New area: Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and Matters — See Title Page and List of Contents
— latest, 21 July 2014: Standards Adhered to in Interpretation of Quran from within Quran
Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam
Dear members of the Qadiani Jamaat,
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu-hu
A member of your Jamaat, Bashir Shah, has been arguing on this blog regarding the book Siraj Munir by the Promised Messiah that:
HMGA (as), began writing Siraj Munir before 1891, he didnt edit it when it was finally published in 1897. I havent read that book. However, its a wonderful example.
On our website, alislam.org, there is a book which briefly touches on all of the books of HMGA (as). They have confirmed that Siraj Munir was began in 1888. See http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Hidden-Treasures-of-Islam.pdf, PAGE 186. It seems like the pupil has taught the teacher.
(I understand that by pupil he means himself and by teacher he means me.)
He presents this book as an example of a book by the Promised Messiah written many years before its first publication, and then published bearing the current date of publication, which could still be reflecting beliefs he held when he wrote it years ago, even though they might not be current at the time of publication. So, he says, that while Tiryaq-ul-Qulub was first published in October 1902, it could still contain his claims from earlier years which were not current in October 1902.
Siraj Munir is in Ruhani Khazai’n, v. 12, and has exactly 100 pages (in the 1984 edition these are numbered 1 to 100 at the bottom, in the latest edition these are numbered 3 to 102 at the top).
Dear members of the Qadiani Jamaat: If you were to pick any one of those 100 pages, I can show evidence from just that page alone, taken individually on its own, that it was written after 1891. (It is possible that in a few cases I may need to go to the page before or after the one that you select.)
My question is: Do you believe that I am correct that each and every page of Siraj Munir was written after 1891, many of them in 1897, and your member Bashir Shah is wrong? Would you like to test my claim by selecting any page from this book?
In his recent speech at the annual gathering of the AAIIL in Lahore, the General Secretary dealt with a view expressed by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan of India on the finality of prophethood. A friend from Lahore has summarised it below for our blog readers.
Maulana Wahiddudin Khan of India, a noted Islamic Scholar, wrote the following in an article on “Khatm-e-Nubuwwat” in the October 2011 issue of Al-Risala Magazine. The translation is mine. For the original Urdu please see the last paragraph on page 12 continuing onto page 13 at http://www.alrisala.org/alrisalapdfs/October-2011.pdf.
“Similarly it is said that two individuals were born in the present age who claimed to be Prophets. Bahaullah Khan (died: 1892) and Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani (died: 1908); but this assertion is not correct according to historical records. Bahaullah merely stated that he is “Mazhar-e-Haq.” He never said that he is a Prophet of God. Similarly Mirza Ghluam Ahmed Qadiani never said from his own tongue that he is a Prophet of God. He merely stated that he is “Zill-e-Nabi”, meaning shadow of the Prophet. Such a statement may be called a type of madness, but it cannot be called a claim to Prophethood.”
It appears that when an objective study is done of historical records with an unbiased mind, the truth becomes clear!
Issue 36 [@ 30:54]: Abdullah Al-Araby – “Jihad in Islam can be spiritual or physical. The spiritual Jihad is striving to be a better Muslim. But also there is a physical part of Jihad that you cannot take it away from Islam.”
Comment 36: Even though the above statement will be later used by the documentary to build up a case against Islam, but if taken at its face value, Al-Araby is correct in his statement to a certain extent. Just like – idea and action, noun and verb, body and soul, brain and mind, wood and fire, physical hygiene and spiritual growth, healthy food and healthy mind – where each is an inherent property of another and are inseparable – similarly, Jihad has its own components i.e. physical and spiritual. But the interesting point is that since Jihad is sum total of physical and non-physical effort, hence its rewards are both physical and non-physical. Simplistically, a student has to physically and mentally strive in his or her studies before the spiritual and material benefits come forth as rewards e.g. a doctoral degree with is material reward of salary and spiritual rewards of a social status and benefit to humanity. It is because of these secular principles, unlike Christianity, monasticism and asceticism have no room in Islam. Because these apparently high moral offices in Christianity are all talk but no action. Factually, Jihad in Islam is inseparable from life of a Muslim, because the ultimate goal of a Muslim is to assume Allah’s colors which in words of Al-Abraby is “striving to be a better Muslim,” and that is a dictate of Quran:
2:138. (Assume) the attributes of Allâh! and who is fairer than Allâh in attributes? We are His worshippers ever.
By being worshippers ever of Allah, Muslims are constantly toiling on towards their Lord:
84:6. O Mankind! verily you are (by nature) toiling on towards your Lord a laborious toiling, then (through arduous service to Him) you shall surely meet Him.
Such is the goal of life in Quran which directs every man to walk with God by treading along with a message of peace – Islam.
The matter of Jihad has been explained and clarified by various authors in previous issues, namely Muhammad Ali (Issue 27), Pickthall (Issue 27) and Zahid Aziz (Issue 33). The following is another discourse about Jihad which is taken (and referenced verses inserted) from the introductory comments in Translation of Quran by Nooruddin – “JIHÂD -HOLY WAR- A MISCONCEPTION”[p. 37A-38A]
And strive your hardest to win the pleasure of Allâh, as hard a striving as is possible and as it behoves you. He has chosen you and has imposed no hardship upon you in the matter of your faith, (so follow) the creed of your father Abraham. He named you Muslims (both) before this and (again) in this (Qur’ân) (22:78).
A great misconception prevails, particularly among the Christians, propagated by their zealous missionaries, with regard to the duty of JIHÂD in Islam. Even the greatest research scholars of West have not taken pains to consult any dictionary on Arabic, or to refer to the Qur’ân to find out the meaning of the word. The word Jihâd according to the Arabic-English Lexicon of E. W. Lane and the great scholar of Islam Râghîb means: The use of or exerting of one’s utmost powers, efforts, endeavours or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation, and this is of three kinds, namely; a visible enemy, the devil and against one’s own self. All these meanings are used in the Qur’ân when a reference of JIHÂD is made. The duty of JIHÂD is far from being synonymous with that of war, and the meaning of JIHÂD, ‘the Holy war’ as supposed by the western writers is unknown equally to Arabic and the fundamental teachings of the Holy Qur’ân. Even in the Traditions of the Prophet (Hadîth), this word was never synonymous with ‘the Holy war’. The Prophet of Islam called the greater Pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj) as JIHÂD (Bukhârî 25:4).
22:40. Those who have been driven out of their homes without any just cause. Their only fault was that they said, ‘Our Lord is Allâh.’ If Allâh had not repelled some peoples by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques wherein the name of Allâh is mentioned very frequently, would have been razed to the ground in large numbers. And Allâh will surely help one who helps His cause. Allâh is, indeed, All-Powerful, All-Mighty.
The permission to fight (22:40) under certain circumstances has no connection with the preaching of the religion by force and at no time did Islam permit the use of force for the purpose of preaching.
9:41. Go forth (all whether) light (- being ill-equipped) or heavy (- being well-equipped) and strive hard with your possessions and your persons in the cause of Allâh. That is better for you, if only you knew (your own gain or loss).
Again the Qur’ân says: ‘Strive hard with your possessions and your persons in the cause of Allâh’ (9:41) and:
25:52. So do not follow the disbelievers, and strive hard against them with the help of this (Qur’ân), a mighty striving.
‘Strive hard against them (the enemies of Islam, the nonbelievers) with the help of this (Qur’ân, which is full of arguments and reasoning) a mighty striving’ (25:52). God expects from us a JIHÂD against our souls, against our NAFS AMMÂRAH, our commanding self which is continuously inciting us towards evil.
2:114. And who can be more unjust than those who prohibit the name of Allâh from being extolled in (any of His) houses of worship and strive to ruin them. It was not proper for such, ever to enter these (places) except in fear and awe. For them is disgrace in this world, and there awaits them a severe punishment in the Hereafter.
God has not given us any permission to use any kind of force to prohibit people from going to places of worship – Churches, Synagogues and Temples – ‘where the names of God are being glorified’ (2:114).
The way this documentary distorts the meaning of Jihad is analogous to Health as to how much weights can a person lift. The word Health has a wide spectrum of connotations with it. Health is not just physical health but it also includes mental health, spiritual health, economic health, social health and so on for a person. Thus, when one discusses health or gives advice about health, one has to take into consideration all these aspects under the rubric of health. Given this spectrum of implications of health, if some health buff only equates health to how much weights can one lift in a gym, it would be a sign of pure ignorance. Such a person will rightfully earn the title of health fanatic. To such a tunnel vision of health, a child or an older person cannot be healthy as they will not be able to lift any significant pounds. But still, a weight lifter can be accepted as healthy as long as he stays within the moral and ethical boundaries of not doping, else such a person is no more than a drug addict who presents to the world his muscles as false representation of health.
