Quousque tandem abutere patientia nostra?
Actually, except for some pathological cases, Islamophobia is an invention of the U.N. Indeed, in 2004, the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan officially defined it as the cause of frustration for many Muslims, without mentioning the rampant jihad and other huge problems. In fact, in most countries of origin and abroad, the official Islam has not accepted the universal declaration of human rights. But it has responded with other initiatives such as the Cairo Declaration, which states that “anyone has the right to support what is right and to warn against what is wrong and evil in line with the Islamic Sharia”.
The ultimate reason that led the Swiss to say no to new minarets is not poor respect for religious freedom. It is not even the loss of identity that is driving us – erroneously – to ask for the cross on our flag. It has nothing to do with this. There are many simple reasons of diffidence that prevent from wishing for the expansion of Islam. Nor should we imagine that this choice invites the Muslim to embrace extremism. There are indeed other reasons behind jihadism – that is fed only by itself and by its unflinching decision to convert the world. The Swiss watch the TV and are concerned: the Sharia leads to death sentences, to the hanging of homosexuals, to stoning people to death. In general, Islamic countries are ruled by dictatorships, the dissidents suffer, they die. The Christians are persecuted, let alone the Jews. The groups and the countries that cry their faith louder are also the most evident ones: certainly both Ahmadinejad's Iran and the Hezbollah, or Hamas or Al Qaida, represent negative, terrorist models.
Of course, the Islam is not all like this. But, let us talk about it. Let us thoroughly examine the problems without being accused of Islamophobia; we have a problem, either we solve it by looking at the Islamic immigration in its eyes, or soon this concern will turn into rejection. And the idea that the true Islam is elsewhere with respect to jihad is not able to placate these fears within the public opinion: there are few and rare instances in which a brave Islamic voice speaks to guarantee the respect for democracy, sexuality, converted individuals, dissidents. It is the politically correct denial that makes jihad prosper: in Switzerland, after the arrest of eight people who allegedly collaborated to some suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia, the reaction of the head of a local Muslim group was that “the problem is not the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, but the intesification of Islamophobia”. In the USA, the same happened after the Fort Hood incident.
It is forbidden to laugh for some cartoons that talk about Islam. It is forbidden to deal with the terrifying oppression of women, it is disgraceful to stress that there is an evident identification between the Islam and totalitarian regimes. It is horrible to raise the issue of honor killing, polygamy and of disfiguring women with acid that push us back in time (yes, many of these episodes result from tribal and not by religious habits, but please let us look at the geographical and sociological distribution of these episodes) and especially it is generic to speak about jihad... And then, since whatever is concrete is forbidden, the reaction is against the symbols of the Islam.
There are millions of mosques without minarets in Islamic countries. But if they are built close to churches, they are taller, more proud and powerful. The construction of an Islamic place of worship has a series of explicit secular meanings that always reiterate the holy competition of the Islam to conquer the world. Many mosques have been built on ancient Jewish and Christian temples.
A revolt against the politically correct on the Islam may occur anywhere and the trigger will not be religious intolerance: it does not belong to us or to Switzerland or to Europe.
We are against Islam not Muslims. Islam is an evil religion established by a con man.
We are against Hate not Faith.
So, as long as your faith is not Islam, you'll be okay. Have any faith you want other than Islam. We know that Islam is a big lie. Islam is the only religion where the founder made an enemy of all others, instead of preaching love and peace and treating the other as you would treat yourself.
You ask what religion I trust? I do not judge people by religion. People can be very religious, yet not very nice people. People can also be very religious, yet very nice people. Also, people can be atheists to the core, and be very nice people. They can be atheists and be very evil people too. What I am saying is don't look at people through the mirror of religion. Judge people according to the golden rule: Do they treat others as they would want to be treated. This golden rule is universal. It can be found in many religions, be it Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Baha'i,..etc.
In his "Sermon on the Mount" Jesus established Love, Mercy, and within the golden rule. He also made sure he treated the psychological aspects of human nature. When you get a chance, search the sermon on the mount and read its text. It is very inspiring to show we should live our lives. In Christianity, the golden rule is a leading measure for human affairs. Jesus was once asked about the greatest commandment. He answered that the greatest commandment is to love God deeply. Second to that is to love your neighbor as yourself. Isn't that beautiful?
Look what the founder of Baha'i faith said:
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.
Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.
Look what Buddhism teaches:
Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill
Look what Hinduism teaches:
One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires.
Muhammad violated such rules on a daily basis. He taught his followers to do the same. He established desert piracy on a large scale. Any decent human being should expose the true nature of Islam and show Muhammad for what he is - a lowly thug and bandit .
I hope that I solved some of your confusion. I know I did not give you a complete answer as to what religion one should believe in. This is where you come in and read things and decide for yourself. Some people are happy without any religion, and they are super nice people and treat others with utmost care and love. All I am saying is that "Religion" should not be the lens we look at other people with. The key is avoid Islam at any cost, and you will be just fine.
We have seen in previous articles (*; *; *; *; *; *; *; *; *; *; *) how both the Quran and the ahadith expressly violate the doctrine of tauhid which was developed centuries after the death of Muhammad by later Muslim theologians. Here we provide another case where the Islamic scripture directly conflicts with this later Islamic teaching.
One of Allah’s names happens to be al-ala, or “the most high.”
Praise the name of your Lord the Most High (rabbika al-ala), S. 87:1
Except as seeking the face of his Lord Most High (rabbihi al-ala). S. 92:20
According to the doctrine of tauhid al-asma wa-sifaat none of the names of Allah can ever be attributed to any creature, no matter how exalted, in their definite forms, e.g., a person can never be called ar-Rahman with the definite article since this a characteristic which belongs exclusively to Allah. To do so would be to commit the unforgivable sin known as shirk, or of associating partners with Allah:
The Essence of Shirk in Tawheed al-Asma wa-Sifaat:
Shirk in Tawheed al-Asma wa-Sifaat is to give other than Allah, the qualities (Attributes), which are specific of Allah Alone. For example, amongst the Attributes of Allah is that He is the Knower of the Unseen (Ghayb) and He alone knows what the heart conceals. Allah says: "Say, ‘None in the Heavens and the earth know the Ghayb (Unseen) except Allah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected."
Therefore, to consider someone other than Allah to have the knowledge of the past, future or the Unseen is Shirk (associating partners with Allah).
This concept of Tawheed distinguishes Islam from many other religions. Those who have studied comparative religion can very easily realize that, while the Jews made their Creator like the creation, the Christians make the creation like the Creator. (Sajid Abdul Kayum, The Jamaa'at Tableegh and the Deobandis, Chapter 2: The Islamic Concept of Tawheed (Monotheism); bold emphasis ours)
Islamic theology further teaches that the doctrine of abrogation does not apply to the names and attributes of Allah, i.e., the names of Allah are eternal and can ever be canceled out by another:
The phrase: ‘…of a ruling…’, implies that naskh is only valid in laws, and not in belief ('aqeedah). In other words, naskh cannot occur with regards to belief in Allah, His Names and Attributes, the Day of Judgement, and other matters related to the fundamentals of belief. It is concerning those non-abrogated beliefs that Allah says…
<<He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nooh, and that which We have inspired to You (O Muhammad), and that which we ordained for Ibraheem, Moosaa, and 'Eesaa, saying that you should establish religion and make no division in it>> [42:13] (Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan [al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, Birmingham UK, Second Print 2003], Chapter 13. Abrogation in the Qur’aan: An-Naskh Wa Al-Mansookh, I. The Definition of Naskh, p. 233; underline emphasis ours)
This means that the expression al-ala is a divine name which only applies to Allah and can never be canceled out.
Yet here is where the problem lies for the Muslims. The Quran says that Allah himself called Moses al-ala or the most high!
And Moses conceived a fear in his mind. We said: Fear not! Lo! you are the Most High (al-ala). S. 20:67-68
This means that Moses is Allah according to the Islamic scripture! Note how this works out logically:
The most high is a divine title which belongs only to Allah.
- Moses is the most high.
- Therefore, Moses is Allah.
To put this in another way:
- Only Allah is the most high.
- Moses is the most high.
- Therefore, Moses is Allah.
Or the Muslims must accept the fact that their own god has committed shirk!
Ascribing the exclusive names of Allah to a creature is to commit shirk, which is the unpardonable sin (cf. Q. 4:48, 116).
Allah ascribes one of his unique names to Moses.
Therefore, Allah is guilty of committing the unforgivable sin of shirk!
This wouldn’t be the only time where Allah committed shirk since he commanded his angels to worship Adam, thereby forcing all of them to violate tauhid al-uluhiyyah/ibaadah:
And when we said unto the angels, worship Adam; they [all] worshipped [him], except Eblis [who] refused, and was puffed up with pride, and became of the [number of] unbelievers. S. 2:34 Sale
[Remember] when we said unto the angels, worship ye Adam: And they [all] worshipped [him], except Eblis, [who] was [one] of the genii, and departed from the command of his Lord. Will ye therefore take him and his offspring for [your] patrons besides me, notwithstanding they are your enemies? Miserable [shall such] a change [be] to the ungodly! S. 18:50 Sale
For more on this topic please consult the articles and rebuttals found at the start of the article as well as the following rebuttals (*; *).
Now the Muslims must accept one of these two conclusions or admit that their own scripture does not teach the doctrine of tauhid as developed and articulated by later Islamic theologians. In this case they must choose between one of three options since the Quran will not allow for any other choice.
In other words, as unfortunate as this may be, the Muslims simply cannot have their cake and eat it too.
In the battle against unbelievers, can one also kill Muslims? Even the terror network al-Qaida is troubled by this question.
A leading al-Qaida ideologue for the terror network, Abu Yahya al-Libi, has developed his own theologically-based theory of collateral damage that allows militants to kill Muslims when it is unavoidable.
Even the Iraqi affiliates of Osama bin Laden’s terror group, who are known to be particularly bloodthirsty, claim that they too consider this question. For instance, in a message claiming responsibility for an August attack in Baghdad, the group wished those Sunnis injured in the “operation” a speedy recovery and expressed their hope that those killed would be accepted by God as “martyrs.”
But even as such apologetic communiqués from al-Qaida show the terror network stylizing itself as a defender of the true faith wrestling with religious concepts, they also make it look as though any dead Muslims are regretful but isolated cases. The facts, though, tell a different story.
Between 2004 and 2008, for example, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for 313 attacks, resulting in the deaths of 3,010 people. And even though these attacks include terrorist incidents in the West — in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005 — only 12 percent of those killed (371 deaths) were Westerners.
New Report Shows Many More Muslims Killed Than Non-Muslims
It is, of course, no surprise that al-Qaida kills more Muslims than non-Muslims — particularly for people in the Islamic world. But anew report  by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the United States’ Military Academy at West Point in New York — which has gathered together these and other relevant figures in one report (“Deadly Vanguards: A Study Of al-Qaida’s Violence Against Muslims “), spells out the discrepancy in black and white.
The authors of the study admit that their report likely omits a number of Muslim victims. But that was the price of their rigorous methodology, used in an effort to avoid accusations of partisanship.
The researchers only counted the attacks for which al-Qaida claimed responsibility, thus preventing accusations that they were seeking to make al-Qaida look even worse than it is. Still, it is well known that al-Qaida does not claim responsibility for every attack perpetrated, meaning that many victims are likely left out of the report. Furthermore, the researchers only included attacks reported on by the Arab media and relied on the numbers they reported — out of a conviction that the Arab media is more highly regarded in the Muslim world than the Western media. That, though, is not always the case…
Non-Westerners 38 Times More Likely To Be Killed
Put another way, between 2006 and 2008, non-Westerners were 38 times more likely to be killed by an al-Qaida attack than Westerners.
“Since al-Qaida has limited capability to strike against its Western enemies, the group maintains its relevance by attacking countries with Muslim majorities,” the study concludes.
The conclusions reached by Helfstein and his co-authors are hardly world changing. They are valuable nonetheless, in that they provide a numerical foundation to the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim al-Qaida victims.
Still, critics will no doubt point out that the study comes from the CTC, an organization that is part of an American military school. In recent years, the CTC has released a number of excellent studies on terrorism. But because it is actually supplying arguments, backed by scientific research, for the fight against terrorism to decision makers, politicians and military personnel in the US, it cannot be considered strictly neutral. That also applies to this case, especially since a number of American officials have recently begun stressing the point that al-Qaida is particularly violent toward Muslims and can now rely on solid data to back up their argument.
