I noticed a glaring error while reading through the Seerah of the Prophet(Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, The Sealed Nectar). Sadly this book goes to great lengths to color the imagination of the reader with the writer’s opinions mixed in with the biography. Perhaps the writer should have spent more time focusing on Islamic errors than trying to gloss over falsehood.
On pages 81-83, Safi Al-Mubarakpuri(author) tells about the the open call to preaching and the verse that was revelaed about it. He states that the ayah “And warn your tribe(O Muhammad) of near kindred[26:214]” was the first verse to be revealed in this concern of open preaching. He then goes on to state:
“When the following verses(26:214) were revealed, the Messenger of Allah ascended Mount As-Safa and started to call: ‘O Bani Fahr! O Bani ‘Adi(two septs of Quraish)’. Many people gathered and those who couldn’t, sent somebody to report to them. Abu Lahab was also present. The Prophet said ‘You see if I were to tell you that there were some horsemen in the valley planning to raid you, will you believe me?’ They said ‘Yes, we have never experienced any lie from you.’ He said: ‘I am a warner to you before a severe torment.’ Abu Lahab promptly replied: ‘ Perish you all the day! Have you summoned us for such a thing?’ The verses were immediately revealed on that occasion: ‘Perish the two hands of Abee Lahab and perish he!…[111:1-5]”
Now what’s wrong with this picture? Let’s take a look shall we. A minimum of three years had passed when the verse to open preaching(26:214) was revealed so that makes this verse a middle-Meccan verse. The seerah states that for a full three years Muhammad had been content to teach within a narrow circle when the angel Jibreel(Gabriel) brought the revelation of verse 26:214(open preaching). Okay, no problems there. So Muhammad gets the news and goes to tell it on the mountain after calling his closest kinspeople first. Abu Lahab jeers at him so Allah sends some handy verses mocking him(AbuLahab) back, quite expeditiously I might add.
The verses Allah revealed about Abu Lahab in this situation belong to Surah Al-Masad(111), an early Meccan surah. Here’s the kicker: chronologically speaking, Surah 111 was revealed BEFORE any of Surah 26 was revealed. Yet, according to seerah which is backed up by hadith*, the verses that belong to Surah 111 were revealed right after 26:214. So this means that verses 26:215-219 should have started with “Perish the two hands of Abee Lahab…” but those verses don’t start that way. Instead 26:215 goes into “And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you“.
Basically someone screwed up big time but most Muslims don’t read the Quran let alone scrutinize and question its validity. Some people must have noticed this major flaw because the tale gets juicier. The part about open call revelation(26:214) is absent in Tafsir ibn Kathir so a person would get the impression that surah 111 occured in its rightful chronological position(#6). Ibn Kathir also plays on words a little bit and instead of saying ‘Muhammad went on top of Mount As-Safa’, the explanation is that ‘Muhammad went to the valley of Batha’ or ‘on a hill in Mecca’. Both of these statements about the valley and mountain can be true but they are very misleading if I’m not paying attention. By omitting Mount As-Safa and replacing it with valley of Batha, I can easily assume that surah 111 and verse 26:214 were revealed at two different times because most people would instantly think these were two different places.
However, the hadith and the seerah are clear that the chronological order is wrong. According to the chronological order, Surah 111 was revealed after Surah 1(Al-Fatihah). According to the seerah THIS SHOULDN’T EVEN BE SURAH 111 because the verses belonging to Surah 111(1-5) about Abu Lahab and his wife WERE REVEALED DIRECTLY AFTER VERSE 26:214! Furthermore, verse 26:214 was revealed after THREE YEARS from when Muhammad first came with his message. Which means Surah 111 should have also come three years later. But CHRONOLOGICALLY, Surah 111 comes waaaayyyy before verse 26:214!
Muslims will argue this is a minor thing and that Muslims really should focus on aqeedah to which I say hogwash. La, this is not minor but a very major thing. If I were basing my ENTIRE AFTERLIFE on a Kitab that claims to be the pure, unadulterated speech of Allah then I expect perfection in it from Al-Badi(The Originator**). I want to know why the heck scholars can’t get this uber-important book in its correct format? I don’t want to be spoon fed ‘Allahu-Alim’. That is a cop-out for not being able to explain something that should be easy to explain.
*Narrated Ibn Abbas: When the Verse:– ‘And warn your tribe of near kindred.’ (26.214) was revealed. Allah’s Apostle went out, and when he had ascended As-Safa mountain, he shouted, “O Sabahah!” The people said, “Who is that?” “Then they gathered around him, whereupon he said, “Do you see? If I inform you that cavalrymen are proceeding up the side of this mountain, will you believe me?” They said, “We have never heard you telling a lie.” Then he said, “I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe punishment.” Abu lahab said, “May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason? ” Then Abu lahab went away. So the “Surat:–ul–lahab” ‘Perish the hands of Abu lahab!’ (111.1) was revealed. (Book #60, Hadith #495)
** The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: “Be!” – and it is.[2:117]