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18 Jul 2014 
Continues from Part I


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18 Jul 2014 

Masud Masihiyyen

“Do they not know that We have made the Qur’an a book full of mistakes?”

A comparative reading of the Biblical accounts with the ones of the Qur’an reveals that Mohammad distorted the genuine word of God for the sake of his innovated religion and ideology. Mohammad’s tampering with the original narratives of the Bible is mostly manifest in the form of absurdities that stem from the confusion of certain biblical events and figures as well as their misplacement in history. Being addicted to hasty generalizations and faulty conclusions, Mohammad generally took the path of assimilation when he saw that two originally distinct accounts bore remarkable similarities. Mohammad’s misleading strategy of combining different pairs of accounts having thematic associations and the problems caused by this strategy are best exemplified in his devisal of the 19thchapter of the Qur’an, which I previously discussed at length in the article entitled “
Surah Maryam: The Curse of the Apocrypha”.

Although closely related, not all mistakes of the Islamic scripture are of the same nature. Some of the anomalies in the Qur’an, which correspond to Mohammad’s intentional or accidental deviation from the original accounts of the Bible, are derived from the blatant confusion of biblical figures through the misinterpretation of a great number of thematic analogies. In the same category falls the confusion of two separate biblical events that are erroneously considered one and same because of their occurrence in the same period and environment. Some other anomalies, on the other hand, illustrate Mohammad’s unfamiliarity with the concept of anachronism, which makes frequent appearances in the Qur’an through Mohammad’s fallacious location of particular future figures and events in the past. In some cases, the mistakes of the Qur’an are composed of both confusions and misplacements in history. The aim of this paper is to analyze these different sorts of mistakes in the Islamic scripture through prominent examples and explain what basic motives and inferences led Mohammad to faulty conclusions. A list of other stories in the Qur’an that exhibit similar mistakes and can be included in the same categories are provided in footnotes.

Combination of Biblical Figures: MIRIAM and MARY


Mohammad’s confusion of Jesus’ mother Mary (New Testament) with Moses and Aaron’s sister Miriam1 (Old Testament) is undoubtedly the biggest historical blunder of the Qur’an, which has caused much trouble for Islamic scholars and prompted them to make up several inconsistent arguments in response to critical question on this point. Even though it may sound like a joke to the readers who are not acquainted with this issue yet, the Qur’an designates Jesus’ mother Mary as Aaron’s sister:

Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. (Surah 19:27-28 Pickthall)

This identification brings to mind the following biblical verse:

Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances. (Exodus 15:20 NET Bible)

To make things even more baffling, in two other chapters the Qur’an teaches that Jesus’ mother Mary was Imran’s (Amram) daughter:

(Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower! And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast. (Surah 3:35-36 Pickthall)

And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. (Surah 66:12 Pickthall)

According to the biblical data, Miriam, Aaron’s sister, was Amram’s daughter:

Now the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt. And to Amram she bore Aaron, Moses, and Miriam their sister. (Numbers 26:59 NET Bible)

These verses suffice to convince many readers that Mohammad mistook Jesus’ mother Mary as the Miriam of the Old Testament, combining these two distinct women bearing the same name. Undoubtedly, this gross mistake did not solely stem from the fact that these two women had identical names or that they were Israelites. There appeared a few other similarities between the Miriam of the Old Testament and the Virgin Mary of the New Testament that drove Mohammad to his faulty conclusion and combination of these two female figures. Strikingly, the set of parallelisms between Aaron’s sister and Jesus’ mother were not essentially of biblical origin, but rather the product of Mohammad’s misunderstandings and weird reasoning, which was good at overstating superficial similarities to the point of assimilation.

At this point, it is noteworthy that Islamic scholars and commentators think and act like Mohammad while trying to provide a good answer for the question why Mary is said to have been addressed by her folk as Aaron’s sister in the 19th Surah. In order to stave off this gross mistake, they base their arguments on mere assumptions that are alien to the Bible and Jewish culture. The metaphorical interpretation of Mary’s relation to Aaron gives birth to two allegations, none of which is supported by the main text of Islam. The contention that Mary was called Aaron’s sister because of her similarity to Aaron in terms of piety and devotion
2 not only fails to answer the basic question why Mary was likened to Aaron of all the other male and female biblical figures of piety, but also disregards the fact that the 3rd chapter of the Qur’an perfectly consolidated Mary’s supposed biological relation to Aaron when it taught that the wife of Aaron’s biological father Imran (Amram in Hebrew) gave birth to Jesus’ mother Mary in verses 35-36.

Further, as if to resist and debunk the metaphorical interpretation of Mary’s affiliation with Aaron, Mary’s folk in Surah 19 addresses her as Aaron’s sister so as to imply the identity of her biological parents. The sentence below leaves no place for a symbolic reading of the word “sister”, for in it Aaron’s brotherhood cannot be considered independent of the two members of Mary’s biological family: her father and mother.

O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. (Surah 19:28 Pickthall)

Thus, Aaron’s implicit inclusion into Mary’s biological family in the Meccan period subsequently impelled Mohammad to name Mary’s father “Imran” in the Medina period of the Qur’an.

The Islamic attempt to construe Mary’s relation to Aaron symbolically through the supposition that Aaron was the father of the tribe that Jesus’ mother descended from is similarly rebutted by two facts. First, there is nothing in the Qur’an even to suggest Mary’s being a distant member of Aaron’s progeny. Although the 3rd chapter narrates Mary’s dedication to the Temple after her birth, Mary’s service in the Temple does not necessitate her being a descendant of Aaron. As if being aware of this fact, the Qur’an draws no parallelism between Mary’s dedication and Aaron’s progeny as the phrase “Aaron’s sister” is missing from its 3rd chapter. Second, Mary’s people would have called her “Aaron’s daughter” instead of “Aaron’s sister” if they had really aimed to point at her descent from Aaron’s tribe.

Now that we know Mohammad made a mistake when he thought of Jesus’ mother Mary as Aaron’s sister and Imran’s daughter, we can start analyzing the anatomy of this embarrassing confusion. In order to figure out the major factors contributing to Mohammad’s confusion of the two women named Mary, it is necessary to check the sources he used in the devisal of the 19thchapter, which is the first and only place where Jesus’ mother is identified as Aaron’s sister. As I previously stated in my article concerning Mohammad’s plagiarism from the non-canonical Gospels of Jesus’ Infancy in the invention of the first 35 verses of Surah 19, Mohammad focused on the apocryphal literature of Christianity and drew heavily from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew(
*). Expectedly, Mohammad did not keep faithful to the original version of the stories in Pseudo-Matthew and tampered with the chronology of events, which contributed to his confusions as these illicit modifications augmented the number of pseudo-similarities between the two biblical women having the same name.

It is by no means surprising to see that Mohammad’s embarrassing confusion showed up in the account of Virgin Mary’s accusation by her folk. According to the account in Pseudo-Matthew, Mary’s pregnancy became known to her folk and she was brought to the temple for interrogation:

After these things there arose a great report that Mary was with child. … Then was assembled a multitude of people which could not be numbered, and Mary was brought to the temple. And the priests, and her relatives, and her parents wept, and said to Mary: Confess to the priests thy sin, thou that wast like a dove in the temple of God, and didst receive food from the hands of an angel. (Pseudo-Matthew chapter 12)

This is how Mohammad inserted the account above into his scripture:

Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. (Surah 19:27-28 Pickthall)

Mohammad’s distortion of the original narrative is obvious. Specifically, he misplaced the account of Mary’s accusation as an incident occurring after Jesus’ birth although in the apocryphal Gospel the accusation and interrogation took place long before Jesus’ birth. One of the probable reasons for this misplacement is the misinterpretation of the phrase “be with child” in the original narrative. The writer of Pseudo-Matthew used this phrase to indicate Mary’s pregnancy (her carrying the child in her womb), but Mohammad thought that this phrase actually pertained to Mary’s carrying the baby in her arms after the delivery. The second discrepancy came into existence because Mohammad, unlike the author of Pseudo-Matthew, preferred using a vague and general term (her folk) while explaining who Mary was accused and questioned by instead of repeating the specific group of people (priests, relatives, parents) in the non-canonical Gospel. As a result, in Mohammad’s version Mary’s family (parents and relatives) was removed from the group of the accusers, but maintained in the narrative through her folk’s reference to them. This detail also strengthens the idea that Aaron’s brotherhood of Mary in the 19thSurah was meant to be purely biological, being in the same context as Mary’s relation to her biological parents. Obviously, the greatest discrepancy between the original narrative in Pseudo-Matthew and Mohammad’s version in chapter 19 of the Qur’an remains to be Mary’s stunning identification as Aaron’s sister by Mohammad. Where did Mohammad get this idea from if not from a misunderstanding/misreading of the non-canonical Gospel?

In order to answer this vital question, we must remember that Mohammad’s weird reasoning necessitated the combination of two people through a number of parallelisms between them. Blatantly, Mohammad needed another source in addition to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew to combine Miriam and Mary with the help of unintended analogies. It is not difficult to guess that Mohammad made use of the Old Testament data about Miriam on the way to his great mistake as he needed two distinct narratives for a combination, and Mary’s designation as Aaron’s sister in Surah 19 reveals which particular section of the Old Testament opened the door to Mohammad’s process of assimilation:

Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances. (Exodus 15:20 NET Bible)

This verse mirrors the only overt link in the Qur’an between the Miriam of the Old Testament and Jesus’ mother Mary. As Miriam was called “the sister of Aaron”, in Mohammad’s fantasy Mary’s folk called her “sister of Aaron”. The comparative study of the single verse above with the account of Mary’s accusation by her folk in Pseudo-Matthew amazingly enables us to detect the source of Mohammad’s mistake, helping us see through Mohammad’s eyes the far-fetched parallelisms between Miriam in Exodus 15:20 and the account of Mary’s accusation with regard to her pregnancy in Pseudo-Matthew. To analyze the components of the Old Testament verse:

Miriam
The prophetess
Sister of Aaron
Dancing to praise God

To compare these with the basic components of the Qur’an verse:

Mary (Mariam in Arabic)
Sister of Aaron

Interestingly, the word “prophetess” is missing from the verse in Surah 19:28, which is rather normal because Mary’s folk do not identify her as a prophetess in Pseudo-Matthew. However, Pseudo-Matthew nowhere calls Mary “Aaron’s sister” throughout his Gospel either. Where did Mohammad derive this from and why did he locate it in the account of Mary’s interrogation by her people then? The answer to this significant question is embedded in the narrative below:

After these things there arose a great report that Mary was with child. … Then was assembled a multitude of people which could not be numbered, and Mary was brought to the temple. And the priests, and her relatives, and her parents wept, and said to Mary: Confess to the priests thy sin, thou that wast like a dove in the temple of God, and didst receive food from the hands of an angel. (Pseudo Matthew chapter 12)

It was quite natural for Mohammad to hear these things stated about Jesus’ mother Mary and bind them to Miriam’s designation as a prophetess in the Old Testament verse. This major link proves that Mohammad combined the components of the verse identifying Miriam in the Old Testament with the statements used by Mary’s folk during her interrogation in Pseudo-Matthew before incorporating this fictitious parallelism into the Qur’an in the shortest form possible.

Being a man dedicated to harmonizing different accounts for the credibility of his fabricated analogies, Mohammad could easily harmonize the account of Mary’s interrogation in Pseudo-Matthew with the similar narrative in the Gospel of James (
*), another popular non-canonical Gospel of Jesus’ infancy. The following verses in the Infancy Gospel of James convinced Mohammad that Miriam, the dancing prophetess” in Exodus 15:20 and Jesus’ mother Mary were one and same:

And the priest said: Mary, wherefore hast thou done this, and wherefore hast thou humbled thy soul and forgotten the Lord thy God, thou that wast nurtured in the Holy of Holies and didst receive food at the hand of an angel and didst hear the hymns and didst dance before the Lord, wherefore hast thou done this? (Gospel of James chapter XV:1)

Mohammad perfectly demonstrated his talents for inventing extreme cases of false parallelism between two biblical figures with the help of his perversion of the original accounts when he combined Exodus with the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew through another analogy. The last so-called similarity concocted by him concerned the time of the reference to Miriam (the dancing prophetess) in the book of Exodus and the distorted version of the time of Mary’s interrogation by her people in Pseudo-Matthew. According to the narrative in the Bible, Miriam praised God and danced in thanksgiving for Israel’s exodus from Egypt through the crossing of the Red Sea:

Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a hand-drum in her hand, and all the women went out after her with hand-drums and with dances. Miriam sang in response to them, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20-21 NET Bible)

In the light of these verses, it is easy to see that Mohammad associated Miriam’s designation as the sister of Aaron and the dancing prophetess with her departure from Egypt. Keeping this in mind, Mohammad turned to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew in search of a reference to Mary’s relation with Egypt and found out that Mary had been to Egypt after Jesus’ birth and the visitation by the magi:

Now the day before this was done Joseph was warned in his sleep by the angel of the Lord, who said to him: Take Mary and the child, and go into Egypt by the way of the desert. And Joseph went according to the saying of the angel. (Pseudo-Matthew chapter 17)

More to the point, Pseudo-Matthew referred to a miraculous incident that occurred on the third day of the holy family’s journey to Egypt:

And it came to pass on the third day of their journey, while they were walking, that the blessed Mary was fatigued by the excessive heat of the sun in the desert; and seeing a palm tree, she said to Joseph: Let me rest a little under the shade of this tree. … Then the child Jesus, with a joyful countenance, reposing in the bosom of His mother, said to the palm: O tree, bend thy branches, and refresh my mother with thy fruit. And immediately at these words the palm bent its top down to the very feet of the blessed Mary; and they gathered from it fruit, with which they were all refreshed…. And it rose up immediately, and at its root there began to come forth a spring of water exceedingly clear and cool and sparkling. And when they saw the spring of water, they rejoiced with great joy, and were satisfied, themselves and all their cattle and their beasts. Wherefore they gave thanks to God. (Pseudo-Matthew chapter 20)

Mohammad copied the story of Mary’s miraculous provision with fruit and water into his Qur’an:

And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten! Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee, And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee. (Surah 19:23-25 Pickthall)

The major discrepancy between the narrative in Pseudo-Matthew and the one in the Qur’an is related to the time of this miraculous incident. According to the original account, the miraculous feeding occurred on Joseph and Mary’s way into exile in Egypt after Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and His visitation by the Magi. Mohammad changed the chronology of this event by locating it just before Jesus’ birth and associating it with Mary’s return to her folk with the baby. This very alteration and faulty association resulted in the presumption that Jesus’ mother Mary returned to Israel from Egypt
3 and faced the accusations of her folk for having an illegitimate affair.

