Thanks for the polite comments, I usually don’t get them here. Also, apologies for the late and the extremely lengthy reply.
- “I have watched several debates on YouTube of people who really do know their stuff on this. Muslim apologist vs a critic. I’m always left with the impression that the critic makes a better case.”
When it is a Muslim Apologist Vs. a Christian Apologist debate then usually the Christian guy is on the defensive because here, Muslims debate using the Bible itself. The biggest problem for Muslim debaters with critics arises when they start using unreliable sources. Christians use this as evidence to show that Islam actually, literally came from Satan and how it is the beast predicted in their bible etc. Other critics use these to put forward an alternate narrative or conclusion to the one Muslim historians have drawn for centuries or even a millennia.
But the problem with non-Muslim conclusions is usually that theirs’ is not the one supported by the most evidence. As with all things in history there is pretty much always enough ambiguity to make historians provide various alternatives/explanations. The one which majority of scholars follow is the one supported by the most evidence. It is like the Occam’s Razor principle: “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” Now, it can’t be denied that some sort of evidence can be found to support the alternate views but usually, if not always, these are from unreliable sources, the arguments commit straw man fallacies and most importantly they have huge amounts of alternate evidence directly contradicting their conclusions.
For example, in the historical texts mentioning Muḥammad article I linked above, the following accounts are used to show how Muslim conquests were barbaric, violent etc. (in other words pretty much the same to any other during that time). This was preserved in a codex containing the Gospel accord to Matthew and the Gospel according to Mark:
“… and in January, they took the word for their lives (did) [the sons of] Emesa [i.e., Ḥimṣ)], and many villages were ruined with killing by [the Arabs of] Muḥammad and a great number of people were killed…”
But on the other hand, In his book ‘A New Introduction to Islam’ (under the subtitle ‘The Invisible Conquests’), Dr. Daniel W. Brown says:
“Archaeological data tell a somewhat different tale. If we look for evidence of the burning, looting, or destruction described by Bishop Sophronius in 635, we find none. No systematic sacking of cities took place, and no destruction of agricultural land occurred. The conquests brought little immediate change to religious and communal life. There were no mass or forced conversions. Christian, Jewish, or Zoroastrian communities in Syria and Iraq may have felt threatened, but they continued to thrive. New synagogues, churches, and monasteries were still being built into the eight century, and churches or synagogues were not converted to mosques on any noticeable scale. The first urban mosques were not built until after 690, and the urban landscape of the Near East remained largely unaffected by the conquests (Pentz 1992). There was certainly change, but in the same directions and at the same pace as before the conquests (Morony 1984: 507-26). Two key measures offer telling evidence that the conquests brought little immediate disruption to the patterns of religious and social life in Syria and Iraq: production of wine (forbidden in Islamic Law) continued unchanged, and pigs (considered unclean by Muslims) continued to be raised and slaughtered in increasing numbers (Pentz 1992).
“Neither do we find evidence of dramatic change in the law or political institutions of conquered territories in the years immediately following the conquests. What did change was the ruling class. The new rulers spoke Arabic, represented a different ethnicity, and kept aloof from their conquered subjects. But for all the differences change came slowly even at the highest levels of political affairs. The new rulers continued to use Greek and Persian in administrative documents. They continued to mint Byzantine-style coins complete with the image of the emperor holding a cross, and Sassanian-style coins bearing Zoroastrian symbols and Sassanian dates (Morony 1985: 38-51). They were dependent on the old Persian and Greek bureaucrats and institutions. Major reform of the language of administration or of coinage did not take place until 695 — sixty years into Arab rule. Earlier attempts at reform reportedly failed in the face of stiff popular resistance. The Arab rulers also continued the same patterns of taxation. The conquests replaced the top rung of the Byzantine and Sassanian ruling class with Arabs, but they did not immediately or violently alter the administrative, religious, economic, or cultural landscape of the Near East.”
