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Proposed seven-step study of Quran to corroborate the hypothesis and its prediction

Step 1: Investigation of historical records regarding transmission of revelations

Step 2: Investigation of unique mode of address employed in Quran

Step 3: Investigation of internal evidence of a non-human messenger

Step 4: Investigation into contradictory and uninspiring data

Step 5: The problem of false data

Step 6: Investigation of scientific information – false data or knowledge ahead of its time

Step 7: Claim of preservation, fidelity and incorruptibility of the Message

Investigation of historical records regarding transmission of revelations

Muslims claim that the Quran is as an alphabet-by-alphabet ‘Message’ transmitted by God to Muhammad through the Holy Spirit. Judeo-Christian Scholars of religion, who subscribe to the view that scriptures are the work of human authors inspired by Holy Spirit, assert that a direct transmission from God is an impossibility. They say that any idea presented through a man in his own language, however lofty, needs to pass through the human lens, thus suffering distortion. At the most such a set of writings can be called an inspired literature, but nothing more.

Can we arrive at some kind of conclusion regarding this debate by investigating evidences in the old records? To answer this query, scientific assessment of a research is required that suggests a fresh analysis of evidences in the light of modern knowledge. An abstract is provided here.

Abstract: Five sets of evidences are available in the records related to the claim of descent of Quranic revelations, and all sets point towards the possibility of a physical transmission. First set of several reports describes pallor, perspiration and extreme pain felt by the prophet, and a ringing sound in his ears during the time he received the revelations. Muslim scholars till now have treated the pain and the ringing sound separately. The pain as per the Muslim perspective is not an essential part of spiritual development. Therefore, the reason of its occurrence during the phenomenon is neither understood nor has been discussed much, but ringing sound has invited several conjectures. The researcher argues that the personal description of pain, pallor, perspiration, and ringing sound in the ears, all symptoms are medically interrelated and simply corroborate the occurrence of extreme pain during the phenomenon, showing it to be a physical occurrence. Second set of reports pertains to a virtual increase in the mass of human channel during the phenomenon. Apart from personal testimony of a companion in this regard, camels have also been reported to forcibly sit down under the increased weight. This evidence of temporary virtual mass, together with an internal support from a verse of Quran, may suggest an energy link, but its mechanism is unclear. Third report is about a ‘low volume high frequency hum’ that could be heard very close to the head of the messenger during the phenomenon. This important evidence, mostly ignored by Muslim scholars, has been described in the ancient manuscripts as similar to the noise coming from a nest of bees. Fourth set mentions a mysterious operation of the human channel in the childhood, where some shining foreign object was placed in his body by two beings in white, and fifth is related to a small bulge that became visible in his adult years, at the top of his vertebral column. The Messenger had refused to get it operated, citing its association with the phenomenon of revelations.

The researcher suggests that the evidence of extreme pain and the high frequency sound emanating from his head, both point towards a transmission; and virtual mass, the childhood operation and the bulge, all seem to suggest that the ‘Human Channel’ was probably prepared in advance to withstand the rigors of this energy link.

Two other logical factors are important in this regard - an electrically silent planet of seventh century where the only sources of electro magnetic noise were the sun, stars and the bioactivity of planet’s flora and fauna, and the fact that the revelations descended initially in a cup shaped valley, in a desert with sparse life for thousands of miles around.

What exactly was it? The evidences do not present the revelations as simple radio messages from aliens of another star system. What exactly was it cannot be guessed. The evidences in the ancient records simply establish that the phenomenon was NOT an inspiration as popularly understood.

How the records should be evaluated? Apart from investigation into age and credibility rating of these records, they should also be evaluated with reference to logicality of fabrication? For example, what could be the reason of fabrication of a report associating intense pain and difficulty with revelations with all the apparent symptoms and then offering no explanations for it during the subsequent centuries? The report about ‘high frequency hum’ emanating from the head of messenger, in records that are thousand years older than the birth of electricity or any concept pertaining to energy transmission is also a curious piece of fabrication, if it is a fabrication? Likewise, the increase in prophet’s weight during the time of revelations only, goes against the logic of fabrication. In a man’s psyche, the ‘up’ and ‘down’ directions are clearly identified with good (paradise) and evil (hell), and no follower in his right mind would fabricate a report, where the prophet in the midst of a spiritual experience is described as being pulled downwards. Logically a fabricated report should have mentioned him floating upwards during this experience, specifically since an angel was also supposed to be involved. Moreover, these five sets have not been selected out of hundreds of reports that fitted the criteria. These are the only reports in the records, and in all such cases, a logical explanation for fabrication should be found relevant to the times; otherwise they should be considered as true, supporting the energy link suggestion.