To summarize, below are given all of the factors that contributed to Mohammad’s combination and confusion of Miriam with Jesus’ mother Mary:

Miriam in Exodus 15:20-21: This verse identified Miriam, the sister of Aaron, as a prophetess dancing to praise God after her departure from Egypt after a miraculous incident.

Mary in Pseudo-Matthew (chapter 12) (combined with the Gospel of James chapter XV:1) On account of her pregnancy, Mary was brought to the temple and questioned by her people. Mary’s folk’s charges referred to her being a holy person living in the temple of God, receiving food from the hand of angels, and dancing before the Lord. All these statements pointed to her having the characteristics of a prophetess. Mary also went to Egypt and returned to Israel.

After harmonizing all these elements drawn from the book of Exodus and the non-canonical Gospels of Infancy, Mohammad inserted them into his Qur’an, but he did not mention any of them explicitly. Instead, he chose a perfect phrase that would represent all the thematic associations he himself made up between Miriam of the Old Testament and Mary, Jesus’ mother: “Sister of Aaron”. This phrase was copied by Mohammad along with the name Miriam from Exodus 15:20 into Surah 19 as it referred to Miriam’s being a prophetess, her dancing to praise God, and her leaving Egypt after a miracle, all of which were identically valid for Jesus’ mother’s Mary in Mohammad’s imagination.

Combination of Events: The Rescue of Infant Moses

The Qur’an endorses and repeats the biblical teaching that Pharaoh persecuted the Israelites at the time of Moses’ birth and that Moses was saved from being slain by the Egyptians because his mother hid him for some time and then put him into an ark so that he could be safe on the Nile:

And indeed, another time, already We have shown thee favour, When we inspired in thy mother that which is inspired, Saying: Throw him into the ark, and throw it into the river, then the river shall throw it on to the bank, and there an enemy to Me and an enemy to him shall take him. And I endued thee with love from Me that thou mightest be trained according to My will. (Surah 20:37-39 Pickthall)

This is the first of the two references to Moses’ infancy in the Qur’an. Mohammad heard this story and copied it from the following narrative in the book of Exodus:

A man from the household of Levi married a woman who was a descendant of Levi. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a healthy child, she hid him for three months. But when she was no longer able to hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile. His sister stationed herself at a distance to find out what would happen to him. (Exodus 2:1-4 NET Bible)

Mohammad’s new version of the story is different from its original form in that it is shorter, lacking most of the biblical details. It must also be noted that Mohammad presented the story as being recounted to Moses directly by God. This technique relevantly made Moses’ mother’s actions divinely guided, binding them to the alleged inspiration that fulfilled God’s plans for saving infant Moses and the Israelites. The use of this technique in the Qur’an is not surprising or praiseworthy, but significant as it illustrates how Mohammad re-wrote most of the biblical stories by adding commentaries to them. The claim that Moses’ mother was inspired by God to “put baby Moses into an ark and cast the ark into the river” does not contradict the Bible or sound awkward.

However, the second reference to the same event in the Qur’an, which occurs in Surah 28, does not only show textual variation with the reference in Surah 20, but also consists of a weird and absurd statement:

And We inspired the mother of Moses, saying: Suckle him and, when thou fearest for him, then cast him into the river and fear not nor grieve. Lo! We shall bring him back unto thee and shall make him (one) of Our messengers. (Surah 28:7 Pickthall)

In this narrative we are said that God instructed Moses’ mother to cast her baby directly into the river without putting him into a chest or an ark! If we do not read the parallel verse in Surah 20, we can suppose that God asked Moses’ mother to drown her baby by casting him into the Nile so as to make her obey Pharaoh’s commandment first. In that case we would have to believe that God was torn between granting Pharaoh his wish and saving baby Moses from him. Why or how did Mohammad allow this absurdity to sneak into his Qur’an? Was it the product of a careless scribe who forgot to add the phrase “into the ark” because he mistakenly considered it a useless detail or an accidental duplicate?

A more interesting question is why this kind of a textual variation in the form of a blunder occurred in Surah 28, which was formed later than Surah 20, which contained the more accurate formulation? In order to find a satisfactory answer to this question, it is crucial to remember that Surah 28 claims to be a detailed form of Moses and Pharaoh’s story, and follows an ordered narrative – from the beginning of Pharaoh’s administration – unlike the account embedded into God’s speech to Moses in Surah 20:

These are revelations of the Scripture that maketh plain. We narrate unto thee (somewhat) of the story of Moses and Pharaoh with truth, for folk who believe. Lo! Pharaoh exalted himself in the earth and made its people castes. A tribe among them he oppressed, killing their sons and sparing their women. Lo! he was of those who work corruption. And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors, And to establish them in the earth, and to show Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts that which they feared from them. (Surah 28:2-6 Pickthall)

Excluding the historical blunder concerning Haman’s co-existence with Pharaoh in Moses’ time, Mohammad’s account seems to have been taken from the biblical data in the book of Exodus. To compare and contrast:

Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power over Egypt. He said to his people, “Look at the Israelite people, more numerous and stronger than we are! Come, let’s deal wisely with them. Otherwise they will continue to multiply, and if a war breaks out, they will ally themselves with our enemies and fight against us and leave the country.” So they put foremen over the Israelites to oppress them with hard labor. As a result they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread. As a result the Egyptians loathed the Israelites, and they made the Israelites serve rigorously. They made their lives bitter by hard service with mortar and bricks and by all kinds of service in the fields. Every kind of service the Israelites were required to give was rigorous. The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you assist the Hebrew women in childbirth, observe at the delivery: If it is a son, kill him, but if it is a daughter, she may live.” But the midwives feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women – for the Hebrew women are vigorous; they give birth before the midwife gets to them!” So God treated the midwives well, and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he made households for them. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “All sons that are born you must throw into the river, but all daughters you may let live.” (Exodus 1:8-22 NET Bible)

The final verse of the biblical quotation above teaches that Pharaoh commanded his people to kill male children of the Israelites by “throwing them into the river”. Although this biblical information seems to be missing from the Qur’an, it is actually present there in the 28thchapter in a twisted form. Apparently, Mohammad failed to understand that Pharaoh’s commanding the Egyptians to cast male infants of the Israelites into the river was different from baby Moses’ placement by his mother in an ark among the reeds of the Nile.

We can reckon the ascription of Joseph and the virgins’ utterances in Pseudo-Matthew to Mary in the account of the angelic annunciation in Surah 19 (
*), the implication that David served Saul in Saul’s first battle, and the relevant teaching that Saul's first battle involved the Philistines and Goliath (*) as further examples for this particular category of mistake in the Qur’an.4

Anachronism/Misplacement of future figures in the past: Haman as the vizier of Pharaoh in Moses’ time
One of the prominent examples for the historic misplacements and blunders
5 in the Qur’an is Haman’s appearance in Egypt along with the Pharaoh of Moses’ time. The ordered and detailed narrative in Surah 28 explicitly refers to Haman as an evil man complying with Pharaoh’s plans for the persecution of the Israelites, affiliating him directly with Pharaoh’s administration:

And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors. And to establish them in the earth, and to show Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts that which they feared from them. (Surah 28:5-6 Pickthall)

And the family of Pharaoh took him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a sorrow, Lo! Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were ever sinning. (Surah 28:8 Pickthall)

The Qur’an also implies that Haman, as one of the few characters called by his personal name, was second to none in terms of helping Pharaoh when it claims that Pharaoh asked for Haman’s assistance in order to deride and defy Moses:

And Pharaoh said: O chiefs! I know not that ye have a god other than me, so kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake the mud; and set up for me a lofty tower in order that I may survey the God of Moses; and lo! I deem him of the liars. (Surah 28:38 Pickthall)

And Pharaoh said: O Haman! Build for me a tower that haply I may reach the roads, The roads of the heavens, and may look upon the God of Moses, though verily I think him a liar. Thus was the evil that he did made fairseeming unto Pharaoh, and he was debarred from the (right) way. The plot of Pharaoh ended but in ruin. (Surah 40:36-37 Pickthall)

Actually, Haman was the name of the Persian King Ahasuerus’ vizier, who lived many centuries after the Exodus. The book of Esther in the Bible relates Haman’s story and designates him as a bitter enemy that plotted to exterminate the Jews:

Some time later King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, exalting him and setting his position above that of all the officials who were with him. As a result, all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate were bowing and paying homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded. However, Mordecai did not bow, nor did he pay him homage. Then the servants of the king who were at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you violating the king’s commandment?” And after they had spoken to him day after day without his paying any attention to them, they informed Haman to see whether this attitude on Mordecai’s part would be permitted. Furthermore, he had disclosed to them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing or paying homage to him, he was filled with rage. But the thought of striking out against Mordecai alone was repugnant to him, for he had been informed of the identity of Mordecai’s people. So Haman sought to destroy all the Jews (that is, the people of Mordecai) who were in all the kingdom of Ahasuerus.(Esther 3:1-5 NET Bible)

However, when Esther, the daughter of Mordecai’s uncle, was chosen by the King to be the new queen of his reign, Haman’s evil plots to conduct genocide on the Jews were destroyed. As a result of the twist of his fortune, Haman was murdered by the King’s command (Esther 7:1-10), and the Jews were thus delivered from his plans of massacre (Esther 8 and 9). Mohammad picked up Haman the Agagite from the book of Esther and pushed him backward in time so as to make him Pharaoh’s greatest assistant and ally in hostility towards the Jews living in Egypt.

Haman’s erroneous placement in history was the natural outcome of Mohammad’s desire to harmonize the story of Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh in the book of Exodus and that of the Jews’ deliverance from Haman in the book of Esther. Certainly, the major factor contributing to the combination of these two independent narratives was Haman’s identification as the second greatest enemy of the Jews in history, the first being the Pharaoh of the Exodus. This sequence gave Mohammad the wrong impression that Haman was the second enemy of the Jews along with Pharaoh, which naturally made Haman Pharaoh’s vizier in the Qur’an. Additionally, Mohammad’s eyes caught a significant thematic similarity between the first chapter of Exodus and the third chapter of Esther. In the former account Pharaoh was said to plan the slaughter of the Jews right after his coming to power whilst in the latter Haman was said to have the same hideous plan right after gaining his high administrative position. This parallelism also explains why Haman was overtly inserted into the same verse with Pharaoh in the 28th chapter of the Qur’an, which is a chapter following the order of the story in the first chapter of Exodus.
6

Rather interestingly, the Qur’an refers to Haman along with Pharaoh in two other instances where biblical Korah (Qarun in the original language of the Islamic scripture) makes a mysterious appearance as the third person included into the group of Pharaoh and Haman:
 
(Remember also) Qarun, Pharaoh, and Haman: there came to them Moses with Clear Signs, but they behaved with insolence on the earth; yet they could not overreach (Us). (Surah 29:39 Yusuf Ali)

Of old We sent Moses, with Our Signs and an authority manifest, To Pharaoh, Haman, and Qarun; but they called (him)" a sorcerer telling lies!" (Surah 40:23-24 Yusuf Ali)

In order to decipher this mysterious reference, it is crucial to analyze what Mohammad taught about the biblical Korah and whether he made any additions to Korah’s story in the Bible.

Qarun (Korah) in Mohammad’s Scripture and Another Case of Confusion

A reader checking the biblical figures in the Islamic scripture is surprised to see there a certain notorious man named Qarun, which is later understood to be the distorted version of the biblical name Korah. The single and most detailed reference to Qarun in the Qur’an occurs in the 28thchapter:

Qarun
was doubtless, of the people of Moses; but he acted insolently towards them: such were the treasures We had bestowed on him that their very keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men, behold, his people said to him: "Exult not, for Allah loveth not those who exult (in riches). But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief." He said: "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have." Did he not know that Allah had destroyed, before him, (whole) generations,--which were superior to him in strength and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? but the wicked are not called (immediately) to account for their sins. So he went forth among his people in the (pride of his wordly) glitter. Said those whose aim is the Life of this World: "Oh! that we had the like of what Qarun has got! for he is truly a lord of mighty good fortune!" But those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: "Alas for you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness: but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good)." Then We caused the earth to swallow up him and his house; and he had not (the least little) party to help him against Allah, nor could he defend himself. And those who had envied his position the day before began to say on the morrow: "Ah! it is indeed Allah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it, to any of His servants He pleases! had it not been that Allah was gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Ah! those who reject Allah will assuredly never prosper." (Surah 28:76-82 Yusuf Ali)

From this account we find out that

- Qarun was an Israelite, being from Moses’ folk.
- Qarun was a notorious character because he was arrogant and rebellious.
- Qarun was haughty because he was an extremely rich person. (His tremendous wealth is expressed through a hyperbole.)
- Qarun was also a wise man, which was associated with his arrogance. (He claimed he was rich because of his knowledge of things.)
- Qarun’s pride was punished by Allah when the earth swallowed him and his house.

