“. . . Indeed, we believe in the message he brought” (7:75)
Edip Yuksel (1995)
Editor of Signs, peace be on you.
I was very happy to see the Signs magazine promoting the message of the Quran alone. However, the third issue was a surprise. You have dedicated most of the pages of the magazine to attacking Dr. Rashad Khalifa, a monotheist believer. Though I do appreciate some points you raise, I find your evaluation of Rashad’s work biased.
Personally, I consider myself lucky to have met Rashad and assisted him in Masjid Tucson. I was a Sunni political activist and author advocating Sunni Islam in books published in Turkey before 1986. I was tortured and imprisoned for four years because of my articles in magazines calling for an Islamic revolution in Turkey. After a year long correspondence and debate with Rashad I came to the conclusion that the Quran is the only source of guidance. It was no surprise that my acceptance of the Quran alone brought excommunication, attacks from religious media and death threats from my previous readers.
I believe that Rashad Khalifa was a messenger of God. If you ask why do I believe, I can list quite a few reasons. However, I prefer to repeat the answer of the believers who supported Salih: “indeed, we believe in the message he brought.” Rashad is now with his Lord, and he is dead as far as we are concerned. He will be judged by God Almighty on the Day of Judgment, when every one of us, including all the messengers will worry about their own neck (21:28). Rashad IS no longer a messenger. The Quran is a living and talking messenger until the Last Hour. Therefore, I’ll stick with the Quran alone, inshaallah. I hope you will receive this letter with empathy, not with paranoid theories of “conspiracies.”
To make it convenient for the readers to follow the argument, each point is numbered. May God guide us to the truth, since The Truth is one of the attributes of God. I’m willing to dismiss any part of my argument if you enlighten me with sufficient reason and evidence from the Quran, inshaallah. May God give us the patience to understand and tolerate each other. We may not be able to agree on every issue; however, we should be extremely careful about labeling or condemning each other.
Rashad was a fallible human messenger
1. Rashad never claimed to be infallible, nor did he claim that his translation, with parentheses, footnotes and appendices is a revelation, since he never doubted that the Quran is the last book revealed to the last prophet. However, I agree with him that his translation is authorized by God for its clear emphasis on worshipping God alone and not adding any other sources (including Rashad’s) to God’s word, which is perfect and fully detailed. Rashad was a student of the Quran, trying to purify his mind from the atmospherics of his traditional past that was preventing him from getting the clear broadcasting of the divine message. He was usually humble in acknowledging his errors. For instance, he encouraged us to edit and discuss his second revision of his translation verse by verse. During this intense consultation period we had numerous discussions. We continuously learned from each other according to God’s will. During that period, he was persuaded to correct some of the mistakes of the first edition. For instance: 2:106; 3:97*; 7:75; 11:87; 11:88; 12:88; 18:83; 21:96; 21:112; 24:35; 27:42; 37:63; 38:44; 39:6; 43:61; 56:79; 72:7; 72:18; 74:31; 96:2.
Later, when he re-revised his translation, he continued correcting his errors. For instance, 4:176!; 6:74*; 12:88; 18:83; 30:3; 38:59; 95:5!, etc.
Briefly stated, he never claimed to be infallible. The three revised editions of his translations are blatant witnesses to the fact that he was in a continual learning process and open-minded to reasonable criticism. If he were alive, he would surely make many corrections in his third revision. In fact, it is the experience and fate of all translators. Every time I edit my Turkish translation of the Quran which has been in my computer since 1990, I find errors caused by insufficient information, imperfect attention, shortcomings, linguistic problems and unintentional mistakes. Nevertheless, I still believe that my translation will deliver the message, inshaallah. Thank God we have the original Quran that we can refer to anytime we have a question. It would be an unfortunate repetition of history if one day some of those who responded to Rashad’s call to worship God alone claim that Rashad’s translation, Quran: The Final Testament, is “the English Version of the Quran,” or is “the ultimate English translation of the Quran,” or “a revelation from God.” I do see signs pointing to this constant human tendency: hero-worship.
All messengers were fallible humans for a good reason
2. All previous messengers were humans, not angels. During their mission they lived like their contemporary fellows. They made mistakes, sometimes grave ones. Those mistakes, paradoxically, functioned as a blessing for believers, and an excuse for disbelievers and a test for hypocrite idol worshipers: believers would focus on God alone and stop idolizing messengers, while disbelievers would use those weaknesses and mistakes as an excuse for their disbelief, and idol worshipers would claim the infallibility of the messenger and try to defend the evident human errors and attribute them to The Most Wise.