Unique Mode of address
      The mode of address employed in the Quran is unique, and unlike all other .
    Sometimes, the humanity is addressed directly as ‘O mankind!’, ‘O Children of Israel!’, ‘O People of the Book!’ and ‘O ye who believe!’ etc.; while at other times through the Messenger himself - ‘Say to the believer’, or ‘Say to the people of the book’ etc.
    Muslims assert that not a single verse can be claimed to contain the words of the human messenger or of a historian.
   This claim should be investigated and verified as it represents either an internal evidence for a transmission or a deliberate attempt at false impersonation.
    Muslims also claim that the attempt at false personification should be investigated against several factors like the presence of consistency of teachings over a period of time against heavy odds, the strict instructions against self-glorification, and absolute insistence on monotheism etc.

Involvement of a non- human messenger

A non-human messenger, who brought the revelations to Muhammad (PBUH), is clearly mentioned in the Quran at various places. The verses describe an encounter with this extra-terrestrial messenger and tell us that the human messenger was ‘taught’ by this powerful and wise entity. [53:5-12] The Quran, at some places, has called this extra terrestrial messenger Gabriel, while at others, by the name of Ruhul Quds meaning ‘Holy Spirit’ or simply Ruh, that is Spirit. A Hebrew word ruah (spirit), referring to the free and unhindered activity of God, either in creating or in revitalizing creation, especially in connection with the prophetic word, has been mentioned in the Old Testament texts, along with Gabriel as one of the four great archangels. However, there has been neither an explicit belief in a separate divine person in biblical Judaism nor a confirmation that Gabriel and ruah were the same. Holy Spirit’s definition as a distinct divine Person equal in substance to the Father and the Son came at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381, following challenges to its divinity.

Has the scientific world ever discussed or envisioned such an entity? Apparently, inspired minds have often wrestled to define an Entity that is neither the Creator nor equal to Him, but is uniquely important in the scheme of Creation. An ideal example of such conceptual effort can be identified in Arthur C Clark's ‘Collective Conscious Intelligence’.

Investigation of the content

A ‘Transmission’ that can transcend universal barriers, is expected to contain informational data for our Guidance that we may not be able to specify or verify with our own limited understanding and technological level of the time. However, certain kind of data, showing a definite human imprint should not be part of such a transmission. Therfore, our verification efforts should logically proceed along following guidelines.
        Investigation into contradictory and uninspiring data

The contradictory data

Quran confirms that contradictory data is a sign of human imprint and offers the absence of this data as a proof of its non-human origin.

 "Do they not ponder on the Qur'an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. Qur'an (4:82)

Christians or Jews do not put any such claim for Books of Bible. The diversity of authors or imprint of human hands on the Bible is fully accepted. But, it is also believed that the principle of non-Contradiction is not an appropriate criterion to judge God's word.

‘The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or spelling, phenomenal descriptions of nature, reports of false statements (for example, the lies of Satan), or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. It is not right to set the so-called 'phenomena' of Scripture against the teaching of Scripture about itself…’

‘Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed…’

Muslim scholars on the other hand affirm that no contradictory statement or textual inconsistency exists in Quran. The verses on individual topics though lie scattered throughout the text of scripture, all such accounts as per them, only supple­ment each other.

Scholars critical of Quran have pointed out several contradictions in it, which Muslim scholars have explained. An impartial scientific scrutiny of these accusations in the light of explanations offered, can clarify this issue.

The uninspiring data

In his novel 'Contact', Late Dr Carl Sagan had pointed out the examples of another category of information in Scriptures, which was not epected to be present in a guidance  meant for humanity.

[...In the stories of Lot and his daughters, of Abraham and Sarah in Egypt, of the betrothal of Dinah, of Jacob and Esau, she found herself amazed. She understood that cowardice might occur in the real world - that sons might deceive and defraud an aged father, that a man might give craven consent to the seduction of his wife by the king, or even encourage the rape of his daughter. But in this holy book there was not a word of protest against such outrages. Instead, it seemed, the crimes were approved, even praised.]

