The Quran on expanding universe and Big Bang

HERE IS THE ISLAMIC CLAIM:

To read the full original article by this very popular Islamic website, click here

…“And the heaven We created with might, and indeed We are (its) expander.” (Quran 51:47)

At the time of the revelation of the Quran, the word “space” was not known, and people used the word “heaven” to refer to what lies above the Earth. In the above verse, the word “heaven” is referring to space and the known universe. The verse points out that space, and thus the universe, happens to be expanding, just as Hubble’s Law states.

That the Quran mentioned such a fact centuries before the invention of the first telescope, at a time when there was primitive knowledge in science, is considered remarkable. This is more so considering that, like many people in his time, Prophet Muhammad happened to be illiterate and simply could not have been aware of such facts by himself. Could it be that he had truly received divine revelation from the Creator and Originator of the universe?

The Big Bang Theory

…The Big Bang theory states that around 12-15 billion years ago the universe came into existence from one single extremely hot and dense point, and that something triggered the explosion of this point that brought about the beginning of the universe. The universe, since then, has been expanding from this single point…

Presently, the Big Bang theory is accepted by the vast majority of scientists and astronomers.

It is mentioned in the Quran:

“He (God) is the Originator of the heavens and the earth…” (Quran 6:101)

“Is not He who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the likes of them? Yes; and He is the Knowing Creator. His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (Quran 36:81-82)

The above verses prove that the universe had a beginning, that God was behind its creation, and all that God needs to do inorder to create is to say “Be,” and it is. Could this be an explanation as to what triggered off the explosion that brought about the beginning of the universe?

The Quran also mentions:

“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, then We separated them, and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” (Quran 21:30)

Muslim scholars who have explained the previous verse mention that the heavens and earth were once one, and then God caused them to separate and form into the seven heavens and Earth. Yet, due to the limitations of science and technology at the time of the revelation of the Quran (and for centuries to follow), no scholar was able to give much detail about how exactly the heavens and earth were created. What the scholars could explain was the precise meaning of each word in Arabic in the verse, as well as the overall meaning of the verse.

In the previous verse, the Arabic words ratq and fataq are used. The word ratq can be translated into “entity” “sewn to” “joined together” or “closed up”. The meaning of these translations all circulate around something that is mixed and that has a separate and distinct existence. The verb fataq is translated into “We unstitched” “We clove them asunder” “We separated” or “We have opened them”. These meanings imply that something comes into being by an action of splitting or tearing apart. The sprouting of a seed from the soil is a good example of a similar illustration of the meaning of the verb fataq.

With the introduction of the Big Bang theory, it soon became clear to Muslim scholars that the details mentioned with regards to the theory go identically hand in hand with the description of the creation of the universe in verse 30 of chapter 21 of the Quran. The theory states that all the matter in the universe came into existence from one single extremely hot and dense point; that exploded and brought about the beginning of the universe, matches what is mentioned in the verse that the heaven and Earth (thus the universe) where once joined together, and then split apart. Once again, the only possible explanation is that Prophet Muhammad had truly received divine revelation from God, The Creator and Originator of the universe.

AND HERE IS THE REALITY:

What a far-fetched thinking of deluded believers! Firstly, if the Big Bang is true, then story of creation is wrong, as mentioned in the Bible as well as the Quran. And again see how much of the Quran is quoted, what the Quran says. Is there a single line in the Quran which could not have been said by humans? Just as one point, we would like to say that the space of the earth in this universe is like a drop of water in the entire ocean, of all the oceans of the world. And even lesser than that actually. God could have simply said something like this, “The earth in which you live is like less than a drop of water in the ocean of all the oceans of the world”. But again, nothing of this sort is said in the Quran.

To read the full article click here

The first important point to consider is the actual statements of the Qur’an, and whether they have been honestly presented. Oktar quotes the Qur’an as saying in 51:47 “It is We Who have built the universe with (Our creative) power, and, verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.”

Is that a fair translation of the aya in question?

Well, not according to the three most highly regarded English translations generally available. Their versions are:

In Al-Qur’an 051.047, Muhammad (or somebody) wrote:

YUSUFALI: With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space.
PICKTHAL: We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof).
SHAKIR: And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely We are the makers of things ample.

Not one of them contains the idea of an ongoing expansion of the universe. In fact, none of them refers to the “universe” at all, but to the heavens or firmament, in contrast to the aya immediately following which discusses the earth:

Al-Qur’an 051.048, Muhammad (or somebody) wrote:

YUSUFALI: And We have spread out the (spacious) earth: How excellently We do spread out!
PICKTHAL: And the earth have We laid out, how gracious is the Spreader (thereof)!
SHAKIR: And the earth, We have made it a wide extent; how well have We then spread (it) out.

The dualism of the heaven and the earth is a recurring theme in the Qur’an, and to ancient Arabs they together would have been considered the entire universe. And generally, when one is referred to, the other marches right along with it in the repetitive pattern of most Arabic poetry.

The problem here is that since the identical verb forms and grammar are used, to include tense, how can Oktar claim the first aya refers to an ongoing, continuing expansion of the heavens, without also concluding that the second must also refer to an ongoing, continuing spreading of the earth?

Qur’anic cosmology is firmly geocentric, with the earth at the center of the universe surrounded by seven solid spheres (the “seven heavens”) within which orbited the stars, planets, sun and moon.

But here Oktar has deliberately and deceptively altered the meaning of 51:47 in three ways.

He has mistranslated “heaven” as “universe” in the attempt to make the Qur’an sound conceptually more sophisticated than it really is, and to provide a stronger basis for his second and more significant distortion.

He then not only translates the Arabic noun for “a vastness” into a verb meaning “expanding,” but he then adds the entirely superfluous adverb “steadily” in an attempt to insert into the Qur’an additional ideas that are not actually there. With these three translational liberties, Oktar has completely changed the meaning of this aya from a simple description of Allah’s creation of the heavens into a scientific statement of Hubble’s expanding universe that is not actually contained in the Qur’an.

Oktar’s misuse and abuse of al-Qur’an 21:30 is no more legitimate than his mutilation of 51:47 although at least his translation is more loyal to the original. In this case his primary tool for distortion comes from the decision to take this single aya completely out of context, and so disguise its actual (and obvious) meaning.

Here is the single verse as quoted by Oktar. In his own translation of Al-Qur’an 21.30, Oktar wrote:

Do those who are disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not have faith?

How convenient for his argument that he has not included the next two ayaat. Here are (again) the three most highly regarded translations of the three ayaat in question:

In Al-Qur’an, Muhammad (or somebody) wrote:

21.30
YUSUFALI: Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?
PICKTHAL: Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?
SHAKIR: Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were closed up, but We have opened them; and We have made of water everything living, will they not then believe?

21.31
YUSUFALI: And We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them, and We have made therein broad highways (between mountains) for them to pass through: that they may receive Guidance.
PICKTHAL: And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way.
SHAKIR: And We have made great mountains in the earth lest it might be convulsed with them, and We have made in it wide ways that they may follow a right direction.

21.32
YUSUFALI: And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)!
PICKTHAL: And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents.
SHAKIR: And We have made the heaven a guarded canopy and (yet) they turn aside from its signs.

Now that we have returned the verse to its actual context, let’s take a moment to contrast Oktar’s argument with what the Qur’an is actually describing. He claims that this is a description of the scientific fact that “when it was created, the universe occupied a very tiny volume.” In fact, there is no description all in this verse that could be interpreted at referring to volume in any sense.

But more importantly, Oktar is claiming that the “unstitching” of heaven and earth described here is a reference to the “Big Bang,” or the primordial creation of the universe. If this were the case, then the “earth” mentioned here can not refer to the planet Earth, as its creation was still billions of years in the future from the event Oktar claims is being described.

In other words, Oktar is implying (and many Muslim web sites and publications claim explicitly) that “earth” here means “matter,” and not the planet Earth itself.

But the very next verse proves that this cannot be true. For in that very next verse Allah is setting on that same “earth” mountains and highways. How could this be if the “earth” in these ayaat meant anything OTHER than the planet Earth? When you further consider that the next aya after that concerns the “heaven” as a “canopy” or “roof” to that same planet earth, then the idea that this verse is a description of the “big bang” becomes completely impossible.

These verses are exactly what they appear to be; they are a description of Allah’s creation of the planet Earth and the heavens above it, NOT a description of the creation of the universe as understood by modern science.

The idea that the heavens and earth were once joined and then separated by the activity of Gods and Goddesses was actually quite common among pagans of the Middle East. Among the Egyptians for example, it was the involuntary separation of Geb (the earth god) from his wife and sister Nut (the sky goddess) that was responsible for the division of the earth from the sky. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh likewise describes the moment “when the heavens had been separated from the earth, when the earth had been delimited from the heavens” as a result of the separation of a sky God (An) from a earth Goddess (Ki). If you remove the pagan references, you have the same story as found in the Qur’an.

Remember that in Muhammad’s day, the heavens and the earth WERE the entire universe. All the celestial bodies that could be observed were believed to reside within the concentric spheres of the “seven heavens.” The stars were even contained in the closest sphere to Earth in ignorance of the fact that their tiny size was simply an illusion caused by their great actual distance.

This truncated understanding of the universe is responsible for the fact that there is no actual discussion of the creation of a “universe” in the Qur’an at all. The Qur’an is completely silent on the “big bang” because it clearly has no awareness whatsoever of a universe that preexisted the creation of the planet Earth, or extended outwards into infinite space. It has no understanding of galaxies, or clusters of galaxies, or quasars or pulsars... any of the OTHER things that could have easily been mentioned by an omniscient Allah, and left us no room for quibbling.

And Muslim claims of miraculous scientific information in the Qur’an are shown to be, yet again, in error.

Copied miracle

The cosmological theory described in Quranis actually very primitive and mohammed have copied that from bible. Let’s look at what the Bible said over a millennium prior:

Book of Zechariah wrote:

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of

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man within him.

Book of Isaiah 40:22 wrote:

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

Book of Isaiah 44:24 wrote:

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Book of Jeremiah 10:12 wrote:

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

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The Quran on deep seas and internal waves

HERE IS THE ISLAMIC CLAIM:

To read the full original claim, click here:

God has said in the Quran:

“Or (the unbelievers’ state) is like the darkness in a deep sea.  It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds.  Darknesses, one above another.  If a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it….” (Quran 24:40)

This verse mentions the darkness found in deep seas and oceans, where if a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it.  The darkness in deep seas and oceans is found around a depth of 200 meters and below.  At this depth, there is almost no light (see figure 1).  Below a depth of 1000 meters there is no light at all.[1]  Human beings are not able to dive more than forty meters without the aid of submarines or special equipment.  Human beings cannot survive unaided in the deep dark part of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters.

Figure 1: Between 3 and 30 percent of the sunlight is reflected at the sea surface.  Then almost all of the seven colors of the light spectrum are absorbed one after another in the first 200 meters, except the blue light. (Oceans, Elder and Pernetta, p. 27.)

Scientists have recently discovered this darkness by means of special equipment and submarines that have enabled them to dive into the depths of the oceans.

We can also understand from the following sentences in the previous verse, “…in a deep sea.  It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds….”, that the deep waters of seas and oceans are covered by waves, and above these waves are other waves.  It is clear that the second set of waves are the surface waves that we see, because the verse mentions that above the second waves there are clouds.  But what about the first waves?  Scientists have recently discovered that there are internal waves which “occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities.”[2] (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Internal waves at interface between two layers of water of different densities.  One is dense (the lower one), the other one is less dense (the upper one). (Oceanography, Gross, p. 204.)

The internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because the deep waters have a higher density than the waters above them.  Internal waves act like surface waves.  They can also break, just like surface waves.  Internal waves cannot be seen by the human eye, but they can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location.[3]

AND HERE IS THE REALITY:

To read the original article, click here

Before we, go into it, again look at how much of it is said in the Quran. “Or [the unbelievers’ state] are like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those Allah gives no light to, they have no light. (Qur’an, 24:40)“. Now again see which part of this sentence could not have been said by humans? Now God could have easily said “Ordinary humans like you cannot go beyond a certain depth in the sea in today’s age. After some centuries, humans will be able to go down in the sea much deeper than now using some equipment. But what ordinary humans do not know right now, I will tell.” Simple and clear! Actually, some parts of the Pacific Ocean are so deep that no one has ever touched the bottom even today, in this modern age. God could have easily told what is in those parts. God could have also directly told many things still unknown to man, such as the cause of cancer, cure on it on every case, or treatment for diseases like night blindness, colour blindness, or forgetful in the old age!

Here is the rebuttal:

Another “miracle” that has dumbfounded our Muslim friends is the verse 24:40:

Or [the unbelievers’ state] are like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those Allah gives no light to, they have no light. (Qur’an, 24:40)

Muslims claims that in deep seas and oceans, the darkness increases and since human beings are not able to dive to a depth of more than 70 meters without the aid of special equipment, the above verse indicates that Muhammad had divine knowledge.

This is an obvious self deluding fallacy. Anyone who has dived only a few meters in the sea can see that the light decreases with depth, especially if there layers of clouds blocking the sunlight. Since antiquity Arabs used to dive into the Red Sea to harvest coral. Claiming that only Muhammad knew that in deep seas there is little light is preposterous when this can be observed by anyone diving into the sea.

Such claims only prove the desperation of the Muslims to fabricate miracles for a book that contains nothing but absurdities and nonsense.

But that is not all. Muslims also see another miracle in this verse. They say the part that says “…like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds…” is another another miracle of the Qur’an because:

“Scientists have only recently discovered that there are sub-surface waves, which “occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities.” These internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because deep water has a higher density than the water above it. Internal waves act like surface waves. They can break, just like surface waves. Internal waves cannot be discerned by the human eye, but they can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location.”

We can clearly see that Muhammad in this verse is not talking about any internal and underwater waves. His language is confused. That is why Muslims try to interpret his words in any way that please. How difficult was for him to be specific and say that in the sea there are internal waves? But he is talking about waves over wave as experienced by a person that is being drowned in the sea.

I am always amazed to see the desperation of the Muslims to find miracles in the most banal statements of the Quran.

This verse is not trying to explain to the readers how the deep oceans look but it is exemplifying the state of the unbeliever with something that is already known to the reader. This shows that people who read this verse already knew that the dept of ocean is dark (just as anyone knows today) and with this example Muhammad tried to make them visualize the state of the unbeliever. If they did not know that the deep waters are dark then the verse would not express what it intends to express. If I tell you my tie is the color of my hat, when you do know know what color is my hat, you would not understand what color is my tie and I would not be speaking clear to you. Remember, clarity is one of the claims of the Quran. But if I say my tie is red like cherry, you’ll soon know what color I am talking about because you have seen cherries and you are familiar with their color.

Furthermore Muhammad is not talking about “deep oceans”. In deep oceans you do not need to “stretch your hand” as Muhammad says, in order not to see it. You cannot see anything.

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The Quran on the Cerebrum

QURAN AND THE LYING SINFUL PREFRONTAL CEREBRUM

To read the Islamic claim, click here

And the original response can be read here

 But before we read this, again we will like to say, see how much of the Quran is quoted, and how much is asumed by the person forcibly trying to find a miracle. How much of the sentence said in the Quran was not possible to have been said by a human being? And is this “Miracle” aka hoax in clear language? All the assumptions which have been forcibly concluded in this hoax could have been said directly in the Quran. “So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful behavior and is responsible for the telling of lies and the speaking of truth” is what the very popular Islamic site claims. But the Quran simply says “No!  If he does not stop, We will take him by the naseyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)!” Which part of this line could not have been said by humans? The Quran could have simply said “The front part of the brain is responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful behavior”- simple and clear! But again, nothing of this sort is said in the Quran.

INTRODUCTION

Several Islamists promulgate Professor Keith L. Moore’s Quranic Pseudoscience of the lying sinful prefrontal area of the cerebrum (here referred to as the prefrontal cerebrum). The reader may want to check out the following site to follow a discussion as to whether the Quran actually mentions the prefrontal cerebrum or not as there is some doubt as to the meaning of the term naseyah. (Ref)

Nevertheless, for the sake of debunking Keith Moore yet again, I will accept for the sake of argument that naseyah refers to the prefrontal cerebrum as Moore seems to suggest.

Reference:

D) The Quran on the Cerebrum:

God has said in the Quran about one of the evil unbelievers who forbade the Prophet Muhammad from praying at the Kaaba:

No! If he does not stop, We will take him by the naseyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)! (Quran, 96:15-16)

Why did the Quran describe the front of the head as being lying and sinful? Why didn’t the Quran say that the person was lying and sinful? What is the relationship between the front of the head and lying and sinfulness?

If we look into the skull at the front of the head, we will find the prefrontal area of the cerebrum (see figure 12). What does physiology tell us about the function of this area? A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology says about this area, “The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region of association cortex…”1 Also the book says, “In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression….”2

Figure 12: Functional regions of the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex. The prefrontal area is located at the front of the cerebral cortex. (Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, Seeley and others, p. 210.) (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful behavior and is responsible for the telling of lies and the speaking of truth. Thus, it is proper to describe the front of the head as lying and sinful when someone lies or commits a sin, as the Quran has said, “…A lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)!”

Other web sites copy-pasting this proposition include:

  1. http://www.beconvinced.com/science/QURANCEREBRUM.htm
  2. http://www.crescentlife.com/thisthat/interesting%20stuff/quran_on_the_cerebrum.htm
  3. http://www.answering-christianity.com/forehead.htm
  4. http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_52.html

A search of the internet reveals that ALL the Islamist claims that the cerebrum is responsible for lying and sin comes from the SAME source, i.e. from Keith Moore.

Dr Moore has defined the prefrontal cortex as the naseyah. However, his illustration highlights an area (colored tan) that is known as Brodman’s Areas 9, 10 and 11. It is this brain region that we will concentrate our analysis.

ANALYSIS

1. Islamist Non-Evidence

The Islamist ‘so-called’ evidence that the prefrontal cerebrum is responsible for lying and sin is thus:

A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology says about this area, “The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region of association cortex…”1 Also the book says, “In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression….”2

A rational reader would see that planning and initiation of movement are not lying and sin. Though they may be required for its execution, they are not identical. Planning and initiation of movement can just as easily be required for truth and good deeds. In other words, movement control is not the process of lying which is a decision-making process and not a motor function. Thus, this line of thinking is false.

Secondly, aggression is not the same as lying and sin. One can just as easily lie and sin without aggression. Also one can be aggressive, as in self-defense, without being considered deceptive or sinful. Thus, the Islamist claim of evidence is clearly false.

2. Is the Prefrontal Cerebrum Really Responsible for Lying?

Modern science has investigated the brain processes required for lying and deception. This field has achieved great advancement from the invention (by kaffirs, naturally) of the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology (fMRI). The key scientific teams include those led by Associate Professor Jia-Hong Gao; Professor Scott H. Faro, M.D; Assistant Professor Daniel Langleben; Dr Frank Andrew Kozel, M.D.; and Professor Stephen Kosslyn.

I choose only the issue of lying and not sin because much medical science has been conducted on lying. Sin is a broader issue and encompasses the subset of lying/deception.

The thesis is that if the Quran is wrong about the prefrontal cerebrum and lying, then there is no need to prove the more general case about the prefrontal cerebrum and sin as I would immediately prove the Quranic Pseudoscience a load of rubbish.

Here is a summary of the modern scientific findings:

A) Associate Professor Jia-Hong Gao, University of Texas Health Science Center.

http://www.uthscsa.edu/opa/issues/new35-16/fMRI.html

http://www.uthscsa.edu/opa/releases/nrel28Mar02.htm

http://hendrix.imm.dtu.dk/services/jerne/brede/WOBIB_37.html

The imaging data revealed four principle areas of brain activation — in the prefrontal and frontal, parietal, temporal and sub-cortical regions.

Professor Gao’s experiment is a feigned memory test – which means that the brain areas involved in both feigning (i.e. lying) and memory will be activated. From his experiment, it can be seen that other parts of the cerebrum and the sub-cortical regions are responsible for lying, thus debunking the Islamist case that the prefrontal cerebrum is responsible for lying. The prefrontal cerebrum may only be partly responsible (i.e. for the memory component of the feigned memory experiment) and to assign it the prominent or sole role in lying is incorrect and/or deceptive. In fact, to be strictly correct, the decision-making processes for lying reside in the sub-cortical regions and not in the prefrontal region which is merely responsible for working memory functions, not the executive function of lying.

A detailed examination of the specific brain areas activated in the process of lying is provided by Lee et al., in “Lie Detection by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging”, Human Brain Mapping 15:157–164(2002).

In summary, the various functions of the brain areas in the lying process are as follows:

1. Prefrontal (BA 10, BA 9/46) – goal setting, cognitive-balancing and working memory functions.
2. Frontal (BA 6) – motor planning/decision processing.
3. Parietal (BA 40) – mental calculation of numerical problems.
4. Temporal (BA 21) – visual stimulation.
5. Sub-cortical {caudate and posterior cingulate} (BA 23) – inhibition of previously learned rules and self monitoring of random errors.

Lee et al. suggest the sub-cortical region is important in the decision-making process of lying, while the rest of the prefrontal-frontal-parietal-temporal-sub-cortical circuit mainly deals with the cognition and mechanics of the process.

Maguire et al. [1999] suggest that an important role for the posterior cingulate region is in the linking of incoming information with a repository of activated knowledge and thereby form a coherent representation of discourse. The conjoint activation of the anterior medial parietal/posterior cingulate region, therefore, reflects the online incorporation of information into a preset mental framework.

Here Lee et al. suggest the role of the posterior cingulate region in formation of the coherent representation of discourse into the preset mental framework (i.e. lying).

Activation of the caudate region reflects performance monitoring, just as Semrud-Clikeman et al. [2000] observed that the intact structure of the caudate correlates with performance on measures of inhibition (of the usual, i.e. previously learned responses).

Here Lee et al. suggest the role of the caudate cingulate region in the performance monitoring of the lying process.

Thus, the caudate and posterior cingulate regions together form and monitor the decision-making process of lying. These regions are in the sub-cortical area and not in the prefrontal cortex.

B) Professor Scott Faro, Functional Brain Imaging Center and Clinical MRI at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

http://www.rsna.org/daily/monday/fmri.html
http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002492.html

These areas (i.e. engaged in lying) were located in the frontal (medial inferior and pre-central), temporal (hippocampus and middle temporal), and limbic (anterior and posterior cingulate) lobes. During a truthful response, the fMRI showed activation in the frontal lobe (inferior and medial), temporal lobe (inferior) and cingulate gyrus.

Here, Professor Faro’s team found that the prefrontal cerebrum has no major part to do with lying. That the prefrontal cerebrum was not found to be involved is entirely due to the experimental design. Professor Faro’s experiment did not involve the use of memory, unlike Professor Gao’s feigned memory experiment.

This is why Professor Faro found that the prefrontal cerebrum does not play a role in the neurological process of lying.

C) Frank Andrew Kozel, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

http://www.news-medical.net/?id=3915

These areas (responsible for lying) included the right inferior frontal, right orbitofrontal, right middle frontal, left middle temporal and right anterior cingulated areas.

Dr Kozel’s team found more evidence that the prefrontal cerebrum is not responsible for lying. His experiment involved finding the brain areas activated when the subjects lied as opposed to when they told the truth. Thus, only the areas involved in lying were highlighted, removing the influence of other cognitive functions such as goal-setting, cognitive-branching, and working memory retrieval.

D) Assistant Professor Daniel Langleben, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

http://www.upliftprogram.com/h_brain_02.html#h16

When the subjects were lying, the scientists found significantly increased activity in both the anterior cingulate cortex, a section of the brain that has been linked to monitoring of errors and attention, and the prefrontal and premotor cortices, areas involved in the initiation of voluntary movement.

Here is more evidence that the prefrontal cerebrum is not responsible for lying. The prefrontal cortex is found to be responsible for the initiation of voluntary movement, not lying.

E) Professor Stephen Kosslyn. Pychology Dept. Harvard University. (Ref)

Harvard psychology professor Kosslyn also focuses on the brain in his study of deception, but he uses brain-scanning equipment to see what areas receive intense blood flow during questioning.

While his work has not yet been completed, preliminary results show that different regions of the brain light up when people tell the truth or lie. Further, he believes different regions are activated depending on the type of lie.

His data so far, he said, show the anterior cingulate, located near the front of the brain and associated with conflict resolution, is often activated during lies.

Admittedly Professor Kosslyn’s work is incomplete, but it does back up the work of others.

CONCLUSION

Modern medical research utilizing fMRI conduct brain scans has revealed that the prefrontal cerebrum is not responsible for lying.

Other brain regions are responsible, particularly the anterior cingulate gyrus which lies in the medial part of the brain in the frontal-parietal area and not in the prefrontal cerebrum (pictured above in grey).

The key evidence is provided by Lee et al., (i.e. Dr Gao’s team) who suggest that the sub-cortical regions are responsible for the main decision-making processes of lying, while the prefrontal region is mainly responsible for goal setting, cognitive-balancing, and memory retrieval and manipulation (i.e. part of the cognition and mechanics of the lying process).

Thus, the scientific evidence does not support the Islamist’s pseudoscientific claim that the Quran correctly asserts that the prefrontal region is responsible for lying as it is not the region responsible for the decision-making process of lying. Other regions, for example the anterior cingulate gyrus, the parietal lobe, other regions of the frontal lobe, and sub-cortical regions (i.e. the caudate and posterior cingulate), are required for the brain processes of lying.

black porn

Speed of light in the Quran or another hoax?

HERE IS THE ISLAMIC CLAIM:

To read the full article, click here:

Abstract:
The greatest speed C, denoting the velocity of light in vacuum, is hinted at in two glorious Quranic verses relating this fundamental universal contant C with the motion of the Earth-Moon system. A new relativistic interpretation of this Quranic relation gives C=299792.5 km/s in an extremely marvellous agreement with the accepted international value. This astonishing result emphasises the unity of the physical world, the validity of the special theory of relativity and the authenticity of the Glorious Quran for unbelievers.

Introduction:

…..

According to the US National Bureau of Standards(3): C = 299792.4574 + 0.0011 km/

and according to the British National Physical Laboratory C = 299792.4590 + 0.0008 km/s

A basically new definition of the metre was accepted in October 1983 at the 17th General Conference on Measures and Weights(3):

“The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of
1/299792458 of a second”….

