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 Topic: Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation

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  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #60 - October 10, 2016, 02:42 PM

    Because translating each of these examples faithfully and accurately would take up some precious time, which would be more profitable to spend on other matters, translations into English will be more-or-less representative summations of what the quoted Mufassirin have actually said. (At the conclusion of this experiment/article/book, I’ll probably reference and source it and make it freely available online; in that likely PDF copy, the following translations will be in full). Sourcing hyperlinks will be offered nevertheless for those with healthy scepticism who would admirably take it upon themselves to investigate these quotations to see if they behave as arbitrarily as it is being claimed here.  Lastly, it is in accurately and fully translating what these tafsir books say about any verse that the misbegotten textualist arbitrariness found in most non-Arabic tafsir literature can be exposed and brought to light.      
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #61 - October 10, 2016, 03:12 PM

    Tafsir Qurtubi

    Quote

    وهي مكية في قول يحيى بن سلام .

    ومدنية في قول ابن عباس والجمهور . وهي تسع آيات

    ( حتى تأتيهم البينة ) أي : هذا القرآن ; ولهذا قال تعالى : ( لم يكن الذين كفروا من أهل الكتاب والمشركين منفكين حتى تأتيهم البينة ) ثم فسر البينة بقوله : ( رسول من الله يتلو صحفا مطهرة ) يعني : محمدا صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وما يتلوه من القرآن العظيم ، الذي هو مكتتب في الملأ الأعلى ، في صحف مطهرة كقوله : ( في صحف مكرمة مرفوعة مطهرة بأيدي سفرة كرام بررة ) [ عبس : 13 - 16 ] .

    وقوله : ( فيها كتب قيمة ) قال ابن جرير : أي في الصحف المطهرة كتب من الله ، قيمة : عادلة مستقيمة ، ليس فيها خطأ ; لأنها من عند الله عز وجل .

    قال قتادة : ( رسول من الله يتلو صحفا مطهرة ) يذكر القرآن بأحسن الذكر ، ويثني عليه بأحسن الثناء .

    وقال ابن زيد : ( فيها كتب قيمة ) مستقيمة معتدلة .

    ...


    حتى تأتيهم أي أتتهم البينة ; أي محمد - صلى الله عليه وسلم - . وقيل : الانتهاء بلوغ الغاية أي لم يكونوا ليبلغوا نهاية أعمارهم فيموتوا ، حتى تأتيهم البينة . فالانفكاك على هذا بمعنى الانتهاء . وقيل : منفكين [ ص: 125 ] زائلين ; أي لم تكن مدتهم لتزول حتى يأتيهم رسول . والعرب تقول : ما انفككت أفعل كذا : أي ما زلت . وما انفك فلان قائما ، أي ما زال قائما . وأصل الفك : الفتح ; ومنه فك الكتاب ، وفك الخلخال ، وفك السالم . قال طرفة :


    فآليت لا ينفك كشحي بطانة لعضب رقيق الشفرتين مهند
    وقال ذو الرمة :


    حراجيج ما تنفك إلا مناخة     على الخسف أو نرمي بها بلدا قفرا
    يريد : ما تنفك مناخة ; فزاد إلا . وقيل : منفكين : بارحين ; أي لم يكونوا ليبرحوا ويفارقوا الدنيا ، حتى تأتيهم البينة .

    ...

     حتى تأتيهم البينة قيل حتى أتتهم . والبينة : محمد - صلى الله عليه وسلم - . رسول من الله أي بعث من الله جل ثناؤه . قال الزجاج : رسول رفع على البدل من البينة . وقال الفراء : أي هي رسول من الله ، أو هو رسول من الله ; لأن البينة قد تذكر فيقال : بينتي فلان . وفي حرف أبي وابن مسعود رسولا بالنصب على القطع .

    يتلو أي يقرأ . يقال : تلا يتلو تلاوة .

    صحفا جمع صحيفة ، وهي ظرف المكتوب .

    مطهرة قال ابن عباس : من الزور ، والشك ، والنفاق ، والضلالة . وقال قتادة : من الباطل . وقيل : من الكذب ، والشبهات . والكفر ; والمعنى واحد . أي يقرأ ما تتضمن الصحف من المكتوب ; ويدل عليه أنه كان يتلو عن ظهر قلبه ، لا عن كتاب ; لأنه كان أميا ، لا يكتب ولا يقرأ . ومطهرة : من نعت الصحف ; وهو كقوله تعالى : في صحف مكرمة مرفوعة مطهرة ، فالمطهرة نعت للصحف في الظاهر ، وهي نعت لما في الصحف من القرآن . وقيل : مطهرة أي ينبغي ألا يمسها إلا المطهرون ; كما قال في سورة ( الواقعة ) حسب ما تقدم بيانه . وقيل : الصحف المطهرة : هي التي عند الله في أم الكتاب ، الذي منه نسخ ما أنزل على الأنبياء من الكتب ; كما قال تعالى : بل هو قرآن مجيد في لوح محفوظ . قال الحسن : يعني الصحف المطهرة في السماء .

    فيها كتب قيمة أي مستقيمة مستوية محكمة ; من قول العرب : قام يقوم إذا استوى وصح . وقال بعض أهل العلم : الصحف هي الكتب ; فكيف قال في صحف فيها كتب ؟ فالجواب : أن الكتب هنا بمعنى الأحكام ; قال الله - عز وجل - : كتب الله لأغلبن بمعنى حكم . وقال - صلى الله عليه وسلم - : والله لأقضين بينكما بكتاب الله ثم قضى بالرجم ، وليس ذكر الرجم مسطورا في الكتاب ; فالمعنى : لأقضين بينكما بحكم الله تعالى . وقال الشاعر :


    وما الولاء بالبلاء فملتم     وما ذاك قال الله إذ هو يكتب
    وقيل : الكتب القيمة : هي القرآن ; فجعله كتبا لأنه يشتمل على أنواع من البيان .


    Tafsir Qurtubi

    This tafsir starts with mentioning where surah Al-Bayyinah was revealed. Yahya bin Salam [d. 200 AH] said the surah is Meccan but the Jumhur/majority of opinion is that it's Medinan.

    Al-bayyinah is Muhammad.

    [There’s a tense displacement here; grammatically, the verb should have been in the past tense — أَتَتْهُم — and not in the present — تَأتِيَهُم — as it is the case in the text. This is because Muhammad came and the act of coming or being sent thus concluded. Further, the first verse requires some heavy syntactical rearranging before it could be said to become meaningful in Arabic.]

    Rasool is also Muhammad.

     Yatlu: [Muhammad] reads.

    Suhufan: plural of Sahiyyfah which is the 'container of what is written'.

    Al-Qurtubi then 'goes native' and does the arbitrary textualist trick of saying that Muhammad only reads the content of the written Suhuf, that Muhammad does not read from them. The reasons al-Qurtubi gives for this non-literal/extratextual interpretation are because Muhammad was illiterate and recited only from memory, that Muhammad did not read and did not know how to read from written pages/books.

    Whilst commenting on <Kutubun> [98:3], al-Qurtubi goes back to <Suhufan> saying that according to some 'people of knowledge', the word <Suhufan> means <Kutubun> which is books/pages [i.e. literally interpreting it as something physical and tangible which is clearer in indication than the vague 'container of what's written' above]. And <kutubun> in this context means rulings/ahkam.

    Al-Qurtubi then goes on to use the passive voice "it has been said" to say that <kutubun> could be the Quran because of what it contains of Bayaan/clarification.

    The arbitrary circularity of this means that the noun <Suhufan> gets interpreted non-literally even though its verb <Yatlu> is literally interpreted, and then <Suhufan> could mean <kutubun> thereby <kutubun> gets interpreted non-literally to mean rulings and if so, then <kutubun> could also be the Quran with regard to what it does which is clarification.

    These confusing interpretive acts oscillate between literality and non-literality for reasons which are given by the mufsir himself. Any word could mean anything so long as an Arabic poetic verse could be given in support of it. Any word could mean anything so long as another occurrence of the same word in another context could bear it out. Any word could mean something literally and non-literally at the one and same time; al-bayyinah is the Quran and Muhammad as well if we are to interpret the second verse in respect of the first.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #62 - October 10, 2016, 06:58 PM

    Very interesting ideas Wahhabist ... keep 'em coming!  Al-bayyinah is indeed very confusing, because it portrays the messenger as a classic biblical prophet with a 'book' he reads from, and yet the Qur'an often seems to treat a 'book' as a very arbitrary symbolic concept that has little relation to a physical manuscript.  So one can both come and read pages from a book, and yet one has no book.

