Truth about the alleged ‘false verses’ 9:128-9 of Qur’an
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Certain Orientalists, Christian Missionaries and cultists, followers of Rashad Khalifa, often raise the issue of the last two verses of Surah (No. 9) Al-Bar’aa/At-Tauba that were found only with one companion. It happened during the compilation of Qur’an in time of Abu Bakr (RA). Such Christians allege that these two verses are therefore of dubious authority and the claim of Qur’anic infallibility is thus invalid.
Let’s analyze the actual situation.
In Sahih Bukhari we read: Zaid bin Thabit, the chief of the committee formed to compile Qur’an, said;
“… I started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart). I found with Khuzaima two Verses of Surat-at-Tauba which I had not found with anybody else, (and they were):– ‘Verily there has come to you a Messenger (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves.
It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty He (Muhammad) is ardently anxious over you (to be rightly guided).'(9.128) the manuscript on which the Quran was collected, remained with Abu Bakr till Allah took him unto Him, and then with ‘Umar till Allah took him unto Him, and finally it remained with Hafsa, ‘Umar’s daughter.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 4311)
Polemicists allege that the narration means the verses were known only to Khuzaima (RA) and no one else even memorized it. On the contrary the fact is that all Zaid (RA) meant to say was that he did not find it with anyone else who could testify that he had written them in front of the Prophet (PBUH).
Methodology employed to collect the text:
Firstly we need to understand what methodology was actually employed during the time of Abu Bakr (RA). Ibn Abi Dawud mentions a narration;
“Abu Bakr told Umar and Zaid, “Sit at the entrance to the Mosque. If anyone brings you a verse from the Book of Allah along with two witnesses, then record it.” (Ibn Abi Dawud’s Al-Masahif Hadith 18)
Although the chain of narrators is interrupted for this particular narration there are many other narrations of the same import. Commenting on this Hafiz Ibn Hajr says;
“What was meant by two witnesses were memory [backed by] the written word. Or, two witnesses to testify that the verse was written verbatim in the Prophet’s presence. Or, meaning they would testify that it was one of the forms in which Qur’an was revealed. The intention was to accept only what had been written in the Prophet’s presence, not relying on one’s memory alone.” (Ibn Hajr’s Fath al-Bari 14/193)
Similarly Al-Suyuti quotes Abu Shama to have said about the method employed and the case under consideration. He writes;
“Abu Shama said; ’Their contention was not to transcribe anything [as part of the Qur’an] except for what was written in the presence of the Prophet relying not merely on one’s memory.’ [Further] he said: ‘And for this reason Zaid said about the ending of Surah Al-Bar’aa, ‘I did not find it with anyone else.’ i.e. he did not find it written with anyone else for he did not rely on memory without written evidence.’” (Al-Ittiqan 1/67)
Answer to a possible objection:
Someone may argue that Zaid (RA) was infact contended with collecting Qur’an from people’s memories as he is reported to have said;
“I started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart) …”
Ibn Hajr responds to this;
“The [letter] wa’o (i.e. the conjunction ‘and’) means to find it with those who had it written down agreeing with what was memorized in the heart.” (Fath Al-Bari 14/193)
Proof that Khuzaima was not the only one to know these verses:
In order to bust the myth that Khuzaima (RA) was the only one to have memorized the verses in question, we bring evidences that other Companions also knew it and Khuzaima (RA) was unique only in having it written with him as done in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH);
عن أبي بن كعب رضي الله عنه ، قال : آخر ما نزل من القرآن ( لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم عزيز عليه ما عنتم حريص عليكم بالمؤمنين رءوف رحيم
Ubay bin Ka’b said; “Last of what was revealed in the Qur’an is, ‘‘Verily there has come to you a Messenger (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty He (Muhammad) is ardently anxious over you (to be rightly guided).'(9.128)” (Mustadrak Al-Hakim Hadith 3254. Classified as Sahih by Hakim. Dhahbi agreed with him)
عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما ، يرفعه إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قرأ : لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم
It is narrated from Ibn Abbas (RA) that he related the Prophet (PBUH) recited; ‘Verily there has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves …’ (Mustadrak Al-Hakim Hadith 2899)
عن أنس قال : قرأ رسول الله ; لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم
It is narrated from Anas (RA) that he said; ‘The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) recited, ‘Verily there has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves …’ (Durr Manthur 5/196)
These narrations prove that Ubay, Ibn Abbas and Anas, (RA), all knew these verses. This fact proves our contention that Khuzaima (RA) was not the only one to know these verses. He was the only one to have a record of the verses transcribed in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH).
There could be no reason for these verses to be fabricated:
Logically the idea of these two verses being fabricated is absurd as they hold nothing new theologically. They do not praise some particular tribe or family. They have nothing in them not known to the Muslims otherwise in essence. Therefore a conspiracy to concoct such verses is irrational because they are of no apparent benefit in any sense.
