University of Cambridge

"Proof that Islam is the truth'' [10] : Historical Facts

Assalamaleykum Arahmatullahi va Barakatu. Welcome back to the proof that Islam is the Truth. And here over these series we’ve been trying to show you the evidences through which & by which a rational intelligent human being could know that Islam truly is the revelation from Allah the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth for the benefit & for the mercy of all of humanity. And today we are going to be talking about some of the amazing historical facts that we can find in the Quran. Let’s remind ourselves of course that the Quran is a book 1400 years old. Muslims believe it was revealed by God, the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth, Allah. It’s the Arabic name for God. The one God, the Creator, the All-knowing, the All-wise.

So it’s not surprising to us as Muslims that the Quran should be accurate & should be consistent because it is revealed by the one who is the most All-knowing, who is the All-knowing & who is the wise. So of course it’s natural, it’s normal for us, we would expect it to be accurate & be consistent. But of course for people today, & many people are claiming they don’t believe that there is a God or they don’t believe that God sends us guidance & revelation. It remains a challenge to you & it remains a sign, a great sign, a proof, an evidence that every Muslim through it & by gets more certainty & gets more sure that the Quran is indeed what it claims to be – the revelation from the Mighty, the Wise. And so let’s talk about some of those historical facts in the Quran.

Now first of all there is a story in the Quran about a great Prophet of God called Noah. And this Prophet of course is also mentioned in the Bible. I’m sure you all know the story of Noah, how God sent Noah to his people, And the people of Noah refused to believe in him & because of that God sent upon them a flood. Now before that flood God told Noah to build an ark. Now there are a few things about the story of Noah in the Quran. One of the things that is worth mentioning is in the 11th sura, or 11th chapter of the Quran in the 44th ayat. The Quran mentions that the ark, that’s the boat that Noah built, came to rest upon mount Judi, “istawa Judi”, istawa came to rest upon the mountain of Judi.

Now the Quran is mentioning a specific name of the mountain where the ark of Noah came to rest. And it’s very interesting that recent archaeological research around the area of mount Judi, in fact there is a mount Judi in Turkey in present day Turkey. And on this mouth Judi there is a boat-shaped object with exactly the same dimensions as the ark of Noah. Now the Bible claims that the Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat which is in fact 20 miles away from mount of Judi. And there are a few problems with the Biblical description. The first problem is that the mountains of Ararat, or the Mount Ararat itself is a relatively recent geological formation. When we look at the time scale when the ark of Noah was supposed to be around, the Mount Ararat did not actually exist at that time. It is very recent geological formation. So that’s one problem. And also the dates & the times of it in the Bible flood & also the claim that the flood was a universal cataclysm. They don’t fit the present day archaeological & scientific findings.

First of all in scientific terms the idea that it could rain for 40 days & 40 nights constantly upon the Earth’s surface is scientifically not viable. Of course anyone could explain that by saying “it was a miracle of God”, “it was an exception”. Of course we can not argue that God has the ability & the power to do that. But what we are saying is that in scientific terms for it to rain for 40 days & 40 nights is not possible. As anybody who knows how the water cycle works, the Sun heats up the Earth surface, heats up the sea, & the vapour from the sea is what is transformed into clouds & the clouds are then transformed into rain. Now of course if it is cloudy all over the Earth surface because of the rain then how can the Sun heat up the sea in order to produce more rain? All I’m pointing out here is that scientifically it’s not viable. Also there is simply not enough water on this planet in order to raise sea level so high that as according to the Bible every single mountain peak was covered.

Since Everest is the highest mountain peak today & it still was then, the amount of water that would be needed in order to raise the sea level above the level of Mount Everest is more than there is water on this planet in order to do that. Again we are not denying that God could do that if he wants to, all we are saying is that in scientific terms it’s very difficult to verify such claim that the Bible makes. However the Quran does not claim that the flood of Noah was a universal or world-wide cataclysm. In fact the Quran merely refers to the punishment that is bestowed upon Noah & his people, as being something that is specific to Noah & his people. And so although we don’t have any geological evidence for a universal cataclysm we do of course have plenty of geological evidence for local cataclysmic floods. So this is very interesting that the Quran first of all accurately points out that the ark came to rest on mount Judi & it seems that there is a very-very high probability that the boat-shaped object & surveys have been done there is the remnants of the massive boat. And where is it found? On mount Judi as Quran says. As for looking for the ark on Mount Ararat people have searched in vain for years & years & found nothing.

The Bible describes a cataclysmic universal world-wide event whereas the Quran describes it as a local event. Again what we find here is that the Quran is in agreement with archaeological & scientific data. It’s perfectly settable & it’s viable & verifiable according to that. Let’s go to Egypt & look for some more amazing historical facts. The Quran mentions the story of Joseph & Noah & the Beni Israel, the children of Israel. Of course Muslims believe that Joseph or Yusuf as he is mentioned in the Quran was a prophet of God. Muslims also believe that Musa or Moses, may God’s peace & blessings be upon both of them, was also a prophet of God. And their stories are mentioned in the Quran by way of a reminder, by way of a teaching to us. And that is of course the main purpose of the Quran, is to be a moral guideline, is to show us how we should live & how we should behave in our lives.

