Passing the authenticity test is the end-game for all scriptures. It represents the crucial linchpin that holds together the veracity and reliability of a revealed religion. Without a verifiably authentic scripture behind, a religion is reduced to popular myths and legends of convenience. This is how it works:
The source of revelation is God, who besides being the Omni-Potent and the Omni-Present, is also Super-natural in all His attributes. The human limitations ingrained in empirical learning, as habit, nature and process, is never sufficient to comprehend God the Unlimited fully, in all His attributes and functions. Logically, thus, the attempt to discover the Unlimited by the limitation of experimental knowledge, is bound to be futile. Worse still, is to deny as existing, what is beyond human capacity to experiment, explore and discover. Short of this approach, nothing would befit the human handicap other than a ‘poor short-sighted creature’!
In contrast to this however, the human reaction ‘to deny the un-known and un-discovered to him, at a time and space given, has never been a new phenomenon’, the Qur’an argues. Instead, the right course of action should have been to wait for the experiment to prove true’ (بل كذًبوا بما لم يحيطوا بعلمه، ولمًا يأتهم تأويله). Both the utility and interaction of the Qur’an and its Messenger in relation to their audience, have been uniquely narrated as follows : ‘The warning and caution of the Qur’an will only work on those who hold themselves responsible to their own conscience. As well, those who live constantly accountable to the Most Merciful, in their own space of time and recounting’ (انما تنذر من اتبع الذكر، وخشي الرحمان بالغيب). One would thus, be compelled to conclude that in holding the human being accountable to their own conscience and logic, nothing would come close!
To acknowledge this and embrace it readily, will only make humans live true to their scope and ability. To doubt the existence of God, is a precursor to doubt human’s own existence as a privileged race over other animals. For humans to be the beneficiary of reason and logic, takes us to accept the existence of a benefactor-planner, who devised him into existence. The Qur’an depicts the Almighty God to be that Benefactor-Planner. In various ages, God has both guided and communicated with humans, through human prophets. Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad, may peace and blessings of God be upon them all, represent the established chain of such prophets. Denying this would amount to the denial of glaring sun in midday.
Through revelations, God intends to guide the humanity according to His desired action path. Both the choice and authority for this lie with God Himself, as the sole Creator of humans and the Sustainer of their lives on earth. Although, faith in such a God becomes an eventual part of it, for a responsible, systematic and critical thinker, there is no logical escape from it either. In the name of science or otherwise, denying the long chain of prophets and the legacies of their scriptures would amount to denying the human history on earth. Empirically thus, also, there can be no logical escape from the God equation. For those who care, the belief in a revealed religion must stand for something much more substantive than the legend behind the Santa Clause and the Jingle Bell Christmas Carrols! To settle for any less would be a child’s play.
Human thoughts and their conjectures on the other hand, albeit limited in their scopes and nature, must not be adopted in the name of science, as a pseudo God. Instead, the humanity would do much better acknowledging this limitation and celebrating its consequences. Science and innovations lie in the roots of human nature, by default. This is what makes a human head different to that of other biological species. Not only that the Qur’an acknowledges this but also encourages all efforts invested behind the science and innovations. We know that not being known or discovered is never the proof of not being there. Of no less importance though, is to embrace that a discoverer is never a creator.
The role of the empirical science is to discover the universe. But the real credit rests with the Creator of what has been discovered by the science. The relationship between the two is that of a beneficiary to a benefactor. The human race is the prime beneficiary of a precisely planned and functioning universe. The right question therefore is to ask, who is that matchless benefactor and planner? The Qur’an is both keen to ask this question and provide answers to it. To honour and acknowledge that Benefactor, is to be a grateful human. It is only within the realm of discovering the complex universe, the nature around and their functionality, that the human intelligence has made some notable strides.