This perceived lack of neutrality doesn’t change the fact that the fundamental findings of the report are correct and meaningful. The authors conclude that if they compare statistics for the years from 1995 to 2003 (excluding the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the US as a solitary event), they find that al-Qaida is becoming more violent and “increasingly indiscriminate” in its attacks.
It's not every day that
religion appears as a front page story in today's newspapers all over the
world, particularly on a regular basis! But over the past 20 years one religion has really made the front pages
perhaps more than any other…it is the religion of Islam.
Islam claims more than one billion followers worldwide. It is not only the fastest growing religion in the world, but its influence touches virtually every area of life -not only the spiritual, but the political and economic as well. What is more, its influence is being felt closer and closer to home. There are now up to 5 million Muslims in the U.S., and over 1,100 mosques or Islamic centers.
What does Islam teach? How are the teachings of Islam similar to those of Christianity the pre-dominant religion in the U.S? How are they different? What should our attitude be towards Islam, and towards those who follow this powerful religion? These are some of the questions we want to address in this essay.
In February 1998, long before the September 11 terrorist attacks on America, Osama bin Laden and four other leaders of radical Islamist groups in various countries issued a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, calling for jihad against “the crusader–Zionist alliance” in the following language:
“In compliance with Allah’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: the ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al–Aqsa Mosque [Jerusalem] and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of the holy lands of Islam… This is in accordance with the words of the true Almighty Allah, and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together and fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.”
While more examples of Osama bin Laden’s thinking emerged after the September 11 attacks, this fatwa stands as a fundamental statement of his rationale for a campaign of violence against America and the West: an appeal to the Islamic tradition of defensive jihad by which every Muslim is obligated, as an individual’s duty, to take up arms against such invaders. It lays out the justifications, not only for the attacks of September 11 but also for other terrorist attacks linked to bin Laden’s al–Qaeda group, notably, the bombings of the two American embassies in East Africa and of the U.S.S. Cole. It also provides a warrant for future attacks by “every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it” —in short, for a continuing war by terrorist and other means by Muslims against “Americans and their allies,” an ongoing clash of civilizations. How should this call be understood in relation to the Islamic traditions? And how does it compare to the just war tradition of Western culture?
The classical Islamic conceptions of jihad in the sense of warfare comes not from the Qur’an directly, where the term jihad is used to refer to the believer’s inner struggle for righteousness, but from the jurists of the early Abbasid period (the late eighth and early ninth centuries c.e), who developed it in the context of a general effort to clarify the nature of the Islamic community, the proper leadership of that community, and the community’s relations with the non–Islamic world. Central to this conception was a legal division of the world into two realms: the dar al–Islam or abode of Islam, and the remainder of the world, defined as the dar al–harb or abode of war.
The dar al–Islam, as the jurists understood it, had existed since its creation by the Prophet Muhammad himself, who had been its first head –the holy messenger of Allah. It is a community at once religious and political, and thus its ruler, like the Prophet, was understood to be supreme in both spheres. There could be at any time only one right ruler, understood to be the successor of the Prophet and inheritor of his authority. Because of its character —its essential unity, its rule by a successor of the Prophet, its governance according to divinely given law —the dar al–Islam is fundamentally different from the rest of the world, which is torn by perpetual conflicts and is a constant threat to the peace of the dar al–Islam. A general, lasting, universal peace is impossible until the dar al–harb is no more, when the whole world has become the dar al–Islam, a place within which submission (Islam) to Allah is the law of the land. Until then war between the two realms is the normal state. Yet at the same time extended periods of peace are possible by means of treaties between the dar al–Islam and non–Islamic societies.
This conception formed the background for the jurists’ conception of the idea of jihad as warfare. As they described it, this warfare could take two forms: that of the dar al–Islam as a body under the authority of its legitimate ruler, the caliph for the Sunni tradition, the imam for the Shiite —a conception that encompassed offensive wars against the general threat and organized collective defense against any attack and an emergency form of defensive jihad against a direct attack on the dar al–Islam by a force from some part of the dar al–harb. In the former case the duty to take part in jihad was conceived as a collective one, with some Muslims fighting and others playing other roles, including simply going about their normal lives; in the latter case, though, to fight was an individual duty, incumbent on all Muslims who were able to do so in the immediate area of the aggressions.
These were significantly different forms of warfare. The collective jihad was a thoroughly rule –governed activity, from the requirement of the caliph/imam’s authority to that of a declaration of hostilities and a call for peace to a form of combatant –noncombatant distinction to extensive discussion of the disposition of spoils by the ruling authority. The jurists clearly understood this as the norm for the warfare of the dar al–Islam. This form of jihad drew upon the religious unity of the Islamic community even as it depended on the social and institutional relationships that comprised the Islamic state; the proper exercise of jihad on this model strengthened the dar al–Islam and the role of its ruler both religiously and politically.
The jihad of emergency defense was another matter entirely. It assumed an acute emergency in which normal religiously and socially prescribed relationships and structures were erased. The model the jurists had in mind was simple: a direct attack across the border of the dar al–Islam by a force from the dar al–harb in some particular place remote from the dar al–Islam’s center of authority and power. Against this attack Muslims in the area were to rise up in arms, on their own authority, as a kind of levée en masse. The individual duty to take up arms crossed and eliminated all the usual divisions: not only healthy men of fighting age but women, children, the aged, and the infirm were to fight to the limit of their ability to do so. Correspondingly, the rules of engagement of collective jihad did not apply: the enemy was the invading army, so noncombatants were not present and thus played no part in the conflict. While the jurists admitted this form of jihad in time of dire emergency caused by overt aggression, there was an inherent tension between it and the collective jihad of the dar al–Islam under the authority of the caliph/imam. In practical terms, local leaders on the frontiers might (and did) use the excuse of the jihad of emergency to challenge the legitimacy of the central authority. However, this form of jihad was originally meant to be an exceptional response to an exceptional circumstance, not the norm for Muslim warfare.
It is generally agreed within Islam that jihad of the first sort is impossible today, as there is no central caliph or imam. This gives new importance to what was originally considered to be an exceptional case: the idea of jihad as an individual duty in the face of external aggressions. In the Islamic mainstream this conception has developed along the lines compatible with the international laws to allow Muslim heads of state to organize and execute defense collectively, though on the juristic model they do so on the basis of the individual responsibility of all their people to respond to aggressions. The historical model for such action is the medieval hero Salahuddin Ayubi , who though only a regional commander (not the caliph) organized and led a successful defense against the armies of the second Crusade. In theory, this mainstream conception of defense respects the patterns of relationships within the society as well as the limits to be observed in fighting, the most important of which are understood to come from the Muhammad himself. However, the last hundred years or so have seen the development of another line of interpretations of the Islamic Jihad. First appearing in North Africa as an ideology for resistance against colonialism, by 1960 it was being used as a justification for terrorist attacks against Israel, and in the 1970s and 1980s it was adapted to justify armed struggles by terror and assassinations in such states as Iran, Egypt, and Algeria against the rulers who were nominally Muslim but were judged to be tools of the Western Imperialism. It is out of this tradition that Osama bin Laden’s fatwa has emerged.
This radical form of jihad makes several critical assumptions not found in the traditional conceptions or in the mainstream Islamic theories. First, the dar al–Islam is conceived as any territory whose population is mainly Muslim and which was once a part of the historical dar al–Islam. By this reasoning any non–Islamic state(s) existing within the territory of the historical dar al–Islam, as well as all non–Islamic presence within that space, must be resisted and subdued or be eliminated. Further, the “aggressors” are deemed to be all those who support such states or non–Islamic presence, so that the usual lines of distinctions between combatants and noncombatants are to be erased, with the result that all individuals are considered acceptable targets. Furthermore, because of its origins in an “emergency,” there are no limits on the means in this struggle. Finally, all Muslims are faced with the duty to take part in this struggle -Jihad, so that it ultimately becomes one involving individuals rather than politically organized communities; anyone who accepts this duty —men of fighting age, women, children, or even the aged or infirm becomes a combatant in the war.
This extreme interpretation of the idea of defensive jihad(s) implicitly rejects much of the actual history of the Muslim societies and of the Muslim faiths. It leaves scant room for toleration of “people of the book,” as prescribed in the Qur’an, because it treats the simple presence of Christians and Jews in dominantly Muslim societies as an act of aggression. It also leaves no room for differences of interpretations as to what Islam requires; its reading of Islamic law is narrow and unyielding on the doctrines and behaviors alike. Social developments identified with modernity are rejected as un–Islamic, even if large numbers of Muslims have accepted them without losing their faith.
Osama Bin Laden’s fatwa reflects all these assumptions. The United States is deemed as an aggressor against all Islam because of the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, Iraq & Afghanistan, despite the fact that they are there by agreement, and despite the fact that their purpose is to protect Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Afghan people from the Islamic Extremists, not to dominate it. Likewise, the “protracted blockade” against Iraq is viewed as an assault on the Iraqi people, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein’s diversion of resources for his own purposes is the real cause of their sufferings. The same could be said of bin Laden’s hostility to the U.S. support for “the Jews’ petty state” and “its occupation of Jerusalem and the murder of Muslims.” In other words, the United States has become the embodiment of the dar al–harb, engaged in aggression against Islam, despite the fact that millions of Muslims live and enjoy freedom of religion within its borders. But bin Laden’s fatwa takes the radical line of jihad to new extremes when it calls for any and all Muslims to kill any and all Americans —“civilians and military” alike —“in any country in which it is possible to do it.” No longer a defensive war, this is jihad on the one offensive.
Bin Laden and his associates in the fatwa of course lack the religiously mandated authority to wage such wars, as they do not bear the mantle of succession to the Prophet of Islam. That is why they try to describe the war against America as a defensive one. By painting the entire nation of America as guilty of “aggressions,” the fatwa can set aside the limits imposed on warfare by normative Islamic traditions, which includes no direct, intended killings of non combatants and no use of fire, which is prohibited among Muslims because it is the weapon Allah will use in the last days. Bin Laden’s jihad not only pits Islam against America, the West as a whole, and ultimately the rest of the non–Islamic world; it also seeks to overthrow the contemporary Muslim states and mainstream views of Islamic traditions among the great majority of contemporary Moderate Muslims.
To be sure, the early Abbasid jurists also thought the relation of the Islamic and non–Islamic worlds to be one of inherent conflict, and their notion of the collective warfare aimed at ensuring the eventual submission of the entire world to Allah reflected this. Yet they never defined this eschatological goal as one that could be achieved only by war or even primarily by wars. And in the absence of any universal Muslim ruler bearing the mantle of authority of the Prophet, Muslim traditions and Muslim life have found ways of pursuing this goal by other, nonmilitary means. The radical ideology of jihad changes this, making the use of violent means, indiscriminately and without principled limits, a binding obligation for all Muslims.
While the idea of a just war is deeply rooted in Western cultures, it is perhaps more strongly institutionalized today in international laws, in American military doctrines and practices, and even in political cultures than at any time since the age of Vitoria. Though the just war tradition has important Christian roots, it differs from the Islamic juristic traditions in that it can be employed without explicitly religious premises. Similarly, in Western political thoughts and theology more generally, the nature of the political community, the role of the government, and the use of armed forces are conceived in secular rather than religious terms. All these features differentiate a just war tradition from the juristic traditions of the Islamic Jihad by the dar al–Islam on the authority of the caliph/imam.
Yet there are also significant points of contact, which reveal important common interests. I have already suggested this by noting that mainstream Islamic thoughts and political practices have developed in a way compatible with the international laws and orderly, peaceful interactions with the non–Muslim nations. More specifically, both traditions link the right to use the armed forces to the exercise of legitimate governing authorities for the protection and common good of the governed communities. That common good, moreover, is defined normatively in terms of high ideals of values and behaviors, not in the terms of repressions and intolerance. Both traditions recognize that even the use of force justified in this way is not without limits when it comes to the questions of who may be targeted and the means that may be used against the aggressors. These are all matters on which there can and should be a pursuit of common causes. The radical doctrines of jihad advanced as the justifications for contemporary terrorism is a challenge to both of these traditions, and the people of good will from both communities have reasons to reject it.
So the present killing by the lone crusader in the guise of the ‘hate doctor’ Major Nidal Malik Hassan’s actions are the cause of this Islamic Jihad. We need to understand this conclusively that every Muslim –whether moderate or religious, are indeed sleep walkers and can wake up on any given day!
