”Need is the mother of invention”
Follows from Part I
INVENTING GRAMMATICAL RULES
We have seen how did the Muslim scholars invent pre-Islamic poetry, Hadith, and even imaginary words claiming them to be from foreign languages. We now turn to the last invention that won them the gold medal: Early Muslims as they wrestled with the various errors in the Qur'an, have advanced different reasons as to why they should not be errors. The early attempts to explain away the grammatical errors in the Qur'an relied on the performance of acrobatic feats in the field of grammar. The fact that these attempts differed indicate that some scholars were not content with others answers, which is an indication of idterab (perplexion). Dissatisfied with the different attempts that relied on the manipulation of grammatical rules some scholars have invented a sweeping new rule to fix most errors. They called it iltifat.
It will be a waste of time to deal with every point raised in responce to our article on the topic of grammatical errors. However we will concentrate on errors found in Q. 2:177, 4:162, 5:69, just to prove the point.
Here is a Muslim's summary of what iltifat is:
In 1992, M A S Abdel Haleem, a lecturer from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London (UK) published a paper called Grammatical Shift For The Rhetorical Purposes: Iltifat And Related Features In The Qur'an, in the Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume LV, Part 3. In this paper, he not only dealt with the so-called-linguistic (grammatical) errors published by John Burton, but also showed that people need to be thorough in classical Arabic before saying anything about the Qur'an and its grammatical structure. Most of the discussion on iltifat below is taken from this paper.
To begin with: Iltifat means to 'turn/turn one's face to'. It is an important part of balagah (Arabic rhetoric) where there is a sudden shift in the pronoun of the speaker or the person spoken about. Muslim literary critics over the centuries have greatly admired this technique. Iltifat has been called by rhetoricians shaja'at al-arabiyya as it shows, in their opinion, the daring nature of the Arabic language. If any 'daring' is to be attached to it, it should above all be the daring of the language of the Qur'an since it employs this feature far more extensively and in more variations than does Arabic poetry. Most of the authors who talk about iltifat use the examples from the Qur'an. No one seems to quote references in prose other than from the Qur'an: and indeed a sampling of hadith material found not a single instance.
The types of iltifat
1) Changes in person, between 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, which is the most common and is usually divided into six kinds. The four important examples that are found in the Qur'an are:
- Transition from the 3rd to 1st person. This is the most common type. Over 140 instances can be found in the Qur'an.
- From 1st to 3rd person - nearly 100 such instances can be found in the Qur'an.
- From 3rd to 2nd person - nearly 60 instances.
- From 2nd to 3rd person - under 30 instances.
2) Change in the number, between singular, dual and plural.
3) Change in the addressee.
4) Change in the tense of the verb.
5) Change in the case marker.
6) Using noun in the place of pronoun. 
According to M A S Abdel Haleem error no. 1 falls in the category of iltifat.
Here is his comments on error no. 1: This change in case is similar to changes number and person and tense. All these are used in the Qur'an for rhetorical purposes in their contexts. This is a feature called iltifaat. Of which there are countless examples in Arabic. As for how these rhetorical measures are used in the Qur'an - they have been covered comprehensively in the largest book on Qur'anic sciences called Al-Burhan by Zarkashi.
LAFTA ON ILTIFAT
Zarkashi defined iltifat as " the change of speech from one mode to another, for the sake of freshness and variety for the listner, to renew his interest, and to keep his mind from boredom and frustration, through having the one mode continuously at his ear. 
Allah knew that every pious Muslim reader of the Qur'an will arrive at Q. 5:69 or 4:162 for example, and find himself suffering from boredom and frustration and for this purpose Allah decided to place a point of iltifat to refresh the mind of all Muslim readers across the centuries!
And we ask: is this iltifat found in the mother of the book that is in heaven as well?
Here are some comments made by Arabic scholars on the nature of iltifat:
Iltifat is also called by some " al-sarf and al-insiraf (both of these meaning lexically 'to depart'" 
And "... it is using one [mode] in a place where another ought to have been used" 
Others saw it as khuruj al-kalam 'ala muqtada 'l-zaher (departure from what is normally expected). 
This iltifat is also called shajat al-arabiyya (the daring of the Arabic language). A daring person, ... undertakes what others do not dare and such is iltifat in speech.
According to the above, Iltifat then is first a departure from the norms of Arabic grammar. If this iltifat was a RULE of Arabic grammar its usage would not have been considered a departure.
Second in iltifat the mode or inflection " ought not to have been used" the way it was used. Again if this iltifat was a RULE of Arabic grammar its usage would not have been labelled "ought not".