Similarly, as mentioned before by Nooruddin, Muhammad Ali, Pickthall, Zahid Aziz and others, in light of Quran, the word Jihad has implications of – The use of or exerting of one’s utmost powers, efforts, endeavours or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation, and this is of three kinds, namely; a visible enemy, the devil and against one’s own self. Similar to example of a healthy weightlifter, a war against a visible enemy is a sub-component of Jihad as long as it is in self-defense, else an aggressive war might outwardly be sold as Jihad, but it is no different than that of a weightlifter who apparently is healthy, but for all intent and purposes is a doper. The “experts” of this documentary only present to the world the doped-up Jihad as actual Jihad, which is wrong and willfully dishonest. The audience who cheer the these “experts” are no more than the audience who cheer the prime-time mock fights of dopers on steroids who sell wrestling as athletics to the ignorant.
The Holy Quran – Noourddin
Submitted by Rashid Jahangiri.
Simple answer is YES. Before I make my case that USA has already or is without realizing implementing Shariah, I would refer to following article published in NY Times:
In Islamic Law, Gingrich Sees a Mortal Threat to U.S.
By SCOTT SHANE
Published: December 21, 201
1- In early part of 2010, an American CIA contractor murdered two Pakistanis in Lahore. Murderer life was spared as American administration people themselves or their friends on American’s behalf paid ‘Blood Money’ to victims’ families as part of compensation. This is an example of Americans at the highest level practicing a provision of Shariah. Given the economic and social problems caused by United States overflowing prison population and failing prison system, I am confident in due time, this provision of Shariah will be implemented within United States.
2- Communist Economic system has failed, and Capitalist Economic system is in tatters. Americans are protesting to move away from Capitalist economic system, towards the middle ground, which fosters entrepreneurship, individual incentive, safety nets in society and securities. This is an example of Americans yearning for provision of Shariah.
3- In early twentieth century in USA there was prohibition on alcohol. Now with advancement in knowledge of negative effects of alcohol consumption, numbers of Americans despising alcohol is increasing. And time will come when prohibition will again be placed and majority of Americans will accept that. This will be another example of Americans adopting another provision of Shariah.
4- Today in USA books (‘Love Times Three’ www.lovetimesthree.com) are written and reality TV shows (TLC show ‘Sister Wives’) are produced on lives of polygamists. Three to four wives of one husband. Polygamists make their case that there is nothing odd or abnormal to live in a polygamous relationship, although it is not for everyone. More interestingly law enforcement agencies are not enforcing law against these open polygamists. Americans tolerance is increasing towards polygamy. Time will come in USA when under ‘freedom of religion’ and ‘in pursuit of happiness’ as guaranteed by US constitution law against polygamy in US will go into trashcan of history as many other laws in this country has already gone. When Americans will strike down law against polygamy, they infect will be implementing one more provision of Shariah.
Issue 35 [@ 30:13]: Robert Spencer – “The Quran contains no guarantee of paradise except for those who slay or slain in the cause of Allah.”
@ 30:32 – Slide projected with voice – The Noble Koran – 9:111 Verily, Allah has purchased of the the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah’s Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.
@ 30:42 – Rober Spencer – “In other words the guarantee of Paradise is for the people who are killed while they are killing to establish the hegemony of Allah or Islamic Law in the world.”
Rebuttal 35: STOP THE PRESSES! Spencer and others almost always quote verses out of context, but in current issue he is intellectually dishonest. He not only uses the verse 9:111 out of context, but has actually put the verse on chopping block and removed the references to Torah and Gospel from within the verse, which are highlighted in bold below. He is quite “savvy” and obsequious, because if he quoted the whole verse, he would then be forced to smear Torah and Bible too in the same breath by the very distortions that he uses against Quran. To set the record straight, the same verse 9:111 and its context in subsequent verse in excerpted from the translation and commentary by Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz:
9:111. Surely Allah has bought from the believers their persons and their property — theirs (in return) is the Garden. They fight in Allah’s way, so they kill and are killed. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran.
[Footnote] The promise binding on Allah is that Allah will grant the believers His blessings, if they exert themselves with their persons and their property in His way. The Gospels give the same promise: “If you want to be perfect”, said Jesus to a wealthy man, “go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew, 19:21). To Peter he said: “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew, 19:29). Moses’ teaching contains similar promises. For instance, the promise of “a land flowing with milk and honey” is made conditional on “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy, 6:3–5), which is the same as exerting oneself to the utmost in the way of God with one’s person and property.
It should be borne in mind that the words, they fight in Allah’s way, so they kill and are killed, are not a part of the promise, but are expressive of the condition of the Companions, and show that they were true to their promise.
The promise to spend one’s person and property may be carried out in various ways under different circumstances, and the Companions of the Holy Prophet were as true to this promise during the thirteen years at Makkah as during the ten years at Madinah.
[Comment by the writer: They fight – i.e. strive – in Allah’s way, – for human rights, justice, equality, freedom of expression and faith etc. – so they kill – in defensive battles for survival – and are killed – either in the same defensive battles or they are persecuted for their faith. There is no net loss for such persons who strive in Allah's way – the path of Truth, with their persons and their property. Only a believer will accept such a bargain because such a believer believes in the fundamental concept of God and all the moral and spiritual laws and their assurances that emanate from it. The belief then becomes the guarantor of freedom of thought and action for the believer to undertake all hardships of their persons and their property in Allah's way.
Reader, please note that no believer can undertake aggressive actions in Allah's way, because any aggression is against the fundamental teachings of Quran e.g.
2:190. And fight in the cause of Allâh those who fight and persecute you, but commit no aggression. Surely, Allâh does not love the aggressors.
2:191. And slay them (the aggressors against whom fighting is made incumbent) when and where you get the better of them, in [a] disciplinary way, and turn them out whence they have turned you out. (Killing is bad but) lawlessness is even worse than carnage. But do not fight them in the precincts of Masjid al-Harâm (the Holy Mosque at Makkah) unless they fight you therein. Should they attack you (there,) then slay them. This indeed is the recompense of such disbelievers.
2:192. But if they desist (from aggression,) then, behold, Allâh is indeed [the] Great Protector, Ever Merciful.
2:193. And fight them until persecution is no more and religion is (freely professed) for Allâh [note – in Qur’ân Allah uses his unique name as God for all peoples]. But if they desist (from hostilities) then (remember) there is no punishment except against the unjust (who still persist in persecution).
2:194. (The violation of) a sacred month [according to Arab tradition] may be retaliated in the sacred month and for (the violation of) all sacred things the law of retaliation is prescribed. Then he who transgresses against you, punish him for his transgression to the extent he has transgressed against you, and take Allâh as a shield, and know that Allâh is with those who guard against evil
-verses 2:190-194 excerpted from translation by Nooruddin]
And who is more faithful to his promise than Allah? Rejoice therefore in your bargain which you have made. And that is the mighty achievement.
9:112. They [– the believers referred to in verse 9:111 above]
who turn (to Allah),
who serve (Him),
who praise (Him),
who bow down,
who prostrate themselves,
who enjoin what is good and
forbid what is evil, and
who keep the limits of Allah
— and give good news to the believers.
Verse 9:112 brings to light the attributes and moral stages of the believers mentioned in the previous verse 9:111. Both of these verses are tightly coupled. It is only the people with such moral and spiritual attributes who can fearlessly but without hate or vengence, with patience and forbearance, confront and overcome opposition of ideas, aggression and persecution, not only against themselves but for the rest of the humanity as well. It were such handfuls about 1500 years ago, who set the world on the course of human rights and dignity that the West enjoys in their constitutions today. It is these who followed the original teachings of Torah and Gospel before Muhammad and of Quran after Muhammad. In summary all such followers are commonly known as Muslims. It is this Islam – What the West needs to know and not the Islam of make believe, that the “experts” in the documentary want to portray to the West.
The message of verse 9:111 is closely paralleled by the following verses:
61:10. O you who believe, shall I lead you to a bargain which will deliver you from a painful punishment?
61:11. You should believe in Allah and His Messenger, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if only you knew!
