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Prophetic Guidance Within the Abrahamic Religions
By Dr. Laurence B. Brown, MD
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked “NRSV” herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Chapter headings are numbered in continuity with the first book in this series, entitled MisGod’ed I) FOREWORD ..................................................................................................................... 4 II) INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................... 6
SECTION 3 – BOOKS OF SCRIPTURE (CONTINUED FROM MISGOD’ED) ..........................................11 3.C.) THE HOLY QUR’AN ..........................................................................................................................11 3.C.1.) BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOLY QUR’AN .................................................................................11 3.C.2.) EVIDENCES INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................28 3.C.3.) EVIDENCE 1 INNATE APPEAL................................................................................................31 3.C.4.) EVIDENCE 2 THE LANGUAGE OF THE QUR’AN................................................................39 3.C.5.) EVIDENCE 3 RELATION OF REVELATION TO PRECEDING EVENTS ............................60 3.C.6.) EVIDENCE 4 RELATION OF REVELATION TO CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS ..........79 3.C.7.) EVIDENCE 5 RELATION OF REVELATION TO SUBSEQUENT EVENTS .........................85 3.C.8.) EVIDENCE 6 REVELATION OF THE UNKNOWN (i.e., THAT WHICH WAS BEYOND THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PROPHET)...............................................................................................103 3.C.9.) SUMMARY OF EVIDENCES.......................................................................................................145
SECTION 4 MESSENGERS ....................................................................................... 150
4.A.) ADAM TO MOSES ............................................................................................................................153 4.B.) MOSES .................................................................................................................................................156 4.C.) JESUS CHRIST ..................................................................................................................................169 4.D.) MUHAMMAD ....................................................................................................................................177 4.D.1. – PREDICTIONS IN PREVIOUS SCRIPTURE ...........................................................................188 4.D.2. – MIRACULOUS SIGNS................................................................................................................189 4.D.3. – MIRACLES PERFORMED.........................................................................................................196 4.D.4. – CHARACTER...............................................................................................................................202 4.D.5. – PERSISTENCE AND STEADFASTNESS ..................................................................................220 4.D.6. – LACK OF DISQUALIFIERS ......................................................................................................232 4.D.7. – MAINTENANCE OF THE MESSAGE.......................................................................................241
SECTION 5 – THE UNSEEN.......................................................................................... 248
5.A.) ANGELS ..............................................................................................................................................249 5.B.) DAY OF JUDGEMENT.....................................................................................................................252 5.C.) DIVINE DECREE ..............................................................................................................................255
SECTION 6 – CONCLUSIONS...................................................................................... 261
6.A.) THE DEVIANT RELIGION ............................................................................................................262 6.B.) SURRENDER......................................................................................................................................265 6.C.) THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOGIC ..............................................................................................271
APPENDIX 1 – RECOMMENDED READING .......................................................... 297 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................. 301 GLOSSARY OF TERMS................................................................................................. 314
Biblical quotes in the following work, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New King James Version. The reason for selecting this version of the Bible does not relate to the degree of scriptural faithfulness, which is debatable, but rather to the popularity of the text. In Englishspeaking nations, the 1611 edition of the King James Version is the most widely read translation of the Bible. The New King James Version
1 grew from an effort to “keep abreast of changes in English speech.” Hence, the New
King James Version renders the 1611 King James Version more readable. However, disappointingly little effort has been made to reconcile differences between the 1611 King James Version and the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus codices. These codices were discovered within the last two centuries and are the oldest and most authoritative New Testament manuscripts found to date. They were not available when the 1611 King James Version was translated, but now that they are available, we can reasonably expect to see their influence upon more modern translations. In the case of the New King James Version, this is not the case. Consequently, the New King James Version retains verses and passages which conflict with the most ancient and respected New Testament manuscripts. Therefore, while this book predominantly cites the New King James Version of the Bible in the interest of satisfying the Protestant majority of Western Christianity, a complementary version is required where greater scholastic accuracy is required. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) fills this gap. The New Revised Standard Version represents the effort and approval of an ecumenical body of scholars that spans the various Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic Church, and the
The Holy Bible, New King James Version. 1982. Thomas Nelson Publishers, preface, p. iv. 4
Eastern Orthodox Church. The NRSV replaces the Revised Standard Version, which was “officially authorized for use by all major Christian churches: Protestant, Anglican,
2 Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox.” As such, it enjoys the broadest acceptance of
all Bible translations. Quotations from the English Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Qur’an (hereafter TMQ), unless otherwise noted, are taken from the Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation. Where specific passages benefit, the translations of Saheeh International or of the cotranslators Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan are employed. Those who question the use of multiple translations need to understand that no language, and most especially one as complex as Arabic, can be translated with complete accuracy. As Professor A. Guillaume stated, “The Qurān is one of the world’s classics
3 which cannot be translated without grave loss.”
This opinion is shared by Qur’an translators, notably Marmaduke Pickthall and Professor A. J. Arberry, who commented, “In choosing to call the present work The Koran Interpreted I have conceded the relevancy of the orthodox Muslim view, of which Pickthall,
4 for one, was so conscious, that the Koran is untranslatable.”
Hence the need for multiple translations, for no single translation, and some would say no collection of translations, can adequately convey the meaning of the original.
The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. Foreword, p. vii. 3 Guillaume, Alfred. 1990. Islam. Penguin Books. pp. 7374. 4 Arberry, A. J. 1996. The Koran Interpreted. A Touchstone book: Simon & Schuster. Preface, p. 24. 5
II) INTRODUCTION “Life is rather like a tin of sardines—we’re all of us looking for the key.”
5 Alan Bennett, Beyond the Fringe
This is the second of two books devoted to an analysis of the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As stated in the first book, MisGod’ed, the goals of this analysis are to define the valid links in the chain of revelation, trace this chain to its conclusion, and expose the faithful and unfaithful (i.e., the “God’ed” and “misGod’ed”) from amongst those who claim divine guidance. Accordingly, these books are to be read in order, since only the rare person can reverse the order and derive equal benefit. Hence, I assume readers of this present volume have already finished the first book in the series. For those who haven’t, MisGod’ed defined the differences between the Judaic, Christian and Islamic understandings of God, analyzed the doctrinal differences that separate Christianity from Islam, and exposed the weaknesses of JudeoChristian scripture and dogma. With regard to the latter, many of these weaknesses are intertwined, such as when tenets of Christian faith were derived from scribal errors or scriptural forgeries. In other cases, illegitimate tenets of Christian faith were derived from non biblical sources which, amazingly enough, means scripture had little or nothing to do with them. Where elements of Christian canon were derived from Bible sources, we are shocked to find the teachings of Paul given priority over those of Jesus Christ, especially when the two openly conflict.
Cohen, M.J. and J.M. 1996. The Penguin Dictionary of TwentiethCentury Quotations. Penguin Books. 6
for 6 Nydell. but in the preceding scriptures. Those who agree with this opinion recognize ‘submission to the will of God’ as the only code of life acceptable to The Creator. Understanding Arabs. As stated in the Holy Qur’an.” Many find the Islamic approach to religion refreshing. 2006. Objective study is expected to disclose the sense of the chain of revelation and expose the unacceptable. and discover the teachings of Islam not only in the Holy Qur’an. for Islam is nothing more than a revival and confirmation of the teachings of all the prophets. P. “This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary. Margaret K. Arab Muslims) are secure in their belief about the completeness of Islam. ungodly elements of all scriptures and philosophies superceded by the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. Judaism and Christianity. but claims not to overstep the boundaries of reason. Intercultural Press. and a fuller explanation of the Book – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds” (TMQ 10:37). Many who question institutionalized Jewish or Christian dogma find their logical objections opposed by the fiery emotion that accompanies blind indoctrination.This unreliability of JudeoChristian sources forces many sincere seekers to look elsewhere for guidance. Hence this second volume in the series.. In the words of Margaret Nydell. for Islam condemns blind indoctrination and demands derivation of religious truths from foundational evidences. since it is accepted as the third and final 6 refinement of the two previously revealed religions.e. it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it. 34. “They (i. Judaism and Christianity are very much threatened. Not so with Islam. Islam teaches accepted beliefs. 7 . On the other hand. to be sure. The Islamic claim is that sincere seekers should not feel threatened.
more often than not. in the days of oral tradition. but it is no part of the Book; and they say. This scenario may sound familiar. written scripture. having revealed the Suhuf (Sheets) to Abraham. and religious men and women who served as pious examples to their communities. the Injeel (Gospel) to Jesus. God sent a prophet to every nation. 8 . Each book replaced the preceding record once the pristine message of God’s revelation became sufficiently adulterated to warrant correction. How did this happen? According to the Islamic religion. the Zaboor (Psalms) to David.Islam claims to expose the false foundations upon which these institutions were constructed – foundations which. and the Qur’an to Muhammad. the Tawraat (Torah) to Moses. With regard to these individuals. ‘That is from Allah. God reportedly gifted mankind with a series of scriptures. the books of scripture supplanted the need for such a plethora of prophets. were fabricated more from the teachings of followers than of the prophets themselves. and (well) they know it!” (TMQ 3:78) and. When God gifted mankind with written language. for history is no stranger to the numerous individuals who altered or selectively interpreted revelation in accordance with deviant desires. (as they read) you would think it is a part of the Book. “There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues.’ but it is not from Allah: it is they who tell a lie against Allah. Revelation reached subsequent generations through the combination of oral tradition. Allah teaches.
And how can it. New Testament and Holy Qur’an. Consider. The only avowedly historical book in it (i. One wonders about the character of the * As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica.’ to traffic with it for a miserable price! – woe to them for what their hands do write. and no convincing reconstruction of historical facts is possible from these books of the New Testament. “The history of the term's (apocrypha) usage indicates that it referred to a body of esoteric writings that were at first prized. which is sufficiently riddled with errors to render the entire work suspect. Next consider the Old Testament.e.000 noncanonical acts. epistles and gospels (which were discarded and burned with only a handful of ‘apocryphal’ survivors)* . and then say: ‘This is from Allah. the Psalms of David. And yet.” It is interesting to note that the apocrypha.” (TMQ 2:79) The historical result is that a common theme runs through the scriptural remnants of the Abrahamic religions. the New Testament) is the Acts of the Apostles.’ eventually fell to the station of simply being tolerated. “The writers of the four Gospels included in the New Testament were bearing witness to assured truths that the faithful ought to know. which excluded somewhere between an estimated 250 and 2. both Old and New Testaments bear undeniable earmarks of corruption. All three books teach divine unity and command adherence to God’s commandments. If anyone believes that what remains in the hands of man is a complete and unadulterated book of guidance. and for the gain they make thereby. capable of standing on it’s own merit. Then consider the New Testament. though initially ‘prized. and subsequently to being rejected. The assertion that the same sequence of religious evolution ultimately resulted in the modification and/or rejection of Jesus Christ’s teachings does not exactly remain distant.. when the very history of early ‘Christianity’ is shaded in doubt? To quote from the Encyclopaedia Britannica once again. translating or canonizing fell into the hands of those who sought to design religion closer to their hearts’ desire. and finally excluded. a common creed courses through the revelation chain of Old Testament. As discussed in MisGod’ed.“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands. The New Testament as a whole represents 9 . The deviations crept in when the job of recording. for example. later tolerated. they better have another read.
HarperCollins. and third century ‘Christians’ know that we don’t?” 7 Ehrman. and the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea (died c. unadulterated book of God’s revelation? And could that final revelation be the Holy Qur’an? I leave all readers to answer that question for themselves. Between the Acts of the Apostles. It includes only what conformed to the doctrine of the church when.men who made that editing choice. 89. And then we have the scholar of textual criticism. 10 . Bart D. second. Misquoting Jesus. if not searching for the final. 8 Ehrman. 2005. their intention and religious orientation. 2005. Misquoting Jesus.” So where does this leave the seeker of religious truth. based upon the evidence that follows. and their willingness to compromise scriptural truth in support of group ideology. merely a selection from the early Christian writings. later on. we have to wonder. 90. And so. some estimating as high as 400. P. “There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the 8 New Testament. dating probably from the late 1st century. “What did the early first. P. 340) and his contemporaries in the first quarter of the 4th century.000. HarperCollins. telling us that scholars estimate the number of New Testament manuscript variants in the 7 hundreds of thousands. Ehrman. In Ehrman’s now famous words. Professor Bart D. that doctrine became fixed in one form. Bart D. there is an almost complete gap in Christian historiography” (above italics mine).
Muslims contend that.” Margaret Hussey The Holy Qur’an was revealed at the beginning of the seventh century. but nothing more. The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God 3. Some authors have even gone so far as to suggest that Muhammad was 11 . word for word.SECTION 3 – BOOKS OF SCRIPTURE (Continued from MisGod’ed) 3.C. lying and delusional thinking have all been advanced. Claims of scriptural plagiarism.1.C. deception. approximately 600 years following the ministry of Jesus Christ. Conversely. Allah sends a divine tune to cleanse them.) BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOLY QUR’AN “One reason that history repeats itself is that so many people were not listening the first time. nonbelievers charge Muhammad with a full banquet of profiles of false prophethood.) THE HOLY QUR’AN “When Satan makes impure verses. as has the theory of Muhammad having been a man of extraordinary intelligence and insight.” George Bernard Shaw. the revelation was placed in the mind and mouth of the prophet Muhammad during the latter 23 years of his life.
and cannot communicate during the postapoplectic period of recovery of senses. Furthermore. W. Many people break out in a sweat simply facing their boss. A’ishah. but expected. crawling skin. Far more unreasonable would be to assume that any mortal could converse with the angel of revelation in casual and comfortable terms. rising hair.epileptic. much like relaxing over coffee at a local café. spinal chill and quickening of senses which accompany a spiritual abnormality can easily imagine the angel of revelation to elicit equal or greater shock. “Opponents of Islam have often asserted that Muhammad had epilepsy. after all. How much tighter might their nerves be stretched should they face the Creator of all bosses is hard to predict. Certainly a focused attention. His beloved wife. anybody who has witnessed grand mal seizures knows an epileptic does not produce intelligible speech. a sweat on the brow. The description of Muhammad’s altered appearance while receiving revelation is no stranger to the historical record. even on a cold day. Montgomery Watt commented. As a 12 . However. a blank stare would in no way exceed expectations. What. should we expect to read from the face of any mortal confronted with the spiritual load of direct revelation? Any who have experienced the pounding pulse. Those who search to summarily execute Muhammad’s character can fashion whatever garment of conclusions suits their taste from such scraps of evidence. and the Holy Qur’an is a compilation of his mutterings while in the throes of seizure. those who presume Muhammad’s sincerity and view the circumstance with circumspection might consider an altered appearance not just excused. noted that he broke out in a sweat when receiving revelation. and that therefore his religious experiences had no validity.
“The 10 Qoran. is in reality nothing but a counterfeit of the Bible. New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the Qoran. nonetheless 9 Watt. Hirschfeld. Muslims claim Muhammad pronounced the iqra’ (surah 96) completely devoid of circumspection.” nonetheless concluded.” Hartwig Hirschfeld. the argument would be completely unsound and based on mere ignorance and prejudice; such physical concomitants neither validate nor invalidate religious 9 experience. 1902. whereas Muhammad was in the fullest possession of his faculties to the very end. London: Royal Asiatic Society.D. But. a man who echoed no shortage of slanders in a strongly biased polemic against the Qur’an. Should he have proclaimed it with nothing but prophetic 11 enthusiasm. 32 10 13 . though in clear disagreement with the Muslim viewpoint. Hartwig.matter of fact. p. 57. Preface. “What remains now of epileptic or hysterical influence on the origin of Islam? Absolutely nothing. since that disease leads to physical and mental degeneration. a man who exposed his prejudice in the preface to his New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the Qoran with the words. Montgomery. Never has a man pronounced a sentence with more circumspection and consciousness than Muhammed did in the iqra’. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. Hartwig. the symptoms described are not identical with those of epilepsy. ii. he must have been the greatest genius that ever lived. the textbook of Islam. Ph. W. 1953. even if the allegation were true. for he only repeated what was revealed to him. Hirschfeld.” Of course. Muhammad at Mecca. 11 Hirschfeld.
” Deluded people readily believe all that in which they are deluded. Thomas Carlyle commented. for Muhammad did not appear to fully comprehend his first experience of revelation. and traveled in her business. History having cleared Muhammad of such charges. As per the New Catholic Encyclopedia. incredulous. and unsure of the meaning of the experience. Vol 9. It required persuasion from his wife and friends before he 12 was convinced and believed that he had actually received a revelation from God. a rich widow. Just as delusional thinking is always betrayed by selfevident weaknesses. “Mohammed himself was frightened. much less a week. a deluded person’s mind summons up bizarre ideas on a frequent basis. others as much as 2 years) between the first and subsequent revelation. Now.dismissed the charge of epilepsy as too blatant a slander to be contained within the envelope of endorsement. So traumatic was his initial encounter with the angel Gabriel that Muhammad required convincing. “How he (Muhammad) was placed with Kadijah. neither deception nor lying ever withstand the trials of logic and time as the pleated fabric of history unfolds. no true scholar entertains such slanders. 14 . events come to be realized. as her steward. 1001. Delusional thinking similarly should be dismissed. For example. again to the fairs of Syria; how 12 New Catholic Encyclopedia. a significant period of time passed (some say as little as 40 days. p. Furthermore. That is what delusion implies a readiness to accept the implausible due to some warpage in the thought process. The bent mentation of a crazy person simply does not go on vacation for a couple of days. and lies to be recognized. That is the nature of those who are psychologically disturbed their mangled minds conjure up the peculiar with a regular and frequent periodicity. much less 40 days or more.
and her alone. entirely quiet and commonplace way. as told us by the Arab authors.We will leave 15 . had been sufficient hitherto. had been. Not till he was already getting old. All his ‘ambition. as one can well understand. real and supposed.he managed all. the fact that he lived in this entirely unexceptionable. It goes greatly against the impostortheory. when the good Kadijah died. All his irregularities.’ the mere goodopinion of neighbours that knew him. A silent great soul; he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere….’ seemingly. had other thoughts in him than ambition. set up as a wretched empty charlatan to acquire what he could now no longer enjoy! For my share. date from after his fiftieth year. He was forty before he talked of any mission from Heaven. He was twentyfive; she forty. and peace growing to be the chief thing this world could give him. to live an honest life; his ‘fame. though still beautiful. Ah no: this deephearted Son of the Wilderness. till the heat of his years was done. with his beaming black eyes. the prurient heat of his life all burnt out. He seems to have lived in a most affectionate. hitherto. I have no faith whatever in that. and open social deep soul. with fidelity. adroitness; how her gratitude. belying all his past character and existence. her regard for him grew: the story of their marriage is altogether a graceful intelligible one. wholesome way with this wedded benefactress; loving her truly. did he start on the ‘career of ambition;’ and. peaceable.
HeroWorship and the Heroic in History. And so it has been maintained as an oral tradition preserved to this day in the hearts and minds of devout hafith (memorizers. but to a revelation. and whatever else was immediately available. by conservative estimate. whose number in the present day. This bulky and inconvenient record was copied and compiled into an official mushaf (book) at the commission of Abu Bakr (the first Caliph). The Qur’an was also recorded in writing by scribes. one of Muhammad’s faithful scribes. Islamic tradition holds that this revelation was transmitted verbally to the prophet Muhammad by the angel of revelation. we must turn to an analysis of the Qur’an itself. Writing material was scarce. 8687. Uzbekistan. who faithfully transcribed each element of revelation at the time it was revealed. London: James Fraser. 89. 1841. the other in Istanbul. Regent Street. Between four and eight copies were subsequently completed during the caliphate of Uthman. Thomas. 13 Carlyle.” With regard to other attempts to disqualify the revelation Muhammad claimed. or ‘protectors. is unlikely to be less than 30 million. pp. and each copy was dedicated to one of the territories of the Islamic world. On Heros. shoulder blades of large animals. the word ‘Qur’an’ does not refer to a book. 16 . so the Holy Qur’an was originally recorded on palm leaves. To begin with.’ of the Qur’an). worthy chiefly of dismissal by us. Gabriel. as not credible; not very tolerable 13 even. Two of these books still exist one in Tashkent. making the Holy Qur’an the only book of scripture recorded at the time of revelation and preserved unchanged to the present day.it altogether. sheets of leather. This project was overseen by Zaid Ibn Thabit. this impostorhypothesis. roughly two years after Muhammad’s death.
Sir William. can be authenticated against these ‘originals’ to demonstrate the integrity and preservation of the sacred book of Islam. Laura Vaglieri adds this element to her list of evidences with the comment. These ‘originals’ continue to serve as templates.” 14 Vaglieri. 4142. Introduction. anywhere in the world. p. Introduction. A. F. Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University 1947 1969. “We have still another proof of the divine origin of the Quran in the fact that its text has remained pure and unaltered through the centuries 14 from the day of its delivery until today…” Professor Arthur J. 1980. Dr. intended to render unambiguous and easy the task of reading the recitation. pp. 16 Muir. the Koran as printed in the twentieth century is identical with the Koran as authorized by Uthman 15 more than 1300 years ago. Translated from Italian by Dr.” Respected voices from the past. such as that of Sir William Muir.There is probably in the world no other work which has 16 remained twelve centuries with so pure a text. 15 Arberry. Zurich: Islamic Foundation. It is this very preservation which many consider a miraculous proof of the sanctity of the Holy Qur’an. ix. Aldo Caselli. Arthur J. 1925). 1923. xxii – xxiii. Dr. 17 .Turkey. pp. 1964. London: Oxford University Press. Formiggini. Haverford College. The Life of Mohammad. contributes: “Apart from certain orthographical modifications of the originally somewhat primitive method of writing. Originally published in Italian under the title: Apologia dell’ Islamismo (Rome. The Koran Interpreted. Laura Veccia. Edinburgh: John Grant. Arberry. Pennsylvania. Any Qur’an. An Interpretation of Islam. state the following: “The recension of Othman has been handed down to us unaltered….
The transmission of the Qur’an has always been oral. All of these sahaba had memorized portions of the Qur’an and many were hafith. 4445. This applied even to the early caliphs…. while correct in one reading.” Tens of thousands of sahaba (Muslims who lived and interacted with the prophet Muhammad) unanimously approved the written record of the Holy Qur’an. Consequently. many sahaba possessed personal copies of their own recording. “The transmission of the Qur’an after the death of Muhammad was essentially static. Ubay Ibn Kab and Ibn Abbas). having memorized the Qur’an in entirety. these partial records were not acknowledged. Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur’an. future generations may 17 Rippin. just as it has always been 17 written. all other personal copies were voluntarily turned in and. not even allegedly abrogated material. The only written record of the Qur’an to be accepted by unanimous approval was the officially adopted mushaf compiled by Zaid Ibn Thabit under the commission of Abu Bakr. There was a single text. animal skins and papyrus. could be taken out nor could anything be put in. destroyed. Chapter: ‘Value of Hafs and Warsh Transmissions. Many of these copies were incomplete and others (such as those of Abdullah Ibn Masud. did not leave room for the multiple readings which constitute one of the miracles of the Qur’an.’ by Adrian Brockett. 1988. Oxford: Clarendon Press. even by their possessors.Whereas a more contemporary opinion can be found in the research of Adrian Brockett. 18 . as having been either complete or authoritative. and nothing significant. Andrew (editor). When the Qur’an was compiled into a book. Had this not been done. Pp. rather than organic. To prevent confusion and the possibility of division in future generations. along with the remnants of the bones.
400 years is extraordinary. The pious sahaba appear to have recognized and eliminated this risk by preserving only the total and complete revelation. And they numbered in the thousands. according to contemporary census statistics. during the sacking of the Temple of Solomon by the conquering Babylonian empire in 586 BC. at the very least. the Qur’an has primarily been preserved not in writing. because the mushaf compiled by Zaid Ibn Thabit was comprehensive. Not a single hafith dissented. and validated its completeness and accuracy. Muslims consider tens of millions to constitute a miracle. as stated above. The existence of even a few memorizers of the Qur’an after 1. A rare Rabbi may have memorized the Torah not as it was revealed. discarding the bits and pieces which. but in the memories of the faithful. but as it was reconstructed roughly two centuries following the destruction of the original.have fallen prey to ignorance or pride. Furthermore. Memorizers crosschecked and confirmed the official mushaf. There are a billion Christians and many million Jews in the world. could have become sources of confusion. Muslims are fond of pointing out that not a single one of Muhammad’s contemporaries disagreed with the text of the official mushaf. The possessors voluntarily relinquished their copies. There simply were no accurate records which were not represented therein. the texts which were gathered and destroyed were incomplete records and not differing records. Most importantly. Not a single sahaba claimed a passage was left out or a nonQur’anic passage inserted. but not one of them holds the original scripture of their religion in memory. Tribal solidarity and fractionation of the religion almost certainly would have resulted. The 19 . preferring one of the incomplete works passed down in a family or tribe to the true and complete revelation.
whether in memory or in print. Had they done so. There is no uncertainty. there is no confusion. but there is only one original. is unique. the Christian world would cease struggling to rectify the hundreds of thousands of variations in their extant Greek manuscripts. all hope of Bible accuracy should reasonably have been dismissed well before this age. whereas the Bible was not. such as results from lacking a definitive original scripture. Nobody need wonder how much the predominantly Koiné Greek differs from the spoken Aramaic of the prophet Jesus. and would face the world with the uncorrupted original. MisGod’ed. The Qur’an. Anybody who ever wanted 20 .only known version of the Old Testament. Even more rare. There is no frustration. such as wondering what truths are sequestered away from the public eye in the private library of the Vatican or in the Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls. if not completely nonexistent. such as exists with the many versions of the Bible. It’s the only book of scripture which was recorded at the time of revelation and maintained in the purity of the original to the present day. One huge difference between the Bible and the Qur’an is that the Qur’an was always in the hands of the people. An extremely rare Christian has memorized the entire New Testament. There may be different translations into nonArabic languages. contains the ungodly errors discussed in the previous book.700 extant Greek manuscripts. then. Hence. But nowhere in the world and nowhere in history has anyone ever been known to have memorized the original Gospel of Jesus. Should the errors of translation from Aramaic and ancient Hebrew to Koiné Greek have been as numerous and grave as the errors that occurred translating Koiné Greek to English. in the translation of just one of the thousands of versions known to exist. is a memorizer of one of the 5.
Their predecessor. Only the educated class and the more knowledgeable clergy could read them. So for over 1500 years the Christian scriptures were available only in Greek or Latin. 21 . Miles Coverdale would have been similarly condemned. Wycliffe. it is a sobering thought to realize that were Jesus Christ to return. especially for 18 Ehrman. different stake. along with harsh laws prohibiting Bible possession by laity. Tyndale’s reward? Death burned at the stake in 1536. however. Wycliffe’s and Tyndale’s translations were publicly burned. 102. even he would not be able to read either the Greek of our New Testament manuscripts or the 18 Latin of the Catholic Vulgate. for the ecumenical Council of Constance condemned him posthumously in 1415. The combination of the great expense and scant availability (all Bibles. Oxford University Press. year 1555. Even then. 2003. for many Catholic clergy themselves were illiterate with regard to their own scripture. the Bible was maintained in the Latin Vulgate for more than a millennium. The point is that only the educated class could read the Bible. And like their authors. severely curtailed Bible acquisition. having been copied by hand). John Wycliffe’s English translation of the New Testament in 1382 was followed by that of William Tyndale (completed by Miles Coverdale and edited by John Rogers) and Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German both of which were th translated only as recently as the 16 century. and then only if they had one. of necessity. But I digress. escaped execution but not the fire. Bart D.a Qur’an could have one. Had it not been for the intercession of Denmark. Lost Christianities. P. For that matter. The Bible. and his bones were exhumed and publicly burned. did not begin to exist in its present form meaning with the present table of contents until canonized at the council of Trent in the year 367 CE. for his native tongue was Aramaic. Many of these laws prescribed death. Roger’s? Same fate.
The Cambridge Illustrated History of The Middle Ages. The New Testament portion was completed in Rheims. which represented the translation of the Latin Vulgate into English. of which Protestant Bibles were considered prime examples. for about fifty million 19 inhabitants; i. the Catholic church produced the DouayRheims Bible.” The practical implication is that for over 1.e. All the same. p.515. Robert (editor). and not until the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century was the Bible not only translated into languages of the literate laity (i. for. one third of them in German. For an even greater period of time laity could not question the canonized doctrines forced upon them for fear of a ‘bloodless death. “…it was calculated that there must have been about 25. For the first time in history.000 souls. 495. 19 Fossier. Not until the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the 1450’s was mass production feasible. 22 .’ by which burning at the stake came to be known. both for lack of literacy and lack of Bibles.e. France in 1582.500 years the common citizen could not verify the teachings of the Christian scriptures. Vol. but mass produced and permitted to the public. and the Old Testament was completed in Douay in 160910. one Bible for every 2.. even with mass production then feasible. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.possession of translations in the vernacular or of unauthorized translations considered to be aligned with heresies. German and English).000 printed Bibles in circulation in western Europe around 1. the sixteenth century witnessed the production of Bibles translated into the vernacular. availability was severely constrained. 1986. Responding to the pressures of Protestant reforms. combined with the growth of nonCatholic sects endorsed by a sympathetic monarchy.
Once the errors of Catholicism were laid bare and the foundation of Catholic theology exposed as predominantly (and in many cases. Barcinone: Herder. The intricacies of the Christian mysteries. for that matter. 20 Denzinger. but also the 20 educated and the gifted. those seeking the truth of God should recognize the need for The Creator to have renewed His revelation. but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence…. Henricus & Schonmetzer. p. Protestants argue that once people could freely analyze the Bible in their own language they were able to discern biblical fact from canonized fiction. Rather. 246.The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them. Or even of scholars. Muslims take this argument one step further and assert that weaknesses of the Christian scriptures should not drive people from one Christian sect to another. still basing beliefs upon a scripture peppered with demonstrable errors and inconsistencies. gravitation to Protestantism was a matter of course. 23 . Enchiridion Symbolorum.Catholics argue that restriction of religious education to the offices of the church was necessary to maintain orthodox understanding. Adolfus. were unlikely to be comprehended through deductive reasoning and the conclusions of laity. was that all humans were created with brains and the ability to interpret scripture for themselves. entirely) nonbiblical. 1973. they cannot be understood by everyone.” The Protestant stand. however. Definitionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum. in their opinion. Usually in fact. “The mysteries of the faith are not to be explained rashly to anyone. As Pope Innocent III stated in 1199.
400 years there has never been so little as a single letter in dispute amongst orthodox (Sunni) Muslims.Claiming this final revelation to be The Holy Qur’an. It has been said that in some cases grammarians have adapted their rules to agree with certain phrases and expressions used in it. and throughout all of these various centuries. Muslims point out that the Qur’an was always in the hands and minds of the people. in virtually every mosque in the world. and that this has remained the same. none have as yet succeeded. written in half poetry and half prose. or interpolators. It will thus be seen. out loud.D. though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant writing is concerned. Uthman. Any Muslim listening could voice correction. translators. As F. However. from the above. over time there have been many factions amongst the Sunni Muslims. the Korân is regarded as a specimen of the purest Arabic. Certainly the same cannot be said of the Bible.F. Arbuthnot commented. up to the present 24 . some of them at war with one another. 632) of Muhammad. the third Caliph. that a final and complete text of the Korân was prepared within twenty years after the death (A. but for 1. that adds up to a billion unanimous votes. in the month of Ramadan. the authenticity of the Qur’an has never been questioned. At the present day. without any change or alteration by enthusiasts. Amazingly enough. “From a literary point of view. was assassinated while reading the Qur’an. amongst all of these differing Muslim groups. The Qur’an has been recited out loud in the daily prayers of the Muslims ever since revelation. Every year. and his dried blood is still to be seen on the pages. the Qur’an is recited in entirety. and that.
If in the judgement of the Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure. either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of our present knowledge of the language. Nonetheless. with snippets of equally necrotic ancient Hebrew (not the modern Hebrew spoken today) and Aramaic.S.A. 25 . Preface. Revised Standard Version. pp. both domestic and abroad. 56. furthermore. It is to be regretted that the same cannot be said of all the books of 21 the Old and New Testaments. The Bible. “Many difficulties and obscurities. v. The RSV appears to have subsequently enjoyed the widest popular acceptance throughout the Christian world.” Understanding of Biblical manuscripts increases with each new discovery. p. of course. Where the choice between two meanings is particularly difficult or doubtful.” The Qur’an. in 1951. F. 1977. exists in a living language. Evidence of the difficulty is found in the Preface to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. which was authorized by vote of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U. that the Committee was entirely sure or 22 unanimous concerning every rendering not so indicated. In the entire world there are only a few scholars with partial understanding of these dead languages. as evidenced by the motivation of Church authorities to revise the King James Version of 21 22 Arbuthnot. The Bible exists primarily in the dead language of Koiné Greek. however. F. the RSV admits. that fact is indicated by a note.time. and even they don’t agree on translation. comprehended by hundreds of millions of devout followers even to the present day. It should not be assumed. we have given an alternative rendering in a footnote. remain. despite the ecumenical scholarship and global acceptance.
but one that does the job. sprinkled slick with the spittle of the proselytizers. as stated in the Preface of the RSV. The motivation for such revisions lay. containing the accumulated errors of fourteen 23 centuries of manuscript copying. and subsequently to the Revised Standard Version fifty years later. Sincere seekers need a blanket of evidence to warm their convictions.1611 to the American Standard Version of 1901. 23 The Bible. then. is the conglomerate of Qur’anic facets that stitch much of the quilt of evidences with which Muslims comfort their convictions. and spiritually cold to the bone. Preface. Unsubstantiated claims are not acceptable. and is unlikely ever to be. mistranslation whether malignant. What follows. In such a climate of uncertainty. Revised Standard Version. iii. Not just a cover which looks nice at a distance. We may wonder.The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes. p. 1977. then. forced to blind belief for too long. in that “Yet the King James Version has grave defects…. And such is precisely the case with the Arabic language and the Holy Qur’an. Most of humanity have been asked. nay. accidental. who thereby possess the ability to recognize and correct even the slightest of errors. or well intentioned is easily conveyed to those who lack the linguistic faculty by which to know better.” And while understanding of the Greek New Testament continues to be refined. The same is not true if the language is understood by the followers. The intelligent laity are tired of the appealing but unsubstantiated lines. how Muslims support the assertion that the Qur’an is unique and unchanged. 26 . it is far from comprehensive at the present time.
Whereas the above books are written in the Arabic language. two excellent books exist in the English language.3. Mannaa’ alQattaan. though 28 . Mark. “The Bible is the foundational book of Christianity and contains the gospels attributed to Matthew. by Ahmad Von Denffer. Nonetheless. ‘Ulum AlQur’an: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an.2. is a nice. and John” needs no reference.” Samuel Johnson The lack of references in the following discussion may seem surprising to those unfamiliar with Islamic history. Consequently. details can be confirmed through a multitude of source books. a few of the most respected being Manaahil al‘Irfaan fee ‘Uloom alQur’an by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abd al Adheem azZarqaanee. and two books. one by Dr. and are yet to be translated into English. the other by Dr. just as such wellknown statements as.C. alMadkhal li Dirasaat alQur’an alKareem by Muhammad Abu Shahbah. two and two still make four. in Islamic circles.) EVIDENCES INTRODUCTION “When speculation has done its worst. neither does the majority of that which follows. both by the title of Mabaahith fee ‘Uloom alQur’an. Subhee alSaalih. The following elements of Islamic history and Qur’anic constitution are so well known as to be considered baseline knowledge amongst educated Muslim laity. but in fact is reflective of the common knowledge. Luke. of the presented information.
* On the other hand. On the other hand. It is disturbing to read blatant untruths in eminently respectable works written by authors 24 who a priori are highly qualified. 110 111. M. the presentation of facts running contrary to the reality is not. For the most part. 24 29 . and verification thereof is relatively easy considering the accuracy of historical recordkeeping typical of the Islamic sciences and traditions. Birmingham. The majority of these critical works rate so low on the scale of objective scholastic value as to have been cast out not only by Muslims. Box 3332.D. however.K. presumably because discussion of the subject is uncomfortable to those who deny the signs which seem to validate the Islamic revelation. if not most. A far more scholarly and comprehensive work is An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan. * This last book is available through AlHidaayah Publishing.superficial. Maurice. leading one author to lament. “The totally erroneous statements made about Islam in the West are sometimes the result of ignorance. the Qur’an and Science. B10 9AW Bucaille. introduction to the subject. and sometimes of systematic denigration.” Furthermore. nonMuslim authors are heavily tainted by religious prejudice. The most serious of all the untruths told about it are. many socalled ‘scholastic works’ are discredited by the author’s own educated coreligionists. The Bible. P. those dealing with facts; for while mistaken opinions are excusable. orientalists and religious scholars as well. 1977. U. but by educated clergy. the following details are simply omitted from such books. however. Lahore: Kazi publications. the conclusions of many. there is virtually zero disagreement throughout the Muslim world on the following subjects. by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi.O. pp.
most often from overzealous attempts to either modernize or glorify the religion. the commonly accepted elements of Qur’anic history are found to course through most such works with remarkable consistency. deviant (such as Ahmadi’ite. Shi’ite and Nation of Islam). sectarian. some modern books of Muslim authorship also suffer inaccuracies. being left for those who wish to explore the less mainstream tributaries of religious controversy on their own. Items of personal. It is just these commonly accepted elements which will be discussed in this present work.Admittedly. 30 . All the same. or minority opinion are avoided herein.
The Qur’an is no different. People simply have to sit down and listen to/read it. social conduct.3. Many who read the foundational books of the various religions find themselves inexplicably drawn to one specific book and the ideologies expressed therein. family structure. lengthy ‘begat’ lists and dry history. Muslims hold the truth of the Qur’an to be evident in the simple fact that it makes sense. on the other hand. But what religion lacks this claim? No proof satisfies all mankind. H.” Thomas Henry Huxley. Wells commented on the teachings Muhammad conveyed as follows: “…they established in the world a great tradition of dignified fair dealing. government.3. and every facet of worldly and spiritual existence. but also for Islamic law.C. precisely conforming to our inborn template of understanding of God and His methodology. On the Study of Biology On the most superficial level. in the long run. They created a society more free from widespread cruelty and 31 . as evidenced by the fact that the world is not Muslim. they breathe a spirit of generosity. Those who do will encounter a book of strikingly different character than those of the other Abrahamic faiths. the New Testament exudes spirituality while denying the reader concrete guidance on the significant issues of life. and they are human and workable. However. is only common sense clarified.) EVIDENCE 1 INNATE APPEAL “All truth. on the individual level the proof is in the exposure. G. Whereas the Old Testament is largely a book of laws. The Holy Qur’an. provides the foundation not only for the Islamic religion.
The bulk of the people to whom the challenge of Islam came did not trouble very much whether Muhammad was lustful or not. he preached. 1922.It (i. in which saints. and to a paradise not of perpetual exercises in praise and worship. who had inspired the crucifixion of Mani. the cult of the Zoroastrian Magi. treachery. G. which had made a racial hoard of God; Christianity talking and preaching endlessly now of trinities.” 25 Wells. and anointed kings were still to have the upper places. a God of righteousness.. and intolerable divisions to a great and increasing brotherhood of trustworthy men on earth. H. Allah. doctrines. or whether he had done some shifty and questionable things; what appealed to them was that this God. Fourth Edition. Islam) was full of the spirit of kindliness. priests.e. generosity. and heresies no ordinary man could make head or tail of; and Mazdaism. Volume 2 pp 686688. Without any ambiguous symbolism.social oppression than any society had ever been in the world before…. Against it were pitted Judaism. without any darkening of altars or chanting of priests. but of equal fellowship and simple and understandable delights such as their soul craved for. The Outline of History. and brotherhood; it was a simple and understandable religion; it was instinct with the chivalrous sentiment of the desert; and it made its appeal straight to the commonest instincts in the composition of ordinary men. was by the test of the conscience in their hearts. 32 . and that the honest acceptance of his doctrine and method opened the door wide in a world of uncertainty. Muhammad had 25 brought home those attractive doctrines to the hearts of mankind.
The One and Only; Allah.The keystone of Islamic faith. The Eternal. Those living a religion which conforms to innate understanding will be at ease explaining their convictions. Thus. heart and soul of each and every human being. owing to the fact that the Creator instilled knowledge of His Unity and unique attributes into the mind. Eternal and Absolute. Hence the test. MisGod’ed. is the simple message of monotheism. for Trinitarian ideology teaches that God is indeed One. Allah is One. not begotten and not begetting. without partner or co sharer in divinity: “Say: He is Allah. but three in One. Islamic ideology is explicit on this point. for their explanation will match not only their own inherent template of understanding. the opposite most certainly should be true. Should we assume that convictions are comforted by embracing inherent understandings. we can propose a test of innate understanding. Absolute; He begets not. nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. no person (unless conditioned in life to do so) can be imagined to object when taught the Oneness of The Creator. but that of their audience as 33 . With regard to the Oneness of Allah. His many unique names and perfect attributes. Trinitarian arguments having been discussed in the previous book.” (TMQ 112:14) It is this clarification of Allah’s uncompromised Unity to which Trinitarian Christians object. Muslims propose this message to have the greatest innate appeal of all knowledge. Embracing teachings in conflict with inborn knowledge should bring stress and discomfort. as emphasized over and again in the Holy Qur’an.
with an emphasis on modesty. On the other hand. rights to property. beginning with war being allowed only in circumstances where all 34 . as is unwarranted extravagance. bribery.g. religion and education). Islam gave women rights which have been th denied in Western society and Old and New Testament religions up until the 20 century (e. if implemented. prejudice. while practiced by only a minority of Muslims. fornication.400 years ago. Resort to emotional appeals. with focus on a balanced application to person. and all forms of injustice are condemned. Use of money. theft. rape. Manners are corrected. plays at selfrighteousness and histrionics are the hallmarks of those who fail in rational debate. family. with laws laid down to foster honorable conflict. Secondary to creed. alcohol and drugs. on the other hand. 1. adultery. would likely unite all mankind under The One God. lying. Miserliness is condemned. and energy is addressed. both in the weakness of their arguments and in their inability to force their notions upon an audience that knows better. mercy and love are underlying Qur’anic themes which at times give way to a system of justice which is fair but harsh against all whose evil threatens the peace of Islamic society. Polygamy. Fairness and equality. religion and society. are protected. Even war is regulated. Cheating. time. permits a lawful avenue for those whose lusts might otherwise drive them to adultery. usury. homosexuality.well. giving way to a social reform which. inheritance. No laws in the history of man have been more successful in restricting the evils of murder. the Holy Qur’an presents many teachings regarding the practicalities of life. Women. those who attempt to explain notions which conflict with inborn knowledge will manifest frustration.
family tradition. they have been subjected to a lifetime of antiIslamic propaganda in social. religious and media circles. open minds will best cultivate that which they were created to receive. Like a fertile field. it doesn’t appeal to them.other options are exhausted. They consider the revelation very much deniable. After all. and profess the claim to innate appeal false. their hearts and minds are closed. and to be merciful as much as the situation permits. canonized institutional teachings. and all prejudicing outside influences. In addition. In short. the Qur’an may be viewed as giving mankind what it needs and what would be expected of a ‘final testament’ balanced guidance in all facets of life. Even then the predominant theme of war is for Muslims not to abuse an advantage won. NonMuslims disagree. societal customs. so too it frees the mind correcting wrong beliefs and encouraging free thought. As a result. By the time most Westerners learn about Islam. However. 35 . Objective truth is given priority over personal opinion. Resolution boils down to the Islamic belief that unprejudiced minds will bond with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. As the Holy Qur’an emphasizes the merits of freeing slaves. most minds are very much prejudiced. the Qur’an challenges and stimulates the intellect while soothing the spirit to satisfaction. How do Muslims rectify this riddle? On one hand Muslims claim the message of divine Unity precisely matches the innate understanding God instilled in every human soul; on the other hand the majority of mankind deny the revelation. Muslims conceive the revelation undeniable. Compulsion of religion is forbidden in all circumstances.
for “We send the Messengers only to give good news and to warn: so those who believe and mend (their lives). but for reasons best known to Him. and this is exactly what the Qur’an teaches: “…‘Truly Allah leaves to stray. He didn’t. upon them shall be no fear. He could have made mankind one People: but they will not cease to dispute—TMQ 11:118). The fact that God guides some and not others is far from arbitrary. and prove worthy. seek His guidance. But like light to a blind person. discussion of the photon theory of light and prismatic effects on the visible spectrum will mean little or nothing to a blind person. is from Allah. The obvious implication is that God guides some and leaves others to stray. for that they did not cease from transgressing. those whose hearts and minds are closed to Islam are not expected to appreciate Islamic evidences. won’t. Gas attendants only give 36 . nor shall they grieve. Allah informs us He could have ordered mankind to all be of one mind (“If your Lord had so willed. Those who study the message and find strength therein will understand the Islamic viewpoint; those who don’t.” (TMQ 4:79) In other words. but whatever of evil befalls you.” (TMQ 6:4849) and “Whatever of good reaches you. But those who reject Our Signs. it is from yourself.By analogy. it’s the result of each individual’s actions and receptiveness. In fact. punishment shall touch them. Likewise. That God guides only those who acknowledge Him and seek His guidance is no less understandable than the fact that teachers only instruct those who attend class. In support of the above. All others slam their own doors in the face of God’s guidance. whom He will; but He guides to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence’” (TMQ 13:27). God guides those who acknowledge Him. failure to perceive does not negate reality it just won’t convince those who fail to appreciate it.
Other 37 . so that they cannot understand. so that they cannot see.directions to those who ask. Those who seek guidance will answer the call to righteousness. As the Bible reports Jesus having stated. The burden of choice. This viewpoint may seem elitist. and it will be given to you; seek. and he who seeks finds. well. The New Testament effectively repeats this lesson in Mark 4:1112 and Matthew 13:1115. but will have nobody to blame but themselves. don’t seek and. The Old Testament teaches. is upon the individual. “Ask. if not to be left in the state of ignorance they themselves choose? The above teaching is one more strand in the cable of continuity from the Old and New Testaments to the Holy Qur’an. and you will find; knock. For everyone who asks receives. Don’t ask. The world is a heterogeneous mix of ‘oursectissavedbythegraceofGodandallotherswillburn inhell’ religious factions. All religions paint themselves the select of God and argue why they. Those who deny Allah will earn His wrath. will achieve salvation. what do people expect. And their hearts. but in the inability to explain why the rest of mankind are condemned. and it will be opened to you. and only they. then. Such arguments usually fall short not in reasoning why any one particular group is ‘saved. “They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes. and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:78). That Allah guides those who turn to Him with sincerity is a manifestation of His mercy; that He leaves astray those who deny Him is a manifestation of His justice.” (Isaiah 44:18).’ the explanation of which always sounds good to those who belong. but then again so are all religions. The difference between the Islamic religion and others in this regard is that Islam provides a concrete explanation that satisfies both ends of the equation.
The concept of an arbitrary God is simply not acceptable in the minds of most. Muslims claim that. As Allah conveyed in the Holy Qur’an: “We send the Messengers only to give good news and to warn: so those who believe and mend (their lives). Hence reward versus punishment. Recognition is easy; refusal requires obstinacy. and leave the outsider questioning why God would guide some and not others. punishment shall touch them. upon them shall be no fear. one or more will appeal. Allah provided something for everyone some thing or some things from amongst all the evidences to convince each and every individual of the divine origin of His revelation.religions largely fail to address this subject.” (TMQ 6:4849) 38 . Consistent with the purpose of revelation. But those who reject Our Signs. nor shall they grieve. for that they did not cease from transgressing. for those exposed to the evidences which follow.