Now, I’m not defending Muslim conquests here, personally I believe some form of looting, small or large, although it being against Islamic law probably did happen. This is just to show how a particular group of people because of their confirmation bias wouldn’t find it difficult to come up with ‘evidence’ supporting their narrative whatever that might be.
Here, a little introduction to how Islamic history got recorded is pertinent. Narrations regarding the prophet’s life were first mostly in the memory of the people, some were written down but most weren’t. After the prophet’s death some particular people started gathering all these narrations and writing them down. In the earliest generations the main objective was to write down anything attributed to the prophet. As long as there was even the slightest bit of certainty that a narration could be true it was written down. This resulted in the inclusion of a lot of unreliable narrations in the most important Muslim books (Al-Tabari’s book and Ibn-Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad).
Later, the next generations’ objective was to sort out the facts from the fabrications. Similar to what the historians nowadays do regarding old stories. The Muslims created a whole new discipline called the Science of Hadith for this purpose. They meticulously wrote down pretty much everything. This resulted in the most authentic books of Hadiths (Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari etc.). For example, in earlier books, Muhammad’s victory over Mecca is associated with 10-15 people given the death penalty but in Sahih Bukhari this is revised to just one. Note that they are not absolutely authentic either, they can also sometimes contain mistakes. This authentication process was for the most part completed by the end of second century of Islam.
Unfortunately during these two centuries literally tens of thousands of narrations (reliable or unreliable) got accumulated. This huge quantity of narrations plus the thousands of pages of text Muslim scholars in those times wrote explaining or defending them, amounts to a gigantic mass of literature.
The somewhat unreliable books of Ibn-Ishaq and Al-Tabari are usually the main sources of evidence used by anti-Islamists and Muslim extremists alike. Using this early ‘Islamic’ literature, pretty much anything can be justified (the main reason why ISIS calls itself Islamic). Here, a group’s confirmation bias works very effectively. People looking for justification for their beliefs, will likely be able to find it but they almost always will have to cherry-pick the literature and ignore all the prose (which usually is in large quantities) that goes against their ideas. The reason thousands of Muslim scholars are able to condemn ISIS as being non-Islamic.
Now, when it comes to debates, the worst thing about them are their time constraints. As I once wrote in one of my previous discourses: “… the fact is proper refutations do take a lot of reasoning supported by several pieces of evidence … For example, if someone makes the claim that ‘Quantum Physics is absolutely useless’, the claim took only 5 words but a proper answer including only just the potential benefits of this field could take several pages.”
As you have seen from my previous replies, the arguments against Islam takes about one or two sentences and even their ‘short’ replies takes much more space.
For example, there is a small, just 44 words, narration attributed to the Prophet which is used as evidence for scientific contradictions in Islamic scripture. So basically, because of the way Islamic doctrine is established, just these 44 words can be used to disprove Islam in its entirety; and some people actually have left Islam because of narrations like these. But one of the adequate refutations that I came across is 1400+ words. Additionally, for those who don’t have background knowledge about Islam, which is most people (Muslim or non-Muslim), the refutation will have to be even lengthier. In a debate setting, this is extremely difficult for the Muslim debater. The only thing he can say is that the narration is unreliable, which leads to the criticism that anything Muslims can’t defend they use this cop-out.
The refutation is here: http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2012/09/weak-hadith-sun-spring-warm-water.html
On a personal note, when it comes to debates like these, I also am not completely satisfied but because these arguments are usually years old, I am able to find some satisfactory, lengthy Muslim responses on the internet.
- “The only specific reply I want to challenge here is your prophecy claim about Byzantium Egypt and how they would recover. Their last war with the Persians ended just years before Arabs rode out of Arabia. By that time the Byzantines had reclaimed Egypt. How does the Islamic claim make any sense? The Persians lost Egypt to the Byzantines well before the Arabs conquered it from the Byzantines. The time line as I understand it doesn’t seem to be able to add up to call that a prophecy.”
