Islam is not the name of some unique religion presented for the first time by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who should, on that account be called the founder of Islam.The Qur'an states that Islam - the complete submission of man before his one and only Unique Creator - is the one and only faith and way of life consistently revealed by God to humankind from the very beginning. Noah, Solomon, David, Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jesus - prophets who appeared at different times and places - all propagated the same faith and conveyed the same message of Tawheed (Oneness of God), Risaalat (Prophethood) and Aakhirah (the Hereafter). These prophets of God were not founders of different religions to be named after them. They were each reiterating the message and faith of their predecessors.

However, Muhammad (pbuh) was the last Prophet of God. God revived through him the same genuine faith which had been conveyed by all His Prophets. This original message was earlier corrupted and split into various religions by people of different ages, who indulged in interpolations and admixture. These alien elements were eliminated by God, and Islam - in its pure and original form - was transmitted to humankind through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Since there was to be no messenger after Muhammad (pbuh), the Book revealed to him (i.e. the Qur'an) was preserved word for word so that it should be a source of guidance for all times.
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The miracle of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), i.e. the Qur'an, is for all times

All the previous Prophets of God were sent only to their people and their nation and their complete message was meant for a particular time period. Therefore the miracles they performed such as parting of sea by Prophet Moses (pbuh), giving life to the dead by Prophet Jesus (pbuh), etc. convinced the people of that time but these miracles cannot be analyzed and verified by us today.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last and final Messenger of God, sent for the whole of humankind and the message he delivered is for eternity. The Qur'an says:

"We sent you (Prophet Muhammad) not but as a mercy for all creatures." (Al-Qur'an 21:107)

Therefore the miracle of the last and final Messenger should also be everlasting, examinable and verifiable by people of all ages, after its revelation. Though Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed several miracles as are mentioned in the Hadith (recorded traditions, sayings and actions of the Prophet), he never emphasized them. Though we Muslims believe in these miracles we only boast of the ultimate miracle given to him by Almighty God, which is the Qur'an.

Al-Qur'an is the miracle of all times which proved itself to be a miracle 1400 years ago and which can be reconfirmed today and forever. In short, it is the Miracle of Miracles.

Many people have a misconception that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the founder of the religion of Islam. However, Islam is in existence since the first man (Prophet Adam) first set foot on earth. Since then, Almighty God sent several prophets and revelations, the last in this chain being Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an.

Three options regarding authorship of the Qur'an

Probably, the only point of agreement amongst those who have the slightest knowledge of the Qur'an irrespective of whether they are Muslims or not, is that the Qur'an was recited for the first time by a man who was born in Makkah in Arabia in the 6th century (C.E.) by the name of Muhammad (pbuh).

Regarding the sources of the Qur'an there can be three basic assumptions for a non-Muslim:
a) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was the author of the Qur'an; consciously, sub-consciously or unconsciously.
b) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) learnt it from other human sources or copied or adopted from previous scriptures or revelations.
c) Qur'an has no human author but it is a word for word revelation from God.

Muhammad (pbuh) was not the author of the Qur’an

1. Muhammad (pbuh) never claimed the authorship of the Qur’an

It is highly abnormal to challenge the testimony of someone who disclaims responsibility for producing a great work, whether literary, scientific or other. Yet this is precisely what orientalists and others, who are suspicious about the origins of the Qur'an, do when they claim that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the author of the Glorious Qur'an.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never ever claimed responsibility for originating it. He honestly said that it was Allah who revealed this Scripture to him. To think otherwise is illogical because it would mean that he was telling a lie.

From history we learn that between his youth and the prophetic mission that commenced at the age of 40, he had never been known to lie. He was so well known for his truthfulness, honesty and chastity that he was given the title "Al-Ameen" i.e. "The trust worthy" by friends and foes alike. Then why should he lie at the age of 40 while claiming to be a messenger of God?

It is interesting to note however, that although many of the Meccan Pagans rejected Islam and regarded the Prophet as a liar, they nevertheless trusted him and deposited their valuables with him for safe-keeping. This is apparent from the fact that when the Prophet decided to leave Makkah to foil an assassination attempt on him, he left the valuables with Hazrat Ali (R.A.) to distribute it to the rightful owners.

Once when Abu Sufiyan, one of the pagan chiefs of Makkah, went to Emperor Heraclius to ask for his support against the Prophet, on being questioned whether the Prophet had been accused of lying, prior his to claim to be a Prophet or whether he had betrayed his trust, Abu Sufiyan the arch enemy of the Prophet had to answer "No". Thus even his opponents acknowledged his sincerity, truthfulness and honesty.