    My pet view is that this is because the messenger is essentially a product of typological exegesis, rather than (at least initially) a historical reality.  He is a sort of abstracted picture of revelation, and in that abstracted picture the biblical prophets are given 'books' that they use.  You might say that just as the early Qur'an presents a very simplified soteriology--the truth of salvation--so it presents a very simplified revelation theology--the truth of revelation.  In doing so, it isn't trying to represent any sort of contemporary historical reality, it is trying to articulate an abstract Arabic restatement of the core truth.

    Btw, I have a question on a slightly related Arabic grammar point --- in Q 94:4, God proclaims that he 'raised up' dhikraka.  This is usually taken to mean God exalted his messenger's reputation, with dhikraka meaning 'your dhikra,' and the messenger's dhikra being taken to mean his reputation in his community.  For a variety of reasons, that is a very odd thing to say about an early Meccan Muhammad.  Is it possible to read the grammar here as indicating that God had raised the messenger's 'remembrance', in the sense of meaning he had given him the gift of remembering his Lord, rather than that he had raised his messenger's remembrance by other humans?  In other words, can the word be read ambiguously such that it refers to God making the messenger a 'reminder', giving him gifts and guidance that made him a prophet, not giving him a good reputation/making him famous?
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #63 - October 13, 2016, 03:19 PM

    CORRECTION:

    I have unintentionally misrepresented al-Qurtubi and got the order wrong in:

    Tafsir Qurtubi
    The arbitrary circularity of this means that the noun <Suhufan> gets interpreted non-literally even though its verb <Yatlu> is literally interpreted, and then <Suhufan> could mean <kutubun> thereby <kutubun> gets interpreted non-literally to mean rulings and if so, then <kutubun> could also be the Quran with regard to what it does which is clarification.

     Astaghfirullah wa Atubu Ilaih because what I meant to say was that "the arbitrary circularity of this means that the verb <Yatlu> gets interpreted literally even though the object noun it 'modifies' or it transitively requires is interpreted non-literally i.e. <Suhufan> as what they contain, and then <Suhufan> could thus mean <kutubun> thereby <kutubun> gets interpreted non-literally to mean rulings and if so, then <kutubun> could also be the Qur'an with regard to what it does, which is clarification". ( I don't know about you but I'm still none the wiser.)

    My excuse then is the same as it is now, that of my being pressed for time. But this unwitting (immaterial) mistake on my part does not undermine the entire argument being made here about the arbitrariness of textualist tafsir brought about by ideologically deciding when to interpret the Qur'an literally and when to depart from the literality of denotation.

    Further, it would be factually wrong for me to claim to be the first or only person who was and is interested in textualist tafsir's arbitrariness as a negative thing to have in Quranic interpretation. However, I have yet to happen on any Sunni imam or mufsir who problematises the arbitrariness of accepted codified tafsir, probably because they start from the premise that what we have is our limited human understanding of Qur'anic words owing to their author being Allah (cf. ولا يحيطون بشيء من علمه).

    But whilst investigating the matter, I recently happened on the Muslim Shiite doctor, 'alim Sebaytt al-Neeli (Arabic: عالم سبيط النيلي), who seems to have had enough intellectual integrity and honesty to face up to and think about the textualist arbitrariness problem, which he accurately called (الإستعباطية) in the following Arabic presentation:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhMGE9LEmBQ

    However, what al-Neeli (died in 2000) prescribed and came up with as a way out of the arbitrariness problem of textualist tafsir is not without its problems and inconsistencies, from a cursory look and investigation.

    Fact-checking, sourcing and textually backing up what I have asserted with regard to Muhammad's illiteracy has taken up a lot of my time and I'm certainly not about to read Al-Neeli's many books before sharing what I think of his remedying solutions to the textualist tafsir's arbitrariness problem.

    However, I cite him for those who understand Arabic because he seems to better describe and diagnose the problem I claim to particularly encounter in relation to the Qur'anic verses whose apparent meanings suggest Muhammad literally read from a written manuscript or pages as in [98:2-3].
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #64 - October 13, 2016, 03:37 PM

    Btw, I have a question on a slightly related Arabic grammar point --- in Q 94:4 ...  Is it possible to read the grammar here as indicating that God had raised the messenger's 'remembrance', in the sense of meaning he had given him the gift of remembering his Lord, rather than that he had raised his messenger's remembrance by other humans?


    The straightforward answer is no, the Arabic word (ذِكْرَكَ) in this context cannot mean Muhammad was given the gift of remembering Allah. Grammatically or morphologically, that would have been put as Tadhakuraka (تَذَّكُرَكَ) where the affixed pronoun (ضمير المخاطَب) would be necessary and act as a determiner/vocative. Even if it were put as Tadhakuraka, it would not mean Muhammad was given the gift of remembering Allah; it might mean “we have elevated and made important [in terms of reward/ajr] your remembering of Allah” seeing the whole surah is about giving Muhammad psychological relief from the hardship he was supposedly being put through.

    Surah 94 is Meccan and the textualists claim it was revealed after surah 93 (Meccan too). That might well be the case because of the easy similarity between the two surahs in terms of message and giving glad tidings to Muhammad in particular. If so, then the revelation reason for Surah 93 is claimed to be because Wahhi had stopped for about 40 days during which the Maccan disbelievers taunted and challenged Muhammad to recite and give them the news on the latest revealed matters from Allah. Muhammad was unable to respond during the time when there was no Wahhi, and had thus thought he was being abandoned by Allah/Gabriel’s visitation [93:3].

    أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ، وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ، الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ، وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ، فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْراً، إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْراً، فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ، وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ

    To put [94:4] in context, if we accept that Muhammad remembering Allah was the raised gift of relief (سورة الشَرْح\ الإنشراح) then it does not make sense for him to be reminded of his heighted recollective ability in order to conciliate and relieve him psychologically from the Meccan hardship he was supposed to be facing. It doesn’t make sense because he would already have been remembering Allah (94 verses 1-4 are all in the past tense) and revealing this surah does not relieve or add anything to his well-established Allah-related consciousness.

    Now, if I may develop this theologically, tying it back to the discussion above, then the matter of Muhammad’s infallibility is challenged in [94:2] where Allah says He has removed or lifted off for Muhammad Muhammad’s sins.

    But the word concerned (وِزْرَكَ) gets interpreted non-literally by some textualists to mean “his burden” rather than his sins. This is because to admit Muhammad sinned, in principle, is to lift his infallibility (العِصْمَة) and doubt the claim that Muhammad was the most conscious human being of Allah whom he feared the most amongst humanity.

    This non-literal interpretation of [94-2] runs into difficulty in surah Al-Fatth [48:2] where Allah unambiguously says He may forgive Muhammad his sins in the past and future (chronologically, Al-Fatth is the fourth last surah in terms of revelation time and order). This means Muhammad sinned and if we accept this (as my non-partisan teacher and Shaikh ibn Uthaymeen did) then we are justified in speculating that his sinning must have taken place in Mecca as well as Medina and in actions as well as sayings.

    The latter bit, which of Muhammad sinning in what he said or his sayings, has the plausible capacity of contradicting and challenging an-Najm [53:2-4] in which Muhammad’s spoken infallibility was established by Allah.

    The Islamic concept of sinning requires human intentionality. Thus, when it comes to speech-related sins, these instantiate themselves in telling lies, committing perjury, backbiting, Namimah etc. Therefore, Muhammad’s sins in [48:2] cannot be said to mean his unintended mistakes as a rebuttal against questioning his spoken infallibility in [53:2-4], because whatever Muhammad and his Ummah do and say unintentionally is not counted as sin in Islam as per [2:286].

