The Bible, the Quran, and modern science
On 9 November 1976, an unusual lecture was given at the French Academy of Medicine. Its title was ‘Physiological and Embryological data in the Quran. I presented my study on the existence in the Quran of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction.
My reason for doing this was that our knowledge of these disciplines is such, that it is impossible to explain how a text produced at the time of the Quran (1400 years ago) could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.
There is indeed no human work prior to modern times that contains statements which were equally in advance of the state of knowledge at the time of they appeared and which might be compared to the Quran.
In addition to this, a comparative study of date of a similar kind contained in the Bible (Old Testament and Gospels) seemed desirable. This is how the project was formed of a confrontation between modern knowledge and certain passages in the Holy Scriptures of each monotheistic religion. It resulted in the publication of a book under the title, The Bible, the Quran and Science.
The first French edition appeared in May 1976. (Seglers, Paris-English and Arabic editions have now been published). It comes as no surprise to learn that Religion and Science have always been considered to be twin sisters by Islam and that today at a time when science has taken such great strides, they still continue to be associated, and furthermore certain scientific data are used for the better understanding of the Quranic text.
What is more, in a century where, for many, scientific truth has dealt a deathblow to religious belief, it is precisely the discoveries of science that, in an objective examination of the Islamic Revelation, have highlighted the supernatural character of certain aspects of the Revelation.
When all is said and done, generally speaking, scientific knowledge would seem, in spite of what people may say, to be highly conductive to reflection on the existence of God.
Once we begin to ask ourselves in an unbiased or unprejudiced way about the metaphysical lessons to be derived from some of today’s knowledge, (for example our knowledge of the infinitely small or the problem of life), we indeed discover many reasons for thinking along these lines. When we think about the remarkable organization presiding over the birth and maintenance of life, it surely becomes clear that the likelihood of it being the result of chance gets less and less, as our knowledge and progress in this field expand.
Certain concepts must appear to be increasingly unacceptable; for example, the one put forward by the French winner of the Nobel prize for Medicine who tried to get people to admit that living matter was self-created as the result of fortuitous circumstances under the effect of certain outside influences using simple chemical elements as their base.
From this it is claimed that living organisms came into being, leading to the remarkable complex called man. To me, it would seem that the scientific progress made in understanding the fantastic complexity of higher beings provides strong arguments in favour of the opposite theory: in other words, the existence of an extraordinarily methodical organisation presiding over the remarkable arrangement of the phenomena of life.
In many parts of the Book, the Quran leads, in simple terms, to this kind of general reflection. But it also contains infinitely more precise data which are directly related to facts discovered by modern science: these are what exercise a magnetic attraction for today’s scientists.
Encyclopedia knowledge necessary to understand the Quran
For many centuries, the man was unable to study them, because he did not possess sufficient scientific means. It is only today that numerous verses of the Quran dealing with natural phenomena have become fully comprehensible. I should even go so far as to say that, in the 20th century, with its compartmentalization of ever-increasing knowledge, it is not always easy for the average scientist to understand everything he reads in the Quran one is today required to have an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge, by which I mean, one which embraces very many disciplines.
I use the word ‘science’ to mean knowledge which has been soundly established. It does not include the theories which, for a time, help to explain a phenomenon or series of phenomena, only to be abandoned later in favour of explanations which have become more plausible thanks to scientific progress. I basically only intend to deal with knowledge which is not likely to be subject to further discussion. Wherever I introduce scientific facts which are not yet 100% established. I shall, of course, make this quite clear.
There are also some very rare examples of statements in the Quran which have not, as yet, been confirmed by modern science: I shall refer to these by pointing out that all the evidence leads scientists to regard them as being highly probable. An example of this is the statement in the Quran that life is of aquatic origin, and another is that somewhere in the Universe there are Earths similar to our own.
These scientific considerations should not, however, make us forget that the Quran remains a religious book par excellence and that it cannot, of course, be expected to have a ‘scientific’ purpose per se. Whenever man is invited to reflect upon the works of Creation and the numerous natural phenomena he can observe, the obvious intention, in using such examples, is to stress Divine Omnipotence.
The fact that, in these reflections, we can find allusions to data connected with scientific knowledge is surely another of God’s gifts whose value must shine out in an age where scientifically based materialistic atheism seeks to gain control at the expense of the belief in God.
Throughout my research I have constantly tried to remain totally objective. I believe I have succeeded in approaching the study of the Quran with the same objectivity that a doctor has when he opens a file on a patient: in other words, by carefully confronting all the symptoms he can find to arrive at a diagnosis.
I must admit that it was certainly not a faith in Islam that first guided my steps, but simple research for the truth. This is how I see it today. It was mainly fact which, by the time I had finished my study, had led me to see in the Quran a text revealed to a Prophet.
We shall examine statements in the Quran which appear today merely to record scientific truth, but which men in former times were only able to grasp the apparent meaning of. How is it possible to imagine that, were there any subsequent alterations to the texts, these obscure passages scattered throughout the text of the Quran were able to escape human manipulation?
The slightest alteration to the texts would automatically have destroyed the remarkable coherence which is characteristic of them, and prevented us from establishing their conformity with modern knowledge. The presence of these statements spread throughout the Quran looks to the impartial observer like an obvious hallmark of authenticity.
The Quran is a preaching which was made known to man in the course of a Revelation which lasted roughly twenty years. It spanned two periods of equal length on either side of the Hegira. In view of this, it was natural for reflections having a scientific aspect to be scattered throughout the Book. In the case of a study such as the one we have made, we had to regroup them according to subject, collecting them chapter by chapter.
How should they be classified? I could not find any indications in the Quran suggesting any particular classification. So I have decided to present them according to my own personal one.
It would seem to me, that the first subject to be dealt with is the Creation. Here it is possible to compare the verses referring to this topic with the general ideas prevalent today on the formation of the Universe. Next, I have divided up verses under the following general headings: Astronomy, the Earth, the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms, Man, and Human Reproduction in particular; the latter is a subject which, in the Quran, is allotted a very important place. To these general headings it is possible to add subheadings. Furthermore, I thought it useful to make a comparison between Quranic and Biblical narrations from the point of view of modern knowledge. This has been done in the case of such subjects as the Creation, the Flood and the Exodus.
Creation of the universe
Let us first examine the Creation as described in the Quran. An extremely important general idea emerges: its dissimilarity with Biblical narration. This idea contradicts the parallels which are often, and wrongly, drawn by Western authors to underline solely the resemblance between the two texts.
When talking of the Creation, as of other subjects, there is a strong tendency in the West to claim that Muhammad only copied the general outlines of the Bible. It is indeed possible to compare the six days of the Creation as described in the Bible, plus an extra day of rest on God’s sabbath, with this verse from chapter 7:
“Your Lord is Allah Who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days”
We must point out straight away the modern commentators stress the interpretation of ayyam, one translation of which is ‘days’, as meaning ‘long periods’ or ‘ages’ rather than periods of twenty-four hours. What to me appears to be of fundamental importance is that, in contrast to the narration contained in the Bible, the Quran does not lay down a sequence for the Creation of the Earth and Heavens. It refers both to the Heavens before the Earth and the Earth before the Heavens, when it talks of the Creation in general, as in this verse of the chapter 20: “A revelation from Him Who created the Earth and the Heavens”
In fact, the notion to be derived from the Quran is one of a concomitance in the celestial and terrestrial evolutions. There are also absolutley fundamental data concerning the existence of an initial gaseous mass (duhkan) which is unique and whose elements, although at first fused together (ratq) subsequently became separated (fatq). This notion is expressed in the chapter 41: “And God turned to Heaven when it was smoke”
And the same is expressed in chapter 21: “Do not the Unbelievers see that the Heavens and the Earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder?”
The separation process resulted in the formation of multiple worlds, a notion which crops up dozens of times in the Quran, once it has formed the first verse in chapter 1: “Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds”
All this is in perfect agreement with modern ideas on the existence of primary nebula and the process of secondary separation of the elements that had formed the initial unique mass. This separation resulted in the formation of galaxies and then, when these divided, of stars from which the planets were to be born. Reference is also made in the Quran to an intermediary Creation between the Heavens and the Earth, as in chapter 25: “God is the One created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is between them”
It would seem that this intermediary Creation corresponds to the modern discovery of bridges of matter which are present outside organised astronomical systems.
This survey certainly shows us how modern data and statements in the Quran agree on a large number of points. We have come a long way from the Biblical text with its successive phases that are totally unacceptable; especially the one placing the Creation of the Earth (on the 3rd day) before that of the Heavens (on the 4th day), when it is a known fact that our planet comes from its own star, the Sun. In such circumstances, how can we imagine that a man who drew his inspiration from the Bible could have been the author of the Quran, and, of his own accord, have corrected the Biblical text to arrive at a general concept concerning the formation of the Universe, when this concept was not to be formed until centuries after his death.
Astronomy – Light and movement
Let us now turn to the subject of Astronomy. Whenever I describe the details the Quran contains on certain points of astronomy to Westerners, it is unusual for someone not to reply that there is nothing special in this, considering the Arabs made important discoveries in this field long before the Europeans.
This is, in fact, a singularly mistaken idea resulting from an ignorance of history. In the first place, science was developed in Arabian countries at a time that was considerably after the Quranic Revelation had occurred; in the second, the scientific knowledge prevalent at the high point of Islamic civilization would not have made it possible for a human being to have written statements on the Heavens comparable to those in the Quran.
Here again, the subject is so wide that I can only provide an outline of it. Whereas the Bible talks of the Sun and the Moon as two luminaries differing in size, the Quran distinguishes between them by the use of different epithets: light (noor) for the Moon, torch (siraj) for the Sun. The first is an interbody which reflects light, the second a celestial formation in a state of permanent combustion, and a source of light and heat. The word ‘star’ (najm) is accompanied by another qualifying word which indicates that it burns and consumes itself as it pierces through the shadows of the night: it is the word thakib.
In the Quran, the kawkab definitely seems to mean the planets which are celestial formations that reflect and do not produce light like the Sun. Today it is known how the celestial organisation is balanced by the position of stars in a defined orbit and the interplay of gravitational forces ralated to their mass and speed of movement, each with its own motion. But isn’t this what the Quran describes, in terms which have only become comprehensible in our own day, when it mentions the foundation of this balance in chapter 21: ”(God is) the One Who created the night, the day, the Sun and the Moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion”
The Arabic word which expresses this movement is a verb sabbaha (yousabbihoon in the text); it carries with it the idea of a motion which comes from any moving body, be it the movement of one’s legs as one runs on the ground, or the action of swimming in water. In the case of a celestial body, one is forced to translate it in the original sense, that is, ‘to travel with one’s own motion’.
The description of the sequence of day and night would, in itself, be rather commonplace were it not for the fact that, in the Quran, it is expressed in terms that today are highly significant. This is because it uses the verb kawwara in chapter 39:5 to describe the way the night ‘winds’ or ‘coils’ itself about the day and the day about the night, just as, in the original meaning of the verb, a turban is wound around the head.
This is a totally valid comparison; yet at the same time the Quran was revealed, the astronomical data necessary to draw it were unknown. The evolution of the Heavens and the notion of a settled place for the Sun are also described. They are in agreement with highly detailed modern ideas.
The Quran also seems to have alluded to the expansion of the Universe. There is also the conquest of space. This has been undertaken thanks to remarkable technological progress and has resulted in man’s journey to the Moon. But this surely springs to mind when we read chapter 55: “O assembly of jinns and men, if you can penetrate regions of the Heavens and Earth, then penetrate them! You will not penetrate them save with (Our) Power”
This power comes from the All-mighty, and the subject of the whole chapter is an invitation to recognise God’s Beneficence to man.
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Let us examine, for example, “Hast tho not seen that God sent water down from the sky and led it through sources into the ground? Then He caused sown fields of different colours to grow”
Such notions seems quite natural to us today, but we should not forget that they were not prevalent long ago. It was not until the sixteenth century, with Bernard Palissy, that we gained the first coherent description of the water cycle. Prior to this, people talked about the theory whereby the water of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents. They then returned to the oceans via the great abyss, which, since Plato’s time, has been called the Tartarus.
In the seventeenth century, a great thinker such as Descartes believed in it, and even in the nineteenth century there was still talk of Aristotle’s theory, according to which water was condensed in cool mountains caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs.
Today, we know that it is the infiltration of rainwater that is responsible for this. If one compares the facts of modern hydrology with the data to be found in numerous verses of the Quran on this subject, one cannot fail to notice the ramarkable degree of agreement between the two.
In geology, a fact of recently acquired knowledge is the phenomenon of folding, which was to form the mountain ranges. The same is true of the Earth’s crust, which is like a solid shell on which we can live, while the deeper layers are hot and fluid, and thus inhospitable to any form of life. It is also known that the stability of the mountains is linked to the phenomenon of folding, for it was the folds that were to provide foundations for the reliefs that constituted the mountains.
Let us now compare modern ideas with one verse among many in the Quran that deals with this subject. It is taken from chapter 78 “Have We not made the Earth an expanse and the mountains stakes?”
The stakes (awtad), which are driven into the ground like those used to anchor a tent, are the deep foundations of geological folds.
Here, as in the case of other topics, the objective observer cannot fail to notice the absence of any contradiction with modern knowledge. But more than anything else, I was struck, at first, by statements in the Quran dealing with living things, both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, especially with regard to reproduction.
I must once again stress the fact, that it is only since modern times, that scientific progress has made the content of many such verses more comprehensible to us. There are also other verses which are more easily understandable, but which conceal a biological meaning that is highly significant: “And We got every living thing out of the water. Will they then not believe”
This is an affirmation of the modern idea that the origin of life is aquatic. Progress in botany at the time of Muhammad was in no country advance enough for it to be established as a rule that plants have both male and female parts. “God is the Who sent water down from the sky and thereby We brought forth pairs of plants each separate from the other”
Today, we know that fruit comes from plants that have sexual characteristics (even when it comes from unfertilized flowers, like bananas). In chapter 13 we read: “And fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two”
Reflections on reproduction in the animal kingdom were linked to those on human reproduction. We shall examine them presently. In the field of physiology, there is one verse which, to me, appears extremely significant: one thousand years before the discovery of the circulation of the blood, and roughly thirteen centuries it was known what happened in the intestine to ensure that organs were nourished by the process of digestive absorbtion, a verse in the Quran describes the source of the constituents of milk, in conformity with these notions.
To understand this verse, we have to know that chemical reactions occur in the intestine and that, from there, substances extracted from food pass into the bloodstream via a complex system, sometimes by way of the liver, depending on their chemical nature. The blood transports them to all organs of the body, among which are the milk-producing mammary glands. Without entering into detail, let us just say that, basically, there is the arrival of certain substances from the contents of the intestines into the vessels of the intestinal wall itself, and the transportation of these substances by the bloodstream.
This concept must be fully appreciated, if we are to understand this verse “Verily, in cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of what is inside their bodies, coming from a conjunction between the contents of the intestines and the blood, a milk pure and pleasant for those who drink it”
The creation of man
In the Quran the subject of human reproduction leads to a multitude of statements which constitute a challenge to the embryologist seeking a human explanation to them. It was only after the birth of the basic sciences which were to contribute to our knowledge of biology, and especially after the invention of the microscope, that man was able to understand such statements. It was impossible for a man living in the early seventh century to have expressed such ideas. There is nothing to indicate that, at this time, men in the Middle East and Arabia knew anything more about this subject than men living in Europe or anywhere else.
Today, there are many Muslims with a thorough knowledge of the Quran and natural sciences who have clearly recognised the comparisons to be made between the verses of the Quran dealing with reproduction and human knowledge. I shall always remember the comment of an eighteen year old Muslim, brought up in Saudi Arabia, replying to a reference to the question of reproduction as described in the Quran.
Pointing to it, he said, ‘But this book provides us with all the essential information on the subject. When I was at school they used the Quran to explain to me how children were born; your books on sex-education are a bit late on the scene!’ It is on this point in particular, that a comparison between the beliefs current at he time of the Quran, that were full of superstition and myths, and the contents of the Quran and modern data, leaves us amazed at the degree of concordance between the latter and the absence of any reference in the Quran to the mistaken ideas that were prevalent at the time.
Let us now isolate, from all these verses, precise ideas concerning the complexity of the fertilizing liquid and the fact that an infinitely small quantity is required to ensure fertilization, its ‘quintessence’ – if I may so translate the Arabic word ‘sulala’.
The implantation of the egg in the female genital organ is perfectly described in several verses by the word ‘Alaq’ which is also the title of the chapter in which it appears “God fashioned man from something which clings
I do not think there is any reasonable translation of the word ‘Alaq’ other than to use its original sense. The evolution of the embryo inside the maternal uterus is only briefly described, but the description is accurate, because the simple words referring to it correspond exactly to fundamental stages in its growth “We fashioned the thing which clings into a chewed lump of flesh and We fashioned the chewed flesh into bones and We clothed the bones with intact flesh.’ Then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the Perfect Creator”
The term ‘chewed flesh’ (mudga) corresponds exactly to the appearance of the embryo at a certain stage in its development. It is known that the bones develop inside this mass and that they are then covered with muscle. This is the meaning of the term ‘intact flesh’ (lahm).
The embryo passes through a stage where some parts are in proportion and others out of proportion with what is later to become the individual “We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then We fashioned him into something which clings into a little lump of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed”
Next, we have a reference to the appearance of the senses and viscerae in chapter 32 “(God) appointed for you the senses of hearing, sight and the viscerae”
Nothing here contradicts today’s data and, furthermore, none of the mistaken ideas of the time has crept into the Quran.
The Quran and the Bible
We have now come to the last subject: it is the confrontation, with modern knowledge, of passages in the Quran that are also referred to in the Bible.
We have already caught a glimpse of the problem when talking of the Creation. Earlier I stressed the perfect agreement between modern knowledge and verses in the Quran, and pointed out that the Biblical narration contained statements that were scientifically unacceptable.
This is hardly surprising when we know that the great narration of the Creation contained in the Bible was the work of priests living in the sixth century BC, hence the term ‘Sacerdotal’ narration. This seems mainly to have been conceived as the theme of a preaching designed to exhort people to observe the sabbath. The narration was constructed with a definite end in view, and, as Father de Vaux (a former head of the Biblical School of Jerusalem) has noted, this end was essentially legalist in character.
The Bible also contains a much shorter and older narration of the Creation, the so-called ‘Yehvist’ version, which approaches the subject from a completely different angle.
They are both taken from Genesis, the first book of the Pentateuch or Taurah: Moses is supposed to have been its author, but the text we have today has, as we know, undergone many changes.
The Sacerdotal narration of Genesis is famous for its whimsical genealogies, that go back to Adam, and which nobody takes very seriously. Nevertheless, such Gospel authors as Matthew and Luke have reproduced them, more or less verbatim, in their genealogies of Jesus. Matthew goes back as far as Abraham, and Luke to Adam.
All these writings are scientifically unacceptable, because they set a figure on the age of the world and the time man appeared on Earth, which is most definitely out of keeping with what has today been established with certainty. The Quran, on other hand, is completely free of data of this kind.
Earlier on, we also noted how perfectly the Quran agrees with general, modern ideas on the formation of the Universe, whereas the Biblical narration stands in contradiction to them; the allegory of the primordial waters is hardly tenable, nor is the creation of light on the first day, before the creation of the stars which produce this light; the existence of an evening and morning before the creation of the Earth; the creation of the Earth on the third day before that of the Sun on the fourth; the appearance of beasts of the Earth on the sixth day after the appearance of the birds of the air on the fifth day, although the former came first: all these statements are the result of beliefs prevalent at the time this text was written and do not have any other meaning.
As for the genealogies contained in the Bible, which form the basis of the Jewish calendar and assert that today the world is 5738 years old, these are hardly admissable either. Our solar system may be over 41/2 billion years old, and the appearance on Earth of man, as we know him today, may be estimated in tens of thousands of years, if not more. It is absolutely essential, therefore, to note that the Quran does not contain any such indications as to date and that these are specific to the Biblical text.
There is a second, highly significant, subject of comparison between the Bible and the Quran: this is the Flood. In actual fact, the Biblical narration is a fusion of two descriptions in which events are related differently. The Bible speaks of a universal flood and places it roughly 300 years before Abraham. According to what we know of Abraham, this would imply a universal cataclysm around the twenty-first or twenty-second century B.C. This would be untenable in view of historical data.
How can we accept the idea that, in the twenty-first or twenty-second century BC, all civilization was wiped off the face of the Earth by a universal cataclysm, when we know that this period corresponds, for example, to the one preceding the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, at roughly the date of the first Intermediary period before the eleventh dynasty?
None of the preceding statements is acceptable according to modern knowledge.
From this point of view, we can measure the enormous gap separating the Bible from the Quran.
In contrast to the Bible, the narration contained in the Quran deals with a cataclysm that is limited to Noah’s people. They were punished for their sins, as were other ungodly peoples. The Quran does not locate the cataclysm in time. There are absolutely no historical or archeological objections to the narration in the Quran.
The third point of comparison, which is extremely significant, is the story of Moses, and especially the Exodus from Egypt of the Hebrews enslaved to the Pharaoh. Here I can only give a highly compressed account of the study of this subject that appears in my book. I have noted the points where the Biblical and Quranic narrations agree and disagree, and, for some details, I have found points where the two texts complement each other in a very useful way. Among the many hypotheses concerning the position occupied by the Exodus in the history of the Pharaohs, I have concluded that the most likely is the theory which makes Merneptah, Ramses II’s successor, the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The confrontation of the data contained in the Scriptures with archaeological evidence speaks strongly in favour of this hypothesis.
I am pleased to be able to say that the Biblical narration contributes weighty evidence leading us to situate Moses in the history of the Pharaohs: Moses was born during the reign of Ramses II. Biblical data are therefore of considerable historical value in the story of Moses. The medical study of the mummy of Merneptah has yielded further useful information on the possible causes of this Pharaoh’s death. The fact that we today possess the mummy of this Pharaoh, which to be exact, was discovered in 1898, is one of paramount importance. The Bible records that it was engulfed in the sea, but does not give any details as to what subsequently became of the body. The Quran, in chapter 10 notes that the body of the Pharaoh, who was to be damned, would be saved from the waters.
“So this day We shall save your (dead) body that you may be a sign for those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our signs”
A medical examination of this mummy, has moreover, shown that the body could not have stayed in the water for long, because it does not show signs of deterioration due to prolonged submersion. Here again, the confrontation of the narration in the Quran with the data provided by modern knowledge does not give rise to the slightest objection from a scientific point of view.
The Old Testament constitutes a collection of literary works produced in the course of roughly nine centuries and which has undergone many alternations. The part played by man in the actual composition of texts of the Bible is quite considerable.
The Quranic Revelation has a history which is radically different. From the moment it was first communicated to man, it was learnt by heart and written down during Muhammad’s own lifetime. It is thanks to this that the Quran does not pose any problem of authenticity.
A totally objective examination of it, in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognise the agreement between the two, as has already been noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad’s time to have been the author of such statements, on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Quranic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning.
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What is life?
Man’s existence in this world and the creation of this entire universe are not mere accidents or products of a fortuitous nature. This universe, every single atom of it, manifests and points us to the realization of a Loving, Merciful and All-powerful Creator. Without a Creator, nothing can exist. Every single soul knows that he is existing and that his existence is dependent on a Creator – he knows for sure that he cannot create himself. Therefore it is his duty to know his master creator – God.
Man is a unique creature. God establishes man as His Representative or Deputy to govern over all other creatures in this world. He is endowed with the faculty of reason, which differentiates him from all other animals. The Prophet says: ”God has not created anything better than Reason or anything more perfect or more beautiful than Reason…” Together with this faculty to discriminate and discern, Man is given the freedom (free-will) to choose for himself a way of life worthy of his position as God’s Representative or to fall lower than the lowest of all animals or creations. Man is born pure and sinless. He is given the free will to do righteous deeds or to indulge in sins.
God, out of his abundant Love and Mercy for mankind has not left us in darkness to discover the right path by trial and error alone. Coupled with our intellectual capability to reason, God bestowed upon us divine guidance that outlines the Criterion for truth and the knowledge and reality of our existence in this world and the Hereafter.
From the beginning of mankind, God sent prophets to convey His revelation and to invite to the path of true peace and obedience to One true God. this is Islam. This message conveyed to successive generations of man through different Prophets, all inviting mankind to the same path. However, all the earlier messages or revelations from God were destroyed by people of later generations. As a result, pure Revelation from God was polluted with myths, superstition, idol worship, and irrational philosophical ideologies. The religion of God was lost in a plethora of religions. Human history is a chronicle of man’s drift between light and darkness, but God out of His Abundant Love for mankind has not forsaken us.
When mankind was in the depth of the Dark Ages, God sent the final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) to redeem humanity. The revelation to Prophet Muhammad represents the ultimate and permanent source of guidance for mankind.
Criteria for truth
How do we know that a revelation like the Quran is the word of God? The criteria for truth can be easily understood by all:
1) Rational teachings: Since God bestowed reason and intellect on mankind, it is our duty to use it to distinguish truth from falsehood. True undistorted revelation from God must be rational and can be reasoned out by all unbiased minds.
2) Perfection: Since God is all perfect, His revelation must be perfect and accurate, free from mistakes, omissions, interpolations and multiplicity of versions. It should be free from contradictions in its narration.
3) No myths or superstitions: True revelation from God is free from myths or superstitions that degrade the dignity of God or man.
4) Scientific: Since God is the Creator of all knowledge, true revelation is scientific and can withstand the challenge of science at all times.
5) Prophecy: God is the Knower of the past, present, and future. Thus His word of prophecies in His revelation will be fulfilled as prophesied.
6) Inimitable by man: True revelation from God is infallible and cannot be imitated by man. God’s true revelation is a Living miracle, an open Book challenging all mankind to see and prove for themselves.
Women in Islam vs women in Christianity
Islam Is Not Alone In Patriarchal Doctrines
Five years ago, I read in the Toronto Star issue of July 3, 1990 an article titled “Islam is not alone in patriarchal doctrines”, by Gwynne Dyer. The article described the furious reactions of the participants of a conference on women and power held in Montreal to the comments of the famous Egyptian feminist Dr. Nawal Saadawi. Her “politically incorrect” statements included:
“the most restrictive elements towards women can be found first in Judaism in the Old Testament then in Christianity and then in the Quran”; “all religions are patriarchal because they stem from patriarchal societies”; and “veiling of women is not a specifically Islamic practice but an ancient cultural heritage with analogies in sister religions”. The participants could not bear sitting around while their faiths were being equated with Islam. Thus, Dr. Saadawi received a barrage of criticism. “Dr. Saadawi’s comments are unacceptable.
Her answers reveal a lack of understanding about other people’s faiths,” declared Bernice Dubois of the World Movement of Mothers. “I must protest” said panellist Alice Shalvi of Israel women’s network, “there is no conception of the veil in Judaism.” The article attributed these furious protests to the strong tendency in the West to scapegoat Islam for practices that are just as much a part of the West’s own cultural heritage. “Christian and Jewish feminists were not going to sit around being discussed in the same category as those wicked Muslims,” wrote Gwynne Dyer.
I was not surprised that the conference participants had held such a negative view of Islam, especially when women’s issues were involved. In the West, Islam is believed to be the symbol of the subordination of women par excellence. In order to understand how firm this belief is, it is enough to mention that the Minister of Education in France, the land of Voltaire, has recently ordered the expulsion of all young Muslim women wearing the veil from French schools!
A young Muslim student wearing a head scarf is denied her right of education in France, while a Catholic student wearing a cross or a Jewish student wearing a skullcap is not. The scene of French policemen preventing young Muslim women wearing heads carves from entering their high school is unforgettable. It inspires the memories of another equally disgraceful scene of Governor George Wallace of Alabama in 1962 standing in front of a school gate trying to block the entrance of black students in order to prevent the desegregation of Alabama’s schools.
The difference between the two scenes is that the black students had the sympathy of so many people in the U.S. and in the whole world. President Kennedy sent the U.S. National Guard to force the entry of the black students. The Muslim girls, on the other hand, received no help from any one. Their cause seems to have very little sympathy either inside or outside France. The reason is the widespread misunderstanding and fear of anything Islamic in the world today.
What intrigued me the most about the Montreal conference was one question:
Were the statements made by Saadawi, or any of her critics, factual?
In other words, do Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have the same conception of women?
Are they different in their conceptions?
Do Judaism and Christianity, truly, offer women a better treatment than Islam does? What is the Truth?
It is not easy to search for and find answers to these difficult questions. The first difficulty is that one has to be fair and objective or, at least, do one’s utmost to be so. This is what Islam teaches.
The Quran has instructed Muslims to say the truth even if those who are very close to them do not like it:
“Whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned”
“O you who believe stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor”
The other great difficulty is the overwhelming breadth of the subject. Therefore, during the last few years, I have spent many hours reading the Bible, The Encyclopaedia of Religion, and the Encyclopaedia Judaica searching for answers. I have also read several books discussing the position of women in different religions written by scholars, apologists, and critics. The material presented in the following chapters represents the important findings of this humble research. I don’t claim to be absolutely objective. This is beyond my limited capacity. All I can say is that I have been trying, throughout this research, to approach the Quranic ideal of “speaking justly”.
I would like to emphasize in this introduction that my purpose for this study is not to denigrate Judaism or Christianity. As Muslims, we believe in the divine origins of both. No one can be a Muslim without believing in Moses and Jesus as great prophets of God. My goal is only to vindicate Islam and pay a tribute, long overdue in the West, to the final truthful Message from God to the human race. I would also like to emphasize that I concerned myself only with Doctrine.
That is, my concern is, mainly, the position of women in the three religions as it appears in their original sources not as practised by their millions of followers in the world today. Therefore, most of the evidence cited comes from the Quran, the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, the Bible, the Talmud, and the sayings of some of the most influential Church Fathers whose views have contributed immeasurably to defining and shaping Christianity. This interest in the sources relates to the fact that understanding a certain religion from the attitudes and the behaviour of some of its nominal followers is misleading. Many people confuse culture with religion, many others do not know what their religious books are saying, and many others do not even care.
The three religions agree on one basic fact: Both women and men are created by God, The Creator of the whole universe. However, disagreement starts soon after the creation of the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve. The Judeo-Christian conception of the creation of Adam and Eve is narrated in detail in
God prohibited both of them from eating the fruits of the forbidden tree. The serpent seduced Eve to eat from it and Eve, in turn, seduced Adam to eat with her. When God rebuked Adam for what he did, he put all the blame on Eve, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.” Consequently, God said to Eve:
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” To Adam He said:
“Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree…. Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…”
The Islamic conception of the first creation is found in several places in the Quran, for example:
“O Adam dwell with your wife in the Garden and enjoy as you wish but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression. Then Satan whispered to them in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them and he said: ‘Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest you become angels or such beings as live forever.’ And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought them to their fall: when they tasted the tree their shame became manifest to them and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: ‘Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan was your avowed enemy?’ They said: ‘Our Lord we have wronged our own souls and if You forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost’ ”
A careful look into the two accounts of the story of the Creation reveals some essential differences. The Quran, contrary to the Bible, places equal blame on both Adam and Eve for their mistake. Nowhere in the Quran can one find even the slightest hint that Eve tempted Adam to eat from the tree or even that she had eaten before him. Eve in the Quran is no temptress, no seducer, and no deceiver. Moreover, Eve is not to be blamed for the pains of childbearing. God, according to the Quran, punishes no one for another’s faults. Both Adam and Eve committed a sin and then asked God for forgiveness and He forgave them both.
The image of Eve as temptress in the Bible has resulted in an extremely negative impact on women throughout the Judeo-Christian tradition. All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt and her guile. Consequently, they were all untrustworthy, morally inferior, and wicked. Menstruation, pregnancy, and childbearing were considered the just punishment for the eternal guilt of the cursed female sex. In order to appreciate how negative the impact of the Biblical Eve was on all her female descendants we have to look at the writings of some of the most important Jews and Christians of all time. Let us start with the Old Testament and look at excerpts from what is called the Wisdom Literature in which we find:
“I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare … while I was still searching but not finding, I found one upright man among a thousand but not one upright woman among them all”
In another part of the Hebrew literature which is found in the Catholic Bible we read:
“No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman… Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die”
Jewish Rabbis listed nine curses inflicted on women as a result of the Fall:
“To the woman He gave nine curses and death: the burden of the blood of menstruation and the blood of virginity; the burden of pregnancy; the burden of childbirth; the burden of bringing up the children; her head is covered as one in mourning; she pierces her ear like a permanent slave or slave girl who serves her master; she is not to be believed as a witness; and after everything death.”
To the present day, orthodox Jewish men in their daily morning prayer recite “Blessed be God King of the universe that Thou has not made me a woman.” The women, on the other hand, thank God every morning for “making me according to Thy will.” Another prayer found in many Jewish prayer books: “Praised be God that he has not created me a gentile. Praised be God that he has not created me a woman. Praised be God that he has not created me an ignoramus.”
The Biblical Eve has played a far bigger role in Christianity than in Judaism. Her sin has been pivotal to the whole Christian faith because the Christian conception of the reason for the mission of Jesus Christ on Earth stems from Eve’s disobedience to God. She had sinned and then seduced Adam to follow her suit. Consequently, God expelled both of them from Heaven to Earth, which had been cursed because of them. They bequeathed their sin, which had not been forgiven by God, to all their descendants and, thus, all humans are born in sin. In order to purify human beings from their ‘original sin’, God had to sacrifice Jesus, who is considered to be the Son of God, on the cross.
Therefore, Eve is responsible for her own mistake, her husband’s sin, the original sin of all humanity, and the death of the Son of God. In other words, one woman acting on her own caused the fall of humanity. What about her daughters? They are sinners like her and have to be treated as such. Listen to the severe tone of St. Paul in the New Testament:
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I don’t permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner”
St. Tertullian was even more blunt than St. Paul, while he was talking to his ‘best beloved sisters’ in the faith, he said:
“Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil’s gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die.”
St. Augustine was faithful to the legacy of his predecessors, he wrote to a friend:
“What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.”
Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas still considered women as defective:
“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.”
Finally, the renowned reformer Martin Luther could not see any benefit from a woman but bringing into the world as many children as possible regardless of any side effects:
“If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that’s why they are there”
Again and again all women are denigrated because of the image of Eve the temptress, thanks to the Genesis account. To sum up, the Judeo-Christian conception of women has been poisoned by the belief in the sinful nature of Eve and her female offspring.
If we now turn our attention to what the Quran has to say about women, we will soon realize that the Islamic conception of women is radically different from the Judeo-Christian one. Let the Quran speak for itself:
“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise For them all has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward”
“The believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil, they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise”
“And their Lord answered them: Truly I will never cause to be lost the work of any of you, Be you a male or female, you are members one of another”
“Whoever works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof, and whoever works a righteous deed – whether man or woman – and is a believer- such will enter the Garden of bliss”
“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily to him/her we will give a new life that is good and pure, and we will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions” (Quran 16:97).
It is clear that the Quranic view of women is no different than that of men. They, both, are God’s creatures whose sublime goal on earth is to worship their Lord, do righteous deeds, and avoid evil and they, both, will be assessed accordingly. The Quran never mentions that the woman is the devil’s gateway or that she is a deceiver by nature.
The Quran, also, never mentions that man is God’s image; all men and all women are his creatures, that is all. According to the Quran, a woman’s role on earth is not limited only to childbirth. She is required to do as many good deeds as any other man is required to do. The Quran never says that no upright women have ever existed. To the contrary, the Quran has instructed all the believers, women as well as men, to follow the example of those ideal women such as the Virgin Mary and the Pharaoh’s wife:
“And Allah sets forth, As an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: ‘O my lord build for me, in nearness to you, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings and save me from those who do wrong.’ And Mary the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity and We breathed into her body of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His revelations and was one of the devout”
In fact, the difference between the Biblical and the Quranic attitude towards the female sex starts as soon as a female is born. For example, the Bible states that the period of the mother’s ritual impurity is twice as long if a girl is born than if a boy is
The Catholic Bible states explicitly that: “The birth of a daughter is a loss”
In contrast to this shocking statement, boys receive special praise: “A man who educates his son will be the envy of his enemy.”
Jewish Rabbis made it an obligation on Jewish men to produce offspring in order to propagate the race. At the same time, they did not hide their clear preference for male children: “It is well for those whose children are male but ill for those whose are female”, “At the birth of a boy, all are joyful… at the birth of a girl all are sorrowful”, and “When a boy comes into the world, peace comes into the world… When a girl comes, nothing comes.”
A daughter is considered a painful burden, a potential source of shame to her father:
“Your daughter is headstrong? Keep a sharp look-out that she does not make you the laughing stock of your enemies, the talk of the town, the object of common gossip, and put you to public shame”
“Keep a headstrong daughter under firm control, or she will abuse any indulgence she receives. Keep a strict watch on her shameless eye, do not be surprised if she disgraces you”
It was this very same idea of treating daughters as sources of shame that led the pagan Arabs, before the advent of Islam, to practice female infanticide. The Quran severely condemned this heinous practice:
“When news is brought to one of them of the birth of a female child, his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief. With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! what an evil they decide on?”
It has to be mentioned that this sinister crime would have never stopped in Arabia were it not for the power of the scathing terms the Quran used to condemn this practice
The Quran, moreover, makes no distinction between boys and girls. In contrast to the Bible, the Quran considers the birth of a female as a gift and a blessing from God, the same as the birth of a male. The Quran even mentions the gift of the female birth first:
“To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female children to whomever He wills and bestows male children to whomever He wills”
In order to wipe out all the traces of female infanticide in the nascent Muslim society, Prophet Muhammad promised those who were blessed with daughters of a great reward if they would bring them up kindly:
“He who is involved in bringing up daughters, and accords benevolent treatment towards them, they will be protection for him against Hell-Fire”.
“Whoever maintains two girls till they attain maturity, he and I will come on the Resurrection Day like this; and he joined his fingers”.
The difference between the Biblical and the Quranic conceptions of women is not limited to the newly born female, it extends far beyond that. Let us compare their attitudes towards a female trying to learn her religion. The heart of Judaism is the Torah, the law. However, according to the Talmud, “women are exempt from the study of the Torah.” Some Jewish Rabbis firmly declared “Let the words of Torah rather be destroyed by fire than imparted to women”, and “Whoever teaches his daughter Torah is as though he taught her obscenity”.
The attitude of St. Paul in the New Testament is not brighter:
“As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
How can a woman learn if she is not allowed to speak? How can a woman grow intellectually if she is obliged to be in a state of full submission? How can she broaden her horizons if her one and only source of information is her husband at home?
Now, to be fair, we should ask: is the Quranic position any different? One short story narrated in the Quran sums its position up concisely. Khawlah was a Muslim woman whose husband Aws pronounced this statement at a moment of anger:
“You are to me as the back of my mother.” This was held by pagan Arabs to be a statement of divorce which freed the husband from any conjugal responsibility but did not leave the wife free to leave the husband’s home or to marry another man. Having heard these words from her husband, Khawlah was in a miserable situation. She went straight to the Prophet of Islam to plead her case. The Prophet was of the opinion that she should be patient since there seemed to be no way out. Khawla kept arguing with the Prophet in an attempt to save her suspended marriage.
Shortly, the Quran intervened; Khawla’s plea was accepted. The divine verdict abolished this iniquitous custom. One full chapter -Chapter 58- of the Quran whose title is “Almujadilah” or “The woman who is arguing” was named after this incident:
“Allah has heard and accepted the statement of the woman who pleads with you (the Prophet) concerning her husband and carries her complaint to Allah, and Allah hears the arguments between both of you for Allah hears and sees all things”
A woman in the Quranic conception has the right to argue even with the Prophet of Islam himself. No one has the right to instruct her to be silent. She is under no obligation to consider her husband the one and only reference in matters of law and religion.
Unclean, Impure Woman!
Jewish laws and regulations concerning menstruating women are extremely restrictive. The Old Testament considers any menstruating woman as unclean and impure. Moreover, her impurity “infects” others as well. Anyone or anything she touches becomes unclean for a day:
“When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. Whoever touches her bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whoever touches anything she sits on must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, he will be unclean till evening”
Due to her “contaminating” nature, a menstruating woman was sometimes “banished” in order to avoid any possibility of any contact with her. She was sent to a special house called “the house of uncleanness” for the whole period of her impurity. The Talmud considers a menstruating woman “fatal” even without any physical contact:
“Our Rabbis taught …if a menstruant woman passes between two (men), if it is at the beginning of her menses she will slay one of them, and if it is at the end of her menses she will cause strife between them”
Furthermore, the husband of a menstruous woman was forbidden to enter the synagogue if he had been made unclean by her even by the dust under her feet. A priest whose wife, daughter, or mother was menstruating could not recite priestly blessing in the synagogue. No wonder many Jewish women still refer to menstruation as “the curse.”
Islam does not consider a menstruating woman to possess any kind of “contagious uncleanness”. She is neither “untouchable” nor “cursed.” She practises her normal life with only one restriction: A married couple are not allowed to have sexual intercourse during the period of menstruation. Any other physical contact between them is permissible. A menstruating woman is exempted from some rituals such as daily prayers and fasting during her period.
Another issue in which the Quran and the Bible disagree is the issue of women bearing witness. It is true that the Quran has instructed the believers dealing in financial transactions to get two male witnesses or one male and two females
However, it is also true that the Quran in other situations accepts the testimony of a woman as equal to that of a man. In fact the woman’s testimony can even invalidate the man’s. If a man accuses his wife of unchastity, he is required by the Quran to solemnly swear five times as evidence of the wife’s guilt. If the wife denies and swears similarly five times, she is not considered guilty and in either case the marriage is dissolved
On the other hand, women were not allowed to bear witness in early Jewish society. The Rabbis counted women’s not being able to bear witness among the nine curses inflicted upon all women because of the Fall
Women in today’s Israel are not allowed to give evidence in Rabbinical courts. The Rabbis justify why women cannot bear witness by citing Genesis 18:9-16, where it is stated that Sara, Abraham’s wife had lied. The Rabbis use this incident as evidence that women are unqualified to bear witness. It should be noted here that this story narrated in Genesis 18:9-16 has been mentioned more than once in the Quran without any hint of any lies by Sara
In the Christian West, both ecclesiastical and civil law debarred women from giving testimony until late last century.
If a man accuses his wife of unchastity, her testimony will not be considered at all according to the Bible. The accused wife has to be subjected to a trial by ordeal. In this trial, the wife faces a complex and humiliating ritual which was supposed to prove her guilt or innocence
If she is found guilty after this ordeal, she will be sentenced to death. If she is found not guilty, her husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing.
Besides, if a man takes a woman as a wife and then accuses her of not being a virgin, her own testimony will not count. Her parents had to bring evidence of her virginity before the elders of the town. If the parents could not prove the innocence of their daughter, she would be stoned to death on her father’s doorsteps. If the parents were able to prove her innocence, the husband would only be fined one hundred shekels of silver and he could not divorce his wife as long as he lived:
“If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, ‘I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,’ then the girl’s father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. The girl’s father will say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said I did not find your daughter to be a virgin. But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.’ Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the girl’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives. If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of the town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.”
Adultery is considered a sin in all religions. The Bible decrees the death sentence for both the adulterer and the adulteress
Islam also equally punishes both the adulterer and the adulteress
However, the Quranic definition of adultery is very different from the Biblical definition. Adultery, according to the Quran, is the involvement of a married man or a married woman in an extramarital affair. The Bible only considers the extramarital affair of a married woman as adultery
“If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel”
“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death”
According to the Biblical definition, if a married man sleeps with an unmarried woman, this is not considered a crime at all. The married man who has extramarital affairs with unmarried women is not an adulterer and the unmarried women involved with him are not adulteresses. The crime of adultery is committed only when a man, whether married or single, sleeps with a married woman. In this case the man is considered adulterer, even if he is not married, and the woman is considered adulteress. In short, adultery is any illicit sexual intercourse involving a married woman. The extramarital affair of a married man is not per se a crime in the Bible.