      The Quran rejects all such stories. Starting from mother Eve, it has exonerated almost all of them. Neither she was responsible for Adam eating the forbidden fruit nor the poor snake, nor has Abraham been shown to lie to Egyptian king or Lot to indulge in incest with his own daughters. Issac, Joseph, David, and Solomon all come through the Quran as clean, model characters, worthy of being 'human channels' of information. Even Moses’ brother Aaron has been cleared of the accusation of building the golden heifer. The Quran accepts that all these leaders were humans and it has mentioned at few places minor lapses on the part of prophets but always accompanied with suitable admonishments and help. In the case of Jonah who had left his charge prematurely, God punished him first and then pardoned him, while with Joseph God helped him in fighting a women’s forced advances, although it is mentioned that weakness had entered his mind. In fact, the verses record the admonishing of Prophet Muhammad too, on minor lapses.
        In recent times, several scholars have pointed out instructions related to stratagem of war in Chapter 9 of the Quran as uninspiring. The information, however, needs to be probed thoroughly with respect to its meanings and context to asses whether it fulfills the uninspiring data category.

The problem of false data

Apart from information inconsistent with established scientific facts, scholars have pointed out five additional categories of errors in the scriptures - information irreconcilable with archaeological finds; information incompatible with contemporary records; wrong prophecies; suspected prophecies that seem to have been added after the event; and inclusion of established myths.

The apologists for Books of Bible, accept the possibility of errors through human involvement, but say that these are irrelevant to the basic teachings.

Presence of errors in Quran cannot be explained through human involvement. It is claimed to be a direct transmission from universe, and such errors, if found, can put a question mark on the claim. However, it needs to be ascertained whether the allegations (of errors) are genuine or not.

As an alternative source of knowledge from Universe, the scripture is supposed to ‘reveal’ information about concepts and processes that we may not be able to comprehend now or events that may have been the result of extra-terrestrial intervention. If we reject this data simply as false, it will not only be incorrect but would also nullify the very advantage of the phenomenon. Therefore in such a scripture, the information should first be segregated into verifiable and non-verifiable category to the best of our efforts, and then subjected to investigation.

The cardinal point of such investigation should be that a data could only be called false, if one can prove it false clearly and unambiguously. An example from the Books of Bible is the information in Joshua 8.25, which was considered false because it did not match with the archaeological finds. Similarly, checking with contemporary records, proved the fallacy of information in Daniel 5.30-31. Except the data related to ‘prophecies after the event’ which may come under the suspected category, all other five types of errors have been established clearly. But Biblical scholars have not rejected outright, those stories of the prophets whose origin is shrouded in the mist of time. They can neither prove nor disprove their authenticity. We cannot simply say with confidence that reporting of such and such event is false simply because, with our present knowledge we are unable to understand its mechanics.

Claim regarding absence of false data in Quran: It has been claimed that till now, none of the data of Quran has been proved to be inconsistent with archaeological finds or the contemporary records. Some data may come under the suspected category, but no one has produced a definite proof of error in this regard. In fact at some places, Quran has either avoided inadvertent mistakes that could have been committed easily had it come from a human source, or it revealed information, which was different from the sources available at the time. In all cases, the Quranic information was ultimately found to be correct by new investigations. This claim has to be verified through objective investigators. The prophecies in Quran are also general in nature. In one specific case, the prophecy regarding the reversal of war fortunes positively for Byzantine Christians against Persians, not only was fulfilled within a few years, but the verses also revealed a strange information that could only be confirmed in the modern times. All this is verifiable data, and a scientific investigation can easily affirm or reject the claim in its entirety or a part of it.

Scientific information – knowledge ahead of its time or false data

Another category of data believed as false is scientific information ahead of its time in scriptures. The western scientists believe that popular myths were the source of such information in the Bible, while Quran is considered to have simply plagiarized the data.
      Myths are usually built around either a truth or a distortion of original truth that could have broken through, some time in the past. However, such information invariably lies camouflaged with a lot of garbage around.
      An interesting point about
Quran is that its statements seem to present the information after carefully stripping away all such extranuous data, in an enigmatic language that has a fractal quality. Seen in the light of fresh researches, the statements not only reveal new interpretations but also seem to guide the researcher towards a particular path of research.
     There are numerous such verses in the Quran. Each statement has to be probed thoroughly, to find out whether it is pseudo science or genuine information coming through the universe. The words used are peculiar, and original meanings of words are very important in such investigations. These verses are the best source for establishing the origin of revelations debate. An analytical model has been outlined in the book
In Search of our origins by the author, for comparing the information available in 7th century and the probability of its mention in the Quran through chance.

Claim of preservation, fidelity and incorruptibility of the Message

A transmission for all time – a real probability or eschatology?