Apart from the name Qarun, none of these teachings or elements is peculiar to the Qur’an as the Old Testament designates Korah in almost identical terms. Below are the major biblical references to Korah:

Now Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, who were Reubenites, took men and rebelled against Moses, along with some of the Israelites, 250 leaders of the community, chosen from the assembly, famous men. And they assembled against Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, seeing that the whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the community of the Lord?” (Number 16:1-3 NET Bible)

Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. If these men die a natural death, or if they share the fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up along with all that they have, and they go down alive to the grave, then you will know that these men have despised the Lord!” When he had finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, along with their households, and all Korah’s men, and all their goods. They and all that they had went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed over them. So they perished from among the community. All the Israelites who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “What if the earth swallows us too?” (Numbers 16:28-34 NET Bible)

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and Korah at the time that company died, when the fire consumed 250 men. So they became a warning. (Numbers 26:10 NET Bible)

Apparently, these biblical accounts about Korah do not have the information in the Qur’an that Qarun was an extremely wealthy man and that his arrogance resulted from both his wealth and wisdom, but it will not be right to blame Mohammad for inventing the additional elements in Qarun’s story. This is because Qarun’s depiction as a very rich and knowledgeable man in the 28th chapter of the Qur’an is taken from rabbinical literature, which gives us the right to blame Mohammad for plagiarizing from the Talmud and mixing biblical data with commentaries made on them. The Jewish Encyclopedia contains the following information about the references to Korah in rabbinical literature:

The name "Korah" [...] is explained by the Rabbis as meaning "baldness." It was given to Korah on account of the gap or blank which he made in Israel by his revolt (Sanh. 109b). Korah is represented as the possessor of extraordinary wealth, he having discovered one of the treasures which Joseph had hidden in Egypt. The keys of Korah's treasuries alone formed a load for three hundred mules (Pes. 119a; Sanh. 110a). He and Haman were the two richest men in the world, and both perished on account of their rapacity, and because their riches were not the gift of Heaven (Num. R. xxii. 7; comp. Ex. R. li. 1). On the other hand, Korah is represented as a wise man, chief of his family and as one of the Kohathites who carried the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders (Tan., ed. Buber, Korah, Supplement, 5; Num. R. xviii. 2). (
Source)

This information contains a remarkable parallelism between Haman and Korah on the basis of their extraordinary riches, which may have played an important role in Mohammad’s presentation of Haman as a contemporary of Korah and, through him, of the Israelites at the time of the exodus from Egypt.

Still, not even the rabbinical literature confirms or explains the probable reasons for Korah’s awkward and mysterious inclusion by Mohammad into the same group as Pharaoh and Haman in two verses of the Qur’an. The answer to this question and the relevant solution to this mystery of the Qur’an can be found if the following biblical verses are read carefully and compared to the two verses of the Qur’an:
 
“Tell the community: ‘Get away from around the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’” (Numbers 16:24 NET Bible)

So they got away from the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram on every side, and Dathan and Abiram came out and stationed themselves in the entrances of their tents with their wives, their children, and their toddlers. (Numbers 16:27 NET Bible)

It was Dathan and Abiram who as leaders of the community rebelled against Moses and Aaron with the followers of Korah when they rebelled against the Lord. (Numbers 26:9 NET Bible)

All these verses talk of Korah as the third of the three rebellious and notorious characters that opposed Moses and Aaron in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Actually, this triplet is composed of Korah’s insertion into the same group with Dathan and Abiram although in some other verses of the Bible Abiram and Dathan form an independent couple because of Korah’s separation from them:

Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come up”. (Numbers 16:12 NET Bible)

Then Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel went after him. (Numbers 16:25 NET Bible)

Or what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth in the middle of the Israelite camp and swallowed them, their families, their tents, and all the property they brought with them. (Deuteronomy 11:6 NET Bible)

The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it engulfed the group led by Abiram. (Psalm 106:17 NET Bible)

Likewise, it is stated in Numbers 16 that Moses addressed and warned Korah and his community separately from Dathan and Abiram:

When Moses heard it he fell down with his face to the ground. Then he said to Korah and to all his company, “In the morning the Lord will make known who are his, and who is holy. He will cause that person to approach him; the person he has chosen he will cause to approach him. (Numbers 16:4-5 NET Bible)

Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your company present yourselves before the Lord – you and they, and Aaron – tomorrow. And each of you take his censer, put incense in it, and then each of you present his censer before the Lord: 250 censers, along with you, and Aaron – each of you with his censer.” So everyone took his censer, put fire in it, and set incense on it, and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting, with Moses and Aaron. When Korah assembled the whole community against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting, then the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. (Numbers 16:16-19 NET Bible)

Nevertheless, in Numbers 16:24 and 27 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were mentioned in the same sentence as a triplet because they had rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the same place and at the same time, getting the same kind of instant punishment. Thanks to this thematic parallelism, the appearance of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram’s name in the same sentence in biblical verses turned into a traditional form of reference used in remembrance of the opposition of certain Israelites in the desert. Accordingly, even non-canonical Christian scriptures employed this usage. For instance, in the Gospel of James we read that the priest reminded Joseph of this triplet while urging him to obey God’s commandments and take Virgin Mary into his house from the temple:

And the priest said unto Joseph: Fear the Lord thy God, and remember what things God did unto Dathan and Abiram and Korah, how the earth clave and they were swallowed up because of their gainsaying. And now fear thou, Joseph, lest it be so in thine house. And Joseph was afraid, and took her to keep her for himself. (Gospel of James IX:1)

Mohammad was certainly aware of this triplet and decided to incorporate it into his Qur’an. However, he ignored the fact that there were two separate occasions of arrogant opposition against Moses (one from Pharaoh in Egypt and the other from his own folk in the desert) and concluded that Qarun (Korah) had rebelled against Moses together with Pharaoh and Haman! This rough combination of the two independent incidents prompted Mohammad to replace biblical Abiram with Pharaoh and biblical Dathan with Haman in his Qur’an.

Korah’s misplacement
7 into the same group with Pharaoh and Haman in the Qur’an was not only related to thematic similarities between two occasions of rebellious acts that Moses faced. The names of the arrogant actors of these rebellions also sounded similar to Mohammad. Although the name Abiram and the Arabic word for Pharaoh are not so similar, the case changes in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. In the Septuagint (LXX) the name “Abiram” is surprisingly modified to “Abiron”, which is pronounced “Aviron” (Avir’on) as Greek language stipulates the pronunciation of the phoneme “B” as “V”:8

And they stood aloof from the tent of Core round about; and Dathan and Abiron went forth and stood by the doors of their tents, and their wives and their children and their store.

καὶ ἀπέστησαν ἀπὸ τῆς σκηνῆς Κορὲ κύκλῳ· καὶ Δαθὰν καὶ ᾿Αβειρὼν ἐξῆλθον καὶ εἱστήκεισαν παρὰ τὰς θύρας τῶν σκηνῶν αὐτῶν καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες αὐτῶν καὶ τὰ τέκνα αὐτῶν καὶ ἀποσκευὴ αὐτῶν. (Numbers 16:27 Septuagint)

“Aviron” is obviously much closer to Fir’on, that is, “Fir’avn” of the Qur’an. Mohammad, who was more familiar with the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, most likely heard the name “Aviron” and concluded on the basis of its phonological similarity to the word Pharaoh in Arabic that rebellious and haughty “Abiron”, who had been punished by God through a disastrous death, was the same person as Pharaoh. Biblical Dathan’s replacement with Haman was also quite smooth, for these two names had similar sounds. However, the primary reason for this easy alteration was Mohammad’s previous misplacement of Haman into Pharaoh’s story.

Now that we know Mohammad distorted the original triplet (Dathan, Abiram, and Korah) in the Bible by replacing Abiram with Pharaoh and Dathan with Haman, things start to get clear for us as we can find answers to the following questions
:

Q:
Why did Mohammad talk of Korah always in association with Pharaoh and Haman?
A:
Because the biblical account did so with regard to Dathan, Abiram, and Korah in Numbers 16 and a few other places.

Q:
Why did Mohammad locate Korah’s story in Surah 28, which referred to Pharaoh and Haman as a couple?
A:
Because Mohammad knew that in some verses of the Bible Korah was separated from the couple of Dathan and Abiram, but still appeared in the same chapter with them.

Q:
Why did Mohammad claim in Surah 40:24 that Moses had been sent to Korah in addition to Pharaoh and Haman?
A:
Because the Bible (Numbers 16) said that Moses went and talked to Dathan and Abiram, and Korah in order to warn them.

Q:
Why did Mohammad maintain the names Pharaoh, Haman, and Qarun in Surah 29:39?
A:
Because in that verse Mohammad emphasized these three characters’ arrogance, which had been one of the factors contributing to his confusion of the two distinct rebellions against Moses and his misplacement of Korah in the Qur’an.

Finally, we can ask the question why Mohammad changed the biblical name “Korah” into “Qarun”. The reason for this modification was most likely Mohammad’s wish to imply Korah’s affiliation with Levi with the help of a name that sounded almost identical to Aaron in Arabic (Haroun), for Aaron also descended from Levi (Numbers 16:1).

Conclusion on next post

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11 Jul 2014 
“Muslims in the West: Lost within Modernity”

Lately, more reformist Arab intellectuals have been addressing the problems facing Muslims who have settled in Western Europe. On Wednesday, 15 December, 2009, an article appeared on the Al-Awan website with this title “Muslims in the West: Lost within Modernity” (
*).

The Algerian author has written on other problems facing first and second generation Muslims of Western Europe. In this particular article he stressed the inner struggle that rages within the hearts and minds of these Muslims. He says they are “lost within the modernity that is a distinguishing feature of Western civilization.” Here are excerpts from his article, in which he claims that Islam and Western civilization are incompatible. My comments follow.

Modernity is radically incompatible with Islam. According to the Islamic worldview, man’s life remains under the supervision of Allah; it is Allah who guarantees man’s freedom, and guides him in his life journey. But according to modernity’s view, man possesses an absolute value in the universe. He depends on his own reason, and by using his critical faculty, he determines his own responsibilities.

Does Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) encourage the use of reason, and the freedom of thought? Does the Islamic mind accept the basic foundations of modernity? For example, in Islam, the ruler is not held accountable to the people; his responsibility is to Allah alone. Muslims have no right to reject the Shariah. To date, not one Arab ruler has ever dared to rethink or amend the Shariah’s requirements. It is quite evident that Islam is not compatible with democracy; the very word “democratos” (people’s rule) contradicts the essence of Islam, where rule belongs exclusively to Allah.

Thus Muslims would never be asked to cast a ballot that will change halal
1 to haram,2 and haram to halal! FIS (Front Islamic to Salut),3 the now banned Algerian Islamist organisation, used to portray such slogans as “An Islamic State, without Elections,” and “Democracy is Kufr.” These slogans should not be considered simply as the opinions of radicals, because they actually represent Islamic view of politics and governance.

Recently, in Bordeaux, France, the Moroccan Consulate objected to the cremation of a Frenchman of Moroccan origin, even though he specifically stipulated before his death that he wished to be cremated. Due to the pressures of the Islamists and certain Islamic governments, and in order to avoid serious trouble, the French authorities buckled and gave in to the pressures. One should note that in Islam an individual’s wishes are subject to the will of the community. It is the Umma that possesses the final authority in matters of life and death. Manifesting the same Islamic outlook, the imam of the mosque in Lille, who heads the Islamic League in Northern France, declared recently: “The concept of citizenship does not exist in Islam; the group or the community is very important. To recognize a community implies the recognition of the laws that govern it.”

“Thus, as a Muslim finds himself wandering and lost in the lands of modernity, he tends to isolate himself from his social environment. Within his inner life a raging civil war goes on; in fact the clash of civilizations takes place between his faith and the modernity that governs his surroundings, invading his very home! Immigrant Muslims don’t care about what the laws of their countries say. Rather, they give heed to what the Shariah demands. In democratic lands where the rule of law reigns, Muslims prefer to seek guidance from Islamic fiqh. You would be overwhelmed and shocked to learn about the multitude of fatwas that are issued daily in the Islamic world. As a Muslim seeks to become a true believer, his behavior must conform to all the demands of the Shariah, whether dealing with a minor or a major subject. Should a Muslim deviate from the demands of his sacred law, or neglect its guidance, he would earn the wrath of Allah. Such topics seem to haunt the Muslim: Is prayer lawful while flying and how could one determine the Qiblah?
4 May a woman use kohl on her eyes during Ramadan? May men become doctors of gynecology? Is it haram or halal to frequent swimming pools where men and women bathe?

According to the London-based television channel “Hiwar,” Dar al-Fatwa in Egypt issues daily, more than 1,000 fatwas in four different languages over the telephone; not counting another 500 fatwas handed to believers who seek guidance by going to the Center. You can hardly believe the questions addressed to this television station coming from Paris, London, Rome, Lausanne, etc. As for the mufti’s answers, they are nauseating.

Modernity offers a new approach for humanity. At its core, it celebrates the values of individual liberty, and independence. Thus, the contradiction between modernity and Islam is not an unimportant matter; it is a necessary result of its internal logic. Islam and modernity by definition are in conflict, because there is no way modernity can compete with Shariah in the mind and daily existence of a true, but highly conflicted, Muslim.

For example, Britain was, for the Muslim immigrants from Britain’s former colonies, their “Land of Promise.” Now that they have settled in the country, and become British citizens, they are working hard at its Islamization. Recently, Shaheb Hassan, the official speaker for the Islamic Council of Britain, called on the British to exchange their age-long democratic political institutions for an Islamic regime! Addressing them, he said: “Simply apply the Shariah, and this country would become a peace garden: amputate a thief’s hand, and no one would steal; stone the adulterer and no one would commit adultery. British society would benefit greatly by adopting the Islamic Shariah.”

Pressures on Western societies keep mounting to conform to Islamic laws. On 12 January, 2007, a German judge refused the request of a German lady of Moroccan descent, who wished to divorce her husband because he was beating her. The judge based her decision on the fact that the Qur’an allows husbands to beat their wives. Western Europe is called upon to learn about Islam, and to deal with Muslims in the light of their traditions. This was recently illustrated in Amsterdam where members of its police force were all handed copies of the Qur’an to study in order to become more conversant with the Islamic way of life! And in Rouen, France, the imam of its mosque was dismissed for officiating at a mixed-marriage, and for delivering his sermon in French. His action was denounced by the officials of the mosque as being heretical.

Muslims living in the West who wish to practice Islam in the way it was traditionally practiced in their homelands necessarily find their problems increasing. Even in the simple area of choosing an occupation or finding settled work of any kind, a Muslim must be careful not to displease Allah. When looking for a restaurant, he must find one that offers halal food so as to follow Islamic dietary laws. The list goes on. In the final analysis, a practicing Muslim has a very hard time accepting and becoming a part of the Western world and its modernity. So whichever society of the West he and his family have settled in, the conflict continues and grows deeper!


Analysis
The Algerian writer shows a deep interest in and seems to be very concerned about the plight of Muslims in the West. It is obvious he would like to see them become assimilated into the rule of law and basic freedoms that Western traditions hold paramount. He conveys to a Western reader that Muslims live conflicted lives in the cultures of freedom they inhabit. The teachings of their authority figures do not help them assimilate but rather keep them in a conflicted state between freedom and Shariah tyranny. The basic problem, he claims, is the incompatibility of traditional Islam with Western civilization. As mentioned at the beginning of my article, a literal translation of the Arabic headline reads, “Muslims in the West: Lost within Modernity”.

Comments
This article describes the plight of North African immigrants who have settled in France and who find adjusting to life in their new homeland quite difficult. The Algerian author lays the blame on the strictures imposed upon them by the Islamic Shariah. Guidance they receive from their imams at the mosques, or from other authority figures who issue fatwas has a strong hold on them. The teaching of their religious leaders is meant to deal with and specifically answer the many problems they encounter in their adoptive non-Islamic milieus. What it appears to be doing, however, according to this author, is contributing to a sense of lostness, and an inability to enjoy the peace of mind which they are taught is the reward of obedience to Sharia.

The writer does not offer any solution for the perplexed Muslims of Western Europe. As he put it in an article on the same subject published in a French-language website:

“Un islam sans prosélytisme, sans charia, sans Etat islamique, ce n’est plus l’islam… Ouvrez le Coran, vous serez bien servis!” (
*)

(An Islam that does not practice proselyting, is without Shariah, and without an Islamic State, is no longer Islam. Just open the Qur’an, and see that for yourself.”)

Having offered a definition of “true” Islam, he deems his fellow-North Africans lost, and wandering without much hope in a country that gave them many opportunities for fulfillment, especially in the area of vocation. Yet this very environment, with both its challenges and blessings, has unsettled rather than pacified and pleased them. They still hanker after the world of Daru’l Islam!

Footnotes
1 Halal: In harmony with Shariah, and thus an allowable act or behavior.
2 Haram: Contrary to the Shariah, and thus a forbidden act or behavior.
3 FIS (Front Islamic to Salut): the Islamic Salvation Front, a radical Algerian organization that won the local elections in the early 1990s. That prompted the Military Government to annul the elections, and prevent FIS from participating in the national elections. Civil war resulted, with more than 200,000 Algerians losing their lives.
4 Qiblah points to the direction of Mecca, so that when Muslims are engaged in private prayer, or in the Friday prayers at the Mosque, they must face the Holy City; a tradition that goes back to Muhammad’s days in Medina.

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27 Jun 2014 

According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was nine years old. Since Muhammad is considered the role model in all areas of life, Islamic law permits marriage for young children with horrible medical and psychological consequences. The following articles explore various aspects of this contentious issue.

What is so bad about child brides?
Muhammad, Aisha, Islam, and Child Brides
Muhammad's Marriage to a Prepubescent Girl And Its Moral Implications
Child brides face health woes
Yemeni 12-year-old child-bride dies in labor
Special protection orders save nine-year-olds from forced marriages

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17 Jun 2014 
By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.

It was a good thing that Aisha, the child bride of Mohammed, never became pregnant. She was engaged to him at 6 years old and the marriage was consummated when she was nine. It is rather strange that only one of Mohammed’s wives became pregnant. At any rate if Aisha had become pregnant at nine she could possibly have had a terrible time in delivery and may have possibly died. If she did not die she might have wished that death had overtaken her because of the possible consequences of a youthful pregnancy. Unfortunately Mohammed became the model of the Muslim man and marrying children has been a part of the influence of Mohammed. Untold numbers of girls have died because of Mohammed’s action. Other untold numbers have suffered a miserable life and probably wished they were dead because of being a child bride.

Consider the following:

“You are a 14 year old girl. You’ve never been to school. You were married to a man in a neighboring village at age 13—before your first menstrual period and six months later, you became pregnant. Now you are in labor with your first child.

Labor has already lasted for three days, but still the baby has not come. You are exhausted. You have lost a lot of blood and are running a fever. You haven’t passed urine in over two days, and your genitals are horribly swollen and bruised from the constant pushing. Why won’t the baby come out? You wonder. You dread the long bony fingers of the old woman who is attending your birth. Nothing she does brings relief.

Soon the sun is rising on the morning of your fourth day of labor. At midday, with agony, you manage to pass the child from your body. The baby is stillborn. It has been dead for nearly three days and has started to decay. The softening of its tissues finally allowed it to pass through your vagina.

Thank God, you sigh, It’s finally over, but it is not.

On the morning of the fifth day, you pass more dead tissue. And then it starts. Urine is running out of your vagina, unto your thighs, onto the floor. What is going on? The urine does not stop. You find some rags and stuff them between your thighs.

There, that ought to take care of it, you think, but it doesn’t.

In an hour or two, the rags are soaked. In six hours you have run out of rags. In 12 hours you notice—to your horror—that feces are also coming out. No matter how much you try, no matter how much you wash, you cannot get rid of it.

The odor and wetness are constant. Your husband is disgusted. He cannot stand to have you around. Your presence is unendurable.

“What has happened to you? What did you do?” He demands. You were supposed to become a woman, the mother of his first-born son, but instead you have turned into a human cesspit. This all must be punishment for something you did. He turns you out of the house. Your family takes you back but you are not fit to live in their dwelling, so they put you in a shack on the edge of the family compound, where you sit day after day—alone, wretched, and stinking—until your family has had enough and cast you out.

You are 14. You are illiterate and have no money. You have no skills with which to learn a livelihood. You reek of urine and feces. And you want to die.

You don’t know that your condition has a name, all you know is that you are cursed for reasons you don’t understand. As far as you can tell, you are the only woman who has ever been afflicted in this way. You don’t know that 3 to 4 million other women currently share your fate of have a fistula. Neither do you know that tens of thousands more join this sisterhood of suffering every year. As the lonely months roll by, you understand that this condition will not go away, that your injury will not heal on its own, and that nothing you can do will change your condition.

Most importantly, perhaps, you do not know that fistulas are both curable and preventable.

Labor is an involuntary process. Once started, it continues until delivery is achieved or it ends in one of several catastrophic ways. The pregnant woman whose pelvis is too small for childbirth may be in hard labor for days, suffering severe, unrelenting uterine contractions without achieving delivery until—exhausted, weak from blood loss, and probably infected because of the long labor—she dies without ever delivering her child. Sometimes the uterus will rupture, killing both the woman and her baby in a sudden cataclysm in which the fetus and the afterbirth are thrown into her abdomen through the burst wall of her womb.

Women who do not succumb eventually pass a stillborn infant who is asphyxiated during the long birth process. After death, the entrapped baby starts to decay, eventually macerating and sliding out of the mother’s body.

And if this were not terrible enough, the worst is yet to come. A few days later, the base of the woman’s bladder sloughs away due to her injuries, and a torrent of urine floods through her vagina. In obstructed labor, the woman’s bladder is trapped between the fetal skull and her pelvic bones. The skull is forced relentlessly downward by the contractions, but the unyielding bones of her pelvis refuse to let it pass. As her pelvis’s soft tissues are crushed, they die and slough away, forming a fistula. Once this happens, the fistula will not heal without a surgical operation.”

(The good news is that surgery is almost like a miracle and may cost only a few hundred dollars. A fistula is a break in the wall of an organ allowing fluid to flow from one place to another.)

Because surgery is so scare in this part of the world—Africa—most of these women never receive help.”

(This material has been excerpted from: Jesus and the Unclean Woman, by L. Lewis Wall, professor of obstetrics/gynecology in the School of Medicine and professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. The article was published in the January 2010 issue of Christianity Today, pp. 48-52)

The focus of the article I have quoted deals primarily with Africa. It is equally valid for the child brides of the Muslim world. Many regard Mohammed’s action to be imitated concerning a child bride. Fortunately for Aisha she did not become pregnant but that is not the case for many child brides in Islam. Imams around the Muslim world should warn men against the outrageous idea of taking a child bride. It is not in the man’s best interest of having a healthy wife and mother of his children, nor in the best interest of the child who has not matured enough for a healthy pregnancy. Children continue to grow until about the age of 18 and this is particularly important for females to mature to the point of their bodies being ready for conception. Each time a man imitates Mohammed in taking a child bride he is risking the life of both the mother and the child.

The
WorldwideFistulaFund.org site is seeking to help these women where possible.

Further sources

Muhammad, Aisha, Islam, and Child Brides
Child brides face health woes
Yemeni 12-year-old child-bride dies in labor
CHILD BRIDES (link list)

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IHS

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07 Jun 2014 

Bassam Khoury

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 Kindy
1 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 (SAWS) 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
مخالفة" ‘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.

Footnotes
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.

Source:

IHS


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26 May 2014 

1. Introduction
2. Was Christmas Christ’s Idea?
3. Missed The Real Meaning Of Christmas?
4. Fruits Of Biblical Christianity In Europe
5. Fruits Of Biblical Christianity In The UK
6. Causes Of The Great Christmas Crime And The Cure
7. Conclusion


1. INTRODUCTION

Christmas in the 21stcentury is associated by many with parties, celebrations, holidays, and having a good time. Oh yes, and then there is the Christmas play, the Nativity, the story of the birth of baby Jesus, suitable for 6 – 11 year olds. He was wrapped up in cloths and placed in a manger. Similarly, many ‘wrap up’ Jesus after Christmas and put him away for another year. Is that all there is to it?

Those who know the Bible realize that Jesus Christ was born for a purpose, to save his people from their sins and to give them life to the full.
1 He did not come to be part of our life only at certain times, but to be our life2 since everything was created by Him and for Him.3 “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did,”4 every day, all the time and thankfully with his help.5

Many people do not want to hold on to these truths and thereby commit a colossal crime. They are robbing Christmas of the real Jesus! This produces a fragmented, distorted and decadent view of Christmas. To put it in another way, those who exclude Christ are left with no real Christmas! However, for those who give Jesus their whole life, every day of the year turns into ‘Christmas.’

2. WAS CHRISTMAS CHRIST’S IDEA?
The actual date of Jesus’ birth is not known for certain. The New Testament contains neither a command nor a prohibition to celebrate it. Latest scholarship has convincingly proven that there is no pagan connection to either the Christmas dates or to its various traditions.
6 As long as Christian principles are not violated7 it can therefore be celebrated with enjoyment according to the advice found in Romans 14:5: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

3. MISSED THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
Thankfully, it is not the exact date that matters or whether certain traditions
8 are observed at Christmas, but the fact that the birth of Christ really happened. Jesus really did come to live among us to save us from our sins. And he will come again. The Bible did not just predict Jesus' first coming, but also his return. However, this time he will not come as a baby in a manger. He will appear as the King of the Universe to put an end to all evil in the world. He will come to judge us all and to create a new heaven and a new earth, free from suffering and pain.

In the light of Jesus being so central to the true understanding of Christmas, it is indeed a colossal crime to have marginalised him to the fringes of it! The fact that many people seldom think of Jesus when talking about Christmas, merely symbolises the terrible tragedy we are surrounded by every day! Just think of the agonising consequences caused by adultery, drugs, drunkenness, greed, fraud, lies, hypocrisy, and murder and so on. Indeed, the punishment we have to bear for committing the Christmas crime is horrendous. The Bible warned long ago that if we chose to live our lives without God such a disaster would be inevitable:

Without guidance from God law and order disappear ... (Proverb 29:18)

and in the Old Testament book of the prophet Hosea, God says,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

Together we urgently need to go on a journey of discovery to find the causes that led to the great Christmas crime. Let us start by looking at the heights from which we have fallen.

4. FRUITS OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY IN EUROPE
Historians agree that the beginning of Europe and its development can not be understood apart from Christianity. The arrival of the Gospel united the separated northern part of Europe. Until then the nature worship of the Germans, the mythology of the Scandinavians and the fertility cult of the Etruscans held the different tribes in a state of animosity towards each other. Aided by the political development of the Roman Empire, the message of Jesus created a rich, unequalled heritage, producing a unique oneness that allowed for diversity in language, living and housing. But how do we explain the coalition between church and state for selfish gains, the crusades, religious wars, slavery, colonialism and the two world wars? The answer lies in the fact that only secondary Christian values, such as brotherhood and liberty, justice and equality were accepted by the nations of Europe. The cross of Christ and its personal application was sadly rejected by many. Having set the stage let us now look at Europe's common Christian heritage which is slowly taken away without people even realizing it. Rev. Wim Rietkerk describes the seven pillars on which European civilisation is built as follows:
9

A. The linear concept of time in history
The first thing that distinguishes a pagan culture from a Christian culture is the difference in awareness of time. A real pagan life style is always cyclical, whereas the Biblical view of history is always linear. There is a tremendous difference. In spite of all of our sins, we still believe that history is not a prison, that life is not a samsara, a cycle, a circle. No, Europeans believe that we live in the direction of a future, that something will happen, that finally will be the disclosure. Basically, a European from his tradition does not believe in reincarnation; he believes in resurrection. (But this is changing.) Total despair is therefore impossible in a Christian world view because God is a God who is active, who is merciful, a wonderful God who stands above history. He gave it a beginning, and he will be at the end. That is our view on history. He is the Alpha and the Omega.

