Friday, March 26, 2010

Is it true that there is no evidence in the Quran that the Quran is from God?

Syed Akbar Ali in the comments section of his article “India Mari Pula” on his blog replies to one Khairudin in the following manner:

“To answer u straight from the Quran, no there is no evidence in the Quran that the Book is from God. The question u r asking is hinted at and the answer (only) is already given. Here it is from Surah 41:52”

Akbar Ali says that there is NO evidence IN the QURAN that that Book is from God. Then he goes on to quote FROM the Quran the verse 41:52 and alludes that the Quran only HINTS that it is from God.

I had posted on his comment section that there are evidences in the Quran that the Quran is from God and that he should correct his error. This comment of mine was not published (censored) by him. I just called him requesting him on the phone to correct his error (inadvertent, I am sure) and he replied that he did not like my describing it as an error. He is a dear friend of mine and I have known him for more than 10 years. We actually came to know each other because of our respective interest in the Quran.

Friends though we may be, an error of such nature need to be corrected in the spirit of mutual learning and mutual reminders. Hence this article. I am mindful of what Allah says in the Quran:

 “And remember God took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made! (Quran: 3.187)

I will be guilty of hiding the verses from the Quran if I refrain from writing this article in the name of friendship.

Any student of usul-al-fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) will know that generally there are two kinds of dalil (proofs/evidence) internal or textual evidence and external evidence. This means that there are evidence in the Quran (internal) and evidence extrinsic to it (external).  For example, when someone asks you the question, is there any evidence from the Quran that the Quran is from God?  Our answer is, yes and we can refer him to any one of the following internal or textual evidence from the Quran:

“It is He Who sent down to you (gradually), in truth, the Book, confirmingwhat went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus)before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)”.(Quran: 3.3)

“And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that you may warn the motherof cities and all around her. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in this (Book),and they are constant in guarding their prayers”. (Quran: 6:92)


“Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than God? - when He it is Who has sent to you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We havegiven the Book, that it has been sent down from your Lord in truth. Never be then ofthose who doubt”. (Quran: 6:114)

“And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy” (Quran: 6:155)

There are many more such textual evidence (dalil) IN the Quran that says that the Quran is from God.

Whether a person believes in them or not is a separate matter (which can be addressed) but this is nevertheless evidence from the Quran about itself. Like every other evidence, it can be tested, challenged or cross examined by the doubter or cynic.  To me, this possibility of cynicism is addressed by God in the following verse:

Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy”. (Quran: 4:82)

There you go. That is another evidence from the Quran requiring the skeptic to examine the Quran.  It simply challenges the reader to find contradictions in the Quran.  I also understand this verse to mean this: that whatever the Quran says about nature or the world should not contradict the scientific reality. For example, if the Quran says that there is no such thing as gravity or that human beings do not need to eat in order to live – if so, then there are discrepancies.  In fact, in my evaluation and assessment of the Quran more than 25 years ago, I even sought to find out, inter alia,  if there are any inconsistencies as to what the Quran says about the psyche and what expert findings confirm. I was very interested in human psychology then. To do these things, you have to look at the external evidence or the signs of God. It is a gross error to confuse the internal evidence (or worse, denying its existence) with the external evidence.

Further, the Quran itself requires the person to inquire, analyse, verify and understand the facts before accepting them.  This is lucidly clear from the following verse:

“And follow not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)”. (Quran: 17:36)
 
Once again, you examine the signs of God (external evidence) and what the Quran says and try to arrive at a conclusion as objectively as possible. In this regard, Syed Akbar Ali correctly quoted a verse from the Quran that asks us to look at the external evidence or the signs of God.

"We will show them our proofs in the horizons, and within themselves, until they realize that this is the truth.* Is your Lord not sufficient as a witness of all things?"  (Quran: 41:53).

In conclusion, it is my understanding (and I believe the understanding of learned jurists) that there is evidence IN the Quran that the Book is from God.

If I have erred in my understanding or reasoning, please point it out. I have absolutely no problems in accepting an error that I may have made. More important than me or Syed Akbar Ali is the true verses of Allah.

(Syed Akbar Ali, I hope this will bring our friendship closer to the love of Allah).