What logical reason can a person think of, for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to lie while stating that he was a Prophet and not the author of the Qur'an?

 Let us now analyze some more probabilities given by skeptics of why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could have written such a Book without claiming its authorship.

2. Material gain as the motive

Some may argue that Muhammad (pbuh) falsely attributed the Qur’an to God and called himself a Prophet for material gain. I do agree that there are several people who falsely claim to be prophets, saints and preachers for material benefits and thus become rich and lead luxurious lives.

Muhammad’s (pbuh) financial position was better off before than after the announcement of his Prophethood. At the age of 25, he married Khadija (ra), who was a very rich and wealthy businesswoman, 15 years before he claimed Prophethood. His financial position and life standard after claiming Prophethood was unenviable.

a. One of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh), Ayesha (R.A.) narrates that a month or two would go by without fire being lit in their house because there was nothing to cook. They survived on dates and water. Sometimes this diet was supplemented with goat’s milk from the people of Madinah. (According to Riyad-As-Saliheen by An-Nawawi, Hadith no. 492)

b. This was not just a temporary sacrifice but a way of life. This was at a time when Muhammad (pbuh) could have lived like a king, if he so wanted. There was a sort of discontent and protest by those close to him as to why should they live in poor condition when they could avail of all the luxuries. The Prophet was disturbed with their discontent and a revelation came commending him to tell his wives:

‘O Prophet! Say to your Consorts: "If it be that you desire the life of this world and its glitter then come, I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner. But if you seek Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, verily Allah has prepared for the well-doers amongst you a great reward.”’
(Al-Qur'an 33:28-29)

This evidence is also recorded in Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim.

c. Abu Zarr (ra) and Abu Hurairah (ra), the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) narrated that Muhammad (pbuh) never kept back any gifts and provisions secured for future use, but spent what he had on the poor and needy. (According to Riyad-As-Saleheen, Hadith No. 465 and 466)

d. Inspite of the victories and achievements of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), at the time of his death, he was in debt, and his shield was in the hands of a Jewish citizen of Madinah as a co-lateral for his debt.
(According to Riyad-As-Saleheen, Hadith No. 504)

e. If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would have actually been the author of the Qur’an and would have lied for material gains, that it is a book of God, he would have never mentioned in the same Qur’an:

“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say:

‘This is from Allah’ to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby.” (Al-Qur'an 2:79)
This verse rebukes those persons who changed the previous Revealed scriptures, or authored books with their own minds and said, “this is from God” for their personal material benefit. If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had himself written the Qur’an, there were chances that at some point of time he would have been exposed, be
considered the biggest hypocrite (God forbid), and would be cursing himself in his own book, which is illogical.


Is it possible that Muhammad (pbuh) might have claimed Prophethood in order to attain Status, Power, Glory, and Leadership?

a. Muhammad (pbuh) has universally been acknowledged as one of the most successful leaders in human history. A Christian scholar Michael H. Hart has given a list of what he considers the hundred most influential men in history, from Adam to the present time, along with a list of reasons for his ranking, in his book ‘The 100 – a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’. This unbiased Christian scholar placed Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on top of the list. He concluded the biography with the words,
“It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad (pbuh) to be considered the most influential single figure in human history”.

b. A man with his qualities could claim leadership and assume power even without claiming Prophethood. Moreover, his character suggests that he was neither a power monger, nor a glory seeker. The desire to enjoy status and power is usually associated with good food, fancy clothing, magnificent places, monumental palaces, colourful guards and indisputable authority. Despite his social standing as a Prophet and heavy responsibility as a statesman, Muhammad (pbuh) used to milk his goat, mend his clothes, repair his shoes and help with the household work. His life was an amazing example of simplicity and humility. He sat on the floor. He went to the market to shop with no guards or provisions and accepted invitations to dine with the poor and ate graciously whatever was served.

c. He talked and listened patiently to anyone who approached him. So much so that the Qur’an says that his detractors complained saying:

“O! He listens to everyone.” (Al-Qur'an 9:61)

d. Once a representative of pagans named Utbah came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said that if he gave up preaching the message of the Qur’an, they would make him the wealthiest man in the community and their leader with absolute power or even crown him as the king, if he wanted. The only concession they wanted from Muhammad (pbuh) in return was to give up the new claim that ‘there is no god but one Universal God of all people’. If the Prophet (pbuh) was a seeker after power, glory and wealth, he would not have missed this golden opportunity. However he rejected the proposal using the verses that were revealed to him from Allah in Al-Qur'an 41:1-38.