The Qur’an presents the concept of Allah in a way which makes the Qur’an’s revelation itself impossible. To understand this, let us have a closer look at one Qur’anic verse:
“… nothing is like him, he is the All-hearing, the All-seeing” (Q. 42:11).
To begin with, if we consider the characteristics of Allah that the Qur’an displays and the way Muslims have dealt with them, we find that they are meaningless words. The author of Nahj Al-Balagha, defining Allah’s characteristics, says:
The foremost in religion is the acknowledgement of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him Pure, and the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute. Thus whoever attaches attributes to Allah recognises His like, and who recognises His like regards Him two; and who regards Him two recognises parts for Him; and who recognises parts for Him mistook Him; and who mistook Him pointed at Him; and who pointed at Him admitted limitations for Him; and who admitted limitations for Him numbered Him. Whoever said in what is He, held that He is contained; and whoever said on what is He held He is not on something else. He is a Being but not through phenomenon of coming into being. He exists but not from non-existence. He is with everything but not in physical nearness. He is different from everything but not in physical separation. He acts but without connotation of movements and instruments. He sees even when there is none to be looked at from among His creation. He is only One, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or whom He may miss in his absence. (Source)
Ibn Ishaq Al Kindy1 says: “Allah, may he be blessed and exalted, is absolutely one, and does not allow any multiplicity or composition. He is beyond description, and can not be described by any category. (The magazine of the University of Umm-Al-Qura, Vol. 6, p. 123)
This makes all talk of Allah meaningless, not to mention that it gives rise to self-reference paradoxes like: Allah, who cannot be described by any category, is in the category of that which is not composite. Or, Allah is in a category all his own, namely, the category of that which cannot be categorized. Or, Allah may be described as that being which cannot be described.
Muslims may say that those who have such views are not the people of the Sunnah. But the views of Sunni Muslims hardly represent an improvement upon the views just mentioned. The doctrine of Sunni Islam relating to the names and characteristics of Allah states: “The names of Allah –may he be exalted– depend on the Qur’an and Sunnah, without addition or subtraction; and because reason cannot comprehend the names which Allah is worthy of, it is unavoidable to solely depend on the text. (Al-Majla Sharh Al-Akeeda Al-Muthla – Ibn Otheimeen 1:8)
At this point the Sunni Muslims would tell us that they are confirming what pertains to Allah according to the Book and the Sunnah. But this does not explain anything; we had already admitted that those characteristics are there. The problem is that by viewing them in the light of the Muslims’ doctrines they are mere empty words. The text of Sura 42:11 tells us that, “He is the All-seeing, the All-hearing.” But what do those words mean according to the belief of Sunni Muslims? The reason for considering only the Sunni belief is the fact that others2 have exempted us from this discussion by their own admission, as the Shia, for example, put it: “the perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes,” and in fact, “He cannot be described by any category.”
As for the Sunnis, they confirm the characteristics, but they say the fundamental belief of the Sunnis is that Allah is to be described by what he described himself or by what the Messenger of Allah described him without any comparison or likening, or interpretation and nullification.
The confirmation of this characteristic of Allah and other characteristics does not necessitate any attempt to liken them to the characteristics of humans. In fact they are not similar to the characteristics of human beings but rather characteristics that befit his majesty and glory: “nothing is like him, he is the All-hearing, the All-seeing” (42:11).
In order to understand a certain thing we need to know what is the meaning of the terms used.
Likening: to believe that any of Allah’s characteristics is like the characteristics of human beings.
Analogy: to believe that Allah’s characteristics are analogous to human characteristics.
Nullification: to deny Allah’s characteristics or attribute completely.
Interpretation: it means to try to understand the words in another way than the obvious meaning, like to say "hand" means power or "eye" means care or any thing of that sort.
Under these definitions it is impossible to understand any word whatsoever. Suppose we ask about the meaning of “the All-hearing, the All-seeing”. The answer should be, ‘they mean “the All-hearing , the All-seeing”’. However this meaning - according to Muslims - should not be associated with any picture perceived by human reason. Their scholars stressed this to the extent to say: “it is impossible that Allah -glory and power to him- would have in himself and his characteristics anything imagined or perceived by humans, because Allah is different from anything you could think of.” (The Explanation of the Tahawi’s belief – Saleh Al Al-Sheikh – a lecture on Saturday 13 Thee Al Kaadeh, 1417 H - quoted from the Comprehensive Encyclopaedia; source, page (1/168))
But if such words cannot be defined, then what is the difference between saying that Allah is “the all-hearing” and Allah is “the all-seeing”? On such an approach, all such “characteristics” of Allah collapse into one meaningless “characteristic”.
Even when the characteristics of Allah agree in wording with the characteristics of creatures, they do not mean the same thing according to Muslims. Thus they say: “it is not permissible for a man to say: Allah is knowing and I am knowing, Allah is existing and I am existing, Allah is living and I am living, Allah is capable and I am capable. I should not say this in a free manner but rather specifying that Allah’s knowledge, capacity, existence and life are different from our knowledge, capacity, existence and life.” (The Essence of Explaining the Islamic belief - the subject of Allah’s characteristics; source, 3rd point: The un-likeness to creation)
If we consider the above discussion logically we would find out that the Islamic doctrine makes the revelation of the Qur’an impossible.
- The Qur’an says about Allah “nothing is like him”.
- This means that Allah is other than anything that comes to your mind about him.
- Muslims believe in the doctrine of "Mukhalaft" ‘unlikeness’, which means there is no likeness whatsoever between Allah, and his characteristics, on one hand and all that pertains to creatures on the other.
- The Qur’an is Allah’s word which is not like human words. (Arabic source for the fourth point.)
The above demonstrates that it is impossible to use human language to talk about Allah. That means if the Qur’an is credible in what it tells about Allah’s nature and characteristics, then it cannot be a revelation from that Allah. In other words, if it is false, it is false; if it is true, it is also false; therefore, it is false.
This teaching of the Qur'an leads to the impossibility of using human language to define Allah.
Therefore, since the Qur’an is written with human language, it can not be an expression of Allah, it cannot be a revelation from him, nor can it be his word.
That is to say if the Qur’an is true about who Allah is, it cannot be true about what the Qur’an is, and vice versa.
The only way, for Muslims to solve this dilemma is by considering that all words of the Qur’an are other than facts and that they are not equivalent to any human concept even if the wordings of both agree. Expressed differently, those words actually mean nothing, they are in fact only empty words.
Thus, the Muslims’ teaching that Allah is other than what comes to our minds logically means that if we have understood what the Qur’an said about Allah, He is other than what the Qur’an has said about him.
1 Ibn Ishaq Al Kindy was not a Shiite. He was a Muslim philosopher influenced by Mutazilite theology. For more information, see the Wikipedia entry on Al-Kindi.
2 I.e. various other sects of Islam, the Mutazilites being the most prominent group besides the Shia.
The book that inspired this text was The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Rémi Brague, a French professor and specialist of medieval religious philosophy. He is also the author of the fine book Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization, which I have written an extensive essay about previously. Thematically this text overlaps to some extent with my essay Why Christians Accepted Greek Natural Philosophy, but Muslims Did Not and my reviews of the books Science and Religion by Edward Grant and Defending the West by Ibn Warraq. It also overlaps with some of the material I have included in my book Defeating Eurabia. I will include page references to the various book quotes so that others can use them and will supplement with some quotes from two good online interviews with Mr. Brague.
Medieval Muslims were reluctant to travel to infidel lands. According to Islamic jurists Muslims should not stay for too long in the lands of non-Muslims if they cannot live a proper Muslim life there. Muslims had little knowledge of or interest in any Western languages. Only Italian had some currency for commercial purposes, but mainly involving Jews and Eastern Christians, especially Greeks and Armenians. Few Muslims knew any non-Muslim languages well, the knowledge of which was considered unnecessary or even suspect.
Consequently, the translators of Greek and other non-Muslim scientific works to Arabic were never Muslims. They were Christians of the three dominant denominations plus a few Jews and Sabians. The language of culture for these Christians was Syriac (Syro-Aramaic or Eastern Aramaic) and their liturgical language was Greek. The translators already knew the languages they were to translate. We do have examples of translators who travelled to Greece to perfect their skills, but they were Christians for whom Greek was already at least a liturgical language. Here is Rémi Brague in The Legend of the Middle Ages, page 164:
"Neither were there any Muslims among the ninth-century translators. Almost all of them were Christians of various Eastern denominations: Jacobites, Melchites, and, above all, Nestorians (though I am not sure why the latter predominated). A few others were Sabians, a somewhat bizarre religious community with an intriguing history, whose elites were perhaps the last heirs of the pagan philosophers of the School of Athens. No Muslim learned Greek or, even less, Syriac. Cultivated Christians were often bilingual, even trilingual: they used Arabic for daily life, Syriac for liturgy, and Greek for cultural purposes. The translators that helped to pass along the Greek heritage to the Arabs were artisans who worked for private patrons, without institutional support. One often hears tell of the 'House of Wisdom' (bayt al-hikmah), a sort of research center subsidized by the caliphs that specialized in producing Arabic translations of Greek works. This is pure legend. The further back in time we go, the less the chroniclers connect the activity of translation with that 'house.' As an institution it was above all a propaganda office working for the Mu`tazilite doctrine supported by the caliphs."
The Baghdad-centered Abbasid Dynasty, which replaced the Damascus-centered Umayyad Dynasty after AD 750, was closer to pre-Islamic Persian culture and influenced by the Sassanid Zoroastrian practice of translating works and creating libraries. Even Dimitri Gutas admits this in his pro-Islamic book Greek Thought, Arab Culture. There was still a large number of Zoroastrians, Christians and Jews and they held a disproportionate amount of expertise in the medical field. According to author Thomas T. Allsen, Middle Eastern medicine in Mongol ruled China was "almost always" in the hands of Nestorian Christians.
One prominent translator was the Christian scholar Hunayn ibn Ishaq (808-873), called Johannitius in Latin. He was a Nestorian (Assyrian) Christian who had studied Greek in Greek lands, presumably in the Byzantine Empire, and eventually settled in Baghdad. He, his son and his nephew translated into Arabic, sometimes via Syriac, Galen's medical treatises as well as Hippocratic works and texts by Aristotle, Plato and others. His own compositions include the Ten Treatises on the Eye, which transmitted a largely Galenic theory of vision.
Thabit ibn Qurra (ca. 836-901) was a member of the Sabian sect of star worshippers who had adopted much of Greek culture. His native language was Syriac but he knew Greek and Arabic well. He worked for years in Baghdad where he produced influential Arabic translations or revised earlier ones of Ptolemy's Almagest and works by Archimedes and Apollonius. Later Arabic versions developed from his version of Euclid's Elements. He was also an original mathematician who contributed to geometry and the theory of numbers.
Aramaic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic. It was once the lingua franca of much of the Near East after the ancient Persians had made it their Imperial language. It was supplemented by Greek after the conquest of this region by Alexander the Great. A young Jew such as Jesus of Nazareth in Roman-ruled Palestine would probably have known some Hebrew, still the religious language but no longer the spoken language of the Jews. He would most likely have used Aramaic for preaching although it is possible that he knew some Greek.
Syriac or Syro-Aramaic gradually gave way to Arabic after the Arab conquest of this region, but when the Koran was composed, Arabic did not yet exist as a written language. Author Ibn Warraq estimates that up to 20% of the Koran is incomprehensible even to educated Arabs because parts of it were originally written in another related language before Muhammad was born, if Muhammad as he is described to us ever existed at all, that is.
The author of the most important work on this subject, a German professor of Semitic languages, due to potential threats writes under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg. According to him, certain obscure passages of the chapters or suras of the Koran usually ascribed to the Mecca period, which are also the most tolerant ones as opposed to the much harsher and more violent chapters allegedly from Medina, are not "Islamic" at all but based on Christian hymns in Syriac, Biblical texts adapted for liturgical use:
"In its origin, the Koran is a Syro-Aramaic liturgical book, with hymns and extracts from Scriptures which might have been used in sacred Christian services...Its socio-political sections, which are not especially related to the original Koran, were added later in Medina. At its beginning, the Koran was not conceived as the foundation of a new religion. It presupposes belief in the Scriptures, and thus functioned merely as an inroad into Arabic society."