Third if iltifat was a RULE of Arabic grammar its usage would not have been called a "dare" that is a dangerous act.
Iltifat then in brief is a daring departure that ought not to have taken place. These are not the descriptions of a rule or even an exception but these definitions of iltifat by themselves are a very clear comment on the various responses to the first error. If the responses listed in the beginning of the article were in accordance with the rules of Arabic grammar, there would have been no need for iltifat at all.
Now let us listen to the author of the article on iltifat to see how he "apologises" for the cases involving a change of case marker eg. first error:
- This category ... involves a very limited number of examples, ... 2:177, 4:162 and 5:69.
- It was said to be iltifat only according to one reading which involves a shift in words concerned, but in each case there is another (if less common) reading that does not involve a shift.
- According to the reading involving a shift, explainations of the shift on the ground of iltifat remains at least as strong if not stronger than other explainations.
Mr Abdel Haleem's belief that the explanation of the shift on the ground of iltifat could be stronger than other explanations says something about these other explanations. For if the other explanations were strong and valid there would be no need for any other explanations on any other grounds. Mr Abdel Haleem has no hesitation in stating the shift in Q. 2:177 (see the fifth error in our article) just as we did in our article:
Q. 2:177 Al-sabirin is in parallel with al-mufun, which is nominative and should therefore be nominative (al-sabirun), but there is a shift to the accusative case. But how is this to be explained? According to the reports of Zarkashi, it is iltifat. As will be seen below, departure from what is normally expected is done for a special purpose.
No grammatical gymnastics in the above, but a straight application of the Arabic rules of grammar. And in spite of seeing it as a departure from what is normally expected Mr Abdel Haleem does not call it an error but a shift.
So what is the special purpose for which this shift took place?
According to Mr Abel Haleem it is " to emphasize the importance of al-sabirin." And "the fact that al-sabirin is mentioned four times in the same sura [sura 2]."
The word sabrinin (people who endure and are patient) is mentioned three timess in sura 3, but the word endurance or its derivatives is mentioned eight times in sura 3. The same derivatives of the word is mentioned also eight times in sura 2. Why then did the word sabr (root of sabirin) or its derivatives miss out from experiencing the shift in sura 3?
What is the divine wisdom in choosing the word in 2:177 out of those four verses (2:153, 155, 177, 249) in sura 2 to emphasize the importance of al-sabirin?
We would like to ask the Arabic readers to write those four verses together and look to see if a person is likely to make a grammatical error involving the word al-sabirin in those verses. Which verse is it likely to be?
The Arabic reader will find that it is mighty difficult to make an error in the other three verses (2:152, 155, 249). In other words this is not a divine wisdom but a human frailty.
The second verse that involves a change in case marker is found in Q. 4:162 (see the second error in our article).
Here again Mr Abdel Haleem has no hesitation in stating the departure in Q. 4:162 just as we did in our article. Here is what he said:
The shift (from nominative to accusative again) occurs here with those 'that perform the prayer' (wal-muqimin). Highlighting prayer here is understandable in the light of the fact that prayer is mentioned nine times in sura 4, including a long passage about its importance in war, peculiar to this sura.
The word prayer is also mentioned in nine times in sura 2 and its derivatives are mentioned three times in sura 2 while its derivatives were mentioned only twice in sura 4. So prayer is mentioned 12 times in sura 2 while it was mentioned 11 times in sura 4. Yet there was no shift of case marker in those verses. In addition to that prayer is mentioned in the very opening verse of sura 2, in verse 3 after mentioning the Book. The theory of iltifat is a haphazard one.
What is the divine wisdom in choosing the word in 4:162 out of those verses (4:101, 102, 103, 143, 162) to emphasize the importance of prayer.
We would like to ask the Arabic readers to write those five verses together and look to see if a person is likely to make a grammatical error involving the word muqimin in those verses. Which verse is it likely to be?
The Arabic reader will find that it is mighty difficult to make an error in the other four verses. In other words this is not a divine wisdom either but a human frailty.
The third case of change in case marker involves verse Q. 5:69 (See the first error in our article).
Here again Mr Abdel Haleem has no hesitation in stating the departure in Q. 5:69 just as we did in our article. Here is what he said:
Sabi'un appears to be a coordinate with the accusative nouns before it and should accordingly have been accusative, but it is nominative. Here again there is another (if less common) reading wal-sabi'in making it accusative with no shift.
And the reason for the shift, according to Mr Abdel Haleem:
Judging from the context of the situation, then, sabi'un in 5:69 could be said to require highlighting in the way suggested by Zamakhshari, Khalil and Sibawaih: even the Sabi'un will be forgiven if they believe ... others will the more readily be forgiven, the Sabi'un being of all the categories listed the most clearly astray.
