The Prophecy that Exposed Muhammad as a Fraud Pt. 1

The following is supposed to be a prophecy, which confirms Muhammad’s prophetic claims:

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful A. L. M. The Roman Empire has been defeated – In a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious – Within a few years (bid’i). With God is the Decision, in the past and in the Future: on that Day shall the Believers rejoice – With the help of God. He helps whom He will, and He is exalted in might, most merciful. S. 30:1-5 Yusuf Ali

Muhammad is allegedly referring to the defeat of the Roman at the hands of the Persians and their subsequent victory, which was supposed to take place within a few years.

Suffice it to say, this so-called prophecy raises a host of problems, all of which expose Muhammad as a false prophet.

To begin with, this passage is a great example of just how incoherent, incomplete and unintelligible the Quran truly is. The prophecy states that the Romans have been defeated in a land close by. Yet we are not told who exactly defeated them, when exactly were they defeated, and where exactly were they defeated.

For instance, is the “land close by” referring to the Muslims or the Romans? If one claims that it is addressing the Muslims then this still leaves us with the problem of identifying the precise location of the land. A land close by the Muslims can be a reference to Medina (provided that this was “revealed” during the time they were still in Mecca), Mecca, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Persia, etc.

However, if it is directed at the Romans themselves, then the land close by can refer to land near either Turkey (Constantinople) or Rome. How does anyone know for certain?

Second, who defeated the Romans and how does one know for certain seeing that the passage fails to provide the name of the victors?

Third, when was this “prophecy” given? Is it pre-Hijrah or post-Hijrah? Since the prophecy states that the Romans would be victorious within a few years, knowing the precise date of this alleged prophecy is an essential and integral part of verifying whether it came to pass or not.

Fourth, this alleged prophecy refutes the Quran’s own assertion that it is a clear book which provides complete details for all of its verses:

“… Shall I seek a judge other than Allah while it is He Who has sent down unto you the Book (The Qur’an), explained in detail…” S. 6:114 Hilali-Khan

“Certainly, We have brought to them a Book (the Qur’an) which We have explained in detail with knowledge, – a guidance and a mercy to a people who believe.” S. 7:52 Hilali-Khan

“… And We have sent down on thee the Book making clear everything, and as a guidance and a mercy, and as good tidings to those who surrender.” S. 16:89 Arberry

“A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail; A Qur’an in Arabic for people who know.” S. 41:3 Hilali-Khan

Yet, as I already noted, this particular texts fails to identify who defeated the Romans, the place where they were defeated, and when exactly they were defeated. And, as I also indicated, these details are vitally important since they help us to determine whether the victory came to pass exactly as stated within the Quran.

Unfortunately for Muslims, the Quran fails to provide such crucial information, leaving them no choice but to consult documents that were written centuries after Muhammad’s death in order to make sense out of this so-called prediction.

As such, this alleged prophecy not only establishes that Muhammad was a false prophet, but it also demonstrates that the Quran is grossly mistaken for claiming to be a fully detailed scripture.

The other problem that Muslims are faced with is that they do not know for certain whether this text is speaking of the Romans being defeated and then experiencing a victory.

The reason why they cannot be sure that this is the original meaning is because the Muslim scripture was initially written without vowel markings. As such, the Arabic word sayaghlibuna, “they [Romans] shall be victorious,” is what some of the later scribes took the consonantal text to mean.

However, the text without vowel markings could just as easily have meant the Romans were going to be defeated. The difference is in the addition of two vowels so that instead of having sayaghlibuna, the verse could have legitimately been read as, sayughlabuna, “they (i.e. Romans) shall be defeated.” The same is the case with the word ghulibati, “have been defeated.” This could have easily been ghalabat, “have defeated.”

The Quran would, therefore, be saying that though the Romans are victorious some unnamed group would soon defeat them. In fact, this is precisely how some of the older Quranic versions interpreted the consonantal text!

