Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Who Authored the Qur'an?: An Enquiry, Part 1

"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties"
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626) [1]


[A note of caution: The content of this article may offend some readers. The writer will not take any responsibility in the event of any hurt feeling or damage caused as a result of reading this essay. Read this article at your own risk]


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This article delves into the very authorship of the Holy Qur'an. It is a new way of looking at the Holy Qur'an. Using logical reasoning and historical references on the authorship of the Qur'an, an enquiry is made. Thus, this methodology is totally opposed to the blind believers who accept the authenticity of the Qur'an unquestionably. By analysing, dissecting and carefully interpreting the contents of the Qur'an, the Ahadith (Muhammad's traditions and sayings) and Sirah (Muhammad's biography), this author has identified several parties who undoubtedly had contributed to the composition of the Qur'anic verses. It was not Allah who wrote the Qur'an; it was not even Muhammad alone who did this either. The Qur'an is not the creation of a single entity or a lone person. There were several parties involved in the composition, scribing, amending, inserting and deleting the Qur'anic verses. The most important personalities involved in the creation of the Qur'an were: Imrul Qays, Zayd b. Amr, Hasan b. Thabit, Salman, Bahira, ibn Qumta, Waraqa and Ubayy b. Ka'b. Muhammad himself was involved in the make-up of a limited number of verses, but the most influential person who motivated Muhammad in the invention of Islam and the opus of the Qur'an was, perhaps, Zayd b. Amr, who preached 'Hanifism'. Muhammad later metamorphosed Zayd's 'Hanifism' into Islam. Therefore, the assertion that Islam is not a new religion stands to be true. However, the important finding is that the Qur'an is definitely not the words of Allah - it is a human-made scripture which Muhammad simply passed up as Allah's final words to mankind. Another important aspect of this essay is that among the ancient religions that the writers of the Qur'an incorporated in it, perhaps, the practices of the Sabeans is crucial. In fact, the rituals of 5 prayers and the 30 days fasting (the two among the five pillars of Islam) were actually adapted from the Sabeans. Qur'an, thus, is a compilation of various religious books that existed during Muhammad's time. Muhammad, not Allah, simply adopted, picked and chose from various sources and created the Qur'an. While many parties contributed to the Qur'an, Muhammad became its chief editor - to say it plainly.


According to Islam, questioning the Allah's absolute authorship of the Qur'an is a serious blasphemy. A Muslim may face death sentence simply for nurturing an atom of doubt on Qur'an's authenticity. The Qur'an is above all. Nothing in the creation of Allah is holier than the Qur'an. However, human being what he is - ever inquisitive - I started doubting the Qur'an's authorship in my very childhood--when I was introduced, in a very formal manner in the recitation of this Holy Scripture. I spent a couple of years learning a few introductory verses under the tutorship of a local 'Hujur' (Islamic religion teacher) in the local mosque. This 'Hujur' taught the Qur'an to a group of us by holding a rattan cane that looked quite shiny as he used to oil the cane every day before his 'Murid' (learners) arrived in the mosque. I can vouch that none of us ever liked to study the Qur'an - it was the most boring and the most painful task during our childhood. We simply memorised like parrots certain verses without understanding a single word of them The 'Hujur' also did not know the meanings of those verses. Whenever we asked any question about any verse, the answer was a few stroke of the cane from the 'Hujur'. The learning of the recitation of the Qur'an became associated with corporeal punishment and child-abuse. Thus, we developed a deep disdain towards the Qur'an recitation in particular and a profound dislike for the Mullahs in general.