Statistics does not help Mr Abdel Haleem here. Indeed statistics demolish his theory. In sura 5 from verse 15 to 83 the Qur'an is talking about the people of the Book. In other word the Qur'an dedicated 68 verses in addressing the Jews and the Christians. The sabi'in is mentioned once in passing in the whole of sura 5. The Qur'an is contending with the people of the Book not with the sabi'in.
Mr Abdel Haleem and the scholars he quoted are claiming that the "sabibin of all the categories listed [are] the most clearly astray" This claim is contrary to the Qur'an and history. The sabi'in were simply followers of John the Baptist. Unlike the Jews and the Christians they never claimed that their prophet is the son of God. Their straying is not even mentioned in the Qur'an. It is that some of people of the Book that the Qur'an enumerates their sins, hypocrisy, and shirk. The reader can check this section of the Qur'an for himself.
Mr Abdel Haleem has missed his vocation. Through iltifat he first sold his readers the idea of the importance of endurance, next he sold them the idea of the importance of prayer, then he sold his readers the importance of faith. All this was done by "highlighting" through shift and departure from the rules of grammar. What else is important? He forgot fasting, he forgot Zakat, and he forgot Jihad. Are not all these equally important? God does need to wink as He speaks in order to highlight some of His words. If people believe this iltifat and continue to turn their faces here and there Mr Abdel Haleem could well be able to sell them the statue of liberty.
They make people turn their faces and they think that God does wink (hasha lellah) so that they might steal people's religion.
But the most telling proof that iltifat is an invention comes from Mr Abdel Haleems article itself:
No one seems to quote references [of iltifat] in prose other than from the Qur'an: and indeed a sampling of hadith material found not a single instance.
Why is this so? Does not the hadith represent a huge cross section of the Arabic language touching almost every possible topic of life? Statistically speaking the Hadith represents a larger cross section of the Arabic language than the Qur'an. This is a fact that cannot be disputed. Why then in this large cross section there is not a single incident of iltifat as Mr Abdel Haleem reported?
Here is the plain truth and the reason why there is not one incident of iltifat to be found in Hadith Qudsi or otherwise:
Walid Ibn Muslim said: "I heard al-'Awaza'y saying: 'There is no harm in correcting and fixing the grammatical errors found in the Hadith'". He also said: "I heard al-'Awaza'y saying: 'Correct the grammatical errors in the Hadith for the [early] people were Arabs'". [meaning naturally knew the grammar of the Arabic language]
And Gaber said: "I asked 'Amar and 'Aba Ja'far and 'Ata' concerning the man who makes grammatical errors while quoting the Hadith, should I quote him as I heard him or should I correct the grammatical errors of the Hadith?" He said: "Correct it..." And al-Nadr bn Shamiel said: "Hoshaym used to quote the Hadith with grammatical errors but I have clothed his reporting with good clothing, meaning correcting his grammatical errors. And 'Ali bn al-Hasan said: I said to Ibn al-Mobarak: Sometimes the Hadith contains grammatical errors, should I correct it? He said: Yes. Those [early] people did not make grammatical errors. Those errors are from us.
Imam Ibn Faares speaking on the topic said: Some people are of the opinion that if a person makes grammatical errors while quoting the Hadith, the one who hears him must quote him exactly as he heard him, but others said: The hearer must correct the grammatical errors if he knows the rules of the Arabic language. The proof of this advice is that the prophet of Allah was the most eloquent of all the Arabs and Allah the most high have purified him [from making such errors] as such his words must be quoted free from all grammatical errors."
Dr Sobhy as-Saleh also gives an example of such correction: ... the people of verification have called for the need to correct the grammatical errors in the Hadith ... for al-Hasan bn al-Halawani said: Correct whatever grammatical errors you might find in my book, because Ibn 'Affan did not make grammatical errors [when quoting the Hadith]. And 'Affan said: Correct whatever grammatical errors you might find in my book, because Hammad did not make grammatical errors [when quoting the Hadith]. And Hammad said: Correct whatever grammatical errors you might find in my book, because Qatada did not make grammatical errors [when quoting the Hadith]."
And it goes without saying that ultimately all Hadith must be corrected because its source the prophet of Islam Hammad did not make grammatical errors.
So originally the Hadith contained grammatical errors, which is to be expected. If there were shift in the Qur'an there had to be shift in the hadith. But with time all evidence of it was removed.