Lunar Orbital Motion described in Quran:
Fourteen centuries ago, the QURAN(5), i.e. .the Holy Book of Islamic Religion, was directed from GOD to all humanity through Prophet Mohammad, who lived in the Arabian Peninsula.

The ARAB people use the lunar system in their calculation of time. The Quran addressed them in the only language they could understand without upsetting their habits. GOD (in Arabic ALLAH: the ONE and Only GOD, the CREATOR) says in the Quran:

“GOD is the ONE who made the sun a shining glory and the moon a light and for her ordained mansions, so that you might know the number of years and the reckoning” (10:5)

The lunar year is twelve months, the month is defined recently as the time of one revolution of the moon in its orbit around the earth. God hints at such orbit in the Quran:

“GOD is the ONE who created the night, the day, the sun, and the moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion” (21:33).

Here an essential scientific fact is clearly stated, namely, the existence of the earth’s, sun’s and moon’s orbits; besides, a reference is made to the travelling of these celestial bodies in space with their own motion! A new concept had therefore been established in the Quran, hundreds of years before it was discovered by modern science(6-7)

Today the concept of the lunar year is widely spread and, as we know, the moon is our nearest neighbour in space, and a companion to our planet. It is often said that the earth and moon form a twin-planet. As the moon orbits around the earth, the change in the relative positions of the moon, earth and sun cause the moon to show its phases(8-9). The time between consecutive new moons is 29.53 days and is called the synodic month. During this time, however, the earth, and consequently the moon’s orbit, have travelled some way around the sun, so the position of the moon against the background of stars is different. ‘l;he time for the moon to return to the same position in the sky as viewed from earth is called the sidereal month (27.32 days) which represents the actual real net time of one revolution in the moon’s orbit. This orbit is almost circular having an average radius r=384264 km.

Fig. 1 describes the moon’s motion during a lunar month. Position A1 shows a new moon. Position B (about 2 weeks later than A1) illustrates the following full moon. Position A2 the moon has orbited the earth once (with respect to an apparently fixed star). Thus one sidereal period (27.32 days) has elapsed since position A1. The next new moon does not occur until position A3 where the moon has once again lined up with the sun. Thus one lunar synodic period (29.53 days) has elapsed since position A1.

Referring to the Quranic verse (10:5), we notice that it discriminates between the apparent synodic period for knowing the number of years and the real sidereal period for reckoning in scientific calculations. These two systems of measuring time are now given in the text books of Astronomy as indicated(l،) in table 2:

Table (2) Lunar month and terrestrial:day

Period Siderial Synodic
Lunar Month T 27.321661 days = 655.71986 hours 29.53059 days
Terrestrial day t 23 h, 56 min 4.0906 sec = 86164.0906 sec 24 hours = 86400 sec

The aim of this work is to determine the value of the greatest speed mentioned in the following relativistic Quranic verses. In these verses the sideral system should be used for both the lunar month and the terrestrial day as accurate measured periods (with respect to a distant apparently fixed star).

A New Relation in the Earth-Moon System:
The length of the moons’ orbit L and the time t of one terrestrial day are correlated in a marvellous Quranic verse which describes a universal constant velocity of a certain cosmic affair as follows:

“GOD rules the cosmic affair from the heavens to the earth. Then this affair travels, to Him (i.e. through the whole universe) in one day, where the measure is one thousand years of your reckoning”(32:5)

the Quranic expression “of your reckoning” leaves no doubt as to our understanding of the year as the lunar year.

The verse begins with a reference to a certain “cosmic affair” which GOD creates and commands. This affair travels, permanently through the whole universe between the heavens and the Earth, so speedily that it crosses in ONE DAY a maximum distance in space equivalent to that which the moon passes during ONE THOUSAND LUNAR YEAR (i.e. during 12000 Sidereal months). The question which pause.; itself now is: what could this cosmic affair be? and what is its greatest velocity as expressed in this Quranic equation?.

To answer this question. The above Quranic verse has been understood** in terms of the following equation:

Distance crossed in vacuum by the universal cosmic affair in Osle sidereal day = length of 12000 revolutions of the moon around the earth.

.:. Ct = 12000 L .

where:

C is the velocity of the cosmic affair,

t is the time interval of one terrestrial sidereal day kefined as the time of one rotation of the earth. about its axis (relative to the stars). i.e. 23 hr, 56 min, 4.0906 sec = 86164.0906sec. )

L is the inertial distance which the moon covers in c-o revolution around the earth during one sidereal month i.e. L is the net length of the moon’s orbit due to its own geocentric motion, without the interference of its spiral motion causec by the earth’s revolution around the sun, i.e. _ is the lunar orbit length excluding the effec- of the solar gravitational field on the measured value.

Let V is the measured average orbital velocity of the moon deduced from the average radius R of the lunar geocentric orbit tas measured from an orbiting earth during its heliocentric motion)

.:. V=2 Pi *R/T…………………………………………….(2)

substituting R = 384264 km and T = the siderial lunar month = 655.71986 hr

.:. V= (2X3.l4l6x384264 )/ 655.71986= 3682.07 km/hr

This value is given in all text books of astronomy and is accepted by NASA.

Let @ (Fig. 1) is the angle travelled by the earth moon system around the sun during one sidereal month of period 27.321661 days. We can calculate @ if we take into consideration the period (365.25636 days)of one heliocentric revolution (1 year) of the earth-moon system (Fig.l).

@ = 27.321661*360/365.25636= 26,92848

Thus @ is a characteristic constant of this system depending on uniformperiods of the month and the year.

Since the presence of the sun changes the geometrical properties of space and time , we must screen out its gravitational effect on the earth moon system according to the validity condition of the second postulate of special relativity, i.e. we must only consider the lunar geocentric motion without the heliocentric motion of the earth-moon system. Thus a velocity component VO=V cosO representing the net orbital velocity of the moon as shown in fig. (1) is introduced for calculating the net length L of the lunar orbit assuming a stationary earth.

.:. L = V cos @ T ……………………. (3)

From equation (1) and (3) we get a new Quranic relation for the earth moon system:

Ct= 12000 V cos @T…………………………………(4)

.:. C =12000 V cos @ T/t…………………………….(5)

substituting the sidereal values of the periods t and T from table (2), the NASA value of the measured orbital lunar velocity V = 3682.07 km/hr., and the calculated yalue of cos@ = cos 26.92848 = 0.89157, we get the velocity of the cosmic affair from eq. 5 as expressed in the Holy Quran.

C=12000 x 3682.07 x 0.89157 x 655.71986/86164.0906

.:. C = 299792.5 km/s

Referring to table (1) and the international value of C = 299792.458 km/s we find an extremely marvellous agreement. Thus we conclude that the cosmic affair, mentioned in the previous Quranic verse, is identical to LIGHT and all similar cosmic affairs travelling in vacuum with this maximum speed such as: all types of electro magnetic waves propagating between the heavens and the earth, the expected Gravitational waves spreading all over the universe, and all particles travelling in this cosmic greatest spead such as neutrinos.

It is very interesting to mention here the second Quranic verse that hints at the same relativistic Quranic equation in the earth-moon system: God Most High said:

“A day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning” (22:47)

Thus both relativistic Quranic equations emphasise the obtained value of the greatest speed C and show that C is a permanent absolute constant. Actually there have been no scientific evidence that the value of C can change in time as yet. The constancy principle of special relativity is confirmed in the present work, which correlates also the speed of light C in vacuum with the celestial mechanics of the earth-moon system. Referring to equation (4) and substituting the velocity V from eq. (2), we find that the average radius of the moon.

R = [C/12000×2 Pi Cos@]*t………………………………..(6)

.:. “The average radius R of the lunar orbit is directly proportional to the period of one terrestrial sidereal day t.”…

Conclusion:
It is both important and interesting to find a new astronomical relationZ between the radius of the lunar orbit R and the time t of one terrestrial day deduced according to a new relativistic interpretation of a cosmic Quranic verse alluding to the greatest universal speed identical to the velocity C of light in vacuum.

It is so awesome to find unity in the complex of phenomena, that at first sight appear to have nothing in common. This work proves the universality and constancy of the fundamental constant C as the Greatest Cosmic Speed and reveals the Glorious Quran as a Holy Book worth studying with meticulous analysis since its author is the CREATOR of the Universe.

HERE IS THE REALITY and this is a massive hoax

To read the original article by Ali Sina click here

But see how much of the Quran is quoted here and how much this person writes about science on his own. Ali Sina writes:

“Muslims are hard at work trying to find miracles in the Qur’an and each day they “find” something new. They gloat about it and pump themselves, spread the glad tiding across the Internet, publish it in their newspapers, and challenge others to disprove that miracle, until someone shows their error and deflates them like a punctured balloon. This does not slow them. Since they are eager to find miracles, and since there is no end to human gullibility, especially when one WANTS to believe, they find a new miracle every day.

The Claim

Today I received a request to clarify the claim that the Qur’an has disclosed the speed of light more than a thousand years before it was calculated by scientists.

In an article published in Islamicity.com  Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby claims the verse 32.5 reveals that light in one day travels a distance equal to 12,000 lunar orbits, and upon calculating that distance we find the exact speed of light.

Here is verse 32:5 translated by Shakir: He regulates the affair from the heaven to the earth; then shall it ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years of what you count..”

According to Dr. Hassab-Elnaby, “affairs” mentioned in this verse is “light.”  So this verse reveals that light can travel in one day the distance that will take the Moon, 1000 years to span.

It takes a Muslim’s imagination to think this verse has anything to do with the speed of light. There is no mention of moon, light or even distance in this verse. However, let us agree with this assumed interpretation for now and see whether Dr. Hassab-Elnaby has his math right.    

1-  Wrong Calculation 

The average center-to-center distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,403 km. The orbit of the Moon is nearly circular. (That is why we see the Moon always with the same size)

This means for the Moon to go a full circle around the Earth it must travel a distance of  2,415,273 km (Circumference of the lunar orbit = 2r π  =   2 x 384,403 x 3.14159)

To orbit the earth 12,000 times the Moon must travel 28,983,278,898 km (2.415,273 x 12,000). This is how much the moon travels in 1000 lunar years.

Light travels at a constant speed of 299,792.458 km. per second

There are 86,400 seconds  in one day (60x60x24)

In 24 hours, light travels a distance of 25,902,068,371 km (299,792.458 x 86,400).

These two numbers are not the same. They are not even close. There is a difference of  3,081,210,527 km (28,983,278,898 – 25,902,068,371) between the distance traveled by the Moon in 1000 lunar years and the distance traveled by light in one day.

This difference is over twenty times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. So clearly Dr. Hassab-Elnaby got it wrong. The two numbers do not match.

That is not all. There is a difference between lunar month (phases) and lunar orbit.  The Moon makes a complete orbit around the Earth every 27.3 days, (siderial month) while the periodic variations in the geometry of the Earth–Moon–Sun system are responsible for the lunar phases that repeat every 29.5 days (synodic month). There is a difference of 2.2 days between the lunar month and the lunar orbit.  (Wikipedia)

In one lunar year the Moon revolves around the Earth  12.967 times (29.5 x 12 / 27.3) and not 12 times. So the distance that the Moon travels in 1000 lunar years is actually 32, 045,078,461 km (12,967 x 2,4715,273).

The difference between this distance and the distance traveled by light in one day is 6,143,010,090 km (32, 045,078,461 – 25,902,068,371).  It would take light, another 5 hours 41 minutes to travel this extra distance.

Alternatively we can say that the Moon revolves around the Earth 10,724 times to cover the distance that the light travels in 24 hours.   (Distance traveled by light in one day 25,902,068,371 km / The orbit of the Moon  2,415,273 km).

It takes only 827 lunar years  for the Moon to go this distance and not 1000 lunar years. (10,724 revolutions of the Moon around the Earth  x 27.3 days that takes for each revolution / 354 days that exist in each lunar year).

No matter how you look at it Dr. Hassab-Elnaby’s calculations are wrong. The distance traveled by the Moon in 1000 years and the distance traveled by light in one day are NOT the same.

We are  not even considering the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, which inevitably the Moon must also thread. Taking that into account Dr. Hassab-Elnabi’s calculations are 36.6 times off.

2 –  Wrong Translation 

Which part of this verse talks about light or its speed? Dr. Hassab-Elnany writes: “Thus we conclude that the cosmic affair, mentioned in the previous Quranic verse, is identical to LIGHT and all similar cosmic affairs travelling in vacuum with this maximum speed such as: all types of electro magnetic waves propagating between the heavens and the earth, the expected Gravitational waves spreading all over the universe, and all particles travelling in this cosmic greatest spead such as neutrinos.”

What a load of nonsense! All Muhammad is saying in this verse is that a day of Allah is 1000 years long. This is his way of saying Allah is big, everything about him is big, and even his days are big.  Muhammad repeated the same thing in the verse 22.47 Verily a day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning. There is no mention of affairs going up and down, light, magnetic waves, particles and neutrinos in this verse.

The length of the day is determined by how fast a planet revolves around its axis and it has nothing to do with the size of its inhabitants.  All we can understand from this verse is that the creator of the world lives in a very slow revolving planet.

Just to show the absurdity and the confusion in the Qur’an let us see the verse 70:4:

The angels and the spirit ascend unto him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years.”

This verse has a similar content of the verse 32:5,  but here it says that the length of the day of God is 50,000 years.  This is a clear contradiction. Is a day of God 1000 years or is it 50,000 years?  Does it mean that it takes 50,000 years for angels and spirits to reach God? That is awfully slow. Then how could Angel Gabriel take Muhammad to heaven and back in one night? The Qur’an is replete with contradictions and absurdities. Muhammad had found a gullible audience who gobbled everything he told them uncritically. He never thought one day his words will be scrutinized by people smarter than his benighted followers and his lies will be exposed.

3  –  Wrong Parameters 

I am not done yet! There is still more problem with this claim. The speed of light is constant while the rotation of the Earth, thanks to losing its kinetic energy, is slowing down. Therefore, the days of the Earth are becoming longer. Also the Moon is getting  away from the Earth and its orbit is widening. To orbit the Earth, the Moon has to travel a little more each time.  This means that the length of the lunar months are increasing. How can one measure something that is constant with things that are variable?

Scientists believe that when the Earth was young, it span ten times faster around its axes than it is spinning today. Since the speed of light has remained the same all along, 4.5 billion years ago, in one day light traveled one tenth of the distance that it travels today.

There are nearly 4.5 million thousand years since the Moon is orbiting the Earth. As the Moon distances from the Earth it is slowing down. Since each millennium the orbit of the Moon and the Length of the day change, in which one of these 4.5 million millennia the Moon traveled the same distance that the light travels in one day? The claim is wrong, but even if true, only one time out of 4.5 million times the two numbers could match.  Then again even a broken watch is right twice every day.

The very notion of measuring the speed of light with the orbit of the Moon or the length of the day is a fallacy, that is because the yardstick is constantly changing.  Such an error only reveals the lack of understanding of Dr. Hassab-Elnaby of the basic principles of science.

4 – Wrong Interpretation 

The verse talks about the “affairs of God” being sent to Earth and then ascending to Him in one day, the length of which is 1000 years. How on Earth this educated slave of Allah has determined that “affairs” means light?  The word used in Arabic is Amr.  It means commandment, order, cause, and affair. This is an allusion to God’s religion and not to light.  Amrullah means the Cause of God. A more accurate translation of this verse is, God sends his Cause to Earth, which will return to Him, i.e. it will be revoked in one day, the length of which is equal to 1000 years.

This is how Sheikh Ahmad Ahsai  (1753 -1826), founder of Shiite Sheikhieh school and his disciple Seyyed Kazim-i-Rashti  (1792- 1843) interpreted this verse. They claimed Islam does no longer meet the needs of the time and since it does not allow reform, it must be abrogated.  However, since no one can abrogate the word of God but God himself, this task rests on the shoulders of the awaited Mahdi, the Promised One of the Shiites.  Ahsai and Rashti said the end of Islam and the appearance of Mahdi has already been foretold in the Hadith and the Qur’an, and verse 32:5  gives the exact date.

According to these eminent scholars, Amrullah, the cause of God, was completed when the last intermediary between God and Mankind, Imam Hassan Askari died.  Hassan Askari died in the lunar year 260 Hijra.  Ahsai believed that since, according to the verse 32:5, one thousand years after the communication between God and mankind is interrupted the cause of God (Islam) would be revoked يَعْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ ,  Mahdi should manifest himself in the year 1260 Hijra (1844 EC)

The room where The Báb declared his mission on May 23, 1844 in his house in Shiraz. Exactly 1000 lunar years after the death of the last Shiite imam.

Seyyed Kazem Rashti died one year before the expected year. He, was so sure that Mahdi would manifest himself in the coming year that he did not appoint any successor. He dissolved the Sheikhieh school ordering his disciples to scatter around Persia to find him. It was in this heightened atmosphere of expectation that the 26 year old Seyyed Ali Mohammad, native of Shiraz, claimed to be the Bab, the Gate to divine understanding, the Promised One. Thanks to his sincerity and Christ like innocence he attracted most of the students of Seyyed Kazem and in a short time the Babi movement became so popular that it took the country by storm. The amazing success of the Babis in converting the Iranians was seen as a threat by the clergy who instigated the young and inexperienced king, Nasereddin Shah to execute the Bab.  They started a brutal campaign of persecution of Babis and subsequently Bahais that has lasted till this day.

I am not an apologist for Babism. I do not believe in Islam and do not think the Qur’an contains any prophecy.  Anyone can interpret the Qur’an in anyway he pleases. I do not believe the Bab was a messenger of God.  According to this author, that young man suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, the evidence of that is in his prolific, verbose, and incoherent writings.  He certainly believed in his cause and refused to recant in order to save his life. In all fairness, one can see that Ahsai and Rashti  have given a much more logical interpretation to the Quranic verse 32:5 than Dr. Hassab-Elnaby, with his ludicrous claim that the verse reveals the speed of light.

5  –  Stolen Miracle 

The funny thing is that the verse 32:5 is plagiarized from the Bible. Here are the original Biblical verses:

For a thousand years in your sight  are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.2 Peter 3:8

When the Psalmist says a thousand years for God is like a watch in the night, he means God is timeless. In those days people used sundials to measure the time. It only worked in sunshine. This is a beautiful poetic way to say time does not exist for God. This thousand years should be taken allegorically and not literally.

Peter understood that. He said with Lord not only a thousand years is like one day, also one day is like a thousand years. What that humble fisherman was saying is that Time is irrelevant for God. Compare that with the pathetic attempt of Muslim doctors and scholars who take this allegory literally and try to find scientific equations in it.  Taken poetically, this example is beautiful; taken literally, it is asinine.

Assuming there is a miracle in this allegory, shouldn’t the credit go to  the Bible?  Isn’t it interesting that neither the Jews nor the Christians make the claim that these verses reveal scientific information, but Muslims make that claim even though the verse is stolen from the Bible? What this tells us about the state of the mind of Muslims? Doesn’t this show they are insecure and desperate to validate their illogical faith by clinging to any straw?

6  – Does the Qur’an distinguish synodic and siderial months? 

Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby claims, “Quranic verse (10:5) discriminates between the synodic period for knowing the number of years and the real sidereal period for reckoning in scientific calculations.”  Here is the verse in question:

It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light [wrong. Moon is not a source of light], and measured out stages for her; that ye might know the number of years and the count. 10:5

This verse in no way discriminates between synodic and siderial months. Dr. Hassab-Elnaby is engaging in wishful thinking.

7  –  The Islamic Divine Comedy 

In their quest to find miracles in  the Qur’an, Muslims unwittingly make, not only Islam, but the entire Divine system look like a joke. Our good doctor says, “The verse begins with a reference to a certain “cosmic affair” which GOD creates and commands. This affair travels, permanently through the whole universe between the heavens and the Earth, so speedily that it crosses in ONE DAY a maximum distance in space equivalent to that which the moon passes during ONE THOUSAND LUNAR YEAR (i.e. during 12000 Sidereal months).”

This erudite Muslim is wrong again. Arabs count the synodic months that are 29.5 days and not the siderial months that are 27.3 days. The Qur’an is clear that these thousand years are “of what you count.” Only synodic months can be observed and counted. Siderial months are not observable and as the doctor himself rightly points out they are “for reckoning in scientific calculations.”  As I showed in section 1, in 1000 lunar years the Moon orbits the Earth 12,967 times and not 12,000 times. Dr. Hassab-Elnaby makes many deliberate errors to doctor his miracle.

Affairs traveling permanently through the whole universe at speed of light?”  Is he talking about UFOs?  Now, when it comes to the Universe, the speed of light is not really that fast. It is a very slow way for God to run his affairs. These “cosmic affairs” traveling at the speed of light take one full day to reach the Earth.  If you are in peril, forget about asking Allah for help. By the time he sends you his succor, a day is passed and that is often too late.

Consider yourself lucky because Allah is only one light day away from the Earth (I thought Muhammad said he is closer to us than our jugular vein). He lives just around the corner of our solar system. Think of other poor creatures that live hundreds or thousands light years away, or those who live in galaxies that are millions or billions light years away from God.  How can God run his affairs in those galaxies when the communication is so slow? For all intent and purposes, as far as those far away galaxies are concerned God does not exist.   Just as their light hardly reach us, and when it does it is after millions of years the “affairs of Allah” can hardly reach them. In his zeal to ascribe miracles to the prosaic book of Muhammad, Dr. Hassab-Elnaby throws out of the window the concept of omnipresence of God altogether. The maker of the Universe, according to this Muhammadan, depends on the speed of light to manage his affairs.

It is pathetic that in this day of science and enlightenment, over a billion otherwise normal people, many of whom doctors and educated, should still follow an ignoramus of the seventh century and waste their  time trying to find meaning and even miracles in his asinine balderdash. This should tell you everything you need to know about Muslim intelligentsia. The fact that Islamicity.com, arguably the most prestigious Islamic site has published this gobbledygook proves the intellectual bankruptcy of the ummah.

It is an irony that so many smart people have reduced themselves into jokers and laughing stocks for mankind. The more Muslims try to make Islam look logical and scientific the more ridiculous THEY look.

youjizz

The Quran on seas and oceans- another hoax

HERE IS THE ISLAMIC CLAIM BY THIS VERY POPULAR WEBSITE:

To see it in full, click here

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them.  This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.[1]  For example, Mediterranean sea water is warm, saline, and less dense, compared to Atlantic ocean water.  When Mediterranean sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1000 meters with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics.  The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth[2](see figure 1).

 …

Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.

The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress.  God has said:

“He has set free the two seas meeting together.  There is a barrier between them.  They do not transgress.” (Quran 55:19-20)

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.  God has said in the Quran:

“He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter.  And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition.” (Quran 25:53)

One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas?

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet.  It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”[3]  This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water[4] (see figure 2)…

This information has been discovered only recently, using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc.  The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea.  Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation).

HERE IS THE REALITY:

To read the full rebuttal by Islamic scholar Dr Ali Sina, click here

THE SEAS NOT MINGLING WITH ONE ANOTHER

A satellite photograph of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Ali Sina writes, “Muslims claim that the verses 55:19-20 are proof of the scientific miracle of the Quran 

“He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through.”

The popular site of Harunyahya claims 

“This property of the seas, that is, that they meet and yet do not intermix, has only very recently been discovered by oceanographers. Because of the physical force called “surface tension,” the waters of neighbouring seas do not mix. Caused by the difference in the density of their waters, surface tension prevents them from mingling with one another, just as if a thin wall were between them. 

It is interesting that, during a period when there was little knowledge of physics, and of surface tension, or oceanography, this truth was revealed in the Qur’an.”

Then they show the above picture and comment: 

“There are large waves, strong currents, and tides in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Mediterranean Sea water enters the Atlantic by Gibraltar. But their temperature, salinity, and densities do not change, because of the barrier that separates them.”

Was the knowledge that waters of different salinity, density and temperature do not mix unknown to anyone prior to Muhammad? Not really. A thousand years before Muhammad Aristotle wrote the following:  

The drinkable, sweet water, then, is light and is all of it drawn up: the salt water is heavy and remains behind,” Meteorology Book 2 Chapter 2  

It is clear that at the time of Aristotle, people knew that waters of different density and salinity do not mix. 

The following picture is from the red sea. Obviously the sailors navigating in that sea must have noticed the difference of color between the waters. 

 (To see the picture, click here)

 Also it seems that Muslims do not understand the phenomenon at all. The sill of Gibraltar, the barrier that separates the Atlantic from Mediterranean is not responsible for not letting the two waters to mix. The waters do not mix because of the difference in their density, salinity and temperature. 

Furthermore the separation of these waters are not permanent. The waters of various densities, salinities and temperatures eventually mix. The phenomenon is short lived and is observerabe only when the two bodies of water meet. It is like pouring milk in the cup of coffee. At first one can see that milk creates a current inside the coffee but eventually they mix. 

Is Muhammad talking about the Waters of Atlantic and Mediterranean sea? No! There is no such mention in the Quran. It could be any two bodies of water. Was this phenomenon unknown to people at the time of Muhammad? No! This is quite an observable phenomenon. Anyone who has seen a delta where rivers carrying colored sediments enter the sea or where two rivers of different colors or two seas meet, can see that for a long distance the two waters keep apart. Muhammad had not been to many seas. But there is no reason to believe that he had not heard of this curious phenomenon from those who had been. The knowledge was known to all seamen and people loved to share the stories of their adventures. Therefore this verse is not a miracle. It is a casual statement of a curious phenomenon that he had heard and was impressed by it but without understanding the physics behind it. He thought it is the work of a deity called Allah that keeps the waters apart. 

As the verse 25:53 makes it clear, Muhammad is talking about two seas one with sweet and palatable and the other with salty and bitter water.

“And He it is Who hath given independence to the two seas (though they meet); one palatable, sweet, and the other saltish, bitter; and hath set a bar and a forbidding ban between them.” [Pickthal translation].

 The water in both Atlantic and Mediterranean are salty. Therefore this verse does not refer to any two seas but to the waters at estuary where an arm of the sea extends inland to meet the river. In this case there is no “forbidding partitions” between the waters as Muhammad said and they eventually mix. On one side we have the fresh waters of the river running into the sea and on the other side we have the salty water of the sea being pushed away. In between the two we have a mixture of the two waters. The Islamic sites claim this water in between, acts as the barrier. This statement is simply asinine to say the least. The waters eventually keep mixing until all the salt water and sweet water become one. The mixed water between the two waters is not the barrier but the reverse. It is the mixture of the two.

