Friday, November 27, 2015

Criticisms of Simple Islam

To reject the understanding of Simple Islam, one should show that believing in the three principles of the God, the judgement day, and Quran would require a muslim to also believe in Hadith and the practiced approach of Hadith-mining for telling right from wrong. Here we list the Quran-based arguments that the scholars use and investigate them in detail.
Read the original articles here.

In summary, the difference between Simple Islam and the scholars' understanding of Islam comes from these points:
  1. The unit of miracle in Quran in chapter not verse. The verse hence should not be translated out of its context (its chapter and surrounding verses) as otherwise will cause misunderstanding. Scholars rely on out-of-context interpretation to attribute their understanding to Quran.
  2. An offered translation for a word must be consistent with the other usages of that word in Quran. To make a verse match the scholar's preached approach, they sometimes translate a key word inconsistently with the way the word was used in the rest of Quran.
  3. Scholars usually generalize every impressive sentence in Quran to a command issues to all Muslims of all times. The scope article shows that this view is inconsistent with Quran. If a command is given to some particular people, to expand the target audience to muslims of the entire history, a strong argument must be provided.
  4. The religious Elders (scholars) should not be confused with religion researchers. The former base their arguments on Hadith, which is practically not verifiable by an ordinary muslim with a limited time budget, while the latter base their arguments on Quran where every muslim can verify, and then accept or reject it. The latter hence does not cause the blind following relationship between the muslims and the researchers.
  5. Hadith is never mentioned in Quran. The following analysis shows that in contrary to scholar's claims it is also never implied. The question for Hadith-believers is that if Hadith and the approach of Hadith-mining was such an important pillar of Islam, should not be a few explicit mentions of it in Quran so that scholars would not have to desperately try to sell such remote, inconsistent interpretations.

A: Hadith to interpret Quran

It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. (7)
The verse says that there exist some unspecific verses in Quran that not everybody understands their interpretation. The scholars argue that there must be a way that the ones who understand it to convey their understanding to other who do not. Therefore, there must be something attached to Quran that interprets the unspecific verses so that the others also understand them like the way the God (and perhaps those who are firm in knowledge) understands them. The scholars then introduce Hadith (quotes attributed to religious figures) as this missing attachment and hence consider mining the Hadiths carried over the history as part of the religious practice approved by Quran.
In response, we should say that the unspecified verses are not the weak point of Quran so that it would require our tricks to be fixed. As the text clearly says the very existence of these unspecified verses is intentional to separate those in whose heart is deviation, from the true believers. In fact, Quran is not supposed to be guidance for everybody and as Quran introduces itself at its beginning, it is a book for guidance for those conscious of the God.
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah - (2)
At no point in the verse it is mentioned that the ones who do not know the interpretation must refer to the ones who do know it, thus no need to seek Hadith-mining as an implementation of the assumed referring.
In fact, one can understand from this verse that a regular believer does not have to understand the entire Quran; comprehending Quran sometimes requires a pure heart which cannot be obtained by knowledge. The reaction of a believer when faces the verses that she does not understand well must be that "We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord." instead of desperately referring to the Elders (scholars) seeking for an interpretation. There is nothing wrong with a believer admitting that she currently does not fully understand part of Quran. The hope is that by reading Quran continuously and purifying the heart as well as the vision after practicing its recommendations, each time that the believer reads Quran understands it better and better.