Later, after I left my university and started working, a colleague of mine presented me with a copy of the English translation of the Holy Qur'an by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. My colleague was a die-hard 'Tabligi' (a religious proselytiser) and exhorted me to read the translation carefully. He vouched that after I had comprehended the true messages of the Holy Scripture my life would change for ever - for the better, he insisted. Reluctantly, I started to read the English translation - verse by verse, passage by passage. The more I read, the more I was shocked, disturbed, astonished, bewildered and resentful. I could not believe that a book which is supposed to be the handiwork of the most compassionate, the most merciful and the most forgiving Allah could contain such a terrible amount of hate, terror, call for murder, war, vengeance and most of all, a blanket plea for the destruction of all those who do not subscribe to the Qur'anic view of the world. Of course, there were a few verses which were very poetical, beautifully crafted, rhythmic and sometimes rich in spirituality. Apart from that handful of 'good' stuffs, I found the vast part of the Qur'an simply nonsensical and not-to-talk about those incriminating verses exhorting the believers to murder and wage an unrelenting war (Jihad) against the unbelievers. I started questioning: How could a merciful, compassionate Allah write such a cranky book which is largely a trash and an ultimate manual of terror, war and plunder? When my 'Tabligi' colleague asked how I was doing with the Qur'an, I simply told him I was doing fine - elaborating further that I discovered plenty of new astonishing materials in the Qur'an which I never thought existed in it. He simply smiled and said, "The Qur'an is wonderful, isn't it?" I replied, "You said it! It is mind-boggling, no doubt." 

A few years later, I started to ponder deeply on the Qur'an. Using the works of other translators as well as the Tafsirs (explanation), I read and re-read the Holy Scripture--several times to make sure that what they translated and explained were absolutely correct. The more I learned about the Qur'an the more I became distraught, disturbed and angry - angry, because I felt that I was utterly let down by a killer religion which was imposed on me due to my birth. The stuff I read in the Qur'an jolted me so much that I wanted to find the answer to my perennial question - Who really authored the Qur'an? It took me a long time and many years of painstaking work to arrive at the answer to that question. This article tries to answer that question. I had been planning this essay for a long time, and now, after writing it I feel it is for you to ponder too - Who authored the Qur'an?

During my investigative phase I found that a lot of people were involved in the compilation and the construction of the Qur'an. Unknown to the vast majority of Muslims, and buried deep inside the Qur'an, Ahadith and Sirah there are copious evidence to reject, out of hand, the contention that the Qur'an is the creation of Allah. Making Allah the author of the Quran, I think, is the prime lie perpetrated on mankind for more than a millennium. We can, with certainty, say that it was not even Muhammad alone who authored the Qur'an. In fact, the major part of the Qur'an was actually either composed by or inspired and written by a few other individuals. The most notable among them were:

  • Imrul Qays - an ancient poet of Arabia who died a few decades before Muhammad's birth
  • Zayd b. Amr b. Naufal - an 'apostate' of his time who preached and propagated Hanifism
  • Labid - another poet
  • Hasan b. Thabit - the  official poet of Muhammad
  • Salman, the Persian - Muhammad's  confidante' and an advisor
  • Bahira - a Nestoraian Christian monk of the Syrian church
  • Jabr - a Christian neighbour of Muhammad
  • Ibn Qumta - a Christian slave
  • Khadijah - Muhammad's first wife
  • Waraqa - Khadijah's cousin brother
  • Ubay b. Ka'b - Muhammad's secretary and a Qur'an scribe
  • Muhammad himself

There were other parties involved too. They were:

  • The Sabeans
  • Aisha - Muhammad's child bride
  • Abdallah b. Salam b. al-Harith - a Jewish convert to Islam
  • Mukhyariq - a Rabbi and another Jewish convert to Islam

Of course, my list of the possible authors of the Qur'an is not exhaustive. There may be many other parties involved that I might not have even heard of. But for a concise discussion the above list should be ample enough, I guess. In this article I have simply enumerated the contribution of the above sources in the authorship of the Qur'an.  

Now, to understand the Qur'an and its writer/s, we must, first of all, recognise the background of Muhammad, purportedly the ultimate and the best creation of Allah.

The Pagan origin of Muhammad

It is an absolute fact that Muhammad was born of pagan parents. His father, Abdullah and his mother, Amina were both pagans and they used to worship many idols. His entire childhood (probably up to his teen) was spent in paganism. To day, many Muslims will find it extremely hard to digest this fact. However, Muhammad's pagan origin is disclosed by Hisham ibn al-Kalbi. On page 17 of his important work, Kitab al-Asnam  (The Book of Idols) he writes [2]

'We have been told that the Apostle of God once mentioned al-Uzza saying, "I have offered a white sheep to al-'Uzza, while I was a follower of the religion of my people."

