Who wrote the Quran?
Non Muslim Quranic experts attribute the Qur’an in its form today to post-7th Century alterations. The consensus is, “independent scholars studying the Qur’an and Hadith, have concluded that the Islamic scripture was not revealed to just one man, but was a compilation of later redactions and editions formulated by a group of men, over the course of a few hundred years. The Qur’an which we read today is not that which was in existence in the mid-seventh century, but is a product of the eighth and ninth centuries. It was not conceived in Mecca or Medina, but in Baghdad.”
Because the origins of Islam and the Qur’an are dubious. This is the opinion of renowned scholars and professors of Islam, history, Arabic and many other fields. Among them – Dr. John Wansbrough, American historian who taught at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies; Professor Joseph Schacht, professor of Arabic and Islam at Columbia University in New York and a leading Western scholar of Islamic law; Dr. Patricia Crone, a scholar, author and historiographer of early Islamic history working at the Institute for Advance Study; R. Stephen Humphreys, professor of history and Islamic studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara; and Professor Andrew Rippin, professor of history and specialist in Islamic studies at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada:
“Almost universally, independent scholars studying the Qur’an and Hadith, have concluded that the Islamic scripture was not revealed to just one man, but was a compilation of later redactions and editions formulated by a group of men, over the course of a few hundred years. The Qur’an which we read today is not that which was in existence in the mid-seventh century, but is a product of the eighth and ninth centuries. It was not conceived in Mecca or Medina, but in Baghdad. It was then and there that Islam took on its identity and became a religion. Consequently, the formative stage of Islam was not within the lifetime of Muhammad but evolved over a period of 300 years.”
Gerd Puin on Qur’anic Integrity
Gerd Puin, a German scholar and the world’s foremost authority on Qur’anic paleography, the study and scholarly interpretation of ancient manuscripts. He is a specialist in Arabic calligraphy:
“My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants. The Qur’an claims for itself that it is ‘mubeen,’ or clear, but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn’t make sense. Many Muslims will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Qur’anic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Qur’an is not comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s not translatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Qur’an claims repeatedly to be clear but is not-there is an obvious and serious contradiction. Something else must be going on.”
Another reason why the Qur’an fails the criteria as the word of a perfect God is because of the imperfections within the Qur’an. The Qur’an is riddled with literary contradictions, scientific errors and historical errors.
Plagiarism in Muhammad’s Time
The Qur’an tells us that Muhammad’s critics caught him plagiarising traditions, folklore and Jewish and Christian scripture. Examples: “We have heard this (before): if we wished, we could say (words) like these: these are nothing but tales of the ancients” (8:31). “Such things have been promised to us and to our fathersbefore! They are nothing but tales of the ancients!” (23:83)”
In regard to the Islamic versions of heaven, ‘paradise’, plagiarism from non-Abrahamic beliefs is also evident. “None of this, of course, can be found in the Jewish or Christian Scriptures, but it is in the writings of the Zoroastrians of Persia, who were a considerable presence in the areas around the Persian Empire before the advent of Islam. According to historian W. St. Clair Tisdall, who did pioneering work on these questions in his monograph “The Sources of Islam,” which he later expanded into a book, and in his other writings, “the books of the Zoroastrians and Hindus… bear the most extraordinary likeness to what we find in the Koran and Hadith. Thus in Paradise we are told of ‘houris having fine black eyes,’ and again of ‘houris with large black eyes, resembling pearls hidden in their shells.’… The name houry too is derived from an Avesta or Pehlavi Source, as well as jinn for genii, and bihisht (Paradise), signifying in Avestic ‘the better land.’ We also have very similar tales in the old Hindu writings, of heavenly regions with their boys and girls resembling the houris and ghilman of the Koran.””
Source: The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer (2006)
Different Qur’ans in Muhammad’s Time
Islamic sources tell us that Muhammad’s followers would argue because Muhammad provided contradicting versions of the Qur’an. A notable example appears in Bulhari’s Hadith:
“Umar bin Khattab [the second Caliph] said, ‘I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat Al-Furqan [“Al-Furqan,” the title of the 25th surah, has no meaning in any language.] during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle. I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited it in several ways which Allah’s Apostle had not taught me. So I was on the point of attacking him in the prayer, but I waited till he finished, and then I seized him by the collar. “Who taught you this Surah which I have heard you reciting?” He replied, “Allah’s Apostle taught it to me.” I said, “You are lying. Allah’s Apostle taught me in a different way this very Surah which I have heard you reciting.” So I led him to Muhammad. “O Allah’s Apostle! I heard this person reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way that you did not teach me.” The Prophet said, “Hisham, recite!” So he recited in the same way as I heard him recite it before. On that Allah’s Apostle said, “It was revealed to be recited in this way.” Then the Prophet said, “Recite, Umar!” So I recited it as he had taught me. Allah’s Apostle said, “It was revealed to be recited in this way, too.” He added, “The Qur’an has been revealed to be recited in several different ways, so recite of it that which is easier for you.” (Bukhari:V6B61N561)
Devoid of Context
The Qur’an in itself as a source for anything is devoid of context and thus arbitrary. Being devoid of context and any understanding, how can it be understood as the word of God?
“We do not have material in the Qur’an to compose a biography of Muhammad because the book is a disjointed discourse, a pastiche [imitation, parody] of divine monologues that can be assembled into a homily [lecture, sermon] or perhaps a catechism [snippets of dogma] but that reveals little or nothing about the life of Muhammad and his contemporaries…. The Qur’an give us no assurance that its words and sentiments are likely to be authentic in the light of the context they were delivered and in the manner of their transmission. There are no clues as to when or where or why these particular words were being uttered…. The Qur’an is of no use whatsoever as an independent source for reconstructing the life of Muhammad. The Qur’an is not terribly useful even for reconstructing the Meccan milieu much less the life of the man who uttered its words; it is a text without context.”
Source: Jay Smith, “Is the Qur’an the Word of God?” A debate between on the Qur’an hosted at Trinity College, Cambridge and Dr Jamal Badawi in 1995