” etc. unlike English. when not specified in the text. was the immediate gift of God. dependant upon how vowel points are assigned to the unvowelled text. can bear construction with a variety of formulas of vowel signs. For example. A person may wonder how this is possible.) EVIDENCE 2 THE LANGUAGE OF THE QUR’AN “Language.” “bii.” “baa.C.” “buun. and in seven different dialects. like slashes) above or below consonants.3. The answer lies in the intricacy of the Arabic language which.” “bai.” “bau.” “been. but “bi” if the slash is below the letter. Context helps to determine the appropriate meaning of many such words.4.” “buu. the words for ‘owner’ and ‘king’ differ by only one vowel point.” Noah Webster The Holy Qur’an exists in one written form but ten different but complementary readings or recitations. Vowels in Arabic are designated by diacritical marks (distinguishing signs. allowing for ten officially recognized readings or recitations in seven different dialects. maintains an extraordinarily malleable utility owing to the fact that the alphabet does not contain short vowel letters. written without diacritical marks. The oral revelation and the original mushaf (book) of the Qur’an lack diacritical marks. meaning. as is the case with the appropriate descriptions of Allah as 39 . “baan. each of which renders the word a sensible. the Arabic letter equivalent to “b” in English would be pronounced “ba” if a slash is above the letter. though different. as well as the faculty of speech. Other formulations may render the letter “bu”. One of the miracles of the revelation is held to be that all of the readings of the Qur’an are consistent and complementary. Certain words. For example.
CDROM. like the Arabic of the Holy Qur’an. Jews and Christians who find difficulty with the concept of an unvowelled scripture should recognize the common ground between the Bible and the Qur’an in this respect.’ The result is that Qur’anic recitation.” Concentrically. Were a copy of the original gospel of Jesus available. for the foundational manuscripts of the Old Testament are similarly unvowelled. In addition. the one fashioned in the city of Tiberias. but where a more probable and convincing 26 Encyclopaedia Britannica. does not convey one specific lesson but rather evokes a kaleidoscope of imagery and a rich avalanche of understanding. with regard to the Old Testament: “The vowel signs. to a person endowed with comprehensive knowledge of Arabic. 40 . lack vowel letters. the Masoretes introduced vowel signs to guarantee correct pronunciation. As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Since texts traditionally omitted vowels in writing. Galilee. signs for stress and pause were added to the text to facilitate public 26 reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue. an unvowelled text would be expected. the original books were recorded in the Hafs ‘an ‘Aasim recitation in order to “correct pronunciation” and “facilitate public reading” in the mosque.‘Owner’ and ‘King. of the many different readings of the Qur’an. Among the various systems of vocalization that were invented. which were added by the Masoretes. are accepted also in the main. eventually gained ascendancy. for the Aramaic and ancient Hebrew native to the tongue of Jesus. The Preface of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible notes the following.
the following morning the retraction appeared 27 The Bible. Hence.” “Good sin.” However.” which could be reexpanded to “God is One. F. “God is One” would be written “gdsn. p. we can run the words of any sentence in any language together. a modifier follows its noun.” “God’s son” (following the rules of Semitic languages a single consonant. or even “SunGod” (in Semitic languages. In this manner the teaching. and then see how easily the original message can be corrupted. remove punctuation. How much more easily could we (or. Revised Standard Version. as pointed out by F. 41 . Just for fun. vowels. can be doubled). and even word spaces. 1977.” A certain freedom for textual manipulation becomes evident.reading can be obtained by assuming different vowels.” However. capital letters. vowel letters and diacritical marks. we could easily misinterpret or manipulate the condensed “gdsn” from orthodoxy to heresy. it is true; and I am sorry for it. more to the point. iv.” “Go do sin. who relates the amusing story of a member of British Commons forced to issue a retraction after calling another member a liar. the Bible translators) misinterpret entire pages of such text closer to our desires than to the actual meaning? Punctuation is critical as well. the Jewish Bible lacked punctuation marks. reduce capital letters to small case. “gdsn” could just as easily be misinterpreted to mean “Good son. The thought teases the imagination: prior to standardization by the Masoretes. and those reading the translation would be clueless to our corruption. Arbuthnot. this has been 27 done. The member worded his retraction as.” the Semitic equivalent of “SunGod” in English). Preface. In this manner. “I said the gentleman lied. “gdsn” could be expanded to “GodSun. such as the ‘s’ in this case.
why the need to alter the meaning in certain places in order to obtain ‘a more probable and convincing reading’? For that matter. It is true; and I am sorry for it. F. “I said the gentleman lied. the correct pronunciation of the proper name of God has been lost for over a millennium? Lastly. p. in the text? The answer to this last question is easy – the controversies are too numerous. 10. Even blind faith has trouble overlooking too many controversies. In addition to which. 42 . uncapitalized Jewish scriptures? Was that decision based upon doctrinal prejudice or objective research? And if the vowel system of the Masoretes was trustworthy enough to be accepted as the scriptural support for an entire religion. how trustworthy can the Masoretic system be when. We can fairly question. F. then. but none of the versions provides a satisfactory restoration.28 in the local paper as. by consensus of Jewish scholars.” A reversal in meaning can result from a mistake in a single punctuation point in such circumstances. The Preface to the RSV continues as follows: “Sometimes it is evident that the text has suffered in transmission. and to include these discussions in the text of the Jewish Bible would more than double its size. why did the authors restrict audience awareness to the rarelyread preface rather than note the controversies. it would discourage the audience. where they exist. Here we can 28 Arbuthnot. The conditions rightfully evoke no small degree of concern on the part of those who recognize the potential for adjusting translation to match doctrinal preference. Entire books have been written regarding these disputes. who determined what constituted a ‘more probable and convincing reading’ of the unvowelled. unpunctuated.
whereas “For the New Testament we have a large number of Greek 30 manuscripts. Allah clothed the prophets in piety and righteousness. and credentialed them with the most impressive ‘perk up and listen’ works for the target population to which they 29 30 The Bible. iv. The context in which the literary miracle of the Qur’an was revealed is important in this regard. 43 . The skill most revered by ancient Egyptians was magic.” The fact that the most universally accepted Bible in history admits to the text having “suffered in transmission” does not necessarily imply any fault of modern scholarship. 1977. the two vary greatly in reliability. unlike the Bible where the “more probable and convincing reading” seeks definition. So while both the Bible and the Qur’an were recorded in consonantal texts. Preface. for each prophet appears to have been endowed with signs which were uniquely impressive to the people to whom he was sent. Revised Standard Version.” No single one of which is authoritative. Revised Standard Version. 1977. that Moses was given miracles which stunned Pharaoh’s court sorcerers into submission. In His mercy. Equally. p. pp. No surprise. The Qur’an has been maintained unchanged to the present day. Preface. since the various verbal possibilities differ significantly in meaning. preserving many variant forms of the text. but it does imply an uncertain foundation. The various readings of the Qur’an are all complementary. doctoring.only follow the best judgement of competent scholars as to the most 29 probable reconstruction of the original text. The Qur’an was revealed and maintained as an oral tradition until the present day. The Bible. ivv. so pronunciation and meaning has never been in question. and that most respected by Jews. there should be no surprise that Jesus was given the miracle of healing. then.
not only of corn and wine. 44 . but of eloquence and poetry. 5. The answer is poetry. in our own language.” R. Edward. 452. described as follows: “Thirty days were employed in the exchange. Those who accepted the extraordinary works as signs of prophethood were successful. the thousand of a sword. that the annual fairs at Okaz and Mujanna were to Arabia. the two hundred of a serpent. 5. at a time when this copious dictionary was entrusted to the memory 31 of an illiterate people. 453. in giving a brief cessation from hostilities. A person may then question what the highest skill and most respected art of the Arabs was. Chapter L. and acting as a literary center. Esq. and 32 suspended in the temple of Mecca.were sent. and we may read. Vol. Vol.” So devoted were the Arabs to the impact of the spoken word that they held annual festivals. and eloquence of the spoken word. The complexity of the Arabic language stems from a profusion of dialects which. the seven original poems which were inscribed in letters of gold. Edward. as distinct from tribal independence. Chapter L. The prize was disputed by the generous emulation of the bards; the victorious performance was deposited in the archives of princes and emirs. “…could diversify the fourscore names of honey. p. Bosworth Smith comments. Here tribes made up their 31 32 Gibbon. p. Esq. Those who rejected remained in obstinate denial of the clear signs rapping on the closed door of their consciousness. “What the Olympic Games did for Greece in keeping up the national feeling. the five hundred of a lion. Gibbon.
and possibly the most influential in the daily life of the people who believe in it. 6465. 45 . competed with one another in extempore poetic contests.’ each tribe produced its own poetlaureate; and the most ready and the best saw his poem transcribed in letters of gold. p.” In short. surely the most often memorized.A. Muhammad transmitted a revelation composed in the most beautiful Arabic ever known to man.dissensions. and. London: Darf Publishers Ltd. M. One passage of the Holy Qur’an can reduce hardened desert dwellers to tears. where it would be seen by every pilgrim who might visit the most sacred place in the 33 country. pp. Mohammad and Mohammadanism. many of whom were so drawn by the beauty of the Qur’an that they would sneak through the 33 Smith. Bosworth. the Arabs liked their poetry. 70. yet it possesses the ability to arouse its hearers to ecstasies of 34 faith. Michener writes: “The Koran is probably the most often read book in the world. Even in the ‘times of ignorance. exchanged prisoners of war. or suspended on the wall of the entrance of the Kaaba. for as the miracles of Moses overwhelmed the magic of Pharoah’s sorcerers. James A. most important of all. while another can elevate the spirits of the faithful to heights of ecstasy. 34 Michener.” The miraculous beauty of the Qur’an is so affecting as to have spawned a plethora of testimonies. it is neither poetry nor ordinary prose. The consistency plays out. Most weighty is the historical record of the enemies of Muhammad. R. and as Jesus’s ministrations humiliated the physicians of his time. written in an exalted style. Not quite so long as the New Testament. 1986.
Muslims regard this story as evidence of the irresistible beauty of the Holy Qur’an a beauty so affecting that it drew the ears and imaginations of even the most hardened of detractors. And I also compared his words to the verses of a poet. 207 46 . 1. but such words cannot be uttered by a poet. The next night they bumped into one another under the same circumstances again. The 35 next night they caromed off one another in the darkness once again. is frequently cited. Unays alGhifaaree commented upon his first encounter with Muhammad as follows: “I have met a man of your religion in Makkah who claims to be sent by Allah. two of the greatest Muslim poets of Muhammad’s time. The people claim that he is a poet. Heading out with the intention of killing Muhammad. they vowed never to return. and these words in no way resemble those uttered by a sorcerer. or a sorcerer. Yet. he is the 35 Muhammad Ibn Ishaq Ibn Yasar. By Allah. one of the greatest warriors of his time and. On one such occasion. Maydan Al Azhar (Cairo): Muhammad Ali Sabi’eh & Children. occlusive ink of desert darkness to steal an audience at nighttime recitations. p. Seerat AnNabi. 1963. or a magician. The conversion of Umar. he converted on the spot. the most staunch of enemies. I have heard the words of sorcerers. he was diverted to his sister’s home where. Other exemplary cases are to be found in the examples of Unays alGhifaaree and AlKindii. Identifying one another as the leaders of Muhammad’s enemies (Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl being two of the three). up to the moment of his conversion. a number of these men bumped into one another on the way home from the reading. upon hearing the recitation of just one surah.thick. pledging an oath by their idols in testimony to their sincerity. Vol. a greatly feared opponent of Islam. This time they really swore not to return.
weighing in at a powerpacked. When the Arabian nation hung its head in abject literary humiliation. the above quote benefits from closer examination. Jews and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i. Having said that. For 1. 47 . The first challenge (in order of revelation. not in order of the chapters) was to write an entire book equal to that of the Qur’an (surahs 17:88 and 52:33 34). meaningfilled three 36 Narrated by Muslim. Christians. The reader is reminded that the ‘We’ and ‘Our’ in the above quote are English translations of the ‘royal plural. Allah reduced the challenge to that of producing one lone surah (chapter) the like of that found in the Qur’an (surah 10:38. Something seems almost surreal about this scenario. and atheists have struggled to disprove the Qur’an for religious. Allah is recorded as having challenged mankind no less than five times to attempt to match the Qur’an. Allah issued a second challenge to write just 10 chapters the like of the Qur’an (surah 11:13). His inability to match the beauty and content of the Qur’an is held by Muslims as testimony to the divine nature of Allah’s challenge to mankind “And if you (Arab pagans. followed by surah 2:23). pagans. then produce a surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah. when asked to compose a passage like that found in the Qur’an. And Arabic is their native tongue. number 108. and they are the liars!” AlKindii.36 truthful. for the shortest surah in the Qur’an is AlKauthar.e. political and personal reasons. the Qur’an) to Our slave (Muhammad). stated that it simply wasn’t possible. if you are truthful” (TMQ 2:23). AlKindii indicated that he would need to write books in order to convey the meaning of just a few lines of the Qur’an.’ and not the plural of numbers. When the greatest poets of the Arabic language could not produce even a single contestant.400 years native Arabicspeaking Jews.
“By Allah. Muslims point out that one character trait of great artists is that when they finish cutting their ears off. Vol 1. 216. the atom split and electrons frozen. the moon trod upon. 1988. the speed of sound shattered. ‘Impossible’ barriers are routinely transgressed. Muhammad AbdulAtTheem AzZarqaani. It is like the highest fruit in a tree 37 growing in rich soil. p.” When the best poets and the most avowed enemies admit the supremacy of the revelation. Why have all of mankind been unable to write the like of the Qur’an? After 1.400 years? Why has mankind been unable to “…produce a surah of the like thereof?” Muslims point out that human standards are easily broken. unbeatable records beaten. I heard a speech (the Qur’an) from Muhammad now; it is not from men or jinn (spirits) it is like sweetness. So why have mankind been unable to write three lines equal or better for the past 1. or Michelangelo to challenge the world to carve a better statue? Beethoven discarded some of his most respected compositions. Dar AlKutub AlIlmee’a. only to have them surface after his death. But nobody can ever accomplish that which God prohibits. The four minute mile has been mastered. Three. they fret over their dissatisfaction with their work. malleting 37 Manaahil AlIrfaan fi Uluum AlQur’an (Wells of Knowledge of the Sciences of the Qur’an). While some assert that Muhammad was just a very great poet. that’s for sure. AlWaleed Ibn alMughera. Would a person expect Beethoven to challenge the world to write better music. a lifelong antagonist of Islam and a poet in his own right. and previously unimagined successes achieved. Michelangelo was his own greatest critic. admitted. Three lines totaling a scant ten words. 48 . and nothing can be above it.lines. such opinions should be respected.400 years? It’s not for lack of time to think about it.
” Dr. with confidence. And so. Professor A. 28. The point is that no sane person would ever suggest such a challenge.400 years later. p. the challenge still stands. 49 . There is no model for this style in Arab literature of the times preceding it. through which a constant and unbroken tradition transmits to us news of an absolute certainty. J. The effect which it produces on the human soul is obtained without any adventitious aid through its own inherent excellences. A. and yet it is of proper size.’ and reducing representational carvings to unrecognizable fragments. neither too long nor too short. by The One Who orders creation and knows He will never allow the challenge to be met. Such a bold challenge could only be made. “The Miracle of Islam par excellence is the Quran. Laura Vaglieri contributes. and these are indeed inimitable. The Holy Koran – An Introduction with Selections. painting over multimillion dollar ‘masterpieces. 1. History testifies that the greatest of artists were always the most critical of their own achievements throwing away spectacular compositions. Its style is original. yet for the most part delusively simple; the rhythms and rhymes are inseparable 38 features of its impressive eloquence. for the greatest achievers are typically the most dissatisfied with their own efforts. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Arberry states: “The Koran undeniably abounds in fine writing; it has its own extremely individual qualities; the language is highly idiomatic. The verses are equally eloquent all through the text.his statues to shards because he felt they weren’t good enough. Each of its expressions is a comprehensive one. This is a book which cannot be imitated. as noted by numerous authors. 1953. J. 38 Arberry.
Guillaume sums up as follows: “The Qurān is one of the world’s classics which cannot be translated without grave loss. pp.” And A. Depth and sweetness. and most Arabists acknowledge its excellence…. Guillaume. his talk. Dr.” One notable point about the language of the Qur’an is that Muhammad first received revelation when he was 40 years old. where each rhetoric figure finds a perfect application….even when they deal with topics. The observation is frequently made that habits and personality traits do not markedly change past the age of thirty. Laura Veccia. his walk. 50 . The text proceeds from one topic to another without losing its power. enumerations and expositions of the divine attributes are repeated but repeated in a way which is so impressive that they do not weaken the effect. It (The Holy Qurān) has a rhythm of peculiar beauty and a cadence that charms the ear. They knew his speech. Alfred. wide and fecund as it is both in poetry and in elevated prose. his morals. which must necessarily affect its tone. 39 the greatest of philosophers and the ablest of politicians. descriptions of the beginning and the end of the world. qualities which generally do not go together. there 40 is nothing to compare with it. 4041.We find there vast stores of knowledge which are beyond the capacity of the most intelligent of men. Many Christian Arabs speak of its style with warm admiration. Stories of Prophets. are found together here.indeed it may be affirmed that within the literature of the Arabs. People knew his character. An ancient 39 40 Vaglieri. his ethics. 7374. pp. such as commandments and prohibitions.
” [TMQ 29:48]). most of mankind have congealed into a solid framework of concrete character traits. To this day. the emotionally evocative essence of the message and the unique beauty of the Qur’an is nowhere to be found in Muhammad’s own speech. As Dr. but the language of Muhammad was identifiably on a much lower. 51 . The traditions of Muhammad were recorded in scores of volumes of hadith. “How could this marvelous book be the work of Muhammad. his words and those of the revelation were never mixed. an illiterate Arab who in all his life composed only two or three verses. would the talkers of vanities have doubted. He initially forbade his companions to record his own words in any form whatsoever. when Muhammad permitted the recording of hadith. preserving his speech in a multitude of sources which give the reader extraordinary insight into his character and literary abilities. none 41 Narrated by Muslim.” Even later. “With men as with silk.Chinese proverb correctly states. and there is no confusion over the fact that the words of Muhammad never approached the Divine eloquence of the Qur’an. Yet the rhyme and rhythm. Not only had Muhammad proved himself no author (a point referred to in the verse. human plane. Laura Vaglieri questioned. it is most difficult to change colors once the dye has set. we can verify this language difference by comparing any book of hadith with the Holy Qur’an. “Do not write anything from me except the Qur’an. Furthermore. indeed. and commanded. Muhammad was very specific about which words were recorded as revelation. Whoever writes 41 anything besides the Qur’an should burn it.” By the age of forty. than that of the Qur’an. “And you were not [able] to recite a Book before this [Book came]. nor are you [able] to transcribe it with your right hand; in that case.
‘I am the Prophet and do not 42 lie. Laura Veccia. the sayings of Mohammed recorded in the books of Traditions as substantially authentic. 3132. as Margoliouth supposed.g. A. pp.” The point is that the difference between the language of Muhammad and that of the Qur’an is so readily identifiable that detractors of Islam have driven their imaginations great distances in order to deny the Qur’an as revelation. Arberry. J. It is simply untrue therefore to say. I am the son of Abd elMuttalib. it would be more reasonable to say that it would be difficult to find another case in which the literary expression of a man differed so fundamentally from his ordinary 43 speech. have gone so far as to allow religious prejudice to override scholastic standards. as we have good reason to accept.’?” Professor A. as Margoliouth said. such as the abovereferenced Margoliouth. Dr. that ‘it would be difficult to find another case in which there is such a complete identity between the literary work and the mind of the man who produced it. The Holy Koran – An Introduction with Selections. These “scholars” disingenuously deny what. that the Koran was Mohammed’s conscious production. everyday moods; for his obiter dicta have been preserved in great abundance. is a clear reality. Arberry elaborates as follows: “We know quite well how Mohammed spoke in his normal.of which reveals the least poetic quality; e. 4041. NonMuslim 42 43 Vaglieri. pp. 52 . and supposing. Many non Muslims.’ Accepting. J. to those accomplished in the Arabic language.
However. However. the virtues of people and animals of noble breeding or notable qualities. Muhammad’s contemporaries recognized that the form of 44 the Qur’an was completely foreign to all lexical forms of Arabic poetry. of the pre existing literary rules. 53 . if not most. local heroes and history were also the subject of poetic glorification. To expand the argument. poetry is most frequently focused on matters of common interest. this difference demands explanation. Consequently. and what happened to his other works? Where are his other equally glorious and distinctive compositions? Common sense tells us a people who valued their literature as much as the Arabs would have preserved such treasures. I will not conceal from them. This. And yet. 31). what they will not in any case imagine. that I am no Muslim. reveled in romantic and hedonistic delights. the Western parallel being bracketed within the boundaries of wine.e. Furthermore. Professor Arberry wrote. with excursions into the esoteric at the pens of the masters. like its Western parallel. For one thing. It remains so to this day. J. would explain the difference. women and song. In Muhammad’s time Arabic poetry. And indeed it might. Fi Thilal AlQur’an. p. if ever there had been such an accomplished tutor. much of * On the same page as the preceding quote (i. Arberry* ) readily appreciate the difference between Muhammad’s speech and the literary miracle of the Qur’an. they propose. the Holy Qur’an broke many. what was the source of the Holy Qur’an? In the contest to provide an explanation without admitting revelation. contests of strength and wit. some scholars have gone so far as to suggest that Muhammad must have had a teacher who tutored the composition of the Qur’an.Arabic scholars (such as the aforementioned Professor A. nor could ever be. “As for the faithful. none are known to exist. As can be imagined. For if not from the mind of Muhammad.” 44 Said Qutub. who was he (or she). issues of tribal superiority.
In defiance of human variability. And yet. As verses were revealed. Muslims point out that one of the many cherries on the top of the superlative beauty of the Holy Qur’an is that it was not revealed in chronological order. Hard to believe. the Qur’an is not monotonous; though conveyed through a human vehicle. from topic to topic and from beginning to end. Exaggeration was avoided. Gross exaggeration was the rule. and the impact of the written word was such that wars were literally initiated. All others were literally. fourteen hundred years of Arab poets identify the Holy Qur’an as the most eloquent and provocative expression of their language the world has ever seen. kin and tribe. The combination of such ostensibly dry topics with unembellished accounting fails to constitute what most people would consider essential ingredients for a literary masterpiece. for that matter. it does not betray the fluctuations of mood and tone so prevalent amongst poets; though revealed over a period of 23 years. manners and morals.Arabic poetry extolled the virtues of one’s own person. kith. and religious beliefs and practices. But isn’t that what miracles are made of? An extraordinary reality that defies reasonable (and. Muhammad was commanded to place each new verse in a specific spot in 54 . fought and concluded on the basis of the eloquence of authors. it hints at not the slightest refinement or evolution in style. literarily torn to pieces. the Qur’an remained consistent in its expression and superlative in its eloquence. descriptions were confined to the limits of reality. The Qur’an broke this mold. unreasonable) expectations? Though repetitive. social and civil responsibilities. and chosen topics strayed into the fields of law and legislation.
People tell stories and relate historical accounts. A. inserted at a divinely ordained locus in the scripture. as was done. Then 45 Arberry. Or something like that. J. 1996. p. 25. the pattern is the same stories are strung together. those who believe they can come up with three verses which rival those of the Qur’an now have to do it backwards! Now they have to write the last line first (without having previously conceived the first two lines). Preface. endtoend. etc. A Touchstone book: Simon & Schuster. then the second line.) stands by itself. The Koran Interpreted. Frequently new verses were sandwiched between two previously revealed verses. 55 .the framework of what had been revealed up to that point. holding embedded in them fragments received by 45 Muhammad at widely differing dates…” Again. to be fair. the middle of the first line next. Muslims point out the inconsistency between this process and human methodology. Now they have to do it in such a way that each stage (the last line by itself. it just was not necessary! History shows that false messiahs don’t have to perform such literary contortionism to mislead the masses. Consequently. in an effort to achieve continuity. J. The Suras themselves are in many instances—and this has been recognized by Muslim students from the earliest times—of a composite character. Constructing the Qur’an piecemeal. Furthermore. and attempt to link them together. As a preface to his translation of the Holy Qur’an. then the middle of the first line and the last line only. should Muhammad have been faking revelation. Professor A. Whether we examine a history book or the Bible. then the beginning and end of the first line. violates both human capacity and methodology. Arberry commented on this process as follows: “…I have followed the traditional arrangement for all its admitted perplexities.
In the end.400 years. And all that despite having a manual in hand. human efforts approach perfection through a series of corrected errors. If it sounds impossible. So could a book of such complexity have been written by a man? Muslims assert that the revelation and content of the Holy Qur’an defy both human ability and methodology. it is! Yet the Qur’an was recorded in just this fashion over a period of 23 years. how could he have filled in the framework of such a project over the period of two decades? Each stage of the work bore a comprehensible message of such practicality and beauty that no human has been able to match so little as three lines. After just a few years. If construction of just three lines seems impossible. having been accomplished by a human being? Most people can’t assemble a doit yourself project without putting the long bolt in the short hole. address a current concern. Ten different readings in seven different dialects at each stage of passage construction are required each one complementary in meaning. events would have conspired 56 . from a human perspective. inconsistencies. the teachings have to foretell a future event. or disruptions in flow. how could an illiterate Arab have written a complete book in this manner? Lacking the luxury of a written template to which he could refer. with the revelation transmitted through the lips of an illiterate man Muhammad. Additionally. if not thousands of stages of revelation. or teach a scientific fact that will not be known for the next 1. the Muslim claim is that. There were no demonstrable errors.they have to do it in such a way that each stage of verseevolution bears an intelligent message and achieves an unrivaled literary eloquence. misplacing shelves and partitions. Can we imagine all of the above. at each of the hundreds. each one embodying the above qualities. if not a couple months. or similar errors.
One of the first lessons a confidence artist learns is that good liars have to have great memories. in the mind of the Muslim. Verse by verse. in worldly terms. 57 . an incomparable. To have expected to live another 23 years in that time and under conditions of persecution and warfare against overwhelming odds would have seemed grossly unrealistic. eloquent revelation of such sublime force and beauty as to change the hearts of man and the direction of mankind. and the whole thing would have degenerated into an uncohesive mess of literary kimchee. this is how the Qur’an was revealed. a man of 40 could have reasonably expected. the Qur’an was pieced together and filled out in such a manner that it was.to negate planned verses. And yet. at all points in time and all stages of revelation. But the Islamic view is that no human has ever lived with the memory necessary to complete the abovedescribed task. does not entertain a human candidate. to be at the end of his life expectancy. Fourteen centuries ago and in the desert. over a period of 23 years. at best. An even greater breach from reality would have been to imagine that any one could foresee the events around which future passages of the Qur’an would be revealed. and to have had a good run of it. The decision as to Who the author was. no human could predict they would live long enough to complete the task; an early demise would have left the work with visible holes where future passages were planned. If nothing else. the plan to put suchandsuch a verse here or there would have been forgotten.
at best. Christian hearts melt at the stories of the miracles of Jesus. Luke 11:15). On one hand. Reading the Biblical stories of the miracles of Jesus with tears in their eyes. thinking that had they been there. Some might stretch their imaginations far enough to 58 .” (Yusuf Ali translation).” Even that challenge has an answer. “When you do read the Qur’an.” The common sense realization is that Satan would not write a book which directs a person to take refuge from himself with Almighty God. though. as Muslims are quick to point out. the prince of devils (Matthew 12:24. for despite the weight of the evidence (miracles included). seek Allah’s protection from Shaytan the Rejected One. but they frequently advance the same reflexive claim – that it is the work of the “prince of devils. seek refuge with Allah from Shaitan (Satan). they wouldn’t have been so blind they would have believed it is frequently the same Christians who slander the miracle of the Qur’an as the work of the Devil.There are those who agree that no human could write such a book. In brief. they not only adopt elaborate excuses by which to dismiss the Muslim Scripture. Surah 16. The Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan translation is even more explicit “So when you want to recite the Qur’an. the outcast (the cursed one). the Holy Qur’an’s teachings preclude such a possibility. wondering how the disbelieving Jews could possibly have denied the miracles as evidence of his prophethood. but of Satan. Such Christians begin to look very much like the disbelieving Jews in Jesus’ day. ayah 98 directs the Muslim. Mark 3:22. for the Bible relates that many of the disbelieving Jews made the same claim about Jesus – that his works were not of God. but who assert it must be the work of Satan. Such assertions are disappointing.
To deny the argument is to deny not only Jesus. for the Bible reads. for those who consider the Bible the word of God. in fact. How then will his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:2526). and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. exactly Whom does that leave? 59 . and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. If Satan casts out Satan. denial of God Himself. “But Jesus knew their thoughts. The point? That the above is not just a Muslim argument. he is divided against himself. but only the hypocritical Christian can make such a claim. Not to mention.assert that Satan is just that tricky. but all three of the abovereferenced gospels. a Biblical argument! The Islamic world thus presents the challenge that if man and Satan are excluded as authors. This teaching is repeated in Mark 3:2327 and Luke 11:17. It is.
Dictionary of The Bible. A frequent challenge is the assertion that the Qur’an was copied from the Old and New Testaments. and could not have read the Jewish and Christian scriptures had he tried. Vol X. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. James. Evidence suggests there was no such thing as an Arabic Bible during the lifetime of Muhammad. 540. Prologue Many Biblical stories are retold in the Qur’an. and for centuries to follow. even had they tried. For that matter. Consequently. p.) EVIDENCE 3 RELATION OF REVELATION TO PRECEDING EVENTS “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. nonetheless admits that “there is no evidence of any parts of the Bible having been translated into Arabic before 46 Islam. Hastings. p. 60 .” Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible attributes the first Arabic translation of the 47 Bible to the tenth century. while Encyclopedia Judaica attributes the first Arabic 46 47 Hastings. this search has proved disappointing. the first being that Muhammad was illiterate. Arab Jews and Christians could not have read their Bibles.C. However. There are many difficulties with this proposal.” L. James. Why? Because they didn’t exist. Hartley.P. 105. This lack of an Arabic Bible is disturbing to those who propose that Muhammad copied Biblical stories into the Qur’an. discovery of an Arabic Bible predating the seventh century would bring considerable joy to such claimants. but with significant differences. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. The GoBetween. a series of voluminous tomes filled with slanders and poison for Islam.3.5.
at a young age. were to be classed among the better representatives of their faiths at the time. Joseph Gaon (882942 CE). Waraqah Ibn Nawfal. 61 . p. 48 Encyclopaedia Judaica. what was there? Copying something that didn’t exist would be. As the Jews and Christians passed the teachings of their religions to one another. a Nestorian monk of Syria. Such a case can be made. Thus. Khadijah (Muhammad’s first wife) had an aged cousin. Furthermore. well. unfortunately. who was Christian. and the opportunity for instruction in their religion. Regarding the period of Muhammad’s prophethood. the NCE comments. The problem with the above proposal is not that Jewish and Christian oral traditions were unavailable. Thus. so too they could have conveyed them to Muhammad. during this period the mainstream views of the Jewish and Christian religions do not appear to have been exemplified amongst the Arabs. for no doubt they were readily available. tough even tougher for the illiterate. the problem relates to exactly what Jewish and Christian teachings circulated in the Arabian peninsula during Muhammad’s time. we have to wonder what Jewish and Christian sources existed in Muhammad’s day. can be expected to have been no less likely. If there was no Arabic Bible. The presence of Jews and Christians in the Arabian Peninsula during Muhammad’s time is well known. No. 863. Muhammad came into contact with BahiraSergius. a case can be made for Muhammad having learned the basics of the Jewish and Christian religions through their oral traditions.translation of the Old Testament either to Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (800873 CE) or to Saadiah 48 b. Contact with the Jews of his community. And such a case can be destroyed. “Neither Arabian Jews nor Arabian Christians. Vol 4. For in fact.
The former had lived in comparative isolation possibly since the middle of
st the 1 millennium B.C., although they had been mildly successful in
proselytism, and the latter were mainly heretical Monophysites, remote in
49 every sense from the centers of Christian learning.”
Paul Wegner contributes: “The Scriptures do not seem to have been extant in an Arabic version before the time of Muhammad (570632), who knew the gospel story only in oral form, and mainly from Syriac sources. These Syriac sources were marked by Docetism (believed that Jesus had only a divine nature and only appeared to be incarnate—they thought the material world
50 and thus one’s body was inherently evil)…”
Hence the problem. The proposal is that Muhammad copied from Jewish and Christian sources. However, he was illiterate, hard copies didn’t exist in any case, and the only sources of Jewish and Christian traditions were those of the poorer “representatives of their faiths.” In other words, these were the oral traditions of the heretical Monophysites, Docetists, and Nestorians (such as the abovementioned BahiraSergius). Why, then, does the Qur’an not copy the dogma peculiar to these heretical sects? Why does the Qur’an condemn associating Jesus Christ with divinity, rather than endorse the Monophysite belief in a union of godhead and manhood in the one nature of Jesus Christ? Why does the Qur’an validate Jesus Christ as a man, and not advocate the Docetist concept of Jesus having been a phantasm? And why does the Qur’an reject the Nestorian claim to union of God (the son) with Jesus (the man)? If the Qur’an was copied from oral
New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol 9, p. 1001. Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Texts to Translations. 1999. Grand Rapids: Baker Books. p. 250. 62
traditions, and the Jewish and Christian Arabs were poor representatives of their faiths, why are their heresies not argued in the Holy Qur’an? Why does the Qur’an address the valid beliefs of the Jewish orthodoxy, the commonly accepted historical accounts of both Old and New Testaments, and the mainstream issues of the Trinitarian Christianity of Constantinople? Why doesn’t it present the unorthodox concepts of the Arab Jews and Christians of Muhammad’s time? Related is the simple fact that the Qur’an repeatedly claims to reveal historical details previously unknown to the Arabs Jews and Christians included. Following the story of Noah, the Qur’an teaches, “Such are some of the stories of the Unseen, which We have revealed to you: before this, neither you nor your people knew them.” (TMQ 11:49). And yet no one, whether welltraveled Pagan, scholarly Jew or Christian, or even Muslim, ever ran to the front of the congregation yelling, “Wait a minute, I knew that!” Once again, copying Jewish or Christian traditions which didn’t exist, either on paper or in oral tradition, would be, well, troublesome. What could possibly have been the source of such information if the authorities of the religions themselves drew cognitive blanks? The most significant point, however, is that the Qur’an corrects, rather than repeats, biblical errors. What should we think of a book which corrected the unrecognized errors which were considered ‘gospel truth’ during Muhammad’s lifetime? A manmade book designed to appeal to the masses would be expected to confirm, rather than confront, popular opinion. True revelation, however, would be expected to correct appealing falsehoods, no matter how distasteful the truth may seem. And such is the case with the Holy Qur’an correct beliefs were reinforced and unrecognized errors rectified.
The most important corrections relate to elements of belief, as discussed in previous chapters. The Holy Qur’an challenges Christians by telling them to look in their book, for they will find that Jesus never called himself ‘Son of God’ (see MisGod’ed, Section 2.B.6.). Now, how could Muhammad have known that? As discussed above, he couldn’t read their book. For that matter, they couldn’t read their book it was more than two centuries removed from the pen of a translator. So what were Muhammad’s sources? The most he could have heard were snippets of Christian oral traditions. But how could he have known he had heard them all? Without a Bible for reference, how could he have known that throughout the New Testament, Jesus never identified himself as the “Son of God?” The safer bet, given what he must have been told, would have been to state the exact opposite. To this day, it is the rare Christian who knows Jesus never called himself “Son of God” in the Bible. So how did Muhammad know this? Examples of more objective, verifiable corrections include scientific evidences (see Section 3.C.8.). But we can also consider such simple elements as Jesus’s age at the beginning of his ministry. According to the Bible, “Now Jesus himself began his ministry at about thirty years of age…” (Luke 3:23). So says the Bible. And so say most Christians. However, history suggests Jesus was considerably older perhaps as old as forty
51 six, but not less than thirtyeight. Where do we get these numbers? Jesus was born
during the reign of King Herod the Great of Judaea (who died shortly after a lunar eclipse
Fox, Robin Lane. 1991. The Unauthorized Version; Truth and Fiction in the Bible. Viking Press. pp. 28 34. 64
dated by astronomers to March 1213, 4 BCE) and began his ministry after John the Baptist’s imprisonment. Why was John the Baptist imprisoned? For rebuking Antipas (King Herod the Great’s son, also known as Herod the tetrarch [i.e., governor] of Galilee and Perea), for marrying his own niece and sisterinlaw. Now, we can fairly assume that Antipas could not have married his sisterinlaw unless his brother was, by one means or another, out of the picture. Some small degree of sibling rivalry might otherwise have ensued. Sure enough, in his Jewish Antiquities Josephus documents that dear brother Philip died “…in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius…,” which corresponds with
52 3334 CE. A soap opera here, a battle there, a journey to fetch the questionably grieving
widow, a marriage, a public rebuke, and John the Baptist found himself in jail waiting for the manipulative stepdaughter to dance. The timing works out to Jesus having started his ministry on or after 34 CE, as per the gospels of Mark and Luke “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14). The time span from 4 BC to 34 CE being thirtyeight years, Jesus could not have started his ministry before the age of thirtyeight. Assuming that Jesus was not born on the day King Herod the Great died, and allowing a more reasonable period of time for Antipas to have acquired his sisterinlaw, Jesus was more likely well into his forties. Such an assumption is not unreasonable. To understand why, let us consider the sequence of events: 1) Jesus Christ was born during the reign of King Herod the Great. (Matthew 2:1)
Whiston, William, A.M. 1998. Josephus, The Complete Works. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. 18.4.6., p. 580. 65
2) Following Jesus’s birth, Magi (wise men), having seen the star signaling his miraculous birth, came to Jerusalem from the east. (Matthew 2:1) That’s one major trip. In a period of history when first class transportation meant a camel that didn’t spit, such things took time. 3) Herod sent the Magi on a reconnaissance trip to Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:8) That’s a second trip. 4) The Magi returned to their countries, unbeknownst to Herod. (Matthew 2:12) That’s a third trip. 5) An angel of God directed Joseph to ‘arise,’ and flee. (Matthew 2:13) 6) Joseph arose (Matthew 2:14) That may only have taken a minute or so. 7) And took the family to Egypt for an indefinite leave of absence (Matthew 2:14) That probably took slightly longer. A fourth trip. 8) Herod found out about the deception. (Matthew 2:16) That probably took some time too. A fifth trip (by the messenger).
9) Herod, being a man of such paranoia as to have executed his beloved wife Mariamne and, on separate occasions, three sons thought to threaten his throne, sent his flunkies in tyranny to kill all the male children two years old and less in Bethlehem and the vicinity. (Matthew 2:16) Why two years old and younger? “…according to the time which he had determined from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16). In other words, Jesus Christ was getting on in infancy. 10) After an unspecified period of time, Herod died (Matthew 2:19). Given the above scenario we can reasonably expect Jesus to have been born at least two years prior to King Herod’s demise. In other words, he was born in or before 6 BC. Similarly, we can reasonably expect that events surrounding Antipas’s shady marriage unfolded somewhat slower than the speed of time travel. Suddenly the question posed to Jesus, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” (John 8:57) makes sense. We logically expect that, had Jesus been in his thirties, this challenge would have been worded, “You are not yet forty years old…” But it isn’t. And now we understand why. Illustrating yet another Biblical difficulty is not the point. The take home message is that to this day Christians read Luke 3:23 (“Now Jesus himself began his ministry at about thirty years of age…”) and assert that Jesus started his ministry around the age of thirty. Had Muhammad asked, this is almost certainly what he would have been told. Now, what does the Qur’an say? That Jesus spoke to the people in childhood, and when
‘Kahlan’ describes a man aged between 30 and 50. 730 BC. 54 Encyclopaedia Britannica.292 BC and circa 945c. p. Egypt was ruled by a different line of monarchy. and ruled Egypt to the end of the 15 century BC.5391. Della (editor). smackdab in the middle of the Hyksos dynasty. rather than repeats. Had the Bible been copied. 1980. 3 rd printing.’ And here Joseph was. CDROM. 26. Yet the Bible labels both the kings of Joseph (Genesis. 57 Thompson. chapters 218) as ‘Pharaoh. whereas historical evidence defies the Biblical record. in the seventeen hundreds.” What does this have to do with the Bible and the Holy Qur’an? During Joseph’s time (around 1700 BC).Any use of 55 “Pharaoh” for kings preceding Thutmose III is an anachronism. 56 The Encyclopedia Americana International Edition. Hans. 68 . p.” And Thutmose III 56 lived – drum roll please – from approximately 1490 to 1436 BC. Grolier Inc. To quote. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. the Qur’anic description corrects. however.. 848. Oxford University Press. 1993. chapters 3950) and of Moses (Exodus. p. Second Edition.’ What we know of history. 57 event. And had been for some time. 1998. this Biblical error. The Oxford Dictionary of Current English. The Hyksos dynasty were ethnic Arabs who th usurped the Egyptian throne circa 2000 BC.53 he was “kahlan” (surah 5:110). They never called their kings ‘Pharaoh. Vol 26. etc. Vol 21. “… the th Egyptian term became a title of respect for the king during the 18 dynasty…. So any use of the term ‘Pharaoh’ prior to the 1490’s BC would be an anachronism “an attribution of a custom. How about another example? The title ‘Pharaoh’ was applied to Egyptian rulers 54 only during the years 1. to the wrong period. Beirut: Librairie Du Liban; London: MacDonald & Evans Ltd.” However. 714. 55 The Encyclopedia Americana International Edition. conflicts with the use of this term 53 Wehr. we would expect to find ‘Luke’s’ claim that Jesus was “about thirty.
surah 12]).. despite the fact that the Qur’an mentions the title. but this was by no means easy. rather than repeats. ‘Pharaoh. flatline language of hieroglyphics. one out of two isn’t bad.during the time of Joseph. a biblical error.’ over seventy times. “The Chief of the 58 workers in the stonequarries. the Qur’an corrects. 69 . Marc Antony) and Cleopatra in 30 BC. The language of hieroglyphics died out within the next century.799 CE. Now..’ but identifies the king of Egypt in the time of Joseph as just that the ‘King’ (See Surah Yusuf [i.e. the Qur’an records Pharaoh having ordered a man entitled ‘Haman’ to bake bricks for construction (TMQ 28:38). Even with the Rosetta Stone in hand. Here again. and Latin became the language of the realm. Here is what happened: after the deaths of Marcus Antonius (i. the language of hieroglyphics died out centuries before Muhammad’s time. But oh.” In other words. Die Ägyptischen Personennamen (Dictionary of Personal Names of the New Kingdom). the conspicuous avoidance of this term in reference to the ruler during Joseph’s time appears statistically significant. However. Discovery of the Rosetta Stone resuscitated the asystolic. Roman Governorship superseded the Egyptian dynastic system. in a time and place where construction was largely tantamount to stacking blocks.e. Verlag Von J J Augustin in Glückstadt. Verzeichnis der Namen. the 58 Hermann Ranke. Speaking of Egypt. well. and was only relearned with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1. what about the Qur’an? The Qur’an correctly acknowledges the king of Moses’s time as ‘Pharaoh. Band I (1935); Band II (1952). if that is the standard of accuracy we seek in a book of revelation. Now.’ Considering this context. each of these mentions refers to a historical period when the monarch of Egypt was actually identified as ‘Pharaoh. ‘Haman’ was in charge of supplies. The word ‘Haman’ comes to us from the lost language of hieroglyphics and is believed to mean.
wait a minute. How. ‘Masih’ in Arabic). and such titles presumably extinct as well. have ever called themselves “Nazarenes?” Very few. once adopted. Now. anywhere in the world. then.” rather than the popular Arabic label of “Masihiyyun?” Who told Muhammad that although virtually all Christians identify themselves as ‘Christian. they would have said. his followers did not adopt the label of ‘Christian’ until years following his ministry.’ but as ‘Nasara’ (i. not as ‘Christians’ or ‘Masihiyyun. inspiration and some of the most brilliant minds of Europe. Why. Section 1. Masihiyyun describes the followers (iyyun) of Christ (‘Messiah’ in Hebrew. 70 . Why. then. Makes sense? Sure. does the Qur’an employ the faithful biblical term of “Nazarene.’ In fact. what was the source of such knowledge in Muhammad’s day? Now let’s consider a less obscure example.’ Jesus never did? We find in Acts 11:26 that “…the * See MisGod’ed. is this word not mentioned once in the Qur’an? Not one. then.effort demanded time (more than twenty years). Jesus never identified his followers as ‘Christians..’ With the language of the hieroglyphics dead and gone for over 500 years. their Arab counterparts identify themselves as Masihiyyun (followers of Christ). solitary time? The Qur’an mentions Christians repeatedly. Western Christians identify themselves as just that – Christians. Likewise. So had Muhammad asked the Christians of his time what they called themselves. “Christian” (or Masihiyyun. in Arabic).* Nonetheless.e. single. would Muhammad have known Jesus’s followers? As Masihiyyun. Nazarenes). To this day. How many Christians. All of which leads us to question how the author of the Qur’an knew to entitle the man in charge of construction supplies ‘Haman.B. the label stuck.
p. with typical Christian humility. Now we know. was eventually adopted. following the latest in the line of Jewish prophets. it doesn’t appear to have been a polite term. nonbelievers first applied this term to Christ’s followers around 43 CE.disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. Vol 1.” In other words. It is these minute details which exist as the unrecognized tripwires upon which false prophethood snags a toe. And yet.” In other words. who told Muhammad? Who told Muhammad the term “Christian” (“Masihiyyun” in Arabic) began its life as a derogatory term. But how many of the audience knew this before reading it here? More to the point. that is. Furthermore. 71 . the term ‘Christian’ appears to have been conceived in contempt. despite the fact that. while addressing relatively small details of historical accuracy. Fine. are highly significant. and according to Tacitus it was in 59 common use by the time of the Neronian persecution (Annals. Nobody trips over a building – it is always the 59 Meagher. that very label is now worn with pride. Contrary to popular belief. And yet. It’s what disbelievers called the followers of Christ – a distasteful name to believers who knew themselves as Jews. 15. Paul Kevin et al. and was never voiced by Jesus Christ? Who told Muhammad a more respectful biblical term is “Nasara?” And why would Muhammad bother to swim against such an overwhelmingly strong current of public opinion? Unless.44). “Christian” was a derogatory label imposed upon believers by their enemies. the term stuck and. 741. “It appears to have been more widely used by pagans. he only conveyed words given to him words which corrected his own opinion as well as that of most of the rest of mankind? The above issues. roughly ten years following his ministry.