The greater the scientific discovery, the deeper the shock and awe in coming to terms with the art and power of the Matchless Creator. The Qur’an refers to it as coming to terms with:“Signs of God in the horizons and within the humans themselves” (سنريهم آياتنا في الآفاق وفي أنفسهم). This cannot be put any better than: Not only that “God alone has the exclusive knowledge of what lies ahead of humans at all times, and what lies behind them” (يعلم ما بين أيديهم وما خلفهم), but also, “they can never grasp by any degree, God’s absolute knowledge except by what He had predetermined for them” (ولا يحيطون بشيئ من علمه الا بما شاء).Against this backdrop, we may now go back to the authenticity test of the revealed scriptures in our possessions today, namely the Torah, (Old Testament), the Bible (New Testament) and the last Testament the Qur’an.
By the most conservative account, the Torah was revealed to Moses in Hebrew language in BCE 1312 or 1280. In fact other than the oral legends of rabbinical tradition, there is no proof in favour of it. There is no documentary proof either that today’s Torah represents the original tablets of stone given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, the ‘copies which’ according to the Qur’an, ‘contained guidance and blessings for the God-fearing’ (وفي نسختها هدي ورحمة للذين يرهبون). It is a fact that none of the two earlier scriptures were preserved in their original languages.
Nor is there any proof that in preserving them for posterity, their lead prophets had played any supervisory or auditing role, whatsoever. This automatically limits the scope for true application of the scriptures with the times the lead prophets themselves had lived. Having accommodated a great numbers of critical oversights, the origin of today’s Torah can only be taken as far away as its Greek Translation rendered by seventy-two Jewish elders in Alexandria Egypt, during the BCE 250 to 50.
The “Septuagint” version of the Old Testaments is the origin of today’s Torah. The term “Septuagint” implies the seventy Jewish elders who had rendered its Greek translation from the Hebrew origin. But nothing other than ‘embellished’ and ‘further embellished’ legends would support it.The fact however remains that the translators were not the prophets of God who enjoyed the status of divine immunity from human errors in their task. To accept the translated version as a substitute to the original, is an admission that the original words of God in Torah had indeed been lost long ago. Besides, for a revealed scripture to draw primary support from popular legends alone is an admission of defeated authenticity. The narrative thus, ‘lost in translation’ would squarely befit the today’s origin of the Torah (the Old Testament).
As to the authenticity of the New Testament (Injeel/Evanjel), the case construes to no better outcome. The bottom line argument is that none of the four disciples of Jesus (P), (Paul, John, Mathew and Luke), to whom today’s four popular Bible relates, had met Jesus himself. Nor were they the contemporaries to Jesus. Luke being the closest to him, there was at least seventy years of gap between him and Jesus.Now the fundamental question is that on what authority of time’s contemporariness and based on what communication bridge, do the four disciples relate to Jesus? As they did not meet each other and more acutely, in absence of written communication bridge between them and Jesus, how did they relate to each other?
Inherent to the complexity of gap in the history of transmission, is the lack of evidentiary proof on the originality and hence, authenticity of the biblical texts before us today. As to the Torah, the only thread that binds it with authenticity are popular legends. Worse still, the New Testament, has had no continued line of authenticity. As the case suggests, this lacking had eventually eroded the unstinted authenticity of the two scriptures in their current forms.
Similar to the case with the Old Testament, nothing would surpass these gaping doubts building a better case of reliability for the New Testament either. Other than being transmitted in the forms of chorus, no evidence is there showing that the New Testament was preserved in writing until 1260 or be it in 1526 AD through William Tindal Version. Failing to pass through the pitfalls of a critical vetting process, any document, scripture or otherwise, must also fail the authenticity test. After this, no matter how high the Church holds the authenticity of the Bible through its various translations, the stigma surrounding it, is bound to persist.
As to the current text of the Arabic Qur’an however, the case of authenticity is watertight. What you read today is what was revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad (P), -word for word and letter for letter. The golden guarantee of the Qur’an thus: “No doubt creeps into this Book, in that it has been revealed from the Lord of the Universe” (لاريب فيه من رب العالمين), does strongly relates to this constant. This work dwells, highly critically, on this aspect of the Qur’an. Once the authenticity of the text as above has been secured, the contest whether the Qur’an holds any good for humanity and whether its teachings are truly applicable to life, can start in all earnest. This work is a dedicated effort to examine this aspect of the Qur’an. With the dazzling authenticity of the Qur’an, as this work both argues and proves, at least one will never cry over a dead baby!
