencing Tisarpanth’s Prattling Tongue

INTRODUCTION

The following article The Koranic Chronicle was authored by a member (hereafter called Tisarpanth) of a Sikh sect known as the Nihangs – a militaristic organisation characteristically identified by their distinct blue turban and attire. While they are known for putting on overly elaborate ceremonial exhibitions that show off their sword-wielding skills, this particular member has put aside the sword and taken up the role of a polemist by questioning, among other things, the divine authorship of the Qur’an. However, if this is the best that can be achieved, then perhaps Tisarpanth should reconsider wielding the pen for the sword given how replete this paper is with empty assertions void of any credible evidence. If anything, this serves as a perfect example of the pitfalls a polemical neophyte encounters when attempting to ignorantly tackle a subject.

Motivated by “Islamic missionaries stating that Guru Nanak Dev Ji viewed the ambiguous passages of the Koran as being an infinite source of wisdom”, this Nihang begins his attack by suggesting firstly that one “see what the Koran truly contains and understand it from a neutral perspective, discarding any orthodox notion veiling it’s [sic] logical contradictions”. Although these missionaries are not specifically identified, it is possible to speculate who they could be by their ignorant claim that Nanak saw the Qur’an as an infinite source of wisdom. Such an assertion is often expressed by those who believe that Nanak was, to some degree, sympathetic to the teachings of Islam. This level of sympathy is dependent on how far these missionaries had gone in associating Nanak to the religion of Islam. What can be said in this regard is that this group was either: 1) entirely ignorant of the fact that Nanak’s teachings stood diametrically opposed to orthodox Islam and, therefore, considered him to be within the pales of Islam; 2) held such extreme and unorthodox Islamic beliefs that despite being fully aware of his teachings, managed to filter and accommodate them into their heterodoxical views; 3) were never Muslims to begin with, but were wrongly identified as such by the author.

As regards the first point, then given the fundamental Islamic principle that missionary work should only be done with knowledge and wisdom, the least that can be said of such Muslims is that they erred in speaking about a subject upon ignorance.

The second scenario usually encompasses the extreme Sufis whose interpretation of Islam is entirely at odds with the original taught and practiced by Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and his righteous companions.

Thus, it is likely that the missionaries intimated by Tisarpanth belong to none other than the Ahmadiyya movement who are often wrongly associated to the religion of Islam. This mistake of lumping the two groups together into one bloc often occurs as a result of the Ahmadiyya’s duplicitous strategy of calling and presenting themselves as Muslims despite the Muslim world having unanimously declared them as disbelievers (kuffaar). And it is this movement who, in keeping with the teachings of their so-called Messiah Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, [1] continue to intransigently insist that Nanak was a bona fide Sufi Muslim who received inspiration from Allah and, hence, considered “the Koran as being an infinite source of wisdom”!

Whatever the case, the fact is that, in spite of the futile efforts of the Ahmadiyya, [2] the Qur’an could never have been an infinite source of wisdom for Nanak since the fundamental doctrines taught therein contradicted those attributed to him.

This having been clarified, we now move on to the meat and bones of Tisarpanth’s accusations.

THE PRESERVED TABLET

“And verily, it” means, the Qur’an, “is in the Mother of the Book” meaning, Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet). This was the view of Ibn ‘Abbas and Mujahid.

The author’s first argument that “the Koran is generally rife with an inept understanding of chronological norms catalyzing [sic] in a historic confusion over the veracity of the Islamic claim” is baseless given the complete lack of any evidence.

And though evidence is furnished for the second, the argument itself makes no sense since Tisarpanth contends that the author of the Qur’an “was not a perfect mathematician” because “the longest ‘suras’ [chapters] precede their medium counterparts”?! Make of that what you will, but how mathematical imperfection is proven in this way is impossible for us to determine.

Tisarpanth then attempts to tackle the subject of al-Lawh al-Mahfooth, or The Preserved Tablet, but fails at the first hurdle by suggesting that the Qur’an “rest[s] on a divine table in heaven” as allegedly referenced in the following verses: ‘the mother of the book,’ 43.3; ‘a concealed book,’ 55.77; and ‘a well guarded tablet,’ 85.22.

Firstly, it seems as though the author finds it difficult to accurately reference or quote verses correctly. For one, 43:3 does not contain the phrase, “the mother of the book”, or Umm al-Kitab in Arabic – another name for The Preserved Tablet, but rather reads: “Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” Instead, it is the verse immediately succeeding this which reads: “And indeed it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, exalted and full of wisdom.” In this case, if the Qur’an and The Preserved Tablet (not “divine table”?!) have been erroneously identified as one and the same thing, then the author is not the first to have made this mistake. Suffice it to say that the former has been referenced in verse 43:3 and the latter in 43:4. As Ibn Kathir clarified in his magnum opus commentary:

“And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, indeed exalted, full of wisdom.” This explains the high status of the Qur’an among the hosts on high (the angels), so that the people of earth will respect it, venerate it and obey it.

“And verily, it” means, the Qur’an, “is in the Mother of the Book” meaning, Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet). This was the view of Ibn ‘Abbas and Mujahid. “with Us,” means, in Our presence. This was the view of Qatadah and others. “indeed exalted” means, occupying a position of honor and virtue. This was the view of Qatadah. “full of wisdom.” means, clear, with no confusion or deviation. All of this indicates its noble status and virtue, as Allah says elsewhere:

“That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation. In a Book well-guarded. Which none can touch but the pure. A revelation from the Lord of the all that exists.” (56:77-80)

“Nay, indeed it is an admonition. So whoever wills, let him pay attention to it (It is) in Records held (greatly) in honor, exalted, purified, in the hands of scribes (angels), honorable and obedient.” (80:11-16) [3]

Similarly, what is alluded to in verse 55:77 as “a concealed book” is, as quoted in the aforementioned citation of Ibn Kathir, not found until a full chapter later in 56:77! Again, however, a distinction is made between the two. Ibn Kathir explained:

  1. That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation (the Noble Qur’an).
  2. In a Book well-guarded (with Allah in the heaven i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). …

“That (this) is indeed an honorable recitation,” means, verily, this Qur’an that was revealed to Muhammad is a Glorious Book, “In a Book Maknun,” meaning glorious; in a glorious, well-guarded, revered Book. Ibn Jarir narrated that Ismail bin Musa said that Sharik reported from Hakim, that is Ibn Jubayr, from Sa’id bin Jubayr, from Ibn ‘Abbas that about: “Which none touches but the pure ones,” he said, “The Book that is in heaven.” [4]

And the same is true of 85:21-2: “But this is an honored Qur’an. [Inscribed] in a Preserved Slate [al-lawhin mahfooth].”

The pagans of Mecca realized instinctively that the Qur’an could NOT have been the words of Muhammad.

DOCTRINE OF INIMITABILITY

Tisarpanth then asserts: “The hyperbole that the Koran is the very word of God is rebutted by it’s [sic] own passages with several specific pages obviously carrying the very words of the prophet himself.” Notwithstanding the failure in providing a reference, the argument, nevertheless, implies that aside from those which allegedly carry the words of the Prophet, the remaining pages must either be the words of God or some third source. Whatever the case, a simple yet irrefutable rebuttal is to ask why the linguistic challenge of the Qur’an’s inimitability was never met by any of Muhammad’s (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) critics. As Afnan Fatani explains:

Doctrine of inimitability (of form)

The doctrine of inimitability is derived from passages in the Qur’an where God explicitly states the text’s divine origin (‘This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God; it is a confirmation of what came before it. and a fuller explanation of the Book wherein there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds’) (10.37) and passages where God challenges the pagans of Mecca to produce ten suras or even a single sura as powerful as those that make up the Qur’an (“Or do they say he [Muhammad] has forged it? Say: Bring you then a sura like unto it, and call upon [to aid you] whomever you can besides God, if you are truthful”) (10.38). According to Muslim scholars, this challenge (tahaddi) was not a rhetorical device; the Prophet’s opponents could not take up the challenge simply because they could never match the power and beauty of God’s words. [5] (bold ours)

It stands to reason that had the Qur’an been comprised, either partly or wholly, of the words of an illiterate, as Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) was, then there would have been an almost certain degree of likelihood that someone from the experts of the Arabic language would have succeeded in disproving the divine origin of the Qur’an. As Fatani puts it:

To comprehend fully the centrality of this doctrine [of inimitability] … one must first keep in mind the fact that the tribes of the Arabian peninsula had a thriving poetic tradition, and that poetry, composed and recited by skilled poets, was an integral and important element of their tribal life. Furthermore, the language in which these poems were composed showed a high degree of literary sophistication, richness in diction and complexity of derivational morphology and syntactic patterning. [6]

Yet, not a single person came forward to match, let alone surpass, its literary and stylistic benchmark:

The language, on the other hand, was deemed so superior, indeed so ‘beautiful’, that even in the eyes of the Prophet Muhammad’s bitterest opponents it transcended the merely human. This dilemma is documented in a telling passage in the Qur’an (74.18-25), where al-Walid b. al-Maghira, the most prominent elder of Quraysh and the Prophet’s most committed opponent, is forced to state in public his own evaluation of the Qur’an, in particular whether he believed it to be ‘mortal’ speech or ‘divine’:

Lo! He thought and schemed. Death seize him, how he schemed. Again, death seize him, how he schemed. Then he reflected. Then he frowned, and scowled. Then he retreated and was proud. Then he said: ‘This is naught but the magic of old. This is naught but the speech of mortals.’

This passage makes it clear that the pagans of Mecca realized instinctively that the Qur’an could NOT have been the words of Muhammad, hence their accusation of sorcery and their insistence that the verses he was reciting must have been fabricated or forged:

And those who disbelieve say: ‘This is nothing but a lie that he has fabricated, and other people have helped him with it.’ In fact, what they say is an injustice and a distortion. And they say: ‘Tales of the ancients which he has had written down; and they are dictated to him mornings and afternoons.’ ([Qur’an] 25.4-5) [7] (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)

In fact, the failure of the pagan Arabs in this respect was so complete and total that the linguistic form of the Qur’an became by default the standard par excellence by which the Arabic language would be measured:

From a linguistic point of view, the Qur’an was the most important event in the history of the Arabic language. It not only codified the grammar and lexicon of the language, it also presented the Arabs with linguistic possibilities never before imagined by poets and orators. It enriched the lexicon by using words in entirely new contexts, by reviving ancient and rare words, and by the symmetrical use of synonyms, antonyms, hyponyms, homonyms, polysemy and other semantic and phonological relationships between words. [8]

Hence, given that the greatest exponents of the Arabic language failed, both collectively and individually, to meet said challenge forcing even the most bitterest opponents to acknowledge, albeit grudgingly, the Qur’an’s absolute inimitability, it is inconceivable to think that this book could have been the product of an educated person let alone an illiterate. Little wonder, therefore, that:

From the ninth century onwards, the theme of inimitability had been extensively discussed by Muslim theologians who believed that the Prophet had not performed any miracle except one: [9] namely, the miracle that, although he could neither read nor write, he had received a revelation that was far superior to anything that the Arab poets and orators had ever written or heard. [10]

Tisarpanth’s intellectual dishonesty is then exposed through a clear case of plagiarism where the arguments of a third party are lifted and presented as the author’s own. In this instance, the party in question is a book compiled by the “militant” atheist, Christopher Hitchens, and titled: The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, with contributions from equally despicable Islamophobes known for distorting and misrepresenting Islam and Muslims.