B. The importance of man's calling
Out of this basic awareness of time flows a different view on our calling, the calling of man. This awareness of being called, not to escape the world, neither to adapt to the world, but to change it, is what made Europe great. Every real European, whether Christian or not, is at work to shape the environment. Every real European is at work to realise something of a dream inside the outside world, the surrounding world. This is what we Christians call the cultural mandate: to be fruitful, to fill the earth, to cultivate it. This has so deeply influenced the European mind that no one in Europe can really believe that we have to escape the material world, as eastern gurus preach, or that we should accept life as a fate, as the Muslims preach. So that is a second point that is a pillar under European civilisation: the awareness of man's calling, that he is crucial in changing history.

C. The redemption of labour
Closely connected with our view on calling is our faith in the meaningfulness of human labour - intellectual work, artistic work, craftsmanship, science and technology. The correlation between man at work and an environment made by a reasonable God is the basis for human science, and is rooted only in Christianity. With that comes the importance of human responsibility. Our choices shape the world. Our actions can have an enriching result, or we can also choose to be dead producing machines. But in all cases, labour is meaningful. God called us to work.

D. The dignity of man
The fourth underlying conviction in the biblical worldview is the dignity and the uniqueness of each individual man and woman. That is a precious treasure of European civilization. What a compassion flows out of this basic pillar, the belief in the dignity and uniqueness of each individual person, created in the image of God. All over Europe the traffic stops when an ambulance comes by. We hardly are aware of it, we do not watch it, but it is remarkable. All these strong and healthy people behind the wheel of their car, they stop and wait for one ill, weak individual. That does not happen in India. Europeans understand that a person is not just a wheel in a machine, or a copy. He or she is an original. He or she is wanted in a cosmic sense, because Someone wanted him or her. Even after losing faith in God, a European still believes that each person is unique. That is a pillar of European civilization, a pillar that cannot be absent in the house of our culture. But at this moment, it is shaking. Witness the danger in new legislation on the handicapped, the unborn and the terminally ill, for example, in Holland. The belief in the uniqueness, the preciousness and the dignity of each individual, unborn, or ageing, is dying with this legislation.

E. Mediating structures
Only through the Bible have European nations learnt the right structures for interhuman relationships. Because we are often not aware that we derive them from Christianity, the seed is being picked out of our pockets before we realise what is going on. We should fight for these values! Monogamy in European civilisation is a fruit of Christianity, as is the place of the family, the protection of marriage, structures for school, business, university, all the intermediating structures, and finally civil government. All these spheres redeemed through the preaching of the Gospel. Out of this preaching flowed a strong community life, around family, equality of man (and woman - much too late pursued), and respect for delegated authority. Christianity recognised there was no final authority among men, that authority needed accountability. Hence the basis of democracy was built in human civilisation. Each sphere of society is equal to each other, and each is directly under God. That is the Calvinistic view of society. This has been the predominant European view on the structures of human society, and comes from the Bible, even if many Europeans do not believe in the Bible anymore.

F. Moral order
Among these secondary Christian values are the moral values. Even non-Christian Europeans agree it is wrong to steal, it is wrong to have more than one wife, or to do perjury, and that we should love one another as ourselves. I am always amazed that when you ask people individually what the highest value is, they say loving your neighbour as yourself. They forget the first, the highest commandment, and take the second one, to love your neighbour as yourself. All these rules for moral behaviour come from the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, and have provided the basis for moral behaviour in Europe.

G. Socio-political values
Only the Biblical message preaches that God is a God of righteousness, that he hates the oppressor, and that he is on the side of the poor. The missionaries preached this message across Europe. Because of that message, all of us have common political values: solidarity with the poor, equality by the law and before the law, freedom of the individual, etcetera, etcetera. Today we call these values human rights, but they are in fact fruit of Biblical revelation, fruit of the fruit of the Spirit. These social political values are present all over Europe, and in every European political party.

But today these values are being slowly cut off from these roots. Scholar Jurgen Habermas, who cannot be called a Christian, says in a book on post-modern culture:
'Post-modern man is characterised by the fact that he wants to pick the fruits without the roots'. We know what happens when you cut tulips or daffodils from the field. They continue to flourish in your home where you put them in a vase, but without the roots and the bulbs they must wither and die. That is the tragedy of the modern European.

5. FRUITS OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY IN THE UK
What follows focuses primarily on the history of Great Britain
10 but very similar accounts can be drawn in many countries where Christianity was and is influential.

The message of the Bible was probably taught already since the early part of the third century AD in what the Romans called 'Britannia'. In the late ninth century AD, King Alfred the Great put the Biblical Ten Commandments at the beginning of his own law book to communicate that they should be understood 'by the love and compassion of the Lord Christ.' Already before and ever since the Bible has shaped our laws based on its understanding of truth, individual responsibility, the preciousness of life and justice.

By the end of the thirteenth century AD, a Church was established in each village and city. The building itself was at the centre of public life. Where the clergymen were committed Christians, biblical values heavily influenced the whole community for the good. The establishment of hospitals and hospices started out as attachments to monasteries in medieval times. The purpose of the 'hospitium' was to care for the sick, the poor, the elderly and travellers if they could not be looked after by their own families and relatives. Committed Christians helped medical science to advance in major ways. To name just a few: Joseph Lister developed antiseptic procedures; James Simpson pioneered chloroform as an anaesthetic; Arthur Rendle Short was the leading authority in the use of blood transfusions, and Annie McCall started the first ante-natal and post-natal clinic.

The idea of education was largely born in the Church.
In 1860 AD, twenty years before state education came into being, about two and a half million children went to schools, the majority of which were run by Churches and Christian charities in England.

The complete Bible is currently translated into 366 languages and is still the world’s number one best-seller. No wonder it has influenced the development of language, literature, classical music in a unique way.

Many scientists who were Christians pioneered early discoveries and progress,
such as:

John Ray (1627): His work laid foundation for sciences of ornithology, botany, and zoology.
Robert Boyle (1627): He developed what is known as the Boyle's law in chemistry and physics.
Michael Faraday (1791): Pioneer of the electric motor, the dynamo and the transformer.
Sir John Herschel (1792): He made outstanding contributions to physics of light and the science of astronomy and astrophysics.
Lord Kelvin (1824): The founder of modern Physics.
Charles Babbage (1826): He designed the first automatic, digital computer. The Professor at Cambridge stated that careful scientific study is wholly compatible with a belief in the truth of the Bible and the Christian hope of life after death.
James Maxwell (1831): He laid foundation for modern radio, television, radar and satellite communications through his work on electromagnetism.
Sir Ambrose Fleming (1849): The pioneer of electric light, radio and telephone.

6. CAUSES OF THE GREAT CHRISTMAS CRIME AND THE CURE
The Roman Catholic Church, which dominated Europe in the Middle Ages, became more and more powerful and wealthy. With its success came the dangers of pride, corruption, misuse of power, spiritual and moral weakness. At one stage it even passed a law against reading the Bible in the English language! The bad example of the leaders influenced the followers to such an extent that society fell back time and time again into selfish, damaging behaviour. The problem is deadly and it lies not only around us, but also within all of us! The reason for this sad fact is found in the desire of men to be independent from God, not to be under his control, but under one's own. The temptation put before Adam and Eve that they would.... be like God... (Genesis 3:5) and therefore not in need of him anymore proved to be too great to be resisted. Religious people may emphatically state that they can not live without God but by their lives they communicate the opposite message. Through their prayerlessness, stubbornness, greed, evil thoughts, selfishness and pride, they say to God: "I don't really need you, I can live by myself." Yes, they do good deeds, some of them more than others, and these are very helpful. But, when it comes to living in fellowship with God, good works alone can never satisfy the Holy and Almighty One! A change of heart, a new life is needed and even then God needs to constantly forgive us every day because we fall short of honouring Him. That is exactly what is offered to everyone in the world through the Bible! This is why its message is called 'Good News'! Out of God's love for us and to satisfy the demands of His Justice, He became flesh in Jesus to pay the punishment for our sins by his death on the cross. Salvation, a place in heaven, is free for everyone who believes in that work of Jesus because it cost God so much! True believers now devote all their heart, mind and strength to honour God with their life, out of a deep gratitude to the Saviour.

Those Christians who sought to fight against evil during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by leading the nation back to the truth of the Bible were known as 'Reformers'. William Wilberforce, possibly bringing about the greatest social reforms in his day, fought successfully against the slave trade. As a result it was banned on British ships in 1807. Finally, in 1833 slavery in the whole of the British Empire was abolished. A group of committed Christians known as the 'Clapham sect' financed and established the colony of Sierra Leone in Africa to be a home for freed slaves. This group was also used by God to prohibit the savage 'sports' of bear and bull baiting.

In 1834 James Hammit, along with other Methodists, campaigned for better working conditions, the right of employees to express their views freely and for fair wages. As a result they were sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. A hundred years later the Trades Union Congress honoured Hammit in an inscription on his grave 'as the Pioneer of Trades Unionism.' Many early trades union officials were members of local Churches.

Christian groups who popularised the Temperance Movement led the fight against Alcoholism,
the major drug of the nineteenth century. Under their supervision coffee houses and alcohol-free centres for workmen and their families were opened. Community nursing in the UK can be traced back to church visitors giving care and advice on hygiene and medical matters.

Today's Probation Service was significantly influenced by the Police Court Missionaries
who worked with the Police and courts to supervise those convicted of minor offences.

The late nineteenth century saw almost three-quarters of all charity organisations being run by evangelical Christians.

Lord Shaftesbury,
heir to the many estates of his father, devoted himself very successfully to the needs of the poor and the underprivileged. According to the Times Newspaper he did as much for children as Wilberforce had done for slaves. He stated that his views on everything were governed by his total commitment to Jesus Christ and the Bible. At his memorial service in 1885 many thousands of the poor came to pay him respect. Some school boys who followed Shaftesbury's coffin carried a banner with the words of Jesus: 'I was a stranger and you took me in'.

Missionaries, such as Amy Carmichael, left the shores of England to rescue abandoned children and girls whom their parents gave up to be prostitutes and temple slaves in India. Others worked to end the burning alive of widows, known as 'suttee.' In the Pacific Ocean islands the teaching of the Bible helped to end head hunting and cannibalism. In China Christians worked to abolish the opium trade. Today, more then £125 million is used for overseas aid each year by charities whose motivation for their work is obedience to Christ and the Bible. (e.g. Tearfund, Christian Aid, the Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund, etc.)

7. CONCLUSION
Since the birth of Christ the world has changed dramatically. Assurance of forgiveness, peace on earth, eternal life in heaven, a personal relationship with God, all have become possible through Jesus. Sadly today, particularly in the Western world, many have replaced worship of Jesus by worship of self or other idols. The result is disastrous: crime, rape, deceit, hopelessness, despair, broken relationships. All have become an everyday occurrence. Christianity is looked at as irrelevant. Some people even think that it is the cause of the mess we are in. As we have seen by looking at some crucial points of history, this is definitely not the case. Whenever the Christian faith is practiced according to the Bible its influence in personal life, family and society is absolutely breathtaking. It is not too late to change. Dear reader, are you truly searching for a better quality of life? Are you prepared to make sacrifices for the sake of the truth? Then start this Christmas and take heart from this promise God gave to you:

'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 29:13-14)

For any questions or comments please contact Oskar.

Footnotes
1 Matthew 1:21, John 10:10
2 Matthew 10:39, 16:25
3 Colossians 1:15-17
4 1 John 2:6
5 John 14:12-29
6 Cf. Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration?
7 Such as drunkenness, adultery, overeating, quarrels, etc. see Galatians 5:19-21
8 There are actually many different Christmas traditions in different parts of the world. The article “Christmas traditions & customs around the world” provides a several examples.
9 Europe: God's Experiment? by Rev. Dr. Wim Rietkerk, a paper adapted from an address given at the 1993 New Europe Forum (NEF), Brussels.
10 All information in this section is summarized from the book: Brian H Edwards, Ian J Shaw,AD, (Day One Publications, Epson, 1999).

Source:

IHS


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15 May 2014 
Dr Anthony McRoy


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01 May 2014 
By Ali Khalaf


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28 Apr 2014 
By Mumin Salih



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16 Apr 2014 
It is a common fallacy spread by Muslim apologists and dhimmi mouthpieces that "Islam is a great for women." One time, I was almost physically attacked by a "cool" New Ager type who told me he was reading the Koran/Quran, followed quickly by the off-the-cuff-remark, "Islam is great for women."

The comment was so out of left field that it smacked of, "Me thinks thou doth protest too much." Why would he need to make such a declaration, unless he knew that there was a debate as to whether or not Islam was "great for women?" He obviously knew many had claimed the opposite that is Islam is bad for women. At that moment - being a woman - I asserted the opposite as well, at which point he became quite angry, completely losing his holier-than-thou enlightenment. Apparently, my womanly opinion was not appreciated.