Authenticity aside, the case for compatibility of the Qur’an to human life, is indeed, compelling. By introducing the principle that “God does not charge anyone with what is beyond the bound of human affordability” (لايكلف الله نفسا الا وسعها), the Qur’an had superseded all the measures of capacity that the humans had so far cut for themselves. This fundamental principle that relates to human compliance with divine laws, orders and injunctions, can never be defeated. By this pragmatic approach, the Qur’an had delivered itself to human life closer than human heart to its own chamber. This is only one example.
As this research seeks to demonstrate, every single injunction of the Qur’an launches human potentials to its best use. Indeed, reminding the human to ‘look back to his origin, the origin of a gushing water drip that excretes from between the back and stomach’ is uniquely rebuking (فلينظر الانسان مم خلق، خلق من ماء دافق، يخرج من بين الصلب والترائب). Logically thus, the argument progresses further; ‘The One who created the human with such a precision, is indeed, well apt to recreate him’. (انه علي رجعه لقادر). Entwining spirituality with critical logic, takes much more than a creed! This indeed, is an outstanding feature of the Qur’anic spirituality. In doing so, it strikes a sound balance between all variables and constants of human life; spiritual and material including. Empirically thus, shooting human accountability within the bounds of affordable compliance, is indeed, the best measure of testing fairness and justice. Beyond doubt, the Qur’an would prove to champion all such logical measures.
One must however acknowledge that although critical to their certain aspects of authenticity, this research holds the earlier two revealed Scriptures (the Torah and the Gospels), both respectable and in high in honour. Finding a common ground between the all revealed scriptures, the Qur’an declares: ‘We have believed in all that has been revealed upon us as well as in all that has been revealed upon you. As our Lord and your Lord is the One; to whom we all surrender’ (وقولوا آمنا بالذي أنزل الينا وأنزل اليكم، والهنا والهكم واحد، ونحن له مسلمون). This obviously, is the greater scope in which they all concur, advancing the mission of God, the original source of all revelations. The constant agony however remains that in absence of evidentiary proofs, to what extent that originality is reserved today, can neither be tested, nor can it be effectively determined.
This point of variation notwithstanding, a Muslim cannot be a believer without believing in the original messages of all Prophets before Muhammad (P), ‘as being true and from God without a discrimination’ (لانفرًق بين أحد من رسله). It includes Abraham, Jacob, Moses Jesus and many other prophets of God before and after them. The humanity today can at least relish this common belief, making life on earth complementing and mutually comforting as well. By declaring the principle and practice of “You already have a religion of your choice, which, I both accept and admit, so, please let me have mine” (لكم دينكم، ولي دين), the Qur’an has already declared the one sided truce. To a true Muslim, this is not only a policy of religious neutrality to others, it is a faith and belief. On the issue of religious neutrality thus, the Qur’an will live on as the lone star!
. The Qur’an 10:39.
. The Qur’an 36:11.
. The Qur’an 88:17-21.
. The Qur’an 41:53.
. The Qur’an 02:255.
. The Qur’an 07:154
Bruce, F. F. The Canon of Scripture, IVP Academic 1988, Illinios, p. 43.
. Bruce, F. F. The Canon of Scripture, IVP Academic 1988, Illinios, p. 44.
. Ian Jones, Joshua, the Man they Called Jesus,Lothian Books, Melbourne, 1999, p.1-2.
. Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), Preface, Collins 2002.
. The Qur’an 32:02
. The Qur’an 02:286, 65:07 & 02:233.
 The Qur’an 86:06.
 The Qru’an 86:08.
 The Qur’an 29:46 & 02:136.
 The Qur’an 02:285 & 02:136.
. The Qur’an 109:06.