Please imagine that you are dwelling in Madina during Muhammad’s time. He has some friends and many enemies. You hear conflicting news from people about his personality and his message. Meanwhile, you witness some of his weaknesses and shortcomings. For instance, you see him trying to hide his intention or revelation from people regarding the estranged wife of his adopted son (33:37), you hear him favoring a rich person and ignoring a poor blind man (80:1-11), you see him rushing into speculating on some verses without sufficient knowledge (20:114; 75:16-19), you experience the “devil’s interference” in his wishes followed by a great communal chaos and feud (22:52-55), you witness his tendency of trying to compromise with his categorical enemies (17:74), etc. What would you do? Obviously, you could react in three ways. You could either dismiss his claim of messengership, or accept him as a human messenger, or idolize him as an infallible messenger and interpret those errors and shortcomings as virtue.
I believe that if you use the same standard of criticism you will not dwell on some human errors and weaknesses on the part of Rashad Khalifa. You can appreciate many positive things if you can overcome your prejudices. Please compare Rashad’s translation with other translations regarding the following verses: 2:1; 2:26; 2:54; 2:106; 2:171; 2:222; 2:224; 3:7; 7:157; 8:35; 10:1; 15:87; 16:44; 17:46; 20:15; 21:87; 22:15; 24:31; 25:5; 33:56; 38:44; 43:61; 56:79; 61:6; 74:29-35.
Rashad did not receive a book; he advocated Quran alone
3. The footnotes, subtitles and appendices of Rashad’s translation, “Quran the Final Testament,” are not revelations besides the Quran, but his personal understanding that is subject to human filtration, misunderstanding, interpretation and speculations. He advocated the Quran alone; the Arabic and mathematically coded book revealed to Muhammad, containing 114 chapter and 6346 verses including all Basmalahs.
Unfortunately, there are now some who consider his translation infallible, and accept the footnotes, subtitles, and appendices as the second source besides the Quran. To justify their new source, they frequently refer to the mistranslated verse 49:1. For instance, they prefer “consensus” of Appendix 36 to “consultation” of 42:38. To me, those people are no different than the pioneer Mohammedans. They are not helping Rashad by sanctifying the obvious mistakes in his translation. Just two simple examples: To the criticism regarding the subtitle of verse 2:172, which reads “Only Four Meats Prohibited,” one of his companions tried to defend the error by claiming that “blood is meat.” Rashad’s unintentional error was transformed to a bizarre assertion by his gullible defender.
Another example–which is prevalent in all translations–is the result of translating two different words by a single word thinking that they are synonymous. These kinds of errors are difficult to avoid, since it is sometimes impossible to find one-to-one correspondence in lexicon of languages. For instance, by translating the two slightly different words, “Qaryah” and “Ummah,” with a single word, “community,” Rashad created a contradiction between verse 25:51 and 35:24 unintentionally. Rashad’s translation, I believe, will guide the sincere seekers of the truth, and simultaneously it will misguide those who consider or expect him to be infallible. Indeed, it is the nature of the infallible original Quran to guide and misguide people depending on their innermost intentions (17:82; 3:7).
For those who claim the infallibility of Dr. Khalifa, I would like to give a sample of verses that I think carry some minor or important translational problems: 2:114; 2:233; 2:275*; 2:282*; 4:34&*; 4:79*; 7:157; 7:193; 8:64; 10:34!; 11:54; 11:87; 12:37; 14:4; 16:75*; 18:16*; 19:26!; 20:96&*; 20:114; 21:96*; 21:90* x 21:73; 25:30*; 29:12 x 29:13; 32:5!; 34:41; 35:24 x 25:51; 43:11 x 41:12*; 43:36*; 47:11 x 42:15; 49:1 x 38:26&7:3; 56:83-85; 65:12* x 42:29; 73:15!; 75:27; 75:31?; 87:6 (Asterisks are for footnotes and/or subtitles, exclamation marks for missing phrases, and “x” for contradictions.)
No one can represent God
4. The language of the article titled ‘Khalifa’ Satan, a temporary god on Earth? was distasteful, at best. Nevertheless, I agree that the idea “Satan: A Temporary ‘god’” is problematic. It may contradict 43:45; 8:17; 3:189; 5:120; 36:83, if it is taken literally. Knowing Rashad and being familiar with his work, I believe that he did not intend the literal meaning of “god.” He tried to convey his intention by putting it in quotation marks. Personally, I think that Adam is more suitable to be “Khalifa” (a ruler) in the context of verse 2:30, and the entire Quran, since the word “Khalifa” is consistently used for humans. But, it is still possible to understand the “Khalifa” of 2:30 as Satan, meaning “a ruler.” To support this understanding one can refer to 7:15, 143; 15:8,38, 42; 36:60; 16:99; 82:19, etc.