One Muslim insisted that despite the fact that the phenomenon was known, at that time it is still a miracle because Muhammad was illiterate and he could not have known this and he insisted that I prove that Muhammad had heard this from someone. 

I find this quite absurd. If I write the theory of relativity and claim this is revealed to me and I never heard of Einstein, it is not up to you to prove I have heard of him. It is up to me to prove I have not.

Here what we did is prove that this knowledge existed prior to Muhammad. People knew that waters of different density do not mix and they could observer it. Despite that Muhammad assumes that the waters never mix. Which is obviously incorrect. De states that there is a barrier between the waters, which is of course untrue. These verses point to Muhammad’s ignorance and they are no miracles at all.”

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Victory of the Romans and the lowest point on earth- another hoax

ISLAMIC CLAIM ON THIS

The full claim can be read here

“In the early 7th century, the two most powerful empires at the time were the Byzantine[1] and Persian Empires. In the years 613 – 614 C.E the two Empires went to war, with the Byzantines suffering a severe defeat at the hands of the Persians. Damascus and Jerusalem both fell to the Persian Empire. In the chapter, The Romans, in the Holy Quran, it is stated that the Byzantines had met with a great defeat but would soon gain victory:

“The Romans have been defeated in the lowest land, but after their defeat they will soon be victorious. Within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before and after, is with God.” (Quran 30:2-4)

These verses, above, were revealed around 620 C.E, almost 7 years after the severe defeat of the Christian Byzantines at the hands of the idolater Persians in 613 – 614 C.E. Yet it was related in the verses that the Byzantines would shortly be victorious. In-fact, Byzantine had been so heavily defeated that it seemed impossible for the Empire to even maintain its very existence, let alone be victorious again.

Not only the Persians, but also the Avars, Slavs and Lombards (located to the North and West of the Byzantine Empire) posed serious threats to the Byzantine Empire’s sovereignty. The Avars had come as far as the walls of Constantinople and had nearly captured the Emperor, himself. Many governors had revolted against Emperor Heraclius, and the Empire was on the point of collapse. Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Armenia, which had earlier belonged to the Byzantine Empire, were invaded by the Persians. In short, everyone was expecting the Byzantine Empire to be destroyed, but right at that moment the first verses of the chapter, The Romans, were revealed announcing that the Byzantines would regain triumph in a few years time. Shortly after this revelation, the Byzantine Emperor proceeded to order the gold and silver in churches to be melted and turned into money in order both to meet the demanding expenses of the army, and finance his drive to regain the lost territories.

Around 7 years after the revelation of the first verses of The Romans, in December, 627 C.E, a decisive battle between The Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire was fought in the area around the Dead Sea,[2] and this time it was the Byzantine army which surprisingly defeated the Persians. A few months later, the Persians had to make an agreement with the Byzantines which obliged them to return the territories they had taken from them. So, in the end, the victory of the Romans proclaimed by God in the Quran miraculously came through.

Another miracle revealed in the mentioned verses is the announcement of a geographical fact that no-one would have been able to discover in that period. In the third verse of The Romans, it was mentioned that the Romans were defeated “in the lowest land” (Quran 30:3). Significantly, the places where the main battles took place (in Damascus and Jerusalem) lie in a vast area of low-lying land called the Great Rift Valley. The Great Rift Valley is a huge 5,000 km fault line in the earth’s crust that runs from northern Syria in the Middle-East of Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. The northernmost extension runs through Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordon. The rift then extends south to the Gulf of Aden, makes its way through East Africa, then finally ends at the lower Zambezi River valley in Mozambique.

An interesting fact that has been discovered recently, with the help of satellite images, is that the area around the Dead Sea (located in the Great Rift Valley) has the lowest altitude on Earth. In fact, the lowest point on Earth is the shoreline of the Dead Sea, with an altitude of around 400 meters[3] below sea level. The fact that it lies at the lowest point means that water does not drain from the sea. No land point on earth has a lower altitude than the shoreline of the Dead Sea.[4]

Therefore it becomes clear that the country or prefecture which occupies the rift valley in the vicinity of the Dead Sea is what is meant in the Quran by “the lowest land.” This is a true miracle of the Quran because no-one could have known or foreseen such a fact in the 7th century due to the fact that satellites and modern day technology were not available at the time. Once again, the only possible explanation is that Prophet Muhammad had truly received divine revelation from God, The Creator and Originator of the universe.

THE REALITY OF THIS:

1-LOWEST POINT ON EARTH

The verses 30:2 and 30:3 actually read:

30.2
The Roman Empire has been defeated-
30.3
YUSUFALI: In a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious-
PICKTHAL: In the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious
SHAKIR: In a near land, and they, after being vanquished, shall overcome,

These Muslims claim that the word near أَدْنَى can also be translated as lower and hence the above could be read: The Roman Empire was defeated in the lowest land. Then they claim that since the Dead Sea is it the lowest point on earth (1300 ft bellow sea level) Muhammad said something that no one could have known.

This is of course wishful thinking of deluded believers and the absurdity of that is evident. The Romans were not defeated in the Dead Sea but in Jerusalem and Jerusalem is above sea level. If we had to take this arbitrary translation and disregard the obvious meaning of the word as was understood by all the translators of the Quran, this verse would have become yet another blunder of Muhammad. That would have meant that Romans were defeated in lowest land (which should have then been the Dead Sea, and not Jerusalem!) and it would have been a massive mistake, since Romans were defeated in Jerusalem!

However, all the interpreters of the Quran have translated the verse correctly. See how the person forcibly trying to find a miracle in these verses when none exists has given the meaning of the word as ‘lower’ and then assumed it as ‘lowest’ whereas ALL the authentic translators of the Quran who were devout Muslims themselves like Yusuf Ali, Pichthall and Shakir have used the correct word ‘near land’.

If Muhammad really wanted to impress his followers about his knowledge of geography, he could have easily said that the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth. Simple and clear! This again shows that since no miracle exists in the Quran, and it contains a lot of mistakes, Muslims forcibly try to desperately find miracles, twist meanings and make hoaxes.

Note that the verse is mentioning land and not sea. Let us say, for argument’s sake that through this hidden meaning “Romans were defeated in a land near by” the author of the Quran (God or Muhammad or anyone else) is actually trying to say along with the Romans’ defeat that Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth. Then the word which should have been used in LOWEST POINT not LOWEST LAND since Dead Sea is water not land. But since the word LAND is used, it is clear that Muhammad is talking about Jerusalem, which is a land near to Muhammad’s. Muhammad is talking about Jerusalem and not about the Dead Sea .

2-VICTORY OF ROMANS

The Quran that we have today is compiled during the Caliphate of Othman. Othman started his Caliphate in 644 AD and ruled till AD 656. By that time the two wars between the Persians and the Romans were over and the victors in each case had already been known. What are the chances that the verses 2-4 of Sura 30 that says first the Romans will be defeated and a few years later they will become victorious were altered because the original verses pronounced by Muhammad were wrong? It is well-known and well acknowledged by Muslims themselves that the Quran was compiled during Othman’s rule. Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation of the Quran says In the translation of the Quran by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, (Pickthall’s translation is considered as very authentic) the following things are mentioned in the “Introduction” before the Quran’s first chapter: “All the surahs of the Koran had been recorded in writing before the Prophet’s death, and many Muslims had committed the whole Koran to memory. But the written surahs were dispersed among the people; and when, in a battle which took place during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr- that is to say, within two years of the Prophet’s death-a large number of those who knew the whole Koran by heart were killed, a collection of the whole Koran was made and put in writing. In the Caliphate of Othman, all existing copies of surahs were called in, and an authoritative version, based on Abu Bakr’s collection and the testimony of those who had the whole Koran by heart, was compiled exactly in the present form and order, which is regarded as traditional and as the arrangement of the Prophet himself, the Caliph Othman and his helpers being Comrades of the Prophet and the most devout students of the Revelation. The Koran has thus been very carefully preserved.” (Page xxviii of Pickthall’s translation of Quran, Madhur Sandesh Sangam, New Delhi, India, 1995) And as we have seen in “Logical proofs” and in “The religion of Islam”, some scholars have shown that the text of the Quran was altered even after 656 AD until at least as late as the middle of the 9th century AD and many feel that it was finalized at last in AD 933.But even if we go as per the accepted Islamic history of the Quran being finalized in AD 656, it is was much after the Romans had been victorious in around 628 AD.

Of course if what Muhammad had said had been wrong, Othman would not have allowed it to be published, which would have shown Muhammad to be a false prophet. These verses would have been adjusted to reflect what had actually happened.

Othman ordered all other versions that did not match his, to be destroyed. Why? It is because they contradicted the one he had put together. As the result the evidence is lost. We can’t prove that Muhammad was wrong and Muslims can’t claim these verses as prophecy. It is absolutely illogical that the compilers would have kept the original verses when the history had proven Muhammad a false prophet.

These verses don’t prove anything because their authenticity is dubious. However, there are many other verses in the Quran that have been proven to be wrong. Consequently, Muslim scholars try to reinterpret them and twist their meanings. If there is one error in the Quran, the book cannot be the word of God. There are thousands of errors in that book. It is quite possible that since the Romans were monotheist Christians fighting idolators, and idolators had defeated them, Muhammad made the above statement just to tell his supporters that the idolators’ victory is a temporary one and ultimately God will defeat idolators and make Romans (who were monotheist Christians) victorious, and it could have been a lucky guess.

Some Christian scholars have also tried to refute this claim. Their rebuttals are worth reading here and here. Just some of the points raised by them are “The Persians defeated the Byzantines (Christian Romans) and captured Jerusalem at about A.D. 614 or 615. The Byzantine counter-offensive did not begin until A.D. 622 and the victory was not

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complete until A.D. 628, making it a period between thirteen to fourteen years, not “a few years” alluded to in the Quran. The words used in the Quran limit the number of years to 3 to 9, but it was a good 13 to 14 years after the Romans defeat. But if God could make future predictions unknown to ordinary human beings like Muhammad and demonstrate such knowledge in the Quran to prove that Islam is from Him , then he could have easily revealed some events going to happen every year since AD 622 till the end of life on earth so that all beings living from and after Muhammad’s time would know that Islam is true! He could have written “In AD 622, this will happen, in AD 623, this will happen, etc etc” right until the end of life on earth! He could have easily predicted that man will go the moon in 1969 AD, which was beyond Muhammad’s reach. Instead would he have chosen to say that Romans will be victorious soon which was in AD 628, also during Muhammad’s lifetime! Since there is no proof at all as to when this passage was revealed, or dictated by Muhammad, whether in AD 614-15 (if that is so, then it would also be a mistake as it would mean Romans would be victorious after more than 9 years), or AD 620, or at any time, it is possible that Muhammad himself said this after the victory of Romans was apparent or obvious.

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Miracle of Iron or Islamic hoax

ISLAMIC CLAIM:

To read the full article, click here

Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Quran. In the chapter known Al-Hadeed, meaning Iron, we are informed:

“And We also sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind…” (Quran 57:25)

The word “anzalna,” translated as “sent down” and used for iron in the verse, could be thought of having a metaphorical meaning to explain that iron has been given to benefit people. But, when we take into consideration the literal meaning of the word, which is, “being physically sent down from

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the sky, as this word usage had not been employed in the Quran except literally, like the descending of the rain or revelation, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle. Because, modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from giant stars in outer space.[1]

Not only the iron on earth, but also the iron in the entire Solar System, comes from outer space, since the temperature in the Sun is inadequate for the formation of iron. The sun has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Celsius, and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees. Iron can only be produced in much larger stars than the Sun, where the temperature reaches a few hundred million degrees. When the amount of iron exceeds a certain level in a star, the star can no longer accommodate it, and it eventually explodes in what is called a “nova” or a “supernova.” These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space.[2]…

All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from Supernovas, and was “sent down,” as stated in the verse. It is clear that this fact could not have been known in the 7th century, when the Quran was revealed. Nevertheless, this fact is related in the Quran, the Word of God, Who encompasses all things in His infinite knowledge.

The fact that the verse specifically mentions iron is quite astounding, considering that these discoveries were made at the end of the 20th century. In his book Nature’s Destiny, the well-known microbiologist Michael Denton emphasizes the importance of iron:

“Of all the metals there is none more essential to life than iron. It is the accumulation of iron in the center of a star which triggers a supernova explosion and the subsequent scattering of the vital atoms of life throughout the cosmos. It was the drawing by gravity of iron atoms to the center of the primeval earth that generated the heat which caused the initial chemical differentiation of the earth, the outgassing of the early atmosphere, and ultimately the formation of the hydrosphere. It is molten iron in the center of the earth which, acting like a gigantic dynamo, generates the earth’s magnetic field, which in turn creates the Van Allen radiation belts that shield the earth’s surface from destructive high-energy-penetrating cosmic radiation and preserve the crucial ozone layer from cosmic ray destruction…

“Without the iron atom, there would be no carbon-based life in the cosmos; no supernovae, no heating of the primitive earth, no atmosphere or hydrosphere. There would be no protective magnetic field, no Van Allen radiation belts, no ozone layer, no metal to make hemoglobin [in human blood], no metal to tame the reactivity of oxygen, and no oxidative metabolism.

“The intriguing and intimate relationship between life and iron, between the red color of blood and the dying of some distant star, not only indicates the relevance of metals to biology but also the biocentricity of the cosmos…”[4]

This account clearly indicates the importance of the iron atom. The fact that particular attention is drawn to iron in the Quran also emphasizes the importance of the element…

THE REALITY OF THIS:

The full rebuttal is here

Before seeing the full rebuttal, see how much of the Quran is quoted and how much is assumed by the people forcible trying to find “Miracles”( aka ‘hoaxes’). The verse of the Quran isn’t even quoted in full. How much of it is said in the Quran?

The full text of the verse is:

57.025
We sent aforetime our messengers with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and We sent down Iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, Unseen, Him and His messengers: For Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might (and able to enforce His Will).

Some Muslims claim that according to the Modern science, iron is the only element that does not belong to the Earth but is sent from heaven to Earth and hence the above verse is a miracle.

The truth is that four billion years ago, when our planet was still a scorching ball of fire, a giant asteroid mostly made of metal struck the Earth scattering a lot of it to the sky. The asteroid however penetrated the core of the Earth. That is why the deeper we go the more metal we find. However iron was not the only metal found that came with that asteroid. It contained many other metals including gold.

The verse actually should not be taken literally. In this verse Muhammad is saying that we sent you everything that you need including iron with which has mighty power i.e. is strong and can benefit you as well. He did not mean that the iron, among all the elements, is the only element that has descended from the heaven. In Muhammad’s language eveything is “sent’ to man by God and that is the meaning of this word andalna here. He did not mean that God sent the iron from they sky but since the giver of the iron is God so the verb nadala is used. Somewhere else Muhammad says that He sent down cattle (39.6) Do we have to take this literally?

This is an illogical premise. The word anzalna/anzala is used 88 times in the Quran. It is also used for:

  • cattle: 39:06
  • garments: 7:26
  • food/sustenance: 10:59; 45:05; 2:57; 7:160
  • people of the book: 33:26
  • water/rain: 20:164; 16:10; 35:27; 14:32; 22:05; 25:48; 6:99; 16:65; 39:21; 20:53; 41:39; 31:10; 13:17; 22:63; 2:22; 27:60; 23:18; 78:14

None of these things come from outer space or heaven. Does it mean that cattle, garments, food, and the people of the book also come from supernovae? No, it doesn’t. So, why assume that surah 57:26 literally states that iron came from outer space? Why assume the literal meaning with respect to iron but the figurative meaning when referring to everything else? The only logical explanation for the use of the term ‘anzalna’ that is consistent with all its occurrences in the Quran is to denote something provided by a deity, mechanism unknown. To selectively assign ‘origination from supernovae’ to iron but not to cattle, garments, food, and the people of the book, without evidence as to why one should use the literal versus the figurative interpretation is mere supposition, or special mystical interpretation, and thus utter nonsense.

One cannot overstate that it is intellectually dishonest to assign a literal interpretation to a certain case but figurative interpretations in every other case without the evidence to support such distinction.

The truth is that most such Islamist claims are made by Islamists ignorant of prior knowledge by other peoples. The ‘iron sent down from heaven’ proposition is not distinct to Islam nor was the Islamic version the earliest. The ancient Egyptians referred to iron

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as ‘iron from heaven’. (Ref)

Thus the concept of iron from outer space/heaven/sky was already known to humanity thousands of years before Islam.

Thus the concept of iron from outer space/heaven/sky was already known to humanity thousands of years before Islam.

The Egyptians called iron ‘the metal of heaven’ or ba-en-pet, which indicates that the first specimen employed were of meteoric origin; the Babylonian name having the same meaning. It was no doubt on account of its rarity that iron was prized so highly by the early Egyptians, while its celestial source would have its fascination.

http://www.touregypt.net/science.htm:

Certainly the ancient Egyptians were aware of meteoritic iron, but uncomfortably for the archaeologists, the evidence suggests that by a very early date in their history they were already sophisticated enough to differentiate between different types of iron. Loadstones were called `res mehit ba’, meaning `north-south iron’, and Plutarch quotes Manetho as differentiating loadstones from non-magnetic iron, calling the former `Bone of Osiris’, and the latter `Bone of Typhon’, (being the Greek version of Set).3

Robert H O’Connell in 1983 translated the coffin text Spell 148, which refers to meteoritic impact as being integral to the conception of Horus. `…the blast of a meteorite such that gods fear, Isis awoke pregnant by the seed of her brother Osiris!….5 Even earlier, in 1911, Wallis Budge translated a text from the time of Pepi II (circa 2278- 2184 BC) which speaks of `the iron which came from Set, and was in the forearm of Set; it transferred to the deceased the power of the eye of Horus’.6 As the constellation of the Great Bear was considered to be the abode of Set, we can reasonably conclude that at least one iron-bearing meteorite came from this direction early in the Old Kingdom. And if we were to conclude that the ascension of Horus came about during the unification of the two lands, we would be able to postulate that this unification came about during a period of meteoritic activity.

The evidence then, seems to support the notion that the ancient Egyptians were aware of iron, and probably viewed it as a heavenly substance.

It was known and has been known for the past many many centuries that Iron has a lot of uses for mankind. Iron is definitely used in war, has been for the past many centuries, and hundreds of years before Muhammad. All the benefits of Iron such as “Without the iron atom, there would be no carbon-based life in the cosmos; no supernovae, no heating of the primitive earth, no atmosphere or hydrosphere. There would be no protective magnetic field, no Van Allen radiation belts, no ozone layer, no metal to make hemoglobin [in human blood], no metal to tame the reactivity of oxygen, and no oxidative metabolism” are all said by the person writing that article. Is any of that mentioned in the Quran? In the Quran it is simply mentioned “Iron has many benefits for mankind and is used as material in war”- which part of this could not have been said by Muhammad? “We sent Iron down to humanity” could this not have been said by Muhammad? If there was indeed any Miracle, as a minimum it could have been mentioned “Iron is not originally from the earth! Iron is made outside earth!”- simple and clear! Nothing like this is said in clear language and every single word of this ‘Miracle’ aka Islamic hoax can be easily explained.

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04-Islam and Christianity- a view

Hindus generally take a very charitable and romantic view of other religions, particularly the Abrahamic faiths, to the point of ‘Satgunavikruti’, a word coined by Veer Savarkar to describe that excessive goodness which leads to perversity. Hindu scholars have therefore never studied these religions closely in order to compare their world view with that of the Hindu religion. Conditioned to an attitude of Sarva-dharma-samabhava, it would not occur to Hindus to even presume that some of these religions can be inherently violent and inspired by hatred and intolerance. This lack of scholarship has made Hindus to rely on the biased scholarship of Western and Islamic scholars. Here the example of Adi Shankaracharya comes to mind. He reestablished Hinduism after defeating Buddhist scholars in intense religious debates covering the entire gamut of human existence, and as a result, they acknowledged the superiority of the Hindu religion and became his disciples. Sadly this tradition of studying the scriptures and traditions of other religions has not been carried forward since the time of Adi Sankara.

Consequently, Hindus have been deeply conditioned by the work of Western scholars on Hindu scriptures and Hindu religion to believe that Hinduism is not a historical faith but is based only on mythology and steeped in superstition and irrational beliefs and hence can benefit from coming into contact with ‘progressive’ Islam and Western Christianity. Hence it is very encouraging that scholars like the late Sri Ram Swarup1 have made efforts in this direction and published books on this subject which cover admirably the fundamental differences between the Semitic faiths and the non-Abrahamic, the so-called ‘pagan’ or ‘heathen’ faiths. The purpose of including Christianity in this discussion is that both Islam and Christianity are off-shoots of the same parent religion. In fact, Islam is only a logical and Final destination of the process initiated by Christianity.

The God of both teaches them to prosecute religions other than their own; both are dogmatic, fundamentalist and theological; both lack yoga or a proper science and discipline of inner exploration; both are aggressively self-righteous; and both by nature do not know true theory of peaceful coexistence. Another reason for including Christianity is that more critical and scholarly literature is available on this religion as a result of Renaissance, Enlightenment and the process of modernisation, whereas the intolerance of Islam has prevented such development which still resembles the Christianity of middle ages. Some beliefs of these religions are given here.

Categories of World Faiths

The religions of the world can be essentially classified in two categories. The present dominant category is that of the Semitic faiths (which may well be described to be ideologies or dogmas) – the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and their latest offshoot, the atheist Marxism. The other comprises of Eastern religions and philosophies like Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. It also includes various pre-Christian and pre-lslam faiths which pervaded all over the world before they were extinguished by the aggressive Islam and Christianity. The latter have distorted the meaning of the word ‘pagan’ and ‘heathen’ which essentially signify non-Semitic faiths. Due to constant propaganda these words are now synonymous with barbarism and irreligiosity. When this is clear, the word ‘pagan’ will not be as pejorative as it has been made to appear. It will he used frequently below since it enables us to consolidate various existing and extinct faiths and practices all over the world and hence unify various worldwide approaches leading to a common movement to establish a tolerant, humane and enlightened world order or dharma. Such a transformation is vital for co-existence.

The term ‘Hindu’ (or HINDUS as used in subsequent chapters) is used as encompassing all the religions and faiths originating in the Indian subcontinent, and apart from the Sanatanis who are usually called Hindus, includes the Buddhists. Sikhs and Jains too. Hindus are renowned for their acceptance and respect of others’ beliefs (Sarva-dharma-samabhava); they consider the land of their birth and this civilization as being wholly sacred (Punyabhoomi); they all believe in the law of karma, and know that all beings in Creation are the manifestation of the same Divinity. To them God is a unify and not a unit.

The Hindu Mission

Needless to say, the Hindu religion which embodies Dharma, continues to exist in spite of the relent- less attack on her for the last 800 years, and truly qualifies for its name ‘Sanatana’ or eternal dharma. It is eminently qualified to lead this movement, and this is perhaps what Sri Aurobindo implied in his message on the occasion of Indian Independence, “For I have always held and said that India was arising, … as a helper and leader of she whole human race; the gift by India of the spiritual knowledge and her means for the spiritualisation of life to the whole race… The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun….That movement will grow; amid the disasters of time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and these is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to the psychic and spiritual practice.”

Islam and Christianity- Similar in Content

The spiritual equipage of Islam and Christianity is similar to each other. Their spiritual contents, both in quality and quantum, are about the same. The central piece of the two creeds is “one true God” of masculine gender who makes himself known to his believers through a single, favoured individual. The theory of mediumistic communication has not only a psychology, but also a theology laid down long ago in the oldest part of the Bible, in the Deuteronomy [18.19.20). The biblical God says that he will speak to his chosen people through his chosen prophets : “I will tell him what to say, and he will tell the people everything I command. He will speak in my name, and I will punish anyone who refuses to obey him”. Similar sentiments are echoed even more vigorously in Islam. The whole prophetic spirituality, whether found in the Bible or in the Quran, is mediumistic in essence. Here everything takes place through a proxy, that is, through an intermediary or the sole agent. Here man knows God only through the proxy. The proxy is a favoured individual, a privileged mediator. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him”, says the Bible. The Quran makes the same claim. “Muhammad is God’s Apostle” says the Allah of the Quran through his last prophet (48.29). Moreover, both of them are intrinsically incapable of promoting universal peace and harmony. The seeds of conflict, not only amongst the “believers” but also with the rest of the world, lie at the very heart of the two ideologies. Each of the two is presided over by a bellicose God, each chief of his own hosts; each claims sole sovereignty. A larger charity and mutual respect of others’ faiths and even tolerance and co-existence cannot be the strong points of such theologies.

Hence it is not surprising that the faithful belonging to these two religions were at each other’s throats when they finally came face to face. For centuries, they fought with fire and sword. At one time it seemed that Islam had gotten the better of crusading Christianity when it was knocking at the door of Europe. But the tide turned in favour of the West and Christianity when Europe eventually colonised the Americas, Asia and Africa and established empires all over the world and could not he challenged. It also added another weapon to its arsenal – ideological warfare. Christian theologians tried to prove the historicity of Jesus with the help of Quran, while the Muslims tried to prove Muhammad’s mission with the help of the Bible. The controversy was sharp, as it often is between creeds which share common beliefs and aims and methods. Both believed in the same God, but each claimed sole heirship to His throne. Both were rational in their critique of each other’s faith, but were emotional and unwilling to listen to reason when it came to defending their own. Although this quarrel goes on, their real and ultimate target remains destroyed idolatry and polytheism, which in effect means all religions of the past and most religions of the present. (As a proof of how this quarrel this goes on, just see the websites www.answering-islam.org and www.answering-christianity.com ! It will be very amusing to see followers of both false religions trying to prove the other as wrong and themselves are right, when BOTH are wrong!!)The Church has always appreciated Islam’s role in “cleansing the world of the scourge of idolatry, and preparing the way for the reception of a purer faith.” Similarly, Islam acknowledges Christians to be “people of the Book”, no small honour this and yet it does not stop them from waging murderous wars against each other wherever one or the other is in the minority – the countries of the middle-east (Lebanon), and south- east (East Timor and Irian Jaya) Asia and the nations of Africa (Sudan, Nigeria) being some of the most recent examples of their bitter enemity.