    (Q 2:286 in itself is said by the textualists to have been revealed to correct the impression — sometimes attributed to individual Sahaba e.g. Abu-Bakr al-siddiq — that Muslims could sin in their hearts and intentions for which they will be held accountable in [2:284]. Thus [2:286] is said to abrogate 2:284 which was revealed a whole year later according to ibn Abbas in Sahih Muslim. Simply put, 2:284 advocates that humans are accountable for their sinful intentions even if humans did not follow them up with any action. This is called ‘being required and obligated by Allah to do/say that which is beyond one’s control’ —  التكليف بما لا يُطاق — and that is not accepted as forming part of the creed of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, not least because human intentions are subject to uncontrollable desires and intrusive whims making it an injustice for Allah to held them account for. If this sort of theological thing interests the reader, then he should investigate the elusive concept of ‘Kasb’ of al-Ash’arī as it was placed medially between human free-will and complete predestination.)

    To finish on a humorous note, one of my former Qur'an students used to struggle with the pronunciation of (ذِكْرَكَ). He had memorised it incorrectly and it took him some time to unlearn it. And even then, he still hesitated before pronouncing correctly. The poor sod had memorised (ذِكْرَكَ) as (ذَكَرَكَ), which means Allah has raised Muhammad’s penis.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #65 - October 13, 2016, 04:03 PM

    .................

    Surah 94 is Meccan and the textualists claim it was revealed after surah 93 (Meccan too). ..

    ........ Allah has raised Muhammad’s penis..............

      Hmmmm that is a good post Wahhabist ...   Muhmmad's Quran to Muhammad's penis.,  well   pennis is not a big deal.,  every male species that walks and makes noise has it  and that includes human beings ..,  And...and  salt pepper lemon + flame from barbecue pit  along with  a good  strong beer will take care of it .. Frankly speaking,  I don't believe in Quranic Muhammad., I believe there was a preacher in Mecca  who is different from Madinan  preachers  

      Anyways  I am interested in these Meccan and Madinan  Quran surahs and verses  dear Wahhabist., and  I use that classification of Quran often .,

    Question is.,   do you believe such classification ??

    and do you think the fools who put together these Quran verses in to those 114 chapters also messed up in  putting some Madinan verses in to  Meccan surahs  and Meccan verses in Madinan surahs ??

    with best wishes
    yeezevee

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #66 - October 13, 2016, 05:14 PM


    Question is.,   do you believe such classification ??

    and do you think the fools who put together these Quran verses in to those 114 chapters also messed up in  putting some Madinan verses in to  Meccan surahs  and Meccan verses in Madinan surahs ??

    with best wishes
    yeezevee

     Yes, I have noticed that a largely Medinan surah might contain a Meccan verse like Al-Baqarah where it is all Medinan except for one verse [2:281] which is claimed to be the last Quranic verse in terms of revelation time. The alternative is also true i.e. a largely Meccan surah or surahs might contain a Medinan verse or verses.
     
    tbh, I have been more interested to think about classifying authenticated Hadiths in terms of geography (i.e Meccan and Medinan hadiths) to explore Muhammad's retrospective or otherwise commentaries on the Qur'an, which are taken to be tafsir-related hadiths by the textualist tafsir, for example, concerning the authenticated Medinan hadiths regarding the Meccan 86 Qur'anic surahs and vise versa.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #67 - October 13, 2016, 09:24 PM

    Wahhabist, thank you for the (as usual) fantastically erudite and illuminating answer, putting that ill-founded speculation to rest.  Actually after my post I had subsequently concluded that it probably did not mean 'your remembrance (of your Lord)' for typological (rather than grammatical) reasons.  I am putting together an article on Q 94, and the basic argument is that it tracks the 'gift' narratives when Moses was at the burning bush, and God then explains to him all he has done for him to that point.  Then Moses asks for some gifts to help with being a prophet, and God grants those gifts.  Now the part I struggled with is Q 94:4, because in the Moses gift narratives (Q 20) it concludes with Moses and Aaron proclaiming that if God grants Moses the requested prophetic gifts, then they will 'constantly remember and constantly glorify' him (Q 20:33-34).  That is extremely typical of Semitic invocations that request gifts from a deity; for millennia, the requests generally end with the supplicant saying that if the gift is granted, then the supplicant will glorify and praise the deity's name.  That's the classic bargain of the invocation prayer.

    So I wanted to see a close parallel between that and Q 94:4.  But the 'your remembrance (of your Lord)" doesn't really work typologically, since it's not a gift that God is giving the messenger, it's a gift he is giving God.  The more obvious parallel is simply that just as God raised the impoverished Moses, when he had fled into Midianite exile with no money and no family, making him into a successful and free patriarch, so he had likewise 'raised up' the quranic messenger's dhikr, thus dhikraka.  And that would mean Q 94:4 makes the same point that Q 93:7 does.  "And he found you in need, so He made you self-sufficient." 

    A less obvious secondary parallel I am contemplating is whether dhikraka could also be read to mean that God raised up the "remembrance of you (by the Lord)" instead of "remembrance of you (by your community)."  In other words, God singled him out and paid him special attention over the years, relative to other humans.  This has a ton of neat parallels, and integrates with the Moses narrative.  I assume that reading would be grammatically okay?  And here it would then tie into the fa-ḏkurūnī aḏkurkum in Q 2:152, “remember Me so I will remember you.”  God would be talking about how he singled out his messenger during his childhood, and raised up his remembrance, bestowing blessings that made him a prophet.

    Now your point about prophetic sin is really interesting!  I agree that the wizraka of Q 94:2 is a reference to the messenger's sins.  And that is consistent with Q 93:7, where God says he found the prophet ḍāllan, so he guided him.  This is usually taken to mean just 'lost,' because again the tradition doesn't want to see the messenger as having sinned in his past.  But if we think of Q 93/94 as typological restatements of the young Moses narratives, as recounted at the burning bush, then there's an easy explanation.  When Moses killed the Egyptian, he is horrified by his sin, and in Q 28:14-17 begs God for forgiveness, explaining that he was led astray by Satan the muḍillun (cf. the ḍāllan).  God then forgives the young Moses and guides him back to the path of righteousness.  So I see Q 94:2 and Q 93:7, where the messenger, depicted just like the young Moses, likewise committed a grievous sin but was forgiven by his Lord, prior to being called to perform his prophetic task.

    This contradicts the later Islamic doctrine of prophetic sinless-ness, but as you say that doctrine is pretty clear contradicted by the Qur'an, and nowhere, to my mind, more clearly than in this particular typology.

    Sorry to derail the main subject of the thread here.  Btw, the story about (ذَكَرَكَ) is hilarious.  By total coincidence, just yesterday I was reading some Akkadian supplication prayers, and the examples given consist of the believer begging the deity to 'raise up and stiffen' his penis so that he can get the job done.  Some things never change .... and here I will now leave you to contemplate what the command to nṣab of Q 94:7 *really* means.     whistling2
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #68 - October 14, 2016, 02:45 AM

    Hello Wahabist,

    I see that you put in a lot of work trying to get better translations and interpretations for the Quranic verses. Do you also consider in your approach the absence of diacritical points in the 7C rasms opening the possibility of some words being traditionally totally misread? And what do you think of some who say that to understand some words, it is needed to go back to comparing with other semitic languages rather than accepting the later fixed meaning of classical Arabic (I guess we could call that the Luxenberg approach...)?
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #69 - October 16, 2016, 02:37 AM

    Hello Wahabist,

    I see that you put in a lot of work trying to get better translations and interpretations for the Quranic verses. Do you also consider in your approach the absence of diacritical points in the 7C rasms opening the possibility of some words being traditionally totally misread? And what do you think of some who say that to understand some words, it is needed to go back to comparing with other semitic languages rather than accepting the later fixed meaning of classical Arabic (I guess we could call that the Luxenberg approach...)?

     Hello mundi,

    No, I never tried to get better translations and interpretations for the Quranic verses; that would be me making claims.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #70 - October 16, 2016, 02:49 AM

    Zaotar, thank you for your extremely kind words. Your proposed article sounds interesting, particularly because I cannot seem to see the bigger thematic connection due, no doubt, to my sketchy appreciation of the sort of theological prefiguration found in the Abrahamic traditions outside textual Islam; the little I know about Judaism and Christianity is refracted and mediated through the vested interest of Islam, and thus cannot be trusted.

    I could leave it there, sticking to the neutrality and my suspended judgement as in the paragraph above, but I owe it to you to confess that you seem to be synthesizing and collecting Islamic textual data for a theory/pattern that is otherwise fairly independently established.

    I personally would do it the other way around, or at least suffer to present that reality — of looking in the evidence for a theory rather than searching for evidence to my theory.