For a transmission to be last and final, it will have to include large quantum of additional information, required for an unknown future, within a finite text. Logically, two basic ways exist for it. One path lies in choosing words and composition in such a way that the statement acquires a fractal quality i.e. capability of multiple interpretations with changing information levels, in different times. Such a way of putting information neither tax the creativity of the receptor intelligence much nor puts a large distance between the interpretation and the general level of comprehensibility of the time. An ideal example is the information on origin of life and man, where with increasing information, verses seem to point towards a deeper interpretation.

The second way is to hide the information in code, and put the key or keys of the code in the transmission itself with suitable pointers. This way has unlimited possibilities. Almost any amount of information, valid till eternity, can be coded in the transmission, either in textual, digital or as yet unknown formats. Such information can be hidden in progressively complex layers, to be decoded by the humanity itself with its own increasing intelligence.

Putting information through the first way does not require any indication in the text, but if the information is coded then absolute preservation of the text and some kind of hint regarding a hidden inner order is expected which can act as a pointer towards such information.

Investigations required in this regard

In this regard, two claims and three controversies have to be investigated through impartial investigations. First is the claim of preservation through reciters and written word. Second is the claim of fidelity, i.e. the message we have is the same that was delivered by the human channel in terms of composition and order both. The investigation into order is important, as an obvious lack of order exists in Quran in combination with extremely complex composition. Since this order was not chronological, but was dictated by the Messenger himself, it seems like a pointer towards the hidden order in the text. 

Three controversies that are to be sorted out are the abrogation theory, the problem of variant readings, and discovery of a mathematical structure in the text. All these are important from the point of view of a final transmission. The abrogation theory does not match with numerous factors associated with descent of Quran. It also stands on weak grounds, and can easily be dealt with, but sorting of ‘variant readings’ is crucial. The tradition on which this controversy is based contains the clearest possible hint of hidden information in Quran, if the prophet’s words are taken literally. In fact all the problems have cropped up because scholars misinterpreted the word harf (alphabet) as qirat (recitation) as descent of revelations on saba haroof (seven alphabets) did not make sense to interpreters. In this regard, the investigation of mathematical structure is very important. This structure was rejected because its discoverer had forwarded claims of distortion in Quran and messenger status for himself. Both these claims are blasphemous for Muslims in the extreme. The interesting point here is that few additional calculations and reinterpretation of his data can reestablish the structure as well as demolish both the claims easily. Yet, Muslims and non-Muslim both, under the grip of multiple allegiance factors, are unable to look at this new analysis objectively and scientifically. This extremely complex structure has the promise to remove all doubts related to incorruptibility of the text, solve the abrogation and variant reading problems, show a linkage between verifiable and non-verifiable data, explain numerous anomalies and establish beyond all doubt the extra-terrestrial origin of the Message. 

Why is it necessary to settle the origin of revelation debate?

As an alternative source of knowledge, the revelations are supposed to bring us information that we need but do not have the rational means to acquire it. Without its help we may ‘do’ or ‘not do’ something that might be essential for the survival of the intelligence on this planet. And, it may not be the question of our survival alone. We do not know how are we linked with rest of the universe, and how are our collective actions going to affect the scheme of things from a universal perspective. Perhaps, unknown to us, we may already have reached a crucial point, where a concerted effort is expected from us. Such an effort would only become possible if we really become convinced that we are not alone in the universe. The truth is indeed out there and revelations are the surest way to find it. 

The lessons from the present confrontation between the Muslims and the western world are obvious. The world under the grip of different allegiance factors is not expected to look at the phenomenon of revelations impartially in spite of being a rational and open society. Being the receiver community of 'transmission’, it was (and is) the duty of Muslims to present the reality of revealed knowledge before the rest of the global community. A duty they have not been able to discharge successfully. It now seems as if the Divine hand is tightening the noose around them, exhorting them to do their best or the noose will get tighter and tighter.. But, rest of the world also should not sit at ease. The teleonomic evolution of the Cosmos will not leave anyone alone. It will reward those who will flow with the Plan, and grind everyone who will try to resist.

Conclusion

From all available indications, the tidal wave of chaos seems to be reaching its nadir at the turn of this new millennium. It depends now upon the humanity whether it wants to sink into oblivion under this wave, like numerous other races on different planets, who had been given a chance but failed, or extract from the same chaos an order that the world has not seen. If we fail, we will become an example for those who may pass our radioactive smoldering planet one day in an unknown future, but if we succeed, we may become mature enough one-day to join others from different star systems, to fulfill the destiny that Creator has reserved for us.

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