Why is the dual moral standard? According to Encyclopaedia Judaica, the wife was considered to be the husband’s possession and adultery constituted a violation of the husband’s exclusive right to her; the wife as the husband’s possession had no such right to him. That is, if a man had sexual intercourse with a married woman, he would be violating the property of another man and, thus, he should be punished.
To the present day in Israel, if a married man indulges in an extramarital affair with an unmarried woman, his children by that woman are considered legitimate. But, if a married woman has an affair with another man, whether married or not married, her children by that man are not only illegitimate but they are considered bastards and are forbidden to marry any other Jews except converts and other bastards. This ban is handed down to the children’s descendants for 10 generations until the taint of adultery is presumably weakened.
The Quran, on the other hand, never considers any woman to be the possession of any man. The Quran eloquently describes the relationship between the spouses by saying:
” And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect”
This is the Quranic conception of marriage: love, mercy, and tranquillity, not possession and double standards.
According to the Bible, a man must fulfil any vows he might make to God. He must not break his word. On the other hand, a woman’s vow is not necessarily binding on her. It has to be approved by her father, if she is living in his house, or by her husband, if she is married. If a father/husband does not endorse his daughter’s/wife’s vows, all pledges made by her become null and void:
“But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand… Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself”
Why is it that a woman’s word is not binding per se? The answer is simple: because she is owned by her father, before marriage, or by her husband after marriage. The father’s control over his daughter was absolute to the extent that, should he wish, he could sell her! It is indicated in the writings of the Rabbis that: “The man may sell his daughter, but the woman may not sell her daughter; the man may betroth his daughter, but the woman may not betroth her daughter.”
The Rabbinic literature also indicates that marriage represents the transfer of control from the father to the husband: “betrothal, making a woman the sacrosanct possession the inviolable property of the husband…” Obviously, if the woman is considered to be the property of someone else, she cannot make any pledges that her owner does not approve of.
It is of interest to note that this Biblical instruction concerning women’s vows has had negative repercussions on Judeo-Christian women till early in this century. A married woman in the Western world had no legal status. No act of hers was of any legal value. Her husband could repudiate any contract, bargain, or deal she had made. Women in the West (the largest heir of the Judeo-Christian legacy) were held unable to make a binding contract because they were practically owned by someone else. Western women had suffered for almost two thousand years because of the Biblical attitude towards women’s position vis-à-vis their fathers and husbands.
In Islam, the vow of every Muslim, male or female, is binding on him/her. No one has the power to repudiate the pledges of anyone else. Failure to keep a solemn oath, made by a man or a woman, has to be expiated as indicated in the Quran:
“He (God) will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; Or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths you have sworn. But keep your oaths”
Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, men and women, used to present their oath of allegiance to him personally. Women, as well as men, would independently come to him and pledge their oaths:
“O Prophet, When believing women come to you to make a covenant with you that they will not associate in worship anything with God, nor steal, nor fornicate, nor kill their own children, nor slander anyone, nor disobey you in any just matter, then make a covenant with them and pray to God for the forgiveness of their sins. Indeed God is Forgiving and most Merciful”
A man could not swear the oath on behalf of his daughter or his wife. Nor could a man repudiate the oath made by any of his female relatives.
The three religions share an unshakable belief in the importance of marriage and family life. They also agree on the leadership of the husband over the family. Nevertheless, blatant differences do exist among the three religions with respect to the limits of this leadership. The Judeo-Christian tradition, unlike Islam, virtually extends the leadership of the husband into ownership of his wife.
The Jewish tradition regarding the husband’s role towards his wife stems from the conception that he owns her as he owns his slave. This conception has been the reason behind the double standard in the laws of adultery and behind the husband’s ability to annul his wife’s vows. This conception has also been responsible for denying the wife any control over her property or her earnings. As soon as a Jewish woman got married, she completely lost any control over her property and earnings to her husband.
Jewish Rabbis asserted the husband’s right to his wife’s property as a corollary of his possession of her: “Since one has come into the possession of the woman does it not follow that he should come into the possession of her property too?”, and “Since he has acquired the woman should he not acquire also her property?” Thus, marriage caused the richest woman to become practically penniless. The Talmud describes the financial situation of a wife as follows:
“How can a woman have anything; whatever is hers belongs to her husband? What is his is his and what is hers is also his… Her earnings and what she may find in the streets are also his. The household articles, even the crumbs of bread on the table, are his. Should she invite a guest to her house and feed him, she would be stealing from her husband…”
The fact of the matter is that the property of a Jewish female was meant to attract suitors. A Jewish family would assign their daughter a share of her father’s estate to be used as a dowry in case of marriage. It was this dowry that made Jewish daughters an unwelcome burden to their fathers. The father had to raise his daughter for years and then prepare for her marriage by providing a large dowry. Thus, a girl in a Jewish family was a liability and no asset. This liability explains why the birth of a daughter was not celebrated with joy in the old Jewish society
The dowry was the wedding gift presented to the groom under terms of tenancy. The husband would act as the practical owner of the dowry but he could not sell it. The bride would lose any control over the dowry at the moment of marriage. Moreover, she was expected to work after marriage and all her earnings had to go to her husband in return for her maintenance which was his obligation. She could regain her property only in two cases:
Divorce or her husband’s death. Should she die first, he would inherit her property. In the case of the husband’s death, the wife could regain her pre-marital property but she was not entitled to inherit any share in her deceased husband’s own property. It has to be added that the groom also had to present a marriage gift to his bride, yet again he was the practical owner of this gift as long as they were married.
Christianity, until recently, has followed the same Jewish tradition. Both religious and civil authorities in the Christian Roman Empire (after Constantine) required a property agreement as a condition for recognizing the marriage. Families offered their daughters increasing dowries and, as a result, men tended to marry earlier while families postponed their daughters’ marriages until later than had been customary. Under Canon law, a wife was entitled to restitution of her dowry if the marriage was annulled unless she was guilty of adultery. In this case, she forfeited her right to the dowry which remained in her husband’s hands.
Under Canon and civil law a married woman in Christian Europe and America had lost her property rights until late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, women’s rights under English law were compiled and published in 1632. These ‘rights’ included: “That which the husband hath is his own. That which the wife hath is the husband’s.”
The wife not only lost her property upon marriage, she lost her personality as well. No act of her was of legal value. Her husband could repudiate any sale or gift made by her as being of no binding legal value. The person with whom she had any contract was held as a criminal for participating in a fraud. Moreover, she could not sue or be sued in her own name, nor could she sue her own husband.
A married woman was practically treated as an infant in the eyes of the law. The wife simply belonged to her husband and therefore she lost her property, her legal personality, and her family name.
Islam, since the seventh century C.E., has granted married women the independent personality which the Judeo-Christian West had deprived them until very recently. In Islam, the bride and her family are under no obligation whatsoever to present a gift to the groom. The girl in a Muslim family is no liability. A woman is so dignified by Islam that she does not need to present gifts in order to attract potential husbands. It is the groom who must present the bride with a marriage gift. This gift is considered her property and neither the groom nor the bride’s family have any share in or control over it. In some Muslim societies today, a marriage gift of a hundred thousand dollars in diamonds is not unusual.
The bride retains her marriage gifts even if she is later divorced. The husband is not allowed any share in his wife’s property except what she offers him with her free consent.
The Quran has stated its position on this issue quite clearly:
“And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, Of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it with right good cheer”
The wife’s property and earnings are under her full control and for her use alone since her, and the children’s, maintenance is her husband’s responsibility. No matter how rich the wife might be, she is not obliged to act as a co-provider for the family unless she herself voluntarily chooses to do so. Spouses do inherit from one another. Moreover, a married woman in Islam retains her independent legal personality and her family name.
An American judge once commented on the rights of Muslim women saying: ” A Muslim girl may marry ten times, but her individuality is not absorbed by that of her various husbands. She is a solar planet with a name and legal personality of her own.”
The three religions have remarkable differences in their attitudes towards divorce. Christianity abhors divorce altogether. The New Testament unequivocally advocates the indissolubility of marriage. It is attributed to Jesus to have said, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery”
This uncompromising ideal is, without a doubt, unrealistic. It assumes a state of moral perfection that human societies have never achieved. When a couple realizes that their married life is beyond repair, a ban on divorce will not do them any good. Forcing ill-mated couples to remain together against their wills is neither effective nor reasonable. No wonder the whole Christian world has been obliged to sanction divorce.
Judaism, on the other hand, allows divorce even without any cause. The Old Testament gives the husband the right to divorce his wife even if he just dislikes her:
“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled”
The above verses have caused some considerable debate among Jewish scholars because of their disagreement over the interpretation of the words “displeasing”, “indecency”, and “dislikes” mentioned in the verses. The Talmud records their different opinions:
“The school of Shammai held that a man should not divorce his wife unless he has found her guilty of some sexual misconduct, while the school of Hillel say he may divorce her even if she has merely spoiled a dish for him. Rabbi Akiba says he may divorce her even if he simply finds another woman more beautiful than she”
The New Testament follows the Shammaites opinion while Jewish law has followed the opinion of the Hillelites and R. Akiba. Since the Hillelites view prevailed, it became the unbroken tradition of Jewish law to give the husband freedom to divorce his wife without any cause at all. The Old Testament not only gives the husband the right to divorce his “displeasing” wife, it considers divorcing a “bad wife” an obligation:
“A bad wife brings humiliation, downcast looks, and a wounded heart. Slack of hand and weak of knee is the man whose wife fails to make him happy. Woman is the origin of sin, and it is through her that we all die. Do not leave a leaky cistern to drip or allow a bad wife to say what she likes. If she does not accept your control, divorce her and send her away”
The Talmud has recorded several specific actions by wives which obliged their husbands to divorce them: “If she ate in the street, if she drank greedily in the street, if she suckled in the street, in every case Rabbi Meir says that she must leave her husband”
The Talmud has also made it mandatory to divorce a barren wife (who bore no children in a period of ten years): “Our Rabbis taught: If a man took a wife and lived with her for ten years and she bore no child, he shall divorce her”
Wives, on the other hand, cannot initiate divorce under Jewish law. A Jewish wife, however, could claim the right to a divorce before a Jewish court provided that a strong reason exists. Very few grounds are provided for the wife to make a claim for a divorce. These grounds include: A husband with physical defects or skin disease, a husband not fulfilling his conjugal responsibilities, etc. The Court might support the wife’s claim to a divorce but it cannot dissolve the marriage. Only the husband can dissolve the marriage by giving his wife a bill of divorce. The Court could scourge, fine, imprison, and excommunicate him to force him to deliver the necessary bill of divorce to his wife. However, if the husband is stubborn enough, he can refuse to grant his wife a divorce and keep her tied to him indefinitely.
Worse still, he can desert her without granting her a divorce and leave her unmarried and undivorced. He can marry another woman or even live with any single woman out of wedlock and have children from her (these children are considered legitimate under Jewish law). The deserted wife, on the other hand, cannot marry any other man since she is still legally married and she cannot live with any other man because she will be considered an adulteress and her children from this union will be illegitimate for ten generations.
A woman in such a position is called an agunah (chained woman). 34 In the United States today there are approximately 1000 to 1500 Jewish women who are agunot (plural for agunah), while in Israel their number might be as high as 16000. Husbands may extort thousands of dollars from their trapped wives in exchange for a Jewish divorce.
Islam occupies the middle ground between Christianity and Judaism with respect to divorce. Marriage in Islam is a sanctified bond that should not be broken except for compelling reasons. Couples are instructed to pursue all possible remedies whenever their marriages are in danger. Divorce is not to be resorted to except when there is no other way out. In a nutshell, Islam recognizes divorce, yet it discourages it by all means. Let us focus on the recognition side first. Islam does recognize the right of both partners to end their matrimonial relationship. Islam gives the husband the right for Talaq (divorce). Moreover, Islam, unlike Judaism, grants the wife the right to dissolve the marriage through what is known as Khula’.
If the husband dissolves the marriage by divorcing his wife, he cannot retrieve any of the marriage gifts he has given her. The Quran explicitly prohibits the divorcing husbands from taking back their marriage gifts no matter how expensive or valuable these gifts might be:
“But if you decide to take one wife in place of another, even if you had given the latter a whole treasure for dower, take not the least bit of it back; Would you take it by slander and a manifest wrong?”
In the case of the wife choosing to end the marriage, she may return the marriage gifts to her husband. Returning the marriage gifts in this case is a fair compensation for the husband who is keen to keep his wife while she chooses to leave him. The Quran has instructed Muslim men not to take back any of the gifts they have given to their wives except in the case of the wife choosing to dissolve the marriage:
“It is not lawful for you (Men) to take back any of your gifts except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. There is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah so do not transgress them”
Also, a woman came to the Prophet Muhammad seeking the dissolution of her marriage, she told the Prophet that she did not have any complaints against her husband’s character or manners. Her only problem was that she honestly did not like him to the extent of not being able to live with him any longer. The Prophet asked her: “Would you give him his garden (the marriage gift he had given her) back?” she said: “Yes”. The Prophet then instructed the man to take back his garden and accept the dissolution of the marriage.
In some cases, A Muslim wife might be willing to keep her marriage but find herself obliged to claim for a divorce because of some compelling reasons such as: Cruelty of the husband, desertion without a reason, a husband not fulfilling his conjugal responsibilities, etc. In these cases the Muslim court dissolves the marriage.
In short, Islam has offered the Muslim woman some unequalled rights: she can end the marriage through Khula’ and she can sue for a divorce. A Muslim wife can never become chained by a recalcitrant husband. It was these rights that enticed Jewish women who lived in the early Islamic societies of the seventh century C.E. to seek to obtain bills of divorce from their Jewish husbands in Muslim courts. The Rabbis declared these bills null and void. In order to end this practice, the Rabbis gave new rights and privileges to Jewish women in an attempt to weaken the appeal of the Muslim courts. Jewish women living in Christian countries were not offered any similar privileges since the Roman law of divorce practiced there was no more attractive than the Jewish law.
Let us now focus our attention on how Islam discourages divorce. The Prophet of Islam told the believers that:
“among all the permitted acts, divorce is the most hateful to God”.
A Muslim man should not divorce his wife just because he dislikes her. The Quran instructs Muslim men to be kind to their wives even in cases of lukewarm emotions or feelings of dislike:
“Live with them (your wives) on a footing of kindness and equity. If you dislike them it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed a great deal of good”
Prophet Muhammad gave a similar instruction:
“A believing man must not hate a believing woman. If he dislikes one of her traits he will be pleased with another”.
The Prophet has also emphasized that the best Muslims are those who are best to their wives:
“The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”.
However, Islam is a practical religion and it does recognize that there are circumstances in which a marriage becomes on the verge of collapsing. In such cases, a mere advice of kindness or self restraint is no viable solution. So, what to do in order to save a marriage in these cases?
The Quran offers some practical advice for the spouse (husband or wife) whose partner (wife or husband) is the wrongdoer. For the husband whose wife’s ill-conduct is threatening the marriage, the Quran gives four types of advice as detailed in the following verses:
“As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them; but if they return to obedience seek not against them means of annoyance: For Allah is Most High, Great. If you fear a break between them, appoint two arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers; If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation”
The first three are to be tried first. If they fail, then the help of the families concerned should be sought. It has to be noted, in the light of the above verses, that beating the rebellious wife is a temporary measure that is resorted to as third in line in cases of extreme necessity in hopes that it might remedy the wrongdoing of the wife. If it does, the husband is not allowed by any means to continue any annoyance to the wife as explicitly mentioned in the verse. If it does not, the husband is still not allowed to use this measure any longer and the final avenue of the family-assisted reconciliation has to be explored.
Prophet Muhammad has instructed Muslim husbands that they should not have recourse to these measures except in extreme cases such as open lewdness committed by the wife. Even in these cases the punishment should be slight and if the wife desists, the husband is not permitted to irritate her:
“In case they are guilty of open lewdness you may leave them alone in their beds and inflict slight punishment. If they are obedient to you, do not seek against them any means of annoyance”.
Furthermore, the Prophet of Islam has condemned any unjustifiable beating. Some Muslim wives complained to him that their husbands had beaten them. Hearing that, the Prophet categorically stated that:
“Those who do so (beat their wives) are not the best among you”.
It has to be remembered at this point that the Prophet has also said:
“The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family”.
The Prophet advised one Muslim woman, whose name was Fatimah bint Qais, not to marry a man because the man was known for beating women:
“I went to the Prophet and said: Abul Jahm and Mu’awiah have proposed to marry me. The Prophet (by way of advice) said: As to Mu’awiah he is very poor and Abul Jahm is accustomed to beating women”.
It has to be noted that the Talmud sanctions wife beating as chastisement for the purpose of discipline. The husband is not restricted to the extreme cases such as those of open lewdness. He is allowed to beat his wife even if she just refuses to do her house work. Moreover, he is not limited only to the use of light punishment. He is permitted to break his wife’s stubbornness by the lash or by starving her.
For the wife whose husband’s ill-conduct is the cause for the marriage’s near collapse, the Quran offers the following advice:
“If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best”
In this case, the wife is advised to seek reconciliation with her husband (with or without family assistance). It is notable that the Quran is not advising the wife to resort to the two measures of abstention from sex and beating. The reason for this disparity might be to protect the wife from a violent physical reaction by her already misbehaving husband. Such a violent physical reaction will do both the wife and the marriage more harm than good. Some Muslim scholars have suggested that the court can apply these measures against the husband on the wife’s behalf. That is, the court first admonishes the rebellious husband, then forbids him his wife’s bed, and finally executes a symbolic beating.
To sum up, Islam offers Muslim married couples much viable advice to save their marriages in cases of trouble and tension. If one of the partners is jeopardizing the matrimonial relationship, the other partner is advised by the Quran to do whatever possible and effective in order to save this sacred bond. If all the measures fail, Islam allows the partners to separate peacefully and amicably.
The Old Testament in several places commands kind and considerate treatment of the parents and condemns those who dishonor them. For example, “If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death”and “A wise man brings joy to his father but a foolish man despises his mother”
Although honoring the father alone is mentioned in some places, e.g. “A wise man heeds his father’s instruction”, the mother alone is never mentioned.
Moreover, there is no special emphasis on treating the mother kindly as a sign of appreciation of her great suffering in childbearing and suckling. Besides, mothers do not inherit at all from their children while fathers do.
It is difficult to speak of the New Testament as a scripture that calls for honoring the mother. To the contrary, one gets the impression that the New Testament considers kind treatment of mothers as an impediment on the way to God. According to the New Testament, one cannot become a good Christian worthy of becoming a disciple of Christ unless he hates his mother. It is attributed to Jesus to have said:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he can not be my disciple”
Furthermore, the New Testament depicts a picture of Jesus as indifferent to, or even disrespectful of, his own mother. For example, when she had come looking for him while he was preaching to a crowd, he did not care to go out to see her:
“Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone to call him. A crowd was sitting around him and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’ ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said,’ Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’ “
One might argue that Jesus was trying to teach his audience an important lesson that religious ties are no less important than family ties. However, he could have taught his listeners the same lesson without showing such absolute indifference to his mother. The same disrespectful attitude is depicted when he refused to endorse a statement made by a member of his audience blessing his mother’s role in giving birth to him and nursing him:
“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'”
If a mother with the stature of the virgin Mary had been treated with such discourtesy, as depicted in the New Testament, by a son of the stature of Jesus Christ, then how should an average Christian mother be treated by her average Christian sons?
In Islam, the honor, respect, and esteem attached to motherhood is unparalleled. The Quran places the importance of kindness to parents as second only to worshipping God Almighty:
“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, And that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, Say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, But address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, Lower to them the wing of humility, and say: ‘My Lord! bestow on them Your Mercy as they Cherished me in childhood’ ”
The Quran in several other places puts special emphasis on the mother’s great role in giving birth and nursing:
“And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents: In travail upon travail did his mother bear him and in two years was his weaning. Show gratitude to Me and to your parents”
The very special place of mothers in Islam has been eloquently described by Prophet Muhammad:
“A man asked the Prophet: ‘Whom should I honor most?’
The Prophet replied: ‘Your mother’.
‘And who comes next?’ asked the man again.
The Prophet replied: ‘Your mother’.
‘And who comes next?’ asked the man third time.
The Prophet replied: ‘Your mother!’.
‘And who comes next?’ asked the man. The Prophet replied: ‘Your father'”.
Among the few precepts of Islam which Muslims still faithfully observe to the present day is the considerate treatment of mothers. The honor that Muslim mothers receive from their sons and daughters is exemplary. The intensely warm relations between Muslim mothers and their children and the deep respect with which Muslim men approach their mothers usually amaze Westerners.
One of the most important differences between the Quran and the Bible is their attitude towards female inheritance of the property of a deceased relative. The Biblical attitude has been succinctly described by Rabbi Epstein:
“The continuous and unbroken tradition since the Biblical days gives the female members of the household, wife and daughters, no right of succession to the family estate. In the more primitive scheme of succession, the female members of the family were considered part of the estate and as remote from the legal personality of an heir as the slave. Whereas by Mosaic enactment the daughters were admitted to succession in the event of no male issue remained, the wife was not recognized as heir even in such conditions.”
Why were the female members of the family considered part of the family estate? Rabbi Epstein has the answer: “They are owned – before marriage, by the father; after marriage, by the husband.”
The Biblical rules of inheritance are outlined. A wife is given no share in her husband’s estate, while he is her first heir, even before her sons. A daughter can inherit only if no male heirs exist. A mother is not an heir at all while the father is. Widows and daughters, in case male children remained, were at the mercy of the male heirs for provision. That is why widows and orphan girls were among the most destitute members of the Jewish society.
Christianity has followed suit for long time. Both the ecclesiastical and civil laws of Christendom barred daughters from sharing with their brothers in the father’s patrimony. Besides, wives were deprived of any inheritance rights. These iniquitous laws survived till late in the last century.
Among the pagan Arabs before Islam, inheritance rights were confined exclusively to the male relatives. The Quran abolished all these unjust customs and gave all the female relatives inheritance shares:
“From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large a determinate share”
Muslim mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters had received inheritance rights thirteen hundred years before Europe recognized that these rights even existed. The division of inheritance is a vast subject with an enormous amount of details
The general rule is that the female share is half the male’s except the cases in which the mother receives equal share to that of the father. This general rule if taken in isolation from other legislations concerning men and women may seem unfair. In order to understand the rationale behind this rule, one must take into account the fact that the financial obligations of men in Islam far exceed those of women.
A bridegroom must provide his bride with a marriage gift. This gift becomes her exclusive property and remains so even if she is later divorced. The bride is under no obligation to present any gifts to her groom. Moreover, the Muslim husband is charged with the maintenance of his wife and children. The wife, on the other hand, is not obliged to help him in this regard. Her property and earnings are for her use alone except what she may voluntarily offer her husband. Besides, one has to realize that Islam vehemently advocates family life. It strongly encourages youth to get married, discourages divorce, and does not regard celibacy as a virtue.
Therefore, in a truly Islamic society, family life is the norm and single life is the rare exception. That is, almost all marriage-aged women and men are married in an Islamic society. In light of these facts, one would appreciate that Muslim men, in general, have greater financial burdens than Muslim women and thus inheritance rules are meant to offset this imbalance so that the society lives free of all gender or class wars. After a simple comparison between the financial rights and duties of Muslim women, one British Muslim woman has concluded that Islam has treated women not only fairly but generously.
Plight Of Widows
Because of the fact that the Old Testament recognized no inheritance rights to them, widows were among the most vulnerable of the Jewish population. The male relatives who inherited all of a woman’s deceased husband’s estate were to provide for her from that estate. However, widows had no way to ensure this provision was carried out, and lived on the mercy of others. Therefore, widows were among the lowest classes in ancient Israel and widowhood was considered a symbol of great degradation
But the plight of a widow in the Biblical tradition extended even beyond her exclusion from her husband’s property. According to Genesis, a childless widow must marry her husband’s brother, even if he is already married, so that he can produce offspring for his dead brother, thus ensuring his brother’s name will not die out.
“Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother’ “
The widow’s consent to this marriage is not required. The widow is treated as part of her deceased husband’s property whose main function is to ensure her husband’s posterity. This Biblical law is still practiced in today’s Israel.
A childless widow in Israel is bequeathed to her husband’s brother. If the brother is too young to marry, she has to wait until he comes of age. Should the deceased husband’s brother refuse to marry her, she is set free and can then marry any man of her choice. It is not an uncommon phenomenon in Israel that widows are subjected to blackmail by their brothers-in-law in order to gain their freedom.
The pagan Arabs before Islam had similar practices. A widow was considered a part of her husband’s property to be inherited by his male heirs and she was, usually, given in marriage to the deceased man’s eldest son from another wife. The Quran scathingly attacked and abolished this degrading custom:
“And marry not women whom your fathers married – Except what is past – it was shameful, odious, and abominable custom indeed”
Widows and divorced women were so looked down upon in the Biblical tradition that the high priest could not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a prostitute:
“The woman he (the high priest) marries must be a virgin. He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, so he will not defile his offspring among his people”
In Israel today, a descendant of the Cohen caste (the high priests of the days of the Temple) cannot marry a divorcee, a widow, or a prostitute. In the Jewish legislation, a woman who has been widowed three times with all the three husbands dying of natural causes is considered ‘fatal’ and forbidden to marry again.
The Quran, on the other hand, recognizes neither castes nor fatal persons. Widows and divorcees have the freedom to marry whomever they choose. There is no stigma attached to divorce or widowhood in the Quran:
“When you divorce women and they fulfil their terms (three menstruation periods) either take them back on equitable terms or set them free on equitable terms; But do not take them back to injure them or to take undue advantage, If anyone does that, he wrongs his own soul. Do not treat Allah’s signs as a jest”
“If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait four months and ten days. When they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just manner”
“Those of you who die and leave widows should bequeath for their widows a year’s maintenance and residence. But if they (the widows) leave (the residence) there is no blame on you for what they justly do with themselves”
Let us now tackle the important question of polygamy. Polygamy is a very ancient practice found in many human societies. The Bible did not condemn polygamy. To the contrary, the Old Testament and Rabbinic writings frequently attest to the legality of polygamy. King Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines
Also, king David is said to have had many wives and concubines
The Old Testament does have some injunctions on how to distribute the property of a man among his sons from different wives
The only restriction on polygamy is a ban on taking a wife’s sister as a rival wife
The Talmud advises a maximum of four wives. European Jews continued to practice polygamy until the sixteenth century. Oriental Jews regularly practiced polygamy until they arrived in Israel where it is forbidden under civil law. However, under religious law which overrides civil law in such cases, it is permissible.
What about the New Testament? According to Father Eugene Hillman in his insightful book, Polygamy reconsidered, “Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy.”
Moreover, Jesus has not spoken against polygamy though it was practiced by the Jews of his society. Father Hillman stresses the fact that the Church in Rome banned polygamy in order to conform to the Greco-Roman culture (which prescribed only one legal wife while tolerating concubinage and prostitution). He cited St. Augustine, “Now indeed in our time, and in keeping with Roman custom, it is no longer allowed to take another wife.”
African churches and African Christians often remind their European brothers that the Church’s ban on polygamy is a cultural tradition and not an authentic Christian injunction.
The Quran, too, allowed polygamy, but not without restrictions:
“If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one”
The Quran, contrary to the Bible, limited the maximum number of wives to four under the strict condition of treating the wives equally and justly. It should not be understood that the Quran is exhorting the believers to practice polygamy, or that polygamy is considered as an ideal. In other words, the Quran has “tolerated” or “allowed” polygamy, and no more, but why? Why is polygamy permissible? The answer is simple:
There are places and times in which there are compelling social and moral reasons for polygamy. As the above Quranic verse indicates, the issue of polygamy in Islam cannot be understood apart from community obligations towards orphans and widows. Islam as a universal religion suitable for all places and all times could not ignore these compelling obligations.
In most human societies, females outnumber males. In the U.S. there are, at least, eight million more women than men. In a country like Guinea there are 122 females for every 100 males. In Tanzania, there are 95.1 males per 100 females. What should a society do towards such unbalanced sex ratios?
There are various solutions, some might suggest celibacy, others would prefer female infanticide (which does happen in some societies in the world today!). Others may think the only outlet is that the society should tolerate all manners of sexual permissiveness: prostitution, sex out of wedlock, homosexuality, etc.
For other societies, like most African societies today, the most honorable outlet is to allow polygamous marriage as a culturally accepted and socially respected institution. The point that is often misunderstood in the West is that women in other cultures do not necessarily look at polygamy as a sign of women’s degradation. For example, many young African brides, whether Christians or Muslims or otherwise, would prefer to marry a married man who has already proved himself to be a responsible husband. Many African wives urge their husbands to get a second wife so that they do not feel lonely.
A survey of over six thousand women, ranging in age from 15 to 59, conducted in the second largest city in Nigeria showed that 60 percent of these women would be pleased if their husbands took another wife. Only 23 percent expressed anger at the idea of sharing with another wife. Seventy-six percent of the women in a survey conducted in Kenya viewed polygamy positively. In a survey undertaken in rural Kenya, 25 out of 27 women considered polygamy to be better than monogamy. These women felt polygamy can be a happy and beneficial experience if the co-wives cooperate with each other.
Polygamy in most African societies is such a respectable institution that some Protestant churches are becoming more tolerant of it. A bishop of the Anglican Church in Kenya declared that, “Although monogamy may be ideal for the expression of love between husband and wife, the church should consider that in certain cultures polygyny is socially acceptable and that the belief that polygyny is contrary to Christianity is no longer tenable.”
After a careful study of African polygamy, Reverend David Gitari of the Anglican Church has concluded that polygamy, as ideally practiced, is more Christian than divorce and remarriage as far as the abandoned wives and children are concerned.
I personally know of some highly educated African wives who, despite having lived in the West for many years, do not have any objections against polygamy. One of them, who lives in the U.S., solemnly exhorts her husband to get a second wife to help her in raising the kids.
The problem of the unbalanced sex ratios becomes truly problematic at times of war. Native American Indian tribes used to suffer highly unbalanced sex ratios after wartime losses. Women in these tribes, who in fact enjoyed a fairly high status, accepted polygamy as the best protection against indulgence in indecent activities. European settlers, without offering any other alternative, condemned this Indian polygamy as ‘uncivilised’.
After the second world war, there were 7,300,000 more women than men in Germany (3.3 million of them were widows). There were 100 men aged 20 to 30 for every 167 women in that age group.
Many of these women needed a man not only as a companion but also as a provider for the household in a time of unprecedented misery and hardship. The soldiers of the victorious Allied Armies exploited these women’s vulnerability. Many young girls and widows had liaisons with members of the occupying forces. Many American and British soldiers paid for their pleasures in cigarettes, chocolate, and bread. Children were overjoyed at the gifts these strangers brought. A 10 year old boy on hearing of such gifts from other children wished from all his heart for an ‘Englishman’ for his mother so that she need not go hungry any longer.
We have to ask our own conscience at this point: What is more dignifying to a woman? An accepted and respected second wife as in the native Indians’ approach, or a virtual prostitute as in the ‘civilised’ Allies approach? In other words, what is more dignifying to a woman, the Quranic prescription or the theology based on the culture of the Roman Empire?
It is interesting to note that in an international youth conference held in Munich in 1948 the problem of the highly unbalanced sex ratio in Germany was discussed. When it became clear that no solution could be agreed upon, some participants suggested polygamy. The initial reaction of the gathering was a mixture of shock and disgust. However, after a careful study of the proposal, the participants agreed that it was the only possible solution. Consequently, polygamy was included among the conference final recommendations.
The world today possesses more weapons of mass destruction than ever before and the European churches might, sooner or later, be obliged to accept polygamy as the only way out. Father Hillman has thoughtfully recognized this fact:
“It is quite conceivable that these genocidal techniques (nuclear, biological, chemical..) could produce so drastic an imbalance among the sexes that plural marriage would become a necessary means of survival… Then contrary to previous custom and law, an overriding natural and moral inclination might arise in favour of polygamy. In such a situation, theologians and church leaders would quickly produce weighty reasons and biblical texts to justify a new conception of marriage.”
To the present day, polygamy continues to be a viable solution to some of the social ills of modern societies. The communal obligations that the Quran mentions in association with the permission of polygamy are more visible at present in some Western societies than in Africa. For example, In the United States today, there is a severe gender crisis in the black community. One out of every twenty young black males may die before reaching the age of 21. For those between 20 and 35 years of age, homicide is the leading cause of death. 65 Besides, many young black males are unemployed, in jail, or on dope. 66 As a result, one in four black women, at age 40, has never married, as compared with one in ten white women.
Moreover, many young black females become single mothers before the age of 20 and find themselves in need of providers. The end result of these tragic circumstances is that an increasing number of black women are engaged in what is called ‘man-sharing’.
That is, many of these hapless single black women are involved in affairs with married men. The wives are often unaware of the fact that other women are ‘sharing’ their husbands with them. Some observers of the crisis of man-sharing in the African American community strongly recommend consensual polygamy as a temporary answer to the shortage of black males until more comprehensive reforms in the American society at large are undertaken.
By consensual polygamy they mean a polygamy that is sanctioned by the community and to which all the parties involved have agreed, as opposed to the usually secret man-sharing which is detrimental both to the wife and to the community in general. The problem of man-sharing in the African American community was the topic of a panel discussion held at Temple University in Philadelphia on January 27, 1993.
Some of the speakers recommended polygamy as one potential remedy for the crisis. They also suggested that polygamy should not be banned by law, particularly in a society that tolerates prostitution and mistresses. The comment of one woman from the audience that African Americans needed to learn from Africa where polygamy was responsibly practiced elicited enthusiastic applause.
Philip Kilbride, an American anthropologist of Roman Catholic heritage, in his provocative book, Plural marriage for our time, proposes polygamy as a solution to some of the ills of the American society at large. He argues that plural marriage may serve as a potential alternative for divorce in many cases in order to obviate the damaging impact of divorce on many children. He maintains that many divorces are caused by the rampant extramarital affairs in the American society. According to Kilbride, ending an extramarital affair in a polygamous marriage, rather than in a divorce, is better for the children, “Children would be better served if family augmentation rather than only separation and dissolution were seen as options.” Moreover, he suggests that other groups will also benefit from plural marriage such as: elderly women who face a chronic shortage of men and the African Americans who are involved in man-sharing.
In 1987, a poll conducted by the student newspaper at the university of California at Berkeley asked the students whether they agreed that men should be allowed by law to have more than one wife in response to a perceived shortage of male marriage candidates in California. Almost all of the students polled approved of the idea. One female student even stated that a polyganous marriage would fulfil her emotional and physical needs while giving her greater freedom than a monogamous union. 72 In fact, this same argument is also used by the few remaining fundamentalist Mormon women who still practice polygamy in the U.S. They believe that polygamy is an ideal way for a woman to have both a career and children since the wives help each other care for the children.
It has to be added that polygamy in Islam is a matter of mutual consent. No one can force a woman to marry a married man. Besides, the wife has the right to stipulate that her husband must not marry any other woman as a second wife.
The Bible, on the other hand, sometimes resorts to forcible polygamy. A childless widow must marry her husband’s brother, even if he is already married, regardless of her consent
It should be noted that in many Muslim societies today the practice of polygamy is rare since the gap between the numbers of both sexes is not huge. One can, safely, say that the rate of polygamous marriages in the Muslim world is much less than the rate of extramarital affairs in the West. In other words, men in the Muslim world today are far more strictly monogamous than men in the Western world.
Billy Graham, the eminent Christian evangelist has recognized this fact:
“Christianity cannot compromise on the question of polygamy. If present-day Christianity cannot do so, it is to its own detriment. Islam has permitted polygamy as a solution to social ills and has allowed a certain degree of latitude to human nature but only within the strictly defined framework of the law. Christian countries make a great show of monogamy, but actually they practice polygamy. No one is unaware of the part mistresses play in Western society. In this respect Islam is a fundamentally honest religion, and permits a Muslim to marry a second wife if he must, but strictly forbids all clandestine amatory associations in order to safeguard the moral probity of the community.”
It is of interest to note that many, non-Muslim as well as Muslim, countries in the world today have outlawed polygamy. Taking a second wife, even with the free consent of the first wife, is a violation of the law. On the other hand, cheating on the wife, without her knowledge or consent, is perfectly legitimate as far as the law is concerned! What is the legal wisdom behind such a contradiction? Is the law designed to reward deception and punish honesty? It is one of the unfathomable paradoxes of our modern ‘civilised’ world.
The Veil – Hijab
Finally, let us shed some light on what is considered in the West as the greatest symbol of women’s oppression and servitude, the veil or the head cover. Is it true that there is no such thing as the veil in the Judeo-Christian tradition?
Let us set the record straight. According to Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Brayer (Professor of Biblical Literature at Yeshiva University) in his book, The Jewish woman in Rabbinic literature, it was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face leaving one eye free.
He quotes some famous ancient Rabbis saying,” It is not like the daughters of Israel to walk out with heads uncovered” and “Cursed be the man who lets the hair of his wife be seen… a woman who exposes her hair for self-adornment brings poverty.” Rabbinic law forbids the recitation of blessings or prayers in the presence of a bareheaded married woman since uncovering the woman’s hair is considered “nudity”.
Dr. Brayer also mentions that “During the Tannaitic period the Jewish woman’s failure to cover her head was considered an affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined four hundred zuzim for this offense.”
Dr. Brayer also explains that veil of the Jewish woman was not always considered a sign of modesty. Sometimes, the veil symbolized a state of distinction and luxury rather than modesty. The veil personified the dignity and superiority of noble women. It also represented a woman’s inaccessibility as a sanctified possession of her husband.
The veil signified a woman’s self-respect and social status. Women of lower classes would often wear the veil to give the impression of a higher standing. The fact that the veil was the sign of nobility was the reason why prostitutes were not permitted to cover their hair in the old Jewish society.
However, prostitutes often wore a special head scarf in order to look respectable. Jewish women in Europe continued to wear veils until the nineteenth century when their lives became more intermingled with the surrounding secular culture. The external pressures of the European life in the nineteenth century forced many of them to go out bare-headed. Some Jewish women found it more convenient to replace their traditional veil with a wig as another form of hair covering.
Today, most pious Jewish women do not cover their hair except in the synagogue.
Some of them, such as the Hasidic sects, still use the wig. What about the Christian tradition? It is well known that Catholic Nuns have been covering their heads for hundreds of years, but that is not all. St. Paul in the New Testament made some very interesting statements about the veil:
“Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head – it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head”.
St. Paul’s rationale for veiling women is that the veil represents a sign of the authority of the man, who is the image and glory of God, over the woman who was created from and for man. St. Tertullian in his famous treatise ‘On The Veiling Of Virgins’ wrote, “Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church, you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers…” Among the Canon laws of the Catholic church today, there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church.
Some Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Mennonites for example, keep their women veiled to the present day. The reason for the veil, as offered by their Church leaders, is that “The head covering is a symbol of woman’s subjection to the man and to God”, which is the same logic introduced by St. Paul in the New Testament.
From all the above evidence, it is obvious that Islam did not invent the head cover. However, Islam did endorse it. The Quran urges the believing men and women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty and then urges the believing women to extend their head covers to cover the neck and the bosom:
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty… And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms”
The Quran is quite clear that the veil is essential for modesty, but why is modesty important? The Quran is still clear:
“O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested”
This is the whole point, modesty is prescribed to protect women from molestation or simply, modesty is protection. Thus, the only purpose of the veil in Islam is protection. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil of the Christian tradition, is not a sign of man’s authority over woman nor is it a sign of woman’s subjection to man. The Islamic veil, unlike the veil in the Jewish tradition, is not a sign of luxury and distinction of some noble married women.
The Islamic veil is only a sign of modesty with the purpose of protecting women, all women. The Islamic philosophy is that it is always better to be safe than sorry. In fact, the Quran is so concerned with protecting women’s bodies and women’s reputation that a man who dares to falsely accuse a woman of unchastity will be severely punished:
“And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations)- Flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors”
Compare this strict Quranic attitude with the extremely lax punishment for rape in the Bible:
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives”
One must ask a simple question here, who is really punished? The man who only paid a fine for rape, or the girl who is forced to marry the man who raped her and live with him until he dies? Another question that also should be asked is this: which is more protective of women, the Quranic strict attitude or the Biblical lax attitude?
Some people, especially in the West, would tend to ridicule the whole argument of modesty for protection. Their argument is that the best protection is the spread of education, civilised behaviour, and self restraint. We would say:
Fine but not enough. If ‘civilization’ is enough protection, then why is it that women in North America dare not walk alone in a dark street – or even across an empty parking lot? If Education is the solution, then why is it that a respected university like Queen’s has a ‘walk home service’ mainly for female students on campus? If self restraint is the answer, then why are cases of sexual harassment in the workplace reported on the news media every day?
A sample of those accused of sexual harassment, in the last few years, includes: Navy officers, Managers, University professors, Senators, Supreme Court Justices, and the President of the United States! I could not believe my eyes when I read the following statistics, written in a pamphlet issued by the Dean of Women’s office at Queen’s University:
In Canada, a woman is sexually assaulted every 6 minutes.
1 in 3 women in Canada will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lives,
1 in 4 women are at the risk of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
A study found 60% of Canadian university-aged males said they would commit sexual assault if they were certain they wouldn’t get caught.
Something is fundamentally wrong in the society we live in. A radical change in the society’s life style and culture is absolutely necessary. A culture of modesty is badly needed, modesty in dress, in speech, and in manners of both men and women. Otherwise, the grim statistics will grow even worse day after day and, unfortunately, women alone will be paying the price. Actually, we all suffer but as K. Gibran has said, “…for the person who receives the blows is not like the one who counts them.”
Therefore, a society like France which expels young women from schools because of their modest dress is, in the end, simply harming itself.
It is one of the great ironies of our world today that the very same head scarf revered as a sign of ‘holiness’ when worn for the purpose of showing the authority of man by Catholic Nuns, is reviled as a sign of ‘oppression’ when worn for the purpose of protection by Muslim women.
The one question all the non-Muslims, who had read an earlier version of this study, had in common was:
Do Muslim women in the Muslim world today receive this noble treatment described here? The answer, unfortunately, is: No. Since this question is inevitable in any discussion concerning the status of, we have to elaborate on the answer in order to provide the reader with the complete picture.
It has to be made clear first that the vast differences among Muslim societies make most generalizations too simplistic. There is a wide spectrum of attitudes towards women in the Muslim world today. These attitudes differ from one society to another and within each individual society. Nevertheless, certain general trends are discernible. Almost all Muslim societies have, to one degree or another, deviated from the ideals of Islam with respect to the status of women. These deviations have, for the most part, been in one of two opposite directions.
The first direction is more conservative, restrictive, and traditions-oriented, while the second is more liberal and Western-oriented.
The societies that have digressed in the first direction treat women according to the customs and traditions inherited from their forebears. These traditions usually deprive women of many rights granted to them by Islam. Besides, women are treated according to standards far different from those applied to men. This discrimination pervades the life of any female: she is received with less joy at birth than a boy; she is less likely to go to school; she might be deprived any share of her family’s inheritance; she is under continuous surveillance in order not to behave immodestly while her brother’s immodest acts are tolerated; she might even be killed for committing what her male family members usually boast of doing; she has very little say in family affairs or community interests; she might not have full control over her property and her marriage gifts; and finally as a mother she herself would prefer to produce boys so that she can attain a higher status in her community.
On the other hand, there are Muslim societies (or certain classes within some societies) that have been swept over by the Western culture and way of life. These societies often imitate unthinkingly whatever they receive from the West and usually end up adopting the worst fruits of Western civilization. In these societies, a typical “modern” woman’s top priority in life is to enhance her physical beauty.
Therefore, she is often obsessed with her body’s shape, size, and weight. She tends to care more about her body than her mind and more about her charms than her intellect. Her ability to charm, attract, and excite is more valued in the society than her educational achievements, intellectual pursuits, and social work. One is not expected to find a copy of the Quran in her purse since it is full of cosmetics that accompany her wherever she goes. Her spirituality has no room in a society preoccupied with her attractiveness. Therefore, she would spend her life striving more to realize her femininity than to fulfil her humanity.