    This is a little bit idealistic of me, of course, and this can be a matter of levelling with the reader; a researcher might have their findings and conclusions formed well before a research’s start date. Such a notion concerns more than natural human biases and inclinations; conclusions assimilating themselves into the innocent neutrality of hypotheses, and unassuming hypotheses of hidden potential and studied decision.

    I sometimes wonder if beyond the facade of nugatory objectivity all really is as a matter of style as Hamlet tells us in Act 2, Scene 2 “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.

    Let me derail it a little more, what the heck!

    When I went on a bit of a (possibly drunken) rant in post #45, I sounded gloomy and positively doubtful of the fruitfulness of methodologically humouring textual Islam to the entertainment of all and sundry. Seriously though, what am I really doing here preaching to the converted by peddling the objectivity of approach?

    Well, I told a few very dear souls about it like this:

    I know exactly what I want to say but it's taking me longer to say it because I'm fact-checking my diffuse assertions and claims which tend to be of multidisciplinary nature. The other slowing-me-down consideration relates to the reader in that he and she must be shown what I'm claiming to be true and valid (not just claiming it), in order for my thinking-out-loud thread to actualise its final goal.

    Presentational demonstrability. In an ideal world, it is not 'inuff' to say something is 'rong'; you need to be able to show how wrong that thing is. This is a matter of belief quality and critical grounding i.e. those who don't know how they know a proposition to be true can be swayed into abandoning it.

    Fact-checking. I'm one of those curious people who would stop reading a book to read another, cover to cover, because the first book makes regular references to it in the footnote, or the second book makes numerous appearances in the first book's index pages. So in order to be on the same page, as it were, with the first book, I take it upon myself to investigate its references and sources concurrently. This has been a way for me to finding out about my next logical read.

    I obsess about the factuality of things and don't usually talk about anything I don't know quite well. If this carefulness is valued as much as I would like to think, then I blame it on Islam -- because I only found out the falsity of Islam when I became fully cognizant of my former defective method of truth discovery, and not truths themselves for I have always suspected their relative nature and dynamic conditionality.

    When I trust you (as I do), I'm likeliest to believe what you say, even if what you tell me about anything isn't in itself self-evident or logical. I would suppose the existence of other factors and conditions -- generally more to the tale than what my logic and reason might deem irregular.

    Basically, my trust makes me humble and blame myself for your tale's inconsistencies, notwithstanding the tale's own deficient properties and potential presentational opacity.

    So, when I made no exception to the things I had had taken on trust from those whom I largely trusted to have their hearts in the right place, it wasn't very hard from me to find inconsistencies everywhere I look of textual Islam.

    I rarely read a page from the Qur’an and textualist tafsir these days without happening on irregularities of linguistic, ethical or other sort. What has changed, then, is not what is being re-read but who is re-reading it.

    Sometimes I laugh at the absurdity of this and when I do, I laugh heartily. But other times I rue and curse how fool, trusting and stupid I had been on the most central of things.

    And this latter reflective reaction, I suspect, is the driving force behind my post-Islam constant vigilance against taking intellectual things on trust or at their face value.

    But is that all it takes to really know Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib then?

    Towards the end of chapter five of The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, it starts to rain and there’s mist. A disembodied voice suddenly calls out the name of the hero; ‘Sebastian Knight? Who is speaking of Sebastian Knight?’ Then chapter six begins:

    “The stranger who uttered these words now approached – oh, how I sometimes yearn for the easy swing of a well-oiled novel! How comfortable it would have been had the voice belonged to some cheery old don with long downy ear-lobes and that puckering about the eyes which stands for wisdom and humour . . . A handy character,  a welcome passer-by who had also known my hero, but from a different angle. ‘And now,’ he would say, ‘I am going to tell you the real story of Sebastian Knight’s college years.’ And then there he would have launched on that story. But alas, nothing of the kind really happened. That Voice in the Mist rang out in the dimmest passage in my mind. It was but the echo of some possible truth, a timely reminder; don’t be too certain of learning the past from the lips of the present. Beware of the most honest broker. Remember that what you are told is really three-folds; shaped by the teller, reshaped by the listener, concealed from both by the dead man of the tale.“
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #71 - October 16, 2016, 11:37 PM

    To clarify a bit, by saying 'pet view' I basically just meant 'pet theory.'  I don't think there's anything wrong with approaching data (quranic or otherwise) with a specific personal theory or hypothesis about what the data signifies.  That is a basic--in fact, the basic--research method.  The methodological problem is rarely that an individual has a preconceived idea about what the data might reflect, since it is impossible to apprehend data without preconceived ideas about what that data is and what it reflects (this is often less obvious, and even just subconscious, when you are operating within a specific consensus where everybody shares similar ideas).  Preconceived ideas are necessary for research.  The problem is when, out of commitment to a particular interpretive stance, you approach the data in a way that can't ever be falsified, where you are not affirmatively trying to test a hypothesis out.

    One cannot usually start with 'objective facts' in the abstract, since these usually mask a series of complex underlying judgments about what constitutes a fact in the first place and what the fact in question should be understood as.  One must always begin existentially and historically, like a fish in water, already swimming in a state that is usually a learned communal default, and then through iterations attempt to make some sort of theoretical progress.  For example, one quite naturally assumes the Qur'an is written in Arabic, approaching it as such.  And there is nothing wrong with that assumption.  You couldn't begin without it.  The recitation can't be approached as a series of completely chaotic sounds or black and white patterns, divorced from humanity, which one sits over like a shaman and hopes some pattern will emerge from, while never imposing any form of human judgment upon them.  It's necessary to start with some assumptions and hypotheticals that you initially approach the data with.  Over time, in a critical process, your starting assumptions should then be revised as better theories are generated relative to observed data (e.g., is the Qur'an really written in Classical Arabic?  And if not, what type or types of Arabic?  And what exactly is Arabic, anyways?  How do we actually know any of this in the first place?  And what does it even mean for a text to embody a specific type of language?).  Ideally, better data leads to better theories, which generate better data, onward and upward, an iterative process rather than a single shot.

    So I didn't mean to imply that the hypothetical frameworks I ventured above are incontrovertible facts, much less to derail your own project--which is a very technical and specific form of analysis--by mentioning them.  Really I think the most critical point is what you state in your post above:  Leveling with the reader.  Making clear what type of statement you are making.   Is it heuristic?  Moralistic?  Hypothetical?  Comical?  Analytical?  Allusive?  What?  If that is made sufficiently clear (which I evidently wasn't here, my apologies), then I think the rest is usually fine.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #72 - October 17, 2016, 02:31 AM

    See, this is the sort of detailed bits and pieces that prove or disprove the reliability of a text to me. But I never did find anything like it in all my readings years ago, just questions about abrogations and historical issues.
    I support a publication wholeheartedly. I think it is necessary.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #73 - October 31, 2016, 08:08 PM

    Zaotar dear, the observation I made on what you seemed to be trying to do with the particular interpretation of [94:4] has more to do with how you have stereotyped the Islamic concept of prophethood to fit in with something unrelated to it which came before it.
     
    That passing observation has little to do with how a research is generally and otherwise conducted as an endeavour — though I appreciate your explanatory efforts in this regard because it is possible that I didn’t know the basics.

    In case this, too, requiring a little more clarification, let me put it another way:

    What you seemed to try to do was to impose a particular interpretation on [94:4] — which fits what you say is typical and it integrates and closely parallels Semitic invocation prayers. However, this textual data, [94:4], has got absolutely nothing to do with that proposed theory.

    That theory might otherwise be sound, reasonable etc but my observation is singularly preoccupied with the fact that this particular data doesn’t support it, and subsequently the theory/hypothesis was described as independently established as far as [94:4] is concerned.

    Now, it is easily possible that you might have been experimenting with it all, and there was nothing as definite and decided in it i.e. all was your relaxed thinking out loud.

    If so, then the comment I rather cheekily made on your reasoning should be taken in the reluctant spirit in which it was intended; just an observation on your particular approach regarding this particular verse. Call it feedback as well as my desire to read up more on the matter when your article gets put together.

    If feedback is welcome in principle, then I’m happy to give it in relation to your approach with a few more things above. Let me give an example.

    You claim that the data in [93:7] supports the argument on which we both agree i.e. that Muhammad sinned, and that is what is being referred to in [94:2] through the word (وِزْرَك) — and not as “Muhammad’s burden” as some textualists would like to have it. You reason for the word (وِزْرَك) to mean Muhammad’s sin by saying that the word (ضآلا) in [93:7] is connected to (مُضِل) in [28:15].