SCRIPTURAL ALTERATIONS

In any case, Tisarpanth begins his intellectual theft by quoting the following verse from the opening chapter of the Qur’an, Al-Fatihah (The Opening): “Thee we serve and thee we ask for aid. Guide us in the right path,” as an example of a “paradoxical lexicon” that “cannot truly be attributed to a perfect God” because it “is clearly addressed to God via a second party”.

It seems that Tisarpanth cannot even plagiarise verbatim since unlike the original source, which alleges that “one only needs to add the imperative ‘say’ at the beginning of the sura to remove the difficulty”, our author inexplicably reverses the logic by stating that “scholars and linguists have advised one only need remove the article ‘say’ in the advent of the passage” even though this word, qul in Arabic, does not feature anywhere in this chapter! The author actually goes so far as to assert that this word “was inserted after the prophet’s demise to minimize the structural errors appearing in the Koran”. The problem, aside from the fact that there exists absolutely no historical evidence, is that said word also appears at the beginning of chapter 112 in answer to the following question the polytheists posed to the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him): “O Muhammad! Tell us the lineage of your Lord.” According to an authentic tradition recorded from Ubayy bin Ka’b by Imam Ahmad, Allah revealed Surah al-Ikhlas (The Fidelity) instructing the Prophet to “say” in response:

He is Allah, [the] One; Allah, the eternal absolute. He neither begets nor is He begotten. And there is nothing comparable to Him.

In essence, all this word represents is a command verb issued by God instructing His Prophet to convey a designated message. This word was often employed by Allah as a response to something.

As a matter of fact, not only was this chapter revealed during the early stages of Islam, but is also one of the most important in that it succinctly and comprehensively encompasses the theological nature of Allah and, thus, represents in just four verses a third of what the Qur’an teaches mankind. [11] According to Imam al-Bukhari, Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul resides, it is equivalent to a third of the Qur’an.” While according to another version, he informed his companions: “Is anyone of you incapable of reciting a third of the Qur’an in one night?” They considered it burdensome and said: “O Messenger of Allah, which of us can afford to do that?” He said, “Surah al-Ikhlas [Say: He is Allah, [the] One] is equivalent to a third of the Qur’an.” For this reason, not only is it one of the most popular and oft-read chapters of the Qur’an, but is also one of the first to be memorised by children after Al-Fatihah in order to prepare them for its use in the five daily prayers. In fact, it is important to note that Al-Fatihah is a prerequisite for validly offering such prayers. Consequently, it is recited no less than 17 times every day in order to fulfil the 17 units of fard (obligatory) prayer. What is more, when one takes into consideration their central importance in the prescribed acts of worship and the nature of their introduction into society, there remains no doubt that their assimilation was both immediate and universal. As such, their ubiquitous recital, both congregationally and individually, would have made any attempt at altering them at a later stage impossible. It is simply inconceivable to think that any Muslim(s) could have successfully conspired to make these changes, let alone 350 as the author alleges, without arousing some instant level of protest or controversy.

Unlike other religious scriptures, the Qur’an from its very inception has always remained in the public arena via an entirely transparent process of teaching and transmission. It has never been confined and controlled by a minority elitist class or clergy nor regulated and restricted in its dissemination to the masses. In short, the Qur’an was, is and will always be a book for the people.

It is arguable whether any source in history has been so faithfully and precisely transmitted by so many and with such accuracy through the dual process of memorisation and writing as the Qur’an. As such, it is impossible for the word qul to be interpolated in 350 different places therein, as the author alleges, without the Muslim world knowing. One can, therefore, say with complete confidence that the silence of history in this respect is enough to disprove the allegation that said word “was inserted after the prophet’s demise”. In short, to entertain such a fanciful idea is to entertain a grand conspiracy of epic proportions where the entire Muslim world aberrantly acquiesced through collective silence in the wilful corruption of their own scripture!

Take an equivalent scenario. What would Sikhs say if it was alleged that after Nanak or any one of the other Gurus’ demise, a word was added to the opening chapter of the Sikh scripture and Nanak’s very first composition, the Mool Mantra, which comprises only 10 phrases, encompasses the basic creed of Sikhism, and is the most oft-recited composition in Sikhism?

IBN MAS’UD’S REJECTION OF THE QUR’AN

Tisarpanth then forwards an allegation popular with Christian missionaries, but again plagiarised from the aforementioned atheistic source, involving the erudite companion, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, who is accused of having “rejected the ‘Fatihah’ and it’s [sic] parallel ‘suras’ 113 and 114 which declare ‘I take refuge with the Lord,’ as being a travesty of the prophet’s original revelations and the works of later compilers”. This, however, is a gross lie and one which, dare we say, even the Christians have not gone so far as to claim. While there is absolutely no evidence to prove any controversy regarding Al-Fatihah, it is true that Ibn Mas’ud uniquely differed with the rest of the companions when it came to the last two chapters of the Qur’an – collectively called Al-Mu’awwithatayn. It should be noted, however, that this difference of opinion was never on account of them being “a travesty of the prophet’s original revelations and the works of later compilers” thereby implying textual corruption or invention. To the contrary, in a detailed exposé of the lies of the missionaries, Bajwa cites a tradition from Ibn Mas’ud that proves he was fully aware of Al-Mu’awwithatayn’s divine origin:

On the authority of Ibn Mas’ud, the Prophet (upon whom be peace) said: “There are some verses that have been revealed to me, the likes of which have never been revealed to me, [and they are the] Mu’awwithatayn.”

What Ibn Mas’ud disputed, as Al-Qadhi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani is quoted as clarifying, was the following:

Ibn Mas’ud never rejected the fact that they were from the Qur’an. However, what he did question and reject was the permissibility of writing it in the mus-haf without the explicit permission of the Messenger of Allah, and maybe [at the time of this event] this permission never reached him.

Hence, concludes Bajwa:

In this case, and an important one at that, what this essentially amounts to is merely a legitimate difference of opinion in an issue of fiqh (jurisprudence). Although there are dozens of other such differences known to have pervaded the lives of the Companions, the significant point to be noted is that this did not have any bearing on the core tenets of the religion (‘aqeedah). The divergent legal rulings arrived at by the Companions over the legitimacy of writing the last two chapters in the mus-haf was through a process of independent interpretation of the divine Islamic sources, which was relative to individual knowledge. Hence, Ubay made it clear that his ruling was based on an answer from the Prophet (upon whom be peace) specifically related to this matter. In doing so, his intimation was that any ruling established upon direct and definitive Prophetic knowledge was incontestable and ipso facto correct. [12]

On the authority of Ibn Mas’ud, the Prophet (upon whom be peace) said: “There are some verses that have been revealed to me, the likes of which have never been revealed to me, [and they are the] Mu’awwithatayn.”

This confused and jumbled evaluation, which arises from Tisarpanth’s inability to follow the simplistic arguments of the source being plagiarised, continues with the author stating that “[i]n the same ‘sura'”, evidently referring back to either Al-Fatihah or Al-Mu’awwithatayn, “the prophet paradoxically questions the veracity of a subsequent divine element worthy of praise, ‘Should I (emphasis ours) seek other judge than God, when it is he who has sent down to you the distinguishing book (Koran)?’ Yusuf Ali at the commencement of the said citation in his translation, inserts the article ‘say’ which is not present in the Arabic version and discards any notion of providing a footnote to explain the matter”. It goes without saying that these words are not to be found in the three aforesaid chapters and the reason for this is because the source being plagiarised is referring to verse 6:114.

In response to the actual argument itself, then both the term abtaghee (I should seek), a reference to none other than Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), and the context in which it appears, makes the above point clear in that the translator simply intended to make things easier for the reader by adding a parenthetical clarification in case a direct translation failed in clearly making this distinction.

THE EXTRAORDINARY CASE OF ABU LAHAB

Tisarpanth continues to turn to dubious sources going so far as to describe the liberal-minded heretical Shi’ite, Ali Dashti, as an “imminent scholar of the Koran” who “exposes several citations which contradict the veracity of the Koran” including chapter 111, Al-Masad, which apparently “employs many linguistic devices in a contradictory fashion”. Dashti, however, was not known for being an expert in Arabic grammar, prose, morphology or syntax, and, thus by extension, could not have been an expert of the Qur’an. Consequently, while he wrongly saw the by-name “Abu Lahab”, or “father of flames”, to be a “feeble pun[]”, Tisarpanth saw the “curses” he attributes to the Prophet as an example that should not be “associated with a saintly personality and a divine element”. However, this chapter is extraordinary in its implications and far more profound in meaning than Dashti’s and Tisarpanth’s imprudent interpretation.

To begin with, let us do the right thing by turning to the real experts of the Qur’an to determine whether there existed any context or reason for the alleged curse: “May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he,” and whether it was morally justified or not. According to Shaykh Safiur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri: “The first part [i.e. ‘May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined’] is a supplication against him [Abu Lahab] and the second [i.e. ‘and ruined is he’] is information about him.” It becomes apparent, therefore, that this supplication cannot be attributed to God since, by definition, a supplication is always directed towards Him. Thus, Allah is instructing His followers to supplicate against Abu Lahab, and the natural question is, of course, why? The answer lies in turning to the historical accounts – or the Asbab an-Nuzool (the Causes of Revelation) – wherein the tumultuous relationship between the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and his uncle, who “used to often cause harm to Allah’s Messenger. He hated and scorned him and his religion”, is revealed. In fact, such was the uncle’s level of hatred that when the Prophet went about preaching: “O people! Say there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and you will be successful,” Abu Lahab was always there to harass and publically assassinate his nephew’s character through curses and lies in an attempt to dissuade the people from accepting Islam. Rabi’ah bin ‘Abbad narrated:

The people were gathered around him [Muhammad] and behind him there was a man with a bright face, squint (or cross) eyes and to braids in his hair. He was saying, “Verily, he is an apostate (from our religion) and a liar!” This man was following him (the Prophet) around wherever he went. So, I asked who was he and they (the people) said, “This is his uncle, Abu Lahab.”