LET ME TURN THE TABLES!
An eye-opener for the Christians:
We see though these verses are said to have relatively meager evidence compared to other verses many Companions had learnt these verses from Prophet (PBUH) in person. This gives a glimpse of the Qur’anic authority. On the other hand in the case of the Holy Bible we have a much different situation.
To pick up just one example we have an overwhelming evidence of fabrication. And unlike the Qur’anic verses in question the Biblical reference has tremendous theological importance. The Biblical passage is the Comma Johanneum.
The closest some Biblical passage goes to the arcane doctrine of trinity is the very same Comma Johanneum i.e. 1-John 5:7-8. According to the King James Version, the most widely used of all versions, it reads;
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (1Jn 5:7-8)
Interestingly, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) – 1952 Revision pub. Oxford University Press New York 1962- omits the most crucial words (i.e. verse 7) italicized above.
About these words editors of the New International Version write in the footnote;
‘Not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century.’ (N.I.V. pub. Hodder & Stoughton London 1998 p.1228)
Bruce M. Metzger writes;
“That thee words are spurious and have no right to stand in the New Testament is certain …” (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament pub. United Bible Societies, Stuttgart 1975 p.715)
This should be enough for anti-Islamic polemicist missionaries to atleast stay mum if they cannot talk sense!
Exposing Rashad Khalifa
The importer of recent times, Rashad Khalifa, also tried to question the authority of these verses. He alleges that these verses were injected at the end of Surah 9 by some scribe nineteen years after the death of the Prophet (PBUH).
These verses and differences after Uthman (RA):
He brings no real evidence his assertions. Rather he makes an argument in way that becomes a perfect show of his ignorance. He links the issue to a dubious narration with no direct relevance and contends that Ali (RA) was enraged at the alleged addition. Then trespassing all the limits of absurdity as he claims that the same ‘tampering’ became the diving line during the civil war after the death of Uthman (RA).
Let us expose the blatant lies of the insane pseudo-scholar;
1- The narration from Sahih Bukhari that speaks of the last two verses found only with one Companion evidently refers to the time of Abu Bakr (RA) and not to ‘nineteen years after the Prophet’s death.’
2- The narration he uses to argue that Ali (RA) was enraged about the ‘addition’ in the Qur’an goes as;
عن عكرمة قال: لما كان بعد بيعة أبي بكر قعد علي بن أبي طالب في بيته، فقيل لأبي بكر: قد كره بيعتك، فأرسل إليه، فقال: أكرهت بيعتي. قال: لا والله، قال: ما أقعدك عني؟ قال: رأيت كتاب الله يزاد فيه فحدثت نفسي أن لا ألبس ردائي إلا لصلاة حتى أجمعه
It is narrated from Ikrama, he said; ‘After the [public] allegiance to Abu Bakr (RA) Ali (RA) stayed at his home. Abu Bakr (RA) was told, ‘He dislikes allegiance to you so call for him.’ So Abu Bakr asked. ‘Do you dislike allegiance to me?’ Ali replied, ‘No! By Allah, this is not case.’ Abu Bakr inquired, ‘Why did you stay away from me?’ Ali said, ‘I saw that Qur’an was being added upon so I made my mind not to put on my clothes [to move out] except for prayers until I gather it.’ (Al-Ittiqan 1/67)
About this narration following points need to be considered;
a- Rashad Khalifa has no moral standing to use this narration to meet his end for he doubts the entire Hadith treasure and terms it as ‘satanic innovation.’ If he contends that he refers to it as historical evidence then why not accept all the Ahadith as historical evidence? If done, can one reject a saying of the Prophet (PBUH) having known it and still remain a Muslim?
b- The narration itself is not authentic according to the rules of reporting for Ikrama did not listen anything in person either from Abu Bakr (RA) or Ali (RA) and thus the report is unauthentic. See Al-Ittiqan with research by team of Markaz Dirasat Al-Qurania part 2 section 18 p. 381.
c- This narration too relates to the time of Abu Bakr (RA) thus exposing the first contention of Rashad Khalifa about alleged tampering some 19 years after the death of the Prophet (PBUH).
3- Infact we have evidence that Ali (RA) was full of praise for Abu Bakr (RA) for his endeavor to gather the Qur’an within two bindings.
‘Concerning Musahif (codices) the greatest reward will be for Abu Bakr. May Allah have mercy on Abu Bakr for; he is the first one to gather (the Book of Allah) between two bindings.’ (Ibn Abu Dawud’s Al-Masahif 1/16-20 Hadith 8-12)
Had he actually known some tampering under Abu Bakr (RA) he would never utter these words.