61:12. He will forgive you your sins and make you enter Gardens in which rivers flow, and goodly dwellings in Gardens of perpetuity — that is the mighty achievement —
61:13. and yet another (blessing) that you love: help from Allah and a victory near at hand; and give good news to the believers.[Muhammad Ali, Ed. Dr. Zahid Aziz]
A keen reader of Quran will see similarities between Muhammad and Jesus. They are similar as both were Prophets with their respective Books and with a common Message from the same Source descending on the same humanity who offered similar response to the Message, some accepting and others rejecting it. Acceptors ultimately triumphing over the rejecting ones, based upon strength of ideas and the content of the Message:
61:14. O you who believe, be helpers (in the cause) of Allah, as Jesus, son of Mary, said to the disciples: Who are my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We are helpers (in the
cause) of Allah. So a party of the Children of Israel believed and another party disbelieved; then We aided those who believed against their enemy, and they became predominant.[Muhammad Ali, Ed. Dr. Zahid Aziz]
Hadith as quoted in Rebuttal 34 alone can refute the distorted narration and interpretation of the verse 9:111 by Spencer as he maliciously tries to imprint on the audience the need to be killed in order to attain salvation:
“The first of men (whose case) will be decided on the Day of Judgment will be a man who died as a martyr. He shall be brought (before the Judgment Seat). Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them. Then will Allah say: What did you do? He will say: I fought for You until I died as a martyr. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You fought that you might be called a brave warrior. And you were called so. (Then) orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face downward and cast into hell.” (Sahih Muslim, book: ‘Government’; in A.H. Siddiqui translation book 20, ch. 43, number 4688.) [Islam, Peace and Tolerance, p 51]
In light of the verse 9:111 and above Hadith, it becomes quite clear as to proclaim anyone as martyr, such a striving person must also had fulfilled the requirements of verse 9:112 as well, i.e.
9:112. They [– the believers to referred in verse 9:111 above] who turn (to Allah), who serve (Him), who praise (Him), who fast, who bow down, who prostrate themselves, who enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and who keep the limits of Allah — and give good news to the believers.
Outwardly, we can be a witness to who praise (Him), who fast, who bow down, who prostrate themselves, who enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. Inwardly, how much that person turned (to Allah), served (Him), kept the limits of Allah is known only to Allah. One of the requirements of limits of Allah is non-aggression. The ultimate judge of martyrdom is Allah alone. We as surviving humans can only wish and pray for the status of martyrdom for the soul that was striving.
Lets revisit the pearls of wisdom as expressed by Spencer. He states – “In other words the guarantee of Paradise is for the people who are killed while they are killing to establish the hegemony of Allah or Islamic Law in the world.”
Using Spencer’s logic, if getting killed is so fundamental to be guaranteed Paradise then there will be no Muslim left on the face of the earth. They all would have sought to be gotten killed more than fifteen hundred years ago. Further more, in the light of same logic the remaining Muslims in the world are “fake” Muslims who have not gotten themselves killed as yet. Why is then Spencer worried at the hands of “fake” Muslims? Is he so sympathetic to Muslim cause that he want to make the Muslims of the world realize their “falsehood” and convert them to “real” Muslims so that they all annihilate themselves in order to be guaranteed Paradise. To extend it further, the way Spencer interprets Islam and Quran is that every alive Muslim is hell bound by his own hands because he has not gotten himself killed yet. In his logic, if by some collective effort Muslims are able to “establish the hegemony of Allah or Islamic Law in the world” then there is no incentive left to achieve Paradise because then there is no one left to to fight and Muslims will be disappointed for being unable to get “killed while they are killing.” Spencer is plain ridiculous. He defies logic. He is nonsensical.
If Spencer is correct in his interpreting the verse 9:111, then his proclamation of “hegemony of Allah” is no different than “hegemony of Lord Jesus.” Hegemony of God is essentially a Christian doctrine as outlined by following passages from Bible:
Firstly, Christianity is directed to expand and dominate – Matthew 28:
18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Secondly, suppression of any differing opinion or faith is mandated – 2 Corinthians 10:
5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Thirdly, the annihilation of non-believers is a duty – 2 Thessalonians 1:
7. And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
World history is a testament to Christians carrying forth the above mandate of “Hegemony of Lord Jesus” all over the world. All nations of the world accepted this hegemony except the Muslims. Despite being overwhelmed by Christian temporal power, Muslims never flinched to Christian moral onslaught. For that the credit goes to their Quran which stood as the bulwark to the Christian missionary tide. Not only that, the tide is reversing back to Christian lands and minds, but now the tide is that of Quran.
Spencer so casually tries to smear Islam with words such as “hegemony of Allah,” but rest assured that Quran is not dogmatic like Bible. Instead of Allah’s hegemony, Quran assures the survival of Christian faith:
Firstly, Christianity will survive till the last day, though with a caveat of their mutual hatred:
5:14. And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant,b but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, so We stirred up enmity and hatred among them to the day of Resurrection.
[Footnote] The prophecy that there shall always be hatred and enmity between the various Christian peoples has proved true in all ages, and never more clearly than in modern times with the World Wars in Europe.
And Allah will soon inform them of what they did. [Muhammad Ali – Ed. Zahid Aziz]
Secondly, Christians will always dominate Jews:
3:55. When Allah said: O Jesus, I will cause you to die and exalt you in My presence and clear you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of Resurrection.
[Footnote] This is the fourth promise made to Jesus in this verse, that those who follow Jesus shall be made dominant over his rejectors till the day of Judgment. Its truth is witnessed to this day in the dominance of the Christians over the Jews. [Note: Muslims believe in Jesus as a Prophet] [Muhammad Ali – Ed. Zahid Aziz]
The above verses are yet another proof that as a matter of doctrine Islam can co-exist with other religions. Unlike as a matter of failure of Christianity which now has no choice but to accept other religions on the face of the earth besides itself.
Spencer’s also declared – “The Quran contains no guarantee of paradise except for those who slay or slain in the cause of Allah.” This is a plain wrong statement. Many counter arguments can be unloaded from Quran, but suffice for him and his co-experts are the following verses re-posted from Rebuttal 31c. These versesshould be an eye opener alike to both the preacher and the preached of the documentary. Spencer comes across immature, infantile and selfish in light of these verses whereas Quran stands out as fair, mature and word of God:
2:62. Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.[Muhammad Ali – Ed. Zahid Aziz]
5:69. Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians — whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good — they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. [Muhammad Ali – Ed. Zahid Aziz]
3:113. They (– the people of the Scripture) are not all alike. Among these people of the Scripture there are some upright people. They rehearse the Message of Allâh in the hours of the night and they prostrate themselves (in His worship).
3:114. They believe in Allâh and the Last Day and enjoin good and forbid evil, and they vie one with another in (doing) good deeds. And it is these who are of the truly righteous. [Nooruddin]
Once again as in other issues before, the “experts” of this documentary bring up issues that might not be of their liking. Spencer inadvertently while distorting Quran, falls on his own axe by bringing up the fundamental concept of Salvation, which was fully addressed in Rebuttal 31 before, which the reader is referred to.
Note: [comments in square brackets above are not part of the original sources]. Verse 9:112 is stylistically re-formatted into a list of attributes solely for educational purposes.
Islam, Peace and Tolerance – Dr. Zahid Aziz
New King James Version – BibleGateway.com
The Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz
The Holy Quran – Noourddin
Submitted by Rashid Jahangiri.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) bowl.
People who ridicule Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by sketching his cartoons or otherwise are unable to comprehend Love of Muslims for him. Similarly, Qadianis should also understand why Muslims hate them when they use words reserved for Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his wives and his family, for their Qadiani Khalifas II-V.
Youtube video on Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) bowl:
I have been adding further material recently to this website (www.wokingmuslim.org), and would like to refer our readers in the USA to the excellent account from 1935 by a very scholarly man from the USA, Col. Donald S. Rockwell, of why he embraced Islam.
The direct link is: www.wokingmuslim.org/pers/converts/col-dsr.htm
Elizabeth Potter from www.myfellowamerican.us has sent me the following e-mail.
I thought that you and the readers of The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Blog would be interested to know that last week Lowe’s Home Improvement pulled its ads from the TLC show All-American Muslim in response to an organization claiming the show “falsely humanized Muslims in America.” The Lowe’s controversy has exposed more Islamophobia in America. This issue falls directly in line with what the My Fellow American project is trying to prevent and overcome in America.
As a supporter of the project, would you please visit www.myfellowamerican.us to share what this controversy means to you? I encourage you to ask your readers to do the same to help spread the message of tolerance to fight back against intolerance and fear-mongering. We’ve just posted a host of new content from various entertainers and faith leaders on this topic.