Why did Muslim societies deviate from the ideals of Islam? There is no easy answer. A penetrating explanation of the reasons why Muslims have not adhered to the Quranic guidance with respect to women would be beyond the scope of this study. It has to be made clear, however, that Muslim societies have deviated from the Islamic precepts concerning so many aspects of their lives for so long.
There is a wide gap between what Muslims are supposed to believe in and what they actually practice. This gap is not a recent phenomenon. It has been there for centuries and has been widening day after day. This ever widening gap has had disastrous consequences on the Muslim world manifested in almost all aspects of life: political tyranny and fragmentation, economic backwardness, social injustice, scientific bankruptcy, intellectual stagnation, etc.
The non-Islamic status of women in the Muslim world today is merely a symptom of a deeper malady. Any reform in the current status of Muslim women is not expected to be fruitful if not accompanied with more comprehensive reforms of the Muslim societies’ whole way of life. The Muslim world is in need for a renaissance that will bring it closer to the ideals of Islam and not further from them. To sum up, the notion that the poor status of Muslim women today is because of Islam is an utter misconception. The problems of Muslims in general are not due to too much attachment to Islam, they are the culmination of a long and deep detachment from it.
It has, also, to be re-emphasized that the purpose behind this comparative study is not, by any means, to defame Judaism or Christianity. The position of women in the Judeo-Christian tradition might seem frightening by our late twentieth century standards. Nevertheless, it has to be viewed within the proper historical context. In other words, any objective assessment of the position of women in the Judeo-Christian tradition has to take into account the historical circumstances in which this tradition developed.
There can be no doubt that the views of the Rabbis and the Church Fathers regarding women were influenced by the prevalent attitudes towards women in their societies. The Bible itself was written by different authors at different times. These authors could not have been impervious to the values and the way of life of the people around them. For example, the adultery laws of the Old Testament are so biased against women that they defy rational explanation by our mentality.
However, if we consider the fact that the early Jewish tribes were obsessed with their genetic homogeneity and extremely eager to define themselves apart from the surrounding tribes and that only sexual misconduct by the married females of the tribes could threaten these cherished aspirations, we should then be able to understand, but not necessarily sympathize with, the reasons for this bias. Also, the diatribes of the Church Fathers against women should not be detached from the context of the misogynist Greco-Roman culture in which they lived. It would be unfair to evaluate the Judeo-Christian legacy without giving any consideration to the relevant historical context.
In fact, a proper understanding of the Judeo-Christian historical context is also crucial for understanding the significance of the contributions of Islam to world history and human civilization. The Judeo-Christian tradition had been influenced and shaped by the environments, conditions, and cultures in which it had existed. By the seventh century C.E., this influence had distorted the original divine message revealed to Moses and Jesus beyond recognition.
The poor status of women in the Judeo-Christian world by the seventh century is just one case in point. Therefore, there was a great need for a new divine message that would guide humanity back to the straight path. The Quran described the mission of the new Messenger as a release for Jews and Christians from the heavy burdens that had been upon them:
“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own Scriptures – In the Law and the Gospel – For he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good and prohibits them from what is bad; He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them”
Therefore, Islam should not be viewed as a rival tradition to Judaism or Christianity. It has to be regarded as the consummation, completion, and perfection of the divine messages that had been revealed before it.
At the end of this study, I would like to offer the following advice to the global Muslim community.
So many Muslim women have been denied their basic Islamic rights for so long. The mistakes of the past have to be corrected. To do that is not a favor, it is a duty incumbent upon all Muslims. The worldwide Muslim community have to issue a charter of Muslim women’s rights based on the instructions of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet of Islam. This charter must give Muslim women all the rights endowed to them by their Creator. Then, all the necessary means have to be developed in order to ensure the proper implementation of the charter. This charter is long overdue, but it is better late than never. If Muslims worldwide will not guarantee the full Islamic rights of their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, who else will?
Furthermore, we must have the courage to confront our past and reject outright the traditions and customs of our forefathers whenever they contravene the precepts of Islam. Did the Quran not severely criticize the pagan Arabs for blindly following the traditions of their ancestors? On the other hand, we have to develop a critical attitude towards whatever we receive from the West or from any other culture. Interaction with and learning from other cultures is an invaluable experience. The Quran has succinctly considered this interaction as one of the purposes of creation:
“O mankind We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other”
It goes without saying, however, that blind imitation of others is a sure sign of an utter lack of self-esteem.
It is to the non-Muslim reader, Jewish, Christian, or otherwise, that these final words are dedicated. It is bewildering why the religion that had revolutionized the status of women is being singled out and denigrated as so repressive of women. This perception about Islam is one of the most widespread myths in our world today. This myth is being perpetuated by a ceaseless barrage of sensational books, articles, media images, and Hollywood movies. The inevitable outcome of these incessant misleading images has been total misunderstanding and fear of anything related to Islam. This negative portrayal of Islam in the world media has to end if we are to live in a world free from all traces of discrimination, prejudice, and misunderstanding.
Non-Muslims ought to realize the existence of a wide gap between Muslims’ beliefs and practices and the simple fact that the actions of Muslims do not necessarily represent Islam. To label the status of women in the Muslim world today as “Islamic” is as far from the truth as labelling the position of women in the West today as “Judeo-Christian”. With this understanding in mind, Muslims and non-Muslims should start a process of communication and dialogue in order to remove all misconceptions, suspicions, and fears. A peaceful future for the human family necessitates such a dialogue.
Islam should be viewed as a religion that had immensely improved the status of women and had granted them many rights that the modern world has recognized only this century. Islam still has so much to offer today’s woman:
Dignity, respect, and protection in all aspects and all stages of her life from birth until death in addition to the recognition, the balance, and means for the fulfilment of all her spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.
No wonder most of those who choose to become Muslims in a country like Britain are women. In the U.S. women converts to Islam outnumber male converts 4 to 1.
Islam has so much to offer our world which is in great need of moral guidance and leadership. Ambassador Herman Eilts, in a testimony in front of the committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress on June 24th, 1985, said:
“The Muslim community of the globe today is in the neighborhood of one billion. That is an impressive figure. But what to me is equally impressive is that Islam today is the fastest growing monotheistic religion. This is something we have to take into account. Something is right about Islam. It is attracting a good many people.”
Yes, something is right about Islam and it is time to find that out. I hope this study is a step on this direction.
Is the Bible God’s word?
Whether Catholic, Protestant or a “Cultist,” of the thousand and one sects and denominations-of-Christianity, never will you find a missionary who will not, prima facie, presuppose that his potential convert accepts his “Holy Bible” as the book of final authority on every religious opinion? The only answer the prospective proselyte has is to quote verses from the Bible which are contradictory to the missionary’s or debate their interpretations.
The dogged question
When the Muslim proves his point from the Christian’s own Holy Scripture, and when the professional priest, parson or predikant cannot refute the arguments the inevitable Christian evasion is “Do you accept the Bible as God’s word?
On the face of it, the question seems to be an easy one, but a simple “Yes” or “No” cannot be given as an answer. You see, one has first to explain one’s position. But the Christian will not give one the opportunity. He gets impatient.
“Answer ‘Yes or No!’ “ he insists. The Jews did the same to Jesus two thousand years ago, except that surprisingly he was not strait-jacketed, as is the fashion today!
The reader will readily agree that things are not always either black or white. Between these two extremes there are various shades of grey. If you say “Yes” to his question, then it would mean that you are prepared to swallow everything Hook, Line and Sinker, from Genesis to Revelation from his Bible.
If you respond with a “No” he quickly unhooks himself from the facts you have presented, and rallies support from his co-religionists in the audience with; “You see, this man does not believe in the Bible! What right has he to expound his case from our Book?” With this hydra-like somersault he rests content that he has safely evaded the issue. What is the Muballigh1to do? He has to explain his position vis-a-vis the Bible, as he ought to do.
– We Muslims have no hesitation in acknowledging that in the Bible, there are three different kinds of witnessing recognizable without any need of specialized training. These are:
You will be able to recognize in the Bible what may be described as “The Word of God.”
You will also be able to discern what can be described as the “Words of a Prophet of God.”
And you will most readily observe that the bulk of the Bible is the records of eye witnesses or ear witnesses, or people writing from hearsay. As such they are the “Words of a Historian”
You do not have to hunt for examples of these different types of evidences in the Bible. The following quotations will make the position crystal clear:
The First Type
a) “I will raise them up a prophet … and I will put my words in … and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
b) “I even, I am the Lord, and beside me there is no saviour.”
c) “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the end of the earth: for I am God, and there is non else.”
Note the first person pronoun singular in the above references, and without any difficulty you will agree that the statements seem to have the sound of being God’s Word.
The Second Type
a) “Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?”
b) “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord:”
c) “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God.”
Even a child will be able to affirm that: Jesus “cried” Jesus “answered” and Jesus “said” are the words of the one to whom they are attributed, i.e. the words of a prophet of God.
The Third Type
“And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he, (Jesus) came, if haply he (Jesus) might find anything thereon: and when he (Jesus) came to it, (Jesus) found nothing but leaves”
The bulk of the Bible is a witnessing of this third kind. These are the words of a third person. Note the pronouns. They are not the Words of God or of His prophet, but the words of a historian.
For the Muslim it is quite easy to distinguish the above types of evidence, because he also has them in his own faith. But of the followers of the different religions, he is the most fortunate in this that his various records are contained in separate Books!
One: The first kind ‘The Word of God’ is found in a Book called The Holy Quran.
Two: The second kind the words of ‘The Prophet of God’, (Muhammad) are recorded in the Books of Tradition called The Hadeeth.
Three: Evidence of the third kind abounds in different volume of Islamic history, written by some of high integrity and learning, and others of lesser trustworthiness, but the Muslim advisedly keeps his Books in separate volumes!
The Muslim keeps the above three types of evidence Jealously apart, in their proper gradations of authority. He never equates them. On the other hand, the “Holy Bible” contains a motley type of literature, which composes the embarrassing kind, the sordid, and the obscene all under the same cover A Christian is forced to concede equal spiritual import and authority to all, and is thus unfortunate in this regard.
The multiple bible versions
Before we scrutinize the various versions, let us clarify our own belief regarding the Books of God. When we say that we believe in the Tablets, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran, what do we really mean? We already know that the Holy Quran is the infallible Word of God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad word for word, through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel, and perfectly preserved and protected from human tampering for the past fourteen hundred years! See The Quran – The Miracle of Miracles Even hostile critics of Islam have grudgingly vouched for the purity of the Holy Quran:
“There is probably in the world no other book which has remained twelve centuries (now fourteen) with so pure a text.”
The Old and New Testaments we Muslims believe in is not the “Old and New Testaments” of the Jews and the Christians, though the words one Arabic, the other Hebrew are the same. We believe that whatever the Holy Prophet Moses preached to his people, was the revelation from God Almighty, but that Moses was not the author of those “books” attributed to him by the Jews and the Christians.
Likewise, we believe that the Psalms was the revelation of God granted to David, but that the present Psalms associated with his name are not that revelation. The Christians themselves do not insist that David is the sole author of “his” Psalms. (Later on you’ll read how Christian “Brains Trust” confess “Author; Principally David, though there are other writers.”)
What about the ‘Gospel’? or ‘good news’ which Jesus Christ preached during his short ministry. The “Gospel” writers often mention that Jesus going about and preaching the Gospel “And Jesus went … preaching the gospel … and healing every disease among the people.”
“but whosoever shall lose his fife for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
“preached the gospel”
The “gospel” is a frequently used word, but what Gospel did Jesus preach? Of the 27 books of the New Testament, only a small fraction can be accepted as the words of Jesus. The Christians boast about the Gospels according to St. Matthew, according to St. Mark, according to St. Luke and according to St. John, but there is not a single Gospel “according” to (St.) Jesus himself! We sincerely believe that everything Christ preached was from God. That was the Injeel, the good news and the guidance of God for the Children of Israel. In his life-time Jesus never wrote a single word, nor did he instruct anyone to do so. What passes off as the “Gospels” today are the works of anonymous hands!
The question before us is:
“Do you accept that the Bible is God’s Word?” The question is really in the form of a challenge. The questioner is not simply seeking enlightenment. The question is posed in the spirit of a debate. We have every right to demand in a similar vein “Which Bible are you talking about?”, we may ask.
“Why, there is only one Bible!”.
The Catholic bible
Holding the “Douay” Roman Catholic Version of the Bible aloft in my hand, I ask, “Do you accept this Bible as the Word of God?” For reasons best known to themselves, the Catholic Truth Society have published their Version of the Bible in a very short, sturnpy form. This Version is a very odd proportion of the numerous Versions in the market today.
The Christian questioner is taken aback. “What Bible is that?” he asks. “Why, I thought you said that there was only one Bible!” I remind him. “Yes,” he murmurs hesitantly, “but what Version is that?” “Why, would that make any difference?” I enquire. Of course it does, and the professional preacher knows that it does. He is only bluffing with his “one Bible” claim.
The Roman Catholic Bible was published at Rheims in 1582, from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate and reproduced at Douay in 1609. As such the RCV (Roman Catholic Version) is the oldest Version that one can still buy today. Despite its antiquity, the whole of the Protestant world, including the “cults”condemn the RCV because it contains seven extra “books” which they contemptuously refer to as the “apocrypha” i.e. of doubtful authority. Notwithstanding the dire warning contained in the Apocalypse, which is the last book in the RCV (renamed as “Revelation” by the Protestants), it is “revealed”:
“If any man shall add to these things (or delete) God shall add unto him the plagues written in this Book.”
But who cares! They do not really believe! The Protestants have bravely expunged seven whole books from their Book of God! The outcasts are:
The Book of Judith The Book of Tobias The Book of Baruch The Buck of Esther, etc.
The Protestant bible
Sir Winston Churchill has some pertinent things to say about the Authorised Version (AV) of the Protestant Bible, which is also widely known as the “King James Version
“The authorised version of the bible was published in 1611 by the will and command of his majesty king James the 1st whose name it bears till today.”
The Roman Catholics, believing as they do that the Protestants have mutilated the Book of God, are yet aiding and abetting the Protestant “crime” by forcing their native converts to purchase the Authorised Version (AV) of the Bible, which is the only Bible available in some 1500 languages of the lesser developed nations of the world. The Roman Catholics milk their cows, but the feeding is left to the Protestants! The overwhelming majority of Christians both Catholics and Protestant use the Authorised (AV) or the King James Version (KJV) as it is alternatively called.
First published, as Sir Winston says, in 1611, and then revised in 1881 (RV), and now re-revised and brought up to date as the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952, and now again re-revised in 1971 (still RSV for short). Let us see what opinion Christendom has of this most revised Bible, the RSV:
1. “The finest version which has been produced in the present century.”
2. “A completely fresh translation by scholars of the highest eminence.”
3. “The well-loved characteristics of the authorised version combined with a new accuracy of translation.”
4. “The most accurate and close rendering of the original”
The publishers (Collins) themselves, in their notes on the Bible at the end of their production, say on page 10:
“This bible (RSV), is the product of thirty-two scholars, assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty co-operating denominations.” Why all this boasting? To make the gullible public buy their product? All these testimonies convince the purchaser that he is backing the right horse, with the purchaser little suspecting that he is being taken for a ride. See The Multiple Bible’s Versions.
The world’s best seller
But what about the Authorised Version of the Bible (AV), the “World’s Best Seller?” These Revisers, all good salesmen, have some very pretty things to say about it. However, their page iii, paragraph six of the preface of the RSV reads:
“The king James version (alternative description of av) has with good reason been termed ‘the noblest monument of English prose.’ its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for ‘its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression … the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.’ it entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples. we owe to it an incalculable debt.”
Can you, dear reader, imagine a more magnificent tribute being paid to the “Book of Books” than the above? I, for one, cannot. Let the believing Christian, now steel himself for the un-kindest blow of all from his own beloved Lawyers of Religion; for in the very same breath they say:
“Yet the king James version has grave defects.” and, “that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision …” This is straight from the horse’s mouth, i.e. the orthodox Christian scholars of “the highest eminence.” Another galaxy of Doctors of Divinity are now required to produce an encyclopedia explaining the cause of those grave and serious defects in their Holy Writ and their reasons for eliminating them.
Fifty thousand errors!
The Jehovah’s Witnesses in their “AWAKE!” Magazine dated 8 September, 1957, carried this startling headline “50,000 Errors in The Bible?”.
While I was still formulating the theme of this booklet, I heard a knock at my door one Sunday morning. I opened the door. A European gentleman stood there, grinning broadly. “Good morning’” he said. “Good morning” I replied. He was offering me his “Awake” and “Watchtower” magazines. Yes, a Jehovah’s Witness! If a few had knocked at your door previously, you will recognize them immediately. The most supercilious lot of people who ever knocked at people’s doors! I invited him in.
As soon as he settled down, I produced the full reproduction of what you see below. Pointing to the monograph at the top of the page, I asked, “Is this your’s?” He readily recognised his own. I said, “It says:
50,000 Errors in the Bible, is it true?” “What’s that!” he exclaimed. I repeated, “I said, that it says, that there are 50,000 errors in your Bible.” “Where did you get that?” He asked. (This was published 53 years ago, when he was perhaps a little nipper) I said, “Leave the fancy talk aside is this your’s?” pointing again to the monograph “Awake!” He said, “Can I have a look?” “Of course,” I said. I handed him the page. He started perusing.
They (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) are trained. They attend classes five times a week in their “Kingdom Halls.” Naturally, they are the fittest missionaries among the thousand and one sects and denominations of Christendom. They are taught that when cornered, do not commit yourself to anything, do not open your mouths. Wait for the Holy Ghost to inspire you with what to say.
I silently kept watching him, while he browsed the page. Suddenly he looked up. He had found it. The “Holy Ghost” had tickled him. He began, “The article says that “most of those errors have been eliminated.” I asked “If most are eliminated, how many remain out of 50,000? 5000? 500? 50? Even if 50 remain, do you attribute those errors to God?” He was speechless. He excused himself by suggesting that he will come again with some senior member of his Church. That will be the day!
This “cult” of Jehovah’s Witnesses which is so strong in its condemnation of the orthodox Trinitarians, for playing with the “Word of God,” is itself playing the same game of semantic gymnastics. In the article under review “50,000 Errors In The Bible?” they say: “there are probably 50,000 errors … errors that have crept into the Bible text … 50,000 such serious errors… most of those so-called errors… as a whole the Bible is accurate.”
We do not have the time and space to go into the tens of thousands of grave or minor defects that the authors of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) have attempted to revise. We leave that privilege to the Christian scholars of the Bible.
Here I will endeavour to cast just a cursory glance at a “half-a-dozen” or so of those “minor” changes:
1. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The indispensable “Virgin” in the above verse has now been replaced in the RSV with the phrase “a young woman,” which is the correct translation of the Hebrew word Almah. Almah is the word which has occurred all along in the Hebrew text and not bethulah which means Virgin. This correction is only to be found in the English language translation, as the RSV is only published in this tongue. For the African and the Afrikaner, the Arab and the Zulu, in fact, in the 1 500 other languages of the world, Christians are made to continue to swallow the misnomer “Virgin.”
Begotten, not made
“Jesus is the only begotten son of God, begotten not made,” is an adjunct of the orthodox catechism, leaning for support on the following:
2. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only BEGOTTEN son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
No priest worth his cloth would fail to quote “the only Begotten of the Father!” when preaching to a prospective convert. But this fabrication “Begotten” has now been unceremoniously excised by the Bible Revisers, without a word of excuse. They are as silent as church-mice and would not draw the reader’s attention to their furtive excision. This blasphemous word “Begotten” was another of the many such interpolations in the “Holy Bible.” God Almighty condemned this blasphemy in the strongest terms soon after its innovation. He did not wait for 2000 years for Bible scholars to reveal the fraud:
“They say: (God) Most Gracious has begotten a son! Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.”
The Muslim World should congratulate the “Fifty cooperating denominations” of Christendom and their Brains Trust the “Thirty-two scholars of the highest eminence” for bringing their Holy Bible a degree nearer to the Quranic truth: “He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;”
3. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
This verse is the closest approximation to what the Christians call their Holy Trinity in the encyclopaedia called the Bible. This key-stone of the Christian faith has also been scrapped from the RSV without even a semblance of explanation. It has been a pious fraud all along and well-deservedly has it been expunged in the RSV for the English-speaking people. But for the 1499 remaining language groups of the world who read the Christian concoctions in their mother tongues, the fraud remains.
These people will never know the truth until the Day of Judgement. However, we Muslims must again congratulate the galaxy of D.D.’s who have been honest enough to eliminate another lie from the English (RSV) Bible, thus bringing their Holy Book yet another step closer to the teachings of Islam. For the Holy Quran says:
“Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah”
One of the most serious of those “grave defects” which the authors of the RSV had tried to rectify concerned the Ascension of Christ. There have been only two references in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and of John to the most stupendous event in Christianity of Jesus being taken up into heaven. These two references were obtained in every Bible in every language, prior to 1952, when the RSV first appeared. These were:
4a. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”
4b. “While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.”
You will be shocked to note that Mark 16 ends at verse 8, and after an embarrassing expanse of blank space the missing verses appear in “small print” as a footnote at the bottom of the page. If you can lay your hands on a RSV 1952, you will find the last six words of 4b above, i.e. “and was carried up into heaven” replaced by a tiny “a” to tell you to see the footnote if you please, where you will find these missing words. Every honest Christian has to admit that he does not consider any footnote in any Bible as the word of God. Why should the paid servants of Christianity consign the mightiest miracle of their religion to a mere footnote?
From the Chart “The Origin and Growth of the English Bible” appearing below, you will note that all the Biblical “Versions” prior to the Revised Version of 1881 were dependent upon the Ancient copies those dating only five or six hundred years after Jesus. The Revisers of the RSV 1952, were the first Bible scholars who were able to tap the “Most Ancient Copies” fully, dating three and four centuries after Christ.
We agree that the closer to the source the more authentic is the document. Naturally “Most” Ancient deserves credence more than mere “Ancient.” But not finding a word about Jesus being “taken up” or “carried up” into heaven in the Most Ancient manuscripts, the Christian fathers expurgated those references from the RSV 1952.
The donkey circus
The above facts are a staggering confession by Christendom that the “inspired” authors of the Canonical Gospels did not record a single word about the Ascension of Jesus- Yet these “inspired” authors were unanimous in recording that their Lord and Saviour rode a donkey into Jerusalem as his mission drew to a close:
– “And they sat him thereon.”
– “And he sat upon him.”
– “And they set Jesus Thereon.”
– “Jesus … sat thereon:”
Could God Almighty have been the author of this incongruous situation going out of His Way to see that all the Gospel writers did not miss their footing recording of His “son’s” donkey-ride into the Holy City and yet “inspiring” them to black-out the news about His “son’s” heavenly flight on the wings of angels?
Not for long!
The hot-gospellers and the Bible-thumpers were too slow in catching the Joke. By the time they realised that the corner-stone of their preaching The Ascension Of Jesus had been undermined as a result of Christian Biblical erudition, the publishers of the RSV had already raked in a net profit of US$15,000,000! (Fifteen Million). The propagandists made a big hue and cry, and with the backing of two denominational committees out of the fifty, forced the Publishers to re-incorporate the interpolations into the “Inspired” Word of God in every new publication of the RSV after 1952, the expunged portion was “Restored To The Text.”
It is an old, old game. The Jews and the Christians have been editing their “Book of God” from its very inception. The difference between them and the ancient forgerers is that the ancient forgers did not know the art of writing “prefaces” and “footnotes”, otherwise they too would have told us as clearly as our modern heroes have about their tampering, and their glib excuses for transmuting forged currency into glittering gold.
“many proposals for modification were submitted to the committee by individuals and by two denominational committees all of these were given careful attention by the committee.
“Two passages, the I longer ending of… and are restored to the text.”
“Why ‘restored’”? Because they had been previously expunged! Why had the references to the Ascension expunged in the first place? The most Ancient manuscripts had no references to the Ascension at all. They were interpolations similar to 1 John 5:7 about the Trinity.
Why eliminate one and re-instate the other? Do not be surprised! By the time you lay your hands on a RSV, the “Committee” might also have decided to expunge the whole of their invaluable Preface. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have already eliminated 27 revealing pages of their Foreword to their “New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures,” (this is their way of saying New Testament). See The Origin Of The New Testament
Allah in the Christian Bible
The Rev. C. I. Scofield, D. D. with a team of 8 Consulting Editors, also all D.D.’s in the “Scofield Reference Bible” thought it appropriate to spell the Hebrew word “Elah” (meaning God) alternatively as “Alah” The Christians had thus swallowed the camel they seemed to have accepted at last that the name of God is Allah but were still straining at the gnat by spelling Allah with one “L”!
References were made in public lectures to this fact by the author of this booklet. Believe me, the subsequent “Scofield Reference Bible” has retained word for word the whole commentary of Genesis 1:1, but has, by a clever sleight-of- hand, blotted out the word “Alah” altogether. There is not even a gap where the word “Alah” once used to be. What Is His Name” . This is in the Bible of the orthodox! One is hard pressed to keep up with their Jugglery.“
Mrs. Ellen G. White, a “prophetess” of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, in her Bible Commentary Vol. 1, page 14, has this confession to make about the fallibility of the “Holy Bible.”
“The bible we read today is the work of many copyists who have in most instances done their work with marvellous accuracy. but copyists have not been infallible, and god most evidently has not seen fit to preserve them altogether from error in transcribing.”
In the following pages of her commentary, Mrs. White testifies further: “I saw that god had especially guarded the bible” (from what?) “yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words, thinking that they were making it plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views, which were governed by tradition.”
The mental malady is a cultivated one. This authoress and her followers can still trumpet from roof tops that “Truly, the Bible is the infallible Word of God.” “Yes, it is adulterated, but pure” “It is human, yet divine.” Do words have any meaning in their language? Yes, they have in their courts of law, but not in their theology. They carry a “poetic license” in their preaching.
The most vociferous of all the Bible-thumpers are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On page 5 of their “Foreword” mentioned earlier, they confess:
“In copying the inspired originals by hand the element of human frailty entered in, and so none of the thousands of copies extant today in the original language are perfect duplicates. the result is that no two copies are exactly alike” Now you see, why the whole “foreword” of 27 pages is eliminated from their Bibles. Allah was making them to hang themselves with their own erudition.
Out of over four thousand differing manuscripts the Christians boast about, the Church fathers just selected four which tallied with their prejudices and called them Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We will deal with each of them in their proper place. Here/ let us go over the conclusion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ research as recorded in the now expunged Foreword:
“The evidence is, therefore, that the original text of the Christian Greek scriptures (New Testament) has been tampered with, the same as the text of the lxx the same as the text of the lxx.
Yet this incorrigible Cult has the effrontery to publish 9,000,000 (Nine Million) copies as a First Edition of a 192 page book entitled “Is the Bible Really the Word of God?” We are dealing here with a sick mentality, for no amount of tampering, as they say, will “Appreciably affect the authenticity of the bible”. This is Christian logic!.
A patient hearing
Dr. Graham Scroggie in his aforementioned book, pleads, on page 29. for the Bible: “And let us be perfectly fair as we pursue the subject (Is the Bible God’s word?). Bearing in mind that we are to hear what the bible has to say about itself. in a court of law we assume that a witness will speak the truth, and must accept what he says unless we have good grounds for suspecting him, or can prove him a liar. surely the bible should be given the same opportunity to be heard, and should receive a like patient hearing.”
The plea is fair and reasonable. We will do exactly as he asks and let the Bible speak for itself. In the first five books of the Bible Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy there are more than 700 statements which prove not only that God is not the Author of these books, but that EVEN Moses himself had no hand in them. Open these books at random and you will see:
– “And the Lord said unto him. Away, get thee down …”
– “And Moses said unto the Lord, the people cannot come …”
– “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people …”
– “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying …”
– “And the Lord said unto Moses, Get down, charge the …”
It is manifest and apparent that these are neither the Words of God nor of Moses. They indicate the voice of a third person writing from hearsay.
Moses writes his own obituary?
Could Moses had been a contributor to his own obituary before his demise? Did the Jews write their own obituaries? “So Moses … died … And he (God Almighty) buried him (Moses) … he was 120 years old when he died … And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses …”
The New Testament
What about the so-called New Testament? because nowhere does the ‘New Testament’ calls itself the New Testament, and nowhere the Old Testament calls itself the Old Testament. And also the word “Bible” is unknown within the pages of the Bible. (God forgot to give a title to ‘His’ books!)
Why does every Gospel begin with the introduction According To … According To … Why “According to?”
Because not a single one of the vaunted four thousand copies extant carries its author’s autograph! Hence the supposition “according to!” Even the internal evidence proves that Matthew was not the author of the first Gospel which bears his name.
“And as Jesus passed forth thence, he (Jesus) saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he (Jesus) saith unto him (Matthew), follow me (Jesus) And he (Matthew) arose, and followed him (Jesus).”
Without any stretch of the imagination, one can see that the “He’s” and the “Him’s” of the above narration do not refer to Jesus or Matthew as its author, but some third person writing what he saw and heard a hearsay account. If we cannot even attribute this “book of dreams” (as the first Gospel is also described) to the disciple Matthew, how can we accept it as the Word of God?
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. See Jesus Christ In Islam
We are not alone in this discovery that Matthew did not write the “Gospel according to St. Matthew” and that it was written by some anonymous hand. J. B. Phillips concurs with us in our findings. He is the paid servant of the Anglican Church, a prebendary of the Chichester Cathedral, England. He would have no reason to lie or betray to the detriment of the official view of his Church! Refer to his introduction to the “Gospel of St. Matthew”.
Phillips has this to say about its authorship:
“Early tradition ascribed this gospel to the apostle Matthew, but scholars nowadays almost all reject this view.” In other words, St. Matthew did not write the Gospel which bears his name. This is the finding of Christian scholars of the highest eminence not of Hindus, Muslims and Jews who may be accused of bias. Let our Anglican friend continue: “The author, whom we still can conveniently call Matthew” “Conveniently” because otherwise every time we made a reference to “Matthew” we would have to say “The first book of The New Testament” Chapter so and so, verse so and so. And again and again “The first book …” etc. Therefore, according to J. B. Phillips it is convenient that we give the book some name.
So why not “Matthew?” Suppose its as good a name as any other! Phillips continues: “The author has plainly drawn on the mysterious ‘Q’ which may have been a collection of oral traditions.” What is this “mysterious ‘Q’?’ ‘Q’ is short for the German word “quella” which means “sources.” There is supposed to be another document a common source to which our present Matthew, Mark and Luke had access. All these three authors, whoever they were, had a common eye on the material at hand. They were writing as if looking through “one” eye. And because they saw eye to eye, the first three “Gospels” came to be known as the Synoptic Gospels.
But what about that “inspiration” business? The Anglican prebendary has hit the nail on the head. He is, more than anyone else, entitled to do so. A paid servant of the Church, an orthodox evangelical Christian, a Bible scholar of repute, having direct access to the “original” Greek manuscripts, let him spell it out for us. (Notice how gently he lets the cat out of the bag): “He (Matthew) has used Mark’s Gospel freely” which in the language of the school- teacher “has been copying wholesale from Mark!” Yet the Christians call this wholesale plagiarism the Word of God?
Does it not make you wonder that an eye-witness and an ear-witness to the ministry of Jesus, which the disciple Matthew was supposed to be, instead of writing his own first hand impressions of the ministry of “his Lord” would go and steal from the writings of a youth (Mark), who was a ten year old lad when Jesus upbraided his nation? Why would an eye-witness and ear-witness copy from a fellow who himself was writing from hearsay? The disciple Matthew would not do any such silly thing. For an anonymous document has been imposed on the fair name of Matthew.
Plagiarism or literary kidnapping
Plagiarism means literary theft. Someone copies ad verbatim (word for word) from another’s writing and palms it off as his own, is known as plagiarism. This is a common trait amongst the 40 or so anonymous authors of the books of the Bible. The Christians boast about a supposedly common cord amongst the writers of the 66 Protestant booklets and the writers of the 73 Roman Catholic booklets called the “Holy Bible.” Some common cord there is, for Matthew and Luke, or whoever they were, had plagiarised 85% word for word from Mark! God Almighty did not dictate the same wordings to the synoptists (one-eyed). The Christians themselves admit this, because they do not believe in a verbal inspiration, as the Muslims do about the Holy Quran. (See “The Quran: The Miracles of Miracles”)
This 85% plagiarism of Matthew and Luke pales into insignificance compared to the literary kidnapping of the authors of the Old Testament where a hundred percent stealing occurs in the so-called Book of God. Christian scholars of the calibre of Bishop Kenneth Cragg euphemistically calls this stealing, “reproduction” and take pride in it.
Dr. Scroggie most enthusiastically quotes in his book Scroggie most enthusiastically quotes in his book (Is the Bible God’s word?) a Dr. Joseph Parker for his unique eulogy of the Bible:
“What a book is the bible in the matter of variety of contents! … whole pages are taken up with obscure names, and more is told of a genealogy than of the day of judgment. stories are half told, and the night falls before we can tell where victory lay. where is there anything” (in the religious literature of the world) “to correspond with this?”
A beautiful necklace of words and phrases undoubtedly! It is much ado about nothing, and rank blasphemy against God Almighty for authorising such an embarrassing hotch potch. Yet the Christians gloat over the very defects of their book, like Romeo over the “mole” on Juliet’s lip!
Nothing less than 100%
To demonstrate the degree of plagiarism practised by the “inspired” Bible writers, I asked my audience during a symposium at the University of Cape Town conducted between myself and Professor Cumpsty the Head of the Department of Theology on the subject “Is the Bible God’s Word?” to open their Bibles.
Some Christians are very fond of carrying their Bibles under their arms when religious discussions or debates take place. They seem to be utterly helpless without this book. At my suggestion a number of the audience began ruffling the pages. I asked them to open chapter 37 in the “Book of Isaiah.” When the audience was ready, I asked them to compare my “Isaiah 37” with their “Isaiah 37” while I read, to see whether they were identical.
I began, readingly slowly. Verses 1, 2, 4,10, 15, and so on, until the end of the chapter. I kept on asking after every verse if what I had been reading, was identical with the verses in their Bibles. Again and again they chorused “Yeh!”, “Yeh!”. At the end of the chapter with the Bible still open in my hands at the place from which I had been reading, I made the Chairman to reveal to the audience that I was not reading from Isaiah 37 at all but from 2 Kings 19! There was a terrible consternation in the audience! I had thus established 100% plagiarism in the “Holy Bible.”
In other words, Isaiah 37 and 2 Kings 19 are identical word for word. Yet they have been attributed to two different authors, centuries apart, whom the Christians claim have been inspired by God.
Who is copying whom? Who is stealing from whom? The 32 renowned Bible scholars of the RSV say that the author of the Book of Kings is “Unknown!” See later on for a reproduction from the RSV by “Collins’”. These notes on the Bible were prepared and edited by the Right Rev. David J. Fant, Litt. D., General Secretary of the New York Bible Society. Naturally, if the Most Reverend gentlemen of Christiandom had an iota of belief about the Bible being the Word of God, they would have said so, but they honestly (shamefacedly?) confess: “Author UNKNOWN!” They are prepared to pay lip service to Scriptures which could have been penned by any Tom, Dick or Harry and expect everyone to regard these as the Word of God Heaven forbid!
II kings 19
“And it came to pass. when king Hezeki’ah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the lord.”
2. “And he sent Eli’akim. which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the ‘elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.”
3. “And they said unto him. Thus saith Hezeki’ah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.”
5. “So the servants of king Hezeki’ah came to Isaiah.”
10. “Thus shall ye speak to Hezeki’ah king of Judah, saying. Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying. Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.”
11. “Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?”
12. “Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Ha-ran. and Rezeph. and the children of Eden which were in Thel’-a-sar?”
14. “And Hezeki’ah received the letter of the hand of the messengers. and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the lord, and spread it before the lord;”
15. “And Hezeki’ah prayed before the lord, and said. O lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cher’-u-bims. thou art the God. even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth, thou hast made heaven and earth.”
36. “So Sennach’erib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nin’eveh.”
37. “And it came to pass. as he was worshipping in the house of Nis’-roch his god, that A-dram’-me-lech and Sha-re’-zer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into – he land of Armenia. And E-sar-had’-don his son reigned in his stead.”
And it came to pass. when king Hezeki’ah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the lord.
2. “And he sent Eli’akim. who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.”
3. “And they said unto him. Thus saith Hezeki’ah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.”
5. “So the servants of king Hezeki’ah came to Isaiah.”
10. “Thus shall ye speak to Hezeki’ah king of Judah. saying. Let not thy God. in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saving, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”
11. “Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shall thou be delivered?”
12. “Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran. and Rezeph. and the children of Eden which were in Telas’sar?”
14. “And Hezeki’ah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: And Hezekiah went up unto the house of the lord, and spread it before the lord.”
15. “And Hezeki’ah prayed unto the lord, saying,”
16. “O lord of hosts. God of Israel. that dwellest between the cher’-u-bims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.”
37. “So Sennach’erib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned. and dwelt at Nin’eveh.”
38. “And it came to pass. as he was worshipping in thc_house of Nis’roch his god, that Adram’melecb and Sharc’zcr his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and E’sarhad’don his son reigned in his stead.”
These verses are culled from the Authorised Version, but you will find the same in every Version. See The Old Testament.
No verbal inspiration
What have Christian scholars to say about the “Book of Isaiah?” They say: “Mainly credited to Isaiah. Parts may have been written by others” In view of the confessions of Bible scholars, we will not take poor Isaiah to task. Can we then nail this plagiarism on the door of God? What blasphemy!
Professor Cumptsy confirmed at question time, at the end of the aforementioned symposium that the “Christians do not believe in a verbal inspiration of the Bible” So God Almighty had not absent-mindedly dictated the same tale twice! Human hands, all too human, had played havoc with this so-called Word of God the Bible. Yet, Bible-thumpers will insist that “every word, comma and full stop of the Bible is God’s Word!”
The acid test
How do we know that a book claimed to be from God is really the Book of God? One of the tests, out of many such tests, is that a Message emanating from an Omniscient Being must be consistent with itself. It ought to be free from all discrepancies and contradictions. This is exactly what the Last Testament, the Book of God says:
“Do they not consider the Quran (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy”.
God or the devil?
If God Almighty wants us to verify the authenticity of His Book (The Holy Quran) with this acid test, why should we not apply the very same test to any other Book claiming to be from Him? We do not want to bamboozle anybody with words as the Christians have been doing. It would be readily agreed from the references, I have given from Christian scholars, that they have been proving to us that the Bible is not the Word of God, yet making us believe that they have actually convinced us to the contrary.
A classic example of this sickness was in evidence again only “yesterday” The Anglican synod was in session in Grahamstown. The Most. Rev. Bill Burnett, the Archbishop was preaching to his flock. He created a confusion in his Anglican community. An erudite Englishman, addressing a group of learned English priests and bishops, in their own mother-tongue English, which his learned colleagues drastically misunderstood: to such an extent that Mr. McMillan, perhaps also an Anglican, the Editor of an English daily “The Natal Mercury” dated December 11, 1979, had this to say about the confusion the Archbishop had created among his own learned clergy:
“Archbishop burnetts remarks at the synod were hardly a model of clarity and were widely and dramatically misinterpreted by many of those present.”
There is nothing wrong with English as a language, but can’t you see that the Christian is trained in muddled thinking in all matters religious. The “bread” in his Holy Communion is not “bread” but “flesh?” The “wine” is “blood?” “Three is one?” and “Human is Divine?” But don’t make a mistake, he is not that simple when dealing with the earthly kingdom, he is then most precise. You will have to be doubly careful when entering into a contract with him! He can have you sold out, without you realising it.
The examples that I shall furnish in substantiating the points I have raised about the contradictions in the so-called Book of God, would be found so easy even for a child to follow and understand. See below.
II Samuel 24: The Numbering
“And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.”
While the author of Samuel 24 above, makes God the boss of the situation, the author of Chronicles below gives credit to the Devil.
I Chronicles 21 The Numbering
“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
Apart from showing allegiance to God as is noted elsewhere, the Devil (Satan) is also given his due. This dichotomy on the part of the author of Chronicles reminds one of the story of the old woman who lit one candle to St. Michael and another to the devil. St. Michael was trampling underfoot, so that whether she went to Heaven or Hell, she would have a friend. This Chronicles fellow, made sure that he had a friend at court Above, as well as a friend at court Below. He wanted to have it both ways, or wanted to have his cake and eat it too.
You will observe that the authors of the books of “Chronicles” and of “Samuel” are telling us the same story about David taking a census of the Jews. Where did David get his “inspiration” to do this novel deed? The author of 2 Samuel 24:1 says that it was the “Lord” God who moved (RSV: “incited”) David, but the author of 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that it was “Satan” who Provoked (RSV: “incited”) David to do such a dastardly thing! How could the Almighty God have been the source of these contradictory “inspirations?” Is it God or is it Satan! In which religion is the devil synonymous with God?
I am not talking about “Satanism” a recent fungus growth of Christianity, in which ex-Christians worship the Devil. Christianity has been most prolific of spawning isms. Atheism, Communism, Fascism, Totalitarianism, Nazism, Mormonism, Moonism, Christian Scientism and now Satanism. What else will Christianity give birth to?
The “Holy Bible” lends itself to all kinds of contradictory interpretations. This is the Christian boast! “Some claim and rightly so, that biblical passages have been continuously misused and misappropriated to justify almost every evil known to man”
Who are the real authors?
As further evidence will be adduced from “Samuel” and “Chronicles” I deem it advisable first to determine their authors instead of suspecting God of those books’ incongruities. The Revisers of the RSV say:
a) Samuel: Author “Unknown” (Just one word)
b) Chronicles: Author “Unknown, probably collected and edited by Ezra.”
We must admire the humility of these Bible scholars, but their “possiblys” “probablys” and “likelys” are always construed as actually’s by their fleeced sheep. Why make poor Ezra or Isaiah the scapegoats for these anonymous writers?
What did the Lord decree 3 years famine or 7 years famine?
II Samuel 24:13
13. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? Or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue, thee?
I Chronicles 21:11
11. So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Choose thee 12. Either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;
If God is the Author of every single word, comma and full-stop in the Bible, as the Christians claim, then is He the Author of the above arithmetical discrepancy as well?
Three or seven?
Note the reproduction of above. Compare both the quotations. 2 Samuel 24:13 tells us — “So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him” These words are repeated word for word in 1 Chronicles 21:11, except the redundant “and told him” is removed! But while trimming the useless phrase, the author also pruned the time factor from “seven” years to “three” years. What did God say to Gad — Three or Seven years plague — “on both your houses?”
Eight or eighteen?
See below. Compare the two quotations. 2 Chronicles 36:9 tells us that Jehoiachin was “eight” years old when he began to reign, while 2 Kings 24:8 says that he was “eighteen” when he began to reign. The “unknown” author of Kings must have reasoned that what possible “evil” could a child of eight do to deserve his abdication, so he generously added ten years to make Jehoiachin mature enough to become liable to God’s wrath. However, he had to balance his tampering, so he cut short his reign by 10 days! Add ten years to age and deduct ten days from rule? Could God Almighty say two widely differing things on the same subject?
How old was Jehoiachin? 8 or 18?
Between Eight and Eighteen years, there is a gap or difference at a full 10 years. Can we say (God forbid!) that the all-knowing Almighty could not count, and thus did not know the difference between 8 and 18? If we are to believe in the Bible as the Word of God, then the Dignity and Status of the Lord Almighty will hit an all-time low!
II Chronicles 36
9. Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
II Kings 24
8. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mothers name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
Cavalry or infantry?
Compare the two quotations on page 40. How many chariot riders did David slay? Seven hundred or seven thousand? And further, did he slay 40000 “horsemen” or 40000 “footmen?” The implication in the conflicting records between 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 is not only that God could not discern the difference between hundreds and thousands, but that He could not even distinguish “cavalry” from “infantry!” It is obvious that blasphemy masquerades in the Christian dictionary as “inspiration!”