4- Although the whole issue does not refer to Uthman (RA) and the Compilation under him, but as Mr. Khalifa is making a false claim on these lines, let me quote a couple of sayings of Ali (RA) about Uthman (RA);
وأخرج ابن أبي داود بسند صحيح عن سويد بن غفلة قال: قال عليّ لا تقولوا في عثمان إلا خيراً، فوالله ما فعل الذي فعل في المصاحف إلا عن ملأمنا
And Ibn Abi Dawud narrated with a Sahih (i.e. authentic) chain from Suwaid bin Ghafala that Ali said; ‘Do not speak of Uthman except what is good; by Allah he did nothing concerning Masahif except with our consent.’ (Al-Ittiqan 1/69 section 18)
قال عليّ: لووليت لعملت بالمصاحف التي عمل بها عثمان
Ali said; ‘If I were the ruler, concerning Masahif I would do what Uthman did.’ (Al-Ittiqan 1/69 section 18)
These reports bulldoze the complete structure of lies erected by Mr. Khalifa!
Were these verses revealed in Makkah?
Rashad Khalifa contends that these verses are said to have been revealed in Makkah. He argues further;
‘How could these `Meccan’ verses be found with Khuzeimah, a late `Medinan’ Muslim?’ (Appendix 24 of his translation of the Qur’an)
We saw a narration above in which Ubayy bin Ka’b termed these verses as the last ones to be revealed. That is why addressing this issue Al-Suyuti in his ‘classical’ Al-Ittiqan fi Uloom ul-Qur’an writes;
“Al-Bar’aa: Ibnul Gharas said this [Surah] is Medinan except the verses ‘Verily there has come to you a Messenger’ towards the end of Surah. I say, ‘This is strange [narration]. How can this be while it is proved that this was the last part to be revealed?’” (Al-Ittiqan 1/14)
One may refer to narrations in which other Companions called some other verses, the last ones to be revealed. Classical scholar Baihaqi responds that such reports may be as per the knowledge of each of those Companions.
Baqilani also says that Companions made those statements as per their best estimates. (Al-Ittiqan 1/30)But that could only be about the verses revealed towards the end. A person as learned as Ubayy (RA) cannot say such a thing about verses revealed more than 11 years before the death of the Prophet (PBUH).
Mr. Khalifa then comes up with an image of a page from what he calls ‘a standard Quran’ but he fails to tell us where was it published and by whom?
Let me also reproduce images from a ‘standard Qur’an’ and expose the lie.
This is from Al-Qur’an al-Karim published by King Fahad Qur’an Complex, Medina 1423 A.H.
It mentions that Surah (9) Al-Tawba (also called Al-Bar’aa) is Medinan and has 129 verses. It makes no exceptional reference to the last two verses.
Reality of the ’19 code’ and authenticity of the Qur’an:
1- Firstly, we must know the Qur’anic recital is a Sunnah so the criteria for deciding as to what is Qur’an or not is continuous chain back to the Prophet (PBUH) and nothing else.
2- The ’19 code’ has absolutely no basis.
a- Qur’anic passage 74:27-31 talks of the angels appointed over hell and do not even give a hint about its being linked to some mathematical miracle.
“And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is? Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone! Darkening and changing the colour of man! Over it are Nineteen. And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty,
and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, “What symbol doth Allah intend by this?” Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and this is no other than a warning to mankind.” (Qur’an 74: 27-31)
b- We need to understand verse 31 in particular. Sayyid Maududi writes;
‘The Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) knew fully well that he would be ridiculed as soon as the disbelievers heard that 19 angels had been appointed over Hell, but in spite of this, he presented without the least hesitation and fear publicly before the people what had been revealed to him from Allah, and did not at all mind the jesting and mocking by the people.
The pagans of Arabia were unaware of the unique distinction of the Prophets, but the followers of the earlier scriptures were fully aware that the Prophets in every age used to convey to their people intact whatever they received from God, whether it pleased them or displeased them.
On this very basis it was to be expected of the Jews and the Christians that they would be convinced of the Prophet Muhammad’s truth for only a Prophet could present an apparently strange thing without any hesitation before the people in an environment charged with antagonism and hostility.’ (ONLINE SOURCE)
c- If still someone, impressed by the glare of the ’19 code’ and shocked by the ‘revelation’ of its being unfounded, wants to argue. The reason a unique number is mentioned in this case is same for which a particular number is mentioned in the following verse;
“And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them. “ (Qur’an 69:17)
3- Rashad Khalifa in the first edition of his translation of the Holy Qur’an included these two verses. In the second he removed them. And interestingly even though word ‘Allah’ is there in these verses his count of the word remain the same before and after the casting aside of the verses! You can find the evidences HERE.
As usual we have proved the assertion of the critics of Islam as baseless and found that their own sources are stand utterly unsound when put to similar tests.
And moreover also we saw the cultists exposed!
More such lies to be exposed in forthcoming articles, insha’Allah!
INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST