Muslims claim that Quran is the complete and final revelation. Did Muhammad really believe that? Did he want to give some more revelations? This article by Jerry Thomas shows that those who argue that Quran is complete and final are following the Sunnah of Umar and not the Sunnah of Muhammad.
Many times Muslims quote Lord’s Jesus Christ final discourse before his crucifixion in John 16: 12 and ask why did not the Lord Jesus Christ teach all truth to His disciples. By raising this question, they assume that they would have raised a great objection regarding Lord Jesus Christ being the finality of Hebrew prophets. However, let us read that verse:
The Blessed Promise of Jesus Christ and Its Glorious Fulfilment
John 16: 12-15 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
When one closely analyzes the argument, we see that it is merely the Dawwah preachers’ misunderstanding of the Holy Bible and this does not pose any concern whatsoever about Christ being the finality of the prophets. While the mission of Lord Jesus Christ in being an atonement for humanity was completely accomplished fulfilling all that prophets spoke (Luke 24: 26-27), disciples understanding got illuminated only after the resurrection (John 2:22) and they received Holy Spirit a few days later through whom they were guided in all truth (Ephesians 3:5). The Apostles and Prophets were indeed sent by Lord Jesus Christ himself (Ephesians 4:11) as He had promised (Luke 11:49). Further, the continuous presence of Holy Spirit in each believers life and the illumination that each receive by the Holy Spirit is sufficient for all guidance that the disciples of the Lord Jesus, then and now, need (1Jn 2:27).Based on these facts, the epistle writer Jude confirms that “the faith” was entrusted once and for all to the believers (Jude 3) which clearly indicates that no further revelation or revelator is required anymore. What was predicted by the Hebrew prophets was fulfilled completely in the Lord Jesus and revealed in depth by the Holy Spirit which was once and for all entrusted to the believers in the first century.
Now, let us look into one of the last (death-bed incident) of Muhammad’s life. Let us read the Sahih Hadiths regarding this with an unbiased mind.
The Tragedy of Death-bed Incident and Its Grave Implications
Sahih Bukhari Volume 7: 573
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
When Allah’s Apostle was on his death-bed and in the house there were some people among whom was ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, the Prophet said, “Come, let me write for you a statement AFTER WHICH you will not go astray.” ‘Umar said, “The Prophet is seriously ill and you have the Qur’an; so the Book of Allah is enough for us."
; The people present in the house differed and quarrelled. Some said “Go near so that the Prophet may write for you a statement after which you will not go astray,” while the others said as Umar said. When they caused a hue and cry before the Prophet, Allah’s Apostle said, “Go away!” Narrated ‘Ubaidullah: Ibn ‘Abbas used to say, “It was VERY UNFORTUNATE that Allah’s Apostle was prevented from writing that statement for them because of their disagreement and noise.”
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4: 393
Narrated Said bin Jubair:
That he heard Ibn ‘Abbas saying, “Thursday! And you know not what Thursday is? After that Ibn ‘Abbas wept till the stones on the ground were soaked with his tears. On that I asked Ibn ‘Abbas, “What is (about) Thursday?” He said, “When the condition (i.e. health) of Allah’s Apostle deteriorated, he said, ‘Bring me a bone of scapula, so that I may write something for you after which you will never go astray. ‘The people differed in their opinions although it was improper to differ in front of a prophet, They said, ‘What is wrong with him? Do you think he is delirious? Ask him (to understand). The Prophet replied, ‘Leave me as I am in a better state than what you are asking me to do.’ Then the Prophet ordered them to do three things saying, ‘Turn out all the pagans from the Arabian Peninsula, show respect to all foreign delegates by giving them gifts as I used to do.’ ” The sub-narrator added, “The third order was something beneficial which either Ibn ‘Abbas did not mention or he mentioned but I forgot.’
Sahih Muslim Book 13: 4014
Sa’id b. Jubair reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said: Thursday, (and then said): What is this Thursday? He then wept so much that his tears moistened the pebbles. I said: Ibn ‘Abbas, what is (significant) about Thursday? He (Ibn ‘Abbas) said: The illness of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) took a serious turn (on this day), and he said: Come to me, so that I should write for you a document that you may not go astray after me. They (the Companions around him) disputed, and it is not meet to dispute in the presence of the Apostle. They said: How is lie (Allah’s Apostle)? Has he lost his consciousness? Try to learn from him (this point). He (the Holy Prophet) said: Leave me. I am better in the state (than the one in which you are engaged). I make a will about three things: Turn out the polytheists from the territory of Arabia; show hospitality to the (foreign) delegations as I used to show them hospitality. He (the narrator) said: He (Ibn Abbas) kept silent on the third point, or he (the narrator) said: But I forgot that.
Sahih Muslim Book 13: 4015
Sa’id b. Jubair reported from Ibn Abbas that he said: Thursday, and what about Thursday? Then tears began to flow until I saw them on his cheeks as it they were the strings of pearls. He (the narrator) said that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Bring me a shoulder blade and ink-pot (or tablet and inkpot), so that I write for you a document (by following which) you would never go astray. They said: Allah’s Messenger (may peace upon him) is in THE STATE OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS.