While many philosophical and scientific works (but hardly any literary or historical ones) were translated into Arabic, Muslims didn't preserve the originals as these were now seen as unnecessary. This made the phenomena of "renaissances" impossible -- that is, a return to the original texts to reinterpret and study them with fresh and unbiased eyes. Muslims themselves virtually never learned Greek. Here is The Legend of the Middle Ages again, page 168:
"Those who knew Greek had been raised bilingual because they were sons of an Arab father and a Greek mother. No Muslim seems to have ever learned a foreign language for theoretical reasons rather than, for example, commercial reasons. The one exception is perhaps Farabi. One of his biographers relates that he is supposed to have spent years in 'Greece' in order to study there. This information is all the more interesting because the word used is not 'Rum,' which designated Constantinople, but rather 'Yunan,' which can mean only Greece. One might well wonder where, to what center of teaching, in Greece of the time might a student from the Muslim world have possibly gone. Farabi does not seem to have shown proof of a very profound knowledge of Greek. He does indeed cite a few words of that language. But the etymological explanations that he gives of the titles of some of Plato's dialogues are sheer fantasy. The only real exception is Biruni. But he is an exception that proves the rule: the language that he learned was not Greek, but Sanskrit. Biruni had learned that language to the point of being able to translate into it from Arabic."
Islamic civilization, in sharp contrast to the European one, never used its knowledge of the foreign as an instrument that would permit it, through comparison and distancing in relations to itself, to understand itself by becoming conscious of the non-obvious character of its cultural practices. An extremely rare exception to this rule may be the eleventh century Persian polymath al-Biruni. As Brague states in his book Eccentric Culture, page 112-113:
"It may be that its geographers made a eulogy of India and of China in order to address a discreet critique of the Islamic civilization of their time, often compensated in the last instance by an affirmation of the religious superiority of the latter. The examples that one could find of such a vision 'reflected' in the mirror are exceptional and come from marginal or heretical thinkers. Thus, the contact with the Brahmin Hindu thinkers whose religion does quite well without prophecy (which the Islamic religion declares on the contrary necessary to the happiness of man and to a good social order) posed a problem for the Muslim thinkers; the real or fictitious dialogue with the Brahmins was able to serve to mask a critique of the Islamic religion in a free thinker like Ibn al-Rawandi. The only incontestable exception is without doubt the astonishing work of Al-Biruni on India. This universal scholar (973-1048), astronomer, geographer, historian, mineralogist, pharmacologist etc., had taken the trouble to learn enough Sanskrit to be able to translate in both directions between this language and Arabic (for him also a learned language). He presented a tableau of Hindu society and beliefs with perfect impartiality."
Greek translations heavily influenced Middle Eastern scholars. Al-Kindi (died ca. AD 873), commonly known as "the Philosopher of the Arabs," lived in Baghdad and was close to several Abbasid Caliphs. Al-Kindi did significant work on optics and made notable mathematical contributions to cryptography. Al-Farabi (ca. 875-950), "perhaps the greatest" Muslim philosopher according to Brague, came to Baghdad from Central Asia, emphasized human reason and was more original than many of his successors. In How Greek Science Passed to the Arabs, writer De Lacy O'Leary states that "It is significant that almost all the great scientists and philosophers of the Arabs were classed as Aristotelians tracing their intellectual descent from al-Kindi and al-Farabi." The attempt to reconcile Islam with Greek philosophy was to last for several centuries and ultimately prove unsuccessful due to religious resistance. For various reasons, al-Kindi and al-Farabi were not much translated into Latin.
As Rémi Brague states, "in the oft-romanticized city of Cordoba, the family of the Jewish philosopher Maimonides was banished, Averroes was exiled, and many Christians martyred." Ibn Rushd, or Averroes (1126-1198), was born in Cordoba, Spain (Andalusia). He faced trouble for his freethinking ways and is today often hailed as a beacon of "tolerance," yet he was also an orthodox jurist of sharia law and served as an Islamic judge in Seville. He approved, without reservation, the killing of heretics in a work that was wholly philosophical in nature. Nevertheless, he is remembered for his attempts to combine Aristotelian philosophy and Islam. He had a major influence on Latin scientists but was practically forgotten in the Islamic world, where philosophy went into permanent decline. The very influential al-Ghazali argued that much of Greek philosophy was an affront to Islam. Virtually all freethinkers within the Islamic world were at odds with Islamic orthodoxy and frequently harassed for this.
European Christians re-conquered Toledo in Spain and Sicily from the Muslims in 1085 and 1091, respectively. The great Italian (Lombard) translator Gerard of Cremona (ca. 1114-1187) was by far the most prolific translator from Arabic to Latin of works on science and natural philosophy. He lived for years at Toledo, aided by a team of local Jewish interpreters and Latin scribes. David C. Lindberg argues that Alhazen's Book of Optics probably was translated during the late twelfth century by Gerard or somebody from his school; it was known in thirteenth century Europe. Many works initially translated from Arabic by Gerard and his associates, among them Ptolemy's great astronomical work the Almagest, were later translated directly from Greek into Latin from Byzantine manuscripts. Obviously, Alhazen's work had to be translated from Arabic since it was written in that language in the first place.
The basic principle of the astrolabe, a working model of the heavens, was a discovery of the ancient Greeks. Stereographic projection, one way among several of mapping a sphere onto a flat surface, was probably known to the great mathematical astronomer Hipparchus in the second century BC and was certainly in use by the first century BC when Vitruvius, the Roman writer on architecture and engineering, mentioned it. The first treatise on an astrolabe in the modern sense was probably written by Theon of Alexandria (ca. AD 335-405). He was a teacher of mathematics and wrote commentaries on the works of Ptolemy, including the Almagest, and made an influential edition with added comments of Euclid's Elements. Writer James E. Morrison is the author of the book The Astrolabe. As Morrison says:
"The earliest astrolabes used in Europe were imported from Moslem Spain with Latin words engraved alongside the original Arabic. It is likely that European use of Arabic star names was influenced by these imported astrolabes. By the end of the 12th century there were at least a half dozen competent astrolabe treatises in Latin, and there were hundreds available only a century later. European makers extended the plate engravings to include astrological information and adapted the various timekeeping variations used in that era. Features related to Islamic prayers were not used on European instruments. The astrolabe was widely used in Europe in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.. Astrolabe manufacturing was centered in Augsburg and Nuremberg in Germany in the fifteenth century with some production in France. In the sixteenth century, the best instruments came from Louvain in Belgium. By the middle of the seventeenth century astrolabes were made all over Europe."
The oldest surviving, moderately sophisticated scientific work in the English language is a Treatise on the Astrolabe, written by the English poet and philosopher Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1343-1400) for his son. His The Canterbury Tales are studded with astronomical references.
It should be noted that while it was a very popular device, the astrolabe was not a precision instrument even by medieval standards. Its popularity stemmed from the fact that approximate solutions to astronomical problems could be found by a mere glance at the instrument. The invention of the pendulum clock and more specialized and useful scientific devices such as the telescope from the seventeenth century on replaced the astrolabe in importance.
Nevertheless, its medieval reintroduction via the Islamic world did leave some traces. Quite a few star names in use in modern European languages, for instance Aldebaran or Algol, can be traced back to Arabic or Arabized versions of earlier Greek names. Today astronomers frequently identify stars by means of Bayer letters, introduced by the German astronomer Johann Bayer (1572-16259) in his celestial atlas Uranometria from 1603. In this system, each star is labeled by a Greek letter and the Latin name of the constellation in which it is found.
It is true that there were translations from Arabic and that these did have some impact in Europe, leaving traces in star names and some mathematical and chemical terms. Yet far too much emphasis is currently placed on the translations themselves and too little on how the knowledge contained within these texts was actually used. After the translation movement it is striking to notice how fast Europeans vastly surpassed whatever scholarly achievements had been made in the medieval Middle East based on largely the same material.
Moreover, it is simply not true that these translations "rescued" the Classical heritage. This survived largely intact among Byzantine, Orthodox Christians. When Western, Latin Christians wanted to recover the Greco-Roman heritage they translated Greek historical works and literature as well, in addition to philosophy, medicine and astronomy, and copied works by Roman authors and poets in Latin which had been totally ignored by Muslims.
It is easy to track how Arabic translations of Greek texts from Byzantine manuscripts, almost always made by non-Muslims, made their way from the Islamic East to Sicily and southern Italy or to the Iberian Peninsula in the Islamic West where some of them were translated by Jews and Christians, for instance in the multilingual city of Toledo in Spain, to Latin. It is true that some ancient Greek texts were reintroduced to the West via Arabic, sometimes passing via Syriac or Hebrew along the way, but these were usually based, in the end, on Byzantine originals. The permanent recovery of Greco-Roman learning and literature was undertaken as a direct transmission from Greek, Orthodox Christians to Western, Latin Christians.
The greatest translator from Greek to Latin was the Flemish scholar William of Moerbeke (ca. 1215-ca. 1286), a contemporary of the prominent German scholar Albertus Magnus. He was fluent in Greek and made very accurate translations, still held in high regard today, from Byzantine originals and improved earlier translations of the works of Aristotle and many by Archimedes, Hero of Alexandria and others. Like his Italian friend the great theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), William of Moerbeke was a friar of the Dominican order and had personal contacts at the top levels of the Vatican, including several popes.
Thanks in part to William of Moerbeke's efforts, by the 1270s Western Europeans had access to Greek works that were never translated into Arabic, for instance Aristotle's Politics. This benefited Thomas Aquinas and his great theological work the Summa Theologica. The Spanish-born Jewish rabbi and philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), famous for his The Guide for the Perplexed, attempted to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Biblical Scripture. Aquinas was well aware of his work as well as Muslim Aristotelian commentators such as Avicenna and Averroes, but he could be critical of Averroes and his use of Aristotle.
Renaissance figures in Italy and Western Europe had at their disposal a more complete body of Greek thought than any of the major Muslim philosophers ever did. The translation movement, which began in the late eleventh century, continued during the Renaissance and culminated in its final and arguably most important phase during the second half of the fifteenth century and into the sixteenth with the introduction of the printing press. This invention vastly increased the circulation of books as well as the accuracy of their copying.
It was a major stroke of historical luck that printing was introduced in Europe at exactly the same time as the last vestige of the Roman Empire fell to Muslim Turks. Texts that had been preserved in Constantinople for a thousand years could now be permanently rescued. As Elizabeth L. Eisenstein says in her monumental The Printing Press as an Agent of Change:
"The classical editions, dictionaries, grammar and reference guides issued from print shops made it possible to achieve an unprecedented mastery of Alexandrian learning even while laying the basis for a new kind of permanent Greek revival in the West....We now tend to take for granted that the study of Greek would continue to flourish after the main Greek manuscript centers had fallen into alien hands and hence fail to appreciate how remarkable it was to find that Homer and Plato had not been buried anew but had, on the contrary, been disinterred forever more. Surely Ottoman advances would have been catastrophic before the advent of printing. Texts and scholars scattered in nearby regions might have prolonged the study of Greek but only in a temporary way."
Muslims and Christians treated Greek philosophy very differently, partly because Judaism, Islam and Christianity are monotheistic in very different ways. Brague points out that there are fundamental differences between them. It is a misunderstanding that there are "three religions of the book" because the meaning of the book is very different in each religion.
According to Rémi Brague, "In Judaism, the Tenakh is a written history of the covenant between God and the people of Israel, almost a kind of contract. In Christianity, the New Testament is the history of one person, Jesus, who is the incarnate Word of God. In Islam, the Koran is 'uncreated' and has descended from the heavens in perfect form. Only in Islam is the book itself what is revealed by God. In Judaism God is revealed in the history of the Jewish people. In Christianity God is revealed as love in the person of Jesus. Judaism and Christianity are not religions of the book, but religions with a book. The third misconception is to speak of 'the three Abrahamic religions'. Christians usually refer to Abraham as a person who binds these three religions together, and who is shared by them. In Judaism, he is the 'founding father'. But in the Koran it is written: 'Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian.' (III, 67)....According to Islam, the first prophets received the same revelation as Mohammed, but the message was subsequently forgotten. Or it was tampered with, with evil intent. So according to Islam, the Torah and the Gospels are fakes."
In Islamic lands, falsafa remained a private affair, an unofficial matter for individuals in fairly restricted numbers. Philosophy was always marginal in the Islamic world and was never institutionalized there as it was in the European medieval universities. According to Rémi Brague, theology as such is a Christian specialty. He even claims that "'theology' as a rational exploration of the divine (according to Anselm's program) exists only in Christianity."