I apologise, I should’ve been clearer here. I originally intended to include a link to the whole story, but because that site was down and I had to look up the archived link, I forgot to insert the link.
The verses refer to the defeat of the Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire by the Persian Sassanid Empire in 614-615 CE. The prophecy predicts the Roman Empire’s major victory over the Persians within a period of the next three to nine years, which later actually happened. This has nothing to do with the Arabs. The Arabs came out of Arabia mainly after the Prophet’s death in 622 CE. Details and rebuttals to common criticisms of this prophecy are in the following source link.
- “You are well versed … The victors write history and the Califs had centuries to write the history they want you to believe.”
As I mentioned before, there is always going to be some degree of uncertainty about historical events. The scholars’ conclusions are the ones based on the most reliable evidence, in other words the Occam’s Razor. Because of this principle, I believe that the Muslim accounts, at-least for the most part, provide us with the most reliable and satisfactory narrative. Thinking like an objective person, I wouldn’t deny there is evidence to the contrary but, as far as I’ve read, it is hugely insufficient to compel a revisionist history. There are a huge quantity of assumptions that are needed to be made before the alternative narrative becomes a possibility.
We know beyond a reasonable doubt that the Arabs believed in some person named Muhammad at the time they started fighting the Byzantines.
We know that the previously largely decrepit, broken-down, nomadic tribes of Arabs worked as mercenaries for the Byzantines and Persians, never had an empire, no government structure and as a consequence, little law and order or protection of human rights; those very Arabs challenged the two greatest empires of the time. Not to mention at the same time too, Muslim armies have been recorded to have been fighting the Persians at the East and Byzantines from the West, simultaneously. Although, it is true that the two empires weren’t at full strength because of their infighting but one of the things that scholars agree upon is that their armies still had larger numbers, better equipment and not to mention more experience at fighting. There had to be something that produced such a revolutionary change among the Arabs in such a short time. The best explanation, in my opinion, is that they had found a new religion, whether it was a true religion or not they certainly believed it to be. All this happened within the first few years after Muhammad’s death. The Caliphs’ at this point certainly didn’t have the time or even the resources to spread mass indoctrination.
Another problem with the revisionist theories is that aside from their being huge contradictory evidence there is little supportive evidence. Because it took early Muslims about two centuries to distinguish fact from fiction about the Prophetic narrations, probably tens of thousands of individuals were directly involved in this literature. Not to mention, the hundreds of thousands non-Muslims living under Muslim rule who had nothing to gain by the Caliphs’ alleged rewriting of history. Similar to the accounts we have telling us how Christianity gradually became a state religion there should have been significant evidence for the case of Islam. Especially, when you consider the Persian Zoroastrians who mostly converted to Islam, they obviously had no idea about this ‘rewriting’; note that almost the entire Persian empire came under Muslim rule in just 25-30 years after the Prophet’s death. Additionally, there were significant Christian and Jewish populations in those Muslim lands. True or not we know that Christian accounts showing Muslims as marauding barbarians exist to this day, if the Caliphs’ had been so successful in rewriting history they should’ve been able to remove those accounts too.
Then there is the problem that Muslims have never had an organization equivalent to the Christian Church or an authority equivalent to the Pope. Muslims, because of the lack of a central religious authority, from the very beginning have had large difference of opinions with each other on religious issues. Just thirty years after the Prophet’s death, during the fourth Caliph’s times and when many of the people who had seen and heard Muhammad first hand, civil wars broke out because of the difference of opinions on God’s law. The rebellion group from this time was the ‘Khwarijites’ who can be termed as the precursors of today’s ISIS; they were completely wiped out.