I agree with the author of the article that the traditional translation of the word “Khalifa” in 2:30, that is, “representative,” is wrong. I applaud his statement that “the concept of ‘representative’ is the invention of self-interested individuals who wanted to exploit people in the garb of ‘God’s vicegerency.’” If we want to be fair to Rashad’s translation, however, then there is a problem with the criticism. If by the word “representative,” the translator (Rashad), meant “the one who acts on behalf of God” then the criticism is right to the point. However, Rashad could not have meant that, since he used the word “representative” of 2:30 to refer to Satan, the enemy of God. Obviously, Satan cannot be both God’s enemy and His representative! It seems that Rashad’s translation has a major language problem in this particular verse.
The Mathematical Miracle
5. I am really surprised about your apathetic attitude regarding the assessment of the 19, as the code of the mathematical system of the Quran. I don’t think that you really need the confirmation of any “recognized authority” to understand and appreciate the mathematical system of the Quran, which is very simple to understand and easy to examine. All you need is a basic knowledge or intuition of mathematics and the will to dedicate some time to verify the count by yourself. You can reduce the amount of time needed for sufficient examination by dividing your friends into groups and comparing their results. Also you can use Fuad Abdulbaqi’s Index of the Quran to verify the count of words. I did this when I was in prison. With the help of 15 inmates I confirmed most of the counts of letters. This manual examination was more than enough to convince me that the Quran had a superhuman mathematical structure embedded in its natural language. You can do a similar examination, since you have the time and resources to publish an international magazine.
Here, I want to add that I do not agree with all of the calculations presented in Rashad’s translation and Muslim Perspective. Some of them have no mathematical significance. It is easy to dismiss them with the laws of probability. I often witness manipulations of numbers and speculations made by the members of my community. For instance, some of them claimed that a huge asteroid would hit Saudi Arabia on May 19, 1990 to fulfill the prophecy of Smoke in 44:10. With an odd blend of sincerity, arrogance and ignorance they attributed this doomsday “prophecy” to God Almighty.
Their lack of basic knowledge and intuition of mathematics led them to this embarrassing and dangerous claim. They produced many pieces of so-called mathematical evidence collectively. Unfortunately, some of them were published in the Muslim Perspective despite a strong opposition from some of us. The same group who produced or esteemed all those manipulations are still peddling their new discoveries of “miracles.” Furthermore, some of the members of this doomsday gang are working constantly to carve an idol of Rashad! Nevertheless, this should not be an excuse for intelligent people to undermine the great mathematical miracle of the Quran. You can easily distinguish diamonds from pieces of glass, if you don’t close your mind.
How long does it take to examine one word?
6. You ask “Another conspicuous discrepancy worthy of note is that in the early translation in appendix 1 under the title of ‘simple facts,’ the word ‘God’ is noted as having a count of 2,698 (19×142). In the later translation the count is also given as 2,698. But the two verses of Sura 9, one with the word ‘God,’ have been eliminated. How can the total remain the same?” You continue, “. . . It can be assumed that other calculations may also be wrong, but it is not within the scope of Signature Publications to carry out the necessary research.”
It will take less than 45 hours if you spend 60 seconds to check each word God. Let’s be more generous and make it 90 hours. If you have 9 people (that will make three groups of three individuals) on your editorial board, you can independently examine each word three times in 30 hours. This is the slowest way of examining this crucial part of the “mathematical code” of the Quran, which according to your magazine is part of an impressive conspiracy against the Quran. You could reduce the needed time to less than one hour by comparing Rashad’s results with Abdulbaqi’s Index. Therefore, I believe that this job was well within the “scope” of your magazine before publishing this article. It is embarrassing for the students of the Quran not to know the frequency of the word “Allah” in the Quran during the last two decades! Please forget Rashad’s errors (which are more even than you have noticed), just consult the Quran in your hand. I bet you will find its frequency is 2,699 in numbered verses, if your Quran has the “two extra verses” at the end of chapter Nine.
7. Regarding the mathematical structure of the Quran, I urge you to be open minded. By your initial bias, you may disqualify yourself from seeing the great miracle of the Quran that is mentioned in Chapter 74. If you close one of your eyes you cannot see the 3-D pictures that others can see. I have discussed this issue briefly in the last argument of “19 Questions For Muslim Scholars.” I would like to hear your answers to my questions at the end of that argument.
Age of forty
8. Our “eccentric” belief regarding the age of 40 is an inference based on verse 46:15. Does age 40 bring an extra responsibility? Is it different from age 39 or 41 when guidance and righteousness are involved? Obviously, God distinguishes age 40 and indicates its importance as a crucial time for repentance. If repentance has any role in determining a person’s situation in hereafter, then, why should it be “wishful thinking” to believe that The Most Merciful, The Forgiver will not punish a person who did not reach the age when repentance is strongly advised?