Brague states that "The great philosophers of Islam were amateurs, and they pursued philosophy during their leisure hours: Farabi was a musician, Avicenna a physician and a vizier, Averroes a judge. Avicenna did philosophy at night, surrounded by his disciples, after a normal workday. And he did not refuse a glass of wine to invigorate him a bit and keep him on his toes. Similarly, among the Jews, Maimonides was a physician and a rabbinic judge, Gersonides was an astronomer (and astrologer), and so on. The great Jewish or Muslim philosophers attained the same summits as the great Christian Scholastics, but they were isolated and had little influence on society. In medieval Europe, philosophy became a university course of studies and a pursuit that could provide a living....You can be a perfectly competent rabbi or imam without ever having studied philosophy. In contrast, a philosophical background is a necessary part of the basic equipment of the Christian theologian. It has even been obligatory since the Lateran Council of 1215."
Demand usually precedes the presence of a product on the market and it is the demand that needs to be explained. As Brague notes, translations are made because someone feels that a certain text contains information that people need. The real intellectual revolution in Europe began well before the wave of translations in Toledo and elsewhere. This was demonstrated by the American jurist Harold J. Berman in his important 1983 book Law and Revolution. The efforts of the Catholic Church to make a new system of law required refined tools, which meant that the West sought out Aristotle's and other Greek work on logic and philosophy.
The "Papal Revolution" starting in the eleventh century was an effort to apply ancient Greek methods of logic to the remnants of Roman law dating back to Late Antiquity and the reforms of the active Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian the Great. Justinian's revision of existing Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) was compiled in Latin in the 530s AD and later influenced medieval Canon Law. While they did utilize Roman law and Greek logic, medieval Western scholars through their intellectual efforts created a new synthesis which had not existed in Antiquity. Prominent among them was the twelfth century Italian legal scholar Gratian, a monk who taught in Bologna. His great work, commonly known as the Decretum, appeared around 1140 as a synthesis of church law. Harold J. Berman writes in his book Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition, page 225-226:
"Every person in Western Christendom lived under both canon law and one or more secular legal systems. The pluralism of legal systems within a common legal order was an essential element of the structure of each system. Because none of the coexisting legal systems claimed to be all inclusive or omnicompetent, each had to develop constitutional standards for locating and limiting sovereignty, for allocating governmental powers within such sovereignty, and for determining the basic rights and duties of members… Like the developing English royal law of the same period, the canon law tended to be systematized more on the basis of procedure than of substantive rules. Yet after Gratian, canon law, unlike English royal law, was also a university discipline; professors took the rules and principles and theories of the cases into the classrooms and collected, analyzed, and harmonized them in their treatises."
With the papacy of the dynamic and assertive Gregory VII (1073-1085), the Roman Catholic Church entered the Investiture Struggle, a protracted and largely successful conflict with European monarchs over control of appointments, investitures, of Church officials. Edward Grant explains in his book God and Reason in the Middle Ages, page 23-24:
"Gregory VII began the process that culminated in 1122 in the Concordat of Worms (during the reign of the French pope, Calixtus II [1119-1124]), whereby the Holy Roman Emperor agreed to give up spiritual investiture and allow free ecclesiastical elections. The process manifested by the Investiture Struggle has been appropriately called the Papal Revolution. Its most immediate consequence was that it freed the clergy from domination by secular authorities: emperors, kings, and feudal nobility. With control over its own clergy, the papacy became an awesome, centralized, bureaucratic powerhouse, an institution in which literacy, a formidable tool in the Middle Ages, was concentrated. The Papal Revolution had major political, economic, social, and cultural consequences. With regard to the cultural and intellectual consequences, it 'may be viewed as a motive force in the creation of the first European universities, in the emergence of theology and jurisprudence and philosophy as systematic disciplines, in the creation of new literary and artistic styles, and in the development of a new consciousness.' . . . the papacy grew stronger and more formidable. It reached the pinnacle of its power more than a century later in the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216), perhaps the most powerful of all medieval popes."
The power of the secular states grew as well, but the separation between Church and state endured because the Papal Revolution had established a virtual parity between them. It was the internal dynamism of Europe during the High Middle Ages that drove the recovery of Classical learning. Here is The Legend of the Middle Ages by Rémi Brague, page 180:
"The European intellectual renaissance preceded the translations from the Arabic. The latter were not the cause, but the effect of that renaissance. Like all historical events, it had economic aspects (lands newly under cultivation, new agricultural techniques) and social aspects (the rise of free cities). On the level of intellectual life, it can be understood as arising from a movement that began in the eleventh century, probably launched by the Gregorian reform of the Church. . . . That conflict bears witness to a reorientation of Christianity toward a transformation of the temporal world, up to that point more or less left to its own devices, with the Church taking refuge in an apocalyptical attitude that said since the world was about to end, there was little need to transform it. The Church's effort to become an autonomous entity by drawing up a law that would be exclusive to it -- Canon Law -- prompted an intense need for intellectual tools. More refined concepts were called for than those available at the time. Hence the
Rémi Brague is a highly competent scholar and I can easily recommend his works to those who have a serious interest in studying these subjects. I will conclude by adding some other books that people can read. About Islam I recommend essentially everything written by Robert Spencer. Bat Ye'or's books are groundbreaking and important. The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew Bostom should be considered required reading for all those who are interested in Islam. It is the best and most complete book currently available on the subject in English, possibly in any language. Ibn Warraq's books are excellent, starting with Leaving Islam. Understanding Muhammad by the Iranian ex-Muslim Ali Sina is worth reading, as areDefeating Jihad by Serge Trifkovic and A God Who Hates by Wafa Sultan. For Western and European readers especially I could add my own book Defeating Eurabia.
For books about the history of science, I recommend everything written by Edward Grant. The Beginnings of Western Science by David C. Lindberg is good, though slightly more politically correct than Grant when it comes to science in the Islamic world. The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West by Toby E. Huff is highly recommended. Huff's work is carefully researched and should be considered required reading for those who are interested in this subject. These books are easy to read for an educated, mainstream audience.
For books that are excellent, yet more specialized and slightly more challenging, I can recommend Victor J. Katz for the history of mathematics and The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy by James Evans for the history of pre-telescopic astronomy up to and including Kepler. Evans' book is extremely well researched and detailed, almost too much so on European and Middle Eastern astronomy, but contains virtually nothing on Chinese or Mayan astronomy. For a more global perspective, Cosmos: An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology by John North is good and not too difficult to read.
Osama Abdallah is obsessed with alleged scientific miracles of the Qur’an. Although he joined that fad rather late in the game, he has become one of the most prolific writers on this issue in recent years.
One of those supposed proofs of the divine origins of the Qur’an is the claim that Allah revealed in the Qur’an that iron was sent down to earth from outer space. The verse in question or rather the part of the verse that forms the basis of the miracle claim (context is duly ignored as it could only get in the way), is this:
… We sent down iron … (S. 57:25 Yusuf Ali)
The larger part of Osama Abdallah’s claims on that particular issue are mere repetition of what is found elsewhere and which has been ably refuted by Masud Masihiyyen in his article “A Tower of Iron or a Castle of Sand?” responding to the most prominent propagator of this miracle, Harun Yahya.
This article is highly recommended, and there is no need to repeat here what has already been said there.
However, Osama Abdallah adds a few extra claims to his article which again show how utterly silly his claims are. I will highlight just one of them.
In a grey box on his page on the earth and the iron, Abdallah claims:
The numerological value of the word "alhadid" alone is 57, and 57 is:
1- The number of Noble Surah's (Chapter), and the abjad numerical value of the Noble Surah's Name (Alhadid).
2- Makes the Noble Surah in the Middle of the Noble Quran, since the Noble Quran has 114 Noble Surahs.
3- The iron core is also in the center of planet earth. (Source)
[Note: I apologize that my quotation is not as beautifully colored as Abdallah’s original. However, the text is exactly as displayed on his website on 8 November 2009.]
Most of the numerology aspects are dealt with in the above recommended article, but let’s look at Osama Abdallah’s claim about Sura 57 being “in the Middle of the Noble Quran” which is nonsense in at least two ways.
First, take this claim in the “mathematical sense”. Let’s make this really easy and assume there are three chapters. Which one is in the middle? Everyone knows that. Number two is in the middle. There is one chapter before it and one chapter after it. Good. Now, let’s increase the number of chapters. What if we have four chapters? Which one is in the middle? According to Osama Abdallah’s method, just divide four by two and obtain the result that chapter two is in the middle of the four. If you are a Muslim, do you see a problem with that? Not? Great! You just passed the test as an unshakable believer in Abdallah’s miracleology. You will not be distracted by facts or reason. Abdallah will love you for being his loyal admirer despite all evidence to the contrary.
Perhaps the number four is still too large and the question too complex? Then let’s make the example even smaller: If we have only two chapters, which one is in the middle? Ah, … by now even Osama Abdallah should be able to spot the problem.
However, I am sure Abdallah can fix that little oversight in no time. He simply has to introduce the concept of an “approximate miracle”. I mean, give me (or rather: him) a break, nobody can produce exact miracles all the time. Even Allah must be permitted to perform some approximate miracles once in a while. And, as a devout believer, one should not be nitpicking but be grateful for every miracle one can get, even if they are only approximately miraculous.
Okay, let’s stop beating this dead horse.
Second, since Osama Abdallah programmed his own Qur’an search engine, we can use it to find the second problem in a visual way. The reader simply needs to follow these easy instructions:
- Go to Abdallah’s amazing search engine: www.QuranSearch.com
- Click on the name “Dr. Munir Munshey“ to utilize the translation which Abdallah is so proud to host on his server.
- Click on the first main link “Dr. Munir Munshey's own English translation of the Noble Quran”.
- Search for the verse “057:025” where the miracle is supposedly located.
What do you observe in regard to the scroll bar at the right margin of your browser?
You are about in the middle of the text of the Qur’an. Wow! What better visual illustration could there be? The revelation of iron in the Qur’an is exactly in the middle of the Qur’an, right in the center, just like the earth has an iron core!1
Before you continue, please scroll to the very bottom of the page you retrieved (don’t worry, it is not that far after all) and observe that you were served exactly 6236 Noble Verses, i.e. the full Qur’an consists of 6236 verses.
Now, there is a second exercise that we can perform with Abdallah’s helpful Qur’an search engine.
- Go back to step one of the last round, i.e. the search page.
- In the right half of it, under the heading “Noble Verses' Numeric Search” put the search parameter “57:26-114:6” to get all verses coming after the “Verse of Iron” to the end of the Qur’an.
- Restrict your search to Dr. Munshey’s translation only by clicking the box before his name.
- Press “Search”.
- Scroll down to the end of the page.
What do you see? How many verses were you served? Right, 1136 Noble Verses.
Now some math: If the Qur’an has 6236 verses in total, and there are 1136 verses after the verse on iron, how many are there before this verse?
Surely you got the same result as I did: 5099. Not? Try again!2
Conclusion: There are 5099 verses before and 1136 verses after the miraculous verse of iron. Amazing, how this verse sits smack dab in the middle of the Qur’an, truly representing the core of iron inside the earth.
Appendix: The inherent beauty of Osama Abdallah’s miracle ranking list
And there is more to discover. Here is the relevant part of the Iron Verse again.
… We sent down iron … (S. 57:25 Yusuf Ali)
Amazingly, the miracle claim “Iron was sent down from space” is currently listed as
25. Iron was sent down from space.
on Abdallah’s ranking list of his most favourite scientific miracles in the Qur’an (here). This astonishing agreement of verse number and ranking number both being “25” may well constitutes another miracle! Should we even take this as a sign that the writings of Osama Abdallah are divinely inspired?
1 Hm, or maybe that verse was meant differently? The iron was so heavy, it “sent down” your scroll bar … ?
2 Don’t forget to subtract one for the Iron verse itself, S. 57:25, since this verse cannot be before or after itself.
In my research on the issue of Haman in the Qur’an (see this article), I came across Harun Yahya’s website “Miracles of the Qur’an” and specifically his section on alleged “Historical Miracles of the Qur’an”. Five of the ten listed articles (miracles) deal with different aspects of the story of Moses and Pharaoh in the Qur’an.
Frankly, most of these articles make a number of false statements, and these “miracles” are mostly fabrications based on manipulations of the facts. Some of these hoaxes will be examined in other articles, but in this short note I want to point out that Harun Yahya managed to propose three rather different dates for the Pharaoh who was confronted by Moses.
All of these articles seek to establish the superior historical accuracy of the Qur’an when compared with the Bible.