In the statement above Muhammad clearly admits of his past adherence to paganism - the then religion of the Quraysh.

Initially, Muhammad even eulogized the important gods (or idols) of the pagans by agreeing with the Quraysh at some point that these gods were the intercessors of Allah. On the same page Hisham ibn al-Kalbi writes: [3]

The Quraysh were wont to circumambulate the Ka'bah and say: 

            By Allat and al-'Uzza,
            And Manah, the third idol besides.
            Verily they are the most exalted females
            Whose intercession is to be sought.

These were also called "the Daughters of Allah," and were supposed to intercede before God. When the Apostle of God was sent god revealed unto him [concerning them] the following:

053.019  Have ye seen Lat. and 'Uzza,
053.020  And another, the third (goddess), Manat?

 053.021  What! for you the male sex, and for Him, the female?
053.022  Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair!

 053.023  These are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord! [4]

When Muhammad became an adult and started to attend the annual assembly of poets at Ukaz he was deeply impressed and moved by the thoughts, eloquence, sentiment, freethinking and humanism expounded by many of those poets. He started questioning the idol-worshipping and began to start preaching a new concept of one God, the creator - similar to the concepts of the Jews and the Christians of that time. Nonetheless, he was confused as to which God ought to be his God. Allah, a deity (a moon god--that is why the symbols placed at every mosque is a crescent moon) at that time was the supreme God of the pagans. Their only fault was that besides Allah they used to worship, as the intercessors for Allah, the supreme, other smaller gods/goddesses like: Hubal, Al-lat, Al-Uzza, Manat, etc. So, in the beginning of his new concept of an almighty creator Allah was out of his mind. Besides, at that time the magicians, the soothsayers, the sorcerers, and even the Satan worshippers used to vow by Allah. Thus, Muhammad found it utterly despicable to make Allah his God (ilah).

During those pagan days the people of Yemen used to worship another deity whose name was Ar-Rahman. Muhammad, for a while, adopted the name Ar-Rahman for God in place of Allah. Coincidentally, Ar-Rahman was also the Jewish word Rahmana which was a name for God in the Talmudic period. [5] Muhammad cleverly thought that by using the word Ar-Rahman he ought to be able to attract to his new 'religion', the Jews as well as some pagans. Please note that nowhere in the Qur'an Allah says that He has 99 additional names, including Ar-Rahman.

So, when he declared himself to be the messenger of Ar-Rahman, the Meccans too, were at a loss and confused. The Meccans did not know of any Ar-Rahman other than the Ar-Rahman of al-Yamamah (some writers say Ar-Rahman was at Yemen). To verify Muhammad's claim the Quraysh sent a delegation to Medina Jews, as they thought that Ar-Rahman, truly, was a deity in Yemen or Yamamah. Islamic Historian Ibn Sa'd writes: [6]

"The Quraysh sent al-Nadr Ibn al-Harith Ibn 'Alaqamah and 'Uqbah Ibn abi Mu'ayt and others to the Jews of Yathrib and told them to ask them (Jews) about Muhammad. They came to Medinah and said to them (Jews): We have come to you because a great affair has taken place amidst us. There is a humble orphan who makes a big claim, considering himself to be the messenger of al-Rahman, while we do not know any al-Rahman except the Rahman of al-Yamamah. They said: Give the description before us. They gave his description, on which they asked them who were his followers. They said: The lowly people among us. Thereupon a scholar of from them laughed and said: he is the Prophet whose attributes we find mentioned in our Scriptures; we also know that his people will be most inimical to him."

