1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet

The Koran

Sayings and Deeds of the ProphetThe Koran was put together in a hurry from what could be considered mainly second-rate sources after those who remembered Allah’s’ revelations best were killed putting down a rebellion against Muslim rule known as the War of the Apostates. In the last phase of that war, 7,000 apostates were surrounded and shown no mercy.

The believers’ opponents were not into extermination, therefore Muslim casualties tended to be lesser; still, at the battle of Yamama, sev-enty or so fanatics of the Koran, the professional reciters of Islam’s Holy Book, were killed. The loss of the best "Koranic memories" meant that the young man tasked with putting together the first and only approved version of the Koran had to depend on less reliable sources to create a written record of what Allah first told the angel Gabriel, and which he, in turn, revealed to Muhammad.

Narrated Zaid bin Thabit Al-Ansari: who was one of those who used to write the Divine Revelation:

Abu Bakr sent for me after the (heavy) casualties among the warriors (of the battle) of Yamama (where a great number of Qurra' (reciters of the Koran) were killed).

Umar was present with Abu Bakr who said, "Umar has come to me and said, 'The people have suffered heavy casualties on the day of (the battle of) Yamama, and I am afraid that there will be more casualties among the Qurra' (those who know the Qur'an by heart) at other battle-fields, whereby a large part of the Qur'an may be lost, unless you collect it. And I am of the opinion that you should collect the Qur'an.'"

Abu Bakr added, "I said to Umar, 'How can I do something which Allah's Apostle has not done?'"

Umar said (to me), "By Allah, it is (really) a good thing."

So Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal, till Allah opened my bosom for it and I had the same opinion as Umar.

(Zaid bin Thabit added:) Umar was sitting with him (Abu Bakr) and was not speaking to me).

"You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you (of telling lies or of forgetfulness): and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle. Therefore, look for the Qur'an and collect it (in one manuscript)."

By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains (from its place) it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur'an.

I said to both of them, "How dare you do a thing which the Prophet has not done?"

Abu Bakr said, "By Allah, it is (really) a good thing."

So I kept on arguing with him about it till Allah opened my bosom for that which He had opened the bosoms of Abu Bakr and Umar. So I started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men (who knew it by heart).

I found with Khuzaima two Verses of Surat-at-Tauba which I had not found with anybody else, (and they were): "Verily there has come to you an Apostle (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty He (Muhammad) is ardently anxious over you (to be rightly guided)" (9:128)

The manuscript on which the Quran was collected, remained with Abu Bakr till Allah took him unto Him, and then with Umar till Allah took him unto Him, and finally it remained with Hafsa, Umar's daughter.

Bukhari 60.201

The finished product appears to have been put together in a haphazard manner. There is no timeline. The only allowance given to any kind of order is the sequencing of most of the 114 chapters from longest to shortest. Because no attention seems to have been given to arranging the chapters and verses in some kind of chronological order, you often get answers to questions that have yet to be asked. And duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates and even quintuplets abound.

There is little scholarship evident in the first production of the Koran, although some editing may have been done in creating copies for distribution from Thabit's original, which the daughter of Caliph Umar kept under her bed. It was retrieved on order of Uthman who succeeded Umar as caliph.

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to Uthman, "O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before."

So Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, "Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you."

Hafsa sent it to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and Abdur Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies.

Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, "In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue."

They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa.

Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt.

Said bin Thabit added, "A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur'an and I used to hear Allah's Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): 'Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.'" (33:23)

Bukhari 61.510

The opinions of two eminent historians on the end product:

“A confused, jumble, crude, incondite, endless iteration…” Thomas Carlyle [1795 - 1881]

“As toilsome a reading as I ever undertook; a wearisome confused jumble.” Edward Gibbon [1737 - 1794]

One of the things that makes the Koran a tedious, repetitive read is Allah’s constant praising of himself. This has led to speculation that the Koran is not so much a revelation from God but a multi-faceted prayer where the supplicant praises his would-be benefactor ad nauseam in the hopes of currying His favour. Allah, Muhammad let it be known, is addicted to praise; he cannot get enough of it, which is why He praises himself.

Narrated Abdullah bin Mas'ud:

Allah's Apostle said, "None has more sense of ghaira (self-respect, also spelled ghira) than Allah, and for this He has forbidden shameful sins whether committed openly or secretly, and none loves to be praised more than Allah does, and this is why He Praises Himself."

Bukhari 60.161

The constant praise and repetitiveness may also be a simple form of brainwashing while making it easier to memorize the equivalent of a three hundred-page book which, as Muhammad reminded the believers, must be constantly recited to avoid its verses escaping. 