The first date for the story of Pharaoh and Moses is implicit in this article:
THE WORD "PHARAOH" IN THE QUR'AN
In the Old Testament, the Egyptian ruler during the period of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Yusuf (as) are named "Pharaoh." However, this title was actually employed after the eras in which these two Prophets lived.
While addressing the Egyptian ruler at the time of Prophet Yusuf (as), the word "Al-Malik" in Arabic is used in the Qur'an: It refers to a ruler, king or sultan:
The King said, 'Bring him to me straight away!'… (Qur'an, 12:50)
The ruler of Egypt in the time of the Prophet Musa (as) is referred to as "Pharaoh." This distinction in the Qur'an is not made in the Old and New Testaments nor by Jewish historians. In the Bible, the word "Pharaoh" is used, in every reference to an Egyptian monarch. On the other hand, the Qur'an is far more concise and accurate in the terminology it employs.
The use of the word "Pharaoh" in Egyptian history belongs only to the late period.This particular title began to be employed in the 14th century B.C., during the reign of Amenhotep IV. The Prophet Yusuf (as) lived at least 200 years before that time.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that the word "Pharaoh" was a title of respect used from the New Kingdom (beginning with the 18th dynasty; B.C. 1539-1292) until the 22nd dynasty (B.C. 945-730), after which this term of address became the title of the king. Further information on this subject comes from the Academic American Encyclopaedia, which states that the title of Pharaoh began to be used in the New Kingdom.
As we have seen, the use of the word "Pharaoh" dates from a specific period in history. For that reason, the fact that the Qur'an distinguishes between the different Egyptian titles in different Egyptian eras is yet another proof that the Qur'an is Allah's Word. (Source)
In a footnote, Harun Yahya reveals his sources for these claims:
Elias Karîm, “Qur’anic Accuracy vs. Biblical Error: The Kings & Pharaohs of Egypt,” www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/josephdetail.html ; Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, “An Aspect of the Qur’aan’s Miraculous Nature,” www.islaam.com/Article.asp?id=40 .
At the first link, we find the following two statements in a chronology table:
"Pharaoh" first applied to the king around middle of the 14th century BCE, c. 1352-1348 BCE.
Moses born around the beginning of the 13th century BCE.
And in their understanding, the Exodus happened in the second half of the century either under Ramses II or Merneptah, some time between 1200 and 1250. In fact, in the original version of their article, to which Harun Yahya referred at the time of writing his article, they positively identified the Pharaoh of the Exodus as Merneptah (see this article), i.e. about 1210 BC. This was the basis for Harun Yahya’s article, and one could assume that he agreed with this. He definitely claims in his own text that it could not be before 1400 BC, since before that time the king of Egypt was not called Pharaoh.
In fact, in a chapter of his book “Perished Nations”, Harun Yahya basically builds his whole argument on the “fact” that Ramses II is the Pharaoh of Exodus. The chapter is called “Fir’awn that was drowned”, i.e. “The Pharaoh who was drowned”. In this chapter he writes, “According to many historians, Ramses was the Pharaoh tormenting the Children of Israel and fighting against Musa (as)” (p. 96) and throughout the chapter he builds on that identification. Since the Qur’an says that Pharaoh was drowned (i.e. died) during the Exodus of the Israelites, this means the Exodus took place in 1212 BC, the year of the death of Ramses II. (The inconsistency of whether Ramses II or Merneptah was the Pharaoh is left for another discussion. Here the point is merely that Harun Yahya puts the Exodus at the late 13th century.)
Then there is a second article on the topic of the plagues / punishments which God brought on the Egyptians through the hands of Moses. I will quote only part of this article.
In the early 19th century a papyrus dating back to the Middle Kingdom was discovered in Egypt. The papyrus was taken to the Leiden Museum in Holland and translated by A.H. Gardiner in 1909. The entire text appears in the book Admonitions of an Egyptian from a Hieratic Papyrus in Leiden, and describes major changes in Egypt; famine, drought, the slaves’ flight from Egypt with their assets, and death all over the nation. The papyrus was written by an Egyptian called Ipuwer and it appears from its contents that this individual personally witnessed the disasters that struck Egypt. This papyrus is a most significant hand-written description of the catastrophes, the death of Egyptian society and the destruction of Pharaoh.
The details in the papyrus regarding the disasters that struck the people of Egypt are just as described in the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, we are told about these catastrophes. This Islamic account of this period of human history has been confirmed by the discovery in Egypt, in the early 19th century, of the Ipuwer papyruses dating back to the Middle Kingdom. After the discovery of this papyrus, it was sent to the Leiden Dutch Museum in 1909 and translated by A. H. Gardiner, a prominent scholar of ancient Egypt. In the papyrus were described such disasters in Egypt as famine, drought and the fleeing of the slaves from Egypt. Moreover, it appears that the writer of the papyrus, one Ipuwer, had actually witnessed these events. This is how the Ipuwer papyrus refers to these catastrophes described in the Qur'an: ...
And the conclusion:
The chain of disasters which struck the people of Egypt, according to this document, conforms perfectly with the Qur'anic account of these matters. This papyrus, which closely parallels the catastrophes which struck Egypt in the time of Pharaoh, once again demonstrates the Qur'an to be divine in origin. (Source: The Troubles Which Afflicted Pharaoh And Those Around Him)
Clearly, Harun Yahya identifies the catastrophes described in the Ipuwer document with the quranic punishments of Pharaoh through Moses.
Harun Yahya also gives a number of links to other web pages regarding this document. The main and first one on which he bases his article is “The Plagues of Egypt” which states:
The Admonitions of Ipuwer is believed to have been written around 1780 B.C.E. according to the astronomical computations of the Sothis period.
Obviously the events need to happen first before Ipuwer can report them. So, let’s say they happened roughly around 1,800 BC.
Although Harun Yahya may not have realized that yet, now he has a serious problem. He has published two articles, side by side, which claim that Moses and the Pharaoh lived and the Exodus happened (a) around 1210 BC (but certainly after 1400 BC) and (b) that the plagues associated with Moses and the Pharaoh happened around 1,800 BC. That is a difference of nearly six-hundred years! The first article claims that it was in the New Kingdom period, and the second article claims that the plagues are reported in a document from the Middle Kingdom. Moreover, according to the first article, the kings were not yet called Pharaoh in the Middle Kingdom since this title only started to be used in the New Kingdom. So, Harun Yahya’s second article “proves” that the Qur’an is actually wrong to call the king Pharaoh in the time of Moses.
Wikipedia states regarding the document of Ipuwer:
The sole surviving manuscript dates to the later 13th century BCE (no earlier than the 19th dynasty in the New Kingdom). Egyptologist Dr Halpern believed that the papyrus was a copy of an earlier Middle kingdom copy. The dating of the original composition of the poem is disputed, but several scholars, have suggested a date between the late 12th dynasty and the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1850 BCE - 1600 BCE). (Source; 9 June 2009)
Whether it is 1,800 or 1,600 BC for the Ipuwer text, the two historical miracles of the Qur’an cannot be true simultaneously. In particular, the Ipuwer plagues miracle turns the “name of Pharaoh” miracle into a historical error of the Qur’an if the central statement in the first article is to be believed.
But Harun Yahya is not done yet. He has yet another date for Moses and Pharaoh. In a third article, on the person of Haman in the Qur’an, he states:
One such example of this wisdom can be found in the Qur'anic references to Haman: a character whose name is mentioned in the Qur'an, along with the Pharaoh. He is mentioned in six different places in the Qur'an, in which it informs us that he was one of Pharaoh's closest allies.
Surprisingly, the name "Haman" is never mentioned in those sections of the Torah pertaining to the life of the Prophet Musa (as). However, the mention of Haman can be found in the last chapters of the Old Testament as the helper of a Babylonian king who inflicted many cruelties on the Israelites approximately 1,100 years after the Prophet Musa (as). The Qur'an, far more in tune with recent archaeological discoveries, does indeed contain the word "Haman" in reference to the life of the Prophet Musa (as).
And again, he concludes his article with this punch line:
In a miraculous way, the Qur'an conveys to us historical information that could not have been possessed or understood at the time of the Prophet (saas). Hieroglyphics could not be deciphered until the late 1700s so the information could not have been ascertained from Egyptian sources. When the name "Haman" was discovered in the ancient scripts, it was further proof of the infallibility of Allah's Word. (Source: "Haman" And Ancient Egypt Monuments)
Although Harun Yahya doesn’t mention in this article which Babylonian king or which Pharaoh we are talking about, so that it is rather strange to give such a time difference, most scholars believe that the Book of Esther speaks about Xerxes I (no matter whether they consider the Book of Esther to be a historical account or an unhistorical legend about him). Xerxes reigned as king of Persia in 486-465 BC. Adding 1,100 years, we then are around 1,570 BC, yet another date for Moses, Pharaoh and the Exodus. This one, again, is before the New Kingdom period, and thus the title Pharaoh was not yet used according to Yahya’s claim in the first article.
In conclusion, Harun Yahya contradicts himself over and over again in the articles in which he propagates the “historical miracles of the Qur’an”. The Qur’an miraculously agrees with certain documents which place these same events around the time of 1,800 BC, or 1,570 BC or 1210 BC.
Obviously, the Exodus was not repeated three times in the same way at all of these dates.
Nevertheless, strangely, amazingly, the Qur’an is miraculously flexible and able to perfectly agree with each one of these dates (and probably a few others as well).
In the final analysis: Nearly every one of Yahya’s arguments is a fraud. There is no historical miracle in the Qur’an. The miracle is merely in the mind of the author and in the minds of those Muslims who so eagerly believe these self-contradictory claims.
Further reading: The Haman Hoax examines the Muslim claims regarding Haman in the Qur’an in great detail, including the two versions published by Harun Yahya.
Micro-organisms and sub-atomic particles?
Harun Yahya’s writings are abounding in inaccuracies and contradictions. In the first part I have exposed his blatant contradictions in dating the Exodus. Many more inconsistencies and contradictions can be found in Yahya’s alleged scientific miracles. I will present just one of them in this article.
Harun Yahya uses the same two verses (S. 10:61 and 34:3) but with different translations to prove (1) atoms (and even sub-atomic particles) and (2) microscopic life are mentioned in the Qur’an! In other words, he extracts two “scientific miracles” from the same verses by giving them two contradictory interpretations. He writes:
… At the present time, modern science has revealed that the atom, previously regarded as the smallest particle, can actually be split. This fact only emerged in the last century, but was revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago:
… He is the Knower of the Unseen, Whom not an atom's weight eludes, either in the heavens or in the earth; nor is there anything smaller or larger than that which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 34:3)
… Not even an atom's weight eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 10:61)
This verse refers to "atom" and smaller particles still. … (Source)
Here Harun Yahya renders the Arabic phrase “mithqala tharratin” as “an atom’s weight” and claims that these two verses speak about atoms and sub-atomic particles. That this interpretation is a mistranslation and an abuse of the text is discussed in some detail in these two articles: Does the Qur’an speak about atoms? And Sub-atomic Particles Revealed in the Qur’an? There is no need to repeat that discussion here. In this present article I am mostly concerned with exposing how Yahya contradicts himself and deceives his audience by fabricating miracles.
And here is his second article using these two verses:
THE EXISTENCE OF MICROSCOPIC LIFE
Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs: from what the earth produces and from themselves and from things unknown to them. (Qur'an, 36:36)
… And He creates other things you do not know. (Qur'an, 16:8)
The above verses indicate the existence of life forms unknown to people at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an. Indeed, with the discovery of the microscope, new living things too small to be seen with the naked eye have also been discovered by man. People have therefore begun to learn about the existence of these life forms, indicated in the Qur'an. Other verses which point to the existence of micro-organisms, which are invisible to the naked eye and generally consist of a single cell, read:
… He is the Knower of the Unseen, Whom not even the weight of the smallest particle eludes, either in the heavens or in the earth; nor is there anything smaller or larger than that which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 34:3)
… Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 10:61)
There are 20 times more members of this secret world, which is spread all over the planet, micro-organisms in other words, than there are animals on Earth. These micro-organisms, invisible to the naked eye, comprise bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae and Acarina (mites and ticks). They also constitute an important element in the balance of life on Earth. For example, ...