Exclusive, Jealous God

It is well known that Christianity and Islam derived their much vaunted monotheism from Judaism, but the Jews themselves were not monotheists in the beginning. Like other neighbouring peoples, they had their tribal god towards whom they felt a special loyalty but it did not occur to them yet to deny the gods of others. That other gods do not exist or were false, and that their god alone was true and enjoyed some sort of universal sovereignty, was a later development which had to wait till the arrival of their prophets, beginning with Moses. It seems that the early Jews did not know Jehovah according to the biblical testimony itself. ‘’By name Jehovah was I not known to them,” says the Bible (Exod.6.3). It is possible that the Jews may have borrowed Egyptian Gods, at least in some measure, while they were in Egypt and that they continued worshipping them even during the days of their wanderings in the desert. There are also indications that the new religion, whatever it was and whenever adopted, was imposed against great opposition and with great ferocity. While Jehovah revealed himself to Moses as the only God of the Jews, they were worshipping another God under the symbol of a Bull. “Slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour,” ordered Jehovah to those who truly followed him. Three thousand men were killed in a day and a new religion was inaugurated. The killers were consecrated and they became the priestly class, the Levites. The precedent for many similar such genocide in the name of religion in future, was thus established as early as in Biblical times.

In course of time, this God, in all his exclusiveness and jealousy, was adopted by Christianity and Islam. In fact, in their hands, he became still more exclusive and jealous. He also became more ambitious and bellicose. While with the Jews, he remained their God alone; but, except spasmodically, he refused the be the God of others. Other people had to make do with their own Gods, howsoever “false”, and these Gods had to be content with their own followers, howsoever benighted and out of grace with Jehovah. But things changed with the advent of Christianity and Islam. Through them, Jehovah came into his own and He offered to be THE GOD of all. This God was not a universal principle but a singularity, not a force of unification (monism) but one of separation (monotheism). The Semitic God lacks interiority – these is nothing to show that his followers know of a “god or gods in the heart” but they speak of a “god in heaven” or a sky –God. He also lacks universality and has suffered further contraction and denotation with the passage of time.

He asked His followers to go in all directions and preach His Name, to “go out in the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in.” He armed them and asked them to declare from housetops several times a day that He alone was true and that other Gods were false. Other could refuse this invitation or call only at their own peril, spiritual and physical. As His followers became more powerful, the threat became increasingly more physical!

The Prophets Of God

There is another major difference between Judaism and the two religions which were in fact off-shoots of Judaism. Though the Jewish God was single, yet he spoke through many prophets. Moses was probably the most important, but a plurality or prophethood was recognised. It is unfortunate that the Judaic religion could not take full advantage of this principle. As the Mosaic-Monotheistic tradition was too strong, in practice, the Prophetic message tended to be the same – more of the same Mosaic God. For the same reason, even some movements among -Jews like those represented by the Essenes, influenced by Hinduism-Buddhism, could not break away sufficiently from that tradition.

Just as the Jews finally believed that they are the special people of the only God, their Prophets and Messiahs also transformed likewise. They had initially many and Jesus also began as a Messiah of his people. But as he was rejected by them, he began to declare that God was terminating his covenant with Jews and entering into a new one with those who believed in His Son. Christians replaced Jews as God’s chosen people and Jesus himself was converted from a Messiah into a Saviour, into God’s First Begotten Son, the Intermediary between God and Man. This transformation took some time in the happening, and in order to get the better of their critics and their opponents, the Christians invented the myth of a Saviour, the Dying God and His Resurrection. In fact, many scholars regard Jesus’ life closer to myth than to history, and whether there was any historical Jesus at all is a much discussed question in academic circles (see previous Chapter). Apart from the figure of the Saviour, Christianity also borrowed most of its central rites from other creeds and mystery cults prevalent at that time. Its own contribution were the Cross, the concept of Hell, Satan, possession and exorcism.

Thus with time the idea of prophet took a new turn. It was not enough that God talked to you; what was equally important was that he did not talk to anyone else. And by the time Muhammad came it was not enough to be A prophet; he had to be THE prophet. He declared that he was the most authentic spokesman of God up to his time and also for all time lo come as well, and that he was the seal of prophecy, and that through him religion was now finally made perfect, and that any old revelation was now redundant and a new one presumptuous. He was able to get it established through the display of superior brute force and now this dogma is the most important part of the Muslim creed and to question it is punishable by death.

The question is why were persons specifically chosen for the role of prophet? Why were certain things revealed to them which were kept hidden from others before’? Had they some special moral or spiritual qualities to qualify for these roles? All of them have made such claims without trying to justify them.

Summarising this development, just as the Semitic God was evolving in theology into becoming the ‘only one’, he was also becoming exclusive in his communication. Even when he had a chosen people, these people had no direct approach to Him. He told them that he will send them a prophet and He ‘will tell him what to say and he (the prophet) will tell the people everything I command. He will speak in my name and I shall punish anyone who refuses to obey him.” In due course, the intermediary became more than a medium. In Christianity, he became the Saviour, in Islam, he became the Intercessor and also the last Prophet through whom God ever spoke. Claims began to be made on the prophet’s behalf, claims almost as tall as for the God he represented.

In fact, with passage of time, God tended to become redundant and the intermediary took his place, who in turn was ‘represented by his own nominees. The New Testament says: “Salvation is to be found through him (Jesus) alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us”. At another place it says: “God put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him to the Church as the supreme Lord over all things.” The Koran makes even stronger claims for its Prophet. Such claims are offensive to man’s rational as well as spiritual sense (Buddha’s last message was, ‘Be your own light’), but they have proved highly profitable to those who speak in the name of these intermediaries. They represent a great vested interest.

Intolerance and its consequences

Intolerance must be the fruit of such bitter seeds. Other Gods must be dethroned, and so those who speak in the name of other Gods must die (Deut-18.18-19). Appendix A gives a number of verses from the Koran, which preach this even more stridently.

The Semitic God is jealous, and so is his sole prophet. Just like his God, he too can brook no rivals. Jesus tells us that “all who came before me were thieves and robbers” (Jn.l0.8). He warns his flock again and again against his rival claimants. “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt.7.15; or 24.4). Muhammad admitted to the historicity and legitimacy of some prophets before him, in order to give his own prophethood an ancestry, but he abolished further prophethood. He was the latest and also the last prophet, the seal of Prophecy.

The fact is that intolerance is in-built into the basic Semitic approach and cursing comes naturally to it. The Bible is full of curses invoked on rivals – gods, prophets, apostles, doctrines. For example, Paul told his Galatian followers that “should anyone preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” This tradition has continued and has been the strongest element of all branches of Christianity and Islam (see previous chapter as well as appendix A).

Christians claim that unlike the Jewish prophets, Jesus is an incarnation, an idea which was an innovation lo the Jewish tradition. It is not difficult to see that Christianity only incarnated a new religious intolerance! This tradition of intolerance Islam also faithfully continued with even greater zeal. Religious intolerance was there before, but it was spasmodic and it was not supported by a theology. It was only with the coming of Christianity and Islam that religious bigotry and arrogance descended on the earth on a pervasive scale and with a new destructive power. They know so little about themselves but they claim to know everything about God. And in imposing their definition upon others; they have killed millions of people. They have been even more fanatic about their founders. “If you won’t believe that you are redeemed by my redeemer’s blood, I’ll drown you in your own,” says the Christian, to put in the language of Aldous Huxley. The same is true of Muslims, in their practice, Muhammad has been more central to their religion than their One God. You could jest about his God but woe unto him who jests about the Prophet. His punishment is death.

If religious tolerance is a virtue, both Christianity and Islam do not possess it. Wherever they have gone, they have carried fire and sword and oppressed and destroyed so far as it lay in their power.

Christianity first spread all over Europe in this manner. They demolished and occupied the temples and shrines of others. Any tolerance shown was an exception. Hindus know the extent of the murderous campaigns that Muslims of various hues undertook against them and their land. Similar graphic descriptions are available about the genocide and extermination of the native peoples of the Americas and the Caribbean by Spanish and British Christians in the name of religion and Western civilisation. Their record has been matched only recently by Communism, considered a Christian heresy by thinkers like Bentrand Russel. In China, for example the Communist regime destroyed half million Buddhist shrines while in the Soviet Union, Stalin reportedly exterminated 20 million of his own people who either opposed him or the communist ideology.

The theology of a single god, a single prophet, a single revelation, a single church or ummah, and also of a single life and single judgement is very different from the one the world at large has known in the past and knows even today. Historically speaking, these religions which were local and small tribal faiths, may be considered an aberration, which consolidated themselves through conquest and propaganda, and which could impose themselves in no other way. These are different not only from polytheism, a religious expression at a more popular level, but also from religions which allow for mysticism and the internal quest for a spiritual life. They are certainly different from the spirituality known in the East by Hermits, Stoics, Pythagoreans. Taoists, Buddhists and Vedantins, particularly in their concept of deity, man and nature; different in their definitions, modes, theory and practice.

Worship and Sadhana

Every religion has its own modes and forms of worship, both public and private, informed by its dominant ideas of God, Creation and man. Prophetic religions take great pride in “one” God who despises idolatory, but have steadily degenerated into worship of relics and graves as we shall see with the Sufis. Spiritual practices or what Hindus call sadhana, are shaped by the way a religion intuits God, man and Creation. Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism prescribe a regimen of discipline known as sila, samadhi and prajna, to open up higher consciousness. They believe that even with all the guidance and help, each individual has to discover the spiritual truths for himself, that unless they are so done they can be of no use for him. When one cannot cat or clothe by proxy; how can one live spiritual truths by proxy? But as prophetic religions believe that God has already chosen them for no rhyme or reason and already revealed to them truths hidden from others, they do not need any sadhana. They already know the truth and they have nothing to learn or discover for themselves to. Prophetic religions prescribe only certain beliefs and the religious duty to convert others to those beliefs through preaching and holy wars.

It is therefore not strange that we find very little by way of sadhana in the New Testament. There are, on the other hand several exhortations aimed at pleasing this ‘one God’ or his Prophet or messiah. One such is “speaking with tongues” i.e. the believers gather together in the church and wait on the Holy Ghost to descend upon them and speak through them (I Cor.Ch.14). As is to be expected, it led to pandemonium. From all that people spoke, it was not clear what came from the Holy Ghost and what came from the Devil – a problem which continues to dog the Church! Most of the time, these phenomena arise from self-suggestion and make believe, and in extreme cases, border on abnormality.

The other is “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, which may be termed as the cornerstone of biblical teaching. This should be taken in conjunction with other teachings about sin, its remission by sacrifice, and its once-for-all atonement by the blood of Jesus. Christians are as self-conscious about being sinners as communists are about being proletarian. To be sinful has become a cult with them. Paul was (he “foremost of sinners”

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and “he received mercy for tins reason”. Allah also favours the sinner as seen in the previous chapter. The Christian and Muslim heaven has more joy over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who need no repentance. All this could not be healthy either for the mind or the soul and has created a religion of what has been appropriately termed “spiritual terrorism.” It gave rise to much neurotic, masochistic-sadistic behaviour. Wisdom, enlightenment, opening up of higher consciousness were altogether unknown to them.

OF course we cannot leave out iconoclasm, the most important religious sadhana these prophetic religions have preached and practised. They have believed that demolishing the images on an altar, particularly in the temples of their neighbours, is the best way of worshipping their God and it is the service most acceptable to him. This unrelenting hostility towards ‘other’ Gods is the defining characteristic of the faithful. They have never realised that a good deal of religious reflection must take place before images are used in worship. In India, the outer images were most often contributed by men who practised most advanced internal disciplines. These were “icons”, internal realities expressed in outer forms in so far as that is possible.

Why are prophetic religions so hostile to images? Why do they nourish this obsessive hatred towards them? The images seem to have more attraction for and more power over iconoclasts than over the worshippers – some kind of idolatry or fetish worship in reverse. Through spiritual awakening some have turned idols into Gods; others of the unawakened soul have turned Gods into idols! Semitic iconoclasm is a child of crass materialism; it comes from the incapacity to see that the physical is also the standing ground of the metaphysical. Prophetic religions have given their God all human weaknesses and passions; on the other hand, Hinduism has thought of man with all divine virtues. The former have reified God, the latter have deified man.

Theology, Mission and Jihad

Every religion has its own ethos or distinctive characteristics which reflect in its theology or investigation of the Divine. It is shaped by the kind of questions raised and the answers given by the leaders of that religion. In Hindu religions, the seeker raised the question: what is real? What is the highest Good? What is man? What are his roots? Is he only his body or even his mind and intellect? His mind, his proud possession, is a prisoner of its passions; its knowledge is so little and so uncertain. Is there in him some other principle of greater and surer knowledge? Is there something by knowing which all this is known or at least makes sense? Hindu spirituality sought answers to these questions.

There is nothing to show that any spokesman of prophetic religions ever raised these questions. His questions were different. They were : Who is the true God? What is His will? How can it be fulfilled? We cannot explain how, but he arrived at the conclusion, often even before he raised the question, that he knew the true God, that the Gods his neighbours knew were false, that he was the mouthpiece of his God, and that unless others believed in him and followed him, they were damned. He felt strongly that it was his duly and God-given responsibility to propagate this view about his God and about himself. Men must be told the truth about this God and Ins authentic spokesman and be made to embrace this truth even by force if necessary. Their dominant ethos has been shaped by this theology.

Therefore the characteristic figure of these religions is a preacher, a crusader or a mujahid. He has nothing to learn; he has been sent to teach and correct and wherever possible even to punish. A Missionary is not taught to reflect but to act, and so he does not doubt that he knows the truth or whether his truths

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are worth knowing, or if what he knows are truths at all. His work is also accompanied by liberal use of force but the religious end justifies it as is seen from the record of several ‘saints’ like a Christian Xavier or a Sufi Ahmad Sirhindi.

With this kind of understanding of man and God and their own mission, Christianity and Islam started as soon as they gathered enough strength, along a career of persecution. They persecuted pagans, Jews, their own critics and mystics whom they branded and condemned as heretics. They were intolerant of cultures and people, and modes of worship which had a different conception of God. We in India know something of Islam in action, but the record of Christianity has been as black and as thorough in other continents. Similarly Islam has not only been a great imperialist, but it has also been a great suppressor of thought and opinion. It simply could not allow itself to be freely investigated and discussed by its followers. Conformity is secured by exercising ‘holy terror’ on “impostors”.

Phrases like “Kingdom of God within” have confused the Hindus. But it should be noted that that the very word ‘within’ is a mistranslation of the Greek word ‘entos’ which means ‘among’ or ‘in the midst’ and the phrase meant ‘the end of the world’, which was expected any day by Jesus (and even by Muhammad). Similarly the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is perhaps an interpolation, and is not organic to prophetic message and ethics. Various Christian Churches and sects in the past have not been very conscious of the Sermon, leave alone implementing it. In fact it is people like Gandhiji who have made the Christian theologians aware of it.

There is something false about the very idea of ‘founding’ a religion. To say the least, it is a thoroughly materialistic idea, and it must lead lo its own excesses. Again the falsehood that accompanies the business of religious conversion is even worse than its intolerance. Mahatma Gandhi called proselytising “the deadliest poison that ever sapped the foundation of truth”, and he regarded a Missionary “like any vendor of goods” though he pretends to be something else.

Prophetic and Yogic Spiritualities

How and why does this happen? As a matter of fact, the founder is often quite sincere in the ordinary sense of the term and has no intention of deceiving anyone. But what if he is himself deceived? Not to deceive others is relatively easy, but to prevent self-deception is very much more difficult. Sri Ram Swarup offers an insight for this phenomenon by invoking the following yogic insights for such ‘divine revelations’.

Yogic spiritualities like Hinduism differ radically from the family of prophetic religions. These begin by asking the fundamental question: what is man, and progressively proceed to delve deeper in consciousness to discover higher truths about the soul and the universe. The Upanishads speak of a consciousness (Satchidananda) which is unified, characterised by bliss, and knowing all (prajna). Hinduism gave us Gods that were friends of men and of each other, it gave us Gods that were conceived as mothers, fathers, consorts, sons and daughters. There cannot be a developed knowledge of Gods without a developed knowledge of self.

The concept of Dharma is unique to the religions of Indian origin. While there can be no adequate definition or description of Dharma, it is often used to mean Universal Law which creates and sustains all Creation. It essentially means that a code of conduct cannot be absolute or universal. This also does not mean that Hinduism encourages the concept of moral relativism. An individual’s dharma, that is, his svadharma will depend on his spiritual maturity and place in life. Ethics, in such an understanding, cannot be one monolithic code. Here it allows for plurality, different paths, different ways. It believes in higher spiritual beings, in God and Gods, and in the idea that they can be seen and experienced and one can live in fellowship with them. In fact, man knows God when he is most God-like (Shivarn bhutvll Shlvam yajet). It is obvious that in this kind of spirituality, there can be no place for a one-man revelation. A truth must become your own if it is to do good to you. One cannot live another man’s truth whatever his claims may be. Most advanced spiritualities in the world have held this approach and today Hinduism is its best example.

Yoga is the intense discipline of the mind and body that an individual practices when he turns his consciousness inward, into himself- a significant contribution of Hinduism. Some of its elements were borrowed by Christianity and Islam (Sufism) but these could not be fitted within their rigid system of beliefs and were either banished from the corpus of religious traditions or treated peripherally. Christianity has no place for self-reflection in its spiritual practices because religious experiences resulting from contemplation often contradicted established dogma and was therefore not encouraged. Its hermits and more pious monks practised fasting, vigils, and extreme and sometimes even competitive self-mortification. There was little place for contemplative methods. In Islam too mysticism in its off-shoot Sufism, is more of a graft than a natural flowering. According to the Dictionary’ of Islam, Sufism ‘is but a Muslim adaptation of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophers’. Prophetic Islam would have withered and died from its own formalism and legalism, but Sufism saved it from its fate by importing into it some principle of warmth and intenality. But in this association, it itself suffered a great setback as we shall see later. The Sufism that survived and even prospered was tame and poised to promote prophetism except for some great Sufi poets like Rumi and Attar. They became part and parcel of Islamic imperialism, its enthusiastic sappers and miners and also its beneficiaries as in India.

The ‘inward journey’ of Yoga which ultimately leads to samadhi and atma-jnana is unknown to the Semitic religions. It leads to the realisation that God alone is monism), which is quite different from saying that there is only one God (Monotheism). He is not known by those who say they know him, but he is known by those who say they know him not.

In a private communication, the author of ‘Hindu view of Christianity and Islam’, an advanced yogi, has given a Note which is meant to be incorporated in the above book. It is given at the end of this chapter as it explains the whole concept succinctly.

The Origin of Semitic God

A spiritual person of the non-Abrahamic faiths is struck by the amazing resemblance that these religions bear to asuric and rakshasic traditions. Our yogis have been too polite to throw light on this subject. Sri Ram Swarup, however, gives the following very interesting insight into how these gods are created and nourished.

Vyasa, in his commentary on Yogadarshana tells us that the mind has Five habitual planes (bhumis): mudha (dull or inert), Kshipa (restless), vikshiptta (scattered), ekagra (one-pointed) and niruddha (stopped). Samadhis can take place in all bhumis, but he adds a warning that the samadhis of the first three bhumis are non-yogic and asuric and only those of the last two are truly yogic, leading to proper spiritual development. These non-yogic samadhis or ecstasies in the lower bhumis (kumo-bhumis) have their

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own Revelations, their own Prophets and their own Deities with rajasic-tamasic inclinations. They project ego-gods and desire-gods and give birth to hate-religions and delusive ideologies. They have strong likes and dislikes, cruel preferences and favourite people, and implacable enemies. They are the ‘jealous god’ as described in the Bible and which offend the moral sense of our rational age too. For example Thomas Jefferson thinks that the “Bible God is a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.”

But why should these gods have such qualities? Why should they be called God? And why should they have so much hold? Yoga provides an answer. It says that though not a truly spiritual being, he is thrown up by a deeper vital source in the mind. He is some sort of psychic formation and carries the strength and attraction of such a formation; he also derives his rajasic qualities and dynamism from the chitta-bhumi in which he originates. This will explain that the biblical God is not unique and he is not a historical oddity. He has his source in man’s psyche and he derives his validity and power thereof; therefore he conies up again and again and is found in cultures widely separated.

In actual life, one seldom meets truths of the kama-bhumi and krodha-bhumi unalloyed. Often they are mixtures and touched by intrusions from the truths of the yoga-bhumis above. This however makes them even more virulent; it puts a religious rationalisation on them. It degrades the higher without uplifting the lower. Lower impulses are indeed difficult to conquer and even affect those who have experienced the truths of higher life. Hence the insistence of Yoga on a moral and spiritual discipline and on inner purification i.e. chitta-shuddhi. Without this, Yoga could be put to negative use as is done in the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ of the Jesuits for theological self-conditioning.

Yogic samadhi involves progressive purification; there are several levels and each level has its characteristic qualities. If the mind is sufficiently purified, it automatically moves from one stage to the next. This progressive movement is divided into several dhyunas. The first few are characterised by reflection, sustained application, joy, felicity, one-pointedness and mindfulness. Above these four dhyanas, from which the higher Indian spiritual traditions begin, comes samata or equal-mindedness which opens doors to many kinds of infinities or anantyas. Beyond lies the nirodhabhumi of Patanjala Yoga or the nirvana-bhumi of the Buddhists.

In prophetic religions the truths are restricted lo the first two or three dhyanas and include several good traits like faith, piety, belief, joy and fervour. But they don’t touch samata, the basis of higher truths. As a result the truths of the initial dhyanas are not secure because they have not been fortified by a higher vision. This has happened with the Semitic religions which on the other hand, are always under the gravitational pull of a different kind of vision derived from monotheism and prophetism. Their zeal turned into zealotry and became persecutory, their faith became narrow and dogmatic, their confidence arrogant and sectarian, ultimately constituting a danger to the rest of humanity. This subject is discussed in detail in the Note below.

But it does not mean there are no believing Christians and Muslims now or in the past who did not overcome the fault of their theology. Many have loved their fellow believers without learning to hate their pagan neighbours. All this shows that man is greater than his creeds and ideologies and that humanity can survive its hate-ideologies. It gives great hopes that when India rises after winning the second phase of its freedom struggle of regaining its Hindu identity, it will play a leading role in the rise of a global and truly spiritual humanity by overcoming asaric and rakshasic forces as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo.

REFERENCE

  1. Hindu View Of Christianity and Islam, Ram Swarup, Voice Of India, New Delhi, 1995

SRI RAM SWARUP’S NOTE ON SPIRITUAL SYMBOLS

Prophetic religions have no worthwhile theory of self-purification. They have felt that they do not need one. They deal in ready-made truths received from their God by their prophet in a revelation and communicated to his followers as dogmas. In Hinduism there is a problem of truth itself, the problem of receiving and communicating it. In this tradition, problems relating to the message, the medium and the source are important and are open to questions and inquiry. In prophetic tradition, to raise questions about them is unbelief, infidelity and is punishable.

Prophetic religions have at best a theory of inspiration (IIham and the holy ghost). But in actual practice, this doctrine is a veritable psychological trap and has often led to much charlatanism and to excesses. Apollonious, the great saint of the Greco-Roman world advises that we should avoid philosophies and people who “claim to be inspired, for people like that lie about Gods and urge them to do many foolish things.”

In prohetic religions, the prophet is supposed to speak for God, but in most cases, it is difficult to decide who speaks for whom – the prophet for God or God for the prophet. Similarly, it is not sure where God begins if he begins at all and where the prophet ends. In the case of the prophet of Islam, it was seen that his revelations were quite accommodative and served his convenience as Aisha, his young wife, pointed out. Sometimes it also happened that words supplied by the recorder became part of the heavenly text which upset him greatly. But Umar was flattered when he saw that some of the suggestions he had made became Allah’s injunctions.

Salman Rushdie has discussed the phenomenon of revelations of Islam’s prophet in his Satanic Verses from the modern psychological angle. He finds there is no Allah and no message. It is prophe’ all over. He dictates with one mind and listens to what he himself has dictated with the other. We reed not disagree with Salmon’s observations about the prophet of his discussion. But we need not accept his larger intellectual format about spiritual life. Hinduism believes in Gods, in higher life and higher truth; it believes that this truth is not alien to man but is akin to him; that he is surrounded by it, lives in it and breathes in it, but to become aware of it requires a pure heart.

To a superficial look it may appear like prophetism, at least in some essentials. But a little discrimination will show that it is not so. Prophetism deals in special Gods, special revelations, special dispensation. Sanatana Dharma tradition is concerned with laws of the spirit that apply to all and are true for all time. It does not discuss historical oddities; it discusses higher life as a regular phenomenon of life. Revelation is taking place all the time and man is nourished regularly by heaven and he lives in interchange with Gods. Prophetism with its exclusive Gods and special messengers and revelations is a caricature of this truth.

Sanatana Dharma teaches that to become aware of the higher life and establish its rule, the soul has to develop new organs of perception like faith, dhyana or meditation (devout attention), discrimination and prajna. Faith is recognised in many religious traditions, but the others find emphasis mainly in Hindu tradition and those which are related to it, like the Greek, Pythagoreans and Neo-platonists Upanishads say that meditation is greater than thought and they found that the earth, atmosphere, waters, mountains, Gods as well as men, all are mediating as it were. In this tradition, spiritual discrimination (viveka) and purified intelligence {buddhi) are highly valued.

Upanishads also teach that a man becomes what he desires, aspires to, thinks and dwells upon. So it gives importance to purify his seeking, his desire and his thoughts. This can best be done by contemplating and dwelling on the objects of his seeking themselves.

In Hindu spiritual tradition, man’s seeking is for truth, for immortality, for light, for plenitude, for fullness, for the vast, for liberation. Lead me from falsehood to truth, from darkness to light, from death to deathlessness, from the small to the vast is the Upanishadic prayer. The Upanishads also teach that the best way to realise them is to meditate and reflect on them. The great truths of the spirit are also the great anusmritis and anudhyonas that is subjects and objects worthy to be remembered and meditated upon reverentially again and again.

In Hindu Yogic tradition, there is a great emphasis on an in-gathered or recollected mind. A man can make no spiritual progress with a scattered mind. Such a mind is lost in its objects and it neither knows them nor itself properly. But once a mind is recollected, it knows what it is to be mindful. A dissipated mind is by nature sorrowful but a recollected mind is by nature joyful and luminous (vishoka and jyotishmati). A man with a recollected mind realises that he is more akin to mind than to its objects.

To conquer mind’s wanderings (vikshepa), it is necessary to acquire one-pointedness (ekagrata) For that one should practice the culture of One-principle (eka-tattva abbyasa). For this purpose, Indian Yoga has mentioned many subjects, objects and symbols for concentration and meditation (loosely rendered here as karma-sthana). They Help to settle the mind and a settled mind helps to purify them further.