You refer to 4:48 “God does not forgive idolatry . . .” and ask the question, “What about the those who idolize others beside God? Would all their sins also be absolved? Or would they be subject to certain qualifications?” After quoting the verse you conclude, “The Quran says nothing about all sins being forgiven for those under forty.” If you take the Quran as a whole, you will see exceptions to the rule stated in other verses. For instance, if a person after practicing idolatry repents and practices righteousness, then God will forgive that person’s previous sins. Obviously, this exception, that is repentance, is not stated in verse 4:48. Therefore, why do you not consider 46:15 bringing another exception, that is, age?
9. Do you really think that an 11 year-old person who goes to Church with his parents and worships Jesus willingly will go to hell forever if he dies before his 12th birthday? What about a child of 12, or 13, or 14, or 15, and so on and so forth? If you tell me that age is not important, the person’s capacity and qualifications are important, then you should define those qualifications.
You may say that you don’t need to know at what age a person is supposed to be eternally responsible. Well, we will respect this position and expect you to respect others who happened to know that age by inference from a Quranic verse. Your lack of desire to understand something should not lead you to blame those who inquire.
A Muslim Jew, A Muslim Christian, A Muslim X
10. I agree with you that a Hindu cannot be considered righteous according to the Quran if he or she continues to believe in a cast system. However, I see there are some problems if we claim that a person cannot be considered a Muslim if he doesn’t follow the Quranic laws. (I’m not sure whether you meant this or not.)
Verse 5:44 describes the Jewish prophets who ruled according to Torah as Muslims. The verse ends with the phrase “Those who do not rule in accordance with God’s revelations are the disbelievers.” Then, verse 47 of the same chapter reads, “The people of the Gospel shall rule in accordance with God’s revelations therein. Those who do not rule in accordance with God’s revelations are the wicked.” Verse 48, after ordering Prophet Muhammad to rule among them according to the Quran, states a divine fact, “For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites. Had God willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations. You shall compete in righteousness.”
From these five verses we can derive the following points:
1. Ruling in accordance with the Torah or the Bible was a righteous act.
2. Muhammad’s contemporary Jews and Christians were ordered to rule according to their own scripture.
3. There are differences among the laws and rites of those scriptures.
4. Each community should follow their own book consistently, without abusing or distorting the law therein.
5. Muhammad and his followers should rule according to the Quran alone.
If the above conclusions are correct then the following or similar questions will be worthy of research: If a Jew does not eat the fat of any animal on the basis of the Torah, can we claim that he is an idol worshiper by referring to 6:145?
Therefore, considering the verses mentioned above, a person can be considered a Muslim Jew or a Muslim Christian, or a Muslim X, since the word Muslim means Submitter. However, I see the difficulty in details.
“Community of Rashad”?
11. The articles published in Submitters Perspective (SP) don’t reflect the view of all the members, and does not publish all the submitted articles. None of the members is taking it as a source of guidance. (That is one of the reasons I’m still writing there!). We don’t have Pope, nor do we have his official bulletin. I believe (and hope) that the majority of this little community is still alert against the idolization of Rashad. Therefore, please don’t accuse all members of this community based on a particular article written by an individual.
I read the article that you were referring to labeling us as the “Community of Rashad.” I found the expression exactly as you have quoted. But, the author was not using the “community of Rashad” to describe her community. Obviously, you had taken the odd expression out of context while rushing to find a label for us. If you read it again you will see that she was using that expression in the same way as the “community of Noah, community of Lot, etc,” is used in the Quran. Briefly, she was referring to the disbelievers, not believers with the “community of Rashad.”
I would like to remind you that we are trying our best not to be the “Community of Rashad.” Inshallah we will always be able to say, “We are God’s supporters.” (61:14)
ADDENDUM: Unfortunately, the cult who managed to carve a new idol out of Rashad has infected the Submitters, of which I was affiliated. One or two years after writing this article, the cult could not tolerate my presence among them. Though there are still many monotheists among Submitters, the voice of the cult is getting louder with time and the size of their idol is getting bigger and bigger. This is a modern version of the old habits of humanity: Idolizing their religious and political leaders and heroes! I invite anthropologists and sociologists to study the rapid mutation of this group from uncompromising monotheism to polytheism. This will explain the incredible mutation of Monotheist Peacemakers after Jesus, or after Muhammad and any other messengers of monotheistic peacemaking.