Fourteen centuries ago, the Qur'an indicated the existence of living things beyond those which can be seen with the naked eye. This is another spectacular miracle contained within the verses of the Qur'an. (Source)
There is no spectacular miracle, only gross misinterpretation. In this second article “mithqala tharratin” is actually rendered much more appropriately (see Does the Qur’an speak about atoms?). However, not one of all these verses actually speaks of micro-organisms. It is merely wishful thinking from start to finish. The first two verses simply say that God created everything, those things known to you, and everything that you do not know (yet). “Unknown” is not the same as “too small to be seen with the naked eye”. Things unknown to the Arabs at Muhammad’s time would include the kangaroos of Australia, penguins and polar bears, but also potatoes and tomatoes which originate in South America and were first brought to Europe around 1500 AD after the Spanish discovery and exploration of South America. Yes, “things unknown” also include micro-organisms, but these verses do not mention micro-organisms in particular and certainly do not reveal the existence of micro-organisms.
Actually, S. 36:36 contains a considerable scientific error. It belongs to a cluster of verses in the Qur’an claiming that all life comes in pairs. This is particularly wrong for micro-organisms, see the article Everything in Pairs?
Anyway, here is the contradiction: “(mithqala) tharratin” (S. 10:61 and 34:3) cannot at the same time refer to “individual atoms” and to “micro-organisms”. In fact, this phrase refers to neither one, but the fact that Yahya claims both meanings for this expression – for the purpose of creating two “scientific miracles” – exposes his utter disregard for honest interpretation of the Qur’an. He is not interpreting the Qur’an properly but is a fabricator of lies about the Qur’an. And his Muslim admirers are paying him rather well for feeding them lies.
The Qur’an contains several instances of “historical compression”, i.e. stories in which two or more separate historical events are combined to create a new story, or a character from one story is transferred or imported into another story. For example, in the Qur’an we find Saul and David in the story of Gideon, or a Samaritan together with Moses in the Exodus narrative. A list of many more such historical compressions is provided on this page.
Whether these stories and characters were confused by the author of the Qur’an out of ignorance or deliberately merged for a certain purpose, these new stories are presented to the readers as reports of historical events and therefore constitute historical errors in the Qur’an.
One of the best known examples of such apparent historical confusions in the Qur’an is the character of Haman in the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Pharaoh and Haman were two of the most dangerous figures in the history of the Jews. Both of these men attempted genocide against the Israelites. Pharaoh gave the command to kill all male newborn babies (Exodus 1) and Haman plotted to have all Jews killed who were living in exile in Persia (Esther 3).1 However, these two events were separated in two ways: (a) the geographical distance of several thousand kilometers between Egypt and Persia, and (b) about a thousand years distance on the historical timeline.
Since the character of Haman is so obviously out of place in the story of Moses and Pharaoh, this matter has a high embarrassment factor, and Muslims apparently felt the pressing need to find a reasonable solution to this charge of a historical error in the Qur’an.
If only Muslims could find the name “Haman” or something similar in Egyptian records … as this would allow them to claim that Haman is indeed an Egyptian name, and thus enable them to disconnect the Haman in the Qur’an from the Haman found in the biblical book of Esther.
In fact, apologists for Islam have managed to devise a hoax that has impressed and misled many people over the last 15 years. This hoax went through three main stages of development (associated with Maurice Bucaille, Islamic Awareness, and Harun Yahya) and all three stages are available on the internet, plus plenty of variants.2 In this article, I will discuss these three stages of the argument in turn and point out various peculiarities.
The below discussion is rather lengthy and involved because (1) many details have to be examined, and because (2) this article actually consists of three rebuttals to three related but nevertheless quite different Muslim versions of this claim.
As a foretaste of the things to come, let me mention in this introduction only two details out of the many false Muslim statements on this topic. Maurice Bucaille claims to have consulted a prominent Egyptologist about the name Haman and a possible transliteration of that name in hieroglyphs. He then writes:
In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New Kingdom by Ranke, where I might find the name written in hieroglyphs, as he had written before me, and the transliteration in German. I discovered all that had been presumed by the expert, and, moreover, I was stupefied to read the profession of Haman: “Chief of the workers in stone-quarries,” exactly what could be deduced from the Qur'an, though the words of Pharaoh suggest a master of construction.
For comparison, here is the entry in Ranke’s dictionary:
Quite obviously, Bucaille lied. Ranke’s transliteration does not say “Haman”, nor does Ranke say anything about him being the “Chief of the workers in stone-quarries”. [The meaning and implications of this entry will be discussed in great detail in the next two sections of this paper.]
Harun Yahya wrote about eight years ago3:
The name "Haman" was in fact mentioned in old Egyptian tablets. It was mentioned on a monument which now stands in the Hof Museum in Vienna, …
This is another lie. There is not even one Egyptian tablet, let alone many, on which the name Haman was found, nor is the artefact with the inscription that allegedly contains the name Haman “a monument”; it is a door post and it does not say “Haman”. Most ironically, there has not even been a “Hof Museum” in Vienna for more than eighty years!
The whole story is a hoax from start to finish.
After these “appentizers”, let’s now turn our attention to the full Muslim argument and examine it step by step. The discussion is structured in the following way:
* The Hoax
Stage One: Maurice Bucaille
Stage Two: Islamic Awareness
Stage Three: Harun Yahya
* Various Appendices providing further background information
- Who was Haman according to the Qur'an?
- The similarities between Haman in the Bible and Haman in the Qur'an
- The full inscription of "Haman's" door post
- The two versions of the argument by Islamic Awareness
- Hammon & Hemiunu: The psychology of Islamic Awareness
- What Islamic Awareness really knew
- Statements by German Egyptologists (to appear soon)
The first three parts should be read in the given sequence since they are building upon each other and details that have already been discussed and shown to be wrong in an earlier stage, will not be discussed again in the later parts.
We start our examination of the Muslim claims with Stage One: Maurice Bucaille
1 We will probably never know for sure what reasons led to the inclusion of Haman in the Exodus narrative of the Qur’an. Nevertheless, their common trait (of both having tried to exterminate the Israelites) could have created the occasion of Muhammad hearing Jews referring to both of these two evil men “in the same breath”. Further possible factors that may have contributed to the inclusion of Haman into the story of Pharaoh and Moses are presented in Appendix 1.
2 A search on Google for some of the relevant terms reveals that there are currently close to a thousand Muslim web pages propagating this particular argument. This may serve as a measure of importance that is attached to this topic by the Muslim community.
3 Most probably in the second half of the year 2001.
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
Muslims often claim that the Qur’an was solely inspired by Allah and revealed trough the angel Gabriel to the prophet. But is this really the case? I would like you to consider the story of Ibn Umm Maktum and his role during the alleged revelation of Surat An-Nisa 4:95.
Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum was a cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. His father was Qays ibn Za'id and his mother was Aatikah bint Abdullah. She was called Umm Maktum (Mother of the Concealed One) because she gave birth to a blind child.1
Ibn Umm Maktum grew up as a blind man who converted to Islam later is his life. After having been ignored by the prophet for some time, he eventually became a very close friend and companion to the prophet. During the ‘revelation’ of the ‘Jihad verse’ (i.e. Surat An-Nisa 4:95) Ibn Umm Maktum played a significant role.We read in the hadeeth literature that Muhammad changed his ‘revelation’ in order to accommodate the personal needs of Ibn Umm Maktum.
In Sahih Bukhari we find these traditions:2
Narrated Al-Bara: When the Verse: "Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home)" (4.95) was revealed, Allah Apostle called for Zaid who wrote it. In the meantime Ibn Um Maktum came and complained of his blindness, so Allah revealed: "Except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame..." etc.) (4.95) (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 60, Number 117)
Narrated Al-Bara: There was revealed: 'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and those who strive and fight in the Cause of Allah.' (4.95) The Prophet said, "Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the inkpot and the scapula bone (or the scapula bone and the ink pot)."' Then he said, "Write: 'Not equal are those Believers who sit...", and at that time 'Amr bin Um Maktum, the blind man was sitting behind the Prophet. He said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is your order for me (as regards the above Verse) as I am a blind man?" So, instead of the above Verse, the following Verse was revealed: 'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame etc.) and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah.' (4.95) (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 61, Number 512)
Note that Muhammad quickly changed a verse after the complaint by Ibn Umm Maktum3 in order to accommodate his request of not having to join in Jihad. The same story is also mentioned and verified in the second most trustworthy hadeeth collection (i.e. Sahih Muslim).
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Ishaq, that he heard Bara' talking about the Qur'anic verse: "Those who sit (at home) from among the believers and those who go out for Jihad in the way of Allah are not equal" (iv. 95). (He said that) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) ordered Zaid (to write the verse). He brought a shoulder-blade (of a slaughtered camel) and inscribed it (the verse) thereon. The son of Umm Maktum complained of his blindness to the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him). (At this) descended the revelation: "Those of the believers who sit (at home) without any trouble (illness, incapacity, disability)" (iv. 95). The tradition has been handed down through two other chains of transmitters. (Sahih Muslim, Book 20, Number 4676)
It has been narrated on the authority of Bara' who said: When the Qur'anic verse: "Those who sit (at home) from among mu'min" (iv. 94) was revealed, the son of Umm Maktum spoke to him (the Holy Prophet). (At this) the words: "other than those who have a trouble (illness)" were revealed. (Sahih Muslim, Book 20, Number 4677)
The above incident is also mentioned and verified by the grand majority of classical scholars. For instance, Ibn Katheer in his Tafseer states:
Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara' said, "When the Ayah...
-Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home),-
was revealed, the Messenger of Allah called Zayd and commanded him to write it. Then, Ibn Umm Maktum came and mentioned that he was blind. Allah revealed ...
-except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame)-."
Al-Bukhari recorded that Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`di said, "I saw Marwan bin Al-Hakam sitting in the Masjid. I came and sat by his side. He told us that Zayd bin Thabit told him that Allah's Messenger dictated this Ayah to him ...
-Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah-
Ibn Umm Maktum came to the Prophet as he was dictating that very Ayah to me. Ibn Umm Maktum said, `O Allah's Messenger! By Allah, if I had power, I would surely take part in Jihad.' He was a blind man. So Allah sent down revelation to His Messenger while his thigh was on mine and it became so heavy for me that I feared that my thigh would be broken. That ended after Allah revealed ...
-except those who are disabled-." This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ibn `Abbas said ...
-Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled-, refers to those who did not go to the battle of Badr and those who went to Badr. When the battle of Badr was about to occur, Abu Ahmad bin Jahsh and Ibn Umm Maktum said, `We are blind, O Messenger of Allah! Do we have an excuse' The Ayah ...
-Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled- was revealed. Allah made those who fight, above those who sit in their homes not hindered by disability.
(Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 2, parts 3, 4, & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), by Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, First Edition: March 2000, pp. 555-556; also online)
Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wāhidī (d. 468/1075), the earliest scholar of the branch of the Qur'anic sciences known as Asbāb al-Nuzūl states in his Tafseer:
(Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah…) [4:95]. Abu ‘Uthman Sa‘id ibn Muhammad al-‘Adl informed us- his grandfather- Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Sarraj- Muhammad ibn Humayd al-Razi- Salamah ibn al-Fadl- Muhammad ibn Ishaq- al-Zuhri- Sahl ibn Sa‘d- Marwan ibn al-Hakam- Zayd ibn Thabit who said: “I was with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, when the verse (Those of the believers who sit still are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah) and did not mention (other than those who have a (disabling) hurt). Ibn Umm Maktum said: ‘How is this so when I am blind and unable to see?’ The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was overwhelmed with revelation in this assembly and he leaned on my thigh. By Him in whose Hand is my soul, his weight grew so much on my thigh that I feared he would crush it. Then he was relieved, upon which he said: ‘Write: (Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah)’, and I wrote it down”. This was narrated by Bukhari- Isma‘il ibn ‘Abd Allah- Ibrahim ibn Sa‘d- Salih- al-Zuhri. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us- Muhammad ibn Ja‘far ibn Matar- Abu Khalifah- Abu’l-Walid- Shu‘bah- Abu Ishaq- al-Bara’ who said: “When the verse (Those of the believers who sit still are not on an equality…), the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, called Zayd who went to him with a shoulder blade and wrote on it this verse. But Ibn Umm Maktum complained about the fact that he is blind, and so the verse (Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah) was revealed”. This was narrated by Bukhari from Abu’l-Walid and by Muslim from Bundar from Ghundar, and both Abu’l-Walid and Ghundar related it from Shu‘bah. Isma'il ibn Abi al-Qasim al-Nasrabadhi informed us- Isma'il ibn Najid- Muhammad ibn 'Abdus- 'Ali ibn al-Ja'd- Zuhayr- Abu Ishaq- al-Bara' that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Call Zayd for me and ask him to bring with him a shoulder blade and an inkwell”, or he said: “a slate”. (Source)
Isn’t the above story an example of Muhammad quickly changing his ‘revelations’ in order to suit the personal needs of specific individuals? It seems rather implausible that this blind individual needed to remind Allah that there were disabled people in the world that are not able to participate in jihad. Very implausible when you consider that Allah is called the ‘Al Knowing’ (Al-Aleem) in the Qur’an over and over again.