    Might I ask what made you see that particular connection, and on what criteria did you base this interpretation?

    I’m wondering because the word (ضآلا) isn’t only mentioned in the Quran in connection with how Satan had led Moses astray in [28:15] as a valid justification for the word to denote Muhammad sinned in [93:7] in lieu of what you say is usually taken to mean just lost — and then for this to act as a springboard for and be used by you in support of the argument that Muhammad sinned in another context, namely [94:2].

    What could weaken this line of reasoning is that there is a least one Quranic occurrence in which (ضاد، لام) describes an ordinary human attribute, that of forgetfulness in [2:282], which does not seem to have anything to do with Islamic sinning.

    Furthermore, it is not unwarranted of those textualists, denying Muhammad sinned, to non-literally interpret the Quranic word (وِزْرَك) in [94:2] as “Muhammad’s burden”, for instance, using [47:4] (حتى تضع الحرب أوزارها) to support such a valid interpretation because “the war”, an abstract concept, lacks intentionality to be able to sin.

    So, anticipating these two valid morphological arguments against non-tentatively interpreting (وِزْرَك) to just mean Muhammad sinned, I used other unambiguous data instead [48:2] to support the argument that Muhammad sinned.

    You, on the other hand, appear to be treating [93:7] similarly to how you had wondered about that textually unsupportable speculation to be the case in [94:4]. Simply put, imposing a variant interpretation on [93:7] in connection with Muhammad sinning in [94:2] passing it through [28:15] which, again, fits in with the Moses restatement theory.

    If (ضاد، لام) in [93:7] to be located in [28:15], then why not [1:7] too? And if [1:7] too, then why exclude any other Quranic occurrence of it and its derivatives?

    Lastly, the language used in stating such matters (e.g. “... if we think of Q 93/94 as typological restatements of the young Moses narratives ... then there's an easy explanation.”) is too strong and certain for my liking.

    P.S. Don't forget to ping me about the article dear!
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #74 - October 31, 2016, 08:26 PM

    See, this is the sort of detailed bits and pieces that prove or disprove the reliability of a text to me. But I never did find anything like it in all my readings years ago, just questions about abrogations and historical issues.
    I support a publication wholeheartedly. I think it is necessary.


    My dear three, for someone who doesn’t debate and is so disinterested in arguing or winning arguments as a method of truth discovery as I claim to be, your encouragement has really kept me going. Could it really be because it's one-sided?

    I told you before that my final goal is to show the reader that exploring internal textual inconsistencies of Islam is a profitable endeavour. Indeed, that approach is more likely to contribute to causing divinity-based Muslims to pause over textual Islam, should all else fail because they might have completely outsourced their critical faculties to their Imams and bearded Dawah men.

    What I find most absurd is the claim made by some Muslims that the Christians don’t know their texts too well. This statement, if true, seems to be applicable to nearly every Muslim I have met in the UK (save for those who know Arabic). I include myself in this textual ignorance.

    And just because we have reached the same conclusion concerning anything Islamic that does not mean the approach through which either of us has reached the same conclusion is unimportant.

    Anyway, what is left now for me to do is to post a few more examples from textualist tafsir in relation to the three first verses of surah Al-bayyinah to support my claim that the textualists interpret them arbitrarily because that suits their ideology and dogma.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #75 - October 31, 2016, 08:35 PM

    CORRECTION:
    But whilst investigating the matter, I recently happened on the Muslim Shiite doctor, 'alim Sebaytt al-Neeli (Arabic: عالم سبيط النيلي),

     A correction of the correction: Al-Neeli wasn't a doctor. I don't know why I claimed he was.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #76 - October 31, 2016, 10:43 PM

    You claim that the data in [93:7] supports the argument on which we both agree i.e. that Muhammad sinned, and that is what is being referred to in [94:2] through the word (وِزْرَك) — and not as “Muhammad’s burden” as some textualists would like to have it. You reason for the word (وِزْرَك) to mean Muhammad’s sin by saying that the word (ضآلا) in [93:7] is connected to (مُضِل) in [28:15].

    Might I ask what made you see that particular connection, and on what criteria did you base this interpretation?

    I’m wondering because the word (ضآلا) isn’t only mentioned in the Quran in connection with how Satan had led Moses astray in [28:15] as a valid justification for the word to denote Muhammad sinned in [93:7] in lieu of what you say is usually taken to mean just lost — and then for this to act as a springboard for and be used by you in support of the argument that Muhammad sinned in another context, namely [94:2].

    What could weaken this line of reasoning is that there is a least one Quranic occurrence in which (ضاد، لام) describes an ordinary human attribute, that of forgetfulness in [2:282], which does not seem to have anything to do with Islamic sinning.

    Furthermore, it is not unwarranted of those textualists, denying Muhammad sinned, to non-literally interpret the Quranic word (وِزْرَك) in [94:2] as “Muhammad’s burden”, for instance, using [47:4] (حتى تضع الحرب أوزارها) to support such a valid interpretation because “the war”, an abstract concept, lacks intentionality to be able to sin.

    So, anticipating these two valid morphological arguments against non-tentatively interpreting (وِزْرَك) to just mean Muhammad sinned, I used other unambiguous data instead [48:2] to support the argument that Muhammad sinned.

    You, on the other hand, appear to be treating [93:7] similarly to how you had wondered about that textually unsupportable speculation to be the case in [94:4]. Simply put, imposing a variant interpretation on [93:7] in connection with Muhammad sinning in [94:2] passing it through [28:15] which, again, fits in with the Moses restatement theory.

    If (ضاد، لام) in [93:7] to be located in [28:15], then why not [1:7] too? And if [1:7] too, then why exclude any of the Quranic occurrences of it and its derivatives?

    Lastly, the language used in stating such matters (e.g. “... if we think of Q 93/94 as typological restatements of the young Moses narratives ... then there's an easy explanation.”) is too strong and certain for my liking.

    P.S. Don't forget to ping me about the article dear!


    Feedback is always welcome and appreciated!  Some of these points are a bit difficult to cover in a short Interwebz post, but I'll try.

    For the (وِزْرَك) of Q 94:2, the hadith on the opening of the prophet's chest treat the event as washing of sins.  It's also how Ibn Kathir and others interpret the (وِزْرَك), consistent with Q 48.  See http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1147&Itemid=150

    Now is this the only possible meaning?  Absolutely not.  The point is simply that the word was initially taken to mean sins, and can mean that.  Note that Birkeland, to name one scholar, throws a fit over this and says (وِزْرَك) must designate the prophet's worldly burdens.  Semantically, that is possible, sure, so the question becomes whether it is plausible in context.

    Well, what people imagine to be the 'context' of a surah is wildly divergent.  Generally I think the adjacent surahs, and particularly Q 93, give the best interpretive context, in the sense of shedding the most light on what Q 94 is getting at.  So let's look at that.

    Much more pointed is the word (ضآلا) in Q 93:7, which as you say I connect with (مُضِل) in Q 28:15.  Why?  Actually a bucket-load of reasons, starting with the mundane observation that the quranic messenger is commonly articulated as being like Moses.  Without following Wansbrough to the point of saying he was built from Moses, it often gets close.  This comes up in many different places, but let's try Q 17:1-10, where God's servant was Moses in the original classic Christian anti-Jewish story, and he is described with the same language (i.e. the night journey) as Moses and his exodus from Egypt) as the Exodus Moses of the quranic narratives.  The Qur'an is overt about the close parallel between the messenger and Moses, e.g. Q 73:15, innā arsalnā ilaykum rasūlan shāhidan ʿalaykum kamā arsalnā ilā fir’ʿawna rasūlan, “indeed We have sent to you a messenger as a witness upon you, just as we sent to Pharaoh a messenger.”

    Now, if we look at Q 28:15, it overtly specifies that Moses sinned.  Consider that  (a) Moses was led into (ضآلا) by Satan the (مُضِل), and whatever else one wants to say about this, his "killing+Satan+(مُضِل)" combo can't reasonably be interpreted with the same innocuous sense as the root's legal use in Q 2:282; and (b) after the whole Satan/killing part, Moses then *affirmatively proclaims* innī ẓalamtu nafsī fa-igh'fir.  lī faghafara lahu.  innahu huwa l-ghafūru l-raḥīmu.  I suppose there is some world of 'isma doctrine in which young Moses is not taken as having sinned here in Q 28, and was not requesting forgiveness from God for his sin, and did not receive forgiveness for his sin, but I can't see how or why one would reasonably agree with that.

