[What follows are comments upon the text of Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi's book An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qura'aan (al-Hadaayah Publishing, 1999, ISBN - 1 898649 32 4)]

Is The Bismillah Part Of The Qur'an?

Who has not heard the followers of Islam asserting that ALL of the Arabic text that is asserted to have come through Caliph 'Uthman is 'the Qur'an Muhammad gave us', and that no-one has EVER differed on this matter?

In open discussion one hears nothing but assailing of the Bible because the followers of Islam do not consider it as being something 'absolute'like they say the Qur'an is, the latter being a text in which, we are assured, nothing but the 'revealed' Qur'an has EVER been inserted there.

Thus the present writer was astounded to find in a recent (1999) book published by Al-Hadayyah in Birmingham, UK, a four page section acknowledging that the four Sunni 'founding' Imams were in fact divided (2 and 2) over whether the bismillah is part of the 'revealed' Qur'an!

What is more astounding is that these early scholars based their decision NOT UPON THE TEXT OF THE QUR'AN as it is, but they exercised their freedom to make such an opinion ('ijtihad) based merely on the conflicting content of the Ahadith!

If it were anyone other than these 4 'founding fathers', men who are attributed with 'founding' the Madhabs (Malik, Abu Hanifah, Shafi'i and Ahmad), one could throw this aside and simply say they were errant scholars who didn't know what they were talking about. But being such emminent men in the Sunni camp (and they are not alone!) one must look carefully at the consequences of their evaluations.

We will do this by introducing the astounding content of the aforementioned book in which the writer states:

"There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars of the Qur'an over whether this phrase is to be considered as a verse at the beginning of each soorah, in particular Soorah al-Faatihah,or whether this is merely a phrase said forblessings between the soorahs, and is meant to identify where one soorah ends amd the next begins." (p. 157; bold and enlargement added) "Merely a phrase said for blessing"?!?!

What has Islam been hiding?!?!

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After listing 5 variations in opinions concerning this topic of the bismillah and its relation to the content of the Qur'an, the writer states:

"It can be seen that the above opinions can be divided into two main categories: those who claim the basmalah at the beginning of the soorahs is a verse of the Qur'aan, and those who claim that it is not." (p. 157) His specific evidence is cited as:  "The scholars who claim that the basmalah at the beginning of the soorahs is a verse of the Qur'an, such as Imam ash-Shasfi'ee (d. 204 A.H.), Imam Ahmad (d. 241 A.H.), and others, use as evidence the fact that the mus-hafs that 'Uthman ordered to be written all contained the basmalah at the beginning of the soorahs (except for the ninth soorah, Soorah at-TawbaH). This, according to them, automatically implies that the basmalah at the beginning of the soorahs is a verse in the Qur'aan, since the Companions only wrote in the 'Uthmanic mus-haf what was agreed to be the Qur'an, and did nto write anyhting besides it. In addition they also deduce as evidence those narrations in which the Prophet (pubh) recited the basmalah at the beginning of certain soorahs, such as the narration in which the Prophet (pbuh) smiled with pleasure, and said, "Last night, a soorah was revealed to me: [Arabic omitted] <<Bismillaah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem. Verily We have given you the [Foundation] of Kawthar">> [108:1-3] In this narration, the Prophet (pbuh) started the soorah with the basmalah, and it can be inferred that it was revealed with the soorah." (p. 157f; bold and enlargement added) But what about those Imams (and other scholars) who oppose this view?

He immediately continues concerning the opinions of these as:

"However, those that do not hold that the basmalah at the beginning of the soorahs to be a part of the Qur'an, such as Imaam Malik (d. 179 A.H.), Aboo Haneefah (d. 150 A.H.) and others, use the fact that the purpose of the basmalah is to signify where a new soorah starts, as the following narration of Ibn 'Abbas indicates. Ibn 'Abbaas said, "The Prophet (pbuh) did not know where a soorah ended until the basmalah was revealed to him." Another narration that this group uses is the hadeeth in which the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Allaah has said, 'I have divided the prayer between Me and My servant, so when he says, [Arabic omitted] <<All Praise is due to Allaah>> [1:1] I respond, "My servant has Praised Me."'" . An even more explicit narration is the one reported by Aboo Hurayrah, who said that the Prophet (pbuh) said, [Arabic omitted] <<All Praise is due to Allaah>> [1:1] is the 'Mother of the Qur'aan' and the 'Mother of the Book' and the 'Seven oft-repeated verses.'" In this narration, the Prophet (pbuh) started Soorah al-Fatihah without reciting the basmalah, showing, according to these scholars, that it is not a verse of the Qur'aan." (p. 158; bold and enlargement added) Back to HOMEPAGE

The Qira'at Differ Over Bismillah!