Ultimately the best subjects and objects of dhyana are, as we just observed, the great truths of the Self itself but nothing that has a psychic and spiritual significance is ruled out. In India’s yogic tradition, friendliness, compassion, joy, passionlessness, mindfulness and equal-mindedness are considered great purifiers.

Many other subjects, symbols and objects are mentioned: elements, luminaries like fire, sun or sky and earth, any chosen deity or guru-figure, the mystic sound of Om, in short every symbol of psychic and spiritual potential is acceptable.

A karma-sthana is not good enough and subtle enough to start with. But the process of meditation itself sets up a process which purifies it further, removes its blemishes and makes it a fitting channel for further spiritual progress. Under the alchemy of meditation, the symbol becomes increasingly more luminous, joyful and psychic. The process of meditation converts it into a new currency and makes it worthy of a new journey in a new terrain. Opened to higher influences, it is further purified and raised up. Unknown inner doors open and new Gods are born.

All this transformation is necessary. Any chosen symbol or figure must purify itself before it purifies others; it must become spirit-worthy before it guides on the spiritual path. The transformation takes place as a matter of course in accordance with the spiritual laws; it cannot be manipulated; it is self-determined and charters its own course. Its moving power is the aspirant’s sincerity and intensity of aspiration. On the spiritual path, nothing that is honest and sincere is lost and all lost and all threads meet and everything is added up and taken into account.

The process of meditation accepts all sattwika sentiments, objects and symbols but has no use for those which are rajasika and tamasika. Those who sit with their eyes closed but dwell with their mind on its lower attractions become worse. Strong hatreds, egoistic opinions, prejudices and preferences- whether one’s own or one’s God’s and prophet’s does not matter, for let us remember that there is lot of self-worship through worship of one’s deities and prophets- are most unacceptable. They add another danger. In a meditative mind, they appear as visions, voices and commands of one’s deity. They have deep roots, a stubborn life. A cat has nine lives, they have ninety nine; they can remain dormant fora long time and reappear in many guises. To overcome them and to make them seedless is a great problem in the spiritual quest. But we are not taking up that question here.

Though Semitic religions lack the culture of meditation, pious and believing Muslims and Christians have often dwelt on their founders with great piety and reverence. This has benefited the symbols and under the alchemy of piety greatly improved them. In fact, some Sufis have given us a very different kind of prophet than the one we know in history. This prophet-figure of piety is at adds with the prophet of history. In some ways, this has produced much confusion and one figure has been mistaken for the other. It also became a source of mischief. The figure of the prophet of piety is used to sell the prophet of history and to propagate his cult.

Similarly, Christian monks have often meditated on Jesus in their monasteries. In one way, he is better fitted for this role. For in his case, there is little history to contend with and to shed. But he is a figure of theology which makes him equally intractable and impervious to light. Meditation on historical Jesus also benefited the Jesus-figure. When dwelt upon with loving regard it tended to lose its blemishes and become more luminous. Thus it became acceptable to the meditating monks in spite of its inherent unreasonableness and untenability. And here too again as in Islam, the meditation-figure was used to promote the Jesus of theology.

For the sake of our Christian readers who lay great store by historical Jesus, let us dilate on the subject a little more. Let us say that Yoga does not care for a historical figure as such; it cares only for its psychic truth. It would suffice to say that to a man who sincerely follows the soul’s native aspiration for self-recovery, any chosen symbol, physical or psychic, historical or non-historical, any figure of a guru living or past – they are all acceptable starting points. The rest is added as he proceeds on the path and as the need arose. Therefore, a sincere Christian could, if

he is so minded, adopt the figure of a historical Jesus without harm and even with profit In the simplest way, it provides a focus for his religious impulses – in itself no small gain. And if his aspiration is pure, persistent and one-pointed, it could take him further on the spiritual path. As the believer dwells on his chosen figure with

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loving care, a process of change is set up which transforms the symbol. What is redundant drops and what is necessary is added. Under this alchemy, the figure thaws, becomes freer and is released from its historical and psychological confines; it turns to light above and within, absorbs it and is converted into its likeness; under this influence, it loses it opacity and becomes transparent and a reflector of truths beyond itself.*

If the figure of normal Jesus was allowed to run its course, it could become a channel of further spiritual progress. If a man has it in his soul and is spiritually ready, he would realise that though the figure is now lighted, it has no light of its own. He would become increasingly more aware of the forces at work within him – forces that bind and those that liberate. His soul may wake up and become a aware of its original, untarnished status. This would open up his prajna, or wisdom-eye; he would realise that salvation is a lawful act and it does not depend on a historical accident; that soul in its original status is not sinful but pure, untouched by evil (shuddham apapaviddham); that man is raised and saved by the Self, his true light and refuge; he would meet the indwelling saviour – who is in all and belongs to all. He would realise that he is nothing and God is everything, in all.

But a Christian believer operates in a very different atmosphere. He is not to find his God or saviour for himself, but both are given to him by the Church; he is not to follow his inner light – he is taught to distrust it – but be guided by an official theology. Under its influence, the saviour is conceived as a mediator between an offended deity and a sinful man; the figure obviously belongs to those religious cults and practices in which blood and sacrifice, both human and animal, dominate, not inquiry and contemplation.

It is obvious that such theology can have no exalted idea either of God or man. This theology is spiritually disabling in other ways too; it gives its believers exclusive revelations, exclusive gods, exclusive saviours. It gives a god revealed to a chosen intermediary but to be believed by all; it gives a saviour who saves few but condemns many – the unbelievers invariably so. In this theology historical Jesus plays a pre-determined, ideological role. Under its influence, this figure deteriorates badly; instead of getting purified and uplifted as on the first route,. It is debased and lowered in conception and spiritual quality; instead of converting into a psychic truth, it becomes a fanatic and intolerant idea; instead of becoming luminous and transparent, it becomes opaque with little capacity for receiving and reflecting higher truths.

The figure of Jesus as developed and available in Christian tradition is tamasika-rajasika. It would be difficult for it to recover whatever other possibility it ever had; it has now become a symbol – a frozen symbol – of religious aggrandisement; it is badly infected with raaga-dvesha inwoven with its followers’ ambitions and hatred. The believer operates in the atmosphere of what is called theological odium; he learns to hate on a large scale, hate under many names and guises, hate his pagan neighbours and the whole past of humanity. While he loves after a fashion his god – a form of self-love -he is taught to hate all other gods or rather the gods of others. While great claims are made for his god, gods of others are abominated and denied. Thus the figure of a historical Jesus is made to support a huge, doctrinal superstructure of denials and arrogant claims; it presides over a vast apparatus of repression and self-aggrandisement, In this approach while history and the fraternity of believers run amuck, eternity and humanity have little place.

Christianity is a living example of a case where an innocent symbol was destroyed by a bad theology. But it does not mean there are no believing Christians now or in the past who did not overcome the faults of their theology. Many have loved their fellow believers without learning to hate their pagan neighbours. All this shows that man is greater than his creeds and ideologies and that humanity could survive its hate-ideologies.

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06- Islam in India- Society and Culture

Having studied the history of Islam in India, we shall now see how this religion has operated in this country, a country where Hindus today constitute around 80% of the people. Islam in India is better understood when studied with reference to the global Islamic context wherever necessary. This chapter therefore is rooted in and elaborated upon ‘The Religion of Islam’.

This chapter covers the following aspects of Islamic society in our country :

  1. Sufis
  2. Fatwas
  3. Position of women
  4. Sects and Castes

The treatment of these subjects is introductory and readers may also find the delineation inadequate. But it is hoped that more and more nationalist scholars like Shri Arun Shourie, Shri Sitaram Goel and the late Shri Ram Swaroop will take up the task that they have all undertaken and fulfilled so courageously – to study and analyze the theology of Islam and Christianity and how they operate, in countries where they constitute the majority and in countries where they constitute a minority. More scholars should study the world-view of these two religions – not only how they operate within themselves but also about what happens when they intersect with deeply differing world-views, cultures and religions.

SUFIS

Sufism has always been undeservedly extolled and glorified by naïve Hindus, even Hindu intellectuals, who have not cared to critically analyse its real role in this country. Some scholars including our incumbent President have gone to the extent of claiming that Sankara’s (born 502 BC) advaita has been deeply influenced from his contacts with Sufis! The name ‘Sufi’ referred to Muslim ascetics who clothed themselves in coarse garments of wool (suf). There have been mystics in every region and religion and those in the Arab world in pre-Islamic days were in all probability influenced by Hindu mysticism, and Buddhism (it should be remembered that Central Asia was wholly Buddhist then). With the advent of Islam with its rigid exoteric and fanatic tenets, the movement must have initially functioned underground. Later on compromises with Islam would have been made and mysticism brought under the Islamic fold. But these compromises killed the essential spirit of mysticism. The orthodox ulema never reconciled with the free spirit of enquiry but at the same time could not control the mystic and spiritual yearning in individuals, whenever it happened to find intense public expression. Thus, there has always been an uneasy resignation of the mind and intellect with regard to the severe persecution of Sufis under fanatic rulers, particularly Shias. The Sufis adopted Islamic terms described later in their spirituality and it is a pity that this movement, originating from our spirituality, has been misused later to convert our own people to a fanatic creed.

The adjustment was done very subtly. Advantage was taken of the fact that it is very difficult to be convicted of heresy in Islam where judgment on a man’s interior motive is reserved to God and man’s judgment is based largely on a person’s action. An individual was condemned only when he introduced innovations in religious law or repudiated it. Consequently, the Sufi leaders stressed that their religious practice was fully in line with sharia and their writings are choked with hadiths justifying it! In order to make themselves more respectable, the authority of the Sufi masters was traced right back to one of the first four ‘rightly-guided’ caliphs to different aspects of the Sufi path! But due to these compromises, Sufism could never spontaneously flower and gain depth, and most Sufi organizations only helped their rulers in extending the scope of Islam. The true Sufis have mostly functioned in seclusion.

The three Stages of the Growth of Sufism in India

Trimingham1 has studied the soidal order of Sufis extensively and classified their evolution in three stages. The first is khanagah (rest-house or dharmashala), or the initial stage. During the reign of the Abbasids in the eighth century, individuals tired of opulence of the rulers and the dogma of the ulema, dropped out of society and became wandering monks. This was truly the golden age of Sufism with emphasis more on love of God and spiritual affinity with God than on fear of God. There was a loose master-disciple bond, but no structured organization as such. Two important schoold arose, the Junaidi – named after Abul-Qasim al-Junaid (d. 910 AD) and Bistami – named after Abu Yazid al-Bistami (d. 874 AD). The Junaidi school was the more orthodox, largely conforming to the Islamic dogma, sober and moderate and thus more acceptable to the orthodox and he came to be regarded as ‘the Shaikh of the Way’. The Bistami school on the other hand was characterized by ecstasy, rapture and intoxication and hence discouraged.

From about the thirteenth century, the second phase, tariqa, meaning ‘the path’ or ‘method’, was started with the establishment of mystical schools that began to coalesce around one or another master. Mystical techniques gradually crystallized into structured school of thought, in which the method, consisting of a structured set of spiritual exercises, had to be learnt and mastered. During this phase the principle of the transmission of the method from one Sufi to another became explicit, resulting in the formation of spiritual lineages or silsilas (chin) that corresponded to each school and which could be traced back to the founder of each school. A guru-sishya relationship was now formally formed with greater systematization, differentiation and specialization among the various schools. Manuals of rituals were now produced as guides for the director and his students. The power of the Word of God in Koran was stressed and orthodox rituals were invested with esoteric significance. The founders, many of them professional jurists, clung to the externals of Islamic practice and based their invocations solidly on the Koran. This won them the seal of approval from the ulema and also enriched the devotional life of the ordinary Muslim.

The thirteenth century was also an age of extreme disturbance and change as the non-Muslim Mongol hordes swept across central Asian Muslim states. Hence wave after wave of Muslim refugees including Sufis fled to those parts of the Muslim world which were relatively remote from this danger. Among these were Anatolia in the north-west and Hindustan in the south-west. Many Sufis found a new home within the jurisdiction of the Turkish sultanate of Delhi. Sufis in India, during this period were influenced by the vibrant Hindu ethos of the country and through them, Islam acquired the dimension of a holy-man religion. The Sufis and the gentle, seemingly mystical Islam acquired an aura of holiness around them which attracted gullible Hindus to them. There were two categories of Sufis in the country, those associated with khanaqahs and the wanderers. The former, were in a special sense, the focal points of Islam – centers of holiness, fervour, ascetic exercises and Sufi training. Contrary to the corresponding Arab institutions, the Indian khanaqahs grew up around a holy man and became associated with his tariqa or method of discipline and exercises. Two main tariqas were formed – that of Muinaddin Chishti (d. 1236 AD) and his follower, Qutb ad-din Bakhtiyar Kaki, or Ajmer and of Suhrawardi. They acquired such fame that they began to matter in the political and religious calculations of the ruling authorities and under them, khanaqahs sprang up everywhere, the majority without definite ascriptions. Wandering dervishes for whom they formed centers for training, meeting and hospitality were numerous and acted as cultural agents in spreading and stabilizing Islam in India during this period.

Another significant development took place in the history of Sufism because of the Mongol invasion between the period AD 1219-95. Muslim Asia was subjected to the domination of non-Muslim rulers and Islam was displaced from its position as state religion. During this period the Sufis became, for the people, the representatives of the religion and were also responsible for the eventual conversion of Mongols to Islam. We should perhaps ask ourselves why the Hindu religion never attempted to accomplish the Hinduisation of successive Muslim and Christian invaders! Even after their death, the shrines in honour of the sufi saints, and not the mosques, became the symbol of Islam for Iranians, Tartars and Turks. Thus Timur was nominally a Sunni but offered high respect and veneration for saints and their shrines, many of which he built or restored. His descendant, Babar, introduced the Naqshabandi order in India Thus, with this kind of State support and patronage Sufis gained a grudging respectability from the ulema in the world of Islam.

The third phase, taifa or cult-association, began from the fifteenth century. Direct communion with God was replaced by the veneration and even worship of a pir or Master who now occupied the position of a spiritual intermediary between the disciple and God. They also became hereditary, particularly in India, as blood replaced merit as the chief criterion of succession. Barakat, the intangible capacity of a saint to wield spiritual power and to attract devotees, was transmitted not only to a saint’s descendants (pir-Zadas), but also to his tomb. These tombs, in India called dargahs, generally replaced khanaqahs as the physical structure upon which the Sufi movements were based. Sufism now became more a devotional than a mystical movement and hence very popular among all sections of the people including impressionable Hindus, for attaining worldly desires. This phase witnessed the introduction of astrology, magic, belief in talismans and charms and other superstitions as means of preserving the flow of barakat from the saint. As Trimingham sums it up, if Sufis in the khanaqah phase surrendered to God, and in the tariqa phase to a method of discipline, in the taifa stage they surrendered to a person, the barakat possessing saint of whose cult they were members. But this development contributed to the decline of Sufism as a mystical path to god-realization. Spiritual insight atrophied and the Way became paved and marked. Except perhaps in Iran, Sufi writings ceased to show any real originality.

None of the orders in India could escape being influenced by their religious environment. Many branches became highly syncretistic, adopting various pantheistic thought and antinomian tendencies. Many practices were taken over from the Yogis-extreme ascetic disciplines, celibacy and vegetarianism. Wanderers of the qalandari type grew in numbers. Local customs were adopted; for example, in the thirteenth century the Chishtis paid respect to their leaders by prostrating themselves before them with their foreheads touching the ground. The Indian Qadiri sheikhs now extend very far the process of compromise with Hindu thought and custom.

The nineteenth century saw two major developments in the Sufi orders. The first was caused by the rise of the fundamentalist Wahabi movement which stressed a return to the simplicity of a mythical unadulterated Islam. They rejected any sort of intermediaries between man and God and as a result they destroyed the tombs of several Sufi saints in their regions of influence. Also extreme decadence had set in the Sufi orders and some of the reformers now stressed that the purpose of their spiritual practices was union with the spirit of the Prophet, rather than union with God. This change has been termed by some as Neo-Sufism and has affected the basis of their mystical life.

The Effect of Sufism On Hindus And Hinduism

Vedaprakash2 has analysed the role played for Islam by the Sufis. As stated above, the Sufis in India found great acceptability among the Hindus and they were respected for their deportment, dress, use of Hindu terminology and for the manner in which they generally conducted themselves. They even adapted and adopted Hindu methods to make their cult attractive. It was propagated that the Atharva Veda was faithfully practiced by them. Their ‘Rishi Movement’ was an integral component of the process of Islamisation that started in the Kashmir valley in the wake of the introduction of the Sufi orders from Central Asia and Iran in the fourteenth century. In general they used their spiritual clout for converting Hindus without immediately changing their culture, i.e. externally they would be Hindus, but internally they were Muslims (crypto-Muslims) following all Hindu practices. This can be illustrated by the Bengali Muslims’ love for their language and culture, the Benaras Sunni community’s belief in various Hindu practices, Hindu laws of inheritance applicable to Khojas, and Puthi literature. The latter in fact contained many allegorical puranas and terminology. In one such book, Muhammad is considered as one of the Avataras, and Ali is worshipped as the tenth avatar in the Dasaavatara of Vishnu and the Imams are held to be his incarnation in turn. Even the conversion ceremonies were accompanied by Hindu practices and symbols like distribution of vibhuti and flowers and substitution of Ganga water for the Meccan Zam Zam water. The following terms common to Sufis all over the world and most probably borrowed by Sufis originally from Hindus, were used stressing their similarity to Hindu concepts.

Fikr Dhyana

Zikr Smarana or Japa

Voral Zikr Bhajan

Wird Manana

Shuhud Final stage of dhyana

Tasbih Mala or rosary

The following Sufi terms were used for their equivalents for the various Hindu stages of spiritual progress.

Talab Yearning for God

Ishq Love for this attainment

Marfat Enlightenment after realization

Fana Surrender

Tauhid Experiencing Allah permeating all

Hairat Ecstasy attained at the sight of Divinity

Fukr Wa Fana Moksha or Nirvana

According to ‘Vedaprakash’ only about 20% of the Indian Sufis were truly secular and spiritual in their outlook and had true respect for the Hindu religion and spiritualism. The rest, with the connivance of the Muslim rulers, only swindled the gullible Hindus. They have been the most fundamentalist, fanatic and extremist in their attitudes, behaviour and encounter with Hindus. Many Sufis served in the government and received free lands and donations apart from every assistance that government office could provide for their roles as ambassadors and spies. The Chistiyya were the patron saints of Muslim rulers and Shaikh Abdur-Rahman Chisti advocated that the Chishtiyyas were the sole protectors of the King and Islam. Many in their order have been glorified for leading the Muhammadan armies and for acting as spies. The Shattariyya, Shaikh Abdullah marched with his disciples dressed as soldiers from Central Asia to Bengal to convert Bengali kafirs, that is, the Hindus. Ahmed Sirhindi (1564-1624) had written many letters to the rulers to wage jihad against the kafirs. The Sufi Nizamuddin Awaliya actively participated in jihads against the local people. Shaikh Nasirid-Din-Muhammad (d. 1356) advocating government service for Sufis and jihad has quoted

“The essence of Sufism is not an external garment

Gird up your loins to serve the Sultan and be a Sufi”

Many famous Hindu temples were taken over and converted into khanaqas and popular Hindu festivals were transformed into Muslim ones. The Sufis first occupied places near the temples, and then slowly began entering these temples to ultimately convert them into their places of worship. And soon, under some pretext the temple would be partly or fully demolished and the idols destroyed. Muslim rulers of the time connived with the Sufi saints in the whole process, often using force against the Hindus.

Frawley3 categorizes the Sufis into ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’. We have seen the conservative category above. The liberal, mostly recent converts from Hinduism were tolearant and non-political, and although they had only recently cut off their umbilical cords from Hinduism, they too had been tainted by the stain of intolerance. Thus although Chistis are considered liberal, they considered themselves to be patron saints of the intolerant Muslim rulers of India and actively promoted conversions. The famous Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya had blessed and prayed for victories of the most ruthless of invaders, Allauddin Khilji. The Naqshabandi and Suhrawardi orders too were extremely intolerant. They criticised Akbar and helped Aurangzeb to murder his older brother Dara, a fine scholar, deeply influenced by the vedantic thought. Both Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Waliullah, reputedly two of the most intolerant among the Sufis, belonged to the Naqshabandi school. In fact the latter conspired with Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan to invade India since they were worried about the rising Maratha power. Muhammad Iqbal, the twentieth century Muslim poet in undivided India who provided the poetic and philosophic inspiration for the creation of Pakistan, was a great admirer of both.

Eaton4 , studied the role of Sufis from the 14th to the 18th century in the kingdom of Bijapur in the Deccan plateau. He concludes that the stereotyped conception of medieval Indian Sufis as pious and peace-loving mystics lovingly preaching Islam among Hindus was grossly inaccurate and declares that the Sufis actually played very active social and political roles. The hagiographic literature studied by Eaton describes the period when the first group of Sufis entered this region in the beginning of fourteenth century as being the ‘chalk of dawn’ of Islamic civilization in the Deccan. In the same literature they are also pictured as militant champions of Islam waging jihad in a Dar-ul-Harb, slaying countless Hindu infidels against overwhelming odds and, more often than not, being themselves slain in the process. The first ‘Warrior’ Sufis to arrive in Bijapur were around 1318 AD when Malik Kafur raided the South although traditions say that some had penetrated even earlier. They generally accompanied the invading armies and themselves were often professional soldiers. There being no established tradition of urban Islamic culture at that time, this category of Sufis could not relate to any court or ulema. Indeed, in one sense, they functioned as the ulema. Being the sole representatives of Islam, accompanying the armies, they declared and thereby legitimized the jihad against non-Muslims.

Early Islam was defined and sustained by the fear of Hell. Since death as a result of fighting a jihad was the surest passport to Paradise, it probably came about that in the early days, the Muslim faithful including their religious leaders, undertook religious warfare or jihad, particularly on the frontiers as their primary religious duty. It should be noted that this was a phenomenon noticed on all frontiers of Islamic territories and the Arabic word ‘ribat’ (equivalent to khanaqah in Persian), which originally signified forts or fortified lines, came to mean for the Sufis, hospices for religious life.

Sufis In Bijapur

Once Muslim power was firmly established through the Bahamani kingdom in 1347 AD, this class gradually disappeared. Now the more established and sophisticated orders like the Vhisti and Shattari made inroads into the plateau. Initially they were established in the power centers of Gulbarga and Bidar, but after the dissolution of the Bahamani empire, they gradually migrated to Bijapur whose power was firmly established around the middle of the sixteenth century.

The evolution of Sufis in Bijapur has been summarized by Eaton in the following table which compares the characteristics of the different categories of Sufis and their pattern of behavior from the Bijapur records, as the fortunes of this kingdom first waxed and then waned.

Attributes Warrior Sufis Reformist Sufis Literati, Mystical Literati, Popular Landed Sufis Dervish Sufis
Period 1275-1350 1575-1650 1500-1700 1650-1700 1650-1700 1650-1725
Relation to court

n.r.

Integrated

Indifferent

Indifferent

Integrated

Hostile

Relation to Ulema

n.r.

Integrated

Indifferent

Indifferent

Integrated

Hostile

Relation to Islam

n.r.

Integrated

Orthodox

Orthodox

Integrated

Hostile

Relation to non-Muslims Hostile Indifferent Accommodating Accommodating Hostile Accommodating
Affiliation by order None Qadiri, Shattari Chisti Chisti Qadiri, Shattar None
Affiliation by Class Foreigner Foreigner Deccani Deccani Deccani Deccani
Residence n.r. Urban Rural Rural Urban Rural
Literary Language Persian, Dakhni

n.r. : Not relevant

The first powerful Sultan, Ali I, was a Shia and hence Sunni Sufis were discouraged from establishing themselves. But during the reign of the Sunni ruler, Ibrahim II (1580-1627), reputed to be more liberal by disposition, a great many Sufi orders came into being. The Sultan, a contemporary of Akbar, attempted to blend the best of Islam and Hinduism. This drew flak from the Sufis who still retained close ties with the Arab Mid-East and who sought to redirect the Sultan from what they considered his aberrant ways. Although these reformist Sufis could not influence him, they certainly were partly responsible for the nature of his successors, who were rigidly orthodox and fanatic about their faith. The genuinely mystic among the Sufis confined themselves to their khanaqas, indifferent to the politics of the court, and composed mystical literature both in Persian and the local Deccani Muslim dialect. The compositions were mainly in Deccani and it was around this time that saw the beginning of the decline of the kingdom. This phase began around 1650 AD and ended in 1686 when Aurangzeb annexed the kingdom which ultimately resulted in the total eclipse of this state. By this time the khanaqas were converted into tombs or dargahs of pirs, the master Sufis, and attracted a great many devotees. In this taifa stage, in order to win the loyalty of the hereditary pirzadas or descendants of the pirs, who commanded a significant following, large tracts of land were donated by the royalty creating the landed Sufi class which lived by the glory of their ancestors. This category of Sufis became increasingly more intolerant and there were many Hindu-Muslim riots as a result of this ‘army of prayer’.

As a reaction to these developments, there now arose in large numbers another significant class, the Dervish Sufis or majzub who were nonconformists, much like the hippies or the ‘flower children’ of the West in the 1960s. These were addicted to wine and bhang which lifted them to heights of ecstasy. This amounted to withdrawal from society and Eaton terms this phenomenon as ‘a returni full circle to the point from which that evolution first sprang’ in Iraq and Khurasan. They were more tolerant of the Hindu society around them and in fact, adopted many of its practices.

The above discussions based on standard sources shows that the Sufi movement is quite complex. Hindu scholars will have to study it in depth in order to assess its actual impact on our society.

INDIAN ULEMA AND THEIR FATWAS

The Sharia has to be continuously interpreted to deal with new situations as and when they arise. Problems of life, belief and faith, and issues of law which confront the believer are answered by the rulings or fatwas issued by the ulema, the competent authorities in Islam. Arun Shourie5 has extensively studied the fatwas issued by the Indian ulema on varying issues – social, religious and even political. These ‘fatwas’ are compiled in several volumes for future reference by the local clergy. There is no question that arises in the mind of the faithful about life and living, which is not dealt with in the Koran, or the sunnah of the Prophet or the law books. They clearly reveal the mindset of the ulema and the mindset which they seek to instill and perpetuate in the community. In turn the questions asked reveal the concerns of the community. An intellectual analysis of these fatwas may throw light on the concerns of the faithful and their problems; the fatwas would also throw light on the manner adopted by the ulema to deal with these concerns and problems. Such a study may be revealing as it will explain the Muslim psyche when it lives in a land where it constitutes a religious minority.