B: Hadith to explain Quran

[We sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. (44)
In this verse the Arabic verb "تبین" is translated as "to make clear" by many scholars. With this translation, this verse implies that the prophet had also the duty of interpreting the verses for the people and the verses themselves alone would not suffice. This understanding is all based on the translation of "to make clear" from the Arabic verb "تبین". However, it seems that this translation is not consistent with the other usages of the verb in Quran. By looking at the other usages of the word in Quran it seems that the translation of "to reveal" (in contrast with "to hide") is closer to the true meaning of the verb. With this translation, the verse is talking about revealing the verses descent on Muhammad to people.
For example, the verse 187 from chapter Al-i-Imran says: "وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّـهُ مِيثَاقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُ ...", which is translated to "when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], "You must reveal it to the people and not conceal it." The verse 15 from chapter Al-Ma'ida says: "يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَ‌سُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرً‌ا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ ...", which is translated to "O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger revealing to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture". Here also the verb of our interest is used in contrast with "to conceal", which suggests the translation of "to reveal" for it. The verse 242 from chapter Al-Baqara says: "كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ", which is translated to "Thus does Allah reveal to you His verses that you might use reason"; here the verb "to reveal" is performed by the God and does not encompass the prophet's involvement.
The other point worth mentioning is that the audience in this verse are "people", and the scholars usually argue that in Arabic "people" refers to the people in its general form and hence the audience of the verse must the people of the history. However, it seems that there exists cases in Quran that "people" is used to refer to only the people of a particular place and cannot be generalized to the people of all times. For example, in the verse below, the conversation could not be among the people of all times:
So the magicians were assembled for the appointment of a well-known day. (38) And it was said to the people, "Will you congregate (39)
Also in the verse below, the miracle of reviving that prophet is not verifiable by the people of all times:
... He said, "Rather, you have remained one hundred years. Look at your food and your drink; it has not changed with time. And look at your donkey; and We will make you a sign for the people. And look at the bones [of this donkey] - how We raise them and then We cover them with flesh." And when it became clear to him, he said, "I know that Allah is over all things competent." (259)

C: Hadith to describe the pattern

There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. (21)
The scholars argue that one should also take the prophet as a pattern after he has been dead; thus, there must a way to transmit his lifestyle to the muslims who are born after centuries so that they also can take the prophet as a pattern. The scholars then introduce Hadith and Hadith-mining as a solution to this problem.
To be able to employ this argument one must first show that "you" in the verse refers to all the believers of the history. However, facts are indicating otherwise. For example, if we do not separate this verse from the context and look at the verse before:
They think the companies have not [yet] withdrawn. And if the companies should come [again], they would wish they were in the desert among the bedouins, inquiring [from afar] about your news. And if they should be among you, they would not fight except for a little. (20) There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. (21)
we see that "you" is referring to the muslims who were fighting with the prophet at the battle of Ahzab.
If we look at the other usages of the term "excellent pattern" in Quran, we see that Quran considers also Abraham and those with him as an excellent pattern for the muslims of the time of Muhammad.
There has already been for you an excellent pattern in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, "Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have denied you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone" except for the saying of Abraham to his father, "I will surely ask forgiveness for you, but I have not [power to do] for you anything against Allah. Our Lord, upon You we have relied, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination. (4)
Does this mean that there was a science of Hadith at the time of Muhammad and the Hadiths attributed to Abraham and to those with him were being collected and mined? Does this mean that we at this time must also collect and mine Hadiths attributed to Abraham? The answer is No. In this verse, Quran clearly explains that to which behavior of Abraham and of those with him it is referring and asks the believers of Medina to take that particular behavior as a pattern. Now, if we take another look at the usage of the term "excellent pattern" for Muhammad, we see that the chapter is about the people who are looking for excuses to escape from the battle of Ahzab and Quran commands them to take the prophet as an excellent pattern and similarly to him stand still.

D: Hadith to judge

We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light. The prophets, who had submitted, judged by it for the Jews, and so did the rabbis and the scribes, as they were charged to preserve the Book of Allah and were witnesses to it. So do not fear the people, but fear Me, and do not sell My signs for a paltry gain. Those who do not judge by what Allah has sent down—it is they who are the faithless. (44)
This verse mentions that the prophets judged by Torah and also did so the rabbis and those of their Lord. The scholars translate the "scribes" as "the scholars" and then argue that in addition to the prophets, there were Elders named rabbis and scholars to whom people would refer for judgement; therefore Quran approves the position of scholars and positively refers to that. This arguments questions the attempt of the Simple Islam theory in eliminating the position of scholars in religious practice.
In response, we should first remind that Quran does not use the term scholar and the translation of "scholar" for the term "those of their Lord" seems weird. Second, as the text emphasizes the rabbis and those of their Lord were judging by Quran and not the Hadiths attributed to the prophets. In fact, this verse is approving the Simple Islam theory since the rabbis at the time that the prophets are not present were referring only to the book and there is no mentioning of mining the samples and the Hadiths remained. In fact the modern term for rabbis and those of their Lord would be "the religion researchers" and not "scholar" or "the Elders" since the rabbis (or in modern terms religion researchers) could explain to the plain people that how and by using which part of the book they concluded their judgement, and each plain believer can hear their argument out, verify that with the book, and eventually accept or reject it. This is in contrast with the way of Elders (scholars) that base their opinion on a pile of unreliable, out-of-context Hadiths and samples coming from history, where their verification is beyond the time budget available to a regular believer and she has no choice but blindly adopting the final judgement of the scholar. In fact, what distinguishes between the religion researchers and the scholars is the complexity of the sources of arguments: in the former it is the book and in the latter it is the pile of Hadiths and the complex method of Hadith-mining.