No one can tell me that "Islam is great for women," because - surprise! - I have eyes to see how women are treated in the Muslim world. And I've actually read the Koran, which is not only anti-infidel but also anti-woman, while the bulk of Islamic woman-enslavement can be found in other Muslim scriptures such as the hadiths. As one example, Koranic sura 4:34 states:

"Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme." (The Koran with Parallel Arabic Text, tr. N.A. Dawood, 83)

Concerning the subjugation of women in Islam, Dr. Ergun Mehmet Caner states: "How is this subordinate status defined? According to hadith 3.826, Muhammad said that women are genetically and legally inferior: 'Muhammad asked some women, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "This is because of the deficiency of the woman's mind."'...

"Three times in the Hadith, Muhammad's vision of hellfire is recorded, each time including the same feature: 'Muhammad said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers are women."' As a result of this teaching, women are regarded as both harmful to men and a bad omen. 'Muhammad said, "Bad omen is in the women, the house and the horse...after me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women."'

"A woman, thus being a lesser creature, has fewer rights and privileges in Muslim society. In apportioning inheritance, a woman should receive half of what a man receives: 'To the male a portion equal to that of two females' (sura 4:11). In judicial proceedings, a woman's testimony is given one-half the value and credibility as that of a man
... (sura 2:282). (Caner, Ergun Mehmet and Caner, Emir Fethi, Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs, 134)

Islam gives men authority over women in a variety of ways - and an emancipated woman who was actually raised Muslim can attest to this fact abundantly. Just ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dr. Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish, as but a few examples. Hirsi Ali in particular was subjected to the crudest form of classical- not "extremist" or "radical" - Islam, complete with radical genital mutilation and the nearly full veil of the chador/abaya. (Unlike the burkha and niqab, these coverings allow for the face to be shown.) These women will tell you that classical Islam is absolutely not "great" or even good for women.

Is slavery is "great" for blacks?
The Muslim apologist argument runs that women in the pre-Islamic world were actually worse off than they are within Islam! First of all, it depends on what location you are discussing: This claim may be true for the Arabian Peninsula, for example, but not in many other parts of the world. How about Polynesia, where women live quite freely by comparison? Or what about other eras, in which the Goddess ruled and women were revered in a far greater manner than at any other time in history?; Today in the democratic Western cultures women have achieved - or re-achieved - much of this status, although even here sexism remains in many areas to some extent, unfortunately.

Secondly, just because women appear to be slightly or even somewhat better off within Islam than they were in the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula, that alleged fact does not mean that "Islam is great for women." Slaves in 19th century America were far better off than their counterparts in Africa - does that mean that slavery is great for blacks? To those of us women, who are truly free, liberated and whole, with the wealth of life's opportunities available on the table before us, Islam represents slavery, period. And that is one reason why so many women are at the forefront of battling back the brutal, cruel and inhumane Islamic/sharia law that would reduce us to household/sex slaves and baby-making machines. The bottom line is that Islam is NOT "great for women."

Source:


IHS


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14 Apr 2014 

By Ali Sina

The Physical Effects of Muhammad’s Ecstatic Experiences:

Here is how Muhammad described his mystical experiences: “The Revelation is always brought to me by an angel: sometimes it is delivered to me as the beating sound of the bell--and this is the hardest experience for me; but sometimes the angel appears to me in the shape of a human and speaks to me.” [40]
 
Those who saw the Prophet (pbuh) in this state relate that his condition would change. Sometimes he would stay motionless as if some terribly heavy load was pressed on him and, even in the coldest day, drops of sweat would fall from his forehead [41] At other times he would move his lips.

Ibn Sa'd says, "at the moment of inspiration, anxiety pressed upon the Prophet, and his countenance was troubled" [1]

"
He fell to the ground like one intoxicated or overcome by sleep; and in the coldest day his forehead would be bedewed with large drops of perspiration. Inspiration descended unexpectedly, and without any previous warning."[2]

"Then Allah's Apostle returned with that experience; and the muscles between his neck and shoulders were trembling till he came upon Khadija (his wife) and said, "Cover me!" They covered him, and when the state of fear was over" [3] and [4]

All these are symptoms of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The following is a partial list of the Temporal Lobe Seizure Symptoms & Signs as defined in health.allrefer.com

Hallucinations or illusions such as hearing voices when no one has spoken, seeing patterns, lights, beings or objects that aren't there

- Rhythmic
muscle contraction Muscle cramps are involuntary and often painful contractions of the muscles which produce a hard, bulging muscle
-
Abdominal pain or discomfort. Sudden, intense emotion such as fear.
-
Muscle twitching (fasciculation) is the result of spontaneous local muscle contractions that are involuntary and typically only affect individual muscle groups. This twitching does not cause pain.
- Abnormal mouth behaviors
- Abnormal head movements
- Sweating
- Flushed face
- Rapid heart rate/pulse
- Changes in vision, speech, thought, awareness, personality
- Loss of memory (amnesia) regarding events around the seizure (partial complex seizure)

All the above symptoms were present in Muhammad during the moments that he was allegedly receiving revelations.
- He had visions (hallucinations) of seeing an angel or a light and of hearing voices.
- He experienced bodily spasms and excruciating abdominal pain and discomfort
- He was overwhelmed by sudden emotions of anxiety and fear
- He had twitching in his neck muscles
- He had uncontrollable lip movement
- He sweated even during cold days.
- His face flushed. His countenance was troubled.
-
He had rapid heart palpitation
- He had loss of memory. (There is a tradition that states Muhammad was bewitched and used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives when he actually had not. [5]

It is also interesting to note that Muhammad's hallucination was not limited to seeing the Angel Gabriel but he also claimed seeing Jinns and even in one occasion while praying in the mosque he started struggling with an imaginary person and later said "Satan came in front of me and tried to interrupt my prayer, but Allah gave me an upper hand on him and I choked him. No doubt, I thought of tying him to one of the pillars of the mosque till you get up in the morning and see him. Then I remembered the statement of Prophet Solomon, 'My Lord ! Bestow on me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me.' Then Allah made him (Satan) return with his head down (humiliated)." [6]

Muhammad's belief in Satan was such that he seemed to think that not even he is immune from his whisperings. [7]

One of the embarrassing events in Muhammad's life occurred when Satan put words in his mouth.

Tabari says: “
When the messenger of God saw how his tribe turned their backs on him and was grieved to see them shunning the message he had brought to them from God, he longed in his soul that something would come to him from God which would reconcile him with his tribe. With his love for his tribe and his eagerness for their welfare it would have delighted him if some of the difficulties which they made for him could have been smoothed out, and he debated with himself and fervently desired such an outcome. Then God revealed:

"By the Star when it sets, your comrade does not err, nor is he deceived; nor does he speak out of (his own) desire..."
and when he came to the words:
Have you thought upon al-Lat and al-Uzza and Manat, the third, the other?
Satan cast on his tongue, because of his inner debates and what he desired to bring to his people, the words:
"These are the high flying cranes; verily their intercession is accepted with approval.

The Quraysh left delighted by the mention of their gods. Amity was restored and the news of that reached the followers of Muhmmad who at his behest had migrated to Abyssina and some of them returned. Muhammad realizing the consequence of this is giving up on his monopoly on God and the contradiction that it entails, claimed those verses and his Allah consoled him saying, “Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom: 22:52 [8]

In the Quran there are several mentions of Jinns. Surah 72 narrates a conversation between Jinns where they comment about the Quran, call it “a wonderful Recital” and convert to Islam. Their role is described as prying into the secrets of heaven and eavesdropping to the conversation of the exalted assembly. Which since the apparition of Muhammad, they found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. “We used, indeed, to sit there in (hidden) stations, to (steal) a hearing;" Quran quotes one Jinn saying to others, "but any who listen now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush. And we understand not whether ill is intended to those on earth, or whether their Lord (really) intends to guide them to right conduct".

It is not difficult to see that Muhammad suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. In fact TLE was just one of his ailments. The prophet suffered from other mental disorders and physical complications. I will speak about them in future. The real miracle is in the fact that a billion people follow a sick man for so long.

[1] Katib al Waqidi p. 37. See also Bukhari 1: 1: 2
[2] Bukhari 7, 71, 660
[3] Bukhari 6, 60, 478
[4] B. 9,78.111
[6] Bukhari 2, 22, 301
[7] 6.68, 6.116, 22.52
[8] Tabari volume 6, page 107



Background: Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) was defined in 1985 by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) as a condition characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures originating from the medial or lateral temporal lobe. The seizures associated with TLE consist of simple partial seizures without loss of awareness (with or without aura) and complex partial seizures (ie, with loss of awareness). The individual loses awareness during a complex partial seizure because the seizure spreads to involve both temporal lobes, which causes impairment of memory.
TLE was first recognized in 1881 by John Hughlings Jackson, who described "uncinate fits" and the “dreamy state." In the 1940s, Gibbs et al introduced the term "psychomotor epilepsy." The international classification of epileptic seizures (1981) replaced the term psychomotor seizures with complex partial seizures. The ILAE classification of the epilepsies uses the term temporal lobe epilepsy and divides the etiologies into cryptogenic (presumed unidentified etiology), idiopathic (genetic), and symptomatic (cause known, eg, tumor).

Pathophysiology: Hippocampal sclerosis is the most common pathologic finding in TLE. Hippocampal sclerosis involves hippocampal cell loss in the CA1 and CA3 regions and the dentate hilus. The CA2 region is relatively spared.

For more information, see Pathophysiology in the article Seizures and Epilepsy: Overview and Classification.

Frequency:
In the US: Approximately 50% of patients with epilepsy have partial epilepsy. Partial epilepsy is often of temporal lobe origin. However, the true prevalence of TLE is not known, since not all cases of presumed TLE are confirmed by video-EEG and most cases are classified by clinical history and interictal EEG findings alone. The temporal lobe is the most epileptogenic region of the brain. In fact, 90% of patients with temporal interictal epileptiform abnormalities on their EEG have a history of seizures.

History:
- Aura
- Auras occur in approximately 80% of temporal lobe seizures. They are a common feature of simple partial seizures and usually precede complex partial seizures of temporal lobe origin.
Auras may be classified by symptom type; the types comprise somatosensory, special sensory, autonomic, or psychic symptoms.
- Somatosensory and special sensory phenomena
- Olfactory and gustatory illusions and hallucinations may occur. Acharya et al found that olfactory auras are associated more commonly with temporal lobe tumors than with other causes of TLE.
- Auditory hallucinations consist of a buzzing sound, a voice or voices, or muffling of ambient sounds. This type of aura is more common with neocortical TLE than with other types of TLE.
- Patients may report distortions of shape, size, and distance of objects.
- These visual illusions are unlike the visual hallucinations associated with occipital lobe seizure in that no formed elementary visual image is noted, such as the visual image of a face that may be seen with seizures arising from the fusiform or the inferior temporal gyrus.
- Things may appear shrunken (micropsia) or larger (macropsia) than usual.
- Tilting of structures has been reported. Vertigo has been described with seizures in the posterior superior temporal gyrus.
- Psychic phenomena
- Patients may have a feeling of déjà vu or jamais vu, a sense of familiarity or unfamiliarity, respectively.
- Patients may experience depersonalization (ie, feeling of detachment from oneself) or derealization (ie, surroundings appear unreal).
- Fear or anxiety usually is associated with seizures arising from the amygdala.
- Patients may describe a sense of dissociation or autoscopy, in which they report seeing their own body from outside.
- Autonomic phenomena are characterized by changes in heart rate, piloerection, and sweating. Patients may experience an epigastric "rising" sensation or nausea.

Physical:
- Following the aura, a temporal lobe complex partial seizure begins with a wide-eyed, motionless stare, dilated pupils, and behavioral arrest. Oral alimentary automatisms such as lip smacking, chewing, and swallowing may be noted. Manual automatisms or unilateral dystonic posturing of a limb also may be observed.
- Patients may continue their ongoing motor activity or react to their surroundings in a semipurposeful manner (ie, reactive automatisms). They can have repetitive stereotyped manual automatisms.
- A complex partial seizure may evolve to a secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizure.
- Patients usually experience a postictal period of confusion, which distinguishes TLE from absence seizures, which are not associated with postictal confusion. In addition, absence seizures are not associated with complex automatisms. Postictal aphasia suggests onset in the language-dominant temporal lobe.
- Most auras and automatisms last a very short period—seconds or 1-2 minutes. The postictal phase may last for a longer period (several minutes). By definition, amnesia occurs during a complex partial seizure because of bilateral hemispheric involvement.

Causes:
- Approximately two thirds of patients with TLE treated surgically have hippocampal sclerosis as the pathologic substrate.

The etiologies of TLE include the following:
- Past infections, eg, herpes encephalitis or bacterial meningitis
- Hamartomas
- Gliomas
- Vascular malformations (ie, arteriovenous malformation, cavernous angioma)
- Cryptogenic: A cause is presumed but has not been identified.
- Idiopathic (genetic): This is rare. Familial TLE was described by Berkovic and colleagues, and partial epilepsy with auditory features was described by Scheffer and colleagues.
- Hippocampal sclerosis produces a clinical syndrome called mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). MTLE begins in late childhood, then remits, but reappears in adolescence or early adulthood in a refractory form.
- Febrile seizures: The association of simple febrile seizure with TLE has been controversial. However, a subset of children with complex febrile convulsions appears to be at risk of developing TLE in later life. Complex febrile seizures are febrile seizures that last longer than 15 minutes, have focal features, or recur within 24 hours.

Source:

IHS


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21 Mar 2014 
How the Media keeps on allowing Taqiyah


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14 Mar 2014 
A Look At Nidal Malik Hasan's Actions In Light Of Islamic Teachings Pt. 2


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A Look at Nidal Malik Hasan's Actions in Light of Islamic Teachings Pt. 1b


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25 Feb 2014 
A Look at Nidal Malik Hasan's Actions in Light of Islamic Teachings Pt. 1


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13 Feb 2014 

K. Dayton Hartman II

Aside from the issues covered in my previous articles appearing on Answering Islam, another factor in Islam’s denial of the Trinity has to do with the sonship of Jesus Christ. The following article will examine (albeit briefly) the Muslim conception of Jesus’ sonship and then provide the orthodox Christian position.