Abu Lahab’s hatred and conduct then reached a critical point during an incident which occurred when Muhammad “ascended the mountain [in the valley of Al-Batha]” to declare:

“O people, come at once!” So the Quraysh gathered around him.
Then he said, “If I told you all that the enemy was going to attack you in the morning, or in the evening, would you all believe me?”
They replied, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Verily, I am a warner (sent) to you all before the coming of a severe torment.”
Then Abu Lahab said, “Have you gathered us for this? May you perish!”
Thus, Allah revealed, “Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!” …
In another narration it states that he stood up dusting off his hands and said, “Perish you for the rest of this day! Have you gathered us for this?”

Although it becomes clear that said verse was not just a counter-supplication against a stalker exhibiting signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder – especially given the free licence he had in carrying out a smear campaign through aggressive harassment tactics, there is another very important factor that further justifies this supplication.

It should be noted that Tisarpanth could not have been unaware of this fact since the source he plagiarised from reveals: “Abu Lahab, the Prophet’s uncle, [] was one of Muhammad’s bitterest opponents ….” This ought to have prompted the questions of how bitter an opponent he was, i.e. how far had he gone in expressing this bitterness, and whether said verse was revealed in response to this opposition. Instead, the author decontextualises the chapter by cunningly adjusting the argument to say that “the prophet was extremely fond of curses” thereby implying that the Prophet was unjustified in “cursing” Abu Lahab for merely having innocently “opposed his militant intents”!

Surah al-Masad actually serves as an all-important falsification test by proclaiming that Abu Lahab and his equally conniving wife Umm Jamil, who was “among the leading women of the Quraysh” and just as single-mindedly committed towards this character assassination campaign, were destined to continue their life-long battle against Allah and His Messenger before consequently being thrown in Hell. And this is precisely how things panned out; both husband and wife died upon disbelief. The irony here is that despite being one of the bitterest opponents, who would have liked nothing less than to see his nephew humiliated and defeated, the pair persisted in their tactics when any one or both could have faked conversion so as to finally falsify Islam. They certainly had ample opportunity given the long period between the time said challenge was laid down and their eventual demise.

Incidentally, it seems that the reason why he was called Abu Lahab was not because he was destined for the fire, but, as mentioned in the narration of Rabi’ah bin ‘Abbad, “because of the brightness of his face”! [13]

The trend of relying upon dubious anti-Islamic sources continues with the notorious Orientalist, Ignaz Goldziher – a man all too familiar to Muslims for his gross misrepresentation of Islam. As a side note, it is sad to see Sikhs turning to those who have an axe to grind. We know for certain that had we exclusively turned to Western academics of a similar kind, such as Ernest Trumpp or to a lesser extent Hew McLeod, both of whom utilised the same crooked approach as Goldziher et alia in carving out a career through the process of misrepresentation, we would be roundly condemned and rightly so.

Be that as it may, Tisarpanth quotes Goldziher who himself turns to the heretical group, the Mu’tazilites, to continue the topic of the “prophet utter[ing] curses against his enemies”. As a final word on this, there is not a verse where an enemy of Allah is addressed à la Surah al-Masad, except that it is only in response to a person(s) whose hatred and enmity in words and actions is either excessive or well established. In this case, the rejoinder is certainly justified.

‘PRAISE’ BE TO ALLAH!

The author then returns to the Shi’ite, Dashti, to furnish verse 17:1 as an example of “deliberate syntax ambiguity” where “both the speaker and the spoken to are extensively amalgamated”:

“Gloried be he who (exclaimed by the prophet) carried his servant by night from the inviolable place of worship (mosque at Jerusalem), the neighborhood whereof we (on a parallel course this article contributes extensively to the ambiguity of the Koran) have blessed, that we might show him of our tokens! Lo! He is the hearer, the seer.”

Dashti argues, ‘The praise to him who carried his servant from Mecca to Palestine cannot be God’s utterance, because God does not praise himself (emphasis ours), and must be Muhammad’s thanksgiving to God for this favor. …’

The Arabic word for praise in this instance is subhana. However, the word praise fails to fully encompass the breadth of meaning this term stands for since making tasbeeh of Allah is to praise Him by affirming His absolute transcendency above all things while exalting Him above all forms of imperfection. In this case, Allah is reminding His servants of His absolute perfection in being able to fulfil this miracle of carrying Muhammad over a thousand kilometres (1235.82 km) in a single night – a distance which at that time would have normally taken months to achieve.

But the more pressing query is: what logical reason is there to exclude Allah from praising and exalting Himself? The first and most obvious difference must lie in the type of praise expressed by an absolute perfect Creator compared to His imperfect creation. Since the praise of the latter can only ever be on a conceptual rather than a perceptual level, it must stand to reason, therefore, that Allah, who has perfect knowledge of all things including His divine self, is more worthy of praising and exalting Himself than His servants for whom such perfection will always be impossible to fully comprehend. Little wonder, then, that we have Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) stating: “And none loves to be praised more than Allah does, and for this reason He praises Himself,” (Al-Bukhari) or expresses the obvious nature of His status in order to remind His servants why “there is none worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me” (Qur’an 21:25).

Hence, there is no logical reason why the Creator should not praise Himself, and every reason why He is most worthy of doing so.

PLURAL OF RESPECT AND NUMBERS

Everyone who is well versed in the Arabic language and its styles knows that the … first person plural Nahnu (we) is used to refer to two or more.- Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

Dashti then continues:

The next part of the sentence, describing the furthest Mosque (whose precincts “we have blessed.”) is spoken by God, and so too is the following clause (“so that we might show him of our tokens”). The closing words, “he is the hearer, he is the seer,” seem most likely to be Muhammad’s.’ One can easily conclude that the orthodox claim of the Koran being the infallible and authentic word of God is highly fallacious and divergent of the real Koran.

This coming from a man not known for being well versed in classical Arabic! In any case, it is difficult to see how the original source can describe William Montgomery Watt and Richard Bell, two Orientalists cited as authority figures, as academics “who can hardly be accused of being hostile to Islam” when their entire purpose is to disprove the divine origin of the Qur’an by arguing that it cannot be attributed to God in toto. If this is not a hostile attack against the very basic inviolable tenets of Islam then what is? After all, they are quoted as saying that it is “allowable for a speaker [i.e. God] to refer to himself in the third person occasionally, but the extent to which we find the Prophet apparently being addressed and told about God as a third person is unusual”. It may be unusual to the peculiar standards of Watt and Bell, but certainly not when it comes to the language of the Qur’an. After all, it is hard to believe that the most proficient practitioners of the Arabic language, i.e. those Pagan Arab poets who were the most hostile and committed in finding fault, no matter how trivial, with the divine message of Islam, managed to miss these so-called “unusual” features conjecturally stumbled upon 1400 years later. We say conjectural because these claims lack any objective evidence.

Similarly their difficulty in being able to “distinguish between … the ‘we’ of the angels rather than God himself speaking in the plural of majesty” is again an example of a subjective interpretation devoid of any proof. This difficulty was neither expressed by the Pagan Arabs nor encountered by the earliest Muslims for a reason, as noted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’:

Everyone who is well versed in the Arabic language and its styles knows that the first pronoun Ana (I) is used in the singular when speaking of oneself, while the first person plural Nahnu (we) is used to refer to two or more. However, it may be used by an individual of high standing, or professing to be, to denote his greatness. (bold ours)

Dr ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-Mutayri elaborates:

One of the literary styles of the Arabs is for the speaker to refer to himself in the first person and in the third person. … The one who does not know Arabic may think that Allah cannot speak of Himself in the third person …. But this reflects ignorance of the literary style in Arabic and how it is part of Arabic eloquence. Undoubtedly for Allah to speak of Himself in the third person is more eloquent than saying “Alif-Laam-Meem, I am Allah, there is no god but I, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. I sent down to you the Book with truth, confirming what came before it…” (cf. Aal ‘Imraan 3:1-3). (bold, underline ours)

While Badr ad-Deen az-Zarkashi explains the reason for this interchange:

Moving from one style to another serves to make speech flow more smoothly, helps the listener to focus, renews his interest and avoids the boredom that may result from always adhering to one style. [14]

It, thus, appears that Watt’s and Bell’s difficulty only stems from ignorance because according to the Permanent Committee, the solution is fairly straightforward:

This is a figure of speech and the CONTEXT allows the reader or listener [to] understand what is meant. Whoever disagrees with this is either ignorant and does not know what he is talking about, or he is stubborn and wants to twist the meaning of the words and follow his whims and desires. [15] (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)

ABROGATION IN THE QUR’AN

Tisarpanth’s next attempt revolves around the hackneyed issue of Qur’anic abrogation. He begins with an underhanded swipe at our Prophet by referring to his beloved wife, ‘A’isha, as a “child spouse”. This is an obvious allusion to an objection raised in the modern era questioning the legality and/ or moral legitimacy of a marriage that was solemnised between a man who was over 60 years of age and a female who was six. We have dealt with this subject in detail in our rebuttal of Charge of Paedophilia wherein we lay down a challenge for any Sikh to: “Provide us with a clear proof from Sri Guru Granth Sahib that establishes when the right time for marriage is” or isn’t.

Moving on to the issue at hand, then Tisarpanth considers abrogation as “paradoxical” in nature where one verse is “contradicted” by another. However, either Tisarpanth is wilfully dense or ignorant of the definition of the law of non-contradiction, which is defined thusly:

Where A is a given proposition: (A and ¬A) is false.

In this instance, the abrogated verse and/ or ruling are always different to their replacement in both time and situation. To claim otherwise is to speak ignorantly of The Law of Abrogation. Hence, in order for the universal law of non-contradiction to be correctly applied, no more than a single proposition is applicable. In regards to an-Nasikh wal-Mansukh (the Abrogating and the Abrogated), then the abrogated verse is, by definition, wholly different to the abrogating verse; thus, since the pair represent two distinct propositions, the law of non-contradiction is inapplicable.