Issue 34 [@ 29:40]: Serge Trifkovic – Rockford Institute for International Affairs – “Quran is quite clear about the heavenly rewards for a jihadist who falls fighting in the path of Allah. He will be granted instant access to the Paradise. And a Muslim Paradise is an extremely sensual one. It is full of ‘houris’, black eyed beauties, that will await the martyr and the gratification that follows is eminently not suitable for family audience.”
Rebuttal 34: Trifkovic sensationalizes certain topics in the name of Islam – martyrdom, reward for martyrdom, houris, implied matters of flesh and the “sensual” Paradise – but all with wrong meanings, out of context usage and for all the wrong reasons that reflect his conceited “expertise.” Each of these topic will be dealt with below:
This movie in various places tries to create a wrong perception of Martyrdom in Islam, which needs a detailed understanding. Following is an excerpted section from the book “Islam, Peace and Tolerance” [p. 50-2] by Dr. Zahid Aziz:
What is martyrdom in Islam?
The word for ‘martyr’ in Islamic literature is shaheed. This word in fact means ‘witness’ and is used commonly in the Holy Quran as meaning a witness to something. God is repeatedly called a shaheed, as in “Allah is witness of what you do” (3:98) and “Allah is sufficient as a witness between us and you” (10:29). The Holy Prophet Muhammad is called a “witness” upon his followers, and Muslims are called “witnesses” or bearers of witness to all mankind (2:143), i.e. bearers of truth. Every prophet, including Jesus, is referred to as a witness over his followers (4:41, 5:117). The same word is used for witnesses in contracts and civil matters (2:282, 4:135).
Similarly, the word for martyrdom is shahada, but it is used in the Quran only as meaning testimony of any kind or something that is obvious and seen, as in “do not conceal testimony” (2:283), “our testimony is truer than the testimony of these two” (5:107), and the statement which occurs several times about God that “He is the knower of the unseen and the seen (shahada)” (6:73). This word as meaning testimony is also famously applied to the act of testifying to become a Muslim, and even in English one hears the expression “making the shahada” when referring to this act. These words are applied to martyrs and martyrdom because the life and death of a martyr is a testimony to the truth of Islam. But who is a martyr? Just as jihad is not synonymous with war, a Muslim can be a shaheed without being killed in any connection with a battle. It is reported in Hadith:
“The Messenger of Allah asked (his Companions): Whom do you consider to be a martyr among you? They said: Messenger of Allah, one who is slain in the way of Allah is a martyr. He said: Then the martyrs of my people will be few in number. They asked: Messenger of Allah, who are they? He said: One who is slain in the way of Allah is a martyr, one who dies in the way of Allah is a martyr, one who dies of plague is a martyr, one who dies of cholera is a martyr.” (Sahih Muslim, book: ‘Government’; in A.H. Siddiqui translation book 20, ch. 50, number 4706.)
Anyone dying in any manner while working sincerely in the service of Islam is thus a martyr or shaheed. On the other hand, a Muslim just by being killed in a battle is not necessarily a martyr, as shown by the following statement of the Holy Prophet:
“The first of men (whose case) will be decided on the Day of Judgment will be a man who died as a martyr. He shall be brought (before the Judgment Seat). Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them. Then will Allah say: What did you do? He will say: I fought for You until I died as a martyr. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You fought that you might be called a brave warrior. And you were called so. (Then) orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face downward and cast into hell.” (Sahih Muslim, book: ‘Government’; in A.H. Siddiqui translation book 20, ch. 43, number 4688.)
It is clear from this that while a Muslim may consider that a certain act would earn him martyrdom yet he may find himself condemned by God in the Hereafter for making a false claim and punished for it. The fact is that martyrdom in Islam is a spiritual rank in the life after death and no one can be sure that if he died while engaged in certain work God would bestow this rank upon him.
What we can be sure of, however, is that this rank cannot be attained by acting against the teachings of Islam, even though the deceased may have believed he was engaged in a struggle in support of Islam. What must be further emphasised is that a martyr is one who dies as a result of someone else’s action against him which he resists as far as possible, or due to circumstances entirely beyond his control. It has been mentioned in the Hadith report quoted above that a Muslim who dies of cholera or the plague is a martyr. But, quite obviously, it is completely against the very basic teachings of Islam for a Muslim deliberately to seek to catch these diseases in order to die as a martyr! Indeed, a Muslim should take all measures to avoid falling a victim to them. But if he should happen to fall ill unintentionally and die while serving Islam he will earn a high place in the hereafter.
Similarly, a Muslim killed in battle must be killed by the action of his enemy, while he is repelling that opponent, or due to some other external cause beyond the scope of his control and planning, as one of the conditions to be a martyr.
After making false connotations of a martyr, Trifkovic then follows the centuries old Christian missionary script and tries to connect martyrdom in Islam to heavenly reward of “hooris” or more explicitly the famous seventy virgins. He obviously is an expert of ignorance for what the word “houri” means. The monthly, Islamic Review [May 1930, p 79-80] rectifies the distortion of the word “houri” and expounds its actual meaning and significance:
What is a Houri?
In a recent series of articles and letters which appeared in the Daily Chronicle on the subject of the “Conception of Heaven,” Sir Denison Ross, of London University, observed that the Muslim paradise promised to each Muslim a number of “houris to gaze upon.” The word “houri” one of
those beautiful and unfortunate words which, although quite respectable in their original sense, have lost their significance entirely as a consequence of malevolent propaganda. The distortion of quite a number of words in English language offers a very interesting study to anyone interested in the methods by Christian Europe during the early part of the Middle Ages to create a gulf between Islam and Christianity at a time when, as everyone knows, the two had settled down to understand each other.
The way in which words lose their meanings can perhaps be best exemplified by quoting the origin of “dunce,” which now stands for a “blockhead,” but derives from the name of a philosopher of Oxford in the Middle Ages named “Duns Scotus.” His enemies, being desirous of discrediting him, called his followers “dunces “; and the word “houri” falls into precisely the same category. Why “houri” should be taken to mean a voluptuously beautiful woman can only be understood if one remembers the distorted European conception of the Muslim Heaven.
That even Sir Denison has made no effort to discover the real meaning of the word serves to show that even fair-minded Europeans are liable to flounder in the morass of misconceptions which Europe has inherited from the Middle Ages.
The word “houri” is the mutilated form of the Arabic word “hur,” which is the common plural form of both the masculine and singular Ahwar and feminine singular Haurã. The word “hur” applies to both men and women as also to qualities and actions.
Why it should be limited particularly to “beautiful women” or “damsel,” as Rodwell [translator or Quran] renders it, passes our understanding. Maulana Muhammad Ali translates this word as “pure ones.”
The Holy Quran does not speak of any conjugal relations being maintained in a physical sense in the life to come. Besides, wherever the various blessings of paradise or the torments of hell are spoken of, they are but physical manifestations of spiritual blessings which the doers of good enjoy in this life as well as in the next. There are gardens, trees, rivers, milk, and numerous blessings spoken of by the Quran as being found in paradise. but that all these are not things of this life can be easily understood from a tradition of the Holy Prophet, who says:
“Allah says I have prepared for my servants what no eye has seen and no ear has heard and what the heart of man has not conceived of.”
The Holy Quran speaks in the same strain when it says: No soul knows what is hidden for it.”
For this reason the “hur” or pure ones are not the things of this life – decidedly not the beautiful women of this life. “Hur” are a heavenly blessing which the righteous women shall have along with the righteous men.
The late Al-Hajj Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, the founder of above monthly, once had the opportunity to deliver a lecture on the philosophy of heaven and hell to an atheist gathering in England. At the conclusion of the address, someone objected to the presence of beautiful women (houris) in paradise. To this, he replied: “Is there any society in the world that is complete without women? Indeed, man’s rough edges, his wildness and barbarity can never be removed unless woman is present. So, if the presence of women is compulsory in this life for the nurturing of a society’s civilization and culture, then will they not be needed in heaven which is a place for the advancement and perfection of every aspect of civilization and culture?”
“Seventy Virgins” for martyrs?
While mocking Islam, Trifkovic could not help to stay away from the cliché of the utter nonsense of “’houris’, black eyed beauties, that will await the martyr and the gratification that follows is eminently not suitable for family audience.” Dr. Zahid Aziz in the same book above “Islam, Peace and Tolerance” [p. 54-9] puts to rest such a distorted notion:
Virgins in heaven as reward for martyrs?
