Cold air whistled around the house as I pulled my clothes tighter to keep warm. "It's so cold today," I whined as I glanced out the window at the dreary day. Sand blasted the house as the wind whipped through palm trees with brownish green leaves bowing to the sand driven slopes. "Oh Muhammad," I said as I turned to see his face suddenly change. His eyes sharpened and stared into a distant world. "Does he see Gabriel in the room?" I wondered. As I continued to shiver from the cold room, goosebumps crawled up my spine as I lifted my hands to my face. Beads of sweat formed and rolled from Muhammad's brow as his stare pierced my soul.
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, had very deep spiritual experiences. People close to Muhammad made reports about some of these experiences. The paragraph above is an attempt to understand how Muslims came to believe that Muhammad is the ultimate of all prophets. Consider the following report (from a Hadith).
"Ayesha [Muhammad's favorite wife] reported "I saw him [Muhammad] while the revelation descended upon him on an intensely cold day; then it left him while his brow steamed with sweat" (Miskat IV).
It is apparent that Muhammad had very deep fire-filled spiritual experiences, visions, as well as trance like states. Based on observing Muhammad's spiritual life, Muslims believe that the prophet received the Qur'an word for word from the Archangel Gabriel. As Muhammad received the spiritual words, he repeated these exact words to his followers. Due to this process, Muslims believe the Qur'an is free from errors and that any prophecy in the Qur'an is absolutely true. In addition, Muslims believe that the Qur'an has always existed (even before God created the physical universe). Therefore, Muslims believe the Qur'an comes from outside time-space.
If the Qur'an truly comes from outside time-space, then we expect to find highly accurate prophecy. All Muslims would agree with this principle. The Miskat records:
"The greatest thing in miracles is a prophecy, i.e. a forecast of future events. This us not a political forecast but a forecast of future secrets derived from Divine Knowledge. Prophecy is greatest for the following reasons. It can be historicalIy proved but a miracle cannot. Prophecy manifests God's fore-knowledge, while a miracle God's power. As knowledge is greater than power, prophecy is greater than a miracle" (Mishkat Volume IV, page 396).
The ideas recorded in the Mishkat agree with the Einstein Method. Based on the discussion above, we have three solid reasons that permit us to objectively evaluate prophecy in the Qur'an as follows:
- Muslim belief that the Qur'an comes outside time-space.
- The Miskat viewpoint that prophecy permits objective analysis and historic proof.
- The Einstein Method, which permits objective analysis.
Therefore, we expect to find accurate prophecies about future events in the Qur'an. To find out if Qur'anic prophecy is true, it is necessary to place a time stamp on when the prophecy was written down. When were the prophecies in the Qur'an recorded?
A large amount of debate surrounds the question of when the Qur'an was actually recorded into a document. However, all people will agree that most of the Qur'an was not written down until after Muhammad died. Muslims did not write the Qur'an on paper since it was considered more important to memorize and recite the words from Gabriel. When Muhammad died in 632 CE, only portions of the Qur'an had been copied onto paper, animal skins, rocks and other physical items. The word "Qur'an" means to recite.
However, in the year 633 CE, tragedy hit the Muslim community. A military battle resulted in the deaths of about 700 Muslims. Included in this loss was a person named Salim. Since Salim could recite much of the Qur’an, what if others who knew the Qur’an were killed? Muslim leaders came to understand that the Qur’an must be written down and collected into a book. (To read the historic view recorded about 840 CE by Sahih Bukhari; volume 6, book 61, number 509. click here) [Search on the referenced site to find the number "509"] The only alternative would be that the Qur’an would be lost forever.
The Qur'an was collected into a manuscript by 634 CE. [Search on the referenced site to find MARWAN] This event took place under the first Caliph (political-religious leader), whose name was Abu Bakr. When Abu Bakr died in 634 CE, this original manuscript of the Qur’an was passed to the next Caliph, whose name was Umar. Umar kept this original manuscript of the Qur’an until his death in 644 CE. When Umar died in 644, Hafsah, the daughter of Umar and widow of Muhammad, became the custodian of the original manuscript of the Qur’an in 644 CE. This version of the Qur'an was later used to assemble the "official" Qur'an version, which was completed about 653 CE. The official Qur'an (used today by Muslims worldwide) appears to be the product of the third Caliph named Uthman. Regardless of the debate about the Qur'an, Muslims accept that the "official" Qur'an was collected and blessed by Muslims about 653 CE. Based on Muslim views, we will use the "official" Qur'an date of 653 CE as the date of authorship.
The Qur'an is not the only accepted book by Muslims.
Most (not all) Muslims accept a series of other writings called the "Hadith." As an example, the third paragraph on this page is a quote from a hadith that Muslims believe to have been reported by Ayesha [Muhammad's favorite wife]. The Hadith are based on oral traditions. An oral tradition is a story or belief held by Muslims that were memorized and passed on to each generation (mouth to mouth). Most of the oral traditions were created generations after Muhammad died. Just as the Qur'an contains prophecies from Gabriel, the Hadith contain prophecies from Muhammad the prophet. Therefore, it is important to ask, "When were the Hadith written down?"
About 200 years after Muhammad died (840 CE), Muslim scholars wrote down some of the oral traditions. It is believed that there were about 500,000 Hadith by the end of 200 years. At that time, Muslim scholars discarded the vast majority of these Hadith sayings as coming from the imaginations of Muslims. The remaining Hadith (less than 15,000) were recorded. The Hadiths recorded by Muslim scholars about 840 CE were thought to be accurate about what Muhammad the prophet said and how he lived.
How important are the Hadith?
It is important to take note that most Muslims accept the Hadith. However, not all Muslims accept the Hadith. We can be certain though that when Muslim scholars recorded and analyzed the Hadith about 840 CE, the writings were believed to be accurate and true. Otherwise, Muslim scholars would not have recorded the Hadith. Therefore, all prophecies contained in the Hadith must be analyzed based on the date of their writing, about 840 CE.
Finally, it is important that we note that the Qur'an has a time stamp of 653 CE as the date it was most definitely recorded into an "official" manuscript. For the Hadith, the date of 840 CE will be used as the time stamp.
Enter the "Time Machine" for Gabriel's words to Muhammad