e. Later another approach was made to the Prophet (pbuh) from delegation of the pagan nobles. The Prophet (pbuh) refused to compromise on the divinely inspired message which he had been sent with to deliver saying: “I did not bring this message on my own, nor in pursuit of your money or respect or leadership. God has sent me as a messenger to you and has given me a book, the Qur’an….”

f. On another occasion, they tried to persuade him through his beloved uncle Abu Talib to accept worldly power and prestige in return for giving up his Prophetic Mission. He said, “Oh! My uncle, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, in order that I should give up this mission of mine, I will never do it until I die in defence of this truth, or God decides whatever He Pleases.”

g. The death of Muhammad’s (pbuh) most beloved son Ibrahim (ra) coincided with the eclipse of the sun and people regarded it as a miracle from God that the heaven and the earth were mourning at the death of Ibrahim. Muhammad (pbuh) was very angry with them and said:

“The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life of someone but they are two signs amongst the signs of Allah”. (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 2, Hadith No. 152)

h. Are these the characteristics of a power-hungry or a self-centered man? What could justify such a life of suffering and sacrifice, even after he was fully triumphant over his adversaries? What could explain the humbleness and nobility, which he demonstrated in his most glorious moments when he insisted that success is only due to God’s help and not due to his own genius?

Moral Reformation :
The Qur’an says: Who can be more wicked than one who invents a lie against Allah or says “I have received inspiration” when he has received none or (again) who says “I can reveal the like of what Allah has revealed?” (Al-Qur’an 6:93) This verse prescribes the most humiliating punishment for such liars. If Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the author of the Qur’an, was he deceitfully ascribing it to God and describing himself as the most wicked man? Had he been the author of the Qur’an, there was every possibility that his fabrication might one day be uncovered and get him into trouble.

a) A similar warning is given in the Qur’an in the following verse: “And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name We should certainly seize him by his right hand And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).” (Al-Qur’an 69:44-47) There are several such verses in the Qur’an e.g. Al-Qur’an 42:24 & 16:105.

b) Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not deliver the whole Qur’an at one sitting. He recited it piecemeal over a period of about 23 years during which any question would be answered. The Qur’an says: “If you ask about things when the Qur’an is being revealed they will be made plain to you” (Al-Qur’an 5:101) People took this opportunity to ask a wide range of questions covering subjects like intoxicants, gambling, charity, new moon, menstruation, spoils of war, or even historical figures like Zulqarnain. Therefore the Qur’an mentions in several places “They ask thee concerning such and such matter. Say: it is so and so”. In no way could Muhammad (pbuh) have known in advance the questions he would be asked, thus perfectly matching his reformation purposes for which he had set out to write the Qur’an. It would be foolish for a Prime Minister who wants to talk about the transportation facility in his country to call a press conference and invite the press to ask any question. They may choose to inquire about the food situation or even about political prisoners.

c) There is sufficient proof in the Qur’an against this moral reformation theory because Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself is corrected by the Qur’an in several places. Once while Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was deeply engrossed, trying to convince the teachings of Islam to pagan Quraish leaders of Makkah, a poor Muslim blind man, Abdullah Ibn Umm-Makhtum interrupted the discussion because he wanted to learn the Qur’an. The Prophet (pbuh) did not appreciate this interruption, which was evident by his frowning. Although the prophet (pbuh) did not say a word yet a revelation was consequently sent which is preserved forever in the Qur’an. “The (Prophet) frowned and turned away because there came to him the blind man (interrupting). But what could tell you but that perchance he might grow (in spiritual understanding)? Or that he might receive admonition and the teaching might profit him?” (Al-Qur’an 80:1-4) Anyone besides the Prophet (pbuh), whether saint or sinner, would not have been questioned so. But he, whose gentle heart ever sympathized with the poor and affected, got new light from above, and without the least hesitation published this revelation in the Qur’an. Subsequently every time he met this blind man, he received him graciously and thanked him that on his account, God had remembered him. There are several similar verses in the Qur’an e.g. in response to Prophet’s (pbuh) oath of not taking honey, Al-Qur’an 66:1 was revealed. In context of revenge of Hamzah (ra) death, Al-Qur’an 16:126 was revealed. In context of prisoners of war for ransom, Al-Qur’an 8:67 was revealed. When Prophet (pbuh) had prayed for a hypocrite, Al-Qur’an 9:84 was revealed.

Don't forget to check other parts of the topic when they are published on Qur'an

About Liaqat Qazi

Student of BA in Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. Can be reached at @LiaqatQazi
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