But even in all that, there was, generally speaking, never a difference of opinion on any of the core Islamic values. As zealous or fundamentalist some Muslims were (and still are) there had never been any significant difference of opinion or fighting over the contents of the Qur’an. The Catholic Church in mediaeval times was known to have kept a tight grip on religious matters but Muslims had nothing remotely comparable to it. If a rewriting of religion had to happen it was going to be extremely haphazard and in no way would have produced a consensus such as the one which came into being, especially remembering how sensitive Muslims were on the issues of religion. The various Muslim sects (or ‘schools of thought’ as we like to call them) that exist today, practically speaking differ only on the Sharia’ i.e. their interpretation of God’s law and not on any of the core Islamic values.
In such a scenario, I believe that it would have taken the Caliphs’ nothing short of a, or rather many miracles to create an entirely new largely accepted doctrine.
- “I’ve seen the evidence of how islam is a cobbled together piece of religion from various other neighborhood religions of those around them.“
The main one in this context that I’ve seen is the moon God argument. That because the crescent comes in Islamic imagery, it is an indication that Muslims originally believed in a moon God. This is easily refuted.
“Though the crescent was originally a secular symbol of authority for Muslim rulers, it is now often used to symbolize the Islamic faith. However, the crescent was not a symbol used for Islam by Muhammad or any other early Muslim rulers, as the Islamic religion is, in fact, against appointing “holy symbols” (so that during the early centuries of Islam, Muslim authorities simply didn’t want any geometric symbols to be used to symbolize Islam, in the way that the cross symbolizes Christianity, the menorah was a commonly occurring symbol of Judaism, etc.). This is why early Islamic coins were covered with Arabic writing, but contained no visual symbols.”
Islam does have more than a few similarities with Judaeo-Christian literature. Muslims don’t deny that because they believe that it, although no longer in its original condition, still had divine inspiration as its original source. So naturally things are going to be similar. But other Islamic laws such as the forceful manumission of slaves if they were even slapped by their masters. Removing the concept that cooking, washing, cleaning and feeding jobs of wives are their responsibility and in-fact the husband was made liable to pay the wife if she performed those duties. Women becoming teachers which was in huge contrast to the Catholic Church doctrines. Al-Shifa’ bint Abdullah (a woman) was made the administrator of the market in Madina. There are many other contrasting examples like these.
- “Though I can’t give that argument from memory and don’t care to do the work to make that case here, it is compelling when I have seen it.”
This is the main problem with one-sided discourses. When a person listens to one side’s arguments he leaves with a complete belief in their point of view but when he listens to the other side he then gets convinced to the other position and is amazed how he could have believed otherwise. Debates are in this context a better source of information. It’s likely that when you listened to the Muslim debates, you weren’t as convinced to the Islamic critics position as you were when you only listened to those one-sided arguments.
The problem with arguments like these is that they often don’t fulfil the sufficiency criterion of a good argument. They already have a drawn up conclusion and use the historical sources that validates their conclusion while ignoring the rest.
The procedure they (now I’m talking about the anti-Islamic website authors and not Tom Holland who apparently seems more objective) follow is write a few lines of their desired narrative, give evidence by quoting some sources (reliable or unreliable) – if it is reliable than they will make a point to note that this is from the most authentic Muslim book of Hadith, otherwise they won’t write anything – sources which apparently validates their narrative. They will give more examples like these and draw the reader into a natural conclusion that fits their beliefs.
On a personal note, once I was reading one of the alleged “scientific mistakes in the Qur’an” articles. Most of the arguments were straw man fallacies but the last point alleged a mathematical mistake. And I still remember the words which went something like: [The mistake] which can never ever be reconciled. The particular phrasing of this sentence made me even more convinced. Now, because of Islamic doctrine the logical, rational thing for me was to believe that Islam has finally been disproved (such is the fragile nature of Islamic creed). After hours of research, if I remember correctly I spent the entire night on this, I found that the anti-Islamic website author was either being hugely ignorant about Islamic facts or purposefully malicious. The Muslim explanation was only a few sentences long, and if I hadn’t been lucky that day, in all likelihood, today I would have been at your side of the argument, criticising ‘brainwashed’ Muslims. That experience is the main reason I know as much as I do on this subject.