E: Hadith as divine revelation

Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. (3) It is not but a revelation revealed, (4)
The scholars argue by this verse that even the daily conversations of the prophet is also a revelation; thus we must take the daily conversations of the prophet equivalent to Quran. Therefore, as much as the muslims use Quran as the reference for right and wrong, the Hadiths attributed to the prophet must also be used. This view would justify the existing dominant culture of Islam being based on Hadith as well as the complex methods of mining them.
In response, we should say that this conclusion is all based on the assumption that "It" in "It is not but a revelation revealed" refers to daily conversations of the prophet. If we look at the context of the verse in this Meccan chapter (meaning that it was descent at the beginning of Islam were Muhammad had a few followers), we see that the chapter is talking about the message in its general form (probably in the first days of the invitation that some got confused from hearing the claim of Muhammad and called him lost.)
By the star when it descends, (1) Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred, (2) Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. (3) It is not but a revelation revealed, (4) Taught to him by one intense in strength - (5) One of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form (6) While he was in the higher [part of the] horizon. (7) Then he approached and descended (8) And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer. (9) And he revealed to His Servant what he revealed. (10) The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. (11) So will you dispute with him over what he saw? (12) And he certainly saw him in another descent (13)
This interpretation is consistent with the ending verses of this chapter, where it mentions Muhammad as a new warner like the former warners:
This [Prophet] is a warner like the former warners. (56) The Approaching Day has approached. (57) Of it, [from those] besides Allah, there is no remover. (58) Then at this statement do you wonder? (59) And you laugh and do not weep (60) While you are proudly sporting? (61) So prostrate to Allah and worship [Him]. (62)
The scholars must first show that "It" in "It is not but a revelation revealed" is not referring to only Quran and covers also all words that the prophet has uttered in his lifetime. Then they should justify the contradiction between Quran and the claim that all words uttered by the prophet are revelations: for example, Quran considers the revelation to Muhammad similar to the revelation to other prophets.
Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms]. (163)
On the other hand, accepting that all the words uttered by the previous prophets were based on a revelation is not consistent with Quran. For example it is really hard to accept that the conversation between Muses and Aaron were according to a revelation:
[Moses] said, "O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray, (92) From following me? Then have you disobeyed my order?" (93) [Aaron] said, "O son of my mother, do not seize [me] by my beard or by my head. Indeed, I feared that you would say, 'You caused division among the Children of Israel, and you did not observe [or await] my word.' " (94)

F: Haidth key to full submission

But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission. (65)
The scholars understand form this verse that a good believer is the one who does not feel discomfort by the prophet's judgements; thus, if one does not accept the Hadiths attributed to the prophet as a pillar in the religious practice, then is not a true believer according to Quran.
In response, we first should remind that this verse is about accepting the judgement that the prophet issued as the judge in a disagreement that was brought to him. This is extremely different with mining the Hadiths and putting the affiliated quotes to the prophet after over a thousand years equivalent to the miracle of Quran.
Also, if we do not separate this verse from the context and also look at the verses before, we see that the audience of the verse are people who at the time of Muhammad is present in front of him ("they had come to you") requesting for his judgement:
And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful. (64) But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission. (65)
To expand the application of this verse and use it for the people of the future centuries, one need a very strong argument. Refer to the article Scope for further discussion.

G: Hadith to refer to the prophet

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. (59)
The scholars argue that the verse commands to refer to the God and the prophet at the time of disagreement and the only way to do so when the prophet is dead is referring to the Hadiths attributed to him.
If we do not separate the verse form the context, we observe many evidences that the audience of these verses are the believers at the time of Muhammad and not all the muslims of the entire history. For example, the verse below pictures the prophet watching the audience ("Have you not seen those who ...")
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result. (59) Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you? They wish to refer legislation to Taghut, while they were commanded to reject it; and Satan wishes to lead them far astray. (60)
The scholars first assume that whatever is commanded to the muslims around Muhammad must be expanded to all the muslims of the history. (The article Scope shows that this view contradicts with Quran.) Then to explain the contradiction of this assumption with the verses that command referring to the prophet, they interpret that the intention of Quran was that the reference continues through Hadith. Such a remote interpretation is never explicitly mentioned in Quran. The question here is that if Hadith and the method of mining them has such an important place in Islamic practice, should not we find at least one explicit mention of that so that the scholars would not be forced to desperately hang on to such remote interpretations to justify their method.