Shourie has taken up the following five popular collections for analysis

1. Fatwa-i-Rizivia, popular amongst Barelvis who constitute the majority of Indian Muslims.

2. Kifayat-i-Mufti, Mufti Kifayatullah ke Fatawi, of the founder of the Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Hind.

3. Fatawa-i-Ulema Dar al-Ulum, Deoband, the well known religious institution, known for its anti-West and anti-modern position.

4. Fatawa-i-Ahl-i-Haais, having a large following amongst the ‘aristocracy’.

5. Fatawa-i-Rahimiyyah, proclaimed from Rander, Gujerat and followed by a large number of Indian Muslims settled abroad.

The first example he gives of the ulema’s power and influence is that of the Ali brothers with whom Gandhiji was associated during the khilafat movement in the early nineteen-twenties. Initially they spoke of him as a saint and paid him high tributes. But soon under the pressure of the ulema, they declared, ‘However pure Mr. Gandhi’s character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of religion inferior to any Mussalman though he be without character’ and ‘Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi because… to consider one’s creed as superior to that of every non-Muslim is the duty of a Mussalman’. Even prominent Muslims like Maulana Azad and Zakir Hussain have not been spared from the wrath and intimidation of the ulema to whom they had to ultimately submit.

And what is the mind-set of the ulema? To quote Shourie, ‘The earth is stationary. The sun revolves around it. The stars are stationary, hung as lamps by Allah to guide travelers, and to stone the Devil. To believe anything contrary to all this is to betray the Faith. Men are the masters. Each may keep up to four wives at a time and as many concubines ‘as the right hand holds’. The wives are fields which the husband may or may not “irrigate” as he will. The husband can bind them to obeying the merest whim on pain of being divorced. If he is still not satisfied, he can throw them out with one word. Upon being thrown out they are to be entitled to a bare sustenance – but only for three months, and nothing at all beyond that. To see any inequity in this, to demand anything more for the women is to question the wisdom of Allah, it is to strike at Islam. To urinate while standing, to fail to do istinja in the prescribed way, to fail to believe that the saliva of a dog is napaak, and his body paak – these are grave sins. To ask for the well-being of a Kafir, be he ever so saintly, even upon his death, to fail to believe that a Muslim, be he ever so sinful, is better than a kafir, be the latter ever so virtuous is kufr itself.’ And fatwa after fatwa from various schools have been quoted to illustrate these verdicts and to uphold many ‘truths’.

Moreover the ulema directly or indirectly control every mosque, seminary, Urdu press and madrasah. Foreign funds flow freely to them. Their hold has been tightened by the premise which has been dinned into every Muslim – that Islam (like Communism and Nzaism) does not concern itself merely with matters of the spirit, but that it encompasses every detail of life, even the most private of the private. The faithful have internalised the notion that even such matters are religious matters and this gives the ulema their tremendous hold over the Muslim faithful. Thus a Mufti writes that even as doctors have to examine the most private parts of their patients, the spiritual physicians starting from the Prophet too have described and explained in detail all the directives and propositions concerning devotion, social affairs and even ritual cleansing of the human body. Thus Islam regulates the totality of life. Thus, Muslims, conditioned to this submission are all the more ready to follow the directives of that authority even on public and political issues.

Clearly these rules and theories formulated in eighth century Arabia have long become outdated due to advance in time of science and society. But the custodians of the faith have always been concerned about how if once the habit of questioning starts it would be very difficult to keep the faithful under their thumb. This anxiety has prompted the ulema to ensure that nothing, but nothing is examined. Accordingly, this has become the hallmark of this faith. The quest, as pointed out by Sri Ram Swarup in another chapter, has never been an inward-directed one and all emphasis has always been on the external.

From the beginning, the doctrincs of Islamic theology have suffered the charge of Isrueiiyat which means, that the revelations given to the prophet were mere recycling of Jewish and Christian legends. Hence from the days of the Prophet himself there has been the anxiety to always make sure that they were different, to show that they were different and to insist that they are different. Thus the Prophet changed the Qiblah from Jerusalem to Mecca. He also said that one who lives like another qaum, shall be taken to be of that qaum, and dealt with accordingly. The Prophet had paid such minute attention to being different that he decreed not only on the attire and the deportment of the faithful but even on their eating habits – that if non-Muslims keep the mustache and shave the beard, Muslims should trim the mustache and grow a beard, and that since saffron clothes were worn by pagans. Muslims should not lo wear them, and also that if Jews and Christians of the time did not dye their hairs. Muslims should dye theirs and that meat in the plate was noi to be sliced with a knife as the Christians did but was to be bitten by teeth.

And so, the fatwa volumes display almost a paranoid obsession about the tilak on the foreheads of Hindu men and women and the cry of Jai. And if cows are holy to Hindus they have to be slaughtered by Muslims. A Fatwa-i-Rizivia emphasises that if the Hindu asks that cow-killing be stopped on account of his religious point of view, then it is not right for Muslims to stop killing the cows. In Hindustan cow slaughter is an act that greatly glorifies Islam. Also. if you agree to their proposition you will be strengthening their false religion and doing so is not permissible in Sharia although Maulana Ahmed Riza Khan has acknowledged that he has not ‘as yet’ been able to sight any reliable hadis which reports the Prophet himself as having eaten the meat of the sacrificed cow.

We have seen elsewhere that the Koran declares all non-Muslims to be kafirs and that they are so as per Allah’s command. Only if for some opportune reason – when it is not for the need ofthe Din, and when it is not confined to the extent required by that need alone – a person, knowing some persons to be kafirs evades calling them kafirs. In that circumstance he is a sinner but not a kafir himself. However, if he actually thinks that calling a kafir a kafir is wrong and contrary to civilised etiquette, then he puts a blemish on the Holy Koran, and that is certainly kufr. Fatwa after fatwa emphasises this and is strongly critical of Muslims even paying homage to the Mahatma and the Lokamanya on their death. The example of the Prophet himself who refused to intercede even for his mother and guardian uncle who did not accept Islam, is cited. There are rules as to when to accept and when not to accept gifts from kafirs. Even the moderate Mufti Kifayatullah rules only conciliation and peace to the extent that religious injunctions and the character, respect and honour of the religion are maintained to the Muslim’s satisfaction. Of course the ulema do not yield even this much. They repeatedly stress that the kafirs are people to be despised for their rejection of Islam, and also that they are intrinsically, inherently, and incorrigibly untrustworthy. Declares Mufti Kifayatullah, if a Muslim doctor says that the patient can be saved only by taking an alcohol based medicine, one may take it, but not if a non-Muslim doctor says so. The Sarva-dharma-samabhava shouted from the rooftops by leaders and secularists are utterances of kufr. A person who has such beliefs and teaches such beliefs is not a Muslim but an infidel and an apostate. Muslims should keep away from him rather than listen to his infidel utterances.

It is not as if thinking and progressive Muslims are unaware of the inadequacies and outdatedness of Muslim law. Reformers tike Maulana Azad, lqbal and Hamid Dalwai have stressed the importance of reason and sought to distinguish between Din and Sharia. Thus a distinguished scholar like A.A. Fyzee writes, ‘it must be realised that religious practices have become a soulless ritual.. ..the time for heart-searching has come. Islam must be reinterpreted or else its traditional form may be lost beyond retrieve… it will be found that certain portions of the Sharia constitute only an outer crust which enclose a kernel – the central core ofislam – which can be preserved intact only by reinterpretation and restatement in every age and in every epoch of civilisation. ..The conventional theology of the ulema does not satisfy the minds and oullook of the present century.’ Another scholar. Prof Tahir Muhammad has written, ‘The existence of so many schools of Muslim law in India and, and more than that, the insistence of the followers of each of these schools to stick exclusively to the doctrines of their own school, lead to the conclusion that what is applicable in India under the banner of ‘Muslim personal law’ cannot be equated with the revealed or inspired tenets of the Islamic religion….It is unwise for the Muslims of India to shut their eyes to the tremendous progress in the fields of personal law and succession made even in several Islamic countries. A unified, codified and modernised law of personal status now operates in a large number of countries where Muslims constitute overwhelming majorities. In India, the Muslims have to live in the company of a dominant non-Muslim majority and other co-minorities, all of whom are now governed by largely modernised and codified personal laws.’ Prof. Tahir also edits a journal which provides information about changes that are constantly being made in the ‘eternal’ and ‘immutable’ Sharia in country after country.

The ulema of course oppose vehemently to such kufr. To even ask ‘What is the Sharia or Does anyone go by Sharia today?’ is kufr. And even one single deed of kufr makes one a kafir, they warn. Many fatwas of every school declare this unmistakably. The consequences of kufr are horrendous, indeed a non-Muslim can scarcely imagine them. No one from the community – not even one’s closest relatives – can maintain any sort of relationship or contact with the person. His marriage stands dissolved – his wife and children are immediately placed out of his reach. In the final instance the ulema can pronounce one to be an apostate and the penalty for that is death.

Not only should the Koran be obeyed to the letter, the ulema alone have the competence to state what the Koran means. Even an honest query to seek understanding of any discrepancy in Sharia invokes a stern admonition : laymen ought to stay clear of the subtleties of law, they should leave these to the experts. Infact, it is the very ambiguity which gives gross and absolute power to the ulema. They can use the Sharia as readily to yield one result as to yield its opposite. Shourie illustrates with the law on divorce to show how completely hollow is the claim that the Sharia is a clear and definite Code and how completely hollow is the claim that it is an eternal and nmutable code. This is the reason why the ulema not only fight back every attempt to replace religion based personal laws by a common civil code but also why they fight back every attempt to codify the Sharia itself.

There are three distinct features of the Koran which we have seen in the chapter on religion which give the ulema the quality of ambiguity that they need. They are :

1. The verses of the Koran are not arranged chronologically

2. They are not arranged or grouped by subject.

3. There are no universally accepted rules about the proper way of reading the verses – for instance, whether a verse has to be read by itself or in association with other verses which, though occurring in other parts of the Koran, bear upon the same subject. The problem is compounded by abrogation or cancellation of passages.

Then there is the problem of putting different constructions of a Arabic verse. Thus, the following verse (4.12) on inheritance has been translated by Yusuf Ali as

If the man or woman

Whose inheritance is in question

Has left neither ascendants nor descendants

But has left a brother

Or a sister, each one of the two get a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third….

Maulana Azad renders the same lines as follows :

And if the man or woman who leaveth the heritage have neither parents living nor children but hath a brother or sister, either shall have a sixth, and if more than one, they shall have alike in a third…..

The ‘Rampur’ rendering in Urdu used widely in North India puts these lines as

Aur agar aise mard ya aurat ki miras ho, jiske na baap ho, na beta, magar uske bhai ya bahan ho, to unme se har ek ka cchcchata hissa aur agar ek se zada hon to sab ek-tihayi mein sharik honge….

Where Yusuf Ali read ‘ascendents, and Maulana Azad read ‘parents’, Maulana Fath Muhammad seed only ‘baap’ that is ‘father’. Where Yusuf Ali read ‘descendents’ and Azad read ‘children’ the Maulana sees only ‘beta’ that is ‘son’! Thus if a person is survived only by a daughter or grand-daughter, each version of the reading will treat them differently.

The latitude which the hadith afford for ambiguity and arbitrariness is even wider : some hadis occur in some collections and not in others. And sometimes, the words are different in different collections of the same hadis. Again some hadis are rejected as unreliable by some jurists and reliable by others. And often there is no agreement on the relevance of a hadis to the question at hand. The law books makes this freedom of interpretation even more complete! And nowhere is this better illustrated than in cases that concern talaq or divorce.

Thus, ‘Zaid told his wife, ‘if you enter the house, talaq’. He avers that he did not intend talaq, that he spoke the words only to frighten her. She enters the house. Is she divorced?’ Yes, rules Mufti Kifayatulla. On the very same page is another case where the husband says that to frighten the wife he said, ‘If you go to the house of Khalid, then our relationship will end.’ She goes to Khalid’s house surreptitiously. But the husband says that he had not intended either talaq or separation, that he had spoken the words only to frighten her. Does she stand divorced? No, rules the Mufti since the husband did not intend talaq and because the word ‘talaq’ had not been used.

So what has happened in practice is that mere expediency and the whimsical utterances of sundry Muftis have become law, and that which was clearly and unambiguously law eternal – in that it was specified in the Koran itself – has been circumvented throughout by expedients.

But how can we blame the ulema for the ambiguity and arbitrariness when the Koran itself suffers from the same defects? Appendix A lists a number of ayats which the ulema take as their supreme commands. Then how is it possible to blame them for following what has been ordained to them? All the double standards employed by them between the believers and nonbelievers can be traced to this source as well as to the Sharia. We are shocked by the single-minded concern of the ulema – their obsession with the minutiae of the prophet’s life in their service of Islam, with their obsession with stamping out, and doing in of all ‘rivals’ to Islam and Allah, their frenzied preoccupation in ensuring that no Muslim retains any residual regard, to say nothing of veneration for any entity other than ‘Allah’ – intolerance, verbal and physical violence in their relationship with non-believers. All these flow from Allah’s overriding concern that we worship Him, and none but Him. He goes to most extraordinary lengths to remind us of His power and glory. Thus, for instance, He visits afflictions on a people to humble them, next He sends them a prophet so that they may believe in Him; and when they don’t believe in the prophet (and this too, it must be remembered, happens by His decree!) he wreaks the most terrible vengeance on them.

To Hindus with the breath-taking understanding of the nature of Brahman and their understanding of time, it is not easy to understand why Allah, who, if he is God and is therefore self-sufficient in all respects, is so obsessed about puny little man, on puny little earth, in this puny little solar system, in this little bit of a universe, acknowledging His greatness. And even if this is His sole concern, surely He can find an easier way of having man acknowledge His greatness. Why does He not instil veneration directly into man’s consciousness rather than by adopting these circuitous and painful routes? There is no answer to this in the Koran or in the Bible, both of which speak of the same God. Both demand fear and not love from their adherents.

It is of the very essence of totalitarian ideology that it enforces its right to regulate the totality of life. But this totality itself becomes one of the reasons for the eventual collapse of such systems as has happened recently in the Soviet Union. The very comprehensiveness boomerangs. Thus every act of even simple defiance like urinating while standing in a public urinal, undercuts the authority of the Sharia. More importantly, even small differences over the minutest matters provoke violent controversies in different schools of the ulema. One can witness the invectives hurled at each other by their warring factions. Thus one fatwa-i-Rizvia declares, ‘And among these Kafirs too there are gradations. One hard kind of basic kufr is Christianity; worse than that is Magianism; worse than that is idolatry; worse than that is Wahabiyat; and worse than all these is Deobandiyat’. And the deathly struggle between various sects of Islam is there for all the world to see. Another consolation is that the world of today is different from the world of the Prophet, making the ulema’s ideology totally inappropriate. It also makes it impossible for Muslims to live peacefully in a mixed society. Given time, this ideology too will collapse as surely as communism did. We Hindus have to give this process a helping hand in the subcontinent to speed it up in our own interest.

POSITION OF WOMEN

Since the fatwas discussed above give an indication of the mind of the clergy, who control the behavior of Muslims so totally, we shall start with Shouri’s findings on fatwas issued in India on women. For example, Maulana Ahmad Riza Khan warns, ‘when excited a woman is a hundred times more passionate than man…. a woman is mom ki naak (the white hot tip of the candle), baalki raal ki pudiya (a tight little packet of inflammable resin), balki barood ki dibiya (a packet of explosives). If she is ever brought near a spark (of temptation), it will cause an explosion. She is defective in reason as well as in faith. And by nature she is crooked. And in lust a hundred times more passionate than man. When the effect of bad company ruins men permanently, what is one to say of these delicate bottles which with the slightest knock break into smithereens. This nature (of theirs) is proved from several hadis.’

Warrq writes that when Egyptian women demanded representation in their parliament, the ulema from within Egypt’s al-Azar university promulgated a fatwa in 1952 condemning this attempt. They pointed out that (1) women did not possess enough intellectual force, (2) women, because of their femininity, are exposed to dangers that could lead them to abandon reason and propriety, (3) according to Abu Bakr, when the Prophet heard that the Persians had made the daughter of Chosroes their queen he exclaimed, “never will a people who trust their affairs to a woman succeed”, (4) failure inevitably follows on the appointment of a woman to a public post, (5) Islamic law accords to a woman’s testimony only half the weight of a man’s, (6) according to the Koran, ‘men decide for women in view of the fact that God has given preference to the former over latter’, (7) God obliges men to be present in the mosque on Fridays and to conduct the holy war, but not women, and (8) public posts were attributed by Islamic law only to men fulfilling certain conditions.

The above two fatwas largely summarise Islam’s legal position on women irrespective of what the apologists claim – that no other religion has given as high a place to women as Islam, and that no body of law has given them as many rights as the Sharia. Yes, at the time of marriage, a woman is given mehr which in theory is her own: in fact, it is customary to have the bride renounce it on the nuptial night itself and for this there is sanction from Allah Himself (Koran 4.34); and there is something repulsive about the word – ujoor – itself, for it signifies hire paid for the use of the woman. Yes, a daughter is entitled to a share, but it is half that of a son. A woman’s evidence is to count for one-half of that of man. And more than the legal position it is the attitude towards women that is reprehensible. But why blame the ulema alone? Both the Koran (see Appendix A) and the Hadis have looked down upon women as mere sex-objects. The antifeminist sayings of Ali, the Prophet’s first cousin, son-in-law and the fourth caliph are worth noting :

 ‘The entire woman is an evil, and what is worse is that it is a necessary evil’.

 ‘You should never ask a woman for her advice because her advice is worthless. Hide them so that they cannot see other men…. do not spend too much time in their company for they will lead you to your downfall’

 ‘Men, never obey your women… When alone, they forget religion and think only of themselves…. Even the most virtuous among them is of easy virtue’

 And to a man teaching a woman to write: ‘do not add evil to unhappiness.’

And how can you blame Ali when the Prophet himself has declared that upon touring Heaven and Hell he saw that women are the ones who constitute the majority in Hell, and,

 ‘After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women’

 Explaining why the evidence as well as inheritance of women is worth only half of men, ‘is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind’

 ‘Whenever a man is alone with a woman, the devil makes a third’, for, ‘a woman advances in the form of a devil and retires in the form of a devil’

 ‘They are your fields of cultivation, if you wish to irrigate them do so, or if you desire otherwise, keep them dry.’

 ‘A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.’

Muslim leaders and intellectuals may even acknowldege some inequities in Muslim law but will also claim that the position of women was considerably humanised when compared to ‘pre-Islamic institutions’. Is this strictly ture?. In this context it should be remembered that Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, although a widow, was a prosperous trader before the advent of Islam. Muhammad, in fact, began his career as her employee and later married her. This would not have been possible unless women in general enjoyed considerable freedom. The Bedouin women worked and fought alongside their husbands. They were neither cloistered nor veiled. Segregation was totally impractical. In fact the Prophet’s aunt, Hind, reproached him for having imposed obligations on women that he had not imposed on men. Muslim writers have simply exaggerated the old practice of burying unwanted girl babies.

In Christianity the anti-woman sentiments have been traced to the first woman, Eve, succumbing to Satan’s temptations and causing humanity’s downfall. In the Koran, however, her name is not even mentioned, no account is given of how she was created (from Adam’s ribs as per the Biblical account) and she is not accused of being the first to succumb to Satan’s temptation in eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. The hadiths fill in all the details and give her the name, Hawwa. Scholars suspect this to be a typical example of ‘israiliyyat’ i.e. Bibilical Jewish and Christian traditions on which early Islam depended so much.

Nevertheless, there are sentiments degrading to and insulting of women in all the Muslim scriptures, including the Koran. Women are considered inferior to men even in Creation because they were created as an afterthought, for the pleasure and repose of man. Although the Koran does not speak of Eve as harshly and in as condemnatory a tone as the ‘Old Testament’, that the basic nature of the woman is guile, treachery and deceit is illustrated in the Koranic version of Joseph’s seduction by his employer’s wife. The female sex is further maligned and made the object of repudiation by Allah’s attack on the female deities of the polytheists. The rules promulgated by Allah in the Koran for women on marriage, divorce, evidence giving and inheritance are blatantly man-centric and even anti-woman. The hadith and sharia add further fuel to the fire. We shall see below more such instances of inequity.

The very conception of marriage in Islam is a break from the formerly held beliefs about his institution – it is merely a contract, and a pretty one-sided contract at that. The Arabic word for marriage is ‘nikah’ or coition. There is a complete absence of the feeling of association, partnership (saha-dharma-charini) or companionship which characterise the Hindu’s conception of marriage. As a Muslim jurist put it, marriage for a Muslim male is ‘the contract by which he acquires the reproductive organs of a woman, with the express purpose of enjoying it.’ The converse, of course, is not the case; the reproductive organ of the husband is not exclusively reserved for his wife. The Koran decrees that a man can have up to four wives at a time along with female slaves his right hand possesses. A wife cannot legitimately ask her husband to satisfy her sexually – she can only demand that she be fed, clothed and housed. Once the marriage is consummated the woman has no rights whatsoever for divorce. Obedience to him is a must.

The inequality between men and women in matters of giving testimony or evidence is obvious from ‘…. and call to witness, among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women….. (2.282)’. This injunction states expressly that if a man is available to offer witness, then women should be dispensed with, totally; and that if it becomes necessary to call upon women to offer evidence, then a woman’s worth is only half of that of man. And again, the Prophet did not accept the testimony of women in matters of marriage, divorce and hudud (serious crimes). It follows then that were a man to enter an all-women’s abode and were to assault or physically abuse them, he would risk nothing since there would be no male witnesses to testify against him.

In a case where a man suspects his wife of adultery or denies the legitimacy of the offspring, his testimony is worth that of four men. Sura 24.6 says, ‘If a man accuses his wife but has no witnesses except himself, he shall swear four times by God that his charge is true, calling down upon himself the curse of God if he be lying. But if his wife swears four times by God that his charge is false and calls down His curse upon herself if her husband’s charge be true, she shall receive no punishment’. Appearances to the contrary, this is not an example of Koranic justice or equality between the sexes. The woman indeed escapes being stoned to death but she remains rejected and loses her right to the dowry and maintenance, whatever the outcome of the trial. Also, a woman does not have the right to charge her husband in a similar manner. For a Muslim marriage to be valid there must be a multiplicity of witnesses. For Muslim jurists two men form a multiplicity but not two or two hundred or two thousand women.

When a man dies, his sons will get twice the share of his daughters, and the wife only one-fourth. If he has more than one wife, they will all share the same one quarter that one wife is entitled to. For maintenance after divorce, she is eligible to be maintained by the husband who has rejected her, for only three months, as is well known from the now infamous Shah Bano case. Not just life on earth, but even Koranic paradise is male-centered.

The two most obnoxious practices in Islam which have invoked criticism even from the secularists quoted in another chapter are triple talaq and purdha. The latter has become a symbol for servitude in the struggle of Muslim women for liberation. Jurists have declared.

1. Her dress must cover the entire body except the face and hands.

2. The robe must not be too fine or elaborate.

3. It must be of thick material and not transparent.

4. It must not cling tightly to her body; it must be loose.

5. It must not be perfumed.

6. It must not resemble any kind of man’s wear.

7. It must not resemble the clothes of unbelievers.

8. It must not be ‘luxurious’ or glamorous or of too great a value.

And of course all this only if she comes out of the house. Although sura 33.33 orders only the wives of the Prophet to stay at home, the conservatives have applied it to all women. There are very stringent rules regarding circumstances under which alone a woman can venture out.

Although the Prophet has declared that ‘Allah did not make anything lawful more abominable to Him than divorce…. Of all the lawful acts, the most detestable to Allah is divorce’, in practice the position is just the opposite. The jurists have repeated this counsel but at the same time they have given unlimited power to the husband over his wife. Should he decide to use it, no one, and no consideration can save the wife. He can irrevocably throw her out,

1. If he utters talaq once in each of three periods of purity, i.e. the periods between three menstruation.

2. If he utters it thrice in one breath.

3. If he utters it with some adjuncts even once.

The talaq can be pronounced to the wife directly to her, or through others, in front of witnesses or with no witness present, orally or in writing. So complete is the power of the husband that even if he pronounces it in rage or in an inebriated condition, it is enough to reject the wife and separate her from her family. Even then the rule is so rigorously enforced that even if the husband wants to withdraw from his action he cannot do so for according to another rule spelt out by the Koran, they cannot remarry unless the poor wife marries another man, consummates the second marriage, and gets the second husband too to divorce her! Maulana Ahmad Riza Khan has compared nikah to a mirror and talaq to a rock that breaks it. Whether the rock is thrown at the mirror willingly, or under compulsion, or even if it accidentally falls out of the hand, the mirror is broken.

The lesson being that though a thing be undesirable, even detestable, if done thoughtlessly, or with deliberation, it takes effect and has far-reaching consequences. Many reformers have suggested that one way to dilute the power of the triple talaq is to have the bridegroom agree to forego this power by making it a part of the marriage agreement itself. The ulema disagree; the power is Allah-given and cannot be subject to any such agreement. Thus if a husband who has so agreed yet gives talaq, it shall be fully effective although the action is reprehensible.

There is another nuance to talaq – conditional divorce. Four aspects of this category of talaq are particularly noteworthy.

1. With a pronouncement of conditional divorce the husband can reduce the wife to a condition of absolute and craven submission; she must either do what the husband has ordered or she is automatically and instantly thrown out.

2. The husband can make the divorce contingent upon events over which the wife has absolutely no control at all.

3. In determining the outcome, far from being consequential, the wife has next to no locus standi.

4.

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The jurists go to unimaginable lengths to cater to the interests of the husband so that he may escape from the consequences of the conditions he had specified.

Shourie has illustrated this category of talaq by citing a number of fatwas from various authorities. As an example : ‘Zaid says to his wife, ‘If you go to your father’s house, you will stand divorced’, and she goes there after her father dies. She stands divorced, because the father’s house remains her father’s house even after his death. And a husband tells his wife, ‘if you do such and thus, all my wives are divorced’. The wife does what the husband has forbidden. Not only she but all the other wives who had nothing to do with this are also divorced!