Iram was lost to history for over 3. “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10). However. as discussed in the December..500 years. And then there is Iram. rather than painting a new gloss over old errors. and in the extreme. to God. In the ruins of a rd palace apparently destroyed in the 23 century B. there was no evidence it had ever existed. The Bible teaches. The Holy Qur’an makes passing mention of a city named Iram (TMQ 89:7). then.small. 1978 issue of National Geographic. The archeological roadmap to Iram passes through the ancient city of Ebla. They signal those scriptural ships which harbor the plague of unfaithfulness. he came upon the 60 Those with deeper interest may wish to research Atlantis of the Sands. seemingly insignificant irregularities people stumble over. the significance of even the smallest error (i. Who. The article. it is just these minute points of detail which the Qur’an corrects with exquisite accuracy. by Ranulph Frennes. “Ebla. 72 .e. by Bill Harris. to truth.C. unfaithfulness to detail) becomes apparent. and Lost Civilizations. knew to mention Iram in the Holy Qur’an? For two thousand years prior to the revelation. The magnitude of the Ebla find is related as follows: “…in 1975. And the above issues represent those irregularities. Unfaithfulness to detail. Matthiae hit an archeological jackpot. As it turns out. in Northwest Syria. If this teaching is applied to the Bible..” Details are important. and only recently discovered. by Chaim Bermant and Michael Weitzman. Ebla A Revelation in Archeology. Splendor of an Unknown Empire” outlines one of the greatest archeological finds of the 60 present epoch the discovery of the city of Ebla. Even so little as a copying error should sound the siren of alert to the fact that “he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
More than 15. The burning of the palace turned the library into a kiln. chronicles whispered. clay tablets inscribed with wedgeshaped writing) lifts the veil of obscurity from the face of history to reveal an image contrary to many classical preconceptions. December. 1978. 73 . These tablets reveal a rich culture suffusing a thriving community so much so that archeological experts conclude. p. So what happened to so great a culture? Where did it go? Into the ground. with Ebla as its seat. 1978. December. 1978. Gelb. treaties.e. “All the other texts of this 63 period recovered to date do not total a fourth of those from Ebla. and the fire baked the clay tablets into ceramic preservation. Around 2300 BC Sargon defeated Ebla and razed the city. that once dominated much of the Middle East…. 7315. 63 National Geographic.” This massive collection of cuneiform plates (i.” How important are the cuneiform tablets? To quote Dr. p. December. Giovanni Pettinato. 731. pp.000 cuneiform tablets and fragments commercial records. 62 treated on an equal footing with the most powerful states of the time. “Ebla was a mighty kingdom. Layers to the ruins reveal that Ebla was rebuilt only to be destroyed again 61 62 National Geographic.. 735. December.this find struck the scholarly world like a 61 thunderbolt. 64 National Geographic. through the mists of ancient and ambiguous syntax. p. 64 “…Ebla rivaled Egypt and Mesopotamia as a major power of the ancient world.” How big is this find? To quote Dr.” Wow.greatest thirdmillennium archive ever unearthed. 735. Ignace J. of an unknown Semitic empire. National Geographic. 1978.
and within two hundred years finally disappeared from history. Gomorrah. p. and the people of Pharaoh.” But Iram and Ad? Could Muhammad have known of cultures which disappeared thousands of years before the sun rose on his first day in his mother’s arms? Could he have known the names of lost cities in a time and place where the closest thing to an information superhighway was a level trail and a fast camel? Not likely. Shamutu. 67 Bermant. as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. 748. 1978. December. Chaim and Michael Weitzman. p. Gaza. 74 . Damascus. Rebuilt upon the ruins once more. all of which are now historically identified Iram. in structure if not in name. Sodom. for the ruins of Shamutu exist to this day in the Arabian city of “Mada’in Salih. “Ebla flourished briefly once again. most likely by the Amorites.around three centuries later. What else? “Also 66 included is Iram. kept records of all cities with which they transacted business or from which they exacted tribute. 736. Could Muhammad have known of Iram? Ad? No doubt he knew of the people of Pharaoh. 65 66 National Geographic. As a matter of fact.” What does this have to do with Iram? Ebla. and almost certainly he knew of Shamutu. And what do we find there? Mention of Beirut.C. p. an obscure city referred to in Surah 89 of the Koran. among others. became historically verified. 1978. These records were stored in the palace library. What else was verified? Ebla’s library records also mention the cities of ‘Ad’ and ‘Shamutu’ (believed to be the city of the ‘Thamud’) two other lost civilizations 67 mentioned in the Qur’an. the city began to 65 decline. Ad. December. Ebla: A Revelation in Archaeology. National Geographic. Times Books.” So in 1975 Iram. but around 1800 B. 1979. five short Qur’anic verses (89:610) mention four lost civilizations. 191. like all major world powers.
But it is interesting to note that the Romans had comprehensive mercantile and tax records of all the towns in Palestine. as a matter of fact. Nazareth is mentioned 29 times in the New Testament. for they didn’t like having to scour the countryside seeking pockets of peasants to beat the taxes out of. it may not have. and might miss the correct answer even if offered in the form of a multiplechoice question. And that. So by what means did Muhammad come with the names ‘Iram. And those settlements are not only well known. Mentioning Nazareth would have fostered considerable goodwill amongst his Christian compatriots. and we are hardpressed to imagine the harm. Nazareth didn’t exist. but are only a few centuries old. is the point. whether or not Nazareth did in fact exist is not terribly important. So why would Muhammad have gone out on a limb by naming lost civilizations when he could have limited his comments to famous cities. we tend to imagine someone who struggles to gain confidence from his followers. that is. like Nazareth? The Christians around Muhammad must have filled his ears with tales of Nazareth. Should we conjure up an image of a false prophet. we do not find any mention of Nazareth outside Christian sources prior to the 75 . however. but no town by that name appears to have existed in the time of Jesus. that is. Now. They were methodical about these records. so we have to wonder why Nazareth isn’t mentioned in the Qur’an. In fact. is not mentioned. Unless.’ and “Thamud?” To reference lost names is risky unless.’ ‘Ad. whether valid or not. Muslims assert.The average American can’t name the first three settlements in the United States. you’re God. A false prophet would be foolish to deal in any currency other than that which is commonly accepted. And. Nazareth.
Michael and Richard Leigh. p.000 years wrinkle with age. D. did not even exist at the time. it has nothing whatever to do with Jesus’ alleged upbringing in Nazareth. New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster Inc.. who gives the names of fortyfive Galilaean towns. Rand McNally Bible Atlas.68 third century CE. 76 . it seems to have been the very perplexity of early commentators encountering the unfamiliar term ‘Nazorean’ that led them to conclude 68 Encyclopaedia Judaica CDROM Edition.’ itself derived from ‘Caesar. ‘Nazarene’ is the English translation of the Greek ‘Nazoraios.’ which appears to derive from the Hebrew ‘Nozrim. in that case. Emil G. As all etymologists know. Ph. was Jesus Christ called the Nazarene? Hard to say. But why. words separated by 2.” 69 Kraeling. Indeed. Returning to ‘Nazarene. The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception. the evidence (or lack of it) suggests. 1952. p.’ which itself stems from ‘Nozrei haBrit. under “Nazareth.’ and bearing no relation to either seeded hamburger rolls or gourmet salads. nor is it referred to by Josephus.’ “Contrary to the assumptions of later tradition. Judaica Multimedia ( Israel ) Limited. we might consider that the modern day ‘Tsar’ derives from ‘Kaiser. 1991. Rand McNally & Co. Nazareth “…is not among the places mentioned in Joshua 19:10 f. However. 1997. 358.’ the ancient Hebrew name by which the Qumran community identified themselves as ‘Keepers of the 70 Covenant. 174. 70 Baigent.” Some scholars speculate that Nazareth and modern day ‘en Nasira’ are one and the same. But no one knows for sure. which.’ If the extraction seems strained. nor 69 by the Talmud which names sixtythree.
” Search Palestine now. the founding fathers of the Palestinian city of Nazareth adopted its biblical name simply because they liked it. Muhammad would have had to 71 Baigent. as is the case with the American city of Bethlehem. the city by this name does not appear to have existed in Biblical times. yet it bears no mention in the Holy Qur’an.e. So does the naming of a Palestinian city as “Nazareth” represent a Christian effort to backfill a scriptural deficiency? Maybe. which by then had appeared on the 71 map. in succession. Northern Palestine). not to mention for the next fourteen centuries. Similarly. is pretty bold for a man.Jesus’ family came from Nazareth. The problem is. Pennsylvania. the point is that this constitutes one more point of Qur’anic accuracy. Back to Iram. If we assume the Qur’an to have been authored by a man. Even bolder would be the mention of not just one but three such cities. Weird. p. whereas the Qur’an doesn’t. Michael and Richard Leigh. that’s pretty unlikely. 174. But more likely. in the state of Pennsylvania. However this juggling of biblical names occurred. ‘Nazareth’ is just the kind of popular scriptural currency that would have appealed to the Christians of Muhammad’s time. To propose a passage which defied explanation during Muhammad’s lifetime. 77 . The Bible mentions a place that appears not to have existed in Jesus’s lifetime. there is no good reason to presume he had any association with the Palestinian city that now claims the title of Nazareth. and we find Nazareth in lower Galilee (i. One thing we can say for sure is that Jesus Christ wasn’t born in Bethlehem. That’s…that’s…well.. Avoiding repetition of this little known biblical error tells us something important about the Qur’an and its author.
Muslims propose that our AllKnowing God would have known that 1. Hmm. we might ask. was the motivation? For there was nothing to be won and a great deal to be lost from such a mention. the miracles continue to surface even the present day. Although the revelation was completed roughly 1.400 years ago.have been both foolish and historically fortunate. providing signs for this present age. and the civilization of the people of Thamud would be identified. Muslims hold that one of the miracles of the Qur’an is just this it is timeless. And what. Ad. 78 .400 years later Iram. On the other hand.
Noah and Lot are alluded to. support.” Not once. she was gone. What is surprising. Haskins The fact that specific passages of the Holy Qur’an were revealed at the same time as the events they describe is not particularly surprising.C. Twentyfive years of love. So devoted was she that she exhausted her wealth and tribal relationships in support of him. Following which.” Henry H. Khadijah. Muhammad outlived his first love and first wife. Yet despite what a person might expect. however. The first person to believe in his prophethood. painful years during which the Makkan pagans ostracized.3. persecuted and starved Muhammad and his followers. the woman with whom he spent twentyfive years of his youth.) EVIDENCE 4 RELATION OF REVELATION TO CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS “Truth would become more popular if it were not always stating ugly facts. She died after two long. nowhere does the Qur’an mention the name “Khadijah. so beloved that he remained faithful to her throughout their marriage and throughout his youth gone. For example. Musicians croon over their lost loves; artists immortalize their infatuations in marble and on canvas. caring and kindness gone. The wives of Pharaoh. is not what the revelation contains. but what is conspicuously absent. but Khadijah is not mentioned a single 79 .6. the wife who bore all but one of his eight children gone. photographers fill albums with glossy memorials and poets pour their hearts onto paper with the ink of liquid lamentation. His first wife.
commented that she was never as jealous of any woman as she was of Khadijah. for Muhammad remembered her frequently. his mother (who died while he was a child). Many orientalists claim that the Qur’an is not true revelation. in favor of an Israelite woman and the mother of an Israelite prophet. an Israelite and the mother of Jesus. For that matter. Compounding the peculiarity of this claim is the startling fact that the only woman the Qur’an mentions by name is Mary. I 72 had children only from her. And she helped and comforted me in her person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand. During Muhammad’s life. “She believed in me when no one else did.solitary time. To propose Muhammad a false prophet. And she is mentioned in glowing terms. neither his father (who died before his birth). Hamzah. his then favorite wife. was killed in battle and 72 Musnad Ahmad. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved in me.” And yet the woman who so filled the life and mind of Muhammad was never mentioned in the Qur'an. he saw every one of his four sons die. but came from Muhammad’s mind. claiming that he excluded the women who filled his life and memory from the revelation he claimed. All but one of his four daughters predeceased him. His favored uncle. A’ishah once related that Muhammad commented. The Muslim questions if this could be the product of the mind of a man. a whole surah bears her name. drives recklessly against the flow of reasonable expectations. Why? Because she wasn’t loved? When Muhammad later had several wives. As a matter of fact. with love and respect. A’ishah. his wife Khadijah. nor any of his sons or daughters are mentioned they are not even hinted at. 80 .
don’t we find the Qur’an filled with home remedies? The only mention of any product of medicinal value is a reference to honey. “… there is healing for men” (TMQ 16:69). cheeks. On a more positive note. beaten. Such events must have tortured Muhammad’s memory. which equates to no less than five times a day. Furthermore. Whether true or not.300 years before the primary source of halitosis was recognized as the tongue. humiliated. dripping rivulets of rotting camel juice down exposed arms. over 1. Yet they are described nowhere in the Qur’an. with soap not yet in the patent office. On one occasion Muhammad was stoned to the point that his shoes filled with blood. He brushed his teeth before every prayer. and on occasion murdered. 81 . Then try to imagine being buried in the tangled mass of their slimy offense. and on another the offal of a slaughtered camel was dumped on his back while he was praying in prostration. Certainly the throat lozenge and viral cold and flu medicine companies do not dispute this point. then. A refreshing massagehead shower is a couple thousand calendar pages away.mutilated in a horrific manner. Now. This was his passion of cleanliness. Mentioned in the Qur’an? Not once. camels smell bad enough while they are living. he taught his companions to brush the tongue as well. reliable traditions relate that he firmly believed this. and a practice associated with the Muslim prayer. The sheer weight of this offal reportedly pinned him to the ground until his daughter uncovered him. Why. Muhammad was obsessed about oral hygiene. and behind the ears. Try to imagine the smell of their decomposing guts in the tropical sun. Muhammad taught that every illness has a cure. within which. Muhammad and his followers were regularly insulted.
Such passages are legion. it was an error deserving of correction. or delivered lessons regarding contemporaneous events. of this book). For example. in some cases the Qur’an does the exact opposite. And according to the Holy Qur’an. many passages defined issues with which Muhammad and his companions were immediately concerned. for directing his adopted son to keep his marriage when divorce was preferable (TMQ 33:37). in seeking guidance. but it was an error nonetheless. and corrects Muhammad’s errors in judgement. and for praying for forgiveness of the Hypocrites (men who were denied the mercy of Allah due to their obstinate rebellion [TMQ 9:80]). he would have concealed this verse” (Referring to verse 33:37 – full discussion of which is deferred to section 4. “Were Muhammad to have concealed anything from the 73 revelation. 73 Narrated by AlBukhari 82 . but even corrects Muhammad on occasion. Zaid. On other occasions. interrupted a conversation to which Muhammad mistakenly assigned priority. the Qur’an not only admonishes certain of the believers. In fact. revelation admonished Muhammad for forbidding himself the use of honey (after being deceived into believing that it gave his breath a bad odor [TMQ 66:1]).So the Qur’an is remarkable in that its content does not reflect the mind of the messenger. The admonishment for his error of judgement with regard to his adopted son. and his unhappy marriage to Zainab.5. later commented to the effect that. The error in judgement was understandable.D. Surah 80 admonishes Muhammad for having frowned and turned his back on a blind Muslim who. However. instead of affirming Muhammad’s judgement. A’ishah. was of such extreme embarrassment that Muhammad’s wife.
To claim otherwise is to assert that Allah left the example set by His final prophet to some degree deficient. which is regarded by Sunni Muslims to be a deviant belief of such a grave nature as to threaten a person’s religion. She had not only ordered Hamzah killed. and with the perfection of the message He chose to transmit. that is. 16:126128. authored the Qur’an? 74 When Muhammad’s beloved uncle Hamzah was slain in battle and horribly mutilated. so that nothing improper or incorrect would be transmitted to future generations. both in revelation and in the living example of the prophet. and both attempt to build confidence in their followers through painting themselves perfect. Muhammad conveyed revelation that immortalized his mistakes. then. unlike a false prophet. it is an article of faith to believe that any error committed by the prophet. False prophets are either liars or deluded. So if not a man. and who were captured while fighting the Muslims for their faith (TMQ 8:67). and Allah’s admonition thereof. we imagine the Qur’an to have been authored by a false prophet. In surah Nahl. Muhammad was corrected and commanded to no greater than equal punishment. including the passages which corrected his own errors and instructed him to repent. in another for being 75 lenient. and selectively disavow all that which goes against their preference. they underscore his humanity. Orthodox (Sunni) Muslims are sensitive to the fact that because Muhammad is recognized as having suffered the rare error of human judgement. manufacturing the excuse that perhaps Muhammad’s judgement with regard to specific matters was faulty. 83 . he promised to do the same to seventy of the enemy. Makkah was conquered by the Muslims and the woman who commissioned the murder of Hamzah presented herself to Muhammad.* Equally important. for Muhammad’s errors required correction by the One Whom Muhammad represented. and patience and restraint. 75 On the occasion of Muhammad having ransomed a group of captives men who were aggressive enemies of God. but was known to have cut out and chewed the liver of his corpse. certain ‘Muslims’ have misinterpreted this fact. * A point needs to be made in this regard.74 In one case Muhammad was corrected for being vengeful. The author of the Qur’an fails to fit this profile. So here is a man who held up a revelation claiming every letter was from God. Yet Muhammad forgave her. and have sought to discredit whichever of his statements and actions are to their personal distaste. whereas the rare fault of judgement was consistent with the humanity of the messenger. the prompt correction of those errors is consistent with the perfection of The Creator. The essential element of Islamic faith which is compromised by such suggestions is that the Islamic religion teaches that any error of the prophet was corrected within his lifetime. Such people take what they want from the sunnah of the prophet. who would have concealed his shortcomings. was corrected within his lifetime. they reveal his sincerity. Who. Weird. However. Muhammad. Islamically speaking. for Allah would not allow the words or actions of His messenger to convey an error. Although such errors of judgement were rare. lest they be misperceived as bearing God’s approval. Hence. Years later. If.
All others expose their human fallibility when they play with predictions. too. those who desire to discredit the holy book of Islam have sought a weak link in Qur’anic prophesies for nearly 1. What is problematic. And. in fact. such as Islamic practices which seem distasteful when passed across the tongue of 85 .C. at least part of the time. but I know who holds the future. is to consider the Qur’an to have been of human construction in the face of the remarkable accuracy of the predictions contained therein. So. it is frequently contrary to expectations. To date. with the Holy Qur’an. The only One who can know the future with certainty is the One who determines it.7. Unlike other books. Hence the difficulty with predictions. the Bible included.3.” Ralph Abernathy As Albert Einstein wisely commented. It comes soon enough. for no such error has ever been found.400 years. Muslims assert that there is not a single prediction made within the Qur’an which is assailable from a historic or scientific point of view. however. For this reason. The validity of biblical predictions is no surprise to those who presume much of the Bible to be from God. “I never think of the future.” The problem is that when the future does come.) EVIDENCE 5 RELATION OF REVELATION TO SUBSEQUENT EVENTS “I don't know what the future may hold. for future events typically prove them wrong. they have discredited nothing. we must note that detractors of the Islamic religion typically focus their criticisms upon emotional issues.
and they will show their backs. Not so with the Holy Qur’an. (TMQ 54:4345) Now.e. soothsayer or false prophet. Choose any book of a philosopher. early in the history of the Qur’an. other than the Qur’an. a verse was revealed which promised victory (in battle) to the Muslims over the pagan Quraysh (i. they tell us what they don’t like about Islam. For example. Not only were the Muslims no force to contend with. which uniformly succeeds with its predictions. the Muslims were few. the Quraysh. property and wealth.. at best. We should bear this phenomenon in mind. can defend ourselves?” Soon will their multitude be put to flight. and you may find a few predictions that came true. acting together. for the fact is that there is no book in history.permissive Western society. the Muslims were still so weak that the main tribe of Makkah. and regularly beaten and killed by the pagan majority. rather than discredit the Islamic evidences. The 86 . the accuracy of which repels any reasonable criticism. but you’ll also find a great deal that didn’t. at the time of this revelation. This is. and tortured and killed those unfortunate few who lacked tribal protection. In other words. Five years later. the dominant tribe in Makkah): Are you Unbelievers (O Quraysh) better than they? Or do you have an immunity in the Sacred Books? Or do they say: “We. while the Muslims were still an oppressed minority in Makkah. but they lacked sufficient numbers to anticipate anything but a life of persecution. confiscated their land. a capricious approach. weak. when emigrating to Medina. detained their wives.
precisely contrary to expectations given such odds. of a surety. to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate anything with Me. 2823. inheritance (of power). grant them in the land. Furthermore. “Which group will we defeat?” Only later were the Muslims commanded to fight tyranny and oppression. prior to the Muslim emigration to Medina: “Allah has promised. they are rebellious and wicked. pp. The Quraysh army outnumbered the Muslims by more than four to one but. 87 . So seemingly out of place was the above revelation that the future second caliph 76 of Islam. Umar Ibn alKhattab. to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds. Cairo: Dar AsSalaam Publishing. The following verse was subsequently revealed in Makkah. after the fear in which they (lived).” (TMQ 24:55) As predicted in the above quoted surah 54. their dead outnumbered the Muslim dead by 76 Sa’eid Hawwa. ayat 4345. the concept of waging war on one’s own tribe was foreign to the most wildly sociopathic of imaginations.’ If any do reject Faith after this.honey on the kanafa was that the verses of the Qur’an that command the Muslims to fight oppression and tyranny had not yet been revealed. and only later were their numbers sufficient to do so. that He will. as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state). ArRasool. the “multitude” of unbelieving Quraysh were “put to flight” and “showed their backs” at the Battle of Badr. questioned. amongst a people whose family ties were virtually tight enough to chafe. Second Edition. 1990. Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam.
but despite the barren land and harsh desert climate. to which are brought fruits of all kinds. the plethora of food and fruit stores stands testimony to the promise of “…fruits of all kinds. a provision from Ourselves…” 77 Lings. 1995. His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. their fear and insecurity was replaced by security and peace. a provision from Ourselves…” (TMQ Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan translation – 28:57) And “Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary. Martin. Makkah has not only remained a “secure sanctuary” to this day. 78 AlMubarakpuri. P.five to one. 1995. while men are being snatched away from all around them?” (TMQ Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan translation 29:67) Remarkably. SafiurRahman. due to their established authority both in power and religion. True to the prediction. Subsequently. ayah 55. 148. 210226. The Islamic Texts Society. Both sides reported seeing angels fighting in the ranks of the Muslims. as follows: “Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah). Muhammad. Riyadh: Maktaba DarusSalam. the Muslims were decisively victorious when they peacefully retook Makkah in 8 AH (After Hijra the Islamic calendar’s zero point being the Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Medina in July of 622 CE). 88 . The peace and security encountered in Makkah is itself a fulfillment of revelation. and 77 78 the Quraysh fled in terror. pp. as foretold. in fulfillment of surah 24. ArRaheeq AlMakhtum (The Sealed Nectar).
“Have you not observed the Hypocrites say to their misbelieving brethren among the People of the Book (i. harsh desert climate and geographic isolation. and you see the people enter Allah’s Religion in crowds …” (TMQ 110:13) Following the conquest and conversion of Makkah. and were ordered to leave the city within ten days. Abdullah Ibn Ubayy. the Christians and/or Jews)? – 89 . “When comes the Help of Allah.000 men. who took solace from their fears in the revelation. Such history of enmasse voluntary conversions defies religious norms. it was foretold. for to what purpose would such a mention be made? Speculation aside. With regard to the above conquest. the holy city of Makkah has since enjoyed a most ample and unlikely provision.This mention of fruits and provision in revelation may at first seem peculiar. While in Medina. and promised to follow the Jews if they left or were expelled. the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadir proved treacherous to their treaty with the Muslims. The following days were a tense period for the Muslims. And yet.e. the fact is that such a mention was made. What else was foretold? Prior to their conquest of Makkah. the Muslims faced tremendous hardship. and Victory. the verse was revealed. delegates from all over the Arabian peninsula bore the pledge of allegiance of entire tribes and communities. the head of the hypocrites in Medina. for they were sandwiched between the opposition of the disbelievers and the treachery of the hypocrites within their ranks. pledged support to the Bani Nadir in the form of an army of 2. and despite the barren volcanic terrain.
and years following Muhammad’s death the Muslims not only battled. At a time when the Muslims were still weak and vulnerable. we can reasonably question how we would have felt as new converts to Islam. never will they go out with them; and if they are attacked. they will never help them…” (TMQ 59:1112) Any fears vanished with the expulsion of the Bani Nadir within the timeframe of the ultimatum. or they shall submit. human methodology. the Roman and Persian empiresgreat world powers “given to vehement war. predictions such as the above could be considered supremely optimistic. the prediction was made. If they are expelled.” But Allah is Witness that they are indeed liars. Of a certainty. were we told that we would be called upon to fight “a people given to vehement war. was the following: “Say to the desert Arabs who lagged behind: “You shall be summoned (to fight) against a people given to vehement war; then you shall fight. and we will never hearken to anyone in your affair; and if you are attacked we will help you. However. given the circumstances.” Can we accuse Muhammad of having manipulated 90 . we too will go out with you. A prediction which must have seemed similarly rash. the Hypocrites neither accompanied nor defended them. if not frankly foolish.” (TMQ 48:16) Putting ourselves in the circumstance. True to the Qur’anic prediction. but defeated.“If you are expelled. had they been from a man.” To imagine revelation of such disheartening verses to have been from the mind of a man assumes a certain deviation from normal. it would have been a peculiar way of encouraging a following.
much less both? One of the most interesting predictions is that the Holy Qur’an condemned Abu 79 Lahab (one of Muhammad’s uncles) and his wife to hell. Now. Abu Lahab was one of Muhammad’s most notorious antagonists. but that Allah will eventually rescue all Muslims from the tortures of hell and place them in paradise in reward for their faith.events to fulfill the revelation he transmitted? Of having attacked the Roman and Persian empires for the purpose of making the revelation come true? Uh. That is what Muslims believe. he would contradict. or the teaching that all Muslims would eventually be blessed with paradise would have been 79 See surah 111. no. He passed away before the prophesy was fulfilled. And in any case. and pretend to become Muslim. and he used to follow Muhammad through town for just this purpose. who could possibly foresee that any group would ever conquer either the Roman or Persian empires. “I repent?” After all. However. nobody can witness to the final disposition of this couple. all he or his wife had to do was say the shahada (testimony of faith). Islam teaches that all Muslims will eventually achieve salvation. when a surah was revealed that implied that Abu Lahab would never repent. quite obviously. So why. and it is a cornerstone of their convictions. 91 . they could have created a conflict sufficient to damage or even destroy the religion. His animosity drove him to contradict virtually everything Muhammad said. Either the Qur’anic prediction of their condemnation would have been held to be wrong. that was his naturewhatever Muhammad said. Had either of them done so. How does this pertain to the prediction of Abu Lahab and his wife being condemned to hell? Simple. didn’t he just stand up and say. Even in hypocrisy. Why? Because Islam teaches that Allah may punish unrepentant believers for their sins.
Surah 74:1126 condemns another of 80 Hammad. and polytheist friends who tried to goad them into claiming conversion. His wife died roughly 6 years later. and Abu Lahab died in 2 AH. The One who can open or close the minds. 42. 81 Hammad. not just because of the boldness of the claim. So why didn’t either or them do it? Why didn’t either of them pretend to convert? It’s not for lack of time to think about it. in the minds of the observers. 1997. p. Illinois: Quranic Literacy Institute. this One can make the boldest of claims.contradicted by their conversion. which contained the prediction under discussion. Surah 111. Muslims claim that no human can make promises such as the above. well. The One who makes the rules of this life. Ahmad Zaki. Ahmad Zaki. torture and murder of the believers. So why did they draw the line at hypocrisy of faith? Muslims maintain that only one thing held them back they didn’t have permission. was revealed in 34 80 81 BH (Before Hijra). 42. Commentary & Vocabulary Reference of Surat al Masad. Bridgeview. that’s for sure. respectively. Now remember. The above prophesy is doubly impressive. So Abu Lahab and his wife had over five and ten years. mouths and hearts of His creation. that’s all there is to it. That promise can only be made by The One who knows He will not allow His book to be contradicted. Why? Because He not only knows the future; He determines the future. Either way. And if He decrees that certain words will not pass the lips of specific people. p. Father of Flame. No doubt there were Muslims who pressed them on the issue. The One who has lent mankind minds and bodies and will demand their return. the most assured of predictions. the revelation would have been invalidated. to speak out. 92 . but because the example is repeated. this couple’s code of ethics included lying.
others said he was crazy. “Leave me to think.” AlWalid responded. and told of this rumor circulating amongst the Quraysh. “Then you should let your position be known.” When he returned to commune with the leaders of Quraysh over what they should say about Muhammad. Tell them what you think of Muhammad. “Quraysh knows that I am the richest of them and do not need anything from Muhammad. magic or madness. it is a beautiful speech and it crushes that which is below it and it surpasses that which is above it. The story is as follows: AlWalid heard Muhammad reciting the Qur’an and seemed moved by it. Ayah 11. AlQurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih AlBukhari. By Allah.” Abu Jahl stated. He stated that the recitation was not poetry. “What should I say of him? By Allah there is none amongst you more knowledgeable of Arabic poetry and its scales than me.82 Muhammad’s antagonists. others put forth other proposals. AlWalid stated. When news of this got to Abu Jahl (another notorious antagonist). he accused AlWalid of trying to curry favor with the prophet. Ph. Surah 74. What he (Muhammad) says does not resemble any of that. but could only be the speech of Allah.” AlWalid said.” Abu Jahl said. Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an in the English Language; A Summarized Version of AtTabari. nor of the poetry of the Jinn. Muhammad. M. Muhammad Muhsin Khan.D.D. AlWalid succumbed to pride and responded. because magic breaks 82 AlHilali. “All of these things that you are saying I know are untrue. AlWalid headed up a convention of antagonists in an attempt to harmonize their criticism of the Holy Qur’an. “People will not be pleased with this. 93 . some said Muhammad was a magician. You must think of something to say. and Dr. but the closest of these sayings is that he is a magician. and the story of the conflict between his private realization and public profession beautifully exemplifies how rational thought can be overridden by prideful emotions. this time AlWalid Ibn AlMughirah.
a person from his brother. woe to him: how he plotted! Then he looked round; Then he frowned and he scowled; 83 Tafseer Ibn Kathir 94 . “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you.apart a son from his father. a husband from his wife. and shortly thereafter the verses were revealed: “Leave Me (i. motherinlaw against her daughterinlaw and daughterinlaw against her motherinlaw. Allah) alone. not at all. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two. and two against three. The point is that AlWalid succumbed to pride.” (Luke 12:5153) However. for Jesus Christ is recorded as having taught. such also is the effect of revelation. (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone! To whom I granted resources in abundance.. or a 83 person from his tribe. but rather division.e. And sons to be by his side! To whom I made (life) smooth and comfortable! Yet is he greedy – that I should add (yet more) By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory! Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities! For he thought and he plotted; And woe to him! How he plotted! Yes.” As an aside. Father will be divided against son and son against father. mother against daughter and daughter against mother. I digress.
George. p. prior to news of the battle reaching Makkah. the boldness of the Qur’anic prediction demands explanation. and Azzirikly. So once again. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. was revealed at the time of a Persian victory over Rome.Then he turned back and was haughty; Then he said: “This is nothing but magic. (Translated from the German by Joan Hussey). died. How could the author of these verses have known that AlWalid would never return to his initial impression and convert? Or just fake it in order to throw the revelation into question? And would a false prophet have risked his claim to prophethood on such a frail and unnecessary prediction? For another of these unlikely predictions. Ostrogorsky. AlAa’lam. driven out of 85 Armenia. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. and overrun in their cherished city of Jerusalem. we have to return to the Romans and the Persians. ayah 24. The Romans surah 30). derived from of old; This is nothing but the word of a mortal!” Soon will I cast him into HellFire!” (TMQ 74:1126) The above was revealed ten years before the subject of these verses.. These verses acknowledged Persia’s victory and predicted a reversal of fortunes within 3 to 9 years. History of the Byzantine State. AlWalid Ibn 84 AlMughirah. 95. 95 . The Persians took Chalcedon 84 85 Ibn Hisham. and the Byzantines were subsequently defeated in Damascus. 1969.e. and ask if a false prophet would have risked his reputation on long shots such as these? Surah ArRum (i. Persia celebrated victory over Rome at Antioch in 613 CE. As history records these events.
the believers (i. will be victorious. The Romans decisively pounded the Persian forces on Armenian soil in 622 CE. A History of Persia. 483. George. for by this time the Roman empire was in decay. Vol 1.86 in 617 CE and conquered Egypt in 619. right up until Heraclius launched his historic campaign of 622627 CE. and bracketing the remainder of the abovementioned list of defeats within the 88 time period of three to nine years. three years since losing Egypt. Muslims) will rejoice. 483484. and Palestine). 87 The Persians were on a roll and the situation looked bleak for the Roman empire. and the last emperor of the undivided Roman empire was deposed in the late fifth century. and they. Iraq. Sir Percy Molesworth. 86 rd Sykes. pp. Within three to nine years. before and after (these events) is only with Allah. 89 Surah 30:24 reads: “The Romans have been defeated. 96 . The Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 CE. Vol 1. the Vandals and the Alani plundered Rome in 455 CE. 1951. George. London: Macmillan & Co.” (TMQ Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan translation) The history is remarkable. And on that Day. So a prophecy that the already disintegrating Roman empire would gain a victory over the seemingly superior Persian army in the early seventh century would have seemed rash on a human level. 3 edition. 100101. p. The decision of the matter. 89 Sykes. after their defeat. 88 Ostrogorsky. And so it appears to have been judged by those who denied the revelationmen like Ubay Ibn Khalaf. Ltd. 87 Ostrogorsky. Jordan. nine years since the defeat at Antioch.e. p. Sir Percy Molesworth. 95. Scholastic works describe 395476 CE as the fall of the Western Empire.. In the nearest land (Syria. pp. Attila the Hun overran the area a short time later.
Ubay Ibn Khalf. the pagan Arabs celebrated. news took weeks to months to find its way across the Arabian sands. as foretold. who were Christian by this time. for the Persians were defeated on the exact same day that the Muslims celebrated their own victory over the disbelievers at the Battle of Badr. could the Qur’an predict the Muslims would be rejoicing on the same day the Persians were defeated? Yet such was precisely the case. he bet one of the pagan Arabs. the believers (i. Nine years later Abu Bakr gained a herd of camels and the 90 encyclopedia of Islamic evidences gained one more entry. Many Arabs believed victory on the battlefield reflected superiority of the god of the winner. The Arabs perceived the conflict between Persia and Rome as a contest between paganism and people of a scripture.. An unlikely human coincidence. Sunan Tirmithee and AnNasa’ee 97 . How. as mentioned previously. 90 Tafseer Ibn Kathir. Hence. When the future first Caliph. Following this. without doubt. the above ayat (verses) were revealed. Allah) have.e. “And on that Day. Abu Bakr AsSiddiq.e.The story is narrated in many accounts of Arabian history. to be people of a scripture. ayah 9. worshippers the same God. The pagan Arabs considered the fireworshiping Persians to be brothers in paganism whereas the Muslims deemed the Romans. This verse promises “We (i. Musnad Ahmad. Let’s return to surah 15.” In Muhammad’s time. The cherry on top of the cake of the above prediction is the final line. or divine plan? Enough about Rome.” (TMQ 15:9) This promise is remarkable on several levels. Muslims) will rejoice. then. strengthening the hearts of the believers. sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). when the Persians were victorious over Rome. a hundred camels that the Persian victory would be overturned in three to nine years. learned the revelation.
Consequently. And while the revelation transmitted through Moses seems to be partially preserved.. the various Jewish tribes violated virtually 98 . Nazarenes.e.the first being that. ayah 82: “Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers will you find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers will you find those who say.” Taken in context. He stood to gain nothing from such a prophesy. to date. neither the Old or New Testaments exist in the purity of the original. As discussed in the first of this series of books. it has been fulfilledthe present day Qur’an is unchanged from the original revelation. for no other book of revelation exists in the purity of the original. Another point is that the above prediction would have been both foolish and unnecessary had Muhammad been an imposter. or Christians)’: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world. as discussed above. Another strikingly bizarre prophesy is encountered in surah 5. the above ayah is just one of many at risk of having been disproved within Muhammad’s lifetime. the gospel of Jesus is lost in entirety. ‘We are Nasara (i. but also to the fact that Muhammad forged several cooperative treaties with different Jewish tribes. However. such was not the case. And there were over 300. The extent of this miracle is apparent when we compare the Qur’an with the books of other world religions.400 years of history have proven it true. and they are not arrogant. Despite reasonable expectation for the Jews to have sided with the increasingly powerful Muslims.000 letters at stake. and would have lost everything had a single letter of revelation been misplaced or forgotten. MisGod’ed. the peculiarity of this prophesy relates not only to the fact that 1.
while another poisoned his food. for they found themselves physically unable to hold it. Yet when the following verse was revealed. A wonder it is. one of the most feared Quraysh’ite warriors. One tribe attempted to crush him with a boulder. choked with his own mantle and stoned until blood filled his shoes. Muhammad utilized bodyguards while he slept.” (TMQ 5:67) 99 . Muhammad survived multiple attempts upon his life. you would not have fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission. The list goes on. set out one day with the declared intention to kill Muhammad. On the evening of his emigration to Medina. every tribe in Makkah sent a representative to kill Muhammad according to a pact to share the deed so as to escape the blame.every treaty they madea trend maintained to the present day in Zionist Israel’s lengthy track record of UN and peace accord violations in Palestine. Living amongst hatred and treachery. but ended up challenged by a passage of the Qur’an and converting to Islam before he could fulfill his intention. On separate occasions he was severely beaten. Twice Bedouins pulled Muhammad’s own sword (once while he was sleeping in the desert and once while sitting at a well). not unreasonably. then.400 years of history and current events serve to substantiate the abovequoted Qur’anic prophesy. If you did not. he discharged them: “O Messenger! Proclaim the (Message) which has been sent to you from your Lord. And so. intending to kill him in a defenseless state. For Allah guides not those who reject faith. Both 1. Different enemies took up swords to kill him. and not just in battle. that Muhammad discharged his bodyguards. Umar. Both Bedouins dropped the sword. And Allah will defend you from men (who mean mischief).
In the end. Furthermore. If the Qur’an came from the mind of a charlatan. Point of the story? In a time and place where a person might reasonably feel the whole world was out to get him. Pharaoh was a tyrant who oppressed a nation.Muhammad heard Allah’s promise of divine protection. Moses washed up in a giftbasket on the riverbank of 91 Narrated by AtTirmithi and AlHaakim 100 . and slaughtered the children of the Jews out of fear of the multitude of their race. after suffering a brief but fatal illness. who has the power to fulfill such bold promises of lifelong protection. While Pharaoh’s soldiers doled out infanticide in the village. A’ishah. killed upon whim. it’s not a man? The final entry of this chapter involves the Old Testament story known to all. leave me for Allah the most High has protected 91 me. We would expect the “prophet” to have conveyed false revelation that exhorted the believers to protect him from his enemies. Muhammad discharged his bodyguards on the promise of revelation. Following the discharge of the guard. once again challenging mankind to consider the source of the Qur’an. they raise their guard. his head cradled in the arms of his favorite wife. if not from the mind of Muhammad. and immediately announced to his guards. The bizarreness of the scenario is inescapable.” And so it happened. False prophets are rightfully paranoid. we would expect the exact opposite. To release their bodyguards in a time of war and with a history of serial assassination attempts defies worldly reason. and that promise was fulfilled. Muhammad’s soul departed within the walls of his own home. attempts upon Muhammad’s life continued but were always frustrated. As attempts upon their lives increase in number and narrowness of escape. But it didn’t happen that way. for of a certainty. “Oh people.
along with various other royal mummies. Hence. the Qur’anic promise of preserving Pharaoh’s body as a sign to future generations appears to be satisfied. Moses grew up to stun the world with his Godfear and piety. successor to Rameses II and the most likely candidate to the title of ‘Pharaoh of the Exodus. a few ignored divine signs. some several periods of pestilence and misery. in fact.’ according to biblical 92 history and archaeological evidence. p. the common impression is that Pharaoh was buried beneath a couple million tons of seawater. over 1. that you may be a sign to those who come after you! But verily. But how could Muhammad have foretold such a find. This story is so well known.Pharaoh’s palatial estate. discovered at Thebes in the King’s Valley. where he eventually became bacteriologically bloated fish bait. and why would he have gone out on the thin limb 92 Bucaille. and Moses took his people on a divinelyordained nature walk. that it is unimaginable that Muhammad didn’t know it. It is not commonly conceived that Pharaoh’s body was preserved. 101 . However. everybody knows how it endedPharaoh’s Olympicclass dog paddle didn’t stand up to the boiling torrent of two walls of water clapping its unforgiving hands over his miscommanding mouth. The point is that no matter how the story is told. 239. The body is on display. A couple heated court conversations. in the Cairo Museum. the Qur’an records just this—Allah’s promise to preserve Pharaoh’s body after his death: “This day shall we save you in your body.200 years after the revelation. So while big stones were being hoisted off the squashed serfs and stacked according to royal decree. And yet. Maurice. many among mankind are heedless of Our signs!” (TMQ 10:92) Only in 1898 CE was the mummified body of Merneptah.
the words were not his own. 102 .of speculation over such a seemingly insignificant detail? Unless. that is.
e. that science and religion are incompatible housemates.. planet Earth being the center). “On Taste” Perhaps a better title to this chapter would be “Scientific Evidences. the theory of the sun being the center of the solar system). The voices of those who dared to oppose such Church policies. lost in the vapors of the fires which consumed their origins.” However.3.e. The horrors perpetuated by an intolerant. a more odd couple is difficult to imagine. and unknown to themselves. would be expected to have agreed.) EVIDENCE 6 REVELATION OF THE UNKNOWN (i. for most Westerners consider science and religion to be at odds with one another. oppressive and. contrary to the officially sanctioned. considering the many Church policies which ran contrary to what are now known to be evident truths. Both were persecuted for having supported the “heretical.8. such a title may strike the audience as overly bizarre.” William Hazlitt.” but correct. Sketches and Essays. THAT WHICH WAS BEYOND THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PROPHET) “No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth. most importantly.C.e. wrong Church won sufficient condemnation to eventually force a separation of church. Copernican theory of heliocentrism (i. 103 . In fact.. The examples of Giordano Bruno (convicted of heresy and burned at the stake in the year 1600 CE) and Galileo (who escaped punishment in 1633 only through issuing a retraction) are oftcited. Ptolemaic theory of geocentrism (i. though incorrect. in the West. Hence the perception.
family and social structure.e. civil and criminal law.science and state. a religion which requires payment of varying percentages of wealth according to category (e. The Islamic revelation is comprehensive. and mathematics). and decisions which violate Godgiven logic are condemned in the strongest of terms. as seems to have been typical of any circumstance where official church policy encountered a contrary reality. Amongst the things Allah has forbidden are “…sins and trespasses against truth or reason…” (TMQ 7:33) The Muslim world witnessed an explosion of knowledge following Muhammad’s time. weights and measures. Similarly. no other system can be imagined. Science and nature are nurtured by a revelation that encourages investigation while condemning closemindedness. but the will of The Creator with regard to politics. For many. and influences most areas of human life. now over two hundred years old. 104 . agricultural products versus gold) as a poordue can be expected to have led to advancements in methods of estimation and calculation (i. The end result left the present generation with a tradition.. Multiple passages of the Holy Qur’an reference signs for people who reflect.g. Islam defines not only tenets of faith and articles of worship. in no small part because the needs of the religion stimulated certain lines of investigation. in which religion and science remain shy to dabble in one another’s affairs. personal conduct. economic principles. The process was bloody. and incalculable suffering occurred in the process. and many other practicalities of human existence. A religion which enjoins prayer within set times of the day and fasting in a particular month can be expected to have stimulated advances in timekeeping and calendar computation. separation of Church and science has no place in Islam. On the other hand.
latitude and longitude tables. so Muslim artists channeled their skills to the geometricallybased Arabesque arts of masonry. the foundation of the modern alphabet. Paper was first invented by the Chinese. the development of algebra into a science. Western adoption of Arabic numerals can be traced th to their assumption into European mathematics in the 12 century. and so a new breed of travelers and merchants was born. and carpentry. inlay. and the development of the balance can all be traced to Muslims. The magnetic compass. a need for improvements in navigation and mapmaking arose. the fields of geometry and trigonometry gained significant contributions from Muslims. spherical. the roots of quadratic equations determined. who used the cocoon 105 . analytical and plane trigonometry expanded. Consequently. paper became a critical commodity. were invented on the banks of the Euphrates. construction of star maps and Astrolabes came into play. and geographic maps were produced which remained unrivaled for centuries. weaving. cubic equations defined. Sine and cosine tables were constructed. Furthermore. Muslims were bidden to spread the word of revelation. Whether cause or effect. and geometry advanced. The Islamic religion forbade representational art.The institution of Arabic numerals along with the mathematically revolutionary zero. The Kufic letters. With an emphasis laid upon learning and teaching. the command to direct prayer toward the Kaba (the house built by Abraham) in Makkah gave rise to the need for accurate directional determination. Observatories were built and astronomy developed as a science. algorithms. The Arabic system replaced the troublesome and ‘zeroless’ Roman numerals and the laborious system of writing numbers longhand.
of the silkworm. Muslims adopted and further refined the manufacture of paper using cotton, wood and rags in addition to silk. Similar advancements were made in the fields of Metallurgy, Mechanical, Optical and Theoretical Physics, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Medicine, Geography, Agriculture, and other disciplines. Technological improvements included such instruments as the axle, lever, pulley, windmill, waterwheel and toothed wheel, and such processes as calcination (a method of extracting metals from ore), reduction, distillation, and crystallization. Theories such as those of gravity and the elasticity of air were advanced. Hospitals were built, and great advancements were made in the field of medicine, including the development of new medicines and surgical techniques. The Cesarean operation for childbirth was originally developed by a Muslim. According to Jared Diamond, “In the Middle Ages the flow of technology was overwhelmingly from Islam to Europe, rather than from Europe to Islam as it is today.
93 Only after around A.D. 1500 did the net direction of flow begin to reverse.”
The magnitude and significance of such advancements are best known to scholars in the respective fields, but the short and easily readable treatise entitled Islam and Science* is a good starting point for many who wish to research further. Lest the reader misunderstand, no attempt is made herein to validate the Holy Qur’an based upon such fruits of revelation. Rather, the simple observation is offered that a separation between Church and science never was an element of the Islamic religion. In fact, during the preRenaissance period, Muslims were at the technological forefront of civilization. As Victor Robinson noted in his book The Story of Medicine,
Diamond, Jared. 1999. Guns, Germs, and Steel. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc. P. 253. Authored by Shabir Ahmed, Anas Abdul Muntaqim, and AbdulSattar Siddiq, and published by the Islamic Cultural Workshop, P.O. Box 1932, Walnut, CA 91789; (909) 3994708. 106
“Europe was darkened at sunset, Cordova shone with public lamps; Europe was dirty, Cordova built a thousand baths; Europe was covered with vermin, Cordova changed its undergarments daily; Europe lay in mud, Cordova’s streets were paved; Europe’s palaces had smokeholes in the ceiling, Cordova’s arabesques were exquisite; Europe’s nobility could not sign its name, Cordova’s children went to school; Europe’s monks could not read the baptismal service, Cordova’s teachers created a library
94 of Alexandrian dimensions.”
