From Issue: 986 [Read full issue]

Indisputable Reliability

God has set the Quran apart through its distinct arrangement, style and structural unity, as well as through its contents, the ease with which it can be memorized, its impact, and the inability of its contemporaries, or anyone else for that matter, to meet the challenge to produce something comparable to it. He has declared the Quran above doubt and suspicion, free of contradiction and, hence, of indisputable reliability, its verses clear and unambiguous. The Quran's authenticity does not depend, nor should it depend, on any narrative, however well-attested it might happen to be. Its definitive certainty is founded on the fact that it is the speech of God to which no falsehood can gain access in any way whatsoever. The Prophet received it through Gabriel, and as he began reciting it to others at God's command, he inspired in them the desire to memorize and recite it, to teach it and circulate it both orally and in writing. Yet it was God who undertook to gather it together in the Prophet's mind, causing him to recite it properly, making its meanings clear, and preserving it.

The Book of God needs no validation via narratives passed down from one generation to the next. It is likewise independent of all the recitations, be they canonical or otherwise, which have been associated with it. Nor is the Quran subject to self-abrogation.

The Quran and everything relating thereto is a divine concern alone. If the Quran were dependent for its certainty on human narratives, as are hadiths and other historical reports, it would not have been possible for God to challenge both human beings and the jinn to produce something comparable to it. The Quran stands above all mere narrative. As such, it stands above all human methods of preserving texts, and it should not be subjected to the critical methods to which we would subject some other discourse. Consequently, it is shameful for some to say, as some, in fact, have said, that next to the Quran, Sahih al-Bukhari is the most well-authenticated book of the Islamic heritage. It would be perfectly valid for us to compare Sahid al-Bukhari to some other book of the same type. One might say, for example, that Sahih al-Bukhari is better authenticated than Sahih al-Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, or Imam Malik's Al-Muwatta. But to compare it to the Quran itself evinces an audacity and a lack of reverence for the Quran. For the Book of God is without equal, and it would be unthinkable to view it as comparable, parallel, or subject to being measured against any other entity whatsoever. It is nothing but truth and unquestionable, unchanging certainty.

Compiled From:
"Reviving The Balance: The Authority of the Qur'an and the Status of the Sunnah" - Taha Jabir Alalwani, pp. 109 - 111