So let us continue with the review of this book looking at what some scholars point out. In the third chapter, Claude Gilliott writes that the “so-called Informants of the Prophet ultimately begs the question of a qur’an (“lectionary”) or of the qur’an before the Qur’an (al-qur’an), or rather versions or stages of the Qur’an qua text” in how the Quran was first formulated. Now in this chapter, Gilliot and other scholars are convinced that the Qur’an is at least the partial work of a group or community for various reasons.
In this chapter it provides different verses and analyzes the structure and translations. Based on how some of the Quran texts were written they summarized that the “language of the informant(s) was not Arabic, “good Arabic” or a foreign language.” This indicates that the informants were not Arabians but were Christians of Aramaic origin. Gilliott provides numerous places within the text, based upon structure, language and interpretation to lend support to such an argument.
Gilliott also looks at least two versions of Ibn Ishaq concerning the informants of Muhammd where it is stated that Muhammad “often sat on Merwa before the booth (mabia) of a young Christian who was named Djebr and taught Muhammad much of what he revealed.” The next verse is that of Tabari who says through his chain of tradents. states, “The messenger of God of sat, according to what has been transmitted to me, on the hill of Marwawith a young Christian servant whose name was Jabr. He was a slave of the banu al-Hadrami, and the people used to say. By God, much of what Muhammad teaches comes merely from Jabr the Christian, the servant of the banu al-Hadrami.” In another version from abd Allah b. Kathir this is repeated again on Muhammad being taught by a Christian. Still this chapter continues to discuss several more informants and other areas of influence.
So next Gilliott and scholars look at the following: asatir al-awwalin, which is a phrase used in the Qur’an that is normally translated as the “fairy tale,” “stories,” or “fables”, of the elders and this expression appears NINE times in the Qur’an. Quite interesting actually, the chapter continues to go on to tell that Muhammad was taught from books of previous communities.
Gilliott and others concluded that the people of Quraysh reported that the Quran did not sound particularly new to them meaning they had heard it before. So, this begs another question that if this tribe makes such statements would that lend to the belief that sections of the Quran where a piecemeal of works later redacted and changed to a point of agreement of Islamic scholars and which later was codified? I have left out quite a bit from this chapter as I think if it peaks your curiosity then you will do some research and make your own assessment. Again, I will leave it here for a while for all to ponder the possibilities of this chapter’s implications.