When we read, with an unbiased mind, the first 50 Suras (in chronological order) of the Qur'an we note Muhammad's confusion regrading Lord, Allah and Ar-Rahman. He was quite unsure of whom he should consider as his God (ilah). Here is a summary of the first 50 Suras regarding Muhammad's idea of his God:

Only Lord - 68, 92, 89, 94, 100, 108, 105, 114, 97, 106, 75 (11 Suras)

Ar-Rahman, Lord - 55, 36 (2 Suras)

Ar-Rahman, Allah, Lord - 20

Allah, Lord - 96, 73, 74, 81, 87, 53, 85, 50, 38, 7, 72, 25, 35, 56, 26, 27, 28, 17 (18 Suras)

This demonstrates Muhammad's initial vacillation, confusion and ignorance of the affairs of his God (ilah).

The Qur'an also confirms that when he started to preach his brand of faith, Muhammad was lost, confused and did not know much of religion. Here is what the Qur'an writes:

Muhammad was lost, then Allah guided him... 93:7

093.007  And He found thee wandering, and He gave thee guidance.

In the past Muhammad was heedless ... 12:3, 42:52

012.003  We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this, thou too was among those who knew it not.
042.052  And thus have We, by Our Command, sent inspiration to thee: thou knewest not (before) what was Revelation, and what was Faith; but We have made the (Qur'an) a Light, wherewith We guide such of Our servants as We will; and verily thou dost guide (men) to the Straight Way,-

So, how did Muhammad learn the basics of his new religion? Enter Imrul Qais and Zayd Ibn Amr.

Imrul Qays

In ancient Arabia poetry was a passion. Poets were highly regarded in society, and the words of many accomplished poets were regarded as next to god's words. In a desert land, bereft of much entertainment and natural relaxation, the ancient Arabs used to find solace, peace, tranquillity and even the raging emotion of war and revenge through the mesmerising words of their poets. Poets supplied the Arabs with their mental food. Seven such poets had their verses permanently posted on the walls of Ka'ba. These verses were known as Muallakat or suspended.

The Dictionary of Islam [7]  writes that those verses were also known as Muzahhabat or the golden poems, because they were written in gold. The authors of those poetical verses were: Zuhair, Trafah, Imrul Qays, Amru ibn Kulsum, al-Haris, Antarah and Labid.

Among those seven immortal poets the most famous was Imrul Qays, the undisputed 'king' or the legend of Arabic poetry. He was a prince, as his father was an Arab tribal king. Through his passionate devotion to love and poetry he irked his father and was banished from the palace. Thereafter, he lived a solitary life by tending the sheep and keeping alive his undying dedication to poetry. Eventually, he became a wanderer and led a melancholic life when his tribe was almost eliminated in a tribal war. He travelled around and finally arrived at Constantinople.  It is said that he was put to death by the Roman ruler of Constantinople because he won the heart of a Roman princess through love and poetry. He died around the year 530-540 A.D., before Muhammad's birth. His matchless verses were on the lips of many Arabs, and surely Muhammad had memorised many of his superb works. Muhammad is said to have declared Imrul Qays the greatest of Arab poets. No doubt then that he was keenly motivated to emulate Imrul Qays in the very early verses of the Qur'an.

The chroniclers' of the Qur'an usually list Sura al-Alaq (the clot, Sura 96) as the first revelation of Allah to Muhammad. However, a systematic study of the Qur'an may reveal that that may not be the case at all. In fact, the Dictionary of Islam, [8]  citing Islamic sources, writes that some earliest Suras (before the first revelation, Sura 96) are most likely to be:

99 - az-Zalzalah (the Earthquake)

103 - al-Asr (the Declining Day)

100 - al-Adiyat (the Chargers)

1 - al-Fatiha (the Opening)

Those Suras were short, deep in spirituality, and enthralling. It may be worthwhile to examine two such short Suras; namely:

Sura 99 (the Earthquake)

099.001 When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion,
099.002 And the earth throws up her burdens (from within),

 099.003 And man cries (distressed): 'What is the matter with her?'-
099.004 On that Day will she declare her tidings:
099.005 For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration.
099.006 On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done).
099.007 Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!
099.008 And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it

Sura 103 (the Declining Day)

103.001 By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
103.002 Verily Man is in loss,
103.003 Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.