The two false verses
12. As far as 9:128-129. . . From 1974 (when the miraculous function of number 19 of chapter 74 was discovered), until 1985 (when the two false verses were exposed), for eleven years, no one knew that Rashad’s computer data was one short regarding the frequency of the word God. Both the proponents and opponents of the miracle did not notice this crucial error for more than a decade. Why? Because, the most popular and accurate index of the Quran, Al-Mujamul Mufahras Lielfazil Quranil Kariym, had the same count 2698, when you add the one missing. (The index accepts the Fatiha’s Basmalah as the first verse of the Quran, but fails to mention it in the list of the word “Allah”)
If I had noticed the error in the beginning, I would, most likely, never have had the courage, or interest in studying the mathematical structure of the Quran. I would have refuted it outright and labeled it as a blasphemy of numerology. The miracle of the Quran would have been stillborn in the first days of its discovery. No one would have considered it worthy of examination. Even Rashad himself, then a traditional Muslim, most likely would not have accepted it under those circumstances. We strongly believe that God Almighty deliberately delayed this important problem for a simple reason: to publicize the miracle of the Quran, and give the Muslim world a chance and time to study it. After everyone got a good idea what 19 was all about, God let us discover the error. Everyone was put to the test: either follow the testimony of the Quran, or the testimony of your parents and the majority of people. Those who strengthened their faith according to the prophecy of 74:31 chose the testimony and signs of God, those who followed their parents and peers rejected the testimony and signs of God. This process, I believe, was a fulfillment of 6:158 and 3:179.
13. Please note the emphasize on “We” in verse 15:9: “We, indeed We, yes We have revealed the Zikr (reminder), and We will preserve it.” I don’t remember such an emphasis anywhere else in the Quran. The short verse refers to God Almighty four times in regard of preserving His book. What does that mean? To me, the message is obvious: it is not you (people) who will preserve the Zikr, it is God who will preserve it. Please note, the relation between the revelation and preservation in the verse. What is more appropriate than looking for a relation between the revelation and its protection? Is it possible that the revelation contains an automatic protection? How does God preserve the Zikr? Obviously, with its own revelation. How do we know, or what is the proof? We know this through the Zikra (74:31), which is “Nineteen” (74:30) and “One of the greatest” (74:37). Zikra (74:31) is the virus protection of the Zikr and it is encoded in it in a miraculous way. Don’t you feel the allusion between Zikr and Zikra? “Sad, and the Quran that contains the Zikr. Those who disbelieve have plunged into arrogance and defiance” (38:1).
14. You can see many ancient documents, tablets and books in museums and special sections of libraries. They are preserved by human effort and technology for hundreds and even thousands of years. If the preservation of the Quran was similar to this “normal” and “ordinary” human affair, then, why should God emphasize Himself and give the impression that the preservation of the Quran is a “divine” and “unique” feature? It is not necessarily a divine merit for a book to be preserved by its zealot followers. For instance, Bukhari is a document which has been well-preserved for approximately 12 centuries.
15. After we have seen the Satanic nature of hadith and sectarian jurisprudence produced by our great ancestors and respected ulama, how can you expect us to trust them as the preservers of the Quran? According to your argument we have to rely on the history of Muslims to be convinced that the Quran is well preserved. Well, that history itself is written by those people who you claim to be the biggest liars on earth. When we look at their history regarding the Quran, it creates more doubt than it erases. According to that history, the argument regarding extra verses started just after prophet’s death, not 19 or so years later.
What is your answer if one asks you the following question: You refer to the history (books) written by Muslims and claim that thousands of believers memorized the Quran that we have today. According to the history that you refer to, the Quran was not compiled in a book during the time of prophet Muhammad. Any claim by a Muslim (?) would be accepted if they could produce the second witness. In fact, some of the verses were accepted even without the second witness. There are hundreds of arguments regarding the Quran during the reign of the first four Caliphs. It is a historical fact (accepted by both Sunnis and Shiites) that Marwan burned the original Manuscript in order to stop the accelerating arguments over the Quran, which provides the best explanation for the disappearance of Muhammad’s manuscript. What if then, the corrupt leaders of the Umayyad Caliphate officially accepted and added verses 9:128-129 to the manuscripts since they were accepted by many people? What if the opponents were oppressed and forced to hide their opposition? What if Shiite’s underground claim regarding the distortion of the Quran is an exaggerated continuation of the early reaction against the original distortion?
If x million of them could agree on the authenticity of Bukhari, then it is possible that 2x million of them could agree on the authenticity of the Quran. If millions of Shiite could insert Ali’s name in the Azhan, then it is possible that millions of Muslims could insert Muhammad’s name in the Azhan. (Ironically, hadith books confirm this claim by narrating Azhan containing 19 words.) If millions of Christians can believe that their Bible is preserved by ignoring Nicene Conference and important textual problems, then it is possible that millions of Muslims could believe that their Quran is preserved by ignoring the early arguments, Marwan, and narrated textual conflicts. Obviously, there are differences in the degree, but not in the nature of the thing.
