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Featured Basis for Trusting Muhammad?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Tumah, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    A man comes out of a cave and claims he recieved a prophecy. Why do you believe him?

    Yes, I understand he was successful in his wars. But does that make him more heaven-sent than any other successful general?

    If you were around in the time of Muhammad, on what basis would you believe he's telling the truth?
     
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  2. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake ️️️️️️️️️️Dragonslayer

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    Personally? I would not.
     
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  3. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Born-again Glompist
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    I don't think I would believe he was a prophet, but if I were to believe that he was, the main reason would probably be the Qur'an—from a linguistic standpoint, not a theological or philosophical one.

    Classical Arabic poetry is immensely excellent in terms of its eloquence, vocabulary, and grammar, yet the Qur'an easily surpasses it. Some of the greatest Arab poets lived before and during Muhammad's time, and a lot of them were non-Muslims. Yet they couldn't outclass the linguistic brilliance of the Qur'an. It's also not an entirely subjective matter, since the Arabic language has more or less standard criteria for determining what is or isn't linguistically outstanding. Grammar is one criterion; many Arabic poems contain grammatical mistakes. The Qur'an doesn't. This includes sometimes compromising grammatical rules for the sake of "poetic liberty," but the Qur'an doesn't do that in a single one of its 114 surahs.

    Also, Arabic literature and poetry became heavily influenced by the Qur'an, which indicates that its linguistic value is not just a matter of subjective opinion. Basically, if you want to give an example of correct usage of a grammatical, poetic, or rhetorical rule in Arabic, you use the Qur'an before anything else. It's no easy feat for a book to remain the primary reference for a language as complex as Arabic over the span of fourteen centuries.

    Another one of the Qur'an's unique features is that it has seven main different readings depending on placement of diacritics and, sometimes, placement of letters. This might sound ordinary at first, but what I find most interesting about it is that all of the different readings make sense in context. They weren't just made up for the sake of multiplying the number of possible ways to read the Qur'an; they're merely an expansion of the linguistic depth of the Qur'an.

    Personally, I don't think that achieving a remarkable feat in any given field, be it poetry or science or anything else, necessarily justifies a claim of prophecy, but what I'm saying here is that I don't share some people's view that considering the Qur'an a sign of prophecy is insane or something. I think a case could be argued for it—granted, not necessarily a convincing case, but definitely not necessarily an "insane" one either. The Qur'an is, simply put, beyond phenomenal as far as language goes.
     
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  4. The Emperor of Mankind

    The Emperor of Mankind Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic

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    He has a much higher charisma score than me.
     
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  5. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    I think it is practically impossible for an educated, urban person from the 21st C to think like a 7th C bedouin.

    Ultimately you believed him because he spoke to you with a narrative that made sense. Just as you might believe Trump if he spoke to you with a narrative that made sense.

    The concept of 'objective', proven, factual truth is anachronistic. He was just persuasive to his peers.

    This is a case of survivorship bias. The question is not why would you believe Muhammad, but why would anyone believe any 'prophet'?

    There were plenty of 'prophets' in this era and they gained followers because they had a persuasive message. Muhammad's message was probably eschatological, and reflected a common theme of the era.

    If you won victories in battle, this was evidence of God's favour. That also reflected the zeitgeist of Late Antiquity.

    Due to historical circumstance, Muhammad's successors conquered a lot of territory and nothing succeeds like success.

    Had the Romans and the Persians not fought a series of debilitating wars and had there not been an outbreak of plague that killed countless people then you likely wouldn't be asking such a question.
     
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  6. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Poetry is definitely something special in old Arabic culture. The Jewish Arab poets used to make fun of how horrible European Jewish poetry was. I'm not sure if most people would use "poetic" as the basis of their belief though.
    Also, can it not be that the Qur'an set the standard on grammar for developments in the language, rather than followed it?

    Its probably not that hard when its your main literature in the region and other languages don't make too much headway.

    This may be a property of semitic languages, as you can often do the same thing in the Torah.
     
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  7. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    I've got a question for you. Is the following correct, or is it wrong?

    Was Arabic grammar not standardised around the Quran? As such it couldn't transgress grammatical rules as they were defined by the grammar of the Quran.
     
  8. The_Fisher_King

    The_Fisher_King Trying to bring myself ever closer to Allah
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    On the basis of what he said, and whether it rang true for me.
     
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  9. Debater Slayer

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    I'll combine my response into one quote so as to make it easier to follow (including for myself, since I sometimes have to repeatedly scroll up when I split quotes).

    1) Most people probably wouldn't use poetry on its own as the basis of their belief, no, but when someone comes up with an extraordinary feat in a given field and claims to be a prophet—in the seventh century, no less—that can certainly bolster their chances of having their claim of prophecy taken seriously by their contemporaries. Wrapping up appealing theological promises (like eternal bliss in Heaven, etc.) in uniquely powerful poetry and prose like those of the Qur'an can make a religion appeal to many people pretty easily.