Peace.

23 comments:

Hakim J said...

Jahamy, i agree with your view that Quran also offers textual evidence that it is the Word of God. It's like a criminal suspect in the witness box saying that he's innocent. His statements are valid evidence to his innocence - as opposed to a suspect who admits commiting the crime. Obviously the judge might need to find 'other evidence' to support his judgement. As a lawyer yourself, I'm sure you know much better than I do.


Or did I confuse myself with the terms 'evidence' and 'declaration'? I believe in Syed's mind, the Quran could only 'declare' itself as a word of God, but it needs the 'Universe' as evidence to its declaration.

jon pour do care said...

Salam Bro. Jay,

Quran 6.144 is evident enough for me but Hakim J's 2nd Para. should be given due consideration.

Anonymous said...

you can argue forever and these stubborn headed people will not agree but one thing i know for certain "taking a piece of clay/metal/plastic and shape into a fat and bald man and pray to it is plain stupid or finding a big tree and say this where my god resides is worst!"

Sharifah Nor Ashikin said...

Abang Jay,

Salam. Saya memang amat faham perangai Abg apabila ada yang tidak mahu membetulkan fakta. Saya sendiri pernah alami ceramah Abg di Uniten apabila Abg mengkeritik diri sendiri, apa tah lagi orang lain.

Saya juga baca blog Syed. Saya percaya mungkin kedua-dua bermaksud yang sama tetapi pendekatan berbeza. Abg harus faham sebagai peguam, Abg mungkin sudah biasa setiap hari berbeza pendapat tanpa kecil hati...tapi insan am nya mudah terkecil hati..:)

Walau bagaimana pun, memang Quran itu sendiri mengaku dirinya sebagai wahyu daripada Allah.

Saya percaya Abg dan Syed pasti akan berpegang pada tali Allah walaupun terdapat perbezaan pandangan.

Salam.

Sharifah Nor Asyikin

Mac said...

I see the confusion and misunderstanding as arising from the way Khairuddin's question is interpreted. Khairuddin asked, what evidence do we have to say that the Quran is indeed word of God. But Syed answered saying that there is no evidence IN the Quran to say that it is word of God.

It is absolutely clear from 6:92, 6:114 and 6:155 that the Quran does indeed say that it is from God. So there is evidence IN the Quran to say that it is word of God. Thats clear.

But the question that Khairuddin asked is (as per my understanding), how do we know that the Quran is word of God? 6:92, 6:114 and 6:155 does not answer this. These verses are valid arguments for someone who already believe in the authenticity of the Quran. If i were a non-believer, i would ask how do we know that these verses that you have quoted were not man-written?

To answer Khairuddin's question, i would say that one would have to examine the Quran for himself to find evidences that they are not from God (as per 4:82). At the end of the day, its all about faith. And to have faith, you need to convince yourself first.

Very good post. You got me thinking!

Anonymous said...

Trio of Fools: Part 1

One must understand one thing as regards to Syed Akbar Ali. This person, who touts his three books published by some two-cent publishing company as a modern Malaysian masterpiece (but which in actual fact really aren’t), is one confused entity who is nourished by his hatred for anything orthodox in Islam. With the advent of the Internet he appears to be crusading the idea that the entirety of Islamic Knowledge can be gotten via the touch of one button in a Wikipedia-like setting, and that one does not need scholars or ulamaks---one group of people he appears to hate to the very core (he calls them ularmamak) – to tell the world what Islam is or what it isn’t.

Therefore, if some things are not in the Quran (or more furtively, if he hasn’t found it yet in his Quranic internet database) then those things are “not Islamic”. Ergo since beards, hudud etc are not specifically mentioned in the Quran, those things invariably are unislamic. What about the hadiths, the characters of the prophet (or all prophets for that matter), the sayings and reports of the companions? Oh! Those does not matter. Only whatever it says in his Wikipedia Quran is what constitutes the true meaning of Islam. I wonder how much of the ones that ARE mentioned in the Quran he cares to practice either.