Other supportive comments include the following: “The Arabs, in their turn, knew how to consolidate their rule. They were no bloodthirsty savages, bent solely on loot and destruction. On the contrary, they were an innately gifted race, eager to learn and appreciative of the cultural gifts which older civilizations had to bestow. Intermarrying freely and professing a common belief, conquerors and conquered rapidly fused, and from this fusion arose a new civilization—the Saracenic civilization, in which the ancient cultures of Greece, Rome, and Persia were revitalized by Arab vigour and synthesized by the Arab genius and the Islamic spirit. For the first three centuries of its existence (circ. A.D. 6501000) the realm of Islam was the most civilized and progressive portion of the world. Studded with splendid cities, gracious mosques, and quiet universities where the wisdom of the ancient world was preserved
Robinson, Victor, M.D. 1943. The Story of Medicine. New York: The New Home Library. p. 164. 107
and appreciated, the Moslem world offered a striking contrast to the
95 Christian West, then sunk in the night of the Dark Ages.”
“From a new angle and with a fresh vigour it (the Arab mind) took up that systematic development of positive knowledge which the Greeks had begun and relinquished. If the Greek was the father, then the Arab was the fosterfather of the scientific method of dealing with reality, that is to say, by absolute frankness, the utmost simplicity of statement and explanation, exact record and exhaustive criticism. Through the Arabs it was and not by the Latin route that the modern world received that gift of light and power….And a century or so in advance of the west, there grew up in the Moslem world at a number of centers, at Basra, at Kufa, at Bagdad and Cairo, and at Cordoba, out of what were at first religious schools dependent upon mosques, a series of great universities. The light of these universities shone far beyond the Moslem world, and drew students to them from east and west. At Cordoba in particular there were great numbers of Christian students, and the influence of Arab philosophy coming by way of Spain upon the universities of Paris, Oxford, and North Italy and upon Western European thought generally, was very
96 considerable indeed.”
“Many Westerners, accustomed by their history books to believe that Muslims were barbarous infidels, find it difficult to comprehend how profoundly our intellectual life has been influenced by Muslim scholars in
Stoddard, Lothrop, Ph.D. 1922. The New World of Islam. Second Impression. London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd. p. 3. 96 Wells, H. G. Volume 2, pp. 708710. 108
the field of science, medicine, mathematics, geography and philosophy. Crusaders who invaded the Holy Land to fight Muslims returned to Europe with new ideas of love, poetry, chivalry, warfare and government. Our concept of what a university should be was deeply modified by Muslim scholars, who perfected the writing of history and who brought to
97 Europe much Greek learning.”
And, “We must not be surprised to find the Qoran regarded as the fountainhead of the sciences. Every subject connected with heaven or earth, human life, commerce and various trades are occasionally touched upon, and this gave rise to the production of numerous monographs forming commentaries on parts of the holy book. In this way the Qoran was responsible for great discussions, and to it was indirectly due the
98 marvelous development of all branches of science in the Muslim world.”
The list of endorsements is long, and downregulates the mental taste buds by sheer monotony of positive opinion. All the same, one last quote is perhaps worthy, for H. G. Wells so valued the passage that he quoted from A General History of Europe, by Thatcher and Schwill, as follows: “The origin of the socalled Arabic numerals is obscure. Under Theodoric the Great, Boethius made use of certain signs which were in part very like the nine digits which we now use. One of the pupils of Gerbert also used signs which were still more like ours, but the zero was
Michener, James A. p. 74. Hirschfeld, Hartwig. p. 9. 109
unknown till the twelfth century, when it was invented by an Arab mathematician named MuhammadIbnMusa, who also was the first to use the decimal notation, and who gave the digits the value of position. In geometry the Arabs did not add much to Euclid, but algebra is practically their creation; also they developed spherical trigonometry, inventing the sine, tangent, and cotangent. In physics they invented the pendulum, and produced work on optics. They made progress in the science of astronomy. They built several observatories, and constructed many astronomical instruments which are still in use. They calculated the angle of the ecliptic and the precession of the equinoxes. Their knowledge of astronomy was undoubtedly considerable. In medicine they made great advances over the work of the Greeks. They studied physiology and hygiene, and their materia medica was practically the same as ours today. Many of their methods of treatment are still in use among us. Their surgeons understood the use of anaesthetics, and performed some of the most difficult operations known. At the time when in Europe the practice of medicine was forbidden by the Church, which expected cures to be effected by religious rites performed by the clergy, the Arabs had a real science of medicine. In chemistry they made a good beginning. They discovered many new substances, such as alcohol, potash, nitrate of silver, corrosive sublimate, and nitric and sulphuric acid….In manufactures they outdid the world in variety and beauty of design and perfection of workmanship. They worked in all the
metals—gold, silver, copper, bronze, iron, and steel. In textile fabrics they have never been surpassed. They made glass and pottery of the finest quality. They knew the secrets of dyeing, and they manufactured paper. They had many processes of dressing leather, and their work was famous throughout Europe. They made tinctures, essences, and syrups. They made
* sugar from cane, and grew many fine kinds of wine. They practiced
farming in a scientific way, and had good systems of irrigation. They knew the value of fertilizers, and adapted their crops to the quality of the ground. They excelled in horticulture, knowing how to graft and how to produce new varieties of fruit and flowers. They introduced into the west many trees and plants from the east, and wrote scientific treatises on farming. One item in this account must be underlined here because of its importance in the intellectual life of mankind, the manufacture of paper. This the Arabs seem to have learnt from the Chinese by way of Central Asia. The Europeans acquired it from the Arabs. Until that time books had to be written upon parchment or papyrus, and after the Arab conquest of Egypt Europe was cut off from the papyrus supply. Until paper became abundant, the art of printing was of little use, and newspapers and popular education by means of books was impossible. This was probably a much
The authors (Thatcher and Schwill, as quoted by H. G. Wells) must be excused from any charge of inaccuracy on this point. The fact of the matter is that from the time of revelation to the present, there have always been Muslims who willfully persisted upon the forbidden. Most acted as individuals, but deviant practices grew to engulf entire societies far more often than most Muslims would like to admit. The common example of Muslim owners/operators of liquorbased businesses such as convenience stores, restaurants, and offlicenses illustrates that the hypocritical practice persists to the present day – openly in nonMuslim lands, underground in those few countries where Islamic law is enforced. 111
How does this differ from biblical predictions? Well. Many of these verses survived as unsubstantiated mysteries for nearly 1. but a basic scientific premise with regard to the nature of light is that before light can exist. The evidences Muslims consider supportive of the divine origin of the Holy Qur’an involve the many passages which comment on the nature of mankind and the universe in which we live. to begin with. a source of photon emission must assume some degree of responsibility. exactly how could an evening and a morning be? The Bible describes birds as having been created on the fifth day (Genesis 1:20 23).more important factor in the relative backwardness of Europe during the 99 dark ages than historians seem disposed to admit… Having presented the above as a primer to the history of science in Islam. H.761 years old (as of the year 2.000 99 Wells. pp. 112 . and without a Sun in the first place. Similarly. Without a horizon upon which the Sun could rise and set. one day prior to the creation of the beasts of the Earth (Genesis 1:2425).400 years. whereas the fossil record indicates the exact opposite order. Possibilities within the realm of Divine decree are beyond human imagination. the subject deserves to be addressed. we can fairly ask how an evening and a morning occurred (Genesis 1:35) two days before the creation of the Earth (Genesis 1:913) and three days before the creation of the Sun (Genesis 1:1419). we have to question why the Bible describes God as having bestowed light upon His creation three days before he created the stars (compare Genesis 1:35 with Genesis 1:1419). only to be verified in light of modern knowledge. Volume 2. 710712. G. Biblical genealogies are the basis of the Jewish calendar. which proposes the world to be 5.
and points out that both religions are awaiting the final prophet. These were two civilizations which history testifies to have been uninterrupted. is for Christians and Jews to disqualify the Qur’an from the competition. Rather. for the sake of discussion. that the Bible reads like the synthesis of a science library and a twentyfifth century Farmer’s Almanac. and Lantian man date between 400. the ‘So what?’ challenge remains. is not which of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism. As such this flood failed to wash away both the Third Dynasty at Ur in Babylonia and the First Intermediate Period before the Eleventh Dynasty in Egypt. the question is which is the last religion to have been revealed. what is? The challenge. then. but like the challenge to write just one surah like that of the Qur’an. as predicted by their scriptures. The Islamic religion acknowledges both Judaism and Christianity to have taken origin from revelation. Christianity and Islam take origin from Divine revelation. for they all do. 113 . Attempts have been made. would have corresponded with the twentyfirst to twenty second centuries BC. According to Muslims. For if that is not the religion of choice.000 years old).CE). putting all that aside and assuming. no attempt ever will. The question. then. the fossil remains of Peking man. no attempt has yet approached success. The global flood.000 and 1. as dated in the Bible to approximately three hundred years before the time of Abraham. and the origin of hominoids measured in hundreds of thousands. if not millions of years (e. However. So the period to which the biblical narratives attribute the global flood could stand revision. With a solar system estimated at 4½ billion years old. this estimate falls somewhat short of the scientific evidence.g. Java man.000.
What that means is that two observers moving at different speeds will perceive time. Perhaps with time and advancement in scientific knowledge such passages will become understood. is this: the fourth ayah of the seventieth surah (TMQ 70:4) is translated.” Some Muslims have suggested that this verse can be related to the Special Theory of Relativity. As such. The best that can be said of such passages is that they speak of mysteries. “The angels and the spirit ascend unto Him in a day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years. The space traveler and the stationary observer will then see two very different views of the same one world. Then again. should a person of the future shift his Ford 2. But. such differences will become increasingly great. An example. such differences are negligible. Until then. At speeds such as those traveled by humans in the present age. whether to support or refute the Qur’an. To attempt to assign more meaning than actually exists. speculation is probably inappropriate.800 yearmodel intergalactic positronharvesting starskipper into onemillionth gear and shimmy up to the speed of light. However. and in fact it might. size. size. the significance of these passages is speculative. it might not. to pursue the hypothesis. Certain passages from the Holy Qur’an speak of things we do not yet understand. 114 . for religious zeal leads many people to overstep the bounds of reason in defense of their position. and as such can neither be regarded as scientific evidences nor examples of inconsistency.A word of caution is necessary at this point. according to the ‘Special Theory of Relativity’ the perception of time. and mass vary between two differing inertial frames of reference in motion relative to one another. by way of illustration. and mass to be different. would be unreasonable.
size becomes reduced. indeed. that the last decimal point in the chain of ‘9’s’ resulting from the fraction of (v/c) cannot be reached with a common calculator. appeared infinitesimally small. pulled in the reins a tad. The concept is a little rough on most intellects. and possessed an infinitely heavy mass. and angels from light. How does this relate to the Holy Qur’an? Well.7397 x 10 years) and ‘v’ calculates out to be. jinn (spirits) from fire. and mass increases.88 x 10 miles/year) 2 2 2 x = position in space (defined by the equation x = c t ) t’ and t are the two differing time perspectives Plug the numbers from the above ayah into the equation. So close is the value of ‘v’ to the speed of light. With regard to time. and screamed past Martha’s Vineyard at near the speed of light. Should Max Planck have hijacked a bunch of his theoretical quanta.According to this Special Theory of Relativity.000 3 years and ‘t’ being a single day (2. according to Qur’an and hadith. as speed approaches that of light 12 (5.88 x 10 miles/year) perception of time slows. a billionth of a hair of a balding smidgen less than the speed of light. the equation is as follows: 2 2 1/2 2 t’ = (1v /c ) (tvx/c ) where v = speed traveled 12 c = the speed of light (5. The difference is small. so the world has Albert Einstein to thank for the Lorentz transformations mathematical equations by which the differential perception of space and time by two observers can be related to one another. So here is a 115 . with ‘t’’ equaling 50. in gross scientific terms. man was made from clay. his bedside alarm clock would have run imperceptibly slow.
Citing the above example. where the fastest movement witnessed by the eye of man might have been the swoop of a hawk or the flight of an arrow. But to assert that this is what the above passage actually means is to make some bold assumptions. this analysis is nice and neat. the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning.” (TMQ 32:5) To claim that these two verses conflict with one another is to invite a Lithium prescription. The common understanding amongst Muslims is that the first of the abovequoted verses 116 . some detractors have claimed that the above passage conflicts with surah 32. ayah 5. but not go past discussion of the theory of ‘time dilation. detractors of Islam often chase their prejudices so far out on the limb of speculation that their unbalanced conclusions snap the branch from the trunk of logic. for the two verses speak of completely different entities and circumstances. which reads: “He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end (all affairs) will go up to Him. would be to note the amazing correlation.400 year ago. Now. Far better. and may even be correct. perhaps. but the values presented describe the angels as traveling at the speed of that from which they were reported as having been created–light. on a day. Similarly. is enough.’ The simple fact that differing perceptions of time were mentioned 1. To analyze any further seems speculative to an unacceptable extreme.passage of the Holy Qur’an which not only presents the differing perceptions of time defined as ‘time dilation’ by the theory of relativity.
then. detractors of Islam should recognize that showing a particular passage to lack scientific proof does not invalidate that passage; many passages of the Holy Qur’an endured 1. and nonMuslim detractors should abandon superfluous arguments. not lack of truth. whereas the second refers to the Day of 100 Judgement. All else is speculation and prejudice. only to achieve validation by the maturity of scientific th th knowledge in the 19 and 20 centuries. 117 . To analyze scientific evidences.” (TMQ 4:82) Indeed. in fact. Addressing the issues discussed above. the Qur’an itself offers this challenge: “Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from any other than Allah they would have found therein many a discrepancy. And this is what is conspicuously absent from the Holy Qur’an one or more passages. but lack of such inconsistencies would suggest the exact opposite. we must prove a contradictory reality. Lack of substantiating evidence equates to lack of proof. given the wealth of information presented in the Qur’an. And. or which contradict other passages within the same text. being the day when all affairs will return to Allah for determination.300 years devoid of substantiating evidence. which are provably inconsistent with the world as we know it. such as the Old Testament verses cited above. requires us to remain objective. the Qur’an does not imitate the Bible by assigning dates or disorder to the sequence of Creation. Considering the number and 100 Related by Ibn Abbas.speaks of the ascent of the angels and spirit. Either of these scenarios would suggest a less than divine author. In order to disprove a claim. Furthermore. the lack of one such discrepancy should be considered significant. Muslim analysts should not trespass into the realm of speculation.
primacy of such biblical narratives. A Brief Illustrated Guide * to Understanding Islam. USA. by Dr. GEOLOGY: * Available on the Internet at http://www.org.com 118 . and through The Islamic Foundation of America. Muslims hold that no such conflicts exist. by Mir Aneesudin M. as would be expected of a book of God. That claim begins to look pretty good when examination is made of the scientific evidences. And while a full discussion of such claims is beyond the scope of this book. historical or scientific evidence. like those of the Bible. Those with deeper interests can examine the books: The Bible.: (703) 9144982. let’s take a look at a sampler of scientific evidences. To search the Qur’an for statements which.O. Maurice Bucaille. Were biblical scriptures recited from the beginning of the collection of books.Sc. Merrifield. The Universe Seen Through The Quran (Scientific Findings Confirmed). An especially good primer on this subject is to be found in the small manual of Islamic invitation. but with all fields of human knowledge. proves frustrating.D. The Qur’an and Science. VA 22116. the assertion that the Qur’an was in part copied from previous scriptures looks sadly suspect. for the claim is that the Qur’an conforms perfectly not only with the sciences. Ph. the first scripture Muhammad would have heard would have been the early chapters of the book of Genesis. The fact that these verses are not carried over into the Qur’an speaks strongly against such a theory of copying.. email: ifam@erols. conflict with archeological.islambriefguide. Tel. and a variety of smaller treatises available through Islamic bookstores. P. But now. a small sample is in order. Box 3415.
To the caravan crews. plastic asthenosphere. while a forty mile shaft of Earth’s crust lies invisibly imbedded in the deeper.We might well imagine that. pp. a peaceful picnic—such pleasantries would have meant nothing to a Bedouin faced with the inconvenience of having to detour a caravan around one. rd Moody Stuart. Earth Science. 119 . much 101 rd Tarbuck. mountains would likely have presented more difficulties than benefits. To have stopped and thought about them would have seemed odd. Andre. 3 ed. plow an agricultural field uphill. Columbus: Charles E. 103 Cailleux. p. 3 ed. A nice hike. or climb an incline to retrieve a wayward sheep. odder. Edward J. and Frederick K. p. 3 ed. 102 rd Press. to a desert Bedouin. To quote Tarbuck and Lutgens. The eye of man sees nothing more than the relatively small nubbin of a mountain. 1968. Earth Science. Merrill Publishing Company. an isostasy. Lutgens. Freeman and Co. What possible benefit could a desert Bedouin find in a mountain? Only recently has modern geology recognized the greatest significance of mountains to the world as we know it mountains possess roots. 218222; Tarbuck. a mountain would appear to be nothing more than an inconvenient beauty mark on the face of this Earth. Edward J. Frank and Raymond Siever. thereby 103 establishing an equilibrium or. New York: McGrawHill Book Company. H. “The existence of these roots has been confirmed by seismic and gravitational 101 data. 1982. in the language of the geologist. p. Anatomy of the Earth. Andre. San Francisco: W.” A three or four milehigh mountain might project a root structure of continental 102 crust thirty or forty miles deep into the surrounding mantle of the Earth. and Frederick K. farmers and sheepherders of Muhammad’s time. Translated by J. Lutgens. an exhilarating ski. and to have found something good to say about them. 222. Even in the present day few of mankind contemplate mountains beyond the recreational benefits they offer. Earth. Merrill Publishing Company. p. 158. 1982. 1982. 157. Columbus: Charles E. 435; Cailleux. This shaft of mountainroot serves to support the weight of the overlying mountain.
for mountains arise at collision points between continental plates. “And He has set up on the earth mountains standing firm. This information is considered revolutionary in the field of geology. the lithosphere plates would override one another. if not continuous. then. the complete absence of mountains would destabilize the Earth’s surface. lest it should shake with you…” (TMQ 16:15) CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE: 120 . the relevant conclusion being that without the stabilizing influence of mountains the Earth’s surface would be in a frequent. It is of interest. th Such knowledge developed following the study of plate tectonics in the late 20 century. As such. resulting in an earthquake every time a shift occurred to release accumulated strain. As all mountains represent such welds. and the mountains as pegs?” (TMQ 78:67) Now where did that observation come from? From the mind of a Bedouin? Not likely. but invites a 1. quake.like the head of a nail peeking above the surface of a block of wood. In recent years geologists have surmised that mountains stabilize the earth’s crust. riding upon an imperceptible shaft of steel. Or like a peg. to note the description of mountains in the Holy Qur’an as just this ‘pegs:’ “Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse. they represent a weld between colliding continental plates. In the absence of such a weld.400 yearold yawn from a revelation which records.
e. Astronomers encounter galaxies under formation in space to this day. 1988. He said to it and to the earth: “You come together. before We clove them asunder?” (TMQ 21:30) 104 Weinberg. pp.” because clouds evoke the image of a cool. Again. willingly or unwillingly…” (TMQ 41:11) The heavens having been “as smoke” is an accurate description of the primordial dust cloud – “smoke” being a more apt description than “cloud. Basic Books; Harper Collins Publishers. The formation of stars can still be observed in the hearts of nebula (presumed to be remnants or imitators of the primordial dustcloud) to this day. Steven. smoky mixture of gases and particulate matter. and it had been (as) smoke.One of the most undisputed principles of cosmology is that the entire universe 104 was formed out of a hot.. The second line of the above quote mentions the “coming together”a remarkable comment on the necessary union of particle elements into a central core of condensed matter. static mist whereas smoke describes a swirling. 101121. and this is precisely what they look like. following which the universe expanded. hot gaseous mass choked with suspended particles. the Qur’an refers to the process: “Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation). Relevant mention in the Qur’an is as follows: “Moreover He (i. 121 . It is the rupture of this superdense central mass from which the “Big Bang” emanated. A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe. Allah) comprehended in His design the sky. The First Three Minutes.
as well as remnant microwave radiation. And here’s the point—if the creationist theory was all that was on the mind of man up until 1920. Around the year 1800. have only been derived in the twentieth century. since the temperature at 0. and in particular the concept of a common origin of the heavens and earth. what an extraordinary achievement it would have been for a desert Bedouin to have conceived the Big Bang thirteen centuries earlier. the first being that Einstein’s general theory of relativity accurately defined the gravitational interaction of matter. of course. which is of such complexity as to be beyond the scope of this book.The origin of the universe. was a clear view of the nighttime sky. all Muhammad had.0001 seconds 12 has been calculated to have been a cozy 10 degrees Kelvin) boggles the mind. other than revelation. and the second being the cosmological principle. Continental drift is also recent knowledge. The complexity of knowledge and technology required to derive the Big Bang theory (or the Hot Big Bang. Basically. The theory was validated through the measurement of hydrogen. he didn’t. the Big Bang theory required two major assumptions. Alexander von Humboldt noted the nearperfect fit of the bulge of South America into the bright of 122 . In the early seventh century. the Big Bang supplanted creationist theory. He couldn’t have. helium and lithium levels. as it is now known. But. First proposed in 1920 by Alexander Friedmann and Abbé Georges Lemaître and subsequently popularized by George Gamow and colleagues. None of this was available prior to th the late 20 century. which itself was only discovered in 1965.
according to modern measurements. which disclosed identical fossil plants in the coal deposits of North America and Europe. He suggested that all of the landmasses were at one time joined together in one contient. in addition to the evidence cited above. the German meteorologist. reorientation. Du Toit refined the theory in favor of two original landmasses. Another half century later. Based on this observation. In 1937 Alexander L. these landmasses are still drifting). the paleontologic record (which. he suggested that the landmasses bordering the opposite sides of the Atlantic were at one time joined. with the result being the present position of the world’s landmasses (not to mention the fact that. and redeposition in sedimentary deposits provides a layered record of each 123 . Alfred Wegener. Congruency of continental shelves. suggesting the lack of an ocean separating these continents before that time). similarity of rocks and geologic structures. Subsequent liberation of crystals. Based upon the geologic and paleontologic evidence. the theory of seafloor spreading. Separation and drift followed. and remnant magnetism (ferromagnetic materials crystallize with orientation along the Earth’s magnetic field. Antonio SniderPellegrini noted the consistency between von Humboldt’s suggestion and the fossil record.Africa. which he called Pangaea. Fifty years later. evidence of shared glaciation. shows the earliest marine deposits on the Atlantic coast of Africa and South America to date from the Jurassic period of 208144 million years ago. give or take a long weekend). he proposed that Pangaea broke apart during the Triassic period (245 to 208 million years ago. Laurasia in the north and Gondwanaland in the south. proposed the concept of continental drift. in 1912.
So…continental drift appears to have been figured out. 1. However.’ which means to wind or coil. Beirut. Part 8.’ describes the sun as a source of light while the word ‘nooran’ describes the moon as giving light that originates from a source other than itself.” (TMQ 21:33). and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along.continent’s changing orientation through time) all support what is now accepted as the theory of continental drift. but (nooran) is accidental [light]…” The Qur’anic and biblical descriptions (Genesis 1:16 “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day. 1980. 124 . for the Qur’an differentiates between the source of light of these two heavenly bodies. The Qur’an describes rounded orbits of the celestial bodies. each in its rounded course. 2865. Lane’s ArabicEnglish Lexicon comments. like wrapping a turban around the head (or. as well as rounded orbits of day and night: “It is He Who created the Night and the Day. both of which mean ‘light’ in the Arabic language. and the lesser light to rule the night. ayah 5 describes the sun and moon by two different words. the Qur’anic verse of 39:5 describes the alternation between day and night by the verb ‘kawwara. the word ‘Dhiyaaan.400 years after the Holy Qur’an recorded the following verse: “And it is He Who spread out the earth…” (TMQ 13:3) HEAVENLY BODIES: Surah 10. In the th 20 century. “he wound the thing in a 105 Lane. Edward William. p. An ArabicEnglish Lexicon Derived From the Best and the Most Copious Eastern Sources. Book I. In addition.”) differ. column 3. 105 “…it is said that (duiyaaan) is essential. as per Lane’s ArabicEnglish Lexicon. Lebanon: Librairie Du Liban.
when viewing a solar eclipse. “And the Sun runs his course for a period determined for him…” (TMQ 36:38) hints at the fact that the entire solar system moves. but nonetheless the sun orbits in space around the axis of the Milky Way galaxy. but the spherical shape of the Earth itself. it does. Life cannot exist without water. Surah 36. And in fact. if not more than a millennia. The sun may be the center of our solar system. to the tune of 8085%. and the main component of cells is water. for the common perception amongst ancient man.round form”). rounded orbits is unusual enough. From this. what really shatters expectations is the statement that the Sun and Moon are not permitted to catch up to one another. even though a solar eclipse occurred during Muhammad’s life. Qur’anic descriptions such as the above were centuries. Furthermore. we understand the Qur’an to describe not only the rounded orbits of the planets and moon. This description of separate. was that the sun and the moon did just that – catch up with one another. Yet. PHYSIOLOGY: Cells are the building blocks of all living things. nor can the Night outstrip the Day: each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law). premature. this verse corrected the error of such primitive thinking. ayah 40 reads: “It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon. for a dry cell is a 125 . However. At a time when Western explorers were afraid to seek the horizon for fear of falling off.
If we tap our foreheads. and the wisdom to know this detail. revelation described that the key to maintaining the torture of hellfire is to renew the skin.” (TMQ 4:56) Now.” (TMQ 21:30) All of the Abrahamic faiths stress the tortures of hellfire. p. 2 edition.th dead cell. the most forward) aspect of the brain.” The frontal lobes of the brain are located at the most anterior (i. 1. in a time and place where research into human physiology had not even progressed to the stage of bodily dissection. 211. Stephens and Philip Tate. Inc. only with electrophysiologic testing. Wise. St. Allah) made from water every living thing.” Surprisingly. To quote. are informed that “…Allah is Exalted in Power.. “We (i. Trent D. that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power. intracellular recording and sophisticated microscopy techniques did mankind learn that pain and temperature receptors are restricted to the dermal layer of the skin.e. the Holy Qur’an states. Rod R. 1996. 126 . However.400 years ago. “The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the 106 anterior portion of the frontal lobes.. the part of the brain closest to our fingers is the prefrontal region of the frontal lobesthe area of the brain concerned with personality and behavior. for it states. Louis: MosbyYear Book. we find oblique 106 nd Seeley. the prefrontal area.e. We shall change them for fresh skins. Those who question Who had the power to dictate such punishment. This is recent knowledge and yet. Wise. They are called ‘frontal’ lobes for a reason they ride up front. And while these facts did not surface until the cell theory of the early 19 century. the Qur’an goes one step further. Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology. “…as soon as their skins are roasted through.
Exercitatio Anatomica de 107 Wehr. After a while. there is the amusing anecdote of the person who wanted to know which part of the body was concerned with thought. but it’s not just for kids. leading the man to focus his conclusion on the area of his ache.reference to this fact in the Holy Qur’an: “Let him beware! If he does not desist. it isn’t even common knowledge now. the hard wooden stool that he had chosen to sit upon began to take its toll. We will drag him by the naaseyah.” Now. except in scientific circles. and 1. the first part of his body to ache from fatigue would be his brain. 600 years before Ibn Nafis described the circulation of blood. An illiterate Arab from the past would most likely think and talk in terms of “lying eyes.” Anyone who believes that a Bedouin of twelve centuries ago would have considered the prefrontal region of the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex to be associated with conceiving sins and lies should be suspected of harboring a personal agenda. It’s an amusing story. 127 .” “lying lips” and “cheating hearts. sinful naaseyatin!” (TMQ 96:1516) The word ‘naaseyah’ (or ‘naaseyatin’ different pronunciations of the same word).400 years ago a Bedouin could hardly have known what modern medicine has only figured out in the present century.000 years before William Harvey took the credit in his book entitled. Hans. and in fact. The point is that 1. while often translated as ‘forelock. It wasn’t common knowledge then.’ in fact deserves the longer and more accurate 107 description of “fore part of the head. a lying. He decided that if he exercised his thought. So he sat down and thought and thought and thought.
meeting together: between them is a barrier which they do not transgress: then which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” (TMQ 55:1921) 128 . pure and agreeable to those who drink it. “He has let free the two bodies of flowing water. blood circulation. absorption. “It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: one palatable and sweet. To encounter one verse which links all such processes together is to encounter a complex scientific anachronism. For example. milk. a partition that is forbidden to be passed.” (TMQ 16:66) The sciences of blood circulation. and the other salt and bitter; yet He has made a barrier between them. and excretion as follows: “And verily in cattle (too) will you find an instructive sign. absorption and glandular secretion remained mysteries up until the past few centuries. We produce.Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (The Anatomical Exercises Concerning the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals) in 1628. the Holy Qur’an alluded to the processes of digestion. for your drink. digestion. between excretions and blood. From what is within their bodies.” (TMQ 25:53) And. BODIES OF WATER: The Holy Qur’an glorifies The Creator by mentioning some of the unique and unexpected characteristics of His creation.
In any case. In the simple mind of seventh century man. of what possible benefit could mentioning it have brought? 129 . but most vehemently defies explanation if we conceive Muhammad to have been anything other than genuine.Both of the above quotes refer to a barrier between sweet and salt water—a barrier we now recognize as the brackish water encountered in an estuary. contemplation would no doubt have been simplified. not given to maritime adventures. our minds tend to wonder that one day one of the two bodies of water will not win out over the other. why would he have mentioned such an odd point in the first place? Even if he had known the fact. which is highly unlikely. even in the present day. rivers are scarce in the Middle East. but we can make some suggestive observations. much of the well water in the Middle East is salty. Furthermore. so brackish water by the standards of modern developed nations was likely to have been considered potable in Muhammad’s day. For if a charlatan. that is. This zone of brackish water is well known. In the present day. Whether Muhammad knew of it is hard to guess. whose ability to explore was restricted to the most basic of water transport. Witnessing an estuary. To bring up the point at all seems odd amongst a desertdwelling people. To begin with. should we contemplate a major river emptying into a sea. seventh century man would likely have expected the force and volume of a major river such as the Nile or the TigrisEuphrates to expand the region of brackish water and eventually dilute the entire sea. To say that such would never be allowed to happen seems to go against what can be imagined to have been reasonable seventh century expectations.
and reasonably so. Philip H. Englewood Cliffs: PrenticeHall. Principles of Oceanography. more dense Atlantic Ocean is relatively fixed and sharp. 130 .’ mentioned in the second of the above quotes? If so. Inc. Inc. The border with the more cold. However. and certainly 108 Davis. 110 th Gross. 1972. they cannot be seen or studied without complex equipment.The second of the above quotes may relate to the fact that oceans and seas 108 vary in salinity. and they meet at welldefined boundaries. Reading. despite the strong currents. several hundred kilometers long. Oceanography. of higher temperature. 4 ed.” Internal waves behave just like surface waves. The Mediterranean extends a dripping wet tongue of water. Is this an example of the ‘barrier which they do not transgress. or at least mix them where they meet. 1960. pp. and not common knowledge even in present day. Richard A. For example. internal waves. the mention is all the more remarkable given the fact that this example is repeated at the borders of other seas and oceans. temperature and density. p. 9293. for this is a recent discovery. the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean in a stable and distinct border. internal waves “…are found at an 110 interface between water layers of different densities—for example. Jr. less saline. Another oceanographic point is the mention of deep. Modern oceanography teaches that deep. unlike surface waves. 43. p. Grant. Massachusetts: AddisonWesley Publishing Co. 1993. Such a mention may sound odd at first. M. the pycnocline. 223. constant waves and regular tides which would be expected to blend these two bodies of water. and may even break. 109 Kuenen. higher salinity and lower density over the 109 Gibraltar Sill at a depth of 1000 meters. a View of Earth.. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Marine Geology.
Elder. “Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea. for the human 112 chest has the annoying habit of imploding at such depths. Among a people who can swim in the first place. M. the absence of light at the ocean depth of 1000 meters is recent knowledge. for him there is no light. p. this illustration corresponds perfectly with the Qur’anic passage. (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand. at the interface between the hyperdense deep water and the less dense surface 111 layer. where an unequipped surface dive of more than 15 meters is beyond all but the most rare of human capabilities. Most interestingly. p. 224. 111 112 Gross. Now.” (TMQ 24:40 Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan translation) Not only does this passage describe the layers of both superficial and deep waves. but it also refers to “darkness in a vast deep sea”darkness so complete that a person can barely see. Grant Gross provides in his book on oceanography. Oceans. 27. that is. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers. 131 . and could only be gained with the use of special equipment. topped by dark clouds.this was not the work of a desert people for whom the simple act of swimming was an odd ability. His diagram shows two levels of waves. overwhelmed with waves topped by waves. Danny; and John Pernetta. 1991. Of interest is the diagram which M. Grant. he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light. Appreciation of any significant darkness requires a dive in excess of 50 meters. one at the surface and one internal.
Prior to the twentieth century.THE ATMOSPHERE: Mountain sickness. or altitudinal shortness of breath. There are several reasons for this. such ascents were sometimes made. mountain sickness was basically unknown. motivation for lowlanders to climb mountains. typically of 8.000 feet are few and far between. Understandably there was little. summits in the range of 8 10. was clinically defined in 113 1937. mountain folk acclimatized to the rarity of the atmosphere in which they lived. Recreational climbing was virtually unheard of. Under “Altitude Sickness. even in developed nations.000 vertical feet or more. and especially to a vertical scale of 8.” 132 . as if they had to climb up to the skies …” (TMQ 6:125) 113 Encyclopaedia Britannica. CDROM. Nonetheless.000 feet or more. if any. And prior to modern methods of rapid transportation. Hence. and most likely was unknown prior to the late 1800’s. where people exerted themselves to the fullest just to squeeze a bare existence out of an unsympathetic land. In the Middle East. so the likelihood of an Arab ever having experienced mountain sickness prior to the invention of the automobile is vanishingly small. the Qur’an alludes to the constricted breathing experienced by those who venture into higher altitudes: “…He makes their breast closed and constricted. especially in the Middle East. but the most significant is that mountain sickness requires a rapid ascent. Those who sought higher altitudes in the process of pasturing their herds experienced such slow rises in elevation that their bodies adjusted. up until two hundred years ago. but almost never rapidly.
And He sends down from the sky mountain masses (of clouds) wherein is hail…” (TMQ 24:43) “Mountain masses (of cloud) wherein is hail?” Now that’s interesting. While meteorologists have required satellite photography. then makes them into a heap? Then you will see rain issue forth from their midst. The Atmosphere. 116 Miller. 1981. For everybody but Muslims. in fact. The rain cycle seems like a nobrainer for most people.000 ft ceiling do the 116 upper layers generate hail through condensation and freezing. like a haystack. condense. Elements of Meteorology. but the hailgenerating clouds as mountains. When a cloud grows tall enough the upper regions cool. p. airplanes. Thompson. the Qur’an mentions. Cahir. Albert and Jack C. but once again we st have to step out of our 21 century cone of silence to hear what people were saying a thousand years ago. Albert; and Jack C. only when cumulonimbus clouds mass together like a mountain and extend from their altitudinal roots of 34. 133 . “Don’t you see that Allah makes the clouds move gently. 114 Anthes. 141. Panofsky. Merrill Publishing Co. pp. 141. and fall as rain.. Thompson. Or just a couple hundred years ago. for that matter. weather balloons. p. 115 nd Miller. 2 ed. Once again. Richard A. In a nutshell. Fraser. Columbus: Charles E. 1975. Merrill Publishing Co. computers and other sophisticated equipment to define the process. And. John J. this is recent knowledge. 268269.Only recently have meteorologists described the formation of raingenerating cumulus clouds. Columbus: Charles E. and Hans A. The Qur’an describes the raingenerating clouds as heaps. cumulus clouds migrate together and updrafts force the 114 115 mass of vapor to extend vertically. then joins them together. 3rd ed. Alistair B.000 feet to a 2530.
proposed that seawater seeped through underground channels into reservoirs underneath the tops of mountains something like a natural water tower. and the first experiments that supported his hypothesis were conducted in the basin of the Seine River 117 toward the end of the seventeenth century.René Descartes. Bernard Palissy was the first to suggest that the sole source of springs and rivers was rainfall (Discours Admirables [Admirable Discourses]. produce of various colors…” (TMQ 39:21) ANATOMY AND EMBRYOLOGY 117 Encyclopaedia Britannica.’1695). 134 . (despite having the World’s highest average annual rainfall. Amazingly. Some even endorsed that a huge underground sea communicated with the oceans and provided water through springs and rivers (see John Woodward's ‘Essay Towards a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies.700 mm/yr) nor the Bedouins of the desert (despite having the greatest need for rain) ever seemed to have figured out the rain cycle on their own. CDROM. presented the reality of the case over a thousand years before the rain cycle was conceived or tested: “Don’t you see that Allah sends down rain from the sky. and leads it through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow. 1580). at 11. neither the people of Mount Waialeale. therewith. Athanasius Kircher wrote that seawater was driven by the force of tides into subterranean rifts. 1664). and eventually to outlets at springs (see Mundus subterraneus [Subterranean World]. The Qur’anic passage. Hawaii. however. the famous seventeenth century philosopher.
of menstrual blood. “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female…” (TMQ 49:13) and “Verily. therefore. for Job 10:10 records. with ‘vapors’ of semen acting as a catalyst. is doomed to inadequacy. 16371680] or in the ovum [DeGraaf. However. should the reader wish to examine the topic in greater depth. 16411693]). Yet. The concept of biparental inheritance was first proposed by PierreLouis Moreau de Maupertuis in his Système de la Nature in 1751. We created man from Nutfah (drops) of mixed semen (sexual discharge of man and woman)…” (TMQ 76:2) 135 . and eventually lost the battle th following Driesch’s experiments at the beginning of the 20 century. The theories of spontaneous generation and preformation (which proposed that a preformed fetus lived as a diminutive human in the head of the sperm [Jan Swammerdam. Before this. Conception. prevailing beliefs relied upon Aristotle’s fourth century BCE suggestion that embryos developed out of coagulation. the Holy Qur’an taught. “Did You not pour me out like milk. Aristotle’s views may have made their way into the thoughts of at least one Bible author. for the previous twelve centuries. Complete summary in the format of this chapter.Correlation between Qur’anic statements and embryology are so accurate that they have stimulated books devoted to this subject. began to give way to th the theory of biparental inheritance in the 18 century. spermatozoa were ‘proven’ by the experiments of Lazzaro Spallanzani to be parasites in semen. or curdling. some of the more salient features may be mentioned in brief. and curdle me like cheese …” Even when discovered under the microscope by Antonie van Leewenhoek. with a reference to more comprehensive books.
Vol II. in fact. Page 480. but only from a small portion of it. “O Muhammad! What is man created from?” He is recorded as having answered. Bab Alqadar. man is created. These three layers appear to be referenced in the passage. for the Qur’an teaches that only a tiny element of semen functions in conception: “God made man’s progeny from a quintessence of despised liquid. The semen of the male actually participates equally to that 118 of female in formation of the embryo. 120 Narrated by Muslim 136 .” 120 This. Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani recorded the conflict between the fallacious opinions of the anatomists of his day and the revelation of the Holy Qur’an: “Many of the anatomists claim that the semen of the male has no role in creation of the baby.” An example of one such teaching is that Muhammad was once asked. Cairo: Al Maktaba Assalafiyah. they claim. Muhammad is recorded as having said. “Not from the whole fluid (ejaculated). 119 Musnad Ahmad. “He is 119 created from both: from the man’s Nutfah (sperm) and the woman’s Nutfah (ovum).th In the 14 century. suspended within the muscular uterus. Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani. Its role. wasn’t realized by the scientific world until Hertwig described fertilization of an egg by a sperm in 1875. The embryo and fetus develop within the bouncy castle of the amnio chorionic sac. The sayings of the Prophet deny what they say. is limited to curdling the menstrual blood from which man is born.” Remarkably. “He makes 118 Fath Al Bari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhari. itself encased within the ballooning abdominal wall. In a separate hadith. the story doesn’t end there.” (TMQ 32:8).
The zygote is a pale.” (TMQ 39:6) Notably. At this stage the blood is stagnant and there is no arterialvenous exchange. Again. droplike structure. the blastocyst appears under the microscope to be a tiny blood clot. Not until the 15 century was the staging of fetal development discussed. for the blastocyst is small enough to derive nutrition from seepage of nutrients. but by that time the Qur’anic concept of epigenesis (fetal development in stages) was thirteen centuries old and sporting a beard that would have put Rumplestiltskin to shame. How complete are the Qur’anic descriptions of embryological staging? That question. the human was created complete. whereas the blastocyst develops chorionic villi which invade the uterine wall. thanks to Van Leeuwenhook’s invention of the microscope. and th not until the 17 century were scientists able.you. in three veils of darkness. in stages. this is twentieth 137 . which implants in the uterus. in the wombs of your mothers. to stage the development of chick embryos. the concept of the human embryo developing “in stages” was not th recorded in scientific literature before the 15 century. The initial stages of embryogenesis involve the formation of a zygote from the union of sperm and ovum. According to the theories of pre formation and spontaneous generation.e. The zygote then divides to form a blastocyst. one after another. Staging of human embryos th was first described in the 20 century by Streeter. resulting in adhesion as well as nutrition. in and of itself. lakes) of blood. Hence. for the chorionic villi become surrounded by microscopic lacunae (i. and just grew in th proportion. deserves discussion.
the blastocyst). Part 5. the zygote). Keith L. Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto. past Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy for eight years. column 3. this is predated by fourteen centuries by the Qur’anic description.B.century scientific knowledge.C. 138 . From the scientific point of view. both in form and physiology.. And again. p. 2134.e. Book I. Moore. So blessed be Allah. 1984 recipient of the J. as to be commented upon in the scientific literature. discrediting one of the world’s foremost anatomists and embryologists is not particularly easy. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists (the most distinguished award in the field of anatomy in Canada). Dr. The appearance of the embryo at this stage of development is so similar to that of a leech. firmly fixed; then We made the nutfah into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. Moore is a man many would like to discredit for his work in this field. leechlike in appearance. Edward William. and clinging.e. “Then We placed him as (a drop of) nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge) in a place of rest.. the firmly fixed adhesion of the clot of congealed blood (i. even the development of the fetus. everything about the above quote is twentieth century knowledge the droplike appearance of the nutfah (i. The Arabic word “alaqah” (translated “clot” in the above passage) in fact 121 describes three qualities a clot of blood. the Best to create!” (TMQ 23:1314). However. Dr. And in fact. and past director of the international 121 Lane. all three of these qualities apply.
“…then out of a leechlike clot. Keith L. The third edition was published with Islamic additions in 1983. Moore commented on the correlation of the Qur’anic passages discussed herein. Saunders Co. 3 rd ed. 122 Moore.’ described in surah 23:14. is too lengthy for adequate discussion in a book not devoted to the subject. With Islamic Additions. Dr. Moore’s analysis continues and. as mentioned above.” He correlates this description with the curved. The Developing Human. followed by the development of the muscles. Moore points out that the word ‘mudghah. Surah 22:5 mentions. Clinically Oriented Embryology. segmented sequence of somites that appear identical to a mold of teeth marks at this stage of development. for he was “astonished by the accuracy of the statements that were recorded in the th 122 7 century AD.” which may refer to the fact that some tissues are differentiated at this stage. partly formed and partly unformed …. “…then We developed out of it another creature” (TMQ 23:14) may refer to the transformation in the eighth week from an indistinct embryo to a fetus bearing distinctive human characteristics.B. Furthermore. Foreword. authored a book on embryology entitled The Developing Human. then out of a morsel of flesh. whereas others are not.” Dr. Within this edition. actually means “a chewed lump.associations known as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Council of the Union of Biological Sciences. the abovequoted “…then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh” (TMQ 23:14) correlates precisely with the sequential development of the cartilaginous skeleton. before the science of embryology was established. 139 . 1983. Jeddah: Dar AlQiblah with permission of W. The work is of such authority as to have been translated into eight languages.
for none of this could be seen with the naked eye. the Qur’an is conspicuously devoid of medicinal treatments. honey does indeed possess medicinal value. and medicines. candies. In fact. it is widely used in baked goods. “Somewhat acid. is a substance “…wherein is healing for men” (TMQ 16:69). none of the above was known prior to th Antonie van Leewenhoek’s invention of the microscope in the 17 century. available through many Islamic bookstores. One of the most easily assimilated foods. Now. MISCELLANEOUS: Honey. 1997. so we would reasonably expect the Qur’an to contain a cookbook of home remedies if. cereals. it has mild antiseptic properties and has been used in the treatment of burns and lacerations. this is what he believed. Riyadh: Darussalam. “There is no disease that Allah has sent down except that He also has sent down 124 its treatment. Mohammed Ali Albar’s Human Development. 123 124 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Volume 7. As Revealed in the Holy Quran and Hadith. Sahih Al Bukhari. AlBukhari. however. Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel; translated by Dr. As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica. is not the case.” A common ingredient in cold and allergy medicines. prepared 123 fruits. CDROM. But the point is that. Such. 326.In addition to Dr.” Whether true or not. Muhammad Muhsin Khan. p. hadith #5678. according to the Qur’an. Muhammad were the author. that is. 140 . another excellent reference is Dr. scientifically speaking. the point of interest is that Muhammad was recorded as having taught. Moore’s book.
as was the case with his wives and daughters.” And now. Surah 75:34 refers to the Day of Judgement. and on this point. However. and emphasizes Allah’s perfect ability to resurrect mankind. the Qur’an does not reflect Muhammad’s interest. down to their fingertips: “Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay. On the contrary. Fingerprinting. published and adopted by Scotland Yard in the early 1900’s. nobody disagrees. So voluminous is the hadith record of Muhammad’s homeopathic and naturopathic remedies that books have been written on the subject. The GaltonHenry fingerprint classification system has since been adopted around the world. 141 . the Holy Qur’an alluded to this fact over twelve centuries earlier. it would seem. Sir Francis Galton suggested a classification system which was developed. Subsequently. The British scientific journal ‘Nature’ described the uniqueness of fingerprints in 1880. for something completely esoteric. The chapter on medicine in Sahih AlBukhari alone contains fifty eight entries. was very much on Muhammad’s mind. the only Qur’anic reference to a medicinal agent is to honey. We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers. Medicine.Not so with the teachings of Muhammad. Why is this interesting? Because whereas the uniqueness of fingerprints was scientifically recognized in the nineteenth century.
place limitations upon our God. Or until eternity. Think about it. for to continue would be to turn south.” Perhaps we should consider that over and again. that the Qur’an identifies Allah as Lord of the East and West. then. Allah refers to himself as “Lord of the East and the West. and keep traveling north until we could travel north no further. Allah told the believers how to answer objections to this change: “Say: To Allah belong both East and West …” (TMQ 2:142). Allah redirected the Muslim prayer from Jerusalem to the sacred mosque in Makkah. Now. In Surah 2:144. and not of the North and South. Same with traveling south—once at the South Pole. what about east and west? If we were told to travel east (or west). 142 . North has an upper limit. one step further would be in the direction of north. and for a very simple reason. To describe Allah as “Lord of the North and South” would place a limitation upon Him. If we were told to travel north. revealed scriptures emphasize the infinite perfection and powers of our Creator.” The casual reader might be struck by the fact that nowhere does Allah refer to himself as “Lord of the North and the South. and to keep traveling in that direction until we could travel no further. we would wind ourselves around the globe until we died. New Testament or the Holy Qur’an. be it Old Testament. we would reach the North Pole and stop. And that’s the point. Two ayat earlier. So too with the above description. south a lower limit. Interesting it is. whereas “Lord of the East and the West” bears the connotation of boundlessness.Throughout the Qur’an. Nowhere does a revealed scripture. Can we surmise that this choice was coincidental? Probably not.
and if it is not the limitlessness of Allah’s dominion. In Madinah. “To Allah belong both North and South.Now. For that matter. What would a normal person have said? “Change the direction from North to South. the Earth being round wasn’t scientifically proven for centuries.” Obviously. So even had the Arabs wished to express Allah’s limitlessness in this manner.” this was it. And yet.” What does the Qur’an say? “To Allah belong both East and West. 143 . who wanted to express Allah’s supremacy. Rather. how were the Muslims instructed to answer objections? By saying. we have to wonder what else that message could be. The fact that North and South are conspicuously devoid of mention may not prove divine origin of the revelation. South. East. A final point in this regard is that during Muhammad’s lifetime the North and South poles and the axis of the Earth’s rotation were unknown.” If ever there was a place to have said. “To Allah belong both East and West. here’s the rub. changing the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah constituted a reversal from praying NorthNorthwest to due South. would have described Allah as the Lord of North. we can well imagine that an ignorant Bedouin of fourteen centuries ago. power and essence. West and all points between. there is a deeper message. The Arabs lived in a postage stampsized area of the world where compass directions bore none of the connotations discussed above. These verses were revealed when the Muslims were living in Madinah. they would not have been able to do so. but it certainly goes against what we would expect of a human author. if not a millennium. in what is now known as Saudi Arabia. for Allah is the Lord of North and South.