W. St. Calir-Tisdall, the author of the famous essay The Origin of Islam [9], by comparing two passages from the Sabaa Mu'allaqat, finds close similarity with the verses from the Qur'an. Some of these verses are:

054.001 The Hour (of Judgment) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder.

093.001 By the Glorious Morning Light,

Commenting on verse 54.1 W. St. Clair-Tisdall writes: [10]

'It was the custom of the time for and orators to hang up their compositions upon the Ka'aba; and we know the seven Mu'allaqat were exposed. We are told that Fatima, the Prophet's daughter, was one day repeating as she went along the above verse. Just then she met the daughter of Imrul Qays, who cried out, "O that's what your father has taken from one of my father's poems, and calls it something that has come down to him out of heaven;" and the story is commonly told amongst the Arabs until now.'

Thus, the relationship between Imrul Qays' poems and some of the early verses of the Qur'an is pretty obvious. In this connection, W. St. Clair-Tisdall elaborates further: [11]

 "The connection between the poetry of Imra'ul Qays and the Koran is so obvious that the Muslims cannot but hold that they existed with the latter in the Heavenly table from all eternity! What then will he answer? That the words were taken from the Koran and entered in the poem? - an impossibility. Or that their writer was not really Imra'ul Qays, but some other who, after the appearance of the Koran, had the audacity to quote them there as they now appear? - rather a difficult thing to prove!"

In fact, the word Allah is found in Muallaqat as well as in the Diwan of poet Labid. So when the Muslims claim the Qur'an to be the words of Allah, do they mean Allah copied the Qur'anic verses from Imrul Qays?

We shall now briefly review the contribution of Zayd ibn Amr to the authorship of the Holy Qur'an.


Zayd bin Amr bin Naufal

During Muhammad's time, a religious movement to counter paganism was taking shape. Led by a group of 'freethinkers', this group rejected paganism, and to fulfil their spiritual needs they were searching for an alternative religion. They were known as Hanifites or simply as Hanifs.

The Dictionary of Islam [12] writes that the original meaning of Hanif was a convert or a pervert [sort of apostate--to say].

The other meanings of Hanif are:

1. Any one sincere in his inclination to Islam 2. One orthodox in the faith 3. One who is of the religion of Abraham.

W. St. Clair-Tisdall [13] writes:

'The word Hanif, indeed, originally signified "unclean" or "apostate," and was so used by the idolatrous Arabs of Zaid, because he abandoned the worship of gods.'

Muhammad later used the word Hanif, first, for the religion of Abraham, then for any sincere believer of Islam. Thus the Muslims are supposed to be Hanifs - and truly speaking, the followers of Zayd! In the same essay W. St. Clair-Tisdal (ibid)) writes further, "The name pleased the Prophet and was used by him in a good sense." [14]

According to Ibn Ishaq [15] the most famous of those apostates (Hanifs) in Mecca during Muhammad's time were:

  1. Waraqa b. Naufal: he became a Christian
  2. Ubaydullah b. Jahsh: he became a Christian after migrating to Abyssinia. His wife was Umm Habiba d. Abu Sufyan whom Muhammad married later
  3. Uthman b. al-Huwayrith. He later went to the Byzantine emperor and became a Christian
  4. Zayd b. Amr b. Naufal left paganism saying that he worshipped the God of Abraham

Waraqa was the cousin brother of Khadijah, Muhammad's first wife. Some authors suggest that he was a Jew before embracing Christianity. Ubaydullah was the grandson of Abd al-Muttalib and Uthman b. al-Huwayrith was offered a high position in the Byzantine court of Syria.

Only Zayd b. Amr remained a diehard Hanif. He used to say, "I worship the god of Abraham," but he blamed his people for having chosen the evil ways. [16]

According to W. St. Clair-Tisdal [17] Zayd worshipped yearly in a cave near Mecca, and no doubt influenced Muhammad who used to visit the same place for quiet and lonely contemplation.  

Ibn Ishaq writes [18] that when Zayd b. Amr faced the Ka'ba he used to say 'Labbaka in truth, in worship and in service.'

