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Form criticism of the Qur'an

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by firedragon, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Form criticism is an official term for Biblical criticism that was aligned with the Old Testament predominantly and has taken huge strides and evolved in to New Testament criticism as well. With the presumption that its common knowledge I would like to ask "Has anyone tried this with the Qur'an?".

    If you wish to understand form criticism, it is basically an identification of varying patterns created by linguistics that would change with purpose, socio-economical background, sociology of religion, sociology in general, and basically looking for different genres in a given text tracing forms of transmission or/and times. Where in the world does the ideas or different ideas in the particular book come from? What went on around it?

    There are somer who have attempted few methods of criticism with the Quran and the work is quite extensive. The issue with all this analyses lie in such vast differences in the hypothesis and the conclusions they come up with. When applying criticism one has to try and shed the presumptions and biases which is hard to do, and it is of course assumed that a believer of the Quran would have biases for and the non-believer would have biases against. Nevertheless reading the non-believers who attempted literary criticism have varied so much it is very much unlike any other scripture, vis a vis the Old Testament and New Testament.

    For example, one scholar (Non-Muslim of course) would come to a conclusion that the Quran is all homily, yet another would say its all prayer which are so vastly different in simple genre. How in the world could two scholars come up with such vastly different conclusions? This is of course others like liturgical, poetic, prayer, just sermons, and of course polemic. One conclusion of all of these put together as analyses, is that the Qur'an is in fact all of this put together. The sinister problem with this is that generally when you apply criticism to text as an example to the Tanakh, you can basically demarcate texts and volumes and place them in one genre or/and authorship altogether. As an example according to the documentary hypothesis the Torah or the Pentateuch, Genesis, exodus, Leviticus, numbers and Deuteronomy were penned down by four different schools of thought at very different times in very different sociological settings and purpose. That is an academic exercise. For example, Deuteronomy is a whole other book written by a single source (individual or school of thought). But a different source altogether in comparison to the other four books in the Torah. Whats up with the Qur'an? Well, you can not do that with the Qur'an. According to these scholars what you could do with the Quran is pick and choose similar genres like a prayer or address of God like "Allahumma" which means "Oh God" and put that as one genre of prayer. Well, this means it is spread across the Quran, unlike criticism of the Torah. I hope you understand. With the Qur'an, this is the case with all the forms. It is all spread across the Quran.

    If you take the first chapter of the Quran generally called Surathus Sanaa or Alhamdhu Surah, you would notice that within those 6 verses you get several forms. One is a prayer that says guide us, one is polemic which simply denies polytheistic view and promotes monotheism simply by the word Allah and sentences like Rabbil Alamin, then you get Homily which summarises theology in a nutshell, and its also simple poetry with rhythmic narration. One thing that most of the scholars come to at the end is that the Quran is overall a recitation. Place it with any other Arabic literature you would see that the Qur'an is wholly a recitation. Also what most do not seem to note is that though they conclude the Quran is a recitation, they fail to note that the Quran is named a recitation. Quran means a recitation. It is indeed either remarkable or strange that the name itself correlates with the foundation of the Quran arrived at after extensive criticism.

    Simply put, the genres in the Quran are all over the place but you could pick and choose the similar genres from various places in the Quran and sum them up for analysis. The outcome ultimately is this. It was useless. Because there was no really out come of placing the Quran to different sources. The Quran still is written by one person. Its not that the exercise is invalid. It provides so much knowledge of the Quran, yet it seems like the end goal of many of the analysis have failed to be achieved.

    It is a fact that some Muslims have this notion that criticism of the Quran is a sin as if God told you its a sin. Also, people have a dogmatic aversion to the word criticism. Criticism is an academic exercise, not like the street use where you criticise other peoples clothes which always sounds derogatory. But I feel Muslims truly don't have much to worry and its silly to worry because if you simply look at the criticism the outcomes are quite remarkable.

    I would like to hear thoughts of our learned members.

    Peace.
     
    #1 firedragon, Jul 17, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  2. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    You have a good idea going, but in a world where critics are silenced militantly, it needs to be said that the Quran must be open to all types of critique, not only form criticism.
     
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  3. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    This is new to me. Thanks for the explanation.
     
  4. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    This is interesting. The only downside I see is that this approach could be used to limit certain other "forms" of criticism.
     
  5. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Brother. It was the Muslims who performed all kinds of criticism on the Qur'an way way before scholars tried them on the Tanakh or the NT. Its just that the so called "world" doesn't know. They only hear what's famously said. This is not a good idea or anything new, this is very very normal, more than a millennium old exercise. Its just that you don't know.

    Okay. So what kind of criticism do you suggest? Lets do it today mate.
     
  6. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    What other "forms" of criticism are you speaking of? Please be specific.
     
  7. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    In past threads you have dismissed criticism I have made as being irrelevant.

    Personally I like scientific criticism the most.

    Here is a great thread in which the scientific accuracy of the Quran was defeated;
    Is the GOD of Qur’an an evolutionist? Done in the early posts read#4 and #5
     
  8. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    If its irrelevant, it is irrelevant and of course will be dismissed.

    Now again I will dismiss this comment because you are giving some link which is not related to the topic. So dismissed. Why not open another thread to discuss it extensively rather than throwing red herrings mate? Do it properly if you wish to truly discuss.

    Cheers.
     
  9. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Also by doing this you have proven yourself unaware of criticism that I am speaking about. You are doing the same thing some muslims do and I explained that simply in the OP.
     
  10. InvestigateTruth

    InvestigateTruth Well-Known Member

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    What is the purpose of this criticism? To find mistakes and errors in the Quran?

    From dictionary criticism means:


    noun
    1. 1.
      the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.
      "he received a lot of criticism"



    2. 2.
      the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.
      "alternative methods of criticism supported by well-developed literary theories"
     
  11. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    No. Its explained in the OP.
     
  12. Piculet

    Piculet Active Member

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    Why is it that every thread you make seems so unislamic? These don't seem like something someone with strong faith would concern himself with.
     
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