H: Hadith to obey the prophet

O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn from him while you hear [his order]. (20)
The scholars argue that Quran is full of expressions such as "Obey the God and his messenger"; if we do not use Hadith in the religious practice, then what is the meaning of so much emphasis on obeying Muhammad for a muslim who lives centuries after Muhammad is dead?
In response we should say that it is extremely difficult to relate the verb "to obey" in "Obey the God and his messenger" to applying the questionable Hadiths that are attributed to conversations between Muhammad and some particular people around him about their own particular situation. Moreover, there are some evidences that the audience of these kinds of verses are in fact the muslims around Muhammad (which makes perfect sense). For example, in the verse below:
O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn from him while you hear [his order]. (20)
, the believers to which the verse is talking are hearing the words of Muhammad, which indicates a live conversation. It is worth noting that Quran is also full of commands that were given to the believers living ages before Quran such as the command to kill a cow to Moses followers; does this mean that all the believers of the history must also be killing cows? No. Can't all the believers of the history learn from the story of killing the cow and improve their understanding of religion? Yes. Therefore, the existence of temporary, local commands in Quran has no contradiction with the fact that Quran is a guidance for the believers of all times. Refer to the article Scope for further discussion on this.

J: Hadith to follow the prophet

Say, [O Muhammad], "If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." (31)
Similarly to the case of obeying, the scholars believe that the verb "to follow" is also referring to the muslims of the entire history and the only way to follow Muhammad at our time that he is dead is to mine in the Hadith that is attributed to him.
Like the point we made about the relation between obeying and Hadith, here is also there are evidences that the audience of these verses are the people who were present at the time of revelation. For example, this verse begins with "Say" which indicates a live conversation.

K: Hadith to be purified by the prophet

Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error. (164)
The scholars argue by this verse that the prophet in addition to reading the verses for the believers is also missioned with the task of purifying them and teaching them; if the muslims were supposed to only receive the text of Quran from Muhammad, then what "teaching wisdom" means here? Are the next generations deprived from this purifying and teaching by the prophet?
In response, similarly to the case of obeying and following, one should first show that audience of the verse are beyond the believers around the prophet. For example, in this verse the prophet is reciting the verses for the believers, which indicates a live conversation where the audience are at the same time and the place of Muhammad. According to the text, the verse is mentioning the task of purifying and teaching for the believers around the prophet, to whom Quran is being recited.
I wish I also was living at the time of Muhammad in Arabia so that I too can benefit from the purifying and the teaching by Muhammad. I also wish to meet Muhammad in person. Does this dream should lead me to try to simulate the experience of meeting him?! It is an unchangeable fact that we are deprived from the gift of presence of Muhammad, but we still can benefit from the miraculous book that he brought to us, which according to the book itself was descent to guide those of conscious.

L: Quran approves scholars!

And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious. (122)
The scholars argue that this verse prevents all the muslims from leaving their lives to learn religion; it instead suggests that a small group of people go after learning religion and gaining a deeper understanding of it, return to their people, and warn them based on what they understood. The scholars then conclude that the Quran itself recommends creation of the scholar community in a religious society.
In response, we should emphasis that Simple Islam has nothing against the approach that some group of people spend more time researching in religion and then share their findings with the other muslims. The difference here is that each muslim must be able to verify the presented findings with Quran and to decide whether she finds the research results reasonable or not. If the arguments are based on Quran and common sense, then to benefit from the results of the research of religion researchers, we do not need to trust them, their skills, and their honesty since we can verify the results independent of the person who is presenting them. This approach is however is not applicable to the pile of Hadith; if a scholar bases his argument on a particular Hadith saying that he finds the Hadith authentic, it is not feasible for us to verify his argument unless we first spend years studying the Hadith-mining skills, i.e., have become a scholar. The key point that distinguishes between the Elders (the scholars) and the religion researchers is that the Elders base their arguments on resources that the regular muslims, given their limited time budget, cannot verify and the relationship between the muslim and the Elder naturally becomes a blind followship.