700 or 7 000?
It is certainly naught for Bible-lovers’ comfort that a whole nought (0) was either added to 700, or subtracted from 7 000, thus making the confused Biblical Mathematics even more confounded! (The remarks on the Zero will be discussed later in this article).
II Samuel 10
18. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
I Chronicles 19
18. But the Syrians fled before Israel: and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host.
God confused between “cavalry” and “infantry” ?
As for the “inspired writers” of the Bible not knowing the difference between “footmen” and “horsemen,” is all the more serious because God himself here stands accused, as a source of that “inspiration” for not knowing the difference between cavalry and infantry. Or is it possible that the Syrians who fled before Israel were centaurs (i.e. a race of creatures with the body and legs of a horse and the torso, head and arms of a man), is it possible that these “creatures” had suddenly stepped out of Classical Mythology to bemuse the all too gullible authors.
Now, look below and note that the author of 1 Kings 7:26 has counted 2 000 baths in Solomon’s palace, but the author of 2 Chronicles 4:5 increases the kingly count by 50% to 3 000! What extravagance and error in the “Book of God?” Even if God Almighty had nothing else to do, would He occupy Himself “inspiring” such trivial contradictory nonsense to the Jews? Is the Bible God’s Book? Is it the Word of God?
The difference 2000 and 3000 is only 50% exaggeration!
I Kings 7
26. And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths..
II Chronicles 4
5. And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.
Whether it is witting or unwitting, the “inspired” writer’s singular inability to grasp the difference between 2 000 and 3 000 is unforgivable. It is an obvious contradiction. “And no miracle would prove that two and two makes five, or that a circle has four angels; and no miracles, however numerous could remove a contradiction which lies on the surface of the teachings and records of Christianity.”
Before I conclude this series of contradictions, let me give you just one more example. There are hundreds of others in the Bible. See below. It is Solomon again. He really does things in a big way. The ex-Shah of Iran was a nursery kid by comparison! The author of 2 Chronicles 9:25 gives Solomon one thousand more stalls of horses than the number of baths he had given him. “And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses …”
But the author of 1 Kings 4:26 had real kingly thoughts about his royal patron. He multiplied Solomon’s stalls by 1 000% from 4 000 to 40000 stalls of horses! Before some glib evangelist draws the wool over your eyes that the difference is only a nought, a zero “0”; that some scribe or copyist had inadvertently added a zero to 4 000 to make it 40 000, let me tell you that the Jews in the time of Solomon knew nothing about the zero “O”!
It was the Arabs who introduced the zero to the Middle East and to Europe centuries later. The Jews spelt out their figures in words in their literary works and did not write them in numerals. Our Question is Who was the real author of this staggering discrepancy of 36000? Was it God or man? You will find these references and many more allied facts in a very comprehensive book “The Bible Word of God or Word of Man?” by A. S. K. Joommal.
II Chronicles chapter 9
25. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
I Kings chapter 4
26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
The Difference between 4 thousand and 40 thousand is only 36000!
The Jews did not use The “0” (Zero) in the Old Testament.
Most objective testimony
The Christian propagandist is very fond of quoting the following verse as proof that his Bible is the Word of God. “All scripture IS given by inspiration of God, and IS profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 – AV by Scofield)
Note the “IS’s” in capitals. Rev. Scofield is telling us silently that they do not occur in the original Greek. “The New English Bible,” translated by a committee representing the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Congregational Church, the Baptist Union, the Presbyterian Church of England, etc., etc., and the British and Foreign Bible Society has produced the closest translation of the original Greek which deserves to be reproduced here:
“Every inspired scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living.”
II chronicles chapter 9
25. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
I kings chapter 4
26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. The Roman Catholics in their “Douay” Version, are also more faithful to the text than the Protestants in their Authorised Version (AV). They say: “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct …”
We will not quibble with words. Muslims and Christians are agreed that whatever emanates from God, whether through in inspiration or by revelation, must serve one of four purposes:
1. It must either teach us doctrine;
2. Reprove us for our error;
3. Offer us correction;
4. Guide us into righteousness.
I have been asking learned men of Christianity for the past forty years, whether they can supply a fifth “peg” to hang the Word of God on. They have failed signally. That does not mean that I have improved upon their performance. Let us examine the “Holy Bible” with these objective tests.
Not far to seek
The very first book of the Bible – Genesis – provides us with many beautiful examples. Open chapter 38 and read. We are given here the history of Judah, the father of the Jewish race, from whom we derive the names “Judea” and “Judaism.” This patriarch of the Jews got married and God granted him three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah.
When the first-born was big enough, Judah had him married to a lady called Tamar. “But er, Judah’s first-born was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him.’’
Under what heading, from the above four principles of Timothy will you place this sad news? The second – “Reprove” is the answer. Er was wicked so God killed him. A lesson for all, God will destroy us for our wickedness. Reproof!
Continuing with this Jewish history, according to their custom, if a brother died and left no offspring, it was the duty of the other brother to give “seed” to his sisters-in-law so that the deceased’s name might be perpetuated. Judah, in honour of this custom, orders his second son Onan to do his duty. But Jealousy enters his heart. It will be his seed but the name will be his brother’s! So at the critical moment “He spilled it on the ground. .. and the thing he did displeased the Lord: Wherefore he slew him also.”
Again, where does this slaying fit into Timothy’s tests? “Reproof!” is the answer again. No prizes are offered for these easy answers. They are so basic. Do wrong and bear the consequence! Onan is forgotten in the “Book of God,” but Christian sexologists have immortalized him by referring to “coitus interruptus,” as Onanismin their “Books of Sex.”
Now Judah tells his daughter-in-law, Tamar, to return to her father’s house until his third son Shelah attains manhood, when she will be brought back so that he can do his duty.
A woman’s revenge
Shelah grows up and is, perhaps, married to another woman. But Judah had not fulfilled his obligation to Tamar. Deep in his heart he is terrified. He has already lost two sons on account of this “witch,” – “Lest peradventure he (shelah) die also, as his brethren did.”
So Judah conveniently forgets his promise. The aggrieved young lady resolves to take revenge on her father-in-law for depriving her of her “seed” right. Tamar learned that Judah is going to Timnath to sheer his sheep. She plans to get even with him on the way. She forestalls him, and goes and sits in an open place en route to Timnath. When Judah sees her, he thinks she is a harlot because she has covered her face. He comes up to her and proposes “Allow me to come in unto thee; and she said what wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?”
He promises that he would send her a goat kid from his flock. What guarantee could she have that he would send it? What guarantee did she require, Judah queried. “His ring, his bracelet and his staff” is the ready answer. The old man hands these possessions to her, and “came in unto her, and she conceived by him.” Women in Islam vs women in ChristianitySee
The moral lesson
Before we seek the heading from Timothy 3:16, under which to categorize this filthy, dirty story from the “Book of God,” I am tempted to ask, as you would be tempted to ask: what is the moral lesson that our children will learn from Tamar’s sweet revenge?
Of course we do tell our children, fables, not really for their entertainment value, but that through them some moral may be imparted.” The Fox and the Grapes,’’ “The Wolf and the Lamb,’’ “The Dog and his Shadow,” etc. However simple or silly the story, a moral is aimed at.
‘Christian parental dilemmas’
Dr. Vernon Jones, an American psychologist of repute, carried out experiments on groups of schoolchildren to whom certain stories had been told. The heroes of the stories were the same in the case of the different groups of children, but the heroes behaved contradictorily to each group. To one group “St. George,” slaving the dragon emerged a very brave figure, but to another group, fleeing in terror and seeking shelter in his mother’s lap. “these stories made certain slight but permanent changes in character, even in the narrow classroom situation,’’ concluded Dr. Jones.
How much more permanent damage the rapes and murders, incests and beastialities of the “Holy Bible” has done to the children of Christendom, can be measured from reports in our daily newspapers. If such is the source of Western morality, it is no little wonder, then, that Methodists and Roman Catholics have already solemnized marriages between homosexuals in their “Houses of God.” And 8000 “gays” (an euphemistic term for sodomites) parade their “wares” in London’s Hyde Park in July 1979, to the acclaim of the news and TV media.
(Ever since then, the major cities of the Western World; be it London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Paris etc hold annual gay parades (Mardi Gras), with now, public turnouts bringing in children as spectators. Australia prides itself in having Sydney being declared the gay capital of the world.)
You must get that “Holy Bible” and read the whole chapter 38 of Genesis. Mark in “red” the words and phrases deserving this adornment. We had reached verse 18 in our moral (?) lesson – “and she conceived by him.”
Can’t hide for ever
Three months later, as things were bound to turn out, news reached Judah that his daughter-in-law, Tamar, had played the “harlot” and that she was with “child by whoredom and Judah said, bring her forth, and let her be burnt.”
Judah had deliberately spurned her as a “witch” and now he sadistically wants to burn her. But this wiley Jewess was one up on the old man. She sent the “ring,” the “bracelet,” and the “staff’’ with a servant, beseeching her father-in-law to find the culprit responsible for her pregnancy. Judah was in a fix. He confessed that his daughter-in-law was more “Righteous” than himself, and “he knew her again no more.”
It is quite an experience to compare the choice of language in which the different Versions describe the same incident. The Jehovah’s Witnesses in their “New World Translation” translate the last quotation as – “he had no further intercourse with her after that.”
This is not the last we will hear about in the “Book of God” of this Tamar whom the Gospel writers have immortalized in their “Genealogy of their Lord.”
I do not want to bore you with details, but the end verses of Genesis 38 deal with a duel in Tamar’s womb: about the twins struggling for ascendancy. The Jews were very meticulous about recording their “first born” The first born got the lion’s share of their father’s patrimony. Who are the lucky winners in this prenatal race? There are four in this unique contest. They are “Pharez and Zarah of Tamar by Judah.’’ How?
You will see presently. But first, let us have the moral. What is the moral in this episode? You remember Er and Onan: how God destroyed them for their several sins? And the lessons we have learnt in each case was “REPROOF’’ Under what category of Timothy will you place the incest of Judah, and his illegitimate progeny? All these characters are honoured in the “Book of God” for their bastardy. They become the great grandfathers and great grandmothers of the “only begotten son of God’(?) See Matthew 1:3.
In every Version of the Bible, the Christians have varied the spelling of these characters’ names from those obtained in the Old Testament (Genesis chapter 38) with those contained in the New Testament (Matthew chapter 1) to put the reader off the scent. From Pharez in the “Old” to Pares in the “New,’’ and Zarah to Zara and Tamar to Thamar, But what about the moral? God blesses Judah for his incestuous crime! So if you do “evil” (Er), God will slay you; if you spill “seed” (Onan), God will kill you, but a daughter-in- law (Lamat) who vengefully and guilefully collect her father-in-law’s (Judah’s) “seed” is rewarded. Under what category will the Christians place this “honour” in the “Book of God?” Where does it fit? Is it Your …
1. Doctrine? 2. Reproof? 3. Correction? or 4. Instruction into Righteousness?
Ask him who comes and knocks at your door – that professional preacher, that hot-gospeller, that Bible-thumper. Here, he deserves a prize if he can grant an explanation for the correct answer. There is none born who can justify this filth, this pornography under any of the above headings. But a heading has to be given. It can only be recorded under – “Pornography!”
Ban the book!
George Bernard Shaw said that the Bible is “The most dangerous book on Earth, keep it under lock and key.” Keep the Bible out of your children’s reach. But who will follow his advice? He was not a “B.A., (“B.A.” short for “born again” it is a new sickness. It destroyed the “Suicide Cult” of Rev. Jim Jones, in Jonestown, Guyana.) a “reborn” Christian.
According to the high moral scruples of the Christian rulers of South African, who have banned the book, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,’’ because of a “tetragrammaton” – a four-letter word, they would most assuredly have placed a ban on the “Holy Bible” if it had been a Hindu religious Book, or a Muslim religious Book. But they are utterly helpless against their own “Holy Book,” their “Salvation” depends upon it!
“Reading Bible stories to children can also open up all sorts of opportunities to discuss the morality of sex. An unexpurgated Bible might get an X-rating from some censors,”
Daughters seduce their father
Read Genesis 19, verses 30 to the end and mark again in “red” the words and phrases deserving this honour. Do not hesitate and procrastinate. Your “coloured” Bible will become a priceless heirloom for your children. The “history” has it that, night after night, the daughters of Lot seduce their drunken father with the noble (?) motive of preserving their father’s “seed.” “Seed” figures very prominently in this “Holy Book”:
Forty seven times in the little booklet of Genesis alone! Out of this another incestuous relationship come the “Ammonites” and the “Moabites,” for whom the God of Israel was supposed to have had a special compassion. Later on in the Bible we learn that the Jews are ordered by the same compassionate God to slaughter the Philistines mercilessly – men, women and children. Even trees and animals are not to be spared, but the Amonites and the Moabites are not to be “distressed” or “meddled” with because they are the seed of Lot!
No decent reader can read the seduction of Lot to his mother, sister or daughter, not even to his fiancee if she is a chaste and moral woman. Yet you will come across perverted people who will gorge this filth. Tastes can be cultivated!
Read again and mark Ezekiel 23. You will know what colour to choose. The “whoredoms” of the two sisters, Aholah and Aholibah. The sexual details here puts to shame even the unexpurgated edition of many banned books. Ask your “born again” Christian visitors, under what category will they classify all this lewdness? Such filth certainly has no place in any “Book of God.”
Al-Haj A.D. Ajijola in his book – “The Myth of the Cross” gives a masterly expose of the fallacy of the Bible as well as of the crucifixion, in short, of the whole of Christianity. No student of comparative religion can afford to be without this publication and “The Bible: Word of God or Word of Man?”.
The genealogy of Jesus
Watch now how the Christian fathers have foisted the incestuous progenies of the Old Testament upon their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the New Testament. For a man who had no genealogy, they have manufactured one for him. And what a genealogy! Six adulterers and offsprings of incest are imposed upon this holy man of God. Men and women deserving to be stoned to death according to God’s own law, as revealed through Moses, and further to be ostracised and debarred from the House of God for generations.
Why should God give a “father” (Joseph) to His “son” (Jesus)? And why such an ignoble ancestry? “This is the whole beauty of it” says the pervert. “God loved the sinners so much that he disdaineth not to give such progenitors for His ‘son’”.
Only two commissioned
Of the four Gospel writers, God “inspired” only two of them to record the genealogy of His “son.” To make it easy for you to compare the “fathers and grandfathers” of Jesus Christ in both the “inspired” lists, I have culled the names only, minus the verbiage. Between David and Jesus, God “inspired” Matthew to record only 26 ancestors for His “son.” But Luke, also “inspired,” gathered up 41 forefathers for Jesus. The only name common to these two lists between David and Jesus is Joseph and that, too, a “supposed” father according to
This one name is glaring. You need no fine-tooth comb to catch him. It is Joseph the carpenter. You will also easily observe that the lists are grossly contradictory. Could both the lists have emanated from the same source, i.e. God?
Matthew and Luke are over-zealous in making David the King, the prime ancestor of Jesus, because of that false notion that Jesus was to sit on the “throne of his father David”
The Gospels belie this prophecy, for they tell us that instead of Jesus sitting on his father’s (David’s) throne, it was Pontious Pilate, a Roman Governor, a pagan who sat on that very throne and condemned its rightful (?) heir (Jesus) to death. “Never mind,’’ says the evangelist, “if not in his first coming, then in his second coming he will fulfill this prophecy and three hundred others beside” But with their extravagant enthusiasm to trace the ancestry of Jesus physically to David, (for this is actually what the Bible says – that of the fruit of his (David’s) Loins, according to the flesh” (literally, not metaphorically Acts 2:30), both the “inspired” authors trip and fall on the very first step.
Matthew 1:6 says that Jesus was the son of David through Solomon, but Luke 3:31 says that he (Jesus) was the son of David through Nathan. One need not be a gynecologist to tell that by no stretch of the imagination could the seed of David reach the mother of Jesus both through Solomon and Nathan at the same time! We know that both the authors are confounded liars, because Jesus was conceived miraculously, without any male intervention. Even if we concede a physical ancestry through David, both authors would still be proved liars for the obvious reason.
As simple as the above logic is, the Christian is so emotionally involved that it will not penetrate his prejudiced mind. Let us give him an identical example, but one where he can afford to be objective.
We know from history that Muhammed the Prophet of Islam, was the son of Abraham through Ishmael, so if some “inspired” writer came along and tried to palm off his “revelation” to the effect that Muhummed was the son of Abraham through Isaac, we would, without any hesitation, brand such a writer as a liar, because the seed of Abraham could never reach Amina (Muhummed’s mother) through Ishmael and through Isaac at the same time! The differences of lineage between these two sons of Abraham is the difference between the Jews and the Arabs.
In the case of Muhummed, we would know then that anyone who says that Isaac is his progenitor, was a liar. But in the case of Jesus both Matthew and Luke are suspect. Until the Christians decide which line of ancestors they prefer for their “god,” both Gospels will have to be rejected. Christendom has been battling tooth and nail with these genealogies for the past 2000 years, trying to unravel the mystery. They have not given up yet. We admire their perseverance. They still believe that “time will solve the problem.” Perhaps another 2000 years?!
“There are claimed contradictions that theologians have not resolved to every atheist’s satisfaction. There are textual difficulties with which scholars are still wrestling. Only a bible illiterate would deny these and other problems”
The source of Luke’s inspiration
We have already nailed 85% of Matthew and Luke to Mark or that “mysterious ‘Q’’’. Let us now allow Luke to tell us who inspired him to tell his “most excellent Theophilus” the story of Jesus. He tells us plainly that he was only following in the footsteps of others who were less qualified than himself, others who had the temerity to write accounts of his hero (Jesus). As a physician, as against fishermen and tax collectors, he was no doubt better equipped to create a literary masterpiece. This he did, because “It seemed good to me also” to “put in order.” These are his prominent Justifications over his predecessors.
1. For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us;
2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word;
3. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus;
4. That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou has been instructed.
In the introduction to his translation of the “Gospel of St Luke” A Christian scholar, J. B. Phillips, has this to say – “on his own admission Luke has carefully compared and edited existing material, but it would seem that he had access to a good deal of additional material, and we can reasonably guess at some of the sources from which he drew.” And yet you call this the Word of God?!
Obtain “The Gospels in Modern English” in soft cover by ‘Fontana publications. It is a cheap edition. Get it quickly before the Christians decide to have Phillips’ invaluable notes expunged from his translation! And do not be surprised if the authors of the RSV also decide to eliminate the “Preface” from their translation. It is an old, old habit. As soon as those who have vested interests in Christianity realize that they have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag, they quickly make amends. They make my current references “past” history overnight!
The remaining Gospel
Who is the author of The Gospel of St. John? Neither God nor St. John! See what he says about it himself on page 58 – John 19:35 and 21:24-25. Who is his “he” and “his” and “this?” A-N-D, his “we know” and “I suppose.” Could it be the fickle one who left him in the lurch in the garden, when he was most in need, or the fourteenth man at the table, at the “last Super,” the one that “Jesus loved?” Both were Johns. It was a popular name among the Jews in the times of Jesus, and among Christians even now. Neither of these two was the author of this Gospel. That it was the product of an anonymous hand, is crystal clear.
Watch the pronouns!
St. John 19:35. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. Who is “he” and “his”?
St. John 21:24. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. Who is “we”?
Authors in a nutshell
Let me conclude this “authorship” search with the verdict of those 32 scholars, backed by their 50 co-operating denominations. God had been eliminated from this authorship race long ago. In the RSV by “Collins,” invaluable notes on “The Books of the Bible” are to be found at the back of their production. I am reproducing only a bit of that information on below. We start with “Genesis” – the first book of the Bible. The scholars say about its “Author”: “One of the ‘five books of Moses’.” Note the words “five books of Moses” are written in inverted commas – “ “ This is a subtle way of admitting that this is what people say – that it is the book of Moses, that Moses was its author, but we (the 32 scholars) who are better informed, do not subscribe to that tittle-tattel.
The next four books, “Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy”: Author? “Generally credited to Moses.” This is the same category as the book of Genesis.
– Who is the author of the book of ‘Judges’? “Possibly Samuel.”
– Who is the author of the book of ‘Joshua’? “Major part credited to Joshua.”
– Who is the author of ‘Ruth’? “Not definitely known”
And Who Is The Author Of:
|1st Samuel?||Author is “unknown”|
|2st Samuel?||Author is “unknown”|
|1st king?||Author is “unknown”|
|2st king?||Author is “unknown”|
|1st chronicles?||Author is “unknown probably…”|
|2st chronicles?||Author is “likely collected…”|
|Bible’s Books||The author is:|
|Genesis||One of the “five books of Moses.”|
|Exodus||Generally credited to Moses.|
|Leviticus||Generally credited to Moses|
|Numbers||Generally credited to Moses|
|Deuteronomy||Generally credited to Moses|
|Joshua||Major part credited to joshua|
|Ruth||Not definitely known, perhaps Samuel|
|First chronicles||Unknown, probably edited by Ezra|
|Second chronicles||Is likely collected and edited by Ezra|
|Ezra||Probably written or edited by Ezra|
|Psalms||Principally David, though there are other writers|
|Ecclesiastes||Doubtful, but commonly assigned to Solomon|
|Isaiah||Mainly credited to Isaiah. or written by others|
|Habakkuk||Nothing known of the place or time of his birth|
|The Above Facts Are From Collins’ R.S.V. 1971. Pages 12-17|
And so the story goes. The authors of these anonymous books are either “UNKNOWN” or are “PROBABLY” or “LIKELY” or are of “DOUBTFUL” origin. Why blame God for this fiasco?
The Long-suffering and Merciful God did not wait for two thousand years for Bible scholars to tell us that He was not the Author of Jewish peccadilloes, prides and prejudices; of their lusts, wranglings, jealousies and enormities. He said it openly what they do:
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: This is from Allah, to traffic with it for miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.”
Note: (“The Bible” – “The World’s Best Seller!” the Publishers of the RSV made a net profit of 15 000 000 dollars on the first edition alone’ “What a miserable price in exchange for eternity!”)
We could have started the thesis of this book with the above Quranic verse and ended with it, with the satisfaction that God Almighty had Himself delivered His verdict on the subject – “Is the Bible God’s Word?”, but we wished to afford our Christian brethren an opportunity to study the subject as objectively as they wished. (See Dr Scroggie’s plea in chapter 5.) Allowing believing Christians, “reborn” Christians, and their own Holy Book the Bible to testify against their “better” judgement.
What about the Holy Quran? Is the Quran the Word of God? The author of this humble publication has endeavoured to answer this question in a most scientific manner in his book “The Quran – The Miracle of Miracles”. Also see The Amazing Quran by Dr Gary Miller.
The reader must by now be convinced, that is if he has an open mind, that the Bible is not what it is claimed to be by the protagonists of Christianity. For nearly four decades people have asked me as to how I have such an “in depth” knowledge of the Bible and Christianity.
Frankly speaking my present position as a Muslim “expert” on Judaism and Christianity is not of my own volition. I have been forced into being what I am.
It was in 1939 when I was working as a shop assistant at Adams Mission near a Christian seminary by that name; producing preachers and priests, that I and my fellow Muslim workers were the target of young aspiring men of the cloth. Not a day passed when these young Christians did not harass me or my brothers-in-faith, through insults which they piled on Islam, the Holy Prophet and the Quran.
Being a sensitive young man of 20, I spent sleepless nights in tears for not being able to defend the one dearer to me than my own life, that mercy unto all mankind – Muhammad I resolved to study the Quran, the Bible and other literature. My discovery of the book – “Izharul Haq” was the turning point in my life. After a short while I was able to invite the trainee missionaries of Adams Mission College and cause them to perspire under the collar until they developed a respect for Islam and its Holy Apostle.
Muslims under constant attack
It made me ponder as to how so many unwary Muslims are being constantly assaulted by Christian evangelists who carry out a door to door campaign, and being invited in by the proverbially hospitable Muslim, I thought of how the merciless missionary munched the samoosas and punched the wind out of the Muslim with snide remarks against his beliefs.
Determined to bring home to the Muslims their right to defend themselves and to arm them with enough knowledge to counter the hot gospeller, the door to door pedlar of Christianity and the shameless insulter of Islam and its Holy Apostle; I humbly undertook to deliver lectures to show the Muslim masses that they had nothing to fear from the assaults of the Christians. My lectures were also an invitation to the Christians to witness the truth of Islam and the fabrications which had penetrated the true teachings of Jesus.
Attack is not new
Christian Missionaries in the past hundred years and more have challenged Muslims on many aspects and quite a number of these challenges have, to my knowledge, gone answered or have been partly answered. Perhaps by the will of Allah my contribution in this field can also be answers or part answers to the challenges of the detractors of Islam. It is of supreme importance that we do not go by default.
One such challenge comes to mind viz. Geo G. Harris the author of “How to lead Muslims to Christ”. This missionary who tried to convert the Muslims of China says in the usual arrogant and condecending manner of the Westerner on page 19 under the heading – “The theory or charge of corruption.”
“we now come to the most serious charge by the Moslem world, against our Christian Scriptures. There are three aspects of this charge.
1. That the Christian scriptures have been so changed and altered that they bear little, if any, resemblance to the glorious Gospel praised in the Quran. This can be answered by the asking of one of the following questions: Wherein have these been so changed or altered? Can you obtain a copy of a true Gospel and show it that I may compare it with mine? At what date in past history was the unaltered Gospel in circulation?
2. That our Gospels have suffered corruption. The following five questions are definite and we have a perfect right to ask them;
a) Was such corruption or alteration intentional?
b) Can you point out in my Bible one such passage?
c) How did this passage read originally?
d) When, by whom, how or why was it corrupted or altered?
e) Was such, corruption of the text or of the meaning?
3. That our Gospels are “faked” substitutes for the original Gospel. Or that our Gospels are the handiwork of men, not the Noble Gospel which descended upon Jesus. A little questioning will usually reveal the true situation, that usually the Moslem making the charge is woefully ignorant of the Bible or New Testament as it actually existed in the past or exists today.
Before going on to the latter half of this discussion, a reminder is important that as soon as the objector is willing to sense the flimsiness of such a charge we should press home some teaching from our scriptures, that our effort may be positive and not negative.
Have Muslims the answer?
Have we as Muslims no answers for these questions? If you, gentle reader have read this book you will admit that Ceo G. Harris has no feet to stand on. I have been able to give actual pages from the Bible to disprove his assertions.
On page 16 of Geo G. Harris’ book he teaches his comrades a basic missionary rule in order to corner the Muslim prospective:
“In this chapter it is assumed that the question of the authenticity and genuineness of our scriptures has been raised by the Mohammedan. When this is the case, before we undertake defence of our position we should bear in mind a basic rule. “the burden of proof rests with the Moslem.”
Muhammad the Natural Successor to Christ
Successions are of many kinds like the birth right of the “first-born” as in Jewish law. Or the ascending of the eldest son or daughter to the kingly throne. Or by election, to select a candidate by the vote of the majority. Or Theologically, an appointment by Divine Decree of God’s chosen Messengers. Like the call of Abraham, Moses, Jesus or Muhammad who were appointed or “annointed” (“Annointed:” or appointed; Hebrew word “Messiah.”) in consecration to their office.
Muhammad’s Succession To Jesus Christ Is Multi-Faceted
1. Chronologically, in history as a sequence of event in time.
2. By being Chosen (“Chosen:” in Arabic it means Mustafa. A title of the Prophet of Islam.) by God.
3. In the fulfilment of the prophecies of his predecessors, and last but not least…
4. By bringing the Guidance of God to perfection – “For he will guide you into all Truth.” (said, Jesus Christ)
The Holy Prophet Moses preceded Jesus Christ by some 1300 years and Muhammad succeeded to that high office vacated by Jesus some six centuries later.
It was the 12th of Rabi I., in the year of the Elephant, or the 29th of August 570 of the Christian Era that Muhammad the Praiseworthy, on whom all praise is due, was born in the sacred city of Mecca in pagan Arabia. His people the Quraish remembered the year of his birth as the “Era of the Elephant”, because just two months before the birth of the child Abraha al-Ashram, the Abyssinian viceroy of Yemen had attacked the sacred sanctuary at Mecca at the head of his troops, riding a huge African elephant. A terrifying sight never to be erased from their memory and a still more shocking end to the invasion – the miraculous destruction of Abraha and his army as recorded in the Quran:
1. Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephant?
2. Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray?
3. And He sent against them flights of Birds,
4. Striking them with stones of baked clay.
5. Then did He make them like an empty field of stalks and straw, (of which the corn) has been eaten up.
God’s own standards
God Almighty chooses His Own Messengers. He uses His Own Standards although we may not always understand the wisdom of it. Paul cries the anomaly – “For the Jews require a sign (miracles to convince) and the Greeks seek after wisdom:”
But worldly wise as Paul was, he found that his wisdom was “a sturnbling-block” to the Jews and “foolishness” to the Greeks.
God chose Moses a man who was a fugitive from justice and a stutterer. The Holy Bible calls him a man with “uncircumcised lips.”.
Despite his difficulties when commissioned to confront Pharaoh, the greatest tyrant of the age, Moses cries out to the God of Mercy –
“Moses said: O my Lord! expand me my breast; ease my task for me; and remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say: And give me a Minister from my family, Aaron, my brother; add to my strength through him and make him share my task: That we may celebrate Thy praise without stint, and remember Thee without stint. For Thou art He that (ever) regardeth us. Allah said: “Granted is thy prayer, O Moses!”
Then comes Jesus who was chosen by God. According to Christian teachings, he was a carpenter and the son of a carpenter, with a dubious genealogy as recorded in the Gospels “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was Supposed) (The words you see here in brackets are the exact replica from the King James and the Roman Catholic Versions of the phrase “(as was Supposed)” brackets and all.) the son of Joseph”
Acknowledged today by a thousand million Muslims that Jesus Christ was born miraculously without any male intervention; the followers of Christ created two separate genealogies for a man who had no genealogy. Between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke they give this mighty Messenger of God sixty-six fathers and grandfathers. And of these two separate lists only one name is common to these two lists and that is of Joseph the Carpenter, who does not fit in anywhere because, as Luke records above, he was only the “Supposed” father of Jesus. (read, “Is the Bible God’s Word?”)
Even bishops doubt
In a “Shock Survey of Anglican Bishops” in June 1984 it was revealed that 31 of their 39 Bishops thought that “Christ’s miracles, the virgin birth and the resurrection might not have happened exactly as described in the Bible.”
In deference to the Bishops of the Church of England (the “Anglicans”) the Church of Scotland most respectfully omitted any reference to the “Virgin Birth” from its most recent publication “A statement of faith.” The topic of the miraculous conception of Jesus is getting increasingly hotter for Western Christianity to handle.
Jesus Christ though spiritually rich in wisdom, light and truth; philosophised light-heartedly about the beggars of the world, when he said “There came unto him (Jesus) a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head”
“But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, to what purpose is this waste?”
“For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.”
“he (Jesus) said unto them … For ye have the poor always with you, but (poor) me ye have not always.”
But when destitution stared him in the face. When poverty, penury and need touched his own dear self; he cried pathetically:
“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of man (referring to himself) hath not where to lay his head.”
And yet God chose him (Jesus): “Unique and inscrutable are Thy ways O Lord!”
Mustafa ‘the chosen one’
“It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, – although they had been, before, in manifest error;” .
Amazing as it may seem, I am not amazed anymore! For this is His way – He chooses an Ummi (Ummi: “Unlettered.” “One other circumstance we must not forget: that he had no school- learning; of the thing we call school-learning; none at all.” Thomas Carlyle) non-literate Prophet for an Ummi illiterate nation.
“A poor shepherd people, roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the World: A hero Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe: See, the unnoticed becomes world notable, the small has grown world-great; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Grenada (Spain) on this hand, at Delhi (India) on that; – glancing in valour and splendor and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the World. Belief is great, life-giving. The history of a nation becomes fruitful, soul elevating, great, so soon as it believes. These Arabs, the man Mahomet, and that one century, – is it not as if a spark had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black unnoticeable sand; but lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven high from Delhi to Grenada! I said, the great man was always as lightning out of heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel and then they too would flame.”
Thus concluded the speech of Thomas Carlyle, one of the greatest thinkers of the past century. It was Friday, the 8th of May 1840. His theme – “The Hero as Prophet.” His audience: were Anglicans – English Christians.
The chosen people
God chooses His Messengers and God chooses His People. In the realm of the Spirit no nation was as favoured as the Jews and yet Moses is made to bewail against his own people – “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day I knew you.”
In this last will and testament of Moses the Israelites frustrate their “meek and gentle” Messenger who is forced to rail against their continual stubborn resistance and arrogant attitudes to God’s guidance “For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the lord; and how much more after my death?”
Alas how true! I am not going to philosophise on God’s choice. But in the very next chapter the fire of God’s anger is kindled to a blaze and He decries the Jews – “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they (the Jews) have provoked me to anger with their vanities: “And I will move them to jealousy with those which are Not A People; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish Nation.”
Anyone with a modicum of Scriptural knowledge will be able to guess who in the eyes of these arrogant, racist Jews is “not-a-people” – a non-entity and “a foolish nation” if not their Ishmaelite cousins – the Arabs who in the words of Thomas Carlyle have been “roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world.”!?
Alexander the Great passed them by; the Persians passed them by; the Egyptians passed them by; and the Romans passed them by. It would have been an absolute liability for any nation to conquer and subdue them. But the Creator did not pass them by. He picked them up from the depths of darkness and transformed them into torch-bearers of light and learning to the world. “I will move them (the Jews) to jealousy.” (If the Romans or the Greeks had displaced the Jews as the “Chosen of God” then the envy would not have been as acute or as intolerable to the Jews.) This jealousy is a cultivated sickness. Remember, Sarah and Hagar the two wives of Abraham, the Friend of God? The jealousy of Sarah was bequeathed to her children and on to nations and tribes yet unborn.
Not so long ago I read a book on the discovery of medicine written by a Jewish medical man. I can unfortunately not remember the name of the author and failed to retrace the book. However, the wordings of the tribute paid by this Jewish author to his Semitic (Arab) cousins have made an indelible impression on my mind. And I quote from memory: “goatherds and camel drivers sitting on the throne of the Caesars.”
Full of spite, venom and sarcasm, but how true! This is what God did and always does. He honours whom He wills. This is what He does to show His Mighty Hand (Power)!
“If ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!”
“It is surely one of the greatest miracles of history that from the backwater of Arabia there should have exploded a group of men, companions of a prophet, who within the space of a few brief decades were able to create a magnificent civilisation extending from the pyrenees to the gates of China.”
The last warning
The foregoing is the exact fulfilment of Jesus Christ’s, (the last of the great Jewish prophets) own prediction of the displacement of the Jewish race in the spiritual guidance of man. In the words of the Master himself “Therefore say I unto you (Jews), The kingdom of God (“Kingdom of God:” The honour, the privilege of being God’s chosen people to guide mankind – “Ye (Jews) shall be unto me (God) a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.”
This grand commission ended with Jesus “shall be taken from you (Jews), and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
In the words of the master. Just one full prophecy – This article only expounds a single prophecy from the New Testament. Read:
“What the Bible says about Muhammad” for prophecies from the Old Testament-.
A common trait
Just a cursory glance, a rapid reading, a hurried look at the previous verse will satisfy the Muslim that Jesus Christ did indeed prophesy the advent of Muhammad, the Messenger of God. The Muslim is puzzled at the stubbornness, vanity and tunnel vision of the Christian which prevents him from seeing his own inner light and listening to his conscience so as not to recognise the obvious.
The Christian in turn is puzzled at the hard-hearted obstinacy of the Jews, a nation endowed with such creative genius, which, despite a thousand and one prophecies in their own Bible (the Old Testament) regarding the coming of the “Messiah,” are totally incapable of recognising their lord and “saviour.” Are they both somewhat blind?
No! Neither the Jews nor the Christians are necessarily impervious to truth. The trouble is that we all pick up our prejudices from childhood. The Americans call it being “programmed.”
Produce your proof!
Perhaps this is not the first time you are reading or might have heard about the prophecies in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures regarding the advent of the last and final Messenger of God – Muhammad the Mercy unto all mankind. And perhaps you have at times made some half-hearted and skimpy efforts at suggesting that Muhammad was prophecised in the Holy Bible. But when proof was demanded, you simply not able to, because you had not done any home work.
‘Al-moouzzi’ the comforter
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
We are told in the Quran that Jesus Christ had told his disciples “and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.”
Remember, that in the sixth century of the Christian Era, when Muhammad was chanting God’s words which was systematically “put into his mouth,” the Arabic Bible had not yet been translated. He could never have known that he was fulfilling and confirming the utterances of his predecessor (Jesus) to the letter.
Only for the Israelites
1. Jesus for Jews only. “And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you,”
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, (non-Jews) and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to The Lost Sheep Of The House of Israel.”
“And behold a woman of Canaan (Mark 7:26 says that the woman was a Greek.) came … and cried unto him saying, Have mercy on me … my daughter is seriously possessed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, Send her away: for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But she came and knelt before him, saying, Lord, help me.
But he answered and said, it is not fair to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs (Meaning non-Jews.)”.
It goes to the credit of this Jewish prophet, that he practised what he preached. In his lifetime he never converted a single Gentile (non-Jew). And of his hand-picked elect (his twelve disciples), he made sure that they belonged to his tribe so that his other prophecy might find fulfilment: “when the son of man (Jesus referring to himself) shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye (the disciples) also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”
No new religion
“confirming the Law (in Heb. Torah), (which came) before me”
The Messiah was no mealy-mouthed Messenger among the Jews. Like his predecessors Amos and Ezekiel or Isaiah and Jeremiah, he was trenchant in his condemnation of Jewish formalism and hypocrisies. His novel approach and militant preaching had created certain misgivings amongst the religious hierarchy. The Scribes and the Pharisees came to him again and again to test him as to his bona fides.
To allay their suspicions that he had brought no new fangled religion, and that his was the confirmation of all the teachings that had gone before him. He says “Think not that I am come to destroy the law (Hebrew – Torah), or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Torah), till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Compare this phrase “confirming the Law (which came) before me, with the three verses of Matthew above, and you will not fail to note that there is no wordiness in the Quranic diction. It conveys God’s Message concisely, with clarity and precision.
“The Father of truth chooses His own prophets, and he speaks to them in a voice stronger than the voice of thunder.”
The use of the word “Father” in relation to God was cut out from Islam owing to the perversion of the idea among the Christians.
The Quran had come to Confirm, Correct and Complete Divine Revelation, or whatever was left of it in unworthy hands: “This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the worlds.”
The good news
“and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.”
I will not apologise, nor am I called upon to apologise for reproducing here verbatim (a word for word) commentary on the word “Ahmed,” from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translation. But before I do that permit me to pay a fitting tribute to the King Fahd Quran Printing Complex in Al-Madina city which is turning out millions of Qurans in many different languages. Their reason for using Yusuf Ali as a base for their reproduction is summed up in these words:
“A number of individuals have in the past ventured to translate the Quran, but their works have generally been private attempts, greatly influenced by their own prejudices. in order to produce a reliable translation free from personal bias, a royal decree (No. 19888, dated 16/8/1400 AH) was issued by the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz, at that time the deputy prime minister … the translation of the late Abdullah Yusuf Ali was consequently chosen for its distinguishing characteristics, such as a highly elegant style, a choice of words close to the meaning of the original text, accompanied by scholarly notes and commentaries.”
Out of over six thousand profound explanatory notes in Yusuf Ali’s translation, the following is just one of three explaining the prophecy in the words of Jesus regarding the advent of Muhammad the Messenger of God:
Note No: 5438:
“Ahmed”, or “Muhummed”, the Praised One, is almost a translation of the Greek word Periclytos. In the present Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7, the word “Comforter” in the English version for the Greek word “Paracletos”, which means “Advocate”, “one called to the help of another, a kind friend”, rather than “Comforter”. Our doctors contend that Paracletos is a corrupt reading for Periclytos, and that in the original saying of Jesus there was a prophecy of our holy Prophet Ahmed by name. Even if we read Paraclete, it would imply to the Holy Prophet, who is “a Mercy for all creatures” (Quran 21:107) and “most kind and merciful to the Believers”
”But when he came to them with clear signs, they said: this is evident sorcery!”
Thus concludes verse 6 of chapter 61 under discussion. “The Prophet of Islam was foretold in many ways; and when he came he showed forth many Clear Signs, for his whole life from beginning to end was one vast miracle. He fought and won against odds. Without learning from men he taught the highest wisdom. He melted hearts that were hard, and he strengthened hearts that were tender and required support. In all his sayings and doings men of discernment could see the working of God’s hand;” yet the sceptics called it sorcery – jugglery – magic!
“Forger and juggler! no, no! this great fiery heart, seething, simmering like a great furnace of thoughts, was not a juggler’s.”
And they called his miraculous fulfilment of prophecy magic, jugglery, enchantment – that which became the most solid fact of human history – Islam!
Muhummed is the ‘Paraclete’
To the sincere seekers of truth it is obvious that Muhammad is the promised Paraclete or Comforter, alternatively called Helper, Advocate, Counsellor, etc of the prophecies of Jesus in the Gospel of St. John. There are millions of Christians – men and women who are hungry for this simple straightforward Message. But alas, we can only weep with Jesus for our utter ineptitude “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the workers are few.”
Language of Jesus In the Holy Quran God Almighty puts the name “Ahmed” which is another name for Muhummed in the mouth of Jesus. The Christian controversialist, Bible-thumper, Hot-Gospeller flippantly scoffs at the suggestion. The Christian missionary does not deny that Jesus did make a prophecy about someone coming after him. But “Ahmed” to him seems too far fectched.
The most commonly accepted name by Christendom is “Comforter.” It does not really matter. Comforter or any other equivalent term will do. We will settle for Comforter as used in the most popular Bible Translation the “King James Version”.
Ask your adversary, your disputant whether Jesus spoke the English language? ‘Most definitely not!’ any Christian will say. If you are sharing this with an Arab Christian then you can ask him whether his ‘lord’ used the word ‘Moouzzi’? (John 16:7 in Arabic) Surely not, because Arabic was not his language. Did Jesus prophesy ‘uMthokozisi’? (Comforter in Zulu) or ‘Trooster’ from the Afrikaans Bible? The answer again is a definite NO!
The Christians are rightfully boasting that they now have translated the complete Bible into hundreds of different languages, and the New Testament (in which this prophecy abounds) into more than two thousand different languages and dialects. So the Christian genius has invented more than 2000 different names in 2000 different languages for this one candidate – Comforter!
Pneuma: Ghost or spirit?
The Church fathers had developed a sickness by translating names of people, for which they had no right to do. For example like Esau to Jesus, Messiah to Christ, Cephas to Peter and so on. The closest one can ever get to the original utterance of Jesus in the Christian Scriptures is the Greek word “Paracletos,” which also has to be rejected because the Master did not speak Greek! But let’s not be difficult for the purpose of this discussion and accept the Greek word Paracletos and its English equivalent Comforter.
Ask any learned Christian man as to who the Comforter is? You will unmistakenly hear – “The Comforter is the Holy Ghost!” from John 14:26. This sentence is only part of verse twenty six. We will deal with the verse fully in due course. But first we must educate the Christian mind with regards to this misnomer – “Holy Ghost.” “Pneuma,” is the Greek root word for Spirit. There is no separate word for Ghost in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, and the Christians now boast 24,000 different manuscripts in their possession of which no two are identical!