- “At the time of Mohammad, the quoran only existed in the minds of some who had memorized it. Some chose to scribble passages on bones and leaves and other things. After his death many of those who had memorized it died in battle. There were multiple efforts to compile it. The main one by a caliph.”
Zaid bin Thabit, one of the chief scribes relates: “I used to write down the revelation for the Holy Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When the revelation came to him he felt intense heat and drops of perspiration used to roll down his body like pearls. When this state was over I used to fetch a shoulder bone or a piece of something else. He used to go on dictating and I used to write it down. When I finished writing the sheer weight of transcription gave me the feeling that my leg would break and I would not be able to walk anymore. Anyhow when I finished writing, he would say, ‘Read!’ and I would read it back to him. If there was an omission or error he used to correct it and then let it be brought before the people.”
This is a categorical proof that Companions used to write Qur’an in the supervision of the Holy Prophet -may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- and got it checked from him before making it public.
There are some other traditions which indicate that Companions had written copies of complete or incomplete Quran. For example;
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: “Allah’s Messenger forbade the people to travel to a hostile country carrying (copies of) the Quran.”
Likewise, there is evidence for the manuscripts of the Qur’an in the instruction of the Holy Prophet –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- to Hakim bin Hizam when he sent him to Yemen as a governor. He said:
“Do not touch the Qur’an except when you are in the state of purity.”
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘The rewards of the good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge which he taught and spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death.’”
Source with References: http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2010/08/quran-compilation-prophet-lifetime.html
… a few days before his death, the Prophet (peace be upon him & his progeny) said:”…Come on, I will write for you a writing (because of which) you shall not go astray after me.” But ‘Umar said: ‘Surely, the Messenger of Allah is overcome by pain, and you have got the Qur’an; the Book of Allah is sufficient for us…”
Source: Sahih Muslim, vol. 3 (Beirut. 1st edition. 19O5/1375)p.1295
Apparently, ‘Book’ is supposed to mean the written complete Qur’an here.
There are other references I want to give, but I would suggest that you go through the Qur’an preservation articles I linked above.
- “When Uthman came along he hurried up the effort and burned all the other “competing” quorans.”
Agreement to make one standard Mushaf (Manuscript):
‘Uthman raised the issue with fellow companions and asked for their intake. Once asked about his own opinion he, as reported by ‘Ali said:
“I see that we bring people to a single Mushaf so that there is neither division nor discord”. And we said, “An excellent proposal.” (Ibn Abi Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif, Hadith 62. Classified as Sahih by Ibn Hajr in Fath al-Bari)
An independent manuscript was arranged:
As reported by Kathir bin Aflah, a twelve member committee was formed to oversee the task. (Kitab al-Masahif, Hadith 72. Classified as Sahih by Ibn Kathir)
This committee did not simply considered the Official Qur’anic Manuscripts prepared under Abu Bakr –Allah be pleased with him- infact they prepared an independent Manuscript repeating the same practice as carried out during the time of Abu Bakr –may Allah be pleased with him.
Mus’ab bin Sa’d reported: ‘Uthman delievered a sermon to the people and said: Your prophet died (just) fifteen years ago and you differ regarding Qur’an. Bring to me anything you have from the Qur’an that he heard from the Messenger of Allah –may Allah bless him. Then it started that a man would come to him with writing on pieces of board and shoulder-blades and parchments. So whoever came to him with something, he asked: “Did you hear this from the Messenger of Allah –may Allah bless him?” Then he asked, “Who is best in language among the people?” They said, “Sa’id bin al-‘As.” Then he asked, “Who is the best in writing among the people?” They said, “Zaid bin Thabit.” He said. “Then let Zaid write and Sa’id dictate.” And then he got the Musahif written and sent to various cities. And I did not see anyone objecting to it. (Kitabul Masahif, Hadith 67. Classified as Sahih by Dr. Muhibuddin Wa’iz)
Source with References: http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2011/06/quran-compilation-uthman.html
Furthermore, Assistant Professor Joseph E. B. Lumbard writes:
“In recent years, the field of Quranic Studies in the West has been undergoing a paradigm shift brought about by the discovery and scholarly analysis of the earliest Quranic manuscripts. The most recent scientific analysis of the earliest available Quranic manuscripts conducted by Behnam Sadeghi of Stanford University demonstrates that much of what we know to be the Quran today can be dated to the year 670 AD, or earlier. For the earliest extant manuscript to have undergone extensive analysis, radiocarbon dating gives “a 68% probability of belonging to the period between AD 614 to AD 656. It has a 95% probability of belonging to the period between AD 578 and AD 669.”