Worthy of all praise. “…it is easy to put forward the hypothesis of Muhammad as being a brilliant thinker.” John Adams The Qur’an claims to be the word of Allah. 162.C. ” Not only is the Qur’an not littered with “colossal blunders.3. as Dr. Maurice. i. Maurice Bucaille points out. However. people quite simply forget to mention the other aspect of what these geniuses of philosophical reasoning produced.” but it appears to be devoid of the smallest of errors. and unnecessary to the revelation. p. Many of the statements found in the Qur’an would have seemed peculiar mysteries during Muhammad’s time. 145 .e.” (TMQ 41:42) NonMuslims claim the Qur’an was authored by Muhammad.9. we have to wonder why he presented such 125 Bucaille.) SUMMARY OF EVIDENCES “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes. Should Muhammad be proposed an imposter. our inclinations. In so doing however. the colossal blunders 125 that litter their work. or the dictates of our passions. This precision is interesting considering the wealth of information presented therein. who was supposed to have imagined all on his own what modern science was to discover centuries later. and as such is infallible: “No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: it is sent down by One full of Wisdom. they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
arguing that if the Qur’an contradicts Old or New Testaments then it cannot be revelation. But Allah knows.” In selfdefense. p. but of preference. such as polygamy. Maurice Bucaille. 146 . “How could a man living fourteen hundred years ago have made corrections to the existing description to such an extent that he eliminated scientifically inaccurate material and. family roles and food restrictions are religiously based. As such. if not for more than a millennium. on his own initiative. And how did he get it all right? Without a single. 126 Bucaille. and you know not.” (TMQ 2:216). in other words. made statements that science has been able to verify only in the present day? 126 This hypothesis is completely untenable. But this argument is only valid if the books under comparison possess the same authority. some nonMuslims present ‘our book against yours’ arguments. solitary error? In the words of Dr. these are not points of proof.a large number of revolutionary claims. including predictions of future events and scientific evidences which would remain unproven for centuries. Personal preference. Maurice. which is a dangerous basis for an evaluation. 148. and that you love a thing which is bad for you. the female headscarf. for “… it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you. NonMuslims also sometimes argue on the basis of customs or traditions. and this choicethe choice of which book is most reliableis left to the reader. but peculiar to Western lifestyle. may be misleading. but these issues bear no relation to the analysis of religion. Other issues.
Added all together.000. For example. the cumulative likelihood of each and every prediction being correct is staggeringly small. and with each additional prediction the probability halves again. his wife and AlWalid Ibn AlMughirah would certainly fall into this category. Yet. In essence. which translates to less than one chance in 1. There are well over sixty such evidences cited above. the challenges remain to find a single falsehood or to compose a ten word. but even if each event were assigned a likelihood of 50%. the likelihood 60 of all 60 evidences proving correct on the basis of sheer chance would be (1/2) . or both are wrong). if each one of these sixty evidences were assigned the conservative probability of 50%. the sheer number of such predictions calculates out to an astronomically small likelihood of being correct in each and every instance.000. each having a probability of one out of two. The fact that a popular 147 . The chance of three such predictions all being correct is one in eight. threeline surah better than that of the Qur’an. Predictions such as those involving the battles of Rome versus Persia and the condemnation of Abu Lahab. Should such a contest remain unsatisfied the challenge of the Qur’an deserves respect. for a person who “plays the odds” will note that many of the Qur’an’s predictions appear to have been bad bets in their day. both being correct is one out of four. and only one chance of both predictions being correct – one chance out of four. Statistical analysis may have some application.000. or the first is wrong and the second right. there are three combinations of error (the first prediction is right and the second wrong. the likelihood of two predictions.000. and these represent only a fraction of the total cited by scholars of the religion.Despite all philosophical arguments. The odds of such predictions coming true are incalculable.000.000.
A few such authors comment. possess an expressive force and explosive energy which it is extremely difficult to convey by literal word 129 for word translation. the fact that so many stand in denial of such odds is the true wonder. “All those who are acquainted with the Quran in Arabic agree in praising the beauty of this religious book; its grandeur of form is so sublime that no translation into any European language can allow us to 127 appreciate it. 53. Indeed. 129 Naish. its brief pregnant sentences. Edward.A. p. p. many Westerners complain that the Qur’an does not inspire them in the manner of the Bible. This difficulty can be compounded by the plethora 127 128 Montet. with the Life of Mahomet. Lahore: Oxford and Cambridge Press.” “The Quran. An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mohomedanism. 1929.” “The truth is. Stubbe. M. Couched in concise and exalted style. Introduction.religion surrounds a revelation which has such a vanishingly small probability of coincidental correctness is hardly surprising. has a seductive beauty and charm of its own..A.” Many Westerners may then despair over their inability to appreciate the Qur’an in the eloquence of the revealed Arabic.. in its original Arabic dress. viii. Paris. p. The first is that the opinions of those who have mastered the Arabic language should be respected. John. often rhymed. 148 . Henry. Two main themes need to be considered in this regard. 158. I do not find any understanding author who controverts the elegance of the Alcoran. Oxford. Preface. it being generally esteemed as the 128 standard of the Arabic language and eloquence. 1975. Dr. Traduction Francaise du Couran. The Wisdom of the Qur’an. Despite the evidences mentioned above. M. 1937.
of poor translations freely available through Western bookstores. and many may wish to study the man who bore the message in synchrony with the scripture itself. understanding that the emotive qualities of Arabic are lost in translation. Edward Henry Palmer. the message and the messenger are an integrated unit. and of Marmaduke Pickthall (The Glorious Qur’an) are amongst the best. then. Other respected translations exist. M. and Richard Bell are certainly to be avoided. Rev. that of Saheeh International (The Qur’an). Having said that. of the combined effort of Muhammad AlHilali and Muhammad Khan (The Noble Qur’an). is for people to read the Qur’an. Rodwell. but those of Alexander Ross. 149 . J. What remains. George Sale. The Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation of meaning (The Holy Qur’an).
Jesus Christ claimed to have been of the first category. Equally apparent is the fact that mysticism eventually invaded each of these religions and corrupted the beliefs from those held during the period of origins. if anybody. Paul’s was mystical.” Hence.SECTION 4 MESSENGERS “All cats are gray in the dark.” Old Proverb And so it is with the messengers. Jesus’ claim was concrete. should we trust? In the history of religion. and a set of laws that showed only slight modification from one revelation to the next (for further discussion see MisGod’ed). Not all prophets are the same. all three of these religions taught the unity of God. For example. Who. At the center of each mystical transformation there was always an “inspired prophet. Christianity. During the period of their origins. and these two groups are not necessarily mutually inclusive. some claimed divine inspiration. Orthodox Judaism has become largely obscured by the more permissive Reform Judaism; the strict monotheism and commitment to Old Testament law that typified Early Christianity became corrupted by the Trinitarian formula and the 150 . one fact that quickly becomes apparent is that Judaism. Some received revelation. cleaving a kaleidoscope of deviant sects from the original. and Paul of the second. the humanity of His prophets. So let’s shed some light upon them. and Islam were all founded upon a remarkably consistent core message.
Neither has the fact that the true prophets refused to fashion revelation to suit the desires of their followers. woman or group who seduced a following through offering greater religious permissiveness. and in the end are rewarded for their faith and perseverance. He rewarded Job’s patient suffering with the return of his health. For example. If piety were a party. Noah’s loyalty with salvation from both the disbelieving people and the flood. Some choose to follow scripture and the prophets who conveyed it. But it’s not. 151 . The list continues and the pattern is consistent. typically in combination with the promise of a near effortless salvation. False prophets enjoy high style in this worldly life in anticipation of a significantly less delightful decree in the hereafter. but with evidence of divine protection. despite enslavement and subsequent imprisonment. The fact that the teachings of these “inspired” leaders typically contradict the teachings of the true prophets has not gone unnoticed. prove their sincerity through forebearance of trial. but always came following a period of trial. others trust the teachings of their mystically “inspired” leaders. wealth and position. God recompensed Joseph’s unwavering faith. everyone would attend. with liberation and establishment in authority.” “modern” and “mystical” movements which have attempted to rewrite the laws of Islam. and Moses’s perseverance with establishment of authority amongst the Jews. Whereas charlatans (and their followers) frequently live in luxury and ease. true prophets (and their followers) are better known for having suffered poverty and persecution. At the head of each deviant sect is a man.lawlessness of Paul’s concept of justification by faith; and orthodox Islam has been eroded by the many “reform. True prophets. Relief was near. on the other hand.
“What about his crucifixion and suffering? What about his passion?” Yes. and still others denied it outright. well. but it is a painful fact that for every prophet there have been those who considered him deluded. and it is these indicators that demand examination. The main theme of divine unity and God’s laws runs through the foundation of all revealed religions. and pure revelation from corrupt. it would seem. Should such have been the case (the evidence of which is discussed in the first book of this series. don’t change much. MisGod’ed). God saved Jesus by raising him up.“What about Jesus Christ?” some might ask. Religious trends. if Jesus Christ was not crucified. Fortunately. 152 . whereas core values of mysticism and selfserving theology run through the deviant sects. The diversity of religious sects is a direct result of this collage of human nature. indicators exist to clarify any candidate’s claim to prophethood. others perverted the message. then God saved him and there was no passion. Another commonality is that all true prophets were sent to correct transgressions from previous scripture. Throughout the history of revelation some embraced the guidance. and for every deluded babbler there have been those who considered him a prophet. and plans to return him in a position of authority. Most people consider themselves capable of discriminating true prophets from false.
Solomon (Sulaiman). sent to the people of ‘Ad (TMQ 7:65); Salih. and David made a stunning first. Lot (Lut). 153 . impression on Goliath. though not necessarily by name. Jacob (Yaqoub). Christianity and Islam all describe the chain of prophethood from Adam to Moses. all three scriptures affirm that the people of Lot were obliterated as punishment for their “backward” ways. Noah (Nuh). However. While the Old Testament.” Andrew Jackson Judaism. as well as the Holy Qur’an.A. Elisha (AlYasa’). they report different details of their lives. where different. Abraham (Ibrahim). Aaron (Harun). Elias (Ilyas). in parentheses): Adam. significant differences exist.) ADAM TO MOSES “One man with courage is a majority. Isaac (Ishaq). and recognize each prophet as having stood relatively alone in the field of righteousness during his day. the prophet Jonah slip both directions on the slick waterslide of a whale’s throat. Jonah (Yunus). all mention the following (with the Arabic names. sent to the people of Thamud (TMQ 7:73). Moses (Musa). The bibles of the Jews and Christians. David (Dawood). the Holy Qur’an mentions Hud. Ishmael (Isma’il). Job (Ayyub). In addition. New Testament and Holy Qur’an all acknowledge the abovementioned prophets. and other prophets. Ezekiel (Zulkifl). Joseph (Yusuf). For example. and last.4.
Rather than struggling to explain impious behavior. Islam teaches that the prophets exemplified. the pattern of prophethood remains somewhat elusive in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. respectively. closing the door on the concept of Original Sin. and from them the human race arose. But why? What is the overall scheme? Certainly. 154 . with other prophets as offshoots from the main lineage. in stark contrast to Old Testament descriptions of Lot. while we can establish continuity in the chain of major prophets. the righteous conduct they were sent to convey. rather than contradicted. and died off without ever having a Moses or Christ to steer the population toward salvation? What happened to those people? Within the confines of JudeoChristian teachings. contracting prostitution and murder to certain of the prophets. some prophets followed in the footsteps of others. Judah and David. The two sons of Adam established the tradition of sibling rivalry to no small degree.The Islamic religion records that Allah forgave Adam and Eve for their sin of having eaten the forbidden fruit. Certainly. such as the seemingly endless succession of prophets sent to the wayward Jews. Now. prospered. A series of defined prophets followed in wellspaced sequence. while at the same time exemplifying the opposite poles of righteousness and impiety. they had children. the only answers to this question lie in speculation. the genealogy of the human race appears to have been agreed upon: Adam had a wife. However. drunkenness. And men have been beating each other’s brains out ever since. what about those cultures which grew. The Holy Qur’an does not attribute incest. Noah.
This purity. and subsequent revelation was recorded in hard copy. demanding renewed revelation to set the record straight. However.e. We have sent you (i. without a warner having lived among them (in the past)” (TMQ 35:24). see MisGod’ed for details). Muhammad) in truth. Hence the need for a final prophet (as predicted by both Old and New Testaments) and for a divinely protected final revelation. and as a warner: and there never was a people. Somewhere in time. With the advent of written records. Who is this final prophet? And what is the final revelation? According to Islam. on the other hand. Old Testament corruptions are readily evident. Hence the need for Jesus Christ to have restored the purity of revelation. the Tawraat (Torah) to Moses. did not last. as a bearer of glad tidings. with reduced need for human reminders. However. The Islamic understanding is that no population was ever left without guidance. God bestowed the blessing of written language upon mankind. we first have to examine the lives and messages of Moses and Jesus. 155 . After all. Muhammad and the Holy Qur’an. As per the Holy Qur’an. and the New Testament bears ample witness to its adulteration (again. in order to appreciate that claim. each revelation enjoyed greater duration and circulation. the Zaboor (Psalms) to David. what would be the need for another prophet if the previous scripture were pristine? As discussed in MisGod’ed. however. “Verily. the early scriptures were manipulated and corrupted. the Injeel (Gospel) to Jesus and the Qur’an to Muhammad. teaches a framework of divine methodology that is filled out by the prophets.Islam. The Suhuf (Sheets) were revealed to Abraham.
however.) MOSES “He who speaks the truth should have one foot in the stirrup” Hindu proverb Who was the Moses of the Old Testament? A human “Trojan Horse” in the house of Pharaoh. both from without and from within the rebellious body of refugees rescued from slavery by the will of God – this was the man Moses.B. He fell from a lofty royal office to the lowest position of anonymity. a man of honor and integrity returning to Pharaoh’s court fearless of consequences in order to satisfy the command of his Creator. a selfimposed exile after having accidentally slain an enemy of his people. time and again. from which he bounced to the highest human appointment known in this life. is that the revelation Moses transmitted admonished the Jews for their transgressions and yet. to the end. the only message many of them seem to have retained is the concept 156 . over and again. From amongst his followers a few remained upon the strictness of Old Testament law. to instill some sense of unity and Godfear in a people who. And yet he persisted. only to hit the trampoline of revelation strung between the stanchions of a series of supportive miracles.4. and a prophet struggling against all levels of adversity. who struggled. Most peculiar. and a large number diverged therefrom. openly rebelled. for he left this earth having satisfied what was commanded of him. And in this he appears to have succeeded. He was a prophet rejected by the majority of the population of his homeland. repeatedly defied by those he was sent to save.
Yet he couldn’t even take a leave of absence to commune with The Creator for forty days without his followers reverting to paganism. and indeed they are a stiffnecked people. to the simplistic concept of racial elitism. and this despite the Old Testament verses which criticize or condemn the Jews. their breaking of their covenant and God’s resultant anger (Deuteronomy 31:1621). Even though they had witnessed the miracles having walked between the walls of water.of having been “chosen. Moses went through some pretty thick hieroglyphics for the sake of bearing his message of revelation. they set about making a useless idol of a flop dropping quadraped! (Neh 9:918) God’s reaction? To advise Moses: “’Arise. For example. that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven…’” (Deuteronomy 9:1214) The Old Testament continues by recounting the Jews’ rebellion against God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 9:2224). been sustained on manna and quail and watered from the rock of twelve springs. all by the grace of God when Moses stepped out of the picture for a little communion with The One who saved and protected them all.” The importance of fidelity to the mandates of God became secondary. their stubbornness and wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:27). for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made themselves a molded image…I have seen this people. 157 . Let Me alone. go down quickly from here. with Moses effectively summing up. been shaded by a pillar of cloud during the day and warmed by a pillar of fire at night. in many of their minds.
you have been rebellious against the LORD. and the Egyptians all passed them by. for who in the land of the Israelites were more divided than the Ishmaelites. the Roman empire. that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD. the Persian empire. the Arabs? An uneducated and ignorant. to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands. and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. And evil will befall you in the latter days. or in other words. then how much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes.” This last line concerning “…who are not a nation…. For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt. and your officers.” if you will. God is recorded as having said. that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them.” (Deuteronomy 31:2629) In Deuteronomy 32:21. “foolish. Why? Because there was no Arabian nation to conquer. so unorganized 158 . “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. If today.“Take this Book of the Law. while I am yet alive with you.a foolish nation” may strike a cord of interest. disparate and divided group of desertdwellers in the preIslamic Period of Ignorance. They were so divided and spread out. they were so much “not a nation” that Alexander the Great.
spread their territorial boundaries from Spain to the edge of China. Yet.” And God foretold of even greater punishment: “I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them. in the short span of twentyfive years.and tribal. Vengeance is Mine.” (Deuteronomy 32:2335) 159 . an empire which held dominion over more kingdoms and countries than ever the Roman Empire did in eight hundred. and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand. effectively “move(ing) them to anger by a foolish nation. They shall be wasted with hunger. The sword shall destroy outside; There shall be terror within For the young man and virgin. And the things to come hasten upon them. With the poison of serpents of the dust. these people became united for the first time in history. The nursing child with the man of gray hairs…. Devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction; I will also send against them the teeth of beasts. In addition to which they subjugated the Jews. rose up to develop the greatest intellectual institutes of their day. establishing. following the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. that there was no national identity to address and no crown jewels to covet.
” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered. and it was for this reason that the Pharisees inquired into the identity of John the Baptist: Now this is the testimony of John. the critical issue is the identity of the third messenger. Elijah and “the Prophet. John the Baptist wasn’t the Christ. The Jews understood this. For Moses conveyed more than a law he transmitted a message of hope with the prediction of three prophets to follow. the Pharisees persisted by inquiring. Christ. but twice. “I am not.And yet. how often do we encounter Jews who contemplate the significance of such harsh statements of censure. but confessed.” And they asked him. for it misguides many to consider themselves above the law and beyond the need of recognizing the prophets predicted to follow.” clearly enumerated not just once. when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him. nor the Prophet?” (John 1:25). nor Elijah. “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ. chastisements. despite God’s repeated punishments. of that we can be reasonably certain. as opposed to boastfully parroting the phrase of “chosen people?” The error is regrettable. Inconsistencies aside. By the scripture. Who is “the Prophet?” 160 . “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said. and did not deny. “I am not the Christ. “Who are you?” He confessed.” (John 1:1921) After John the Baptist identified himself in evasive terms. “No. John the Baptist is also recorded as having denied being Elijah (although Jesus Christ identified him as Elijah in Matthew 17:1113). curses and condemnation.
. item 12 in the list of Old Testament contradictions) exposed the fact that the names Isaac and Ishmael may have been switched in the biblical scripture where it served a purpose. item number 4 of the same list) fit together no better than a square peg in a round hole..e.Since the Jewish scholars of John the Baptist’s time anticipated three messengers to follow.” (Matthew 15:24) Furthermore. for example. The prophet spoken of in Isaiah 42 is twice referred to as a messenger to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:1 and 42:6). we can reasonably expect to find evidence in the Old Testament. Relevant to this topic. “…except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 161 . MisGod’ed (Section 3. who claimed not to have been sent. unlike Jesus Christ. several passages do not fit the description of these two prophets. Predictably. Amongst these predictors is Isaiah 42. Those passages aligned with John the Baptist and Jesus Christ are well known. Genesis 17:20. the Old Testament teems with predictions and descriptors of messengers to follow.A. the line of Muhammad’s ancestry). 21:13 and 21:18).. for other elements of the Old Testament story (see Section 3. This suggestion is not unreasonable. as we might expect considering the fact that the Jews anticipated a third. Why is this important? Because Isaiah 42 is not the only book of the Old Testament which predicts a prophet other than John the Baptist or Jesus Christ. Isaiah 42:11 describes the predicted prophet as an Ishmaelite in the line of Kedar (i. in fact. however. consistent with other Old Testament predictors of an Ishmaelite prophet (see. for from what other source would the Pharisees have known to expect divinelyappointed guests? And.A.
however. Jesus Christ does not appear to have been the prophet spoken of in Jeremiah 28:9. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. but in the line of the Ishmaelites. as we shall soon discuss. “As for the prophet who prophesies of salam …” or “As for the prophet who prophesies of Islam …” Most significantly. remains unassailable. as discussed in the previous sections. True.” An additional point is that the Hebrew word for “peace” in Jeremiah 28:9 is “shalom. every prediction within the Holy Qur’an has either been fulfilled or. has “come to pass.” it would seem. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah. So who is the predicted prophet who would prophesy peace (salam. Jesus is recorded as having taught. Christians speak of Jesus Christ as the “Prince of Peace. there is ample reason to suspect this final prophet arose not in the line of the Jews.” Hence. or Islam). The “word of the prophet. Muslims are quick to point out that Muhammad prophesied peace. should the above verse be translated into Arabic. “As for the prophet who prophesies of peace. Jacob is recorded as having said. if not Jesus? Let’s ask Jacob.Furthermore. In Genesis 49:10.” the Arabic equivalent of which is “salam. not at all. at the very least. Nor a lawgiver from between his feet. but rather division” (Luke 12:51). when the word of the prophet comes to pass. the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent. Furthermore. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34) and “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you. And how will we know this final prophet? Jeremiah 28:9 states. it would read. 162 .” Should we accept this verse as a criterion by which to judge a prophet.” or “Islam.” but what did Jesus say? In stark contrast.
is “Shiloh?” A person. then. wouldn’t we expect Moses and Jesus to have spoken about this matter? In fact. Again. Lying nearly concealed beneath the overgrowth of ancient prejudice. But maybe not. maybe. If the Old Testament is to be respected it either has happened. that’s exactly what we’re saying. for he was born in the bloodline of Judah. Could “Shiloh” refer to Jesus Christ? Most certainly not.” Oookay. from whom this verse predicts the scepter to depart. a place. What does matter is that the loss of the power of legislation and prophethood in the line of Isaac is foretold. Who. since both Shiloh and Islam mean peace? Well. Could “Shiloh” refer to Islam. or will happen. But if that were the case. it doesn’t much matter. yes. So what are we saying? That the Old Testament predicted a final prophet to follow Jesus? Uh. we discover the ancient ruins of a thriving.Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. if not the transfer of revelation from the wayward Israelites to the line of the Gentiles? Attempting to navigate the somewhat tangled forest of the Old Testament. Moses is recorded as having conveyed God’s revelation: 163 . an ideology? It doesn’t much matter. concept. but one predicted in the line of the Ishmaelites. After all. the solid substructure of Old Testament teachings suggest not only a third messenger to follow Moses. It’s a done deal. what is the entire book of ‘Malachi’ about. or what. it appears that they did. In Deuteronomy 18:1822. though seldom recognized and less often discussed.
from amongst the candidates. which He speaks in My name. might be the prophet ‘like Moses. that prophet shall die. if the thing does not happen or come to pass. and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name. for his lineage was through the line of Isaac.” Now.’ To begin with. Fourthly. we don’t want to be among them. So. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words. let’s take these issues in order and try to figure out who. and will put My words in His mouth. Thirdly. But let’s be clear on this point. it does not appear to have been Jesus Christ. which I have not commanded him to speak. these verses define some criteria by which the foretold prophet can be recognized. this foretold prophet will convey revelation by oral transmission. and the prophet in question was foretold to arise from among the brethren of the Israelites. ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD. let’s break these verses down. I will require it of him. To begin with. or who speaks in the name of other gods. 164 .“I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren. those who reject the revelation will be held accountable. Secondly.’ And if you say in your heart. these verses predict the foretold prophet to be like Moses. which we cannot be faulted for understanding to mean the Ishmaelites. Lastly. that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
another 15 years for the first child to mature and blend bloodlines with that of an outsider. b) celibate. Moses married and had children while Jesus was unmarried and 165 . So if we understand the foretold prophet to originate in the line of Ishmael. were his brothers. For that matter.” Now. we would expect that to have been made clear. which is to say. Moses was born of both father and mother. The only remaining candidates for Ishmael’s brethren. in whose presence Ishmael would dwell. for the next fifty years or so. So who could the brethren. as some authors propose? Let’s ask the Bible. at the time this verse was revealed. and see how this compares with Jesus Christ. another 15 years to maturity – nearly fifty years would have had to have passed before Ishmael’s bloodline could be diluted to 25%.” as seems intuitive. a) To begin with. if the only other Ishmaelites. or does “brethren” mean offspring and relatives. whereas Jesus was born by Virgin Birth.Does “brethren” mean “brothers. without a father. he wasn’t even born yet. for to call a person’s own offspring ‘brethren’ is to snap and splice a few branches off the old family tree. then. Genesis 16:12 teaches that Ishmael “… shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. So let’s give him 14 years to maturity. have been. Ishmael did not have offspring. the Israelites. would be his very own children and grandchildren? If the passage meant to speak of his offspring. who might he be? Who was the prophet “like Moses?” Let’s list what we know of Moses. a year for his first child.
Both. Both married and had children. There is no such parallel in the historical record of Jesus. Moses stayed dead. but a mortal man. to revisit the above points of comparison. was eventually accepted. e) f) Moses conveyed a new law whereas Jesus professed the old. Moses led his people to freedom in a mass exodus from the land of their persecution. d) Moses was a king to his people.e. while Jesus to this day is rejected by the people to whom he was sent – i. j) Once dead. h) Moses died a natural death and was buried. Furthermore. though initially rejected by their people. g) Moses was victorious over his enemies whereas the Biblical record claims that Jesus was the opposite—a victim to his enemies. and/or partner with God. Now. as found in Numbers 15:3536. Jesus refused to assign capital punishment. a son of God. holding the power to assign capital punishment. as recorded in the story of the adulterous woman (John 8:37). the Israelites. And. though initially rejected by his people. Jesus is held by Christians to be God. were eventually accepted and elevated to 166 . whereas Christians claim Jesus was resurrected. what about Muhammad? He was born in the line of Ishmael. both Moses and Muhammad had fathers. i) Moses was held by his people to have been a prophet.c) Moses. with genealogy traced through the second son Kedar. while Jesus held that “…My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36). Christians claim Jesus was crucified and his body raised up to heaven.
without suffering the death promised to false prophets. Christians. Neither suffered apotheosis. Both died natural deaths and were buried.hold the power of kings. whether with regard to their worldly lives or prophetic missions. and neither was resurrected. In fact. unlike Jesus. was very much “like Moses. including the power to assign capital punishment and direct the people to warfare. And there was no doubt in whose name Muhammad claimed to speak. He conveyed this revelation over a period of twentythree years. Moses led his people to freedom in a mass exodus from the land of their persecution; Muhammad did the same in directing his people from Makkah to Medina in the hijra (migration). whereas attempts to define parallels between Jesus and Moses.” Nothing in the revelation has ever failed to come true. Both were held by their people to be prophets. while maintaining unchanged the essential elements of monotheistic creed.” In satisfaction of the remainder of the above verses of Deuteronomy. most Gracious. Both Moses and Muhammad were victorious over their enemies. Muhammad claimed an oral revelation transmitted by the angel of revelation. contrary to the promised fate of false prophecies. and nothing has ever been proven false. Both conveyed modifications to the previous law. So who believes the prophet predicted in Old Testament Deuteronomy 18:1822 is the same as “…the prophet” foretold in New Testament John 1:21? Well. Look up John 1:21 in any Bible bearing crossreferences. for one. but mortal men. prove frustrating. for all but one of the 114 surahs of the Holy Qur’an begin with the dedication. most Merciful. such as the New 167 . “In the name of Allah. it is a challenge to find one single element of importance in the life of either Muhammad or Moses which does not have a close parallel in the life of the other. Muhammad.
For Christians. In this manner. Christian scholars believe these two passages both predict the same final messenger. assert that the biblical prediction of a final prophet remains unfulfilled. both cases defy conclusive evidence. Muslims claim that Muhammad fulfills all the Old Testament predictors of the foretold prophet. and you will find Deuteronomy 18:18 cross referenced. either confirmation or refutation of this embarrassing charge should be found in what Jesus had to say on the subject. and wonder why the commandment.International Version Study Bible. 168 . however. In their minds. Muslims compare the Christian denial of Muhammad with the Jewish denial of Jesus. and both postures reveal more devotion to doctrine than to divinity. Christians. “Him you shall hear…” is ignored by those who claim to keep the commandments of God.
“The SelfSeeker” Who was Jesus Christ? That question has plagued the world of Christianity for two millennia. There was a manifest contradiction between what historical investigation discovered about Jesus of Nazareth and what the Church said of him in its preaching. 169 . whereas others rip the seams open and pull out the stuffing with polished tongs of conflicting evidences and rational argument. which concludes: “Once the Biblical history had been divested of dogma. p. How are the gaps to be filled in? In 130 Zahrnt. Many authors have stitched together comfortable pillows of conjecture upon which popular opinion reclines. Heinz.” Robert Frost.C.4.” Regarding the deficiencies of the historical record. the Christ proclaimed by the Church seemed in unavoidable conflict with Jesus himself. with no resultant consensus of opinion. The historical Jesus is so shrouded in mystery as to have invited thousands of books on the subject.) JESUS CHRIST “Pressed into service means pressed out of shape. he comments: “This was the reason why those who studied the life of Jesus could never escape from their predicament. 43. Heinz Zahrnt builds one such convincing argument. between what Jesus himself originally proclaimed 130 and did and what the Church afterwards made of him.
It was largely 131 governed by the presuppositions entertained by the writers themselves.” Martin Kähler concluded the following: “The Jesus of the “Lives of Jesus” is nothing but a modern variation of the products of human inventive art. p. healing lepers. Zahrnt. 170 . in the best with historical fantasy…. Why. but in learning how little is known of his public life. he must have made quite an impression. 16. Der sogemnante historische Jesus und der geschichtliche. Martin. why has the little which has been passed down in the historical record been buried beneath conflicting dogmas.the worst instances this was done with clichés. Munich: New edn by Ernst Wolf. calming storms. no better than the discredited dogmatic Christ of Byzantine Christology; both are equally far 132 removed from the real Christ. curing blind. exorcising demons. “…the discontinuity between the 131 132 Zahrnt. biblische Christus. pp. as quoted by H. 4748. Touring the countryside. walking on water. lectured on the mount and organized the guidance and feeding of the masses. reportedly turning water into wine. Kähler. then. he must have attracted a lot of attention. raising dead. Heinz. and just how freely people speculate thereupon.” The shock in reviewing such literature is not in discovering how little is known of the private life of this great messenger of God. is his historical person so inadequately described? More importantly. 1953. The image of the historical Jesus which was now being developed was not in fact simply drawn from the historical sources. Scant knowledge exists of the man who taught in the synagogues. to the point that.
historical Jesus and the Christ of the Church became so great that it was almost 133 impossible to recognize any unity between the two figures”? The critical question. Pauline “Christians” focus their priorities upon embodying the “holy spirit. Heinz. religious elitism and closedmindedness.” yet Pauline theology painted him to be “son of God. cancelling the primacy of seeking the final prophet by promising salvation based on faith alone – the Christian analogue of the Jewish concept of being “the chosen people. 133 Zahrnt. Who’s going to seek the final prophet when they already consider themselves saved? Similarly. Jesus spoke of not changing the law; Paul discarded it.” The Jews consider themselves chosen. Neither viewpoint was endorsed by the prophets of scripture. p. 171 . Jesus focused on God; Pauline Christians focus on Jesus. 61. then. The Christ of scripture spoke of a final prophet to follow. and both prove destructive through inviting a false sense of spiritual security. becomes whether Jesus was the Christ of scripture or the Christ of Pauline theology. Pauline Christians consider themselves forgiven. or even more oddly.” Instead of seeking the final prophet foretold by Jesus. the Christ of scripture spoke of himself as a “son of man. on his mother. The Christ of Pauline theology spoke of no such thing.” of whom their preachers claim to possess exclusive distribution rights. Jesus spoke of the final prophet and the angel of revelation; Pauline theologians twisted his words to imply an esoteric “holy spirit.” The Christ of scripture spoke of One God; the religious reformers partitioned the One God into three metaphysical plots.
for the most part. but that is most of mankind. including humility. the average person expects certain qualities from a prophet. Christians have to realize that they can have one. rather than worldly pursuits. most of this book’s audience. honesty. but not both. Yet we are to believe that Jesus Christ died questioning the decree of his Creator? Socrates died without a word of 172 . The tales of such martyrs dying with staunch and intact faith are copious. Cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit (Matthew 21:19. questioning Divine Decree with the sacrilegious words. especially when pelted by the loose gravel of the claim that Jesus Christ lost faith in his Creator. Luke 8:2021). my God. Moving on to more worldly issues. Mark 11:2021). Mark 3:3135.The stark conflict between the Christ of scripture and the Christ of Pauline theology clearly exposed (see MisGod’ed for deeper discussion). we encounter accounts which drag one wheel on the soft shoulder of the road of lofty expectations. the biblical sketch of Jesus Christ satisfies these expectations. But not always. benevolence. as if she were not of those who “…does the will of my Father in heaven…” or who “…hear God's word and put it into practice…” (Matthew 12:4850. History boils over with examples of righteous men and women who endured equal or greater suffering. We expect a prophet to be preoccupied with worship. and rebuffing his very own mother. likening Gentiles (and don’t look now. Mark 7:27) or swine (Matthew 7:6). “My God. kindness and manners. And. gentleness. why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). The resultant dust cloud is slightly off putting. persecution and death in the path of what they believed to be obedience to Almighty God. and most Christians) to dogs (Matthew 15:26.
if the above quotes are not to be believed. Following this parable. To return to the assertion that the final prophet would arise in the line of Ishmael. All the same most Christians accept what the Bible records Jesus Christ as having said. it likely will remain buried until such time as he returns. dignity and unwavering faith. Michael Servetus and Joan of Arc were burned to death with more honor. a more human and less “divine” Jesus emerges. On the other hand.134 impatience or despair. either the words attributed to Jesus are wrong. Having said the above. what Jesus Christ had to say on the subject. p. Jesus was recorded to have said: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: 134 Gibbon. So what should we make of the above quotes? If they are to be believed. Once again. 206. Vol. If the needle of truth with regard to the historical Jesus has not been laid bare for analysis by the present age. And it is from this perspective that the seekers of the foretold final prophet analyze the scripture and wonder. Chapter XLVII. And perhaps that is the point.” (Matthew 21:41). we return to questioning what part of the Bible can be trusted. or the authors quoted the wrong man. Esq. 5. and not to throw one more straw of opinion onto the mountainous haystack of speculation. Edward. as the Jews did with Moses. the lesson of which is that God would replace those who defy Him with those who would “…render to (God) the fruits in their seasons. Jesus is quoted as having taught the parable of the vineyard. the thrust of this work is to derive conclusions based upon a chain of accepted evidences. 173 .
it will grind him to powder. However. is conditional. This was the LORD’s doing. Of note is that Jesus Christ was not quoted as having threatened that the kingdom of God (i.‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. would either be broken or ground to powder. It was going to happen.. prophethood and revelation) would be taken away.” That is a threat. when it came.” (Matthew 21:4244) The reaction of the chief priests and Pharisees? They “…perceived that he was speaking of them” (Matthew 21:45). any who opposed the revelation. But the above is not a conditional threat – it is an unconditional decree. “If you don’t do this. by definition. So here is a passage which prophesies the transfer of “…the kingdom of God…” from the Israelites to a “…nation bearing the fruits of it. A threat.” Exactly who this passage refers to is the subject of unrelenting debate. what defies debate is the fact that these verses predict transfer of prophethood outside the line of the Israelites. the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls. It was over. Yeeouch. So who are the 174 . but one which would “…become the chief cornerstone.” Not just a faithful nation. And furthermore. along the lines of.e. then suchandsuch will happen. The decision had been made. And it is marvelous in our eyes?’ Therefore I say to you.
1971. Translated by G. Furthermore. 175 . In MisGod’ed. to convey a comprehensive revelation. The Gospel of John. 14:26.” The concept of an unfulfilled prophecy leaves Christians with a blank scriptural check. and he bore the distinctive reputation of having told the truth even when joking. the “paraclete” Jesus Christ predicted to follow his ministry was analyzed. BeasleyMurray. It is clear from 14. The “rejected” are the Ishmaelites.B. a Commentary.” Muhammad’s honesty was unchallenged even by his enemies. p. Jesus and his successor. after listing the evidences. which “abide” with mankind to the present day.” and to “…abide with you forever…” (John 14:1617). Repetition is unnecessary. One renowned author. “The Paraclete therefore is a parallel figure to Jesus himself; and this conclusion is confirmed by the fact that the title is suitable for both. The answer is always the same. Ask Paul of Tarsus.” This foretold prophet is expected to be “…the Spirit of truth…. R. the Holy Qur’an reverences Jesus Christ and clarifies his 135 Bultmann. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Muslims. Rudolf. and four passages of the Gospel according to John (14:16. claim the final prophet has come. and yet be rejected by the majority of mankind (John 14:17). The details of his person and life are preserved in extensive hadith records.. the one following the other. 15:26.“stone which the builders rejected?” Who are slated to receive revelation? Ask a hundred Christians. on the other hand. 567.9. concluded. and 16:7) foretell the coming of another “paraclete. Suffice it to say that Jesus Christ was st described as a “paraclete” in the 1 epistle of John 2:1. Ask a thousand Jews. to reverence Jesus Christ (John 14:26 and 15:26). section 2.16 that the source taught that there were two sendings of 135 two Paracletes. “The Spirit of truth.
but to that purpose. those who reject Muhammad do so based upon personal dislike of the man. frequently plays a role.teachings. but rejected by the majority of mankind. or both. At the same time. which is overwhelmingly negative. Conclusions of nonMuslims based upon objective study are rare. his message. 176 . Why? What is so appealing to some and so distasteful to others about Muhammad and the revelation he conveyed? And do those who pass opinion upon Muhammad actually know the man? Commonly. we enter the next chapter. the Qur’an is a comprehensive revelation accepted by over a billion Muslims. Unfounded Western propaganda.
swim with the current; In matters of principle. and the biography by Martin Lings proves this point. 177 . are without error. and When the Moon Split. stand like a rock. the truth has a chance to settle out for inspection. The * Few works.. The two errors which are significant enough to warrant mention are the assertion that Muhammad preserved icons of Jesus and Mary.e.4.” Thomas Jefferson So who was Muhammad? Prospecting for answers demands the agesold process of passing the waters of history over the heterogeneous soil of the opinions of mankind. the common opinion amongst the members of the educated Islamic community is that despite the few errors encountered therein.e. some salient points can be introduced. Muhammad ibn Abdullah (i. wellresearched. His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. However. by Martin Lings. when he destroyed the idols of the Kaaba. Several good biographies have been written on this subject. and one equal to those of the above books would be difficult. as well as a picture of Abraham.* There is insufficient room in a work such as this for a full biography. the hadith). by SafiurRahman al Mubarakpuri. The biography is otherwise comprehensive. the most highly acclaimed in the English language being Muhammad. in any case. Neither of these assertions is supported by the textual evidences (i. and that Muhammad sought Zainab in marriage due to physical attraction. and both are condemned by the scholars of the Sunni orthodoxy.D. Once the prejudiced or politically/doctrinally motivated editorials (both positive and negative) are washed away by the current of historical fact.) MUHAMMAD “In matters of style. Consequently. was born in Makkah into the powerful tribe of Quraysh in or about 570 CE. the son of Abdullah Ibn ‘AbdulMuttalib Ibn Hashim). including those of excellence. there is probably no better biography of Muhammad in the English language. at the present time. and highly regarded amongst Muslims and Orientalists alike. beautifully written. inspirational. than that of Martin Lings.
Muhammad’s father died before he was born. at the age of 25. wealth and high social position. he was raised by a Bedouin family who taught him shepherding and caravan trading. By the age of 40 he had secured a successful life. liberating women from the oppression of tribal custom. the small band of Early Muslims grew against remarkable odds. He rose to wealth and high social position upon marriage to one of the most eligible widows of Quraysh. fairness. abolishing idol worship and the practices of the period of pagan ignorance. The monotheism of the revelation made enemies of his tribesmen.time. the revelation established a religion wherein worship was directed to the One God. Yet it was at this point that he began receiving revelation. which has since grown to provide guidance and inspiration to one fifth of the world’s population. Christians and pagans who rejected his message. sobriety and a deep. gentleness. in a terrifying upset to the peace and tranquility to which he had become accustomed. contemplative spirituality. 178 . With time Islam revolutionized life throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Forced first to flee and later to fight. unto her death. morality and social justice. More profound than any other accomplishment. Subsequently. and establishing a noble code of conduct. whose religion required many idols. An orphan. yet he remained faithful to her throughout their loving marriage. place and culture of his birth were dominated by idol worship and heathen practices. Khadijah. and of those Jews. he went on to sacrifice virtually everything of this world for the sake of conveying the message revealed through him. She was 15 years his senior. Over time he became known for high ethics and honesty. and his mother passed away when he was 6 years old. It was at the conclusion of that purpose that he passed from this worldly life in 632 CE. having been happily married with children.
136 Ross. He allow’d both of the Old and New Testament. from physical appearance to traits. and that Moses and Christ were prophets sent from God; but that the Jews and Christians had corrupted these Holy Writings. we find. in a time and place where such compliments were of scant popularity. judge and lawgiver.Alexander Ross. Muhammad’s person and life is well documented. 7. nonetheless neatly outlines Muhammad’s purpose as follows: “He did not pretend to deliver any new religion to them. though no friend of the Islamic religion. and that he was sent to purge them from those corruptions. and restore the religion of Ismael. From the late 1800’s. husband. preacher. and to restore the Law of God to that purity in 136 which it was first deliver’d…” During his lifetime. neighbor. God sent him now to destroy it. Alexander. if not frankly condemned by an oppressive Anglican Church. and then he. Perhaps the most influential man of history. which God gave first to Adam; and when lost in the corruption of the old world. teacher. instructed men in the same; but their posterity degenerating into idolatry. yet he was illiterate throughout his life and lived a life of selfimposed poverty. London. friend. who taught it his son Ismael their ancestor. Muhammad came to be respected in his roles as father. commanding general. merchant. 179 . 1718. restored it again by revelation to Abraham. teachings and endorsements. ruler and social and religious reformer. The Life of Mahomet: Together with The Alcoran at Large. when he settled first in Arabia. habits. p. statesman. but to revive the old one.
besides arms. His whole gait and presence was dignified and imposing. a pair of yellow boots. his dress and his furniture retained. strongly developed. dazzling white. flowed in a dense mass almost to his shoulders; even in advanced age it was sprinkled with only about twenty gray hairs. but broad of shoulders. which he highly prized. Great black restless eyes shone out from under long heavy eyelashes. The only luxuries he indulged in were. were well set. wide of chest. strong of bone and muscle. A full beard framed his manly face. a present from the Negus 180 . His eating and drinking. His step was quick and elastic. rather thin. His head was massive. slightly curled. His laugh was rarely more than a smile. their almost primitive nature. even when he had reached the fullness of power.’ In turning his face he would also turn his whole body. yet firm as that of one who steps ‘from a high to a low place. slightly tawny of colour.’ even as those of a woman. his complexion ‘red and white. upon which he bestowed great care. His countenance was mild and pensive. His nose was large. slightly acquiline. Fine long arched eyebrows were divided by a vein. His teeth. Dark hair.’ His face was ovalshaped.“Mohammad was of middle height. though he bestowed great care on his person. which throbbed visibly in moments of passion. In his habits he was extremely simple. produced by the agonies of his ‘Revelations.’ his hands were as ‘silk and satin. His skin was clear and soft.
‘Ten years. milked the goats. a blacksmith’s wife.’ ‘He visited the sick. and waited upon himself. ‘was I about the Prophet. being most sensitive to smells.of Abyssinia. however. One of his boys died on his breast in the smoky house of the nurse. elevation of mind. and would never allow his awkward little page to be scolded whatever he did. He was the most faithful protector of those he protected. accepted the invitation of a slave to dinner. ‘He is more modest than a virgin behind her curtain. the sweetest and most agreeable in conversation. He never first withdrew his hand out of another man’s palm.’ related summarily another tradition. Strong drink he abhorred. …. mended his own clothes. delicacy and refinement of feeling. The worst expression he ever made use of in conversation was. He was most indulgent to his inferiors.’ it was said of him. followed any bier he met. ‘I have never seen his like either before or 181 . ‘I have not been sent to curse.’ said Anas his servant. but to be a mercy to mankind. Perfumes. and turned not before the other had turned. he loved passionately. Those who saw him were suddenly filled with reverence; those who came near him loved him; they who described him would say. he replied.He was gifted with mighty powers of imagination. and he never said as much as “uff” to me. He was very fond of children; he would stop them in the streets and pat their little heads. “What has come to him? May his forehead be darkened with mud!’ When asked to curse someone. He never struck anyone in his life.’ He was very affectionate towards his family.
honouring of parents and superiors. beneficence. 182 .” Even Muhammad’s greatest enemies admitted his virtues. and no one could forget what he said. mercy. “…for how criminal forever Mohammed may have been in imposing a false religion on mankind. xxviixxix. long in silence.’ page v. agreeable behaviour. charity. buffered by admiration of Muhammad’s personal virtues. gratitude. yet acknowledged him to have been richly furnished with natural endowments. 1882. adulterers. etc. George. Stanley. courtesy to every one. flanderers. Introduction. beautiful in his person. described the following: “The Messenger of Allah was of consecutive sorrows. fortitude against his enemies. 138 and a frequent celebrator of the divine praises. showing liberality to the poor. He did not speak without 137 LanePoole. Address ‘To the Reader. In Sale’s address ‘To the Reader’ of his translation of the Holy Qur’an. covetous. tho’ he owned him to have been a wicked impostor. murderers. continuous thought. pp. he stated. London: MacMillan and Co.” Islamic history records a hadith in which Hind Ibn Abi Hala. never finding rest. the praises due to his real virtues ought not to be denied him; nor can I do otherwise than applaud the candour of the pious and learned Spanhemius. of a subtle wit. a great preacher of patience. from the period of his life to contemporary times. and above all a high reverence for the name of God; severe against the perjured. 138 Sale. but when he spoke it was with emphasis 137 and deliberation. the son (by previous marriage) of Muhammad’s wife Khadijah. George Sale filed a statement which documented abject hatred.’ He was of great taciturnity. false witnesses. who.after. The Speeches and TableTalk of the Prophet Mohammad. prodigals.