The editors of the KJV (The King James Version) alternatively called AV (The Authorised Version) and the Douay (The Roman Catholic Version) of the Bibles gave preference to the word “Ghost” instead of the word Spirit when translating “pneuma.” The revisers of the RSV (Revised Standard Version), the most up-to-date version of the Bible, are going back, as claimed, to the Most Ancient manuscripts. These revisers, described as “thirty-two scholars of the highest eminence, backed by fifty co-operating denominations,” who courageously replaced the shady word “Ghost” with the word “Spirit.” Hence from now on you will read in all modern translations – “The Comforter which is the Holy Spirit”! However, the Christian crusaders and the televangelists stubbornly cling to the spooky (“Ghost”-ly) past. They will not opt for the Newer Versions. It’s better fishing with the old bait – the KJV and the RCV (Roman Catholic Version).
With the new change in Spirit, the verse under scrutiny will read: “But the Comforter, Which Is The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
You do not have to be a Bible scholar of any calibre to sense that the expression “which is the Holy Spirit” is actually an interpolation. It ought to be in parenthesis, in brackets, like my words which have been interpolated in the quotation. Although the editors of the RSV have expunged dozens of interpolations from their boasted Revised Standard Version, they have retained this jarring phrase which contradicts other explicit predictions of Jesus on the subject of the Comforter itself.
‘Holy spirit’ is holy prophet
It may be noted that no Biblical scholar of any standing has ever equated the “paracletos” of John in the original Greek with the Holy Ghost. Now we can say with one breath that if the Comforter is the “Holy Spirit” then that Holy Spirit is the Holy Prophet!
As Muslims we acknowledge that every prophet of God is Holy and without sin. But whenever the expression “The Holy Prophet” is used among Muslims it is universally accepted as referring to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. So even if we accept the above incongruous saying – “the Comforter which is the Holy Spirit,” as Gospel truth, even then this prophecy will fit Muhammad like a glove, without any stretching of its meaning. The same John, who is supposed to have authored the Gospel bearing his name, also penned three more Epistles which are also part of the Christian Bible. Amazingly he has used the same terminology of “Holy Spirit” for “Holy Prophet.”
“Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits whether they are of God; because many false Prophets are gone out into the world.”
You can observe that the word Spirit is used here synonymously with a prophet. A true Spirit is a true prophet, and a false Spirit is a false prophet. But for the so-called “born-again” Christians who see only with eyes of emotion, I recommend that they lay their hands on C.I. Scofield’s Authorized King James Version of the Bible who with an Editorial Committee of 9 D.D.’s adding their notes and comments. When they come to the first word “Spirit” in the above verse they should give a notation to compare it with Matthew 7: 15 which confirms that false prophets are false Spirits. So according to St. John the Holy Spirit is the Holy Prophet, and the Holy Prophet is Muhummed the Messenger of God.
A valid test
But St. John does not leave us in the air, guessing the true from the false. He gives us an acid test for recognising the true Prophet. He says – “Hereby know ye the Spirit (for Spirit, read prophet.) of God: Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.”
According to John’s own interpretation in verse one above the word “Spirit” is synonymous with the word prophet. So verse two “Spirit of God” would mean Prophet of God and “Every Spirit” would stand for every Prophet. You have a right to know as to what the Holy Prophet Muhummed says about “Jesus Christ.”
Jesus Christ is spoken by name no less than 25 times in the Holy Quran. He is honoured as:
- Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, the son of Mary)
- Annabi (The Prophet)
- Assaaliheen (The Righteous)
- Kalimatullah (Word of God)
- Ruhullah (Spirit of God)
- Masihullah (Christ of God)
“Behold the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and The Hereafter and of (the Company of) those nearest to God.”
Muhammad is the ‘other’
The Comforter in John 14:26 can never be the “Holy Ghost” because Jesus had already explained “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you Another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”
The emphasis here is on the word “ANOTHER,” a different one, an additional one, but of the same kind, yet distinctly different from the first. Who is then the first Comforter? The Christian world is unanimous that in this case the speaker himself – Jesus Christ is the first Comforter; then the other, the one to follow must be of like nature, subject to the same conditions of hunger, thirst, fatigue, sorrow and death. But this promised Comforter was to “abide with you for ever!” No one lives for ever. Jesus was mortal so must the coming Comforter also be mortal. No son of man can ever be immortal! “Every soul shall have a taste of death.”
Alive in their teachings
The soul does not really die, but when it separates from the body at the time of the death of the body, the soul will get a taste of death. But our Comforter was to “ABIDE,” continue, endure for ever. All Comforters abide with us for ever. Moses is here with us today in his teachings. Jesus is here with us today in his teachings and Muhummed also is here with us in his teachings today. (May the peace and blessings of God be upon them all). This is not my novel idea trying to justify the preposterous. I say this with conviction and on the authority of Jesus Christ himself.
In Luke, chapter sixteen, Jesus tells us the story of the “Rich Man, Poor Man.” At death both find themselves at opposite ends – one in Heaven and the other in Hell. The rich man (Dives) simmering in Hell cries to Father Abraham to send the beggar (Lazarus) to slake his thirst. But when every plea fails, he, as a last favour, requests that Father Abraham send the beggar back to earth to warn his living brothers against their impending doom if they heeded not the warnings of God.
But Abraham said, “If they (those still alive on earth) won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even though someone rises from the dead.” (to warn them) Jesus uttered the above parable centuries after the demise of the prophets of Israel like Jeremiah, Hosea, Zechariah, etc and over thirteen hundred years after Moses. The Pharisees at the time of Jesus and we today can still listen to “Moses and the prophets,” for they are still alive, and with us here today in their teachings.
‘You’ of the time
If it is said that the Comforter was promised to the immediate disciples of Jesus and not to a people six hundred years later “and he (God) shall give You another Comforter, that he may abide with You for ever.”
Surprisingly, the Christian sees no difficulty in justifying the fulfilment of prophecies “since the world began,”and after over a millennium when Peter in his second sermon to the Jews, reminds them “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord Your God raise up unto You of Your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto You.”
All these “YE, YOU and YOURS” are from the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 18 (This prophecy also refers to the Holy Prophet. When Moses addressed his people and not the Jews at the time of Peter, thirteen hundred years later. The Gospel writers have put the same compromising words in the mouth of their Master which are begging for fulfilment for two thousand years. I think just one example will suffice “But when they persecute You in this city, flee Ye into another: for verily (most assuredly) I (Jesus) say unto You, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man (Jesus) be come.”
These early followers of the Messiah, forever ran, forlornly fleeing persecution. They ran from one city to another in Israel, scanning every dark cloud for the descent of Jesus in his second coming. The missionaries see no anomaly in their millennium of unfulfilled prophecies. God Almighty did not keep them waiting for even a quarter of the time for the advent of the “paracletos,” – the Comforter or Ahmed which is another name for the Praised One. Let them show gratitude to God by accepting this Last and Final Messenger of God – Muhummed!
Advent of comforter conditional
The Comforter is definitely not the “Holy Ghost” because the coming of the Comforter was conditional whereas that of the Holy Ghost was not as we observe in the prophecy – “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go: for If I go Not Away, The Comforter Will Not Come unto you; but if depart, I will send him unto you.”
“If I don’t go he won’t come, but if I go, I will send him.” There are numerous instances in the Holy Bible about the coming and going of the Holy Ghost, before the birth and departure of the Messiah. Do yourself a favour, please verify these references in your Bible.
B.C. Before Christ’s birth
1. “and he (John the Baptist) shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”
- 2. “and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”
3. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost.”
A.C. After Christ’s birth
4. “and the Holy Ghost was upon him (Simeon)”
5. “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him (Jesus).”
From the above quotations, before and after the birth of Jesus, one cannot help admiring St. Luke who appears to be a specialist on the Holy Ghost. We may well ask the Christians, after the descent of the “dove”, with whose help did Jesus perform his many miracles if not with the help of the Holy Ghost? Let the Master himself tell us. When accused by his own people, the Jews, that he was working in league with Beelzebub (the chief of the devils) to work his miracles, Jesus rhetorically questions them, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” The Jews imputed that this Spirit of holiness – the Spirit of God – which was helping him, was devilish. This was treason of the highest order. So he gives them a dire warning:
“but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven” to be a specialist on the Holy Ghost. We may well ask the Christians, after the descent of the “dove”, with whose help did Jesus perform his many miracles if not with the help of the Holy Ghost? Let the Master himself tell us. When accused by his own people, the Jews, that he was working in league with Beelzebub (the chief of the devils) to work his miracles, Jesus rhetorically questions them, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” The Jews imputed that this Spirit of holiness – the Spirit of God – which was helping him, was devilish. This was treason of the highest order. So he gives them a dire warning:
“but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven”
This “Holy Ghost” is none other than what Matthew himself has described in three verses before quoting the Master “But if I (Jesus) cast out devils by the Spirit Of God, then the kingdom of God is come upon you.”
Compare the same statement by another Gospel writer. Give a second glance at the two verses, and you cannot help concluding that they are almost identical. Why? The answer is in “Is the Bible God’s Word?”
But if I (Jesus) by the Finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”
You do not have to be a Bible scholar to understand that the expressions
(a) “Finger of God”
(b) “Spirit of God” and
(c) “Holy Ghost” are all synonymous phrases. So the Holy Ghost was helping Jesus in his ministry.
The Holy Ghost was also helping his disciples on their missions of preaching and healing. If there is still any doubt in your minds about the workings of the Holy Ghost, then please read:
Empty promise ”as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you (the disciples of Jesus), and when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive Ye The Holy Ghost.”
This was surely no empty promise. The disciples must have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. So if the “Holy Ghost” was with (1) John the Baptist, (2) Elizabeth, (3) Zacharias, (4) Simeon, (5) Jesus and (6) the Disciples of Jesus; then all this makes nonsense of the saying that “if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.” Therefore the Comforter is not the Holy Ghost!
The verse under discussion is John 16:7. I remember the thrill and joy I got out of it when quoting it in Arabic to the Coptic Christian lady in the land of the Pharaohs. The pleasure is immense when expounding Biblical verses in the standard native language of a country or locality. I have done it in a dozen different vernaculars. Won’t you master the above verse in a language or two of your choice for the good of Islam?
Afrikaans a unique language
Of all the languages in which I have mastered the verse in question, I have derived the greatest excitement and benefit from Afrikaans. It is a language of the ruling race in South Africa. It is the youngest of the world’s languages. The language is unique. In fact every language is unique. But Afrikaans is in a class of its own. It also happens to be the mother tongue of half the Muslim population of South Africa who were brought here as prisoners of war and enslaved by the Christians; that is simply by force of circumstances. For their immediate benefit and for your information I reproduce the verse here:
“Maar ek se julle die waarheid: dit is vir julle voordelig dat ek weggaan; want as ek Nie weggaan Nie, sal die Trooster (Trooster, now changed to ‘Voorspraak!’) Nie na julle kom Nie; maar as ek weggaan, sal ek hom na julle stuur.”
Believe it or not! It is the genius of this language that it uses four negatives NIE, NIE, NIE, NIE, to prove a positive! The departure of Jesus is an absolute imperative for the coming of the “Trooster,” the Comforter, to come! This verse in this language has opened many doors for me, other than religious, and it locks the door against the idea of the “Comforter which is the Holy Ghost”
Disciples not fit
We now come to the four most comprehensive and decisive verses in John, chapter sixteen to solve the enigma of the Successor to Christ. For Jesus did truly say: “I have yet Many Things to say unto you, but Ye Cannot Bear Them Now.”
We will later tie up the phrase “many things” from the above verse with “guide you into all truth” from the verse that follows, when discussing it. For now, let us discuss the phrase – “ye cannot bear them now”. The truth of this statement “ye cannot bear them now” is repeated monotonously throughout the pages of the New Testament:
“And he (Jesus) saith unto them (the disciples), Why are ye fearful, O Ye Of Little Faith?”
“And (Jesus) said unto him (Peter) O Thou Of Little Faith”
“he (Jesus) said unto them (the disciples), O Ye Of Little faith, why reason among yourselves”
“And he (Jesus) said unto them (his disciples), Where Is Your Faith?”
We must bear in mind that this is not the indictment of Jesus on the indecisiveness of the Jews, but on his very own elect. He stoops down to the level of little children to make things plain to his disciples but he is compelled to burst out in frustration – “And Jesus said, Are Ye Even Yet Without Understanding?
And when he was provoked to breaking point, he rails against his chosen ones “O Faithless And Perverse Generation, how long shall I be with you, how long shall I bear with you?”
Own family thought him mad
If Jesus would have been a Japanese instead of a Jew, he would happily have committed that honourable “harakiri” (suicide). Sadly, he was the most unfortunate of God’s Messengers. His family disbelieved him For neither did his (Jesus’) brethren believe in him . In fact they went to the extent of wanting to apprehend him, believing that he was mad.
“And when his relatives heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him (Jesus); for they said, he is beside himself.”
Who were these friends and relatives of Jesus which had concern for his sanity? Let Rev. J.R. Dummelow, M.A. in his One Volume Bible Commentary tell us. On page 726 he says – “from V.31” (just 10 verses following the above quotation) “They appear to have been his mother and brethren… his family said ‘he is beside himself,’” (meaning that he is not right in his head); “the scribes said, ‘he is possessed by the devil himself.’ it is not, however, implied at all that his family was in sympathy with the scribes” (the learned men of the Jews), “their apprehension being simply that his mind was unsettled, and that he needed to be put under restraint.”
Jesus – rejected by his nation
That was the verdict of the close relations of Jesus. What then was the response of his own nation, the Jews, after all his beautiful preaching and mighty miracle workings? His disciple puts it very mildly “He came unto his own (the Jews) and his own received him (Jesus) not.”
Actually “his own” mocked him, scorned him and vehemently rejected him. To the extent of making an attempt to crucify him. Despite two thousand years of Christian persecutions and pogroms, and now their overweening love and infatuation for them, so as to salve their own conscience, the Jews as a people and as a whole can never accept Jesus as their Saviour, their Deliverer, their God, simply because of their one sound judgement – “That no Jew can ever accept another Jew as a God!”
It is only in Islam that the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims can find accommodation – all believing in Jesus Christ for what he really was – one of the mightiest Messengers of God; and not as God or His son!
Disciples deserted him
What was the response of the chosen twelve; of his own “mother and bretheren!” (Mark 3:34), as he called them? I will allow Professor Momerie to describe it in his own inimitable words “His immediate disciples were always misunderstanding him and his work: wanting him to call down fire from heaven; wanting him to declare himself king of the Jews; wanting to sit on his right hand and on his left hand in his kingdom; wanting him to show them the father, to make god visible to their bodily eyes; wanting him to do, and wanting to do themselves, anything and everything that was incompatible with his great plan. this was how they treated him until the end. (and) when that came, they all forsook him, and fled.”
It was most unfortunate that Jesus Christ had no real choice in selecting his disciples. They let him down as no other group of devotees had ever let down their prophet before. It was no fault of the Master. He bewailed his plight: “The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh (clay) is weak”.
Truly, this is not the clay out of which a new Adam could be made. He passes on that responsibility to his Successor, whom he calls here – “The Spirit of Truth,” ie the Prophet of Truth, the Prophet of Righteousness!
‘Spirit’ and ‘prophet’ synonymous
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”
It has already been established that, Biblically, the word “Spirit” is used synonymously for “Prophet,” by the same author in 1 John 4:1.
Hence the “Spirit of Truth” would be the Prophet of Truth. A prophet in whom Truth is personified. He had walked through life so honourably and industriously that he had won for himself even from his pagan fellow countrymen the noble designation of The Truthful One, The Honest, The Upright and The Trustworthy; the Man of Faith who always kept his word. His life, his personality, his teachings are the veritable proof of Muhammad being the embodiment of Truth (al-Amin) – the Spirit of Truth!
“Many” and “All”, we will now combine, “I have yet Many things to say unto you” from verse twelve, with “he will guide you into All truth.” From John 16:12 and 13.
If the Christian still persists that the Spirit of Truth of this prophecy is the Holy Ghost then ask him or her whether in their language does “Many” means more than one? Also if “All” in the above verse means more than one? If you get a halting, wavering, hesitant “yes” then close the book, it is not worth pursuing dialogues with opinionated fools. But if you get the answer “yes!” with alacrity then proceed…
The one prophesied by Jesus was to unravel Many things which he had left unsaid, as well as to guide humanity into All truth. There are Many problems facing mankind today, for which we are fumbling for answers. Can you please give me one new thing that the Alleged Holy Ghost gave to anybody in the past two thousand years, which Jesus Christ had not already given in so Many different words? I don’t want Many, I am looking for just one!
No solution from Holy Ghost
Believe me, in my forty years of questioning, I have not come across a single Christian with a single “new Truth” inspired by the Holy Ghost, yet the promise was that the coming Comforter – “he will guide you into All truth!” If the Spirit of Truth of this prophecy is the Holy Ghost then every Church and denomination, and every ‘born-again’ Christian is claiming the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Roman Catholics claim that they have the whole Truth because of the so called “indwelling” of the Holy Ghost.
The Anglicans make the same claim, and the Methodists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Baptists, the Christadelphians, etc, not forgetting the ‘born again’ who claim to be numbering over 70 million in the United States alone. You have the right to demand solutions from them, on the authority of the Holy Ghost, for the problems listed below:
Alcohol, Gambling, Fortune Telling, Idol Worship, Racism and Problem of Surplus Women etc.
Problem of alcohol
The Republic of South Africa with a small “white” (Of European extraction) population of 4 million among its total population of 30 million, has over 300,000 Alcoholics. In neighbouring Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda calls such people “drunkards!” It is recorded that the “coloureds” (A mixture between the Black and White Races) in South Africa have five times the amount of Alcoholics as any other race in the country. For the Indians and the Africans no statistics are available for their respective drunkards.
Jimmy Swaggart the televangelist records in his book “Alcohol” that the United States has 11 million Alcoholics (The Americans euphemistically call them “Problem Drinkers.”) and 44 million “heavy drinkers!”, and he, like a good Muslim, goes on to say that he sees no difference between the two. To him they are All drunkards! The rampant evil of drunkenness is universal. The Holy Ghost has not yet made its pronouncement on this evil through any Church. Christendom winks at drunkenness on three flimsy pretences based on the Bible.
a) “Give strong drink (hard liquor) unto him that is perishing (one who is dying) And wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.”
A very good philosophy to keep the subject nations under subjugation, you will agree.
His very first miracle
b) Jesus was no “killjoy,” the imbibers say, he turned water into wine in his very first recorded miracle in the Bible: “Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water.
And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now…
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine…
And saith… (why) thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
Since this Alleged miracle, wine continues to flow like water in Christendom.
c) Saint Paul the thirteenth self-appointed disciple of Christ, the real founder of Christianity, advises his new convert protege – Timothy, born of a Greek father and a Jewish mother: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”
The Christians accept All the Bible quotations on stimulating and intoxicating drinks given above as the infallible word of God. They believe that the Holy Ghost inspired the authors to pen such dangerous advice. Rev. Dummelow (see page 37) seems to have some qualms about this verse. He says, “It teaches us that if the body needs the stimulant of wine, it is right to take it in moderation.”
Abstinence the only answer
There are thousands of Christian priests who have been lured into Alcoholism by sipping the so-called mild wine in the Church rite of the Holy Communion. Islam is the only religion on the face of the earth which prohibits intoxicants in total. The Prophet (Spirit) Muhummad had said, “Whatever intoxicates in greater quantity, is forbidden even in smaller quantity.” There is no excuse in the house of Islam for a nip or a tot. The Book of Truth one of the titles of the Quran condemned in the strongest terms not only the evil of Alcohol but also items 2, 3, and 4, namely “gambling,” “fortune telling” and “idol worship,” with just a single stroke –
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.”
When this verse was revealed, wine barrels were emptied in the streets of Madinah, never to be refilled. This simple straight-forward directive has created of the Muslim nation the biggest society of teetotallers in the world.
USA fails with ‘prohibition’
The question arises: how is it that this Spirit of Truth – the Prophet Muhammad succeeded with one verse whereas mighty America with the brain power of the nation and the money power of the Government, supported by its powerful propaganda machinery, failed with “Prohibition,” the law outlawing Alcohol?
Who coerced the American nation to enact prohibition? Which Arab nation threatened this mighty power with if you do not prohibit Alcohol in your country, we will not supply you with oil? Not the Arabs as there was no such thing as oil power in the hands of the Arabs during the twenties to egg the United States. It was an intellectual awareness among the American (founding) fathers, based on study and statistics which brought them to the conclusion that intoxicants must be banned.
They failed, notwithstanding the fact that the overwhelming majority of the nation was Christian, and that it was they who had voted their Congressmen into power. It is rightly said that that which comes from the brain (intellectually) tickles the brain, but that which comes from the heart and soul of a man, will move the heart. The verse just quoted above from the Quran on prohibition, had and has the power for change; we will Allow Thomas Carlyle to reveal the source of that power:
“If a book come from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts; All art and author craft are small amount to that. one would say the primary character of the Koran is this of its genuineness, of its being a bona-fide book.”
High spirituality – A source of power
All the beautiful thoughts, words and expressions, never mind how artistically constructed, remain like ringing bells or clanking cymbals unless they are backed up by a powerful personality charged with high spirituality. And that type of super spirituality comes only as Jesus put it through “fasting and prayer”
Muhummed practised what he preached. After his demise someone asked his dear wife Aisha about the life-style of her husband. She said, “He was the Quran in action.” He was the walking Quran. He was the talking Quran. He was the living Quran.
“If these men and women, noble, intelligent, and certainly not less educated than the fishermen of galilee, had perceived the slightest sign of earthliness, deception, or want of faith in the teacher himself, Muhammad’s hopes of moral regeneration and social reform would All have been crumbled to dust in a moment.”
If it is said that these are the words of a devoted Believer about his beloved, then let us hear what a sympathetic Christian critic had to say about his “Hero Prophet!”:
“A poor, hard-toiling, ill-provided man; careless of what vulgar men toil for. Not a bad man, I should say; something better in him than hunger of any sort, – or these wild Arab men, fighting and jostling three-and- twenty years at his hand, in close contact with him always, would not have reverenced him so!
“they called him prophet, you say? why, he stood there face to face with them; bare. Not enshrined in any mystery; visibly clouting his own cloak, cobbling his own shoes; fighting, counselling, ordering in the midst of them: They must have seen what kind of a man he was, let him be called what you like! no emperor with his tiaras was obeyed as this man in a cloak of his own clouting. During three and twenty years of rough actual trial. I find something of a veritable hero necessary for that, of itself.”
Problem of racism “For he (the Spirit of Truth) will guide you into All truth!”
Not without a system
It is very easy for the followers of any religion to talk glibly about “The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man” but how is this beautiful idea to be implemented? How to devise a system to bring mankind into a single brotherhood? Five times a day, every Muslim is obligated to gather together at the local mosque to strengthen himself spiritually. The black and the white; the rich and the poor; people of different nationalities, of varying hues are made to rub shoulders in the daily Salaat, the Muslim at Prayer.
Once a week, that is on Fridays, he has to congregate at the cathedral Mosque for a wider gathering from the surrounding districts. And twice a year during the two Eids at still a larger venue, preferably in the open air, for a vaster communion. A-n-d, at least once in a lifetime, at the Kaaba, the Central Mosque in Mecca, for an international gathering where one can witness the blonde-haired Turk, the Ethiopian, the Chinese, the Indian, the American and the African, All get levelled-up in the same pilgrim’s garb of two unsown sheets. Is there such a leveller in the religious rites of other faiths?
The infallible precept as enunciated in the Book of God is that the only standard recognised by God is on the basis of one’s conduct, one’s behaviour towards one’s fellow human beings and not because of one’s race or riches. These are the only true bases on which the “Kingdom of God” can be established. All this does not mean that the Muslim is immaculate, that he is altogether free from this sickness of racism, but you will find the Muslim the least racist of All the religious groupings in the world today.
Problem of surplus women
Nature seems to be at war with mankind. It appears that it wants to take revenge for his cleverness. Man will not listen to the healthy, practical solution to his problems, which a Beneficial, Benevolent Providence offers him. So it says, “go simmer in your SOUP!” (in a manner of speaking).
It is an accepted fact that at birth the ratio of male and female is about equal everywhere. But in child mortality more males die than females. Amazing! The “weaker sex”? At any given time there are more widows in the world than widowers. Every civilized nation has a surplus of women. Great Britain, 4 million. Germany, 5 million. Soviet Russia, 7 million, etc. But a solution acceptable to the problem of the mighty United States of America, will be a solution acceptable to nations everywhere. The statistics of this most sophisticated nation on earth is more readily verifiable.
America, O America!
We learn that the USA has a surplus of 7,8 million women. It means that if every man in America got married, there would still be 7 800 000 women left over, women who would be unable to get a husband. One thing we do know, and that is that every man will never get married for so Many different reasons. Man gets cold feet and finds Many excuses. A woman, even if frigid, would not mind getting married. She would marry, even if it is just for shelter and protection.
But the American problem of surplus women is compounded. Ninety-eight percent of its prison population is male. Then they have 25 million sodomites. Euphemistically they call them “gays” a once beautiful word meaning – happy and joyous – now perverted!
America does everything in a big way. She produces everything mighty. Mighty in promoting God and also mighty in promoting the Devil. Let us for once, join the mighty televangelist (now fallen) Jimmy Swaggart, in his prayer. In his well- researched book – “Homosexuality,” he cries, “America – God will judge you (meaning that God will destroy you), for if He does not judge you (destroy you), He (God) might have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah” for their hasty, utter destruction because of their practice of homosexuality or their wanton gratification of unnatural lust.
New York as an example
The City of New York has one million more women than men. Even if the total male population in this city mustered enough courage to unite with the opposite sex in matrimony; there would still remain 1 000 000 women without husbands. But to make things worse, it is reputed that one third of the male population in this city is “gay” (homosexuals/sodomites). The Jews, a very vociferous lot in every controversy, remain quiet as mice, for fear of being labelled backward Easterners. The Church, with their millions of born again votaries claiming to be the dwelling houses of the Holy Ghost, are also silent on this topic.
The founders of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, claiming a new revelation in 1830 preached and practised unlimited polygamy to solve the problem of surplus women. The present day prophets of Mormonism (the Mormons believe in an unbroken chain of living prophets in their Church.) have abrogated the teaching of their Church fathers to placate American prejudice on the subject of polygamy. What is the poor American/Western/European surplus women to do? They have literally gone to the dogs.
Only solution – restricted and regulated polygamy
‘Al-Amin’, the Prophet of Truth, the Spirit of Truth, under inspiration of God supplies the solution to their unfortunate plight. God ordains – “Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them) Then (marry) only one”.
The Western world feigns tolerance towards the millions of sodomites and lesbians in their midst. It is a joking matter in the West for a man to keep a dozen mistresses, and beget a dozen bastard (Bastard: is Biblical. The Bible has used it three times: Deut. 23:2, Zech. 9:6 and Heb. 12:8) children every year.
Such lecherous creatures are proudly labelled as “studs.” (a slang used for a man considered to be excessively virile. The term usually reserved for animal husbandry.) “Let him sow his wild oats, but don’t hold him responsible!” says the West.
Islam says: “make man responsible for his pleasures.” There is a type of man who is prepared to take on extra responsibility, and there is a type of woman who is prepared to share a husband. Why place obstacles in their way? You mock at (polygamy), which was practised by the prophets of God as recorded in the Holy Bible, you forget that Solomon The Wise had a thousand wives and concubines as recorded in the Good Book, a healthy solution to your momentous problem, and yet smugly wink at the gratification of unnatural lusts by sodomites and lesbians! What a perversion? Polygamy was practised by the Jews and the pagans in the time of Jesus. He did not say a single word against it. Not his fault. The Jews gave him no peace to propound solutions. His was a natural cry, “when he the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into All truth” .
Comforter to be a man
If I take the liberty of quoting the prophecy under discussion, with an emphasis on the pronouns, you will agree without any persuasion that the coming Comforter was to be a man and not a ghost.
“Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into All truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”
Please count the number of he’s in the above verse. There are seven! Seven masculine pronouns in a single verse! There is not another verse in the 66 books of the Protestant Bible or in the 73 Books of the Catholic Bible with seven masculine pronouns, or seven feminine pronouns, or with seven neuter genders. You will agree that so Many masculine pronouns in one verse ill befits a Ghost, holy or not!
When this point of the seven masculine pronouns in a single verse of the Bible was mooted by the Muslims in India in their debates with the Christian missionaries, the Urdu version of the Bible had the pronouns presently changed to SHE, SHE, SHE! so that the Muslims could not claim that this prophecy referred to Muhummed – a man! This Christian deception I have seen in the Urdu Bible myself. This is a common trickery by the missionaries, more specially in the vernacular. The very latest ruse I have sturnbled across is in the Afrikaans Bible, on the very verse under discussion; they have changed the word “Trooster” (Comforter), to “Voorspraak” (Mediator), and interpolated the phrase – “die Heilige Gees” – meaning The Holy Ghost, which phrase no Bible Scholar has ever dared to interpolate into any of the multifarious English Versions. No, not even the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (A Christian sect which has contrived its own Bible translation.) This is how the Christians manufacture God’s word!
Nine masculine pronouns
The only other place an author has unknowingly used so Many masculine pronouns for this mighty Messenger Muhummed is given below:
“His gentle disposition, his austerity of conduct, the severe purity of his life, his scrupulous refinement, his ever-ready helpfulness towards the poor and the weak, his noble sense of honour, his unflinching fidelity, his stern sense of duty had won him, among his compatriots, the high and enviable designation of ‘Al-Amin’, the trusty.”
Al-Amin the Faithful, the Trustworthy, “even the Spirit of Truth” (As-Saadiq).
This expression is a figurative way of saying that speaking truth would be so characteristic of him that people would regard him as truth personified: exactly as Jesus said about himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”, that these noble qualities are personified in me. Follow me! But ‘when he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into All truth” , then you must follow him! But prejudices die hard, therefore we must work harder. But believe me, with the laser truth that Allah has given us, we can change the world with only a fraction of the energy that the Christian is expending.
Source of revelation
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into All truth! for He Shall Not Speak from Himself; But Whatsoever He Shall Hear, That shall He Speak.”
I have consistently been using the King James Version in my Biblical quotations, but for greater clarity, I give below, alternate renderings from some different versions of the above emphasised sentence:
1. “for he will not speak on his Own Authority, but will tell only what he hears.” The New English Bible.
2. “He will not speak On His Own; He will Speak Only What He Hears.” New International Version.
3. “for he will not be presenting His Own Ideas, But He Will Be Passing On To You What He Has Heard.” The Living Bible.
This “Spirit of Truth,” this Prophet of Truth, “Al-Amin,” will not be speaking spiritual truths on his own impulse, but he will speak on the same basis as his previous Comforter – Jesus had spoken:
“For I speak not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me the commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak … even as the Father hath saith unto me, so I speak.”
In an identical manner God Almighty testifies His revelation to His Messenger Muhammad.
“Nor does he say (aught) of (His own) desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to Him. He was taught by one mighty in power.”
This is how God communicated with All His chosen Messengers, whether Abraham, Moses or Jesus. It would be absurd to think that this “Spirit of Truth” is the Holy Ghost, because we are told that “he will not speak from himself, but what he hears,” surely not from himself?
God – A Trinity?
It is universally accepted in Christendom, All orthodox Christians who believe in what they call the Holy Trinity; that the Father is God, the son is God and the Holy Ghost is God, but they are not three Gods but one God (?).
Let an erudite Christian theologian, like the Rev. Dummelow tell us of this indivisibility, indissolubility of the Christian’s “triune” God. Commenting on “We will come” of John 14:23 he says – “Where the son is, there of necessity is the Father also, as well as the Spirit, for the three are one, being different forms of the subsistence and manifestation of the same divine being. This passage illustrates that the persons of the holy trinity are inseparable, and contain one another.”
Please don’t worry. You are not really expected to understand the above verbiage. In short the Christian believes that the “THREE” (I beg your pardon, the Christian says, “ONE!”), All the three are supposed to be Omnipresent and Omniscient and as such leads us to an amusing and ridiculous conclusion. Jesus according to the Christians agonized on the cross at Calvary. Being “Inseparable,” the Father and the Holy Ghost also must have agonized with the Son, and when he died, the other two died with him! Little wonder we hear the cry in the West – “God is Dead!” Don’t laugh. All this imposes on us a more sombre responsibility of extricating our Christian brethren from the spiritual quagmire into which they are Allowing.
“And he will show you things to come.”
The Christians put great weight on the fulfilment of prophecies. Muhammad fulfilled many prophecies of the Old (read “What the Bible says about Muhammad) and the New Testaments. To them, the prediction of events is considered to be the function of true prophecy – true prophethood.
The Prophet of Islam uttered many prophecies which are recorded for posterity in the Quran. Here are a few taken at random. “Verily He Who (God) ordained the Quran for thee, (He) will bring thee back to the Place of Return…”
“Place of Return,” is a title of the Holy City of Mecca. The Migration was when the Prophet was fleeing from Mecca to Madinah. It was a hopeless situation. Most of his followers had already migrated to Madinah. Now it was his turn. Together with Abu Bakr Assiddeeq he had reached a place called Juhfa, when this assurance was given by God that once again he will return to his birth-place Mecca, and so he did.
He migrated as a refugee and God returns him as a conqueror, fulfilling yet another prophecy. “And he (Moses) said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran (that is in Arabia), and he (Muhammad) came with Ten Thousand Saints (the Prophet was accompanied by 10 000 companions – veritable saints) at the conquest of Mecca) from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
Super-powers in conflict
“The Roman Empire has been defeated in a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious within a few years. With God is the Decision, in the Past and in the Future: on that day shall the Believers rejoice”.
The above prophecy was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the year 615/16 of the Christian era. The Christian Empire of Rome had lost Jerusalem to the Persians, and Christianity had been humbled in the dust. In this holocaust between two of the Superpowers of the day, the polytheists of Mecca derived vicarious pleasure in the discomfiture of the Romans by the pagan Persians.
“The pagan Arabs naturally sided with the Persians in their destructive zeal, and thought that the destruction of the Christian’ power of Rome would also mean a setback to the message of the Prophet, ‘the true successor to Christ’… while the whole world believed that the roman empire was being killed by Persia, it was revealed to him that the Persian victory was short-lived and that within a period of a few years the romans would conquer again and deal a deadly blow at the Persians”
Within ten years of the revelation of this Divine prediction, the prophecy was fulfilled!
Challenge of the Quran
The Prophet claimed that the Quran was from God Almighty, and that it was revealed to him by inspiration. The proof of its Divine authorship is its own beauty and nature, and the circumstances in which it was promulgated. To prove the veracity of his claim, he has placed before you many Chapters. Can the unbeliever produce one like it? This is a standing challenge! An eternal prophecy of mankind’s inability to equal or excel, or to rival successfully any of its chapters.
Your plea, “I don’t know Arabic,” is useless. There are millions of Christian Arabs living today. The Christians boast that there are at least 10-15 million Coptic Christians in Egypt alone and these are not all ‘fellaheens’ (A peasant or agricultural labourer in Arab countries.). Here is the challenge of God in His Own words: “This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah”.
Allah: A proper noun for God Almighty in the Semitic languages. read:
“What is His name?’
“Say: If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”
“Or do they say, “He forged it”? Say: “Bring then a Chapter like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be that ye speak the truth!”
“And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from ‘TIME’ to ‘TIME’ to Our servant, then produce a Chapter like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true. But if ye cannot – And of a surety ye cannot, Then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones, – which is prepared for those who reject Faith.”
It is now fourteen hundred years since the above challenges, but mankind has singularly failed to produce anything similar or something better. This is an Eternal Testimony of the Divine Origin of the Quran.
Christian Arabs had a try!
The Arab Christians in the Middle East, not to be outwitted, launched a sixteen-year project lately and produced selected portions of the New Testament in Arabic, with a wholesale borrowing (“He who goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing!”) of words and phrases verbatim from the Arabic Quran. It is an ignoble attempt! In this un-ashamed plagiarism, (the act of stealing and using the ideas or writings of another as one’s own. Stealing in literature.) every chapter of this new Arabic New Testament of theirs begin with the first verse of the Quran -”In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”
Can you beat that? There are many more challenges and prophecies in the Quran and in the Ahadeeth (traditions of the Prophet) which can be expounded. It is a neglected field. Perhaps books can be written on the subject. I trust that Muslim scholars will take up the challenge. But let me end this theme of prophecy with one last reference from the book of God.
Islam to prevail
It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth. That he may proclaim it over all religion. Even though the associators may detest (it).”
Within decades the above promise became true. Islam prevailed. The two superpowers of the day, the Persian and the Roman Empires crumbled at the hands of the Muslims. And for centuries the power of Islam predominated – from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Alas, the Muslims are in the doldrums today. But fear not, the world of Islam is arising. There is hope. Even non-Muslim Visionaries in the West have predicted its destiny to be in the skies.
“Africa is a fair field for all religions, but the religion which the African will accept, is a religion which best suits his needs: And that religion, everyone who has a right to speak on the subject says, is Islam.”
“If any religion has a chance of conquering England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, that religion is Islam.”
Without any real effort on the part of the Muslims, we are told by the Westerners themselves that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. I hope, this pleasant news does not lull us into euphoria. The promise of God is true, the destiny is there, only a little exertion is required on our part. Allah can transform nations and peoples by His Own Will, but He has given us the privilege of serving His Religion by personal self-sacrifice. To be an effective soldier in this battle, arm yourself with John 16:7 in one or more languages, and watch how Allah fills you with more knowledge. It is our destiny to master, supersede and bulldoze every ism, never mind how much the unbeliever may be averse to the Message of Islam.
“He (the Spirit of truth) shall Glorify Me (Jesus): for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the father, he shall Testify Of Me.”
This promised Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth in whom Truth is personified, when he comes, will bear witness to the truthfulness of the Messiah and absolve him from the calumnies of his enemies. This, Muhammad, ‘Al-Amin’, the Prophet of Truth, eminently succeeded in doing. He made it possible that today, a thousand million Muslims believe in Jesus Christ as one of the mightiest Messengers of God. They believe in him as the Messiah. They believe in his miraculous birth, which many modern day Christians, even Bishops do not believe. And they also believe in his many miracles, including those of giving life to the dead by God’s leave; and healing those born blind and the lepers by God’s leave. What a mighty testimony! Listen to the especially moving terms of the story of his Annunciation:
Miraculous conception “And mention in the Book, the story of Mary, when she withdrew from her people to a place in the East. She placed a screen to screen herself from them; Then We sent her Our Spirit, that appeared to her as a man in all respects. She said, I take refuge in the All-Merciful from you. If you fear Allah…
He said, I am but a messenger come from your Lord, to announce to you the gift of a holy son. She said, How can I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?
He said, Even so your Lord has said: ‘Easy is that for Me, and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a Mercy from Us; It is a thing decreed’. So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a distant place…”
At the present moment a billion Muslims throughout the world accept the Immaculate Conception of Jesus on the authority of Muhammad alone. Jesus, his mother Mary and the whole Christian world can never thank Al-Amin – the Spirit of Truth, enough.
Jewish response to Jesus
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I (Jesus) have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not let me!”
That mighty Messenger of God went after the Jews like a hen after her chickens, but they turned on him like vultures to tear him into pieces. Not satisfied with their relentless assaults and harassment and the eventual attempt on his life (read ‘Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction’); they charged his mother for having begotten him in sin.
“That they (the Jews) rejected Faith; and they uttered against Mary a grave false charge.”
What was that “grave false charge”? – The nearest to uttering the actual calumny, Muhammad the true “Glorifier” of Jesus (John 16:14) is made to record.
“O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!”
What say the Talmudists
The Jewish charge of the illegitimacy of Jesus and the adultery of Mary is referred to here as an insinuation of the Jews, questioning Mary’s chastity. The Quran does not stoop down to even reproducing the actual monstrous slander. Now compare this Quranic terminology with what the erudite and famous Rev. Dummelow, backed by no less than a team of sixteen Christian divines, all Reverends and D.D.s; as to their choice of words in recording the calumny of the enemies of Christ:
The Jewish Talmudists said, ‘the son of the adulteress’ (i.e. of the virgin Mary) ‘brought magic out of Egypt, by cuttings which he had made in his flesh.’ ‘Jesus practised magic and deceived, and drove Israel to idolatry.’ It is interesting to notice that Mahomet indignantly repudiated these Jewish calumnies.”
Evangelist dittos Jews
Josh Mc Dowell, described as a graduate of Wheaton College and magna cum laude graduate of Talbot Theological Seminary, and who is reputed to have spoken to more than five million students and faculty at over 550 universities in 53 countries, seems to have done more research than the whole galaxy of Biblical scholars mentioned above, on the subject of the Jewish Talmud regarding the birth of his “Lord.”
In his book – “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” just to prove that Jesus was not a myth but a historical person, he quotes extensively from the Jewish Talmud without any inhibitions. I give you below a few brief excerpts from pages 85/86 of his book:
“Tol’doth Yeshu. Jesus is referred to as ‘ben pandera.’” (son of Pandera. A Roman soldier alleged by the Jews to have raped Mary to produce her illegitimate offspring. (God forbid!) May He forgive us for even reproducing such blasphemies.)
Yeb. IV 3; 49a:
“R. Shimeon ben Azzai said (concerning Jesus): ‘I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress.’”
Joseph Klausner adds to the above: “Current editions of the Mishnah, add: ‘to support the words of R. Yehoshua’ (who in the same Mishnah, says: What is a bastard? everyone whose parents are liable to death by the beth din), that Jesus is here referred to seems to be beyond doubt…” 5/35
Missionary lolls his tongue
Josh McDowell, the great evangelist, “born-again” Christian; worshipper of Christ, filled with the Holy Ghost (?) lolls his tongue when quoting calumnies of the enemies against his Lord and God – Jesus! And the Christian world laps it up. His books are best sellers in Christendom. A taste for filth and insults has been created in the votaries of Christ. I refuse to quote further from that filthy narration. If Jesus has such devoted friends (?), what need is there for him to have enemies?
Muhammad really was the true Friend, the Comforter, the Helper, the Advocate, the Glorifier, the Testifier of these prophecies in John chapters 14, 15 and 16. Let me repeat the ungrudging tribute of his enemies to this Benefactor of Jesus, his mother Mary and humanity at large: “It is interesting to notice that Mahomet indignantly repudiated these Jewish calumnies.”
We will now allow the Spirit of Truth to lay the Ghost of Jewish and Christian extremism, and put the records straight regarding their controversies about the Messiah. The Jews said that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary because he could not point a finger to a father. The Christians for the same reason made him into a God and the “begotten” son of God. Just one verse to debunk this lie!
“O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes in your religion: Nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Verily, Christ Jesus the son of Mary was no more than a messenger of Allah, and His Word which he bestowed upon Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: So believe in Allah and his messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: For your Allah is one God: Glory be to Him: Far Exalted is He, above having a son. To Him belongs all things in the heavens and the earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.”
Christ: In the Arabic text of the Quran the word is ‘Masih’, which is the same as the Hebrew word ‘Messiah’.
Note on the above verse:
Just as a foolish servant may go wrong by excess of zeal for his master, so in religion, people’s excesses may lead them to blasphemy or a spirit the very opposite of religion.
The Jewish excesses in the direction of formalism, racialism, exclusiveness, and rejection of Christ Jesus have been denounced in many places in the Quran.
Here the Christian attitude is condemned, which raises Jesus to an equality with God; in some cases venerates Mary almost to idolatory; attributes a physical son to God; and invents the doctrine of the Trinity, opposed to all reason, which according to the Athenians Creed, unless a man believes, he is doomed to hell for ever.”
The attributes of Christ are mentioned here:
1. That he was the son of a woman, Mary, and therefore a man.
2. But an apostle, a man with a mission from God, and therefore entitled to honour.
3. A Word bestowed on Mary, for he was created by God’s word “Be” (kun) and he was.
4. A spirit proceeding from God, but not God: his life and his mission were more limited than in the case of some other apostles, though we must pay equal honour to him as a man of God.
The doctrines of Trinity, equality with God, and sonship, are repudiated as blasphemies. God is independent of all needs and has no need of a son to manage His affairs.”
Nothing from self
You give this Spirit of Truth (Muhammad) too much credit, when you allege that he wrote the preceding verses and further authored more than six thousand other verses of the Noble Quran.