16. Now there are thousands of copies of the original Quran that do not contain 9:128-129 are circulated and read all around the world. Does this version of the Quran refute the divine promise in verse 15:9? If your answer will start, “No, the distortion made by a community of diverted people does not refute the verse, because. . . . “, then our answer will also start, “No, the distortion made by idol worshipers after prophet Muhammad centuries ago does not refute the verse, because. . . . ” What is the difference between these two cases? If you resort to the number of years or the number of followers, then we resort to the number 19, which is a Zikra, a divine warning for human race. Additionally, we remind you of verse 5:100.
17. The Quran is in the heart of those who are blessed with knowledge (29:49). It is a numerically structured book (Kitabun Marqum) which is witnessed by those close to God (83:20,21), and not recognized by the rejecters (83:9,10). Even if idol worshipers add “verses” to the Quran, those who “have received knowledge” will be able to recognize God’s revelation.
If you add or amalgamate a cheap element, say copper, to a golden ring, an expert who knows the property of the prime element gold, will be able to expose the counterfeit. The expert does not need to rely on the testimony of sellers who bring the gold to him. He will rely on the infallible testimony of the gold itself. He will test and examine the physical properties of the matter and make his decision. Similarly, a believer who is blessed by God to know the mathematical structure of the Quran, which is based on the prime number nineteen, can easily distinguish the false from the genuine. In this sense, both the golden ring and the Quran are preserved from any falsehood. This is why The Most High emphasizes Himself in preserving the Quran. The preservation of the Quran is unique and extraordinary! It shares this feature with God’s signs (ayaat) in the nature! Praise be to God, the Possessor of Infinite Bounties.
18. The validity of a negative statement or challenge (such as in verse 41:42) cannot be proved unless we witness the failure of attempts against it. It is a circular argument to say that it is preserved because it claims so, since the claim of preservation also is under question. Similarly we cannot say that it is preserved because it is preserved. For instance, if I claim that no one can climb the walls of my castle, my challenge will not make sense until some people try and fail to do so. If the trials and failures of some people demonstrate that my castle’s walls have been protected by an impenetrable surface with virtually zero friction supported by high voltage electricity and an automatic alarm system, then my challenge is proven.
19. An example of such proof is the word “Bastatan” in 7:69. The code 19, demonstrated that falsehood can never enter the Quran (please remember the parable of the gold ring that is also preserved from falsehood). If you look at the Quran in your hand you will see that the word “Bastatan” in verse 7:69 is misspelled with “Sad.” We detected this minor printing error through the Quran’s mathematical code. When we studied the oldest available versions, for instance, the Tashkent Copy, we found that it is exactly the way that we had predicted according to the mathematical structure. We took the photograph of the verse and published it in Appendix 1 of Rashad’s translation.
20. You ask about previous generations, wondering how is it possible that they possessed a Quran containing two false verses for centuries. As an answer I’ll repeat Moses’ answer given to similar question centuries ago in 20:52: “The knowledge thereof rests with my Lord in a record; my Lord never errs, nor does He forget.” Those people were responsible according to the knowledge they were given. Ironically, most of them had no problem in accepting volumes of fabrications and preferred them to the Quran. Adding two apparently harmonious sentences unknowingly is not the same as adding thousands of contradicting paragraphs knowingly. Therefore, please my brother, worry about your own test when you are surrounded by overwhelming signs of God (10:39; 6:158).
21. You may ask: “What about subtraction? How can you know that any verses of the Quran are not missing?” Here, I would like to summarize my answer that took several pages in “Notlar” (Notes) published in Turkish. I have at least three reasons for believing that today’s Quran is complete: 1) The mathematical structure of the Quran based on number 19 was not known before Rashad’s discovery. Any subtraction would have a detrimental effect on the integral parameters of the interwoven mathematical design 2) The extraordinary examples of a harmonious mathematical design and their practical functions increase our faith regarding God’s promise for protecting His word. 3) God will not hold us responsible for the things that are beyond our means. Please reflect on these points if you entertain such a question.
22. You are confusing the scribes who are criticized by Rashad Khalifa with the scribes praised in 80:15-16. These verses are not praising all scribes who wrote the Bible or the Quran. They refer to the believers. In fact, they refer to messengers who wrote the revelation. Please note that “Suhuf (Scriptures)” is plural and refers to all divine books. “Safarah” is the plural of “Safeer” that means ambassador, or messenger.
23. Besides, how can you answer the question regarding the authenticity of the very verse that claims the preservation? What if, after the dangerous arguments started soon after the death of Prophet Muhammad, some zealots constructed or fabricated the verses 15:9 and 41:42, and it was well accepted by pragmatist leaders to heal the social discord in their land? After all, there was no shortage of people who could produce Arabic statements in the name of God or the prophet.