    So the question then becomes whether the quranic messenger is different than the young Moses in this regard.  And looking at Q 93:7 and Q 93/94 more generally, I find it difficult to see why one would interpret the language of Q 93 in a sense that diverges markedly from the Q 28 episode.  If Moses sins, then the doctrine of sinless prophets is nonsense, and so there is no reason to dogmatically isolate these texts such that the messenger's youth is categorically different than Moses' youth in this respect.  If young Moses was led astray, and that meant sin, then given that the young messenger was found having gone astray, the logical (albeit not necessary) inference is that it was likewise sin.  Unless the quranic messenger is different from Moses in this important respect, which is possible, but would require some degree of explanation.

    How convincing this is depends on how the evidence, as totality, fits together, from multiple angles, not on any single point.  One might say that God found the quranic messenger as an orphan and rescued him (Q 93:6), but this is different than Moses being orphaned by his mother in Al-Yam before God saves him.  One might say the quranic messenger went astray and was then guided (Q 93:7) but this is different than Moses being led astray by Satan into killing a man+God then forgives him.  One might say that the messenger was in need until God guided him and made him self sufficient (Q 93:eight) but this is different than Moses asking God for help as an impoverished Midianite alien, whereupon God answers Moses' request and gives him a wife and a job.  And indeed these points are not exactly the same, since the messenger is not identical to Moses, but at a certain point the accumulation of parallels with the young Moses narrative is so compelling (at least to me) that one has to explain their significance, even if the explanation is not necessarily simple, nor can one's efforts always be right or convincing.

    I can't fit all the related arguments in here, of course, but I will shoot you a draft of the article when it's ready, and will appreciate all comments/questions/criticisms, no matter how pointed!  The more errors discovered and pointed out, the better.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #77 - October 31, 2016, 10:54 PM

    Incidentally, Q 48 is very hard for me to follow .... why does granting a victory forgive past sins?  Whose sins?  What victory (of course traditionally the victory of Muslims over Jews at Khaybar)? 

    Why does it proclaim that 'you' have been sent as a shāhidan, wamubashiran, wanadhīran, immediately followed by litu'minū bil-lahi warasūlihi watuʿazzirūhu watuwaqqirūhu watusabbiḥūhu buk'ratan wa-aṣīlan? 

    It looks like it was cobbled together out of disparate addresses.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #78 - October 31, 2016, 11:17 PM

    Great, I will wait for the article to be shot at me as that might prove more persuasive.

    Oh and if you are asking me about Q 48:2, then the (لام) in (ليغفرَ) is (لام العاقبة) and incidentally it is the same (لام) according to the textualists as in Q 28:8 (ليكونَ لهم عدواً وحَزَنا) i.e. they didn't pick Moses up for the explicit purpose of Moses becoming their enemy etc. Thus, the textualist interpretation of Q 48:2 is that Muhammad was given military victory in this life as a precursor to be topped off in the hereafter by Allah forgiving his sins. This textualist interpretation is not without its problems, one of which I have touched upon in post #45 in connection with the hadith in Sahih Muslim on Islamic righteous guidance (إنه لن ينجي أحد منكم عمله).

    As far as I know, the victory concerned in Q48 is in connection with Mecca, whether its actual final conquest or what came before it i.e. the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. Also, as far as I remember, it was 'revealed' over an extended period of time (some say three years, if memory serves).
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #79 - November 01, 2016, 12:36 PM

    Incredible discussion, gentlemen. It's great to witness the mental effort being put into these points.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #80 - November 01, 2016, 04:01 PM

    Thanks for the clarification on Q 48:2 Wahabist.  That is interesting, and it parallels the traditional explanation (Al-Tabari) for how Muhammad's dhikraka was raised in Q 94:4 --- since this was hard to explain for an early Meccan Muhammad (lowly and outcast in his prophetic reputation), Q 94:4 was taken to be God giving *prophetic knowledge* to Muhammad.  Because he had been selected as a prophet, Muhammad would in the future always be mentioned alongside Allah in the shahada, and this is how his dhikraka had been raised even at the Q 94:4 junction!

    Thus we see events that don't really fit the biography shuttled off to happen in the future ...

    I'll shoot you a draft soon since it is almost done.  I hope you find it interesting even if you agree with none of it!
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #81 - November 02, 2016, 12:50 AM

    Hang on a second!

    An objection could be made here: surely this is a generalisation because the other versions do not make it explicit that Muhammad spelt the word in question.

    Muhammad only says "Kafr or Kfr is written between his eyes" and this is the case in the Bukhari version "there's no sent messenger by Allah who did not warn his people against the one-eyed liar ..." (Source).

    So, can you explain the reasons why you seem to generalise here?

    It is true that not all the versions of the hadith explicitly support Muhammad spelt the word between ad-Dajjal's eyes. But every single authenticated version of this account explicitly makes a reference to something being written between ad-Dajjal's eyes. Since this hadith is not Qudsi and the presence of other versions in which every Muslim, regardless of his or her ability or inability to read written words, is able to read what is written between ad-Dajjal's eyes, we are permitted to stick to the literality of what the wording denotes as this is the usually followed textualist rule.

    The fact that Allah will hide it from the disbelievers, including those literate and are able to read, is not something unheard of in Islam; the night of Hijrah, in which Muhammad is reported to have poured dust/dirt on those who were surrounding his Meccan house to kill him, without them being able to see Muhammad because Allah has turned him into something they couldn't see, is one example and which some conservative mufsireen cite as the 'Cause of Revelation' for 36:9 in Ya-Seen.

    Other mufsiroon disagree with this and say that Muhammad only read 36:9 in the night of Hijrah rather than it being the night of its revelation. These mufsiroon say that the reason why this verse was revealed was because of a previous incident in which Muhammad was about to be assassinated by Abu-Jahl but when he got to Muhammad, Abu-Jahl couldn't see Muhammad, so he was unable to drop the massive rock he was carrying on invisible Muhammad. Another man, from Banu Makhzoom, took the rock from Abu-Jahl and vowed to kill Muhammad with it. However, when this man got to Muhammad, Muhammad became invisible again. So, this verse 36:9 was revealed as documentation for the invisibility cloak of Muhammad. (Source)

    Another textual example in which optical misdirection took place because Allah willed it against the non-believers, and the non-believers were robbed of their ability to see, is the Islamic version of how Jesus/Isa came to be raised to Allah [4:157-158]. Another man was taken in Jesus's place because this innocent man was made by Allah to look exactly like Jesus in appearance* and thus those non-believers were deceived and diverted. (The whole affair could have been pleasant, eco-friendly and bloodless if Allah had wanted it to be; by merely lifting Jesus to him so that the non-believers could not find Jesus and would go on looking for Jesus without success. Then, there would have been no injured human being in the execution of this fable.)  

    Such supportive textual examples make the case for the literality of what is claimed to be written between ad-Dajjal's eyes, as far as the Muslim believers are concerned, (i.e. it is real and not illusory for these Muslim believers) rather than the reverse case being true i.e. that nothing's actually written between ad-Dajjal's eyes yet the Muslims are made able by Allah willing it and making it appear as such when they look at ad-Dajjal in the face.

    This reverse case (of it being not real but Muslim believers are able to see the word) is clearly contrived and flies in the face value of the hadith and its wording as found in the authenticated sources as well as less authenticated books of hadith (which have not been referenced in this investigation for the sole reason of preventing critics from being able to cast doubt on the authenticity of the quoted texts and the strength of their Isnad).

    Therefore, what Muhammad said to be written between ad-Dajjal’s eyes is literal, and literal too in its denotation is the fact of Muhammad spelling its individual letters.

    The discrepancy between what Muhammad said to be written between ad-Dajjal’s eye (i.e. Kafir) and what Muhammad spelt out (i.e. Kuffer or Ka Fa Ra) does not weaken the case being made about Muhammad’s ability to spell a word.

    What matters is that Muhammad has spelt something meaningful in Arabic — something which others who can read and write were and are able to read it. This concrete outcome is not something within the power of an absolutely illiterate person to bring about.

