Before I get into the main subject let me bring up another news item that should concern us. In Michigan when you call the Public Assistance office you are told to “Press 1 for English. Press 2 for Spanish, or Press 3 for Arabic”! CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF – Here is the number 1-888-678-8914.
Every time you add a new language to an American program it requires an additional number of persons, fluent in that language, to process those persons who refuse to learn English in order to live here. This is at an additional cost to the taxpayer! Why are we even allowing persons to immigrate here who cannot provide for themselves, and putting them in our welfare system?
This is quite alarming!!! This seems to have happened clandestinely, for, as far as I know, no public announcement, or opportunity to vote on this was offered to the American people. They are just adopting an official position, and using tax-payer money for it without public knowledge or approval.
The following link takes you into the State of Michigan Public Assistance page, (as in Food Stamps etc). You won’t have to scroll far before you see the assistance-letters options for English, Spanish, and ARABIC!!! When did the ARABIC option sneak into our culture? Will we soon have to listen to our governmental offices, stores, and other venues offer us the option of “pressing 3 for ARABIC?” Check it out for yourself. http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0%2c1607%2c7-124-5453_5527—%2c00.html
Now lets get into the main subject for this article. Today I want to continue with a look at the early Caliphs of Islam. To remind you what we have covered let me give a short review.
The first Caliph was Aabu Bakr. He reigned for 27 months. During his reign there was little territorial expansion of Islam. After Muhammad’s death there was a great defection from Islam and Bakr used the sword to stop people from leaving Islam. He killed between 40,000 and 60,000 people who tried to leave. His main accomplishment was to create fear in those who would leave the Islamic faith.
The next Caliph was Umar. Umar reigned for 10 years. Under Umar the Islamic empire grew at an unprecedented rate. As we would expect, he grew the empire through the use of the sword. The first country to fall was Syria. During his reign Levant, Egypt, Cyrene, Tripolitania, Fezzan, Eastern Anatolia (Turkey), almost whole of Sassanid Persian Empire including Armenia, Caucasus (Region between the Black and Caspian Sea) and Makran (Pakistan) were annexed to Islamic Empire. According to one estimate more than 4050 cities were captured during these military conquest. His rule extended from present day Libya in the west to the Indus river (Pakistan, India and China) in the east and the Oxus river (Just south of Russia) in the north.
The next Caliph was Uthman. He is the third of those Caliphs which were called “Rashidun or Rightly Guided Caliphs.” or “Righteous Caliphs.”
Before Umar died he appointed a committee of 6 men to choose the next Caliph from among themselves. Uthman was 70 hears old when he started his reign and reigned for 12 years. He was also one of the companions of Muhammad.
Uthman also expanded the territorial empire of Islam. He captured what is today Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbijan, Dagestanm, Sicily, Cyprus and Crete. He also took North Africa – Modern day Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia for Islam.
He mounted a campaign to take Constantinople in Anatolia which is modern day Turkey. His death ended this campaign and Constantinople was not taken in his life time.
The thing that he is most known for is the publishing of the first Qur’an. Prior to this time, 40 years after Muhammad received his first revelation and 12 years after his death, the Qur’an had not yet been written down. Up to this time it was kept in the hearts and minds of Muslims through oral tradition. Muslims would memorize the Qur’an. There were actually certain men set apart for this very purpose.
There was an earlier codex under the reign of Bakr but it was never accepted as the Qur’an because there was a lot of division on this subject. Muhammad never commanded it to be written, Muslims were told to recite it and to memorize it, not to write it down.
During the battle of Bi’r Mauna 70 of those appointed to memorize the Qur’an were killed. These men were called reciters. Uthman feared that if all of these men were killed the Qur’an would die since there would be no one left who could recite it. As a result of this he decreed that the Qur’an be written down.
Before the Qur’an was compiled into a book there were 7 oral versions. In the Hadith Muslim 4.1782 Umar b. Khattab said, “…The Qur’an was sent down in seven dialects. So recite what seems easy therefrom..”
This shows that the reciters were not infallible. If they were they would all recite perfectly each word the same way each time. This brings up a very important question, which version is the perfect, inherent word of Allah?
The resolution of the problem is found in Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 510:
“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….. 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.”
Uthman’s Qur’an became the accepted Qur’an for all ages. It is the one Muslims use today and claims to be the inherent word of Allah. Yet their Hadith shows that it cannot be inherent. It shows that there were questions and it was left to fallible man to pick the right words. Everything else was burned and destroyed so we cannot perform textual analysis of variant texts like we can with Bible manuscripts. There is only one fragment, a palimpsest, that escaped destruction and it is known as the Sana’a manuscript. There is one original Uthman Codex and it is located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan but it is incomplete missing two thirds of the Qur’an.
I have a very important question, How do we know that they got it right? They were to follow Zaid bin Thabit, but if they disagreed with him they were to take the words from the dialect of Quraish because the Qur’an was originally revealed in their tongue. In other words, it was left up to fallible men to decide what the Qur’an said. Muhammad wasn’t there to tell us which one was right. The jin who was supposed to be the angle Gabriel wasn’t there to tell us which was the right one.
Again, how do we know that they got it right? We don’t have any ancient fragments of the Qur’an from the early years of Islam or from time of Muhammad because they were all burned.
This was the most important work during the reign of Uthman. His reign ended with his assassination by rebels and a committee was formed to bring in the next Caliph. The next Caliph was Ali and we will look at him tomorrow.
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