24. Here are several examples of the Quranic testimony that 9:128&129 are not authentic. This testimony is made by the code of its “great” mathematical structure mentioned in Chapter 74.
1. The frequency of the word God (Allah) is 2698 (19×142), without those two.
2. The sum of the numbers of all verses containing the word God is 118123 (19×6217), without those two.
3. The frequency of the word God, from the beginning of the Quran until the end of Chapter 9 is 1273 (19×67), without those two.
4. The frequency of the word God, from the first initialed chapter until the last initialed chapter is 2641 (19×139), without those two.
5. From the missing Basmalah of Chapter 9 until the extra Basmalah of Chapter 27, the word God is mentioned in 513 (19×27) verses, without those two.
6. The frequency of the word “Elah (god)” is 95 (19×5), without those two.
7. The frequency of the word “Arsh” referring to God’s domain is 19, without those two.
8. The number of all verses, including 112 un-numbered Basmalahs is 6346 (19×334), without those two. The absolute value of this number is 19, without those two.
9. The frequency of Rahim (Merciful) is 114 (19×6). Verse 9:129 creates a curious single exception by using it for prophet Muhammad. The other names mentioned in Basmalah, that is, Allah and Rahman are never attributed to others than God.
25. In the initial announcement made in March 1985 issue of Muslim Perspective, Rashad presented 9 reasons to reject 9:128-129. His reasons were 9 words. According to his count, the frequencies of each word were one extra with those two verses, that is, they all would be multiple of 19 without them. When I checked his evidence I found that some of the counts (of Anfus, Tawallu, Tawakkaltu, Rabb) had nothing to do with his claim. He was obviously wrong in his hasty count. These and similar errors are caused by our weakness and desire to increase the number of evidence (74:6). (Later, he discarded them after a face to face discussion.) However, there were two outstanding words that whose would be one extra with those two verses: Allah and Raheem. I could even eliminate the one extra Raheem for a simple reason: It is used for Muhammad not God, as many other names of God used for humans as in 11:24; 76:2; 9:114, etc. However, I could not explain and reconcile the extra word “God.”
After I rejected his claim by labeling him a “disbeliever” in a jotted letter, I tried ways to avoid this conflict. For instance, I tried to accept the first Basmalah as unnumbered verse, like the others in the beginning of chapters. Already there were some Muslim scholars who were claiming that Fatiha’s first verse starts with the letter Alif, not Ba, that is, “Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alemeen.” In this case, I had to include “Raheem” of 9:127, ignoring its meaning and reference. But, this time I would have a problem with Rahman: it would be one short. On one hand, being absolutely sure about the mathematical code of the Quran, and on the other hand, knowing the verses 15:9 and 41:42 that guarantee the preservation of the Quran, put me in the most difficult dilemma that I had ever experienced.
However, my Lord, The Gracious, saved me from that dilemma by a miraculous experience. He showed me his clear signs as He promised in 41:43. He referred me to 3:41 and erased all my doubts regarding those two false verses which were exposed by the miraculous mathematical code of the Quran.
Verily, this is a reminder. For those who wish to take heed. They cannot take heed against God’s will. He is the source of righteousness; He is the source of forgiveness (74:54-56).
A personal experience
My personal experience regarding this issue may not seem appropriate in the context of an objective discussion. However, we learn from the Quran that God shows his signs in the horizons and in ourselves to convince us (41:53). I will narrate my story since I believe that God encourages me to do so (93:11), and hoping that it may cause you to examine your motivations.
My personal experiences are obviously nonfalsifiable subjective cases. But, they can be supported by witnesses and physical evidence. Here, I’ll tell you the most fascinating one. The one that dramatically changed my entire life. This paper will not be enough to put it in its context. Thus, consider this as a snapshot picture from the middle of a continuing story.
In 1 July 1986, I made the greatest decision in my life. I came to the conclusion that the religion that I inherited from my parents was abysmally corrupted. The introduction of my ninth book, The “Sakincali Yazilar” (Dangerous Articles, 1988) starts by mentioning the importance of that day in my life. I had to criticize and reject most of my previous religious position published in my previous bestseller books. I rejected the conventional traditional religion. My inquiry brought me to a startling conviction: Traditional Islam had nothing to do with Muhammad’s original teaching. It could not be God’s religion.
Several months after that crucial decision, I encountered a big intellectual and spiritual problem. I found myself in a dilemma. The mathematical structure of the Quran was blinking at the two last verses of Chapter 9. This was a very serious issue, since the Quran claims that it is perfectly preserved.
I was confused, I was scared. I could not solve the problem. The mathematical code of the Quran, which I had no doubt about, was exposing those two verses as man-made insertions. Indeed, there was some historical evidence about controversial arguments over those two verses. However, the consensus of Muslims was clear.