M: Hadith to tell details of prayers

Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient. (238) And if you fear [an enemy, then pray] on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember Allah, because He has taught you that which you did not [previously] know. (239)
Some (not all) scholars offer another translation of these verses, which says: "And if you fear, on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then pray Allah in the same way He has taught you which you did not know. (239)", and argue that this verse is referring to a specific way of establishing the prayer which has been previously taught to the believers, while this specific way is not explained in Quran. The scholars then conclude that naturally Quran must have assumed that this particular way of praying to be transmitted to the muslims of future centuries, and Hadith could be one such channel.

The short answer is that the scholars interpretation comes form two inconsistent translations in this verse: first, the translation of "in the same way" from the Arabic word "کما", which implies that muslims should remember the God in the same way that they have been taught; however the translation of "because" makes more sense here which implies that muslims should remember the God because He taught them what they did not know. Second, the Arabic verb "ذکرو" refers to remembering the God and not the praying itself and translating it to "to pray" or "to remember in prayer" is changing the words of Quran. In the below, we explain each in detail.

It seems that also in the verse that we are discussing, the translation of "کما" is "because". As a supporting argument for this translation, we can take a look at the way the similar words of "کما" and "علمت" is used in the verse 282 of chapter Al-Baqara:
O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice. Let no scribe refuse to write because Allah has taught him... (282)
Here "کما" means "because" since it is not reasonable to believe that writing has one particular way that has been descent on human kind. The verse is rather saying that each person capable of writing should offer his skill because the God (indirectly) also has taught him that. Considering the similarity between the expressions used in these two verses, we can apply the same translation to the verse 239 of chapter Al-Baqara:
And if you fear on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember Allah, because He has taught you that which you did not know. (239)
Similarly to the teaching of how to write, there is no reason to translate this verse as a particular way revealed by a revelation. With this translation, the confusion that there was a very particular way of remembrance to which Quran is referring would no longer arise.

Second point worth mentioning is that Quran uses the Arabic work "صلی" for referring to praying not the word "ذکر" which is used in the verse that we are discussing. Although some translators usually use these two words interchangeably, which also causes the confusion in this verse, Quran itself distinguishes between these two terms (to pray and to remember) to the point that it names "ذکر" (to remember) the purpose of "صلی" (to pray). The supporting example is the verse 14 of chapter Ta-Ha:
Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance. (14)
But this is reasonable that in the middle of battlefield, where there is much distraction, we should not expect much focus and remembrance in the praying. One can say that the verse 239 of chapter Al-Baqara suggests to do "remembrance", which was the main purpose of praying, later when they feel safe.
Furthermore, the only other place in Quran that the expression "He has taught you that which you did not know" is used is the verse 151 of chapter Al-Baqara:
Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our verses and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know. (151)
which is immediately continued by recommending remembrance of the God.
So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. (152)
which offers this understanding that one of the motivations for remembering the God should be the things that He has taught us. We can make use of this point in understanding the verse 239 of chapter Al-Baqara: one of the motivations of remembering the God is accompanied with recommendation of doing so: "then remember the God, because He has taught you that which you did not know." In other words, the very strong expression of "He has taught you that which you did not know" is referring to the very important matter of remembering, and not the different ways of praying (standing, on the horse, ...).

N: Quran tell us to ask scholars!

And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad], except men to whom We revealed [the message], so ask the people of the message if you do not know. (7)
The scholars use the second part of this verse to argue that Quran commands muslims to ask the people of message for religious matters, and in our current society the religious Elders (the scholars) can play this role.

Any sentence could be mistranslated if it is taken out of its context. In translating the Quran verses also it is recommended to consider the verses before and after, so that we first understand the context well. The out-of-context translation problem becomes much more severe if we take a phrase of a verse out and translate it separately! In translating this verse also, we should not ignore the first part of the verse that shows the subject of the verse is about the fact that the previous prophets also were simple human beings with the difference that they were receiving revelation. The second phrase of the verse also says that if you are unaware of this fact, you can ask the people of the message. Expanding the recommendation of asking about whether the previous prophets were simple human beings to the very complex method of Haidth-mining for discovering the (missing!) details of religious traditions is a very, very hard thing to do, if not impossible.

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