But what is the wisdom behind said law? Were, as the author erroneously suggests, the earlier chapters revealed in the city of Mecca “conveniently replaced with the ‘Medinian Suras’ as the prophet’s ambitions increased”? To begin with, abrogation has only ever applied to single verses of a given chapter, not the entire chapter itself!

Secondly, it is confusing how Tisarpanth forwards the prohibition of alcohol as an example of abrogation while at the same time suggesting that this law was intended to “veil [] the ‘Demonic Verses‘ rampant in the Koran” (bold ours). It was our understanding that Sikhism prohibited the consumption of alcohol. How then does the same injunction found in the Qur’an fall under the category of “demonic verses”? Unless, of course, the author personally rejects Sikhism’s forbiddance of intoxicants!

Now, it is true that a preliminary concession was given to those addicts who needed more time to properly wean themselves off its use (see Qur’an 4:43); but, this only serves to show the wisdom and mercy of Allah so as to obviate the harmful side-effects that alcoholics would typically suffer in response to an immediate ban. In fact, the example of the gradual prohibition of intoxicants perfectly sums up the wisdom behind the Law of Abrogation where the final ruling is superior to its antecedent vis-à-vis its intended benefits. In this respect, Shaykh ‘Abdur Rahmaan as-Sa’di explained:

Naskh (abrogation) means ‘moving’; thus, the meaning of abrogation is moving those who are accountable from one prescribed ruling to another, or waiving the ruling. The Jews used to condemn abrogation and claim that it was not permissible, even though it was referred to in the Torah; thus their rejection of it constituted disbelief and was based on pure whims and desires.

Allah, may He be exalted, has told us of His wisdom in abrogation, and that whenever He abrogates any verse “or cause[s] [it] to be forgotten” i.e., causes people to forget it and removes it from their hearts: “We bring a better one” that is more beneficial for you “or similar to it” [Qur’an 2:106].

This indicates that the abrogation will NOT be less beneficial to you than the original ruling, because Allah’s bounty always increases, especially for this ummah [Muslim world], for which He has made its religion very easy. …

Moreover, He is the Guardian and supporter of His slaves; thus He guides them to that which will benefit them and supports them by warding off that which will harm them. Part of His guardianship of them is that He prescribes rulings for them in accordance with His wisdom and His mercy towards them.

The one who ponders the abrogation that occurred in the Qur’an and Sunnah will come to know thereby the wisdom of Allah and His mercy towards His slaves, and how He helps them to attain that which is in their best interests in ways that they do not realize, by His grace. [16] (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)

Tisarpanth then returns to the conspiracy theory involving the corruption of the Qur’an (we have already highlighted the logical and historical pitfalls for such a claim). This time, the author credits the heretical Shi’ites for providing an answer to why Caliph ‘Uthman “deliberately removed or misplaced Koranic verses”, in this case the verse prescribing the stoning for adultery being replaced by a hundred lashes (Qur’an 4:15), “to vilify his foe, Ali”. Although the verse for stoning was removed, it could not have been removed during the Caliphate of ‘Uthman for two reasons.

The first is that there is no historical evidence suggesting that any verses were removed after the Prophet’s demise (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).

The second is a narration attributed to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab which proves that the verse in question was abrogated by the Prophet himself:

“I once came to the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), and the verse pertaining to stoning was mentioned. I asked the Prophet, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! Dictate to me the verse so that I may write it!’ The Prophet responded, ‘No, I cannot do this anymore,'” [17] meaning that he was not allowed to do so anymore. [18]

In addition, a two-fold reason exists for why there can be no correlation between this abrogated verse and the ruling prescribed in verse 4:15. For one, the former is explicitly applied to marital adultery whereas the latter is not only applicable to non-marital adultery, but is also an example of abrogation, except that in this case, while the verse remains, its ruling was repealed by verse 24:2.

In the end, what these examples show is how much emphasis and care we Muslims have taken in accurately preserving our history, particularly when it comes to our scriptures, and the extraordinary level of detail we have retained and preserved. Nothing has been left to chance. Alas, the same cannot be said of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. [19]

Tisarpanth continues to rely on the opinions of the heterodox groups, this time the Kharijites, who are said to have interpreted “the story of Joseph as being erotically offensive to the perpetual notion of a benevolent creator”. Unfortunately, the author has again failed to cite anything specific. However, if this is a reference to the attempt made by the King’s wife in seducing Prophet Joseph, then we fail to see how the following account is erotically offensive:

And she [King al-‘Azeez’s wife], in whose house he [Prophet Joseph] was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, “Come, you.” He said, “[I seek] refuge of Allah. Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. Indeed, wrongdoers will not succeed.” And she certainly determined [to seduce] him, and he would have inclined to her had he not seen the proof of his Lord. And thus [it was] that We should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our chosen servants. And they both raced to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back, and they found her husband at the door. She said, “What is the recompense of one who intended evil for your wife but that he be imprisoned or a painful punishment?” [Joseph] said, “It was she who sought to seduce me.” And a witness from her family testified. “If his shirt is torn from the front, then she has told the truth, and he is of the liars. But if his shirt is torn from the back, then she has lied, and he is of the truthful.” So when her husband saw his shirt torn from the back, he said, “Indeed, it is of the women’s plan. Indeed, your plan is great. Joseph, ignore this. And, [my wife], ask forgiveness for your sin. Indeed, you were of the sinful.” (Qur’an 23-30)

In what way does the above qualify as erotic? It is relatively sedate when compared to the grotesquely repugnant stories recorded in the Dasam Granth – a work many Sikhs attribute to their tenth Guru, Gobind Singh – and which we have thoroughly evaluated in our article: Erotic Tales of the Dasam Granth. On the contrary, this story depicts the qualities of a morally conscientious and God-fearing man who earned the pleasure of His Lord and was ultimately rewarded for maintaining his chastity by remaining steadfast against the wiles of a seductress.

Tisarpanth then tries his luck at being the grammarian by picking out two verses, viz. 20:15 and 78:1-5, “which have been added for rhyme and connect two incoherent passages which do not share any significant relation”! Unsurprisingly, no grammatical breakdown has been given; nevertheless, we are expected to believe that the former “totally demolishes the continual context of the entire sura” while the latter were “added on artificially because both the rhyme and contextual tone of the ‘sura’ changes”. Alas, such empty allegations have been made by many; but, as history proves, all failed when it came to proving their case.

The author finally ends this line of attack by lifting what seems to be an argument originally composed by Christian missionaries, which states that the scribe of the Prophet, Abd Allah b. Sa’d Abi Sarh, “was party to the veiling and discarding of solidified verses”. A complete rebuttal to this has been published by Islamic Awareness titled: Abdullah Ibn Sad Ibn Abi Sarh: Where Is the Truth?

THE ‘BORROWING’ FALLACY

The accusation of borrowing from either apocryphal sources or from pre-Islamic Greco-Roman myths, as Tisarpanth contends re the virgin birth of Jesus, is entirely fallacious if the two accounts in question are only thematically related, but significantly different in detail. Hence, although it is true that stories of virgin births did precede the Islamic accounts, the details of both stories are, nonetheless, utterly different in kind to warrant claims of plagiarism.

To take some of the examples forwarded by the author which involved the god Zeus and the goddess Nana:

  • Danae [] had attracted the amorous attention of Zeus himself, and the great god entered the tower as a shower of gold and impregnated Danae. [20]
  • One myth of Attis’s birth is a virgin birth story in which the Great Goddess, in her form as the virgin Nana, placed a pomegranate on her lap only to have a seed enter her and result in the birth of Attis. [21]

What is clearly discernible from these and similar such stories is that all of them have one thing in common not to be found in the Qur’anic account or any other place in Islam: conceptions directly involving a god and/ or goddess. This is precisely what Prof Leeming alludes to when he says that although “in the context of myth and religion, the term virgin birth is rightly applied to any miraculous conception and birth … [it] is ultimately not the story of a physiological quirk; it is the story of divinity entering the human experience by the only doorway available to it” (bold ours). [22] Hence, while Zeus’ and Nana’s physical involvement also allows them to enter through this doorway, the same is not true of Mary’s conception in the Qur’an, which occurred only through the will and permission of God, not with Him physically entering into the human experience.

The same degree of dissimilarity evident in the above accounts is also apparent in Tisarpanth’s example of the tale of Leto, the mother of Apollo, who apparently “gave birth to her latter progeny by grasping a sacred palm tree. Apollo is said to have reassured her in her birth pangs whilst still residing in her womb”. According to this Nihang, this and the birth of the Buddha are “strikingly similar” to Mary’s pregnancy in the Qur’an; except, of course, that they aren’t; not when one carries out a critical comparison after bothering to cite them!

In Leto’s story, we are told that “as soon as Eilithyia the Goddess of sore travail set foot on Delos, the pains of birth seized Leto, and she longed to bring forth; so she cast her arms about a palm tree and kneeled on the soft meadow while the earth laughed for joy beneath. Then the child leaped forth to the light, and all the goddesses raised a cry. Straightway, great Phoibos, the goddesses washed you purely and cleanly with sweet water, and swathed you in a white garment of fine texture, new-woven, and fastened a golden band about you”. [23] There is an additional account in the 27th book of Nonnus Dionysiaca in which Leto is carrying twins: “[W]hen Leto carried her twin burden and had to wonder over the world, tormented by the pangs of birth … until Delos gave help to her labour, until the old palmtree played midwife for Leto with her poor little leaves.” [24] But the reason for her grabbing this specific palm tree runs as follows: “When Leto took hold of them she immediately gave birth, which she had not been able to do before.” [25]

In Mary’s case, she does not “travel the world” during the pangs of birth; she was not carrying twins; nor is there a hint of any special tree without which her birth would have been impossible. The only factor that made the event special was the miracle of the voice from beneath Mary [26] who informed her of God’s provisional assistance (see Qur’an 19.22-34).

Meanwhile, the birth, or jataka, legends of Buddha contain even less parallels with the mother coming to rest under a sal tree, not the palm tree:

When she came to the monarch sal-tree of the glade, she wanted to take hold of a branch of it, and the branch bending down, like a reed heated by steam, approached within reach of her hand. Stretching out her hand she took hold of the branch, and then her pains came upon her. The people drawing a curtain round her, retired. Standing, and holding the branch of the sal-tree, she was delivered. That very moment the four pure-minded Maha Brahma angels came there bringing a golden net; and receiving the future Buddha on that net, they placed him before his mother, saying, “Bo joyful, O Lady! a mighty son is born to thee!” [27]

There is no account of Mary having held on to a palm tree leaf nor of any angels appearing to receive Jesus with a net or otherwise.