The problem needed a crucial “Yes” or “No” from me. But, it would determine my fate, both in this world and in the hereafter. It was a very important issue. I could be killed by fanatics if my answer was “Yes”. But, I was more concerned about finding the truth.
For approximately two weeks I was lost. I was persistently praying to God, asking for a “sign” to save me from that dilemma. “God, give me a sign” was my repeated prayer. One day, on October 23, 1986, at around 1:30, I was sitting alone in my office trying to finish the second volume of “Interesting Questions.” I could not concentrate; the terrible paradox was eating away at my soul. I prayed again in Turkish: “Please give me a sign.” Suddenly, an unusual thing happened. My heart started beating vigorously as if I had run five miles.
It was the first time in my life, that I had that kind of heart beat for no apparent reason. Shortly, I heard a very clear voice from my HEART, repeating in Turkish: “Uc Kirkbir! Uc Kirkbir! Uc Kirkbir!”, that is, “Three Forty One, Three Forty One, Three Forty One.” I don’t remember exactly how many times it repeated. My excitement was at a peak. I was shocked. The only thing that came to my mind at that moment was to look at the Quran, 3:41 (Chapter Three, Verse Forty One). I cannot describe my excitement and joy. Verse 3:41 was exactly repeating my Turkish prayer in Arabic with its Quranic answer:
He said, “My Lord, give me a sign.” He said, “Your sign is that you do not speak to the people for three days, except by signals. You shall commemorate your Lord frequently, and meditate night and day.” (3:41)
This extraordinary event not only saved me from the worst situation I have ever had, but it also taught me a great lesson: Don’t worry about what people think about you. Seek the truth without any personal agenda.
Later, somehow, I wanted to see whether there was any relation between this incredible experience and my accepting the Quran alone as the source of my religion. I was assured by an astounding mathematical relation. The number of days between 1 July 1986 (the most important day in my life), and 23 October 1986 was exactly 114 (19×6) days, which is the total number of the chapters of the Quran. .
I have studied philosophy and some engineering and psychology. I’m perceived as a skeptic by my friends; but, I cannot doubt that event. I cannot ignore or depreciate its factual existence in my history. I am aware of paranormal problems. Here I will list some of the possible objections by skeptics:
1. The narrator’s subconscious, under strong stress, may have remembered the verse number where his prayer is mentioned.
2. It may be a schizophrenic event. The verse number and its matching text is coincidence.
3. The narrator is lying.
I would not argue against any of these, since I’m not trying to prove anything by telling you this experience here. As far as I’m concerned, I’m as sure about my experience as you are sure that you are reading or hearing these words.
After my crucial decision in 1 July 1986, as an ex-convicted political activist, I started to fight the government to get a passport. Though I had two uncles in the National Congress, it took me two years to receive a passport. Interesting enough, the date of issue on my passport was 1 July 1988.
I was single until my early thirties. Verse 3:41 mentioned above was related to Zechariah and his son Yahya (John). Thus, I sympathized with them. Just after I experienced the incredible paranormal phenomenon, I gave a silly promise to God: “If I marry, and if I have a son, I will name him Yahya.” This promise remained a secret between God and me, until my wife surprised me with another “coincidence”:
In 1989 I married here, in US, with an Iranian-American lady. When she got pregnant, I started to wonder: how can I convince her about the name Yahya if the baby is a boy? I was waiting for a good day and mood to talk about this issue. An incredible thing happened. One night, two or three weeks after learning about the pregnancy, she came to me and for first time talked about the name of the baby. She suggested only one name: Yahya. (This name is a rare name in Turkey and even rarer in Iran.) I thanked God Almighty, and told her my story regarding my silly promise to God.
In the meantime, we received two interesting letters. One was from a close friend from Turkey, who had just heard about the pregnancy. He did not have any idea about my promise regarding the name. In his letter he wrote a prayer: “May God raise your child like Yahya.” Why like Yahya? We had numerous heroes in our history. Another coincidence? My mother in-law’s letter (again, within several weeks of the pregnancy), contained a poem about our coming baby. The name of the poet was Yahya.
Similar signs continued. Therefore, I was convinced by these signs that our child was a boy and he would be born on the 1st of July, as God’s reward for my decision to follow- the Quran alone. I announced my prediction regarding the gender and birth-date of our child to more than thirty people, in a Quranic study, in Masjid Tucson. The baby failed the predictions of doctors and came to the world on the predicted day, at 10:53, morning of July 1st, 1990. We both hugged him by saying: “Welcome Yahya.” Indeed, he was a boy.
“And some people ask you, ‘Is all this true?’ Say, ‘Yes indeed, by my Lord, this is certainly true. . .” (10:53).
Praise be to God.