    Further, if this discrepancy were to be fancifully interpreted and used in the same way in which Muhammad was reported in al-Bukhari during the drafting of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, and the contention was that Muhammad still shows he did not excel at writing his father’s name and here was another incident where Muhammad said Kafir (كافر) and spelt it Ka Fa Ra (ك ف ر); then that still does not negate the fact that Muhammad had attempted to write something meaningful by his own hand in direct contradiction to [29:48].

    ————————————————
    * According to this, Christians should have been thanking this man for dying for their sins, or more accurately, for having been scapegoated. This man whose true identity is literally "Known But To God" is the second example in Islamic texts where Allah either ordains the actual killing of a human being as a sacrifice for one thing or another, or a killing order through which Allah tests the faith of a believer by revealing to him that slaughtering his son -- Ishmael -- is what was wanted from that father to prove his worth; and then Allah has a change of heart for whatever reason he normally has and grants a last-minute reprieve.

     Re-reading the answer given by me to the valid objection about the unwarranted generalisation in the quote above, I find that it manages to be equally pathetic and bullshit. Instead of expatiating on and on — utilising an inferential trick which clearly is a red herring because it skilfully ducks the objection raised —  I should have owned up to having made a blunder.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #82 - November 02, 2016, 01:00 AM

    Incredible discussion, gentlemen. It's great to witness the mental effort being put into these points.

     It's great to read your feedback here x
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #83 - November 02, 2016, 01:13 AM

    Thanks for the clarification on Q 48:2 Wahabist.  That is interesting, and it parallels the traditional explanation (Al-Tabari) for how Muhammad's dhikraka was raised in Q 94:4 --- since this was hard to explain for an early Meccan Muhammad (lowly and outcast in his prophetic reputation), Q 94:4 was taken to be God giving *prophetic knowledge* to Muhammad.  Because he had been selected as a prophet, Muhammad would in the future always be mentioned alongside Allah in the shahada, and this is how his dhikraka had been raised even at the Q 94:4 junction!

    Thus we see events that don't really fit the biography shuttled off to happen in the future ...

    I'll shoot you a draft soon since it is almost done.  I hope you find it interesting even if you agree with none of it!

    Zaotar dear, don’t be too pessimistic; though I do tend to keep my judgement suspended and take my time making up my mind about ideas, I’m not in any way unswayable.

    And there may be something fragmentary about my observation on your take on Q 93:7 but there does not seem to be anything dogmatic about my reluctance to make the leap from accepting the unspecified generality of Muhammad having sinned to be equated to the specific (Islamically major) sin of murder as in the case of Moses in [28:15].

    This might explain why the textualists stratify prophethood and/or messengerhood (as in [2:253]) into different categories where only five prophets-cum-messengers occupy that unique and superior circle in [33:7] so as to make the claim that Muhammad is the best, then Abraham, then Moses, then Noah, then Jesus — as my textualist teacher ibn Uthaymeen would have it, though he was tentative and unsure about who is superior of the last two.

    Further, the Islamic doctrine of isma/infallibility conclusively concerns itself with matters related Muhammad saying and acting in his capacity as a legislator only. Otherwise, Muhammad’s humanity is in sync with all the stuff which that fallible nature entails.

    This argument undermines my speculation on Muhammad’s spoken infallibility in post #64 as being his human ability to sin. That is true. But my tentative argument contradicting Muhammad’s isma is treating it as a matter of absolute; Muhammad was both fallible and infallible in a conflicting and illogical duality which Islamic texts attribute to the trilateral nature of Christianity as though Islam were free from it and has absolutely nothing to do with it in itself.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #84 - November 02, 2016, 03:16 AM

    My dear three, for someone who doesn’t debate and is so disinterested in arguing or winning arguments as a method of truth discovery as I claim to be, your encouragement has really kept me going. Could it really be because it's one-sided?

    I told you before that my final goal is to show the reader that exploring internal textual inconsistencies of Islam is a profitable endeavour. Indeed, that approach is more likely to contribute to causing divinity-based Muslims to pause over textual Islam, should all else fail because they might have completely outsourced their critical faculties to their Imams and bearded Dawah men.

    What I find most absurd is the claim made by some Muslims that the Christians don’t know their texts too well. This statement, if true, seems to be applicable to nearly every Muslim I have met in the UK (save for those who know Arabic). I include myself in this textual ignorance.

    And just because we have reached the same conclusion concerning anything Islamic that does not mean the approach through which either of us has reached the same conclusion is unimportant.

    Anyway, what is left now for me to do is to post a few more examples from textualist tafsir in relation to the three first verses of surah Al-bayyinah to support my claim that the textualists interpret them arbitrarily because that suits their ideology and dogma.


    I do find quite a bit of truth in the claim that Christians do not know their text. They are not using their text as Muslims often use their text. I have seen Christians place importance on random openings of their Bible for making decisions, but never have I seen them consult their text to discover the correct way to behave, inherit, or really anything of that nature. I have seen some who take some literal pieces here and there, like not eating pork or that women are subject to men (patriarchy made that one REALLY popular), but this is a rarity. I see this difference as a manifestation of the spirit concept that is common to most Christian sects. They don't want to understand the law or the literal of their text, but rather the spirit of it. Mostly they see it as inspiring rather than confining. Of course, I generalize to a specific area of America that is not known for it's Christian fundamentalism as other parts are, because I only have lived among Christians in the North.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #85 - November 02, 2016, 01:19 PM

    I wonder about Loooong winding  Cheesy posts of Zaotar   and Wahhabist on Quran ... its verses and their origins ...  lol.. there are many posts like these in this forum.,
    Quote
    Very interesting ideas Wahhabist ... keep 'em coming!  Al-bayyinah is indeed very confusing,
    because it portrays the messenger as a classic biblical prophet with a 'book' he reads from, and yet the Qur'an often seems to treat a 'book' as a very arbitrary symbolic concept that has little relation to a physical manuscript.  So one can both come and read pages from a book, and yet one has no book.

    My pet view is that this is because the messenger is essentially a product of typological exegesis, rather than (at least initially) a historical reality.  He is a sort of abstracted picture of revelation, and in that abstracted picture the biblical prophets are given 'books' that they use.  You might say that just as the early Qur'an presents a very simplified soteriology--the truth of salvation--so it presents a very simplified revelation theology--the truth of revelation.  In doing so, it isn't trying to represent any sort of contemporary historical reality, it is trying to articulate an abstract Arabic restatement of the core truth.

    Btw, I have a question on a slightly related Arabic grammar point --- in Q 94:4, God proclaims that he 'raised up' dhikraka.  This is usually taken to mean God exalted his messenger's reputation, with dhikraka meaning 'your dhikra,' and the messenger's dhikra being taken to mean his reputation in his community.  For a variety of reasons, that is a very odd thing to say about an early Meccan Muhammad.  Is it possible to read the grammar here as indicating that God had raised the messenger's 'remembrance', in the sense of meaning he had given him the gift of remembering his Lord, rather than that he had raised his messenger's remembrance by other humans?  In other words, can the word be read ambiguously such that it refers to God making the messenger a 'reminder', giving him gifts and guidance that made him a prophet, not giving him a good reputation/making him famous?

    Zaotar dear, don’t be too pessimistic; though I do tend to keep my judgement suspended
    and take my time making up my mind about ideas, I’m not in any way unswayable.

    And there may be something fragmentary about my observation on your take on Q 93:7 but there does not seem to be anything dogmatic about my reluctance to make the leap from accepting the unspecified generality of Muhammad having sinned to be equated to the specific (Islamically major) sin of murder as in the case of Moses in [28:15].

    This might explain why the textualists stratify prophethood and/or messengerhood (as in [2:253]) into different categories where only five prophets-cum-messengers occupy that unique and superior circle in [33:7] so as to make the claim that Muhammad is the best, then Abraham, then Moses, then Noah, then Jesus — as my textualist teacher ibn Uthaymeen would have it, though he was tentative and unsure about who is superior of the last two.

    Further, the Islamic doctrine of isma/infallibility conclusively concerns itself with matters related Muhammad saying and acting in his capacity as a legislator only. Otherwise, Muhammad’s humanity is in sync with all the stuff which that fallible nature entails.