When Zayd stood and faced Qibla he would say (ibid), "I take refuge in what Abraham took refuge."

Zayd also abhorred animal sacrifice to idols and condemned the pagan practice of burying alive new-born females (this, I believe, was a very rare practice--as not a single instance of live burial of a female baby is cited either in the Qur'an or in Ahadith: these books vaguely talk about this pagan practice without citing any specific case of live burial).

Abu Bakr's daughter, Amina once saw a very old Zayd bin 'Amr in Ka'ba. On this, Ibn Ishaq writes: [19]

'Hisham b. Urwa from his father on the authority of his mother Asma d. Abu Bakr said that she saw Zayd as a very old man leaning his back on the Ka'ba and saying, 'O Quraysh, By Him in whose hand is the soul of Zayd, not one of you follows the religion of Abraham but I.' Then he said: 'O God, if I knew how you wished to be worshipped I would so worship you; but I do not know.' Then he prostrated himself on the palms of his hands.'

Historical records do not mention clearly what eventually happened to Zayd b. Amr. However, Ibn Ishaq writes that Caliph Umar's father, al-Khattab (Umar b. al-Khattab was Zayd's nephew) used to severely harass Zayd b. Amr and he was finally killed. Who killed Zayd is a complete mystery. Here is what Ibn Ishaq writes: [20]

"When al-Khattab (Umar's father) harassed Zayd bin 'Amr so much so that he was forced to withdraw to the upper part of Mecca and he stopped in the mountain of Hira facing the town. Zayd could visit Mecca in secret only.

Then Zayd left Mecca seeking the religion of Abraham - went through all of Syria. Then Zayd returned to Mecca but was killed."

As written previously, because of his uncompromising stand on Hanifite movement and because of his deriding remarks on paganism the Quraysh expelled Zayd b. Amr from Mecca and he was forbidden to live there. He was a severely ostracised person, boycotted and utterly disdained by the larger section of the Quraysh. He had to live in the cave of mount Hira, opposite the city. Muhammad, being a forlorn person at that time used to meet Zayd in the cave of Hira.

Ibn Ishaq also writes that Gabriel used to visit Muhammad at the Hira cave. When we consider the fact that on many instances Muhammad had confessed that Gabriel, on many occasions had met Muhammad in the form of human beings it is quite likely that when Muhammad visited  Zayd b. Amr many times to learn about the new religion of the 'Hanif' he might have thought Zayd to be the angel Gabriel. It is also quite probable that Zayd b. Amr took an interest in teaching Muhammad how to read (and write) - his poetry (or verses) that later became Qur'anic verses!

Ibn Ishaq writes [21] that Muhammad used to pray in seclusion in Hira every year for a month to practice 'tahnanuth', a pagan practice (thus confirming again Muhammad's pagan background). According to the Quraysh, 'tahannuth' meant religious devotion.

Sahih Bukhari confirms that Muhammad had encountered Zayd b. Amr in the Valley of Hira Mountain.

Muhammad meets Zayd b. 'Amr and offers him meat that was slaughtered for the idols (Sahih Bukhari, 7.67.407, 5.58.169)

Volume 7, Book 67, Number 407:

Narrated 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said that he met Zaid bin 'Amr b. Nufail at a place near Baldah and this had happened before Allah's Apostle received the Divine Inspiration. Allah's Apostle presented a dish of meat (that had been offered to him by the pagans) to Zaid bin 'Amr, but Zaid refused to eat of it and then said (to the pagans), "I do not eat of what you slaughter on your stone altars (Ansabs) nor do I eat except that on which Allah's Name has been mentioned on slaughtering."

Volume 5, Book 58, Number 169:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:

The Prophet met Zaid bin 'Amr bin Nufail in the bottom of (the valley of) Baldah before any Divine Inspiration came to the Prophet. A meal was presented to the Prophet but he refused to eat from it. (Then it was presented to Zaid) who said, "I do not eat anything which you slaughter in the name of your stone idols. I eat none but those things on which Allah's Name has been mentioned at the time of slaughtering." Zaid bin 'Amr used to criticize the way Quraish used to slaughter their animals, and used to say, "Allah has created the sheep and He has sent the water for it from the sky, and He has grown the grass for it from the earth; yet you slaughter it in other than the Name of Allah. He used to say so, for he rejected that practice and considered it as something abominable.

