A Da`y using different evidence with different people

Q 1: What should a scholar do with a questioner who does not find textual evidence convincing and seeks logic-based evidence as regards issues related to Al-Uluhiyyah (Allah's Exclusive Right to be worshipped) and Allah's protection of the Qur'an from distortion and so on?

A: The Caller should resort to different methods when citing evidence and this depends on the status of the person who asks him or debates with him about a specific issue. The questioner may be acknowledging the basics of this issue and its obligations and that it is obligatory upon him to act upon it. In such case, the scholar does not have to assert and substantiate these basics because the questioner or debater acknowledges them from the very beginning that they are authentic. Thus, the scholar should explain to the questioner that these basics confirm his own view about which he is debating, to convince the questioner to accept, believe in and act according to these basics. For example, Allah's Messengers (peace be upon them) used the polytheists' admission of Tawhid-ul-Rububiyyah (Oneness of Allah's Lordship) as evidence to convince them of Tawhid-ul-Uluhiyyah (Oneness of Worship) which they denied. Allah (Glory be to Him) refers to this in many Ayahs (verses) of the Qur'an which are considered both textual and logic-based evidence at the same time. One example of this is citing the following Ayah: Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). By a Muslim as evidence of Allah's protection of the Qur'an and its verses against distortion and alteration. (Part No. 12; Page No. 229) It is evidence that the Qur'an will stay without being distorted just as it has been revealed to be a proof against Allah's servants till Doomsday. This Ayah is also textual evidence against anyone who believes that the Qur'an has been protected against perversion but does not believe in the permanence of this protection.The questioner may have doubts with regard to the basics of the issue under question. Therefore, he asks for evidence to prove or deny these basics till he finds evidence that supports them, then he accepts it otherwise he keeps denying them. In such a case, the scholar has to prove these basics depending on logic-based evidence. An example of this may be the dialogue in which a disbeliever debated with Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) about his Lord. To prove Allah's Lordship, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) told him that it is Allah (Exalted be He) Who gives life and causes death. To win over Ibrahim, the disbeliever, using a pun, claimed that he too gives life and causes death even though he meant something different from what Ibrahim (peace be upon him) mentioned about Allah (Exalted be He). After that, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) cited another sign to prove Allah's Lordship in a way about which the disbeliever could not use pun to deny or raise doubts; he said as mentioned in the Qur'an: “Verily, Allâh brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allâh guides not the people, who are Zâlimûn (wrong-doers.). Another example of this case may be Fir`aun who said to his people: "I am your most exalted lord." and I know not that you have an ilâh (a god) other than me. (Part No. 12; Page No. 230) And: O Hâmân! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways The ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the Ilâh (God) of Mûsâ (Moses); but verily, I think him to be a liar. In some Ayahs of Surah Al-Shu`ara', Allah (Exalted be He) mentions the debate between Fir`aun (Pharaoh) and Musa (peace be upon him) in which Pharaoh debated about Musa's Lord and reproached Musa for worshipping other than him but in the end Musa brought evidence against him; Allah (Exalted be He) says: Fir‘aun (Pharaoh) said: "And what is the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists)?" [Mûsâ (Moses)] said: "The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with certainty." [Fir‘aun (Pharaoh)] said to those around: "Do you not hear (what he says)?" [Mûsâ (Moses)] said: "Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!" [Fir‘aun (Pharaoh)] said: "Verily, your Messenger who has been sent to you is a madman!" [Mûsâ (Moses)] said: "Lord of the east and the west, and all that is between them, if you did but understand!" [Fir‘aun (Pharaoh)] said: "If you choose an ilâh (god) other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners." In this debate, Musa (peace be upon him) cited objects to prove the existence of their Creator as well as some cosmic signs to prove the existence of their Originator. There is no doubt that these signs prove that Lordship is a right peculiar to Allah (Exalted be He) and this requires that worship is peculiar to Him Alone. Likewise, when debating with people who deny Prophethood, the miracles of the messengers and prophets should be taken as evidence to prove their Prophethood. Allah (Exalted be He) always supports His Messengers (peace be upon them) with miracles which prove that they are Messengers of Allah and these stand as evidence against their nations.In such cases, citing the pure textual evidence is not sufficient (Part No. 12; Page No. 231) such as Allah's saying: Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "He is Allâh, (the) One. To confirm Tawhid (the Oneness of Allah) or Allah's saying: And We have not sent you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind to confirm that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a Messenger of Allah. Also, it is not enough to cite the following Qur'anic verse against a person who denies the permanent preservation of the Qur'an against perversion: Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). In fact, it is impossible to convince him in this way because this may lead to Daur Sabqi (rotation of two propositions) or Tasalsul Mamnu` (infinite succession). In this case, the evidence to be cited should be logic-based or evidence that acts both like a textual and logic-based evidence at the same time. This is like the Qur'anic verses which Ibrahim (peace be upon him) cited as evidence against the disbeliever who debated about his Lord and the Qur'anic verses which Musa (peace be upon him) cited as evidence against Fir`aun (Pharaoh) and many of the Qur'anic verses which are cited as evidence on the resurrection on Doomsday. In fact, to prove that the Qur'an has remained protected against perversion till today, the person should cite the fact that the Qur'an has been reported through Tawatur (a significant number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) and that it is an eternal miracle till Doomsday. The following is an explanation of this:As regards the issue that the Qur'an was reported through Tawatur (Transmission of reports by a significant number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) which confirms it with certainty, we should cite the fact that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) had scribes who used to record the revealed verses of the Qur'an. When a Surah or Qur'anic verses or even one verse was revealed to him, (Part No. 12; Page No. 232) he (peace be upon him) would dictate it to one of the scribes. Then, they would record the Qur'anic verse or verses