If he spoke. He was never angered by matters of this life nor that which was associated with it. He exalted all blessings no matter how small and never belittled a single one.cause. except if the prohibitions of Allah were transgressed. He never became angry for his own self nor sought retribution for himself. he struck with his right palm the inside of his left thumb. Ali Ibn Abi Talib. and spoke concisely. cousin to the prophet. He would never praise his food nor criticize it. and when he was happy he lowered his gaze. If he entered into his home he 139 Narrated by AtTabarani in AlMu’jam AlKabeer. with neither excess nor deficiency. nor denigrating. He was not pompous. He never in his life struck anything with his hand except when he was fighting in the name of Allah. noted: “He was not vulgar nor did he condone vulgarity. For if the prohibitions of Allah were transgressed he was among the strongest of them in anger. if justice was transgressed nothing could stand up to his anger until justice was established. If he was amazed. and I never saw him taking revenge for an injustice dealt him. If he became angry he turned away. he would forgive and overlook. However.” Similarly. The 139 majority of his laughter was (restricted to) smiling. If he gestured. and he was not one to shout in the market place. he did so with his whole palm. He never struck a servant nor a woman. He did not reward evil with evil. he overturned it. His speech was just. He was never given a choice between two matters but he chose the simplest of the two. rather. He spoke with his full mouth (was not arrogant). 183 .
And he relieved the people of three: He would not degrade any among them or abuse them. abusive. He would laugh with them. in which case he would either rebuke them or else leave. pg 18. to a degree that his companions would fetch them to him. He would not interject into someone’s speech unless they 140 transgressed. hadith No. fetch him to me. or miserly. and he would not speak except in matters which he hoped to be rewarded for. milking his own goat.’ He would not accept praise except from those who were balanced and not excessive. He was continually smiling. He would disregard that which he disliked.” 140 Mukhtasar AshShama’el Al Muhammadiyyah by Imam AtTirmithi. and no one ever despaired of him. soft in nature. He forbade himself three things: argument. When he spoke his attendees would lower their heads as if birds had alighted upon them. gentle in manners. Speech in his presence was that of the first among them. 184 . and that which did not concern him. Second paragraph also narrated by AtTabarani in AlMu’jam AlKabeer. They would not vie with oneanother in his presence to speak.was a man like any other. He never responded to disparagement or evil words. 6. loud. harshhearted. arrogance. He was not severe. He had patience with the strangers when they were gruff in speech and requests. cleaning his own garment. He would say: ‘If you see someone in need. and wonder with them. and serving himself. but when one would talk in his presence the rest would listen until he finished. he would not search after their honor or private matters. Once he finished they would speak.
his mother wore the head scarf). Hogarth.” The above quotes provide peeks through a small window through which Muhammad’s life and character can be viewed. He grew his beard. truthful of tongue. for that matter. Arabia. and noble in relationship. character and conduct. Noah.G. D. his daily behaviour has instituted a canon which millions observe at this day with conscious mimicry.G.” In surprising contrast. those who choose to do so can view Muhammad’s life in fine focus. No one regarded by any section of the human race as Perfect Man has been imitated so minutely. In this regard. Muhammad’s personage is brought into startling focus by the many volumes of authenticated hadith that catalogue the most intimate descriptors of appearance and manners. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Hogarth wrote: “Serious or trivial. D.8. wore flowing robes (and. Moses and Jesus. Moreover. we are surprised to find the example of Jesus better preserved in the practices of Muslims than Christians. section 2.B. 185 . In striking contrast to the fuzzy profile of the historical Abraham.One of the most beautiful and succinct comments recorded in the hadith literature reads: “He was the most generous of heart. Choose an issue. The conduct of the Founder of Christianity has not so governed the ordinary life of his followers. softest in 141 disposition. In fact. avoided pork 141 142 Narrated by AlBukhari and Muslim. 1922. Christians rarely imitate the little we know of Jesus Christ. as discussed in MisGod’ed. p. As a result. no founder of a religion has 142 been left on so solitary an eminence as the Muslim Apostle. 52. “Rabbi” Jesus adhered to the strict “life for a life” Old Testament law.
the ostentation of a petty mind; neither was his simplicity in dress affected; but the result of a real disregard to distinction from so trivial a source…. In fact. Returning to Muhammad. So far from affecting regal state. however: “He was sober and abstemious in his diet. The riches which poured in upon him from tribute and the spoils of war. as he used it without ostentation. and in relieving the poor among its votaries; insomuch that his treasury was often drained of its last coin. any unusual testimonial of respect were shown him. taught the unity of God and his own humanity in prophethood. prayed in prostration. who not infrequently label them “Jesus freaks. Rarely do Christians preserve these values. abstained not just from fornication but from the least extramarital physical contact with women. were expended in promoting the victories of the faith. on entering a room. Omar Ibn Al Hareth declares that Mahomet. those who do are frequently disparaged by their own coreligionists. as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. he was displeased if.” as if there were something wrong with emulating their prophet. at his 186 . so he took no step to perpetuate it in his family. He indulged in no magnificence of apparel. he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. His military triumphs awakened no pride. no vainglory. spoke with humility. and a rigorous observer of fasts. If he aimed at universal dominion. In the time of his greatest power.and usury. it was the dominion of the faith: as to the temporal rule which grew up in his hands.
we must overlook slanders and abstain from prejudice. which is a tool by which much of mankind is led astray. 187 . did not leave a golden dinar nor a silver dirhem. by evaluating the commonly regarded evidences of prophethood. we must begin our quest with a mental and emotional blank slate. and the poor.death. but he refused to accept them. Effectively. is not whether we like. The call to establish the reality of Muhammad’s case must necessarily preclude emotion. we would expect. Let us begin. P. his children. Putnam’s Sons. should be the final prophet. 3424. a slave nor a slave girl. “Allah. both positive and negative. Washington.” says an Arabian writer. admire or respect Muhammad. nor anything but his gray mule Duldul. pp. Mahomet and His Successors. and the ground which he bestowed upon his wives. 143 Irving. Obviously. In order to evaluate this claim. “offered him the keys of all the treasures of the 143 earth. and only the facts. his arms. The biblical prophets are all validated by one or more of the following. must be our guide.” The relevant question. New York: G. however. Vol 1. 1973. several challenges arise. The facts. So too. then. but whether he was the prophet he claimed to be.
Vol 7.. Old and New Testament predictors.9.C. showed special interest in him (i.B. Marquis of Halifax Many biblical prophets were predicted in previous scripture.D. “…there is reason to believe that many Jews. and Jesus Christ with multiple predictions scattered throughout the Old Testament. can easily be linked with Muhammad with equal or greater congruency. – PREDICTIONS IN PREVIOUS SCRIPTURE “The best way to suppose what may come. that the New Catholic Encyclopedia remarks. 188 . 144 Muhammad). then. and in sections 4.” 144 New Catholic Encyclopedia. is to remember what is past” George Savile. Christian scholars link John the Baptist with the book of Malachi.4. expecting the imminent advent of a messiah in Arabia. above.). as discussed in MisGod’ed (section 2.B.e. No wonder. p. and 4.1. 677.
e.. “A prophet 145 Ibn Hisham. on the day of Muhammad’s birth in Makkah.D. In keeping with this trend. and a respected Jewish scholar told him.” is the subject of the next. It is the reestablishment of the laws of the kingdom. has 145 arisen. Daniel having been saved from the lions. tonight the star of Ahmad (i.2. – MIRACULOUS SIGNS “A miracle is not the breaking of the laws of the fallen world. Certainly. Muhammad) in which he was born upon. Examples of miraculous signs include the flood during Noah’s time. “O my Jewish community. and Moses from Pharaoh and his army. the foretold prophet. Living Prayer There are two kinds of miracles—those which surround a person and those which are channeled through a person.” André Borisovich Bloom. he heard a Jew screaming at the top of his voice on a hill in Madina (over two hundred miles and several days journey distant). The first kind of miracle. which I’ll call “miracles performed. Zaid Ibn Amr Ibn Nufa’il related that on the day of Muhammad’s birth he was in Syria. Perhaps more impressive is that Hassan Ibn Thabit related that. which I’ll call “miraculous signs.” is the subject of this chapter and the second. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. a popular tradition amongst Muslims relates that when Muhammad was born the “eternal” flame of the fire worshiping Zoroastrians in Persia was miraculously extinguished.4.” In a separate hadith. the Virgin Birth of Jesus and the miracle of the star in the East rank high as well. 189 . Abraham from the fire. Jonah from the whale.
repelled him. The disbeliever threatened Muhammad with his own sword. Abu Bakr. intending to crush his head with a boulder while he was in prostration. 148 Ibn Hisham. Abu Lahab’s wife (the one condemned to hellfire). once sought Muhammad for the purpose of stoning him. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. and follow him. a vision of a vicious camel. Go 146 back (to your country)! Believe in him. Dala’el AnNoobowah. 149 Ibn Hisham. 149 Her eyes. or he is going to appear. “Who will save you now?” When Muhammad replied. of plots to kill him. which none of 148 his companions could see. she inquired about Muhammad’s whereabouts. owing to miraculous events. because his star has arisen. many incidents suggest that Muhammad enjoyed divine protection. However. AlBukhari and Muslim. Muhammad survived multiple attempts upon his life.” Of equivalent interest. In one case a disbeliever accosted Muhammad when undressed for his afternoon rest. apparently. On other occasions Muhammad claimed to have been informed. even though he sat directly next to Abu Bakr.” the disbeliever’s hand became 147 paralyzed and he dropped the sword. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. When she found Muhammad’s companion. 190 . were blinded to his presence. and asked. In this manner he avoided being 146 147 Abu Nu’aem. which he had taken from the tree Muhammad had hung it upon.has appeared in your country. “Allah. As previously mentioned. Abu Jahl approached Muhammad as he prayed. either by miracle or by the angel of revelation.
Muhammad. He had every right to be paranoid. For example. Musnad Ahmad. he boldly forged forward upon his purpose. Muhammad’s response? Instead of 150 151 Musnad Ahmad and AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. by Ibn Hisham. or actual revelation. on the night of his planned emigration from Makkah to Medina. he cultivated a virtually superhuman calm. he calmly approached each day and each circumstance with confidence that “God was with him. and yet. 152 Ibn Hisham. and did not manifest suspicions or paranoia. not only because every plot Muhammad claimed to have been informed of did in fact turn out to be true. Rather. And in those few instances. even though poisoning was a constant threat to rulers of his time. did Muhammad claim a plot which did not prove true. and crushed by a boulder dropped from a 152 height. displayed a confidence which speaks of his depth of trust in divine protection. He did not have a food taster. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. as previously mentioned. of a planned attempt upon his life. without taking what most people would consider to be normal precautions. Not a single time. Faced with the most hazardous of circumstances. changing his travel route to avoid being pushed off a cliff. The above history is compelling. he was never wrong. a mob of assassins surrounded Muhammad’s house. or changing seats out of suspicion that he was being set up for a boulder drop. He was not in the habit of refusing food out of suspicion of poison.” His behavior. in fact. pushed off a mountainside.150 151 poisoned. 191 . throughout his life. discharged his bodyguards upon receiving revelation that “…Allah will defend you from men (who mean mischief)” (TMQ 5:67). Only on occasion was his otherwise incautious schedule interrupted by a premonition. but because there were no false alarms.
a large spider’s web and a dove upon a newlybuilt nest. The pursuers had turned back. Yet none of the three – the tree. mystically. when evading his pursuers en route to Medina. he and his companion. When their pursuers approached the mouth of the cave intent on searching it. they found the cave’s entrance obstructed by an acacia tree. to be lacking their senses. Although they sat no more than a few steps inside the cave. Allah is with us. hid in a small cave on Mount Thawr.” As discussed in the following pages. he strode out of his residence and through the midst of his enemies whom he found. ducking corners. supplicated Allah and recited from the Holy Qur’an. Abu Bakr recognized the great warrior. 153 verily. he simply trusted in the protection of his Creator. Similarly. confident that no one could have entered the cave without disturbing such wonders. Later. Muhammad calmed Abu Bakr’s fears with the teaching. When Muhammad and Abu Bakr investigated. However. attempting to slyly creep past or to make a mad dash for freedom. “Don’t be downcast. the pursuers left without entering. web and nest – had been there when Muhammad and Abu Bakr had entered the cave to begin with.furtively keeping to shadows. Abu Bakr. and Muhammad and Abu Bakr were able to continue to their planned destination. when Suraqah Ibn Malik caught up with the two on open ground. Muhammad’s confidence remained unshaken. 153 Sahih AlBukhari 192 . Then. Muhammad stilled Abu Bakr’s fears with the soothing reminder that Allah was their protector. and out of Makkah. Suraqah’s attempts to apprehend the two were frustrated by similarly “supernatural” events.
Abu Talib. he threw a handful of dust and gravel at the distant enemy and supplicated. SafiurRahman. Muhammad. “Confusion seize their faces!” Immediately. His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.300 Quraysh. As the pagan Quraysh debated. 210226. The Muslims had two horsemen. When the pagans retrieved the proclamation they found ants had eaten everything but the words. and a scant fourteen Muslims killed. 193 . On one occasion. the Makkan pagans drafted a pact to boycott the Muslims until Muhammad renounced his claim to prophethood or was ostracized by his clan. pp. 1995. The Muslims had few weapons; six hundred of the Quraysh wore mail. “…when you threw (a handful of dust). 148.” The pagans 154 AlMubarakpuri. and Allah revealed. conveyed this revelation to the pagans. 155 Lings. ArRaheeq AlMakhtum (The Sealed Nectar). some of the pagans sought an end to the suffering of their Muslim relatives. After three years of lethal starvation. The end of the battle saw seventy of the Quraysh dead. “In the name of Allah. the Quraysh. a like number captured. Following the battle. a violent sandstorm sprung up in the faces of the enemy. Muhammad had a revelation that ants had eaten the parchment upon which the unholy pact had been written. 155 The above were only a few of the incidents in which forces of nature were recruited to serve Muhammad. despite the fact that the Muslims were underequipped and outnumbered more than fourtoone. the Muslim army of three hundred faced 1. Riyadh: Maktaba DarusSalam. Muhammad’s uncle. it was not your act. but Allah’s…” (TMQ 8:17). What did Muhammad do? Order retreat? Organize guerrilla warfare? No. P. one hundred. Martin. In a symbolic gesture. both sides 154 testified to having seen angels fighting in the ranks of the Muslims. 1995. The Islamic Texts Society. and promised to surrender Muhammad to them if the revelation proved false. save for the words glorifying Allah.At the aforementioned Battle of Badr.
he noted a birthmark which he claimed to be the seal of prophethood 157 described in scriptures of old as a mark of the final prophet. and 156 cancelled the boycott. physically examined him. Muhammad described Jerusalem in exquisite detail to those of knowledge. even though 158 he had never been there. Bahira questioned Muhammad and. 156 157 AlMubarakpuri. SafiurRahman. The most dramatic example of this class of miracle was the mystical nighttime journey described by Muslims as “AlIsra’ w’alMir’raj” (i. pp. Finding what he was looking for. providing shade. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. Abu Talib. from where they then ascended through the heavens. becoming increasingly certain that Muhammad was the foretold final prophet.e. Maisara. the journey and ascension). and returned to Makkah all in one night? And yet. his claim met with understandable consternation. How could Muhammad possibly have traveled to Jerusalema one way journey of not less than twenty daysascended through the seven heavens. Tradition relates that angel Gabriel transported Muhammad from Makkah to Jerusalem. the aforementioned Nestorian monk of Syria. using ants as His agents. noted the same phenomena when Muhammad was a child of twelve. Bahira. 158 Musnad Ahmad.. reported that Muhammad was followed by clouds in the desert. when challenged. In addition. 117119. When Muhammad reported this miracle to the people of Makkah on the morning of his return.conceded that the proclamation was cancelled by Allah. 194 . Muhammad’s caravan companion. passing through the Basra market with the “Bilad assham” caravan of his uncle. Ibn Hisham.
Furthermore. and the features of the camels of all other riders. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. and having directed him from his vantage point in the sky to the camel visible from his lofty perspective. not only did the caravan arrive in two days. Pretty wild claims. 159 Ibn Hisham. the famous second century (AH) Islamic historian. narrated that while upon this mystical journey. He described how one camel had broken its leg. Ibn Hisham. And yet. Muhammad described the approaching caravan as two days distant. a person might have been inclined to think. but one of the Bedouins confirmed 159 having been guided to his lost camel by a voice from the nighttime sky. Muhammad reported having seen a Bedouin on caravan seeking a lost camel. complete with the distinctive lead camel and all other riders outfitted as described. 195 . and included in his description the distinctive markings of the lead camel.
3. but by far the greatest miracle is the Qur’an itself. we have reason to question what miracles Muhammad is recorded as having performed. Kuwait: Dar al Arqam. When taken in total. Those miracles associated with Moses and Jesus have been previously discussed. we are left with a revelation of unmatched perfection. have all been discussed above. one of the things we think of are miracles.* Listed miracles include everything from predictions to physical feats. Miraculous events distinguish the prophets from other mortals. in English as well as in Arabic. confirmation of previously unknown history. precocious statements of scientific fact. That is the purpose and nature of miracles. Saheeh alMusnad min Dalaa’il anNubuwwah.4. And if that is not a miracle. upon just this subject. Many books have been written. This point is not an exaggeration. Those associated with Muhammad are so numerous as to warrant another book entirely. consistency with prior (unknown) revelation. 196 . Muqbil ibn Haadee. Nonetheless. it is difficult to define what is. and are well known in any case. The unmatched eloquence. whereas miracles performed by the prophets themselves convey not only divine favor. but authority. – MIRACLES PERFORMED “A miracle is an event which creates faith. unconquered challenges and much more. Saint Joan When we consider the qualities that define a prophet. 1987 for one of the best references in this category.D. * See alWaada’ee.” George Bernard Shaw. assurances. predictions.
was fed from a few handfuls of mixed foodstuffs. “A lot. and the increase was sufficient to fill not only the stomachs of the army. but those desiring greater detail can read the aforementioned biographies. Scores of hungry poor were fed from a bowl of milk which appeared sufficient for only one. to shame. were watered (both for 197 . Another army of fourteen hundred.” after which the meal seemed undiminished. transforming a stick of wood into a sword for a soldier whose weapon had broken (i. but their depleted saddlebags as well. we encounter a wealth of miracles beyond easy cataloging.The answer is. Ukashah Ibn Mihsan AlAsdi at the Battle of Badr). energizing camels virtually too weary to walk into the fastest of the bunch. and the many collections of hadith. bringing milk to the dry udders of nonproductive sheep. and for many centuries to follow.” Exhaustive disclosure is not possible within the limits of a single chapter. We also encounter a methodology of historical authentication and record keeping which puts Western archives of similar period. headed for the Battle of Tabuk. and an army of fourteen hundred (this time en route to settle the Treaty of Hudaibiya) on another. through invoking blessings from Allah. and feeding and watering the masses from miniscule quantities. AshShifa. An army numbering over a thousand were fed from a measure of flour and pot of meat so small as to be thought sufficient for only ten persons at the “Battle of the Trench. Within the covers of these books. An expedition of eighty men on one occasion. We find stories of Muhammad. by Al Qadi ‘Ayad (now available in English translation). over which Muhammad invoked blessings.e..
198 . 160 Sa’eid Hawwa. and thereafter it became Qutadah’s 160 strongest eye. so severely that his eye prolapsed onto his cheek. His companions wanted to cut off the attachments but Muhammad supplicated over the eye. On a separate occasion. and the strongest eye he can see with. and when they tried to remove the arrow. Until the Battle of Uhud. one week later.drinking and making ablution) from handfuls of water appearing less than sufficient for one. and the vision of a blind man restored. “Allah protect his eye as he protected my face.” Muhammad replaced the orphan eye in the socket. Muhammad is reported as having called for rain from a cloudless sky in a time of drought. in the Battle of Badr. whereupon the sky filled with clouds and the earth was painted with rain until. the eye came with it. 322. p. that is. he was requested to supplicate for an end to the deluge. the bleeding wound of AlHarith Ibn Aws cauterized and healed. the inflamed eye of Ali Ibn Abi Talib cured. replaced it. But Muhammad supplicated to the effect. and from that day on Qutadah could not tell which was the injured eye and which not. Qutadah Ibn AnNu’man was wounded. and make this eye the best eye he has. In response. At the Battle of Uhud an arrow struck Qutadah in the socket while he was defending Muhammad. Evil spirits (Jinn) were exorcised. the poisonous sting of Abu Bakr’s foot quieted. the broken leg of Abdullah Ibn ‘Ateeq and the warwounded leg of Salama Ibn Aqua’a healed on the spot (each on their own separate occasion).
the Persian governor of Yemen and his 161 subjects accepted Islam on this evidence alone. Even if you repented and stopped what you 163 were doing. p. 454. SafiurRahman. “You are doomed. was slain during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. that confirmed the news. All such information proved to be transmitted by other than temporal means. 199 . other than through revelation. Many times Muhammad conveyed information which. AlAswad Al‘Ansi. just received from the new ruler of Persia. On one occasion Muhammad advised messengers from Persia. true 164 to the promise. Since there was no way Muhammad could have known of the assassination. Yet Muhammad informed AlAswad’s delegates that 161 162 Fath AlBari Zad AlMa’ad 163 Sahih AlBukhari 164 AlMubarakpuri. Another false claimant to prophethood. “Yamama is bound to give rise to a liar who 162 will arrogate prophethood to himself but he will subsequently be killed. Allah appointed that you would be slain.Muhammad prayed for the rain to be “around us. that their emperor had been murdered during their absence.” whereupon the city became surrounded by rain but spared the damaging effects of the prolonged downpour. was killed in Yemen one day before Muhammad died. but not upon us. as claimed. bears all the earmarks of having been transmitted via revelation. Similarly. When the messengers returned to Yemen they were met with a letter.” Musailimah persisted and. upon arrival in Madina. Though Muhammad advised him. Muhammad predicted. though not revealed in the Holy Qur’an.” The prediction came true when Musailimah falsely claimed prophethood in Yamama.
Merely touching Rukanah on the shoulder. Vol.. p. Following Muhammad’s 165 demise. Muhammad directed their vision to the nighttime sky and showed them the moon split in two.” The lines of the two emperors did indeed come to an end and the wealth of their treasuries was spent in the Muslim cause. there will be no Caesar after him. you will spend their treasures in Allah’s cause. By Him in Whose Hands my 167 life is. 165 166 AlMubarakpuri. In one of the boldest predictions ever. who later committed the unforgivable sin of 166 suicide. Chapter XLVI. to the minds of many. 5. 167 Sahih AlBukhari. As history relates. ‘Amir’s martyrdom at the battle of Khaibar was foretold. as was the condemnation of one of the Muslim soldiers.” As Heraclius so accurately predicted (see quote. The moon split in two? Pretty farfetched. Edward. defeated. 197. following section). “When Khusraw (i. Muhammad related. When called to wrestle Rukanah. narrated by Jabir ibn Samurah 168 Gibbon. A third challenge brought the same result. If God could divide a sea for Moses. Muhammad won miraculously. the Muslims did indeed capture the land under his feet. Sahih Muslim and Sahih AlBukhari. the champion fell down. When asked by the Quraysh to provide a miracle. Heraclius lost to the Arabs the same 168 provinces which he had rescued from the Persians. SafiurRahman. “…in the last eight years of his reign. Chosroes—the emperor of Persia) is ruined.news of his death had reached him through divine revelation. 454. the veracity of his statement was confirmed from sources in Yemen. In rematch. there will be no Khusraw after him; and when Caesar is ruined. the miracle was repeated. Others acknowledge that all creation is subject to the Creator. Esq. an unbeaten champion. so too could he split the moon for Muhammad.e. as well as that of the Chosroes. 200 . p.
When asked to call for rain, he did, and rain fell. When requested to feed the people his supplications brought sustenance, from where, the people did not know. When interceding as a healer, wounds and injuries disappeared. In short, Muhammad’s supplications brought relief and blessings to the believers. And yet, whether being humiliated amidst his tribe and loved ones, stoned in Ta’if, starved in Makkah or beaten beside the Kaba, Muhammad faced his personal trials, of which there was an abundance, with patience, persistence and forbearance. We learn something interesting about Muhammad in this regard. Whereas he readily supplicated Allah to relieve the believers’ suffering, rarely did he seek divine intervention for himself. Considering the tumultuous time in which he lived, it is this quality of selfless patience and constancy that intrigues us to learn more of this great man’s character.
4.D.4. – CHARACTER
“Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are.” John W. Gardner
Close your eyes and think of Abraham, Ishmael or Isaac, and what do you see? Not much, I bet. Now close your eyes and think of Noah, Moses, Jesus, and what do you see? Movie clips, caricatures, perhaps an image you saw in a stained glass window, a mural or painting, or even a child’s illustrated book. You see more, but is any of it accurate? Intuitively, we know that all prophets exhibited exemplary character. However, we have a hard time reconciling this instinct with the biblical stories of Noah having striped naked and passed out drunk, of Lot having committed incest (albeit unknowingly) while intoxicated, and of David having contracted a murder. Our consternation increases when we read of Judah having committed fornication, and of Jesus having cursed a fig tree, degraded the Gentiles and rebuked his mother. These stories don’t jibe with expectations. Furthermore, our desire for details remains frustrated. The poverty of information regarding the biblical prophets, speckled with unseemly inconsistencies such as those mentioned above, mix together to form a collage of blurred, Picassolike portraits. The curve of one concept skirts the shadow of another, less seemly, design. Details necessary
to bring this conflict into focus are largely lacking. What was Abraham like? Well, you know, he was a prophet. Yes, but I want details. Oh, sorry, can’t help you there. Whereas the situation with the biblical prophets seems irresolvable, the good news is that similar difficulties do not exist in the case of the prophet Muhammad. The image we gain from books of history and hadith is remarkably clear, consistent and compelling. For one thing, Muhammad appears to have been nothing if not an example of piety. Scanning opinions of the past, we find comments such as, “…the essential sincerity of his (Muhammad’s) nature cannot be questioned; and an historical criticism that blinks no fact, yields nothing to credulity, weighs every testimony, has no partisan interest, and seeks only the truth, must acknowledge his claim to belong to that order of prophets who, whatever the nature of their physical experience may have been, in diverse times and in diverse manners, have admonished, taught, uttered austere and sublime thoughts, laid down principles of conduct nobler than those they found, and devoted themselves fearlessly to their high calling,
169 being irresistibly impelled to their ministry by a power within.”
And: “His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement—all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more
169 nd The New International Encyclopaedia. 1917. 2 Ed. Vol XVI. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 72.
problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad. Western writers have mostly been prone to believe the worst of Muhammad, and, wherever an objectionable interpretation of an act seemed plausible, have tended to accept it as fact. Thus, not merely must we credit Muhammad with essential honesty and integrity of purpose, if we are to understand him at all; if we are to correct the errors we have inherited from the past, we must in every particular case hold firmly to the belief in his sincerity until the
170 opposite is conclusively proved…”
Muhammad lived a life, acknowledged by both Muslims and nonMuslims alike, devoted to the delivery of the message he claimed to be that of revelation. Worldly comforts were of little or no concern to him. His life is recorded as having been so abstentious that, for normal people, it would have overloaded tolerances and tripped the circuitbreaker of the unbearable. History relates Muhammad as having housed in single room, dirtbrick apartments comparable in size to that of a small bedroom of modern dimensions. He dressed in common clothing, slept on a rough leather mat stuffed with datepalm fiber, ate whatever was available during times of hardship, and partook of unrefined foods, in restraint, during times of plenty. On occasion, Muhammad survived for months on naught but dates and water, with an occasional treat of camel’s milk. He abstained from luxuries from the first day of revelation until the day he died, to the point of refusing bread made from finely milled
Watt, W. Montgomery. p. 52. 204
flour. He routinely prayed two thirds of the night, fasted in all seasons, and distributed all gains of his office to the various categories of need defined by the revelation he transmitted. He was described as having been more shy than a virgin in her boudoir, yet the most stalwart of fighters in battle. Ali, himself famous for combat bravery, related, “Whenever the fight grew fierce and the eyes of fighters went red, we used to resort to
171 the Prophet for succor. He was always the closest to the enemy.”
Muhammad’s generosity was legendary, his manners exemplary, his comportment inspiring. He died, as he lived, a pauper, having given his weapons to the Muslims and the last seven dinars in his possession to charity. He left behind, at the height of his success, a riding mule, his armor (which was mortgaged to a wealthy Jew), and a piece of land designated for charity. To the nine wives who outlived him, he left behind Allah’s promise to provide for His servantsa promise history reveals to have been handsomely fulfilled. To his one surviving daughter, Fatimah, he left the glad tidings that she would be the first of his family to join him in the afterlifenews in which she rejoiced. Six months later, and despite Fatimah’s youth compared with that of Muhammad’s surviving wives, his word was proven true, even after death. Anything but a selfcentered sample of pampered royalty, Muhammad used to milk his own goat, mend his own clothes, cobble his own shoes, serve his family in their home, and attend to the poor and ailing. When manual labor was called for, he would haul two stones when all others carried one. In raising the Quba mosque in Medina, he was the first to lay bricks and stones. At the “Battle of the Trench,” he dug beside his followers, in one instance clearing a boulder over which his companions, working
together, had been unable to prevail. Asking no one to do what he would not do himself, at the Battle of Uhud, Muhammad refused his companions’ offers to combat a challenger (Ubai Ibn Khalaf) in his stead and, facing the horseman on foot, dealt him a mortal wound. Aristotle defined the doctrine of the golden mean as the existence of virtue at the middle point between the opposite extremes of selfindulgence and selfrenunciation. Similarly, the Islamic religion stresses the virtue of taking the “middle path” with regard to permissible things. There is a time for work and a time for play, but then again there is a time for prayer and contemplationacts which demand physical and psychological commitment, but which bring the reward of inner peace. Islam teaches, in most circumstances, to partake of food in moderation. However, when breaking fast, Muslims may graze a buffet. Money is neither to be hoarded, in the manner of a miser, nor wasted, in the manner of a spendthrift. And although the virtues of charity are stressed, the only obligation upon the Muslim is to pay the zakat, or poordue. Worldly pleasures are to be enjoyed, but not to the point of transgression. On the opposite side of the scale, self denial is not condemned unless practiced to an extreme. The ideal Muslim, in other words, is neither Epicurean nor ascetic. However there is nothing wrong, and actually a great deal to be admired, in being zahid. The Arabic word “zahid” has no English equivalent, but is probably best translated “stoic,” for the philosophy of stoicism asserts that happiness depends upon inner peace rather than outward circumstance. Zahids consider material comforts to be nice but not necessary, for zahids have their pleasure, and it is within. Once such an over riding peace is discovered, material comforts tarnish into insignificance.
he was not an ascetic at all. And yet. his sober affect.Unlike the maladjusted. a ruler who toiled beside his followers. dissatisfied wealthy. But if not. To make a long story short. he was indifferent to wealth. and not the material elements of His creation. that’s okay too. Muhammad was a man who reformed a nation. Furthermore. an emperor who eschewed finery and distinction. for patience and piety are the true keys to peace and satisfaction. for he did not practice selfdenial. and freely gave whatever he had to others. and conveyed a revelation destined to be the choice of over one fifth of mankind in the present day. to be their focus. he preferred to divest himself of anything that distracted him from the practice of his religion. well. admirable humility and sedate character cast a cloak of commonality over this completely uncommon man sufficient to awaken the love of his followers. well. and the last of his money on another. Hence. beatings and abuse or surrounded by the wealth of an expanding empire. established a state. A religious leader who shunned glorification. Although his living conditions were outwardly those of an ascetic. we encounter stories of Muhammad having given away a colorful garment on one occasion. a general who fought at the front of his army. Rather. zahids take the Creator. Muhammad was zahid.’ said the ambassador sent by the triumphant Kuraish to the despised exile at Medina; ‘I have seen the Persian Chosroes and the 207 . that’s great. If money. simply to rid himself of things that distracted him during prayer. “‘I have seen. comforts and sensual pleasures enter their lives. Whether suffering deprivation. he remained constant in his convictions and unattached to material goods.
Muhammad’s honesty was unquestioned. R. As was the pagan Arabs’ habit in such circumstances. Nonetheless he allowed his caution to be trampled by his lust for the hundred fuzzy. Suraqah’s horse stumbled and threw him.Greek Heraclius sitting upon their thrones. 208 . without a fixed revenue. Bosworth. to the point where even nonbelievers trusted his word. illtempered humps of reward. during their emigration from Makkah to Medina. He mounted. alone and unarmed. Mounted. pp. The previously mentioned Suraqah Ibn Malik was a famous warrior who intercepted Muhammad and his companion. if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by a right Divine. The combination of the unpropitious divination and the repeated insults to his body and pride served to awaken him to the peculiarity of the chain of events. without a body guard. and found the divination unfavorable. However. With 172 Smith. and so returned to the chase. 288289. His horse stumbled again. and Caesar without the legions of Caesar. he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions. offered by the pagan Quraysh for Muhammad’s return. he ran into a slight difficulty. and he fell.’ Head of the State as well as of the Church. Abu Bakr. but never did I see a man ruling his equals as does Muhammad. without a palace.” As previously mentioned. Without a standing army. it was Mohammad; for he had 172 all the power without its instruments and without its supports. Stumbled and fell. he drew lots in order to divine whether or not to continue. This was sufficiently unusual for this noted horseman that he stopped to reconsider. Suraqah was the only Quraysh’ite warrior to have intercepted the two. Enticed by the reward of one hundred camels. Upon drawing near.
. but that’s not the only point to be made. “Get the desert dung beetle out of here! You expect me to believe …” “Here. outlived Muhammad by more than a decade. Wow. the emperor of Persia).considerably more prudence. would wear the crown and bracelets of the monarch.” “What? Oh. would grow to overthrow the major world power of Persia. Yes. As a nonMuslim. Suraqah gave up the chase and returned to Makkah confident that one day the promise would be fulfilled. Even though then a nonMuslim. Suraqah.e. who had failed to establish Muhammad’s authority in the small desert town of Makkah. and running for their lives from the pagan Quraysh. And furthermore that he. hey. this crown pinches a tad. but the bracelets fit just …” 209 . The main point is that the circumstances tease the imagination. he approached close enough for Muhammad to call out and promise that if Suraqah would abandon his pursuit. try these on for size. Suraqah accepted Muhammad’s promise at a time when Muhammad was the spiritual leader of a tiny group. participated in the defeat of the Persian empire and lived to wear the crown and bracelets of the Chosroes. survived multiple military campaigns against sizeable (if not unbelievable) odds. And yet Suraqah accepted Muhammad’s assurance that one day this meager group of outcasts. Now. one day Suraqah would wear the bracelets and crown of the Chosroes (i. Suraqah eventually accepted Islam. Amazing prophecy. upon hearing such a promise from a man known to him as ‘AsSaadiq AlAmeen’ (the truthful; the trustworthy). numbering in the hundreds.
How do we make sense of this? Let’s ask Abu Jahl. prior to making his announcement. he once swore he would crush Muhammad’s head with a rock. In one case he went so far as to have killed a defenseless Muslim woman. Eventually he was killed while leading the Quraysh’ite army against the Muslims in the Battle of Badr. Sumaya bint Khibat. However. but then failed in the attempt. if not in the divine role of the messenger. then in Muhammad’s honesty. he tested their trust by asking if they would believe him. When Muhammad followed this vote of confidence by proclaiming his 173 prophethood. 173 Narrated by Muslim and AlBukhari 210 . Abu Jahl was one of the greatest enemies to Muhammad and the message of Islam. but nonetheless trusted him to the letter of his speech. Not to go home emptyhanded. And they had known him for forty years. by the horrific brutality of thrusting a spear into her genitals. Dramatic examples speak for themselves. As previously described. the people refused his message but not his honesty. And there’s the startling incongruity: Many of Muhammad’s contemporaries refused the message of Islam. Muhammad first declared his appointment to prophethood by assembling the people of Makkah and announcing the fact.To have accepted such a promise demanded conviction. One of the populace responded that they had never caught him lying. beginning with the unanimous consensus of the entire population of Muhammad’s native city of Makkah. and not a single person objected. should he state that an army was approaching from the other side of the mountain. he spent the remainder of his life persecuting Muhammad’s followers.
(O Muhammad). So how deep did this confusing conviction go? Deeper than Ubai Ibn Khalaf’s wound. Interestingly enough. but it is the verses of Allah that the wrongdoers reject. Perhaps he died of panic.” (TMQ 6:33 – Saheeh International). with the words. the verse was revealed. More importantly. “We know that you. but not his honesty. Muhammad killed him. none of them ever did. although this would have been one of the easiest verses for one of the disbelievers to have contested. he would have killed me. “We do not accuse you of being a liar. they do not call you untruthful. Nonetheless. that’s for sure. Muhammad stated that no. it would be he who killed Ubai instead. Abu Jahl was recorded as having repudiated Muhammad’s correctness. Either way. and he died of an internal injury.” Perhaps Ubai’s wound was deeper than reported.’ By Allah. The two fought at the Battle of Uhud. “He (Muhammad) had already told me when we were in Makkah: ‘I will kill you. Here’s the story: Ubai once threatened to kill Muhammad.He was no quietspoken critic. Ubai’s fellow warriors ascribed the severity of his affliction not to his 174 Narrated by AtTirmithi 211 . And indeed. Nonetheless. Ubai’s confidence in the word of a man from whom he had never witnessed a lie or an unfulfilled promise was such that he told his companions. 174 but verily we reject what you have come with. and Muhammad inflicted a wound upon Ubai that appeared to be no more than a small scratch on the neck.” Following this exchange. are saddened by what they say. as promised. had he spat on me.
we should note that Abu Sufyan was anything but a friend to Muhammad. This story relates Heraclius’ interrogation of Abu Sufyan. Now. These were men who stooped to the lowest tactics and the most vile deeds to undermine the growth of Islam. He has really killed me in Syria while he is in Makkah. “By 175 Allah you are scared to death. Prior to the Muslim conquest of Makkah.” When the lion rushed the group. although they would not refrain from lying about Muhammad when they could get away with it. whereupon Muhammad supplicated. “O Allah! Set one of Your dogs on him. but to his depth of trust in Muhammad’s promise. the beast crushed ‘Utaibah’s head. ‘Utaibah and his companions spotted a 176 lion nearby. even though 177 forewarned. for they counseled Ubai. ‘Utaibah said. Perhaps the most impressive story is encountered in Sahih AlBukhari. not really.” Some time later.” And die he did. when traveling in Syria. the most respected and rigorously authenticated collection of hadith. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. but both lions and tigers used to exist in the Arabian peninsula. Abu Sufyan was a member of the elite alliance of powerful Quraysh’ites devoted to defaming Muhammad and destroying the Islamic message.wound. Remembering Muhammad’s words. they were reticent 175 176 Ibn Hisham. On another occasion. “Woe to my brother! This lion will surely devour me just as Muhammad supplicated. 177 TafheemulQur’an 212 . Lions are no longer found. An isolated event? No. a disbeliever named ‘Utaibah Ibn Abi Lahab made the poor career choice of abusing the prophet. Yet.
The tradition relates: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam. For the Makkan Arabs knew Muhammad’s character and would have rejected slanders upon his person. We were 213 .e. he said after reading it. knew him through intimate and lifelong relations. who as a sign of gratitude to Allah. So when the letter of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) reached Caesar. managed affairs with him and. “Seek for me any one of his people.” At that time Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb was in Sha’m with some men from Quraysh who had come (to Sham) as merchants during the truce that had been concluded between Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and the pagans of Quraysh. all the while knowing little or nothing about him. Jerusalem) when Allah had granted him victory over the Persian forces. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) sent Dihyah alKalbi with his letter and ordered him to hand it over to the Governor of Busrah who would forward it to Caesar. talked with him. Unlike those who slander Muhammad in the present day. if at present here. refused to call him a liar. in order to ask him about Muhammad. had walked from Hims to Ilya (i. “Caesar’s messenger found us somewhere in Sha’m so he took me and my companions to Ilya (Jerusalem).to propagate lies which would have been condemned by their people. those who lived with him. in short. Abu Sufyan narrated. walked with him.
’ I replied. ‘No. ‘Had you ever known him to tell lies before he claimed that which he claimed?’ I replied. ‘It is the poor who follow him. ‘He is my cousin. ‘No. But I considered it shameful to be labeled a liar by my companions.’ He said. I should not have spoken the truth about Muhammad when Caesar asked me. “‘By Allah! Had it not been shameful that my companions label me a liar. ‘Has anybody else among you ever claimed the same before him?’ I replied. Caesar said.’ He then ordered my companions to stand behind me near my shoulder and said to his interpreter. ‘Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?’ I replied. ‘No. 214 . He said to his interpreter.’ And * there was none of Banu Abdul Manaf in the caravan except myself. ‘Do the noble or the poor follow him?’ I replied.’ He said. ‘They are * Banu AbdulManaf (meaning the children of AbdulManaf) was the tribe of Muhammad.’ He said. ‘He belongs to a noble family among us. ‘I am the nearest relative to him. ‘What degree of relationship do you have with him?’ I replied.’ He asked. ‘Let him come nearer. ‘Ask them who among them is a close relation to the man who claims to be a prophet. ‘Ask him what kind of family does Muhammad belong to.’ Caesar then said to his interpreter.admitted into Caesar’s court. ‘Tell his companions that I am going to ask this man about the man who claims to be a prophet.’” Abu Sufyan said.’ He said. ‘Are they increasing or decreasing?’ I replied. “I replied.’” Abu Sufyan added. If he tells a lie.’ He said. to find him sitting in his royal court wearing a crown and surrounded by the senior dignitaries of the Byzantines. So I told the truth. they should give me a sign.
be chaste. Caesar said to his interpreter. Then I asked you whether any of his ancestors was a king.’ Caesar then asked. I should have thought that this man was following a claim that had been made before him. all messengers of God came from the noblest lineage of their nations.’ He said. ‘The result varied; sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we were.’” Abu Sufyan added. ‘Does anybody among those who embrace his religion become displeased and then renounce his religion?’ I replied. not to worship others with Him. but we have now a truce with him and we are afraid that he may betray us. He orders us to pray. ‘Yes. ‘No.’ He said. ‘Say to him: I asked you about his lineage and your reply was that he belonged to a noble family. If the answer had been in the affirmative. ‘He tells us to worship Allah alone.’ When I had said that. ‘Have you ever waged war with him?’ I replied. ‘Does he break his promises?’ I replied. keep our promises and return that which is entrusted to us. Then I questioned you whether anybody else among you had claimed such a thing. I could not work in a single word against him. ‘No. ‘What was the outcome of your battles against him?’ I replied. 215 . so I took it for granted that a person who did not tell a lie about people could never tell a lie about God. your reply was in the negative. “‘Other than the last sentence.’ He said. and to discard all that our forefathers used to worship. ‘What does he order you to do?’ I said.increasing. and your reply was in the negative. In fact. When I asked you whether he was ever known to tell lies. give in charity.’ He said.
Then I asked you what he commanded of you. to keep promises. I asked you whether he had ever broken his promise. to be chaste. nobody will be displeased with it.Your reply was in the negative. to leave all that your forefathers used to worship. In fact. and that sometimes he was victorious and sometimes you. after embracing his religion. And such are the messengers of God; they never break their promises. for when its blessedness enters and mixes in the hearts completely. this is the sign of true faith. You replied in the negative. When I asked you whether you fought with him and he fought with you. this is the result of true faith until it is complete (in all respects). and if it had been in the affirmative. to speak the truth. You replied that they were increasing. such are the messengers of God; they are put to trials and the final victory is always theirs. to offer prayers. When I asked you whether the rich or the poor people followed him. you replied that it was the poor who followed him. I asked you whether there was anybody who. such are the followers of the messengers of God. Indeed. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. In fact. became displeased and renounced his religion; your reply was in the negative. and to return what is 216 . I should have thought that this man sought the return of his ancestral kingdom. you replied that he did. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah alone and not to worship others along with Him. In fact.
I would go immediately to meet him; and were I with him. the first being. that Muhammad’s enemies testified to his honesty.’ Caesar then collected his nobles and military leaders and asked them what would their response be if he were to accept Muhammad’s request. he will very soon capture the land under my feet. Not only did Abu Sufyan affirm Muhammad’s honesty. to Islam. So he renounced his previous resolve 178 and refused Muhammad’s message. And we have to wonder why. but none of his companions contradicted his claim. These are the qualities of a prophet who I knew (from the previous Scriptures) would appear. With regard to the present topic two points stand clear. Now. how likely is that? Muhammad was inviting Heraclius. then I would have certainly washed his feet. 178 Sahih AlBukhari 217 .” The above is a long tradition. but I did not know that he would be from amongst you. The whole court was thrown into a great uproar. Had Heraclius converted. If what you say is true. once again. the officers became extremely restless raising their voices in objection and their eyes grew wild. When he saw this he quickly interjected and claimed that he had only asked that question in order to test their resolve and their firm stance. he could have rolled the Roman empire over the Quraysh like a Mack truck over an ant.entrusted to you. with a great many morals. Abu Sufyan and his companions must have been desperate to disparage Muhammad and his message of Islam. But they didn’t. if not due to sincerity. the ruler of one of the greatest world powers. and if I knew that I would reach him definitely.
” Here is a man who not only recognized Muhammad’s claim to prophethood. but they would not turn to me for the grief that caught them. however. I swear by Allah!” “Did you really recognize him?” they asked. Safiyah described that her father and uncle: “…did not return until sunset when they came back walking lazily and fully dejected. he crumbled. that makes sense.. 179 Ibn Hisham. when he saw the seeds of sedition in his court. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. “…such are the messengers of God; they never break their promises. 218 .” On the other hand.e. He’s the foretold prophet. Yet. but who explained his reasoning. when forced to choose between his religious convictions and worldly concerns. he “…renounced his previous resolve. one remarkable case being that of Safiyah’s father. He answered. the foretold prophet)?” The former said. Well. This incongruity is witnessed on multiple occasions.The second point is the recurring paradox of recognizing Muhammad’s honesty but refusing his message. “It is he. Abu Yasir. and her uncle. and my heart is burning with 179 enmity towards him. Huyayi. The point is. it’s not the first time that truth fell sacrifice to convenience.. that even those who hated him most acknowledged Muhammad’s honesty. “…I took it for granted that a person who did not tell a lie about people could never tell a lie about God” and. hurried to meet them smiling.” Yeah. “Is it really he (i. I. I heard my uncle Abu Yasir say to Ubai and Huyayi. On one hand Heraclius said. as usually. let’s despise him. Huyayi and Abu Yasir were two Jewish leaders who visited Muhammad when he came to Quba. “Yes.