In this connection it should be remembered that what were expedients have become law, what was clearly and unambiguously law eternal – in that it was specified by the Koran itself – has been circumvented throughout by expedients. The Sharia as we know it today is less a genuine compilation of laws from the Koran, and more an accumulation of expedients. Let us set aside for the moment the question of Uniform Civil Code, let the sharia be so codified that there is no ambiguity. And yet wheneever there is a call to take a second look at some of the provisions in the sharia with regard to women, the ulema resists it fiercely. And everyone is put on the defensive by the ulema which declares that the sharia is Allah-given, and therefore eternal and unalterable. That the rules have changed over time is evident from the question of talaq. Even the Koran and the Prophet have, on occasion, disapproved of the triple talaq being pronounced in one breath (Koran 2.228-232). Yet over time, this is the manner in which it is most frequently pronounced for casting away unwanted wives. So much hairsplitting has gone into this such as – are three THREE, or, is three ONE ?

Considering the first question, is the wife out when the husband has pronounced the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one go? Is she out if he has pronounced it, not all at the same time but on different occasions during the ‘same period of purity’ i.e. in the same interval between the wife’s menstrual courses? What if he has had intercourse with her during this period? Is the talaq to take effect if it has been pronounced during the time she is in her menstrual course? Each school has its own interpreatation and each can cite an hadis or an ayat in support of their respective positions. The debate rages on. The second question can be illustrated by, ‘If a husband pronounces talaq once but says that he intended three, shall it count for one pronouncement and thus be a revocable divorce, or three pronouncements and thus be irrevocable?’, and, ‘if the talaq is pronounced thrice in one go, or during one period of purity, does it count for one pronouncement and thereby remain revocable, or does it count for three and thereby become irrevocable?’ Again the same Koranic verses are quoted along with different hadises with different interpretations. An inconvenient hadis can always be rejected as unreliable or weak!

The measure of a society’s civilisation is the position it accords to its women. If this indeed be the criterion, Islamic societies have far to go.

SECTS AND CASTES IN ISLAM

Have nothing to do with those who have split up their religion into sects. God will call them to account and declare to them what they have done (Koran 6.159)

“The Children of Israel fragmented into seventy-two sects, and my ummah shall split into seventy-three sects, all of which shall be in Fire save one sect.”

“What is that one, O Messenger of Allah?”

“That (way) which I and my companions are upon.” (A hadith narrated by Tirmidhi).

It is a common misconception that Islam is an ideal religion professing perfect equality and brotherhood of men amongst its adherents. All the equality and brotherhood is only confined to prayer – time, and confined to men alone. Otherwise the divisions among them are innumerable and a violent religion settles all scores violently. From soon after the death of the Prophet there have been murders, bloody wars and tensions amongst various Islamic groups, sects and countries which continue to this day. Pakistan is a very good example of all the problems besetting a Muslim society. For Islam, unity operates only against non-Muslims, in the call for jihad.

It will be useful to understand the following terms before we discuss the subject further.

Caste : A system unique to Hinduism in which castes belonging to the four varnas have the following characteristics :

1. A caste is endogamous.

2. It involves occupational specialisation (this is a unique feature of the caste system).

3. Castes are hierarchically ordered.

4. Castes have an ideological, religious basis involving restrictions on social intercourse and commensality.

Clan : A group of people related by ancestry or marriage. It is usually a subgroup of other categories like tribes.

Class : A group of persons sharing similar social, cultural and economic characteristics.

Cult : A small, usually recently created, religious organisation, which is often headed by a single charismatic leader and is viewed as a spiritually innovated group.

Denomination : A large group of religious congregations united under a common faith and name and organised under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.

Endogamy : Marrying within the same group or caste.

Ethnic Group : A hereditary group within a society which is defined by its members and by others as a separate people, socially, biologically and culturally.

Group : A number of persons bound together by common social standards, interests etc.

Sect : A subdivision of a larger religious group which has, to some extent, diverged from the rest by developing some deviating and distinct beliefs, practices etc.

Tribe : A unit of social organisation consisting of a number of families, clans or other groups which share a common ancestry, patron deity, culture and leadership. It is generally a social group, usually with a distinguishing area, dialect, cultural homogeneity and unifying social organisation.

The above terms do not necessarily lead to rigid and cloistered divisions since their characteristics often overlap and interchange. Islam is endowed with all these categories of socio-political and religious arrangements, in one form or the other. Actually the religion originated in Muhammad’s attempt to unify the warring Arab tribes into a single cohesive ummah. That he was himself unsure about the unity on a long term basis is revealed in the above hadith. And, perhaps, he had every reason for his doubts, since Arab society then comprised of several tribes, each warring with the other. These tribes had fierce pride in their traditions and the Prophet himself was no exception. He had said, ‘Allah selected Ishmael from the sons of Abraham, Kinana from the sons of Ishmael, Quaraish (Muhammad’s tribe) from the sons of Kinana, Hashim from the sons of Quaraish, and He selected me from the sons of Hashim’. Before his death he also declared that his successors will be chosen only from the tribe of Quraish. This tribe, as a result, is the most respected in Islam, and its descendants are known as Koraishis in our subcontinent. Even among the Koreish, rivalry between its various clans has shaped the initial history of Islam. Thus the Omiyad and Abbasid dynasties which succeeded the first four Caliphs, belonged to the families which had opposed the clan of the Prophet in the past and were bitter opponents of the Prophet himself.

The Arab people have been divided according to lineage into three groups :

1. Perishing Arabs. These were the ancient tribes about whose history very little is known.

2. Pure Arabs who originated from the progeny of Yarub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan.

3. Arabised Arabs who supposedly originated from the progeny of Ishmael.

The pure Arabs originated from Qahtan in Yemen and comprised of many tribes which eventually emigrated all over the Arab peninsula and beyond. The Arabised Arabs claim their ancestry to Abraham and Ishmael. As we have seen elsewhere, these claims may very well be fabricated since all traces of pre-Islam civilisation have been obliterated and it has become very difficult to verify them. In fact, Muhammad himself has said, ‘Geneologists tell lies’. Ishmael apparently had twelve sons, the progeny of whom constituted a distinct tribe. Eventually only tribes originating from the descendants of Nabet and Qidar have survived. Each of them eventually got subdivided into numerous tribes who spead all over the peninsula. The Nibetians spread to the north establishing a flourishing civilization. The descendants of Qidar remained around Mecca and broke into several tribes over many generations. One of them was the tribe of Quraish which also eventually branched out in many more tribes and clans, one of which, Hashim, produced the Prophet.

The rise of Islam did not put an end to tribalism in Arabia. Even today, they persist. Thus we have an account of the Arab and Berber tribes which invaded Spain. They conquered the peninsula, not as isolated warriors, but as organised tribal groups. The early Muslim residents of the peninsula settled in tribal or sub-tribal groups and it was a policy of their chiefs to reconstitute their clans in the conquered regions. They lived and fought together. Politically this led to the organization of confederations or alliances for maximizing their own tribal wealth and prestige. This is a zero sum game, for one’s ascendancy is compensated by another’s equivalent decline leading to a more or less permanent conflict. This again leads to unstable coalitions of two parties. This is what happened there and is what is happening to some extent now in our country, only far less violently.

Adding to this tribalism are more divisions in Islam due to the formation of various sects of which we shall mention only the more important ones. The first sect – Kharijites – arose soon after the Prophet’s death when the third caliph, Uthman, was murdered in 656 AD and his successor Ali, bowing to majority opinion, submitted the matter of dealing with the murderers to arbitrators. This sect opposed the decision, claiming that no caliph of Allah should submit the cause of God to the discretion of man. They taught that the Koran was the sole authority over every Muslim (hadith had not been formulated then). They believed that they should revolt against all secular tendencies and indiscriminately killed all unbelievers including those Muslims who did not join them and carried away their property as booty. Ali had to spend much of his time fighting with them since they began to terrorise the Muslim world. This sect did not last too long but set the trend for the formation of numerous sects in times to come, among which the Wahabis sect was very similar in approach as regards fundamentalism and orthodoxy.

Within a hundred years of the beginning of Islam, a more rational approach, influenced by Greek Christian thinking, began to challenge the dogmatic, deterministic nature of traditional Islam. They were initially called Qadariyah because they denied Allah’s preordained destiny and taught that man possessed qadar, the power to determine his own destiny. These ‘free-thinkers’ were later called Mutazilah. Also, the more orthodox among them believed that the Koran was an uncreated word of Allah. Since He is nirguna, they held His speech to be separate from His being and so the Koran had to be created. Later, even a few Abbasid caliphs supported this group and as a result the orthodox were severely punished. Ultimately the well-known scholar, Al-Ghazzali, in the fifth century after Muhammad, generally opposed these ‘philosophic’ trends, and particularly, this sect. The influence of this sect dwindled and Islam as a result stagnated and any reform, or rethinking became impossible. The other important sects during this early period of Islam were the Jahmiyyah wo\ho did not believe in eternal hell, the Asharis and Maturidis who set about formalizing the Islamic doctrine, the Batiniyyah who dismiss the entire body of the Sharia as being morally lax, the Rawafids who split again into numerous cults and the Mujassimah who pictured Allah as a man.

The most important Muslim sect is the Shia sect and the Shia-Sunni violent quarrels are a hallmark of teh Islamic world. As long as the Prophet was alive, the ummah was united in both the fundamentals and the peripherals, since he had a direct ‘access’ to Allah for all clarifications. But immediately after his death, the first dispute that arose was that of his burial and succession. The latter was inevitable since the Prophet did not have a male issue. His camp was split into two, one influenced by his close associate Abu Bakr and his daughter, Aisha, also the favourite wife of the Prophet, and the other, progeny from his daughter, Fatima and son-in-law and first cousin Ali, i.e. between the camps of the wife and the daughter. The wife scored first. Muhammad was buried in her chamber and Abu Bakr became the first caliph. his two successors were also from his camp. After their death, Ali was nominated by a majority but the other camp eventually murdered him. The feud continued and eventually Ali’s son (and Prophet’s grandson), Hussein, was ruthlessly put to death in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

Now Ali’s followers openly separated and formed the Shia sect. They insisted that the caliphs should be nominated only from the Prophet’s family and as a result did not recognise the first three caliphs. This is the most important difference between these two sects. Apart from this, the Shiites hold that the caliph or ‘Imam’ in their terminology, are like other prophets, ‘masoom’ or sinless and therefore should be obeyed in all matters and under all circumstances. They are thus not merely political leaders but also religious leaders and the clergy. As a result, while the Sunnis follow only the last Prophet and the Koran as the two primary sources of Islam, the Shias also hold the Imams as an autonomous source of their religion. Anything that he says, anything that he does and anything he narrates is ‘religion’. Differing from him in any respect is as grave as differing from the Prophet. One may feel that this position helps this sect to modernise itselfr with time, but unfortunately it is equally fanatic and orthodox. It is estimated that about 20% of Muslims belong to this sect. In Iran they are in the majority but they are also present in the rest of the Muslim world.

The most virulent sect of recent times already referred to in connection with Sufis is that of Wahabis which surfaced in the Arabian peninsula in the eighteenth century under the leadership of Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab. In 1806 they conquered Mecca and soon terrorised the Muslim peoples. Shrines, tombs, minarets and other edifices considered as incompatible with Islam were desecrated. They even plundered the treasures of the Prophet’s tomb apart from plundering the Meccan pilgrims and thus causing cessation of the pilgrimage. The Meccan Shaikhs were forced to sign fatwas that they had lived as infidels prior to their ‘reforms’. We have already referred to the fate of Sufis as a very good example of what Muslims can do to each other! Unfortunately the ruling Saud dynasty of Arabia are Wahabites and therefore make covert contributions to Islamic fundamentalist movements and groups around the world today.

We have already referred to the sects of Sufis earlier. Another more recent but important sect is that of Bahais which originated in Iran. In non-Muslim countries, they are considered more tolerant than the rest since they also respect prophets like Buddha and Zoroaster.

Castes in Indian Islam

We have seen so far how Islam immediately after the Prophet’s death, subdivided itself into various sects. All of them are represented in the subcontinent with caste as another special feature. It is difficult to explain how a self-proclaimed egalitarian religion like Islam can accept caste. The Prophet himself, howeverm suggested that considerations of birth should receive special attention in the instance of marriage (an important feature of the caste system). As aresult, Muslim jurists worked out an elaborate system of social grades of birth and descent which basically were6 :

a. An Arab was superior to a non-Arab

b. Amongst Arabs, all Quraishites were of equal social standing in a class by themselves, and all other Arabs were equal, irrespective of their tribes.

c. Amongst non-Arabs, a man was by birth an equal of an Arab if both his father and grandfather had been Muslims before him, but only if he was sufficiently wealthy to provide an adequate mehr.

d. A learned non-Arab was equal to an ignorant Arab.

e. A Muslim kazi ranked higher than a merchant and so on…..

Most of the schoold of Islamic theology admitted the importance of the significance of birth except the Malikiites, a great many of whom were Negroes, already considered as inferior by the Arabs! Since gradation already existed in any Muslim society it was not difficult for the faithful to adjust themselves to the local caste system in the subcontinent. The equivalent word used by them was beradar, qaum or jat. In fact Islamization served to reinforce, rather than weaken or eliminate, caste distinctions.

There is of course some difference in both systems in that Muslims religious ideology, unlike the Hindu religion, does not support it, is less elaborate, does not delineate the concept of pure and impure leading to a greater interplay of secular factors like wealth, and there is also no equivalent to the Brahmin caste since Muslim rituals do not demand it. However, the important criterion of herediatary occupational specialization which has distinguished the Indian caste system from other systems elsewhere in the world, has been invorporated into Indian Islam. The other criteria of caste, panchayats and internal government are present in both religions.

The two broad main divisions of Indian Muslims is the higher Ashraf and the lower Ajilaf. The Ashraf are further divided into four main groups – Sayyad, Sheikh, Mughal and Pathan. The Ajilaf are similarly subdivided into a large numjber of sub-groups. It should be noted that these groups or categories roughly correspond to the Hindu equivalent of varna, like Brahmana and Kshatriya. They are further divided into sub-categories as the Hindu Kshatriyas are classified as Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi Kshatriyas. These are further divided into segments characterised by endogamy and region. Another important similarity is that in the higher Hindu and Muslim categories, hypergamy (marrying off girls into a higher caste) is present, but it is not so in the lower categories, hypergamy (marrying off girls into a higher caste) is present, but it is not so in the lower categories of both religions. Another important difference is that the higher categories generally observed purdah, whereas the lower are not so rigid, possibly because of economic constraints. One things which the Muslim castes lack is the Brahmin or priestly class. Their much revered pirs or spiritual leaders are however drawn from the Sayyads who claim descent from the Prophet’s daughter.

The structure of Muslim society in the subcontinent did not at any time exhibit the Islamic ideal of social equality just as it did not exist in the rest of the Muslim world. An elaborate system of social stratification had been in practice from the very beginning of Muslim rule in India. As mentioned in the previous chapter, greater honour and respect was paid to the foreign ruling class than to those of Indian blood. In fact, many groups invented foreign ancestry for themselves in order to improve their social status. Thus the Sheikh Siddiquis of Allahabad district who were converts from the Kayastha castes today, claim to be the descendants of the first caliph, Abu Bakr. This sense of superiority derived from foreign ancestry, is an imprtant criterion of social stratification among Muslims in India. A casual enquiry about caste will invariably invite the protest that Islam is an egalitarian religion and so Islam does not recognize or acknowledge caste among the faithful. But probe a little deeper and most of the nuances of the Hindu caste system will be found to be present as has been reported by various surveys carried out in different parts of India and published in the above book. The leadership, both social and political, is invariably monopolised by the upper castes and lower castes enjoy little, if any, control over leadership and decision-making. It will be remembered that when in one of the recent elections, the BSP nominated a few Muslims from the lower castes as its candidates in UP, there was much dissatisfaction amongst the so-called upper caste Muslims.

Opponents of Hinduism always point out to untouchability being an unpardonable blot on the religion. Surveys of Muslim societes in various parts of the country have shown that even amongst Muslims, particularly in the rural areas, the upper castes do not share food with the lowest classes like sweepers and also keep away from them in habitation. Equality is only during prayer-time in the mosque. Even here there are often separate mosques for separate sects and castes, particularly in a metropolitan city like Calcutta. There are also separate burial grounds for various sects like the Khojas and even in a burial ground there are often separate areas for the lowest classes. The only difference between Hindus and Muslims as far as caste is concerned, is that while the system is sanctioned in the sociology of Hinduism, it is not so in Islam. In fact superficially, Islam condemns any division between man and man. As a result the Indian Muslims will always deny that they follow the caste system like Hindus because they cannot find a religious sanction for it and they will declare it goes against the basic tenets of Islam.

In the last few decades, Hindu society has changed rapidly and the bonds of castes are loosening, particularly in the urban areas. In fact it may not be surprising that after some time the more orthodox Muslim society will follows a more rigid caste system than the Hindus. Many caste groups in the past from among the Hindus had converted to Islam as a group and still retain some of their old traditions. Hence the presence of castes in Hinduism should not present an insurmountable barrier in a massive shuddhi movement to reabsorb the subcontinent Muslims back into the Hindu society.

REFERENCES

1. The Sufi Orders of Islam, J. Spencer Trimingham, oxford, 1998.

2. Sufism in India, ‘Vedaprakash’, Vivekananda Kendra Patrika, February 1995, Vol. 24 No. 1

3. Awaken Bharata, David Frawley, Voce of India Publications, New Delhi, 1998

4. Sufis of Bijapur – 1300-1700, Richard Maxwell Eaton, Princeton, 1978

  1. 1. The world of Fatwas or the Shahriah in Action, Arun Shouriew, ASA Publications, New Delhi, 1995
  2. 2. Caste and Social Stratification among Muslims in India, Ed. Imtiaz Ahmed, Manohar Publications, New Delhi, 1978.

 

 

 

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Why has God left so much ambiguity and difference of opinion among believers in Islam?

There are a lot of differences among people who follow Islam themselves. Shias and Sunnis often say that the others are not ‘real Muslims’. Ahmadiyas are Muslims who believe that Muhammad was not the final Prophet. They are treated as non-Muslims in Pakistan since they do not believe in the finality of Muhammad’s Prophethood. The basis of the Shia-Sunni divide was actually succession to Muhammad. After Muhammad, his friend and close aid Abu Bakr became the Caliph, but some of Muhammad’s kin felt that they had the claim to the Caliph’s throne.

   There are many things which are very clear but interpreted differently. For example, according to Islam, apostates are to be given death penalty. But then there are many others who try to interpret this differently. The encyclopedia wikipedia on Apostasy in Islam reports : “The Quran itself does not prescribe any earthly punishment for apostasy; Islamic scholarship differs on its punishment, ranging from execution – on an interpretation of certain hadiths – to no punishment at all as long as they “do not work against the Muslim society or nation.”[1] According to Islamic law apostasy is identified by a list of actions such as conversion to another religion, denying the existence of God, rejecting the prophets, mocking God or the prophets, idol worship, rejecting the sharia, or permitting behavior that is forbidden by the sharia, such as adultery.[2]

   Would God who made Islam as his only true religion leave so much ambiguity and difference of opinion among followers of his own true religion about a thing so important as apostasy? Apostates are given death penalty is many places.  This is the legal provision in many Muslim countries even today, like Afghanistan a state supposedly rescued by liberals from the radical Taliban, which gives death penalty for leaving Islam and of course Saudi Arabia where there are laws to punish people for sorcery in today’s 21st century! If there is no compulsion in religion and God can easily make all humans as believers then why should apostates be given death penalty?The Quran in 2:27, 2:39, 3:90-91, 4:89, 9:66, 9:74, 47:25-26 makes it clear that apostates are to be punished. Let us see what it says:

“Those who break the covenant of Allah after ratifying it, and sever that which Allah ordered to be joined, and (who) make mischief in the earth: Those are they who are the losers. How disbelieve ye in Allah when ye were dead and He gave life to you! Then He will give you death, then life again, and then unto Him ye will return. ” (Quran 2:27-28)

“They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them”. (Quran 4:89)

“They swear by Allah that they said nothing (wrong), yet they did say the word of disbelief, and did disbelieve after their Surrender (to Allah). And they purposed that which they could not attain, and they sought revenge only that Allah by His messenger should enrich them of His bounty. If they repent it will be better for them; and if they turn away, Allah will afflict them with a painful doom in the world and the Hereafter, and they have no protecting friend nor helper in the earth. ” (Quran 9:74)

   Let us see wikipedia again:

“In medieval times, several Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence held that apostasy by a male Muslim is punishable by death, differing on whether to execute the apostate immediately or grant the apostate an initial opportunity to repent and thus avoid penalty. They also differentiated between harmful and harmless apostasy (also known as major and minor apostasy) in accepting repentance.[3][citation needed] However, other scholars also held different views, such as that of Ibrahim al-Nakha’i (d. 715) and Sufyan al-Thawri and their followers, who rejected the death penalty and prescribed indefinite imprisonment until repentance. The hanafi jurist Sarakhsi also called for different punishments between the non-seditious religious apostasy and that of seditious and political nature, or high treason.[4][5]

Medieval Islamic scholars also differed on the punishment of a female apostate: death, enslavement, or imprisonment until repentance. Abu Hanifa and his followers refused the death penalty for female apostates, supporting imprisonment until they re-embrace Islam. Hanafi scholars maintain that a female apostate should not be killed because it was forbidden to kill women by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and because women are unlikely to take up arms and endanger the community.[5]

According to Wael Hallaq apostasy laws are not derived from the Qur’an.[6] In modern times, some Islamic scholars oppose any penalty for apostasy, including Gamal Al-Banna,[7][8] Taha Jabir Alalwani,[9] and Shabir Ally.[10] Quran Alone Muslims do not support the apostasy penalty, citing verses from Qur’an which advocate free will.[11]

Others believe that the death penalty can only be applied when apostasy is coupled with attempts to “harm” the Muslim community, rejecting the death penalty in other cases. These include,[1][12][13] Ahmad Shafaat,[14] Jamal Badawi,[3] Yusuf Estes,[15] Javed Ahmad Ghamidi,[16] and Maliki jurist Abu al-Walid al-Baji.

However, Zakir Naik stated that if a former Muslim speaks against Islam then that is considered as treason and punishable by death in a country ruled by Islamic law, he also stated that he does not know of any country which is ruled by 100% Islamic law.,[17][18][19] a view which is held by other contemporary Islamic scholars such as Bilal Philips,[20] and Yusuf al-Qaradawi,[21] the latter reduces the punishment to imprisonment till repentance in the case of an apostate who did not proclaim apostasy,[22] whereas the judgement which is still widely adopted advocates death for every ex-Muslim, for instance, Sheik Muhammad Al-Munajid the owner, writer and administrator for the popular islam-qa.com site advocates that judgement stating that leaving them alive “may encourage others to forsake the truth”.[23]

Contemporary reform Muslims such as Quran Alone intellectuals Ahmed Subhy Mansour,[24] Edip Yuksel,[25] and Mohammed Shahrour[26] have suffered from accusations of apostasy and demands to execute them, issued by Islamic clerics such as Mahmoud Ashur, Mustafa Al-Shak’a, Mohammed Ra’fat Othman and Yusif Al-Badri.[27][28][29]

Prominent recent examples of writers and activists killed because of apostasy claims include Mahmoud Mohammed Taha,[30] Faraj Foda,[31] Rashad Khalifa, Ghorban Tourani, Necati Aydin, Uğur Yüksel, and the Egyptian Nobel prize winner Najib Mahfouz was injured in an attempted assassination, disabling him until his death in 2006.[32]

The case of Abdul Rahman, an Afghan who converted from Islam to Christianity, sparked debate on the issue. While he initially faced the death penalty, he was eventually released as he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.[33]”

  Naturally, how  can God leave matters so ambiguous in such a crucial thing? Even a cursory reading of wikipedia page on apostasy shows the massive difference of opinion on the subject. In some countries like Malaysia, permission has to be obtained by a Muslim for becoming an apostate. An article on Shia-Sunni divide on wikipedia is here. Would a true God leave so many differences among followers of his religion? He would have made the Quran clear and simple and left no doubt in anyone’s mind on all issues. As a minimum, God can come today, show himself to the rest of the world, or at least send angels on earth to reveal to all Muslims which is the correct form of Islam.

  There are also various differences of opinion on issues such as photography being allowed or banned in Islam (Taliban interpreted it as ‘total ban’ on photography banning television, cameras, photos). If this is wrong and Islam does allow photography and TV, then why would God give Islamic scriptures in a manner whereby followers of his ‘only true religion’ who most genuinely are devoted to his religion and genuinely believe that what they are doing is right and as per God’s command misunderstand Islam and ban TV and internet and take Afghanistan back to the 7th century? Or if photography is indeed banned, then why do most Muslim nations allow TV? And then there are issues like wearing veils for women in Islam, men growing beards (whether necessary or not), whether there should be a minimum age for marriage in Muslim countries. Many Muslims who have supported 14 as the age for marriage for girls (which is also very low, it should be at least 16 if not 18 as in India) and those Muslims who have demanded this have been called as ‘apostates’ by others. God could have simply clarified in the Quran and given precise details of what he wanted, how he wanted laws to be applied.

   There are many who genuinely believe that Taliban interpretation of Islam is wrong and that terrorists who killed innocents in the name of Islam and God are not true Muslims. These Muslims who genuinely believe that Islam is a religion of peace believe that Islam is true and is from God, Muhammad was His best and last prophet. The Taliban which is completely different in ideology and practice also genuinely believes what it does and believes that Islam is true and from God and that Muhammad was His best and last Prophet. If this is the case, why would God make a religion in a manner where his genuine followers interpret things differently? God can today send angels and correct one of the two different ideologies which must be wrong- i.e. either Taliban or the people who genuinely believe that Islam is a religion of peace.

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Why doesn’t God simply show himself to the people and declare every night- Islam is true, follow Muhammad?

This is a question that is often asked by atheists to believers- “Why doesn’t God simply show Himself to the people to dispel all doubts that He exists ?” Simply showing Himself to humanity will also help a lot of people, since the world runs on hope and optimism. Belief in God often gives people feeling “The Almighty is behind me. He will take care of me”. Even in sad and desperate situations, believers can be optimistic and hopeful and live a happier life. So, it is very important that God show Himself to people so that they at least feel reassured that there is God behind them to help them, if not to prove to mankind that God’s only true religion is Islam.