The misconceived notion that a Muslim male who dies as a martyr is rewarded in the hereafter with seventy-two virgins has brought Islam into disrepute and ridicule, and proved a source of much amusement and mockery for those unaware of the teachings of Islam regarding the hereafter. In this booklet we cannot enter into a detailed discussion of the Islamic concept of paradise or the garden of the next life but the following key points are necessary to know.
Firstly, the rewards of the hereafter are not the material things that we enjoy in this physical world. The life after death is in a world that cannot even be conceived by the human mind in this life, and human beings there will have an entirely different existence that cannot be known here. The Holy Quran says:
“We have ordained death among you and We are not to be overcome, that We may change your state and make you grow into what you do not know.” — 56:60–61.
Other English translations phrase the second part of this quotation as “changing the nature of your existence and bringing you into being anew in a manner as yet unknown to you” (Muhammad Asad), “producing you again in a form which ye know not” (Rodwell), and “that We may transfigure you and make you what you know not” (Pickthall).
The enjoyments in the gardens of the hereafter are of an unknown nature in this world, as the Quran says:
“No soul knows what refreshment of the eyes is hidden for them: a reward for what they did.” — 32:17
This is why the description of the garden of the hereafter is called a parable, as in:
“A parable of the garden which is promised to those who keep their duty” (13:35 and 47:15).
Secondly, the Quran has made it abundantly clear no less than eight times that men and women are equally entitled to the rewards of the heavenly life. It says:
“And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer — these will enter the Garden …” — 4:124
“Allah has promised to the believers, men and women,Gardens, in which flow rivers, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in Gardens of perpetual abode. And greatest of all is Allah’s goodly pleasure. That is the grand achievement.” — 9:72
“Gardens of perpetuity, which they enter along with those who do good from among their fathers and their wives and their offspring…” — 13:23
“O My servants, … Those who believed in Our messages and submitted (to Us): Enter the Garden, you and your wives, being made happy. … in there is what their souls yearn for and the eyes delight in, and in them you will abide.” — 43:68–71
“On that day you will see the believers, men and women, their light gleaming before them and on their right hand. Good news for you this day! Gardens in which flow rivers, to abide in them.” — 57:12
Thus the women among the believers will have the same rewards and enjoyments as the men of the believers.
Thirdly, all these rewards are manifestations of the good qualities shown and good deeds done by a person in this life, which are unfolded before him or her. For example, the “light gleaming before them and on their right hand” (57:12) is not a physical lamp of this world, but a representation of their light of faith. In one place we read:
“And those who believe and do good are made to enter Gardens, in which flow rivers, abiding in them by their Lord’s permission. Their greeting therein is, Peace! Do you not see how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word as a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are high, yielding its fruit in every season by the permission of its Lord? … And the parable of an evil word is as an evil tree pulled up from the earth’s surface; it has no stability.” — 14:23–25
After mentioning the gardens of the next life, a good word is compared to a good tree, ever bearing fruit. Therefore the trees of the gardens of the hereafter are a person’s good deeds done in this life which appear as trees that bear fruit, just as his good deeds bore fruit.
Likewise, the “beautiful maidens” of the next life are not as women of this world with whom men will have sexual relations. They are the good qualities shown in this life, such as honesty, purity of character, charity, integrity and faith that are manifested in this form. These maidens are called “pure companions” (2:25, 3:15, 4:57) because they are the appearance of the pure qualities that were one’s companions in this life.
In fact, in verse 3:15 the desirability of the “pure companions” is clearly differentiated from the sexual desire for women in this life. Verse 3:14 refers to the attractiveness of the material desires of this world as follows:
“The love of desires is made attractive to people — of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well-bred horses and cattle and crop produce. This is the provision of the life of this world. And with Allah is the good goal of life.” — 3:14
The next verse then says:
“Shall I tell you of what is better than these? For those who guard against evil are gardens with their Lord, in which rivers flow, to abide in them, and pure companions and Allah’s goodly pleasure.” — 3:15
It is clearly obvious from these passages that while sexual desire for women is a craving and a necessity for this material world, better and superior than this is to strive to acquire the qualities that become our “pure companions” in the next world. This repudiates the very idea that we should wish for our physical desires of this world to be satisfied, as a reward, in the next world.
In many recent articles, published on websites and elsewhere, a saying of the Prophet Muhammad from Tirmidhi is quoted, often by way of ridicule and mockery, according to which a man in paradise will have 72 “wives” (what these articles refer to as the 72 virgins). But in the same Tirmidhi we find, only a little later, the following report:
“Faith has seventy and something gates, the least of which is to remove from the road a harmful thing and the highest is to say ‘There is no god but Allah’.” (Tirmidhi, chapters on Faith.)
It is the “seventy and something” constituents of faith, two of which are specified here (one high and one low, and another one often mentioned in such reports is modesty) that, for those who possess them in this life, become represented in the next life as “maidens”.
There is also another explanation of the concept of “virgins” in the next world, based on the following verses of the Quran which refer to some of the rewards to be found there:
“Surely We have created them (as) a (new) creation, so We have made them virgins, loving, equals in age…” — 56:35–37.
The pronoun “them”, occurring twice here, is in the feminine. A commonly-accepted meaning is that this refers to the believing women. They will be raised in the next life in a new form of creation corresponding to their purity of character in this world, and thus it is said: We have made them virgins. This interpretation is also supported by an explanation of these verses reported from the Holy Prophet Muhammad, again in the same Tirmidhi:
“An old woman came to the Prophet and said: Messenger of Allah, pray to Allah that I will enter paradise. He said jokingly: Mother of so-and-so, no old women will enter paradise. The old woman went away crying, so the Prophet said: Tell her that she will not enter paradise as an old woman, for Allah says: Surely We have created them (as) a (new) creation, so We have made them virgins.” (Shama’il Tirmidhi, ch. 35: ‘Joking of the Messenger of Allah’, report 230.)
Their resurrection as “virgins” is only a spiritual representation of the purity with which they led their lives in this world. There is no question of sexual relations in the next life as that life is not physical life which requires such relations. The word for “equals in age” in the above passage can also signify that they are similar in their good qualities to the believing men.
It may be noted that the term “virgin” has been used in the Bible as a symbolism. The nation of Israel is called a “virgin” in many places (for example, Jeremiah, ch. 31, Amos, ch. 5). The Gospel of Matthew contains the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, which Jesus begins to relate as follows: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins” (ch. 25, v. 1). Obviously, virgin girls for men’s pleasure are not meant here.
Matters of “flesh”
The experts in this documentary inadvertently instigate debates in certain spheres that they might not like or able to handle. Serge Trifkovic tries to act “holy” and “pious” when he tacitly uses the word “sensual” for Muslim Paradise. By sensual he implies sexual. Thereafter, he leaves it to the audience to expand in their minds upon his insinuation of “sensual.” Now that is very obsequious and sly. Since the movie is intended for Western audience it is quite logical to conclude that the audience out of their experience and resources of “sensuality” prevalent in their own societies will think in magnified base terms as to what a Muslim Paradise has to offer, no matter how wrong it maybe. The frailty of Western mind is based upon its religious and cultural experience of alcohol mixed with free sexuality which de-emphasizes marriage while encourages all the institutions that exist in their midst whose financial and business models are framed on such human weakness. These institutions include neighborhood bars, clubs, casinos, media outlets and other similar locations, and the activities therein, which in the words of Trifkovic are “eminently not suitable for family audience.” What to talk of a business or a company, whole cities and states are established for the sole purpose to provide gratification to the weakness of flesh. It is in the midst of these institutions and cities that Trifkovic himself likely dwells and not for a moment does he raise his objection against such “sensual” places, legalized or otherwise. Mr. Trifkovic you have many faces to your morality. Your silence to “in your face” sensuality is indicative of your complicity to societal values sanctioning such carnal desires of flesh, yet you are mocking an imaginary “sensual” Paradise for others.