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Zaid bin 'Amr bin Nufail went to Sham, inquiring about a true religion to follow. He met a Jewish religious scholar and asked him about their religion. He said, "I intend to embrace your religion, so tell me some thing about it." The Jew said, "You will not embrace our religion unless you receive your share of Allah's Anger." Zaid said, "'I do not run except from Allah's Anger, and I will never bear a bit of it if I have the power to avoid it. Can you tell me of some other religion?" He said, "I do not know any other religion except the Hanif." Zaid enquired, "What is Hanif?" He said, "Hanif is the religion of (the prophet) Abraham who was neither a Jew nor a Christian, and he used to worship None but Allah (Alone)" Then Zaid went out and met a Christian religious scholar and told him the same as before. The Christian said, "You will not embrace our religion unless you get a share of Allah's Curse." Zaid replied, "I do not run except from Allah's Curse, and I will never bear any of Allah's Curse and His Anger if I have the power to avoid them. Will you tell me of some other religion?" He replied, "I do not know any other religion except Hanif." Zaid enquired, "What is Hanif?" He replied, Hanif is the religion of (the prophet) Abraham who was neither a Jew nor a Christian and he used to worship None but Allah (Alone)" When Zaid heard their Statement about (the religion of) Abraham, he left that place, and when he came out, he raised both his hands and said, "O Allah! I make You my Witness that I am on the religion of Abraham."

Narrated Asma bint Abi Bakr: I saw Zaid bin Amr bin Nufail standing with his back against the Ka'ba and saying, "O people of Quraish! By Allah, none amongst you is on the religion of Abraham except me." He used to preserve the lives of little girls: If somebody wanted to kill his daughter he would say to him, "Do not kill her for I will feed her on your behalf." So he would take her, and when she grew up nicely, he would say to her father, "Now if you want her, I will give her to you, and if you wish, I will feed her on your behalf."

The first Hadis tells us something about Muhammad's paganism - that, in the beginning, he probably ate the meat offered to the idols by the pagans (thus confirming Hisham ibn al-Kalbi), but Zayd b. Amr steadfastly refused to eat any meat slaughtered in the name of idols. Muhammad learned from Zayd not to eat the pagans' meat (or Haram meat). The second Hadis apparently contradicts the first Hadis (7.67.407) on Muhammad's consumption of 'pagan' or Haram meat. However, a little thought on this Hadis evidently shows that Muhammad followed Zayd with respect to Halal meat, and from Zayd he also obtained the idea of Allah to be his (Muhammad's) God. Can we not, therefore, conclude that the idea of Islam really came from Zayd? In the biography of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq [22] we find several verses of poetry written by Zayd that are quite similar to some verses of the Qur'an. Therefore, isn't it sufficient to say that after the sudden, mysterious and untimely killing of Zayd Muhammad took up his mantle, philosophy, poetry and the zeal to propagate 'Hanifism'? [For sample verses from Zayd's poetry and their comparisons with the Qur'anic verses please read the appendix]

Ibn Sa'd writes [23] that when Muhammad started his Islam, a convert told Muhammad about the words of Zayd ibn Amr and Muhammad replied, "I have seen him in Paradise drawing his skirts." This proves that Muhammad acknowledged the piety and contribution of Zayd towards the concept of Islam or Hanifism.

The following excerpts [24] from the Islamic historian Ibn Sa'd demonstrates further that Muhammad got the idea of Islam from Zayd b. Amr:

"Zayd Ibn 'Amr Ibn Nufayl said: I smelled Christianity and Judaism but I disliked them. I went to Syria and its adjoining territories till I came to my strangeness with my people and my abhorrence for idol worship, Judaism and Christianity. He said to me: I see you are in search of the creed of Ibrahim. O Makkan brother! You are seeking a creed which is not practiced now a days. It is the creed of your ancestor, Ibrahim, and it is the true faith. He (Ibrahim) was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He used to offer prayers and prostrate towards this house (Ka'bah) which is in your city. So retire to your city. He will revive the true creed of Ibrahim and he is the most honoured of the creatures of Allah."