219 . watched eagerly for indications of fraud; and Mohammed was able successfully to assume a remarkable selfassured attitude toward 180 any accusations of that sort. for the disbelievers witnessed Muhammad’s lifelong honesty. Muhammad was consoled with the revelation: “We know indeed the grief which their words do cause you: it is not you they reject: it is the Signs of Allah which the wicked disdain” (TMQ 6:33). Once again. yet denied his message of revelation: “A whole lifetime before this I have tarried amongst you: will you not then understand?” (TMQ 10:16) Furthermore. To quote the New Catholic Encyclopedia once again. as quoted above. 677. Vol 7. p. “His adversaries.” 180 New Catholic Encyclopedia.The Qur’an itself mentions this paradox. among whom were many Jews and Christians. we must note that no one who knew Muhammad denied this verse.
” Samuel Fessenden.D. present and future (TMQ 48:2). revelation stated that Allah had forgiven Muhammad for his sins. Attempts on his own life were numerous. humiliated. And it is this extraordinary persistence that casts a cloak of credibility over true prophets’ claims of divine appointment. Muhammad stood in prayer at night until his body rebelled. the prophets suffered more than an imposter could reasonably be expected to have endured. torture and even murder the believers. History suggests Muhammad to have been of this noble company. Over a span of twentythree years he delivered a revelation that infuriated his antagonists to ostracize. Muhammad’s response? To sit back and take it easy? 220 . On one occasion. 1896 Whether ridiculed for constructing an ark in a waterless desert. past. His beloved wife. pursued by a vindictive Pharaoh or flogged and condemned to crucifixion. died in exile imposed by the pagan Quraysh. Yet through all periods of stress and hardship. Khadijah.5. beaten. stoned.4. – PERSISTENCE AND STEADFASTNESS “God Almighty hates a quitter. Republican National Convention. Muhammad was himself threatened. and driven out of his home and city. assault.
like the prophets who preceded him. claiming divine dispensation in order to escape the rigors of worship. Rather. Despite the guarantee of paradise. Muhammad took every precaution to prevent such a deviation from developing in the minds of the Muslims. but that of his misguided followers.’” 181 182 Narrated by Al Bukhari Narrated by Muslim 221 . For one thing. In similar manner. charlatans pamper themselves.Anything but. until his feet swelled and cracked. no true prophet misused his position for selfserving ends. When asked. nonetheless Muhammad used to stand twothirds of the night in prayer. Being aware of this danger. As discussed in MisGod’ed. And then he honored that message more than any of his followers. to the day he died. he suffered to convey the message of revelation. Anas related. no true prophet ever claimed to be more than a man. “Should I not be a thankful servant?” Now. if we saw him we would not stand up for him for we knew how much he disliked [for us to do so]. [however]. peace be upon him. the apotheosis of Jesus was not his idea. Muhammad did neither. “Hasn’t God forgiven you that which is before you and that which is behind you?” 181 Muhammad replied. Muhammad discouraged preferential treatment. “No one was more beloved to us than the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). And on one occasion someone called to him saying: ‘O best of mankind…’ He replied: 182 ‘That is Abraham. and responded to gestures of respect with admirable humility.
the Muslims began to say. pray and 186 give charity.” 183 184 Narrated by AlBukhari and Muslim Narrated by AlBukhari and Muslim 185 Sahih AlBukhari and Muata’h Imam Malik 186 Narrated by AlBukhari and Muslim 222 . the sun and the moon are two signs of the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse for the death of anyone nor for his birth. died. On the contrary. “The sun has eclipsed for the death of Ibraheem. so say: ‘Allah’s servant and messenger. “Do not overpraise me as the Christians overpraised [Jesus] the son of Mary. In one dramatic example the sun eclipsed on the day Muhammad’s son. What would a charlatan have said? Liars and confidence artists seize such opportunities and distort them for personal gain. reverence His name. once having taught.’” Consistent to the very end. Out of love of their prophet.” Muhammad’s response? Stop. 184 For I am only His [God’s] servant. even when suffering his terminal illness. and Muhammad rebuked him by asking. Many other events illustrate Muhammad’s humility. Muhammad advised his followers. “Have you 183 made me equal to God?” Muhammad stressed the distinction between God and His prophets. so if you see that (an eclipse) then supplicate to God. “Verily. “God and You (O Muhammad) have willed this” in reference to a certain matter. Ibraheem. Think about it. Muhammad 185 warned his companions not to make his grave a focus of worship.On another occasion a man stated.
put yourself in the picture.’” (TMQ 6:50) and “Muhammad is no more than a messenger…” (TMQ 3:144). so dig deep and donate?” If ever Muhammad had an opportunity for self glorification. we encounter many circumstances which he could have manipulated for selfserving ends. attempted to kill you on multiple occasions and eventually drove you from your home. the Muslim army reoccupied Makkah in a peaceful and virtually bloodless takeover. loses are to be expected in war—but then mutilated his corpse and chewed his liver. amongst them your beloved wife. In addition. When you made a treaty with them they broke it by murdering your followers. tortured and killed your followers. having conveyed. that was it. Again. starved you. nor do I know what is hidden. the sun eclipsed for the death of my son. nor do I tell you I am an angel. 223 . stoned you till you bled. but to glorify God. but wait. “Say: ‘I tell you not with me are the Treasures of Allah. after a decade of exile. For the past ten. they made open war upon you. Muhammad repeatedly demoted his significance in the eyes of his followers. Not to mention the insults. are worse than any wound. Where’s the “That’s right. the populace requested clemency. For the past twenty years. I but follow what is revealed to me.Okay. When. tribe and town. slanders and humiliation which. had he been so inclined. They starved many of the Muslims literally to death. to a Bedouin. What did they do to you personally? They beat you. the Makkan pagans beat. They killed your uncle in battle—well. Yet he seized the opportunity not for his own design. dumped camel guts upon you while you prayed.
but expected. and dared to ‘dis’ me? Well. and no matter how hard you try. you can’t put yourself in the picture. stole our homes. Revenge would not just be understood. However. Or too unrealistic. That this mass conversion was sincere is witnessed by the fact that the Makkans did not revert from their new faith when Muhammad died a short time later. Maybe you’re too nice. what are you going to do? Okay. raze to the ground and stack the heads in the town square” conquests. Measuring his munificence against that of other conquerors of their time. So now that you’ve got the upper hand. Despite the list of atrocities calling for justifiable retribution. the shoe is on the other foot now” attitude would in no way violate reasonable expectations. even when there were no vindictive emotions involved. and gave an amnesty to the whole population of Mekka. Four 224 . he took no revenge and exhibited a calm and generosity which bespoke the sincerity of his prophetic mission. He freely forgave the Koreysh all the years of sorrow and cruel scorn in which they had afflicted him. uncle and followers. maybe not you. the entire populace of Makkah embraced Islam.And they’ve been doing this for twenty years. without the slightest compulsion. Maybe you’re sitting in a cushioned chair with a chilled Frappuchino in your hand. That was the standard of the times. It was a time of “rape and plunder. property and possessions. soft music in the background. A “You killed my wife. But here’s who can—the people of that period. Muhammad conformed to the mold of men guided by a higher calling than passions. Two classic comments summarize this event as follows: “The day of Mohammad’s greatest triumph over his enemies was also the day of his grandest victory over himself.
The army followed his example. and entered quietly and peacefully; no house was robbed. and showed every sign of humility and thanksgiving to Allah for His goodness…. no women insulted. “It is greatly to his (Muhammad’s) praise that on this occasion. 225 . saying. “Truth is come. Stanley. It was thus that Mohammad entered again his native city. and pointed to it with his staff.criminals whom justice condemned made up Mohammad’s proscription list when he entered as conqueror to the city of his bitterest enemies. Mohammad stood before each of the three hundred and sixty idols. and sent a crier through 187 LanePoole. One thing alone suffered destruction. and all the idols and household gods of Mekka and round about were destroyed. xlvixlvii. Going to the Kaaba. and falsehood is fled away!” and at these words his attendants hewed them down. Introduction. pp. The taking of Mekka was soon followed by the adhesion of all 187 Arabia. The prophet’s first labor was the destruction of the idolimages in the Kaaba.” and. when his resentment for illusage in the past might naturally have incited him to revenge. he restrained his army from all shedding of blood. and after that had been done he ordered his original muezzin to sound the call to prayer from the top of the Kaaba. Through all the annals of conquest there is no triumphant entry comparable to this one.
burned an African capital. who. men. in comparison with the acts of other conquerors; in comparison for example. Ten or twelve men who had on former occasion shown a barbarous spirit.the streets to command all persons to break in pieces every image that they might possess. with the cruelty of the Crusaders. 1845. and declined all regal authority; and when the haughty chiefs of the Koreishites appeared before him he asked: “What can you expect at my hands?” ‘Mercy. also fighting under the cross. Mohammed’s victory was in very truth one of religion and not of politics; he rejected every token of personal homage. to which Muhammad replied. in 1099. 1908. he refused to forsake the message of revelation. but this must be considered exceedingly humane. in its war on the Gold Coast. P. 1874. and of them four were put to death. were proscribed. M. in the year of grace. put seventythousand Moslems.A. to death when Jerusalem fell into their hands; or with that of the English army. New York: G. pp. The Saracens. During a peak period of persecution. power and high social standing. 226 . Arthur. Perhaps the greatest example of Muhammad’s steadfastness is that. “O my uncle! By Allah if they put the 188 Gilman. Putnam’s Sons. O generous brother’ 188 “Be it so; you are free!” he exclaimed. though fallen from wealth. which. Muhammad’s uncle appealed to him to leave his preaching. women and helpless children.
” Muhammad’s refusal testified to his sincerity and selfless devotion. Over a decade later. and free of worldly charge. But then why did he suffer the tortures and indignities which accompanied his claim to prophethood. so what’s the point? That Muhammad wouldn’t accept their wealth and throne over a decade earlier. if not for wealth or power? The answer. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah by Ibn Hisham. 189 190 Ibn Hisham. the Muslims reoccupied Makkah and subdued the same population that had offered Muhammad their wealth and kingship. 227 . but felt he had to spend the rest of his life in privation and war in order to earn it? Hardly. 189 until Allah makes me victorious or I perish therein.” The test of Muhammad’s commitment came shortly thereafter. AsSeerah AnNabawiyyah. If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke. but for the rewards of the next. is that he strove not for the comforts of this temporal world. If you desire kingship we will readily offer you that. we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraysh’ite has possessed. when the leaders of the pagan Quraysh offered him just such a ransom: “If you (O Muhammad) are doing all this with a view to getting wealth. we will make you our chief. Um. I would not abandon it. then we shall call in skilful 190 physicians to cure you. If ambition moves you. for Muslims.sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course. and Musnad Abu Ya’ala.
what is truly interesting is what happened next. In fact.” (TMQ 5:3) This revelation signaled completion. and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. However. he could have had it long before. Muhammad did nothing of the sort. Once in power. but he conveyed revelation that commanded him to. 191 Qadhi. 228 . but at the expense of abandoning the revelation. Now. among other things. he fought to establish to word of Allah. Not only that. completed My favor upon you. An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’an. In other words. transmitting the revelation: “This day have I perfected your religion for you. “Celebrate the praises of your Lord. he did the opposite. Had he wanted kingship. most charlatans pull out a dream sheet of “revealed” paybacks. Muhammad transmitted revelation which spoke of an end of Allah’s favor upon him. Abu Ammaar Yasir. Completion.The point is that Muhammad does not appear to have been fighting to establish himself in authority. and in the end achieved victory both for the religion and for himself. of “…My favor upon you. but if he was a true prophet and knew of his impending death through revelation then he was … um … stay with me here—a true prophet.” At a time when any charlatan in the world would consider himself perfectly poised to begin “revealing” verses inclined to selfgratification. 191 The latter verse was revealed nine nights before Muhammad died. if he was not a prophet he could not have anticipated his death. 94. 1999. Of course. he could not have anticipated his death by earthly means. p. but to establish the religion. and pray for His forgiveness…” (TMQ 110:3). Birmingham: Al Hidaayah Publishing. and then start filling the order.
Rather. And what was the final verse? The last verse revealed counseled Muhammad: “And fear the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. and none shall be dealt with unjustly. injecting some final words of personal wisdom or glorifying himself with the promise of salvation. Muhammad transmitted a series of verses which bade him to glorify the Creator and seek His forgiveness.” (TMQ 2:281) Where other conquerors bask in selfveneration and die of the poisons of their excesses. as he had been for the preceding twentythree years of his prophethood. or to account for the marvelous success of Mohammed in the early part of the seventh century. the following authors commented: “Even today. the satiation of longsuppressed lusts or the satisfaction of a thirst for revenge.But the point is this: The final verses which Muhammad conveyed as revelation emphasized his sincerity. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned. with all the details of his early life and subsequent career laid bare by men of our own race. In this regard. Never claiming divine powers at any period of his mission…this very human prophet of God 229 . poor in worldly terms but successful in his religion. it is no easy matter to comprehend the character. His death was not tainted by the whim of selfglorification. He died as he had lived. Muhammad died wealthy only in sincerity and piety. but the revelation. the final verses of the Holy Qur’an completed not only his life. who have studied the whole extraordinary story of the noble Arabian. Rather than “revealing” a legacy for family and loved ones.
me. Irving. neither when a povertystricken and hunted fugitive. 1919. and in his inspiration from on high. to obtain control in his own aristocratic gens (clan). 345. Mahomet ordered them to be paid: “Better be in shame now. he still breathed the same religious devotion. New York: Boni and Liveright. surrounded by his early followers. “Yes. after almost hopeless failure. Vol 1.” borrowed on such an occasion.” To return to the impressions of Thomas Carlyle. p. was even greater when he was suffering under disappointment and defeat than when he was able to dictate his own terms to his conquered enemies. 193 and the same belief in his apostolic mission. His confidence in himself. two days before his death; asked.made his first converts in his own family. H. and had such remarkable personal influence over all with whom he was brought into contact that. was able. p. did he ever have to complain of treachery from those who had once embraced his faith.” And. If he had injured any man? Let his own back bear the stripes. If he owed any man? A voice answered. three drachms. towards its Maker…He went out for the last time into the mosque. Mohammed died as he had lived.” 192 193 Hyndman. The Awakening of Asia. 230 . 9. in trembling hope. nor at the height of his prosperity. “Even in his own dying hour. when there could be no longer a worldly motive for deceit. Washington. friends and votaries: his 192 death as devoid of mystery as his life of disguise. “His last words are a prayer; broken ejaculations of a heart struggling up. M.
the brother of us all. Thomas.said he. 231 . 115116. brought visible through twelve 194 centuries…” 194 Carlyle. “than at the Day of Judgement”…Traits of that kind show us the genuine man. pp.
Intuitively. even if they were valid. when we analyze these issues we find they are invalid. and like diamonds. lying. however. manipulate revelation for personal gain. those who attack Muhammad’s character are forced to focus upon less tangible. but we search diamonds for flaws. complete with the occasional sin or error in judgement. are not expected to be perfect. are charlatans who claim divinity. we mentally disqualify all such claimants.D. So how can we challenge Muhammad’s claim to prophethood? That is a difficult question. 232 . – LACK OF DISQUALIFIERS “We search coal for diamonds. delusion. these issues could never negate any man’s claim to prophethood. What we shouldn’t accept. et cetera. that is. Muhammad did not evidence any of the above disqualifiers. just … better than us. Since the more blatant charges are easily dismissed. Evidence forces us to abandon the claims of epilepsy. Certainly we expect prophets to be human. Or nothing of substance.” author True prophets are rarer than diamonds. emotional issues. Furthermore. such as lying or mental deterioration. However. little or nothing. We don’t expect them to be angels. As previously discussed.6. He never claimed divinity or manipulated revelation.4. and was never known to have told a lie. or who show signs of unreliability. So what possibilities remain? Aside from true prophethood. Let’s look at some common examples.
but Jesus Christ was raised up alive.As previously mentioned. And let us not forget the moral of the parable of the prodigal son—that there is more rejoicing over the 233 . Secondly. and one of them goes astray. I’m His prophet and here are His laws. Muhammad had sins. as per Luke 15:7. I say to you. and with the pure teachings of both having been the teachings of Islam (i. for a number of reasons. according to the Holy Qur’an. Moses and Muhammad all died and were buried. Jesus Christ. Many Christian detractors jump on this ayah and point out that. follow them).” (Matthew 18:1213) Or.. revelation forgave Muhammad for his sins (TMQ 48:2). there is no contest between Jesus Christ and Muhammad in the Islamic religion—both are recognized as prophets. God is One. with the former having predicted the latter. Noah. by comparison. To begin with. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep. a common Christian polemic is that Abraham. was sinless. he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninetynine that did not go astray. In similar fashion. assuredly. the moral of the biblical parable of the lost sheep is. Now. but so what? These “My prophet is better than yours” arguments don’t work. does he not leave the ninetynine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it. “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninetynine just persons who need no repentance” The moral of the parable of the lost coin is the same: “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Okaaay.e.
then we have to disqualify all the other biblical prophets as well. On the contrary. this priority should be reversed. he conveyed a revelation which immortalized these facts. for “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninetynine just persons who need no repentance. Just as Muhammad did not identify any one prophet as better than any other. following which he continued to persevere. however. What’s the point? That Christian detractors argue the “My prophet is better than yours” line on the basis of Jesus having been sinless. nowhere in the Bible is a prophet disqualified by nature of having had sins. And since we’re not going to do that. in the manner of the prophets before him. no doubt Jesus Christ was a hard act to follow. according to the above referenced biblical parables. he did not elevate his own status above that of the prophets who preceded him. He neither attempted to excuse nor to conceal his sins or his humanity. However. what is the point of the argument? One point that can be made. Now. or from having died and been buried. 234 . is that Muhammad persisted upon his mission despite his human shortcomings.repentance of the sinful son than over the one who never went astray to begin with (Luke 15:1132). but the point is that if having sins or having died and been buried excludes a person from prophethood.” Finally.
and we bow to Allah (in Islam. Christians elevate Jesus Christ to divinity. and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them. the Arabs of that period used to mould statues out of dates. So they most likely would have honored a claim to divinity. this is a modern claim. had he made such a claim? But he didn’t. and to Abraham. and they had witnessed the long list of miracles which occurred both through him and around him. and then eat it. The disbelievers of Muhammad’s time. no one of whom is to be considered superior to any other: “We believe in Allah. and a group of his followers would have believed. and the revelation given to us.” listed in chapter 1. Isma’il. they had previously reverenced the three hundred and sixty statues in the Kaba at Makkah as gods. Interestingly. and the Tribes. call the confectionary a god. though 195 See item number seven of Maimonides’ (Moshe ben Maimon’s) “Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith. Muhammad could just as easily have asserted such claims. 235 . Heck.Jews consider “Moses was the greatest of the prophets” to be an article of Jewish 195 faith.A. he transmitted a revelation which proclaimed all the prophets to have been men. Isaac. After all.)” (TMQ 2:136) Perhaps the most common claim against Muhammad is that he was a voluptuary. and that given to Moses and Jesus. Jacob. of MisGod’ed. What’s the chance they wouldn’t have considered Muhammad a god. Instead. His followers had already believed Muhammad to be the foretold final prophet.
.eager to attack his character. and the entire society was given to gambling. gambling. dunkenness. There isn’t just one good reason. it is difficult to find anything the Arabs liked that the Islamic revelation didn’t forbid or restrict. but enjoyed them sparingly. and marriage only. They would have been laughed out of town if they had. there are many. Take the above issues one by one. that’s wrong. fighting. fighting with forgiveness. If those were the things Muhammad desired. if you don’t like something don’t curse it. which accomplishes nothing. passed any gifts on to others. cursing. temporary marriage contracts and limitless polygamy. So what about wine. wait. What’s left? Polygamy? Now. and there is a very good reason why. He loved perfumes and honey. and even shared his food. Alcohol. Although Muhammad didn’t deny himself life’s pleasures. Feasting was replaced with fasting. feasting. lying. Instead. nobody ever embarked upon a religious quest for honey. never made this claim. Music? Curtailed. And in any case. Arabic society permitted prostitution. Intersexual relations? Through marriage. Muhammad’s many wives never became an issue before recent times. licentiousness and laziness. licentiousness? Forbidden. He distributed whatever wealth he had. No. he lived a most frugal existence. he could have had them without speaking a word of revelation. Music and alcohol were ubiquitous.e. He rejected the prestige and finery of success. but ask Allah to change it). 236 . lying. and laziness with the duties of worship. and always placed the needs and desires of his followers ahead of his own. women and song? Prior to the revelation. cursing with supplication (i.
with the energy of his youth behind him. when a man’s sexual drive is at its hormonal peak. So why did Muhammad eventually marry so many wives? For the most part.To begin with. at the age of twentyfive. Muhammad’s wives were not known for youth. He could have fornicated freely and let his lusts run wild in the pasture of sexual permissiveness. They were married for twentyfive years. The laws of the society in which he lived were that … well … were that there were no laws. Khadijah. And even if that premise were true. Far from the powerful ruler who handpicked the choicest maidens for his personal enjoyment. sheltered orphaned widows and divorcees. he set a flock of wives as his goal in life? Unlikely. even from his youth. and throughout that period he was unwaveringly faithful. concubines. sex slaves and prostitutes. wealth or high social standing. Despite the sexual freedoms which must have tempted any man of youth and vigor. not trampishness. beauty. never in history did a man suffer so much for something he could have had anyway. 237 . we would expect his desires to have been evident in his youth. throughout Muhammad’s youth he only had one wife. Through his marriages he cemented inter tribal ties. But he didn’t. However. Yet Muhammad’s detractors propose that. he could have had any number of wives. and exemplified accepted marital limits. Muhammad remained chaste until his first marriage. had Muhammad been a voluptuary with regard to women. For if this is what Muhammad had wanted. His reputation was one of temperance. at the age of fifty. despite the fact that she was fifteen years his senior. for practical reasons.
it is recorded. and more restraint than Judah (who. just the opposite. Muhammad’s claim to prophethood cannot be contested 196 197 AlMubarakpuri. had he acted beyond divine constraints. 238 . commander of the faithful. And yet. considering the age at which women married back then. If nothing else. Or. but also 197 because he never consummated the marriage with a number of his wives. 485. Hence. contracted with Tamar. not only for the above reasons. Zainab bint Jahsh. who deceived him into believing she was a prostitute). was a widow. king of the realm. no law was beyond his design. even. SafiurRahman. however. drove him to order her husband to his death). far fewer). could have been Mai’moona’s mother. nowhere did Muhammad betray the lusts of a voluptuary. With fewer wives than Solomon (ahem … far. p. Muhammad married Mai’moona when she was fiftyone years old. Spiritual leader. Others instituted manorial laws ranging from legalized prostitution to the infamous droit du seigneur. Another of his wives. SafiurRahman. but to the very process of reason. whereby feudal lords in medieval France and Italy assumed first right to bed the bride of their vassals. or a combination of the above. Another wife. For Muhammad married Um Salama when she was eightytwo. less transgression than David (whose lust for Bathsheba. Khadijah. The rest were either old. the accusation that Muhammad died poor but with a stable of wives as his objective in life is an insult not only to the man. His first wife. AlMubarakpuri. p. it is recorded. widowed. her grandmother. divorced. 483485. 196 Only one wife (A’ishah) was a virgin. We can dismiss lust from having been a factor in most of Muhammad’s marriages. bore the social stigma of having been a divorcée from a freed slave. For example.In fact. Muhammad’s example falls well within biblical limits.
property. the revelation Muhammad conveyed required that women be respected and married with necessary formality.on the charge of being a voluptuary unless others of the biblical prophets are charged as well. although not explicitly condoned in the New Testament. we should remember that polygamy was permitted in the Old Testament as well (see Section 2.5. But to return to the subject of this chapter. to be sure. These debates. intent mainly on base enjoyments. was the recognition of women possessing souls and equal prospects to those of men with regard to the afterlife – two concepts openly debated in Christian circles up to the turn of the twentieth century. the Holy Qur’an commanded such rights. this issue … never was an issue. marital choice and equality in education and religion. while unresolved amongst Christian clergy. Imagine the resultant outcry should the Church publicly debate whether or not women have souls! But the point is that. So what did Muhammad convey regarding women and marriage? The permissibility of polygamy. neither was it forbidden. The most revolutionary concept. have since been cloistered behind closed doors for reason of political correctness. of MisGod’ed). However.B. His household was of the frugalest; his common diet barleybread 239 . Thirteen centuries before the developed West awarded women their rights to inheritance. On the other hand. for the first time in history. after all that can be said about him. perhaps. We shall err widely if we consider this man as a common voluptuary. was not a sensual man. in Islam. Thomas Carlyle sums up: “Mahomet himself. Furthermore.nay on enjoyments of any kind.
And it is the nature of what. 114115. Muhammad commanded that should be of central interest. fighting and jostling three and twenty years at his hand. exactly. 240 . no man could have commanded them. pp.or these wild Arab men.and water: sometimes for months there was not a fire once lighted on his hearth. Thomas. 198 Carlyle. into all kinds of fierce sincerity; without right 198 worth and manhood. They record with just pride that he would mend his own shoes. A poor. would not have reverenced him so! They were wild men. illprovided man; careless of what vulgar men toil for. I should say; something better in him than hunger of any sort. bursting ever and anon into quarrel. patch his own cloak. hardtoiling.” But command them he did. in close contact with him always. Not a bad man.
241 . To say that “God is One” gave way to “God is three in one and one in three” is to claim that God’s essence changed. If the first book in this series. Dreamthorp According to the Islamic religion. that is exactly what Christianity proposes. Back to the point. And. Moses.4. of course. but of those who followed in his name—men like Paul and the subsequent Pauline theologians. Christ’s followers adhered to his teachings and.7. The Islamic monotheism of Adam was the same as the Islamic monotheism conveyed by all prophets. as a result. it exposes this: Jesus Christ taught the monotheism and laws of the Old Testament.D. but not what Christ proposed. wrap it up in frankness. However. exposes no other fact. the core message of revelation never changed. Jesus Christ’s followers and those who followed in Jesus’ name are not the same group of people. we have to pause to make a distinction. Jesus and Muhammad included. that is what Trinitarian Christianity proposes. Logically. Again. – MAINTENANCE OF THE MESSAGE “If you wish to preserve your secret. MisGod’ed. became strict monotheists adhering to Old Testament law—a relatively small subset of Unitarian Christians. However. who proposed a construct of God Jesus never taught. for to change the creed conveyed through revelation is to change the Creator Himself. among those who followed in Jesus’ name was the Trinitarians.” Alexander Smith. Trinitarian Christianity was not the product of the teachings of Jesus Christ. it cannot be any other way.
those who share this conviction can neither be Jewish nor Christian. much less corrupt the message of revelation. consistent with the teachings of the prophets who preceded him. as discussed in the previous chapter. for the reasons cited above. Now. not only does the Holy Qur’an preserve the previous prophets’ message of divine unity but. The essential creed. And that’s what all prophets taught. and therein lies the test. So that’s the message. But what about that “little variation?” Isn’t that significant? Depends on your perspective. in other words. So too are the laws taught by Moses and Jesus. Charlatans. we find no evidence of Muhammad having done anything for personal gain. We can easily understand why monotheistic creed cannot change. up to and including Muhammad. the humanity of God’s prophets (himself included) and God’s requirement to adhere to the laws laid out in revelation. with the exception of the Sabbath. For that matter. without being hypocritical. he lived and died a pauper. Next. However. to some degree or another corrupt that message for personal gain. However.The point is that Jesus Christ taught the unity of God. Islam maintains the Ten Commandments. 242 . on the other hand. Why? Because God’s laws frequently changed from one revelation to the next. is preserved unchanged. so we find no evidence of personal gain. what do we find to be the case with Muhammad? To begin with. with little variation. what about God’s laws? Can those change? There are those who imagine God’s laws to be eternal and unchanging. period. A true prophet would maintain that message.
243 . The Islamic viewpoint is that Allah delayed certain restrictions and commandments until mankind became capable of satisfying them.This change is called abrogation. It needed to grow up. Immediately after he made the attempt. Mankind. wasn’t ready. in two words. At one time. So if the restrictions of the Sabbath appear to have been recalled here. A most rapid reversal of God’s commandments is to be found in the story of Abraham. Just as we instruct children according to their level of maturity. he was relieved of this duty. Abraham was commanded to slaughter his son. Allah had to wean the human race onto the restrictions of revelation. In the Old Testament. And yet. and the permissibility of alcohol annulled there. But you say alcohol is now forbidden? That’s ridiculous!” So this issue depends on perspective. Christians effectively argue. the sons and daughters of Adam were initially allowed to marry. Only later did God reveal the restrictions of Mosaic Law. Only later was this forbidden. First. but Trinitarian Christians claim God Himself transformed from a wrathful and harsh Lord to an all forgiving God. there should be no surprise. a man could marry two sisters—later this practice was forbidden. people were allowed to eat all kinds of meat and animals. In the time of Noah. With regard to Christianity. “We say God Himself is transformed and all previous laws are repealed. and it is not foreign to Judaic and Christian theology. Earlier restrictions may have placed a burden upon humans greater than they could have borne. Christians do not claim that one or two of the Ten Commandments were abolished. Not only has Old Testament law been displaced by the doctrine of justification by faith. but that the entire law was repealed.
In particular. it was always the minority who followed.7. Furthermore. and that is that the revelation he transmitted upset a lot of people. And what do we not find? We don’t find Muhammad having modified religious conventions for personal gain. MisGod’ed). commitment and correctness. he never claimed to have been a saint or Christ returned. as taught by all preceding prophets (see section 2. which concludes.So. in line with the parable of the wedding feast. he transmitted a revelation that corrected. or having manifested any of the many symptoms of false prophethood. as so many deceivers have. Rather. This would have been a decidedly strange way of gathering a following—to have told the Jews and Christians that the opinions they held (and still hold) are wrong.B. and then set about teaching them their own scripture. and a comprehensive book of laws. rather than reinforced. what do we encounter in the Islamic religion? The Oneness and preeminence of Almighty God. And. There is no greater hatred than that conceived by those of impiety for a righteous good example. Surprising? Maybe not. let us view Muhammad’s teachings through the testimonies of others. that is. but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). one thing is certain. So was Muhammad the final prophet as predicted in both Old and New Testaments? If so. “For many are called. Furthermore. it was a test of sincerity and endurance. To close this chapter. Ja’far (the son of AbuTalib) testified to the Christian King of Abyssinia as follows: 244 . popular Jewish and Christian misconceptions. prophethood was never a popularity contest. It is strange to face such an uphill battle with no apparent worldly incentive—for all but a true prophet. in summary.
not associating any partners with Him. He commanded us to pray. and followed him in that which he received from Allah. to avoid the prohibitions and blood. to keep our trusts. and the slander of chaste women. performing indecencies. and to avoid all indecencies. and accepting all that which was made 199 permissible for us. accepted his message. or both. were impressed by the above. Much like the ungrateful invitees to the king’s wedding feast in the biblical parable. like the Christian King of Abyssinia. theft of the orphan’s money.“O King of Abyssinia. lying.” Some. his trustworthiness. 199 Musnad Ahmad 245 . his truthfulness. and followed. He further commanded us to worship Allah alone. pay charity. This remained our common trait until God sent to us a messenger. doing evil to our neighbors. we used to be a people of ignorance. the message. casting off family bonds. He commanded us to be truthful in speech. Others viewed the bearer of such teachings with such distaste as to have sought to kill the messenger. So we believed him. worshipping Allah alone. to be good to our neighbors. He called us to Allah that we might worship Him alone and forsake all that which we had been worshipping other than Him of these stones and idols. and the strong among us would eat the weak. and his chastity. And look at what happened to them. not associating anything in worship with Him. to strengthen our family bonds. eating dead animals. worshipping idols. We knew his ancestry. and fast (and he listed for him the requirements of Islam). refraining from all prohibitions.
but millions of men in onethird of the then inhabited world; and more than that. This avenging patriotism against the profanation of Heaven formed the virtue of the followers of Muhammad; the conquest of onethird of the earth to his dogma was his miracle; or rather it was not the miracle of a man but that of reason. who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms. no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. the ideas. This man moved not only armies. proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of fabulous theogonies. They founded. the gods. and not just Muslims. He has left us as the indelible characteristic of his Muslim nationality the hatred of false gods and the passion for the One and immaterial God. peoples and dynasties. On the basis of a Book. was in itself such a miracle that upon its utterance from his lips it destroyed all the ancient temples of idols and set on fire onethird of the world. His life.In conclusion. many people throughout history. smallness of means. every letter of which has become law. empires. the beliefs and souls. and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius. legislations. he moved the altars. he created a spiritual nationality which blended together peoples of every tongue and of every race. his meditations. laws and empires only. find ample cause to attribute greatness to Mohammad: “If greatness of purpose. if anything at all. The idea of the Unity of God. his heroic revilings against the superstitions of his country and his boldness in defying the furies of 246 . the religions.
is there any man greater than he?” 200 De Lamartine. his forbearance in victory. apostle. his faith in his success and his superhuman security in misfortune.idolatry. the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is. orator. II. legislator. Philosopher. his flight. we 200 may well ask. his acceptance of the role of public scorn and almost of being a victim of his fellow countrymen; all these and. which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers. This dogma was twofold. Vol. finally. his firmness in enduring them for fifteen years at Mecca. 247 . his wars against odds. that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured. conqueror of ideas. restorer of rational dogmas. of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire. Histoire de la Turquie. A. his ambition. the later telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false Gods with the sword. his mystic conversations with God. warrior. his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. 276277. the other starting an idea with the words. Paris. 1854. his incessant preaching. pp.
Differences do exist. 1884 Preceding chapters discuss the material reality of the prophets and the books of revelation. This present section shifts to the unseen—intangible entities and/or concepts which have long been the subject of classical comparative religion. but these differences are primarily the result of human caprice.SECTION 5 – THE UNSEEN “There is no good in arguing with the inevitable. 248 . meaning those we encounter in revelation. Central core values. this present section demonstrates the commonality of ethereal concepts. of course. are remarkably harmonious.” James Russell Lowell. While preceding chapters expose corroborating evidences suggestive of continuity of revelation from Judaism to Christianity to Islam.
000. that is the view of all three Abrahamic faiths. Any questions? At least.000 kilometers from the nearest yellow dwarf of spectral class G2 solar hand warmer. Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven As make the angels weep. heaven. as are the devils. Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d. largely ignorant of our Milky Way Galaxy neighbors. Drest in a little brief authority. Each of us occupy borrowed real estate on a pinheadsized mudball called Earth. These neighbors span a scant 80. precariously perched on the brink of a frail mortality. and so are frustrated that angels are not available for individual analysis. like an angry ape. However. Measure for Measure Angels: They’re there. no human being is more than a tiny dot of protoplasm.000 lightyears in 249 .A. We like to believe in things we can see and touch. proud man.) ANGELS “Man.000 lightyears in diameter. spun into orbit 150. scientific research and talk shows.5. They are one of God’s unseen creations. Humans may conceive themselves to be the supreme being of planet Earth.000. and lie buried in what is known as a “local group” of roughly 30 galaxies occupying a cylinder of space 5. hell and other ethereal entities. Judaism and Islam both view angels in a practical manner.” Shakespeare. His glassy essence.
201 202 National Geographic Society. Rudyard. spirits).000.” 250 .000. we are not the supreme being.. The only human quality approaching 240. God created mankind. 1891.000 lightyears in diameter (each lightyear being roughly 201 6. As 202 Rudyard Kipling wrote.000. Life’s Handicap. “You haf too much Ego in your Cosmos.” Cartographic division. They are God’s functionaries and are absolutely obedient.000.diameter.000. The question periodically arises as to why God didn’t make all mankind faithful and good. All this is neatly tucked into the heart of the known universe—a daunting 40. Some are evil. support the righteous when Allah so decrees. but He also created angels and jinn (i.000.” some containing close to 200 galaxies. convey revelation to the prophets. have no free will. containing 140 billion known galaxies and expanding at greater than 90% the speed of light is some people’s egos. it’s a long drive.000. and laying claim to yet another insignificantly small cylinder of space 150.000.e.000. Nature’s Grandest Design. collect the souls of the dying.000 light years in diameter. One answer is that He certainly could have.000 miles). the angel of revelation (also known. some merely mischievous. “Bertran and Bimi. as the “holy spirit”). This local group is itself only a speck of insignificance cloistered within the “local supercluster” of scores of “clusters. and each of these levels of creation have different properties and powers.000. record each person’s deeds. They worship God. some righteous and devout. on the other hand. Certainly. “The Universe. 1995.000 miles in diameter. and perform other duties. and grant every person paradise. The best known angel is Gabriel. direct the weather. All in all.” The Islamic understanding is that we are not alone. in the Islamic religion. guard the heavens and hell. and many of mankind have just passed the last rest stop. Kipling.000.000. Mankind and Jinn possess free will. Angels.
In contrast to the Jewish and Muslim understanding.had He so desired. and ninetynine percent of the time they will recall something they saw in the artwork of those who violated this commandment. “You shall not make for yourself any carved image. God gave human beings a choice. of course. Christians have done what Jews and Muslims refuse to do. We can be better than angels. this issue may at first seem unimportant. or that is in the water under the earth…” (Exodus 20:4). Why would Allah create mankind in the same mold? Unlike angels. Christians conceive of a host of imaginary angels whose existence is unsubstantiated by scripture. Angels have no choice in the matter. This may seem harmless. or that is in the earth beneath. But then again. and receive either the blessings of paradise or the punishment of hellfire. But that. it’s the human race and not the angels who will face judgement in the hereafter. but the religious purist is quick to recall the commandment. which is to portray the angels. by being obedient of our own free will. or we can be worse than devils. Of course. However. who are perfectly obedient. or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above. Ask people what they think an angel looks like. Furthermore. Allah already had the angels. unless taken in the context of the commandments of God. is what religion is all about. 251 .
) DAY OF JUDGEMENT “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” old proverb True belief has a reward in the hereafter. And there’s no going back. over. if these “injustices” aren’t offset by appropriate rewards and punishments in the hereafter.B. if not in an afterlife? What we perceive to be injustices in this worldly life would be a poor reflection upon God’s sense of fairness. Because … now stay with me here … because our lives will be. buuuut … you don’t want it. which prophet had an easy time of it? Which prophets lived pampered lives of splendor to match that of a mafia boss. either of our time or of theirs? If we are to trust in the mercy and justice of our Creator we cannot believe He restricts the rewards of piety and the punishments of transgression to this worldly life.5. in a word. for the inequities of life are clear. 252 . drug lord or tyrannical ruler. How can we justify an afterlife? Well. So there will be a Day of Judgement. Meanwhile. some of the best of the best suffer terribly. For example. where else can the injustices of this life be rectified. Such has been the message of all the prophets—each and every one of them. and it will be a bad time to start thinking about changing our lives for the better. we’ll all be there. The record of our deeds will be done. Some of the worst of the worst enjoy some of the most luxurious lives. It’ll be too late. Disbelief does too.
Again. they fell into disobedience and disbelief. According to Islam.” and Muslims believe that all who die in submission to the Creator are eligible for redemption.. in the case of Jesus. but only on their terms. Those who followed the revelation and prophet of their time will be successful. the religion of truth has always been Islam (i. According to Muslims. the disbelievers condemned.e. the refinement of Islam is to be found in the final revelation and in the teachings of the final 253 . submission to the will of Allah). Jesus’ followers submitted to God. Jews declare paradise to be a birthright of the “chosen people. And that’s not good enough. the revelation he conveyed. just forgiven.. the Jews lived in submission to God not on His terms.e. When called upon to honor the final revelation (i. but on their terms. the transgressors (if not forgiven) punished according to the severity of their sins. Similarly. the believing Jews were upon the truth right up until they rejected the prophets who followed (i. Muhammad). However.e.Mankind will be sorted according to beliefs and deeds.e. In this manner. whereas those who forsook the revelation and prophet of their day did so to the compromise of their souls.e. they chose to remain upon the religion of their forefathers rather than upon the religion of God.. The faithful will be vindicated. the Holy Qur’an) and the prophet who conveyed it (i. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ). they rejected and fell into the same disobedience and disbelief as their Jewish cousins.. for that is what all prophets taught. their teachings and. In this manner. right up until they rejected the final prophet (i. When God sent prophets or revelation they didn’t like. Muhammad).. Jesus’ followers were upon the truth.” Christians claim “not to be perfect.
they are not to be condemned. Allah will judge them according to their submission to the revelation to which they had been exposed during their lifetimes. Rather. the only group that submits to God’s religion in the present day is the Muslims. will be condemned. to prove what they would have done. So. Hence. the ignorant who die sincerely seeking the religion of truth have hope for salvation. In revealing the final revelation. if it can be imagined that there are Jews who died without having known of the prophets who followed.prophet. had they known. and test their faith and obedience. In this manner. Hence. with those who die ignorant of revelation as a whole. and Christians who died ignorant of Muhammad and the Holy Qur’an. whereas the insincere have no such hope. even if educated. and reject. And on that basis. 254 . Those who know of Islam. too. Allah abrogated all preceding religions and revelation. Those who know of Islam and willfully duck the responsibility of studying the religion will likewise be condemned. Allah will judge them. those who die neither knowing of Islam nor willfully avoiding investigation thereof will be tested on the Day of Judgement. However.
they were exempt from judgement. is the commonality of the concept. 7:114; Amos 3:2; Jonah).5. God disposes. the Gospel of. We have already discussed the Jewish concept of being God’s “chosen people. predestination is an article of faith common to all three of the Abrahamic religions.” Even Jesus Christ was recorded as having lamented. the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together. For unbeknownst to most Jews and Christians. as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” Thomas Kempis Predestination. that because the Lord had placed His temple at Jerusalem. but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37) 203 Butler. to assume. very little is written in the Old Testament about predestination. Again and again the prophets tried to disabuse them of this false notion of security by pointing out the true meaning of the covenant and their 203 mission among the nations (Jer. Under ‘John. We all know that. however. Trent C. Holman’s Bible Dictionary comments. can not be proven.” However. “O Jerusalem. What can be proven. aside from this supremely optimistic thought. “From time to time the children of Israel were tempted to presume upon God’s gracious favor.’ (subsection: ‘Election’). for example. or fate.C. Jerusalem.) DIVINE DECREE “Man proposes. 255 .
Which raises the question. Through their obstinate defiance. Encyclopedia Judaica comments: “The covenant relationship defined in this manner carries with it responsibilities. 256 . “Contract broken. He also predestined …” Ephesians 1:314 either explicitly or implicitly describes predestination ten times. they nullified God’s promise of salvation. one would think. in the same way that chosen individuals are responsible for certain tasks and are required to assume particular roles…. whom You anointed. reserved in heaven for you …” 204 Encyclopaedia Judaica. elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” with the fourth verse adding “… to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away. “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus. 499 (under “chosen people”). they broke their covenant with God when they rejected the prophets foretold by their own scripture.” 1 Peter 1:12 contributes. were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. But then again. 204 105:45). both Herod and Pontius Pilate.” Let’s move on.Israel is obligated by this choice to “keep His statutes. how often can rational argument penetrate the armor of elitist conceit? Surely the Israelites were the “chosen people” for as long as they honored their prophet and the revelation he conveyed. Vol 5. and Acts 4:2728 reads. “To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus. However. contract cancelled. Cappadocia. and observe His Laws (Ps. p. “Chosen for what? To kill the prophets and stone the messengers?” Hardly a sensible formula for salvation. Asia. The New Testament suggests foreknowledge and predestination in Romans 8:29—“For whom He foreknew. and Bithynia. Galatia. with the Gentiles and the people of Israel.” In other words.
as man was either saved or doomed from the time of creation. ye blessed of my Father. 257 .” Furthermore. Catholic theology proposes God’s infallible foreknowledge of who will be saved. fourteen years following Martin Luther’s death and four years preceding Calvin’s demise. Both Luther and Calvin claim God predestined all humans either to eternal beatitude or everlasting perdition. 719. Arguing the incompatibility of the injustice of irrevocable condemnation with the absolute justice of the Creator. Vol 11. Into this fray walked the engagingly named Jacobus Arminius. inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34) and. Vol 11. 208 209 which were equally uncompromising. “…predestination is in some way to be explained 206 by God’s foreknowledge of man’s conduct. 209 See Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. New Catholic Encyclopedia. 208 See Luther’s De servo arbitrio – The Will Enslaved. According to them. 207 New Catholic Encyclopedia. a plethora of theories have grown. Calvin proposed that. and why. From this scriptural foundation. 714. 713. p. p. p. Whereas Luther proposed belief in Christ as the trademark of the elect. Born in 1560 CE. Vol 11. the elect were physically incapable of nullifying their salvation and the doomed were incapable of achieving redemption. God will save the blessed in 207 precisely the manner He foreordained. Arminius proposed that God’s comprehensive knowledge 205 206 New Catholic Encyclopedia. The Protestant reform ushered in the theories of Martin Luther and John Calvin. who not.Jesus Christ appears to have taught predestination when he said. because your names are written in 205 heaven” (Lk 10:20). “Come. Arminius grew to contest Calvin’s proposal of unconditional election and irrevocable grace. “…but rather rejoice.
the Reformed Church condemned his theories at the Synod of Dort in 161819. Islam acknowledges both divine predestination and human free will. and what end they will earn in the hereafter. and harmonizes these elements through Allah’s omniscience. Arminius’ theory is of interest for a number of reasons. he knows their spiritual design and moral substance from before they are born. though God neither wills people to specific actions nor predestines them to a particular fate. Different Protestant denominations subsequently set their sails to prevailing opinion and tacked back and forth between the theories of Luther. he harmonized human free will with divine omniscience and the fate of man. 258 . and Islam considers this to be one of them. As with Arminius’ theory (or perhaps we should say that Arminius’ theories.encompasses the will of man. God knows what each and every human will think and do. To begin with. None of these theories have achieved unanimous acceptance. as with those of Islam … since the Islamic principles predated Arminius’ birth by roughly a thousand years). Nonetheless. Furthermore. the Islamic teachings discourage Muslims from debating what is recognized to be a problematic topic given the limits of human intellect. Calvin and variations upon those of the Catholics. for the simple reason that all religions have mysteries of faith. Nonetheless. Hence. how he or she will turn out. Predestination is perhaps less debated within the Islamic religion. most Protestant sects have drifted to the twentieth century weld of predestination and Christology. and so the subject remains very much alive in Christian circles. In modern times. Islam teaches that Allah has predetermined everything we do. By way of His infinite knowledge.
and gives the lie to the Best.” Another tradition which clarifies the Islamic understanding is the hadith in which Muhammad taught. Muhammad replied. “So he who gives (in charity) and fears (Allah). We 211 will indeed make smooth for him the path to Misery. or if we do it of our own free will. and whoever belongs to the company of misery. and (in all sincerity) testifies to the Best. why don’t we give up doing any acts. “Nay. do what you wish). Narrated by Muslim. for every person will find it easy to do what he was 210 created for. he will have evil acts made easier for him.e.” The Bedouin then asked. he will have good works made easier for him. “In that case. it has been preordained.In a relevant hadith. rather. “Rather.” (TMQ 92:510) 210 211 Narrated by Al Bukhari. “O Apostle of Allah.” A man said. 259 . “There is not one amongst you for whom a seat in Paradise or Hell has not been allotted and about whom it has not been written down whether he would be a miserable person or a happy one. should we not then depend upon our destiny and abandon our deeds?” Thereupon the Messenger of Allah said. act (i.” Then he recited. We will indeed make smooth for him the path to Bliss. “Whoever belongs to the company of happiness. and rely upon what has been preordained for us?” Muhammad answered. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself selfsufficient. a Bedouin asked Muhammad if everything we do has been preordained.
argument over predestination may lead to disbelief.” 212 213 Narrated by AtTirmithi Narrated by AtTirmithi 260 . Muhammad once caught a group of his companions debating predestination. When Muhammad learned the topic of discussion. et cetera.” Those who heed Muhammad’s warning continue with their effort in life and religion. such as the nature of angels. spirits. To illustrate the point. Some quoted verses from the Qur’an which prove that Allah wills everything. the Day of Judgement. unlike speculation over other secrets of the unknown. but keep hammering. I caution you not to 212 differ about it. “Pray to God. the people before you were destroyed when they argued amongst themselves regarding this matter. he became angry and said. all the while accepting that “The pens have been lifted and the pages have 213 dried” —a philosophy very much in line with the old proverb.Attempting to rectify human free will with predestination invites no end of controversy. hell. others quoted verses which prove human free will. heaven. Islam discourages Muslims from debating this issue. However. “Is this what you have been commanded to do? Is this why I have been sent to you? Verily. Perhaps for this reason.