By using the word “sensual,” Trifkovic brings to light the fundamental weakness of Christianity whose basis hinges upon the nonsense of a “virgin birth”. For Christianity, their highest moral office is a product of a so called “virgin birth” i.e. a birth outside the moral bonds of a dignified marriage and the subsequent life of a man who according to Bible never experienced marriage despite attaining a mature age. Hence, Christianity cannot perceive any moral goodness from a God given human faculty, the needful union of man and a woman. For them the very act of marriage, one of the highest social institution of mankind is equivalent to loosing one’s chastity. Whereas, in Islam the same marriage preserves the chastity of man or a woman. Marriage is a necessity for adults in Islam. It was the same marriage that assured chastity of Mary, a lady of the high moral status in Quran. Institutions and individuals who shun marriage, like Vatican and Pope, will never be able to lift humanity to its moral pinnacles. For them “flesh” is a base word. What they do not realize is that it is the same “flesh” and “passions of flesh” that once fully understood can lift humanity to a moral celestial stage. Christianity has not been able to differentiate between marriage on one hand and debauchery on the other. It fails to separate marriage from hedonistic life and terms it all under “flesh.” Khwaja Kamaluddin discussed this in his lecture that he delivered in Burma under the subject “Philosophy of Islam” [Islamic Review and Muslim India, Vol . VIII, No. 10, Oct 1920, excerpted from pg 350 onwards, The Woking Muslim Mission and Literary Trust, The Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, England]. The following is adapted and excerpted quote, in which verses are inserted from Holy Quran translation by Nooruddin:
There is a general consensus that that passions come out of flesh. But the question then arises how to train and sublimate them? One cannot kill and crush them as long as our body exists. Therefore, any creed or philosophy that teaches killing of these passions will not fully help human edification. Islam does not for the same reason enjoin upon us any kind of monastic life.
Quran makes a mockery of monasticism when it says:
57:27. …And We placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him, but as for monasticism they invented it themselves, We did not enjoin it upon them….[him refers to Jesus]
Quran does not lay down any code of such asceticism, which may annihilate our passions and desires. Islam does not believe in renunciation and suppression of what one can sublimate into something high and noble. Islam accepts all passions and desires as God-given gift; they decidedly are not man made things. Low and carnal as they are, they act as bedrock for further progress and development. One may speak of lust and flesh, one may condemn them totally, but when dissected and analyzed that noble passion generally called “pure love” in human breast, which is regarded as something of Divine nature. But the same is exhibited as well in lower animals in relation to their offspring. If we trace the origin of the so-called Divine love one is constrained to admit that the very animal lust is its origin. Purged of all earthly grossness, it gets converted into something very high, very noble and sacred. That carnal nature in the long run becomes sublime and spiritualized, finds its best illustration in the institution of marriage.
Animal desires, in the first place bring marital relations into existence; but the object of Divine economy in the marriage institution is not only to satisfy flesh, but to arouse and then nurse high morals, love, tenderness of heart and kindness of mind.
As the Qur-án states:
30:21. And (it is one) of His signs that He has created spouses for you from your own species that you may find comfort in them. And He has induced mutual love and tenderness between you. Behold! there are signs in this for a people who would reflect.
It becomes difficult for those who do not enter into family life as they are not circumstanced to grow and cultivate these noble passions in their natural course. In general marriage prevents fidgety and peevish temper.
Marriage provides one the institution of family where various members of family in the capacity of children, brothers and sisters help one to mould one’s character, soften one’s heart, mitigate one’s anger and make one’s strong passions more mellowed in nature. One cannot afford to be harsh to one’s own children as sometimes one can be in relation to other strangers, when something unpleasant or distasteful to one occurs. One has to share one’s earnings with one’s people. Thus one learns the first lesson of selflessness in the circle of one’s family.
64:15. Verily, your possessions and your children are a means to reveal your hidden attributes. As for Allâh there awaits an immense reward with Him.
Quran elevates the status of parenthood to the extent that it states And give thanks to Me and to your parents as both are creators, sustainers and nurturers:
31:14. `And (Allâh says), “We have enjoined on every human being concerning his parents (to be good to them). His mother is worn and wasted in bearing him and it takes her two years to wean him. And give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me shall be the (ultimate) return (of you all).
Family circle, in short, is a moral nursery where one’s carnal nature will be tamed down to produce what in the long run will make the divine flame in man’s breast ablaze and God-in-man will come out and receive incarnation. It is in family life where individual consciousness, in a very little time, becomes converted into family consciousness; one begins to feel for those near and dear to one, as we feel for ourselves. This family consciousness when broadened creates in man national consciousness. One become patriotic and feels for one’s nation and country as one feels for oneself.
This very spirit, however, when abused, causes wars and fighting between nations, and the only remedy to avoid these evils lies in sublimating this national consciousness into humanity-consciousness, to feel for the whole human race as one feel for oneself.
The final stage of upliftment is still further. This humanity-consciousness has to produce cosmic consciousness to feel for every other creature as one feels for oneself. This stage when cropped up enables man to live with and in the company of God when he walks humbly with the Lord; such a person becomes an agent and true servant of Allah, who is Rabbul A’alumini, the Creator, the Sustainer and the Evolver of all nations, races and various other worlds. And a Muslim for the reason in all his daily prayers is reminded of this duty when he says” Alhamad-u-Lillahi Rabbul aalamine.” He glorifies the Nourisher and Sustainer of all worlds. This is the goal of all spiritual soaring and the pinnacle of all human upliftment, which under Islam is open to every man on this side of the grave. But do not forget, for a minute that it got its origin only from lust and desires that are generally condemned. It would be a mistake to think for a moment that all the high morality and spirituality has nothing to do with what is termed as lower passions. Control them if one will, but one cannot crush them. For this very reason monastic life was prohibited in Islam. All that constitutes spirituality is only a sublimated form of carnal emotions. It was for this object that revelation came from God to raise man from the level of animality up to the borders of divinity. Religion comes to vivify, as far as human nature allows, that Divine flame which in him was the nucleus of our existence on the Day of Emanation. It exists in every human heart, and religion comes to make it full ablaze. Then one rises to live in Divine precincts and tastes the elixir of life, where one experiences Beatific Vision. One sometimes performs things that may appear to others as works of God. This stage of human edification produces Abraham, David and Solomon, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, Ramachandar, Krishna and Buddha. These great men, in addition to the revelation they received from God, have left their footprints on the surface of human history to act as guides for the upliftment of the coming generations.
Heavenly View in Islam – anything but sensual
It is quite clear from Quran that the heavenly abode cannot be perceived in terms of human physicality as “No soul knows what refreshment of the eyes is hidden for them: a reward for what they did.” — 32:17. Still, Quran gives a simile of reward for the righteousness. This similitude closely approximates a joyous festival of blissful magnificence and tranquility of princes and princesses in a King’s courtyard. King in this instance is God himself:
56:7. And (at that time) you shall be (sorted out into) three distinct categories,
56:8. (First) those that are blessed. How (lucky) the blessed will be!
56:9. And (then) those that are wretched, how (miserable) the condition of the wretched will be!
56:10. And (third) those that are foremost (in faith). They are by all means the foremost (in the Hereafter).
56:11. It is they who have (really) achieved nearness (to their Lord).
56:12. (They shall abide) in Gardens of bliss.
56:13. A large party of them (will hail) from the early (believers [- the early companions of Muhammad PBUH, who faced most trials and tribulation and gave the most sacrifices in cause of Truth]);
56:14. While a few (of them will hail) from the later ones [i.e. door of salvation and reward are open for coming generations].
56:15. (They will be in the Garden seated) on couches inlaid (with gold and precious jewels).
56:16. (They will be) reclining thereupon (and sitting) face to face.
56:17. (Their) young sons will go round about them, who will remain as young as ever [Side note for this rebuttal – there is no physicality or frame of passing time or moral decay in heaven, hence there is no growing old and the inhabitants there – who will remain as young as ever. Christian reader in this verse might see a hint of cherubs or putti surrounding the main character depicted in Vatican paintings as – young sons [who] will go round about them],
56:18. Carrying goblets and (shining) beakers and cups (full) of pure and clean drink
56:19. They will get no headache (or giddiness) from their (drinks), nor will they be inebriated and talk nonsense [Side note for this rebuttal – the clarification in this verse removes any hint of an intoxicant drink].
56:20. And (carrying) such fruits as they choose,
56:21. And (with) flesh of birds exactly to their taste.
56:22. And (there will be present) fair houris with lovely large eyes.
56:23. (Chaste) like pearls, well-guarded and well preserved.
56:24. (Such shall be) the reward of their (good) deeds.
56:25. There they shall hear no idle-talk, no sinful speech [Side note for this rebuttal – This verse expunges any sense of “sin and sensuality” as there will be no idle-talk, no sinful speech from/by/about fair houris with lovely large eyes].
56:26. But (all that they hear on all sides will be) good and pure words (of salutation) – `Peace be, peace be.’ [- Peace, that's what Islam means, seeks and provides]
56:27. Those that are blessed – how (lucky) the blessed will be!
56:28. They shall abide amidst (the land of thornless) Sidrah (- Lote tree, a symbol of bliss);
56:29. And (in the Garden of) clustered bananas;
56:30. And (in) extended shades;
56:31. And (near) water falling from heights;
56:32. And (amidst) abundant fruit;
56:33. (The season of) which is not limited, and (they are) never forbidden.