Arabia Prior to Islam      
Prior to the introduction of Islam, the people of the Arabian Peninsula were largely nomadic and principally polytheistic.
1 In the midst of this polytheism, however, there existed a monotheistic minority know as the Hanifs. Within some scholarly circles it is believed that the Hanifs were a codified group or movement of neo-Abrahamic monotheists entirely independent of Judaism.2 However, it must be admitted that details from this period of history are scant to say the least and any proposition based upon the known data is ultimately conjecture rather than established fact. It is interesting to note that Khadijah, Muhammad’s first wife, had a cousin named Waraqa ibn Naufal who was reported to be a Hanif.3 Further, Al-Bukhari reports that Muhammad personally encountered a few professing Hanifs.4 In addition, according to Al-Bukhari it was Waraqa, a Hanif, who convinced Muhammad that he was not demon possessed, but rather was a true prophet of Allah.5 Therefore, it is quite possible (and in fact very likely) that this pre-Islam, monotheistic group had a direct effect upon Muhammad’s theology; a group that, interestingly enough, eventually had three of its four named adherents find their way to becoming professing Christians.6

A great deal of difficulty exists in concretely describing the indigenous religions of the Arab people during Muhammad’s time. While it is known that the Arabs indulged in a mixture of polytheism and animism, their exact level of adherence to these deities is uncertain.
7 The central shrine in Mecca, the Ka’bah, was ruled by the supreme god, Allah; however, it also contained a number of idols dedicated to various other deities.8 While some during this period recognized Allah as the supreme god, there was an overall tendency to view other deities as intercessory beings.9 This fact is implied by the Qur’an in Surah 29:61-65. The text states that, while many acknowledge Allah as supreme in times of need, they would ultimately return to their polytheism during times of peace.10 Thus, in the face of paganism a supreme deity, Allah, was recognized.11

During this period, there were various Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Christian (largely outside the bounds of historic orthodoxy) settlements within Arabia.
12 According to some scholars many of the known Christian settlements of the period were mostly comprised of Nestorians and Monophysites.13 The Nestorians taught that “… two persons as well as two natures in[dwelled within] Christ.”14 This would mean that “… when Christ sacrificed His life on the cross, it was not the person who is also divine, the Son of God, who died for us.”15 The Monophysites, on the other hand, denied that Christ possessed a fully human and a fully divine nature. This belief went against the orthodox teaching that the two natures existed alongside one another, undiminished and unmixed. According to some sources, these settlements held positions of influence, albeit to a small degree, on the Arabian Peninsula. As a result, their theological positions were known by at least some throughout the region.16 Some scholars believe that the existence of such groups potentially impacted the development of Islamic theology, as well as Muhammad’s understanding of Christianity.17 However, in light of the Muslim understanding of the Qur’an’s origination, it would not matter who Muhammad came into contact with from within the outskirts of Christendom, because the Qur’an as Allah’s direct word by its very nature necessitates an accurate account of orthodox Christian belief entirely untarnished by Muhammad’s faulty understanding of Christian theology.

In addition to these Christian settlements, there were a number of Christian slaves living on the Arabian Peninsula.
18 According to those who opposed Muhammad’s monotheism, the prophet received his information concerning Allah from these Christian slaves; however, this assertion cannot be concretely confirmed or rejected.19 Regardless, Muslim tradition does preserve accounts, not inherently improbable, concerning several Meccan Arabs who possessed knowledge of Jewish and Christian scriptures, and these figures are generally accepted by Muslim opinion as having had close relations with Muhammad and even affected his spiritual development.20 Whether directly influenced by “Christian” heretics or by Muslims who received second-hand information pertaining to the biblical text, it is plausible that Muhammad’s conception was likely influenced by those acquainted with a variety of Christian theological positions. However, it must be pointed out that even if Muhammad’s understanding of Christian doctrine was delivered via second-hand information or through theologically sub-biblical positions, this does not provide an adequate explanation for the Qur’an’s misrepresentation of what orthodox Christians actually believe. Even if Muhammad was unaware of what the Christian Scriptures actually teach regarding the nature of God, surely Allah would have known. Therefore, regardless of the potential influences upon Muhammad’s understanding of Christian belief, if the Qur’an is truly settled in heaven and originates from Allah it should have accurately recounted what Trinitarians themselves profess to be true.

Muhammad was a member of the Quraish tribe and was born near Mecca in A.D. 570. After being orphaned as a child, Muhammad’s merchant uncle, Abu Talib, became the young boy’s guardian. By the time Muhammad began his career as a prophet in A.D. 610, he had spent more than fifteen years in the caravan trade. It is quite probable that during his travels, Muhammad encountered various monotheistic movements, including the aforementioned theological schools of Christianity. In his biography of Muhammad’s life, Ibn Ishaq records an encounter between the prophet and a Monophysite monk in Syria.
21 In addition, Ibn Ishaq proposes that Muhammad was briefly under the influence of an Ethiopian Christian while living in Mecca.22

The deeply religious Muhammad eventually developed one guiding principle in the midst of his polytheistic context: a single transcendent God must exist. As a result, Muhammad believed that his calling was to restore mankind to the original monotheism of Scripture, a monotheism he understood to be transgressed by many, including Jews and Christians.
23 According to F.E. Peters: “… what distinguished Muhammad from his Meccan contemporaries was (1) his belief in the reality of the Resurrection and the Judgment in both flesh and spirit, and (2) his unswerving conviction that the ‘High God’ was not only unique but absolute; that the other gods, goddesses, jinn and demons were subject and subservient to Him…”24 Through his reflection on the oneness of Allah, and through the reported recitations he claims to have received from the angel Gabriel, Muhammad formulated his theology concerning the divine being. This eventually led to the development of Islam’s central doctrine, tawhid.

The central message of Muhammad’s career was the absolute unity of Allah.
25 Thus, it should come as no surprise that the theme of unity and oneness permeates the text of the Qur’an. In Taha Unal’s estimation, “The Divine Unity (tawhid) is the highest conception of deity, and is the basic element which gives Islam its essential color.”26 Unal adds, “Tawhid is the source of hope, determination, patience, firmness, and courage, and also of happiness and spiritual satisfaction.”27

Is Jesus the physical Son of God?
28
In light of the material presented regarding pre-Islam Arabia, it is no surprise that the Qur’an unabashedly attacks the notion that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The idea that Allah sired Jesus Christ in a physical sense is repugnant to Muslims. In pre-Islam Arabia, tribal people attributed physical wives (Surah 72:3), daughters (Surah 6:100; 16:57; 17:40; 37:149-153; 43:19; 53:27), and sons (2:116; 6:100-101; 10:68; 17:111; 18:4; 19:91-92; 21:26; 25:2) to a high god. As a result, Muslims currently reject any theological concepts which they believe entail similar relationships with Allah.

The most explicit passage in the Qur’an condemning the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ appears in Surah 5:116, “And behold! Allah will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?’” Ibn Taymiyya believes that this passage conclusively shows that Christians attribute a physical wife to Yahweh.
29 The logic behind Ibn Taymiyya’s assertion is quite consistent with Muslim assertion that the Qur’an is perfect and originates from the will of Allah. Ibn Taymiyya proposes that in spite of what the Christian Scriptures actually record regarding the nature of God and regardless of what Christians have historically believed about the nature of God, because the Qur’an teaches that Christians believe Yahweh has a female consort, then in the face of all known data, it must be true.

Similarly, Surah 2:116 depicts Christians as holding the belief that Allah physically fathered Jesus Christ. Commenting on this passage, Yusuf Ali writes:

It is derogation from the glory of God—in fact it is blasphemy—to say that God begets sons, like a man or an animal. The Christian doctrine is here emphatically repudiated. If words have any meaning, it would mean an attribution to God of a material nature and of the lower animal function of sex.
30

The Qur’an, on a number of occasions,
31 condemns the belief of Allah having offspring. However, the greatest condemnation is clearly directed towards Christians who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.32 The reason for such opposition is because Muslims believe that Christians understand the Fatherhood of God in a physical sense.

Once more in Surah 39:4, the concept of divine paternity is attributed to Christians, and is subsequently condemned. However, this passage offers an alternative to “begetting.” The text reveals that, if Allah had wanted a “helper,” he would not have needed to sire him in a physical sense, but would instead have created him. If Allah has no wife, as the Qur’an undeniably teaches,
33 then he can have no son. The idea that he would lower himself to the level of creatures for the sake of procreation is entirely blasphemous.

Understanding that prior to the advent of Islam, Arabs believed that Allah engaged in sexual activity, it is not shocking to find that Muslims abhor the concept of “begetting.” Undoubtedly, Muhammad perceived this language to mean that Christians believe that God literally engaged in sexual intercourse with Mary, the mother of Jesus. In light of the historical and religious context into which Muhammad was born, it is no surprise that he would object to a doctrine he believed mirrored the pagan “trinities” existing in Arabia. In summary, the Qur’an proposes that Christians believe the following. First, Mary is literally the wife of God. Second, Allah physically engaged in sexual intercourse with Mary and Jesus of Nazareth is the physical offspring resulting from this carnal encounter. Third, the Christian concept of the Trinity resembles paganism, teaching that a high god (Yahweh) took for Himself a wife (Mary) and sired a half-man-half-God son.
34

Christian Response
In the Arabic language, two terms are used to express the concept, “son of.” The first is walad,
35 which is used to describe offspring resulting from the sexual union of a male and female. The second word, ibn, can be used metaphorically. It is utilized to describe a close relationship between persons, or persons to things, without necessarily implying a physical paternal connection.36 For example, a traveler “… [i]s spoken of as a son of the road” (ibnussabil).37 Yet, such a statement does not imply that a sexual relationship, resulting in a child, has occurred between a human being and the road.

Nearly every passage in the Qur’an that denies the sonship of Jesus Christ utilizes walad. The single reference that employs ibn to describe Christ‘s sonship is Surah 9:30; however, when taken in the context of the entire Surah, it is clear that the reference actually refers to physical sonship.
38 Orthodox Christianity would only use the term ibn, in its metaphorical sense, to explain Christ’s relationship to the Father. Therefore, in Arabic the Scriptures call Christ ibnu’llah, not waladu’llah.

Some older english translations of the Bible utilized the most unhelpful formulation “only begotten.”
39 The phrase translated in the King James Version as “only begotten Son” ismonogenes huios (μονογενηςυιος). However, one should not take this in a literal, physically paternal sense. For instance, huios (son) has been used metaphorically throughout the New Testament. In Mark 3:17, James and John are referred to as “Sons (huios) of Thunder.” Furthermore, in Galatians 3:26 Paul writes that all believers are “Sons (huios) of God.” These references are clearly intended to be figurative. The translation of monogenes as “only begotten” is a result of the King James translators retaining Jerome’s Latin translation of the term, unigenitus, meaning “only begotten.” However, the Latin text existing prior to Jerome’s translation did not use the Latin unigenitus when describing God the Son; instead, it utilized the term unicus, meaning “only.”40

In order for the Greek manuscript to warrant the translation “only begotten,” the Greek term being translated would need to be monogennetos. To translate monogenes as “only begotten” is, without question, incorrect. Commenting on this mistranslation, James White noted that;

The key element to remember in deriving the meaning of monogenes is this: it is a compound term, combining monos, meaning only, with a second term. Often it is assumed that the second term is gennasthai/gennao, to give birth, to beget. But note that this family of terms has two nu’s,
νν, rather than a single nu, ν, found in monogenes. This indicates that the second term is not gennasthai but gignesthai/ginomai, and the noun form, genos.41

The term genos means “kind,” or “race.”
42 When the two terms monos and genos are combined, the reference is intended to convey that Christ is “unique, the only one of his kind.”43 Additionally, William Mounce explains that monogenes can only be understood as stressing the unique nature of Christ; it cannot and should not be understood to imply any type of biological siring.44

This metaphorical understanding of sonship is demonstrated in the book of Hebrews. The author of Hebrews refers to Isaac as Abraham‘s “only begotten son.”
45 Making use of the same term found in John 3:16 to describe the father-to-son relationship (monogenes), the author of Hebrews notes the unique nature of Isaac as the promised child from God. The Muslim reader will readily admit that Abraham had multiple children; therefore, the intent of the text is to stress that Isaac is Abraham’s unique son, not his only son.46 Craig Keener believes the use of the term monogenes in John 3:16 is intended to call to mind the traditional Hebrew understanding of Isaac. Just as Abraham gave Isaac, God the Father has not given merely a son but the unique, beloved Son with whom there is no comparison.47 In the same manner, Christ should be understood as the unique, one-of-a-kind, “Son of God.” Christ’s Hebrew contemporaries understood His claim to be the Son of God as an equation with God rather than a statement of biological origin. When Jesus was before Pilate the Jewish authorities charged, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”48 Thus, His sonship declared His full deity, not a biological origination.

The text of Scripture further demonstrates that the Muslim notion of the New Testament portraying Christ as the biological Son of God is in error. The birth narrative in Luke’s Gospel makes no mention of natural conception resulting from a sexual union. After Gabriel informed Mary that she would carry a Son, she asked, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
49 Gabriel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”50 The narrative is completely devoid of any sexual interaction between God the Father and Mary; rather, the reader is informed that it is through the working of the Holy Spirit that the virgin conceived. Commenting on this fact, Wayne Grudem states, “Scripture clearly asserts that Jesus was conceived by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit…51 Thus, the text of both John’s and Luke’s Gospels depict Christ as uniquely, rather than biologically, the Son of God. Further, Christ is the Son of God not because of conception, but because of His economic relationship to the Father. Therefore, the Qur’an is not rebutting the text of Christian Scripture but is reacting against a misunderstanding of orthodox Christianity at best and more directly Arab paganism.