The Muslim scholars did not see these errors as iltifat or shaja'a (daring) or badi' (refinement); no, they saw it as it is: ERRORS and they corrected them.
They called it iltifat the height of balagha, they called it shaja'a, they called it badi but the king is naked, he has no clothes.
1. Responses To The Grammatical Errors In The Qur'an by M S M Saifullah. Internet document http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/5603/contrad.html, July 5, 1998.
2. The Bulletin of
3. ibid., p. 410.
4. ibid., p. 410.
5. ibid., p. 411.
6. ibid., p. 410.
7. ibid., p. 423.
8. ibid., p. 423.
9. ibid., p. 423.
10. ibid., p. 423.
11. ibid., p. 425.
12. ibid., p. 426.
13. ibid., p. 427.
14. ibid., p. 408.
15. 'Adwaa' 'al 'as-Sunnah al-Mohammadiah, Mahmood abu Rayiah, Dar al-Ma'aref, fifth edition, pp. 81-82.
16. 'Ulum al-Hadith, Dr Sobhy as-Saleh, Dar el-'Elm
Muslims have shut themselves into their own version of the dark ages where dogmas contrary to the facts of life are being clung to no matter what.
Early Muslims believed that " a grain of wheat in the
golden ages used to be the size of a large apple. Then God became angry with
men and the grain of wheat began to shrink to its present size. And they
claimed that the man used to be of such length and size and strength that he
could put his hand in the sea, catch the fish, then raise his hand in the air
and cook the fish in the heat of the sun, then lower his hand to his mouth and
eat his meal. They also claimed that the people of the olden days were of such
size that some of their kings and prophets could place their thigh across the
Those were early Muslims. And one can find similar statements in early Christian books. But how about this:
Dr Abu seri', professor of comparative Islamic jurisprudence, in his book Ahkam al-At'emah wa az-zaba'eh, published 1986, discusses what kind of meat is lawful for Muslims to eat and what is not. One of the problems he explores is what happens when two different animals mate together, will their meat be lawful or not? For example, he explores what happens if a donkey gives birth to a sheep !! Will the sheep's meat be lawful? Or if a sheep gives birth to a pig. Will the pig's meat be lawful?
He then went on to introduce the different animals:
The Hyena ... one of the amazing things about the Hyena that it menstruates. One year the Hyena is a male and the alternate year it becomes a female. So one year the animal impregnate like a male and the next year the same animal gives birth like a female.
And : The Lizard (Dabb) is a little animal that looks like a large mouse. The male is called "Dabb" and has two male sexual organs and the female is called "Dabbah" and has two female sexual organ.
And : The Wolf, sleeps with one of his two eyes until it had enough sleep then he opens it and sleep with the other eye and so he guards with the waking one and rests with the sleeping eye.
And: The Elephant is a huge animal that lives for a long time. It is capable of harboring hate and enmity and anger. It fears cats very much. Its tongue is upside down, if it was not so it would have been able to talk ...
It will be a waste of time, paper, ink and electrons trying to convince those devout Muslims that the above is laughable stuff.
And if we can assume Dr Abu Seri' does not deserve his doctorate, how about the two publishing houses that accepted his manuscript as a book worthy of publishing and how about al-Azhar university where he lectures this material to his students?
Early devout Muslims had no fear in fabricating thousands of words and claiming they were uttered by their prophet. But all was done with good intention. They even fabricated words ascribing them to the first prophet, Adam, in pure Arabic poetry.
Dogmas, religious or otherwise that are contrary to the facts of life still have a powerful hold on many Muslims.
We have seen that wine means vinegar and it also means grapes. Below means abdomen. To despair means to know and inside means outside. To buy is to sell. Behind means in front, before is after, last is first and first is last.
All the above is possible if one is to keep on " turning", for the whole exercise of inventions is a continuos "iltifat".
All that was done to preserve the integrity and superiority of the Qur'an. To the Arabs all is soap, but to those Muslims black is white, and white is black, now is never, x is y, minus is plus, No wonder the elephant's tongue is upside down not to mention the wolf and the hyena and the lizard etc. And those who are established in "knowledge" say "we believe".
16. Fil-Adab al-Jaheli, Taha Hussein, Dar al-Ma'aref, 16th edition, pp. 178-179.
17. Ahkam al-At'emah waz-Zaba'eh fi al-Fiqh al-Islami, Dr.
Abu Seri' 'Abd el-Hadi, Dar el-Jeel,
18. ibid., p. 290.
19. ibid., p. 350.
20. ibid., p. 45.
21. ibid., p. 56.
22. ibid., pp. 41-42.
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