Summary of the Argument

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Summary of the Argument

The oldest authentic document of modern Islam is the Othmanic Quran, dating from the middle of the 7th century AD. A close examination of the Othmanic Quran leads to the following conclusions: a) the original, to whatever degree preserved in the current edition, was dictated to Muhammad by another party, who claimed to be a human prophet, speaking in the name of God (Allah) and the angels (“We” in the text of the Quran means “Allah and the angels”), rather than being written by Muhammad himself, as the common Muslim tradition represents it; and b) the original was written in the area known in the 7th century AD to have been frequented by Abraham in his sojourning on the western side of the Euphrates, viz. in the modern Levant and/or Sinai/Egypt (not in Saudi Arabia which was not at that period associated with Abraham).

These conclusions are not in accord with the standard Muslim Hadith traditions, which date, for the most part, from around 200 years after Muhammad. However, they are in accord with the earliest alternative tradition preserved by the Christian scholar Al Kindi (dating equally from 200 years after Muhammad), who was prominent in Muslim court circles in Baghdad in the early 9th century. They also accord with the testimony of an Armenian chronicle which preserves a brief, but early and authentic, non-hagiographical, account of Muhammad’s rise to power, and was written within a generation of Muhammad himself, based on the testimony of eye-witnesses.

As regards conclusion (a): Al Kindi states that Muhammad himself was a Nestorian Christian, and that the Quran (Arabic = “Recitation”) was originally a “recitation” of the major beliefs of Nestorian Christianity, given to the illiterate Muhammad by the Nestorian ascetic and prophet Sergius (known as Bahira, “the Elect One”) at the turn of the 7th century AD. According to Al Kindi, the original “Recitation”, as written down by Muhammad’s literate relative Ali Abu Taleb, was worked over by several different “editors” in the first generation of Muhammad’s circle, who altered, amongst other things, its professedly Christian character. One of these edited versions, or, rather, a mixture of different edited versions, was imposed by force on the Muslim world a little while later, in the middle of the 7th century, by Muhammad’s “successor” Othman. As regards conclusion (b): Al Kindi and Muslim tradition generally, as well as, in more detail, Syriac Christian tradition, locate the prophet Sergius in the vicinity of Arabia Petraea and Sinai. Similarly, the Armenian chronicle records that some Jews were expelled from Edessa and sought refuge with Muhammad amongst the Saracens in the Sinai desert. They requested his help, and Muhammad led a military expedition on their behalf from Sinai into Palestine, intending to restore the Jews to their native land. He fought a battle near Jericho which he won, but died shortly thereafter.

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