    2) There's a reason it has come to be the main literature of the region, and it's not just its status as the perceived word of God. A lot of non-Muslims still use it as a linguistic reference despite having access to other literature.

    3) I don't know much about other Semitic languages to be able to make a detailed comment about that, but I can safely say that being able to fully acknowledge the Qur'an's linguistic value requires that one be able to read and understand it in its original language. Sure, some of its features may be similar to those of other literary and poetic works (be they in Arabic or not), but when read for what it is—in Arabic—its uniqueness is still quite apparent.
     
  10. Godobeyer

    Godobeyer the word "Islam" means "submission" to God
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    For someone tells how universe created "big bang" and "expand of universe" and tells about sign of last day , and many others things.
    Plus to the depth linguistic of Quran as you described.

    I think it's not coincidence , or something reachable in that time.
     
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  11. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Born-again Glompist
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    The rules of Arabic grammar were codified and written a reasonably long time after Muhammad's death. Abu al-Aswad al-Du'ali laid the foundations for the codification of Arabic grammatical rules, basically.

    Grammatical rules weren't defined by the Qur'an, no; Arabs recognized them and wrote poetry and prose in accordance with them before the Qur'an. The Qur'an merely followed those rules quite accurately, and then the codification of the rules came later.

    This actually kind of ties into an important linguistic question as far as Arabic goes: "Does nahw [Arabic grammar] determine meaning, or does meaning determine nahw?" Put simply, something like placement of diacritics can either decide the meaning of a sentence or be decided by the already understood meaning of the sentence. One has to submit to the other. Most of the time in the Qur'an, the meaning dictates the grammar, since some meanings that can be produced with the placement of diacritics in certain ways—as an example—are impossible to reconcile with the core beliefs of Islam that Muhammad taught since and it is very clear that the author of the Qur'an (regardless of who we consider it to be) didn't intend to convey those meanings.
     
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  12. buddhist

    buddhist Well-Known Member

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    There is no basis for trusting Muhammad, or Abraham, or Jesus. None of us can personally verify their existence or their acts.

    At this point, you might be ask me why I trust the Buddha. His existence or acts do not ultimately matter, as early Buddhism is not based on the true historicity of the Buddha. It is instead based on those teachings attributed to his name, which we can (and are called to) verify in the here and now. Even if the Buddha never existed, it's not him but "his" teachings which ultimately count.


    On the other hand, the true existence and acts of Muhammad, Abraham, Jesus, etc. do count, because the religions built upon them depend on the truth regarding their historical personalities.

    That is one of the major differences between Buddhism and most other religions.
     
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  13. psychoslice

    psychoslice Veteran Member

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    I think people back then believed in just about anything, and that includes all religions.
     
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  14. Rajina

    Rajina Member

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    Prophet Muhammed(S) was well-known among his people for honesty even before his prophethood, and used to be called "al-ameen" (the trustworthy). Even his enemies testified to this. I don't think that a person who never lied till the age of 40, would say a big lie and dedicate his life struggling for that lie.

    I don't think that a scripture like Quran can be written by prophet Muhammad(S) or by any other human being. I believe it is a scripture which was orally delivered instantaneously at many times, during a time span of 23 years, which contains laws essential for human life, which talks a lot about history,talks about nature, its error free , and is inimitable. I believe its humanly impossible to do that. I believe that even after 1400 years, it remains contradiction free and error free, for me that makes it more amazing.
     
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  15. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I think the quality and depth of knowledge of an illiterate man is hard to explain as not coming from a higher source. It certainly impressed his peers of the time who knew him and what knowledge should be expected of a man of his station. And it brought about an improvement and enlightenment in the barbaric area of his time.
     
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  16. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Ok, how does what Muhammad said differ from what Christians were saying that would have made you more inclined to follow Muhammad over the Christians of the day?
     
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  17. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Was that how the Qur'an was written?

    I'm not arguing that, but in that respect, I don't think it differs from the Bible.

    You have not seen, but Jews on this site have been making that argument here as well about Tanach. The first verse in the first Book can variously be read as "In the beginning, G-d created the heavens and the earth" or "Bereishis created god, the heavens and the earth". And that's besides for other grammatical devices that are present in the verse. Its impossible to know from the translation.
     
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  18. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    No, I wouldn't have asked you at that point why you trust Buddha, because this is a thread about what would have made someone trust Muhammad.
     
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  19. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    The question is at that time what would have made you trust Muhammad. Now you only trust Muhammad on the basis of the Qur'an. But when Muhammad was starting out, there was no Qur'an. So what would have made you trust him then? There are many trustworthy people, but to believe his prophecy on the basis of his trustworthiness is quite foolish. There's a number of possibilities that can make an otherwise trustworthy person lie.
     
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  20. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Its been noted that he was quite well traveled and had plenty of interaction with the Jews and Christians of the day. Its not hard to wonder if maybe although he may have not been able to read, took advantage of his interactions with people, to learn their theologies and philosophies.
     
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