He cries to us again and again in the Book of God, that this is not my handiwork “It is no less than an inspiration sent down to him (Muhammad)”
Exactly as it was prophesied by Jesus – “for he shall not speak from himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak…”
All the testification and glorification by this “another Comforter,” does not placate the Christians. Because Muhammad did not pander to their prejudices. To them glorification meant to deify Jesus – to make him into a God. Instead of solving their dilemma (A situation that requires one to choose between two equally balanced and often equally unpleasant alternatives.) whether Jesus “died” on the cross as a man, or as a God? They have now invented a trilemma. A word not to be found in any dictionary in the world. Josh McDowell the Travelling Representative for Campus Crusade for Christ International, in his book – “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” actually uses his new inspired (by the “Holy Ghost”?) conundrum (Conundrum: A puzzling problem or question admitting of no satisfactory solution.) for his chapter 7:
“Trilemma – Lord, Liar or Lunatic?” You have now guessed it! The three L’s! He wants his readers to answer whether Jesus Christ is your Lord (God), or was he a LIAR, or a Lunatic? Very ingenious, you will agree! No Muslim could utter that Jesus Christ was a liar or a Lunatic: Then what? It’s more than any dilemma! It is actually blasphemy of the highest degree. But he is blinded by his preconceived notions. Roger Bacon, the philosopher who was born too soon, rightly said: “It is easier for a man to burn down his own house than to get rid of his prejudices.”
Wisdom of the child
To say of any man that he is God, the “begotten” son of God, or that his father is God; is not an honour but an insult. A French peasant understood this distinction better than the millions of erudite Christian scholars walking the earth today.
It is reputed that Louis XV, King of France was a very lecherous person. No woman was safe from his debaucheries. After his death, when his son was well settled on the throne, a rumour spread around Paris that an exact duplicate of the young king was seen roaming about the capital. The King was naturally intrigued to see his double. It did not take the King’s men long to have the rustic from the countryside presented before the King. The King was amused by the stark resemblance to himself and his late father. He was tickled to have a dig at the poor farmer. He politely asked, “Did your mother ever visit Paris during my father’s reign?” “No!” the rustic replied, “But my father did!” This was a death-knell for the King, but he had asked for it!
Don’t go to extremes
The rank hatred of the Jews which lead them to slander Jesus and his mother is bad, and the over infatuation of the Christians for Christ is also bad. Muhammad the Messenger of God condemned both these extremes, and elevated Jesus to his true status, as the Messiah, a great prophet and reformer. Love him, respect him, revere him, follow him; but do not worship him! For worship is due to God alone, the Father in heaven: Allah! This is true glorification – for, “He shall glorify me!”
Historically, morally and prophetically, Muhammad the last and final Messenger of God, “The Spirit of Truth,” is the only one to guide mankind into all truth. He is preeminently the Natural Successor to Christ.
Dear reader, it has been suggested that some Christian propagandists might lure you from your exposition of the preceding paragraphs, by dangling before you the “Pentecostal” experience. ‘Pentecost’ was a Jewish festival day, celebrated on the fiftieth day after the beginning of corn harvesting. The Jews gathered in Jerusalem from far and wide for the feast. Peter with “the Eleven,” together with others were in one place, when suddenly they heard the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them where they were sitting. This electrified the people and they began to “speak in tongues,” in dialects and languages foreign to themselves. Some marvelled while others mocked, saying, “They’re drunk, that’s all!” It reminded them of the “babbling” at Babel
The Christian missionaries contend that that was the fulfilment of what Jesus had prophecised in John chapters 14, 15 and 16. Astounding as the whole drama may sound, Peter, the one, the Master had appointed to “Feed my lambs… feed my sheep” (John 21:15-16), rose to defend the disciples, saying, “These men are not drunk! It’s much too early for that! People don’t get drunk so early in the morning!”
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…”
Pentecost was the fulfilment of the prophecy of the prophet Joel and not of any predictions of Jesus. Christendom believes that Peter was inspired to record the same. Both obviously tickled by the Holy Ghost! Not a single word is recorded anywhere as to what these apostles of Christ had babbled or murmured on Pentecost day, yet as to the Comforter, he was to guide mankind “into all Truth!” Proving once again that the Comforter is not the Holy Ghost!
1. “The Eleven” . No Bible commentator dare discuss as to who these eleven were, because Judas the traitor was long since dead. The Holy Ghost failed to inform Luke. That at best there could only be ten beside Peter and not eleven!
2. “Prophet Joel:” In “The New English Bible,” published by The Bible Societies in association with the Oxford University Press in their fourteenth impression of 1984, expunged the name JOEL, without an apology. He was too insignificant(?) a prophet, having written only two pages in a thousand of the Bible. If Christendom can edit out names of their own prophets, what will they not do to names like Ishmael and Ahmed?
3. On the contrary, hear what Muhammad the Comforter uttered in his trances in fulfilment of the prophecies. Get your “Future World Constitution” today! See inside back cover.
‘Time’ couldn’t stomach it! The advert on the opposite page was arbitrarily refused for publication by ‘TIME’ magazine. Why do they fear the universal message of Islam?
Only ‘Time’ can tell!
‘TIME’ magazine will not divulge the real reason for their refusal and cowardly hide behind their policy of “‘TIME’ reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertising”. What is the ulterior motive behind this cowardice?
Future world constitution or confrontation!
Believe it or not! In their reply they referred to our advertisement as “The future world Confrontation.” Is this not perhaps a reflection of ‘TIME’ magazine’s prejudicial attitude towards the Quran?
So the next time you see a Time magazine on the news-stand, remember they will not publish an advertisement on the Quran.
Prophet Muhammad: the Greatest
Normally, it is quiet, natural for anyone to love, praise, idolize or hero-worship one’s leader, be it a guru, saint or prophet: and very often we do. However, if I were to reproduce here what great Muslims have said or written about our illustrious prophet, it could be played down as exaggeration, fancy or idolization by the skeptics and the opponents of Islam.
Therefore, allow me to quote unbiased historians, friendly critics and even avowed enemies of that mighty Messenger of God – Muhammad. If the tributes of the non-Muslims do not touch your hearts, then you are in the wrong faith. Opt out of Islam! There is already too much deadwood on the “ship” of Islam.
In recent times, a book has been published in America titled “The 100,” or the Top One hundred, or the Greatest Hundred in History. A certain Michael H. Hart described as a historian, mathematician and astronomer have written this novel book.
He has searched history, seeking for men who had the greatest influence on mankind. In this book, he gives us The hundred most influential men, including Asoka, Aristotle, Buddha, Confucius, Hitler, Plato, and Zoroaster. He does not give us a mere chart of the topmost “one hundred” from the point of view of their influence on people, but he evaluates the degree of their influence and rates them in order of their excellence from No. 1, through to No. 100. He gives us his reasons for the placing of his candidates. We are not asked to agree with him, but we cannot help admire the man’s research and honesty.
The most amazing thing about his selection is that he has put the Holy Prophet Muhammad as No. 1, the first of his “100!” Thus confirming, unknowingly, God’s Own testimony in His Final Revelation to the World:
“Most certainly, you have in the messenger of Allah an excellent pattern of behavior”
Jesus No. 3!
Hart placing the Prophet Muhammad as No. 1, has naturally pleased the Muslims. But his choice as shocked the Non-Muslims, more especially the Jews and the Christians, who consider this as an affront. What? Jesus No. 3 and Moses No. 40! This is for them very difficult to stomach, but what says, Hart?
Let us hear his arguments – “since there are roughly twice (The latest estimate is that there are more than one thousand million Muslims in the world and one thousand two hundred million Christians) as many Christians in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. there are two principal reasons for that decision.
First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (insofar as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian Theology, its principal Proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament.
Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam.”
Paul the founder of Christianity
According to Hart, the honor for founding Christianity is to be shared between Jesus and St. Paul. The latter he believes to be the real founder of Christianity. I cannot help agreeing with Hart. Out of the total of 27 Books of the New Testament, more than half is authored by Paul.
As opposed to Paul, the Master has not written a single word of the twenty-seven books. If you can lay your hands on what is called “’A Red Letter Bible,” you will find every word alleged to have been uttered by Jesus – in red ink and the rest in normal black ink. Don’t be shocked to find that in this so-called the Gospel of Jesus, over ninety percent of the 27 Books of the New Testament is printed in black ink!
This is the candid Christian confession on what they call the Bible. In actual any confrontation with Christian missionaries, you will find them quoting one hundred percent from Paul. No one follows Jesus. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
He said further, Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven”
Every Christian controversialist you question, “Do you keep the laws and the commandments?” will answer, “No!” If you ask further, “Why don’t you?” He will if he is a Bible-thumper, invariably reply, “The law is nailed to the cross!” Meaning the law is done away with. “We are now living under grace!”
Every time you prod him with what his Lord and Master had said, he will confront you with something from Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc. If you ask, “Who are they?” You will hear, ‘Paul, Paul, Paul!” “Who is your master?” you question, and he will say, “Jesus!” But he will ever and anon contradict his own Jesus by his Paul!
No learned Christian will ever dispute the fact that the real founder of Christianity is St. Paul. Therefore, Michael H. Hart to be fair, had to place Jesus, in slot number three. Why provoke your customer? This placing of Christ in the number three spot by Michael H. Hart poses a very serious question for us. Why would an American publish a book of 572 pages in America and selling in America for $15 each, go out of his way to provoke his potential readers?
Who will buy his books? Surely, not the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, neither the Arabs nor the Turks! Except for a few copies here and there, the overwhelming number of his customers will be from the 250 million Christians and the 6 million Jews of America. Then why did he provoke his customers? Did he not hear the dictum – “the customer is always right!” Of course, he did. Then why his daring choice. But before I close this episode of Hart, I will allow him to make his one last apology for his “temerity.”
“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the World’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.” Michael H. Hart “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History”, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, p.33.
Who were history’s great leaders
Time, July 15, 1974 – The world famous “Time” carried the above rubicon its front cover. Inside the magazine were numerous essays as to ‘What makes a great leader?’ ‘Throughout history, who qualifies?’ TIME asked a variety of historians, writers, military men, businessmen and others for their selections. Each gave his candidate according to his “light” as objectively as is humanly possible, depending on one’s own awareness and prejudice.
Who knows Dr. Salazar?
It is my habit and pleasurable duty to take non-Muslims on a guided tour of the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere – “The Jumma Masjid” Durban.
On one occasion I was hosting a Portuguese couple, a husband and wife team. At some stage during the discussion, the Portuguese gentleman said that “Dr. Salazar was the greatest man in the world!” I did not debate the point with him as I personally knew little about Dr. Salazar except that he was a one time dictator of Portugal albeit to many a great benefactor to his nation. My poor visitor was, however, speaking according to his own knowledge, a point of view and prejudice.
Muhammad cannot be ignored!
Among the contributors to the “Time,” it seems that none could ignore Muhammad.
William McNeill, a United States historian, of the University of Chicago, records: “If you measure leadership by impact, then you would have to name Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, the great prophets of the world …”
McNeill does not go into details, nor does he give us any explanation as to why he placed Jesus first and Muhammad number three. Perhaps it was by force of habit. It is very likely that McNeill is a Christian. However, we will not argue with him. Then comes – James Gavin, described as a United States army man, a retired lieutenant general. He says – “Among leaders who have made the greatest impact through ages, I would consider Mohammed, Jesus Christ, maybe Lenin, possibly Mao. as for a leader whose qualities we could most use now, I would choose John F. Kennedy.”
The General does not say much more, yet we have to salute him. It calls for tremendous fortitude to pen the name Muhammad before that of Christ (peace be upon them both). It surely, was no slip of the pen.
Jules Masserman, United States psychoanalyst and professor of the Chicago University, gives us, unlike the other contributors, the basis for making his selection. He gives us his reason for choosing his greatest leader of all times. He wants us to find out, what we are really looking for in the man, the qualities that set him apart. We may be looking for any sets of qualities. As in the case of Michael H. Hart, he was looking for a person wielding the most Influence.
However, Masserman does not want us to depend on our fancies or prejudices: he wants to establish objective standards for judging before we confer greatness upon anybody. He says that “Leaders must fulfill three functions”
1. The leader must provide for the well-being of the lead… The leader, whoever he is, must be interested in your welfare:
“He must not be looking for milking cows for his own greed like the Rev. Jim Jones of Jonestown, Guyana, of the “Suicide Cult” fame. You will remember him as the man who committed suicide together with 910 of his followers, all at the same time En Masse!”
The United States Government was on his trail and he was on the verge of being caught for certain felonies. But before they could apprehend him, he thought it wise to eliminate himself, together with all his followers, so that no one would be left to testify against him. He laced lemonade with cyanide and inspired his devotees to drink it, and so they did and they all died in disgrace! In the meantime, it was discovered that the Rev. Jim Jones had salted away fifteen million dollars and stacked it in his own account in banks throughout the world. All his victims were his milking cows and he was exploiting them to satisfy his own lust and greed. Masserman’s hero must be found to benefit his sheep, his flock, and not himself.
2. The leader or would-be leader must provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure …
Unlike the Marxist, the Fascist, the Nazi, the Neo-Nazi the Ashkenazi, (The Jews from Germany, Central Europe, and Eastern Europe, mostly from Russia who are in unlawful occupation of Palestine. There is something prophetic in the name itself – the Jews are doing to the people of the occupied territories exactly what the Nazis did to them. What an irony!) the Zionist, and their fellow-travelers, Professor Masserman, in his brief essay in the TIME magazine, did not spell this out. But his beliefs and feelings are abundantly clear.
He is in search of a Leader who will provide a social order free of self, and greed and racism: for all these “isms” carry within them the seeds of their own destruction.
There’s still with us much sorrow and sin, Injustice, Oppression, wrong and hate. Still does Arrogance deaden Conscience Rob struggling souls of even the crumbs Of Pity, and make, of loathsome flesh And crumbling dust, fair-seeming Idols For worship. Still does Ignorance blow A mighty Horn and try to shame True Wisdom. Still, do men drive Slaves,
– Protesting smoothly the end of Slavery! Still, does Greed devour the substance Of helpless ones within her power. Nay, more, the fine Individual Voice Is smothered in the raucous din Of groups and Crowds that madly shout What they call Slogans New, Old Falsehoods long discredited … Abdullah Yusuf Ali
3. That this leader must provide his people with one set of beliefs:
It is easy to talk of the Fellowship of Faith and the Brotherhood of Man, but in South Africa today, there are a thousand different sects and denominations among the Whites (people of European descent) and three thousand among the Blacks (of African descent). The White Churches in my country are Spawning “Black” Bishops, fast, but in the first three hundred years of European conquest, they did not produce a single Black Bishop. Even now, the Black, the White, the Colored, and the Indian cannot pray together in most of the Dutch Reformed Churches.
The hatred between the Christian sects was aptly described by the Christian Emperor Julian, who said: “No wild beasts are so hostile to man as Christian sects in general are to one another.” Sayed Amir Ali in his Spirit of lslam.
With the foregoing three standards, Masserman searches history and analyses Louis Pasteur, Salk, Gandhi, Confucius, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Hitler, Buddha, Jesus and the rest; finally coming to the conclusion that – “Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Muhammed, who combined all three functions. (and) to a lesser degree, Moses did the same”.
We cannot help marveling at Masserman, that as a Jew he condescends to scrutinize even Adolf Hitler, the arch-enemy of his people. He considers Hitler to be a great leader. His race, the mighty German nation of 90 million people, was ready to march to destiny or destruction at his behest. Alas, he leads them to ruin. Hitler is not the question. The question is why would Masserman, as an American Jew, a paid servant of the Government proclaim to his countrymen of over two hundred million Jews and Christians that not Jesus, not Moses but Muhummed was “The greatest Leader of all times!” account for that!
What say the skeptics?
Michael H. Hart put Muhammad No. 1 on his list and his own Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ No. 3. Why? -”He was bribed!”(?)
William McNeill considers Muhammad as worthy of honour in his list of the first three names of his. Why? – “He was bribed!”(?)
James Gavin puts Muhammad before Christ. Why? – “He was bribed!”(?)
James Masserman adjudges Muhammad No. 1 and his own hero Moses a close second. Why? – “He was bribed!” (?)
“Are we to suppose that all the glowing adulation of Muhammad was a miserable piece of intellectual legerdemain, hocus pocus … I, for my part, cannot form any such supposition … one would be entirely at a loss what to think of mankind at all if quackery so grew and flourished in the world.”
Yet the scoffers bemoan anyone who has anything good to say about Muhammad or Islam as having been bribed by the Arabs! They are giving too much credit to my brethren. I repeat: “It is possible, but it is improbable!”
During the Second World War, Norway produced only one “Quisling.” He was tried for treason and executed. It is unlikely that America and the Western world have just reached puberty to spawn a breed of Quislings nurtured by hot petrodollars from the Middle East. Please do not demean your honest, courageous men, who without fear or favor are prepared to suffer obloquy for their convictions. We must all admire them! We can now justifiably conclude that the God of Mercy, Who forever recognizes the sincere efforts of His servants, is only fulfilling His Promise to Muhammad, His Chosen Messenger – “And have we not raised high the esteem in which thou are held”
(a) Have We not exalted thy fame?
(b) And have We not raised thy name for thee?
(c) Have We not given you high renown?
Friends and foes alike, as if by some secret compulsion are made to pay unsolicited tributes to this mighty Messenger of God. But the Almighty commanders even the devil into His service, as He had done in the time of Jesus,
Even the devil sometimes speaks Gospel truths. Professor K. S. Ramakrishna Rao, a Hindu philosopher in his book “Muhammad – The Prophet of lslam”, quotes the archdevil himself, yes, Adolf Hitler, to prove the unique greatness of Muhammad. The Professor, like Jules Masserman who had evaluated the Prophet of Islam on three grounds:
“Leaders must fulfill three functions … provide for the well-being of the led, provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure, and provide them with one set of beliefs. People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Gandhi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar, and Hitler on the other are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Mohammed, who combined all three functions. To a lesser degree, Moses did the same.”
also saw in Hitler’s “Mein Kamp!” a three-faceted jewel, a rare commodity which he found in our hero under discussion. Quoting Hitler, he says:
“A great theorist is seldom a great leader. an agitator is far more likely to possess these qualities. he will always be a better leader. for, leadership means the ability to move masses of men. the talent to produce ideas has nothing in common with the capacity for leadership.” Hitler continues, “the union of the theorist, organizer, and leader in one man is the rarest phenomenon on this earth; therein consists of greatness.”
professor rao concludes, in his own words, “in the person of the Prophet of Islam the world has seen this rarest phenomenon on earth, walking in flesh and blood.”
Before anyone assails the Professor of undue bias and “bribery,” let me give them a few more names of admirers of Muhammad:
1. “Muhummad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him.”
2. “Four years after the death of Justinian, a.d. 569, was born at Mecca, in Saudi Arabia the man who, of all men exercised the greatest influence upon the human race … Mohammed”
3. “I doubt whether any man whose external conditions changed so much ever changed himself less to meet them.”
4. “I have studied him – the wonderful man – and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the saviour of humanity.”
5. “By a fortune absolutely unique in history, Mohammed is a threefold founder of a nation, of an empire, and of a religion.”
6. “Mohammed was the most successful of all religious personalities.”
From the historical past
It is not difficult to reproduce a further dozen or more eulogies by the admirers and critics of Muhammad. Despite all their objectivity, jaundiced minds can always conjure up some aspersions. Let me take my readers deep down in past history.
It was Friday the 8th of May, 1840, that is about a hundred and seventy years ago, at a time when it was a sacrilege to say anything good about Muhammad and the Christian West was rained to hate the man Muhammad and his religion, the same way as dogs were at one stage-trained in my country to hate all black people. At that time in history, Thomas Carlyle, one of the greatest thinkers of the past century delivered a series of lectures under the theme.
Carlyle exposed this blind prejudice of his people at the beginning of his talk. He made reference to one of the literary giants a Dutch scholar and statesman, by the name of Hugo Grotius,who had written a bitter and abusive invective against the prophet of Islam. He had falsely charged that the Prophet had trained pigeons to pick out peas from his ears so that he could by this trick bluff his people that the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove was revealing God’s Revelation to him, which he then had them recorded in his Bible the Quran. Perhaps Grotius was inspired into this fairy-tale from his reading of his own Holy Scriptures:
“Then, Jesus, when he had been baptized (by John the Baptist in the Jordan River), came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God Descending Like A Dove and alighting upon him.”
Where’s the authority
Pococke, another respected intellectual of the time, like “doubting Thomas”, wanted proof about Muhammad, the pigeons, and the peas? Grotius answered, “That there was no proof!” He just felt like inventing this story for his audience. To him and his audience, the “pigeons and peas” theory was more plausible than that of the Archangel dictating to Muhammad. These falsities wrung the heart of Carlyle. He cried: “The lies, which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man, are disgraceful to ourselves only.”
The hero Prophet
Carlyle was a man of genius and God gifted him with the art of articulation. In his own way, he wanted to put the records straight. He planned to deliver a lecture and he chose a very provocative topic “The Hero as Prophet” and he chose this hero-prophet to be the most maligned man of his time, “Muhammad” Not Moses, David, Solomon, or Jesus but Muhammad! To placate his overwhelming Anglican (belonging to the Church of England) fellow countrymen, he apologised – “As there is no danger of our becoming, any of us, Mahometans, I mean to say all the good of him I justly can.”
In other words, he, as well as his elite audience were free from the fear of converting to Islam and could take a chance in paying some compliments to Muhammad. If he had any fears regarding the strength of their faith, he would not have taken that chance. In an era of hatred and spite towards everything Islamic and to an audience full of skepticism and cynicism, Carlyle unfolded many a glowing truth about his hero – Muhammad. To the praiseworthy,” indeed be praise. For that is what the very name Muhammad means – the Praised One – the Praiseworthy. There are times when Carlyle uses words and expressions, which might not be too pleasing to the believing Muslim, but one has to forgive him as he was walking a cultural tightrope, and he succeeded eminently. He Paid our hero many ardent and enthusiastic tribute, and defended him from the false charges and calumnies of his enemies, exactly as the Prophet had done in the case of Jesus and his mother.
a) “The great man’s sincerity is of the kind he cannot speak of nay, I suppose, he is conscious rather of insincerity; for what man can walk accurately by the law of truth for one day? no, the great man does not boast himself sincere, far from that; perhaps does not ask himself if he is so; I would say rather, his sincerity does not depend on himself; he cannot help being sincere!”
b) “a silent great soul, he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest, whom nature herself has appointed to be sincere. while others walk in formulas and hearsays, contented enough to dwell there, this man could not screen himself in formulas; he was alone with his own soul and the reality of things… such sincerity, as we named it, has in very truth something of the divine. the word of such a man is a voice direct from nature’s own heart. men do and must listen to that as to nothing else, – all else is wind in comparison.”
In his lengthy speech, Carlyle did not have the opportunity to inform his audience about the sources of his inferences. I may furnish just one incident from the life of the Prophet. An incidence which reflects the highest degree of his sincerity in recording a Revelation in the Quran even if it seems to reprove him for some natural and human zeal.
Admonition as revealed
It was in the early days of his mission in Mecca. Muhammad was deeply engrossed in trying to wean the leaders of the pagan Quraish to his teachings. Apparently one of them was giving him an attentive hearing when a poor blind man by the name Of Abdullah son of Om-Maktoom tried to barge in into the discussion and wanting to draw attention to himself. The blessed Prophet said nothing, but a thought went through his mind (why don’t you have a little patience, can’t you see (sense) that because of your impatience I might lose these customers). I believe that lesser men, sinners, and saints, will not be questioned for such lapses, but not so for Muhammad. Did not God choose him and honour him with that lofty status as recorded? “And Most Certainly Thou (O Muhammad) Are of Most sublime And Exalted Character”.
Whilst in the midst of the conversation with his pagan fellow tribesmen, God Almighty sends Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation, with this admonition:
“(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, because there came to him he blind man (interrupting). but what could tell thee that perchance he might grow (in spiritual understanding)? or that he might receive admonition, and the teaching might prort him?”
The Prophet had naturally disliked the interruption. Perhaps the poor man’s feelings were hurt. But he whose gentle heart ever sympathized with the poor and the afflicted got new Light (Revelation) from his Lord, and without the least hesitation, he immediately published it for all eternity! Subsequently, every time he met this blind man, he received him graciously and thanked him that on his account the Lord had remembered him. During Muhammad’s absences from Madinah, the blind man was made the Governor of the City twice. Such was the sincerity and gratitude of Carlyle’s Hero Prophet.
“It is a boundless favour. He never forgot this good Khadijah. Long afterward, Ayesha his young favourite wife, a woman who indeed distinguished herself among the Muslims, by all manner of qualities, through her whole long life; this young brilliant Ayesha was, one day, questioning him. ’now am not I better than Khadijah? she was a widow; old, and had lost her looks: you love me better than you did her?’ ‘no, by Allah!’ answered Muhammad: ‘no, by Allah! she believed in me when none else would believe. In the whole world I had but one friend, and she was that!
It would have been easier to repel the temptation of the devil than to succumb to the ego of a young, loving, brilliant and beautiful wife like lady Ayesha. Why not let her hear the soft soothing balm of flattery-, it will not harm anyone. Even the soul of Khadija, the mother of the Faithful, would look light-heartedly at the ruse. There is no shamming, no innocent “white lies” with Muhammad.
Traits of this kind show us the genuine man, brother of us all, brought visible through fourteen centuries, – the veritable son of our common mother.
a) “A man of truth and fidelity; true in what he did, in what he spoke and thought, they noted that he always meant something. A man rather taciturn in speech; silent when there was nothing to be said; but pertinent wise, sincere, when he did speak; always throwing light on the matter. this is the only sort of speech worth speaking!”
b) “Muhammad naturally gave offense to the Quraish, keepers of the Kabah, superintendents of the idols. One or two men of influence had joined him:
“the thing spread slowly, but it was spreading, naturally he gave offense to everybody.” The Jews hated the Prophet: the Christians hated the Prophet: the Polytheists hated the Prophet, and the hypocrites hated the Prophet. It is the nature of Falsehood to hate the Truth. Light dismisses Darkness, but darkness does not take kindly to light.
“Not a mealy-mouthed man! a candid ferocity, if the case calls for it, is in him; he does not mince matrers! the war of Tabook is a thing he often speaks of: his men refused, many of them, to march on that occasion; pleaded the heat of the weather, the harvest, and so forth; he can never forget that. Your harvest? it lasts for a day. what will become of your harvest through all eternity? hot weather? yes, it was hot; ‘but hell will be hotter!’ sometimes a rough sarcasm turns up: He says to the unbelievers, you shall not have short weight!”
Remember, Thomas Carlyle uttered these words, and many more to a shocked and bewildered Christian audience in England, a hundred and seventy years ago. History did not record for us the lively arguments and debates which his lecture must naturally have caused. He kept to his promise: “I mean to say all the good of him (his Hero Prophet) I justly can’” and he went on in his talk to I defend Muhammad against the false charges, slander, and calumnies of his enemies:
Charge of falsity
a) “A false man found a religion? Why a false man cannot build a brick house! if he does not know and follow truly the properties of mortar, burnt clay and what else he works in, it is no house that he makes, but a rubbish heap. It will not stand for twelve centuries,(today is, fourteen centuries) to lodge a hundred-and eighty millions; (a thousand million today.) it will fall straightaway. Speciosities are specious… it is like a forged bank note; they get it passed out of their worthless hands: others, not they, have to smart for it. Nature bursts-up in fire-flames, French revolutions and such-like, proclaiming with the terrible veracity that forged notes are forged.”
b) ”It goes greatly against the impostor theory, the fact that he lived in this entirely unexceptionable, entirely quiet and commonplace way, till the heat of his years was done. he was forty before he talked of any mission from heaven.. all his ‘ambition,’ seemingly, had been, hitherto, to live an honest life; his ‘fame,’ the mere good opinion of neighbours that knew him…”
“Ambition? what could all Arabia do for this man; with the crown of Greek Heraclius, of Persian Chosroes, and all the crowns in the earth; – what could they all do for him? it was not of the heaven above and of the hell beneath. All crowns and sovereignties what so ever, where would they in a few brief years be? to be sheik of Mecca or Arabia, and have a bit of gilt wood put into your hand – will that be one’s salvation?
I decidedly think, not, we will leave it altogether, this imposter hypothesis, as not credible: Not very tolerable even, worthy chiefly of dismissal by us.”
Charge of sinning
“Faults? the greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. Readers of the Bible above all, one would think, might know better. Who is called there ‘the man according to God’s own heart’? David, the Hebrew king had fallen into sins enough; Blackest crimes; there was no want of sins.and thereupon the unbelievers sneer and ask, is this your man according to God’s heart? the sneer, I must say, seems to me but a shallow one. What are faults, what are the outward details of a life; if the inner secret of it, the remorse, temptations, true, often- baffled, never ended the struggle of it be forgotten? ‘it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.’ of all acts, is not, for a man, repentance the most divine? the deadliest sin, I say, were the same supercilious consciousness of no sin; that is death; the heart so conscious is divorced from sincerity, humility, and fact; is dead: it is ‘pure’ as dead dry sand is pure.”
A charge of “the sword”
The greatest crime, the greatest “sin” of Muhammad in the eyes of the Christian West is that he did not allow himself to be slaughtered, to be “crucified” by his enemies. He ably defended himself, his family and his followers; and finally vanquished his enemies. Muhammad’s success is the Christians’ gall of disappointment:
He did not believe in any vicarious sacrifice for the sins of others. He believed and behaved naturally: “in the state of nature, everyone has a right to defend his person and possessions, and extend his hostilities to a reasonable amount of satisfaction and retaliation,” says Gibbon, the master historian in his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” His struggle and victory over the forces of unbelief and evil made the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica to exclaim, Muhammad to be “The most successful of all religious personalities.” How can the enemies of Islam account for Muhammad’s phenomenal achievements except to decry that he spread his religion at the point of the sword? He forced Islam down peoples’ throats!?
“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”
You do not have to be a historian like O’Leary to know that the Muslims ruled Spain for 736 years. The longest the Christians ever ruled over Muslims was 500 years in Mozambique, a territory captured from an Arab governor by the name of Musa-bin-baique, a name they could not properly pronounce, hence the name Mozambique. Even today, after five centuries of Christian overlordship the country is still 60% Muslim. However, after eight centuries in Spain, the Muslims were totally eliminated from that country so that not even one man was left to give the Azan (the Muslim call to prayer). If the Muslims had used force, military or economic there would not have been any Christian left in Spain to have kicked the Muslims out.
One can blame the Muslims for exploitation if you like but one cannot charge them with using the sword to convert Spaniards to the Islamic religion. Today, Islam is still spreading all over the world and Muslims have no sword!! The Muslims were also the masters of India for a thousand years, but eventually, when the sub-continent received independence in 1947, the Hindus obtained three-quarters of the country and the Muslims the balance of the one-quarter. Why? Because the Muslims did not force Islam down the Hindus’ throats! In Spain and in India, the Muslims were no paragons of virtue, yet they obeyed the Quranic injunction to the letter:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: for truth stands out distinct from error.
The Muslim conquerors understood from this command that “compulsion” was incompatible with true religion because:
(a) Religion depends on faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force. Force can conquer but cannot convert.
(b) Truth and error have been so clearly shown up by the Mercy of God that there should be no doubt in the minds of any person of goodwill as to the fundamentals of the faith.
(c) God’s protection is continuous and His Plan is always to lead us from the depths of darkness into the clearest light.
Except for some eccentrics here and there, the Muslims as a whole adhered to the commandment of God in the lands over which they held sway. But what can you say about countries where no single Muslim soldier had set foot?
It is a fact that about two hundred million Indonesians are Muslim, yet no conquering Muslim army ever landed on any of it’s over two thousand islands.
The overwhelming number of its people in this country are Muslims yet no Muslim soldier had landed there either.
The majority of the people on the East coast of Africa as far down as Mozambique, as well as the bulk of the inhabitants on the West coast of the continent, are Muslims, but history does not record any invading hoards of Muslims from anywhere. What sword? Where was the sword? The Muslim trader did the job. The Prophet good conduct and moral rectitude achieved the miracle of conversion. “All that you say seems incontrovertible, Mr. Deedat,” says the Christian controversialist, “but we are talking about Islam at its very beginning, the way in which your prophet converted the pagans to his faith! How did he do it if not with the sword?”
One against all?
We can do no better than to allow Thomas Carlyle himself to defend his Hero Prophet against this false charge;
“The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword! every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone, there it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it; there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must first get your sword! on the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can. We do not find, of the Christian religion either, that it always disdained the sword, when once it had got one. Charlemagne’s conversion of the Saxons was not by preaching.”
At the age of forty when Muhammad declared his mission from heaven, there was no political party, or royalty, and certainly no family or tribe to back him up. His people – the Arabs, immersed in idol-worship and Fetishism were not by any means a docile people, they were no easy meat. They were very volatile people. Given to internecine and fratricidal wars, subject to “all kinds of fierce sincerities” (Carlyle). One man, single-handed, to wean such a people required nothing short of a miracle. A miracle did happen. God alone could have made Islam and Muhammad to triumph through with flimsy, gossamer support. God fulfilling His promise:
“And have We not raised high the esteem in which thou O Muhammad are held?”
The sword of the intellect
The enemy, the sceptic, the missionary and their passive camp followers will not stop bleating that “Islam was spread at the point of the sword!” but they will not venture to answer our question -“Who bribed Carlyle!?”
In 1840 when Carlyle defended Muhammad and refuted the allegation about the sword, there was nobody around to bribe. The whole Muslim world was in the gutters. The countries of Islam were all under subjugation by the Christians, except for a few like Persia, Afghanistan and Turkey who were only nominally independent. There were no riches to flaunt and no petro-dollars to bribe with!
That was yesterday and many yesterdays ago, but what about today, in modern times? It is claimed that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.” The overall increase of all the sects and denominations of Christianity was a staggering 138% with the incredible increase of Islam by 235% in the same period of time of half-a-century.
It is further affirmed that in Britain and the United States of America, Islam is the fastest growing faith. It is said that in Britain “There are more Muslims than Methodists in the country.” You have a right to ask, “What sword?” The answer is, “The sword indeed!” (Thomas Carlyle) It is the sword of intellect? It is the fulfillment of yet another prophecy: “It is he (God Almighty) Who Has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) that he may make it prevail over all religions, and enough is God for a witness.”
The destiny of Islam is spelt out here in the clearest terms. Islam is to master, overcome and supersede every other faith – That He, God Almighty make Islam prevail over all religions … to supersede all, whether it be Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianism, (In the time of Thomas Carlyle this was the team applied to Christianity.) Judaism, Communism or any other “ism.” This is the destiny of Allah’s religion. The same Quranic Verse is repeated in chapter 61 verse 9 which ends with this slight variation – Never mind, though the unbelievers might be averse to Islam.
Triumph of Islam
Islam will prevail. It is the promise of God, and His Promise is true. But how? With the sword? Not even if we had a laser gun! Could we use it? The Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting! Yet the verse prophesies that Islam would be the most dominant of religions. The triumphs of its doctrines have already started and is gaining hold over the religious ideology and doctrines of the various schools of thought in the world. Though not in the name of Islam, but in the name of reformation and amendments, the doctrines of Islam are being fastly grafted into the various religious orders.
Many things which are exclusively Islamic and which were formerly unknown, or which were being opposed before with tooth and nail by the other creeds, are now part of their beliefs. The Brotherhood of man The abolition of the Caste system and untouchability The right of women to inherit Opening the places of worship to all. Prohibition of all intoxicants The true concept of the Unity of God etc. etc.
Just one word on the last subject above, before we proceed further. Ask any theist, polytheist, (. Polytheist: One who believes in many gods) pantheist, (Pantheist: The one who believes that everything is god. Of course the “trinitarian,’’ you already know) or trinitarian: how many Gods he believes in? He will shudder to say anything other than one! This is the effect of the strict monotheism of Islam.
“The creed of Mohamed is free from the suspicions of ambiguity and the Quran is a glorious testimony to the unity of God.” Gibbon in his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.’’
The verdict of non-Muslim Orientals
Almost all the defenders of Muhammad who spoke out against the false theory that he spread his religion at the point of the sword, were Westerners. Let us now hear what some non-Muslim Easterners have to say on the subject:
1) “The more I study the more I discover that the strength of Islam does not lie in the sword.”
2) “They (Muhammad’s critics) see fire instead of light, ugliness instead of good. they distort and present every good quality as a great vice. It reflects their own depravity… the critics are blind. They cannot see that the only ‘sword’ Muhammad wielded was the sword of mercy, compassion, friendship and forgiveness – the sword that conquers enemies and purifies their hearts. His sword was sharper than the sword of steel.”
3) “He preferred migration to fighting his own people, but when oppression went beyond the pale of tolerance he took up his sword in self-defence. Those who believe religion can be spread by force are fools who neither know the ways of religion nor the ways of the world. They are proud of this belief because they are a long, long way away from the truth.”
It was Rudyard Kipling who said, “East is East and West Is West, never the twain shall meet!” He was wrong! In the defence of Muhammad, all, who are not blinded by prejudice will converge.
Three other standards
Fourteen years after Thomas Carlyle had delivered his lecture on his Hero Prophet, a Frenchman by the name of Lamartine wrote the history of the Turks. Incidentally, the Turks being Muslims, Lamartine touched on some aspects of Islam and its founder. Like our Jules Wasserman of current times, who had conceived three objective standards for discovering the greatness of leadership; Lamartine had over 2 century ago thought of three other objective standards for conferring “Greatness”. We must give credit to the Westemer for this type of insight. Lamartine opines:
“If greatness of purpose, the smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhummed?” (lamartine ends his lengthy segment of literary masterpiece with the words):
“…philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational beliefs, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhummed. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater then he?”
The answer to his question, “Is there any man greater than he?” is reposed in the question itself. By implication, he is saying … “there is no man greater than Muhammad. Muhammad is the greatest man that ever lived!”
“And have We not raised high the esteem (in which) thou (O Muhammad are held)? most certainly thou hast, O my lord!”
Before we absolve Lamartine of any favouritism, partiality, or of the charge of being bribed, we will scrutinize his three standards, and whether they can be justified in the case of Muhammad.
a) Greatness of purpose
History of the time will tell you that it was the darkest period in the history of mankind when Muhammad was commanded to declare his mission. The need was for the raising of prophets in every corner of the world, or the sending of one Master Messenger for the whole of mankind, to deliver them from falsehood, superstition, selfishness, polytheism, wrong and oppression. It was to be the reclamation of the whole of humanity. And God Almighty in His wisdom chose His prophet from the backwaters of Arabia as His universal Messenger. Thus He records in His Noble Book: “And we sent thee not (o Muhammad), but as a mercy unto the worlds.”
“There is no question now of race or nation, of a “chosen people” or the “seed of Abraham,” or the “seed of David”: or of Hindu Arya varta; of Jew or Gentile. Arab or Persian, Turk or Tajik, European or Asiatic, White or Coloured; Aryan, Semitic, Mongolian, or African: or American, Australian, or Polynesian. To all men and creatures who have any spiritual responsibility, the principles universally apply.”
Muhammad’s immediate predecessor advised his disciples, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs” (meaning non-Jews), “Neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (meaning non-Jews, Matthew 7:6). The Gospel writers are unanimous in recording that Christ lived by the precepts which he preached. In his lifetime he did not preach to a single non-Jew. In fact, he spurned a gentile woman who sought his spiritual blessings
Then during the “Passover” season in Jerusalem when the master with his disciples had congregated for the occasion, certain Greeks hearing of his reputation sought an audience with him for spiritual enlightenment, but Jesus gave them the “cold shoulder’’ (Means a deliberately unkind or unfriendly treatment; a slight; a snub.) as narrated by St. John: “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip … and desired him saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
The verses that follow do not even record the courtesy of “Yea, yea;” or “Nay, nay;” (Yes, yes or no, no of Matthew 5:37). They continue with his own praise “And Jesus answered them (Andrew and Philip), saying, The hour is come, that the son of man (referring to himself) should be glorified.”
Muhammad could never afford any such latitudes. Remember, how the Almighty reminded him of the highest etiquette required from him. Even the thought of being ruffled by the untimely intrusion of a blind man was not accepted from him (‘He frowned’). As a universal Messenger, God set for him the loftiest standards: “And Most Certainly, Thou (O Muhammad) Are of most sublime And Exalted Character.”
And his diocese, his field of mission? The whole of mankind! “And We sent thee not (O Muhammad), but as a mercy unto all the worlds.”
These are not mere platitudes; beautiful sentiments bereft of action. Muhammad practised what he preached. Among his first companions and converts, besides the Arabs can be counted Bilal the Abyssinian, Salman the Persian and Abdullah Bin-Salaam the Jew. The sceptics may say that his outreach was simply incidental but what can they say about the historical fact that before his demise, he sent out five epistles, one to each of the five surrounding countries, inviting them to accept the religion of Islam:
1. The Emperor of Persia
2. The King of Egypt
3. The Negus of Abyssinia
4. The Emperor Hiraclius at Constantinople, and
5. The King of Yemen
Thus he set the example for the fulfilment of his impelling mission, his “greatness of purpose,” the reclamation of the whole of humanity into the Master’s fold. Is there another example of such universality in another religion? Muhammad was not out to set or to break any records, he was simply carrying out the trust that was reposed in him by the Lord of Creation!
b) Smallness of means
Muhammad was born with no silver spoon in his mouth. His life begins with infinitesimal support. His father had died before he was born. His mother dies by the time he was six years old. He was doubly- orphaned at this tender age, his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib takes charge of the child, but within three years he also died. As soon as he was able, he began to look after his uncle Abu-Talib’s sheep and goats for his keep. Contrast this poor, double-orphaned Arab child with some of the great religious personalities that preceded him, and you must marvel at what Destiny had in store for him!
Abraham the spiritual father of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (May the peace of God be upon them all), was the son of a very successful businessman of his time. Moses was reared in the house of Pharaoh. Jesus though described as “a carpenter and the son of a carpenter,” was well endowed with learning as well as material means.
Peter, Philip, Andrew, etc. all downed tools and followed him to be at his beck and call, not because he had any halo (Halo.- An imaginary luminous ring or disc surrounding the head of saintly men and women in religious paintings.) on his head; there was no such thing, but because of his affluent attire and princely bearing. He could command mansions in Jerusalem for himself and his disciples even during the height of the festive season; and have sumptuous suppers arranged; and you could hear him reproach the materialistic Jews – And when they found him (Jesus) on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “most assuredly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw the signs, (The veracity of the Messiah’s message and his mission.) but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”
Nothing to offer
Muhammad had no bread nor meat to offer, no sugar-plums of any kind, in this world or the next! The only thing he could offer his bedraggled, poor shepherd people was trial and tribulations and the strait- jacketing of their lives here on earth and the good pleasures of God in the Hereafter. The life of the Prophet was an open book before them. He had shown them as to what he was; the nobility of his character, his integrity of purpose, his earnestness and fiery enthusiasm for the truth he had come to preach revealed the hero; and they followed him.
Mr. Stanley Lane Poole’s estimate of our hero is so beautiful and yet so truthful that I cannot resist the temptation of quoting it here:
“He was an enthusiast in that noblest sense when enthusiasm becomes the salt of the earth, the one thing that keeps men from rotting whilst they live. Enthusiasm is often used despitefully, because it is joined to an unworthy cause, or falls upon barren ground and bears no fruit. so was it not with Mohammed. he was an enthusiast when enthusiasm was the one thing needed to set the world aflame, and his enthusiasm was noble for a noble cause. he was one of those happy few who have attained the supreme joy of making one great truth their very life spring.
He was the messenger of the one god, and never to his life’s end did he forget who he was, or the message which was the marrow of his being. he brought his tidings to his people with a grand dignity sprung from the consciousness of his high office, together with a most sweet humility, whose roots lay in the know-ledge of his own weakness.”