But yet when the Quran is talking about historical data what we find again & again that it proves to be accurate. And there are some accuracies telling little accuracies that actually if one thinks about it are truly remarkable. And it stands as a challenge to the human intellect. How does this information come to be so remarkably accurate in the Quran? From where was the Prophet Muhammad gathering this information? A man who was himself illiterate, who could not read, who could not write. He didn’t go to university. They didn’t have Egyptology as a field of study at that time. The knowledge of hieroglyphs was lost hundreds & hundreds of years before the time of the Prophet Muhammad. So how come? When the Quran mentions about Joseph. Joseph refers to the leader of the Egyptian people at the time as king. The term “pharaoh” or “Farraun” is not mentioned in relation to Joseph & the ruler of Egypt.  It is mentioned in relation to Moses. And the ruler of Egypt & Moses calls the ruler of Egypt Farraun. But Joseph does not call the ruler with whom he is interacting & who he acts as an advisor & a guide. He doesn’t call him Farraun. He calls him king.

We were mentioning here how Joseph, or Prophet Yusuf, as he is mentioned in the Quran, Alleykim salam, may God’s Peace & blessings be upon him, he talks to the ruler of Egypt & uses the term “king” he never uses the term “pharaoh”. Now if we examine the date timeline of when Joseph, or Prophet Yusuf was in Egypt we find that the dynasty ruling Egypt at the time was in fact the dynasty called the “hicos”. Now the hicos dynasty was actually a Semitic dynasty & they did not use the normal native Egyptian terms. In other words they did not think of themselves or refer to themselves as “pharaohs”. However the hicos dynasty by the time of Moses was replaced also. By the time it came to the time of Moses the Semite hicos dynasty was removed & was replaced by a native Egyptian ruler. And the native Egyptians called their rulers “pharaoh” or “pharraun” as it’s mentioned in the Quran.

Now this is a very-very telling but amazing detail accuracy. It’s amazing because you will not find that Bible is making such a distinction. Now in terms of a historical document or sort of diary of events of, you know your ancestors who lived thousands of years ago, well, writing down what they did, of course it, it might be perfectly acceptable in those type of terms to become confused between king & pharaoh for example. However for it to be the word of God we should expect it to be accurate & that’s exactly what we find. And it also by the way belies any claim that the Quran was copied from the Bible. If the Quran was copied from the Bible & if the Prophet Muhammad may God’s peace & blessings be upon him, took his information from the Bible, how come he didn’t copy that mistake? How come Joseph does not refer to the ruler of Egypt as pharaoh? And how come he refers to him as king? Historically accurate but not according to the Bible.

So this shows us two things. Number one, it begs the question again: How did the prophet Muhammad get this information so accurate? Number two: There is no way he could have copied it from the Bible, because he would have copied the mistakes of the Bible. And lets move on now to the time of Moses for another amazing historical accuracy. In the confrontation between the great prophet of God – Moses, & pharaoh. When Moses comes to pharaoh & he shows him the miracles & the signs that God has given him: the staff which when Moses throws it, it turns into a snake & he draws his hand out & it comes shining white. In the dialogue & the discussion & the debate we could say between Moses & pharaoh one of the things that pharaoh says very arrogantly is: “Oh, Hamad, build me a lofty tower that I may look upon this God of Moses. Now lets examine, this is very interesting. Pharaoh is saying: “Oh, Haman”, he is talking to somebody, to a particular individual Haman. And he says to this Haman that I want you to build me a lofty building. And the reason is so he claims I can look upon this God of Moses. See, he understood that God was the most high, God was above the heavens & in his arrogance he thought, & how arrogant that is in respect of modern knowledge that we have that he could build a tower & look upon the God of Moses.

Now some Christians & some Christian orientalists had pointed out that the word Haman or the term “Haman” is a name that is given to a Persian ruler or a Persian courtier in the Bible some 1200 years after the time of Moses. So they said that: Look, Muhammad could even copy the Bible properly. He took some name from some native time in the Bible & then plonked it in the time of Moses. Well, I mean there is a problem with that first of all. And one of the big problems is there was no Bible in Arabic in the time of the Prophet Muhammad may God’s peace & blessings be upon him. And the Prophet Muhammad may Allah’s peace & blessings be upon him also was illiterate, he couldn’t read & write. From where was he receiving this knowledge? Who was the Rabbi or the Priest that was feeding him all of this information? It’s very hard to explain such a thing in rational terms & certainly from all the accounts that we have of the life of the Prophet & all the information that we have with us we don’t find any such individual who could have been supplying such detailed information. And then this individual, how come he managed to get this information wrong? Again these are not really viable hypothesis. However it is only recently that we have been able to discover a truly amazing fact.