The late, great Christian missionary C. G. Pfander explains:

“But Al Baizawi shatters the whole argument of the Muslims by informing us of certain varied readings in these verses of Suratu’r Rum. He tells us that some read غَلَبَتِ instead of the usual غُلِبَتِ, and سَيُغْلَبُونَ instead of سَيَغْلُبُونَ. The rendering will then be: ‘The Byzantine have conquered in the nearest part of the land, and they shall be defeated in a small number of years,’ &c. If this be the correct reading, the whole story about Abu Bakr’s bet with Ubai must be a fable,2 since Ubai was dead long before the Muslims began to defeat the Byzantines, and even long before the victories which Heraclius won over the Persians. This shows how unreliable such Traditions are. The explanation which Al Baizawi gives is, that the Byzantines became the conquerors of “the well-watered land of Syria” (على ريف آلْشام), and that the passage predicted that the Muslims would soon overcome them. If this is the meaning, the Tradition which records the ‘descent’ of the verses about six years before the Hijrah must be wrong, and the passage must belong to A.H. 6 at earliest. It is clear that, as the vowel points were not used when the Qur-an was first written down in Cufic letters, no one can be certain which of the two readings is right. We have seen that there is so much uncertainty about (1) the date at which the verses were ‘sent down’, (2) the correct reading, and (3) the meaningthat it is quite impossible to show that the passage contains a prophecy which was fulfilled. Hence, it cannot be considered to be a proof of Muhammad’s prophetic office.

“Therefore the whole argument founded upon the supposed prophetic element in the Qur’an breaks down when examined…” (Pfander, Mizan-ul-Haqq – The Balance of Truth, revised and enlarged by W. St. Clair Tisdall [Light of Life P.O. Box 18, A-9503, Villach Austria], PART III. A Candid Inquiry Into The Claim Of Islam To Be God’s Final Revelation, IV. An Examination of the Contents of the Qur’an, in order to decide whether these prove its inspiration, pp. 279-280; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Interestingly, this is exactly how the following modern versions of the Quran translate the passage!

The Romans HAVE WON. At the lowest part on the earth. But after THEIR VICTORY, THEY WILL BE DEFEATED. In a few more years. The decision before and after is for God, and on that day the believers will rejoice. (The Message: A Translation of the Glorious Qur’an)

The Romans HAVE WON, At the lowest point on the earth. But after THEIR VICTORY, THEY WILL BE DEFEATED. In a few more years. The decision before and after is for God, and on that day those who acknowledge will rejoice. (Quran Reformist Translation, translated and annotated by Edip Yuksel, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban, & Martha Schulte-Nafeh, Brainbow Press 2007: http://www.studyquran.org/resources/Quran_Reformist_Translation.pdf)

Here are the comments of the translators to the Reformist Quran, explaining why they rendered the verses the way they did:

030:002-05 You might have noticed that we translated the reference of the verb “GHaLaBa” differently than the traditional translations. Instead of reading the verb in 30:2 as “ghulibat” (were defeated) we read as “ghalabat” which means just the opposite, “defeated.” Similarly, we also read its continuous/future tense in the following verse differently. The prophecy of this verse was realized in 636 four years after the death of Muhammad, when Muslims confronted the army of Byzantine Empire around Yarmuk river, in one of the most significant battles in history. Under the command of Khalid bin Walid, the Muslim army beat the Christian imperial army of four or more times their numbers. The six-day war, Yarmuk, occurred in area near the Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea, which are located in the lowest land depression on earth, 200-400 meters below the sea level. (Ibid., p. 268)

Thus, since vowel points were not added until sometime after the death of Muhammad, Muslims, therefore, have no way of knowing with absolute certainty that the version, which the masses have come to accept as the original, is actually the correct reading and understanding of the consonantal text. As such, the Muslims have no way of definitively proving that the reading preferred by these modern Quranic translators is mistaken.

But it gets a whole lot worse for Muslims, as we are about to see in the next part of my discussion https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/02/the-prophecy-that-exposed-muhammad-as-a-fraud-pt-2/.

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