56:34. And (they will have) noble spouses [Side note for this rebuttal – noble spouse is one of the greatest bliss that any human can seek, at least in this world].
56:35. Verily, We have made them (women) excellent and have raised them into a special new creation;
56:36. And have made them virgins, pure and undefiled.
56:37. They are the loving ones (of their husbands), suiting to their ages and matching them in every respect.
56:38. (They are meant) for the blessed ones.
[Note: The above verses are from translation of Quran by Nooruddin]
After the preview above of Surah Al-Waqiah – The Event, reader may want to read its detailed commentary by Dr. Basharat Ahmad as translated by Kalamazad Mohammed where the author in one place further distinguishes the heaven in Quran from that of Bible – The paradise of the Holy Qur’an is also completely dissimilar to the Jewish and Christian heaven into which, as they allege, Satan, disguised as a snake, had slipped and had deceived Adam and Eve causing them to commit a sin and so bringing about their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Contrary to this, the heaven that the Holy Qur’an describes is a heaven from which Satan is totally excluded and it is a place where not only sin can never be committed but not even any talk of sin can be heard. Thus the account we find in the Bible is nothing but a story. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur’an in plainly stating I am going to place a successor in the earth (2:30), has corrected that erroneous belief of the Jews and the Christians by openly disclosing that Prophet Adam (as) was made a ruler on earth and not in heaven. In addition, it is clear that the heaven which he was given to inhabit as a gift from the Almighty was a verdant, fruit-bearing tract of land. Or, it may refer to that condition of bliss, peace and ecstasy that man enjoys prior to his commission of sin and which was described by Allah, Most High, as paradise.
Note: [comments in square brackets above are not part of the original sources]
Philosophy of Islam – Islamic Review
Al-Waqiah – a detailed commentary by Dr Basharat Ahmad as translated by Kalamazad Mohammed.
Islam, Peace and Tolerance – Dr. Zahid Aziz
The Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz
The Holy Quran – Noourddin
Issue 33 [@ 28:58]: Robert Spencer – “This is the calculus behind modern suicide bombing. Many people will say, modern Muslim advocates will say that Islam forbids suicide. And this is plainly dishonest because all the advocates, all the defenders of suicide bombing in the Islamic world, start out by saying – ‘This is not suicide, the intention of the person is not to kill himself, the intention of the person is to kill others. And that is sanctioned because this is Islamic Jihad. And if in the process are killed themselves, that is an unavoidable consequence of their action. And they will be rewarded with the reward of martyrs in Paradise ‘”
Rebuttal 33: Robert Spencer is trying to tell the audience that suicide bombers kill by finding justification in Islam and by implication from Quran. Whether it is suicide bomber or Spencer smearing the Quran, in the words of Spencer himself such justification on either side of the aisle “is plainly dishonest.”
Nowhere Quran allows the suicide or killing of the innocent and non-combatants. It “is plainly dishonest” to ensnare Quran in such a nonsensical argument and that too while trying to find justification out of Quran for a carnage either by the perpetrator or the insinuators like Spencer himself. Self immolation if at all is only found in Bible that Spencer himself follows. Killing of self and mayhem on others for Atonement is none but Biblical. Exodus 32 – King James Version states:
25. And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies)
26. Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
28. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
30. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.
Suicide, no matter what its objective, is plainly not allowed in Islam. There is no room for any discussion to justify it, be it by a misguided zealot or the so called expert of this documentary who tries to find justification for such a zealot. Factually, in Quran, the argument is directly opposite that of a suicide i.e. it emphasizes self preservation. Dr. Zahid Aziz in his book “Islam, Peace and Tolerance” [p. 52-4] writes the following:
Suicide is a sin in Islam, and self-preservation is a duty
The committing of suicide is a very serious sin according to the clear teachings of Islam. The Holy Quran instructs:
“Do not cast yourselves to destruction by your own hands.” — 2:195
“Do not kill yourselves.” — 4:29
In Hadith reports, committing suicide is strongly condemned by the Prophet Muhammad who said:
“… whoever commits suicide with something, will be punished with the same thing in the hell-fire.” (3 Bukhari, book: ‘Oaths and vows’. In Muhsin Khan translation see 8:78:647.)
In Sahih Muslim, there is a chapter entitled Abandoning of funeral prayer for him who committed suicide in which it is reported that the Holy Prophet Muhammad personally refused to say the funeral prayer for a deceased who had killed himself (Sahih Muslim, book: ‘Prayer’. In A.H. Siddiqui translation see book 4, ch. 205, number 2133.). In Muslim countries, attempted suicide has always been a criminal offence and a person guilty of it would face legal penalties. Self-preservation and saving of one’s life is the most basic human instinct. Actions to save one’s life are regarded in the Quran as matters of such high priority that it allows a Muslim to set aside certain obligatory duties and prohibitions, if necessary, to save his life. We give some details of this below.
1. Where the Quran prohibits the eating of certain things, including the meat of the pig, it allows their consumption if it becomes unavoidably necessary in order to save one’s life. In two verses, after mentioning the prohibited foods it is stated:
“But whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining wilfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” — 5:3
“But whoever is compelled, not desiring nor exceeding the limit, then surely your Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.” — 6:145
Nowhere does the Quran say that if a Muslim invites certain death upon himself rather than make use of a prohibited food to save his life then he is some kind of a martyr.
2. A Muslim who denies his faith under duress and coercion in order to save his life, while believing in Islam in his heart, is excluded from condemnation in the Quran:
“Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief — not he who is compelled while his heart is content with faith, but he who opens the heart for disbelief — on them is the wrath of Allah, and for them is a grievous punishment (in the hereafter).” — 16:106
Thus if a Muslim is threatened by an enemy of Islam that he will be killed unless he renounces Islam, or face some other dire consequences, the Quran allows him to save his life by making merely an outward renunciation, even though it would constitute a grave sin to make the same denial voluntarily.
3. If fasting during the month of Ramadan would endanger the life of a Muslim man or woman, young or old, this obligation is suspended. Again, to knowingly cause injury to oneself, in order to carry out the duty of fasting, is not any kind of a good or meritorious deed in Islam.
4. It is well known that the obligation of going to perform the Pilgrimage to Makka (hajj) does not apply to anyone whose life would be in danger for any reason by undertaking the visit.
Finally, as explained earlier in this book, even the taking up of arms to fight, by risking one’s life, is only allowed by Islam in order to save and preserve life as the alternative would be to face certain death and destruction. For instance, verses 22:39–40 have been quoted in Section 4 of this book [inserted – “Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made, because they are oppressed. And Allah is able to assist them — those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah.” — 22:39, 40]which allow Muslims to fight if war has been made upon them, and they are required to repel their enemies in order to save all places of worship from destruction [inserted – “And if Allah did not repel some people by others, then cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is much remembered, would have been pulled down.” — 22:40]. By repelling their enemy the Muslims saved their own lives, not committed suicide.
Equating Jihad with violence is “plainly dishonest.” To understand the significance and meaning of Jihad in Quran see earlier Issues 27 and 32. Spencer used the word “Islamic Jihad” to make his case for violence by some ignorant in the name of Jihad. The term “Islamic Jihad” used by Spencer needs further exposition. Dr. Zahid Aziz in the same book above “Islam, Peace and Tolerance” [p. 43-9] clarifies the fundamental understanding about the Jihad that this documentary is trying to distort and ingrain in the audience:
What is Jihad?
The Arabic word jihad means striving or exerting yourself to the utmost against something disapproved. It does not as such mean war or fighting by means of arms. No doubt an armed conflict could also be described as a jihad, but that usage would be similar to applying the word ‘struggle’ in English to a war. To determine what is considered as jihad in the teachings of Islam, we need to examine the usage of this word in the Quran. In such a broad sense is the word jihad used in the Quran that it is applied to the striving carried out by those opposed to Islam to make Muslims worship other beings and things than the One God:
“And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents. But if they strive with you to ascribe partners to Me, of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them.” — 29:8 and see also 31:15
The Arabic word translated as ‘strive’ here indicates the act of jihad. This use shows that, firstly, jihad does not mean war, as no war is being waged here, and secondly that even the opponents of the Muslims are spoken of as undertaking a jihad against the Muslims!