This is only a snippet of the many trite examples of the tenuous accusations of borrowing that stand as they do on the flimsiest of grounds. Such an approach would, in effect, give credence to the argument that Nanak must have borrowed from certain Sufi sects given the similarities shared between the two philosophies.

The Qur’an also “fails to recognize any chronological or historic formality”, says Tisarpanth, in that it “identifies Haman, who was the minister of the Persian monarch Ahasuerus during the period of Esther, as being the Pharaoh during the time of Moses”. This has been convincingly refuted by Islamic Awareness in their article: Biblical Haman » Qur’ānic Hāmān: A Case Of Straightforward Literary Transition? Similarly, Islamic Awareness exposes the author’s claim that our Prophet confused between Mary the mother of Jesus, and Moses’ and Aaron’s sister of the same name: Mary, Sister Of Aaron? (See also: Why Was Mary Referred to as ‘Sister of Aaron’ When She Brought the Baby Jesus to Her People?).

As for the assertion that Prophet Saul in the Qur’an (2:249-50) is mistaken for Gideon in the Bible (Judges 7:5) for what on the face of it seems like the same incident, then this has been refuted well by Sami Zaatari in the following: Saul and Gideon: revelation or error?

And lastly, the allegation that the Qur’an holds Alexander the Great and Prophet Abraham to be contemporaries has absolutely no foundation whatsoever. Aside from the fact that no verse is given, if the author is alluding to Dhul-Qurnain, then there is no evidence, other than unsubstantiated speculations of mainly modern-day Muslims, to say that this was Alexander the Great. For one, the former was a monotheistic righteous servant of Allah, while the latter was a well-known idolater.

Tisarpanth’s last few arguments are a good example of throwing the kitchen sink at one’s opponent since they are patently ill-conceived and smack of desperation.

ARMAGEDDON

The author believes that the Islamic concept of the Day of Judgement and the literal resurrection of mankind is: “Archaeologically … alien and [an] unwholesome idea to the pagan Arabs who questioned it’s [sic] fundamentals.” Despite another failure in presenting any evidence for this alleged archaeological evidence, the truth is that none is required given the fact that the Qur’an mentions their soteriological beliefs. Of course, this would have been obvious had Tisarpanth any real knowledge of Islam or, at the very least, the Qur’an wherein the Pagan Arabs are quoted as declaring: “There is nothing but our life of this world! We die and we live,” (Qur’an 23:37) meaning, as Ibn Kathir elucidates: “This was the belief in the cycle of reincarnation; in their ignorance they believed that they would come back to this world as they had been before.” (bold ours) In response, Allah answered: “And surely, all – everyone of them will be brought before Us,” (Qur’an 36:32) meaning: “All of the past nations and those that are yet to come, will be gathered and brought to account before Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, on the Day of Judgement, and they will be requitted according to their good and evil deeds.” [28]

In any event, Tisarpanth goes so far as to call the process of resurrection irrational on the bizarre basis of science while alleging that the Qur’an “fails to identify any modern rationality”?! It is difficult to see how a Sikh, who believes in the unjust notion of the transmigration of souls, could possibly utilise the methodology of science, which is completely restricted to the evaluation of the material world and is, thus, confined to a naturalistic approach in testing any truth-claims, to debunk a concept that is not only supernatural, but also destined to occur in the distant future!

On the other hand, the author does attempt an attack from a conceptual point of view by rationalising that while “all of mankind will be resurrected”, verses 2:159 and 3:169 speak of a class of people, i.e. the martyrs, who are “alive and reside in his presence” and have, therefore, been “raised [] before their allocated time”. But once again, what appears to Tisarpanth to be an apparent contradiction is only down to this Nihang’s extreme ignorance of Islam. To begin with, while 2:159 has nothing to do with resurrection whatsoever, [29] 3:169 certainly does. The author, however, equivocates over the word “alive” by wrongly assuming that the life being spoken of in this context is equivalent to the life of those to be resurrected. This, however, is certainly not the case as Ibn Kathir reveals:

Allah states that even though the martyrs were killed in this life, their souls are alive and receiving provisions in the Dwelling of Everlasting Life. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Masruq said, “We asked ‘Abdullah about this Ayah, ‘Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision.’ He said, ‘We asked the Messenger of Allah the same question and he said, “Their souls are inside green birds that have lamps, which are hanging below the Throne (of Allah), and they wander about in Paradise wherever they wish. Then they return to those lamps. Allah looks at them and says, ‘Do you wish for anything?’ They say, ‘What more could we wish for, while we go wherever we wish in Paradise.’ Allah asked them this question thrice, and when they realize that He will keep asking them until they give an answer, they say, ‘O Lord! We wish that our souls be returned to our bodies so that we are killed in Your cause again.’ Allah knew that they did not have any other wish, so they were left.”‘” [30]

It is clear from the above, therefore, that the martyrs are a class apart from the rest who, as a result of their great sacrifice, were granted a provisional pre-resurrection reward in that only their souls presently reside in Paradise, not their body. However, once their bodies are fully restored on the Day of Resurrection, they will continue their eternal residence therein as both body and soul.

This lack of knowledge is confirmed through the statement that “without waiting for the last day Allah will banish all of Islam’s enemies to hell”; and that’s it; no references; no elaboration! This pretty much sums up Tisarpanth as an individual – a Sikh missionary who is adapt at lifting the arguments of others without giving due credit, and presenting nonsensical arguments. Now, what does the author exactly mean by “banish”? It is true that Allah threatens the enemies of Islam with hell-fire, but to say that they will be banished to hell before the Day of Judgement would defeat the whole purpose of a judgement day! There are, nevertheless, a few examples where certain individuals or groups of people were informed by the Omniscient of their destined abode either during their life or following their demise, but such information was restricted to the time of revelation, not thereafter. Hence, to claim that all of Islam’s enemies are destined for hell is false since only Allah knows the final verdict of any single person.

But this is not all for Tisarpanth wonders “what will happen to that warrior, who while injured donates his organ to a fellow. Will he be resurrected or replicated? And will the replica suffer for his sins despite not having committed it’s [sic] parent’s actions?” Again, it is difficult to work out the thought-process employed here. What type of logic pushes one to speculate that not only might an organ donor be replicated, but that this replicant could suffer for the sins of its parent despite being identified in its own right as a unique being which, presumably, never suffered the trials of life?! A truly absurd argument that does not deserve to be dignified with a response.

SHARI’AH PENAL PUNISHMENTS

Burglary may have long-lasting effects on victims’ trust of other people, fear of being alone, and fear of entering their residence.

Burglaries have significant direct and indirect consequences for victims … [who] suffer significant LONG-TERM psychological effects. … The enduring psychological effects of burglary on its victims are just as severe as the effects related to violent crimes, such as assault and robbery.

Tisarpanth also considers the “inhumane” penal codes of the Shari’ah to be at odds with the twenty-first century’s “enlightened” standards of “individual respect”. Unfortunately, the author fails in both defining a term as broad as “individual respect”, as well as the standard by which this respect is measured. Nevertheless, would Tisarpanth consider standards defined by mankind to be superior to those established by God the omniscient? If not, then irrespective of the degree of enlightenment, man-made standards can never be equal or superior to those of God. Whose standards, then, are being used to measure individual respect? If they are set by man, then how can Tisarpanth be certain or, for that matter, convince others that these are approved of God? Conversely, if Sikhism is the measure by which these standards are being approved, then Tisarpanth presupposes Sikhism to be a true measure without proving it. It goes without saying that Islam-Sikhism.info has been established to show that Sikhism is a false man-invented religion with no approval from God.

Now, the example of the amputation of a thief, or more specifically the burglar, may seem excessive to simpletons like Tisarpanth, but the wisdom behind this, and the other few penal punishments, can only be properly judged after giving due consideration to the nature of the crime, as well as the detrimental consequences on both a small and large scale.  But, before we do this, it would be prudent to define burglary in Islam in order to pre-empt any wrong assumptions that its punishment might be carried out on the flimsiest of pretexts. The truth, contrary to the disinformation spread by anti-Islamic propagandists, is that not only does this word have a narrow meaning, but the conditional requirements for enacting said punishment are extremely stringent.

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751AH/ 1350CE) forwarded a basic understanding of thievery below:

The fact that the hand of the burglar (saariq – one who breaks in by stealth and steals something that is kept in an appropriate place) may be cut off for three dirhams, but not in the case of the embezzler (mukhtalis, one who steals when a person is not looking), robber or extortioner (ghaasib, one who seizes something by force) is indicative of the perfect wisdom of [the] sharee’ah. [31]

And the punishment for burglary can only be carried out after the following nine conditions are met:

  1. The existence of an incidence of theft i.e. stealing while concealing oneself. Thus the hand is not to be cut off for snatching.
  2. That the thief is Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions). Accordingly, no Hadd (ordained punishment for violating Allah’s Law) is to be applied to a child or a mad person.
  3. That the value of the stolen property reaches the Nisab (the minimum value of property stolen that entails execution of the prescribed penalty for theft i.e. one quarter of a golden Dinar). The hand is thus not to be cut off if the value of the stolen property is less than the Nisab.
  4. That the stolen property is normally valuable.
  5. That the stolen property does not involve any uncertainty.
  6. That the stolen property is taken from a Hirz (well-fortified place).
  7. That the thief took the stolen property out of a Hirz.
  8. That the conviction of the thief is proven before the judge by the testimony of two male ‘Adl (of upright character) witnesses or by the confession of the thief.
  9. That the stolen property is claimed by its real owner.

However, checking the foregoing conditions with regard to specific incidences of theft is to be referred to the legal judiciary. [32]

Personal autonomy, strength of will, pride of self-possession are broken, and in their place are personal violation, loss of self-respect, and lingering doubts about one’s self-worth. – Burglary victim

In his breakdown of some of these conditions, Dr Salih Al-Fawzan explains, for instance, that “[t]he act of stealing must be committed stealthily; otherwise, the prescribed punishment of cutting the hand off is not to be executed, as when the property is plundered publicly or is usurped, for in such case the owner of the property can seek help and punish the oppressor and the usurper”.

He also reveals the “clear wisdom” behind the Nisab being set at a quarter of a golden Dinar [33] by explaining that at that time, such an amount could “mostly suffice a person and those he provides for in a day”. [34]

As for the correct understanding of the term Hirz, then Imam Al-Qurtubi defined it below:

A proper storage place is that which is usually set up to store people’s wealth, which varies from one case to another.