It may easily be conceded that Muhammad was blessed with the flimsiest of human resources. In fact the odds were loaded against him. But what about his fortune towards the end of his earthly sojourn? He was the overlord of the whole of Arabia! What about the endless means at his disposal then? We will allow a Christian missionary to answer that:
He was caesar and pope in one, but he was pope without the pope’s pretentions, and caesar without the legions of caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the powers without its instruments and without its supports.”
His “weakness” was his strength. The very fact that he had no material means of support made him to put his entire trust in God, and God the Merciful did not forsake him. His success was all the more staggering. May not the Muslims justly say, the entire work was the work of God? And Muhammad his Instrument?
c) Outstanding results
In the words of Thomas Carlyle – “One man against all men,” to a hundred and twenty-four thousand at the Farewell pilgrimage alone. How many were left behind of men, women and children, believers all?
On the 12th of Rabi I., in the 11th year after the Hijra, (Hijra literally means Migration.) approximating to the 8th of June 632 of the Christian Era, whilst praying earnestly in whisper, the spirit of the great Prophet took flight to the “blessed companion-ship on high”
Omar al Farooq (second khalif), on receiving the sad news of the demise of the Holy Prophet, lost his bearings. He was so shocked that he blurted out “if anyone says that Muhammad is dead, I will chop off his head!” Abu Bakr (The first Khalif) presently verified that the Master had indeed departed from this world; and coming out from the Prophet’s apartment announced to the gathering throng outside, that, “Muhammad had indeed passed away. Those that worshipped Muhammad,” he said, “’Let them know that Muhammad is dead, but those who worship Allah, let them know that Allah lives for ever!”
This brought Omar al Farooq back to his senses. Could this man who was to become the second great Khalif of Islam at this moment imagine that fourteen hundred years later there would be more than thousand million followers of Muhammad at one time? Could he have visualized that the religion of the Prophet would be the fastest growing religion in the world?
Christianity had a 600-year start on Islam. Numerically the Christians claim to outnumber the followers of any other faith; this is true but let us look at the picture in its true perspective:
There are more professing Christians in the world than professing Muslims, but there are more practicing Muslims in the world than practicing Christians.
I understand from the above that Mr. Bodley is trying to tell us that there are people in the world who, when filling their census forms, will tick off the term Christian under “Religion.” It is not necessarily that they believe in the dogmas of Christianity. They could actually be atheists or bush-Baptists, (Bush-Baptist: There are forty different Baptist Churches in the United States of America. But bush-Baptists are people with strong religious feelings yet will not go to any Church; and will not affiliate with any sect or denomination.)as opposed to being a Jew or Hindu or Muslim; coming from a Christian background they would for the purpose of convenience label themselves “Christian.” From that point of view, and from the point of view that a person who practises what he believes, there would be more Muslims in the world than Christians.
Chronologically, Islam is six hundred years behind Christianity, but amazingly it is at least a very close second and is catching up fast – the fastest growing religion in the world today. “One Billion!” The figure is outstanding and the sincerity and practice of the Believers astonishing!
Taking into account his own three objective standards: a. The greatness of purpose; b. The smallness of means and c. Outstanding results. Does Lamartine dare to produce another candidate greater than Muhammad? He further awes his readers with the multifarious roles of Muhammad in which he excelled, ie. Philosopher, Orator, Apostle, Legislator, Warrior, Conqueror of Ideas, the Restorer of Rational Beliefs, of a Cult without Images, the Founder of twenty Terrestrial Empires and of one Spiritual Empire, that Is Muhammad.
As regards all standards (I repeat “all”) by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, “Is there any man greater than he?” .
No! Muhammad was the greatest man that ever lived! According to Lamartine the French historian. And God Almighty questions – “And Have We not raised high the esteem (in which) thou (O Muhammad) are held? Most assuredly thou hast, O my Lord!”
The quality of mercy
The Christian propagandists make the wild boast that there is nothing in the history of mankind to compare with the merciful and forgiving cry of Jesus on the cross … “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Amazing as it may sound, of the four writers of the Canonical Gospels, only St. Luke was inspired by the Holy ghost (?) to pen these words. The other three – Matthew, Mark, and John never heard these words or they felt them to be too insipid or not important enough for recording. St. Luke was not even one of the twelve disciples selected by Jesus. According to the revisers of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible, these words are not in the most ancient manuscripts which by implication means that they are an interpolation.
In “The New King James Version,” (Copyrighted by the Thomas Nelson Publishers Inc 1984), we are told that these words are “not in the original text” of the Greek manuscripts of St. Luke. In other words, they have been fabricated by some pious gentleman. Although the quotation is unauthentic, we will still entertain it because it demonstrates great piety of loving one’s enemies and of unsurpassed forgiveness as preached by the Master himself.
For forgiveness to be of any worth, the forgiver must be in a position to forgive. If the victim of injustice is still in the clutches of his enemies; in that helpless position and he would cry out, “I forgive you!” it would be meaningless. But if the aggrieved party had turned the tables on his enemies and was in a position of taking revenge or exact retribution, and yet say “I forgive you!”, only then would it mean something!
Contrast the alleged forgiveness from the “cross” with the historical bloodless conquest of Mecca by Muhammad at the head of ten thousand “saints” (A fulfillment of another prophecy in Muhammad. “…He came from mount Paran (that is in Arabia), and he came with ten thousand saints…”
“The city which had treated him so cruelly, driven him and his faithful band for refuge amongst strangers, which had sworn his life and the lives of his devoted disciples, lay at his feet. His old persecutors relentless and ruthless, who had disgraced humanity by inflicting cruel outrages upon inoffensive men and women, and even upon the lifeless dead, were now completely at his mercy. But in the hour of his triumph every evil suffered was forgotten, every injury inflicted was forgiven, and a general amnesty was extended to the population of Mecca”
Calling before him the populace of the vanquished city, he addressed them with “What do you expect at my hands today?” His people had known him too well, even from his childhood so they replied, “Mercy, O generous brother and nephew!” Tears came into the eyes of the Prophet, and he said, “I will speak to you as Joseph spoke unto his brethren, I will not reproach you today: go you are free!”
And now a scene was enacted of which there is really no parallel in the history of the world. Hosts upon hosts came forward and adopted the religion of Islam. God Almighty testifies as to the lofty and exalted behaviour of His Messenger: “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct”
How well has Lamartine unknowingly echoed these sentiments – “As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”
In reply, we too can say once more, “No! there is no man greater than Muhammad. Muhammad was the greatest man that ever lived!”
So far, our hero has earned the unsolicited and ungrudging tributes from many non-Muslims of different religious persuasions and from varying intellectual fields of endeavour. But all this still remains incomplete without the Master’s verdict; Muhammad’s predecessor – Jesus Christ,. We will now apply his own standard for evaluating greatness.
John the Baptist
John the Baptist, (“John- not to be confused with John the disciple of Jesus) a very common name among the Jews and Arab was a contemporary prophet of the Messiah. They were also cousins. Here is what the Master has to say of him: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”
Every son of man is “born of women.” By this very fact, John the Baptist is greater than Moses, David, Solomon, Abraham or Isaiah; none of the Israelite prophets excluded. What gives John this ascendancy over every other prophet? It could not be any miracle, because the Bible records none to his credit. It could not be his teachings, because he brought no new laws or regulations. Then what makes him the greatest? Simply because he was the heralder, a pre-cursor, a harbinger of the happy news of the coming of the Messiah. This is what made John the greatest, but Jesus claims that he himself was even greater than the greatest (ie. John). Why?
But I have greater witness than that of John (the Baptist): “For The Works which the Father hath given me to finish”
It is the “witness,” the commission which God Almighty had entrusted him with, which makes Jesus greater than even John. Applying these very standards as enunciated by the Master, we find that:
1. John the Baptist was the greatest of all the Israelite prophets because he heralded the mighty Messiah (Jesus). Similarly, Jesus would be greater than even John because he heralded “The Spirit of Truth, the Comforter,” who was to guide mankind into all Truth.
For a detailed explanation about this prophecy, read: “Muhammad the Natural Successor to Christ”.
2. The diocese, the mission of Jesus, or “the works which God had given him to accomplish,” was limited to the Lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24), whereas the mission of Muhammad was universal. He had been told – “And we have sent thee not (O Muhammad), but as a Mercy unto the worlds.”
In keeping with his grand commission, Muhammad consistently delivered his Message to one and all who would hear, irrespective of race, class or creed, He welcomed them all in the religion of God, without any discrimination. He had no thought of dividing the creatures of God into “dogs and pigs”or into “sheep and goats” . He was the Messenger of the One True God, who was sent as a Mercy unto all mankind, nay, unto the whole universe. And, he never forgot this mission even right up to his dying day.
Towards the end of his earthly sojourn, when he could look back to a hectic and dangerous past, now crowned with success; he now feels that he could sit back and enjoy the fruits of his toil; he dreams of a life free from turmoil and full of satisfaction and relaxation. Not for him! There is no time to rest or relax. There is work still to be done. God Almighty reminds him: “We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) but to the whole of mankind. As a giver of glad tidings and as a warner, but most of mankind still do not know.”
How was he to respond to this new challenge in his ripening old age? There were no electronic gadgets of modern communication methods at his disposal; there were no telex and fax machines which he could exploit. What could he do? Being unlettered, he called the scribes and dictated five letters, one each to the Emperor at Constantinople, the King of Egypt, the Negus of Abyssinia, the King of Yemen and to the Emperor in Persia. He called forth five of his companions with five Arab steeds and set them out in five different directions inviting the nations of the world to the universal religion of God.
I had the good fortune of seeing one of those holy epistles in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul (old Constantinople) Turkey. That letter is collecting dust! Materially the Turks have preserved the parchment. But the Message is collecting dust, as I have said. The letter begins, “From Muhammad the Messenger of God to Heraclius the Emperor at Constantinople: Accept Islam and be benefited.” followed by this exhortation from the Book of God:
“Say: O people of the book! (“people of the book,” stands for the Jews and the Christians) come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than God.” if then they turn back, say ye: “bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to God’s will)”
After the above Quranic insertion in the letter, it is concluded with felicitation in the Prophet’s own words, ending with a seal on which is inscribed – “There is no other object of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger.”
The letter in Turkey arouses our curiosity, and interest with regards to its preservation, but the preservation itself is lost upon the sightseer. The same Quranic Message is in almost every Muslim home; being read and re-read a thousand times over without the reader being moved to deliver its Message to the addressees!
Glance once more at the above verse. It is addressed to the People of the Book, the Jews and the Christians. But, for over a thousand years we have utterly ignored that great directive at our own peril. We are sitting on that Message like a cobra on a pile of wealth, keeping the rightful heirs at bay. This utter neglect will continue to inflict untold suffering to the Muslim nation for generations to come.
After over fourteen hundred years of our reading, and chanting the Quran in every rhythmic style, we still hear this poignant cry: “But Most of mankind still do not know.”
This is the concluding phrase of the verse revealed fourteen hundred years ago. It was the factual situation of the then religious world. The question which must be asked is if it is any different today? Not at all! There are today more disbelievers in the world than there are believers in the One True God.
Prophet Muhammad’s speeches
Sir George Bernard Shaw said: “If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam. I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion, from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.
I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”
Here are some of Muhammad’s speeches:
“Acquire knowledge, it enables its professor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to heaven. It is our friend in the desert, our company in solitude and companion when friendless. It guides us to happiness, it sustains us in misery, it is an ornament amongst friends and an armor against enemies.”
“A Muslim who plants a tree or sows a field, from which man, birds, and animals can eat, is committing an act of charity.”
“There is a polish for everything that takes away rust, and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of Allah.”
“What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.”
“The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self.”
“If you put your whole trust in Allah, as you ought, He most certainly will satisfy your needs, as He satisfies those of the birds. They come out hungry in the morning, but return full to their nests.”
“When Allah created his creatures He wrote above His throne: ‘Verily, my Compassion overcomes my wrath.”
“Allah will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures.”
“Son, if you are able, keep your heart from morning till night and from night till morning free from malice towards anyone.’ Then the Prophet said: ‘O my son! This is one of my laws, and he, who loves my laws verily loves me.’”
“Say what is true, although it may be bitter and displeasing to people.”
“Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.”
“When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those, who have been given less.”
“If you do not feel ashamed of anything, then you can do whatever you like.”
“O Lord, grant me your love, grant me that I love those who love you; grant me, that I might do the deeds that win your love. Make your love dearer to me than the love of myself, my family and wealth.”
“It is better to sit alone than in company with the bad; and it is better still to sit with the good than alone. It is better to speak to a seeker of knowledge than to remain silent, but silence is better than idle words.”
“Verily, a man teaching his child manners is better than giving one bushel of grain in alms.”
“Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He Who is in heaven will show mercy on you.”
“It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path, that leads to bliss.”
“Once a man, who was passing through a road, found a branch of a tree with torns obstructing it. The man removed the thorns from the way. Allah thanked him and forgave his sins.”
“Who are the learned? Those who practice what they know.”
“Allah has revealed to me, that you must be humble. No one should boast over one another, and no one should oppress another.”
“Who is the most favored of Allah? He, from whom the greatest good comes to His creatures.”
“A true Muslim is thankful to Allah in prosperity, and resigned to His will in adversity.”
“A Muslim who meets with others and shares their burdens is better than one who lives a life of seclusion and contemplation.”
“Serve Allah, as you would if you could see Him; although you cannot see Him, He can see you.”
“Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions, but He looks at your heart and your deeds.”
“The best richness is the richness of the soul.”
“Keep yourselves far from envy; because it eats up and takes away good actions, like a fire eats up and burns wood.”
“Much silence and a good disposition, there are no two things better than these.”
“Verily, Allah is mild and is fond of mildness, and He gives to the mild what He does not give to the harsh.”
“Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him.”
“Once the Prophet was asked: ‘Tell us, which action is dearest to Allah?’ He answered: ‘To do your prayer at its proper time.’ Again he was asked: ‘What comes next?’ Mohammed said: ‘To show kindness to parents.’ ‘Then what?’ he was asked, ‘To strive for the cause of Allah!’”
“When two persons are together, two of them must no whisper to each other, without letting the third hear; because it would hurt him.”
“Verily, it is one of the respects to Allah to honor an old man.”
“All Muslims are like a foundation, each strengthening the other; in such a way they do support each other.”
“Strive always to excel in virtue and truth.”
“You will not enter paradise until you have faith, and you will not complete your faith till you love one another.”
“He, who wishes to enter paradise at the best gate, must please his father and mother.”
“I am leaving two things among you, and if you cling to them firmly you will never go astray; one is the Book of Allah and the other is my way of life.”
“Allah is One and likes Unity.”
“The best of alms is that, which the right hand gives and the left-hand knows not of.”
“The perfect Muslim is not a perfect Muslim, who eats till he is full and leaves his neighbors hungry.”
“He is not of us who is not affectionate to the little ones, and does not respect the old; and he is not of us, who does not order which is lawful, and prohibits that which is unlawful.”
“No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that, what he desires for himself.”
“To strive for the cause of Allah from daybreak to noon and sunset is better than the goods and enjoyment of the whole worldly life.”
“Be not like the hypocrite who, when he talks, tells lies; when he gives a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he proves dishonest.”
“The proof of a Muslim’s sincerity is, that he pays no heed to that, which is not his business.”
“Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.”
“Conduct yourself in this world, as if you are here to stay forever; prepare for eternity as if you have to die tomorrow.”
Our Lord declared, “I have never endowed My servants with a favor, without a group among them disbelieving in it and saying, ‘Stars, it was due to the stars.’”
“The worldly comforts are not for me. I am like a traveler, who takes a rest under a tree in the shade and then goes on his way.”
“Acquire Knowledge. It enables its possessor to distinguish right from wrong. It lights the way to heaven. It is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our compassion when friendless. It guides us to happiness. It sustains us in misery. It is an ornament among friends and an armor against enemies.”
“Your Lord delights at a shepherd who, on the peak of a mountain crag, gives the call to prayer and prays. Then Allah says, ‘Look at this servant of Mine. He gives the call to prayer and performs the prayers; he is in awe of Me. I will forgive My servant all his sins and admit him to Paradise.’”
When the Prophet Muhammad uttered the salutation at the end of the prayer, he would say: “O Allah, forgive me my former and latter sins, what I have kept secret and what I have done openly, and what I have done extravagantly; and what You know better than I do. You are the Advancer and the Delayer. There is no god but You.”
Muhammad said the following to some soldiers after they had left the battlefield victorious one day: “You have left the lesser jihad, now you are coming to the greater jihad. The struggle against yourself.”
Muhammad’s hadith and Sunnah
Sunnah is all the sayings and actions of prophet Muhammad. A Hadeeth is one saying of the Prophet Muhammad. In plural Ahadeeth. Basically, a Hadeeth tells us what the prophet said or did at a certain time regarding a certain issue.
Usually, a Hadeeth is composed of two parts: the body text and the chain of reporters. A text of a Hadeeth may seem to be logical and reasonable but it needs authentic and reliable reporters to be acceptable.
Many reform proposals have been advanced during the last decades, and many spiritual doctors have tried to devise a patent medicine for the sick body of Islam. But, until now, all have been in vain, because all those clever doctors – at least those who get a hearing today – have invariably forgotten to prescribe, along with their medicines, tonics and elixirs, the natural diet on which the early development of the patient had been based. This diet, the only one which the body of Islam, sound or sick, can positively accept and assimilate, is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.
The Sunnah is the key to the understanding of the Islamic rise more than fourteen centuries ago; and why should it not be a key to the understanding of our present degeneration? Observance of the Sunnah is synonymous with Islamic existence and progress. Neglect of the Sunnah is synonymous with a decomposition and decay of Islam. The Sunnah is the iron framework of the House of Islam; and if you remove the framework of a building, can you be surprised if it breaks down like a house of cards?
This simple truth, almost unanimously accepted by all learned men throughout Islamic history, is – we know well – most unpopular today for reasons connected with the ever-growing influence of Western civilization. But it is a truth, none the less, and, in fact, the only truth which can save us from the chaos and the shame of our present decay.
The term Sunnah is used here in its widest meaning, namely, the example which the Prophet has set before us in his attitudes, actions and sayings. His wonderful life was a living illustration and explanation of the Quran, and we can do no greater justice to the Holy Book than by following him who was the means of its revelation.
We have seen that one of the main achievements of Islam, the one which distinguishes it from all other transcendental systems, is the complete harmony between the moral and the material aspects of human life. This was one of the reasons why Islam in its prime had such a triumphant success wherever it appeared. It brought to mankind the new message that the earth need not be despised in order that heaven be gained.
This prominent feature of Islam explains why our Prophet, in his mission as an apostolic guide to. I should like to stress here that the concept of the Prophet’s Sunnah has been unwarrantably enlarged by scholars of the post-classical period of Islam. In its only valid, fundamental connotation this term signifies “the way of life” of the Apostle of God.
In the first instance, it comprises the moral and ethical attitudes which he adopted towards various human problems – both individual and social of a permanent nature.
Secondly, the Sunnah embraces much of the Prophet’s injunctions – both commands and prohibitions – as relate to unchanging circumstances of social life and human behavior:
That is to say, it does not, by itself, embrace injunctions which the Apostle of God issued with a view to a particular historical occasion or a time-bound situation. Thirdly, the Sunnah comprises such of the Prophet’s outspoken moral valuations – “this is good” or “this is bad” – as are anchored in the human situation as such, and are therefore immune to the changes of time or circumstance. Unless we keep strictly to this threefold definition of the Prophet’s Sunnah, we will always be in danger of obscuring the principle that it is valid for all times and thus of losing sight of its God-willed character as the second source, next to the Quran, of Islamic Law.
Humanity was so deeply concerned with human life in its polarity both as a spiritual and a material phenomenon. It does not, therefore, show a very deep understanding of Islam if one discriminates between such injunctions of the Prophet as deal with purely devotional and spiritual matters and others which have to do with questions of society and daily life. The contention that we are obliged to follow the commands belonging to the first group, but not obliged to follow those of the second, is as superficial and, in its spirit, as anti-Islamic as the idea that certain general injunctions of the Quran were meant only for the ignorant Arabs at the time of the revelation, and not for the refined gentlemen of the twentieth century. At its root lies a strange under estimation of the true role of the Arabian Prophet.
Just as the life of a Muslim must be directed towards a full and unreserved’ cooperation between his spiritual and his bodily Self, so the leadership of out Prophet embraces life as a compound entity, a sum-total of moral and practical, individual and social manifestations. This is the deepest meaning of the Sunnah. The Quran says:
“But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.”.
And: “Say: ‘If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ Say: ‘Obey Allah and His Messenger’. But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith.”.
The Sunnah of the Prophet is, therefore, next to the Quran, the second source of Islamic Law. In fact, we must regard the Sunnah as the only binding explanation of the Quranic teachings, the only means of avoiding permanent dissensions concerning their interpretation and adaptation to practical use. Many verses of the Quran have an allegorical meaning and can be understood in different ways. And there are, furthermore, many questions of practical importance not explicitly dealt with in the Quran. The spirit prevailing in the Holy Book is, to be sure, uniform throughout; but to deduce from it the practical attitude which we have to adopt is not in every case an easy matter.
So long as we believe that this Book is the Word of God, perfect in form and purpose, the only logical conclusion is that it was never intended to be used independently of the personal guidance of the Prophet which is embodied in the system of his Sunnah; and our reason tells us that there could not possibly be a better interpreter of the Quranic teachings than he through whom they were revealed to humanity. And so we come to the very important question as to the authenticity of the sources which reveal the life and the sayings of the Prophet to us. These sources are the sayings and actions of the Prophet reported and transmitted by his Companions and critically collected in the first few centuries of Islam. It has become a matter of fashion in our days to deny, in principle, the authenticity of most of the ahadeeth and, therefore, of the whole structure of the Sunnah.
Is there any scientific warrant for this attitude? Is there any scientific justification for the rejection of ahaadeeth as a dependable source of Islamic Law?
We should think that the opponents of orthodox thought would be able to bring forward really convincing arguments which would establish, once and for all, the unreliability of the Traditions ascribed to the Prophet. But this is not the case. In spite of all the efforts which have been employed to challenge the authenticity of a Hadeeth as a body, those modern critics, both Eastern and Western, have not been able to back their purely subjective criticism with results of truly scientific research. It would be rather difficult to do so, inasmuch as the compilers of the early Hadeeth collections, and particularly Bukhari and Muslim, have done whatever was humanly possible to put the authenticity of every Tradition to a very rigorous test – a ‘far .more rigorous test than Western historians usually apply to any historical document.
It would go far beyond the limits of this book to dwell in detail on the scrupulous method by which the reliability of Traditions was investigated by the early Muhadditheen (learned men devoted to the study of Hadeeth), For our purpose it should suffice to say that a complete science has been evolved, the sole object of which is the research into the meaning, the form and the way of transmission of the Prophet’s Hadeeth:
An historical branch of this science succeeded in establishing an unbroken chain of detailed biographies of all those personalities who have ever been mentioned as narrators of Traditions. The lives of those men and women have been thoroughly investigated from every point of view, and only those have been accepted as reliable whose way of life as well as of receiving and transmitting Hadeeth perfectly responds to the standards stipulated by the great Muhadditheen and believed to be the most exacting that could possibly be conceived. If, therefore, anyone wishes to contest today the authenticity of a particular Hadeeth or of the system as a whole, the burden of proving its inaccuracy falls upon him alone.
It is scientifically not in the least justifiable to contest the veracity of a historical source unless one is prepared to prove that this source is defective. If no reasonable, that is, a scientific argument can be found against the veracity of the source itself or against one or more of its later transmitters, and if, on the other hand, no other contradictory report about the same matter exists, then we are bound to accept the Tradition as true.
Suppose, for example, someone speaks about the Indian wars of Mahmud of Ghazni and you suddenly get up and say, “I don’t believe that Mahmud ever came to India. It is a legend without any historical foundation.” What would happen in such a case?
At once some person well-versed in history would try to correct your mistake and would quote chronicles and histories based on reports of contemporaries of that famous Sultan as a definite proof of the fact that Mahmud had been in India. In that case, you would have to accept the proof – or you would be regarded as a crank who for no obvious reason denies solid historical facts. If this is so, one must ask oneself why our modern critics do not extend the same logical fair mindedness to the problem of Hadeeth as well.
The primary ground for a Hadeeth being false would be a wilful lie on the part of the first source, the Companion concerned, or one or another of the later transmitters. As to the Companions, such a possibility can be ruled out a priori. It requires only some insight into the psychological side of the problem in order to relegate such assumptions to the sphere of pure fantasy. The tremendous impression which the personality of the Prophet made on these men and women is an outstanding fact of human history; and, moreover, it is extremely well documented by history. Is it conceivable that people who were ready to sacrifice themselves and all they possessed at the bidding of the Apostle of God would play tricks with his words? Did not the Prophet say:
“Whoever intentionally lies about me will take his place in the Fire”?
This the Companions knew; they believed implicitly in the words of the Prophet, whom they regarded as a spokesman of God; and is it probable, from the psychological point of view, that they disregarded this very definite injunction?
In criminal court proceedings, the first question facing the judge is cui bono – for whose benefit – the crime could have been committed. This judicial principle can be applied to the problem of Hadeeth as well. With the exception of Traditions which directly concern the status of certain individuals or groups, as well as the decidedly spurious ~ and by most of the Muhadditheen rejected – Traditions connected with the political claims of the different parties in the first century after the Prophet’s death, there could be no “profitable” reason for any individual to falsify sayings of the Prophet. It was in a just appreciation of the possibility of ahadeeth being invented for some personal ends that the two foremost authorities among the Traditionists, Bukhari and Muslim, rigorously excluded all Traditions relating to party politics from their compilations. What remained was beyond the suspicion of giving personal advantages to anyone.
There is one argument more on which the authenticity of a Hadeeth could be challenged. It is conceivable that either the Companion who heard it from the lips of the Prophet or one or another of the later narrators committed while being subjectively truthful, a mistake due to a misunderstanding of the Prophet’s words, or a lapse of memory, or some other psychological reason.
But the internal, that is, psychological, evidence speaks against any great possibility of such mistakes, at least on the part of the Companions. To the people who lived with the Prophet, each’ one of his sayings and actions was of the utmost significance, due not only to the fascination which his personality exerted on them, but also to their firm belief that it was God’s will that they should regulate their lives according to the Prophet’s direction and example.
Therefore, they could not take the question of his sayings offhand but tried to preserve them in their memory even at the cost of great personal discomfort. It is related that the Companions who were immediately associated with the Prophet formed among themselves groups of two men each, one of whom was to be alternately in the vicinity of the Prophet while the other was busy with the pursuit of his livelihood or other matters; and whatever they heard or saw of their Master they communicated to one another: so anxious were they lest some saying or doing of the Prophet should escape their notice. It is not very probable that, with such an attitude, they could have been negligent as to the exact wording of a Hadeeth, And if it was possible for hundreds of Companions to preserve in their memory the wording of the whole Quran, down to the smallest details of spelling, then it was no doubt equally possible for them and for those who immediately followed them to keep single sayings of the Prophet in their memory without adding to them or omitting anything from them.
Moreover, the Traditionists ascribe perfect authenticity only to those ahaadeeth which are reported in the same form through’ different, independent chains of narrators. Nor is this all. In order to be sound true, a Hadeeth must be corroborated at every stage of transmission by the independent evidence of at least two, and possibly more, transmitters – so that at no stage the report should hinge on the authority of one person only. This demand for corroboration is so exacting that in a Hadeeth reported through, say, three “generations” of transmitters between the Companion concerned and the final compiler, actually, a score or more of such transmitters, distributed over those three “generations”, are involved.
With all this, no Muslim has ever believed that the Traditions of the Prophet could have the undisputed authenticity of the Quran. At no time has the critical investigation of ahaadeeth stopped. The fact that there exist numerous spurious ahaadeeth did not in the least escape the attention of the Muhadditheen, as non Muslim and even some Muslim critics naively suppose. On the contrary, the critical science of Hadeeth was initiated because of the necessity of discerning between the authentic and the spurious, and the very imams Bukhari and Muslim, not to mention the lesser Traditionists, are direct products of this critical attitude. The existence, therefore, of false Hadeeth does not prove anything against the system of Hadeeth as a whole – no more than a fanciful tale from the Arabian Nights could be regarded as an argument against the authenticity of any historical report of the corresponding period.
Until now, no critic has been able to prove in a systematic way that the body of Hadeeth regarded as authentic according to the test-standard of the foremost Traditionists is inaccurate. The rejection of authentic Traditions, either as a whole or in part, is a purely emotional matter and has failed to establish itself as the result of unprejudiced, scientific investigation. But the motive behind such an oppositional attitude among many Muslims of our time can easily be traced. This motive lies in the impossibility of bringing our present, degenerate ways of living and thinking into line with the true spirit of Islam as reflected in the Sunnah of our Prophet. In order to justify their own shortcomings and the shortcomings of their environment, these pseudo-critics of Hadeeth try to obviate the necessity of following the Sunnah:
Because it this were done, they would be able to interpret all Quranic teachings just as they please – that is, everyone according to his own inclinations and turn of mind. And in this way, the exceptional position of Islam as a moral and practical, individual and social code would be utterly destroyed.
In these days, when the influence of Western civilization makes itself more and more felt in Muslim countries, still another motive is added to the negative attitude of the so-called “Muslim intelligentsia” in this matter. It is impossible to live according to the Sunnah of our Prophet and to follow the Western mode of life at one and the same time. But many among the present generation of Muslims are ready to adore everything that is Western, to worship the foreign civilization simply because it is foreign, powerful and materially imposing.
This “Westernization” is the strongest reason why the Traditions of our Prophet and, along with them, the whole structure of the Sunnah have become so unpopular today. The Sunnah is so obviously opposed to the fundamental ideas underlying Western civilization that those who are fascinated by the latter see no way out of the tangle but to describe the Sunnah as an irrelevant, and therefore not compulsory, the aspect of Islam – because it is “based on unreliable Traditions”. After that, it becomes easier to twist the teachings of the Quran in such a way that they might appear to suit the spirit of Western civilization. Almost as important as the formal, so to say
“legal”, justification of the Sunnah through the establishment of the historical dependability of Hadeeth is the question as to its inner, spiritual justification.
Why should an observance of the Sunnah be regarded as indispensable for a life in the true Islamic sense?
Is there no other way to the reality of Islam than through an observance of that large system of actions and customs, of orders and prohibitions derived from the life-example of the Prophet?
No doubt, he was the greatest of men; but is not the necessity to imitate his life in all its aspects an infringement on the individual freedom of the human personality?
It is an old objection which unfriendly critics of Islam put forward that the necessity of strictly following the Sunnah was one of the main causes of the subsequent decay of the Islamic world, for such an attitude is supposed to encroach, in the long run, on the liberty of human action and the natural development of society. It is of the greatest importance for the future of Islam whether we are able to meet this objection or not. Our attitude towards the problem of the Sunnah will determine our future attitude towards Islam.
We are proud, and justly so, of the fact that Islam, as a religion, is not based on mystic dogmatism but is always open to the critical inquiry of reason.
We have, therefore, the right not only to know that the observance of the Sunnah has been imposed upon us but also to understand the inherent reason for its imposition.
Islam leads man to a unification of all aspects of his life. Being a means to that goal, this religion represents in itself a totality of conceptions to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be subtracted. There is no room for eclecticism in Islam. Wherever its teachings are recognized as having been really pronounced by the Quran or the Prophet, we must accept them in their completeness; otherwise, they lose their value.
It is a fundamental misunderstanding to think that Islam, being a religion of reason, leaves its teachings open to individual selection – a claim made possible by a popular misconception of “rationalism”. There is a wide – and by the philosophies of all ages sufficiently recognized – gulf between reason and “rationalism” as it is commonly understood today.
The function of reason in regard to religious teaching is of a controlling character; its duty is to see to it that nothing is imposed on the human mind which it cannot easily bear, that is, without the aid of mental jugglery. So far as Islam is concerned, unprejudiced reason has, time and again, given it its unreserved vote of confidence. That does not mean that everyone who comes into contact with the Quran will necessarily accept its teachings; this is a matter of temperament, environment, and – last but not least – of spiritual illumination. But surely no unbiased person would contend that there is anything in the Quran contrary to reason. No doubt, there are concepts in it beyond the present limits of our understanding; but nothing which offends against man’s intelligence as such.
The role of reason in religious matters is, as we have seen, in the nature of a control – a registration apparatus saying “yes” or “no”, as the case may be. But this is not quite true of so-called “rationalism”. It does not content itself with registration and control, but jumps into the field of speculation; it is not receptive and detached like pure reason, but extremely subjective and temperamental. Reason. knows its own limits, but superficial “rationalism” is preposterous in its claim to encompass the world and all mysteries within its own individual circle. In religious matters it hardly even concedes the possibility of certain things being, temporarily or permanently, beyond human understanding; but it is, at the same time, illogical enough to concede this possibility to science – and so to itself.
An over-estimation of this kind of unimaginative rationalism is one of the causes why so many modern Muslims refuse to surrender themselves to the guidance Of the Prophet. But it does not need a Kant today to prove that human understanding is strictly limited in its possibilities. Our mind is unable, by virtue of its nature, to understand the idea of totality: we can grasp, of all things, their details only. We do not know what infinity or eternity mean; we do not even know what life is. If problems of a religion resting on transcendental foundations we, therefore, need a guide whose mind possesses something more than the normal reasoning qualities and the subjective rationalism common to all of us; we need someone who is inspired – in a word, a Prophet.
If we believe that the Quran is the Word of God and that Muhammad was God’s Apostle, we are not only morally but also intellectually bound to follow his guidance implicitly. This does not mean that we should exclude our powers of reasoning. On the contrary, we have to make use of those powers to the best of our ability and knowledge; we have to discover the inherent meaning and purpose of the commands transmitted to us by the Prophet. But in any case – whether we are able to understand its ultimate purpose or not – we must obey the order. I should like to illustrate this by the example of a soldier who has been ordered by his general to occupy a certain strategic position.
The good soldier will follow and execute the order immediately. If, while doing so, he is able to explain to himself the ultimate strategic purpose which the general has in view, the better for him and for his career; but if the deeper aim which underlies the general’s command does not reveal itself to him at once, he is nevertheless not entitled to give up or even to postpone its execution. We Muslims rely upon our Prophet’s being the best commander mankind could ever have.
We naturally believe that he knew the domain of religion both in its spiritual and its social aspects far better than we ever could. In enjoining us to do this or to avoid that, he always had some “strategic” objectives in view which he thought to be indispensable for the spiritual or social welfare of man.
Sometimes this object is clearly discernible, and sometimes it is more or less hidden from the untrained eyes of the average person; sometimes we can understand the deepest aim of the Prophet’s injunction, and sometimes only its immediate purpose. Whatever the case may be, we are bound to follow the Prophet’s commands, provided that their authenticity and their context are fully established.’? Nothing else matters. Of course.
In addition to what has been said one should always remember that many individual ahaadeeth, even some of the most authentic ones, have been transmitted to us as fragments, without a clear reference to the context. In such cases, only the most meticulous scholarship can reconstruct the circumstances to which the Hadeeth in question refers, and thus establish the permanent character, if any, envisaged by the Apostle of God in the relevant injunction.
there are commands of the Prophet which are obviously of paramount importance and others which are less important, and we have to give the more important precedence over the others. But never have we the right to disregard anyone of them because they appear to us “unessential” – for it is said in the Quran of the Prophet “Nor does he say aught)of his own desire.”.
That is, he speaks only when an objective necessity arises, and he does it because God has inspired him to do so. And for this reason, we are obliged to follow the Prophet’s Sunnah in spirit and in form if we wish to be true to Islam. We do not regard its ideology as one way among others, but as the way; and the man who conveyed this ideology to us is not just one guide among others, but the guide. To follow him in all that he commanded is to follow Islam; to discard his Sunnah is to discard the reality of Islam.
“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.”.
Prophet Muhammad’s character
Many people today are wanting to know about Prophet Muhammad especially in America and Europe. Who was he exactly? What did he teach? What his character was? And why was he loved and followed by millions of people?
The following is facts about Prophet Muhammad. To shorten the article we took all reference to historians and writers. However, should you want to read more about Prophet Muhammad indepth click here Muhammad’s Biography
He was born
to a noble tribe to the lineage of the leaders of Mecca.
His name comes
from the Arabic root “hamd” and literally means ‘praised one’. People at his time and until this very moment, praise him many times per day, peace be upon him.
He never fell
into the common practice of his tribesmen to worship statues, idols or man-made gods.
He required his
followers to engage only in lawful marriage relationships with women, and forbade sex outside of Almighty God’s Ordinance.
He insisted on
giving women their proper rights, dowries, inheritance and property.
He never committed
adultery, and he forbade others from doing it.
He never lied
and never broke a trust never bore false witness, and he was famous with all the tribes in Mecca and was known as: “The Truthful” (Al-Ameen).
He taught that
Killing any innocent life was forbidden.
He believed that
God was truly One God, and as such, He was to be worshipped alone, without any other god beside Him.
He held God
in the highest of reverence and never took God’s Name in vain or for any vain glorious purpose.
He despised false
worship and all of the complexities and degradation to which it leads.
His patience and
humble attitude were exemplary and all who knew him had to admit to these virtues.
He never once
engaged in sex outside of marriage, nor did he ever approve of it, even though it was very common at the time.
He adhered to
the Commandments of Almighty God, just as prophets of old had done in the past.
He forbade usury
and interest on money lending, as Jesus, peace be upon him, had done centuries before him.
He never gambled
and did not allow it under any circumstances.
He never drank
alcohol or strong drink; even though it was a very normal thing for people of his time and place.
He did not
engage in gossip and used to turn away from hearing anything related to it.
He fasted for
days at a time to be closer to Almighty God and away from the narrowness of worldly attractions.
He taught that
Jesus was the immaculate conception and miracle birth of Mary, and that she was among the best creation of Almighty God.
He insisted even
to the Jews of Medina, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, the one predicted to come in their Torah (Old Testament).
He said Jesus
did many miracles by the permission of Almighty God, curing the lepers, restoring sight to the blind and even bringing a dead man back to life.
He stated clearly
that Jesus, was not dead, rather Almighty God had raised him up.
He foretold that
Jesus, is going to return again in the Last Days to lead the true believers in a victory over the evil and unrighteous people, and he will destroy the Anti-Christ.
He commanded the
payment of charity to the poor and he was the defender and protector of widows, orphans and the wayfarers.
He ordered people
to unite with their families and honor the ties of kinship and he restored relationships between family members.
His only relationships
with women were in legitimate, contractual marriages with proper witnesses according to law.
His relationship to
Ayesha was only that of marriage. Their relationship is described in every detail by Ayesha herself in the most loving and respectful manner as a match truly made in heaven. Ayesha is considered as one of the highest scholars of Islam and lived out her entire life only having been married to Muhammad. She never desired any other man, nor did she ever utter a single negative statement against Muhammad.
Muhammad forbade any
killing until the orders came from Allah. Even then the limits were clearly spelled out and only those engaged in active combat against the Muslims or Islam were to be fought in combat. And even then, only according to very strict rules from Allah.
There was no
genocide of Jews. He offered mutual protection and forgiveness to the Jews even after they broke their covenants with him many times. They were not attacked until it was clearly proven they were traitors during time of war and tried to bring down the prophet, and the Muslims at any cost. Retaliation was only to those Jews who had turned traitor and not others.
Slaves were common
in those days for all nations and tribes. It was Islam that encouraged freeing of the slaves and the great reward from Allah for those who did so. Prophet, gave the example of this by freeing slaves and encouraging all of his followers to do the same. Examples include his own servant (who was actually considered like a son to him) Zaid ibn Al Haritha and Bilal the slave who was bought by Abu-Bakr only for the purpose of freeing him.
While there were
many attempts of assassination made on Muhammad, (most famous was the night that Ali took his place in bed while he and Abu-Bakr escaped to Madinah), he did not allow his companions to slaughter any of those who had been involved in these attempts. Proof for this is when they entered Mecca triumphantly and his first words were to command his followers not to harm such and such tribes and so and so families. This was one of the most famous of his acts of forgiveness and humbleness.
Military combat was
forbidden for the first thirteen years of prophethood. The desert Arabs did not need anyone to tell them how to fight or do combat. They were experts in this area and held feuds amongst tribes that lasted for decades. It was not until the proper method of warfare was instituted by Allah in the Quran, with proper rights and limitations according His Commandments, that any retaliation or combat was sanctioned. Orders from Allah made it clear who was to be attacked, how and when and to what extent fighting could take place.
Destruction of infrastructures
is absolutely forbidden except when it is ordained by Allah in certain instances and then only according to His Commands.
Cursing and invoking
evil actually came to the prophet, from his enemies, while he would be praying for their guidance. Classic example is that of his journey to At-Taif where the leaders would not even hear him out nor offer so much as the normal courtesy called for and instead they set the children of the street against him, throwing rocks and stones at him until his body was bleeding so much, blood filled his sandals.
He was offered revenge by the angel Gabriel, if he would give the command, Allah would cause the surrounding mountains to fall down upon them destroying them all. Instead of cursing them or asking for their destruction, he prayed for them to be guided to worship their Lord alone, without any partners.
Prophet Muhammad, claimed
every person who is born is born in a state of submission to God, i.e. submits to God’s Will and obeys His Commandments. Then as they grow older they begin to distort their faith according to the influence of the prevailing society and their own prejudices.
Muhammad, taught his
followers to believe in the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus, and to believe in them as true prophets, messengers and slaves of Almighty Allah. He insisted on ranking all the prophets up at the highest level without any distinction between them.
He also taught
that The original Old Testament, Psalms and The New Testament were originally from the very same source as the Quran, from Allah.
He prophesied and
foretold of events to come and they happened as he had said. He even predicted something from the past that would come true in the future, and it has. The Quran states pharaoh was drowned in the Red Sea while chasing after Moses and Allah said He would preserve Pharaoh as a sign for the future. Dr. Maurice Bucaille in his book, “Bible, Quran and Science” makes it clear this has happened and the very person of Pharaoh has been discovered in Egypt and is now on display for all to see. This event took place thousands of years before Muhammad and it came true in the last few decades, many centuries after Muhammad’s death.
There has been
More has been written about the prophet Muhammad, than any other person on earth. He has been praised very high even by famous non-Muslims for centuries. One of the first examples we quote from is from the Encyclopedia Britannica, as it confirms (regarding Muhammad) “…a mass of detail in the early sources shows that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were likewise honest and upright men.”
People do not hesitate to raise to divinity and even make ‘gods’ out of other individuals whose lives and missions have been lost in legend. Historically speaking, none of these legends achieved even a fraction of what Muhammad, accomplished. And all his striving was for the sole purpose of uniting mankind for the worship of One God on the codes of moral excellence. Muhammad, or his followers never at any time claimed that he was a son of God or the God-incarnate or a man with divinity but he always was and is even today considered as only a Messenger chosen by God.
Today after a lapse of fourteen centuries, the life and teachings of Muhammad; have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. They offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills, which they did when he was alive. This is not a claim of Muhammad’s, followers, but the inescapable conclusion forced upon by a critical and unbiased history.
By now you should already be asking, could these extraordinary, revolutionary and amazing statements, all about this one man, really be true? And What if this is all true? The answer to these questions and many other more are in The Holey Quran which was reveled to Muhammad. Read the Quran and be fair to yourself and ignore others, what matter is you not anyone alse.
Prophet Muhammad’s first marriage
Muhammad had now passed his twentieth year, and as time went on he received more and more invitations to join one or another of his kinsmen on their travels abroad. Finally, the day came when he was asked to take charge of the goods of a merchant who was unable to travel himself, and his success in this capacity led to other similar engagements. He was thus able to earn a better livelihood, and marriage became a possibility.
His uncle and guardian Abu-Talib had at that time three sons: the eldest, Talib, was about the same age as Muhammad himself; Aqil was thirteen or fourteen, and Jafar was a boy of four. Muhammad was fond of children and liked to play with them, and he grew especially attached to Jafar who was a beautiful and intelligent child, and who responded to his cousin’s love with a devotion that proved to be lasting.