Behnam Sadeghi has also revealed that these manuscripts have an earlier “under text,” that is, the text that was erased from the parchment upon which the text of the earliest manuscripts is written. Given the cost and labor of producing parchment in early seventh century Arabia, when a new text was written, it was often more expedient and cost effective to wash the older texts from the parchment and begin anew. Because the ink employed in the seventh century was metal based, a residue remained that can now be read by subjecting the extant parchment to infrared photography. This is the “under text.” For the Sana’a manuscripts, it reveals occasional variations in the ordering of the sūrahs (or chapters) of the Quran, and slight variations in reading that correspond to the variations that had been preserved in the extensive Islamic material detailing variant readings of the Quran. But all of these variations had already been and recorded in the Islamic historiographical tradition. In other words, analysis of the “under text” confirms the accuracy of early Islamic historiography.
This changes the field of Quranic Studies because it provides empirical support for the accuracy of the traditional Islamic accounts that many western scholars have previously claimed to be anachronistic and unreliable, such as the existence of variant manuscripts of the Quran before the collation of the text in 650. Furthermore, statistical analysis of the variants within the earliest manuscripts suggests that the final version that came to be the accepted text of the Quran “is overall a better reproduction of the common source.” Even minor textual variations that were reported by early Islamic scholars and transmitted in the Quranic commentary tradition find substantiation in the “under text” of the earliest manuscripts of the Quran.
In addition, recent studies have demonstrated that the earliest Islamic literature on variant readings of the Quran is for the most part reliable and that the historicity of the received data is, as Michael Cook of Princeton University observes, “a testimony to the continuing accuracy of the transmission of the variants.” Such findings correspond with the most recent anthropological studies that confirm the historical reliability of oral transmission traditions.”
- “The matter becomes worse when we realize that Uthman’s text omitted chapters and verses that the other texts included…”
According to the Muslim belief, there were some revelations from God that weren’t supposed to be part of the Qur’an and some that were supposed to be initially included in the Qur’an but later when times and attitudes of the people changed they were annulled or repealed from the Qur’an by the Prophet himself (presumably following God’s commands). The narrations regarding these annulled verses form the basis of this criticism.
- “According to Ibn Umar and Aisha, Muhammad’s wife, one chapter, Surah al-Ahzab  had 200 verses … tradition is also confirmed by Ubay b. Kabb…”
Some argue that these are weak narrations, whether that is true or not there is another huge problem for this argument. As stated above, “Ubay b. Kabb” also narrated the above, but historical sources tell us that he was one of the twelve people in the committee that Uthman set up to manage the Uthman’s Qur’an manuscript, “but he did not make any bid to get the alleged verse he remembered into the text.”
Source with more detailed refutations: http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2011/01/ahzab-verses-lost-abrogated-or.html
- “A verse on the stoning of men and women had been expunged from the Uthmanic text. It reads as follows: “As for old men and women, stone them for the pleasure they have indulged in.” Umar al-Khattab stated, “But for people who may say that Umar adds to the Book of Allah, I would have written the verse on stoning.” (Ibid., p. 61)”
“… [Umar’s] idea of writing at the margin of the Quran or adding as an appendix … shows that he only meant to add it as side note or commentary to the Quran to tell the future generations explicitly about the punishment of stoning whom he feared rejecting this commandment and going astray.
