THE NOT SO MIRACULOUS AND PERFECTLY PRESERVED QURAN

The following excerpt is taken from Qadi ‘Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi’s Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta’rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley (Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K.; third reprint 1991, paperback), PART THREE. On what is necessary for the Prophet and what is impossible for him, what is permitted for him and what is forbidden for him and what is valid in those human matters which can be ascribed to him, Chapter One. CONCERNING MATTERS OF THE DEEN AND THE PROPHET’S BEING PROTECTED FROM IMPERFECTION.

This section from the Qadi’s work will highlight the fact that the Quran is an imperfect, incoherent and unintelligible compilation that is riddled with variant readings, which left the Muslims baffled and confused. All emphasis will be mine.

SECTION 16

On the protection of the angels from wrong action

The Muslims agree that the judgement concerning the Messengers among the angels is the same as that for the Prophets and that they are protected from the same things that the Prophets are protected from. The angels are like the Prophets with their communities in respect of the duties they have with regard to conveying revelation to the Prophets.

The ‘ulama’ disagree about angels other than the Messengers among them. One group believes that all of them are protected from acts of rebellion and they use as a proof Allah’s words, “They do not disobey Allah in what He orders them and carry out what they are ordered to do” (66:6); “There is not one of us who does not have a known station. We are those drawn up in ranks. We are those who glorify” (37: 165-166); “Those in His presence do not consider themselves too great to worship Him and do not grow tired of it. They glorify Him by night and day, without ever flagging” (21: 19-20); “Those who are with your Lord do not consider themselves too great to worship Him” (7:206); “Noble, virtuous” (80:16); and “No one may touch it except the purified,” (56:79) and similar reports.

Another group believe that these are special qualities restricted to the angels who are Messengers and those among them who are brought near to Allah. They take as a proof things which the people of reports and commentaries mention which we will mention later, clarifying their position if Allah wills.

The correct position is that all of them are protected and their high rank is free from anything that might lower their rank and station from the sublimity of their high degree. One of our shaykhs indicated that there is no need for any faqih to involve himself in discussing their protection. I say that any discussion concerning this matter must be based on what has been said regarding the protection of Prophets in respect of the benefits which we have mentioned – except for the benefit of words and actions which must be omitted in this instance.

Something that those who do not consider it necessary for all angels to be protected use as a proof, is what is said in the traditions and commentaries regarding the story of Harut and Marut1 and what ‘Ali and Ibn ‘Abbas related about them and their temptation. You should know that these reports do not relate anything, either weak or sound, from the Messenger of Allah himself and there is nothing which is taken by analogy. The commentators disagree about the meaning of what the Qur’an says about them.

What one of them stated was rejected by many of the Salaf as we will show. These reports are taken from the books of the Jews and from their fabrications. What Allah told us about at the beginning of the passage concerned their forging lies like that against Sulayman and their declaring him to be an unbeliever. That story contains an immense atrocity. We will deal with that by removing the cover from these ambiguities, Allah willing.

Scholars disagree about whether Harut and Marut were angels or men and whether they are meant as “two angels.” Is the recitation truly “two ANGELS (malakayn)”2 or is it “two KINGS (malikayn)”?3

Are Allah’s words “What was sent down” or are they “It was NOT sent down (ma unzila)”? Is “They do not teach anyone”4 negative or affirmative?

Most of the commentators believe that Allah tested people by the two angels who instructed them in magic, making it clear that the use5 of magic amounts to disbelief. Whoever learns it disbelieves and whoever leaves it believes.6

Allah quotes them as saying, “We are merely a trial and temptation, so do not disbelieve.” (2:102) They taught magic to people with a warning, i.e. they told those who came to learn it, “Do not do it. It parts a man and his wife. Do not suppose that it is good. It is magic, so do not disbelieve.”

According to this interpretation, what the two angels did was an act of obedience and they acted as Allah had commanded them. It was not rebellion. It was a trial for others.