Narrated Abdullah:

The Prophet said, "It is a bad thing that some of you say, 'I have forgotten such-and-such verse of the Qur'an,' for indeed, he has been caused (by Allah) to forget it. So you must keep on reciting the Qur'an because it escapes from the hearts of men faster than camels do."

Bukhari 61.550

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "The example of the person who knows the Qur'an by heart is like the owner of tied camels. If he keeps them tied, he will control them, but if he releases them, they will run away."

Bukhari 61.549

Knowing the Koran by heart could bring unexpected benefits.

Narrated Sahl bin Sad:

A woman came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I want to give up myself to you."

A man said, "Marry her to me."

The Prophet said, "We agree to marry her to you with what you know of the Qur'an by heart."

Bukhari 38.505

The Koran must be recited out loud. Not only will it make it easier to remember, it will help others who may have forgotten this or that verse, and you may receive a blessing in return.

Narrated Aisha:

Allah's Apostle heard a man reciting the Qur'an at night, and said, "May Allah bestow His Mercy on him, as he has reminded me of such-and-such Verses of such-and-such Suras, which I was caused to forget."

Bukhari 61.558

What type of fruit or vegetable are you?

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari:

The Prophet said, "The example of him (a believer) who recites the Qur'an is like that of a citron which tastes good and smells good. And he (a believer) who does not recite the Qur'an is like a date which is good in taste but has no smell. And the example of a dissolute wicked person who recites the Qur'an is like the Raihana (sweet basil) which smells good but tastes bitter. And the example of a dissolute wicked person who does not recite the Qur'an is like the colocynth which tastes bitter and has no smell."

Bukhari 61.538

An Account of the Physical Symptoms of Revelation

The second hadith in Bukhari's extensive collection is about some of the physical symptoms and manifestations that accompanied the delivery of Allah's Revelations by the angel Gabriel.

Narrated Aisha:

Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah's Apostle "O Allah's Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?"

Allah's Apostle replied, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state passes off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says."

Aisha added: "Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over)."

Bukhari 1.2

Could some of these symptoms have been the result of brain damage caused by severe sunstroke? The structure that sheltered the stone of the Ka’ba had been extensively damaged by a fire and water. It was decided to build a new Ka’ba next to the old one. When it came time to move the stone of Paradise to its new location, every leader of the ten clans vied for the honour, some willing to fight to the death for the right to move the most sacred rock in the universe. A compromise was reached. The next person to enter the Sacred Mosque, the enclosure surrounding the Ka’ba, would decide who would move the stone. Guess who showed up?

Muhammad’s solution: the rock would be rolled onto a large sheet, and each clan chief would grab a hold of the sheet and move the rock to its new enclosure. The clan leaders were very impressed with the thirty-something Muhammad and he was highly praised by all. The enthralled future Prophet then stripped down to the waist to help, and shortly after suffered what we might call a “heat or sun stroke” from which he nearly died.

Personal Vendettas

In an eternal Book meant to elevate and guide humanity to God, it always comes as a surprise when you encounter revelations filled with vengeance, where Allah takes it upon Himself to make sure that those who have slighted His spokesperson get a horrible personalized punishment. Allah’s boasting about the physical, emotional and psychological pain He will inflict on a fellow by the name of Abu Lahab and his wife, once He gets His Hands on them, reveals a refined, attention-to-detail sadism that one might expect from the nemesis of the self-proclaimed essence of compassion and mercy. 


111 Al-Masad

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

1. Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and may he perish too;

2. Neither his wealth nor what he has earned will avail him anything.

3. He will roast in a flaming fire,

4. And his wife will be a carrier of fire-wood,

5. She shall have a rope of fibre around her neck.

A hadith about the circumstances that provoked one of Allah’s most sadistic outbursts against an individual in the entire Koran.

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

When the Verse: 'And warn your tribe of near-kindred' (26:214), was revealed, the Prophet ascended the Safa (mountain) and started calling, "O Bani Fihr! O Bani Adi!" addressing various tribes of Quraish till they were assembled. Those who could not come themselves, sent their messengers to see what was there. Abu Lahab and other people from Quraish came and the Prophet then said, "Suppose I told you that there is an (enemy) cavalry in the valley intending to attack you, would you believe me?"

They said, "Yes, for we have not found you telling anything other than the truth."

He then said, "I am a warner to you in face of a terrific punishment."

Abu Lahab said (to the Prophet) "May your hands perish all this day. Is it for this purpose you have gathered us?"

Then it was revealed: "Perish the hands of Abu Lahab (one of the Prophet's uncles), and perish he! His wealth and his children will not profit him...." (111:1-5)

Bukhari 60.293