It was never meant to be a part of the Quranic text:
1-It is reported in a narration from Kathir bin Salt that: Zaid (b. Thabit) said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘When a married man or woman commit adultery stone them both (to death)’, (hearing this) Amr said,
‘When this was revealed I came to Prophet and asked if I could write it, he (the Prophet) disliked it.’ (Mustadrik Al-Hakim, Hadith 8184. Hakim called it Sahih. al-Dhahbi agreed with him)
2- About this ‘verse’ Kathir bin Salt says that he, Zaid bin Thabit and Marwan bin Hakam were discussing as to why it is not written in the Quranic manuscript and Umar bin Khattab was present with them and listening to their discussion he said he knew it better then them and told them that he came to Messenger of Allah and said:
“‘O Messenger of Allah, let the verse about stoning be written for me.’ He (the Prophet) said, ‘I can’t do this.'” (Sunan Al-Kubra Baihiqi 8/211 & Sunan Al-Kubra Nasai Hadith 7148. Albani (in Sahiha 6/412) said Baihiqi pointed to its authenticity)
Who could stop the Prophet (pbuh) from writing this verse in the Quran if it was supposed to be? Indeed it was not meant to be written in the Quran and that’s why Holy Prophet disliked its idea of its being written down.”
Source with more detailed refutations: http://www.letmeturnthetables.com/2009/08/myth-of-qurans-lost-verse-about-stoning.html
- “Aisha mentioned an additional clause in her reading of the Quran which is not part of the Muslim scripture we now possess … ‘Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat, and Salat Al-Asr. And stand before Allah with obedience.’ She said: ‘I heard that from the Messenger of Allah.’…”
This is almost verbatim Qur’an verse 2:238, the only thing that is different are the words “Salat Al-Asr”. The majority opinion of Muslim scholars is that “middle Salat” = “Salat Al-Asr”. Apparently Lady Aisha was elaborating the words “middle Salat”. There is apparently another Hadeeth that confirms that this was meant for elaboration.
The fact is, most if not all of these apparent discrepancies have already been explained by Muslim scholars decades or even centuries ago.
One thing I should mention is that, judging from my research on Google, there is vastly more criticism of Islam than there is of Christianity or probably of any other religions too. There is a Bible verse whose apparent meaning is that if an unbetrothed girl gets raped by a man, the man must marry the girl and never divorce her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). This is the most scandalous verse that I have ever come across in the Abrahamic religions’ scripture but on google, among the first ten links only one link led to a criticism, all other were Bible or apologist sites. On the other hand, researching for far less controversial Qur’anic verses will give links to the critics websites up-to half of the top ten results.
Another really important argument regarding Qur’an preservation is a recently discovered mathematical relation. Muslims believe that both the chapter numbers and verse numbers of the Qur’an are divinely inspired. There are 114 chapters in the Qur’an and when each of the chapter numbers are added to their verse numbers, it naturally gives 114 results. Interestingly exactly half (i.e. 57) of them give even results and 57 odd. But the really amazing thing is that when the even numbers are added together it is exactly equal to the total number of verses (i.e. 6236) in the Qur’an. Non-Muslims call it just a criticism, Muslims call it a miracle. Personally, I think that the numbers involved are just too great to be ‘just a co-incidence’. Also, this is a recent discovery which decreases the likelihood that any human designed the Qur’an in such a way. If there was indeed a deity behind the Qur’an this method would have been a good method of making sure that none of the verses have been lost.
I would suggest that you go through both the anti-Islamic websites like answering-islam.com and Muslim apologist websites and then decide for yourself. Try to judge the arguments based solely on the quotations and not on the particular narrative that is tried to be pushed forward. If you come across any more criticisms you may need help with, I will be glad to help.