The following three chapters represent the steps this author deems necessary to arrive at the most balanced and correct conclusion.SECTION 6 – CONCLUSIONS “Wisdom is knowing what to do next. 261 . as concerns the subject of this book. Virtue is doing it.” David Starr Jordan The greatest deductions in life usually culminate from a sequence of smaller cognitive steps.
MisGod’ed and God’ed. Should we presume to find correctness in a manmade religious canon. These two books. The abovementioned Christian parroted a common Western slander. The measure of religious correctness can be none other than compliance with the directives of Almighty God. we risk measuring in reference to the wrong standard. we will never be able to answer the question “Deviation from what?” With regard to religion. However. we frequently encounter a reality of such exquisite appeal as to dispel all false preconceptions. were written to lift that veil of slanders and expose the underlying truth. Each group of soldiers standing out of rank 262 . To begin with. people recognize that once we lift the veil of slanders from the face of a muchmaligned institution.” Francis Bacon. for those who exercise their intellect. Essays Many years ago a Christian bigot described Islam to me as “a deviant religion. Opinionated oratory can have fleeting emotional appeal.A.6. but evidences argue a lasting truth. there simply can be no argument. the analysis of deviation requires us to establish a stable frame of reference. Until we establish this reference. religious propaganda fails to override what people deduce for themselves. More and more. Now let us examine the charge of deviancy.” That challenge was the impetus for these books.) THE DEVIANT RELIGION “What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.
which religion is on the straight path of our Creator’s 263 . this is the second ingredient necessary for the determination of deviancy—the ability to analyze objectively and remain receptive to truth. So let’s measure by the correct standard. Similarly. Those who claim to bow to the will of Allah in Judaism or Christianity must face the full force of the evidences presented herein. and the germ theory of disease were incorrect at the time they were conceived.and file will consider all others to deviate from their misaligned standard. the building blocks of which are usually unfounded teachings designed to support what adherents want to hear. Unfortunately. it was always the minority who accepted the prophets of their day. the prophets were wrong. Some may measure deviation in reference to accepted norms. as conveyed through Muhammad and the Holy Qur’an. which in the case of religion is the will of our Creator. is often not possible. If majority opinion is the standard by which truth should be measured. According to these evidences. Social norms and absolute truth do not necessarily skip handinhand down the avenue of actuality. If majority rules. And that’s the point. the earth being round. but this methodology is also errorprone. instilling an uncompromising “us against them” attitude of spiritual elitism. Breaking through this barrier of committed ignorance. if blinded to the possibility of being in the wrong themselves. Muslims claim to bow to the will of Allah in Islam. then the concepts of the planets orbiting around the sun. whether confirming previously held opinions or not. most religions foster just such a cognitive paralysis. However.
However. or at least the one road we have been discussing in these books—the road of revelation. Whether or not people act upon this insight then depends upon each person’s willingness to surrender to the presented evidences. and which to an errorridden creed constructed by fallible and scripturally manipulative man? The information presented above should allow most people to answer that question for themselves. and which deviate therefrom? Which group bows to the word of God.e. And that also leads to Muhammad. in a sense. and I’ll tell you why. 264 .design. if you are Christian. And where does that lead? First to Jesus and subsequently to Muhammad.. All roads. lead to Islam. it would seem. Or perhaps it is better to say that one road leads to Islam. the Jewish Bible (i. the Old Testament) bids you to accept the foretold prophets. Jesus Christ bade his followers to seek the foretold final prophet. On the other hand. If you are Jewish. the answer doesn’t matter.
including that of being wrong. Similar to an adversarial surrender. A common first condition is God’s existence. peace and salvation. whereas surrender to an adversary is a demoralizing defeat.B. is an easy word. torture. abandon whatever social or family ties threaten to enslave us. imprisonment. and forsake 265 . reject the disapproval of friends and authorities who seek to obstruct us. yet most people “surrender” on conditional terms.6. should not be difficult. religious surrender demands us to cast aside our tools of selfdefense. as found in the illconceived preface to prayer. if you are there …” Another popular condition is to ask to be guided to be a better … whatever a person happens to be now: “O God. even death. “Oh. An adversary threatens abuse.” But is that surrender? What if a person’s chosen faith is wrong? What if our chosen religion is not God’s chosen religion? Modesty forces us to acknowledge human capriciousness and the sensibility of entertaining all possibilities. humiliation. surrender to the Creator is a victory of faith. The Creator promises mercy and benevolence. In this manner. surrender to God is only complete when selfless. make me a better _____ (fill in the blank). God. Surrender. in fact. for most of us associate surrender with submission to a malevolent adversary. However. on the face of it.) SURRENDER “Swift gratitude is the sweetest” Old Proverb To surrender to God. an uneasy concept and a challenging act.
without resistance. He is the One who is denied by the majority of mankind. The One Who awaits mankind. unlike an adversarial surrender. seeking salvation through recognizing His reality and achieving His pleasure. Those who surrender to God flee from a world of lies and delusions. He is One we can trust to receive us with loving grace and incomparable hospitality. we do not disarm ourselves to a position of weakness. entangling hedonism and magnetic seductions. they will sincerely seek His guidance. whose love is assured. Anything less is just bargaining. A total. We must examine the religions to which we are exposed and sift through the propaganda. He is The One Who made mankind. For what greater strength can we have than the love and support of Almighty God? Those who submit to an enemy seek to escape slaughter. The devout will humble themselves to the Creator. And to do this. and whose security is absolute. And He deserves better from us. religious surrender demands work. And yet. Without compromise. to One whose mercy is guaranteed. Those who dismiss Judaism out of prejudice against the stereotypical avarice. unconditional surrender.those who do not share our path of religious discovery. but to a position of strength. without qualification. However. Unlike an adversarial surrender. The One Who sustains mankind. or Christianity out 266 .
” So although Christians may uniformly endorse Christmas trees and crucifixes. These are antiIslamic slanders built upon the deviant example of a few impious. So let us refrain from judging any religion based upon propaganda or the customs of its followers. or for anybody else for that matter. Similarly. religious compulsion. “There is nothing more innately human than the tendency to transmute what has become customary into what has been 214 divinely ordained. In fact. Appendix 1 of this book regarding statues) as well as by the pious examples of the apostolic fathers. “The Beginnings of Emancipation. For example. headlinehugging Muslims. 1926. Similarly. Suzanne. many would argue that these traditions are condemned by Biblical scripture (See Jeremiah 10:24 regarding Christmas trees. we can complement our quest by praying for guidance. terrorism and oppression of women are not elements of the Islamic religion. and in certain cases combat the tenets of their respective faiths. This prayer is nondenominational and a person would have to be 214 LaFollette. many customs of Jewish and Muslim communities are religiously distracting. have judged according to the impious actions of the adherents rather than by the tenets of faith. but they are not part of Islamic ideology.of revulsion for the pedophile priests and hypocritical congregations. these practices are the product of traditions rather than scriptural teachings.” 267 . Concerning Women. As Suzanne LaFollette so accurately stated. We also should not allow the customs and traditions of a people to obstruct our analysis. The Lord’s Prayer might be a good starting point for Christians. those who reject Islam on the basis of popularized slanders judge the religion not by what God says but by what people say. Once we look past these elements of religious pollution.
or for anybody else for that matter. as it is in heaven. This prayer is nondenominational and a person would have to be 268 . Thy will be done. Give us this day our daily bread. it would have to either be that guidance is not specifically requested or that the two recorded forms of the prayer differ. as follows: Matthew 6:913 Luke 11:24 “Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom come. as we forgive our debtors.” The Lord’s Prayer might be a good starting point for Christians.” If any objection exists at all.hard pressed to object to a request to be “delivered from evil. “Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name. Amen. forever. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. and the power.” And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. And lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom. so in earth Give us day by day our daily bread. as in heaven. and the glory. Thy will be done in earth. And forgive us our debts.
have announced that the only word of the Lord’s Prayer which can be directly attributed to 215 Jesus is “Father. In view of this startling uncertainty.” (TMQ 1:17) 215 Newsweek.” If any objection exists at all. October 31. 1988.hard pressed to object to a request to be “delivered from evil. Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgement. Most Gracious. You do we worship. Praise be to Allah. 269 . p. The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds: Most Gracious. Muslims offer the following prayer as an acceptable alternative: “In the name of Allah. if either or both. Which prayer.” This conclusion is startling. but it questions that tree’s very existence. Some modern translations attempt to hide the disagreement between the two versions of the Lord’s Prayer. 80. Show us the straight way.000 yearold discrepancy. was voiced by Jesus remains uncertain—all the more so considering that The Jesus Seminar. Most Merciful. it would have to either be that guidance is not specifically requested or that the two recorded forms of the prayer differ (compare Matthew 6:913 with Luke 11:24). but pretty much any Bible published prior to 1970 records the 2. a body of prominent biblical scholars. and Your aide we seek. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your grace. for it not only shakes one of the most accepted trees in the forest of Christian faith. and who go not astray. those whose portion is not wrath.
Muslims recite this first surah of the Holy Qur’an a minimum of seventeen times a day the world over. nondenominational and to the point.Simple. As is the case with the “Lord’s Prayer” of the Bible. this prayer glorifies God and requests His guidance. but nowhere mentions “Islam” by name. Interestingly. it is difficult to object to a prayer so pure of sentiment and devoid of prejudice. 270 .
what we have had for the last two thousand years. Hence. We make no distinction between one another among them …” The argument these Jews and Christians propose is that if the Holy Qur’an tells the Muslims to acknowledge the revelations given to Moses and Jesus. Jews and Christians have pointed out that Ayah 2:136 of the Holy Qur’an teaches the Muslims to acknowledge “… what was given to Musa (Moses). although the Qur’an acknowledges the original revelation given to the prophets. of MisGod’ed).C. in no way does it validate the Old and New Testaments in their present. impure forms. as all religious scholars know. and for that matter. 271 . and 3. What we have in the present day. the Torah of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are lost. see chapters 3. is very much corrupted from the originals (for evidences and discussion. and not to make distinctions between the prophets.) THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOGIC “Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men. ‘Isa (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. then the Holy Qur’an validates the Old and New Testaments. Animal Automatism. ‘Isa (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord” was revelation.6. “What was given to Musa (Moses).B. and have been for millennia. Not true. However.A.” Thomas Henry Huxley.
Secondly, even taking the Jewish and Christian Bibles as they are, the Old Testament, New Testament and Holy Qur’an establish continuity in the chain of prophethood, revelation and monotheistic creed, as previously discussed. What we don’t find in the Old and New Testaments are the vain theories which so many rely upon for salvation—theories such as the Jews still being the “chosen people” despite having broken their covenant with God, and Christians being “justified by faith” even though Jesus Christ never taught any such thing. For that matter, nowhere did Jesus teach any of the integrals of Trinitarian theology (see Section 2.B. of MisGod’ed). Consequently, Muslims propose that those who follow the teachings of the prophets will discover the religion of Islam in their own books. In other words, all prophets taught the same monotheistic creed, the same continuity in the chain of prophethood and, with few amendments, the same divine law. However, just as we find consistency in the teachings of the prophets, we discover consistency amongst those who seek to distort revelation. The prophets lead us to truth, their antagonists (such as Paul) attempt to lead us astray; the tool of the prophets is revelation, that of their antagonists— mysticism. The Islamic view, then, is that each stage of revelation prepared true believers for the next. The creed was constant and the chain of prophethood unbroken. Those who follow this chain of prophethood and revelation will pass from one installment to the next, with the logical conclusion of accepting the final prophet, Muhammad, and the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. Consequently, the entreaty is offered,
“Say: “O People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians)! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say you: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).” (TMQ 3:64) Will mankind come to these common terms? Will we all unite in the worship of Allah and Allah alone? Associating no partners or cosharers in His divinity? Well, it hasn’t happened yet. But it is not all of mankind for whom each of us is responsible, but just our own selves: “O you who believe! Guard your own souls: if you follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. The goal of you all is to Allah: it is He that will show you the truth of all that you do.” (TMQ 5:105)
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
“It is a strange irony that those who reverence stones live in glass ideologies.” present author
Idolatry every monotheist abhors the thought, and yet many commit the crime themselves. Few, in the modern day, fully grasp the complexities of this issue, for the definition of idolatry has been buried beneath nearly 1,700 years of Church tradition. The Second Commandment states, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.” (Exodus 20:45; NKJV). Alternate translations employ slightly different, though significant, wording as follows: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (NRSV, NIV). The commandment not to make carved images speaks for itself, as does the subsequent decree not to make any likeness whatsoever. These directives should not demand much thought. However, it is man’s nature to seek loopholes in laws, taxes and scripture. Consequently, there are those who consider the initial order not to make “carved images” or “any likeness of anything” conditional upon the following decree not to serve or worship the images—the argument being that if nobody worships the image, then it’s permissible to make it. But that’s not what the commandment says. And in any case, caution dictates avoiding what God has forbidden, for the one who trespasses can expect to be held accountable.
But let’s take a step backwards. What do the words “serve” and “worship” really mean? “Serve,” according to MerriamWebster’s Dictionary, means “To give the service
216 and respect due to (a superior)” Sooo, if placing images in exalted positions (literally
upon pedestals), spending time, energy and money to dust, clean, beautify and preserve are not acts of service and respect, what are?” Common Christian response? That these acts of service are not acts of worship. Now, wait a minute. The word “worship” wasn’t around two thousand years ago. In fact, it wasn’t around one thousand years ago. It didn’t exist in the English language during the period of revelation, even if the New Testament had been written in English, which it wasn’t. So what words were available in biblical times? What is the meaning from which the word “worship” was derived? Not surprisingly, we trace the word “worship” back to a sense of having worth—a sense of worthiness: “Worship began life as a compound noun meaning virtually ‘worthiness.’ It was formed from the adjective worth and the noun suffix – ship ‘state, condition,’ and at first was used for ‘distinction, credit, dignity.’ This soon passed into ‘respect, reverence,’ but it was not used in
th specifically religious contexts until the 13 century. The verb dates from th the 12 century.” 217
MerriamWebster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 1997. Tenth edition. MerriamWebster Inc. Ayto, John. 1991. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Word Origins. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Limited. 275
“Worship: “In AngloSaxon, ‘weorðscipe’ meant ‘worthship,’ in which ‘worth’ is to be understood in the sense of value or honor. Worship, therefore, originally meant the state of worth, the quality of being valuable
218 or worthy.”
So what does the second commandment really say? Not to bow or pray to created images (in the manner of many Catholics), but also not even to value these images. “But we don’t value them,” the average Christian responds. “Oh, really? Well, in that case, you won’t mind if we just toss them into the garbage or flush them down the toilet. I mean, they’re worthless, right? Without value, right? And what do we do with worthless things? We throw them away, don’t we?” The point is that, yes, Christians value their images, and in this manner they violate the second commandment. Does idolatry come out in other ways? Sure. Ever wonder why people used to (and in some cases, still do) greet clergy, royalty and members of the social elite as “Your worship?” By this phrase, commoners venerated men and women of high worth, position and social status. So is that worship? According to the definition of the word, yes. “Your worship” meant “Your worthiness,” and conveyed the distinction of high value. So does this mean the commoners who used this phrase worshipped those they spoke of? Uh, yes. Yup, that’s about it. Not only did they worship them, they idolized them, and we see this dynamic applied as much to music, sports and movie stars in the present day as we do to clergy, royalty and the social elite.
New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol 14, p. 1030. 276
“Oh, come on,” you might say, “You’re being ridiculous.” No, I’m being precise. I’m not saying God has forbidden us to honor such individuals, I’m just saying that, yes, this is a form of worship. However, where this dynamic crosses the line into the forbidden is when people revere others as gods, or afford them the honors reserved for our Creator. Should they prefer these individuals’ guidance to the laws and guidance of revelation, they usurp God’s authority. Likewise, should they reverence such an individual by, oh let’s say, claiming him to be infallible or by bowing down to him (even if just to kiss his ring), they afford him the rights reserved for Almighty God. In this manner, idolatry does not require a statue, although statues certainly heighten the offense—“… idolatry refers to the worship of gods other than the one, true
219 God, and the use of images is characteristic of the life of the heathen.”
It is interesting to have a Catholic encyclopedia provide such a definition, which in the minds of many is selfcondemning. The unfortunate situation is that many modern Christian institutions justify their practices more on the basis of tradition than scripture. Rarely is scripture given priority over tradition. Examples do exist, however. As recently as the 1500’s, the Nestorian Christians of the Malabar Coast in India were presented with an image of the Virgin Mary for the first time. Largely sheltered from European influence, these Malabar Coast Christians had remained ignorant of the changes instituted by the various councils and synods of the European Churches. Only with the establishment of sea routes in the sixteenth century did the two begin to interact. E. Gibbon noted:
New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol 7, p. 348. 277
Gibbon.“Their separation from the Western world had left them in ignorance of the improvements or corruptions of a thousand years; and their conformity with the faith and practice of the fifth century. Chapter XLVII. they 221 indignantly exclaimed. The wit of the Christian apologists was pointed against the foolish idolaters. and their enmity to the Greeks. had they been endowed with sense 220 221 Gibbon. and they measured with scrupulous avarice the honours of the Virgin Mary. Vol. Edward. whom the superstition of the Latins had almost exalted to the rank of a goddess. 5. Edward. would 220 equally disappoint the prejudices of a Papist or a Protestant. Chapter XLVII. 263. which. When her image was first presented to the disciples of St.” So how did they respond when presented with an image of the Virgin Mary? “…the title of mother of God was offensive to their ear. 263. 278 . 5. The Mosaic law had severely proscribed all representations of the Deity; and that precept was firmly established in the principles and practice of the chosen people. the images of brass and marble. who bowed before the workmanship of their own hands. p. Esq. and this aversion may be ascribed to their descent from the Jews. Thomas. not idolaters!’” Notably. p. these Malabar Coast Christians were neither incorrect nor alone in their views: “The primitive Christians were possessed with an unconquerable repugnance to the use and abuse of images. Vol. Esq. ‘We are Christians.
the images crept back. Esq. 11. with an identical role. By a slow though inevitable progression. to awaken the cold. to the critical eye. p. 5. Edward. E. and to gratify the prejudices of the heathen proselytes. should have started rather from the pedestal to adore the 222 creative powers of the artist. Vol. at such cost in martyrs’ blood. p. Gibbon comments: “At first the experiment was made with caution and scruple; and the venerable pictures were discreetly allowed to instruct the ignorant. 279 . was insensibly being 223 restored. R. It was the Christians of the East who first began to feel that much of the pagan religion that their forefathers had destroyed. “The primitive Christians had attacked image worship as the work of the devil and there had been wholesale destruction of every type of idol when Christianity had at last triumphed.” In more simple and modern English. Chapter XLIX. But over the succeeding centuries. the honours of the original were transferred to the copy; the devout Christian prayed before the image of a 222 223 Gibbon. E. appearing under new names but. 359. and idol worship invaded Catholic services from that time on. Chamberlin.and motion.” Religious art nonetheless was approved at the Council of Nicaea in 325CE.
in the full magnitude of the abuse. the name of idolaters; the incessant charge of the Jews and Mahometans. Edward. Thomas. VI.” All whose Christianity was based upon scripture. 365. 1967. luminaries. and each petty step was pleasing to the superstitious mind. again 224 stole into the Catholic church. Constantina. 280 . Gibbon. requested a representation of Jesus Christ in 326CE. who derived from the law and the Koran an 225 immortal hatred to graven images and all relative worship. Book VII. “The worship of images had stolen into the church by insensible degrees. p. 431. p. 5. p. Italy and Her Invaders. apostolic example and the teachings of the prophets opposed the introduction of idol worship. and what kind of likeness of Christ is there? Such images 226 are forbidden by the second commandment. as productive of comfort and innocent of sin. Esq. Esq. 361. Chapter XLIX. New York: Russell & Russell. under the mask of Christianity. with grief and impatience. Eusebius of Nicomedia answered. that. Vol. Vol. 5. “What. the more timorous Greeks were awakened by an apprehension. 226 Hodgkin. and incense. Vol. Hence. they had restored the religion of their fathers; they heard. But in the beginning of the eighth century. Edward.” Given time. when Emperor Constantine’s congruentlynamed sister.saint; and the Pagan rites of genuflexion.” 224 225 Gibbon. Chapter XLIX.
he had painted the miracles of Moses and of Christ. his own episcopal church. a convert from paganism. whose relics were deposited in it. and especially the martyrs. distinguished himself in this way. making the transition the easier. a person of senatorial rank. which were also adorned with statues and pictures; and this also would tend to draw the ignorant multitude to the new worship. and in the porticoes of it.Over two centuries ago. of the lives and acts of Christian saints. but also the reason for this corruption of Christian orthodoxy: “Temples being now built in honour of particular saints. Joseph Priestley penned a summary which not only explained the history. by learning from those pictures what they were not capable of learning from books. he says. celebrated for his parts and learning. to a knowledge and good opinion of the Christian doctrine. He rebuilt. habituated to the profane rites of paganism. it was natural to ornament them with paintings and sculptures representing the great exploits of such saints and martyrs; and this was a circumstance that made the Christian churches still more like the heathen temples. This. and who died afterwards bishop of Nola in Italy. was done with a design to draw the rude multitude. The custom of having pictures in churches being once begun (which was about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth 281 . dedicated to Felix the martyr. in a splendid manner. together with the acts of Felix and of other martyrs. Paulinus.
who had got his church painted. the same who commended Gregory Thaumaturgus for contriving to make the Christian festivals resemble the pagan ones. they were but rare in the beginning of the fifth century. but this was in the East. who should build and ornament their churches in the most expensive manner. One of this kind Epiphanius found in the year 389. there do not appear to have been many of Christ. that pictures and images were to be seen in the principal churches of his time. Though many churches in this age were adorned with the images of saints and martyrs. The origin of this custom was probably in Cappadocia. that he tore it. 282 . and nothing perhaps contributed more to it than the example of this Paulinus. In Italy. These are said to have been introduced by the Cappodocians; and the first of these were only symbolical ones.century. and he was so provoked at it. It was not till the council of Constantinople. and the bishop of that country. being made in the form of a lamb. by saying that the people being amused with the pictures would have less time for regaling themselves. It appears from Chrysostom. where Gregory Nyssenus was bishop. thought proper to make an apology for it. and generally by converts from paganism) the more wealthy among the Christians seem to have vied with each other.
“…it was the contact with Mohammedanism which opened the eyes of Leo and the men who stood round his throne. nor was to be dared till the human race had taken several 227 Priestley. Shrinking at first from any representation whatever of visible objects. Birmingham: Piercy and Jones. Joseph.’ Pp.called In Trullo. then allowing herself the use of beautiful and pathetic emblems (such as the Good Shepherd). F. 337339. Part 2 ‘Of Pictures and Images in Churches. the representation of the Almighty Maker of the Universe as a bearded old man. Vol.’ Section 1. The crowning absurdity and blasphemy. the Virgin and the Saints. to the degrading and idolatrous superstitions that had crept into the Church and were overlaying the life of a religion which. From this the transition to specially reverenced pictures of Christ. 1782. by representations on the walls of the churches of the chief event of Scripture history. in 726CE. that pictures of Christ were 227 ordered to be drawn in the form of men. was natural and easy. floating in the sky. in the fourth century the Christian Church sought to instruct the converts whom her victory under Constantine was bringing to her in myriads. was not yet perpetrated. was fast becoming one of the most superstitious and materialistic that the world had ever seen. held so late as the year 707. Leo III (also known as Leo the Isaurian but best known as Leo the Iconoclast) began to destroy images within the expanding circle of his influence. LL. at its proclamation the purest and most spiritual.R.D. Thomas Hodgkin noted.” A short nineteen years following the council of Constantinople. 283 . 1; ‘The History of Opinions relating to Saints and Angels.S. ecclesiastics as well as laymen. An History of the Corruptions of Christianity.
” No doubt the person who claims humility stands instantly disqualified (i. and repent. If you persist. More importantly. as a God upon earth. After he defeated the Muslims. Gibbon. p. 1924. VI. whose image you threaten to destroy…Abandon your rash and fatal enterprise; reflect. the apostle St. “Look at how humble I am! Can’t you tell I’m the most humble person you’ve ever seen?”). Preface. the pope who sanctioned images while at the same time stating. 230 Shaw. the mediators of peace between the East and West? The eyes of the nations are fixed on our humility; and they revere.steps downward into the darkness of the Middle Ages; but enough had been already done to show whither the Church was tending. tremble. Edward.” As stated in the preface to Saint Joan. 431. Esq. 5.” The irony of Leo’s transition from victor over the Saracens in Eastern Europe to Leo the Iconoclast is inescapable.e. Book VII. In any case. Peter himself. Vol. he adopted their drive to abolish idolatry. which all the kingdoms of the West 228 229 Hodgkin. 3767. we are innocent of the blood that will be spilt in the contest; may it fall on your own 229 head. 284 . Vol. “But for the statue of St. George Bernard. and to give point to the sarcasm of the followers of the Prophet when they hurled the epithet ‘idolaters’ at the craven and servile populations of Egypt and 228 Syria. Saint Joan. pp. Thomas. Peter. “The Churches must learn humility as well 230 as teach it. Chapter XLIX. Pope Gregory II attempted to dampen Leo’s enthusiasm with the following council: “Are you ignorant that the popes are the bond of union.
p. the worship) they focused upon these images. Esq. The Synod of Constantinople convened without them and. So badly was the river polluted that “…during six years. And spill blood they did. Or at least. Chapter XLIX. Gibbon. A more likely scenario. Exactly who should “reflect. That Pope Gregory II and his followers were willing to wage war in defense of their images testifies to the extraordinarily high value (that is to say the worth. Vol. tremble and repent” should be boldly obvious.231 esteem as a god on earth. 7. to such an extent that the defeat of Leo’s army at Ravenna turned the waters of the river Po red. were either blasphemous or heretical; that image worship was a corruption of 231 232 Labbe. was that the Catholics recognized their inability to defend a practice that was scripturally condemned by the Almighty God they claimed to worship. VII. perhaps. 5. except in the Eucharist. 285 . p. the whole West would take a terrible revenge” should perceive an asteroidsized theological inconsistency. the public prejudice 232 abstained from the fish of the river…” When the Synod of Constantinople convened in 754CE. that was the excuse they offered. P. Edward. Sacrosancta Concilia. 379. “After a serious deliberation of six months the three hundred and thirtyeight bishops pronounced and subscribed a unanimous decree that all visible symbols of Christ. especially in consideration of the issue being one which confronts the commandments of Almighty God. Venice.. 17281733. the Roman Catholic Church boycotted due to nonconformity of the Greek Church with Catholic decrees.e. the worthiness—i. Vol.
S. Esq. who flourished from 193 to 220 A. p. 286 .G. W. Bonwick. or became members. James. or their Eucharistic sacrifice. the Redeemer and Saviour – that we find the nearest resemblance to the sacrament of the Christians. Those who were initiated into the mysteries of Mithra. 5. also speaks of the Mithraic devotees celebrating the Eucharist. the Mediator. as the Magi called Mithra. The Eucharist of the Lord and Saviour. This food they called the Eucharist. were guilty of 233 disobedience to the authority of the church and of the emperor. D. 369. Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought. 1956. and from which it was evidently borrowed.. Edward. was 233 234 Gibbon. Tertullian. Vol. Chapter XLIX. Colorado: Falcon’s Wing Press. The 234 Persians employed consecrated water and bread in the ancient cult of Mithras. T.” The fact that the synod exempted the Eucharist from association with paganism is curious to those who note the rites and rituals of the ancient Persians and Egyptians. took the sacrament of bread and wine….Christianity and a renewal of Paganism; that all such monuments of idolatry should be broken or erased; and that those who should refuse to deliver the objects of their private superstition. 417. Doane commented. F. p. and who had been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sin. the second person in their Trinity. of which no one was allowed to partake but the persons who believed that the things they taught were true.R. “It is in the ancient religion of Persia – the religion of Mithra.
1971. for both sometimes used water instead of wine. so the men of the Nile declared their bread after sacerdotal rites became mystically the body 238 of Isis or Osiris: in such manner they ate their god. 307308. Osiris) had lived on earth as benefactor.” The ancient Egyptians commemorated Osiris’ birth with a cradle and lights and annually celebrated his alleged resurrection. of a round shape. James. p. ‘The Egyptians marked this holy bread with St. 287 . Gliddon writes that they were ‘identical in shape with the consecrated cake of the Roman and Eastern Churches. p. like the cakes of Osiris. it should—James Bonwick comments. died for man’s good.” Not surprisingly the sungod. pp. that he (i. 162. “The cakes of Isis were. he records.’ The Presence bread was broken before being distributed 235 Doane. They commemorated his death by eating sacred bread which had been consecrated by their priests. Thomas W. New York: University Books. The cult of Osiris offered the same allure of an easy salvation as did Paul’s concept of salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus: “The secret of that popularity was. 236 Bonwick.e. 238 Bonwick.” Furthermore. 163. James. 417.always made exactly and in every respect the same as that of the orthodox Christians.. They believed this consecration transmuted the bread to the veritable flesh of 237 Osiris. Andrew’s Cross. or a mixture of 235 the two. p. They were placed upon the altar. Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions. “As it is recognized that the bread after sacerdotal rites becomes mystically the body of Christ. 237 Bonwick. 236 and lived again as friend and judge. James.’ Melville assures us. Osiris. If it all sounds familiar. was the most popular of the Pagan gods of ancient Egypt.
the abovementioned Eucharistic practices and mysteries of faith preceded those of Catholicism by more than two thousand years. 305309. Andrew was born. they ate the flesh and drank the 240 blood of their gods. p. The miracle was wrought by the hand of the officiating 239 priest. Justin Martyr. In this manner. 307. and was supposed to become the flesh and blood of the Diety. Doane. 241 Doane. Hindus a Eucharist of soma juice (an intoxicating plant extract). 239 240 Bonwick. Thomas W. or religious plagiarism on the part of St. followed by his resurrection and assumption of role as redeemer. W. However. ancient Buddhists offered a sacrament of bread and wine. we find striking similarities between the mysteries of Pauline Christianity and those of the cults of Isis and Osiris—mysteries to include the virgin birth (Isis the virgin mother. Horus the child) and the atoning sacrifice of Osiris.” In like fashion. T.by the priests to the people. dismissed these similarities by claiming that Satan copied the Christian ceremonies in 241 order to mislead the remainder of mankind. 288 . Andrew’s cross on their consecrated bread 2. pp. taking note of the time sequence. 417418. Doane reasonably concluded. and the ancient Greeks a sacrament of bread and wine in tribute to Demeter (Ceres—their goddess of corn) and Dionysos (Bacchus—their god of wine). Clairvoyance on the part of the Egyptians. who blessed the food. The religious parallels are so obvious as to demand explanation. Thomas W.000 years before St. pp. the famous Christian apologist. We can reasonably question how the cults of Isis and Osiris placed the mark of St. Andrew? In like fashion. James. Considering this fact.
it’s John against the quella—the hypothesized common source document of the Synoptics. p. Thomas W. 289 . Or. In short. and 242 Doane. but the statement that he said. So it’s John against the Synoptics. The story of Jesus and his disciples being at supper. Catholics do not tolerate a symbolic interpretation of their sacramental rites. may be true. all but one. when all of the gospels record Jesus’ words at the Paschal meal? Well. In any case. lest anybody misunderstand.” Invented statements. in the Bible? How that be. ‘Do this in remembrance of me. really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to John 13:1.’ and ‘this is my blood.’ was undoubtedly invented to give authority to the mystic 242 ceremony. The Council of Trent (154563 CE) established laws concerning the alleged transmutation of the Eucharist.’ – ‘this is my body. that is. to make the contest even. where the Master did break bread.“These facts show that the Eucharist is another piece of Paganism adopted by the Christians. 312. Not even the more liberal Vatican II Council effected a change. their judgement reads: “Canon 1: If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly. Jesus was arrested before the passover feast. and these laws stand to this day. which had been borrowed from Paganism.
venerate or glorify are to suffer the same fate as those who consider the Eucharist symbolic. 79.. O. cursed and excommunicated). 244 Schroeder. and is consequently neither to be venerated with a special festive solemnity. or 243 figure or force. let him be 244 anathema. as opposed to dulia (the honor given to the saints) and hyperdulia (the honor given the Virgin Mary) – McBrien. p. Rev.P. 80. is not to be adored with * the worship of latria .” In other words. also outwardly manifested. p. This judgement is reinforced by the following: “Canon 6: If anyone says that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist. Rev. The elimination of the Eucharist from the Protestant sacraments is particularly easy to understand. Richard P. the worship or adoration owed to God alone. These Catholic laws remain to the present day. HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. for many pagan cultures 243 Schroeder.e. 1941. Christ. Henry J. those who refuse to adore. let him be anathema. Herder Book Co.consequently the whole Christ. which explains why so many Protestant divisions have sidestepped away from their Catholic cousins and adopted more critical views of the doctrines of transubstantiation and veneration of the Eucharist. Henry J. Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (Original Text with English Translation). nor to be solemnly borne about in procession according to the laudable and universal rite and custom of the holy Church. anyone who considers the bread and wine of the Eucharist to be symbolic is to be anathema (i. 290 . * latria. London: B. but says that He is in it only as in a sign.” In other words.. or is not to be set publicly before the people to be adored and that the adorers thereof are idolaters. the only begotten Son of God.
Returning to the main subject. the Roman Catholic Church responded to the Synod of Constantinople of 754 CE by calling a second Council of Nicaea in 787 CE. 242. Of equal or greater concern is the adoption of human idols. Edward. Pope worship became manifest in 245 246 Gibbon. Chapter XLIX. Edward. 6. Chapter LIV.taught assimilation of the qualities of the ancestral totem through eating “bread transmuted into flesh. Beginning with the slaughter of Unitarian Christians in the midninth century. Vol. “…the worship of images 245 is agreeable to Scripture and reason.” All subsequent efforts to eradicate images in the church were quashed.” Which group has the real sacred saltine remains the subject of ongoing debate. Gibbon. p. Empress Theodora gained the dubious distinction of 246 being the one “…who restored the images to the Oriental church. We have to wonder what apostolic fathers and which scripture this second council consulted. the theory that certain of the clergy partook of hallucinogenic mushrooms begins to look pretty good. 397. 5. This second council reinstated image worship on the basis that. 291 . p. Esq. those religious communities which objected to Christian idol worship were “cleansed” by the Catholic armies. Vol. For that matter. resulting in the idolatrous practices witnessed in present day. Priest worship surfaced in the early thirteenth century. to the fathers and councils of the church…” Suddenly. exactly how is this decision agreeable to reason? In any case. in the form of Christians taking priests as intermediaries for confession and absolution of sins. Esq.
A powerful challenge to Trinitarian thought. set the pope as rival with God. were Jesus to return and ask the following questions: a) Why did you address your devotions to me? Did I ever direct you to do this. as defined by Pope Pius IX at the first Vatican Counsel in 18691870. Jesus Christ stands out as the most worshipped mortal ever to have walked the Earth. Ave Marie (i.e. angels and the Virgin Mary was officially sanctioned from the early seventh century. However. to my God and your God? (John 20:17) c) When my disciples requested me to teach them to pray (Luke 11:12).. initially attributed to Theophilus Lindsey (17231804 CE) and subsequently argued by Unitarian Christians worldwide. to my Father and your Father. The worship of Mary and the title “Mother of God” were canonized considerably earlier. Directing prayers to saints.the form of ritual kissing of the Pope’s foot or ring. or propose myself as an object of worship? b) Did I not uniformly and to the last set an example of praying to the Father. lagged a thousand years behind. questions how those who worship Jesus would respond. did I ever teach them to pray to myself? Did I not teach them to pray to no one but to the Father? 292 . at the Council of Ephesus in 431 CE. from amongst the candidates for human focuses of worship. The famous prayer to the Virgin Mary. The creative doctrine of papal infallibility. and received official formulation in the reformed Breviary of Pope Pius V in 1568. Hail Mary).
That is what Jesus taught. As per Matthew 7:21 23. cast out demons in your name. have we not prophesied in your name. who are these disbelievers going to be? Answer: those who “practice lawlessness” (Jesus’ words. So where in his teachings or example did Jesus command servitude and worship of himself? Nowhere. after building the temple said. Lord. ‘Lord. “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built” (I Kings 8:27). you who practice lawlessness!’” So if Jesus will disown some Christians (i. Many will say to me in that day. not mine). for Christians expect that when Jesus returns. 293 . those who say “Lord. isn’t it? For what law did Jesus teach? During the period of Jesus’ mission “the will of my Father in heaven” was Old Testament law. Lord. and done many wonders in your name?’ And then I will declare to them. but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Lord”) who prophesied. So how could God ever have dwelt on earth? The above questions are all the more relevant. cast out demons and performed wonders in his name. ‘Lord.d) Did I ever call myself God..e. ‘I never knew you; depart from me. and that is what Jesus lived.’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven. “Not everyone who says to me. And that is the point. in fact. he will denounce many “Christians” as disbelievers. Just the opposite. for the Bible records him having taught. or tell you that I was the maker of the world and to be worshipped? e) Solomon.
the general practice of Trinitarians themselves is. In the Clementine liturgy. there is no trace of any such thing. Praying to Jesus is a modern innovation. And such hold have early established customs on the minds of men. in a large treatise on the subject of prayer. Mark 1018.“‘…You shall worship the Lord your God. and Him only you shall serve’” (Luke 4:8). Origen. that. contained in the Apostolical Constitutions. and not to Christ; and as he gives no hint that the public forms of prayer had anything reprehensible in them in that respect. the practice of praying to the Father only. and the Father alone. whose prayers are always addressed to Christ. “Why do you call me good: No one is good but One. to pray to the Father only. that is. Christians focused the first eighteen centuries of their worship on the Father. Perhaps for these reasons. such petitions to Christ were unknown in the public assemblies of Christians. Jesus reportedly taught. which were probably composed about the fourth century. in his time. was long universal in the Christian church: the short addresses to Christ. 294 . “…My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). urges very forcibly the propriety of praying to the Father only. the oldest that is extant.” being comparatively of late date. “Lord have mercy upon us. Christ have mercy upon us. Furthermore. God” (Matthew 9:17. we are naturally led to conclude that. as those in the Litany. distant from both Jesus’ teachings and time: “Accordingly. and Luke 18:19) and. excepting the Moravians only.
they themselves prayed in this fashion for only a brief period of time in the overall scheme of Christian history. namely that up to his time (late eighteenth century) the “…general practice of Trinitarians themselves is. to pray to the Father only. should such a preference for the Father have prevailed? And not just for a decade or two. if the three persons of the proposed Trinity are considered coequal. since this group was formed in the fifteenth century. Joseph. only the littleknown Moravian Protestants consistently directed their prayers to Jesus Christ.Now on what principle could this early and universal practice have been founded? What is there in the doctrine of a Trinity consisting of three equal persons. Edited by John Towill Rutt. Hackney: George Smallfield. indeed? Priestley records a little known element of Christian history. Furthermore. 295 . The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley. 1786. a greater lesson is to be learned from the uniformity of early Christian devotions than from the inconsistencies of Trinitarian theology. p. but for the first eighteen hundred years of Christianity? Unless. in preference to the 247 Son or the Spirit?” What is there.” Those who draw upon their modern Christian experience might mistakenly believe that the twentyfirst century practice of praying to Jesus Christ dates from the period of origins. 29. to entitle the Father to that distinction. Vol VI. Nothing is further from the truth. 247 Priestley. that is. So why. For the first eighteen hundred years of Christianity.
the Holy Spirit. iconoclastic faith. no historical analysis of this subject would be complete without noting that Islam has always maintained a strictly monotheistic. Mary. as described by Gibbon: “The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. “I believe in One God and Mahomet the apostle of God. However. Esq. the multitude of ‘saints. 533. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason 248 and religion.Priestley was just one of many who attempted to prevent the derailing of Christian devotions from the Creator to His creation (i.” is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. Vol.” 248 Gibbon.’ et cetera). Chapter L.e. Jesus. Edward. 296 . p. 5.
Although an exceptional reference. and respected. enhanced by the beauty of more classical English than that found in more modern translations. Elmhurst.. and is best avoided in favor of more classic. Al Madinah AlMunawarah. 2) The Noble Qur’an (King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex. easily 297 . modern. New York) both present the translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali – an excellent translation. Abul Qasim Publishing House. primarily from the collection of alBukhari. A major shortcoming. alQurtubee. dedicated reading can become tiresome due to the format and limitations of the language. Saudi Arabia) translated by Dr. An excellent. Al Madinah AlMunawarah. Muhammad Al Hilali and Dr. however. Saudi Arabia). This is without a doubt the most errorfree of the English translations. tafaseer (explanations of the meanings of the Qur’an). Muhammad Muhsin Khan. 3) The Qur’an (revised and edited by Saheeh International. is that the translator’s commentary contains multiple errors. thoroughly researched and complemented by explanations from the tafaseer of Ibn Katheer. Saudi Arabia) and The Qur’an (Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an Inc. and atTabaree. Jeddah. A more modern and literal translation than that of Abdullah Yusuf Ali.APPENDIX 2 – RECOMMENDED READING Translations of the Meaning of the Holy Qur’an: 1) The Holy Qur’an (King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex. yet this translation nonetheless suffers from a certain lack of fluency in the English language. as well as quotations of authentic hadith.
England) by Martin Lings. accurate. section 4. and pleasing translation of meaning of the Qur’an. but still readable and highly informative. 2) Approaching the Qur’an (White Cloud Press). only slightly marred by the few aforementioned errors (see relevant footnote. Comparative Religion (from a Muslim perspective): 298 . award winning history of the Prophet. Saudi Arabia.). by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi.D. Published by Maktaba DarusSalam. England). by Michael Sells History (of Islam): 1) Muhammad. translation in the English language is slightly disappointing. Highly recommended as the first book for those seeking an easy. An excellent and comprehensive history of the life of Muhammad. His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (The Islamic Texts Society. Birmingham. History (of the Arabs): 1) A History of the Arab Peoples (Warner Books) by Albert Hourani. thought by many to be the overall best available in the English language. Sciences of the Qur’an: 1) An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan (AlHidaayah Publishing. An excellent. 2) When the Moon Split by SafiurRahman alMubarakpuri. Scholarly and comprehensive. Cambridge.readable and highly respected translation.
Pleasure Reading: 299 . by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood. Ehrman. Basic Information on Islam: 1) What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims (Kazi Publications.com. Ehrman. England). almost anything by Bart D. 3) And. 2) Misquoting Jesus (Harper San Francisco). balanced by personal narrative. Oxford). but published under a different title. with greater emphasis on theology. Ehrman. www. but every bit as enjoyable and informative. treasure of theology written by this British scholar. Shorter than Suzanne Haneef’s book. Guidance to New Muslims: 1) Bearing True Witness (or. see the footnotes to his books. beautifully written primer. For further reading.1) A Muslim Study of the Origins of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press). for that matter. by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood. An extraordinary. Now That I’ve Found Islam. What Do I Do With It?) see author’s website. by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood. IL). by Laurence B. 2) Lost Christianities (Oxford University Press). Brown—the first book in this series. by Bart D. Comparative Religion (from a nonMuslim perspective): 1) MisGod’ed.leveltruth. Same book and author. and sadly neglected. by Suzanne Haneef. A comprehensive. Chicago. Markfield. 2) What Every Christian Should Know About Islam (The Islamic Foundation. by Bart D. 2) The Mysteries of Jesus (Sakina Books.
300 . and then through the world of the Arabs. by Muhammad Asad.1) The Eighth Scroll. Memoirs of a Danish Muslim’s travels through “Italian” Africa. by Knud Holmboe. 3) Desert Encounter. by Laurence B. 2) The Road to Mecca (Islamic Book Trust. first to Islam. Brown. Kuala Lumpur). A historical thriller. A remarkable and heartwarming story of one man’s journey.
John J. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1953. A Touchstone book: Simon & Schuster. 1964. Muhammad Muhsin Khan. J. AlBukhari.D. AlMubarakpuri. Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Arberry. Ph. and Dr. Achtemeier. 1995. Richard A. Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel; translated by Dr. Alistair B. A. A. The Holy Koran – An Introduction with Selections. Columbus: Charles E. M. 1996. 1981. A. 1997. Merrill Publishing Co. Cahir. AnNasa’ee Anthes. (General Editor). J. Riyadh: Darussalam. Dala’el AnNoobowah. London: Oxford University Press. Arberry. Muhammad. 1985.. 301 . Sahih AlBukhari. AlHaakim AlHilali. The Koran Interpreted. Panofsky. ArRaheeq AlMakhtum (The Sealed Nectar). The Atmosphere.D. Harper’s Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper and Row. SafiurRahman. AlQurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih AlBukhari. Paul J. Riyadh: Maktaba DarusSalam. Arberry. Fraser. Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Qur’an in the English Language; A Summarized Version of AtTabari. 3rd ed. and Hans A. The Koran Interpreted.BIBLIOGRAPHY Abu Nu’aem. J.
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and the inborn ability to discriminate between good and evil.GLOSSARY OF TERMS AH – After Hijra. 314 . CE – “Common Era” or “Christian Era. BH – Before Hijra. actions. Fitrah includes the recognition and understanding of Allah as Lord and Creator. Hijra The Muslim migration from Makkah to Medina in July of the year 622 CE. See ‘AH’ for explanation. Bint – Daughter of. Subsequent dates were calculated according to the lunar calendar.” Fitrah – The innate nature instilled by Allah as human birthright. The zero point of the Islamic calendar corresponds to the Muslim Hijra (migration) from Makkah to Medina in July of the year 622 CE (AD). Hafith – A memorizer of the Holy Qur’an. Ayah (Plural: Ayat) – Verse of the Holy Qur’an. Ibn – Son of. appearance. being the one who goes out in front of the congregation. or implied consents of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. Imam – Leader of the prayer. Hadith – A tradition recording the words. Haj – The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah. which differs from the Julian calendar by roughly 10 days each year.
accounting for 95% of all Muslims. Zakat – The poordue incumbent upon Muslims. Baca) The holy city to which Muslims make pilgrimage. The Kaba. Sunni – Orthodox sect of Islam. Bakka. Sahaba – The companions of the prophet Muhammad. 315 . Mecca – See Makkah. and the well of ZamZam is contained in the central. Becca.Makkah – (aka Mecca. Tawheed – Islamic monotheism. to which Muslims direct prayers. Mushaf – Book. Surah – Chapter of the Holy Qur’an. sacred mosque.
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