    This argument undermines my speculation on Muhammad’s spoken infallibility in post #64 as being his human ability to sin. That is true. But my tentative argument contradicting Muhammad’s isma is treating it as a matter of absolute; Muhammad was both fallible and infallible in a conflicting and illogical duality which Islamic texts attribute to the trilateral nature of Christianity as though Islam were free from it and has absolutely nothing to do with it in itself.


      clearly answering questions on "origins of  Quran ,who described it ,   who wrote it  and more importantly   WHO PUT TOGETHER THE PRESENT BOOK " is a difficult task .,  But  Zaotar   and Wahhabist

    1).. do you guys believe that there was a single person  "Muhammad"  and all Islam.. Quran/hadith/Sunnah  is from him??  And Quran had scribes during Muhammad's time and they wrote it when he was preaching to his congregation??  

    And..and what is your opinion on this

    Quote
    HISTORY OF THE COMPILATION OF QURAN

    Scribing during the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Revelation scribes wrote down the Quran, according to the order of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), on pieces of cloth, leather, bones, and stones. Its verses were ordered and arranged according to Allah's inspiration. At the beginning, it was not gathered in one book. Some of the Prophet's companions scribed parts and surahs specially for themselves after they had memorized it from the Prophet.

    Compiling Quran during the era of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq: Zayd Ibn Thabit gathered the Quran in one book. He was charged to do this by Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, according to an advice from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. Its resource was the parts written by the Revelation scribes; so he gathered all of it in one book, the Holy Quran.

    Compiling Quran during the era of Uthman Ibn Affan: In his reign, the Quran was written from the main copy gathered during the era of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq. It was kept at the residence of Hafsah Bint Umar, (one of the Prophet's wives). He charged the following scribes to do it:

    Zayd Ibn Thabit.
    Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubair.
    Said Ibn Al-`As.
    Abdul-Rahman Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Hisham.

    They scribed many copies of Quran, reflecting in their writing the different correct readings (Arabic accents) of it; excluding any incorrect one. It was not marked with dots or vowel points. Uthman kept a copy at Medina and sent the remaining copies to the various Islamic countries.

    Dotting and Vowelization. Dotting and vowelization passed through three stages:
    In the first stage: Dots were used as syntactical marks. This was in the era of Mu`awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan, who charged Abu Al-Aswad Al-Dualy to do it in order to prevent people from a faulty reading of the Quran.

    In the second stage: Arabic letters were marked with different dotting to differentiate between them (e.g.:B, T,TH). This was in the time of Abdul-Malik Ibn Marawan, who charged Al-Hajjaj to do it. Al-Hajjaj, in his turn, charged Nasr Ibn Asem and Hayy Ibn Yaamor to accomplish it.

    In the third stage: Complete vowel points (e.g. dammah, fathah, kasrah) were used, in the form we are using nowadays. This method was invented by Al-Khaleel Ibn Ahmed Al Faraheedi.

     that is from this sunnah.org

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #86 - November 02, 2016, 02:25 PM

    Long posts?  Never.  I'll answer your questions concisely.

    1.  No.

    2.  It's wrong.  Little clarity was retained about the original composition and recitation of the Qur'an, which as it is written in the rasm cannot have been normal 'Classical Arabic.'  Nor can the process of writing and outfitting the text with diacritics have standardized the readings in the manner claimed.  The recitation traditions are 'classicized.'

    Neither the reasons that the tradition gives for the Uthmanic compilation, nor its relation to the spoken recitation traditions, can be correct.  We still know very little, unfortunately, about how and when it was first written down, and subsequently transmitted.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #87 - November 03, 2016, 04:47 PM

     Cheesy  Thanks for the crisp  short answers Zaotar'

    So again  yeezevee Questions and  Zaotar's answers
     
    Quote
    yeezevee Q 1:   do you guys believe that there was a single person  "Muhammad"  and all Islam.. Quran/hadith/Sunnah  is from him??  

    Zaotar ans  :   No.

    yeezevee Q 2:   Quran had scribes during Muhammad's time and they wrote it  when he was preaching to his congregation??  
     
    Zaotar ans .  It's wrong.  Little clarity was retained about the original composition and recitation of the Qur'an, which as it is written in the rasm cannot have been normal 'Classical Arabic.'  Nor can the process of writing and outfitting the text with diacritics have standardized the readings in the manner claimed.  The recitation traditions are 'classicized.'

    Neither the reasons that the tradition gives for the Uthmanic compilation, nor its relation to the spoken recitation traditions, can be correct.  We still know very little, unfortunately, about how and when it was first written down, and subsequently transmitted.


    So basically what  Zaotar saying is.,   "present Quran with 114 chapters and filled with some  6200  verses  is bullshit with cockand bull stories and NOTHING TO DO WITH EARLY ISLAMIC PREACHING/SAYINGS  ."
     
    dear Zaotar please correct me if I am wrong in understanding your response .,  

     Now Question about that  Rasm., Is it not just 7th/8th century  old Arabic script  and  is  same as today's Arabic script , the difference being the modern script  with some  dots and dashes  on top of the script??

    And would you consider the script of Quran  you see   here is close to RASM??

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B9w4k5HeVObIYU1IVEdVcDJSUEU

    http://www.searchtruth.com/quran_reading/quran.html

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #88 - November 03, 2016, 05:50 PM

    I don't think my point was that it was all bullshit, but rather that our knowledge of the specific historical context for quranic composition and its embodiment in written manuscripts is fairly awful.  This doesn't mean "it really happened like X," it means we don't really know much *historically* about how it happened.  We can infer a lot about what the text is saying, but not much about its supposed historical context.

    The rasm, meaning the script without diacritics and vowel-markings, seems very conservative, and probably rigidified early.  One of the most interesting aspects of the Qur'an is how it seems to treat pre-existing recitations and texts.  Such pre-existing forms seem to have been prestigious, so that they were not simply re-written for every new composition or compilation.  Instead the Qur'an seems to have been built out of smaller pericopes and formulas, which are equipped with various features and elaborated in various ways, while preserving the archaic forms.  Awkwardness was better than changing the parts to be more coherent.  This is why we get so many weird changes in reference, seemingly without much concern by the composer.  It's like building with set forms, there are constraints on what you can do.

    An interesting text that I've been thinking about is Q 75:17-18, which says that the collection and recitation of 'it' (meaning the revelation) is 'ours,' and so is its explanation.  Clearly this means that the composition process is divinely directed, and the human is claimed here to have no active role in that process, besides repeating what 'We' taught him.  But setting aside who is doing it, what exactly was being done?  The description in Q 75:17-18 seems to suggest that existing bits of revelation had previously been disseminated amongst the believers, and these bits were being collected, formed into a new recitation, and explained.  Which is very consistent with what the surahs look like.  For example, Q 91.  It looks like a very basic oral proclamation about purifying the self v. corruption (Q 91:9-10), probably used in popular preaching, was kitted out with a series of preceding cosmic oaths (Q 91:1-8), making it into angelic speech.  Then, later, a story about Thamud was appended to that (Q 91:11-15) (Bell and Watt discuss this point).  Whoever did this assembly presumably felt (or argued) that God was completely directing their creative activity, but they weren't just sitting in isolation and receiving words from nowhere.  They were building new recitations out of older elements.

    Of course the traditional theological explanation of these verses, no doubt, is that God and/or the angels were collecting the Qur'an together from some mystical heavenly source, and then the entire Q 91 was recited and explained to Muhammad by Gabriel.  But there's good reason to believe, I think, that Q 75 is being a bit more upfront about what was actually going on, and is forcefully construing this process as entirely being God's work.
  • Muhammad's illiteracy, poetry unlearnability and isolation
     Reply #89 - November 03, 2016, 11:57 PM

    I do find quite a bit of truth in the claim that Christians do not know their text. They are not using their text as Muslims often use their text. I have seen Christians place importance on random openings of their Bible for making decisions, but never have I seen them consult their text to discover the correct way to behave, inherit, or really anything of that nature. I have seen some who take some literal pieces here and there, like not eating pork or that women are subject to men (patriarchy made that one REALLY popular), but this is a rarity. I see this difference as a manifestation of the spirit concept that is common to most Christian sects. They don't want to understand the law or the literal of their text, but rather the spirit of it. Mostly they see it as inspiring rather than confining. Of course, I generalize to a specific area of America that is not known for it's Christian fundamentalism as other parts are, because I only have lived among Christians in the North.

     You are quite right x
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