When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt he sent out various scholars in order to do research & one of them came across a truly remarkable thing. It is called the Rosetta stone. The Rosetta stone allowed for the first time in thousands of years hieroglyphs to be deciphered. And the reason is, it’s because the Rosetta stone had a particular inscription, a quite lengthy inscription in hieroglyphs in more modern form of hieroglyphs & then in Greek. So by comparing the inscriptions they were able to begin to translate & decipher the hieroglyphs. Now scholars have been working of course on translating the hieroglyphs & I myself remember personally when a group of students in Cambridge University who were trying to go through some of the plains of the orientalist that the Quran had been copied from the Bible & their intention of course was to refute that. And so they went to one of these dictionary of hieroglyphical terms in order to try & find out if there was such a person as Haman in ancient Egypt. Now although there was a lack of information in English they did find a book in German. And looking through this book they came across a truly remarkable discovery. Surely enough there was indeed a particular title of a person. And this title was exactly that “Haman”.

Now when we look at who was Haman, what was this title, what did this Haman do, in other words it was a position, it wasn’t the name of the particular individual necessarily, it was the name of a position in Egyptian society. Now what was this position? Haman is the master of the quarry of those people who build the stone. Now isn’t that truly remarkable that pharaoh is saying: Oh, Master of the Quarry, oh master of the people who build the stone, build for me a lofty tower that I may look upon this God of pharaoh. You will not find this anywhere in the Bible, you will only find this in the Quran. The knowledge of reading hieroglyphs as I have mentioned was lost hundreds of years before the time of Prophet Muhammad may God’s peace & blessings be upon him, yet in the Quran pharaoh is using an exactly accurate historical term. The question you have to answer is from did the Prophet Muhammad may God’s peace & blessings be upon him, get this information? From where did he get such amazing knowledge? I think, you know by now the penny must be starting to drop, surely the clogs must be starting to line up in place, surely the realisation must be dawning upon you, if it has not already, that indeed the Quran is the revelation from Allah, the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth for the benefit & the mercy of all of mankind.

Now the next subject that we want to deal with is a truly fascinating subject, & it will take a couple of episodes for us to go through it. And that is called the witnessing of the people of the book, that’s what I’ve called it. And it’s also dealing with the prophesies of the Prophet Muhammad may Allah’s peace & blessings be upon him, in the Bible. Now, who are the people of the book? The people of the book according to the Quran, as they are called, it is as they are called “ahlel kitab”, it means essentially the Jews & the Christians, first & foremost it means the Jews & the Christians, they are “ahlel kitab”. Why? Because they have a scripture. The Jews have the Torah, the Christians have the Injil or combined together it’s what we know as the Bible. Now there are other scriptures of course.

For example the Jews do have other scriptures called the Talmud. And for the Jews that is a very important collection of documents. And ancient Christians before the time of the council of Nicea which is, was held about 345 years after the time of Jesus when the Gospels we know today as Mathew, Mark, Luke & John were canonised & formalised as being part of the Bible. In fact it’s important to understand what does the Quran teach about the Bible. The Quran teaches us that the Jews & Christians have scripture with them & they have enough scripture with them in order for them to be able to know the truth. However the scriptures they have been altered & corrupted. Either things have been added, or things have been deleted, or things have been adjusted in one way or another.

So this is what the Quran says for example in the second chapter of the Quran. The Quran tells us: “Woe to those who write the book with their own hands, & they say this is from Allah & it is not from Allah & they know that well.” So the Quran says that there are people who are saying: “Our book is from God.” “Our Bible is from God”, but it is a book that they have changed. And they have changed it with their hands & by the way they are doing that until this day. And they claim it is from God & they know perfectly well that it is not from God. So woe to them for what their hands write & woe to them for the small gain that they get thereby. However that doesn’t mean that we can’t find information in the Bible, it doesn’t mean that we can’t clean some information out there.

We believe as Muslims that there is enough Truth left in those scriptures through which & by which a sincere & honest Christian or a sincere & honest Jew could come to know the Truth of monotheism, that indeed there is only one God. And this is what we believe was the message of Jesus. We do not believe that Jesus called people to worship himself. No. He called people to worship the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth, just like Moses called people to worship the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth alone & to submit themselves to his divinely revealed guidance. This is what we call Islam – sincere submission to the will of the Creator of the Heavens & the Earth. So we are going to be talking about some of those people in the past, from the people of the book, Jew & Christians, who themselves have recognised the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad & testified to that. So join us in the next exciting episode of the proof that Islam is the Truth. Until then, Assalamaleykum Arahmatullahi va Barakatu. May the peace & blessings of God & his guidance be with all of you.

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