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See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


December 15th, 2011

Issue 34

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:


Martyrdom

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.


Houris”

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 rebuttalnoble 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]

References:

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

2 Responses to “Issue 34”

  1. With regards to the section – Matters of “Flesh”, Voltaire succinctly states “Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.”


  2. The above section “Matters of “flesh” is supplemented by the “Spiritual Note” Edition 342, January 6, 2012, Safar 12, 1433 as follows:
    When God created mankind, it was destined that blood relationships and marriage relationships would exist among them. As we read in Quran 25:54: “He it is Who has created man from water, then He has made for him blood-relationship and marriage-relationship.”

    One of the reasons for marriage is to have sexual relations – a natural human passion – in a legitimate way. As the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Marriage is the best means to lower the eyes and keep one’s chastity.”

    Some hold the view that keeping away from marriage and sex is a way to attain spiritual perfection. However, the Quran tells us in 57:27: “And (as for) monkery, they innovated it – We did not prescribe it to them – only to seek Allah’s pleasure, but they did not observe it with its due observance.”

    News reviews of the past few years have shown that monkery can be a great obstacle in attaining spiritual nearness to God, because the normal desires of life will keep calling to be satisfied, and so issues as sexual abuse occur. Therefore Islam teaches a middle course between spiritual and worldy striving, as we read in Quran 2:200-201: “There are some people who say, Our Lord, give us in the world. And for such there is no portion in the Hereafter. And there are some among them who say: Our Lord, grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the Fire.”

    By following this middle path (where marriage is not considered as an obstruction to spiritual growth), natural desires can be satisfied in a permissible way. By following this advice from the Quran, the widespread incidents regarding sexual abuse will undoubtedly decrease.


    Quranic quotations in the Notes are from the English translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad ‘Ali, which you can read at
    http://www.ahmadiyya.org/english-quran/index.htm (with footnotes) and
    http://aaiil.org/text/hq/trans/ma_list.shtml (without footnotes).


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