Abu-Talib also had daughters, and one of these was already of marriageable age. Her name was Fakhitah, but later she was called Umm Hani’, and it is by that name that she is always known. A great affection had grown up between her and Muhammad, who now asked his uncle to let him marry her. But Abu-Talib had other plans for his daughter: his cousin Hubayrah, the son of his mother’s brother, of the clan of Makhziim, had likewise asked for the hand of Umm Hani; and Hubayrah was not only a man of some substance but he was also, like Abu-Talib himself, a gifted poet. Moreover, the Power of Makhziim in Mecca was as much on the increase as that of Hashim was on the wane; and it was to Hubayrah that Abu-Talib married Umm Hani’. When his nephew mildly reproached him, he simply replied:
“They have given us their daughters in marriage” – no doubt referring to his own mother- “and a generous man must requite generosity.” The answer was unconvincing inasmuch as Abd-Al-Muttalib had already more than repaid the debt in question by marrying two of his daughters, Atikah and Barrah, to men of Makhziim. Muhammad no doubt took his uncle’s words as a courteous and kindly substitute for telling him plainly that he was not yet in a position to marry. That, at any rate, is what he now decided for himself; but unexpected circumstances were soon to induce him to change his mind.
One of the richer merchants of Mecca was a woman – Khadijah, daughter of Khuwaylid, of the clan of Asad. She was the first cousin to Waraqah, the Christian, and his sister Qutaylah, and like them, she was a distant cousin to the sons of Hashim. She had already been married twice, and since the death of her second husband, it had been her custom to hire men to trade on her behalf. Now Muhammad had come to be known throughout Mecca as al-Arnin, the Reliable, the Trustworthy, the Honest, and this was initially owing to the reports of those who had entrusted their merchandise to him on various occasions. Khadijah had also heard much good of him from family sources; and one day she sent word to him, asking him to take some of her merchandise to Syria.
His fee would be the double of the highest she had ever paid to a man of Quraysh; and she offered him, for the journey, the services of a lad of hers named Maysarah. He accepted what she proposed and accompanied by the lad he set off with her goods for the north.
When they reached Bosra in the South of Syria, Muhammad took shelter beneath the shadow of a tree not far from the cell of a monk named Nestor. Since travelers’ halts often remain unchanged, it could have been the selfsame tree under which he had sheltered some fifteen years previously on his way through Bosra with his uncle. Perhaps Buhaira had died and been replaced by Nestor. However, that may be – for we only know what Maysarah reported – the monk came out of his cell and asked the lad: “Who is the man beneath that tree?” “He is a man of Quraysh,” said Maysarah, adding by way of explanation: “of the people who have guardianship of the Sanctuary.” “None other than a Prophet is sitting beneath that tree,” said Nestor.’
As they went on further into Syria, the words of Nestor sank deep into the soul of Maysarah, but they did not greatly surprise him, for he had become aware throughout the journey that he was in the company of a man unlike any other he had ever met. This was still further confirmed by something he saw on his way home: he had often noticed that the heat was strangely unoppressive, and one day towards noon it was given to him to have a brief but clear vision of two Angels shading Muhammad from the sun’s rays.
On reaching Mecca they went to Khadijah’s house with the goods they had bought in the markets of Syria for the price of what they had sold. Khadijah sat listening to Muhammad as he described the journey and told her of the transactions he had made. These proved to be very profitable, for she was able to sell her newly acquired assets for almost the double of what had been paid for them. But such considerations were far from her thoughts, for all her attention was concentrated on the speaker himself.
Muhammad was twenty-five years old. He was of medium stature, inclined to slimness, with a large head, broad shoulders and the rest of his body perfectly proportioned. His hair and beard were thick and black, not altogether straight but slightly curled. His hair reached midway between the lobes of his ears and his shoulders, and his beard was of a length to match.
He had a noble breadth of a forehead and the ovals of his large eyes were wide, with exceptionally long lashes and extensive brows, slightly arched but not joined. In most of the earliest descriptions his eyes are said to have been black, but according to one or two of these, they were brown or even light brown. His nose was aquiline and his mouth was wide and finely shaped – a comeliness always visible for although he let his beard grow, he never allowed the hair of his mustache to protrude over his upper lip. His skin was white but tanned by the sun.
In addition to his natural beauty there was a light on his face – the same which had shone from his father, but in the son it was more powerful- and this light was especially apparent on his broad forehead, and in his eyes, which were remarkably luminous. Khadijah knew that she herself was still beautiful, but she was fifteen years his elder. Would he none the less be prepared to marry her?
As soon as he had gone, she consulted a woman friend of hers named Nufaysah, who offered to approach him on her behalf and, if possible, to arrange a marriage between them. Maysarah now came to his mistress and told her about the two Angels, and what the monk had said, whereupon she went to her cousin Waraqah and repeated these things to him. “If this be true, Khadijah,” he said, “then is Muhammad the prophet of our people. Long have I known that a prophet is to be expected, and his time hath now come.”!
Meanwhile, Nufaysah came to Muhammad and asked him why he did not marry. “I have not the means to marry,” he answered. “But if thou wert given the means,” she said, “and if thou wert bidden to an alliance where there is beauty and property and nobility and abundance, wouldst thou not consent?” “Who is she?” he said. “Khadijah,” said Nufaysah. “And how could such a marriage be mine?” he said. “Leave that to me!” was her answer. “For my part,” he said, “I am willing.”?
Nufaysah returned with these tidings to Khadijah, who then sent word to Muhammad asking him to come to her; and when he came she said to him: “Son of mine uncle, I love thee for thy kinship with me, and for that thou art ever in the center, not being a partisan amongst the people for this or for that; and I love thee for thy trustworthiness and for the beauty of thy character and the truth of thy speech.”? Then she offered herself in marriage to him, and they agreed that he should speak to his uncles and she would speak to her uncle Amr, the son of Asad, for Khuwaylid her father had died. It was Hamzah, despite his relative youth, whom the Hashimites delegated to represent them on this occasion, no doubt, because he was the most closely connected of them with the clan of Asad, for his full sister Safiyyah, had recently married Khadijah’s brother Awwarn, So Hamzah went with his nephew to Amr and asked for the hand of Khadijah; and it was agreed between them that Muhammad should give her twenty she-camels as dowry.
The bridegroom left his uncle’s house and went to live in the house of his bride. As well as being a wife, Khadijah was also a friend to her husband, the sharer of his inclinations and ideas to a remarkable degree. Their marriage was wondrously blessed, and fraught with great happiness, though not without sorrows of bereavement. She bore him six children, two sons, and four daughters. Their eldest child was a son named Qasim, and Muhammad came to be known as Abulqasim, the father of Qasim; but the boy died before his second birthday. The next child was a daughter whom they named Zaynab; and she was followed by three other daughters, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthiim, and Fatimah, and finally by another short-lived son.
On the day of his marriage, Muhammad set free Barakah, the faithful slave he had inherited from his father; and on the same day Khadijah made him a gift of one of her own slaves, a youth of fifteen named Zayd. As to Barakah, they married her to a man of Yathrib to whom she bore a son, after whom she came to be known as Umm Ayman, the mother of Ayman. As to Zayd, he and some other youths had recently been bought at the great fair of Ukaz by Khadijah’s nephew Hakim, the son of her brother Hizam, and the next time his aunt visited him Hakim had sent for his newly acquired slaves and invited her to choose one of them for herself. It was Zayd that she had chosen.
Zayd was proud of his ancestry: his father Harithah was of the great northern tribe of Kalb whose territory lay on the plains between Syria and Iraq: his mother was a woman of the no less illustrious neighboring tribe of Tayy, one of whose chieftains at that time was the poet-knight Hatim, famous throughout Arabia for his chivalry and his fabulous generosity.
Several years had now passed since Zayd had been taken by his mother to visit her family, and the village where they were staying had been raided by some horsemen of the Bani Qayn, who had carried the boy off and sold him into slavery. Harithah, his father, had searched for him in vain; nor had Zayd seen any travelers from Kalb who could take a message from him to his parents. But the Ka’bah drew pilgrims from all parts of Arabia, and one day during the holy season, several months after he had become Muhammad’s slave, he saw some men and women of his own tribe and clan in the streets of Mecca.
If he had seen them the previous year, his feelings would have been very different. He had yearned for such an encounter; yet now that it had, at last, come it placed him in a quandary. He could not deliberately leave his family in ignorance of his whereabouts. But what message could he send them? Whatever its gist, he knew, as a son of the desert, that nothing less than a poem would be adequate for such an occasion. He composed some verses which expressed something of his mind but implied more than they expressed. Then he accosted the Kalbite pilgrims and, having told them who he was, he said: “Speak unto my family these lines, for well I know that they have sorrowed for me: Though I myself be far, yet take my words Unto my people: at the Holy House I dwell, amidst the places God hath hallowed. Set then aside from the sorrows ye have grieved, Weary not camels, scouring the earth for me, For I, praise be to God, am in the best Of noble families, great in all its line.”
When the pilgrims returned home with their tidings, Harithah at once set off for Mecca with his brother, Kab; and going to Muhammad they begged him to allow them to ransom Zayd, for as high a price as he might ask. “Let him choose,” said Muhammad, “and if he chooses you, he is yours without ransom; and if he chooses me, I am not the man to set any other above him who chooseth me.” Then he called Zayd and asked him if he knew the two men.
“This is my father,” said the youth, “and this is mine uncle.” “Me thou knowest,” said Muhammad, “and thou hast seen my companionship unto thee, so choose thou between me and them.” But Zayd’s choice was already made and he said at once: “I would not choose any man in preference to thee. Thou art unto me as my father and my mother.” “Out upon thee, a Zayd!” exclaimed the men of Kalb. “Wilt thou choose slavery above freedom, and above thy father and thine uncle and thy family?” “It is even so,” said Zayd, “for I have seen from this man such things that I could never choose another above him.”
All further talk was cut short by Muhammad, who now bade them come with him to the Ka’bah; and, standing in the Hijr, he said in a loud voice: “All ye who are present, bear witness that Zayd is my son; I am his heir and he is mine.”!
The father and the uncle had thus to return with their purpose un achieved. But the tale they had to tell their tribe, of the deep mutual love which had brought about this adoption, was not an inglorious one; and when they saw that Zayd was free, and established in honor, with what promised to be a high standing amongst the people of the Sanctuary such as might benefit his brothers and other kinsmen in years to come, they were reconciled and went their way without bitterness. From that day the new Hashimite was known in Mecca as Zayd ibn Muhammad.
Among the most frequent visitors to the house was Safiyyah, now Khadljah’s sister-in-law, the youngest of Muhammad’s aunts, younger even than himself; and with her, she would bring her little son Zubayr, whom she had named after her elder brother. Zubayr was thus well acquainted with his cousins, the daughters of Muhammad, from his earliest years. With Safiyyah came also her faithful retainer Salmi, who had delivered Khadijah of all her children, and who considered herself to be one of the households.
As the years passed there were occasional visits from Halimah, Muhammad’s foster-mother, and Khadijah was always generous to her. One of these visits was at a time of severe and widespread drought through which Halimah’s flocks had been seriously depleted, and Khadijah made her a gift of forty sheep and a howdah camel.’ This same drought, which produced something like a famine in the Hijaz, was the cause of a very important addition to the household.
Abu-Talib had more children than he could easily support, and the famine weighed heavily upon him. Muhammad noticed this and felt that something should be done. The wealthiest of his uncles was Abu-Lahab but he was somewhat remote from the rest of the family, partly no doubt because he had never had any full brothers or sisters amongst them, being the only child of his mother.
Muhammad preferred to ask for the help of ‘Abbas, who could well afford it, being a successful merchant, and who was close to him because they had been brought up together. Equally close, or even closer, was ‘Abbas’s wife, Um-albadl, who loved him dearly and who always made him welcome at their house. So he went to them now.. and suggested that each of their two households should take charge of one of Abu-Talib’s sons until his circumstances improved.
They readily agreed, and the two men went to Abu-Talib, who said when he heard their proposal: “Do what ye will but leave me Aqil and Talib.” Jafar was now about fifteen, and he was no longer the youngest of the family. His mother Fatimah had borne yet another son to Abu-Talib, some ten years younger, and they had named him Ali. ‘Abbas said he would take charge of Jafar, whereupon Muhammad agreed to do the same for Ali.
It was about this time that Khadijah had borne her last child, a son named ‘Abd Allah, but the babe had died at an even earlier age than Qasim. In a sense he was replaced by Ali, who was brought up as a brother to his four girl cousins, being about the same age as Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum, somewhat younger than Zaynab and somewhat older than Fatimah. These five, together with Zayd, formed the immediate family of Muhammad and Khadijah. But there were many other relatives for whom he felt a deep attachment, and who have a part to play, large or small, in the history which here is chronicled.
Muhammad’s eldest uncle, Harith, who was now dead, had left many children, and one of the sons, his cousin Abu Sufyan, was also his foster-brother, having been nursed by Halimah amongst the Bani Sa’d a few years after himself. People would say that Abu-Sufyan was of those who bore the closest family likeness to Muhammad, and amongst the characteristics they had in common was eloquence. But Abu-Sufyan was a gifted poet – perhaps more gifted than his uncles Zubayr and Abu-Talib whereas Muhammad had never shown any inclination to compose a poem, though he was unsurpassed in his mastery of Arabic, and in the beauty of his speech.
In Abu-Sufyan, who was more or less his own age, he had something of a friend and a companion. A little closer by blood kinship were the numerous children of his father’s full sisters, that is, of Abd-Al-Muttalib’s five eldest daughters. Amongst the eldest of these cousins were the children of his aunt Umaymah who had married a man named Jahsh, of the North Arabian tribe of Asad.’ He had a house in Mecca, and it was possible for a man who lived amongst a tribe other than his own to become, by mutual alliance, the confederate of a member of that tribe, into which he thus became partly integrated, sharing up to a point its responsibilities and its privileges. Harb, now chief of the Umayyad’ branch of the clan of Abdu Shams, had made Jahsh his confederate so that by marrying him Umaymah could almost be said to have married a Shamsite.
Their eldest son, named after her brother Abdullah, was some twelve years younger than Muhammad, and the two cousins had a great affection for each other. Umaymah’s daughter Zaynab, several years younger than her brother, a girl of outstanding beauty, was included in this bond. Muhammad had known and loved them both from their earliest childhood; and the same was true of others, in particular of Abu Salamah, the son of his aunt Barrah.
The powerful attraction which centered on al-Amin – as he was so often called – went far beyond his own family; and Khadijah was with him at that center, loved and honored by all who came within the wide circle of their radiance, a circle which also included many of her own relations. Particularly close to her was her sister Halah whose son, Abu-Alas, was a frequent visitor to the house. Khadijah loved this nephew as if he had been her own son, and in due course – for she was continually sought after for help and advice – Halah asked her to find a wife for him. When Khadijah consulted her husband, he suggested their daughter Zaynab, who would soon be of marriageable age; and when the time came they were married.
The hopes of Hashim and Muttalib – the two clans counted politically as one – were set upon Muhammad for the recovery of their waning influence. But beyond all question of clan, he had come to be considered by the chiefs of Quraysh as one of the most capable men of the generation which would succeed them and which would have, after them, the task of maintaining the honor and the power of the tribe throughout Arabia. The praise of al-Amin was continually upon men’s lips, and it was perhaps because of this that Abu Lahab now came to his nephew with the proposal that Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom should be betrothed to his sons Utbah and Utaybah. Muhammad agreed for he thought well of these two cousins, and the betrothals took place.
It was about this time that Om-Ayman became once more a member of the household. It is not recorded whether she returned as a widow, or whether her husband had divorced her. But she had no doubt that her place was there, and for his part, Muhammad would sometimes address her as “mother”, and would say of her to others: “She is all that is left me of the people of my house.”
The Quran: A proof of authenticity
It must be stressed here that the Quran is accurate about many, many things, but accuracy does not necessarily mean that a book is a divine revelation. In fact, accuracy is only one of the criteria for divine revelations. For instance, the telephone book is accurate, but that does not mean that it is divinely revealed. The real problem lies in that one must establish some proof of the source the Quran’s information. The emphasis is in the other direction, in that the burden of proof is on the reader. One cannot simply deny the Quran’s authenticity without sufficient proof. If, indeed, one finds a mistake, then he has the right to disqualify it. This is exactly what the Quran encourages.
Once a man came up to me after a lecture I delivered in South Africa. He was very angry about what I had said, and so he claimed, “I am going to go home tonight and find a mistake in the Quran.” Of course, I said, “Congratulations. That is the most intelligent thing that you have said.” Certainly, this is the approach Muslims need to take with those who doubt the Quran’s authenticity, because the Quran itself offers the same challenge. And inevitably, after accepting it’s challenge and discovering that it is true, these people will come to believe it because they could not disqualify it. In essence, the Quran earns their respect because they themselves have had to verify its authenticity.
An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough concerning the authenticity of the Quran is that one’s inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not require his acceptance of the phenomenon’s existence or another person’s explanation of it. Specifically, just because one cannot explain something does not mean that one has to accept someone else’s explanation. However, the person’s refusal of other explanations reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the Quranic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one who says, “I do not believe it.” At the onset of refusal one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others’ answers are inadequate.
In fact, in one particular Quranic verse which I have always seen mistranslated into English, Allah mentions a man who heard the truth explained to him. It states that he was derelict in his duty because after he heard the information, he left without checking the verity of what he had heard. In other words, one is guilty if he hears something and does not research it and check to see whether it is true. One is supposed to process all information and decide what is garbage to be thrown out and what is worthwhile information to be kept and benefited from immediately or even at a later date.
One cannot just let it rattle around in his head. It must be put in the proper categories and approached from that point of view. For example, if the information is still speculatory, then one must discern whether it’s closer to being true or false. But if all the facts have been presented, then one must decide absolutely between these two options. And even if one is not positive about the authenticity of the information, he is still required to process all the information and make the admission that he just does not know for sure. Although this last point appears to be futile, in actuality, it is beneficial to the arrival at a positive conclusion at a later time in that it forces the person to at least recognize research and review the facts.
This familiarity with the information will give the person “the edge” when future discoveries are made and additional information is presented. The important thing is that one deals with the facts and does not simply discard them out of empathy and disinterest.
Exhausting the Alternatives
The real certainty about the truthfulness of the Quran is evident in the confidence which is prevalent throughout it; and this confidence comes from a different approach – “Exhausting the alternatives.” In essence, the Quran states, “This book is a divine revelation; if you do not believe that, then what is it?” In other words, the reader is challenged to come up with some other explanation. Here is a book made of paper and ink. Where did it come from? It says it is a divine revelation; if it is not, then what is its source?
The interesting fact is that no one has yet come up with an explanation that works. In fact, all alternatives have bee exhausted. As has been well established by non-Muslims, these alternatives basically are reduced to two mutually exclusive schools of thought, insisting on one or the other.
On one hand, there exists a large group of people who have researched the Quran for hundreds of years and who claim, “One thing we know for sure – that man, Muhammad, thought he was a prophet. He was crazy!” They are convinced that Muhammad was fooled somehow. Then on the other hand, there is a group which alleges, “Because of this evidence, one thing we know for sure is that that man, Muhammad was a liar!” Ironically, these two groups never seem to get together without contradicting.
In fact, many references to Islam usually claim both theories. They start out by stating that Muhammad was crazy and then end by saying he was a liar. They never seem to realize that he could not have been both! For example, if one is deluded and really thinks that he is a prophet, then he does not sit up late at night planning, “How will I fool the people tomorrow so that they think I am a prophet?” He truly believes that he is a prophet, and he trusts that the answer will be given to him by revelation.
The critic’s trail
As a matter of fact, a great deal of the Quran came in answer to questions. Someone would ask Muhammad a question, and the revelation would come with the answer to it. Certainly, if one is crazy and believes that an angel put words in his ear, then when someone asks him a question, he thinks that the angel will give him the answer. Because he is crazy, he really thinks that. He does not tell someone to wait a short while and then run to his friends and ask them, “Does anyone know the answer?”
This type of behavior is characteristic of one who does not believe that he is a prophet. What the non-Muslims refuse to accept is that you cannot have it both ways. One can be deluded, or he can be a liar. He can be either one or neither one, but he certainly cannot be both! The emphasis is on the fact that they are unquestionably mutually exclusive personality traits.
The following scenario is a good example of the kind of circle that non-Muslims go around in constantly. If you ask one of them, “What is the origin of the Quran?” He tells you that it originated from the mind of a man who was crazy. Then you ask him, “If it came from his head, then where did he get the information contained in it? Certainly the Quran mentions many things with which the Arabs were not familiar.” So in order to explain the fact which you bring him, he changes his position and says, “Well, maybe he was not crazy. Maybe some foreigner brought him the information. So he lied and told people that he was a prophet.” At this point then you have to ask him, “If Muhammad was a liar, then where did he get his confidence? Why did he behave as though he really thought he was a prophet?”
Finally backed into a corner, like a cat he quickly lashes out with the first response that comes to his mind. Forgetting that he has already exhausted that possibility, he claims, “Well, maybe he wasn’t a liar. He was probably crazy and really thought that he was a prophet.” And thus he begins the futile cycle again.
As has already been mentioned, there is much information contained in the Quran whose source cannot be attributed to anyone other than Allah. For example, who told Muhammad about the wall of Zul-Qarnayn – a place hundreds of miles to the north? Who told him about embryology? When people assemble facts such as these, if they are not willing to attribute their existence to a divine source, they automatically resort to the assumption someone brought Muhammad the information and that he used it to fool the people.
However, this theory can easily be disproved with one simple question: “If Muhammad was a liar, where did he get his confidence? Why did he tell some people outright to their face what others could never say?” Such confidence depends completely upon being convinced that one has a true divine revelation.
A revelation – Abu-Lahab
Prophet Muhammad had an uncle by the name of Abu-Lahab. This man hated Islam to such an extent that he used to follow the Prophet around in order to discredit him. If Abu-Lahab saw the Prophet speaking to a stranger, he would wait until they parted and he would go to the stranger and ask him, “What did he tell you? Did he say, ‘Black’? Well, it’s white. Did he say ‘morning’? Well, it’s night.” He faithfully said the exact opposite of whatever he heard Muhammad and the Muslims say.
However, about ten years before Abu-Lahab died, a little chapter in the Quran (Chapter al-Lahab, 111) was revealed about him. It distinctly stated that he would go to the fire (i.e., Hell). In other words, it affirmed that he would never become a Muslim and would therefore be condemned forever. For ten years all Abu-Lahab had to do was say, “I heard that it has been revealed to Muhammad that I will never change – that I will never become a Muslim and will enter the Hellfire. Well, I want to become Muslim now. How do you like that? What do you think of your divine revelation now?” But he never did that. And yet, that is exactly the kind of behavior one would have expected from him since he always sought to contradict Islam.
In essence, Muhammad said, “You hate me and you want to finish me? Here, say these words, and I am finished. Come on, say them!” But Abu-Lahab never said them. Ten years! And in all that time he never accepted Islam or even became sympathetic to the Islamic cause.
How could Muhammad possibly have known for sure that Abu-Lahab would fulfil the Quranic revelation if he (i.e., Muhammad) was not truly the messenger of Allah? How could he possibly have been so confident as to give someone 10 years to discredit his claim of prophethood? The only answer is that he was Allah’s messenger; for in order to put forth such a risky challenge, one has to be entirely convinced that he has a divine revelation.
Another example of the confidence which Muhammad had in his own prophethood and consequently in the divine protection of himself and his message is when he left Mecca and hid in a cave with Abu-Bakr during their emigration to Madinah. The two clearly saw people coming to kill them, and Abu-Bakr was afraid.
Certainly, if Muhammad was a liar, a forger and one who was trying to fool the people into believing that he was a prophet, one would have expected him to say in such a circumstance to his friend, “Hey, Abu-Bakr, see if you can find a back way out of this cave.” Or “Squat down in that corner over there and keep quiet.” Yet, in fact, what he said to Abu-Bakr clearly illustrated his confidence. He told him, “Relax! Allah is with us, and Allah will save us!” Now, if one knows that he is fooling the people, where does one get this kind of attitude? In fact, such a frame of mind is not characteristic of a liar or a forger at all.
So, as has been previously mentioned, the non-Muslims go around and around in a circle, searching for a way out – some way to explain the findings in the Quran without attributing them to their proper source. On one hand, they tell you on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, “The man was a liar,” and on the other hand, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they tell you, “He was crazy.” What they refuse to accept is that one cannot have it both ways; yet they need both theories, both excuses to explain the information in the Quran.
An encounter with a minister
Useful links seven years ago, I had a minister over to my home. In the particular room which we were sitting there was a Quran on the table, face down, and so the minister was not aware of which book it was. In the midst of a discussion, I pointed to the Quran and said:
“I have confidence in that book.” Looking at the Quran but not knowing which book it was, he replied, “Well, I tell you, if that book is not the Bible, it was written by a man!” In response to his statement, I said, “Let me tell you something about what is in that book.” And in just three to four minutes, I related to him a few things contained in the Quran. After just those three or four minutes, he completely changed his position and declared, “You are right. A man did not write that book. The Devil wrote it!”
Indeed, possessing such an attitude is very unfortunate – for many reasons. For one thing, it is a very quick and cheap excuse. It is an instant exit out of an uncomfortable situation.
As a matter of fact, there is a famous story in the Bible that mentions how one day some of the Jews were witnesses when Jesus raised a man from the dead. The man had been dead for four days, and when Jesus arrived, he simply said, “Get up!” and the man arose and walked away. At such a sight, some of the Jews who were watching said disbelievingly, “This is the Devil. The Devil helped him!”
Now this story is rehearsed very often in churches all over the world, and people cry big tears over it, saying, “Oh, if I had been there, I would not have been as stupid as the Jews!” Yet, ironically, these people do exactly what the Jews did when in just three minutes you show them only a small part of the Quran and all they can say is, “Oh, the Devil did it. The devil wrote that book!” Because they are truly backed into a corner and have no other viable answer, they resort to the quickest and cheapest excuse available.
The source of the Quran
Another example of people’s use of this weak stance can be found in the Meccans’ explanation of the source of Muhammad’s message. They used to say, “The devils bring Muhammad that Quran!” But just as with every suggestion made, the Quran gives the answer.
One versein particular states: “And they say, ‘Surely he is possessed (by jinn)’ but it (the Quran) is not except a reminder to the worlds.”
Thus it gives an argument in reply to such a theory. In fact, there are many arguments in the Quran in reply to the suggestion that devils brought Muhammad his message. For example, in the 26th chapter Allah clearly affirms:
“No evil ones have brought down this (Revelation): It would neither suit them nor would they be able (to produce it). Indeed they have been removed far from even (a chance of) hearing it.”
And in another place in the Quran, Allah instructs us: “So when you recite the Quran seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the rejected one.”
Now is this how Satan writes a book? He tells one, “Before you read my book, ask God to save you from me?” This is very, very tricky. Indeed, a man could write something like this, but would Satan do this? Many people clearly illustrate that they cannot come to one conclusion on this subject. On one hand, they claim that Satan would not do such a thing and that even if he could, God would not allow him to; yet, on the other hand, they also believe that Satan is only that much less than God. In essence they allege that the Devil can probably do whatever God can do. And as a result, when they look at the Quran, even as surprised as they are as to how amazing it is, they still insist, “The Devil did this!”
Praise be to Allah, Muslims do not have that attitude. Although Satan may have some abilities, they are a long way separated from the abilities of Allah. And no Muslim is a Muslim unless he believes that. It is common knowledge even among non-Muslims that the Devil can easily make mistakes, and it would be expected that he would contradict himself if and when he wrote a book. For indeed, the Quran states:
“Do they not consider the Quran? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.”
In conjunction with the excuses that non-Muslims advance in futile attempts to justify unexplainable verses in the Quran, there is another attack often rendered which seems to be a combination of the theories that Muhammad was crazy and a liar. Basically, these people propose that Muhammad was insane, and as a result of his delusion, he lied to and misled people. There is a name for this in psychology. It is referred to as mythomania. It means simply that one tells lies and then believes them.
This is what the non-Muslims say Muhammad suffered from. But the only problem with this proposal is that one suffering from mythomania absolutely cannot deal with any facts, and yet the whole Quran is based entirely upon facts. Everything contained in it can be researched and established as true. Since facts are such a problem for a mythomaniac, when a psychologist tries to treat one suffering from that condition, he continually confronts him with facts.
For example, if one is mentally ill and claims, “I am the king of England,” a psychologist does not say to him “No you aren’t. You are crazy!” He just does not do that. Rather, he confronts him with facts and says, “OK, you say you are the king of England. So tell me where the queen is today. And where is your prime minister? And where are your guards?” Now, when the man has trouble trying to deal with these questions, he tries to make excuses, saying “Uh… the queen… she has gone to her mother’s. Uh… the prime minister… well he died.” And eventually he is cured because he cannot deal with the facts. If the psychologist continues confronting him with enough facts, finally he faces the reality and says, “I guess I am not the king of England.”
The Quran approaches everyone who reads it in very much the same way a psychologist treats his mythomania patient. There is a verse in the Quran which states:
“O mankind, there has come to you an admonition (the Quran) from your Lord and a healing for what is in the hearts – and guidance and mercy for the believers.”
At first glance, this statement appears vague, but the meaning of this verse is clear when one views it in light of the aforementioned example. Basically, one is healed of his delusions by reading the Quran. In essence, it is therapy. It literally cures deluded people by confronting them with facts. A prevalent attitude throughout the Quran is one which says, “O mankind, you say such and such about this; but what about such and such? How can you say this when you know that?” And so forth. It forces one to consider what is relevant and what matters while simultaneously healing one of the delusions that facts presented to mankind by Allah can easily be explained away with flimsy theories and excuses.
New Catholic Encyclopedia
It is this very sort of thing – confronting people with facts – that had captured the attention of many non-Muslims. In fact, there exists a very interesting reference concerning this subject in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. In an article under the subject of the Quran, the Catholic Church states:
“Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Quran… Today no sensible man accepts any of these theories!!”
Now here is the age-old Catholic Church, which has been around for so many centuries, denying these futile attempts to explain away the Quran.
Indeed, the Quran is a problem for the Catholic Church. It states that it is revelation, so they study it. Certainly, they would love to find proof that it is not, but they cannot. They cannot find a viable explanation. But at least they are honest in their research and do not accept the first unsubstantiated interpretation which comes along.
The Church states that in fourteen centuries it has not yet been presented a sensible explanation. At least it admits that the Quran is not an easy subject to dismiss. Certainly, other people are much less honest. They quickly say, “Oh, the Quran came from here. The Quran came from there.” And they do not even examine the credibility of what they are stating most of the time.
Of course, such a statement by the Catholic Church leaves the everyday Christian in some difficulty. It just may be that he has his own ideas as to the origin of the Quran, but as a single member of the Church, he cannot really act upon his own theory. Such an action would be contrary to the obedience, allegiance and loyalty which the Church demands. By virtue of his membership, he must accept what the Catholic Church declares without question and establish its teachings as part of his everyday routine.
So, in essence, if the Catholic Church as a whole is saying, “Do not listen to these unconfirmed reports about the Quran,” then what can be said about the Islamic point of view? If even non-Muslims are admitting that there is something to the Quran – something that has to be acknowledged – then why are people so stubborn and defensive and hostile when Muslims advance the very same theory? This is certainly something for those with a mind to contemplate – something to ponder for those of understanding!
Testimony of an intellectual
Recently, the leading intellectual in the Catholic Church – a man by the name of Hans – studied the Quran and gave his opinion of what he had read. This man has been around for some time, and he is highly respected in the Catholic Church, and after careful scrutiny, he reported his findings, concluding, “God has spoken to man through the man, Muhammad.”
Again this is a conclusion arrived at by a non-Muslim source – the very leading intellectual of the Catholic Church himself!
I do not think that the Pope agrees with him, but nonetheless, the opinion of such a noted, reputed public figure must carry some weight in defense of the Muslim position. He must be applauded for facing the reality that the Quran is not something which can be easily pushed aside and that, in fact God is the source of these words.
As is evident from the aforementioned information, all of the possibilities have been exhausted, so the chance of finding another possibility of dismissing the Quran is nonexistent.
The burden of proof on the critic
If the book is not a revelation, then it is a deception; and if it is a deception, one must ask, “What is its origin? And where does it deceive us?” Indeed, the true answers to these questions shed light on the Quran’s authenticity and silence the bitter unsubstantiated claims of the unbelievers.
Certainly, if people are going to insist that the Quran is a deception, then they must bring forth evidence to support such a claim. The burden of proof is on them, not us! One is never supposed to advance a theory without sufficient corroborating facts; so I say to them, “Show me one deception! Show me where the Quran deceives me! Show me; otherwise, don’t say that it is a deception!”
Origin of the universe and life
An interesting characteristic of the Quran is how it deals with surprising phenomena which relate not only to the past but to modern times as well. In essence, the Quran is not an old problem. It is still a problem even today – a problem to the non-Muslims that is. For every day, every week, every year brings more and more evidence that the Quran is a force to be contended with – that its authenticity is no longer to be challenged! For example, one verse in the Quran reads:
“Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder, and made from water every living thing? Will they not then believe?”
Ironically, this very information is exactly what they awarded the 1973 Noble Prize for – to a couple of unbelievers.
The Quran reveals the origin of the universe – how it began from one piece – and mankind continues to verify this revelation, even up to now. Additionally, the fact that all life originated from water would not have been an easy thing to convince people of fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, if 1400 years ago you had stood in the desert and told someone, “All of this, you see (pointing to yourself), is made up of mostly water,” no one would have believed you. Proof of that was not available until the invention of the microscope. They had to wait to find out that cytoplasm, the basic substance of the cell, is made up of 80% water. Nonetheless, the evidence did come, and once again the Quran stood the test of time.
More on falsification test
In reference to the falsification tests mentioned earlier, it is interesting to note that they, too, relate to both the past and the present. Some of them were used as illustrations of Allah’s omnipotence and knowledge, while others continue to stand as challenges to the present day. An example of the former is the statement made in the Quran about Abu-Lahab. It clearly illustrates that Allah, the Knower of the Unseen, knew that Abu-Lahab would never change his ways and accept Islam. Thus Allah dictated that he would be condemned to the Hellfire forever. Such a chapter was both an illustration of Allah’s divine wisdom and a warning to those who were like Abu-Lahab.
People of the book
An interesting example of the latter type of falsification tests contained in the Quran is the verse which mentions the relationship between the Muslims and the Jews. The verse is careful not to narrow its scope to the relationship between individual members of each religion, but rather, it summarizes the relationship between the two groups of people as a whole. In essence, the Quran states that Christians will always treat the Muslims better than the Jews will treat the Muslims. Indeed, the full impact of such a statement can only be felt after careful consideration of the real meaning of such a verse. It is true that many Christians and many Jews have become Muslims, but as a whole, the Jewish community is to be viewed as an avid enemy of Islam.
Additionally, very few people realize what such an open declaration in the Quran invites. In essence, it is an easy chance for the Jews to prove that the Quran is false – that it is not a divine revelation. All they have to do is organize themselves, treat the Muslims nicely for a few years and then say, “Now what does your holy book say about who are your best friends in the world – the Jews or the Christians? Look what we Jews have done for you!”
That is all they have to do to disprove the Quran’s authenticity, yet they have not done it in 1400 years. But, as always, the offer still stands open!
A mathematical approach
All of the examples so far given concerning the various angles from which one can approach the Quran have undoubtedly been subjective in nature; however, there does exist another angle, among others, which is objective and whose basis is mathematical.
It is surprising how authentic the Quran becomes when one assembles what might be referred to as a list of good guesses. Mathematically, it can be explained using guessing and prediction examples. For instance, if a person has two choices (i.e., one is right, and one is wrong), and he closes his eyes and makes a choice, then half of the time (i.e., one time out of two) he will be right. Basically, he has a one in two chance, for he could pick the wrong choice, or he could pick the right choice.
Now if the same person has two situations like that (i.e., he could be right or wrong about situation number one, and he could be right or wrong about situation number two), and he closes his eyes and guesses, then he will only be right one-fourth of the time (i.e., one time out of four).
He now has a one in four chance because now there are three ways for him to be wrong and only one way for him to be right. In simple terms, he could make the wrong choice in situation number one and then make the wrong choice in situation number two; or he could make the wrong choice in situation number one and then make the right choice in situation number two; or he could make the right choice in situation number one and then make the wrong choice in situation number two; or he could make the right choice in situation number one and then make the right choice in situation number two.
Of course, the (only instance in which he could be totally right is the last scenario where he could guess correctly in both situations. The odds of his guessing completely correctly have become greater because the number of situations for him to guess in have increased; and the mathematical equation representing such a scenario is 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 (i.e., one time out of two for the first situation multiplied by one time out of two for the second situation).
Continuing on with the example, if the same person now has three situations in which to make blind guesses, then he will only be right one-eighth of the time (i.e., one time out of eight or 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 ). Again, the odds of choosing the correct choice in all three situations have decreased his chances of being completely correct to only one time in eight. It must be understood that as the number of situations increase, the chances of being right decrease, for the two phenomena are inversely proportional.
Now applying this example to the situations in the Quran, if one draws up a list of all of the subjects about which the Quran has made correct statements, it becomes very clear that it is highly unlikely that they were all just correct blind guesses. Indeed, the subjects discussed in the Quran are numerous, and thus the odds of someone just making lucky guesses about all of them become practically nil. If there are a million ways for the Quran to be wrong, yet each time it is right, then it is unlikely that someone was guessing.
The following three examples of subjects about which the Quran has made correct statements collectively illustrate how the Quran continues to beat the odds.
The female bee
In the 16th chapter, the Quran mentions that the female bee leaves its home to gather food. “And your Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations;” Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: their issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought.
Now, a person might guess on that, saying, “The bee that you see flying around – it could be male, or it could be female. I think I will guess female.” Certainly, he has a one in two chance of being right. So it happens that the Quran is right. But it also happens that that was not what most people believed at the time when the Quran was revealed. Can you tell the difference between a male and a female bee? Well, it takes a specialist to do that, but it has been discovered that the male bee never leaves his home to gather food.
However, in Shakespeare’s play, Henry the Fourth, some of the characters discuss bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and have a king. That is what people thought in Shakespeare’s time – that the bees that one sees flying around are male bees and that they go home and answer to a king. However, that is not true at all. The fact is that they are females, and they answer to a queen. Yet it took modern scientific investigations in the last 300 years to discover that this is the case.
So, back to the list of good guesses, concerning the topic of bees, the Quran had a 50/50 chance of being right, and the odds were one in two.
In addition to the subject of bees, the Quran also discusses the sun and the manner in which it travels through space. Again, a person can guess on that subject. When the sun moves through space, there are two options: it can travel just as a stone would travel if one threw it, or it can move of its own accord. The Quran states the latter – that it moves as a result of its own motion:
“It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.”.
To do such, the Quran uses a form of the word sabbaha to describe the sun’s movement through space. In order to properly provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the implications of this Arabic verb, the following example is given.
If a man is in water and the verb sabbaha is applied in reference to his movement, it can be understood that he is swimming, moving of his own accord and not as a result of a direct force applied to him. Thus when this verb is used in reference to the sun’s movement through space, it in no way implies that the sun is flying uncontrollably through space as a result of being hurled or the like. It simply means that the sun is turning and rotating as it travels. Now, this is what the Quran affirms, but was it an easy thing to discover? Can any common man tell that the sun is turning?
Only in modern times was the equipment made available to project the image of the sun onto a tabletop so that one could look at it without being blinded. And through this process, it was discovered that not only are there spots on the sun but that these spots move once every 25 days. This movement is referred to as the rotation of the sun around its axis and conclusively proves that, as the Quran stated 1400 years ago, the sun does, indeed, turn as it travels through space.
And returning once again to the subject of good guesses, the odds of guessing correctly about both subjects – the sex of bees and the movement of the sun – are one in four!
Seeing as back fourteen centuries ago people probably did not understand much about time zones, the Quran’s statements about this subject are considerably surprising. The concept that one family is having breakfast as the sun comes up while another family is enjoying the brisk night air is truly something to be marveled at, even in modern time. Indeed, fourteen centuries ago, a man could not travel more than thirty miles in one day, and thus it took him literally months to travel from India to Morocco, for example. And probably, when he was having supper in Morocco, he thought to himself, “Back home in India they are having supper right now.” This is because he did not realize that, in the process of traveling, he moved across a time zone. Yet, because it is the words of Allah, the All-Knowing, the Quran recognizes and acknowledges such a phenomenon.
In an interesting verse it states that when history comes to an end and the Day of Judgment arrives, it will all occur in an instant, and this very instant will catch some people in the daytime and some people at night. This clearly illustrates Allah’s divine wisdom and His previous knowledge of the existence of time zones, even though such a discovery was non-existent back fourteen centuries ago. Certainly, this phenomenon is not something which is obvious to one’s eyes or a result of one’s experience, and this fact, in itself, suffices as proof of the Quran’s authenticity.
Returning one final time to the subject of good guesses for the purpose of the present example, the odds that someone guessed correctly about all three of the aforementioned subjects – the sex of bees, the movement of the sun and the existence of time zones – are one in eight!
Certainly, one could continue on and on with this example, drawing up longer and the longer list of good guesses; and of course, the odds would become higher and higher with each increase of subjects about which one could guess. But what no one can deny is the following: the odds that Muhammad, an illiterate, guessed correctly about thousands and thousands of subjects, never once making a mistake, are so high that any theory of his authorship of the Quran must be completely dismissed – even by the most hostile enemies of Islam!
Indeed, the Quran expects this kind of challenge. Undoubtedly, if one said to someone upon entering a foreign land, “I know your father. I have met him,” probably the man from that land would doubt the newcomer’s word, saying, “You have just come here. How could you know my father?” As a result, he would question him, “Tell me, is my father tall, short, dark, fair? What is he like?” Of course, if the visitor continued answering all of the questions correctly, the skeptic would have no choice but to say, “I guess you do know my father. I don’t know how you know him, but I guess you do!”
The situation is the same with the Quran. It states that it originates from the One who created everything. So everyone has the right to say, “Convince me! If the author of this book really originated life and everything in the heavens and on the earth, then He should know about this, about that, and so on.” And inevitably, after researching the Quran, everyone will discover the same truths. Additionally, we all know something for sure: We do not all have to be experts to verify what the Quran affirms. One’s Iman (faith) grows as one continues to check and confirm the truths contained in the Quran. And one is supposed to do so all of his life. May God (Allah) guide everyone close to the truth.
An engineer at the University of Toronto who was interested in psychology and who had read something on it, conducted research and wrote a thesis on Efficiency of Group Discussions. The purpose of his research was to find out how much people accomplish when they get together to talk in groups of two, three, ten, etc. The graph of his findings goes up and down at places, but it reaches the highest point at the variable of two. The findings: people accomplish most when they talk in groups of two. Of course, this discovery was entirely beyond his expectations, but it is very old advice given in the Quran:
“Say, ‘I exhort you to one thing – that you stand for Allah, (assessing the truth) by twos and singly, and then reflect…’”
Addendum 2: ‘Iram
Additionally, the 89th chapter of the Quranmentions a certain city by the name of ‘Iram (a city of pillars), which was not known in ancient history and which was non-existent as far as historians were concerned. However, the December 1978 edition of National Geographic introduced interesting information which mentioned that in 1973, the city of Elba was excavated in Syria. The city was discovered to be 43 centuries old, but that is not the most amazing part.
Researchers found in the library of Elba a record of all of the cities with which Elba had done business. Believe it or not, there on the list was the name of the city of ‘Iram. The people of Elba had done business with the people of ‘Iram!
In conclusion, I ask you to consider with care the following:
“And they say: ‘Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord?’ Say: ‘The signs are indeed with Allah: And I am indeed a clear Warner.’ And is it not enough for them that we have sent down to you the Book (Quran) which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is Mercy and a reminder to those who believe.”