Now many believers and people like Dr Zakir Naik have tried to answer this question. We simply quote Zakir Naik :

“The questioner asked a question that he has a friend who believes that there is one supernatural power, but if Islam is right, then why doesn’t Allah come down and say that I am God, worship me, so that everyone would believe???

There is a verse in the Quran in Yunus, Chapter 10, Verse 99:
If it had been thy Lord’s will, he would have made all human beings as believers,- all who are on earth!….”
It is very easy for him to do that!!! But this is a test we are undergoing… Allah says in Al-Mulk, Chapter 67, Verse 2:
“He Who created Death and Life, that He may test which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving;- “
So this life is the test for the hereafter… The human beings are the best of the creations of Allah SWT, he gave us freewill to either go with the orders of Allah SWT or against the orders of Allah SWT… Those who obey Allah SWT and submit their will to Allah SWT are called as Muslims… and those who go against him and disobey him are called as Kafirs(disbelievers)…

For example, if in an examination test, where the students are giving an examination, so one of the students says: “Why is the teacher testing us? Why doesn’t she come and show us all the answers and everyone will write the right answer?”!!! If the teacher comes and dictates the answer, then where is the question of the test??? So the teacher before the test taught you many things… Told you, and now it is you who have to remember back then and ask questions at that time… That is why Allah SWT has revealed the Quran and He has given you signs… Allah SWT says in the Quran in Fussilat, Chapter 41, Verse 53:
“Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the Horizons), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?”... So Allah SWT said that He will show you the truth in the soul of every human being… Now after they come to know the truth, whether they believe or not is their problem… So the teacher before the examination, she teaches that 2+2=4… In the Examination whether you write 3, 5 or 4 it is your problem… So Allah SWT has directly by himself showed you his signs in the Horizons through the sun, through the stars, through his creations and He himself will make it evident, and it is a promise that every human being will believe in one God, BUT after that, do they agree with the commandments or not that is secondary…

So this is a test we are undergoing, those who submit their will to Allah SWT they are called as Muslims, and they will be rewarded in the next life… and those who disobey they will be punished…”

Naturally this is a ridiculous answer and a ridiculous analogy. Why should God ‘test’ people without proof? Zakir Naik is of course assuming that Allah wrote the Quran. What is the proof of that- since it was dictated by Muhammad? A God like Allah who needs Angels like Gabriel to do his work, who lives only in a particular part of the Universe and who cannot even give good stationery to his chosen Messenger to record the Quran and makes his followers write it on palm trees, stones, camel bones in a language where the whole meaning can change with the slightest change in alphabet, and whose book Quran saw many versions within 20 years of the death of Muhammad is of course very unlikely to write the Quran. Actually Chapter 41 Verse 53 itself is a proof that Islam is false. “Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the Horizons), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?” But this God did not show any signs, did not re arrange stars in a manner that they read at night “Islam is true”, filled the Quran with errors, mistakes and contradictions, and did absolutely nothing to prove that Islam is from God either during Muhammad’s time or later. Far from showing his signs in the furthest of regions, God actually kept the Muslims (and also the rest of the world) completely unaware about two whole continents of the world- viz South America and North America until nearly 900 years of the birth of Islam! Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered America in 1492 and thought that he had reached India!

Look at the other passage quoted by Zakir Naik – Chapter 10, Verse 99:
If it had been thy Lord’s will, he would have made all human beings as believers,- all who are on earth!” This is another point which will go against Islam. If God could have easily made all humans as believers then why is the message of Islam ‘convert or kill’ with unbelievers being allowed to remain as “Dhimmis” paying the Jizyah tax in the first instance? The whole Quran contains more than 70 passages urging Muslims to wage war on non-Muslims, convert or kill them and shun them in this life and the next. Apostates i.e. those Muslims who leave Islam are given death penalty. This is the legal provision in many Muslim countries even today, like Afghanistan a state supposedly rescued by liberals from the radical Taliban, which gives death penalty for leaving Islam. If there is no compulsion in religion and God can easily make all humans as believers then why should apostates be given death penalty?The Quran in 2:27, 2:39, 3:90-91, 4:89, 9:66, 9:74, 47:25-26 makes it clear that apostates are to be punished. Some passages of the Quran are quoted below:

8:60 And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to terrorize thereby the enemy of Allah…

8:12 I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

Unbelievers

2:191, And slay them wherever ye catch them

2:193, And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression

2:216, Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you

3:28, Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah

8:15-16, O ye who believe! when ye meet the Unbelievers in hostile array, never turn your backs to them. If any do turn his back to them on such a day – unless it be in a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own)- he draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and his abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed)!

8:17, It is not ye who slew them; it was Allah: when thou threwest (a handful of dust), it was not thy act, but Allah’s: in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself

8:65, O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers

9:5, But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.

9:73, O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed

9:123, O ye who believe! fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.

8:39, And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere.”

These are just a few of the many passages of the Quran where Muslims are ordered to convert or kill unbelievers. If God can make all humans believers, then why does he force Muslims to do his work of killing and converting unbelievers when he could have done so Himself? Also, this same God does the following :

  • * Intentionally preventing unbelievers from knowing the truth-> 6:25 6:110
  • * Intentionally preventing unbelievers from Understanding Quran-> 17:45-76
  • * It is God who causes people to err and He punishes them for that-> 17:97
  • * God could guide, if he chose to, but did not-> 6:35
  • * Intentionally misguiding those whom he pleases to->14:4
  • * Willfully misguiding some-> 16:93
  • * God causes human to err-> 4:143 7:178
  • * God deceiving human-> 4:142

So God deliberately keeps unbelievers away from Islam and then punishes them for that- this is sadism. And if this is the case, then how can unbelievers ‘fail the test’ when their fate is already sealed by God?

What a ridiculous analogy of students and teachers! Students are tested to know how much they have learnt and progressed, or many times tests are kept just for the reason that students may study (practice tests) for the big tests. (For example, giving Mock CAT tests before taking the actual CAT exam for MBA) Before the test, students know that there is going to be a test and try their best to prepare for it. Did God tell all humans before their birth that Islam is true, that their lives on earth will be a test, and they have to pass his test of faith by following his religion correctly? Students saying “Teacher should show us the answers” would completely end the meaning of the test, how would God showing Himself to humans end the meaning of Our ‘test’? On the contrary, it would be a very good thing, since it should prove to humanity that God exists and that he indeed is testing us, and this would enable humans to consciously follow Islam to pass the ‘test’ of God. A God who doesn’t even inform humans about ‘testing’ them and throws them in Hell forever for failing his tests is not a true God. Also, students are ‘tested’ for 2 things- to know how much knowledge they have gained, which is very essential for their progress, and often to make them study and improve their performance in the final big exam. For what reason would God ‘test’ mankind? God being Omniscient would already know everything about mankind. And then such a God who ‘tests’ people keeps nearly 80 % of the people unaware about his own true religion, keeps continents like North and South America unknown to the rest of the world for nearly 900 years after Islam’s birth!

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In this case, Zakir Naik has given a ridiculous analogy that asking “Why doesn’t God show Himself” is like students asking “Why doesn’t the teacher show us the answers in a test?” Firstly, the fact that life is a test is assumed by Zakir Naik, which is completely unproven and most likely untrue. Secondly, here asking God to show himself is like asking the TEACHER to show herself, the teacher who takes the test is expected to show herself. We are not asking for answers of the questions to be shown. Zakir Naik is not a scholar but a showman, he has a great memory and can impress the audience temporarily with his words. He has been completely exposed here by Ali Sina.

This is a video of a debate between Zakir Naik’s guru Abdullah Thariq in a debate with Mahendra Pal Arya in full:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zIujH5R9m0

Again we must quote the virus thing. Tiny invisible viruses living somewhere on a drop of water somewhere down the Pacific Ocean are being ‘tested’ by God without even being told that they are being tested and God doesn’t even show Himself to them. Man has been around for lakhs of years on this earth, and yet there is not a single instance recorded of God showing Himself to humanity. God is supposed to be omnipresent and be able to do all the things. Would a true God play hide-and-seek with humans and not show Himself to mankind ever since the birth of mankind? Also, there are so many crimes committed in the name of God by misguided followers who genuinely believe that they are doing the right thing and spreading faith in God. Those who destroy idols of Tulja Bhavani in Tuljapur genuinely believe that they did a sacred and a very good thing, whereas the others who are devotees of Goddess Tulja Bhavani (like Chhatrapati Shivaji was) will feel exactly the opposite. At least one of these two must be wrong. Now God should show Himself here and directly tell the wrong group that the other group is right and to stop destruction in His name. Many claim that the radical Muslims who killed unbelievers in 26/11 and 9/11 did not follow true Islam. But they genuinely believed that they were following true Islam and doing the right thing for God. Now, God being omniscient would have known that innocent people were going to be killed by radicals (either from his own true religion, or from a false religion) and should have shown Himself to these radicals and told them not to kill in his name!

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Why doesn’t God do anything supernatural today to prove that Islam is true, like rearranging stars in a way to read “Islam is true” ?

Even assuming that God chose Muhammad as his Prophet and wants all humans to follow Islam and is so concerned about tiny humans believing in His Messenger and obeying His Messenger that he will throw all those who don’t do so in Hell forever, there are very easy ways for an Omnipotent and Omniscient being like God to do so. Of course, again it must be remembered that this is like the Creator of all the Oceans of the world insisting that tiny invisible viruses on a drop of water somewhere down the Pacific Ocean believing in the Prophethood of a fellow virus. Let us assume that Islam is true and God indeed wants people to follow Islam- and that Muhammad was indeed a Prophet.

Why doesn’t God do anything today to prove that Islam is true? Muhammad claimed that one night, he rode on a winged horse that took him from Masjidu’l Haram (the temple of Ka’ba) to Msjidu’l Aqsa (in Jerusalem) and from there to the seventh heaven where he was shown the hell and the paradise and then taken to the presence of Allah. This story that is commonly accepted by Muslims and is known as Mi’raj is also confirmed in the Quran

Glory to (Allah)
Who did take His Servant for

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a journey by night,
From the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque.

– Quran 17:1

There are many problems with this story which we will not look right now, but just mention that many of Muhammad’s followers left him after he made this claim, realizing that he was lying. But some Muslims, blinded by faith have tried to defend this as well. And in this, they say “Belief in supernatural things will make others know that such a trip is possible”. (Actually, such pathetic arguments from amateurs like the person who has tried to defend Muhammad’s Miraj will only make the desperate defenders look even more silly). But the point here is- Belief in Supernatural things. If God is capable of doing supernatural things like Muhammad’s Miraj, why does not do anything supernatural NOW to simply prove that Islam is true? Why people like Dr Zakir Naik are needed to ‘understand Islam’ (whereas Zakir Naik is a showman with excellent memory using ridiculous arguments to promote his own business) today and answer many questions- such as “Who created God?” (Ridiculous analogy and laughable arguments by Zakir Naik) or “Why doesn’t God show himself?

Today, God doesn’t have to show himself to prove that Islam is true. He can rearrange stars so that at night they read “Islam is true. Follow it. I, God, have rearranged stars so as to make mankind know that my religion is Islam”. Simple and clear! Or he can send angels down to earth such as Gabriel and make them say to humanity, “We are sent by God to show mankind that Islam is true.” Or he can raise Muhammad from his grave and make him appear before everybody and say “God has raised me again to show mankind that Islam is true”. Of course, there are many ways in which God can send his message and convey that Islam is true. He can do some things which are undoable by humans- like first telling humanity that he will be splitting the moon and then splitting it, and then again re-joining it, or declaring to mankind that he will show that something can enter a blackhole and come out of it (send an angel there and bring him out and show mankind this) or stopping the rotation of a planet like Mercury around the sun! But absolutely nothing of this sort is done. This writer recalls talking to a Christian classmate in college about proof that Jesus was the SON of God. She said, “If God gives proof, then everyone will belief. The true test of faith is to believe without proof”. If that is the case, then it is admitting that there is NO PROOF AT ALL that the religion is true! Will a true God send messengers without proof when there are hundreds of charlatans and imposters and hoax prophets? But then, some other Muslims say that Quran is the proof that Islam is from God. Now if God does give proof that Islam is from Him, then surely He can do so in many ways some of which are mentioned above!

 

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Was Allah Muhammad’s domestic servant?

Belgium-based world famous scholar Dr Koenraad Elst has written in a chapter “How to deal with Islam” in his book “BJP vis-a-vis Hindu resurgence” (Voice of India, 1997): “This fact becomes more than obvious when one studies the context in which these revelations come to Muhammad. One finds that Allah never fails to confirm what his Prophet is planning to do in order to serve the latter’s cause in a particular situation. Aisha, the favorite wife of the prophet had seen through the game and summed up her observation reported by all orthodox traditionalists “Truly your God seems to have rushed in answering your prayers”. Dayananda Saraswati was not wrong when he characterized the Allah of the Quran as Muhammad’s domestic servant.”

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However, here one sentence must be added. It is not easy for a Muslim (i.e. a Muhammadan) to bear much criticism of Muhammad (let alone see Muhammad for who he was). It is like telling a child that his father is a rapist, murderer and a thief. A child who adulates his father will not be able to accept it even if all the proofs in the world are shown to him. He will instead call you a liar, hate you for hurting him, curse you and may explode in anger and hit you physically. A Muslim will genuinely believe that Muhammad was the MOST PERFECT person, kind and compassionate, merciful. He will genuinely believe that Muhammad was a champion of women’s rights (even though the truth is exactly the opposite), that Muhammad stopped the practice of female infanticide, that Arabs used to quarrel with themselves and get drunk, Muhammad banned drinking of alcohol, united the people and improved their lives and showed them the true path to God, banned slavery and freed people (whereas the reality is exactly the opposite, Islam and Muhammad enslaved people). A Muslim would generally admire and respect Muhammad more than his own parents. To understand this matter, a Christian reader should imagine being told that Jesus was a rapist, murderer and a thief, or a Buddhist being told the same about Buddha, or a Dalit being told the same about Ambedkar. A Hindu should imagine being told the same about Chhatrapati Shivaji, Swami Vivekananda, Krishna, Rama etc. That is why Pakistan has the draconian Blasphemy Law (which gives death for insulting Muhammad). We saw recently how a Governor was shot dead by his own bodyguard for supporting scrapping of the Blasphemy Law and how the murderer was treated like a hero, that the judge who sentenced him to death had to flee Pakistan. The Danish cartoons on Muhammad in early 2006 also shook the whole world resulting in nearly 100 deaths worldwide. This shows how strong the spell of Muhammad is on Muslims.

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Coming to Muhammad, there are so many cases which can be told as proof that Muhammad made up the verses to serve his own cause.

1) One day Muhammad visited one of his wives, Hafsah, the daughter of Omar. He saw Mariyah, Hafsah’s Coptic maid. He sent Hafsah out telling her that her father wanted to see her. When she went out, he called Mariyah and had sex with her in Hafsah’s bed. Hafsah found out that her father had not send for her and returned to find her illustrious husband, naked, between the legs of her maid. She screamed and started making a scandal. Muhammad tried to calm down his hysteric wife and promised her not to approach Mariyah again while pulling up his pants, and asked her to keep the incident, a secret. Hafsah informed Aisha who with a group of other co-wives confronted Muhammad. Then Muhammad claimed, God revealed Surah 66 Tahrim (‘Banning’) in which he “rebuked” Muhammad telling him:

Q.66: -5.
1. O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which Allâh has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
2. Allâh has already ordained for you (O men), the dissolution of your oaths. And Allâh is your Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.) and He is the All-Knower, the All-Wise.
3. And (remember) when the Prophet (SAW) disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. ‘Aishah), and Allâh made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: “Who told you this?” He said: “The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allâh) has told me”.
4. If you two (wives of the Prophet SAW, namely ‘Aishah and Hafsah turn in repentance to Allâh, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet SAW likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad SAW), then verily, Allâh is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.
5. It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to Allâh), believers, obedient to Allâh, turning to Allâh in repentance, worshipping Allâh sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for Allâh’s sake), previously married and virgins.“
[Tarikh Tabari also see Bukhari3.43.648 ]

Isn’t Allah nice to his prophet? He rebukes him for banning himself to have sex with Mariyah when Allah has made this lawful to him. Then he tells his beloved prophet that he does not have to keep his words just to appease a bunch of women. Go ahead Allâh has already ordained for you the dissolution of your oaths. Allah even tells his beloved prophet to divorce all of his uppity wives if they are not obedient and content with his sexual escapades and marry lots of other women who will be better.

Any person with an iota of common sense will know that Muhammad made up these verses to serve his cause. It is here that Aisha is reported to have said “Truly your God seems to have been very quick in answering your prayers”.

2) In one case, Muhammad wanted to have intercourse with the wife of his foster son Zaid. Here Allah revealed the following in the Quran:

33.37 “Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: “Retain you (in wedlock) your wife, and fear Allah.” But you did hide in your heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: you did fear the people, but it is more fitting that you should fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to you: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And Allah’s command must be fulfilled.

How wise! The noblest institution of child adoption is annulled because Muhammad wanted to have sex with the wife of his foster son. When this incident is brought up, many Muslims claim that Muhammad did nothing, God commanded him to marry the wife of his foster son, in Chapter 33, and God’s order had to be followed!

There are so many such passages in the Quran.Below are given just two more.

“Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowrise and the slave girls whom God had given as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. This privilege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer. We well know the duties we have imposed on the faithful concerning their wives and slave-girls. We grant you this privilege so that none ,ay blame you. God is forgiving and merciful. (Quran 33:50 )

 You may put of any of your wives you please and take to your bed any of them your please. Nor is it unlawful for you to receive any of those whom you have temporarily set aside. That is more proper, so that they may be contented and not vexed, and may all be pleased with what you give them. (Quran 33:51 )”

This also carries another very important thing “Slave girls whom God had given to you as a booty are lawful to you”. This means that God supports the institution of slavery and gives slave girls as gifts to Muhammad. Firstly, no God can be a supporter of slavery, this line itself is a clear proof that the Quran is not from God, since nowhere does it oppose slavery and institutionalizes slavery. This also conclusively disproves the claim by some Muslims that Muhammad ended slavery or that Islam abolished slavery. And secondly, Muhammad made up these verses to serve his own cause.

Aisha, the favorite wife of Muhammad had seen through this game. A Hadith reports: Narrated Aisha:
“I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, “Can a lady give herself (to a man)?” But when Allah revealed: “You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).” (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311)

And as we have seen Dayananda Saraswati say earlier “Why does this verse inculcate faith in Mohammad along with that in God, when the Mohammadans profess to believe in none but God, and hold that none is worthy of sharing homage with Him ? Hence they can not call God Incomparable. If it be argued that this verse only teaches that people should have faith in Mohammad as a Prophet, we should kike to know where is the necessity of Mohammad (being regarded as a Prophet). If God cannot accomplish his desired object without making him His Prophet, he is certainly powerless.” (p. 672 of Dayananda Saraswati’s book Satyartha Prakash of 1875, English translation) “Now (the Mohammadan) God Himself has made Mohammad His partner (in Divine honours, etc.) and has Himself declared this fact in the Quran. God is so much attached to Mohammad that He has made him His partner even in paradise. It is useless to call the Mohammadan God Independent when He is dependent upon Mohammad for every little thing. Such things can never be found in a revealed book.”

Dayananda Saraswati continues “Now reader mark ! How clever Mohammad is ! He makes his God say in this verse that God will love those who follow Mohammad and even their sins will be forgiven. This shows that the heart of Mohammad was not pure. It appears that Mohammad (made or) had the Quran made in order to serve his selfish interests.” (p. 670)

“Now mark the prejudice of God and of His Prophet ! Mohammad like other men of his stamp, was well aware that if he did not stamp his religion with divine authority it would never flourish, nor would he or his followers be able to obtain help and power which might help them to live a life of ease and luxury. All this goes to show that Mohammad knew only too well how to compass his selfish ends and to deprive others of their due-a fact which proves that he was no well-wisher of humanity. Such a man can never command the trust and confidence of good and enlightened men.” (p. 674)

“Who but the Mohammedan God would be so unjust in fighting and helping others to do the same and so active in causing breaches of peace ? Now look at this religion, which sanctions wholesale robbery for the benefit of the Prophet ! Are these people any better than thugs ? God participates in the crime of robbery when he takes his share of the loot. He brings disgrace on Himself by favouring such dacoits. We are at a loss to understand whence came such a book, such a God and such a Prophet in order to disturb the happy relations between different nations of the world and thereby, inflict great suffering on them. Had not such faiths flourished in the world, all would have lived in peace with each other.” (p. 680-81)

As we have said, imagine us as the creator of the vast Pacific Ocean. The earth is like a drop of water in the ocean of all the oceans of the world. Then humans on earth are as insignificant as ants. Imagine some very very small viruses (so small that they are invisible) in a drop of water somewhere down the Pacific and if one of the viruses claims to other viruses that he is our Messenger and that we keep making it legal for that virus to dissolve his oaths, marry his foster son’s wife, legalize him to marry slave girls, loot etc!

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Why didn’t God turn Muhammad into a scholar overnight and provide him with good stationery to record the Quran?

Why didn’t God turn Muhammad into a  scholar overnight and provide him with good stationery to record the Quran instead of relying on Muhammad’s supporters’  memory, many of whom got killed in the Battle of Riddahs (Apostasy) since AD October 632 and forcing them to write the Quran on palm leaves, stones and other such places? One basic question that will be asked is this- “Why did Allah choose Muhammad as a vehicle or medium to record the Quran when Allah knew that Muhammad was illiterate? Or at least, why did Allah not turn Muhammad into a great scholar overnight and provide him with good stationery to record the Quran?”

The Quran is what Muhammad dictated. In the translation of the Quran by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, (Pickthall’s translation is considered as very authentic) the following things are mentioned in the “Introduction” before the Quran’s first chapter: “All the surahs of the Koran had been recorded in writing before the Prophet’s death, and many Muslims had committed the whole Koran to memory. But the written surahs were dispersed among the people; and when, in a battle which took place during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr- that is to say, within two years of the Prophet’s death-a large number of those who knew the whole Koran by heart were killed, a collection of the whole Koran was made and put in writing. In the Caliphate of Othman, all existing copies of surahs were called in, and an authoritative version, based on Abu Bakr’s collection and the testimony of those who had the whole Koran by heart, was compiled exactly in the present form and order, which is regarded as traditional and as the arrangement of the Prophet himself, the Caliph Othman and his helpers being Comrades of the Prophet and the most devout students of the Revelation. The Koran has thus been very carefully preserved.” (Page xxviii of Pickthall’s translation of Quran, Madhur Sandesh Sangam, New Delhi, India, 1995)

Sadly for them, the information given in this translation by British Muslim Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall clearly proves exactly the opposite. Carefully read the sentences written in bold by us. “But written Surahs were dispersed among the people”. What is the guarantee that all Surahs were compiled and none were lost? Or that no extra Surahs were added which were not there? Arabic is a language where the whole meaning of the sentence can change with the slightest change in shape of the alphabet. In this translation of the Quran, Pickthall also admits “Within 2 years of the Prophet’s death a large number of people who knew the whole Koran by heart were killed”. Here he is talking of the Battle of Riddah (Apostasy) in Arabia in late 632- early 633 AD when Arabia rose in revolt against Islam and gallantly fought Muslims . In this battle, the Muslims would have surely lost and Arabia freed from Islam (and perhaps the whole world) had it not been for treachery from Muslims when the woman leading the Apostates (Salma) was killed treacherously, and seeing her dead the soldiers lost courage.  Islam’s victories in India and in many other places were also largely due to treachery (Example, Muhammad Ghori defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in AD 1192 through treachery, after losing for the first time, in 1190-91 he was pardoned and allowed to go with the promise that he would not attack again, which he duly violated, and attacked Prithviraj at night and this is how Islam began its rule in India).  But though the non-Muslims lost, a large number of Muslims were killed in this battle, many of whom had learnt the Quran by heart, which has been admitted by Pickthall. “In the Caliphate of Othman, all existing copies of surahs were called in, and an authoritative version, based on Abu Bakr’s collection and the testimony of those who had the whole Koran by heart, was compiled…” This shows that there were many different versions of the Quran in use by that time, during Othman’s rule (644-656 AD).  Othman ordered all other versions to be destroyed. Now the very fact that within so few as 20 years of Muhammad’s death there were different versions of the Quran and there was no one to check or guarantee that Othman’s version was exactly as Muhammad said! That is, Othman had to do the job of compiling the Quran which should have ideally been done properly by Muhammad. If God sent Muhammad down to the people with His Message and his book if guidance viz the Quran would he have made it so difficult for the humans? He would have first made Muhammad a scholar capable of reading and writing overnight, being the Almighty and then provided Muhammad and all Muslims good stationery to record the Quran instead of relying on Muhammad’s companions to write  on palm leaves, on shoulder-blade bones of camels and on stones and memorize it, and then have a large number of those who had memorized it killed in the Battle of Riddah.

Firstly, Muhammad dictated the Quran to his followers, who noted it down in many places.  According to Islamic tradition, the Qur’an was originally written on palm leaves, on shoulder-blade bones of camels and on stones. There was no single copy of the Quran existing during Muhammad’s own lifetime in a written form! Muhammad was asked many times by Meccans to perform any miracles to prove that He was a Messenger of God, such as making his God flow rivers of milk, and Muhammad used to say “I cannot perform any miracles,  I am only a mortal messenger. My only miracle is the Quran.”  (Muhammad need not have had to perform any miracles, couldnt GOD have flown rivers of milk to prove Muhammad’s Prophethood to the people?) But this ‘only miracle’ of Muhammad also was not present in his own life-time in a proper book form!

 As a matter of fact, even this tradition, that Othman ended everything and finalized the Quran before AD 656 and that nothing has changed in the Quran ever since, is also wrong. Wansbrough  (“Quranic Studies” Wansbrough, J. Oxford, 1977) showed that far from being fixed in the seventh century, the definitive text of Koran had still not been achieved even as late as the later part of the ninth century. Thus, a statement of Muslim creed, Fiqh Akbar I, dated to the middle of eighth century, does not refer to the Koran at all, which is quite surprising. The ninth century also saw the first collections of the ancient Arab poetry seeing the light of day, in which too there are instances of manipulation, as alleged by some scholars. In fact, there is a strong opinion among many scholars that the Quran was actually finalized in AD 933.

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