You did not kill them; it was Allah Who killed them. You did not throw when you threw; it was Allah Who threw: so He might test the believers with this excellent trial from Him. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Anfal, 8:17)
Both East and West belong to Allah, so wherever you turn, the Face of Allah is there. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara, 2:115)
Yet, the fact remains that the ‘revelation’ was already given and written down before it was changed/revised.
... He said that) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) ordered Zaid (to write the verse). He brought a shoulder-blade (of a slaughtered camel) and inscribed it (the verse) thereon… (Sahih Muslim, Book 20, Number 4676)
This is a clear sign that the Qur’an was open to human influence. A plain reading of the facts surrounding the alleged revelation of the ‘jihad verse’ (i.e. Surat An-Nisa 4:95) clearly shows that Muhammad was prepared to change his revelations in order to meet his or his community’s needs.
1 Abdul Wahid Hamid, Companions of the Prophet, Vol. 1; online, e.g., here: 1, 2, 3.
2 This is an incident that is reported in many narrations and by different narrators. We list only a couple of these in the main text. Others are found in Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 52, Number 85; Vol. 6, Book 60, Numbers 116-119.
3 The attentive reader may have observed that two different names were given for this person: Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum and 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum. The Islamic sources are contradictory at this point. Nevertheless, it is clearly the same person. For more on this question, see the Index entry: Ibn Umm Maktum.
Islamic scientific blunder
It doesn’t take long for an objective reader of the Qur’an to notice that the entire book is dominated by a theme of repetitions and contradictions. Ali Ibn Abu Talib, the third Caliph, once described the Qur’an as a multi faced book because it can be interpreted in many different ways (1). Ali’s judgement is of exceptional significance because it came from a pious Muslim with undisputed fluency in Arabic. Ali is generally considered as the most ‘intellectual’ of Mohammed’s companions. Mohammed also made a similar confession, in the Qur’an itself, when it was pointed out to him that some of his later verses were contradicting other verses revealed in earlier years (2).
However, the Qur’an still describes itself as the clear book in a number of verses (3), and I must say that there are occasions when the Qur’an lives up to that description. Such unusual clarity in the book, where the general theme is ambiguity, exists in some of the so called ‘scientific verses’. When Mohammed expressed his scientific knowledge in the Qur’an, he often did using a clear and simple language that was comprehensible to all his followers. There are no records at all that the Arabs ever asked for clarification of any of the so called ‘scientific verses’ in the Qur’an. Equally true, there are no records at all that the Arabs ever expressed their disapproval to any of those verses. We can safely draw two conclusions from the above historical evidence:
The first conclusion is that the verses were clear enough that all the Arabs understood them well. There can be no excuse at all for today’s Muslim scholars to twist the language and invent more acceptable meanings.
The second conclusion is that the Arabs accepted the information contained in those verses as common knowledge with nothing new in them. That is why they didn’t ask questions or express their disapproval.
All the above is a clear indication that the Qur’an was in total agreement of the prevailing scientific knowledge in the seventh century Arabia.
The Qur’an’s cosmology
According to the Qur’an, the earth and the mountains are two separate entities, just like the earth and the skies are also two separate entities. The Qur’an asserts that the mountains did not originate from the earth, but were brought from ‘outside’ and then erected on the earth to fix it and stop it from swaying!
The creation and structure of the universe are repeatedly described in the Qur’an in simple language that is easy to understand and difficult to twist, even by the Muslim scholars who twist anything. Unlike the Greek, the seventh century Arabs were far behind in science and discoveries; their knowledge was mainly based on the myths that reached them through the hundreds of religions practiced in Arabia. The ancient mythologies of Mesopotamia, India and Persia were also echoed in Arabia. The Arabs, like many other nations at the time, believed that the world was a massive flat land that was attached to the sky until separated by a god. The Arabs believed that it was Allah, their moon god, who did the separation. The Qur’an confirms this myth in verse Q.21: 30 “Do not the unbeliever’s see that the skies and earth were stitched (retkan) together, and then we separated them ….”. The wording of the verse suggests that the Qur’an was referring to already known information. When somebody says to a group of people “don’t you see that the doors are painted red?” we understand that the group already know the doors are painted red and that the speaker only reminded them with a fact they all agree about.
Verse Q. 21:30 is crucial in Islamic science because it is seriously believed by the so called ‘miracle scientists’ to be the basis of the ‘Islamic big bang theory’ which is not exactly the same as the real Big Bang theory. As it is clear from the verse, the Islamic theory describes an already formed earth that was attached to an already formed sky until both were separated by Allah. That belief is in sharp contrast to the real Big Bang theory, which discusses the birth of the universe before the existence of the earth or the sky. I am afraid that in verse 21:30, the Qur’an only repeats the same old pagan myths that were already in circulation in Arabia; separating the sky from the earth and raising it high up!
To make sure that the ‘Islamic cosmology’ never meets with the infidels’ cosmology, the Qur’an goes into more details and describes the sky, which is only emptiness in the real world, as a solid structure that was raised high up by the almighty Allah who keeps it in place using a system of invisible pillars. “Q.13:2 Allah is He who raised the skies without any pillars that you can see”. To make sure that everybody gets the message clearly, the Qur’an reminds its readers that the sky would fall down on earth if it were not to Allah’s mercy. “(Q.22:65) ..He withholds the sky from falling on the earth except by His permission for Allah is most kind…”
Those invisible pillars, described in verse 13:2, must be resting on the earth, which implies that the earth must be flat. Just in case some people did not get the point, the Qur’an went on describing the earth as flat using all the words in the Arabic language that can possibly mean flat, and still the Muslims don’t get it!
The author of the Qur’an likened the earth to a carpet (Q.71:19) that, when used in the open, requires some stones, or pegs, to secure it against the blowing desert wind. Similarly, the flat earth, which was thought to be floating on water, also required some mechanism to stabilize it. The problem of the Earth’s instability was fixed by erecting massive pegs, called mountains, which Allah dropped on its surface and erected to function as stabilizers. Therefore, the mountains were not part of the earth!
The Qur’an’s geology:
The Qur’an doesn’t agree with our the established knowledge that the mountains are integral parts of the earth that were formed as a result of tectonic forces and have no role at all on the Earth’s stability. Instead, the Qur’an’s declares that the mountains were extraterrestrial objects that were added to the earth, after its creation, to stop its imaginary swaying movement.
In verses 88:18-20, the Qur’an calls people to think of three of Allah’s major creations; the sky, the mountains and the earth. Sura88 is clear evidence that the Qur’an considers the three creations as separate structures. Read this: “Q.88:18-20 And at the sky, how it is raised? And at the mountains, how they are erected? And at the earth, how it is spread out?” It is disgraceful that the writer of the Qur’an, who obviously knew nothing about the nature of those structures, could claim to have created them. Just like a person who knows nothing about computers and still claims to have invented them!
Verse 19:90 claims that even the skies, the earth and the mountains are full of rage because some people claim that Allah had a son. The Qur’an describes the ‘feelings’ of those three structures and doesn’t miss the opportunity to confirm its ignorance about the nature of those creations: “At it the skies are about to crack, the earth about to split, and the mountains about to fall and crumble”
More evidence that the mountains are different from the earth comes in verse Q.13:31 “If there were a Qur’an with which mountains were moved, or the earth cut into pieces…” and in verse Q.18:47: “And the day when we shall cause the mountains to pass away, and you see the earth prominent….”.
Verses 56:4-5 and verse 73:14 describe what will happen to the Earth and the mountains on the Last Day; the earth will be shaken while the mountains will crumble. The different treatment received by each creation is an indication that both were different entities in the mind whoever wrote the Qur’an:
Q.56:4. “.. the earth shall be shaken. 56:5 and the mountains shall be crumbled”
Q. 73: 14. “One day the earth and the mountains will shake, and the mountains will be as a heap of flowing sand”
It is impossible to justify the blunders in the above verses and remain in the area of sanity, but the Muslim scholars would come up with something and claim that the verses contain no errors, but miracles! They would use the same tactics of twisting the language and claiming that Allah didn’t mean what he said.
Well, it seems that Allah did mean what he said because verse Q.15: 19 tells us how the mountains came to the flat earth: Q.15:19 “And the earth we have spread out; and thrown thereon mountains…” therefore, the mountains were dropped on the earth after its creation. Verse 16: 15 goes even further and explains that Allah decided to add the mountains to the earth to stop it from shaking: “And He has thrown down mountains on the earth, lest it should shake with you…”
In case somebody did not hear well, the Qur’an repeats the same information with the same consistency in verses 31:10 and 50:7
31:10. “He created the skies without any pillars that you can see; He thrown down on the Earth Mountains, lest it should shake with you…”
50:7. “And the earth- We have spread it out, and thrown down thereon mountains…”
In verses 70: 8-9, the Qur’an speaks about the mountains in a similar way it speaks about the sky. These two verses describe what will happen to both structures on that same day, which is the Last Day. However, that scientific consistency we praised in the beginning of the article seems to have broken, but we cannot expect the Qur’an to avoid contradictions every time. The sky, according to verse 70:8, will become like molten brass, but the mountains, which were supposed to crumble in verse 56:5, now will become like cotton wool!
70: 9. “And the mountains will be like wool”
77: 8. “Then when the stars become dim”
It is an extraordinary irony that the Muslims read the Qur’an but do not notice any of the above colossal errors. They read appalling blunders like the sky is a solid structure, or roof (Q. 21:32) that has the potential to fall down on the earth without noticing anything wrong there. The Muslims’ brains have been numbed and became insensitive to all those errors; the only word that matters to them is the word ‘awtad’ (pegs), which the Qur’an once used to refer to the mountains (Q.78:7). When some Muslims happened to learn that some the mountains have deep roots underground they quickly remembered the word ‘awtad’ because the pegs are also partly underground. Thousands of articles and books were published about this ‘scientific miracle’ of the Qur’an. Radio and television programmes and scientific conferences were organised to celebrate the discovery. All this without any Muslim scholar ever noticing that the Qur’an also referred to the Pharaohs’ pyramids as ‘awtad’, not once but twice (Q.38:12, Q.89:10).
In the past, the Muslim scholars had no problems in the interpretation of the above verses or any other verses in the Qur’an. They only had to provide a simple and straight forward explanation of the language without any external pressures. It was only in the last century when they realised that the Qur’an, which they long claimed to be the perfect book, was actually at odds with proven scientific knowledge. To pre-empt any criticism to the Qur’an, the Muslim scholars adopted their strategy of ‘attack is the best defence’. By focusing on the ‘miracles’ of the word ‘awtad’, the Muslim scholars succeeded in diverting the attention of the Muslims’ minds and raised the standing of the Qur’an; rather than talking about Qur’anic errors, the Muslim scholars now talk about scientific miracles!
During my preparation of this article, I looked at the available English translations of the above verses and noticed the deliberate deception. I wasn’t surprised; this observation has become a regular pattern whenever I look at the English translations of the Qur’an. In the example of the above verses, the Muslim scholars deceived the readers when they avoided the proper translation of the Arabic word ‘alka’, meaning threw or dropped (the mountains), which they translated as placed or erected (the mountains) to conceal the obvious error.
As an example of extreme deception, one of the verses (73: 14) quoted above reads like this: One day the earth and the mountains will shake, and the mountains will be as a heap of sand”, but some Muslim scholars translated it like this: “The day is coming when the masses and the wealthy tyrants will shake and the leaders will be as a heap of sand” (5)!
Is there any point in debating Muslims when they are so determined to lie?
1. A famous statement by Caliph Ali“The Qur’an is a multi faced book” which means it lends itself to multiple interpretations.
3. 12:1 “these are the Verses of the Clear Book…”, 26: 2 “these are the Verses of the Clear Book…”, 28:2 “these are the Verses of the Clear Book…”
4. Q.71:19 And God has laid the earth for you as a carpet (bisata).
5. Translation by ‘OXP’ seen on islamawakened.com