The following is a synopsis of some aspects of Islamic belief that I hope may be of some use. As a layman, it is the product of the education and experience that I have acquired from the works, and being in the company, of Islamic scholars of the classical tradition.
My conviction in the authenticity of Islam rests on the honest nature of Muhammad (PBUH).
This premise is supported by the following statement of the celebrated senior Islamic research scholar - Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi:
"Absolute truthfulness and dependability of a messenger of God constitute the first and the most essential factor for acceptance of his mission." (Muhammad Rasulullah: The Apostle of Mercy
, p. 111)
The wisdom of Allah is indeed amazing. Muhammad (PBUH) interacted with society for 40 years prior to being commissioned as a Prophet by Allah. This resulted in the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) truthfulness being confirmed by all who knew him. It is for this reason that he was known as Al-Amin. Those that refused to acknowledge the message of revelation realized that he wasn't a liar. Thus, their rejections were for a variety of other reasons.
As stated of the Prophet (PBUH) by Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi:
"From early youth, the unobtrusive youngman was known for his gentle disposition and austere purity of his life as well as his candidness, honesty and integrity and the stern sense of duty. His was the straight and narrow path and none could find the slightest fault with him. The fair character and honourable bearing of the Apostle won for him, in the flower of his youth, the title of Al-Amin, the Trusty, from his fellow citizens. (Muhammad Rasulullah: The Apostle of Mercy
, pp. 97-98)
The reports of the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) truthfulness are of the highest degree of authenticity due to their being mutawatir
. The definition of this Islamic term is:
"A mass-transmitted report that is transmitted from one generation to the next in such large numbers, that one could not imagine that they conspired to forge it." (See The Preservation of Hadith
According to the principles of Islam, one of the processes involved in evaluating a report is the scrutiny of the reporter's biography. In an Islamic context, the messenger is of no less importance than the message itself. For a glimpse of who Shaikh Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (RA) was, please see the following: About Mawlana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi
With the context established above, if-then statements and/or criteria for comprehending the authenticity of Islamic narratives – such as the Qur’an – are not contingent on non-Islamic understandings/philosophy/logic. Shaikh Ibrahim Madani
has stated that the correct way for a Muslim to understand everything, including historical narratives in the Qur’an, is through what Muhammad (PBUH) has taught us.
- All historical narratives in the Qur’an are from Allah.
- Muhammad’s (PBUH) truthfulness is established beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Therefore, the authenticity of Qur’anic narratives are not contingent on non-Muslim beliefs/philosophy/logic.
- They are contingent on what Muhammad (PBUH) told us.
In this case, Muslims know the previous Prophets of Allah through what Muhammad (PBUH) has told them. We, as Muslims, do not accept any other authority on this matter.
The Qur’an is a narrative of Allah provided to us through Muhammad (PBUH). It - itself - is of the highest degree of authenticity due to being mutawatir
. To reiterate the definition of this Islamic term; It is a mass-transmitted report that is transmitted from one generation to the next in such large numbers, that one could not imagine that they conspired to forge it.
To paraphrase the senior Islamic research scholar, Mufti Taqi Usmani
Allah has safeguarded the Qur’an in an extraordinary manner. Due to this, it wouldn’t matter if all the copies of the Qur'an disappeared today. This Qur'an has been and still is in the hearts and minds of millions of people – word for word in the original Arabic – through uninterrupted chains of transmission since the time of the Prophet (PBUH). These people are known as Hufaaz. Attempts to alter the Qur'an throughout history by various entities have failed precisely because of this.
(See An Approach to the Sciences of the Qur’an: Uloomul Qur’an
Indeed, the late William W. Cooper
– a celebrated academic who is widely considered to be the father of management science – stated that as of his research in 2008, “…the number of Hafiz (sic) in the world is estimated to be more than 10 million”. (Click here to access original source.
In summary, the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) impeccable integrity is beyond a reasonable doubt. It is further established that the message he received from Allah – the Qur’an – has been protected from alteration through the means described above.
Therefore, discoveries and/or non-Islamic – perceptually based
– interpretations/philosophy/logic in relation to the authenticity of Islam
are not entertained. Islam’s authenticity cannot be credibly contested.
Perceptions - understandings of things - are developed through education and experience. People use their perceptions to define and interpret what evidence and faith is. It is imperative that a Muslim’s perceptions be the product of the teachings of Muhammad (PBUH). Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, there are many Muslims – including university professors – who are not fully aware of these robust and comprehensive teachings. Their perceptions are the product of non-Islamic narratives.
In need of duas.