Does Syed Akbar Ali has a special mission and a personal crusade to discredit beards? To him (whose family originally came from Pakistan, where, unlike in Malaysia, beards are a symbol or Religious sanctity and piety), beards are perhaps a reminiscent of things that he once passed but was too painful to recollect. (He mentions that once upon a time he too was a “beardo”. Case of indoctrination gone sour, perhaps?). Inherently, he Jungianly takes to task anyone with beards and talking about religion. Oh no, not Castro beards. Not Ungku Aziz ones. Only Islamic beards. So for example, if one claims in front of him that one wears a beard because one loves the prophet Muhammad and would like to emulate him, chances are that you will get a good bashing from him (and a lengthy lecture too, perhaps) but if instead one tells him that you wear beards because you want to be like post-60s John Lennon or Jim Morrison, then you are alright in his books. Can we now begin to even comprehend the misguided, lost and deluded nature of this individual?

Syed Akbar Ali’s many mentors include the infamous Kasim Ahmad, a one-time malay socialistic iconoclast and ISA jailbird who made headlines in the 80’s as one who questions the compilation of hadiths (sayings and actions of the prophet) to be included as part of what constitutes the religion of Islam. Kasim Ahmad
had great respect for Rashad Khalifa, Islam’s own self-styled Waco-like messiah who captured Kasim’s imagination probably via his zany multiple-of-19 purposeless and error-ful algorithms. Rashad Khalifa would later declare himself as a Messenger of God and was later assassinated.

Beardless Beardo

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jahamy said...

Anonymous 10.24 pm,

1. I do not think it fair to say that Akbar Ali " is crusading the idea that the entirety of Islamic Knowledge can be gotten via the touch of one button in a Wikipedia-like setting". He has always encouraged people to read the Quran for themselves. What I have known of him, he researches the Quran painstakingly. I do not know where you got this idea from.

2. As to Kassim Ahmad, it is not exactly polite to term him an "ISA jailbird" when the man actually had his personal liberty taken away merely because of some ideas he had. That could happen to any of us. I actually sympathize with the man for the sufferings he had to undergo due to his ideas (though I disagree with a substantial part of it). He is currently an old man with illness, lets not be too harsh on him. I do not think he has hurt anyone except some people who were overly sensitive with his call for the reevaluation of the hadith collections.

3. I wish when you express such strong remarks about others you will be equally responsible by identifying yourself. We should share the burden too if there is a legal suit, dont you think???

Salam and thanks for dropping by. Please do drop by more often and preferably with your real identity.

Rashid Embong said...

Tuan Jahamy,

Walaupun saya kurang minat dengan gaya dan the way Anon 10.34 menuduh Tuan Syed....I have to say that Tuan Syed semakin hilang dalam buku-buku nya.

I mean, even when he wants to refer pada Quran, he pastikan kita tahu yang dia dah tulis dalam 3 buku dia! Sayang lah kalau penacri macam dia get carried away dengan ego. Tapi kita harus ingat..tiada manusia bebas dari cacat celah. So, kita overlook lah.

Lagi pun, gaya penulisan Tuan is more thought out, academic dan teratur..while his is lebih agresif, berupa off the cuff dan simple. Dua-dua ada kelebihan nya. Banyak yang lazy nak fikir!

Assalamualaikum

Rashid Embong.

tolokminda said...

Salam,
Statements are not evidence. So, I have to agree with Syed Akbar Ali.

Blackeyedpeas said...

Tolokminda,

Statements are evidence. Whether it is believable or not, different story. Can you imagine if statements are not evidence, you and I cannot be witness to anything cos everything you and I say is not evidence!

What about the letter or report you write - also cannot be evidence because it is written statement!

tolokminda said...

Salam Blackeyepeas,

Witnesses are called to act as evidence - it is just one of many ways to verify whether a statement made is true or false.

So, statements are not evidence.

Blackeyedpeas said...

Tolokminda!!!..I give up with you!

Peace bro!

BID said...

correct me if I'm wrong, but a statement given by a person (SD) is considered as evidence in the court of law...

surely we're not doubting the word of Allah SWT, certaintly His words are beyond reproach and thus his statement/declaration (whatever you wanna call it) is hence concrete evidence...

I'm with Jahamy and Blackeyedpeas on this, I think Syed Akhbar Ali had blundered in making such a statement (his is a statement, not a declaration)...