Ibn al-Mundhir said: There is no definite report or scholarly opinion concerning that; rather it is like consensus among the scholars. [35] (bold, underline ours)

Shaykh Al-Fawzan elaborates more fully on this meaning thusly:

Among the conditions that must be fulfilled for amputating the hand of the thief is that the stolen property is taken from its repository. The repository of a property is the place where things are usually put for safekeeping, because depositing something indicates safekeeping it. The repository differs according to the kind of property, difference of places, and the rulers being just or unjust, his power or weakness. For example, the valuable properties are to be preserved inside houses, stores, and fortified buildings and the like under secure conditions, and so on according to the nature of the preserved property and the customs of the place. Hence, if a property is stolen from a place which is not considered a repository of such a thing, as when a thief steals from a building whose door is open or from a broken repository, then no amputation is to be executed on him. (bold, underline ours)

An additional condition mentioned by the Shaykh is:

There must not be any doubt on the side of the thief. That is, if there is any doubt that may justify the thief stealing, then his hand is not to be cut off, according to the hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) in which he says: “Avert punishments in the case of suspicion as much as you can.” [36] Thus, the penalty of cutting off the hand is not to be executed in case someone steals from his father’s property or from his sons property, as each of them has a right in the property of the other. This constitutes a doubt that averts the execution of the prescribed penalty.

The final condition has it that the victim “must reclaim his property”. A failure in doing so excuses the accused since it is interpreted by the judge as having “allowed the accused person to take it, and this constitutes a doubt that averts the execution of the legal penalty”. [37]

And, of course, these conditions are to be strictly observed as the Shaykh warns:

Thus, there are certain qualities that must be fulfilled in the thief, the stolen person [i.e. the victim], the stolen property and the manner of stealing, and all these qualities are included in the aforementioned definition. Whenever any of these conditions is not fulfilled, the hand should not be cut off.” [38]

There are also extenuating circumstances that can play a part in waiving the execution of penal sentences. Such an incident occurred during the time of the second Caliph ‘Umar who ruled against punishing a group that was forced out of extreme necessity to steal a camel for food when the Arabian Peninsula was struck by such severe drought and famine that that particular year came to be known as Ar-Ramadah, or The Ashes. [39]

As for understanding the severity of the punishment, then that lies in understanding the difference between burglary and other theft crimes, such as robbery or embezzlement, which can be mistaken to be similar or, worse still, the same. What essentially differentiates the former from the latter is the level of stealth and secrecy used. Ibnul Qayyim elucidates below:

For one cannot take precautions against the burglar who breaks into houses and breaches one’s hiding-places and breaks locks; the owner of the goods cannot do any more than that (i.e., hiding them in appropriate places). If it were not prescribed for the hand of the burglar to be cut off, then people would steal from one another in this manner, [] a great deal of harm would be done, and the problem of theft would be grievous indeed. This is unlike the case of the robber and embezzler. The robber is the one who takes things openly in the sight of people, so they may stop him and restore the rights of the one who has been wronged, or they may testify before the judge. And the embezzler is the one who takes things when the owner is not paying attention, etc., so there has to be some form of negligence which enables the embezzler to steal. Otherwise, when one is careful and alert, he cannot take anything. So he is not like a burglar (saariq), rather he is more like a betrayer [of trust].

Moreover, the embezzler (mukhtalis) does not take things from a place where things of that nature are usually hidden; rather he waits until you are not paying attention, then he takes your things when you put something down for a moment and are not paying attention. This is something against which precautions may be taken in most cases, and he (the embezzler) is like the robber who steals openly. With regard to the one who seizes things by force, the case is more obvious: it is even more apt that his hand should not be cut off, but it is permissible to put a stop to the actions of these people by beating them, making an example out of them as a warning to others, imprisoning them for lengthy periods and punishing them by seizing their property. [40]

In Islam, the basic principle is that the punishment is directly proportional to the severity of the crime; thus, the more serious the crime, the severer the punishment. And unlike the entirely subjective nature of man-made laws that are based on conjecture, the goals and purposes of Islamic law, what are known as Maqasid ash-Shari’ah, are determined by the Omniscient to help facilitate mankind’s sole purpose in life: the true worship of Allah. These Maqasid, which aim to preserve the five basic requirements (daruriyyah) that ensure the welfare of a society while protecting it from harm, are:

  1. Religion (deen).
  2. Life (nafs).
  3. Intellect (‘aql).
  4. Property (maal).
  5. Lineage (nasl).

Hence, determining the seriousness of the crime and, therefore, the severity of its punishment can be gauged by determining which of the aforesaid rights have been contravened, as well as the degree of harm inflicted upon the victims and/ or society as a whole.

In the case of the burglar who is lawfully convicted through due process of law, Allah has prescribed the following punishment: “As to the burglar, male or female, cut off his or her hands.” (Qur’an 5:38). What the punishment for burglary undoubtedly demonstrates, therefore, is the seriousness with which Islam takes the issue of property rights.

Shaykh al-Fawzan contextualises this degree of seriousness by comparing it to crimes that fall under the same broad category of theft as burglary does:

Scholars unanimously agree that for the embezzler, the plunderer and the usurper, despite the gravity of their crime and their sin, no amputation of the hands is to be executed on any of them. It is permissible to prevent their aggression by means of disciplining, punishing, long imprisonment, and deterrent penalty by confiscating their properties.

What we also learn from the above is that the parameters for burglary are far less lenient than those required to successfully convict a robber, larcenist or embezzler. The reason for the former, thus, carrying a harsher punishment lies in the nature of the crime where the far greater planning and preparation necessarily required for execution implicates the perpetrator since it ends up meeting all the conditions required for a successful conviction. In essence, therefore, these parameters not only lay bare the level of cunning, deception and treachery used to organise and execute such an insidious operation, but also expose how much more corrupt and immoral this breed of criminal is in comparison to its aforementioned counterparts. It is for this reason that Shaykh Al-Fawzan declared:

The thief [i.e. the burglar] is a corrupt member of society; if left, his corruption would spread in the body of the nation. Thus, he should be restrained by applying the suitable penalty to inhibit him. Therefore, Allah, Exalted be He, has legislated cutting off the hand of the thief; such an unjust hand that reaches out for what is not rightful for it, such a hand that destroys rather than constructs, and takes rather than gives. [41] (bold ours)

And the impact of the spread of this corruption can be felt all over the world especially in built up urban areas where safety would be of paramount importance. In its 2007 Global Report on Human Settlements, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP) noted how “burglary is the most common property crime connected to local built environmental and design features” [42]  (bold ours) revealing:

High burglary rates have implications for neighbourhoods, cities and nations. Commercial and residential properties are frequent targets for burglaries, and data shows that, on average, one out of five urban residents world-wide report being victimized within a five-year period. [43]

While “[e]vidence suggests that burglars target properties that are expected to yield loot with the highest market value”, there was also evidence to show that burglary was “a serious offence in developing regions such as Africa” where it “tends to be partly motivated by poverty, even though material possessions are fewer”. [44]

The UNHSP also highlighted the psychological effects suffered by the victims:

Burglaries have significant direct and indirect consequences for victims, especially where there are no indemnification systems and where victims suffer significant LONG-TERM psychological effects. In one study, nearly 40 per cent of burglary victims stated that they had been very much affected and 68 per cent indicated that they felt angry as a result of burglaries and attempted burglaries. Shock, fear and difficulty in sleeping were also fairly common experiences of burglary victims. The enduring psychological effects of burglary on its victims are just as severe as the effects related to violent crimes, such as assault and robbery. [45] (bold, underline, capitalisation ours)

Burglary victims may even experience HIGHER levels of vulnerability and fear of property crime than do robbery and nonsexual assault victims.

What stands out from the above evaluation is how a non-violent crime such as this can have just as severe, if not worse, an effect on the health and well-being of its victims as violent ones. In this regard, there is compelling evidence derived from research conducted in this field that reveals just how serious the consequences can be. For example, Prof Arthur Lurigio carried out research on the question of whether all victims of crime were alike by looking at The Adverse, Generalized, and Differential Impact of Crime. When “crime victims (burglary, robbery, felonious assault) and non-victims were compared to examine the short-term differential and generalized effects of crime on psychological, behavioral, and attitudinal measures”, he discovered:

Victims were more likely to report experiencing higher levels of vulnerability fear, and symptomology, and lower levels of self-efficacy. Also, victims were more likely to engage in protective behaviors. There were fewer differences, however, among the three groups of crime victims. Burglary victims were more likely to report feeling vulnerable and fearful, while assault victims were more likely to express more negative views of the police. [46]

Also, there was a non-significant but apparent trend in the data showing a greater tendency among burglary victims to experience sleep disturbances. [47] (bold, underline ours)

In her evaluation of the Lurigio’s research, Peggy Tobolowsky, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas, summarised how “the Lurigio selection, indicates, burglary victims (as opposed to nonvictims of crime) may experience heightened levels of vulnerability, fear, symptomology, and other effects as a result of their victimization. Moreover, Lurigio’s research indicates that burglary victims may even experience HIGHER levels of vulnerability and fear of property crime than do robbery and nonsexual assault victims” (bold, capitalisation, underline ours). [48]

Similar conclusions were cited by James Dignan who, in quoting Maguire and Kynch, said “that the emotional reaction to burglary is very similar to that associated with violent offences”. [49] Dignan, thus, opines:

Presumably this has to do with the victim’s perception that the offence involves a violation of a very precious and personal space or ‘cocoon’. Thus, it is not altogether surprising that no fewer than 83 per cent of those experiencing a domestic burglary involving entry reported that they had been emotionally affected by it, and 37 per cent indicated that they had been ‘very much affected’ (Simmons and Dodd 2003: 60; see also Maguire with Bennett, 1982). [50] (bold ours)

This perception of physical violation is also starkly expressed by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman as follows:

The victim not only feels helpless, but sullied and tarnished in the process. This is very evident in the case of victimizations involving physical penetration, such as rape, in which sexual acts are used specifically to humiliate and degrade the victim. Yet even burglary victims speak of their homes as having been “penetrated, desecrated, and dirtied.” Human-induced victimizations affect survivors’ core beliefs about themselves. Personal autonomy, strength of will, pride of self-possession are broken, and in their place are personal violation, loss of self-respect, and lingering doubts about one’s self-worth. [51] (bold ours)

While Davis and Friedman draw on the findings of the “American Institutes for Research (1978) [which] found that many burglary victims exhibit ‘crisis behavior’ following the incident, and Waller and Okihiro (1978) report that burglary may have long-lasting effects on victims’ trust of other people, fear of being alone, and fear of entering their residence” (bold, underline ours). [52]

Another important element to take into consideration is the issue of victimhood, which factors in the possible impact a crime has on those most closely associated to the victim(s):

Aside from the ‘worthiness’ of the most direct victims of criminal activity, there has been a growing understanding that ‘victimisation’ stretches beyond this narrow group (Dignan, 2005). As such, whilst direct victims of burglary (for example) suffer the immediate harm (loss and damage to property, anger, inconvenience, fear) so-called indirect victims, maybe affected too: say by increasing their fear of crime, or practically through increased insurance premiums (Rock, 1998). [53] (bold ours)

What then of the family of a victim?

The family is an indirect victim of a crime perpetrated on an individual. The family’s life as it once was is irreputably changed. The roles of protector, nurturer, or lover may be compromised. The family may also be the primary victim, such as in a house burglary. [54]

As such, if the family is a primary victim, then this a case of collective victimisation where members of a group suffer the same level of extensive, long-term health problems evidenced above. Worse still, the adverse effects exhibited by a family prove that burglary has a direct impact on the very foundation of society itself – a matter Islam has always taken very seriously.

Hence, the reason why the punishment of amputation has been exclusively prescribed by the Almighty to fit this crime is because of the potential widespread damage burglary can have on an individual, familial and community level, as well as the uniquely dangerous mind set of the burglar.

The thief [i.e. the burglar] is a corrupt member of society; if left, his corruption would spread in the body of the nation.

Given that we have attempted to provide an explanation and rationale for this and, by extension, similar such punishments, we wish to ask what Sikhism’s rationale would be in prescribing punishments, including any scriptural references, for each of the following crimes: burglary, robbery, larceny, adultery, fornication, murder, homosexuality, bestiality, terrorism, banditry, and apostasy. How viable would punishments legislated by, say, the fantasy land of Khalistan, a self-governed and autonomous state oft-dreamt of by politicised Sikhs, be in serving as an effective deterrent?

We also wonder whether the 10 Gurus with their combined reign of over 250 years came even close to establishing a system of law and governance as complex, revolutionary enlightened, and, above all, effective as Islam’s.

Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith. (Qur’an 5:50)

RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

Following a barrage of empty objections, Tisarpanth’s penultimate point touches on the issue of religious intolerance and how Muslims apparently rejected Article 18 of the United Nation’s 1948 charter which stipulates:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Again the major shortcoming with this argument is a failure in defining the standards by which this Nihang measures tolerance. Despite said charter claiming to uphold the rights of mankind, it fails to factor in the all-important element of God. Hence, not only do we not know whose standards of tolerance are being applied here, i.e. God’s or man’s, but we also have no idea whether upholding these rights might lead to a violation of the rights of God. Of course, this raises the question of what His rights are upon mankind and whether mankind has been granted any rights over Him.

In Islam, Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) succinctly articulated these rights to his companion Mu’adh thusly:

The right of Allah upon His servants are that they should worship Him and not associate anything with Him. … The right of His servants over Allah is that He will not punish them (as a result). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

It goes without saying, therefore, that while His rights supersede all others, the most important revolve around the act of worship which itself is rooted at the heart of a religion. And it is these rights that Islam came to re-establish and protect. For this reason, all false forms of worship are forbidden from being publicly practiced or, worse still, propagated in an Islamic state. It should also be noted that this restriction holds true for Muslims too in that all innovations in worship not divinely sanctioned are forbidden. As such, while non-Muslims have every opportunity to enter or exit an Islamic state, if they choose to reside therein, then they must be made fully aware of said restriction while agreeing to abide by the laws of the land. Hence, what anyone – Muslim and non-Muslim – chooses to do in private is entirely their decision. In this way, the rights of God are properly maintained and preserved.

In contrast, charters, statutes, and religions that unrestrictedly allow the false worship of God, as well as the promotion of any other ungodly ideas, essentially place the rights of individuals over and above the rights of God.

PREDESTINATION AND DETERMINATION

Tisarpanth’s final assault on Islam is on what the author describes as the “ambiguous concept of predestination and predetermination” which presents “the notion of a tyrannical and psychopathic creator”. In this regard, the following Qur’anic verses are cited as evidence:

54.49. ‘All things have been created after a fixed decree.’

31.39. ‘No one can die except by God’s permission according to the book that fixes the term of life (so now a divine element who does not depend on any other source is himself confined?).

87.2. ‘The Lord has created and balanced all things and has fixed their destinies and guided them.’

9.51. ‘By no means can anything befall us but what God has destined for us.’

The decree and destiny being spoken of here is related to the perfect knowledge of God. If Sikhs believe, as Muslims do, that God has absolute perfect knowledge of and power over all things, then one must also acknowledge in turn that not only does God have eternal knowledge of all things in all times, but that nothing occurs except by His will and permission. It, therefore, follows that Allah has always known precisely what we are going to do from pre-eternity before we consciously decide to do it. It also follows that we cannot do anything except by the permission of Allah who chooses to create our actions through His power and will. To say otherwise is to ascribe ignorance and weakness to Allah thereby affirming imperfection for Him – exalted is He above such erroneous beliefs.

14.4. ‘God misleads whom he will and whom he will he guides.’

The clue in correctly understanding this verse lies in quoting it fully since it ends with: “And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” This reveals that those who are misled are misled only after they have wilfully rejected the truth presented to them, or as Ibn Kathir puts it: “After the proof and evidence have been established for the people.” In other words, the one who insincerely rejects the truth after recognising it for what it is can only do so through God’s will and permission as part of His perfect knowledge and infinite wisdom. This is what is meant by God misleading whomsoever He wills. To put it another way, it is impossible for a sentient servant to make choices and execute them outside of God’s influence and purview.

18.101. ‘The infidels whose eyes were veiled from my warning and had no power to hear.’

(The autocratic tyrant speaks again!)

Again Tisarpanth needs to understand that this veiling occurred as a result of the disbelievers exercising their free will in arrogantly rejecting the truth established against them. The Arabic word translated as “no power”, or laa yasta’eenu, should not be interpreted as God literally depriving them of their powers of hearing, but that they did not seek to hearken unto the message, i.e. they freely chose to lend a deaf ear by ignoring it. Hence, a more accurate translation would be that they could not bear to hear it.

32.32. ‘If We had so willed, we could have given every soul its guidance, but now My word is realized- “I shall fill hell with Jinn and Men together.”

Note: Chapter 32 only has 30 verses; the above is verse 13. In any case, the critical part of this verse is the conditional if clause which effectively means that although Allah could have guided everyone if He wanted to, He chose to create a dual natured universe in which mankind was granted sufficient freedom to choose between truth and falsehood before being justly rewarded or punished in the hereafter.

57.22. ‘No disaster occurs on earth or accident in yourselves which was not already recorded in the Book before we created them.’

This goes back to al-Lawh al-Mahfooth (The Preserved Tablet) mentioned above which derives from the absolute perfect knowledge of Allah. Hence, before the universe was even created, Allah ordered writing down everything that would take place to the minutest possible detail in said Tablet. Of course, there is nothing illogical in Allah choosing to create such an object and using it accordingly.

2.6-7 ‘As for the unbelievers (individuals who reject the orthodox Islamic dogma), it is the same whether or not you forewarn them; they will not have faith.

God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears. Their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them.’

Very simply then, the Arabic word for unbeliever here is kafaru, which carries a particular definition that this Nihang would do well to understand. It means: those who “covered the truth and hid it”, as noted by Ibn Kathir; that is to say, the one who purposefully ignored the truth while knowing of it. In this context, continues Ibn Kathir: “Since Allah has written that they would do so, it does not matter if you (O Muhammad) warn them or not, they would still have disbelieved in what you were sent with.” Once again, this goes back to Allah’s perfect knowledge.

As for the seal, then this means:

Qatadah said that this Ayah means, “Shaytan controlled them when they obeyed him. Therefore, Allah sealed their hearts, hearing and sight, and they could neither see the guidance nor hear, comprehend or understand.” Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said, “Allah has set a seal on their hearts”, “A stamp. It occurs when sin resides in the heart and surrounds it from all sides, and this submersion of the heart in sin constitutes a stamp, meaning a seal.” Ibn Jurayj also said that the seal is placed on the heart and the hearing.

Hence, the seal is placed on the hearts and ears after their rejection of Islam.

CONCLUSION

Tisarpanth deludingly concludes: “One should remain patient with them [i.e. the ‘da’wah’ missionaries] and understand their illogical mentality and aim to cure their disillusion.” As we have seen, this author’s cure involves dishonest plagiarism, disinformation, and distortion of the Islamic scripture, coupled with research of the shoddiest nature.

This dishonesty is typified by a response left to a comment in which this Nihang states sans any evidence: “Different sects constructed it [the Qur’an] after Muhammad’s demise to suit their own agendas. Even Muhammad himself cunningly supported 27 different variations towards the end of his earthly sojourn.” Who were these different sects? The Qur’an was physically recorded and memorised in its entirety during the time of Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). Prof Mustafa al-Azami mentions the name of “sixty-five companions who functioned as scribes for the Prophet at one time or another”. After naming all 65, he concludes:

Based on the total number of scribes, and the Prophet’s custom of summoning them to record all new verses, we can safely assume that in his own lifetime the entire Quran was available in written form. [55]

This fact was practically demonstrated during the reign of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, who, within barely two years of the passing of the Prophet, ordered Zaid ibn Thabit to compile the Qur’an into a single master copy. In response, Zaid managed to gather the entirety of it from the disparate written material he managed to collate from the Muslim community. As Yasir Qadhi puts it:

The strict criteria employed by Zayd ensured the authenticity of the compilation. Even though Zayd had memorised the entire Qur’aan, and could have written it from his own memory, he still made sure that there were at least two other memorizers of the verse, and a written copy of the verse written under the direct supervision of the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). [56]

But the ultimate reason why it would have been impossible for any sect to compile the Qur’an is because no sects existed until approximately 22 years after said compilation when the first of them, viz. the Kharijites, arose during the Caliphate of ‘Ali. Hence, Tisarpanth’s claim is nothing more than a gross lie as is his supposed 27 different variations. Perhaps the author was referring to the seven divinely revealed dialects (ahruf) of the Qur’an. Who knows? What is known for certain is that Tisarpanth is a bona fide ignoramus when it comes to the subject of Islam.

APPENDIX A – THE IMPORTANCE OF SURAH AL-IKHLAS

The selection of evidences below demonstrates both the importance and popularity of Al-Ikhlas, as well as how ubiquitous its memorisation and recitation was and always has been for the Muslims:

  1. A man from the original inhabitants of Madinah was appointed to lead prayers in the Quba’ Mosque. In every unit of prayer, he would recite Al-Ikhlas followed by another chapter of the Qur’an. He used to do this in every unit of every prayer. His congregation confronted him about his practice, saying: “You recite this chapter, and then it is as if you feel it is not enough so you recite another one after it. Either recite it on its own or recite some other chapter.”He told them: “I will not stop reciting it this way. If you like me to lead you in prayer like this, then I will do so. Otherwise, I will stop leading you in prayer.”Now, the congregation of the Quba’ Mosque regarded him as the best of their number, and they did not like the idea of anyone else leading prayer at that mosque. Therefore, when Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) paid a visit to the mosque, they approached him with their concerns.The Prophet approached the man and said: “What prevents you from complying with the demands of your congregation? Why do you insist on reading this chapter in every unit of prayer?”The man replied: “O Messenger of Allah! It is because I love it so.”To this, the Prophet replied: “Your love of it will admit you into Paradise.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2901).
  2. On another occasion, Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) sent a man out at the head of an expedition. During their travels, the man led his party in prayers and always recited Al-Ikhlas.When the expedition returned they told the Prophet about it, and he told them to ask the man why he did so. The man replied: “It is because it describes the Beneficent, and therefore I love to recite it.” Upon hearing this man’s reply, Prophet Muhammad said: “Tell that man that Allah loves him.” (Al-Bukhari, 7375; Muslim, 813).
  3. Qutaadah ibn al-Nu’maan said that a man stayed up to worship Allah at the time of the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) just before dawn and recited “Qul huwa Allaahu ahad,” but did not recite anything else. In the morning, the man came to the Prophet and told him about this thinking that perhaps he was not doing enough. The Messenger of Allah said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, it is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an.” (Al-Bukhari, 4627).
  4. ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir said: “I met the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) … and he said to me, ‘O ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir, shall I not teach you some chapters the likes of which have not been revealed in the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, or in the Qur’an? There is no night that arrives except that you should recite: Qul huwa Allaahu ahad [Al-Ikhlas], Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbi’l-falaq [Al-Falaq] and Qul a’oodhu bi Rabbin-naas [An-Naas].'” ‘Uqbah said: “So every night I would recite them. It became my duty to recite them, because the Messenger of Allah had commanded me to do so…” (Musnad Ahmad, 16810).
  5. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) heard a man reciting Qul huwa Allaahu ahad, and said, “It is his right.’ They asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is his right?’ He said, ‘Paradise is his right.’ (Musnad Ahmad, 7669).
  6. The Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever recites Qul huwa Allaahu ahad ten times, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, 6472).
  7. The reading of the above chapter thrice is also confirmed as part of the remembrance of the morning and of the evening, and when going to sleep, as reported in the tradition: “Reciting Surah Ikhlas and the last two chapters of the Qur’an in the morning and evening thrice will protect you from everything.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi; Al-Albaani classified it as authentic).
  8. ‘A’isha said that when the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) retired to his bed every night, he would put his hands together, blow on them before reading: “Al-Ikhlas and the last two chapters (112-114), then wipe [his hands] over his body. He would start from his head, then his face, then the rest of his body; and he would do this thrice.” (Al-Bukhari).

[1] See our article: Uncloaking Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s Guru Nanak.
[2] We have thoroughly exposed the lies of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers, and emphatically refuted all their major arguments from both a theological and historical point of view in the following papers:

[3] M.S. Abdul-Rahman (2009), 2nd Edition: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Juz’ 25 (Part 25): Fussilat 47 to Al-Jathiya 37, (MSA Publication Limited, London), pp. 80-1.
[4] M.S. Abdul-Rahman (2009), Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Juz’ 27 (Part 27): Az-Zariyat 31 to Al-Hadid 29, (MSA Publication Limited, London), pp. 213, 215.
[5] (Ed.) O. Leaman (2006), The Qur’an: An Encyclopedia, (Routledge, NY), p. 358.
[6] Ibid., p. 359.
[7] Ibid., pp. 358-9.
[8] Ibid., p. 360.
[9] These theologians were mistaken. It is known from the authentic sources of Islam that the Prophet displayed a number of miracles by the permission of his Lord, not least, of course, the famous splitting of the moon.
[10] Leaman, op. cit., p. 359.
[11] See Appendix A for an overview of the many evidences that prove how popular and important it was to the first generation of Muslims.
[12] H.A. Bajwa (2010), Codifying Gilchrist’s Errors over Ibn Mas’ud’s Codex, (Word Doc File; accessed: Feb 17, 2016).
[13] S-R al-Mubarakpuri (2001), Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Part 30, (Darussalam), pp. 237-40.
[14] The variation of pronouns in the Qur’an is a sign of its eloquence and miraculous nature, (Islam Question and Answer; accessed: Nov 05 2014).
[15] A. ibn Qa’ud, A. ibn Ghudayyan, A.-R. ‘Afify, A.-A. ibn A. ibn Baz, Refuting the allegation of those who say that `Isa is the son of Allah, (Portal of the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and ‘Ifta; accessed: Nov 05, 2014).
[16] Abrogation in the Qur’an, (Islam Question and Answer; accessed: Nov 06 2014).
[17] Fn. 523: Reported by al-Bayhaqee and others. cf. as-Saheehah, v. 6, p. 975.
[18] A.A.Y. Qadhi (2003), An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, (al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution), p. 242.
[19] See, for example, our article: Ragmala Controversy.
[20] D. Leeming (1987), The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, (Oxford University Press), p. 92.
[21] Ibid., p. 38.
[22] D.A. Leeming (1987), “Virgin Birth,” The Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 15, (MacMillan Publishing), p. 273.
[23] T.J. Alexander (2007), A Beginner’s Guide to Hellenismos, (Lulu Press), p. 135.
[24] W.H.D. Rouse (1940), Nonnus Dionysiaca, vol. 2 Books XVI-XXXV, (William Heinemann Ltd, London), p. 339.
[25] (Ed.) N.G. Wilson (1997), Aelian Historical Miscellany, (St Edmundshury Press Ltd), p. 217.
[26] There is a difference of opinion as to whether this voice was that of Angel Gabriel or the unborn child, Jesus.
[27] T.W. Rhys Davids (2000), Buddhist Birth Stories: The Oldest Collection of Folk-Lore Extant, (Routledge), p. 66.
[28] S-R al-Mubarakpuri (2003), Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), vol. 8, (Maktaba Dar-us-Salam), p. 192.
[29] This verse reads: “Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture – those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.” (Qur’an 2:159).
[30] S-R al-Mubarakpuri (2003), Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), vol. 2, (Maktaba Dar-us-Salam), pp. 319-20.
[31] Alaam al-Muwaqqieen, 2/48, (Islam Question and Answer; accessed: Nov 11, 2014; with slight modifications).
[32] B. ibn A. Abu Zayd, A.-A. ibn A. Al Al-Shaykh, S. ibn F. Al-Fawzan, A.-A. ibn A. ibn Baz, Conditions for cutting off a thief’s hand, (Portal of the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and ‘Ifta; accessed: Nov 11, 2014).
[33] The internet-based electronic payment and exchange system e-Dinar, which facilitates online transactions of physical gold and silver, states:

According to Islamic Law: The Islamic Dinar is a specific weight of 22k gold (.917) equivalent to 4.25 grams.

Hence, if the price of gold per gram is equal to $37.37 or £23.71 (as of Nov 13, 2014), then the Nisab for enacting the Hadd punishment for stealing in the United States or the United Kingdom would be: $158.82 or £100.77, respectively.

When we take the respective minimum wage set by both countries, i.e. $7.25 (federal minimum wage) and £6.50, as well as the average number of hours a person works full-time (US: 8.7; UK: 8.5), we learn that said Nisab easily surpasses what one generally earns per day, which is $65.25 and £58.50, respectively. Thus, the amount earned on average by a full-time employee is $93.57 and £42.27 less than said Nisab.

Anyone who lives in either country knows, therefore, that $158.82 and £100.77 easily surpasses the average family’s daily requirements!
[34] S. al-Fawzaan (2005), A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence vol. 1, (Al-Maiman Publishing House, Riyadh), pp. 620-1.
[35] Tafseer al-Qurtubi (6/162), (Islam Question and Answer; accessed: Nov 12, 2014; with slight modifications).
[36] At-Tirmidhi (1428) [4/33]’ see also Ibn Majah (2545) [3/219].
[37] Al-Fawzaan, op. cit., pp. 621-2.
[38] Ibid., p. 620.
[39] A.M. as-Sallabi (2007), ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, His Life & Times, vol. 1, (International Islamic Publishing House), pp. 521-2.
[40] Alaam al-Muwaqqieen, 2/48, (Islam Question and Answer; accessed: Nov 11, 2014; with slight modifications).
[41] Al-Fawzaan, op. cit..
[42] United Nations Human Settlements Programme (2007), Enhancing Urban Safety and Security: Global Report on Human Settlements 2007, (Earthscan), p. 56.
[43] Ibid., p. 75.
[44] Ibid., p. xxvii.
[45] Ibid., p. 75.
[46] P.M. Tobolowsky (2000), Understanding Victimology: Selected Readings, (Routledge), p. 203.
[47] Ibid., p. 213.
[48] Ibid., p. 198.
[49] J. Dignan (2005), Understanding Victims and Restorative Justice, (Open University Press), pp. 27-8.
[50] Ibid.
[51] R. Janoff-Bulman (1992), Shattered Assumptions: Towards a New Psychology of Trauma, (Simon & Schuster Inc.), p. 80.
[52] (Ed.) C.R. Figley (1985), Trauma and its Wake, vol. 1: The Study and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (Brunner/Mazel), p. 91.
[53] (Eds.) A. Hucklesby, A. Wahidin (2013), Criminal Justice, (Oxford University Press), p. 207.
[54] (Eds.) T.L. Underwood, C. Edmunds (2003), Victim Assistance: Exploring Individual Practice, Organizational Policy, and Societal Responses, (Springer Publishing Company), p. 26.
[55] M.M. al-Azami (2003), The History of the Qur’anic Text from Revelation to Compilation, (UK Islamic Academy), pp. 68-9.
[56] Qadhi, op. cit., p. 134.

2 comments

  1. Ouch, someone is butt-hurt. Too bad for you that Tisarpanth continues to dismantle the garbage that is Islam.

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