Ibn Wahb has related that Khalid ibn Abi ‘Imran mentioned Harut and Marut as teaching magic. Ibn Wahb added, “We absolve them of this.” One of the scholars recited the verse as meaning, “It was NOT sent down on the two angels.” (2:102) Khalid took this position and he possessed both esteem and knowledge. He absolved them even from teaching the magic which other scholars said that they had permission to teach provided that they made it clear that it was disbelief and a test and trial from Allah. How is it possible to do anything other than absolve them from all major wrong actions, acts of rebellion and the disbelief mentioned in these traditions? Khalid, as well as Ibn ‘Abbas, said that the verse is a negative statement.

Makki said that the implication of the words, “Sulayman did not disbelieve,” means that he did not disbelieve by believing the magic which the shaytans fabricated against him and which the Jews followed and he said that the two angels were Jibril and Mika’il.

The Jews allege that the two angels did that, just as they also claim that Sulayman used magic. Allah calls them liars: “But the shaytans disbelieved and taught people magic, and what had been sent down on the two angels/kings at Bablyon, Harut and Marut.” (2:102) It is said that they were two men who disbelieved. As-Sakan said that Harut and Marut were two infidels from the people of Babel. He must have recited “What was sent down on the two kings” by this interpretation. ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Abza said that the two kings were Da’ud and Sulayman. As-Samarqandi said that they were two kings from the tribe of Isra‘il whom Allah transformed. The recitation as “malikayn (two kings)”, however, is rare.

The interpretation of the ayat according to the evaluation of Abu Muhammad Makki is good. It absolves the angels and removes impurity from them and considers them absolutely pure. Allah described them as being purified and “Noble, virtuous.” (80:16) “They do not disobey Allah in what He orders them and carry out what they are ordered to do.” (66:6)

Another thing that is brought up by people is the story of Iblis being a leader of the angels and one of the guardians of the Garden, however, Allah made him an exception among the angels when He said, “They prostrated except for Iblis.” (2:24)

This is also a subject of disagreement. Most deny that he was an angel and say that he was Abu’l-Jinn (father of the jinn) as Adam was Abu’l-Ins (the father of men). That is what al-Hasan, Qatada and Ibn Zayd said. Shihr ibn Hawshab said that he was one of the jinn whom the angels threw to earth when the jinn became corrupt. Making an exception outside the general category being referred to is common and allowed in the Arabic language.

Allah says, They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture.” (4:157) Another thing related in the traditions7 is that some of the angels rebelled against Allah and were burned. They were commanded to prostrate to Adam and refused, so they were burned. Sound traditions refute this, so it is not to be given any consideration. Allah knows best.

1. See Qur’an 2:102.

2. As is found in the Seven Readings of the Qur’an.

3. As found in a rare reading from al-Hasan al-Basri and others.

4. This could also be taken to be “What they teach to anyone.”

5. One text has “the knowledge”.

6. This is the position of Malik and Ibn Hanbal. Ash-Shafi‘i considers it to be a major wrong action.

7. Ibn Jarir from Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Abi Hatim from Yahya ibn Kathir.

Note the mass confusion surrounding the correct reading and interpretation of Q. 2:102.

Are Harut and Marut two righteous angels or two disbelieving kings?

Did they come down with the knowledge of magic which they would use to tempt mankind?

Or were they not sent down with magic at all, but were falsely accused of such?

And do all the angels have the power to disobey and rebel? Or are they incapable of disobeying Allah? Or is this true for only some of the angels, particularly those who are nearest to Allah and those chosen to be messengers sent down to mankind?

So much for the Quran being a perfectly coherent and miraculously structured revelation.

FURTHER READING

A QURANIC VARIANT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE

A QURANIC VARIANT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE PT. 2

A QURANIC VARIANT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE PT. 3

 Qur’an contradiction: Can Angels Disobey? [1][2][3]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s