Anonymous said...

Hi,
You quoted the Quran “It is He Who sent down to you (gradually), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus)before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)”.(Quran: 3.3)

From this sura and many others, the Torah and Gospel of Jesus have been mentioned many times as per link: http://www.quranexplorer.com/Search/?q=gospel%20of%20Jesus%20&Sura=All&t=17 This means that the Jews, Christians and Muslims could be considered as a family and it is rather sad that the 3 groups of God’s people are fighting and killing one another. It is a sad sad situation!

The Jews believe in the Mosiac Covenant but do not believe Jesus is their Messiah; the Christians believe Jesus is God sent to die for our sins and the Muslims believe in the Torah and the Gospel of Jesus but do not believe that Jesus has been crucified. Oh, what a mess. I think we really need God to come and clear up this confusion. God help us please.

BTW, Tuan Syed does not believe in the Holy Spirit even though it is mentioned in the Quran. Do you?

Adam.

Farouk A. Peru said...

Salam Abang Jay,

Just my two cents on this issue:
http://quranistislam.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/experiments-evidence-and-objectivity/

Hazelina Sharif said...

Sir Jay,

I notice that some seem to understand evidence as something that MUST automatically be believed. Everyone forgets or does not know that evidence can be credible (eg someone truthfully saying he saw something) or not credible (eg someone lying with a statement) or doubtful (eg A said he heard his grandfather said that his greatfather said that his great father told him that...)..etc.

All are evidence. Whether is is believable or not...has to be tested with other evidence.

I suppose you used "evidence" in the sense lawyers and jurists used it.

Anyway, sir, I agree with you.

ps. I am still learning the Quran since you patiently introduced it to me...discuss it with my patients too!!!

Anonymous said...

Are you, ready to defend the Quran by Jihad? or are you ready to forgive? Are you ready to kill those who belittle the Quran? The fire from within you is the fire of anger & therefore not of God and the unforgiveness within you is an evidence of truth, if you are the people of the quran and take as God revealation why need an evidence Evidence is from the people following the teaching, God will lead them not thru the writting but thru the Spirit of God the origin of the Words I believe God Almighty still guiding his people throughout the ages - not confined to one book.

Jahamy said...

ANonymous Sept 16, 2010,

If you are a believer of God, you will not ask the question if I am ready to kill someone who belittles the Quran. Obviously, you do not know the teachings in the Quran - it does ask us to kill those who are ignorant...and there is no compulsion in faith.

Of course God is forever guiding those who want to be guided.

You have not understood my article - you have to read it again and understand the context of the arguments therein.

Bless you, whoever you are.

Peace !

Qurious said...

Salam Jay,

Have you visited Syed's blog recently?

He seems to have got into a tiff with a visitor to his blog who calls himself the doubtingmuslim on the Ummi Hafilda issue.(Please refer to their various exchanges in the comments section to his Kenny Hills post).

Do you think Syed is correct in his treatment of surah 24 on the issue of accusations of adultery and its consequences?

He seems to say that the punishment of 80 lashes is for any accusation against a chaste woman and not for adultery alone.

What about his response regarding the burden of proof and paternity testing?

Would really welcome your thoughts on the above. Thanks

Jahamy said...

Qurious,

Have not read it yet. What are your views?

Qurious said...

Salam Jahamy,

I disagree with Syed's views when he said that there is no mention of adultery in the verse of the Quran which talks of punishment (of 80 lashes)for making a charge against a chaste woman. When read in the context of the few preceding verses it seems clear to me that the charge referred to is for adultery and not any other crime.

As for paternity testing, if it is to refute an allegation of adultery (which i believe was what was being discussed) I am of the humble view that this would be shifting the burden of proof to the accused.

Surah 24 makes it compulsory for someone who accuses a woman of adultery to bring 4 witnesses to support the charge. To say that you can do away with this and challenge the accused to a paternity test instead, to my mind goes against the spirit and letter of the verses in question.

Thank you.

Qurious said...

Salam Jahamy,

Have you had time to read Syed's blog yet? Any comments on the issue I have raised?

Hope to hear your take on the issue.

Thank you.