In the Quran we find that the jihad, or striving, that it requires Muslims to conduct is of the following kinds:
1. Striving to attain nearness to God by improving yourself morally and spiritually and overcoming your bad desires;
2. Sticking to Islam under difficult circumstances, such as when facing persecution, by showing perseverance and patience in conditions of suffering;
3. Striving to take the message of Islam to others, by devoting your time, energy and money for this work;
4. Fighting, or helping to fight, in battle in the defence of the Muslims community, under the conditions in which Islam allows Muslims to fight a war by military means.
Jihad to attain nearness to God
This is mentioned in the following verse:
“And those who strive hard for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways. And Allah is surely with the doers of good.” — 29:69
The word translated as “strive hard” indicates the act of doing jihad in the original Arabic. The meaning is clearly striving hard to bring about your moral and spiritual improvement. It may be noted that a synonym of jihad is the word mujahada, which is applied to religious exertions such as fasting.
The two verses given below indicate the same jihad, where again the word “strive” is used to translate the act of jihad:
“And strive hard for Allah with due striving. He has chosen you and has not laid upon you any hardship in religion … so keep up prayer and pay the due charity and hold fast to Allah.” —22:78
“And whoever strives hard, strives for himself. Surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above need of His creatures.” — 29:6
These verses were revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad while he was living under persecution at Makka, and therefore the command here to do jihad cannot refer to fighting. In case of the first verse, the form of striving is indicated as by prayer, giving in charity and holding fast to God.
Jihad of patience and endurance
This is indicated in the following verse:
“Then surely your Lord, to those who flee after they are persecuted, then strive hard and are patient, surely your Lord after that is Protecting, Merciful.” — 16:110
This verse was revealed while the Holy Prophet was still resident at Makka, before Muslims had been commanded to fight in battle, while they had started to emigrate to Madina. Their striving hard or jihad was to bear all this hardship with patience, and did not mean fighting.
A jihad of this kind is also indicated in a well-known Hadith report, in which the Holy Prophet Muhammad said:
“The most excellent jihad is to say a word of truth before an unjust ruler.” (Tirmidhi, Abwab-ul-Fitan.)
Here, speaking the truth for a noble purpose, when it requires great courage to do so, is called jihad, indeed the most excellent jihad, by the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Jihad of propagating the message of Islam
The jihad of the verse 16:110, quoted above, includes propagating the message of Islam, because it was for this also that the Muslims were being persecuted. This verse requires them to persevere in the jihad of preaching and be patient as to the results.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad is commanded:
“And if We pleased, We could raise a warner in every town. So do not obey the disbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with it.” — 25:51–52
The mighty or great striving, the great jihad (jihad kabir in Arabic) mentioned here, is the mission of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to spread the truth with the Quran, which is what the words “with it” refer to. This is also the duty of every Muslim as the great jihad. This verse, again, was revealed during the Makkan phase of the Holy Prophet’s life and therefore the command in it to “strive a mighty striving”, which mentions jihad twice, cannot possibly refer to undertaking any armed conflict.
There are also verses revealed much later at Madina in which jihad cannot mean fighting by arms. For example:
“O Prophet, strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be firm against them.” — 9:73; 66:9
The hypocrites were a group who were outwardly a part of the Muslim community but at critical junctures they deserted the cause of Islam and showed insincerity of faith. No war was ever undertaken against them. The striving hard or jihad against them were the efforts to convince them of the truth of Islam. The same form of ‘striving’ also applies in case of the disbelievers mentioned here. More than ten English translations of the Quran render the meaning of doing jihad in these two verses as “strive hard”, and not as “fight” or “wage war”.
For another example of verses revealed at Madina where jihad cannot mean fighting, we refer to chapter 61, verse 11:
“You should believe in Allah and His Messenger, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if you but knew!”
Three verses later it is stated:
“O you who believe, be helpers (in the cause) of Allah, as Jesus, son of Mary, said to the disciples: Who are my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We are helpers (in the cause) of Allah.” — 61:14
The striving hard, or jihad, of verse 11 is explained in this verse 14 as making yourselves helpers in the cause of Allah in the manner in which the disciples of Jesus responded to his call to be helpers in the Divine cause. The disciples of Jesus, whether according to Islamic or Christian sources, were not asked to fight in any battle with weapons. They helped the cause of truth by propagating his message in the face of persecution and the utmost difficulties.
Jihad of war
The Quran also speaks of jihad by fighting, as for example:
“Go forth, light and heavy, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your wealth and your lives.” — 9:41
“And when a chapter is revealed, saying, Believe in Allah and strive hard along with His Messenger, the wealthy among them ask permission of you (O Prophet) and say: Leave us behind, that we may be with those who sit at home. … But the Messenger and those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons.” — 9:86, 88
There are instances reported in Hadith where, when certain Muslims expressed the desire to join a jihad of fighting, the Holy Prophet told them that their jihad was to perform some other duty entirely unrelated to fighting. For example:
“Aisha (wife of the Holy Prophet) asked: Messenger of Allah, we consider jihad to be the most excellent of all deeds. Should we not then engage in jihad? He said: The most excellent jihad is the properly-performed Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makka).” (Bukhari, book: ‘Pilgrimage’, ch. 4. In the Muhsin Khan translation see the report 2:26:595.)
“A man came to the Prophet and asked his permission for jihad. He asked: Are your parents alive? The man said, Yes. He said: Then do jihad in their way.” (Bukhari, book: Jihad, ch. 138. In the Muhsin Khan translation see the report 4:52:248.)
The words “do jihad in their way” can only mean, and are understood by everyone as meaning, “exert yourself in the service of your parents”. The Holy Prophet here has not presented the Pilgrimage or service of parents as a metaphorical or lesser alternative for people unable to take part in a real jihad. He has described these as the actual jihad on their part. A very illuminating incident is recorded in Hadith, of a time some sixty years after the death of the Holy Prophet, when there was a rebellion of some Muslims led by Ibn Zubair against the Muslim government of the time. Abdullah ibn Umar, one of the greatest authorities on the Quran and son of the second Caliph Umar, was urged by some to join this rebellion as they considered it as jihad. It is reported:
“A man came to Ibn Umar and said: Why is it that one year you go for the Hajj and one year you go for the Umra (a lesser form of the Pilgrimage), and yet you have discarded jihad in the way of God? You know how much God has encouraged jihad? Ibn Umar said: My nephew, Islam is based on five things: Belief in God and His messenger, five prayers, fasting in Ramadan, giving zakat, and the Pilgrimage to the House of God. The man said: Do you not hear what God has said in His Book, … ‘so fight them till there is an end to the mischief ’. Ibn Umar said: ‘We acted on this in the time of the Holy Prophet. At that time, Muslims were few, and a man (who accepted Islam) used to face persecution for his religion — they would kill him or punish him. But then the followers of Islam multiplied in number, and there was no mischief left’.” (Bukhari, book: ‘Commentary on the Quran’, ch. 30 under Sura 2. In the Muhsin Khan translation see the report 6:60:40.)
Thus Ibn Umar refused to recognize that this armed conflict, regarded as jihad by many Muslims, was at all a jihad that a Muslim must join even though it is generally regarded as a just cause against a caliph who was a usurper of that position. As his reference to the five pillars of Islam shows, Ibn Umar did not consider it a duty in Islam to join that so-called jihad.
Conditions for a jihad by arms
For a war to be a jihad in Islamic terms, it must fulfil the conditions specified in the Quran. We have already seen in Section 4, ‘When is war allowed?’, the circumstances in which wars are permissible in Islam. It must be a war of self-defence and self-preservation by an entire Muslim community which is being persecuted for its religion. Only the government of a state or the leadership of a community can call upon Muslims to engage in such jihad. There must be negotiations with the enemy to avoid war and establish peace, if possible. In battle, the clear instructions of Holy Prophet Muhammad must be followed, who strictly forbade the killing of the noncombatants and the defenceless among the enemy such as women, children, old people, and even those only doing labouring work for the enemy soldiers, not being fighters themselves. Again, the Holy Prophet’s example must be followed in the proper and humane treatment of any captured prisoners of war, who must eventually be freed to rejoin their people (These clear directions can be found in the leading collections of Hadith, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud in chapters on Jihad or Wars.)
There is no legitimacy at all in Islam for fringe, secretive, self-styled ‘Islamic’ groups to declare a jihad of war in the first place. Then to conduct their so-called jihad by acts such as indiscriminate violent attacks on the general, unsuspecting public, and kidnapping people and holding them as hostage, is simply abhorrent to the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
Robert Spencer at the end of his statement maliciously segues into the concept of Martyrdom. This topic will be taken up in the next Issue 34.