on whatever they found whether a frond of a palm tree, thin rocks, bones or the like. This process continued till the Qur'an was completely revealed and Allah (Exalted be He) completed His Blessings for Muslims. However, it was a habit for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to recite the Qur'anic verses revealed to him with deep contemplation whether in Salah (Prayer) or other. Also, Jibril (Gabriel) used to descend on him (peace be upon them both) to revise the Qur'an with him during the month of Ramadan. This continued till the Prophet's (peace be upon him) death. It should be mentioned here that he (peace be upon him) was infallible and would not make a mistake in reporting or passing down the Shari`ah.The Companions of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon them) used to master learning and reciting the Qur'an together. They would not learn and recite the new Surah or group of verses only but they also used to memorize them by heart, understand them and act upon them. In this way, the Companions mastered the Qur'an both in terms of memorization and acting upon it at the same time. Any person who reads books of Hadith and biographies will know this very well. Whoever reads the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the biographies of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) will know the extent to which they cared about protecting religion in general and the Qur'an in particular against any distortion.Many of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) were famous for learning the Qur'an by heart including: Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, `Uthman ibn `Affan, `Aly ibn Abu Talib, Ubay ibn Ka`b, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Sa`id ibn Al-`As, `Abdul-Rahman ibn Al-Harith ibn Hisham, and Zayd ibn Thabit, (Part No. 12; Page No. 233)  `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, `Abdullah ibn Al-Zubayr, and Abu Zayd Al-Ansary (may Allah be pleased with them all).During the Battle of Al-Yamamah, many of the Companions who had memorized the Qur'an by heart, died as they were eager to participate in this battle. They even used to say to each other, 'Come on people of the Qur'an' to demonstrate their religious zeal and love for Islam and to encourage each other to defend Allah's Religion. When many of the memorizers of the Qur'an died, other Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) agreed to compile the Qur'an from trustworthy Companions who had memorized it by heart and they did it perfectly. After that, the script of the Qur'an was entrusted to Abu Bakr, the first Caliph after Allah's Messenger, then to `Umar during the period of his Caliphate till he died (may Allah be pleased with them both) then to `Umar's daughter, Hafsah (the Mother of the Believers) (may Allah be pleased with her). It is known that the Qur'an was revealed in seven ways of recitation and every group of the Companions used to recite it in a different way. When `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) took up the Caliphate, he was advised to compile the Qur'an according to one of the seven ways of recitation for fear of dissension. `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) ordered the Companions to record the Qur'an according to one way of recitation from trustworthy Companions who had learned it by heart. After that this script was compared with the manuscripts that had been entrusted to Hafsah (may Allah be pleased with her) and proved to be identical. Copies of this script were made and sent to the capital cities of all Muslim countries (Part No. 12; Page No. 234) after they had been recited in the presence of `Uthman for checking. The copies were accepted by the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) and he kept the original script in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah. All the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) considered that these copies were the Qur'an. They had an absolute degree of certainty that it was the Qur'an which was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). This Qur'an has been acted upon till today. It has been transmitted generation after generation whether in a written form or memorized. It has been transmitted to us by Tawatur (a significant number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) which leave no place for the slightest doubt that the Qur'an we recite now is the same as the Qur'an that has been compiled by Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq in the beginning, then by `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them). This makes us sure of the preservation of the Qur'an just as we are certain of the existence of some famous cities that we cannot reach. If the Companions did not have a general consensus with absolute certainty that the Qur'an that was compiled during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them) was the same as the Qur'an revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), nothing else would make us believe in the Qur'an with certainty but physical evidence. Also, if the narrations which tell us that the Companion wrote and memorized the Qur'an by heart, did not make us believe in the Qur'an with absolute certainty, no other reports would do, given that the narrators of such Hadiths were trustworthy and reliable. Nowadays, in a time when people's care about religion has decreased compared to the days of the early Muslims, if any person wants to compile the Qur'an (Part No. 12; Page No. 235) from those who memorize it by heart even without referring to the written, printed or audio copies of the Qur'an, he could easily do so. What about the early Muslims in their glorious days when their care about religion's essential and subsidiary issues reached the peak in all fields! In fact, reality is hard evidence and the most reliable witness over the preservation of the Qur'an till the day.As regards proving that the preservation of the Qur'an has been and will be an eternal miracle till Doomsday, we may say that it is a miracle and evidence of Muhammad's Prophethood (peace be upon him) in the past and in the present. The Qur'an challenges all nations to come up with a similar book. It is inimitable in terms of its eloquence, rhetoric, elegant style, rulings of Shari`ah, appropriateness for all nations to make progress despite the differences in people's classes and conditions and for all times and places. It is inimitable in terms of its truthful historical accounts of earlier nations and matters of the unseen that happened in the past nations and will happen in the future. No one has been able to come up with a book that is similar to the Qur'an till today, given that it was revealed around thirteen centuries ago, and given that there have been so many opponents and adversaries for Islam and Muslims with deadly intrigues and earnest endeavor to annihilate this religion, and given that there has been huge progress in physical sciences and diversity of cultures. However, Allah (Exalted be He) wills to preserve His Religion and to make His Word superior. He wills the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah (Part No. 12; Page No. 236) be eternal evidence against all people.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.