Sahih Muslim Book 13: 4016
Ibn Abbas reported: When Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was about to leave this world, there were persons (around him) in his house, ‘Umar b. al-Kbattab being one of them. Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Come, I may write for you a document; you would not go astray after that. Thereupon Umar said: Verily Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) is deeply afflicted with pain. You have the Qur’an with you. The Book of Allah is sufficient for us. Those who were present in the house differed. Some of them said: Bring him (the writing material) so that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) may write a document for you and you would never go astray after him And some among them said what ‘Umar had (already) said. When they indulged in nonsense and began to dispute in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), he said: Get up (and go away) ‘Ubaidullah said: Ibn Abbas used to say: THERE WAS A HEAVY LOSS, INDEED A HEAVY LOSS, that, due to their dispute and noise. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) could not write (or dictate) the document for them.
(a) Muhammad wanted to give something of utmost theological importance which would keep Muslims in the right path and prevent them from going astray.
(b) Muhammad implied that whatever they had until then (Quran and other sayings of Muhammad) was not sufficient; but his final new teachings were required AFTER WHICH he was sure that Muslims will not go astray.
(c) Umar did not allow these most important teachings of Muhammad to be delivered by Muhammad.
(d) Umar said Quran was sufficient even though Muhammad wanted to give something more.
(e) Umar and his group justified their decision by saying that Muhammad was delirious and in a state of unconsciousness.
(f) Ibn Abbas used to cry much realizing that this was a heavy loss.
hammad died without completing his mission without delivering everything that he was supposed to teach.
Apart from the totally unacceptable and uncivil behaviour of these companions of Muhammad(who were supposedly the most pious Muslims) who would not allow sick and dying to express himself, it raises some serious concerns.
(a) If Umar was right that Quran is sufficient (as many Muslims argue after him), was Muhammad wrong in saying that he has something else to give which apparently was required to keep Muslims from going astray despite the earlier revelations?
(b) If Muhammad was right about having this most important teaching, then should we not conclude that Quran is not the final and sufficient guidance as there was something more required to lead people rightly?
(c) As Muhammad was the last and final prophet of Allah of the Quran and there was no scope to reveal this most important message, did not Allah of the Quran know that Umar would prevent the final message from being delivered that was utmost importance to Islamic community?
(d)Why did not Allah of the Quran not sovereignly prevent Umar from stopping Muhammad and carry on with his final part of the Final Revelation?
(e)Doesn’t that mean that Allah of the Quran is not sovereign and that Muhammad’s revelations are not complete? How can a human being/s prevent God from revealing himself if he chooses to do so?
(f) Also, does it not mean that the Muslims have been at a clear risk of going astray since the very revelation that was intended to prevent them from going astray was forcefully prevented by Umar from being revealed?
(g) Muhammad mission was incomplete and Quran is insufficient.
(h) When Allah of the Quran says ““He does not speak from his hawaa (desire); it is nothing except Wahee revealed to him” (Surah 53:3-4) and Umar says Muhammad spoke in a state of delirious and unconsciousness, should not Umar be considered as a blasphemer rather than a righteously guided Caliph?
Some Objections/Responses Considered
(a)Allah of the Quran says Quran is complete: Some Muslims may attempt to evade the obvious conclusion from this incident by citing verses such as:
Surah 6:38- “We have not neglected anything in the book.”
One of the greatest Islamic scholar of modern day, Sheikh Al Albanee says: “As for Allaah’s saying: We have not neglected anything in the Book, what is meant by the word Book here is the Preserved Tablet and not the Noble Quran.” (How are we obligated to interpret the Quran, page 6).
Further, after Surah 6:38, there were a number of supposed revelations that Muhammad received, which again strengthens Al Albanee’s view.
In fact, even if we ignore what the modern day scholar Al Albanee says, we should accept that such arguments are only repeating what Umar told to Muhammad (i.e. Quran is sufficient). It accuses Muhammad of being delirious and in a state of unconsciousness.
(b)This Hadiths is not Sahih: Nothing can be more farfetched and hilarious than this argument though this is the easiest and usual escape route of many Muslims when cornered about their faith. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, two undisputable sheikhs of Hadiths for Sunni Muslims have confirmed this to be Sahih and included it in their Sahih collection. It is just escapism for Muslims to deny these Sahih Hadiths.
(c)This incident does not speak about new revelation to be included in Quran:
Surah 53:3-4 “He does not speak from his hawaa (desire); it is nothing except Wahee revealed to him.” Any Muslim, who contradicts this, contradicts Allah.
It must also be noted here that Muhammad was not mentioning about any earthly property matters or even some rituals. It was some revelation of utmost importance to Muslim community that after its revelation, they would have never gone astray. Is it logical to think that such an important revelation (after which the Muslims would not err) would not be in Quran, which Muslims claim as the final revelation, but outside it? So, it had to be a part of the Quran itself.
The only conclusion that can be drawn is Muhammad died without completing his mission (Umar prevented it) and Quran is incomplete and insufficient without the utmost and final of final messages. Those Muslims who claim that Quran is complete are only following the Sunnah of Umar and not the Sunnah of Muhammad.