Does Allah have a Son?
Without question, the Qur’an denounces the idea of Allah fathering a son in the genetic sense. Interestingly, the Qur’an addresses Muhammad’s course of action pending the figurative establishment of Allah having a son. According to Surah 43:81, “Say: If the All-merciful [God] had a son, I would be the very first to worship [him].” Some Islamic commentators believe that in this passage Muhammad was stating that, if it could be proven that Allah had a son, he would be the very first to submit unto and worship him.
52 Commenting on Surah 43:81, Yusuf Ali states that, “The prophet of Allah does not object to true worship in any form. But it must be true: it must not superstitiously attribute derogatory things to Allah, or foster false ideas.”53 If one takes the Surah in its context, it would appear that Muhammad made this statement because of his conviction that Allah has no son; yet, if Allah’s “fatherhood” could be established he would be willing to accept the son of Allah as God.54 Arab Christian Chawkat Moucarry notes that famed Muslim commentator Fakhr-ul-Din Razi believes that, of all the possible interpretations of this Surah, the preceding is the most viable.55 For Moucarry, Fakhr-ul-Din’s interpretation raises a few questions. He asks, “Is there really evidence that God has no son? If so, where is this evidence? What if the case for God having a son is made? Are Muslims prepared, like the Prophet, to worship and to serve him?56

In continuation, the most famous Surah to reject the idea of Allah having a son was not historically used as a refutation of the Christian doctrine of incarnation, but was instead a criticism of Arab polytheism.
57 Surah 112:1-4 reads, “Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” Moucarry proposes that the use of this Surah as a condemnation of the Christian understanding of the Son of God comes long after it was used against its intended targets, pagan Arabs. It is only after the expansion of Islam that this Surah was understood as a repudiation of Christian Trinitarianism.58 Moucarry believes that if the Muslim interpreter intends to remain literally and historically grounded in the text of the Qur’an, he must acknowledge this fact.59

Conclusion
Muhammad’s knowledge of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity (which was well established by the sixth century A.D.) is questionable at best. The Qur’an clearly misrepresents what Christians actually believed and still do believe about the triunity of God. However, the Qur’an rightly and accurately condemns the pre-Islam polytheism that permeated the Arabian Peninsula. What Muhammad denied then was the pagan deities of his native peoples, yet he mistook the Christian doctrine of the true Trinity as being nothing more than a Christianized version of pagan belief. With Muhammad’s primary denial of the Trinity being aimed at the doctrine as it relates to the Sonship of Jesus Christ, and with that notion being corrected above, what then can be said in denial of what Christians actually believe regarding the Trinity and the incarnation of Jesus? Simply put, Muhammad denied the very same doctrines that Christians have denied for over two-thousand years. The difference being that for over fourteen-hundred years Muslims, as prescribed by the Qur’an, have attributed to Christians a belief that no orthodox Christian has ever held to. So, did Muhammad deny the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as it relates to the incarnation of Jesus Christ? No!

1 William Montgomery Watt. A Short history of Islam (Boston, MA: OneWorld Oxford Publishing, 1996), 9.
2 Winfried Corduan believes this monotheism represents Arab vestiges of original monotheism. Winfried Corduan. Neighboring Faiths (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 79. Cf. Timothy Tennent. Christianity at the Religious Roundtable (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 143.
3 Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad translated by Alfred Guillaume (Oxford University Press, 1979), 99. Interestingly enough the Qur’an refers to Abraham as a true Muslim Hanifa. See S. 3:67.
4 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 67, Number 407. This text was retrieved from this Answering Islam article.
5 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3. See previous link.
6 J. Spencer Trimingham, Christianity among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times (London: Longman Group, 1979), 263.
7 Watt, 9. According to Samuel Zwemer, pre-Islamic poetry portrays Allah as a supreme god. Samuel Zwemer, Admin · 81 views · Leave a comment
05 Feb 2014 

By Anthony Rogers

Introduction

Given that many others have done this before, the following aims to be a (relatively) short but pungent reply to the Muslim claim that Muhammad's coming was prophesied in Deuteronomy 18.


In fact, not only is it certain from the Qur’an that Muhammad performed no miraculous sign or wonder to confirm that he was a prophet from God,4 it is just as certain that he performed no sign or wonder such as would identify him as the prophet like unto Moses, a point on which, once again, the Qur’an agrees: “But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, ‘Why are not (Signs) sent to him,like those which were sent to Moses?’”

An Additional Set of Problems
To further complicate matters, the argument that Deuteronomy 18 prophecies the coming of Muhammad rests on several hotly disputed assumptions, such as that the Arabs are descended from Ishmael, and that Muhammad was illiterate, not just unlettered, the latter being a technical term for Gentiles or people generally unlearned when it came to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. It also ignores that the prophecy excludes from its purview anyone who speaks in the name of any other God than Yahweh, which Muhammad did by speaking in the name of a god whose descriptive nature and character are decidedly contrary to the Bible, as well as anyone who makes a prediction that does not come to pass, which Muhammad did many times over.

In other words, even if all the other qualifications were met by Muhammad, that is, even if it could be shown that the passage is really talking about a future descendant of Ishmael who would be so unlike Moses in the key features of his prophetic office as any one person could be, and as Muhammad certainly was, then Muhammad would still be disqualified.

Conclusion
The Muslim idea that the passage refers to an Arab who didn’t speak with God and didn’t perform any miracle flounders over and over again on all the salient points of the prophecy. In light of this fact, Muslims would do well to disabuse themselves of the absurd notion that Muhammad is prophesied here in Deuteronomy 18.

For all the verbal legerdemain employed by Muslims in an attempt to conjure Muhammad up out of Deuteronomy 18, the fact is that any prophet, who would lay claim to fulfilling Deuteronomy 18, must be an Israelite, must speak face to face with God, and must have a ministry marked by divine approval. And Muhammad just didn’t cut the muster, for he failed not on one, or two, but on all three points.

In conclusion, not only was Muhammad not the prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18, but according to that very passage he was not a true prophet at all. Accordingly, although Muhammad uttered many curses and imprecations on anyone who would deny him the all important title of prophet, and even though he would often buttress this demand by saying that Allah would punish those who do not submit to him as the messenger of Allah, according to Deuteronomy 18 there isn’t the slightest reason for anyone to fear, for these are the words of a presumptuous man. Indeed, the divine command is, “Do not be afraid of him.”

Continue with Part II.

Footnotes
1 See also S. 44:30-33.
2 Yusuf Ali notes on this verse: “Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hence the title of Moses in Muslim theology: Kalim Allah: the one to whom Allah spoke.” (Footnote #670)
3 This verse is plagued with problems for Muslims, for not only does there seem to be a discrepancy among the translators, with some translating it as “with some Allah spoke”, rather than “with one of them Allah spoke”, but it also seems to suggest that Moses and Jesus were both “preferred” or “gifted” above Muhammad, for the former spoke to Allah directly and the latter had miraculous signs.
4 Surah 2:118; 2:145; 6:37; 6:109; 10:20; 11:12; 13:7; 13:27; 17:59; 17:90-93

Source:

IHS
Admin · 71 views · Leave a comment
05 Feb 2014 

By Anthony Rogers

Introduction

Given that many others have done this before, the following aims to be a (relatively) short but pungent reply to the Muslim claim that Muhammad's coming was prophesied in Deuteronomy 18.


In fact, not only is it certain from the Qur’an that Muhammad performed no miraculous sign or wonder to confirm that he was a prophet from God,4 it is just as certain that he performed no sign or wonder such as would identify him as the prophet like unto Moses, a point on which, once again, the Qur’an agrees: “But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, ‘Why are not (Signs) sent to him,like those which were sent to Moses?’”

An Additional Set of Problems
To further complicate matters, the argument that Deuteronomy 18 prophecies the coming of Muhammad rests on several hotly disputed assumptions, such as that the Arabs are descended from Ishmael, and that Muhammad was illiterate, not just unlettered, the latter being a technical term for Gentiles or people generally unlearned when it came to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. It also ignores that the prophecy excludes from its purview anyone who speaks in the name of any other God than Yahweh, which Muhammad did by speaking in the name of a god whose descriptive nature and character are decidedly contrary to the Bible, as well as anyone who makes a prediction that does not come to pass, which Muhammad did many times over.

In other words, even if all the other qualifications were met by Muhammad, that is, even if it could be shown that the passage is really talking about a future descendant of Ishmael who would be so unlike Moses in the key features of his prophetic office as any one person could be, and as Muhammad certainly was, then Muhammad would still be disqualified.

Conclusion
The Muslim idea that the passage refers to an Arab who didn’t speak with God and didn’t perform any miracle flounders over and over again on all the salient points of the prophecy. In light of this fact, Muslims would do well to disabuse themselves of the absurd notion that Muhammad is prophesied here in Deuteronomy 18.

For all the verbal legerdemain employed by Muslims in an attempt to conjure Muhammad up out of Deuteronomy 18, the fact is that any prophet, who would lay claim to fulfilling Deuteronomy 18, must be an Israelite, must speak face to face with God, and must have a ministry marked by divine approval. And Muhammad just didn’t cut the muster, for he failed not on one, or two, but on all three points.

In conclusion, not only was Muhammad not the prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18, but according to that very passage he was not a true prophet at all. Accordingly, although Muhammad uttered many curses and imprecations on anyone who would deny him the all important title of prophet, and even though he would often buttress this demand by saying that Allah would punish those who do not submit to him as the messenger of Allah, according to Deuteronomy 18 there isn’t the slightest reason for anyone to fear, for these are the words of a presumptuous man. Indeed, the divine command is, “Do not be afraid of him.”

Continue with Part II.

Footnotes
1 See also S. 44:30-33.
2 Yusuf Ali notes on this verse: “Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hence the title of Moses in Muslim theology: Kalim Allah: the one to whom Allah spoke.” (Footnote #670)
3 This verse is plagued with problems for Muslims, for not only does there seem to be a discrepancy among the translators, with some translating it as “with some Allah spoke”, rather than “with one of them Allah spoke”, but it also seems to suggest that Moses and Jesus were both “preferred” or “gifted” above Muhammad, for the former spoke to Allah directly and the latter had miraculous signs.
4 Surah 2:118; 2:145; 6:37; 6:109; 10:20; 11:12; 13:7; 13:27; 17:59; 17:90-93

Source:

IHS
Admin · 65 views · Leave a comment
05 Feb 2014 

By Anthony Rogers

Introduction

Given that many others have done this before, the following aims to be a (relatively) short but pungent reply to the Muslim claim that Muhammad's coming was prophesied in Deuteronomy 18.


In fact, not only is it certain from the Qur’an that Muhammad performed no miraculous sign or wonder to confirm that he was a prophet from God,4 it is just as certain that he performed no sign or wonder such as would identify him as the prophet like unto Moses, a point on which, once again, the Qur’an agrees: “But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, ‘Why are not (Signs) sent to him,like those which were sent to Moses?’”

An Additional Set of Problems
To further complicate matters, the argument that Deuteronomy 18 prophecies the coming of Muhammad rests on several hotly disputed assumptions, such as that the Arabs are descended from Ishmael, and that Muhammad was illiterate, not just unlettered, the latter being a technical term for Gentiles or people generally unlearned when it came to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. It also ignores that the prophecy excludes from its purview anyone who speaks in the name of any other God than Yahweh, which Muhammad did by speaking in the name of a god whose descriptive nature and character are decidedly contrary to the Bible, as well as anyone who makes a prediction that does not come to pass, which Muhammad did many times over.

In other words, even if all the other qualifications were met by Muhammad, that is, even if it could be shown that the passage is really talking about a future descendant of Ishmael who would be so unlike Moses in the key features of his prophetic office as any one person could be, and as Muhammad certainly was, then Muhammad would still be disqualified.

Conclusion
The Muslim idea that the passage refers to an Arab who didn’t speak with God and didn’t perform any miracle flounders over and over again on all the salient points of the prophecy. In light of this fact, Muslims would do well to disabuse themselves of the absurd notion that Muhammad is prophesied here in Deuteronomy 18.

For all the verbal legerdemain employed by Muslims in an attempt to conjure Muhammad up out of Deuteronomy 18, the fact is that any prophet, who would lay claim to fulfilling Deuteronomy 18, must be an Israelite, must speak face to face with God, and must have a ministry marked by divine approval. And Muhammad just didn’t cut the muster, for he failed not on one, or two, but on all three points.

In conclusion, not only was Muhammad not the prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18, but according to that very passage he was not a true prophet at all. Accordingly, although Muhammad uttered many curses and imprecations on anyone who would deny him the all important title of prophet, and even though he would often buttress this demand by saying that Allah would punish those who do not submit to him as the messenger of Allah, according to Deuteronomy 18 there isn’t the slightest reason for anyone to fear, for these are the words of a presumptuous man. Indeed, the divine command is, “Do not be afraid of him.”

Continue with Part II.

Footnotes
1 See also S. 44:30-33.
2 Yusuf Ali notes on this verse: “Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hence the title of Moses in Muslim theology: Kalim Allah: the one to whom Allah spoke.” (Footnote #670)
3 This verse is plagued with problems for Muslims, for not only does there seem to be a discrepancy among the translators, with some translating it as “with some Allah spoke”, rather than “with one of them Allah spoke”, but it also seems to suggest that Moses and Jesus were both “preferred” or “gifted” above Muhammad, for the former spoke to Allah directly and the latter had miraculous signs.
4 Surah 2:118; 2:145; 6:37; 6:109; 10:20; 11:12; 13:7; 13:27; 17:59; 17:90-93

Source:

IHS
Admin · 62 views · Leave a comment

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