His next statement is not, then, surprising:

"Based on this classic difference of opinion, the qira'aat themselves differed over whether the basmalah was a verse in Soorah al-Fatihah and the othre soorahs. Among the Qaarees, Ibn Khatheer, 'Aasim and al-Kisaa'ee were the only ones who considered it to be a verse at the beginning of each soorah, whereas the others did not." (p. 158; bold added) What kind of hoax has been perpetrated upon the world so that we have been told one thing and now find another?

Should not these 'verses' be in footnotes stating something like:

"In order to present a truthful perspective of the preservation of the Qur'an in the qira'aat of 'soandso' which we are printing in this text, we have removed the 113 basmalahs at the beginning of the surahs and placed them in footnotes.   This is because it is necessary to acknowledge that although the 'Uthmanic mushafs contain basmalah at the beginning of every surah, neither the 4 Imams (and many other scholars), nor the transmitters of the 7 qira'aat were in agreement as to whether these 113 statements were actually part of the revelation (i.e. ayas) or were only intended to show where one surah ended and another began.   In the case of future printings of the qira'aat, then, it has been decided to leave them out of those texts which contain the qira'a which do not contain them. In this way the masses of the world will receive a true picture of what we actually ARE/ ARE NOT in agreement over as being part of the true revealed Qur'an."  Surely this would be the ethical thing to do!!!

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Observations On These Matters:

1/ First, we marvel to find that it means that up to at least the early 3rd century A.H., such men were able to decide whether something was or was not a part of the Qur'an merely by finding a suitable Hadith and arguing his point of view!

Nor did it matter that another scholar was able to find a completely conflicting Hadith and decide the exact opposite - concerning a portion of what we are asssured is the 'Uthmanic text.

Nor did it matter that the 'Uthmanic text was the 'preserved', unalterable text!

2/ Second, from this we can see that while Islam laughs at the Bible because of some scholars have decided to footnote a few verses of the text because certain early scholars were against them, and so left them out of certain MSS, in fact it is itself unable to decide on the 'original' content of the Qur'an by looking at its MSS.

The disagreement over whether, from the beginning, the bismillah was merely a divider between the surahs OR a 'revealed verse' means that it is accepted that from 'Uthman's time the Qur'an was corrupt by the addition of 113 false verses (ayas)!

It Doesn't Matter?!

AND can we believe the joke that is written toward the end of this section by Yasir Qadhi? The author writes:

"The issue of whether the basmalah is a verse at the beginning of the soorahs or not is not of significant importance, since the difference of opinion is not over whether the basmalah is an actual verse (the scholars are agreed that it is a part of the verse in 27:30), but rather, where it is a verse; is it a verse only in verse 27:30, or at the beginning of all the soorahs, or only of Soorah al-Fatihah?" (p. 158f; bold and enlargement added) ARE WE TO BELIEVE THIS IS A 'SMALL' MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO THE QUR'AN?!?!


BUT, when it comes to the Qur'an we read:

"Therefore, the issue of whether the basmalah forms a part of the soorah as a verse or not is the only area in which difference of opinion is permitted. As such, it occupies a unique status in that a person who denies the basmalah as a verse of the soorah is not to be considered a disbeliever. Contrary to this, to deny any other verse of the Qur'aan is considered to be disbelief. Az-Zarkashi writes: "There is no difference of opinion among the Miuslims that aperson who denies the basmalah as a verse in the Qur'aan (at the beginning of the soorhas) is not to be considered a disbeliever."" (p. 160; bold and enlargement added) Can a Qur'an (and religion) which requires that so many lies be hidden in order to defend itself be the revelation of the True God?


In Jesus' Love
Brother Mark
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