It is highly palpable that Zayd himself wrote few Suras (probably around 30 Suras, but not in chronological order), including those that contain the Hanifship of Abraham.

Some of these verses are:

002.135 They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah." [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]
003.067 Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah's (Which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah. [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

003.095 Say: "Allah speaketh the Truth: follow the religion of Abraham, the sane in faith; he was not of the Pagans."[The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

004.125  Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend. [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

006.161 Say: "Verily, my Lord hath guided me to a way that is straight,- a religion of right,- the path (trod) by Abraham the true in Faith, and he (certainly) joined not gods with Allah." [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

006.079 "For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah." [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

016.120 Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) true in Faith, and he joined not gods with Allah: [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

010.105  "And further (thus): 'set thy face towards religion with true piety, and never in any wise be of the Unbelievers; [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

022.031  Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allah, is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far-distant place. [The original Qur'an says Hunafaa - my note]

098.005  And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight. [The original Qur'an says Hunafaa - my note]

030.030  So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) Allah's handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not. [The original Qur'an says Haneefan - my note]

As mentioned earlier, Zayd ibn Amr was totally against the pagan practice of burying live female infants. The Qur'an mentions this rare practice of the Quraysh in three verses only.

These verses are:

016.058 When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief!
017.031 Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.
081.008 When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned -
081.009 For what crime she was killed;

Evidently, the above verses were inspired by Zayd b. Amr and most likely were written by him too. Later, when Zayd died Muhammad simply passed them up as Allah's revelations to him.

Those examples demonstrate that Muhammad had copied stories, concepts and style of Zayd ibn Amr in the composition of the Qur'an

Part 2 >>>

[ Part 2 - Part 3 - Appendix ]

Footnotes for Part 1

[1] Quoted from Milestones of Science by Curt Suplee, p.70,  published by the National Geographic Society, 2000

[2] Hisham al-Kalbi, Kitab al-Asnam, p.17

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Noldeke: The Koran, The Origins of the Koran, p.53

[6] Ibn Sa'd, vol.i, pp.189-190

[7] Hughe's Dictionary of Islam, p.460

[8] Ibid, p.485

[9] The Origins of the Koran, pp.235-236

[10] Ibid

[11] The Origins of the Koran, p.236

[12] Hughes Dictionary of Islam, pp.161-162

[13] The Sources of Islam, The Origins of the Koran, p.289

[14] Ibid

[15] Ibn Ishaq, p.99

[16] ibid, p.287

[17] The Sources of Islam, The Origins of the Koran, pp.229-230

[18] Ibn Ishaq, pp.99-100

[19] Ibid

[20] Ibn Ishaq, p.102

[21] Ibn Ishaq, p.105

[22] Ibn Ishaq, pp.100-102

[23] Ibn Sa'd, vol.i, p.185

[24] Ibn Sa'd, vol.i, p.185

Abul Kasem is an Bengali ex-Muslim and academic. He has contributed in Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out and Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside and Why We Left Islam.. He has also written extensively on Islam in various websites and is the author of five e-Books: A Complete Guide to Allah, Root of Terrorism ala Islamic Style, Sex and Sexuality in Islam, Who Authored the Quran? and Women in Islam. Mr. Kasem leaves in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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Comments Notes: Keep comments short. Our system cannot separate paragraphs. Comments must be relevant to the topic of the article. Irrelevant comments, materials, adds of other websites, pasting external articles etc. are not allowed. We may ban the IP addresses of such nuisance posters.

Name: max lohan
Date: Sunday February 01, 2009
Time: 15:39:50 -0500


i did some true studies of quran i think ur child hood abuse did make u over react of this subject u must be more subjective even most of ur sources are daubted u must study it i think by studyin arabic lanuage and then try to understand the phrases again itll be different sir.thx

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